neil hubbard via cousearem.wordpress.com
tom banse via kplu
The first half of the Gannett Co. boss’s career was relatively ordinary.
He ran a company that bought up local-monopoly daily newspapers across the country. The papers (including, for a time, the Bellingham Herald and the Olympian) became more “professional,” if blander and more budget-conscious, under Gannett management.
By the late 1970s, Gannett owned papers (and printing presses) near most major metro areas.
That turned out to be the quiet groundwork for Neuharth’s real dream, USA Today.
Launched in 1982, “The Nation’s Newspaper” never completely fulfilled its journalistic promise, to be a paper whose “home town” was the entire country (as opposed to the “media capital” cities of NY/DC).
But it revolutionized domestic newspaper design and organization.
It revived the old newspaper tradition of short, sharp prose and a lively attitude.
It predated the Web with its emphases on graphics and on juxtaposing a wide swath of subject matter.
It became a companion for America’s business-trip nomads, that small but demographically significant caste of people living much of their years between airports and hotels.
It brought out-of-town sports and weather coverage (and snippets of news coverage) to people living far from their old homes and home teams.
And its success led the NY Times to launch national distribution. (For the longest time you could only get the NYT in the Northeast or from specialty out-of-town newspaper stands.)
No, USA Today never met lefty intellectuals’ Platonic ideals for newspapers. (To do that, it would have to have been an NYT clone with semiotics essays added.)
And even by its own standards and ambitions, its front (news) section was usually its weakest part.
But it added a “new voice,” a different set of news priorities, to the national conversation.
seattle dept. of transportation
…historically the stingiest, most fiscally conservative, most technologically resistant and investment-averse people ever, with the highest percentage of luddites per capita.
Earlier this year, KUOW and MOHAI came up with a list of 25 “objects that tell Seattle’s story.”
They range from the obvious (a Boeing B-17, a poster announcing the Japanese-American internment, a Starbucks coffee cup) to the more obscure (an ancient, giant ground sloth).
A little more recently, SeattlePI.com ran a list of “25 things we miss in Seattle.”
These also ranged from the truly famous (the Lusty Lady sign, Frederick & Nelson’s window displays) to the lesser known (the Woodland Park Zoo’s nocturnal-creatures exhibit).
I’ve got my own list of Seattle pop culture icons. All of them are things I’ve personally seen or owned.
And yes, there are 25 of them. (Why break a routine that works?)
In no particular order, they are:
via jerry beck at indiewire.com
Margaret Thatcher’s recent death has sprung off a veritable gusher of reaction, much of it vitriolic.
This is to be expected in regard to the woman who oversaw the brutal decimation of the UK’s “welfare state” and the destruction of its once-mighty industrial base.
The woman who so firmly delivered that nation into the hands of financiers that even the opposition felt it had to conform (becoming the anti-working-class “New Labour”).
The precursor (and intellectual superior) to Reagan (whose regime, as you recall, was also run by “a strong woman”) and an inspirer/co-conspirator in the crimes of Reaganism, crimes whose long term effects still plague this country today.
The friend of despots and state terrorists who never met a dictator she didn’t like (so long as said dictator professed to be anti-Communist).
The inspirer of a wealth of deservedly angry protest music, which helped to transform punk and “postpunk” from an aesthetic niche into a sociopolitical movement, at least in the British Isles.
In her day, and since, some have argued that Thatcher should at least be respected as “a strong woman,” and even as a feminist of sorts.
I would argue that she helped disprove one of the most easily disproven tenets promoted by some feminists, that “Women” are innately the Moral Sex.
And Thatcher helped prove another tenet, that a woman is capable of doing anything. Including very, very bad things.
Thatcher, of course, didn’t do all she did by herself.
She was an active frontwoman for a group of movements with different but similar goals—to defund the poor, to smash organized labor, to redistribute wealth into fewer and fewer hands, to turn the state into the tool of financial speculation, to prop up even more brutal regimes from Chile to South Africa.
And Britain, and the world, are still feeling the ills from them.
via seattle bike blog
So much has been written already about the beloved film critic, TV host, author, Russ Meyer screenwriter, champion of obscure good films, vilifier of stinkeroos, and stoic survivor of one of the worst cancers anybody ever had.
I can only repeat what’s already been said—that Ebert was admirably both a film-lore geek and a populist, a man of aesthetic standards who wasn’t above enjoying (and helping make) down-n’-dirty exploitation, and a great wit.
Here are two pieces of his that have been rediscovered of late.
In the first piece from 2010, he looks back at his post-adolescence, in an era when college administrations still actively attempted to prevent students from having sex.
Then in his 2011 memoir Life Itself, he discusses his completely grody cancer and says, “I do not fear death.” And he explains his political stance:
“Kindness” covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world.
Here are reminiscences of Ebert by two Seattleite members of his longtime blogging team, Jeff Shannon and my ol’ UW Daily staffmate Jim Emerson.
david rosen, west seattle herald
The legendary B-filmmaker helmed “at least 199″ films (not counting re-edited and retitled versions) in a six-decade career, many of which he also wrote, photographed, edited, scored the music for, and acted in.
He disguised his massive productivity in part by taking a variety of pseudonyms, including the names of some of his favorite jazz musicians. He always worked on time and in budget (both usually minimal). Among his tricks to achieve this was reusing locations and even entire shots in different films.
He worked in numerous genres but usually dealt in varying proportions of horror and sex (up to and including hardcore).
His best known works include Vampyros Lesbos and She Killed In Ecstasy (both with the ultra-stunning Soledad Miranda), the James Darren version of Venus in Furs, 99 Women, The Awful Dr. Orloff, Succubus, Eugenie: the Story of Her Journey Into Perversion, and The Blood of Fu Manchu.
Even when his financing dried up, he kept working, making shot-on-video features on even tinier budgets. He released three of these last year.
He was preceded in death by his wife, muse, and most frequent star Lina Romay (who was appearing in his productions, and still doing nude scenes, well into the 1990s).
There was a time when the governor’s mansion in this state was in the hands of a “centrist” Republican named Dan Evans.
He was followed by Dixy Lee Ray, a right-winger who ran under a Democratic Party flag-of-convenience. She was followed by John Spellman, another corporate Republican.
Then came Booth Gardner.
He ran in 1984. If you recall, that was the time of Ronald Reagan’s re-coronation (and its accompanying royal jubilee, the L.A. Olympics).
He’d been a state legislator and Pierce County Executive. But his statewide rep was relatively obscure.
He also had the Republican establishment (at the start of its drift into far-right insanity) going against him fierce. (One particularly ludicrous TV attack ad had a heavy-set actor playing a cigar-chomping “big union boss” who’s “got this Gardner guy right in our pocket.”)
What he had going for him was family (Weyerhaeuser family) money and connections, and access to Sen. Henry M. Jackson’s donor/organizer mailing list.
And he had the support of just enough “swing” voters who admired Reagan’s national public image but were less enamored toward Spellman.
Gardner beat Spellman. The Washington governorship has been in Democratic hands ever since.
That’s not to say it’s been easy to lead this state, then or now.
Entrenched interests, inter-regional feuds, the unelected would-be dictatorship of Tim Eyman, our regressive but hard-as-hell-to-change tax system, have all held back the pace of reform (now more desperately needed than ever).
But with Gardner, it all at least seemed possible.
Some politicians retire to the golf course. Others find new causes, new campaigns.
In Gardner’s case, his encore on the public stage was thrust upon him, with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease just a year after the end of his second term.
As his appearance and health deteriorated (to the point that he had to tell people, “I used to be governor of the state of Washington”), he became an increasingly outspoken advocate for the rights of the terminally ill.
In 2008 he campaigned for a (successful) “death with dignity” initiative.
He took his crusade national with an Oscar-nominated documentary short, The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner. (You can watch part of it at this link.)