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Ho ho ho! It’s that time of year again. Here’s JHK’s holiday classic: A Christmas Orphan.

11-year-old Jeff Greenaway hears his mom and dad argue one night after an office Christmas party. He infers from their garbled squabble that he is an orphan, found in a willow basket on the welcome mat outside their New York apartment. Thinking now that his parents are imposters, he steals away to Grand Central Station and buys a train ticket to Drakesville, Vermont, where he intends to start life all over again.
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Behold, the new US Embassy in London, clocking in at $1 billion, a fortified borg-hive sporting a facade straight out of the 1964 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows. Kind of a super high-tech Bowling-Trophy-on-Thames.

The Times of London tells it thusly:

The riverside embassy, described by British media as a “state-of-the-art fortress,” is set at least 100 feet from other buildings in the area. It is surrounded by a pond on one side to deter intruders — officials said it is not a moat because it does not surround the whole building. It will not have a perimeter fence and members of the public will be able to sit on benches overlooking the river. The building has triple-glazed, bomb-proof walls, sunken trenches, raised terraces and a Faraday cage — an enclosure that shields what’s inside from electric fields — to deter electronic eavesdroppers….

Thanks to Rick  Schandall for the nomination!

About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

13 Responses to “January 2018” Subscribe

  1. lateStarter January 2, 2018 at 12:41 pm #

    It would be cool if it actually rotated (to complete the World’s Fair theme).

  2. Paul S January 2, 2018 at 5:13 pm #

    As a handy bonus, you can actually grate giant slabs of cheese with it.

  3. DavidLFleck January 3, 2018 at 10:49 am #

    Looks like the new Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles. Same architect?

    google.com/maps/@34.0543929,-118.2467664,3a,75y,141.5h,106.3t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1st6rrTyE3uM6sXB5EsE…

    This is the third federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. In all three, the lightly used halls echo like abandoned coal mines. In contrast, the state courts are bursting at the seams. The federal court system ostentatiously throws money at unneeded projects while the California courts are so overcrowded that they are unable to provide access to justice.

  4. Being There January 3, 2018 at 11:17 am #

    Where are the man-eating sharks when you need them?

  5. Ishabaka January 5, 2018 at 9:39 am #

    Plenty of helicopter space on the roof – ready for Fall of Saigon II

  6. Architectural Observer January 5, 2018 at 9:53 pm #

    It’s reminiscent of a camera’s expired flashcube… very 60’s indeed!

  7. jayrome January 5, 2018 at 11:49 pm #

    I am Locuitus. . .Resistance is Futile. . . You Will be Assimilated!

  8. RobH January 8, 2018 at 9:42 am #

    I like the beige ‘example buildings’ best

    It does look like it would rotate like it’s on a giant railway turntable

    It also does look like a flash cube! Bang up to date a ‘solar flash cube’

    If that is Battersea Power Station (‘luxury appartments’) in the background, then this is south of the river, in which case it doesn’t need bomb proof windows as no one will be arsed to go there

    Hardly seems worth the trouble. Can’t the embassy just rent something. Keep moving is the best defense

  9. RobH January 12, 2018 at 9:44 am #

    Well

    Told ya so. The great man called it an ‘off location’ and cancelled LOL

    bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42657954

    Thing is the old embassy ruined the area it was in as it had to have concrete bollards all round it. It was an eyesore really

    As an admin centre, the new one will be much more functional. Much lower rates. Likely as it seems to be in Wansworth. Thats a nasty right wing borough; one of the few in London. Move there for cheap rates and poor public services. Lots of roads with traffic jams

    Trump would’ve liked seeing the chimneys on the fine old power station though. Long time since any sooty smoke billowed though

    The mayor is happy not to see Trump though – it put’s policing costs up dealing with all the protests 🙂

  10. AKlein January 13, 2018 at 7:12 am #

    This is a perfect example of what happens when one loses one’s way. At least the Colosseum provided a convenient quarry after the Romans exhausted themselves on the folly of empire. What will the Londoners do with this execrable pile after the “need” for it has evaporated into the dustbin of history? I’m sure all those defensive, and certainly expensive, accoutrements that it incorporates will certainly serve as an impediment to reuse of its contents after it falls into decay.

  11. JCalvertNUK January 13, 2018 at 11:02 pm #

    A shagreen-wrapped square peg emanating from a ’round hole’ – it’s sort of topical, I guess. Moreover, the gaps in the kite formations on the cheese-grater façade seem to spell the word “Xanax”.
    When it comes to moats, historically these holes were most effective when full of ‘ordure’.

  12. bymitch January 15, 2018 at 6:45 pm #

    For some reason the glossy centrefold image and the status quo have got me singing – “Those soft and fuzzy sweaters so magical to touch, to see her in that negligee is really just too much…” Na na na na na na

  13. Peter VE January 20, 2018 at 6:02 pm #

    James,
    An entire year and a half’s worth of future eyesores are collected for you in just one article!

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