Evergroove trivia, pt. 99

I'm sure I'm not the only 1970s TESC grad to be asked this question over and over: "Did you know Matt Groaning?" No. But I knew a great guy named Matt Groening (rhymes with "raining"). Here is my collage of Matt memories ...

--He was one of the very first people I met at TESC after I enrolled. We were neighbors in A Dorm. Before I met him, I noticed the stairway walls were covered with variations on the "happy face" icon (e.g. Thalidomide Happy Face) and I soon discovered the author of this grafitti was Matt. Right away we established that we were both life-long cartoonists with many of the same influences. However, he had one up on me. He was the son of a cartoonist, named Homer Groening.

More on the flip...

Evergroove trivia, pt. 98

Bits of memory quilted together regarding Lynda Barry:

--We met in fall quarter 1974. Lynda's original goal was to be an art teacher.

--Once, when walking from the dorms to main campus, she spied a dadaist approaching us. Lynda grabbed me and forced us to hide behind a corner. "That man hates everything beautiful about art!" she spat.

--She had some sort of weird power over Matt Groening when he was CPJ editor. Once I witnessed her making a grand entrance into the paper's office and ordering Matt, "I want my picture on the cover of this issue!" And by God, he did it. I swear her photo was in every other issue of that era.

More on the flip...

Debriefing the NW Blogger's Conference

One of the real pleasures of attending the blogger's conference over the weekend was sitting next to Dave Neiwert, and learning about his blog, Orcinus (pronounced orSInus). It was my duty, and distinct honor, to introduce Dave at the conference, and I am equally pleased to be able to introduce him to Olybloggers. Dave's background is in newspaper reporting, and he also worked at MSNBC. More recently, he is the author of several books, including his most recent, Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community. His calling, it appears, is to expose, examine, and repudiate right-wing extremism in its several forms. His writing is clear, well-thought out, and effective. For example, he encapsulates an argument about what is wrong with the MSM in the following exerpt from a recent post (discussing comments of a journalist from the Boston Globe named Young):

For the bulk of my journalistic career, I probably saw the world in terms similar to Young's: the left and right, both for their virtues and their flaws, tended to balance each other out. For every bit of ugliness on the right, you could often find a counterpart on the left. This leaves those of us in the middle to balance things out. I think this view dominated in most of the newsrooms where I worked as well.

But I also studied logic and ethics back in the day (philosophy was a second major) and after awhile came to see that what many of us were doing in "balancing" our stories was in fact the antithesis of seeking out the truth, which is what journalism is supposed to be about. Specifically, many of us -- not just journalists -- were indulging in a classic logical fallacy, namely, the "false middle," or the argumentum ad temperantiam: "If two groups are locked in argument, one maintaining that 2+2=4, and the other claiming that 2+2=6, sure enough, an Englishman will walk in and settle on 2+2=5, denouncing both groups as extremists."

I don't know if the balance that I used to see ever existed. But in the 1990s, when it became clear that a lot of people on the right were declaring that 2+2=6, and a lot of people in the media were reporting their claims without batting an eye, any balance I had seen before began to vanish -- and it has not returned.

For Young to suggest that the vicious rhetoric that sprung from the right during those years had any kind of counterpart on the left is simply absurd. While we were being regularly regaled with Vince Foster and Mena Airport and Black Love Child conspiracy theories from mainstream right-wing pundits ranging from the Wall Street Journal to Rush Limbaugh to Fox News, as well as assassination talk from the likes of Ann Coulter, there simply was no counterpart for this kind of talk on the left during those years. The left, indeed, remained remarkably subdued during the Clinton years, except for those more liberal than Clinton who criticized him for being too conservative.

I kick myself for not having found my way to his blog before now, and I hope that Olybloggers will click their way over and check it out; it is well worth the effort.

No college degree? No problem

From The Seattle Times' Business & Technology section yesterday:

WASHINGTON — Some U.S. jobs pay living wages, are in fast-growing fields, have lots of openings and don't require bachelor's degrees.

Most of them aren't glamorous, but they won't be offshored anytime soon either, according to a newly published analysis by the nonprofit agency Jobs for the Future.

Among them: truck and bus driving, nursing, construction and computer-tech jobs.


Evergroove trivia, pt. 97

Whenever someone finds out I went to Evergreen in the 1970s, I usually get asked the following question about the three most famous graduates: Did I know either/or Michael Richards, Matt Groening, or Lynda Barry? The short answer is no, yes, yes. The long answer I'll cover in the next three parts of Evergroove trivia.

In this installment I'll focus on Richards.

No, I didn't know him.

The end.

Old Settler's Song (Acres of Clams)

I've wandered all over this country
Prospecting and digging for gold
I've tunnelled, hydraulicked and cradled
And I have been frequently sold

For one who gets riches by mining
Perceiving that hundreds grow poor
I made up my mind to try farming
The only pursuit that is sure

Rolling my grub in the blanket
I left all my tools on the ground
I started one morning to shank it
For the country they call Puget Sound


Evergroove trivia, pt. 96

Although Evergreen is now known for being a hotbed of cartoonists, it wasn't always that way. TESC is a college with a curriculum chiefly based on collaboration and cooperation, seminars and group work. Cartoonists by nature are solitary beings, geeky basement apartment dwellers who must stand apart from the crowd in order to observe and record.

The CPJ didn't really have any regularly appearing comic strips until Kathleen Meighan, under the pen-name "Katy Did," produced Da Boidz 1975-76. The first real page devoted to comix appeared in Oct. 1975, but it wasn't until Matt Groening became editor a couple years later the comix feature started being consistent.

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City Council priorities for this year

From The Olympian:

  • Focus on Olympia as a capital city to preserve the community's identity and economy. Officials will lobby the state for money to rebuild the Percival Landing boardwalk, which is succumbing to age and marine elements. They'll seek a state study on how Olympia compares with other state capitals when it comes to conference centers and other kinds of meeting spaces for visitors.

  • Improve the effectiveness of government. For example, officials want to improve how services are delivered by moving forward with a new City Hall with departments under one roof. They'll expand what people can do online, such as paying utility bills and parking tickets.
  • Put sustainability into action. Officials plan to increase recycling services, find more customers for reclaimed water, cut the use of toxins and reduce car emissions. They'll use green building practices and encourage businesses to do the same. And they'll follow up on a provision in the nuclear-free ordinance that gave the city manager a year to study how the city's investment practices can fall in line -- whether, for example, the city should buy federal bonds or invest with a bank that does business with a company that makes nuclear weapons.

Evergroove trivia, pt. 95

It was going to be a very weird quarter.

Early October, 1974. The school year was just starting. The "Encountering America" coordinated studies program went into a retreat somewhere at a lake up in Mason County.

One of the faculty members, Dumi Maraire, prepared dinner for us. Dumi was a native of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe, where Dumi returned and died in 1999) and had a short and controversial career at Evergreen. He brought in a live goat and slaughtered it before the assembled students. Then we cooked and ate it. I think even some of the vegetarians took part, since it was almost an insult not to. Actually, it was pretty good.

While I was helping unload the car of another faculty member who was bringing in supplies from the outside world, I saw the headlines of a newspaper she had just picked up. Back at TESC, an Evergreen student named Vicki Schneider had fallen, jumped, or was pushed off a top floor of A Dorm and landed on the pavement next to the circle. Right under my window. Matt Groening's room was next door.

When I got back to TESC I learned all my roommates had been first on the scene. The death was ruled suicide.

It was going to be a very weird quarter.

Evergroove trivia, pt. 94

One popular, and ironic, destination for Evergreen retreats was Fort Flagler State Park. The former military complex is on the north end of Marrowstone Island, near Port Townsend. Built at the turn of the century (19th-20th, that is), Flagler was designed, along with Fort Worden and Fort Casey, to defend the entrance of Puget Sound from enemy ships. Just in time for the introduction of the aeroplane to render the whole place obsolete.

Flagler is riddled with concrete gun batteries, bunkers, and observation boxes. During one evening at a retreat, I went into one of the observation boxes to enjoy the pleasure of smoking a fine cigar. Well, a cheap cigar. Some of my habits, like drinking black coffee, eating meat, making lame puns, and especially smoking cigars offended many of my classmates.

But then, as now, smoking a cigar is my way of meditating. You can't really do much else when you start burning one of those babies. So I'm looking out at a panoramic view of the Sound when my solitude is broken by some guy who obviously has lost the sense of smell. "Dude," he greeted me, "Can I have a drag?"

I suspect he thought I had something else, but I let him take a nice deep lung-full anyway. His response reminded me it is best not to inhale those things.

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