Monday, July 24, 2006

Up on the Roof Garden

How gorgeous is this roof design?






Mr. Puchkoff, who has developed half a dozen small commercial and residential projects over the past 30 years, acted as his own contractor and did much of the labor himself, resulting in a cost of $12 a square foot rather than the $17 a square foot it might have been.

The benefits of a green roof are many: the plants insulate the building from heat in summer and cold in winter, and they reduce storm-water runoff by absorbing rain.

The family lives in the first building Mr. Puchkoff ever developed. The building, a former wicker and basket warehouse built in 1906, is brick, with stout wood girders and joists.

To begin this project, he went to a green roof symposium in 2003, offered by the Earth Pledge Foundation (, where he picked up the basic principles of design and construction.

His biggest concern was that the roof would leak. But the layered construction, with sealants and barriers to root penetration, guards against that possibility.

To make sure it wouldn’t collapse, he hired a structural engineer who calculated how much weight the roof could support. The answer was 35 pounds per square foot, dry weight, or 60 pounds per square foot, if saturated with rain.

That calculation limited Mr. Puchkoff’s green roof to no more than eight inches of soil, so he chose seven, just to be safe, even building a little crest of a hill, over a lightweight polystyrene mound, “because I didn’t want it perfectly flat,” he said.

He sealed the roof with a combination of polyethylene and woven polyester from the Andek Corporation, whose products he had used over the years to seal custom-built bathtubs. (Cost: $1,500, including labor.)

Then he was ready to install the four-layered system he chose from American Hydrotech.

The layers consist of a five-millimeter polyethylene membrane that keeps roots from penetrating the roof; then a spongy moisture retention layer, which absorbs any water that overflows the next layer of “Floradrains,” from a German company named ZinCo. These are cup-like plastic units that look like upside-down egg cartons; when laid together, they hold water that seeps down through the layer of soil, which is laid over a filter that prevents sifting and clogging of the drains.

The multilayered system establishes not only a reservoir of water for plants, but also a backup supply, held by the moisture retention sponge, which evaporates slowly, in dry times, to moisten plant roots.

At the final stage, drip tubes are laid down on top of the soil filter, before the soil medium is spread. These drip lines, plus some early top-watering, supplied water to the young plants — which arrived as plugs with three-inch roots, and were planted eight inches apart — until they were well-established. (The Hydrotech system cost $3,800, plus $800 labor.)

The arrival of 2,400 pounds of soil ($2,000), from Laurel Valley Soils, a company based in Avondale, Pa., was a family event. River Valley Organics, a company in Wrightsville, Pa., arrived with a truck and blew the soil mix up a five-inch tube snaked up the side of the building ($4,000 for the entire job).

A Porch and Flowering Meadow, 6 Floors Up
Published: July 20, 2006

Posted at 04:13 PM in Art & Design | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Boys and girls, the movie of the year is going to be Borat, aka Ali G, aka Sacha Baron Cohen.  The early reviews are that it is funnier than anything put together on film.  Ever. 

Ali G is a genius.  He got Pat Buchanan to discuss the threat of BLTs:


And the trailer to Borat (quicktime) is here:


Booyah Mon

Posted at 06:32 AM in Film, Humor, Politics, Television | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Nineteenth Century Bush

I rarely lift entire posts from other sites -- but this October 2004 post from uggabugga turned out to be so prescient, that it seemed so appropriate this week, on the President's first veto -- on Stem Cell Research, no less -- that it needed to be reproduced in its entirety:


A number of bloggers have embraced the charge that Bush is not part of the reality based community (Yglesias, TPM, Atrios, TAPPED).  We agree that much of what Bush does is not reality based, but saying so does not give the listener an idea of what Bush is for.  A better charge, in our view, is calling the president 19th Century Bush.  It's a snappy phrase (matches the well known "20th Century Fox") and it discribes where Bush is heading this country.  Bush is trying to dismantle many of the developments that made the last hundred years The American Century:


Nineteenth Century Bush - President Bush and his party wants to take America back to the nineteenth century by undoing the following achievements of the Twentieth Century:

Anti-trust action: Applied with vigor by Teddy Roosevelt during his administration (1901-1909)

Roosevelt emerged spectacularly as a "trust buster" by forcing the dissolution of a great railroad combination in the Northwest. Other antitrust suits under the Sherman Act followed.

Opposed by 

Bush supporter and Club for Growth president Stephen Moore 2004: Now is the time for the Bush administration to lighten the enforcement burden of antitrust law and for Congress to do what it should have done long ago: repeal the Sherman antitrust laws.

Progressive income tax: Following the ratification of the 16th amendment (in 1913), the income tax was progressive from the beginning.

In 1913 the tax rate was 1 percent on taxable net income above $3,000 ($4,000 for married couples), less deductions and exemptions. It rose to a rate of 7 percent on incomes above $500,000.

Opposed by

President Bush 2004: President Bush reasserted his call Sunday for a simpler tax system, and aides said he is considering pushing for a flat tax, which would set the same income-tax rate for most taxpayers, as a major priority if he were to win a second term.

Direct election of senators: 17th amendment - ratified in 1913

Opposed by

Supreme Court Justice, and George Bush fave Anton Scalia 2004: While Scalia’s prepared speech—which lasted less than half an hour—was narrowly focused, his remarks in the 20-minute question-and-answer question spanned a broad range of topics. In one of the more bizarre moments of the evening, Scalia mentioned—in passing—that he thought the 17th Amendment was “a bad idea.”
GOP-approved senate candidate Alan Keyes 2004: "The balance is utterly destroyed when the senators are directly elected, because the state government as such no longer plays any role in the deliberations at the federal level," Keyes said at a taping of WBBM Newsradio's "At Issue" program.
GOP-approved convention speaker Zell Miller Senator Miller ... introduced his own amendment to repeal the Seventeenth, contends that the direct election of senators “was the death of the careful balance between state and federal governments.”

Estate tax: Established in 1916 with the enthusiastic support of Teddy Roosevelt and William Taft

Roosevelt said in 1907 that an inheritance tax on "such enormous fortunes as have been accumulated in America would be one of the methods by which we should try to preserve a measurable equality of opportunity..."

Also: The Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives explained that a new type of tax was needed, because the "consumption taxes" in effect at that time bore most heavily upon those least able to pay them.

Opposed by 

President Bush 2002: "One of the worst taxes that we have on the books that we're trying to get rid of, and won't get rid of unless we have a senator and senators who vote to make it permanent, is the death tax. "

Regulation of energy: Began in 1920 as the Federal Power Commission (FPC), expanded to current scope in 1935 and 1938, reorganized in 1977 as the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Not used to enforce its mandate to "ensure just and reasonable rates" by

President Bush 2001: California's electricity shortages should be solved "in California by Californians"
Vice-president Cheney 2001: "They've got a whole complex of problems that are caused by relying only on conservation ..."

Regulation of the public airwaves: Began with the creation in 1934 of the Federal Communications Commission

Not used to enforce its mandate to make sure the "public interest" is served by broadcasters by

Republican stalwart and current FCC chair Michael Powell When asked in 2001 what he thought the term public interest meant in the FCC's mission, the current FCC chairman responded, "I have no idea...

Regulation of securities market: Federal role established with the creation of the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1934.

Not used to crack down on Wall Street by

Bush appointmed SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt 2001: ... he pledged to make the SEC “a kinder, gentler place for everyone”.

Social Security: Legislation signed in 1935.

Current program opposed by

President Bush 2003/4: Wants to "overhaul" the program, privatize it

Bipartisan foreign policy: Firmly established by Truman and Vandenberg in 1947, leading to the success of the Cold War

As chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs (1947–49), Vandenberg was the leading proponent of bipartisan support for President Truman's foreign policy. He was instrumental in securing Senate approval of the Marshall Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Dismissed by

President Bush 2002: "... the [Democratic controlled] Senate is more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people."

Separation of Church and State: One significant ruling in this matter was the Supreme Court's decision on school prayer in 1962.

Opposed by

President Bush 2001: Established White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
House Minority Leader Tom DeLay 2004: ... Tom DeLay has announced plans to remove the federal courts' jurisdiction to rule on the constitutionality of the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Right to privacy: Significant development in this area established in Griswold vs Connecticut (1965)

Opposed by

President Bush's nominee to the court: Bill Pryor 2003: Pryor believes no right to privacy exists in the Constitution

Abortion rights: From the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision of 1973.

Opposed by

President Bush 1994: "I will do everything in my power to restrict abortions."

Operate within multi-national framework: Promoted by Woodrow Wilson, fully adopted by Franklin Roosevelt (1945) and subsequent administrations.

  Opposed by

President Bush: Withdrew from the ABM Treaty (established in 1972) 2001: "America is withdrawing from this almost 30-year-old treaty ..."
President Bush: Opposed the Kyoto Protocol (established in 1997) 2001: "I oppose the Kyoto Protocol"
President Bush: Refuses to participate in the Internation Criminal Court (established in 1998) 2004: "I made a decision not to join the International Criminal Court in The Hague"

Posted at 02:45 PM in Philosophy, Politics, Science, War/Defense | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Keep Fishin'

Totally amusing:

Posted at 11:42 AM in Music | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Big Lebowski - F_cking Short Version

This will be the funniest f^&*in' thing you will see all week!

via Infectious Greed

Posted at 06:27 AM in Film, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Friday, July 21, 2006

Colbert Report: Julian Bond Interview (Finding a new black friend)

too funny --

Holla at me!

Posted at 02:17 PM in Humor, Politics, Television | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Vader Sessions

Another very funny Vader parody:

I wonder what movie this dialogue is from?

via joshua blankenship

Posted at 06:32 AM in Humor | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Thursday, July 20, 2006


How cool is this?


via Wicked Cool Stuff

Posted at 02:35 PM in Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Human Space Invaders

Hey Now!

via boing boing

Posted at 06:20 AM in Humor | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Chad Vader - Day Shift Manager

too funny!

Posted at 02:10 PM in Film, Humor | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack