A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Your Tax Dollars At Work

The new Federal Court House is nearing completion around the corner from me. I suppose it's attractive, but it seems oversized and very white, a huge spaceship landed in the middle of a residential Victorian neighborhood.

The facing is some sort of pre-fab composite, already chipped in places. I spoke with a workman about it as I surveyed the construction site. He confirmed some of my suspicions about the building.

It's the cheapest-grade material he's ever worked with, he said. The facing is very soft--that's why it's chipping. It was already damaged when it arrived, he said. From Canada. Supposed to be all US-made material, but it's not. The steel is imported, the panels are imported...everything's imported. "Your tax dollars at work," he finished.

It'll look nice when it's done, he conceded. The limestone-look facing, lots of glass, and a copper roof. And it's "explosion-proof." That's mandated since the Oklahoma City bombing.

It's not uglier than the Eiffel Tower, I guess. If the Parisians could get used to that, I suppose I can get used to the courthouse.


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