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MISSY JAMES
Feb 11th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

Trying to find words is hard for me, a lot of the time. Today, it’s even harder.

Missy James was a longtime figure in Seattle’s underground literary, pottery, and music circles, and a mainstay of the tight-knit bohemian scene in Seattle’s remote South Park neighborhood. Her “artist’s product” business Fossil Fire, in which she made ceramics that looked just like fine chocolates, has been on the “Friends of MISCmedia” column on this page since ’09.

I’d first met her, bizarrely enough, through a national email list of fans of the author David Foster Wallace. I first met her in person at a local meetup of some of that group’s members. We quickly became good friends, as did most people who met her.

She was a major force in South Park’s art/music/party scene, a “world unto its own” the likes of which Seattle otherwise doesn’t have anymore. She was an occasional guest voice with drag-rocker Gnarlene Hall. She helped organize regular street and yard parties. She was a hockey fan, a cat lover, and a voice against injustice and stupidity.

But mostly she was a Presence. One of light and passion and sass.

So, when she finally learned she’d had a long undiagnosed cancer, she became furious. At the doctors who’d told her it was something else. At the world for thrusting this painful, brutal burden upon her.

But she fought back, for as long as she could (more than three years since her first surgeries), as fully as she could.

Then she went in to Overlake Hospital near Christmas. She went back in late January. She then spent several days at a hospice facility. Then her brother David, who’d flown down from Anchorage, picked her up and took her back to her home. She received visits from neighbors and friends until David announced on Facebook that she couldn’t take any more visitors for the time being.

That was last Saturday. She passed on early Tuesday morning, with a friend holding her hand all the time.

She did not go gentle into that good night. She raged, raged against the dying of the light.

May I be more like her.

MIKE VRANEY, 1957-2014
Jan 3rd, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

popmatters.com

I first knew Mike Vraney, the legendary Seattle rock promoter and home-video mogul, from the regulars at Time Travelers, a comic book store at Second and Pike that also stocked some of the first “punk rock” records. It was a nexus for the nascent “alternative” music scene in town.

He became one of the promoters (with Jim Lightfoot, Carlo Scandiuzzi, and Terry Morgan) who reopened the Showbox Theater for live rock shows in 1979. (The legendary big-band hall at First and Pike had, by then, become a Jewish bingo parlor.)

For two amazing years he helped to stage dozens of shows, all of them memorable, with both national (the Ramones, XTC, the Police, Devo) and local (the Blackouts, the Beakers, the Fags) acts. For that alone, he shaped my life and what would become known years later as “the Seattle scene.”

From there, he went on to manage such bands as the Dead Kennedys, TSOL, and Seattle’s own The Accused.

Then in 1990 he launched Something Weird Video.

At first, it was a simple operation. Vraney had unearthed a cache of nudie-cutie “loop” film reels at a swap meet. He sold VHS tapes of their contents.

Those tapes sold well enough that he put out tapes of other reels he and friends had collected over the years, and sought out similar “cult” films to release.

Early hardcore pornos; earlier softcore sex films (that had been driven out of the marketplace by hardcore pornos); indie horror and gore flicks; nudist-camp pseudo-documentaries; sci-fi “creature features;” gangster and spy capers; gruesome driver’s-ed classroom films; drive-in intermission promos; old beer commercials—almost no genre was too outré for Something Weird.

In these tapes’ packaging and promotion, Vraney effectively captured and updated the carney-barker showmanship of old sleaze cinema. His video boxes were printed in lurid colors that made them stand out on store shelves. Wherever available, he incorporated the films’ original advertising copy and poster art on his videocassette boxes, along with scads of text placing the films in the context of their original making and release.

Before long, Vraney was buying or leasing the rights to films by such schlockmeister auteurs as Harry Novak, David Friedman, Doris Wishman, Joe Sarno, Michael and Roberta Finley, and Herschell Gordon Lewis. (Vraney took his company’s name and logo from one of Lewis’s no-budget “classics.”)

He brought these films (which had originally only been screened in drive-ins and urban “grindhouse” cinemas) and their makers (who’d been mostly unknown, even to the films’ original viewers) to the attention of new generations of enthusiasts. The pop-rock band 10,000 Maniacs named itself after a film Vraney had reissued, Lewis’s 2,000 Maniacs.

When DVDs first came out, Vraney hit upon a two-pronged business strategy.

For “mainstream” markets (or at least as mainstream as Something Weird got), Vraney signed up with distributor Image Entertainment to place over 100 discs (mostly double features) in major retail chains. These “Special Edition” discs included trailers, shorts, and the films’ original posters and ad art.

He kept full control of the rest of his catalog (which by this time numbered in thousands of titles) for sale on DVD-R, through mail order and through specialty video stores.

As the DVD biz peaked and declined (he once told me he’d known DVD was done for when Tower Records, his biggest customer, folded), Vraney moved into downloads, streaming, and on-demand cable TV. He even set up a stock footage operation, licensing scenes from some of his videos (such as his compilations of old commercials and educational films) for documentaries.

In 2012 he co-produced That’s Sexploitation!, a documentary about the makers of old time nudie, softcore, and stag films. Even as he appeared at some of its festival screenings, he kept private what only family and close friends knew—that he’d been diagnosed with lung cancer.

The end apparently came quickly.

He leaves behind his wife and partner, artist Lisa Petrucci, and two now-adult children he’d had with his first wife Tammy Decroff (who had also died from cancer).

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 10/21/13
Oct 21st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

patchesofpride.wordpress.com

During our three-week-plus blogging absence, one of the events we failed to note was the demise of one of the unsung pop-culture greats, Samuel W. Petrucci. A logo and packaging designer, he worked on everything from the Charleston Chew candy wrapper to a Lassie lunch box. But he’s best known for the logo and box art on the original G.I. Joe dolls, often using himself as a model for Joe’s face. His daughter Lisa Petrucci is a prominent local “pop surrealist” painter and co-owner of Something Weird Video.

  • Don James, R.I.P.: He may have been the last great Husky football coach to date. He was certainly a figure of respect and sportsmanship, prior to the “Scoreboard, Baby” era of win-at-any-cost that ended up ruining the program.
  • A former contract worker at Google’s obscure Bothell office has mixed feelings about her time there; including, but not limited to, the paucity of female higher-ups.
  • Yes, there are (even in this climate of starved social needs) alternatives to “boarding” the mentally ill.
  • Alas, the extremely expensive manufactured crisis that was the govt. shutdown probably isn’t “the Tea Party’s last stand.” There will always be something else, real or made up, around which to ferment faux-outrage.
  • Meanwhile, Michael Lind at Salon sez the extreme-right-wing tactics so visible these days are simply old Southern white-right politics, ramped up by local/state operatives afraid of changing demographics permanently ruining their historic privileges.…
  • …and Daniel Goleman at the NYT says we face not only an economic gap but an “empathy gap.”
  • You can run all the exposes of the Koch brothers’ extreme-right-wing funding machine you want. It won’t persuade the conservative follower who only knows what right-wing “bubble media” tell him and who, therefore, has never even heard of the Koch brothers.
  • No, Cosmopolitan: The women who perform in hardcore porn vids indeed are “real women.” They’re just playing unreal characters.
  • As some of you know, I hated loudmouth alpha-male San Franciscans before it was cool.
  • Hollywood has successfully shut down a big BitTorrent index site.
  • Let’s close with some seldom-seen Edward Gorey art from long out-O-print satiric verse books by the undeservedly forgotten Felicia Lamport:

via brainpickings.org

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 9/4/13
Sep 3rd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

satoshi kon's 'paprika' (2006); via film.com

  • The following are not among Film.com’s list of the all-time “Ten Most Beautiful Animated Films”: My Little Pony: The Movie, Bebe’s Kids, The Croods, Wreck-It Ralph, Gnomeo and Juliet.
  • Microsoft buys Nokia’s cell-phone business: Is it really the end of MS as predominantly a software company? Is it the end of software as a stand alone industry?  Nah. Code shall always be needed, as will be upgrades and bug fixes and adaptations to said code. What it’s the end of is MS relying on outside hardware vendors (aka PC manufacturers), a marriage of convenience that left the hardware companies racing to the proverbial price-point “bottom” (and to overseas subcontractors).
  • Nicklesville breaks camp and breaks up, to relocate three far-flung new sites.
  • For infotainment at its most baffling, it’s hard to top “Strange Bloomberg Headlines.”
  • Not even the song of Mothra‘s miniature princesses can save Japanese rubber-suit monsters from the onslaught of computer graphics.
  • Big Freedia, the “Queen of Bounce,” says Miley Cyrus doesn’t know how to “twerk” properly.
  • There’s no shortage of tech grads coming out of U.S. colleges. There are, however, scads of U.S. tech companies eager to legally bring in as many low-paid immigrant techies as they can.
  • In news that comes as shocking to almost nobody, corporate pop stars and actors willingly perform for free (plus expenses) at Walmart shareholder meetings.
  • Kim Messick at Salon explains, in terms of history and demographics, specifically “How the Republican Party Lost Its Mind.”
  • Music history note: The legendary kitsch cover art for Devo’s debut LP, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO!, came from a merchandise display with golf star Chi Chi Rodriguez.

clubdevo.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/31/13
Aug 31st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

soundersfc.com

  • Turns out there’s a word for these massive fan-made visual displays at soccer matches. The word is “tifo.”
  • The NY Times notes that Amazon hasn’t asked for a dime in extra tax breaks for its big Seattle development schemes.
  • Meanwhile, could Amazon start its own wireless cell-phone network?
  • Even the rarified realm of Seattle sushi, there are problematic “bigot diners.”
  • After almost 50 years, the Francine Seders Gallery in Phinney Ridge closes this December.
  • After 22 years, the radio station known as “The Mountain” is leaving the air, sort of. An Internet feed and a digital sub-channel will continue the format (but will they have live DJs?).
  • The UW experiment in “mind control” won’t immediately lead to anything useful, like helping disabled people regain control of their limbs or anything.
  • “Celebrity architects” don’t always design monumental, scenery-dominating houses in the countryside for fat cat clients. Sometimes they do it for themselves.
  • In keeping with my occasional claims that we’re entering a long attention span generation, the Guardian claims that big epic novels “are back.”
  • It’s not just McDonald’s workers who are getting screwed over. Franchise operators allege the company’s been overcharging them with rent and fees.
  • Coca-Cola’s marketing a stevia-sweetened “Coca-Cola Life” drink, with vague claims of “healthiness,” but only in Argentina.
  • Could the building blocks of life on Earth have come here from Mars?
  • It turns out that Larry Summers, the onetime Harvard president who may be nominated to head the Federal Reserve, was involved in the World Trade Organization and its 1999 efforts to force big financial deregulation upon all its member countries. (You may remember a little protest when the outfit had its convention here.)
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 7/30/13
Jul 30th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via theatlantic.com

  • We told you previously about a 1970s Federal photography project, documenting the nation as it existed during the “energy crisis” days. Here are 30 of the project’s pix from the Northwest, including a decidedly un-built-up downtown Seattle.
  • Next time you’re at Husky Stadium, give your best Jimmy Durante It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World impression and tell your pals you’ll meet ‘em “under the Big Dubble-ye.”
  • Is the bowing out of one of the Q nightclub’s partners really evidence the Seattle dance-club scene is “in disarray”?
  • The bosses at Spokane’s Veterans Arena agreed, in order to snag a Bon Jovi concert, to temporarily rename it the “Bon Jovi Veterans Arena.” Just temporarily. Veterans’ groups still don’t like it.
  • Indie-lit publisher Dennis Johnson hates, hates Amazon, but sees its level of book-biz control as possibly peaking.
  • Should Cheryl Chow’s widow have outed a current Seattle School Board candidate as a homophobe?
  • The most heartwarming/breakng obit you’ll read this month is the one penned in advance by local writer-essayist Jane Catherine Lotter, and issued following her cancer death this month.
  • We won’t have Kirby Wilbur to kick around anymore. The state Republican party head and sometime KVI shock-talker is going to D.C.
  • Elsewhere in radioland, UFO/conspiracy promoter extraordinaire Art Bell is staging a comeback on Sirius XM satellite radio.
  • A site for teenage girls gives a big tribute to Bjo Trimble, founding queen of Star Trek fandom and instigator of the first successful “save our show” campaign.
  • Warren Buffet’s son offers a dismaying look into “the Charitable-Industrial Complex.”
  • “Four out of five adults” face unemployment and/or poverty, or the threat of same, at some point in their lives.
  • Norm Ornstein at National Journal calls the Republicans’ stubborn, unending attempts to kill Obamacare “unprecedented and contemptible.”
  • “Contemporary” and even “avant garde” art is selling for huge bucks these days to global-one-percenter art collectors. Critic Walter Robinson explains some of the effects:

…The success of the avant-garde marks its failure. This is not news. We’ve been domesticated, no matter how fantastic and provocative we might be, into just one niche culture among many. We’re fun, and good, and even progressive, but all the rest of it is fantasy.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/28/13
Jul 28th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

nextnature.net

  • While sorting my stuff for an upcoming move (more on that a little later), I’ve unearthed some pieces of almost Jurassic technology. Just the sort of things depicted in the art project “Modern Fossils.”
  • The Northwest Film Forum’s Bill Kennedy reminisces about repertory cinemas in Seattle in the 1980s (a couple of which I was involved with).
  • How to fix the Mariners fan experience (other than fielding a more competitive team)? Adjust or dump the “dynamic pricing;” put paper cups beneath the mustard dispensers; stop limiting T shirt giveaways to the first 5,000 through the gates.
  • Timothy B. Lee at the Wash. Post claims Microsoft “is doomed” in the tablet/smartphone age, but that it’ll still “make a ton of money” as Windows and Office enter their declining years.
  • A “scholarly publishing” industry analyst claims Amazon is “a great company with a bad character”—and excellent customer service.
  • We’ve already told you that many “basic cable” channels make more money off of pieces of people’s cable bills than they make from commercials. Now, industry analysts claim that if channels such as ESPN were “unbundled,” they’d have to charge $30 a month or more to those viewers who’d specifically want them.
  • Original Simpsons co-executive producer (and Playboy TV poker-show host) Sam Simon is dying of cancer, and will leave his fortune (including a hefty share of Simpsons royalties) to charity.
  • Female ex-Merrill Lynch workers claim the Wall St. giant issued them copies of a book on how to “stroke men’s egos,” and that the company reprimanded them for “not being ‘perky’ or ‘bubbly’ enough with customers and colleagues.”
  • A lawsuit claims “‘Occupy’ protesters in Minneapolis were used as ‘guinea pigs’ in a [state] government drug research program.”
  • Carl Gibson suggests “Nine Ways to Organize the Next Civil Rights Movement.” I’ve got #10: Don’t depend on, or cede control to, white alt-culture “radicals.”
  • Justifying, excusing, and even celebrating the lives of brutal homicidal dictators is a time-honored tradition. Today’s example: Robert Mugabe.
  • Great old hangouts aren’t just disappearing in Seattle. Today’s example: Tacoma’s 75-year-old Flying Boots Cafe.

tacoma news tribune

RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/23/13
Jul 22nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

city of seattle via slog.thestranger.com

  • You know that big palatial boulevard the politicians have promised to turn Seattle’s central waterfront into? It now looks like it could become something else. Like, a highway with as many lanes as the viaduct (or more!), only side by side and on ground level. (Via my ex-housemate Fnarf.)
  • The Feds want to crack down on The Art Institutes. They charge the chain of for-profit art schools (including a major Seattle branch) with…

…fraudulently collecting $11 billion in government aid by recruiting low-income students for the purpose of collecting student aid money. Whistleblowers claim that students graduate loaded with debt and without the means to pay off the loans, which are then paid for with taxpayer dollars.

  • UW scientists recorded, then time-compressed, the sounds made by an Alaska volcano just before it blew.
  • Congrats to the local makers of the Carter Family graphic bio-novel for winning (er, co-winning) a major industry award.
  • Nice to see Seattle Weekly regaining some of its old form, even if that includes its old cranky-baby-boomer bashing of the Stranger and youth culture.
  • As expected, the living members of Nirvana played at McCartney’s Safeco Field show.
  • Alas, it’s illegal to ride down Capitol Hill streets in an office chair.
  • MillerCoors wants the Feds to investigate the Wall St. bigshots’ manipulations of aluminum prices.
  • Do you know the difference between North and South Carolina? Nike didn’t.
  • Why can’t Third World people speak for themselves on the “global stage,” instead of questionable, self-appointed spokespeople such as (the highly corporate-connected) Bono?
  • R.I.P. Helen Thomas, first lady of the White House press corps and the textbook example of a “tough dame” who speaks her mind and never gives up.
  • While (or because) nobody was looking, Yahoo quietly shut down the pioneering search engine AltaVista.
  • Business Insider posted a promo spot for a Milwaukee TV newscast circa 1980. Frenetic stock music! Jump cuts! Reporters in the field! Huge “mini” cams held by muscular cameramen! Typewriters! That’s infotainment.
  • Do you or someone you know listen to too much Coast to Coast AM? Still? Then follow this handy conspiracy theory flow chart.

the reason stick at blogspot

RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/16/13
Jul 15th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • I’ll have my own comments about the big Sub Pop anniversary shindig in a bit. But here’s Charles Peterson’s definitive pic of the event.
  • The next local funky institution to fall victim to overdevelopment: the venerable downtown music club Noc Noc.
  • We already told you of the development scheme that would erase Wallingford’s beloved Chinese restaurant and dive bar Moon Temple. Now it turns out CVS, a pharmacy chain with little presence in this region heretofore, is anchoring the project. A petition has been started.
  • One of those Forbes.com “contributors” describes today’s Pearl Jam as a “mature lifestyle business.”
  • How do artists make it fiscally in today’s Seattle? With great difficulty.
  • The Pike Place Market’s “gum wall” is bigger than it’s supposed to be.
  • At Microsoft today, “radical” reorganizations are almost as frequent as they used to be at Apple. (By the way, here’s what Jean-Louis Gassée, who led Apple during some of that firm’s reorgs, had to say last year about MS’s callous way of picking people to fire.)
  • UW students are planting anti-human-trafficking messages with feminine napkins. The story doesn’t say how the students plan to get the products to the intended recipients.
  • Alaska Airlines doesn’t want the City of SeaTac to impose “living wage” requirements on airport-based workers.
  • Still need a tourist destination for the rest of this summer? Check out Pocatello ID’s “Museum of Clean.”
  • Some extremist nutjob tried to pass off footage of the 2011 Vancouver Canucks fan riot as if it were Miamians protesting the Zimmerman verdict, instead of depicting the peaceful, anti-violence protests here and elsewhere.
  • Mark Sumner at Daily Kos ponders whether humankind’s strive toward a greater future could just putter out.
  • Bob Moser at The American Prospect sees the south turning solidly progressive, but perhaps not for another decade.
  • Some YouTuber has edited all of Terry Gilliam’s animations from Monty Python’s Flying Circus together into four complilations.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/4/13
Jul 3rd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Today’s educational cartoon: “The History of Western Architecture in Under 15 Minutes.”
  • Nope, there won’t be an NHL hockey team in Seattle next season. But you probably suspected that would be the case. I don’t want Seattle to be invoked as “leverage.” I want Seattle to have a team.
  • I’ve been learning first hand how too-damn-high the rent is around these parts these days.
  • How does a metal piece from a wood-chipper machine fall from the sky and crash into a Seattle house? And will the Coen brothers make a movie of it?
  • Jason Everman is more than the guy who got kicked out of both Soundgarden and Nirvana. He later became a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces in Afghanistan, and a real war hero.
  • The only self-proclaimed socialist in this year’s Seattle mayoral race was among several foreclosure protesters arrested at a Wells Fargo branch downtown.
  • Did a Seattle “drifter” really murder a CIA-connected Wall St. financier in 1985? And even if she did, was there, you know, something more behind the act?
  • Steinway (which owns several other famous musical-instrument brands as well as its legendary pianos) was bought by a leveraged-buyout specialist known infamously as an “asset stripper.”
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars have a sure-fire idea for getting more fans at home games: let the fans watch telecasts of better NFL teams on stadium monitors.
  • Douglas Englebart, R.I.P.: The inventor of the computer mouse was also part of many research projects that took computing from the realm of punch cards to PCs and the Internet. (He was also a Portland boy and an OSU alum!)
  • Could the original Lone Ranger (debuting on Detroit radio in 1933) have been based on an African American Deputy U.S. Marshal?
  • Slate’s Barry Friedman and Dahlia Lithwick assert that “the left” should be about more than easy-to-frame, easy-to-poll issues such as gay marriage. It should be about democracy, economic fairness, saving the planet, abortion rights, and other tough topics.
  • And remember everyone, have yourselves a fab holiday and celebrate this nation’s traditions appropriately. I will do so by singing our national anthem with its original lyrics (an English drinking song about the joys of carousing and screwing!).

via wikipedia

    LOU GUZZO, 1917-2013
    Jul 3rd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    kiro-tv

    Known for decades as a cranky reactionary political commentator, you might find it hard to believe he’d started as a Seattle Times art and theater reviewer.

    There, and later as managing editor at the P-I, he regularly advocated for the “fine arts” as a civilizing force, a means toward furthering the region’s progress from frontier outpost to respectable conservative community.

    When the Seattle World’s Fair ended, Guzzo famously editorialized that the fair grounds (to become Seattle Center) should be devoted entirely toward arts/cultural pursuits. He specifically did not want any amusement-park rides there. He lived to see them finally removed.

    One of Guzzo’s closest allies in this education-and-uplifting ideology was Dixy Lee Ray, who ran the Pacific Science Center. He later worked for Ray at the Atomic Energy Commission and during her one term as Washington Governor.

    After Ray was primaried out of a re-election bid in 1980, Guzzo became a regular commentator on KIRO-TV. That’s where, in 1986, he delivered a blistering attack against greasy-haired, anti-social punk rockers. (The motivation was the infamous Teen Dance Ordinance, which Guzzo supported.)

    In response, a local hardcore combo called the Dehumanizers released a blistering attack on him, in the form of a 45 entitled “Kill Lou Guzzo” (which began with a sample of Guzzo’s original commentary). Guzzo sued the band and its record-label owner David Portnow. Portnow responded by pressing more copies.

    After retiring from KIRO at the end of the 1980s, Guzzo started a “voice of reason” website and self-published several books.

    RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/25/13
    Jun 24th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    animalnewyork.com

    • We already told you about the elderly Japanese man who makes landscape art using Excel spreadsheet documents. In another example of Microsoft products and their unintended creative uses, a couple of Spanish video artists made a motion-capture erotic art clip using the XBox 360′s Kinect camera.
    • It’s boom time for chickpea farmers in Wash. state, as hummus mania takes over as America’s new snack-O-choice. Even more fun, it turns out the market for the bland beige spread’s controlled by a joint venture of Pepsi and an Israeli company. (As for myself, I have declared my body to be a hummus-free zone.)
    • Sick of the Sims? Then experience a fictionalized version of working class street-vendor existence in the locally made video game Cart Life.
    • A pair of Seattle Times guest opinionators remind you that Wash. state can’t, or at least shouldn’t, rely on importing educated workers instead of educating our own folk.
    • Some Seattle neighborhoods are getting wowzers-fast Internet service next year.
    • Eric Alterman asserts that the American populace is “much less conservative than the mainstream media believes.”
    • Arrogant, elitist, crooked mega-bankers: Ireland’s got ‘em too.
    • White House economist Alan Krueger spoke at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. His topic: how today’s winner-take-all economy resembles the old superstar-dominated rock scene.
    • Meanwhile, author George Packer claims the “Decline and Fall of American Society” began in the pre-Reagan late ’70s. But Packer blames it, in part, on the Reaganist “self-interested elites.”
    • We’ve linked previously to Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker frontman David Lowery’s blog calling for “an ethical and sustainable Internet.” Now, Lowery has posted his Pandora songwriting royalties for one of his biggest hits. It got played a million times and he got less than $17.
    • New carbon-fiber cables could lead to longer-distance elevators, which in turn could lead to mile-tall skyscrapers.
    • Mia Steinberg at XOJane offers advice on “How Not to Be a Dick to Someone With Depression“:

    When you tell someone with depression that they should maybe try harder to be happy, it’s essentially like telling a diabetic that they could totally make an adequate amount of insulin if they just concentrated a little harder.

    • Finally, some pathos combined with memories of commercialized “fun,” in the form of the world’s abandoned amusement parks.

    chris luckhardt via seriouslyforreal.com

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