The Future That Never Happened; Part 3

Precisely 50 years ago, the folks at Frigidaire looked forward to our time and envisioned the typical housewife in a space like this:

{click on picture for larger image}

Very shiny. Very chrome-y. Very devoid-of-anything-remotely-organic-y. But oh, the vivid colors.

I’m not sure I’d want to cook a meal here, but I’d probably be comfortable having my spleen operated on. Looks very… sterile.

This is a common element of almost all futuristic glimpses envisioned in the 1940s and 50s. I guess it was due in part to the fact that to that generation, living amidst natural materials was “primitive.” After all, it is what people had been forced to use for thousands of years. “Surely in this dawning golden age of acrylics and synthetic fibers, those old materials will be replaced by space-age ones,” they must have surmised. After all, wasn’t the sage career advice of the tipster in the movie The Graduate the single word: “Plastics.”

In the ’50s, faith in science’s ability to improve everything was still very much alive.

Well, as I look around me here in my 21st Century home study, I see a wool rug, a leather chair, wooden floor and bookshelves, granite, marble and…what is that…oh yes, dog hair. (Can you imagine a dog being allowed into the space pictured above? Maybe a robot dog.)

What the futurists of the past didn’t factor in is how deeply the human soul seems to need and want natural materials around. A couple of days trapped in an environment of acrylic, vinyl and plastic and we start to get an itch in the medulla oblongata. We crave the sight and feel of wood and leather, the warp and woof of fabrics shorn from living animals and plants.

I would wager that 1,000 years from now, if God hasn’t brought the curtain down on this act and begun the next one, people will still fill their environments with the same materials Abraham used in his tent.

As for some of the details in the picture above. . .

Just what is R2D2 cooking up here?

An elephant heart? A meat accordion? Jabba the Hutt’s fist?

As for our homemaker, it’s comforting to know that in this future of ours, tea-length dresses, wasp waists, and heels are still standard-issue for housework. As for her friend, the last time Betty showed her what she was cooking, something leaped out of the pot and attached itself to her face, so she’s wary.

No surprises this time. It’s just polymer gravy for the buckminster fullerene synthetic rump roast.

Then there is the crude-but-sweet knife rack her son made the other day in Carbon Fiber Composites Shop class.

Finally, it’s comforting to know that even in the atomic era, we still find a place in the space-age kitchen for the Crock Pot.

Or is it a Wok Pot? A Crock Wok? A Wokky Crocky?

{image courtesy of}

The Trouble with Huck

Our favorite North of England guy, Fergus, sends me this column from the NYTimes. (Fergus does me a huge service by reading the Times so I don’t have to.)

In it, liberal Gail Collins wonders why all social conservatives aren’t flocking to Pastor Mike:

“But why aren’t the social conservatives rallying around this guy? Unlike any of the major candidates, he’s still on his first wife and first position on abortion.”

East Coast liberals like Collins tend to think all of us yokels here in fly-over country are two-issue voters, she comes right out and says so in her column:

“They’re united mainly by their hatred of abortion and gay marriage, and a desire to win.”

To say that any columnist writing in the Times, with the possible exception of David Brooks, is clueless about social conservatives is to state the glaringly obvious.

So to help, allow me to explain why this Southern social conservative has mixed feelings about Gov. Huckabee:

  1. He’s wrong on immigration, and that is a HUGE problem for me and many others.
  2. He’s questionable on free trade. See this discussion on NRO.
  3. He’s to the left of Hillary on government-mandated health policing. (i.e., a federal ban on smoking) Promoting a British-style “nanny state” is not exactly a big winner with conservatives.

If you think all of that sounds a lot like “compassionate conservatism,” I suspect you’re right. And I, for one, am ready for a conservatism that leaves compassion where it belongs, in the hearts and actions of those who comprise the Church. And I will readily admit to a raging case of Bush Fatigue right now.

From what I can tell, Mike Huckabee is an outstanding, admirable man. But as I’ve stated elsewhere, any candidate that credibly promises to nominate more Scalias and Alitos to the Supreme Court; and uphold the Hyde Amendment on federal funding of abortion; has passed my test of support on that issue. And right now that leaves this pro-life voter a number of other options.

Everything’s Up to Date in Kansas City

Or so they claim. I’m dubious. I’ll try to confirm that when I go there today.

Yes, it’s once more into the breach of air travel. My optimism that things will go well is a touching triumph of hope over experience. Like, say, my experience trying to get home from Pittsburgh last week. I’ll just say it was “special” and leave it at that.

I had picked up a copy of “Best Life” magazine on the newsstand at the Pittsburgh aiport. I was in the middle of my second extended ground  delay of the day when I remembered I had slipped the publication into my computer bag. As I thumbed through it, I came across an article about increasing air travel snarls titled, “Delayed and Confused.”

The lead line of the article was:

I have flown 110 flights in the last year. Precisely 10 arrived on time.

I suspect we may be witnessing the collapse of the airline’s hub-spoke  system. I’ll post more on this later. They’re calling my flight!

The Born-Again Vote

Evangelicals seem to be coalescing around two Republican candidates. Huckabee and Romney.

Romney just picked up a couple more endorsements from high-profile evangelical leaders. And Huckabee just did well in the Family Research Council’s “Value’s Voter Conference” straw poll.

If Pastor Mike wins the Iowa Caucuses, he’ll find himself in the top tier of candidates with Giuliani and Romney. One key question is where Catholic Sam Brownback’s pro-life supporters will go now that he is stepping out of the race.

Meanwhile, Fred Thompson doesn’t seem to be getting the traction one would have anticipated given all the expectancy and buzz surrounding his months-long, pre-announcement fan dance.

If It's Friday, It Must Be Pittsburgh

I write, dear blog reader, from the Pittsburgh airport. This was my first visit and I must say I found it to be a lovely city–which is what I had been told to expect.

The Autumn leaves here are quite spectacular. Haven’t seen such color since we left Minnesota back in ’99.

By the way, if you notice some odd line breaks in these posts from the road, it is because I have a new MacBook laptop and I am yet to find a web browser that is fully compatible with my blogging software.

Apple’s “Safari” hates it. “Firefox” is ambivilent.

And “Opera,” which I am using at this moment is interested and willing to negotiate everything but the linebreaks issue. Those are a non-starter.

Update: My friend Ted suggests in the comments that the problem lies with my blogging software. I suspect he is correct.

Still More Texas-Flavored Politics

Sorry, I’ll have this out of my system shortly. . .

Texas Governor Rick Perry endorsed Rudy Guiliani today. Now, I’m not on the Guiliani bandwagon. In fact, he’s near the bottom of my list of preferred nominees. But as I mentioned in the comments section of this post, if Rudy promises to nominate more Scalias and Alitos to the Supreme Court and he’s the nominee, I’m on board.

Well, as Byron York points out in this post on NRO, that’s precisely the reason the staunchly pro-life Perry cited for backing Rudy.

Meanwhile, an official at Bob Jones University has come out for Mitt Romney.

That has Jim Geraghty wondering if Mitt is quietly becoming the consensus choice of evangelical conservatives.

AA few weeks ago a friend of mine who is an unofficial advisor for Fred Thompson’s campaign asked me who I was leaning toward.

I noted my overwhelming ambivalence but mentioned Mitt as a possibility.  He looked a little surprised and said, “You mean you could vote for some guy who believes. . .” and then went on to cite some bizarre Mormon doctrine.

I thought for a moment and said, “Frankly, there are a number of things my Catholic friends believe that are not much stranger than that, and I wouldn’t hesitate to vote for a Catholic that is right on the issues.”

Interesting times, to say the least.