Touch Me, I’m Going to Scream

Taking sides in the Ballard panda controversy.

"Hey," barked the man next to me at the Bit Saloon. "What kinda animal's a panda?" "Umm," I slurred back. "It's a bear, innit?" "That's what I thought too!" he replied. "But this thing says it's a raccoon." He stabbed his finger at the glowing Mega Touch screen and cursed at it. He was clearly upset that a machine would have the balls to act like a know-it-all. Of course, it was close to midnight and this fellow had—judging by his lazy tongue and rheumy eyes—been hitting the sauce pretty hard. The digital intelligence challenge of Mega Touch is just one of many pleasures at the Bit. This Ballard establishment, which has so far survived the creepy cruise-by of developers, is proud of its status as a watering hole of the unkempt variety: The sign outside boasts that it's Ballard's "quirkiest dive bar." A statement like that (much like Mega Touch's assertion that pandas are not bears) could probably be argued, but what's inarguable is that it's one of few places in town with spare change floating in the men's urinal trough, charcoal drawings tacked around the bar (the work of the owner, apparently), a ping-pong table, and some of the loudest drunk-talkers you've ever heard. Despite all this, the place is actually pretty clean, the bartenders are friendly, the beer is cold, and the atmosphere relaxing. In fact, you could argue it's more a neighborhood bar than a dive, but since bistros and theme bars dominate our nightlife scene, it's not worth getting into a pissing contest over. However, my drunken friend and I would gladly challenge that smug little Mega Touch bastard: Sure, pandas were at one time thought to be raccoons. But that's not the case anymore. A panda is most definitely a bear. And you, Mega Touch, are most definitely wrong.  

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