Archive for the ‘America’ Category

Hybrid Life

August 3, 2009

A couple weeks ago my boyfriend’s Land Rover limped its way back to Cincinnati, casting serious solemnity over his car-driving soul. It was time to buy a new car, but what could possibly replace the English-made manliness of a hunter green 2001 Land Rover Discovery II? A BMW or Lexus SUV? A Saab station wagon?

What’s this? Cash for Clunkers? Okay – maybe it’s time to consider an American automobile. So, we’re off to the Ford dealership to check out the models! With an average of 14 miles to the gallon, the Land Rover definitely qualifies for the highest rebate.



George Washington: Designer

June 23, 2009
Sixteen-Sided Barn @ Mount Vernon

Sixteen-Sided Barn @ Mount Vernon, replica completed in 1996

We all know General George Washington as the first President of the United States and the first Commander-in-Chief. Some might even know of his interests in agriculture. But who knew he was a designer?

Last Sunday afternoon I visited the Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens along the Potomac, outside of Washington, DC and it was more impressive from a design standpoint than I expected. And for me the mansion wasn’t the high point; rather it was the Sixteen-Sided barn.

Edith Wharton’s Estate: No Longer Troubled By Foreclosure

March 22, 2009

Behold The Mount! Edith Wharton designed this estate and gardens overlooking Laurel Lake in Lenox, MA for herself; it was completed in the fall of 1902. Wharton, renowned for her often frustrating Victorian novels and novellas was also highly informed about architecture, interior design and landscape design. In addition to her works of fiction, she authored several books about design and travel, including The Decoration of Houses in 1897, which she co-authored with Ogden Codman, Jr.


Plastic Palm Trees in Paradise

March 18, 2009


David Graham documents America as a place where the intersection of cultural and actual landscape leads to moments of strange beauty. His cheerful supersaturated color photographs, graced by a bemused appreciation of his native land, capture a vivid jumble of roadside attractions and manmade structures locked in unexpected tension with their environment. Almost Paradise, his newest book with a foreword by noted writer Jack Hitt, ventures into dark territory with images of post-Katrina New Orleans sequenced together with objects in a wax museum and sunny days in no-man’s land. Graham’s postindustrial scenes devoid of the humans who created them will haunt your subconscious in the best possible way.

Coming or Going?

March 13, 2009


Gorillas Don’t Blog holds a steady spot in my rss reader. The author posts vintage photographs from Disneyland and the 1964 World’s Fair in New York. My recent favorite is this picture of the exit gate at Disneyland back in the 1960’s. It’s a far cry from the gate today…


Who’s Sorry Now?

March 9, 2009

allsorrynowI’m going to move on to other topics, I promise. But first: look at the design de-evolution of Sorry. The game was first produced in England in the 1920’s as a modified version of Parcheesi. In 1934, at left,  it was licensed to Parker Brothers for sale in the United States. The board actually didn’t change much from then through the 1962 version at top right. Oh, but the box! The older typography was bold and striking. By 1962, the box had almost no design of its own, relying on a photo of the board and a couple of creepy disembodied hands to convey the game’s appeal.

It’s clear that the current look overall, at lower right—brighter candy colors, lots of transparency, lots of speed lines—is influenced by video games and motion graphics. This strikes me as a desperate attempt to attract a generation of players who expect their entertainment to move and crash and make sparks. A board game does none of those things; why pretend? It’s just a different animal. But still a fun one.

Morning in America

March 8, 2009

fuck-economy-mugLooking for a romantic way to display your disgust with the economic downturn? This mug may be the item for you. There is something quite lovely about it.

Mug available at The Future Perfect and Cool Material.

Dear J.CREW: How American Can You Be?

March 7, 2009

Jenna and the Silk Chiffon Whitney Dress in the March 2009 Catalog

Jenna and the Silk Chiffon Whitney Dress in the March 2009 Catalog

When the latest J.CREW catalog arrived at my desk, I was shocked by the word “AMERICA…” centered on its icky (and inky) black cover. In the lower right hand corner was an image of a couple, cheerfully posing for the camera in a convertible parked facing the Golden Gate Bridge. On the inside of the cover are the words “…THE BEAUTIFUL” surrounded by photos of models including Lauren Hutton and artist Alex Katz in myriad poses around the great ol’ US of A: more San Francisco, some Philadelphia, and Route 66. (more…)