Commentary From the Mile High City

"Star of the conservative blogosphere" Denver Post

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Joshua Sharf

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July 3, 2008


Over at the phenomenal Paleo-Future, we find this, from Our Friend the Atom:

The coal and oil resources of our planet are dwindling, yet we need more and more power. The atomic Genie offers us an almost endless source of energy. For the growth of our civilization, therefore, our first wish shall be for: POWER!

This was published in 1956.

But even if you do disagree, and believe that we're only a few corn stalks away from going back to horse-carts and coal-fired steam engines, go take a look at the site. It's fascinating. Yes, I've already told Lileks about it.

July 10, 2007

Pennsylvania 6-5000

That's actually a real phone number, in this case, the Hotel Pennsylvania, just across 7th Avenue from Penn Station in Manhattan. It's the longest-serving phone number in New York, and it's about to be replaced. It was the home to a number of great swing bands in its day, and Glenn Miller, apparently hard up for inspiration, used the phone number.

Both the hotel and the original train station were built by the Pennsylvania Railroad. If you follow the link to destruction, they'll tell you it opened with 2200 rooms in 1919, and was designed by McKim, Mead, and White. It used to be one of the great New York hotels, being at one time or another part of the great Statler chain, eventually bought out by Hilton. After passing through bankruptcy, it later re-emerged as the Hotel Pennsylvania. It was one of the fine hotels just pre-Art Deco, but flexible enough to be deco-ed up by the chandelier and the artwork in the lobby. By the time I stayed there - twice - it was already fading, and now it's considered "discount," a dangerous status for a building with that kind of location. There's a plan to the lobby, but not to the main floor, and the shops are all different, crammed in like different tenants on a old strip mall. Each has its own flavor, but together they're a mishmosh.

I did stay there when I was in grade school and then again in high school. Each time it was for a school trip to the UN - once to the real thing, once to a convention dedicated to our recreating it to show how important and effective it was. Bleh. Now, what I remember most about the trip was a detour, courtesy of my Dad, to a deli near Lincoln Center where they loaded me up with the Dagwood Bumstead Special for about $1.50.

There's something seriously wrong with an educational system taht idolizes international bureaucrats and ignores great architecture.

February 28, 2006

More Design

So I'm tooling around the 24 website, and it turns out that the main set designer is answering questions on a design blog about why President Weasel Logan's retreat looks as though they got the plans from a 1955 Popular Mechanics. They did. It turns out it's from something called "mid-century modern," which is supposed to be timeless, except that you immediately know what decade it's from. Sure, it's a better decade than this, but you'd think all that tax money would buy something a little more...distinctive.

In any case, it turns out that this site was merely the gateway to all sorts of design sites. Some of them will be permanent additions to the links. This site, for instance, devoted to typography. Except for the fact that they think Kerry lost in part because his campaign's typeface was too derivative. I think of that as a reflection of his whole persona.

MocoLoco is a blog devoted to modern design, is picture-heavy, and updated frequently. You know that Expedia commercial where the young couple is imagining their parents blundering their way through a way-too-modern Swedish hotel? This is the place.

IDFuel is apparently feeling the energy crunch, because it's not getting updated all that often. But the most recent posting is a field trip to one of my favorite companies, IDEO, so I'm hoping they'll rediscover the blog-spark.

The Vienna Public Library had furniture like this when I was growing up, including but not limited to the Men In Black test-taking egg-chair. Call it the Persistence of Banality.

Design Addict has a (somewhat thin) searchable database of design, but a really good links page to make up for it.

Red Dot is a German design site that runs an annual competition, with typically central-European self-important prose. Some of the stuff is cool. Other concepts make you understand why the Islamists are taking over.

December 5, 2005


Not usually a big Charlie Rose fan. He's a little unctuous, and a little too fond of Our Worst Ex-President, but I needed some background noise while coding, so I flipped it on today.

Turned out he was interviewing an architect, a guy from this firm (warning: Flash Player Required; don't worry, it's safe).

This is interesting stuff. Unlike Liebeskind, each project looks different, although there's definitedly a "style," and he doesn't seem allergic to right angles. Gets a spot over on the "design" section to the left...


Power, Faith, and Fantasy

Six Days of War

An Army of Davids

Learning to Read Midrash

Size Matters

Deals From Hell

A War Like No Other


A Civil War

Supreme Command

The (Mis)Behavior of Markets

The Wisdom of Crowds

Inventing Money

When Genius Failed

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Back in Action : An American Soldier's Story of Courage, Faith and Fortitude

How Would You Move Mt. Fuji?

Good to Great

Built to Last

Financial Fine Print

The Day the Universe Changed


The Multiple Identities of the Middle-East

The Case for Democracy

A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam

The Italians

Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory

Beyond the Verse: Talmudic Readings and Lectures

Reading Levinas/Reading Talmud