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Archives for 12/04/2005 - 12/10/2005

Saturday, December 10, 2005

WHAT A WOMAN

posted by on December 10 at 4:16 PM

Last night I had the honor of seeing my first Dina Martina show, her celebrated Christmas Special. She was brilliant—charming, graceful, hilarious, wide… I have never related so well to a woman in my life.

Go see the show. GO SEE IT NOW.

(206) 448-8464 for reservations.

Speaking of Sharkansky

posted by on December 10 at 3:11 PM

There’s a really moronic post over at Sharkansky’s Sound Politics blog right now that criticizes Mayor Nickels’s Kyoto initiative. (Nickels has been lining up U.S. cities to honor the Kyoto Protocols despite Bush’s objections to the international treaty.)

Sharkansky’s colleague Matt Rosenberg writes: “Anyone who really believes global warming is a problem - like Nickels - ought to get that their huge populations and growing industrial sectors will more than offset any gains we make in Puget Sound in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

WRONG. Despite the conventional wisdom that cities kill the environment, cities are actually good for the environment.

As I wrote in our Urban Archipelago essay last year: “As counterintuitive as it may seem to composting, recycling self-righteous suburbanites, living in dense urban areas is actually better for the environment. The population of New York City is larger than that of 39 states. But because dense apartment housing is more energy efficient, New York City uses less energy than any state. Conversely, suburban living—with its cars, highways, and single-family houses flanked by pesticide-soaked lawns—saps energy and devastates the ecosystem.”

I got this from a must-read New Yorker article (“Green Manhattan,” October 18, 2004, by David Owen).

Oh, and cities are also good for the environment because they have mass transit. On that score, yes, Mayor Gridlock has proven to be a problem.

Sims Snubs Urban League Award Ceremony

posted by on December 10 at 2:13 PM

Over at horsesass.org, David Goldstein reports that his rival blogger, conservative Stefan Sharkansky (a former Stranger columnist, btw), got an award from the Urban League yesterday morning for being a tutor in the Urban League’s After School program.

Goldstein’s pissed. He writes:

I’m having a little cognitive dissonance problem here. I don’t mean to diminish Stefan’s admirable volunteer work, but surely an organization like the Urban League — dedicated to empowering African Americans — could have found some equally admirable volunteer to honor… who has not repeatedly gone on the record making racist comments about King County Executive Ron Sims, our state’s most prominent African American elected official.

Goldstein is referring to the fact that Sharkansky has likened Sims to African dictator Robert Mugabe.

While Goldy reports that Sims has gone on record denouncing Sharkansky’s comments, he left out the sexiest tid bit of the story. Sims was at the Urban League breakfast where Sharkansky got the award, and made a point of walking out on the breakfast early before the League paid its tribute to Stefan.

Re: The Last Post of the Day. The First Post of the Day

posted by on December 10 at 9:00 AM

Dan, I was not kidding. Every time you post a hot guy….

dawson:profile.jpg


Friday, December 9, 2005

Strangercrombie Day 2.9 (and the actual last post of the day)

posted by on December 9 at 9:46 PM

It’s Friday night and people are still bidding: we’re up to $12,184.87 (the Pearl Jam Lover’s Package is about to hit $1,000!). Every item has a couple bids… except the movie starring Christopher’s feet. C’mon, fans of huge, smelly man feet, we know you’re out there.

The Last Post of the Day

posted by on December 9 at 5:30 PM

I don’t want the final post of the day to be Eli’s math geekout, so here’s the cover of that book again:

auto.jpg

Make a great Christmas gift—you know, for the man who has nothing.

Thanks, Math Stars

posted by on December 9 at 5:20 PM

If I’d known we had so many math geniuses reading The Slog, I’d have outsourced my reporting to you guys a long time ago.

On Wednesday, Slog reader “student” did a linear regression on Tom Carr’s ass (or on Tom Carr’s marijuana numbers, to be more precise — sorry, couldn’t resist saying that). Anyway, I had no idea what “student” was talking about. A sample:

1/(# of filings) = A + B*year + C*(0 if before I-75, 1 if after) + error; you find that it fits the data really well. The model is statistically significant at levels as low as 0.001013% (5% or 1% are usually considered convincing), and it explains around 98% of the variability of the data (adjusted R-squared = 0.9859).

But Slog readers translated for me. The best translation:

There is a 99.998987% chance that Carr is full of shit in claiming that the drop in the number of pot-busts after I-75 was due to random year-to-year changes in the number of busts.

Thanks, “golob.” Meanwhile, a new plot twist to the story that never ends. Or, more accurately, an old plot twist. A friend at The Seattle Times wants me to note that his paper got the pot numbers right back in August, two months before the P-I got the pot numbers wrong. But here’s the strange thing: The source for the numbers in both stories was Tom Carr.

So, to recap: Tom Carr was for the correct marijuana numbers before he was against them (and twice stood by being against them), which was all before he was for them again. Got that?

I now return to the question I posed in my first post about all of this: What was Tom Carr smoking?

The Stranger’s Cover

posted by on December 9 at 4:59 PM

A full-page, four-color ad INSIDE the Stranger costs thousands of dollars. The cover of the paper is up for sale in Strangercrombie and it should go for thousands too—I mean, it’s the fucking cover! Everyone sees it, it’s all over town. And a business can buy it too—so, yes, an ad can go on the cover, if that’s what the winning bidder wants to do. Right now the cover is going for just $232.50, which can only be described as a steal, a motherfucking steal!

Go buy the cover! Click here and get the biggest deal of the Christmas—excuse me, Holiday—Season!

DJ Meganpants!

posted by on December 9 at 4:56 PM

The Stranger’s own Megan Seling is DJing tomorrow at the Vera Project’s “Vera Bizarre” on 4th Ave between Stewart and Virginia. Check out her holiday stylings from 11 am - 2:30 pm and browse the wares (everything’s 30 bucks or less). (P.S.: Bad Megan for not telling us ahead of time!)

No, THIS is the Saddest Story Ever

posted by on December 9 at 4:50 PM

Okay, Dan’s story is pretty damn sad.

But this is officially twice as bad.

Sheriff’s deputy Andy McDowell was forced to live a parent’s worst nightmare twice in a matter of minutes. After he was taken to the site where one of his two sons was killed in a car crash early Wednesday, McDowell was driven past another fatal accident. Only later did he learn that the fiery wreck took the life of his only other child. Rory McDowell, 23, and Cory McDowell, 21, both died within a couple of miles from the home they shared with their father.

SC’s on fire!

posted by on December 9 at 4:46 PM

Our fourth-annual charity auction/pin-up catalog has generated $11,241.66 in bids in two days. Heartfelt thanks to everyone who has placed a bid.

If you haven’t had the chance, I suggest you take the paper version of The Stranger home with you tonight and get busy with it. It’s for a good cause, and really, could we have made holiday shopping any easier/sexier/more fun?

And because you might not be online so much tomorrow (and I’ll be snowboarding), here’s a peek at tomorrow’s…

STRANGERCROMBIE ITEM OF THE DAY
The ‘Stranger’ cover is yours to design. Put absolutely anything on the cover of the January 26 Issue of the paper (current bid: $252.50). The possibilities are mind-boggling! What would you put on the cover if you could?

Homo/Heterophobia

posted by on December 9 at 4:43 PM

If only there was a picture somewhere of Mary Pickford sucking her own dick.

Another Key to Middle East Peace

posted by on December 9 at 4:40 PM

Just got around to reading last week’s New Republic (at the smoke-free! Jade Pagoda) last night. Really cool article on the run up to the historic Israeli elections coming in March, featuring Sharon’s new Kadima Party—with its unilateral withdrawal policy.

The more I think about what Sharon is doing, the more I respect the epiphany he’s had. Can you imagine— when Arafat turned down Clinton and Ehud Barak’s land for peace offer back in 2000—if Barak had just said: Well, we’re gonna cede you 95% of the West Bank and 100% of Gaza anyway, and you can turn it into a state or not. Basically, we’re outta here.

What’s really smart about Sharon’s move, though—as the article shows—is this: He’s left the right wing Likud in the fucking dust. Current polls there have Netanyahu’s Likud, which is clinging to its Greater Israel/Settlement fantasy, in a limp third. Meanwhile, Labor, under the new leadership of labor lefty Amir Peretz, is clinging to its own fantasy that the Oslo road map is still in tact. It’s a nice hope, but as TNR points out: “Few Israelis believe the road map has any chance of working. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas hasn’t begun implementing its first clause, which requires disarming terrorists—even as Sharon has already implemented, at least in Gaza, the road map’s final clauses, which require dismantling settlements and creating a Palestinian state.”

Sharon is hoping for a fist fight between Netanyahu and Peretz on economic issues, as his Kadima emerges victorious from the election on its 3rd Way ticket. (Although, that could backfire. TNR does quote one lefty voter this way: ” ‘What’s the difference between Sharon and Peretz?” one voter who intends to vote Labor asked me. ‘In the end, they’ll both create a Palestinian state. So I might as well vote for Peretz. At least he’ll help the poor.’”

BTW: There were a couple of other good articles in the issue, including a must-read article on McCain’s 2008 bid & a downright weird, incensed lead editorial (a non sequitur take down) of Conor Oberst and how he’s not actually the “New Dylan” …. ????? OK.

Howling at Blue Moon

posted by on December 9 at 4:36 PM

Liquor agents are back at Blue Moon Tavern. On Wednesday I wrote about how ever since the University Park dive bar refused to sign the city’s “Good Neighborā€¯ agreement, Blue Moon has had a streak of bad luck — applications for permits denied, drug deals staged by undercover agents outside, and a visit from the city’s Joint Assessment Team last Friday. Blue Moon Landing

Owner Gus Hellthaler reports last night saw a return of one of the same liquor agents who dropped by to deliver written warning for last week’s grievous offenses: No posted sign about the bar’s occupancy limits and the alleged appearance of a man who was obviously drunk — you know, because he was dancing. (In addition, Hellthaler says his bar is old enough that it’s exempt from rules about posting occupancy limits.)

“He told me he hadn’t thought of writing me up,ā€¯ says Hellthaler, “but two calls were placed and his supervisor made it clear to him that he needed to write up the warnings.ā€¯

A wild guess: The city wants to document every offense due entirely to the fact that it’s facing off with Hellthaler in front of an administrative law judge over the Good Neighbor agreement. Yes, the Blue Moon seems to have earned special treatment.

During his Thursday evening visit, the liquor agent noticed one of the band members on stage drinking a beer. For this flagrant crime Hellthaler received another written warning.

“This is part of a pattern of harassment,ā€¯ he says. “They’re doing everything they can to bring misery to the Blue Moon.ā€¯

NNCK’s Open-Mind Lysergery

posted by on December 9 at 4:24 PM

After a hard day of debating Washington’s smoking ban, you probably need to get out of your (ir)rational mind for a while. Your weirdest, most psychedelic live-music option tonight comes courtesy of Harlem mystery white boys No-Neck Blues Band. Get your fill of their inner-city, lysergic, pagan mantras at Gallery 1412 at 8 pm. Note that The Stranger received erroneous information: Climax Golden Twins will not be on this bill.

Over the Hills and Through the Woods…

posted by on December 9 at 4:20 PM

This is the saddest story everever, ever, EVER.

The six-year-old boy who was killed when a Southwest Airlines jet skidded off a runway at Midway Airport was traveling to visit his grandparents in the Chicago area… the family had just visited McDonald’s and that Joshua was eating his food and singing “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” just before the accident occurred. The car was pinned under the plane, which landed during snowy conditions. The lawyer says the family is suffering from shock and grief.

Chicago bans smoking in bars and clubs…

posted by on December 9 at 4:07 PM

…but not until in 2008.

Chicago, aiming to follow the lead of other major U.S. cities, passed a law on Wednesday to ban smoking in most buildings and public spaces except for bars, where smokers can puff away until mid-2008… One of the few confessed cigarette smokers on Chicago City Council said he supported the ordinance but questioned the wisdom of sending smokers out into Chicago’s dreaded winter cold and keeping them 15 feet away from building entrances to partake. “It’s 20 degrees below zero (F) (-29C) and people are standing outside smoking,” Alderman William Beavers quipped. “Are you going to kill us with pneumonia?”

Before the 45-1 council vote, Alderman Bernie Stone said he had quit a three-pack-a-day cigarette habit 27 years ago and then sang a song intoning the evils of cigarettes, whiskey and “wild women,” to which the mayor cracked, “They’re next.”

In Seattle we banned wild women first (with Greg Nickels’ idiotic “four-foot rule”) before we banned smoking in bars (complete with an idiotic 25’ rule). Thankfully, the voters will have a chance to repeal the four-foot rule next year and put Seattle’s lap dancers back where they belong—on our laps.

Music fans—tell us your club security stories

posted by on December 9 at 3:29 PM

The Stranger is writing a feature on the state of club security in Seattle. We’re soliciting stories—both good and bad—from local music fans who regularly attend club shows. Because security staff simultaneously function as customer service providers, protectors of patrons and defenders of their club, they are in a unique and often difficult position. Some do a fabulous job, being respectful of well-behaved customers and swiftly dealing with the inevitable idiots. Others abuse their position and alienate (or even injure) club-goers. As you’ve made clear on the forums, many of you have complaints.
To be fair, we want to report both the positive and the negative, so please send your kudos and criticisms to clubsecurity@thestranger.com. Please include a phone number where you can be reached to confirm your story. Deadline for submissions has been extended to Sunday, December 11th.

What the Christ?

posted by on December 9 at 3:03 PM

Yesterday I found out that my debit card number was nefariously obtained by some Unknown, and $3,000 dollars was charged online here.

I’m stunned. Not so much that someone would commit bank fraud at Christmas, but that anyone would ingest $3,000 dollars worth of EZ Boost.

The silver lining to this sad holiday tale? My new favorite Aztec Muscle Warrior. He makes casual look good.

Common Market live! On the radio!

posted by on December 9 at 1:47 PM

Common Market, a great local hiphop outfit playing our Stranger Holiday Bash on Dec. 16, will be live on KEXP today at 3pm. Check them out at 90.3 FM or online here.

Like Wrestlemania XXIX, but for geeks

posted by on December 9 at 1:19 PM

I’ve been informed that there remains a handful (a surprisingly small handful, actually) of seats remaining for tonight’s Critics Wrapup at the Frye Museum. For those so inclined, this should be a fascinating opportunity to watch yours truly get cerebrally manhandled by a number of Seattle’s top film critics, including former Stranger contributor Kathleen Murphy. People in the first few rows may want to bring plastic and watch out for flying chairs, especially when the topic of a certain mildly overrated cowboy movie comes up. If that ain’t enough, I’m gonna have haikus.

if…

posted by on December 9 at 12:52 PM

…you are one of two negroes at the Deck The Hall Ball, it’s only natural that you’d be continually mistaken for The Saturday Knights dapper rapper Tilson. My homie Mike- who was Barfly’s stunt double for the evening- and I passed a passel of people at the bar who turned to us and said “You guys fucking rock!”
You’re goddamn right we do.

Praise For Mizell’s Praise of West

posted by on December 9 at 12:45 PM

2005 has had no shortage of pieces praising/debating/ surveying the nature and purpose of pop genius Kanye West, and this week’s Stranger piece by Larry Mizell Jr. is as good as any I’ve read.

The piece is rich with ideas and sharp writing, but my favorite bit is Mizell’s nailing of a key West trait that I’d previously only been able to describe as his “funny-as-shitness”:

He’s arrogant as hell, and funny like you wish you were, saying the most off-the-wall shit at exactly the right moment with just the right amount of nonchalance.

That’s it exactly. Yeah, the wit of the writing is dazzling, but what puts it over is West’s delivery. Even when he’s just spitting shit like “What would you do for a Klondike?/Or two dykes who look Christina Milian-like?” he manages to make something out of it, for the reasons Mizell explicates above.

Check out the piece here, and check out Kanye West tomorrow night at the Everett Events Center. (I’ll be the one throwing underpants from the sixth row.)

Josh Is Mistaken

posted by on December 9 at 12:39 PM

In response to my post about an auto-fellatio book, Josh wrotes, “Consider this a hetero preemptive strike against your maneuvering to turn the SLOG into a gay porn site. And the pics will get even hotter.” Then he posted a pic of… Mary Pickford or something. But there’s nothing gay about auto-fellatio, Josh. A man sucking his own dick is no gayer than a man giving himself a handjob, you homophobe.

Or is it? Discuss…

drop a gem on ‘em

posted by on December 9 at 12:29 PM

oh yeah, charles-
thought you might be interested in this critical breakdown of Hell On Earth’s title track. the guys at Oh Word are kinda killing shit with their scientifical rap analysis.

Year of the Mosquito

posted by on December 9 at 12:28 PM

Today I got a letter addressed to Roger Downey at the Stranger which is odd, of course, as Roger writes for the Weekly.

The letter is a little sad (its author is ill) but also some lovely sentences:

“Does it seem logical: if the killer whales of Puget Sound go on the endangered species list then Seattle cannot feed them motor oil, cigarette butts, and modified sewage?”

“Why not let the traffic enjoy the view?”

“Next year in Belltown will be the year of the mosquito.”

I wish I got letters like Roger’s.

trading races

posted by on December 9 at 12:19 PM

remember that clasic eddie murphy skit on SNL when he was made up like a white dude, and went out into NYC to find himself getting free money, champagne bus rides and such?
well the man most likely to be named as my favorite rapper of all time, fucking Ice Cube, has an upcoming FX series in which he is “set to explore race issues by making black and white couples trade skin color. With the help of Oscar-nominated make up artist Keith VanderLean, the black couple transforms into a white pair and vice versa.”
this sounds dope enough that it might be able to pull Cube outta his family-movie induced respect embargo that’s been in effect these past years. fuck trading spouses, this is the realness, as the M-O-B-B would call it.

Not to gloat or anything

posted by on December 9 at 12:16 PM

But a super extra fantastic intern slipped me a burned copy of Belle & Sebastian’s new album The Life Pursuit yesterday — it doesn’t come out until February — and I’m regaling the office with it right now. (Our email is down. Again. So we have nothing else to do. Quoth Jennifer Maerz, half an hour ago: “We should make a drinking game where we do a shot every time email does down. We’d be wasted.”)

Anyway, I’m not so sure about this album — it’s very, like, up-tempo Bowie (I don’t know what I’m talking about) — but there is a song on it called “Dress Up in You,” which in 24 hours I’ve already become obsessed with because (a) it has a horn solo (like the best B&S song ever, “Dirty Dream Number Two”); (b) it’s slow; (c) he says the word “style,” which is my favorite word for him to sing (“I always loved you, you always had a lot of style,” is the line, recalling the very end of “The Boy With the Arab Strap,” B&S’s second-best song, where he whispers, “She’s a waitress and she’s got style”); and (d) the opening lines, delivered sweetly, are awesome: “I’m the singer, I’m the singer in the band, you’re the loser, I won’t dismiss you out of hand…”

Re: This Doesn’t Have Anything to Do With Anything…

posted by on December 9 at 12:15 PM

Savage: Consider this a hetero preemptive strike against your maneuvering to turn the SLOG into a gay porn site. And the pics will get even hotter.

mfj.jpg

You have been warned.

re: I don’t think KEXP needs metal

posted by on December 9 at 11:53 AM

Christopher, not everything can be twee indie rock. Some of the best shows I’ve seen in the metal genre include Mastodon (one of the best shows I’ve seen this year), Early Man, Slayer, the Melvins, Big Business…etc. Soft, non-jarrring music dominates the station, and there are a ton of great bands that get hyped through that for good reason. If there’s room for three different country shows and seven afternoon hours of indie rock, there’s got to be room for music that gets your blood pumping and your head banging, even if it hurts the ears of the delicate types. People listen to music for reasons other than to be soothed.

Stranegrcrombie’s Rockin’!

posted by on December 9 at 11:51 AM

We’re nearing $10,000 ($9,792.55 at the moment)! All proceeds go, via Northwest Harvest, into the bellies of our neediest neighbors. Why don’t you take a second right now and bid on something fabulous, like the music-packed Rockin’ Femme Extravaganza Pack (high bid: $17.16) or the boozy Pampered Pirate Package (high bid:$10.04)?

The Strokes are no Diamonds

posted by on December 9 at 11:42 AM

The new single by The Strokes sounds a lot like a Diamond Nights single, only not half as good.

I don’t think KEXP needs metal

posted by on December 9 at 11:27 AM

I’ll raise my hand. I think musical theater is “undoubedtly important” too but I’m not advocating KEXP put it on the air.

Further evidence I’m a poof: metal gives me a headache.

More on those dicks

posted by on December 9 at 11:23 AM

I saw Bloody Mess at On the Boards last night too and also liked it. It’s too long. But you should see it. They have plenty of tickets left for tonight, tomorrow night, and Sunday night. Some of the tedious bits are truly tedious; others are tedious inasmuch as a sexy woman constantly pouring water on herself and flashing her breasts can be tedious (there is still much to enjoy in that); and, again, as Brendan points out, there are dicks belonging to naked men who hold cardboard stars covered in foil to conceal their goods (although not very well) while doing this great bit about different kinds of silences — they start off with innocent examples, like the silence of staring up at the stars in the middle of the countryside, and end up with increasingly morbid examples, like the silence after turning off the life support machine, and each time the other guy goes, “Oh yeah, that’s beautiful” — that might remind you of the dictionary of different kinds of sadnesses in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Everything Is Illuminated. Of non-literary interest, one of the guys is uncut and one is cut.

Oh, and the first 15 minutes of the show are the best 15 minutes of theater I’ve seen in… well, a year? More? SO GOOD. The show is not without its faults, but the beginning is fantastic and the end is moving and I left the theater feeling inspired to write a novel, which you might remember is exactly how I felt a year ago after ConWorks’ Russian Doll.

This Doesn’t Have Anything to do With Anything…

posted by on December 9 at 10:59 AM

…but does a guy with a body like that really have to suck his own dick?

auto.jpg

If that guy can’t find someone to suck his dick, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Cantwell Vs. Nickels

posted by on December 9 at 9:55 AM

Karaoke w/ Sen. Cantwell is at $112.50.

Lunch w/ Mayor Nickels is at $100.00.

KEXP needs metal

posted by on December 9 at 9:29 AM

I was talking with a music fanatic the other night about KEXP, and how, despite all the good they go for underground/alternative/indie music (and they do a lot of good), they pretty much ignore the metal community completely. Sure, there’s Sonic Reducer, the 9pm-midnight punk show that squeezes metal into all the other loud, fast rules style music that deservedly makes it onto the radio dial, but how about a metal show? I’ve heard rumors that such a show was being considered, but then nothing. Think about it….metal is what gave way to the “grunge” sound here in Seattle, for better or for worse. Metal shows pack various venues in town. Metal bands come to Seattle to work with our esteemed producers, and yet metal is 90% absent from our community radio station, the station that in many other ways supports a myriad of music styles. I pledged money to KEXP this past pledge drive and was going to write a letter with it asking for the station to bring in the all important metal community, but then I got worried that the note would get lost in the mix. So I’m asking now, who here thinks KEXP needs to get a metal show going to show support for this often ignored, undoubtedly important genre?

Dawn of the Dead

posted by on December 9 at 8:04 AM

Legendary NY punk venue CBGB shuts its doors for good on Halloween 2006.

Bloody Mess!

posted by on December 9 at 8:00 AM

Bloody Mess at On the Boards is long, funny, tortured, and brilliant. I don’t care if you don’t care for “experimental theaterā€¯: See it. And if you do occasionally enjoy the freakier stage shit, you have no excuse. (I heaped preemptive praise on them here and here.) It’s difficult to describe, but one moment: Two middle aged clowns in a nasty, grunting, crude stage fight while a cheerleader eggs them on, naked men dance with giant silver stars, and Janis Joplin wails in the background. It was funny and sad (during one comedy bit, I heard a woman in the audience sniffle, “That’s how we killed my grandma.”) There are boobies. There are dicks. There’s a sexy gorilla who throws popcorn. On opening night, there was a mid-performance fire alarm.

It was caused by voluminous farts of stage smoke and offered an excellent opportunity to nip off to the corner bar and drink tequila. You’ll get the whole story in next week’s column.

Some complained that the show was too long. Some complained that the group wasn’t rigorous enough, and lazily recycled hoary tactics used by Richard Foreman, the Wooster Group, and all those other companies a theater editor should be able to quip and cluck about. I have not seen those companies (I am young, you see, fresh and clean as the driven snow), but I fucking loved every minute of the whole weird spectacle—even the intentionally tedious bits. Viva Bloody Mess!

Smokeless at the Showbox

posted by on December 9 at 7:50 AM

The End hosted a fabulous holiday show last night, featuring all local talent—The Saturday Knights, Aqueduct, Harvey Danger, and Death Cab For Cutie, all of whom put on great performances. Kudos to the station for supporting local music—and for handing a huge check over to the Vera Project to help continue support for local music institutions. The bands were great, the crowd (the show was sold out and very enthusiastic) was great, and being in a smokeless venue of that size was heaven. I heard multiple comments about how refreshing it was to be at a show and not struggle with the amount of cigarette smoke, as well as feedback from smokers and friends of smokers about how the ban is the last straw in making them give up the habit. Of course I’m sure not every bar and club in the city is following the rule as well as the Showbox, but man, it made a great party that much for enjoyable to attend. And congrats to Death Cab for their Grammy nomination, as Sean Nelson also reported yesterday.

Strangercrombie Day 2

posted by on December 9 at 7:33 AM

Auction watch: As of 7:30 a.m., we’re up to $8,626.18Ā  in bids. The current highest bid is $585 for the Film Lover’s Package #2, with the other Film Lover’s Package trailing close behind at $560. (No bids yet on the movie starring Christopher Frizzelle’s size-15 feet.)
Also!
almostfamous86.jpg
STRANGERCROMBIE ITEM OF THE DAY
‘Almost Famous’ Screenplay Signed by Cameron Crowe!


Thursday, December 8, 2005

Strangercrombie Flesh Parade

posted by on December 8 at 7:00 PM

Check out the “Strangercrombie Flesh Parade” now featured on all of our Strangercrombie auction pages.

crombie_dog.jpg

Whether your tastes run to hairless-smirking-boys (#6), seductive-half-open-mouthed-close-up-girls (#4 - she’s looking right at me, I love her), wacky-crazy-distro-teams (#7), or tiny-polar-bears (#10, #11) you’ll find what you crave among the many (11) pages of The Strangercrombie Flesh Parade. Drink it in.

How Are You Liking Comments?

posted by on December 8 at 5:59 PM

[I’m moving this post up from earlier in the day so that folks who are just getting to Slog tonight or this weekend see it. We’d love to get more reader feedback about Comments vs. Slog Forum.—Dan]

One reader prefers the Slog forum to Slog comments… and I think he has a point:

in retrospect, per-post comments are lint traps

I was disconcerted by the unusual nature of the forums’ relationship to the Slog, but they turned out to work better than comments at any blog I’ve seen, short of those willing to intensively moderate.

The registration requirement and the lack of one-to-one equivalence between slog entries and forum topics raised the barrier to entry and improved comment quality. The ability to comment on an ongoing series of postings (like the cookie thread) prevented discussion from fragmenting over a number of entries, keeping threads active for longer. Forum threads that remained active weren’t inexorably shoved down the page by new entries. Plus, the forum offers editability, something no blog system yet offers for comments.

You had a good thing going.

Hm… shall we switch back?

John Lets Volvo Have It

posted by on December 8 at 5:38 PM

Volvo is owned by Ford, and the company is trying to distance itself from Ford’s secret deal with the American Family Association. Americablog’s John Aravosis—a national treasure—isn’t letting them get away with.

Volvo lies

Volvo, a Ford subsidiary, is now sending out a wonderfully reaffirming statement about the company continuing to support America’s gay community. To bad, it’s pretty much a lie.

A lie is defined as something said with the intent of misinforming. Volvo knows darn well that as part of the secret agreement Ford made with the extremist gay-hating organization, Volvo is changing its ad policy vis-a-vis the gay community.

In addition to Ford now banning Jaguar and Land Rover from advertising to the gay community, in an effort to curry favor with the religious right, it was reported yesterday that Ford has also told Volvo it can no longer run ads in the gay press that are specifically tailored to the gay community. Per the industry publication Wards Auto:

As part of the latest agreement hammered out Nov. 29 [between Ford and the American Family Association], sources confirm Volvo Cars will continue to advertise in the publications but will use generic ads not tailored to the gay community.

So what Volvo is really saying is that because of pressure from bigots it will only run ads in the gay press that are the same ads they run in the straight press - i.e., no more ads tailored to the actual buyers they’re trying to reach, and certainly no photos of those shocking, horrifying, disgusting adult gay couples buying their first Volvo.

If you call Volvo reaching a secret deal with a gay-hating extremist group to ban the image of gay couples from their ads “embracing diversity,” then I have a few volumes of “The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Threat,” by Henry Ford, I’d like to sell you.

Go John!

Seattle’s Newest Burning-Hot Spot

posted by on December 8 at 5:34 PM

It’s the 25-Foot Lounge: a couch surrounded by a white cardboard picket fence on a traffic island in Fremont (near the Triangle). A source on the scene earlier this afternoon reports a couple of gentlemen reading the paper whilst legally enjoying a smoke. (It all bears a suspicious resemblance to a SuttonBeresCuller project—anyone seen the Three Musketeers today?) Creativity triumphs over fascism? I don’t know—it sounds mighty cold, and a flask only holds so much.

Hot Tipper #1

posted by on December 8 at 5:11 PM

I just received a beguiling Hot Tip from my favorite Hot Tipper of them all—my fella Jake, who’s spending the (school)year working in NYC, where today he overheard two teenage girls comparing report cards on the A train:

Teen 1: Girl, how you got a A in gym?

Teen 2: I do more than just stand around slapping people.

Personally, I think slapping people is at least as physically beneficial as, say, tetherball, but I guess every school sets its own rules. (For more great Big Apple eavesdropping, check out Overheard in New York.)

As a postscript, Jake also included a photo that manages to degrade both the Christian faith and the art of balloon-twisting simultaneously.

Proof Our Readers Are Smarter Than Us?

posted by on December 8 at 3:30 PM

Speaking of my “Tom Carr bust,” check out the comments on my Tom Carr post from yesterday (which provides links to the whole sordid affair).

Tom Carr and I (and Dominic Holden, and others) are locked in a debate over the statistical significance of certain numbers on Seattle’s marijuana filings. Well, turns out that if you raise the issue of statistical significance on the Slog, you get comments like this:

So, now, if you do a linear regression on the model: 1/(# of filings) = A + B*year + C*(0 if before I-75, 1 if after) + error; you find that it fits the data really well. The model is statistically significant at levels as low as 0.001013% (5% or 1% are usually considered convincing), and it explains around 98% of the variability of the data (adjusted R-squared = 0.9859). Further, the estimated value of “C” is significant at levels as low as 0.012%, and the value of “C” is positive, confirming that years after I-75 are correlated with lower anual filings (or higher 1/filings). The estimated value for “B” is significant at levels as low as 0.62%. Linear regression assumes that the “error” values are independant, identically distributed, normal random variables. Checking the “residual” errors of the fitted model various plots indicates that these assumptions have not been violated.

Conclusion: At a 5% (or even 1%) significance level, there is a statistically significant correlation between the passage of I-75 and reduced annual marijuana filings. (But remember kids, correlation does not imply causation).

Thanks for posting, “student.” And thanks to you too, “j-lon,” for your thoughts. Now, can someone, in a very remedial way, explain in the comments section of this post what the hell “student” just did?

Tom Cruise’s Legal Options

posted by on December 8 at 3:08 PM

Thanks to the good folks at Defamer, I was led to this fascinating legal rumination on Tom Cruise’s legal options regarding a recent episode of South Park, wherein a cartoon Cruise flees into a closet, inspiring cartoon friends and peers and ex-wives to beg Cruise to “please come out of the closet!”

Not only does the story shed fascinating light on the legality of parody/satire, it brings up a fascinating question: Is calling someone gay defamatory?

Check it out here.

ISO: Film/Theater Intern

posted by on December 8 at 2:44 PM

The Stranger is looking for an unpaid film/theater intern to begin at the end of this month. You should: be a hard worker, willing to strain your eyes over strict style guidelines, and be in love/hate with the movies and/or performing arts. Bonus points for college journalism experience.

You MUST:
- Be available Tuesdays from 2-7 pm and 5 more daytime hours over the course of a week.
- View mindless data entry as a doorway to a glorious and beautiful future.
- Plan to stay in Seattle for the entire 3-month internship.

You GET:
- Experience!
- Possible writing opportunities!
- To admire Brendan Kiley’s retro-professorial couture!

Send a cover letter, resume, and short writing sample (1 page tops, published is nice but not necessary) to Annie Wagner ASAP. Interviews are slated for Wednesday the 14th.

Savage on the Seahawks

posted by on December 8 at 2:42 PM

Not Dan—Bill, my brother. He’s not just obsessed with baseball, as it turns out. My brother—and occasional Stranger SLOG and print contributor—sent me this email about the mighty, mighty Seattle Seahawks.

OK, Sloggers and readers, time to wake up and smell the testosterone. My brother’s recent post mocking the success of the NFC-leading Seattle Seahawks has inspired me to send a few words into the conversation.

I mean, if you don’t like football, you agree by default with George Will, who wrote “Football is a mistake. It combines the two worst elements of American life. Violence and committee meetings.” Football features many other glorious aspects of American life: crappy beer, encased meat, sexual objectification (of hyper-masculine players as well as the cheerleaders, some of whom get into delicious brouhahas), sublimated homoeroticism (players pat each other on the ass after a great play, one old saw goes, only because facemasks prevent kissing), jingoistic patriotism, scandals about interracial sex on television, and grandstanding self-glorification.

But the main reason for the NFL’s hold on the American population is one that I’d expect the vice-positive Stranger staff and audience to love: gambling. Las Vegas bookmakers set the odds weekly, and are uncannily accurate. Tens of millions of people illegally place wagers with their local legitimate businessmen, or are in friendly office pools, and their interest in the sport is primarily financial. Although you can never wholly discount booze, sex, and violence.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get my picks in … more to come as the season moves towards the playoffs. Especially if the Seahawks and my Chicago Bears both continue to win—-I might have to make a roadtrip to Qwest Field for the NFC Championship game come January.

Gee, I don’t know why I felt obligated to be straight growing up. Billy is straight enough for the both of us.

Thanks for sharing, bro.

Slog in the News

posted by on December 8 at 1:59 PM

Our trusty Stranger blog—the SLOG!— keeps showing up in the news.
Today’s Seattle Times credits us for being the first on the Paul Berendt story & yesterday’s PI fashioned a whole story out of Eli’s Tom Carr bust.

The mainstream dailies used to be reluctant to cite the Stranger’s reporting, but they’ve been on it lately.

Glad to be of service, guys. Although, note to David Postman at the Seattle Times: We wrote about Berendt’s pending resignation on the Friday before the X-mas party, which may explain why it was “a topic of gossip” there.

Diana George gets $20,000

posted by on December 8 at 12:29 PM

Seattle writer Diana George — a one-to-watch in the 2003 Stranger Genius Awards — found out yesterday that she’s been awarded $20,000 from the NEA for her fiction writing. The Literature Fellowship is “the Arts Endowment’s most direct investment in American creativity, encouraging the production of new work and allowing writers the time and means to write,” according to the website. Another Seattle writer, Matt Ruff, has also won a Literature Fellowship, alongside 50 other writers across the country (except for Pulitzer Prize-winner Jhumpa Lahiri, there aren’t many big names on the list).

The NEA also gave grants to a bunch of local organizations — 33 Fainting Spells, Empty Space, ARCADE quarterly, Northwest Film Forum, Velocity, ACT, On the Boards, Seattle Rep, Copper Canyon Press, some others… There’s a full list of Washington State grants here. But only George and Ruff got individual awards.

George, reached just now by phone says, “I feel good. I’m pretty happy.” (That’s called understatement.) She says she got the grant on the basis of a single story called “Filzbad” that’s coming out in the new Chicago Review. It’s not on newsstands yet. In the meantime, here, from our archives, are some articles she’s published in the last couple years in The Stranger: an interview she did with Gary Lutz (a favorite writer of mine, woefully underappreciated), an article on working in a funeral home, one on Walter Benjamin’s The Arcades Project, one on Rikki Ducornet, one on difficulty, one on a mysterious suicide

Question for Bush

posted by on December 8 at 12:28 PM

The Bush White House has declined to be interviewed by veteran journalist Mike Wallace. So, the Boston Globe asked Wallace what Wallace would ask Bush:

Q. President George W. Bush has declined to be interviewed by you. What would you ask him if you had the chance?

A. What in the world prepared you to be the commander in chief of the largest superpower in the world? In your background, Mr. President, you apparently were incurious. You didn’t want to travel. You knew very little about the military… . The governor of Texas doesn’t have the kind of power that some governors have… . Why do you think they nominated you? … Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that the country is so [expletive] up?

Feingold for Prez

posted by on December 8 at 12:25 PM

Yet another reason to dig lefty Sen. Russ Feingold (D.-WI).

Read through to the end of this article about reauthorizing the USA Patriot Act.

I Believe Smoke-Free Children Are The Future

posted by on December 8 at 12:08 PM

Yesterday I hung out with a bunch of fourth-graders at Shoreline’s Meridian Park Elementary School. My friend Rina teaches one of the fourth-grade classes, and she had me in to talk about being a writer, answer questions about working for a newspaper, etc.

The school was great—just the type of progressive, eco-friendly, multi-culti institution that makes the Religious Right clench their buttholes. (The school’s even equipped with solar panels.)

The kids were great too—polite, nice to each other, but still noisy and hilarious, and I got to play my favorite visiting-an-elementary-school game: Find the Tracy Flick. (There’s always one, right in front, with a practiced smile and insistent eye contact…)

However, as readers of The Stranger are aware, I write almost exclusively about things that shouldn’t be discussed in front of children, and answering the kids’ questions about what I wrote was an exercise in colorless euphemism. One kid asked, “What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?” Knowing that nearly all suitable answers involved either sex, drugs, or diabolical child abuse, I chose the most benign option. “Well, last year I got sent to report on the Michael Jackson trial.” (When the least upsetting thing you can tell a child involves Michael Jackson, something’s wrong.) Still, the celebrity name-drop garnered the requisite “ooh!” from the kids and it got me off the hook.

Continue reading "I Believe Smoke-Free Children Are The Future" »

U.S.E Sign to U.K. Label

posted by on December 8 at 12:02 PM

Seattle dance-pop sensations United State of Electronica (U.S.E) have signed to Original Electric Recording Company (no website yet). The new label is founded by Geoff Muncey (who works for the respected London label Fabric) and Crispin Parry (former editor of Bang music magazine and photographer/”image consultantā€¯ for Polyphonic Spree and the Darkness). The forthcoming U.S.E album—due in March 2006—will be Original Electric Recording Company’s first release; Vital will distribute it.

Key to Middle East Peace?

posted by on December 8 at 11:56 AM

I know, I know Israel is to blame for all the problems in the Middle East, and solving the standoff between the Israelis and the Palestinians is the linchpin. (Never mind that Jordan, Lebanon, Syria etc. are all carved-up, fabricated post-colonial hybrids as well, with Jordan specifically racking up a damnable record re: the Palestinians.)

But anyways: I’ve always thought Egypt was a linchpin to Middle East peace too. As goes Cairo etc…
For example, since the Egyptian-Israeli peace accord in 1978 (nearly 30 years ago), there’s only been one war between Israel and its Arab neighbors. (And that involved Israel jumping into Lebanon’s pre-existing civil war.) Whereas, prior to the Egyptian-Israeli peace accord—between the creation of Israel in 1948 and the ‘78 accord (an equivelant 30 years)—there were 4 major wars—all of them involving most of the states in the immediate region.

All this is to say, today’s front page article in the NYT about Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood puts the spotlight on the tricky, real key to Middle East peace—dousing radical politics with democracy. Al Qaeda, for example, was formed out of a Muslim Brotherhood splinter group led by bin Laden’s current #2, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

What if Zawahiri had been in Parliament?

Anyway, maybe we’ll find out.

Smoke-Free Pub Crawl TOMORROW!

posted by on December 8 at 11:54 AM

Ben’s got 99 RSVPs for his Cap Hill pub crawl tomorrow night. Everyone’s welcome.

They’re also going to hand out these little love notes to tell the bartenders that they appreciate their help in enforcing the ban.

Merry Fucking Christmas

posted by on December 8 at 11:31 AM

This “War on Christmas” bullshit would be amusing if it weren’t so fucking scary. This aggrieved/oppressed majority stuff doesn’t just smack of fascism, it is fascism. How did Adolph Hitler get World War II started? By running around claiming that German-speaking people in Czechoslovakia were being persecuted. It was bullshit, but the Brits let Hitler carve up Czechoslovakia in the hopes of mollifying him. And then what did Hitler do? He claimed that all those poor German-speaking people in Poland were oppressed too, and invaded Poland, which launched WWII. So let’s not be too amused by O’Reilly’s “War on Christmasā€¯ act. It’s deeply creepy, and it stokes the Christian Right’s bizarre belief/assertion that Christians in America are an oppressed majority. And if we appease the fundies on this, they’ll just demand more.

The proof of their oppression, disturbingly enough, is the existence of Americans who aren’t Christians. We say “Happy Holidaysā€¯ because there’s a whole lot of holidays stacked up at the end of the year—Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Hanukah, Ramadan, and that goofy new kid on the block, Kwannza. The “War on the `War on Christmas’ā€¯ is about a majority seeking to eradicate public tolerance for, or evidence of, the existence or rights of the minority groups with which it shares this country. It’s cute and funny now, and O’Reilly’s a blowhard and a gasbag, but it’s one small step down a road that’s lead to gas chambers in the past.

But, hey, let’s all salute Christmas—Merry Christmas, Bill!

Stiff-armed salutes, of course, are preferred. Next year they may be mandatory.

Death and Bullshit

posted by on December 8 at 11:30 AM

Exchange Theatre has gone tits up. Never heard of `em? That was the problem. “Our season subscribers were not increasing, and neither were our audiences,ā€¯ said artistic director Sally Brady. At their last show, there were more people in the cast than the audience.

There’s a lesson here. Exchange’s mission was to perform NW and US premieres of European scripts and they thought that was pretty special: “It’s a bitter pill to swallow,ā€¯ Brady said, “that audiences must not want to see plays rarely seen in this area, and would prefer to see the seventh or eighth production of Noises Off or other familiar fare.ā€¯ Yesterday’sSeattle Times article about the company quoted Steve Wright (who helps run the Bathhouse, where Exchange performed) saying “No one does what they do…ā€¯

Bullshit and bullshit. Annex, WET, and other smaller companies keep doing interesting work and surviving. Exchange, like any other theater, is responsible for its own demise. Their plays either were or felt like “familiar fareā€¯—straight-ahead, regular old productions of Playboy of the Western World, The Cherry Orchard, et al.

Now they’re dead and, platitudes aside, I doubt they’ll be missed.

Brokeback Mountain, The Short Story

posted by on December 8 at 11:30 AM

I’m thrilled to have nabbed some tickets to an advance screening of Brokeback Mountain tonight (it officially opens in Seattle next Friday), and extra thrilled that the The New Yorker has posted the 1997 short story by Annie Proulx on which the hot gay cowboy movie is based. Reading it now… Uh, I mean, hard at work right now, can’t talk, sorry.

brokeback.jpg

Holy Fucking Shit!

posted by on December 8 at 11:07 AM

OK, I don’t think much of the Grammys generally, but the nominations were announced today, and Death Cab for Cutie’s major label debut, Plans, is up for Best Alternative Album, alongside The Arcade Fire, White Stripes, Franz Ferdinand, and Beck. Dag, yo.

Re: War on O’Reilly

posted by on December 8 at 11:03 AM

From yesterday’s Washington Post:

Laura Bush , ducking into the Georgetown Pottery Barn yesterday for barely five minutes, wearing a bright blue suit and wishing shoppers “Happy Holidays” in a very perky way. Didn’t buy anything — maybe just making her wish list?

Andrew Sullivan dares O’Reilly to go after the Bush family and says of the First Lady

She’s a heathen, I tell you. A disgusting liberal heathen.

Yes, she is—at least by O’Reilly’s crypto-Christian-fascist standards. O’Reilly believes that wishing people “Happy Holidays” is somehow oppressing Christians, and Christian groups are going after retailers that use HH in places of “Merry Christmas.” Funnily enough, the White House sent out cards wishing folks a happy “holiday season,” not a Merry Christmas, which pissed off Bush’s base. Oh, and so did FOX News, O’Reilly’s employer—check out this invite to their “Holiday Party.” For shame.

War on O’Reilly

posted by on December 8 at 11:01 AM

Here’s The Daily Show on Bill O’Reilly’s invented War on Christmas. Enjoy.

For those who haven’t been paying attention, every year conservative blowhard Bill O’Reilly puts down his luffa long enough to whine incessantly about a “liberal plot to destroy Christmas.” This year he used a year old clip from The Daily Show to help drive his idiotic point home. Jon Stewart and company decided to call him on it.

Make sure to watch the clip clear to the end, since Stewart’s closing rant is sure to be one of the funniest things you hear all year.

Smoking Banshees

posted by on December 8 at 10:45 AM

Many of the hip smoking addicts who bitched and moaned last night about the smoking ban claimed it was a plot by suburbanites to impose their values on city folk. That’s bullshit—as one Stranger reader pointed out in a comment:

Where do people get the idea that the smoking ban is a suburban thing?

It’s not - it’s very urban. Crowded cities are where smoking bugs enough non-smokers to make it an issue. That’s why you now have smoking bans in LA, NY, Dublin - even in Italian cities, the place where cities were invented.

It’s out in hicksville where most of the smoking crowd originally hails from that this idea of smoking as some kind of inalienable right comes from.

Move back to Eastern Washington or Wyoming or whereever it was you came from if you can’t handle life in the big city.


Strangercrombie Day 1

posted by on December 8 at 10:37 AM

The Stranger’s 2005 charity auction to benefit Northwest Harvest has been live since midday yesterday. As of 10:30 a.m., we already have $3,155.34 in bids. The current highest bid is $300 for a gorgeous daybed from Kasala.

And presenting…

jonessoda86.jpgTHE STRANGERCROMBIE ITEM OF THE DAY!
A Personalized Case of Soda-Pop from Seattle’s Own Jones Soda Co.! Current high bid: $71.66.

Lick My Notepad

posted by on December 8 at 10:35 AM

I went to Neumo’s holiday party last night, because I harbor masochistic tendencies. The cigarette smoke in the club was as thick as mendacity in the White House. Upstairs, this guy working visuals asked me if I had a cigarette. I said no. He then asked if I minded fetching one for him. Bitch, that’s like asking the pope to pay for your abortion. So I just said, “Here, lick my notepad; that should sate your jones.ā€¯

Ban Behavior

posted by on December 8 at 10:29 AM

My bar hopping last night was limited to Neumo’s—where cigarette smoke was as prevalent as it always is—but I did hear a couple people talking about the ban. The comments were a mix of smokers happy for an excuse to quit, non-smokers happy to avoid all the chemicals in the air when they go out, and people on both sides of the issue perplexed about how this is all going to be enforced. The fact that we have a law in effect that has no clear way of being put into action is really frustrating. I really want a smoking ban—minus the 25 foot rule and plus a clear explanation of exactly who is in charge of making it happen. In the end, though, I’m sure the city will settle into what exactly this means, and the anti-smoking ban folks will realize that just like what happened in NY and San Francisco, our nightlife is in no danger of going extinct.

What if the President Gave a Speech…

posted by on December 8 at 10:02 AM

…and nobody came? Hilarious.

1 AM — Signing Off With… Pink Lady, Seattle

posted by on December 8 at 1:00 AM

pinklady.jpg

12:50 — Refugees

posted by on December 8 at 12:50 AM

When it hit midnight, the bartender at the Jade Pagoda told his patrons that they only had 15 more minutes, and then the smokers would all have to leave. Everyone obeyed, but once the smokers departed, there were only 3 people left in the Jade, naturally. Many of them went to Linda’s, which Christopher reports has become the bar of last refuge for people kicked out of other establishments that are less inclined to thumb their noses at authority.

A refugee from the Jade Pagoda found Christopher sitting at Linda’s and told him: “The shitty thing is, my girlfriend and I fell in love at the Jade Pagoda. We met there. We’re both smokers. They have the best juke box in the city. It’s dank and dark and misty there. And we fell in love there… No more.”

This refugee was wearing a shirt he’d made up special for tonight that read, “Kiss My Butt, 12-7-05.” It also featured a little drawing of a cigarette.

His girlfriend was wearing a shirt that said: “Smoke Free… K” (At the bottom it read: “I’ll fucking choke you, 12-7-05”)

12:40 — Somewhere…

posted by on December 8 at 12:40 AM

… in Seattle, this man is smoking a cigarette.

lime.jpg

12:30 — A Rant From Phinney Ridge

posted by on December 8 at 12:30 AM

Our favorite chain-smoking former staffer, Sandeep Kaushik, sent this crazy, overwraught screed from high atop Phinney Ridge:

At midnight tonight all that was joyful in Washington state went up in a cloud of smoke. Tonight, the fragile butane flame of our freedom has been extinguished forever. I should be ranting as I bend over a double bourbon in the darkness of some anonymous dive bar, crying havoc between the last lung-biting, hot-boxed puffs of the last cigarette in the last crumpled softpack pack of Camel Lights. I should have not gone gentle into that good night. I should have laughed bitterly (and coughed loudly) in the face of my own doom.

But somehow, I couldn’t muster the will to leave the house. I feel no desire for the companionship of my fellow damned sinners, no anger, no need to mark this latter day middle passage into perpetual bondage. I feel only emptyness (which, admittedly, may just be an incipient nicotene craving). I feel too defeated, too world-weary, too trampled down by the the holocaust of selfish, do-gooding, health-conscious sanctimony that has been visited upon my people. Tonight, my soul is a cyst. Tonight, I am Primo Levi, consumed by my despair at the enormity of man’s capacity for mistreating his fellow smoker.
To those of you who perpetrated this crime by voting for I-901, I ask only one simple question: why? Goddamn you — for you know not what you do — and God forgive you, but why? why? why?

Thanks, Sandeep. Now you can go back to teaching your newborn how to blow smoke-rings.

12:30 — Takes Two to Tango

posted by on December 8 at 12:30 AM

Amy reports from Tango, where Maria is enjoying her last Nat Sherman indoors in Washington State. She says to the bartender, “Let’s push it ‘til 2:00 a.m.” He replies, “I’m gonna play it by ear.”

maria.JPG

12:20 — You Wanna Smoke?

posted by on December 8 at 12:20 AM

Christopher is now at Linda’s:

It’s 20 minutes after the ban took effect, and people are smoking like it’s going out of style. I asked one girl if she had a cigarette. She pointed to her purse and said: “I have a whole pack in here. I’m just passing them out. You wanna smoke? You wanna smoke?

Some guy nearby who was smoking said, “I quit smoking fourteen months ago but I came out tonight just to smoke.” Then his friend leaned over and said, “Because douche-bags in Bellevue should not get to decide who smokes in Linda’s.”

At another table, another guy said: “I wish the Republicans would stop trying to legislate morality and I wish the Democrats would stop legislating health and common sense. And if I wanna fuck a dude and have premarital sex, fuck the Republicans. If I want to ride an unsafe rollercoaster or smoke indoors, fuck the Democrats. They can both get the fuck out of my life because they’re raising a nation of people who can’t think for themselves.”

12:11 — Nitehaze

posted by on December 8 at 12:11 AM

The minute Tom walked into the Nitelite, at a quarter to twelve, the place was choked with smoke. You couldn’t see five feet in front of you.

A 25-year-old woman named Sharrine was wearing a crimson cardigan.
sherrine,jpg.jpg
She said she’s planning on quitting for good. “But I saved it until this night because of the ban. You can’t say I can’t smoke.” The guy with her asked the bartender, “What are you going to do with all the ashtrays?”

“Put ‘em in the back until they repeal the law.”

A goateed man named Chris was smoking Dunhills. “It’s nice to know that we’re in the city with the most oppressive smoking ban in the country,” he said.

12:05 — Proposed Fabric Ban

posted by on December 8 at 12:05 AM

Amy is at Vitos and reports:

“Bill” (who seems to be one a date with a woman who was not his wife, and won’t let me photograph him) says, “I’ve never smoked—I just never got around to it. But now I’m going to start, in protest. This ban is asinine. It’s asinine not to let people make their own choices. I LOVE walking out of the Comet and smelling like an ashtray. What’s next? Shall we ban all bad taste? Shall we ban Naugahyde?

MIDNIGHT — “Cocksuckers!”

posted by on December 8 at 12:00 AM

Brendan reports on how the stroke of midnight played out near the Seattle Center:

When I approached the 5 Point, people were spilling onto the sidewalk, shouting something about smoking. The doorman said, “It’s been fun. News cameras, radio…” He trailed off, pointing to a guy who looked wildly out of place holding a microphone with the KOMO Radio logo. He left before I got the chance to turn the question of the night back on him: “What do you think of 901?”

At 11:45, the brusque bartender with a crew cut shouted: “Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.” The patrons seemed unconcerned, knots of friends shouting drunkenly.

“Well, she said…”

“Well, he said…”

“Well, fuck it…”

“Fuck…”

And Nirvana and Tenacious D played in the foreground.

Some guy whom everybody seems to know threw $20 bills at the bartender. “Will $80 work? How about $100?”

At midnight, the bartender shouted: “Cocksuckers! May as well be in Moscow…”

The doorman was collecting ashtrays while the barman cried: “Put ‘em out! Put ‘em ooooout!!”

As I left, I heard the barman shouting, “THIS IS A NO — FUCKING — SMOKING — ESTABLISHMENT! Call yer fucking Congress!”



Wednesday, December 7, 2005

11:59 — 60 Seconds!

posted by on December 7 at 11:59 PM

My friend Brad reports from the Madison Pub:

People are yelling: “There’s 60 seconds left. Light up! Light up! Light up!”

And someone is complaining: “I’ve had this Constitutional right since I was 12 years old in Kentucky. What the fuck?”

11:50 — All The Young Belligerents

posted by on December 7 at 11:50 PM

Christopher began his evening at Clever Dunne’s Irish House, on East Olive. “I walked in, it was literally a cloud of smoke, the place was filled with blue smoke. Two guys are sitting in a booth, and one of them says to me, ‘We’re here smoking away as fast as we possibly can.’

Two girls were sitting in the window nearby, Christopher says, decrying the suburbanizing of all cities. Their other evidence: New York and LA, which had smoking bans before Seattle.

Then Christopher was at Toi, a Thai reastuarant and bar downtown, where the manager of the bar complained: “The country’s getting more and more and more regulated.”

The best, though, was a young woman Christopher found smoking clove cigarettes at a Capitol Hill restaurant earlier in the evening. She vowed not to obey the ban: “I feel sorry for the first person who tries to get in the way of me and my morning cigarette and my coffee,” she said, “because they will be in some serious pain.”

11:49 — Smirk ‘Em While Ya Got ‘Em

posted by on December 7 at 11:49 PM

Image009.jpg

11:45 — Febrezeless in Seattle

posted by on December 7 at 11:45 PM

Amy Kate reports:

Kristin was the only one smoking just before midnight at the bar in the W downtown.

Brenda and Kim, visiting from Irvine, CA, are happy to hear that our smoking ban goes into effect tonight. They tell me they forgot to pack Febreze to deal with their stinky clothes, and that they popped into Fado earlier in the night and it was so hellishly smoky that they had to leave. They report that in California it took a while before every bar enforced the smoking ban. Certain establishments ignored it for months until bars and clubs began receiving fines (and that made the news).

11:45 — GhettoRita

posted by on December 7 at 11:45 PM

My friend Brad is on a smoky pub crawl with six of his friends to commemorate their last night of freedom. Between them all, they have a collective 71 years of smoking. They’re at the Comet now, on Capitol Hill, and Brad reports:

“It’s the worst. It’s karaoke and the crowd sucks.”

It was better earlier, he says, when they were at the Bus Stop, where the owners had to open the door because the bar got so smoky. The Bus Stop also had a smokers’ special, a GhettoRita, which is a margarita made with tequila and Squirt. Cost: $3. “It was beautiful,” Brad says. Also: “Everyone had a cigarette.” That was beautiful too, he says.

Brad sounds a bit drunk.

“Then we went to Linda’s, and we ordered drinks and asked the bartender, What’s going to happen at midnight? And she said, ‘I don’t know, nothing. I’m not going to enforce it.’ Same here at the Comet. Bartender’s not going to do anything. Well, now there’s talk of us going to the Madison Pub next. And now the straight guy I’m with is looking very gay, so I’m tempted to drag him there.”

11:35 — At the College Inn Pub

posted by on December 7 at 11:35 PM

Josh1.jpg

11:30 — Ah, Oxygen

posted by on December 7 at 11:30 PM

Josh Feit is at the College in Pub in the University District. The place is packed, and there’s not a table in the sight where people aren’t passing around cigarettes and smoking them. “The smoke is wafting up into the lights like it’s a 1930s gangster movie,” Josh says.

There’s a long set of stairs going down into the pub, and as Josh began to walk down these stairs a guy was coming up them, headed out of the bar. He got to the door and said, “Ah, oxygen.”

Josh soon found out why. “As you descend,” Josh said, “the smell of smoke is overwhelming.” When he got to the bottom, he saw one woman doubled over, gagging. He thinks she was joking. At a table nearby there were two guys smoking cigars.

Josh then played reporter with a “foxy” woman coming out of the bathroom:

Josh: Do you smoke?
Foxy woman: No.
Josh: Are you tonight?
Foxy woman: Yes.
Josh: Why?
Foxy woman: Because it’s the last night.

Next he asked the bartender, Ben, if he was going to make people put out their cigarettes at midnight. Ben said no. Josh asked why. Ben said because he doesn’t care.

11:20 — Life Is Too Short

posted by on December 7 at 11:20 PM

Brendan Kiley, our man on Queen Anne, reports:

I asked a street cop if police were going to start handing out tickets at midnight. “I can’t imagine we have the manpower,” he said. “Snohomish county has already said they don’t.” And the 25-foot rule? “No,” he laughed. “If anything, it will be selective enforcement.”

The Mirabeau Room did not have a game plan. Drinkers and smokers were merrily puffing and quaffing at 10 p.m. The bartenders and doorman said they didn’t know if they would be pulling up ashtrays at midnight. The stage side was non-smoking and showing anti-smoking and anti-drug cartoons with the Smurfs, Alf, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turutles trying to convince a wayward teenager to stop smoking marijuana, “an illegal substance that gives you artificial highs.”

At the Mecca, one drunk man in a nice houndstooth scarf shouted at me about the litter problem. “All these cigarette butts we are putting in ashtrays?” he railed. “They’ll be on the goddammed sidewalks! This is the stupidest law ever written!”

The waitress said she was planning to quit at midnight tonight. She and several patrons agreed that the cops would come down hardest on the dive bars. (She said she made the quitting pact with her boyfriend, who is too young to come into the bar. “Woooooah!” One grizzled patron shouted. “Where’d you meet him? A pep rally?”)

“If I have one more person asking me about the fucking smoking ban, I’m going to fucking choke him,” the bartender said. Behind her, a plastic baby hung on the wall with a cigarette taped to his mouth. Directly above it was a coaster with a message written in marker: “Life is too short. Live!!!!”


11:05 — Necessary Equipment for the New Era

posted by on December 7 at 11:05 PM

Over at the Hidout on First Hill, a serious looking bouncer named Francisco is busy keeping the uninvited out of a private party. But he had time enough to convey his estimation that the Hidout is indeed “a very smoky bar,” but “that’s all about to change.”

Francisco plans to start bringing a flashlight, a measuring tape, and some chalk to work. “And I’m going to draw a line,” he says, showing a intimate knowledge of the dreaded 25-foot rule. “It’s a health issue for me.” He wasn’t kidding.

11:00 — The Last Gray Haze at Septieme

posted by on December 7 at 11:00 PM

Welcome to the live-Slog. With one hour to go before the smoking ban arrives, we begin at Septieme, the decadently-painted bar and restaurant on Capitol Hill. In honor of the smoking ban Septieme has done away with its usual smoking/non-smoking division and turned the whole restaurant over to smokers. Also, and I’m not quite sure how this ties in to the smoking ban, but everything is reportedly half price. Anyway, apologies for the quality of this photo, but look toward the upper right hand corner: that’s how thick the smoke is. Also, look hard at that limp wrist in the foreground holding a cigarette, because you’re never going to see that sight again in that booth.

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Berendt’s Resignation Letter

posted by on December 7 at 8:45 PM

Here’s Berendt’s letter as promised:

December 7, 2005

Dear Democratic Friends,

I am writing to inform you that I have decided to step down as Chairman of the Washington State Democratic Party effective the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Democratic State Committee on January 28, 2006. We will hold a special election at that time for the remainder of my term which will run until party-wide reorganization in January of 2007.

There are many important reasons why I have made the decision to step down at this time. I would like to share them with you.

Continue reading "Berendt's Resignation Letter" »

Imminent Defined: Berendt Resigns

posted by on December 7 at 7:22 PM

The rumor we first reported here on the SLOG last week and in today’s Stranger (See “In Other News”) is now official: State Democratic Party Chair Paul Berendt announced today that he’s resinging. (We’ll post the resignation letter as soon as it arrives.. “more time with my family, time for new leadership” etc…) Berendt has been chair for 11 years.

He will serve until Jan. 27, at which time the membership will elect a new chair. Dwight Pelz? Dick Kelley? Greg Rodriguez?

Berendt says he does not have another job lined up yet.

Berendt was planning to leave before I published the over-billing story yesterday, so the two aren’t related.

Although, on Monday, the day before I published the story, he told me his departure “wasn’t imminent.” I asked him to define imminent, and he said it meant he had no plans to make an announcement yet.

Hmmmmm….

Over-Billing & The Democrats

posted by on December 7 at 6:15 PM

My story on the over-billing mess up at the State Democratic Party has generated a pretty consistent reaction from a lot of Democrats. This last e-mail I got is indicative of what I’m hearing.

Hey, Josh Stranger must not be paying attention. Berendt reported this to the Party Executive Committee last fall and to the whole Central Committee at its next meeting, either that fall or in first meeting of this year. And to compare some petty sleight of hand by a staffer with the kind of thing that Duke Cunningham pulled off is laughable. Just wondering what you guys think is important. Jeff

I understand the reaction. Here’s my response to Jeff:

Continue reading "Over-Billing & The Democrats" »

Enjoy Those Final Puffs

posted by on December 7 at 6:02 PM

I won’t gloat tonight, I swear. In fact, I’ll probably be asleep when the ban goes into effect—I’m feeling a little fluish. But I will post these graphs, from Eli Sanders’s terrific piece on the impact of smoking bans, “Last Gasp,” which ran in The Stranger a year-and-a-half ago:

When I ask Stanton A. Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco who has studied the economic impact of smoking bans in California and elsewhere, to tell me what he makes of the argument that smoking bans hurt business at bars and restaurants, he says, “There’s a technical term for that: Bullshit.”

In New York City, which enacted its ban in March 2003, receipts at restaurants and bars are up by 8.7 percent one year later, and employment at those businesses is up by 10,600 jobs, according to a study conducted by the city. In Victoria, where opponents of the 1999 ban claimed a devastating $6 million loss to bars and restaurants, a study commissioned by the Vancouver Island Health Authority found that this loss did not, in fact, take place. In El Paso, which enacted its ban in 2002, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found no negative economic impact.

“This is something that has been studied over and over and over again,” Glantz says, his voice rising with exasperation at the fact that people are still calling to ask him whether the economic harm argument is true. “There have been more than 100 places studied. And it has simply never materialized. The only so-called studies that conclude there is an effect are things that the tobacco industry has funded either directly or indirectly.”

Cheers, Mr. Meinert!

TONIGHT! Live-Slogging Smoking Ban Eve

posted by on December 7 at 6:00 PM

Tune in to the Slog starting at 11 p.m. tonight, as we count down to Washington State’s new smoking ban, and then count off the ways in which it’s changed everything (or not). We’ll have live reports and photos from some of the city’s smokiest bars as the clock strikes midnight, as well as live laments from smokers and probably a live gloating from anti-smoking zealot Dan Savage.

Below are some links to coverage of the smoking ban issue in The Stranger. Enjoy, and say goodbye to this…

smoke1.jpg

…and this…

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Kicking Butts. Initiative 901 Extinguishes Smoking in Clubs (Nov 2005)

Stranger Election Control Board Non-Endorsement of the Smoking Ban (Nov 2005)

Up In Smoke? The Fine Print That Could Kill the Smoking Ban (July 2005)

LAST GASP. Will banning smoking in Washington State’s bars and restaurants be bad for business? (July 2004)

The Stranger’s Writers…

posted by on December 7 at 5:24 PM

…go to bars and drag shows and parties and drug dens.

Over in Colorado Springs, the Toilet Paper’s writers get hung from meat hooks

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Funk You Very Much

posted by on December 7 at 4:53 PM

I recently interviewed Breakestra leader and funk savant Miles Tackett for next week’s Data Breaker column. Because I’m an obsessive funk fan and wannabe crate-digger, I picked Tackett’s brain for his top 5 breakbeats and 10 essential funk albums. Take notes and start digging—or clicking, poseur. Remember: Funk is life.

Breakbeats 1. Funky Drummer by James Brown 2. Impeach the President by Honey Drippers 3. It’s a New Day by the Skull Snaps 4. Give It Up by Kool & The Gang 5. You Can Make It If You Try by Sly & The Family Stone

10 Essential Funk Albums
1. Kool and the Gang — Kool and the Gang
2. The Meters — Struttin’
3. James Brown - In the Jungle Groove (Compilation)
4. Sly & the Family Stone — Greatest Hits
5. S.O.U.L. - What Is It
6. Young-Holt Unlimited — Oh Girl
7. Funk Inc. — Superfunk
8. Syl Johnson — Dresses Too Short
9. Rusty Bryant — Fire-Eater
10. The Mohawks — The Champ

Pre-Baptism?

posted by on December 7 at 4:47 PM

Everybody’s taking sides on the ideological content of the new Narnia movie, from the unapologetic enthusiasm at the Christian Broadcasting Network (you must click to believe how many message boards, polls, articles, excerpts, character profiles, teaching guides, etc. can be crammed onto one tiny web page) to the unabashed excoriation at the Guardian.

For secular viewers, the question often comes down to this: Can you watch the movie without being bothered by the Christian content?

In Salon, big fan Laura Miller says mais oui:

“If [children] don’t realize that all this supposedly conceals a Christian message like a drop of monotheistic medicine concealed in a spoonful of pagan sugar, we’ll be foolish to think they’ve been duped. If they’re like the generations of children before them, they won’t see or learn the lesson Lewis was trying to teach. Instead they’ll see battles and adventure and magic — and who’s to say that’s not what really counts?ā€¯

Well, C.S. Lewis, for one. Here’s a chilling quotation from his biographer (or should that be hagiographer?) George Sayer, excerpted from Jack: A Life of C.S. Lewis:

But the author almost certainly did not want his readers to notice the resemblance of the Narnian theology to the Christian story. His idea, as he once explained to me, was to make it easier for children to accept Christianity when they met it later in life. He hoped that they would be vaguely reminded of the somewhat similar stories that they had read and enjoyed years before. “I am aiming at a sort of pre-baptism of the child’s imagination”.

Want an example? Read on.

Continue reading "Pre-Baptism?" »

Pup Cozy

posted by on December 7 at 4:31 PM

hoodiedog.jpg
My Dutch luuuvs his fleece hoodie custom-made for him by Tanya of Black Sheep Boutique. I don’t mean to kiss our own classifieds’ ass, but there are loads of other local artists’ goodies in the Piece of Craft section.

Cuba Film at Central Cinema

posted by on December 7 at 4:25 PM

Tomorrow night (Thurs Dec 8) at Central Cinema (21st Ave & Union St) at 7:00 p.m. they are showing When the Spirits Dance Mambo. According to CC “This film documents the integral role of West/Central African sacred thought and practice rooted in the cultural life of Cuban society. It is a victorious journey—a tribute to the spiritual energy that traveled from West/Central Africa to Cuba to the mambo explosion in the 50s in New York City. The camera takes the audience on a journey through the various provinces of Cuba. Moreover, it partakes of Carnival in Santiago De Cuba, street rumbas, old-timers performing Cuban son, religious ceremonies, the Cuban countryside, and much more.ā€¯

The film will be followed by dance and discussion. For more info see the Central Cinema website.

Re: How Do I Get to the Empire State Building?

posted by on December 7 at 3:59 PM

Using the example I posted yesterday, I did a test run on the game last night. It took me 4 clicks to get from Beverly Hills 90210 to the Empire State Building, and 3 clicks to get from Janet Reno to the Empire State Building.

Beverly Hills 90210 to ESB:
1) United States
2) New York
3) Manhattan
4) ESB

Janet Reno to ESB
1) Ithaca, New York
2) New York City
3) ESB

Clarification on the rules:

The point is not to find the shortest route through trial and error. If you decide to click on a link, you are not allowed to take that click back. If that click sends you in the wrong direction, and you decide to click back to where you were, that counts as 2 clicks. So, you have to be thoughtful about every click as you go.

Also, the game is not about speed. You can take your time deciding on the best link to choose.

I’m now trying to figure out how to turn it into a drinking game.


empirestate.jpg

New Blog on the Block

posted by on December 7 at 1:59 PM

Check out Seattle Tattler. There’s an interview with disgraced Internet porn king (and fugitive from the law) Seth Warshavsky and a nice, long post about Almost Live, the unfunny comedy skit show that refuses to die.

Contest of the Day: Who’s the Bigger Asshole?

posted by on December 7 at 1:58 PM

From the New York Times:

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 6 - Mel Gibson, whose “The Passion of the Christ” was assailed by critics as an anti-Semitic passion play - and whose father has been on record as a Holocaust denier - has a new project under way: a nonfiction miniseries about the Holocaust.

Mr. Gibson’s television production company is developing a four-hour miniseries for ABC based on the self-published memoir of Flory A. Van Beek, a Dutch Jew whose gentile neighbors hid her from the Nazis but who lost several relatives in concentration camps.

It is not expected that Mr. Gibson will act in the miniseries, nor is it certain yet that his name, rather than his company’s, will be publicly attached to the final product, according to several people involved in developing it. Nor is it guaranteed yet that the project will be completed and broadcast.

But Quinn Taylor, ABC’s senior vice president in charge of movies for television, acknowledged that the attention-getting value of having Mr. Gibson attached to a Holocaust project was a factor.

“Controversy’s publicity, and vice versa,” Mr. Taylor said.

So who’s the bigger asshole? Gibson for making the mini-series, or ABC’s Quinn Taylor for shrugging off legitimate concerns about the project with an amazingly thick-headed “Controversy’s publicity, and vice versa”?

Out of Our Minds?

posted by on December 7 at 1:45 PM

Ok, earlier today I said I was going to post more about Tom Carr’s hazy pot numbers as soon as I figured out how to put a bar graph up on the Slog.

Well, I’ve figured it out, but first, let’s start with Tom Carr’s statements about Initiative 75 in today’s P-I. Carr admits he was wrong about there being only 74 marijuana cases in 2002, but…

Even so, Carr maintained, his larger contention that [Initiative 75] was insignificant remains unchanged. Pot arrests, already low in a city the size of Seattle, dropped from 307 to 160 between 1998 and 2002 before I-75’s passage and then to 59 cases the year after it passed. “The arrests already were dropping,” Carr said. “The initiative didn’t do anything.”

People who claim a statistically significant drop as a result of the measure are “out of their minds,” he said. “They want to prove something that does not exist.”

Now, look at this graph from today’s P-I. Yes, it shows a downward trend in marijuana cases between 1998 and 2005, but just by eyeballing the graph you can tell there’s a significant drop between 2003, when I-75 took effect, and 2004. Is it a statistically significant drop? Well, scroll down and let’s look at another graph that The Stranger’s tech gurus just made up based on the same corrected numbers that Carr gave me and the P-I this week.

news-LARGE.jpg


The Stranger’s graph is below. It shows the percentage decrease in marijuana filings, year over year, from 1998 to 2004. The red line represents the passage of I-75. Now, when does the largest percentage decrease occur? Not in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, or 2003. It occurs in 2004, right after I-75 passes. That seems statistically significant to me. I mean, look at this graph. A guy would have to be out of his mind (or pretty stoned) not to notice that huge drop in 2004.

potgraph_slog_size.jpg

Tom Carr’s Problem

posted by on December 7 at 1:44 PM

Tom Carr isn’t crazy—he is, however, full of shit. He lied to one reporter, got caught by another, attempted to blame the first reporter for his original lie. Then when he gets caught again, what does he do? He stamps his feet and calls the folks who were right all along crazy?

Fuck you, Carr. I’d rather be one of those crazy supporters of I-75, an effective law that is making a real difference, than a liar and an asshole.

Burn on Hillary

posted by on December 7 at 1:28 PM

Today’s NYT trashes Hillary Clinton for co-sponsoring a bill with Utah Republican Sen. Robert Bennett to criminalize burning the American flag.

In 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that flag-burning was protected by the First Amendment.

The Friendly Skies

posted by on December 7 at 1:21 PM

So, how was your flight?

You only made 6!

posted by on December 7 at 1:15 PM

My sister just called to tell me about this column in today’s Seattle P-I.

Apparently, Food Editor Hsiao-Ching Chou decided to take on Martha Stewart’s Holiday Cookies magazine. For those who aren’t aware, starting last month, I signed myself up for the (admittedly ridiculous) task of baking EVERY SINGLE RECIPE in the magazine. That’s 114 total. And my goal is to do it by New Year’s. How many did Hsiao-Ching Chou make? Oh—she only made six kinds of cookies. SHE ONLY MADE SIX! And she claims “Holiday baking with Martha Stewart’s mag is an exercise in stamina.” AND SHE ONLY MADE SIX? For the record, this morning I made my 50th (I’m keeping track on my Myspace page). Don’t tell ME about stamina.

She goes on to pick each recipe apart, saying some dough was too dry or the magazine didn’t specify what kind of cornmeal to use, but uh… I’m a college drop-out with no history in the food business (other than eating everyday) and I’ve seemed to be doing okay (as surely my friends and co-workers can attest).

Anyways, the whole thing made me sorta giggle (okay, laugh hysterically) at how she made such a big deal out of baking SIX kinds of cookies, but the opening is one of my favorite parts:

Staying up until 2:30 a.m. to decorate Christmas cookies will make you very sleepy at the office the next day and give you a headache. But, sometimes, it has to be done, especially if you’re on a mission and especially if that mission involves the Martha Stewart cookie experience.

HAHAHA! Six cookies… in four days! Hahaha!

I’ll step off my cookie jar now.

Driven to Hate: Let Ford Know You Think They’re Pussies for Caving to the American Taliban

posted by on December 7 at 1:06 PM

So yesterday Ford denied caving in to threats from the American Family Association. Today they’re admitting it —after the AFA threatened Ford with a boycott, Ford agreed to pull its advertising from gay publications and cease sponsoring gay events. Americablog is all over it.

So what can you do? Gay or straight, you should at least pick up the phone and let local Ford dealers know that you won’t even consider buying a Ford after this. Why should straight people care? Because the same AFA fucks that have successfully intimidated Ford on the gay issue are also attacking straight rights—they’re the same assholes who have successfully intimidated retailers like Target into denying women access to morning-after pills. They’re the same assholes trying to convince the Feds not to release a vaccine for two strains of HPV , the virus that can cause cervical cancer in women. The HPV vaccine—already tested and 100% effective!—could save thousands of women’s lives every year. The AFA is fighting it.

Here’s a list of Ford dealers in King County . Call them, tell them you’re pissed —and remind them that the AFA’s boycott of Disney didn’t go anywhere. Tell them that when the AFA threatened Kraft, Kraft told the AFA to go fuck themselves. But Ford? The “Built Ford Toughā€¯ boys collapsed into a puddle when the AFA assholes threatened them with a boycott. So let Ford know what you don’t buy cars from companies that caves to right-wing hate mongers. And when the local dealers tell you that they didn’t make this decision, tell them that’s too bad. Tell them to scream and yell to Ford HQ and get this decision reversed, or you will never, ever consider buying a Ford.

And corporations can reverse themselves. Microsoft caved to right-wing Christian bullies, and then reversed itself. Tell `em Ford can too. Tell `em Ford better.

Unhappy & Bleeding

posted by on December 7 at 1:00 PM

Today brought a short sharp I, Anonymous submission from a rightfully embittered student whose Aunt Flo came to visit and, thanks to a thief, had nowhere to sleep.

(There’s also a fascinating threat from a very disgruntled shopper, and a handful of posts about the nature and purpose of tipping.)

New Faces in the Arts (or: I Like David, I Disagree with David)

posted by on December 7 at 12:53 PM

Last night I watched Misha Berson of the Seattle Times publicly interview “New Faces in the Artsā€¯: Peter Boal (new artistic director of Pacific Northwest Ballet), David Esbjornson (new artistic director of the Rep), and Jim Tune (new president of ArtsFund).

It was better than I expected. At times.

Mr. Tune (jacket and tie) was articulate and friendly. Mr. Boal (I don’t remember, but I have the impression it was suitably semi-formal dancer chic) was sunny and pleasant without saying anything substantial or illuminating.

Mr. Esbjornson (collarless shirt and jacket) was smart and engaged, giving good answers to stupid audience questions and unafraid to spar a bit with Ms. Berson. He talked about hiring local vs. out-of-town actors, whether Seattle is a risk-averse town, and other hot topics.

He was also visibly defensive—probably because the last Rep play, an Ariel Dorfman world premiere that Esbjornson directed, got mixed (and a couple of savage) reviews. He seemed a little embarrassed (“it’s a great privilege when a writer decides to share new work with an audience and they have a responsibility to protect itā€¯), a little scoldy (“the variety of reviews in New York reflect the complexity of the showā€¯), and refreshingly defiant (“I’m surprised by the expectation among so many people in this city that our job at the Rep is to protect the status quoā€¯).

Continue reading "New Faces in the Arts (or: I Like David, I Disagree with David)" »

Cookie update.

posted by on December 7 at 12:42 PM

Today I made my 50th cookie. It was Oatmeal Raisin.

Only 64 left to go.

And if you’re sick of cookies, Cupcake Royale has two limited Holiday flavors—Red Velvet and Gingerbread. I’ve yet to try ‘em (drowning in cookies, and all), but if they’re anywhere near as good as their regular cakes, they’re gonna be a-maz-ing.

Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch

posted by on December 7 at 12:30 PM

For the week of December 7-13, 2005:

Seattle Weekly: 108
The Stranger: 132

After two weeks of regular issue of the Stranger going up against “special” issues of the Weekly (the first two of the Weekly’s four—count ‘em, four—annual “gift guides”), we finally have an apples-to-apples comparison. The Weekly has a special issue this week (gift guide #3—can you stand it?!?), the Stranger has a special issue (our annual Strangercrombie Holiday Auction, which benefits Northwest Harvest). And the Stranger’s special issue is 24 pages larger than the Weekly’s special issue.

UPDATE: An alert reader posted this comment: “And Dan, you forgot to mention that when it wasn’t apples to apples (meaning the Weekly had the supposed advantage with a special issue) the Stranger’s regular issues were still bigger!”

Negri on Paris

posted by on December 7 at 12:00 PM

Toni Negri is the Italian philosopher who coauthored Empire with Michael Hardt, an American philosopher. Both are Marxists and the leading theorists of the post-Fordist condition. Negri is much older than Hardt, has published numerous books, and was a radical in the 60s and 70s. In this interview, he says some very peculiar things about the recent riots that rocked France.

The Horrible Future of Video Games

posted by on December 7 at 10:33 AM

This is troubling. Make sure to watch the video clear to the end. Then take a shower.

Red Bull Helps Energize the Underground

posted by on December 7 at 10:13 AM

As Charles Mudede mentioned in a recent article, it’s in our nature to distrust corporations as evil empires (and sometimes, as in the case of Ford—see Dan’s posts over the past couple days—evil can and will rear its ugly head). But I’m floored by the work Red Bull has put into supporting the underground of the underground music world. Their Red Bull Music Academy is near completion for this year’s two two-week courses on making and producing electronic music, an education they offer free—along with scholarships to travel to the Academy’s host country—to 60 students from around the world. Not only that but last night, their ArRange performance at McCaw Hall merged jazz and electronic music as various composers and arrangers swapped roles throughout the night—and local artists represented what they heard visually through ink, paint, and video equipment. Not only was the show a stunning event, it was free, and $5 went from Red Bull to Vera for every person in attendance. I can’t comprehend a large corporation doing something of such an altruistic nature. I keep looking for strings and just where they’re attached. But all I saw were drink specials involving Red Bull, nothing too intrusive. And the best part of all this—it’s not an evil tobacco company trying a last resort goodwill campaign. It’s too bad that this Academy is on to another country for the next couple sessions, it seems to be a valuable tool for those lucky to be in its range.

Something to See: Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure

posted by on December 7 at 10:09 AM

I have a Stranger Suggests hyping this show in the paper hitting the streets today/tomorrow, but I don’t want to lose any time in urging all fans of good theater, smart comedy, and/or accomplished storytelling to check out Dave Gorman’s Googlewhack Adventure, running through Saturday at the Moore.

Key fact: A “Googlewhack” is what occurs when two random words are placed in a Google search engine to produce only one hit. (If you doubt the difficulty of scoring a Googlewhack, try it yourself. Ten bucks says the majority of your attempts bring back hundreds if not thousands of hits.)

But from this finicky word game. storyteller Dave Gorman (an exceedingly affable Brit who runs a mean power-point presentation) spins an amazing tale of obsession, international travel, and the nature of randomness that goes places you never could’ve imagined.

Really, it’s a knockout, it’s gotten rave reviews all over the world, and folks should see it before it’s gone. (Final Seattle performance: this Saturday, 9pm…)

War and Remembrance

posted by on December 7 at 9:47 AM

64 years ago this happened to America:

pearl-harbor-1.jpg

Four years ago this happened to America:

B00005JYBD.02.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

We will never forget.

Pearl Harbor anniversary

posted by on December 7 at 9:39 AM

Today’s the 64th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. National Geographic’s multimedia attack map and timeline is pretty good, beginning at 0342 hours, when an officer on the U.S. minesweeper Condor sees an object poking out of the water near the entrance to the harbor. A sailor identifies it as a periscope

P-I: Carr Wishes He’d Checked His Pot Numbers

posted by on December 7 at 9:00 AM

This morning, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer publishes its own story on a topic that I spilled a lot of virtual ink on yesterday: Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr’s hazy grasp of his own office’s marijuana-related prosecutions. From the P-I:

The dispute arose after a Nov. 23 Seattle Post-Intelligencer article about the effect of [Initiative 75, the measure that all but decriminalized adult marijuana possession in Seattle]. In the story, Carr said pot arrests had declined before the initiative and after its approval by voters, but not by much. In other words, Carr said, the initiative didn’t make much difference.

To prove his point, he claimed 74 people were arrested in 2002, before the measure was in effect, and then 59 the following year under the new law, a slight decrease.

Seeing the published figure, [pot activist Dominic] Holden countered that Carr’s number was incorrect, that the actual number of arrests in 2002 was 160 — validating his point that the initiative has more dramatically changed the Police Department’s priorities, as intended.

Twice, Carr stuck by his figure when asked about Holden’s contention. But when pressed on the matter again Monday by an ACLU representative who was involved in the I-75 campaign and by a reporter with The Stranger, Carr said he made a mistake in the 2002 figure.

“I should have checked my figures,” he said.

Like I said before, I hope Carr was just stoned when he gave out, and then twice stood by, those bad figures—and wasn’t intentionally trying to diminish the impact of I-75.

Meanwhile, more on this bit of stubborn defiance from Carr…

Even so, Carr maintained, his larger contention that the initiative was insignificant remains unchanged… “The arrests already were dropping,” Carr said. “The initiative didn’t do anything.”

People who claim a statistically significant drop as a result of the measure are “out of their minds,” he said. “They want to prove something that does not exist.”

…as soon as I figure out how to post a bar graph on the Slog.


Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Open Mind, Insert New Music

posted by on December 6 at 4:41 PM

Tonight, Red Bull Music Academy presents ArRange, which promises to cross genres and dig you out of your music rut no matter what you’re into.

Winter in Narnia?

posted by on December 6 at 4:21 PM

Hey Gang! This new video game will teach you how to help a cartoon bunny or maybe someday even a woman orgasm.

Canadian reporter Sarah Staples explains:

Players tickle, touch, tap, and stroke Lapis using the touch screen of the Nintendo DS, a hand-held video game device. They can also talk, sing and blow on the bunny’s fur using the device’s built-in microphone.
The more they stimulate the bunny, the happier he becomes until eventually he begins flying through the air. But Lapis is also an unpredictable creature who needs a variety of sensations. Sometimes, no amount of stimulation is going to work.

you can check it out for yourself here.


Re: How Do I Get to the Empire State Building?

posted by on December 6 at 4:06 PM

I will tell you how to get the Empire State Building: You go there by Boeing. After doing the tour of the airplane factory in Everett, I’m now a big fan of the commercial (rather than military) side of the corporation. The way they assemble an aeroplane just amazed me. The factory is as huge as a universe and the complexity of the process was so impressive that the very sight of the laborers, the machines, the plane parts, the cranes cured me of my fear of flying (I have only been in the air twice since 1999). I have decided that when I fly to New York City, there will be none of this Airbus business (Jet Blue). I will be loyal and demand from my agent a jet plane that was made in that magnificent factory in Everett. (Indeed, the news that Airbus won a huge deal from China yesterday upset me so.)

How Do I Get to the Empire State Building?

posted by on December 6 at 3:45 PM

I haven’t had any time to Slog today (or Flog, as a weird friend likes to call it) because I’ve been busy getting tomorrow’s paper out and, in particular, working on a story about some questionable billings at the the Democratic State Party. (That story is up online now.)

Perusing the Slog, however, I have no fucking idea what my colleagues are up to. Why is there a picture of Abraham Lincoln up here?

Anyway, I want to publicize a game I’ve invented. It’s called The Wikipedia Challenge.

Here’s how you play: Two players agree on one common Wikipedia entry, say, The Empire State Building. Then each player assigns the other player a different Wikipedia entry. For example, Player A assigns Player B Janet Reno, while Player B assigns Player A Beverly Hills 90210. The player that is able—through links—to get from their assigned entry to the Empire State Building entry in the fewest clicks wins!


Shotgun-Shack Strip Clubs

posted by on December 6 at 3:09 PM

Here’s one way around the four-foot rule: Move ‘em into skinny buildings.

Vaudeville Act

posted by on December 6 at 3:03 PM

Capitol Hill Housing Improvement is having a grand opening Thursday for their latest reclamation project — a home that once belonged to Alexander Pantages, the vaudeville giant of the West whose posters advertised Alice Teddy, “The Only Roller Skating Bear in the World.ā€¯

“The story seems to be that he moved in after he built it but he soon began letting performers stay there,ā€¯ says CHHIA’s Chuck Weinstock. The house has been restored to its former grandeur, says Weinstock, and has been granted landmark status by the city.

The impresario’s former digs, at Harvard and Denny Way, have been split into four apartments and the building next door, also part of the Pantages Apartments, opened simultaneously with 45 units.

Pantages’ vaudeville productions were a snore compared to his personal life. The notorious philanderer was sued by performer-slash-wife Klondike Kate after he married another woman; and his public image never recovered from charges that he raped 17-year-old dancer, Eunice Pringle. The old and fragile Pantages may have been the first man to defend himself against a rape charge by pointing out that the alleged victim could have kicked his ass.

Turncoats and the Rs That Love Them

posted by on December 6 at 2:46 PM

Oliver Willis points to this latest nonsense from Senator Joe Lieberman:

Lieberman, whom the Bush administration has praised repeatedly for his war stance, defended the president. “It’s time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge he’ll be commander-in-chief for three more years,” the senator said. “We undermine the president’s credibility at our nation’s peril.”

Can we just go ahead and trade Lieberman to the Republicans for, say, a box of thumb tacks? He’s certainly not doing the Ds any good.

Getting Under A. Birch Steen’s (Liver-spotted) Skin

posted by on December 6 at 2:20 PM

One of life’s great pleasures is to raise the already dangerously high blood pressure of The Stranger’s “Public Editor,ā€¯ that decrepit curmudgeon known as A. Birch Steen. And one of the most effective ways of doing that is to quote deceased philosophers. So here’s a pithy comment from English thinker Bertrand Russell, who lived to be 97. “I owe my longevity to intellectual stimulation—and fornication.ā€¯ Sadly, these two pleasures haven’t been part of Mr. Steen’s life since the Eisenhower administration.

Re: What Motivates Men

posted by on December 6 at 1:49 PM

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Re: What Motivates Men

posted by on December 6 at 1:45 PM

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Re: What Motivates Men

posted by on December 6 at 1:44 PM

cohn.gif

Re: What Motivates Men

posted by on December 6 at 1:42 PM

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Re: What Motivates Men

posted by on December 6 at 1:39 PM

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Re: What Motivates Men

posted by on December 6 at 1:36 PM

Nice try, Sean, but the creator of Rent was straight. So you can’t pin that on us homos. We, however, can pin this on you straight guys:

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Conservatives Rock

posted by on December 6 at 1:35 PM

I’d like to read opinions from our music scribblers (and readers who know their rock) on this.

What Was Tom Carr Smoking?

posted by on December 6 at 1:30 PM

Check out this strange email exchange I had over the last two days with Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr and his special assistant, Ruth Bowman. The exchange came about because I’ve been working on a story for this week’s Stranger about how Seattle is at the leading edge of this country’s drug law reform movement.

We’ve posted my story early, here, because of the section of the story that involves Carr’s office. It was originally only a smallish part of the story, but it has turned into a bizarre and newsworthy back-and-forth involving fishy numbers, a front-page Seattle P-I article from November, and information fed to a P-I reporter by Carr that Carr himself now admits was false.

Here’s the backstory: On November 23, the P-I published a front-page article by Mike Lewis that looked at the fallout from Initiative 75, which all but decriminalized adult marijuana possession in Seattle. Voters approved I-75 by a large margin in 2003, and two years later the P-I story found few negative impacts from the measure’s requirement that marijuana busts become Seattle’s lowest law enforcement priority.

But the story also included quotes from Carr saying that while the negative effects from I-75 that he predicted had not actually materialized, I-75 also had not had the positive effect pot activists were claiming. Marijuana busts were low in number before the law took effect, Carr said, and remained similarly low in number afterward. “I’d say it’s had little to no effect,” he told Lewis. As proof of this assertion, Carr told Lewis that there had been only 74 marijuana filings by his office in 2002. In 2004, the year after I-75 took effect, there were 59 filings, Carr said. That’s not much of a drop—or, at least, it wouldn’t be, if it were true.

But you’ll notice that the 74 number has disappeared from the web version of the P-I’s story.

That’s because it’s not true. There were actually 160 marijuana filings by Carr’s office in 2002, which creates a 63 percent drop in filings between 2002 and 2004. With numbers like that, it’s hard to argue there’s been “no effect” from I-75.

The P-I hasn’t corrected the record yet, but I’m told it will do so shortly, probably with a story in tomorrow’s paper. Good reporters like Lewis don’t like to become conduits for false information.

Meanwhile, it took quite a bit of effort for me to get Carr to admit his mistake. On Monday, when I contacted his special assistant, Ruth Bowman, about the discrepancy, she at first told me that the error in the P-I article resulted from Mike Lewis misquoting Carr. So I called up Lewis and told him about the claim.

Lewis said that was bullshit, and that he had notes to prove Carr had given him the 74 figure. He also said that he had called Carr shortly after his I-75 article came out because pot activist Dominic Holden had complained that Carr’s 74 number in the P-I article seemed fishy. At that time, Carr told Lewis he stood by the 74 number. And I now know that Lewis called Carr again on Monday, after I told Lewis that Carr’s office was claiming Lewis was a misquoter. In that conversation, Lewis asked Carr again about the 74 number, and for the second time in two weeks, Carr stood by his number.

Then, shortly thereafter, Carr’s office changed its story. Bowman took back her previous statement, telling me Carr had not been misquoted by Lewis. She promised that support for the 74 figure would be coming soon, but a few minutes later I received this email, the first of several that would ultimately lead to Carr admitting his 74 figure was wrong. This first email was from Bowman, and contained no text, just the subject “Marijuana Data”—and an attachment.

Continue reading "What Was Tom Carr Smoking?" »

Three’s Company

posted by on December 6 at 1:15 PM

In last week’s Seattle Weekly (you’ll be forgiven for missing it), Neal Schindler writes about a possible magazine war between Seattle magazine (“100 Best Everything!ā€¯) and the soon-to-arrive Seattle Metropolitan (“We’ll Hire Any Weekly Staffer You Send Our Way!ā€¯).

One passage in the piece stands out:

If Seattle and Seattle Metropolitan bring very different voices and attitudes to similar material, maybe they can share the city, after all. “I’m not coming into this market saying, `I have to fight Seattle magazine,’ā€¯ Vogel says, adding that Metropolitan should appeal to a younger, somewhat less affluent, less female-skewing readership. Seattle`s associate publisher, Melissa Coffman, says the newcomer might resemble “Seattle Weekly in Seattle magazine clothing.ā€¯

Let’s see: 100 Best Restaurants, an annual Best of Seattle issue, four—count ‘em four!—holiday gift guides…maybe what Schindler should be asking isn’t whether Seattle can have two competing glossies, but whether it can handle three useless, advertiser-fellating publications. Even if one has Metropolitan in its name, and even if one is a weekly, they’re all pretty much Seattle magazine when you get down to it.

Ellen Forney Ties the Knot

posted by on December 6 at 1:10 PM

This weekend in Las Vegas, ace illustrator and beloved Stranger contributor Ellen Forney made an honest man out of her adorable boyfriend-of-three-months Mac at the Little White Wedding Chapel, home to the short-lived Wedding #1 of Ms. Britney Spears.

Congrats to Mac and to Ellen, whose art has graced The Stranger almost since day one, and who worked with me on one of my favorite Stranger projects ever—the graphic series What the Drugs Taught Me, the first three installments of which you can see here, here, and here.

(FYI: No writer will ever look better than when Ellen Forney draws him or her, and there’s no better way to learn about concision than by working with an illustrator, for whom every word counts and then some…)

RE: What Motivates Men

posted by on December 6 at 12:54 PM

To say nothing of:
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Real American Hero

posted by on December 6 at 12:47 PM

Representative Candice Miller (R-naturally) is fighting to change the Constitution to discount legal and illegal immigrants from the US Census, which is primarily used to redraw Congressional districts.

According to a study conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies, the US is experiencing the highest influx of immigrants in its history. California, Texas, and Georgia received the largest numbers of new immigrants (the full study won’t be released until December 12th).

Reuters reports:

“This is about fundamental fairness and the American ideal of one man or one woman, one vote,” Miller told a hearing of the House of Representatives subcommittee on federalism and the census called to debate the matter…Miller’s proposal comes amid a growing tide of anti-immigrant sentiment, particularly among Republicans in the House of Representatives.

Poor thing. I guess she tried to reason with the immigrants themselves, but they can’t seem to wrap their minds around the fact that they aren’t real people.

Miller is also allegedly turning her attention to battling the ever-growing popularity of ‘Taco Tuesday’. What a Real American Hero.

Soul on Ice

posted by on December 6 at 12:40 PM

White people! Your last sport (winter sports) is next on the list to go black. As we say in Shona: “Hokoyo!” (Watchout!)

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What Motivates Men?

posted by on December 6 at 12:39 PM

Dave Segal writes…

To think: most of the world’s major achievements in art, literature, music, architecture, commerce, and sports essentially have been motivated by the desire to get intimate with “a canned ham dropped from a great height.ā€¯

To which I respond…

Most, Dave, but certainly not all:

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Looking for a New Band to Love?

posted by on December 6 at 12:34 PM

Check out musicplasma.com. It’s a cultural mapping service, designed to help you find new music and movies. But the artistic genealogies, rendered in thin threads and colored orbs, are interesting to navigate in their own right. (Be sure to read the “helpā€¯ file, as the navigation system is a little confusing at first.) I learned you can get from Belle and Sebastian to Oingo Boingo in five simple steps that involve Interpol, Warsaw, and Joy Division. And that you have to pass through Nick Drake to get from Radiohead to Elliott Smith.

I don’t know how they cook up these relationships and I don’t really want to, but they could make explosive fodder for passionate music nerds. Why, for example, must we pass through Sonny Rollins to get from Miles Davis to Art Blakey?

Also: Wiccan warfare in Florida!

Sports Item

posted by on December 6 at 12:34 PM

Apparently some professional Seattle sports team or other is meeting with some success. It’s pretty much all anyone around Stranger HQ can talk about these days.

Stranger Than Strange

posted by on December 6 at 12:06 PM

Rumor has it that Pike/Pine indie boutique Black Chandelier has donated a live-cockroach jeweled brooch (retail value $50) to our Strangercrombie auction. I stopped in there last night to inquire but the shop girl had only heard vague stories of such a thing and wasn’t sure whether the item would ever be for sale at the Pike Street store. What would one feed a bejeweled cockroach? I desperately want one.

Strangercrombie’s Coming to Town

posted by on December 6 at 11:54 AM

Strangercrombie—our annual holliday auction—hits the streets tomorrow. Strangercrombie, as always, is packed with cool gifts, one-of-a-kind experiences, cool swag, movies, chow, and eye candy. The whole thing’s a benefit for Northwest Harvest, and it raises tens of thousands of dollars to feed the hungry around here.

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Pick up Strangercrombie tomorrow and start bidding!

SMP: The Afterlife

posted by on December 6 at 11:47 AM

Kristina Hill, Natasha Jones, and other former monorail staffers have started a blog to “flesh out a detailed chronology of the [Seattle Monorail] Project” and “collect lots of people’s stories and experiences and give us all a place to share them — unfiltered by the media!” So far, the page is pretty sparse (on Monday, Hill wrote that she’d have more to say on December 8, the day after the SMP’s second post-election meeting) but I’m excited to read more from employees of the moribund agency now that no longer have to make nice with Mayor Gridlock.

Driven to Hate: Built Ford Puff

posted by on December 6 at 11:46 AM

Why is Ford Motor Company so terrified of the American Family Association? They threatened Ford with a boycott, and Ford grabbed its ankles—just like Microsoft did when a local fundie minister threatened that comany with a boycott. But, gee, how’d that American Family Association boycott against Disney work out?

In May, the American Family Association ended a nine-year boycott of The Walt Disney Co. over Disney’s decision to extend benefits to same-sex couples and promote gay-related events at its theme parks. The boycott appeared to have little effect, since Disney reported higher earnings and increased theme park attendance during that time.

What happened after Microsoft reversed its decision to pull its support for a gay civil rights bill? Nothing. What happened to Disney when the AFA called for a boycott? Nothing. Why are the pussies in corporate America so terrified of groups like AFA? They’re all bark, no bite.

Re: The Chronicles of… HELLO!

posted by on December 6 at 11:43 AM

To think: most of the world’s major achievements in art, literature, music, architecture, commerce, and sports essentially have been motivated by the desire to get intimate with “a canned ham dropped from a great height.ā€¯

Respect is due.

Pure Torture

posted by on December 6 at 11:39 AM

After hearing local radio stations mercilessly (torturously) plug this band’s shit, I’m forced to say Morcheeba are one of the worst bands currently touring the country. Their vanilla triphop makes me want to stab my eardrums with a sharp object…it’s nothing more than the soundtrack to lounging in corporate coffeehouses. Please, make it stop.

Re: The Chronicles of… HELLO!

posted by on December 6 at 11:25 AM

And I believe the contest Sean refers to wasn’t about renaming the vagina per se, but instead about coming up with some pet names—besides “pussyā€¯ and “cuntā€¯—that could be used, new slang that didn’t sound degrading or profane. There are so many words for penis—cock, dick, baloneyponie, johnson, purple-headed-yogurt-slinger, stick-pussy, etc.—and comparatively few for vagina. We hoped to correct this imbalance and achieve some sort of genital-nickname parity.

Because The Stranger is nothing if not a matriarchy.

Dreaming of Warm

posted by on December 6 at 11:20 AM

Buenos dias. If you had five days to spend in one place in Mexico, where would that be? I’ve never been and need advice. (Likes: cities, beaches, seafood, culture, history, fishing, walking. Dislikes: touristy things, driving, vacationing Americans.) Thank you.

Bush Poem

posted by on December 6 at 11:04 AM

That super creepy poem praising President Bush? The Leader? The thing Ceinna posted yesterday in SLOG? Apparently it was published in school text books in… Pakistan.

The Education Ministry said the poem “The Leader” was unacceptable as it had been downloaded from the Internet and was anonymous.

Downloaded from the Internet and authored by Anonymous—those are the least of the poem’s problems…

The Homo Will of Techno

posted by on December 6 at 10:58 AM

This feature, sent to me by Dave Segal, is on Pitchfork’s website and concerns the early connections between Chicago House and Detroit Techno. Several founding figures from both genres are interviewed, and an explanation of how techno came to be techno is provided. Two things: Early in Carl Sagan’s book Cosmos, there’s a description of two stars that are so close to each other that they exchange “star stuff.” Similarly, the cities of Chicago and Detroit are only separated by a four-hour drive. This propinquity has resulted in the exchange of cultural stuff—music machines, musical ideas, music programs, and so on—between the cities. The Pitchfork feature also brings to light the fact that the term techno was willed and enforced by Juan Atkins (Cybotron, Model 500, Infinity). At the time (the early 80s), most Detroit producers were under the impression that they were making a variation of Chicago’s house music, but Juan put his foot down and established a clear line between the two forms of urban music. Such determination is always admirable. Weak artists are happy with formless grays and blurs; strong artists have, as Nabokov once put it, strong opinions and make strong statements. But there was a hidden agenda behind Juan Atkins’s enforcement of the distinction, one that is mentioned in this excellent academic essay about the history of techno: Atkins didn’t want to be identified with gay music. Techno is hetero; house is homo. In the end, Atkins succeeded in giving techno the distinction of being more futuristic, more about technology than house music, but he failed to make the hetero/homo distinction stick.
For example, very recently I had a neighbor over at my apartment for a session of popping-and-locking. My neighbor is black, male, and about my age, and so we know all of the basic moves from back in the day. At one point of our session, I decided that Model 500’s techno classic “No UFO” (which was used in 2000 to launch the Ford Focus—an exchange between art and economics that deserves serious Marxist consideration) would work best with a move I stole from Mr. Freeze in 1984 (shaking like you are very cold), but after playing just a few measures of the “four to the floor” beat, my guest said, “Fuck that fag shit. Turn it off.” Seeing that he was really not happy with the music, that his sense of sexuality was quickly melting, I pressed Stop and played instead Cybotron’s “Clear,” which has an electrofunk beat. The point is this: Techno is gay futurist music made by heteros, and nothing will ever change or hide that fact.


Driven to Hate: Ford Action Day Two

posted by on December 6 at 10:57 AM

Americablog wants us to give Ford hell—and he tells us how to do it.

This morning’s Ford action step: Contact Jaguar

Jaguar is one of the specific Ford brands that pulled it ads to appease the gay-hating extremists. Contact these three Jaguar execs (I’m guessing at the first one’s email address).

Jaguar Cars Corporate Offices
- Joe Greenwell, CEO, 949-341-6100
- Tom Scarpello, VP Mktg, 949-341-6100
- Mark Kaline, Global Media Mgr, mkaline@ford.com, 313-594-3913

And feel free to keep contacting these senior public relations reps from Ford and its subsidiaries - I want us calling these folks every day.
- Rosemary Mariniello, Jaguar Land Rover North America, (201) 818-8010, rmariniello@jaguar.com
- Jim Cain, Ford Division, (313) 248-6288,
- Sara Tatchio, Lincoln and Mercury, (313) 594-3744, statchio@ford.com
- Roger Ormisher, Volvo Cars of North America, Inc., rormishe@volvocars.com, (800) 970-0888
- George Pipas, Ford Motor Company, (313) 323-9216, gpipas@ford.com
- Dan Bedore, Ford Division, (313) 323-7045, dbedore@ford.com

This year’s Turner prize…

posted by on December 6 at 10:57 AM

…goes to Simon Starling, for a wooden shed.

Dec. 16: Save the Date

posted by on December 6 at 10:42 AM

Just another reminder that on Friday, December 16th, you’ll want to make sure you’re at the Showbox for the Stranger’s Holiday Blowout. The swank soiree is to celebrate a) the close of Strangercrombie 2005, b) the excellent local music of Common Market, Band of Horses, Wheedle’s Groove, and Fruit Bats c) Dina Martina and Santa Claus d) getting drunk (drink specials galore) and e) being merry. It’s the city’s biggest holiday blowout, Stranger-style, so you won’t want to miss this one. Tickets are $5 adv./ $7 DOS, with your entry fees going to a great cause—NW Harvest.

Re: The Chronicles of…HELLO!

posted by on December 6 at 10:42 AM

Yes, it seems Sean did forget Savage’s initial “canned ham dropped from a great height” vagina euphemism. I, for one, will never forget it, no matter how much I drink…

However! The follow-up “Rename the Vagina!” contest actually stemmed from Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, which was enjoying a sold-out local run at the time. In the show, Ensler expresses her distaste for the word “vagina” and preference for the word “cunt”—an iffy choice for the female populace, and super-risky coming from the mouths of males.

So we launched a contest to find an all-purpose euphemism (actually, this was the first Grab Bag I ever wrote), with the options being the aforementioned cunt, Sean’s beloved Narnia, and the triumphant Vancouver. However, my favorite remains the third runner-up: Senorita Wences.

S’all right? S’all right…

Driven to Hate: Ford Motor Company

posted by on December 6 at 10:36 AM

Americablog has more on Ford Motor Company caving to right-wing Christian hate groups.

Former senior Bush White House officials negotiated anti-gay deal for Ford

The two Ford execs who sat down with the extremist gay-hating organization to work out the secret deal, who do you think they were? Why, two former senior Bush administration officials. Aren’t things getting interesting.

And with the New York Times and CNN covering the story, Ford is attempting to lie it’s way out of this mess. From the New York Times:

Ford Motor Co. said on Tuesday that its luxury Jaguar and Land Rover brands will no longer advertise in gay publications, but denied that the nation’s second largest automaker made the decision under pressure from conservative Christian groups.

”The decisions with regard to advertising was a business decision,” Ford spokesman Mike Moran said. He said Ford’s Volvo brand would continue advertising in gay publications. Ford hasn’t advertised its Ford, Lincoln and Mercury brands in those publications, Moran added.

But John Aravosis at Americablog isn’t having it—he busts Ford on its lies and the New York Times for taking them at face value:

…three different credible witnesses, two of whom are credible journalists, have Ford on the record admitting not only that they caved to pressure from extremist gay-hating groups, but in one conversation Ford admitting to having reached a “formal settlement” with the gay-haters. That’s extremely troubling since it now leaves us wondering what other anti-gay actions has Ford agreed to in its secret agreement with the anti-gay bigots?

Re: The Chronicles of… HELLO!

posted by on December 6 at 9:24 AM

Sean seems to have forgotten The Stranger’s first semi-successful effort to re-name the vagina. It was in an early Savage Love column, one that that earned me much praise from the lesbian/feminist community and fan mail by the truckload: “A canned ham dropped from a great height.” Sadly, the phrase didn’t catch on. It is a mouthful, as they say, and the acronym—ACHDFAGH—is unpronounceable.

And I believe the contest Sean refers to wasn’t about renaming the vagina per se, but instead about coming up with some pet names—besides “pussyā€¯ and “cuntā€¯—that could be used, new slang that didn’t sound degrading or profane. There are so many words for penis—cock, dick, baloneyponie, johnson, purple-headed-yogurt-slinger, stick-pussy, etc.—and comparatively few for vagina. We hoped to correct this imbalance and achieve some sort of genital-nickname parity.


Monday, December 5, 2005

The Chronicles of… HELLO!

posted by on December 5 at 9:52 PM

Can I be the only one in Stranger land who giggles like a pre-teen every time he sees an ad for The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe? It’s not just because the film is a blatant Lord of the Rings for Jesus freaks. No, Disney’s C.S.-Lewis-in-CGI, crypto-Christ cash-in cracks me up because I can’t help remembering The Stranger’s notorious multiple choice Rename the Vagina contest from several years ago—I don’t know how many, but it was pre-internet archives, apparently.

“Vancouver” won the day, but only by the narrowest of margins. The runner-up (and sentimental favorite for everyone I knew) was, and always will be, “Narnia.”

re: Negligence = Death

posted by on December 5 at 7:15 PM

I just listened to the same piece in my car and was equally blown away. Required listening for all.

Negligence = Death

posted by on December 5 at 6:23 PM

Tonight NPR reporter Daniel Zwerdling did an amazing, in-depth piece on immigrant deaths in federal prisons. The story didn’t focus on secret torture schemes but rather a different sort of cruel and unusual punishment—detainees left to die during medical emergenices. For this piece, “the Death of Richard Rust”, Zwerdling conducted a lengthy investigation; detainee after detainee spoke about guards waiting 5 to 40 minutes to respond to inmates having serious medical emergencies—projectile vomiting, passing out, not being able to breathe. With nothing but a wall of silence from prison and federal officials, the piece gave a chilling report on the deaths of Richard Rust and others, whose deaths sound as though they could have been avoided had these detainees been afforded reasonable medical treatment. It’s a sickening portrait of our “homeland securityā€¯ officials, rampant racism, and people who have little at their disposal to combat this fucked up system, as many illegal immigrants are afraid of losing even more of the few rights they retain. It sounds like NPR will continue to follow this beat, with more chilling reports on rampant prisoner abuse here in the US.

Letter to the Editor

posted by on December 5 at 4:39 PM

We didn’t have room for this in Thursday’s paper, though I would have loved to read Schmader’s response:

While procrastinating on my studies yesterday, I became very curious about the cover of this week’s (Dec. 1) Stranger. In particular, I was having problems understanding the relationship between the website listed under the volume information (www.marylen.com) and the rest of the cover and/or your periodical as a whole. It seems that www.marylen.com is a website for a woman in Eugene, OR selling her costume design services (especially children’s costumes).

Is this a typo? or am i missing some greater significance to all this?

Best,
Cap Hill Kev

Marylen’s costumes are FANTASTIC! (Especially the ocean creatures.)

Uck.

posted by on December 5 at 4:32 PM

bush.jpg

What a horrid introduction to both english and poetry.

A King of Pants Christ-mess

posted by on December 5 at 4:19 PM

Seattle’s hottest mash-up DJ (and all-around loveable chucklehead) Freddy, King of Pants - you know, the one who throws FrankenBoot? - has an exclusive new cut featured on the virtual album SANTASTIC! Holiday Boots for Your Stockings, which also features Christmas cut-ups from international names like Mark Vidler a k a Go Home Productions (who has graduated of late to doing legit remixes for Blondie and Gang of Four). The KOP cut, “Xmas Lists (The True Meaning of Christmas),” is a hee-larious send up of the commercialism of Christmas, making cole slaw of holiday ditties by Destiny’s Child and the Jackson 5 along the way. Download it now before it goes away!

Tell us your stories about Seattle’s club security

posted by on December 5 at 4:18 PM

The Stranger is writing a feature on the state of club security in Seattle. We’re soliciting stories—both good and bad—from local music fans who regularly attend club shows. Because security staff simultaneously function as customer service providers, protectors of patrons and defenders of their club, they are in a unique and often difficult position. Some do a fabulous job, being respectful of well-behaved customers and swiftly dealing with the inevitable idiots. Others abuse their position and alienate (or even injure) club-goers. As you’ve made clear on the forums, many of you have complaints.
To be fair, we want to report both the positive and the negative, so please send your kudos and criticisms to clubsecurity@thestranger.com. Please include a phone number where you can be reached to confirm your story. Deadline for submissions is this Friday, December 9th.

Voice Editor Skips Out

posted by on December 5 at 3:51 PM

The editor of the Village Voice—one of five VVM papers, including Seattle Weekly, recently purchased by New Times—has resigned. Here’s his email:

From: Forst, Don Sent: Monday, December 05, 2005 4:41 PM To: Everyone (VV) Subject: Change

I have submitted my resignation today as editor-in-chief to Judy Miszner, effective December 31, 2005. A number of prospects have presented themselves and I think this is an opportune time to explore them. These nine years have been exciting for me because of what this paper does and what it represents to the city; and that’s because of all of you. I am proud of what we have accomplished together. I thank you for sharing your talent with me and wish you and the Voice good times and great fortune.

Red Hot Bible Smut

posted by on December 5 at 3:41 PM

German Protestants are selling biblical smut

A German Protestant youth group has put together a 2006 calendar with 12 staged photos depicting erotic scenes from the Bible, including a bare-breasted Delilah cutting Samson’s hair and a nude Eve offering an apple…. Anne Rohmer, 21, poses on a doorstep in garters and stockings as the prostitute Rahab, who is mentioned in both New and Old Testaments. “We wanted to represent the Bible in a different way and to interest young people,” she told Reuters. “Anyway, it doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible that you are forbidden to show yourself nude.”

Bernd Grasser, pastor of the church in Nuremberg where the calendar is being sold, was enthusiastic about the project. “It’s just wonderful when teenagers commit themselves with their hair and their skin to the bible,” he said.

There’s more about the calander—including samples shots—and how to order it, at this website . Unfortunately, it’s all in German.

Big Brother Is Watching You IM

posted by on December 5 at 3:09 PM

The Seattle Times is a Family-Owned Newspaper… and apparently the family owns its employees’ Instant Messages too. Via Seattlest:

The Seattle Times, the Pacific Northwest region’s most widely read newspaper, is deploying IMlogic IM Manager(TM) to gain visibility into staff instant messaging (IM) use, ensure compliance with internal and external use policies and prevent cyber threats from entering its network. With IMlogic IM Manager, the daily newspaper will securely manage reporters’ confidential IM interviews with sources and the new media group’s conversations about managing and supporting content online in real-time.

The Seattle Times Company found itself at a crossroads earlier this year as IM use continued to grow. IT managers worried about infrastructure exposure to cyber threats and whether staff was complying with the same usage policies already established for e-mail.

Now all the Seattle Times has left to tackle is the notes-passed-in-homeroom problem, the graffiti-in-bathroom-stalls problem, and the employees-who-don’t-love-Big-Brother problem.

Seattle Art/Rock

posted by on December 5 at 3:05 PM

I just got word that a couple Seattle artists made it into ArtForum’s “best of 2005” list. I can’t find the full stories online, but apparently “Steve Roden’s performance at On the Boards as part of the In Resonance exhibit made it all the way to #1 on one of ArtForum’s best of 2005 music lists,” according to Fionn Meade. Meade and Robert Millis curated that performance, along with a related (excellent) sound art exhibit at this year’s Bumbershoot, which Roden also participated in. Check out Nate Lippens’ great piece on the show here. Meade also noted that experimental musicians Climax Golden Twins made the same best of 2005 music list with the release of Highly Bred & Sweetly Tempered.

Common Market Is In The House

posted by on December 5 at 1:58 PM

Congratulations to Common Market for hitting the very top of KEXP’s variety music chart. They deserve the victory, and Seattle’s hiphop community should be proud that it now has the stuff to compete with a nationally recognized rock scene. Common Market will be performing at The Stranger’s Christmas party on Dec 16, and if you go over here, you’ll find my review of their excellent record. Peace be with you.


Big Brother is Watching You Drive

posted by on December 5 at 1:46 PM

Under a US Department of Transportation pilot project initiated last year, special GPS tracking meters have been placed in the cars of volunteers around Seattle to keep tabs on where they go and how many miles they travel. The idea, part of a constellation of (generally progressive) proposals known as “value pricing,” is to track drivers using GPS technology and charge them to drive in certain places (like toll roads) and at certain times (like rush hour). The GPS trackers are placed inside vehicles, where they transmit information to a central government office, which bills drivers accordingly. (In Oregon, the information is beamed out to the DMV when a driver pulls into a gas station.)

According to an article on CNET, the US Federal Highway Administration is about to issue another $11 million round of grants for similar projects in other states.

The GPS transponders should, in theory, discourage people from driving at rush hour and encourage them to use public transit, because they charge drivers more when the roads are most congested.

But the GPS trackers differ from the similar EZ-Tag payment system used on toll roads nationwide in one important - and alarming - way: According to CNET, the program lacks any restrictions that would prevent state and law enforcement authorities from “continually monitoring, without a court order, the whereabouts of every vehicle on the road.”

According to the article:

No rule prohibits that massive database of GPS trails from being subpoenaed by curious divorce attorneys, or handed to insurance companies that might raise rates for someone who spent too much time at a neighborhood bar. No policy bans police from automatically sending out speeding tickets based on what the GPS data say.

The Fourth Amendment provides no protection. The U.S. Supreme Court said in two cases, U.S. v. Knotts and U.S. v. Karo, that Americans have no reasonable expectation of privacy when they’re driving on a public street.

Even more alarmingly, in Washington state, a federally funded report has suggested that the GPS bugs should be made “tamper-proof” by causing the engine to fail if the tracking device is disconnected.

The Corpse of the Church

posted by on December 5 at 1:05 PM

It’s by no means the best newspaper article that Umberto Eco (an Italian semotician) has written, but its central passage is worth sharing:

The “death of God”, or at least the dying of the Christian God, has been accompanied by the birth of a plethora of new idols. They have multiplied like bacteria on the corpse of the Christian Church — from strange pagan cults and sects to the silly, sub-Christian superstitions of The Da Vinci Code.

It is amazing how many people take that book literally, and think it is true. Admittedly, Dan Brown, its author, has created a legion of zealous followers who believe that Jesus wasn’t crucified: he married Mary Magdalene, became the King of France, and started his own version of the order of Freemasons. Many of the people who now go to the Louvre are there only to look at the Mona Lisa, solely and simply because it is at the centre of Dan Brown’s book.

The Gossip at Last Night’s Washington State Dems X-Mas Party: Paul Berendt

posted by on December 5 at 12:35 PM

Washington State Dems held their annual holiday party last night at the Washington Athletic Club. The talk of the evening: Is State Chair Paul Berendt leaving his post?

As I reported on the SLOG last Friday, when I asked Berendt about this, he said the rumors: “are not without substance.”

However, at last night’s shindig several Ds insisted that Paul is definitely leaving in January.

So, I went back to Berendt today. He told me again, no change is “imminent.”

Asked to define “imminent,” Berendt said imminent would mean “I’d be planning to make an announcement about a specific date, and I have no plans to do that right now.”

He added: “I don’t just want to turn this over to any joker that wants to be the state party chair. I want to make sure that when the time comes there are quality candidates to choose from.”

Berendt boasts that Washington is the only state in the West that has 2 D Senators, a D Governor and both state house chambers under Dem control.

Driven to Hate: Ford Action #2

posted by on December 5 at 12:12 PM

From Americablog

Second Ford Motor Company action of the day: Call them

For this afternoon’s action, please contact the same Ford marketing people by phone this time. They’re apparently now blocking their email accounts, which means you got to them. Now phone them.

Steve Lyons: 313-845-1621
Mae Smith: 313-845-1510
Terri Cavanaugh: 313-845-0580

As always, be nice but firm, and don’t threaten them or do anything else obnoxious. Leave that kind of behavior to America’s Taliban. But do make clear that their company is toast.

Background on what Ford has done. Amongst other things, you might want to ask Ford if they’d pull their ads from African-American or Jewish publications if the Klan objected?

Cheers!

posted by on December 5 at 12:00 PM

Want to stay slim? Drink up.

People who have an alcoholic drink or two a day may have a lower risk of becoming obese than either teetotalers or heavy drinkers, a study published Monday suggests. Researchers found that among more than 8,200 U.S. adults, those who said they enjoyed a drink every day were 54 percent less likely than non-drinkers to be obese. Similarly, those who drank a little more (two drinks per day) or a little less (a few drinks per week) had a lower risk of obesity than teetotalers did.

A couple of drinks a day—sure beats sticking your fingers down your throat.

Re: My Pot Epiphany

posted by on December 5 at 11:36 AM

Josh not only missed the first appearance of Norm Stamper’s op-ed calling for the legalization of all recreational drugs in the LA Times, he also missed Nicole Brodeur’s column slamming Stamper in The Seattles Times. Brodeur slammed Stamper in a gentle way, invoking those sacred kiddies…

But Dan Satterberg, the chief of staff of the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, thinks Stamper is way off. “What he’s proposing is a social experiment from which there would be no return,” he said. “You’d have a whole lot more people using a whole lot more drugs. And what’s the message you send to kids? ‘Don’t do drugs, but go here if you want to buy them.’ “… Stamper disagrees. He has twin granddaughters. “No way in hell would I be advocating legalization if I thought that … would jeopardize their lives.”

Brodeur wraps up the column with the kind of mushy, middle-of-the-road thinking that keeps the War on Drugs roaring along…

[Stamper] needs to think a little harder about how legalized drugs would affect all our lives — and how — legal or not — they would continue to imprison those who use them.

Yeah, Stamper’s Seattle’s former Chief of Police, a cop for more than three decades—but Brodeur concludes that he just hasn’t thought long or hard enough about drugs. Otherwise, Stamper would have come down on the side of the War on Drugs. Why? Well, to save the kiddies—because, you know, if we called off the War on Drugs, suddenly children would be able to get their hands on drugs. As things stand now, children are safe from drugs. Just try to find pot—or acid or meth or shrooms—in a Seattle-area high school! Betcha can’t! They’re illegal, you see, and the illegality ensures that children don’t have access to drugs. See how that works?

A Sensitive Boy…

posted by on December 5 at 11:24 AM

…singing a sensitive song.

Red Alert Tonight In The War Room

posted by on December 5 at 11:20 AM

As there is such a thing as real jazz, there is such a thing as real hiphop; anything Miles Davis made before 1969 is real jazz; accordingly, Red Alert’s radio show in the 80s on KISS FM is real hiphop. Red Alert is to hiphop what Mikey Dread is to dub. The rap show Red Alert operated on KISS FM, Dance Mix Party, rivaled WBLS’s Mr Magic’s Show, which had Marley Marl on the turntables. Both shows shaped the modern sound of New York City’s hiphop. Marly Marl gave us MC Shan, Craig G, Bizmarkie, Roxanne (“Bite This”) Shante, and Big Daddy (“Raw Like Sushi”) Kane; Red Alert gave us the Jungle Brothers, Queen Latifah, and A Tribe Called Quest, who dedicated the song “Propmaster” to the Dj who made their day. DJ Red Kool Alert spins tonight in the War Room, and nothing save death should make you miss his set.

Better Polish Your Pithy-Comment Collection

posted by on December 5 at 11:16 AM

Good news for Slog readers: In a few hours, you’ll be able to post comments directly on Slog. Look for “comments (X)” in place of the current “read/post comments” link at the top of each entry. All comments on a particular entry will be collected in one window and linked to that Slog entry. Please give it a try and tell us what you think.

Ford Motor Company—Driven to Hate?

posted by on December 5 at 11:12 AM

Ford Motor Company has pulled all its advertising from gay and lesbian publications. Why? Because right-wing Christian groups threatened them with a boycott. Americblog is leading the charge.

From the Advocate:

The antigay American Family Association claimed a cultural victory on Thursday and called off its threatened boycott of Ford Motor Co. On Friday, Ford spokesman Mike Moran confirmed to Advocate.com that the company will stop advertising its Jaguar and Land Rover brands in gay publications but insisted it was strictly a business decision.

The Dearborn, Mich., automaker came under fire from the AFA in May for its longtime efforts to increase LGBT workplace diversity and support gay rights causes. Ford has long been a regular advertiser within gay media, including The Advocate, and has donated significant sums to LGBT causes and nonprofit groups such as the Human Rights Campaign.

Threatened with a boycott by the Mississippi-based AFA, Ford and some of its dealers agreed to negotiate, and the AFA announced in June that it would hold off on its planned action. On Thursday, AFA announced the boycott would be canceled altogether.

“They’ve heard our concerns; they are acting on our concerns. We are pleased with where we are,” said Donald Wildmon, AFA’s chairman, in a statement. “Obviously there are still some small matters of difference, as people will always have, but generally speaking, we are pleased with the results—and therefore the boycott that had been suspended [is] now officially ended.”

Specific terms of any formal agreement between the AFA and Ford—and whether any such agreement has in fact been reached—remain unclear.

When first contacted, Ford spokesman Moran referred Advocate.com to the AFA statement, suggesting that the company had no disagreement with Wildmon’s assertions. In a second conversation he confirmed that the company would no longer advertise Jaguar and Land Rover products in the gay media, saying that the decision was strictly “business.”

.

From Americablog on Saturday:

Ford needs to be taught a lesson. If they think they’re above the fray and too big to be influenced by the mean homosexuals, they ought to give Bill Gates a call and see what happened to Microsoft when they endorsed outright bigotry in order to appease America’s Taliban…. Ford wants to dance with bigots, that’s fine. But you don’t get to do that in the year 2005 and remain a prosperous company in America.

From Americablog today:

Religious right bigots targeting even more pro-gay companies: Now they’re going after Wells Fargo too. This is all out war. They want to destroy us by going after every company that dares not treat gays like they’re diseased pariahs. Microsoft did the right thing. Kraft did the right thing. Wells Fargo has so far done the right thing. Ford has done the wrong thing. Message to corporate America: When the 21st century incarnation of the Klan comes knocking, tell them to go to hell.

Interestingly enough, anti-gay Ford wants a federal bailout—you know, like the airlines got after 9/11. Ford kept making bigger and bigger cars and trucks, more and more gas guzzlers, and then gas got pricey and those hybrids and other furen cars started looking good to American consumers. Aw, poor Ford. And at the same time that they’re going to go and ask the feds for money, they decide to cater to haters, pissing off a large group of politically engaged American voters/consumers—that would be the homos. Stupid move, Ford.

Americablog is planning daily actions until Ford comes to their senses:

Todays’ Ford marketing and public relations targets are…

Steve Lyons: slyons@ford.com

Mae Smith: msmith26@ford.com

Terri Cavanaugh: tcavanaugh@ford.com

Amongst other things, you might want to ask Ford if they’d pull their ads from African-American or Jewish publications if the Klan objected?

Come back at 3pm Eastern for the next action of the day…

Get involved.

Re: Can’t Complain…

posted by on December 5 at 10:37 AM

Dan, I’m sure I’m not the only hardcore heterosexual male who finds that poster ugly and unsatisfying. I would even go as far as to say the woman is scary looking, and has alive in her eyes that electric madness which always means one thing: the sex will be difficult. If she were in a room to a door I just opened, I would shut the door immediately and get out of that house, that neighborhood, that city.

Re: My Pot Epiphany

posted by on December 5 at 10:35 AM

Well, burn on me….???

It’s a great piece, and for those who missed it in October (like me), it was excellent that the Seattle Times ran it again and kept Stamper’s crusade in the news.


Dance Machines

posted by on December 5 at 10:19 AM

After reading this article from the New York Times about the “back-up dancers” (aka mini robots) dancing in Beck’s latest video, you’ll have no choice but to hit Beck’s website to see the little dancing machines yourself. One note…when you get to the “video” section, the “Hell Yes” video icon is sort of hidden towards the top.

Dept of Wasting Time

posted by on December 5 at 9:30 AM

I can’t tell you have warm it makes me feel inside to know that I could play the brainless numbers game Sudoku online, with an easy web interface, anytime, thanks to the Washington Post and a content provider called uclick. (The Seattle Times has a uclick Sudoku game too, but for some reason it doesn’t load on my computer.)

For more ridiculous procrastination fun, check out this Javascript faux-Scrabble game. You can only play yourself, but it’s still amusing.

Shut up, I’m working, I swear.

Issaquah! Finale

posted by on December 5 at 9:10 AM

Two items:

1) The Issaquah election has finally been certified and Maureen McCarry is Issaquah city councilmember-elect, by an extra-squeaky 16-vote margin. Bill Conley called McCarry to congratulate her but apparently did not use the word “concede.” Sigh.

2) I’m coming out as Liveslogger, because I am not in the office and can’t remember the Stranger Election Control Board password. Maureen McCarry is my maternal aunt. Congratulations, Aunt Maureen! Now you can get to more pressing business—like figuring out what to do about the allergenic new cat. I mean, bypass. Good luck!

Re: Norm Stamper’s Righteous Crusade

posted by on December 5 at 8:56 AM

Josh, about your epiphany on Norm Stamper: The piece that set you off is almost two months old. It originally ran in the LA times on Oct. 16.

What Does Norm Stamper Have to do w/ Ariel Sharon?

posted by on December 5 at 6:09 AM

Norm Stamper is to drug reform as Ariel Sharon is to the Middle East Peace Process (and let’s hope) as F.W. de Klerk is to ending Apartheid as Mikhail Gorbachev is to Democracy in the former Soviet Union.

Continue reading "What Does Norm Stamper Have to do w/ Ariel Sharon?" »


Sunday, December 4, 2005

Norm Stamper’s Righteous Crusade

posted by on December 4 at 12:01 PM

I think I’m one of the few Stranger staffers that doesn’t care for (or care about) pot. Yes, I’ve always understood how ill-advised the Drug War is, but I’ve never been exercised about it.

Well, I have to say: This smart and concise opinion piece in today’s Seattle Times by former SPD chief Norm Stamper convinced me that the movement to legalize drugs is urgent, important, and germane.

Of related interest: Here’s the King County Bar Association’s proposal on legalization which I covered earlier this year.