Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Architecture Wednesday: The Ghost Wash House

They had me at Ghost ...perfect for Halloween.

The home is located along the lower hillside of the north side of Camelback Mountain in Paradise Valley, a small, town in Maricopa County, Arizona. It was completed in 2017 and covers some 8,500 square feet.

Two long, thin tumbled brick bars run parallel to the east and west natural washes framing a third topographic condition, the Ghost Wash, that runs down the center of the site.

The east bar protects this architectural wash from the low desert sun that streams across the mountain in the morning and houses the garages, kitchen, office, and family dining room. The west bar shields the occupants from the intense hot western sun and houses the private parts of the home: the bedrooms, family room, and recreation space.

The living and dining room make up the interior of long sequence of courtyards, gardens, and play areas that unfold along the Ghost Wash from the south entry to the north pool house.

A pool house!

The home is topped by a massive floating roof that provides for storm water collection and solar power to the entire home, and landscape. The large roof also protects the primary living spaces of the house—kitchen, dining room, living room, and family room—while its shade, power, and water both physically and symbolically nurture the life of the home.

The Ghost Wash House is not a house in the desert, but a house of the desert.

Decisions! Decisions!

I have no idea what to go as during our Halloween Haunting so here are some options. I like to keep the costume simple, so, what do you think?

I do so like the idea of leopard , and have been told I have a nice tail, but ....

the Vampire is always an option and I like sinking my teeth into something.

I have been told I can be quite Devilish, and even downright horny, yet ... 

a simple black mask speaks volumes.

There's always the idea of the Mummy because the costume is so simple, however ...

Perhaps I should leave the costumes at home and bring along a pumpkin to carve?

Monday, October 29, 2018

Letter to the President from Pittsburgh Jewish Leaders

President _____:
Yesterday, a gunman slaughtered 11 Americans during Shabbat morning services. We mourn with the victims’ families and pray for the wounded. Here in Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, we express gratitude for the first responders and for the outpouring of support from our neighbors near and far. We are committed to healing as a community while we recommit ourselves to repairing our nation.
For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement. You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday’s violence is the direct culmination of your influence.  
President _____, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism.
Our Jewish community is not the only group you have targeted.  You have also deliberately undermined the safety of people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. Yesterday’s massacre is not the first act of terror you incited against a minority group in our country.  
President _____, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you stop targeting and endangering all minorities.
The murderer’s last public statement invoked the compassionate work of the Jewish refugee service HIAS at the end of a week in which you spread lies and sowed fear about migrant families in Central America. He killed Jews in order to undermine the efforts of all those who find shared humanity with immigrants and refugees.
President _____, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you cease your assault on immigrants and refugees.
The Torah teaches that every human being is made b’tzelem Elohim, in the image of God.
This means all of us.
In our neighbors, Americans, and people worldwide who have reached out to give our community strength, there we find the image of God.  While we cannot speak for all Pittsburghers, or even all Jewish Pittsburghers, we know we speak for a diverse and unified group when we say:
President _____, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you commit yourself to compassionate, democratic policies that recognize the dignity of all of us.
Bend the Arc: Pittsburgh
Jamie Forrest
Joshua Friedman
Jamie Harris
Tammy Hepps
Harry Hochheiser
Sasha King
Jonathan Mayo
Elinor S. Nathanson
Avigail S. Oren
Kate Rothstein
Yael Silk

My Two Cents: Bombers and Shootings; Ain’t That America?

The van; the van was almost as big a story as the bomber—who, by the way, will not be mentioned here—who owned it and decorated it with hate.

It was shortly after noon last Friday when we actually the van, the tarp removed. The van’s windows were covered with right-wing bumper stickers that praised the president and denigrated his so-called enemies. It was as if the president himself had morphed into a vehicle, the hate so real, the attacks so vicious … Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Maxine Waters, George Soros, and more.

All people that the president has railed against, called names, demanded that they be imprisoned though they have neither been charged with, nor found guilty of, any crimes; the man the president once questioned about his birth, his faith, his leadership; the man the president once said he could physically beat up; a woman he has called stupid and ignorant and a liar; a man he claims pays protestors to speak up for the Democrats.

The stickers covering the van are the exact sort of stickers one can buy at a _____ rally; _____’s presidential seal; images of Hillary Clinton, her face in rifle crosshairs; the words “DISHONEST MEDIA CNN SUCKS”; a drawing of Trump holding a rifle and standing atop a Trump-branded tank. There were several “Make America Great Again” caps lining the dashboard. On a side window, the message:
The owner is clearly a _____ fanatic; he supports the president; he no doubt cheers “Lock her up” at every turn; he probably laughed when _____ said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and still be elected; he believes Obama is not one of ‘us’; he believes the media, well, except for the president’s favorite channel, is nothing but liars.

He believes that because he believes what the president says; he follows the president’s lead in dressing up his car; in spouting his Hate Speech, but then he took it all one step further and created bombs sent around the country to those so-called ‘enemies’ of the president and tried to assassinate them.

And then came the gunfire.

While we were still reading about the MAGABomber, there were shots fired at the Tree of Life synagogue, in Baldwin, a suburb of Pittsburgh and eleven Americans were killed.
Joyce Fienberg, 75
Richard Gottfried, 65
Rose Mallinger, 97
Jerry Rabinowitz, 66
Cecil and David Rosenthal, 59 and 54, brothers
Bernice and Sylvan Simon, 84 and 86, a married couple
Daniel Stein, 71
Melvin Wax, 88
Irving Younger, 69
Federal prosecutors have filed hate crime charges against the man—who, like the bomber, will never see his name on this site—they say stormed that synagogue with an assault weapon and several handguns.

The shooter made anti-Semitic statements during the shooting and targeted Jews on social media, and then he took his hate and rage and committed the deadliest on the Jewish community in US history.

To be fair, the shooter is a critic of _____ and had said in the past that the president surrounds himself with too many Jewish people. But what did the president say about it all?
More guns are the answer.

That day _____ told reporters at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland:"If there was an armed guard inside the temple, they would have been able to stop him."
Yes, he wants men with guns inside places of worship; inside schools, shopping malls, convert venues, movie theaters … guns everywhere.

You’d think the NRA wrote that statement. But here’s what I think …you have a guard inside the synagogue, but when a man enters with an AR-15 and starts shooting, does the guard even have the time to pull his weapon? Or is the guard shot first in a hail of bullets.

And we may have to put guns in a building of worship because, since _____ has been elected, anti-Semitic incidents in this country have surged nearly 60%; there were 1,986 cases of harassment, vandalism or physical assault against Jews and Jewish institutions last year alone.

But, can we lay this on _____, even if the shooter claims to have disliked the president? I say, ‘Yes.’

When you have a man, who sits in the Oval Office and espouses hate, and then you have one of his rabid followers send bombs to the very people ______ rails against most of all, then it’s the president’s Hate Speech that spurred this on.

And when you have this kind of hate speech, when you have a president say some Nazi’s and white supremacists are nice people, what’s to stop them from opening fire in a synagogue.

Maybe _____ didn’t put the guns in the shooter’s hands, and maybe he didn’t teach the bomber how to build a bomb, but his words lit the fuse, and his words were the bullets.
And the only way to stop this is to stop the man at the top.

Vote. Dammit.

Vote for candidates who will stand up to the NRA; vote for candidates who will stand up to hate speech, even from the president—note that very few republicans, or Fix News, have even suggested that _____’s words are dangerous—and say that this is enough.

Think on this one last thought …
Rose Mallinger survived the horrors of the Holocaust and lived to be 97, until a gunman, a Nazi white supremacist killed her right here in America.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

It's Snarkurday!

I remember years ago, when she was appearing on American Idol, there was the thought that maybe Paula Abdul was a little tipsy.

And maybe she still is, because last week, while performing the second date on her Straight Up 2018 tour, Abdul fell off the stage right in the middle of lip-syncing one of her, um, hits.

It all happened when Paula was dancing, er, walking, across a stage covered in billowing silk scarves. But that isn’t what tripped her up—see what I did there?—it was the fact that she just kept walking, off the edge and into the crowd.

This tour doesn’t look good for Abdul. The first show was cancelled due to what she claimed were production issues with the venue. It seems Abdul claimed the venue wasn’t big enough to hold some of her stage props, but shouldn’t that have been taken care of before, oh, I dunno, booking the venue?

Still, a bigger venue would have meant a larger stage and maybe Paula would have been able to stay Straight Up.

And see what I did there?
Queen Latifah has been quite shy about her personal life, especially when it comes to the fact that she’s a lesbian. She has never acknowledged it, even though she’s been in a long-term relationship with former LA Lakers cheerleader Eboni Michaels. And even though there are all kinds of photos of Latifah and her, ahem, gal pal, getting cozy on a yacht a few years back. But how is she gonna spin this story, if she even deems to discuss it?

It appears that Eboni is with child and it is rumored that Latifah and Eboni might be headed to the altar as well.

Will she ever talk about it? I dunno, but it pisses me off because it continues the stigma that there is some shame involved.

Open your mouth, Queen, it’s fine out here.
Megyn Kelly will do and or say anything to get people to watch her show, but she may have gone too far this past week when she said she saw nothing wrong with white people donning blackface for Halloween.

Kelly says she remembers a simpler time when white people could adopt another race because it was fun; kind of like that simpler time when white people owned black people?

To make matters worse she had a roundtable discussion of blackface with, wait for it, it’s totally Fox News-ish, four white people. She didn’t even think to get the opinion of a black person?
Well, she did when the Today Show let Al Roker and Craig Melvin have a go at Kelly, whom many have now dubbed #BlackfaceBecky. The following day, during the first hour of Today, Melvin and Roker took Kelly to task for being tone deaf and, well, dumb.

Al said: “The fact is, while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color round the country. This is a history going back to the 1830s minstrel shows to demean and denigrate a race. It wasn’t right. I’m old enough to know have lived through Amos ‘n’ Andy, where you had white people in blackface playing two black characters, just magnifying the worst stereotypes about black men—and that’s what the problem is. That’s what the issue is.”

Melvin said: “There was some criticism yesterday online that this was political correctness run amok. That’s silly. It’s disingenuous and it’s just as ignorant and racist as the statement itself. In addition to her being a colleague, she’s a friend. She said something stupid. she said something indefensible. A lot of folks don’t realize that Jim Crow is shorthand for the racist laws that have existed in this country for much of the last century, especially in the deep south; they termed Jim Crow from a minstrel show in the 1830s. I guess it was an opportunity for us to learn a little bit more about black face—but I think a lot of people knew about black face.”

And so, in order to keep her face, and racist asshattery in the news to drum up viewers, Kelly faux-pologized: “One of the wonderful things about my job is that I get the chance to express and hear a lot of opinions. Today is one of those days where listening carefully to other points of view, including from friends and colleagues, is leading me to rethink my own views. When we had the roundtable discussion … about the controversy of making your face look like a different race as part of a Halloween costume, I suggested that this seemed okay if done as part of this holiday where people have the chance to make themselves look like others. The iconic Diana Ross came up as an example. To me, I thought, why would it be controversial for someone dressing up as Diana Ross to make herself look like this amazing woman as a way of honoring and respecting her?”

Faux-pology; Kelly should have said “I was wrong. I’m sorry.” And then shut her cake-hole. Instead she rambled and then ended with telling the NBC News staff that she is “honored to work with all of you every day.”

Especially the black ones?

Still, it did speak volumes that NBC let two of their on-air talent take another, ahem, “talent,” to task for being tone-dead and brain-dead. But, Megyn probably scored a few more viewers for her show so she’s no doubt happy.

UPDATE: Megyn Kelly is out at NBC News, but she’ll be taking her full $69 million paycheck with her unless network bosses can prove she somehow violated her contract.

Oh NBC, between Lauer and Kelly you spend more money on firing asshats than you do hiring them.            
This kills me … That Woman is ALLEGEDLY bought Sheila Kolker, a close friend, a facelift.

Wow. Can you imagine that gift exchange? Kolker probably unwrapped the souls of dead babies for That Woman, and then That Woman says …
“You could use a nip and tuck.”
Everyone needs a friend like that. But, to be clear, Kim and Khloe and Kourtney and Kendall and Kylie’s Koven mother didn’t give the gift out of a sense of love, she gave it so it could be filmed as part of Keeping Up With The Kardastrophes. It’s all, and only, about ratings and ego.

And some kind of Devil worship, too, I imagine.
Lastly … as the TV season began,  the folks behind Modern Family said a “significant character” was going to die this season, which may, or may not, be the last for the series.

My money was on Manny, because he was cute as a kid, but as an adult …no so much. But it wasn’t Manny …and it wasn’t so shocking and it wasn’t a really significant character.

It was DeDe, played by Shelley Long, Mitchell and Claire’s mother, and Jay’s ex-wife. And she died off-screen before the episode even started.

Seriously? Calling Lon’s character “significant” is a bigger stretch than get Starr Jones into an evening gown. Long appeared in seven of the show’s more than 200 episodes.

The dog has had more screen time.