RL87 - I Speak Sea Plane

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

The Problem: John was roped into an imbroglio, referring to the music business people in Seattle endorsing the mayoral challenger and John being interviewed speaking for the incumbent.

The show title refers to John being able to negotiate with the sea-plane pilots of Lake Union when it comes to installing zip-lines from Capitol Hill to Fremont.

It is early! They record increasingly early, but as John gets older it is nice to get up a little early.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

John bringing his daughter on the Taco Bus and getting appreciated by the Mexican men as a dad (RL87)

John went to his Taco bus today, and when you go there at night it is all Volvos lined up out front with people in little software designer glasses with fleece pants, but during the day at lunch time it is all guys covered in sheet rock dust and everybody in there is Latino, the TV is playing some novellas, and it is a real Downtown scene.

John walked on the Taco bus carrying his daughter today and he has never felt like such a Rock star in his life. Usually there are 15 middle-aged Mexican guys on the bus and maybe you are going to nod to some of them as you walk through, but today every man on the bus smiled at him with the most genuine smile of friendship and brotherhood. You hear stories that in Latino culture the role of the father and the idea of the family is very strong, but he had never experienced it so profoundly as he did today carrying his little girls. He almost high-fived everybody.

They were not looking at her, like: ”What a cute girl!” like the Volvo-set would, but they glanced at her and then looked at him and be like: ”Hey man! How is it going, dad?” - ”Yeah, I am a dad! Hey, what’s up?”, he was a member of the community! Those guys would never have given him a second look if they even had looked up from their food, but because he had this little girl one after the other turned from their food and gave John a really human genuine greeting of happy face.

John feels like a fully grown adult now, it took him all these years. It is like when you first grow a mustache and then go to Turkey you realize that outside of America every grown man in the world is wearing a mustache, from Bucharest all the way to Islamabad it is all mustaches all the way down, and then in China we go back to a mustache-less world. You realize: ”Oh shit! Right! You can grow a mustache and you do!” On that Taco bus John felt like he was having a mustache in the form of a baby.

Merlin’s experience in his neighborhood when his wife was pregnant

John knows Merlin’s neighborhood, it is full of Civil War ghosts (see RL2), and during the 14 years Merlin has lived there he got used to the fact that nobody looks at you or pays attention to you, but the people have a completely different sense of how to operate in public than what he is used to. He lives in what is categorically the most conservative district in whole of San Francisco, it is mostly people from China and from Ireland.

Merlin used to go to this Chinese place 3 times a week and the guy would not say anything to him or suggest anything off the menu, nothing, everybody on public transit just closes their eyes, it is a completely insular world, and by and large Merlin likes all of that, but when Merlin’s wife got pregnant and they would go on public transit, all those old Chinese ladies their eyes would just light up, and these people who had never spoken a word to either of them in years were suddenly not only smiling at them and walk up to them, but also touch a ladies tummy without asking.

The same is true when they go to the zoo and take the MUNI out the very small amount of town that is left to the West of where Merlin is: All on the way people are smiling, and they ask questions like how old she is.

John’s experience when he first had a successful band

It is very similar to the experience of having a successful band for the first time. For many years John had a couple of bands like The Bun Family Players, or Three Hour Shower, Four out of Five Dentists, The Transrational Z28’s, and none of them were very popular. The Bun Family Players was deliberately trying to be so smart that no-one could like it, and yet they did develop a fanbase of people who were broken inside.

During that time John was crossing paths with the same characters over and over, like Ken Stringfellow, their good friend Jason Finn, both popular musicians in popular and successful bands, the Posies and the Presidents of the United States of America. Before that Jason was in Love Battery, a not very good but still popular Grunge-era band. John would see Jason every single day and he would see Ken all the time late at night when he would come out, touch us and make us very cold, but neither one of those guys ever acknowledged John’s existence.

John had this conversation with them many times and they both deny or try to rationalize it or justify why they would never ever acknowledge him. Jason would sit down at the same table as John and he would move John’s beer glass so that it was out of his line of sight and he would turn and talk to the girl that John had brought there as his date. Ken would actually draw blood from the girl John was sitting next to and make her one of the undead and never look at John once.

Making it through the door of the club, the booking agent at The Crocodile

One day John had a band that people liked, The Western State Hurricanes, and at their second or third show Ken Stringfellow, just like a little Chinese man, came up and handed John his business card that was black and freezing cold and he said: ”Hello! You should give me a call! Let’s hang out sometime!”, as though they knew each other and John just didn’t have his recent business card. Jason Finn, even better, came up and put his arm around John and said: ”John Roderick! My good buddy! My old pal!” He knew who John was!

John came to understand over the years that before he had a successful band he did not exist and there was no reason to know him, but then there was a reason and John materialized out of the ghost army of betrayer souls that live under the mountain in The Return of the King (Army of the Dead).

John had a moment when he was sitting at the bar at the Crocodile and the old booking agent there Christine had for years required him to submit another cassette tape every time he wanted to book a show, even though he had just played there a week and a half before: ”You better send in a demo!” - ”You have 4 of my demos!” - ”Yeah, better send in another one!” and you could just tell that she was taping over all the demos she got and putting Built to Spill records on them and probably selling them at garage sales.

But one time she came and sat down at the bar stool next to John and said: ”John, let’s talk about making The Western State Hurricanes the house band at The Crocodile. You don’t play any other clubs in town, you just play the croc, and we make a thing like: The Western State Hurricanes and The Crocodile forever!” - ”Wow! Really? Seriously? 8 months ago I would call you on the phone and you told me to send you another tape after three years of sending you tapes and now you want me to pledge allegiance to this bar?” and John was mad!

After a bit of time passed and he realized that this is how it works and he was grateful that he made it through the door to look back and see how that works. For a while he was trying to bring his friends with him through the door until he realized that you couldn’t do that either, but everybody has to make it through the door on their own.

People wanting to network with Merlin at events

Merlin has a similar problem in that his retention for things is terrible, although his anal retention is fantastic. He hasn’t his Spiderwoman in months! They say you have to hear an advertising message 13 times before it registers, and in the same vein Merlin has to meet somebody several times and it is getting worse and worse, not because he is trying to be fancy. He will remember the face of an extraordinary number of people for years, like servers or people at a gas station or somebody who is sitting next to him in a waiting room, but people he has online intercourse with and that he talks to frequently, all he knows is their fake Twitter name, and then he meets them and they say their name and Merlin has no idea.

Merlin has a personal loathing of people who are overtly trying to network or trying to affect familiarity that isn’t really there. He is hilarious when someone comes up to him at an event and affects over-familiarity. In all other cases Merlin is a lot nicer than people would think. He suffers fools less than anyone John knows, which is a compliment because he is one of the rare people where when he goes after somebody who has come up to him and played their wrong cards the wrong way, he can actually make John uncomfortable as a bystander because he is laughing and squirming inside like a little boy.

Merlin calls those people Wantrepreneur, they want to be an entrepreneur, but haven’t really done anything. You have to be out there and people have to see you and go: ”Oh, that is that one guy who a) knows this friend of mine who is kind of famous, or b) does this thing I have heard of!” and people try really hard to do that, which is not at all hard to pull off once you actually know people, but it is brutally painful to watch when it is not working. People keep doing it and if you do it long enough you get famous with somebody, although not necessarily very interesting. It is a terrible way to make a human connection!

John goes to parties all the time where everybody is in the music business, if you ask them what they do, but as you circulate through the room you realize that no-one there is in the music business, but some people are being funded by their parents, some people who are incredible networkers, some people who fill out a lot of online forms to win songwriting contests, there is a whole constellation of ways to join the music business and build up a whole Wikipedia entry of all the songwriting contests you have one, but none of it is really the music business and none of it is the work you need to do to get through the door.

Having dinner with Paul F. Tompkins, you can’t just become a comedian without years of practice (RL87)

The other night John was lucky enough to have dinner with Paul F. Tompkins in Seattle, and he had a similar conversation where he caught himself being the jojo. John admires Paul and this was a conversation he had with him before, but he had forgotten he had done it and he did it again. Paul after 30 years of doing standup since he was 12 years old has over the last several years transitioned his comedy into a more storytelling long-form format that John really identifies with. He loves to tell stories and has done it for a long time! (see RL101, RW91)

John identifies with this style of comedy where you tell humorous long-form stories with punch-lines that are not just a string of jokes, but stories from life that are meant to be thought-provoking and also very funny, but he makes the primary error of saying: ”Well, I can do that!” and the secondary error of: ”I already do that!” during his 25 years on stage. John was telling Paul that he needs to put in some work crafting his stories so that he is able to get up and do storytelling as a performance form, and Paul asked back if John liked comedy as a kid.

John loved it, that was all he did, he stayed up late to watch the Carson show and he identified with comedians more than musicians. Paul said that was true of himself as well, it was all he ever wanted to do, and from the time he was 13 he has done nothing else. John did a lot of other things that weren’t that. Paul wasn’t hammering that point home, but that was John’s ”Right, exactly right!” moment. John feels this way about his music career, too. There are guys who from 12 years old all they wanted to do was play the guitar and that is all they have done and they are better guitar players than John by far.

John can still fall into the trap of thinking that here is a guy that is doing a thing he admires and feeling like he also has a native gift for this and it is just some indeterminate amount of work that we can talk about later that he needs to do between here and there and then he will be right there in the winner circle.

Merlin does that all the time, for example when he talks to comic people. He is new to comics, he never intensely wanted to write a comic or get good at writing, but as he gets older he appreciates the medium a lot more and when he is talking to his comic-writing hero he might say: ”I am thinking about writing a comic. I got an idea for a superhero!” It is a combination of trying to impress somebody, showing how familiar you are with their work without sounding creepy, and hoping for some kind of encouragement, which will turn into career counseling in a bar where you are essentially asking them for the tips and tricks to become Paul F. Tompkins.

John heard this over and over enough to know that the shorthand reply is: ”Sounds like things are going good for you, now you just need to do it for 10 years!” and they go ”Cheers!” with their beer bottle and turn back and re-join their conversation. Every comic that John knows seems to believe that at 10 years of doing stand-up every night you can talk about stand-up comedy with them, but at that point they will probably already know who you are. People will tell John that they love to do this thing and have been doing nothing else since they were 13 years old, and he will then ask himself what he has done since he was 13 years old. He has been doing a lot of pot smoking.

The club and bar owners in Seattle endorsing the mayoral challenger, people wanting John on the City Council (RL87)

John actually ran for City Council in 2015 (see Run for office).

The other day John was at another one of these parties that he finds himself going to more and more and he got roped into an imbroglio. The music and nightlife community in Seattle, a group of the local club owners and bar owners, got together and held a press conference where they endorsed the challenger in the mayoral race Ed Murray. John was sitting at his computer, making a song for Joseph Scrimshaw, when his phone rang. He made the classic error and answered it. He is remortgaging his house and there was a lot going on that day and there was a number he didn’t recognize and he decided to answer it.

It was someone from the mayor’s office and they said: ”The Downtown Rock club owners are having a press conference right now and they are endorsing the opponent!” - ”Oh, jeez!” - ”We need you to have a press conference!” - ”What? Me? I am super-busy today!” - ”Right now! Where are you!” - ”I am at my house, but I am going Downtown in a minute!” - ”Great! Tell us where you are in half an hour!” They called him again and asked him where he was and a news van drove up from KIRO and a guy jumped out in a suit and tie and a cameraman and a big puffy microphone.

They got some B-roll of the reporter and John walking up and down the sidewalk a few times, engaged in conversation, and then they interviewed him how he felt about this group of music business people endorsing the opponent. John said that the mayor was doing a great job and that there are no losers in this election because both candidates were amazing and the mayor has been great for the local music community, John likes him personally, he is a good dude, and the club owners don’t speak for all of them. And they thanked him and jumped back into the van and 45 minutes later it was on the evening news, showing a clip of John saying: ”I think the mayor is doing a fine job!”

People wanting John to be on the City Council

The following night John was at a party with the mayor and a lot of his campaign people, and they had a 10-minute huddle talking about the day and how his feelings are hurt that the music business is endorsing his opponent. He is campaigning hard right now because he is behind in the polls, but then his staff starts coming around and John has a couple of conversations with people where they pat him on the back and say: ”Thank you for having that press conference!” and in two separate occasions the person leaned in, the mayor’s chief of staff and his campaign head, and said: ”When are we going to get you on the City Council?” - ”Wow! The City Council?”

All afternoon, evening, and two days forward he walked around, conducting his campaign in his imaginarium, looking at the arc of the campaign, some brochures of him walking through the park with his family, his out-of-wedlock child, and his (inaudible) wife, going door to door in his neighborhood and saying: ”Hi, how are you? I live in this neighborhood with you! I am the guy who cut your tree down and I am running for office! You might have seen me in your yard in a bathrobe with a sword recently, chasing the neighbor’s dog, but now I am running for the City Council and together we can rid the neighborhood of stray dogs and loud stereos, we can improve all of the guard tower that I have been erecting in the forests!”

John is drawn to this question that there are people in public office, in city governments and in non-profits who have done nothing else than being Reese Witherspoon in the movie Election in High School and they Witherspooned themselves all the way until they got themselves elected to something and then pretty soon they make it to Washington and pretty soon they are Condoleezza Rice. John is the consummate generalist and he is getting asked: ”When are we going to see you on the City Council?” - ”Yes! Let’s get me on the City Council!” in the same way as when his frat brothers say: ”You should be a stand-up!”

John doesn’t know if he would be good at being in the City Council at all, he doesn’t know anything about that world and he imagines there are a lot of PowerPoint demonstrations and a lot of meetings where you could potentially despise every single person in the room including himself, where he is sitting behind a desk at a microphone, it is being shot for local cable TV, and somebody is on there, talking about how the shade of their mailbox should be acceptable, or somebody is yelling at him about who gets the rights to the geoducks in the tidal waters around their boat dock, which is a Northwest reference.

This might be one of the more interesting conversations he is going to have and more likely somebody will be yelling at him because the Taco bus that he goes to does not have a wheelchair access.

The two mayoral candidates

Both candidates for Seattle City mayor are incredibly progressive liberal candidates and there are no losers. Ed Murray is a Liberal in classic Northwest mode who gets things done by putting a group of people together in a room to reach a solution, and he knows how to come out and announce the solution where he gives the credit to everybody who was on the panel and everybody feels good and they do their part of the solution, feeling validated. The mayor struggles sometimes to get a group of people to agree where everybody leaves the meeting feeling really good about themselves, he is more imperial and has a tendency to say: ”Here is how it is going to go, here is the right course of action, get in line or go fuck yourself!”

By Seattle standards that is a bit of tough love and there were a couple of instances where a thing failed because the mayor didn’t draw enough happy faces on it. It was clearly what needed to happen and everybody needed to just shut up and do it, but in the end a key person withheld their vote and when you talked to them in private they would say that they withheld their vote because: ”Fuck that guy!” The imperial method does not work in Seattle because they have a strong City Council and a weak mayoralty. You have to really grease them and you have to be a coalition builder.

The agenda of the music business people

The music crowd threw their weight behind the challenger because 20 years ago nobody gave a fuck the club owners and the music business, they were actually hostile to the Rock scene for many years and now they finally have a mayor in office who comes to Rock shows and knows musicians by name. They finally got a mayor who treated them with respect and as a group together they actually had political power, and the challenger was courting their affections. All of the people involved have grown up and they are now 48 years old and own respectable businesses and they built a little cabal. The question is how much political is it if they continue with this mayor that they came up with vs taking their ball and play with the other guy?

There will be no difference between those two candidates (Michael McGinn and Ed Murray), but their group can act as another conscience in the city government and they become another group of concerned business owners. Typically Rock’n’Roll people are pretty progressive in their politics and they have a nice combination of being cool and doing cool things and being progressive and thoughtful. Normally when there is a press conference about some Downtown business owners being angry with the mayor it turns out they are angry about taxes or parking or zoning, some not-in-my-backyard business owner bullshit, but these club owners and Rock people are making a play to be conscientious and they are concerned about the city does business, the way the mayor treats the kids, the way the police department enforces the laws, they are actually trying to have a wide-ranging effect, which is astonishing and cool.

John being elected on the Rock’n’Roll dad platform

John’s mom had a life in corporate America and she said that she had to confront the fact that when she walked into a meeting the only two roles for her were that she was either going to lead the meeting or that she was the gadfly. She was never going to just sit and be one of 20 people in a meeting. She was either going to take over the meeting or keep bringing up a problem with the plan. Meetings were a bad place for her. John recognizes that in himself: Either he is going to lead the meeting or he is the one with his feet up on the desk, chewing bubble gum, and saying: ”That is never going to work!”

John would be elected on a Rock’n’Roll Dad platform. Every City Council meeting needs one member whose tie is a bit askew, whose hair is a bit must, who leans forward every once in a while and says: ”Are we really talking about this still?”, he would be Booger from Revenge of the Nerds. Merlin has never seen it. He would be thrift store dad with a Pendleton jacket from the free pile and some FIlson jeans and a tie that is like somebody’s club tie.

Although John would be elected initially to represent one neighborhood, as time went on all cool dads throughout the town would realize that he was their representative. He would be the Master of Ceremonies at Slovak Days, while today nobody in the City Council is even aware that there are Slovak Days celebrations. John is already all over the city, he would just be that as a city council man, kissing babies, kissing babies’ moms.

Merlin saw a video of himself today on a panel that he hadn’t seen in a while, and he looks like such an asshole. He makes faces the entire time and makes absolutely no attempt to cover up what he thinks about what other people are saying. John would be sitting there with one eyebrow raised, loosening his tie, leaning way back in his chair, ”Are we really doing this?”, grabbing his microphone off the table and holding it on his belly. In winter he would switch to an all-tweed costume. He would be the City Council’s Bella Abzug.

Campaign details, still being able to do this podcast

John would still be able to do this show when he is on the City Council because most of their listeners are in the UK and New Zealand, also Iowa and California and a lot of Germans, and none of those are going to send a concerned letter to the Seattle City Government, saying: ”Do you realize who is running for the Seattle City Council? Have you listened to his podcast?” and the people of Seattle who listen to this podcast are going to benefit so much from his councilship and are not going to out him.

John’s neighborhood is the most diverse ZIP-code in America. There are just as many people from Vladivostok as there are from Uruguay.

A lot of the cost of a campaign is publicity and name recognition, but John already has name recognition and there is going to be a lot of free publicity associated with him running City Council because everybody is going to want to write about it and have something to say about it. He would have to run on a platform where he doesn’t disavow anything he has ever said.

Given the sheer amount of crackpot shit that he has said over the years in print and in public, no-one is going to be able to say that he had a drinking problem and is a known womanizer, because he has also called for a reevaluation of Hitler’s legacy and believes that all teenagers should be put on work farms (see Cutting trail). His record is very substantive and so far!

They also talk briefly about Seattle’s many sister cities and that John should activate them as well in his campaign.

Seattle has an abundance of engineers because Boeing keeps driving themselves and their commercial aircraft business into the fucking ground and all these people that one day will be out of work will be newly employed in John’s zip-line gondola business. All the necessary resources are available and you can build a lot of zip-lines in a former 747 hangar. Right now the Swiss or the Germans have the gondola industry pretty well nailed down, but Spokane, Washington is the headquarters of the Riblet company that makes the poles that support ski lifts (Riblet Tramway Company).

The problem is that Seattle doesn’t have enough visionaries!

Using the City Council as a jumping-off point to the US Senate

Being on the Seattle City Council will be the backdoor for John into the United States Senate and he is already now planning for his Senate run. He didn’t go to Yale like he should have, he didn’t start doing stand-up comedy when he was 12, he didn’t even really graduate from college on a technicality, he was never a Navy SEAL or a spook or a member of an intelligence organization, so the only way for him to get into the Senate is through the Seattle City Council.

As soon as John is in the Senate, he and Elon Musk will make a high-speed Supertrain that runs on angel tears and we will all be living in paradise. They are going to mine the garbage dumps from underground and protect the parks that are up above by means of a superstructure manufactured by the Riblet company, creating jobs and also recycling. Merlin thinks John should vet Elon Musk before working with him because he could be a nemesis.

Zip-lines, Poma lifts, and gondolas

During his first 100 days John would need to institute something that was really massive and that nobody even realized the city needed, for example zip lines as a form of public transport because the city is built on hills and there are zero zip lines. A zip line from Capitol Hill to Pike Place Market would be the most popular form of public transit in an hour. If you want to go from Capitol Hill to Ballard on the opposite side of town there is a lake in the way and all the roads are bottlenecks and clusterfucks, there is no straight line, it is not that far as the crow flies, but trying to get there is like a game where you can tilt the surface of a maze with a little ball inside.

A zip line obviously requires a certain amount of upper body strength and not everybody is going to be able to use it, but why is there no Capitol Hill to Ballard gondola? If you can make a gondola that goes all the way up to Zermatt Switzerland, if you can go up the Zugspitze and up to the Matterhorn, why can you not go from Capitol Hill to Ballard? The children of cool Rock’n’Roll dads would love this. We are going to build two huge towers, one on top of Capitol Hill, one in Fremont, and it is going to be a gondola ride all the way across Lake Union.

The only people who would complain about that were the ones who run the seaplane operation out of Lake Union because the gondola would interfere with their sea-planing, but John speaks seaplane, he can talk to those guys about their (de Havilland) Beavers and Otters. They can reach some kind of agreement, they will just change the flight traffic. Zip lines, Poma Lifts and gondolas will be criss-crossing Seattle and all of a sudden your cross-town traffic problems are solved. John would need a name like the Great Leap Forward, which is a great name that no-one is using right now and would fit very well with zip-lines.

Merlin has a zip-line in his yard and he loves it!

The problem with zip-lines is that they are too short because they are regarded as something to put in a child’s play structure, but when John was in Civil Air Patrol encampment in Eielson Air Force Base as a kid, they trained them on a zip-line where you hooked a carabiner onto a rope and they pushed you off a cliff and you zip-lined over a river. He probably has a photo of himself from the time and that will be the cover of his brochure when he goes door-to-door.

Seattle is famous for total boondoggle projects like this. They have a monorail from the Westlake Center, the mall Downtown, to the Seattle Center, which is the Space Needle and the EMP, and John rode it yesterday, as unlikely as it sounds, and as they got off the train there was a man with his family, a white guy who had married a woman from Taiwan, and it was him, her, her mother, her grandmother, and their little boy, and he was from Australia. As they got off he turned to John and said they must have gotten on the wrong train because they wanted to go to Pike Place Market and where can they catch that train, and John explained that the monorail only got two stops and the only thing he can do is go back where he started.

50 years ago they decided that Seattle needed a subway, even though it doesn’t. 70 years ago they took all the trolleys and cable cars out and immediately started thinking that they needed a subway. What they really need is an efficient and good public transit system based on zip-lines and gondolas, but John was too young at the time to make that case. They are building a subway right now, a huge boondoggle, billions of dollars, and it is basically the BART system in San Francisco when it originally opened. It was one tube that had 3 stops and his is going to be that: You are going to get on in the University District, it has one stop on Capitol Hill, and then it goes to Downtown and connects to the light-rail that goes out to the airport.

The station on Capitol Hill will access the subway via a high speed elevator because it is too deep under ground. John’s mom said that she will never get on that fucking thing. It is 2000 feet under ground. Picture yourself at 11:30pm and you are waiting for an elevator on a public street to take you to the center of the Earth to get on this train to go one stop. This is the plan and there are billions spent on this, they are grinding up the bones of poor people for this (see RL171).

Seattle has a long history of public transit projects that only go one stop and the zip-line fits right in there and it will cost $200 to make, and from Capitol Hill to the University District it would be a totally killer ass-kicking 5 minute zip-line ride. There are people who travel around the world to visit crazy rollercoasters and the Seattle tourism would go up by half, just from those people coming. There will be local zip-lines everywhere, like if there was a zip-line and a Poma lift from John’s house to the grocery store his neighborhood would be perfect.

There is hardly anything to a Poma lift. You might have to rent people rollerblades because it requires that your feet would be on the ground and the Poma lift would pull them up on rollerblades and they could zip-line back down.

The different factions trying to cultivate John’s endorsement made him realize that he doesn’t need anybody because his job consists of him sitting at this desk and playing Tetris. Whoever is the mayor of Seattle, it could be Leon Trotsky and John would be fine because he is not trying to make a coalition with anybody right now. If Ed Murray gets elected mayor it does not imperil John’s chances to run for the City Council at all, in fact a lot of the people who used to be working for the mayor are going to be looking for a new guy to get behind, and if the mayor gets reelected John has an entrée to the quarters of power.

There is a Poma lift company that also makes ferris wheels and gondolas and Flubergastens, Zipperzoinks, trains that go on a very steep incline, but John can’t remember the name for it and it is annoying him (It is called Funicular). Why doesn’t Seattle have fucking funiculars all over the place? There is one in Lisbon, John has ridden many of them all over the world. They should have dozens of them. They have Soundgarden’s van and Chris Ballew’s shoes spray-painted gold in a museum, but not a funicular in sight, which is a travesty, and when John is elected to the City Council it is all going to change. He is going to have an open door policy and an open trench-coat policy.

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