Websites are starting to talk about a Donald Trump presidential cabinet and the names highlight a curiosity of this election: many of the principle insiders come from Northeast Corridor states that voted for Hillary Clinton. Rudolph Giuliani and Chris Christie, are, like the whole Trump family, metro New Yorkers and as far as I know Newt Gingrich lives in northern Virginia.
I’ve lived in Chris Christie’s New Jersey since he was elected governor and I find it really hard to believe he’s suddenly going to have a strong interest in the Midwestern red states that gave Trump the win. You can point to VP-elect Mike Pence of Indiana, but as far as I can tell he was only brought on for strategic reasons and is not part of the Trump circle.
What really can Trump do to bring back the good paying jobs that disappeared decades ago? Our economy has been shifting regardless of which party occupies the Oval Office. There’s sops and pork to be doled out, but the national economy has been centralizing in the big coastal cities that our new political leaders call home (the same would have been true with a Clinton presidency). What if Trump’s election is the ultimate prank: red states selling their vote to a New York developer who will mostly continue to develop the New York-to-DC corridor?
I’m just coming back from a book club (adult conversation? But… but… I’m a parent… Really?). The topic was Jane Jacob’s 1961 classic, The Death and Life of Great American Cities. The six of us gathered in a Collingswood, N.J., coffee shop were all city design geeks and I could barely keep up with the ideas and books that had influenced everyone. Here is a very incomplete list:
The Great Good Place. Ray Oldenburg. Popularized the “third places” concept of places people can gather together outside of home and work (as example: the coffee shop in which we met, Grooveground, didn’t seem to mind six people nattering on about urbanism until closing time).
Wrestling with Moses. Anthony Flint’s 2009 book that goes behind the scenes of Jane Jacob’s planning battles with the near-mythic highway builder Robert Moses, a subtext that underlies Death and Life but is mostly just hinted at.
I kept thinking about a big issue Jacobs kepts skirting about: race. It’s really impossible for me to look at urban patterns without thinking about Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “The Case for Reparations.” Decades of redlining and the racial components of who gets mortgages is a big factor in our social geography (see also TNC’s Atlantic colleague Alexis C. Madrigal’s “The Racist Housing Policy That Made Your Neighborhood” and ponder why charming Collingswood is 82 percent white while adjoining Camden is only 18 percent).
When Francis realized that Theo’s board game based on our home town didn’t include gas stations, he added them in. Francis also moved the incorrectly located bicycle shop. Theo was briefly mad when he saw these unauthorized changes but when he realized the corrections were improvements he made Francis his official fact checker.
A two-night scouts camping trip with two of my kids to the county facilities at Camp Acagisca nears Mays Landing turned into a one night with one kid affair (my 11yo got way too mouthy when it came time to decide who was going to share a tent with dad and went home immediately; the 9yo ended up in a meltdown mid morning on the second day.)
Camp at dusk
A visitor stops hopping for a moment
Francis stays up to read Curious George stories by flashlight
Cooking eggs in a ziploc bag
The group starts off on a hike down to Great Egg Harbor River
Cool growth on downed trees
A broken down out building from when this was a Girl Scouts camp. thr 2012 Mays Landing derecho came right through here and closed the camp for a long while.
I photographed this mostly to have the emergency number handy if needed.
2015 looks like it’s shaping up to be the year that online cloud photo services all take a giant leapt forward. Just in the last few months alone, I’ve gone and dug up my ten-plus year photo archive from a rarely accessed backup drive (some 72 GB of files) and uploaded it to three different photo services.
First it was Dropbox, whose Carousel app promised to change everything. For $10/month, I can have all of the digitized photos I’ve ever taken all together. It changed how I access past events. Back in the day I might have taken 20 pictures and posted 2 to Flickr. The other 18 were for all intents inaccessible to me — on the backup drive that sits in a dusty drawer in my desk. Now I could look up some event on my public Flickr, remember the date, then head to Dropbox/Carousel to look through everything I took that day — all on my phone. Sometimes I’d even share the whole roll from that event to folks who were there.
But this was a two-step process. Flickr itself had boosted its storage space last year but it wasn’t until recently that they revealed a new Camera Roll and uploader that made this all work more seamlessly. So all my photos again went up there. Now I didn’t have to juggle between two apps.
Last week, Google finally (finally!) broke its photos from Google+ and the remnants of Picasa to give them their own home. It’s even more fabulous than Flickr and Dropbox, in that its search is so good as to feel like magic. People, places, and image subjects all can be accessed with the search speed that Google is known for. And this service is free and uploads old videos.
I’m constantly surprised how just how emotionally powerful an old photo or video can be (I waxed lyrically about this in Nostalgia Comes Early, written just before our last family vacation). This weekend I found a short clip from 2003 of my wife carrying our newborn in a backpack and citing how many times he had woken us up the night before. At the end she joked that she could guilt trip him in years to come by showing this video to him. Now the clip is something I can find, load, and play in a few seconds right from my ever-present phone.
So what I’ve noticed is this quick access to unshared photos is changing the nature of my cellphone photo-taking. I’m taking pictures that I never intend to share but that give me an establishing shot for a particular event: signs, driveway entrances, maps. Now that I have unlimited storage and a camera always within reach, I can use it as a quick log of even the most quotidian life events (MG Siegler recently wrote about The Power of the Screenshot, which is another way that quick and ubiquitous photo access is changing how and what we save.) With GPS coordinates and precise times, it’s especially useful. But the most profound effect is not the activity logging, but still the emotions release unlocking all-but-lost memories: remembering long-ago day trips and visits with old friends.
One of the coolest activists of her (or any) generation is gone. Juanita Nelson’s obituary is up on the national war tax coalition’s site. My favorite Juanita story was when some agents came to arrest her at home and found her dressed only in a bathrobe. They told her it was okay to go into her bedroom to change but she refused. She told them that any shame was theirs. She forced them to carry her out as her clothes fell off. Talk about radical non-coöperation!
Seven law enforcement officers had stalked in. I sat on the stool beneath the telephone, my back literally to the wall, the seven hemming me about in a semicircle. All of them appeared over six feet tall, and all of them were annoyed.
“Look,” said one, “you’re gonna go anyway. You might as well come peaceful.”
There they stood, ready and able to take me at any moment. But no move was made. The reason was obvious.
“Why don’t you put your clothes on, Mrs. Nelson?” This was a soft spoken plea from the more benign deputy. “You’re not hurting anybody but yourself.” His pained expression belied the assertion.
My father-in-law died in January. These are few pictures I put together while Julie was still at the family home with the close relatives. Thanks to our friends for sharing a bit of our life by reading this one. He’s missed.
A look at Friends testimonies and the difficulties of being a fair-trade pacifist in our hyper-connected world today. I think George Fox and the early Friends were faced with similar challenges and that our guide can be the same as theirs.
A number of new services are trying to update the culture of blogging. This post looked at comments; a subsequent one considered how we might reorganize our blogs into more of a structured Wiki.
This year saw a lot of hang wringing by mainstream journalists on the anniversary of the Iraq War. I didn’t have much patience and looked at how dissenting voices were regularly locked out of debate ten years ago – and are still locked out with the talk that “all of us” were wrong then.
One of the most famous scenes in the AMC show Mad Men comes near the end of season one. Kodak has asked the advertising firm to create a campaign around a new slide projector that has a circular tray. Don Draper presents the Carousel and gives a nostalgia-steeped presentation that use his personal photographs to move both the Kodak execs and the viewers at home, who know that these semi-focused pictures will soon be all that left of his disintegrating family.
No falling apart family for me, but I find myself already feeling nostalgic for a family vacation to Disney World that doesn’t start for another six days. I’ve recently been looking through our Flickr archive of past trips (four for me) and realize that they are our Carousel. The start with my fiancée taking a cynical me on my first trip. Later visits bring kids to the photographic lineup: newly-found legs to run, the joys of messy ice cream, the scare of not-very-scary rides and the big eyes of parades all run through the sets.
In less than a week we’ll start a new set. There will be two new children in this one. “The babies” are both walking and toddling and are at their peak of baby photogenic cuteness. The older two are real kids now and the eldest is starting to show early glimpses of teenage-hood: eye-rolling, exhalation of air (“uh!”) to show disapproval of inconvenient parental instructions.
Iconic family pictures will happen. Since our last visit five years ago, my wife’s lost her father to cancer and my mother’s been slipping into the forgetfulness of Alzheimer’s. As the wheel of life turns it somehow becomes more possible to see ourselves as part of the turning Carousel. Some decades from now I can imagine myself going through these pictures surrounded by indulging children and antsy grandchildren, exclaiming “look how young everyone looks!”