Belltown Messenger - Documenting Downtown Seattle

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Belltown Messenger #80 - June 2010

misc - by Clark Humphrey

"The Rainier and Olympia beer brands currently live in vestigial form ..."

At the Hard Rock Cafe online: "Reproduction of original Olympia Beer T-Shirt photographed on Kurt Cobain in Paris, circa 1994. Price: $45.00"

LOVELY PARTING GIFTS: The northern part of Seattle Center’s former Fun Forest amusement-park site is set to become something called “Center Square.”

Which leads to the rather obvious question: Paul Lynde or Whoopi Goldberg?

NOTE TO ‘GRAY’S ANATOMY’ PRODUCERS: I know your show has even less to do with Seattle than Frasier did. But simply bringing an insane mass murderer on to randomly slaughter people is a cheap writing copout, along the lines of Dallas’s year-long dream.

BOOM BOOM PLUS THE BIG THREE-O: Ah, I remember it well.

The months and weeks and days of slow buildup. The steam plumes. The bulge.

Then the eruption of Mount St. Helens. The biggest thing that had happened in my part of the world during my short life.

It was all encompassing. It was thrilling.

There were many deaths, but not as many as if it had happened on a weekday with 300 loggers on duty nearby.

There was infrastructure destruction, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed.

There was eco destruction, but even that has brought forth new life.

No, the real devastation to this area, and to this country, began much later in 1980. November, to be precise.

LET’S BRAND IT AGAIN!: On my MISCmedia.com site, I recently posted a link to marketing guru Garland Pollard’s list of  “brands to bring back.” They included Plymouth, Woolworth, Pan Am, GTE, and even Enron.
In other posts, Pollard’s site has praised Seattle’s Major League Soccer franchise for wisely keeping the beloved Sounders name. And he’s scolded the retailer formerly known as Federated Department Stores for trashing its beloved regional names, including The Bon Marche.

I, of course, have my own faves I’d like brought back:

If it can ever be determined who (if anyone) owns the trademark rights to Frederick & Nelson, I’d love to see a new store with that storied name. It needn’t be a full line department store. It could just be a quality family clothing store plus a cosmetics counter and a tea room.

The Rainier and Olympia beer brands currently live in vestigial form, owned by the Pabst marketing company and made by Miller in LA. It’s time they were brought home, perhaps contract-brewed by one or more local microbrewers.

With Sound Northwest merged out of existence, the region could use a print music mag again. Why not resurrect The Rocket? I can just see gleefully overdesigned cover portraits of today’s Seattle “beard bands.”
Someone, somewhere, has the bulk of the exhibits from the Jones Fantastic Museum, the beloved carny attraction that used to reside in what’s now the Seattle Center House.

Heck, for that matter let’s find a place somewhere in town to put up a new Fun Forest. I suggest the former Frederick Cadillac/Teatro ZinZanni block in Belltown, where two humungous condo towers were supposed to rise up before the housing market fell down.

Speaking of Belltown, this town still needs a restaurant/lounge as fun, as welcoming, and as classlessly classy as the Dog House.

Compared to most of these fantasized revivals, there’s actually some practical hope for a new Sonics franchise. The money and the management are in place. I’m certain a re-enlarged arena can be conceived with a minimal govt. investment. This leaves only two obstacles—David Stern and the current team owners at whose bidding he serves.

RENDERING UNTO CAESAR DEPT.: Activist, author, and online pundit Mike Lux recently posted an essay at AlterNet.org asking, “Why Are So Many Christians Conservative?”

    The question should really be, “Why Do So Many Conservatives Claim to be Christians?”

    The answer is simple: It’s the “default option” among America’s more conformist strains, at least outside of NYC. It represents obedience to the established authority system.

    PAUL’S EPISTLES: Some commentators have claimed Rand Paul’s not really a libertarian.

    They say his way-beyond-the-bounds-of-acceptable-discourse thoughts on corporate rights, including the right to discriminate and the right to pollute, aren’t what libertarianism’s really about.

    I believe they are. Sometimes.

    I’ve had arguments with big-L and little-l libertarians at several occasions over the past couple of decades. They’re particularly plentiful on the Microsoft campus, where many people like the idea of a pro-corporatist party that wouldn’t include the religious right’s  stances on drugs or porn.

    And yes, a few of these gents and ladies believed there should be as few restrictions as possible on what businesses can do. In an ideal world, they felt, there would be no such restrictions at all, except when they would unduly infringe upon the rights of other businesses.

    So yeah, by these folks it should be quite all right for restaurants, hotels, gas stations, and stores to refuse service to nonwhites.

    And oil spills? Unfortunate, and wasteful, to be sure. And they do infringe on the rights of other businesses, including those in the fishing and tourism industries. But, this line of reasoning might go, that’s no reason to seek vengeance against any poor li’l oil company—a company that didn’t mean any harm, but was just trying to make a buck.

    Being “only in it for the money” is some libertarians’ all purpose guilt dissolver. In the mid ’80s I had a spirited chat with an ad saleswoman, about some international arms dealer who’d been accused of funneling weapons to Iran or Libya or such. This woman insisted the arms dealer had done nothing wrong, because he hadn’t personally taken sides for or against these countries. He was just out for the money. Nothing wrong with that, right?

    In the past two or three years, some of us have learned there can be a lot that’s wrong with that.
    The U.S. ruling philosophy of “I Got Mine, Screw You” is older than the second Bush Presidency. Heck, it’s older than the first Bush Presidency. And it needs to be replaced.


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