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

nextnature.net

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

tacoma news tribune

RANDOM 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 11/14/12
Nov 13th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

Onetime P-I cartoonist Ramon "Ray" Collins, to be featured in the documentary Bezango, WA

  • I don’t often plug Kickstarter fundraising projects here. But there’s one I fully believe in. It’s Bezango, WA, a feature documentary by Ron Austin and Louise Amandes about Northwest cartoonists past and present. It’ll have everybody from David Horsey to Ellen Forney. It should be a blast.
  • It’s been a few days since the last Random Links, I know. No, I haven’t been dancing the liberal’s victory dance all this time. I’ve been working on another National Novel Writing Month novel. This one should be great. I’ve got a scene in which an electronics nerd compares a sexy woman to a freshly soldered joint. (Really.) (That part might not make the eventual final cut, though.)
  • Remember, Seattle parks users: the owls are not what they seem.
  • A nice Wikipedia contributor explains Seattle’s street layout. (This will be on your exam.)
  • Don’t send too many Tweets® from a Husky football game, or the UW will accuse you of being an unlicensed media outlet.
  • Andy Warhol’s studio submitted a proposal to paint the Tacoma Dome’s roof all floral-y. Now, it might finally appear.
  • RIP Tristan Devin, 32. The Capitol Hill cafe owner and comedian was also the director of the “People’s Republic of Komedy,” staging group bills all over town and promoting a standup revival. Among the topics of his own act were his long struggles with depression and experiences in therapy.
  • Bryan Johnson has retired after 53 years at KOMO radio and TV. On the radio side, he’d announced both the death of JFK and the eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Transferred to the TV side, he became a sort-of local Mike Wallace. In his booming baritone, he asked the tough questions, he made the snarky comments, he delivered the gloom-n’-doom “analysis.” His official last piece was an in-studio commentary on whether the feds would act to prevent pot legalization here.
  • Some Occupy ____ activists have an idea that might just actually benefit people. It’s called “Rolling Jubilee.” Under this scheme, a donation-funded nonprofit would buy up unpayable consumer debt at pennies on the dollar, just like collection agencies do. But the nonprofit would then cancel, instead of try to collect, those debts.
  • Google allegedly now makes more ad revenue than all U.S. magazines and newspapers combined.
  • Is selling out to commercials now the only viable business model for indie rock bands?
RANDOM LINKS FOR 11/6/12
Nov 6th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

ward sutton

‘Tis election day. The most infuriatingly nervous day of the year, or in this case of the quadrennium. (I believe that’s a word.)

The polls, even the progressive leaning polls, predict a tighter race than I want. I want Obama across the board over Mr. Lying One-Percenter Tax Cheat Hypocrite in previously “red” states, and all victorious long before the Pacific Time Zone results show up. If I can’t get that, I at least want an Obama victory big enough that even the partisan-hack dirty tricks in Ohio and Florida (and even here) can’t threaten it.

Back to randomosity:

  • Lynn Stuart Parramore at AlterNet insists that liberals need to expand their potential base, to reach out to the whole of America. Yes, even to stop stereotyping white male Southerners.
  • Postcard collector Lisa Hix has some lovely examples of cartoony “attack ads” from the women’s suffragist era.
  • Bob Quinn, who started a one-man needle exchange program in the U District in the 1990s, has apparently died. I have no further information on this, however. (UPDATE: Here’s more.)
  • Microsoft staged a real-life fake “invasion” theater piece to launch the newest version of its Halo video-game series. The mock battle essentially involved all of the European micro-state of Lichtenstein. Cue references to the Bloom County version of Bill Gates trying to get a date by boasting about owning Norway.
  • UPDATE: The Cobain-Love stage musical, threatened last month, is now an official no-go.
  • The state Dept. of Transportation is holding a naming contest about the big machine that will dig the tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct. All entry names must be female, presumably to avoid the obvious phallic jokes.
  • Boeing’s next jetliner model might have folding wings, to fit in better at crowded airports.
  • Thirty-six percent of the cigarettes sold in Wash. state may be “contraband” (i.e., sold without state taxes). These will, of course, kill you just as dead.
  • John Naughton at UK weekly The Observer says the big book publishers have played into Amazon’s hands in the past decade or so. Actually, they’ve played into the hands of their own conglomerate owners who cared only about the short-term Almighty Stock Price, to the long-term detriment of the business itself.
  • If Disney buys Hasbro, as has been rumored, they’d not only get the rights to Battleship remakes, but also to the role-playing game franchise Dungeons & Dragons. You’ll recall Hasbro bought Renton game company Wizards of the Coast, which had bought D&D during its peak years.
  • R.I.P. Mac Ahlberg. The famed Hollywood cinematographer had directed a few of his own films while still in his native Sweden. One of these was the erotic classic I, A Woman and its two sequels.
  • Occupy Wall Street protesters had rigged together some bicycle-powered generators during their marathon protest. These devices proved handy for neighbors during the Hurricane Sandy blackout.
  • Today’s lesson in the folly of marketing products “For Women” is brought to you by Honda.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/24/12
Sep 23rd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

via yowpyowp.blogspot.com

Having finally gotten the Boomerang cable channel, I’ve become re-acquainted with the early Hanna-Barbera cartoon shows (Huck, Yogi, Quick Draw, ‘Stones, Top Cat, Jetsons, Jonny Quest). They didn’t have fluid movement but they had great visual composition. They had pleasing character designs and cool semi-abstract backgrounds. They had funny dialogue. Then the company got too big and everything went downhill. This B.C.-based blogger explains it all thoroughly, including the links between the Jetsons look and the Space Needle (hint: ours came first).

  • Chris Ballew’s jaunty li’l song from the J.P. Patches memorial celebration is now a video.
  • Seattle’s Capitol Hill was rated America’s eighth “hippest” neighborhood in one of those questionable magazine surveys.
  • Good (media) news, for once: the Village Voice Media chain of papers, including Seattle Weekly, was “taken private” in a management-led buyout. This might mean actual newspaper people in charge again. And Backpage.com, VVM’s oft-criticized sex ad website, will not be part of the new Voice Media Group.
  • We’ve long snarked at TV shows that were set in Seattle but made in L.A. or Vancouver. Now, though, it turns out it’s the L.A. production community that’s worried about “runaway” shows. Of all the new hour-long dramas on the five broadcast networks, all but two are being shot somewhere else. Even one show about young actors trying to make it in Hollywood is filmed in Toronto.
  • Take out the highly GOP-biased Rasmussen poll, and Obama’s currently ahead (at least slightly) in every so-called swing state.
  • The Obama campaign released a fun little online commercial showing how campaigns take opponents’ statements out of context—using real sliced-and-diced Romney quites.
  • Romney’s son admits his dad cheats and laughs about it, then says “that’s what we need in the White House.”
  • What happens when a Koch Bros.-funded super PAC tries to stage a pro-Wall St. rally? It gets infiltrated by “satirical” anti-Wall St. activists in suits and dresses.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/20/12
Sep 19th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

seattle chapter, american institute of architects via kplu.org

  • What to do with the soon-to-be former 520 floating bridge’s surplus pontoons? Several folks have ideas. One of them, above, is to build a walkway just below Lake Washington’s surface, for the ever-popular “walking on water” illusion.
  • Seattle’s own alt-country rising star Brandi Carlile has officially come out.
  • Fast Company seems to find it odd that Microsoft’s new hardware products have embraced a newly enriched design aesthetic without CEO Steve Ballmer being in hands-on charge of the initiative. A good boss knows when (and to whom) to delegate authority.
  • Amazon’s proposed three new towers won’t just be big, they’ll also be bold.
  • Earlier this year we mentioned how the Swedish Hospital system said it was losing loads of money. Similar news has now come from Group Health.
  • Private housing developers are getting tax breaks for building “affordable” housing units, without enough proof that they’re actually building ‘em.
  • Meanwhile, City Councilmember Nick Licata wants you to know that more than of Seattle’s “renter” population, 20 percent spend more than half their income on rent.
  • Starbucks now has its own branded home espresso machine.
  • If there’s anybody with an apparent greater sense of L’etat, C’est Moi than Seattle police, it’s Bellevue police.
  • More first-birthday greetings to the Occupy movement: Bainbridge Island-based Yes! magazine uses a tree graphic to show how the movement has “born fruit.”
  • Who wants to keep simple majorities in the Legislature from deciding revenue bills? Big business, of course. Like duh.
  • As of Wednesday evening, HuffPost’s Electoral College map lists only one tossup state, North Carolina. Obama has taken leads (at least small ones) in all the other previously “swing” states.
  • Richard Eskow of the Campaign for America’s Future claims Romney’s “47 percent” speech reveals the combination of privilege, selfishness, and rage that defines “the radical rich.” (A certain megahome-building couple in Leschi might be considered among these.)
  • Those print-on-demand book machines are coming to lots more locations. But will the new models allow color interior pages, or be even halfway decent with photographs?
  • Jack Hitt at The New Yorker has a hi-larious “Conservative History of the United States,” based entirely on wingnut politicians’ and pundits’ actual untrue statements.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/19/12
Sep 18th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey
  • There’s a protest wake for Metro Transit’s Ride Free Area (something that benefits everyone who ever goes downtown, as well as the destitute) on Friday the 28th.
  • There already was an Occupy ___ one-year anniversary march in Seattle, in which protesters raised “Get Money Out of Politics” banners. Look: The only fields money is “out of” are fields that people with money consider to be unimportant (including, alas, online journalism).
  • Knute Berger wants Seattle’s streets to stay “messy,” as in not completely grid-beholden. That kind of messy I like. The litter kind of messy, not so much.
  • The hedge fund tycoon who hosted Romney’s now infamous “47 percent” masses-bashing speech also hosts stuff that’s way cooler—private mansion group-sex parties. So what’s a guy that hip doing in the Romney camp? Oh yeah, the whole protecting-power-n’-privilege thang.
  • Also, there’s plenty of actual bad stuff about Romney. There’s absolutely no need to make up anti-Romney arguments out of misinformation, such as this piece that tries to connect him and his Mormon faith with the Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints, an unaffiliated splinter sect. (The FLDS is the infamous polygamy cult where daughters were forced into harem marriages as kids.)
  • Anti-anarchist crackdowns continue to stretch the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/18/12
Sep 18th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

seanmichaelhurley.blogspot.com

  • My ol’ pal and fellow Stranger refugee, painter/illustrator Sean Michael Hurley, worked the “safety patrol” at the Downtown Emergency Service Center for the past two years, until earlier this month. Here are his poignant reminiscences of this tough job.
  • Not since (or even including) Dukakis have I seen a Presidential campaign come apart at the rivets so thoroughly, so quickly. Having apparently abandoned even most of the remaining “swing states” (of which some polls say there are now only six), the Romneyites are retreating to their remaining hardcore base—their billionaire donors. That’s the reason for the masses-bashing speech Romney gave to some donors last week, which got leaked to Mother Jones.
  • Next, the Romney cronies will try to double down on the “culture war” nonsense, to try to keep the wingnuts interested in propping up the GOP downticket races.
  • Wall Street was re-occupied, with the expected police over-reaction.
  • Timothy Harris at Real Change, meanwhile, insists there’s life yet in the Occupy shtick.
  • Nanci Donnellan, KJR-AM’s former “Fabulous Sports Babe,” has had major health issues in recent years, but is still doing the brassy-mama act on the air in Tampa.
  • Did a European magician try to copy one of Penn and Teller’s (well, Teller’s) signature bits? Or is it all just another of the team’s elaborate hoaxes?
  • Today’s lesson in officially homophobic institutions covering up rampant child abuse comes from the Boy Scouts.
  • So the organized anti-American attacks in the Mideast aren’t really due to an awful, no-budget American movie. But if they had been, so many more cringeworthy-bad films are out there. Where’s the rioting over Manos the Hands of Fate or The Wasp Woman?
  • There are still vast places in America, nay in Wash. state, where there’s no cell phone service and previous little Internet service. Some people who don’t live in these places imagine them to be heaven. I do not.
  • A Tacoma teacher says education reform has become like the unsolvable training exercise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I think it’s more like one of those Doctor Who season finales that require a millennium or two to resolve.
  • Jen Doll at the Atlantic says the changing book biz means the end of the cloying back-cover blurb. (You’ll also enjoy the article’s stock photo of the old Elliott Bay Book Co. location.)
  • Harvard researchers claim “a wandering mind is not a happy mind.” I’d tell you more about the story, but I had these 30 other browser tabs open at the time….
RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/7/12
Sep 6th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

via upworthy.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/20/12
Jun 20th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

komo-tv

  • More tsunami debris is showing up on Northwest beaches. Darn, I remember when all you’d find there were dead seals.
  • Publicola, having just broken up with Crosscut, has announced its nuptials with Seattle Met. The lifestyle mag will own and host the local inside-politics blog, starting some time next month.
  • The Downtown Seattle Association’s raising money to install a semi-permanent family playground at Westlake Park (which would just coincidentally make it a less hospitable locale for, say, Occupiers).
  • Pearl Jam’s biggest nemesis isn’t Ticketmaster but its own ex-business manager.
  • Seattle’s arts world is a nearly half-billion dollar business. And that’s just the nonprofit side.
  • But the arts alone (or the gays or the hipsters) isn’t enough to drive a city’s economy, let alone turn one around. That’s the lesson from Minneapolis writer Frank Bures, who’s out to debunk pundit Richard Florida’s whole “Creative Class” shtick.
  • KIRO-TV’s exposé of an elementary school janitor was a big hunk of lies n’ half-truths, according to some local “media watchdog” types.
  • The president of the U. of Virginia was fired, allegedly for nothing more than insufficiently sucking up to corporate interests.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/18/12
Jun 17th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

ford 'seattle-ite xxi' car display at the world's fair; uw special collections via edmonds beacon

  • In the revived Baffler, self described “anthropologist and anarchist” David Graeber has a long “salvo” of an essay that starts out by asking some of the questions a lot of folks have asked during the World’s Fair semicentennial: Where the heck are the flying cars, missions to Mars, or other techno-wonders we were promised back then? Graeber smoothly segues from that into a more general modern malaise, in which nothing seems to be getting better except info-tech—and that’s turned us all into serfs to bureaucracy, even in our private lives. His answer: a more egalitarian economy. (I know, easier to say than to make.)
  • Online Media Shrinkage Watch: The combo of Crosscut and Publicola turned out to be more of a springtime fling than a marriage. Crosscut’s cutting back. Not just on its new hires (Publicola founders and city hall insider reporters Josh Feit and Erica Barnett), but the site’s existing staff and freelance budgets. Three big funding sources are expiring around the same time. Crosscut founder David Brewster says a new funding scheme (and a reorganization, with Brewster stepping back from full hands-on management of the site) is on the way. And Feit’s talking about restarting Publicola with his own new reorg. Weezell see….
  • As Wash. state’s privatized booze biz rolls on, could people actually start drinking less?
  • Attendance at Occupy Seattle’s “general assembly” meetings has plummeted. Is the organization fading away? If it does, its range of causes has not and will not go away. Tactics change. Goals remain. Eyes on the Prize and all that.
  • While the alpha-male hustlers running most all of America’s tech companies (and the equally estrogen-lacking tech journalists and bloggers) weren’t noticing, Internet usage has become majority female. So are the usages of GPS, e-book readers, Skype, text messaging, mobile-phone voice usage, and more.
  • The Waterfront Streetcar might or might not run again. If it does, it won’t be for at least seven years.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/28/12
May 27th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey
  • Five days and counting until Wash. state’s booze biz goes all private. Expecting greater competition to lower the price of getting besotted? Guess again, my fun-loving friends.
  • Social media: a great way to organize group bullying episodes.
  • David Lowery has a long, detailed, snark-filled rant about how today’s music-download biz is often worse for indie musicians than the old record biz had been. It’s also got relevance for our ongoing “future of news” topic, because part of Lowery’s shtick is to dismantle the “web gurus” and their evangelical pronouncements for/defenses of today’s online content business-as-usual.
  • Yes, the Twilight series makes Emily Temple’s list of “epidemically overrated books.” But so do The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, and even Finnegans Wake.
  • Arun Gupta at AlterNet ponders whether the Feds are planting violent agitators among Occupy activists in order to discredit the whole movement.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was quoted as saying that it’s harder to get a minimum-wage increase past his Legislature than gay marriage. To me that’s perfectly understandable, if the politics of gay rights are anything there like they are here (i.e., as a nice, clean, upscale, white “minority” movement).
RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/24/12
May 23rd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

This is the Great Wheel, now taking shape at Pier 57 on the waterfront. It is already the greatest addition to Seattle public architecture since the Koohaas downtown library. The rest of the waterfront should be redeveloped around it.

  • Is Mike McGinn becoming just like all Seattle’s other recent mayors, a “progressive” who totally sucks up to the real estate developers?
  • The state liquor stores won’t all close on May 31. Most will close one to four days earlier. A few have already closed. The stores that are still open have dwindling inventory. Since the supermarkets don’t start selling booze ’til June 1, consider stocking up for the Memorial Day weekend now.
  • Getty Images, the Seattle-based king of stock photo licensing, may be up for sale (again).
  • The Chicago head office of the company now calling itself Boeing got shut down by anti-NATO protesters. That almost certainly wouldn’t have happened if they’d stayed in Seattle Tukwila.
  • South Lake Union is finally getting something useful (besides the Ace Hardware franchise): a Goodwill store!
  • The proposed new basketball/hockey arena will work out just fine traffic-wise.
  • Breaking news: people like to get stuff if they don’t have to pay for it.
  • Hewlett-Packard announces huge layoffs; blames declining demand for PCs in favor of other digital-media devices.
  • Paul Krugman, seemingly effortlessly, totally dismantles the Romney economic platform….
  • …while author Charles Ferguson explains how “Wall Street became criminalized.” (As if it hadn’t always been so.)
  • Unlike author Patricia Williams, I don’t blame book bannings and other assaults against public education on an “anti-intellectual” American people, but on the right-wing politicians who actually committed the assaults. Just as I don’t blame the megabanks’ crimes on their depositors.
  • Knute Berger offers some “Simple Rules for Staying Sane in Seattle.” My own first rule: make sure you were already sane before you got here.
  • The company whose merged predecessors gave us such great product names as Cheez Whiz, Cool Whip, and Chicken in a Biskit announced it’s de-merging. The spinoff company’s new name: “Mondelez.” Doesn’t quite fall trippingly off the tongue.
  • In science fiction and astrology, “Planet X” (as in the Roman numeral for 10) is a hypothetical tenth planet orbiting out beyond Pluto. Now, some astronomer says he’s found it, and it’s three times the size of Earth. No word yet on whether it holds massive deposits of illudium phosdex, the shaving cream atom.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/17/12
May 16th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

zgf architects via seattle times

  • If you’re gonna build a condo tower that’s utterly, totally out of scale with the historic district immediately adjacent to it, it might as well be a real PoMo monolith.
  • UW researchers say they may be able to prove the existence of “gaydar.”
  • With a little over two weeks to go before the state liquor stores go away forever, some of the auction sales of the outlets fell through. Eighteen stores will be re-bid.
  • Now we know why they call it Bitter Lake. It’s had raw sewage flowing into it for at least a decade.
  • The dream is over: Dennis Kucinich won’t run for Congress from Wash. state.
  • Amazon’s first non-Bezos-family investor gave a hot speech about income inequality in America, and how rich folks like himself really just aren’t “job creators.” (It was given at a TED conference, but isn’t one of the videos posted on that organization’s site. But you can read it; which I prefer doing anyway.) (And to be fair, here’s a different economic-inequality speech that was posted on TED’s site.)
  • Is this the beginning of the end for soft drink sales in America? If the fizz really does die out, remember: Those who forget New Coke are doomed to repeat it.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/9/12
May 9th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

(Just a little dose of random-osity for you all today.)

  • Everyday household chemicals (antihistamines, cleaners, flame retardants) become toxins when they get into our rivers.
  • Flu and whooping cough have closed an entire high school.
  • My colleague/compatriot/rival in the local history trade, Paul Dorpat, got named a “Living Landmark” by the preservation group Historic Seattle.
  • The next waterfront traffic reroute begins today.
  • The (Ron) Paulines may make procedural trouble at the state GOP convention.
  • Noam Chomsky warns the Occupiers they’d better prepare to be in it for the long haul.
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