31 August 2010

A spidery dilemma

I have a patio. It's on that patio where I grow my orchids and other plants. It's covered and one of my favorite things in the world is to stand out there while a thunderstorm rolls in. I have a dining table out there and my second favorite thing in the world to do is to have people over for dinner al fresco --my Christmas Eve dinners are legendary. I spend a lot of time on that patio and I do what I can to encourage geckos to hang out, they keep the mosquitoes at bay. Similarly, insects like paper wasps eat the caterpillars that crop up on my ferns and spiders keep the rest of the undesirables in check.

I don't have any prejudices against pesticides and I'll use them if the situation warrants it, but I prefer to have something resembling a functioning eco-system out there. Watching the cycles of life and death play out, and observing the dynamics of predator and prey is fascinating. I like to imagine myself to be a passive observer and so I tend to let the system out there regulate itself.

Well all of that changed on Sunday. I was watering my plants and I noticed something in the base of the pot I have a tangerine growing in. By base, I mean the drainage hole. The pot has side drainage (that allows the roots to air out between waterings --citrus trees love to have aired out roots). Anyhow, here's the the drainage hole.


I don't have a decent lens so the rest of the photos I'll use here are ones I found around the internet.

What I saw lurking around was this spider.

via Picasa

As a rule, spiders don't freak me out in the least. They are absolutely fascinating creatures and despite the fact that they are everywhere, how much we know about them doesn't amount to much. Most of them aren't too tough to identify but beyond that, nobody seems to know a whole lot about them.

The spider I saw was pretty small, about an eighth of an inch long, but I've been around enough to know what it was. I suspected from its body shape that it was a juvenile black widow and sure enough, I got a positive ID from The Bug Guide. The Bug Guide and its companion website What's That Bug? Are fantastic resources for IDing these sorts of things.

It's too small to be able to tell if it's a male or a female but based on my location , it's a safe bet to call it  Latrodectus mactans, the Southern Widow Spider. L. mactans ranges as far north as New York State by the way, and there are members of the genus Latrodectus found all over the world.

Here's a photo of a mature Latrodectus mactans. Note that the hourglass shape is on its underside, not on its back as is commonly believed.

via Appalachian Light

That marking by the way, varies greatly from spider to spider and many of them do have red markings on their dorsal sides. Here's another photo of a mature female.

via Wikimedia Commons

Florida's also home (as are a lot of other places around the world) to another widow spider, Latrodectus geometricus. No one seems to know where L. geometricus originated but its range is spreading rapidly.

via Wikimedia Commons

Anyhow, widow spiders have a job to do and they're particularly good at it. While it's true that they can bite and that bite is not very pleasant, they aren't an aggressive species. Few spiders are. The only way that the L. mactans on my patio will ever bite me is if I pick it up once its an adult. Even if it did bite me, I have an intact immune system and no underlying health problems. Though it would hurt like crazy and not look real pretty as it healed, it wouldn't kill me.

When it's mature, it'll be nearly an inch long. That's big enough to take down a palmetto bug and that's makes L. mactans OK in my book.

At the same time though, it could also do a number on me. Though I'd never pick up an L. mactans, I could grab it accidentally while I'm puttering around out there some day.

So what to do? Do I mete out the terrible, swift justice of a can of Raid or do I let it go about its life in the base of my tangerine? On one hand, it's a beautiful creature. It's perfectly evolved for the life it leads. On the other hand, it's my patio and my interests trump the spider's.

What would you do?

30 August 2010

A custom mosaic of my very own, courtesy of Trend USA

Trend USA, an Italian mosaic producer with offices around the world, announced a new process for making mosaics recently. It's something they're calling an elaboration, and to achieve it they use proprietary CAD-based software to assign colors and patterns to replicate in mosaic form photos, fabrics or other works of art.

Sometimes it's easier to show than to explain. So here's an image of a fabric.


And here's its elaboration as a Trend USA mosaic.


It's been assigned a different color way of course, but notice too that it's made with cut mosaic pieces. That's an ancient process for achieving rounded shapes called tessellatum tesserae. The same proces is sometimes called a cut mosaic. In addition to tessellatum tesserae, Trend USA's new process can be used to create mosaics using whole 3/8", 5/8" and 3/4" mosaic tiles as well.

In the example below, there's a photo in the top right corner. Below it are the full image of the photo as a mosaic created in 5/8" tiles and then there's a detail of the mosaic. I'm uploading these photos today in high resolution. Click on them and you'll see the detail. It's a small price to pay for the slower loading times.


Trend USA asked me to submit a photograph of my own to use as an example of this process. Trend USA is represented by a friend of mine and she's well aware of my near obsession with Fibonacci Sequences and she suggested that I submit an artistic example of one to use for my custom mosaic.

My favorite video of the last year is Nature by Numbers, a short film by Cristóbal Vila that uses three examples of natural geometry.





I have a still from Vila's film and so I sent this image to Samara Gould, Trend's Artistic Design Consultant. I wanted to test this new process, so I picked an image specifically because I thought it would be a challenge. The transparent wings alone would make me sweat if I were Samara. She accepted my image without hesitation. In fact, she was excited to give it a go.


I told her that I would love to see that dragonfly elaborated as a mosaic in a size somewhere around 10 feet wide by five feet tall.

Samara used 3/8" tiles and by using that smaller size, she created a mosaic that would be readable from four feet away. That's pretty good for something this large.



If I were to buy this dragonfly mosaic, it would come to me in sheets 28 tiles wide by 28 tiles tall and all my installer would have to do is take the sheets out of a box and attach them to my wall. That's pretty slick.

In addition to Trend USA's new custom program, they have pioneered the use of recycled glass in glass tile and their products have recycled content percentages that range from 55% to 78%. You can read more about the company and their commitment to sustainable practices on their website here.

I've seen many custom mosaic services that use a computer to assign colors and patterns before, but I've never seen one that results in this level of detail and clarity. A process such as this is yet another reason to keep an eye on Trend USA and Trend Worldwide. Thank you Samara and thank you Trend.

29 August 2010

It's a urinal! It's a sink! It's both!

Lloyd Alter is the lead irritant of the usually irritating website Treehugger. On Friday, he posted something on that site that stood head and shoulders above anything I'd ever seen him write about before.  And here's what he wrote about.



It's a sink and urinal combination. After a gentleman finishes his business, he washes his hands in the sink in front of him and the water from the sink drains into the urinal and flushes it. It's absolutely brilliant.

This sink/ urinal was designed by Yeongwoo Kim, a young designer from South Korea. He won an International Forum Design, Design Concept Award this year for his efforts and he had this to say about his creation:
To save water, Eco Urinal is designed to use the water that was used for washing hands to flush the urine. By this process, we don't have to use water twice after using the urinal.

Moreover, it reduces the establishment expenses by optimizing the materials. Upper space of this urinal is made with glass, and it helps to secure a clear view for users. It also promotes people to keep their sanitation because people need to wash their hands to flush the urine after use.
It's the ultimate gray water solution and it'll make plumbing something like this half as complicated and half as expensive. I think it's brilliant.

In looking over the comments though, people really flipped out. From the tone of of a lot of them, you'd think they were being asked to bathe in pee or something.

What do you guys think? Good idea or bad idea? Am I too much a libertine (hah!) to have a problem with this? What do The People think about this?

28 August 2010

Public Service Announcement: this is what phishing looks like


I just received this e-mail from this address: verifyscecescs@gmail.com

This was the body of the message:
Due to anonymous registration of our email service, We have come to realize that your account information on our database system are out of date, as a result of that we require you to verify your Information. Failure to verify your information will result in account suspension.

Full name:
Password:
Date Of Birth:
Country:

Your account will not be interrupted after following the instructions and your service will continue as normal.We apologize for any inconveniences.

Thank you for using Gmail.

The Gmail Team

No Google logo, no legitimate return address. Just as an FYI, people at Google have google.com addresses, not gmail.com addresses.

Stay vigilant people and suspect everything. Except what you read here of course.

Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream 47 years ago today


I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves, who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we have come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if  the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must ever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecutions and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. And this will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning, "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!" And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring -- from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire.

Let freedom ring -- from the mighty mountains of New York.

Let freedom ring -- from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring -- from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado.

Let freedom ring -- from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that.

Let freedom ring -- from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring -- from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring -- from every hill and molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual,

"Free at last, free at last.

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."

--Dr. King delivered this speech on 28 August 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. Never forget what he said, when he said it and why he said it.

Wood floors, Australian style

Reader Elisabeth (who's from Melbourne) and I had a small sidebar conversation in the comments after yesterday's post about wood floors.

Wood floors tend to be pretty regional and I asked her what were popular woods in Australia. She responded that she thought Spotted Gum's the most popular wood floor in architect-designed homes. I was intrigued by her description and I'd never heard of Spotted Gum. So I dug around and learned a thing or two.

What's called Spotted Gum is actually Corymbia maculata, a kind of eucalyptus that grows in Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales.


It makes a beautiful floor.




Thanks Elisabeth!

What other regional hardwoods are lurking out there I wonder.

27 August 2010

Back to work: I need to specify a new floor


I'm back to work as of today and I'm picking up a project where I left it last weekend. I'[m working on a design for a large, historic home in an old neighborhood in Tampa. It's a pretty grand home and it was built some time in the 1920s. The renovation centers around a kitchen but it involves the entire first floor.

Over the course of the last 90 years, the home's endured some pretty unfortunate revisions and renovations and at some point, someone thought it would be a good idea to remove its original heart pine floors.
Heart pine

I am recommending that we use another wood for the floors and since the home had heart pine in it originally, it would make sense to use heart pine for the new ones. However, the original heart pine on the stairs and on the second floor is 90 years old. It's also cut to an unusual dimension and matching it would be a whole lot more trouble than its worth. I'm recommending that we use a different wood species all together. But which one?

It's a somewhat formal space and my impulse is to go for walnut immediately. I'd love to see a really wide, like 18-inch-wide, plank and our pals at Carlisle Wide Plank Floors will go up to 20" wide on some of their species. Wider plank floors will open up the rooms affected by this renovation and since their scale is rather large, using a wide plank will allow more emphasis to be placed int he coffered ceilings and other wood details that are original to the home.

I know I don't want to use an exotic so much as I want to use something unusual but still in keeping with the character of the house. There are a host of other traditional species that get used so rarely any more that their effect is pretty arresting.

Here are some highlights from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors.

Antique chestnut

Ash

Birch

Hickory

Eastern white pine

Quarter-sawn white oak

Rift cut and quarter sawn white oak

Rift cut white oak

Is there a particular kind of wood floor that resonates with you? If you could pick any wood species to use in your home, what would it be?

26 August 2010

Sub-Zero/ Wolf plant tour and seminar day two: I don't want to leave.

As was the case yesterday, today was a whirlwind of activity. Only day two was dedicated to Wolf Cooking appliances.

The people on this trip with me are all designers and all of us know the product line pretty well. So we didn't spend a whole lot of time reviewing model numbers and hearing product descriptions. That was good. So since everybody here has a basic understanding already, we could talk about more advanced uses and installations and then talk with the engineers and developers about what Wolf has planned in the coming model years. I'll be talking about some of these new products as they get closer to their release dates but suffice it to say that there's some pretty cool stuff coming from Wolf in the near term.

To get the day started though, we did a thorough walk through of the Wolf plant. The Wolf plant was a real education and for me, the real highlight of this trip. I know already that Sub-Zero refrigeration is the best in class. It was great to see up close how Wolf earns and maintains its reputation for stellar quality. Each and every component that comes out of that factory has been built from the first screw with the end user in mind. Everyone in that factory is fully aware and committed to making the best ranges there are. Their pride in their work shows through.

As an interesting anecdote, a Wolf range, as heavy as it is, never touches the ground as it's being made. They are born on the wooden pallet they're delivered on. Despite the fact that the ranges are on casters, they never use the casters in the factory. What I found interesting too is that each and every cooking appliance that comes out of that factory has been turned on and run through its various cycles at least once before it leaves the factory and Wolf keeps a record of each of those tests. Fascinating.

I met with a few members of the marketing department today including Paul Leuthe, Sub-Zero/ Wolf's Marketing Manager. Over the course of the next few weeks and with the marketing department's help. I'm going to be writing about the specifics of why a Sub-Zero/ Wolf appliance package is such a smart buy and what makes them such good appliances. This is a company that won't cut corners as a matter of principle and it makes them a very welcome anomaly. It's kind of inspiring to have been immersed in a company for the last two days that knows that there's a right way to build something and then just does it.

So stay tuned, I'll have more substantial information in the coming days and weeks. I promised. In the meantime though, I have some more shots of the Westye Bakke Center where this seminar's been held. Yesterday I showed some of the test kitchens, lounges and lobbies. Most of the public spaces in that building were designed by Jamie Drake. Jamie Drake also designed the main dining room where we've been having meals since yesterday. And man, what meals! I haven't eaten this well since... well... ever.

The building itself was designed by Zingg Design, Inc. A Madison-based architectural firm. The marketing department also promised me some of their real photos of this place and I'll run them as soon as I get them. The scale of this building is such that it really does need a real camera to photograph it. So without further ado, here's how it looks to a point and click:








After I get home tomorrow and consolidate my notes, I'll be writing more about this experience in Madison. In a lot of ways, it confirmed a lot of what I already knew about sub-Zero/ Wolf. It wasn't without its surprises though and I learned a good deal more than I thought I would.

I can't thank Cathy Bame from the Westye Group enough for nominating me. I need to mention Janet Salls, also from the Westye Group, for being such a great guide during my stay. And of course, the entire group here in Madison. It is always a pleasure to meet the people behind the brands and in this case even more so.

If any of you out there have any specific questions about either of these great brands you'd like to ask, please leave a comment here or send me an e-mail, I'll get back to you with specifics as soon as I can.

Again, the websites: Wolf Appliance and Sub-Zero Food Preservation.

25 August 2010

Sub-Zero/ Wolf plant tour and seminar day one: Wow.


I spent almost the entire day yesterday at Sub-Zero/ Wolf's Westye Bakke Center and at the Sub-Zero plant itself. I couldn't take photos of the production floor and although I understand the reasons why, it's an amazing place. It was heartening to see an American factory staffed with enthusiastic people who were committed to the products they make and who were treated as valuable assets by their employer. Sub-Zero's daunting reputation for high, high quality starts on that factory floor and everybody knows it. It was inspiring.

Next door to the factory is Sub-Zero/ Wolf's Westye Bakke Center, a training facility and kitchen appliance wonderland that I couldn't quit photographing.

Between their high tech, multimedia showcase auditorium and more fully connected and fully staffed kitchens than I could count, I was on sensory overload all day. Never have I eaten so much good food to absorbed so much information in a single day. Tomorrow's all about Wolf cooking so it'll be more of the same I'm positive.

Being here in Madison completes a bit of a circle for me. Six years ago, I had the honor and pleasure to meet and get to know (and work with) Bill Draper from Draper DBS. Bill Draper is a cabinet and furniture maker without peer so far as I'm concerned. He was also the first member I'd met of a very small group of kitchen and bath people who've achieved superstar status. Draper's an inspiration and he was the first person I'd ever known who encouraged me to treat my career development as a true brand development. I took his advice to heart and look at me now. Hah!

Anyhow, when I met Bill, he had just finished a big project here in Madison. It was a lounge and dining room in Sub-Zero/ Wolf's Westye Bakke Center. He showed me his drawings and showed me some photographs and I was amazed by what I saw. It was an Art Nouveau lounge featuring some of the most amazing hand carved wood I'd ever seen. At the time I thought to myself, "Man, I would kill to see that lounge in person, but I'll never get to Madison." Never say never kids. Never say never.


I spent about an hour running my hands all over the most incredible hand carved wood I'd ever seen this afternoon and I was pinching myself the whole time. Six years after having seen the plans for the place, I was finally standing in it. Here are some photos of the lounge and the formal dining room attached to it.






I really need a decent camera. Oh well.

There were two really dynamic and huge kitchens that Sub-Zero/ Wolf use for training people like me hands on. The two kitchens are adjoining and although they are done in really radically different styles, I knew immediately that they were Mick De Giulio projects and sure enough they are. Mick's another of the handful of kitchen and bath people who've achieved superstar status. I haven't met him yet but there's plenty of time.




I noticed that in the lobby and in one of the De Giulio kitchens there were some tell-tale glass sculptures that I couldn't help but recognize as Chihuly and sure enough, that's what they are. I keep running into his work. I have to admit that it took me a while to warm up to him but after having spent so much time at the Chihuly Collection at home, I'm really warming up to him as an artist.




I had some really high expectations for the Sub-Zero portion of this seminar and I wasn't disappointed int he least. Sub-Zero is best in their category by a long shot and they are that for a very good reason. Nobody does refrigeration better.

Tomorrow's all about Wolf cooking appliances and I'm looking forward to it. I get to cook my own lunch tomorrow and I'm sure it'll be the highlight of this visit. Although, strange though it may sound, I'm really looking forward to touring the Wolf factory tomorrow too. So on Wednesday morning, I'll post about my day with Wolf and I'll get some more shots of the Jamie Drake-designed portions of the Westye Bakke Center too.

So many thanks to My amazing Sub-Zero/ Wolf rep Cathy Bame for nominating me for this trip and thank you Sub-Zero/ Wolf for showing me such a good time since I arrived yesterday.

If you guys have any questions you'd like to have answered about Sub-Zero/ Wolf, ask them here in the comments or drop me an e-mail and I'll take it from there. Once again, those websites are Sub-Zero Preservation and Wolf Cooking.

24 August 2010

Are today's college graduates ready for the working world?

My post today is part of a project called the Blog Off. A Blog Off is a sort of a group post. In this case bloggers from all walks of life all write about an agreed-upon topic and the topic for this one is just what you see in the headline, "Are today's college graduates ready for the working world?" Go to the website letsblogoff.com and you can get more information about this Blog Off's participants and you can keep up with Blog Offs to come. We even have a button.






OK, back to the question at hand. Are today's college graduates ready for the working world? I say not really but not for the reasons you hear usually. I say no because no 22-year-old is really ready for adulthood and no 22-year-old ever has been. The process of growing up and into an adult self takes a long time and the older I get the more I realize that it's a process that never really ends.


But I think questions such as today's get asked for reasons that have nothing to do with the young people at any given moment. I think the act of asking that question comes from an anxiety on the part of the people asking and it's an anxiety as old as humanity itself.

Hesiod was an 8th Century BC Greek poet and a contemporary of Homer's. Nearly three thousand years ago he had this to say: "I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint."

Three millennia after Hesiod, not much has really changed. Every generation looks down at the youth following them with some sort of generalized disdain. Every generation gets judged as lacking by whoever's running the show at a given moment in time.

I'm a Generation X and we were given that name by author Douglas Coupland who wrote an article in 1987 for Vancouver Magazine. His article, Generation X, lamented the lack of cohesion and identity among us post-Boomers and the name stuck. We were called latchkey kids in elementary school and as young adults we were judged to be slackers. To the Baby Boom under whose shadow we toiled thanklessly, we were useless and lazy. We had no drive, did too many drugs and would never amount to anything.

My generation's in charge now and in my generation's popular estimation, Generation Y is everything we were accused of being. The once bitterly resented Baby Boomers have become allies in the quest to hold onto our relevance as the first signs of age discrimination start to show their ugly heads.

It's on another front that Baby Boomers and Generation Xers tend to agree, and that's the near deification of the Greatest Generation. The Greatest Generation were the Boomer's parents and our grandparents. They fought the Second World War and lived dutiful, quiet lives. At least that's the popular image.

When the Greatest Generation were teenagers, the popular opinion of them wasn't quite so great. In 1935, Columbia University president Nicholas Butler summed up the grave youth problem. "Day by day the newspapers report one grave crime after another, one moral delinquency after another, and one dereliction of duty after another."

Journalist Maxine Johnson traveled 10,000 miles studying this new "Lost Generation," the title of her 1936 book. Everywhere she found teenagers "confused, disillusioned, disenchanted," in a state "rapidly approaching a psychosis."

"British tea and King George's taxes would be unloaded today without protest" by 1930s youth, ... Today's younger generation accepts whatever happens to it with sheep-like apathy."

Also in 1936, historians George Leighton and Richard Hellman shouted from the pages of Harper's Monthly "[A] generation, numbering in the millions, has gone so far in decay that it acts without thought of social responsibility. High school kids are armed, out for what they can get... The Lost Generation is even now rotting before our eyes."

Government estimates of venereal disease and abortion in the 1930s were the highest of any generation before or since. One result, American Mercury reported in 1936, of "the drinking bouts in which high school and college students frequently indulge, resulting in promiscuous relations." Studies by noted social scientists in the 1941 text, Personality and the Family, found 80% of the young men and 60% of the young women of the 1930s reported having premarital sex. Marriages contracted in 1935 were four times more likely to end in divorce than those of 1885.

I found those quotes in Mike Males' Oblivion  X: Today's Youth are Always the Worst.

Remember those quotes the next time you hear a regressionist politician invoking the values of the World War Two Generation. And remember them too the next time you get ready to launch into a tirade about these damn kids today.

So back to the topic of today's Blog Off. Of course college graduates aren't ready for the working world, no young person is now and none ever has been. The point of being a young adult is to spend the rest of your 20s figuring it out how the world works. An education is a tool set to help people get to 30 so they can be taken seriously.

The youth of today will do just fine. They'll figure it out and they'll take the reins from my generation over the course of the next 20 years. Besides, they can't screw things up any worse than the Baby Boomers did.

To see how other people answer this question, here are some more #letsblogoff paticipants:

Bob Borson's Life of an Architect
Nick Lovelady's Cupboards
Veronika Miller's Modenus
Becky Shankle's Eco Modernism
Tamara Dalton's Design Studios
Tim Elmore's On Leading the Next Generation
Rufus Dogg's Dog Walk Blog
Sean Lintow's Homeowner's Resource Center
Bonnie Harris' The Wax Blog
Amy Good's Amy's Blog
Rich Holdshuh's Concrete Detail
Tim Bogan's Windbag International
Hollie Holcombe's Green Rascal Design
Cindy Frewen-Wuellner's Urbanverse
Steve Mouzon's Original Green
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