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Archives for 12/11/2005 - 12/17/2005

Saturday, December 17, 2005

RE: Wiping Away a Few Tears…

posted by on December 17 at 9:52 PM

Sean, you have disappointed me. As the great black American Barthian critic James Snead (who died at the age of 35 in 1989 but left us with the invaluable book Black screens/White images) King Kong is not an innocent monster, at least when it comes to race. I’m actually dumb-shocked that no one has seen the resurrection of this film as tantamount to the resurrection of Birth of a Nation, but it seems that white critics have, over the years, conspired to give Peter Jackson (a New Zealander) the freedom to perpetuate the worst white myths. Anyway, I expected more from you, a man I admire.

Wiping Away a Few Tears…

posted by on December 17 at 6:20 PM

Let me just say that King Kong is everything I want a movie to be. The first hour has some problems, but they’re minor. The second hour is about as good as cinema gets (until you’ve seen a stampede of brontosauruses that ends in a masive reptile pile-up on a crumbling cliff, leading to a brawl between a 25-foot gorilla and THREE TYRANNOSAURUSES REX, you really haven’t seen anything worth seeing). The third hour makes you weep… unless you’re dead inside (you know who you are). And I won’t even talk about the fourth hour. JUST KIDDING!

I’m sure that certain of my erstwhile colleagues who have made a career out of disagreeing with/disparaging my movie reviews will do so now, too (that’ll be Savage’s cue to bring up this review—or, more to the point, to coerce Annie Wagner into bringing it up—to which I can only respond “yes, but this preview, and this job interview!”). But guess what: you’re wrong, and I’m right (and so is Andrew Wright). Kong is king! (And the noon matinee at the Neptune was surprisingly under-attended. I guess everyone must be getting their gay cowboy on this weekend.)

Strangercrombie Holiday Blowout: The Day After

posted by on December 17 at 5:07 PM

Last night the Strangercrombie Holiday party landed at the Showbox, and it was a smashing evening of live entertainment (Fruit Bats! Band of Horses! Vladimir the Polar Bear!), plentiful booze (special thanks to the champagne of beers Miller High Life and the champagne of tequilas Sauza), and rummy holiday figureheads (to give Santa Claus some company, we also invited Korny the Kwanzaa Korn and the Hanukah-hyping Dr. Dreidel).

My personal favorite moments:

*The opening performance by super-gifted Seattle hiphoppers Common Market, who made good on the promise of their exemplary debut CD (Common Market, which you should buy tomorrow) with a short but strong set.

*The closing performance by Wheedle’s Groove, a stage-filling collective of superstars from Seattle’s funk and soul scene of the 60s and 70s. With the performers amassing on stage incrementally, the show reminded me a bit of Stop Making Sense, and Wheedle’s Groove is at least as conceptually artsy as mid-’80s Talking Heads: Five women led by the Total Experience Gospel Choir’s Pat Wright dished out a slow and angular take on Soundgarden’s “Jesus Christ Pose,” while the show opened with a langorous “Hey Jude” that sounded like a mash-up between the Beatles standard and the Velvet’s “Oh, Sweet Nuthin’.”

*And, finally, the appearance of my favorite living performer Dina Martina, who trekked over after her Re-bar show to perform a couple old Christmas chestnuts (“Let it Snow” performed to “Let it Be,” “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” to the tune of “Hotel California”). But the most mind-blowing moments came from Ms. Martina’s co-habitation of the Showbox green room with the aforementioned women of Wheedle’s Groove, who had every right to be wigged out by the lumpy drag queen wearing vanadalism makeup and sporadically announcing things like “My shoes smell like Chinese food!”, but who were perfectly sweet and gracious about the whole thing.

Thanks to all who came, and especially to all who performed. And hurrah to everyone who helped make this year’s Strangercrombie our biggest ever—$39K and then some!

Pity the Poor Exurbians

posted by on December 17 at 1:59 PM

Suffer, bitches.

People who choose to live in sprawling “exurbs” are suffering in their cars—such long commutes, you see, can get to you after a while.

…life here is framed by hours spent in the car.

It is a defining force, a frustrating, physical manifestation of the community’s stage of development, shaping how people structure their days, engage in civic activities, interact with their families and inhabit their neighborhoods. Ask residents why they moved here, and they tend to give the same answers: more house for the money, better schools, a lifestyle relentlessly focused on the family.

Ask them what the trade-off is, and most often they mention the traffic.

Chris Gray, 34, moved to Frisco with her husband eight years ago, eager for a bigger house in an affordable, family-oriented community. Ms. Gray quit her job as a financial consultant for Electronic Data Systems in Plano, the previous exurban boomtown just to Frisco’s south, and decided to become a stay-at-home mother for her two daughters. But her husband, who works near downtown Dallas, has paid the price.

“I can’t count on him being home before 7 o’clock,” she said. “Even if he leaves the office at 5:30, he’s not here until 7. This morning, he left at 5:30 and it took him 35 minutes. But if it’s raining outside, he can count on a two-hour drive.”

Let me look inside my heart and see if it’s breaking for the Gray family…


You can have a family-focused life in the big city, Mrs. Gray—tons of people do it. And a family of four can live comfortably in an apartment in the city. It all depends on what you value. Do you value your time? Or do you just want “more house for the money”? If it’s all about having a “great room” and two spare bedrooms and a media room and a mud room then, by all means, go live in some soulless exurbian shithole. But don’t bitch about the traffic—all those other people clogging the roads made the same idiotic choice you did. You have no one to blame but each other for a lifestyle dominated by cars and for your husband’s two-hour commute.

Constitutional Dictatorship

posted by on December 17 at 1:40 PM

That’s what a politically-involved friend of mine is now calling this country, based on the news that Bush has authorized government officials to break long-standing law and spy on Americans.

If Bush thought America’s laws against spying on its own citizens were too restrictive, he could have pushed for Congress to change the laws, rather than reauthorizing this illegal program 30 times since 2001. That’s American Democracy 101: Congress makes the laws, and no one is above them, not even the President.

Instead, in defending his lawbreaking today, Bush is asserting a Constitutional preogrative to ignore laws passed by Congress — and to direct government agents to do the same. That’s not American democracy as Americans understand it, and it will be interesting to hear how Bush justifies his illegal directives before Congress, where members are furious and hearings are now certain.

There’s a lot swirling around this story right now, including more calls for impeachment and many questions about why The New York Times held this story for a year before breaking it just ahead of the vote on the Patriot Act renewal.

But all I can think about is a forwarded email I received this morning from my brother. It was sent by a friend of his who is serving in Iraq. The friend was shot in the leg recently during a gun battle, and saw a close friend in his unit killed in the same fight. Young Americans are dying nearly every day in Iraq, supposedly to bring democracy to that country, while here at home the same president who claims to want to spread democracy abroad is unapologetically subverting it in America. Tell me how this makes sense again?

Do They Have WMD Too?

posted by on December 17 at 8:48 AM

President Bush defended his domestic eavesdropping program this morning saying it is used only to intercept the international communications of people inside the United States who have been determined to have ”a clear link” to al-Qaida or related terrorist organizations.

A clear link to al-Qaida? Hmmm… Where have I heard that before?

I wonder if the people the government has been monitoring have the same “clear link” to al-Qaida that Iraq had.

Friday, December 16, 2005

“This Isn’t a Victory Party.”

posted by on December 16 at 5:35 PM

Anti-monorail activists past and present celebrated the death of the monorail Wednesday night at the Rosebud restaurant on Capitol Hill, where they watched The Simpsons (“Marge vs. the Monorail”), munched on hors d’oeuvres (including cheese cubes and cold roasted vegetables), and gave each other awards (including numerous stuffed animals, magnifying glasses and Sherlock Holmes hats, and a plate of brownies.)

Walking along Broadway toward the Rosebud earlier that night, I’d run, serendipitously, into Christian Gloddy, the founder of the pro-monorail group 2045 Seattle. Gloddy was heading to Cafe Septieme to meet up with Kristina Hill, the head of the moribund SMP board. Septieme, as it happens, was the last place I’d spoken to Hill - for a post-election interview in which Hill was alternately bitter, defeated, and defiant.

You’d think that, at a time when the monorail agency is putting dozens of people out of work and selling off its properties, the people who killed it might display a little humility. Instead, the scene at the Rosebud was a pageant of schadenfreude: Backed by a sign reading “stop the lies” and a screen displaying Power Point slides of anti-monorail trivia, the monorail opponents - among them Monorail Recall campaign leaders Tim Wulf and Liv Finne, Second Avenue property owner Howard Anderson, light rail fanatic Richard Borkowski, and ex-transportation commissioner Virginia Gunby — congratulated each other profusely, eventually applauding nearly everyone who was present (including me) and some who weren’t (including P-I reporter Jane Hadley, whose front-page story on the SMP’s $11 billion financing marked a turning point for the agency). Then a guy who had just informed me he “liked the monorail, but hated the financing” passed out champagne, and everybody drank a toast “to the death of the monorail.”

About the only person in the room who didn’t seem downright jubilant about the monorail’s demise was ex-city design commissioner Jack Mackie, who told me, “We didn’t win anything. This isn’t a victory party.”

There was no mistaking the scene at Septieme, where we headed next, for a victory party. Huddled over beers in a back booth, Hill and Gloddy were in good spirits but understandably a little low at their first meeting since the monorail’s defeat. Perhaps the saddest thing since the election, Hill told me frankly, has been dismantling the monorail agency headquarters piece by piece. Everything that hasn’t gone to state archives — including two monorail costumes agency volunteers used to wear in parades — is up for grabs. “Those foam monorails that used to be outside the board meeting room are available,” Hill told me glumly. “Do you know anyone who wants an SMP notepad? We have hundreds of them.”

Meanwhile In the Other Washington…

posted by on December 16 at 5:32 PM

While we freak out about some idjit ballplayer, the rest of the country is flipping out about George W. Bush breaking the law and violating his oath of office by ordering the NSA to illegally spy on US citizens.

Check out this long post at Washington Monthly. How many fucking straws have to drop on this camel’s back before it finally breaks?

Cantwell: Just Another Republican from Idaho

posted by on December 16 at 5:25 PM

Washington State Republican Party Chair Chris Vance just put out a press release denouncing Sen. Maria Cantwell for her vote today to stall renewal of the USA Patriot Act. “It’s sad that Maria Cantwell continues to play politics with our national security,” Vance said in a press release titled: “Cantwell Puts Politics Ahead of National Security.” “She’s clearly catering to her extreme liberal base,” Vance added.

Reality Check Chris. Here’s today’s NYT on the vote:

Today’s Senate debate and vote reflected deep divisions that cut across party lines in ways rarely seen. For instance, Senator Larry Craig, a conservative Republican from Idaho who would be expected to support President Bush on most issues, opposes the present form of the Patriot Act.

“Of all that we do this year that is lasting beyond tomorrow,” Mr. Craig said, the decision on the Patriot Act is the most important.

Several Republican senators voted against ending debate - in other words, against the bill. They were Mr. Craig, John Sununu of New Hampshire, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

P.s. Speaking of Cantwell: Strangercrombie’s Karaoke with Cantwell went for $1775!!! Strangercrombie would like to thank Cantwell’s “Extreme Liberal Base” for their support this Hannukah season.

Strangercrombie… FINAL!

posted by on December 16 at 4:52 PM

GRAND TOTAL: $38,360.31 $39,314.31!
Thanks SO much to everyone who bid! You’re all winners! Remember, all auction winners get in free tonight to our party at the Showbox…
Speaking of…
I’m here at the Showbox, setting up for tonight’s Holiday Blowout (7 pm, $5). The food from Paragon has just arrived and it smells incredible and garlicky. Someone just set a mound of Greek veggies and feta next to me. The place looks fantastic—Jennifer and I even found a portable fireplace (complete with stockings hung with care) to add charm to the photo-with-Santa corner I hope you’ll join us tonight.

Over and out from Strangercrombie-land.

Strangercrombie… Hell YEAH!

posted by on December 16 at 4:42 PM

16 minutes left and we’re at 35,162.35. We’ve topped last year’s tremendous success. My mind is blown. It’s not too late to bid

Breaking ConWorks News

posted by on December 16 at 4:18 PM

The saga continues… First the storm, then the quiet, and now ConWorks is showing signs of renewed activity. Nothing’s official yet, but I got some advance notice that February will bring a slate of freaky-sounding acts, from the spazzy and wonderful Portland performer Joe Van Appen to a performance installation involving needles and XXX role play… with audience members. So far, the lineup includes:

US by solo performer Tim Miller, the self-described “gay performer,” founding member of PS 122, and one of the NEA Four (Miller, Karen Finley, John Fleck, and Holly Hughes), who had their funding pulled as part of the culture wars.

Birth of A nASIAN, “trip hop comedy theater” featuring Juilliard violinist Lyris Hung and NYC comedians/thespians Kate Rigg and Leah Ryan.

Mapa Corpa, an installation/performance by Mexico City’s “techno-shaman-in-drag” Guillermo GĂłmez-PeĂąa and Pocha Nostra that somehow involves a body being stuck with 40 needles, each topped by a flag for each of the coalition forces in Iraq. Then there’s the X-rated role playing by made-over and anonymous audience members. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Trigger Kids by Portland’s Joe Von Appen. I’ve seen some of his sharp, mesmerizing solo work at On the Boards—from playing too-stoned kids in a mall to a creepy late-night TV watcher, he’s pretty fucking awesome.

There’s also talk of a video installation by local Gary Hill, music programming, something with Degenerate Art Ensemble, a wall devoted to tag art, and other tidbits. Look for more details (and scraps from an interview with new artistic director Corey Pearlstein) in next week’s theater column.

The New Jim Compton = Not Dwight Pelz

posted by on December 16 at 3:57 PM

Dwight Pelz confirmed today that he is not applying to fill Jim Compton’s seat on the city council. Meanwhile, a consultant to 2003 council candidate Darryl Smith confirmed that Smith is. The council has until January 26 to appoint a replacement. More info on the remaining 48 unconfirmed candidates to follow.

Breaking SIFF News

posted by on December 16 at 3:36 PM

I just received what I thought was a hilarious press release from the Seattle International Film Festival:


This “person” is apparently named Deborah Person, which makes things so much less funny. She’ll be taking over one of the gaping holes left by departed (not as in “dearly,” but as in “England”) Executive Director Helen Loveridge. The other has been filled by Artistic Director Carl Spence.

Sorry About That, Megan

posted by on December 16 at 3:16 PM

I didn’t remember that you were a vegetarian—this is, I think, the first I’ve heard of your condition. If its any consolation, Megan, I thought the bacon cookies were gross too. I love bacon, and I love cookies, but the two things just don’t go together. I took one bite and then gave the rest of the cookie to Tim Keck—he’ll eat anything.

Strangercrombie! Bid! Bid! Bid!

posted by on December 16 at 3:10 PM

One hour and forty-five minutes left in the life of Strangercrombie 2005 and we’ve collected bids totaling $30,899.80! It’s not too late to jump in there.

It’s my own fault, really…

posted by on December 16 at 3:03 PM

In the midst of this cookie fuss Dan’s boyfriend, Terry, decided to share one of his cookie recipes with me while daring me to guess the secret ingredient. I didn’t think much of it, since he promised it wasn’t laced with pot, so I took a bite. The cookie wasn’t good. It had a familiar, sorta unpleasant flavor. But another bite turned on the light bulb as I realized that the cookie tasted exactly like what the house smelled like when my mom would cook gross BACON in the morning. Surely someone wouldn’t put BACON in a cookie, right!? Well five minutes ago, when I walked into Brad and Dan’s office finally hoping to confirm what the secret ingredient is, Dan asked “Did you eat one?” I replied with a yes, and then he asked “Oh no, are you a vegetarian!?” Again, I confirmed, and Brad and Dan burst into laughter.

I haven’t eaten meat for about 12 years and I just broke my run with a gingerbread cookie made with bacon fat?! Ew. But whatever. I probably needed the protein.

Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch

posted by on December 16 at 2:38 PM

Whoops—didn’t get to this earlier. Kind of busy with Strangercrombie…

For the week of December 15-21, 2005:

The Seattle Weekly: 120 pages.
The Stranger: 112 pages.

It’s been weeks since the Weekly had the bigger paper, but this week the forces of dimness are eight pages bigger—score one for the Weekly. Please note, however, that this is a special issue for the Weekly (another gift guide! can you stand it?) and a regular issue for the Stranger. Last week when we had a special issue and the Weekly had a regular issue we were 24 pages bigger.

The Truth For Real

posted by on December 16 at 1:56 PM

After a brief argument with the arts editor about art and its place in the world, I have decided to lay down the law. Firstly, the highest literary achievements in the West are mostly to be found in writing that’s designated as philosophy. No writing in books called fiction or novels has ever attained the sheer thinking power (the expression of mind power is the root of all art) of Marx’s Das Capital. Like Borges, the intellectual father of our times, we must not separate philosophy from literature—all that matters is the condition of writing. Another point of truth: Jazz is the highest musical achievement in the West. And jazz’s highest achievement is the John Coltrane Quartet; therefore, no other artist in the West has released more mind power through the medium of music than John Coltrane. I’m not a postmodernist; truths exist, they are out there, and we must labor to determine them.

The Gayest Thing I’ve Ever Seen

posted by on December 16 at 1:51 PM

I’ve always thought that He-Man was the gayest cartoon character ever.

Now, thanks to the video-makers at SlackCircus, it’s official.

The M’s on Everett: Can’t Think, Can Hit!

posted by on December 16 at 1:48 PM

John, a Stranger and Slog reader, sent a note to the Ms to protest the teams decision to hire a brainless bigot. Here’s the Ms response:

Dear John,

Thank you for your email regarding the announcement that the Seattle Mariners have signed Carl Everett to a one-year contract. We welcome your comments and appreciate the passion with which you have expressed your opinion.

We believe Carl Everett will be an asset to the Mariners both on and off the field. We are aware of the issues that Carl had in the past, but we believe he has dealt with them and has successfully moved on. We hope fans will give him a chance here in Seattle.

As with every player we sign, Bill Bavasi and his staff have done a thorough job researching Carl. They have talked to numerous people throughout the game of baseball, including Ozzie Guillen, his manager last season. They are confident that Carl’s intensity, enthusiasm and competitive spirit will be a good for our team both on the field and in the clubhouse. As a switch-hitter, he will provide our lineup with versatility and the left-handed run production we need.

In addition, we like that Carl was a big contributor to a World Series Championship team in Chicago last year, when he batted .251 with 23 home runs and 87 RBI. In the post-season, he batted .300. 

Once again, thank you for taking the time to let us know your thoughts. We are looking forward to the 2006 season. We believe we have a good foundation in place with exciting young players like Felix Hernandez, Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Lopez, and experienced veterans like Jamie Moyer, Richie Sexson, Adrian Beltre and Raul IbaĂąez. We still have work to do, but our goal is to become a championship caliber team as quickly as possible. We hope you will be there with us for all the excitement of Mariners baseball in 2006 and beyond.

Seattle Mariners Fancare

Okay, it’s hilarious that Everett’s a “switch-hitter.” Who knew? But I’d like to call attention to this line: “We believe Carl Everett will be an asset to the Mariners both on and off the field.” So… it seems that the Ms believe that Everett’s behavior off-the-field is just as relevent as his behavior on the field. Which means, of course, that Everett’s past statements and actions are fair game, deserving of comment, not out of bounds, etc.

So Andrew, commenting in Seattlest, has every right to make these points about Everett:

It would be one thing to hate him because he doesn’t believe in dinosaurs. It would be another to hate him because he is vocally homophobic. Lets not forget that he also headbutted an umpire, grabbed his crotch and spit at jamie moyer after hitting a home run, and abused his children enough so that the state of new york took his daughter away. I might even be able to overlook that if he were a good baseball player, but he isn’t anymore. He obviously in the decline phase of his career. There is no reason for him to be a mariner.

Here’s John’s thoughts about the letter the Ms sent him:

At least I now know the exact batting average that forgives child abuse. Granted, my family normally only goes to a handful of M’s games a year (I prefer the laid back, kid friendly Aquasox), but we’ll be going elsewhere this summer.

As for me, I’m going to the Ms games regardless. I don’t think the Ms should necessarily fire Everett. They should have thought twice about hiring him, but now that he’s on the team, well, what can you do? Firing him for being an idiot smacks of the thought police. I do think, however, that folks who find Everett’s idiotic comments offensive have every right to make a noise about it—and every right to make damn sure Everett hears some of the noise. To that end perhaps gay Ms fans should wear “Hey, Carl! We Exist!” t-shirts to games this year.

Professional athletes aren’t plaster saints—neither are, ahem, professional advice columnists—and no one expects them to be perfect, have perfect people skills, or be smarter than the average bundle of newspapers. But if, say, a John Rocker or a Carl Everett says something ridiculous and offensive, fans and other folks have a right to express our displeasure and make sure that Everett’s ridiculous opinions—opinions that only got an airing because Everett’s a baseball player—don’t go unchallenged.

Count Your Blessings

posted by on December 16 at 1:30 PM

Especially if you’ve never had to deal with a 16-pound mass growing out of your face.

Redemptive good news: The little girl’s mass-removing surgery was reportedly successful.

Just in Time for Christmas…

posted by on December 16 at 1:21 PM

30 dog heads are found in a Tokyo moat.

Patriot Act Stalled: Republican Insurrection Continues

posted by on December 16 at 1:15 PM

Eli already Slogged about the latest Bush breech: today’s front-page news that Bush authorized domestic spying without court-approval. It’s another scandal that threatens to unravel the Bush administration.

I’d like to point out two related stories in today’s papers that highlight an unnerving theme for this administration. And I think it’s a theme that’s moving toward a crescendo or reckoning for the Republican Party.

Story 1: Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel led the successful charge to block renewal of the USA Patriot Act today (can you say spying without court approval?), by threatening a filibuster. (I thought Republicans were against filibusters.)

Story 2 (Also a front-pager): Bush was forced to reverse course and support Republican Sen. John McCain’s call for a law banning torture of prisoners in U.S. custody.

Meanwhile, as to the revelations about unauthorized domestic spying: It’s a Republican, Sen. Arlen Specter, that’s calling for hearings.

The theme: The Republicans are fed up with Bush, and they are leading the insurrection. I know people are sick of Vietnam analogies to today’s Iraq era, but this is precisely what happened to the Democrats during the Vietnam era. And the Democrats are still reeling from it.

Lining Up for Brokeback Mountain

posted by on December 16 at 12:49 PM

SIFF-style lines are stretching around the block at the Egyptian for the first screening of Brokeback Mountain, the gorgeous movie about gay cowboys that’s opening today in Seattle. The patient masses were a little younger and gayer than audiences for your average opening matinee, but folks’ reasons for being first on their block to see it were varied.

Jake Gyllenhaal is in it,” giggled two girls in their early twenties.

A 72-year-old woman named Pat Williams explained that she was looking forward to “the subject matter, and the fact that it’s not exploitative.”

Lance and Jim, two men in their 30s, said “It’s about time.” They paraphrased a reader’s response to a review in the Washington Post: “If a skinny, white blonde can fall in love with an ape, then why not this?”

Hayley Nicholas, a 34-year-old Annie Proulx fan, said she realized during a trailer for the film that it was an adaptation of one of her favorite short stories.

And Ken Lowery said simply, “It’s a mainstream movie about gay themes. I’ve been looking forward to it since I first heard about it last July.”

The 7 pm show is sold out, but tickets for the 4 and 9:50 shows are still available.

I, Anonymous Update

posted by on December 16 at 12:37 PM

After what seems like eighteen uninterrupted months of the I, Anonymous forum being filled with pure bile, today brings the shortest, sweetest, sexiest I, Anonymous in history.

Also, due to Strangercrombie needs, this week’s I, Anon is a web-only affair, and you should definitely check it out. We’ve already gotten one email about it (“please post this week’s I anonymous in next week’s stranger its important!”) and the writer of the web-only I, Anon gets some commiseration and support from a fellow I, Anon writer.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to run this week’s web-only I, Anon in next’s weeks paper because we’ve got a super-great Christmas-related entry already lined up. So enjoy it while you can!

Seattlest & Everett: They’re Both Ridiculous

posted by on December 16 at 12:18 PM

Seattlest takes the Slog, amongst others, to task for having the nerve to point out that the newest Mariner—Carl Everett—is an idjit. Carl, you see, believes that the bible is literal truth, has been charged with child abuse, thinks that dinosaur bones are man-made, that gay people don’t exist, and that, well, let’s just run the quote: “You can’t say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them. Someone actually saw Adam and Eve. No one ever saw a Tyrannosaurus rex.”

We shouldn’t be so quick to criticize Carl, Seattlest says, because…

Everett is a major league baseball player with a high school education. He gets paid millions of dollars to hit baseballs, not study the Mesozoic.

But Seattlest can’t leave it at that—no, he basically plays the race card. The race card is pretty effective here in Seattle, where accusing someone else of racism is an easy and effective way for a white guy to win an argument. Once accused of racism, very few of the wimpy white liberals in this town will defend themselves. Back to Seattlest:

Everett grew up in Tampa’s Highland Pines neighborhood, one of the poorest in the nation… So maybe he wasn’t spending his childhood assembling wooden dinosaur kits and going to the Burke Museum (like we did), but rather avoiding gunfire and trying to find something to eat… He doesn’t deserve ridicule for his beliefs, however dumb they are. As Everett’s Bible says (and we paraphrase): “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Oh puh-huh-leeze.

Everett deserves to be ridiculed for his beliefs because—guess what, Seattlest?—his beliefs are utterly ridiculous. It’s patronizing in the extreme—and, hey, racist as hell!—to suggest that someone should be shielded from criticism because he’s from a bad neighborhood or had a crappy education. Yes, he’s here to hit balls. I hope he can do that—I’m a season ticket holder, and I’d like to see the Mariners win a few more games next year. But just as Everett has a right to his opinions, however idiotic they may be, other folks have a concurrent right to our opinions about his opinions, and just as much right to express them. It’s not snobbery to be shocked by someone else’s appalling ignorance—whatever his background or occupation—particularly when their ignorance is mixed in with self-righteous, bigoted religiosity.

And, hey, Everett may not have received a good education in his bad neighborhood—that’s what Seattlest assumes, anyway, which could also be construed as racist—so being confronted by others now that he’s all grown up and not living in a bad neighborhood anymore isn’t an attack, Seattlest, it’s a service. Perhaps being told that his beliefs are ridiculous and that he’s misinformed about dinosaurs and Adam and Eve and gay people will inspire a little self doubt, and prompt Everett to go and get the education today that he didn’t get as a child.

Telling people to pat Everett on the head and shrug off his ridiculous beliefs because he’s so very, very good at hitting balls is patronizing and a far, far more insidious brand of local snobbery. Blogger heal thyself.

Instrumental Aid

posted by on December 16 at 11:59 AM

To state the obvious, Hurricane Katrina wreaked devastation within New Orleans’ fertile music community. Consequently, NightLIFESUPPORT, a group of philanthropic Seattle citizens, is throwing a benefit Saturday December 17 at Seattle’s Consolidated Works.

Continue reading "Instrumental Aid" »

Steve Pool is a Good Sport

posted by on December 16 at 11:58 AM

Word on the street has it that Seattle’s favorite weather man showed up at Forbidden Xmas at the Empty Space Theater last night. The sarcastic Christmas cabaret features an entire song dedicated to Mr. Pool, his moustache, and his eerie meteorological prescience. Apparently, Steve was a great sport, got on stage for the song, and totally didn’t do anything like this, this, or this.


posted by on December 16 at 11:45 AM

This article, about “Hipster Hannukah” parties in Manhattan, made me sad not to be in New York. But then I stepped out of the Stranger offices this morning to get a bagel, and walking past a recessed doorway heard this familiar entreaty: “Wanna buy a Rolex?”

Thank you, sketchy doorway salesman, for making me feel like I was in The City again.

Strangercrombie’s Jumping over the Moon

posted by on December 16 at 11:34 AM

$29,173.28 in bids! And only five and a half hours left for you to get in on the action!

Every Christmas Story Ever Sued

posted by on December 16 at 11:29 AM

Wing-It, an improv-heavy Seattle theater company, seems to be a litigation magnet. Last year, the Space Needle sent threatening cease-and-desist letters because of a logo for a show that sorta kinda looked like the S doodle between “space” and “needle”:

space needle.gif

Now Wing-It is getting letters from an Orlando Shakespeare company for its original Christmas show EveryXMasStoryEverTold, which sounds too close to the Lowndes Shakespeare Center’s Every Christmas Story Every Told (And Then Some…) for comfort.

Andrew McMasters from Wing-It says it’s a case of “parallel thinking.” Both companies performed the ever-popular Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and independently decided to give Christmas stories a similar warming-over. “We can’t afford a legal battle,” McMasters says. “So we’re asking our audiences for ideas.”

Suggestions for new names have included: EveryXMasStoryEverToldOutsideOrlando and Nuke That Big, Mean Theater in Orlando. Wing-It is irritated but unfazed by the legal threats. “Yeah, yeah we’ll change it,” McMasters says. “But when I get their testy letters, I think ‘Man, I’ve had much bigger people threatening me—just chill out.’”

Anti-Smoking Banshees

posted by on December 16 at 11:28 AM

Okay… at the risk of giving Dave Meinert aneurism I’m going to link to this story.

Anti-smoking activists who are driving cigarettes from public places across the country are now targeting private homes…

I read that and thought, my goodness, that’s just wrong. Even I, the ultimate anti-smoking nag, thinks people should be able to do what they like in their own homes. Public places? Smoking should be banned—public places are shared spaces, and smokers shouldn’t be allowed to force everyone else to either smoke or leave. But if people want to kill themselves in their own homes—fine, whatever. Light up. Destroy your skin, your circulation, your ability to get it up, your looks, your internal organs, your teeth, your gums, and your lungs. And if you fall asleep and a lit cigarette falls on the couch or floor, burn down your house. Hope you get out in time.

But then I read on…

— especially those with children. Their efforts so far have contributed to regulations in three states — Maine, Oklahoma and Vermont — forbidding foster parents from smoking around children. Parental smoking also has become a critical point in some child-custody cases, including ones in Virginia and Maryland. In a highly publicized Virginia case, a judge barred Caroline County resident Tamara Silvius from smoking around her children as a condition for child visitation…. “If a child suffers from asthma or some sort of problem, the courts shouldn’t even have to be told to [step in],” Mrs. Silvius said. “That should be the parent’s better judgment. But my kids aren’t sick. If there’s no health issue, it isn’t the court’s place to say someone can’t do something that’s perfectly legal, just because the other spouse doesn’t want them to.”

Now I’m torn.

As a child I would have liked nothing better than for the courts to step in and order my parents—both smokers—to stop smoking around their four young children. My mother was pretty good about smoking on the porch on those few occasions when she smoked around us. But my father—oh, my father—would smoke at meals, in cars, in the apartment. I can’t say for sure that his smoking gave me asthma but it sure as hell made it worse. And unlike the hypothetical parent with better judgment that Mrs. Silvius mentions, my father did not stop smoking around me or my brother Eddie, also an asthmatic—and this was way, way back in the dark ages, pre-inhalers, when an asthma attacks could mean four or five hours of misery and panic and, frequently, an expensive trip to the ER.

I used to fight with my father about his smoking—I would refuse to eat if he lit up at breakfast or dinner, and he would blow up. I sometimes think our conflict over cigarettes did more damage to our relationship than my homosexuality. If I could have taken him to court to stop him from smoking in our apartment, I would have.

So, for the record… knowing the health consequences that children of smokers suffer (“…World Health Organization figures [indicate] babies are at five times greater risk of [crib] death if their mothers smoke. Children also have a 20 to 40% increased risk of asthma if they are exposed to tobacco smoke, and a 70% increased risk of respiratory problems if their mother smokes.”), it seems entirely reasonable to me to ban smokers from being foster parents, at the very least. You shouldn’t take children out of a dangerous environment and put them in another. And in a custody dispute it seems reasonable that a smoking parent to lose a few points to a non-smoking parent. If the smoking parent is the better parent, custody should go to the smoking parent. But if all things are equal between a smoking and a non-smoking parent in a custody dispute, then smoking should be counted against the smoking parent and custody should go the non-smoker.

No doubt thinking people don’t have a right to harm their children placed in their care makes me a fascist. But if I’m a fascist, Dave, what is someone who values cigarettes more than she does the health of her own children? Abusive.

New West Seattle Bistro

posted by on December 16 at 11:23 AM

Last night I got a sneak peak at a cozy new West Seattle restaurant, Blackbird Bistro. The seasonal, organic bistro is located right next door to another one of my favorite W. Seattle chow stops, Mission, and Blackbird is owned by two of Mission’s owners. It’s a really cute place—with a cool, wineglass bouquet-looking chandelier, wooden booths, and a blue hue to everything. Most importantly, the food was good, especially for a pre-opening night trail run (I believe Blackbird is open to the public tonight). Appetizers were mostly under $10 and entrees ranged from like $11 to $22. My friend and I tried a market salad with candied pears and walnuts and a beet salad that were both delicious (the right amount of sweet sneaking in there). I also had a peppered tuna appetizer that was big enough for a meal, and piled with calamari…my friend had the rich ravioli in a pesto cream sauce. It all came out great, and the kinks in the evening were all minimal. If you’re in the neighborhood, I’d recommend checking out the place.


posted by on December 16 at 10:42 AM

Yesterday I posted a link to a recent poll that found 32 percent of Americans now favoring the impeachment of President Bush.

If they needed something else to add to their articles of impeachment, there’s this: Today the New York Times reveals, in what could turn out to be a huge story, that Bush secretely authorized the National Security Agency to spy on Americans shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks. Thanks to revelations of similar spying programs in the 1970s, it is now very illegal for any government agency to spy on Americans, as The Washington Post points out today:

Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said the secret order may amount to the president authorizing criminal activity. The law governing clandestine surveillance in the United States, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, prohibits conducting electronic surveillance not authorized by statute…

“This is as shocking a revelation as we have ever seen from the Bush administration,” said Martin, who has been sharply critical of the administration’s surveillance and detention policies. “It is, I believe, the first time a president has authorized government agencies to violate a specific criminal prohibition and eavesdrop on Americans.

Senators from both parties have already called for hearings. But somehow, after the last five years, I’m not as shocked by all this as Ms. Martin.

Rate Hike

posted by on December 16 at 10:34 AM

Nobody seems to know that first-class U.S. postage is going up to 39 cents on January 8. I tried to buy 39 cents stamps yesterday and they weren’t even available yet. (Am I the only one who plans ahead?)

No Comment

posted by on December 16 at 9:00 AM

No comment about this article. It speaks for itself. No, I can’t resist, I must say something about it: If I were an afrocentric, black nationalist, five percenter, neo-Marcus Garveyite (which, to make things very clear, I’m not), I would title the article I linked, The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea.

Strangercrombie: Final Day!

posted by on December 16 at 7:47 AM

Woke up this morning to a gorgeous sunrise and an astounding $28,500.43 in bids! All $28,500.43 (less eBay fees) go to Northwest Harvest to aid them in feeding needy people this winter.

A friend told me yesterday that when she walked by the Thursday morning food bank near Madison, it was heartbreaking to see that the long line waiting in the freezing weather consisted almost entirely of elderly people.

What can we do about it? We can all take a few minutes today to bid on any of Strangercrombie’s 93 unique and amazing gift packages. The auctions end at 5 pm today.

This is the view from my bed right now:

Thursday, December 15, 2005

What’s On Our Minds

posted by on December 15 at 7:59 PM

The Yahoo! Search 2005 Overall Top 10 Searches:

1. Britney Spears
2. 50 Cent
3. Cartoon Network
4. Mariah Carey
5. Green Day
6. Jessica Simpson
7. Paris Hilton
8. Eminem
9. Ciara
10. Lindsay Lohan

*I don’t know what #s 9 and 10 are. I do, however, own two Britney CDs, and I think Toxic is a great song, and Britney is better than Madonna.

Dave Kehr Apologizes!

posted by on December 15 at 4:10 PM

Dave Kehr recently took two gratuitous swipes at Miranda July in his DVD column for the New York Times. It pissed me off, because, as everyone knows, I really really love Me and You and Everyone We Know. But I had no real reason to complain. (He didn’t like the movie, what can I do about it?) But Mr. Kehr has just given me an excuse to bring everyone’s attention to the offending comment (he called MAYAEWK a “studied triviality”). On his blog, he has apologized for his non sequitur and called the movie “sweet.” Aw. You haven’t admitted you’re wrong, Mr. Kehr, but it’s a nice start.

In other Miranda July news, the newest Punk Planet has a mostly boring interview with her in which she disowns any and everything to do with the Me and You and Everyone We Know DVD.

In other blog-on-critic drama, here’s a mean post about Anthony Lane. [Note: Hmmm. Looks like Looker took the Anthony Lane entry down. Here’s Google’s cached version if you want to see it.]

War Is Hell

posted by on December 15 at 3:53 PM

Last night, Congressman John D. Dingell (D-MI) recited the following poem on the House floor after the Republican fuckwits passed House Resolution 579, which “expressed the sense of the House of Representatives that the symbols and traditions of Christmas should be protected.”

`Twas the week before Christmas and all through the House

No bills were passed `bout which Fox News could grouse;

Tax cuts for the wealthy were passed with great cheer,

So vacations in St. Barts soon would be near;

Katrina kids were nestled all snug in motel beds,

While visions of school and home danced in their heads;

In Iraq our soldiers needed supplies and a plan,

Plus nuclear weapons were being built in Iran;

Gas prices shot up, consumer confidence fell;

Americans feared we were on a fast track to…well…

Wait—- we need a distraction—- something divisive and wily;

A fabrication straight from the mouth of O’Reilly

We can pretend that Christmas is under attack

Hold a vote to save it—- then pat ourselves on the back;

Silent Night, First Noel, Away in the Manger

Wake up Congress, they’re in no danger!

This time of year we see Christmas every where we go,

From churches, to homes, to schools, and yes…even Costco;

What we have is an attempt to divide and destroy,

When this is the season to unite us with joy

At Christmas time we’re taught to unite,

We don’t need a made-up reason to fight

So on O’Reilly, on Hannity, on Coulter, and those right wing blogs;

You should just sit back, relax…have a few egg nogs!

`Tis the holiday season: enjoy it a pinch

With all our real problems, do we honestly need another Grinch?

So to my friends and my colleagues I say with delight,

A merry Christmas to all,

and to Bill O’Reilly…Happy Holidays.

(Via Atrios.)

Who’ll Be the Next Easy-Street Elf?

posted by on December 15 at 2:46 PM

Excellent: Strangercrombie has so far collected $25,331.56 in bids, with 26 hours left before the auctions end (and the Holiday Blowout at the Showbox begins!).

A Strangercrombie Tradition: The Easy Street Records Shopping Spree! Grab up to $500 of music in two-minutes! (You can’t imagine how’ll hot you’ll look in the elf costume.) Worth at least $500 (plus the insane fun and fame), this musical blast is currently going for $300.

Operation Kringle Kill

posted by on December 15 at 2:38 PM

Reports from the front lines of the War on Christmas.

It’s so Festive!

posted by on December 15 at 2:30 PM

Border Radio columnist Kurt Reighley has finished his yearly holiday zine, Festive!. This year features “A Very John Waters Christmas” including an interview with the camp king himself. You can pick up a copy at Confounded Books. FestiveDivine.jpg

French Toast has cancelled.

posted by on December 15 at 2:04 PM

Due to an illness in the family, French Toast will not be appearing at the Crocodile Cafe tonight. The show will go on, though, with Razrez, Romance, and DJ Mama Casserole.

Got a “Colonial Costume”? Want a Free Trip to Boston?

posted by on December 15 at 2:01 PM

Have you always wanted to visit Boston but simply couldn’t afford the plane ticket? Do you happen to have a “colonial costume” lying around? Then, boy, are you in for a treat:

Be part of the revolution!

Come to the JetBlue’s Boston Tea Party 232nd Anniversary celebration - you can win a roundtrip flight to Boston, plus you’ll be supporting the Northwest Harvest food drive.

WHO: First 232 people to show up

HOW: Dress in ‘colonial costume’ and bring a canned good.

WHAT: Win a round-trip flight to Boston

WHEN: December 16, 12:00 - 2:00 pm rain or shine

WHERE: Pike Place Market (Downtown Seattle, WA)

This celebration fits you to a ‘tea,’ so go all out and show us your knickers, wigs and cans and fly to Boston - on us! For revolutionary low fares, check out

Super weird, but for the right person—Boston-bound, penny-pinching, colonial-clothed—I imagine it’s a dream come true.

FYI: My intern Eli—whose last day is today, sob!—is aiming to be among the lucky 232. But like most normal people, he doesn’t have a ready-to-go colonial costume. Still, it probably won’t take more than a pair of pants scrunched-up to the knee with dress socks, dress shoes, and a costume pirate hat.

Courtney Taylor-Taylor is Mad Mad

posted by on December 15 at 1:59 PM

Now this is some funny shit. Dandy Warhols frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor has never been called a humble man. In fact, he’s often been deemed a delusional egomaniac determined to become the Ultimate Namedropping Rockstar. When our sister paper The Portland Mercury printed rumors that the Warhols were so unhappy about poor ratings of their latest release that a breakup could be on the horizon, Taylor-Taylor shot back that he’s so important he could own our little paper down south if they weren’t careful. So the Merc took a preemptive step and “handed over” their pages to Taylor-Taylor, and this is what happened.

Friday! Party!

posted by on December 15 at 1:45 PM

So I know I’ve been posting a lot about our Strangercrombie Holiday Bash here in Seattle tomorrow night (at the Showbox) but the thing is I love big Xmas parties. If I didn’t have to worry about shit getting stolen, broken, busted, and generally trashed at my house, I’d continue having big holiday bashes at home…and I’m sure a lot of our readers would too. But look, here’s your chance to have that big holiday blowout, without having to worry about the sticky kitchen floors or counting how many CDs you have left in your collection. We’ll have Santas and ornaments and drink specials and lots of merry people and we can all throw down in style. AND there will be performances by some great local acts (Common Market, Band of Horses, Fruit Bats, Wheedle’s Groove)—all of whom have MP3s on our site that you can check out here. Come out and party in grand style.

Bad Time for a Vacation

posted by on December 15 at 1:35 PM

While the council debates what to do about the now-wide-open job of council president (with Jim Compton’s resignation effective January 6, the council is split 4-4 between Richard Conlin, who was so confident he had the job he sent out a press release more than a month before the council was scheduled to vote, and Jean Godden), the council member with the most to lose, Conlin, is on vacation in Mexico. He’ll be back before the council votes, of course - their decision, originally scheduled for January 9, will almost certainly be pushed back until the council picks a replacement for Compton - but a lot can happen while a presidential candidate is out of town.

At least twice before, prospective council presidents have left town assuming they had a lock on the job and returned to find someone else occupying the seat. In 1996, Jane Noland left the country and returned to find her colleagues had chosen Jan Drago. And in 1998, the same thing happened to Martha Choe, who was defeated by Sue Donaldson. The moral of the story, according to one source on the second floor? “If you want to be president, you need to stick around town in December.”

Oh, Butt…

posted by on December 15 at 12:50 PM

In my column this week I write that in Portland “the bookstores carry things that you’d never find here,” and one of my examples is Amsterdam’s BUTT magazine, which I bought at Powell’s and which Elliott Bay Book Company, University Book Store, Third Place Books, Barnes & Noble, SPU bookstore, SU bookstore, Broadway News, Bulldog News, and Left Bank Books don’t carry. (God love my intern.)

But! But but but! It has come to my attention that Bailey/Coy Books on Broadway has been carrying BUTT for years. Also, Toys in Babeland carries it, and Confounded Books carries it sometimes.

Anyway, more about BUTT: If you’re a fan of the Scissor Sisters’ Jake Shears — who by the way interviews Justin Bond (AKA Kiki, of Kiki & Herb) in this week’s Stranger — here is a BUTT magazine piece about him from February 2004. And here is a slideshow of pictures of his butt.

Countdown To Armageddon

posted by on December 15 at 12:20 PM

For poem # 2, I shall post a very small portion of T.S. Eliot’s wonderful Four Quartets, a work that comes very close to the condition of music. Eliot is oddly our Baudelaire.

It seems, as one becomes older, That the past has another pattern, and ceases to be a mere sequence— Or even development: the latter a partial fallacy Encouraged by superficial notions of evolution, Which becomes, in the popular mind, a means of disowning the past. The moments of happiness—not the sense of well-being, Fruition, fulfilment, security or affection, Or even a very good dinner, but the sudden illumination— We had the experience but missed the meaning, And approach to the meaning restores the experience In a different form, beyond any meaning We can assign to happiness. I have said before That the past experience revived in the meaning Is not the experience of one life only But of many generations—not forgetting Something that is probably quite ineffable: The backward look behind the assurance Of recorded history, the backward half-look Over the shoulder, towards the primitive terror. Now, we come to discover that the moments of agony (Whether, or not, due to misunderstanding, Having hoped for the wrong things or dreaded the wrong things, Is not in question) are likewise permanent With such permanence as time has. We appreciate this better In the agony of others, nearly experienced, Involving ourselves, than in our own. For our own past is covered by the currents of action, But the torment of others remains an experience Unqualified, unworn by subsequent attrition.

Today in Speculation

posted by on December 15 at 11:50 AM

Here’s something I missed when doing yesterday’s…


* In Slate, former Time Magazine writer John Dickerson takes apart Karl Rove’s claim that he simply forgot about discussing Valerie Plame with Time’s Matt Cooper (this “forgetting” is supposedly why Rove twice failed to mention the discussion to investigators).

Rove first testified before the grand jury in February 2004. In that first visit, he said nothing about talking to Time’s Matt Cooper. He also didn’t mention Cooper in an earlier interview with the FBI. Then, eight months later, in October 2004, Rove returned to the grand jury to alter his earlier account and volunteered that he had talked to Cooper.

What happened between February and October of 2004? Well, most of the presidential election campaign, for starters. Which would provide but one of Rove’s possible motivations for “forgetting” about the conversation. In any case, if Rove is indicted, this “I forgot” line will probably be central to his defense, and Dickerson makes it clear that when one looks closely at the sequence of events, it’s hard to buy Rove’s faulty memory.

* And in related news, a new poll finds 32 percent of Americans now favor the impeachment of President Bush.

Speaking of Car Bombs

posted by on December 15 at 11:45 AM

This is pathetic and funny. Prize line: “Ma’am, we’re not going to go down there and enforce your Western Bacon Cheeseburger.”

In other daily Americana, the Illinois Supreme Court has reversed the $10 billion verdict against Philip Morris for “defrauding customers into thinking ‘light’ cigarettes were safer than regular ones.”

Altria shares are rocketing, in part because the ruling clears a legal block to Altria’s plan to spin off Kraft (which makes your lovely soy Boca burgers). Fun fact: One of Altria’s lobbyists is Abigail Blunt, “the wife of Representative Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, who recently became interim House majority leader after Tom DeLay of Texas resigned from the post.” Because of, you know, ethics and stuff.

In honor of the Iraqi elections and the spreading light of freedom, buy Altria stock, order a Boca burger, and call 911 if it ain’t made right.

Today’s Cheery News

posted by on December 15 at 11:34 AM

Polar bears are drowning.


posted by on December 15 at 10:24 AM

PostSecret started out as an experimental art project, and now it’s a blog, a book, and a traveling exhibit.

In November 2004, Frank Warren began distributing instructional postcards:

‘You are invited to anonymously contribute a secret to a group art project. Your secret can be a regret, fear, betrayal, desire, confession or childhood humiliation. Be brief. Be legible. Be creative.’

And now he’s compiled a book full of anonymous secrets just in time for Christmas.

The blog is also updated pretty frequently. My current favorite secret is, “I am addicted to Panda Cam. I watch 23 hours/week. That’s the equivalent of a part-time job. $$$”

Is it Jim Compton’s Seat?

posted by on December 15 at 10:21 AM

Is it possible? I actually agree with Dave Meinert about something—the Seattle City Council should appoint Dwight Pelz to Compton’s seat. As Josh Feit pointed out yesterday on SLOG, Pelz got more votes (71K) in his race for a seat on the city council this November—a race he lost to incumbent Richard McIver—than sitting council members Jean Godden (63K), Tom Rasmussen (62K), David Della (65K), and Jim Compton (63K) got when they were elected. Pelz didn’t win, true, but it’s also true that he has the support of more voters in Seattle than four current city council members. Surely that counts for something.

After appointing Pelz to Compton’s seat the City Council should immediately vote to create districts for council seats so that in future Seattle council members can’t wander off like a confused Alzheimer’s patients without anyone noticing. I’ve been hearing for more than a year that Compton wasn’t engaged at City Hall—hell, he was hardly bothering to show up for work. He wouldn’t have been able to get away with checking out if he were representing a neighborhood, its various groups and activists getting up in his face, and not the entire city. And if Compton represented a district we wouldn’t be talking about appointing someone to “Compton’s seat” as if it belonged to him personally. We would be talking about appointing someone to West Seattle’s seat or Fremont’s seat or Magnolia’s seat or Ballard’s seat, which would make it clear that the seat belonged to the city and the voters and not the politician currently occupying it.

So long as we have “at large” city council seats individual council members can coast along—all the while cashing huge city paychecks.

Compton, like all his colleagues, is among the highest-paid city council members in the country. From November 18 issue of the Seattle Times:

Members of Seattle’s City Council, already among the highest-paid in the country, are about to join the ranks of public employees pulling down six-figure salaries. A pay raise will boost the salaries of council members Jan Drago, Nick Licata, Richard Conlin and Richard McIver to nearly $104,000 next year, up from $94,000 now. Ten years ago, the job paid $71,000. Among the nation’s 40 largest cities, only Los Angeles pays its council more.

When folks complained about how much our city council members are paid, Jan Drago had a Marie Antoinette moment: “I frankly think you get what you pay for,” she told the Seattle Times. Except in cases like Compton’s, when we don’t get what we paid for—not even close.

Zizek is for Real

posted by on December 15 at 10:15 AM

For years and years, I’ve been critical of the Slovenian philosopher Zizek: He writes too much; his thinking has no center; his Marxism is spoiled and unusable. Then I watched the new documentary on him, ÂĄZizek!, last night and was impressed to the point of revising my opinion of the philosopher. Zizek is a brilliant thinker, and much better in person than in books. I will go as far as to say he is the only philosopher of substance at this moment. Watch the documentary, which will be at NWFF next month, and you will see exactly what I mean.

Improving Voter Turnout

posted by on December 15 at 10:07 AM

Motor-voter, weekend voting, a voting day holiday, all-mail-in voting— they’re all good ideas. But to increase voter turnout in the United States maybe all we need is a car bombing or two in the weeks leading up to the vote and a blanket threat to kill anyone who shows up at the pols to vote. It seems to work wonders in Iraq.


Brokeback Mountin’

posted by on December 15 at 9:58 AM

This Friday night’s must-have accessory for the line outside the Egyptian Theater: Brokeback Mountain’s buttfucker-blue hankie. Worn in the back right-hand pocket, you’re getting the popcorn; worn in the left, you’re giving it.

We’ll Always Have Paris

posted by on December 15 at 9:50 AM

Or will we?


The world’s fondest hope for the New Year? Nah, just the cover of German GQ. (Via Gawker.)

Lesbian Notions

posted by on December 15 at 9:40 AM

Why are lesbian relationships so damn unstable?

The first same-sex couple in the United States to receive many of the legal rights of marriage are in the process of dissolving their historic civil union in Vermont. Carolyn Conrad asked a Brattleboro court in October to end her civil union with Kathleen Peterson after five years and that their home and property be split up… “All I want to say is that the civil union was a big source of pride for me and now it’s not,” Peterson said Wednesday night.

Feeling’s mutual, Kathleen.

Kanye Q&A

posted by on December 15 at 9:33 AM

I’d originally hoped to cover this in Last Days, but I ran out of room, so I’ll cover it properly here: This past Saturday, I was one of the many people who crowded into the Everett Events Center to see Kanye West and it was fucking amazing.

West put on a hell of a show, complete with artsy video projections, a six-piece string section (the leader of which danced like mad during all string-free numbers), some klutzy theatrics (West delivered the grandma-in-peril number “Roses” from beside an empty hospital bed), gold confetti raining from the ceiling, and virtually every song the audience could’ve hoped to hear (a dozen from Late Registration, eight from The College Dropout, plus a spin through Jay-Z’s West-produced “Encore.”)

But what I’ll remember even more fondly is the afternoon meet-n-greet West held with students from Tacoma’s High School for the Arts, to which journalists were invited but not allowed to participate. I thought about hitting up one of the kids to put my dream questions to West, but as it worked out, during his hourlong talk, West naturally hit upon every subject I would’ve wanted to question him about.

Continue reading "Kanye Q&A" »

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

This Post Brought to You by Pear Brandy

posted by on December 14 at 11:55 PM

Tonight I went to the semi-secret, super awesome Hideout, where the drinks are strong and my dog is always welcome. I checked to see if the Hemingway (a shot of tequila, a Mexican beer, and a Nat Sherman) was off the menu—it is still there, but right below it is a new addition: the Quitter, a bottle of Kaliber (nonalcoholic beer) and a piece of Nicorette gum ($10). Ten dollars can also get you the kitchen’s current special: a cigarette sandwich (“‘cause eating cigarettes indoors is still legal”) on Wonder bread with mustard and a dill pickle slice. (Okay, I imagined those final details.) Also, the doorman really did mark yellow chalk lines (clearly labeled “smoke”) on the sidewalk 25 feet from the door, just as he told me he would.

South Park is ragging on hippies right now. Life is worth living… Life is good.

Strangercrombie whoah!

posted by on December 14 at 11:50 PM

It’s just before midnight on Wednesday, just two days left before Strangercrombie rides into the sunset, and we’re suddenly nearing $25,000! ($24,231.64). Awesome! Keep bidding, kids.

Tablet Dead/SIFF Blog Alive

posted by on December 14 at 8:09 PM

Mike Whybark, a film critic who used to write for the now-defunct Tablet, is maintaining a nice and informed blog, SIFFblog, on the virtual corpse of the magazine. If it means anything, the information siffblog has about two film projects that have taken up all of my free time this year, is accurate. The political thriller is still in the cooler, script stage, but the film/essay/documentary on the Enumclaw Horse Case has just secured funding and is going into production next month.

Radar Folds

posted by on December 14 at 6:25 PM

Radar was shut down today.

Licata on KeyArena

posted by on December 14 at 5:52 PM

Councilman Nick Licata wants to play hardball with the Sonics, who on Monday gave council a Christmas wishlist of renovations to KeyArena. The upshot: The city needs to spend so the Sonics can turn a profit, without which they’d be inclined to leave.

If that’s the ultimatum, Licata’s not blinking. “It’s a bad deal for the public and it’s a good deal for that corporation,” he says.

The way to boost KeyArena’s books, he argues, is to fill it on Sonic off-days with more theatrical productions, extreme sports events, boxing matches, and major concerts, among other attractions. Sonics management discussed none of these during the presentation and Licata is also concerned that the Nickels-appointed citizen task force is too narrowly focused on keeping an NBA team that has sunk back to mediocrity.

“Pro sports was at the core of those (proposed) remodels and that distorts what should be the plan for the arena,” says Licata. “It’s all about retaining the Sonics — and we might not want to retain them.”

Still More Compton Speculation

posted by on December 14 at 5:08 PM

Yet another update on the speculative list of candidates to replace Jim Compton, most of them wild cards. Those rumored to have expressed an active interest in the position (e.g., by calling council offices) are in bold.

former City Council member Tina Podlodowski
Heidi Wills
Robert Rosencrantz
former City Council candidate (and ex-King County Council member) Dwight Pelz
council central staff director Saroja Reddy
former City Council candidate (and ex-Port Commissioner) Paige Miller
Urban League president James Kelly
mayoral staffer Tim Durkan
South Seattle environmental activist Charlie Cunniff
Department of Neighborhoods director Yvonne Sanchez
Mayoral staffer Jordan Royer
Former Mayor Norm Rice’s son, Mian Rice
Former City Council candidate Darlene Madenwald
Former City Council member Sue Donaldson
Former State Rep. Kip Tokuda
State Rep. Sharon Tomiko-Santos
Former council candidate (and ex-mayoral staffer) Casey Corr
2003 council candidate Kollin Min
2003 council candidate Darryl Smith
State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson
Political operative Kenan Block
Port Commissioner (and city hall staffer) Alec Fisken
Former State Rep. candidate Alice Woldt
State Rep. Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney
State Sen. Ken Jacobsen
Former mayoral candidate Al Runte
State Rep. Joe McDermott
Ousted Seattle Monorail Project board member Cleve Stockmeyer
Political consultant (and former Compton aide) George Allen
TV newscaster Enrique Cerna
P-I columnist Susan Paynter
Former council candidate Angel Bolanos
State Sen. (and monorail board member) Jeanne Kohl-Welles
Executive search firm partner Norman Sigler
Seattle Housing Authority director Tom Tierney
SHA assistant director (and former mayoral staffer) Andrew Lofton

The Christian Party

posted by on December 14 at 4:55 PM

The State Democratic Party got busted for posting a spoof of the Christian fish symbol on its website.

The spoof, a fish magnet emblazoned with flames and the word “Hypocrite” alongside it, was up on the D site for about 48 hours along w/ other political magnets that the party sells. However, it turns out the magnet was not for sale by the Ds. The company that sells the magnet—a vendor for the Ds called Reefer Magnets—had dropped the magnet off at D headquarters as a sample from their latest line of available items. The Ds accidentally put it up on their site.

As State Party Chair Paul Berendt explained to the Seattle Times: The item had not been “properly vetted…We didn’t sell any of them, and we’re not going to.”

It’s a pretty embarrassing gaffe for the Ds, but I gotta say, the response from State Rep. Doug Ericksen, R-Bellingham is equally embarrassing.

Check out his statement: “You would never see anything on a Republican web site demeaning Judaism or the Islamic Faith.”

Subtext: Democrats are Jews and Muslims, Republicans are Christians.

After all, Ericksen wasn’t compelled to make that analogy. He could have simply said: “You’d never see anything on a Republican web site demeaning Christians.” Why the juxtaposition? Perhaps a little slip up about the Republicans’ sense of their base vs. their sense of the bad guys?

Although, I gotta slap the wrists of the Ds too. Reefer Magnets?

Godden Conspiracy Theory Quashed

posted by on December 14 at 4:48 PM

A conspiracy theory circulating at city hall earlier today put Jean Godden in the council president’s seat as early as January 9. Here’s how it would have worked:

The council is supposed to vote in a new council president on January 9. With Jim Compton’s resignation effective January 6, the council is split 4-4 between Jean Godden and previous presumptive president Richard Conlin: A stalemate. But one Conlin supporter, Tom Rasmussen, will be on vacation for the first two meetings of 2006, leaving a 4-3 majority in favor of Godden. Among those four are outgoing council president Jan Drago, who some speculated would push for a vote on the 9th, giving Godden, whom Drago strongly supports, the presidency.

The problem with that theory, it turns out, is that electing a council president requires a majority vote of the entire council - not just those present. That puts the council back in a 4-4 stalemate. Depending on how important the council presidency turns out to be, it could play a role in who gets picked to fill Conlin supporter Compton’s position. Or Compton could decide to stay on a little longer, keeping the council’s current 5-4 pro-Conlin split intact until all nine members of the current council are able to vote.

Pelz Beats Compton

posted by on December 14 at 3:55 PM

I don’t think Dwight Pelz is going to replace Compton because word is Pelz is the front runner to replace Paul Berendt as Washington State Democratic Party Chair.

However, Savage, a big Pelz fan, asked me to check how Pelz’s vote count compared to the vote tallies of the sitting council members.

Pelz, even though he lost to McIver last month, got 71K votes.
That puts him ahead of sitting council members Jean Godden (63K), Tom Rasmussen (62K), David Della (65K), and, well, Jim Compton (63K).

More Compton Speculation

posted by on December 14 at 3:48 PM

More names on the (long) list to replace Jim Compton:

Two-time council candidate Robert Rosencrantz;
Mian Rice, son of former mayor Norm Rice;
Department of Neighborhoods director Yvonne Sanchez;
Former Democratic state Rep. Kip Tokuda;
Ousted Seattle Monorail Project board member Cleve Stockmeyer;
State Rep. Sharon Tomiko-Santos;
Former City Council member Heidi Wills;
Seattle Housing Authority director Tom Tierney; and
SHA deputy director (and former mayoral staffer) Andrew Lofton.

Obviously, some names are more credible than others (Robert Rosencrantz lost his second council campaign this November, which would make a 2007 re-election effort his fourth council bid) and various constituencies (women, labor, and health and human services, among others) will have plenty of opportunities to bend council members’ ears before they make a decision.

Ford Grows a Sack

posted by on December 14 at 3:29 PM

Ford give the gays what we want and—like Microsoft and Kraft and Disney and Wells Fargo—tells the haters at the American Family Association to fuck off. Read all about it at Americablog


posted by on December 14 at 3:02 PM

I love a movie about Mormons (well, except Latter Days, which was not nearly campy enough for its premise), so you can imagine how excited the news of a Mormonsploitation film series made me. Too bad it’s on the East coast. (Confidential to Jamie Keeling and/or Guerren Marter: Get thee on the phone!) The only listed movies that have played Seattle so far are New York Doll (at NWFF), which was great, and The Mormon Church Explains It All to You (at the Grand Illusion), which I missed. Conspicuously missing from the program: the Mormon propaganda feature The Work and the Glory. The DVD is available at Scarecrow if you want it.

The Village Voice gives us the lowdown.

O’Reilly takes on Saginaw heathens

posted by on December 14 at 2:50 PM

and Saginaw tells O’Reilly to suck it.

Compton Resignation: What Happens Now

posted by on December 14 at 2:42 PM

Jim Compton’s resignation from the city council, effective January 6, gives council members an opportunity to appoint - and haggle over - a successor. The council has 20 days after Compton’s resignation to appoint his replacement. If they fail to pick a successor, they’re required by law to take a vote on the issue every business day until they do. Appointing a new council member requires a majority vote, and the decision can’t be overturned by a mayoral veto.

The council could choose to make its decision in private, or it could give all the contenders their three minutes at the mic. That’s exactly what happened when council member John Manning resigned in 1996, when 103 candidates showed up to apply for the spot. (Ultimately, a candidate who was not among the finalists - Richard McIver - took Manning’s place.)

Here’s where things get interesting. Under city law, if Compton’s successor wants to stay on the council, he or she will have to run for the seat twice - once in 2006 (the next regularly scheduled general election) and again in 2007. And since there’s no guarantee the new council member will have the same opponent both times, that means running two campaigns - and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars - twice in two years.

All of which suggests that what the council might decide to do is appoint a “caretaker” - a placeholder on the council who has no intention of running again. One person who’s been mentioned as a possible caretaker is former city council member Tina Podlodowski, who was seen in the council’s reception area this morning. A caretaker council member would give the council a verbal assurance that they weren’t interested in holding the seat permanently, but would be under no legal obligation not to run if they changed their mind.

One scenario that seems unlikely is that the council would appoint one of the three council candidates who failed to win election this November - Dwight Pelz (who ran against McIver), Casey Corr (who ran against Jan Drago) or Paige Miller (who ran against Richard Conlin.) Corr and Miller fared poorly in November; and Pelz, whose name has been circulated as a possibility, would likely be opposed by McIver.

So far, at least a dozen folks, including onetime Judy Nicastro opponent Darryl Smith, mayoral staffer Tim Durkan, and South Park environmental activist Charlie Cunniff, have reportedly been making calls to council offices “before the body is even cold,” in the words of council member Nick Licata.

Newsflash: Bush Still Poses Threat to English Language

posted by on December 14 at 2:31 PM

Re: Eli’s previous post about this presidential speech:

The president’s mea culpa was accompanied by a robust defense of the divisive war.

“Saddam was a threat — and the American people and the world is better off because he is no longer in power,” Bush declared, as he has before.

Give The Jew Girl Toys

posted by on December 14 at 2:24 PM

Sarah Silverman launches her own warped War on Christmas with a music video demanding presents for us Jews too. About time someone confronted Santa about this…

Unlikely Band Reunion, Pt. 37

posted by on December 14 at 2:12 PM

Industrial-music pioneers Throbbing Gristle are reuniting for a new album due February on Mute Records titled Part 2. The first 4,000 copies come with a bonus DVD and a “totemic gift” made out of bone, wood, copper, or rubber. If you’re in Berlin over New Year’s Eve, you may be able to catch Throbbing Gristle performing at the VolksbĂźhne festival.

It’ll be interesting to see if TG can retain their notoriously abrasive edge—and to gawk at the spectacle that front hermaphrodite Genesis P-Orridge has become.

Today’s News Section

posted by on December 14 at 1:30 PM

I’m mortified to announce that there was a massive production screw up this week, and so, the Stranger’s news section (out on the streets later today) got totally messed up. The wrong pages were sent to the printer and so, page 12 is duplicated on page 14. This means Charles Mudede’s Police Beat column & Erica C. Barnett’s In the Hall column were unintentionally left out of this week’s paper, while two other items—a news story by Erica C. Barnett about the Viaduct and my CounterIntel column—appear twice.

We will post Police Beat and In the Hall on line.

Apparently, we’re not the only ones who don’t know how to lay out a paper. Check out this week’s Time magazine. Their feature this week is a photo essay called “The Best Photos of 2005.” Well, it’s totally messed up (at least the copy I looked at was) with several pictures running twice and others cut off or backwards.

More Compton Intrigue

posted by on December 14 at 12:44 PM

So, the process to replace Compton is basically this: Anyone from the public can apply. You send in a resume and introduce yourself to Council at a public meeting, and then, like any hiring process, the Council narrows down the applicants and does final interviews. The process, I imagine, takes about a month.

So, Team Nickels has another chance (Casey Corr having failed big time during the election) to get one of their allies on council.

We’ll be tracking who applies and how they’re affiliated.

On a different note: Since we don’t have districts (which we should!), Compton’s seat doesn’t officially represent anything. However, at this morning’s press conference, Seattle Times reporter Bob Young jokingly described Compton’s seat as the “Journalist Seat.” Drago shot back: “We already have too many of those.” Anyway, we’ll see if any journalists apply.

Getting Warmer…

posted by on December 14 at 12:30 PM

Today Bush gave yet another speech aimed at pumping up support for the Iraq War, and this time he seems to have been more forthcoming than usual about the faulty intelligence that led the U.S. into Iraq:

WASHINGTON - President Bush accepted responsibility on Wednesday for going to war with faulty intelligence, but firmly defended a decision that has deeply divided the country…

It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong. As president I am responsible for the decision to go into Iraq,” the president told a foreign policy forum on the eve of elections to establish Iraq’s first permanent, democratically elected government. “And I’m also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities. And we’re doing just that.”

Late as this admission of the obvious is, at least it gets the average American closer to the natural next question: How exactly did the Bush administration get something so important so wrong? Did it intentionally get the intelligence wrong, or was it an honest mistake? Bush doesn’t want to talk much about that. His answer to those questions in the speech is basically: Wrong intelligence, right result. Move on. Nothing to see here.

The Democrats’ response: Yeah, right. The maddening part: They don’t control Congress, and therefore have no subpoena power to get to the bottom of the way the war was sold. When that could all change: 2006.

Angels & Airwaves

posted by on December 14 at 12:27 PM

No one except the band members know exactly why Blink 182 broke up, but if you ask me, I think it’s ‘cause guitarist Tom DeLonge is crazy. Now the former pee and poop obsessed pop punker is hyping his new band, Angels & Airwaves. Though the record isn’t coming out until next year (no date has been set), DeLonge’s said this about his new project: “I swear it’s going to be something that will compete with the greatest rock records of all time.” He also claims that “within two years, we’ll be the biggest rock act in the world.”

As my hilarious friend Mac says, “Not since Axl have we seen someone so delusionally self-important.”

You can get a sneak-peak of the new stuff at, and boy do they take themselves seriously.

The story on MF Doom’s Seattle show

posted by on December 14 at 11:51 AM

I just talked to Steven, Chop Suey’s booker, and he says MF Doom cancelled the show last minute last night…the reason Doom’s handlers gave was that the rapper was sick with cold sweats. That’s the bad news.

Here’s the good news: Doom will be playing a makeup show at Chop Suey on January 29th. All tickets already purchased will be honored there. If you want a refund, you can get one at the point of purchase (if you got your tickets at Sonic Boom, you get your refund at Chop Suey).

Chop Suey made last night’s show free, and the club reports the place was still packed, even without Doom. People stayed to hear performances from One Be Lo, Ra Scion, and a couple others, so some smaller talent still got some time before a packed house.

Why Did Compton Resign?

posted by on December 14 at 11:50 AM

In the middle of his term Compton announces that he’s leaving for, what he called this morning: “The chance of a lifetime.”

He’s going to do research in Romania on the evolution from a communist society to a democracy. And he’s also going to teach journalism in Egypt.

Those seem like cool gigs, but … ????

The answer, I think, is that Compton was humbled and wounded by Stripper Gate and Paul Allen airplane gate, and has been a bit disengaged since then. He also had mayoral ambitions, and the scandal baggage upended those chances.

And so: He entered his 2nd term a bit adrift. He’s done some commendable yeoman work as chair of the utilities and technology committees for the last two years (and he was great during the Gary Zarker/City Light upheaval in his first term), but lately he’s seemed out of the council mix otherwise.

Indeed, this morning, when I asked two of his closest council allies, Jan Drago and Richard McIver, if they were surprised by Compton’s resignation, both gave telling replies.

Richard McIver: “Well, I expected him to finish his term.”
Jan Drago: “I’m surprised by the timing, but I’m not surprised.”

In other words, everyone knew Compton had lost his passion for City Council.

Compton Fall Out: Conlin No Longer Council Prez?

posted by on December 14 at 11:40 AM

Compton’s resignation puts Richard Conlin’s lock on the Council Presidency in question.
Compton leaves on Jan. 6. The council prez vote isn’t scheduled until the 9th.
This means that we’re back to a 4-4 tie between Conlin and Jean Godden. (Compton was in Conlin’s camp.)

It was Conlin, Compton, Nick Licata, Peter Steinbrueck, and Tom Rasumssen (5) for Conlin
Vs. Jan Drago, Richard McIVer, David Della, and Jean Godden (4) for Godden.

Without Compton the vote is back up in the air.

Today in Speculation

posted by on December 14 at 11:27 AM

The chatter that Rove may be indicted soon is getting louder, and as Dan noted yesterday, there’s even dates being bandied about. Everything suggests that if it happens, it will happen before the new year. Here we go again…


* Byron York at the National Review sums up the state of the gossip thusly:

There have been rumors flying around Washington in the last few days that Karl Rove, the president’s top political adviser, might soon be indicted in the CIA leak investigation. At least for now, the rumors appear to be based on someone hearing that someone else had heard something, or that someone had gotten a sense that something was about to happen and told someone else. Are there any facts to back up such gossip and guessing? No one seems to know.

But it is true that there is growing nervousness among people who support Rove’s side in the case. They know that prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, in addition to presenting some new evidence to a new federal grand jury, has also re-presented previously-gathered evidence to that grand jury. To most observers, that suggests Fitzgerald could be planning to indict someone.

* Over at Raw Story, the claim of the day is that Fitzgerald has long been suspicious that Rove hid evidence from investigators and perhaps destroyed documents — and that this makes it unlikely Rove will escape an indictment, although he may in the end be indicted on fewer counts than Fitzgerald once wanted to hit him with.

* And over at the federal courthouse in D.C., Fitzgerald is said to be presenting evidence to his new grand jury as we speak.

* Meanwhile, Robert Novak says he is “confident” Bush knows who originally leaked Plame’s identity. (Question: If this is true, has Bush shared this rather important piece of information with Fitzgerald? And more importantly: Why hasn’t he shared it with the public?)

Go Canada!

posted by on December 14 at 11:23 AM

Every day it seems there’s another good reason to move to Canada—not the least of which being Canada’s new attitude toward the United States. It can summed up with just two words: Fuck off.

Next in line

posted by on December 14 at 11:20 AM

Today the San Francisco Chronicle profiles the next inmate slated to die in California by lethal injection: 75-year-old Clarence Ray Allen. Allen has been on death row for over 25 years, and is now legally blind, has an advanced case of diabetes, and travels by wheelchair.

In 1974 he ordered the execution of his son’s girlfriend, for which he was sentenced to life in prison. From prison in 1980, he orchestrated the murders of three witnesses (by sawed off shotgun) who had testified against him, and plotted the deaths of four more, which landed him on death row.

In June, San Quentin cut off Allen’s medication for diabetes and hypertension, which his lawyers say may have triggered a heart attack Allen suffered in September. He is the oldest inmate on California’s death row.

Allen is scheduled to die January 17th, the day after his 76th birthday. I am no fan of the death penalty. There are plenty of good fiscal arguments against it, but most importantly I think it’s bloodthirsty and inhumane, and I don’t believe it deters violent crime. Allen’s lawyer, Michael Sitris, has said:

“Ray Allen has been virtually a model inmate for more than two decades on Death Row… He presents absolutely no danger at this point, as incapacitated as he is. There’s no legitimate state purpose served by executing him. It would be gratuitous punishment.”

Allen’s lawyers filed a petition for clemency yesterday… we’ll see how Arnold interprets “compassionate conservatism” for his case. Allen’s not black, so maybe he has a fighting chance.


posted by on December 14 at 10:16 AM

Where the fuck was he last night? What the fuck was that all about? His absence totally ruined what should have been a perfect night at Chop Suey. Damn him.

Jim Compton to Resign

posted by on December 14 at 8:46 AM

Seattle City Council Member Jim Compton is announcing today that he’s resigning his seat. Compton is only halfway through his second term. (He’s going to teach and work in Romania and Egypt.) The City Council gets to appoint his replacement. As the PI reported it this morning: “Council President Jan Drago said Tuesday night she plans this afternoon to outline the initial process for filling his vacancy.”

And that brings me to this: DISTRICTS! DISTRICTS! DISTRICTS!
It’s just crazy that the council can now pluck someone out of thin air. (The last time there was a premature vacancy was in 1996 when the council had to replace black city council member John Manning, and they replaced him with another African American….so, at least there was some sense of what the seat was about….)

But, WTF: What’s the Council to make of “Position 9” ? That’s Compton’s seat.
This highlights the need for DISTRICTS! DISTRICTS! DISTRICTS! It highlights that Compton’s seat is random and doesn’t represent anything.

Anyway, we’ll be at the press conference, and we’ll report back today.

Strangercrombie Day 7

posted by on December 14 at 8:40 AM

With three days left in our charity auction, we’ve collected $21,559.27 in bids. Conventional wisdom holds that people will wait until the last-minute (Friday afternoon) to pounce on the stuff they really want, and there are still some amazing deals to be had. For instance: The Stranger Throws You a Birthday Party, AKA Cupcakes and Cowgirls Party Package, a party for you and 10 friends at Cowgirls Inc. with the entire Stranger editorial department and four-dozen Cupcake Royale cupcakes. Have you been to Cowgirls Inc.? It’s nearly impossible not to have a good time when there’s a mechanical bull involved. The party is worth at least $500 and it only going for $208 thus far.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Diana George Rules

posted by on December 13 at 7:26 PM

In a moment I will be celebrating Diana George’s recent success with the NEA (she won a $20000 grant) at a nearby restaurant. I have always rated Diana George as the best writer in Seattle (above even Jonathan Raban), and am proud to have worked with her on several occasions. This little book, Last Seen, is certainly not her best work (my contribution weakened it considerably), but it’s available.

Re: African Dusk

posted by on December 13 at 7:15 PM

Um, Savage? I think you get to post, like, eight homoerotic odalisques in exchange for the below.

African Dusk

posted by on December 13 at 4:28 PM

In the twilight of being a black African (i will be a black American after 2:00 pm, December 19), I’m trying to see the meaning, the essence of my black African experience. I think it has two parts: one is represented by a Cape Town-based journal called Chimurenga, which scandalized the African book world with this image:

This part of my black African experience will certainly be missed; a black Africa that is on the edge, that is bold, that is ready for the world.

Over here is the Africa I will try my best to forget (if I’m not mistaken, the image comes from Tanzania):


That part of Africa almost drove me mad.

Today in Speculation

posted by on December 13 at 4:04 PM

I’m not trying to steal Eli’s thunder here, but I just ran across this anonymous bit of gossip on a website:

My cousin is an assistant at a BIG law firm in DC. Word is that they have been hired as additional legal defense for a certain piggy named Rove. Indictment is expected Friday or December 21st (next Weds.) at the latest… I trust my cousin. She is not political and has no clue about the case. She was just passing on what she heard in meetings and the water cooler…. I am getting excited…..

Hey, it was on the Internets—it must be true!

Refresh Your Browser Window

posted by on December 13 at 3:50 PM

The Slog headers have reverted to their old font.

Ground Chuck

posted by on December 13 at 3:46 PM

This is probably really old, but it made me laugh. Hard.

I will now return to my bong.

Insutant Erection

posted by on December 13 at 3:36 PM

I just received this letter:


Subject: insutant hardons

Date: December 13, 2005 1:59:30 PM PST

Be ERECT in less than 15 mins

PRlCE: $ 2 / use
visit our website —>

I have no problem with the instant error; my beef is this: equaling “less than 15 minutes” with an “insutant.” Even five minutes is way too long for the moment we desire.


posted by on December 13 at 3:32 PM

Don’t back down, Canada.

Regarding Regrets…

posted by on December 13 at 3:28 PM

Our annual Regrets issue is coming to town on December 29 and this year we’re including regrets from our readers, Ă  la Stranger Reader Valentines.
What do you regret in the year 2005? Pop it into an e-mail to Do it now (or by Friday at the latest).

Re: We Regret the Errors!

posted by on December 13 at 3:24 PM

Ha! We made the list last year for our annual regrets issue.

From the 2004 Crunks:

Funniest Use of Corrections The Stranger, Seattle’s weekly paper, consistently runs the funniest corrections. Not because the mistakes are funny, but because they insist on using them as a means for self-flagellation. A few samples: DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS: Last week, we misspelled Kim Chi Bistro in our Chow section [“Authentic Korean on the Hill,” Jan 16]. We regret the error. Our food editor is dumb.

Stranger music editor Jennifer Maerz regrets drinking [blank] and [blanking] on her coffee table in heels at a Christmas party, fracturing her [blank] and making it very difficult to [blank] for four to six weeks.

DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS: In that same “Explain that Sore” article mentioned above, it was stated that a vaccine exists for Hepatitis C when, in fact, there isn’t one. We regret the error, of course. Actually, we more than regret the error. We regret run-of-the-mill errors, but this error mortified us. The editor of The Stranger, Dan Savage, is a friggin’ sex writer, after all. Why didn’t he spot the error? Because he didn’t READ THE PIECE! Can you believe it? Sean Nelson edited the Back to School Issue, and Savage figured he didn’t even have to give it glance. God, what a dumb asshole.

re: New Vera Program Director

posted by on December 13 at 3:06 PM

Melissa is great to work with..and she’s put in time with a variety of clubs around town, from Vera to the tail end of Graceland through Neumo’s, the War Room, and various house shows. I second the congratulations.

New Vera Program Director!

posted by on December 13 at 2:08 PM

The lovely and wonderfully enthusiastic Melissa Quayle (formerly of Neumo’s and Jasiri) has been hired as the new Program Director at the Vera Project! She’ll start February 1st.

Vera’s official release is posted below.

Congratulations, Melissa!


Continue reading "New Vera Program Director!" »

Presidential Gossip

posted by on December 13 at 1:39 PM

I didn’t think it was possible for me to find President George W. Bush any more disgusting than I already do. (That retarded monkey face! That shit-eating smirk! That hideous presidential track record!)

But then I learned—via a friend of a credible White House employee—that our great leader is almost never without a big stinking cigar wedged between his thin prissy lips.

According to my secondhand source, Dubya chain-smokes cigars like some folks chain-smoke cigarettes. (That’s a dry drunk for you). One of this source’s daily chores is making sure no photos are taken of the president with his ever-present smoke-turds.

I love a good challenge. Whoever can provide a photo of Bush with a cigar in his mouth, hands, or behind his ear wins a 30-minute shoulder rub and eternal gratitude from me.

We Regret the Errors

posted by on December 13 at 1:35 PM, a site dedicated to documenting newspaper screw ups, just released its Crunks ‘05:
The Year in Media Errors and Corrections.

It’s pretty funny stuff. Here’s a highlight:

The Denver Daily News would like to offer a sincere apology for a typo in Wednesday’s Town Talk regarding New Jersey’s proposal to ban smoking in automobiles. It was not the author’s intention to call New Jersey ‘Jew Jersey.’

War on Poetry

posted by on December 13 at 1:13 PM

2006 will be the year I wage total war on poetry, of which there is way too much in Seattle and this region. A recent bad experience with a lady poet in Vancouver BC (she went on and on about her hurt, her void, her father—always her father) proved to be the last straw. Something must be done at once. Someone must stand up and stop this nonsense, this madness, this illness that gets worse by the hour. Before the battle commences (it will be a surprise attack in January), I shall regularly post on this slog some of the greatest poems ever written. Great poetry must be read and examined, but with the complete understanding that great poetry exists only in the past—not the present and never the future.

My first great poem is by mad Ezra Pound:

Portrait D’une Femme

Your mind and you are our Sargasso Sea,
London has swept about you this score years
And bright ships left you this or that in fee:
Ideas, old gossip, oddments of all things,
Strange spars of knowledge and dimmed wares of price.
Great minds have sought you—lacking someone else.
You have been second always. Tragical?
No. You preferred it to the usual thing:
One dull man, dulling and uxorious,
One average mind—with one thought less, each year.
Oh, you are patient, I have seen you sit
Hours, where something might have floated up.
And now you pay one. Yes, you richly pay.
You are a person of some interest, one comes to you
And takes strange gain away:
Trophies fished up; some curious suggestion;
Fact that leads nowhere; and a tale or two,
Pregnant with mandrakes, or with something else
That might prove useful and yet never proves,
That never fits a corner or shows use,
Or finds its hour upon the loom of days:
The tarnished, gaudy, wonderful old work;
Idols and ambergris and rare inlays,
These are your riches, your great store; and yet
For all this sea-hoard of deciduous things,
Strange woods half sodden, and new brighter stuff:
In the slow float of differing light and deep,
No! there is nothing! In the whole and all,
Nothing that’s quite your own.
Yet this is you.

The 10 Hottest Years on Record Have All Occurred Since 1990

posted by on December 13 at 12:11 PM

Al Gore gave a lecture at Stanford last week. Donnie Fowler has a recap here. More facts:

* The 10 hottest years on record have all occurred since 1990 and the worst hurricanes on record are occurring with more frequency than ever before.
* Animal species worldwide, from birds to amphibians to polar bears, already are exhibiting symptoms of disruption and harm, having dramatic effects on the food chain (of which we are a part) and the spread of diseases that even affect humans.
* Coral reefs, a fundamental building block of the oceans’ ecosystem, are becoming bleached from warmer, more acidic ocean water, and are dying at unprecedented rates.
* Of more than 600 peer-reviewed research publications, not a single one has disputed the view that global warming is real and measurable, but 53% of media stories continue to refer to global warming as an issue that is in dispute.

(via Andrew Tobias)

Something a Bit Lighter

posted by on December 13 at 12:11 PM

This sex scandal has it all: soccer players, group action, “congress with a goat,” trannies, Dolce & Gabanna, and Anton, “who is a homosexual gypsy singer.” Enjoy.

Sodo No Mojo

posted by on December 13 at 12:07 PM

The Seattle Mariners appear ready to sign outfielder/designated hitter Carl Everett to the team. In honor of this incredibly stupid move, here are some choice quotes from a Sports Illustrated piece on the troubled player.

Carl Everett is a man of conviction. As an Apostolic Christian, he believes that the Bible, interpreted literally, is the infallible authority on all matters. As the cocksure centerfielder for the Boston Red Sox he believes in taking on pitchers and questions alike with the same absolute assuredness. The man plays and talks with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Just ask.

Interleague play? “Don’t like it,” Everett responds. “They only have it because of two teams [the New York Mets and the New York Yankees]. It’s all about the money.” Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter? “Not a star.” The Mets, one of his former teams? “All those [management] people are hypocrites and idiots.” The Atlanta Braves’ starting pitchers? “You can run on them all day.” Big cities? “Hate ‘em. I need space.” American League baseball? “Boring.” Dinosaurs? “Didn’t exist.”

Uh, come again?

“God created the sun, the stars, the heavens and the earth, and then made Adam and Eve,” Everett said last Friday, before the Red Sox lost two of three in Atlanta. “The Bible never says anything about dinosaurs. You can’t say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them. Someone actually saw Adam and Eve. No one ever saw a Tyrannosaurus rex.”

What about dinosaur bones?

“Made by man,” he says.

There’s also this:

While with the Mets, Everett was kicked out of winter ball in Venezuela for going into the stands after some fans who Everett claimed were throwing beer at him. In 1997 he and his wife, Linda, were charged with abusing Carl’s six-year-old daughter, Shawna, and their five-year-old son, Carl IV. The charges were dropped, but a New York Family Court judge ruled that Linda, the girl’s stepmother, inflicted “excessive corporal punishment” on the children and that Carl did little to stop her. The couple retained custody of Carl IV — they also have three other children — but Shawna was placed in the care of her maternal grandmother, where she remains.

And don’t even get Carl started on the gays.

I know the Mariners are freaking out about back-to-back abysmal seasons, but if you’re trying to win back fans signing this dundherhead is not the shrewdest of moves.

Matt Drudge: Racist Fuck?

posted by on December 13 at 11:55 AM

During the run-up to Tookie Williams’ execution yesterday, Matt Drudge played to his bigoted base by running this very old photo of Williams:

Tookie Then.jpg

Drudge’s message: “Look at the very scary black dude—of course he’s a murderer! Kill him!”

But here’s a more recent picture of the man who was actually put to death yesterday in California:

Tookie Now.jpg

Not quite so intimidating, not quite the fearsome black male figure that terrifies white conservatives. I’m surprised that no one has called bullshit on Drudge for being a manipulative, lying, racist fuck.

Grammy Committee Inches Toward Hipness

posted by on December 13 at 11:54 AM

LCD Soundsystem—one of the few bands to win the respect of Wire readers, metrosexuals, hipsters, and quasi-enlightened frat boys—has received two Grammy nominations: Best Dance Recording for “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” and Best Electronic/Dance Album for LCD Soundsystem.

“Fuck me, that 8 million dollar ‘for your consideration campaign’ paid off!” quipped LCD front man James Murphy.

Tookie, Tookie, Tookie Goodbye

posted by on December 13 at 11:51 AM

So much for public officials opting to“always err on the side of life,” as George Bush insisted they should do during the epic battle over Terry Schiavo’s feeding tube. But even as much as Republicans love putting people to death, you would think that, if nothing else, cold political calculus would have prompted California’s Republican Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to grant clemency to Tookie Williams.

Williams was the founder of the Crips, a violent LA street gang, who was convicted of four murders on the testimony of a jailhouse snitch. He was executed last night by the state of California. While there’s no doubt that Williams was, during his gang years, a very, very bad dude, he turned his life around in prison, and dedicated himself to persuading young people in urban areas to avoid gangs. He wrote numerous books, he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. If anyone deserved clemency, it was Williams. If anyone demonstrated that a person could rehabilitate himself, it was Williams.

Even though Republicans love the death penalty, I thought they might, in William’s case, spare the man. The Feds stood by and did nothing during and immediately after Katrina as hundreds of black people suffered and died because, as Kanye West observed, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” Those images will haunt the Republican party, obliterating any progress George W. Bush thought he was making with black voters. You might think the Republicans, acting in their own self-interest, would so something uncharacteristic and show a little mercy. But no. A Republican governor presided over the suffering and death—it took guards fifteen minutes and multiple stabs before they finally got a needle in Williams’ arm—of a man who may not have been guilty and, regardless, had utterly transformed himself in prison. This too will haunt the Republican party.

Democrats, for their part, fear being labeled as soft on crime, so they act like they love the death penalty too. But their liberal hearts aren’t in it—except for Bill Clinton, of course, who famously went back to Arkansas during his 1992 campaign to oversee the execution of a brain damaged black man.

On the night of his execution, Rector saved the slice of pecan pie to be eaten before bedtime, not realizing his death would come first. He also told his attorney that he would like to vote for Clinton in the fall.

The death penalty is barbaric, inhumane, and inneffective—and in this instance, unlike in 1992, politically stupid.

Strangercrombie’s Swinging from the Rafters

posted by on December 13 at 11:35 AM

Strangercrombie has zoomed passed the $20,000 mark this morning, and every dime goes to Northwest Harvest, so if that doesn’t line your chest cavity with fuzzy velvet, you must be dead inside.

Related: Genius Michael Seiwerath was just here in the office. He’s following Christopher’s remarkable feet around for a documentary he’s making for Strangercrombie (exclusively available here, and only until Friday at 5 pm). I hear Frizzelle’s size-15 shoes have been up to all sorts of mischief today, including some frantic pumpkin stomping.


posted by on December 13 at 11:27 AM

The Boeing Company offers condolences to the family and friends of Kenneth Pinyan, the man who was fucked to death by a horse.

Conservatives Blog It Better?

posted by on December 13 at 11:25 AM

I know I’m a few days late in posting this, but here’s a link to a short piece from this Sunday’s NYTimes Magazine that has all the liberal bloggers griping. The piece’s most quoted assertion:

Liberals use the Web to air ideas and vent grievances with one another, often ripping into Democratic leaders. (Hillary Clinton, for instance, is routinely vilified on liberal Web sites for supporting the Iraq war.) Conservatives, by contrast, skillfully use the Web to provide maximum benefit for their issues and candidates. They are generally less interested in examining every side of every issue and more focused on eliciting strong emotional responses from their supporters.

The standard retort to this is that if abandoning critical thought and intra-party debate makes for a more powerful blog — and that’s a big if — liberals would rather be less powerful, thank you very much. But over at AmericaBlog, John Avarosis has been showing over the last week or so what happens when a liberal blogger starts treating his readers like foot soldiers, issuing marching orders and coordinating a campaign in pursuit of liberal values: Big companies like Ford listen. If Avarosis can succeed in turning Ford around on the issue of homosexuals, expect to see more big liberal blogs being used as command centers.

Meanwhile, Slog readers, what do you think? Does the liberal blogosphere really need to be more like an army and less like a college symposium?

Mad props to Jennifer

posted by on December 13 at 10:58 AM

Our music editor, Jennifer Maerz, has been selected to be one of 26 judges (the other judges are all recording artists, actors, or music journalists, including Elton John, Elijah Wood, John Cameron Mitchell, Ben Gibbard, and Beck) for the New Pantheon Music Prize. The 87 nominations for the prize will be announced here on December 15. The 10 finalists will be announced in January, and the winner will be announced Feb 6 in LA.

Anyway, congrats, Jennifer, for being tapped to judge.

KEXP controversy

posted by on December 13 at 10:55 AM

The Seattle Weekly’s recent investigative piece on problems with KEXP’s finances, financial decision making, and high salaries has stirred an interesting debate in our forums. I’d link to the Weekly story here but their paper’s blocked us from their website for some inane reason…too bad, it’s a good piece.

Holy wow Band of Horses

posted by on December 13 at 10:43 AM

I’ll admit, I’m not always the best at listening to a band, falling in love with a band, and knowing in my gut that they’ll get huge. My tastes aren’t always in line with the masses in America. But sometimes I’ll listen to a record and know in my heart a band’s gonna be huge. Such is the case with Seattle’s Band of Horses. Comprising ex members of Carissa’s Wierd and the New Mexicans, the band doesn’t sound much like either. I just got the promo for their upcoming Sub Pop release (out in March) and it’s fucking amazing. A little bit of the Shins’ ebullient pop, a bit of My Morning Jacket’s celestial magic—and all the melodies, the harmonies, the flickers of cosmic country, it’s all so gorgeous. I’m so thrilled that these guys are playing the Stranger Holiday Bash this Friday at the Showbox, but I’m even more thrilled to hear what I feel to be the kinda band that’ll keep people talking about Seattle nationally, as we’re lucky to have such a rich music scene that includes bands like these guys.

The Shame of the Animal Kingdom

posted by on December 13 at 10:40 AM

For your pleasure, read this passage from an overview of a series of interviews between Claire Parnet and the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze—it was conducted in the late-80s and screened after the philosopher’s death in 1995.

[Parnet asks Deleuze about his] relationship to animals. She knows that he does not care for domestic animals, but she notes that he has quite a bestiary, rather repugnant, in fact — of ticks, of fleas — in his writings, and that he and Guattari have developed the animal in their concept of “animal-becomings.” So she wonders what his relationship to animals is.

Deleuze is rather slow to respond to this, stating that it’s not so much about cats and dogs, or animals as such. He indicates that he is sensitive to something in animals, but what bothers him are familial and familiar, domestic animals. He recalls the “fatal moment” when a child brings a stray cat home with the result that there was always an animal in his house. What he finds displeasing is that he doesn’t like “things that rub” (les frotteurs); and he particularly reproaches dogs for barking, what he calls the very stupidest cry, the shame of the animal kingdom. He says he can better stand (although not for too long) the wolf howling at the moon than barking.

The whole overview is here.

New Weapon Unveiled at WTO

posted by on December 13 at 10:35 AM

Riot police in Hong Kong are allegedly battling international protestors with an experimental combination of silly string and vomit.

protestor vomit.jpg

(More photos of puke, swimming farmers, superheroes, and other WTO fun at the International Herald Tribune.)

1,000 Days of War

posted by on December 13 at 10:35 AM

A London newspaper is marking the 1,000th day of the Iraq War with this grim fact table:

$204.4 billion: The cost to the U.S of the war so far.

2,339: Allied troops killed

15,955: US troops wounded in action

98: U.K troops killed

30,000 : Estimated Iraqi civilian deaths

0: Number of WMDs found

66: Journalists killed in Iraq.

63: Journalists killed during Vietnam war

8: per cent of Iraqi children suffering acute malnutrition

53,470: Iraqi insurgents killed

67: per cent Iraqis who feel less secure because of occupation

$343: Average monthly salary for an Iraqi soldier. Average monthly salary for an American soldier in Iraq: $4,160.75

5: foreign civilians kidnapped per month

47: per cent Iraqis who never have enough electricity

20: casualties per month from unexploded mines

25-40: per cent Estimated unemployment rate, Nov 2005

251: Foreigners kidnapped

70: per cent of Iraqi’s whose sewage system rarely works

183,000: British and American troops are still in action in Iraq.

13,000: from other nations

90: Daily attacks by insurgents in Nov ‘05. In Jun ‘03: 8

60-80: per cent Iraqis who are “strongly opposed” to presence of coalition troops

Inglan Is a Bitch 2

posted by on December 13 at 10:17 AM

The title of my last post references this man.

Strangercrombie Day 6

posted by on December 13 at 7:59 AM

At the dawn of day six, we’re approaching the $20,000 milestone: $19,711.73 in bids. The hot three are the Pearl Jam Lover’s Package ($2,225.00), a Mariners game with Sherman Alexie and Dan Savage ($860.00), and today’s item of the day, the King of Clubs Package (still undervalued at $787.00).
A few great deals remain, for instance the Fill One Page of The Stranger Package ($52.02), where you get one full page of The Stranger’s Jan 26, 2006 issue to do with as you please.
I’m not positive it’s him, but I think it’s funny man Mike Daisey who currently has the Stranger Suggests Package in his pocket at only $26.
Also, that live, bejeweled cockroach brooch (part of the Pampered Pet Package) is also only at $26. I’m off to bid…

The War on Christmas Comes to Capitol Hill

posted by on December 13 at 1:01 AM

There’s a Christmas tree lighting up the whole back half of Septieme on Broadway.

שָׁנָה טוֹבָה my brothers & sisters.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Falling is Always Funny

posted by on December 12 at 5:11 PM

And here’s (more) proof.


Inglan Is a Bitch

posted by on December 12 at 4:48 PM

Salman Rushdie is not only in the business writing bad novels, but also bad editorials. However, I did find this passage amusing:

Britain’s first black Archbishop, Dr John Sentamu, accuses multiculturalism of being bad for English national identity.

RE: Syriana

posted by on December 12 at 3:49 PM

I’m still waiting for a filmmaker brave enough to tackle the entrenched corruption of the fantasy christian allegory kid-literature industry. They could call it Narniana.

Sorry. I have now made that joke like 300 times. I liked Syriana, too. A lot. It reminded me of The Parallax View, the finest paranoid conspiracy movie of all time.

Mohammed Mossadegh & Peter Parker

posted by on December 12 at 3:05 PM

I saw Syriana this weekend, which Bradley Steinbacher reviewed in this week’s paper. Bradley dug the movie, which, he’s informed me, puts him in the minority.

Well, I’m with Brad. It’s a wonderful movie. As my best friend Tom Nissley said to me when we were leaving the theater, and I was gushing about how much I liked the movie: “Well, any movie that name checks Mossadegh and Peter Parker!…”

And that’s exactly what’s so good about this movie: It’s sprawling, and yet, obviously, Mossadegh and Peter Parker are so totally related.

The funniest squirrel in the world

posted by on December 12 at 2:35 PM

…is named Frazzles. Make sure to watch this one all the way through.


posted by on December 12 at 2:34 PM

Continuing the Xmas theme, this is either very, very funny, or very, very, very blasphemous. As for me, I sure hope these tears aren’t from laughing.

War on Christmas

posted by on December 12 at 1:35 PM

This is pretty damn funny.

Re: The New Headlines

posted by on December 12 at 1:23 PM

I agree with this comment, which is attached to Dan’s earlier post:

I think they look pretty. The problem is that there’s a clash of personalities going on between the font and the actual content. The Slog is way too down-and-dirty for that look, so it rings fake.

On Eugene McCarthy

posted by on December 12 at 1:11 PM

Since I’m the oldest person in the world, my managing editor has asked me to post something about Eugene McCarthy, the former lefty U.S. Senator from Minnesota who died this weekend. (McCarthy, a Democrat, ran on an anti-war platform in the 1968 Presidential primary race, famously challenging his own party’s giant incumbent, LBJ.)

Yes, McCarthy was a hero of mine (my parents had a paperback on their bookshelf called Election Handbook ‘68 w/ a picture of McCarthy on the cover, and, well, it kinda changed my life.)

However, I’ve always maintained that the McCarthy kids were a pale (pun intended) imitation of the SNCC kids, and Chicago ‘68 was a moronic version of the much more righteous Atlantic City ‘64.

Having said that, McCarthy’s insurgent campaign against the D establishment eventually sparked formal changes in the nomination process which gave regular voters (as opposed to party insiders) more power. The result: Unknowns like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton came to the fore—and for a second there, Howard Dean!

McCarthy also wrote a cool book in 1964 titled: A Liberal Answer to the Conservative Challenge

9 Minutes in Hell

posted by on December 12 at 1:08 PM

See if you can stand this… I had to take a couple breaks.


(click image for video)

Isn’t the White House just the cheeriest, most wholesomest place EVER?

Watch for the little references to how well the economy is doing. Also watch for the ass-terrible production values and the complicity of the mainstream media (et tu, Stephanopoulos?). With all the money they’re stealing, you’d think they could get a half-decent director, and maybe a little more bandwidth.

Sorry for posting this trash. To make up for it, here’s this (click image for video):

Riots Tonight?

posted by on December 12 at 12:56 PM

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has denied clemency to former Crips gang leader Tookie Williams. He’s supposed to be executed tonight at midnight, and there are reports that the authorities fear riots will break out if the man is put to death.

Why is compassionate conservatism always so long on conservatism and so short on compassion?

For what it’s worth:

The quality of mercy is not strain’d; It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. ‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes The throned monarch better than his crown; His sceptre shows the force of temporal power, The attribute to awe and majesty, Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings; But mercy is above this sceptred sway, It is enthroned in the hearts of kings, It is an attribute to God himself; And earthly power doth then show likest God’s When mercy seasons justice.

That lovely speech is from Shakespeare’s anti-Semetic “comedy” The Merchant of Venice. And the character who delivers the speech fails to show much in the way of mercy herself. But still, Arnie, it’s a nice thought.

Whatcha Think of Slog’s New Header Style?

posted by on December 12 at 12:44 PM

Dan Savage doesn’t like these fancy new header style at all. He says, “It makes them seem disconnected from the items themselves. And they’re not bold. I liked the bold.”
Art Director Corianton Hale, who came up with the new design, explains, “This new header type does a few things: It gives the eye a unique typeface to scan for (which is critical for navigation), it provides a more of a visual break so that capsules don’t appear to blend together, and it separates the look of the header from the bold items, which are so intense that they compete.”
Do you agree that they’re better or are you siding with Dan? Please swing over to the Slog forum and take our poll.

Strangercrombie Theater Review

posted by on December 12 at 12:30 PM

Remember, the theater review you buy doesn’t have to be positive. If a few of you want to gang up on some jackasses and give ‘em a plateful of vicious, I’m happy to oblige.

Kangaroo Country

posted by on December 12 at 12:24 PM

It’s amazing that the white race riot that rocked Australia a few days ago was exceptional rather than perpetual. For the most part, white Australians are culturally identical to white Rhodesians (or Rhodies, as they are often called) and white/Boer South Africans. These people have never climbed out of the hole of a very vulgar 19th century conception of race. As far as they are concerned, phrenology is still a valid science and social darwinism is not a theory but a fact. It’s not surprising that many white Rhodesians moved to Australia immediately after black rule was established in 1980. The Australian mind is the same as the Rhodesian mind.

P-I Circulation #s Even Worse Than Reported

posted by on December 12 at 12:20 PM

Last month, the Audit Bureau of Circulation reported the latest round of bad numbers for daily papers—including the harsh news for the Seattle P-I: Circulation is down 9.1%.

I finally got my hands on a copy of that report and there’s a piece of data that makes the P-I’s slide even more alarming. Not only did circulation drop 9.1%, but a category known as “other paid” increased a whopping 21.1%. “Other paid” is essentially bulk discount subscriptions to things like schools and retailers and employees. The average industry increase for “other paid” was in the 8% range—not the P-I’s 21.1%.

Here’s why “other paid” is significant: Since that number is factored into overall circulation numbers—bumping it up can be used to hide declining regular rate subscriptions. For example, when BusinessWeek’s media news blog reported on the latest numbers, they cautioned: “The three biggest newspapers—the national triumvirate of USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and New York Times—only fell 0.4%. [But] both USA Today and the New York Times significantly increased their use of seriously discounted subscriptions. (These are reported under the rubric of ‘other paid’ in the Audit Bureau report; the prototypical example of other paid circulation is copies of, say, USA Today purchased in bulk and delivered to hotel rooms.)”

That’s bad news for the P-I. If you actually strip out “other paid” from the P-I’s circulation #s, it goes from the dismal 9.1-percent drop to a 10.8-percent drop!

Over at the Seattle Times, they had a 6.7% drop in circulation (including an “other paid” jump of 8.4%). If you strip out “other paid” for the Seattle Times, its circulation actually dropped 8.2%.

Hate the New Headlines

posted by on December 12 at 12:05 PM

Sorry, this might be my only post today, as I have a splitting headache—and it’s pure inside baseball.

I hate the new Slog headlines. I think they’re… skinny and twee and pretentious. Am I alone?

Pizza and a movie

posted by on December 12 at 12:01 PM

It’s been written about before, but Central Cinema definitely has the right idea about cozy indie movie theaters. Alongside campy/underground movies (I saw some crazy b-movie from the ’70s over the weekend called Santa Claus Conquers the Martians about the hope the big red man brings little green children) the pizza I ordered was delicious. (The wine wasn’t bad either). Keep an eye on their calendar for upcoming screenings.

Even as many Seattle Weekly employees are looking for jobs….

posted by on December 12 at 11:53 AM

…at least one seems desperate to keep the job he has.

Today in Speculation

posted by on December 12 at 11:45 AM

In honor of Viveca Novak, I’m bringing back…


Viveca who? Well, to start with, she’s not related to Robert D. Novak, the man who first outed Valerie Plame. (Valerie who? If you have to ask you can stop reading this now.) Viveca is a reporter for Time Magazine, and she’s now become entangled in the Fitzgerald investigation in a way that has speculators chattering away again. Conventional wisdom: It’s all very confusing.

* Here’s what Viveca herself says.

* And here, at DailyKos, is a collection of thoughts and links related to the above.

I don’t have enough time this morning to sort through it all, but for people obsessed with politics here are some other important new links related to the fallout from the Fitzgerald investigation, and Bush’s free-fall.

* The New Yorker looks at the post-Judith-Miller New York Times, and wonders if Sulzberger can hang on.

* Newsweek runs a cover-story depicting “Bush in a Bubble.” And Time also picks up the “Bush is isolated and out of touch” meme in this story on Bush’s “search for a new groove.”

R.I.P. Monorail Blog?

posted by on December 12 at 11:43 AM

The monorail’s post-mortem blog, which featured entries by board chair Kristina Hill and spokeswoman Natasha Jones, has apparently been dismantled.

An Actor, a Dead Cop, and Valium

posted by on December 12 at 11:41 AM

There was an incredible crime story in yesterday’s New York Times that you can read about here, here, and here. It’s a sinister goulash of fiction crossing into reality, confused identity, and bizarre coincidence: looking for Valium in a dead man’s apartment, a 28-yearold, off-duty cop shot down while investigating a burglary next to his home, Lillo Brancato, a 29-year-old actor from the Sopranos charged in the shooting, a shadowy man with a long rap sheet who stalked the neighborhood with a pit bull, and a child actor who used to live in the killed cop’s building and once played a younger version of Mr. Brancato in A Bronx Tale.

Yesterday afternoon, I fantasized for at least 15 solid minutes about spending six months on that fateful Arnow Place, home of the cop killed in his own driveway, the child actor who played a younger version of the character played by the real-life perp, and the Valium-hoarding dead man. And prowling Jones Beach (where the actor/alleged burglar was picked up by a talent agent for his impressions of De Niro and Pesci). And drinking with extras and bit players in the Sopranos. I’d probably get beat up. But the stories would make it totally worth the pain.

Good News/Bad News

posted by on December 12 at 11:36 AM

The good news: I passed my American test with flying colors. Not only do I speak excellent American, my knowledge of American history and politics stands at an astonishing 100 percent. I will be naturalized exactly a week from today at 2:00 pm at the INS building. Now for the bad news: I have discovered Richard Wagner by way of the stunning funeral march in Twilight of the Gods. I can’t stop listening to it; nor can I stop reading Hegel or reading about Hegel, and all of this is happening at the very moment I’m becoming an American. As the white Africans of my former country say: Sheesslike, man.

Roads, Blocked

posted by on December 12 at 11:35 AM

The P-I ran an editorial last week calling on city leaders to fast-track local transportation plans, including plans to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and consider “shift[ing] toward a plan that is affordable in this political environment” if the city and state’s “preferred” alternative, a $4-billion-plus waterfront tunnel, isn’t viable. (New federal money isn’t likely, and the state has already coughed up more than $2 billion in the form of the recently upheld 9.5-cent gas tax.) Perhaps reflecting a growing public awareness of those political realities, in a poll that ran alongside the editorial, 47 percent of readers said a the viaduct should not be replaced with a tunnel; just 46 percent believed it should.

Tunnel critics like the People’s Waterfront Coalition argue that instead of building a tunnel, the city should tear down the viaduct and replace it with a surface roadway and improvements to the transit system and transportation grid downtown. It worked in San Francisco, where city leaders tore down two elevated highways: the waterfront Embarcadero, which carried 100,000 cars a day, and the Central Freeway in the middle of the city, which carried 90,000.

Last week, I visited the Embarcadero with four members of the Seattle City Council. Although the Embarcadero differs from the viaduct in certain ways (it was never a route through the city, although it did carry a level of traffic comparable to the viaduct), it offers a promising model for our waterfront: a wide urban street with six lanes of traffic (proposals here call for four), two lanes of trolley transit (used by both tourists and locals), bike lanes, trees, and wide-open sidewalks, plazas and parks on both sides of the roadway.

Apparently, people in Seattle are starting to catch on. Among the comments left by readers on the P-I’s web site:

Continue reading "Roads, Blocked" »

Armchair Quarterback

posted by on December 12 at 11:26 AM

Yesterday our own Seattle Seahawks drubbed the lowly San Francisco 49ers 41-3. The Hawks are now 11-2 and have won nine straight games. Next week they travel to Tennessee to slap around the Titans. (Fun stat: The Seahawks have out-scored their opponents 83-3 the past two games.)

All of this is good news—especially for the handful of us here at The Stranger who enjoy football—but there’s trouble on the horizon. On Christmas Eve the Indianapolis Colts come to town. The Colts are currently 13-0 and are threatening to run the table, a feat not achieved since the Miami Dolphins did it in 1972. When the Colts arrive at Qwest Field, they’ll most likely have a record of 14-0.

Seattle’s professional sports teams have a (mostly earned) rep for choking, but this year could finally cement a far more troubling trend: Our best teams often find themselves up against miserable timing. Consider: 1996, the year the Sonics made it to the NBA finals only to match up against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, a team that lost only 10 games during the regular season and was, arguably, the greatest team in NBA history. Also consider: 2001, when the Mariners tied the Major League record with 116 wins, only to face, and eventually lose to, a New York Yankees team beloved by all of America post-9/11.

If the Seahawks make it to the Super Bowl (don’t laugh, it could definitely happen—especially if they win next week and the Chicago Bears lose, guaranteeing the Hawks home field advantage throughout the playoffs), they could quite possibly face an Indianapolis team that hasn’t lost a single game all season. Miserable timing yet again.

In love with Arthur

posted by on December 12 at 11:22 AM

First there was ArthurFest, now there’s ArthurBall. Although they have yet to announce the full lineup for the second Arthur event, it still promises to rock the ears of weird music enthusiasts everywhere. If only the mag would do something on the scale of these shows here in Seattle.

So about those cookies…

posted by on December 12 at 9:40 AM

It turns out I lied. There aren’t 114 kinds. I miscounted. There are only 106 kinds. Dammit. For some reason, though that’s still a mountain of cookies, this error makes the whole project feel so much less significant. Maybe I’ll round it out with the recipes in her December magazine as well… there’s a chocolate-candy cane cookie in there that looks awesome.

Anyways, this weekend, for those who care (and you all do, right?), I hit number 63. Since there’s only 106 kinds, I have 43 to go. That’s nothin’.

To recap, the Chocolate Cherry Crumb Bars are effin’ fantastic. The Raspberry Cream Sandwiches were a huge hit at my cookie party. My sister thinks they taste like Trix and Captain Crunch mixed together. She’s right. The chocolate cookies in the Peanut Butter Whoopie Pies are a little too cakey for my liking, but the Lemon Squares were really, really great. More tart than most, which I like. The Spice Stars are hard as rocks (I think I cut ‘em too thick), but if you dip ‘em in tea, they’re really good. And the Chocolate Pistachio Cookies were a pain in the ass to make. As for how they taste, well, I can’t say. I haven’t tried one. But they were described as “intense.” My friend Patty ate two.

Good Morning from Strangercrombie HQ, Day 5

posted by on December 12 at 9:02 AM

It’s Monday morning and we’ve collected $18,079.34 in bids to benefit Northwest Harvest in 5 days. We’re halfway to the auctions’ end (Friday, 5:00 p.m.)—if Strangercrombie bidders continue tossing down bids at the current rate, we could see a grand total of $30,000 or more by Friday, with every dollar headed to local food banks. Please keep bidding, or take a crack at it if you haven’t yet. It’s fun, it’s easy, it makes you look sexy, and it’s still legal indoors. Go! Bid! Let’s top $20,000 today.

And don’t forget to check out the…
A Portland Getaway for Six on a Chartered Gibson Bus! Travel like a multimillionaire rock star to the Sin City of the Northwest—Portland, Oregon—home to booze-filled strip clubs, unfettered lap dances, indoor smoking, no sales tax, and oh so much more! Stay at the fancy new Jupiter Hotel, see a show at the Doug Fir, and live it up big-time in PDX.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sad news

posted by on December 11 at 7:40 PM

Even though he was sick for a long time, it’s still sad to know that Richard Pryor has died.

Strangercrombie Day 4

posted by on December 11 at 9:47 AM

The Stranger’s balls-out Strangercrombie auction to benefit Northwest Harvest is in full swing with $14,938.42 in bids as of 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning. There are tons of awesome items at low, low prices including the Pop Culture Collector Package ($15.50), the Stranger Party Crasher Package ($7.16), and more than a dozen other ways to buy pages of the newspaper for the reviews and news of your design. Thumb through the catalog when you’ve got a minute.