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Archives for 11/27/2005 - 12/03/2005

Friday, December 2, 2005

Can’t Complain…

posted by on December 2 at 4:48 PM

Walking to work this morning, I was startled by this poster…


My first reaction was this: Eesh! Or as Aunt Sassy once said, “I don’t need to see that!”

But then I realized something. We homos can’t really complain about… about… having to peer right up a woman’s legs first thing in the morning on our way to work. Marcus Wilson’s posters for Comeback, Chop Suey’s monthly gay night, have been terrorizing straight men with hard-fucking-core images of gay sex for nearly two years now. Vintage images of sweaty buttfuckers, guys giving and getting blowjobs, boys bent in half—those Comeback posters are pure porn—and without a doubt they make straight guys go “eesh.”

So it’s payback time. Gay guys get to ogle “Comeback” posters, straight guys get to ogle “Deep Cuts” posters—now there’s a little something for all guys, gay and straight, on Seattle’s light poles. That’s nice. What’s not so nice, though, is the fact that “Deep Cuts” is a synonym for, um, gash. Eesh.

Townes Van Zandt night pt. 2

posted by on December 2 at 4:29 PM

Last night at the Tractor, the Townes Van Zandt tribute night was packed with good people, good performances, and plain ol’ good vibes as old school rock ‘n’ rollers took the stage to cover the songs of the cult icon. Included in the mix were sets by Eddie Spaghetti, Mark Pickerel, Mike Johnson, Johnny Sangster, and more. One of my favorite performers, though, was Ian Moore, who will play live again before the 7 pm screening of the Townes documentary, Be Here To Love Me on Saturday at the Northwest Film Forum.

Re: Is Paul Berendt Leaving?

posted by on December 2 at 4:17 PM

Paul Berendt, let’s not forget, is the same guy whose party endorsed City Council challenger Dwight Pelz against incumbent Richard McIver in the last election - possibly the first time in history that the Democratic Party has endorsed in a non-partisan race.

Your New City Council President

posted by on December 2 at 4:14 PM

… for those keeping track at home, is recently reelected three-term incumbent Richard Conlin.

Seattle’s Red-Light District?

posted by on December 2 at 4:06 PM

The city’s Department of Planning and Development, which answers to the mayor, issued a surprise response today to City Council member Peter Steinbrueck’s demand that Nickels come up with zoning regulations dictating where strip clubs can be located before a new slate of regulations banning lap dances, requiring bright lighting, and banning direct tipping in strip clubs can go into effect. They actually came up with zoning regulations.

The proposed strip-club zone, which spans 310 acres just south of the stadiums, is occupied primarily by industrial and warehouse businesses - a result of the mayor’s requirement that strip clubs be prohibited within 1000 feet of parks, playgrounds, day cares, and churches.

The new zone, which still has to be adopted by the council (the proposal just landed on Peter Steinbrueck’s desk this afternoon), would have no impact on a proposed referendum to repeal the four-foot rule and other regulations adopted by the council in October. That referendum, being pushed by a coalition of strip-club owners and employees, will probably go on the ballot sometime next fall.

Free Net Access for Cap Hill?

posted by on December 2 at 4:00 PM

Stranger reader Kim D. informs me that some Seattle citizens want to install a wireless node on top of an antenna tower on Capitol Hill to enable free wireless access. However, they need donations to do so. (Free ain’t free, you understand?) Go here or here if you want to contribute.

Is Paul Berendt Leaving?

posted by on December 2 at 3:45 PM

The reason I was talking to Democratic State Party Chair Paul Berendt today was this: I was tracking a rumor that he was planning to leave his post. Word was Gregoire had offered him a government job in Olympia.

The rumor also had it that Dwight Pelz, the Democratic brawler and soon-to-be ex-King County Council Member who lost his bid for a city council seat this fall against Richard McIver, was going to take Berendt’s place.

Survey says:
Berendt, who’s been Dem chair for 11 years, said the rumors that he may be leaving “are not without substance.” But he added that “nothing is imminent” and he “does not have any new job offer.” He said “some people have talked to me [about different jobs], and I’m keeping an open mind.”

However, Berendt repeated that “nothing is imminent, and the rumors [that he’s leaving] are premature.”

As for Pelz. He’s wind surfing in Vietnam right now. So I couldn’t reach him for a comment.

Pandora’s Jukebox

posted by on December 2 at 3:39 PM

This is amazing. It’s presented by the same people who created the Music Genome Project.

Here’s the gist: “Tell us one of your favorite artists or songs, and we’ll create a station that explores that part of the music universe.ā€¯

So let’s say you type in “Street Life” by Roxy Music (best song ever, basically); if has it in its data base (with over 10,000 songs in it, chances are it does), it will play that song and then a bunch of others similar to your choice. Voila, a quality block of listening pleasure with minimal effort on your part. And you’ll probably get turned on to some great new tunes, to boot (but not to bootleg).

Enumclaw Horse Case Inspires Verse

posted by on December 2 at 3:04 PM

We recently received a self-published book by Raoul A. Leblanc, Seattle poet. We are, unfortunately, unable to review the collection. But this piece, which appears near the end of the volume, surely deserves a wider audience:


Apparently it is not a legal offense
to climb over a farmer’s fence
for sex with farmer’s horse
even less of an offense of course
if during intercourse with the horse
should the horse now take offense
rise a hoof and strike the fellow dead
now the horse was not injured they said
so the horse nor the farmer made no claim
against the man of questionable fame
the paper made no mention at which end
of the horse the fellow met his own end
bestiality in WA is not an elegal sin
but beware hobble the horse before you begin

An article: Seattle Times


Or somehow find a way to reinforce your colon.

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of the book, Mr. LeBlanc is selling it for $30, plus shipping. There are very nice graphics (not of horse fucking, but of traditional Northwest Native Art subjects such as ravens and salmon).

I love Margaret Talbot

posted by on December 2 at 1:20 PM

Savage, I know you hate it when we constantly link to the New Yorker, but Annie, have you seen this Margaret Talbot piece from a couple months ago about valedictorians? It’s awesome. Goddamn valedictorians.

Anti-Urban Archipelago

posted by on December 2 at 1:15 PM

Another note from the DNC meeting in Phoenix:

Berendt reports that the Democrats are taking the exact opposite tact from the Urban Archipelago strategy first advocated by The Stranger last fall (and then picked up by the likes of The Nation.)

The idea of the Urban Archipelago strategy was to give up on the Red states and concentrate instead on policies and politicking that fuels the existing and strong Democratic base in America’s urban counties.

Berendt says Dean’s mission to build up the Democratic Party in the Midwest and West (Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arizona, and Colorado) is a top priority right now.

As one of the authors of last November’s Urban Archipelago piece (but privately one who had dissented a bit during its inception), I was glad to hear that the DNC is pumping resources into Dean’s organizing efforts in Red turf.

As the NYT Magazine pointed out two weeks ago: While voters in urban districts go overwhelmingly for Democrats, the numbers in a lot of red counties are tight by comparison…52 to 48 etc. So, Democrats have a fighting chance in Red America. If winning back those districts means taking back the federal government, I think it’s a worthy investment.

p.s. Ali was a great bio-pic. The 15-minute (?!?) “overture” where they introduce the key characters like Ali and Malcolm X over a reenactment of Sam Cooke’s famous 1963 live performance at the Harlem Square Club is breath taking. Breath taking!

The ID Devolution

posted by on December 2 at 1:02 PM

I haven’t read Margaret Talbot’s article on the Dover intelligent design ruckus (do we need to start a campaign to make the New Yorker mail their fucking magazine to subscribers before the day it hits the stands?), but if this online-only Q&A is any indication, it’s gonna be a must-read.

Fun stuff: the nefarious Discovery Institute’s “Wedge Strategy”, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, Rev. William Paley, and lots and lots of context.

Talbot gives great recommended reading, too. I’m requesting all of them at the library a tout de suite.

Biopics do usually suck

posted by on December 2 at 12:50 PM

I was very apprehensive about seeing Walk the Line because I really like Johnny Cash and June Carter and, in general, I hate biopics. But, it turned out to be a nice little love story (which I also don’t normally care for) that happened to involve two of my favorite musicians. I was surprised that I ended up liking it so much.

Re: Capote

posted by on December 2 at 12:46 PM

The one reason Capote doesn’t suck: Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The ethics of reportage stuff is interesting, but I have this nagging feeling that it isn’t all that interesting to viewers who aren’t also writers. Which all the critics, obviously, are. It’s also got much higher stakes than most biopics—what there is of love is ambivalent, interested, abnegating, and full of wishful projection, not pure idealistic goop. And then there’s the death penalty angle.

On the fearful fucked-up-edness of writing, I would recommend Going Through Splat: The Life and Work of Stewart Stern over Capote. But Philip Seymour Hoffman is awesome.

Re: Walk the Line

posted by on December 2 at 12:41 PM

I have Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? and it’s one of my favorites—an excellent recommendation to anyone intrigued by the Carter Family and early country music. By the way, I took your advice from a Border Radio I copyedited about a month back and got a copy of that Johnny Paycheck collection, The Real Mr. Heartache: The Little Darlin’ Years. Amazing. It hasn’t left my CD player for weeks. For anyone else who might want to get it: Order it from the Country Music Hall of Fame. It was the only place I could find it.

Capote: One Bio-Pic That Doesn’t Suck

posted by on December 2 at 12:35 PM

The reason: It devotes itself almost entirely to stuff we couldn’t have known—in this case, deeply intricate stuff about the writing of In Cold Blood.

Go see it.

From the DNC National Meeting in Phoenix, AZ

posted by on December 2 at 12:35 PM

I just talked to State Democratic Party Chair Paul Berendt, who’s in Phoenix, where the DNC is holding its annual meeting right now.

With Howard Dean at the helm, the 400 DNC members are working on “messaging” for the big ‘06 election. Berendt said antsy Democratic voters shouldn’t expect a Democratic version of Gingrich’s ‘94 “Contract w/ America” just yet. (He reminded me that the Republicans’ Contract w/ America didn’t hit until Sept. ‘94, just 2 months before the Rs’ big takeover.)

However, Berendt did say the Republicans’ “Culture of Corruption” (DeLay, Frist, Libby, Halliburton, Cunningham) is figuring prominently as the Dems start to determine how to frame 2006.

Berendt also reports that while the Democrats in Washington, DC might have problems with Howard Dean, support remains “rock solid” among the DNC delegates who are gathered at the Wyndham Hotel in downtown Phoenix.

Two Quick Notes

posted by on December 2 at 12:31 PM

Re: Walk the Line—all biopics suck. From Ghandi to Kinsey to Walk the Line, they all suck, suck, suck. Don’t go.

And for all you Seattle smokers crying into your nicotine-stained cups about the coming ban on smoking in bars and clubs—things could be worse .

The World Health Organisation yesterday became the largest international employer to ban the hiring of smokers in an effort to promote its public health campaign against tobacco use…. The move is an escalation of action taken against smokers. Several countries have introduced legislation banning smoking in pubs, restaurants and public places, while some employers ban smoking on their premises.

Re: Walk the Line

posted by on December 2 at 12:23 PM

Am I the only one who thought it was a goopy pile o’ goop?

I love Johnny Cash, but have a low threshold for dramatic bio-pics, for the basic reason that the drama is entirely false. How can we get caught up in the drama of, say, Cash’s record label refusing to release the prison record when anyone with a pulse already owns At Folsom Prison?

Beyond this admittedly bitchy bitch, there’s the goopiness of Walk the Line in particular, which never met a bio-pic “Behind the Music” cliche it couldn’t embrace wholeheartedly.

Still, Reese was as cute as a tap-dancing pug, and the June & Johnny love story is indeed a glorious thing…But if you want to see a legitimately artful rendering of that story, see Cash’s video for “Hurt.”

Re: Walk the Line

posted by on December 2 at 11:47 AM

I would encourage Kim, Gillian, and anyone else who enjoyed the Johnny-June love story in the biopic Walk The Line to read the excellent 2002 non-fiction work Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?: The Carter Family and Their Legacy in American Music by Mark Zwonitzer and Charles Hirshberg. June Carter is one of the most underrated country artists and all-around good-hearted human beings ever; the stories of her devotion to both Johnny and Hank Williams in the text are inspirational, and some of her other antics will have you in stitches. Her new career-spanning 2-CD set Keep on the Sunny Side - June Carter Cash: Her Life In Music is none too shabby neither.

Re: Walk the Line

posted by on December 2 at 11:29 AM

I also recently saw Walk the Line, and I absolutely loved it. I wondered if that ending—where Johnny Cash proposes to June Carter onstage—had actually happened. It did. I like that the film focused on their relationship—particularly on the sainthood of June Carter—and not just on Cash’s drug problems. She had also tried to save Hank Williams from himself several years earlier, but he was far too much to handle, and we all know how that turned out. If not: excessive drinkin’; guns (he once shot at June and her sister Anita); morphine; getting kicked off the Grand Ole Opry… all ending with his being dead (at 29, though he looked about 45) for several hours in the backseat of his car on the way to a show on New Year’s Eve, 1953.

More on non-hobo John Hogdman

posted by on December 2 at 11:28 AM

If you’ve read John Hodgman’s audience review this week and find yourself wanting more, here’s a link to Hodgman’s appearance on the Daily Show. On his website, you can find Hodgman reading aloud the list of 700 hobo names that appear in his book, dispensing advice for writers, and sitting.

Recall Countdown

posted by on December 2 at 11:00 AM

Remeber Jim West, the mayor of Spokane who spent much of his political career campaigning against gay rights before being outed in May by the Spokesman-Review newspaper? Well, eight months and a parade of creepy revelations later, West seems likely to recalled by Spokane voters next Tuesday in a special election.

Just in time for the recall vote, The Seattle Times’ David Postman this Sunday produced a lengthy portrait of West in all his mixed-up glory. One of my favorite parts is when Postman finds West turning to a black church in Spokane for spiritual redemption. As if the last eight months haven’t been hell enough for West, he now spends each Sunday getting lectured on his “sinning” ways. If he’s recalled, will West spend one more minute in Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church? That may be the best indicator of whether he’s “repented” and given up his secret gay life for real, or just as a shameless attempt at political rehabilitation. It also may help clear up whether West’s personality is actually as bifurcated as he makes it sound in his painful-to-read quotes to The Seattle Times, or whether that’s just another act.

“I have no opponent other than the person [my opponents] created who is supposedly me,” West said.

But, the Times notes:

The mayor created his own “imaginary person” through which he lived a vast and secret online life. But he says it would also be unfair for voters to judge him as that character. “What it really allows me to do is be somebody I’m not,” West said.

But even he has difficulty sorting out the real from the make-believe.

“And this is weird. This is incredibly weird for me. This is an imaginary person and this is a real person,” he said, pointing with a finger on each hand. “And there are points in time where they cross over a little bit. But few and far between.”

Strategy For Victory

posted by on December 2 at 10:51 AM

Bush has a plan—at last. Unfortunately the insurgents in Iraq have a plan too, and they’ve had one for a lot longer than Bush has. Ten marines died today…

A roadside explosion killed 10 US marines and wounded 11 more outside of the troubled Iraqi city of Fallujah, the US military said as they launched a new operation in the nearby city of Ramadi. The deadly attack against a foot patrol occurred Thursday, a US military statement said, and was the bloodiest single attack on US military since August.

Fallujah, of course, is one of the cities that Bush claimed US and Iraqi forces have secured. Not so much, as it turns out.

Re: Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy

posted by on December 2 at 10:40 AM

Unfortunately, as Crooks & Liars points out, not even O’Reilly’s own viewers are buying his “War on Christmas” crap:


Walk the Line

posted by on December 2 at 10:36 AM

I saw Walk the Line, the Johnny Cash movie, this week. I thought Joaquin Phoenix’s performance as Cash was totally magnetic, and the way he couldn’t take his lovesick eyes off of June Carter was heartbreaking to watch.

Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy

posted by on December 2 at 10:35 AM

Bill O’Reilly discloses the evil plot by secular Grinches to steal X-mas.

Paglia Takes Down Madonna

posted by on December 2 at 9:02 AM

In a new Salon piece, the controversial, beloved, and occasionally psychotic feminist theorist and cultural critic Camille Paglia thoroughly explicates the artistic decline of one of her longtime idols—Madonna.

Paglia’s appreciation of prime-era Madonna cannot be underestimated, as Paglia herself makes clear: “The music videos [Madonna] produced from the mid-’80s to the early ’90s were true objets d’art—in my judgment superior to anything coming from the fine arts in the same period.”

But Paglia’s also a passionate believer in disco—”Disco at its best is a neurological event, a shamanistic vehicle of space-time travel,” she writes, for real—and it’s on the field of disco that Paglia knocks out Madonna, whose new, disco-inspired album Paglia bemoans as an act of unimaginative self-cannibalization that posits its creator as a trend-chasing hag en route to artistic oblivion.

If you’re one of the many who appreciate deep thinking about shallow stuff, Paglia’s piece is a must-read. Plus, it features this mildly jaw-dropping revelation by the author: “Full disclosure: Keith Richards has been my idol and role model for over 40 years.”

Even As The Snow Melted

posted by on December 2 at 4:00 AM

Last night, due to a bizarre set of circumstances, I inadvertently saw Steve Pool with his shirt off. I have proof.

The end.

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Sound Familiar?

posted by on December 1 at 5:03 PM

During the 2004 presidential election, in hotly contested Ohio, Republicans issued hundreds of flawed voter challenges that ultimately failed for exactly the same reason that King County Republican Lori Sotelo’s challenges failed this year — because the Republicans in Ohio couldn’t provide the addresses at which the challenged voters actually lived, even though they’d signed forms under oath claiming they knew just that information. Clearly, the type of uninformed mass challenging that we saw in King County this year from Sotelo is not a new Republican tactic.

Listen to this NPR story from 2004. The audio from the challenge hearing in Ohio in 2004 might as well be audio from the challenge hearings I went to here in Seattle last month. Here’s a transcript of the elections board members at the Ohio challenge hearing raising the possibility that one Ms. Miller, a Republican challenger, could be indicted because of false statements on the challenge form she filled out:

MR. PRY (Summit County Board of Elections): Now, you’ve indicated that you signed this based on some personal knowledge.

MR. HUTCHINSON (Summit County Board of Elections): No.

MR. ARSHINKOFF (Summit County Board of Elections): Reason to believe. It says, “I have reason to believe.” It says it on the form.

MR. JONES (Summit County Board of Elections): It says, “I hereby declare under penalty of election falsification, that the statements above are true as I verily believe.”

MR. ARSHINKOFF: It says here, “I have reason to believe.”

MR. HUTCHINSON: It says what it says.

MR. ARSHINKOFF: You want her indicted, get her indicted.

MR. PRY: That may be where it goes next.

MR. HUTCHINSON: Yeah, give it a try.

MR. MORRISON (Republican lawyer): I’m going to enter an objection.

MR. JONES: Can we have your name?

MR. MORRISON: Yes. Jack Morrison. I’ve just been informed by Mr. Pry that an indictment may flow out of this, and therefore I’m instructing Ms. Miller to exercise her privilege against self-incrimination. She will not answer any further questions.

More about this here, and a PDF transcript of the Ohio hearing here.

In Ohio, 976 Republican challenges were thrown out in Summit County alone. But, just like in King County, the inconveniencing of legitimate voters had already been accomplished by the time the Republican challenges were rejected.

“This is an outrage,” on challenged voter said. “I feel as if I am being called a liar for claiming to live at my address.” Sound familiar?

Seattle Weekly Publisher To Stay

posted by on December 1 at 4:15 PM

The talk from inside New Times—the chain that took majority control of Seattle Weekly’s parent company Village Voice Media last month, is this: New Times plans to keep Seattle Weekly publisher Terry Coe in the top spot. Seattle Weekly’s circulation and classified managers don’t appear to be in trouble either. However, a New Times source says “many” in editorial and sales will be let go.

Singapore Sling

posted by on December 1 at 3:43 PM

Despite its economic success, its corporate towers, its hi-tech industry, Singapore remains barbaric.

Life Imitating Crap?

posted by on December 1 at 3:28 PM

Um… isn’t this what happened in that terrible flick The Day After Tomorrow?

Hot new band alert

posted by on December 1 at 2:50 PM

Definitely check out NYC band The Affair post haste. Ebullient, energetic noise pop fronted by one Kali Holloway, a longtime music fan with an amazing voice—powerful and full of melody. They’re debuting on The First Time Records next spring (after releasing a single on Vice), but get infatuated early by checking out a couple tunes on their MySpace page.

NYC’s Nosmo Kings

posted by on December 1 at 2:38 PM

From my favorite anti-smoking activist, Joe Cherner, comes this encouraging report. It’s stat-heavy, but worth your perseverance. Let’s hope a similar trend occurs in Seattle once I-901’s in place.

Smoking in New York Drops to All-Time Low New York shows world recipe for success The percentage of New Yorkers over eighteen who smoked dropped from 20.8 percent to 18.1 percent from 2003 to 2004 — an all-time low, according to a report from Tobacco-Free Kids, a Washington, D.C.-based health group. Smoking among high school students has fallen as well — from 27 percent in 2000 to 18.5 percent in 2004, according to the state Health Department. Success was achieved despite the fact that New York spends less than 3 percent of the $1.7 billion collected from tobacco taxes and a 1998 settlement with tobacco companies on smokefree programs.

“It just goes to show that money isn’t the missing ingredient in tobacco control,” says Joe Cherner, president of SmokeFree Educational Services, Inc. “New York’s success is due to smokefree workplace legislation, cigarette taxes which require smokers to pay a fairer share of their health costs, and a compassionate government which offers free nicotine patches and a helpline.”

Tobacco addiction is still estimated to cost society over $100 billion per year in health care and lost productivity.

To win clean indoor air where YOU live, go to <>

Another 4-Letter Word in the Dailies

posted by on December 1 at 2:20 PM

Former Stranger news staffer, Phil Campbell, has an opinion piece in today’s Seattle Times about Seattle’s real unspeakable four-letter word: Race.

Our Visual Arts Intern

posted by on December 1 at 1:51 PM

This is the opportunity of a lifetime! If you have the right stuff, you can become the Visual Arts intern for this here paper. Email me,, for more info.

Out of Iraq

posted by on December 1 at 1:48 PM

Two and a half years into the War in Iraq, George W. Bush has finally come up with a Strategy for Victory in Iraq. Says Slate

It is symptomatic of everything that’s gone wrong with this war that, after two and a half years of fighting it (and four years after starting to plan it), the White House is just now getting around to articulating a strategy for winning it.

Meanwhile our allies have a Strategy for Getting the Fuck Out of Iraq.

VIENNA, Austria (AP) — Two of America’s allies in Iraq are withdrawing forces this month and a half-dozen others are debating possible pullouts or reductions, increasing pressure on Washington as calls mount to bring home U.S. troops. Bulgaria and Ukraine will begin withdrawing their combined 1,250 troops by mid-December. If Australia, Britain, Italy, Japan, Poland and South Korea reduce or recall their personnel, more than half of the non-American forces in Iraq could be gone by next summer.

What I wrote here applies now more than ever. (Scroll down to the second item, “Get Out Now.”)

Re: Buy for Baby Jesus

posted by on December 1 at 1:18 PM

Happy Holidays Bill!!! MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann bequeathed Bill O’Reilly yesterday with the bronze, silver, and gold medals for “Worst Person in the World” just in time for the holidays, oops!, Christmas!

Media Matters, the site where I discovered these tidings of good cheer, also has a fun write-up on Fox’s use of the term “holiday tree” instead of Christmas tree, and the O’Reilly Factor “holiday” ornament, instead of Christmas ornament on their website (which has been fixed after much internet mocking).

Merry Christmas and Enjoy!

Strangercrombie’s Jesse

posted by on December 1 at 1:11 PM

Meet Jesse, one of our Strangercrombie models this year—we found him sitting on a barstool in the Crescent. He’s sweet, he’s straight, he’s built, he’s from Alaska, and he took it all off—almost all off—to help raise money for Northwest Harvest…


Strangercrombie 2005 hits the streets next Wednesday, packed with tons of great gifts, cool stuff, and lots, lots more Jesse…

Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch

posted by on December 1 at 1:00 PM

For the week December 1-7, 2005:

Seattle Weekly: 108
The Stranger: 112

Please note: The Weekly has a special issue this week—one of their four gift guides—and it’s smaller than the Stranger’s regular issue.

Oprah how we love thee…

posted by on December 1 at 12:54 PM

Apparently, the Big O’s a big hit among Saudi Arabian women.

Strangercrombie Bonanza!

posted by on December 1 at 11:59 AM

So next week’s Stranger brings the Strangercrombie Gift Catalog, which we’re busily cramming together at this moment.

But, damn, we’ve got some amazing shit this year, including but not limited to:

*An original Almost Famous shooting script signed by Cameron Crowe!

*The New York Times beloved “The Ethicist”, aka Randy Cohen, answers your ethical dilemma!

*A host-your-own night at the Pacific Science Center’s Laser Dome, featuring the music of your choice!


*A case of Jones Soda, custom designed with the photo and message of your choice!

And so, so, so, so, so much more….with every single item available for purchase during the Strangercrombie online holiday gift auction, starting next week.

Strangercrombie 2005: Because people don’t try to shoot you when you shop on your computer.ā„¢


posted by on December 1 at 11:59 AM

I returned from vacation today to find my e-mail in-box jammed with letters about my column from last week where I had suggested that Seattle Democrats oust Rep. Jim McDermott (D-7) in 2006. I see that in this week’s Stranger my editors chose to run a sampling of the folks who disagreed with me. But there were tons of supportive letters too. Here’s one from someone who wants us to jump start an oust-McDermott movement.

Josh, I picked up one of the lingering copies of last week’s Stranger and was happy to see your column on finding an appropriate ouster of McDermott. As a resident of Seattle over the last decade, I have generally agreed with McDermott’s stance on most issues, but have been embarrassed by his approach. Unfortunately, I don’t know as much about Councilman Ferguson. I would love to see the Stranger run a series “introducingā€¯ its readers to potential candidates. Maybe start the process by asking for suggestions. Follow up the suggestions with some reporting and some of us readers may start to jump on somebody’s bandwagon early enough to get McDermott out of there. Thanks for the column, Dylan

Meanwhile, I’d like to respond to Nancie Losnoff, whose letter ran in this week’s paper. She says my column was off base because McDermott is “principled.”

This reminded me of the first story I filed for the Stranger way back in 1999. A curious item in the NYT reported that McDermott was going to bat for a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company over the objections of consumer rights groups. I did a little checking and found out exactly why the “principled” McDermott was doing the bidding of big Pharma. The (New Jersey) drug company that McDermott was aiding was also his #1 contributor that year.

Bullshit—It’s In the PI!

posted by on December 1 at 11:53 AM

In this week’s Stranger I praise The Seattle Times for letting syndicated columnist Molly Ivins use the word “shit” in a recent column…

Daily papers are barely keeping their heads above water—in the past six months the Times’ circulation dropped seven percent, and the Post-Intelligencer’s fell nine percent—and the “family newspaper” anvil dailies insist on holding onto as they tread water isn’t helping. Shit, fuck, bullshit, asshole—these are all words that adults use for emphasis when they discuss politics, sex, religion, sports, dinner, spouses, pop culture, Pop-Tarts, and Wal-Marts. Daily papers and daily-paper websites are for adults, and adult language has a place in both. When a publication uses profanity in print, it communicates to its readers that they’re not being condescended to, or treated like children who have to be protected from language they use every fucking day…. Allowing writers to use the word “shit”—naturally, not gratuitously—in print screams, “This is not a publication that is written and edited under the bizarre, erroneous, suicidal assumption that adults sit around reading daily papers aloud to their children at bedtime.” As a fan of daily newspapers, I want to see them survive. So I hope the Seattle Times lets go of the “family newspaper” thing permanently. It’s an anvil, not a floatation device.

This morning Rodman, an alert Stranger reader, brought my attention to a story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s business section today. “Another Seattle family paper prints “bullshit,’ā€¯ Rodman wrote. “they must have been reading this week’s Stranger.ā€¯

In a piece headlined “Costco challenges state’s oversight of wine sales,ā€¯ PI reporter Kristen Millares Bolt writes…

Costco Chief Executive Jim Sinegal said Costco brought the suit against the Washington State Liquor Control Board because Washington laws constitute a restraint of trade… The Washington Beer and Wine Wholesalers Association… has long argued that removing government protection of profit margins and the distribution industry in Washington would limit consumer product choices.

When asked his response to that, Sinegal laughed.

“I can’t say bullshit, can I? That’s nonsense,” Sinegal said.

So is the PI loosening up? Are they letting go of the “family newspaperā€¯ anvil? Perhaps. But Holt’s use of “bullshitā€¯ in her piece is not as earthshaking a development as Ivins use of “shitā€¯ on the op-ed pages of the Seattle Times. Holt’s “bullshitā€¯ is embedded in a quote—Sinegal said it, he’s the one using adult language, not the reporter, and so not the paper. It’s less annoying than seeing “bull——ā€¯ in print, and perhaps it’s a signal that the PI is going to stop condescending to its readers. Unless it was accident, seeing “bullshitā€¯ in print make it clear that PI clearly believes the adults who read their business section don’t need to be protected from words that adults like Sinegal use every day. But they haven’t made the leap to allowing the adults who write and edit the PI to use words that adults use every day. The “bullshitā€¯ in today’s PI is, in a sense, being held with a pair of tongs. The true sign that the PI is taking my pro-profanity message to heart will be the appearance of the word “shitā€¯ in Susan Paynter’s column, or Melanie McFarland’s column, or Joel Connelly’s column, or John “Sexiest Daily Newspaper Columnist Aliveā€¯ Cook’s column—and not in quotes, but in the columnist’s all-grown-up voice.

Aeon and Her Imposter

posted by on December 1 at 11:25 AM

Since there’s been so little buzz about the Charlize Theron live-action version of Aeon Flux that opens tomorrow, and especially since her costume is all wrong and her hair lacks the animated Aeon’s signature curls…
I predict it will stink.
…which will be a shame, since the animated dystopian thriller was so breathtaking and brilliant. If you haven’t seen the entire original series, it’s definitely worth renting, especially on a sedentary sick day spent in a cold-medicine fog.

Pseudo Celebrity, Total Psycho

posted by on December 1 at 11:21 AM

The week before last I Slogged about the lunatic Christian woman who suffered a hideous and hilarious breakdown on the hideous and hilarious television show Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy.

This week, the lunatic Christian woman plopped herself on the Tonight Show couch, where she did her best to explain her psychotic self to Jay Leno. Enjoy!

Seattle Rep’s Second Switcheroo

posted by on December 1 at 11:20 AM

First they switched out the Neil Simon world premiere of Rewrites for August Wilson’s latest play, Radio Golf. That I can understand.

But now they’ve gone and replaced Temple (the play I was most looking forward to in their season) with Private Lives, the 1930 divorce comedy by Noel Coward. Why?

“We need more time to work on Temple,ā€¯ said Rep p.r. manager Ilana Balint. “It’s a bigger scope that we originally thought. We want to get it right.ā€¯ I asked what aspect of the production needs more time—the script, the music, the technical side? “Everything,ā€¯ Ms. Balint replied. “It all needs work.ā€¯

Temple is a world premiere musical about Dr. Temple Grandin, the autistic animal rights activist who almost singlehandedly overhauled the beef slaughter industry to make it more humane (if you can make a slaughterhouse more humane), using techniques that help calm the anxiety sometimes produced by her autism. She talks about having an empathetic connection with the animals and writes about animals as property with rights. She’s a fascinating person and I was really looking forward to the musical.

But now it’s Noel Coward. Sigh.

It’s snowing!

posted by on December 1 at 11:11 AM

At the 300 block of East Pike Street, anyway. Wax your board…

High-five South Africa!

posted by on December 1 at 11:07 AM

Reuter’s reports that South Africa’s Constitutional Court has ordered parliament to include same-sex marriages in marriage laws within the next year.

“The exclusion of same-sex couples from the benefits and responsibilities of marriage … signifies that their capacity for love, commitment and accepting responsibility is by definition less worthy of regard than that of heterosexual couples,” Justice Albie Sachs said in the ruling.

Currently, gay South Africans may legally adopt children and inherit from their partners’ wills, according to the article.

This is welcome stunner considering how homophobic many African cultures are.

Closer to home in Canada, conservative opposition leader Stephen Harper is busy campaigning on the platform that, if elected, he will force a vote in Canadian parliament to try and overturn this year’s legalization of same-sex marriage.

Boo Stephen Harper, Booooo.

The US, meanwhile, continues to sit on its thumbs and spin.

Christmas Time Is Here

posted by on December 1 at 11:03 AM

For two good reasons (it’s snowing outside and we are in the cold middle of the holiday season), I shall now play in this office the greatest piece of music dedicated to the birth of that hippie with long hair, Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas Time Is Here (Instrumental).” (It’s from Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits.)

Americans Ain’t Buying It

posted by on December 1 at 10:58 AM

Americans are buying everything except Bush’s bullshit.


posted by on December 1 at 10:45 AM

Since November 7th, I’ve made 41 different kinds of cookies. I only have 73 to go in the next 31 days in order to complete Martha Stewart’s Holiday Cookies magazine. This month Martha has posted 20 recipes from her infamous magazine, and while I haven’t made all of ‘em yet, I can tell you the Striped Icebox Cookies, Lemon Tassies, and Lime Meltaways are really effin’ good.

Face Transplant!

posted by on December 1 at 10:43 AM

It’s true! French physicians have just completed the world’s first face transplant. The recipient, an unidentified French woman, got new lips, chin, and nose after the originals were chewed off by a dog. The donor was brain dead.

Curiously, a Google news search for “face transplant” produced this Seattle P-I headline: Face transplant should be pleasant looking. Clicking on the link took me to a story entitled Ethics panel objected to face transplant. Turns out, the doctors did not attempt normal reconstructive surgery before attempting the face transplant—but who would when presented (or should I say faced?) with the opportunity to perform the world’s first face transplant?

Hope for Gerontophiles

posted by on December 1 at 10:18 AM

After years of furtively cruising rest homes and masturbating to The Golden Girls, the world’s gerontophiles finally have their very own Mecca—rural Australia.

Blogging Art

posted by on December 1 at 10:08 AM

A new art blog, Seattle Art Blog, has been kind enough to notice Carrie Scott’s fine profile of the rarely recognized DXART program at UW. Just check it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

DMBQ memorial comp

posted by on November 30 at 5:33 PM

Soon after word spread about the van accident that killed DMBQ drummer China, musicians from all over came together to create a tribute CD to the band. Included on this stacked comp are some great tracks by a bunch of talented noisemakers: new and exclusive tracks from Comets On Fire, Paik, Trans Am, Lightning Bolt, Burmese, Fucking Champs, Ezeetiger, Ludicra, No Doctors, Nate Denver’s Neck and more, according to the Aquarius Records website (where you can also order the CD). Proceeds from the CD will help defray medical costs suffered by the band members during their terrible accident.

Misty Memories

posted by on November 30 at 4:52 PM

Do you remember when Sean Nelson interviewed that Honey Crisp apple? Mr. Nelson, we miss you so.

Smart Advertising?

posted by on November 30 at 4:08 PM

I just walked by the Barneys New York in Rainier Square and happened to notice their holiday window display.

Amidst the cheery scenes of snow-covered Prada bags and other overpriced goodies was a rather stark window featuring several mannequins in t-shirts that say:


I was mildly surprised by this. Barney’s Christmas theme is “Have a Royal Holiday!ā€¯


(Love, Barneys?) seemed to me like a stark addendum to “Have a Royal Holiday!ā€¯

It turns out the t-shirts are being sold for $35 dollars to raise awareness (and cash) to fight the continuing AIDS epidemic. The message is “We all have AIDS if One of Us doesā€¯. It’s a good cause that’s being backed by Big Names—President Nelson Mandela, Sir Elton John, Greg Louganis, Harry Belafonte, Archbishop Desmond Tutu… you can check `em all out here.

Anyway, the t-shirts themselves don’t explain any of this. They simply scream, “WE ALL HAVE AIDSā€¯. I’m somewhat skeptical that loyal Barneys shoppers are going to snap these up as peppy stocking stuffers for their friends and relatives.

So Now We Know…

posted by on November 30 at 4:02 PM

A wire service story names the victim—er, the deceased, I guess, since he wasn’t exactly coerced—in the case of the man fucked to death by a horse in Washington State last summer. From

A man has pleaded guilty to trespassing in connection with a fatal horse-sex case.

James Michael Tait, 54, of Enumclaw, was accused of entering a barn without the owner’s permission. Tait admitted to officers that he entered a neighboring barn last July with friend Kenneth Pinyan to have sex with a horse, charging papers said. Tait was videotaping the episode when Pinyan suffered internal injuries that led to his death.

Tait pleaded guilty Tuesday and was given a one-year suspended sentence, a $300 fine, and ordered to perform eight hours of community service and have no contact with the neighbors.

The prosecutor’s office said no animal cruelty charges were filed because there was no evidence of injury to the horses.

Had the dead man’s name been released before? Or has this Seattle man just now been outed as a late horse fuckee?

If you want to rough up “smooth music”…

posted by on November 30 at 3:30 PM

…you’re gonna love these hilarious episodes of Yacht Rock. All the reasons why terrible ’80s music should only come back to be mercilessly made fun of…Toto, Michael Jackson, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, oh yeah, they’re all part of the beat-downs.

Strangercrombie vs. George W. Bush

posted by on November 30 at 3:18 PM

There are four pictures of George W. Bush on our website today—that’s enough! Let’s look at some more pictures of this year’s Strangercrombie models. They’re hotter than the president, they’re younger, and they’re actually doing something to make the world a better place.



What is Strangercrombie? I’m glad you asked: Strangercrombie is the Stranger’s annual feel-good, do-good, shop-good Holiday Auction—and it’s coming right up. In next week’s paper you’ll find a pull-out catalog featuring tons of unique gifts, experiences, and merch. Everything has been donated, and everything will be auctioned off online, and all the proceeds benefit Northwest Harvest.

And get out those credit cards, kids, because Northwest Harvest needs help. Saturday’s Seattle Times reported that giving is down at Northwest Harvest and other area foodbanks.

Puget Sound residents are tapped out from sending money and items to help victims of tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes…

Both monetary and food donations are down at Northwest Harvest, which collects and distributes food to 74 food-service programs throughout the region. Cash donations have dropped by more than 22 percent since September and food donations have dropped 20 percent since July, said Claire Tuohy-Morgan, spokeswoman for Northwest Harvest. Meanwhile, the agency’s downtown food bank is serving about 3,000 more households per month.

“Our warehouse is usually full during this time of the holiday season, and it’s not,” Tuohy-Morgan said. “We’ll continue to serve our clients. We’re just concerned that if we don’t get the amount of donations we normally get how things will be.”

The models have done their part for Northwest Harvest. The photographer, Paul Bel-Air, did his. The Stranger’s edit, production, and sales staffs are currently doing our part by pulling Strangercrombie together. Donors and area merchants are doing their part by filling the catalog with donated gifts and merchandise. Next week it’s your turn—pick up Strangercrombie and do your part by bidding early and often!

Diebold—Who will love you now?

posted by on November 30 at 2:57 PM

Diebold’s “Now you can Relaxā€¯ mantra might come back to bite them in the ass… the company has decided to withdraw its electronic voting machines from N. Carolina rather than have them examined by state officials. On Monday, the AP reported that a judge refused to exempt Diebold from complying with state law and handing over secret software codes.

Diebold claims that the codes actually belong to Microsoft, whose software they employ. Thus, they are not Diebold’s to hand over.

A somewhat more plausible explanation is that Diebold’s machines have flaws they are attempting to hide. The machines are not new to criticism—In 2004, Diebold paid a 2.6 million dollar settlement to California after allegations that the company sold the state shoddy voting equipment.

Black Box Voting, a Renton-based consumer election/protection organization, was privately invited by Cal. Secretary of State Bruce McPherson to hack into a Diebold machine today, according to their website (which is intensely interesting). Unfortunately, the event has been postponed and/or canceled.

It’s pretty scary stuff, considering that Diebold currently has over 75,000 voting stations across the US, according to its website.

The Imperial Presidency

posted by on November 30 at 2:50 PM

One of my Slog informants asks that our readers compare these two images. The first is of President Bush at his speech today announcing his “Plan for Victory” in Iraq. The second is of Lord Palpatine in his Imperial Senate in the movie Star Wars, Revenge of the Sith (a movie that was widely read as a critique of the power-grabbing and fear-mongering Bush crew).



UPDATE: A bigger geek than my Slog informant tells me this second image is actually from Star Wars, The Phantom Menace, not Star Wars, Revenge of the Sith. Still, it’s the same Imperial Senate, and a creepy comparison.

My Worst Nightmare

posted by on November 30 at 2:49 PM

Over the holidays, my friend dog-sat for a dog that did nothing but masturbate the whole time.


posted by on November 30 at 2:37 PM

The Bush administration got such great press after paying right-wing pundits like Armstrong Williams and others to praise their policies in print—as if right-wing pundits wouldn’t praise Bush and his policies for free!—that they Iraqified the practice. The AP reports

…the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq. The articles, written by U.S. military “information operations” troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops…

Wal-Mart Dance Party

posted by on November 30 at 2:28 PM

The Stranger sent Charles Mudede to Tacoma Mall—AKA the museum of shattered glass—for Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, because we wanted to see how the mall was getting on after a shooting there the previous Sunday. The editors of Toilet Paper in Colorado Springs wanted to see “…what happens when you take a gang of 25 punks, sceneagers and freaks to Wal-Mart for a dance party on the busiest shopping weekend of the year?”


You get busted by security, it turns out. You can watch the video here. Listen for the indignant woman, a shopper, who asks the dancers what right they have to, you know, fill Wal-Mart joy and life on the busiest shopping day of the year. It’s hilarious.

Anybody See Where I Left My Plutonium?

posted by on November 30 at 2:08 PM

This is a wee bit scary.

Army of None?

posted by on November 30 at 1:04 PM

In President Bush’s big speech today on his “Plan for Victory” in Iraq (apparently just the first in a series of four similar speeches he will give this month), he claimed that critics who mock the American-trained Iraqi army as having only one functioning battalion more than two years after Iraq’s “liberation” are just plain wrong.

But in which direction are they wrong? Could one functioning battalion actually be too generous an estimate? It would seem so, based on James Fallows’ widely discussed piece in this week’s Atlantic Monthly. It’s called, “Why Iraq Has No Army.”

(Confidential to the s’s taliban: Yeah, I wrote Fallows’, not Fallows’s. Are you confused? Has the sky fallen? No and no. I now await my daily visit from the office language police…)

Thurs Dec 1: The White Stripes!

posted by on November 30 at 12:55 PM

Reader Phil pointed me to this list of upcoming Daily Show guests. Rock!

Probing Answers

posted by on November 30 at 12:52 PM

1) Where did you come from?
From Chicago, but the moral center of my universe is Madison, Wisconsin, where I schooled. It’s a city of few morals.

2) What’s your favorite vice?
Horse tranquilizers. Sort of equine hip.

3) What song(s) will play at your funeral?
With heart-wrenching irony, the Friends theme song.

4) Please list 10 nouns that interest you.
Leaked grand jury testimony, environmental impact reports, whistleblowers… You get the idea. I’m the life of the party.

5) What good book(s) have you read recently?
My Pet Goat blew my fucking mind. Of course, it might’ve just been a bad batch of horse tranquilizers

6) Rubber Soul or Revolver?
Rubber Soul, if only because it’s spared the pollution of Yellow Submarine, which by the way is the second ironic song to be played at my funeral.

7) To form the posessive form of a singular noun ending in s, do you employ a lone apostrophe (Sanders’) or apostrophe plus s (Sanders’s)?
Eli Sanders’s advice is to go with Eli Sanders’ preference, which is lone apostrophe. (Sadly, apostrophes are on his top-ten nouns list.)

8) Do you mind if we call you T-bone? Do you like T-bomb better? Franny? Or do you have another nickname you’d prefer?
Just don’t call me Late for Dinner, which is a really cruel nickname.

New Voice in the Newsroom

posted by on November 30 at 12:42 PM

Tom Francis is our newest writer (he joined the news team this week to warm the chair left empty when Amy J moved to the Portland Mercury). Tom, will you entertain us by answering a few getting-to-know-you questions?

1) Where did you come from?

2) What’s your favorite vice?

3) What song(s) will play at your funeral?

4) Please list 10 nouns that interest you.

5) What good book(s) have you read recently?

6) Rubber Soul or Revolver?

7) To form the posessive form of a singular noun ending in s, do you employ a lone apostrophe (Sanders’) or apostrophe plus s (Sanders’s)?

8) Do you mind if we call you T-bone? Do you like T-bomb better? Franny? Or do you have another nickname you’d prefer?


posted by on November 30 at 12:31 PM

An answer to the eternal question: What’s in Michael Jackson’s pants?

Save the Flowers. Lose the Humans.

posted by on November 30 at 12:10 PM

Homelessness is a thorny problem and according to Lake City’s community leaders, it demands a thorny solution.

That’s why at a recent neighborhood meeting they moved to replace the Lake City mini-park’s current flora with “abrasive plants — to discourage sleeping in flower beds,ā€¯ according to this month’s Seattle Neighborhood News.

The group is also installing around the flowerbed an ornate-but-foreboding “English-styleā€¯ wrought iron fence, a design that’s sure to bring colonial flair to the unpleasant business of rousting vagrants.

If this doesn’t work, go with land mines. Or quick sand. Or flesh-eating Amazonian ants. Or a job — but only as a last resort.

Qadhafi Did Not Choreograph the Nutcracker

posted by on November 30 at 12:08 PM

I repeat: Libya’s Colonel Qadhafi did NOT choreograph any part of the Nutcracker. Why the repetition? Because a few ballet fans fell for what I thought was an obvious joke in this week’s theater listings: “The Nutcracker: Music By Tchaikovsky, sets by Maurice Sendak, choreography by Col. Moammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi.ā€¯ Said ballet fans called Pacific Northwest Ballet to scream at them for either putting that kind of joke in their press release or—and this kills me—allowing Qadhafi’s choreography onto their stage.

I had no idea you dance-listings-readers took your Nutcracker—and yourselves—so seriously.

We occasionally slip jokes into the listings to reward readers who actually read the listings—and enticing readers into the listings is good for them, good for theaters, and good for artists. We are very, very disappointed in the handful of Stranger readers who took the time to bitch out Pacific Northwest Ballet for a joke that obviously originated at the Stranger. We expect more from our readers. We really do.

p.s. Kent Stowell choreographed the Nutcracker.

Bass Ackwards

posted by on November 30 at 11:44 AM

I’m no military historian, but shouldn’t this…


…come before this…


…and not the other way around?

Good News for Moviegoers

posted by on November 30 at 10:56 AM

So after my post a few weeks ago about how Landmark Theaters had discontinued their discount cards (5 movies for $30) they have brought them back. Although I would like to take credit for blowing the scandal wide open, I’m not sure it was all my doing. The guy at the ticket window told me, “Nobody was happy with that situation.”

Paul Allen: A Carny, Not a Carnegie

posted by on November 30 at 10:15 AM

I meant to get something up about this yesterday: So Paul Allen, according to a front-page story in the Seattle Times on Tuesday, is going to put his collection of art on display at EMP—you remember EMP, right? It’s the Experience Music Project, a museum and interactive something-or-other dedicated to rock and roll. The place was kind of a bust, though, and so a couple of years ago Allen crammed The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame in the building too. So now Allen is apparently opening a gallery in EMP’s space too, one that will display paintings he owns by Monet, Renoir, Degas, Cezanne, de Kooning, and on and on and on.

Why EMP? “We saw no better place to put it than a populist institution like EMP,” said the museum’s spokesman, Christian-Philippe Quilici. “We see it evolving into an all-inclusive cultural shrine.”

That’s funny, Christian. Anyone who isn’t drawing a paycheck from Paul Allen sees EMP as a joke.

I’d like to make a bet: Within a week of Paul Allen’s death, the building that houses EMP will be a Taco Time. The building—designed by Frank Gehry, at a construction cost of $100 million—abuts the “Fun Forest,” that lonely, cosmically depressing, and always empty amusement park. (Megan Seling wrote up the Fun Forest in a recent feature). EMP didn’t quite work, so we got The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. That didn’t quite work either, and addition of big-name art might justify the building’s existence for a little while longer—and it might fill the place—but it’s still a bad fit. The space is destined to be a fast-food outlet.

It’s a shame that Allen, a man who clearly wants to leave a mark on this city, has such terrible instincts and/or gets such bad advice.

Hey, Paul: Think less like a carny and more like a Carnegie. That new downtown public library everyone loves? You could have paid for that with your walking around money, and it would be forever known as the Allen Library—you would be remembered, just like Andrew Carnegie is remembered for building Carnegie Hall in New York City. Remember Commons I & II? You bought up properties in and around a proposed public park in South Lake Union. You offered to donate millions of dollars worth of property to the proposed park, and few more millions to an endowment for policing the park. In other words, you offered what amounts to chump change for a man like you.

You wanted the citizens of Seattle to pick up most of the tab for the Commons—a quarter of a billion dollars. There were two votes on the tax package that would have built the Commons. During one of the Commons campaigns, you made a billion dollar profit during a stock rally in one afternoon! If you had made a gift of 1/4 of that day’s take to the city, there wouldn’t have been a need for a public vote. The Commons would have been built and it would have been called Allen Park, and your condos and office buildings going up in South Lake Union would be worth more, and the city would have a large park in its heart, and like Andrew Carnegie, you would be remembered.

But nope. You couldn’t do the right thing. You couldn’t pay for it yourself. You couldn’t make a gift to the city. You couldn’t see that insisting that average folks tax themselves to pay for 90% of a park that would both enhance the city and enhance the value of an insanely rich billionaires real estate portfolio just might create a little class resentment and a backlash in the voting booth. And none of your advisors could see it either. So the Commons went down—twice.

So what have you created, Paul? How will you be remembered? Bill Gates is angling to be remembered for wiping out malaria. That’s cool—if he succeeds, Gates will be remembered right alongside Jonas Salk. But you? You’ll be remembered, if you’re remembered at all, as Seattle’s richest at-risk adolescent, and the EMP/Science Fiction Museum/Bellagio Casino will be gone and forgotten before your body is cold.

In Other Military Experts Who Think the Iraq Effort is Screwed…

posted by on November 30 at 10:10 AM

Joining top-tier international military historian Martin van Creveld (who called the Iraq war the stupidest military move since 9 B.C.—see Dan’s post yesterday), researchers at the U.S. Army War College have concluded that America has botched the job beyond repair, and the best-case scenario is “an undemocratic, but stable, Iraq, ruled by factional militias.ā€¯

The Wall Street Journal (of all papers) has the depressing story:

But victory may not be in sight next year, according to a new study by Army War College researchers Andrew Terrill and Conrad Crane. The War College, which trains Army officers but does not reflect the views of the Pentagon, has long been pessimistic about the war. In a 2004 study, the War College called it “an unnecessary preventative warā€¯ and a “detourā€¯ from the war on terrorism. In February 2003, Messrs. Terrill and Crane warned that the invasion of Iraq would produce a growing insurgency, and that disbanding Iraq’s army would only fuel the insurgency, both of which proved prescient. In their new report, they said it was “increasingly unlikelyā€¯ that the insurgency will be crushed before U.S. troops leave, that it was “no longer clearā€¯ that Iraqis would be able to fully secure the entire country on their own and that the best-case scenario was an undemocratic, but stable, Iraq, ruled by factional militias. But they also joined Mr. Bush in opposing a timetable for withdrawal. “The long-term dilemma of the U.S. position in Iraq,ā€¯ wrote Messrs. Terrill and Crane, “can perhaps best be summarized as: `We can’t stay, we can’t leave, we can’t fail.’”


posted by on November 30 at 10:01 AM

Some people think I am a picky eater. The way I see it, I know what I like and I don’t want any funny business. Happily I have discovered The Burger Place on University Way. They have a fill-it-in-yourself ordering form that gets you a burger just the way you want it. They serve burgers and fries—that’s it (oh, and onion rings). They have a good amount of condiment/extras choices without overwhelming you. There are several patties to choose from, including veggie and salmon, pleasing both carnivores and vegetarians alike.

The people that work there are all very chipper and happy to see you. The space has a pleasing clean modern design and hip trays and a giant flat-screen TV you can watch while you eat.

Last night they were showing Larry King Live, while King interviewed Hugh Hefner and his three live-in girlfriends—absolutely fascinating. Watching these bimbo-rific women gush about how fabulous Hefner is, how great it is to all be together, and no, him being 60 years older than them doesn’t matter AT ALL. There was some unintentional hilarity with the computer-generated subtitles on the screen. Hugh claimed their relationship was totally open “without liceā€¯ and that his ancestor was one of the first “pure tansā€¯ to come over on the Mayflower. Glad to hear it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Who Loves Strict Constructionism?

posted by on November 29 at 4:20 PM

When you get way down into legal debate over all those flawed voter challenges that were issued by Republicans just before the last election, you arrive in a strange sort of opposite world.

In this world, everyone agrees that the state’s voter challenge law says that “the person filing the challenge must furnish the address at which the challenged voter actually resides.” And everyone agrees that Lori Sotelo, the Republican party official who challenged nearly 2,000 King County residents, alleging they were illegally registered at P.O. boxes and storage units, failed in many cases to furnish the address at which the voter she was challenging actually resided. Therefore a “strict constructionist” interpretation of the law, as Republican King County Prosecutor Norm Maleng noted at a press conference today, would conclude that Sotelo was required to furnish the actual addresses of the voters she was challenging in every case, or her challenges would not count.

Now, who loves strict constructionism? Usually, it’s Republicans, who embrace the concept in arguing that the Constitution, for example, does not include a right to privacy because you can’t find one explicitly stated in the Constitution. The law is the law is the law, they say, and you can’t read or infer anything into it that’s not already there.

But in the opposite world that is the battle over these voter challenges, Republicans have rejected strict constructionism in order to argue that Sotelo doesn’t need to know the actual address of the person she’s challenging. Democrats, on the other hand, are embracing strict constructionism in order to argue that Sotelo’s challenges should be automatically rejected when she can’t show that she knows where the voter she is challenging lives now.

I asked Maleng about this strange state of affairs at his press conference today, and I’m proud to say the question elicited a few chuckles from reporters in the room. Maleng himself appeared to stifle a smile, and then said of his use of the phrase “strict constructionism”: “There wasn’t any meaning in putting it into those terms.”

In any case, Maleng announced today that he is asking the state’s Republican Attorney General, Rob McKenna, for an opinion clarifying the issue. It will be interesting to find out whether McKenna is a strict constructionist or not on this matter…

The Opposite of Lightness?

posted by on November 29 at 4:14 PM

Regarding this Atlantic street rep’s plea for hype [re: Dan’s Listening PARTAY! post below], be forewarned that the band he’s plugging is beloved by ironic-hipster douches for their “are they joking?” replication of ’70s hard rock, replete with castrato yelps and Brian May guitar-hero aping. These yobs are either geniuses on the order of Spinal Tap, or cynical advantage-takers of ironic-hipster douches. But, hey, SWAG!

City to Homeless Drunks: Move Along

posted by on November 29 at 4:06 PM

About 18 months ago, the City Council vastly expanded the city’s “Alcohol Impact Area,” a swath of the central city where alcohol sales are restricted by type and time (no single bottles or cans, and no alcohol at all between 6 and 9 am), to a vast area that encompasses downtown, Capitol Hill, the International District, Lower Queen Anne, and the University District. The council also changed the rules for the AIA to focus on sales of specific products, rather than restricting sales by hours and product type, and made compliance voluntary, at least in the short term.

That plan, predictably, didn’t pan out: only 30 percent of merchants in the voluntary AIA signed “good neighbor agreements” consenting to follow the rules. Now the council is seeking a state liquor board rule making the AIA mandatory, banning low-cost, high-alcohol products (like MD 20/20, Cisco, Thunderbird, Mickey’s, and Olde English 800) from a zone that encompasses most of the central city.

AIAs like the one Seattle is proposing have been criticized because they simply move the problem - homeless public drinkers - to non-AIA neighborhoods without addressing the more serious (and challenging) problems of homelessness and addiction. And, critics say, AIAs infringe on homeless drinkers’ civil rights by singling out one group of alcoholics just because they’re poor. (Nobody’s suggesting that sales at wine shops be restricted, for example, just because they sell high-alcohol beverages.) Another criticism is that restricting specific brands simply doesn’t work: In neighborhoods that have restrictions, sales of non-restricted beers go up.

The council’s Human Services Committee, chaired by AIA champion Tom Rasmussen, will take up the legislation at a public hearing next Tuesday, December 6, in council chambers at 9:30 a.m.

Listening PARTAY!

posted by on November 29 at 3:47 PM

This just arrived via email:

Hey Ya’ll—I’m the local street rep for Atlantic records. Sorry this is so last minute, but if one of you is still holed up in the office, can you possibly throw up a SLOG about [BAND’S NAME DELETED] listening party tonight? Their new album is out today & we’re having a shin dig at The Whiskey Bar from 6pm - 10pm. Giving away copies of the album, stickers, some other swag. Thanks so much!

Gee, I don’t know what to say. There are places on the website where Street Reps can plug their bands and their swag and their listening parties until their fingers fall off. And Stranger editorial staffers can plug basically whatever they like on the SLOG. But the SLOG isn’t a bulletin board for lazy street reps that want to attract swag-o-philes to bars for listening parties.

Am I being overly sensitive here? Or is there something that’s vaguely offensive about this request? Isn’t it just a little presumptuous?

But in case I’m wrong, Ms. Street Rep, here’s your email up on the SLOG—minus the name of your band. If folks want to head down to the Whiskey Bar, they can. But let’s leave the band a mystery and let the party rise or fall on the intrinsic appeal of a listening party. There’s swag to be had, SLOG readers—OMG! SWAG!—does it matter whose?

Warning: `David’ Can Cause Mental Imbalance

posted by on November 29 at 3:43 PM

As a David who’s caused a fair amount of psychic disturbance, I thought I’d share this urgent bit of news with you. Clearly, I am no competition for a centuries-old naked statue.

Michelangelo’s David, regarded as the world’s most beautiful statue, can trigger mental imbalances in overly sensitive and cultivated onlookers, according to a top psychiatrist in Florence.

Graziella Magherini, president of Italy’s Art and Psychology Association, reported the preliminary findings of her year-long study at a symposium at the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence where the naked marble man attracts 1.2 million visitors a year. She said David can have a particular emotional impact on a certain kind of visitor.

“I’ve called it the David Syndrome. It causes mind-bending symptoms and affects mostly those traveling on their own or in couples,” Magherini told Discovery News.

Keep yer yap shut

posted by on November 29 at 3:28 PM

Dan Froomkin has a fantastic column today via the Washington Post concerning “Bush’s Shrinking Safety Zoneā€¯ or what I call his “Tourniquet of Denial.ā€¯

When was the last time that Bush spoke in a forum open to citizens who are representative of the diverse array of views in the country? Certainly not since last October’s presidential debates, and not often before then, either.

The bubble began to shrink considerably after the 2004 last election, when Team Bush began limiting access to public speaking events with the president, and even hiring loyal volunteers to single out potential liberal insurgents. Nowadays, Bush’s speeches are punctuated by uniformed, military audiences who seem to follow him like a school of well-decorated fish, and of course Big Republican Donors.

Should taxpayers be funding presidential events to which the public is never welcome? Froomkin asks, not for the first time.

Bush’s Norfolk October 28th speech was the last not totally orchestrated by the White House—tickets were made available through the local Chamber of Commerce, although “more than 70 military members sat on risers on the stage behind [the president],ā€¯ according to Froomkin’s article.

During that speech, a man in a “Dump Bushā€¯ t-shirt stood in the audience and shouted, “War is Terrorism! Torture is Terrorism!ā€¯ before he was hustled out by security.

The naughty activist, Tom Palumbo, said “I think maybe he heard me. I know he looked befuddled.ā€¯

Someday soon the long arm of Truth with snake its way up Bush’s puckered rectum and he shall have to confront critical constituents, and the fact that he himself is a douchebag.

Until that day comes, Happy Reading.

Have a brilliant idea?

posted by on November 29 at 2:13 PM

You could make $100,000.

(via Andrew Tobias.)

Daily Dose

posted by on November 29 at 2:10 PM

Schmader’s wigged woman who fell at WalMart made it onto the Daily Show last night. I was in bed but I heard my husband howling in the other room. Which reminded me: Is it true that some of you here at The Stranger have never seen the show? If it’s true, we should have a viewing party. How does one find out which guests are scheduled to appear on upcoming episodes? TV Guide?

Seattle’s Tranny Hookers Traumatize Right-Wing Pundit

posted by on November 29 at 1:35 PM

Via Seattlest

Jonah Goldberg—right-wing commentator and big, fat, doughy idiot—visited Seattle recently and had this to say on the National Review’s group blog, The Corner:

I’m heading back to DC in a few hours. I always have such mixed feelings about Seattle. On the one hand, there’s a lot to like about this town and this region. It’s my kind of weather, my kind of food, etc. But I’m always amazed at how pre-Giuliani so much of the downtown is. I’m baffled at how the business community and the tourist industry can cave to the drug-addict romanticizers and panhandler enablers. There is so much skeeviness and bummery going on right at the heart of why people come to this town in the first place. And, it’s not just to prey on the tourists, there are half-way houses, methadone clinics, etc all near Pike’s. I don’t folllow Seattle politics so I don’t know how the arguments play out, but I’d have to guess there are West Coast versions of the same jackasses who thought drug dealing, transvestite hookers, and robbery were what gave Times Square its authenticity and “charm.”

All I can say is, gee, you should’ve seen the place before the anti-panhandling law was passed, before the anti-sitting-on-the-sidewalk law, the anti-public urination law—basically the whole package of Sidran-era “civility” laws that criminalized but—surprise!—failed to eradicate drug abuse, homelessness, hookers, etc. And the presence of so many social services downtown? All those half-way houses, methadone clinics, etc., “near Pike’s”? It’s the result of Republican and Democratic anti-urbanism, Jonah. That sort of stuff was dumped in the center of cities to spare residential neighborhoods and suburban areas from having to shoulder their fair share of social service infrastructure.

But, whatever. Snobs and elitists like Goldberg wage war on the inner city for decades, allowing urban areas to rot, and then complain when they drop in for a visit and have to step over the homeless that their social neglect helped to create. But, again, whatever. I don’t expect Goldberg to have a conscience. You would think, though, that someone from the East Coast wouldn’t be such a pussy about a few tranny hookers and drug addicts. I mean, if Jonah thinks Seattle is bad, he should go hang out in Portland sometime.

Jacko Disses Jews

posted by on November 29 at 12:41 PM

So everybody’s favorite non-OJ acquitee Michael Jackson has found himself in hot water again.

This time it’s not “the boys,” but the Jews, whom Jacko dissed in a voice-mail message to a former business advisor. Aired last week on Good Morning America, the 2003 message catches Jackson slurring the Chosen People thusly: “They suck…they’re like leeches…it’s a conspiracy. The Jews do it on purpose.”

The Anti-Defamation League has demanded an apology from Jackson, who has so far remained silent. Speaking in his place: longtime Jackson family lawyer Brian Oxman, who told the New York Daily News, “”I have been with the Jackson family for 15 years, and I’m Jewish. I have never once seen anything anti-Semitic from him or from his family.”

Of course, Brian Oxman is not the most trustworthy source on race relations. Following Jacko’s death-defying dangling of his baby from a German balcony, Oxman blasted all who’d criticize his boss’s actions as racists. Oxman’s reasoning: By dangling his infant son from a fifth-floor balcony, Jackson was simply carrying on the ancient African tradition of holding up new children for admiration, as displayed in The Lion King.

I’m not sure if Oxman believes ancient African folk tales trace back to Disney, or if he’s making some comparison between cartoon beasts and his surgically cartoonish employer. Either way, he’s a genius.

Buy For Baby Jesus

posted by on November 29 at 12:40 PM

Last night on the O’Reilly Factor, everyone’s favorite luffah lover continued his holy crusade to “Save Christmas” from us secular liberals who are seeking to…I guess stop Christmas?

Here’s my favorite part of his hysterical rant:

Every company in America should be on its knees thanking Jesus for being born. Without Christmas, most American businesses would be far less profitable. More than enough reason for business to be screaming Merry Christmas.

Ah yes, the true meaning of Christ’s birth is revealed at last.

A Taste of Strangercrombie 2005

posted by on November 29 at 11:47 AM

Strangercrombie—The Stranger’s annual feel-good, do-good, shop-good Holiday Auction—is coming right up. We got gifts, we got swag, we got one-of-a-kind expereinces and merch, and we’re going to be auctioning it all off to benefit Northwest Harvest. And there’s that little something extra that makes Strangercrombie, well, Strangercrombie: eye candy. Kelly O just sent me a couple of the pics from this weekend’s photo shoot and they’re… they’re… the hottest damn Strangercrombie shots yet. Here’s a taste…





Did I mention that Strangercrombie is a benefit for Northwest Harvest? Bidding starts next week when Straangercrombie hits the streets, so get those credit cards ready—and if you run into one of our lovely models, thank ‘em for stripping down to help raise money to feed the hungry. Now it’s time to do your part…

Joe Blows

posted by on November 29 at 11:43 AM

Kos’ latest smack at the worst Dem in the US Senate.

Greenwood Space Travel Supply store is open for business

posted by on November 29 at 11:41 AM

I’ve written about 826 Seattle — fronted by a space travel supply store, called Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. — several times already, even though the grand opening hasn’t even happened yet.

A quick history of our coverage: A year and some change ago I wrote this profile of executive director Teri Hein, who was planning to start a writing center for students ages 6-18. She was going to call it Studio 26, and it was going to be in Columbia City. Her project was modeled on 826 Valencia, the writing center Dave Eggers founded in San Francisco a few years ago. Then Eggers invited Hein to make her project an official 826 chapter — there are also 826s in New York (where Sarah Vowell is president of the board), LA, and other cities… Hein found a home for 826 Seattle in Greenwood over the summer (as written about here). Then Dave Eggers, Sarah Vowell, and Death Cab for Cutie did an 826 Seattle fundraiser at Bumbershoot (previewed here). After the event, Eggers wrote a piece for The Stranger about how it all went.

The reason we’ve devoted all this coverage to the project because it’s led by Teri Hein (who was named a Stranger Genius one-to-watch this year). Local organizations live and die by their leaders, and Hein is a leader like no other. She would do terrible at a place like Hugo House or Seattle Arts & Lectures or Bookfest (when Bookfest was around). She’s no-bullshit. She hated teaching in public schools. She has decades of experience. Teenagers love her. This will not be your standard Seattle literary nonprofit. Ahem.

Anyway, 826 Seattle has been open for drop-in after-school tutoring for weeks (send your kids: it’s free, they can do their school work with a volunteer tutor [I am one], talk about writing, hangout and read, etc.) and the writing workshops start this week (also free, but you have to register). And this coming Saturday is the grand opening, from noon to 6, featuring George Saunders, Ryan Boudinot, some musical guests, and other stuff. And Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co., designed by Stranger Genius filmmaker Web Crowell, will be open for business. They sell, among other things, gravity. Here’s a picture courtesy of store volunteer Paul Hughes:
And here’s what the store looks like from the street:
And here’s a zoom to the left:

The address is 8414 Greenwood Ave N, just south of 85th Ave N on Greenwood. The number 5 bus takes you direct from downtown. The 48 takes you direct from Rainier Beach.

Required Reading

posted by on November 29 at 11:17 AM

A link from my brother Bill…

There is a remarkable article in the latest issue of the American Jewish weekly, Forward. It calls for President Bush to be impeached and put on trial “for misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC sent his legions into Germany and lost them”.

To describe Iraq as the most foolish war of the last 2,014 years is a sweeping statement, but the writer is well qualified to know.

He is Martin van Creveld, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and one of the world’s foremost military historians. Several of his books have influenced modern military theory and he is the only non-American author on the US Army’s list of required reading for officers.

Professor van Creveld has previously drawn parallels between Iraq and Vietnam, and pointed out that almost all countries that have tried to fight similar wars during the last 60 years or so have ended up losing. Why President Bush “nevertheless decided to go to war escapes me and will no doubt preoccupy historians to come,” he told one interviewer.

I’m thinking Martin van Creveld isn’t going to be on the US Army’s required reading list for much longer.

Trust Us—We’re Celibate Pedophiles in Prada Shoes

posted by on November 29 at 10:55 AM

The Catholic Church released its latest love letter to the Gays today:

The Vatican newspaper said on Tuesday that homosexuality risked “destabilizing people and society,” had no social or moral value and could never match the importance of the relationship between a man and a woman.

As a gay Catholic (retired), a former altar boy (unmolested), a one-time semi-seminarian (it was a high school seminary), and an active destablizer of people and society (the sun used to revolve around the earth, you know, until the gays came along and ruined everything), I should probably be upset about the Church’s latest hateful rhetoric about gay people and gay priests.

But after years of listening to similar smears from American evangelicals—who, for the record, believe the Pope is the Prada-shod anti-Christ—the bigotry-come-lately of the Catholic Church seems almost quaint. Yes, it’s harmful, but it’s also pretty transparent: The Catholic Church has a pedophile problem, and it’s attempting to pin it all on gay priests. Gay priests are part of the problem, of course—I mean, the Catholic Church has long maintained that homosexuality is an “intrinsic moral disorder.ā€¯ It makes sense that many of the gay men attracted to the priesthood would see themselves and be, like, intrinsically morally disordered and stuff. So dropping all the homos from the priesthood will probably eliminate some of the sexual misconduct—not all of which has been pedophilia, not all of which has been homosexual in nature. It’s a blunt object, but not entirely ineffective.

But the root of the Catholic Church’s problem is celibacy. Practicing straights can’t be priests; practicing gays can’t be priests; women, gay and straight, can’t be priests—so who’s left exactly? It’s right there in the Vatican’s new position paper: gay men who have “overcomeā€¯ their homosexuality, or resisted it for three—count `em!—three long years can still be priests. So gays are still welcome in the Catholic priesthood if they’re very deeply closeted or very good liars. That should improve the priesthood, huh?

On a personal note, when I came out to my mom she went to a family friend, a priest, to cry on his shoulder. When she told Father Tom that I was gay, he told her he was too and that she should be glad that the world had changed so much for gays and lesbians, and that I wouldn’t have to live the kind of circumscribed, emotionally bereft life that he did. He told her to accept me and love me. Thanks, Father Tom.

New-Old Harper’s

posted by on November 29 at 10:53 AM

So according to this profile of Roger Hodge, it looks like the new editor at Harper’s (as of April ‘06) doesn’t have many new ideas. He did, however, grow up on a ranch. And former editor Lewis Lapham will continue to write his wheezy column. Whether said column’s word count will continue at its inconceivably inflated rate is unclear.

An Apple a Day

posted by on November 29 at 10:52 AM

Researchers at the University of Washington and Johns Hopkins have found that apples are good for your memory.

Unless you’re Charlize Theron.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Blog Plugging, 1-2, 1-2

posted by on November 28 at 5:27 PM

Stranger hiphop columnist Larry Mizell Jr. writes a blog worthy of several mouse clicks. If you like your music commentary salty and humorous, check out the dude’s word-slingin’ here. Mizell also raps in Cancer Rising, who came with a Public Enemy/Paris-style aggression and articulateness the one time I caught ‘em live, though they cite Latyrx, Kanye, M.O.P., and Run DMC as reference points. Their debut album, Search for the Cure, is on my want list. They play around town with regularity. Check ‘em if you like smart, vibrant hiphop.

Slam the Man

posted by on November 28 at 4:05 PM

Hey, all of you who wanted a Mayor Gridlock T-shirt (and then went comatose after your Thanksgiving gorge-fest): Hurry and order one before they’re gone.

Hormone Spray Elicits Trust in Humans

posted by on November 28 at 2:36 PM

”..a whiff of a certain hormone [oxytocin] makes people more willing to trust others with their money.”

So says Scientific American.

If the GOP starts spraying this shit on Doritos, we’re in trouble.

Are You Obese?

posted by on November 28 at 2:05 PM

Click HERE to calculate your Body Mass Index.

I, for the record, am officially obese by this measure (only just, but just is enough). I find this news disconcerting, but hardly surprising. I can’t decide whether to hate myself or the standard being employed. I think I’ll take myself.

Does anyone want this pizza crust?

Zappin’ Your Chicken

posted by on November 28 at 1:45 PM

A ton has been written about vibrating “jackets” for your, er, chicken. Every once in a while someone writes about a supposedly emerging field of sex toy technology called “teledildonics” or “cyberdildonics.” From

Teledildonics was once hailed as the future of cybersex and the ultimate in safe sex. However, nothing much has happened with this technology since its inception in the late ’90s, probably due to the difficulty of implementing it over the Web.

The way it’s supposed to work is that you plug a vibrator into your computer, then you establish a connection with your cyber partner via Internet. This may involve using Webcams to enhance the experience visually. Your partner, using their keyboard or other controls on their computer, can then operate your vibrator, switching it on or off or adjusting the speed. During the experience you communicate with them over Internet chat.

There was also a little bit of press in the late-1990s about a bodysuit that plugged into your computer. Here’s a Salon piece from 2000 about ‘em. The suit had little electronic zappers in various erogenous zones. Someone sitting at a computer in another city or state or across town would be able to zap you at will, and you would be able to zap them back. The suits were, I believe (never got to field test one), cumbersome and the stimulation wasn’t enough to actually get anybody off. Some people can come from e-stim, as it’s known in fetish circles, but the e-zaps have to be more intense than those provided by a body suit and the person doing the zapping—usually it’s the person wearing the zapper—has to be in the room in order to gauge the zappee’s response, ramp up the zaps, etc. You can read more about e-stim here.

So what’s up with this chicken suit? I suspect the suits at Al Jazeera are winking at their readers and viewers. They’re finally getting around to writing up these new/old sex toys but, in deference to the generally sexphobic attitudes of the Muslim world, they’re pretending it’s just the latest in chicken-stimulation technology.

Stick Figures

posted by on November 28 at 1:29 PM

Some folks are in denial about the worldwide obesity epidemic. Not those of us who have taken a cross-country road trip, though. While there may be fewer people on the Great Plains these days the total combined weight of the heartattackland’s population hasn’t dropped an ounce. Thank God U.S. House seats are apportioned by population numbers and not population mass.

Well, here’s some fresh evidence—via Drudge—for the doubters and living/chewing-in-denial types: “Study: Longer Needles Needed for Fatter Buttocks.ā€¯

Fatter rear ends are causing many drug injections to miss their mark, requiring longer needles to reach buttock muscle, researchers said on Monday. Standard-sized needles failed to reach the buttock muscle in 23 out of 25 women whose rears were examined after what was supposed to be an intramuscular injection of a drug…

Besides patients receiving less than the correct drug dosage, medications that remain lodged in fat can cause infection or irritation, researchers Victoria Chan said.

“There is no question that obesity is the underlying cause. We have identified a new problem related, in part, to the increasing amount of fat in patients’ buttocks,” Chan said.

Obesity affects more than 300 million people worldwide and is based on a measure of height versus weight that produces a body mass index above 30. An estimated 65 percent of U.S. adults are overweight or obese.

Forget Vibrating Chicken Jackets…

posted by on November 28 at 12:59 PM

This story about the latest Republican scandal is the one you want to read. (An eight-term congressman resigning after admitting he accepted, yup, bribes! For frigging defense contracts!)

Varsity-Level Telecommuting

posted by on November 28 at 12:44 PM

Sometimes, Al Jazeera has the best stories:

“Researchers from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have devised a prototype that allows `touch’ to be transmitted over the internet by way of a vibrating jacket.ā€¯

At present, the vibrating jackets are not designed for children or long-distance partners but… chickens?

“A pet fowl, wearing a wireless, sensor-rigged jacket, is captured on camera moving inside its coop. This image is transmitted over the internet to the owner in a different location, who gets to see a model of the chicken moving.ā€¯

When the owner touches the model, the jacket reproduces the caress as a “series of vibrations.ā€¯ And the best part? You don’t even need a high-speed connection—the equipment only requires four bytes per second.

Less of a Sauce, More of a Glaze

posted by on November 28 at 12:35 PM

Britain’s Literary Review does this contest every year for the worst sex writing in literary fiction. The Guardian’s story about the writing in the running this year is here, and all of this year’s excerpts in question are here.

Here’s Updike on a character’s vagina: It “did not feel like Phyllis’s. Smoother, somehow simpler, its wetness less thick, less of a sauce, more of a glaze.”

I’ll be in the bathroom vomiting.

Falling Apart

posted by on November 28 at 12:18 PM

This is what you call a bad omen: “Pieces Fall From Supreme Court Facade.”

Cycling Without a Saddle

posted by on November 28 at 12:18 PM

I’m not going to comment on the subject matter of this book. But the cover image simply cannot go unremarked upon.


The belted jeans! The artfully draped arms! Cream-colored henley versus ecru crewneck! But what really attracts the eye is those big, strategically placed baskets. Wicker! Well, I never.

The Department of Justice: Serving it up real good

posted by on November 28 at 11:59 AM

Dara Purvis has a great raw story column concerning the Department of Justice and its recent beef with Southern Illinois University. The Civil Rights Division is threatening the university with lawsuits alleging violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Their crime? Funding scholarships deemed racist by the DOJ. What makes a scholarship racist, you might ask?

As Dara explains it:

There are three programs apparently judged to be racist: one called “Bridge to the Doctorate,ā€¯ that provides funds to assist “underrepresented minority studentsā€¯ to pursue “graduate study in science, technology, engineering, and math.ā€¯ Another, called “Proactive Recruitment and Multicultural Professionals for Tomorrow,ā€¯ aim at increasing “the number of minorities receiving advanced degrees in disciplines in which they are underrepresented.ā€¯ And the third, “Graduate Dean’s,ā€¯ is for “woman and traditionally underrepresented students who have overcome social, cultural, or economic conditions.ā€¯ From these three efforts to provide financial assistance for traditionally underrepresented students pursuing graduate degrees, the Department of Justice alleges a “pattern or practice of discrimination against whites, non-preferred minorities and males,ā€¯ according to the letter sent to the University and discussed in the Chicago Sun-Times.

I believe the DOJ should fund their own scholarship at SIU if they are so concerned about unbalanced scholarship practices. They can call it the “Mananging Minorities Scholarship: How to Lead among Heathensā€¯ or simply “Jazz Hands for White Boysā€¯.

Weep not, down-trodden white boys. Soon you, too, shall have your moment in the sun!

No more witches and vampires

posted by on November 28 at 11:56 AM

The vampire novelist turned true-believing Roman Catholic Anne Rice signs copies of her new book, Christ the Lord — narrated from child Jesus’s point of view — tonight at Third Place Books at 6 pm. Paul Constant’s take on the book is here.

I direct diehards and people who love watching trains crash to Anne Rice’s website, and particularly her tour-chronicling blog, for more on Christ’s love, the children of God she’s met so far on her tour, her thoughts on gay people (she’s pro), her thoughts on fans emailing her their unpublished novels (don’t), and her thoughts on her previous books (“No, I will not be writing anymore novels with my vampire or witch characters. I have moved beyond these novels and have committed to writing only for Jesus Christ in a more direct way”).

Also, by the way, in case you’re looking, Rice has a couple real estate properties for sale. Oh, and here’s a picture of her in a casket.

Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch—Better Late…

posted by on November 28 at 10:36 AM

For the week of November 24-30, 2005:

The Stranger: 108
Seattle Weekly: 108

Please note: This was a regular issue for the Stranger and a special issue for Seattle Weekly. It was one of the Weekly’s four—count `em: four—frostily anticipated “gift guides.” Sometimes a special issue of the Weekly is larger than a regular issue of The Stranger. Not this week. This year’s gift guide #1 is the smallest gift guide #1 since 1993. The Stranger was a 28 page paper that week in 93.

In other Weekly news: The Department of Justice has given their blessing to the merger between the Weekly’s owners, Village Voice Media, and New Times. The new company, controlling 17 papers, will keep the VVM name, but the New Times folks will be running the show. This means that the hairy-breasted matriarchs overseeing (mothering?) the incredible shrinking Seattle Weekly will be taking their orders from the hairy-chested testosterone junkies at New Times HQ in Phoenix, Arizona. For those keeping track at home: This is the 4th owner of the Seattle Weekly since 1997. Yet another new design and yet another staff shake-up is expected.

Why did the DOJ have to approve the merger? Well, because the two companies ran afoul of the DOJ in 2002 when VVM made a deal with New Times to close their competing paper in Clevland if New Times would close its competing paper in LA. The two companies were accused in 2003 of colluding to create a monopoly.

Violent Hazing=Bad, Meaty Thug Butts=Good

posted by on November 28 at 9:42 AM

Yes, yes, brutal hazings are nothing to celebrate.

But if we have to see violent footage of British Marines forced to strip naked and clobber each other (until one of them gets kicked unconscious by a commanding officer), we can at least take some small pleasure in the hazed Marines’s attractively beefy thugginess.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Apparently God Does Not Want Seattle To Have a Monorail In Any Form

posted by on November 27 at 4:02 PM

From King 5:

Seattle’s monorail system is shut down indefinitely after two trains clipped each other on a curve in the tracks Saturday evening in the heart of Seattle.

Perry Cooper with the Seattle Center, which operates the monorail, said the tracks at the curve are too narrow for the trains to pass each other. The blue train was inbound and the red train was outbound. The blue train is supposed to yield to the red, but for some reason did not do so.

The trains are now wedged together so hard, neither can be moved and cranes will have to be brought in to move them.

Toward a Unified Theory of How the Iraq War was Sold

posted by on November 27 at 11:08 AM

I hope I don’t jinx things by predicting a Pulitzer in Commentary for Frank Rich’s Op-Ed columns in the New York Times this year. His column this Sunday is one of his best, and I would love to link to it, but unfortunately it’s hidden behind the TimesSelect wall — which I guess also means that rather than posting choice Frank Rich excerpts here, I have to suggest you go out and find the piece by any means necessary.

I can say this: Rich references an LA Times story that I posted about last Sunday, as well as this National Journal story and this Rolling Stone story, in what I predict (if I may make another prediction) will become a common online form as the Bush administration’s selling of the Iraq war gets reexamined by the media, mainstream and non.

The tale of how the Iraq war was sold is so sprawling, with each pre-war fiction now requiring so much investigative effort to debunk, that no one media outlet seems to have the space or resources to do it all on its own. Thus, to get to a unified theory of how the Iraq war was sold (not the theory people have long suspected is true, but a theory supported by evidence), one has to gather up a bunch of disparate links from different publications and weave them all together in one master narrative.

Which is what Frank Rich does, week after week, brilliantly.