Weekend 474.3

“Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves.” — George Orwell, 1984

Weekend 474.2 (Fur Coat or Underwear?)

(1) A couple more from Tomorrow-land by Joseph Tirella:

“Each group ultimately wanted the same thing—as Leary later said, ‘to weaken faith and conformity to the 1950s social order’—but each would explore their own ways of changing the culture.”

“An entirely new and different youth culture was taking shape, and in the summer of 1965, it made Moses; World Fair seem old and woefully out of date.”


Bricks: “Each of the two Jones Beach bathhouses, faced with an especially expensive brick that Mr. Moses had admired on an East Side hotel, cost a million dollars.”

(2) The 1964 New York World’s Fair (YouTube)

(3) No, Dammit, Cities Are Not Dead! (The Atlantic)

Weekend 474.1 (Tomorrow-Land)

Finished Tomorrow-land by Joseph Tirella. Here are ten interesting facts gleaned from the book:

(1) The first meeting between a pope and US president occurred on American soil on October 4, 1965 at the Waldorf Astoria (Pope Paul VI and LBJ).

Limestone Fun Fact: Stayed there in October 2012 during NYCC.

(2) A report on the Fair’s financial management from city comptroller Abraham Beame cited an expensive air-conditioning unit that had been lost.

(3) Philip Johnson designed the NY State Pavilion. The circular towers remain and are being restored.

(4) William E. Potter, Moses’ building czar, worked for the Walt Disney Co. and was instrumental in the construction of Walt Disney World. He has a window on Main Street USA above the confectionary that reads: General Joe’s Building Permits Licensed in Florida Gen. Joe Potter, Raconteur

(5) Eero Saarinen collaborated with Charles Ames on the IBM Pavilion. The former was the architect of the TWA Flight Center (Bird Terminal) at JFK.

(6) Warhol’s mural Thirteen Most Wanted Men was painted over to avoid controversy.

(7) A City Destroying Itself: an Angry View of New York by Richard J. Whalen. History repeats itself.

(8) The Ford Motor Company used the Fair to introduce the Ford Mustang. Disney designed the Magic Skyway for the Ford Pavilion.

(9) Former president Harry S. Truman was at the opening ceremony.

(10) The controversial (and never constructed) LOMEX (Lower Manhattan Expressway) would have connected Long Island and New Jersey.

(11) Flushing Meadows-Corona Park was the second largest park in the five boroughs in 1967 with 1,258 acres when the Fair Corporation relinquished control to the New York City.

Bonus Quote (for a Long Islander): “Closer to Flushing Meadow, Moses improved the Van Wyck Expressway, a six-lane connecting highway. All these roads would lead commuters directly to the World’s Fair and the new ballpark, Shea Stadium, that was being built at the same time.”

Weekend 474.0 (Article 27 of the Fair Charter)

(1) A quote from Tomorrow-land by Joseph Tirella:

“According to GM, twenty-first-century cities would feature sleek modernist skyscrapers and smart superhighways—computers would regulate traffic and keep cars safely away from each other. But the great Metropolis of the future would allow for a relic of the past: A Gothic cathedral held a place of honor on one of the few people-populated plazas in the busy city. (Apparently, one of the few places that people waked to in the future was church.)”

“Moses’ Fair was selling the notion of progress: the kind of progress that had created a National Highway System and enshrined skyscrapers as a new form of American art; the kind of progress that had successfully split the atom and was now close to a putting a man on the moon; the kind of progress that unleashed the single-minded directives of the of a Master Builder who could—and did—mold and shape the largest and greatest metropolis on earth according to his whim, filling it with expressways and block towers, bridges, and tunnels that led millions outside of its shadows into vast pastoral settings of parks and beaches. This was the ethos of postwar America, and it was the personal philosophy—almost a religion, really—of Moses.

(1a) World’s Fair Subway Special – TV commercial for NYCTA (YouTube)

(2) Phil Collins – Face Value (Classic Album)

Weekend 473.1

“Michelangelo and Walt Disney are the stars of my show.”  — Robert Moses

(1) A quote from Tomorrow-land by Joseph Tirella:

“Although not one to share the spotlight—or the credit—Moses wanted Disney to have a headlining role at his Fair. From the get-go the Master Builder and the Master Showman hit it off. Although Moses was thirteen years older than Disney, the two men had characteristics in common. Disney had remade the American pop culture landscape, just as Moses had reshaped the actual landscape of New York City—each according to his own vision. Both had outsize imaginations and egos; both were leaders who surrounded themselves with armies of technicians on whom they could rely; and both were intensely driven workaholics.”

Weekend 473.0

(1) London National Park City Greenground Map

(2) Pink Floyd Clare Torry “The Great Gig in the Sky” Interview (YouTube)

(2a) Time by Pink Floyd:

Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells

(3) Broad & Co Printing Works: A building here was Broad & Co Printing Works. It had also been used as a Mission Room. It became a print works in 1853 for Thomas Darnell and Broads from 1893 until 1988.

(4) Seeking Inspiration (The British Museum)

(5) A quote from Tomorrow-land by Joseph Tirella:

“After the success of London’s Great Exhibition of 1851, fairs were all the rage. In the nineteenth century, cities on both side of the Atlantic wanted to host exhibitions to attract business, display their industrial might, and tout their cultural achievements. Fairs were economic boosts that could reenergize a city or announce its arrival on the world stage. Just two years after the London Exhibition, New York held its own first World’s Fair: the Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1853, which featured its version of the famed Crystal Palace, on the current site of Manhattan’s Bryant Park.”

Question Answered

My one oversized box arrived from the US. I shipped a couple of books and have answered the question —  if you were on a deserted island and could only bring one (or ten) books.

(1) How to Be Like Walt: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of your Life by Pat Williams with Jim Denney

(2) Life Lessons from the Monastery: Wisdom on Love, Prayer, Calling, & Commitment by Jerome Kodell, OSB

(3) New St. Joseph Sunday Missal: The Complete Masses for Sundays, Holydays, and the Easter Triduum; Mass Themes and Biblical Commentaries by John C. Kersten

(4) Lead, Kindly Light by Rev. James C. Sharp

(5) Daily Meditations on the Psalms by Rev. Msgr. C. Anthony Ziccardi

(6) Night Prayer by Catholic Book Publishing Company

(7) A Good Parcel of English Soil by Richard Mabey

(8) Tomorrow-Land: The 1964-65 World’s Fair and the Transformation of America by Joseph Tirella

(9) Orval Histoire de la reconstruction de l’abbaye by Eric HANCE and Danièle HENKY

(10) British Rail Architecture 1948-97 by David Lawrence

London: A 3D Keepsake Cityscape by Sarah McMenemy
City Walks London: 50 Adventures on Foot by Christina Henry de Tessan

Weekend 472.0 (Yarkovsky Effect)

BrickplayerWork obligations are keeping me from any meaningful posts even though we’re in a hard lockdown in the UK. My flat was completely unfurnished so I’ve been scrambling to find a couple of things online to create some semblance of a home. My stuff is still in transit too so feeling a bit disorientated (esp. on the weekends when recharging during this relentless year is absolutely essential). I didn’t ship any furniture but the Brompton and French press are stuck in limbo. I also shipped a scanner and found these very cool British First Day Covers (FDC) at Coastal Stamp Auctions in Brighton that I will eventually scan/post.

(1) A quote from Brick: A Social History by Carolyne Haynes:

“The advent of the printing press plus a growing scientific interest in improving all manufacturing and farming led to the writing of guidance as to the best practice to be adopted, and bricks were not to be excluded. Much of the literature was aimed at those commissioning the bricks so that they could avoid being cheated.”

(2) Keri Smith from unsafe space is really amazing. She was on Friday Night Tights and mentioned George Orwell. Her site includes a book club and the features titles/authors (e.g. C.S. Lewis, Huxley, and Rand) would be included in a Freedom 101 curriculum.

(2a) An Introduction to C.S. Lewis: Writings and Significance via Hillsdale College.

(3) A couple of **NEW** exceptional cafés to add to the list. The first is the Tide Tables Café in Richmond. It’s in a converted arch beneath Richmond Bridge and the views of the Thames are incredible. The next is the Lanes Coffee House in Brighton. It’s described as warm and cozy and that fits perfectly. The last is Coffeeology in Hammersmith. This was my neighborhood café for a couple of months. It has great coffee and the décor is eclectic. It’s not as quirky as the Foliage Café in Bristol but friendly and well-trafficked.

(4) As a museum director, I’ve been moved by a sense of the divine (Catholic Herald)

“But I love our neighbours: the delicious aromas coming from the kitchens; the choir practising on a Friday afternoon; the huge magnolia tree and late summer dahlias; and the boundless Christian patience of the Oratorians as we repeatedly disturb their monastic peace.”

(5) A History of London’s 25 Bridges over the Thames (Londontopia)

The image is from the Brighton Toy and Model Museum. Here’s a bonus photo.

Weekend 471.0

“Truth is unchanging. The principles of morality are unchanging. The human essence is unchanging. Therefore there is no hope of a New Man, Heaven on Earth, Babel Rebuilt, a Brave New World, or Superman.” ― Peter Kreeft

I was in Brighton for the weekend. It was one last fling before a “one-month” lockdown that will undoubtedly be extended in perpetuity until we are brought to heel by our betters. I can’t type “these are strange times” with a straight face because the lines between fantasy and reality are so blurry. We’re in the stuff of every dystopian novel ever written and you can pick the form of your destructor (i.e. Orwell, Huxley, Bradbury, or Zamyatin). The bulwarks have been corrupted (the barbarians are at the gate) BUT masks have been dropped which reduces the fog of war.

I’ve written about Thomas Merton before and in Seven Storey Mountain he writes about the national mood in 1939 on the eve of WWII. It was our sins, he writes, that created the conditions for the calamities and cruelties that were about to unfold. There is a similar feeling today as I pass churches in France / UK without congregations. Many of these buildings have been turned into community centers or just abandoned all together. The “enlightened” ones say something beautiful will rise from the ashes but I’m not so sure. I think the hubris is too great; the rot too deep.

The enemy has also grown bold and the terrorist attacks in France (burning and desecrating churches and targeting priests and parishioners) are going to explode over the next couple of months. We are no longer on the precipice (the dye has been cast) but sliding down that slippery slope that was supposedly just a figment of our imaginations.

Letter #32, Friday, October 30, 2020



Weekend 470.1 (9″ x 4 1/4″ x 2 1/4″)

(1) Recording 15 by Shannon Lay

This is a beautiful song and YES I was walking around blustery and soggy London listening to this like I was in an old video from the 80s.

The thought that you’re out there somewhere
Comforts and confuses my mind
I know we both got things to do here
I just want to dream with you

There’s a sign in my neighborhood coffee shop that says “better days ahead” and the veil is definitely lifting. I saw a red fox last week near the rails on the District line and now there’s rail travel in my future.

Weekend 470.0

London ProtestThere’s a huge difference between Hoyt and Noonan. The latter sounded the trumpet in 2005 but she was putting her faith in the very “elites” tearing the nation (and world) apart. She joins a group, which includes the likes of Jonah Goldberg and David French, who are blindly obedient to our betters because of sinecures, ego, superiority complex, and/or naivete?

The photo is from a lockdown protest today in London. I think the image of Nipper (from RCA) with “His Master’s Voice” complements the post from Sarah Hoyt almost perfectly.

(1) INSTRUMENTS by Sarah Hoyt:

“He was betrayed by our deeply infiltrated governmental apparatus, reviled by all our organs of communication, survived two coup attempts, and over the last year has presided over a nation that the media and the left (but I repeat myself) have driven insane, deliberately and with malice aforethought. They’ve done this for the sake of no greater good than taking control of us, and our wealth, and hiding their own deep evil and shame. He’s survived at least two coup attempts engineered by his own government, and the deployment of Antifa, Obama’s own brown shirts, in an attempt to destroy everything he accomplished.”

(2) A Separate Peace by Peggy Noonan:

“Our elites, our educated and successful professionals, are the ones who are supposed to dig us out and lead us. I refer specifically to the elites of journalism and politics, the elites of the Hill and at Foggy Bottom and the agencies, the elites of our state capitals, the rich and accomplished and successful of Washington, and elsewhere. I have a nagging sense, and think I have accurately observed, that many of these people have made a separate peace. That they’re living their lives and taking their pleasures and pursuing their agendas; that they’re going forward each day with the knowledge, which they hold more securely and with greater reason than nonelites, that the wheels are off the trolley and the trolley’s off the tracks, and with a conviction, a certainty, that there is nothing they can do about it.”

(3) Donald Trump is a symptom of a new kind of class warfare raging at home and abroad by Glenn Reynolds:

“Around the world in the postwar era, power was taken up by unelected professional and managerial elites. To understand what’s going on with President Donald Trump and his opposition, and in other countries as diverse as France, Hungary, Italy and Brazil, it’s important to realize that the post-World War II institutional arrangements of the Western democracies are being renegotiated, and that those democracies’ professional and managerial elites don’t like that very much, because they have done very well under those arrangements. And, like all elites who are doing very well, they don’t want that to change.”

(4) Archbishop Viganò sees evidence ‘that the end times are now approaching before our eyes’ by Maike Hickson:

“Thus he can now say: ‘We now find ourselves in this doctrinal, moral, liturgical, and disciplinary cone of shadow.’ But, we are not yet at the end stage of this disastrous development. ‘It is not yet the total eclipse that we will see at the end of time, under the reign of the Antichrist,” the prelate adds. “But it is a partial eclipse, which lets us see the luminous crown of the sun encircling the black disk of the moon.'”

(5) Russell Kirk’s Conception of Decadence: Kirk Thought the Road to Avernus Captured America’s Downward Descent by Gleaves Whitney:

“Yet Kirk was not without hope. He used to quote a line from St. Gregory the Great, who lived in the wake of the collapse of the Western Empire. Rome lay about him in ruin. A dark age had descended upon the West. But Gregory, in one of his more famous sermons, said: See how the world now withers in itself; yet still flowers in our heart.”

“Oh, and while the king was looking down
The jester stole his thorny crown
The courtroom was adjourned
No verdict was returned
And while Lenin read a book on Marx
A quartet practiced in the park
And we sang dirges in the dark
The day the music died”

*Quote is from American Pie, Pt. 1 by Don McLean

Weekend 469.0

(1) There’s a Chinese restaurant in Hammersmith that looks like it belongs in Twilight Town or San Fransokyo.

(2) History:

(3) Don’t Defend Columbus—Celebrate Him (City Journal)

Weekend 468.0

Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. – Genesis 11:3

(1) How Bricks Are Made (YouTube)

(2) Brick from Meaux Abbey (British Museum)

467.1 (Tyres and Bricks)

My post on Walt Disney (August 2nd) was interrupted by some pretty significant changes in my personal life but there’s still a crude draft taking shape in my notes.

I’m currently reading Brick: A Social History by Carolyne Haynes. I found this title at the London Transport Museum and it’s a page-turner! Did you know there’s a museum dedicated to the humble brick? The Brickworks Museum at Bursledon is close to Southampton and on my can’t miss list.

I also want to write a post about 2020. I’m certain everyone has a story of hardship to share. My story isn’t necessarily unique, but a departure from my usual list of eclectic interests will be cathartic.