Today’s Walk: SF – Sutro Bath House

by March 26, 2009

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Sutro Bath House was an indoor swimming pool complex built ocean side. Opened in 1896, this modern engineering marvel used Pacific Ocean water for its several salt and fresh water pools and hot baths. It was the destination for a while, got played out, got too expensive to operate, had a fire and lastly the glass, iron, wood, and reinforced concrete structure was reclaimed by the Pacific. The remnants I found on my walk along the coast reminded me of another gigantic public pool ruin I ran around in as a youth in Flushing Meadow Park.

Being Broke Can Kill You

· by March 22, 2009

Social Darwinism
I found this handwriting on a construction wall in SoHo today: “Thinning The Herd.” Is there a connection between unemployment and mortality? Bill Moyers mentioned Peter Dreier‘s research estimating that for every percent the rate of unemployment climbs, an additional 47,000 people die – half from heart attacks, more than 800 are murdered and nearly twelve hundred commit suicide.

Social Entrepreneurship ≥ Entrepreneurship

· by March 15, 2009

Amory Sales

I Keep telling my fine art friends that the days of the professional artist conceit are over. Right now it’s better to focus your art on social entrepreneurship, outreach & education rather than trying to re-create the 80’s era dangerous/strange artist mythology. Check the stats:

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Today’s Walk Manhattan – Carmine Street Printers

· by March 13, 2009

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I took a trip to Second Little Italy to proof a project for a client. This Carmine Street printer was down the block from the public pool I used to frequent as a youth. As I stepped downstairs into the shop I got hit with wafts of ink & acetone fumes. Immediately bringing me back to a job I had in Atlanta as a negative stripper at Nexus Press. The Carmine Street Shop seemed frozen in time, when much of the industry West of 6th Avenue to Greenwich Street dealt with printing. Impressive. Pete the press master, has stories galore and an original letter press poster of Benito Mussolini framed on his wall – printed in The Bronx, New York, USA in 1942. Huh?

Today’s Walk Manhattan – Simple Beauty Eames Chairs

· by March 9, 2009

I saw these today in their natural habitat. After decades of use; still comfortable, still functional, still sturdy, still beautiful.

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I am starting to believe that most products made after the 1980’s are trash. See something of how they get the way they are:
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T-Mobile is a Biter

· by March 8, 2009

The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. -Albert Einstein.

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Today’s Walk: SF – Timbuk2

· by March 5, 2009

We had to do some consumer research for a project with bike messenger bag maker Timbuk2 so we went to the store in Hayes Valley (they moved from The Mission – Nuff said). The creative brief rocked, they followed our recommendations. Now we chart the change.
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Public Schools > Charter Schools

· by March 4, 2009

The competitive advantage of simply being American is gone. Great. So when Cabinet secretary Arne Duncan says he wants to add more time to the school year to boost the academic achievements of our youth. I say its a no-brainer. American students have had Summers off because once upon a time many Americans worked the fields for a living and the families needed all hands on deck for the harvest at the end of every Summer. On a whole, we are no longer an agrarian society. Time to push the reset button.

My one caveat is that the Public school system has to be restructured so kids can actually learn during this extended time. Arne Duncan supports charter schools and one of the reasons he supports a longer school year may be because it will mean more $ for his charter school homies. Public Schools ≠ Charter Schools. Public Schools benefit the public, Charter Schools benefit those who are connected. Public Schools are for the Children. Staple Crops is for the Children. Wu Tang is for the Children.

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The English Language as Murderer

· by March 3, 2009

Tove Skutnabb-Kangas

The other day I went to a lecture on Language, Education and (violations of) Human Rights given by Tove Skutnabb-Kangas.

Tove’s disarmingly small physical stature and calm tone, served as the perfect counterpoint to her radical philosophy. Don’t let the grandma in a field of flowers photo fool you. Here are some of the points from her lecture that resonated:

A killer language is one that is learned subtractively, at the cost of the mother tongues, instead of additively, in addition to mother tongues.

Today, English is the world’s most important killer languages.

This violence even crosses over from spoken languages to sign languages. Tove mentioned meeting Nigerians who thought they didn’t have a sign language before the English sign language. I don’t know why I never considered that English isn’t the only sign language on Earth.

By 2100 95% of the world’s spoken languages will have been killed off by English and its gang of language murderers.

One of the reasons why we should preserve mother tongues is for biodiversity – so that local cultural knowledge of the environment is not lost. e.g.: ‘Whats the name of this town?’ ‘Since ancient times we’ve called it Earthquakeeverytenyearsville.’

While once used as a tool of colonization, English as a lingua franca is now a liability to the citizens of the empire. In this post-American world where multi-lingual ability is becoming requisite for a growing international labor force, a mono-lingual citizen is handicapped. Now just about everybody in the world knows English in addition to their mother language, Americans – not so much.

The competitive advantage of simply being American is gone. Great.