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Om nom nom …

Just a couple of photos from the new office, yesterday.

1) the hudson river at dawn:

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and

2) Coooooookie!!!:

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Stay warm out there …

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The Year in Review

I’ve never considered myself a Photographer with a capital P, but since I’ve been carrying a camera most of the time these days, I do manage some good shots.

I’ve been carrying a camera so I have material for my two other blogs. Since those blogs have definite themes (wildlife and ambulancing) all the photos I post tend to have very definite subjects (i.e. eagles, snakes, firemen, upside-down cars, etc).

But it’s been a long year, and I’ve also managed some eye candy that doesn’t fit the above criteria. So here now, for your scrolling pleasure, is my year in photos of things that didn’t make it onto my other blogs:

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Lights at the Bank

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Last of the Ice

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Oil and Water

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Spring

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Bleeding Hearts

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Rainbow

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Black-eyed Susans 

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Purple Loosestrife 

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The “Blue” Truck

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N’amshure Moon

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Vegas Moon

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Spider Web

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Cloud

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Across the River, Hudson


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Hudson River School.

•   •   •

Well that’s it for that. Happy 2015, everyone. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.

Frozendale

A recent review of a book I illustrated, referred to me as “renowned” children’s book author/illustrator, Dave Horowitz.

Well, I don’t know about all that. But reflecting back as one does while driving to work at 4:30 in the morning, I recalled there are two words out there in the world, which I coined. I figured I should post them, here on the internet, for all perpetuity.

NUMBER 1: FROZENDALE (FRO-zen-dale) n. A winter street festival, in the wacky, small, upstate town of Rosendale, New York.

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photo: PHILIP KAMRASS/For the Times Herald-Record

I inadvertently named this festival back when I was living on main street, in Rosendale. I was b.s.-ing with a then local business owner, about the poor state of the local economy, and this new upcoming street festival they were planning, tentatively called Winter-Fest.

I was being cynical when I said. “Who the hell has a street festival in the dead of winter…?”

It was probably about 2º that day. “They shouldn’t call it Winter-Fest… they should call it… F-F-Frozendale.

The name stuck, and so did the festival: Frozendale celebrated it’s 9th year yesterday.

•  •  •

NUMBER 2: THE MILLENIUM HILTON (the mil-EN-ee-um HIL-ton) n. A big, shiny hotel in downtown NYC.

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Many, many, MANY, years ago—in the early 1990s—I had an internship at an advertising agency in New York City. They had a client who was putting up a new hotel. The task for us eager, young dummies working for no pay, or glory, was to come up with names for this new hotel.

The only direction they gave us was to come up with a list of names that meant big, huge or colossal.

My name, Millenium, got picked. But you won’t read about my contribution on wikipedia. You will, however, read this:

The hotel’s builder chose to intentionally misspell the name with one “n” as “Millenium” on the outdoor signage and official literature, even though the correct spelling of the English word is “millennium“, in order to make the name more distinctive.

Oh, really? More likely, no one noticed that I spelled it wrong: Milennium, Millinnium, I still can’t spell the damn word right without auto-correct.

• • •

Anyhow, only time will tell if I am truly to be renowned as an author/illustrator. But the universe has already spoken that I am at least famous for my cynicism and sucky spelling.

NEW blog: Lights without Sirens

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Followers of this blog—and my real life friends—will know that for the time being, I have stopped making children’s books. It sort of stopped being fun. I wish I could explain it.

Instead, for the last year I have been riding ambulance both for fun and profit. The pay is terrible but every day is an adventure!

In the event readers want to keep up with me, I have started a blog about this new chapter, called: Lights without Sirens. Click the link and join me.

P.S. In order to keep that blog anonymous—you know, patient privacy and all that—this announcement will be deleted in a few days time.  If you wish to ride along, there is a “follow” button on the blog for your convenience). 

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Older than Elvis!

A friend just reminded me that my birthday is this week. I really forgot. I guess that’s what happens at this stage of life. Yep, this week I turn 44… so that makes me older than Elvis.

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The King died in 1977 at the ripe old age of 43. It seems like just yesterday. Here we are on the set of Viva Las Vegas. Man, how time flies.

If you’ve got no money, well, that’s all right …

(or What I learned from Woody Guthrie).

When I first got into publishing kids books, there were two things I vowed I’d never do: I would never publish a Christmas (or Hanukkah) book, and I would never illustrate a “celebrity book”.

But a funny thing happened on the way to my drawing table:

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But first a quick back story: About a year and a half ago I was having creative differences with my long time publisher on a book they had asked me to do. Not being dumb enough to talk out of school on the internet, I’ll just say the differences were irreconcilable, and leave it at that. We tore up our contract and I decided I was done with publishing.

Heading into winter, with money running out, I got busy looking for other ways to earn a living. Kind of tough in this economy, especially with the limited skill set of an author/illustrator.

Things were looking bleak. Drywall finishing and house painting were my most likely options. And as it was late fall, even this was a stretch.

So, as you can imagine, I was very happy to come home from a day of hanging up “will-paint/drywall-for-food” flyers, to find an eMail in my inbox from Random House, with the subject line: Potential Picture Book Project.

I opened the eMail and I was a little bummed out to read that they were talking about a “hanukkah book”.

Ugh. Just because my name is Horowitz—and I wrote a book about Gefilte Fish—why do publishers keep pitching me “Jewish books”? (I don’t consider myself a Jewish artist any more than I consider myself a bald artist). You won’t believe how many times I’ve turned down illustrating Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel. (It was four times).

But I digress.

I read the rest of the eMail and the project starting looking better and better. The book was to be an illustrated version of a long, lost Woody Guthrie tune, written in the late 1940s, for his Mother-in-law, who was a famous Yiddish poet at the time.

Not a student of folk music I did a little research on Mr. Guthrie. I knew he wrote This Land is Your Land and I knew that his son was Arlo Guthrie, who wrote that interminable Alice’s Restaurant, but other than that I knew nothing.

My first Google-search found this picture:

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What does that read on his guitar?: “This Machine Kills Fascists”. Instantly he had my attention. Here’s a guy I can work with.

Then I read the song’s lyrics. They were actually good. No, better than that, they truly spoke to me. Check out this chorus:

It’s Honeyky Hanukah, huggy me tight,
It’s Hanukah day, and it’s Hanukah night,
If you’ve got no money, well, that’s all right.
It’s Honeyky Hanukah time.

“If you’ve got no money, well, that’s all right”? Wow…. “I have a little dreidel” this isn’t.

A little more googling found a recording of the song by the Klezmatics—which it turned out would be included with the book on a CD—and I was hooked! On first listen I knew I had to illustrate this book. And I’m so grateful I did …

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 … because in the process I learned something valuable. But I’ll let you find the book for yourself and see if you can’t figure out what it is. Here’s a little hint: it has to do with joy!

Happy Hanukah!

’tis the Season


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Ugly Pumpkin season, that is!

As Michael Corleone saidjust when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. I keep saying I’ve quit publishing, but I keep getting requests for school and library visits. How can I say, no? I guess people just love to hear the Ugly Pumpkin this time of year.

Guess I do, too. But its much more fun to hear you read it.

Here are some of my favorite readings from across the internet:

This one is my hands down favorite. A full re-enactment:


And here it is in sign-language (sort of):

This kid reads it better than me:

A fine interpretation. And, Oh my Gosh! that is a high note (wait for it).

This is my other favorite one. Oh the feels:

So if you’re feeling “ugly” this season, go ahead and record your own version today, or visit my online shop and represent!:

mughoodHappy Halloween Thanksgiving!