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I am still trying to figure out why the City thinks there's a real governmental interest in replacement windows and siding. I can understand plumbing and electrical, there are life safety issues there, but windows? Siding? Why would the City care one whit about those?

I do have a complaint about the electrical permits. The City won't let you pul your own permit, you have to spend a ton of money to hire a master electrician. Why not let me pull my own permit, and red tag me if I don't do the work correctly? That little rule means I'm not rewiring my garage, becuase the quotes I received averaged $2300, while I could do it for about $150 in materials. Yes, I know how to do the rewiring.

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Yes.. let's go frolic in IronTiger's thought provoking threads. I'm sorry, but this forum is better with Niche, Red, and Meme contributing.

Speaking of which, when and where is our next happy hour?

Quantity ≠ Quality

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I am still trying to figure out why the City thinks there's a real governmental interest in replacement windows and siding. I can understand plumbing and electrical, there are life safety issues there, but windows? Siding? Why would the City care one whit about those?

It's all about revenue. The building department and fire department have imposed a whole bunch of new permits over the last 10 years or so. Unlike the police, they have no other way of generating revenue and were told a long time ago to either bring more money in or cut back on staffing.

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It's all about revenue. The building department and fire department have imposed a whole bunch of new permits over the last 10 years or so. Unlike the police, they have no other way of generating revenue and were told a long time ago to either bring more money in or cut back on staffing.

The walking apes that currently hold elected office should be voted OUT!

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$500 a day, I think. :o You know, I'd consider it, except there are posters on this forum who claim to have taken photos of old houses in the Heights, in order to snitch us out to the City. That's the kind of friendly neighbors we have here. Guess they never heard the term, "snitches end up in ditches".

Back before the final ordinance took effect, a friend of mine was actually tagged for doing that. She had no idea that a permit AND HAHC review was required. They simply made her get reviewed and buy a permit. However, that was when HAHC was trying to convince everyone they were reasonable. Anyone who has watched their meetings knows that is no longer the case.

On the other hand, there ARE ways to avoid the City's heavy hand. Repairs up to 128 square feet are exempt from permitting, and if you reuse the siding there is nothing for HAHC to review. Most of my walls are less than 128 square feet when the window area is subtracted out. I could repair the walls getting the most sun without going over the limit. They also happen to be the walls that are most in need of maintenance and repair.

if you grow large shrubs and trees so no one can see your house from the street, I'm not sure what they would see :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

<Rant>

Dealership tags on new cars have always pissed me off. New cars don't arrive at the dealership with the decals on; these are things the dealerships slap on. When I ordered a new car in 05, I insisted they not be put on my car, and the dealership complied.

My thought process is this: The Dealership is not paying me a monthly fee to rent advertising space on the back of my new car, therefore they have zero right to clutter up the back of my new investment with their crap decal.

As a tangent, it's only clutter that the middle class has to deal with. Can't recall the last time I saw a Mercedes, BMW, or Corvette with dealership tags.

What started this trend, I don't know, but dealerships get away with it because it doesn't occur to consumers to fight back.

You owe no loyalty to the Knapps, Gullos, and Mac Haiks of this town, and they sure as heck aren't sending you a monthly rental check.

</Rant>

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Can't recall the last time I saw a Mercedes, BMW, or Corvette with dealership tags.

I have seen one Mercedes-Benz dealership install one of those tags on the paint. It was from Dick Dyer Mercedes-Benz in Columbia, SC. Some other Mercedes-Benz dealerships around the nation opted to install a grille badge in lieu of the more common trunklid badge or license plate frame.

I worked for a Mercedes-Benz dealership briefly. One thing the clients used to do is bring their car in to the service department to have the license plates installed. God forbid the owner would have to actually use a hand tool to do it with their own hands! But the general procedure would be to just install the plates. If they had a competing dealer's license plate frame, we would switch it out. If they already had our frame, custom frames, or no frame at all, we would not install our metal.

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I don't mind the dealership license plate frames. Those are easy to remove if you are like me and have a peculiar hatred for them.

But the metal, metal looking plastic, or sticker decals is another thing. I don't know what kind of adhesive is used, but I wouldn't trust myself to remove them from my brand new car without possibly harming the paint.

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I don't mind the dealership license plate frames. Those are easy to remove if you are like me and have a peculiar hatred for them.

But the metal, metal looking plastic, or sticker decals is another thing. I don't know what kind of adhesive is used, but I wouldn't trust myself to remove them from my brand new car without possibly harming the paint.

I think they can be removed by using a hair drier to heat up the adhesive and then using a piece of dental floss to cut through the adhesive and get the emblem off. Any adhesive that's still left may have to be removed with a clay bar.

I think the worst offender is the Katy dealerships. They use these letters in a faux Mercedes-Benz style font, often placed without regard to space between letters or whether the letters are level with one another. They use letters which look like this. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Car-Auto-Emblem-Badge-Decals-Chrome-Letter-Sticker-3D-/220743236011?hash=item33655279ab&item=220743236011&pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&vxp=mtr

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It was 2:00AM. I was hungry and frugal. I dined on the chicken burrito combo meal at the Taco Bell on Ella for the sum total of $2.19. It was satisfactory for the price. I'm finishing off the little bag of Doritos as I type this very message. There. They're gone!

Ever the indulgent masochist, I'm ready to receive your hipster dogpiling.

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It was 2:00AM. I was hungry and frugal. I dined on the chicken burrito combo meal at the Taco Bell on Ella for the sum total of $2.19. It was satisfactory for the price. I'm finishing off the little bag of Doritos as I type this very message. There. They're gone!

Ever the indulgent masochist, I'm ready to receive your hipster dogpiling.

Someone should probably go check on The Niche. He didn't issue any salvoes on behalf of the road hustlers in the METRO thread after this post. He may have aspirated that last Dorito.

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Someone should probably go check on The Niche. He didn't issue any salvoes on behalf of the road hustlers in the METRO thread after this post. He may have aspirated that last Dorito.

Where does he live now?

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And as for myself, I'm just one cog in a huge ancient unfeeling machine. It doesn't particularly care about me and I don't particularly care about it. It'll be there long after I've been worn down and replaced with a new cog...There needn't be a cause, purpose, or delusion.

PM to The Niche: Aww, alone in an implacable cosmos...You're breaking my heart with all that "Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?" stuff.

I am not wholly interchangeable, only replaceable to within a measure of tolerance and a thousand times redundant.

Nor am I passively indifferent... Without purpose but by my nature, I am actively engaged in the persuasion of others to become indifferent like me.

PM to All Others: I think he is assembling a cog army of likeminded cogpersons and that he has designs on Kamchatka. Cogs and materiel would then be moved west via a Northern Trans-Siberian Cog Railway. Yakutsk is thus vulnerable. He should be watched. But not closely.

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DISCOVERY CHANNEL

11:00 PM to 12:00 PM, 8/6/12

"Mermaids: The Body Found"

Repeat, HD, Examining the speculation that the mythical sea creatures may be real--and claims that authorities are keeping it a secret. (2011), (Documentary).

They even bothered to spend a fair bit of money on CG of blue-skinned mermaids that had decidedly Celtic facial features.

Whatever happened to the footage of actual lions actually mating?

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latest home project...sorry the dam photos is so large

IMG_1894.jpg

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

"I've had many problems in my life, most of which were imagined." - Mark Twain

Chuck Dee - AKA Chris

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OK, I am 8 days into the full attic insulation analysis, and I thought I'd share some numbers. Since last Saturday, I haven't used 60 kwh in a day yet. The first few days were rainy and overcast, but usage plummeted to 32 to 40 kwh. On Monday, we started getting back into regular summer sun and heat. Every day from Monday through Friday has ranged between 56 and 58 kwh. Temperatures for those 5 days ranged from 91 to 95. Last year, usage ran from 80 to over 100 kwh per day. Admittedly, those were higher temps, but it looks like I am saving at least 20% with the new insulation.

The most important factor is that the AC continues to cycle throughout the afternoon. Last summer, the AC would run continuously from about 11 am to midnighte, or later. This, of course, ran up electricity usage, but, since the unit was maxed out, it could not keep the house to the set temp. If the AC is cycling, it clearly has enough capacity to keep up with the high temps.

The takeaway from this is that extra insulation in the attic pays big dividends. My $630 investment will probably pay for itself in 2 summers. Add in gas savings over the winter, and it will be less. It needs to be a minimum R-30, or 9 inches. R-38 is even better. And, it is not that hard to do yourself, so you can save money on install labor. Just do it.

Now, if I could only find a way to do my walls this cheap. :(

So, I went a month or so with really good results on my AC usage. The AC was cycling like it should, and total electricity usage was staying reasonably low. Then at the end of last week and all this week my usage shot up. The temp would go up to 82 and stay there until the evening. It was like it was before I insulated. Then, today I get home at noon and it is already 80 degrees in the house. By 2 pm it is 86. I call the AC guy. He can't come out til tomorrow, but says turn off the AC until he gets here. It's probably a freon leak. ARRGHH!!! It's the middle of August! So, I trudge out to the garage and hang out in my unfinished gameroom with working AC for awhile. Then I roll out my portable AC unit and take it in the house. It's only 10,000 Btu, and the house is now up to 88 degrees! But, I'll give that thing credit. It cranks out ice cold air, and has taken the temp down to 85 in the living room and 86 throughout the house.

I may make it after all.

Edited by RedScare
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I had a close call last week, the drain pan overflowed, and I assumed the worst, but it was just that the drain pipe was clogged, blew it out and dried off the ceiling and it has been cranking on as no 1980s AC unit ever should. I wish it would give up the ghost though, I bet if I got a new one, it would drop my bill significantly.

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Sorry to hear that... let us know if it was indeed a freon leak.

Turns out it was not a freon leak. Saturday, we turned the AC back on after cleaning the compressor and the cooling fins and pumping a couple of gallons of freon, and it worked fine. However, the compressor is drawing a high amperage, so we believe it will fail sooner rather than later. I now need to decide whether to replace the compressor with another that take R-22 freon, or buy a whole new system that comes with R-410. Depending on how efficient I get, a new system might cost $1,000 to $2,000 more than just replacing my old compressor...but I'd get a new 10 year warranty.

Right now, I'm just hoping this old one makes it through September.

BTW, any comments or advice on keeping the old 13 SEER unit versus upgrading to a new one is appreciated. The "old" unit is only 5 years old, but had a compressor go out in 2011, and seems about to lose a 2nd one...no longer in warranty.

Edited by RedScare
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As luck would have it, the neighbor is having his AC looked at, so I ran my scenario by his AC mechanic. He doesn't think anything is wrong with the compressor at all. He thinks I have a freon leak. That sure would be cheaper to fix a freon leak than replace a compressor or an entire system. Getting a second opinion is a good thing.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Alright, goddammit, how do you unfriend someone from facebook? I got a guy on here going through a divorce, and I am sick and tired of his sappy postings every single day. I'm serious. I looked, and couldn't find the unfriend button. Probably because I am seeing red.

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Alright, goddammit, how do you unfriend someone from facebook? I got a guy on here going through a divorce, and I am sick and tired of his sappy postings every single day. I'm serious. I looked, and couldn't find the unfriend button. Probably because I am seeing red.

Here's some good instructions on essentially putting htem on ignore http://www.wikihow.com/Unfriend-Someone-on-Facebook-Without-Actually-Unfriending-Them

If that isn't what you want, Google unfriend on facebook, which will give you copious links with pictures.

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Here's some good instructions on essentially putting htem on ignore http://www.wikihow.c...nfriending-Them

If that isn't what you want, Google unfriend on facebook, which will give you copious links with pictures.

Ah, thank you. I don't hang out on facebook much (obviously), but every time I visit this hurt puppy dog has some horribly sappy quote posted. Clearly, he is hoping the ex will see it and return, but all it is doing is running everyone else off.

Advice to the lovelorn: We really don't care how great your lover used to be...or even still is. Keep it to yourself!

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Luciaphile, I reject romanticism in favor of humanism. That's my MO. Granted, it's a lot easier to say that than to contribute to the administration of my preferences. I never claimed to be an effective advocate of my beliefs, some kind of social engineer. I shall only state them and hope that others might prevail upon my reasoning to win small humanistic victories, even if I should never know of them.

I am surprised to hear you so describe yourself. I would have said you had cast yourself in the mold of a latter-day Bazarov, complete with his not-very-active nihilism; he was mainly at pains to convey that he was comfortable living in the world just as he found it, and sneered at the reformist impulse as at tradition and aestheticism. Of course, Turgenev, a member of the generation Bazarov disdains, kills him off "tragically;" which ironically makes him seem a sort of Romantic figure after all. But you seem to have a happy ending in view, as you are pleased with the status quo, and I accept that you are utterly sincere in your certainty that individual actors are impotent, interchangeable "within a measure of tolerance" (I can't help but feel you've left yourself a little out there).

"Humanist" perhaps threw me off because the early humanists were unhappy with what they saw as a degraded present and immediate past, looking back to the distant Roman, and somewhat later, Greek, secular past; which couldn't be more at odds with your anti-preservationist bent. However, I'll assume you mean by that mutable term something like, you are interested primarily, or only, in human material welfare, best produced by markets operating efficiently.

If so, why should you feel that humanism needs you to set small victories in motion? -- it more than prevails, it is everywhere triumphant (which is to say nothing about human misery one way or the other).

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I am surprised to hear you so describe yourself. I would have said you had cast yourself in the mold of a latter-day Bazarov, complete with his not-very-active nihilism; he was mainly at pains to convey that he was comfortable living in the world just as he found it, and sneered at the reformist impulse as at tradition and aestheticism. Of course, Turgenev, a member of the generation Bazarov disdains, kills him off "tragically;" which ironically makes him seem a sort of Romantic figure after all. But you seem to have a happy ending in view, as you are pleased with the status quo, and I accept that you are utterly sincere in your certainty that individual actors are impotent, interchangeable "within a measure of tolerance" (I can't help but feel you've left yourself a little out there).

I feel like I've said that "individual actors are impotent, interchangeable within a measure of tolerance" at some point in the past. Is that a direct quote of mine, or did you arrive at it independently? In either case, I'm impressed with your memory of literary esoterica and that you've added me to that library of knowledge.

Please note that I'm not pleased with the status quo, however I am generally displeased with popular suggestions at changing it.

Also, happy endings are not guaranteed. They are the brief moment in between accomplishment and the next furthest extreme of ambition. For me, they average two days and occur perhaps once a year. And a curious thing about happiness; although government is capable of imposing despair, it is utterly incapable of imposing happiness. It can grant contentment (such as cattle in a pasture might feel), but it cannot give me a personal accomplishment.

"Humanist" perhaps threw me off because the early humanists were unhappy with what they saw as a degraded present and immediate past, looking back to the distant Roman, and somewhat later, Greek, secular past; which couldn't be more at odds with your anti-preservationist bent. However, I'll assume you mean by that mutable term something like, you are interested primarily, or only, in human material welfare, best produced by markets operating efficiently.

I'm mostly keying from the variety of humanism espoused by Kurt Vonnegut and as an expressed worldview that's most likely to get me laid. Nihilism just doesn't do that for me. And besides, nihilism implies fatalism which doesn't allow for me to be pissed off enough at stupid people and smart assholes.

As for preservationism, I am not against it. I've probably spent more money and devoted more time to actively rescuing cool old buildings than 99% of the members of this forum. OTOH, I've also embellished them in ways that make them more noticeable, even cooler, and more easily appreciated on account of nuance as an accent. I do not pretend to be creating museum pieces. I could not (because I would not) have done what I've done if I'd had to contend with some kind of puritanical traditionalist architecture fascists. And that's perhaps unfortunate because I'd be a wealthier man today.

If so, why should you feel that humanism needs you to set small victories in motion? -- it more than prevails, it is everywhere triumphant (which is to say nothing about human misery one way or the other).

It doesn't need me to. I am an abysmal missionary. I can merely hope for small victories.

Edited by TheNiche
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I'm mostly keying from the variety of humanism espoused by Kurt Vonnegut and as an expressed worldview that's most likely to get me laid. Nihilism just doesn't do that for me. And besides, nihilism implies fatalism ...

Chicks dig fatalists. I'm thinking of the life-sized poster of Jim Morrison (dead fatalist: better still) in leather pants in my girlhood bedroom, but the vampire vogue still bears it out.

I haven't read much modern fiction and no Vonnegut at all (thus satisfying my newly-formulated law - it's uncanny - one day on Swamplot you railed against my naive faith in home ownership, and it was the very day we had decided to pay off our mortgage!) and watched bewildered and a little nonplussed as my fast-reading son brought his books home from the library one after another. I regret that I was too lazy/slow to read them too; it would perhaps have been a neutral subject he and I could have talked about, which we could have used. Well, anyway, I suppose I remember one Vonnegut story, the one about the ballerina and the athlete (?) who had to be killed because they jeopardized the project of egalitarianism, because they were not interchangeable with others within an acceptable measure of tolerance...

I feel like I've said that "individual actors are impotent, interchangeable within a measure of tolerance" at some point in the past. Is that a direct quote of mine, or did you arrive at it independently?

Let me try to help you remember, without actually looking for it:

It was during the Bag Ban Unpleasantness (by the way, yes, I saw the other day that report that bag bans drive business to non-bag-ban places, but we don't care who gets the business, right?). You and another poster had double-teamed me most un-gallantly. I was my usual sweet self, but you were so rude the moderator had to take you outside. So you may have been in a good mood that day? I think you were eating something from the Taco Bell dollar menu at the time. Does that help?

... which doesn't allow for me to be pissed off enough at stupid people and smart assholes.

..but we are all of us stupid at moments. Why so harsh? Especially if 'nothing human is alien to you,' you cuddly humanist.

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Chicks dig fatalists. I'm thinking of the life-sized poster of Jim Morrison (dead fatalist: better still) in leather pants in my girlhood bedroom, but the vampire vogue still bears it out.

To my mind, the fatalism was incidental to those figures' appeal or perhaps mistaken for another quality. I tend to think of the girl mind through archetypes present in medieval fairy tales. Morrison was a wizard of the old school. Think about it. He was an individualist whose powers were nurtured by his own personal achievements and proprietary knowledge; he had potions of all variety (and let us not forget that the word potion derives from the word potent); although capable of influencing mainstream politics, he was too far outside the mainstream to be a figurehead. To the extent that the peasantry are aware of a wizard, they fear him but stand in awe; their establishment disapproves, they think. Now make that wizard a younger man with vitality and means. See what happens.

I know much less about vampire vogue than I do about Jim Morrison, however I'd point out again that youth, vitality, potency, and the disapproval of the establishment are common themes. There is also an exoticism, which I think is very attractive to both genders.

I once lived with a poor outwardly misogynistic musician from the Balkans. Although lacking charm or kindness, he was quite capable of unclamping the legs of the peculiar variety of cold fish that is native to these American waters. A troubadour from faraway lands, an exotic stranger with a scooter, a temporary and anonymous fling whom daddy would never meet, it was easy to understand the appeal. Middling non-Semitic merchant that I am, too secular and cerebral to merit the attraction of peasant stock and too ordinary for a princess (whom the peasant stock uniformly mistakes themselves to be), I could never elicit such a response...except possibly in China or possibly as it becomes more within the social norm for me to date women whose fertility is in decline.

..but we are all of us stupid at moments. Why so harsh? Especially if 'nothing human is alien to you,' you cuddly humanist.

The frustrations are felt inward and outward. I am not exempt from being stupid or an asshole.

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To my mind, the fatalism was incidental to those figures' appeal or perhaps mistaken for another quality. I tend to think of the girl mind through archetypes present in medieval fairy tales. Morrison was a wizard of the old school. Think about it. He was an individualist whose powers were nurtured by his own personal achievements and proprietary knowledge; he had potions of all variety (and let us not forget that the word potion derives from the word potent); although capable of influencing mainstream politics, he was too far outside the mainstream to be a figurehead. To the extent that the peasantry are aware of a wizard, they fear him but stand in awe; their establishment disapproves, they think. Now make that wizard a younger man with vitality and means. See what happens.

Sadly, he got his potions all mixed up.

May we please substitute the word shaman for wizard? In any and all connections, forever?

I have not thought about Jim Morrison in a very long time, not since I swiftly moved on to Steve McQueen. Frailty, thy name is "girl mind." I would like to think there is a valid reason girls are attracted to "dangerous"-seeming boys; they perceive in them strength of will or competence for dealing with certain situations: so prowess, sexual and otherwise. It causes them to overlook - no, that's understating it - be genuinely hurtful to, sometimes - guys with other qualities, the ones they'll appreciate later.

Consider this a public apology, Guy from Calculus - It took a lot of nerve to risk getting shot down in class like that, which you were, and you were never anything but nice to me, and funny; and Guy from That Computer Class Where We Learned to Program in Fortran (?!) and The Teacher Took Off Mid-Year and They Didn't Replace Him, But Had the Smart Kid Take Over: what I did to you I cannot think of without crippling shame; and Guy Who Invited Me to Hike Across the Grand Canyon - only to find I brought along another boy, so, so sorry, And Strake-Jesuit Letter-Writing Guy, I wish I had gone to Miller Theatre to watch Shakespeare with you, but I was awfully young (remember, we met when you hit me with your Volvo while I was riding my banana seat bike? Come to think, you were kind of dangerous.) Still, I shouldn't have laughed at your sweet letter that compared me to 7-Up.

Your only fault was that you were not James Dean or Jim Morrison or Lord Byron, ad nauseum, or even just That Monosyllabic Guy from Biology with the Bedroom Eyes.

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my interpretation of "luciaphile" indicates the poster is Ricky Ricardo, so not a she.

IHB2, I find a little gender ambiguity is desirable on the internet!

If I were recalling TV, it would be samanthaphile or maryrichardsphile. Not Jeanniephile: I was always relieved to see her put back in the bottle. She created so much havoc for the Major, and it all seemed so unnecessary.

But I'm not:

http://www.penguincl...732_1_0,00.html

You are onto something with the gender-bending, though. Lucia is the creation - and partial alter ego -of the epicene E.F. Benson:

ef19.jpg

I just wanted to post his picture because I think he had an arresting, beautiful face. He lived at Lamb House, Rye, Tilling, UK, which had been Henry James's house. Pretty - I'll post that too:

Lamb_House_Garden.jpg

For a time Lucia lived in that house as well, in the fictional town of Tilling:

“That was her real métier, to render the trivialities of life intense for others. But how her schemes for the good of Tilling bored him!”

It was bombed in the Blitz, but looks to have been all restored.

Lucia's fans are called luciaphiles. As there are few of us, luciaphile is convenient because no one ever picks it. At least, I thought so until I saw that someone posts on Television Without Pity as luciaphile. I've never posted anything there, but I stop by to see when Timothy Olyphant is returning to the screen and suchlike.

Which could mean anything, gender-wise ...

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... A troubadour from faraway lands, an exotic stranger with a scooter, a temporary and anonymous fling whom daddy would never meet, it was easy to understand the appeal. Middling non-Semitic merchant that I am, too secular and cerebral to merit the attraction of peasant stock and too ordinary for a princess (whom the peasant stock uniformly mistakes themselves to be), I could never elicit such a response...

I was remiss, in my insomnia post -- vis à vis the roommate: you're overthinking. It was not the swarthiness, it was the scooter: a standing invitation to fun. See "Roman Holiday" -- all the would-be princesses (of all ethnicities) have! It doesn't have to be a vintage Vespa. The prize is within your grasp!

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Wal-Mart is where the people are. The people are weird, genuinely weird. This is different from Target shoppers, who are also weird but try to pose as not weird. Or hipsters, who were perfectly and normally weird to begin with but try to brand themselves as a different flavor of weird.

I find it kind of endearing, actually. Wal-Mart is where America lets its beer gut hang out.

They -- you -- or those you choose, facetiously or not, to champion -- are hardly weird; they are the norm. A beer gut is the least of it. More like whole oceans of soda pop made flesh.

The tedious running current on the Heights Walmart thread is the charge of elitism against those who dislike the sight of a Walmart. Would I be the first to actually plead guilty to that charge? -- though since I am no member of any elite, "otherness" better describes it. I haven't placed a force field around Walmart. I go there half a dozen times a year for some random thing, usually unsuccessfully, spending in toto perhaps $50; and when I do it is borne home that I don't belong there. It was a more useful store to me about fifteen years ago, when there was much greater variety to its inventory, all piled up pell-mell, five-and-dime style. Now it mostly resembles - horrors! - a Target, and has reached a critical tipping point of "decorative" crap and the like.

Walmart. I think of a matriarchal phalanx, barbarically tattooed, that collectively weighs about a hundred stone, moving en masse, basket piled high, through any small town or many an urban Walmart: an older woman, maybe not much older than me, or even my age, a bit rough-looking; her grown daughters, who, though huge, have taken some care with their hair and makeup -- probably more than me; a couple kids, and, sort of poignantly, a little girl who, though by no means waifish, yet retains what were once thought of as ordinary bodily proportions. If they were paper dolls, their clothes -- kids and grownups -- would be more or less interchangeable.

I have never elicited a smile from them. Their brief glance is either suspicious or dully closed. I have held the eyes of a grey fox for longer.

You who find them endearing will doubtless note that they are busy being Real, albeit paradoxically sedentary, People, while I am an uppity bookish Velveteen zombie who is inconsequential to them. And of course that's true (I confess I've never purchased a Big Gulp, or a lottery ticket); and since one of them is three of me, I am trebly negligible.

I am usually successful with all sorts of people, though. Not from empathy - that wasn't given to me - but because I don't know how to be other than open, I like to be liked, and too I compulsively find people fascinating (how did you get into that line of work? how did you meet your husband? and then what?). With old people, obviously, I am gold; and also with Mexican construction workers, teenagers, the men who collect the trash, recent Chinese immigrant ladies, etc....

But with the women of Walmart I strike out, which due to the sheer volume of them, and the fact that they are successfully replacing themselves, leaves me the freak, not them. I have heard it suggested that these are formerly rural people not quite adapted, even several generations on, to an urban lifestyle. I don't know about that, but if so I would probably find them interesting though I readily concede they'd have nothing to gain from me. Having been wrongly assigned to be a city girl, I love talking to country people, who are usually happy to talk, and haven't lost the knack of it (me: what's poke sallet exactly, and where can I find it? and you made head cheese how? and so you would just cover the milk with a damp cloth to keep it cool?).

I understand that Walmart, now that it's in the food business, is, like McDonald's before it, probably the most effective means of feeding people ever devised. That it is the exact opposite of a Soviet-era breadline. And it's where the diapers are distributed. It just happens that its expansion is incidental with two things: a stratification of American society that I find disturbing, maybe selfishly, because it has marginalized me and mine -- maybe, in an interpretation less damning, because I can't see where it is leading for all of us; and secondly -- and on this I will hold firm despite your much-vaunted indifference to the subject, The Niche, because it tracks exactly with my life, being mostly an observer I have watched it unfold: the ascendance of a coarse materialism, embraced by right and left, which is now all that Americans, qua Americans, have in common with one another. Human nature being what it is, apt to get causes and effects all muddled, for non-rigorous reasons I find it hard to regard the rise of Walmart as a force for unmitigated good. Cheap goods, yes. I suppose. Even that mystifies me. I don't regard most of their goods as a bargain at half the price. ("Fire-baked?" What are you -- some sort of foodie?)

If a Walmart were coming to my neighborhood, I wouldn't feel called to fight it -- at most, I would sign a petition asking them to plant some shade trees in more than 9 square feet of dirt so that the parking lot wasn't so anvil-like -- but I would have no reason to welcome it, as I don't particularly need it, I don't like the way it looks, and I associate it with things that dismay me, beyond mere questions of "taste."

Walmart is only one strand. There are a host of other things -- like Disney World; like the parallel monstrous appetite for both pornography and a personal Jesus; like people of both genders sobbing all the time on TV; like how men seem emasculated except for the two hours a day they tune in to Rush Limbaugh and let him push their buttons; like the strange national obsession with education and with health insurance, and the conviction of all that these are legitimate concerns of the President of the United States -- that give me the same feeling of being, essentially, Left Behind in my own country.

luciaphile, left behind, who'd have seen that coming?

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"Fire-baked?" What are you -- some sort of foodie?

"Fire-baked" is part of the copyrighted name of the product. I cited the entire product name because Red Baron also has a frozen cheese pizza with what they describe as an "Original" crust, and the sauce and type of cheese is different too. I regard the "Original" style as a grossly inferior product and have a difficult time finding it except at Fiesta and Wal-Mart.

Walmart is only one strand. There are a host of other things -- like Disney World; like the parallel monstrous appetite for both pornography and a personal Jesus; like people of both genders sobbing all the time on TV; like how men seem emasculated except for the two hours a day they tune in to Rush Limbaugh and let him push their buttons; like the strange national obsession with education and with health insurance, and the conviction of all that these are legitimate concerns of the President of the United States -- that give me the same feeling of being, essentially, Left Behind in my own country.

luciaphile, left behind, who'd have seen that coming?

All that stuff you said is interesting. Those furtive glances you described pretty much relate my sense of alienation from people younger than about 35. I don't have any problems navigating a Wal-Mart, but Target actually causes my blood pressure to tick up a couple of notches. It makes me nervous to be in there, somooow under suspicion and scrutiny. And I can never find anything that I want to buy there, even if I have a generous coupon. I find Rush Limbaugh amusing (like a clown), and I find it scary that people laugh at Colbert, an entertainer that has made a career of unwittingly making fun of other entertainers for people that can't get the joke.

Pornography is a pretty good replacement for spiritual script, though. And the activity that accompanies it is at least a little like a daily prayer.

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I suspect it will be easier for you to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love Target than for me to do the same with Walmart, as I leave my bubble increasingly infrequently, and since I am an equal-opportunity big-box hater, your quixotic dislike of Target threatens my 5th Law of Thermodynamics.

"Fire-baked" is part of the copyrighted name of the product. I cited the entire product name because Red Baron also has a frozen cheese pizza with what they describe as an "Original" crust, and the sauce and type of cheese is different too. I regard the "Original" style as a grossly inferior product and have a difficult time finding it except at Fiesta and Wal-Mart.

I was only kidding -- but careful: "fire-baked" sounds like it could be a gateway drug to artisan pizza drizzled with truffle oil.

Pornography is a pretty good replacement for spiritual script, though. And the activity that accompanies it is at least a little like a daily prayer.

I'm not sure God likes these ostentatious acts of piety: Genesis 38:8-10. And now that I know this...

As for preservationism, I am not against it. I've probably spent more money and devoted more time to actively rescuing cool old buildings than 99% of the members of this forum...

... I think you should ease up on the daily devotionals. It's a wanton waste of peservationist DNA, which is in short supply.

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I think Houston's pinnacle is very far away and we're all gonna be dead by the time it arrives. Maybe HAIF will still be around five or six generations from now and they'll be intrigued by our discussions and progress.

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A. Montgomery Ward, mail order merchant, waged a twenty-year fight for open space on Chicago's lakefront and created Grant Park:

http://fotp.org/publ...front-protector

When it was done, he told the Chicago Tribune:

Had I known in 1890 how long it would take me to preserve a park for the people against their will, I doubt I would have undertaken it. I think there is not another man in Chicago who would have spent the money I have spent in this fight with certainty that gratitude would be denied as interest…I fought for the poor people of Chicago, not the millionaires…Here is park frontage on the lake, comparing favorably with the Bay of Naples, which city officials would crowd with buildings, transforming the breathing spot for the poor into a showground of the educated rich. I do not think it is right.

Perhaps I may yet see the public appreciate my efforts. But I doubt it.

I became interested in him because one night we were driving past a lighted office park: "Stop! Go back! There was a giant head!" In daylight I returned and discovered this was a bust, about four feet high, of A. Montgomery Ward, randomly sitting on the floor in the foyer of a nondescript office building, about a thousand miles from Chicago and about two miles from where the last Montgomery Ward in town closed about a dozen years ago after Going Out of Business for approximately five years.

Unlike Ozymandias, referenced in another thread, he had no "cold sneer of contempt," but perhaps he might have had. The bust was a copy, I suppose, of one that stood or stands in front of the Chicago Merchandise Mart. Alas, I looked for it the other day -- it had become a sort of shrine in my cult of Montgomery Ward, WWMWD? -- and couldn't find it.

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Unlike Ozymandias, referenced in another thread, he had no "cold sneer of contempt," but perhaps he might have had.

If he had not any contempt at the outset of his endeavor, he may very well have obtained some by its conclusion. One could hardly blame him for it if he had.

And then what? He dies. His contributions are taken for granted, the park an element of the norm; an always-was to Chicagoans. Humanity marches on to the beat of the same immortally depressive drummer.

Edited by TheNiche
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It would be nice had they not so belatedly commemorated him, then promptly pulled down the memorial, so that his own private foundation had to step in and replace it some years later.

But then, of actors large or small...

.. the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.

The preservation of good ideas is all that matters. And luciaphile, who will never see Chicago, for whom Chicago is only an idea, remembers him.

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What the hell?

I was driving down Webster and I saw two copters REALLY low. I quickly rushed to a parking lot and pulled out my camera. When I got myself out of the car for the shot, they were out of view, when I finally spotted them, I was only able to snap off a couple of shots, this being the best one.

DSC09551.JPG

Thinking they were going to land, I thought of the best route I could take since they were heading towards the bayou, but they continued down West Gray.

Anyone know why they would fly that low?

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Halloween was a poor example. Everyone loves it; it's easily worth six or seven billion dollars. Christmas then: people will buy much much more than they need would be inclined to rent, were people in the habit of renting consumer goods. Do you begrudge them all that useless spending and debt-going-into? Or is it only from the real estate sector that waste or inefficiencies ripple through the economy? The expense of Christmas will not match "enjoyment" except with the under-ten set; everyone else feels some combination of resentment, exhaustion, loneliness, angst, disappointment, seasonal affective disorder and ennui at the end of it. But if Christmas failed to come some year (12/11?) the retail establishment would apparently collapse. Eat Pray Shop -- it's your civic duty. Is there nothing precarious about an economy so dependent on excess consumption?

I just realized the words "excess consumption" can probably have no meaning in a value-neutral place like modern economic thought. I would express it some other way if I could.

I asked Google just now -- "is growth necessary?" It yielded this:

http://www.economist...e/days/view/698

I didn't read more than the precis -- one fellow seems to be for happiness indices of some sort, which government would use to make corrections in the economy, or give people the right things, I guess; the other disputing that government belongs in the happiness-granting business (though not, I'm sure, disputing one iota of Keynesian economics) -- but is there no third interpretation? If traditional economic indicators are untethered to quality of life (as they are unmoored from environmental considerations) -- why should the government pay any attention to them at all? Why should economic growth be the proper object of government? Only out of fear for its own stability? Who is working for whom then?

I'm all peevish now, so I'm going to curl up and read his old "First Things" magazines.

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I want to build a 'barn door' for a room in my house that is currently doorless and has limited space. I want to use reclaimed wood or something to get the feel of a very old door. I also don't want to spend the $35 a plank as I have seen on some sites. Anybody have any suggestions on where I may have a good chance to find some? I am probably going to want wood that is around 1" thick.

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Halloween was a poor example. Everyone loves it; it's easily worth six or seven billion dollars. Christmas then: people will buy much much more than they need would be inclined to rent, were people in the habit of renting consumer goods. Do you begrudge them all that useless spending and debt-going-into? Or is it only from the real estate sector that waste or inefficiencies ripple through the economy? The expense of Christmas will not match "enjoyment" except with the under-ten set; everyone else feels some combination of resentment, exhaustion, loneliness, angst, disappointment, seasonal affective disorder and ennui at the end of it. But if Christmas failed to come some year (12/11?) the retail establishment would apparently collapse. Eat Pray Shop -- it's your civic duty. Is there nothing precarious about an economy so dependent on excess consumption?

I just realized the words "excess consumption" can probably have no meaning in a value-neutral place like modern economic thought. I would express it some other way if I could.

I asked Google just now -- "is growth necessary?" It yielded this:

http://www.economist...e/days/view/698

I didn't read more than the precis -- one fellow seems to be for happiness indices of some sort, which government would use to make corrections in the economy, or give people the right things, I guess; the other disputing that government belongs in the happiness-granting business (though not, I'm sure, disputing one iota of Keynesian economics) -- but is there no third interpretation? If traditional economic indicators are untethered to quality of life (as they are unmoored from environmental considerations) -- why should the government pay any attention to them at all? Why should economic growth be the proper object of government? Only out of fear for its own stability? Who is working for whom then?

I'm all peevish now, so I'm going to curl up and read his old "First Things" magazines.

The reality is that our collective inefficiency and waste, once captured and saved for another purpose, is not wholly expended on another inefficient or wasteful activity. (I would opt to travel to obscure international destinations, however the additional wealth might just as likely be captured for some kind of government-sponsored educational policy.) This is not merely an argument for economic growth, but for the betterment of mankind, for happiness. I'll argue against Halloween or Christmas just the same, and deservedly so, but at least holiday expenditures are undertaken without any appreciable public policy incentives.

Why should economic growth be the proper object of government?

I am not suggesting that it should, merely that it should not actively undertake a mission to distort markets and suppress economic growth for the benefit of a special interest Realtor-class.

Forms of wasteful spending that people opt into can only be combated with education and countercultural influences.

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