Block E’s redesign is moving forward. The renderings, from RSP architects:

First thought: why can’t this be the City Center renovation? It looks like City Center, right down to the notched corner and curvy overhang, to use some highly technical architectural terms.  Second: much, much better than the Block E we know and avoid. The Charcoal-and-ice palette is attractive, and likely to age well; Banana Republic has been using those colors for 15 years and people aren’t tired of them. They didn’t touch the hotel behind it, which still looks like it’s about to turn into Optimus Prime.

While we’re on the subject of buidlings, Atlas Obscura featured this abandoned complex the other day. It’s enormous. Can you guess what it is?

(Photos from wikipedia.)


The Prora complex consists of eight identical buildings on the coast of Germany's Rügen Island. Stretching for almost three miles down the beach, the proposed resort featured a seaward view from every single room with hallways and all other facilities on the land-facing side of the rooms. Every room was to have a couple of beds, an armoire, and a sink while bathrooms shared per floor.

It’s a Nazi Resort. Of all things.

The brutally efficient rooms were built in an effort to provide affordable vacation space for the average German worker, regardless of class, operating under the idealistic ethos that every working German deserves a day at the beach.

The story calls the site “Dystopian,” and that’s not far off. It lacks the bleak crudity of the worst Soviet housing blocks, but it has that chilling quality of Fascist architecture I can’t quite describe. Empty grandeur. Monumental soullessness.

Speaking of Nazis, here’s some Hitler quotes purposefully misattributed to Taylor Swift. Why? Because the internet was bored for a while. Also, a lesson on how context matters. Something the original City Center developers never learned, but I'm not going to start in on that again. 

TECH Get out the IcyHot if you’re using Facebook’s new Paper app: it’s hell on thumbs.

. . . for the ~90% of right-handed phone users, the default thumb position is a hook. Try performing the thumb hook 10, 20, or 30 times in a row. Now try it faster. Ow.

I've downloaded Paper, and am apprehensive about having One More Thing to check, especially when Facebook's behind it. I'm wondering if they'll migrate what works about Paper to Facebook itself, and come up with something that isn't so hideous and cluttered. 

Elsewhere in the world of small glowing rectanges, here’s how to be miserable: play Flappy Bird. I played it on my daughter’s phone while waiting for takeout. Played it twice. In both cases I hit the first pipe. It’s an important moment in your life, because you have a decision to make: do I want to get past the first pipe, or step away now and never go back?

I put it down and have been happier ever since. Now and then I hear a gust of frustration from my daughter's room, and I know it's not math homework. Damned flappy bird.

TWINS, MAX The Dylan Farrow letter has sent people to old Woody Allen interviews and scripts - and correspondence he exchanged with a young girl. New York mag has a letter he wrote to a young fan:

Hard to believe you're 13! When I was 13 I couldn't dress myself, and here you write about one of life's deepest philosophical problems, i.e., existential boredom. I guess it's hard for me to imagine a 13-year-old quoting anything but Batman -- but T. Mann? Anyway, there's too much wrong with the world to ever get too relaxed and happy. The more natural state, and the better one, I think, is one of some anxiety and tension over man`s plight in this mysterious universe …

Oh, what a dour, pretentious man. Don’t be so happy, child! Dwell on the empty, meaningless joke in which we humans find ourselves trapped with no release but the hard yank of death.

VotD Winter driving reminder: watch your speed.