A Day at the Museo del Prado

F 2/17/17

Early morning observation: If you want butter for your bread in Spain, bring it from home. Spaniards don’t do butter. But they do great chocolate.

Dogs are everywhere as we walk to the Prado Museum (Museo del Prado). Dog walking is a thriving business.

Smokers are everywhere, too. You don’t have to be ten feet away from an entrance to smoke. You can light up as soon as you leave a building. We are on low-inhale mode much of the way to avoid inhaling secondhand smoke. More one-way streets than in Ann Arbor; they all look like side streets. Hilly streets remind me of San Francisco, though not quite as steep. Brick-covered streets give it small-world charm.

Eclectic: Häagen-Dazs ice cream in Chinese grocery store.

Arrive at museum. Cop with machine gun patrolling the street.

I’m not a big museum buff. I’ve been known to say, “I don’t know art. I just know what I like.”

But there was something here for everyone. Torture. Virtue. Ascension. Miracles. Sainthood. Portraits.

Emily notices that all of the angels are boys. The museum guard explains that they are supposed to be neutral but is enlightened when Emily points out, in Spanish, “No vaginas.” True, the neutral angels all have penises. Meanwhile, I read the English translations of the descriptions looking for typos, and find one. In “Tobias heals his Father,” I read, “Painted in Venice, this [is] one of the best….”

Emily strikes up conversation with teacher from Austria, notes that we are in Spain for ten days, then back to ice and snow of Ann Arbor. “And Trump,” the teacher observes, making the correct assumption that we recognize his defective nature.

Several Old Testament scenes. Otherwise, only see three references to Jews: 1. a Jewish doctor; 2. a hooked-nose man over a caption describing him as greedy and money-hungry; 3. a scene in the Plaza Mayor of a man of no faith—probably meaning Jewish—being tried by a religious tribunal and condemned.

Emily marvels at how long it must have taken female royalty to get dressed in the morning with their hoop skirts and puffed up hair.

Late-afternoon lunch outside Prado at El Botanico, where, the menu notes, Sir Paul McCartney and Bono ate.

No butter with the bread but waiter brings me olive oil.

Sonja discovers former Jewish section of town at La Playa de Lavapies. Long walk, Emily asks directions three times, but we find it down long hill, past strip of Indian restaurants. No evidence anymore of former Jewish life. Playa consists of playground with slide and several park benches. Five Hispanics sitting on one passing joint. I go into high-inhale mode.

Emily’s friend Rich Fritzson said we had to stop at the Chocolatier so we walked two extra miles looking for it. Well worth the effort. We each receive a coffee cup filled with the richest liquid chocolate I’ve ever tasted. Served with flour/sugar/grease donut sticks to dip. Sugar rush gives us the energy to walk another two miles to dinner. Arrive at 7:30; dinner not served until 8:30. We fill the time with conversation and two bottles of champagne.

Chocolate, champagne, great art, lots of walking but nearly enough to work off the calories we consumed. A full day, our last in Madrid.

Arrive in Madrid, Meet Harrie and Sonja

Th 2/16/17

Smooth flight from Detroit Metro to Paris, superb service from attendants on Delta. But—kid in middle aisle screaming because mom put his luggage in overhead. Continues until he falls asleep, resumes when he wakes up. Food excellent for dinner (vegetarian) and breakfast (neutral). Meanwhile, complimentary wine and beer flow all night until lights out; flow resumes in morning. Emily and I sit in different rows on flight to Madrid.

Emily kibitzes until takeoff with woman from the Philippines: kids, weather, travel itinerary. I smile at man on each side of me, don’t talk. It’s a man thing.

Glad to travel with Emily, who is fluent in Spanish and can fake it in every other language. Helped us get to the hotel from the airport when we got lost twice, Emily asked taxi drivers for directions. I hesitate when I say “Bonjour” to the attendant. Don’t want to screw up. Fortunately I have a charming smile.

Trip to Spain is life-long fantasy for Emily. Happy to share it with her.

Interesting observation about the flight data chart on flight to Paris: Data differ from seat to seat. When I was 1590 feet in the air, Emily was 1722 feet. Obviously the plane was tilted.

Fun fact: The plane will not automatically crash if one person forgets to put his phone on airplane mode. Don’t ask me how I know.

In Madrid, Trump supporter complaining because there are too many foreigners.

Meet Harrie and Sonja at the hotel. Eat, drink, lots of walking, visit Plaza Mayor, more eating and drinking. Watching the news on TV now as we wind down after a long day that started yesterday. Trump is just as much of an embarrassment in Spanish as he is in English.

On the Road to Spain

W 2/15/17

On the road to Spain today to celebrate an amazing forty years being with Emily (who also is coming). Two days in Madrid, then Malaga, which will be our base for the next week.

Hooking up with extended family from the Netherlands, Harrie and Sonja, whom we haven’t seen since we traveled together in Italy three years ago.

U.S. friends, take care of the country for us until we get back. Keep the borders open. I don’t want to get sent back to Galicia or Austria-Hungary, countries of origin that no longer exist.

“You Don’t Want to Know”

Long-time Panera regular comes by to shake my hand and wish me good morning. Says Shalom because she knows we’re both Jewish. Cups my right hand warmly with both of hers and smiles, then moves on to next table.

Makes the rounds greeting regulars and first-timers: old couple sitting side by side eating oatmeal and drinking coffee, four concerned citizens parsing the week’s events.

“Where have you been?” the old man asks. “We missed you,” his wife adds.

“You don’t want to know,” she answers, then adds, “You missed me like a cold.”

The First to Know

She studied so hard under the watchful guidance of her tutor. Math was a stickler subject but so was science. She prepped for her grad school exams, took her grad school exams, and failed her grad school exams. She prepped again, took them again, failed them again. Then she prepped for them once more.

In time we became Panera friends and I learned that she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother and become a scientist. I became a source of encouragement.

Today she approached me quietly but excitedly. I felt her approaching presence and looked up from my screen. She whispered, “I just wanted you to be the first to know: I passed.”

She hurried off to the restroom as I called, “I’m proud of you.”

Crack Team of Digitizers Preserving Music History

Do you miss those cutting-edge hip hop and rap magazines from the eighties and nineties?

Does your favorite academic library have incomplete runs of your favorite rock and folk music magazines and the pages are torn or missing?

For the past seven years, I have been on a crack team of digitizers at sister companies Reveal Digital and NA Publishing who are creating amazing collections of exact digital reproductions of important political and cultural newspapers and magazines from the nineteen fifties onward (with a few that dip into the forties). I’m the guy who figures out who the rights holders are, then researches how to contact them or their heirs and invites them to include their publications in the collections.

Our goals are to preserve these publications, which too often yellow around the edges and crumble as they age; and to make them accessible to current and future readers, for whom if it isn’t in electronic form it doesn’t exist.

Underground Press

Our premier collection was the landmark Independent Voices, which, when it is finished, will include some 1,000 underground, alternative, and literary newspapers and magazines from the fifties through the eighties, encompassing the Civil Rights and Vietnam era antiwar and liberation movements.

 

 

 

 

Rock Music Magazines

Our current series is of music magazines. The Rock collection is complete with minor exceptions, including sourcing of a few remaining issues of CREEM.

 

 

Folk Music Magazines

Folk, including Sing Out!, Broadside, People’s Songs Bulletin, and others, is smaller than Rock but scanning and digitizing continue and it is growing. We’d still like to add a few titles.

 

 

 

If you loved the music, check out the magazines in our collection that covered it:

http://mma.napubcoonline.com/
username: sales@napubco.com
password: Seeger

Hip Hop and Rap Music Magazines

Next is Hip Hop and Rap. We’re still in the crucial rights-gathering stage. Current and former hip hop and rap editors and publishers:

  • Would you like your magazine to be digitized at no cost to you?
  • Would you like to receive keyword-searchable digital files to put up on your website at no cost to you?

Then email me today at ken@azenphonypress.com and let’s talk.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Ken

Survivors of Clinton Defeat Meet at Panera

Survivors of Clinton defeat meet at Panera, still stunned after week but determined, waiting for lunches to arrive.

First declares week long enough to mourn. Time to assess what went wrong and move on. “Our resolve, our courage, our love all are being tested,” she says. “If love is politically correct, then let’s celebrate political correctness, not run from it.”

Second reflects on mood of country and concludes: “Hatred and cowardice won this time around, even though love had more votes. Let’s find strength in that fact.”

First imagines good folks who worshipped Trump when they realize he used them to get what he wants and doesn’t need them anymore: “They’re going to be real disappointed.”

“How can we do outreach to them on issues where we share common ground?” asks second. “That’s our challenge as we build new coalitions and a better community.”

Floor staff person brings lunches, soup and salad for her, soup and sandwich for him.