Monday, November 30, 2009

Malcolm Wells, 1926-2009

My friend Malcolm Wells died Friday, at the age of 83. A true Renaissance man, Malcolm was an architect, author, illustrator, artist and intellectual. In his own words, here is the Father of Underground Architecture:

In 1964, after 10 years spent spreading corporate asphalt on America in the name of architecture, I woke up one day to the fact that the earth's surface was made for living plants, not industrial plants. I've been an underground architect ever since.

The above photos are from Wendy Mathias's website devoted to Malcolm Wells.

Wendy Mathias has just posted a pdf file of Malcolm's self-written obituary. Click Here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Land of the Free

 I, Underground Carpenter, have counted more than a half-century of years. I have lived, loved, laughed, worked hard and briefly touched the hem of wealth, enjoyed success and wept over bitter failure. One thing I have never in my life tasted is freedom. Living in America, the very land of the free, how can I say that? As lightly as my chains hang, they do indeed hinder my movement. To set myself on the simplest of paths requires permission from hordes and legions of people hidden behind barricades, bollards, security gates, and whole armies of protection. I don't consider these people my betters, and I certainly wouldn't want them as neighbors.
Most Americans would be aghast at the thought of abolishing government--not just replacing, but abolishing completely. However would we tax, harry and oppress, not just Americans but the entire world? I could say that government is not "efficient", that the free market would give us the highest prosperity and happiness. That would be a losing argument, and pointless. L. Neil Smith said it best--people that have to be talked into freedom don't deserve it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Latest 'Toons

These cartoons says it better than I could in ten paragraphs. Click any of these cartoons for a larger image.




Monday, November 16, 2009

Smell of Freedom

Thomas Jefferson never minded paying his Virginia DHV taxes. I'll bet you didn't know that in Jefferson's time the Virginia Department of Horsedrawn Vehicles collected a tax on every horse and carriage. He also didn't mind paying a tax on his every purchase, and at the end of the year his accountant would figure out how much money Jefferson had made, so that Tom could cheerfully pay his income tax. Then there was the property tax. Monticello was a grand house with lots of acreage, and Jefferson was delighted to pay whatever the Albemarle County Assessors Office decided his obligation was. And of course Tom felt safer in his house knowing that it met all current building codes--that is, after several plan revisions allowed wise building officials to give him permission to build his dream house. Building codes are constantly changing to give us safer homes. We now realize that the stairs Jefferson built to get to upper levels are not safe. Not wide enough. That's why the public is not allowed to see anything other than the bottom floor at Monticello.
Jefferson realized that Freedom wasn't free. Tom would stand outside, breathe in the fresh air, and think to himself, "Yep, smells like freedom to me".

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The New Director of Security Apprentice

This is Charlie. He's a little more than 3 months old. Today we started serious anti-terrorist training exercises. In three months time, with our trademark Underground Carpenter Watchdog Training, Charlie will be a crack operative.

See his fully-focused look of determination? This dog is going places.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Food Lines Everywhere

Here's your favorite underground carpenter standing at the end of a food line at the FDR Memorial in Washington DC. Sadly, they were not serving food that day.

Philly Carpenters Hall

Your friendly neighborhood Underground Carpenter made a solemn pilgrimage last week to Philadelphia, where he stood in front of the most sacred building in all carpenterdom--Carpenters Hall.
I was saddened to see that Philly is as batshit-crazy about "security" as Washington DC. You have to submit to metal-detectors and manual purse searches, and that's just to get into a sandwich shop.

Be Very Afraid

This sign acurately reflects the breezy, carefree permissiveness of Washington DC. A more succinct sign would have merely said, "No Nuthin'".

These are some of the more stylish Bollards in DC. Bollards are everywhere in Washington.

In Washington DC, these things are in front of every vehicular entrance. If these modern-day drawbridges are necessary, we need to start asking some serious questions.