Jul 22nd, 2013 by Clark Humphrey

city of seattle via slog.thestranger.com

  • You know that big palatial boulevard the politicians have promised to turn Seattle’s central waterfront into? It now looks like it could become something else. Like, a highway with as many lanes as the viaduct (or more!), only side by side and on ground level. (Via my ex-housemate Fnarf.)
  • The Feds want to crack down on The Art Institutes. They charge the chain of for-profit art schools (including a major Seattle branch) with…

…fraudulently collecting $11 billion in government aid by recruiting low-income students for the purpose of collecting student aid money. Whistleblowers claim that students graduate loaded with debt and without the means to pay off the loans, which are then paid for with taxpayer dollars.

  • UW scientists recorded, then time-compressed, the sounds made by an Alaska volcano just before it blew.
  • Congrats to the local makers of the Carter Family graphic bio-novel for winning (er, co-winning) a major industry award.
  • Nice to see Seattle Weekly regaining some of its old form, even if that includes its old cranky-baby-boomer bashing of the Stranger and youth culture.
  • As expected, the living members of Nirvana played at McCartney’s Safeco Field show.
  • Alas, it’s illegal to ride down Capitol Hill streets in an office chair.
  • MillerCoors wants the Feds to investigate the Wall St. bigshots’ manipulations of aluminum prices.
  • Do you know the difference between North and South Carolina? Nike didn’t.
  • Why can’t Third World people speak for themselves on the “global stage,” instead of questionable, self-appointed spokespeople such as (the highly corporate-connected) Bono?
  • R.I.P. Helen Thomas, first lady of the White House press corps and the textbook example of a “tough dame” who speaks her mind and never gives up.
  • While (or because) nobody was looking, Yahoo quietly shut down the pioneering search engine AltaVista.
  • Business Insider posted a promo spot for a Milwaukee TV newscast circa 1980. Frenetic stock music! Jump cuts! Reporters in the field! Huge “mini” cams held by muscular cameramen! Typewriters! That’s infotainment.
  • Do you or someone you know listen to too much Coast to Coast AM? Still? Then follow this handy conspiracy theory flow chart.

the reason stick at blogspot

Jul 16th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey


  • Ever feel like life’s one big choose-your-adventure book and you’re hopeless stuck on the wrong path? Then enjoy these unhappy endings at “You Chose Wrong.”
  • It turns out that with NBC taking full control of MSNBC.com (it already wholly owns MSNBC TV), some or all of the website’s 80 Redmond-based editorial positions will move to the New York region. Just what I need: more laid off journalists in the Seattle area competing for the same scarce jobs.
  • The teases of an Almost Live! reunion have been partly revealed. The new venture, The (206), will be an online, not broadcast, series. (This probably means short self-contained skits, not half-hour package episodes.) The only announced performers so far are John Keister, Pat Cashman, and Cashman’s son Chris.
  • Got construction or construction-management knowhow but not a job? Do as Gordon Lightfoot said and be Alberta bound.
  • When sunscreen is outlawed in Tacoma schools, only outlaws won’t have face blisters.
  • KPLU remembers the Seattle (specifically, Cornish College) roots of avant-music giant John Cage.
  • Kitty Wells, 1920-2012: The original “queen of country music” had a rawer, less subdued sound and image than Patsy Cline (the only female country singer urban hipsters have heard of, still). Wells’ biggest hit, “(It Wasn’t God Who Made) Honky Tonk Angels,” was an answer song to Hank Thompson’s “The Wild Side of Life.” Today, only country historians remember the latter.
  • The Daily, Rupert Murdoch’s iPad-only “online newspaper,” might disappear by the end of the year. The real Daily, thankfully, is here to stay.
  • Huffington Post blogger Spencer Critchley (which would be a great character name for a romance-novel hero!) says Romney’s guys are foolishly running a TV-style campaign in the Internet age. By this, Critchley isn’t talking about ad expenditures so much as the operating mentality, imagining that a candidate’s superficial “brand image” is all that matters.
Jun 29th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

'jseattle' at flickr, via capitohillseattle.com

Yes, it’s been nearly a week since I’ve posted any of these tender tidbits of randomosity. Since then, here’s some of what’s cropped up online and also in the allegedly “real” world:

  • There’s still no official hint on what the proposed Sonics Arena might look like. But the wannabe developers of East Pine Street’s “Bauhaus block” have released a drawing of their proposed mixed use development. At least in its idealized-drawing form, it’s not as monstrous looking as some other recent structures in the area.
  • In other preservation battles, Seattle’s people again rally around a thing about which the elites don’t give a darn. They’re striving to bring back the Waterfront Streetcar.
  • Meanwhile, a study claims if the viaduct-replacement tunnel charges tolls high enough to pay for it, drivers will clog the surface streets rather than pay those tolls.
  • Seattle Opera faces a $1 million shortfall, and will mount fewer new shows in future years. But don’t count ’em out yet, folks. It’s not over until, well, you know.
  • The late writer-director Nora Ephron had many major achievements. Sleepless in Seattle, let us all admit, is among the least of them.
  • Did you know there was a real hostelry in Fife called the “Norman Bates Motel“? Emphasis on the was.
  • America’s cities: they’re back! (Of course, some of us knew this for some time.)
  • In a pleasant surprise, one of the Supreme Court’s pro-one-percenter flank betrayed his masters and voted to uphold Obamacare. In response, some members of the Rabid Right’s noise machine claimed the great American Experiment was over and they’d hightail it to Canada (which, uh, has had universal health care in place for some time now).
  • If you’re on liberal/progressive websites at all these days, you’ll find a lot of comment threads hijacked by folk who claim to be lefties disgusted by Obama’s centrist tactics, so much that they won’t vote this November, and want you to not vote either. At least some of these comment trolls turn out to be paid employees of right-wing dirty tricks outfits.
  • Rupert Murdoch’s splitting his News Corp. into two companies. One will contain his print properties (including HarperCollins Books, The Wall St. Journal, the New York Post, and his besieged London tabloid operation), plus the iPad “newspaper” The Daily. The other will hold his “entertainment” properties. Yes, Fox “News” goes with the entertainment half.
  • Paul Krugman tells the PBS NewsHour all about his “cartoon physics” theory of the American economy.
  • Google’s putting out a tablet device with a 7-inch color screen, just like Amazon’s Kindle Fire. But the exciting part of this Wall St. Journal link is at the bottom, where they mention another forthcoming Google hardware product. It’s a streaming-media player that attaches to TV sets, and it’ll be made in the USA!
  • Ann Althouse looks at a famous parody of trashy sex novels, and asks rhetorically if those who make and read such parodies are really bashing the potboilers’ readers (i.e., women).
  • Nordstrom’s opening a branch in New York City. Make way for NYC media outlets to describe it as a brand new startup.
  • Headline: “The media covers Kardashians, not climate change.” Comment: The media covers the-media-not-covering-climate-change more than it covers climate change.
May 15th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

The recession has claimed another victim, the Betsey Johnson boutique on Fifth Avenue.

  • King County Exec Dow Constantine was caught with an email revealing he’d had an affair with a co-worker. At a press conference, “No Drama Dow” (who has an unmarried live-in partner) quietly admitted the indiscretion.
  • The city and county could announce they’re signing off on the Sodo arena plan as early as today.
  • KOMO’s Ken Schram insists that the poor (and everybody else) should still get to buy things with cash.
  • A community activist group says light rail has accelerated the gentrification of the Rainier Valley, making the mixed-race neighborhood a lot paler.
  • Video footage helps a May Day protester escape prosecution.
  • The wages of not supporting the iPhone: T-Mobile USA‘s laying off another 900 workers.
  • First it was nuns. Now the right-wing Catholic bishops are harassing the Girl Scouts. (Make your own joke about how everybody knows they prefer boys.)
  • ‘Future of News’ Dept.: A spokescritter for Rupert Murdoch’s iPad news app The Daily (no relation to the infinitely more distinguished UW Daily) insists the online newspaper is on the road to profitability.
  • Even with health insurance, medical care is getting prohibitively expensive.
  • America’s real first gay president? Buchanan.
  • Michael Lind at Salon asks, “Why do conservatives hate freedom?”…
  • …while “MinistryOfTruth” at Daily Kos makes brutal accusations toward your sterotypical teabag conservative:

I don’t think you do love America. At least, not as much as you hate everyone in America who isn’t exactly like you.


Mar 30th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

In recent months I have resumed my primary occupation of looking for paid employment.*

During this, I have become all too aware of the dorky buzzwords found in present day employment ads.

One of the most egregious examples is the header “ROCK STARS WANTED.”

It’s seen fronting searches for everything from programmers to marketing trainees to attorneys to chain-restaurant drudges—and occasionally (very occasionally) even for musicians.

So let me get this straight: Major corporations are just dyin’ to fill their ranks with guys possessed by fatally large egos, who swagger about like they’re God’s gift to the universe, who expect every female to want to fuck them, and who stand a great chance of becoming drug casualties.

That’s not a personality profile for a corporate employee.

That’s a personality profile for a corporate executive.

Thanx and a hat tip to Urso Chappell for suggesting this topic.

*Yes, my many, many varied skills (not just “writing”) are available to help your business or nonprofit shine. Email now. Operators are standing by.

Jan 7th, 2012 by Clark Humphrey

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.

Reclaiming Occupying
Leaving Afghanistan Invading Iran
Chrome OS Windows 8
The Young Turks Piers Morgan Tonight
Ice cream Pie
Bringing back the P-I (or something like it) Bringing back the Sonics (this year)
Community Work It
Obama landslide “Conservatalk” TV/radio (at last)
Microdistilleries Store-brand liquor
Fiat Lexus
World’s Fair 50th anniversary Beatles 50th anniversary
TED.com FunnyOrDie.com
Detroit Brooklyn
State income tax (at last) All-cuts budgets
Civilian space flight Drones
Tubas Auto-Tune (still)
Home fetish dungeons “Man caves”
Tinto Brass Mario Bava
Greek style yogurt Smoothies
Card games Kardashians
Anoraks “Shorts suits”
Electric Crimson Tangerine Tango
Michael Hazanavicius (The Artist) Guy Ritchie
Stories about the minority struggle Stories about noble white people on the sidelines of the minority struggle
(actual) Revolutions The Revolution (ABC self-help talk show)
Kristen Wiig Kristen Stewart
“Well and truly got” “Pwned”
Glow-in-the-dark bicycles (seen in a BlackBerry ad) BlackBerry
Color print-on-demand books Printing in China
Ye-ye revival Folk revival
Interdependence Individualism
Hedgehogs Hedge funds
Erotic e-books Gonzo porn
Michael Fassbender Seth Rogan
Sofia Vergara Megan Fox
3D printing 3D movies (still)
Sex “Platonic sex”
Love “Success”
“What the what?” “Put a bird on it”
Aug 29th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

  • Despite what Republican politicians would have you believe, Washington state actually leads the nation in new business creation these days.
  • One of these new businesses will be a downtown JC Penney store, in the old Kress five-and-dime store building at Third and Pike. That’s just a block from the old (1930-82) Penney store (Target’s going in on that site later this year). It’s great news, but what will become of the loveable, and vitally needed, Kress IGA supermarket in the building’s lower level? Its operators insist they’ve got a long term lease and are staying no matter what.
  • It’s not just the state civil payroll that’s ethnically un-diverse. The state legislature is only 6.8 percent nonwhite.
  • Local theater blogger Jose Aguerra asks whether local troupes are being too coy and inoffensive, even in their depiction of female orgasms. (In my day, Seattle’s live theaters prided themselves on presenting edgy, daring material, even if the promise was grander than the product.)
  • A UW Medical Center administrator got caught embezzling a quarter mil from the hospital. You’re only hearing about it now because the state auditor made a statement publicly praising the U for how it investigated and prosecuted the inside thief. A potential huge scandal was thus turned into a low-key moment of triumph for the administration. At least if you read the Seattle Times version of the story. KOMO offers a far more critical spin on the affair.
  • Grist.org’s David Roberts ponders what the heck Friends of the Earth is doing getting involved with right-wing lobby groups in proposing a “green” federal budget slashing scheme.
  • The link we ran last week about the electric-guitar company? The company that got raided by federal agents, who were supposedly looking for endangered imported wood? The company flatly denies all allegations. And the Murdoch Wall St. Journal, ever eager to bash anything environmentalist, claims the feds could next go after folks who own old vintage instruments that contain now-restricted components.
  • Should any of us care about speculation about the new Apple CEO’s private life? Ars Technica says no.
  • Birth rates are dropping in many countries, especially those where female fetuses are sometimes selectively aborted. The Economist calculates some countries, at their current rates of decline, could totally run out of people in 600-700 years. Of course, if you’re not a dystopian scifi fan you know trends don’t stay the same, at the same rate, forever.
  • Sasha Brown-Worsham believes “we should parent more like they did in 1978.” More Boo Berry and daytime TV; less overprotectiveness and constant fear.
Jul 19th, 2011 by Clark Humphrey

happy bite of seattle consumers

  • Food vendors, start your engines. The City Council likes you.
  • A Vancouver news site describes last month’s Canuck riot as a desperate attempt by the city’s young males to momentarily escape “a state that could be described as a deficit of the real, which is dangerous and unstable place, full of unfocused outrage and an overdeveloped sense of personal entitlement that constantly simmers just below the surface.”
  • As past allegations of phone tapping, computer hacking, and other dirty dealings resurface against Rupert Murdoch’s U.S. businesses (which still aren’t directly implicated in the current U.K. phone hacking scandal), Peter Cohan at Forbes suggests News Corp. shareholders would have themselves a much more robust business if it weren’t for Murdoch, his kinfolk, and their insistence upon continuing to run newspapers.
  • One anti-tunnel measure stays on local ballots; a second gets kicked off by a judge.
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