An imperfect posting (with a photo)

This blog regularly suffers from this condition:

The maxim “Nothing avails but perfection” may be spelt shorter: “ Paralysis”.

Today, for instance, I journeyed forth, north, and got some great photos. But I want to get my report of today’s photo-triumphs exactly right, which means that, quite possibly, I won’t ever report them at all. How paralytic is that? Very.

However, this evening, I met some people who every now and again take a look at this blog. Not a read of it, you understand. They look. At the photos. So here is a photo for such “readers”, taken just over a decade ago, of a lady with a nice headscarf taking a photo with her then state-of-the-art but now hopelessly out-of-date mobile phone:

It was not long before then that I started seriously trying to take photos of photoers that excluded their faces.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Le Corbusier gets Dalrympled

Instapundit’s Ed Driscoll quotes two early paragraphs of a review by Theodore Dalrymple of a book about Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, aka Le Corbusier. I like these paragraphs, from near the end:

Jeanneret’s pronouncements, and the belief in them, led to the construction of a thousand urban hells, worse in some ways than traditional slums because they were planned and because they were specifically designed to eliminate spontaneous and undirected human contact or social life. Jeanneret hated what he called derisively the street, because the street was messy, it was unofficial and unofficiated. He hated it as an obsessively house-proud woman hates dust.

But the puzzle remains: How was such a man able to obtain and retain such a hold over other men’s minds, or at least over important men’s minds? I have no complete answer, though I suspect that the First World War had much to do with it. Without that cataclysm, Jeanneret would have been a crank, or a mere antisocial misfit; but so great was the emotional and intellectual dislocation understandably brought about by the war that almost anything seemed worthy of notice or consideration afterwards, anything that was different from what went before. And so Jeanneret had his chance.

As regulars here will know, I absolutely do not share Dalrymple’s hatred of all architectural modernism. And I even like some of Le Corubusier’s buildings, the more quirky and individual ones, although I am sure not having to live or work in them helps a lot. But what happened to the world at the hands of the architects, and in particular the city planners, who were influenced by Le Corbusier was appalling.

The book that Dalrymple was reviewing is cripplingly expensive, but I might just buy it anyway, on a kind of “vote with my wallet” basis.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Two shiny windows

Once again today is nearly over, yet I have posted nothing here. I have several non-quota postings about half done, but nothing blog-ready. So, here is, instead, this:

From the I Just Like It Directory.

I just like it because of the contrast between the shiny windows with their out of focus, curved reflections, and the Concrete Monstrosity style concrete that surrounds the windows, the concrete being in focus, not shiny, not curvey. I like that contrast. That’s exactly as it came out of the camera. No cropping or photo-enhancing.

Taken in Victoria Street, opposite where New Scotland Yard used to be. Not that that matters.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Stop your dog pulling on his leash – make your dog pull you

In my recent rootlings about in This is why I’m broke I came across two dog related devices that seemed rather impressive, in the usual punitive and exploitative (respectively) ways that dog related devices so often are.

First, there was this rather sneaky Tug Preventing Dog Trainer:

Train your dog to stop pulling on the leash when you walk with this tug preventing dog trainer. Every time old Sparky pulls on the leash, this clever device will emit a harmless ultrasonic tone that only he can hear, encouraging him to stop pulling and tugging.

Encouraging. That’s one way of putting it I suppose.

But this does confirm that dogs respond to instantaneous punishments for defying your will. They respond in particular by not doing whatever it is, and in general by regarding you as their dog superior. Once subjugated, their deepest pleasure is in serving you.

Serving you, for instance, by supplying power for your Dog Powered Scooter:

Harness your dog’s endless energy to travel around with the dog powered scooter. This revolutionary form of transportation safely allows you and your canine to move in the same direction – giving you and your dog a fun outlet to get some healthy exercise.

Well, dogs seem always to hanker after more exercise than most of their human masters ever seem to desire. This contraption solves that problem very nicely.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Quota hippo

Remember that hippo I photoed before giving it to Cleaning Lady’s Partner. Course you do. And remember how I only posted one photo of the hippo in question, because I was in a rush. Well I’m in another rush, following a long day doing various other things, and here is another hippo photo:

I like the contrast. Usually things like this hippo are either looked at separately, or else viewed alongside other similar creatures. But having this hippo announcing his ownership of a clutch of my household equipment looks good, I think.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Mick Hartley on Hadid’s new Antwerp Port House

Yes, favorite blogger-of-mine Mick Hartley has been checking out, and photoing, the now finished Havenhuis, and has this to say about it:

I noted earlier – before I’d seen it in situ – that “it looks like it’s just plonked imperiously on top of the original building, with no attempt at a sympathetic conversation between the two”. Having now had the chance to look around and check it out for myself, I think that’s still a fair summary.

There follow several excellent photos of the building, of the sort that amateurs like Mick Hartley (and I) have a habit of doing better than the hired gun Real Photographers, because we tell the truth about how the new Thing in question looks, and in particular about how it looks alongside the surroundings it has inserted itself into. Real Photographers know that their job is to lie about such things, to glamorise rather than to describe accurately. Their job is to force you to like the Thing. Amateurs like me and like Mick Hartley take photos that enable you to hate the new Thing even more eloquently, if that’s already your inclination.

And of all the photos Hartley shows, this one most perfectly illustrates that “disrespect” that he writes of. “Conversation”? Fornication, more like, inflicted by one of those annoyingly oversexed dogs:

I still like this Thing, though. I mean, time was when any disrespect felt by the architect towards that older building would have resulted in the old building being demolished. Which is worse? Disrespect? Or oblivion? Perhaps the latter would have been more dignified. Execution has a certain grandeur, when compared to a further lifetime of potential ridicule. But I still prefer what happened.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog