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RANDOM LINKS FOR 1/15/14
Jan 14th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

funhousedocumentary.com

  • Some folks have made a documentary about the Funhouse, that greatly-missed bastion of DIY loud n’ live music. It should screen some time this spring.
  • Buried in a list of various cineastes’ top 10s of ’13 is the announcement that SIFF will indeed return to the now-shuttered Egyptian Theater for this year’s festival, and is working to reopen the festival’s traditional “home base” for year-round screenings.
  • Norman Durkee, 1949-2014: Teatro ZinZanni’s original music director was a musical polymath. He produced early punk 45s, put out TV-advertised new age piano LPs, worked on stage musicals and dance performances, and performed recitals of jazz and modern classical tuneage.
  • Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was seen in an online video clip with local pompous homophobic/sexist pastor Mark Driscoll. This does not mean Wilson necessarily endorses anything Driscoll says.
  • King County will move forward with Plan C (at least) to save Metro Transit from drastic cuts, declining to wait for the professional Seattle-haters in the State Senate to become sane.
  • Meanwhile, in state-politician-friendly transportation (i.e. cars and roads only), the Waterfront tunnel project has a lot more problems than just a steel pipe in the way.
  • The long-delayed Tacoma Amtrak station now, thankfully, won’t replace half of the Freighthouse Square mini-mall.
  • Finally, a practical use for those “tiny houses” you sometimes see pictures of, cute micro-cottages usually depicted surrounded by pristine countryside with no humans or other buildings in sight. In Olympia, 30 of them are being used as transitional units for the previously homeless.
  • Misadventures in Clickbait Dept.: Two companies supply most of those often-silly “Around the Web” or “Recommended for You” link boxes on otherwise “serious” news sites.
  • Is “Net Neutrality” (the policy that service providers can’t give preferential speed/access treatment to certain websites) really “dead”? No. The FCC simply has to rewrite its rules around the technicalities of a court decision.
  • Fox News anonymously created its own pro-Fox News blog. Yes, it’s hilarious and chock full O’ stereotypes.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 1/6/14
Jan 6th, 2014 by Clark Humphrey

the columbian

  • A “lost roll of film” depicting Mt. St. Helens just weeks before its 1980 eruption, by a newspaper photographer who died while covering it, was found. The paper had to go to a Portland lab, which had to further outsource it to a freelancer, to get the b/w images processed.
  • The Illinois company now calling itself Boeing gets gazillions in Wash. state tax breaks. Workers lose pension protections. The state government’s financial/tax structure became even more un-reformable. This might have been the best we could get. (Now to get some real competition by inviting Airbus to our state.)
  • What’s been stalling the tunnel digging machine on the waterfront? As a certain French painter wouldn’t say, “This actually is a pipe.”
  • Who would pour gasoline down the stairs at Neighbours on Broadway on New Year’s, attempting to destroy Seattle’s “anchor” gay dance club and some 750 revelers? Oh yeah, some heartless bigot (not yet found) who probably thinks it was the “Christian” thing to do.
  • Longtime, legendary, local street trumpeter Richard Peterson has announced his “last day on the street.” For at least the fourth time.
  • The anonymous “trio of mouthy broads” behind local blog Seattlish offers “a retrospective on how Seattle treated Mike McGinn.” Their essential premise: we didn’t deserve him.
  • After winning RuPaul’s Drag Race and starring in a hit production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Jinkx Monsoon’s next big thing will be a bio-documentary film.
  • A self described “straight male” fan of first-person-shooter video games says the term “gamer,” and the often-sexist-jerkish subculture it represents, have got to go.
  • National Political Punditry Dept.: Margaret Flowers and Kezin Zeese at Truthout claim the populist-Left movement of “winning over the hearts and minds of the American people” is progressing along just fine; Valerie Tarico at Alternet sez the to-do over a “reality” TV celeb’s homophobia/racism helps prove “religious fundamentalism is going down”; and Mary Bell Lockhart at OpEdNews deconstructs a few of the lies that “ultraconservatives think they know for sure.”
  • First Roger Ebert goes. Now one of the longtime contributors to RogerEbert.com, local film critic and all around good guy Jeff Shannon, succumbed to pneumonia following years of various illnesses. A quadraplegic for most of his life, following an accident during his younger years, he was an advocate for the disabled and once wrote that “Happiness is a choice.”
OF MONORAILS AND MONOMANIA
Dec 28th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

Back in 2003, after the first round of local dot-com crashes, former Seattle Weekly writer Fred Moody wrote a book called Seattle and the Demons of Ambition.

Moody wrote about instances when the city as a whole, or individual Seattleites, obsessively pursued grandiose schemes for power, money, or civic greatness, only to figuratively crash back down to Earth.

Moody didn’t include the Seattle Monorail Project (1996-2005) in his vignettes. But that failed dream of a better, cheaper, more futuristic urban transit system certainly qualifies as a sky-high dream that collapsed amid broken hearts and balance sheets.

And Dick Falkenbury, the sometime cab driver who helped to launch the project, is a major aspect of this tale. While he’d worked in minor roles on local political campaigns in the past, many saw him as the ultimate outsider.

To the local media, and to many of his supporters, Falkenbury was the civilian tinkerer with a great idea—an idea that would cure gridlock, make car-free living more feasible, and never get stuck in traffic, all without major government subsidies.

He was like Campbell Scott’s character in the Seattle-filmed movie Singles, whose drive for a city-crossing “supertrain” was promptly dismissed by the mayor. Except that Falkenbury’s idea, while snickered at by almost everyone in power, was loved by the people.

With the aid of local rich kid Grant Cogswell and a few plucky volunteers, plus some clever ideas for low-cost signature gathering and campaigning, the Monorail Initiative got onto the ballot—and passed.

Cogswell went on to a failed City Council run, as documented in Phil Campbell’s book Zioncheck for President and Stephen Gyllenhaal’s movie Grassroots. (Later, Cogswell declared Seattle to be unworthy of him and moved to Mexico City.)

Now, Falkenbury’s written, and self-published, his account of the Monorail dream’s life and death.

The book’s title, Rise Above It All, was one of the initiative’s slogans.

Just as the elevated trains were meant to run above snarled streets, the Monorail Project was meant to run above, and apart from, the city bureaucracy and the “infrastructure lobby” of contractors and construction unions.

That things didn’t turn out that way wasn’t just the fault of Falkenbury’s outsider status. But that was a factor. He made enemies. He nurtured grudges, even with allies. Without the skills or clout to manage the ongoing operation of planning and building a transit system, he was forced to watch it taken over by the “experts.”

What came out the other end of that process was, in many ways, just another bloated civic construction proposal, complete with an unworkable financing plan. After four consecutive “yes” votes, city voters finally killed the monorail on a fifth ballot.

But would the system Falkenbury originally envisioned, or something like it. have worked?

Would it have carried 20 million riders or more per year, in auto-piloted trains, on tracks supported just 20 feet above the ground on narrow pillars, with fewer than 100 employees, financed almost completely by fare-box proceeds and station concessions?

In his book, Falkenbury insists it could have, and still could.

But he doesn’t make a convincing case.

For one thing, he could have really used an editor.

He regularly misspells the names of even major players in his story, such as City Councilmember Nick Licata.

He makes the sort of wrong-real-word errors that Microsoft Word’s spell checker can’t find, such as when he mentions “rewarding a contract” instead of “awarding” it.

He rambles on about his personal distaste for several people, including ostensible allies such as Peter Sherwin (whose second monorail initiative kept the dream alive after the city council first tried to kill it).

And he defends the monorail plan as he’d originally envisioned it, without providing a lot of specific evidence that the engineers and planners and politicians were all wrong and he was right.

But he still could be.

If Falkenbury had been a more effective schmoozer and networker; if he’d gotten more politicians on his side; if he’d sold his plan as a supplement, not a competitor, to the tri-county Sound Transit organization; if he’d convinced ST to at least consider switching from light-rail to monorail technologies; if he’d been able to keep a tighter eye on the planning and money people, or had more allies who could; then, just maybe, we might have been riding in the sky from Crown Hill to the West Seattle Junction by now.

(Cross-posted with City Living Seattle.)

RANDOM LINKS FOR 12/2/13
Dec 1st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

A long-delayed batch of randomosity (the first in more than a month) begins with the discovery of the newest local “mainstream microbrew.” Underachiever Lager appears to have begun as a promo vehicle for Tacoma designer-casual-wear company Imperial Motion, but is now being rolled out as its own thang in select local bars.

  • The countdown to the possible decimation of King County Metro Transit continues, with professional Seattle-haters in the Legislature officially not giving a damn.
  • Could the Seattle Monorail Project really be brought back from the dead?
  • About eighteen years past due and not a moment too soon, there’s finally a local music show back on local TV. It’s Band in Seattle, and it airs at 11 p.m. Saturdays on the once-mighty KSTW (which hasn’t had any local programming in ages).
  • Dj and promoter Derek Mazzone offers a fond remembrance of Ace Hotel/ARO.Space/Tasty Shows/Rudy’s Barbershop entrepreneur Alex Canderwood.
  • We must also say goodbye to Dee Dee Rainbow, a longtime Meany Middle School art teacher, a fixture at just about every jazz show in the region, and a figure of joy and celebration wherever she went.
  • As has been expected, a mega-developer is buying the old “Fairview Fannie” Seattle Times HQ. The 1930 art deco façade features might be retained.
  • Monica Guzman has seen one of Amazon’s new “webisode” sitcoms and finds it to be a dreary dude-fest with female characters decidedly de-emphasized.
  • Sinan Demirel at Crosscut remembers homeless-housing projects of the past, and ponders whether they contain any lessons for today.
  • Is there really such a thing as “The Seattle ‘No,’” depicted as a passive-aggressive copout response? I’ve certainly had few problems saying a firm “No” to questions just like this one.
  • City Councilmember-elect Kshama Sawant isn’t even in office yet and the carpers, local and national, are already circling.
  • The Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center is in severe financial straits and might not survive.
  • One of my fave hangouts, Bill’s Off Broadway at Pine and Harvard, closes Monday nite. Yep, redevelopment strikes again. The pizza/pasta joint and sports bar has already opened an exile location on Greenwood Avenue, and should be back in the rebuilt corner in 20 months’ time.
  • To the surprise of very few, David Meinert and his partner Jason Lajuenesse are taking over the Comet Tavern.
  • Matt Driscoll at Seattle Weekly describes Boeing’s single, unacceptable, set of take-it-or-leave-it demands for labor givebacks as the “dick move of the week.” But don’t worry; billionaire CEOs have made plenty of dick moves just in the two weeks since then.
  • Lemme get this straight: A local ad agency is trying to convince other ad agencies to make ads here in Wash. state by playing on the image of this as a place where people don’t like being advertised to. Or something like that.
  • KIRO-TV salaciously described the sidewalks surrounding City Hall Park and the Morrison Hotel as “The Most Dangerous Block in Seattle.” A local merchant there begs to differ, and asks that the down n’ out be treated with “your hope, not your contempt.”
  • We’re learning that every time there’s a closed subculture run by leaders who demand total obedience, there’s apt to be child abuse. Latest example: NYC’s ultra-orthodox Jewish community.
HERE WE GO LOOP-DE-LOOP?
Jul 22nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

shutterstock via gizmag.com

In one of my several unpublished fiction manuscripts, I have a futuristic travel tube that whisks people between cities at almost the speed of sound.

Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk now says he’ll soon have a working schematic for such a device. He’s calling it the “Hyperloop.”

Until Musk releases any real specs, observers are speculating about how it would work and what its limitations might be.

Some believe it could only travel in straight lines, which means (1) serious tunnel and bridge costs, and (2) potential big bucks to property owners along the way.

If it really works (safely) and if it can really be built at a recoverable cost (remember, dot-com and housing-bubble speculators redefined the degree of speculativeness people will invest in), it would change intercity travel forever, in all the populated/affluent parts of the world.

And it would potentially devastate (or, in Internet-age newspeak, “disrupt”) the existing airline industry and its suppliers, including Boeing.

Boeing had been involved in experimental high-speed rail development programs in the past, and could theoretically bid to help design, build, and equip Hyperloop lines in this and other countries.

Of course, that might require leadership at Boeing that knew what it was doing, which the company seems to not have now.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/2/13
Jul 2nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

wallyhood.org

I’ll have stuff to say about the big gay parade and the potential for NHL hockey in Seattle a little later this week. For now, some randomosis:

  • Seattle’s next potentially doomed institution: Wallingford’s infamous Chinese restaurant and un-”restored” dive bar, the Moon Temple.
  • By killing King County Metro’s chance to save itself, State Sen. Rodney Tom is not only a traitor to the Democratic Party but to the people of his own county.
  • Here’s Dan Ireland, co-founder of SIFF and the Egyptian Theater, commenting on that storied film venue’s recent demise.
  • Blistering Eastern Washington heat + booze + “rave drugs” mixed by who-knows-whom from who-knows-what = danger.
  • Seattle’s first civil-rights sit-in occurred 50 years ago this week at the old Municipal Building, protesting racial discrimination in housing and the City’s sluggish pace at doing anything about it. An anti-discrimination law still took five years after that to get enacted.
  • The NY Times (heart)s Macklemore.
  • Some guy’s list of the “100 Greatest Female Film Characters” is long on “costume” roles (such as Catwoman) from action blockbusters, crowding out more ambitious drama/comedy parts.
  • Kansas City’s all-underground office complex is only one of the “weirdest urban ecosystems on earth.”

kenny johnson, the atlantic via io9.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/28/13
Jun 27th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

io9.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/13/13
Jun 12th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via musicruinedmylife.blogspot.ca

The Fastbacks, the “Seattle Scene’s” most enduring band (and one of its most loveable), recorded lots of great cover songs (originally by the Raspberries, the Sweet, and even Sesame Street!) in addition to their many originals. Some of these were buried on “tribute” compilation CDs. Here’s a list of 17 such tunes, and a slightly longer but still incomplete list.

Elsewhere in randomosity:

  • According to Richard Metzger, the greatest document of Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles musical career is a concert doc filmed in Seattle—in the acoustically notorious Kingdome, even.
  • David Meinert’s growing restaurant empire will include the successor to Capitol Hill’s legendary dive bar the Canterbury.
  • Time to restart the neo-Sonics rumor mill again. Now, Chris Hansen and co. are reportedly negotiating for an expansion franchise.
  • The state’s thinking of authorizing private pot smoking clubs. I only ask that they be ventilated in such a way as to keep that weed stink off the streets.
  • The Republican-stalled Legislature still hasn’t saved King County Metro Transit. But, on the Seattle-only transit front, Mayor McGinn still plans to invest in a new downtown streetcar line. This probably means the mourned Waterfront Streetcar will remain dead for the foreseeable future.
  • Meanwhile, the second Monorail Initiative tell-all book is out. It’s called Rise Above It All. It’s written and self-published by Dick Falkenbury, the ultimate political outsider and co-instigator of the plan that would have had trains on grade-separated tracks, roughly where the RapidRide C/D bus goes now.
  • MTV’s playing music videos (remember them?) again. But just for half a day, on the Fourth of July.
  • A woman at the big video-game industry confab Tweeted® a complaint about the lack of female starring characters in new video games. Cue the bigoted trollbots in 5, 4, 3….
  • R.I.P. Arturo Vega, associate of the Ramones for their entire band-career and designer of the group’s “All American” logo (still worn on T shirts by people who weren’t alive when the band was together).
  • Steven Spielberg sez the reign of action mega-blockbusters (and of the big Hollywood studios!) is only a few box-office flops away from being over. Then he says audiences can expect really high prices for the privilege of seeing a movie in a theater (yes, even higher than they are now).
  • Robert Reich sez we could have full employment, even in an age of robotized manufacturing and other techno-”innovations,” if we only had the political will to make it so.
  • A UK pundit with the appropriate name of Tom Chatfield agrees with me that society, far from becoming “post literate,” is actually more dependent upon written language than ever. And he ponders whether it’s a good thing:

There is no such thing as a private language. We speak in order to be heard, we write in order to be read. But words also speak through us and, sometimes, are as much a dissolution as an assertion of our identity.

  • Turns out the heroine from Brave isn’t the only female character in cartoons (and toys) to have been “tarted up” in recent years. Just look what they’ve done to Strawberry Shortcake!

ebay photos, via thestir.cafemom.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/16/13
May 15th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Maureen Johnson asks for an end to stereotypical “For Women” book covers. Huff Post readers have added Photoshopped gender-bender cover versions for famous novels.
  • Is Wash. state really the least-cussing, cleanest-speaking place in the nation? And who the stinkin’ heck cares?
  • Cheers to the 400-ish people who showed up and spoke out in favor of preserving transit in King County. For some reason I thought we should have been past this need by now.
  • Rebecca Mead at the New Yorker wrote a bizarre essay sorta based on Amanda Knox’s memoir. Matt Briggs gives it a cut-up pastiche alteration, only slightly less comprehensible than the original. (As for me, my news diet is still like the old Gulf gasoline brand—No-Nox.)
  • The leading producer of Cinemax’s “skinemax” softcore shows was denied a mortgage on “moral reasons.” By one of the top housing-bubble and foreclosure-mania perpetrators. Yeah, like they know anything about morals.…
  • As the female/male ratio in China continues to decline, Chinese women factory workers are gaining more workplace clout.
  • In the grand tradition of the fake postmodernist essay generator, there are now “SEO text generators” that automatically create awful self-help and how-to Web pages, crafted to appear high on Google’s search results. Only the perpetrators of these textbots are completely serious about it. Which makes their output even funnier.
  • Item: Paul Allen just sold a 1953 abstract painting by Barnett Newman for $43.8 million. Comment: Did the buyers think they were getting the original negative to the film The Thin Blue Line?

wikipedia via king5.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 5/9/13
May 9th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • We’ve got to save Metro Transit from the devastating cuts that have decimated Snohomish and Pierce counties’ transit systems. There’s a public forum about it on Tuesday, 5/14, 3 p.m. at Union Station. (Despite the unfortunate, pseudo-snarky tone of the hereby-linked article at KOMO’s SeattlePulp.com, its message is important.)
  • While upscale NIMBYs fight to keep those dirty non-upscale people out of their “clean” neighborhoods via attacks on “aPodments” (the only affordable, non-subsidized housing being built in town these days), the building of mass-produced “exclusive” luxury apartment towers continues unabated.
  • Seattle Weekly Shrinkage Watch: Restaurant reviewer Hanna Raskin (with whom I appeared last year at a MOHAI/Seattle Public Library “History Cafe” panel) has quit, rather than accept a lower-paying job as a “food and drink editor.” Back in the Weekly’s heyday, restaurant reviews were more prominent than any other “culture” category, accounting for almost a quarter of the paper’s cover stories. Now, they might or might not be part of the paper at all. (The Weekly’s also fired its music editor Chris Kornelis.)
  • Meanwhile, the Weekly’s onetime sister paper the Village Voice is down to 20 editorial staffers. Its two top editors received orders from on top to cut five of those positions. Instead, they quit.
  • Amitai Etzioni at the Atlantic claims “the liberal narrative,” which he defines as support for big-government paternalism, “is broken.” No, it isn’t. It’s government itself that’s broken, and only the “liberal narrative” has the means to fix it.
  • Jeanne Cooper, 1919-2013: The dowager “Duchess” of The Young and the Restless had played the same role for just short of 40 years. Before that she’d been in countless westerns and dramas (The Twilight Zone, Perry Mason, etc. etc.). Her three kids include L.A. Law/Psych star Corbin Bernsen.
  • In not-at-all-surprising news, YouTube will add paid-subscription channels.
  • Let’s close on a happy note (on the 80th anniversary of Hedy Lamarr’s breakthrough film Ecstasy) with Hysterical Literature, a video project by photographer Clayton Cubitt. In each segment a woman reads from a favorite book while, out of camera range, a second woman gives her a Hitachi Magic Wand vibrator treatment. (NSFWhatever.)

via criminalwisdom.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 4/30/13
Apr 30th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

tom banse via kplu

networkawesome.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 4/18/13
Apr 18th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

seattle dept. of transportation

  • King Street Station, one of Seattle’s two historic railway passenger terminals (and the one still in use by Amtrak) has looked so drab and awful for so long. In the pre-Amtrak desperate last years of private passenger rail, the Great Northern had “modernized” the main lobby with an acoustic-tile drop ceiling and other ill-informed touches. Now, after a half-decade of planning and reconstruction, the city and private partners have finally restored the room to its full grandeur. You can read all about it here. There’s a grand opening on Wed. 4/24, 11 a.m.
  • In other grand-opening news, the “Old School Pinups” photo studio has one this Fri. 4/19, 5 p.m.-on, at 1922 Post Alley.
  • Something I’ve learned first hand lately: Seattle’s current boom (glut?) of apartment construction hasn’t led to lower rents, but to ever-higher rents.
  • In addition to the dilemmas of cabs. vs. “for hire” vehicles and Zipcar vs. Car2Go, now a new alternative appears in town. It’s semi-pro “ride sharing.”
  • No, Seattle Times guest commenter Grace Gedye, online sexist trolls existed long before Facebook. But can the rising force of “Geek Girls” conquer and defeat ‘em once n’ for all?
  • Another classic bowling alley bites the dust. It’s Robin Hood Lanes, in Edmonds since 1960.
  • Are the Sonics Back Yet (Day 100)?: No. And we were supposed to have found out this weekend whether they’re coming back, at the NBA team owners’ annual hobnob session. But that vote’s been indefinitely delayed.
  • We do know that any neo-Sonics would have to negotiate cable-TV carriage of their games with the Mariners, who just bought a controlling interest in Root Sports Northwest.
  • The Oregon Ducks, aka “Nike U.,” have been slapped with NCAA penalties for football recruiting violations.
  • Some Net-pundits are crowing about the simple but apparently devastating “spreadsheet error” at the heart of a 2010 think-tank study promoting “austerity economics” to attack government debt. If not for the faulty math, the study’s critics claim, the study’s claims would be seen as the nonsense they are. Yeah, but facts have seldom gotten in the way of “shock doctrine” partisans, before or since.
  • Eco-Scare of the Week (non-fertilizer edition): Even before rising sea levels submerge many small Pacific islands, they’ll fatally disrupt those places’ fresh-water tables, making them uninhabitable.
  • Scott Miller, R.I.P.: The Loud Family/Game Theory musician was a leading light in the ’80s power pop revival, as well as a top scholar/historian about the pop/rock sphere. For a limited time, his heirs are making six of his out-of-print albums available as free downloads.
  • Blogger Nadine Friedman hates, hates, hates the latest Dove “real beauty” ad campaign. She claims it actually reinforces the standard corporate standards of female ideals.
  • Aaron Steven Miller at Medium.com wants book publishers to take the lead in tech-ifying and social-media-ifying their operations, before Amazon completely crushes them. Of course, that would require book publishers to cease being, as Miller puts it…

…historically the stingiest, most fiscally conservative, most technologically resistant and investment-averse people ever, with the highest percentage of luddites per capita.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 4/15/13
Apr 15th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via jerry beck at indiewire.com

  • Jonathan Winters, 1925-2013: The groundbreaking comic actor was a made-it-look-easy genius at everything from improv to scripted character roles, from pathos-touched bits to pure zaniness. And his first and last film credits are both in cartoons.
  • BuzzFeed lists 35 “Truths About Seattle.” Not all of them actually are true. Not everyone, for instance, works at Microsoft.
  • If we really are witnessing the “Death of the PC,” it’s neither Microsoft’s nor Apple’s fault. It’s just that with so much PC use and even functionality centered on Web-based stuff, home users have fewer reasons to upgrade their hardware. (OK, maybe Windows 8 isn’t helping.)
  • Seattle will have two teams this summer in the Women’s Premier Soccer League, which claims to be the “largest women’s league in the world” based on the number of teams (70, coast-to-coast). It will also field teams this season in Issaquah, Spokane, Eugene, and something called “Oregon Rush.” (The league’s more exclusive “Elite” division will also have a Seattle team this year, name to be announced.)
  • Those forever out-of-order escalators in the Seattle Transit Tunnel have logged their first fatality.
  • Bruch Nourish at the Seattle Transit Blog has an idea for improved transit across the Ship Canal: make the Fremont Bridge for transit (and bikes and walkers) only.
  • Seattle and New York are vying to be the capital of “Big Data.” I’m still not clear just what “Big Data” is.
  • Sports blogger Chuck Culpepper has a lovely remembrance of the late local college basketball coach Frosty Westering.
  • Would anybody want to go to a hospital where nurses have to take unpaid overtime and no breaks?
  • A British author claims “news is bad for you, and giving up reading it will make you happier.” I know this becuase I read it on a newspaper’s site.
  • Reader’s Digest in bankruptcy: But does it still pay to increase your word power?
  • Candy doesn’t make you fat. Or so a major candy-industry PR campaign would have you believe.
  • The scandal isn’t that Mitch McConnell was caught talking like a scumbag. The problem is that McConnell is a scumbag.
  • Having apparently grown tired of waging the War on Women, the Rabid Right is now waging a full-on War on Sex.
  • Porn industry revenues have fallen by almost two thirds in the past eight years. The usual suspect: free online content. A less usual suspect: could audiences finally be tiring of formulaic, loveless mating exhibitions?
  • Besides books (yes, really), the other legacy-media segment that’s best survived the digital-age “disruption” (a term I’ve already said I hate) is cable TV programming. But with more and more “cord cutters” among the populace, can the cable channels’ owners still demand their lucrative “bundling” deals with service providers?
  • America’s most implausible entertainment export these days might be the popularity of subtitled Jon Stewart clips in China.
  • Let’s close today with a guy who’s painstakingly made miniature models of iconic TV show settings.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 4/2/13
Apr 2nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • My ol’ colleague Art Chantry’s got a poster design listed as “object of the day” by the Smithsonian’s design museum. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
  • One Reel wasn’t making an April Fool’s joke when it said it hadn’t rounded up enough sponsorship for a Fourth of July fireworks show.
  • Metro Transit is in deep fiscal muck, again. It needs the Legislature’s help. Only the Legislature’s been taken held hostage by deliberate gridlockers.
  • It’s that time of the year again, the time when we get to say the Mariners are 1.000.
  • SeattlePI.com Shrinkage Watch: Four years after the death of the Post-Intelligencer, Ernie Smith at Medium.com looks at the paper’s online-only successor and sees “a shell of its former self” heavy with “ad-covered wire copy”:

Here’s a company that had a four-year head start to reinvent its model, its journalism, and its overall mission. And here’s what the business side has apparently been doing the whole time — figuring out new ways to run advertising on top of advertising on top of advertising… It shows how bereft of ideas the business side is for making money from journalism on the Internet.

  • Can video game heroine Lara Croft be revamped to look less, well, gratuitious?
  • Jiffy Mix, a good cheap product from a good responsible company.
  • Tim Goodman at the Hollywood Reporter believes “the TV industry needs its version of Steve Jobs.” If there really were another Jobs out there (a polymath genius who can grok tech hardware, software, design, marketing, and management simultaneously), he or she would likely be working on ways not to save the TV industry as we know it but to further “disrupt” it (I know, a horrid term for a horrid phenomenon).
RANDOM LINKS FOR 3/7/13
Mar 7th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • Sound-effect words in comics: to ugly-art maestro (and great Washingtonian) Basil Wolverton, they were an art form all their own.
  • The State Legislature could help save Metro Transit. But will it?
  • A Chinese-American family gave a lot of Chinese robes and other objects to the Tacoma Art Museum, hoping they would be a permanent reminder of our region’s ugly racial history. Decades later, the museum’s current management decides to auction them off out-of-state. However, the story’s even more complicated.
  • Mr. Kim Thompson, one of by ex-bosses at Fantagraphics, has lung cancer.
  • The Belltown Business Association’s got a lovely virtual tour of Belltown’s history.
  • It’ll take years to even start getting nuke waste out of Hanford’s leaking tanks. And the sequester’s just slowing the task down a little more.
  • As T-Mobile prepares to digest MetroPCS, the layoffs arrive. Lots of ‘em.
  • First, the AOL/Time Warner corporate marriage collapsed. Now, Time Warner itself is splitting up, with the Time Inc. magazines and associated properties sent to fend for themselves.
  • 3D printing has come to custom fashion, of the purportedly “sexy” variety.
  • Ed Wood’s “lost” last film was found this past autumn, in the inventory of a defunct Vancouver porno theater!
  • The “other guy” in the Bill and Ted movies is now a documentary director. (I know, just like anybody with a smartphone-cam these days.)
  • Paul Krugman says progressives shouldn’t worry so much about appearing “respectable.”
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