Notice to vacate premises

February 18th, 2014

Why Jerusalem renters are wary of the Messiah's arrival:

In apartment contracts around the city, there are clauses stipulating what will happen to the apartment if or when the Jewish Messiah, or mashiach, comes. The owners, generally religious Jews living abroad, are concerned that he will arrive, build a third temple, and turn Israel into paradise – and they will be stuck waiting for their apartment tenants' contracts to run out before they can move back.

[Via Slacktivist]

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Untold stories

February 6th, 2013

Artist Jim Kazanjian produced a series of photographs of imaginary houses, carefully assembled by matching up snippets of images of real houses to make something much weirder.

untitled (house), 2006

There are definitely untold stories behind those houses. Perhaps best left untold in some cases.

[Via Colossal, via MetaFilter]

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Balconies

November 24th, 2012

Daniel Kalder has a very particular idea about his perfect dwelling place: it absolutely must have a balcony

On a recent visit to Istanbul I stayed in an apartment looking out on the Bosphorus. Every morning I'd get up and see the sun sparkling on the surface of the water as birds circled languidly overhead. At night it was even better, as the thumping techno from the pleasure boats and the call of the Muezzin intermingled. It was very different from my usual mode of accommodation when I travel: cheap hotels, dirt, and the lingering possibility of sudden, violent death.

In many ways it was the culmination of a quest that began years ago in my hometown of Dunfermline in Scotland. Over there, you don't see too many balconies. It's too windy and wet. Yet I remember one house that had a huge balcony on the second floor. I used to walk past, wishing I lived there. I didn't care that it was useless, that if I sat up there the wind would probably pick me up and drop me in the North Sea. I only saw the ideal of open living, close to the sky. […]

[Via The Browser]

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Blockbuster

April 25th, 2011

What does the word 'blockbuster' mean to you? Obviously, there's the use of the term to describe an expensive and1 successful film. Then there's the 'blockbuster' bomb. But there's a third meaning I hadn't encountered. Fritinancy explains:

In the 1950s, blockbuster acquired two figurative meanings: the entertainment meaning (1957) and a racial/economic meaning (1959). The entertainment sense gave rise to the name of movie-rental chain Blockbuster […]

The racial/economic sense is illustrated in this 1967 citation from the British weekly The Spectator:

The 'block-buster' is a figure in American urban life who has yet to emerge in this country. He is a property dealer who by subterfuge introduces black residents into all-white neighbourhoods.2

  1. The producers hope.
  2. According to Wikipedia, the Specatator citation isn't entirely accurate. A 'block-buster' wasn't some stealthy agent of integration, seeking to quietly introduce minorities into previously segregated neighbourhoods. Quite the opposite: the idea was to encourage false rumours that minorities were moving into the area, so as to depress property prices and persuade residents to move out to a nice, white suburb as quickly as possible.

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Going underground

December 20th, 2009

This Swiss Mountain House, half-submerged into a hillside, looks lovely and cosy. A house worthy of a Hobbit.

[Via Swissmiss]

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Nail houses

June 13th, 2009

I've never heard the term 'nail house' before, though as it turns out I have seen photographs of a couple of them.

The house in Changsha, China1 looks especially surreal, not least because in one of the pictures it looks as if there's another remnant of the original street a couple of hundred yards down the road.

  1. The fifth house pictured in the linked article.

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