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RANDOM LINKS FOR 10/22/13
Oct 22nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

I mourn the Comet Tavern for what it had been. The un-upscaled hippie hangout; the dive that remained a dive when most of the other dives in town cleaned up their acts. I don’t mourn what it had become—a hangout ruled by an oft-violent aggro gang called Hate City. (A good friend, a petite female, was once roughed up by bouncers there, badly.) Could any new owners make it an inviting place again?

  • My ol’ pal Steven Shaviro uses a lot of highly obscure intellectual-left lingo in this essay about the futility of “transgressive” art/film/music in today’s world. I believe he’s saying you can’t be a “rebel punk” anymore, because the hyper-corporate society you’re rebelling against is “punker” (more offensive, aggressive, destructive) than you’ll ever be.
  • David Byrne has stopped pretending not to be white, long enough to notice one-percenter real estate speculation and Internet “disruption” (i.e., not paying content creators) as twin menaces to the arts and creativity.
  • Meanwhile, our ol’ pal Tom Frank claims pundits who talk about “the creative class” are really just talking about corporate players who like to imagine themselves as “creative.”
  • The e-book revolution has become a surprising boon to traditional big publishers. But it’s a hassle to libraries, which often have to pay more to provide e-books than physical books.
  • A husband-and-wife music duo in Arizona came to a sudden end. The wife died in a hospital; the husband then killed himself—after posting each death to the wife’s Facebook page under her name.
  • America’s biggest export to China was recycled plastic. But not anymore.
  • Gay men don’t have the right to grope women without consent either.
  • A British historian claims Jesus was a made-up character, invented by the Romans in an attempt to encourage conquered Jews to become more passive. Needless to say, there are many who disagree with this premise.
  • Is Cinemax really discontinuing its late-night softcore shows, unofficially nicknamed “Skinemax”? From the sound of this story, it’s more likely the cable channel’s just preferring to promote its primetime originals, in which sex takes a decided back seat to violence.
  • Andrew Fischer at GeneralForum.com has two lists (with a third promised) of “Really Annoying Facebook Friends We All Have.” Not included (yet): the one who posting vaguely-worded links to vaguely-headlined articles, attracting all vaguely-worded responses.
  • Elsewhere in snarkland, there’s a blog entry all about ridiculous traveler complaints:

We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.

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 8/24/13
Aug 24th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

art_es_anna at flickr via kplu

  • Cliff Mass debunks a major conspiracy-theory fave of fringe-lefties: There are no “chemtrails” spewing mind-control chemicals from airplanes.
  • More of our very own “Einstruzende Neubauten” (“collapsing new buildings”): The big 2200 Westlake complex, with the Whole Foods, a luxury hotel, and a couple of fancy condo towers, has to undergo major repairs for water damage.
  • Can the grafting-on of a prestigious baccalaureate program save the (mostly undeserved) reputation of Rainier Beach High School?
  • When more people make their own electricity from solar, wind, etc., how will the various entities committed to maintaining the “grid” afford to do so?
  • Beloit University’s annual “Mindset” list of pop-culture things modern college frosh have always or never known is a cheap publicity stunt. (That doesn’t make it any less fun.)
  • I never cared much for the music of Linda Ronstadt (too baby-boomer bland for my tastes). But it’s still dreadful to hear of her enforced retirement due to Parkinson’s.
  • Jessica Olien at Slate believes “social isolation kills more people than obesity does.”
  • Psychology Today claims the ladies love casual sex just as much as the gents, as long as they’re made to “feel safe.”
  • The FBI apparently once thought novelist William Vollman was the Unabomber. And the “anthrax mailer.” And a terrorist in training in Afghanistan.
  • Elmore Leonard, R.I.P.: The crime fiction master left behind, among other achievements, a stunning collection of first lines and a few words of advice to writers (“never open a book with weather”). (Meanwhile, ESPN basketball announcer Len Elmore is still with us.)
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 7/27/13
Jul 27th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

theramenrater.com

  • Meet the (legally blind) Seattle man who’s been proclaimed the world’s leading reviewer of instant ramen. (Gotta have a niche, as the biz books say….)
  • If Seattle’s really the “hardest working city in America” (which sounds too much like a classic James Brown intro line), howcum I know so many people who’re still trying to find work?
  • Mayor Mike McGinn has found his big re-election year crusade. He’s against giving up a city-owned alley in West Seattle to a Whole Foods store project. The justification: the nonunion Whole Foods doesn’t pay as well as other established supermarket chains. By forcing his primary opponents to take a stand on this issue, he’s gotten accused of favoritism and even “graft.”
  • A company you never heard of wants to build “America’s biggest bottling plant” in Anacortes. The company says it could employ up to 500 people, making everything from pop and bottled water to flavored coffee beverages, under contract from (as-yet unnamed) big brands. Local opponents claim it could threaten everything from the town’s way of life to the Skagit River itself.
  • Health Scare of the Day: Eating local fish, beyond a few bites a month, could build up water-pollution residue in your body.
  • Amazon’s keeping certain “erotic” Kindle e-book titles out of its site’s “All Departments” searches, though they can still be found through other means. Sounds like an opportunity for a third-party search site. Perhaps one could call it “FindMySpankingWerewolfThreesomeStory.com.”
  • Meanwhile, a former Amazon contract worker gives “An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos.” In it, the contractor says the company could operate a lot more productively if folks like himself were given more respect.
  • Among folks ages 18-33, “religious progressives” now outnumber “religious conservatives.” Expect the “Christian” politicians to discover this, well, never.
  • A Google-designed “dongle,” that lets you stream anything from any computer, tablet, or smartphone to an HDMI-equipped TV, is being hailed as a “miracle device.” Somehow, I don’t think the ability to watch YouTube cat vids on a big flatscreen is what the saints responsible for dispensing miracles had in mind.
  • The Church of England wants to run payday-loan predators out of business in that country by competing against them (in cooperation with credit unions).
  • That story of acquitted killer George Zimmerman as a car-crash rescue “hero”? A likely fraud, set up by a Zimmerman-sympathetic local cop.
  • Some time in the late 1980s, struggling screenwriter George Meyer put out a small, short-lived zine called Army Man. Its contributors (including Meyer) went on to form the bulk of the Simpsons writing staff, among other achievements. The whole, tiny output of the venture (32 total pages in three issues) is now online.
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 7/11/13
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 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

MORE FRE-MONSTROUS THAN EVER
Jun 23rd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

This year’s Fremont Solstice Parade was bigger than ever. Both the real parade (see below) and the unofficial body-paint bicycle brigade preceding it.

What may have once been considered daring and rebellious, is now an ordinary, accepted thing; another smug celebration of how fabulous we believe ourselves to be. Thus is the Seattle Way.

You can also say with certainty that the event was popular, on a solitary hot sunny day bookmarked by drizzly days before and after it.

The parade proper was about one and a half times as long as it was just last year. The “political” paraders were out in force with such simple messages as “wind power good, Monsanto pesticides bad.”

A small utility manhole in the street was left uncovered. That’s how this CRT-headed advocate for electronics recycling crashed his trash.

Also on hand were the usual music and dance troupes, and the giant flora-n’-fauna kinetic scultpure thangs.

GENUINE GM PARTS (NOT!)
Jun 15th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

plastic corn usb memory stick, available from made-in-china.com

This is one of those times when I run afoul of certain acquaintances who extol everybody to “think for yourself.”

Because I don’t always “think for myself” the way these guys n’ gals want me to.

The topic in question: “genetically modified organism” (aka “GMO” or simply “GM”) food seeds.

I’m not completely against them.

This shouldn’t surprise longtime readers of this venture. I’ve never been an organic vegan purist. I don’t believe in the innate goodness of all things “alternative” or the innate badness of all things “mainstream.”

As “ObamaLover20122″ writes at Daily Kos, modern varieties of staple foodstuffs can add nutrients, reduce the need for pesticides, and help alleviate hunger and malnutrition in wide swaths of the world. Anti-GMO campaigns, this blogger insists, are full of conspiracy theory-esque pseudo-science.

And, as Meagan Hatcher-Mays writes at Jezebel, plants and animals have been selectively bred by humans for just about ever. (Corn/maize was so thoroughly domesticated by the Western Hemisphere’s pre-Euro humans that it can’t even reproduce in the wild.)

It doesn’t help that the outfit most closely associated with GMOs is Monsanto, the “radical” left’s current #1 corporate bogeyman (replacing Wal-Mart, which replaced Nike).

Monsanto was originally a chemical company, involved in everything from plastics and synthetic carpet fibers to the infamous herbicide Agent Orange. In the 1980s it started to make commercial crop seeds that would be especially receptive to its pesticides. Today, agribusiness is its only business.

It’s pursued this business with a “biotech” business model, something known to anyone who’s followed the doing of local drug-development companies. This model is big on patents and other “intellectual property” as the big assets, the big prizes.

Many of the boardroom-based brutalities Monsanto’s been (often rightly) accused of stem from this obsession with Profit Through Patent (such as litigating against small farmers who didn’t even deliberately put Monsanto-owned genes into their crops).

Other Monsanto corporate sins (industrial-waste dumping, f’r instance) are the product of similar them-that’s-got-the-gold-makes-the-rules corporate groupthink.

In short, Monsanto makes it really easy to hate ‘em.

And that’s just what folks are doing, across the to-the-left-of-Obama end of the political spectrum.

One part of that crusade has been the dissemination of boycott lists online.

This documents and “meme graphics” purport to list, without documentation, “Monsanto-owned” food products you shouldn’t buy. Various versions of the lists include dozens and dozens of famous supermarket-shelf names.

The only thing is, Monsanto owns NO consumer food-product brands.

None.

Nada.

They’re not in that end of the business.

Many big food processors have probably bought grains and other crops from big agribusiness farms that have bought Monsanto seeds and/or pesticides.

But there’s no real telling who, or for which products.

And even the “GMO labeling” bills now going through several state and national legislative bodies won’t make it certain, thanks to the same natural processes whereby the aforementioned small farmers ended up with GMO genes in their crops.

So go ahead and hate Monsanto for its documented bullying tactics.

But don’t blindly hate all GMO projects.

And don’t blindly hate the entire non-PCC food universe.

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

RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/18/13
May 18th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Happy Mt. St. Helens Day!
  • Nordstrom was caught capturing and tracking the smartphone data of users who wandered through its (real-world) stores. Once the story broke out, the retail said it wasn’t doing it anymore.
  • A UW prof’s using meditation to teach students to conquer online distractions.
  • I’m still trying to determine if the Milwaukee slam poet Matt Cook, publicized in the hereby-linked page, is the same guy who was the Stranger’s first editor (and an unsung co-creator of that publication’s informal-snarkiness aesthetic).
  • Just as there are with vinyl records (and even 8-track tapes), there are people who staunchly defend VHS videocassettes and the culture they engendered. (Before VHS’s 30-year run as an active medium, the idea of “owning” your favorite movies was little more than a fantasy.) These analog nostalgists now have a documentary about them, taped in part at Seattle’s Scarecrow Video.
  • Carl Gibson at the political blog Nation of Change believes we should “move beyond ‘left vs. right,’” just before he iterates what is basically a center-left political platform.
  • Frank Zappa, as you all know, loathed drugs but loved him some hot groupie sex. His personal secretary, however, was allowed to turn him down.
  • Abstinence-only education, and the growing evidence that it’s really harmful, has proven to be one of the (many) topics that bring web comment trolls into full rabid-bigoted rage.
  • The UK’s Daily Telegraph refers to the Fast & Furious action-film series as Hollywood’s first “bisexual blockbuster.”
  • Does the still relatively little-used Google Plus have an alluring “tragic beauty” to it?
  • From all the hype you can hear about it these days, 3-D printing is either the best thing since sliced bread or the best thing since “industrial hemp.”
  • After just three weeks, the online revivals of All My Children and One Life to Live are each cutting back from four half-hour episodes a week to two.
  • Here’s a cool public art piece in Australia. It’s a hugeass hot air balloon in the form of a fantasy whale with human breast shapes stuck on, apparently just for fun.

junkee.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/14/13
May 14th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

factmag.com

  • Somebody thought it would be cool to try to laser-etch a phonograph record onto wood. The result sounds a bit like the early, dial-up-connection versions of RealAudio.
  • Item: Indoor pot growing uses lotsa electricity. Comment: You mean stoners aren’t the purest-O-the-pure eco-saints? Next thing, you’ll be saying electric cars and wood stoves aren’t pure-green either.
  • Oh, Those Kids Today! #1: Monica Guzman insists today’s under-30 folks aren’t entitlement-obsessed narcissists, but rather are “people waking up to their own power and not being willing to compromise it.”
  • Oh, Those Kids Today! #2: Young adults are even driving less than prior generations. How un-American can ya get?
  • The Legislature’s special session could see a Dem-controlled State Senate again. Maybe.
  • Seattle teachers who refused to administer standardized tests have achieved a partial victory.
  • Just last week, we bemoaned the idiotic prose and strained “corporate hip” attitude of KOMO’s “young skewing” local website Seattle Pulp. Now the whole site’s dead, without even leaving its old posts alive.
  • Are the Sonics Back Yet? (Day 126): No. But we should have the final, final answer (for this year at least) on Wednesday. Don’t get your hopes back up. But hold on to the love.
  • Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Plunder thought it would just be keen n’ dandy to play tracks by Sonics-purist and Seattle’s-honor-defender Macklemore in their arena. Nope, no way, uh-uh, no siree bub.
  • Might Microsoft buy Barnes & Noble’s Nook ebook hardware operation just to kill it?
  • Amazon’s fledgling in-house book publishing operations might expand to include “literary fiction,” whatever the heck that means anymore.
  • Disappeared local institution we neglected to mention earlier: the Green Lake Baskin-Robbins.
  • Weird crime story of the week: “Woman who killed ex with insecticide-laced Jågermeister pleads guilty.”
  • It’s illegal but it happens anyway: denying employment to people for the sin of being in debt due to being unemployed.
  • Katy Evans at the Tacoma group blog Post Defiance notes how indie live music has become a more complicated, bureaucratic, and problematic biz, especially in towns like hers in the shadow of bigger towns.
  • Seattle Times Shrinkage Watch: The paper’s own reporters have to pay for website subscriptions to their own work. Except they can “opt out” of it if they insist.
  • You remember how the New Orleans Times-Picayune went to only three print issues a week? No more. They’re now putting out newsstand-only editions on the four non-home-delivery days, just like the Detroit papers are.
  • Talking into computers and expecting them to understand you has always been, and apparently will continue to be, little more than a screenwriters’ conceit.
  • Anthony Galluzzo at Salon wants you to stop the hipster-bashing already. He says it’s old, tired, and becoming classist.
  • Jim Tews, who describes himself as “a decent white male comic,” insists that most white guys performing standup are not sexist boors.
  • No, Rolling Stone readers, Nirvana is not the fifth worst band of the ’90s. That would actually be Sugar Ray.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 4/30/13
Apr 30th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

tom banse via kplu

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