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SANDERS KERNEL
Aug 10th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

sanders at westlake

By now, everybody and her brother has said something online, in print, or on the air about the two Black Lives Matter protesters who took over a rally at Westlake Park, thus preventing Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders from making one of his three scheduled Seattle speeches this past Saturday.

My own thoughts, such as they are:

  • Yes, the BLM message needed to be said on Saturday, and in as many places and times as possible. The white liberals of places like Seattle have for too long been primarily concerned with what could be seen, rightly or wrongly, as white people’s issues.
  • Yet, by disrupting the proceedings and refusing to give the mic back, the protesters risked creating one more example of the American Left devouring itself in internal squabbles. Indeed, conservative sites had a figurative field day with that interpretation.
  • YET, there were ways the protesters could have challenged Sanders (and the Seattle white “progressives” in the Westlake audience) to take the BLM message as seriously as it needs to be taken, without alienating the people with whom they were attempting to communicate. The protesters, and the audience, could both have done better.
  • I’m NOT asking the protesters to shut up. Just the opposite: I’m asking them to make their protests more effective.
  • We need action, not just words (not even just angrier words). We need to build solidarity, not superiority; purposefulness, not piety.
  • Please don’t let Black Lives Matter get turned into just another lefty ideological purity test. It’s far, far too important for that.

Slog has the basic story of the Bernie Sanders rally that wasn’t; plus thoughts about the event from State Sen. Pramila Jayapal.

Sanders DID get to speak at a $250 a head fundraiser at the Comet (Capitol Hill Seattle), and later to 15,000 (the biggest local political rally in five years) at Hec Ed (Joel Connelly).

Then on Sunday, Sanders spoke to 19,000 at the Portland TrailBlazers’ arena. (AP via KOIN)

FREMONT SOLSTICE, NOW WITH SHELL-BASHING
Jun 22nd, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

evil oil well 1

 

Another bright mid-June day, another Fremont Solstice Parade.

As usual, it featured wordless performances expressing “political” notions of Good vs. Evil.

Shell’s arctic platform and its noble “kayaktivist” opponents were among the principal tableaux of this type.

corporate person float

But there were others as well. Legendary local artist Carl Smool created a kinetic statement about big-money politics and the notion of “corporate personhood.”

school prison pipeline banner

A banner decried the “school to prison pipeline.”

spirit of mandatory testing

A schoolmarm tied up in ropes signified dreary, “to the test” education.

black boy coffin with white pall bearers

It’s hard to tell from this angle, but these pall bearers are carrying a coffin adorned with the faces of black children and flags of African countries.

giant puppets 2

But also as usual, there were plenty of other spectacles depicting an affirmation-of-life spirit.

starry night costume

orange flag dancers 3

panties and white pasties

This includes the parade’s famous nudes, on and off of bicycles.

tiger skin nudes

blotchy paint nudes 2

orange nudes 2

The body, revealed but still adorned, in a non-sexualized “family” context, is the ultimate example of the “Good” half of the parade’s dichotomy.

Many people, including myself and my half-namesake Kenneth Clark, have pontificated on the meaning of the unhidden human body in modern societies. For now, let’s simply say it symbolizes aspects of the Solstice Parade community’s ideals for life: “natural,” free-flowing, post- (or pre-) industrial, un-commercialized, un-stigmatized, un-pressured.

And impracticable for modern urban environs, except on special occasions and in special circumstances.

 

 

RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/30/13
Jul 30th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via theatlantic.com

  • We told you previously about a 1970s Federal photography project, documenting the nation as it existed during the “energy crisis” days. Here are 30 of the project’s pix from the Northwest, including a decidedly un-built-up downtown Seattle.
  • Next time you’re at Husky Stadium, give your best Jimmy Durante It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World impression and tell your pals you’ll meet ’em “under the Big Dubble-ye.”
  • Is the bowing out of one of the Q nightclub’s partners really evidence the Seattle dance-club scene is “in disarray”?
  • The bosses at Spokane’s Veterans Arena agreed, in order to snag a Bon Jovi concert, to temporarily rename it the “Bon Jovi Veterans Arena.” Just temporarily. Veterans’ groups still don’t like it.
  • Indie-lit publisher Dennis Johnson hates, hates Amazon, but sees its level of book-biz control as possibly peaking.
  • Should Cheryl Chow’s widow have outed a current Seattle School Board candidate as a homophobe?
  • The most heartwarming/breakng obit you’ll read this month is the one penned in advance by local writer-essayist Jane Catherine Lotter, and issued following her cancer death this month.
  • We won’t have Kirby Wilbur to kick around anymore. The state Republican party head and sometime KVI shock-talker is going to D.C.
  • Elsewhere in radioland, UFO/conspiracy promoter extraordinaire Art Bell is staging a comeback on Sirius XM satellite radio.
  • A site for teenage girls gives a big tribute to Bjo Trimble, founding queen of Star Trek fandom and instigator of the first successful “save our show” campaign.
  • Warren Buffet’s son offers a dismaying look into “the Charitable-Industrial Complex.”
  • “Four out of five adults” face unemployment and/or poverty, or the threat of same, at some point in their lives.
  • Norm Ornstein at National Journal calls the Republicans’ stubborn, unending attempts to kill Obamacare “unprecedented and contemptible.”
  • “Contemporary” and even “avant garde” art is selling for huge bucks these days to global-one-percenter art collectors. Critic Walter Robinson explains some of the effects:

…The success of the avant-garde marks its failure. This is not news. We’ve been domesticated, no matter how fantastic and provocative we might be, into just one niche culture among many. We’re fun, and good, and even progressive, but all the rest of it is fantasy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m not completely against them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

None.

Nada.

They’re not in that end of the business.

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

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

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

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

But don’t blindly hate all GMO projects.

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

RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/2/13
Jun 2nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

joshua trujillo, seattlepi.com

  • There was a remembrance in Cowen Park marking one year since the Cafe Racer tragedy.
  • Unlike some of the “radicals” fighting against low wages at fast-food joints, I actually patronize fast-food joints. And I want the fine people who prepare my meals to be properly compensated for the fine work they do.
  • The FBI investigated the song “Louie Louie” for two whole years, only to find a simple love lyric made unintelligible.
  • Will legal pot in our society lead, invariably, to corporate pot?
  • To Microsoft’s regret, it just can’t get people to say “Let’s Bing it.”
  • Our ol’ pal Gillian Gaar reports the “Welcome to Aberdeen: Come As You Are” sign might come down.
  • Who, besides “out o’ sight, out o’ mind” NIMBYs, benefits from the suburbanization of poverty?
  • A Cheerios commercial features a nice interracial family. The usual dorks and trolls respond as you’d predict.
  • Lawrence Lessig would like a Democratic Party that’s less beholden to corporate funders.
  • Texas: future Democratic stronghold?
  • Some people will miss making fun of Michelle Bachmann. I won’t.
  • The Chicago Sun-Times, once billed as “Chicago’s Picture Newspaper,” is firing all its photographers.
  • No, Ms. magazine, the 10 most important things American women could not do before the 1970s wold probably really include more important things than “read Ms. magazine.”
  • Istanbul was Constantinople. Now it’s a battleground of democracy vs. shady dealmaking.
  • WikiLeaks dude Julian Assange sees today’s Google as an increasingly reactionary gang of government-butt kissers.
  • Let’s close with a haunting look at a run down (but still open!) tourist site, the Flintstones theme park in Arizona.

messynessychic.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 4/8/13
Apr 8th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via seattle bike blog

  • Enterprising citizens calling themselves “Reasonably Polite Seattleites” took it upon themselves to install unauthorized “bicycle lane protectors” (reflective plastic pylons) along Cherry Street uphill from downtown. The city vows to remove them.
  • Seattle police chief John Diaz will retire, allowing Mike McGinn (or perhaps a successor mayor next year) to put in another figurehead for uncontrolled street-cop brutality.
  • In a Belltown where anything non-one-percenty is increasingly out of place (more about that in a day or so), Roq La Rue has been kicked out of its longtime space in the old Film Row RKO distribution offices. Fortunately, Seattle’s premier “pop surrealist” art gallery has found new quarters in Pioneer Square, effective some time this summer.
  • Meanwhile, a Crosscut contributor named Andy Fife asks whether there is a “Seattle arts aesthetic.” Actually, there are several. There’s the “world class or bust” desperate slickness of most of SAM’s big permanent displays. There’s the “rich ex-hippie” mellow slickness of Chihuly and company. There’s the “modern monumentalist” big stuff seen at the G. Gibson and William Traver galleries. There are the house styles of Cornish and Gage and their recent alums. And there’s the “let’s put on a show” urban folk/pop styling of most of my personal faves.
  • New Orleans city bosses apparently want to simultaneously (1) shut down music venues, and (2) promote their city as a live-music tourist destination.
  • NBCNews.com blogger Wilson Rothman claims Apple’s iTunes is “out of date and out of touch.” Specifically, Rothman dislikes the whole idea of having to pay for song recordings. He seems to prefer the Spotify model, in which artists make fractions of fractions of pennies. That’s supposed to be the modern way?
  • Here’s one author who hates the new economics of the book biz—Scott Turow, one of the few writers who’d thrived under the old system.
  • Joshua Macht at the Atlantic claims Time magazine has perhaps three years to live.
  • Hacked computer data shows the global one-percenters are hoarding trillions in secret overseas tax-haven accounts. Leaders of nations other than ours claim to be aghast.
  • The newspaper industry has started measuring revenue from online paywalls and ancillary products/services. The resulting figures show papers are now losing a little less money than previously thought.
  • The death last week of Spanish exploitation-film giant Jess Franco has been followed by the loss of another of that country’s great directors of sex and/or violence, Bigas Luna.
  • Annette Funicello, 1943-2013: The only original Mickey Mouse Club cast member to have a real adult showbiz career was the wholesome sex symbol in the Beach Party movies, and a pop singer of unusual clarity and panache. During her cameo in the Monkees’ film Head, she proved not afraid to parody (without breaking) her squeaky-clean image. She remained gracious and classy, even during her long slow illness.
  • We’ve also lost Les Blank, who directed 42 documentaries of varying lengths and topics (all shot on film). He’s probably best known for Burden of Dreams, the “making-of” film about Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. Many critics considered Blank’s behind-the-scenes story to be more compelling than Herzog’s feature.
  • And another goodbye, this one to Hilly Krystal, influential owner of NYC punk club CBGB. While he opened it as a hippie spot dedicated to “country, blue grass, and blues,” he quickly adjusted to welcome the burgeoning Bowery underground scene. The result was what the New Yorker called “the ultimate garage—the place garage bands everywhere want to play.” (Update: This hereby-linked story is from 2007. Krystal’s still worth remembering nowadays, though.)
  • Femen and associated groups held an “international topless jihad day” across European capitals, though the slogans painted upon themselves seemed to almost all be in English.
  • Ending the drug war was never one of Obama’s top priorities. I suspect it’s because the whole bohemian-relaxation vibe clashed with the striving-for-progress zeitgeist that informed Obama’s worldview. But, as with gay marriage, he may be soon forced to act by a groundswell of popular opinion.
  • The Nielsen ratings now claim there are 5 million “zero television” households in the U.S., up from a mere 2 million in ’07. (The “kill your television” “radicals” will, naturally, completely ignore this information.)
  • Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch’s minions threaten to pull the Fox broadcast network off of over-the-air stations (including affiliates tied up in long-term contracts) and go cable-only, unless the courts outlaw a service to stream local over-the-air stations to local viewers via Internet connections.
IT IS A GREAT, GREAT MORNING IN THESE UNITED STATES
Jan 21st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

…But enough for now about the Sonics announcement (more on that to come).

via huffington post

We now have a president, at the height of his power, who has spoken in favor of gay rights, economic fairness, peace, and climate action at the single most public forum available to him.

I know my “radical” friends carp, and always will carp, that Obama isn’t nearly half as progressive as they’d like.

But real-world politics isn’t about a hierarchy of sanctimony. It’s about getting real stuff done, overcoming real obstacles. And right now, this president and this Democratic Party are our best vehicles for that.

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 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 9/11/12
Sep 10th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

the impossible project via engadget.com

  • Now you can turn images on your smartphone into real Polaroid®-like instant film photos! (Or you could, if the Kickstarter money gets raised.)
  • KIRO-TV has now posted the entire J.P. Patches/Chris Wedes memorial celebration, including the parts cut for time from the telecast version. And here’s the band Aaiiee’s song “Boris S. Wort,” as heard during the event.
  • Good news, sports fans: Looks like the Seattle City Council has reached a revised pact to get the Sonics arena going, with some developer-contributed cash toward transportation improvements. Now all we need is a team or two to come up for sale.
  • Meanwhile at Crosscut, longshoremen’s union leader John Persak reiterates the line that we can only have either a new arena or a working seaport. I’ve already called this BS, so I won’t do so again.
  • Rain! Eureka! The Crops Are Saaaaved! (Oops, maybe not.)
  • The Wall St. Journal has a major piece about the Hanford cleanup megaproject. The Dept. of Energy is slowing down construction, while it and various other parties argue whether the current design will work at keeping highly toxic radioactive gunk out of any potential contact with the ecosystem.
  • The Slut Walk might not be “redefining feminism” (as the hereby linked Linda Thomas story suggests), but it and similar protests are helping redefine the range of “acceptable” looks/attitudes among those trying to persuade.
  • Some parents don’t like the fact that the Seattle Public Schools are accepting advertising again. Their means of protest: an ad.
  • NIMBY-ism gone tricky: A Montlake neighborhood group doesn’t want walking/bike lanes on any new 520 bridge.
  • Digital media advertising grew in the first half of this year. But print media advertising fell more than digital grew. A lot more.
  • Toys “R” Us will sell its own branded Android tablet.
  • “We all live in a narco submarine….”
  • Third-world forced prostitution is just as tragic when it involves men.
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 7/10/12
Jul 10th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

makela steward via rainiervalley.komo.com

Welcome to all our kind readers who still have Internet connections after “Malware Monday.” In today’s randomosity:

  • Let’s congratulate the Seattle woman who just became Ms. Plus Size America.
  • The Tacoma Art Museum is getting a big collection of “western American art,” and a big new building addition to put it in.
  • Wash. state’s wine biz has become big enough for the Gallo empire to move in on it, buying up Covey Run and Columbia Winery. I remember, of course, the late ’70s days when Gallo was radical America’s favorite brand-to-hate, a status later taken by Nike and later still by Wal-Mart.
  • Another sometimes-radical-hated company, Apple, said it will stop submitting its products for “green electronics certification.”
  • Ex-Posie Ken Stringfellow has done a lot since his last solo CD in 2004, including abandoning the States to become a free man in Paris. Now he’s finally getting another set of music out, incluidng a duet with comedian Margaret Cho. Title: Danzig in the Moonlight.
  • One fifth of all “adult fiction” physical books sold in the U.S. this past spring were Fifty Shades of Grey (the submission-porn story set in Seattle by a British author) or one of its sequels.
  • Underwater oil-exploration teams have found the lost city of Atlantis in the North Sea, if you believe the U.K. tabloid Daily Mail (which you really shouldn’t).
  • As banking-behemoth blunders spread to the Brits, one analyst notes that, within the industry, “it had become acceptable or perhaps even encouraged to provide false information.”
  • David Carr summarizes recent developments in the newspaper biz, and, as you might expect, sees a biz whose troubles just keep getting worse.
  • Romney (hearts) the Koch Bros., those campaign-funny-money far-right oil/chemical/paper-towel barons who occasionally claim to be “libertarian” (as in, you know, protecting the “freedom” of mega-corps to control everything and ruin the planet).
  • Extreme heat, like they’ve had everywhere in the contiguous states except here, is lousy for the fish.
  • And finally, local-politics site extraordinaire PubliCola is back! Yaaaayy!
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.
RAY BRADBURY, 1920-2012
Jun 6th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

bradbury in a stan freberg-directed prune commercial (1969); via io9.com

The author who, as much as anyone, turned science fiction into a mass-audience genre kept at it until the bitter end. After his last stroke he could no longer operate a keyboard, so he dictated stories to his daughter via a landline phone.

In 2003 I participated in a panel discussion at the Tacoma Public Library, premised on Bradbury’sFahrenheit 451 and Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death. I argued against the ol’ grossly oversimplified stereotype of “books = good, TV = evil,” as advocated by Postman and others.

I said that words were more important to society than before (and they’re even more important now); and that the human race needs “entertainment” storytelling (the kind at which Bradbury was a master) as much as it needs more hi-brow cultural artifacts.

Bradbury’s works proved that commercial stories in formula genres could express tons of truths about the human condition.

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