Friday Things

1. If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel

Just keep scrolling to the right. 

2. I think this is – hands down – the coolest building in Buffalo. 

I stumbled upon it Thursday morning – every highway into town was a mess, so I took Walden to Sycamore and happened upon this gem. 

3. The Libel of “Appeasement”

While American media view the crisis in the Ukraine through a WW2/appeasement/Chamberlain/cold war lens, German media are more cautious, and harkening back to WW1 and postwar Germany

The Germans find much frightening in Putin, and in particular they see in his dealings unpleasant echoes of the predatory practices of the Hitler regime. But they are also sharply critical of the US, of the hyperventilation coming out of the Beltway, and even of Kerry’s desire to push promptly to isolate Russia, when they sense that post-Putin Russia is more likely to be a responsible part of Europe and relaunching a Cold War would only tend to strengthen the reactionary elements in Russian society.

They favor a response that is more incremental, cautious, measured, and one that avoids absolutely demonizing Russia. They prefer one that will bolster over time the more positive elements in Russian society. They are focused on extending a strong helping hand to Ukraine.

Lots of places are former autocratic kleptocracies. Maybe Russia could be someday, too. I might write more about this when I have more time. I think history treats Chamberlain unfairly.

4.  Language – This Finnish woman uses nonsense words to mimic what certain languages sound like. It’s quite brilliant.  

5. If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to, why don’t you go where fashion sits, 

6. Manufacturing a copycat, self-enclosed mini-Manhattan out of an HSBC tower we couldn’t keep filled with actual people doing some form of business seems a bit of a stretch. WNY doesn’t have the wealth to support million-dollar condos and high-end shopping on the scale suggested in this week’s story. Not by a long shot. We could try to attract Canadians, but the exchange rate is slipping in favor of the US dollar, making New York a worse value proposition, and frankly if you want to shop at Tiffany’s, you’re probably not sweating the extra 7% sales tax you pay on Bloor St. W. If they wanted to fill HSBC tower with mixed uses, then give people tax incentives to fill it, and fill it with condominiums that average people can afford. The hotel doesn’t have to be a Ritz or a Waldorf. Make it affordable, and if things start to turn around in Buffalo and wealth gets spread around some more, then the market will turn them into million-dollar homes, and maybe Nordstrom or Bloomingdales will come here of its own volition. 


  • About 3 blocks before the coolest building you passed the Happy Swallow Social Club, best fish fry in town – Yellow Pike. Try it on your way home tonight.

  • 5. Those are quite popular right now at the Ritz-Yalta.

  • You’re right about Chamberlain. I don’t know whether historians treat him unfairly (not my field of history), but the common perception is unfair and ahistorical.

    • Disagree. History is entirely fair to Chamberlain. He was part and party to a treaty that disassembled another country by force, and he played a bigger role in aiding and abetting Hitler than most outright wartime collaborators.

      • Yes, that’d be the common perception.

        The problem is that the war wasn’t inevitable, and it also wasn’t inevitable that the war would end in defeat for Germany. When people judge Chamberlain, they tend to do so from a perspective that assumes these things were inevitable, in which case his actions look weak and pointless.

  • Coolest Building used to house the Pacer Funeral Home. Built in the 60’s this wasn;t your mom and pops typical funeral parlor. Resembling a nightclub rather than what it really was,Pacer gave off a “cool” vibe. Although like most night clubs or bars, there were way too many stiffs! Don’t know what it is today as most of that neighborhood is gone. It is amazing to see that Happy Swallow is still around!

  • Steve Polowitz and Esmonde should buy up a couple floors and turn the tower into a Charter School.

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