Podcast for the masses!

Posted: February 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

https://dl-web.dropbox.com/get/00120150209202611_2.9.15%20Podcast.m4a?_subject_uid=177486641&w=AADyFvzMcOnhusoXSxeZw6tbOudH8ZyXZiTccOcAJxRnBw

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https://dl-web.dropbox.com/get/00120150209202611_2.9.15%20Podcast.m4a?_subject_uid=177486641&w=AADyFvzMcOnhusoXSxeZw6tbOudH8ZyXZiTccOcAJxRnBw

I talk about the shit that you are talking about.

 

ENJOY!

SKYFLACCID

Posted: November 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

So in South Korea ,007s Skyfall came out a full two weeks before it did in the states.  To avoid spoilers, I waited until it hit American theaters to finish my totally unqualified movie review.

In the first of this latest batch of Daniel Craig-as-007 movies, we’re given a Bond origin story in Casino Royale.  This story arc then continues into Quantum of Solace (still don’t know what the hell that means).  By Skyfall, however, Bond is an aging, guileful veteran with a grizzled chin struggling with the demons of his past as much as he grapples with his deteriorating physical ability to keep up with the demands of having a license to kill.

This is Bond as Jordan on the Wizards, Montana on the Chiefs, Beckham on the Galaxy.

Jordan retired?!

Bond as a Bruce Springsteen song

At the beginning of Skyfall, we’re shown Bond’s unraveling built up over the past two movies.   After a near-death experience at the hands of his own crew, he’s drowning in drink on some unnamed beach bar surrounded by cheering men as he takes a random shot of liquor with a provoked scorpion on his hand.  Of course, he can still close ass.  Despite an olive-skinned inamorata kissing his shoulder in bed as he mulls over his future, he can’t stay out of the game.  Cyberwarfare and terrorism at MI6 headquarters in London pulls him back, but now he’s damaged goods: out of shape, injured, can’t shoot and needs to dry out.  This may be more chinks in his armor than any Bond audience is comfortable with.

Bond can age now?

The double-O franchise used to be like The Simpsons, where the characters never age while time in the outside world carries on.  This was how things used to be done in the Bond universe before the current Daniel Craig movies.  These aren’t a trilogy like Christopher Nolan’s recent Batman movies, but they are similar in that they both attempt to entirely recreate a story with protagonists and antagonists we all know.  It’s up to the audience to disassociate any prior knowledge from any of the past movies.  The Dark Knight trilogy completes this task, while these Daniel Craig flicks insist on simultaneously existing as their own series while still carrying the torch for the Bond franchise that began with Sean Connery in Dr. No fifty years ago.

Just look past the fact that I’m like, 89.

This creates a clunky disassociation, with you know, modern technology existing and all.  Although as a book, Casino Royale is the first in Ian Fleming’s novelization of the character, the cinema simply pushes in a series reboot.  (Interestingly, Quentin Tarantino expressed interest in keeping the plot linearity of the novel and filming an origin movie in black and white, presumably with gizmos you’d see in an old Popular Science.)

“This whiz-bang’s sure got PEP!”

So are they just going to hit reset again on the Bond series after they’ve shelved Daniel Craig as James Bond?  We’re seeing the first signs of this already, with Dame Judie Dench hitting the bricks and Ralph Fiennes aka Voldemort moving in to play the part of M.  Moneypenny arrives also, with her own origin story included in Skyfall.  Without these changes they’ve certainly written themselves into a corner. Previous Bond movies have almost all started and ended in a vacuum and stand alone plot-wise.  But this is Hollywood on the ropes, and as the New Yorker put it, “it’s the work of a machine that aspires to nothing more than self-perpetuation,” so the reheating, repackaging, and restructuring of tried-and-true stories will only continue.  After Craig, I guess Bond will resurface with a new set of circumstances in an alternate universe that will probably contradict the plotline of the Daniel Craig Bond’s, and the audience will be apt to accept it.

This outright disavowal of the rest of the franchise is wonky and hard to rectify as a union with the entire James Bond cinema oeuvre over the decades, but with enough chase scenes like the spectacular opener before the credits roll at the beginning of Skyfall, audiences most likely won’t mind.

Definitely not ‘All Guns Cheat Mode’

What Casino Royale showed in Bond’s youthful but vulnerable élan and Quantum of Solace had in a fishing tackle knot of a script, Skyfall has in a straightforward, stripped down approach.  MI6 headquarters has been destroyed by Javier Bardem’s character Raul Silva–a former MI6 agent who’s now after M, Bond, and the entire British clandestine service.  They’re forced to work out of an abandoned subway station on the London tube while Bond gets back up to speed.

Things are slimmed down not just in Bond’s amorous exploits (interestingly, the only real female in his life is now the iron-clad matron “M” and his need to protect her from revenge-bent Silva), but also in plot conflict,  flash, and weaponry.  In Skyfall, Bond doesn’t rely on innovative gadgets like laser watches or amphibious Aston Martins; this is Bond stripped and sanded—a new, younger device man,(Q) has provided only a palm-print activated Walther PPK pistol and a small distress signal activator, somewhat to Bond’s chagrin.  Even in the final showdown, Bond and co. are privy only to a few handguns, shotguns and a couple of sticks of dynamite.  It’s a great reality and the best aspect of the movie–an antithesis to Die Another Day, the nadir of Pierce Brosnan’s gadget-bloated tenure as Bond.

(Overall, Pierce gets a pass, though.)

Why I quit Little League.

The conflicts in this movie are simple: man vs. man, and man vs. himself (for both Bond and M).  Still, the result of creating an easy-to follow good vs. evil plot over a convoluted plot of Quantum of Solace (or a Mission Impossible III) come off as the IKEA of diegisis—the masses can put it together with ease, but it certainly isn’t special or unique.  (Although “diegisis” could be an IKEA nightstand).

In the age of smart, non-meatdick action thrillers like the Bournes, Batmans and Ghost Protocols, Skyfall comes up short on both plot and hand-to-hand combat.   Still, the shot direction is fun to watch.  Use of vast spaces in Scotland and dark, hell-like imagery in the buildup to the final showdown draws a grim aloneness that alludes to the movie’s opening credits. (At least Adele sings the Bond song this time around.  Kick rocks, Madge.)

No country for power-bottoms

As Bond’s foe, the Spanish actor Javier Bardem is suspect at best.  He devolves from cold-as-ice Anton Chigurh fame in Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men to play a manipulative killer that looks more like a slightly menacing client of a botched gay makeover.  But since he’s there to be the creepy ultimate badass like Bardem knocked out of the park in No Country for Old Men this attempt at having a gay villain is so pushed down our throats (pun intended) without any Coen Brother’s nuance that he comes off as a Modern Family-caricature of the soulless killer Chigurh sprinkled (again, pun intended) with a bit of poor-man’s Hannibal Lecter.

“What’s the most you ever lost on a coin toss?”

“My career.”

Macao as Biloxi

Bond globetrots chasing after some world-threatening object/scenario as usual, and lands in the Chinese gambling mecca of Macao.  This sort of represents the alternate universe Bond and the Bond movie makers live in, and laughably avoids depicting China’s threatening modernism.  Macao, which makes more than two-thirds the money in gambling annually than Las Vegas, is represented through a scene in a floating Ming-Dynasty paper lantern and sliding doors casino stuffed full of the world’s tuxedoed ne’er-do-wells and bejeweled, sophisticated whores.  This instead of what I personally saw last summer as Macao’s true identity: a booming but relentlessly gaudy Hong Kong-meets-Reno with all the slot-machine fun of a senior gambling jamboree.  In Skyfall, Macao looks more like P.F. Chang’s on a cruise ship bound for Nassau than the world’s foremost gambling city.

Macao, now with 35% less sex-trafficking!

However, this inauthentic Macao scene does segway nicely into a baddie getting eaten alive after falling into a gila monster pit.  And here’s my problem.  You can’t pull that shit off anymore if you’re trying to be the new Bond in the new world.  Bad guys still have the sophisticated villainous weaponry, but now instead of shark tanks with lasers and croc pits they have political clout and web 2.0 hacking indoctrination.  You used to be able to have Roger Moore’s Bond keep his cool by saying something terribly dry about an impending death just before he skips over a pond full of crocodiles.  In the new world, Daniel Craig’s verifiable panache, tapered Armani suits, and parkour abilities should be able to carry a movie in a time when we’ve risen above such campy Roger Moore-era devices like gila monster pits.

Never again, Rog.

Daniel Craig could still go down as the best 007

What Sean Connery did with debonair masculinity, Roger Moore did with a wry wink, and Pierce Brosnan did with overall ostentatious handsome, Craig does with his oversized-shoulder swagger.  He’s meaner, more vulnerable, and definitely more morally ambiguous.  He also looks more like a competitive Crossfit freak than an agent provocateur.  Craig is the only actor to have kept Bond’s mix of deadliness and charm while adding layers of pathos to the character.  He shows us a man living on the fringe, a bachelor without deep conscience but not without regret.  I just felt a little let down.  There’s still the tapered suits and cufflinks he straightens mid-fight, but in Skyfall Craig delivers a character performance like a team with a nice lead in the third quarter.  Nothing exceptionally risky, nothing damaging.

Despite Director Sam Mendes’ (from American Beauty fame) gutsy visuals, the spectacular coordination and the stunts of the opening scene, the script falls flat.  The flick is not a miss but it’s not a game-changer. I suppose that says something to the state of the Bond franchise as a now and future cinema juggernaut, but the best Bond of all time?

Skyfall isn’t even the best Bond of the last decade.

Without too much more word pun, Skyfall isn’t the zenith of a hallowed action series, but more like that moment with the morbidly obese guy doing two momentum-gaining pre-jumps on the edge of a diving board.

Avoiding genetics, I’ll express the obvious in stating that Koreans are better students than Americans because they just crack the books more.  As a result, their test scores are jaw dropping. I’ve seen students cry when receiving a 94%.  There’s also this: on average, Korean students sleep ten less hours a week and study 12 more hours than American students.  Still, the culture of education seems to just be more prized here–the other day I saw an 8 year old dividing fractions with variables (Why ? I asked, “Because, fun!” she exclaimed.) But what happens when they aren’t prepared–especially in the perfection based study-and-regurgitate  high-stakes testing system of Korea?  The variable in my experiment was a simple impromptu spelling pop quiz for 3rd graders at my English academy in Yeosu, South Korea.  Not a scientific study, and certainly done not for anything except for my sadistic enjoyment because almost everyone blew off their homework.  I also needed to distract myself from doing yet another red state/blue state website scenario with today’s election.

“Charlie Kim, Outside Linebacker, THE Ohoo State University.”

The actual spelling test

1.) do the laundry

2.) take out the garbage

3.) put away the groceries

4.) English

5.) scissors

6.) Korea

7.) take pictures

8.) Mississippi

9.) Yeosu (the city we live in)

10.) spaghetti

11.) Barack Obama

12.) Mitt Romney

And now the actual student spelling tests

Jenny

1.) do the laundry

2.) take out the garbage

3.) put away the groceries

4.) gislrishe (hmmm…)

5.) scissors

6.) Korea

7.) take pictures

8.) Mipipissipi

9.) Yeosu

10.) spaghetti

11.) Berake Odama

12.) ?

Perry”

1.) do the laundry

2.) take out the garbage

3.) put away the groceries

4.) Ingrish (troubling, Perry)

5.)scieciss

6.) Korea

7.) take pictures

8.) Missouissipa

9.) Yousou

10.) spaghetti

11.) bourock Obama

12.) mit romni

Jake”

1.) do the laundry

2.) take out the garbage

3.) put away the gru (whatever the gru is, I want someone else to put it away)

4.) English

5.) scissors

6.) Koria

7.) take pictures

8.) NO

9.) Yeosu

10.) spagetay

Stay away from my spagetay!

11.) Barack Obama  (holy shit, Jake!)

12.) meat rameni  (a delicious snack or a horrifying terrorist)

“John”

1.) do the laundry

2.) take out the garbage

3.) put away the groceries

4.) Eisghilse (hoh boy)

5.) SCISSORS

6.) Korea

7.) take pictures

8.) bisipi

9.) Yosur  (vain, you probably think this test is about you…)

10.) spaghetti

11.) 버락 오바마

12.) meet lownee

“Max”

1.) do the laundry

2.) take out the garbage

3.) put away the groceries

4.) English

5.) sigurs

6.) Korea

7.) take puites

8.) I don know ^ ^

9.) qusue  (“Yeosu” starts with a fucking “Q”, dude? Really?!)

10.) sapatkty

11.) b

12.) me loug ree

Michelle

1.) do the laundry

2.) take out the garbage

3.) put away the groceries

4.) English

5.) scissors

6.) Koroe

7.) take pictures

8.) Ms. sispi

9.) Yeosu

10.) spargeti

11.) bruck Obama

12.) met romney  (Oh yeah? When?)

Amy

1.) do the laundry

2.) take a garbige  (something you do after eating Taco Bell)

3.) put are gursherry

4.) English

5.) scissors

6.) Korere

7.) take picksher

8.) I cant

9.) Yeosu

10.) spaghetti

11.) brack a Opmue

12.) meat lonry

“Cindy”

1.) do the laundry

2.) take out the garbage

3.) put away the groceries

4.) Eingreisch (Evidently Cindy is also studying German?)

5.) scissors

6.) Korea

7.) take pictures

8.) ᅲ I’m sorry Mr C  ᅲ ᅲ  (A korean emoticon often used in actual written writing. It denotes crying eyes.)

9.) Yeosu

10.) spaghetti

11.) barock obamma

12.) meet roomny

“Lina”

1.) Do the lmarbury

“Lstephon says wash your colors with cold water”

2.)  Take out the garedary

3.) put away the grosharies

4.) Eishgler (“And this is Chris, my Eishgler teacher…”)

5.) sciaras

6.) Korea

7.) take pictures

8.) Missapp

9.) Yesue (But you LIVE here!)

10.) Spaghetti (and you spell that one right?)

 11.) Brock abama

12.) Why?

Tiffany

1.) do the laundry

2.) take out the garbage

3.) put away the groceries

4.) English

5.) scissors

6.) Koriani

7.) take pictures

8.) Mississippi (HEYO!)

9.) Yeosu

10.) spaghetti

11.) buruck O

12.) meat raumney

“Brian”

1.) do the launga

2.) take out the garbage

3.) put away the groceries

4.) English

5.) scissors

6.) Gorea 

7.) take pictures

8.) Oh my got

9.) Yeosu

10.) spagherri

11.) baurake oudama

12.) Meat larmer

These are desperate times, my friends.  Even skin-dying, Latino vote-pandering presidential candidates know this.

In response to  Mitt Romney’s hopeless comments about the 47% of Americans that don’t pay federal income taxes, it’s time we got to work.  Not bootstrap work– wet work.

Hey, every player has their pre-game rituals. The new NFL season is already in swing, and every team loves their audio-juice before showtime.

What I posit here are the best pre-robbery jack-you-up anthems for the clingers on, the desperate, the underemployed and unemployed, the seniors, and all the entitled masses of the pitiable half of America that needs a leg up, a little help, or a little boost (hopefully of the Luxury Sedan kind).

Throw on the ski masks and pop these in the tapedeck of your ’94 Datsun, you spoiled hangers-on you.

“John” Lil Wayne feat. Rick Ross

Rozay had different words on his version of this song called “I’m Not A Star” on his Teflon Don album, but with Li’l Wayne on board it’s been tweaked and is now fully enriched, weapons grade jacking music.

 

“The Set Up” O.B. Trice

A street allegory about not letting your girl call the shots.  The video has some good appearances by stalwart westsiders like Warren G and the late Nate Dogg, but it’s garbage overall.  I’ve listened to this song several dozen times without watching the video, but now I see that O.B. kind of just looks like a guy who just took off the ref jersey after a shift at Foot Locker.

 

“Hip Hop” Dead Prez

“Would you rather have a Lexus or Justice?”  It’s a dizzying music video from pan-african zealots bent on thwarting the monotony of the vacuous self-gratification of mainstream rap, and totally goes against what I’m going for in this blog.  But hey, the beat is dirty.  The duo mainly got their start in black activist groups, but they are legit emcees.

They spit the second-best head-spinner on today’s list:

“If you a fighter, rider, lighter, flame ignitor, crowd exciter
Or you wanna just get high
Then just say it
But then if you a liar-liar, pants on fire
Wolf-cry agent with a wire
I’m gon’ know it when I play it”

 

“Made You Look” Nas

“Don’t say my car’s topless/Say the titties is out.”

I was merely remarking on your convertible, Mr. Jones.

 

“No Church in the Wild” Jay-Z and Kanye West

The song is short and malevolent, and the video’s tight even if Jay doesn’t quite understand protests.  Kanye does a decent job handling vivid lines with the beat and even outshines Mr. Knowles with help from Frankie Bi-Coastal (Frank Ocean).

 

“Ante Up” M.O.P.

A good banger from dudes that are truly skilled at well, yelling as a group.  Other than this, they’ve only really peeked up fame’s skirt through a fruitless lawsuit with WWE’s John Cena.  They also rapped in Swedish on a track for a Swedish-Kenyan named Ken Ring, who’s noted for being arrested for performing a song about storming the Stockholm castle and raping their princess.

 

“Twinz (Deep Cover ’98)” Big Pun and Fat Joe 

It’s a sample of the original beat that got Snoop his break in ’92 with Dr. Dre for the soundtrack to Deep Cover, but the song may be better.  Pun died in 2000 from being huge but had the quickest tongue in the game.  Though it’s a short lyric it’s the best in the list since it staccatos out crackling like the gunfire he speaks of in the song.

“Dead in the middle of Little Italy little did we know
that we riddled some middleman who didn’t do diddily”

 

“99 problems” Jay-Z

Is “I got 99 problems and a bitch ain’t one” a line about shutting out girl problems *sniff sniff*, or is it about a drug dog?  Anyway, my greatest love of hip hop is the narrative, something disappearing without Jigga and Nas. Enjoy.

 

“I’ll Still Kill” 50 Cent feat. Akon

50 was swoll in this one and Akon still had pull in the game.  The video is so bleeped out it’s not worth a listen outside of the album but I assume if Floyd Mayweather ever stops being such a stubborn sissy and fights Pacquiao, he’ll put this on repeat for training.

Great rope skippin, murderin’, brainless gangster shit.

 

“Strictly For My N.****Z.” 2pac

Old school ‘pac with bass destructive to stereos but worth blowing out some old ones if you are planning an upgrade.  Despite the youtube picture, this was Shakur pre-Death Row, and it sounds like it.  There are plenty of hard Death Row cuts like Can’t C Me or even Nuthin’ But A G Thang, but it instils too much nostalgia to be an effective stimulant for a desperate felony in these desperate times.

 

“Get At Me Dog” DMX

He introduces the world to barking.  The world then introduces him to google.

 

“Natural Born Killaz” Dr. Dre ft. Ice Cube

The video is a got-damn production, showcasing what rap videos used to look like back when they had had plots. It also portrays two pudgy rappers who’ve now become steroided out (Dre) and sold out (Cube).

 

“Thug Motivation 101” Young Jeezy

The real beat doesn’t drop until  0:30, but his raspy exaggerations are worth waiting for the drop.  Thanks to Brenton for this one.

 

“Gimme The Loot”  Biggie Smalls

Like a some videos on this list, there isn’t a video.  Truthfully this is one where the narrative is best played out in your head listening to it.  A true storyteller, he plays two characters in the song–stick up boys–one under the tutelage of the other, changing characters in call and response through pitch and rhyme urgency.

Biggie A: “Man listen, all this walkin’ is hurtin’ my feet. Ooh-money look sweet–”

Biggie B: “Where at”

Biggie A: “In the Isuzu Jeep”

Biggie B: “Man, I throw ’em in the Beam, you grab the fuckin’ cream, and if he start to scream, BAM, BAM have a nice dream”

Mitt: “My job is not to worry about these people…but it would be helpful to be Latino.

Building in Defiance of Terrorism

Posted: September 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

11 years on.

Since that soul-wrenching day, we thought the new one would have filled the void by now.  While New Yorkers are getting there, the construction took a bit longer.  The memorial’s done, and a few surrounding buildings are up.  Overall, there have been strides in architecture and design in defiance of terrorism after a period where there was honest talk of capitulating to our terrorism worries and the era of the skyscraper coming to an end.   But we pushed on, and although the US is behind the ball in global skyscraper innovation, we still managed to throw a couple gems up in the past few years.

Before getting into some of the better examples of post 9/11 buildings, let’s take a few moments to parse through a few Interesting tidbits about the original Twin Towers:

  • Keeping in the New York tradition, the construction of the twin towers was a matter of huge consternation.  Logistical issues and political hand-wringing about how 110-story supertall boxes would destroy the city’s architectural synergy led to delays.  In a city renowned for the iconic gothic and art-deco jewels of the pre-WWII skyscraper race years, the city finally had to accept a new take on shape and texture over context.  Called New Formulism, it ushered in the post-modern building movement that continues globally to this day.
  • The guy who received the nod to head the design of the Towers was named Minoru Yamasaki, a New Formulist and second-generation Japanese American nisei from Seattle.    He eventually moved to NYC where he and his family were  shielded from Japanese-American internment during WWII by his architecture firm.  He designed a few things for the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair (but not the Space Needle) before starting an architecture firm in Detroit.
  • In rattling 9/11 irony, Yamasaki was also afraid of heights. This led to his decision to design 18-inch wide neo-gothic windows for the two corporate architectural masterpieces in lower Manhattan.
  • A 110-story skyscraper was almost green-lit 40 years before the Twin Towers rose.
  • 60 people died during construction of the World Trade Center from groundbreaking in 1966 to completion in 1970.
  • By 1931, only 5 People died during the less than two years it took to throw up the Empire State Building.  Take this with a pinch of salt–the times were fraught with number-fudging of all types.  Despite a few amazing snaps of pre-war American determination, a building like the Empire doesn’t rise like that without a sordid back story.  Look at the world’s tallest in Dubai; it’s a futuristic behemoth built on the toil of SE Asian laborers that would make the slave-builders of the ancient Pyramids look like lazy Union scabs.
  • Time in the Big Apple marches on. (By the way, no one from there actually calls it that, probably like Chicagoans never refer to their city as the Windy City, and San Franciscans hardly ever mutter the audio-revilement from hearing Frisco) . A great photo essay in the New Yorker takes you through Radio Row, a ramshackle street steeped in history where you could find cool cold-war technology swag that was leveled so the Towers could go up.  Protests over the destruction of Radio Row shut down WTC’s ascension for three weeks.  It seems to not matter to history that a public agency such as the Port Authority worked with developer David Rockefeller and his brother Nelson–then Governor of New York and grandson of the John D. Rockefeller–would condemn and evict 16 acres of businesses for public use for what was essentially a private real estate venture.  The supertall age had begun.

On David Rockefeller’s tombstone: “Here lies The Penguin”

  • Like the park that’s being created from the soil and rocks of a decapitated hill near Ungcheon beach in my current city in Yeosu, Korea, Battery Park City was created on reclaimed land from the excavation area for the Towers.
  • You can’t write something like this without wandering into youtube videos about that day.  I still shake at those images.  God bless the dead.
  • 1993 WTC bomber Ramzi Yousef was a terrorist MILF in the Philippines.   Now he’s cracking in SuperMax lockdown, something about needing human interaction.
  • I saw the memorial lights of lower Manhattan in September of 2008, always regretted that I never saw the true Twin Towers.
  • Conspiracy theories about the Towers being felled by the Government still abound.  This link is the least bonkers that I located ably.
  • The zany Frenchman that strung a wire between the towers made the best film about the towers–an artistic nail biter that brings honorific humanity to the giants without the morbidity.

  • The team that made the shameless trailer for this movie should be ashamed, however; the blood-money frenzy-whipping shots of planes and helicopters in lower Manhattan juxtaposed by police officers with crackling 2-ways and cloak-and-dagger building blueprints portend disaster.  This is all eerily reminiscent of the attacks when all that happens is a couple of agile frogs sneak into the tower to pull some acrobat shit from 110 stories up.

You decide:

  • The World Trade Center didn’t turn a profit to the developers until 1980 and were sold to a man named Larry Silverstein in the Summer of 2001.  Before they fell a few months later, they were one of the most financially successful and solvent pieces of property on the planet.
  • The first “Human Fly” to climb the towers was a guy named George Willig, a toy maker from Queens.  He made the epic ascent without a belay or ropes, but did construct a genius innovative device called an ascendeur that locked into the building’s channels and used friction to assist him.  In an interesting Sports Illustrated article after the feat, the sportswriter Sam Moses detailed how he used the ascendeur to inch up the South Tower: “Willig would lift one foot, bending his knee, slide the ascendeur up as high as his arm could reach, put the weight back on the foot and create a solid step up; then he would repeat the maneuver with the other foot.”
  • Even though there was talk of Willig being slammed with a $250,000 fine from a city almost bankrupt at the time, Mayor Abe Beame fined him only $1.10 for the stunt–a dollar for each floor.

 (Marie Osmond shows up around 0:50 looking 1970s hot and rocking some sort of bird sweater.  She shows us Willig’s ascendeur device and despite sounding like a goose with a broken neck, I’d get it if Donnie hit it.  Well done, tutz.)

THE BEST TERRORIST-DEFYING ARCHITECTURE SINCE 9/11

One World Trade Center, aka The Freedom Tower New York

This time around, Daniel Libeskind’s firm was selected among many designs to rebuild and give the ultimate middle finger to the terrorists.  By 2003, David Childs of architecture firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill (another finalist for the rebuilding of the site) came on to lead the redesign of the former Freedom Tower.  Childs is something of a visionary, having created the sterling transparency of New 7 World Trade Center.  It was one of the first buildings to be rebuilt after 9/11 and is also one of the safest.

Rebuilding is spelled ‘M-E-H'”

One World Trade Center’s evolution from soaring iconic phoenix–greater than it’s predecessor, inspirational to future superbuildings–has been marred in red tape symbolic of why other countries are zooming past the US into the 21st.

We just can’t get it together.  Getting a new building in was supposed to be a cathartic family trip after a horrific tragedy where Dad and Mom promised a summer road trip to Disneyworld, PSPs, and a shit ton of ice pops for everyone.

Instead we ended up with a Jugghead comic, baby carrots, and a day at the Downtown Jacksonville Walking Fair.

The New World Trade Center came about with the same degree (or more) of logistical consternation as the original WTC, especially regarding the need for capitalism (the reason for existence) to meet the sensitivities of a deeply hallowed site.  Neo-modernism and a lot of trimming, redrafting, and renaming resulted in the design and near completion of what has already been reported to be the tallest building in the United States, the former Freedom Tower and the also-ran monoliths that make up the entire complex of buildings, including the actually very touching memorial.

And its height is not as advertised. The roof of the old 1World Trade Center, also known as the North Tower (the one that had the antenna spire) was slightly taller than the South Tower, and also the exact same height as the roof of the new One World Trade Center, at 1,368 feet.  Its roof is also still lower than the 1,451 foot roof of the Sears Tower (it’ll never be the Willis Tower to me).  Still, even though the tip of the new WTC’s antenna spire will soar to a symbolic 1,776 feet–somewhat arbitrarily counting towards its height–I still feel like it’s a replacement puppy.

Trump International Hotel and Tower, Chicago

Hate giving this guy any due.  Still, in deference to the 9/11 attacks, developer and world-class rotten cocksucker Donald Trump scaled back his plans to make it the world’s tallest building, settling on it’s current humble height of 1,170 feet.

Even though it’s a tad bigger, from this picture, it still looks smaller than the old school formulist chunk sheathed in marble, the Aon Center.  This building came along about the same time at the original WTC and it’s another example of how dudes competing for world’s tallest building can play the height numbers in their favor (re: “avoiding phallic  inadequacy” or, “What Trump builds when people discover his hair is as real as a 3 sided coin”).

Let’s see a birth certificate for that rug, pal.

Comcast Building, Philadelphia

Kind of a nostalgia call for me.  Back when I was the white guy teaching Spanish to black kids in West Philly (Ayo…Senor Lilly, what kinda Mexican you claimin’ to be, son?)  I drove to school along City Ave off of I-76 in the mornings, always looking left at the Philly skyline as the elevator shafts, and the steel and glass rose on the new monster.

Philly is an immense city, the second biggest on the East Coast.  I loved the buildings there, ever rooting for more to compete with it’s bigger and better cousin about 90 minutes up the turnpike.  Still, the Philly/South Jersey accent is abhorrent, a mashup of New York and Jersey and the countryside and maybe even the UK ?  New Yorkers routinely shit on Philly’s skyline, sports teams, and people.

Maybe not altogether uncalled for:

Local Philly Union grunt with tribal tats on tree stump-wide calves: “Yee-ah, uh, yo git me a hayogie, a soh-ooda, som fuckin’ tasty cakes an’ som wooder before I beat the hell outta youze guys, aright!?  What’s that?  E-A-G-L-E-S, Eagles!  Wooo!!! Fuggun’ Andy Reid’s the worst, bro!”

 Mayor Michael Nutter: “Right?!  Dat whale needsta lee’ town!”

Grandmother with forearm tats: “I wunn-ed Cheez Whiz on dat hayogie!”

But until the 1980s, there was a “Gentleman’s Agreement” that no building would surpass William Penn’s statue standing atop the 548-foot city hall.  Although it’s one of the world’s largest municipal buildings (over 700 rooms and the world’s tallest statue on top of a building), it’s dwarfed by the nearly 1,000 foot Comcast skyscraper.  Unfortunately for this building, it resulted in looking like something else–a problem with many skyscrapers from Shanghai to Atlanta.

This one looks like a USB stick.

How many Gigs that thing hold?

8 Spruce Street, New York

A great example of mixed-use Frank Gehry architecture with the predictable shitload of amenities like movie theaters, fitness centers, and corporate space for a designer mostly renowned for the Guggenheim in Spain.  Up close its façade displays a flapping ribbon look or maybe that of crumpled paper.  As Manhattan’s greatest and biggest residential tower, Russian doll columns build toward the stratosphere near city hall off of the Brooklyn Bridge, giving those of the 718 and 347 area code another reason to look west from their fixed-speed bicycles.

Cowboy Stadium, Dallas

Jerry Jones went HAM on this the first billion-dollar stadium in the world.  I know.  Not a tower.  But if it’s not an achievement in big-dickery then Mitt Romney is the goddamn coke-sniffing life of the party.

Largest domed stadium in the world.

3 Million square feet.

Cheerleader sideboob on the world’s biggest JumboTron.

When they told him, “Not gon’ happ’n, Jer,” he said, “Hwell shee-yit, I’mownthink it is gon’ happ’n or I’m not an O-I-L oalman and riverboat gambler!”

Now Tony Romo can see his tears and interceptions even easier than the defense can.

The biggest stadium in the NFL for the team with the most financial clout seats as many as 100,000 rednecks and fairweather fans.  I’m not a Cowboys fan or crusty old natural-gas drilling tycoon masquerading-as-coach fan but he dreamt big.  The terrorists did NOT win on this one.  Except the fact that Cowboy fans may get their own version of tainted tap water and Erin Brockovich-boots since they’ve decided to begin fracking for hydrocarbons and natural gas pretty much next to the new stadium.

Still, sick digs, cowpoke.

But for somebody to erect such a histrionic stadium, you think he could have spent a little more time choosing the right cosmetic surgeon…

“Here lies Two Face.”

Posted: August 29, 2012 in Uncategorized

Dong Won Demarco

It was a big spewing mass of hot air whose only desire was to whip people into a frenzy worrying about society’s destruction.  It downed trees, destroyed signs, and shattered homes—and this wasn’t even the Republican National Convention.

Known as a typhoon in Asia, the biggest hurricane to hit Korea in ten years was certainly a force, but in the end it didn’t flood the city, capsize ships or shatter storefronts.  The anticipation was far greater.  I can morbidly admit that I was tepidly awaiting Korea’s storm of the century–my first big storm.  The wait cracked the nerves of many expats, and the tumultuous buildup from foreigner internet searches may have been the storm itself as English teachers nationwide hit the social media front en masse to bitch about their school’s hurricane policies.  Maybe unfairly, many schools required teachers to report to school while their students stayed at home.

Massive cyclone coming your way?

This is hard-working…

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