Hand-built Cathedral


Hand-made Cathedral

Cathedral in progress

In the world of architecture a building is “vernacular” when it is built to the standards of local custom, but largely free of other architectural traditions. When vernacular gets weird, architecture shrugs it off as “folly.”

Justo Gallego Martínez life’s work in Madrid Spain seems both vernacular and folly, but also strangely architectural. A massive cathedral he has built alone, by hand, and largely unplanned, is impressive in scale, quality, design and personal touch. A documentary about his work gives a sense of the epic nature of his effort, devotion and the building.

What makes this fun? In a general sense, Don Justo has built a cathedral that is not a cathedral. Though he is Catholic, he did not work under the guidance of a church. Through the building is architectural, he is not an architect. Where a cathedral is meant to inspire awe, which his does, it is too personal and feels intimate depsite its size. There is something deeply sacred about this construction. But as the work of one man, it’s also deeply human.

So it seems fun in so many ways. At the same time, we are taught to see the religious as not fun. The reason for that is pretty simple: We look to religion for certainty, while fun plays with meaning. Religion promises us answer where fun asks questions. Religion about what we can’t udnerstand, but fun demands some sort of answer.

What is wonderful about Don Justo’s Cathedral is that it demonstrates that the sacred and the playful and exist together. Maybe the nature of god is not in certainty, but in the liberty of play.

Extreme Pop Ups


Pop up campfire card

Pop up campfire card from Love Pop

Pop Up books start in childhood, creating surprise and amazement. And like other truly special childhood objects, the pop up never really looses its appeal. And why would it. From the seemingly dull world of the flat book explodes constructions that seem almost magical in their ability to spring from the page. This “page that is not a page” provides a delightful example of how fun objects work and how little it can take to use fun to creates smiles.

Love Pop cards takes the wonder of the pop up and doubles down in a series of cards. Lots of greeting card feature simple pop ups and other googly eye gimmicks. But Love Pop is special in its combination of extreme popping up to bring a bit of wow to the predictable package of the greeting card.



What happens when fun runs into obsession or compulsion? Where does the fun end and the addiction begin?

Alcohol is a perfect case study in the delicate balancing act fun requires. On face value, booze is a big part of how grown ups have fun. We drink wine at fancy dinners, guzzle beer at the bowling alley and slam cocktails at the night club. Liquor is a “social lubricant” and go to for the end of a busy work week. Happy Hour is not synonymous with happiness but with drinking.

Short of a Carrie Nation teetotaler most people can at least see a place for a cocktail in the world of adult fun, even it is not your drug of preference.

In short, drinking is fun or at least helps get us in the mood for having fun.

That is always a few drinks away from trouble. Drink too much and you get a hangover, drink and drive and you might get a ticket, or worse. Chain yourself to the bottle and you can get though the day without a drink. Even moderate social drinking can end up in unwanted arguments or the regretful drunk dial.

Looking at fun theory, we can see the problem. First off, you don’t need booze to have fun anymore than you need Disneyland to have fun. But in both cases, a martini or the Mouse can help get you into the fun state of mind–where things are what they are not and are not what they are. The is/is not of fun.

But booze is a drug and as easily as it can alter our body chemistry for good, it can also lure us into a false sense of security–we think we are funny when we are offensive, we think we are really good drives while we weave, we think we are really good dancers while we slowly grind out a regretful performance that will end up on You Tube. In all of these cases, we are having fun in the moment, but upon sobering up, the moment is gone, and with it the fun.

And when alcohol becomes an obvious addiction, an uncontrollable compulsion, there is no “is not”, only the ugly dependancy.

Strangely, in the wild and wacky world of fun, the question of addiction only points toward moderation. If you can’t do something with a measure of control–eat, drink, exercise, have sex–then you really can’t have fun. Fun does’t provide a recipe as much as a formula. What you do for fun today ought to still seem like it was fun tomorrow.

Hunter Thompson’s Last Words: No Fun


According to the Washington Post, here’s the suicide note Hunter Thompson wrote days before killing himself:

“No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking. No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50. 17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring. I am always bitchy. No Fun — for anybody. 67. You are getting Greedy. Act your old age. Relax — This won’t hurt.”

It is sobering to think what a life lived for fun can do for you when it turns “No Fun”. Or is there a way back to the joys of a fun life? Is this just depression?

Lost at Sea


Just in case you are interested, yes, this is still my blog. The site started back when blogging meant something. I’ll probably update this thing one of these days. In the meantime, if you want to talk to me, you know where to find me. And if you don’t know where to find me, look on Facebook or something. I work at the University of Colorado Denver. That’s another way to track me down, Mr and/or Ms Detective


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