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RANDOM LINKS FOR 1/10/14
Jan 10th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

fastcoexist.com

  • The Fast Company folks seem to love Northgate’s Thornton Creek mixed use megaproject.
  • A Seattle architect has re-devoted his career toward aiding the homeless and the recently homeless.
  • One-fourth of Amazon’s Kindle ebook sales in 2012 were for books by indie and self-publishers.
  • Amazon’s warehouses, sometimes infamous for pushing workers hard, are getting robotized.
  • Meanwhile, some guy at the Atlantic’s biz-news site Quartz claims that 3D printing and robotized manufacturing, and the one-of-a-kind manufacturing they can enable, could eventually mean “the end of Walmart and mass-market retail as you know it.”
  • Students at Eastside Catholic High School will keep protesting the firing of a beloved, now gay-married, vice principal.
  • Seattle author David Shields is acting in a movie directed by James Franco.
  • City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, and the Stranger writers who relentlessly pushed her candidacy, were named to the Nation‘s “2013 Progressive Honor Roll.”
  • The gang down at Three Imaginary Girls has a roundup of their favorite (mostly) local music of ’13.
  • Ani DiFranco scheduled a women’s songwriting retreat at a former slave plantation. (The place is now a museum, offering a highly sanitized account of America’s slave-owning heritage.) Some Af-Am women protested online. A smart person would have used this hubbub as a positive “teaching moment.” DiFranco and her associates essentially failed at that.
  • Where They Are Now Dept.: NY punk and underground-film bad girl Lydia Lunch now teaches women’s yoga and “empowerment” workshops in Calif.
  • Right-wing front groups, pretending to be “journalists,” have tried to obstruct investigations into right-wing financial misdealings in Wisconsin.
  • Prostitution is fully legal in Canada (including brothel-keeping and solicitation), sez their Supreme Court. It could be the start of a new (or upgraded) tourism shtick. But I’d like it to mean more respect and personal safety for sex workers, there and here.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/31/13
Jul 31st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • There’s now a soccer federation for “Cascadia” (i.e., B.C./Wash./Ore.). And it’s gotten provisional recognition from a global confederation of soccer interests representing other not-really-nations (Basque country, Kurdistan, etc.).
  • Cracked.com tells you some reasons “why you can’t believe anything you read online.” One reason: A lot of click-whoring sites, including click-whoring “news” sites, try to make you feel angry and outraged at something, then to share your outrage via social-media links. (Maybe that’s why this site hasn’t taken off like Drudge or Kos. I’m not ordering you to go ballistic X times a day.)
  • A week or two back, we remarked how Saks department stores had become, for a time, owned by an Alabama firm. No more. Saks will now be part of the Hudson’s Bay Co. (aka “The Bay”), the Canadian retail giant whose fur-trading heritage helped shape the initial settlement of this part of the world.
  • Al-Jazeera America, the cable news channel replacing the low-rated Current TV, will have a Seattle news bureau. Allen Schauffler, who just quit KING after more than two decades, will run the outpost.
  • Today’s local history lesson, brought to you by the Seattle Star: The time when the feds tried to arrest local Black Panthers because of a supposedly stolen typewriter.
  • Dumb Criminal Report #1: When you’re wanted by the cops, it’s unwise to shoplift beef jerky.
  • Dumb Criminal Report #2: Don’t set fire to the Aurora Sears. We love that store. It’s possibly the only truly beautiful suburban big-box store ever built around here.
  • Are ebook sales peaking?
  • Alex Seitz-Wald at Salon claims Amazon personifies “everything wrong with our new economy.” Apple, Walmart, Nike: You can rest easy now; you’re no longer the company everyone most dearly loves to hate.
  • Yes, “existential depression in gifted children” is a real thing. Trust me on this.
  • “Naked Juice” no longer claims to be “all natural,” and also is owned by Pepsi.
  • Fox tries to create a clone of Adult Swim, only even cruder and dumber. The results are now here, and they’re immensely dreadful.
  • The vinyl music comeback may be here to stay. Yeah, but does anybody actually, you know, play any of those records?
  • David Byrne, meanwhile, details six modern business models for the modern musical artist.
  • Unfortunately, there are still too many awful big-budget action movies. And, unfortunately, there are still economic incentives for the studios to make more.
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 7/11/13
Jul 10th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Nostalgia Alert: M.J. McDermott, KCPQ’s morning weatherperson, was “Ronnie” on Roscoe and Ronnie, the last local kids’ show on commercial TV. It was axed in ’95, when KSTW’s out-of-state owners killed all that station’s local programming. Now she’s petitioning the FCC, to encourage shows like that to be brought back.
  • Roberta Byrd Barr, recently deceased at age 74, was Seattle’s first female high-school principal, and the first African-American to host local TV public-affairs shows.
  • Seattle without the original Ivar’s Acres of Clams? It could happen, for as long as nine months. It’s one of 15 waterfront businesses the City wants to pay to keep closed during tunnel construction.
  • Seattle Times Shrinkage Watch: Executive editor David Boardman’s quitting after 30 years, to work at Temple U in Philly.
  • Seattle Central Community College’s health-ed programs could move into part of the old Beacon Hill hospital tower that was once Amazon’s HQ.
  • Amazon’s getting into comix publishing, specializing (at least at first) in adaptations of Nerderati-favorite novelists.
  • Edward Snowden: Courageous whistleblower or right-Libertarian Obama-basher?
  • The Beats: Daring nonconformists or sexist dweebs?
  • UK publisher Felix Dennis sold the U.S. edition of Maxim and two other “lad mags” for $250 million. Six years later, Maxim is for sale again, for a mere $20 million.
  • A federal judge has ruled against Apple and the big book publishers in that e-book price-fixing suit.
  • Health Scare of the Week: Fish oil capsules could give men cancer.
  • Just because most people who believe themselves to be MSG- or gluten-intolerant probably aren’t, it doesn’t mean they don’t get real symptoms.
  • Take away the “hipster”-bashing headline and there’s still a potential real problem with people who decide they can’t run their backyard chicken coops anymore, and who just drop off the critters at animal shelters.
  • The Quebec oil-train disaster was caused by plain ol’ crude catching on fire, just like in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The Next Big (Televised) Thing, according to the Norwegians: “Slow TV.” Long-attention-span (or simply hypnotic) umpteen-hour, real-time explorations of train trips, knitting demonstrations, and salmon fishing.
  • After 40 years as everybody’s favorite “obscure music” band, the Residents deserve better than for have Ke$ha’s backup dancers to steal their trademark eyeballs-and-tuxedos look.
  • Back in the mid-’90s, Penn and Teller set out to create the world’s dullest and most infuriating video game. They probably succeeded.

the new yorker

RANDOM LINKS FOR 3/22/13
Mar 22nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • When bad covers happen to good novels….
  • The (beautiful) wooden Elvis statue outside Mama’s Mexican Kitchen was stolen. We who all adore it need it back.
  • Every now and then, civic boosters talk about bringing the Olympic Games to Seattle. Such efforts have traditionally been quashed quickly by locals worried about traffic and local-government subsidies. But this time (for the 2024 Summer Games), could the boosters have the upper hand over the NIMBYs?
  • City Councilmember Richard Conlin says housing for poor people should be kept in the south end, away from all the nice-upscale people.
  • (Meanwhile, it’s good to remember that America’s urban ghettos were the historic result of specific policy/planning decisions. Do an online search for “redlining” and “blockbusting” to learn more.)
  • “Tiny houses” are all the rage in certain circles. But wanting to plop one down inside a city, well that’s news.
  • At least one ESPN pundit predicts the Seattle Mariners will be “this year’s surprise team.” In recent years, as you know, the M’s have provided too many of the wrong kind of surprises.
  • Wash. state is Number One! (In making higher education unaffordable, that is.)
  • Seattle teachers’ protest against standardized testing has reached the eyes and ears of the New Yorker, which notes that this particular test is not used so much to evaluate students as it is to evaluate the teachers themselves.
  • The Catholic Northwest Progress, the regional archdiocese newspaper, is the latest grave in the print-media cemetery. The paper’s incessantly anti-gay-marriage stance probably didn’t help.
  • The years-in-the-promising Bell Street “boulevard park” project is finally starting construction. When it’s done, Bell will have one lane of traffic and one lane of parallel parking; the rest of the right-of-way will be extended sidewalks and planters.
  • The thing about the Vancouver BC company’s inadvertently see-thru yoga slacks: The women who attend these classes and wear these clothes are often trying to show off their figures, not to men but to other women, not to attract desire but admiration/envy. But that doesn’t work if the “exposure” is too blatant.
  • In the ten years since the Iraq War, the buildup to same, and the almost unquestioned media cheerleading for same, have we learned anything (except to distrust the media)?
  • In the Internet era, news readers have umpteen sources for big national/global stories, but far fewer people reporting local events or investigating local dirt.
  • Montana may make roadkill legal to eat: On tonight’s dessert menu, chocolate moose.
  • After testing the waters in commercial book genres (romance, mystery, etc.), Amazon’s getting into the “literary” book racket.
  • While the “people of the book” were making their usual noisy gripes that everything was going to hell, independent bookstores have staged a quiet comeback.
  • Speaking of naysaying the naysayers, Bono would like you to know that many worldwide trends (poverty, AIDS, etc.) are actually on a positive swing these days.
  • Is Jay Leno finally being pushed into retirement? For real this time?
  • Urban-planning pundit Richard Florida made big bucks from instructing cities how to pursue “the creative class.” Now he says (sort of) that that doesn’t work.
  • Following Chris Ware’s acclaimed Building Stories, local art-book press Marquand Books is putting out another “box set” graphic novel, containing objects of different sizes and shapes telling one meta-narrative. It’s The Magician, by onetime Dallas arts promoter Chris Byrne. It’s an ultra-limited-edition product. Its artistic ambitions, if anything, are greater than those of Ware’s work.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 3/7/13
Mar 7th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Sound-effect words in comics: to ugly-art maestro (and great Washingtonian) Basil Wolverton, they were an art form all their own.
  • The State Legislature could help save Metro Transit. But will it?
  • A Chinese-American family gave a lot of Chinese robes and other objects to the Tacoma Art Museum, hoping they would be a permanent reminder of our region’s ugly racial history. Decades later, the museum’s current management decides to auction them off out-of-state. However, the story’s even more complicated.
  • Mr. Kim Thompson, one of by ex-bosses at Fantagraphics, has lung cancer.
  • The Belltown Business Association’s got a lovely virtual tour of Belltown’s history.
  • It’ll take years to even start getting nuke waste out of Hanford’s leaking tanks. And the sequester’s just slowing the task down a little more.
  • As T-Mobile prepares to digest MetroPCS, the layoffs arrive. Lots of ’em.
  • First, the AOL/Time Warner corporate marriage collapsed. Now, Time Warner itself is splitting up, with the Time Inc. magazines and associated properties sent to fend for themselves.
  • 3D printing has come to custom fashion, of the purportedly “sexy” variety.
  • Ed Wood’s “lost” last film was found this past autumn, in the inventory of a defunct Vancouver porno theater!
  • The “other guy” in the Bill and Ted movies is now a documentary director. (I know, just like anybody with a smartphone-cam these days.)
  • Paul Krugman says progressives shouldn’t worry so much about appearing “respectable.”
RANDOM LINKS FOR 2/13/13
Feb 13th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Welcome Valentine’s season with Mitch O’Connell’s array of 100 unintentionally “unerotic vintage pin-up modeling photos.” (Note: The hereby linked page is, as the kids say, “NSFW.”) Speaking of the un-erotic….
  • Emily Nussbaum at the New Yorker likes how HBO’s series Girls reinvents the late-night-cable sex scene, that most hackneyed of video tropes, into farcical pathos.
  • The John Keister/Pat Cashman “comeback” show The [206] disappeared after two episodes (which had been shot in one taping, as a pilot). But it will return in April.
  • Would you buy your coffee wherever “The Bitter Barista” works next? (He was fired after his employers found out about his blog.)
  • The Seattle Transit Blog explains when the new Car2Go company is a better value than Zipcar and vice versa.
  • It’s harder to sneak past the NY Times website’s paywall these days, but may are still trying.
  • Things people feel nostalgic for these days include VHS tapes and the manual paste-up of newspaper pages.
  • Sam Tanenhaus at the New Republic explains just how the Party of Lincoln became “the party of white people.”
  • Esquire‘s cover story about “The Man Who Shot Osama Bin Laden” didn’t mention that “the shooter” (the only name the article gives him) does have health care for the next five years, and would have had more benefits if he’d just retired a year and a half after he did.
  • On the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, Ashley Fetters at the Atlantic unearth’s bell hooks’s argument that the book treated the problems of white “leisure class” housewives as if they were the problems all women faced. Fetters then adds Daniel Horowitz’s 1998 snipe that Friedan, under her birth name Betty Goldstein, had been a prolific NYC radical essayist, and hence knew she was deliberately ignoring the plight of non-affluent women.
  • The Museum of Vancouver is opening an exhibit all about that city’s cultural history of sex. Yes, it includes the black-cat silhouette that signified adults-only movies in B.C.

ARE THE SONICS BACK YET? (DAY 21)
Jan 29th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

steve bloom, the olympian via seattlepi.com

No. Though that hasn’t stopped the making of unofficial “WE’RE BACK” T-shirts (see above).

And it looks like the Sacramento city fathers appear to be having a hard time finding enough local money to make a viable competing bid for the Kings franchise.

Art Thiel speculates, though, that one such potential “whale” could be Oracle boss Larry Ellison. Ellison may also want to move the team, but only as far as San Jose. (Cue the Dionne Warwick jokes in five… four…)

Still, Seth Kolloen insists that “barring some unforeseen circumstance, the Kings will play here as the Sonics this fall.”

One of Mike Seely’s last tasks at Seattle Weekly is a speculative piece wondering if the neo-Sonics could field an all-Seattle-connected team (ex-Sonics, ex-Huskies, and local high school grads).

Meanwhile, now that the National Hockey League has come back from the dead (again), there’s talk that, instead of moving a failing Sunbelt team, the league could put an expansion franchise into Quebec City and maybe Seattle, or maybe Quebec and the Toronto suburbs. (Considering how the Toronto Maple Leafs have spent more than four decades fielding cheapskate teams, with team management sitting all fat and cozy in the sport’s largest market, a second team there would be intriguing. But not at Seattle’s expense, please.)

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.
RANDOM LINX FOR 1/2/13
Jan 2nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

Remember, one and all: Our anual fantabulous MISCmedia In/Out List arrives later this week. Look for it.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 10/16/12
Oct 15th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

  • Of all the “Google doodles” over the years, this may be the search giant’s most beautiful. It’s an animated tribute to Winsor McCay’s classic comic Little Nemo in Slumberland.
  • We must say goodbye, after eight fun-filled years, to the group blog PCL LinkDump (née Pop Culture Links). Its curators brought in fab music clips, kitschy old ads and book covers, nostalgic photos, film clips, comic book panels, and other doses of delight culled from around the world.
  • The UW Daily explores the still new-n’-obscure genre of “Alt Lit,” fueled by young authors, small-press publishers, and online distro.
  • Would you like some lead in that cheap imported Halloween costume? No? How about some dorky racial-stereotype imagery, then?
  • British Columbia’s provincial government ran ads for its employment service. The ads depicted their young-adult target audience as layabouts, girls on the prowl for rich husbands, and, worst of all, as “hipsters.”
  • The utterly misnamed American “Family” Association is soft on school bullies, just as you’d expect.
  • Wal-Mart workers’ putting pressure on management just might be starting to work.
  • Economic historian Chrystina Freeland sees parallels between today’s One Percenters and the rich n’ powerful of ancient Venice. They, too, pursued an insular agenda of more for themselves and the rest be damned. It was a long-term disaster.
  • Meanwhile, the Koch Bros. (whom, by the way, you never hear about on Fox or right-wing radio, just as you never hear there about how the conservative movement really works) seem to believe themselves to be above the petty laws of puny humans.
  • Perhaps it’s not quite in time to save the timber biz from the construction and newspaper industry crashes, but a guy in Israel has invented a cardboard bicycle.
  • Some of the last images shot on Kodachrome film are still emerging into public view. Among them, Lise Sarfati’s images of would-be and former would-be actresses in L.A., now taking whatever work is to be had.

via dailymail.co.uk

RANDOM LINKS FOR 10/8/12
Oct 8th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

kurzweilai.net

  • Did the U.S. Air Force really think up plans for a supersonic flying saucer in the 1950s? And would it have been practical (i.e., would it fly)?
  • What does it mean to be “indie rock royalty” these days? It means you can play Radio City Music Hall and still have to share a studio apartment. Speaking of which….
  • KEXP’s pledge-drive playlist of the most important records of the past 40 years is essentially a canon of “indie” music classics, plus a few “mainstream” mentors. Nevermind predictably tops the listener survey. The list is top-heavy with the Pixies, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., New Order, Arcade Fire, etc. etc. The list’s only surprise is its paucity of female artists. The top woman-fronted act, the Pretenders, appears at spot #51.
  • A HuffPost blogger disparages Vancouver as “No Fun City,” a place where nightlife is essentially nonexistent. I can recall ages ago when I looked up to Van as having the bars and live-music venues Seattle could only dream of having. Since then, Seattle has vastly changed while Van has, if anything, become more moribund.
  • The Olympic Peninsula’s northwest tip has no teen vampires, but it is an ideal spot to measure climate change with solid empirical data.
  • Even “underground food market” dining operations (one-night-only food courts) have to have health permits.
  • Nintendo’s next game machine will be a tablet. It will also stream video content to TVs. It could be big.
  • Amazon’s paying a cool billion to buy the Paul Allen-owned buildings it occupies in South Lake Union.
  • Stalking and harassing apartment residents is no way to sell cable TV.
  • Seattle’s next would-be mega-developers? The Bill Pierre car-selling family.
  • Can the waterfront tunnel be built without massive city subsidies (that the city really doesn’t want to pay)?
  • Stranger staffer Kelly O tells a San Francisco website “12 Things You Should Know About Seattle.” These things include (too much) pot, (endangered) graffiti murals, and (yummy) street hot dogs.
  • White cops shooting at nonwhite civilians with little or no true justification: it’s not just happening here.
  • I had a boring and/or miserable time in the Boy Scouts. But, as we’re all learning, it could have been worse. Much, much worse.
  • CNN contributor Simon Hooper asks if we can finally get over Beatles (and James Bond) nostalgia now.
  • A self-described “middle aged punk” gives forth a back-in-my-day-sonny lament, nostalgizing about getting beaten up by jocks.
  • Don’t look now, but Walmart workers are trying to organize.
  • Having solved all of the world’s other problems, 60 Minutes sics its fangs on the designer-eyeglass-frame monopoly.
  • Today in right-wing sleaze, two GOP senators are asking defense contractors to fire thousands of people just to make Obama look bad; while Arizona is suppressing the votes of up to 200,000 Latino-descent citizens in the name of “cracking down on illegals.” Also, a Legislative candidate in Arkansas says parents should be allowed to put “rebellious children” to death.
  • The University of Idaho’s getting the world’s biggest collection of historic opium pipes. Hey, you gotta have something to do out there.
  • Forbes contributor Steve Cooper believes content-based websites could make more money by directly selling stuff on their sites, instead of running low-profit ads for other companies selling stuff. That biz model might work for sites focused on entertainment or lifestyle topics (music, food, bridal, travel, etc.). For local newspapers’ sites, it’d be a tougher fit.
  • Don’t look now, but rain (remember that?) might finally appear locally later this week.
THE CITY SOME LOVE TO HATE
Sep 17th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

In a publication entitled City Living, you might expect words by and for people who love this city.

But there are also Seattle haters out there.

I know. I’ve seen them.

All the time I’ve been in Seattle (don’t ask), I’ve known two predominant kinds of Seattle haters:

1) White baby-boomers who rant that the city is too big, too loud, too tense, and too full of suspected “gang bangers” (i.e., nonwhite males younger than 40). These folk dream of having a McMansion-sized “cabin” on the Bainbridge shoreline, but would settle for a Skagit County farmhouse.

2) Men and women of prominent ego (of many races, though still usually white) who decree that this hick town doesn’t deserve their obvious greatness.

These denouncers almost always also rant that Seattle fails to sufficiently imitate New York, Los Angeles, and (especially) San Francisco, in criteria ranging from architecture to food.

These folk generally refuse the idea that people in cities other than NY/LA/SF can choose to run a city any differently. All which is not NY/LA/SF, by these folks’ definition, is automatically inferior.

Sometimes, these folk will expect me to casually agree with their putdowns. They’ll ask me what part of the East Coast I’m from. Then, before I can answer, they’ll tell me I obviously agree that this is just a cowtown full of hicks and don’t I want to get my butt back to the civilized world?

I tend to respond that the only thing “eastern” I’m from is the eastern shore of Puget Sound; that Seattle is a fascinating place brimming with ideas and personalities; and that we can do things our own way.

If these folk are still listening, they usually tell me that I’m obviously just kidding. (Which I’m not.)

This is the combination of hubris and willful ignorance depicted in Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, the highly publicized new novel by local transplant (and former Hollywood sitcom writer) Maria Semple.

The title character is a tried and true Seattle hater. She’s also a former elite Los Angeles architect, with a Microsoftie hubby and an above-average teenage daughter (and an outsourced “virtual assistant” in India). She lives a life of wealth and privilege; the daughter goes to an elite private school. The family’s even planning a vacation getaway to Antarctica.

But even with everything money can by, Bernadette’s not happy. And, like many unhappy people, she blames her unhappiness on the world around her.

When Bernadette disappears, as the novel’s title implies, the daughter tries to figure out what happened by reading the mom’s old diaries, letters, and emails.

It’s in these documents that Bernadette says what she might have been too polite to say in public. Particularly among Seattle’s well documented cult of niceness.

Among her complaints: Too many Craftsman bulgalows. Too many Canadians. Too many slow drivers. Too many wild blackberry bushes. Too many neurotic moms. Too many self-congratulatory “progressives.” And way too much politeness.

Or for the short version, this is a city unfit for the presence of someone as obviously superior as Bernadette.

But, to Semple, this attitude is merely a symptom of a larger disorder. It’s a stage in the character becoming estranged from the world in general, then dropping out of sight from even her family.

But in a missive revealed at the novel’s end, she announces a change of heart. Bernadette really loves Seattle after all. She loves the gray-wash winter skies, which “felt like God had lowered a silk parachute over us.”

Semple herself, according to interviews, had also been a Seattle hater. But, like Bernadette, she’s since changed her mind.

Semple says she wouldn’t write Bernadette’s vitriolic Seattle putdowns these days. Semple now loves the place.

Or at least that’s what she says in public.

You know, to be polite.

(Cross-posted with City Living.)

RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/26/12
Aug 25th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

via theatlanticwire.com

  • Microsoft’s new logo is so highly appropriate. They’re literally proclaiming themselves to be a bunch of perfect squares!
  • Parker’s Casino and Sports Bar, the legendary Aurora Avenue roadhouse (once known as the Aquarius Tavern) where everyone from Paul Revere and the Raiders to Heart got their starts, has been gutted and may be demolished.
  • Thirty-eight percent of Seattle homeowners still have “underwater” mortgages.
  • James Fogle, 1937-2012: The Drugstore Cowboy author spent three quarters of his life behind bars, for robberies fueled by a lifelong drug habit. Never learned any better way to live.
  • Beloit College’s annual list of things today’s college frosh don’t know about includes such expected fading memories as VHS tapes, film cameras, car radios, The Godfather, and printed airline tickets. SeattlePI.com’s Big Blog adds that today’s 18-year-olds never personally experienced the Frederick & Nelson department store, the career of Sir Mix-A-Lot, and The Far Side comic strip.
  • Also mostly forgotten: the fact that Belltown’s American Lung Association building, finally razed for a high-rise apartment complex following years of ownership squabbles, was once the regional office of Burroughs Computer. In honor of that connection, the tower’s topping-off ceremony ought to include a reading from Naked Lunch.
  • Today’s Scrabble-related crime story comes to you from Kamloops, B.C.
  • Item: “All nine people injured during a dramatic confrontation between police and a gunman outside the Empire State Building were wounded by gunfire from the two officers.” Comment: So much for the idea that all you need to stop people with guns is more people with guns.
  • A HuffPost blogger claims “straight identifying” guys are having more gay sex than out-gay guys.
  • The “indie” music site Pitchfork Media posted a reader poll of top all-time favorite recordings. Almost all of them were by white guys (even more predominantly so than Pitchfork’s own coverage range of acts).
  • The late founder of the San Diego ComiCon was quietly outed. Very quietly.
  • The tiny, India-designed “car that runs on compressed air” is not really pollution-free. You need energy to power air compressors. Usually electric power. Power that’s often generated from coal or oil or plutonium.
  • Only in Putin’s Russia could there be such a wholesale rehab of the Stalin legacy.
  • On a “radical left” U.S. website, a Russian writer bashes Pussy Riot for being anti-populist, anti-Christian, in it just for the money, and led by (wait for it)… a Jew.
  • The Campaign, that comedy movie previously mentioned here in regard to its stars’ Pike Place Market promo fiasco, turns out to be a bold and broad satire of today’s corporate-bully-controlled politics.
  • Today’s rant against “the Fanatical GOP” comes to you courtesy of Robert Reich.…
  • …while Lindy West thoroughly demolishes a National Review writer’s quasi-homoerotic ode to Mitt Romney’s alleged masculine prowess.
  • Carlos Castaneda: Author. Guru. New Age legend. Harem keeper. Manipulator. Liar. Fraud.
  • As I keep telling you, right-wingnuts actually do read books. They read wingnut books. A lot of wingnut books, it turns out.
LIFE IS A GREAT BIG HANG-UP
Aug 1st, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

ioffer.com

The first Spider-Man cartoon series (ABC, 1967-70) is fondly remembered by the geekerati, not only for its low-budget thrills but for its bold, saucy, spooky music.

You know the theme song, perhaps from its many remakes and cover versions. (It’s the only song the Ramones slowed down when they covered it!)

The background music has been a lot harder to track down.

Among the reasons why:

  • No soundtrack album was made at the time of the original series run.
  • The series had two different production companies, one of which folded after the first season.
  • The animation was produced in New York, but the soundtracks were produced in Toronto (for budget reasons).
  • Nobody held onto any detailed production notes.

Fans eventually figured out that most of the music cue for seasons 2 and 3 came from KPM, a “library music” provider based in London (and now owned by the about-to-be-dismembered EMI).

Once KPM put up a website with samples of its library, these fans sorted out which tracks had been used on Spider-Man, and began to post some of them online.

But that left the season 1 background cues, composed expressly for the show by Ray Ellis and Bob Harris.

As this 2007 story on WFMU’s blog goes, some longtime fans of the show tracked down Ellis in L.A. He told them he’d left the original tapes behind when he moved from New York, but would track them down the next time he went there. Ellis died in 2000, before ever making that trip.

Other fans later reached Harris’s widow, who said she had no idea about the Spider-Man music tapes’ existence.

Not only were the original recordings a dead-end, no M&E tracks (music-and-sound-effects soundtracks, which some studios keep for foreign-language redubbing) were around either. Only the dialogue-heavy final episodes.

Dan O’Shannon, a writer-producer who’s worked on Cheers, Frasier, and Modern Family, is another of the ’60s Spider-Man‘s lifelong obsessive fans. O’Shannon’s taken it upon himself to reassemble the first-season cues.

So far he’s posted 34 tracks. He’s mixed and matched sections of the same tunes from different episodes (or different parts of the same episode) to avoid the dialogue.

O’Shannon hasn’t, however, been able (or wanted) to edit out the frequent THWIP! sound effect of Spidey’s web shooters.

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© Copyright 2015 Clark Humphrey (clark (at) miscmedia (dotcom)).