Saturday, March 23, 2019




From my 'Manual of Practice'. 

                Once in a while someone comes up With an idea to make fun of Architects.
The above cartoons are a couple of my favorites, even if I used one of them. (Thanks to Frazetta).

  Whatever happened,  it resulted in a multi-million dollar scheme.

SAINT WHO?                      
                Since it seems de regiuer to get drunk at the local pub every time ST. Patrick’s day comes around, I had to do a little research to find the person behind all this hubbub.   First of all, like Jesus, a lot of his story is a myth as he lived before there were journalists, sometime in the 400 AD.  According to the legend, Patrick was captured by Irish Pirates (weren’t they all?) from his home in Britain and taken as a slave to Ireland, looking after animals (sheep?).   After about six years he escaped and returned to his family in Britain.   Later on he became a clerk of some kind and returned to Ireland.  Somehow later on he became a Bishop in the Catholic church, but didn’t become popular until the 7th century. 
  Patrick was actually a Christian missionary sent from France after studing .

  Don’t forget to get drunk on March 17th !

  I have seen these adds for accessible tubs but only recently realized that you have to open the door, walk in, sit down and wait for the hot water to fill the tub. When finished, reverse the process by pulling the plug, let all the water out, then open the door and exit.  I hope there’s a catch on the latcht that precludes you from opening the tub when it is full of water!  I’m afraid to ask how much one coss.

  This wonderful little book ( about 6.5 inches square) is missing from my library. If there I is  anyone out there  who I loaned it to, would you let me know?  I also have one on German Design that I just finished reading again, and it reminded me about the Italian one.

EIFFEL TOWER  REVISITED                      

To get a better idea of how Gustave came up with the design , it is a fun exercise to take the different sections and give them a dimension .   I have cut up  photo of the tower to show how it would look given he was conracted to build in three different stages or heights.

It was first used as a Republican Slogan about 1880.  An early president, Woodrow Wilson used it during World War One , not to reflect  isolationism but to reflect our nuetrality. The Klu Klux Klan claimed to have a copyright on the phrase  but  that was not true. (You mean they lied?)  What does it mean today, with our president trumpeting that we should be first? First in what? It originally meant to be a dream of individual wealth, justice and democracy for the nation. Well, that's all done.

   I believe one of the finest rooms in Paris is the Barasserie  Printemps in the mens’ section of Le
Galleries Lafayette near the old Opera building.  The entire dining room is under a huge
magnificent glass Dome. If I remember, it was fairly economical (for Paris).or I wouldn't be there. 

The first time we were in Paris we found we needed the Train schedules put out by Cooks Tours. We found a nearby Book-store   across from the Opera and asked for the book. Well, this is a high end bookstore and hey don’t sell rail schedules.   Ooooops!   I don’t know where we finally found one but it wasn’t at Brentanos.
  Cook’s usurped the market when trains became prevelant and even had spiffy Steam River boats up and down the Nile  in Egypt for the ultimate travelor.
  Cooks sold out in 2013 and it is now called 'Continrental travet guide, but I assume it is now on your iphone and always handy. We had to tear out the countries we were not visiting by train as the book was getting pretty bulky. and I traveled light. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2019



Ciodad de Mexico at its' height
  Ever since my trip to the Yucatan area in the 60's I have been interested in Aztec & Inca civilizations. At some point I copied a rendition of the Aztec empire at its height  I supposed our Mexicans understand they are living on the roots of the ancient Aztec civilization and the Zocalo, the main square in the City, is the remains of the actual square that the ancient civilizations used. I have included a map of Mexico City with today's rant  to show that the high rise buildings in Mexico City are basically siting on giant concrete rafts, as the entire city is founded on the old civilizations. After my graduation from College, I enrolled in the Collegio de Ciudad de Mexico for a semester, which gave me time to search out the ancient ones. In retrospect, it was very much like Paris, sitting on my balcony overlooking the Reforma, with fresh bread from the bakery across the street and a jug of beer (a legacy from the rule of some Austrian King (Maximilian)  in the last century! and reading  authors that I had no time to while in school. It seems a tossup who was the more brutal; The Spanish Priests (The Inquisition) or the Aztec priests, with their mounds of skulls of prisoners. 

Celtic harp for the Holidays
If you are getting bored with the same old songs that are drug out about time for your next X as, allow me to brighten up your holiday a bit. (How long can Bing Crosby be allowed?).
  Let me suggest you buy a CD of Celtic music, by Chris Caswell. He has one out of Celtic Tidings (Holiday numbers) as well as his CD of just good listening to all old instruments, many constructed by Caswell in my Artist building in Graton before he died rather young. He had a recording studio in my building in Graton fo years. 

     As I am on the precipice of life here I feel it is time to review what I have done in order that I can access whether I have done enough while taking up room on this planet. In other words, what have I done?
  First of all, I have tried to donate at least 10% of my work to causes that I have found to be needed.  I have donated a lot of work for the following projects;
1.     Shamaz Retreat in Redwood Valley, CA
2.    Sant Takar Singh, Umoqua Retreat, Umpqua, Oregon
3.    Kirpal Singh Hall renovation, Tustin , CA
4.    Isha projects , 400 seat donw, 5,0000 Ahditorium, Bruce, Wisconsin
5.    StarCross Residence & Barn, Annapolis, CA (Children with AIDS)
6.    A primitive carpenter in Africa,_Provide small loans to entrepreneurs . Kiva Program
7.    Work on The East-West Society, Los Angeles, CA (New stage, misc. carpentry)
8.    Seven Arts Society, Laguna Beach, CA
I have left a trail of upgraded garages, sheds; you name it, livable environments on a minimum budget (for me).
Wrote, published, then didn’t sell 1,000 books 1982 Mostly to see how a book is published. And how is one designed?
Wrote another book on computer without the aid or involvment of any human (Except myself). 1990
Changed book to E-book, about 2012.
Bought & financed 100 year old apple processing building, turned into 28 Artists Studios, Graton  CA. 1985
Designed (and built) many houses , mostly innovative solutions on “Unbuildable Lots” in USA.
1960 to current
Designed and produce several Modular concepts; Three Dimensional, Panel types.
Sold to Ford Motor Co., 1970

   My daughter just gave me a  kind of a primer on dying. As we get older and approach the edge of the Abyss our study options seem get more limited.  SENECA by James Roman is a good read , though small, on your bookshelves  How to Die gathers in one volume, for the first time, Seneca’s meditations on death and dying. The book reveals a provocative thinker who speaks with a frankness about the need to accept death or even, under certain conditions, to seek it out.  We should remember he lived during the reigns of Nero and Caligua, who condemned a plethora of folks to death but they had to do the job themselves. After reading the book, I realized how different our view is of death due to the dogma of our Christian religions, and really, we Americans (USA) consider it a Sin or a Major crime to do ourselves in or even assist another to end it all. Seneca really practiced what he preached as he ‘Executed ‘ himself, which is described nicely by  Tacitus ,in  a later chapter of the book.  This harks  back to the death of Socrates, some three hundred years earlier in Athens.

How about changing the name of our Secretary of Defense to SECRETARY OF OFFENSE?

Can we use the term OMNICIDE?

ESCAPE FROM PARADISE? That's what a lot of us try.

I WOULD LIKE TO SEE OUR POLITICIANS TO WEAR SUITS THAT ADVERTISED THEIR “DONORS”, JUST LIKE THE RACE CAR DRIVERS, WHO NEED SUPPORT FROM THE COMMERCIAL SECTOR. While we’re at it, let’s  just vote directly for the lobbyists, and bypass the middle man (your politician).

During the 60’s the Jazz Scene in Los Angeles was very active. There must have been 20 or 30 Small Cubs in L.A. and environs for us aficionados to hang out around and pick up on the latest vibes.  One could stop in for a drink or two, sometimes a $5 or $10 cover charge at a place like Shelleys’ Man-Hole (Shelly Mann) or some narrow venue much like the current Club Alto in Amsterdam, and pick on the latest cool vibes. Sunday early afternoons offered “The Lighthouse” in Hermosa Beach, where the coolest cats hung out to jam a bit.

Diagragm showing squaring the circle

Add caption


Before there were architects and Engineers, there were Master Masons who were fascinated with mathematics.  In early 1100’s they changed the architecture of the French churches to what is now called “ Gothic”  from the Romanesque  style  which had just run it’s course. The new idea was  originally called ‘Gothic”  as it was also called “monstrous and barbaric”  it did not conform to the current Classical Ideals. The Term  became acceptable  during the Middle ages, which by that time they had constructed some of the most structurally amazing edifices due to the use of flying buttresses and giant walls of colored glass, some with about 200 foot high naves.. Most people were illiterate and the church itself became the method of teaching the biblical tales.
  The Rose Window became he significant point of the buildings and after Filius Benaci discovered what is now called “The Fibonacci Series” in 1202,  the windows became a   talisman to out-complicate any rival mason. The above photo shows a completed window while the diagram shows only one way “Squaring the Circle” was manifested for the complex design. Next time you are in Paris, be sure to see the Rose Window in ‘La Chapelle’, The culmination of the art in the king’s personal chapel near Notre Dame. About 1400 AD.

Saturday, December 15, 2018


You may wonder about the chaotic appearance of some of my blog work. Here's why;.. Sometimes I type out my thoughts at a coffee shop on my Mini-pad. This is on a word format. However, some of my writing is on my office computer, which has WordPerfect or Word, depending on which one I use. Then I upload all to my Word, as that's where I can easily change any troops. When I'm ready, I send it all to my Blogspot, where I can at at last insert any photos for the blog. Now, between all these programs, I am at a complete lost to get them a all together, ergo, you may fine some problems and all. I am not a computer nerd when it comes to all this, so please bear with me, as there are about 112 blogs out there 9 (SINCE 2006) I have written in my archives, which are all available , by the way. On the right side of my Blog.

Probably only Architects will know most of these names, but all thru my life as an architect, I have revered these truly creative people and the way they have inter acted with the best creative minds of their time has been an immense influence on me. The following have been my heroes & role model's since I first became interested in building.
Here are some of my favorites who are probably un-known to most of the current generation of designers;
1850's ,William LeBaron Jenny : Before my time but known for his advancements in Iron construction of multi-story buildings in Chicago, that was being rebuilt after the great fire.
Felix Candela

Late-1900's Felix Candella -a designer in Mexico was one of the first to experient with thin shell concrete structures. These got my attention during my college days.
Pier Nervi -  Italy

1930's. Prior to the first Great War, Pier Nervi of Italy was next to set forth The newest thought on thin shells. His giant aircraft hangers and Stadium designs brought the latest thought on prefabricated forms and large spans with concrete.

1960+ T.Y. Lin an American, excelled at seismic problems. He was active in California due to it being the center of Seismic activity and advanced the science of prefabricated concrete long span beams not (Note his 'T' beams).

1960's - Fazlur Kahn, Always connected with High rise construction, Kahn devised the concept of 'Bundled Tube' structures for the Iconic Sears Tower in Chicago, an early contender for the tallest building . He is currently involved with most of the high buildings being designed today.

1970's? Ove Arup,- was Somehow involved with the the loser Architect like Jorn Utson, Achitect of the Sydney Opera house ( I seem to be a minority on this opinion), Arup managed to figure out how to engineer the weird shell structures of Utson, who had no imagination nor clue how engineer it, let alone build it. The budget overage made Calatrava look like an amateur.
1880's? John Roebling - of the Bridge, had already built a long span suspension bridge before taking on the Brooklyn Bridge. Fortunately his son and wife were experienced enough to finish the project when John died from an accident on the bridge.

1880's Gustav Eiffel - first of all , his railroad bridge in France, Then his Tower, And recently, the Milleau Viaduct, Eifels' steel company was the steel contractor for for it's construction.
How would you like to live in this place for a season?

1800's We mustn't forget the The Lighthouse Stevensons, who exercised their ingenuity building the most difficult site on Earth in the most inhabitable places in the North on sites that were underwater about half the time. Their grandson, Robert Lewis had no desire to follow in their crazy foot-steps and luckily became a writer.

1940? FLLWright Had a soaring imagination and luckily had Wes Peters by his side to help
manifest some of these ideas. Just look at 'Falling Waters' house and you'll know
Detail of Firth of Forth

1890's? Firth of Forth, about the same time, the rail bridge was blown down across The Firth and when it was re-built, just looking at it would hold it up forever, notwithstanding the horrid winds the can level anything in their way. The engineers, Benjamin. Baker & John Fowler, using ancient Japanese concept, cobbled together a giant structure that coined the phrase, "takes as long as painting the Firth of Forth Bridge".

1781? By the fact that the British were even considering these projects tells a lot about them. Severen Bridge? Before Engineers, we had "Iron Mad " people who had to invent a new type of bridge.

1964. The Japanese Kenzo Tange, Architect had enough imagination to provide the Olympic folks with a structure with a suspended roof that would be memorable.

Ponr de Normandie
1960? I.M. Pie.After designing the Washing D.C. Museums, excelled himself with the Sharp - edge. 1980? Louvre in Paris, that probably wouldn't have Been built unless the Pompidoux center had been completed. (Too Modern).There are no vast structural concepts here but the nuances of structure in an environment so hostile to innovation could only be accomplished in France.
Milleau Viaduct

1995 The Engineer who designed the early stayed-cable bride "Le Pont du Normandie" in LaHavre, France, Michel Virlogeux, was also the engineer on the magnificent Milleau Viaduct in central France a short while ago in 2005. The concept of how to accomplish innovative and magnificent structures is a text-book example of this viaduct. Maybe it can only be done in a. Socialist government, but here is how it works; The government sets some basic performance standards, (Like $30,000 a day if you get behind schedule). then asks bidders to submit their concept, costs, financing and the winner will get the contract, own it and collect revenue for the next 70 years. Then turn it over to the government, and let the citizens enjoy the fruits od their labosr along with the best designers in the world.

AB URBE CONDITA ("from the founding of Rome")
This has to do with how we date our progress
 (or mostly regress)
With so many defectors from the Catholic Religion, We should also look at our money that refers to God as well as our standard speeches by our government officials that have to make a reference to the big 'G' in all in important speeches. There used to be something in there about separation of Church and State, wasn't there?

Upside down Vines
As well as the apples around here but I have to show you how our growers are trying get to double their harvest by teaching the vines how to grow upside down. In theory, that should double your harvest and only in The USA would anyone even try it it. I have shown you a foto of a normal vine from Chateau d' Neouf'd Pape, (New house of the Pope). where the best wine is grown in a layer of stones.
This is a vine concept only an American could come up with as it is such a demarcation from standard vine management, one wonders how it was even set up to try. Will all vines in California be grown like this in the near future? Well, I probably won't be around to see it and that works for me.

   My daughter just gave me which is kind of a primer on dying. As we get older and approach the edge of the Abyss our study options seem get more limited.  SENECA by James Roman is a must have , though small, on your bookshelves.  How to Die gathers in one volume, for the first time, Seneca’s meditations on death and dying. The book reveals a provocative thinker who speaks with a frankness about the need to accept death or even, under certain conditions, to seek it out.  We should remember he lived during the reigns of Nero and Caligua, who condemned a plethora of folks to death but they had to do the job themselves. After reading the book, I realized how different our view is of death due to the dogma of our Christian religions, and really, we Americans (USA) consider it a Sin or a Major crime to do ourselves in or even assist another to end it all. Seneca really practiced what he preached as he ‘Executed ‘ himself, which is described nicely by  Tacitus ,in  a later chapter of the book.  This harks  back to the death of Socrates, some three hundred years earlier in Athens.


I WOULD LIKE TO SEE OUR POLITICIANS TO WEAR SUITS THAT ADVERTISED THEIR “DONORS”, JUST LIKE THE RACE CAR DRIVERS, WHO NEED SUPPORT FROM THE COMMERCIAL SECTOR. While we’re at it, lets ‘ just vote directly for the lobbyists, and bypass the middle man (your politician).

During the 60’s the Jazz Scene in Los Angeles was very active. There must have been 20 or 30 Small Cubs in L.A. and environs for us affectionados to hang out around and pick up on the latest vibes.  One could stop in for a drink or two , sometimes a $5 or $10 cover charge at a place like Shelleys’ Man-Hole (Shelly Mann) or some narrow venue much like the current Club Alto in Amsterdam, and pick up on the latest cool vibes. Sunday early afternoons offered “The Lighthouse”  in Hermosa Beach, where the coolest cats hung out to jam a bit. This was our 'Church'. 

ESCAPE FROM PARADISE     Does this phrase sound strange? A lot of people are doing just that.  You'll take your problems with you.





Wednesday, August 22, 2018


The media is making noise again about how the mini house will save the day and eliminate the homeless folks. They even went so far as to show a rendering of several such tiny house on a large lot on a nice flat area. Someone doesn't understand the process of any kind of housing as the site cost and lot can be even more than the cost of the little house.  Think about it, a tiny house for one person will pay the same amount for the sewer hook-ups and rates as a large family in a large house. Not my idea).This may sound like some Socialistic concept but let’s face facts. In a Communist regime, the government would own it. ; What would you call our Social Security system? Our Medicare System?  Susidized housing? Food Stamps?, Schools?  Etc.  The same thing goes for the rest of the utilities to a lesser degree (Power, Water, Gas, Cable, etc.). Someone better add in the costs of the streets, storm drains, sidewalks,water & sewer. etc. as you don't think the authorities will be able to just put in dirt roads do you? How about the cost of the actual land? Someone owns it at first , don’t they?
     Maybe we should approach the problem from a different direction, like from the earning capacity of an individual.  Let’s see how far $15 an hour gets us.
 $15x 10days = 150 a day x 6 days = 900 A WEEK.  
X 4= 3600 a month,
 X 12= $43,200 A YEAR.
   That would be OK if no taxes were taken out & no Health ins. and   Day care was free.      Consider 1/3rd of that($1200/Month) for rent .
Maya Codex

MAYA by Diego de Landa  Account of the Affairs of Yucatan in the mid-1500’s. (Warning;  This padre is a poor writer and is very boring! But it’s all pretty interesting.)
                Translation by A. R. Pagden in 1976
Diego de Landa, The Catholic missionary who served in Yucatan in the 1500’s was largely responsible for the destruction of most of the breakable or flammable Maya artifacts, but at the same time, he wrote about the culture of the original Mexicans, which gives us a are view of the every  day life of the people and their practices while at the same time he describes the terrible treatment by the Spaniards trying to overlay their religion on a culture they considered inferior to theirs.  You can actually get a grasp of their Codex, kind of a herrogliphics like Egyptian , but very different.

Toshiro MafuniMYAMOTO  MUSASHI   by Euji Yoshifawa
Toshiro Mafuni
   The story of Japans’ greatest swordsman, he was renown for his prowess probably due the movie , (1956) starring Toshiro Mafune, the perfect fit for such an enigma.  To while away his time while in prison for three yrears, Mushashi  studued painitng and poetry to balance his brutal strength This is a novel in the best tradition of Japanese story telling. Subtle and imaginative, it is teeming with memorable characters,, many of them historical. It transmit a clear picture of the way of the Samuari, interweaving themes of unrequited love, misguided revenge, and absolute dedication to the ‘way of the Samurai,’ it depicts a world We westerners know only vaguely, full of gusto and humor, it has an epic quality and universal appeal.

   Americans (USA) don’t generally like reading stories about the Hero who dies or is killed at the end , bur Kesey is not of that genre. You’ve probably all seen the move, featuring Nicholson and the awsome ‘Nurse Ratched’ but there is so much more going on in everyones head (especially ‘Chief’s ,the supposedly deaf & dumb Indian with the mop & bucket) . Kesey’s description of MacMurty  is writing at it’s best. Kesey had gained a lot of insight due to his having worked in a nut-house in Oregon, and it shows.
Hangmans' Bolo
   My initial offering for my FALL Collection is my version of the Bolo tie. As I believe we have gone overboard , wearing expensive,  idiotic ties., my first is a miniature version of a hanging noose.   Of  course, I would like to use a better quality rope and maybe a couple of silver end pieces, this model will have to do as my introduction to the world of fashion.   Stay tuned for my summer shirt with the ¾ sleeves, soon to be revealed.

   “I went to see the the  Beatles….And I heard 20,0000 girls screaming together…. And I couldn’t hear what they were screaming, either…. But you don’t have to …They’re screaming Me !  Me !  Me !... I’m Me !... And that’s why wars get fought….”

  While in the medieval town of Delft in the Netherlands, we wondered who the statue was in front of the huge church (The ‘New’ church was built in the 13th century.) The name of Hugo Grotius didn’t mean much to us until we asked a lawyer friend when we returned to the US. It seems he was an international figure even in the 16th century as Holland was always at war with someone and he wrote volumes regarding International High Seas Navigation and use. Grotius notion of the freedom of the seas would persist until mid-20th century, and continues to be applied even to this day for much of the high seas, though the application of the concept and the scope of it’s reach is changing.  He was jailed for his writings on Church theory but escaped in a
trunk to France where he was welcomed.  He is probably more famous for his trunk escape than his writings.

Modular moveable plant

Plant all packed

 since everyone is caught up talking about mini-housing, modular-housing and farm housing  I
Thought I'd unwrap a thirty year old study of housing farm workers that I did for a corporation that was not able to get the concept off the drawing boards. By that time, I had designed and initiated at least two modular plants that actually constructed housing units. 
  The concept was that a modular plant capable of building a minimum of 25 units cold be designed to be portable on just a few trucks and set up near an area that needed farm housing, for permanent homes. The units would be of the same design and would be financed by large growers. And not just seasonal housing. Each grower might need two or so units for his operation , primarily for his managers and family. You would have to go to my seasonal workers housing consisting of wood platforms with theft structures or seasonal workers, such as harvesters for your crop.   I won the contract due to my actual experience with building modular 3D  (three Dimensional) units, even selling  one company to Ford Motor Co.. My mobile p[lant took inspiration from circus workers clever packing of their various components and materials on trucks and trailers. My plant was based on about four trailers that unfolded into various aspects of the plant line, it's and even the entire covered structure, including fencing. Semi-skilled workers would be sourced from local labor markets, where skilled foremen would be an integral part of the package.
3 bedroom, one bath
  There is a lot of exposure about 'Modular Housing' these days, but if you dig deeper into it all, you will notice most of it is for million dollar homes and although it does save a few months of construction time, it may cost more than conventional housing. 

3 BR, 1 B, for family c. 1980
  Also there is a lot of noise about Mini-housing, but certainly not much done about it. We Americans (North America) have an aversion to living in  small, multi-story housing, unlike the Europeans, who can rent you a well designed unit for an amount you can afford.
  Here in the USA we order why so many families can't afford even older rental units and I believe it's due to the fact we  haven’t looked at the problem from the upper end, in other words, How much does a family have to earn in order to pay for a minimum place to. Live?
  In other words, "Let's take it from the top" .
  Let's begin with how much we can earn, starting with the magic $15 an hour.
If I work 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, I can make $720 a week.( Let's not take anything out of his check right now). That's $2,880 a month. Let's say 1/2 goes to rent or $1440 a month. Maybe that works for you in the Deep South, but you cannot even  get a studio here for that in the Western market area. That may work for a single person, but add a couple of kids into the equation, it doesn’t' look good. But what if there was free kid care ? Then the parent could actually make it, but the care  center would have to consider maybe opening earlier and closing later.

That a guy named Garoppolo is paid about $30 million each year? He’s a football or baseball player!  And he’s playing a game all us kids played in junior High school!  Do you think a good teacher earns that much in the USA? Just kidding!

 On a lighter side, the Eropeans have a great sense of humor, adding a few notes to their One-Way signs.                                     

Saturday, July 21, 2018

110 Ruminations

Calatrava in Venizia

For the Crippled in Venezia

ROCKER BASCULE - Belgean Canal
Old Swing Bridge, Belgean Canal
Firth of Forth, Scotland
Old Style Bridge
Pedestrian over Canal

Milleau Viaduct, France

     One of our first priorities when we went to Europe about eleven times was to be sure to investigate at least one major engineering project. Most of these were bridges but some were others, especially when we got to Holland.  The small bridges over the canals were all over the place but the Dutch engineered devised a sort of balanced type that one person could operate. That's like the one Van Gogh, the mother of all bridges. But we rented a barge and traveled over several canals of the continent and once in a while, you just have to stop when you see one ahead, and say "What they fuck is that?" On the canal near Brugge,(A)  there is a new bridge that basically rocks on a couple of arm and lifts the roadway up high enough for the boats to pass under. It's a strange feeling, calling the controller and they stop all traffic, even at rush hour, to let our small barge through. Another one is older, (B) but swings up sideways to get the clearance. But it drives me nuts, when I can't figure out how the designers integrated the  interface with the road, same thing  with the ( Falkirk Wheel, a mechanical device that replaced about 11 locks, which took a lot of time and effort to get through, and replace it with a giant "Ferris Wheel' utilizing the forever cleverness of the Scots engineers. But that's another story) The   Venetians have lived for hundreds of years with one or two bridges, but now they needed a fourth one due to increase of the hordes of tourists there. It had to be very unabtrusive, of coarse, so they hired Calatrava to design a slim pedestrian bridge over he Grand Canal next to the Gare. The Architect Calatrava, who does not bother with such details as Budgets, managed to throw one across the canal, but due to the use of steps (Glass, of course) they had to add a Gondola for the infirm to ride across alongside the bridge. Couldn't they just have a hired porter to help them across, instead of the millions pent on this which still requires someone 12 hours a day to help run it?  Well, the French seem to have mote sense and recently hired The architect Foster (British) to design the most beautiful and functional bridge in the world, the Milleau Viaduct.. This made the main highway from Paris to Nice or Marseille a beautiful experience in contrast to the horrifying road that had to go down into the little town of Milleau (Me-You) which always took dozens of lives each year. I just have to add that the cost was only 700 Million, in comparison to the new San Francisco Bay span, which cost about five Billion to complete, and about four times as long. 
Uxmal in Yucatan 1965
   I made a trip to Yucatan in the mid 1960's , as a client wanted me to see how his house weathered a hurricane off he coast of Belize, Honduras, an English colony at the time. Sure enough, when I got to their side of the river, There stood a small guardhouse with a couple of straight-laced British guards, shorts and all, with rifles.  Belize was hit hard by the hurricane and the roof of the small movie theatre was blown off, which gave me carte blanche to anything playing as I rented a small room next door overlooking the devastation.  After renting a small boat (think 'African Queen' and. Perusing the island, I determined my friend's house was pretty much intact but on the neighbor's lot. Miraculously, it was the only house that survived on that Island. But that's not my story here, as I wanted to rant about  how the Catholic missionary, Diego de Landa, destroyed most of the Maya artifacts, as they were in direct conflict with the teaching of the Church. Anything that was breakable or flammable he ordered destroyed. Fortunately , a  couple of  Codex's (Hieroglyphic documents) survived and scholars were able in time, decipher them. As a sidelight, when my daughters went to Cancun for fun and games, ,I didn't think find it on my maps as it wasn't there yet.
Across street from Colosseum

  I''ve been writing about how some bummer times happen when traveling but I should relate a couple of great moments ha occurs once in a while that make it all worthwhile.
  On Joy and I's first trip to Rome, we had just experienced the giant colosseum and found a nice Ristorante across the street on the second floor of an old building. Being American, we were the first customers to enter, so the proprietors found us a table and gave us our menus, after taking our wine order, of course. Well, is wasn't long  before his second customers arrived and were duly seated with their menus. Now these folks were obviously British subjects, a nice couple with two pre-teen children. Our waiter (Owner) stopped by to take their order, and that's when the problems began.  The couple kept trying to change the menu as they wanted certain things on each item. Now this was an Italian restaurant that served spaghetti and Italian food that probably dates back to Caesars time, and not prone to dabbling. Anyway, we could hear all the  back and forth Brauu hau that escalated into the final order , loudly said, Get out!, Please".   get out of my ristorante! You do not want to be here, as I do not want you to be here!, GET OUT! ". So they left.
   Although we were completely flabbergasted, we could do nothing but applaud this behavior of human rights to protect one's own area, to actually clapping our hands together. After all, there was no one else in the place except us, and it was quite a large place. We even ordered an extra glass of  wine or two as a solidarity measure for the rights of man.

   While we're focused on abominable folks, they are all not British (or German) but could even be from the great state of Texas. We had reservations on the train to Venizia from Nice and duly arrived on time and found our carriage and even our compartment, even though their was a lack of custodians to direct us.  The entire binarioes (platform) was kind of quiet and it took us a while to realize we were in the middle of the dreaded 'Greve' or strike. Evening was just beginning but the lights of the train did not turn on , actually, the entire train was being enveloped in darkness.
    We managed to get onboard. And find our tiny compartment consisting of a bunk bed with ladder, and a small corner lavatory, with the . toilet and shower at the end of the car.  A loud and boisterous couple got on and immediately began complaining about how  they did things in  Texas (When you can afford it and loudly extended their Ugly American persona to everyone on the train. "Where is the attendant?, where are the lights? How are we supposed to exist in such a primitive environment?, we paid good money for this trip, do we get any of it back? (No).etc, endlessly. ) We tried to reason with them, explaining that strikes are an every day occurrence here in Europe and we have to make the most of it. Naturally, this fell in deaf ears and they thought we were some hippies from California. (Well, partly true!). The train somehow began moving, sans any concierge or attendant and still lacking in lights. Slowly, order was being restored by the time we. Got to the next town, with even the lights on and an attendant just for this car. Fortunately, the Texans we're at the other end of the car and we busied ourselves with the luxury of our own compartment, were we opened our bottle of wine, broke out some fresh cheese along with a bagette to partake of a small repast as we sped thru the night with our window all the way open, watching the small villages slip by and wonder how the engineers can switch cars so readily and  end up with the the propper amount of compartments left on the train at the end of the line. Somehow, a small, tasty breakfast was brought around shortly before we pulled into the Venezia Train station, situated right on the Canal Royal.

HIROSHIMA     As the Saturday Review of Literature says ;” Everyone Able to Read Should Read it.” Author Jorhn  Hershey  has followed the lives of a few survivors of the first Atomic Bomb and later,  tells their version of the terrible things that can happen to human beings and surprisingly, how many actually survived the results of radiation. A small pocket book which you will keep and hopefully re-read.

  No, not the actor but one of the most controversial explorers of the late 19th century.  One of those amazing people who could readily learn to speak about 20 languages, the first non-Muslim to penetrate the Kaaba and the co-founder of the source of the Nile river , unknown until late 1800’s.  His partner was John Speke in this endeavor  fraught with many dangers.  As just an aside, Burton s’ translation of ““A Thousand and One Nights” is still the preferred one.

1924 - The year HITLER SPENT IN PRISON by Peter Range
  If you want to get inside the mind of a Mad-man, see how Hitler created himself and got the power of the German people in order to rule Europe and kill all of Jewish descent.
He had made some real progress with his agenda but was arrested and incarcerated for a few months before his Masterpiece transforming himself from  ‘Traitor’ to Hero in 1924.  After avoiding the death penalty, he spent a few more months in a posh prison before becoming the National Hero for a few years, until he killed himself (Well, someone had to do it.).  Reminded me of someone currently employed by the USA.