News From Nowhere

We did some traveling last week for the first time in two years and I flew for the first time since 2013. On our trip to the in-law’s reunion I was struck by how much of this country is made up of liminal spaces, as if the whole landscape were one long, dead mall corridor leading nowhere.

It’s common to see these vistas as a kind of moral/aesthetic failure rather than the landscape of a capitalist system that has to always be in motion or it will end up in crisis. It’s no coincidence that most of our land is devoted to constant churn, movement and commerce. As David Harvey points out, the first thing that president G.W. Bush suggested we all do before the dust even settled on the World Trade Center was not to stop, contemplate, pray or meditate but to, “Go shopping!” That is, to drive to the mall and spend some money. Capitalism’s need for constant motion results in a landscape that operates like a long, circular airport corridor with no end. The point is the churn not the destination.

It’s shouldn’t be a surprise that in a system based on motion and individualism that the automobile would dominate. For years I fought for better bike infrastructure here in Los Angeles. The enemy was “car-centric planning” or so I thought. But we live not in car-centric cities but capitalist cities. Cars are just one more way to build capital. They are, after all, packaged debt that just happens to have an inefficient mode of transit attached to it. We’re all forced into cars because that’s the best way to wring profit out of the transportation sector. For this reason we should never shame people for driving a car because we live in a system that forces us to.

Our airport hotel even had an upscale weed shop in the parking lot.

Denver, where I was visiting the in-laws has many beautiful streets, parks, the stunning Rocky Mountains in the distance (obscured by the fires burning in California) and one hell of a lot of weed shops. To be clear I fully support legalized pot but I can’t help but think that so many people are self medicating to relieve the misery of meaningless low paid work, the anxiety of the pandemic and life in this meaningless corridor leading to nowhere.

It would be a mistake to just go along and accept this world as it is, to think that it’s just a matter of morality or that we can somehow go back to a previous “golden age” way of doing things. As Angela Davis said in a lecture in 2014, “You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” Let’s work on exiting this endless corridor.

Weekend Linkages: Goblincore, Casino Bombs and Hoes

Goblincore: the fashion trend that embraces ‘chaos, dirt and mud’

Drivers for Elon Musk’s Loop get a script about their ‘great leader’

Enter the Dragnet

FBI Artifact of the Month: Harvey’s Casino Bomb (Via Mark Frauenfelder)

How many years until we must act on climate? Zero, say these climate thinkers

Facebook cracks down on discussing ‘hoes’ in gardening group

What Kind of Wall Anchor Should I Use?

Patent illustration for the Molly bolt.

Fine Woodworking has a phenomenal article by Mario Rodriguez that, next to the meaning of life, unlocks the second greatest philosophical conundrum of all time, “what kind of wall anchor should I use?” If, like us, you live in an old house with lath and plaster walls you’ve likely made a mess at one point or had something just plain fall of the wall. By all means, if you can, get thee some picture rail. But, if that’s not an option, take a look at Rodriguez’s article for all your wall anchor needs, whatever kind of wall you’re dealing with.

I’d like to highlight two of the suggested anchors in that Fine Woodworking article for those of us in the lath and plaster tribe. One I’ve already blogged about, is the pull toggle pictured above. It’s not perfect as sometimes the plastic snaps prematurely, but I’ve used this bit of hardware to hang heavy stuff successfully, such as flat screen TVs.

Though I haven’t tried this type of wall anchor I’m intrigued with another anchor that Rodriquez mentions, the Molly bolt. The patent goes back to the 1930s so there’s nothing new about this particular flavor of wall anchor. Rodriguez suggests that it will work in lath and plaster and there’s even a new tool to make installation easier if you’ve got a lot of them to put in.

And a tip on using either of these two hollow wall anchors: they won’t work if you hit a stud or fire block. If I’m not sure if there’s a piece of solid wood behind where I’m drilling, and in an old lath and plaster wall it’s often hard to tell, I drill a tiny pilot hole to see if I hit solid wood behind the lath. If I do I can just use a regular old screw. If the wall is hollow I can get a bigger drill bit and use either of the two wall anchors in this post. Remember to make sure you have the correct drill bit size for the wall anchor you’re using or you’ll have one of those multiple trips to the hardware store sort of day.

Rodriguez’s article reminds me of a pledge I’ve made to myself of trying to understand the design and use of the fastener I need before venturing into the most confusing and confounding aisle of the hardware store, that place where all the bolts, anchors, screws and nails are kept.

Saturday Linkages: Strange Times

IMHO, the nicest apartment building at 933 Parkman in Silver Lake.

Breast Cancer Patient Attacked by Violent Anti-Mask Protest Outside Clinic

Anti-vaccine groups changing into ‘dance parties’ on Facebook to avoid detection

Taking place in our neighborhood: spa wars

Also our neighborhood: Is Erewhon’s Arrival in Silver Lake the Final Nail in the Gentrifying Neighborhood’s Coffin?

Loved the 80s? You’ll love this house

How to use your Apple AirPods Pro as hearing aids (via GardenFork)

On damsels and influencers

World’s worst tiny house

A fungi film fest

How the CIA Helped Shape the Creative Writing Scene in America

Introducing friend of the blog Doug Harvey’s Less Art: Reviews and Commentaries of Movies, TV, Books, Music, Radio, and Art