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Current Topic: Home and Garden

American Ruins
Topic: Home and Garden 10:48 am EST, Nov 17, 2007

"American Ruins" is the first photography book to document historic ruins throughout the United States. It presents a stunning visual record of ruins ranging from ancient Native American dwellings in the Southwest to the remains of Gilded Age mansions on the East Coast and a king's summer home in Hawaii. Luminous infrared photographs expose crumbled walls, weathered facades and overgrown flora, and are accompanied by brief essays detailing the historical, geographical and architectural significance of each site. This landmark publication raises awareness of and appreciation for overlooked ruins that remain unknown even to most Americans. It captures the visual poetry of each place and offers a new way of seeing the landscape, the past and the collective identity of America. This work is a unique, awe-inspiring photographic record of American history. This is the first photographic record of historic ruins throughout the United States. It will appeal to anyone interested in architecture, photography, history, archaeology and Americana.

See also Arthur Drooker Photography.

American Ruins

Being There
Topic: Home and Garden 10:49 am EDT, Sep 23, 2007

I stood on a steeply sloping hillside deep in the Black Forest, panting, bathed in sweat and covered in mud. A group of llamas had stopped grazing nearby to watch me. After disorientation and fatigue, flying, driving, walking, and running, after springing over an electrified fence and sliding down a wooded slope, after losing my phone, my wife, and my bearings, I had at last found Martin Heidegger's hut.

Being There

While in the Kitchen, Stir the Stew and Surf the Web
Topic: Home and Garden 10:49 am EDT, Sep 23, 2007

Putting a computer in the kitchen is not a new idea. Neiman Marcus, the department store, included an ad for a Honeywell kitchen computer, priced at $10,600, in its 1969 Christmas catalog.

The ad featured a woman in need of a computer to manage recipe quantities and carried the slogan, “If she can only cook as well as Honeywell can compute.”

The latest generation of kitchen computers may be more successful, and not just because the ads are less patronizing.

While in the Kitchen, Stir the Stew and Surf the Web

Monkey misery for Kenyan women villagers | BBC
Topic: Home and Garden 6:41 am EDT, Aug 31, 2007

Bad monkeys!

A troop of monkeys is giving Kenyan villagers long days and sleepless nights, destroying crops and causing a food crisis.

Local MP Paul Muite told parliament that the monkeys had taken to harassing and mocking women in a village.

Nachu's women have tried wearing their husbands' clothes in an attempt to trick the monkeys into thinking they are men - but this has failed, they say.

"The monkeys can tell the difference ... They just ignore us and continue to steal the crops."

"The monkeys grab their breasts, and gesture at us while pointing at their private parts."

See also:

I have also been harassed by vervets. The vervet in the photo above stole my bananas.

The vervet was quick and smart, I must grant him that. But he was also greedy.

The bunch of bananas - about eight bananas - was too heavy for the vervet. He could therefore only drag them behind him, slowing him down considerably, and keeping him from the trees. My pursuit through woods and valleys was closing the gap.

I was about to dive for the bananas - honest, actually dive for them - when the vervet cut his losses by plucking one banana from the bunch and scrambling up a tree. He chattered down at me sarcastically between bites of his purloined banana.

I believe I shook my fist at him, as humans are known to do when provoked.

Monkey misery for Kenyan women villagers | BBC

Bear carcasses spark alarm
Topic: Home and Garden 12:28 pm EDT, Jul  6, 2007

Gary Ziak came across the remains of about 10 bears last week. While the heads, hides and paws piled at Jewell Meadows weren't visible from the highway, turkey vultures circling the heap were, said Ziak, who builds roads for Nygaard Logging. His curiosity turned into alarm when he took a closer look.

One bad apple ...

Like sea lions snacking on Columbia River salmon, it's not the entire bear species causing problems. Bark-peeling is a learned behavior, Higgins said, pointing to research by Wildlife Services in Olympia, Wash.

"One bear will teach another bear, and then that bear will do it," he said. "There are bears that peel and bears that don't peel. We target peeling bears."

And of course, I can't pass up this opportunity:

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The "Bear Patrol" is working like a charm!
Lisa: That's specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: [uncomprehendingly] Thanks, honey.
Lisa: By your logic, I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Hmm. How does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work; it's just a stupid rock!
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
Homer: (pause) Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

Bear carcasses spark alarm

Sprawl Outruns Lofty Experiment
Topic: Home and Garden 10:54 am EDT, May 28, 2006

Who knew City Planet would occur in the desert? Gibson taught us to expect it in the Northeast corridor, or around Tokyo. But Phoenix?

The Biosphere, miles from nowhere when it was built in the 1980's, is now within the reach of a building boom streaking north from Tucson and south from Phoenix (and which some demographers say will eventually join the two cities, once 100 miles apart).

It could be replaced by a housing development called Biosphere Estates. In January, Fairfield registered that name and a number of variants with the State of Arizona.

Sprawl Outruns Lofty Experiment

Welcome to the dead zone
Topic: Home and Garden 9:01 am EDT, May 13, 2006

Contracts are being canceled, deals are drying up, prices are starting to drop. The psychology is shifting even as thousands of new homes and condos join the for-sale listings each day - so the downward pressure will only get worse.

Speculators who bought overpriced condos in hope of a quick killing are going to get hosed.

Welcome to the dead zone

Housing Bubble Trouble
Topic: Home and Garden 10:49 am EDT, Apr  2, 2006

WITH NEW HOME SALES DOWN 10.5 percent in February, and with home prices declining for the fourth month in a row, it's high time for a sober look at the consequences of a major housing correction.

Roughly a quarter of the jobs created since the 2001 recession have been in construction, real estate, and mortgage finance.

Consider the price-to-income ratio (above, right), an obvious measure of affordability. This ratio has reached an unprecedented level in the bubble markets. While this ratio hovered around its average of 4-to-1 for the past 30 years, it has zoomed to nearly 8-to-1. The current figure is 3.6 standard deviations from its average level, which, if the data have a normal bell-shaped distribution, means the odds of the price-to-income ratio reaching this level would be less than 1 in 300. In other words, it is off the charts.

Housing Bubble Trouble

The Bachelor Pad Still Lives
Topic: Home and Garden 9:19 am EST, Mar 26, 2006

GENTLEMEN: just because you are bachelors living alone does not mean that you have bachelor pads.

Pair this with the piece in the latest New Yorker, "The Gils Next Door", especially the part quoted by Jello:

This whole "bachelor" world, with the brandy snifters and the attractive guest arriving for the night: did it ever exist?

Yes, as a fantasy. Now, however, it is the property of homosexuals.

Today, if you try to present yourself as a suave middle-aged bachelor, people will assume you're gay.

The Bachelor Pad Still Lives

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