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RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/17/13
Sep 17th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via washingtonpost.com

  • Our ol’ pal Lynda Barry reveals “The 20 Stages of Reading.”
  • Knute Berger sez the real issue in recent local violent crimes isn’t political “leadership,” it’s the sorry state of mental-health care.
  • We now know where Bauhaus Coffee is going, temporarily, while its building gets knocked down and replaced. It’s moving into the about-to-close Capitol Club’s space, just two blocks up East Pine.
  • Chick-Fil-A, the fast food chain with the cow commercials and the homophobic CEO, is coming to Northgate.
  • A micro-apartment developer wants Amazon to put up its short-stay employees, vendors, etc. at his buildings instead of hotels. So much for the argument that “we’re just trying to make affordable housing pencil out businesswise” etc.
  • In case you care, Bill Gates is the richest guy in the country again.
  • A Nation of Change essay comparing Libertarians’ ideological justifications for selfishness to “comic book writing” is an insult to comic book writers everywhere (yes, even at Marvel).
  • Bob Woodward describes the GOP standard operating procedure these days as “extortion and blackmail.”
  • My fellow Stranger refugee S.P. Miskowski now writes horror stories, and she’s looking for good examples of “bad woman” characters. Not daring rebel women who were really good but just called bad, mind you. She wants real (fictional) female baddies.
  • Playboy’s latest, er, re-vamp in search of lost circulation and ad bucks: “natural” glamour, instead of bleach and silicone. Also, 1 percent-y lifestyle articles.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 9/2/13
Sep 1st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

sprudge.com

  • Coffee blogger Alex Bernson serves up some kind words, and a little design history, toward Capitol Hill’s soon-to-close Bauhaus Kaffee & Kunst:

It is the quintessential Northwest cafe—rustic industrial meets cozy 1950s Modern nostalgia in a beautiful, double-height corner space. It manages to feel warm, inviting, and communal all at once, even when the acres of windows are filled with oppressively gray Seattle skies.

  • Timothy Harris of Real Change has some icononoclastic, and caustic, words about the eviction of the “Nicklesville” homeless encampment.
  • Seattle’s Cinerama’s getting the snazziest, brightest digital cinema projecter ever.
  • Texas Gov. Rick Parry might finally face prosecution for alleged abuse of power.
  • A “banker-turned-writer” who predicted the financial floposity of ’08 now says the U.S. is at the verge of a “new economic boom.”
  • A new smartphone app encourages bicyclists on group rides to break away and race against the clock on their own. A bike blog calls this an invitation to antisocial behavior.
  • Computer chips could stop getting ever-smaller and more powerful every year, not due to physical limitations but to economic ones.
  • In modern (or postmodern or neomodern) fiction, is there such a thing as “The New Weird”? Or has this particular brand of weird always been with us?
  • A lesser-talked-about aspect of Miley Cyrus’s “twerking” performance: It was another in the centuries-old tradition of white performers paying “tribute” to black culture by stereotyping blacks as sexy savages.
  • (By the way, there’s apparently a Twitter meme called “solidarity is for white women,” dissing white feminists who imagine affluent white women’s issues as comprising the sum total of all women’s issues.)
  • (By the by-the-way, I’m still not sure what “twerking” is, but I’m not completely against it.)
  • (By the by-the-by-the-way, some guy wrote an advice essay on “How to Talk With Your Sons About Robin Thicke.” Unfortunately, the advice had only to do with the “Blurred Lines” video and its depictions of women. It’s also vital to address common stereotypes of men as dumb, dick-obsessed dorks.)
RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/24/13
Aug 24th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

art_es_anna at flickr via kplu

  • Cliff Mass debunks a major conspiracy-theory fave of fringe-lefties: There are no “chemtrails” spewing mind-control chemicals from airplanes.
  • More of our very own “Einstruzende Neubauten” (“collapsing new buildings”): The big 2200 Westlake complex, with the Whole Foods, a luxury hotel, and a couple of fancy condo towers, has to undergo major repairs for water damage.
  • Can the grafting-on of a prestigious baccalaureate program save the (mostly undeserved) reputation of Rainier Beach High School?
  • When more people make their own electricity from solar, wind, etc., how will the various entities committed to maintaining the “grid” afford to do so?
  • Beloit University’s annual “Mindset” list of pop-culture things modern college frosh have always or never known is a cheap publicity stunt. (That doesn’t make it any less fun.)
  • I never cared much for the music of Linda Ronstadt (too baby-boomer bland for my tastes). But it’s still dreadful to hear of her enforced retirement due to Parkinson’s.
  • Jessica Olien at Slate believes “social isolation kills more people than obesity does.”
  • Psychology Today claims the ladies love casual sex just as much as the gents, as long as they’re made to “feel safe.”
  • The FBI apparently once thought novelist William Vollman was the Unabomber. And the “anthrax mailer.” And a terrorist in training in Afghanistan.
  • Elmore Leonard, R.I.P.: The crime fiction master left behind, among other achievements, a stunning collection of first lines and a few words of advice to writers (“never open a book with weather”). (Meanwhile, ESPN basketball announcer Len Elmore is still with us.)
RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/19/13
Aug 19th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

imagined audio-book listeners on a train, 1894

Back in the early days of telephones and phonograph records (1894 to be precise), essayist Octave Uzanne claimed “The End of Books” would soon be at hand. Uzanne predicted people would much rather listen to storytellers (with what are now called audio books) than read:

Our eyes are made to see and reflect the beauties of nature, and not to wear themselves out in the reading of texts; they have been too long abused, and I like to fancy that some one will soon discover the need there is that they should be relieved by laying a greater burden upon our ears. This will be to establish an equitable compensation in our general physical economy.

Elsewhere in randomosity:

  • Our ol’ friend (and onetime print MISC zine contributor) Jenniffer Velasco is now designing clothes in NYC, and making a name for herself.
  • The Seattle Timesvendetta against Mayor McGinn just gets more petty.
  • Sadly, criminal attacks in and near Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill just keep occurring.
  • If you ever get a text from a number you’ve never heard of, claiming to be from a woman “naked and waiting” for you to arrive with a pizza at a UW dorm, it’s best to not believe it.
  • The UW, meanwhile, ranks #27 in some list of the world’s top 100 universities. Just think what could happen if it got the state funding it deserves.
  • Seattle is #2 in some list of top world cities for “economic development.” Number one: Ottawa.
  • Could Puget Sound’s seaports finally stop competing against one another, thus driving down revenues to all?
  • Would-be neo-Sonics owner Chris Hansen gave money to a political campaign that’s essentially trying to stop a new arena in Sacramento. His admission of this might or might not diminish his chances of eventually landing a franchise.
  • Is Forever 21 demoting full-time workers to part-time as a sick revenge against Obamacare, or just to be mean?
  • Is Walmart doing badly this year because it treats its workers badly, or just because downscale customers still haven’t got their past spending power back?
  • Would Obama’s proposed student-loan “reforms” just make ’em more usurious?
  • Blogger Allen Clifton makes the simple, provocative claim that today’s “Republicans aren’t Christians.”
  • Orson Scott Card, the Ender’s Game novelist who wants you to be tolerant of his anti-gay intolerance, also wrote a little essay fantasizing about Obama hiring “urban gangs” into a personal army to make him dictator.
  • Sophia McDougall at the UK mag New Statesman says she hates the stereotype of the “Strong Female Character,” particularly in big-budget action movies. She’d much rather see more, more believable, and more different female characters (i.e., different from one another).
  • Vice magazine, onetime would-be darling of the fashionably decadent, is now partly owned by Fox.
  • Anti-sex-trafficking advocate Rachel Lloyd would really like all of you to cease using the terms “pimp” or “pimping” in any admiration-type context.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/12/13
Aug 11th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

messynessychic.com

  • Be unique enough and intriguing enough and eventually you, too, could become a “meme.” Such is the case with Hilda, a “zaftig” novelty pinup character created by illustrator Duane Bryers and the topic of an online rediscovery.
  • It only produced 33 total episodes over less than three years. Very few people saw them. But the legend of Heart Attack Theater, Kelly Hughes’ local cable-access anthology drama, just keeps growing.
  • Waterfront tunnel construction has already disrupted rats’ homes, leading some to fear a coming “Ratpocalypse!”
  • Capitol Hill’s “only vegan dive bar, music and Cakeroke venue” won’t have the “vegan” part anymore (or any food service for that matter).
  • An indie, vinyl-centric record label just died after less than a year in business.
  • Teabagger bigots still find new lows in sociopathy to which to descend. The latest fad: shaming disabled people as alleged “parasites” on the public dole.
  • Women are now almost half of all video game players. Expect the gaming industry to give up its sexist-geek ways, oh, maybe one of these decades.
  • Yahoo will have a new logo. But it’s teasing its online audiences by presenting a different fake logo every day for a month. I’m sure the final one, once revealed, will suck as much as the temp ones do.
  • It’s one of the worst things with which a “progressive” commentator can be charged these days, but a former interviewee has accused Lawrence O’Donnell of “mansplaining.”
  • Two Yale law profs believe “the Internet can save journalism,” by placing voluntary donation buttons at the bottom of article pages. The money would go to some nonprofit endowment fund.
  • Note to would-be “mile high club” initiates: when having sex on a plane, try to be discreet about it, not like the Oregon couple who, er, interfaced in full view of other passengers.
  • Finally, MISCmedia is dedicated today to the memory of Karen Black, Eydie Gormé, Eileen Brennan, and Haji. (Let’s not lose any more goddesses soon; we need all of those we can have.)
RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/4/13
Aug 4th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

daily mail

…(T)he madness of the GOP is the central issue of our time.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/27/13
Jul 27th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

theramenrater.com

  • Meet the (legally blind) Seattle man who’s been proclaimed the world’s leading reviewer of instant ramen. (Gotta have a niche, as the biz books say….)
  • If Seattle’s really the “hardest working city in America” (which sounds too much like a classic James Brown intro line), howcum I know so many people who’re still trying to find work?
  • Mayor Mike McGinn has found his big re-election year crusade. He’s against giving up a city-owned alley in West Seattle to a Whole Foods store project. The justification: the nonunion Whole Foods doesn’t pay as well as other established supermarket chains. By forcing his primary opponents to take a stand on this issue, he’s gotten accused of favoritism and even “graft.”
  • A company you never heard of wants to build “America’s biggest bottling plant” in Anacortes. The company says it could employ up to 500 people, making everything from pop and bottled water to flavored coffee beverages, under contract from (as-yet unnamed) big brands. Local opponents claim it could threaten everything from the town’s way of life to the Skagit River itself.
  • Health Scare of the Day: Eating local fish, beyond a few bites a month, could build up water-pollution residue in your body.
  • Amazon’s keeping certain “erotic” Kindle e-book titles out of its site’s “All Departments” searches, though they can still be found through other means. Sounds like an opportunity for a third-party search site. Perhaps one could call it “FindMySpankingWerewolfThreesomeStory.com.”
  • Meanwhile, a former Amazon contract worker gives “An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos.” In it, the contractor says the company could operate a lot more productively if folks like himself were given more respect.
  • Among folks ages 18-33, “religious progressives” now outnumber “religious conservatives.” Expect the “Christian” politicians to discover this, well, never.
  • A Google-designed “dongle,” that lets you stream anything from any computer, tablet, or smartphone to an HDMI-equipped TV, is being hailed as a “miracle device.” Somehow, I don’t think the ability to watch YouTube cat vids on a big flatscreen is what the saints responsible for dispensing miracles had in mind.
  • The Church of England wants to run payday-loan predators out of business in that country by competing against them (in cooperation with credit unions).
  • That story of acquitted killer George Zimmerman as a car-crash rescue “hero”? A likely fraud, set up by a Zimmerman-sympathetic local cop.
  • Some time in the late 1980s, struggling screenwriter George Meyer put out a small, short-lived zine called Army Man. Its contributors (including Meyer) went on to form the bulk of the Simpsons writing staff, among other achievements. The whole, tiny output of the venture (32 total pages in three issues) is now online.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/25/13
Jul 24th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

erika j. schultz via twitter

  • Macklemore draws massive crowds to a music-video shoot at Dick’s on Broadway, just for a glimpse of him lip-syncing parts of one track over and over.
  • Courtney Love, meanwhile, doesn’t understand why Seattle doesn’t massively worship her. That’s just so Californian of her.
  • When it comes to getting elected Seattle mayor, is it more important to go to the Microsoft campus than to the Rainier Valley?
  • Meanwhile, John Naughton of UK weekly paper The Observer claims Microsoft has been “sleeping on the job” ever since Bill Gates left.
  • Seattle Weekly, under its previous management, ran a piece charging true-crime author Ann Rule with “sloppy reporting” in a book about a woman who was convicted for killing her fiancé. Nothing in the paper mentioned that the article was written by the killer’s current boyfriend. Now Rule’s suing theWeekly’s new management.
  • Architecture cannot save classical music. (For that matter, building projects are not, per se, a solution to all of society’s ills, even though Democratic-controlled local governments like to think they are.)
  • One of the topics never discussed in conservative spin media is how conservative operatives really work. So you’ll have to tell your conservative relatives about the Koch brothers, and why they’re a menace to even the people on whose behalf they claim to speak.
  • Salon’s David Sirota, to whom we’ve linked before, wrote a piece comparing Obama to George Zimmerman and terrorist Anwar Al-Awlaki to Trayvon Martin.
  • Murdoch’s NY Post tries to smear food stamp recipients as immigrant welfare cheats, despite a total lack of evidence.
  • Indie record labels, as a whole, have a bigger market share than either of the three remaining majors.
  • Health Scare of the Week: Vitamin supplements usually aren’t needed (and could give you cancer).
  • Monsanto false-rumor update: No, the genetically-modified seed giant hasn’t bought the security and mercenary-army company formerly known as Blackwater. However, the two firms are allegedly working together on a project to supposedly infiltrate and defame Monsanto/GMO opponents. Allegedly.
  • How Will and Kate named the new royal diaper-filler: “I will name him George, and I will hug him and pet him…”
RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/11/13
Jul 10th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Nostalgia Alert: M.J. McDermott, KCPQ’s morning weatherperson, was “Ronnie” on Roscoe and Ronnie, the last local kids’ show on commercial TV. It was axed in ’95, when KSTW’s out-of-state owners killed all that station’s local programming. Now she’s petitioning the FCC, to encourage shows like that to be brought back.
  • Roberta Byrd Barr, recently deceased at age 74, was Seattle’s first female high-school principal, and the first African-American to host local TV public-affairs shows.
  • Seattle without the original Ivar’s Acres of Clams? It could happen, for as long as nine months. It’s one of 15 waterfront businesses the City wants to pay to keep closed during tunnel construction.
  • Seattle Times Shrinkage Watch: Executive editor David Boardman’s quitting after 30 years, to work at Temple U in Philly.
  • Seattle Central Community College’s health-ed programs could move into part of the old Beacon Hill hospital tower that was once Amazon’s HQ.
  • Amazon’s getting into comix publishing, specializing (at least at first) in adaptations of Nerderati-favorite novelists.
  • Edward Snowden: Courageous whistleblower or right-Libertarian Obama-basher?
  • The Beats: Daring nonconformists or sexist dweebs?
  • UK publisher Felix Dennis sold the U.S. edition of Maxim and two other “lad mags” for $250 million. Six years later, Maxim is for sale again, for a mere $20 million.
  • A federal judge has ruled against Apple and the big book publishers in that e-book price-fixing suit.
  • Health Scare of the Week: Fish oil capsules could give men cancer.
  • Just because most people who believe themselves to be MSG- or gluten-intolerant probably aren’t, it doesn’t mean they don’t get real symptoms.
  • Take away the “hipster”-bashing headline and there’s still a potential real problem with people who decide they can’t run their backyard chicken coops anymore, and who just drop off the critters at animal shelters.
  • The Quebec oil-train disaster was caused by plain ol’ crude catching on fire, just like in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The Next Big (Televised) Thing, according to the Norwegians: “Slow TV.” Long-attention-span (or simply hypnotic) umpteen-hour, real-time explorations of train trips, knitting demonstrations, and salmon fishing.
  • After 40 years as everybody’s favorite “obscure music” band, the Residents deserve better than for have Ke$ha’s backup dancers to steal their trademark eyeballs-and-tuxedos look.
  • Back in the mid-’90s, Penn and Teller set out to create the world’s dullest and most infuriating video game. They probably succeeded.

the new yorker

RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/25/13
Jun 24th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

animalnewyork.com

  • We already told you about the elderly Japanese man who makes landscape art using Excel spreadsheet documents. In another example of Microsoft products and their unintended creative uses, a couple of Spanish video artists made a motion-capture erotic art clip using the XBox 360’s Kinect camera.
  • It’s boom time for chickpea farmers in Wash. state, as hummus mania takes over as America’s new snack-O-choice. Even more fun, it turns out the market for the bland beige spread’s controlled by a joint venture of Pepsi and an Israeli company. (As for myself, I have declared my body to be a hummus-free zone.)
  • Sick of the Sims? Then experience a fictionalized version of working class street-vendor existence in the locally made video game Cart Life.
  • A pair of Seattle Times guest opinionators remind you that Wash. state can’t, or at least shouldn’t, rely on importing educated workers instead of educating our own folk.
  • Some Seattle neighborhoods are getting wowzers-fast Internet service next year.
  • Eric Alterman asserts that the American populace is “much less conservative than the mainstream media believes.”
  • Arrogant, elitist, crooked mega-bankers: Ireland’s got ’em too.
  • White House economist Alan Krueger spoke at the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. His topic: how today’s winner-take-all economy resembles the old superstar-dominated rock scene.
  • Meanwhile, author George Packer claims the “Decline and Fall of American Society” began in the pre-Reagan late ’70s. But Packer blames it, in part, on the Reaganist “self-interested elites.”
  • We’ve linked previously to Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker frontman David Lowery’s blog calling for “an ethical and sustainable Internet.” Now, Lowery has posted his Pandora songwriting royalties for one of his biggest hits. It got played a million times and he got less than $17.
  • New carbon-fiber cables could lead to longer-distance elevators, which in turn could lead to mile-tall skyscrapers.
  • Mia Steinberg at XOJane offers advice on “How Not to Be a Dick to Someone With Depression“:

When you tell someone with depression that they should maybe try harder to be happy, it’s essentially like telling a diabetic that they could totally make an adequate amount of insulin if they just concentrated a little harder.

  • Finally, some pathos combined with memories of commercialized “fun,” in the form of the world’s abandoned amusement parks.

chris luckhardt via seriouslyforreal.com

MORE FRE-MONSTROUS THAN EVER
Jun 23rd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

This year’s Fremont Solstice Parade was bigger than ever. Both the real parade (see below) and the unofficial body-paint bicycle brigade preceding it.

What may have once been considered daring and rebellious, is now an ordinary, accepted thing; another smug celebration of how fabulous we believe ourselves to be. Thus is the Seattle Way.

You can also say with certainty that the event was popular, on a solitary hot sunny day bookmarked by drizzly days before and after it.

The parade proper was about one and a half times as long as it was just last year. The “political” paraders were out in force with such simple messages as “wind power good, Monsanto pesticides bad.”

A small utility manhole in the street was left uncovered. That’s how this CRT-headed advocate for electronics recycling crashed his trash.

Also on hand were the usual music and dance troupes, and the giant flora-n’-fauna kinetic scultpure thangs.

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

jordan stead, seattlepi.com

  • The J.P. Patches memorial street sign is a thing. A wonderful thing.
  • Was an area teen denied entrance to her high school prom because she had large breasts, or because her gown had revealed too much of them?
  • The guy who took highly unauthorized pictures of himself atop the Space Needle (and not in an approved way) has been found out.
  • The living members of Alice in Chains were in a web chat, where they offered the following (facetious) advice to young bands:  “Just quit now. Save yourself before it’s too late.”
  • A local musician gave an informal poll of his colleagues to determine the best and worst places to play in Seattle.
  • A moment of silence, if you will, for the career of disgraced now-ex Snohomish County executive Aaron Reardon.
  • One of those regional speech variants surveys lists, among other differentiating words, the ways people in different parts of the country pronounce “crayon.” The article didn’t list the way everyone in my school said it: “color-cren.”
  • Ex-Seattleite Lindy West, as some of you know, appeared on a cable talk show to debate the issue of whether rape “jokes” were, by their nature, unfunny. (She essentially said they were.) The usual way-stoopid web trolls showed up on comment boards, claiming that both (1) they’re not tools of “rape culture,” and (2) they wished someone would rape West. What?
  • Big Pharma has been looking for years for a “Viagra for women.” Now a company supposedly has a “female libido booster.” And (male) scientific observers and pundits are expressing worry that it might work too well, unleashing that long-feared chaotic force that would enflame the planet in unabashed… (Better stop before I start talking like a semiotician.)
  • Elsewhere, Swiffer thought it would be cool to depict the WWII icon “Rosie the Riveter” as a cleaning-obsessed housewife. Uh, nope.
  • Michael Lind at Salon asks if Libertarianism is so great, how come no country on Earth has ever tried it? (Of course, the same thing could be said about “real” Socialism, etc.)
  • CollegeHumor.com offers sample home pages answering what would happen “if all news sites worked like BuzzFeed.” (Or Huff Post, or any of a score of click-whoring aggregation sites.)

collegehumor.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/27/13
May 27th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

wu ming, via daily kos

  • Let’s put credit where credit is due, to the right-wing initiative maestro who hates all non-private-car transportation, but whose schemes leave even that mode vastly underfunded in this nation’s-most-regressive-tax-system state.
  • Today in clothing named after people famous for not wearing any, a fashion chain called “Bettie Page” is opening its first local branch on Capitol Hill.
  • A Walla Walla high-school principal is convinced that severe discipline against problem students only makes things worse. By taking more pro-active approaches, suspensions at his school have plummeted.
  • One of the lesser publicized YouTube memes involves video gamers posting clips of their gameplay prowess. Now, Nintendo is claiming copyright on all these clips.
  • A guy in Ballard’s got a Kickstarter to fund a small but free performance space for theatrical and musical performers.
  • There are supposedly more high tech jobs available in the Puget Sound country than there are people to fill them. Now if we could only get jobs for a couple of non-coders….
  • Have Catholic bishops quietly taken control of all health care decision making in Wash. state?
  • David J. Ley at Psychology Today claims that sexual violence has gone down wherever “societies have increased their access to porn.”
  • The just-ended TV season has been, viewership-wise, “one of the worst years ever in the history of network TV.”
  • Meanwhile, brick-n’-mortar bookstores saw a huge jump in foot traffic this past quarter.
  • Some 56 more-or-less “adult” comix titles have been excised from Apple’s App Store. Again.
  • Will someone just kill the thin sheet calling itself the Village Voice already (or at least turn it into a bohemian-radical nostalgia rag)?
  • A Simpsons street opens later this year at the Universal Orlando theme park. It’ll be the Violentest Place on Earth! (Sorry, no Itchy and Scratchy Money accepted.)

via cartoonbrew.com

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

RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/18/13
May 18th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Happy Mt. St. Helens Day!
  • Nordstrom was caught capturing and tracking the smartphone data of users who wandered through its (real-world) stores. Once the story broke out, the retail said it wasn’t doing it anymore.
  • A UW prof’s using meditation to teach students to conquer online distractions.
  • I’m still trying to determine if the Milwaukee slam poet Matt Cook, publicized in the hereby-linked page, is the same guy who was the Stranger’s first editor (and an unsung co-creator of that publication’s informal-snarkiness aesthetic).
  • Just as there are with vinyl records (and even 8-track tapes), there are people who staunchly defend VHS videocassettes and the culture they engendered. (Before VHS’s 30-year run as an active medium, the idea of “owning” your favorite movies was little more than a fantasy.) These analog nostalgists now have a documentary about them, taped in part at Seattle’s Scarecrow Video.
  • Carl Gibson at the political blog Nation of Change believes we should “move beyond ‘left vs. right,'” just before he iterates what is basically a center-left political platform.
  • Frank Zappa, as you all know, loathed drugs but loved him some hot groupie sex. His personal secretary, however, was allowed to turn him down.
  • Abstinence-only education, and the growing evidence that it’s really harmful, has proven to be one of the (many) topics that bring web comment trolls into full rabid-bigoted rage.
  • The UK’s Daily Telegraph refers to the Fast & Furious action-film series as Hollywood’s first “bisexual blockbuster.”
  • Does the still relatively little-used Google Plus have an alluring “tragic beauty” to it?
  • From all the hype you can hear about it these days, 3-D printing is either the best thing since sliced bread or the best thing since “industrial hemp.”
  • After just three weeks, the online revivals of All My Children and One Life to Live are each cutting back from four half-hour episodes a week to two.
  • Here’s a cool public art piece in Australia. It’s a hugeass hot air balloon in the form of a fantasy whale with human breast shapes stuck on, apparently just for fun.

junkee.com

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