Friday, September 30, 2011

Seriously, I Am In LOVE With This Woman....Still

According to JMG, who got it from Billboard, Adele's tear-jerker Someone Like You is the first purely vocal and piano single to reach #1 in the 53 year history of Billboard's pop singles chart. Many similarly sparse ballads also reached #1, but according to Billboard, all had other minor accompaniment.
Well of course it's go Number 1.
It's freakin' Adele.

PS Forgive the commercial.

PR9EP10: The 70s on $11.50 or A Big Bowl Of Muslin

It seems like we just visited the 70s last week, with the Sheepdogs and the rock'n'roll challenge, but apparently we are not yet done with that decade.
The challenge this week is to create a sophisticated 70s-INSPIRED look, not vintage or retro because, well, they did that last week and it was a d-i-saster. The plus this week is that the winning design will be sold on So, remember, sophisticated, 70s-inspired fashion that can read well in an online store.
The monkeywrench this week, is that the designers must create a second look, a single piece, no separates, for $50.00.
Two designs. one decade.
Everybody together then? let's rip.....

She is still smarting from being in the bottom last week, and still weeping about designing menswear. Kim, honey, build a bridge and get over it, because, if you ever become a successful designer, you may need to expand your empire with menswear. 
Better to learn how now, eh?
But I digress. Kimberly is excited about the challenge because she'll be doing her Mother-Inspired-Seventies-Sexy-Secretary. or something like that. Slutty Mary Tyler Moore? That can't be good.
Kimberly buys some kind of menswear--I know! Really!--looking plaid, to make a pant, because eight weeks ago, Nina happened to mention that Kimberly knows how to make a pant, and since then that's all she does. 
Laura calls the plaid fabric JCPenney, and she's right. I wore a little boy's suit in that fabric to Eats er Sunday church when I was seven. That as the last time I was in church and the last time I wore plaid.
But she is so involved in her first look--switching it up from pant and top, to vest and pant jumpsuit--that she cannot be bothered to think of a second look. 
And when she does, and she shows it to Tim--a circle blouse with a bare midriff and a mini-skirt--he shudders at all the woman sex. He gets Kimberly to rethink the skirt, and she goes all pencil skirt on it.
With Olivier gone, Kimberly took up the mantle of Time Management Issues, sewing her garment at the last possible second and then hand-sewing it on her model because there was no time for a zipper. This cannot be good.
And, for me, her designs weren't good. the vesty-panty-jumpery thing had a hole in the middle that didn't look like it was meant to be, and the print circle top and pencil skirt was odd. The top too big, the skirt too tight. It looked like an old costume from The Carol Burnett Show, and a Mrs. Wiggins sketch. Google it and see if I'm right.
I am, however, apparently wrong about her outfits, though, because Kimberly is the safe designer. But still, she's rarely good, so if she doesn't wow me, okay, maybe the judges, soon, she'll be tentless.

Laura dresses in retro; she lives in retro; she breathe retro. She is the 70s glam girl, so she has this challenge in the bag, right?
I know!
Laura returns from Mood with some black-and-white chevron pattern fabric, and some trippy brightly colored crap, and decides the two should go together to create 70s glam. In fact, Laura is so enamored of her fabric choices and her designs, that she wants to make the dress to fit her, and screw the model.
Anyway, Tim is worried about Laura's prison-stripe-acid-queen-mixed-fabric-maxi dress. And he isn't thrilled with her black and silver chiffon second look either. But the big news is that Nina doesn't much care for Laura's sense of design, and gets all "bristly" when Laura shows her clothes. Nina. Bristly. love it. Of course, Laura thinks Nina is wrong, and that her clothes and her taste level are refined.
As in prison-stripe-acid-queen-mixed-fabric-maxi dress refined. that dress just looked strange; it was like, as Kors often says, the model got dressed in the dark. The second look was refined, and kind of pretty, but the layers of chiffon and sheer fabric, in black and silver, would not read well on a fashion website.
As Laura explains why she did what she did, Guest Judge, Piperlime executive Olivia Palermo gave one of those "Oh, you poor girl smiles" and I knew Laura was in trouble...and not just from Nina. Olivia called out the bad prints, and dubbed the whole thing unoriginal--"You can buy a maxi dress anywhere." Kors called them 'clothes' and not fashion. Heidi liked the second look, but was literally frightened by the mixed fabrics of the first dress. Nina, bristling, called the top a prison outfit and the bottom just weird. And she wasn't happy that the second look wouldn't photograph well for an online sale.
Sidenote: I noticed how old Laura is, for the first time. They listed her age as twenty-six and this whole time I thought she was in her forties. I mean, she's like 26, in Lindsay Lohan years. And, I'm saying it now, Laura won't make fashion week, and probably won't make it next week, unless Bert really messes up or Josh continues going overboard.

As the show starts, he is ridiculing people like Kimberly for whining about the last menswear challenge. He reminds his fellow designers that you shouldn't make excuses about the challenges. I see excuses coming from Josh.
Like the instant he hears the rules of the challenge and he begins whining that he isn't from the 70s so how can he do this. Um, Josh? You just said making clothes is making clothes, so maybe, oh, I dunno, you should.make.clothes.
And make them marketable and don't overdo them, and edit, boy, edit.
And edit what you say on the runway, Tim warns. Josh is good with a story, but reminds Josh that it's the clothes that have to tell the story. And Josh's clothes have a lot to say, most of it unprintable, I'm imagining.
His first look, a hot pink--yes, I said hot pink--and black man's tuxedo shirt and plaid pants didn't so much as say 70s, as they said ugly. The shirt colors were not at all Good-And-Plenty, and the plaid pants seemed like a Road Map to VahJayJay Land, with a side route to Asstown. 
His second look was a nice silhouette, but the fabric choice--again--was off-putting. it reminded me of an scene in a  70s movie where Peter Fonda dropped acid and every thing was trippy and brightly colored. Good for a movie, bad for a dress.
Kors calls Josh's designs schizophrenic, and thinks the plaid pants should be outlawed. Josh is too over-the-top, and there is no 70s ease to his designs. Heidi says his first outfit is, wait for it, the Worst Outfit She Has Ever Seen, and it hurts her eyes to look at it; it's too much for one outfit. Josh argues that he doesn't have enough time, and doesn't know the 70w and declares his stuff sellable, and Heidi cuts him off: Your clothes won't sell.
Olivia hated the plaid, the hot pink, the black, the leopard belt and the leopard shoe--remember, this was all in one outfit. He chose all the wrong fabrics and there is no consistency. But Nina, my girl Nina, sums it up by calling his clothes ho-rrendous. Tragic. She likes that he takes risks but reminds him again, that he needs an edit button.
For his designs and his mouth, I think. Back in the waiting room he again complains about not being born in the 70s, and when Viktor calls him out on that, and Kimberly says that, as a designer, he needs to know about fashion from all eras, Josh--oi as I see him now, This Years Kenley--stomps off.
I don't see him at the tents unless he learns to listen and edit and shut up.

He decides that this will be the challenge where he shows us who he is, because, um, he hasn't been doing that the last nine weeks? Huh? What? Huh?
While the others go sophisticated 70s, Anthony Ryan decides to go hippy, Woodstock, weed-smoking 70s, because that's so chic.
And old, apparently, because that's what Tim calls Anthony Ryan's designs during the critique. Tim also shudders at some of the fabrics, and the idea of a mini-skirt. Tim suggests a maxi-dress as Anthony Ryan's second look, and it's a go. Or goner.
His clothes were drab. And he's not often drab, even with his colorblind issues. But the fabrics were drab and the designs were drab. The first looked like a bad Marcia Brady costume knockoff from a secondhand store in a questionable neighborhood. 
And the second looked like a printed sheet thrown over a model and tied just under the breasts.
Olivia says his first look is incomplete. The shirt must have sleeves, or No Piperlime for you!. The patterns, and the mixing of said patterns, is awful. His second look she calls a tent. Maybe for smoking weed. At Woodstock? 
Nina calls it hippy-dippy, but not in a good way. The layering is off and it doesn't seem expensive, even compared to an $11.50 outfit. She says they look like clothes the Manson Family might wear, and that is never good. I mean, do you wanna be known as clothes for murderers?  Kors called them 70s granola. Sister wives. Scary. Heidi wouldn't want to be either one of those girls. His clothes were boring.
And boring gets Auf'd. I'd had high hopes for Anthony Ryan at the beginning, but it seemed like each week his taste level dropped, until, last night, he had no taste whatsoever.

We learn that, as a child, Viktor had a safari jacket--which I assume he wore with a pith helmet, a feather boa and a pink chiffon scarf--so he'll be reviving that look, sans boa, pith and chiffon.
Viktor is a good designer. he gets his stuff done without a lot of complaining and drama. But Viktor is not about to help anyone. He was one of the ones that wouldn't offer any leftover change to Anya at Mood, and wouldn't spare any fabric in the workroom. For Viktor, this is not about helping anyone, this is about winning.
This might also be about karma, Viktor.
Viktor thinks Josh, who stops by to visit every designer as they work, is maybe stealing ideas from him. Like the inverted pleat that Viktor put on his safari jacket, that Josh put on the back of his shirt. i guess Viktor invented the inverted pleat, but failed to get it patented, or somesuch.
Tim likes the safari look, but wants Viktor to take it farther; maybe with a pith helmet, a boa, and some chiffon? No? Okay. Viktor's second look was pants on the sketchpad and a dress on the runway. 
Good save. His first look, safari jacket and pant, was very nice, very put together. But I was distracted by the model's hair hanging down the lapel. It seemed to cover up the shirt and the jacket. His second look was a cocktail dress--which Viktor does very well--and looked very pretty and, though it wasn't necessary, it coordinated with his first look.
Heidi thought he had two great looks, and marveled at how much he can get done, and how well he does it. She wasn't fond of the unsexy pantsuit thing, but when the jacket came off she loved the T-shirt. Kors also thought the jacket with the T-shirt killed the sexy, calling it career matron, while Olivia liked the sexy pant and the T-shirt. Nina called the tailoring beautiful, but thought the suit looked a little conservative.
i thought Viktor would win, because his designs were well put-together, cohesive, and chic, but I think his lack of help with Anya's money crisis whipped up a Karma Kerfuffle that kept him from his third win. Still, I think Viktor makes the tents, and I think his show will be beautiful.

After weeks of being the Old Man Of The Workroom, and Josh's Whipping Boy, the other designers scramble to Bert because he actually lived in the 70s, of all things! He calls himself The History Channel, and I'm thinking the other designers need to subscribe if they wanna lesson. This stuff ain't free, y'all.
His first design, which he dubs the Shelly Hack in a Charlie's comercial look, is really Roller Disco Studio 54 Gal. There is some sheer, and some glitter and quite a bit of sequins and some black hotpants. There is also some chance of being Auf'd because his design looks a little literal.
Tim calls it very seriously, literally vintage, but likes Bert's idea of a simple dress as his second look. I liked the top of the first look; pretty and blowy and sprinkly, like the 70s. But the hotpants were oh-so-short, and the sprinkly wrap on the bottom seemed out of place. 
Then his second look was the other end of the spectrum; simple and sleek and chic. Nice, but I thought it too simple.
Heidi liked the shiny disco fabric, and, even though she called them too short, she liked the hotpants. She even liked the simple dress, calling it expensive and chic. Kors liked the top of the first outfit, and liked the two-sided-ness of the second look, and loved that Bert offered up two differing views on 70s fashion.
Nina would buy the first top, and maybe wear it with something else, which I think is good. as much as I adore Nina, a Nina is hotpants must not happen. And she loved the simplicity of the second dress. Olivia loved both looks, and even though Bert didn't win, she opted to sell his simple chic dress online as well.

Anya begins by lamenting her Bottom Three finish last week, and deciding that she needs to pick herself up and focus. There is no room for mistakes. Truer words were never spoken.
And then Anya, Maker-No-Mistakes-Anya, loses her money at Mood, and, according to the PR Rules Handbook, she cannot buy fabric unless her fellow designers have any spare change and want to give it to her. Laura offers up nine cents, and everyone else plays :::crickets::::. But Anthony Ryan has $11.50  left over and happily gives it to Anya, who buys that much fabric and is then told she can use muslin for the rest.
Muslin, according to Anya, is like Corn Flakes. Bland. Thank god Kellogg's will never be in need of a fashion designer--like for Tony the Tiger, who might be tired of animals prints by now--because they won't be asking Anya.
She dyes the muslin, and I'm guessing she does this several times. When she shows it to Anthony Ryan, it looks pink, but she says it's chocolate. I thought Anthony Ryan was the colorblind one.
But, she's thrilled at the idea of a second look and having more than panhandling change to buy fabric. She goes for a wide, wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide-legged jumper in a cool pattern, though she also suffers also from Olivier-itis, running from workroom to sewing room even as Tim calls time.
But her first look, the $11.50 look, I liked. I even liked the color of the top, and the print on the bottom. Her jumper was very 70s, with big, BIG legs, but a very cool pattern. For all her mistakes and drama and time issues, Anya pulled it off. Heidi was impressed by the $11.50 outfit, and loved the jumpsuit with it's sheer sexy back. Kors didn't like the chewed bubblegum color of the dyed muslin, but likes the details and pleating that Anya added to it. Nina calls the designs spirited and expensive--$11.50? Who knew?--and says they would photograph well for an online store.
And all that gives Anya the win; a surprising win, given that some of her work was unfinished and last minute. But Anya plays nice, and Karma rewarded her. Her second look will be sold on Piperlime.
I must confess, that Anya, based on her looks, with her jewelry and her dresses and her hair, seemed like a high-maintenance bitch when we first met her, but she is really very sweet. She has so become my favorite of the season, for both her fashion and her personality. I can see her showing at the tents and being very, very good. I can also see her winning.

I'm predicting Viktor and Anya at the tents. Maybe Kimberly. Maybe Josh.
Sorry Bert.
Not so sorry, Laura.
But, before that happens, we must bid adieu to the Auf'd, very sweet, one-nut-wonder, colorblind Anthony Ryan. he could have been a contendah, but he seemed to have stopped trying. Buh-bye, sweet Anthony Ryan.

I Didn't Say It........

Barack Obama, on the GOP debates:
"I mean has anybody been watching the debates lately? You've got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change...It's true. You've got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don't have healthcare. And booing a service member in Iraq because they're gay. That's not reflective of who we are."

It seems simple enough, doesn't it?
If you want people executed, or you want people with no healthcare to simply die, or if you have no respect for a gay soldier, then vote GOP.
Vote for the candidates who said nothing as people cheered and booed.
But remember, you get what you deserve.

John Shore, Christian author, on Christians who bully:
"If you’re a Christian who believes that being gay is a morally reprehensible offense against God, then you share a mindset, worldview, and moral structure with the kids who hounded Jamey Rodemeyer, literally, to death. It is your ethos, your convictions, and your theology that informed, supported, and encouraged their cruelty. We Christians who believe that God created gay people as much in His own image as he did straight people are begging you to reconsider your theology — to do nothing more than be open to an alternative, fully credible, scholastically sound interpretation of one or two lines from Paul. How can you be unwilling to do something so simple, when you see the horrible ultimate cost of that refusal?"

No one is asking you to disavow your faith.
We're just asking that you be more open to the possibility that god, if that's what you believe, created all of us.
And, as such, we deserve to be treated equally.

Richard Land, of the Southern Baptist Convention, on DADT ending:
"I think there's a grave concern on the part of the Southern Baptist chaplains that I've talked to in all branches of the service that their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religious free exercise are going to be either extinguished or severely limited in the near future and they're very, very, very concerned. I believe that if we get a Republican president, we're going to hear the senior officers in all of the branches singing a very different tune than the one they're singing now"

Why is these so-called "men of god" think that by allowing gay men and women to serve openly, that Christians will be denied and rights?
You cannot deny rights, when you give everyone equal rights.
And I don't believe we'll ever be a country of Don't Believe, Don't Pray.

Adam Lambert, on being gay:
"I think when I was about sixth grade, that's when I realized that I was probably not the same as the other boys. And, you know, it was a weird discovery and, of course, I was kind of in denial for a while and it was all in my head ... That's one of the things that's so hard about being a young person and realizing you're gay or bi or whatever -- we're not told that that's okay."

Slowly we as a country, as a people, are beginning to realize that gay people are born that way.
And as this news sinks in, and more people understand it, we'll see less intolerance, less bigotry, less bullying.
And that cannot be a bad thing, now can it?

Bob Maginnis, Family Research Council senior fellow, wanting more than just reinstatement of DADT:
"They did not tell the Pentagon that homosexuals have to serve; they just said we're removing this law. So a new president could impose a new regulation or for that matter, Congress could pass a law saying 'we now prohibit the service by people that are known to be homosexual.' That's easily done. Even though it would be the right thing to do, it would take a very courageous future leader to do anything about it."

Courageous? Or pandering to the will of the bigots and homophobes?
And, if you want to ban people from serving, people who are willing to fight and die for their country, then you might want to ask that next president where we'll get our military service-people.

Pam Olsen, Rick Perry's newly-named co-chair of his Florida Presidency 5 campaign leadership team, explaining that natural disasters are God's judgment for tolerance of gay people:
"We are under judgment. Do you know how many of the denominations now are suddenly saying, ‘Oh ok we think it’s ok now to have gay marriage, we think it’s ok to have gay preachers, we think it’s ok.’ Whole denominations! The Episcopalians fell off the planet, they think it’s ok to have gay priests. We’ve got other groups, one of the Presbyterians, they’re looking at voting, we’ve got other ones, they’re all of the sudden going, ‘Oh in the name of tolerance,’ and they’re forgetting God’s word completely in whole denominations....And God is shaking. If anybody looks at the news and has just seen what’s been happening recently with the floods, the fires, the tornadoes, God is shaking....But the reality is God is judging us, and I think it’s going to get worse."

That's funny, Pam, because I was thinking that floods and fires and hurricanes and tornadoes and people like you are God's punishment for people being homophobic.
See, there, Pammy, idiocy works both ways, only you actually believe what you say, and I'm being snark-astic.

Scott Lively, "Pink Swastika" author, on the scourge that is the LGBT community:
"We need to stand firmly and unapologetically on the hard truth that homosexuality is not a benign, morally neutral social phenomenon. It is an insidious and contagious form of sexual perversion condemned by God as an abomination. I cringe even writing these words because I know the wrath I am inviting on myself. Still, someone needs to say this boldly and publicly because it is the truth, and only the truth can set us free of the political correctness that has imprisoned us until now. The homosexual agenda represents an existential threat to Christian civilization and we're in the final phase of the war, losing badly. It all hinges upon you, Christian reader. Either get into the game in earnest, immediately, or wave goodbye."

Funny, I think going to a foreign country and working silently to see that people are killed or being gay is more of an insidious and contagious perversion.
Scott Lively wants gay people dead. Not just unable to marry, or unable to find housing, or unable to keep a job.
He wants gay people dead.
That's perversion. In the name of religion.

Tony Perkins, FRC head bigot, on Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the only Republican sponsor on a bill to end DOMA:
"Never a big fan of family issues, Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R) has joined the dark side by becoming the first Republican to co-sponsor bills that boost counterfeit marriage while effectively closing down most Christian adoption services. Last week, Ros-Lehtinen became the only Republican sponsor on a bill that seeks to overturn the bipartisan Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This new legislation's ultimate target is to overturn the state laws and 42 state constitutional amendments in by redefining marriage at the federal level. Is the Republican Party ready to be turned into a party that sacrifices religious liberty on the altar of unrestrained sexual license?"

Or, is the Republican party the party to set aside hatred intolerance, bigotry and bullying, and focus on the ills of this country, like say, oh, maybe the economy, or those pesky wars, or the environment, or the ever-widening gulf between the classes?
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen deserves praise for having the balls to stand up to the GOP for what's right.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Random Musings

So, Vicki Reveron stopped into her regular Starbucks for her morning half-decaf-half-caf-low-foam-skim-milk-no-cinnamon-frappucino, or probably something very similar, and discovered what she says was a nasty word scrawled on the cup.
"It says b--ch, my name is not b--ch, it's Vicki," Reveron said.
Well, Vicki, maybe to some, it's both. What I'm saying is, take your cup and your complaint to the manager of the Starbucks, and then go to another Starbucks from now on; I'm guessing there's one on the opposite side of the street.
Why go to the media? Why do people think every little thing that happens to them is a news story or a lawsuit?
Bi......well, you know.

You gotta love ministers, preaching the word of god, and those, what are they, ten things you're not supposed to do? Like not committing adultery or murder. Even I know about those two.
But, Tracy Bernard Burleson, a 44-year-old Houston pastor, is facing capital murder charges for the murder of his wife, Pauletta Burleson, who was shot in the back of the head, allegedly by her stepson, William Fuller.
Here's where it gets sticky: Fuller, who is also charged with murder, insists his father hired him to commit the murder, but then it gets much for complicated than that.
It seems both the pastor and his son were schtupping the same woman, 32-year-old Tyonne Palmer. Fuller had been living with Palmer, who was caring for him after he was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia. But, during the murder investigation, it was discovered that Palmer was dating Fuller and his daddy, the pastor.
What;'s that commandment about not schtupping the same woman as your son, while you're still married and then asking your son to kill your wife?

Note to Gay men: "Fierce" is over.
In fact, it was over right about the time that Christian Siriano said it for the eight millionth time on Project Runway....Season Four....Episode One.

Oh, another athlete has uttered the word "faggot" and once again we're all riled up. Philadelphia Flyer Wayne Simmonds called Sean Avery that word during a game and we're all demanding an apology. Be prepared for the non-apology-apology we'll get: "I'm sorry if I offended you....Some of my best friends are gay....i meant no disrespect...." Blibbety blah blay blue knock it the fuck off."
But then, the NHL decided not to investigate the utterance because there are "sonflicting accounts of what transpired on the ice."
Um, NHL? Anyone? Why don't you simply look at the videotape, like the rest of the world has done?
See, even with the sound off, and not being a professional lip-reader, I can tell when someone says "fucking faggot."

Pat Robertson says Halloween is Satan's holiday, and my question is, "Why does Pat Robertson get his own holiday?"

Apparently there's a new phone app to determine if your son is gay. Yes, you ask questions like, Does he like football? because gay men, you know, don't like football. You ask if your son has an authoritative father because, you know, gay men don't. Or, you ask, why the hell would you ask your phone if your son is gay? Why not ask yourself why you would use some asinine app?

I was reading an hysterical article in Entertainment Weekly in which Jeff Probst, host of 'Survivor', talks about how "real" his show is. Real? Let's see, they take groups of people they've specifically chosen because Probst, and the producers, believe they make good TV, and drop them off in a remote location after a team of engineers has been to that location to, according to Probst, "create roads, clear paths, set up the beaches, camera tents, caterinf, offices."Real? Then Probst says how the weather, that real weather, impacts the show, because, when it rains, and the weather gets ugly, Jeff Probst pushes to start filming.Um, Jeff? That's not real. That's orchestrated and planned and organized and built. That's you and your team turning a jungle or a desert into a rpistine spot for people to play games.
Real? Hardly.

Do They Even Know What They're Talking About?

Unreal Americans via JMG

That's Our Nikki: She Knows What's Important To South Carolina!


Good News: Increased Funding For ADAP

Finally, some good news for those who are HIV+ or have AIDS.

This past Monday, the federal government announced that  it has allocated nearly $2 billion in funding to states to fight the HIV epidemic, with access to care and with more cash for the failing AIDS Drug Assistance Program [ADAP].

According to an Health and Human Services  press release, $813 million of that money will go directly to ADAP programming, while an additional $8.3 million will be issued as a supplement to 36 states and territories currently facing a crisis of unmet needs and access issues. The additional money is designed to help those programs reduce or eliminate their waiting lists.

ADAP provides access to the costly anti-retroviral medications that have turned HIV into a more manageable disease; many HIV drugs can cost tens of thousands of dollars a year in the US. ADAP also assists in paying for drugs to treat opportunistic infections that HIV+ persons can suffer as a result of diminished immune functions.

This is great news for those people on a "waiting list" to see if they can get their medications. As of September 22, 2010, there were some 9,000, in ten states--including South Carolina--on waiting lists.

In addition to allocating new funds to ADAP, the feds also announced millions in funding for direct medical care as well as programming to assist minorities--who are particularly hard hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic--in accessing medical care for the infection.

Finally, it seems, someone is listening.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Architecture Wednesday: The Leaf House

"We see it as low-tech eco-efficiency, where it has the greatest impact, the concept of the architectural design. Our practice, luckily in agreement with our client, understand the idea of a tropical beach house as a means to enhance the interaction between man and nature, trying whenever possible not to separate them completely."
--Architectural firm, Mareines + Patalano Arquitetura, describing the Leaf House

Mareines + Patalano were inspired by Brazil’s Indian architecture, which is perfectly suited for the hot and humid climate where the Leaf House stands, in Angra dos Reis, an hour south of Rio de Janeiro. The roof acts as a big leaf that protects the interiors from the hot sun.

But the most important spaces are the so-called "in-between" or open spaces that represent the essence of the design. These are the social areas, where the the owner of the house and his guests spend most of their time. The very generous heights of these spaces, which varies from 10 to thirty feet, allows the trade winds to pass perfectly longitudinally through the building, providing natural ventilation and and passive cooling in both the enclosed and open spaces.

There are no corridors in the home, and the inside and outside spaces become one. Many sliding doors, most glazed, open up the enclosed spaces and let the sea breeze in. The landscape is everywhere on the ground floor, and the even the curvy swimming pool--which mimics the leaf shape--snakes into the house.

As the pool passes below the formal dining room, it turns into a pond with aquatic plants and fishes, before it reaches the rear “veranda”, a resting space with five Brazil’s indians’ style hammocks. Mareines + Patalano Arquitetura call this space “The Brazilian lounge”.

The roof structure is made of laminated reforestation eucalyptus, capable of crossing spans of up to 65 feet. The roof is covered in small reforestation pinus taeda wood tiles, that easily adapt to the complexes surfaces of it. The roof is also designed to collect rainwater via a central steel column that is reused in both the gardens and the toilets.

All surfaces finishes, with the exception of glass and pre-oxidized copper, are natural: the grey tiles were made from stones found on-site, as were the bamboo meshes. All the wood is local wood from remanagement forests, and some of the flooring is crafted of reused wood from old electricity posts.

Like a leaf, the use of all these natural materials, the transparency of the glass, the neutrality of the oxidized copper, create a virtual green house, with the landscape left mostly natural. The house actually belongs to the site.

via +Mood

We Need More Parents Like Tanya Sydney

Bullying is back in the news again--as if it ever really left--following the suicide last week of Jamey Rodemeyer, and everyone points fingers at everyone else. The schools need to be involved. The bullied need to speak up. Parents need to control their kids. Parents need to be more involved.

And one such parent, Tanya Sydney, did get involved, and now she's been banned from her son’s Minneapolis school and even her son’s bus stop for the rest of the year. yet she has no regrets for taking action.

Tanya's son, fifth-grader Sovante Griffin, told his mother and stepfather last week that he was being bullied on the school bus, and that some of the boys were hitting him. Tanya Sydney decided that, as a parent, she ought to get involved, so she went her son to the bus stop the next day to confront the bus driver.

According to Tanya Sydney, the bus driver said, “I am doing the best I can, I can’t be in 50 million places at once.”

So Tanya Sydney got on the bus and yelled at the two boys that Griffin said were the bullies, telling them, "you need to keep your hands to yourselves.”

Suddenly the diver could be in 'fifty million places at once' and he ordered Sydney and her son off the bus, and walked to Lake Nokomis Community School where they were met by the school’s police liaison officer, the principal and a transportation supervisor.

At first, there was some confusion because the supervisor thought Tanya Sydney was another woman who had caused a disturbance on a school bus the previous year, but the matter seemed to be settled when her son, Sovante, and the two bullies apologized to each other. Sovante is back riding the bus and there have been no further incidents.

Then Tanya Sydney got a letter from the principal saying she is banned from school grounds and the bus stop for the rest of the school year. She has filed an appeal to the year-long ban with the Minneapolis School Board, but said she does not regret her actions: “There are too many stories of children getting bullied. I don’t want it to get to the point were he is scared to get on this bus and he can’t be successful.”

And she did what a mother should do. Protect her son and put a stop to the bullying. Otherwise we might have had another story of a young child who would rather die that be tormented endlessly.


Dakota Ary Thinks Homosexuality Is Wrong, And That's His Right.......UNLESS.........

This is a post in two parts. The first part was written two days ago and was based on several news stories about a student being suspended for saying he believed homosexuality is wrong. The second part comes this morning, after reading another news story and hearing another viewpoint about Dakota Ary.

Maybe it's just me, but I think people are getting a little too sensitive these days.

Case in point: one Dakota Ary, a 14-year-old high school freshman and honor student from Fort Worth, Texas, who found himself in a heap of hot water, not to mention the national news, recently, after he was given a three-day suspension from school for making an anti-homosexual comment in his German class.

That suspension was reduced, with the help of a lawyer from Liberty Counsel, to just one day of in-school suspension, and the school district has said no mark will be made on his permanent record.

Dakota Ary's lawyer, Matthew Krause, called the suspension unjustified and said that Ary is entitled to express his opinion on homosexuality in school: "Just because you walk through the schoolhouse doors does not mean you shed your 1st Amendment rights. Dakota wasn't disrupting class. He wasn't bullying or harassing anybody. He was just stating his personal opinion on a topic somebody brought up and in a civil and respectful manner...He was stating an opinion and he has a right to do that and they punished him for that," said Holly Pope, Ary's mother, in a television interview.

The hullabaloo began in Dakota Ary's German class, where his teacher was leading a discussion of religion in Germany. One student, not Dakota Ary, asked what Germans thought about homosexuality in relation to religion, while another wanted to know the German translation of "lesbian."

Dakota Ary turned to another student, and said, "I'm a Christian and, to me, being homosexual is wrong." He goes on to explain, "It wasn't directed to anyone except my friend who was sitting behind me...I guess [the teacher] heard me and started to yell about it."


But, guess what? I think he had a right to his opinion. Now, naturally, I don't agree with him, and wonder about a religion that continues to teach bigotry and intolerance under the guise of praising god, but this is a fourteen-year-old boy. Who's to say that one day, perhaps sooner rather than later, Dakota Ary might just change his viewpoint on the LGBT community. Maybe he won't.

But, he's entitled to his opinion, as long as he wasn't hurting anyone, bullying anyone, or using his religious beliefs in an efforts to deny me equality.

Then, and only then, would I take issue with Dakota Ary. UNLESS.....

This part comes from a news story in The Dallas Voice; the paper is working on a more in-depth accounting of what happened in that class, but this is what they're saying now.

This information comes from Marvin Vann, a member of the group LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S., formed about a year ago to protect LGBT students and teachers from anti-gay harassment.

Vann is calling on members of the LGBT community to speak out in support of the teacher in this case--identified by Vann as Kristopher Franks--by contacting Fort Worth ISD administrators listed at the end of Vann’s post at the link that follows:
Kristopher Franks, a German teacher with a long and distinguished service record at Western Hills High School, is currently being investigated by FWISD administrators, swayed by a right-wing attempt to rouse public opinion against him for having the temerity to write a disciplinary referral against Dakota Ary, a student whom Franks reports publicly harassed him in class on the basis of the student’s perception that Mr. Franks is gay.
This is being depicted in numerous news reports as an effort to suppress the student’s First Amendment right to free speech. As Franks and the district cannot speak to media while the incident is being investigated by the district, only the student and his Liberty Institute lawyer’s version of the incident is being reported in the media.
The gist of these reports is that Ary, during a discussion about religion and homosexuality in his first-year German class, expressed the opinion that “I am a Christian, and I believe that homosexuality is wrong,” and was subsequently sent out of class with a disciplinary referral by his teacher, Mr. Franks, and then given a three-day suspension from an assistant principal.
Concerned that only one side of the incident was being reported, we met Friday night with Mr. Franks. His account contradicts Ary and his lawyer’s version of events, and has been substantiated by several of the other students in class at the time. We found Mr. Franks’ explanation entirely credible.
He reports (and has reported to his school) repeated acts of anti-gay harassment by several students that occurred this and last year, including by a group of four specific boys in this class, of whom Ary is one. Among other incidents, Mr. Franks maintains a “word wall” for his German IV class on which he posts articles and images from several journals, including the German magazine, Stern.
One of these articles concerned gay rights in Germany, and included a photo of two men kissing. The group of four boys concerned was sitting near this image immediately before Mr. Franks found it had been ripped from the wall.
The student and his lawyer are now asserting that including this photo among the others constituted his teacher’s “imposing acceptance of homosexuality” in his classroom. These students subsequently took every opportunity to denounce homosexuality in class, frequently without context; that is, with the topic having otherwise been broached.
On the particular day in which this incident occurred, Mr. Franks was opening class when the topic of Christianity in Germany was broached by one student, who asked what churches were there, another whether they read the Bible in English, etc. Franks asserts that the topic of homosexuality was not broached in any way, and that Ary‘s assertions to the contrary are entirely false. At this point, Ary declared, with a class audience, “Gays can’t be Christians; homosexuality is wrong,” looking directly at Mr. Franks.
Franks says he understands and affirms students’ right to free speech, and that he is perfectly prepared to lead a respectful discussion on topics such as gay rights that allows for the assertion of opinions with which he disagrees. He has led such discussion in the past in his sociology classes. But in this case, he feels the context makes it clear that this remark was made ad hominem, aimed specifically at him to devalue him and any information he might share on the topic of religion, on the basis of his perceived sexual orientation.
The Liberty Institute, which has provided the lawyer to represent Ary, depicts itself as concerned with protecting “faith-based speech,” and has a record of fighting against the extension of anti-harassment policies to protect LGBT people. It is associated with a number of other, politically active, conservative evangelical institutions.
So far, the lawyer’s efforts to whip up public sentiment against Mr. Franks have been very successful: The story has been broadcast nationally by a number of right-wing websites. Franks has received numerous insulting and threatening phone calls and emails, and after public outcry generated by these media reports, these suspensions were nullified, and the district has called Mr. Franks in to be interrogated Monday (26 Sept.) by the Office of Professional Standards, the office responsible for investigation ethical violations, though without as yet bringing any specific allegations against him.
As you might guess, the Liberty Institute tends to be very strategic in its selection of cases on which to to deploy its resources. It is likely no coincidence that it chose to represent the student only a few months after the FWISD adopted policies against anti-gay harassment.
It would be very helpful, and a grace rendered to the threatened teacher, Mr. Franks, if you and other community members would write letters and/or email messages to the school board members, assistant superintendent, and Western Hills High School principal, calling on them to give a respectful, caring, and full hearing to Mr. Franks’ side of the story. Time is of the essence.
He is being interrogated by an external investigations group today, though no specific allegations have yet been made against him by the ISD. I will post their names, phone numbers and email addresses below. Please keep all messages respectful and restrained, calling simply for a fair, respectful and caring hearing of Mr. Franks’ side of the story, unswayed by the public outcry generated by the slanted media coverage. Do not go into the speculations or reports of his side of the case; that is for him to present."
It now doesn't seem that Dakota Ary is just a good Christian expressing his opinion, but maybe he's a bully, surrounded by a group of his bully friends, targeting a teacher rather than another student.

No one, least of all Franks or Vann, is saying that Dakota Ary doesn't have a right to his opinion. Rather they are saying that the way he has been depicted by the press, and by his lawyers, differs greatly from the way he truly acts.

Hopefully they'll be more on this story, after Kristopher Franks is allowed to speak.

Texas teen's suspension reduced after anti-gay remark

Group says FW teacher was harassed by student he punished for saying homosexuality is wrong