Lots and Lots and Lots and Lots
Question: Will anyone read an architecture / cycling / global warming / peak oil / housing bubble bursting blog? Answer: Don't care, therapy is therapy. Looks like it's gonna be a long hard slog, uphill, into the gale, with rusty gears and a bad attitude.
Howard figures that since he posted pictures a couple of days ago showing what he and his best girl looked like, that it would be okay if he continued posting pictures of the Mrs.
Speechless, I'm speechless. Two weeks ago, I wrote about Dave Moulton, a 70-year-old retired bicycle framebuilder, writer, blogger, and avid cyclist who was in a near-tragic collision with an SUV. Since then, he's focused on recovering and has started blogging again. This morning he wrote about his appearance in court with the driver of the SUV. You have to click here to read it directly from Dave...
As Howard noted with tongue-in-cheek concern a few weeks ago, Billmon disappeared for a while. But now he's back. In a big way. And with the Big Important Blog of the Day. It's heavy lifting, it's about Iraq, and it's significant. Go check it out.
The very next visitor will be Howard's 5,000th guest to the Big Blog of Howardness. He or she will glance about disapprovingly, sniff with contempt, and immediately hit the "Go Back" arrow.
To sweeten a bet that two cyclists at BikeJournal.com couldn't reach the 8,000-mile mark, Howard offered to disclose what he looks like. And wouldn't you know it? Both of them recently surpassed the mark that Howard himself hasn't yet reached. Envious congratulations to the two of you. Wish Howard luck finishing out the 114 miles he still needs, especially following the Blizzard of 2006! So without further ado, here you go, SiouxGeonz and LadyJai, Howard in the flesh...
Howard was recently tagged by Dave at Dave Moulton's Bike Blog. Thanks a lot, Dave. This means Howard has to write five obscure facts about himself. As Dave says, this seems a pretty harmless exercise, and yes, Howard is always looking for reasons to write about himself. So here goes:
Howard purchased a digital camera last weekend with some special features and he's been looking forward to visiting the million-dollar house with camera in hand. He took about a hundred photos today, but he's considerate enough to only show the best sixteen -- some of them showing areas unseen before now because the old camera didn't have the optics capable of producing a photo worth showing. The downside of such a nice camera is that all the dirt, sawdust, and grit is now highly obvious.
James Howard Kunstler thinks the greatest waste of time, investment, and resources in the history of mankind occurred shortly after WWII with the contruction in America of suburbs and our auto-dependent way of life. As he writes, "American suburbia represents the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world."
It's a Wonderful Life, Frank Capra's 1946 Christmas card to America, is full of strange and bitter lessons about who we were and who we have become. It also illustrates the perversity of history -- the fact that things sometimes end up the opposite of the way we expect.He then goes on to make his case:
Here's the weird part though. The main business of Bailey Building and Loan was financing the first new suburban subdivisions of the automobile age. In one of the movie's major set pieces, George Bailey opens Bailey Park, a tract of car-dependent cookie-cutter bungalows, and turns over the keys to the first house to the Italian immigrant Martini family. Had the story continued beyond 1946 into, say, the 1980s, (with George Bailey now a doddering Florida golfer), we would have seen the American landscape ravaged by suburban development, and the main street towns like Bedford Falls gutted and left for dead. That was the perverse outcome of George Bailey's good intentions.Kunstler then shows how our contemporary reality of residential life in America has become Bailey Park, but with largely few of the values exemplified by George Bailey:
Now the weirdest thing is that Pottersville is depicted as a busy, bustling, lively place -- the exact opposite of what main streets all over America really became, thanks to George Bailey's efforts -- a wilderness of surface parking, from sea to shining sea, with WalMart waiting on the edge of every town like Moloch poised to inhale the last remaining vapors of America's morale. Frank Capra could imagine vibrant small towns turning their vibrancy in the direction of vice -- but he couldn't imagine them forsaken and abandoned, with the shop fronts boarded up and the sidewalks empty, which was the true tragic destiny of all the Bedford Falls in our nation.If interested, you can read the entire essay -- December 18th, Not So Wonderful -- here. If you haven't read Kunstler before, there are a lot of new and possibly confusing concepts being introduced in his essay about the urban/suburban development patterns over the past 60 years. If interested, you should read one of his books -- any one really since he explains his premises in all of them. The man has been accused of being a crank, but he's also a first-rate thinker who consistently makes his case.
There's nothing more boring than a diary or a daily activities log. Still... Howard's gonna do the big countdown -- or count-up -- to 8,000 miles on a bicycle since he's been working on this all year. Same as the million-dollar house, which should be done and moved in at about the same time Howard finishes his 8,000-mile goal.