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A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma...

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    An Irrational Lack of Fear…

    An Irrational Lack of Fear…

    Politics is becoming overwhelming. Listening to today’s endless snipes, tweets, melt-downs, and outrage filling all airwaves, I am left bemused at the bubble of now. Politicians are vengeful, reporters are angry. Commentators are in high dudgeon. It matters not what “side”; the basis is fear and loathing.

    I think they are missing something.

    The news is filled with perpetrators and zealots: it’s the loudest world, screaming in each instant. The breathless desperation of healthy, free, employed participants lives in a tiny place amid the immeasurable context of everything.

    For me, there is a perverse joy in seeing the irrational rampaging — it’s delightfully…

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    Designing Justification: A Conference Talk Preview

    You would think that having a full belly, a good night’s sleep, love, and shelter is the bottom line. But it’s not. Things disappoint. Promise thrills, and expectations rise.

    I wanted to play. I wanted to start. Then captain. Then Harvard (got Cornell). Then Alison, Helen, Jane, Barbara, finally Liz. Marriage became babies, then Great Kids, then adults. Degree became license, became firm. Building became awards, lectures, writing.

    Now I receive justification I did not ask for. But then kicked ass to get. I never wanted to be a part of the American Institute of Architects. I helped make places to live for 25 years then my publisher made me join at 48 to sell the next book.

    Then the world had a decade that said my last 25 were part of economic salvation: homes were the way everyone could be great again: forever. I helped make a place for architects who did that: and the instant I joined they asked to get me in ever deeper, running a tiny piece of the AIA.

    No, I said.

    I always had had my own obsessions – and soon the balloon popped. I kept on doing what I do for the last decade, but there are, now, 50% less of us doing it – like it was 20 years ago. Between 3 or 4 other booms.

    But now, in 2 weeks or so, I get to be one of 3,000 of 111,000. First you need justification enough to get licensed (down to the 200,000 who have degrees), then pay $700 a year to be a member of the AIA (down to 60,000). Then a branch has a committee who reviews nominations (are you kidding?) or as per me, that committee, one of a hundred, finds the Fellow in their midst.

    So, at 61, but only just after the AIA decade required for nomination, I get the verification I never sought – but always wanted, and that can never be had and go to Florida to wear a robe – 9 hours on the ground.

    Doing is not satisfaction. Getting things done is not verification. Swimming to push air over your gills is not breathing.

    There are infinite measures, goals, achievements: but, really, there is only one: living – being given everything – Everything – by a simple, completely unknown, Faith.

    I do not think that guy asked to have his last 3 years become billions of humans 2,000 years ago. I do not know if he, in this last week, felt verification. I doubt it.

    To hear Duo’s full talk, “Architect: Fellow & Failing,” join us Saturday morning, April 29, at the 10th Annual Mockingbird Conference.

    As you may have read elsewhere, we have officially reached capacity for dining at the NYC conference. If you have yet to pre-register but would like to eat, please purchase your tickets ASAP and send us an email at info@mbird.com to reserve a spot on the waiting list. We’ll do all we can to accommodate everyone and will let you know as soon as your plate(s) is guaranteed. Thanks for understanding! Please note: there’s still plenty of room for those who want to attend the sessions. Last-minute walk-ins are always welcome.

    Something Missing (in Recovery Services)

    Something Missing (in Recovery Services)

    Compulsion is brutal.

    But the last decade has seen a huge cultural effort to remove spiritual death from the tragedy of addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous was, and largely still is, the model for treatment, but a Higher Power does not play well in the wave of commercial exploitation of “recovery services.”

    Squeaky clean, dead serious ads put coifed “addicts” and similarly serious “therapists” in front of us. With all the sincerity of “ethical” car sales shills, the very worst in any of us has the same cure as a dirty floor: buy me. There is a new, aggressive PR explosion everywhere, which loudly…

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    April Fools! College Admission and Parental Validation

    April Fools! College Admission and Parental Validation

    As faithless as it is calculating, college admission becomes a decade of denial for most.

    The first of April becomes the focus of lifetimes. Many parents and their issue have connived, planned, even negotiated for this date: college admission — April First. This April Fool’s Day, millions of households will have their 17-year-old collegiate lay locked and loaded, kinder-glued to their laptops. No, it’s not porn, binge-watching, or even OD-ing on FB. It’s all about admission to college. That’s Decision Day.

    It used to be so simple: you got a fat envelope and were IN, thin envelope OUT, middle envelope MAYBE. We…

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    I Did Not Build Me: Politics, Fragility, and the Self-Made Life

    I Did Not Build Me: Politics, Fragility, and the Self-Made Life

    “Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own… If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

    – Barack Obama July 13, 2012

    When I heard President Obama utter those words I just about lost it. Usually I view the entire freakshow of politics as an insane sidebar — but this statement, made during the 2012 presidential campaign, marked one of those moments when a candidate inadvertently got up in my kitchen. All politics is local, but in this case it got personal. For…

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    The Magic in Magical Thinking

    The Magic in Magical Thinking

    “…conscious uncoupling…”

    “…and Mexico will pay for it!”

    “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”

    We cannot help it. Humans desperately need to square the circle. I want to find a cosmic thread or Special Sauce that allows the New York Football Giants to somehow, over about 6 coaching changes and zillions of players post-LT/Simms, to somehow get to the Super Bowl every year.

    That is Magical Thinking.

    But not every illogical extrapolation is as delusional as the Giants making the Super Bowl in the next few years. Not all desire-driven reality-bnding is magical. Heroin, smoking, and bacon have no objective merit: to…

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    Alternative Faith: Click Crack, Fake News, and Good News

    Alternative Faith: Click Crack, Fake News, and Good News

    America has a Tweeter in Chief. The response is a seemingly unending stream of Facebook sites and posts and comments and likes and friending and unfriending. Drudge had a record month in January — over 1,000,000,000 hits.

    Is “SEE-CLICK” rewiring our collective reality? Apple’s Tim Cook seems to think so:

    “We are going through this period of time right here where unfortunately some of the people that are winning are the people that spend their time trying to get the most clicks, not tell the most truth,” Cook told the Daily Telegraph. “It’s killing people’s minds, in a way.”

    I am typing this on an Apple…

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    Pray for Voldemort?

    Pray for Voldemort?

    As the post-Inaugural rancor-and-shrill show volumes up to a distilled deafening hysteria on the InterWebsNet megaphone, things are betting Biblical. It’s not politics or policy: it’s Good and Evil. Well, at least Evil.

    In terms of expressing religious faith, I think of politics being the last best use of my favorite description of WASP etiquette: “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” I see no upside in commingling the most exquisitely profane human endeavor, politics, into universal faithful messages of morality and grace. So when the word “Evil” is invoked for a politician (or whatever President Trump is) I cringe.

    For me, faith is completely wrecked…

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