Tuesday, 29 December 2009

“So I love that summer song” – a few of the sounds of summer

Summer time, and the living is easy. Fish are jumping, and the music is fine. See what I mean:


Bix Beiderbecke – “Singing the Blues”

Louis Armstrong: “Lonesome”/”Summer Song”

Jimi Hendrix: “Long Hot Summer Night”

Herbie Hancock: “Butterfly” (Part 1 of 2)

Martha and the Vandellas: “Heatwave”

Alice Cooper: ''School's Out''

The Lovin' Spoonful: ''Summer in the City''

Martha and the Vandellas: ''Dancing in the Street''

The Kinks: “Sunny Afternoon”

Katrina & the Waves: “Walking on Sunshine”

The Stranglers: “Peaches”

Heitor Villa-Lobos: “Bachianas Brasileiras, No. 5”

Otis Redding: “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay”

Lily Allen: “Smile”

Eddy Grant – “Feel My Love”

Too Darn Hot – Ella Fitzgerald

Louis Armstrong & his Hot Five: “Struttin’ with Some Barbecue”

Karita Mattila: “Il Bailero” from Canteloube’s “Chants d’Auvergne”

Luciano Pavarotti: “Volare”

Hello Sailor: “Lyin’ in the Sand”

Coup d’Etat: “Dr, I Like Your Medicine”

''All I Wanna Do'' Sheryl Crow

War: ''Summer''

Ralph Vaughan Williams: “The Lark Ascending”

Peggy Lee: “Fever”

Eddie Cochran: “Summertime Blues”

Billie Holiday: “Summertime”

Antoni Vivaldi: “Summer (excerpt” from “The Four Seasons”

Felix Mendelssohn: “Midsummer Night’s Dream”

The Other Side Of Summer - Elvis Costello

Yo La Tengo: “The Summer”

Violent Femmes: “Blister in the Sun”

Here Comes the Summer – Undertones

Ramones: “Rockaway Beach”

The Pogues: “Summer in Siam”

Canned Heat: “Going Up The Country”

Eric Burdon & War: ''Spill the Wine''

Beatles: “Here Comes the Sun”

Velvet Underground: “Who Loves the Sun”

Thin Lizzy: “Dancing in the Moonlight”

Robert Schumann: “Am Leuchtenden Sommermorgen”

Sola Rosa: “Humanised”

Teenage Fanclub: “Ain’t That Enough”

Bruce Paine, playing Francisco Tarrega’s “Recuerdos de la Alhambra”

Buena Vista Social Club – Veinte Años

XTC: “Summer’s Cauldron”

XTC: “Grass”

Harry James: “By the Sleepy Lagoon”

Rodrigo: “Concerto de Aranjuez”

Renee Fleming singing Alban Berg’s “Sommertage”

Leontyne Price: “The Last Rose of Summer”


See, it is possible to have summer without it being polluted by the sounds of Grease, the Eagles and the Beach Boys.

So what else have you got?

Friday, 25 December 2009

'Man the Enlightened Being': - Frank Lloyd Wright's Christmas Message

4-future-city I like to post this 1953 Christmas message from Frank Lloyd Wright every year around this time ... so it's probably a good time to wish all of you a great Christmas, a Salacious Saturnalia and a very happy and prosperous New Year -- that is, every single one of you who doesn't wish increased state bullying upon me and mine and on the rest of the populace of New Zealand who remains here.

Just a small number of you, then.

So as the offices here at NOT PC Towers begin to shut down for the holidays, I really do want to re-post architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s poetic message on “man the enlightened being” which he used to send out at Christmas time. “The herd disappears and reappears," says Wright's message, "but the sovereignty of the individual persists":

    _quoteLiterature tells about man. Architecture presents him. The Architecture that our
man of Democracy needs and prophecies is bound to be different from that of the
common or conditioned man of any other socialized system of belief. As never
before, this new Free-Man’s Architecture will present him by being true to his
own nature in all such expressions. . .
    “With renewed vision, the modern man will use the new tools Science lavishes upon him (even before he is ready for them) to enlarge his field of action by reducing his fetters to exterior controls, especially those of organized Authority, publicity, or political expediency. He will use his new tools to develop his own Art and Religion as the means to keep him free, as himself. Therefore this democratic man’s environment, like his mind, will never be style-ized. When and wherever he builds he will not consent to be boxed. He will himself have his style.
    “The Democratic man demands conscientious liberty for himself no more nor less than he demands liberty for his neighbor. . .
    “Whenever organic justice is denied him he will not believe he can get it by murder but must obtain it by continuing fair dealing and enlightenment at whatever cost. He will never force upon others his own beliefs nor his own ways. He will display his social methods to others as best advantage as critic or missionary only when sought by them.
    “His neighbor will be to him (as he is to himself) free to choose his own way according to his own light, their common cause being the vision of the uncommon-man wherein every man is free to grow to the stature his freedom in America under the Constitution of these United States grants him.
    “Exterior compulsion absent in him, no man need be inimical to him. Conscience, thus indispensable to his own freedom, becomes normal to every man. . .
    “Remember the men who gave us our [American] Nation. We have ‘the Declaration’ and our Constitution because they were individualist. Great Art is still living for us only because of Individualists like Beethoven. We have creative men on earth today only as they are free to continually arise as individuals from obscurity to demonstrate their dignity and worth above the confusion raised by the herding of the common-man by aid of the scribes and Pharisees of his time—quantity ignoring or overwhelming quality. The herd disappears and reappears but the sovereignty of the individual persists. . . ”

Read on here for the full message: Man, the Enlightened Being by Frank Lloyd Wright, and remember to have a great individualistic holiday season.

And remember this useful advice about responsible holiday drinking: Try to schedule responsibly so you get it all done before lunch.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Organon Architecture’s 2009 Top 10

In the spirit of Luke Nicholas’s Epic Beer 2009 Top 10, listing the top ten things he and his fine brewery achieved in 2009, I figured I’d do something similar for my own day job, Organon Architecture:

  1. 09021-1006 The Waikato Times chose to publish my Van Oostrom house, calling it “an outstanding Hamilton home, surely the best [we] have featured.” Naturally, I agree. ;^)
  2. After constant prodding by those who know their stuff, Organon Architecture’s new website is finally on the way to replace this old one which now has cobwebs on it.
    ASketch01nd I’ve finally started an Organon Architecture blog to better feature my projects. If only I can stop dragging my heels and start filling up all those pages as instructed. (Sorry, Paul!)
  3. Still really enjoying my Kebyar membership, which keeps me in touch with like-minded architects overseas (since there’s few enough of them here locally).
  4. Order books are still full, with some exciting new work and renovations going onProposed-DD—and not every architecture practice can say that this year!
  5. My Design Consulations have been taking off. 
    It’s proved to be a great no-obligation way to talk about architecture with new clients, potential new clients, and good people who just want good architectural advice.
  6. In the words of Paul Litterick, “Man is born free, yet everywhere is in villas.” And this year no one’s asked me to renovate a villa—folk are getting more excited instead by California Bungalows. 09016-Sketch_Morning
    A very healthy trend indeed.
    (I’ve always thought life wouldn’t be so bad if it was just spent renovating Auckland’s splendid stock of California Bungalows.) And no one—no one at all—is asking for “Tuscan” anymore. Thank Galt.
  7. Spent some great times house-sitting, enjoying hospitality in and showing new clients around a few of “my” houses. I always enjoy seeing how the houses are enjoyed and experienced 09019-Render05by those they’re designed for—and those I’ll be designing for.
  8. I began posting Architectural Mini-Tutorials here at NOT PC, which I’ve discovered is a great way to communicate important architectural ideas—and was flattered to have artist Michael Newberry recommend them. (Note to self: Must do more.)
  9. I was also flattered to be contacted by a photographer who photographs a lot of houses09014-Opt001- RearCourtyard to commend you  on a superb job” on my house at 43A View Rd.
    Nice to get that sort of praise from another professional, I thought.
  10. I was delighted to be offered the chance to fix up a house I’d designed a few years back on which a client made a few too many shortcuts. And happily, it all worked out all round in the end.
      And delighted too to be asked by a chap who’s owned Claude Megson houses to help renovate his present residence.

09020-Proposed Site Plan 002-WedgieHope you had a good year too, and you can have a great break.  Keep enjoying the good life--and don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Peter Cresswell

Xmas Eve Ramble

It’s Christmas Eve, and I’ve got ramblin’ on my mind.  T’was the day before Xmas and all through the net,  my spies were a’searching to find good stuff to vet.  And here’s what they found.


“Global warming may be a problem, but it's not a certain problem, and it's
certainly not one of epic proportions, as Al Gore would have us believe. It
is one environmental concern among many, whose science is far from settled."
- Lawrence Solomon, quoted in ‘Copenhagen another costly UN failure?

    “Far from achieving a major step forward, Copenhagen—predictably—achieved
precisely nothing. . . The reasons for the complete and utter failure of Copenhagen are
both fundamental and irresolvable. The first is that the economic cost of decarbonizing
the world's economies is massive, and of at least the same order of magnitude as any
benefits it may conceivably bring in terms of a cooler world in the next century. . .
    “The time has come to abandon the Kyoto-style folly that reached its apotheosis
in Copenhagen last week, and move to plan B. And the outlines of a credible plan B are
clear. First and foremost, we must do what mankind has always done, and adapt
to whatever changes in temperature may in the future arise.”

- Nigel Lawson: ‘Time for a Climate Change Plan B

  • James Cameron’s film 'Avatar' makes film history, says Andrew Bolt. It’s the first mass-market movie about war between aliens and humans in which we’re meant to barrack for the aliens. The perfect misanthrope’s film.
  • What’s wrong with global warming anyway? Cold weather kills. We NEED the earth to warm up!
  • New blog post: http://tinyurl.com/ycw6qdg - The 2009 Christmas Price Index (CPI)
  • Message to Ann Tolley: Choice in education is always much more important than NATIONAL STANDARDS

More from those ClimateGate emails:
“Faking up data here is very time-consuming”
MikeHulme to TomWigley http://bit.ly/6xfm58

“Dear Santa. For xmas, I would like: less government, more freedom, and
a 2000L brewery. I have been a good boy”

-Signed Greig


  • New blog post: http://tinyurl.com/yap65tu – Young conformists Raging With the Machine
  • Victory of RageAgainstTheMachine in UK Christmas chart war raises an important question: are today’s youth the least cool generation in living memory?
  • INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: Greg Perkins explains intellectual property and the foundations of property rights to Stephen Kinsella & Tom Palmer. Kinsella (at least) maintains his deafness.
  • ECONOMICS: And Frank Shostak schools Ben Bernankem who thinks the American economy is “recovering.” Explains Mr Shostak: “The so-called economic recovery in terms of GDP is likely to continue for another six months on account of massive monetary pumping. This, however, will continue to undermine the economy's ability to generate real wealth and hence a sustained economic recovery.”
    Correction, Mr. Bernanke
  • Check out this video tour of the latest exhibition at Michael Newberry’s gallery, ‘Landscape with a Modern Edge’:


“The policies that are being developed to fight 'climate change' are a
catalyst to the deindustrialisation of the West.”
- Cynicus Economicus, in ‘ClimateGate & Economics


  • Copenhagen: the sweet sound of exploding watermelons
  • Commercialism Only Adds to Joy of the Holidays 'Tis the season for earthly pleasures...
  • New blog post: http://tinyurl.com/yc7d3ht - Top Ten Stories of the Last 4.5 Billion Years
  • Ayn Rand Center announces winners: "Atlas Shrugged" Winner Pockets $10,000!:
  • Driven from its habitat by unprecedented polar melting, 'polar bear' heads to Copenhagen asking "Where is Phil Jones"?
  • New blog post: http://tinyurl.com/y9ob7ak - An Austrian analysis of the burst Dubai bubble
  • Capitalism's Best Salesman: Yaron Brook replies to Wall Street Journal's Heather Wilhelm’s misconceptions:
  • Zimbabwe toilet sign advises: use tissue only, not our nation's paper currency [BB] http://is.gd/5qnew
  • THINK BiG 2.0 hits Wellington, with $2.4 billion of your money poured down the economic black hole that is the capital.
  • Arguments to build Transmission Gully? Precisely none.
  • Transmission Gully. It's a $3 a head subsidy for a $20 a head road. A bad bargain.
  • #ClimateGate: Russians say Hadley Center “probably tampered with Russian climate data.” Now, why would you do that unless...
  • Hysterical photobomb: Diana’s caption: "Sometimes, it's just not easy to get a picture of the right pussy."
  • Here's the REAL climate hockey stick! As Madeleine says, “It really raises questions of sustainability.”

  • Against Eco chic? "Environmentalists criticise 'buying green,' because at root they are against buying anything."
  • Why Atlas Shrugged Changes Lives
  • This photo just split RadleyBalko's brain in two.
  • Is this really the best propaganda to be mustered from 1.5million testimonies? If you have to lie to make your point...
  • Legendary investor Jim Rogers tries not to make predictions, but talks world-wide depression
  • Common law: It’s the ultimate example of spontaneous order-"the product of human action, but not of human design."
  • Hiked UK taxes set off another Great British Brain Drain. Will they ever learn?
  • Economist Paul Samuelson "helped push economics down the wrong road .. fateful choice was the late 1940s"
  • Front page UK story: 'Climate Change is Natural: 100 reasons why.'
  • Marsden Fund 'science' grants: Surely they are taking the piss
    http://bit.ly/74AKm6 More alleged science
  • Fair trade coffee keeps poor coffee producers poor.
  • The overpopulation bogie has now infected the Financial Post.
    http://bit.ly/6KfJ8c "Whole world needs to adopt China's one-child policy." Yikes
  • Greenpeace Leader admits claims about Greenland ice sheet melting were propaganda! If you have to lie to make your point . . .
  • What (so far) is the most destructive and harmful law ever enacted by a United States President? Briggs Armstrong argues it was the Federal Reserve Act, signed into law by Woodrow Bloody Wilson in 1913.
    Sad Day in History

Thanks for reading. Have a salacious Saturnalia !  And watch out, there are cougars about [hat tip Cactus Kate] :-)

So who’s taking the Christ out of Christmas this year?

By popular request, here’s the return of an old favourite …

I HEAR COMPLAINTS AGAIN that "Christ is being taken out of Christmas."  Every year everyone from the Vatican to Fox News has a whinge about the "War against Christmas" (TM) --  about the "widespread revolt" against "Christian values” and “Christian symbols” –about the prevalence of "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" greetings.

Here's what I say about those complaints.  Get a life.  Learn some history. And try a joke:

Q: "What's the difference between God and Santa Claus?"
A: "There is no God."

The harsh fact is, customers, there is no God, and Christ was never even in Christmas --except in fiction and by order of the Pope. 

In fact, Jesus wasn't even born in December, let alone at Christmas time: he was born in July* -- which makes him a cancer**.  Just like religion. 

And God doesn’t even like Christmas trees, for Chrissake!

Historians know the "reason for the season," and it's not because of anything that happened in a manger.  Even the Archbishop of Canterbury knows the truth, conceding a couple of Christmasses ago that the Christmas story and the Three Wise Men - the whole Nativity thing --  is all just "a legend." 

Fact is, 'Christmas' was originally not even a Christian festival at all.  The celebration we now all enjoy was originally the lusty pagan festival to celebrate the winter solstice, the festival that eventually became the Roman Saturnalia. This time of year in the northern hemisphere (from whence these traditions started) is when days stopped getting darker and darker, and started once again to lengthen.  This was a time of the year for optimism.  The end of the hardest part of the year was in sight (particularly important up in places like Lapland where all-day darkness was the winter rule), and food stocks would soon be replenished. 

All this was something worth celebrating with enthusiasm, with gusto and with plenty of food and drink and pleasures of the flesh -- and if those Norse sagas tell us anything, they tell us those pagans knew a thing or two about that sort of celebration!  They celebrated a truly Salacious Saturnalia.

One popular celebration involved having a chap put on the horns and skin of the dead animal being roasted in the fire (worn with the fur side inside), and giving out gifts of food to revellers.  This guy represented Satan, and the revellers celebrating beating him back for another year by making him a figure of fun (I swear, I'm not making this up).  Observant readers will spot that the gift-giving and the fur-lined red outfit (and even the name, almost) are still with us in the form of Santa.  So Happy Satanmas, Santa!

SUCH WERE THE celebrations of the past.  But the Dark Age do-gooders didn’t like the pagan revels.  These ghouls of the graveyard wanted to spread the misery of their religion; they thought everyone should be sitting at home mortifying their flesh instead of throwing themselves into such lewd and lusty revels – and  very soon they hit upon a solution: first they stole the festivals, and then they sanitised them.  Instead of lusty revels with Satan and mistletoe, we got insipid nonsense around a manger.  (Just think, the first 'Grinch' who stole Christmas was really a Pope!)  Given this history, it's churlish of today's sanitised saints of sobriety to be complaining now about history reasserting itself.

THE BEST OF Christmas is still very much pagan. The mistletoe, the trees, and the presents; the drinking and eating and all the red-blooded celebrations; the gift-giving, the trees and the decorations; the eating and the singing; the whole full-blooded, rip-roaring, free-wheeling, overwhelming, benevolent materialism of the holiday -- all of it all fun, and all of it fully, one-hundred percent pagan. Says Leonard Peikoff in 'Why Christmas Should Be More Commercial', the festival is "an exuberant display of human ingenuity, capitalist productivity, and the enjoyment of life." I'll drink to all that, and then I'll come back right back up again for seconds. Ayn Rand sums it up for mine, rather more benevolently than my brief introduction might have led you to expect:

    “The secular meaning of the Christmas holiday is wider than the tenets of any particular religion: it is good will toward men—a frame of mind which is not the exclusive property (though it is supposed to be part, but is a largely unobserved part) of the Christian religion.
The charming aspect of Christmas is the fact that it expresses good will in a cheerful, happy, benevolent, non-sacrificial way. One says: ‘Merry Christmas’—not ‘Weep and Repent.’ And the good will is expressed in a material, earthly form—by giving presents to one’s friends, or by sending them cards in token of remembrance....
    “The best aspect of Christmas is the aspect usually decried by the mystics: the fact that Christmas has been commercialized. The gift-buying is good for business and good for the country’s economy; but, more importantly in this context, it stimulates an enormous outpouring of ingenuity in the creation of products devoted to a single purpose: to give men pleasure. And the street decoration put up by department stores and other institutions—the Christmas trees, the winking lights, the glittering colors—provide the city with a spectacular display, which only ‘commercial greed’ could afford to give us. One would have to be terribly depressed to resist the wonderful gaiety of that spectacle.

And so say all of us.  I wish you all, wherever you are a Merry Christmas, a Delicious Satanmas, and a Salacious Saturnalia!

* Yes, this is simply a rhetorical flourish. Jesus' birth may have happened in March. Or in September -- or not at all -- but it certainly did not happen in December. More on that here.

** "A cancer. Like religion." Think that's harsh? You should try Landover Baptist's Bible Quizzes. Or Sam Harris's 'Atheist Manifesto.' Ouch! [Hat tip for both, good old Stephen Hicks]