• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal


A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.


Say what you want about the wall-to-wall but Aunt Mollie’s floor-to-ceiling glass is the best thing in Florida since Cabeza de Vaca walked butt naked to Mexico from this state five hundred years ago.

The fifty-foot wrap of glass dazzles the eyes and creates shadow worlds in the farthest recesses of the house.  Hide’n’seeking, we squeeze into the most Narnian corners of the wardrobes, where bits of the regal old lady’s spirit linger.  Aunt Mollie’s been gone a twelve-month and more.

For me Aunt Mollie’s that chick in An Officer and a Gentleman, a title that sounds gay and like all military stuff probably is, but features certain definitively hetero moments.  Like when the chick is picked up off the shop floor by Richard Gere at the end of the movie and carried off to be an officer flyboy’s wife at whatever AFB worldwide goes with the territory and the stint.  I guess it’s Debra Winger playing Aunt Mollie.  And I guess Aunt Mollie finally came to roost here in Atlantis with the waterbirds and the Cessnas.  Roost in peace.

April hide’n’seek in Atlantis, we’re in thermal equilibrium.  No AC, no heat.  In the lustre of mid-day, no lights.  The breeze comes in four miles from the Gulf Stream, touches the blue of the pond just past one of twenty-seven golf holes, and stirs a nearly sad memory at the back of the house amongst some roosting coat hangers.  “Bare ruined choirs,” I say to Liam, who’s nine but according to certain tests supposedly has the intelligence of someone twice his age.  What does that even mean?  Liam ignores me—how bright can he be?

We’re temporarily off-grid in Atlantis, contributing nothing to the deterioration of ice caps or to the sinking of Pacific island nations.  When darkness comes, Liam will use his surfeit of intelligence to tinker with the notion of deploying the short stiff arms of the wall switches to lever distant Pacific coral archipelagos fractionally lower.

The solar premise of an offgrid Atlantis, not far from West Palm Beach, can hardly fail to stir the hearts of nowtopians.  Amidst the worst housing crisis since Cabeza de Vaca’s galleon sank, Floridean inessentials like roads, airports, and consolation gimcracks for the kids are kept artificially functional with outsider money.  But all the weedkiller in Atlantis couldn’t suppress the essential life force of the ecosystem here.  The irony is of a housing crisis on a peninsula that hardly needs houses at all.  I’ve lived outdoors in all seasons in Princeton, New Jersey in only a bivy sack, and in most other northern states with the luxury of a tent, so it seems to me there’s something heuristic about a Florida housing crisis.

It doesn’t take much to survive in this ecosystem.  Aunt Mollie’s house is a dromedary’s hump, a big hip-roof in the local way, shadowing the smaller living quarters.  The attic is crosshatched internally with cheap factory trusses so that its space is wasted in every way except the important one—thermally.  The shakes are concrete cleverly trompe l’oeil’d  to look like cedar.  The wide eaves block mid-day and summer sun and allow the rays to angle in when they are most needed.  A rain barrel at each corner of the roof would take care of most water needs, even in this decades-long drought.

Like its nation-state, Atlantis is a gated community, though no less friendly for all that.  A host of by-laws apparently prohibits folks from arranging things in their own interests: no vegetable gardening, significant composting, or eccentric behavior, unless you count rumors of my too-generous father-in-law’s no-holds-barred duck-wrestling matches.

But the really wonderful thing about Atlantis is that it’s got 99% of nowtopia already laid out.  Wherever folks have kept the big pre-AC windows to allow ocean breezes (especially the roll-out louvered kind), wherever there’s lots of glass brimmed to block hi-angled sun and to catch low-angled sun, nowtopia’s rough-framed and ready to be relaxed into.  Just roll a few PT Cruisers upside down at the business end of each intersection to block automobile traffic, and get planting.  Stuff grows here.

Aunt Mollie’s formerly mid-to-upper-class house is sinking in price so quickly it is practically out of sight and will soon disappear Atlantis-like into someone’s need for liquidity, or by the strange alchemy of real estate, will sink so low it will become oddly real again: rooted in the ground of being, the estate of the real.

Atlantis is a nowtopia so close you can practically, as the composter said, touch it.  I can think of no better tribute to old Aunt Mollie than to make the world anew, beginning right here.

DAVID Ker THOMSON has wandered Florida in various states of undress for decades.  dave.thomson@utoronto.ca



More articles by:
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
Andrew Levine
What’s So Awful About Foreign Interference?
T.J. Coles
Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Betrayal”: Elect a Clown, Expect a Pie in Your Face
Joseph Natoli
Trump on the March
Ashley Smith
Stop the Normalization of Concentration Camps
Pete Dolack
The Fight to Overturn the Latest Corporate Coup at Pacifica Has Only Begun
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Russophobia at Democratic Party Debate
Chris Gilbert
Forward! A Week of Protest in Catalonia
Daniel Beaumont
Pressing Done Here: Syria, Iraq and “Informed Discussion”
Daniel Warner
Greta the Disturber
M. G. Piety
“Grim Positivism” vs. Truthiness in Biography
John Kendall Hawkins
Journey to the Unknown Interior of (You)
Christopher Fons – Conor McMullen
The Centrism of Elizabeth Warren
Nino Pagliccia
Peace Restored in Ecuador, But is trust?
Rebecca Gordon
Extorting Ukraine is Bad Enough But Trump Has Done Much Worse
Kathleen Wallace
Trump Can’t Survive Where the Bats and Moonlight Laugh
Clark T. Scott
Cross-eyed, Fanged and Horned
Eileen Appelbaum
The PR Campaign to Hide the Real Cause of those Sky-High Surprise Medical Bills
Olivia Alperstein
Nuclear Weapons are an Existential Threat
Colin Todhunter
Asia-Pacific Trade Deal: Trading Away Indian Agriculture?
Sarah Anderson
Where is “Line Worker Barbie”?
Brian Cloughley
Yearning to Breathe Free
Jill Richardson
Why are LGBTQ Rights Even a Debate?
Jesse Jackson
What I Learn While Having Lunch at Cook County Jail
Kathy Kelly
Death, Misery and Bloodshed in Yemen
Maximilian Werner
Leadership Lacking for Wolf Protection
Arshad Khan
The Turkish Gambit
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Rare Wildflower vs. Mining Company
Dianne Woodward
Race Against Time (and For Palestinians)
Norman Ball
Wall Street Sees the Light of Domestic Reindustrialization
Ramzy Baroud
The Last Lifeline: The Real Reason Behind Abbas’ Call for Elections
Binoy Kampmark
African Swine Fever Does Its Worst
Nicky Reid
Screwing Over the Kurds: An All-American Pastime
Louis Proyect
“Our Boys”: a Brutally Honest Film About the Consequences of the Occupation
Coco Das
Cesar Chelala
Donald Trump vs. William Shakespeare
Ron Jacobs
Calling the Kettle White: Ishmael Reed Unbound
Stephen Cooper
Scientist vs. Cooper: The Interview, Round 3 
Susan Block
How “Hustlers” Hustles Us
Charles R. Larson
Review: Elif Shafak’s “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World”
David Yearsley
Sunset Songs
October 17, 2019
Steve Early
The Irishman Cometh: Teamster History Hits the Big Screen (Again)