Sayonara Domes?


One of our favorite touristy things to do while in Milwaukee — even when we were living here — was to tour The Domes — the three stainless and glass horticultural displays built here in eight years and finished in 1967. They have already seen major repairs because of the engineeing employed during construction; now they are closed again — possibly forever.  They were closed last year because of falling concrete we’re told, and needed necessary repairs. It was rumored that they would be torn down — but a current check of the website seems to indicate that one of the three will be reopened in May of ’16 — but that the future of them all is still very much uncertain.

This raises the spectre of what to do about America in general?

One of the lessons learned during several trips to Europe was that Europe is continuously in a state of repair.  When so much of one’s nation is multiple hundreds of years old there’s going to be repairs needed — and it helps if the things you’ve created along the way have been designed to be repairable — rather than thrown away, torn down, or condemned.  America seems to have been built in a hurry — in so many ways.  I know Germans and French who live in homes that are  300 and 400 years old, and one family in England who live in a home built in the days of the knights of the round table — including the dead, dessicated cat that had been embedded in the walls to protect the building from evil spirits!  But here,  homes and businesses are often torn down after a few decades of use.  We tear down and re build because we can’t afford the cost of building something substantial enough to endure a few centuries, and it seems we are too novelty prone to want something that old, because of how poorly it was built.  Seems a rather circular reasoning.  .

I’m not sure that is a lesson we U.S. Citizens have comprehended quite yet. We have been growing (until recently) at such a pace that we were hard pressed to keep up with growth in the ways we’ve been doing things — much less if we were building for the centuries. I do find that being out in the light,  rolling down the road,  tramping over trails we have been impressed by the impact of growth on everything we are and have.

I have long grieved the Milwaukee County Park system… once a model of urban parks but in recent years a declining, decrepit memory of days gone by.  We enjoy visiting the National Parks, but in many instances they too have been overly popular for the facilities and our parks are deteriorating faster than we can repair them.

sooner or laterI read, during the winter, an article about the budge shortfall in the National Parks and how many multiples of millions of dollars of deferred maintenance are sitting, waiting years to be gotten around to;  it seems congress has enough private projects and enough foreign wars to fund without taking care of things that the population seem to care a lot about.

One thing this lifestyle does is to make you aware of just how small we are as individuals.  Bad storms,  health catastrophes, things like that put us in juxtaposition to eternal forces and knock the stuffing out of our pride and ego.  The more time we spend in lesser developed areas, and observe how little many of our citizens possess the more I’m frustrated and angered by the indulgence and entitlement of those who live in cities — who seem to have no concept of what it takes to survive in this world.

At the same time I can drive past The Domes and see them barricaded and orange taped I can drive across the Menominee River bridge and see the massive re-construction of the Interstate system.  It’s not like the local residents aren’t doing their share to try to keep up.

You know, I recently saw a video about climate change that really shook me up.

 It bothered me, in part, because most of those I hear being concerned about climate change have been just those sort of people in the video, and not the Millennials, or the Gen-X’ers or any of the other funny names they have spawned to turn a decade’s worth of children into a marketing cliche.

I have no problem accepting two contradictory ideas.

  • We have been witnessing decades of warmer temperatures and altered climate — I mean who even talks about about Foggy London-town anymore.  The world has changed.
  • Our lifespan as members of a species is generally too short to even be aware of climate change — we witness a lot of weather but whether we know enough about the macro systems to say that the global climate is forever altered by human activity seems a bit iffy.  Heck, we can’t even agree on whether to eat eggs (cholesterol) or how much alcohol is safe to drink, or whether the Cubs will ever win another World Series.

Even though our frame of reference might be awfully short I would think that we could agree about some things.  One might say that in Oklahoma where the incidence of earthquakes has gone from a few in a decade to over 350 in one year that perhaps fracking is something that might need to be controlled.   But then there are all those humans who’s jobs depend on fracking, and all those stock holders who’s 401K’s depend on corporate dividends and it seems we can’t raise a united voice to say, “Hey, wait a minute…. this might not be such a good thing and can we agree not to do it any more.”

And you know what?…

Suddenly that video isn’t quite as startling.   Suddenly it doesn’t seem quite as ridiculous to say, I don’t care. Mind you, I’ve never been one to say I don’t care about anything.  I’ve lived my entire life with passion and zeal.  But, there are things I’m not going to fix.  There are things I’m not able to fix.  There are things another entire generation may not be able to fix.  It’s OK to look at those domes, with their orang barricades and tape and say, “You know, I’m glad I was there when they were at their best.”  It would be nice of another generation could enjoy them, but they too will some day sit down to their own banquet of consequences.  I wonder how they will feel?

I’m glad we’ve been blessed to be able to go RV’ing.  We weren’t sure when we set out on this journey just how it would work out.  But thus far we’ve seen a lot that we would never have seen otherwise.  All told, I’m willing to bet that our lifestyle as created fewer greenhouse gases than had we been living in that big old 6500 Sq Ft monstrosity we called our house. So I have no apologies to make to Momma Earth for being part of her demise.  We’ve met a lot of wonderful people — and it seems that when you meet other campers, other RV’ers, most of them are in a pretty good mood because we are all out there having the time of our lives.  So we don’t have to put up with cranky neighbors and noisy parties.

Yup…. maybe it’s just ok to say, I don’t care.  (at least once in a while, if I can break a life long habit).

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here tomorrow to chat.

sooner or later

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11 Comments

  1. Well, Peter…if the Cubs were able to slow down their rate of World Series wins (one a year in 1907-1908), we as humans should be able to slow our rate of greenhouse gases we emit. We need to save Florida from going under the waves, so you can spend future winters there! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually LIKED the area near the Everglades but I seem to be unable to afford to winter there.
      Of course the problem is that we — as a race — don’t seem to choose to act. Some of us do, but those who control the wealth don’t seem to give a darn. And even full scale revolution might not be enough to change that.
      You know, in the past there have been major catastrophes (in the forms of plague and influenza) which have decimated the globe and caused a sort of population ‘reset’ — While they have been terrible and I’m glad I didn’t live though one — one has to wonder of they didn’t serve serious purposes in the grand scheme of things — assuming as I do that there IS a grand scheme of things.
      It’s funny that you mention the Glades because I remember a time when the fear was that human use of fresh water was going to dry out the glades. Now the thing we’re being told to fear is global warming which threatens to flood the glades. It’s fascinating how humans — being as smart as we are — can be so quickly moved from extreme to extreme. you know… eat eggs, don’t eat eggs, eat eggs….

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      1. Eggs every morning, I say. Mix in green pepper, onion, mushrooms, tomato and CHEESE.

        I’ve often thought about the reset button. To think it won’t happen is foolish. I had a funny thought along those lines while driving the interstate recently. How long will certain portions of our infrastructure be around, once mankind ceases to exist? I guess that depends on what happens to bring that about. Just as we see fossils of sea life in the mountains far inland, will the mountains in the future have highway signs embedded in their layers? Probably…

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      2. It always bothered me that so many movies about post-apocalyptic times have been created. I have always been one to see the future as positive. But I think that politicians and advertising (the need to insist that we fear something) have been working on my attitude. Grrr.
        That this earth has not reached a ‘final’ state is obvious. The increase in volcanic and earthquake activity could be something no one ‘expected’ and they say that if the super-volcano at Yellowstone ever erupted it would change life on earth — so it might not be humans making the change. 🙂 and on that positive note…..

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m on the eggs every morning bandwagon — though today for the first time in quite a while we did oatmeal — Plenty of ways to spruce them up, spice them up, alter and modify them!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Have you seen where they are building another Atlanta Baseball Park……they have only been there 50 years and this is the 3rd one!

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    1. I think the Milwaukee team got about 40 years out of their stadium before succeeding suckering the taxpayers into rebuilding for their BASEBALL ONLY stadium.

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  3. In some ways I think progress has ruined us. We know longer put emphasis on learning a trade and taking pride in our craft. For those who get bored, you can learn more than one trade – think Ben Franklin. Our past is filled with the beautiful culture of many civilizations. When settlers first arrive, structures were built, I am sure some of them were meant to be temporary or did not sustain due to fire’s etc. But eventually the European craftsman began to use their craft here and there are some amazingly beautiful buildings because of that. These were built to last and would do so if maintained.

    Around the turn of the century when America became the Progressive country with the manufacture of steel, I think two things occurred at that time. Everything was focused on being improve, made fast and made cheap. The real start of American Greed came into being. Some saw the elite making their fortune on the backs of others and some were angry because of their own toil with no reward. But, from that point on things of historical nature became old. Our worst tragedy in buildings came in the sixties with the thought of Urban renewal when thousands and thousand of beautiful historic buildings were torn down to create modern ugly boxes. The other sad change was that many cities had slum lords buying up the old buildings, partitioning up the place to make multi-units and then renting to people who cared less for the place…allowing the buildings to go into further decline. So many older houses in historic districts are places filled with drug dealers and users and it is rare to see a downtown housing area that is beautifully maintain…but what a treat it is when you do!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure there are a lot of contributing factors but one never dare forget that we are a Capitalist society. We need to keep industry humming, and that means we needed to be convinced that consumption was a good thing. We’ve gone way over the edge on that concept but this country would fall apart if economically if we built for 100 years, much less if we built for 1000 years. I agree with everything you say, but I also know that lots of population means you need lots of jobs or else you get revolt and revolution. And powerful people want to stay in power more than they want to help the little guy.
      I wouldn’t even MIND the grey concrete boxes if we learned how to re-use them now. A lot of those concrete boxes now need tearing down too! As a history of our own architecture the ugly concrete boxes are part of us — in the same way that Frank Lloyd Wright was, but that his designs were laden with maintenance issues and doomed to premature repair failures. Part of us, to be celebrated, but maybe not to be replicated beyond their time. It’s like the Eames chairs — beautiful to look at but never thought they were comfortable.

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      1. I much prefer craftsman style or the old style masonry buildings over the nouveau architectural style…totally agree about all the problems with FLW buildings…pretty but no practical.

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