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Arbitrary but arbitrary Friday

From the Things I Keep Forgetting To Tell You file: when Jamie and I arrived in Colorado in mid-October, Jamie was overwhelmed by the Denver airport.  He marveled at every last feature of it, and exclaimed repeatedly, “Michael, you didn’t tell me that Colorado had all this!” (You should not conclude from this, however, that I don’t tell him stuff.  In Omaha, as we checked into our hotel, he claimed that I had not told him that Nebraska has taxis.  I mean, please.  “Omaha’s a city, Jamie,” I replied.  “You know it has taxis.”) So when we pulled our car out of the rental lot, a mile or two from the airport, I nudged him and said, “check this out.  This is what the airport looks like from the outside.”

It was around 8 pm, so the airport was a good deal harder to see, and we were further away than this photographer was.  But despite the dimness and the distance, the effect was pretty stunning all the same.  “Wow,” Jamie said.  “It looks like a circus.”

I’d never had that thought before.  “Why yes, yes it does,” I replied.  “Or like mountains.”

“Or like sidney,” Jamie added.

“I’m sorry?”

“Sidney,” Jamie said.

“Who’s Sidney?” I asked, because I am thick as a brick.

“No, Michael,” Jamie said, mildly impatient now.  “Sydney in Australia.”

“Oh, holy . . . yes, yes, I understand.  The Sydney Opera House.”

Yes, the Sydney Opera House.”

Jamie has never been to Sydney.  But he is very observant.

But you know, I don’t want to keep harping on how clever the kid is.  It’s gotta be done sometimes, sure, but there are more important things in life than being able to liken the Denver International Airport to the Sydney Opera House.  Like taking care of your sick father!  Yep, ever since I got back to town on Tuesday I’ve been a wheezing, coughing, whingeing wreck, shuffling from couch to bed and back to couch again.  So on Wednesday, after taking aboard the sorry news that I wouldn’t be able to go with him to our weekly tang soo do class, Jamie went with Janet to the supermarket.  Jamie likes heading off on his own when he goes to the store with his parents, and this time, when he met up with Janet he was carrying a quart of hot soup, which he’d thoughtfully ladled all by himself.

It was delicious, thank you.  And Jamie’s a good kid.

_______

But wait!  One last thing for the weekend.  With all my wheezing and whingeing this week, I haven’t forgotten about reading things on the Internets. This essay by Mark Schmitt is one of the smartest things I’ve read since the election, and it reminds me why I’m going to wait and see what the Obama Administration actually, you know, does before deciding that it has betrayed Every.  Progressive.  Principle.  Ever.  On the other hand, I have to admit that it’s been over a month since the election and Obama has still not fixed a single damn thing around here.  And surely, the composition of Obama’s cabinet is more important than the question of whether the U.S. closes Gitmo and withdraws from Iraq.  Moreover, as Paul Lukasiak points out in comments over at the Corrente Center for Advanced Criticism, “had Clinton won, and she’d made the same moves Obama has, the fauxgressive blogosphere would be screaming their heads off.” Quite true!  We fauxgressive Obamabots have horrible double standards when it comes to pointing out that Obama and Clinton have very similar policies on a lot of issues.  But on second thought, it would be kind of wrong if Hillary Clinton appointed herself Secretary of State.

Have a great weekend, everyone.  Me, I’m just going to have some soup.

Posted by on 12/05 at 06:08 AM
  1. First off, if Clinton wanted to appoint herself SoS, she’d have to give herself a much bigger pay cut in the job she’s about to leave. The Constitution says so!

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  10:23 AM
  2. Unrelatedly, Michael, I just noticed you’ve started writing again. Only 2 months behind! I have much less lurky catching-up to do than last time I found your web hyphen site.

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  10:24 AM
  3. I’m with Jamie. Those peaks are way too pointy and curvy to look like mountains. Definitely circus or Sydney.

    Here’s some virtual ibuprofen and Puffs to go with that soup, Michael:

    oo /_/ oo /_/

    Posted by Orange  on  12/05  at  10:39 AM
  4. What a thoughtful young man your son is.
    I’m also trying to take deep breaths and wait for Obama to actually be sworn in before he does his Superman act but it is so hard while we are being plundered by white collar thieves. It’s as if they read Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine and decided to use it as a blueprint.

    Posted by Joanna  on  12/05  at  10:43 AM
  5. Wasting time on the internets this weekend, I started cleaning up my book-marked pages, and because I felt a twinge of sadness and nostalgia when I came to “Michael Berube, International Professor of Danger,” I went to the page one last time to seek closure, to say good-bye. And, then, glory of glories! it’s alive! IT’S ALIVE!

    Although I’m half beside myself, realizing that here was my presidential election Virgil, offering just the tour I wanted through the McPailin inferno, I’m thrilled you’re blogging again.

    Hope you feel better soon.

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  11:17 AM
  6. Hi Michael, I too hope you feel better soon, so we can hear your take on how the Sean Avery crisis has brought the Canadian government to its knees.

    Posted by John Protevi  on  12/05  at  11:55 AM
  7. Actually, I thought it looked like a bunch of jousting tournament tents gone minimalist.  Why yes, I *am* a medievalist, why do you ask?

    Posted by Dr. Virago  on  12/05  at  12:11 PM
  8. It is my fault Micheal.  The night in San Diego when we met at the party hosted by Rutgers I had a tickle in my throat.  Since then I’ve been suffering the same malady as you.  Or, I suspect a more precise construction would be:  you’ve been suffering the same malady as me.  Sorry.

    And, although I’ve been flying out of DIA pretty regularly for 10 years, its resemblance to the Opera House has never struck me before now.  I do agree with Jamie that it is a pretty nifty airport.

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  12:30 PM
  9. It is also my fault for not spelling your name correctly, Michael.  Glad I didn’t try that one with all the accenty things.

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  12:31 PM
  10. Can we borrow Jamie for a few weeks? My household looks and sounds like something out of Thomas Mann. We need a strong, thoughtful young man to take care of us. Relatedly, when you get a chance, my spirits always pick up when you talk about hockey. Can you manage an entry about rink exploits?

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  12:46 PM
  11. it is so hard while we are being plundered by white collar thieves. It’s as if they read Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine and decided to use it as a blueprint.

    Yeah, I wish Naomi hadn’t given them any ideas.  I’m afraid I agree with that well-known pundit, TPM Reader JF.

    Thanks, Orange.  Fie on you, f. bear.  And hey!  Dr. V. is a medievalist!  I’m not sure I believe that, though.  Next thing you know mds will show up here claiming to be a man.

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  12:50 PM
  12. Sean Avery?  Rink exploits?  What timing you guys have, John and Chris.  I’m just finishing an essay on hockey for The Common Review and rereading Ken Dryden’s The Game with great pleasure.  When I’m not rereading “At the Margins of Moral Personhood,” Eva Kittay’s long review essay on Jeff McMahan’s The Ethics of Killing:  Problems at the Margins of Life, that is.

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  12:53 PM
  13. Did you guys get a chance to take a walk around the art gallery in the Denver airport?  Or maybe it isn’t there any more, but there was a lovely display the last time I was there.

    And Jaime is right: if the architect was trying to make the airport look like mountains, it was an EPIC FAIL.  Those peaks are too concave - utterly circus tent.

    Feel better soon!

    captcha: miles, as in all those things to go before I sleep, damn them.

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  02:41 PM
  14. It might just be ME, but I think the Airport is supposed to look like a Native American encampment.

    Posted by KMTBERRY  on  12/05  at  03:35 PM
  15. My first impression of the picture is that it is an attempt by humans to recreate the mountains in the background as a form of idol worship.

    But I’m sure Chris Clarke will point out where I am wrong and take the thread in an entirely different direction.

    Regarding your cold. Vitamin C and lots of fiber. And as soon as it gets into your chest go for the Vicks (both the rub and nyquil) And sleep alot.

    e.

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  04:05 PM
  16. Mmmm, hot soup.  Can Jamie please bring me some, too?  If it’s not too much trouble, about 7:45 am tomorrow would be good (because at that time I’ll be in a cold hockey arena watching my 7 year old do skating and stickhandling drills).

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  04:20 PM
  17. By the way I always thought the Denver airport was supposed to be reminiscent of Native American prairie dwellings.  Re the Sydney Opera House, I saw that the architect passed away just this week.

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  04:22 PM
  18. I see ghost walkers.
    Everyone I know who has flown lately has that awful cold. We have a visitor from Japan now, who will no doubt give it to us.
    The Mark Schmitt article gives me hope. We will get our country back together, but it will take years, because the damage is so bad.

    Posted by Hattie  on  12/05  at  06:51 PM
  19. Speaking of mountainous Western states that you have or have not visited, today, of all days, would have been the best to visit Utah. You could have been there to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the 21st Amendment.  Thanks, Utah.  (Best ironic achievement ever.)

    Posted by Christian Anderson  on  12/05  at  08:12 PM
  20. Medicinal soup only works with cream cheese and olive sammiches on de-crusted bread cut into triangles.

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  09:13 PM
  21. Dr. V. is a medievalist!  I’m not sure I believe that, though.

    Hmm, has anyone ever seen Dr. Virago and Karl Steel in the same comment thread?

    Next thing you know mds will show up here claiming to be a man.

    Humph.  I don’t have to stand here taking this abuse; I’ve got loads of people wanting to abuse me.  By popular (well, Bérubé and Clarke, anyway) request, I was going to present the mdslet, but now I don’t think I will.

    Get well soon anyway, Professor.

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  09:49 PM
  22. if the architect was trying to make the airport look like mountains, it was an EPIC FAIL.  Those peaks are too concave - utterly circus tent.

    Well, KMT Berry is much closer to the intent than others, including the people in Denver.  This is the last great piece of work by one of my life’s heroes, Bill Moss (the inventor of the modern tension fabric structure).  My festival infrastructure company partner met Bill nearly 30 years ago, and formed a unique working friendship with him and his enterprises.  We have used his fabric structures, and now those of his proteges, for 25 years.  We own some of the original pieces (literally small homes~~200 to 400 sqft), and still use his multi-modular event tents for conferences, festivals, stage covers, etc.  As our motto says: Life is better lived in tents!

    And Jamie’s recognition of great architecture is impressive; tell him that is trully appreciated.

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  10:17 PM
  23. The mdslet is awesomely cute.  Clearly the rumor of Clarkian DNA is not validated.

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  10:20 PM
  24. Oh Moloch yes, at least now we can put to rest the burning Internets rumor that Hottie McNaturepants had anything to do with the creation of that darling little neonate.

    And I suppose KMT Berry and spyder win the DIA portion of the thread.  Or at least tie with Jamie!

    To hrm and everyone else who’s stopped by expressing surprise and/or delight that I’ve returned to blogging, glad to have you!  Sorry I didn’t send that memo worldwide back on 9/29.  I kind of wanted to sneak up on people, I guess.

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  10:28 PM
  25. Good link to Schmitts’article,if Obama buys a ranch and goes on vacation for a month then I’ll start worrying.

    Posted by  on  12/05  at  11:55 PM
  26. The designers of the Denver Airport were Fentress Bradburn; I believe it was Curt Fentress who did that project.  The designer of the Sydney Opera House was Jørn Utzon, who was fired by the Australian conservatives and IIRC was only paid for the work decades later.  Fentress, at least, is still alive and can be asked about his design inspirations, or may have mentioned them in an interview, though I can’t quickly find anything online.

    Posted by  on  12/06  at  12:45 AM
  27. Hmmm, it’s almost like seeing the same designed object can result in different responses from different viewers. And sometimes even a different one than its creator intended! Have to think, have to think…

    But, no! This way lies madness.

    Posted by  on  12/06  at  07:04 AM
  28. Ho-ho, Stormcrow, or perhaps krawk!  Designers are very well aware of this; we talk about how a building “reads”.  Mostly, this isn’t a concern of designers unless the reading is an unhappy one--figural design in architecture is long gone.  Another reading of the DIA, btw, is Plains Indian tents.  Possibly this was intended.  The Hajj airport at Jiddah is intended to suggest the tents of nomadic Arabs.

    Posted by Randolph  on  12/06  at  09:38 AM
  29. I’m glad Jaime enlighted you about Sydney.  It does look like Sydney, Australia (which I’ve never been too, either, but I am, occasionally, observant).

    Posted by Bulworth  on  12/06  at  11:29 AM
  30. I thought it was supposed to look like an encampment of indian tipis waiting to find their lost luggage.

    I’ll bet you’re not ‘thick as a brick’ anymore.  I don’t think that means what you think it means.

    ice

    Posted by  on  12/06  at  04:55 PM
  31. Clearly the rumor of Clarkian DNA is not validated.

    You believe in DNA?

    But I’m sure Chris Clarke will point out where I am wrong and take the thread in an entirely different direction.

    Ah, but there you’re mistaken! Apparently I don’t even have to show up here at Wheezy McPomoPants’ joint in order to do that.

    Posted by Chris Clarke  on  12/06  at  05:57 PM
  32. Designers are very well aware of this; we talk about how a building “reads”

    Oh, great.  Now we’re back to the position that all the various readings of a building have actually been anticipated by the “designers.” A few more pledges of allegiance to this kind of crude intentionalism and we might as well summon the name of Goldst**n. 

    I’ll bet you’re not ‘thick as a brick’ anymore.  I don’t think that means what you think it means.

    I am in fact aware that there is a non-Internet tradition in which “thick as a brick” describes a kind of person who is probably best exemplified by Mark Steyn.  But I figured a gratuitous Jethro Tull reference here would be harmless, so give me a break already.

    Wheezy McPomoPants

    This is supposed to be funny? 

    I ask only because I actually woke up this morning (a) hacking up mucus from the furthest reaches of my bronchioles and (b) laughing uncontrollably at the sobriquet “Hottie McNaturepants.”

    Posted by Michael  on  12/06  at  08:12 PM
  33. I actually woke up this morning (a) hacking up mucus from the furthest reaches of my bronchioles and (b) laughing uncontrollably at the sobriquet “Hottie McNaturepants.”

    You’re sick.

    Posted by  on  12/06  at  08:50 PM
  34. a gratuitous Jethro Tull reference

    Is there any other kind of Jethro Tull reference?

    Posted by  on  12/06  at  09:19 PM
  35. You’re sick.

    We’ve established that; that’s what the soup is for.

    After the soup, have a nice toddy, with extra whisky. It may not cure the crud, but you won’t care, which is oftimes enough.

    Posted by  on  12/06  at  11:11 PM
  36. Interesting that Randolph mentions the Jiddah airport, as that also incorporated some of Moss’s tension fabric structures (as do several amphitheaters in the US and Australia).  Here is gratuitous self-promotion. Corporate offices in CA, images from various events over last 25 years.

    Gratuitous Tull: from perverted-gurgle-breathing child molester, through Heavy Metal Grammy nightmarish stupidity, to touring with Anousha Shankar--Edward is so right.

    Posted by  on  12/06  at  11:41 PM
  37. I meant sick like Maynard G. Krebs.

    Posted by  on  12/07  at  10:33 AM
  38. Regarding the link to Corrente, a site I have never seen before, can I just say “Ew”?

    Posted by  on  12/07  at  10:35 AM
  39. It’s very sad, alwsdad, because once upon a time the posts from the Mighty Corrente Building were quite worthwhile.  The Department of “No! They Would Never Do That!” would catch Bush administration malfeasance that was missed by Professor DeLong’s “1984 as an operations manual” posts.

    Then… the Democratic Primaries, and the rise to prominence of a comparative latecomer at Corrente we’ll call P.L. (though he certainly isn’t alone).  And suddenly the hawkish centrist senator from New York who is the spouse of the best moderate Republican president of modern times became the Second Coming of Eugene Debs.  Which would be a good thing if it were true.  But though untrue, it became a bizarre justification for beatifying the hawkish centrist senator from New York and demonizing the hawkish centrist senator from Illinois.  Who will be officially working together on foreign policy in a couple of months.

    And well, I have been screaming my head off about this action by someone who won the primaries in part on being perceived as less of a useful idiot about foreign policy.  Now his opponent, who was wrong, wrong, wrong about Iraq, and who supported providing flimsy pretexts for the Bush administration’s bellicose Iran policy, will soon be running Foggy Bottom.  Change we can believe in?

    Hmm, “foggy bottom” and “change” bring other things to my mind these days for some reason.  Did I remember to buy more Huggies?

    You believe in DNA?

    Yes, Chris, but only as a social construct.

    Posted by  on  12/07  at  11:09 AM
  40. But Corrente was never a beautiful building.

    Posted by  on  12/07  at  02:02 PM
  41. <Singer>Yes, Jamie may be engaged in comparative architectural criticism, but in this whole world of potentials, Jamie doesn’t amount to a hill of pointy beans.
    </Singer>

    By which I mean, another great story.

    As for this:
    Hmm, has anyone ever seen Dr. Virago and Karl Steel in the same comment thread?
    That would be clever. It would be sort of nice to be DV: tenured so soon into my career! But no such luck, as yet.

    Posted by Karl Steel  on  12/07  at  03:11 PM
  42. Women in burkas.

    Posted by Hattie  on  12/07  at  06:16 PM
  43. Haven’t visited in several days, but it’s great to know that MB’s illuminating riffs on Jamie etc. will once again be waiting, blah blah.  I got the Sidney reference as soon as his name came up, although we’re not directly acquainted either.

    Posted by  on  12/08  at  05:44 AM
  44. Women in burkas

    Eew.

    Given the location, that “reading” says something about the observer.

    Posted by Nell  on  12/08  at  12:06 PM
  45. Given the location, that “reading” says something about the observer.

    On the other hand, DIA isn’t all that far from Colorado Springs, one of the capitals of the “American Taliban.” Is there no balm in Gilead?

    Posted by  on  12/08  at  04:26 PM
  46. Interesting post. Hope you feel better soon. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing this to us.

    Posted by Woodworking Tools  on  03/02  at  10:41 PM
  47. Your blog is outstanding for its being exceptional. Medicinal soup only works with cream cheese and olive sammiches on de-crusted bread cut into triangles.
    Internet Marketing

    Posted by Internet Marketing  on  03/24  at  12:55 AM
  48. Your son sounds sweet. I have 5 sons and they can be pretty sweet sometimes.

    Posted by Shine  on  11/03  at  12:19 PM
  49. Awesome !! it is too beautiful view. I like to watch your blog every day, because I enjoy your blog.

    Posted by san diego airport transportation  on  03/06  at  12:59 AM

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