Fall and summer, summer and fall, doing a stately gavotte. The rain came the other day, and stuck around; didn’t feel like a summer drenching, but didn’t quite feel like those clammy events intent on knocking off some leaves. We despaired a bit, worrying that the dirt we put down would run off. There are sheets over the newly seeded area, but the rain was incessant. It’s done now. Crickets. Humidity. Nothing I’d call summer, though. There’s no name for this interregnum fortnight.

The Air Quality Inspector came on the rainy day. We’re getting new windows and ventilation systems as part of the airport’s expensive apology for being noisy. Homes under the flight path have been granted a second round of noise-abatement upgrades, and it’s quite generous. Last time there was a set dollar amount. This time it seems to be “what’s it going to take to make you happy?” And I was happy before.

The fellow did all sorts of tests I did not understand at all, requiring some doors to be closed and some to be cracked open a bit while he started the boiler and checked the hot water heater. A huge cloth rectangle with sensors was placed in the front door frame. His laptop was hardened, military style. It had graphs that said we were ideal as these things went, but what the heck, they’ll toss in a new attic ventilation system so no noise leaks in. Hey great because I’m always jerking awake at 10 PM when the sound of a jet bounces down that vent! I NEVER NOTICE.

I’m curious how well it will work. On weekends around 5 PM - prime, sweet nap time - there are loud planes coming in, and I can’t imagine that better windows can stifle their dinosaur roars. What we need are noise-cancelling beams that dynamically adapt to the noise and deploy countermeasures.


While in London last month, as I just love to say because it makes me sound so deucedly cosmopolitan, I saw a Hogarth engraving at the Cartoon Museum.

The next day at the National Museum, I saw the original:


The etching is reversed, obviously, except for the writing. A little googling turned up this:

Although this series of paintings are works of art in their own right, their original purpose was to provide the subjects for the series of engraved copper plate prints. By the nature of the process, when engraving copper plates, the image engraved on the plate by the engraver is reversed, that is to say, a mirror image of the final print. Normally, when undertaking paintings that are to be engraved, the painting is produced the "right way round" — not reversed – and then the engraver views it in a mirror as he undertakes the engraving.

Hogarth was an engraver himself and disliked this course of action using mirrors, so unusually, he produced the paintings for Marriage à-la-mode already reversed so the engraver could directly copy them.

Work your brain around that. I can’t.

It would normally be expected to view the series of prints moving from left to right and Hogarth would have taken this into account when composing the original paintings.

Except the engravings reverse te compositions, so it doesn't work, unless the engraving compositions are intended to be the real ones, because they'd be the most widely reproduced? Anyway. Wikipedia on the series:

  • In the first of the series, The Marriage Settlement (the name on its frame), called The marriage contract by Hogarth,[2] he shows an arranged marriage between the son of bankrupt Earl Squanderfield and the daughter of a wealthy but miserly city merchant. Construction on the earl's new mansion, visible through the window, has stopped, and a usurer negotiates payment for further construction at the center table. The gouty earl proudly points to a picture of his family tree, rising from William the Conqueror. The son views himself in the mirror, showing where his interests in the matter lie. The distraught merchant's daughter is consoled by the lawyer Silvertongue while polishing her wedding ring. Even the faces on the walls appear to have misgivings. Two dogs chained to each other in the corner mirror the situation of the young couple.

Right. But there's something else.

  See that spot on the neck? A sign of mercury poisoning, which meant he'd been dosing himself for the clap.

It wasn't a popular series, and I can understand why. It's rather dark.

Anyway, while I was at the museum, I saw a guy reading the series backwards.

For him, it had a happy ending, I guess.





After last week’s remarkable structures, it’s time to remind ourselves that modern theorists ruined everything. Everything.


Centre Plaza.

“Why not Center Plaza?” “The French spelling is classier.” Why not Plaza Center? “That’s phase two."

Another example of architects hating everything on two legs with eyes:

At least it’s still a going concern, but they really didn’t care whether you knew they’d bricked up a window, did they?

Some context:


The building on the right shows how you can do stripped-down without sacrificing aesthetics.

Here’s the entrance.


If you had to guess what it was built to hold, what would you say? Note the luminex blocks - must have been quite a basement. But no, it wasn’t a bank. That’s the tell-tale style and featurelessness of a telephone company building. Finished n 1930.

OMUB; don’t know what else it could have been.


Columns = money.

I think I would fall to my knees if I came across this by chance: it’s perfect, and it’s untouched!


Actually, no. They touched the hell out of it.

The severity of the interior, designed in the late 30s, makes you wonder whether the modernists of the era regarded design as some form of penance. All shall pay.

Because no American city is just one thing:

There’s a lot of this around the country - buildings whose existence can only be inferred from their marks on an old neighbor. It didn’t go all the way back, and it looks as if there was a courtyard onto which the windows looked.

Two brothers:


You wonder whether phase two had more windows because tenants wanted them, or fewer windows because it got too drafty.


I see two brands, not counting STORAGE WAREHOUSE. Do you?


Am I nuts, or do I see 7-Up as well as Quaker?

A nice solid old marquee usually means an elaborate or well-designed facade.



Finally, something that just caught my eye.


So many lives and years behind the paint and the brick. It's good that it survived, but it's like a mummy.

That'll do; the weekly ration of motels awaits.



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