Aug 4th, 2019 by Clark Humphrey

The downtown ferry terminal will go bye-bye; pork farmers halted a big health probe; robots potentially threaten lots of jobs; a ‘hot, nasty summer election campaign’ is almost over.

Aug 1st, 2019 by Clark Humphrey

In another massive e-missive: Death Cab’s tribute to young pipeline-blast victims; charges in a different kind of cyber-theft; no more ‘dress-coding’ in Seattle schools; Amazon’s Dash gets ditched.

Aug 8th, 2018 by Clark Humphrey

Pearl Jam’s ‘Home Shows’ raise $11 mill; competing plans to ‘save’ the Showbox emerge; orca-rescue drive continues; an architect defends the stalled downtown streetcar project.

Aug 7th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Seattle’s big, annual arts-travaganzas have come and gone, with subjects of identity and resistance scattered throughout. We touch upon that in Monday’s missive, as well as the sad decline of the hydros; alleged “shaming” harassment at an officially “inclusive” fandom convention; a phony Starbucks “meme” graphic; and how much Nikkita Oliver may have already changed local politics.

Jul 30th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Apparently very few Seattle voters have sent in their primary-election ballots. If any of you are among those, get to it, darn it! We also mention an attempt to trash the Northwest’s public-power heritage; the ever-hotter Eastside state-senate race; the vanishing sword ferns; and “Why I Don’t Hate Seafair” part XXVII.

6/7/17: THE LAST REEL?
Jun 6th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

Wednesday’s MISCmedia MAIL doesn’t know any more than you about the sudden closure of the classic Guild 45th and Seven Gables cinemas. We do know a little about another police-brutality settlement; the International District’s “upzone” moving forward; what white liberals don’t “get” about the whole Evergreen State College to-do; and our big, boistrous birthday party (tomorrow, Thursday 6/8/17, at the tony Two Bells!).

Feb 13th, 2017 by Clark Humphrey

In my approaching dotage, I approach at least a slightly less snarky attitude toward Valentine’s Day. And I today discuss the economic clout of “sanctuary cities;” a victory for family-leave advocates; a potential new anti-fossil-fuel initiative; and Mercer Islanders’ sense of transportation privilege.

Aug 7th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

There was a lot on the water this weekend: The fast boats on Lake Washington, a beached whale at Fauntleroy, and especially the annual Hiroshima remembrance on Green Lake. Additional topics today include the Dead Baby bike spectacle; determining whether anyone’s to blame for the Oso landslide; dying trees statewide; anti-police window stickers; and the Mariners winning big on Griffey tribute weekend.

Aug 4th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

The biggest weekend of the year is here for both art lovers and Seattle old-timers. We’ve got a link to a guy who explains just why the hydroplane races are still important. We’ve also got a guy who quit running for office but made it to the top-two general election anyway; the need for affordable housing in the ‘burbs; the threat of technological thought-reading; a nascent “co-op” nightclub; and dozens of event listings, art-related and otherwise.

Jul 26th, 2015 by Clark Humphrey

dragon dance 1

Most of my hip art-world friends have long sneered at Seafair.

Too square.

Too hokey.

Too small-towny.

Too “Family” with a capital F.

Too unlike anything that would be done in NY/LA/SF.

clowns 2

pirates 1

As if those were somehow bad things.

hydro 2

But nowadays, this city needs all the legacy, all the history, and (yes) all the squareness it can keep out of the gentrifiers’ Rolex-wristed clutches.

We need our own homegrown racing sport, rooted in tinkerers building boats around surplus WWII airplane engines.

husky band 1

We need public education, and spectacles that celebrate it.

seattle utilities 2

We need honest shows of support for even the most basic of community functions.

poulsbo viking float

We need to remember the human groups that first made this place what it is.

duwamish tribe 1

We need to publicly honor all the peoples that make up this city and this region.

af am drill team

vietnam float

So don’t knock Seafair.

Love it.

(Except the Blue Angels. Feel free to bash them. They’re just too damn militaristic.)


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.

Aug 5th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

kiro-tv via missy chow

Another Seafair Sunday, Seattle’s own civic holiday, has come and gone.

And this one was a beautiful one.

Everything went as expected. Oberto won the race; but not without some thrills (and thankfully, no spills) along the way.

The weather was beautiful and scorchy.

The original piston-powered thunderboats made a spectacular cameo.

The only thing missing was the Unlimited Light fleet of smaller race boats. The UL circuit folded after last summer, sadly. Taking their place, we had tiny “Formula One” boats brought in. Fun but just not the same.

Let’s try to bring back the ULs in ’13. Seafair itself has had to be fiscally “saved” several times. If local sponsorship could be found for the big boats, it ought to be available for the middle-sized boats.

Jul 29th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

The Seafair Torchlight Parade is more than a relic of “a simpler time,” or an opportunity for Seattle merchants and restaurants to make money from visiting suburbanites and exurbanites.

It’s an opportunity for all of us to get back in touch with the values and aesthetics that helped make this city great.

At a time and place where these values are often scoffed at, Seafair proclaims there’s still plenty to admire in squareness.

Squares gave us the Space Needle. Squares gave us Boeing (and, hence, the “international jet set”). Squares gave us computers and software.

Towns at at least a little removed from the metro core still understand the positive aspects of squareness, and revel in them. I come from one of these.

Remember: Square DOES NOT necessarily equal boring or white. Values of family, tradition, and togetherness cut across all ethnic and subcultural lines.

There are three special things to mention about this year’s parade. The first is the Seafair Clowns’ heartfelt tribute to Chris Wedes/J.P. Patches.

The second thing was something I’d previously noticed last month at the gay parade—spectators using cam-equipped iPads to get a better-than-the-naked eye view of the proceedings.

And finally, what was Grand Marshal (and Fastbacks drummer #2) Duff McKagan doing in a horse and buggy? Wouldn’t a bitchin’ vintage muscle car be more his flavor?

Jun 22nd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

lindsay lowe, kplu

  • It’s like Animal Planet’s Whale Wars, only without the whales. It’s Greenpeace submarines trailing Shell oil-exploration rigs in the Arctic.
  • There’s a “celebration of life” service for my mother today in Marysville.
  • Huge swaths of Wash. state exist in a “rural information ghetto,” with little local news media, little or no broadband access, and even spotty or no cellphone reception.
  • Local bands in Spin‘s all-time greatest-band-names countdown include Mudhoney and Bikini Kill. But Motorhead as the #1 greatest band name of all time? Sorry. Do over.
  • Speaking of which, Duff McKagan will be this year’s Seafair Grand Marshall. Still waiting for Mark Arm’s equally deserved official recognition.
  • Online Media Shrinkage Watch: Salon.com, one of the pioneers of web-based punditry, is bringing in exactly half the revenue it needs to survive.
  • Who owns the rights to the classic series Route 66 and Naked City? Hard to tell. What’s more certain is that the two shows’ exec producer had some very rough final days.
  • If the producers of The Looney Tunes Show had wanted to effectively depict Bugs and co. in a domestic setting, they should have perused old issues of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies comic books.
  • Tired of stick figure construction workers? Then look at these animated .GIFs in which the moving objects tend to be graceful women’s skirts and hair.


Aug 29th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

  • Despite what Republican politicians would have you believe, Washington state actually leads the nation in new business creation these days.
  • One of these new businesses will be a downtown JC Penney store, in the old Kress five-and-dime store building at Third and Pike. That’s just a block from the old (1930-82) Penney store (Target’s going in on that site later this year). It’s great news, but what will become of the loveable, and vitally needed, Kress IGA supermarket in the building’s lower level? Its operators insist they’ve got a long term lease and are staying no matter what.
  • It’s not just the state civil payroll that’s ethnically un-diverse. The state legislature is only 6.8 percent nonwhite.
  • Local theater blogger Jose Aguerra asks whether local troupes are being too coy and inoffensive, even in their depiction of female orgasms. (In my day, Seattle’s live theaters prided themselves on presenting edgy, daring material, even if the promise was grander than the product.)
  • A UW Medical Center administrator got caught embezzling a quarter mil from the hospital. You’re only hearing about it now because the state auditor made a statement publicly praising the U for how it investigated and prosecuted the inside thief. A potential huge scandal was thus turned into a low-key moment of triumph for the administration. At least if you read the Seattle Times version of the story. KOMO offers a far more critical spin on the affair.
  • Grist.org’s David Roberts ponders what the heck Friends of the Earth is doing getting involved with right-wing lobby groups in proposing a “green” federal budget slashing scheme.
  • The link we ran last week about the electric-guitar company? The company that got raided by federal agents, who were supposedly looking for endangered imported wood? The company flatly denies all allegations. And the Murdoch Wall St. Journal, ever eager to bash anything environmentalist, claims the feds could next go after folks who own old vintage instruments that contain now-restricted components.
  • Should any of us care about speculation about the new Apple CEO’s private life? Ars Technica says no.
  • Birth rates are dropping in many countries, especially those where female fetuses are sometimes selectively aborted. The Economist calculates some countries, at their current rates of decline, could totally run out of people in 600-700 years. Of course, if you’re not a dystopian scifi fan you know trends don’t stay the same, at the same rate, forever.
  • Sasha Brown-Worsham believes “we should parent more like they did in 1978.” More Boo Berry and daytime TV; less overprotectiveness and constant fear.
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