NOTE: new video up at Startribune.com at noon.
There’s been some dispute about whether Gotham City is Chicago or New York. I never thought much about it before, since Gotham is a name for New York; it’s like wondering whether Knickerbocker City is really Los Angeles. There’s the question of whether the DC universe has two New Yorks, since Superman lives and works in Metropolis, and he would obviously work out of the biggest city in the country. If there was a Superman, and he worked out of Tampa, people would wonder whether he had decided to take it easy. This argument over at io9 says Gotham is New York, because the architecture has the old gloomy majesty of Manhattan; I suppose you could make the case, but if you’re going to rely on buildings, it matters less which style they have and more on the actual buildings. If that’s so, then Gotham is Chicago. Period. I watched “Batman Begins” over the weekend to get up to speed before I see the next movie, and was reminded of the number of explicit references to Chicago. The most obvious is stately Wayne Tower:
It’s the Chicago Board of Trade:
The massing, the location as a terminus of the street, the pyramid crown. (Photo from wikipedia, here.) Ah, but the Wayne Tower is a fake building, you say. Granted. There’s this:
That’s the Jewelers Building, now the romantically named 35 Wacker. You can’t miss that top. As for actual Gothic architecture, New York has nothing on one of Chicago’s most iconic structures, Raymond Hood’s Tribune building.
Batman even stands atop one of the buttresses in the sky:
The corn cobs of Marina City. Those are four (well, five) distinctive and utterly Chicago buildings, and while some may wish Batman to live in New York, the Gotham of the movies contains large portions of actual Chicago, so that settles it for me. And I like the idea that he works in Chicago.
No, I haven't seen the movie yet; if it has the Empire State Buildling in it, I'll be abashed. But it can't, because that's too recognizable. But that's about it - add the Flatiron and Rockefeller City, and that's what most people know of New York. (Since the bastards knocked down the Twin Towers, that is.) Chicago has as many distinctive buildings, and I'd argue, just for the pleasure of tweaking those of you in Manhattan, that Chicago has a better stock of late 20s modern buildings, and they're set off to better advantage. There's the Palmolive, the 333, LaSalle-Wacker, American Nat'l Bank, Field Biulding - that last one makes the Daily News in New York look baroque.
And all those buildings look like Metropolis, which would defeat my theory, except that I don't want it to, so there.
Lovely weekend, even if sleep was punctuated by horrible dreams. In the first, a plane landed in my backyard. A passenger jet. It landed intact, too. Just rolled out of the sky and landed hard, but didn’t break. In the second I had to do a product-instruction video for something, but I didn’t know what it was or how it worked, only that it was shiny, black, about the size of an old water cooler, and had vents on the top. I was staying in Rochester Minnesota while I did this – a crazy city, sprawled over the hills, with grotesque oversized details on the buildings – and later learned that a relative had been struck by a drunk driver, and I was somehow to blame because the driver had been influenced by Al Qaeda and I hadn’t done enough to stop them. I could have done more, somehow.
I watched a nasty little cheap noir, which will be discussed tomorrow with some amazing screenshots; I also watched “The Bank Job,” which surprised me by being English. A caper film. As I noted on Twitter at 2 AM in case anyone cared, it’s always surprising how people in caper films never seem to have watched caper films, and thus do not know how they all end. It’s pretty good, but if you’re expecting the zoomy directing and jokey crook-patois dialogue and clever song placement you get in standard modern crime stories, look elsewhere.
Aside from that? Well, lots of unpacking of boxes and envelopes and scanning, as the Karma Restoration Project continues. You have no idea how many recipe books people have seen to me. Every contribution is being logged by name and address, so I can send the thank yous.
Things have just gotten out of hand over the years, and the only thing that keeps me from feeling like a complete tool is the memory of things I’ve sent to people without expectation of a thank you. Still, it’s no excuse. Between this and my email situation, I am a lout of the first water. The only thing I can do right now is keeping shoveling out as much content as I can – and that’s about to increase by a factor of 5X over at the Strib, if all goes as planned.
The recipe books will all end up in a new Gallery of Regrettable Food, coming as soon as the Motel site is finished.
Saturday I went to the grocery store, and it was apparently Fellini Day – lots of odd people wandering around, including that staple of this particular store: an old lady dressed very nicely, wearing a wig, stinking like a goat. Honest to God, the BO is so powerful it peels the labels off the cans as they pass. There’s always one. Also a big bald fellow dressed entirely in white, muttering to himself, looking like he wandered out of THX1138, and a fellow in a tire company uniform with a tire company hat and his name written over the breast pocket in embroidered script, looking immensely sad. He too seemed to have come from some other place; you just don’t see many middle-aged men wearing Unitog work clothes with their name over the breast pocket anymore. There was also a big round guy with two Chinese characters tattooed on the side of his neck. I can’t possibly imagine why.
New cereal of note:
Many millions associate Chex with Chex mix, with its tell-tale tang of worchester sauce; adding chocolate to the flavor-memory is not a pleasent thing.
Down the aisle, more of that clever Roundy's house-brand imitation:
Those guys are good. Dogs shouldn't eat chocolate, though.
While going through the mound of Things, I came across one of those items that surfaces every few years - a bag of motel stationery picked up from various summer trips with my family. The earliest one hails from the Bloomington HoJo, now demolished - I mention it here from time to time. We stayed there when we came down to the Cities to buy a Jungle Gym and other items at the newest marvel of the western world, Southdale, and we stayed there the night before I went off to college for good. We stayed there in the early 70s as well, judging from the kid's menu I swiped from the restaurant - it's all about ECOLOGY, as they used to call the environment. It contains this assertion, which I'd completely forgotten.
The cure for global warming!
There's also a game you can play at home; it details the rise of mankind, and its eventual progress towards environmental wisdom. A larger version is here. This detail is instructive:
Civilization = regression.
Today should be good, for very many reasons. I should be able to solve my .mac related email problems, as well as solve the other email problems - the box is filling up when it has an entire 24 messages - and this should let me start following people on Twitter, which will make my Twittering more fun.
New Matchbook, here. See you at buzz.mn!