As you may have deduced, that is a car radio.

I think. Don't know where the original source is, but the shape and the knobs indicates a car radio. Pull it out of the dashboard, and take it to the beach! Get it wet and full of sand! The posture of the fun couples does not suggest it possessed a particularly strong volume, though.

Does the woman on the left eem to come from a few decades hence? She's just time-travelling, dropping in on her mom's best friend from college?

The new grill arrived today, hauled up the stairs by cheerful youth from the neighborhood hardware store. That’s where I bought the last one, almost a quarter-century ago. The new grill is almost indistinguishable in style - perhaps because there’s only so much you can do with the basic idea, and they want the shape to be . . . ICONIC! It is not iconic.

The old grill could no longer muster consistent flame. The cross-over lighting didn’t work well - that’s where one gas-thing gets its cue from the one that was ignited electrically. I had to goose it with a Bic, and that meant turning on the gas, cursing when it didn’t work, getting the Bic, and then FOOMPH, well, you didn’t really need those eyebrows.

I could’ve gone with the Bluetooth model. It had sensors and an app. I’m surprised it didn’t have internal cameras. The price did not seem to justify the gewgaw, and my experience with Bluetooth-enabled appliances is not great. I just didn’t want to look at my phone and see GRILL NOT FOUND, as if it had been taken up by a dust devil, or stolen while I was inside slicing some cheese.

It’s a Spirit. The same company makes a Genesis. Seems a tad Biblical, no? Maybe there’s a Leviticus that cooks everything but shrimp.








I was reading a piece about the dreary quality of modern architecture, a subject that seems both popular and impotent. The articles are interchangeable.. I agree with them all, but they all say the same thing: look at this overscaled ludicrous building. It’s either Totalitarian Lite or Playful Commentary on Form and Place, etc. Wouldn’t it be better if we had . . . and then there’s a list of far superior buildings from every culture, 98% of them from the last two hundred years. I can’t argue; I don’t argue. And I like 20th century architecture, even some of the rote Miesian boxes, but then it was all rote Miesian boxes, and then devolved into arrogant blobs you’re supposed to like because it’s the Library and they spent a lot of money and Libraries are Awesome.

Anyway, this is not about that. The author made a throwaway line:

If you’re going to join those who publicly admit they don’t like contemporary architecture, you’re going to be called stupid and reactionary and completely missing the point. The consensus is so strong that new buildings around the world all mostly adhere to the Big Shapes school of design. (Interestingly, something equivalent has happened in editorial illustrations where everything has converged into a uniform blobby minimalist style, though it is not so extreme as in architecture.)

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Look at the linked page, and its examples. It’s every big editorial page / feature page / magazine illustration. I noted this style a while ago, and was instantly annoyed by it. It’s Colorforms Totalitarianism.

Kidding. A little. Well, a lot. But it has the effect of eliminating the individual in favor of balloon shapes, and it is usually in the service of illustrating some modern piety. It infantilizes whatever it depicts. If you were to get really picky, you’d say it elevates the endomorphic as the preferred ideal, because it is the most inclusive, and if you were really going to bang on the anvil with the hottest hammer, you’d say it’s a part of a movement to celebrate passivity and dethrone individuality.

The old newwspaper illustrations were idealized, but also individualistic. (It’s interesting to note that men were far less varied in appearance, and tended to conform to a simple set of contemporary criteria; women were depicted with much more detail, as if each artist had his or her own muse.) Now:

Why? Well, it’s a style. Vector illustration has a vogue now. The big papers are doing it, so it’s cool. The look of an era. But it’s a singularly empty one.

What the hell is this?

Empty, and childish. Apt, somehow.

I'll take this, which is boringly middle-class, but you know they're actual people.

You can make up a story about that picture. The blobs are just stand-ins for whoever the artist fears they might insult.





That’s a nice front page for 1902.

We’re in the White Earth Agency. The Progress’ motto: “A higher Civilization: The Maintenance of Law and Order.”


So . . . there was a ship tragedy out of Duluth on Lake Superior and one of the captains was named . . .

Nah, couldn’t be.

Actually, it could.


Northwestern Mutual named the ship after its president and chairman of the board, Edmund Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald's own grandfather had himself been a lake captain.

DeWet, eh?

The story:

At the conclusion of the war he visited Europe with other Boer generals. While in England the generals unsuccessfully sought a modification of the peace terms concluded in Pretoria. De Wet wrote an account of his campaigns, an English version of which appeared in November 1902 under the title De Stryd tusschen Boer en Brit (Three Years War). In November 1907, he was elected a member of the first parliament of the Orange River Colony and was appointed minister of agriculture. In 1908-9 he was a delegate to the Closer Union Convention.

De Wet was one of the leaders of the Maritz Rebellion which broke out in 1914. He was defeated at Mushroom Valley by General Botha on 12 November 1914, taken prisoner by cmdt Jorrie Jordaan (the commanding officer was Colonel Brits) on 1 December on a farm called Waterbury in the Northwest province near Tosca. The general remarked: "Thank God it is not an Englishman who captured me after all". He was sentenced to a term of six years imprisonment, with a fine of £2000. He was released after one year's imprisonment, after giving a written promise to take no further part in politics.

How do you imagine him? Here he is.


An editorial.

See if you spot the word that tripped me up.


  News from around these parts.

Interested in how the town got its name?

It was renamed Truckee after a Paiute chief, whose assumed Paiute name was Tru-ki-zo. He was the father of ChiefWinnemucca and grandfather of Sarah Winnemucca. The first Europeans who came to cross the Sierra Nevada encountered his tribe. The friendly chief rode toward them yelling, “Tro-kay!”, which is Paiute for “Everything is all right”. The unaware travelers assumed he was yelling hs name.


  Why they got to be up in everyone’s business

  They really give you the sense of the trial, with all its human drama and legal maneuvering.

And therein hangs a tale, I’ll bet.

Was one of them dissolute? Two? Four?

That'll do. See you tomorrow. The Fifties concerns Fridges, and if you peeked ahead last week, it'll look familiar.

Remember: Forums! Yes, I'll do something more with this soon. Or eventually.




blog comments powered by Disqus