Had a little bidness yesterday at the Guardian Building. I’d admired its Deco exterior from the street a time or two, but was unprepared for the glories of the lobby. It’s Deco, but colorful; if Deco were a force in Mexico, it would look like this, the vaulted lobby ceiling:
There’s a lot of vaulted-ness, in fact, which contributed to the building’s nickname — the Cathedral of Finance. People forget that in the ’20s, Detroit was Silicon Valley. Hustlers, dreamers, entrepreneurs, sharpies looking to get rich quick and working men just looking for a good day’s wage poured into the city and in large measure, they all got what they wanted. In the bargain, Detroit got some of the world’s finest pre-Depression architecture (although Chicago got more).
I like architecture of this period because it suggests a world where nothing existed but possibilities. You don’t find much public-space art like this anymore:
That mural is called “Michigan” and ignoring the obvious slight — Hey, where’s the U.P.? — it suggests a place where we knew how our bread was buttered. On the southeast corner:
And over in the southwest:
Farther north are nods to mining and fishing. Is that a full-strength economic-development package, or what? No wonder that goddess in the middle is holding two horns of plenty. There was enough to go around. (Not reported: Sometime before this mural was painted, rapacious timber tycoons clear-cut the towering white pines that covered entire state. I mean, denuded it. It was an environmental disaster befitting Russia in the 20th century or China in the 19th. Beware, Pacific Northwest. On the other hand, that pine rebuilt Chicago after the fire, and provided the seed money for the auto industry. I wish they’d left a little behind, however.)
At the bottom of the Mitten is the state’s motto: Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice. If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.
And that, really, was the highlight of yesterday. So let’s do the bloggage, segueing smoothly from the Guardian building to the Guardian newspaper, and its report on yet another eating disorder: orthorexia.
Which is? An obsession with eating only “pure” food, to the point of obsession and mental illness:
Most orthorexics, would, like Hackney, find it difficult, if not impossible, to visit an average restaurant. They spend hours each day thinking and talking about food, making meal plans, scanning the latest food research on the internet, visiting organic farms for “perfect” produce and slowly preparing, serving and chewing their food. One orthorexic I came across in California hadn’t eaten out in years and consumed nothing but grains: primarily popcorn. Another was so obsessed with organic food that she spent hours in the healthfood shop, arguing with the assistants over which foods were packaged using organic paper and adhesive and were therefore “uncontaminated.”
There are so many ways to be crazy in our culture, it’s a miracle anyone’s sane, isn’t it?
Now I’m out to rake leaves. As I do, I will comfort myself with thoughts of how pleased I am to be living in a country with a mature, long-sighted president whose diplomatic skills are second to none and will surely guide us through the current North Korea maybe-nuke crisis with the sort of genius he’s shown so often in the past.
I mean, speaking of crazy.