Greta Sails 3

By Julie Collins

We are continuing our pledge drive and busy working on more creative and social commentary content for our patreon page.

We are immensely grateful for the few patreons we have picked up so far and are excited to release the full “Greta Sails” video for free to the public very soon, hopefully before Ms. Thunberg launches for Germany. She has just docked in NYC.

Ms.  Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenager, is being exploited by her parents, their billionaire friends, the media, politicos, venture capitalists and anyone else who feels they can gain influence, notoriety and money on her popularity. She is autistic and has Aspergers Spectrum Disorder.  With too much fanfare, technical feedback, and excitement she becomes disoriented, stressed, fatigued and unwell.  Children and adults afflicted with these anxiety making disorders need calm, stability and thrive in controlled routines and environments.  Young Greta is now in distress.  This was witnessed when the media descended upon her in a frenzy, moments after she docked in New York.  She was confused, shaking, and even said aloud, in a pleading tone, “My brain isn’t working right now.”  After many days out on the calm ocean with her daily routines going uninterrupted she was a very happy teenager. However, right now many people are concerned over this child in distress.

Here is our third  teaser video of “Greta Sails” and we hope it will inspire you to visit our patreon page at and make a pledge of just $2.00 per month.  It certainly makes all the difference.  Also, don’t forget to visit our “Book of Ours” YouTube page and while you’re there, be sure to hit the subscribe button.

This teaser video illustrates all the things that this child is expected to be as she campaigns against climate change and air travel:

Hostile Architecture Is Still A Thing?

By Julie Collins

Urbanites are familiar with the term “hostile architecture.”

It can be something as obvious as placing spikes in the outer windowsills of buildings or dividing up park benches so that a person cannot lie down on the bench comfortably to catch a few winks. This is a hostile act of violence against the poor, or the unhoused who find themselves without shelter or a home because of a parasitic capitalist system that has practically obliterated opportunity and social safety nets, providing instead welfare for the rich. It tells society at large that if a person is poor then they are to be punished, vilified and disappeared and least of all, made uncomfortable. Hostile architecture blames and punishes the victims.

One of the most extreme and widely known examples of hostile architecture is the Kercheval Avenue roundabout, and its barriers, located between Grosse Pointe, Michigan and Detroit. When the Kercheval Avenue residents built sheds and paved a road with no entrance into Kercheval Avenue (with Detroit funding  I might add) for the sole purpose to keep black Detroit citizens out, the local Detroit papers covered it extensively.  The story of this outright act of racism and hostility went national.

We visited Detroit to see for ourselves and sure enough, we witnessed this hostile architecture first-hand.

Furthermore, at noon everyday Kervechal Avenue blasts “The Eagles” or “Steely Dan” over loudspeakers. When we were waiting for our real estate agent to meet us at a local coffee shop on Kercheval Avenue, the loudspeakers started blasting this music immediately as she showed up since we had scheduled a noon appointment. I noticed a distressed look on her face as she walked up to meet us. As a black woman, the hostility toward her was palpable in a most covert manner.

Music and sound, believe it or not, is an example of hostile architecture, or hostile design.  It is used to discourage loitering. At a Burger King which is near an entrance to a BART station in San Francisco, and at the Gateway Station in Pittsburgh, extremely loud classical music is blasted over the loudspeakers. Some idiot convinced the planning commission that the classical music will keep out the “riff raff,” when really all it does is create an unnecessary uneasy feeling of passersby who subconsciously can pick up on the hostility behind the message. I would argue that to assume there is nefarious activity happening in train stations is what will perpetuate the very thing you think you are avoiding.

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A less obvious example of hostile architecture or hostile design are bus stops that have no shelters or are placed in areas that are not protected from oncoming traffic.






(Pittsburgh must rank dead last in safe, efficient, modernized public transportation. If it doesn’t we would be surprised. It’s like living in the early 20th century, or the 1990’s here. We don’t know which is worse actually.)

This is the bus stop that we have to use anytime we need to go to our credit union. It drops off in the middle of a highway and we have to take our lives into our own hands just to get to the entrance of the building. There is no crosswalk, no signal, no pedestrian signage for cars to slow down.

In fact, Pittsburgh ranks so low that did a series of four articles highlighting this fact. Pittsburgh is an out-of-date city that has this silly notion that cars are the future, when the rest of the world is investing in trillion dollar infrastructure to provide better, faster and stream-lined modes of clean transportation to the world at large.

Hostile architecture, at least when it comes to public transportation, isn’t a new concept but it was new to us. We lived in San Francisco which has a phenomenal public transportation system. From the cable cars, to the vintage street trolleys, to the electric buses to the expansive city wide train system which offers a quick trip to the ocean, and even Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), which links the entire Bay Area to the City and its outer-lying regions, each mode of transportation is efficient and offers exemplary service and an array of options to passengers. This is a 21st century model for a global society that is rapidly finding cars an impractical use of investment and time.

















There is a social media page on Facebook, “NUMTOT” which stands for New Urbanist Memes for Transit Oriented Teens that has taken the transit riding world by storm. It has its own Wikipedia entry, has been covered in multiple national media papers including the New York Times: and now each city has its own NUMTOT page, or a variation thereof including the rapidly growing Facebook page for Pittsburgh, PA: “Steel City Thoughts for Incline Riding Tots.” It rolls off the tongue quite nicely, doesn’t it?

However, in some regions the archaic out of date message that public transportation is an unacceptable model, through the message of hostile architecture or hostile design, is clear. It says, “If you are unfortunate or unhoused or if you use public transportation exclusively, you are not worth comfort, safety, rest, shelter or acknowledgement of needs.” And I would even add that bureaucracy and the private sector punish you for taking public transportation. Case in point. This is our new bus stop near our new home in West Pittsburgh, PA. Unacceptable:

Where is the bus shelter and seats for the disabled and elderly that wait at this bus stop every day? Where is the shelter for the mother and her tiny children, to keep them from running into the street? We have lived here for one year now. We have taken this bus and waited at this very bus stop multiple times during the week, sometimes even multiple times a day. We see young and old alike embark on this bus and ride it the quick 15 minutes to downtown Pittsburgh, PA. Compare it to our former bus stop which we were taking just as regularly:







Is our new bus stop not worth shelter because this area of West Pittsburgh is in an economic slump? Observe this shelter in the South Side of Pittsburgh:

To add insult to injury, the other day we were appalled to see this newly installed gate and hostile signage on the steps of the building that is nearest our bus stop. In the entire year we have lived here, we’ve never seen any public transit rider get in the way of tenants who live in the building or cause any damage to the steps of this building. This is basically a threat to all public transit riders, a hostile message that punishes anyone who chooses public transit over driving.  

One should not be made to feel like a criminal for choosing public transportation. What is even more appalling (and completely unacceptable on any moral level) is that this message is meant for the very people that would frequent the landlord’s new deli he just opened at the base of this building: the very people that would stop in, and, with their purchasing power, keep his business afloat. You know, those people who would buy a quick bottle of soda or water, or stop in to get a sandwich and eat it at the lunch counter, or buy something for their hungry child while waiting for the bus, are the very same people he is criminalizing by placing this hostile aggressive sign that basically says, “Give me your business. Now get away from here.”

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San Francisco, CA is a thousand and a half times more crowded than Pittsburgh, PA. There are nearly one million people densely packed into a City that is only 49 square miles and it is three quarters surrounded by water. Of course there are issues with tourists and public transit riders and city-walkers often hanging out on the stoops of walk-ups, flats, apartment buildings and Victorian homes. It is an urban environment. It is a City. I would explain to the deli owner who placed this hostile signage to his potential customer base: if you don’t want modern, efficient, responsible transit riding people near your deli, then move to some magical mystical place called Cranberry, PA, wherever that is. Seriously. We don’t know where it is. We looked it up. It has zero public transportation options to get there which means it is likely we will never visit it.

What was San Francisco’s response to this ever growing barrage of the stoop-sitting public? Did they build chain link fences with hostile “Keep Out!” signs across the porches of the thousands of dwellings whose occupants often have to step over people sitting on their steps multiple times a day? No. They built more bus shelters, with seats. The shelters provide protection from sun and rain and the seats offer an alternative to that tempting stoop of that lovely shaded Victorian. They also built public parklets, where streets were re-designed, and sidewalks were widened so the public could have a place to sit down at a table with built-in chairs or benches, while they rest or wait for the bus. If it was near a coffee shop or eating establishment, then that establishment would find their business growing, due to the resting foot traffic.

What would you prefer?  This?

Or this?


Or this?

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If responsible transit riding citizens continue to allow hostile architecture to exist, then the above business owner of the apartment building, for example, which is near where we stand everyday to take the bus, may find his business sputtering. If I were someone just standing there waiting for the bus, and I saw a “No Soliciting” or “No Trespassing” sign on the steps near the front door of his establishment, I wouldn’t go in and buy anything no matter how hungry or thirsty I was. Instead of seeking out a way to make the public (that same public that will bring him success), comfortable or feel welcome, he treats them with disdain and contempt.

I guarantee his business would boom if he had something like this:

Studies have proven time and again in all urban planning models that if the public has an option for a third place or sometimes referred to as “third space” (coffee shops are third spaces for examples) or the commons, to simply sit while they wait for a bus or just a place to sit outdoors or even in a temporarily sheltered space, there is less violence, less aggravation and less criminal activity.  Adversely, when areas are neglected and no commons or third spaces are built out and business owners have a “Keep Out” attitude toward the public at large, it actually perpetuates and causes more crime.

Hostility toward public transit riders or bike riders is perplexing to us. People who choose to ride their bikes to go to and fro and people who choose to take public transportation have an easier outlook about the world because they are in the world. Bike riders are generally just happier people in general because they are exercising their bodies which gives their brains the dopamine hits to make them feel better in general. When serotonin levels rise, life is good. Public transit riders pile onto the bus and can relax in their technology for some time after a stressful day at work. Conversation on public transit (especially in Pittsburgh) keeps people engaged with one another and trust factors strengthen when engaging in polite conversation.

This would describe a singular public transit moment that will give you the warm fuzzies. The other day Julie was riding the bus and two West Pittsburgh little girls were sitting behind her singing “The Wheels On the Bus Go Round and Round” and emphasizing the lyrics “The bus driver says ‘move on back! Move on back! Move on BACK!'” These girls get it and they are the future, and only the transit riding public can identify wth the weighty effect of this particular lyric. The modern public transit riding child knows that if he or she is in distress or lost, they know that a bus driver will help them and get them to safety. It’s a well known fact that children trust bus drivers more than the police these days. It’s because they associate a city bus driver with taking them on fun outings and places they want to go.

Hostile architecture and hostile design needs to be a thing of the past as society continues to progress. Bureaucratic in-fighting, greed and a lack of understanding of modern development models are what’s keeping certain areas from advancing, and they are being emptied of potential tax paying citizens at dizzying rates to the detriment of these areas that have already suffered from a collapsed economy due to circumstances outside of their control. NAFTA, for instance. Labor, in the form of good paying jobs for locals, was shipped overseas thus decimating the economy in this country in the 1990’s. Rising inequality is a modern problem that contributes as well. Jeff Bezos for instance, CEO of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post newspaper (he is the wealthiest man in the world) basically doesn’t pay taxes, which means his wealth goes back up to his holdings instead of to a tiny portion  to the economy at large. Large corporations in our area of West Pittsburgh do the same. PepsiCo for instance, has a plant very near where we live, but they’ve done nothing to beautify or improve the local economy or the local infrastructure. These selfish attitudes of the captains of capitalism do not reflect the former philanthropic attitudes of the great barons of industry from Pittsburgh’s yesteryear: Carnegie for instance was known for being an advocate of the Commons, or Third Space and there’s evidence of it all throughout Allegheny County.

A United Nations survey has rated America as that of a third world country.  Third world countries are rampant with disease, starvation, lack of clean water and lack of education and hostile architecture. Third world countries have a handful of people that have hoarded all the wealth while the entire population lives in the dirt, struggling to survive. This is greed run amok, and it’s difficult for Americans to realize that this is actually where we are now. We have traveled to other countries. When Europeans or New Zealanders or Asians look at us, they look at us with pity when they realize we are Americans. It is the same look our friends gave us when we told them we were leaving our home of 35 years and moving to Pittsburgh, PA.

Hostile architecture and hostile design not only criminalize the poor, or those who smartly use an efficient public transportation system to get them where they need to go. It also causes poverty and kills any potential for business growth in a community. Case in point: We can’t tell you how many times we have on-boarded our local bus in West Pittsburgh, to head downtown when we have heard multiple locals say on their cell phones (Pittsburghers are very loud and chatty. On a city bus in San Francisco you can hear a pin drop) “I’m just a few minutes away. I’ll see you at..” And they name whatever local restaurant, or cafe or bar is in downtown Pittsburgh. What they are subconsciously doing is reacting to the hostility they feel from the local business owners and avoiding that hostility altogether. They whizz by on the local bus and go somewhere else to socialize, eat and enjoy life and ultimately spend their money. Then the local delis, markets, bars, cafes and eating establishments wonder why their business isn’t more successful. In San Francisco, you will see hanging in the windows of all establishments, “All Are Welcome.  And We Mean Everyone.” We think we may have seen one of those signs in Pittsburgh, PA.

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But, there is small improvements here and there. For instance, we were delighted to find a public parklet in downtown Pittsburgh.

Leave it to the woke generation to educate us on hostile architecture. For instance, covered a story about an activist who began placing these stickers over hostile architecture to inform and educate the public at large about hostile design and hostile architecture.

Lack of appropriate infrastructure that puts the most responsible citizen (the bike rider) at risk, is also an example of hostile architecture. A bike entrance to Golden Gate Park didn’t have the appropriate posts up to signal to cars that there is a bike lane. We all know that drivers live insular, individualistic lives and once they slide into the seat of their multi-ton steel capsule, the last thing they think about is the world around them. Drivers treat their cars like their living rooms and unless there is obvious, visible infrastructure in place like posts or signs or painted walkways, they will feel it’s their obligation to use their steel capsule to murder or maim anyone in their way.

Therefore, a group of comrades in San Francisco who go by took it upon themselves to install posts at this particular entrance that the lazy eyed driver kept wandering into.

Because drivers are prone to attention deficit disorder, and orange pylon cones won’t even keep them from parking their vehicles into bike lanes, a group of patient cyclists added an extra eye-catching effect in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. They placed potted flowers in the buffer zone between the road and the bike lanes, preventing the cars from parking there. To some, this direct action of protecting cyclists might be considered “hostile design.” But, really? In this case it’s simply a response to ingrained driver hostility that causes ignorant, dangerous outcomes to innocent people.

Local millennial-aged business owners in West Pittsburgh have gone to great lengths to push back against hostile architecture or hostile design.

Sara Eve of PMA Tattoo has added extra touches of kindness to her studio. On Broadway, this beautiful studio has a welcoming aroma of essential oils the moment you walk in the door. A bounty of plants that sit in the floor-to-ceiling windows and a comfortable couch to sit on while you browse through tattoo designs makes you forget you are in a tattoo studio. There is nothing hostile at all about this place.

Broadway Brunch, also on Broadway Avenue, is brightly lit, with eclectic kitsch and basic down home hearty food options. The proprietor, RJ, was one of the first people Julie met when we moved here and he immediately offered her a free breakfast coupon. He has the trademark Pittsburgh gruffness but always cracks it with a big smile. We watched RJ handle the bureaucratic red tape of getting his hand painted sign up on the building with such good natured ease, that when it was finally up, we literally cheered.

Speaking of bureaucratic red tape, Ashley, the owner of Black Forge Coffee House went through hell and back, twice, to get her coffee shop up and running and never once called it quits. Her infectious laugh and devilishly good coffee drinks keep bringing us back. Believe it or not, when drinking a meticulously made Hellhound while listening to the softly pumped heavy metal in the background, you won’t feel any hostility at all coming from this place.

There are many more examples of local businesses in our neighborhood pushing out the hostile design model, and developing that modern, welcoming atmosphere that lights up all successful cities across the world but we wanted to highlight these three.

And the warmer months have opened up public spaces in various neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh where there is free music, food festivals and art walks. These are the things that bring the community out to discuss ideas and break barriers.

Hostile architecture and design can come in many forms, not just outwardly physical forms. It can often come across how staff treats its customer base.  More and more businesses are offering training to their staff in areas of customer appreciation or customer service. In the year we’ve lived here we’ve noticed a marked improvement in certain establishments in Pittsburgh. We noticed a trend when we first moved here that seems to be going away: some servers or baristas at food establishments (not in the West Pittsburgh area where we live) seemed unable to handle long lines of customers and would become easily irate and frazzled when three or more customers were waiting in line. Given we had just moved from one of the most touristed cities in the world where long lines are a way of life we found this strange and off-putting. But, we’ve noticed much improvement since then.

Modernization is coming in all forms and it is coming fast. When people feel the area they live isn’t modernizing fast enough or they still feel the glimpse of hostile design in the infrastructure, or that blight isn’t being addressed, they leave it to find more welcoming neighborhoods or cities that are making the efforts to beautify, offer comfort in everything from bus shelters to public parks.

Eradicating hostile architecture of course offers an opportunity for economic improvement in a neighborhood, but most importantly it starts from within.

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Greta Sails Teaser 2

One week ago, on August 20, 2019 we launched our Book of Ours Patreon Page.

Our first video for the Patreon Page is Greta Sails.

We offered our first Greta Sails teaser video with the hopes that you would come on over to our Patreon Page and sign up to be a patron.

It has been one week and we are still seeking patrons so we’ve decided to release Greta Sails Teaser 2 as Tory tells you of just one billionaire who is traveling with Greta Thunberg as she sails the ocean blue to campaign against climate change and air travel.

Please become a patron for just $2.00 per month on our Book of Ours Patreon Page

We want to continue to create more poignant content but we can’t do it without you.

Schenley Park Steeped In Socialism

By Julie Collins

On Saturday JP and Julie decided to trek into Schenley Park, a wooded park area expanding hundreds of acres in Pittsburgh, PA. Our expectations were low, as we learned very quickly after moving here that Pittsburgh doesn’t even come close to the budget that San Francisco has to put toward beautification projects. But, we wanted to walk among the trees, take pictures and get a feel for the terrain.

Named for Mary Schenley, the estranged daughter (and only child) of widower William Croghan, Jr., the park did not disappoint. The history of the park itself is indeed scandalous. Young Mary Elizabeth Croghan was an heiress to the Croghan fortune, but at the tender age of 15, escaped from her Long Island Boarding School and married the headmistresses’ brother in law, 43-year-old Captain Edward Schenley! Needless to say, the scandal brought the Croghan family much shame and young Mary was disinherited.

But as time went on and Mary bore William Croghan, Jr. many grand-children, he forgave his daughter’s impetuous indiscretion and built a stunning homage to her in the form of Schenley Park.



Would you like to read more?  Visit our Patreon page! There are many beautiful pictures we took and a lovely narrative about the importance of socialism in modern society.  Please become a patron of Book of Ours for just $2.00/month!


Thank you,

Julie and JP










Our friend in Vermont teaches what we teach: vegetarianism, planting, homeopathy, Buddhism.  Sadly some people think this is bad.

Book of Ours Heading Into a New Direction

“A new direction again?!” you might ask.  Yes, again!

Hello Internet and Real World Friends – Old and New Alike,

Three years ago JP and Julie created Book Of Ours to provide creative, leftist commentary on everything from politics to technological advances to culture to psychological nuances in society to arts and entertainment. We spent three years cultivating, absorbing, reading, watching, rehashing, thinking, educating ourselves and evolving this conceptual corner of the internet into a viable yet fun tool to inspire others. We’ve done the work, in other words, so that you don’t have to.  Here is an overview of us.

In those three years we lost our beloved little 14-year-old Pomeranian, got married, moved across country with our Maine Coon cat Gretel, bought a house for her and have been attempting to learn a new language called “Pittsburghese.”

We went from awkward live feeds on Facebook and YouTube to creating video essays that provoke thought and discovery on every angle of the cultural, artistic and political spectrum. Additions of music, voiceover, character development and mastering the art of story telling through critical commentary and art have put us on a level that has brought us recognition in areas we never expected.

Recently, our latest video on the Arnautoff murals has been supported and shared by the George Washington High School Alumni Association in San Francisco, and to this day we still receive personal emails from San Franciscans who thank us for our analysis on the sudden death of San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi.

For the last few months we have been archiving some of our older material and figuring out the best way to announce our move into the next phase of our creative work while simultaneously working on a new video!

The last two weeks have been enormously fun! As we were creating this new video, we discovered our ideas and our talent far surpassed our budget.  After having to reload and restart our computer about 180 times, we realized we’ve been creating these videos and blog pieces on a shoe string budget, to be honest. With a little duct tape, and a fervent prayer that our clunky old computer will live to see another day, we persevered. JP even had to pull out his external hard drive, hand built in the dark ages, in order to archive some of our work to free up storage for the new works in progress.

Since we were shocked to find that money just doesn’t magically appear in our bank accounts or on our doorstep so that we may upgrade to the things one needs to create quality work, we realized we had no choice but to start a Patreon account.

We are especially proud of our latest piece and it has been very hard not to just toss it up onto our public YouTube channel and offer it to the world for free. Take a look at the teaser.

It’s a cartoon!

Julie was able to tap into her years of theatrical training and voiceover training to cultivate the character Tory, a “Gossip Girl” inspired commentator who takes us through the recently embarked voyage of Greta Thunberg, an exploited child activist. The script itself is a loose interpretation taken from a series of tweets by Cory Morningstar, one of the most brilliant, critical thinking investigative essayists out there. Ms. Morningstar’s 6 plus part series is a deep dive into the latest global trend: the use of children to push a neoliberal, capitalistic agenda.

Our newest video is only 3 minutes long but it provides a light-hearted snark into this incredibly cynical and dangerous move to child exploitation, at your expense.

For just $2 a MONTH, yes, that’s per MONTH, you can help us make even better material to share.  As you can see our Patreon account  only has our latest video, but we are already starting production on another one (most likely another cartoon), and we will be adding blog material soon enough.  For $24 per YEAR, you can help get us there.

Some future ideas that are in the works:

“The Long Game to Kamala Harris” – our mental gymnastics are at work here, purely for entertainment purposes of course.

Julie is doing research on “folie á deux” – a psychological phenomena that once was rare and is now pervasive in society with the advances in social media programming.

JP is working on a video essay inspired by Cory Morningstar, the works of John Steppling and JP’s own understanding of simulacrum and the dangers of the green non profit industrial complex.

We will be introducing two new characters: pretentious, privileged artists who have received critical acclaim for their artistic interpretations of stratospheric aerosol injections.

We are also in the process of creating merch!  Yep, you get some swag!  Book of Ours will be offering a badge or t-shirt for purchase, or if you sign up to become a certain tier level on our Patreon page,  we will send it to you for free.

As soon as we create them, these new creative blog and video pieces will be available on our Patreon page for you to view at a rate that is cheaper than anything you’ll find anywhere.  It comes to like, $.07 per day if you start at the lowest tier.

We have a goal!  As soon as we get $100 worth of patrons signed up to our Patreon page, we will release the full video of Greta Sails for free on our Book of Ours YouTube page.   Think of how your small acts of patronage and generosity can help enrich the lives of those who would have otherwise never seen this incredible video!

We are very excited about this new direction.  And, we hope to see you lurking around our Patreon page very soon!

Julie and JP











Eat Better

The last thing we would do is recommend a mainstream article, especially the Wall Street Journal, but being vegetarians and also having never been diagnosed with depression or mood disorders, we see the benefit of an organically-based vegetarian diet and how it correlates directly with our attitude, energy levels, sleep patterns and overall health.

Having a myriad of health problems since birth, I’ve always had a healthy diet.  My mother kept my diet free of sugar and discovered organics long before it was fashionable.

There are plenty of people in our current circle who could benefit from a healthy diet.  Coming from California it was a little disarming to move to an area of the country where everyone suffers from obesity, undiagnosed developmental issues ( mental disorders).  They may benefit from a diagnosis and medication but sometimes allopathic isn’t the cure for everything.  Sometimes it starts very simply:  just eat a better diet.

-Julie Collins