Archive for July, 2007


Monday, July 23rd, 2007

Before this year’s SXSW (which I blogged rather cynically, last post in series, go back from there) I spent a couple days in Houston and one in San Antonio. I was reminded to blog about this side trip yesterday when I got a note from Schmap Guides that a couple of my photos had been used in the Schmap Houston Guide: Hobbit Cafe and Rothko Chapel. Schmap has been using Creative Commons licensed photos to illustrate its guides for over a year, though this one is nice, as my photos are generally mediocre to awful.

Overall I loved , perhaps in part as a reaction to all those who told me I would hate it. Yes, it has massive highways with continuous feeder side roads, but they seem to work pretty well. Other things being equal, I’d like to see cities become more extreme versions of themselves, and thus more highly differentiated. Light rail is a travesty in Houston and San Francisco should become Sanhattan.

For a more sterotypically urbane feel, the neighborhood is nice. Hobbit Cafe, which I highly recommend, is located there. Montrose, where the is located, is even nicer. I was not overly impressed with the chapel, but the nearby is very nice. I felt the building suited very well to being a museum, unlike many museum buildings. I loved the temporary cardboards exhibit.

seems like an excellent place to tour a wealthy but inexpensive suburb, but don’t order a five pepper dish from Thai Cottage II, for it is artless and not very spicy either.

The has one of the best newspaper web sites, which is to say it isn’t awful.

I look forward to visiting Houston again, having not even scratched its surface.

We R Independent

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

Jean-Jacques Rousseau:

When first he opens his eyes, an infant ought to see the fatherland, and up to the day of his death he ought never to see anything else. Every true republican has drunk in love of country, that is to say love of law and liberty, along with his mother’s milk. This love is his whole existence; he sees nothing but the fatherland, he lives for it alone; when he is solitary, he is nothing; when he has ceased to have a fatherland, he no longer exists; and if he is not dead, he is worse than dead.

Bryan Caplan:

If you’re going to love whatever country you’re born in, it’s hard to see the point of fighting to make a new one.

Any number of world histories could follow from the American colonies not gaining independence in the early 1780s. But is it not plausible that slavery would have ended much sooner and less violently and been more pervasive and lasted longer, perhaps even to this day?

The was not something to aspire to, but pragmatically, suppression, avoidance, or delay of the 20th century’s bloodletting would be nothing to sneeze at. Probably even worth celebrating with firecrackers. (No, the current U.S. jurisdiction cannot hope to replicate this imagined peace through empire, with or without partners, as explained by Nick Szabo — make sure you follow the link to his Book Consciousness post too.)

Rousseau quote is via Why, when, and how to abolish the United States, which does not propose fighting but is rather funny.