I've FINALLY figured out why there are so many weird things at thrift stores...because...PEOPLE ARE WEIRD! I feel really good about this new insight, and therefore am super-stoked to bring you another round of odd art and creepy knick-knacks from my forays! All photos by partner-in-weirdness Miss Eleven. Please to enjoy!

Ooh, look at these tough guys on this book! I hope the story ends with the scaly beast eating them both whole and then the croc's eyes end up shining like that spotlight and he also farts bullets.


A carefully-chosen selection of oddities today for you, my sweeties, gathered from the musty confines of the thrift store record bins! I will have you know I have taken to carrying hand sanitizer in my car because of these things, ALL FOR YOU! Please to enjoy!

The lady in the black leotard seems to be awfully excited about getting kicked in the v-town by Ol' Purple Spandex Wedgie there.


When I saw this gawjuss show poster from CMRTYZ turn up on Instagram, I first went, "WHAAT??" and then I went "WHOOOOOP!!" and then my brain got all happy and excited like a kitten on Ritalin. Three super-fave bands -- garage groovers Acapulco Lips, pithy punks wimps, and the marvellous multi-talented Mikal Cronin playing at the Tractor? I AM IN! IN IN IN IN IN and IN! For just three bucks and an RSVP, Red Bull Sound Select offered Seattle the Best Tuesday Night Ever with this show, curated by Sub Pop and hosted by another cool local band, Dude York! Dude York gave away a giant Valentine's Day chocolate thing! (As always, click on the photos to enlarge, and click on the Flickr links for more!)


When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you – pull your beard, flick your face – to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor.
 -- John Lennon
This Lennon quote immediately came to my mind after a very nice chat I had earlier in the week with Emily Nokes, lead singer of Seattle punkpop band Tacocat. We had been discussing the some of the triumphs and frustrations of navigating the world as women, how so many things have changed over her generation, my generation, and my young daughter's...and how some things may never change. How do we keep trying to build a world where all of us, men and women and every shade of gender ID in there, are safe, respected, and able to achieve everything we'd like? The most fun way to fight the good fight is, as Lennon knew, through music and humor. The three bands that played Chop Suey on Valentine's Day are perfect examples of how to create music can make you think, make you smile, and of course, make you dance around like a maniac. There was a candy-heart-themed photobooth, drink specials (I had a "Crimson Wave," which was a vodka cran named after a fantastic new Tacocat song/video about menstrual synchrony, hahah), and mylar balloons and happy faces everywhere.


I took off work Friday, February 14th, ticking off a “personal day” of my five allotted per year, driving out of the city towards the emptiness of the plains. Escaping the hearts and flowers, happy couples and miserable couples, optimistic, hungry singles and bitter brokenhearted was my better choice if only for a long weekend.

By lunchtime, I felt hungry and had driven so far already that my choice in dining establishments was but one: George’s Daytime Diner, located just off a flat, long, and nearly-empty stretch of two-lane rural highway. I parked my car alongside a brown ‘80s Ford sedan, the only other car there, and walked in. It was like a hundred other little places I had been to: a nondescript, clean, dated, family-run restaurant with a row of leatherette booths running under the front windows, a few tables on the floor, and a service counter. No one else was dining there. I took a seat in the first booth, and opened the slightly-sticky plastic menu.

From the kitchen, a strawberry-blonde, freckled, and forty-ish waitress appeared, wearing mom jeans and a baggy t-shirt. Her nametag read “HELLO, I’M FOXY.” My face must have registered all the questions I had about that, and she nodded. “Yep, that’s my real name,” she offered. “My mom named me after the Jimi Hendrix song…you know the one, “Foxy Lady?”

“Oh!” I exclaimed, “Yes, of course,” mulling even more questions that I wouldn’t ever ask.

“You here all by your lonesome or are you meeting someone? Want to order now?”

“I’m fine,” I replied, not really wanting to tell anyone if I was alone or not, thank you very much. “I’ll have coffee, cream please, and the Georgeburger with cheddar, no lettuce, and fries.”

“OK, you got it, get it going right now for ya.”


I brought my phone out of my jacket pocket to check my work email, but there was no cell service. Frustrated, I stared out the window at the random passing trucks, listening to the pop of my hamburger frying on the grill. With no distractions, my spirit began to sink rapidly, as if I had tied an iron anchor to it. Down, down, down into the newly-murky waters, a physical feeling, a constriction of the chest. If I weren’t so damn hungry, I’d just keep on driving, keeping busy, keeping things away, for as long as I possibly could.

A clatter brought my attention back to the table. In front of me, Foxy had placed a sturdy white mug of steaming black coffee, a tiny silver cream pitcher, and a red construction paper heart, which looked hastily cut, with “HAPPY VALENTINES DAY” written on it in blue ball-point pen. I stared at the heart, as my own heart beat faster and time slowed to a surreal bend, because I could not look the waitress in the face.

“Since you’ll probably be the only customer in here today, I thought I’d give you the royal treatment!” Foxy explained. She stood and waited, as I tried to compose myself. I don't really know how long that was.

My face, I am sure, was flushed when I finally looked up at her. “Foxy, I’d be glad to treat you to lunch today. Please join me.” It took everything I had not to cry. She could not have known.

“Well…my goodness! That would be so nice! I’ll be right back with our lunches!”

The bounce in her step was sweet to see. I poured a little cream into my coffee, took a sip, and smiled down at the small paper kindness that came my way as another passing truck rattled by the diner without stopping, heading east.


I was quite saddened to hear of the death of iconic child actor/dancer/singer and U.S. diplomat Shirley Temple Black, who died yesterday at her home in California of natural causes, aged 85. Without question she lived a long and good life, but it is still a little heart-rending to see all the photos of her as the ringleted, chubby-cheeked little girl and know that she is now gone. She was truly special. The term "gifted" is used so frequently now that it is weakened, ripe for mockery. But Shirley was exceptional on any scale you'd choose to apply, and was able to use her talents to their highest potential. More importantly, she used those gifts to brighten and better the world.

Shirley worked non-stop from preschool-age throughout her childhood, the highest-grossing movie star during the Great Depression, with a film schedule that would stress even the hardiest adult actor. Her ability to learn dialogue and complex dance routines nearly instantaneously left her co-stars in awe. She sang completely on key, and had an uncanny sense of how to deliver exactly the right tone in each of her scenes, from whimsy to pathos. She was an effortlessly charming, magnetic, fiercely intelligent child who never came off as affected, spoiled, overly precious, or odd. She survived being The Biggest Thing In The World -- which is no small accomplishment, and points to her having some solid family support behind her -- with no significant emotional dents or public embarrassments to speak of.

After happily retiring from the movies in her early 20s, Shirley raised three children, and her second marriage to Charles Black lasted 55 years until his death. She was not content to sit back and wallow in nostalgia, however, and it is no surprise that someone with her big brain and work ethic would want to do something more. In 1969, she began a highly-successful career in diplomatic service, acting as a delegate to the United Nations, United States ambassador to both Ghana and Czechoslovakia, and President Gerald Ford's chief of protocol.

After going through a mastectomy in 1972, she spoke out publicly, urging women to talk about breast cancer and come forward rather than hide in shame. In 2014, it now seems unthinkable that breast cancer was a taboo subject or that any kind of cancer would be branded as shameful, but that is how it was, and I remember it well. Women died because they feared treatment for breast cancer would make them desexualized outcasts, that they would be ruined physically and emotionally, shunned by everyone. That Shirley Temple Black was strong and brave enough to risk this social backlash says quite a bit about her character. In being one of the very first women with a high public profile to break the silence over breast cancer, she set a new tone and standard, and by doing so saved the lives of thousands, and perhaps now millions, of women across the world.

What an amazing life she had, and what an impact she made. When I now watch her films with my daughter, I see not only this whip-smart little cutie-pie who could out-act, out-sing, and out-dance everyone else on-screen, but the brilliant woman she would become, waiting to show the world everything else she had to give. Rest in peace, Shirley. You did well.

Shirley Temple & Buddy Ebsen, "Codfish Ball" from "Captain January" (1936)



Holy jam butties, people, there ain't no gettin' around it -- that on this date in New York City fifty years ago the Beatles first arrived in America, is a very long time ago. I remember ten. The band had called it quits four years earlier but McCartney, Lennon, Harrison, and Starr were all still making music in 1974 and still were rather young, so that took some of the strangeness out of it. At twenty years past, Lennon was four years gone, and the anniversary came with a very sad sting for me. At thirty years, I played a rough bootleg video of the Beatles' Ed Sullivan Show appearances to my two-year-old son, which he watched in its entirety, entranced. At forty years, Harrison was gone, too, a victim of cancer, and two more of my children watched that same video, entranced.

Now, my oldest son is grown, the second one is closing in on getting his driver's license, and my preteen daughter has a poster of the Beatles photographed in 1964 on her bedroom wall, the very same poster I had on my wall as a child. I, too, have reached and passed 50, which comes with the gifts of an overflowing wealth of great memories and (hopefully) hard-earned wisdom, along with the little ache of knowing that youth -- the Beatles', all their marvelous screaming fans', and my own -- is really, truly, undeniably well in the past. Every year this particular milestone seems a little more old, a little more distant, the black-and-white films of the event closer to the age of silent movies than today. And it's not that I mean "old" in a bad way, it's just...well, fifty years is just a huge chunk of time in anyone's life. Things change, and even if you are good with that concept, it's always a little clunky and challenging to navigate.

So how on earth did it happen that FIFTY WHOLE DAMN YEARS LATER, the world is still paying attention to the date that four young beat musicians from Liverpool, England came to play in the United States?? If you think about it, that is flat-out NUTS, and so beyond unthinkable at the time. Pop music was for teens, disposable as the new Pampers diaper, and the Beatles should have peaked and faded and dropped out of sight within six months, right? But here we are. Here we are!

Great scholarly works and countless books have been devoted to examining and explaining the cultural depth and impact of the Beatles over the last fifty years -- millions of words looking to explain something that was infused with so many intangibles. Baby boomers, disposable teen income, rise and fall of early rock heroes, death of JFK, haircuts, the Mod phenomenon, Pop Art, irreverence as a political statement, clever management, money to be made, even mass hysteria theories -- all of these and more made for a perfect Beatles storm, certainly. But that and generational nostalgia could never account for the continuing popularity of the Beatles.

Here's the answer:

Great songs + great performances + great recordings + great personalities + great look + great charm AND...

...there's no other way to say it...


Not wizard-magic or rabbit-in-the-hat magic, not anything that can be designed or conjured or manufactured or captured. If you are very, very lucky, you will be able to be a part of something that is infused with the very spark of life, an electricity that you can feel from head to toe and from within and radiating out, something that brings tremendous joy and excitement and depth of feeling that takes you out of the mundane and sends you soaring into the bluest skies, happy to be alive.

Nothing else but this -- magic -- could ever have sustained such passion over fifty years. I can't explain it, and am SO utterly not one for anything remotely floofy, spiritual, or non-scientific, but it is there. Life changed for the better for millions of people on February 7, 1964, and as wild as it might seem that a rock band from a depressed grimy town in the UK could have had that kind of power, it happened. It happens still. How completely wonderful is that?

When I look at the films of the Beatles getting off their plane in New York, I look at their faces. Surprise, delight, amazement...and if you keep looking, a tiny, tiny hint of the responsibility and somber weight of knowing you are IT, and everyone will be wanting something from you. But mostly, I see -- you got it -- magic.

The Beatles Pathé Newsreels 1964: Off To America/Conquer America


Man, there's nothing easier to do than criticize, right? Anything and everything can be picked apart, and is. It's a particularly popular sport in this age of ERR BUDDY HAS A BLOG OR TWITTER. But today, I am (virtually) standing and delivering the SLOW CLAP OF ADMIRATION to (gasp!) a large retail chain store for acting with (double gasp!) integrity.

  1. 1.
    the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
    "he is known to be a man of integrity"
    synonyms:honestyprobityrectitudehonor, good character, principle(s), ethics,morals, righteousnessmoralityvirtuedecency,
    fairness,scrupulousness, sinceritytruthfulness, trustworthiness 
  2. 2.
    the state of being whole and undivided.
    "upholding territorial integrity and national sovereignty"
Pharmacy giant CVS announced today that as of October 1, 2014, they will no longer sell tobacco products at any of their 7600 stores throughout the United States. In this age of ever-increasing income skew and corporate profiteering with absolutely no concern for human fallout, this is an astonishing choice to make. I will remind you that smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths in the United States, and in a new report from the Surgeon General last month, has been linked to a much broader range of horrible illnesses than previously thought. The wretched misery smoking brings to families, the staggering burdens it places on our health care system and economy, is unfathomable. These are facts. 

Pharmacies like CVS as well as many grocery chains have been steadily increasing their roles as health care providers -- millions of people are able to pop in and get a flu shot, check their blood pressure, or find out with a Rapid Strep test if that sore throat needs antibiotics or not. It's often far more convenient than trying to set up a doctor's appointment -- you can go in when you want, on your schedule, as you need, and that is a really good thing. CVS expects that by removing cigarettes, chew, etc. from their shelves, they will incur losses of about TWO BILLION DOLLARS per year. They have plans to rebuild the lost tobacco-sales income by broadening their partnerships with health care organizations, something that could not be accomplished while continuing to sell tobacco products, and will soon launch a major smoking-cessation program nationwide.

Are there other things that CVS sells in their stores that aren't healthy? Yes, nit-pickers, but it would be hard to claim that cigarettes weren't the worst of the offenders. By making the choice to generate corporate income not from a product that is a certain cause of human suffering, but from partnerships that encourage and facilitate wellness, CVS has acted with integrity. I encourage you to locate your local CVS by clicking right HEREreward them for making a brave step by giving them your consumer dollars, and support their decision to take a brighter path.




For this unprecedented event,
we offer 
our deeper prayers of condolence 
invite to you to be well present 
at the celebration 
of your friends name life service 
on Monday, February 3, 2014 
that will take place at 
Eubank Funeral Home 
at 11:00 a.m.

Please find invitation and more detailed information 
about the farewell ceremony here. (ed. - LINK REMOVED)

Best wishes and prayers,
Funeral home receptionist,
Justin Weiss