Pelting late-summer rain with thunder; nothing better. There should always be something at the end of the season that reminds you of the things you wait for all year, except winter, because winter is horrible and I hate it. Well, by the end, I do. And by end I mean "early March." Hard to think we're in for the long scrape, but there are the warm indoor compensations to come
WHAT AM I TALKING ABOUT it's only August. Perhaps it's the fact that I'm due at the Fair on Wednesday, and the work begins. I'll be happy once I'm there and it's populated. It may remind you that a year's passed, but hey: it's the same Fair, the same aromas and sights, the same sense of eternal Minnesota at its finest. Life's grand! I'm here in my beloved kitchen, writing, and -
Oh. Sorry. I have a kitchen. I'm a bad, bad man.
Stumbled across a piece about a Spanish architect who got a lot of money to develop a house with no kitchen. My Spidey-sense told me there would be some ideological underpinnings to this stupid idea, but I read with an open mind, happy to be wrong.
I started with this idea of "no kitchen" because it was the most provocative, I realized that when we talk about housing there was no problem if you eliminated the living room or bedroom, but if you touched the kitchen it generated a very curious adverse reaction.
Perhaps they thought you wanted to eliminate in the kitchen. Or perhaps they realized you were mad and you were standing between them and the door.
Anyway, house without a kitchen? YES IT MUST BE DONE, if only to focus our minds on the relationship between relationships and their relationship to the relationship between other relationships.
Kitchens were instilled with certain ideological values during the twentieth century linked to the role of women, politics, and the construct of the ideal family.
Remember, these values were imposed from above, and are contrary to human truth. No one enjoys anything society expects them to do, except for a few delusional sorts.
The residences I studied from late nineteenth century New York had no kitchen or kitchenette but always had a common kitchen with a cook. During the twentieth century this model was politicized because the Russians began to copy it as a system of social housing and loaded it with political meaning. Suddenly a collective kitchen was associated with communism. Now, when I say communal kitchen people imagine a shared kitchen space but at that time it was more like a domestic service with a cook.
Hmm. No. This site looks at 19th century tenements.
The cheapest apartments were in the attic (more stairs to climb). A vast majority of families lived in a four room apartment: - kitchen, two bedrooms and a parlor. In large families the kitchen and parlor might be converted into additional sleeping space at night. Children slept multiples to a bed - which clearly helped with the heat issue in the winter time.
The idea that builders in the 20s abolished common kitchens - not because people wanted them but because of Bolshevism - seems a bit much.
In a similar vein, multi-family housing also had built-in childcare, housekeeping or other facilities for daily life. In addition to this you had your kitchenette in case you wanted to cook for pleasure. When it became politicized, that system was immediately swapped out for housing as we know it today.
Immediately! Redesign all the units! Lenin is smiling!
And in the United States’ case it is very clear that after the Stock Market Crash of 1929 there was a political push for women, who were part of the workforce during the war, return to the home and that the home itself become a productive place.
"During the war" would have ended eleven years before the Crash.
It was important to increase domestic consumption and that’s when we start to see the design and marketing of appliances as well as the idea of the individual consumer and no longer communal spaces because it’s more profitable to sell 20 washing machines than one. This is also when laws changed, and incentives were given for the construction of single-family homes.
I'd bet the majority of single-family homes in most cities were built prior to the Crash. Between, oh, 1912 and the early 30s.
The author wants to let people live in places with just a tiny kitchenette - four feet long - and cook their meals communally, or better yet hire someone to do it. Because this would counteract the Sinister forces that change laws and market things to individual consumers. Fine, if that's what people want. Build them and let people move in, I don't care. But don't tell me that some great golden age of Kitchen Sharing was spoiled by an inordinate fear of Communism.
In related news about how everything is bad: a book review in the Wall Street Journal said the author was reexamining the American Dream. Can you possibly guess how that turned out? Two options:
1. The American Dream is alive and thriving! Oh, sure, we've taken a few licks here and there, but despite the bad news we're still the type of people who get up from the canvas, spit blood into a bucket, brush our nose with our glove and fight again, because we know this is still a land of kaleidoscopic opportunities, a place unlike any in human history. Hurrah! Hurrah! (A blizzard of straw boaters are thrown into the sky)
2. The American Dream is a myth, really, and we ought to reexamine it, because America has yet to live up to its promises. Perhaps we put our hand over our hearts when singing the national anthem because deep down, we all feel its pain. Or at least we should. That we do not feel pain when we sing the national anthem is a testament to the problematic delusion that is inextricably bound up with the American Dream. Everyone bow your head and feel bad.
Of course, it's number two. The term "American Dream" has been spoken with a sneer and eye-roll by the smart set since the first Boomer heard some folk-album twaddle in a college dorm and realized that his father did have a hammer, but he never used it to hammer out justice, or freedom, or love between his brother and his sister. His parents were squares who believed in that white-picket-fence jazz, man.
So what did the author of the book being reviewed say?
“The idea of the American dream, I think it needs to be redefined,” said Ms. Mbue, who lives in Midtown Manhattan with her husband and children and is now a U.S. citizen. “It is very difficult to be an immigrant in New York, in America in general, but in New York especially."
The author comes from Cameroon, where immigrants are transported from the airport by a stretch limo, and asked if they'd like to go first to their free apartment or six-figure job. As for her experience in America, the article recounts the arduous path:
After a couple of months in Chicago, she moved to New Jersey, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration at Rutgers University.
She worked as a dental-office receptionist, a bank teller, a preschool secretary and a dishwasher. She sold lingerie at Nordstrom and—for two weeks—tried to sell vacuum cleaners door-to-door.
In 2005, nearly penniless, she moved to New York for one last attempt before going back to Cameroon. She put herself through a Masters program in education and psychology at Teachers College at Columbia University, one night course at a time.
The last paragraph may make you pause: the phrase "nearly penniless, she moved to New York" is like saying "crippled with psoriasis, he lined his bedsheets with sandpaper." It is a thing you do not do. But she got a Masters at Columbia somehow, and her book was bought for $1 million. George Clooney is producing the movie adaptation.
If only there was a simple, two-word term to describe a situation in which pluck and work was rewarded in the end.
I recall our family’s foray into a permanent Dixie Cup dispenser: all the rage in ’72, or so. Modern! Disposable! Those were the days when disposability was seen as an asset for a product, not a liability; they weren’t sustainable, to use the modern parlance.
||So we got a beige plastic unit that stuck to the mirror in the bathroom, probably over my mother’s objections - the waste! - and it went through a predictable life cycle. At some point someone stopped buying refills. It hung there, unused. One year I cam back from college and it was gone. The white sticky adhesive still clung to the mirror, a little rebuke to my desire for a newfangled thing.
Government Agents vs. the Phantom Legion: You know, nothing's happened.
If you remember last week, Hal parachuted in front of a train, which ran over him. Gosh sure looks like he was dead
It's the same beginning: after the cliffhanger, square-jawed Gummit Agent Hal talks to the Board of Trucking, one of whom is the Phantom. Then the Phantom goes to a secret room with a two-way mirror and tells his henches what this episode will be about. Where is this strange hidden lair?
Yeah, the lair in the old mine-shaft isn't modern enough. Clever crooks go for A-scale ofice space. Anyway,: the Phantom's going to take up the government's offer to pay 50K for the stolen parts, since both the League and the Government can't do anything without the other batch of parts.
The handover doesn't go well. I'm not sure who's saying what here. Or why.
Oh, did I mention the bad guysput a bomb on the truck, and had a tripwire?
Our man gets away with the money, and the truck and the parts are gone. The hench response:
If this was SPECTRE he'd have about an hour to live, but again, this is Serial World, where you can't just go out and hire another guy because there are only ten to twelve people in the world.
Hal - he's our second Gumint Agent - intercepts a call from the henchmen, and realizes he's found their secret wavelength. So he fakes a call in the hopes they'll overhear his radio signal, and he sets up a trap.
This is the most generic serial I've ever seen. I mean, this is every serial plot and twist ever, without superheroes or AXIS villains or moon dudes.
Of course, the trap results in the old two-on-one fistfight, with a nice twist:
ARE THEY STAPLED TO THEIR HEADS?
Well, after Old Hench Dude and his partner discover that the intercepted radio signal was a ruse, this:
Good impulse control, guys.
There you have it! Slim pickings tomorrow, probably. The Fair looms. Just one Intermission today; trying to lighten the bandwidth drain.