Today’s my brother’s birthday. Another year seeps in like a fairy fart under a cellar door. He’s thirty. Hard to believe, really…I still think of him as the tow-haired six year old kid who liked to go fishing off the pier. I wonder how he’d like to celebrate? I’ll give him my best wishes tonight, and take him out this weekend for supper and gifties. I’ve already burned him a few Type O Negative, Megadeath, and White Stripes CD’s.

Misc fun linkies and info I’ve obtained via the mail yesterday… they build up when I don’t read for a day.

It appears that electromagnetism and gravity may influence each other. This would be pretty incredible if it is verified.

Dialtones is a large-scale concert performance whose sounds are wholly produced through the carefully choreographed dialing and ringing of the audience’s own mobile phones.

Addictive headline generator. It looks like this thing polls for new headlines and randomly cuts them up Burroughs style.

The Forbes Fictional Fifteen Oooh…it must PO Lex Luthor that Bruce Wayne is worth so much more.

Before Microsoft, the rock of this Northwest city’s economy was sewing. The Gold Rush of 1897 turned Seattle into the major supply port for prospectors heading north and the population soared. There appeared to be an inordinate number of young women, without visible means of support, living in the downtown area– they listed their profession as “seamstress.” Nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

Rather than run the women out of town, Seattle’s political leaders decided to raise considerable revenue by taxing each prostitute $10 per month. Said the tour guide, “A stitch in time is two bucks.” In 1889, a fire started by an overturned pot of glue spread rapidly through the downtown’s wooden structures. Fire hoses lost pressure, and a human chain of seawater buckets reaching up from the coast was disbanded when stores of ammo in a hardware store began exploding. In the end, 33 blocks burned down.

Reconstruction was very quick and not very uncoordinated. Buildings were erected before city officials could implement their plan to elevate street levels nearest the water. Officials ordered the streets raised. Stone walls were erected on each side of the roadways and filled with whatever materials were available — fire debris, dirt from the hillsides, garbage, even dead horses — before the surfacing work.

So for about a decade this was the situation: Many downtown Seattle streets were up to 32 feet higher than the buildings’ ground floors and the sidewalks around those buildings. Ladders were placed at intersections so people could climb up from one sidewalk, cross the street, and climb down to another sidewalk. As Airi pointed out, that was not an especially flattering way for ladies in long dresses to walk about with their shopping bags. It also wasn’t a good situation for men on drinking binges, 17 of whom died from falls. Bridges were placed over parts of some sidewalks and, eventually, complete sidewalks covered the old ones, which remained in use and were illuminated by skylights imbedded in the new walkways.

In 1907, a bubonic plague prompted the underground portion of Seattle to be condemned. Only illegitimate business still was conducted there, including a flourishing liquor trade during Prohibition. Rats became an overwhelming problem. To combat the nasty rats, the city took several steps, among them paying 10 cents for each slaughtered rat. Citizens needed only to bring in a rat’s tail for what in today’s currency translates to about $5. Inevitably, some people began breeding rats so they could claim the reward.

Peter Gabriel looks like Ed Harris playing Anton LaVey these days.. bald, with a sharpened gray goatee. His new album sounds ok, but not up to his demigod level of status I held him up to a decade ago.

Some roads are being shut down near me, for the filming of “Fast and the Furious 2”… pesky. Car chases don’t need extras! From the fine actor that was also in Meet the Deedles.

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