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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 Children’s Splish Splash Garden, downtown Omaha, Nebraska. This lame gesture of a play area for kids is tucked behind what looks like a forensic pathology lab, with excellent views to the four-laner twenty feet away. It was actually put there to assuage the consciences of the grown-ups who assembled a city so dehumanizing, monotonous, charmless, and depressing that children living in it would never become fully-functioning adults. Here’s a view (below) from another angle showing the lively street scene. And you wonder why Americans take so many mood-altering drugs…?
Thanks and cheers to Abigail Newsham for nominating this humdinger.


Great Fall Reading… JHK’s new book!

“Simply the best novel about the 1960s.”

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Other Books by JHK

The World Made By Hand Series:
Book 1:
World Made by Hand
Book 2:
The Witch of Hebron
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Book 3:
A History of the Future
Book 4:
Harrows of Spring
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Geography of Nowhere The Long Emergency
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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.

5 Responses to “September 2017” Subscribe

  1. davidreese2 September 7, 2017 at 11:16 am #

    Like so much of what passes for normality in our society these days, this play area is a fraud.

  2. AKlein September 11, 2017 at 7:46 am #

    More homage to the shibboleth of “caring”. Bonus points for having the object of such “caring” being “the children”. Utterly vapid and fraudulent, as davidereese2 opines. Another accoutrement of the land where anything goes and nothing matters.

  3. SvrzoH September 11, 2017 at 1:16 pm #

    ‘Kids can play with (or) in anything’ taken literally by creator of this
    abortion.

  4. jayrome September 13, 2017 at 11:59 am #

    Wow. . . It must be truly the go to place for the Wee-Ones?

    Sturgeon’s Law applies here:

    “90% of everything is crap!’ — Theodore Sturgeon 1951

  5. RobH September 15, 2017 at 9:44 am #

    I note the ‘splish splash’ garden has a warning sign saying slippery when wet and another sign warning kidz not to do any sliding type activities

    I am not entirely sure what ‘splish splash’ involves on a piece of cement with a spiral. Maybe shouting weeeeee and running in a circle, slipping and cracking your skull open?

    Presumably the little ones just sit on the wall and play on their smartphones?

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