Wikiglean V


Today is a silly day. Here are some names it truly takes immaturity to appreciate. 

Tobago, DC

I grew up east of Ft. Reno Park, in what I thought was called North Cleveland Park. I always felt that the neighborhood was a little dull and lacking community, like it really wasn’t a neighborhood. This sense was borne out when my parent’s realtor confessed that he had no idea what it was called. Now, Wikipedia claims there is a difference between North Cleveland Park, south of Albermarle St. and Wakefield to the north of it. Wakefield? Damnit, no! I’m calling it Tobago.

Map around Ft. Reno Park
You know, because there's already a Trinidad somewhere else in the city... Via DC GIS.

I am not joking at all; I want this to happen. There is no reason why we should stick with a real estate name that nobody knows. A funny name is precisely what DC needs.

Wikiglean II

A starry curse upon my shopping experience.

A starry curse upon me.


For this month of December, when everyone is subjected to the ceaseless repetition of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, I offer this list of other un-famous classical pieces you probably already know. 


  • Delibe: The Flower Duet, (Youtube) from Lakmé really demonstrates Léo Delibes’s ability to write gorgeous melodies. Also to sell chocolates on airplanes. A real renaissance man. (Youtube)
  • Of course you’ve heard this (supposedly) Bach organ piece in every horror comedy and weekday nights on MSNBC sometime between 9-10PM EST, bud did you know its status as BWV 565 is in doubt because it contains consecutive fifths and it is scientific fact that Bach can do no wrong…? (Youtube)
  • Not as famous as the Messiah “Halelujah,” but the Händel coronation anthem “Zadok The Priest” still makes its way into popular culture occasionally. (Youtube)
  • Most non-musicians also know the finale of the William Tell Overture, but also often heard but not well known is the “Ranz des Vaches” right before that, which is used regularly in, uh, Looney Tunes to set pastoral scenes. (Youtube – the more famous part at about 2:35)
  • Similarly, the Grieg piece “Morning Mood” is used in cartoons and pop culture to indicate a peaceful morning. Interestingly, Grieg wrote it to represent the glory of the sun rising in Egypt. (Youtube) The piece is part of the Peer Gynt suite, which also includes the very famous “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” 
  • Also, if you’ve ever needed some latin flair, or dance music, you go for Libertango, by Astor Piazzolla. (Youtube). It is essentially the go-to song of modern tango. 

Wikiglean I

In my wanderings around Wikipedia late at night, I have found a number of apparently non-dubious articles you may find interesting. 


  • Gropecunt Lane: Al Mustashriqa almost slapped me when I mentioned this place. 
  • Hipgnosis: This cleverly-named artistic group designed a number of fantastic psychedelic album covers.
  • Centralia, PA : This  mining town is an unfortunate victim of a large coal fire that makes the ground smoke and children fall into holes, leading to an exodus, eventually making the smallest town in Pennsylvania, beating out…
  • S.N.P.J.: A town that exists essentially so that a Slovenian cultural society can drink liquor on Sundays. 
  • Strap-on dildo: This article is disconcertingly thorough. 
Mac users: You can map some fantastic information relationships via this nifty wikipedia browser called Pathway. Try it out, you will waste at least an hour trying to do six degrees of Wasilla, Alaska. Which is stupid, because this webpage will do it for you: Six Degrees of Wikipedia


Wikipedia needs archibabble

I added two Wikipedia articles recently, Peter Eisenman’s House VI and Roche-Dinkeloo’s Ford Foundation Building. Both are major projects in the history of architecture, let alone modernism, and both are exactly the kind of high-profile projects that get attention in other sections of Wikipedia. Imagine To The Lighthouse and The Crying of Lot 49 having nothing written about them, save for some snipes about them scrawled in anger by a fanatic who thinks that the English language died with Dickens. With few articles of any depth on buildings that are not public and fewer that are highly theoretical, it’s easy to understand that this might be tied to something about common knowledge and, uh, how people obsess over the canonicity of Star Wars novels rather than having jobs. 
There is a divide between modern and traditional building styles, yes, but more importantly, there is a divide between buildings that require any technical knowledge of architecture. Even when people do write articles, they make incorrect assertions about things at the heart of architectural theory. Did you know that the curtainwall is structural on the Lever House? Neither did I – or the engineer for that matter.

So why is it that I was the one who had to (was lucky to) add these? Architects lead busy lives, perhaps, so making the time to put quality into what is essentially a thankless job. But the opportunity to actually offer some information in layman’s terms is a way to make architecture accessible to people in a way that’s more than just a superficial judgement of prettiness. Architects are generally wrongheaded in our aim to make people live in buildings they do not understand. Of course they hate them.