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12/7/21: DREAMING OF A BLACK CHRISTMAS
Dec 6th, 2021 by Clark Humphrey

Local artist’s handmade ethnic Xmas stockings; Sawant recall vote’s last day; Amazon’s ‘prison’-like worker surveillance; research study defends Seattle’s ‘fair work week’ law.

4/10/20: YOUR SECULAR SALVATION
Apr 10th, 2020 by Clark Humphrey

The Gods Themselves’ fashionable pop escapism brightens your weekend; Gov. Inslee ‘scolds’ Monroe prison protesters; new unemployment claims keep a-soarin’; no Capitol Hill Block Party this year.

3/30/20: DRAWING ROOMS
Mar 30th, 2020 by Clark Humphrey

Short Run cartoonists depict their social-distanced lives; government relief package isn’t enough to save some small businesses; local used-records king RIP; it’s been a month already and it feels like a decade.

3/24/20: THIS IS THE WAY WE…
Mar 24th, 2020 by Clark Humphrey

Ellen Forney’s hand-washing tutorial; Inslee’s ‘stay at home’ order and its exceptions; you can now apply to be tested (space permitting); the main West Seattle Bridge is fully closed while the ‘low bridge’ is restricted.

3/21/20: MORE NOT-SO-SWEET NOTHINGS
Mar 20th, 2020 by Clark Humphrey

Another special weekend edition full of virus-related (more or less) headlines, plus more pictures of a city forced to go on hold.

3/17/20: A TIME OF THE SIGNS, COVID EDITION
Mar 17th, 2020 by Clark Humphrey

One barmaid’s temp-closing words of reassurance; a year without St. Patrick’s Day; Sawant repurposes her ‘Amazon tax’ proposal; Joe Biden wins WA’s Presidential primary.

8/29/19: PLACE OF WORSHIP
Aug 28th, 2019 by Clark Humphrey

Defending Tacoma’s threatened Catholic parish building; remembering one of Seattle’s cruelest moments; what the Mercer Mega Block might have become; what’s in a (weird new) bank name?

8/24/18: THE REVOLUTION OF THE POSITIVE
Aug 24th, 2018 by Clark Humphrey

Artist Natasha Marin’s new message; the smokestorm’s emotional toll; another ICE-jail hunger strike; Amazon says Amazon warehouses are great workplaces.

MISCmedia MAIL for 7/5/16: NOT-QUITE-AMBER WAVES OF GRAIN
Jul 4th, 2016 by Clark Humphrey

Now that the last amateur drinking day’s over, we return to news-digestin’ with attempts to save the sockeye; an unsung city park’s anniversary; a troubled trove of regional history; a church offering drug-assisted enlightenment; and great news for all Thucking-Funder haters!

PSYCHOLOGY IN REAL LIFE, IN THREE PARTS
May 9th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Exhibit A: Web cartoonist Allie Brosh offers a poignant, funny, unflinching, harrowing account of her bout with severe depression.
  • Exhibit B: Psychology Today’s got a cover story called “Confessions of a Sociopath.” She’s cool-headed, icy-blooded, and immune to others’ emotions. Of course, she’s a former trial lawyer. (And a Mormon.)
  • Exhibit C: Harvard historian Naill Ferguson recently gay-bashed the late UK economist John Maynard Keynes. Ferguson alleged that Keynes, as a childless hedonist (he’d actually been married to a woman who couldn’t conceive), didn’t give a darn about society’s long-term future. Ferguson essentially compared Keynes’s advocacy of government stimulus programs instead of “austerity economics” to a fiddling grasshopper sneering at hard-working ants. As Canadian cultural historian Jeet Heer explains at the American Prospect, this dichotomy has been at the heart of both economic and moralistic arguments since the days of the Greeks.
THE WOMAN I’M LOOKING FOR
Feb 14th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

Last June, I wrote a piece entitled “Notes to a Potential Girlfriend.

That piece was all about me.

This time, I’m fantasizing/riffing about who I would like that potential girlfriend to be.

She would be, more or less, as follows:

  • Any adult age; though if you’re much younger, be aware that I don’t stay up ’til 2 as often as I used to.
  • Any ethnicity, skin color, or hair color.
  • Won’t try to convert me into becoming a Christian, a vegan, a stoner, or a Libertarian.
  • Will let me keep my “room of one’s own;” will let me keep it messy.
  • Will let me hold, more or less, to my odd (but never deliberately so) tastes in food, music, apparel, and entertainment. Will let me continue to own and use a television.
  • Believes in gender equality, in BOTH directions.
  • Allows my needed daily work-at-home time.
  • More into soul-melding, intimate lovemaking than porn-style fucking.
  • Progressive populist, not alt-culture elitist. (i.e., not a square-basher.)
  • Not a female me, which couldn’t exist anyway. A complement rather than a clone.
  • Notices things I don’t notice. Knows things I don’t know (which covers, I admit, a LOT of ground).
  • Has an open and voracious mind.
  • Cares about people and the future and stuff.
  • Sees the heart and humanity in other people, no matter what their niche or lifestyle.
  • Has eyes that light up the night, and lips to melt into.
  • Equally at home in social and private situations.
  • A “city mouse.” (I’m not moving to Bainbridge.)
  • Preferably not currently married. Preferably.
  • NS/LD.
  • Preferably without preteen kids (but that’s not a requirement).
  • Preferably without implants (but that’s not a requirement).
  • Isn’t looking for a guy with money (goes w/o saying).
  • Isn’t looking for an “enabler.”
  • Doesn’t need to conform to others’ standards of “nonconformity” (ideology-wise or fashion-wise).
  • Tells me what she wants; doesn’t just expect me to already know.
  • Relatively free of psychotic episodes.
  • Centered, self confident, and comfortable in her self.
  • Believes love is more important than self righteousness.
  • Believes in herself, in others, and in me.
TROO LUVV DEPT.
Sep 14th, 2009 by Clark Humphrey

Some research study claims “love inspires creativity, but thoughts of sex stimulate analytical thinking.” The reasoning: “Love… is dreamy, and dreams are linked to creativity. Sex, on the other hand, is about achieving an immediate goal.”

GOODBYE, DALAI!
Apr 25th, 2008 by Clark Humphrey

It’s been a few weeks now since the big Seeds of Compassion mega-conference.

What have we learned?

In terms of left-brain rational learning, not a whole lot that hasn’t been said repeatedly in three decades of new-age philosophy. You’re a child of the universe. Be honest. Be conscientious. Be empathetic. Be kind to people. Take care of one another, especially kids. Spread love and joy. People are more important than power or profits. War is horrible, but so is repression. Vengeance only begets more vengeance.

But from there, the lessons got more subtle.

I’ll just mention one lesson invoked several speakers in the cablecast events—the lesson that empathy is deeper and more personal than mere sympathy.

Tim Harris’s blog, Apesa’s Lament (apesmaslament.blogspot.com), has been an outspoken critic of the city’s current homelessness policy. Harris believes Mayor Nickels is doing too little to find homes for people, while doing too much to harass the homeless into invisibility.

Harris recently noted that, earlier this year, official city documents called Nickels’s policy “consistent and compassionate.” But more recent documents, issued after the Seeds of Compassion conference, bill the city’s homeless policy as “consistent and humane.”

As Harris comments, “The word ‘compassion’ implies a certain amount of connectedness and having something at stake.” Conversely, he describes the adjective “humane” as “more associated with children, animals, and other somewhat helpless creatures.”

This distinction goes beyond the homeless and beyond our own town.

Do we treat other people (even the others we want to help or love) as The capital-O Other, as some exotic-but-lesser life form? Or do we acknowledge that we ARE they, they ARE we?

Taking this approach further, we belong to the same human family with all the group-types we Seattle liberals love to bash. Wal-Mart shoppers. Red-staters. Suburbanites. Churchgoers. Condo owners. People who eat meat. People who watch television. People who don’t smoke pot.

Yes, even white straight males.

NOTES FROM AN ODD WEEKEND
Apr 14th, 2008 by Clark Humphrey

Saturday just happened to be the first warm day of the year; a perfect setting for the already much-documented Dalai Lama show in the pro football stadium, where he talked about compassion and coexistence for all people.

(No, I see absolutely no cynical irony in that. American football is a game of confrontation, but it’s also a game of cooperation.)

His message, and the other messages at the Seeds of Compassion confab, have been both simple and deep. I’ll probably have more to say about them later this week.

Later that evening, I found myself at the Georgetown Art Attack gallery crawl. Saw some lovely informal paintings at Georgetown Tile curated by my ol’ pal Anne Grgich; then caught some great buys at the Fantagraphics bookstore’s scratch-and-dent sale.

Sunday brought us the last day of the last bowling alley north of the Ship Canal, Ballard’s totally beloved Sunset Lanes.

It was also the day of what just might have been the last pro basketball game in Seattle. Maybe. If we don’t do something about it.

Even after a deliberately thrown season, the finale was sold out. Fans booed the home team’s owner Clay Bennett, and cheered the opposing team’s owner (Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks, who opposes Bennett’s desired team move to Oklahoma City). You saw little to none of this on Fox Sports Net; under terms of its contract with the team, FSN’s announcers said almost nothing about Bennett’s threats or the real importance of Sunday’s game.

Also Sunday evening, and this takes the whole entry full circle, CNN held what it called a “Compassion Forum,” in which Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (appearing separately) discussed their religious and/or spiritual foundations. Of course, because they are rival applicants for a really big job, some pundits just had to compare and contrast who’s really the most faith-based.

DISPATCHES FROM THE WHITE LODGE
Sep 11th, 2007 by Clark Humphrey

book coverOn one level, David Lynch’s brief memoir/manifesto Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity is, like most of Lynch’s body of work, bewildering.

On another level, like most of Lynch’s body of work, it makes perfect sense by its own individualistic sense of logic.

The bewildering part is when Lynch frequently segues into endorsement spots for Transcendental Meditation. He’s practiced it for almost as long as he’s practiced filmmaking, and now has his own “David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace.”

I’m sure Lynch has sincerely benefitted from his TM practice. It’s a minor shame he takes the movement’s PR lines at face value. For some reason I’d expected more healthy skepticism from him. But instead he waxes enthusiastic about the “unified field” and a thousand meditators in one town miraculously reducing the crime rate.

I’m sure Lynch’s daily meditation habit helps to ground his mind, refresh his creative juices, and enable him to withstand the massive stresses that face any Hollywood player.

I’m not convinced the TM system is, by itself, any more effective than any other meditative regime. However, any human discipline can be more effectively executed with instruction and guidance, such as that provided by the TM organization’s professional trainers.

Catching the Big Fish is beautifully designed, and beautifully written. Just as in his screenplays, which seldom let dialogue get in the way of imagery, his prose is short and sweet and directly propels the narrative line.

Lynch talks only a little about his films, explaining at one point that he doesn’t want his comments to overshadow the works themselves. (This is in a piece about why he doesn’t like DVD commentary tracks.)

When he does talk about his films, it’s in the form of little vignettes. Befitting his early training as a painter, his stories in the book are all about stringing together a succesison momentary images.

He does talk about his new digital-video feature, Inland Empire, and why he’s turned permanently to shooting on video. Previously famous for painstakingly crafting the perfect shot, now Lynch is a total convert to digital video’s flexibility, its versatility, its economy, and its capability for unlimited retakes and experimentation.

And, as you might expect, he discusses the apparent contradiction between his TM-fueled drive for “bliss” and the dark, often violent content in his works:

“There are many, many dark things flowing around in this world now, and omst films reflect the world in which we live. They’re stories. Stories are always going to have conflict. They’re going to have highs and lows, and good and bad….It’s good for the artist to understand conflict and stress. Those things can give you ideas. But I guarantee you, if you have enough stress, you won’t be able to create. And if you have enough conflict, it will just get in the way of your creativity. You can understand conflict, but you don’t have to live in it.”

And, I LOVE what Lynch says about “world peace” as something we should work for, not dismissively joke about.

On this day, which has predictably and tragically become an annual call to fear, that’s as good a message as any:

“May everyone be happy. May everyone be free of disease.May auspiciousness be seen everywhere. May suffering belong to no one.

Peace.”

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