The Great Seattle Fire – 125 Years Later

On the afternoon of June 6, 1889, John E. Back, a worker in Victor Clairmont’s cabinet-making shop near Front Street and Madison Avenue, was heating glue over a gasoline fire.  Sometime around 2:30 pm, the glue boiled over and caught fire.  The fire soon spread to the wood chips and turpentine covering the floor.  Back attempted to douse the fire with water which only served to spread the fire further.  The fire department arrived by 2:45, but by that time the area was so smoky that the source of the fire could not be determined.  At first it was assumed to have begun in the paint shop above Clairmont’s woodworking shop and the Seattle newspaper erroneously ran this story the next day.

By the morning of June 7, the fire had burned 25 city blocks, including the entire business district, four of the city’s wharves, and its railroad terminals.  The fire would be called the most destructive fire in the history of Seattle.  Despite the massive destruction of property, the only casualty was a young boy named James Goin.  However, there were fatalities during the cleanup process and over 1 million rodents were killed. Total losses were estimated at nearly $20,000,000 ($656 million in today’s dollars)

Over the next 18 hours, the blaze wiped out the town’s business district and waterfront. Miraculously, there were no human fatalities.  Because of the fire, the streets in downtown Seattle now sit up to 22 feet above the original street levels.

In a year’s time, Seattle had nearly been rebuilt. All the construction jobs sparked a population boom, and Seattle grew from a town of 25,000 into a full-fledged city of more than 40,000.

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To Catch a Preditor: Easter Bunny Edition

Tomorrow is Easter, the day I celebrate horrible Easter Bunny photos and tell myself that this year, I will not eat another jelly bean until Halloween.  So let’s fire this up.  The Easter Bunny or Easter Rabbit is a character depicted as a rabbit bringing Easter eggs. The Easter Bunny is sometimes depicted with clothes. In legend, the creature carries colored eggs in his basket, candy and sometimes also toys to the homes of children, and as such shows similarities to Santa Claus, as they both bring gifts to children on the night before their respective holiday. It was first mentioned in Georg Franck von Frankenau‘s De ovis paschalibus (About Easter Eggs) in 1682 referring to an Alsace tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter Eggs.

These Easter Bunnies are not that kind.  The Easter Bunnies pictured below are of the half-assed shopping mall or pastor’s son in a rented costume variety.  Some are frighteningly sinister, some do not even appear to be any sort of rabbit, and some are so pathetically bad, they get and F for effort because there was none.

bunny 1

It is quite possible that this Easter Bunny was out late the night before, if those circles around his eyes are any indication.

bunny 18

Granny Easter Bunny is killing it with this empire waist apron.

bunny 17

I do wish parents would stop doing that to their children’s hair.  Have we learned nothing from our own bowl-cut photographs?

bunny 16

That’s a pink chipmunk.

bunny 15

What the hell?  Is that a cat in a bunny costume?

bunny 14

Are they all screaming?  Are the bunnies laughing that the girl is crying?  It looks like they are on a roller coaster.

bunny 13

That bunny is so high.

bunny 12

I love how the little girl is pleading with the photographer “Save yourself, tell our story!”

bunny 11

The black background is a brave choice.  It lets the viewer imagine the setting for himself:  middle of a shopping mall or kidnappers secret dungeon?

bunny 9

This is a suppressed memory I hope that little girl never recovers.  I am not even sure that is a bunny, it looks like a fucked up melted clown candle.

bunny 7

What?  I am uncomfortable just looking at this “bunny.”  I think it is a woman in a pink union suit with a pair of long underwear bottoms on her head.  Or a man.   I don’t know.

bunny 6

Little kids eat the heads off chocolate bunnies first, why would we think any different if the roles were reversed?

bunny 5

Easter Bunny says “HEEEEYYYYYY!”

bunny 4

It is true, a picture does say a thousand words, but in this case, most of them have a question mark after them.  What?  Why?  Huh?  Did I just witness something?

bunny 3

Again, not a bunny.

bunny 2

The latest casualty from the “Stand Your Ground” legislation.

bunny 20

That is a healthy suspicion, little lady.  Extra points for the protection and skates (for a fast get away) if that sloppy-eyed creep tries anything.

bunny 21

You know that thing where people kinda look like their pets?

bunny 22


bunny 23

How is it that most Easter Bunny mask parts have the same sort of open-mouthed expressions and it can sometimes look like they are laughing, sometimes screaming, sometimes sneezing, and sometimes really enjoying some Easter-Bunny-on-Greyhound love.  Unfortunately, from now on, I will probably only ever see the “Easter Bunny Sex Face,” if you don’t believe me, scroll back up and take another look at the photos.  Ya, sorry about that.

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Happ Birthday Eugène Atget

Yesterday was the 156th birthday of the French photographer Eugène Atget who took photographs of people and things at a time when most photography being taken was portraiture.  His photos of paris a the turn of the century are hauntingly beautiful.


NAME: Eugène Atget
OCCUPATION: Actor, Photographer
BIRTH DATE: February 12, 1857
DEATH DATE: August 04, 1927
PLACE OF BIRTH: Libourne, France
PLACE OF DEATH: Paris, France

Best Known For:  French photographer Eugène Atget recorded everything he considered picturesque or artistic in and around Paris, with an eye for strange and unsettling images.

At around age 30, Eugène Atget settled in Paris and became a photographer. The rest of his life was spent recording everything he could that he considered picturesque or artistic in and around Paris, with an eye for strange and unsettling images. His main clients were museums and historical societies. After World War I he received a commission to document the brothels of Paris.

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Words To Live By – Ms. Taylor

Words from a woman who LIVED/LOVED/LAUGHED the hell out of life. You should do it too, in your own way.

“The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.” – Elizabeth Taylor

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Know Jack – Words To Live By

It is easy to say, difficult to try, and very hard to recognize in others, but it can be done, horizons can expand, thoughts can evolve, as long as there is life, there is potential for growth.

“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.” – Jack Kerouac

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Zelda Fitzgerald – Words To Live By

“She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.”

Zelda Fitzgerald, The Collected Writings

’80s Movies if America Had Lost the Cold War

Today’s post is brought to you by McSweeney’s website.  It is simply great and provides a needed distraction to me on my train rides.  You should check it out sometime, set up an IFTTT recipe and have them emailed to your mobile device.

’80s Movies if America Had Lost the Cold War.

BY Gemma Clarke

- – – -

Worker Girl

Trains, Trains and Automobiles

Little Trouble in Big China

A Nightmare on Engels Street

Military Police Academy

Red Dawn

Don’t Say Anything…

When Lenny Met Stally

The Bread Fast Club

A Collectivization Story


“Only parts of us will ever touch only parts of others.”

Did you ever begin Ulysses? Did you ever finish it? Marilyn Monroe did both. She took great pains to be photographed reading or holding a book — insistence born not out vain affectation but of a genuine love of literature. Her personal library contained four hundred books, including classics like Dostoyevsky and Milton, and modern staples like Hemingway and Kerouac. While she wasn’t shooting, she was taking literature and history night classes at UCLA. And yet, the public image of a breezy, bubbly blonde endures as a caricature of Monroe’s character, standing in stark contrast with whatever deep-seated demons led her to take her own life.

But her private poetry — fragmentary, poem-like texts scribbled in notebooks and on loose-leaf paper, published for the first time in Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters (public library) — reveal a complex, sensitive being who peered deeply into her own psyche and thought intensely about the world and other people. What these texts bespeak, above all, is the tragic disconnect between a highly visible public persona and a highly vulnerable private person, misunderstood by the world, longing to be truly seen.

Only parts of us will ever
touch only parts of others –
one’s own truth is just that really — one’s own truth.
We can only share the part that is understood by within another’s knowing acceptable to
the other — therefore
so one
is for most part alone.
As it is meant to be in
evidently in nature — at best though perhaps it could make
our understanding seek
another’s loneliness out.

Life –
I am of both of your directions
Somehow remaining hanging downward
the most
but strong as a cobweb in the
wind — I exist more with the cold glistening frost.
But my beaded rays have the colors I’ve
seen in a paintings — ah life they
have cheated you

Oh damn I wish that I were
dead — absolutely nonexistent –
gone away from here — from
everywhere but how would I do it
There is always bridges — the Brooklyn
– no not the Brooklyn Bridge
But I love that bridge (everything is beautiful from there and the air is so clean) walking it seems
peaceful there even with all those
cars going crazy underneath. So
it would have to be some other bridge
an ugly one and with no view — except
I particularly like in particular all bridges — there’s some-
thing about them and besides these I’ve
never seen an ugly bridge

Stones on the walk
every color there is
I stare down at you
like these the a horizon –
the space / the air is between us beckoning
and I am many stories besides up
my feet are frightened
from my as I grasp for towards you

Beyond her poems, the rest of Monroe’s intimate thoughts collected in Fragments are equally soul-stirring. Writing in her famous Record notebook in 1955, she echoes Kerouac’s famous line, “No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge”:

feel what I feel
within myself — that is trying to
become aware of it
also what I feel in others
not being ashamed of my feeling, thoughts — or ideas

realize the thing that
they are –

In her 1955-1956 Italian diary engraved in green, she writes:

I’m finding that sincerity
and trying to be as simple or direct as (possible) I’d like
is often taken for sheer stupidity
but since it is not a sincere world –
it’s very probable that being sincere is stupid.
One probably is stupid to
be sincere since it’s in this world
and no other world that we know
for sure we exist — meaning that –
(since reality exists it should be must be dealt should be met and dealt with)
since there is reality to deal with

In 1956, Monroe traveled to London to shoot The Prince and the Showgirl. She stayed at the Parkside House, a luxurious manor outside the city, and used the hotel stationery for her thoughts:

To have your heart is
the only completely happy proud possession thing (that ever belonged
to me) I’ve ever possessed so

I guess I have always been
deeply terrified at to really be someone’s
since I know life
one cannot love another,
ever, really

Some of her undated notes live between the discipline of the to-do list and the expansive contemplation of philosophy:

for life
It is rather a determination not to be overwhelmed

for work
The truth can only be recalled, never invented

Tender, tortured, thoughtful, the texts in Fragments hint at what Brooklyn-based novelist Arthur Miller, whom Monroe eventually married, must have meant when he said that she “had the instinct and reflexes of the poet, but she lacked the control.”

Jack Kerouac – Self Help

“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”Jack Kerouac