My kid brother Bosco found any grown up revolting who stood between him and his mission to burn down everything, the ultimate pyro. While the archangel (Michael) was getting his pants pressed me and the pyro were outside blowing to smithereens with firecrackers every toy soldier we could find.
My arsonist days ended, however, not long after we threw a box of 22 shells into the incinerator and World War III broke out in the alley. We had failed to blow them up slamming bricks on the shells.
I have to admit it, there were times my kid brother scared the Hell out of me. He was reckless, probably possessed, and not at all interested in what was going on in the world. But we had a bond, we were both motherless children, having lost our mother to the duties of rearing the archangel.
One day Bosco and I raced down the hallway by the archangel's room and noticed the massive American Flyer train set, one of our dad's prized possessions, was set up in the room. Better yet, no one was around.
The layout was quite a work of art and engineering, qualities found in the Putnam DNA. A board bigger than the bed folded up against the wall normally, but today it was down and all the trains, villages and mountains were in place.
Now Bosco and I had long debated what would happen if we started a train on top of the mountain and another at the bottom headed toward each other at full speed. How much damage could the two trains do to each other when they crashed?
Thanks to my mechanical skills we had everything working in seconds but when the trains smashed together nothing broke, they just flopped over sideways off the track. It was nothing like the movies. What a bummer.
So Bosco, having morphed into movie director Cecil B. DeMille, restaged the train wreck scene only this time, to make it seem more real, he loaded one of the train engines with fireworks. I warned him the M-80s might be a bit too much but he insisted. He lit the fuse and sent the train flying down the mountain leaving me seconds to launch the other one up the mountain.
The two trains weren't even close when the engine simply blew off the face of the earth, while the rest of the cars tumbled down the mountain with shrapnel flying all over the room. As we dove under the bed the avalanche of debris crashed into the other train leaving a tangled mess.
When dad walked into the room, having heard the house shaking explosion, his stunned reaction was priceless. His mouth opened to scream but no sound emerged. The way he trembled and his veins popped up indicated a high degree of nerve instability so the vocal paralysis was probably a good thing, It allowed him to calm down before he might have killed us.
We denied any knowledge of how an entire American Flyer train engine could possibly dematerialize and disappear, though we did acknowledge our role in the wreck and agreed to spend our allowances for the next 15 years replacing all the broken village and mountain pieces.
In hindsight I realized trusting Bosco's judgment was far too dangerous to risk in the future.
The following is the obituary of Paolo Soleri, a brilliant human being and futurist who lived and worked in Paradise Valley, Arizona. He died four years ago but his life and achievements will live forever. When I went to school at the University of Arizona in Tuscon, several fraternity brothers were into architecture and encouraged me to travel to the Phoenix area to see this unusual Italian architect.
His studio and teaching areas were a series of pods spread across the desert and his designs for a future civilization were stunning. I can remember the passion this man had for preparing for the future of mankind and his determination to establish a model in the Arizona High Desert.
A few years later my parents moved to Paradise Valley and every time I went to visit I went to the Paolo Soleri studio and was amazed at the many, many architectural students from around the world who journeyed to work with his on his amazing concepts.
To help raise money for his unique institute he also made the most complex and magical bells I ever saw and collecting the Soleri bells became a passion. Mostly just watching the master at work was sheer fun as his relationship with students, his extraordinary designs, and his adaption to his adopted desert were a source of delight and inspiration.
Everyone should get a chance to experience the Soleri studio and his model of the cities of the future out in the desert, it will give you hope for mankind. Soleri was one of a kind, and he influenced thousands with his genius. Meeting him several times was one of the highlights of my life.
REMEMBERING PAOLO SOLERI
June 21,1919 - April 9, 2013
Today the world has lost one
of its great minds. Paolo Soleri, architect, builder, artist, writer,
theorist, husband, father, born on Summer Solstice, has died at age 93.
Paolo Soleri spent a lifetime investigating how architecture, specifically the architecture of the city, could support the countless possibilities of human aspiration. The urban project he founded, Arcosanti, 65 miles north of Phoenix, was described by NEWSWEEK magazine as “…the most important urban experiment undertaken in our lifetimes.”
His own lifetime of work is represented in models, drawings, books, lectures
and museum exhibits throughout the world. Soleri’s exhibition in 1970 at the CorcoranMuseum
in WashingtonDC – and the concurrent publication of his
landmark book, CITY IN THE IMAGE OF MAN – changed forever the global
conversation about urban planning on our living planet. His term, “Arcology”
joining the words architecture and ecology to represent one whole system of
understanding human life on the earth is meant to serve as the basis for that
Paolo Soleri’s ideas are embodied on the ground in the flowing forms of his
architectural workshop Cosanti in ParadiseValley, (now an Arizona Historic
Landmark) and in the continuing construction at Arcosanti, the urban laboratory
on the high desert in central Arizona.
There, to date over 7,000 students have participated in its construction. More
than 50,000 architecture enthusiasts visit the site each year.
Over the years Soleri’s architectural commissions have included the Dome House
in Cave Creek, Arizona, the astonishing Artistica Ceramica Solimene ceramics
factory in Vietri, Italy, the Indian Arts Cultural Center/ Theatre in
Santa Fe, the Glendale Community College Theater, the University of Arizona
College of Medicine chapel, the Scottsdale Pedestrian Bridge and Plaza; and his
latest bas-relief murals part of the new I-17 Arcosanti/Cordes Junction Arizona
traffic interchange. In an age of specialization Paolo Soleri showed
architecture’s ability to influence and even lead the search for a new pattern
of inhabiting the earth. The awards that resulted from this search included
gold medals from the American Institute of Architects, the Union of
International Architects, the Venice Biennale and the National Design Award
from the Cooper-Hewitt/Smithsonian Museum.
Soleri continued questioning and creating until his death. The theme of his
last project, a series of collages entitled “Then and Now”, juxtaposed his own
signature forms with illustrations of life from antiquity. In this project
Paolo Soleri attempted to capture the critical notion that we are constantly
building on the past, on the work of countless generations that have preceded
us on the earth. Our own work - and Soleri’s work especially - put into this
context, might be a seed that takes many more generations to mature and
Paolo Soleri is survived by two daughters, Kristine Soleri Timm and Daniela
Soleri, both of California,
two grandchildren, and the famous urban research Foundation he began, Cosanti.
A private burial took place at Arcosanti, the internationally – renowned urban
laboratory he founded in 1970, whose construction continues. Soleri’s body was
placed beside his wife Colly, who preceded him in death by 31 years.
Somewhere over the Rainbow - Israel
(Double click for full screen)
will be 62 this coming December.
Don't get too excited, but today is the deadpan
comedian's unofficial birthday. To celebrate, here are 20 of his funniest jokes.
1. "It's a small world, but I
wouldn't want to paint it."
"I almost broke both my arms trying to hold open a revolving door for a
3. "I got a new dog. He’s a paranoid
retriever. He brings back everything because he’s not sure what I threw
4. "Every morning I get up and make
instant coffee and I drink it so I have the energy to make real coffee."
5. "Woke up this morning and folded
my bed back into a couch. Almost broke both my arms cause it’s not that kind of
6. "I’m going to get a tattoo over my
whole body of me but taller."
7. "I went to a tourist information
booth and said 'Tell me about some people who were here last year.'"
8. "I’ve been getting into astronomy
so I installed a skylight. The people who live above me are furious."
9. "Why is it a penny for your
thoughts but you have to put your two cents in? Somebody’s making a
10. "I broke a mirror in my house and
I’m supposed to get seven years bad luck, but my lawyer thinks he can get me
11. "When I get real real bored I
like to drive downtown and get a great parking spot then sit in my car and
count how many people ask me if I’m leaving."
12. "I spilled spot remover on my dog
and now he’s gone."
13. "I’m writing a book. I have the
page numbers done; now I just have to fill in the rest."
14. "When we were driving over the border
back into the United States,
they asked me if I had any firearms. I said what do you need?"
15. "I've written several children's
books ... Not on purpose."
16. "I called the wrong number today.
I said 'Hello, is Joey there?' A woman answered and she said 'Yes he is.' And I
said ‘Can I speak to him please?’ She said ‘No, he can’t talk right now, he’s
only two months old.' I said 'Alright, I’ll wait.'"
17. "I went to a place to eat. It
said 'breakfast at any time.' So I ordered French Toast during the Renaissance."
18. "We lived in a house that ran on
static electricity. If we wanted to cook something, we had to take a sweater
off real quick. If we wanted to run a blender we had to rub balloons on our
19. "I stayed up one night playing
poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died."
20. "I was Caesarean born. Can’t
really tell, although whenever I leave a house I go through the window."