29 Jan

WA State to West Coast Towing: Get Lost

A follow-up to my post about “predatory towing” from last year: According to the Seattle Times, the state has revoked the towing license of John Tillison, the owner of West Coast Towing. Those who have followed the towing follies posts here over the last year might remember that West Coast was accused of illegal “patrol towing,” and also of moving legally parked cars into illegal spots so they could then claim the right to tow them.

According to this Times story, when Tillison was told to stop patrol towing, he started “booting” cars instead to extort money from the owners. Same result as before, without an actual “tow.” Booting on private property, as it turns out, is illegal.

So now West Coast was evicted by their landlord, Tillison has lost his towing license for 10 years, and he’s also been fined. Sounds like a victory for the good guys, as far as I’m concerned.

24 Jan


Since childhood I’ve had an inexplicable love for all kinds of Hawaiian kitsch. If you feel that way too, you should check out Critiki, a very very cool site that rates and reviews restaurants, bowling alleys, hotels, bars, theme park attractions and just about anything else with a tiki theme. The site looks really good, too. (Found via BoingBoing.)

21 Jan

Does “cot” sound like “caught” to you?

In my dialect, “cot”, “Don”, and “collar” sound like “caught”, “Dawn”, and “caller”. I don’t say those word pairs differently. This is one characteristic of the Pacific Northwest Dialect. Do the characteristics mentioned in this article sound familiar to you? Some of them don’t sound like Seattle speech to me (that y-glide he describes in some of the vowels), but maybe I’m just not good at analyzing my own speech.

What I have noticed about Seattle-area speech over the years is a tendency to sound more Canadian in our vowel sounds than we used to. For example, I hear people say “sorry” with more of an “o”, less of an “ah”. This used to be the mark of a Canadian, but I hear it now in lots of younger Northwesterners. Have you noticed this too?

14 Jan

Columbia Law Library Music Plagiarism Project

The Columbia Law Library Music Plagiarism Project is a collection of information about music plagiarism cases. The site includes legal opinions, commentary, and sound clips and scores from the complaining and defending works — going back as far as 1845. The text can be a little thick to wade through if you’re not a lawyer, but it’s still pretty interesting to listen to the sound clips and decide if you agree with the decisions the judges made. I’d love to see the pages expanded somewhat for the non-lawyers, though. (Found via the Seattle P-I.)

12 Jan

“He doesn’t care that you know he lied”

Following the Social Security debate? Then you should be reading the posts at slacktivist, starting with today’s.

“It wasn’t a misstatement. It wasn’t mere exaggeration. It wasn’t a matter of his naively accepting bad intelligence from the CIA or the British. The president conducted a public forum on Social Security and he deliberately, intentionally lied about that subject.”

“…And he doesn’t care that you know he lied because he knows that more people will believe his lies than not, which was what yesterday’s forum on Social Security was all about.”

12 Jan

What Goes On — The Beatles Anomalies List

Someone mentioned What Goes On in an AskMetafilter thread recently, and I had to post about it being the Beatles geek that I am. It’s an exhaustive listing of “anomalies” in Beatles recordings — that is, clicks, editing mistakes, double-tracking errors, background chatter, and so on. Some of it is really hard to hear, but most of the anomalies can be heard without even resorting to headphones.

(Left channel) John says ‘TELL me why.’ It’s possible that John says ‘I already TOLD you why;’ if so, ‘I already’ is too faint to hear, but the inflection is too unclear for me to state it conclusively.
It is suggested that this is a reference to the earlier 1964 song, Tell Me Why.”

(It’s pretty obvious to my ear that he’s saying “…TOLD you why!”)

The odd thing about it is that I find many of these anomalies terribly familiar. I have noticed the double-tracking screwups in “Eleanor Rigby” many times, but never thought of them as errors, really. They are just the way the song is. When I listen to my own recordings I cringe at every little anomaly — but the Beatles’ work was full of them and no one minded!

(Edited to add: on this page you are told where the phrase “fucking hell” is included in “Hey Jude”. It is there, pretty clearly. That makes two well-known pop songs of the 60s that managed to slip the F word into the recording when someone said it in the background. The other one? Guess, and maybe I’ll post it one of these days.)

05 Jan

This is why we can’t have nice things

I’ve just turned off the ability for this weblog to accept trackbacks or pingbacks. Seems the blog spammers figured out that, while WordPress has some anti-spam security in posting comments, trackbacks were wide-freaking-open. So I discovered today that 75 trackback spams advertising porn were placed on my site overnight.

The spams have been deleted, and the trackback loophole has been closed. I am disappointed, because I liked being able to see when other people were posting about topics on my site. I guess now they’ll just have to post here instead.

Spammers, I repeat what I have said previously. You are very nearly the lowest form of organism crawling on this earth. Go to hell.

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