Simmering Hope

Hope is the expectation that something outside of ourselves, something or someone external, is going to come to our rescue and we will live happily ever after. – Dr. Robert Anthony

Archive for May, 2008

May 29, 2008

Lucian Freud and his paintings

“My work is purely autobiographical,…It is about myself and my surroundings. I work from people that interest me and that I care about, in rooms that I know… When I look at a body it gives me choice of what to put in a painting, what will suit me and what won’t. There is a distinction between fact and truth. Truth has an element of revelation about it. If something is true, it does more than strike one as merely being so.”

– Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud
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Intrigued by the huge selling price of Freud’s painting I wanted to find out a little bit more about this artist and mostly, I wanted to see if all his work is as dysfunctional as the ‘Benefits Supervisor Sleeping’

Painting: IB and her husband
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Painted in 1992 and sold for $11.4 million by Christie’s New York in November 2007, presents Freud’s daughter Isobel Boyt in her husband’s arms, sprawled on a grim bed, appearing to be asleep.
This is an interesting painting with a sense of emotional presence and intimacy.

‘Bruce Bernard’ is another painting sold by the Christie’s London in June 2007 for $15.5 million.
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Bernard was the picture editor of the Sunday Times magazine from 1972 to 1980 and later became the visual arts editor of the Saturday Independent Magazine.
Friends with Freud since 1942 he declined to sit for his portrait for many years and only changed his mind upon hearing that Freud’s “working speed had appreciably increased.”

After Cézanne– Painted between 1999 and 2000 was sold for $7.4 million to the National Gallery of Australia.
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After Cézanne is a variation on the theme of Paul Cézanne’s Afternoon in Naples.
Freud worked the painting on canvas first in charcoal, then in paint.

It looks like contemporary art may be pretty lucrative market after all.


May 28, 2008

Fox 2008 fall schedule

I am still upset with CBS cancellation of “Moonlight” and I decided to become more loyal to Fox, especially now that they have cancelled “New Amsterdam”. Somehow that show was not appealing to me. I found myself bothered by almost every character.

Actually let’s see first what shows have been cancelled from the 2008-2009 schedule :
– Back to you, Canterbury’s Law, K-Ville, Nashville, New Amsterdam, The Next Great American Band

And now, what is in store for us:

Sunday
The OT, The Simpsons, King of the Hill, Family Guy, American Dad
Monday
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Prison Break
Tuesday
House, Fringe (new serie, description follows)
Wednesday
Bones, ‘Til Death, Do not disturb (possible name change)
Thursday
The Moment of Truth, Kitchen Nightmares
Friday
Are you smarter than a 5th grader?, Don’t forget your lyrics
Saturday
Cops, America’s most wanted, MADtv, Talkshow with Spike Feresten

Something about the newcomer ‘Fringe’, from the Fox’s website:
‘From J.J. Abrams (“Lost”), Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, the team behind “Star Trek,” “Mission: Impossible III” and “Alias,” comes a new drama that will thrill, terrify and explore the blurring line between science fiction and reality.
When an international flight lands at Boston’s Logan Airport and the passengers and crew have all died grisly deaths, FBI Special Agent OLIVIA DUNHAM (newcomer Anna Torv) is called in to investigate. After her partner, Special Agent JOHN SCOTT (Mark Valley, “Boston Legal”), is nearly killed during the investigation, a desperate Olivia searches frantically for someone to help, leading her to DR. WALTER BISHOP (John Noble, “Lord of the Rings: Return of the King”), our generation’s Einstein. There’s only one catch: he’s been institutionalized for the last 20 years, and the only way to question him requires pulling his estranged son PETER (Joshua Jackson, “Dawson’s Creek”) in to help.
When Olivia’s investigation leads her to manipulative corporate executive NINA SHARP (Blair Brown, “Altered States”), our unlikely trio along with fellow FBI Agents PHILLIP BROYLES (Lance Reddick, “The Wire”), CHARLIE FRANCIS (Kirk Acevedo, “Oz”) and ASTRID FARNSWORTH (Jasika Nicole, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”) will discover that what happened on Flight 627 is only a small piece of a larger, more shocking truth.
FRINGE is directed by Emmy Award-winning Alex Graves (“The West Wing”) and produced by Warner Bros. Television and Bad Robot Productions.”

Speculation is that “Fringe” will land in tandem with “Prison Break” on Mondays, moving ‘Sarah Connor’ on Wednesday.

May 26, 2008

CBS Fall 2008 Schedule

Before moving on with our life and listing the fall schedule as presented by CBS to the advertisers, let’s just say that I found it very bizarre for a network to cancel the show that got the People’s Choice Award, namely ‘Moonlight’. Even more, for a network that boasts about targeting female audience, it’s even more stupid to get rid of the yummy Mitch St.John (Alex O’Loughlin) to make room for The Ex List that features a woman. Now our only hope is in the hands of Media Rights Capital (MRC) contracted by CW to fill out the Sunday nights. MRC is going to fill the time with two dramas and two comedies and see if their programming would be better than CW’s one.
The rumor had it that CW would pick up ‘Moonlight’ but since then it’s been denied by CBS.

Now back to CBS’s fall schedule, with * are marked the new shows… nice NOT!!! that CBS made room for some of them by cancelling Shark and Moonlight.

Monday
The Big Band Theory
How I Met Your Mother
Two and a Half Men
Worst Week*
CSI: Miami

Tuesday
NCIS
The Mentalist*
Without a Trace

Wednesday
The New Adventures of Old Christine
Project Gary*
Criminal Minds
CSI: New York

Thursday
Survivor: Gabon, The Last Eden
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
Eleventh Hour*

Friday
Ghost Whisperer
The Ex List*
Numb3rs

Saturday
CBS Crimetime (repeats)
48 Hours Mystery

Sunday
60 Minutes
The Amazing Race
Cold Case
The Unit

Let’s see what the new shows are about:

* Project Gary
stars Jay Mohr as a recently divorced father juggling his children with his relationships, with Paula Marshall as his controlling ex-wife and Jaime King as his new girlfriend, also a single mom.
* Worst Week features Kyle Bornheimer as a recently engaged simpleton trying in vain to impress his future in-laws, played by Kurtwood Smith and Nancy Lenehan.
* Eleventh Hour is a Jerry Bruckheimer production featuring Rufus Sewell as Dr. Jacob Hood, a biophysicist recruited by the FBI as an on-call scientist/detective to investigate the rapidly growing number of crimes and crises of a scientific nature
* The Ex List is a romantic drama. Bella Bloom (Elizabeth Reaser- remember her? It’s the Ava/Rebecca from Gray’s Anatomy), learns from a psychic (Anne Bedian) that she’s already dated her future husband and if she doesn’t find him within a year she will be alone for the rest of her life.
* Harper’s Island is a murder mystery/horror from the Jericho producer Jon Turteltaub, that unfolds as friends and family attend week-long festivities at a destination wedding on a secluded and picturesque island off the coast of Seattle, infamous for a homicidal maniac’s rampage seven years ago. The wedding guests start vanishing one by one. The series features Ryan Merriman, Samantha Noble and Elaine Cassidy, and is expected at midseason.
* The Mentalist– Patrick Jane (Simon Baker) is a detective and independent consultant with the California Bureau of Investigation, with an enviable record for solving serious crimes by using his remarkable sharp skills of observation. (It sounds like Psych!!!!)


May 23, 2008

My South Beach Diet Journey

This is my third day of the journey.
It started with the clear determination of losing weight. Being over 40 and a chocolate/sweets lover, would not make it easy to shed any extra pounds, but definitely qualifies me to gaining some. Actually this is exactly what happened. Slowly, slowly, the dreadful extra pounds were piling up. To the point of running out of cloths. Change the wardrobe, or lose weight? It’s a no brainer, right?

The question was: what diet should I try?
In the past I have tried the low calorie diets and it did not work well. Low-calorie diets intend to be short term because you have to restrict your total calories to as little as 500 per day (to a maximum of 1000).
Do you remember the horrible ‘cabbage soup diet’? Brrr.. Even pronouncing its name make my skin crawl and I dry heave. I tried the ‘juice fasts’: drink only fruit and vegetable juices for a few days.
Same bad result. After just one day I got dizzy, cranky, on the verge of blacking out most of the time.

My friends tried different diets and I have gained some perspective via their experience.
Two of them were on Atkins and lost lots of weight. But as soon as they resumed normal eating, and got out of Atkins diet, they gained everything back, plus extra pounds.
Although in the beginning I was tempted by Atkins after some reading I considered it too dangerous for my health- all those ketones building up into my system did not sound right.

Some people say that ketones build-up it’s just a myth launched by Atkins detractors but I don’t agree.
Why?
Because of the following facts:
– In order to provide the necessary energy for our body to function well, we have to use three main sources: glucose- coming mostly from carbs but it may come from proteins as well, fat – both from diet and from the body fat and ketones- which are derived from the metabolism of fats.
– Atkins allows eating fatty meats; so ketones derived from the metabolism of body fat, adds to the ketones derived from the metabolism of fatty food, resulting in the possibility of unhealthy ketones build-up. Our body can eliminate (via urine) only that much ketones and as smart as it seems to be regulating the level of ketones, sometimes it may be too much.

Another friend of mine started the Nutrisystem diet. Well, I guess it works for somebody who likes to eat prepackaged food, which is not my case. I try to avoid as much as possible processed food and rely on fresh one, something I can cook at home and have control over it. Plus, I like to cook something I enjoy eating, something that suits my own palate not be forced to eat whatever the company is eager to provide.
Let alone the monetary issue. I still find it hard to believe that it’s cheaper to buy prepackaged food vs. buying fresh from the store. As it stands right now, monthly cost can range from $250-$300 for food, not including additional groceries- you have to supplement the program with fruits, vegetables and dairy products.

After doing some research I decided to give it a try to the South Beach diet.
The first two weeks seem to be the most difficult ones, because I can’t have any fruits. Normally I don’t eat much fruits, and very often I have to force myself to do it. But now, I crave fruits because I know I can’t have them.
Except that, I feel great.

My first observations:
Pros
– After 3 days I lost more than a pound without feeling dizzy or cranky
– I don’t have to cook especially for me, which makes it so much easier
– I started eating much healthier because I have to balance my meals to get the nutrients without the addition of extra calories
– I found lots of interesting healthy recipes that I am going to try in the near future

Cons
– It takes time and discipline to prepare the food for the next day to take to work
– I have to cook more often than I used to do, as in ‘everyday’

All together so far so good. Seeing the scale going down it’s a big incentive. Feeling the cloths getting looser it’s even better.


May 15, 2008

Is Lucian Freud’s painting really worth $33 M?

A painting by Lucian Freud sold by a private European collector for $33.6 million became the world’s most expensive workart by a living artist.
Benefits Supervisor Sleeping beat the world auction record for a work by a living artist, held by the American artist Jeff Koons’s Hanging Heart (Magenta/Gold), which fetched $23.5 million when it was sold by Sotheby’s last year.
Although it’s hard to compare the two of them, considering that Supervisor Sleeping is a painting and Hanging Heart it’s a sculpture of stainless steel, le’s take a look and compare them from an aesthetic point of view.

Lucian Freud: Benefits Supervisor Sleeping
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Jeff Koons: Hanging Heart
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Lucian Freud is the grandson of Sigmund Freud and it is being considered in the same league with Titian, Rubens and Velázquez (not by me!!)
Take a look and compare for yourself.

Rubens:Venus at the mirror
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I tried to be objective while watching Freud’s painting, but the only thought in my mind was regarding the sanity of the painter and of the people paying $33.6 million for it.
Do you feel any pleasure looking at the picture? For me it’s just a boost to go to the gym.
Would I hang it on the living room wall?
Definitely not.

Art critics would say that we, the common mortals, don’t now anything about art. That may be true, but if art means something that turns my stomach, then I prefer to remain ignorant.

Here are expert opinions regarding Hanging Heart:
“Tobias Meyer, Sotheby’s Worldwide Head of Contemporary Art, said: “Hanging Heart is a stainless steel monument from a body of work so rare, so surreal and so beautiful that one almost ceases to believe it exists. Executing this work required extraordinary precision, finesse and lavish attention to achieve such perfection of the highest order. Koons is an artist who doesn’t allow compromise, and Hanging Heart is all about making an impossibility possible.”
Alex Rotter, Senior Vice President and Senior Specialist of Contemporary Art, continued: “This is a simply unforgettable work. Hanging Heart is both powerful and romantic – the quintessential reflection of sexuality. It is highly desirable and the perfect match for this icon-driven market.”

In our modern times we have art galleries targeting the shock effect, because that eventually will translate into headlines and money.
Charles Saatchi – owner or Saatchi Gallery- regularly stages exhibitions with artworks that include pedophilic images. I wonder how much Saatchi would enjoy artworks depicting his own kids?
But Saatchi knows very well the tricks of the trade, he knows that the contemporary art collecting scene is not dominated by students of the beautiful (read: ignorant mortals), but by investment bankers and Japanese businessmen who want to buy into a lucrative market.
And so, artists like Freud became the reflection of our times when money has taken over as the sole criterion of whether or not we value a work of art.
Some critics consider Lucian Freud as a genius, other are more lukewarm toward him.

This is another Freud’s painting with the same ‘muse’ as the previous one.

Lucian Freud: Evening in the Studio
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Nope, I don’t like this one either. It’s grotesque.
I would not even dare to compare Freud with Rubens. Rubens fat women don’t turn my stomach because somehow, Rubens celebrates life.
What I understand from Freud’s paintings is his bitterness against women combined with his mocking of all the suckers paying million of dollars to buy the expression of his hate.

And now go back and take a look again at Hanging Heart, because it will make you happy, not feeling slimy.


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