Thursday, March 23, 2006

LINKS: Chimichurri, A. Kahn and Gawker Stalker

SINCE SO MANY PEOPLE seemed to enjoy Wednesday’s photo from last year’s Indiana road trip, I guess I’ll include another. These are clouds along Ind. Route 37, between Bloomington and Indianapolis.

WEDNESDAY EVENING, I joined my sister, my brother-in-law and my great aunt for the birthday girl’s 87th birthday dinner at Chef Geoff’s on New Mexico Avenue NW. The uptown location of Chef Geoff’s has a much different vibe than the downtown location on 13th Street NW. I think that’s because Wesley Heights (or for that matter any D.C. neighborhood west of Glover Archbold Park) doesn’t really have any restaurants, it’s generally pretty busy with folks from the neighborhood. (A few years ago, I witnessed a waiter there spill water, nearly missing California Sen. Dianne Feinstein as she was waiting for former Clinton administration Commerce Secretary and USTR Mickey Kantor to show up.)

I had the Argentine flatiron steak with chimichurri and asparagus (which was quite good), but since the Argentine government just banned beef exports in an attempt to slow inflation, I think the only thing that was Argentine about the steak was the chimichurri. Anyhow, since the last Monday of the month is fast approaching, Chef Geoff’s will be having its monthly half-price wine night, something me and a group of friends have been taking advantage of for the past two or three years or so. $5 burger and wine, great deal.
>> "Argentina Halts Most Beef Exports to Tame Inflation" [Reuters]
>> Chef Geoff’s

AN OLD FRIEND who blogs at Cole Slaw Blog was reading my recent blog post on Chicago’s proposed Fordham Spire and eventually got distracted by various architecture blogs to discover perhaps the coolest university library anywhere in the world. That would be in the Netherlands, at the Delft University of Technology (seen here). A description from
The grass roof of the library is freely accessible for walking and lounging, creating a new amenity for the whole campus. It is supported by slender steel columns in a huge hall enclosed with canted, fully glazed walls. The base of the slope to the west is marked by a broad flight of steps leading up to a recessed entrance. A huge cone pierces the green expanse, articulated by a 1500 mm wide necklace of glazing in the plane of the roof. Supported on splayed steel columns, the cone houses four levels of traditional study spaces connected by a helical stair.
I’ll have to visit next time I’m in the Netherlands.

As for more-traditional libraries, I must say that I will always favor the University of Michigan’s graduate library (left) built by Detroit’s greatest architect, Albert Kahn in 1920 (at least the original section, not the adjoining tower section built in the 1970). To me, the graduate library and the Kahn-designed Hill Auditorium (1913), remind me much of Frank Lloyd Wright’s pre-Prairie/post-Louis Sullivan architecture in the 1890s. Both Central Campus structures look like they’re cousins to Wright’s breakthrough 1893 residential commission, the Winslow House (right) in River Forest, Ill. -- elements of which you can see in Wright’s later work, from the Isadore Heller House (1896) in Chicago, the Ward Willits House (1900-02) in Highland Park, Ill., to even the Marin County Civic Center in California, completed after Mr. Wright’s death in 1959.
>> Library for the Delft University of Technology [Mecanoo via Daily Dose of Architecture via Cole Slaw Blog]
>> Albert Kahn [Wikipedia]
>> Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library [U-M Libraries]
>> Hill Auditorium [U-M Music School]
>> William H. Winslow House [Delmars]
>> Isadore Heller House [Peter Beers]
>> Ward Willits House [Delmars]
>> Marin County (Calif.) Civic Center [Marin County]

I WONDER IF THERE ARE ANY Virginia vanity license plates that can top this one that LAist discovered in Glendale. I’d e-mail James F. of why.i.hate.dc for his informed opinion (since he used to keep a detailed catalog of questionable license plates spotted in the commonwealth), but James F. moved to Seattle. To my knowledge, Rusty, the new why.i.hate.dc editor, hasn’t been keeping track of Old Dominion vanity plates.
>> "LAist Discovers City's Biggest Prick" (pt. 1) [LAist via SocialiteLife]

FOR SUCH A HORRIBLE CONFLICT, tasteful World War I humor is hard to come by, especially when you’re looking for jokes that mix in the current Pantheon of the world’s favorite indie bands. Via Kottke, I laughed my ass off after being directed to this news brief in The Onion. Aren’t there any good bands coming out of Sarajevo these days?
>> "Franz Ferdinand Frontman Shot By Gavrilo Princip Bassist" [The Onion via Kottke]

IN WEDNESDAY’S FINANCIAL TIMES, John Gapper penned a column about Gawker Stalker and the limits of citizen journalism. Gapper, who once co-authored a book with former FT reporter Nick Denton -- publisher of Gawker Media -- is somewhat skeptical of Gawker Stalker, the Google-map enabled celebrity-sighting tracker ... at least as a shining model for the much-hyped “citizen journalism” that emerged as a buzz word after last July’s terror attacks on the London Underground.

From Mr. Gapper:
Whatever the merits of Gawker Stalker, it is at least a genuine piece of citizen journalism, a genre that is thin on the ground. ... But [citizen journalism] has not, so far, produced a lot of first-hand reporting by non-professionals.
In fact, it has produced at least three fake instances of reporting, courtesy of Andrew Krucoff, the noted New York blogger who got fired from his Conde Nast freelancing job because of a Gawker post of which he was the source. On Young Manhattanite, Krucoff admitted to submitting fake Gawker Stalker sightings (Kate Hudson, Natalie Portman, Tim Robbins) to see if Gawker would publish them. They did.

From Mr. Krucoff:
... [I]t just goes to show you that anyone can take a guess with these celebrity sightings and it'd probably be right. Or wrong. It doesn't matter either way. ... Consumer-generated garbage in, poorly-designed garbage out.
Now this isn’t to say that I, as a map-obsessed blogger, don’t enjoy Gawker Stalker. It’s just that you aren’t supposed to take it too seriously. It’s entertainment, which is Gawker’s mission anyway -- something Gawker does quite well. So gawk all you want, just consider that not everything is going to be the pure honest truth. And that’s a good rule for many things on the Internet, like, locally, DCist’s Overheard in D.C., which piggy-backs on Overheard in New York.
>> "The Fallacy That Bloggers Have Replaced Real News Hounds" [FT]
>> "Gawker Stoker: A Bad Case of Wisteria" [Young Manhattanite]


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