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The UMOJA Peace Center, and its elderly founder, were forcibly evicted from their Central District space, despite community protests against the action. We also look at the successful stopping of Travel Ban 2.0 (for now); a national honor for Re-bar; an additional layer of historic significance to the Black Diamond Bakery; and a travel writer calling Seattle “the city of the century.”
For the 28th consecutive year (really!), we proudly present the MISCmedia In/Out List, the most venerable (and only accurate) list of its kind in this and all other known solar systems. As always, this is a prediction of what will become hot and not-so-hot in the coming year, not necessarily what’s hot and not-so-hot now. If you believe everything hot now will just keep getting hotter, I’ve got some BlackBerry stock to sell you.
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In one of my several unpublished fiction manuscripts, I have a futuristic travel tube that whisks people between cities at almost the speed of sound.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.
A big batch-O-randomness today, catching up after several days without it.
To start, there’s yet another indie “webisode” series made here in Seattle. It’s called The Coffee Table. It’s a simple scifi comedy, in which some dudes n’ dudettes are propelled into another dimension by the titular table, which turns out to be “an ancient alien artifact.”
Elsewhere in randomosity:
joshua trujillo, seattlepi.com
seattle dept. of transportation
…historically the stingiest, most fiscally conservative, most technologically resistant and investment-averse people ever, with the highest percentage of luddites per capita.
via seattle bike blog
There was a competition going on for short films about Seattle. Some of the entrants (at least they seem like they could be) are showing up online. F’rinstance, here’s a poetic ode to the city by Riz Rollins; and here’s Peter Edlund’s Love, Seattle (based on the opening to Woody Allen’s Manhattan and dedicated to team-and-dream stealer Clay Bennett).
buddy bunting, via prole drift gallery
As promised, here are the pix of my Sunday Amtrak-trek to the not so naughty border town of Bellingham.
The journey is beautiful. You should take it early and often. WiFi, a snack car, legroom, scenery galore, and all with no driving.
The trestle over Chuckanut Bay just might be one of the great rail experiences of this continent. It really looks like as if train is running straight across the water’s surface.
The Bellingham Amtrak/Greyhound station is just a brief stroll from Fairhaven, the famous town-within-a-town of stately old commercial buildings, and a few new buildings made to sort of look like the old ones.
My destination was in one of the pseudo-vintage buildings. It’s Village Books, a three-story repository of all things bookish.
Why I was there: to give a slide presentation about my book Walking Seattle.
Why people 80 miles away wanted to hear somebody talk about the street views down here? I did not ask. I simply gave ’em what they wanted.
Some two dozen Bellinghamsters braved the sunbreaks punctuated with snow showers to attend.
Afterwards, some kind audience members showed me some of B’ham’s best walking routes. Among these is the Taylor Dock, a historic pedestrian trestle along the waterfront.
Yes, there had been an Occupy Bellingham protest. Some of the protesters made and donated this statue on a rock near Taylor Dock.
Apparently there had been windy weather the previous day.
After that I took a shuttle bus downtown, where I was promptly greeted by a feed and seed store with this lovely signage.
The Horseshoe Cafe comes as close as any place I’ve been to my platonic ideal of a restaurant. Good honest grub at honest prices. Great signage. Great well-kept original interior decor.
(Of course, I had to take advantage of sitting in a cafe in Bellingham to trot out the ol’ iPod and play the Young Fresh Fellows’ “Searchin’ USA.”)
Used the remaining daylight to wander the downtown of the ex-mill town. (Its local economy is now heavily reliant on Western Washington U., another victim of year after year of state higher-ed cuts.)
But I stopped at one place that was so perfect, inside and out. It proudly shouted its all-American American-ness.
Alas, 20th Century Bowling/Cafe/Pub will not last long into the 21st century.
A few days late but always a welcome sight, it’s the yummy return of the annual MISCmedia In/Out List.
As always, this listing denotes what will become hot or not-so-hot during the next year, not necessarily what’s hot or not-so-hot now. If you believe everything big now will just keep getting bigger, I can score you a cheap subscription to News of the World.
A few days late but always more than welcome, it’s the yummy return of the annual MISCmedia In/Out List.
As always, this listing denotes what will become hot or not-so-hot during the next year, not necessarily what’s hot or not-so-hot now. If you believe everything big now will just keep getting bigger, I can get you a Hummer dealership really cheap.
WITH THE LAUNCH OF MISCmedia MAGAZINE (copies should be in early subscribers’ mailboxes by today), it’s time to open up this site to the works of other commentators.
(You can submit proposed items if you wish. Just remember: This site does have a scope of subject matter, no matter how vague; so don’t be miffed if your submission isn’t used.)
Our first such installment comes in the form of a travelogue.
Praying for Turkey
by guest columnist Charlotte Quinn
I WENT TO TURKEY to film a documentary about the Amazons. I know, I know there was a big earthquake there and why would anyone do that?
Well, I’ve been wanting to go to Turkey for many years.
A few years ago I would’ve gone but we were (are) at war with Iraq (Turkey’s neighbor). Then there was all the confusing horror of the Balkans, just kissing Turkey to the northwest. Meanwhile, there’s the escalating civil war with the Kurds to the southeast (still going strong). There had been terrorist bombs in tourist sites all over Turkey due to the capture of Ocalan, the Kurdish leader. To the southwest, tensions with the Greeks were mounting into perhaps a larger dispute over Cyprus. I kept postponing, praying, waiting for a peaceful time to go see Turkey.
When the earthquake hit, I guess I realized that five years was enough. I prayed real loud, and, as usual, no one answered.
SO I WENT TO TURKEY. To Samsun, about 600 miles east of the epicenter. From there I explored the wild and dangerous Black Sea coast in search of Themiscrya, the supposed ancient homeland of the Amazons.
Did they talk about the earthquake in Samsun? Not much. It was in the air; and, from what I could gather in three weeks, the Turks suffer loudly and animatedly, but not for long. The earthquake would come up once in a while and everyone would say it was bad and unfortunate (two words I heard over and over again), and thank God for the Americans, and the Iraqis, and even the Greeks for helping out, and then there would be a deep silence until someone would mention how unlikely an earthquake would be in Samsun. On to the next subject.
They realized I was the representative of the tourist industry. Nothing negative, oh, no. One person said, “You gave us 10 million dollars, but Iraq gave us 20 million in oil.” That’s kind of embarrassing, considering I think we have some airbase in Turkey from which we are refueling to bomb Iraq.
Just before I left for Turkey a news story struck my attention from the back pages of the newspaper. Americans had mistakenly launched a missile at an entire Muslim family’s home in Iraq. They were murdered while they slept. Mothers, uncles, children–everyone was dead. Two cousins who were outside at the well survived. This was brought up in conversation while I was in Turkey. I felt too humiliated by my own country to say anything. Most Americans, I wanted to tell them, don’t know we are still bombing Iraq at all.
I HAD READ IN MY LONELY PLANET GUIDEBOOK not to discuss politics with the Turks. Turns out the people I talked to were not at all opposed to arguing politics. We shared our unhappiness and frustration about nearly every country. (America shouldn’t be bombing Iraq to hell, we decided). I argued for the legalization of prostitution; they didnt agree.
This is from a society which is highly censored. You can’t speak against the government.You can’t say anything negative about Ataturk, the man who westernized Turkey in the 20s. If you do, it’s straight to jail. And the Turkish police are not opposed to torture; although since Midnight Express they are really really nice to Americans. I’m not kidding.
While most unmarried turkish couples can’t get a hotel room, even in Istanbul, tourists can be an heathen as they like. In a country which needs tourists more than ever now, there is a great deal of pressure on the whole country to treat tourists like royalty.
STILL, DON’T PUT DOWN ATATURK. On every pedistal, in every town square, every school, mosque, etc. there is Ataturk, who gave the Turks their last names, their westernized letters, and their secular goverment. You can go to prison for criticizing him. I made an off joke, saying something like, “Oh, another Ataturk statue”, and I noticed some self-censorship on the part of my friends. Laughter was stiffled, heads were turned, the subject was changed. Best to avoid Ataturk altogether.
TOMORROW: Some more of this.
SOME WOMEN SPEND FORTUNES trying to look sexy. But none would ever spend a dime directly for sex.
That’s the message of an article in the print version of the sex-workers’ zine Blackstockings. (It’s not available on the zine’s website as of this writing.)
The piece’s writer wants to be mean to any het-male readers of the zine–men who are probably picking it up out of support and/or sympathy for the women and gay men in the escort, stripper, phone sex, and porn trades, and should be thanked instead of scolded.
But no, this writer wants to talk trash to any guys out in her reading audience who have the common but unrealistic fantasy of sexually servicing women for money.
It’s an intriguing dream, to imagine oneself such a great lover as to charge cash from ladies. As long as you don’t think of having to go through some of the everyday hassles women in the sex-biz face–from having to mate with unattractive people (as spoofed in the recent farce movie Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo) to legal troubles, cruel pimps, personal-safety threats, and the other stuff Blackstockings regularly reports in detail.
While women directly buying sex is rare in North America’s cities, a lot of more common transactions come close. Women have often “paid” indirectly to satisfy their hormones–day-spa treatments from Senor Bruno; costly singles-bar apparel; affairs that put a woman’s marriage and/or career at risk; abusive relationships a woman might stay in because of her addiction to the intense sex; seductions that lead to confidence-game scams.
Some of these costly behaviors might theoretically be better replaced by discreet, professional encounters with men trained to completely please a woman and to expect nothing in return but the bucks. (That could also be a potential godsend to older or shier women, or professional women who don’t have the time or patience for the dating grind.)
And it is happenning; just not anywhere around here.
Early last year, I mentioned how, in the Caribbean, the sex-tourism industry had discovered female customers. There’s an extensive item about it in the latest Utne Reader, called “In Search of the Big Bamboo.”
The story describes island “beach boys” who troll the resorts and tourist zones, offering their toned, dark-skinned bodies to visiting women in exchange for “gifts,” some of which are in the form of cash. The story adds that similar scenes take place in Brazil, the Philippines, Greece, Spain, India, and that sex-biz stalwart Thailand–spots where the weather’s warm, the scenery’s exotic, no gossipy neighbors are around, and women with money can meet studly young men with much less money.
This means certain females, under certain conditions, will indeed behave as “johns–” the behavior certain radical-feminists used to point to as evidence of the universal ickiness of all males and the universal victimhood of all females.
But it makes a little more sense if you can abandon such narrow gender stereotypes and accept that women really can do everything men can; including things an ’80s radical-feminist might disapprove of.
As for the ’90s “sex-positive” feminism of Blackstockings, the existence of overseas “beach boy” hooking proves that females have (1) females have desires, and (2) in a monetary-based society, desires will be traded for currency.
It just probably won’t involve any would-be Deuce Bigalows in the Blackstockings readership, at least not soon.
MONDAY: More on the MP3 glut.