Friday, September 28, 2007
Moblogging - Live from Camden, ME
Thursday, September 27, 2007
A friend invited me to last night's Sox game in his box at Fenway. Cowabunga, those were good seats, even better than they look in an iPhone snapshot.
Meanwhile, the Yankees were clinching the Wild Card spot in Tampa. Quote of the Day, from A-Rod:
“This feels like home. It’s hard to believe that I played for another two organizations. So much has happened to me here, adversity, some success, that I feel like anything but New York feels weird for me now.”
The game was the day after my birthday. In 2004, we saw the Sox clinch the Wild Card on my birthday, and they acted like they'd just won the World Series. Little did we know. So this year we've got some reverse Mojo going.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
A Sign of the Times
AND SO IT GOES, while the architecture critic of the New York Times continues working as a press agent for Starchitects and their egocentric ideology, the news departments at the Times present different views. Today the paper's Religion Journal reports dissatisfaction with Modernist churches and a trend towards new traditional designs. Yesterday was the story on Rem Koolhaas's megalomaniacal megalith and local protests in Mexico City, similar to the protests reported in St. Petersburg over the quarter-mile tall Gazprom City (protesters carried signs saying "Lunatic City," a Russian pun on the original, which is named for the local gas company).
Without editorial condescension, Times reporter Brenda Goodman writes,
In 1997, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston was a congregation bursting at the seams. The community of 6,600 members was housed in a building that could seat just 675. It took six services every Sunday just to give everyone a chance to worship.
But more frustrating than the lack of space to church leaders was a paucity of spirit in the architecture of the boxy, brick 1950s-era chapel.
The Rev. Laurence A. Gipson, then rector of St. Martin’s, started talking to church members about what they might want in a new building.
“In 300 conversations with people, universally, it was clear,” Mr. Gipson said. “Traditional worship within a traditional building was the thing that enabled us to draw most closely to God.”
The church’s new building has become the focal point of what some architects are calling a revival of traditional religious architecture in the United States, as congregations like St. Martin’s have begun to yearn for a return to traditional appointments in their buildings and worship services.
“We’re actually seeing kind of a pendulum swing back toward some of the great traditions of religious heritage,” said Charles J. Hultstrand, secretary of Faith and Form, a division of the American Institute of Architects that focuses on liturgical architecture. “People have missed that heritage, and that’s reflected in a good number of new church buildings.”
It is a response to a kind of a bland, boxy building made popular in the 1960s that Richard Kieckhefer, professor of religion at Northwestern University and author of “Theology in Stone: Church Architecture from Byzantium to Berkeley” (Oxford University Press 2004), refers to as the “modern communal church.”
“In the mid-20th century, there were liturgical reformers who said it was necessary to change church architecture,” Dr. Kieckhefer said.
“Architects began to design churches that were meant to promote a sense of community gathered for celebration,” he added. “While older churches tried to set themselves apart from the world, these were buildings that were meant to blend into neighborhoods.”
These buildings were focused around casual, multipurpose spaces. Pastors asked architects for assembly halls that would allow members and clergy members to be able to see one another’s faces, so sanctuaries were often arranged in circles or semicircles. Pulpits were moved from the head of the church to the middle or done away with altogether. Statues were removed. Pitched roofs became flat. Steeples vanished.
Critics of the movement saw this trend toward plain, functional buildings as an insult to the divine. A flurry of books by influential architects and critics led the attack, including Michael S. Rose’s salvo, “Ugly as Sin: Why They Changed Our Churches From Sacred Spaces to Meeting Places and How We Can Change Them Back” (Sophia Institute Press, 2001), and Moyra Doorly’s “No Place for God: The Denial of Transcendence in Modern Church Architecture” (Ignatius Press, 2007).
Ms. Doorly, an architect and writer in Britain, has also started a campaign called Outcry Against Ugly Churches, or OUCH.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Open the pod bay door, Rem.
You Deserve A Break Today
I must be completely wrong. Because there it is, that violently obnoxious Wendy's burger commercial I stumbled across recently, apparently part of a larger and stranger ad campaign featuring the usual assortment of requisite sagging thick-waisted former frat dudes -- a group, by the way, that must be an entire category unto itself for Los Angeles casting agencies, given how many of them appear in all sorts of similar monosyllabic commercials for, say, trucks. Or beer. Or power tools. Et al.
These ads feature the same childish concept: All the dudes have bright red cartoon pigtails (a la the Wendy's mascot) where their receding hairline used to be, and in their thick fists they're maybe clutching a giant greasy burger and staring at it with a sort of desperate, animalistic lust you normally see from, say, secretly gay Idaho Republicans in airport restrooms. Or something.
But this particular ad offers something extra, something a bit more... extraordinary. The burger in question is something very special indeed. It is not your typical "value menu" item. It is not a Wendy's Single with Cheese, or whatever it's called down in noncomestible junk-food hell.
No, this insidious concoction is simply startling in its shameless toxicity, its ruthless attention to wanting you cancerous and morbidly obese and very, very dead as soon as goddamn possible, if not sooner.
The burger is this: two sickeningly brownish-gray, chemical-blasted 1/4-pound beeflike patties, intersliced with two slabs of neon-orange cheeselike substance, slathered with mayonnaise, all topped with the big kicker: six (yes, six) strips of bacon. Oh my, yes. It's like a giant middle finger to your heart.
This product's name? The "Baconator." You know, like "Terminator," only for, uh, a huge stack of cow/pig meat that celebrates your impending coronary/impotence/cancer with every bite. Genius.
THE SPEECH in the video above also comes at the end of the movie Bobby. In the video, frankly, it's not supported very well by many of the images (like that opening image). And much of the film was not very good either. But what a speech and what an ending. Bobby Kennedy's assasination was a tragedy that foreshadowed more problems to come.
He was brave because he was afraid. His monsters were too large and close at hand to simply flee. He had to turn and fight them.... He became a one-man underground, honeycombed with hidden passages, speaking in code, trusting no one completely, ready to face the firing squad--but also knowing when to slip away to fight again another day. Although he affected simplicity and directness, he became an extraordinarily complicated and subtle man. His shaking hands and reedy voice, his groping for words as well as meaning, his occasional resort to subterfuge, do not diminish his daring. Precisely because he was fearful and self-doubting, his story is an epic of courage.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Warning: Yankees May Appear Closer Than Expected In Rear View Mirror
UPDATE: The Yankees face very good pitching in Toronto this weekend, including Halladay and Burnett (even though Burnett isn't listed here). Mr. Torre has to decide within a few days when he will start setting up the pitching for the playoffs, or if he will go for maximum wins during the season. Two years ago, the Yanks didn't take first place from the Sox until the last day of the season.
LAST NIGHT, the Yankees beat the Orioles 12 to 0. And with the Red Sox leading the Blue Jays 2 to 1 after 2 outs in the 8th inning, Eric Gag-me walked in the tying run with the bases loaded and then gave up a 2-run double — theeee Red Sox lose, 4 to 2. There is no joy in Hubville.
Since the Yanks left Fenway Sunday night, the Good Guys have won two and the Sox have lost two, leaving the Yankees just 2.5 games behind in the race for the American League East title. Before their last series, both the Yankees and the Red Sox had been 1 and 4 in games the day after finishing their always exhausting series, but the Yankees seem to have the bit between their teeth. The Sox have 10 games left, the Yankees 11, and it looks like they'll all be interesting.
The Tigers have also lost two in a row, so they're 4.5 games back with 10 to play.
Will the Yankees' $28 million pitcher (pro-rated) face the Red Sox $103 million dollar man in the playoffs? Moose is ready to face Wake, Manny's being Manny, and Youk continues to pay for leaning so far over the plate. (But after Wang hit Youk and fell apart in the 10 to nothing game, why wasn't Beckett suspended and fined for plunking Cano, as Clemens was?)
— And from August 14, We Don' Need No Stinkin' Wild Card: