Thursday, July 29, 2010

After Hours

Is there anything hotter than FH singing in German? Why, yes, there is: FH singing in German twice. And in between there's a little interview with her speaking very charming tentative German. The interviewer asks whether her feelings come through in her lyrics and, in short, she say yes. She goes on to sing a Teutonic version of "Comment te dire adieu." I still prefer the French rendition. You'll recall that it began life as the British torch song, "It Hurts to Say Goodbye." Thanks to Serge Gainsbourg's evil genius, it became this hip bossa nova number. And thanks to the greed of the record companies, it was translated into German. And there you go.

Two Things That Happened

When I left last night for trivia, this was the scene at 2nd & Blanchard:

It seems that the Crocodile - or more precisely, Via Tribunali - caught fire. It happened around 6:00 last night. I was watching The Simpsons and didn't notice a thing. Yeah, it's kind of tough to distract me when Homer's talking. Anyhow, my guess is that Tribunali's wood-fire oven might have gotten a little frisky. Whatever happened, the fire department was required. But by 6:30 - the time I left - everything seemed under control. It's just that the neighborhood smelled like a fireplace. I walked by this morning and there weren't any signs on the Croc about it being closed or whatnot. So I guess we can put this temporary unpleasantness behind us. So that's the first thing.

The second thing is that we won trivia at the Kangaroo & Kiwi last night. In the last five months, we've played four times - and we've won every time. We're careful not to play too often and incur everyone's hatred. But golly, it's a fun quiz. I recommend that everyone experience it. Hey, if we can win it, anybody can.

Coming Soon to the Moore!

Way back in the day, when I first heard about these guys, I thought that their name was a bold move. I mean, it comes from a Monty Python sketch. I expected a lot from them. Unfortunately, from the very start, I really hated all their stuff. Yes, it's nice that they're still together, touring, and, most probably, releasing albums. And it's also nice that they've always been a pop band, but really, I still hate their music. Nothing can change that, because it hasn't gotten better with age. I've always been able to discern their appeal and I can see why people would like their music, but it's just too cloying for my taste. But if you dig them, have a fine time at their show.

Monday, July 26, 2010

After Hours

Procul Harum. A Whiter Shade of Pale

They may be lipsynching, but this is one of the most beautiful things ever.

A Record-Breaking Sidewalk Sale!

Well, Saturday was quite fun at 2nd & Blanchard. We had our sidewalk sale and a record-shattering six people (myself included) got in on the action. I had all my crap for everyone to paw through, but the best sellers were the CDs and the LPs. I didn't actually sell about 20 78s, but I'm pretty sure that most people who bought them had no idea that you need a special turntable for them. I tried to explain to one guy, but he seemed to oblivious to my warnings. Well, I tried. Of course, you can't have a sidewalk, sale without a lemonade stand. That was Tommy's racket and boy, he really cleaned up. Observe:

He had a cool hat with a lemon on it. He also wore a lemonade shirt. You can see my two prized items in back of him (that didn't sell): the framed smurf hook rug and the Mariners vs. Yankees chess set. Anyhow, I totally expected Tommy to get bored with it after 20 minutes, but he stuck with it most of the afternoon. He ended up making around $30. For a six-year-old, that's some huge money.

So everything got underway around noon. People came and went. I fell into a nickel poker game with ID and Walnuts for something like four hours. At my high point, I was up at least $20. Yeah, that was $20 in pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Then I trash talked Walnuts, the gods reversed my luck and he and ID won half of it back. I still came out ahead and it was really pleasant sitting out on the sidewalk, playing cards and drinking beer for the entire afternoon.

Like so many things at the Rivoli, this event turned into a barbecue. Witness:

The next day was Martin's birthday, so he claimed the grill and did up a bunch of chicken. It was pretty good, though this new charcoal I got from Trader Joe's made everything taste slightly funny.

I eventually folded my operation and took my stuff down/upstairs. Damn, those 78s are as heavy as cement! Anyhow, it seems that I made around $50 from the sale and $10 from the poker. They played a game in the basement later in the evening, but by that time, I had totally conked out. It had been a really pleasant day. Here is a final shot of Martin's chicken:

I'm pretty sure this won't be the last sidewalk sale of the season. Stay tuned for more details.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Coming Soon to the Moore!

I wonder what the heck this is. Could it be somebody standing on the Moore's stage saying, "OK, black people, achieve, achieve, achieve!" I really don't know. I'm pretty sure this event is doubly not for me, as 1) I'm not black; and 2) I haven't really achieved anything. But let's wish everybody who can check "yes" in both columns much enjoyment and whatnot.

Your Sunday Squirrel

I'm just back from Denny Park where there are tons more camped-out bums than squirrels. Seriously, they're all over the place. But this little fellow was out exploring, so I gave him a peanut. It's rather strange how many of the park's squirrels are definitely more brown than gray these days. I don't know what that's supposed to mean; like looking around and seeing reclining bums every few yards, it's just a general observation.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sidewalk Sale!!

Can you feel the excitement? You can?? Well, can you smell it? Of course you can't! Anyhow, this Saturday (and possibly Sunday) is the next fabulous Rivoli Sidewalk Sale. Hopefully, we'll have many neighbors out front selling lots of interesting stuff. At the very worst, it'll be me trying to unload hundreds of records, a few dozen books, some very nice (and cheap) t-shirts and a several works of bad art. We're theoretically going to start at 11:00, but things may not get into full swing till the early afternoon. So hey, why not come around to 2nd & Blanchard and check out about 400 lbs. of old 78s and LPs. The weatherman says it will be a fine day to both sell and be sold to. Drop on by!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Have Nothing To Do With These People

OK, this happened outside of Belltown, but it was fairly close. The details are here. I'm glad to see that my Slavic brethren are behaving in such a brutal and swinish way. I wouldn't want the rest of the world to think they were civilized or anything. You know, I always thought it was: "Please mess with Ukrainians. And have a nice day." How wrong I was.

Yes, Zeb the Douchebag Is Really on Ice, Sweet People!

He was arrested in Seattle and then in Portland. It looks like the PDX charges will probably get him jail time. Just as long as the dumbass tagging stops, I'm a happy specimen. And yes, as you can see in the Smart Car post below, there is a Zeb tag on the building across the street. He got the metal screens over their windows. For some reason, they wiped those out, but did nothing about the little tag. What's the problem, folks, do you miss Zeb? I sure as hell don't. The sooner all traces of this douche are gone, the better.

So he's really in the slammer. That's some fine news.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Coming Soon to the Moore!

When I first saw this on the marquee, I thought, "Whoa, nineties! Who's playing there next, Toad the Wet Sprocket?" Well, guess who's playing there next? Toad the Wet Sprocket! Seriously! Golly, my cynicism is prophetic! And I owe it all to the collapse of civilization and the promise of a bleak future.

That Can't Possibly Be Legal!

Or can it?? Observe:

This is the scene across the street. Look, I'm all for Smart Cars. They're like a tenth the size of my current battleship, but honestly, their innate cuteness can only go so far. I mean, even Turks don't park on the sidewalk. That's more of an Italian thing. But is this Italy? No, it is not. Oh, and Ukrainians do it, too. And this is also not Ukraine. And thank your lucky stars for that.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Across the Border: The Bite of Seattle

I haven't been to the Bite in about a million years. I was never all that keen on getting locally fried or boiled food. Most of the fare was uninteresting and there was no place to sit and eat. Well, this year I decided to go. Here's what it looked like:

There was the usual tangle of strollers, array of bad tattoos and mob of people wanting to eat dog at the Korean barbecue place. That hasn't changed. New for me this time was the Catfish Corner stand. I love catfish, so this was a treat. Then I had some garlic fries. Then I saw this squirrel at Denny Park:

I gave him a peanut and that concluded our business. And then I came back home. The end.

Your Sunday Squirrel

Here is a different shot of the Independence Squirrel from two weeks ago. Since I'm working these days, there's less time to visit Denny Park. And when I do, squirrels don't seem to be around. But it's still a nice walk to/from the park, so I'll keep going when I can.

In other news, I'm told that it wasn't Zeb they caught on the 14th. Hmmm... We'll see about that. My sources are unreliable. At least that creep hasn't been trying to spray paint his name onto every square inch of blank space on my street lately. Nevertheless, I'm still very interested in wiping out every single last tag by this douche. So there.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Zeb: Busted!

Thanks to an anonymous poster, I learned that Belltown's most despised current graffiti douchebag, Zeb, was busted on the morning of July 14th. Check it out here. (They also nabbed a few idiots from Everett tagging, then photographing their work. Yeah, that's a special brand of stupid.) Apparently, he was caught in the process of scrawling his name for the millionth time on somebody's wall. Thanks, cops! Before that happened, he made these further contributions:

Those are located in Pioneer Square and Belltown. This guy must have spent a lot on paint, as I heard that he's sprayed far and wide - from Bellevue to Ballard and possibly beyond. Of course, Belltown, downtown and SLU bore the brunt of his impulses. Also mentioned in an earlier comment was the number he did on a building along Westlake. He really went to excess. It was completely unnecessary. Now his ass is gonna get all restituted. If any of your property was defaced by this douche, get into contact with the police. It's gonna be many a moon before this moron will be able to afford a can of paint.

And now, let's focus on the effort to erase all evidence of this creep. I suggest forming the Zeb Eradication Brigade, which will, somewhat ironically, be known as the ZEB. Seriously folks, I'm offering free labor to get rid of this awfulness. If anybody has better organizational skills than I do, make a plan and include me in it. OK? Death to Zeb! Long live ZEB!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

After Hours

Delta Rhythm Boys. Dem Dry Bones

An anatomy lesson from one of last century's better vocal groups. They all look and act like robots. That's a good thing.

More Douchery

Really Zeb, it's time to stop:

And this last one is really the limit:

Yeah, he tagged a tree. It's what all the kids are doing this year. Douche. Bag.

B23 left a comment in my previous Zeb post about him becoming even more hated than 3A. Well, that guy was just a minor nuisance in comparison. Just because you can scrawl your name on every inch of wall space doesn't mean you should. But try telling that to Zeb. Enough. Douche. Bag.

Your Sunday Squirrel

I went to Denny Park this morning and all the squirrels were in church, so I dipped into the archives. Please enjoy. And if you have a few minutes, some nice reader-person sent me a New York Times article about squirrels. You can read it here. They've done quite a bit of scientific research on squirrels in the last few years and you know what? Scientists have found out that they're pretty cool. I'm glad that science agrees with what I've been saying for a long time.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I Think Everyone Will Agree that Zeb Is a Douchebag

This plague started just a bit before I got back. In fact, it was one of the few new things I noticed after being away for six weeks. But now it's gotten waaaaay out of control. Something needs to be done about this guy. There's just too much spraying taking place. His work comes in two sizes; big...

...and small:

This is but a small sampling of what he's done. Not pictured is his defacement of the poor closed Lusty Lady and his other, myriad "contributions" to the Belltown landscape.

Here's my deal: we here in this neighborhood live with noise, both of the audio and visual varieties. There will always be a lot of both, but when there is an excessive amount of one or the other, you feel like something needs to be done. It's either that or go crazy. Has that car alarm been going off for the last three hours? Do something about it! Did those drunk people mashing under your window wake you up? Do something about it! Is this Zeb-nozzle making this neighborhood even uglier than it was? You get the idea. The thing is that in the past, I've singled out graffitists such as Scary Skull Guy and Eye Guy because I thought that their work had context. It wasn't just initials scrawled on a wall. Well, Zeb's stuff is just that - and we reached the saturation point weeks ago. Time to stop. Nobody gives a shit where you've been. You're a dumbass tagger making dumbass tags. Stop now. Belltown is not your canvas. Some graffiti does involved social commentary, but one thing is for sure: you're no Banksy. What you're doing is the human equivalent to a dog pissing on a tree. You're marking your territory. Belltown is not your territory. Stop now, OK? There are enough douchebags here throughout the week. One with a spray can is one too many.

And please, if anybody spots this mega-douche in action, kindly break his hands.

NOT Coming Soon to the Moore!

Now you see them...

...Now you don't!

I was going to do a post last week talking about what a bad name this is for a band, but does it matter now? I'm sure that they sound splendid, as they're two-thirds of the Dixie Chicks, but the name is still - in the style of Charles Barkley - turrubul. It's funny that there are still places in this great land where the Chicks are not welcome. And all that ire was directed at them for saying back in 2003 that they were ashamed that George W. Bush was from Texas during a gig in London. Honestly, it wasn't the most burning dis of all time, but it was conflated as such by mega-corporate radio, wingnut operatives and the like. Jeez, given the reaction, they should have gone a lot farther than that - maybe making a few prophetic statements about America someday regaining its senses or George Bush being the idiot everyone supposed he was and whatnot. But they bore the brunt of the overreaction and took it quite personally. I guess there was no other way to take it. Anyhow, here it is seven years later and most of us look at that time as a shaky structure of fear atop hatred atop stupidity atop insanity. And under it all is of course a parking garage. It's not important at this moment. The concert's off. Oh, and incidentally, they spelled "canceled" wrong. Is our children learning? No, apparently they isn't.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Igor's 4th...

...was spent totally outside Belltown. First up was the Edmonds Fourth of July parade. I grew up there and have witnessed the patriotic spectacle scores of times. In recent years, however, I've missed it due to lack of interest among friends. Just going alone wasn't that amusing, so with the return of my friend Kris, it has once again become a fun group outing. Here are some of the highlights:

Ronald McDonald on a Segway. What's not to like? Except maybe for Ronald McDonald and the Segway. Here's some blatant flaggery:

I hope you're standing while viewing this photo. It's the patriotic thing to do. This is the unkillable Edmonds Chamber of Commerce float:

Every year, it's the same. That's not necessarily a bad thing. One time, though, it went around three times, I kid you not. There was also this band from Minnesota:

I have no idea what they were doing there other than not being in Minnesota. It was quite a change of pace from the usual bands, like these guys:

Note the slouching and muddled formation. That's what happens when you combine my former school (Woodway) with its crosstown rival (Edmonds). This arrangement benefits no one and makes the kids from Minnesota laugh at our band. Anyhow, for me this was the best act of the parade, the Star Wars guys:

So what if some of the storm troopers were kind of fat; I want these people to march in every Edmonds Fourth of July Parade until the end of time. Placing a close 2nd was the Sons of Norway viking ship:

Yeah, neat. Here are some lowlights. This is a band that was too lazy to march. They just sat on the back of a truck and played Souza:

And there were also some very unfunny Shriner clowns:

And finally, the Meadowdale High cheerleaders who won some state cheering award. This was the saddest thing of all:

Try as they might, these girls will probably not surpass that achievement.

OK, so that was the parade. They used to have this cheesy fat guy doing the commentary who would call everything a "unit." It didn't matter if it was a bunch of horses or the Dodge Viper Club or Christian mimes, it was a unit. He has been replaced by some old guy with a thin, reedy voice and a pronounced lack of confidence. You know, I kind of miss the fat guy.

From there, it was off to Lake Union to my aunt's boat for the fireworks. The weather was awful - cold and rainy. It could have been February. We hung out and drank, drank and hung out. After what seemed like days, the rain stopped, it got dark and they shot off the fireworks. Remember, if you will, the hue and cry when it was announced that there weren't going to be any fireworks this year. Well, they might as well have canceled Christmas. A few of Seattle's richer citizens came up with some spare change so that the show would go on. It's a shame that the setting wasn't better, what with the dreary conditions and all. After madly snapping dozens of photos, they can be classified in two ways:

1. As pretty shots of what are obviously fireworks, and;
2. Photos that look like semi-competent space photography.

What can I say? My camera has many limitations. Let's look at the obvious fireworks first:

And now, the weird space shots:

Do think maybe I can sell these as genuine original shots from the Hubble Telescope? Yeah, me neither. Well, those were the fireworks. I'll tell you something: I parked only about half a block away from my aunt's boat and got a huge jump on traffic. However, the Seattle Police were so horrendously incompetent in their traffic direction that it took forever to get out of there. I just sat in my car going nowhere for half an hour while the cops did God-knows-what. I don't mind heavy traffic if it moves every so often, but this mess didn't. It just stayed put. For what I can tell, they just stopped everyone in all directions for no apparent reason. It was the worst crowd/traffic management I've ever seen. And keeping in mind that the police are raking in double overtime and a half or some such, I feel really gypped. These guys are being paid to do a job. They were obviously poorly prepared for it. Sure, I got home eventually, but it took 40 minutes to go two blocks. Is that traffic management? No, that's laziness. Personally, I think those guys should be docked pay for doing such a terrible job. I've never seen so many guys do such poor work with such determination. And it's not like this is the first time there's ever been fireworks on Lake Union. For Pete's sake, it happens every year. Come on, cops, a little competence would be greatly appreciated about now.

Anyhow, that was my Fourth of July.