Re: There Are No Courses For Your Damn Horses

1

You're insane. Come on; it's not like you live in the middle of a damn corn field.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 6:29 PM
horizontal rule
2

Everything is beautiful, when you're young and pretty.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 6:33 PM
horizontal rule
3

You're not insane. I love NY, but when I imagine living there, with vistas like that in the photo, I think, 'The horror. The horror.'


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 6:35 PM
horizontal rule
4

I don't what kind of damn field ogged lives in the middle of, but I will agree that, as much as I loved living smack in the middle of San Francisco for the time I did, the absence of any non-human organism within my window view was not beautiful in the fullest sense.


Posted by: rapoli | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 6:36 PM
horizontal rule
5

You can't blame east coast types for not really understanding what beauty is. There are no mountains or other natural beauty where they are (OK, maybe a few spots in New England and upstate NY during leaf season).


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 6:36 PM
horizontal rule
6

Don't you live in a city with insane real estate prices?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 6:38 PM
horizontal rule
7

The streets are paved with diamonds, and there's just so much to see.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 6:42 PM
horizontal rule
8

I live next to mountains and natural beauty, and the attraction of old, sprawling cities makes sense to me.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 6:44 PM
horizontal rule
9

Yeah, growing up in Kansas makes vistas like Alif's pretty pornographic. I've lived here long enough now that I sometimes fantasize about moving somewhere really desolate, like West Texas. The extremes are really beautiful to me.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 6:49 PM
horizontal rule
10

I have always been bowled over by the New Jersey Turnpike, just south of the tunnel. The power and chemical plants cluster without reference to the ground below, let alone any natural setting they may once have nestled in, then dominated, and now obscure completely.

I am also fond of the seaside cliff wall of Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 6:50 PM
horizontal rule
11

Mountains and natural beauty are beautiful. So are mountainous cityscapes with long skies.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 6:50 PM
horizontal rule
12

Trees are nice. They've been shown to reduce domestic violence, too.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 6:51 PM
horizontal rule
13

There are no mountains or other natural beauty where they are

Hmm, the oldest mountains in the world.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 6:53 PM
horizontal rule
14

13: Those are hills.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:02 PM
horizontal rule
15

But lovely hills, mind you.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:02 PM
horizontal rule
16

Well, I like natural beauty too: I think Utah is the most beautiful place I've ever seen. And to be honest, I don't love looking at all that brick and stone from inside it -- if I didn't have to go to Manhattan I wouldn't bother very often.

But obviously I do like this sort of scene a lot, and my favorite flickr contacts are a couple of Toronto photographers who do a lot of industrial photography, sneaking into abandoned warehouses and whatnot: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jann/sets/72157594563002722/

But seriously: a skyline with the Chrysler Building in it (admittedly not visible in this shot)? Don't you love the Chrysler Building? It's like if a piece of jewellery was a building.


Posted by: alif sikkiin | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:07 PM
horizontal rule
17

Having just moved from Salt Lake City to Durham, NC, I'm struggling with this. I like trees, but they sure do all look the same.

Another thing I'm struggling with - you can't drink all night then drive home like you can with Utah beer.


Posted by: ptm | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:12 PM
horizontal rule
18

What I don't understand is the choosing, the strong preferences for one over the other as scenery. We all have strong associations with what happens to us and how we feel in particular places.

Last I was in NYC, I was up all night looking out the window, as if I were ten. But I loved the Rockies, and the Cascades, and BC. And I have a Terence Malik-like thing about the prairies, near where I live and into which I drive nearly every day.

Granted, Xinejc's home landscape, Southwestern Ontario, is very challenging for most of us, moved more easily by grandeur. But Galbraith, born there a century ago, remembered great beauty. John Muir, famous for another landscape, remembered the beauty of a Wisconsin farm, a similar glacier-scraped place.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:14 PM
horizontal rule
19

I like trees, but they sure do all look the same.

A little advice: if you come to the Pacific Northwest, don't ever, ever say this out loud.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:15 PM
horizontal rule
20

Off-topic, but some of you actually know Saiselgy, right? Someone tell him to get off the Econ 101 kick. It's freaking me out.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:18 PM
horizontal rule
21

A little advice: if you come to the Pacific Northwest, don't ever, ever say this out loud.

Aw, why not?

Can you think of any single utterance more likely to convince people instantly that you are an alien?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:20 PM
horizontal rule
22

abandoned places


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:21 PM
horizontal rule
23

19 - but up there, at least there's other stuff. While I'm sure (hoping) I'll learn to appreciate it, we've basically got the beach and tree-covered hills of varying size. The PNW has beach, rainforest, the Cascades, the eastern deserty desolation, etc.

Mostly I'm just bitter cause I haven't learned to navigate without being able to use mountain ranges as compasses.


Posted by: ptm | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:21 PM
horizontal rule
24

All that relentless rock

I've met people who've responded to the Grand Canyon this way.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:24 PM
horizontal rule
25

I love cities. Nature is kinda boring, and way too quiet.

But I'll admit that one of the nice things about Beirut was the built-in mountain backdrop. New York would look BETTER if you could paste the Rockies in behind it.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:25 PM
horizontal rule
26

Aw, why not?

Because the locals will heap derision upon you and not offer you excellent beer.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:31 PM
horizontal rule
27

I am not Ogged. That's just about the best view on the planet -- I was looking at a similar one out of the tenth floor window of the federal courthouse nearby last week, and thinking how lucky I was to live here.

I like trees, and I like mountains, but buildings are wonderful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:31 PM
horizontal rule
28

That's just about the best view on the planet

It's perfectly nice, but best on the planet is insane.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:34 PM
horizontal rule
29

Well, any other pretty view is one of millions just like it. If you want to look at mountains, there's a whole bunch of them out there, and the same for beaches. That's the only Manhattan on the planet.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:38 PM
horizontal rule
30

People in New York have to think the views are beautiful, in order to justify the rents, the crime, the constant smell of urine in the subway. It's like Stockholm syndrome.

Although there are good sunsets.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:38 PM
horizontal rule
31

What I don't understand is the love for cityscapes as macro-scale backdrop. The weird beauty and fascinating jumble of the street level as opposed to surburbia, right on, but Ogged's right. Once everything has been reduced into just lots and lots of buildings, even cool ones like the Chrysler Building, it's just not there.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:38 PM
horizontal rule
32

29: if you love mountains, they're all different. If you don't like cities, they're all the same.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:40 PM
horizontal rule
33

I live next to mountains and natural beauty, and the attraction of old, sprawling cities makes sense to me.

Me too.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:41 PM
horizontal rule
34

Everything in its right place. New York (and other big cities) have their own beauty.

It took some time to get adjusted to being in Tucson after being in Virginia. One is wide open. The other is lush and green. It was a shock coming back to Virginia after being able to see so far in Arizona.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:41 PM
horizontal rule
35

I admit that my esthetic appreciation is somewhat confused by the fact that I'm looking at my stuff -- if you widen the angle a little, that's almost every place I care about in the world.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:42 PM
horizontal rule
36

If you want to look at mountains, there's a whole bunch of them out there, and the same for beaches. That's the only Manhattan on the planet.

For any given length of mountain range, that's the only such length of mountain range there is. On the other hand, there are lots of big cities.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:44 PM
horizontal rule
37

It was a shock coming back to Virginia after being able to see so far in Arizona.

At the concert I went to last night you could see all the way to Mt. Taylor (about 50 miles away). Not a whole lot in between, either.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:44 PM
horizontal rule
38

New York isn't even the prettiest of cities, though. What about Paris or Cuzco? I'm even partial to SF, though I'll admit the buildings aren't as majestic as NY's.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:45 PM
horizontal rule
39

I admit that my esthetic appreciation is somewhat confused by the fact that I'm looking at my stuff

Places are like faces -- if you love them, they are beautiful.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:46 PM
horizontal rule
40

Come to think of it, I do like to look at cities from the air; then I can appreciate them without finding them oppressive.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:46 PM
horizontal rule
41

36: But mountains are interchangeable, while cities aren't.

Actually, I am being silly. There's no view I'd rather look at, but I'll agree there are lots prettier -- every time I go to California I'm bowled over by how pretty it all is compared to what I'm used to. And most of those interchangeable mountains are also prettier than NY. I just have no interest in looking at them except on vacation occasionally.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:48 PM
horizontal rule
42

For me, I think it's the people. I look at all those buildings and I think about the people who live there and who built them, and how long each of them has been there, which is an amount of time I can imagine.

I think religious people feel the same thing looking at mountains and thinking about God and eternity. Maybe my mind is too small to care about that anymore.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:49 PM
horizontal rule
43

40: Oh, Manhattan from a plane is heartbreakingly beautiful; there's a landing pattern that comes up the length of the island from the Battery, and then turns right over Central Park to head for LaGuardia, that has me with my face pressed to the window every time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:50 PM
horizontal rule
44

KFC:Mon & Tues, 3 pieces 99 cents in Neon! Golden Arches everywhere. Long John Silvers, Pep Boys, Midas! Gas stations, Mini-marts, Easy loans on paychecks! Attys at law, Bail bonds, Pawn shops!

Pretty colored glass on the sidewalks.

Four pickups in every driveway.

Y'all don't know what you're missing.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:50 PM
horizontal rule
45

35, 40 -- I enjoy flying over the Paradise Valley -- the Yellowstone south of Livingston -- because I know all the creeks, and the histories of many of the ranches. NYC is pretty, and a few of the buildings speak to me, but most are just there. I'd probably like the view better if I understood it better.

That is, 39 is right.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:50 PM
horizontal rule
46

I have a feeling that this thread is just another version of the "You like jazz? Why would anyone like jazz?" "You like rock music? Who likes rock music, anyway?" threads. People have different tastes. This is obvious, right?


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:51 PM
horizontal rule
47

41: Have you actually seen Halfdome or El Capitan?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:51 PM
horizontal rule
48

Which mountains can be exchanged for which?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:51 PM
horizontal rule
49

44 -- Bob, I can close my eyes, and see most of the road west to Weatherford, then on to Graford, ca. 1970. It has a majesty of its own.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:52 PM
horizontal rule
50

47: You can save time by just seeing one and seeing both.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:52 PM
horizontal rule
51

teo:

Where in Az are you?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:53 PM
horizontal rule
52

I was thinking of this post as being in the "what people notice" category. It's too easy to play troll with "You like prairie???" etc. But it's interesting to me to hear, as with AWB's remark about the people, why folks think they like one landscape over another.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:54 PM
horizontal rule
53

44: Pretty colored glass on the sidewalks.

See, I know you're talking about interstates or something, but this is why I love cities from the perspective of being in them. My inner four-year old flips out with the same spastic aesthetic glee that had my mom constantly dragging me away from broken glass and cigarette butts as a pre-schooler.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:54 PM
horizontal rule
54

36: But mountains are interchangeable, while cities aren't.

This is not a statement of fact to justify your other claims, but another manifestation of the aesthetic that informs those other claims as well.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
55

Where in Az are you?

Nowhere.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
56

I want to see that show about underneath the cities.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:55 PM
horizontal rule
57

46: could be different tastes, could also just be people liking home. Anyone willing to step up and admit to liking the views the best from somewhere they neither live now nor aspire to at some point?


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:56 PM
horizontal rule
58

This is not a statement of fact to justify your other claims, but another manifestation of the aesthetic that informs those other claims as well.

But how can you tell, Ben?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:56 PM
horizontal rule
59

eb: cool link.

Xinejc's home landscape, Southwestern Ontario, is very challenging for most of us

Yup.

And 44 is awesome.


Posted by: alif sikkiin | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 7:56 PM
horizontal rule
60

In order to justify the rents, the crime, the constant smell of urine in the subway.

Country people have to learn to enjoy the smell of manure.

NYC crime isn't that bad compared to other cities.

Low rents: North Dakota, motherfucker!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:00 PM
horizontal rule
61

I have no desire to live in Riga, and spent only a few days there, but I was shocked at how beautiful I found it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:01 PM
horizontal rule
62

I was surprised at how beautiful Alabama was when I drove through it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:02 PM
horizontal rule
63

Natural environments take me out of myself, and human concerns in general -- a blessed, unusual, and necessary experience.

Urban environments, some anyway, and New York is quintessential, are so saturated in the human, myopic, and petty (sorry) that I sometimes become alarmed in an almost visceral way.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:03 PM
horizontal rule
64

Also, mountains are not interchangeable.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:05 PM
horizontal rule
65

57: I actually don't like the place where I currently reside(Boston area), aesthetically speaking. I do think there is an objective aesthetic of landscapes: people in general recognize that Paris is beautiful and Fresno is crap. Similarly, people in general also recognize that Yosemite Valley is beautiful and the clear cut portions of WA are inferior to those stuffed with temperate rain forest. Of course people are weird, and I'm sure that someone out there just can't get enough Fresno, but this is not inconsistent with there being objectively nicer settings.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:06 PM
horizontal rule
66

57: I don't know that I have a favorite view. I'm extremely fond of views in two or three places that I sort of consider home, but there's a whole lot that I like looking at in other places, too.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:09 PM
horizontal rule
67

63 describes precisely, exactly, and eloquently my experience with natural vs. urban beauty. I would add that American architecture and urban planning is particularly bad in this regard -- there is very little grace to it.

Also, I think it's obvious that mountain ranges vary profoundly, in everything from the shape of the mountains on the skyline to the weather, quality of the light, and the flora and fauna. LB's comment was just showing that she doesn't really enjoy or seek out mountains -- when we don't love something, we aren't attentive to the details that make it unique.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:09 PM
horizontal rule
68

LB said she was being silly. You people are merciless.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:10 PM
horizontal rule
69

Let's vote on the ugliest place in the USA. I vote for Wheeling, West VA.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:11 PM
horizontal rule
70

68: That's because she's a New Yorker, which some (although not I) consider even worse than a Californian.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:12 PM
horizontal rule
71

Flying into New York at night is a singular experience. Tonight, I'm in the aisle seat on the left side of the airplane. It's one of those planes with 2 seats on the left side and 3 seats on the right, and lucky for me I only have the one person to gawk around to get a peek out the window to my left.

I can never keep the flight paths straight in my head - is it LaGuardia that has the dramatic approach across the island of Manhattan? Or is it JFK? And will I be able to see the New York City skyline if I'm flying into Newark, or will it be too distant a set of landmarks to make out?

This time it's Newark, and only by virtue of the cheaper fare. We're approaching the airport just after sunset, and off in the distance the sky is still a deep, luxurious purple. The airplane makes an indecipherable set of turns designed, it would appear, to shake off any pursuit that might be dogging us from behind. Whatever their intent, these maneuvers have the effect of completely disorienting me. I keep scanning the landmarks below to attempt to establish some sense of place, all the while trying not to annoy my seatmate overmuch.

At first, this task proves too great. The New York metropolitan area is an unnavigable, overgrown swamp of lights, and absent any sighting of Manhattan I am at a loss to determine where in the heck we actually are. Then, off to the left, a bridge stretches across a river. I can tell it's a river because there is a wide ribbon of black sandwiched on both sides by white-orange lights. I can tell it's a bridge because, well, it looks like one. Its greenish girders are lit by clean white beams, and I realize that it can only be the George Washington Bridge and that we've been flying alongside Manhattan for a few minutes now.

I turn my head slightly to the right and I see the cluster of buildings that forms midtown. Rockefeller Center, the Citicorp Tower, and the Marriott Marquis all suddenly spring to life as if some giant child has opened his pop-up book to the page about New York. Were they there all the time? Was I too lost to see them, having missed these proud trees for the confusing forest which surrounded them?

No matter. There's midtown, and now I know where we are. Manhattan is below and to the left, and I watch as we pass the streets which dissect the island from the Hudson to the East River. As the plane passes the point directly perpendicular to each crosstown street, I can see a blazing artery flung across the belly of the island. Yellow streetlights, white headlights, red brake lights - a color-challenged rainbow bursts forth at each street. The city vivisects itself for me every few seconds, peeling back its skin to show the fierce fire simmering and shimmering beneath. And then, as swiftly as each wound is opened, the plane moves a block further downtown, and the wound heals itself as if by a miracle, and a new stripe of light is suddenly opened up and flung skyward.

To all outward appearance, Manhattan is a living thing.

Or so it seems, for those brief moments when we are flying towards our landing, at a speed to great to be fathomed, to a point on the earth too directly in front of us for any but our pilots to see.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:14 PM
horizontal rule
72

I love the city, and I love the country. I don't mind bedroom community, subway-accessible suburbs, but I hate the other kind. Summer resort towns don't bother me, and I long for them on a hot summer day.

I've been to South Dakota, and the country there seems fine, and the cattle seemed really beautiful; but the suburbs of Sioux Falls (and even the city itself) depressed the hell out of me.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:14 PM
horizontal rule
73

69: Pretty much every town with a population over 20,000 or so has its share of what Bob describes in 44, so if the standard is "ugliest ugly" it's going to be a zillion-way tie. For most consistently ugly, I'd be inclined to defer to the Texans' superior experience of such things.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:16 PM
horizontal rule
74

I hate cookie cutter suburbs. Give me a vibrant city. Give me a country lane. Give me a small town. Give me anything by planned Poltergist suburbia.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:16 PM
horizontal rule
75

The cattle seemed really beautiful.

Beautiful and seductive, but irresponsible and abusive. Restrain yourself. You'll regret even the most casual relationship.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:17 PM
horizontal rule
76

The ugliest places in the US have to be either clearcutting or strip-mining sites.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:18 PM
horizontal rule
77

cows? Simple creatures. And good eating too! Jumpers when they need to.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:18 PM
horizontal rule
78

I have an atlas at home rating American cities, and Waco and Newark were consistently at the bottom for almost everything.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:19 PM
horizontal rule
79

Landscape-wise I feel most at home on the east coast and in Europe. I appreciate Arizona, but I could never live there. Virginia and from what I've seen in pictures North Carolina are very different from New England and DC, but I still feel that I belong to them. Their natural landscape is mine even if their culture isn't. (I've never been to North Carolina, but I have been to South Carolina--Columbia, sadly not Charleston.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:19 PM
horizontal rule
80

Newark has a White Castle though. You get bonus points for White Castle.

BG:

What is the weather going to be like this weekend?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:21 PM
horizontal rule
81

76: OK, I'll stick up for the clearcuts. They're actually pretty interesting places, especially around the edges, and especially as plants start filling back in. Not that they're good forestry, but they're not pure ugly, either.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:24 PM
horizontal rule
82

57:Let me look at a map. Can't find what I wanted.

Slept under bushes I think at Morro Bay. Honeymoon motels. South of San Simeon, I think. San Simeon is where I saw my first hummingbirds.

Got picked up by a guy in a van, he gave me milk & donuts, took me to the top of the world and down again. I cried.

Coed picked me up in Monterrey, took me into Santa Cruz. She made me read her fiction, something like Beckett meets Plath. I said kind things.

Lived around Santa Cruz for six months, before it got built up. Saw some whales. Slept in a bag under redwoods. Saw big bridges. Listened to Carter Family, Hank, Jimmie Rodgers on the radio with Rainbow People, drank with old stunt cowboys in Prunedale.

Whatever. Manhattan on Sunday morning was beautiful, Tuscon, Flagstaff under snow, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Florida.

West of Albuquerque at 3 AM was my favorite. Nuthin, I mean black nuthin, but stars.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:26 PM
horizontal rule
83

Whenever the "ugliest places" conversation comes up (e.g., the "What's the ugliest state?" thread at LGM a while back) I think about the question and realize that there's no place I consider completely devoid of beauty; there's always something I can appreciate aesthetically.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:27 PM
horizontal rule
84

West of Albuquerque at 3 AM was my favorite. Nuthin, I mean black nuthin, but stars.

Yup. That's one empty stretch of highway.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
85

Everyone should take the time to drive slowly across the country. Nothing like it. Drink it in. Small towns. Cities. Wilderness.

One day, I'm going to take my son and talk two months to drive slowly across the country and back.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:32 PM
horizontal rule
86

I love flying into big cities, especially at night -- New York, yes, also Los Angeles or Chicago. I think America, for all its reputation, is blessed with a large helping of both natural and manmade beauty. But suburban developments I cannot enjoy.

This weekend, I was flying back from a conference in Poland, with a stop in Austria. I was struck by the beauty of the areas around Vienna, seen from the air: just lovely expanses of trees and crops and grass, crisscrossed and sprinkled with attractive groups of buildings. The houses all had the same orange-red roofs, which looked nice together and against the stretches of green in between. They were in tight groups that went right along the line of the land, tumbled into a big hollow or cluttered up against each little turn of a short valley. The effect was extraordinarily charming.

The contrast struck me sadly as we flew into Cleveland. That part of exurban Ohio is just plain ugly, at least from that angle and to my eyes. Hideous, really. And I felt jerky for making the comparison, but there it was.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:32 PM
horizontal rule
87

LB said she was being silly. You people are merciless.

I thought it was taken for granted that everyone in this thread was being silly. All landscapes are beautiful, none are, it's whatever you have a crush on.

Actually, looking back my 67 sounded more negative than I meant it. I have a tendency to pontificate.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:33 PM
horizontal rule
88

84 -- Even so, I've been out that way with folks from Canoncito -- Tohajiilee now -- and that brings the landscape alive.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:34 PM
horizontal rule
89

Everyone on Unfogged knows that Charley's last name is Castaneda, right?


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:37 PM
horizontal rule
90

Let's vote on the ugliest place in the USA. I vote for Wheeling, West VA.

Wrong -- Wheeling looks pretty cool from above, set into steep hills around a river as it is. Same deal with Easton, PA.

I vote for the outskirts of Indianapolis.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:39 PM
horizontal rule
91

82: ah, hitchhiking. All beautiful -- sleeping under the stars (huge Western skies), wake up in the morning and stick out your thumb, see where the road takes you next. Greatest trip ever. No coeds picked me up, though. Only women were a lesbian and a mormon, both pure and maternal types. People were so kind.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:39 PM
horizontal rule
92

I am more of a Nichols man, truth be told, but I've heard some pretty wild stories from that part of NM.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:40 PM
horizontal rule
93

whatever you say Don Juan.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:41 PM
horizontal rule
94

my gf is from Hobbes, NM. Talk about isolated. Ouch.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:42 PM
horizontal rule
95

The contrast struck me sadly as we flew into Cleveland. That part of exurban Ohio is just plain ugly, at least from that angle and to my eyes. Hideous, really. And I felt jerky for making the comparison, but there it was.

It's a tough one. The view from where I live is spectacular, but I really want a garage, a back yard, and to live by myself / with a hypothetical family, to not have to commute to work, and to be able to walk most of the places I want to go. Through amazing good luck I can almost afford this, but if people without high-paying jobs value a back yard and garage more than they value living somewhere pretty and being able to walk, you end up with exurban Ohio.

I dislike telling people what they should want...


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:42 PM
horizontal rule
96

I have a sentimental attraction to strip-mining sites. These were coal mines though, so the toxic refuse is not as toxic as, say, that of a nickel mine.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:43 PM
horizontal rule
97

You don't really see the night sky in cities, at all. You get the skyline in trade, and that's something... but if you get out in the country a ways, somewhere with clear air that's far from any artificial light, you can see so many more stars. I recommend this unreservedly.


Posted by: HC | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:45 PM
horizontal rule
98

Bethelem, PA, for the ugliest, if you look on the decayed Rust Belt factories.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:45 PM
horizontal rule
99

Bethlehem? Really? The old factories are awesome. You want ugly, wait until they turn them into a casino.


Posted by: Jake | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:46 PM
horizontal rule
100

Speaking of ugly stuff everyone thinks is beautiful, has anyone seen that Burtynsky documentary?


Posted by: Armsmasher | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:48 PM
horizontal rule
101

no. Tell me about it.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:48 PM
horizontal rule
102

I had a friend of Albequerque who moved to Pennsylvania. He would bitch about how green it was. Up to that point, I had been brainwashed to think that liking green was a universal value.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:50 PM
horizontal rule
103

Points off for not titling this post: "Fresh air! Times Square!"

Ugliest place in the US? I don't know that I can say, but Lackawanna, NY and Anderson, SC are high on my list. Really, though, #39 gets it right. I like to visit nature and live in cities, but you can find beauty anywhere if you look for it.

(Cala-pwned, more or less)


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:53 PM
horizontal rule
104

102: My parents had friends from San Diego who visited us in Pennsylvania. They went for a walk and were horrified at all the piles of sticks and leaves and brush that were lying around, which would be subject to multi-thousand-dollar fines back home because of the danger of wildfires. They said it made them nervous to see these things.

I had never thought about that before.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:53 PM
horizontal rule
105

97: Oh yes indeed. In a few weeks, I'll be at 5000 feet elevation and 100+ miles from the nearest town of any size at all. The only catch is that it doesn't get properly dark until 10 or 11 o'clock, but once it does you get quite a star show. I still kind of think that the best I ever saw was from the bridge of a submarine just south of the Straits of Messina one night after the moon had set, but possibly that one just seemed extra-good because everything else for those few weeks was so incredibly claustrophobic.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:54 PM
horizontal rule
106

I've talked to Californian friends who think East Coast deciduous forests are ugly, which I can't understand at all. They're not glamorous maybe, but they're exactly what forests are supposed to look like.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
107

One of the things that forests can look like, and a pretty nice one at that. But the problem you're having there has nothing to do with forests and everything to do with Californians.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:58 PM
horizontal rule
108

Even in the wilderness, the stars are dimming due to smog and pollution. It's rather noticeable in e.g. the Sierras, where the milky way is not as, well, milky as I've seen it in places further from civilization.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:58 PM
horizontal rule
109

95: Jake, that is some view. As far as backyards and garages and such go, that's where sensible land-use planning and laws come in; there are options that don't necessarily mean souless exurbia. Unfortunately, developers are powerful, so soulless exurbia is what we generally get.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 8:59 PM
horizontal rule
110

Lackawanna Valley.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:01 PM
horizontal rule
111

106-107: Thanks to logging followed by a series of major epidemics (Dutch Elm disease, etc), east coast deciduous forests have small and stunted trees. Trees are larger and more majestic on the West Coast. I like that.

I grew up on the East Coast and hiked all over there, but I've gradually become converted to the west-is-best perspective. There's no fanatic like a convert.


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:03 PM
horizontal rule
112

107: Mmm. The conversation did include a fair amount of chauvinistic panegyrics to the golden hills of California. Which, admittedly, are probably prettier than my forests. Everything in California is.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:03 PM
horizontal rule
113

I don't know. Looking straight forward, I got an unused white window AC topped with an askew blue towel topped with a section of newspaper topped with a single thin paperback. Above is a 2 foot tight row of red cd slimlines with one foot of blue on either side. The red ones have a single black v-shaped gap, about half a inch wide. They darken according to distance from the lamplight.

On one side is a green-stained chair with an orange t-shirt hanging over the back. On the other side 8 feet of woven cane window blind.

Computer screen is reflecting on my coffee cup in a single quarter inch flickering line. Waving my arm in front of screen it looks like a broomhandle on the cup. A Tim Burton arm. Top of the cup is a thin ellipse, not a circle. Must be tripping again.

Henry Wolff and Nancy Hennings droning Tibetan Bells fill the room. Mood Jga Jga. Pekka Pohjola.
Dogs are squeaking their furry toys.

I don't need to go anywhere, but I know wherever I go...


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:03 PM
horizontal rule
114

California is perfectly fine, and parts of it are downright lovely, but it ain't all that. At least when one's yardsticks are Washington, British Columbia, and Hawaii.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:05 PM
horizontal rule
115

Northern California - north of the Bay Area, I mean - has a lot in common with Oregon and Washington, what with the forests and the southern end of the Cascades. I've always enjoyed the drive to and from the northern border (and beyond), but that might be because I haven't done it often. If I could move anywhere solely for geographical reasons, it would probably be to the Pacific Northwest.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:07 PM
horizontal rule
116

I've never been to the Pacific Northwest, and haven't seen much of Hawaii. I'm leaving Samoa out of this, though, because that's cheating.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:08 PM
horizontal rule
117

the golden hills of California

The "golden hills" effect occurs in the summer when all the plants are dead and dried out from that near-desert heat. That's the time of year I'd say the East is more beautiful than the California foothills. But the forests in the upper Sierra are still rich and green.

The most beautiful forests might be in Washington and Oregon, though (the unlogged sections).


Posted by: marcus | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:08 PM
horizontal rule
118

This is ridiculous. Just thinking about places and the people that go with them, I'm as nostalgic as I've ever been. But there are subway stops I can't come out of without stopping to catch my breath, because of the things that have happened there and the people I was with.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:13 PM
horizontal rule
119

110. That's a lovely picture, but unfortunately I was there about 100+ some years later. Whenever I think of the place, I think of the lines to that Paul Simon song: "And after it rains/There's a rainbow/And all of the colors are black." My brother and I used to call the town "Stinkawanna."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:15 PM
horizontal rule
120

117: See, I grew up with those big PNW evergreens and I like them fine, but if I were picking for pretty I'd go for something more open: the pines, aspens, and meadows of interior BC (and elsewhere), the eastern deciduous forest, etc.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:16 PM
horizontal rule
121

Are you people talking about Lackawanna, the city near Buffalo, or the Lackawanna Valley that contains Scranton?


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:17 PM
horizontal rule
122

LB is just a small-town girl. Her own little corner of the world is the only thing of interest to her. She's a very nice, perfectly wonderful person for all that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:17 PM
horizontal rule
123

The forests in Eastern Europe scared me. Hundreds of square miles of the exact same pine tree.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:18 PM
horizontal rule
124

It's a shame that ogged will be so unhappy when we all live together in the east village.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:18 PM
horizontal rule
125

99: One of the calasisters is in school there. I stand by saying it's a gorgeous area of hills with little zits of decay.

I would like New York better if it didn't smell so awful.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:18 PM
horizontal rule
126

The house I'm in now has a backyard which looks quite nice—some sort of fruit tree is out there—only we aren't allowed back since the landlord is doing some sort of complicated renovations or some such.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:19 PM
horizontal rule
127

124: We can get him a houseplant to look at.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:19 PM
horizontal rule
128

121: I was just looking for an excuse to link that image, which I believe is of the Scranton area.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:19 PM
horizontal rule
129

The most beautiful forests might be in Washington and Oregon, though (the unlogged sections).

Northern Idaho's are better, IMHO. Pity they're not as serious about preserving them.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:22 PM
horizontal rule
130

So is this a hot or not thread?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:23 PM
horizontal rule
131

And now, the Larch.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:23 PM
horizontal rule
132

Granola nature boy Ogged needs the greenery. He's very sensitive.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:24 PM
horizontal rule
133

I like to press wildflowers.


Posted by: DaveL | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:24 PM
horizontal rule
134

131 -- We're having a discussion about larches 'round here. There's a dogwood tree in front of the house that needs to come down. I'd like a western larch, and I don't care if all the experts say I can't have one. I do, however, care that my wife says I can't have one.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:29 PM
horizontal rule
135

Me: Lackawanna, NY. Gertrude of Wyoming's gonna have to represent for the valley, I don't know it that well.

As of 2007, though, Windmills are being built on the site of the old Bethlehem Steel plant. I could revise my opinion.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:31 PM
horizontal rule
136

It's not all trees over here, you know. I'd tell you about the other great stuff, but we're not supposed to attract you lot.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:42 PM
horizontal rule
137

Is the picture in 110 the same one that figures in a discussion early on in Art and Illusion about stereotypes, captions, etc?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:52 PM
horizontal rule
138

134. Have you thought about, God forgive me, Aspens? They're not right for our DC climate either but what the hey.

One tree I'd avoid is Magnolia. Way too attractive to flocks of birds and the result is lots of bird crap.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 9:53 PM
horizontal rule
139

Every ugly city is ugly in its own way. Ugly suburbs are all the same.

Not quite, but you know what I mean. It's possible to do a great painting of an abandoned factory; just try with a strip mall. I suppose it must be possible, but....

This view is beautiful. If you go lower down on the east river, to the Brooklyn Bridge instead of the Williamsburg, maybe my favorite on earth. Those golf-course-looking hills in Stanford that ogged was linking too earlier cannot compare. Not to Chicago, either. Chicago may actually be a more beautiful city than New York, I think. There are views in New York that I love better than anything, but you can see the beautiful parts from a larger proportion of Chicago. And so much of it was built recently--is still being built, whereas in New York you're almost down to filling in holes--and it doesn't suck. Didn't think we were still capable of doing that, in this country.

What does nothing for me, nature-wise, is prairies. Even in the snow they're depressing. I didn't realize until recently how much of a difference even small hills make.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 10:02 PM
horizontal rule
140

The thing to do is take a scenic tour around the Chernobyl area and then appreciate wherever else you might be.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 10:14 PM
horizontal rule
141

I still kind of think that the best I ever saw was from the bridge of a submarine just south of the Straits of Messina one night after the moon had set

For me it was sailing out of Rockland into the Penobscot Bay at night. Fucking unbelievable how many stars you could see... I don't think I've ever felt so *small*.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 10:16 PM
horizontal rule
142

Is the picture in 110 the same one that figures in a discussion early on in Art and Illusion about stereotypes, captions, etc?

That picture is on page 67 of my edition. Apparently, the president of the railway company made the painter paint additional non-existing yet planned railway lines into the roundhouse. I say apparently because I can't see them in the picture.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 10:21 PM
horizontal rule
143

Come to think of it, I do like to look at cities from the air; then I can appreciate them without finding them oppressive.

I haven't read much further in the thread, so I don't know if this has been brought up yet, but how do these views do it for you?

I wish we had the mountains too, but there are few better combinations of water and city out there, along iwith some gorgeous park land. The problem with greenery, though, is that the north view kinda sucks in the winter when all the trees are grey deadness while the south view still has wonderful city goodness.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 10:25 PM
horizontal rule
144

Page 14 of this pdf says that the painter added 3 additional tracks going into the roundhouse:

http://companypubs.elhts.org/LACK_Apr1954.pdf

The pdf also says that the Inness repurchased the painting from a second hand store in Mexico that he happened to wander into 30 years after making the painting. I call bullshit.


Posted by: joeo | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 10:56 PM
horizontal rule
145

143: Those views don't do much for me, but I could see how one could become attached to Chicago.

139: Best on earth? You can't be serious. NY is nice and all, but the world is a big place, and it contains places like Lake Tahoe and the Yungas.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 10:57 PM
horizontal rule
146

144: I'm pretty sure the Mexico story has been substantiated; I've seen it elsewhere, at least. (I haven't seen Art and Illusion, though. The funny thing about the painting is that it figures highly in some accounts of American cultural history (L/eo M/arx, I believe) without mention of years in obscurity.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 10:59 PM
horizontal rule
147

88: Certainly there's Tohajiilee, and further west Laguna and Acoma, all with their own casinos now; it's not deserted by any means. But empty nonetheless. Of course, if you want real isolation and darkness you have to go to the Big Rez.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:03 PM
horizontal rule
148

145: I think what I said was "my favorite" & the view I love best....I didn't drive over Lake Tahoe on the morning of my wedding day.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:06 PM
horizontal rule
149

I didn't realize you were in Chicago, Po-Mo. I grew up there (suburbs), have taken many people to those observatories, and think of Chicago fondly. But you couldn't pay me to live there now.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:06 PM
horizontal rule
150

I didn't realize you were in Chicago, Po-Mo

Po-Mo's old handle referenced that fact, ogged. Try to keep up.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:08 PM
horizontal rule
151

I always assumed Po-Mo's old handle was his initials, but then he joined the facebook group and I realized it wasn't. I was quite confused.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:10 PM
horizontal rule
152

148: So you did. Next time Tahoe, then.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:11 PM
horizontal rule
153

151: Admittedly, it wasn't abundantly clear. I realized it wasn't initials only with this comment, which I noticed, I suppose, because of my own Chicago ties.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:12 PM
horizontal rule
154

I have a mountain, which is a unique snowflake that I'd recognize anywhere, and I have a city, and I live in a town where, when I leave my house, I get to see both. Win-win.


Posted by: Magpie | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:15 PM
horizontal rule
155

Huh. I read that thread at the time, but somehow I'd forgotten that comment.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:16 PM
horizontal rule
156

What a strange either/or distinction. That picture is lovely; any vista which reminds me of my own tininess, and the vastness of natural systems, whether geological, wild, or human, I find awesome. East coast cityscapes combine decay and rebirth in a way I find fascinatingly evocative, like a forest where you can intuit why each tree chose to look that way, or a mountain where each jagged line against the sky represents ego and pettiness, and quotidian decisions of everyday lives lived in nigh-unimaginable multitudes.

I mean, pretty much every single piece of rock in that picture was the result of somebody, at some time, deciding exactly where it should go, for specific reasons. It's a human narrative on the scale of a great natural process. That's cool! Like a mountain, that we made!

Of course I'm also a big fan of barren desert and (portions of) the Los Angeles streetscape, so take that with a grain of salt.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:24 PM
horizontal rule
157

156: Barren deserts can be quite nice, and I can even semi-understand 76's attachment to clearcutting sites. But LA? Please.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:31 PM
horizontal rule
158

Whoa, I go read up on all the cool skyscraper shit on Wikipedia, and suddenly a big burst of commenting has happened.

But you couldn't pay me to live there now.

That's a shame. I have almost too much love for this city. I'm as provincial as LB sometimes. But I also have the excuse that the two north-facing views I linked in 143 pretty much are the views from my apartment. The summer is when this city drops its coy act and lets everyone know why we love it for all the masochism of winter.

If I had to choose the most beautiful places in the world, they probably still wouldn't be here. But they'd be in the middle of nowhere, places where no one could live, or really should. The sort of places where pale and be-scurvied Europeans like myself used to stumble onto off ships, name "Paradise Cove" or "Elysian Harbor", then die four weeks later of malaria, yellow fever, exposure, eating brightly-colored poisonous stuff, or jaguar attack.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:35 PM
horizontal rule
159

157: driving East on the 10 on one of the seven or eight clear days a year, and seeing snow-capped mountains rising over downtown. The sweep of strange, brightly colored modernist castles tapering off at the base of sandstone cliffs from the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. The extravagant Art Deco fortresses lining the old Wiltshire Corridor. Isolated mansions shrouded in fog far up in the Santa Monica mountains. The aging, gentrifying carpet of improbably anchored hillside suburbia seen from the westbound 210.

And that's just some of the traditionally beautiful stuff. I'm also a big fan of the old streetcar suburbs - especially the views from the Gold Line streetcar, the outlandishly huge graffiti lining the LA river seen from the Northbound Surfliner, and even the Bonaventure Hotel has kind of a transcendent 80s awfulness that the ten year old sci-fi fan in me responds to.

I mean, it's not Bellagio. But it's not entirely bereft.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:53 PM
horizontal rule
160

Southwestern Ontario, is very challenging ugly.

Deciduous forests are more properly called "woods," especially as they usually are about ten feet wide.

What I require is a sense of an "other side." Mountains do that; the ocean does that in spades. Cityscapes do that. The desert does that.

Cornfields stretching forever don't.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:55 PM
horizontal rule
161

And of course, that's not counting the really pretty lovely natural places you can find two hours drive from downtown LA in almost any direction.

Ooh! Ooh! The view from the Griffith Park Observatory the morning after it rains. That is just awesome.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:56 PM
horizontal rule
162

Deciduous forests are more properly called "woods," especially as they usually are about ten feet wide.

Pshaw. Girlfriend should get her on some Maine.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:57 PM
horizontal rule
163

She did say "usually."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-23-07 11:57 PM
horizontal rule
164

Well, southern Maine. New Hampshire.

Still, there's a bunch left. All over! Everything's smaller there. Look at Rhode Island, that's only twenty-two feet wide.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:00 AM
horizontal rule
165

I love this shot, P-M P.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:02 AM
horizontal rule
166

Los Angeles.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:04 AM
horizontal rule
167

159.3 is correct. Beautiful places tend to be exceptional in some way, and the human body does not respond well to the exceptional. But, people are weird, and will do their damnedest to live where they want to. I backpacked down the Yungas I referred to earlier a few years ago. A little more than halfway down the mountain, the trail intersected a beautiful hacienda-type establishment. Apparently, a Japanese man had emigrated to Bolivia after the war, hiked out to the middle of fucking nowhere, and personally built a home/plantation that put all the local aymara villages to shame. There were no roads within 25 miles: all materials has to be lugged by hand from La Paz over trails that covered roughly 10k vertical feet. But he leveled the terrain, established a clean water supply, and grew not only oranges, avocados and coca, but maintained a beautiful flower garden. He let us camp in his garden, and he sells spam and such. He got really excited over seeing our pictures of Israel, Scotland, and SF. I got woken up at like six in the morning that day: this man was chopping wood, and he's like 90. He is my hero.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:07 AM
horizontal rule
168

162: Fair enough, I've never been. I assume they have snow.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:09 AM
horizontal rule
169

168: not currently, no.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:09 AM
horizontal rule
170

Right, but sometimes. Which means it's a nice place to visit, but.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:13 AM
horizontal rule
171

Well, I've been to Maine, and I've been to Tahoe National Forest, and it's pretty clear which is more foresty. The thing about maine is that it's all secondary growth. I'm sure main was beautiful in 1500, but now, it seems artificial. I know it's not, but it lacks the, um, what's the word, gradations of a real forest,


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:15 AM
horizontal rule
172

The trees, native to the land, that have grown there any time within the past five centuries are... artificial? This is an interesting point of view.

Look at that. They might as well have put in a strip mall.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:19 AM
horizontal rule
173

Oh wow. Anyway, I said I knew they weren't. It's just that in old forests, you can see the microclimates reflected in the age and prevalence of the dominant species relative to various opportunists. A sempervirens creates a distinct community around it, and a fallen sempervirens creates a different community depending on whether it's 20 or 70 years fallen. You can see the effect of fallen trees long after they've decayed. It takes a lot of time hanging around trees to pick up the differences, but they are there. You don't really get that on the East Coast. But maybe you do, and I haven't spent enough time in Maine forests to pick up the knack.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:29 AM
horizontal rule
174

Well, southern Maine. New Hampshire.

And beyond. Westerners tend to imagine the Northeast as more homogenously developed than it really is. Northern New England has vast swaths of forest and other places that are effectively as remote as, say, much of eastern Oregon. And people generally tend to think of western forests as more pristine than they really are. Old-growth forests aren't that common anymore.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:34 AM
horizontal rule
175

Oh my god, now we've got forest pedantry. I'm sorry I encouraged this. Even though of course FM's right.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:35 AM
horizontal rule
176

Must we fail to see the forest for the twee?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:39 AM
horizontal rule
177

I was all set to argue the point (well, I'll argue one piece: looking for sempervirens in Maine is probably going to gain you nothing but frustration) but then I read this and it made me sad.

Still, I love the character of Maine forests. They're so, I don't know, temperate.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:42 AM
horizontal rule
178

175: encouraged it? You started it, Ms. Oh-well-they're-woods.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:43 AM
horizontal rule
179

174: True enough. I had assumed that the orcs had invaded this particular shire long since, but in truth New Hampshire and Vermont have put up an admirable defense. Even here in Mass they have conservation lands. But the fact remains that the real thing is out west. I've been a fair few places, and no industrialized nation has as much natural beauty as ours, and most of it is west of the Mississippi. Blame plate tectonics if you must.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:44 AM
horizontal rule
180

Also I apologize for using the Latin name for Redwoods. Per my currently active provincial bias I should have called them "those big, boring trees you drive through." I'll let you know if my narrow boosterism shifts west again.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:44 AM
horizontal rule
181

179: You know, this is a strange conversation. Do you mean square footage, or are you figuring things in nice-view units, and if so, what are the operative scales? Units?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:49 AM
horizontal rule
182

Not to be a forest-pedant or anything, but one drives through sequoia gigantea. When faced with a sequoia sempervirens, one is to break down and cry in shame for insufficient attention to trees.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:52 AM
horizontal rule
183

Interestingly, forest pedantry is exactly what I was aiming for in 180.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:54 AM
horizontal rule
184

Units? This sort of thing hasn't been standardized, because it hasn't needed to be. Have you been to the Berkshires? Now go to the Sierras. Compare and contrast, and see if units enter into it.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 12:55 AM
horizontal rule
185

Visit Mount Desert Island, then visit Catalina.

Walk the Appalachian trail. Then walk the 5 freeway.

The Berkshires and the Sierras are, as it turns out, different. The Sierras are newer, yes, and bigger, yes. Sure, the west has different, grander vistas, and much more open space. But it's not either/or! The Berkshires I think are nice enough. But the coast of Maine is as beautiful as anything you'll find in California. Vermont is as thoroughly wild as anywhere in the west and is also stunningly beautiful.

So who gives a crap where there's "more"? The only important thing is that we keep as much of it around as we can.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:03 AM
horizontal rule
186

But the fact remains that the real thing is out west.

Eastern and western forests are just different. The 'real thing' may be more of a relic in the east, but unless you're talking strictly about acreage, I'm not sure what basis there is for comparison. Walking through a New England forest in the fall, with the sunlight filtered through yellow, orange and red foliage, with the smell of rot from fallen leaves underfoot: glorious. Walking through a stand of towering firs on a carpet of soft fallen needles: glorious. Comity!


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:08 AM
horizontal rule
187

Pwned. Must learn to think faster.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:11 AM
horizontal rule
188

You started it, Ms. Oh-well-they're-woods.

I was going to say that, but then someone would accuse me of attention-whoring for all the credit.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:14 AM
horizontal rule
189

188: not everything's about you, B.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:15 AM
horizontal rule
190

Walking through a New England forest in the fall, with the sunlight filtered through yellow, orange and red foliage, with the smell of rot from fallen leaves underfoot: glorious.

That's all well and good, but those are woods, not forest. I'm sorry, but "forest" is just the wrong word for that sort of thing.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:16 AM
horizontal rule
191

189: See? Asshole.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:16 AM
horizontal rule
192

I'm going to step out for a smoke, B, while you explain 190.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:17 AM
horizontal rule
193

Hee hee!

Also, 30">http://www.northernforest.org/">30 millions acres: not forest.

It's actually quite a bit larger than that, since it also covers most of Canada and much of Siberia and Scandinavia, give or take the odd submerged land bridge.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:19 AM
horizontal rule
194

Fuck a dangit. I was so proud of my B-baiting I forgot how to make a link.

Also, 30 million acres: not forest.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:20 AM
horizontal rule
195

192: I dunno. Robert Frost, deciduous trees, too much shrubby undergrowth. It just all seems so thin.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:25 AM
horizontal rule
196

185.last is unarguable and hence a dirty trick, but I accept it nonetheless:it is true. And the coast of Maine is indeed beautiful. But Vermont being as "thoroughly wild" as the west? I've been all over vermont, but never have I had a bear fuck my shit up like one did in Upper Yosemite. In WA I got accosted by a mountain lion; a similar beast ate my friend's horse in fucking livermore of all places. Not that vermont isn't beautiful, it just isn't wilderness. This is why I talk about plate tectonics: California is the beneficiary of a whole bunch of extra nutrients thrust upon it every few years. These nutrients tend to knock over buildings, but the bears don't mind. For whatever reasons, new mountains are pretty, but they often kill people. Go figure.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:26 AM
horizontal rule
197

We have mountain lion warnings in the nearby park. I'd be surprised if we ever saw one, but theoretically it's possible.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:27 AM
horizontal rule
198

I know Tamalpais, Diablo, Rose, Hamilton, etc. are technically mountains, but I have a hard time seeing them as such.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:42 AM
horizontal rule
199

197: If you should ever see one, use argument to authority. When my brother and I came across one in Olympic national park, it was barely visible: about 100 yards away. Somehow it got within 50 feet of us within like 30 seconds (or so I remember: I was 12, my brother was 9, we were climbing off the trail and feeling brave for it). Anyway I summoned the voice my mom used when scolding our dog, and explained to it how this was federal land: "Mr. cougar, I have every right to be here, cause this is a national park, and if you eat me, they're gonna come looking", said I. Either he was waiting for me to abandon my 75 pound brother or he was persuaded by my logic, but, after trying to sneak in by the side he went away. This is why children should study rhetoric.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:49 AM
horizontal rule
200

Vermont: less wild than the West, though there are still bears, and maybe even cougars.
Robert Frost: more interesting than most readers think.
Deciduous trees: hardwood forest. Vive la différence.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:51 AM
horizontal rule
201

199: I figure they're cats. All you gotta do is puff up your fur and yowl.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:53 AM
horizontal rule
202

hardwood forests = "woods"


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:54 AM
horizontal rule
203

201: Well, yes, probably. Though that approach is pretty synonymous with "rhetoric" these days.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:57 AM
horizontal rule
204

I'm going to step out for a bong hit, B, while you explain 202.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:58 AM
horizontal rule
205

201: or spritz them with water.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 1:58 AM
horizontal rule
206

204: I don't argue with hippies.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:04 AM
horizontal rule
207

"Hippie" in this context meaning "people who use the standard definition of words instead of my definition."

Which, come to think of it, is the same way wingnuts use the word.

Carry on!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:09 AM
horizontal rule
208

Hippie in this context meaning people who step out for bong hits in some kind of passive-aggressive display of refusing to admit they're wrong. So there.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:10 AM
horizontal rule
209

208: you think William F. Buckley doesn't do that every single damn time Jonah tries to engage him on the merits of the war? Mm hmm. Goddamn hippies.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:17 AM
horizontal rule
210

At least you spelled 'hippie' correctly. We should have a Vermont meetup sometime, part of which will involve a long hike into the Eastern forest.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:19 AM
horizontal rule
211

But we'd have to go to Vermont to do that.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:20 AM
horizontal rule
212

Plus, "hiking"? Don't you mean strolling?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:20 AM
horizontal rule
213

208 seems like a description of a reasonable person, rather than a hippy. Hippies would hit the bong before the "passive-aggressive display of refusing to admit they're wrong." Also after.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:20 AM
horizontal rule
214

FM, are you agreeing with Jesus that the woods are a kind of forest here? Is that what you're doing?


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:21 AM
horizontal rule
215

210: woo! heck with cocktails and small talk. Real unfogged meetups are about orienteering and fording streams!

Last one to the weed field has to eat the soggy biscuit gorp!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:23 AM
horizontal rule
216

208 s/b 204


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:24 AM
horizontal rule
217

Fuck orienteering, dude. More booze. Also, I'm pissed that you didn't email me for PK's name because I lack your email, though I've now forgotten when I wanted it.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:26 AM
horizontal rule
218

"When" s/b "why." More booze!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:27 AM
horizontal rule
219

Trollfjord.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:29 AM
horizontal rule
220

Now 219 is pretty, and I'm going to ignore the subtext.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:29 AM
horizontal rule
221

212: Strolling, trolling. I was actually having a Nat Sherman, which I believe is your brand, so how wrong could I be?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:32 AM
horizontal rule
222

A Nat Sherman is not a bong hit. Dude.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:41 AM
horizontal rule
223

214: Of course not, but what's the harm in letting them enjoy their woods? Though given the hippie accusations rolling around, I must admit NE weed is pretty fucking shameful. How can you raise a proper hippie on pseudo-schwag?. There's a class here they call "middsies" that in CA used to be called "Mexi", though I've not seen mexi since I was 13. Even the best here is a) not that great and b)overpriced. Somehow, between NY and Boston, the DEA has become absurdly efficient.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:42 AM
horizontal rule
224

Oh, they can enjoy their woods all they like, as long as they don't go around pretending it's real forest.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:44 AM
horizontal rule
225

Ahh, there's good weed from Vermont. Is Boston the same as Northern California? No. But it's not like it's Siberia, or even LA. You just need to, like, know people, you know?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:45 AM
horizontal rule
226

Although I was prettty much struck dumb by the quantity and quality of pot extant when I arrived in SF as a starry-eyed young stoner.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:46 AM
horizontal rule
227

I cannot believe I was awakened by drunken-roommates-coming-home only to find you people still arguing about what constitutes a forest.

Wait. No. I can believe it: you people are insane.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:49 AM
horizontal rule
228

Man, why am I being so contrary tonight? So far on this thread I have taken sides in favor of (1) crappy, falling down buildings, (2) the aesthetic appeal of Los Angeles, (3) the lack of a meaningful difference in wild space between the East Coast and West Coast, and (4) East Coast weed. I'd better stop it before I end up arguing lyrically for the comedy of Steve Gutenberg.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:51 AM
horizontal rule
229

There are suburban landscapes that are nice: I like the Pittsburg line on BART at around sunset, for example.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:54 AM
horizontal rule
230

225: Well I do know people. And what do they say? " Do you know anybody with decent weed?" And I tell them no. Anyway, if you're suffering for decent smoke in SoCal, just wait. Humboldt's bounty may initially benefit Oakland, but LA is their real market, Those weirdos in the trees are businessmen, and they'll find a way to get your custom soon enough.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 2:55 AM
horizontal rule
231

Los Angeles is aesthetically appealing, at least a lot of it is.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 3:10 AM
horizontal rule
232

Police Academy was pretty funny.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 3:14 AM
horizontal rule
233

Tweety, put down the bong.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 3:39 AM
horizontal rule
234

Most Oregon forests are second-growth, approaching a Douglas fir monoculture. Douglas fir are stately and grand, but solid stands are really boring because the shade stunts the lower layer. After a few years of regrowth, the clearcuts are much better for wildlife. B. probably thinks of forests as something you see from the car window.

The Pacific NW is classified as a temperate rainforest, and like tropical rainforests (jungles), the soil is very poor and gravelly because it's leached out and there isn't much humus buildup. The good soil formed by hardwood forests was their doom, since it was good agricultural land. Temperate rainforests aren't good for much of anything else.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 5:38 AM
horizontal rule
235

Darn it. I really need to visit the Pacific Northwest.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 5:48 AM
horizontal rule
236

New York City has held sway over my heart since the first time I saw it, from the greasy seat of a Greyhound bus as I traveled from Boston to Washington, D.C., during the spring of my freshman year in college. In law school, I visited college pals there every chance I got, and my love affair with the city simply grew deeper. After graduation, I spent five of the best years of my life in New York. Some Saturdays, I would just walk the length of the island, from midtown to Battery Park and back up to Central Park. Sometimes I'd listen to my Walkman, but sometimes I would just listen to the sounds of the city itself -- the traffic, the people, the water sounds down at the Battery.

I love the great state of North Carolina, and it is beautiful in its way, and it is home. And I have driven the length of this country and seen many beauties -- the soaring high places, the compelling foreverness of the prairie, the everyday of small town Main Street, the quiet of a small family farm in upstate New York, the ridiculous and presumptuous glory of the Grand Canyon, and so very many others. But New York City is the apotheosis of all cities, the ur-city of all our imaginings. As the man once said,

A great city is nothing more than a portrait of itself, and yet when all is said and done, its arsenals of scenes and images are part of a deeply moving plan. As a book in which to read this plan, New York is unsurpassed. For the whole world has poured its heart into the city by the Palisades, and made it far better than it ever had any right to be.

Damn straight.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 7:59 AM
horizontal rule
237

Tweety, put down the bong.

Don't do it! She'll steal your weed!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 8:03 AM
horizontal rule
238

Every once in a while L.A. surprises me. (Looking towards Century City from Hollywood and Vine)


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 9:19 AM
horizontal rule
239

Are the west coast trees taller because there's more old growth left, or because of the species, or both?

The cedars I saw in British Columbia were damn impressive. But I find them a bit intimidating; I actually like the forests in Acadia, which I'm sure are second growth, better.

Except for the fall, I do prefer evergreen forests--I guess parks & backyards have conditioned me to believe that hardwoods are supposed to be lush and broad, and the forest versions seem to skinny. Whereas an evergreen is always kind of tall and skinny.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 9:24 AM
horizontal rule
240

Speaking of different places...

http://www.mapmsg.com/games/statetris/usa/

Fun.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 9:28 AM
horizontal rule
241

"And I have driven the length of this country ..."

s/b "the highways and by-ways"


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 9:35 AM
horizontal rule
242

241: Bite me.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
243

239: strictly species and climate (more rain, less cold).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 9:38 AM
horizontal rule
244

241: True enough.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 9:40 AM
horizontal rule
245

242: Say please. What would your mother think?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 9:40 AM
horizontal rule
246

242
241: Bite me.

Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 9:38 AM

_______________________

244
241: True enough.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 9:40 AM
____________


Huh?


Posted by: Brock Landesr | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 9:43 AM
horizontal rule
247

246: I'm nothing if not inconsistent.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 07-24-07 9:44 AM
horizontal rule