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SINCE WE’RE NEIGHBORS, LET’S BE FRIENDS
Mar 20th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

mallhalloffame.blogspot.ca

In the six weeks or so since I posted any news briefs, the news has just kept on a-comin’.

Among the highlights: The hedge-fund guys who bought and sold Chrysler, then bought (and re-merged) the two previously spun-apart regional halves of Albertsons, are now going to buy Safeway.

Both chains have been bought and sold in leveraged buyout schemes previously; both have barely recovered from those debacles. Both chains have also acquired other regional chains over the decades, and lost and re-gained some of the stores operating under their original “store banners.” Even the “core” Safeway-branded operation was originally a merger of several chains, arranged by Merrill Lynch in the 1920s.

It happens that Safeway and Albertsons both have roots in Idaho (the original Albertsons is still open in Boise!). Both circuits grew and thrived in the inland and coastal West, areas A&P (the grocery biz’s former 300-lb. gorilla) mostly never got around to entering. These are also territories that Walmart only got around to entering in the last decade or two. That makes them relatively stable fiscally, compared to southern and eastern grocery circuits operating in Walmart’s core regions.

Both chains, of course, control lots of real estate, which may be the real reason they’re attractive to the hedge-fund folks. Safeway in particular has actively co-developed multi-story, “mixed use” projects on many of its store sites, including several projects in Seattle and Bellevue.

The soon-to-be-combined chains’ management claims no stores will close as a result of the merger. But many could be sold off, especially in metro areas where both chains are strong. And some warehouses and front-office jobs could also go away.

One thing I predict won’t go away: the persistent, and false, urban legend that either or both chains are really “owned by the Mormons.” They never were.

NY10014 at flickr

RANDOM LINKS FOR 12/2/13
Dec 1st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

A long-delayed batch of randomosity (the first in more than a month) begins with the discovery of the newest local “mainstream microbrew.” Underachiever Lager appears to have begun as a promo vehicle for Tacoma designer-casual-wear company Imperial Motion, but is now being rolled out as its own thang in select local bars.

  • The countdown to the possible decimation of King County Metro Transit continues, with professional Seattle-haters in the Legislature officially not giving a damn.
  • Could the Seattle Monorail Project really be brought back from the dead?
  • About eighteen years past due and not a moment too soon, there’s finally a local music show back on local TV. It’s Band in Seattle, and it airs at 11 p.m. Saturdays on the once-mighty KSTW (which hasn’t had any local programming in ages).
  • Dj and promoter Derek Mazzone offers a fond remembrance of Ace Hotel/ARO.Space/Tasty Shows/Rudy’s Barbershop entrepreneur Alex Canderwood.
  • We must also say goodbye to Dee Dee Rainbow, a longtime Meany Middle School art teacher, a fixture at just about every jazz show in the region, and a figure of joy and celebration wherever she went.
  • As has been expected, a mega-developer is buying the old “Fairview Fannie” Seattle Times HQ. The 1930 art deco façade features might be retained.
  • Monica Guzman has seen one of Amazon’s new “webisode” sitcoms and finds it to be a dreary dude-fest with female characters decidedly de-emphasized.
  • Sinan Demirel at Crosscut remembers homeless-housing projects of the past, and ponders whether they contain any lessons for today.
  • Is there really such a thing as “The Seattle ‘No,’” depicted as a passive-aggressive copout response? I’ve certainly had few problems saying a firm “No” to questions just like this one.
  • City Councilmember-elect Kshama Sawant isn’t even in office yet and the carpers, local and national, are already circling.
  • The Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center is in severe financial straits and might not survive.
  • One of my fave hangouts, Bill’s Off Broadway at Pine and Harvard, closes Monday nite. Yep, redevelopment strikes again. The pizza/pasta joint and sports bar has already opened an exile location on Greenwood Avenue, and should be back in the rebuilt corner in 20 months’ time.
  • To the surprise of very few, David Meinert and his partner Jason Lajuenesse are taking over the Comet Tavern.
  • Matt Driscoll at Seattle Weekly describes Boeing’s single, unacceptable, set of take-it-or-leave-it demands for labor givebacks as the “dick move of the week.” But don’t worry; billionaire CEOs have made plenty of dick moves just in the two weeks since then.
  • Lemme get this straight: A local ad agency is trying to convince other ad agencies to make ads here in Wash. state by playing on the image of this as a place where people don’t like being advertised to. Or something like that.
  • KIRO-TV salaciously described the sidewalks surrounding City Hall Park and the Morrison Hotel as “The Most Dangerous Block in Seattle.” A local merchant there begs to differ, and asks that the down n’ out be treated with “your hope, not your contempt.”
  • We’re learning that every time there’s a closed subculture run by leaders who demand total obedience, there’s apt to be child abuse. Latest example: NYC’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 10/27/13
Oct 27th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • It’s easy to really admire Jim Vallandingham’s project “Mapping Seattle Streets.” It’s harder to describe it. I’ll just say he’s using street grids and other map details to explain the city to itself.
  • You know I love the Clark Bar, and am eternally grateful to the NECCO people for saving the historic candy brand. So yes, I’m amused by the brand’s current ad campaign, in which women of various ethnicities say inexplicable things in foreign languages followed by a brief product plug in English.
  • Jonathan Franzen has become, alas, the very model of a modern get-off-my-lawn crank. Fortunately, Mallory Ortberg at The Toast has a lovely antidote, “The Rage of Jonathan Franzen”:

He is angry because Salman Rushdie uses Twitter, and nowadays people can buy books on the Internet, and the Home Depot, and he had to go to Germany one time, and also some women exist who have not had sex with him.

  • I wish NYT contributor Tim Kreider’s “Slaves of the Internet, Unite!” was actually about organizing a crusade against dot-coms that expect artists and writers to work for them for free. Alas, all Kreider offers is a prepared statement you can use when you reject their “opportunities.”
  • Is long-term unemployment a “good” thing? Perhaps to Wall St. speculators.
  • The “Lofgren Corollary.” It’s a fancy term to describe how Republicans destroy government from inside, then proclaim how government isn’t working.
  • Lou Scheimer, 1929-2013: The cofounder of the Filmation cartoon studio broke through to the bigtime with a Saturday morning Superman cartoon show in the ’60s. It led to dozens of series over the next two decades. All but a few were based on established character “properties,” and almost all were considered to be factory-produced schlock. But they were all made in the U.S. by unionized staffs, with no outsourced animation. Thus, a disproportionate number of today’s top animation figures got their start under Scheimer.
  • My favorite “intellectual joke”: Rene Descartes goes into a bar, orders a drink, and drinks it. The bartender asks if he’ll have another. He says, “I think not,” and disappears.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 10/20/13
Oct 20th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

charter construction via ronald holden, cornichon.org

Gosh, has it really been more than three weeks since I’ve done this? Time flies when you’re desperately looking for paying work (i.e., absolutely not “for the exposure”).

Anyhow:

  • The prefab apartment units (above) recently craned into place next to Dan’s Belltown Grocery on Third are not really “apodments.” They’re from a different developer than the company that owns that name. And they’re about 425 square feet each, a “regular apartment” size that’s much larger than those micro-apts.
  • Meanwhile, the residents (many of them elderly) of a Ballard apartment complex are standing their ground and refusing to be evicted from their longtime homes in the name of upscaling.
  • Use It Or Lose It Dept.: The current owners of Scarecrow Video say they’re in desperate fiscal straits. If enough former loyal customers don’t resume renting/buying “physical media” at the U District institution, “the world’s largest collection of movies” will go away forever.
  • Tom Foley, 1929-2013: The Spokane liberal (yes, there really are such) and former U.S. House Speaker thrived in a disappeared age of gentler, more cooperative politics (i.e., two-way backroom dealmaking). The end of that era was the end of his political career; he was ousted by a corporate Republican who promised to limit his own terms of office, then promptly forgot that promise.
  • As another baseball season reaches its last round, Steve Rudman claims the Mariners’ bosses don’t even know how clueless they are.
  • Stop the coal trains! (Besides, I always liked Thelonius Monk better.)
  • Great moments in market segmentation: Rave dancers now have a bottled water “made” just for them.
  • Of course, Sean Hannity’s “victims of Obamacare” were all fake. But you knew that.
  • Charles Simic at the NY Review o’ Books has harsh words for inequality deniers and other right-wing goons:

We have forgotten what this country once understood, that a society based on nothing but selfishness and greed is not a society at all, but a state of war of the strong against the weak.

rocketnews24.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/26/13
Sep 26th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

pelican bay foundation via capitolhillseattle.com

First, another “sorry folks” for not getting something up to the site lately. I know some of you enjoy these li’l linx, even when I don’t have a major essay about something.

For now, back to Randomosity:

  • The mural at the Kingfish Cafe’s building on east Capitol Hill (see above) dates back to the ’70s and to a noble experiment in cooperatively-run artist housing. Read the comments to learn how it collapsed.
  • A Bloomberg commentator decries Amazon’s South Lake Union “geek zone” as a swath of real estate “cursed by dullness.”
  • Amazon’s newest Kindle Fire tablet has one “killer app” selling point: live, human, tech support!
  • Getting the Rainier Beer “R” logo back up on the ex-brewery building will be nice. It would be even nicer if the brand’s current owners would make it here again, instead of at the Miller plant in the L.A. exurbs. There’s gotta be enough excess microbrewery capacity in Washington to make that possible.
  • (Rhetorical) question of the day: Would the local Caucasian model who donned black body paint for a fashion shoot make a good (rhetorical) question for the blog Yo, Is This Racist?
  • As discussed earlier this year at EMP, the likes of Miley Cyrus are, no matter how superficially “transgressive,” still the product of a star-maker machine that subjects female pop singers to a “packaging process.”
  • When it comes to regressive taxation against the poor, we’re (still) number one! (But Washington’s still a “progressive” state because we love gays and pot, right?)
  • A local grocery strike looks more likely.
  • An “adjunct professor” in Pittsburgh died a horrid death, without savings or health insurance. This is a facet of the status quo the Obamacare-bashing right wingers so desperately want to preserve. (Another facet: the cuts to mental health services that leave the dangerously untreated on the streets.)
  • No, Huffington Post,“Generation Y” folks don’t particularly feel “special” or “entitled.” Poverty-stricken and opportunity-deprived, yes.
  • Could “Internet workers” be subject to minimum wage laws? I sure hope so. And the same goes for other freelance and “for the exposure” workers, who are workers indeed.
  • I don’t need to view condom-free porn videos because, unlike apparently a lot of self-describing “straight” men, I’m indifferent toward the sight of other men’s parts.
  • And to help you politely refute specious “comment trolls” online and in “real” life, here’s a handy li’l Illustrated Book of Bad Arguments.

ali almossawi

    RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/12/13
    Aug 11th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    messynessychic.com

    • Be unique enough and intriguing enough and eventually you, too, could become a “meme.” Such is the case with Hilda, a “zaftig” novelty pinup character created by illustrator Duane Bryers and the topic of an online rediscovery.
    • It only produced 33 total episodes over less than three years. Very few people saw them. But the legend of Heart Attack Theater, Kelly Hughes’ local cable-access anthology drama, just keeps growing.
    • Waterfront tunnel construction has already disrupted rats’ homes, leading some to fear a coming “Ratpocalypse!”
    • Capitol Hill’s “only vegan dive bar, music and Cakeroke venue” won’t have the “vegan” part anymore (or any food service for that matter).
    • An indie, vinyl-centric record label just died after less than a year in business.
    • Teabagger bigots still find new lows in sociopathy to which to descend. The latest fad: shaming disabled people as alleged “parasites” on the public dole.
    • Women are now almost half of all video game players. Expect the gaming industry to give up its sexist-geek ways, oh, maybe one of these decades.
    • Yahoo will have a new logo. But it’s teasing its online audiences by presenting a different fake logo every day for a month. I’m sure the final one, once revealed, will suck as much as the temp ones do.
    • It’s one of the worst things with which a “progressive” commentator can be charged these days, but a former interviewee has accused Lawrence O’Donnell of “mansplaining.”
    • Two Yale law profs believe “the Internet can save journalism,” by placing voluntary donation buttons at the bottom of article pages. The money would go to some nonprofit endowment fund.
    • Note to would-be “mile high club” initiates: when having sex on a plane, try to be discreet about it, not like the Oregon couple who, er, interfaced in full view of other passengers.
    • Finally, MISCmedia is dedicated today to the memory of Karen Black, Eydie Gormé, Eileen Brennan, and Haji. (Let’s not lose any more goddesses soon; we need all of those we can have.)
    RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/6/13
    Aug 6th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    via adweek

    • Insurance companies should not change their logos often, if ever. The branding “mystique” for insurance ought to be about stability, reassurance. Well, one company had the dumb idea to “modernize” its identity. Yep, it sucks.
    • The owners of Greenwood’s Couth Buzzard bookstore (where I had a lovely book presentation in ’11) have created an ongoing art and music project in memory of their daughter, who died from cancer at age 18.
    • The NY Times picked up the story of the local woman who wrote her own, lovely, Seattle Times paid obit.
    • The feud between Geoff Tate and the other original members of Queensryche: it’s gettin’ brutal. And not in a fun “shredding” sort of way.
    • Seattle Weekly’s got a keen piece about graffiti artists in the abandoned Fisher flour mill.
    • Folks in this state drink less beer than folks in most any other state.
    • Here’s how the Sounders got Clint “Don’t Call Me Patrick” Dempsey.
    • Sorry, Capt. Kirk: Teleportation is scientifically impossible, at least with living human subjects. The brain is just too complex to be instantly copied and re-built.
    • Meanwhile, the next star of Doctor Who is 55, the same age First Doctor William Hartnell was at the show’s start a half century ago.
    • A Miss Utah contestant was charged with throwing firebombs from a car.
    • 24/7 Wall St. lists once-mighty restaurant chains that are either mostly or wholly disappeared.
    • Books that are under copyright but out of print become part of a “hole in our collective memory.”
    RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/26/13
    Jun 25th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    • As I obliquely mentioned previously, I’m in search of a new abode. The building I’ve been in for the past eight years is being upscaled out of my league. I could live, I suppose, in one of these newfangled “tiny homes.” But I’d need a place to put it, that’s not way out in the woods. I’m a “city mouse.”
    • The Pike Place Market’s powers-that-be want a fancy new structure to connect the Market to the new Seattle waterfront “improvements.” So far, the planned bazaar-food court looks exactly like you’d expect it to—”world class,” pompous, and soulless.
    • Brewster C. Denny, 1925-2013: The great-grandson of one of Seattle’s first white settlers was also one of the last people here with an “institutional memory” of the region and how it is, and has been, run. He directed the UW’s public-affairs school, then became a professional “networker,” fundraiser, and Democratic Party operative.
    • The “University of Nike” is about to get major NCAA football sanctions.
    • What happens when a respected but fiscally troubled small book publisher sells out to new guys, who want to pay a lot less to the publisher’s established authors? Said authors fight back and force an at-least-somewhat-better deal.
    • The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup with what, to my viewing history of the game, was a first—an “empty net” ploy that actually led to a tying goal, with the winning goal promptly following.
    • Eco-Scare of the Week: What if a forest fire burned the radioactive trees surrounding Chernobyl?
    • Those-Kids-Today Scare of the Week #1: “Digital Dementia,” supposedly occurring among kids who rely on electronics to remind them of everything.
    • Those-Kids-Today Scare of the Week #2: “Smoking alcohol.”
    • The Miss USA Pageant’s state/local franchisees sometimes employ some of those “model management” hustlers who demand sexual favors from young models looking for work.
    • That “Russian Tampon Commercial” viral video? It’s a fake. It’s from Movie 43, that sketch-comedy film nobody saw.
    • Finally, some handwritten outline charts for famous books.

    via flavorwire.com

    RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/24/13
    Jun 23rd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    thecoffeetable.tv

    A big batch-O-randomness today, catching up after several days without it.

    To start, there’s yet another indie “webisode” series made here in Seattle. It’s called The Coffee Table. It’s a simple scifi comedy, in which some dudes n’ dudettes are propelled into another dimension by the titular table, which turns out to be “an ancient alien artifact.”

    Elsewhere in randomosity:

    • After all the sturm-n’drang over the almost-neo-Sonics debacle, could Seattle really get an NHL hockey team without really trying? And if so, what the heck would we do with it? And what would we call it? Our old hockey team names, “Totems” and “Metropolitans,” would certainly do. But ya know, there’s nothing wrong with “Coyotes,” the current name of the team that could go here. After all, Wile E. Coyote creator Chuck Jones is a Spokane boy.
    • The City’s back into the biz of harassing all-ages clubs again.
    • Should city council elections be publicly funded under a heavily incumbent-favoring formula?
    • Also closing this week besides the Egyptian Theater: the Copper Gate, the Ballard upscale bistro and sometime music lounge on the site of (and including a nude relief backbar mural from) a onetime legendary dive bar.
    • And, having already lost Costa’s Opa in Fremont, Seattle loses another classic Greek joint. The Continental Pastry Shop in the U District, having served affordable Euro entrees and treats to students and others for four decades, calls it quits this week.
    • Call it Sequester, The Local Edition. Do-nothing Republicans could shut down huge parts of Wash. state government this week.
    • It’s not just turncoat ex-Democrats in our own State Senate who get off on Seattle-bashing. So did a pro-coal West Virginia Congressman recently.
    • KUOW remains atop the local radio ratings by very carefully orchestrating a day-long “sound massage,” in which no news/talk segment runs longer than five minutes.
    • A Canadian study claims people who read more “literary fiction” (you know, the highbrow, less-genre-formulaic stuff) increases one’s tolerance for “ambiguity.”
    • On the other end of the certainty spectrum, it’s sadly not true that right-wingers are all low-IQ racists. Some of them are calculating evil geniuses.
    • Affirmative action has “helped white women more than anyone,” sez Time. I remember back in ’98 when there was an anti-affirmative-action initiative. The campaign to defeat that measure put up TV spots displaying not a single nonwhite face, only white little girls.
    • Lameness on top of sadness: A lame “satire” site (from China) ran a fictional piece claiming that James Gandolfini wasn’t dead and that everybody who (truthfully) said he was was a victim of a hoax.
    • Management at the Men’s Wearhouse no longer likes the way their founder/spokesdude looks.
    • A guy who’d spent two years building up the “brand” of his travel blog found a big corporation completely stole his name and concept for a marketing campaign.
    • Similarly, Nike thought nobody would mind if it ripped off a famous Minor Threat record cover. Wrong again.
    • Economic scandals you probably already knew: BankAmeriCrap guys lied to and swindled mortgage holders, and financial-ratings companies inflated the grades of mortgage-burger investment packages.
    • The editor of American Elle insists her mag, and mags like it, do indeed carry “serious journalism.”
    • Some dude’s list of history’s “Top 10 Most Evil Women” leaves out “Typhoid Mary” and Paula Deen.
    • We close for today with a 73-year-0ld Japanese guy who makes beautiful landscape art with Excel spreadsheets!

    via spoon-tamago.com

    RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/16/13
    Jun 15th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    • The only thing more improbable than the idea that the average human 100,000 years from now will have Margaret Keane painting-size eyes is the idea that the average human 100,000 years from now will be white.
    • Novelist David Guterson gave a commencement speech at his alma mater,Roosevelt High. Some parents booed the speech, apparently believing it was too “negative” for their precious children. The speech itself turns out to be skeptical about the pursuit-O’-happiness thang but still relatively upbeat at its conclusion.
    • So soon after getting our collective hearts broken over the NBA (again), Seattle sports fans have a new thing about which to blindly hope against hope. It’s the National Hockey League’s Phoenix Coyotes. They’ve been floundering down in the desert. The league supposedly has a plan to move the team here, perhaps as early as next season.
    • KING-TV and its sister operations (KONG, NW Cable News) are being bought out by Gannett, along with the rest of the A.H. Belo Corp. Like Belo (which began as the publisher of the Dallas Morning News) had done when it bought KING, Gannett’s strategy here is to add profitable (for now) broadcast properties to help shore up its more troubled newsprint assets. (Update: Gannett only bought Belo’s broadcast properties, not its newspapers.)
    • Tacoma really doesn’t like citizens painting “rogue crosswalks.”
    • CBS News’s smartypants explain “why geniuses don’t have jobs.”
    • Time quotes some security-establishment defenders who really, really want to see the whole anti-domestic-surveillance crusade crushed.
    • An Australian ad agency asked feminist writers to write about the meaning of artificial sweeteners in women’s lives, and to do it for free. Here come the brutally snarky retorts.
    • This list of words remembered today only as parts of hoary catch phrases leaves out such personal favorites of mine as “petard,” “Gangbusters” (originally a radio show), and “poke” (as something you shouldn’t buy a pig in).
    • You remember how Facebook first started as a “hot or not” listing of Harvard women? There’s a new “hot or not” application on the site. It’s just for women. It uses male FB users’ profiles without their permission.
    • It’s the 50th birthday of one of my favorite forgotten childhood icons: Mr. ZIP!

    RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/6/13
    Jun 6th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    jordan stead, seattlepi.com

    • The J.P. Patches memorial street sign is a thing. A wonderful thing.
    • Was an area teen denied entrance to her high school prom because she had large breasts, or because her gown had revealed too much of them?
    • The guy who took highly unauthorized pictures of himself atop the Space Needle (and not in an approved way) has been found out.
    • The living members of Alice in Chains were in a web chat, where they offered the following (facetious) advice to young bands:  “Just quit now. Save yourself before it’s too late.”
    • A local musician gave an informal poll of his colleagues to determine the best and worst places to play in Seattle.
    • A moment of silence, if you will, for the career of disgraced now-ex Snohomish County executive Aaron Reardon.
    • One of those regional speech variants surveys lists, among other differentiating words, the ways people in different parts of the country pronounce “crayon.” The article didn’t list the way everyone in my school said it: “color-cren.”
    • Ex-Seattleite Lindy West, as some of you know, appeared on a cable talk show to debate the issue of whether rape “jokes” were, by their nature, unfunny. (She essentially said they were.) The usual way-stoopid web trolls showed up on comment boards, claiming that both (1) they’re not tools of “rape culture,” and (2) they wished someone would rape West. What?
    • Big Pharma has been looking for years for a “Viagra for women.” Now a company supposedly has a “female libido booster.” And (male) scientific observers and pundits are expressing worry that it might work too well, unleashing that long-feared chaotic force that would enflame the planet in unabashed… (Better stop before I start talking like a semiotician.)
    • Elsewhere, Swiffer thought it would be cool to depict the WWII icon “Rosie the Riveter” as a cleaning-obsessed housewife. Uh, nope.
    • Michael Lind at Salon asks if Libertarianism is so great, how come no country on Earth has ever tried it? (Of course, the same thing could be said about “real” Socialism, etc.)
    • CollegeHumor.com offers sample home pages answering what would happen “if all news sites worked like BuzzFeed.” (Or Huff Post, or any of a score of click-whoring aggregation sites.)

    collegehumor.com

    RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/2/13
    Jun 2nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    joshua trujillo, seattlepi.com

    • There was a remembrance in Cowen Park marking one year since the Cafe Racer tragedy.
    • Unlike some of the “radicals” fighting against low wages at fast-food joints, I actually patronize fast-food joints. And I want the fine people who prepare my meals to be properly compensated for the fine work they do.
    • The FBI investigated the song “Louie Louie” for two whole years, only to find a simple love lyric made unintelligible.
    • Will legal pot in our society lead, invariably, to corporate pot?
    • To Microsoft’s regret, it just can’t get people to say “Let’s Bing it.”
    • Our ol’ pal Gillian Gaar reports the “Welcome to Aberdeen: Come As You Are” sign might come down.
    • Who, besides “out o’ sight, out o’ mind” NIMBYs, benefits from the suburbanization of poverty?
    • A Cheerios commercial features a nice interracial family. The usual dorks and trolls respond as you’d predict.
    • Lawrence Lessig would like a Democratic Party that’s less beholden to corporate funders.
    • Texas: future Democratic stronghold?
    • Some people will miss making fun of Michelle Bachmann. I won’t.
    • The Chicago Sun-Times, once billed as “Chicago’s Picture Newspaper,” is firing all its photographers.
    • No, Ms. magazine, the 10 most important things American women could not do before the 1970s wold probably really include more important things than “read Ms. magazine.”
    • Istanbul was Constantinople. Now it’s a battleground of democracy vs. shady dealmaking.
    • WikiLeaks dude Julian Assange sees today’s Google as an increasingly reactionary gang of government-butt kissers.
    • Let’s close with a haunting look at a run down (but still open!) tourist site, the Flintstones theme park in Arizona.

    messynessychic.com

    RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/28/13
    May 28th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    kuow

    • KUOW has a handy guide to Seattle’s “public spaces that appear private.”
    • There’s a downside to making big popular parks out of former U.S. Navy installations. Magnuson Park turns out to have lots of radioactive, contaminated soil.
    • Wash. state ranks #49 in supporting public colleges and universities. This is not like being a Mariner fan, where being even ahead of one other team is a call to point with pride.
    • Some website I’d never heard of before says Seattle’s “most photographed attraction” is the Elephant Car Wash sign. (Gee, even more than the toothache-man gargoyle?)
    • The Illinois company calling itself Boeing used to have big battery design skills in-house. Then outsourcing mania took over. Result: the 787 disasters.
    • You know how I disdain the marketing company calling itself Pabst Brewing, due to its role in closing the Rainier and Olympia breweries while keeping their brands alive in zombie form. Cracked.com also hates Pabst, but for a different reason: for virtually inventing that commonly despised character type known as the “hipster.”
    • South Carolina Republicans, faced with popular legislation promoting renewable energy sources, rigged a faked “voice vote” to defeat the measure.
    • Daily Kos diarist “markthshark” claims the real IRS scandal is how all those blatantly partisan Tea Party groups got to file as nonpolitical nonprofits in the first place.
    • Are angst and misery really due to a single “great glitch” built into human nature?
    • Paul Krugman sez, “being a good liberal doesn’t require that you believe, or pretend to believe, lots of things that almost certainly aren’t true; being a good conservative does.”
    • The police backlash against protesting garment workers in Cambodia wasn’t at a “Nike factory,” which the hereby-linked headline claims. It was at a locally owned company taking outsourcing work from several Western clothing firms, all of whom can thus take “plausible deniability” about conditions and worker abuse.
    • Some of the outdoor sets from the original Star Wars are still standing, and decaying, in Tunisia.

    lostateminor.com

    ‘SEATTLE TIMES’ SHRINKAGE WATCH
    Feb 25th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    So it has come to this. The Seattle Times, unable (just as most all metro dailies are unable) to survive on shrinking print-ad volume and meager online-ad revenue, is resorting to the “paywall.”

    Starting some time in mid-March, full access to the Times website will be restricted to paid subscribers.

    Print subscribers will get full online access. Online-only subscriptions will be available at $3.99 per week (following an initial discount). That’s higher than the Sunday-only print subscription price, at least within King County. This is undoubtedly devised to prop up the paper’s print numbers, particularly on ad-flyer-heavy Sunday.

    In announcing the paywall on Sunday, Times executive editor David Boardman wrote that the money’s needed “to support quality journalism.” The essay’s comment thread, natch, is full of wags snarking that “quality journalism” is worth paying for but the Seattle Times isn’t.

    Even more than some metro dailies, the Seattle Times has painted itself into this corner, over many years.

    It’s held to a bland, institutional ethic and aesthetic; even as its average reader became older, squarer, and whiter than the metro area’s overall demographic.

    Its editorials hewed as close to a GOP party line as the Blethen family dared, in a solid-Blue city.

    Faced with ever-declining revenues, it chose not to “reinvent” itself. Instead it became an ever-smaller version of its same-old same-old.

    One issue this past month hit a new low of 22 pages (the bare minimum under its current design).

    If there’s anything I’ve learned in my many years of studying the media, it’s that if you want to be “supported,” you’ve got to make people actively want to support you.

    A thin assortment of lifeless stories about the ritual dances of politicians and corporate press releases ain’t gonna accomplish that.

    (Meanwhile, one national commentator claims paywalls aren’t really working so well for non-national, non-business-centric papers.)

    RANDOM LINKS FOR 1/9/13
    Jan 9th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    via jim linderman on tumblr

    • Dear Bellevue Police: People have sex. Sometimes the people who have sex are co-workers. Deal with it.
    • You missed the suddenly announced closing night at Cafe Venus and the Mars Bar. It’s been around at least 16 years (the space, in a lovely old Eastlake Ave. apartment building, was the Storeroom Tavern previously). It hosted countless bands. It was cooler than all get out. Its status has been in doubt, like the statuses of so many cool spaces, for several years now.
    • C.B. Hall at Crosscut reminds us that real “bus rapid transit” isn’t like Metro’s “RapidRide.” The real thing has its own lanes, for one thing.
    • The Seattle Times couldn’t possibly be buying Seattle Weekly. That makes about as much sense as HP buying Compaq (oh wait, that actually happened).
    • Shelby Scates, 1932-2013: It’s not just that we’re losing some of the great local journalists of our time, but that there’s no means to develop worthy successors.
    • A 2007 anti-Iraq-war protest at the Port of Tacoma led to six arrests. Now the case is finally going to court.
    • As the Legislative session nears, Brendan Williams at Publicola pleads for state Democrats to stop talking like diluted Republicans.
    • We’re Number Five! (In terms of lousy traffic.)
    • How did Vancouver’s economy do during the soon-to-end Hockey Lockout II? Not that badly.
    • Newsweek refugee Andrew Sullivan’s new site won’t have ads. P-I refugee Monika Guzman agrees with the strategy. Guzman claims online ads earn too little money these days, and many sites that try too hard to attract ad revenue turn into useless “click whores.” But the problem then becomes attracting enough readers who like you enough to support your site by other means (pledge drives, merch/book sales, etc.).
    • Hamilton Nolan at Gawker insists that real journalism means writing about someone(s) other than your own narcissistic self.
    • “Intercity bus and rail ridership up, as car and air travel remain flat.”
    • Folks luuuvvv those big online college courses. As long as they don’t have to pay for ‘em.
    • Frank Schaeffer isn’t the first pundit to note the geographical coincidence between today’s “red states” and yesteryear’s “slave states.” Nor will be be the last.
    • In Iceland, like in France at one time, kids can only be named from names on an approved list. One 15-year-old girl is trying to fight that.
    • The college football post-season was mostly a dud. But here’s one “highlight.” It’s the weird one-point safety Kansas State committed after blocking an Oregon point-after-touchdown.
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