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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 3/6/13
Mar 6th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

scarfolk.blogspot.co.uk

  • Some clever Brits have devised “Scarfolk,” a blog of made-up historical artifacts from a fictional (and dreary as hell) English town. Along the way, they have a lot of fun with ’60s-’70s UK graphic design.
  • An “alternative taxidermy” artist from Tacoma will appear on a reality-TV show on Thursday evening.
  • Also on Thursday, a Belltown boudoir-photography studio’s holding a “donate a bra” night to help clothe the needy.
  • The next big Seattle Schools scandal: alleged racial double standards in student discipline.
  • The secret ingredient of Seattle hiphop just might be Pho.
  • Local stoners might want to drag out their right-wing grandparents’ “Get US Out of the UN” signs.
  • Another year, another threat of no Fourth of July fireworks unless big donations pour in.
  • Perhaps 60 Everett Herald print/distro workers will lose their jobs as Sound Publishing (which already has its own Everett printing plant) takes over the paper.
  • The Atlantic, supposedly one of the “success stories” of legacy print media in the Internet age, is not above asking writers to work for free.
  • Staged readings from Lolita are in hot water in Russia, thanks to the Putin regime’s calculated drive to demonize liberals and Westerners “for the benefit of a poorer, older, more rural voter base.” Hmm, that sounds familiar….
  • It’s a “golden age for corporate profits.” Just not for the rest of us.
  • Get ready for North Pole ship crossings, thanks to that climate change that billionaires pay Republicans to claim doesn’t exist.
  • Australia’s “multiethnic” TV channel goes to the lands surrounding the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and finds tales of horror and survival.
  • Peggy Orenstein notes that the “Disney Princess” characters, and their counterparts in other fictional universes, aren’t really about waiting for a prince as they are about vanity and shopping:

No, today’s princess is not about romance: it’s more about entitlement. I call it “girlz power” because when you see that “z” (as in Bratz, Moxie Girlz, Ty Girlz, Disney Girlz) you know you’ve got trouble. Girlz power sells self-absorption as the equivalent of self confidence and tells girls that female empowerment, identity, independence should be expressed through narcissism and commercialism.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 1/15/13
Jan 15th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via archive.org

seattlerex.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 1/11/13
Jan 11th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • First the B&O Espresso shutters. Now, another outfit you’d think would thrive with legal gay marriages instead goes away. It’s Brocklind’s Formal Wear and Costume Supply. It’s closing up shop after 106 years (the last 20 or so years residing on E. Pike).
  • In related news, gay mag The Advocate claims Tacoma is “America’s Gayest City.” I can actually imagine this being true. Lots of military and truck drivers, and a “tuff’ civic culture that extends to women as well as men.
  • The faculty at Garfield High has chosen, collectively, not to administer the “Measure of Academic Progress” (MAP), the Seattle School District’s standardized tests in reading and math, to ninth-grade students this month. The teachers’ statement claims the test “wastes time, money, and precious school resources… It produces specious results, and wreaks havoc on limited school resources during the weeks and weeks the test is administered.”
  • Nate Silver, who wowed ‘em by accurately predicting November’s election results, now says the Seahawks will meet the Patriots in the Super Bowl (but lose).
  • State Sen. Rodney Tom, the pseudo-Democrat who wants to turn control of the Legislature to Republicans, got a stinging rebuke by his own party in his own district.
  • Pundit Tom Esdall believes an “Obama coalition” of women, minorities, working-class folk, and “99 percenters” stands a chance of really challenging “corporate America’s” control of the federal political process.
  • Young-adult evangelicals these days love Jesus but don’t love gay-and-woman-bashing.
  • There’s a new industry that actually pays people to write online! Unfortunately, they’re being paid to be right-wing “comment trolls” on opinion blogs.
  • Print book sales may be down, but no further down than last year. (And they’re still holding their own better than CDs and DVDs.)
  • I usually like to watch the Australian Open, even though I’m not a hardcore tennis fan, just to be reassured that, somewhere in the world, it’s warm now. But this year, it’s too warm there. By a lot.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 10/8/12
Oct 8th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

kurzweilai.net

  • Did the U.S. Air Force really think up plans for a supersonic flying saucer in the 1950s? And would it have been practical (i.e., would it fly)?
  • What does it mean to be “indie rock royalty” these days? It means you can play Radio City Music Hall and still have to share a studio apartment. Speaking of which….
  • KEXP’s pledge-drive playlist of the most important records of the past 40 years is essentially a canon of “indie” music classics, plus a few “mainstream” mentors. Nevermind predictably tops the listener survey. The list is top-heavy with the Pixies, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., New Order, Arcade Fire, etc. etc. The list’s only surprise is its paucity of female artists. The top woman-fronted act, the Pretenders, appears at spot #51.
  • A HuffPost blogger disparages Vancouver as “No Fun City,” a place where nightlife is essentially nonexistent. I can recall ages ago when I looked up to Van as having the bars and live-music venues Seattle could only dream of having. Since then, Seattle has vastly changed while Van has, if anything, become more moribund.
  • The Olympic Peninsula’s northwest tip has no teen vampires, but it is an ideal spot to measure climate change with solid empirical data.
  • Even “underground food market” dining operations (one-night-only food courts) have to have health permits.
  • Nintendo’s next game machine will be a tablet. It will also stream video content to TVs. It could be big.
  • Amazon’s paying a cool billion to buy the Paul Allen-owned buildings it occupies in South Lake Union.
  • Stalking and harassing apartment residents is no way to sell cable TV.
  • Seattle’s next would-be mega-developers? The Bill Pierre car-selling family.
  • Can the waterfront tunnel be built without massive city subsidies (that the city really doesn’t want to pay)?
  • Stranger staffer Kelly O tells a San Francisco website “12 Things You Should Know About Seattle.” These things include (too much) pot, (endangered) graffiti murals, and (yummy) street hot dogs.
  • White cops shooting at nonwhite civilians with little or no true justification: it’s not just happening here.
  • I had a boring and/or miserable time in the Boy Scouts. But, as we’re all learning, it could have been worse. Much, much worse.
  • CNN contributor Simon Hooper asks if we can finally get over Beatles (and James Bond) nostalgia now.
  • A self-described “middle aged punk” gives forth a back-in-my-day-sonny lament, nostalgizing about getting beaten up by jocks.
  • Don’t look now, but Walmart workers are trying to organize.
  • Having solved all of the world’s other problems, 60 Minutes sics its fangs on the designer-eyeglass-frame monopoly.
  • Today in right-wing sleaze, two GOP senators are asking defense contractors to fire thousands of people just to make Obama look bad; while Arizona is suppressing the votes of up to 200,000 Latino-descent citizens in the name of “cracking down on illegals.” Also, a Legislative candidate in Arkansas says parents should be allowed to put “rebellious children” to death.
  • The University of Idaho’s getting the world’s biggest collection of historic opium pipes. Hey, you gotta have something to do out there.
  • Forbes contributor Steve Cooper believes content-based websites could make more money by directly selling stuff on their sites, instead of running low-profit ads for other companies selling stuff. That biz model might work for sites focused on entertainment or lifestyle topics (music, food, bridal, travel, etc.). For local newspapers’ sites, it’d be a tougher fit.
  • Don’t look now, but rain (remember that?) might finally appear locally later this week.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 7/12/11
Jul 12th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

vintage 1940 trolley bus from seattletransitblog.com

  • Today is the day. Speak now or forever lose your ability to get anywhere in King County, with or without a car. That’s how big this is. Get thee to the King County Council Chambers, 516 Third Ave., 6-8 p.m. Speak out to save transit.
  • Is local weather really getting “wetter and warmer”? Cliff Mass says not necessarily.
  • After the state failed earlier this year, the city may strike out on its own to license and regulate medical marijuana establishments. The first regulations I’d want: no pot-leaf neon signs, no tie dyed scrubs, and no public display of the phrase “da kine.”
  • City Councilmember Tim Burgess wants the big public todo about child prostitution to become a little less about the rival grandstandings of celebs, politicians, and publishers, and a little more about the children themselves. At least that’s what I hope Burgess wants.
  • The Thunderbird Motel that became the Fremont Inn, one of the notorious drug-dealer-infused motels on Aurora shut down a year or two back? It could become Catholic-run low income housing.
  • The state’s sending up helicopters to test local radiation levels. But don’t panic, officials insist.
  • The old idea to put up a surplus 60 foot Lava Lamp in the tiny Eastern Wash. burg of Soap Lake? It’s on again.
  • You might not have heard of it yet, but there’s a longshoremen’s protest at a new grain terminal in Longview, where management has hired nonunion workers. A recent protest got 100 union dock workers and supporters arrested.
  • A Daily Kos diarist compares the continuing nonsense over the federal deficit to “worrying about the water bill when the house is on fire.”
  • Time claims Americans “distinguish toiler paper brands better than banks.” Insert snarky comments here.
  • What are the chances that l’affaire Murdoch could cause the decline and fall of the Fox “News” Channel? Not much, I believe; at least not directly or right away. Murdoch’s UK papers used grody methods to amass information about politicians, celebrities, the royal family, and even violent-crime victims. Fox “News” doesn’t give a damn about information; it just makes crap up.
GIVING A DAMN AND DOING SOMETHING
Sep 9th, 2010 by Clark Humphrey

It’s a few days late, but CBS.com has finally posted the Letterman segment with author Bill McKibben. (Fast forward to the last 10 minutes of the video.)

Since I am probably the only McKibben reader who continues to own and use a TV set, I got to see this segment on its original air date. He forcefully argues that not only do we have to act to save the planet, but that we can.

SPEAKING OF AL GORE'S…
Oct 12th, 2007 by Clark Humphrey

…Nobel Peace Prize, here’s a lucid and elequent congratulatory essay by local-boy-made-good (and done good) Alex Steffen.

I first knew Steffen when he ran Steelhead, one of the most intelligent and handsome local zines this burg has ever produced.

Since then, he’s traveled much of the world, written a lot of important things, and in 2003 guest-edited the last, never-printed, issue of Whole Earth magazine, the last descendant of Stewart Brand’s old Whole Earth Catalog.

book coverYou’ll find vast acreage of smart prose by Steffen and compatriots at WorldChanging.com, his site dedicated to “bright green” eco-solutions.

I’m currently halfway through the huge (600-plus pages) WorldChanging book, edited by Steffen and written by himself and several dozen appropriate-tech experts. (Gore contributed a short introduction.)

WorldChanging’s shtick has been described as an update of the Whole Earth “Access to Tools” shtick, adapted for a generation of bloggers and a post-WTO sensibility.

Unlike a lot of the gloom-n’-doom nihilism preached by eco-leftists, Steffen and his team concentrate on solutions to the planet’s big and small problems. The book covers everything from urban planning and refugee camps to renewable energy and adequate water supplies. The emphasis throughout is on Things We Can Really Do About It.

If Barack Obama bills himself as the politician of hope, Steffen is its scribe.

As Steffen writes in his Gore piece today:

“If we do our jobs right, life will get better. The systems we currently rely on don’t just destroy the environment, they limit our happiness. We do not live in the best of all possible worlds. We know it is possible to create lives which are not only profoundly more sustainable, but more prosperous, comfortable, stylish, healthy, safe and fun. If we do our jobs right, a bright green future will be downright sexy.”

DID YOU THAW WHAT I SAW?
Sep 20th, 2007 by Clark Humphrey

tv imageWithout making a big PR fuss about it, KIRO-TV’s quietly moved into high-definition local production. Last night’s prime-time documentary special, Cold Facts About Our Warm Planet, was particularly notable.

With lush HD videography and few commercial interruptions, it showed the local effects of global warming. We saw shrinking glaciers, prematurely melting mountain snowpacks, tinder-dry forest lands, declining salmon runs, potential sea-level rises, and more.

It was all narrated by a low-key Steve Raible. (How’d he grow up so smart, when his fellow early Seahawks star Steve Largent went wingutty?) Raible calmly took us through the evidence and the arguments about our current warming trend. He explained the background science, with the help of UW scientists and experts.

Raible stayed away from casting blame or judgmentalism, and rightly so. If global warming really is influenced by human activity, and I believe it is, it’s taken the entirety of human civilization to get us there. Anti-SUV sanctimony won’t save the planet. That can only occur with a lot of big and small steps by a lot of people, including people whose current lifestyles are different from yours.

Kudos to Cold Facts’ writer-director Ben Saboonchian and videographer Peter Frerichs.

I don’t know if or when the station will repeat the special. It should, and it should put the whole doc up online.

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