Best storm of the year. It took all day getting here. The clouds started to thicken around 1 PM. Around 7 we started to hear ceasless thunder in the distance, an endless number of logs rolling down the stairs. I went on errands, hoping to beat the rain, and once again found myself heading out of the grocery store into humid air thick with portents. Sat in the backyard in the gazebo, watching the planes land - the show from their vantage point must have been spectacular, and a bit unnerving.
En route to get daughter, Roxy Music’s “More Than This” came on, and I rolled down the window as I drove the parkway. Houses on the right, the woods on the left, my daily place of beauty. The song was correct: more than this, there’s nothing. And then it hit. All at once. An avalanche, a rock slide. Visibility: zero.
Daughter was drenched running to the car, and thrilled: this is so cool. This is the best storm. This is scary. This is amazing. We drove in the dark; couldn’t see anything, but I knew the roads, and navigated by a streetlight on the corner. On the main road: water axle-deep, cars sprouting wings of water as they went through the flood, water overlapping the curb. Almost home; almost to the turn-off that leads to our house, high on the hill, safe from the flood.
The last storm of the season, probably. Out like a lion.
(Turns out that Bleat Banner above was prophetic. I didn't know why I put it up when I did, but I wanted to use it.)
It's Open Tabs Thursday! What do my browser tabs say today?
ART The Pictoralist Tradition in photography, scourged from the culture by Ansel Adams. It's fascinating stuff: the retouched pictures, heavily processed, range from startlingly lovely and real to surreal and macabre. This comment seemed odd:
The work that we see of William Mortensen published is absolutely atrocious in intent. His macabre images of monsters is sensationalism at its worst. I, for one, am glad he’s been dumped to the ash heap of photographic history. Had he been born 50 years later he’d had done well for Clive Barker’s horrors.
Atrocious in intent? Deserving of the ash heap? I think this is fascinating.
FISH have taken over an abandoned shopping mall in Manila. Of course you want to take a look, because the words "abandoned shopping mall" are catnip. What happened? What do the ruins look like? Is this a preview of the dystopian future? (Fire, ruined, no)
STOP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING Andrew Sullivan had a digital detox and learned to walk through the woods without checking his phone. Before he looked at it all the time, like people do. As usual, he has changed his mind before you did, and is now as enthusiastic about this thing as he was about the other.
Just look around you — at the people crouched over their phones as they walk the streets, or drive their cars, or walk their dogs, or play with their children. Observe yourself in line for coffee, or in a quick work break, or driving, or even just going to the bathroom. Visit an airport and see the sea of craned necks and dead eyes. We have gone from looking up and around to constantly looking down.
Granted. But what did they do before? They either had their head down looking at a book, a newspaper, a magazine, or some knitting. If they were looking up they were looking at a TV, which is lazy;if they were just staring into space it doesn't mean they were contemplating their surroundings. What are they looking at now? Anything from news streams, novels, TV, or email. I mean, if 100% of the people in airport waiting areas were reading a book or paper, or writing correspondence with a quill pen, no one would think anything of it. People look different when they're looking at their devices, but we shouldn't mistake the outward sign of vacancy for a lack of engagement with what they're doing. They have no obligation to look sunny and bright for everyone else.
I tried an experiment as I walked from my office to my car: count the number of people in the skyway who were carrying a phone in their hand vs. the number who weren't. In two blocks it was 9 / 18, and of the 9 who had a phone, 7 were looking at it. I'm often guilty of this myself, because I walk this block daily and the view, while nice, is familiar. Even when I'm looking at my phone I frequently look down at the lawn as I pass over, because it's a lovely sight. I never look at my phone when I'm walking through the park, just as I never look at it when I'm walking downtown on the streets. Skyways? Sure.
Then I got outside and realized I'd parked somewhere else. I was so in tune with my surroundings I forgot where I was.
LYFT You won't own car in the future. Everyone will take autonomous cars. It's either / or. There's no inbetween. The Lyft founder makes a very, very, profound point:
Most of us have grown up in cities built around the automobile, but imagine for a minute, what our world could look like if we found a way to take most of these cars off the road. It would be a world with less traffic and less pollution.
Yes, a world without cars would have less traffic.
By 2025, private car ownership will all-but end in major U.S. cities.
That's 9 years away. Let me just put down a marker here and say no.
Cities of the future must be built around people, not vehicles. They should be defined by communities and connections, not pavement and parking spots. They need common spaces where culture can thrive — and where new ideas can be shared in the very places where cars previously stood parked and empty.
Now, I'm all in favor of replacing surface parking lots downtown with housing and offices, providing they build ramps to accommodate the cars driven by private citizens. In nine years I am not going to Lyft or Uber to work, or to shopping in the evening or weekends. I will drive because I like to. The suburbs are not going to do away with the parking lots outside of malls and big-box stores, and build big apartment buildings where Culture Can Thrive. If everyone sells their cars and the streets no longer have parked cars, no one is going to drag a chair into the street and SHARE NEW IDEAS where cars "previously stood parked and empty." There are no new ideas that are going unshared because there's a parking lot on the edge of downtown.
fast-forward into the next century, when the assembly line automobile came onto the scene. For individuals, this brought almost unprecedented freedom. But for our cities, car ownership started a vicious cycle: as more cars filled the streets, more roads had to be built to accommodate them.
Not exactly. More cities had to be built to accommodate people who wanted to live outside of the existing city. They may have knocked down some areas to build highways through town, but city blocks already had streets. From the start. Because of horses.
Streets themselves used to look very different than they do today. Most were more narrow, leaving room for sidewalks, front yards, and places where people could come together outside.
Yeah, like the streets in our city, and the streets in the first-ring suburb beyond, and the suburb beyond that, and -
Back then, people used city streets as public spaces. Streets were where children could play. A place for shopping, where you could stop at a cart on the way home to pick up everything from dinner ingredients to shoes for your family. People spent a lot of time outside on the street, making friends, seeing neighbors, and living their lives within a true community.
What sort of magical cornucopia cart was out in the public street? "I'd like some steaks, a bottle of wine, butter, bread, and some shoes." Buying your dinner ingredients from a cart is better than going to the grocery store, because you're living your life within a true community, I guess, but I get to go inside sometime? Or is it all a festival of neighborly mingling?
But when streets began to be redesigned for more and more cars, all of these other benefits suffered. As time went on, streets became a place solely for cars. They encroached closer to homes. Yards disappeared. People were left with narrower sidewalks — or no sidewalks at all.
Yards disappeared in the 1920s when the zoning laws in Minneapolis permitted larger apartment buildings. They came right up to the sidewalk. Yards in the post-war years in Minneapolis were larger than the residential lots of the teens, twenties, and 30s.
I have not noticed that the sidewalks got narrower.
That meant less foot traffic, which made it harder for small businesses, shops, and restaurants to flourish.
"I'd love to go have lunch a few blocks away, but the sidewalks are so narrow. Someone might come along and I'd have to walk in the grass."
And so on. Don't get me wrong - fleets of autonomous cars will change things, but it will not rewrite the social compact, and in smaller cities, forgetaboutit.
He also complains that cars aren't used very much. They sit there until you take it somewhere, then it sits there, then it takes you back. "Your car isn’t actually a driving machine at all. It’s a parking machine." Lyft fleets will be different, because they will always be moving, and never parking. But yet it will be more convenient for me to order a Lyft and get a NO CAR AVAILABLE message than get in my own car, which is in my own garage, and drive it?
But he makes another point:
Technology has redefined entire industries around a simple reality: you no longer need to own a product to enjoy its benefits. With Netflix and streaming services, DVD ownership became obsolete. Spotify has made it unnecessary to own CDs and MP3s.
Until you don’t have a connection or the service goes away or the studio removes the movie.
Or, to use another example, you are inexplicably blacklisted from using the Lyft fleet for reasons they do not explain, and cannot be appealed.
Synop: While Nancy Smith, daughter of the President of the United States, is vacationing in fictitious Center City, Iowa, she meets and marries veterinarian Adam Hudson (John Fink).
The critics, as you might expect, criticized:
Eleanor Roberts, reviewing the premiere of Nancy for The Boston Herald-Traveler, wrote that it was “the silliest, most saccharine bit of marshmallow fluff on the air so far” . Nicholas von Hoffman of The Washington Post blasted the series, arguing that “if the networks are going to propagandize this way, there ought to be equal time for reality… Anybody who accepts that view of the White House will coast through life undisturbed by truth in any form” . And Cecil Smith of The Los Angeles Times suggested that the show belongs back in the days of Ozzie and Harriet or The Life of Riley”
Comments on the YouTube page
This series didn't "misifire"- it was getting good ratings when NBC suddenly cancelled it in January 1971. Sidney Sheldon believed it was pressure from the White House (and Nixon) that convinced the network to abandon the show.
Another comment from the channel's manager says he will be telling the real story in his upcoming book. That was four years ago.
They got to him. I don't know how, but the bastards got to him.
I think I chose this because it has the strangest name. These are two words usually not yoked as a team.
It's named for the Canadian River, known for its naturally occuring Lithium:
"It is unclear why the river is called the Canadian," says Wikipedia. "On John C. Fremont's route map of 1845, the river's name is listed as "Goo-al-pah or Canadian River" from the Comanche and Kiowa name for the river. In 1929 Muriel H. Wright wrote that the Canadian River was named about 1820 by French traders who noted another group of traders from Canada had camped on the river near its confluence with the Arkansas River."
As for those people above who are Happy in Canadian, they mean this:
I'm guessing someone named Happy started it all. Or someone from Happy, Tx. Or someone by the Happy River. Or just someone in a good mood.
You'd think the bank would explain the name on their site, but no.
This little 60s bank drive-through is, to use the internet word, adorable.
So modern! So wee.
A nice way to say "Bank" without columns. The windows do the column's work.
Downtown, something not Happy-Bank-related:
A substantial citizen, but it looks like it had a haircut.
I never understood the column-in-the-doorway style. It's structurally necessary, yes, but it just makes it look as if it would be hard to get a box through the doorway.
The door almost makes it look as if it's a bank for mice.
Another piece of unruined Main Street:
Nothing flashy, nothing brash, nothing bold - but the diamond lattices are a nice touch on both floors. Ties it all together.
Finally, the last picture show:
Interior shots here. Cinema Treasures:
This theater was originally constructed in 1909 as a vaudeville house named Pastime Theatre. In 1916, it was renamed Queen Theatre and became the Palace Theatre in 1932. It has remained a theater ever since.
The theater, and indeed the entire town, are a shining example of what a small town can do besides fold up its sidewalks. And no, the answer doesn’t include Wal-Mart or any other tacky garbage.
Here, here. Good for them! Makes you feel . . . banky? No, that's not the word.
Will that do? No? Then snack on some motel postcards, and I'll see you around.