Dumbass America, QR codes, & Dumbass Lloyd

The dumdassedness of America the formerly bountiful In a comment to my last post (below), John X wrote: “…I wish everyone could see Europe and get a picture in their heads of what a civilized society looks like. It all may tumble down when / if the Euro implodes or the EU breaks up or whatever, but for a few short years there was a place on this planet where the good of the people came before the good of the military-industrial complex and the goddamned billionaires.” So true. Hadn’t thought of it that way. In Europe, everything is more efficient, more people-centric. Cars, railroads, clean energy —to mention a few. Think of what the USA could have accomplished if $$ that went into the military had been used constructively. What if funds for our 2 present wars had gone into clean energy projects and health care and public works projects. Be still, my beating heart. I am so embarrassed, so mortified by the greed and short-sightedness and stupidity of our “leaders.” Shooting ourselves in the foot so many times there’s hardly any foot left. The religious right and Tea Party morons try to steer things ever further into the abyss of intolerance and cruelty. The Rapture. Yeah, right.

I’m sitting at a table in a silent and clean electric-powered train, having just left Frankfurt, crossed the Rhein, going about 80-90 mph, heading for Mainz to visit a young American expatriate living in a small trailer she put together for about 1000 Euros. It’s my one free day before the book fair starts.

QR bar codes

We just discovered these. They are about to become ubiquitous. You install a (free) app (I use Qrafter) on your smartphone, then use the camera to scan it (off of paper or on-screen). It then will give the choice of going to whichever URL you have designated, emailing it, or posting on Twitter or Facebook. We have just put these in our Tiny Homes book, our tiny Tiny Homes book, and on my biz card.

The dumbassedness of moi and the kindness of strangers Well, wouldn’t you know it, I overshot Mainz by an hour. Having so much fun on my computer, watching the countryside flash by, with my espresso and sugared doughnut, ahem, ahem. A lady on the train told me to get off at the next major station to catch a train back to Mainz and then a lady at the semi-deserted train station — after deciding the guy with the long white hair wasn’t going to rob her, let me use her phone to tell Nikki I’d be about 3 hours late. I do seem to stumble my way through a lot of life, but there are serendipitous discoveries along the path of unexpectedness.

Shot from train window in rocky wine-growing region today

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

11 Responses to Dumbass America, QR codes, & Dumbass Lloyd

  1. Europe is dead, Dude. Shot it's wad long ago…slow dying…but they will get to the graveyard. Trains? Really…trains? You want to take a train from Atlanta to San Fran? Not me! We are a BIG country…(see any map)…that's why we don't learn furrin' languages. Thousands of miles before you meet some one that doesn't speak English or Spanish. You are a dinosaur. The world has moved on…please, shut up or keep up….

    1. Wow… speaking of keep up or stut up… considering the state of trains in America vs Europe or Japan no wonder another ignorant amarican (being from the US myself) thinks someplace other than umarica can do NO better… & now hyperloop in progress… (a sort or train / pipeline hybrid system)… why take a train when you can just drive your gas guzzling truck or car all that way supported by the wars we fought over oil resources and to line Haliburton stakeholders pocketbooks….

  2. Oh, I can't believe you got to meet Nikki! I've been following Click Clack Gorilla for awhile now. Two of my favorite web people getting to meet! How awesome is that? Patty

  3. Lloyd – I think you may have a case of the the grass is greener. There are as many problem in Europe as there are in the States. Even more bad,corrupt and stupid politicians. Germany does lead the way in terms of green investment and infasruture and is still one of the strongest economies in Europe. But we are all post in post empire decline waiting for China to rule the world.
    Yup we have alotments – but your not allowed to stay overnight at them as you are in Germany. Really they are for growing your own produce here in the UK. We have seen quite a resurgance in this recently, but still far from the norm.
    Trains are the way to go as oil becomes scarce.But the tube trains and commuter trains are an outrageous. We are not allowed to transport animals in such conditions !
    Glad your Enjoying yourself, hope the shoulder is holding up.
    Rich

  4. Lloyd- I don't think any of your readers would take anonymous's "trolling" seriously. But, I'll bit: train from Atlanta to SF? Yes! Sign me up… Train travel is a great way to see huge area. I've been all over Europe and Asia via train and its wonderful, even the common-class trains in India are exciting. Multi-day trips are not a problem when the trains are comfortable and stop frequently.

    It is true that we tend to view areas foreign to use with rose-colored glasses, but that is part of what is magical about travel. We see things that inspire us to improve our own nations and communities. Sometimes, we can even get the feeling of being glad to be home, and that is when travel has really done its job.

  5. I wondered if you were going to meet the blogger at Click Clack Gorilla when you said you were headed to Mainz- I've been following both of you for awhile now; how cool that you could meet.

    My husband and I are headed to Seattle from Portland for our anniversary and I can't wait! Unfortunately, from Portland, OR to Seattle, WA is about all the train ticket we can afford- blame Eisenhower for building a car-centric infrastructure instead of a great national rail system- he made the choice, but then, he too was in the back pockets of the oil companies.

    But I'm glad you met Nikki, and that you're getting a good taste of what Europe has to offer.

  6. I have to agree with Richard, Lloyd. The grass is greener. Along with progressive white people amenities like trains and cafe's they have slums and their fair share of xenophobia (see: France, Austria). And the reason they are in the austerity mess they are in is because European governments have been in bed with billionaires, even more so than in the US I would say. Europe is great if you're a middle class white guy, but if you're trying to make it as a young Muslim man you're going to get shit on.

  7. Ben,
    I don't think it's a matter of all or nothing. Europeans do some things way better, like trains and small cars and solar energy. I met an American woman yesterday, working for a solar energy company and she was here to confer with the Germans, because she said they are way ahead of the US in that field. I don't want to live in Europe. I've been to England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Hungary, and the Czech Republic over the years, and lived in Germany while running a USAF base newspaper for 2 years in the late '50s — so I'm not making judgements from afar. My mother's family left Wales in the 1700s, my paternal grandfather left Germany in the 1800s — in search of more freedom and space, and I'm with that program. "Give me land, lots of land 'neath the starry skies above, don't fence me in…" But that doesn't stop me from appreciating things they do better over here. And the Iraq war. Other than Tony Blair tagging along, the Europeans are peripheral to this catastrophe and the amount of money and death and destruction that America has wrought is just unspeakable.

  8. Ah I had a feeling when reading the description that you meant Miss Click Clack! Both your blogs are favorites of mine and dwell together in teh same favs folder!
    Oh joy for you both to meet!

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