»
S
I
D
E
B
A
R
«
5/8/17: BLUE ON BLUE
May 7th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

In MISCmedia MAIL: Can there really be such a thing as a new color? Will Ed Murray drop his re-election bid? Can the arts relieve societal future shock? Will Yakima’s city government ever be responsive to its large Latinx population? Can we all move to France?

MISCmedia MAIL for 3/18/16
Mar 17th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

We welcome spring, and the expanded local light rail, with chatter about a way to prove your Northwest-bred-ness on your vehicle; a whistleblower’s blast against Hanford’s waste-treatment project; a resource center for Af-Am entrepreneurs; a new way to keep sea lions from decimating fish stocks; and a plethora of weekend activity choices.

MISCmedia MAIL for 3/17/16
Mar 16th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

We steel up for another amateur drinking day by thinking of things worth remembering about the Irish heritage, and also about a sheriff who thinks rape victims are lying; Republicans who helped the Oregon refuge occupiers; possibly doomed Boy Scout camps; a lawyer committed to helping people; and Lady Penelope RIP.

MISCmedia MAIL for 12/18/15
Dec 17th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

Your 100-percent Star Wars-free MISCmedia MAIL discusses how extreme climate change would look like around here; the African-American exurban diaspora; the wrongness of calling an Asian-American woman a white man’s “sidekick;” and tons of weekend activity listings.

FIVE YEARS AFTER
Mar 17th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

Classic P-I building from my book 'seattle's belltown;' museum of history and industry collection

I left the Missy James post up as this blog’s top item for a month, both to remember her and because I’ve been laser focused on finding paying work.

But it’s time for me to get back to the “writing” thang.

And there’s no more appropriate day to do so than on the fifth anniversary of the last printed Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

The city lost a huge chunk of its soul and its collective memory when the Hearst Corp., awash in losses here and in its other print-media operations, pulled the plug on our town’s “second” yet superior daily paper.

There’s been a P-I sized hole in the local media-scape ever since.

Yeah, we’ve got the Seattle Times, albeit a shrunken one (though it’s apparently stopped shrinking any further, at least for now).

We’ve got the StrangerSeattle Weekly, CrosscutPublicola, and SportsPress NW.

We’ve got four local TV news stations (plus NorthWest Cable News), four local radio news stations, and all their respective websites.

We’ve got Seattle magazine, Seattle Met, and CityArts.

We’ve got the Daily Journal of Commerce, the Puget Sound Business Journal, and assorted tech-biz news sites.

We’ve got Horse’sAssSeattlishThe Seattle Star, and dozens of other (mostly volunteer-run) blogs covering local politics, sports, and arts.

And, oh yeah, we’ve got SeattlePI.com.

It’s still run by Hearst. It still has Joel Connelly’s acerbic political commentary, Josh Trujillo’s dramatic photojournalism, and the occasional excellent news story.

But its staff has shrunk to 14 reporters, photographers, and “producers,” down from the 20 it had at its stand-alone start in ’09. That, in turn, was a small fraction of the team the print P-I had.

That’s still a full-time payroll comparable to that of any newsroom in town, except those of the Times and the TV stations.

But it’s stretched thin by the requirement to post dozens of “click bait” and “listicle” stories every day.

Hearst is running PI.com according to the 2009 rules of a “content” web business.

Those rules, which nationally gave us the likes of BuzzFeed and Elite Daily, have proven profitable only among the most sensationalistic and most cheaply run operations that feed either on gossip, noise, or national niche audiences.

It’s no way to run a local general-news operation.

And it’s no way to pay for professional local journalism on a sustainable basis.

But neither Hearst nor any of America’s other old-media giants has figured out a better way.

So it’s become the job of us “street level” bloggers to find new rules, new concepts, to forge a new path beyond the ugly web pages stuff with worthless banner ads. To create the New-New News.

My personal bottom line:

I want a local news organization, staffed by folks who know what they’re doing and who are paid living wages.

I want it to attract an audience at least as loyal (and as willing to help support it) as KUOW’s audience.

I want it to be the first place this audience looks to to learn what’s been going on around here, in the last day or the last hour.

I want it to reach out across subcultures and social strata.

I have collected a few ideas in this regard, a few potential pieces of this puzzle.

And I’d love to hear some of yours.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 2-2-14
Feb 2nd, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

Since most of my most loyal readers will have other things to do on Sunday afternoon, here’s some relatively timeless randomosity for whenever you log back in:

  • Kentucky’s GOP Senators forced Wash. state utilities to buy nuclear power components they don’t really need.
  • Amazon has exercised its option to buy the Belltown block where the Hurricane Cafe has been for 20 years (and the legendary Dog House had been for more than three decades before that).
  • Meanwhile, the Washington State Convention Center is buying the Honda of Seattle block.
  • As we approach five years since the last printed Post-Intelligencer (still missed), we must say goodbye to one of its ol’ mainstays, reporter John Engstrom.
  • If anybody knows what’s still stalling the waterfront tunnel machine, nobody’s telling.
  • There was a “Progressive Radio Summit” in Seattle, in which the keynote speaker claimed “the only sustainable model for broadcasters today is subscription based programming.”
  • The Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center is still financially desperate.
  • White privilege: it exists, whether it’s visible to you or not.
  • Yes, Macklemore hired an established distribution company (the same one Sub Pop and others use) to get his CD into retail stores. That still qualifies as “not having a record label,” no matter what NPR says.
  • Steve Wilhelm at the Puget Sound Business Journal warns that Boeing’s strong arm tactics against the Machinists Union may cost the company more than it gains.
  • As Paramount becomes the first Hollywood studio to cease distributing movies on film reels to theaters, indie filmmakers take to the proverbial the Star-Off Machine and “reach for 16mm.” Meanwhile, there’s a campaign to “Save Film,” as a medium for both movie production and exhibition.
  • It’s always trouble when typographers attack one another.
LOU GUZZO, 1917-2013
Jul 3rd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

kiro-tv

Known for decades as a cranky reactionary political commentator, you might find it hard to believe he’d started as a Seattle Times art and theater reviewer.

There, and later as managing editor at the P-I, he regularly advocated for the “fine arts” as a civilizing force, a means toward furthering the region’s progress from frontier outpost to respectable conservative community.

When the Seattle World’s Fair ended, Guzzo famously editorialized that the fair grounds (to become Seattle Center) should be devoted entirely toward arts/cultural pursuits. He specifically did not want any amusement-park rides there. He lived to see them finally removed.

One of Guzzo’s closest allies in this education-and-uplifting ideology was Dixy Lee Ray, who ran the Pacific Science Center. He later worked for Ray at the Atomic Energy Commission and during her one term as Washington Governor.

After Ray was primaried out of a re-election bid in 1980, Guzzo became a regular commentator on KIRO-TV. That’s where, in 1986, he delivered a blistering attack against greasy-haired, anti-social punk rockers. (The motivation was the infamous Teen Dance Ordinance, which Guzzo supported.)

In response, a local hardcore combo called the Dehumanizers released a blistering attack on him, in the form of a 45 entitled “Kill Lou Guzzo” (which began with a sample of Guzzo’s original commentary). Guzzo sued the band and its record-label owner David Portnow. Portnow responded by pressing more copies.

After retiring from KIRO at the end of the 1980s, Guzzo started a “voice of reason” website and self-published several books.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/20/13
May 20th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

capitolhillseattle.com

  • Initial designs are now out for the mixed-use megaproject that will replace (while preserving the facades of) the Bauhaus coffeehouse block on East Pine Street. Damn, that looks ugly.
  • Dominic Holden thoroughly skewers the regional political meme that roads-only transportation advocates, corporate-welfare boosters, and blockers of affordable housing somehow constitute “the adults in the room.”
  • Last Sunday’s Seattle Times depicted south King County as the region’s new nexus of “diversity.” Monday’s Times depicted the same spot as the region’s new nexus of poverty. (Note: This post originally, incorrectly, said both articles had run in Sunday’s paper.)
  • SeattlePI.com Shrinkage Watch: The thin gruel of the ex-newspaper site just got thinner with the disappearance of Casey McNerthney, who just got poached by KIRO-TV.
  • Whatever happened to the great Seattle tradition of quasi-illegal “guerrilla art”? Terror paranoia, among other things.
  • Seattle’s next best hope for a neo-Sonics basketball team: the notion that the NBA might consider an expansion team, once commissioner and not-so-covert Seattle enemy David Stern is finally gone.
  • You know the mini-scandal that Disney marketeers were transforming the heroine from Brave into the sexy princess type that, in the film, she overtly refused to be? They’re backing off from that now.
  • In The Office (US version), Staples was often name-dropped as Dunder Mifflin Paper’s biggest Goliath-esque rival. Turns out that was paid product placement. And a Staples subsidiary is now selling official Dunder Mifflin branded office products.
  • If you’ve followed the Silvio Berlusconi sex and corruption scandals, you can expect there’s a lot of colorful Italian political slang.
  • Timothy Noah insists economic inequality is as much a matter of a “skills-based gap” (i.e., the “educated class” pulling away from the traditional working class) as it is a matter of 1-percenters’ greed.
  • Earl Ofari Hutchinson invites you to continue to “yawn” at the newest batch of trumped-up pseudo-scandals attacking Obama.
  • In this digital era, one analog institution has curiously survived. I speak of shortwave radio stations broadcasting coded messages interspersed with strange musical “signature” sounds, a.k.a. “numbers stations.”
  • Creepy, kitschy Japanese pop culture continues to forge new ground with “human doll cloning,” dolls with 3-D printed scans of real people’s faces.
  • Data analysis meets film nerd-dom in a 2-D chart of which film sequels outperformed their predecessors, in terms of Rotten Tomatoes fan approval.

boxofficequant.com

OBJECT LESSONS
Apr 16th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

seatacmedia.org

Earlier this year, KUOW and MOHAI came up with a list of 25 “objects that tell Seattle’s story.”

They range from the obvious (a Boeing B-17, a poster announcing the Japanese-American internment, a Starbucks coffee cup) to the more obscure (an ancient, giant ground sloth).

A little more recently, SeattlePI.com ran a list of “25 things we miss in Seattle.”

These also ranged from the truly famous (the Lusty Lady sign, Frederick & Nelson’s window displays) to the lesser known (the Woodland Park Zoo’s nocturnal-creatures exhibit).

I’ve got my own list of Seattle pop culture icons. All of them are things I’ve personally seen or owned.

And yes, there are 25 of them. (Why break a routine that works?)

In no particular order, they are:

  1. A Frederick & Nelson shopping bag.
  2. A Dog House place mat.
  3. A J.P. Patches plush doll.
  4. A floppy disc of MS-DOS 1.0.
  5. A P-I vending box.
  6. Dr. Belding Scribner’s first artificial kidney machine.
  7. The Kalakala.
  8. Bud Tutmarc’s pioneering electrified pedal-steel guitar.
  9. A Neptune repertory-cinema calendar.
  10. A KJR “Fab 50” newsletter/record chart.
  11. A mascot costume for “Nordy,” the old Nordstrom children’s shoe department spokescritter.
  12. A first pressing of Nirvana’s Bleach on vinyl.
  13. A work of Northwest Coast native art; or, one of artist Preston Singletary‘s upscale “tributes” to Northwest Coast native art.
  14. A Space Needle ball-point pen.
  15. A set of Peter Bagge-designed “grunge rock pencils.”
  16. A first-edition hardcover of Sophie Frye Bass’s book Pig-Tail Days in Old Seattle.
  17. A Seattle Pilots pennant.
  18. The Pike Place Market mural honoring pre-WWII Japanese-American farmers.
  19. An Amazon.com shipping box with one of the company’s five early logos.
  20. A piece of Kingdome debris.
  21. An Ivar’s Acres of Clams kids’ menu.
  22. A Smith Tower elevator car.
  23. A Washington Mutual savings passbook.
  24. The prototype 747.
  25. A wooden miniature hydroplane.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 4/2/13
Apr 2nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • My ol’ colleague Art Chantry’s got a poster design listed as “object of the day” by the Smithsonian’s design museum. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
  • One Reel wasn’t making an April Fool’s joke when it said it hadn’t rounded up enough sponsorship for a Fourth of July fireworks show.
  • Metro Transit is in deep fiscal muck, again. It needs the Legislature’s help. Only the Legislature’s been taken held hostage by deliberate gridlockers.
  • It’s that time of the year again, the time when we get to say the Mariners are 1.000.
  • SeattlePI.com Shrinkage Watch: Four years after the death of the Post-Intelligencer, Ernie Smith at Medium.com looks at the paper’s online-only successor and sees “a shell of its former self” heavy with “ad-covered wire copy”:

Here’s a company that had a four-year head start to reinvent its model, its journalism, and its overall mission. And here’s what the business side has apparently been doing the whole time — figuring out new ways to run advertising on top of advertising on top of advertising… It shows how bereft of ideas the business side is for making money from journalism on the Internet.

  • Can video game heroine Lara Croft be revamped to look less, well, gratuitious?
  • Jiffy Mix, a good cheap product from a good responsible company.
  • Tim Goodman at the Hollywood Reporter believes “the TV industry needs its version of Steve Jobs.” If there really were another Jobs out there (a polymath genius who can grok tech hardware, software, design, marketing, and management simultaneously), he or she would likely be working on ways not to save the TV industry as we know it but to further “disrupt” it (I know, a horrid term for a horrid phenomenon).
RANDOM LINKS FOR 11/20/12
Nov 20th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

steven h. robinson, shorelineareanews.com

  • After 82 years, Parker’s Ballroom on Aurora in Shoreline was demolished this month. Also known over the years as the Aquarius Tavern and Parker’s Casino, it originally opened as a naughty out-of-town “roadhouse” on the then-new highway from Seattle to Everett. The 20,000 square foot room (with no supporting posts inside) was a rollicking big-band venue during the swing years, then a major rock club hosting everyone from the Fabulous Wailers and the Sonics to Heart. It was a cardroom and sports bar most recently, closing earlier this year. If any attempt was made to save it, I haven’t heard of it. The site’s rumored next use: a car lot.
  • KPTK-AM, aka “Seattle’s Progressive Talk AM 1090,” goes off the air the day after New Year’s. The station’s owned by the CBS Radio Stations Group. CBS has its own sports talk network in the works, and is “flipping” many of its AM outlets to make room for it. There’s already a “Save Progressive Talk” page on Facebook.
  • SeattlePI.com Shrinkage Watch: Amy Rolph, most recent curator of the site’s “Big Blog,” is quitting to take an editorial post at MSN.com. PI.com still hasn’t replaced the last five people who left.
  • The Lava Lounge, Belltown’s hip hangout bar since ’95, might or might not be sold within the next month or so, and might or might not be closing shortly after that.
  • A homeless camp isn’t the place you want to be even when it’s not flooding.
  • Hostess Update: Labor arbitration might save the venerable cake and bread maker as a going concern. Of course, that would leave the company’s “vulture capitalism” bosses in charge to keep increasing their own wages while cutting everyone else’s (and crippling the company’s ability to compete or even operate). However, a rival capital/buyout firm says it wants to take over Hostess, and keep its union workers.
  • So let’s get this straight: Hope Solo, Olympic soccer star whose late dad often lived on the streets downtown, marries Jerramy Stevens, ex-UW and Seahawks football player with a history of sexual and other assault allegations—including a charge of domestic violence involving Solo herself. I’m not the only one hoping there’s no more drama in this story.
  • The tiny town of Gold Bar, Snohomish County, may “disincorporate.”
  • We now have the first vague idea what a new Sonics Arena might look like. It’ll look like a modern arena.
  • Christy Wampole submitted an NY Times essay about “How to Live Without Irony.” Only she seems to completely misunderstand what irony even is. I could call that ironic but won’t.
  • Sure enough, as soon as I plug one Kickstarter fundraiser on this site, I get folks asking me to plug their Kickstarter fundraisers also. This time, it’s a solo CD by venerable Red Dress singer Gary Minkler. He describes it as “contorted, gospel-rooted Americana (the broad definition), lyrically akin to American Modernist poetry sensibilities, shaped like cartoons but deadly serious.”
  • Local web-comix legend The Oatmeal explains what “being a content creator” is like (well, other than the part where everyone wants you to do everything for free).

RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/26/12
Aug 25th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

via theatlanticwire.com

  • Microsoft’s new logo is so highly appropriate. They’re literally proclaiming themselves to be a bunch of perfect squares!
  • Parker’s Casino and Sports Bar, the legendary Aurora Avenue roadhouse (once known as the Aquarius Tavern) where everyone from Paul Revere and the Raiders to Heart got their starts, has been gutted and may be demolished.
  • Thirty-eight percent of Seattle homeowners still have “underwater” mortgages.
  • James Fogle, 1937-2012: The Drugstore Cowboy author spent three quarters of his life behind bars, for robberies fueled by a lifelong drug habit. Never learned any better way to live.
  • Beloit College’s annual list of things today’s college frosh don’t know about includes such expected fading memories as VHS tapes, film cameras, car radios, The Godfather, and printed airline tickets. SeattlePI.com’s Big Blog adds that today’s 18-year-olds never personally experienced the Frederick & Nelson department store, the career of Sir Mix-A-Lot, and The Far Side comic strip.
  • Also mostly forgotten: the fact that Belltown’s American Lung Association building, finally razed for a high-rise apartment complex following years of ownership squabbles, was once the regional office of Burroughs Computer. In honor of that connection, the tower’s topping-off ceremony ought to include a reading from Naked Lunch.
  • Today’s Scrabble-related crime story comes to you from Kamloops, B.C.
  • Item: “All nine people injured during a dramatic confrontation between police and a gunman outside the Empire State Building were wounded by gunfire from the two officers.” Comment: So much for the idea that all you need to stop people with guns is more people with guns.
  • A HuffPost blogger claims “straight identifying” guys are having more gay sex than out-gay guys.
  • The “indie” music site Pitchfork Media posted a reader poll of top all-time favorite recordings. Almost all of them were by white guys (even more predominantly so than Pitchfork’s own coverage range of acts).
  • The late founder of the San Diego ComiCon was quietly outed. Very quietly.
  • The tiny, India-designed “car that runs on compressed air” is not really pollution-free. You need energy to power air compressors. Usually electric power. Power that’s often generated from coal or oil or plutonium.
  • Only in Putin’s Russia could there be such a wholesale rehab of the Stalin legacy.
  • On a “radical left” U.S. website, a Russian writer bashes Pussy Riot for being anti-populist, anti-Christian, in it just for the money, and led by (wait for it)… a Jew.
  • The Campaign, that comedy movie previously mentioned here in regard to its stars’ Pike Place Market promo fiasco, turns out to be a bold and broad satire of today’s corporate-bully-controlled politics.
  • Today’s rant against “the Fanatical GOP” comes to you courtesy of Robert Reich.…
  • …while Lindy West thoroughly demolishes a National Review writer’s quasi-homoerotic ode to Mitt Romney’s alleged masculine prowess.
  • Carlos Castaneda: Author. Guru. New Age legend. Harem keeper. Manipulator. Liar. Fraud.
  • As I keep telling you, right-wingnuts actually do read books. They read wingnut books. A lot of wingnut books, it turns out.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/3/12
Aug 2nd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

google earth via rhizome.org

  • Clement Valla at Rhizome.org finds beauty and “the universal texture” within the mistakes of Google Earth’s 3D geographical simulations.
  • The musicians’ union would like to create “sustainable” opportunities for local club bands (i.e., gigs with decent pay). Considering how fiscally precarious so many bars and clubs are, this may be a challenge.
  • Amy Rolph at SeattlePI.com, trolling for weird items on Amazon to laff at, found a CD of “lullaby renditions of Nirvana songs.” Rolph calls the electronically-rendered music “creepy.” I call it more like a failed attempt to update the shtick of Raymond Scott’s old Soothing Sounds for Baby LPs.
  • It’s not that “oldies” music is selling more these days. It’s that present-day music is selling less.
  • When classic films meet know-nothing online reviewers, magic happens.
  • Apple has again become the world’s #1 personal-computer maker, if you count iPads as computers.
  • At last, a new job in this town that doesn’t require programming experience. It’s the making of fake poop, to demonstrate new third-world toilet designs for the Gates Foundation.
  • Steven Rosenfeld at AlterNet believes today’s Republicans are “a truly toxic aberration,” an outfit that can only win elections by voter-suppression and other dirty tricks.
  • The “future of news” gurus have long claimed that media companies only needed to hustle for all the web hits they could get, and ad revenue would naturally follow. That’s turning out to not be the case; especially with tablet and smartphone users.
  • Here’s one Russian guy’s idea of how humans could live forever, for just $50 billion in startup costs:
  1. First, invent remote-controlled, humanoid robots.
  2. The next generation of the robots would contain transplanted human brains.
  3. By the year 2045, people’s memories and personalities would be transferred as software into robotic brains. (As we always say with stories like this, “Nothing can possibly go wrong….”)
RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/2/12
Jun 2nd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

  • More remembrances of the Cafe Racer shooting victims come from the blog of Georgetown bar 9 Lb. Hammer and from 14-year-old Sam David, whose parents Marlow Harris and Jo David curate Racer’s “Official Bad Art Museum of Art” permanent exhibit.
  • Memorials and benefit shows for the surviving victim and the families of the deceased victims continue to be scheduled and put together at a rapid pace. They include a service at St. Mark’s and a jazz jam outside the cafe, both on Sunday evening.
  • What the 1 Percent do in their free time: Ex-Microsoft bigwig Nathan Myhrvold has got his own whole newly-created cooking genre. It’s called “Modernist Cuisine,” and it’s got a professional staff, a huge six-volume manual, plus a best-of cookbook for home use.
  • The several people who’ve left SeattlePI.com in the past year have, to a person, declined to comment on the understaffed “online newspaper” or why they left it. Until now. Cartoonist-columnist David Horsey, now syndicated thru the L.A. Times, has written a “future of news” piece in which he mentions his ex-employer, and implies that that site has become a “click whore.”
  • The reason news sites behave so desperately to gain every single “page view” is that ad revenues per page view are low and getting lower. Meanwhile, Michael Wolff says any fiscal hope for ad-supported content sites is about to implode and soon. The immediate culprit, according to Wolff, is Facebook, with its vast “inventory” of spaces and its investor expectations. But he claims that even without Facebook leading a race to the bottom,

…the value of digital ads decreases every quarter, a consequence of their simultaneous ineffectiveness and efficiency. The nature of people’s behavior on the Web and of how they interact with advertising, as well as the character of those ads themselves and their inability to command real attention, has meant a marked decline in advertising’s impact.…

I don’t know anyone in the ad-Web business who isn’t engaged in a relentless, demoralizing, no-exit operation to realign costs with falling per-user revenues, or who isn’t manically inflating traffic to compensate for ever-lower per-user value.

SEATTLE TIMES SHRINKAGE WATCH
May 1st, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

The latest Audit Bureau of Circulation figures are in for the six months ending in March.

They show the Seattle Times‘ circulation continuing a steady decline, to 237,000 daily and 300,000 on Sunday. That’s 6.6 percent lower than one year ago.

What’s more, each figure includes about 30,000 paid subscribers to the Times‘ print-replica .pdf edition (the only paid online product the Times offers so far).

So the daily print Times is now beneath 206,000 buyers. That’s just a few thousand more than it had in 2009, when it added the P-I‘s former subscribers. (Back in 2000, the Times and P-I had a combined circulation of 400,000.)

Elsewhere in the report, the NY Times now has more paid online readers than print readers.

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