May 7th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

neil hubbard via cousearem.wordpress.com

  • It was 37 years ago this month: The TMT Show, the first faint stirrings of Seattle punk rock culture. May Day of the Bicentennial year. Three bands rented a hall in the Odd Fellows building on Capitol Hill. About 100 people showed up. From these DIY roots sprang, directly or indirectly, all the noise that emanated from this burg ever since.
  • The City Council’s revised South Lake Union rezone: even fewer affordable housing units than Mayor McGinn’s plan, but more preserved Space Needle views for condo owners.
  • The old Seattle Rep space, which became the Intiman Playhouse, is now the “Cornish Playhouse at Seattle Center.”
  • Ray Harryhausen, 1925-2013: The king of stop-motion animated fantasy was better known than his films’ official directors, for a good reason. Those dudes were simply in charge of the live-action scenes. The filler, if you will. Harryhausen was the films’ real auteur.
  • Ex-Miramax boss Harvey Weinstein sez search engines are getting rich off of the pirated works of fine people such as himself.
  • I’m not so sure that there really is a “Conservative Quest to Eliminate Facts.” It’s more universal than that.
  • It’s not so much that the tech companies listed in one woman’s Tumbler blog “Only Hire Men,” but that they seem to presume only men will even apply to work there.
  • Dear Crowdfunders: Millionaire celebrities and billionaire media titans don’t need your Kickstarter money. Really.
  • Even the bosses of America’s hyper-bloated “security” bureaucracy don’t seem to know all that’s in it.
  • Recent “good news” about newspapers’ paid readership (in print and online) seems, in some cases, to be exaggerated.
  • Blogger Mark Manson has “10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America.” Number 5: “The quality of life for the average American is not that great.” Number 6: “The rest of the world is not a slum-ridden shithole compared to us.”
  • Allen Clifton at Forward Progressives isn’t the first, and won’t be the last, to remind you Jesus probably neither a corporate lobbyist nor a Tea Partier.
  • The downside of traditional publishing: A Brit lady who writes popular children’s books really wants her publisher to stop putting them inside pink covers. She says pink turns boy readers away and distracts from her stories’ often-serious content.
  • The downside of modern publishing: An American gent who’s written three novels “to good reviews” (if not good sales) tries self-publishing and finds it to be “the worst.”
  • I’d be more interested in Out of Print, Vivienne Roumani’s forthcoming documentary about the digital publishing “disruption,” if the director didn’t seem so obsessed with making everyone younger than herself look like an idiot.
  • Let’s close for today with some wonderful old Greek and Greek-American music from the 78 era.

Mar 22nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • When bad covers happen to good novels….
  • The (beautiful) wooden Elvis statue outside Mama’s Mexican Kitchen was stolen. We who all adore it need it back.
  • Every now and then, civic boosters talk about bringing the Olympic Games to Seattle. Such efforts have traditionally been quashed quickly by locals worried about traffic and local-government subsidies. But this time (for the 2024 Summer Games), could the boosters have the upper hand over the NIMBYs?
  • City Councilmember Richard Conlin says housing for poor people should be kept in the south end, away from all the nice-upscale people.
  • (Meanwhile, it’s good to remember that America’s urban ghettos were the historic result of specific policy/planning decisions. Do an online search for “redlining” and “blockbusting” to learn more.)
  • “Tiny houses” are all the rage in certain circles. But wanting to plop one down inside a city, well that’s news.
  • At least one ESPN pundit predicts the Seattle Mariners will be “this year’s surprise team.” In recent years, as you know, the M’s have provided too many of the wrong kind of surprises.
  • Wash. state is Number One! (In making higher education unaffordable, that is.)
  • Seattle teachers’ protest against standardized testing has reached the eyes and ears of the New Yorker, which notes that this particular test is not used so much to evaluate students as it is to evaluate the teachers themselves.
  • The Catholic Northwest Progress, the regional archdiocese newspaper, is the latest grave in the print-media cemetery. The paper’s incessantly anti-gay-marriage stance probably didn’t help.
  • The years-in-the-promising Bell Street “boulevard park” project is finally starting construction. When it’s done, Bell will have one lane of traffic and one lane of parallel parking; the rest of the right-of-way will be extended sidewalks and planters.
  • The thing about the Vancouver BC company’s inadvertently see-thru yoga slacks: The women who attend these classes and wear these clothes are often trying to show off their figures, not to men but to other women, not to attract desire but admiration/envy. But that doesn’t work if the “exposure” is too blatant.
  • In the ten years since the Iraq War, the buildup to same, and the almost unquestioned media cheerleading for same, have we learned anything (except to distrust the media)?
  • In the Internet era, news readers have umpteen sources for big national/global stories, but far fewer people reporting local events or investigating local dirt.
  • Montana may make roadkill legal to eat: On tonight’s dessert menu, chocolate moose.
  • After testing the waters in commercial book genres (romance, mystery, etc.), Amazon’s getting into the “literary” book racket.
  • While the “people of the book” were making their usual noisy gripes that everything was going to hell, independent bookstores have staged a quiet comeback.
  • Speaking of naysaying the naysayers, Bono would like you to know that many worldwide trends (poverty, AIDS, etc.) are actually on a positive swing these days.
  • Is Jay Leno finally being pushed into retirement? For real this time?
  • Urban-planning pundit Richard Florida made big bucks from instructing cities how to pursue “the creative class.” Now he says (sort of) that that doesn’t work.
  • Following Chris Ware’s acclaimed Building Stories, local art-book press Marquand Books is putting out another “box set” graphic novel, containing objects of different sizes and shapes telling one meta-narrative. It’s The Magician, by onetime Dallas arts promoter Chris Byrne. It’s an ultra-limited-edition product. Its artistic ambitions, if anything, are greater than those of Ware’s work.

Mar 18th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • I was at the last day of the Alki Tavern, that venerable unrepentant dive bar. So was videographer Nick Adams.
  • “Pot tourism” still has a few snags before it can become big business here.
  • The Boeing engineers’ union approved the contract proposal they’d previously rejected.
  • Post-dam Elwha River: I’m getting sedimental over you.
  • Providence’s drive toward near-monopoly status in the hospital biz of much of Wash. state hits a snag, as Olympia hospital employees go on strike. Among the issues: cuts to the employees’ own health benefits, while the CEO rakes in millions.
  • The Rev. Rich Lang, writing for Real Change, compares modern society to that once bemoaned by the Bible’s “apocalyptic” writers.
  • Apparently, indie-folk oldie act Michelle Shocked (who’d once sort-of claimed to be lesbian 22 years ago) now says she was just kidding when she made virulently anti-gay remarks on stage in San Francisco.
  • In brighter women-in-music news, meet “Laura the Luthier,” the collective name for the women who kept Gibson Guitars in production during WWII.
  • By now you’ve heard about the Steubenville OH teen-rape verdict, and about certain cable-news commentators who went all over in sympathy with the young convicted criminals while downplaying or making excuses for their crime. Mia McKenzie at the blog Black Girl Dangerous has a slightly different view. McKenzie acknowledges it’s sad that the convicts will go into the “prison industrial complex” like so many kids who aren’t white or football stars. But she still expresses more sympathy to the rape victim.
  • That widely disseminated “meme graphic” of a Swedish department store with “realistic” mannequins? The picture’s real. But it wasn’t taken in an H&M but in another store, and it was photographed three years ago.

Mar 14th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Are the Sonics Back Yet? (Day 65): No. But the would-be team buyers and arena developers have posted conceptual art of the proposed arena’s interior. It’s got a steep seating bowl and three “Sonics Rings” around the upper levels. Yes, it’s intended to be loud.
  • Damning With Faint Praise Dept.: The Financial Times claims Boeing investors are not as “narrow-minded” as the company itself “(mostly) is.”
  • I won’t be the new Seattle Weekly editor. (They didn’t even email me back.) Instead, they’re poaching Mark Baumgarten from CityArts.
  • Meanwhile, John Roderick’s Weekly manifesto, “Punk Rock Is Bullshit,” has drawn national attention. Blogger Marianne Spellman calls Roderick’s piece an example of “how to get everything spectacularly wrong.”
  • The latest gravestone in the print-media cemetery belongs to an “alt-weekly” pioneer, the venerable Boston Phoenix.
  • You know the new Pope is just as anti-gay and anti-contraception as his predecessors. You might not know he was a serious collaborator with Argentina’s ruthlessly homicidal former junta.
  • Today’s lesson in the folly of marketing products “For Women” is brought to you by a Dubai computer company. It’s selling a tablet device called the Femme, pre-loaded with shopping and dieting apps.
  • 3D printing, that latest tech craze, isn’t quite up to the hype. Yet.
  • Hostess snacks may again be made soon. Probably not in Seattle, though. That property’s just too developer-lucrative now.
  • Three devoted fans have a dream, to rebuild the bridge set from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Even though they don’t have a place to put it.
  • Bob Woodward’s John Belushi bio, according to a guy who re-tracked-down its sources, got most of its facts right but still got the bigger picture all wrong.
  • In the Japanese tsunami of 2011, an historic forest on the country’s coastline fell—except for a single tall, thin tree. That tree eventually succumbed a year later, because its ground water had become too saline. But it’s remembered in a monumental plastic-and-metal sculpture, “Miracle Pine.” (The scaffolding in this image will be removed before the official unveiling.)


Feb 22nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Seattle artist Ellen Ziegler’s mom was a ballet dancer—and a onetime girlfriend of the great Mexican comic actor Cantinflas. Ziegler’s turning this story into a very-limited-edition art book.
  • In other news about local women and art and books and images of hotness, Charlotte Austin and Ciolo Thompson have created The Better Bombshell. In it, a variety of writers and artists of both genders contemplate that age-old issue of female role models and what they should be now.
  • Online “cyber-bullying” isn’t just for teens anymore. The disgraced now-former Snohomish County executive did it too.
  • The Oatmeal explains why “How to Suck at Your Religion.” (Essentially: if you preach brotherhood but practice bigotry, etc….)
  • The drive to preserve the Bauhaus coffeehouse’s building, by getting it named an official historic landmark: rejected.
  • The lawsuit challenging the Sonics arena scheme: rejected.
  • Even Republicans believe Tim Eyman’s “lying whore” comment against Gov. Inslee went too far.
  • PONCHO, granddaddy of Seattle arts fundraising groups (and inventor of the “charity auction”), is no more.
  • Can private tech colleges, charging $30,000 or more for degree programs, really solve Wash. state’s learning gap?
  • Eastern Washington, now with more radioactive sludge.
  • Life imitates Portlandia, at least 30 times.
  • Chuck Thompson at the New Republic derides microbrews, and the brewpubs who sell them, as icons of silly urban gentrificaiton. But they’re really, really tasty icons of silly urban gentrification.)
  • The sad tale of the “food critic on Food Stamps” finally has a happy ending. Ex-Tacoma News Tribune restaurant reviewer Ed Murrieta finally found a job, after spending years among the long-term unemployed. He now writes blurbs for Sacramento’s tourism board.
  • In Virginia, a white mom wants white kids not to have to read books about past racial violence.
  • I know I’m not the only one who still remembers LaserDiscs, those 12-inch analog video discs that were the best way to see movies at home in their day.
  • Here’s an artistic vision of a future car-free Manhattan, funded by (who else?) a car company.

Jan 22nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

kentaro lemoto @tokyo, via daily kos

  • Hey McDonnell Douglas Boeing, how’s that whole foreign outsourcing thing working for ya?
  • Add to the endlessly growing list of cool places disappearing: the Alki Tavern, where bikers once held drunken brawls in front of a spectacular Elliott Bay view. Yep, the real estate’s going for luxury condos. Damn.
  • Already gone before we could say goodbye: Costa’s Opa, Fremont’s anchor Greek eatery for 32 years. The villain in this story is the same as the one in the Queen Anne Easy Street Records disappearance: unChaste Bank.
  • The NY Times has officially “discovered” Pike/Pine. Does that mean the place is, you know, “over”?
  • City bureaucrats still don’t want meals for the homeless to be served, you know, where the homeless are.
  • There might be nothing sicker, and sadder, than allegations of sexual harassment at King County’s sex crimes unit.
  • Not every Catholic priest does horrible things to boys. At least one’s been caught dealing meth and having sex with (adult) cross-dressers.
  • Atari has faced “Game Over” before. But this time, its fate is in the hands of obscure holding companies and hedge funds.
  • Last week’s Saturday Night Live tribute to the tropes of (clothed dialogue scenes in) ’70s softcore movies definitely qualifies as a “10 to 1” sketch, the edgier or just odd stuff often snuck in at the show’s end.
Jan 15th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via archive.org


Jan 11th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • First the B&O Espresso shutters. Now, another outfit you’d think would thrive with legal gay marriages instead goes away. It’s Brocklind’s Formal Wear and Costume Supply. It’s closing up shop after 106 years (the last 20 or so years residing on E. Pike).
  • In related news, gay mag The Advocate claims Tacoma is “America’s Gayest City.” I can actually imagine this being true. Lots of military and truck drivers, and a “tuff’ civic culture that extends to women as well as men.
  • The faculty at Garfield High has chosen, collectively, not to administer the “Measure of Academic Progress” (MAP), the Seattle School District’s standardized tests in reading and math, to ninth-grade students this month. The teachers’ statement claims the test “wastes time, money, and precious school resources… It produces specious results, and wreaks havoc on limited school resources during the weeks and weeks the test is administered.”
  • Nate Silver, who wowed ’em by accurately predicting November’s election results, now says the Seahawks will meet the Patriots in the Super Bowl (but lose).
  • State Sen. Rodney Tom, the pseudo-Democrat who wants to turn control of the Legislature to Republicans, got a stinging rebuke by his own party in his own district.
  • Pundit Tom Esdall believes an “Obama coalition” of women, minorities, working-class folk, and “99 percenters” stands a chance of really challenging “corporate America’s” control of the federal political process.
  • Young-adult evangelicals these days love Jesus but don’t love gay-and-woman-bashing.
  • There’s a new industry that actually pays people to write online! Unfortunately, they’re being paid to be right-wing “comment trolls” on opinion blogs.
  • Print book sales may be down, but no further down than last year. (And they’re still holding their own better than CDs and DVDs.)
  • I usually like to watch the Australian Open, even though I’m not a hardcore tennis fan, just to be reassured that, somewhere in the world, it’s warm now. But this year, it’s too warm there. By a lot.
Oct 25th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


“Amidst the Everyday,” a project by photographers-artists Aaron Asis and Dan Hawkins, aims to reveal “elements of the unseen urban environment.” You go to places around town, scan QR codes (etched in wood!) at various buildings, and receive images of their hidden treasures. (Above, one of the unoccupied-for-decades upper floors of the Eitel Building at Second and Pike.)

  • I’m not disillusioned by the news of a potential sitcom that would carry the title Smells Like Teen Spirit. (The show concept sounds more like a ripoff of Family Ties, which is also something we don’t need.) However, I am at least a little disillusioned by the news of a potential Kurt and Courtney stage musical, which would be licensed by Courtney Love via Britney Spears’ estranged ex-manager.
  • Lester Smith, 1919-2012: The Mariners’ original principal owner had, in partnership with Hollywood star Danny Kaye, a number of business endeavors. They ranged from rock-concert promotion to direct-mail marketing. But Smith (or Kaye-Smith) will always be legendary for stewarding KJR-AM during its 1955-80 golden age as Seattle’s Top 40 (or “Fab 50”) powerhouse.
  • The Seattle Times‘ free ads for Rob McKenna caught the LA Times‘ attention; not to mention a less-than-kind portrayal in the SeaTimes‘ own “Truth Needle” department.
  • The next step up from bicycle lanes: physically separated “bike tracks.”
  • Knute Berger reiterates what I’ve been saying about the waterfront development scheme. Let’s not let it be “sanitized by good intentions.”
  • Dominic Holden would like you to know the biggest reason for legalizing pot. It isn’t for the stoners (and it sure ain’t to shut up the stoner evangelists, which had been my reason).
  • Joe Copeland takes up the continuing legacy of Floyd Schmoe, one of the greatest people I ever met, leader of Seattle’s Quakers and hands-on advocate for peace and reconciliation.
  • The next hurdle toward getting the NBA back in Seattle has been overcome. That hurdle is Commissioner David Stern, whose butt will be out of that particular chair by the end of next season.
  • A major casual-games convention may be leaving Seattle.
  • UK film blogger Petra Davis looks back admiringly at the still-underrated Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, 20 years old this year…
  • …and, with the winding down of the World’s Fair semi-centennial, our pal Jim Demetre has some kind words for the (mostly justifiably) forgotten It Happened at the World’s Fair.
  • In other film news, the Columbia City Cinema is being reopened (yay!). The new owner has repaired all the previous owner’s not-up-to-code “renovations.”
  • Note to Amazon Kindle users: Buy all your e-books while you’re physically in the same country, lest you be targeted as a Terms of Service violator.
  • Today’s dire-threat-to-America’s-youth story comes to you from a California high school where boys and girls alike are invited to join a “fantasy slut league.”
  • Penguin and Random House are in merger talks. This is bad news, since book publishing is one of those industries that’s too consolidated already.
  • Today’s lesson in the folly of products marketed as “For Women” is brought to you by Fujitsu and its “Floral Kiss” brand laptop PC.
  • Among all the slimy, sociopathic, and bigoted things Republicans are saying and doing these days, add this overt racism by Sarah Palin.
  • Pseudonymous Daily Kos diarist “bayushisan” wishes gamer culture had fewer macho jerks in it. (The same, of course, can be said about athiests and “skeptics,” online comment threads, U.S. politics, and even atheists and “skeptics”.)
  • Paul Karr loathes the dot-commers’ worship of “disruption” as a sacred concept, and the Ayn Randian me-first-ism behind it.
  • The BBC notes that “creativity is often intertwined with mental illness“…
  • …and Simon Reynolds disses the “modern dismissal of genius” in today’s “age of the remix.”
  • Earthquakes can’t be predicted. That hasn’t stopped a court in Italy from convicting seven scientists who failed to do so.
  • Community organizer “B Loewe” believes you should not get into lefty causes to feel good about yourself, and you shouldn’t try to be your own, or your only, emotional “caregiver.” Instead, you’re to practice prosocial interdependence as both ideology and a way of life.
  • Someone says something nice about so-called “hipsters!” They’re credited with helping bring back Detroit (the place, not the car companies).
Oct 21st, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


  • Is there anything more ritualistically ridiculous than the standard commercial “sexy” Halloween costume? Speaking of which….
  • Nancy Cohen at Playboy.com warns all aficionados of porn, erotic books, birth control, and non-procreative sex in general that the extreme right wing wants to shut all that down.
  • And the neo-Riot Grrrl graffiti gang has mega-tagged one of the Aurora Ave. motels that was shut down as an alleged hooking site. Their message: Respect sex work and sex workers.
  • Seattle Times Shrinkage Watch: The paper’s management would really, really like you to continue (or resume) reading and even buying the paper, despite its owners’ giving away free ad space to GOP Gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna. (The Times has run “issue” advertising for gay marriage and against the estate tax, but this is the first time they’ve donated to a candidate.)
  • The under-new-management (sorta) Seattle Weekly did something the Stranger might have done. It commented on the Times bosses’ McKenna ad by running their own “independent expenditure” ad praising Google as “the most totally fucking awesome company in the history of mankind.” Let’s see if that gets the Weekly listed any higher in the ol’ search rankings.
  • Art Thiel believes the best chance of an NBA team in Seattle might not be moving an existing one, but getting a new expansion team.
  • I know you can’t get enough of those extra-unique Mormon church doctrines.
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates at the Atlantic notes how only white people get to make “jokes” about wanting to “take a swing” at a dark skinned President.
  • The BBC watches the supposedly alarming trend of “passive-aggressive Wi-Fi names.” Particularly network names aimed at other residents of the same apartment/condo complex, such as “Your Music Is Annoying” or “We Can Hear You Having Sex.”
Oct 13th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

via kathrynrathke.blogspot.com

All good tidings and shout-outs to my fellow Stranger refugee and prominent commercial illustrator Kathryn Rathke. She’s created the new official logo for Wendy’s restaurants. The deceptively simple mascot caricature took three years of client approval and market testing.

  • I’ve now read ThoughtCatalog.com’s “23 Things To Know About Seattle.” Yep, it’s dumb.
  • Did Paul Ryan “borrow” his story about naming his daughter “Bean” from Kurt Cobain?
  • The anti-gay-marriage campaign: lying full-time, lying from the start.
  • Note to “guerrilla marketers”: Spray-painting your logo on Seattle sidewalks is illegal.
  • America’s fastest growing religion: none of the above.
  • Once again, “For Women” product advertising proves to be an exercise in ridiculousness. (Today’s example: beef jerkey.)
  • The late UK children’s entertainer (and original Top of the Pops host) Jimmy Savile has been posthumously outed as a serial assailant of underage girls. Some of his victims are hounding the BBC to learn what the broadcaster knew, and didn’t do, about his crimes.
  • Despite what my ex-boss Mr. Savage might imply, a teenager doesn’t have to be gay to be bullied to the edge of sanity. This is what happened to a 15-year-old girl in the Vancouver suburbs, who took her own life after posting a YouTube video showing how she’d been harassed and bullied online.
Sep 27th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

from the book 'mail order mysteries' via laughingsquid.com

  • Oh we so wanted to believe the miracle products advertised in comic books really worked as advertised (or at least were as cool as the ads claimed).
  • I might be in the minority even among local fans, but I believe the replacement refs made the right call in awarding Monday night’s final play (and hence the game) to the Seahawks.
  • No, the Edmonton Oilers hockey team isn’t ever going to move to Seattle. The local visit by Oilers execs is only an exercise in “arena blackmail” toward Edmonton politicos.
  • David Goldstein puts the blame for Washington’s regressive tax structure on a state Supreme Court ruling back in 1933.
  • Pundits look at Washington state’s political “Cascade curtain.” Micah Cohen at the NYT‘s FiveThirtyEight sees the west/east divide in terms of women’s rights issues
  • …while Eli Sanders dissects how, in the last State Supreme Court race, an unqualified white candidate beat a highly qualified Hispanic candidate in Eastern Washington, even in 40-percent-Hispanic areas.
  • Speaking of Eastern Washington, those bigass, electricity-hungry “server farm” computer installations there might not employ very many people once they’re built, but they still demand political clout.
  • A judge refused to throw out a class-action suit by female Costco employees, alleging discrimination in promotions.
  • TV ads for the gay marriage referendum don’t show any actual gay people. I’m reminded of the 1998 initiative to end affirmative action in the state. The anti-initiative ads showed, as their examples of affirmative action’s needy beneficiaries, only white little girls. The tactic didn’t work.
  • The good folks at Seattle Indian Health Services claim the city, led by councilmember Nick Licata, is trying to take over their agency so it can sell the land on which their offices sit to a private developer.
  • A national church mag calls Seattle’s own Mars Hill Church (home of “hip” misogyny/homophobia) America’s third fastest-growing church.
  • The Northwest’s oil refining capital could also host the nation’s biggest bottled-water plant. What could possibly go wrong?
  • The airline now calling itself United (a shotgun marriage of the original UAL with Continental) has posted a nice time lapse video of a Boeing 787 being put together. It’s enough to warm this Snohomish County guy’s heart.
  • Andy Williams, 1928-2012: The seemingly ageless singer/TV host began as a child in a singing-brothers act, then jump-started the career of a similar act (the Osmonds). He was a quintessential icon of the square side of the 1960s, smooth and slick and pleasant and never ruffled. He was one of those personalities who seemed to inhabit a world of serenity that flowed all around him; which made his latter-day emergence as a right wingnut even stranger.
  • Ben Adler at the Nation says the truly crazy wingnut conspiracy theories and insult “jokes” don’t start on radio or Fox “News”, but at obscure blogs and e-mail lists.
  • Today’s Romney/Ryan bashings: Richard Eskow believes Ryan still believes his former Ayn Randian denunciations of Medicare and Social Security. Florida Republicans are up to their old voter-suppression tricks. Greg Palast claims Karl Rove’s ol’ election-stealing dirty tricks operations are still up and running. And Jonathan Chiat visits some extremely rich people who imagine themselves to be America’s most “persecuted” and overtaxed sector.
  • Economic philosopher Angus Sibley has a highly lucid, step-by-step breakdown of what’s wrong with libertarian economics.
  • If outsource manufacturers like Foxconn in China keep up their reputation for workplace horridness, western tech-hardware companies just might have to return production in-house just to avoid the bad PR.
  • Victoria’s Secret has quietly discontinued its “Sexy Little Geisha” ensemble. Anti-racist bloggers claim credit.
Sep 20th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

chris lehman, npr via kplu

  • In my onetime stompin’ grounds of Corvallis OR, an Asian American businessman sponsored a downtown mural depicting tranquil nature scenes in Taiwan contrasted with police brutalizing protesters in Tibet. China’s government would like the mural gone.
  • On the 20th anniversary of the film Singles, Spin imagines the film with a modern-day soundtrack (available as a Spotify playlist). No current Seattle acts are on it (though ex-local Mark Lanegan is).
  • Most of the hereby-linked article is behind a paywall, but the gist is this: ESPN blogger Craig Custance believes Seattle’s got a great shot at a National Hockey League team, but as an expansion rather than a moved franchise. Custance agrees with similar remarks earlier this year by CBC hockey commentator Elliotte Friedman. (Nobody might have NHL hockey for perhaps a whole year, if the league continues to lock out its players.)
  • My ol’ pal James Winchell has a neat piece in the Jewish mag Tablet (no relation to the defunct local hipster rag of the same name), philosophizing on the Hebrew roots and symbolism in the works of Franz Kafka.
  • How artificial intelligence is turning out: expect more stuff like Siri, but no human-esque robots any time soon.
  • As big chain retailers abandon more and more sites around the country, some of those sites are being taken over by big chain restaurants.
  • Danny Westneat asks if Romney’s so down on those who don’t pay taxes, when’s he gonna go after the likes of Boeing? (Or, for that matter, Microsoft?)
  • Poll-analyst extraordinaire Nate Silver sees Obama doing better in polls that include real-live pollsters (instead of robocalls) and that include cell-phone-only households.
  • Today’s scathinger-than-scathing Romney rants come to you courtesy of Nicholas Kristof and Lawrence O’Donnell
  • …while Jon Stewart tears yet another righteous hole in the blatantly hypocritical Faux News partisans.
  • As for me, for now, I’ll just say Romney’s appearance on Univision should have been accompanied by one of that channel’s biggest personalities. I speak, of course, of “El Chacal de la Trompeta,” the masked trumpeter from the Gong Show-like talent segment of Sabado Gigante.

watch el chacal de la trompeta, via youtube

Sep 5th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


  • Enjoy some understated, occasionally creepy photos by Ms. Rinko Kawauchi.
  • Get ready for cool public art coming to a civic infrastructure project near you.
  • Metro’s Ride Free Area is still set to end later this month, with no replacement service finalized. The transition’s probably gonna be rough.
  • Contract talks between Boeing and the engineers’ union are going un-smoothly.
  • There will be a 24-hour diner on Capitol Hill next spring, on 10th Ave. where the gay bathhouse Basic Plumbing used to be.
  • The Stranger asked local artists to fantasize how they’d remake the waterfront. Their various suggestions, together or alone, are infinitely cooler than the official plans.
  • Catholic bishops claim the existence of gay marriage would victimize them. Really?
  • How does a young person get into a journalism career if she can’t afford to take a long-term, unpaid internship? She hopes for an inheritance.
  • The owners of the New Orleans Times-Picayune won’t sell the paper, and they won’t back off their decision to cut it back to three days a week.
  • Folks love them some sad songs these days.
  • The company behind some of those infamous Facebook games (and their annoying ads and plugs) is fiscally stumbling.
  • Harold Meyerson at the American Prospect says the Democrats recognize people’s “interdependence,” instead of the GOP’s Ayn Randian “noble selfishness.”
  • Here’s the Bill Clinton barnburner speech. And here are the local-interest convention speeches by Patty Murray and ex-Costco boss Jim Sinegal.
Sep 3rd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

  • Jon Rafman finds amazing shots taken by Google Street Views’ nine-camera-equipped trucks, and collects them at his blog 9-eyes.com.
  • In one corner, street-team advertising concern Poster Giant. In the other corner, angry women, who will not go away quietly.
  • Sun Myung Moon, 1920-2012: Those who didn’t closely follow the Korean religious/political/business/publishing cult master often called him a “right wing Christian.” The “right wing” part was correct enough. The “Christian” part was misleading. Moon’s Unification Church theology and practice were really a lot more unique (i.e., weirder).
  • Local college grad Alison Sargent writes in Bitch magazine about her experiences at Mars Hill Church. She describes it as another right-wing cult (albeit more traditionally “Christian” than the Moonies), and a place where “faith and feminism don’t mix.”
  • Harvard researcher Steven Strauss ponders whether the rate of techno-progress in today’s world is actually slowing down.
  • Bigtime political campaigns are employing polling and demographic stats work so complex, even they might not know how it works or what it means.
  • Author Chuck Thompson asks why “so many Southerners think they’re the only real Americans.”
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