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Shades of Harry

"Gary He of Inside Images today tweeted his photoshopped interpretation of an epic CNN gaffe. His 'shoop visually references the historic 1948 photo of just-elected President Harry Truman displaying before a crowd a newspaper that incorrectly reported his defeat.
The image went viral after inclusion in this New York Daily News article on how CNN and Fox totally blew it, by incorrectly reporting that the health care mandate championed by Obama was voted unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, when the opposite was in fact the case. More on Poynter. (thanks, Miles O'Brien!)"
By Xeni Jardin at 3:31 pm Thursday, Jun 28 on BoingBoing

Any Tips on Setting Up Home Theater?

I am about to set up an integrated system of TV, TiVo, a computer, and speakers. Has anyone done this recently?
   I want to be able to watch TV (via Direct TV), stream, use NetFlix, play YouTube and Vimeo videos, play my Sirius radio, and have all the functions of a computer. It seems that this is a better route than getting a "smart TV, which, as I understand, has certain built-in functions, but not the breadth of choices available on a true computer.
   Seems to me also, that the storage capacity of a computer is a good thing to have (vs. smart TV). I'm not sure about Roku, Apple TV, or other boxes, but it seems to me again, that a computer would be more robust. Advice?

Reclamation Road - A Reality Show 6

Bug from Heritage Salvage in Petaluma takes a break from his nation-wide mission of recycling in America's small towns to visit two NorCal coastal residents.
"Published on Jun 26, 2012
This time Bug talks Coast Miwoks with George Snyder and then bops on down the coast to talk Alternative Building with…Lloyd Kahn!"

Dick Clark’s Sculptural Freeform House For Sale in Malibu

"TV personality Dick Clark and his wife are selling their Malibu retreat on Pacific View Road that will look familiar to fans of the Flinstones cartoon sitcom. The cavernous one bedroom, two bath home sits on a 23 acres lot with unparalleled 360 degree breathtaking ocean, mountain and city views influenced by changing light.
The property is currently offered at $3.5 million. Buy it now!"
Apparently, this is built of concrete, not polyurethane foam. Would be interesting to know how they (formed it (foam sprayed with concrete?).

Sony's Hot New Tiny Camera

"…There you’ll see what makes the RX100 such a revelation: insane amounts of detail and vivid, true colors. Hand-held twilight photos. A burst mode that can fire 10 frames a second. And macro shots — supercloseup — that will curl whatever’s left of your hair. A typical S.L.R. can’t get any closer than 10 inches from the subject with its included lens; the RX100 can nail focus only 2 inches away.…"
Sounds like the first camera to rival (surpass?) Canon Powershot S100.
Article by David Pogue, NY Times June 27, 2012: http://shltr.net/sonysrx100

Article on City Composting in Today's New York Times

"…Pioneers like Portland, Seattle and San Francisco have become so good at waste diversion that it is becoming harder to get much better. San Francisco reuses a whopping 78 percent of what enters its waste stream, compared with the national average of 34 percent.
   As some press toward a goal of “zero waste,” the challenge is asking residents to conquer what officials call “the ick factor” of organic waste, endure fewer garbage pickups, become more sophisticated sorters and live without things like plastic grocery bags and polystyrene containers for their takeout food.
   At the same time, the cities are exploring novel solutions for recycling challenging materials that take up relatively far more space at the dump than they did before recycling took hold. Those targets include construction debris from small haulers, complex plastics, polystyrene foam and the smelliest of the smelly: cat litter, dog poop and diapers.…"
Article by William Yardley, NY Times,June 27, 2012: http://shltr.net/petkrap

Great Online Review of Tiny Homes

Includes links to the Mud Girls, Tiny Texas Houses and other builders in the book, as well as a 2-minute video shot here at the homestead by a film crew commissioned by Sailor Jerry Rum.

Sambadá Brazilian Band Playing Next Three Days Oregon, Washington

Last night I called my son Will. Turns out he was in the van with members of his band, Sambadá, en route to three gigs in the Pacific Northwest. Sambadá bills itself as an "Afro Samba Funk Dance" band. They have infectious energy and get everyone dancing. They are playing:
- Tonight, Thursday, June 28 at the Someday Lounge in Portland, Oregon
– Friday, the 29th at Barboza in Seattle, 10:30 PM
- Saturday, the 30th at the Salem Worldbeat Festival, Riverfront Park Amphitheater in Salem, Oregon, 1 PM
 If you happen to attend, go up and say hello to Will; tell him his dad sent you.

Garden, Chicken Coop With Living Roof

Colors look great in the fog.

Tiny Home on Oregon River For Sale

Here's an example of why I'd recommend following the Tiny House Blog if you're interested in the subject, posted today. Note: this is on a very small lot.
"Going up for sale in August 2012: Tiny Cabin on a River, one hour West of Portland, Oregon.

It’s on a coastal river in Oregon that has a Salmon Run!
It’s located smack in the coastal range, in a landscape dominated by wildness.
There is a forest maintained hiking trail within walking distance.
There is a wild river located a few miles away (river with no road along it -very rare in the US).
There is a mountain lake located a few miles away with a healthy fish population.

Connectors for Geodesic (and other) Domes

A pretty complete list of connecting dome struts, both metal and wood. At left is the system developed by Bill Woods of Dyna Domes in Phoenix, Arizona in the mid-'60s.
Funny, they omitted what I think was the best wooden dome hub system, the pipe-section hubs and stainless steel strap tightened with a banding device. This was developed by Fletcher Pence in the Virgin Islands in the early '60s and was strong and elegant. I saw it used by architect Jeffery Lindsay in L. A. and we used this system at Pacific High School for 10 wood-framed domes in the early '70s. http://shltr.net/domeconnex
Sent us by Kevin Kelly

Horseneck Clams, Seaweed, Door Latch

On Sunday I took my little (12') aluminum boat (15 hp 2-stroke Evinrude) up to Tomales Bay to go clamming. A couple of near disasters: Backing up with a trailer has always been a problem for me; you have to turn the truck in an opposite direction from from your instincts to angle the trailer correctly. So after much travail and embarrassment (all the other boat launchers did it perfectly), I got my boat trailer down the ramp and boat in water. After parking returned to find 6" of water in the boat. Forgot to put drain plug in. Estúpido numero dos. Bailed it out, headed for clam beds. The bay is beautiful, sandy beaches reachable only via water.
Sign made of license plates on Grandi Building in Pt. Reyes Station

   This was my first foray with my clam gun, and I ended up getting 7 horse necks and one Washington. The gun is a piece of 4" PVC pipe with a handle and plunger that pumps mud out and gets you down to the clam without doing a lot of shoveling. This week I'm gonna practice backing up trailer in a parking lot. I'm upping my intake of food from the sea (including seaweed) these days.

Left: nifty door latch of plumbing parts in Fertile Grounds coffee shop this morning in Berkeley

Don't look down! Chinese Tourist Attraction: Glass-bottomed Walkway on Cliff Face

China Foto Press/Barcroft Medi
Sent us by Don Schaller

Buddy Holly Tribute on PBS

Just saw this last night. There a bunch of the reasons to watch this show:
1. Graham Nash's lovely version of Raining in My Heart, including a deft harmonica solo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13ouPkX3IT0 (audio only)
2. Stevie Nicks, still rock n roll queen, doing Not Fade Away
3. Keith Richards short quote. The guy is authentic! Like his autobiography.
4. What a band! Directed by Waddy Wachtel. Jerry Wexler-like musical direction. Strings and tuned-in backup singing.
5. To get an idea of Buddy's body of work; I never put it all together before. The English were so far ahead of us Americans on great American music of the 50s and '60s (and earlier).
Not everything is great, but the preponderance is pretty darn good. Hail rock and roll!

Just ran across a 2-part video of a Buddy Holly tribute in the '80s:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yeQnWF7MJk&feature=related
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skCaS1JdDxs&feature=relmfu

Feedback on Shelter

This was at the bottom of an order for our book Shelter last week:

"I came across an original copy of this book in the early 90's teaching art students at college, at an old heads house in North London. She let me make a photocopy of it and I would use it to demonstrate how age-old construction technologies are transcendent and empowering. I lost the copy before emigrating to the US and for the life of me couldn't remember the title, in spite of continually using it as a reference point! So imagine my delight when 20 years later I rediscovered that it's still in print and now I can recommend it to EVERYONE!
   Man - Humble apologies for making a copy all those years ago. As I cannot begin to express my gratitude, and the influence it bore, for this WONDERFUL piece of art. You captured the spirit of an age still yet to be realized, and that's a continuous source of inspiration!
   Blessings on your house.

Two More Photos in Brooklyn From a Few Weeks Ago

Wood-lined tunnel leading into the Grand Meadow in the 585-acre Prospect Park, Brooklyn, which was designed in 1865 by Frederick Law Olmsted & Calvert Vaux, and built in 1866-1873. The tunnel makes for a dramatic introduction to the beauty of the park.
Tree-lined street in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Imagine what this street would be like without the trees.

Brooklyn Brownstone Painted Pink

Your guess is as good as mine. Neighbors must be horrified.

Recycled Lumber in America's Small Towns

Reclamation Road - A Reality Show 5

Nice Tiny Home in Woods

Largest Solar Power Plant in World

Article in Sunday's NY Times magazine by Julie Bosman, photo by Jamey Stillings
"Out in the Mojave Desert in California, a power plant that could eventually generate enough electricity for 140,000 homes hopes to get its moment in the sun soon. When the $2.2 billion solar thermal plant known as Ivanpah is completed — sometime next year, if all goes according to plan — nearly 350,000 mirrors on 3,600 acres will reflect light onto boilers. Steam will power turbines, which will generate electricity that flows to California homes. It will be the largest such plant in the world.…"

New York's Hidden Beach (Queens)

Nice photo by Nolan Conway in today's NY Times in article on a hidden beach in Queens (well, hidden before this article). Check out Nolan's website. Excellent photographer; worth browsing. Check out his "Tunnels" pix.

Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden

One of the great luxuries in our lives is getting the New York Times delivered every morning. Gets here at 5AM, even out in this pretty rural area. Yesterday there was this article on microbes by Carl Zimmer, one of the NYT's excellent writers. It caught my attention because I've been making sauerkraut (and fermenting olives) lately, and doing other things like drinking Kambucha tea and taking probiotic tablets to promote a healthy digestive system.

"For a century, doctors have waged war against bacteria, using antibiotics as their weapons. But that relationship is changing as scientists become more familiar with the 100 trillion microbes that call us home — collectively known as the microbiome.
'I would like to lose the language of warfare,' said Julie Segre, a senior investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute. 'It does a disservice to all the bacteria that have co-evolved with us and are maintaining the health of our bodies.'
   This new approach to health is known as medical ecology. Rather than conducting indiscriminate slaughter, Dr. Segre and like-minded scientists want to be microbial wildlife managers.
    No one wants to abandon antibiotics outright. But by nurturing the invisible ecosystem in and on our bodies, doctors may be able to find other ways to fight infectious diseases, and with less harmful side effects. Tending the microbiome may also help in the treatment of disorders that may not seem to have anything to do with bacteria, including obesity and diabetes.…"
Article here.
Carl Zimmers blog here.
Cool Tools here (where I first heard of the great book Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Ellix Katz and Sally Fallon.

Mini Cars for Tiny Homes

"Hi Lloyd,
Love your blog. Our family regularly follows your postings.
We visited a great Microcar museum recently and thought I'd share our photos:
Anne from Arnoldsville, GA"

This is Messerschmitt, which resembles an airplane cockpit. There were a lot of these in Germany when I was there in the USAF in the late '50s. The entire top hinges open. Still looks modern.

Young Red Shouldered Hawk Sings the Blues

The cries have been going on for several days. Kee-ahh, kee-ahh, kee-ahh, as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes the sound: http://shltr.net/redblues. We figure it's junior being forced out of the nest and not liking it. "Get a job, get your own place…"
   Last evening, the young one was in one tree, another hawk in a distant tree, and they were calling back and forth to each other. Below, the young one takes off and flies over to the other one. After a short period, one flew off.

Pickle Barrel House in Minnesota

"Lloyd, howdy;
I mailed you before about my friend George, who is restoring the Pickle Barrel House in Grand Marais, MI. It was built by the artist beyond a popular comic strip in Chicago around the turn of the (other) century. In it, the characters lived in pickle barrels. He built the house on their vacation property in the upper peninsula of MI as a surprise for his wife.
The restoration proceeds…up in Grand Marais (think: Alaska; not too far off culturally and otherwise)
Working 7 day/week, with a few brief trips back to work on a boat.
-Joshua Marker"

Who Walks in When I Walk Out/Firehouse 5 Plus 2

I loved these guys when I was in high school. I had a bunch of 45s of their records. Still makes me happy.

Brass in Pocket/The Pretenders

"I feel inventive…"

Foggy Morning, Grieving Crows, Iridescent Dragonflies, and Big Buck

We had a real hot day (for us) a few days ago and I took a long bike ride to a pond deep in the hills. To get in the water I had to make a tunnel through the cattails. The technique is to wade forward and lie down on the cattails and they will accomodatingly bend over, and then when you can't wade, you swim forward and push them down and pretty soon voila!, you've entered the pond through a cattail tunnel. Smooth pond surface.
   Being back in jock mode now that I'm home, intending to build back strength lost in recent months (years), I started out with my triathalon style crawl, smooth and steady. Jeez, it felt good, but after a while I decided to float for a while, and as soon as I did, 3 iridescent red dragonflies buzzed out from the shore like combat helicopters, skimming the surface and angling around my head. They'd go back to shore and buzz out again, I guess cruising for insects. Sparkling. Pretty cool. I decided to float longer. A little bird—dark on top, white on bottom, species I'd never seen—hopped down on a cattail 10' from me. Didn't register to him this was a humanoid.
  Then there was movement on the hill and a magnificent buck deer walked serenely across the hillside, oblivious of me. The full monte. Now I'm truly home.
   This morning on the highway, there were 3 crows sitting on the line, looking kind of hunched up, not normal. There was a dead crow on the road -- never seen one that I can think of, and these family members were doing I don't know what. But crows are powerfully intelligent creatures (see the book Bird Brains: The Intelligence of Crows, Ravens, Magpies, and Jays by Candace Savage) and this was a strong scene.
   On the way back from yoga, the Beach Boys doing "Good Vibrations" on radio. Jeez, this is a masterpiece. Back in the day I never took them seriously. The only one who was real surfer was Dennis. They just seemed lightweight in my quest to be ever hip. I overlooked the soaring harmonies and intricate instrumentals. This is on the Mozart level.

50 seconds in Cloudbreak Barrel with Kalani Chapman

Published on Jun 14, 2012 by Igor D. Arias
"Shot…on…HD HERO2® camera
Kalani Chapman shows us what riding an endless wave feels like at Cloudbreak in Tavarua, Fiji."
From Evan Kahn

A Child's Tiny Home in a Gypsy Wagon

I was going over some old files in preparation for working on our new book on 21st century nomadics, and ran across this letter from Serena in Home Work (p.176). It refers to the 37 Chevy flatbed truck converted to a rolling home by Joaquin de la Luz and his wife Gypsy, and featured in Shelter (pp. 90-91), and in later years used as a bedroom by 4-year-old Serena. It was such a nice example of happy childhood memories, I thought I'd reprint it here.
"My earliest memories of the Gypsy Wagon begin when I was three or four years old. At that point, our family had settled down in a little house on the Klamath River, in Northern California. We had all moved out of the Gypsy Wagon but I really missed it. I remember begging my mom and dad to let me use it as my bedroom. Luckily for me, my parents were such free spirits that they could really relate to my independence. The wagon became my room. I have memories of kissing my parents goodnight, leaving the house, and walking to my own little Gypsy Wagon. I had a huge doll that my mom had made for me, named "Howdy Doody." She made it out of vintage dress fabric, with old mother-of-pearl buttons for the eyes and mouth.  Each night, I'd hoist Howdy Doody over my shoulder (he was bigger than me) and off we'd go. I loved the coziness I felt each night as I climbed into my bed. I remember the beautiful hand construction of the wagon, the texture of the wood, the hinges, and the little window above my bed. Everything about it was so warm. I think what made it so special was that is was filled with good intentions. My parents set out in the Gypsy Wagon because they were peaceful people. Their travels always had the purpose of happiness. The wagon was constructed almost entirely of other people's discarded junk. My father's creativity soared as he built it, and my mother made it a home.To this day, I really appreciate the warmth of simple things like old fabric and rusty metal. This is my history, as a child of  free spirits with peace as their purpose. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Bill Coperthwaite's Yurt in Maine Woods

Photo from woodworker Peter Follansbee's website. Check out also Peter's wood carvings.
Thanks to Bob Dow

Polyhedral Art on Metropolitan Museum Roof

Although I gave up on domes many years ago, I never lost my fascination with polyhedra. So when I heard about the exhibit on the roof garden at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, I went to see it. It turned out to be squashed and stretched hexagons and pentagons of steel, acrylic, and polyester. You could walk around inside it. By Argentine artist Tomás Saraceno.

Beer Festival in Brooklyn This Saturday (June 16, 2012)

In Williamsburg, Brooklyn
75 breweries, 150 beers http://bkbeerfest.com/

Small Turn-of-century Home Salt Lake City 130K

249 E 1300 S, Salt Lake City UT/$129,900
Size: 650 sq. ft.
This tiny turn-of-the-century Salt Lake City home was extensively updated in 2000. Neat as a pin, the home has 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and a large backyard ready for landscaping. http://shltr.net/tinyslcity

First Nations Art & Tools in NYC

The 1st day of this trip to NYC (am now home), I went to the Museum of Natural History. I'd seen the exhibit of the First Nations peoples of British Columbia years before and now wanted to see it again after spending years up in BC working on Builders of the Pacific Coast and marvelling at this rich and still-alive native art.
There is an entire large room full of totems, shields, baskets, clothing, jewelry, and a myriad of items made from cedar trees. It's a stunning exhibit (and once again I apologize for being "stunned and amazed," as my friend Jack Fulton says, but I just am, often).The star of the show is this enormous canoe. I couldn't find any measurements, but I'd guess it to be 60' long and at least 12' wide -- all made from a hollowed-out single tree. It's thought to have been a Heiltsuk raiding canoe (see the Edward Curtis film, "Land of the War Canoes," I posted earlier). Here are some other photos of this powerful art. (See Builders of the Pacific Coast, pp. 110-12, for the building, art and construction techniques of the First Nations peoples.)

Recycling Small Towns USA

One Minute Vacation by Kevin Kelly

Once in a while something comes in that causes me to drop whatever I'm doing, and this brilliant form of communication by Kevin Kelly is one of them. Perfect for the 21st century. Less is better. Wow!

"One second per day for a 2-months in Asia.
I took a one-second clip each day on a two-month trip in Asia during April & May 2012. On a few days I just had to do an extra second, so this video is actually 90 seconds long. I was inspired by Ceasar Kuriyama's one-second-per-day life summary. Since it was only one second per day I filmed it on my Lumix still camera; edited on iMovie. This is all the video I took. There is no more; but there are stills. I'll eventually put them on my site at www.asiagrace.com. -- Kevin Kelly"

Tuff Shed Tiny Houses

It surprises some people at my slide show/book signings for Tiny Homes when I say that Tom's cabin (pp. 92-93) is one of my favorite homes in the book. It's a Tuff Shed that Tom bought for $4000 and fixed up to be his tiny home. On the exterior it looks like a storage shed, but inside it's a cozy, well-thought out dwelling.
This morning I see on the Tiny House blog that Tuffshed is now fabricating little buildings intended as tiny homes:
"Most people are familiar with Tuff Shed’s storage sheds and garages, but now the 30-year-old company is designing and manufacturing structures that could be used as tiny homes.…The Premier PRO Weekender Ranch can be finished on the interior by the customer to create a more liveable space. This building includes a steel service door, two 3′x3′ windows, LP TechShield radiant barrier roof decking, 30-Year Owens Corning dimensional shingles, a front porch with overhang and can accommodate any of Tuff Shed’s standard options. The sizes range from 8′x14′ to 16′x24′ and the prices from $4,100 to $8,739.…"
Note: I'm just back from 10 days on the road, unscrambling notes and pics and will post some of it later this week.

Jimmy's 43 Pub, East Village

Thanks to a tip (comment) from Anonymous a few days ago, I went to Jimmy's on this, my last night in NYC. Down a flight of dark stairs and into what felt like a medieval tavern on East 7th (#43, between 2nd & 3rd). You know how you enter a room and everything feels right?  Had several glasses of Greenport Hoppy Stout and excellent pasta dish and talked to 4 different people at the bar. There's something intimate about NYC; you're in such close proximity to people in public places. This is a wonderful pub, in a formerly Ukrainian
neighborhood, I recommend it highly. Their food is made with ingredients from local farms. They have many beers. NYC is an infinitely complex and deep city. It's what you make of it and what you take of it.

Art From New Guinea at Metropolitan Museum Yesterday

I don't do well in museums, but I ended up spending 3 hours at the Met yesterday. The big surprise was the exhibit of art from New Guinea, much of it collected by Michael Rockefeller. It was similar in many aspects to art of the First Nations tribes of British Columbia* -- totem poles and canoes carved out of single trees. This is a huge ceiling panel from a ceremonial house of the Kwoma group, who live in the Washkuk hills north of the Sepik river in northeastern New Guinea. I shot over 200 photos at the Met -- a total "embarrassment of riches." I just don't know what to do with all my "content." I need a clone (or maybe an apprentice) to help me deal with all of it.

*A few days ago I spent a long time at the wonderful First Nations display at the Museum of Natural History. (There is a huge canoe there, among other stunning works of art.)

Clay Sculpture in Central Park Yesterday

Flatiron Building, Manhattan

Brownstones in Brooklyn's Park Slope Neighborhood

(These should actually be called "redstones.")