Posts Tagged ‘architecture’

The Fourth

July 4, 2008

Well…my big plans for the 4th — driving to Newport Beach (specifically to Balboa Island) to live the good life — were thwarted when I was halfway there and my friends called to tell me that they’d closed the streets on Balboa because of overcrowding. Or something. So I turn around and head back to Malibu except I can’t get to the beach in Malibu because of a fire in the canyon. Those things are scarey. So I’m roughing it like the rest of you.

Not all is lost, though.

It’s the 4th, which, of course, brings us the single greatest sporting event of the year. This year was even greatester, as there was an actual overtime period to the hotdog eating contest. Chestnutt, I think, was just toying with Kobayashi. 

I’m reading a couple of books that are just eat up with interesting. One is about water. Anyone name the three qualities water possesses that make it such an incredible molecule? Me either, although I remember my professors always talking about them. But the book, Water: The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource, by Marq De Villiers, kept me up last night. I couldn’t put it down. Quick summary: Water is both abundant and scarce; we need to think a bit more about how we use water; wars over water aren’t far-fetched.

Also reading: Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives, edited by Peter Orner. A collection of stories told by undocumented people living in America. The stories are fascinating and heartbreaking. I’ll actually try to write something about this book later (honest). It’s amazing the things people put themselves through to live in America. I know immigration is a huge issue, and there is no simple solution to the problem of people illegally coming to America. I think understanding where some of these people come from and what they go through and why they go through it is important.

I know that JU has read Richard Price’s Lush Life. I finished it a week or so ago. It was way good. Mary Ann Gwinn (from the National Book Critics Circle) agrees. She has this to say: This is the first book of Price’s I’ve read, and the best novel I’ve had the pleasure to spend time with in many a while. It is utterly contemporary (about a murder on Manhattan’s Lower East Side), so it’s not really an escape; more like deep-diving into the social and psychological currents of our culture. Like other Price readers, I keep thinking of Dickens when I read him, for his grasp of character, dialogue and incredible feeling for textural detail. In a hundred years readers will go back to this book to fathom what Life Was Like in our age; I suspect they’ll find, as we do when we read Dickens, that the more things change, the more people remain the same – mucking things up, then reaching for redemption.

Also: We should hire a staff writer to write about architecture. That’s my idea for the month. If Al will make me editor of the architecture section, the first assignment for our expert would be to discuss what has to be hands-down the coolest skyscraper ever. The crazy building will rotate, move, and change shape. I’ve never wanted to live in Dubai more than right this very moment.