Harold Washington Library Called One of World’s Ugliest Buildings

Travel and Leisure magazine claims that Chicago’s Harold Washington library is one of the world’s ugliest buildings. [Hat tip: Chicago Subtext]

I admit to having mixed feelings about the building. But over the years I’ve grown to like it. It does stick out. It does look unique in an overly-referential way. But if you’ve ever seen the Winter Garden inside,

you’ll come to forgive its oddness.

For truly ugly, you have to wonder if the people at Travel and Leisure have ever seen the Thompson center,

or my vote for ugliest building in Chicago, the “renovated” Soldiers Field.

The weird-ass flying saucer landed on a neo-classical stadium is bizarre and ungainly. It really does mar the look of the city’s gorgeous lakefront in a way that only a Chicago Machine-inspired building project could. The city’s spokesperson once said about it, “We have to get away from this idea of architecture that’s polite.” Yes, there is most definitely nothing polite about the Chicago Way.

P.S. I spell “Soldiers Field” they way I, and most Chicagoans, pronounce it contrary to what is thought of as its proper spelling.


30 Years of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

How did I miss this (from Wired)?

It has now been thirty years since The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy first saw print, and the anniversary serves to remind the world community of geeks of how much we miss Douglas Adams. It’s true that the quality of the books in the Hitchhiker’s series seemed to get progressively worse with each installment (in this geek’s opinion, at least), but there are few geeks who would argue that Adams was not a seminal author of science-fiction humor.

I re-read the books back in the spring, starting with the first. They do get progressively worse. I couldn’t even finish So Long and Thanks for All the Fish. But that has not dimmed my love of the first book. It’s just too damn funny.

Pynchon and Grand Theft Auto

Boy, this Time magazine article sure makes me want to run out and buy Pynchon’s latest novel, Inherent Vice,

Ten Similarities Between Grand Theft Auto and Inherent Vice

1) Fake Versions of Real Cities (Gordita Beach = Manhattan Beach. Los Santos = Los Angeles)

2) Corny, Corny, Corny Jokes

3) Broad characters with no internal lives and silly names spouting insane monologues revealing their strange or anti-social world views who appear in multiple books/games in the series

Does the writer think this will make the book appealing?

Pynchon Fan: “Dude, it’s totally like playing a fuckin’ video game!”
Convert: “That sounds awesome!”
Pynchon Fan: “It is!”
Convert: “What’s it about?”
Pynchon Fan: “Get this: it doesn’t matter! It’s a book that’s got these people who are totally out to get you and it’s filled with easter eggs like in video games and there’s all kinds of wild action and sex.”
“Convert: “Cool. I’m getting it off Amazon, now!”

Why is it that Pynchon fans make me want to run away from Pynchon books? I’ve only read one: The Crying of Lot 49. Well-written with lots of silly and paranoia. The book didn’t make me believe in Pynchon’s genius. I keep telling myself I’ll read Gravity’s Rainbow at some point. But I never seem to get around to it. And blog posts, reviews, and articles like the above from Pynchon Fans (Cultists) keep turning me off.