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MY EXCUSE THIS TIME
Dec 1st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

Did the ol’ National Novel Writing Month thang again this year. Fifty thousand words in 30 days. My work, tentatively titled For One Night Only, will need a lot of work before I can show it to you all.

Also, my hosting bill is due. $120 that I haven’t got. Should I continue with the site as it is, or move it to some lesser-but-free service?

RANDOM LINKS FOR 10/27/13
Oct 27th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • It’s easy to really admire Jim Vallandingham’s project “Mapping Seattle Streets.” It’s harder to describe it. I’ll just say he’s using street grids and other map details to explain the city to itself.
  • You know I love the Clark Bar, and am eternally grateful to the NECCO people for saving the historic candy brand. So yes, I’m amused by the brand’s current ad campaign, in which women of various ethnicities say inexplicable things in foreign languages followed by a brief product plug in English.
  • Jonathan Franzen has become, alas, the very model of a modern get-off-my-lawn crank. Fortunately, Mallory Ortberg at The Toast has a lovely antidote, “The Rage of Jonathan Franzen”:

He is angry because Salman Rushdie uses Twitter, and nowadays people can buy books on the Internet, and the Home Depot, and he had to go to Germany one time, and also some women exist who have not had sex with him.

  • I wish NYT contributor Tim Kreider’s “Slaves of the Internet, Unite!” was actually about organizing a crusade against dot-coms that expect artists and writers to work for them for free. Alas, all Kreider offers is a prepared statement you can use when you reject their “opportunities.”
  • Is long-term unemployment a “good” thing? Perhaps to Wall St. speculators.
  • The “Lofgren Corollary.” It’s a fancy term to describe how Republicans destroy government from inside, then proclaim how government isn’t working.
  • Lou Scheimer, 1929-2013: The cofounder of the Filmation cartoon studio broke through to the bigtime with a Saturday morning Superman cartoon show in the ’60s. It led to dozens of series over the next two decades. All but a few were based on established character “properties,” and almost all were considered to be factory-produced schlock. But they were all made in the U.S. by unionized staffs, with no outsourced animation. Thus, a disproportionate number of today’s top animation figures got their start under Scheimer.
  • My favorite “intellectual joke”: Rene Descartes goes into a bar, orders a drink, and drinks it. The bartender asks if he’ll have another. He says, “I think not,” and disappears.
RANDOM LINKS FOR 10/21/13
Oct 21st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

patchesofpride.wordpress.com

During our three-week-plus blogging absence, one of the events we failed to note was the demise of one of the unsung pop-culture greats, Samuel W. Petrucci. A logo and packaging designer, he worked on everything from the Charleston Chew candy wrapper to a Lassie lunch box. But he’s best known for the logo and box art on the original G.I. Joe dolls, often using himself as a model for Joe’s face. His daughter Lisa Petrucci is a prominent local “pop surrealist” painter and co-owner of Something Weird Video.

  • Don James, R.I.P.: He may have been the last great Husky football coach to date. He was certainly a figure of respect and sportsmanship, prior to the “Scoreboard, Baby” era of win-at-any-cost that ended up ruining the program.
  • A former contract worker at Google’s obscure Bothell office has mixed feelings about her time there; including, but not limited to, the paucity of female higher-ups.
  • Yes, there are (even in this climate of starved social needs) alternatives to “boarding” the mentally ill.
  • Alas, the extremely expensive manufactured crisis that was the govt. shutdown probably isn’t “the Tea Party’s last stand.” There will always be something else, real or made up, around which to ferment faux-outrage.
  • Meanwhile, Michael Lind at Salon sez the extreme-right-wing tactics so visible these days are simply old Southern white-right politics, ramped up by local/state operatives afraid of changing demographics permanently ruining their historic privileges.…
  • …and Daniel Goleman at the NYT says we face not only an economic gap but an “empathy gap.”
  • You can run all the exposes of the Koch brothers’ extreme-right-wing funding machine you want. It won’t persuade the conservative follower who only knows what right-wing “bubble media” tell him and who, therefore, has never even heard of the Koch brothers.
  • No, Cosmopolitan: The women who perform in hardcore porn vids indeed are “real women.” They’re just playing unreal characters.
  • As some of you know, I hated loudmouth alpha-male San Franciscans before it was cool.
  • Hollywood has successfully shut down a big BitTorrent index site.
  • Let’s close with some seldom-seen Edward Gorey art from long out-O-print satiric verse books by the undeservedly forgotten Felicia Lamport:

via brainpickings.org

RANDOM LINKS FOR 8/31/13
Aug 31st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

soundersfc.com

  • Turns out there’s a word for these massive fan-made visual displays at soccer matches. The word is “tifo.”
  • The NY Times notes that Amazon hasn’t asked for a dime in extra tax breaks for its big Seattle development schemes.
  • Meanwhile, could Amazon start its own wireless cell-phone network?
  • Even the rarified realm of Seattle sushi, there are problematic “bigot diners.”
  • After almost 50 years, the Francine Seders Gallery in Phinney Ridge closes this December.
  • After 22 years, the radio station known as “The Mountain” is leaving the air, sort of. An Internet feed and a digital sub-channel will continue the format (but will they have live DJs?).
  • The UW experiment in “mind control” won’t immediately lead to anything useful, like helping disabled people regain control of their limbs or anything.
  • “Celebrity architects” don’t always design monumental, scenery-dominating houses in the countryside for fat cat clients. Sometimes they do it for themselves.
  • In keeping with my occasional claims that we’re entering a long attention span generation, the Guardian claims that big epic novels “are back.”
  • It’s not just McDonald’s workers who are getting screwed over. Franchise operators allege the company’s been overcharging them with rent and fees.
  • Coca-Cola’s marketing a stevia-sweetened “Coca-Cola Life” drink, with vague claims of “healthiness,” but only in Argentina.
  • Could the building blocks of life on Earth have come here from Mars?
  • It turns out that Larry Summers, the onetime Harvard president who may be nominated to head the Federal Reserve, was involved in the World Trade Organization and its 1999 efforts to force big financial deregulation upon all its member countries. (You may remember a little protest when the outfit had its convention here.)
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 6/26/13
Jun 25th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • As I obliquely mentioned previously, I’m in search of a new abode. The building I’ve been in for the past eight years is being upscaled out of my league. I could live, I suppose, in one of these newfangled “tiny homes.” But I’d need a place to put it, that’s not way out in the woods. I’m a “city mouse.”
  • The Pike Place Market’s powers-that-be want a fancy new structure to connect the Market to the new Seattle waterfront “improvements.” So far, the planned bazaar-food court looks exactly like you’d expect it to—”world class,” pompous, and soulless.
  • Brewster C. Denny, 1925-2013: The great-grandson of one of Seattle’s first white settlers was also one of the last people here with an “institutional memory” of the region and how it is, and has been, run. He directed the UW’s public-affairs school, then became a professional “networker,” fundraiser, and Democratic Party operative.
  • The “University of Nike” is about to get major NCAA football sanctions.
  • What happens when a respected but fiscally troubled small book publisher sells out to new guys, who want to pay a lot less to the publisher’s established authors? Said authors fight back and force an at-least-somewhat-better deal.
  • The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup with what, to my viewing history of the game, was a first—an “empty net” ploy that actually led to a tying goal, with the winning goal promptly following.
  • Eco-Scare of the Week: What if a forest fire burned the radioactive trees surrounding Chernobyl?
  • Those-Kids-Today Scare of the Week #1: “Digital Dementia,” supposedly occurring among kids who rely on electronics to remind them of everything.
  • Those-Kids-Today Scare of the Week #2: “Smoking alcohol.”
  • The Miss USA Pageant’s state/local franchisees sometimes employ some of those “model management” hustlers who demand sexual favors from young models looking for work.
  • That “Russian Tampon Commercial” viral video? It’s a fake. It’s from Movie 43, that sketch-comedy film nobody saw.
  • Finally, some handwritten outline charts for famous books.

via flavorwire.com

RANDOM LINKS FOR 6/16/13
Jun 15th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

  • The only thing more improbable than the idea that the average human 100,000 years from now will have Margaret Keane painting-size eyes is the idea that the average human 100,000 years from now will be white.
  • Novelist David Guterson gave a commencement speech at his alma mater,Roosevelt High. Some parents booed the speech, apparently believing it was too “negative” for their precious children. The speech itself turns out to be skeptical about the pursuit-O’-happiness thang but still relatively upbeat at its conclusion.
  • So soon after getting our collective hearts broken over the NBA (again), Seattle sports fans have a new thing about which to blindly hope against hope. It’s the National Hockey League’s Phoenix Coyotes. They’ve been floundering down in the desert. The league supposedly has a plan to move the team here, perhaps as early as next season.
  • KING-TV and its sister operations (KONG, NW Cable News) are being bought out by Gannett, along with the rest of the A.H. Belo Corp. Like Belo (which began as the publisher of the Dallas Morning News) had done when it bought KING, Gannett’s strategy here is to add profitable (for now) broadcast properties to help shore up its more troubled newsprint assets. (Update: Gannett only bought Belo’s broadcast properties, not its newspapers.)
  • Tacoma really doesn’t like citizens painting “rogue crosswalks.”
  • CBS News’s smartypants explain “why geniuses don’t have jobs.”
  • Time quotes some security-establishment defenders who really, really want to see the whole anti-domestic-surveillance crusade crushed.
  • An Australian ad agency asked feminist writers to write about the meaning of artificial sweeteners in women’s lives, and to do it for free. Here come the brutally snarky retorts.
  • This list of words remembered today only as parts of hoary catch phrases leaves out such personal favorites of mine as “petard,” “Gangbusters” (originally a radio show), and “poke” (as something you shouldn’t buy a pig in).
  • You remember how Facebook first started as a “hot or not” listing of Harvard women? There’s a new “hot or not” application on the site. It’s just for women. It uses male FB users’ profiles without their permission.
  • It’s the 50th birthday of one of my favorite forgotten childhood icons: Mr. ZIP!

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 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 5/20/13
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 5/16/13
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 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.

WHO MOURNS FOR THE FEMBOT?
Apr 11th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via redmolucca.wordpress.com

Margaret Thatcher’s recent death has sprung off a veritable gusher of reaction, much of it vitriolic.

This is to be expected in regard to the woman who oversaw the brutal decimation of the UK’s “welfare state” and the destruction of its once-mighty industrial base.

The woman who so firmly delivered that nation into the hands of financiers that even the opposition felt it had to conform (becoming the anti-working-class “New Labour”).

The precursor (and intellectual superior) to Reagan (whose regime, as you recall, was also run by “a strong woman”) and an inspirer/co-conspirator in the crimes of Reaganism, crimes whose long term effects still plague this country today.

The friend of despots and state terrorists who never met a dictator she didn’t like (so long as said dictator professed to be anti-Communist).

The inspirer of a wealth of deservedly angry protest music, which helped to transform punk and “postpunk” from an aesthetic niche into a sociopolitical movement, at least in the British Isles.

In her day, and since, some have argued that Thatcher should at least be respected as “a strong woman,” and even as a feminist of sorts.

I would argue that she helped disprove one of the most easily disproven tenets promoted by some feminists, that “Women” are innately the Moral Sex.

And Thatcher helped prove another tenet, that a woman is capable of doing anything. Including very, very bad things.

Thatcher, of course, didn’t do all she did by herself.

She was an active frontwoman for a group of movements with different but similar goals—to defund the poor, to smash organized labor, to redistribute wealth into fewer and fewer hands, to turn the state into the tool of financial speculation, to prop up even more brutal regimes from Chile to South Africa.

And Britain, and the world, are still feeling the ills from them.

KEEP CALM AND BLAME THE ALGORITHMS
Mar 7th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via quietbabylon.com

There’s quite a story behind the controversial “Keep Calm and Rape a Lot” T-shirt.

Turns out none were ever sold or even made.

It was offered on Amazon as a print-on-demand item, along with several hundred other slogans. This was done by a company that used a software algorithm to create the phrases.

Tim Maly offers a very poetic account of the fiasco at his site Quiet Babylon. In it, Maly also offers this image of the e-tail realm:

Amazon isn’t a store, not really. Not in any sense that we can regularly think about stores. It’s a strange pulsing network of potential goods, global supply chains, and alien associative algorithms with the skin of a store stretched over it, so we don’t lose our minds.

RANDOM LINKS FOR 2/25/13
Feb 25th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via messynesychic.com

  • “Quite possibly the most important street photographer of the 20th century was a 1950s children’s nanny who kept herself to herself and never showed a single one of her photographs to anyone.”
  • Jay Jacobs, 1912-2013: Yes, there really was a Jay Jacobs behind the local teen clothing chain of the same name, which operated from 1941 to 1999. At its peak, his company had more than 300 outlets around the country, mostly in malls. But, like Lamonts and the Squire Shops and Bernie’s/Bottom’s, Jacobs’ chain couldn’t make it in the age of the Big Box store (which, in turn, is being succeeded by the age of e-tail).
  • Another local institution, Mae’s Phinney Ridge Cafe, is for sale, and will close if a buyer isn’t found soon.
  • A UW English prof decries grad-student applicants who can’t name-drop a single modern female author.
  • Joan Walsh (correctly, I believe) blames the attempted “sick humor” at the Oscars not on host Seth McFarlane but on the Academy bosses, who apparently wanted to latch onto that Farrelley Bros./American Pie “edgy” thang.
  • The William Shatner bit at that show’s top was a textbook example of “framing” a piece of sick/sexist humor (the “We Saw Your Boobs” song) via fake distanced “irony,” to make it seem like just a “parody” of sick/sexist humor.
  • The “In Memoriam” Oscars segment has its own selection committee, and “is a focus of campaigning.” That’s one reason why a few famous actors get left out every year and a few obscure behind-the-scenes figures always get put in.
  • Elisabeth Parker at Addicting Info wants progressives to stop using right-wing catch phrases.
  • For fans of old time radio (and of latter-day revivals of same), here’s a site that appears to have .mp3s of every CBS Radio Mystery Theater episode (all 1,339 of ‘em)!
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