North Korea sucks

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…And now for something completely different: A bunch of random, cool structures.

Bet you didn’t think I’d start with the St. Louis Arch?

Call it the power of Wikipedia. The strangest subjects can occur to you, and seconds later you know all about them.

What I wanted to know was how they built the thing, and I’ve always wondered how you get to the top of the arch. Both questions were answered: a lot of stainless and carbon steel, and reinforced concrete, and by a specially designed tramway.

Favourite skyscrapers? I’ve got a few.

The John Hancock in Chicago is magnificent – - like something straight out of Blade Runner or Star Wars.

The Chrysler building in NYC has to be one of the prettiest every built:…although Taipei 101 might give it a run for its money:

Scotia Plaza in Toronto is probably my favourite skyscraper (that I’ve seen) in Canada:

Not a big fan of towers generally, but this one is striking:

And no list of skyscrapers would be complete without the Burj Khalifa, the tallest in the world:

Pyramids are cool, right? When I say pyramids, you think this:

They truly are spectacular. But you might not know about Mexico’s massive pyramids:

In keeping with the theme of ancient America, there’s this:

Yeah, it’s getting a little overexposed. There’ll be a Pizza Hut there next week, I bet.

I’d never even heard of this, but apparently it’s the biggest castle in the world by surface area, and the largest brick building in Europe:

Russia gave us the Kremlin, but also this famous cathedral:

And this massive statue:

The best building in Britain? The Tower has to be a contender:

I don’t really need to list the Great Wall of China or the Forbidden Palace, do I? I dunno. Both are massive and impressive, but have just never inspired much passion in me. Japanese castles, on the other hand, have always been a draw:

Now, this is something just flat out cool. I won’t even hint. Just check it out:

Have you figured out yet that I could go on and on? We’ll revisit this another time, but I’ll leave you with a few more links. First, my favourite structure in Halifax:

It’s funny, when I was a nerdy kid spending all my time playing D&D, I thought Europe was awesome because it had castles. And Europe IS awesome, in part because of those castles. But growing up in Kingston, Ontario, I never had that much respect for what was in my own backyard. I liked Fort Henry, sure – quite a bit, actually – but it didn’t have the halo of excitement Warwick Castle held for me the first time I toured a British fortification. Fast forward decades, and I’m in a Japanese classroom when a student asks if Canada has castles. And it strikes me: Yes, yes we do. We call them forts, and they were built later, but a fort is a castle, and Halifax has a magnificent one. That is also probably the root of my fascination with the modest blockhouse – a castle you can have in your own backyard:

Finally, from my personal obsessions to an international joke:

I don’t actually mind its monolithic, fascist appearance – now that it’s had serious upgrades – but the story of North Korea’s attempt to build what ended up being a giant embarrassment in their midst is hilarious: a stark, monumental testament to communism’s failures.


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