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Archives for 05/22/2005 - 05/28/2005

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Freedom of Religion: Attack of the Buddhist Clones!

posted by on May 28 at 10:50 AM

Dear Mullah Dobson,
You want freedom of religion. You got it.

Here’s a great Q&A with the South Korean scientists who perfected SCNT or “therapeutic cloning” last week. Woo Suk Hwang’s final quote about his religious justification for human cloning is righteous. (The interview was published about a year-and-a-half ago in the NYT.)

Keep Your Laws of My Body! I’m Pro-Cloning:

Continue reading "Freedom of Religion: Attack of the Buddhist Clones!" »

Friday, May 27, 2005

A Fact About Dave Segal

posted by on May 27 at 5:29 PM

For being so vocal on this here blog, he’s actually quite quiet in person.

What Color Is Techno?

posted by on May 27 at 5:19 PM

…techno, a black form of music, is 95 percent supported by whites…

Charles, it’s debatable whether “techno is a black form of music”; in fact, we were recently discussing how it originated in releases by Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder (white Europeans). Which is not to diminish the contributions to techno from black Americans like Mills, Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Robert Hood, Mad Mike Banks, Saunderson, et al. But it’s inaccurate to call techno strictly a black form of music. Actually, I think techno’s the color of brushed steel …

More Mills

posted by on May 27 at 4:45 PM

I’ve just come back from banking my paycheck and visiting Zion’s Gate (an excellent record store around the corner) with the express goal of spending some of the money I earned on a new/used Jeff Mills CD. Zion’s Gate only had one CD, Wave Transmissions 3, which I already own. Steve, the dread-ed owner of the business, explained to me that Mills was hard to find. How regrettable. Mills is not from Africa, from Jamaica, from Asia; he is from Detroit, and he’s a genius, a black American genius. Why is his art so hard to purchase in the very country he is from? Because his music is adult music, and the only records that Americans in general will stock and buy from black Americans are childish records, records made by blacks who are, like 50 Cent, essentially boys, kids, dribbling infants. But it’s not all that simple. Black adult music is also ignored by black Americans, which is why techno, a black form of music, is 95 percent supported by whites (80 percent of which are European whites). The blacks of our age have been trained to remain childish, to worry about childish things, and never see the world from an adult’s (John Coltrane-like) perspective, from the position of one whose view of the world is politically and critically developed. Indeed, techno, which like hiphop, achieved adulthood in the late ’80s (but by the mid 90s, adult hiphop was entirely banished to the underground), lost its black audience almost immediately, and outside of black intellectuals and artists, is taken seriously primarily by white Europeans. It’s such a shame.

The Mouse House

posted by on May 27 at 3:43 PM

After nine long years the troglodytes at the American Family Association have decided to end their call for a boycott of all Disney products. According to this release on the Christian group’s website, the decision to end the squabble was due to “recent events that lend hope for a more cautious Disney approach to entertainment,” events that include the resignation of CEO Michael Eisner, the company’s divorce from Miramax, and the upcoming film version of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.

Reached for comment, Mickey Mouse admitted to mixed feelings about the end of the boycott. “Canning Eisner and losing those Miramax dopes was good for business,” Mr. Mouse said, “but I’m not going to stop ass-fucking Scrooge McDuck. That’s in my contract.”

Re: Sleater-Kinney & Sexism

posted by on May 27 at 3:30 PM

Regarding Annie W’s rant against the vag-bashing letter sent re: Hannah Levin’s piece on Sleater-Kinney: Despite the band’s unrelenting flogging of my rock G-spot, I can understand why someone might take issue with another piece hailing the genius of Sleater-Kinney. There’s no debating that Corin Tucker’s voice remains the most divisive sound in pop music—and if Tucker’s Belinda Carlisle-on-steroids bleat-scream doesn’t scare you off, there’s always the eternally jagged guitars and rigorously unsettling song structures. All of which makes the letter-writer’s focus on “pussys’” so irritating. Can’t a guy hate a chick-band without dragging their genitalia into it?

In his defense, the letter-writer responded to my insulting of his masculinity by confirming his status as a husband, and explaining his pussy-licking comment as a sort of femme spin on the “blowjob piece,” which he considers Hannah’s piece to be. Fair enough—but if the guy had charged Hannah with “sucking Sleater-Kinney’s dick,” he could’ve made his point without leaving that icky misogyny aftertaste.

Not to Mention…

posted by on May 27 at 3:09 PM

Maybe I’m too sensitive about linguistic peccadilloes, but the phrase (or is it a clause?), “Not to mention…” followed by stuff the writer then goes on to mention, bugs the hell out of me. I know, I need to lighten up, but after a misspent youth reading books by language grouches like Edwin Newman, John Simon, and William Safire, I can’t let such gaffes slide.

I’m sure my writing bears some annoying tics, so feel free to call me out on any verbal irritants. I’ll ignore you, but it’s the thought that counts. However, I am kindly advising that Stranger writers avoid using the “Not to mention” construction. Really, it’s for your ownand our readers’good.

Sexist fuckwad

posted by on May 27 at 2:55 PM

So, I was reticent to share this stupid, stupid letter with the world, but thanks to our new “all letters get published on the web” policy, I guess it’s worth pointing out what a pathetic dick certain persons can be, especially when it comes to women who play rock ‘n’ roll, and even a decade post-riot grrrl.

This morning, a reader named David A. Kulczyk wrote in to say:

I’m surprised that Hannah Levin had time to write the hero worshiping article on Sleater-Kinney - she seemed to have spent most of the interview licking the band’s pussys’.

David Schmader forwarded his response to our internal listserv: “uh…you don’t have much luck with women, do you?”

To which I responded: “or grammar. ’ pussys’ ‘? please.”

We could leave it at that, because I assume it’s pretty clear that Mr. Kulczyk deserves to be locked in a tiny cell listening to Bikini Kill’s “Suck My Left One” at an ear-splitting volume for the rest of his life. But come on, people. Is it not 2005? Can’t you please grow up? Or do I have to ask the ladies of S-K to reprise their fine 1995 recording “A Real Man” at their show next week? I’m so incredibly sick of this shit.

The religious tradition

posted by on May 27 at 1:49 PM

I would add that the showbiz aspects of this particular shout-out-and, really, all other forms of crediting “God” for one’s worldly success, on the Grammy dais or in liner notes, or even in church, frankly-trump and cheapen the role religion and spirituality have played in shaping the cultural fabric of African-Americans, in much the same way that the music business itself has trumped and cheapened the African/American cultural antecedents and musical forms on whose broken back it is built. As far as I know, I’ve never heard Common (though I’m gonna go get this new record now), but that liner note extract rings hollow and false, like almost all forms of public piety made by anyone, but especially the rich and famous.

then again, i also think of Christopher Hitchens’s recent line, from his Slate piece about the Newsweek imbroglio: “It’s essential that we understand the deep irrationality that underlies all faith.”

I [Heart] Joan Didion

posted by on May 27 at 1:46 PM

I’m supposed to be finishing my column but I started reading this new Joan Didion essay that Sean found and I simply can’t stop.

I’ve blathered about Didion before, all over the place, in this newspaper and that one, and I’m sure everyone’s sick of hearing about it. I shant bore you with my reflections on the simple truth that if there’s one writer who made me want to be a writer, it’s she. Easily. No competition. Seeing a print-out of the essay sitting on my desk when I got here today — thanks, Sean — made me explode. With happiness.

Also, Sean: She’s not as old as either of us thought (she’s 71), she is the opposite of giant in person, her voice is incredibly high, and she clearly deserves the Nobel Prize. She invented a form, she invented a tone, she redefined what a serious writer could write about, she’s smarter than God, and she continues, to this day, in spite of her fame, to invest her energy in the cultural developments of a country that has historically found little reason to invest much in women. Certainly it has downplayed them as thinkers.

“The greatest essayist of the last 30 years”? Sean, she’s the greatest essayist of the last century. Even against White and Capote and McCarthy and Vidal and a couple others who come close. I happen to think Charles D’Ambrosio comes close. (Have you read D’Ambrosio’s essays? How many times do I have to tell you, people?)

More on the new Didion essay soon as I finish it. I’m a third of the way through…

posted by on May 27 at 1:42 PM

I must now share with you Dave’s response to Pierre’s email letter.

Pierre-I totally understand the importance of religion among people of all races/creeds/etc., even if I don’t possess faith in any organized religion. I just found Common’s statements absurd, and, as Charles pointed out, nonsensical. The idea that God is involved in the minutiae of a recording session just strikes me as ludicrous. And to dedicate an album to God for which He/She/It supposedly is responsible just adds to the ridiculousness. DS


posted by on May 27 at 1:23 PM

This is amazing. Or expected: Radio Free Clear Channel.

Have you guys heard about Victrola’s wi-fi move?

posted by on May 27 at 1:19 PM

I think the news actually broke in our forums, and it’s now all over the internets. Victrola, that great coffeeshop on 15th in Capitol Hill, is pulling the plug on wi-fi every weekend. Word is the cafe’s owners want to have more conversation, and less web surfing (and table hogging by said web surfers). Last weekend, it reportedly went well. A few angry emails, but no laptops were injured.

Continue reading "Have you guys heard about Victrola's wi-fi move?" »

God is Back

posted by on May 27 at 1:12 PM

I had to share this. It is from our computer man, Pierre.

Although I share some of your concerns with the God shout out, I believe your comments are lacking in both substance and perspective. To understand this phenomena you must first have a clear understanding of the role religion and spirituality has played in shaping the cultural fabric of African Americans. We have been discussing this since the birth of blues. The Godly versus the Secular. Religion has defined our perspective on everything from politics to artistic expression. This is less about morality and more about community. When we have nothing else, we have God, we have the church, and we have each other. Its one of those few places where we can be “Black” and not look over our shoulders. For many African Americans, God is cultural. - Pierre

I have had less problem with Common’s religion than his racism. He is in the habit of calling (directly or indirectly) white people (the ones who usually buy his records) devils.

Weekly Turmoil?

posted by on May 27 at 1:05 PM

For months now, rumors have circulated that Village Voice Media, the company that owns the Seattle Weekly, is up for sale. I first got a vague tip that VVM was on the auction block about six months ago. More recently, I heard — in a kind of fourth-hand way — that New Times, the largest alt-weekly chain, was negotiating with VVM’s owners to buy the chain. Apparently, I’m not the only one hearing this stuff. The Guardian newspaper has mentioned the possibility of an impending sale, and the Weekly ran a short follow-up to that. Now, in the current issue of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, a New Times competitor, Tim Redmond lays out the rumors in much greater detail. The key passage in Redmond’s article:

Continue reading "Weekly Turmoil?" »

More Layoffs at EMP

posted by on May 27 at 12:48 PM

Amy found this one in Thursday’s edition of the P-I. It’s credited to “staff,” and the link is here.

“Experience Music Project has eliminated or consolidated at least five staff positions as a result of a restructuring plan from February, its spokeswoman confirmed yesterday.
Paige Prill declined to describe what the employees, who received notice yesterday, did for the interactive music museum. She said the number is around 2 percent of the staff, which is about 250. While some left yesterday, others will depart in the near future.
“This is part of our process to become more efficient as a non-profit organization,” said Prill.
Sources, who asked not to be identified, said the cuts could be as high as nine people. They are not being named because they are museum employees who have signed non-disclosure agreements.
“This place is a very messed-up place to work,” said one source. “I still believe in it … but the management makes me incensed.”
The source believes employees who are leaving include curatorial and event booking staff.
Another source said the staff cuts were described as layoffs. “I was fairly surprised only because we were told so many times that there would be no further layoffs,” said the person, referring to staff cuts last year.
Prill said EMP is hiring two senior staff members and promoting two current employees.”

Our Little MTV Darlings

posted by on May 27 at 11:55 AM

Stranger 2004 Genius Award recipients Seattle School made MTV News this week. As I reported a couple weeks back, their next edition of Iron Composer features contestants Jello Biafra vs. MC5’s Wayne Kramer in a battle of songwriting skills, egos, and hairlines. Check out the national plug here. And you thought they just liked to get drunk and make up skits.

Mills’ Time Machine

posted by on May 27 at 11:51 AM

Jeff Mills, an underappreciated veteran Detroit techno producer whose music has dominated my imagination over the past month, is god. His soundtrack to the book Time Machine has a beauty that is at once gothic (like the “gothic sprawl of London,” to quote Jonathan Raban from a manuscript of an unpublished book that is a prized part of my humble library, Galactic City), electric (as in, “do the electric”), digital (but “more dusty than digital””Night Work”), mechanical (like Kraftwerk’s man/machines in “we are the robots”), and as polyrhythmic as Coltrane’s recently deceased drummer Elvin Jones. I could easily devote the rest of my life explaining, ordering, considering Mills’ art. For proof, check out this artilce on God.

Get Out Your Moral Handkerchiefs

posted by on May 27 at 11:32 AM

The greatest essayist of the last 30 years, Joan Didion, exhumes the corpse of the Schiavo case in this profoundly disturbing piece for the NY Review of Books. Naturally, this is classic Didion territory: a national dispute in which the real argument is replaced by hysterical, sentimental, and beside-the-point cant on both sides, and in which the fate (and, crucially, the presumptive desires) of a woman are duelled over by her husband and her parents, while the woman herself is all-too-literally mute. If anyone in the world is better quipped to parse the moral grayness of this particular episode, it’s got to be Dame Joan, who, despite being very old, seems to have lost none of her intellectual energy, or the peculiarities of craft (note the rhetorical repetition of “passing exposure” on p. 4 with the “casually exposed” on p. 15) that make her such a giant.

Municipal Dialectic Materialism

posted by on May 27 at 10:42 AM

Cool. This year’s municipal elections are shaping up just like we want: A standoff between dithering and doing. An article in today’s Seattle Times frames the stand off.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Uncommonly Nonsensical

posted by on May 26 at 5:22 PM

I mean, it’s not like his name is Noble or something. It’s just Common. As in “come on.” As in “Come on, God, use me however you like, especially if it involves more platinum records.”

Ha. Common actually used to go by the name Common Sense; he seems to have lost both the moniker and the commodity.

God is a concept by which we measure our wealth

posted by on May 26 at 4:18 PM

It’s not only meaningless, it’s terribly self-aggrandizing, though Common wants you to think he is oh-so humble and gracious for God’s gift.

I mean, it’s not like his name is Noble or something. It’s just Common. As in “come on.” As in “Come on, God, use me however you like, especially if it involves more platinum records.”

Re: Dedicated to You

posted by on May 26 at 3:36 PM

“Segal, what is even sadder is the weakness of Common’s theology. Why does he dedicate something to god when it is already god’s? I give you this thing because it is yours. That’s absolutely meaningless.”

Right on, Charles. It’s not only meaningless, it’s terribly self-aggrandizing, though Common wants you to think he is oh-so humble and gracious for God’s gift.

Dedicated To You

posted by on May 26 at 3:18 PM

Segal, what is even sadder is the weakness of Common’s theology. Why does he dedicate something to god when it is already god’s? (“Every rap, every beat, every chorus, every voice, every scratch, every mix, every thought is yours, so to You I dedicate this album.”) I give you this thing because it is yours. That’s absolutely meaningless.

God Works the Faders…

posted by on May 26 at 2:23 PM

Chicago rap vet Common has a new album titled Be, and it’s pretty solid, with production by Kanye West and J-Dilla. But then he has to spoil it all with this tripe in the liners:

Dear GOD… Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, I know that all of this is You. Every rap, every beat, every chorus, every voice, every scratch, every mix, every thought is yours, so to You I dedicate this album. Use it and me in whatever way You choose GOD. [sicvery sic]

Enough already. Hiphop artists have been thanking God/Allah/Jesus/Buddha since forever, and it’s always rung false and rubbed this agnostic hiphop fan the wrong way, especially with rappers who spend entire albums spewing misogynistic, amoral, and downright murderous lyrics. Common’s latest shout-out to the “Creator” is the last damned straw. Enough. Godif She existshas more important things to do than dig for beats and find rhymes for “ho.”

This just in from Border Radio

posted by on May 26 at 11:39 AM

BORDER RADIO columnist Kurt B. Reighley writes: “My current fave-rave, the informal, Appalachian-style, roots music ensemble Below The Salt (that “mystery” band I wrote about in my column a couple weeks ago) is playing a CD release party this Saturday, May 27, at 1430 10th Street West on Queen Anne Hill. Also, they will be busking at the Folklife Festival throughout the weekend, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. If you dig Old Crow Medicine Show or Devil in the Woodpile, do not miss their rough-hewn charms and beguiling way with a singing saw.”

Getting Cross with Pitchfork

posted by on May 26 at 11:28 AM

I meant to post this last week but, well, I forgot. Yes, Pitchfork offers some of the best indie music coverage around, but do they always have to be so fucking pretentious about it? Yes. And since they’re the site independent music lovers love to hate (and then read the next day, and I include myself in that category), enter David Cross, who rips them apart, even as he drives more traffic to their site.

Re: Director of the Lizard Sells Out

posted by on May 26 at 8:57 AM

Rafsanjani is a charlatan. Even after being president of Iran for nearly 10 years, the guy still comes across as a desperate sycophant. He kissed Khomeini’s theofascist ass to help scuttle the better impulses of the ‘79 revolution, cut cynical deals with the Reagan administration to help the U.S. run a secret war in Nicaragua, and desperately tried to undercut Khatami’s reform movement in 2000.

That said: Tabrizi’s movie is funny. The DNC should get on the horn to Tehran, and hire him to do Hillary ads in ‘08, ASAP!

Hillary is the Heaviest Dude.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Camping at Sasquatch

posted by on May 25 at 4:13 PM

Camping is a very loose term at the Gorge. Basically, there’s a huge field/parking lot overlooking the ampitheater, and you set up your tent next to your car. At the beginning of the season (now), the grass is really long and makes for a fairly comfortable night’s sleep. Not that you’ll be getting much sleep, because you’ll be in close proximity to thousands of other campers, who will be drinking and partying late into the night.

Continue reading "Camping at Sasquatch" »

Bigfoot? Or a Giant Penis?

posted by on May 25 at 3:47 PM

Why does the creature on all the Sasquatch ads look like a giant hairy circumsized penis? I’m just wondering.

Also wondering: anyone have any tips on camping at Sasquatch? I’m going this year and I’m going to camp. Haven’t camped since I was a teenager. And I’ve never been to Sasquatch. And I’ve never been to the Gorge.

Director of The Lizard sells out

posted by on May 25 at 3:39 PM

For those of you who saw the fascinating film The Lizard at SIFF last weekend (and are, like several of us here at The Stranger, avid followers of news about the Islamic Republic of Iran), there’s been a crazy twist in the life of director Kamal Tabrizi.

First, some background: the film is a daring satire about the role of clerics in Iranian society. Basically, this thief, nicknamed The Lizard for his amazing ability to scale the walls of prisons and wealthy homes (a culturally specific trick, to be sure—the homes of city dwellers in Iran are usually surrounded by a courtyard and high walls), escapes from prison in the garb of a cleric. On his way to meet a passport forger who will spirit him over the border and out of the reach of the law, he is mistaken for a cleric who shares his fake name. The Lizard is taken to live at a mosque, where, surrounded by sycophants and true believers, he starts to deliver sermons liberally spiked with street slang (“God is the heaviest dude in forgiveness,” as the subtitles would have it), and becomes incredibly popular (despite his inability to remember prayers). Everybody in the village commits to Islam anew, and the movie ends.

The film broke all sorts of box office records upon its initial release in Tehran, but was quickly banned when the censors got a whiff of its dicey content. Now cleric, Islamic revolutionary, and former president Ali Akhbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is running for office again, this time in the guise of a reformer. And who has he hired to film his campaign commercials? That’s right, Tabrizi. I can just imagine: “Rafsanjani is the heaviest dude in reform.”

Getting is Good

posted by on May 25 at 3:28 PM

J. B. Baillie’s excellent translation of G. W. F. Hegel’s THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF MIND (1807) is available online, for nothing. Get it while the getting is good.

Jim Jarmusch

posted by on May 25 at 2:47 PM

Jim Jarmusch isn’t in town (he’s busily accepting critical hosannas at Cannes for his latest flick starring everyone’s favorite finicky comedic princess Bill Murray). But his presence is at the Center of Contemporary Art this weekend in the form of an evening of nine short films that he curated. Buster Keaton’s The High Sign may not be a surprise pick from such an avowed minimalist, but it’s worth the price of admission on its own. The shorts play Friday and Saturday May 27 and 28 at 8 pm. Tickets are $5-$8. Did I mention he has the best hair in the world?


posted by on May 25 at 12:25 PM

Amy & Dan, Methinks U Doth Protest Too Much.
Awards are nice to win. Let Chuck have that.
We made a half-hearted effort to submit stuff (I think news submitted a total of 6 things this year) spread over 4 or 5 categories. Obviously, that half-hearted effort (I’m not even sure if we got all the entries in on time), diminishes our chances when the Weekly is flooding the contest.
Maybe it costs too much for us to flood the contest or maybe we don’t care about the contest much.
But, back in 2000 and 2001, we made an effort to submit our stuff & we walked away with a couple of first places in news reporting and arts coverage. I’m proud of that, SPJ scam or not.

Re: The Weekly’s 54 SPJ Awards…

posted by on May 25 at 12:06 PM

So wrote up a blurb on the SPJ awards (as you may recall, their meaninglessness was outlined in Dan’s eloquent rant yesterday. Essentially, Dan explained that we spend our energy putting out a kick-ass paper every week, instead of filling out paperwork to win silly awards.)

Seattle Weekly managing editor Chuck Taylor responded to Seattlest’s request for commenton an internal SW email gloating about the awards they just won—with this choice quote:

“[Awards] reward a craving for recognition, and what people in media actually need is more humility.”

Oh really? People in media need more humility? Is that why the Seattle Weekly, likely under your direction as the managing editor, enters dozens and dozens and dozens of stories, covers, photos, and features packages, at $15 a pop, to the SPJ awards? Hmmm. Now that’s humility. Way to lead the charge there, Chuck.

Race Against Rockism

posted by on May 25 at 12:03 PM

I know it’s considered culturally inappropriate to admit this (since, you know, we’re all supposed to have forsaken the “rockist” pleasures of song-based music for grime or whatever), but I will still happily go to the mat for the inestimably great Stephen Malkmus, whose in-store performance last night at Sonic Boom on 15th was a sincere sensation, despite the oppressive heat and the crowd spilling out the doors onto the sidewalk. Or maybe because. Unlike what one would have expected, the vibe was really democratic and welcoming. It’s nice to see that the fans of the indie rock-related music aren’t harboring any illusions about their cultural significance anymore. But if this is a (musical) ghetto, I’m staying. I’m still assimilating the new record, Face The Truth, but I can tell already that I like it way more than the other two recent indie rocky LPs I’d been looking forward to for so long and basically don’t like at all (no names, please). I could gush about many aspects of the SM experience, but I’ll refrain, except to say that the difference between his long guitar solos and Doug Martsch’s long guitar solos is exactly why I stopped being able to go see Built To Spill in 1999 and why I wouldn’t even consider missing a Malkmus show in any of the six states (and three countries) I’ve managed to see him play. And no, that doesn’t even count Pavement.

Wipe Away My Eyes, Too Much

posted by on May 25 at 11:55 AM

Dear readers and haters,

A brief word from beneath a pile of letters.

I am not particularly computer literate, and my eyesight is worse than that of a thousand-year-old great grandmother with cracked bifocals wearing a burqa in a sandstorm. HOWEVER, I know that on just about any web browser in the world, there exists the option of bumping up the point size of any and all website text on one’s own screen. In Explorer, the option lives in the “View” menu bar. In Safari, it also exists in the “View” menu bar. We’re adjusting a lot of things on the redesigned site, including the look of the text. I’m just saying: people have the power.

Who’s relying on Judicial Activism Now?

posted by on May 25 at 11:35 AM

So does thisrelying on court opposition to longstanding workplace protections of gayscount as supporting Judicial Activism?

Official Says Law Doesn’t Cover Gays Counsel Cites Lack of Authority to Enforce Discrimination Ban By Christopher Lee Washington Post Staff Writer Wednesday, May 25, 2005; Page A25

Special counsel Scott J. Bloch told a Senate panel yesterday that he lacks the legal authority to enforce the Bush administration’s ban on discrimination against federal employees based on sexual orientation.

If a federal manager fires, reassigns or takes some other action against an employee simply because that employee is gay, there is nothing in federal law that would permit the Office of Special Counsel to protect the worker, Bloch testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs subcommittee on oversight of government management, the federal workforce and the District of Columbia.

“We are limited by our enforcement statutes as Congress gives them,” Bloch said, responding to a question from Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.). “The courts have specifically rejected sexual orientation as a class protection.”


New apostrophe rules take effect today

posted by on May 25 at 11:23 AM

Most votes were in favor of adopting the standard Chicago Manual style for forming possessives from singular words ending in s, x, and z (that is, adding the apostrophe-s as in John Waters’s). We’re changing our style beginning with 14•38. Writers: There’s a copy of the new usage rules on my desk if you’re interested… but don’t trouble yourselves with this too much; your copyeditors will continue to tirelessly spit-shine your punctuation.

The “New” Funhouse

posted by on May 25 at 11:23 AM

What a strange night. I frequented the Funhouse last night for the first time since new management refurbished the bar/club. It looks slightly better than how I remembered it. But what lifts the Funhouse above its competitors is the makeshift basketball court just outside its confines. It’s quite refreshing to shoot hoops between sets and get in a game or two of MULE with local drunks and touring musicians.

The actual show consisted of bracing sets of tinnitus-inducing no-wave rock from the Factums and Sightings and a graffiti-erasing noise display by Withdrawal Method. And I received 5 cassettesnot CD-Rsfrom various folks. What a strange night.

Stop Biting at Lo_Fi

posted by on May 25 at 10:39 AM

Rishi took me to a really sweet party at Lo_Fi last night. The entertainment was a rotation of DJs backing live MCs (tried to catch the name of my favorite… Dave Hill maybe? Super smooth hiphop lyricist). And then the b-boys hit the grimy floorboards with mad precision. (I sound like Tana on the Apprentice trying to talk street. Jesus.) Anyway: Best dancing I’ve seen since last year’s Bumbershoot championships. Athletic. Plus, there was a very white guy called “the Duke” (derby, sunglasses, smart vest, white chiffon scarf holding up well-tailored drawers) who broke it down robot-style and some how fit right in. The crowd was young and hot and positive and either that back room is nonsmoking or the kids are finally getting wise; the usual smoke-choke never got me. The night’s called Stop Biting, cover is $3 (women get in free before 11 pm), and it appears to be a weekly event.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Sprawl Factors

posted by on May 24 at 5:12 PM

Northwest Environment Watch, a Seattle-based environmental group, has some smart things to say about last week’s “Mossback” column in the Seattle Weekly.
The column, titled “The Manhattan Project,” charged that pro-density “Manhattanizers” like Mayor Greg Nickels aim to turn Seattle into New York City, by “promoting high-rise development that will clutter the skyline, block the sun, and benefit mostly the well-to-do.” Never mind that Berger’s claims are histrionic (the changes Nickels is pushing would raise height limits by 160 feet downtown, not throughout the city): The urban ideal he cites - Copenhagen, Denmark - is nearly three times as dense as Seattle, even without downtown highrises.
NWEW’s Clark Williams-Derry writes: “[T]he European-style low-rise density that Mr. Berger supports would mean changes every bit as momentous, and far more widespread throughout the city, than a strategy of concentrating growth in the middle of downtown.” Without higher density downtown, Williams-Derry argues, Seattle will sprawl at the edges, “locking residents into an auto-dependent lifestyle” and displacing rural farmland with suburbs. The real model for smart civic planning? Vancouver, B.C., whose rural hinterlands have stayed mostly intact even as its population has grown substantially.

The Weekly’s 54 SPJ Awards…

posted by on May 24 at 4:00 PM

In case anyone cares, here’s the email I just sent to Seattlest and SeattleMetroBlogger about the Weekly winning 54 SPJ Awards…

dear dan & josh,

how come the stranger didn’t win any SPJs? we don’t make any concerted effort to enter these contests. frankly i think the SPJ’s are bullshit. some staffers would like to have SPJ awards on their resumes, and they’re free to enter their work, but i don’t push staffers to enter or make any full-court press on the SPJ front. i see them as a distraction from the bidness of putting out the newspaper. the Weekly, by contrast, floods the contest with entries.

four edit folks, all in the news department, chose to enter this year — and one won an honorable mention. swell. the weekly enters in every category. their press release implies that they beat us in a head-to-head match up in 54 categories. not true. we didn’t enter any arts pieces, any non-news columns, any design stuff.

Continue reading "The Weekly's 54 SPJ Awards..." »


posted by on May 24 at 3:11 PM

Christopher was just talking about Amsterdam, which reminded me that Josh and I are going there for a week in early November. Every year we rent this barge on the Ij and bring some friends. Maybe you want to join us this year? Think on it.

Read Cabinet

posted by on May 24 at 12:07 PM

The current issue of Cabinet- A Quarterly of Art and Culture contains an essay that makes the bold claim that the internet is not structured like a distributed network (Deleuze’s beloved “rhizomatic” networks) but is centralized, as it is built on an old (19th century), centralized infrastructure. The essay is convincing, beautiful, and written by Kazys Varnelis, who teaches the history and theory of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania.

Books Internship Opportunity

posted by on May 24 at 11:39 AM

Attention college students and/or good writers itching to break in: I need an intern for the books section. The position involves a couple tedious recurring tasks (creating the book section calendar, ordering books from publishers, getting coffee for Sean Nelson) and the occasional library research task (the last guy got saddled with looking into crystal meth and the history of public sex for me; an intern before that was made to photocopy issues of the Partisan Review from the ’40s; etc.).

The internship is three months long and unpaid. Fifteen hours per week. There may be occasional opportunities to write (about books), for which you’d be paid. Send a letter explaining why you’d make a great books section intern and two or three other writing samples to by the end of the day on Thursday, May 26.

(Confidential to P.D.: Thanks for all your help.)

Star Bores

posted by on May 24 at 11:15 AM

Not that I’m inordinately proud of this fact, but I may be the only American above the age of 10 who hasn’t seen a single Star Wars film.

One of these days, I will view the original episode, though it’ll probably be like reading Catcher in the Rye as a senior citizen.

Film Wars

posted by on May 24 at 10:37 AM

While The Stranger staff (at least those who are posting here in editorial and went to the opening night of SIFF) seem to be in agreement that Miranda July’s new movie is the shit (and that she just may become the new hot shit indie director if the stars allign right) I would like to make a statement about another movie that everyone’s talking about: Star Wars. Despite the flurry of magazine, radio, television, and newspaper reviews (not to mention crappy fast food item tie-ins), the latest in the series sucks ass. It’s like the last two Star Wars were so terrible that people are relieved that this one isn’t as bad. But it is, there are just fewer annoyingly peppy characters involved. I want my time and money back from that one, and I’m glad I didn’t shake the hand of the Darth Vader impersonator at the entrance of the movie theater as I walked in. Just because a movie isn’t as bad doesn’t mean it’s any good.

Monday, May 23, 2005


posted by on May 23 at 4:57 PM

I’m considering switching our house style for possessive singular words that end in s, x, and z from just an apostrophe (Kansas’, Fritz’) to apostrophe-s (Kansas’s, Fritz’s), in order to match Chicago’s standard rule. Right now we follow a Chicago alternative (which matches A.P. style). Though the Chicago standard is more complicated to apply, it’s more in line with pronunciation. Also, I think the apostrophe-s sometimes conveys information (i.e., this noun is singular) that is lost when the s disappears. If we make a switch, it has to be between issues, of course. Please discuss.

C Is for Cookie

posted by on May 23 at 3:31 PM

In case you’re in a Sesame Street mood Sunday, this has the potential to be more than merely zany:


When: Sunday, May 29, 2005
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Place: Volunteer Park outdoor stage - on the west field north of the water resevior

What: Favorite Letter Rally (fun, games and silent filming for use in the Vis-a-vis Society’s “Statistical Musical”)

Who: Vis-a-vis Society and YOU!

Bring: 1) A placard or sign or at least an idea of your favorite letter (upper or lower case) in the printed English alphabet
2) LOTS of friends and family with signs of their favorite letter
3) Ideas for words or phrases you want to spell out
4) Enthusiasm!
5) Non-motorized floats representing and/or celebrating your favorite letter (using strollers, skateboards, bicycles, wheelbarrows, etc.)
6) possible songs, dances, cheers, stunts, battlecries for your particular letter

Provided: Some paint, stencils, pens and posterboard for crafting additional letter signs.
and, of course, Refreshments!

* Rain or shine. (if rain, bring an umbrella/poncho/tarp/plastic bag) *

This message brought to you by the letter A, the best and sturdiest letter in the English alphabet.

Stop Apologizing

posted by on May 23 at 1:44 PM

Killing and rioting (buring down a library with 200 Qurans in it, btw) is not our fault.
Leave it to Christopher Hitchens to have the most interesting thing to say about this Newsweek thing.

Jesus Horses!

posted by on May 23 at 11:27 AM

For those who haven’t been following the truly-ridiculous-yet-scary-as-shit endeavors of Ken Ham, this article from Yahoo news is a good place to start. Ham (a 53-year-old Australian living in Kentucky) has been working hard for the past 11 years to build a Creation Museum. The museum’s cost: $25 million. Its ability to provide proof that many Christians in this country are batshit crazy: priceless.

Here’s the money quote:

Among Ham’s beliefs are that the Earth is about 6,000 years old, a figure arrived at by tracing the biblical genealogies, and not 4.5 billion years, as mainstream scientists say; the Grand Canyon was formed not by erosion over millions of years, but by floodwaters in a matter of days or weeks and that dinosaurs and man once coexisted, and dozens of the creaturesincluding Tyrannosaurus Rexwere passengers on the ark built by Noah, who was a real man, not a myth.

Ham hopes the museum will attract 600,000 dunderheadsI mean visitorsits first year.

Speaking of the Sunday NY Times

posted by on May 23 at 10:48 AM

Frank Rich’s op-ed about Newsweekand the success with which the Bush administration has scapegoated the liberal, Jew-run mediawas typically smart and insightful (hooray for Associate Editors/arts writers who have multiple interests!). I was especially pleased at his acknowledgement of the absurdity of Scott McClellan’s “Our United States military personnel go out of their way to make sure that the Holy Koran is treated with care” bullshit.

Yeah, I’m sure the interrogators are extra ginger with the holy book when they’re attaching jumper cables to their prisoners’ balls and razor barbed choke chains to their necks.

I mean I hate Newsweek, but still…

Just when you thought the president couldn’t get any more unbearable, his commencement speech at evangelical Calvin College in Michigan contained this infuriating fake self-deprecation: “Someday you will appreciate the grammar and verbal skills you learned here. And if any of you wonder how far a mastery of the English language can take you, just look what it did for me.”


P.P.S. Does anyone else think that Laura Bush is looking kind of foxy while being heckled by true believers on her middle east trip? Damn…

NYT Mag splashes Santorum…

posted by on May 23 at 10:33 AM

The NYT Mag smeared Santorum all over its cover this weekend, and allowed the ensuing Santorum slick to spread over, gee, thirty or forty pages inside the magazine.

The piece, by Michael Sokolove, goes into absolutely everything about the junior senator form Pennsylvania including another retelling of the dark and scary night when Rick Santorum and his equally creepy wife Karen slept with a dead fetus (after making their children cuddle and kiss their deceased near-sibling) but the piece doesn’t cover my successful effort to forever link the senator with the substance. The frothy mix of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex is never mentioned! Outrageous!

The new meaning of lower-case santorum is still the #1 result when you Google “Santorum,” and the link goes to, despite the fact that I haven’t updated the site since last July. The word has successfully entered the English language, popping up in books, articles, and magazines without reference to me or my column. It won “Word of the Year Most Outrageous” at this year’s American Linguists Society convention, and will no doubt appear in the OED any day now.

Like Vidkun Quisling, the Norwegian politician who collaborated with the Nazis and whose name is now a synonym for traitor, Rick Santorum has achieved an infamous immortality with the help of Savage Love readers. Forevermore when someone looks down at his dick or her strap-on during anal sex and sees that unwelcome guest, that frothy mix, Rick Santorum will be remembered! His name will be invoked! “Oh no, santorum!” people will say, long after Rick Santorum himself is dead and forgotten. Of course, some will remember Senator Santorum: “Oh no, we’ve had a visit from the senator!” is a popular euphamism employed by buttfuckers who don’t want to say Rick Santorum’s name outloud.

It’s odd that the NYT would overlook the success of Savage Love readers in bestowing this singular honor on Senator Rick Santorum. The Washington Post did a large write-up of the Senator recently. While the WP did not mention me by name, or give the new definition, it did say this: “[Santorum] does not look at the Web sites, some of which include details about a sex columnist’s campaign to make his name a synonym for something that cannot be printed in this newspaper.”


posted by on May 23 at 10:31 AM

I know, I know, it’s getting ridiculous. But more on Miranda July: Over the weekend I read her short story “Making Love in 2003” in the Fall 2003 “Paris Review” (if you’re interested to the tune of $25 — it’s an extra-big anniversary issue — you can order a copy of the issue here, or you could go to the library) and guess what, it’s fucking great. It’s at home or I’d quote from it. The gist: the narrator loses her virginity to a glowing dark shape. And spends a lot of time driving around.

There is also a story of hers in the Spring 2003 “Paris Review” (also orderable, for a mere $15) which I haven’t read yet.

And a final thing from Annie Wagner (which I’m being forced to post because, as she says, “I’ve already posted like six things about Miranda July”): Some radio plays made by Miranda July for NPR. Go to and do a search for the lady’s name. There are several to choose from.

Swift Recommendation

posted by on May 23 at 10:27 AM

Last week Earlimart bought their romantic, ebullient indie pop to the Crocodile, headlining the club with much of their Elliott Smith-themed material. It was a great show, but sadly I missed the opening act, Richard Swift, who Earlimart’s bassist, Ariana Murray, says blew her band off the stage. “The next time we tour together we’ll be opening for them,” she gushed. Although Swift’s website is a bit odd to navigate, the songs play as soon as you open the URL, and the music sounds like a mix of sad-clown cabaret and introspective indie pop. Check it out.

Santorum. How Do You Respond?

posted by on May 23 at 9:31 AM

There are a couple of quotes in yesterday’s NYT Santorum profile that show why the religion-as-politics conceit is working so well for the Republicans these days. The Democrat that can offer a compelling response to Santorum’s line of thinking will… Well, I don’t know. Will end up on NPR? But anyway, this is it in a nutshell:

In the summer of 1999, Santorum gave a lecture at the Heritage Foundation in Washington titled ”The Necessity of Truth.” It can be read as a distillation of his philosophy. He began by identifying what he considers an oddity of American culture, the ”paradox,” he called it, ”of a people that strive to be both religious and nonjudgmental.” He then moved on to his central theme — that Americans of faith feel constrained from expressing their views in ”the public square,” where legislation and public policy are debated.

”How is it possible, I wonder, to believe in the existence of God yet refuse to express outrage when his moral code is flouted?” he asked that day. ”To have faith in God, but to reject moral absolutes? How is it possible that there exists so little space in the public square for expressions of faith and the standards that follow from belief in a transcendent God?”