buiding up not out, blue boat wallpaper, punished while accused

While I put up quite few landscapes I have a pro-city bias. Trips to the mountains are great, as are rural meadows and farms, and I still have to have an occasional trips to the beach – even though they are too often shadowed by tall condos and hotels and the mount. Cities are like big extensions of how one plans their living quarters – everything within reach or just a few steps away. They save a lot of driver aggravation, if not commuter rage. How Skyscrapers Can Save the City

There is a lively architectural debate about who invented the skyscraper—reflecting the fact that the skyscraper, like most other gifts of the city, didn’t occur in a social vacuum, and did not occur all at once. William Le Baron Jenney’s 138-foot Home Insurance Building, built in Chicago in 1885, is often seen as the first true skyscraper. But Jenney’s skyscraper didn’t have a complete steel skeleton. It just had two iron-reinforced walls. Other tall buildings in Chicago, such as the Montauk Building, designed by Daniel Burnham and John Root and built two years earlier, had already used steel reinforcement. Industrial structures, like the McCullough Shot and Lead Tower in New York and the St. Ouen dock warehouse near Paris, had used iron frames decades before.

Jenney’s proto-skyscraper was a patchwork, stitching together his own innovations with ideas that were in the air in Chicago, a city rich with architects. Other builders, like Burnham and Root, their engineer George Fuller, and Louis Sullivan, a former Jenney apprentice, then further developed the idea. Sullivan’s great breakthrough came in 1891, when he put up the Wainwright Building in St. Louis, a skyscraper free from excessive ornamental masonry. Whereas Jenney’s buildings evoke the Victorian era, the Wainwright Building points the way toward the modernist towers that now define so many urban skylines.

If there is one thing modern skyscrapers lack, especially those meant for apartments, is providing an open space on every floor. Call it a mini-park or whatever. A place with benches to watch the children play. Maybe an indoor track, a place to walk the dog with facilities to dispose of the poop. I think this arrangement would fit in with the Jane Jacobs view of the city as community. Each high-rise would have more of a community feel.

Bradley Manning’s forced nudity to occur daily

Let’s review Manning’s detention over the last nine straight months:  23-hour/day solitary confinement; barred even from exercising in his cell; one hour total outside his cell per day where he’s allowed to walk around in circles in a room alone while shackled, and is returned to his cell the minute he stops walking; forced to respond to guards’ inquiries literally every 5 minutes, all day, everyday; and awakened at night each time he is curled up in the corner of his bed or otherwise outside the guards’ full view.  Is there anyone who doubts that these measures — and especially this prolonged forced nudity — are punitive and designed to further erode his mental health, physical health and will?  As The Guardian reported last year, forced nudity is almost certainly a breach of the Geneva Conventions; the Conventions do not technically apply to Manning, as he is not a prisoner of war, but they certainly establish the minimal protections to which all detainees — let alone citizens convicted of nothing — are entitled.

Perhaps as bad as the military’s behavior in this, is the lack of intervention by the president. It is not about feeling sorry for someone, it is about treating someone who is at this point only a suspect accused of wrong as already convicted and sentenced to this daily punishment.

Saving Ethiopia’s “Church Forests”

In America, some fundamental Christians believe that man has a God-given right to use the earth and all its resources to meet their needs. After all, Genesis says so. But across the Atlantic, a different attitude prevails among followers in Ethiopia, which has the longest continuous tradition of Christianity of any African country. Followers of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Churches believe they should maintain a home for all of God’s creatures around their places of worship. The result? Forests ringing churches.

There are some 35,000 church forests in Ethiopia, ranging in size from a few acres to 300 hectares. Some churches and their forests may date back to the fourth century, and all are remnants of Ethiopia’s historic Afromontane forests. To their followers, they are a sacred symbol of the garden of Eden — to be loved and cared for, but not worshipped.

The idea of nature as symbolic of some higher power is not unheard of in the United States. Early American poet John Greenleaf Whittier (1807-1892) wrote,

The Worship of Nature

The harp at Nature’s advent strung
Has never ceased to play;
The song the stars of morning sung
Has never died away.

And prayer is made, and praise is given,
By all things near and far;
The ocean looketh up to heaven,
And mirrors every star.

Its waves are kneeling on the strand,
As kneels the human knee,
Their white locks bowing to the sand,
The priesthood of the sea!

Whittier saw nature as not just the product of his creator, but a manifestation of his power to communicate his benevolence . A direct link with his god,

[  ]…With drooping head and branches crossed
The twilight forest grieves,
Or speaks with tongues of Pentecost
From all its sunlit leaves.

spring summer wallpaper

blue boat wallpaper


A kill-this- meme note. One of the more ridiculous claims by the public employee anti-union crowd is that they pay taxes so they should get their way. It should be as obvious as a desert flood that union members and their supporters pay taxes too.