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March 31, 2006


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Another cultural-history gem from Steve Sailer: a discussion of the iconic California labor leader Cesar Chavez.

* Andrew Ferguson says that Charles Murray's proposal to replace welfare with $10,000-a-year grants isn't just provocative.

* Geitner Simmons recommends some history blogs.

* Scott Chaffin sums up his feelings about the immigration debate in characteristically rowdy and salty fashion.

* Ah, tolerant old San Francisco ...

* If earnest there must be, then yoga and Vipassana Buddhism are my kind of earnest. Phillip Moffit writes about happiness, and our tendency to cling to it.

* Occasional 2Blowhards nude-modeling correspondent Molly Crabapple sponsors some very Downtown -- ie., bohemian/burlesque -- figure-drawing sessions in New York. The next one takes place tomorrow (Saturday), from 3 to 6 pm. Details here. Fun to see that Dr. Sketchy's is going nationwide too.

* Right Reason's Max Goss has posted some thoughtful reactions to Rod Dreher's book "Crunchy Cons."

* Fred Himebaugh is discovering the joys of baking his own bread. Is Fred going Crunchy?

* Scott Wickstein thinks that the time has come to set aside politics and economics, and finally discuss a subject that really counts: pizza.

* Today's outgoing, well-schooled, forward-looking adolescent girl evidently feels the need to master the art of booty shaking.

* Richard North meditates on rogue environmentalists Edward Abbey and Doug Peacock. I'm not quite sure what North's point is -- he seems to have no grasp of how America works, for one thing. But it's good to see Abbey and Peacock given some attention. They're my kind of eco-freaks.

* Here's a nice little lesson in unintended consequences. Birds perched in cypress trees deposit a lot of bird crap. City workers solve problem by cutting down cypresses. But birds still gotta crap ...

* Lynn finds it outrageous that the people who publish the "For Dummies" books have been allowed to trademark the words "for dummies."

* Lawrence Auster explains the fundamental problem that lies at the heart of liberalism.

* Coming to you from Dubai and soon to be the world's tallest structure ...

* Santiago Calatrava's new skyscraper in Chicago will certainly contain some of the world's most strangely-shaped rooms.

* 9 out of 10 British women think that one-night stands are immoral.



posted by Michael at March 31, 2006


Chicago is sooooo my city, visually, and that needle-nosed sky scraper may be twisty and strange, but I have hopes that the Chicagoans will make it come out all right.

Oh, and the immigration thing, which I, as an immigrant (legal and all, folks), have stayed away from on this blog because I soooo love this country and it's immigrant-nation mythology? Well, it's getting ugly, all right. Actually, it's been getting ugly for some time now. The problem is there are people with valid concerns, and then there are the kooks and I wish the kooks would just BUT (or is it BUTT) OUT.

The marchers did great harm to their cause, which is a good thing because it's a silly cause. I mean, I roll my eyes at some of the nativist 'but we're a Christian nation and our nation is going straight into the toilet' types, but, oh dear. If those marchers want to kick the white-folk out, what about a poor Asian squatter like me (or is it South Asian squatter? Or is it Indian-American squatter? Or is it just American squatter? The mind boggles.....)

*Huh, my internet radio station just kicked in with Andy Gibb. Wierd. Maybe this country is going straight into the toilet after all.......

**I sent Rod Dreher an e-mail in the early days of the whole crunchy con thing when he was research-blegging for crunchy con types because I thought he wanted to hear from registered Republicans like me who ate tofu and went to Hindu temples and thought Titanic had some good parts. I'm like, totally, a contrarian. Never heard back from him. Guess I didn't fit the meme?

Posted by: MD on March 31, 2006 5:40 PM

"9 out of 10 British women think that one-night stands are immoral."

This just in: madrones grow toward the sunlight; mama bears defend their cubs; praying mantises are difficult to spot among leaves and twigs.

Pop quiz -- the above organisms are:

(a) insufficiently liberated by the previous generation's utopian left
(b) getting in touch with God's Word
(c) other

Posted by: J. Goard on March 31, 2006 5:44 PM

Okay, I cannot tell a lie, George Washington-like.

I loved Titanic when I saw it, girly-cried, called my brother and said, "it's one of the best movies I've ever seen," and I even have the ticket stub. Perhaps, I *should* get kicked out of the US although I'm a citizen now (have been since I was just a kid).

Michael, I cannot believe I allowed the seductive qualities of 2Blowhards make me admit I loved Titanic. Backing away from the computer now.......

Posted by: MD on March 31, 2006 5:47 PM

Oh, one last thing. That whole 10,000 dollars directly to the poor thing.....

I remember reading how much money was part of the HUD budget here in Massachusetts (like, it had a lot of zeroes and I think it was HUD, but I often mix up things, Emily Litella like, even with Google) and I was all, man, you could just cut a check for everyone under the poverty level and still have a ton of money left over. It was just mind boggling.

Posted by: MD on March 31, 2006 6:22 PM

"9 out of 10 British women tell pollsters they think that one-night stands are immoral."

Fixed it for ya.

Posted by: Brian on March 31, 2006 7:26 PM

MD: "I was all, man, you could just cut a check for everyone under the poverty level and still have a ton of money left over. It was just mind boggling."

This new book demonstrates pretty conclusively that the real purpose of the welfare state is... perpetuating the welfare state. The number I remember is that 78 of every welfare dollar goes to the bureaucracy.

Posted by: Brian on March 31, 2006 7:36 PM

"The issue I wish Peacock would address is this: isn't nature worship open to the challenge that it is merely escapist?" is Richard North's last sentence.

Nature worship and every other kind of worship is probably escapist (but not always "merely), but it's not what Abbey and Peacock do. What they're after is not escape but reality -- getting down to the place where senses attach to the world and decisions have life/death consequences. The real question is "why read Abbey and Peacock when you could get out there on the land?" though we should be grateful that not everyone rushes into the desert or Glacier Park. Too many people as it is.

What I get from this article is that North is back there with Wordsworth while Abbey and Peacock are dealing with Apocalypse NOW. (And that sounds like an exceptionally restrained Jim Harrison menu, if one goes by his own cookbook.) I have a feeling that North is the sort of person who would provoke a certain amount of hazing in Montana.

Prairie Mary

Posted by: Mary Scriver on March 31, 2006 8:04 PM

He's a genius, man I tell ya. I mean Calatrava, of course.
MB, you got confused by the scale of the thing: the exterior radia are too big to make the interior residences of weird shape, unlike this.. er... expensive joke">">joke.
And, imagine - no columns, in the residential building, on the whole floor! Talk about constrains (lifted) and creativity! And the wind issue, solved so elegantly.

Or may be it's my distant past as a designer of drills and drill conductors is talking...I have always loved the spirals.

Posted by: Tat on March 31, 2006 8:49 PM

That exotic, nubile booty-shaker... everything about it... what can I say? "The wronger, the better" (porn star Ariana Jollee).

Posted by: Agnostic on April 1, 2006 12:38 AM

It's a flurry of MD-comments! What fun! And the level-headed woman of science falls to pieces when she watches "Titanic" (and then admits it to an audience of 2Blowhards visitors) -- my day is made!

J. Goard -- I choose (a)

Brian -- Dude, don't spoil the fun! What would journalism (let alone blogs) fill up their space with if it weren't for reporting what "new studies" show?

P. Mary -- I fear that I'm generally someone who'd prefer to read Abbey or Peacock than bed down in the wilderness. It's weird, isn't it, how North fails to get them and what they're about? Although it's cool that he doesn't just slam them, which is what most earnest people would do. There's something about their orneriness (or something) that intrigues him ...

Tat -- You're a spirals-lovin' girl, and a former engineer? It's as though god designed Santiago Calatrava specifically to please you.

Agnostic -- Now I'm feeling really old. I've never even heard of Ariana Jolee. Does she theorize about evo-bio too?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 1, 2006 12:32 PM

Calatrava and me -
you have no idea.

Posted by: Tatyana on April 1, 2006 1:52 PM

If the Fordham Tower is built, how long will it be before it's nicknamed "The Drill Bit"?

Postmodern architects are in an arms race to devise the most bizarrely shaped buildings. Even the worst of them is probably better than the run of '60s and '70s glass tombstones and concrete Hitler's bunkers, but really ... would it be so terrible to give neo-Classicism another run, or rediscover ornament? Just asking.

Posted by: Rick Darby on April 2, 2006 4:42 PM


Since you've enjoyed reading some of Bill Kauffman's writings lately, you'd probably enjoy his appreciation of Edward Abbey in his book America First: its history, culture, and politics:

"Edward Abbey: parched in the American desert."

Posted by: Dave Lull on April 2, 2006 5:07 PM

The Tower of Dubai design was obviously cribbed from Frank Llyod Wright's proposed Illinois Tower ("mile-high") of 1956!
See here:

What'll them Ay-rabs do next, dang it??

Posted by: nextren on April 4, 2006 11:10 AM

An even better look at "The Illinois," FLW's proposed Mile-High (literally) skyscraper:

I LOVE this goofy building!!

Posted by: nextren on April 4, 2006 11:16 AM

nextren: what Ay-rabs? The architect of record- SOM, the main contractor company - Samsung, actual workers- carpenters etc- immigrants (mostly Phillippinos) - would you call it Arabs' achievement?

Posted by: Tatyana on April 4, 2006 2:41 PM

I thought some of the comments on Scott Chaffin's blog were perty funny---how about every day is a day without Latinos? Ho ho ho. They also definitively established that you canget a good taco in Chicago.

I also agree with Lynn--if you can trademark "for dummies"---why not "go f&*k yourself"?

Posted by: annette on April 4, 2006 3:47 PM

*annette, I'd encountered the latest version today (thankfully, not directed to me): "why don't you go and have an avian flu?"

Posted by: Tatyana on April 4, 2006 4:25 PM

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