»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
MISCmedia MAIL for 2/12/16
Feb 11th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

A combined Valentine’s/Presidents’ weekend finds us mulling about the end of the Oregon siege at last; a GOP dirty trick against transit; deliberations about the latest anti-homelessness plan; the demise of the UW’s nuke; and fun with kitschy old Valentine’s cards.

MISCmedia MAIL for 2/4/16
Feb 3rd, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Our Thursday news rundown includes: Murray’s housing-levy details; making the Oregon occupiers pay for the law-enforcement work against them; Urban Outfitters claims the Navajo don’t own their own name; fast-food outlet drops franchise to escape franchise-level minimum wages; remembering a comedy patriarch.

MISCmedia MAIL for 1/29/16
Jan 28th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

The year’s first month ends with the Oregon siege still grinding on; Republican legislators still acting creepily; the homeless crisis still lingering; rivers again threatening to flood; and Paul Allen allegedly shutting down his just-opened gallery. Plus the usual scads of weekend activities.

MISCmedia MAIL for 1/27/16
Jan 26th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

A slow news day became a weird news night. We mention the tragedy at “The Jungle” and the mayor’s response to it; the strange (but predictable) twist in the Oregon militia standoff; more state Republican creepiness; the economic bigness of Seattle music (for everybody but musicians); and whether Seattle’s tech biz is immune from another “bubble.”

MISCmedia MAIL for 12/22/15
Dec 22nd, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

A lot of solemnity in today’s news: An up-from-poverty role model with a horrifying downfall; more evictions of unauthorized homeless camps; a “tech support” scam victimizes PC owners. But we could get some pandas here!

‘OREGONIAN’ SHRINKAGE WATCH
Apr 10th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

via charlesapple.com

The Seattle Times hasn’t shrunk much more lately, so we haven’t used our “Seattle Times Shrinkage Watch” meme much lately.

The same can’t be said for the monopoly daily in Portland, the Advance Publications (S.I. Newhouse family)-owned Oregonian.

Like Advance’s New Orleans Times-Picayune, the Oregonian has cut back on home delivery (to four days a week).

Like the T-P and other Advance papers, it’s been corporately reorganized as a “digital first” operation.

Its shrunken newsroom staff has faced a series of management dictates to post at least three online news items per day, to participate in (and start) comment threads for each item, and to eternally chase the Almighty Pageview Count. (As if standard “content site” target analytics from circa 2008 were still valid and could still lead to profits.)

And, as of last week, the print Oregonian is now a tabloid.

They officially call it a “compact” format, but it’s the same approximate page size as the Stranger. (That’s about three-quarters the current page size of the Seattle Times.)

It has (or is capable of having) color on every page. Each section is stapled (though management vows it’s all still fully recyclable).

The acres of national/international wire stories that used to dominate the front section have been slashed into a few stories and digests at the section’s back. Local coverage is still around (including, this week, a series on workplace sexual harassment), but is far more tightly edited.

However, the paper seems to have only dropped one comic strip (Rex Morgan M.D.).

These aren’t the final changes coming to the once-venerable “Big O.”

Like many shrunken daily papers, it’s moving out of its historic headquarters building, into smaller rented office quarters.

And management has told the remaining reporters they’ll soon be judged, and incentivized, for their stories’ online pageview counts and “engagement” statistics.

Expect a lot less boring but important local-paper-of-record stuff and a lot more cute cat pictures.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 12/17/13
Dec 16th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Good News (Personal) Dept.: I’ve got a part time job these days. It’s in the Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in downtown Seattle. That was one of the many local structures designed by the great local architect Fred Bassetti, whom we lost earlier this month.
  • Why Didn’t I Know About This Sooner? Dept.: Bob Royer (ex-KING 5 newsman; brother of ex-mayor Charley; ex-hubby of self help maven Jennifer James) has been writing online about Northwest history. His recent topics include a Spokane narrative poet from the early 20th century and the launch of Washington’s wine industry as we know it today (he traces it to the state Legislature’s move in 1969 to allow more Calif. imports).
  • Passage-O-Time Dept.: It’s been 20 years since the murder of Gits singer Mia Zapata sparked the founding of Seattle self-defense group Home Alive. There’s now a documentary about the group and its impact. No idea when the film might play here.
  • There hasn’t been a new Seattle Best Places guidebook since ’09, and now the publisher says there won’t be any more.
  • Nope, there’s still no concrete plan to bring the National Hockey League to Seattle.
  • As ESPN’s Chris Berman might say, Mariners fans can now give a big welcome to ex-Yankees star Robinson “Paddle Your Own” Cano. (Of course, one marquee-draw player alone won’t reverse the results of years of mismanagement.)
  • The UW football team’s got a new coach, the same guy who helped helm Boise State’s rise to powerhouse (or at least near-powerhouse) status.
  • Mars Hill Church leader Mark Driscoll isn’t the only guy trying to combine a “hip” image with reactionary religious politics. One example, from Portland, is a vintage-furniture shop owner who moonlights as a street preacher railing against gays, strippers, and football, among other things.
  • German Amazon employees went all the way to Seattle to protest the company’s warehouse working conditions. The apparent lesson: In the age of globalized capital, labor must behave likewise.
  • Meanwhile, Amazon’s predecessor as America’s great central general store, Sears, was nearly destroyed by an Ayn Rand-lovin’ CEO whose modus operandi was to pit department against department, manager against manager, employee against employee. (Any relation to recent management policies at, say, Microsoft are purely coincidental I’m sure.)
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 7/31/13
Jul 31st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • There’s now a soccer federation for “Cascadia” (i.e., B.C./Wash./Ore.). And it’s gotten provisional recognition from a global confederation of soccer interests representing other not-really-nations (Basque country, Kurdistan, etc.).
  • Cracked.com tells you some reasons “why you can’t believe anything you read online.” One reason: A lot of click-whoring sites, including click-whoring “news” sites, try to make you feel angry and outraged at something, then to share your outrage via social-media links. (Maybe that’s why this site hasn’t taken off like Drudge or Kos. I’m not ordering you to go ballistic X times a day.)
  • A week or two back, we remarked how Saks department stores had become, for a time, owned by an Alabama firm. No more. Saks will now be part of the Hudson’s Bay Co. (aka “The Bay”), the Canadian retail giant whose fur-trading heritage helped shape the initial settlement of this part of the world.
  • Al-Jazeera America, the cable news channel replacing the low-rated Current TV, will have a Seattle news bureau. Allen Schauffler, who just quit KING after more than two decades, will run the outpost.
  • Today’s local history lesson, brought to you by the Seattle Star: The time when the feds tried to arrest local Black Panthers because of a supposedly stolen typewriter.
  • Dumb Criminal Report #1: When you’re wanted by the cops, it’s unwise to shoplift beef jerky.
  • Dumb Criminal Report #2: Don’t set fire to the Aurora Sears. We love that store. It’s possibly the only truly beautiful suburban big-box store ever built around here.
  • Are ebook sales peaking?
  • Alex Seitz-Wald at Salon claims Amazon personifies “everything wrong with our new economy.” Apple, Walmart, Nike: You can rest easy now; you’re no longer the company everyone most dearly loves to hate.
  • Yes, “existential depression in gifted children” is a real thing. Trust me on this.
  • “Naked Juice” no longer claims to be “all natural,” and also is owned by Pepsi.
  • Fox tries to create a clone of Adult Swim, only even cruder and dumber. The results are now here, and they’re immensely dreadful.
  • The vinyl music comeback may be here to stay. Yeah, but does anybody actually, you know, play any of those records?
  • David Byrne, meanwhile, details six modern business models for the modern musical artist.
  • Unfortunately, there are still too many awful big-budget action movies. And, unfortunately, there are still economic incentives for the studios to make more.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/26/13
Jul 25th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

seattle.curbed.com

  • The Eitel Building on Second and Pike has been the topic of several aborted “restoration” and redevelopment schemes over the years. Now some new players have declared new plans for the 109-year-old Eitel, including a rooftop-deck restaurant space.
  • A “Seattle-based adult app store” has made what it claims is the first “porn film shot with Google Glass.” It’s a total meta-fictional farce, of course; but (at least in the censored version hereby linked) it’s a funny one.
  • My ex-boss Mr. Savage wants all gays and their supporters to fight the increasingly, cruelly anti-gay regime in Russia, by boycotting Stoli vodka. I presume a little more pressure than that will be required.
  • Puget Sound Business Journal headline: “Is Microsoft pulling out of Issaquah?” Make your own dirty-joke punchline here.
  • Jeff Bezos got him some engine parts from the Apollo 11 moon rocket, which fell into the ocean 44 years ago this week.
  • In other space-case news, are faster-than-light space ships really possible after all?
  • Landline phones: More than two-thirds of Wash. state people still have ’em.
  • The UW may be doing a lousy job at attracting state funding or keeping in-state tuition anything approaching reasonable, but it’s booming as a “business incubator.”
  • Did you know that clean, green Oregon had more than a century’s worth of systematic racism in its history? (I did.)
  • Health Scare of the Day: Imported hot sauces could have traces of lead within their hotness.
  • New York mag talks to an economist who claims America’s mid-century mass prosperity was the result of historical conditions that can’t be brought back.
  • The above claim notwithstanding, some folks have a new marketing scheme for economic policies that would put middle-class workers n’ consumers first. It’s “Middle-Out.”
  • The Feds might outlaw menthol cigarettes.
  • How not to live like an “ironic hipster:” First, admit to yourself that the “ironic hipster” is a media stereotype with few, if any, actual living examples.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/25/13
Jul 24th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

erika j. schultz via twitter

  • Macklemore draws massive crowds to a music-video shoot at Dick’s on Broadway, just for a glimpse of him lip-syncing parts of one track over and over.
  • Courtney Love, meanwhile, doesn’t understand why Seattle doesn’t massively worship her. That’s just so Californian of her.
  • When it comes to getting elected Seattle mayor, is it more important to go to the Microsoft campus than to the Rainier Valley?
  • Meanwhile, John Naughton of UK weekly paper The Observer claims Microsoft has been “sleeping on the job” ever since Bill Gates left.
  • Seattle Weekly, under its previous management, ran a piece charging true-crime author Ann Rule with “sloppy reporting” in a book about a woman who was convicted for killing her fiancé. Nothing in the paper mentioned that the article was written by the killer’s current boyfriend. Now Rule’s suing theWeekly’s new management.
  • Architecture cannot save classical music. (For that matter, building projects are not, per se, a solution to all of society’s ills, even though Democratic-controlled local governments like to think they are.)
  • One of the topics never discussed in conservative spin media is how conservative operatives really work. So you’ll have to tell your conservative relatives about the Koch brothers, and why they’re a menace to even the people on whose behalf they claim to speak.
  • Salon’s David Sirota, to whom we’ve linked before, wrote a piece comparing Obama to George Zimmerman and terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki to Trayvon Martin.
  • Murdoch’s NY Post tries to smear food stamp recipients as immigrant welfare cheats, despite a total lack of evidence.
  • Indie record labels, as a whole, have a bigger market share than either of the three remaining majors.
  • Health Scare of the Week: Vitamin supplements usually aren’t needed (and could give you cancer).
  • Monsanto false-rumor update: No, the genetically-modified seed giant hasn’t bought the security and mercenary-army company formerly known as Blackwater. However, the two firms are allegedly working together on a project to supposedly infiltrate and defame Monsanto/GMO opponents. Allegedly.
  • How Will and Kate named the new royal diaper-filler: “I will name him George, and I will hug him and pet him…”
RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/4/13
Jul 3rd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Today’s educational cartoon: “The History of Western Architecture in Under 15 Minutes.”
  • Nope, there won’t be an NHL hockey team in Seattle next season. But you probably suspected that would be the case. I don’t want Seattle to be invoked as “leverage.” I want Seattle to have a team.
  • I’ve been learning first hand how too-damn-high the rent is around these parts these days.
  • How does a metal piece from a wood-chipper machine fall from the sky and crash into a Seattle house? And will the Coen brothers make a movie of it?
  • Jason Everman is more than the guy who got kicked out of both Soundgarden and Nirvana. He later became a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces in Afghanistan, and a real war hero.
  • The only self-proclaimed socialist in this year’s Seattle mayoral race was among several foreclosure protesters arrested at a Wells Fargo branch downtown.
  • Did a Seattle “drifter” really murder a CIA-connected Wall St. financier in 1985? And even if she did, was there, you know, something more behind the act?
  • Steinway (which owns several other famous musical-instrument brands as well as its legendary pianos) was bought by a leveraged-buyout specialist known infamously as an “asset stripper.”
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars have a sure-fire idea for getting more fans at home games: let the fans watch telecasts of better NFL teams on stadium monitors.
  • Douglas Englebart, R.I.P.: The inventor of the computer mouse was also part of many research projects that took computing from the realm of punch cards to PCs and the Internet. (He was also a Portland boy and an OSU alum!)
  • Could the original Lone Ranger (debuting on Detroit radio in 1933) have been based on an African American Deputy U.S. Marshal?
  • Slate’s Barry Friedman and Dahlia Lithwick assert that “the left” should be about more than easy-to-frame, easy-to-poll issues such as gay marriage. It should be about democracy, economic fairness, saving the planet, abortion rights, and other tough topics.
  • And remember everyone, have yourselves a fab holiday and celebrate this nation’s traditions appropriately. I will do so by singing our national anthem with its original lyrics (an English drinking song about the joys of carousing and screwing!).

via wikipedia

    RAISING THE ‘PENNY’ ANTE
    Jul 2nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    the fullbright company

    The Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) is one of the video-game industry’s biggest conventions. Appealing to both fans and industry people, it often sells out its annual occurrence at the Washington State Convention Center.

    One game company, with a major new product to promote, won’t be there.

    The Portland-based Fullbright Company has a “story exploration” title Gone Home. Set in a large, mysterious Oregon house in 1995, it includes musical tracks by ’90s Riot Grrrl-era bands Bratmobile and Heavens to Betsy.

    Fullbright got an invite to show off Gone Home at PAX’s “Indie Megabooth,” a portion of the Convention Center show floor dedicated to games from small developers.

    Fullbright’s small staff turned the invite down.

    They cite several reasons, but basically they’re offended by stances and “jokes” made by PAX founders Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik.

    It’s a long story, but here’s the short version:

    PAX, as anyone who’s even thought of going to it knows, is an offshoot of Penny Arcade, a web comic by Holkins and Krahulik. The strip is full of in-jokes about games and gamers.

    In August 2010, PA ran a strip called “The Sixth Slave.”

    The strip was a one-off gag about user challenges in multi-player games such as World of Warcraft, in which users challenge other users to “kill 10 bad guys” or “save five prisoners” in an allotted amount of time.

    In the cartoon, a character pleads with another character to save him from slavery:

    …The comic features a (white, male) slave begging for rescue from another character. “Hero!” he pleads. “Please take me with you! Release me from this hell unending! Every morning, we are roused by savage blows. Every night, we are raped to sleep by the dickwolves.” The hero tells him, “I only needed to save five slaves. Alright? Quest complete.” The prisoner protests, “But…” The hero interrupts him, “Hey, pal. Don’t make this weird.”

    The above description comes from a post by guest blogger “Milli A”, at the feminist/political blog Shakesville. As you might expect, she didn’t like the gag at all.

    She explained that she didn’t like any reference to rape in a context of attempted humor. Even in meta-fantasy situations; even with a male victim; even when it’s mentioned as a violent crime, within a list of other violent crimes.

    Holkins and Krahulik’s attempted explanation in a subsequent strip merely further annoyed critics. Many of these critics interpreted the explanation as the product of game-geeks who didn’t “get” the experiences of real-life victims of violence.

    Holkins and Krahulik’s subsequent responses to the increasing controversy seemed to depict their critics as outsiders who didn’t “get” gamer culture and the strip’s humor (which, admittedly, is sometimes morbid and often requires deep knowledge of gamer tropes).

    Krahulik, in particular, seems to have gone “extreme” in condescending Twitter and email “jokes” about the critics. It’s as if he were consciously trying to affirm the common stereotypes of male game-geeks (and of male scifi/fantasy geeks in general) as socially-inept dweebs who can’t relate to anyone outside their own subculture, especially if that anyone is a female who’s not wearing spandex.

    This is a shame for many reasons. One reason is that PA and PAX have been supportive of female gamers and game creators in the past.

    Can they realize, and once-n’-for-all state, that there’s nothing daringly “politically incorrect” about their past statements?

    ART OF THE STATES
    Jul 1st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

    theatlantic.com

    Derek Thompson at the Atlantic has assembled a U.S. map containing what he claims to be “the most famous brands born in each state.”

    Only he doesn’t consistently play this game by his own rules.

    Some of Thompson’s picks are obvious: Nike for Oregon, Coca-Cola for Georgia, Hasbro for Rhode Island, DuPont for Delaware, L.L. Bean for Maine, Budweiser for Missouri, Tabasco for Louisiana.

    Other choices are debatable but defensible: Apple for California, Hawaiian Airlines for Hawaii, Starbucks for Washington state.

    But in some cases, Thompson lists parent companies rather than “brands.” (GM is a bigger company, but Ford is a bigger product name.)

    In others, he places brands where corporate takeovers have placed them, not where they began. (Does anyone really associate Saks department stores with Alabama?)

    Here are my alternate choices:

    • California: Chevron or Disney.
    • Illinois: John Deere, Kraft, McDonald’s, Sears, or Playboy.
    • Kentucky: KFC or Jim Beam.
    • Minnesota: Target or Betty Crocker.
    • Nebraska: Union Pacific, ConAgra Foods, Mutual of Omaha, or Berkshire Hathaway (Warren Buffet’s holding company).
    • Nevada: Caesar’s Palace.
    • New York: AT&T, CBS, Citibank, Colgate, IBM, Kodak, Macy’s, NBC, or Xerox.
    • North Carolina: Camel.
    • Ohio: Goodyear or Tide.
    • Texas: Texaco (still a well known, albeit mostly dormant, brand) or Dell.
    • Virginia: M&M’s.
    • Wisconsin: Miller.
    • Wyoming: JCPenney (long since moved away; currently HQ’d in Texas).

    And for good ol’ Wash. state, arguments can be made for Amazon, Microsoft, and even Sub Pop, or such moved-away corporate HQs as Boeing and UPS.

    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

    »  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa
    © Copyright 2015 Clark Humphrey (clark (at) miscmedia (dotcom)).