Making China Great

Trump ran for president on bullshit. ‘Make America Great Again’ – what malarkey. The United States was already the world’s largest economy, had the biggest military, churned out the most movies, TV shows and rock hits of anyone and even gave reasonable opportunities to immigrants to make a few bucks and start work on their version of the American dream. This great country also had the world’s most obese people, the highest ratio of firearms per capita (with the highest ratio of murders to boot!), a huge lust for racism and a healthy culture where a blatant misogynist could run for president. Nobody could top it.

So the misogynist actually wins. It turns out he is dumber than a box of rocks, has no apparent education and hires a bunch of people just like himself. Off he goes making American great again as his ‘dotard’ mind perceives it to be. He does everything he can think of to dismantle those things that made America what it was and to abrogate whatever leadership she showed the world. But his most lasting legacy will be how he took America’s industrial might and drove it right into the dirt. It was stupidly simple: he branded ‘climate change’ a hoax, undid any law that stood in its way and thereby surrendered the economic leadership of the world to China. What a fucking dumbbell.

Climate change is the most pernicious problem the world faces. Its ramifications are profound: food supplies contract, millions of square miles of land submerge, weather becomes deadly and vicious, green spaces become deserts. It sucks.

However it can be stopped. America, as the world’s largest generator of greenhouse gases could lead the way to reduce them. We could be establishing new industries that create energy without emissions. We could invent technologies that suck CO2 and CH4 out of the air and turn them into something benign or even useful. And we could make a huge amount of money doing each of them. Billions and billions and billions of dollars.


You may not believe that humans cause climate change but no one can deny that a carbon cycle exists and the earth is now on the side that is increasing; heat, rising oceans and violent weather are its consequences. Eliminating CO2 emission slows it down. Developing CO2 extraction technologies begins to reverse the curve. If one is looking for an area in which humans can save themselves, this is it. If stopping CO2 emissions to save the planet doesn’t get your attention, the money that can be made if you can sell the salvation should.

But The Donald is too dumb to figure any of that out. His billionaire buddies see the possibilities but it will take a decade or two before the cash starts flowing in. It is far easier to get some billions now from carbon based fuels. Let somebody else’s great grandkids make money cleaning up the earth.

This is China’s great opportunity. China’s appetite for energy is voracious and will exceed that of the United States within twenty years. The Chinese learned the hard way the heavy price in human suffering caused by unfettered pollution. They have begun embedding reduced carbon usage in every product produced.

For example, the technology to eliminate CO2 from coal emissions exists and has been industrialized. The US doesn’t use it because it raises the price of coal. Since coal is already far more expensive that natural gas, electric companies don’t spend money to burn coal cleanly – they spend it in converting generators to natural gas. Natural gas is scarce in China but coal is plentiful. The Chinese are heavily investing in generating natural gas from coal and they do it with zero CO2 emissions. The moreCO2 capture devices they make, the less they cost. It is a trend which will lead to the commoditization of the technology in ten years. If anybody else wants to use it, China will sell it to them at a hefty cost. If they price it on some type of usage model, the revenue streams will be large and long. The US might think they can play catchup but anytime someone has a ten year advantage in technology, catchup is a pipe dream. Computer chips are made everywhere throughout the world but the guys that own the licenses and make some loot on every chip are still IBM, Intel and QCOM.

The greenhouse cycle is far enough along that no amount of CO2 reduction will be enough to avoid disastrous consequences over the next decades. CO2 must be actually removed from the atmosphere. There are several potential technologies for doing this but all have significant hurdles to overcome before they are viable. The United States has been a middling funder of CO2 removal research but its future is dim – the idiots around the boy president believe the money is wasted on a non-existent problem.

China doesn’t. China is betting on technologies that suck CO2 out of the air with giant fans and turn the gas in carbon hydroxide slag. Today, the technology is cumbersome and expensive. It also requires very large spaces of uninhabited land to both build the CO2 inhaling infrastructure and contain the vast amounts of slag produced. Only four countries have the geography to support this: the United States, Russia, India and China. The only country serious about it now is China.

China has smart people and deep pockets. They are investing millions of Yuan to figure out the most efficient technology solution. Then it becomes a matter of reducing its cost through automation and scaling.

How will they make money on it? Well, in fifty years, the state of Delaware will be under the ocean. So will London, New York, and Marseilles. Losing those areas wold cost hundreds of billions of dollars each year. Just relocation the people that live there is estimated to be at least 10 trillion dollars. Who will pay to avoid those costs once the specter of uncontrolled flooding becomes so pervasive even dotards can’t deny it? Everyone will.

We don’t know how the technology would be packaged and priced but it is easy to envision the Chinese coming up with some type of global licensing scheme whereby everybody pays according to the amount of damage they avoid. 10 billion here, 10 billion there, year after year. Eventually other countries will figure out how the stuff works but the Chinese will have a technology and operational edge that will last many generations. Their use of climate management technology will propel them to become the greatest economic power the world has ever seen. The rest of us will be sending our kids to Chinese schools to learn their wisdom, immigrating to China to find jobs and learning the right way to make white rice.

 

 

 

 

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Moochie And The Bow Wow Wow


Moochie As A Puppy. The Last Time We Saw His Eyes.

I was a 14 year old kid when my Aunt Dee and Uncle Jon-Jon got Moochie. Their two oldest boys – my cousins Johnny (14 too) and Bobby (13) – had been hounding their parents to get them a dog for months with little success. Then one weekend Uncle Jon-Jon pulled a bender and got Aunt Dee into a frazzle. One of her conditions for him to get out of the dog house was for the kids to have a dog. At least that was the story.

Moochie was an Old English Sheep Dog. My aunt and uncle bought him from an Amish farmer who raised sheepdogs and collies in a town called Mentor about 30 miles west of Akron. Aunt Dee picked both the breed and the name. Uncle Jon-Jon said she had just watched The Shaggy Dog on the Sunday Disney show the week before. If she had been watching Rin Tin Tin or Lassie, he say, it would have been a different dog with a different name. The he laughed at his story. But I think Moochie was the one really laughing. Neither Aunt Dee or Uncle Jon-Jon liked dogs. The boys wanted one, Uncle Jon-Jon got drunk and pissed Dee off and Dee used the opportunity to make Uncle Jon-Jon do something he loathed. They were both pretty good at finding opportunities to screw each other. This time they both got it but it would take them a little while to figure that out.

I met Moochie a couple of months after he had been brought home. Our family lived in the country and had a couple of full grown mutts we had been raised with. They were farm dogs – they lived outside, caught rabbits and got a bath by standing in the rain. Moochie was a just puppy jumping on the furniture and chasing tennis balls under the bed, a white little fur ball – cute for sure, but urban cute. Perfect for my pretentious aunt and uncle and their posh house in suburban Akron. I was not impressed.

I didn’t see the dog again until nearly a year later. Then I was impressed. Moochie was a lumbering giant that weighed over ninety pounds and when he jumped up on his hind legs, he was pretty much at eye level with you. If you could see his eyes which by that time you couldn’t.

The other thing I liked about the grown up Moochie was the quantity of drool he produced. It was enormous which irritated Uncle Jon-Jon to no end. I remember once him driving Johnny, Bobby and me down to the Sparkle grocery to pick up some stuff for Aunt Dee. Moochie was along too, sitting on the front seat next to Uncle Jon-Jon. As we drove down the street, Moochie stuck his head out the window to catch the breeze. His long tongue lolled down his chin and large drops of saliva began driveling out. The stream of wet got caught in the car’s wake and flung back on the side of Moochie’s head, the car’s passenger windows and, I assume, the windshield of any car following us.

He just didn’t drool on car trips. Moochie drooled anytime he wasn’t moving. He’d be sitting on the living room couch, nose resting on one of the sofa’s arms and with a pool of slimy wet stuff soaking into the carpet below his head. He could be standing in the back yard watching us play ball and the drool ran through his chin whiskers and covering him and the ground below his head. His face was always wet. If you played with him and got him jumping up and down, the water sprayed everywhere – on you, the furniture, whatever. We kids could have cared less. Uncle Jon-Jon was less tolerant. But what can you do? Some dogs are droolers; big dog droolers drool big.

Old English Sheep Dogs are very very hairy. Hair traps dirt. The problem with Moochie was that was that neither Aunt Dee nor Uncle Jon-Jon wanted to bathe him. Partly it was their general antipathy towards dogs but also bathing a hundred pound dog as big as small cow was not a simple matter. Their solution was to take Moochie to a pet groomer on the south side of Akron for a full doggie bath; but they didn’t do it very often. It wasn’t because of the cost – they had plenty of money; rather the two spent so much time bickering over who should take him to the groomer, that months would go by without Moochie getting cleaned. By then, the poor dog was filthy, smelled pretty ripe and his head was a mass of dried up drool dirt.

Aside from the drool, the dirt and the stench, Moochie was a pretty good dog, at least to a teenager who only saw him a dozen times a year. He was a big burly thing that rolled around like a puppy, romp at your heels and give licks at the slightest show of affection. Johnny and Bobby loved the dog. Moochie grew with them as they moved from junior high to high school to graduation. Moochie was there when Johnny’s first ‘serious’ girlfriend dumped him; Moochie licked his tears way. Moochie proudly sat next to Bobby the day he got his learner’s permit and drove the Impala to the Sparkles with Uncle Jon-Jon in the back seat growling in fear and irritation. Moochie licked up all the spilt beer the night Johnny threw a beer party when his parents were away in Cleveland helping Aunt Dee’s sister move. And it was Moochie who knocked over Sheila Wagner, Johnny’s second ‘serious’ girlfriend when she was holding a piece of cheese pizza over her head in an attempt to keep Moochie from eating it which he did anyhow. She broke her arm when she hit the kitchen floor with Moochie on top of her. That kinda of ended things with Johnny.

But it was Moochie who stayed in Akron when the whole family up and moved to Florida. That was the sad part of the Moochie story.

It was after Bobby graduated. Uncle Jon-Jon’s TV repair business was losing money, Jon-Jon was tired of northern Ohio winters and Aunt Dee had dreams of living in on some beach in the tropics. They settled on southern Florida. In the summer of 1971, Jon-Jon and Dee went to Fort Lauderdale for a couple of weeks and came back with an offer on a house in Pompano. They put the Akron house up for sale. Uncle Jon-Jon got a rival down the road to buy his TV repair business. Bobby was heading off to college and Johnny, who was doing nothing, figured Florida was a better place to do nothing than Akron. So Uncle Jon-Jon and Aunt Dee were pretty much free to get out of Akron before the snow flew except for what to do with Moochie.

Moochie In His Golden Years

You see, while Aunt Dee and Uncle Jon-Jon were doing their Florida planning, it occurred to them that Florida was not a great place to keep an Old English Sheep Dog. Years before, Aunt Dee grew to regret dogging Uncle Jon-Jon into buying Moochie. She was never keen on dogs and six years of Moochie did nothing to change that. Jon-Jon dislike for dogs was turned to hatred by Moochie’s size, drool, shit and dirty hair. They were looking for an excuse to dump the pooch and Florida’s heat and humidity gave it to them. Moochie needed to stay in the Midwest for his own good.

I don’t know what really happened to Moochie. At the time, Dee and Jon-Jon told everyone that they found a farmer back in the Amish country that took in the dog. Moochie herding real sheep and cows sounded pretty prosaic. But many years later, Aunt Dee said she was sorry she let Jon-Jon take Moochie to the Akron animal shelter. She was in her early eighties and her life as a younger woman had become highly edited. By that time, she kept a black and white picture of her and Moochie standing in the yard together on a table in her bedroom. She often talked about what a wonderful dog he was and how much he meant to her. Uncle Jon-Jon never said much when Dee went on about her love for Moochie. When asked, he always repeated that he took Moochie to a farm not to the shelter. They were two old people who made a past they could live with. As for Moochie – I hoped he really did get taken in by a farmer and away from two people who hated him for being what he was – a big Old English Sheep dog.

 

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Revenge Of The Dumbass – James Park And His Idiot Watch

They Can’t Even Spell ‘Idiot’ Right.

Yesterday Fitbit announced their idiot smartwatch called the Iconic.

It runs for $299.95. This is James Park’s Apple Watch killer. We will see.

When the Surge came out in early 2015, it was supposed to be the Apple Watch killer too. The Surge was priced at $250 nicely below Apple’s $369 price tag. The Surge had a GPS, played songs, displayed your text messages, and had a bunch of other zowie keen features. It also had brittle wristband that was integrated into the watch. That meant when the band broke, the watch was finished. And break the bands did. The Fitbit community site lit up like a Christmas tree with customer’s broken Surge band complaints by the summer of 2015; Twitter surged with Surge broken band twits. Fitbit’s fix – 25% discount on a new Surge!! A lot of the Surge broken banders took Fitbit up on that discount figuring, I guess, their experiences were uniquely rare. But no – within a year they were back complaining that the second Surge’s band broke too. A what did Fitbit offer them? Another 25% discount! By that time, these Surge customers tended to start calling crap crap.

The Surge put zero dents into Apple’s smartwatch sales. But Fitbit stock declined over 50% in 2015 while Surge was their top end ‘super watch’.

Your Typical Fitbit Blaze

Then, in January 2016, came the Blaze. (Note how Fitbit cunningly released the watch AFTER the Holidays, confounding marketing strategists to this day). Fitbit fixed the band problem – the Blaze had replaceable bands which Fitbit sold for half the price of a Blaze (Blaze $199; Blaze replacement band, $99). But the generics flooded the market with $10 replacement bands so Fitbits highway robbery was no big deal. However, the Blaze had a nasty little problem in that its glass screen cracked very easily. Suddenly, all the online Fitbit complaint platforms were flooded with stories about Blaze cracked watch faces after a month or two use. Fitbit’s fix – you could guess: 25% discount on a new Blaze. The watch case was not covered by any warranty.

Fitbit Can’t Fix A Cracked Blaze Screen. But You Can – Repair Kit Is $9.95 At Walmart.

The Blaze was not the market disrupter Fitbit was hoping for. 2016 saw their stock decrease by another 50%. Some lower end products were introduced – the Flex 2, the Altra HR, and the Charge 2 but none of them helped. 2016 was also the year of the consumer revolt – Fitbit was hit with one court suit that alleged their heart beat monitor results were mostly fiction, then a class action suit was filed claiming Fitbit’s sleep monitoring capability was more of an aspiration than a reality, and finally another class action suit was filed over Fitbit bands that caused skin irritation and chemical burns. Fitbit’s response to all the cases was that they were frivolous and unfounded though the company did recall over a million Flex/Charge/Altra bands after 10,000 customers reported skin blisters after wearing the devices. Coincidences indeed do happen.

So now we have the Ionic. This is the smartwatch that will topple the Apple Watch from its throne and relaunch fair sailing for Fitbit on Wall Street. The Ionic has a few little problems it has to grapple with first:

Price – At $300 it is 40 dollars more expensive than the Apple 1 Watch and doesn’t do most of the things that watch does. For $70 more, you can get an Apple 2 Watch which certainly does a lot more stuff than the Iconic. In two weeks, Apple will announce the Apple 3 Watch at probably the same price as the Apple 2 with even more stuff inside it than the Iconic has. Bad timing for Jame’s here. He should have at least waited until Apple made their move, then undercut their prices with some smart positioning. Now Apple gets to do that to Fitbit if they cared, which they probably don’t.

Applications – Well there aren’t any yet. The OS inside the Ionic is the Pebble OS. I am sure you have heard of it. Most non-Apple smartwatches use the wearable version of Android as their OS. It is powerful. There are scores of applications written in it. The license is cheap (i.e., free) from Google. But no, Fitbit bought a company called Pebble two years ago because they were developing a wearable OS to die for. Now you can own it on your Iconic. But with no applications.

Sport Features – At the end of the day, Fitbit strives to be a top notch sports watch. With the Ionic, Fitbit adds (finally) swimming as well as additional capabilities for biking and running. The problem these guys will run into is that right now Garmin, Nike, Samsung and Xiaomi do it better for about the same cost. The Apple 2 is nearly equivalent and the Apple 3 will surpass it. The Ionic is chocked full of things a Triathloner would love but it’s not the best of breed but carries a price as if it was.

The Big Break – What we don’t know yet is what breaks on this watch. Every Fitbit has a nasty design fault. Fitbit doesn’t have stacks of 25% discount coupons in their customer service offices for nothing. They use those babies. You can bet the Fitbit community board will be running amock in six months with some reoccurring Iconic problem or another.

James Claims His Blaze Never Ever Ever Cracks.

At the end of the day, the fact is there are dozens of smart watches out there that are cheaper and/or have more features and/or are more reliable than the Ionic. So who would buy an Ionic? If you were employed by Fitbit, got suckered into buying their stock and still own it, or you have some of those 25% discount coupons laying around, you might want this watch. Or if you were an idiot.

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Kim Jong Un – Un

Another week and another missile test by North Korean. Then came the obligatory UN vote for new sanctions, threats to fire bomb a million US cities from Kim Jong Un, followed by Trump vowing to sizzle the Korean peninsula. How does this all end?

Shit. Lots Of Korean Shit.

Badly. Kim Jong Un is crazy. Donald Trump is crazier. They both give every indication they have an IQ of an idiot but like all idiots, they each think they are the smartest people on earth. Kim will launch a missile at LA as soon as he gets one he thinks will actually reach there. Trump will try to shoot it down which might or might not work but in any event he will unleash a bunch of nukes on Pyongyang reducing it and most of Seoul to rubble. Trump might just nuke North Korea for the hell of it. He is ditsy enough. Plus his ratings could use a war.

There is another way, a diplomatic way, to defuse the whole thing. It is a tribute to the endless stupidity of American leadership that they think they can threaten their way out of this. Every time US turns the screw a little tighter, Kim just blows a fart in its face and chows down more beans. Have we learned nothing in the last 10 years about the fat little Great Leader of barren earth and rocky mountains? He has nothing to lose. Literally. There is nothing there. Why on earth does anyone believe threats would have any effect.

We should listen to the Chinese. According to Wang Yi, China’s Foreign Minister, all Kim Jong Un wants is for the United States to acknowledge him – not as an idiot but as a leader. And not as a leader of a piss ant worthless piece of rock but the leader of a powerful fecund country. He wants to hear lies.

Now that should be easy. Who is the other stupid person who lives to hear lies? You got it: the Trumpster.

You would think the Rex Tillerson would figure it out pretty fast. Tillerson, who CEO’ed Exxon, should know how to motivate people and negotiate deals. It’s simple – each side needs to end up thinking they got the better of the other.

How does it work? You have two very stupid leaders so you start by telling them how smart they are. Each is the smartest living person on earth. You also tell them the other is dumber than dog shit but doesn’t know it. Lay it on thick.

They both are stuck up on the size of their cocks. So you tell Kim that Trumps dick is the length of his pinky and as thick as an earth worm – just look at his itty bitty hands. Show Trump some pictures of Kim squatting down to take a piss (easy Photoshop job). The little shithead can’t even find his dick.


The Two Smartest People On Earth Enjoying A Black Moment.

At this point, you tell them each the con.

Kim Song Un and the Golden Key: Kim takes all of his missiles and moves them under a different mountain. Then be puts a great big lock on door of the mountain they used to be in and offers to give Trump the key to it. It is a key made from gold. Trump can go in anytime to see that it is empty.

Donald Trump’s Really Great Golf Outing: Trump is coached to tell Kim that if the nukes are removed, he will welcome him to Mar-a-Lago as really great leader of a really great country. Plus they can talk trash together and play golf with Tiger Woods. Kim and even bring his boy Rodman along.


The Two Smartest People On Earth Enjoying A Korean Gymnastic Moment.

Tillerson gets the Chinese to deliver Trump’s deal to Kim; Rodman meets with Trump to lure him with the golden key. Done.

But it doesn’t stop there. This is where Rex pulls that Exxon magic of calling climate change the hoax of two scientists in Finland. While Kim is down in Florida, he will be whisked off on a side trip to Disney World. The man goes nuts. Then they give him an iPhone as a souvenir. He flips out.

Back in Pyongyang, Kim will discover pretty quickly that the iPhone works for shit with North Korea’s lone cell tower. So Kim invites his new American friends to build him a cell network and sell his lackeys some phones. Apple loves the idea of slave labor and moves one its fabrication plants from China to Hamhung, a bustling city of a million people a 100 miles north of the DMZ. Suddenly, Kim Song Un is vested in America.

What’s Trump got? A large shiny gold key. He also has a new little friend who has a season pass to Disney World and a private cottage in Tiger Woods estate a couple miles down the coast from Ma-a-Lago.

With the Americanization of Kim Song Un, Tillerson repays a little of his debt to the parts of the ocean he has killed. Magic Kingdom fanatics don’t nuke Mickey Mouse. Donald Trump goes to North Korean twice a year to make sure that his big golden key still opens the door to an empty room. While he is there, he might as well take in a little soiree with the North Korean woman’s gymnastic team. Such little women spinning around for a big man with big key and a big man thing.


You Really Can’t Make This Stuff Up. Rodman Giving Trump Books To The North Korean Gymnastic Coach.

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Dog Days At The BBC

Today, the dog’s days of summer starts in Finland. This is for real. Google it. The high today in Helsinki was 68°. The low tonight will be 52°. In Miami, the high today was 97°; the low tonight will be 79°. A Finn would not know a real dog’s summer day if a Lapponian Herder bit them in the butt.

 


US 1 –
The
Staff Wanted A Name They Could Remember

I work out at a place called US 1 Fitness, which is a fitness center on US 1 in North Miami. Creating catchy names is not their strong suit but they have a pretty nice gym. Saturday mornings I regularly join a couple dozen other ‘it’s too damn hot in the morning to run in’ neighbors in the cardio section of the gym. We stream out over treadmills, elliptical machines and stationary bikes to get some heart pumping done. Cardio is pretty boring. US 1 Fitness has 10 television monitors surrounding the cardio room playing whatever morning shows the gym staff think are interesting. The staff are all between 20 and 24 years old and God subtracted 10 points from each of their IQs for every inch He added to their biceps. So they turn on the monitors closest to the check-in desk to MTV and reruns of last year’s football games. The QVC channel is on everywhere else.

Most of us ignore the TVs and listen to Podcasts. They are varied and cheap (i.e., free). Surprisingly, there are always a large group that follows the same three shows: the BBC’s Comedy of the Week , Real Time With Bill Maher, and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me (WWDTM). These shows get the most play because they are fresh and topical. The Comedy of the Week and Maher are broadcast on Fridays and they have the current show in the iTunes store early Saturday morning. WWDTM broadcasts on Saturday so their podcast is usually a week behind though from time to time NPR screws up and releases it to iTunes early Saturday before it actually has its national distribution later that day. The shows’ common thread is humor around current events.

The American series have their problems each summer. Maher takes off for four or five weeks in July so no shows then. About the same time, WWDTM starts inserting reruns frequently – QVC tends to be more entertaining than topical jokes replayed months after their event topic. This would all point to a natural surge to BBC comedy podcasts. But no, the British take fiendish revenge on their New World friends in July – they change their lineup to broadcast six weeks of a ‘comedy’ called The Museum Of Curiosities.

The Staff Wanted A Way To Remember The Name

The way the Comedy of the Week works is that the BBC rotates their broadcast schedule between four series: The Now Show (comedy sketches around the week’s news), Dead Ringers (impressionists who mimic the week’s news makers), The News Quiz (a panel of comedians answering questions about the news) and The Museum Of Curiosities. Each show is broadcast for 6 to 8 continuous Friday evenings and then rests for six months and then they all do it again. Yes it is somewhat nutty to Americans but the BBC has been doing it for a decade so you get used to it after a while.

They Remember The Name If They Don’t Move

The Now Show, Dead Ringers and The News Quiz all focus on the week’s news. The last two years have been particularly robust for British comedians what with David Cameron calling an EU referendum that never needed to be held, then lost it; suddenly Teresa May popped out of cake; meanwhile Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were clawing at each other’s faces; after which the US elected a gigantic gorilla as President; that inspired Teresa May to call an election that never needed to be held, then lost it; quickly followed by the British cabinet attempting to out buffoon the US’s gorilla President’s stupid son in-law and stupider son; and on and on and on. Few periods in the history of the English speaking peoples has been as rich as the past two years for goofy material and utter loathsome people.


An American Could Never Invent This Type Of Stuff

Where does The Museum Of Curiosities fit in? Well, it is not about current events. The Museum of Curiosities is built around three guests giving imaginary gifts to an imaginary museum. Then they and the host (the museum’s curator of course) talking about the significance of the gifts. The guests are English minor celebrities, the imaginary gifts can be anything (A Pineapple, The Epping Forest, and a Rabbit are examples. The website en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Museum_of_Curiosity lists everything given since 2008) and the entertainment level of the conversation around the gifts can be measured by taking the weight of the celebrity times the weight of the gift times a million (if you are British) or millionth (if you are not). They banter for thirty minutes or an eternity depending upon what side of the Atlantic you are on.

I suppose the Museum Of Curiosities is one of those quaint little British eccentricities we American are fond of ascribing to our forefathers overseas. Yes it’s a bit dotty; and of course show is unlistenable for more than five minutes. But isn’t it cute? It is so so British.


Step Mom Steps In

And it is. The unfortunate thing is that the BBC started the six week run of the thing yesterday. Maher is on his second week of vacation. WWDTM is doing the best of last year’s nursery rhymes and even the QVC channel seems to have run out Ivanka junk to sell. Alabama’s 2011 football season must have been a pretty good year; it has playing continuously on the sports channel for a week.

So the dead days of summer have come to North Miami. The weather outside is a steam sauna run amok. But we are here, Saturday morning, churning on a bike that never moves or hoofing it on a slow moving tread. Cursing Bill Maher’s trip to Hawaii, Peter Sagal’s boating around the UP and the bloody British with their stupid goofy radio shows.

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Miami Art’s Big Art Departs

 

Paco Sanchez opened his first studio on SW 17th Avenue in southwest Miami nearly forty-five years ago. SW 17th was a grimy tattered neighborhood then just like it is now. Paco was twenty-five at the time, still sleeping in his parents living room in their tiny apartment in Little Havana. He was starting to create a new style of art no one seemed to care about. Paco called it Arte Libre. It was big. Really big. The first time I visited his studio, he had a half dozen pieces propped up against the wall. The smallest was 10′ long and 12′ high. The scene was Jesus praying in the Mount of Olives after the Last Supper – in dazzlingly, almost day glow colors. Titled ‘Noche Oracion’ it was a Jesus drawn in broad jagged brush strokes using amazing blue and red acrylics. His glittering star shaped eyes gazed up into a fumous fiery heaven. It was an arresting, wonderful painting. I was looking for some pieces to put in my gallery. What could I do with this? With any of them? I’d have to rent a moving van.

So Noche Oracion stayed on SW 17th street for nearly eight years. In 1982, the Dade Art Museum in Vizcaya bought it for $15,000, a pretty nice sum in those days. You can see it on the third floor of the Perez today. I think it’s valued at around a million. If you can find a big enough wall.

By the late 1980s, Paco’s Arte Libre was hot. He had moved his studio to West Avenue in Miami Beach. There was a warren of about 20 studios there; Miami’s art scene was shifting to the Beach just as the Beach was about to wake up and rebuild itself. Lincoln Mall was built five years after Paco moved into West Avenue. The South Beach Commerce Chamber commissioned a mural on the corner of Lincoln and Jefferson. The result was Bounty – it was building size – three stories tall and a half a block long. It was pop stylize Arte Libre of a woman holding a conch shell of overflowing flowers.

South Beach hit the big time by 1995. Lincoln Mall had the hippest boutiques, tiny, enormously expensive restaurants and Michael Tilson Thomas’s New World Symphony. West Avenue was Miami’s art center. Paco kept his ‘studio’ there but it became basically a sales shop. He moved himself and all his stuff into a warehouse up in North Miami four blocks from my gallery. That was when we renewed our friendship.

Paco was one of those fortunate artists who studied with John Baldessari at Caltech in the early 70s. Davide Salle was a classmate and remains a lifelong friend. Arte Libre has its expressionistic roots in Baldessari’s mature paintings and early experiments combining pattern highlights with photographs. Early Arte Libre works such as Noche Oracion use flurries of brush strokes that juxtapose loud grainy colors against each other. As he matured his style, the brush strokes became shorter, sometimes micro flecks of the brush that allowed him to achieve remarkable realist effects. He used this technic to emphasize the eyes of Jesus in Noche Oracion and the beautifully sculptured finger tips of Mary in Bounty.

Not everything was Jesus and Mary but Paco was deeply religious. He is also a radical socialist. Diego Riviera was a hero. So were Salvador Allende and Cesar Chavez. Paco did his share paintings inspired from some biblical theme or other. I used to dog him about amount of Jesus crap he had stacked in the back of the warehouse – there are only so many churches around that handle a 30′ x 40′ Jesus picture. You tap out that market, I told him. Go for smaller. Or maybe some nice landscapes.

Paco’s secular works were typically simple studies of men and women working in a factory, embracing on the beach, playing with children at a barbeque. Everyday people (always of color) doing every day thing. Again, in a big way.

In rare instances, Paco would turn to political themes when something got up his craw long enough. He had a triptych of LBJ, Nixon and a blood covered Vietnamese kid in his studio when I first met him. Paco hated Nixon. Long after the trickster left this planet, his sagging jowls and devil’s eyes turned up in silhouettes in dozens of works. Bill Clinton invited him to the White House in 1999. Paco politely declined. He had nothing good or bad to say about Clinton or Bush or even Obama.

Paco never had a problem selling a painting after 1985. His problem was letting them go. Paco Sanchez painted for Paco Sanchez. His works were his children and you don’t sell your children. But still, you don’t stack your children up in a warehouse either.

Starting in the 80s, I always had two or three of Paco’s work in my gallery. They took up enormous amounts of space and always had a NFS tag on them. They were fabulous paintings. Though I never sold any, they increased the foot traffic they brought into the gallery was huge. I promised to give Paco a slice of our profits someday. It was a joke of course, the gallery barely earned (even now) the overhead to keep it open.

One morning last April, Paco and I were eating eggs and frijoles at La Bandera on NE 125th street a few blocks from his warehouse. Paco had turned 70 the week before. He told me the time had come for him to close the place. He had some projects he’d been putting off for years and years and he wanted to get to them while he had time. Baldessari asked him to team up to do a masters class in the fall at UCLA. He was going to put together a show for Le Salon Criquet in New York in spring of 2018. He planned to accompany it when it moved to London at the end of year and on to Berlin in 2019. He had a grandson in Brazil he wanted to spend time with and portrait on. Busy man.

Next week, he and a couple of helpers are coming over to the New Hudson Exit to pack up the three paintings he has here and take them down the street to his warehouse. I am going to have a ton of new space to fill up in the next few mounts.

After he finishes selecting whatever is going to go on tour next year, the rest are moving to a climate controlled storage facility somewhere in southern California. And there they will sit in dark humidity controlled lockers; some are the rarest works of genius. But sit they will, unseen and all NFS.

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