12/16/01 Beethovens birthday today,


Beethovens birthday today, I don’t know why I always remember that. Probably the ravenous diet of Peanuts cartoons from deep in my formative years, and just as kismet would have it, we watched “A Charlie Brown Christmas” tonight. I was struck at the crudeness of the animation, and how the vocal editing was strung together in a way that makes the kids sound like they recorded the entire show without breathing. I was also struck at how beautiful and simple the show is – even the rampant Jesus stuff sounds perfectly logical coming from Linus in his little soliloquy on the stage.

I drove to Shelter Island today, which is a pretty rotten journey. The mess of highways that emerge from the Midtown Tunnel suck to be sure, but the whole idea of a car ferry twice in one day – is basically a dealbreaker. Just like they planned it, I guess, to keep brown people from cavorting on the island. When I got to Dad and Carole’s Kountry Estate, I suddenly realized why they are selling: it has about one-seventieth the charm of their current sprawling compound in Napa, and positively zero cachet. Still, there’s a bunch of their shit in the garage (including that super 1971 collage of my dad’s press releases shellacked onto a giant piece of driftwood, yikes) and I struggled to get the dining room table out.

I recognized it as the “nice” table from our childhood, the one that the guests ate on, as opposed to the beat-up veneer we used for everyday life, which could have easily been a ping-pong table but for a few twists of fate in the journey of that piece of wood. Of course, this “fancy” table in Dads garage is now beat-up and about three decades behind in fashion (parquet top!) but seems very sturdy. Unable to screw the legs off, I had to lash it to the top of the Land Rover and sped off down I-495, no doubt to the rabid jealously of my fellow travelers.

Tonight, I sat up with Tessa, who has been missing her father a lot lately. Blakey died a week after the terrorist attack (and by all accounts was not terribly interested in it) but Tessa has been Josephine Distraction for the better part of three months, and now that the holidays are in full swing, she misses having a dad around for Christmas, even one that is far away. We talked about the future of Asset Pictures, her paralysis in the face of the mountain of mundane tasks awaiting her, and I began to feel that I was healthier than her in at least one respect: I dont let my personal life minutiae get in the way of avoiding it. More specifically, I think I’m good at big projects because a) I am pretty deft at beginning things, even if they’re bad, because I approach them using a certain stream-of-consciousness; and b) I don’t seem to have any “finishing issues.” I’ve heard of people having finishing issues, and frankly, it seems sort of silly to me. The only thing I had trouble finishing was “Ivanhoe.”

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