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Weekend 213.1 (Memento mori)

(1) A Supreme Confidence: A level-headed leader of men and nations—Eisenhower is revered today by both conservatives and liberals (WSJ)

“Despite the spate of revisionist histories in recent decades, Eisenhower remains an enigma: A quiet man projecting an image of almost leisurely detachment whose leadership won a global war and helped secure for America its position as unrivaled leader of the free world.”

(2) A Convergence of Faith and Reason (WSJ)

“Below the patrons who kneel just outside the sacred space is a skeleton laid out on a sarcophagus. Above it, an inscription reads: “I once was what you are now, and what I am you also will be.” This memento mori, placed under a symbol of Golgotha, suggests that the skeleton represents both Everyman and Adam, widely believed to have been buried under the place where Christ was later crucified. The reminder of physical death is contrasted with God the Father holding the cross, offering the promise of everlasting life.”

(2a) A related quote from “Why I Write” by George Orwell

“So long as I remain alive and well I shall continue to feel strongly about prose style, to love the surface of the earth, and to take a pleasure in solid objects and scraps of useless information. It is no use trying to suppress that side of myself. The job is to reconcile my ingrained likes and dislikes with the essentially public, non-individual activities that this age forces on all of us.”

Weekend 206.0

Playmobil Advent Wreath 2011 (1) Anglo-Portuguese Treaty of 1373

(2) Fantastic hyperrealistic oil paintings by Steve Mills

(3) Ways to Manage an Image (WSJ)

(3a) The Art and Soul of Disney

(4) Jean Nouvel: The Pritzker-winning French architect checks in on hotels, carousels and burning down the house (WSJ)

(5) Nintendo Introduces Free Airport Hotspots For 3DS Users

(5a) KLM Passengers Can Use Facebook For ‘Meet & Seat’ (Wired)

(6) The Porteur/City bike by Hufnagel Cycles

(7) Birth By Sleep: Sora Stained Glass

It is impossible to go through life without trust: That is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself. – Graham Greene

More Goodies from the Train Show

This is the second pamphlet/brochure from the train show and this one is in fantastic shape. This is a promotional piece (12 panels) for the second year of the 1939/1940 NY World’s Fair and includes an advertisement for New Railroads on Parade. This dramatic musical extravaganza was presented by the Eastern Railroads. The pamphlet/brochure is underwritten (sponsored) by the New Haven Railroad!

“Streamlined AIR CONDITIONED Coaches offer you every modern travel luxury and convenience at amazingly low 2¢-a mile coach fares. Make the Grill Car your modern rendezvous en route! Refreshments, sandwiches, complete meals…at low prices.”

There are also ads for the American Jubilee, Aquacade, and Magic Fountains.

“COMBINING WATER, fire, and sound in a starlit symphony, this inspiring show is given nightly at the Lagoon of Nations…FREE!”

Romantic. Some of the other panels include editorials for local hotels (plenty of rooms and low prices) and affordable dining options (eat within your budget).

Related
Makoto Shinkai

Deconstructing 194X, Part I of X

Quote 1
…only revolutions offer up spontaneous futures like 194X, and usually at the cost of great memory loss – heads must roll in order to usher in Véndemiaire, the first month of the French Revolutionary calendar (page seventeen).

Quote 2
…as the lingua franca of modernists, abstraction was seen as ameliorative, instrumental, and revelatory. Its claim to universality offered an ideal mode for planning, whose very nature remained, even at this date, an abstraction, and which, in its most radical form, aimed to liberate the masses. Abstraction conveniently hid planning’s most violent aspect, namely, its assertive destruction of the city of the present, which many architects believed was stuck in the straightjacket of the past. Planning, the social abstraction that would rid the world of slums, create equality, and reconstruct cities into ideal urban fabrics (page twenty-nine).

Quote 3
…the NRPB provided an especially broad understanding of planning. This legacy deserves more attention, from the practical and ideological content of its literature to is strategies for publicizing planning and the visual culture surrounding its work. Its influence can be gauged in part by how many of its central concerns remain with us today. The agency emphasized local participation and organization (a legacy that would reemerge strongly in the 1960s), coordinated planning on all levels, and gave planning an accessible image (page eighteen).

Quote 4
…more than anything, the NRB realized that planning was an alien concept to most Americans, whose deeply rooted individualism ran counter to the common misperception of planning as “the wholesale regimentation of private life,” commonly associated with totalitarianism (page nineteen).

Quote 5
…the planning that leads to overcentralization belonged to the established technical fields of industrial, social, and economic planning, bound together by national planning. The planning that “plans its own decentralization,” by contrast, expressed a social attitude, or perhaps something more: an élan vital at the heart of democracy’s social justice-the idealistic creed of liberal government (page twenty).

Quote 6
…the NRB’s tacit, though thinly veiled, assumption was that laissez-faire capitalism had failed and only a planned society could save it (page twenty-one).

Quote 7
…the authors made publicity a centerpiece of bringing “Plans into Action,” as they called one section. including the use of newspapers and radio, town meetings, and planning classes in the local school system. Propaganda and education would transform planning into a cultural force that emanated from the public will and a patriotic duty on which the future community rested (page twenty-three).

All quotes from 194X: Architecture, Planning, and Consumer Culture on the American Home Front by Andrew M. Shanken

Related
What Happened to Obama? Absolutely Nothing. (WSJ)

Mr. Obama was a genuine product of the political culture that had its birth among a marginal group of leftists in the early 1960s and that by the end of the decade had spread metastatically to the universities, the mainstream media, the mainline churches, and the entertainment industry. Like their communist ancestors of the 1930s, the leftist radicals of the ’60s were convinced that the United States was so rotten that only a revolution could save it…Thus, not one of the six Democratic presidential candidates who followed Mr. McGovern came out of the party’s left wing, and when Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton (the only two of the six who won) tried each in his own way to govern in its spirit, their policies were rejected by the American immune system. It was only with the advent of Barack Obama that the leftists at long last succeeded in nominating one of their own.

Weekend 189.0 (July 4th)

The Burning of Fairfield 2(1) Tacita Dean Reflects on Time (WSJ)

(2) Walt Disney and the Founding Mouse

(3) The Insidious Evils of ‘Like’ Culture: In our age of online view counts and retweets, conformity is becoming the rule (WSJ)

“Because it’s so easy to medicate our need for self-worth by pandering to win followers, “likes” and view counts, social media have become the métier of choice for many people who might otherwise channel that energy into books, music or art—or even into their own Web ventures.”

(3a) Hell’s Ethos

“Mr. Roberts makes a compelling case that the Nazis lost, in large part, because the repressive ideology they espoused left no room for dissent, realism, voluntary cooperation or creativity at the top. Totalitarianism’s phobic bodyguard—conformity—strangled the strategic and political clarity that the war demanded from its leaders.”

(3b) Alt Text: Google+ Is the New GeoCities (Wired)

(3c) Google+ And The Master Plan (Forbes)


Other Weekend Content

(4) Stewardesses and Bunnies of Yore (WSJ)

(5) Independent Bookstores Across America

(6) London’s Ronald Reagan statue, in pictures

Weekend 175.2

“Decaying and dilapidated architecture resonates as loss, as evidence of the irreversible passage of time, yet architectural ruins emanate past grandeur.”
— Daniel Worden, On Modernism’s Ruins: The Architecture of “Building Stories” and Lost Buildings

Related
Roman military frontiers and fortifications

Weekend 166.0

(1) Ed Ruscha “Standard Station”

(1a) On the Road With Painter Ed Ruscha

“The 73-year-old, Los Angeles-based Mr. Ruscha is known for adding cryptic phrases to his austere landscapes of the West, such as his 1983 depiction of a flat horizon laced with red letters that read, “We would have a travel agency except no one in this town travels.” At auction, one of his paintings has sold for nearly $7 million. Earlier this week, the artist spoke about his love of the road.”

(1b) Futurama (New York World’s Fair)

“Now we have arrived in this wonder world of 1960. Sunshine, tree, farms, hills and valleys, flowers and flowing streams—this world of tomorrow is a world of beauty…But man has forged ahead since 1939. New and better things have sprung from his industry and genius…Here we see one of our 1960 express motorways…The highway surface is automatically lighted by continuous tubing in the safety curbing, which evenly illuminates the road surface. But what’s this just ahead? An amusement park in full swing! A merry-go-round, a Ferris wheel, boys and girls shrieking with glee on a pretzel-like sky ride. Here’s fun ans merriment in this world of tomorrow!”

(1c) GM Futurama – 1939 World’s Fair – Part 1 – There is a monastery at 7:50.

(1d) GM Futurama – 1939 World’s Fair – Part 2

(2) Tracing Those Angry Birds to the Dawn of Man

“The parabolic ballista is ours alone.

Until 10,000 years ago, most or even all human beings relied on this talent for gathering at least some of their food—by killing it at a distance. With the arrow, the spear thrower, the blowpipe, the boomerang, the sling, the harpoon and the thrown rock, we were killing prey from fish to birds to mammoths. Not to mention each other.”

(2a) Mountain Top!

Resplendent

The blogger with many visions™ is thawing. I just finished The Fighting Temeraire by Sam Willis. This book is more than a dry historical reprint; it is a graphic re-telling written concisely and colorfully and interwoven by the brushstrokes of J. M. W. Turner. I was particularly moved by this passage because of its present-day application:

“To declare that one appreciates The Fighting Temeraire is a statement that transcends our views of art and artists and makes a more profound comment about our approach to life. Consequently, that The Fighting Temeraire won the competition for the nation’s favourite painting in 2005 is deeply reassuring. It demonstrates that the desire to remember burns in Britain like the sunset in the painting itself. The painting is a memorial, and deserves the respect offered to all memorials. It is a reminder of a sense of duty; a reminder of sacrifice past. In that respect, therefore, we have no choice but to prefer the painting to others with less significant themes. To ignore The Fighting Temeraire is to be ungrateful – even ungracious – to the memories of those who have lived and died for us today. Ironically therefore, by acknowledging the importance of the painting we acknowledge that there are for more important things in the world than art.”

This is a quality book and your brain will swell with the history (naval and otherwise) moored to its pages. More importantly, it makes resplendent the rudders that exist all around us (if we would only muster the courage to look beneath the surface).

Related
Postmodernism’s Pivotal Figure
“He [James Frazer Stirling] was, in a sense, the anti-LeCorbusier, or the anti-Mies, looking for ways to recapture some of the things swept away by the modernists’ messianic zeal—connections to history, place and the environment. What we build, he believed, “should not be disassociated from the cultural past.”

Mystery Solved: Why Obama crated Sir Winston

How Obama Thinks

While the senior Obama called for Africa to free itself from the neocolonial influence of Europe and specifically Britain, he knew when he came to America in 1959 that the global balance of power was shifting. Even then, he recognized what has become a new tenet of anticolonialist ideology: Today’s neocolonial leader is not Europe but America. As the late Palestinian scholar Edward Said–who was one of Obama’s teachers at Columbia University–wrote in Culture and Imperialism, “The United States has replaced the earlier great empires and is the dominant outside force.”

Update
White House rips Forbes over Obama cover story

Weekend 148.4 (Holiday Perils)

“According to William Knox, one of Germain’s undersecretaries, his lordship was on his way to the country when he stopped by the office to sign his mail and was reminded that nothing had been written to Howe specifying what action was expected of him. Lord George was annoyed. His carriage was waiting, he did not want his horses to be kept standing, and his tolerance for frustration was just about nil. He made it clear he had no intention of spending another minute at the office…”
– Richard M. Ketchum from Saratoga: Turning Point of America’s Revolutionary War

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