Oh dear reader, we can’t tell you how much this writer missed you while he was away, fraternizing for the past couple of weeks with writers both Chinese and American in the flat Iowan landscape. Before we get into our normal two-editor routine again, here are some quick pieces delivered from Iowa. First, if you ever happen to be passing through Solon (a few miles outside of Iowa City), do yourself a favor and try to get over to see self-taught architect Dick Schwab‘s gigantic, yurt-like barns. They’re incredible and the big one smells like fresh cut wood and barbecue sauce (we’re not sure why with that one). Second, despite hearing nary a peep of this when we were in China back in May, one night at a bar in Iowa, we were talking about architecture to one of the translators on the project, he himself from Beijing, who flat out said that Rem Koolhaas had built the pants-like CCTV Tower to make fun of the Chinese people. We’d heard of the popularity of this seemingly very misguided belief, and even posted about it back in late August, but it was really strange to hear it in person and find that real people actually believe this. Lastly, during those few moments of quiet downtime we had in Iowa, we were devouring Michael Gross‘ wonderfully juicy tell-all about the Metropolitan Museum, Rogues Gallery, which comes highly recommended if you like reading about how major museums and/or rich people operate. All that quick recap out of the way, we now return to our regular reporting and, well, whatever else it is that we do around here.