Friday, November 13, 2015

Fun With Parabolas

We went to a surprisingly captivating lecture on Midcentury Modern Architecture in St. Louis at the Saint Louis Art Museum. The Seagos got us tickets, and the place was so packed that people were sitting in the aisles.

I'll borrow this little description from the museum's website:

"Midcentury Modern Architecture in St. Louis: an Expanded View
Friday, November 13, 7:00 pm
The Farrell Auditorium. Free.
Mary Reid Brunstorm, doctoral candidate in art history, Washington University in St. Louis

This lecture will explore four decades of modern architecture in St. Louis, 1928-1968."


A high point was a discussion on the rise and fall of the famous Pruitt–Igoe public housing projects. You could tell that it was an older audience because multiple times a now non-existent building would pop up on the screen and there'd be lots of oohs and ahhs of recognition.

I found the parts about the popularity of the parabola in modern architecture especially interesting. Here's a few in St. Louis that are at least parabola-ish.

James S. McDonnell Planetarium

Busch Memorial Stadium

Priory Chapel at Saint Louis Abbey - July 2013.jpg
Priory Chapel

St Louis night expblend cropped.jpg
The Gateway Arch looks like a parabola but is in fact apparently a catenary. If you hate yourself click that link to learn the difference.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Remaking America Greater Again

Upon asking myself, should I drive 3 hours round trip to see 2016 Republican Primary Presidential Clown Candidate Donald Trump give a speech, the answer deep in my heart was "yes, you should totally do that". So off to the Springfield, Illinois Prairie Capital Convention Center I went.

I considered buying one or two of these just to be funny but it wasn't going to happen at this price.

I had gotten my free electronic tickets days early, but upon arriving I was surprised to find that no one cared about the tickets. There was no one checking for tickets, or for anything else for that matter. I was surprised to find a presidential candidate in such an insecure environment. 

Seating was a total free for all, and despite arriving an hour early the place was already nearly filled. My friend Brandon and I hurried and got the best view we could.

We were concerned that we wouldn't be able to survive a Trump speech without a beer, and it looked like lots of other people had the same idea.

The big man walked out to a fitting "We're Not Gonna Take It", but before that they were cranking really loud opera music. I kinda of liked the gaudiness of it.

He started off pretty amusing. His first words were "What a place, what people", which I assume he said because it was a generic compliment without having to know where the heck he was. He talked a lot about hosting this Saturday's SNL, and of course had to throw in that his show got better ratings than Hillary Clinton's. He bragged about this being the most people ever in the convention center, even more than Elton John, which I thought was awesome because I was at that show back in the day.

At one point he mentioned Chicago expecting to get applause but was met with awkward silence. This was my favorite part of the whole speech, both because it was so brutal and seemed so easy to avoid. Like no, the giant Democratic bastion at the opposite end of the state isn't that popular at a Republican pep rally. He did his best to try to save face with a "Love it or not, it's ours. It's our country." Chicago: At Least It's Not China. It was a great moment.

At one point a little group of rabble rousers near the stage started chanting "Feel the Bern!" and were promptly escorted out. Right before he was muscled through the door I realized I went to grade school and high school with the ringleader. I'm very proud.

After the first few fun parts in the beginning were over Donald seemed to slide into a more practiced speech, which I didn't have much interest in. I do think it was notable that he didn't seem to have a teleprompter or anything else helping him, and he sort of wandered from point to point. We were satisfied by the circus and left before it was over. It was a lot of fun.

The speech was the gift that kept on giving because afterwards I got to see the media's take on it. Trump gave about the weakest call to boycott I've ever witnessed as reported here by the New York Post: 

“I have one of the most successful Starbucks, in Trump Tower. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks?” “I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care. By the way, that’s the end of that lease, but who cares?”

Who cares indeed. He followed that gem with a hilarious/chilling: 

“If I become president, we’re all going to be saying Merry Christmas again, that I can tell you. That I can tell you.” “Unbelievable.”


Then there was a story about a girl who somehow got into the VIP section directly behind Trump and read a book the whole time. Oh what fun.

I like to make fun of Trump, and I think he's got close to no chance of winning, but I thought the same thing about candidate Obama when I went to see him speak in Springfield. What do I know?