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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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Featured Eyesore of the Month

March 2016

James Howard Kunstler : March 4, 2016 11:13 am : Eyesore of the Month

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Behold! The Raptor has landed! Hail Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transportation Hub, with its grand opening this month. Starchitecture’s latest bowling trophy is less huge (yuge-uh!) than it looks. Check out the scale of construction vehicles at it’s beak end (or is that cloaca?) Cost $4-plus billion. It is not, by the way, New York City’s main train station. That distinction is shared by the enduringly grand Grand Central Station and the subterranean latrine known as Penn Station. This new “hub” is just an entrance to the Jersey-bound PATH trains and a bunch of converging subway lines that boil down to it being the city’s “18th-busiest subway stop” (NY Times) – which isn’t saying a whole lot. No doubt the project was cooked up in the same spirit of paranoid jingo-narcissism as the grandiose POS known as “Freedom Tower” put up in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks to provide a fresh target for the aggrieved peoples of the world.  Below is the acclaimed interior, dubbed “the Occulus” — a reference to the skylight on the raptor’s curved spine. The result is a sterile, boring, vacant chamber (soon to grow dingy) for Wall Streeters to throw parties (a.k.a. an “event space.”) Remember: history is a prankster. With the banking / finance system heading south this year, and the political parties blowing up, and the USA heading into a terra incognita of social disorder, imagine how the raging 99-percenters will treat the partying Wall Streeters in their event space. Duck and cover, Goldman Sachsers!

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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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The 20th Anniversary edition
With an entertaining new introduction by the author

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Bargain Price $3.99

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11 Comments »

March 2016

James Howard Kunstler : March 4, 2016 11:13 am : Eyesore of the Month
Behold! The Raptor has landed! Hail Santiago Calatrava’s World Trade Center Transportation Hub, with its grand opening this month. Starchitecture’s latest bowling trophy is less huge (yuge-uh!) than it looks. Check out the scale of construction vehicles at it’s beak end (or is that cloaca?) Cost $4-plus billion. It is not, by the way, New York more »

February 2016

James Howard Kunstler : February 2, 2016 10:58 am : Eyesore of the Month
Support this blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page! Behold the Evolution Tower in Moscow, the clever DNA-themed behemoth joining the other bowling trophies in the Russian Capital’s jazzed-up Trade Center district skyline. It will be interesting to see how they clean all those curvey windows. Techno-narcissistic building stunts of this kind signal the end of an more »

January 2016

James Howard Kunstler : January 4, 2016 9:37 am : Eyesore of the Month
Behold, the renovated exterior of the Peterson Automotive Museum under construction in Los Angeles. We build these horrifying objects because we can. They are enabled by computer aided design (CAD) and the computer aided fabrication of modular construction materials. Sounds like a good deal, huh? Except the diminishing returns of technology never sleep, and in more »

December 2015

James Howard Kunstler : December 3, 2015 10:40 am : Eyesore of the Month
Behold the proposed new headquarters for “artist” Damien Hirst’s new one-man gallery (i.e. Museum gift shop)  in Lambeth, south London, just west of Waterloo station. As with so many contemporary Gotcha buildings, it seems as though we’ve seen this one a dozen times before because it’s so original. It would replace an ugly five story apartment building that more »

November 2015

James Howard Kunstler : November 4, 2015 12:22 pm : Eyesore of the Month
Behold the stylish new Dr Chau Chak Wing Building at the University of Technology Sydney (Australia) by starchitect Frank Gehry. Every college has to have its Gehry. This one appears to be a stack of old-fashioned brown paper grocery bags, or something like that. Here’s the catch: it will never be renovated. It will have one more »

October 2015

James Howard Kunstler : October 5, 2015 11:03 am : Eyesore of the Month
Hey, who left that stack of Fed-Ex boxes in the middle of downtown Vancouver? Wait a minute… that’s the proposed new Vancouver art museum designed by Swiss starchitects Herzog & de Meuron. Anyone who’s been through the Vancouver Airport knows that they are very into the “environmental look” there. In the building trades, that means lots more »

September 2015

James Howard Kunstler : September 3, 2015 7:48 am : Eyesore of the Month
Behold: the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston all pimped out with exciting bling! (Note the “gold” chain supporting the colorful whaddayacallit — five-armed ju-ju talisman? Hypnotic ass pillow?)  Here’s what the Gardner Museum Bulletin says about it:   Fenway Deity is part of the Garden Deities series created by Ken Smith. The large inflatable installation, with a more »

August 2015

James Howard Kunstler : August 4, 2015 12:54 pm : Eyesore of the Month
Behold the Anaheim, CA,  Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC). It’s a LEED Platinum champeen! It is also running a $2 million operating deficit after opening earlier this year. Revenue was expected from naming rights, but so far no corporation has paid to have its name plastered on the end-wall. An average of 460 Metrolink and 300 more »

July 2015

James Howard Kunstler : July 3, 2015 10:16 am : Eyesore of the Month
Behold the condo renovation of the Holy Trinity German Church and Rectory in Boston’s South End designed by Finegold Alexander & Associates for developer New Boston Ventures. It was approved a few weeks ago by the Boston redevelopment agency. Granted, the task does raise the question: just how do you cram 33 condo units to a structure more »

June 2015

James Howard Kunstler : June 1, 2015 12:50 pm : Eyesore of the Month
Behold the “Pterodactyl,” a combination parking garage and office structure designed by Eric Owen Moss for Culver City, California, To this observer, it’s more train wreck than prehistoric flying reptile. It’s also yet another demonstration of how buildings can be torqued and tweaked with computer-aided design (CAD) in order to produce maximum maintenance problems and the more »
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