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TODAY IN OWN-TAIL-EATING, INTERNET STYLE
Jun 19th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

Apparently, there are deliberately annoying (male) online “trolls” (in the days of dial-up bulletin board systems, we called them “twits”) who have conspired to promote fake “feminist” Twitter slogans. Their idea was to make feminists as a whole appear to be just as stupid and sexist as these trolls themselves are. They (or at least many of them) got caught.

But also, apparently there are also Twitter trolls who have conspired to promote a made-up meme about “bikini bridges” (defined as an open space under the top of a bikini bottom, between the hips).

But what makes this operation even dorkier is that the same trolls, under a variety of online pseudonyms, are orchestrating fake “grassroots” comments both promoting and denouncing this supposedly “viral” hashtag obsession.

Some people, clearly, have just too much time on their hands.

I WANT TO BE A PART OF IT, EAST RUTH-ER-FORD…
Jan 20th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

(The title of this post continues with the Sinatra-esque title treatment of the previous post.)

The Seahawks are off to the Super Bowl for the second time in team history. Just like the last time, you can expect all the national media to be against us. It’s going to be all “THE GREAT LEGENDARY PEYTON MANNING and some other team.”

Or that’s how it was going to be, until certain online commentators found a hate object.

Yeah, Richard Sherman is loud.

Yeah, he talked like a trash-talking wrestler during his impromptu sideline interview just after the game.

No, he was not, and is not, a “goon” or a “thug.” (He’s really a thoughtful young man who gives generously to charity.)

And no, his remarks do not justify idiotic racist bigotry.

The game’s striking ending, in which Sherman’s tip-away of a touchdown pass preserved the Seahawks’ lead with less than half a minute to go, was the climax of a huge day that capped a huge season.

It had been a day of high hopes and high fears.

The 2013-14 Seahawks had united this region in ways I didn’t think possible. Even some sports-hating hippies got into the fever.

The pregame festivities outside the stadium were a glorious cacophony of enthusiasm, pride, joy, and (yes) love.

And, yeah, maybe a little bit of bragging. Like when a lot of us noticed that one of the two Pioneer Square bars taken over by 49er fans was the New Orleans—namesake of the Seahawks’ previous playoff conquest.

(The “pegging” in the above photo was only with small water balloons, and was a school fundraiser, though they never said for which school.)

A nice lady gave me this cupcake decorated with Skittles (a product of Mars, originally founded in Tacoma), and a plastic kid-size Seahawks helmet ring.


Eventually, though, it came time to gather inside the stadium, to private parties, or to bars (such as Safeco Field’s “The ‘Pen”; yes, the Mariners learned to make a few bucks from a neighbor team’s success). I dutifully found myself back in Belltown, cheering on the team with about 40 other rabid fans.

And, as you undoubtedly know by now, it was a knuckle biter of an experience.

Our boys were down (but not by much) the entire first half, broken by a short-lived tie in the third quarter. They only took the lead early in the fourth quarter, and held precariously to that lead until Sherman’s final pass deflection.

The whole bar I was at became noisy as hell after that, and remained that way for a good half hour afterward.

Then the party spilled into the streets, with revelers driving and marching up First Avenue from the stadium. Revelry continued well into the night.

Something tells me the Super Bowl itself (which will occur in East Rutherford NJ, despite what the promo ads may say), even when we win it, might feel anticlimactic in comparison.

I HATE CALIFORNIA. IT’S COLD AND IT’S DAMP.
Jan 17th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

'i hate the 49ers' on facebook

(Note: This post’s title is a gag based on a song lyric. Californians never get the joke.)

Twice a year, I get to express out loud an opinion that usually attracts scorn and correctiveness from even my closest friends.

And this week, I get to really say it.

The excuse: The Seahawks’ upcoming battle in the National Football League’s playoff semifinals, against the arch rival 49ers.

The opinion: San Francisco is a land of pompous, arrogant snobs who falsely believe themselves to be the Supreme Species of the Universe.

Especially San Francisco’s “alternative” and “radical” scenes.

That’s a socially forbidden opinion there—and even, often, here.

All my life, I’ve heard people here insisting that Seattle was a “hick town” that needed to become “world class” by religiously copying everything in, from, and about San Francisco. Its restaurants and bars. Its bands. Its fashions. Its municipal political structure. Its architecture. Its media institutions. Its stores. Its strip clubs. Even its street crime.

To these “local boosters,” anything Seattleites created on their own was intrinsically inferior to anything swiped from or “inspired by” cultural dictates from down south. (This attitude was particularly strong during the ’70s and ’80s, when Seattle’s civic establishment was almost completely run by upscale baby boomers.)

Over the years, there’s also been a steady stream of promoters and hucksters from there moving up here, opening “authentic San Francisco style” hoity-toity clubs or boutiques, long on attitude and short on anything really interesting. When these enterprises failed, as they usually did, said hucksters bemoaned us Seattle hicks for failing to appreciate their genius.

To a true San Franciscan, there is only San Francisco, and maybe New York, and just-maybe-maybe Los Angeles. The rest of America is all Bumfuck, Iowa.

“But,” people invariably say, “what about all the bohemian rebels and counterculturists and Establishment-challengers from there?”

They can be even more annoyingly snooty than your basic San Franciscan annoying snoot.

And it’s an American tragedy, the way they’ve helped left-wing politics to get ensnarled with the most anti-populist, square-bashing sentiments, in which one is supposed to love “the people” and hate “the sap masses” at the same time. (I’m talking to you, Mr. Tom Tomorrow and Mr. Jello Biafra.)

I happen to believe progressive/revolutionary politics should be for everybody.

Even meat eaters. Even TV viewers. Even people who don’t drink lattes or listen to public radio.

Otherwise it’s just a worthless pose.

There’s now a book out by one Fred Turner, called From Counterculture to Cyberculture. It traces the twisted path of San Franciscan “liberation” ideology/hype, from the “flower power” wild-oats sowers, through the Whole Earth Catalog gang, to the early microcomputer startups, to Wired magazine’s founders, to the hyper-alpha guys (and too few gals) running today’s dot-com giants.

Turner traces how a particular strain of NoCal “personal freedom” beliefs mutated and metastasized into corporate-Libertarian selfishness.

The Harvard Business Review story about the book carries the telling title, “How Silicon Valley Became the Man.”

Right now in Frisco (an informal, anti-elitist abbreviation I always insist upon using), there’s a loud backlash against dot-com one-percenters taking over the whole city, forcing artists and musicians (and, oh yeah, non-white folks) out, and making annoyances of themselves with their big spending and boorish behavior.

Protesters and pundits forthrightly proclaim that this all runs counter to “The City” and its heritage of rugged individualists, rule breakers, and wild boys.

No. It’s a monster bastard child of that heritage, taken to a parasitical extreme.

So no, Danny Westneat and Knute Berger: I don’t share any “sense of inferiority to San Francisco.”

I treat it as an example of what Seattle should not become.

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

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

  • The countdown to the possible decimation of King County Metro Transit continues, with professional Seattle-haters in the Legislature officially not giving a damn.
  • Could the Seattle Monorail Project really be brought back from the dead?
  • About eighteen years past due and not a moment too soon, there’s finally a local music show back on local TV. It’s Band in Seattle, and it airs at 11 p.m. Saturdays on the once-mighty KSTW (which hasn’t had any local programming in ages).
  • Dj and promoter Derek Mazzone offers a fond remembrance of Ace Hotel/ARO.Space/Tasty Shows/Rudy’s Barbershop entrepreneur Alex Canderwood.
  • We must also say goodbye to Dee Dee Rainbow, a longtime Meany Middle School art teacher, a fixture at just about every jazz show in the region, and a figure of joy and celebration wherever she went.
  • As has been expected, a mega-developer is buying the old “Fairview Fannie” Seattle Times HQ. The 1930 art deco façade features might be retained.
  • Monica Guzman has seen one of Amazon’s new “webisode” sitcoms and finds it to be a dreary dude-fest with female characters decidedly de-emphasized.
  • Sinan Demirel at Crosscut remembers homeless-housing projects of the past, and ponders whether they contain any lessons for today.
  • Is there really such a thing as “The Seattle ‘No,’” depicted as a passive-aggressive copout response? I’ve certainly had few problems saying a firm “No” to questions just like this one.
  • City Councilmember-elect Kshama Sawant isn’t even in office yet and the carpers, local and national, are already circling.
  • The Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center is in severe financial straits and might not survive.
  • One of my fave hangouts, Bill’s Off Broadway at Pine and Harvard, closes Monday nite. Yep, redevelopment strikes again. The pizza/pasta joint and sports bar has already opened an exile location on Greenwood Avenue, and should be back in the rebuilt corner in 20 months’ time.
  • To the surprise of very few, David Meinert and his partner Jason Lajuenesse are taking over the Comet Tavern.
  • Matt Driscoll at Seattle Weekly describes Boeing’s single, unacceptable, set of take-it-or-leave-it demands for labor givebacks as the “dick move of the week.” But don’t worry; billionaire CEOs have made plenty of dick moves just in the two weeks since then.
  • Lemme get this straight: A local ad agency is trying to convince other ad agencies to make ads here in Wash. state by playing on the image of this as a place where people don’t like being advertised to. Or something like that.
  • KIRO-TV salaciously described the sidewalks surrounding City Hall Park and the Morrison Hotel as “The Most Dangerous Block in Seattle.” A local merchant there begs to differ, and asks that the down n’ out be treated with “your hope, not your contempt.”
  • We’re learning that every time there’s a closed subculture run by leaders who demand total obedience, there’s apt to be child abuse. Latest example: NYC’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/27/13
Sep 27th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

seattleglobalist.com

  • The thorough folks at Seattle Globalist traced UW-licensed apparel items back to the places where they were made, to the people who made them, and to how much more the people who made them would need to earn to meet the local cost of living.
  • Speaking of apparel, BuzzFeed’s got some sorry evidence of pathetic attempts to turn punk rock nostalgia into mere fashion-fad fodder.
  • Still speaking of apparel, Sesame Street really doesn’t like unauthorized “Sexy Big Bird” Halloween costumes. (You can still get the “Pho King Hot” waitress costume, though.)
  • Why is Storyville Coffee, a single espresso and pastry boutique in the Pike Place Market, spending so much on lavish pre-opening marketing (including a month of free food and drinks for invited guests)? Because (1) it’s the first unit of a planned chain, and (2) it’s got the zillionaire behind a for-profit college backing it. (And as an aside, the owners also have ties to the “hip” but reactionary Mars Hill Church.) (And as another aside, do they even know they’ve named it after New Orleans’ old red-light district?)
  • Can the scenic, low-density office “park” that is the ex-Battelle Research campus in Laurelhurst be saved? And should it?
  • Eric Stevick at the Everett Herald has the sad life story of a woman who basically never got a break her entire life, and then died in the Snohomish County jail because they wouldn’t send for medical help.
  • Bumper salmon runs! Yay! Just, you know, keep ‘em away from the dogs.
  • Pasta-and-pride dept.: Barilla’s CEO doesn’t care much for the gays, but Bertolli (hearts) the gays. Or something like that.
  • Bono wants a more equitable tax system in Ireland, but will still keep his own millions stashed away in offshore trust accounts.
  • Could Google’s latest search-ranking changes finally kill off that bane to humanity that is “Search Engine Optimization”?
  • Ted Cruz apparently didn’t understand that Green Eggs and Ham is a liberal allegory about open mindedness. But he’s yesterday’s news. Today’s news is the conservatives’ next showdown target, the debt ceiling.
  • Do they serve Hello Kitty beer on the Hello Kitty plane?
  • Let’s leave you today with some visual inspiration, of sorts, in the form of “Terrible Real Estate Agent Photos.”

terriblerealestateagentphotos.com

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

pelican bay foundation via capitolhillseattle.com

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

For now, back to Randomosity:

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

ali almossawi

    A TIME OF THE SIGNS
    Aug 19th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    The Sherman Clay piano store was one of only two buildings on its block to avoid the wrecking ball during the ’80s civic-planning quasi-fiasco that begat Westlake Center. Earlier, it was the place to buy concert tickets in the ’60s and ’70s. The California chain sold pianos in Seattle since the 1880s (before Washington became a state), and has been at its Fourth Avenue site since 1924. But the chain’s calling it quits. The main reason: It lost its Steinway franchise. (The storied instrument maker was taken over by hedge-fund guys, and plans its own retail outlets.)

    As one door closes, etc.… T.J. Maxx is showing up in the upstairs of the Kress Building. If you recall, that’s where JC Penney was to have gone in a couple years back; but that deal was quashed during that company’s continuing internal roiling.

    This Belltown nightclub believed it needed to post a sign reminding its own male customers to not behave as antisocial creeps. Sad.

    RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/19/13
    Aug 19th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    imagined audio-book listeners on a train, 1894

    Back in the early days of telephones and phonograph records (1894 to be precise), essayist Octave Uzanne claimed “The End of Books” would soon be at hand. Uzanne predicted people would much rather listen to storytellers (with what are now called audio books) than read:

    Our eyes are made to see and reflect the beauties of nature, and not to wear themselves out in the reading of texts; they have been too long abused, and I like to fancy that some one will soon discover the need there is that they should be relieved by laying a greater burden upon our ears. This will be to establish an equitable compensation in our general physical economy.

    Elsewhere in randomosity:

    • Our ol’ friend (and onetime print MISC zine contributor) Jenniffer Velasco is now designing clothes in NYC, and making a name for herself.
    • The Seattle Timesvendetta against Mayor McGinn just gets more petty.
    • Sadly, criminal attacks in and near Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill just keep occurring.
    • If you ever get a text from a number you’ve never heard of, claiming to be from a woman “naked and waiting” for you to arrive with a pizza at a UW dorm, it’s best to not believe it.
    • The UW, meanwhile, ranks #27 in some list of the world’s top 100 universities. Just think what could happen if it got the state funding it deserves.
    • Seattle is #2 in some list of top world cities for “economic development.” Number one: Ottawa.
    • Could Puget Sound’s seaports finally stop competing against one another, thus driving down revenues to all?
    • Would-be neo-Sonics owner Chris Hansen gave money to a political campaign that’s essentially trying to stop a new arena in Sacramento. His admission of this might or might not diminish his chances of eventually landing a franchise.
    • Is Forever 21 demoting full-time workers to part-time as a sick revenge against Obamacare, or just to be mean?
    • Is Walmart doing badly this year because it treats its workers badly, or just because downscale customers still haven’t got their past spending power back?
    • Would Obama’s proposed student-loan “reforms” just make ‘em more usurious?
    • Blogger Allen Clifton makes the simple, provocative claim that today’s “Republicans aren’t Christians.”
    • Orson Scott Card, the Ender’s Game novelist who wants you to be tolerant of his anti-gay intolerance, also wrote a little essay fantasizing about Obama hiring “urban gangs” into a personal army to make him dictator.
    • Sophia McDougall at the UK mag New Statesman says she hates the stereotype of the “Strong Female Character,” particularly in big-budget action movies. She’d much rather see more, more believable, and more different female characters (i.e., different from one another).
    • Vice magazine, onetime would-be darling of the fashionably decadent, is now partly owned by Fox.
    • Anti-sex-trafficking advocate Rachel Lloyd would really like all of you to cease using the terms “pimp” or “pimping” in any admiration-type context.
    RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/24/13
    Jul 23rd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    via capitolhillseattle.com

    • Bauhaus Kunst & Koffee, one of the many businesses being “disrupted” by Pike/Pine’s mega-development boom, has its official gallows-humor “wrecking ball” T shirt.
    • As we may have mentioned here before, our supposed “progressive” town has a worse gender pay gap than the nation as a whole.
    • Did Microsoft really waste nearly $1 billion on the Surface RT tablet, or should at least part of that be considered R&D/marketing expense to be carried over into future models?
    • Microsoft has also quietly shut down the product/service once known as WebTV.
    • Meanwhile, the end of Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color tablet shouldn’t be seen as foreboding the end of B&N as a whole.
    • A Calif. tax-planning firm put Seattle as the #2 city for startup companies.
    • And a Forbes.com ”contributor” placed Seattle on a list of world cities with the most patent applications per population.
    • Pando Daily’s Sarah Lacy, quoting an anonymous publishing-biz source, insists Amazon is “going to kill” the traditional book industry. Lacy places the blame on book-biz malpractices, such as putting big bucks into celebrity titles instead of the sacred literary midlist that “book people” always whine about. Sorry but no. Snooki’s “memoir” will not kill publishing. Just as previous decades’ celebrity books didn’t. And neither will Amazon. It needs a variety of suppliers, just as all “media channels” do.
    • Seattle’s first dedicated bike lanes are now operational.
    • Are Seattleites “snobbish” when they talk about not wanting to have, or be around, children?
    • Our own Bill Nye made #16 on a list of the 22 “All Time Hottest Hunks of PBS.” Bob (Magic of Oil Painting) Ross didn’t even make the list.
    • Meanwhile, a PBS YouTube “channel” is home to a serious discussion on the supposedly radical “gender bending” aspects of BMO (pronounced “Beemo”), a character on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time. Here comes the “but-duh” part: BMO is an anthropomorphic talking computer, a machine. Machines don’t usually have genders.
    • Is Sears being driven into the ground by a CEO who likes Ayn Rand’s theories too much?
    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

    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.

    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 5/27/13
    May 27th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    wu ming, via daily kos

    • Let’s put credit where credit is due, to the right-wing initiative maestro who hates all non-private-car transportation, but whose schemes leave even that mode vastly underfunded in this nation’s-most-regressive-tax-system state.
    • Today in clothing named after people famous for not wearing any, a fashion chain called “Bettie Page” is opening its first local branch on Capitol Hill.
    • A Walla Walla high-school principal is convinced that severe discipline against problem students only makes things worse. By taking more pro-active approaches, suspensions at his school have plummeted.
    • One of the lesser publicized YouTube memes involves video gamers posting clips of their gameplay prowess. Now, Nintendo is claiming copyright on all these clips.
    • A guy in Ballard’s got a Kickstarter to fund a small but free performance space for theatrical and musical performers.
    • There are supposedly more high tech jobs available in the Puget Sound country than there are people to fill them. Now if we could only get jobs for a couple of non-coders….
    • Have Catholic bishops quietly taken control of all health care decision making in Wash. state?
    • David J. Ley at Psychology Today claims that sexual violence has gone down wherever “societies have increased their access to porn.”
    • The just-ended TV season has been, viewership-wise, “one of the worst years ever in the history of network TV.”
    • Meanwhile, brick-n’-mortar bookstores saw a huge jump in foot traffic this past quarter.
    • Some 56 more-or-less “adult” comix titles have been excised from Apple’s App Store. Again.
    • Will someone just kill the thin sheet calling itself the Village Voice already (or at least turn it into a bohemian-radical nostalgia rag)?
    • A Simpsons street opens later this year at the Universal Orlando theme park. It’ll be the Violentest Place on Earth! (Sorry, no Itchy and Scratchy Money accepted.)

    via cartoonbrew.com

    RANDOM LINKS FOR 4/18/13
    Apr 18th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    seattle dept. of transportation

    • King Street Station, one of Seattle’s two historic railway passenger terminals (and the one still in use by Amtrak) has looked so drab and awful for so long. In the pre-Amtrak desperate last years of private passenger rail, the Great Northern had “modernized” the main lobby with an acoustic-tile drop ceiling and other ill-informed touches. Now, after a half-decade of planning and reconstruction, the city and private partners have finally restored the room to its full grandeur. You can read all about it here. There’s a grand opening on Wed. 4/24, 11 a.m.
    • In other grand-opening news, the “Old School Pinups” photo studio has one this Fri. 4/19, 5 p.m.-on, at 1922 Post Alley.
    • Something I’ve learned first hand lately: Seattle’s current boom (glut?) of apartment construction hasn’t led to lower rents, but to ever-higher rents.
    • In addition to the dilemmas of cabs. vs. “for hire” vehicles and Zipcar vs. Car2Go, now a new alternative appears in town. It’s semi-pro “ride sharing.”
    • No, Seattle Times guest commenter Grace Gedye, online sexist trolls existed long before Facebook. But can the rising force of “Geek Girls” conquer and defeat ‘em once n’ for all?
    • Another classic bowling alley bites the dust. It’s Robin Hood Lanes, in Edmonds since 1960.
    • Are the Sonics Back Yet (Day 100)?: No. And we were supposed to have found out this weekend whether they’re coming back, at the NBA team owners’ annual hobnob session. But that vote’s been indefinitely delayed.
    • We do know that any neo-Sonics would have to negotiate cable-TV carriage of their games with the Mariners, who just bought a controlling interest in Root Sports Northwest.
    • The Oregon Ducks, aka “Nike U.,” have been slapped with NCAA penalties for football recruiting violations.
    • Some Net-pundits are crowing about the simple but apparently devastating “spreadsheet error” at the heart of a 2010 think-tank study promoting “austerity economics” to attack government debt. If not for the faulty math, the study’s critics claim, the study’s claims would be seen as the nonsense they are. Yeah, but facts have seldom gotten in the way of “shock doctrine” partisans, before or since.
    • Eco-Scare of the Week (non-fertilizer edition): Even before rising sea levels submerge many small Pacific islands, they’ll fatally disrupt those places’ fresh-water tables, making them uninhabitable.
    • Scott Miller, R.I.P.: The Loud Family/Game Theory musician was a leading light in the ’80s power pop revival, as well as a top scholar/historian about the pop/rock sphere. For a limited time, his heirs are making six of his out-of-print albums available as free downloads.
    • Blogger Nadine Friedman hates, hates, hates the latest Dove “real beauty” ad campaign. She claims it actually reinforces the standard corporate standards of female ideals.
    • Aaron Steven Miller at Medium.com wants book publishers to take the lead in tech-ifying and social-media-ifying their operations, before Amazon completely crushes them. Of course, that would require book publishers to cease being, as Miller puts it…

    …historically the stingiest, most fiscally conservative, most technologically resistant and investment-averse people ever, with the highest percentage of luddites per capita.

    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.

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