Month: April 2018

A New Low: the World’s Tallest Building

Faced with a half-day layover in Dubai recently, I decided to visit the tallest building in the world. I could have opted to visit a more architecturally pedigreed building, such as Concrete at Alserkal Avenue by OMA, or the Muraba Residences by RCR, both designed by Pritzker laureates. But no, I opted for the “marvel of engineering” that seemingly everyone else visiting The United Arab Emirates was also rushing to see, judging by the lineup at the ticket counter before it even opened. Dubai’s high-brow architecture can wait until another layover. Fashion Avenue at the Mall of Dubai The oddest thing about visiting the Burj Khalifa tower is the approach. It’s impossible for a visitor to enter through the building’s front door and lobby just like the everyday users of the building. Instead, visitors must approach this mega-skyscraper through an adjacent mega-shopping centre, the Mall of Dubai, from which a tunnel-like corridor containing an exhibition of gee-whiz factoids about the building leads to a ticket counter and waiting zone. At the ticket counter, a choice has to made between “At the Top”, a ride up an express elevator to the 124th and 125th floors that costs 135 AED (roughly €30), and “At the Top Sky“, a ride up another express lift to the 148th floor that costs a whopping 525 AED (nearly €120). Of course, I opt for the...

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The Memorial Project: Confederate Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, DC

In the aftermath of the Battle of Shiloh, in April 1862, General Ulysses S. Grant wrote that “it would have been possible to walk across the clearing in any direction stepping on dead bodies without a foot touching the ground.” It was the bloodiest battle in American history to that point, although it would soon be eclipsed by the carnage of Chickamauga, Spotsylvania, and Gettysburg. More than 1,700 Union soldiers lay dead, and an equal number of rebels. Fully one quarter of the men who fought on those days were maimed, missing, or dead. The bodies were piled into...

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First Person: An Oklahoma Teacher Speaks Out

Three weeks ago I was teaching in my Oklahoma City classroom when a voice announced over the intercom that our school was going on “lockdown.” In the moment, I thought little of it. Then a principal ran to my door, banged loudly on our window and frantically motioned for us to hide. I stood in a dark room huddled with my terrified students for 30 minutes before we received any word from the outside world. At that point we didn’t know that a student brought a gun into the school. We didn’t know that he dropped the weapon and ran....

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Red Rambler by Joel Long

Installment 18 is Joel Long’s “Red Rambler,” a poem whose speaker travels the hypnotic road of sense memory. One minute, we’re driving along in the present, tempted to look over bridge rails at water; the next minute, something triggers and we take flight, returning to the sights, smells, and sensations of a past we can hardly know. And yet we do know it intimately. *** Red Rambler My brother left the roach clip in the sun visor in grandma’s car. Though I never use it, I leave it there beside mirror and compass sphere, egg which rotated in fluid...

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Julian Calendar: Parallel Collage

Julian Calendar Parallel Collage Independent Julian Calendar describe themselves as making ‘dark music for dark times.’  That’s the thing, they aren’t that dark, though I won’t argue with the comment about the times.  Coming from the purple state of North Carolina, the members of Julian Calendar have seen some pretty nasty and stupid political wrangling of late.  Based in the big city of Charlotte, the band is an amalgam of musicians, novelists, and first time singers.  You can read our feature on the band here. Band leader Jeremy Fisher came up with the structures of these songs a few...

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