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Walk and Roll: Scooters in the City

I rode my scooter all around Manhattan last week. On different occasions, I went from my hotel at 7th Ave. and 31st, up to Central Park, across to the Hudson, down to Washington Square. I rode about half on sidewalks, half in the street. It's 3 times as fast as walking, and FUN! Once you get the hang of the joystick (as opposed to handlebars), it makes for graceful maneuvering. I'd fold it up when going into restaurants. Teenagers and 20-year-olds gave me V-signs. I don't know why more people don't ride these in cities. At left is the model I now have, but I'm going to get the same one with fat wheels, called Micro Monster Kickboard: http://bit.ly/1ahULG

Another Okamura Painitng

For a page out of Arthur's book of magic tricks with everyday objects, see: http://bit.ly/jgvzW

Arthur Okamura's Latest Paintings

My friend and neighbor Arthur Okamura stopped by yesterday to show me a series of paintings he's just done of asparagus, done in tempera paint and tempera watercolor paint (the latter a new product). Arthur is a delightful and productive artist, working in many mediums, always exploring new frontiers.

Baby Soda Jazz Band - Muskrat Ramble at Washington Square PArk

(See below posting from NYC.)
Baby Soda Jazz Band at Washington Square Park in NYC May 25, 2009
Mikey Freedom Hart - Guitar; Jared Engel - Banjo; Peter Ford - String Bass; Emily Asher - Trombone; Patrick Harison - Accordian, Trumpet; Dancers - Chance Bushman and Amy Johnson;

Quirks of Memory

I can't remember much about the movie I saw last month, but for some reason I can recall dumb stuff from way back, for example when I was about 12 years old, I thought these words were so clever I memorized them: from a sign at a shoeshine stand as reported in Reader's Digest (and that's 62 years ago):
Your pedal habiliments artistically illuminated and lubricated for the infinitesimal remuneration of 15 cents per operation.

Warm Summer Night in Washington Square

Had wonderful time at Book Expo America, and books are not dead, thank you, although the landscape is changing rapidly. Went back to my hotel after the last day, took a shower, grabbed my scooter and headed south to Washington Square. There's always great music and often comics and acrobats performing there. Susan and the Serenaders were doing doo-wop harmonies, a form of music I love.

Then I went over and listened to the Baby Soda Band (below) doing 20s-30s songs. I have a washtub bass I made, but this wooden bass made by Peter Ford is a lot better and - long story made short — Peter's going to cut out the parts for another one and UPS to me. It has a range about an octave and a half whereas my present one has a 6-note range. I'm excited. Then over to watch two very funny acrobatic brothers who had maybe 150 people watching their act.
The city is like a village on warm nights, with street entertainment in parks, sidewalk cafes, people sitting on stoops.

Below: guy on left is just going airborne. He dove over the five people, went headfirst through a hoop made by his brothers arms, landed on his hands on the ground, and did a somersault.

Steve Jobs: "Whole Earth Catalog was Like Google in Paperback, But 35 Years Earlier"

This isn't new, but I just ran across it the other day and it seemed relevant and interesting, especially where he says the Whole Earth Catalog (1967) was "…like Google in paperback": Steve Jobs' Stanford commencement speech in 2005. Following is the last part of a very short speech:

"When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. Thank you all very much."

Print transcript: http://bit.ly/YhHS1

Youtube version:

Antibalas at Publishers Group West Party

For over 20 years, book distributor Publishers Group West has hosted a party with hot music on the Sat. night of Book Expo America. Last night it was afrobeat band Antibalas from Brooklyn, which Wikipedia says: "…incorporates elements of jazz, funk, dub, improvised music, and traditional drumming from Cuba and West Africa." Everyone stayed right up until the last song, dancing and happy.