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)!
Jan 4th, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

via nutshell movies

For the 27th consecutive year (really!), we proudly present the MISCmedia In/Out List, the most venerable and only accurate list of its kind in the known English-speaking world.

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 Hostess Brands stock to sell you.

Grilled cheese Sliders
Improving “Disrupting”
Mai Tais Infused vodka Martinis
Probable end of Community End of Dexter
Pinterest (still) Instagram
Prequels 3D remakes
Nashville 2 Broke Girls
Catherine Zeta-Jones comeback Lindsey Lohan comeback
Ghosts Zombies
“Wowsers” “Cray cray”
Popcorn Cupcakes
Mustard greens Butter lettuce
John Hawkes (The Sessions) Johnny Knoxville
Marion Cottilard Zooey Deschanel
Women’s pro soccer UFC/MMA
Bermuda shorts Fluorescent running shoes
Reality “Augmented reality”
Midnight blue Tawny brown
Soviet package design “Artisanal” graphics
Society Social media
Dyed pubic hair Mustaches
“Malarkey” “Porn” (to describe anything but actual porn)
Big love “Big Data”
Floam Lego
Rome Los Angeles
Mia Hansen-Love (Goodbye, First Love) The Farrelly Brothers
Philadelphia Austin
Soap Lake Tieton
Conservators Conservatives
Internet radio Clear Channel
Women in politics Rape “redefiners”
Cooking Channel Bravo
Empathy Calling other people “sheeple”
Sanity Hannity
THEESatisfaction One Direction
Thinkers Manipulators
Judith Krantz E.L. James
Reviving Pioneer Square Upscaling the waterfront
“Be An Elf to Yourself” “Keep Calm and Carry On”
Jan 2nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

Remember, one and all: Our anual fantabulous MISCmedia In/Out List arrives later this week. Look for it.

Jan 1st, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

…back in 1973.

(It’s a sequel to The 2,000 Year Old Man, one of the great comedy LPs of all time.)

Sep 27th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

from the book 'mail order mysteries' via laughingsquid.com

  • Oh we so wanted to believe the miracle products advertised in comic books really worked as advertised (or at least were as cool as the ads claimed).
  • I might be in the minority even among local fans, but I believe the replacement refs made the right call in awarding Monday night’s final play (and hence the game) to the Seahawks.
  • No, the Edmonton Oilers hockey team isn’t ever going to move to Seattle. The local visit by Oilers execs is only an exercise in “arena blackmail” toward Edmonton politicos.
  • David Goldstein puts the blame for Washington’s regressive tax structure on a state Supreme Court ruling back in 1933.
  • Pundits look at Washington state’s political “Cascade curtain.” Micah Cohen at the NYT‘s FiveThirtyEight sees the west/east divide in terms of women’s rights issues
  • …while Eli Sanders dissects how, in the last State Supreme Court race, an unqualified white candidate beat a highly qualified Hispanic candidate in Eastern Washington, even in 40-percent-Hispanic areas.
  • Speaking of Eastern Washington, those bigass, electricity-hungry “server farm” computer installations there might not employ very many people once they’re built, but they still demand political clout.
  • A judge refused to throw out a class-action suit by female Costco employees, alleging discrimination in promotions.
  • TV ads for the gay marriage referendum don’t show any actual gay people. I’m reminded of the 1998 initiative to end affirmative action in the state. The anti-initiative ads showed, as their examples of affirmative action’s needy beneficiaries, only white little girls. The tactic didn’t work.
  • The good folks at Seattle Indian Health Services claim the city, led by councilmember Nick Licata, is trying to take over their agency so it can sell the land on which their offices sit to a private developer.
  • A national church mag calls Seattle’s own Mars Hill Church (home of “hip” misogyny/homophobia) America’s third fastest-growing church.
  • The Northwest’s oil refining capital could also host the nation’s biggest bottled-water plant. What could possibly go wrong?
  • The airline now calling itself United (a shotgun marriage of the original UAL with Continental) has posted a nice time lapse video of a Boeing 787 being put together. It’s enough to warm this Snohomish County guy’s heart.
  • Andy Williams, 1928-2012: The seemingly ageless singer/TV host began as a child in a singing-brothers act, then jump-started the career of a similar act (the Osmonds). He was a quintessential icon of the square side of the 1960s, smooth and slick and pleasant and never ruffled. He was one of those personalities who seemed to inhabit a world of serenity that flowed all around him; which made his latter-day emergence as a right wingnut even stranger.
  • Ben Adler at the Nation says the truly crazy wingnut conspiracy theories and insult “jokes” don’t start on radio or Fox “News”, but at obscure blogs and e-mail lists.
  • Today’s Romney/Ryan bashings: Richard Eskow believes Ryan still believes his former Ayn Randian denunciations of Medicare and Social Security. Florida Republicans are up to their old voter-suppression tricks. Greg Palast claims Karl Rove’s ol’ election-stealing dirty tricks operations are still up and running. And Jonathan Chiat visits some extremely rich people who imagine themselves to be America’s most “persecuted” and overtaxed sector.
  • Economic philosopher Angus Sibley has a highly lucid, step-by-step breakdown of what’s wrong with libertarian economics.
  • If outsource manufacturers like Foxconn in China keep up their reputation for workplace horridness, western tech-hardware companies just might have to return production in-house just to avoid the bad PR.
  • Victoria’s Secret has quietly discontinued its “Sexy Little Geisha” ensemble. Anti-racist bloggers claim credit.
Aug 16th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


  • Did Mexico’s Huichol people create what we now know as “psychedelic” art?
  • Central Washington’s bad, no-good week was caused by human carelessness. (Remember what Smokey says, everybody.)
  • Soon, you’ll be able to go to an Arco station and not be supporting BP—but only if you’re in southern California, Nevada, or Arizona. BP’s holding on to the Arco stations in the Northwest, and to the Cherry Point, WA refinery that feeds them.
  • Save the Silver Fork! It’s an indie diner! A real one, not a hip-retro pastiche! It’s the Rainier Valley’s favorite “third place,” a site of community-gathering and conviving. It’s threatened with demolition, for nothing more than a gas station.
  • As you might know, the cover model for Herb Alpert’s classic LP Whipped Cream and Other Delights is an ex-Seattleite now living in southwest Washington. And she’s still a charmer.
  • The Young Fresh Fellows, deans of Seattle power pop, have a new album coming out! And you can access an online stream if you follow the band’s clever little marketing gimmick.
  • Rep. Jim McDermott, for most of his political career, has been a man only a Republican could dislike. Until his wife became his ex-wife, that is.
  • Just as I figured would happen, a compromise with the Port of Seattle may enable the Sonics arena scheme to go forward.
  • Getty Images, Seattle’s king of stock photos, is being bought by the Carlyle Group. That’s the D.C.-based private-equity outfit with strong ties to the Bush family and to the Saudi royals.
  • During the Olympics, Nike put out a T-shirt with the slogan GOLD DIGGING. A sexist slap or just good clean fun?
  • Maria Konnikova at the Atlantic explains just how famous quotations get mixed up, rearranged, or misattributed.
  • Among the publishing old-timers trying to make sense of the Internet age: onetime Sassy editor and “perpetual teenager” Jane Pratt.
  • Angela Neustatter at the Guardian would really like married people to be a lot more accepting/forgiving of cheatin’ spouses. It’s only natural, she says. (There goes half the subject matter of classic lit and country songs….)
  • Americans are having fewer babies, too few to maintain the population size. This has been happening in Japan for a while, to the point that kids’ manga and related media are in financial freefall. But what’s bad news for the makers of baby clothes could be good news for an overextended planet.
  • PBS’s Frontline goes Jesus-freaky. In the process, a lot’s revealed about cultural cross-pollination. Long before hip white kids pretended to be Buddhists, Romans disgusted by their corrupt society embraced the simple love-and-respect teachings of a tiny Jewish splinter sect.
  • Whites are still far more likely than minorities to have home broadband connections. But Hispanics, Asian Americans, and African Americans are more likely than whites to have smartphones. This is what could be known as burrowing under the Digital Divide.
  • Cheating at tournament-level Scrabble! Is nothing pure anymore? (On the other hand, it allows me to revive the tagline from the Scrabble game show: “It’s the crossword game you’ve played all your life, but never quite like this!”)
  • When the teen offspring of the One Percent post Tweets® and photos of their obscenely opulent lifestyles, it’s all fun and snark. Until somebody figures out that potential burglars/kidnappers could be reading them.
  • As I keep telling you, if you don’t vote, you’re doing exactly what the extreme right wing wants you to do.
  • Political spending this season has been swamped by Karl Rove’s and the Koch brothers’ Super PACs, and their oh-so-anonymous donors.
  • Paul Constant describes Paul Ryan as:

A wealthy young white man who refuses to, for one second, consider what it must be like to be a woman, or a minority, or a member of the lower class, or old. A man whose words mean less than nothing.

Aug 7th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


If you want me to spend $5,000 for a painting of words outlining an image, the words had better be spelled properly. They should read “More Than Its Weight In Gold.” No apostrophe dammit.

Aug 2nd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

perfect sound forever, via furious.com

  • It was my first real lesson in how to make a print periodical that was neither a corporate “slick” nor an amateur “zine.” It was my entree into several musical worlds, most importantly that of U.S. indie pop/rock. Let us remember the brief, glorious life of New York Rocker.
  • Can Washington’s state parks really survive if they have to become self supporting?
  • Correction of the day (NY Times):

An earlier version misstated the term Mr. Vidal called William F. Buckley Jr. in a debate. It was crypto-Nazi, not crypto-fascist.

  • In the Matrix movies, identity is easily transmutable and fluid. Think about that when you learn that director Larry Wachowski now wants to be known as Lana.
  • How do all those “rugged individualist,” “rebel” Tea Party operatives act and sound so much alike? They get special training in exactly what to say, do, and believe.
  • Meanwhile, “Conservative Movement” operatives are finally starting to turn against one another, using the same tactics of loud lies they’ve always used against progressives and centrists.
  • The latest winner of one of those dumb magazine declarations about “America’s coolest city”? Houston.
  • If a Waterworld dystopia ever comes to be, expect the One Percenters to hole themselves up in fancy-as-all-heck “floating cities of the future.”
  • Human waste off the Northwest coast, now with extra caffeine.
  • The anti-“social media” backlash is fully underway. One disgruntled Facebook advertiser says it was charged for “clicks” on its ads that turned out to have been mostly generated by “bot” programs. And Ewan Morrison at the Guardian implores self-publishing authors to spend less time incessantly hawking their “brands” on Twitter, Facebook, et al., and more time actually, you know, writing.
Jul 29th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

The Burke Museum has posted a lovely You Tube video showing how the Pioneer Square area was not only settled by Seattle’s founders but altered, filled in, and transformed from a little isthmus into the historic district it is today.

  • A B.C.-based blogger about classic cartoons offers his own tribute to J.P. Patches, on whose show he first saw many of those shorts.
  • Meanwhile, sometime Seattle musician (and this year’s Seafair grand marshal) Duff McKagan cites the Patches show as exemplifying/promoting a quirky, particularly “Seattle” sense of humor.
  • Paul Constant believes the Seattle library levy would stand a better chance of passage if its promoters expressed more appreciation toward librarians, not just toward buildings and acquisitions.
  • The Dept. of Justice deal with the Seattle Police includes a court appointed monitor and strict reporting of “uses of force.”
  • You’ve got about a month to get your needles together for the big quilters’ convention.
  • A Florida renegade Republican claims his state party has deliberately tried to suppress the black vote.
  • Paul Krugman suggests Mitt Romney’s wealth, and the insularity that goes with it, is his potential undoing.
  • If you don’t have health insurance, today’s Republican Party officially doesn’t give a flying frack about you.
  • The number of “swing states” in this Presidential election: 8. That’s it.
  • Pat Buchanan really needn’t worry about the Republicans facing long-term oblivion as America becomes steadily less white. Some future generation of GOP operatives could easily dump the racism (disguised and otherwise), and instead proclaim that passive-aggressive fealty to Big Money is for everyone.
  • Roger Rosenblatt wants writers to “write great;” that is, to go beyond the merely personal and embrace reality’s greater issues.
  • In the opposite direction from “writing great,” there’s now an online Fifty Shades of Grey-esque cliché generator.
  • And finally, this day’s most incisive, most informative piece of Seattle Times reportage:

Jul 23rd, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

ichiro large bobblehead, available at halloffamememorabilia.com

  • Well if that isn’t the just about worst thing that could happen, local-baseball-fan-wise. The M’s ship Ichiro to the Damn Yankees, for two triple-A pitching prospects. Please sell this team now.
  • (Here’s a thorough overview of his illustrious career as compiled by SportsPress NW.)
  • Frank Rich reminds us that if America is really “in decline,” its either the fifth or eighth such “decline” in the past six decades, depending on how you count ’em.
  • A self described “conservative Republican” moves to Canada and realizes “I don’t see universal health care as an evil thing anymore.”
  • Monica Guzman believes the phrase “I don’t know” is due to die off, as more of the world’s knowledge becomes a simple web search away. I’m not so sure. Seems to me there’s tons each of us doesn’t know about. At least there’s tons I don’t know about. (Though, when I answer a question with “I don’t know,” people still tend to respond by simply repeating the question in greater detail.)
  • In-state tuition at Washington’s “public” universities could top $20,000 by decade’s end.
  • Peet’s Coffee isn’t Seattle-owned anymore. (Did you know it had been Seattle-owned, specifically by the original Starbucks founders?)
  • Alexander Cockburn, R.I.P.: The longtime Village Voice and Nation columnist and CounterPunch.org cofounder was, at his best, probably America’s most lucid leftist writer. At his worst, he defended climate-change deniers, wholesale Israel-bashers, and French neo-fascist Marine Le Pen.
Jul 20th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

chibi neko's 'bad literature bingo' review of 'fifty shades of grey;' mybookgoggles.blogspot.com

The world of books, specifically the world of “women’s” books, is roiling with scandal and outrage.

First, there was a book-review site called “ChickLitGirls.” It sent emails to small and self-publishers who wanted their boks reviewed on the site. It claimed it had become overwhelmed by such requests; but that publishers could ensure not only a review but a positive one for one small payment of $95.

The site quickly disappeared once authors and bloggers started complaining about its practices, only to get emails from the site’s operators describing the criticism as “harassment and threat” and threatening to sue.

Along with the scandal concerning positive reviews, there’s also one concerning negative reviews.

Specifically, about reader-submitted reviews posted to the influential social media site Goodreads.

Some people love to post nasty, snarky reviews. (And, let’s face it, the explosion in self-published ebooks means lots of easy pickings for any would-be online insult comic.)

But some of these posts cross or at least stretch the line between critiquing the work and defaming the author.

And, as you might expect, a lot of self-e-published authors are sensitive souls, unused to having their work dissected and pilloried on the public stage.

Thus, there’s now a site called Stop the GR Bullies. Its express purpose: to expose and vilify Goodreads contributors who get too nasty.

Of course, “too nasty” is a matter of personal judgment.

At least one book blogger, using the name “Robin Reader,” believes Stop the GR Bullies is itself bullying toward Goodreads users who’d simply posted negative but not “bullying” reviews:

Something is very wrong with us, and by “us” I mean the online community of (largely) women authors and readers. What is wrong is the “outing,” threatening, shaming, and silencing of readers who are perceived to be too critical of or hostile to authors. And for those in this online community who believe that this is not their concern or their harm, I would ask them to think again.

Fellow book-blogger Foz Meadows similarly asserts:

…Simply disliking a book, no matter how publicly or how snarkily, is not the same as bullying. To say that getting a handful of mean reviews is even in the same ballpark as dealing with an ongoing campaign of personal abuse is insulting to everyone involved.

In completely non-related book news:

  • Two industry groups now call e-books “the dominant single format” in adult fiction sales.
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is just soooo last year. Now, the hip shtick is to rewrite classic novels by, er, inserting explicit sex scenes.
Jul 19th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


  • Some nostalgist at Buzzfeed has put together a boatload of ’80s kitsch ad art, mostly from early home-computer magazines. All the unicorns, rainbows, building-sized MS-DOS computers, and disco babes in slips you’ll ever need.
  • Then, you can look at how low kitsch ad art has descended since then with Bad Ebook Covers.
  • Yes, it is possible for Microsoft to lose money.
  • At The Daily Dot, “The Hometown Newspaper of the World Wide Web,” we learn that:
  1. local web-comic and gaming fan site Penny Arcade is trying to become user supported via a Kickstarter fund drive, that
  2. a females-only meetup for local Reddit.com users became the target of “online harassment” by sexist boors, and that
  3. you’ll be able to register to vote in Wash. state via Facebook.
  • Our ol’ pal Ronald Holden does the math and concludes that, no, the Athenian in the Pike Place Market is probably not one of America’s 10 most lucrative restaurants.
  • Wash. state is #3 in both home computer ownership and home Internet use. #1? Utah. (Those publicly-prim Mormons gotta get their net porn.)
  • Forbes cites the Seahawks as the world’s 25th most valuable sports team. That sounds cool, until you find out that of the 24 outfits ahead of ’em on the list, 15 are other NFL teams. (#1: UK soccer powerhouse Manchester United.)
  • There are a lot fewer new small businesses in America these days. One potential reason: a “radical concentration of power” in the economy, especially in banking.
  • The snarky eco-advocates who staged the phony Shell Oil press conference at the Space Needle have expanded their anti-Arctic-drilling campaign with fake billboards, including one right near Shell’s Houston HQ.
  • DUH of the Day: Big companies that don’t pay their workers much, by and large, could afford to do so.
  • At least one wag now claims that “Mitt Romney will not be the Republican nominee.”
  • Crawford Kilian at Vancouver political blog The Tyee explains how the Ayn Randians’ utopia would be a thorough dystopia for everybody else:

Future John Galts would have to sleep in castles, behind a wall of guards protecting them from us. A philosophy that detests the “gun” of government coercion would survive only by imposing such coercion on everyone else. The masters of a Randian society would rule a wasteland of clear cuts, poisoned streams, and empty seas, except for those patches they personally owned and protected.

Jul 6th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


I’ve recently become obsessed with deliberately awful online writing.

By this I specifically mean copy that’s not really meant to be read by humans, only by Google’s search-engine algorithms. (The term in the trade is “SEO,” for “search engine optimization.”)

Texts are stuffed with “keywords” and boldfaced (or “strong”) phrases. The pages may have their own domain names, chosen to be close to whatever a search user is really looking for. Header tags and other “metadata,” unseen by the reader but seen by the search engine, are endlessly tweaked for optimum pickup.

These pages can be some of the least useful, least informative, and least readable stuff in the whole WWW.

This is particularly annoying when the pages deal with self-help and how-to topics (which is most of the time).

Partly that’s because a lot of it comes out of low-paying “content mill” operations, who outsource a lot of their work to Third World contractors of questionable English-language skills.

And partly it’s because the mills generally don’t give a darn about communicating any knowledge, only about gaming the system for a few bucks.

The business model is that you get your page ranked high in searches. Then you convert those page views into income, by pasting in either Google’s own “AdWords” slots or “affiliate ads” for Amazon and others that pay the site a sliver of any sales (or both).

The propagators and champions of SEO can be as annoyingly hype-laden as any other “web gurus.” They’re not only unapologetic for the formulaic blandness of their product, they’re proud of it. One guy known as “Webwordslinger” (real name: Paul Lalley) even boasts that…

Bill Shakespeare–you know, The Bard–would have made a terrible web writer. He never gave a thought to keyword density and didn’t even know what strong text was or how to use it in web writing.

If this kind of bad Web writing exists solely to make money, then it’s even more stunning to see examples that don’t even have the monetization part figured out.

A kind reader recently referred me to an extremely unofficial site promoting the Seattle Great Wheel, the Seattle waterfront’s new star attraction.

Only the site, “Pier57ferriswheel.com,” seems to have no affiliate links and definitely has no AdWords links.

What it does have is warmed-over text rewritten from other sites about the Great Wheel, and a little link at the bottom for the Wheel’s official page (or rather, for its official Facebook page).

Some critics would look at all the bad commercial copy online and claim proof that Americans (or at least Americans younger than themselves) have become a nation of illiterate boobs.

I have a different take.

I say that, instead, the written word has become more important than ever.

The written word is the lifeblood of commerce in the Internet Age. Far more than it was in the days when magazines and TV ruled marketing.

But too few of the bureaucrats and hotshot entrepreneurs in charge realize this.

They think they can throw up the cheapest trash they can get and just manipulate it into profits, by using ever-trickier shticks (including “article spinning” software!).

But it doesn’t work that way. Not in the long term.

Google-ranking is a fad. Heck, Google itself might turn out to be a fad.

To establish a “brand,” to sell stuff, or to simply stand out from the crowd, you’ve gotta take your text seriously.

It’s an art (or at least a craft), not a formula.

And it takes a professional to do it up right.

Someone, say, like me.

RAY BRADBURY, 1920-2012
Jun 6th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

bradbury in a stan freberg-directed prune commercial (1969); via io9.com

The author who, as much as anyone, turned science fiction into a mass-audience genre kept at it until the bitter end. After his last stroke he could no longer operate a keyboard, so he dictated stories to his daughter via a landline phone.

In 2003 I participated in a panel discussion at the Tacoma Public Library, premised on Bradbury’sFahrenheit 451 and Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselves to Death. I argued against the ol’ grossly oversimplified stereotype of “books = good, TV = evil,” as advocated by Postman and others.

I said that words were more important to society than before (and they’re even more important now); and that the human race needs “entertainment” storytelling (the kind at which Bradbury was a master) as much as it needs more hi-brow cultural artifacts.

Bradbury’s works proved that commercial stories in formula genres could express tons of truths about the human condition.

May 20th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


  • With the death of Robin Gibb, only one Bee Gee (Barry) is still with us. I could try to say something about this tragic loss; but, you know, it’s only words.…
  • The UK mag NME lists “50 Massively Depressing Facts About Music.” Most of them have to do with great artists who’ve sold a heckuva lot fewer units than mediocre artists with great marketing. In other words, the same gripe the oldsters used to say about that teenybopper “rock n’ roll” crap pushing out quality material like “How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?”.
  • As SIFF moves into full gear, a UK film critic has pot out a book listing 100 Ideas That Changed Film. I haven’t seen the full book, but I have seen the list. Not included in it: product placement, Tyler Perry, or “soundtrack” records that don’t include the actual music in the movie.
  • The downtown condo biz is apparently back from the dead.
  • Wearing hot pink duct tape in lieu of a top in a bar: cool. Freaking out and attacking cops: not so cool.
  • The big Facebook IPO is apparently a failure. The offering’s megabank underwriters had to step in and maneuver in order to keep the stock’s price at or near the offering price through the course of the first day. Perhaps “retail investors” felt Facebook was too reminiscent of the first-wave dot coms (no real “product,” just a lot of site visitors (for now; that could drastically change). Or perhaps there just aren’t as many suckers who still have money to waste anymore.
  • Thanks in part to our country’s innumerable tax loopholes, the U.S. has done better than some countries at keeping its own super-rich, instead of losing ’em to citizenships-of-convenience in the Caribbean or Singapore (or wherever Mick Jagger officially resides these days).
  • “Black bloc” anarchist protests are getting more violent. Official reactions to them are getting more violent than that, on a virtually logarithmic scale.
  • Radical playwright Bertolt Brecht had some caustic caution words against folk who considered themselves too good to be involved in politics. (I don’t know whether Brecht said these words before or after he became a stooge for the East German regime.)
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