Saturday, April 30, 2011

Resolving Urban Decay With Better Laws

One of the biggest reasons we have urban decay is the simple fact that it's usually more profitable for developers to start with undeveloped land than to renovate or re-purpose existing structures.

We could level the playing field by using the tax code.  The result would yield huge economic, ecological and sociological benefits.  There already are some elements of this in the tax code, but more is needed. 

I would even go so far as to say, we would benefit if the tax code made it significantly more profitable for developers to renovate and reinvest in existing areas than to bulldoze new undeveloped land.

One of the biggest reasons people give for abandoning their cities and moving to bedroom communities is lower taxes.  That's pretty easy to fix.  There should be a tax on the people living in these bedroom communities and let the proceeds go to the city they abandoned but still feed off of economically.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Movie Nicknames For Jackson Buildings

Ghostbusters Building
For years, Jacksonians nicknamed the Standard Life Building, the "Ghostbusters Building" after the 1984 comedy.  In the film, they used a real apartment building at 55 Central Park West, NY, that does have a reasonal resemblance to the Jackson structure, mainly because they both utilize the same architectural style and were built the same year (1929). 

The "Real" Ghostbusters Building
The Jackson Ghostbusters Building
I always thought the SLB looked more like the Empire State building, with a less elaborate finial.

Darth Vader Buildings
Some locals have taken to calling the City Centre development on Lamar St. (formerly the Milner and Petroleum Buildings) the "Darth Vader" buildings for their black glass and chrome exteriors.

Darth Vader Buildings

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Mississippi Mummy

Mississippi State Capitol forgery

In the 1920s, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History purchased a large collection of Native American artifacts from Colonel Brevoort Butler.

Included in these artifacts was one item that was clearly not of Native origin, an Egyptian mummy.

For decades this item was on display in the State Capitol Building, becoming a much-loved attraction and source of local pride.

In 1969, Gentry Yeatman, a medical student with an interest in archeology, asked the museum for human remains to study for evidence of disease. Permission was granted to remove the mummy and for it to be sent to the University of Mississippi Medical Center for an autopsy. Radiological examination showed a few animal ribs and several square nails holding together a wooden frame.

Upon closer examination it was found to be primarily composed of papier-mâché. German newsprint was found as well as an 1898 issue of the Milwaukee Journal. The fake mummy has now become more famous than ever and transformed into a prized possession linked deeply to the folk history of Mississippi.

The Case of the Dummy Mummy