Archive for September, 2011

GSGH winner limerick #3

At last a current Seattle resident has won an installment of the Great Seattle Gargoyle Hunt. And it sure didn’t take long. I was certain this lion would have evaded capture for at least a few days, maybe even a week or two, but within an hour J. Kingston Pierce correctly pegged the Chamber of Commerce Building at 215 Columbia Street as the lair of Gargoyle #3. He wins a hand-crafted custom limerick with his name in it. Here it is:

The writer Jeff Pierce loved crime fiction
His eye was as sharp as his diction
Like the hero of Sir Doyle
He found our third gargoyle
By deduction and plain recogniction”

Thanks for playing, JKP! (Note: I get to call him Jeff because I’m his friend and it was the only way I could make his name fit the meter.)


The Great Seattle Gargoyle Hunt – #3

Okay, smarties. Here is the third installment of the Great Seattle Gargoyle Hunt. For rules of play see the first entry, here. The first two were apparently way too easy.

This is a medium difficult one. Unlike Gargoyle #1 (the walrus on the Arctic Building) this one is not high profile. People don’t talk about this one in everyday conversation and you probably won’t have seen it unless you spend time walking downtown. And yet it is distinctive. And you can see it on Google Street View.

Use the comments to submit your answer. Where is this wingéd lion?

Gargoyle #3

The life electronic

At this very moment, Mara is falling asleep to a Gordon Bok album being played on a 1980s vintage CD player and amplified by a Realistic amp/tuner made and sold by Radio Shack in about 1978. Angela and I brought these items into our marriage, like cats.

The CD player was Angela’s, given to her used by her brother-in-law before I knew her. Its LED display sometimes declines to come on and show you the track number, and the eject button broke about ten years ago so that we’ve always had to stick a pinky into its hole and touch a little protrusion back there, like a uvula, which creates a kind of gag reflex in the player and makes it barf up the disk, except when it starts shuddering loudly instead, which it does every time now, come to think of it, and at which point we have learned we must gently touch the left side of the disk tray to release whatever is hung up and make the horror stop. Mara has grown up understanding that she must stick her finger in the hole and then instantly tap the left side of the tray to get a CD out.

Arthritic and falling apart, maybe, but they don't make 'em like this anymore.

The amp/tuner was mine, part of a suite of stereo components that comprised my earliest sound system. I cannot adequately verbalize my awe that it has lasted so long. The only thing wrong with it is the volume knob, which, being turned, now causes one speaker to be intermittently mute, so that you have to find one of the acceptable sweet spots, which may not be precisely the volume you wanted.

Another piece in my teenage stereo set-up was my treasured Sony turntable, which I bought in about 1978 or 1979 and which was one of the finest pieces of stereo equipment ever manufactured on this earth. Sometime in the late 1990s it began to have trouble with playback speed, but there was no belt to get loose — it was direct drive, meaning that the motor was centered beneath and directly drove the platter table — so I could only surmise that the motor itself was slowly croaking. I once unscrewed the screws holding down the platter table and removed it, then unscrewed and removed the cover over the motor and looked inside, hoping I might find a “loose wire” or something. I felt like Indiana Jones stumbling into some ancient temple of shining and indescribable beauty and splendor: there were three large coils of glistening red wire in there, arranged like the petals of a flower, with smaller coils attached symmetrically, and no dust nor light nor eyes of men had ever violated that sacred chamber from the time its cover was first secured until that moment. Seeing that I would determine nothing by peering at at and by messing with it would only bring doom and destruction to this crypt of late-twentieth-century Japanese stereo engineering I buttoned it up toot sweet and got out of there. But that glimpse of its inner beauty made me unwilling to part with the increasingly useless turntable. Such a marvel! They didn’t make them like this anymore. Back then Sony developed a reputation, in fact, for building things to last too long. This was one of those things.

For almost twenty years, my amp/tuner and turntable were accompanied everywhere they went by a Technics tape deck, a really good one also from the late 1970s, which would probably still be working had I not come home one summer evening in the mid-90s to find that my roommates had recorded some vocals at demonic levels in order to achieve maximum distortion of the sound, which I could hear before I got to the driveway as I walked up the street. It had recorded and played flawlessly before that, and afterwards one channel did not record properly. Still, I kept it for years because it was just such a well-built machine.

Below this platter table...workings of unspeakable beauty. The PS-X50 on the last day I owned it.

The picture I’m trying to paint for you here is that while neither Angela or I is a technological early adopter, we have always bought (or accepted as gifts) quality electronics and have thereafter not been technological frequent exchangers. If we can still use the old, we tend to not covet the new o’ermuch.

Nevertheless, new electronics equipment accumulates. I insisted on recording the music from my vinyl platters onto tape cassettes well after the “mass of men” had given up on analog and migrated to CDs, even after the final failure of my Technics tape deck and after my Sony turntable took ill. Thus, besides these well-made relics that I could not bring myself to get rid of I also have housed over the years an assortment of lesser turntables, tape decks and speakers and other items I picked up here and there to feed my analog habit.

I also have one of my dad’s old tube radios, a short-wave radio that picked up high-frequency broadcasts from all over the world, and the front dial pane has Cairo and Ecuador and “USSR” and a bunch of other cities and countries printed right on it so you can find them quickly. It made that staticky whistling whirr when you were tuning it, dropping in pitch when you got near a station and then rising again if you went beyond it. My dad said he’d got it running and gave it to me because he knew I loved the old battleship, but it didn’t work when I tried to fire it up and we never got around to checking into it. Still, I have fond memories of listening to announcers speaking crisply in foreign languages on that radio when I was a kid.

We should have replaced our CD player and amp/tuner long ago, and I guess we’ve always meant to, but other things have taken up our time, money and drool. And the sad fact is, the old thing is always built better than the new thing you replace it with. We finally bought our first VHS video tape recorder/player (Toshiba) in 2002 and it only lasted until about 2007, when I had to pry a rented tape out of it with hammer claws. Compared to my steel-fronted and metal-knobbed stereo components from the 1970s, the Toshiba was a piece of flimsy plastic garbage. Its malfunction and subsequent mangling propelled us into the world of DVDs, which we had thitherto resisted because, well…our VHS machine was still working and the VHS videos at the movie rental place had not yet completely vanished from the shelves. We bought a DVD player, which is still working at this write, but it is nothing like the solid pieces of equipment I saved up my money for in the late ’70s.

Radio Bangladesh, anyone? The old Hallicrafters tube radio my Dad built in the 1960s, I think from a kit.

So this moment came, or this moment assembled itself over time in my consciousness, when I realized that the pace of technological advancement in consumer electronics has sped up to such a degree, and the lifespan of any given electronic “good” has concomitantly shrunk to such a brief period, that to buy a piece of equipment these days for playing back music on or viewing a movie on is to risk being very soon stuck with a piece of junk no one will want for money and no one will let you get rid of for free.

And because you cannot now legally throw these things into a hole in the Earth the way you did when I was a lad — what great fun we had in those golden days, hurling truckfuls of toxic nonbiodegradables into the soil without so much as wincing — these things go in the garage in a stack, and every time you look at them you feel that particularly Western feeling of being owned and enslaved by your possessions, a feeling that you live in your own plastic midden, your useless crap piling up around you. Try getting rid of a broken or even an unwanted vacuum cleaner. We have had two sitting in our garage because no one wants them, not even for parts, and in Seattle you have to pay $35 apiece to leave them at the Dump. I mean the Transfer Station. (See? I still refer to it as the Dump, which was a happy term of endearment when I was a kid.)

So when Angela told me about the Free Electronics Recycling Event going on at a church parking lot in Crown Hill a few weekends ago, I opened the hatch of the Subaru with glee and made to load up. The process engendered mixed emotions for me. One of the two turntables I threw in the back of the car was part of a plastic mid-90s amp/tuner-tapedeck-turntable combo stack “not worth the powder to blow it to hell” that I had picked up at a garage sale for a couple bucks. But the other was my beloved old Sony PS-X50. This was like loading up a ’57 Chevy to give to the Goodwill. I figured it was time to quit pretending I was ever going to have the time or money to get it fixed. I tried once, spent some money to have someone make the motor run right, but it started speeding up and slowing down again almost immediately.

A trip backward in time. The back of the tube radio.

The crazy part is, I still have one more turntable, a decent made one that still works well enough to play the old vinyl which, oh, I forgot to mention, I still have much of. Especially noteworthy among the old platters are some kids’ records, which I played for Mara once on a turntable and she loved. I was going to throw away even this last turntable but Mara complained. I reminded her that we now had digital versions of those old stories that we could listen to on my computer, and she said “the computer’s not the same!” Inwardly I smiled, glad that she has a little Luddite in her.

The annual recycling event is hosted by Windermere and the recycling company is 1 Green Planet. (They’re open — and free — year round if you don’t want to wait for the annual do.)  They were nice people. We drove up into the church parking lot. They smiled at us, unloaded all the electronics carcasses, thanked us, and charged us nothing (we donated a small sum to the church for a missions project). The Sony PS-X50 turntable was carried off before I had a chance to tell them what a rare and wondrous piece of equipment it was, and I doubt they would have known by looking at it (though possibly its weight might have alerted them to the fact that it was not of this era). Every person there was younger than it. I don’t know if anyone will have looked it over to see if it could be fixed or if it just got thrown onto a heap of turntables and tape decks and DVD players. I can’t really bear to consider its fate. It served me so well.

I could not bear to part with Dad’s old short-wave radio. Not now. It’s been in the get-rid-of pile for a long time, since it never worked right since I’ve owned it and I never had any clue how to fix such a thing, but when I look in the back I see sawdust from my dad’s shop, a shop bulldozed half a decade ago, sawdust that got in there when he was using his radial arm saw years before he gave it to me and I never bothered to clean out. The vacuum tubes stand like rigid, pointy-helmeted sentinels from a ghost army, guarding against a rear attack on the open-backed casing. Well, they didn’t see transistors coming, did they? Still, they are as marvelous to me as the coils I glimpsed in the PS-X50 that time. How can it be that there is no longer any place in the world for these things?

Arctic dreamin’

My friend Pedro, who is in the hospitality industry, shares my love of old Seattle buildings and makes it a point to occasionally go into one to see if he can get someone to show him around. He has a knack for it. Last week he and I met up at the Arctic Building to see if we could wrangle us a little tour of the splendid domed banquet room. It was a coincidence that he suggested this building, as I happened to have just used photos of the walruses on the exterior of the building for the first post in the Great Seattle Gargoyle Hunt.

Skylights and the chandelier in the Dome Room.

I chuffed up Cherry on my lunch hour and found Pedro in the lobby already engaged in convivial conversation with Stephen, a concierge and bellman for the hotel that now indwells the building. Stephen has been in Seattle for about a decade. He loves Seattle history and was happy to show us around his little corner of the city’s architectural heritage. There were no trap doors or ghost stories (at least not on this tour), so I haven’t got much to tell you that you couldn’t learn quickly elsewhere, but it was fun to be shown around by someone who understood why we cared about an old place like this.

In a nutshell, the Arctic Building was commissioned in 1916 by the exclusive Arctic Club, whose members were among the lucky few prospectors who returned from Alaska after the Klondike Gold Rush with pay dirt and were thus instantly rich. It was designed by A. Warren Gould, built by James Moses and finished in 1917. The clubmembers had been meeting two blocks south in the Morrison Hotel when they had a falling out with the owner of that property. They had their own place built at Third and Cherry on the site of the old Seattle Theater, which happens to be where the even older Rainier Club had once met. Leaving the Morrison, the Arctics “surreptitiously” removed the bar and took it with them to their new headquarters, so the story goes, by hoisting it out a window.

The splendor of Klondike wealth.

The clock in the Dome Room. Note the Arctic Club symbol at the top and at the end of each of the hands.

The club, founded as a businessmen’s club for men with connections to Alaska or Klondike Gold, was in existence until 1971. After that the building went through a number of afterlives and was eventually bought by the City of Seattle, which had been leasing space in it and owns a number of buildings in the vicinity. As you can well imagine, however, the city government hasn’t needed so much square footage of late, and they sold it in 2005 to a national hotel chain that has done some tasteful restoration and now runs it as the Arctic Club Hotel.

That purloined bar is not the one that is in the lobby now, striking as the existing bar is. Among the things that are original to the place is the clock at the north wall of the domed banquet room, as is the dome itself (it should go without saying). Stephen took us to see this room and I got a good look at this clock, which has two small carved walruses flanking it and is topped by the cryptic symbol of the club — two circles united by a cross.

At the corner of Third and Cherry.

A photo of the rear of the building that I took in 2005. You can see the top of the Dome Room at far right, down low, and if you click to enlarge you can see the row of walrus heads along the third floor.

Stephen also showed us one of the guest rooms on the second floor overlooking Third Avenue. Pedro surmised that the room must have originally been part of the club’s library, pointing out the open book motif in the molding around the high ceilings. Photographs of northwest Indians by Edward Curtis, older brother of Asahel Curtis, hung over the bed. Stephen was very into Curtis’ work and took us to another room on the third floor where there was a portrait of the photographer as a young man. We discussed the fact that while Curtis was regarded as rather a swashbuckling cowboy photographer there is evidence to suggest he was a poser, a little high on his own public image. And a dandy. I’m merely passing on what I heard. Anyway, his photographs of First Nations peoples are very evocative.

Not the one nicked from the Morrison, but still a handsome bar. The old club symbol is in this photo, can you spot it?

Stephen shows off one of the guest rooms while clutching a copy of Maureen R. Elenga's book, "Seattle Architecture: A Walking Guide to Downtown". Note the book motif in the molding at top.

All over the walls and pillars around the second-floor lobby (Cherry Street) entrance are autographed photos of the early club members, none of whom looked like the kind of chaps who would steal a bar. After we perused them, Stephen got someone to open the locked glass cabinets behind the counter in the lobby and let us examine up close one of the very old beaver felt tophats on display there.

If you get a chance to go in, say hi to Stephen and drop my name. It will gain you nothing except perhaps a smile of recognition. But you could ask Stephen if he would show you around and I bet he would do it based on your interest in the old edifice alone.

My co-adventurer Pedro (left) and concierge Stephen in front of the Cherry Street entrance.

The City Dump will never be the same

Among the adult male voices imprinted on my memory, only that of my father goes back further than this one. Not even my two uncles who lived in Seattle when I grew up, not even the men heading the households in my neighborhood, not even the anchormen I heard every evening on the news, have been more immediately recognizable to me throughout my life by their voices than this man.

It was like trying to see Jesus. Mara is at lower left, indicated by the red arrow. Note all the big red noses.

This morning, watching YouTube videos I had dug up to demonstrate to Mara what fun we were in for today, I felt an instant feeling of well-being as the sound of the voice stroked some paleo-neurons in my brain, receptors formed early in life around the particular resonant and velvety frequencies and the roundness and breadth of enunciation that could only belong to Julius Pierpont Patches, Seattle’s beloved hobo-clown.

As far back as I can remember, and in fact back to 1958, J.P. Patches, the “Mayor of the City Dump”, came on television every morning and again every afternoon to amuse both children and adults — we kids loved his slapstick antics and the cartoons he would introduce by taking off his hat so the camera could zoom into it, and the adults sat behind us busting a gut at J.P.’s double entendre and at other aspects of the show that were above our heads.

For instance, all the other characters besides J.P. were played by one man, Bob Newman, including Gertrude (J.P.’s girlfriend I guess), the Swami of Pastrami, Boris S. Wart (the second meanest man in the world), Ketchikan the Animal Man, Gorst the Friendly Furple, and the voice of Miss Smith of Miss Smith’s Delivery Service, whose front side we never saw but she was ostensibly a white-haired old lady who rode a motorcycle, wore a helmet and leather jacket and growled like a longshoreman. Sometimes J.P. would tease his fellow actor by putting him in the impossible position of having to voice one character while appearing as another, for instance, if Gertrude was present he would say “let’s call up Ketchikan the Animal Man and see what he knows about this”, and while J.P. called Ketchikan on the huge black phone, Newman-as-Gertrude would have to step surreptitiously off-camera and throw his voice so that we kids would believe that Ketchikan was on the other end of the line. The two actors frequently cracked up in fits of laughter, and the crew was notorious for bonking J.P. on the head with the microphone boom or delaying sound effects.

When it comes to Simon Says, J.P. plays dirty, and the audience loves it. Still, this Patches Pal (in the white shirt) withstood the barrage of tricks and prevailed to win the candy.

The show, which ran until 1981, was unrehearsed and improvisational and completely off the wall. J.P. had a doll named Esmerelda whose contribution to the show was a canned child’s laugh track that was played whenever he spoke to her. There was a stuffed dog named Griswald, a grandfather clock whose face became animated when he spoke with J.P., and Tikey Turkey, a headless rubber chicken that “lived” in a metal oven at the back of the room. There was also a bookworm named Sturdley that emerged from a shelf of books occasionally. Often Chris Wedes, who played J.P., and Newman came into the studio not having any idea what they would be doing on the show, but with so many characters and friends, there was never a dull moment. This was early T.V.

Several generations of Seattleites grew up with J.P. and call themselves “Patches Pals” to this day. Many were brought onto the show as part of a scout troop or school class. As a kid I thought these were the boring moments, where twelve kids would shuffle in and J.P. would stand behind each one and ask their name, and if the kid wasn’t paying attention he’d grip their head in his hands and tilt it up to look at him. But for the kids who were on the show, it was a moment they never forgot.

No one ever forgot J.P.’s ICU2-TV set. Say it out loud to get the joke. This was a cardboard box with a T.V.-tube-shaped opening into which J.P. would peer while sitting “Indian style” on the floor. The camera was inside it, and the set’s magical powers allowed him to see that, for instance, little Katy who was turning seven should look in the dryer for her birthday present, or Jamie, who might be turning nine, should look in his sock drawer. Parents would call the studio with these hiding places and J.P. would “discover” them through the ICU2-TV set.

Selecting contestants for the hula hoop contest.

J.P. never talks down to kids, and they could always tell that he enjoyed their own wit and energy. He made them the stars. His games of Simon Says, which he has continued to conduct at the many public events he has appeared at in the decades since the show went off the air, were legendary.

Wedes is 82 years old. I don’t know and have not been able to find out whether Newman is still alive. I found out late this week by the merest happenstance — a newspaper headline glimpsed on the sidewalk — that Wedes would be making his last public appearing as J.P. Patches today at the Fishermen’s Fall Festival at Fishermen’s Terminal. Patches Pals old and young would be able to see the Mayor of the City Dump live just this one more time.

I hadn’t seen J.P. in a live performance since the early ’90s when I wrote an article about him for a local newspaper. I felt a sudden and profound sense of loss, perhaps exacerbated by the fact that my father recently passed away (which makes J.P. the Elder Vox), as did a beloved older member of our church community. There has been entirely too much of old men riding off into the sunset lately for my inner little boy. I had to see J.P., and although I didn’t know if she would appreciate the significance of seeing a clown she’d never heard of, I wanted Mara to be able say someday that she saw J.P. Patches do his thing. This would be her only chance.

We hit the road. Emilia’s nap precluded her and Angela’s attendance.

One of the lucky Pals (and a very young one, all in all) gets her photo taken with J.P. We never even got in this line.

We got to Fishermen’s Terminal in plenty of time, even found the last parking spot, but I had grossly underestimated, or forgotten, the loyalty and dedication — to say nothing of the sheer numbers — of Patches Pals. It was like trying to see Jesus. There were a few score plastic chairs set out in front of the stage, but just beyond the last row of chairs — all of which were occupied — was an impenetrable wall of Patches Pals. Mind you, these are not kids, these are people in their 40s and 50s. There were a dozen or so kids down in front — we could not get there and there was no room anyway — but the seething throng of hundreds of people were adults like me who quite simply adore J.P. Many wore the signature red clown nose of the Patches Pal.

I am too slight and too old and Mara now too big for me to put her on my shoulders, but I hoisted her onto my back in piggyback fashion and she could just barely see over my shoulder, between the arms of the people holding up digital cameras, to the place on the stage where J.P. was. He asked if everyone here were Patches Pals and the place erupted in a single affirmative roar. Similarly a negative when he squinted and wondered if there were any “Boris Buddies” present (Boris Buddies are the minions of the second meanest man in the world). Then he got to the business of the Simon Says contest for kids, the Simon Says contest for adults, and the hula hoop contest. Candy was doled out to winners and losers alike.

I was sad that we couldn’t see him better, but two-thirds of the way through the show a spot opened at the front of the human wall that Mara could get to and she bravely threaded her way among the knees and elbows and got to where she could see a little better.

Mara’s wooden boat becalmed. We floated it at the adjacent marina.

After the show J.P. was escorted by Seattle Police officers to a booth where a line formed for autographs that included literally hundreds of people. Instead of standing in this line, Mara and I went and got fish n’ chips. Checking back after an hour, we found the line to be just as long. Mara really wanted to get an autograph (and was even keener to have the J.P. action figure), but she wisely chose again to give the queue a miss, whereupon we sheered off to join the madness of hundreds of children trying to build wooden boats with their parents standing behind them nipping at their every move. (J.P. was just one attraction at this festival, which included lots of things for kids to do.) Hammers, glue, nails, and building materials were provided, but room to breathe was not. We checked the line one last time and it had not shrunk, or really even moved much. Everyone wanted to sit down with J.P. and get their picture taken, which took time. I wondered how long the old man could do this. It must have been exhausting, all that adoration.

I was feeling bad that I hadn’t been better prepared for viewing the show — and there’s no next time to apply lessons learned about Patches Pal Density Quotient — but we made the right choice, because as we were walking to our car we saw J.P. being driven away, and it had only been a few minutes since we last saw the line snaking away across the grounds. I can’t imaging the disappointment of all those people in the line who never even got to the booth, who were told, in effect, sorry, J.P. is over forever.

The passenger-side window in his car was rolled down as he passed, and I shouted “We love you J.P.!” Another lady said the same thing right after me (copycat).

“Thank you”, J.P. said with a wave. “Goodbye!”

Off the old block

It is rather easy for us to pick right up where we left off, even if it is more crowded now with beautiful wives and wonderful children. Tis a marvelous blessing indeed.”

— Kip

My friend Bernard Christopher — you know him as Kip — was in town briefly last weekend to visit his not-doing-so-well father. He came alone this time, and although getting our young families together is always a joy all its own, I was particularly thrilled to have a chance to sit down to a meal with Kip and just catch up the way we haven’t been able to do in a long time. He disembarked the Link Light Rail train from the airport at Pioneer Square and met me at Planet Java — my perennial favorite diner — for breakfast.

I’ve known Kip since about Seventh Grade, which was in the early Precambrian period. I’ve said before that I don’t even remember meeting him. He just fell into stride with Jeff and me, the right hombre for the difficult job of balancing our by then already maniacal seriousness. I’ve written of this Triad before in other posts (notably here), but I never told you about his heritage.

Kip's ancestor, Thomas T. Minor, Mayor of Seattle

Kip is a direct descendant of Thomas T. Minor, erstwhile mayor of Seattle (and Port Townsend, too) and the referent of Minor Avenue on First Hill, in a house on which, perhaps not coincidentally, Kip’s father grew up and in an apartment building on which, in an even more interesting turn, the old man lives now. Kip’s last name is not Minor, but that name has been a first or middle name in every subsequent generation of his family and as we were growing up I constantly heard mention of cousins and uncles named Minor.

Once when Kip’s mother was driving us back to Bellevue from Bainbridge Island, where we often stayed weekends in various summer homes owned by Kip’s extended family, she pointed to Trinity Episcopal Church on Eighth and James and reminded Kip that his forebears had helped build that church. I was gobsmacked. Kip made a comment of affirmation, but Kip was not a person who peacocked his Seattle blue-blood heritage. It was just a fact. But even before I became intensely interested in Seattle’s architectural history I found this fact to be remarkable. My friend Kip, descendant of churchmakers.

It's right there, but you can't see it. Kip enjoys things like this.

And it’s a really fine church, at least it seems to be so from the outside, which we passed on the way up to Minor Avenue. Our plan was that we would eat a leisurely breakfast and then I would accompany him on foot up to First Hill on his way to see the old bean, and we’d part ways there. It was just the right thing, only too little of it. The thing about Kip, historically as now, is that I could always spend untold amounts of time with him. We could play for hours, and it really was play. We played frisbee. We played guitars — he liked my six-string acoustic more than he liked his own classical, and I liked his classical more than I liked my classical. We played cribbage. We played vinyl Genesis records, trying to figure out what Phil Collins was singing at the end of “Los Endos” just before the fadeout.*

I had all the time in the world back in those days, and spending it with Kip always felt like worthwhile outlay. Walking through downtown, from Washington onto First and across Yesler, then up James, we fell into that timelessness again, just talking about stuff. Noticing stuff. Wondering aloud about stuff. There is a piece of sidewalk up on Eighth Avenue about 30 feet long where on a clear September day you can look right at the Columbia Center, the tallest building in Seattle, and not see it, because its shape fits with perfect snugness behind the Municipal Tower from that viewpoint. Not many people I know would pause with me to marvel at that. That’s how Kip rolls. His mind seems to have no limit of capacity for the little things that make life interesting right here, right now. And this is the Kip of today, a tired guy working a full work-week, tending to two small children, and flying at 7 o’clock in the morning to visit his dad.

The church his ancestors built.

Though it has never been “his church”, Kip allowed as how I could snap him in front of Trinity on our way past. I like the idea of the photo, its visual concept: my old friend solidly and solemnly enshrined above and around, sitting before a heart-red door, and blessed by the bright sun of a Seattle September. It’s the way I think of the people I love. If my heart were heaven, then all my friends were sanctified.

*We figured out later that he’s reprising a line from several albums before, when Peter Gabriel sings “There’s an angel standing in the sun”.

GSGH winner limerick #2

Louis from Brazil* won the second round in our Great Seattle Gargoyle Hunt before it had been up 30 minutes, correctly identifying the Interurban Building as the location of Gargoyle #2. Here’s his prize:

Though Lou now raised his smoke in Brazil
Our quest he set out to fulfill
‘That cat ‘bove the door?’,
He winked, ‘Seen it before’
Then went in for the virtual kill”

Thanks for playing, Lou, and for supporting this blog through your comments for the past two years!

Check out Louis’ online radio station, Rocco’s Musica! Musica!, for some cool lounge, jazz and other great music. Listen while you work!

*Maybe I should explicitly note that people who actually live in Seattle are also eligible to win.


The Great Seattle Gargoyle Hunt