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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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JHK’s lost classic now reprinted as an e-book
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Behold the new addition to San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art by the Norwegian architecture firm, Snøhetta, opening in two weeks. Thanks for yet another mystical genius innovation in building form, lending the institution the look of a collapsed Japanese paper lantern with moth holes. Note that the genius crumpled fiberglass cladding is guaranteed to trap auto emissions in the final decade of Happy Motoring. You can also be sure that the exterior will resist renovation and perhaps even basic maintenance — the sad fate of untested novelties in construction materials. Observe the now utterly clichéd canonical horizontal windows and their arbitrary placement, betraying the fact that buildings are now designed from the inside out, since the public realm has value only for marketing the design firm’s availability for new commissions. The PR bullshit heralding the official debut says that the design scheme is supposed to express “the waters and fog of the San Francisco Bay.” In other words, it’s a force of nature. No it’s not. It’s a force of egomania and techno-narcissism.

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Coming in June
World Made By Hand 4 (and final)

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Praise for A History of the Future:
Kunstler skewers everything from kitsch to greed, prejudice, bloodshed, and brainwashing in this wily, funny, rip-roaring, and profoundly provocative page- turner, leaving no doubt that the prescriptive yet devilishly satiric A World Made by Hand series will continue.” — Booklist

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or Amazon

Also: Published as an E-book for the first time!
The 20th Anniversary edition
With an entertaining new introduction by the author

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Bargain Price $3.99

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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.

18 Responses to “May 2016” Subscribe

  1. Neon Vincent May 2, 2016 at 7:58 pm #

    The top looks like a ship in fog. The bottom looks like an iceberg. Together, they make The Titanic.

  2. Daphne DeMuir May 3, 2016 at 9:51 am #

    Why do so many new buildings look like bunkers with gun turrets?

    • Peter VE May 4, 2016 at 7:02 pm #

      I believe your question answers itself.

  3. J. Dean May 3, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    A sure sign we are completely cracked. Deep-down a great multitude must resent this kind of visual assault.

  4. drydock May 3, 2016 at 5:57 pm #

    Looks like a printer.

  5. hotsauce_johnny May 4, 2016 at 9:40 am #

    It looks like a roll of toilet paper that got wet

  6. jayrome May 4, 2016 at 5:03 pm #

    Kudzu. . .I love Kudzu in its ability to cover over an ‘Whatchamacallit” Art Museum. How sad. . . all that money spent on something that might not even last a hundred years. I wonder if this structure was built on rock ledge or sand fill? Tectonic shifts could do some damage at 8 or 9 intensity.
    Ultraviolet light is a very powerful form of radiant energy that will in time degrade the fiberglass exterior gel coat. Although, with the strands of fiberglass exposed does create an ideal surface for the hold-fasts of vines to cling better.

  7. Peter VE May 4, 2016 at 7:12 pm #

    The staff of Yelp has the joy of working in a renovated gracious historic office building. Too bad for them that they have to see this from their windows…. I wonder how they’ll review SFMMA?

  8. MDG May 6, 2016 at 10:48 am #

    Ugh. So many of these most recent Eyesores look like they’ve melted, or collapsed, or a still under construction. When did ugliness become the goal of architecture? Why is beauty obsolete?
    Get me outta this century.

  9. malthuss May 9, 2016 at 1:07 am #

    I dont know what to call ‘it’, perhaps ‘It’ [remember Cousin It?] is the best name for it.

    In looking at it I am reminded of the Guggenheim, another ugly blob.
    But this one is not round.

  10. malthuss May 9, 2016 at 1:07 am #

    The saggy look of the lower half is very bizarre.

  11. jon from virginia May 9, 2016 at 9:47 am #

    It looks like a hornets nest after somebody tossed an M-80 into it. Take Cover!

  12. DurangoKid May 13, 2016 at 1:03 pm #

    This building needs Preparation H stat!

  13. HowardBeale May 29, 2016 at 8:51 am #

    Jackson Pollock threw paint at a canvas, and the greatest fool yet recently purchased it (Number 17A) for $200 million. Apparently, an even greater fool, with even more extracted wealth, partied a little to hard, step on something, stopped, and while wobbling, attempting to focus on the crushed remnants, said “Bwild it mother fuckas. Bwild it! Me wanit. Bwild it.”

  14. jedrider May 31, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

    Architecture seems appropriate to it’s content.

  15. sethinthebox May 31, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

    I, quite literally, had to suppress the urge to vomit. There’s something Lovecraftian about that place as if it were designed to send the viewer’s mind straight into the abyss.

  16. randysutt June 29, 2016 at 1:50 pm #

    It looks like the covered scaffolding (it rains a lot here) they use in vancouver to repair leaky condo buildings. At least it will still be recognizable when it starts leaking, I guess…

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