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Archives for 01/08/2006 - 01/14/2006

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Jan? Nick? Jean?

posted by on January 14 at 5:59 PM

I hope other council members will follow Peter Steinbrueck’s lead and post their picks for the new city council member on the Slog. The council has just two more weeks to pick a new colleague to replace Jim Compton (after which they’ll be required to vote every day until they do), which means there will be virtually no public process. (Steinbrueck is also calling for a public hearing on the council’s top three picks; currently, no public hearing is planned.)

Council members are barred from talking to each other about their choices; but they can post them publicly, as Steinbrueck has done.

Right on, Peter.

Council Member Steinbrueck Announces His Short List Here on SLOG

posted by on January 14 at 5:45 PM

Seattle City Council Member Peter Steinbrueck just posted a short list here on the SLOG of the contenders he’d like to see fill Jim Compton’s vacancy. Steinbrueck released his list here in the wake of last Thursday’s hearing where all the candidates (about 100 of them) paraded before the council, making 3-minute spiels.

Each council member is supposed to have a list of their top 18 on Tuesday morning, and then each council member’s list will be overlayed—and that will generate the final 12 by the end of the day.

Steinbrueck posted his list today in the “Comments” section of the top 12 lists that Erica and I each posted on Thursday after watching the 90 plus hopefuls make their speeches in that 4-hour hearing.

I was glad to see that Steinbrueck already listed some of the same folks I did: Juan Bocanegra (Steinbrueck calls him “hellraiser”); Roger Valdez, Javier Valdez, and Denise “Cookie” Bouldin. Hopefully, when Steinbrueck exapnds his list to 18, it will include solid candidates like Jack Whisner and Peter Holmes.

Anyway: Go Denise Bouldin!

Here’s Steinbrueck’s post:

* Steinbrueck’s Preliminary Choices for Appointment to the City Council*

Stranger friends: here is my preliminary “short” list of confirmed nominees to fill the city council position recently vacated by Jim Compton. I will forward this names to the full council on Tuesday morning. I am reviewing candidates’ resumes all weekend, and will post more names as I make my decisions. I am also alerting my candidates as early as possible so they can hopefully benefit from my endorsement and get to work on obtaining support from other councilmembers over the weekend:

My choices are as follows:

# 2 Juan “hellraiser” Bocanegra
#16 Robert Zaponne
#18 Javier Valdez
#20 Gail Chiarello
#34 Stella Chao
#58 Roger Valdez
#59 Mark Henshaw
#79 Ross Baker
#87 Alice Woldt
#91 Denise “Cookie” Bouldin

Fortunately, we have some very good candidates to choose from. I am seeking the best and the brightest, who possess great personal interity, a proven record of commitment to community and the common good, and are willing to work hard and collegially (something lacking right now) on the council and run for election in the fall of ‘06. As I have eight additional choices to make between now and Tuesday, I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please email me at

cheers, peter

Posted by peter steinbrueck - January 14, 2006 03:18 PM

Go Seagulls!

posted by on January 14 at 5:44 PM

My sister called from Chicago to let me know about this. I’m beside myself with delight. Just giddy. Go Gulls.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Man Who Conned The Stranger

posted by on January 13 at 5:25 PM

First, the Smoking Gun nails James Frey for fabricating chunks of his best-selling memoir, A Million Little Pieces. Yesterday a woman in Illinois filed a lawsuit charging Frey with fraud. And now a Stranger investigation reveals that a piece Frey wrote for us in 2004 was riddled with falsehoods. Christopher Frizzelle reports.

Dot My Heart

posted by on January 13 at 3:47 PM

A reader sent this to us. I miss Top Gun’s dim sum and am thrilled to hear that veggie dim sum exists. Thanks, Victoria. Sara, ‘member your vow to give Asian cuisine more love in 2006?

I recently had dim sum at this new restaurant in Chinatown called “Vegetarian Bistro”. If you haven’t heard about it already, it just opened a couple weeks ago on King Street (at the old Top Gun location). The menu is entirely meat-less, but all the dishes I’ve tried have been great, really flavorful and creative (a nice change from the other vegetarian Asian restaurants in this city). They serve dim sum at any hour, and it is delicious, better than a lot of the standard stuff at other restaurants. It seems like every decent, large city has a vegetarian dim sum restaurant (if not several), and for years I have bitched about Seattle lacking one. Please review this restaurant! It’s the only one if its kind here, and was woefully empty when I went there last. Victoria

Gay Marriage Decision Coming Soon?

posted by on January 13 at 3:41 PM

Of all the tea-leaves that people have been reading in an effort to determine when the Washington State Supreme Court is going to rule on its landmark gay marriage case, this one, from yesterday’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer, seems the most conclusive:

Chief Justice Gerry Alexander of the state Supreme Court said the court is aware of the public’s intense interest in the issue and hopes to decide before the end of the legislative session in early March.

According to gossip in Olympia, the chief justice, who is up for reelection in November, delivered this news while paying a suprise visit to the capitol press house. Whether the chief justice’s call on the Olympia press corps means good or bad things for gay rights is unclear, but it’s certainly an unusual happening—some wags are saying it’s not just unusual, but unprecedented.

Count Shlockula

posted by on January 13 at 2:56 PM

And we thought Dino Rossi was a joke.

Chicago’s Delayed Mortification

posted by on January 13 at 2:46 PM

Chicago also recently passed a smoking ban; you can read about it in Ben Joravsky’s article in Chicago Reader. The law’s a marvel of niggling, defanging conditions and kow-towing to Mayor Daley’s favorites—and it doesn’t go into effect until 2008. Inhale to the chief.

FSU in NY.

posted by on January 13 at 2:26 PM

David King of Metroland (a weekly paper in Albany, New York), wrote an interesting feature story about FSU’s affect on their own local hardcore music scene. You can read it here.


posted by on January 13 at 2:00 PM

I idly Googled an acquaintance’s birthday (063072) and uncovered the secret life of a number: it appears to be a Russian postal code, the model number of a titanium laptop case and, in a Google image search, produced the following series:




It’s like something out of a Borges story, if Borges had lived a little longer. And wasn’t blind.

A Beautiful Noise

posted by on January 13 at 1:15 PM

As a general rule, it’s bad policy to piss off a group that has predilections toward anarchy and access to deafening instruments. Maybe we should have learned the first time.

Some background: Editor Dan Savage’s infamous endorsement of the invasion of Iraq led the Infernal Noise Brigade to stage an impromptu concert right under his office window. Despite that bad blood, Christopher Frizzelle managed to convince the group’s members to let him follow them through Europe, so he could write this feature, which seemed to mark a period of detente between INB and The Stranger. Then this past week I wrote about how the U.S. Rubber building is kicking out artists, a few of whom are members of INB.

Leave it to the new guy to fuck everything up: Now we find ourselves in the middle of a conspiracy theory, alongside such INB shitlisters as Bill O’Reilly and Osama bin Laden. Below I’ve pasted the group’s response to my article, as articulated by the shadowy INB figure known only as “The Professor.”

To the people of the city of Seattle:

The Infernal Noise Brigade is greatly displeased by the recent evictions of the tenants of the building at 321 Third Avenue South. No doubt this space will be turned into a yuppie condo, or a jail, or a cheesecake sweatshop, or something equally preposterous.

The INB also knows who is behind this treacherous act…

Continue reading "A Beautiful Noise" »

I’m on the radio!

posted by on January 13 at 1:03 PM

Hey! If you’re a fan of the Young & the Restless (and why wouldn’t you be? It’s 107.7 the End’s local music show!), be sure to tune in this Sunday around 8:15 pm to hear ME! I’m gonna be on-air with harms and we’re gonna talk about good shows happening next week, and he’s even gonna let me spin a song or two by some of my favorite Northwest bands. We’ll also probably make fun of each other, because that’s what we do. It’ll be fun, I promise, so listen!

Global SeXXX-ism

posted by on January 13 at 12:57 PM

As I’ve written elsewhere, Global SeXXX-ism not only has a baroquely faux-pomo title, but it is pedantic, pretentious, and awful. It is, allegedly, a series of “cycles” that “examine” global sexism and racism, but it simply patronizes its audience with characterless, plotless vignettes of, say, men being shitty to women. Or a girly-boy getting called a fag by his macho uncle. Just miserable moment after miserable moment without an ounce of analysis, depth, or complexity. It pisses me right off, not only because this kind of vacant, smug bullshit gives theater a bad name but because the Conciliation Project (the production company) got a $13,000 grant from the city’s Neighborhood Matching Fund to mount this crap and bring it to Seattle schools. Local artists should subject themselves to the show and then beg - beg! - schools to keep SeXXX-ism as far away from students as possible. Kids don’t need any more evidence that theater is for shit. (Want kids to see a play about sexism and racism that doesn’t suck? Mount a touring production of Fences.)

Think I’m crazy? Read this letter by a reader who stumbled into the show and then read the review:

Bless you, in the name the sweet baby jesus ~ BLESS YOU.

I sat through this thing, and I am still huddled in the fetal position in the shower crying, and hoping to get the stink off me. I can’t believe you let them off so easily~ you didn’t even mention the fact that this is the SECOND RUN the show is having. The last one was like 6 months ago ~ same exact play, same theater.

Nor did you mention the forced “discussion” we all had after the show… where we all “opened up” and “shared our feelings about the “intense experience” we just had together. Don’t know if you know this Brenden, but the healing can’t begin until we have an overpriced, awkward, forced dialog with strangers.

I agree with the premise that we need an open and honest dialogue to begin the healing… THE HEALING OF A DYING ART FORM.

Steve Wu

Anybody else see this show? Any horror stories> Anybody out there who actually liked the damned thing?

Saying Yes For A Year

posted by on January 13 at 12:47 PM

This woman, who lives in Seattle, just published a book about the year she spent saying yes to whoever wanted to date her.

In Other Non-Smoker News…

posted by on January 13 at 12:40 PM

I quit smoking simultaneously with a friend from my high school days. We’ll call him “Dick.” Now, Dick is using The Patch to quit, which I disagree with, but he’s also reached day 5 with no real problems at all, except for, apparently, the same lack of concentration that I’ve been experiencing and really weird dreams. He was telling me about the previous night’s dream—he became convinced that his dog was Boba Fett and he was trying to kill the puppy with a lightsaber—when he stopped talking and turned to the radio, which was stuck on some easy listening station and playing “You Were Meant For Me.”
Out of the blue, Dick turns to me and says, “How much do you think Jewel weighs nowadays?”
There’s no better example of the way the nicotine-deprived mind works than that.

And what I’m for, a week late: Seattle (though a friend of mine taught me this unattributed expression that I agree with completely: “Loving Seattle is like having a beautiful girlfriend who’s sick all the time”,) books, any and every kind of fuckin’, politics, and everything that’s in the movie (not the book) To Have and Have Not.

Speaking of New York

posted by on January 13 at 12:00 PM

Former (and still sometimes) Stranger photographer Casey Kelbaugh has taken his Slideluck Potshows with him to Manhattan, and they’ve been a huge hit, getting written up in TimeOut NY, needing ever-bigger spaces, and attracting tons of contributors.

Which is not surprising. I was at one of the first Slideluck Potshows, held at a loft in Pioneer Square a couple years ago, and it was great to see so many young local photographers showing work that otherwise would never have been seen, critiquing each other, and sloshing around a lot of red wine. I know we have more than a few people reading the Slog from Manhattan, so you guys should take note: The next show is planned for March, and the theme is Mistakes.

To contribute photographs click here, and to while away some of your workday viewing photos from past shows, click here.

For rain-drenched Seattleites (today is the 27th consecutive day!), I recommend Casey’s Belize slideshow.

Dave Reichert Should Be Held Accountable

posted by on January 13 at 11:59 AM

I’m not usually hep to just posting press releases, but this one seems important:

What is Dave Reichert hiding?
Dave Reichert has been absolutely silent on his role in allowing police misconduct in the King County Sheriff’s Office

Seattle-Revelations about poor management and oversight in the King County Sheriff’s Office over the last few years have produced a number of proposals for reform recently. It also raises an important question:

What is Dave Reichert hiding? “Many of the incidences happened on Dave Reichert’s watch as King County Sheriff and he didn’t do anything to fix it,” said Paul Berendt, Chair of the Washington State Democrats. “His constituents deserve to know why he allowed such conduct to occur.”

Continue reading "Dave Reichert Should Be Held Accountable" »

My Smobriety, Day Six: Easy Like Sunday Morning

posted by on January 13 at 11:40 AM

Smobriety Charticle Six

Weight: 174 pounds

Pulse: 60 beats per minute

Song Stuck In Head: “Easy Like Sunday Morning,” Lionel Richie

Medication Note: Stopped taking one Wellbutrin pill a day;
dosage back down to one pill a day, 150 mg, in an effort to wean off.

Risk of Smoking Resumption: Periwinkle Blue (low risk of smoking resumption)

Symptoms: Lionel Richie songs stuck in head, some minor lack of concentration, especially regarding work, frequent urination, time still passing very slowly.

Last night, in a desperate attempt to inject some drama into this smoking cessation thing, I went to a party that should’ve been a squirming nest of heavy smokers. The party turned out to be a dud; the house was quiet and dark. Instead, I went to a bar that was rumored to be protesting the smoking ban. More lies! There was not an ashtray in sight; not even the requisite wall of wobbly, grousing smokers barring the doorway.
Remarkably, around the time that I was ignoring the man with the Russian accent who wanted to know where the hospital was, (nice try, Boris, but ol’ Paul Bobby’s been burned by that Commie “Where you medicine, Americanski?” scam one too many times) I realized that I was trying to make myself want a cigarette.
Here’s the thing: quitting has been easy. I can’t believe I’ve been afraid of this for so long…honestly, if I’d known, I would’ve quit years ago. All that buildup and concern, the 10 years of worrying, combined with my Catholic sense that anything worth having will involve years of suffering and pain, has kept me chained to this addiction for so long. I understand that this is only day six, and the three-week-mark is the second real test, but I honestly figured that by now I’d be Leonardo Di Caprio in The Basketball Diaries, drooling on myself, locked in a bedroom and sobbing “Just one more hit, man! I just need one more hit!” But, really, it’s been less of an annoyance than your average bad cold. Go figure.

Raising the Gambling Age

posted by on January 13 at 11:37 AM

This just in:

Legislature set to raise legal gambling age from 18 to 21

The last time I was in a Washington casino I got the impression the legal gambling age was 81.

More than you wanna know about the proposed new law and the problem of teen gambling can be found here and here.

Wocka! Wocka! Wocka!

posted by on January 13 at 11:36 AM

USA Today:

When the stress of the war in Iraq becomes too severe, the Pentagon has a suggestion for military families: Learn how to laugh.

With help from the Pentagon’s chief laughter instructor, families of National Guard members are learning to walk like a penguin, laugh like a lion and blurt “ha, ha, hee, hee and ho, ho.”

The Pentagon’s chief laughter instructor? That’s got to be a tough gig.

Contiguous Awnings!

posted by on January 13 at 11:24 AM

Read my proposal here. (Thanks to everyone who posted comments — six positive comments in a row is a record for me.) I’m serious, people!

Greetings from NYC

posted by on January 13 at 10:33 AM

I’m in New York this weekend, visiting my fella Jake and catching the new Craig Lucas musical at Julliard. Still, my Slog jones will not abate, and before I even made it out of Seattle I witnessed something Slogworthy, in the form of a nationally prominent arts figurehead sitting in the airport picking his nose and delivering the pickings to his mouth. (Unlike Savage’s, my cell phone doesn’t take pictures, and you should consider yourselves lucky. However, I will confirm that it was NOT Cindy Crawford)

On the plane, I re-watched the Hughes’ Brothers’s Menace 2 Society for the first time since the year of its release; it didn’t hold up as well as I’d hoped, but the film will remain forever noteworthy as the second important film of the ’90s in which a fatal shooting is prompted by the soon-to-be victim instructing his soon-to-be murderer to “suck my dick”. (The first, of course, is Thelma & Louise, which would make a dynamite partner with Menace should any local film forums wish to present a Deadly Fellatio Demands double feature.

Now I’m here in Manhattan, and I think we’re gonna head over to that Rauschenberg exhibit at the Met that Jen Graves slogged about yesterday, if we’re not deterred by ferocious crowds drawn by the attendant Met exhibit of Pixar delights, which I wouldn’t mind taking a gander at myself.

In the meantime, I’m busy having my mind blown by the New York Post, a trash-tastic nightmare of a newspaper that makes up for its far-right bullshittedness with judgmental gore, such as today’s headline/cover photo of “THE EVIL, UGLY FACE OF SADISTIC STEPDAD FROM HELL.”

Read all about the sadistic stepdad’s allegedly yogurt-inspired fatal beating of his 7-year-old stepdaughter in next week’s Last Days…until then, keep your feet in the ground and pick your nose in your car, like normal people.

A force of evil fighting for good….

posted by on January 13 at 9:59 AM

Democrats, Republicans…how about voting for a Satanic dark priest, head of the party of “Vampyres, Witches and Pagans” (and, of course, former pro wrestler) for your governor?

Cindy goes deep.

posted by on January 13 at 9:54 AM


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Killing Hobos is Funny

posted by on January 12 at 11:05 PM

Um… John Stewert just killed a hobo on The Daily Show.

The bit was filmed, no doubt, before these guys killed a hobo in Florida earlier tonight.

But all was quickly forgiven, thanks to an Ed Helms joke about Mrs. Alito being forced, as the result of a tragic laundry accident, to wear her grandmother’s couch to the hearings. Hee-haw.

UPDATE: Wait just a fucking minute! Rob Corddry just used the phrase “guy with pie,” a phrase that I introduced in a recent Savage Love! So the writers at The Daily Show will rip off my column but they won’t have me on the show when I’m promoting a book! They’ve referenced Savage Love before—they told their viewers to Google “Santorum” when reached #1 on Google! Geez, fuck those guys!

Hit Making Homos

posted by on January 12 at 9:45 PM

I still don’t know what to make of this. Gay ghettoization or glamorous sign of progress?

Nice Place to Visit

posted by on January 12 at 9:36 PM

I think this pretty much speaks for itself…

NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 12 - President Bush made his first trip here in three months on Thursday and declared that New Orleans was “a heck of a place to bring your family” and that it had “some of the greatest food in the world and some wonderful fun.”

Mr. Bush spent his brief visit in a meeting with political and business leaders on the edge of the Garden District, the grand neighborhood largely untouched by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina, and saw little devastation.

“It may be hard for you to see, but from when I first came here to today, New Orleans is reminding me of the city I used to come to visit,” the president told the local leaders at the Convention and Visitors Bureau…
Mr. Bush added that “for folks around the country who are looking for a great place to have a convention, or a great place to visit, I’d suggest coming here to the great New Orleans.”

Something Must Be Done

posted by on January 12 at 8:00 PM

It has come to my attention that today is the 26th consecutive day of rain. Yahoo! Weather predicts rain tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday — no rain Thursday! — then rain Friday…

We are on our way to a record.

It is time we do something. It is time to think big. It is time to think like Tesla, like Edison, like Goodyear or Marconi or Salk. You want a city council position platform? You want to know what I stand for? I’ll tell you what I stand for.

What I stand for is simple: contiguous awnings.

Think about it. The awnings in this town are bullshit. They’re everywhere, but none of them connect to the next, and everyone who’s ever walked down the sidewalk in the rain knows that the space between awnings is what gets you every time. You’re dry, you’re dry, you’re dry, the rain is beautiful, the day is good, and then — wooop! A huge motherfucking drop slides off the edge of one awning just as you’re about to duck under the next and lands, thick and cold, right in the center of your head, sending a shiver down your spine, and then it dribbles in a dirty, thick line past your hair follicles, across your crown, and down your forehead. This is not civilization. This is not something we citizens of the twenty-first century should tolerate. We can split atoms. We can put men on the moon. We can immunize ourselves from smallpox — we did that 300 years ago. The least we can do is build contiguous awnings.

There are some details to work out, but basically my proposal is: a contiguous awning on every block with commercial zoning. Someone please take this to the city council. Who’s with me? I have a dream today!

My 12

posted by on January 12 at 6:34 PM

People I found impressive today, in no particular order:

1) Juan Jose Bocanegra
2) Peter S. Holmes
3) Joann H. Frances
4) Ed Pottharst
5) Harriett Walden
6) Sally Clark
7) Sue Donaldson
8) Jack Whisner
9) David Bloom
10) Roger Valdez
11) Venus Velazquez
12) Denise “Cookie” Bouldin

My 12

posted by on January 12 at 6:19 PM

The room has emptied out. Council President Jan Drago called for a half hour recess. At that time, they’ll see if any of the 15 candidates who haven’t shown up yet, show up for their 3 minutes of fame.

Here are the 12 I liked based on today’s parade.

1. Juan Jose Bocanegra
2. Peter Holmes
3. Darryl Smith
4. Javier Valdez
5. Ed Pottharst
6. Sue Donaldson
7. Jack Whisner
8. Alon Bassok
9. Roger Valdez
10. Denise “Cookie” Bouldin
11. Harriett Walden
12. Sally Clark

The Council will name their 12 on Tuesday.

Wrapping Up

posted by on January 12 at 6:15 PM

The council is taking a short break to allow no-show council candidates time to show, but the meeting is all but over, hours earlier than expected. In the words of council member Nick Licata, “See? Sometimes government can function efficiently!”

Tomorrow, the council will start whittling down the list of 90-something candidates to 12 semifinalists. The council will vote to choose their top contenders on Tuesday, January 17. The council will then split into two groups and interview the candidates on Thursday, January 19. The following Monday, January 23, they’ll announce the list of finalists. Finally, on Friday, January 27, they’ll vote; if they don’t come to a consensus, they’ll have to vote again every day until they do.

Hour Five

posted by on January 12 at 5:52 PM

As today’s city council hearing pushes into its fifth straight hour and the last few stragglers take their three minutes at the mic, the six council members who are here are starting to look noticeably weary. In the next week, the council will pick its top 12 contenders; I doubt we’ll see many (if any) unfamiliar names on that list. While it’s nice to see so many outsiders interested in public service, it’s a bit of a mystery to me what compels people to apply for a job they have no chance of winning. They can’t all be megalomaniacs, after all. Slog readers: Any thoughts?

Who Do You Represent?

posted by on January 12 at 5:46 PM

Lefty Alice Woldt, Candidate #87, just identified the following prerequisite for the job: “Someone from the N.W. quadrant of the city.”

This whole “Compton Seat” vacancy highlights the fact that no one knows what this seat represents. (Without districts, the 9 council seats lack real democratic meaning.)

By bringing up geography—a geography that’s unrepresented by the current makeup of the council—Woldt hit on exactly what’s so maddening about all of this.

1) No one even noticed how absent Compton had been for the last two years, except a few of his colleagues, who—off-the-record—were not at all surprised at his resignation. The public didn’t notice because, well, he didn’t have a constituency. He didn’t represent anyone.

2) There are no real requirements for his replacement other than “from Seattle” and “18-years-old.”

Compton’s resignation, this vague vacancy, highlights that we should go to a district system.

I’m glad Woldt hit on geography as a prerequisite.

Model Candidate

posted by on January 12 at 5:25 PM

Maybe it’s because she was a professional model in the mid-70s, but I want to say Candidate #91, Denise “Cookie” Bouldin, is another surprise hit who should make the cut. She’s worked for the SPD since 1981, and judging from her three minutes, the view of Seattle she’s gotten working the beat has politicized her in a badass way. She laid it down: density, mass transit, low-income housing.

A lot of people today have talked that game, but her SPD status gave her a gravitas that this lightweight council could use.


posted by on January 12 at 5:03 PM

Candidate #77, Laura McAlister, portrayed herself as the “Why Not” candidate, as she put it. “Why not me?”

She then, unwittingly, answered her own question. “I have no one in my camp. I have no preset ideas.”


Thank You for Allowing Me to Waste Your Time

posted by on January 12 at 4:57 PM

By way of introduction, Laura McAlister, candidate #77, just told council members: “Basically, I’m a ‘why not?’ candidate. Why not me? I’m not running for this position, but I can hold it. I don’t have anybody in my court. I don’t have preset ideas on issues… I can hold this place if you give me an opportunity to hold this place.”

Hmm, let’s see… No ideas, no support, no interest in or qualifications for the position. Why not, indeed?


posted by on January 12 at 4:56 PM

Candidate #54, a white woman named Charlotte Marie-Grace Carroll began her three minutes saying, “I don’t look like you”—waxing about her status as a Joe-Public outsider.

She went on to tell us her African name… a word I’m not going to try and spell here…

Her rhetoric was annoying, and I was overjoyed that the candidate who went afer her was actually a black woman. A union organizer named Verlene Jones.

An interesting point

posted by on January 12 at 4:51 PM

Sam Sperry, candidate # 76, just vowed that, as a council member, he would “not be… an initiator of major policy. I believe that is the role of duly elected, fully franchised council members.”

Right on, Sam.

Pop Smear Preview on KEXP

posted by on January 12 at 4:47 PM

Tonight (or at 1:30 a.m., to be precise), KEXP disc jockey Greg J will be hyping an event we’re hyping in Stranger Suggests (that’s some major synergy, y’all). Please read Greg’s press release after the jump and then chase your dinner with lots of caffeine (or follow Party Crasher’s stringent routine).

Continue reading "Pop Smear Preview on KEXP" »


posted by on January 12 at 4:43 PM

Seattle-King County Health Guy Roger Valdez (he just lost Richard McIver’s vote for being “I’m the guy who brought you the smoking ban” ….) just used the day’s first prop.

Hyping himself as an advocate of density and planning, Valdez (candidate #58) pulled out a map showing where growth is going to happen in our region…

He went on to criticize our city as the 29th densest (less dense than Phoenix, he said and about as dense as Albuquerque, a sprawling city in the southwest…) “Unacceptable,” he added.

Again: Someone with an agenda. Valdez should make the cut.

The Halfway Mark

posted by on January 12 at 4:31 PM

We’re now through just over half the candidates. So far, nearly every candidate has expressed an interest in working on transportation, planning and land use, fiscal responsibility, education, affordable housing, economic development, accessibility and livability. It’s an ambitious list. Too bad whoever gets the one-year appointment will be saddled with the low-profile utilities committee, which Compton headed and which no one else on the council wants.


posted by on January 12 at 4:16 PM

Candidate #43, Alon Bassok, an egghead academic (a transportation planning PhD candidate at UW) just stole the show!

Speaking in a monotone drawl, and at first not speaking into the microphone, he proceeded in his 3 minutes to tell homey anecdotes (years ago he almost ran over his prof at music school eliciting the quip from his instructor: you drive a car like you walk a bass) and then made his political agenda clear: low-income housing and transportation.

Crisp and concise. The council should let this unknown advance to the interview round.

Another Good One

posted by on January 12 at 3:55 PM

Candidate #38, Jack Edson Whisner—a transit planner for King Couny Metro—laid out some specific reforms: changing zoning in the neighborhoods to increase density, waiving parking requirements to increase density and challenge auto dependency, and toll roads…

I liked him.

A Familiar Face

posted by on January 12 at 3:54 PM

Contender # 45 is Robert Rosencrantz, a two-time candidate who was once considered a strong contender against council incumbent Richard McIver, who won reelection last November. (Rosencrantz lost in the primary; he also ran against Judy Nicastro in 2003.) “A couple of campaign losses,” he told council members, “haven’t diminished in any way my commitment to join you.”

Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work? You lose an election (or several elections) and move on with your life? Rosencrantz has never even made it through a primary. There’s something sad, and a little icky, about standing in front of the council and asking for a job the public has twice declined to give you.

Another Smart Idea

posted by on January 12 at 3:48 PM

From candidate # 38, Jack Whisner, a transit planner at King County Metro: Dynamic tolling on Seattle’s limited-access highways, in which the amount drivers pay to access roads would change according to the level of traffic and hour of the day. Whisner also advocated legalizing mother-in-law (or “granny”) flats in single-family zones, and levying a tax on commercial parking, something Peter Steinbrueck has supported, unsuccessfully, for years.

Finally Someone Says Something

posted by on January 12 at 3:48 PM

Candidate #37, Sue Donaldson, a former city council member, just brought up the idea that the city should take a more active role in managing the schools… (hinting at taking ‘em over)….
It was the first real idea I’ve heard all day.

Two Bears in a Zoo

posted by on January 12 at 3:38 PM

Articles like this make my day. It was published in the English version of China Daily, and attempts to make a case for the importance of philosophy. Philosophy, as Zizek points out in the new documentary ZIZEK!, which opens today at NWFF, has no real or immediate importance; it’s only good for reading.

What Every Candidate Agrees On

posted by on January 12 at 3:37 PM

1) Diversity is good.
2) Transportation should be accessible to everyone.
3) We should increase density in Seattle while preserving our unique neighborhoods.
4) Passion is important.
5) Government should work with the private sector.
6) The city should work to preserve the environment.
7) Transportation is a vital issue on many levels.
8) Our parks are jewels.
9) Housing should be affordable and available to everyone.
10) Homelessness is a problem we should all care about.
11) Public safety is vital.
12) Education is the key to our children’s future.

Three hours to go.

It’s Getting Weird

posted by on January 12 at 3:30 PM

Candidate #31, Howard Monta, just endorsed Candidate #11, John Manning.


posted by on January 12 at 3:21 PM

The council chambers, which hold a couple hundred people, are, at the moment, virtually empty, with only a handful of non-candidates (most of them city staffers and press) in the room.

If a candidate speaks for three minutes and no one is there to hear him, did he make a sound?

Diamonds are Forever

posted by on January 12 at 3:11 PM

Here are my notes from Dr. Edward Song’s speech:

great american novel…everyone walked on their diamond road…walk with me on the diamond road

On the Bright Side

posted by on January 12 at 3:10 PM

Several candidates with whom I wasn’t especially familiar, including Joann Francis, Harriet Walden, and Robert Sondheim, have made impressive speeches that demonstrate both community experience and commitment to public service. It’s encouraging that so many people are willing to take time out of their lives to apply for a long-shot job like this.

Unfortunately, most people at city hall appear to think the “short list” of candidates is already more or less determined. I hope the council will be open to the possibility of including an unknown candidate on the 12-person “short list” that will be interviewed on Monday, January 23.

What I’m for.

posted by on January 12 at 3:07 PM

Turns out, I never said anything I was for…

Well, I’m all for making fun of the band Fall Out Boy.

If you also love laughing at them, check out these homemade videos some kids did for two of their “hit” songs that currently plague the radio…

“Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down Swinging”

“Dance Dance”

You Be Trimpin!

posted by on January 12 at 3:07 PM

Tonight at Jack Straw Studios the astounding Trimpin will be giving a talk on his work. Jack Straw is currently showing an exhibit of some of Trimpin’s early work as part of a year-long, multi-venue celebration of his 25 years of blowing minds in Seattle. Trimpin is a composer/sound artist/engineer/god and truly a civic treasure. Do yourself a favor.

Jack Straw New Media Gallery
4261 Roosevelt Way, NE

Re: “That’s exactly what’s wrong with this town.”

posted by on January 12 at 2:58 PM

Exactly. Later in his speech, O’Neill had this to say: “You’ll probably notice that my resume does not include any elected office or work on any political campaigns. I am not a member of the so-called political class. I believe that I can contribute a viewpoint that is unique because I would enter the city council as simply a citizen.”

Bullshit. Lack of experience in politics is not a qualification for serving in politics.

Instead of Quoting Dr. Edward Song, Applicant # 22, Directly

posted by on January 12 at 2:57 PM

Allow me to quote his letter of interest verbatim:

I must admit, that I grew up duringthe age of disco, and loved ABBA. Now a concerned citizen I say as Fernando fought for liberty by crossing that fearful Rio Grande, I cross my river of anxiety to fight for community principles. … So, who am I? I once was full of social anxiety. In kindergarten, long before I had heard of the pop group ABBA, I wouild always sit alone in the corner and would tremble when I had to say “here” during roll call. But just as Fernando crossed the Rio Grande long ago on a starry night, I crossed my river of social anxiety to knock on thousands of doors to help clean up toxic waste in America… But now I hear the distant drums. The sounds of bugle calls are coming from afar. I hear the battle cry, “It’s time to cross another river and fight for our liberties without compromising our security from terrorists.” If elected, across this river, I will fight to expand mass transit, attract neww business to Seattle, and fight homelessness… Now I ask you to help me cross the river to City Hall.

Quote of the Hearing…so far

posted by on January 12 at 2:57 PM

Candidate #13, Orin O’Neill, whose resume is overtly apoliticalďż˝ “Freelance Automotive writer” and lists his relevant skills as HTML, Javascript, FrontPage 2000, and familiarity with AP style ďż˝offered up this claim in his 3-minute speech: “I have no personal agenda.’

That’s exactly what’s wrong with this town.

Orin, if you don’t have an agenda, don’t run for office.

My faves so far, after 14 or so speakers: Peter Holmes (OPA reveiw board), and Javier Valdez (who, said what his priority is: Increasing economic opportunity for minorities in Seattle. It’s not so much that I agree with Javier, but seriously, he’s the only one so far who’s stated what’s important to him in a tangible way.

Candidate Number 15

posted by on January 12 at 2:48 PM

According to Jan Drago, “was a person who didn’t live in Seattle but loved the city so much she thought she should apply.”

The city charter prohibits non-Seattle residents from serving on the City Council.

“That Weird Guy in the Front Row.”

posted by on January 12 at 2:33 PM

Douglas Mays, a perennial candidate whose resume cites his elementary-school experience and high-school state soccer championship victory, just spoke. He told the council, “We are many individuals existing congruently in the oneness of our city. This is what I seek to represent. I look forward to expand my vision of the city. Otherwise I’ll attend every public hearing and be that weird guy in the front row.” Then he thanked council members “for playing along.”

Why do people like Mays have the right to show up and waste the council’s and the public’s time? Because literally anyone - anyone, that is, who’s 18 or older and a citizen of Seattle, requirements that have disqualified at least two potential candidates - can apply. It’s a little hard to take the process seriously when everyone in the city is eligible.

Snowball’s Chance: Angel

posted by on January 12 at 2:24 PM

Two-time candidate Angel Bolanos, who challenged Compton in 2003, just spoke. His pitch: “I want your appointment so together we can be part of this beautiful experience.”

A long-shot candidate who ought to be taken seriously

posted by on January 12 at 2:18 PM

Peter Holmes, head of the Office of Police Accountability Review Board, who went head-to-head with City Attorney Tom Carr over the issue of indemnity for OPARB members, who are volunteers, from lawsuits.

Two Other Vacancies

posted by on January 12 at 2:14 PM

Two of the current city council members—Tom Rasmussen & Richard Conlin—aren’t even going to attend the hearing. “Pre-existing commitments.”

The first “bridge” metaphor of the afternoon…

posted by on January 12 at 2:12 PM

Comes courtesy of candidate # 1, Norman Zigler, an executive search firm partner: “My approach to service will be building bridges and tearing down walls.”

I expect we’ll also be hearing a lot about mass transit, quality of life, and access to government for all as the afternoon wears on.

It’s On

posted by on January 12 at 2:07 PM

The public hearing for candidates interested in filling Jim Compton’s position just started. Each candidate gets three minutes to speak. There are nearly 100 candidates.

As council president Jan Drago just explained, “There will be no breaks during what may be a seven- to-eight-hour meeting.”

God help us.

Last Call on Pluto

posted by on January 12 at 12:42 PM

If you were thinking about seeing Neil Jordan’s Breakfast on Pluto, but didn’t yet, haul ass over to The Big Picture before it leaves town. I caught it yesterday and can’t fathom why critics have been so ho-hum. Granted, as our own Annie Wagner noted in her recent review, this flimsy film doesn’t pack the punch of Jordan’s The Crying Game nor his previous collaboration with Pluto author Patrick McCabe, The Butcher Boy. But it does a fantastic job of capturing an essential skill that saves many a young fag, dyke, or crossdresser - the ability to not only create one’s own universe, but even strongarm “the real world” into accommodating the rebellious individual, rather than vice versa. Plus, it boasts an amazing ’70s soundtrack (out Jan. 24 on Milan Records), and former Virgin Prunes frontman Gavin Friday is adorable as C-list glam rocker Billy Hatcher; the scene where he slow dances with Kitten in front of a pub had me cooing. Watch for the knockout cameo by Bryan Ferry, too.

“I have a dreamy distance with reality”

posted by on January 12 at 11:57 AM

The Film Comment website has an uncut version of an interview (by Gavin Smith) with Claire Denis, my favorite director in the world. It’s very good. L’Intrus, the film they’re talking about at the end of the interview, hasn’t made it to Seattle yet. I am impatient.

Tune in at 2:00…

posted by on January 12 at 11:46 AM

When Josh and Erica will be live-slogging today’s council hearing, at which all 99 contenders for City Council Position #9 (formerly Jim Compton’s seat) will get their three minutes at the mic.

We’ll hear from folks like Dr. Ed Song, who, according to his cover letter, was once “full of social anxiety” but now “hear[s] the distant drums” and the “battle cry, ‘it’s time to cross another river and fight for our liberties without compromising our security from terrorists”; Guy Burneko, who “understand[s] by experience and by certificated training how to work noncercively for consensus and concurrence”; and Evan Sutton, whose “relevant experience” includes being “a fast and efficient bartender” and who has worked “in food service settings ranging from fine dining to hip-hop nightclubs.”

Stay tuned.

My Smobriety, Day Five: Mood (Enhancer) Swings

posted by on January 12 at 11:43 AM

Smobriety Charticle Five

Weight: 173 pounds

Pulse Rate: 68 beats per minute

Song Stuck In Head: “Open Arms,” Journey

Horniness Decrease, Since Yesterday: - 73%

Risk of Smoking Resumption: Candy Apple Red
(Author intends to place self in high-risk situation tonight)

Special Notes: Five days is the generally-accepted point where all major concentrations of nicotine have supposedly left the system; the next really significant hurdle is at the three-week mark, where, supposedly, the habits of smoking cessation have changed to the point where they `stick.’

Symptoms: Insomnia, lack of concentration, agitation, weird sticky sweats, paranoia, manic giggling, sudden lack of interest in any celebrities whatsoever except for a sudden bile-filled burst of anger at Matt LeBlanc, anxiety, back pain.

It’s pretty amazing—my opinions on the Happy Pills have managed to do a complete 180 in twenty-four hours. All of a sudden, I’m feeling vaguely speedy all the time, and for something in the drug class “antidepressant,” it’s certainly kicking up some strange emotional reactions. One moment, I’m tittering like a schoolgirl, the next I’m unbelievably anxious, on the verge of tears and needy for attention. And the insomnia seems to be getting worse: a few more nights of this and I’ll be a candidate for heavy Botox treatments. I’m considering weaning myself off the Happy Pills entirely within the next week.
And as for the cigarettes? The work part wasn’t as difficult as I thought—so few of my co-workers smoke that it’s certainly not as much of a “me-too” issue that I thought it would be. The only thing that I can really do to test myself in those regards, since the Bupe makes drinking a seizure risk, is to place myself in an environment where tons of people are smoking. I intend to do that tonight.
(Cue dramatic music..)

Sometimes I Wish I Lived in the 19th Century

posted by on January 12 at 11:05 AM

From Reuters:

“There are partially fluorescent green pigs elsewhere, but ours are the only ones in the world that are green from inside out. Even their hearts and internal organs are green,” Wu said on Thursday.


In 2003, a Taiwan company began selling the world’s first genetically engineered fish, sparking protests by environmentalists who said the fluorescent green fish posed a threat to the earth’s ecosystem.

Throwing Stones

posted by on January 12 at 11:01 AM

I’m sorry, this is funny.

re: Odetta

posted by on January 12 at 10:53 AM

I too heard Greg Vandy’s interview last night….I agree that it was excellent…and in general Vandy is one of the best DJs at KEXP. I look forward to his show every week, with or without the interviews…there’s nothing else like it on the radio (a mix of old soul, folk, and blues). But later in the evening DJ Riz was also rockin’ it. Riz’s set was the most tripped out mix I’ve heard on the station, a lunatic blend of dialog from Apocalypse Now and Jennifer Gentle songs. It was all in celebration of the anniversary of the discovery of LSD (I believe, correct me if I’m wrong….it could also have been the anniversary of Timothy Leary’s death. I can’t remember), and it made me wish I was back in the blacklight days of college….

For Josh

posted by on January 12 at 10:33 AM

A great new reason to let dogs sniff your crotch in restaurants: They can smell cancer.
What is there not to love?

Odetta! (Update)

posted by on January 12 at 10:31 AM

Via the comments, Kerri Harrop announces that the KEXP show I blogged about earlier (“Martin Luther King and the Songs of Freedom - How Gospel Music Inspired a Movement”) is now up online at Listen to it.

10:17 am and the show is now available on KEXP’s streaming archive at their website.

Greg Vandy is a local treasure. After blowing everyone’s mind with last night’s “Roadhouse,” he then played records with Scott Giampino at the Viceroy. You shoulda been there, it was a blast.

She just gets better and better

posted by on January 12 at 10:29 AM


The Weepy Missus

posted by on January 12 at 10:28 AM

So they do murder boards for the Supreme Court nominee. But it seems to me that a really wily administration would do acting lessons for the spouse and family as well. If you can cry on command and then delicately retreat into an antechamber, like Ms. Alito did yesterday, you would buy all sorts of smushy positive press for your husband.

Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch

posted by on January 12 at 10:28 AM

Whoops—I didn’t post a SSWW last week, so this week we’ve got a double header…

For the week of January 4-11, 2006:

Seattle Weekly: 72 pages.
The Stranger: 76 pages.

For the week of January 12-18:

Seattle Weekly: 76 pages.
The Stranger: 80 pages.

Regulating Bathhouses

posted by on January 12 at 10:18 AM

If public health officials could trace a single outbreak of a single communicable disease to, say, a single Denny’s, they would close the place faster than it takes grease to appear on the surface of a freshly poured cup of Denny’s coffee. (Meaning, you know, fast.) But when it comes to the never-ending outbreaks of numerous diseases that can be traced to gay bathhouses, health officials—cowed by “health educators” at AIDS orgs who do all they can to make STI epidemics worse—claim they can’t do anything because 1. they don’t want to drive the problem underground and 2. the baths are a place where they can reach out to the very community that most needs to hear health messages.

Both justifications are bullshit: the problem is already underground, and little to no outreach is actually done in bathhouses. A few posters may go up every once in a while, but you can spend a week in a bathhouse without ever running into one of Seattle’s useless HIV-prevention educators. (Unless, of course, they’re there having unsafe sex themselves.)

So I was thrilled to read this morning that Los Angeles now demands that LA’s bathhouses live up to the rationalizations that the excuse-makers and HIV-promotion activists at AIDS orgs make for them. From the Advocate:

New regulations passed Tuesday by the Los Angeles County board of supervisors bans unprotected sex in all county commercial sex venues (such as bathhouses and sex clubs) and requires them to pay $1,088 in annual licensing fees and undergo quarterly health inspections, the Los Angeles Times reports. All sex clubs and bathhouses will be required to display signs and posters stating that unprotected sex is prohibited by patrons, and they must provide free condoms, lubricant, and information on HIV prevention and safer sex. Owners of sex venues also are now required to prohibit entry to anyone appearing to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

The measure, passed 3—0 by county supervisors, also requires commercial sex venues to offer HIV antibody testing and counseling. County health officials are expected to begin issuing permits in mid February. Sex clubs and bathhouses must begin offering at least 20 hours of HIV testing and counseling availability per week beginning March 1, according to the new rules. Venues that don’t comply with all new regulations can be shut down.

Good for LA.

Meanwhile in Seattle, our bathhouses are completely unregulated. It’s way past time that Seattle-King County Public Health get off its ass and regulate bathhouses here. LA’s new regulations are a good model, and should be adopted locally.

Seattle hiphop is where it’s at

posted by on January 12 at 10:15 AM

After hitting the tail end of the Common Market show at Chop Suey last night (tail end meaning I missed all the other acts except CM), I have to say Seattle hiphop is on the next level right now, and the energy there is completely infectious. The makings of a powerful new musical force in a city comprises many different elements, but the way acts like Common Market, Cancer Rising, Blue Scholars and numerous other artists, DJs, producers, etc feed and fuel each other is downright inspiring. Common Market killed it once again last night, every song more powerful and positive than the last, giving an enthusiastic (packed) house songs with a message and the music to make you feel like everything’s just right in the world. For their finale, the duo pulled the opening acts on stage to come together on “Connect Four” (my personal favorite off their debut album) and members of Cancer Rising took the mic to freestyle between and after the song.

I should also note that Cancer Rising doesn’t get as much hype as they should in these pages, as our own My Philosophy columnist Larry Mizell is one third of the trio, but damn they’re so good. I bought a copy of their new disc last night, Search for the Cure and the beats blast hard as rock hits on some tracks and bring the slippery funk on others. They’re another important piece on our local hiphop scene for sure.

All this is to say who knows if 2006 will be the year for national recognition of the strength of Seattle’s hiphop scene, but I’ll say it now: It damn well should be.

Burn on Pastor Ken Hutcherson

posted by on January 12 at 9:58 AM

As opposed to last year, when Microsoft bailed on the gay rights bill under pressure from Evangelical pastor Ken Hutcherson, this year they seem to know better.

This, Ken, is what we call a face job.

Speaking of Fierce

posted by on January 12 at 9:48 AM

I’m in a hotel room this morning that offers a choice of two bathrobes: one beige with tiger stripes, the other golden with leopard spots.

I’m wearing the tiger.

Bob is good because he’s bad

posted by on January 12 at 9:40 AM

Check it: The Art Exhibition of Our Picasso.

True, Robert Rauschenberg, 80, whose aesthetic queerness handily helped undermine the bloated macho heroism of abstract expressionism in the ’50s (“A New Jerusalem had been envisioned; a New Babylon emerged,” the Village Voice’s Jerry Saltz quipped), has never had a reputation problem.

But the chorus of critics referring now to Bob as the American Picasso aren’t just extending his respectability, they are focusing on his continuous, catholic and almost reckless production schedule, which has meant that many of his objects are crap. That’s most definitely the latent theme of this exhibition of combine paintings (they’re basically a combination of collage, assemblage, painting and sculpture), which I saw in LA last spring before it went to NY.

What I love about this line of criticism is that it rewards failure as productive and compelling, instead of priggishly policing some strange pristine territory that quickly becomes an airless death chamber. Cool.

Spice Opera

posted by on January 12 at 9:34 AM

Of all the dorky things in the dorkdom that is the Internet, this has to be the dorkiest.

Don’t Rape Her

posted by on January 12 at 9:05 AM

There are blue posters up all over the Capitol Hill—and, I assume, up or going up in other neighborhoods—with some advice for men about rape: Don’t.

A lot has been said about how to prevent rape. Women should learn self-defense. Women should lock themselves in their houses after dark. Women shouldn’t have long hair and women shouldn’t wear short skirts. Women shouldn’t leave drinks unattended. Fuck, they shouldn’t get drunk at all.

Instead of that bullshit, how about:

if a woman is drunk, don’t rape her.
if a woman is walking alone at night, don’t rape her.
if a woman is drugged and unconscious, don’t rape her.
if a woman is wearing a short skirt, don’t rape her.
if a woman is jogging in a park at 5 am, don’t rape her.
if a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend you’re still hung up on, don’t rape her.
if a woman is asleep in her bed, don’t rape her.
if a woman is asleep in your bed, don’t rape her.
if a woman is doing her laundry, don’t rape her.
if a woman is in a coma, don’t rape her.

(skipping ahead…)
don’t lecture your women friends how to be safe and avoid rape. don’t imply that she could have avoided it if she’d only done/not done x. don’t sympathize with the perpetrator. don’t imply that it was in any way her fault.

don’t like silence imply agreement when someone tells you he “got some” with the drunk girl.
don’t perpetuate a culture that tells you that you have no control or responsibility for your actions. You can, too, help yourself.


I expect the posters—wheat pasted outside a lot of clubs where women get drunk, meet men, and are well-advised not to leave their drinks unattended—will spark many conversations. I agree generally with the intentions of the authors/activists behind the posters: men shouldn’t rape women, period. And that point needs to be emphasized again and again. Rape: Wrong. Don’t do it, boys. Don’t rape drunk women, jogging women, short-skirted women, or comatose women. It shouldn’t have to be said, but as rape happens despite everyone aggreeing that it’s wrong it obviously needs to be said again and again. And, yes, men who rape are responsible for their actions—they should be arrested and locked up.

But there’s a problem with this poster’s message.

Men who commit rape—particularly the type of guys who rape comatose women, their step-daughters, or women they find in houses they’ve broken into—are not going to be dissuaded by little blue posters or the disapproval of their friends. (“John, you know that I respect you as a friend, but I have to say that I believe raping a comatose women when you’re breaking into a house is simply wrong.”) Consequently women have to be on their guard. Men shoudn’t rape, men who do should be prosecuted. But the fact that some men do rape—and some men, sadly, always will—means women do need to keep an eye on their drinks. We don’t shift the responsibility for rape to women when we urge women to take a self-defense class or avoid walking home from a club alone at 2:30 in the morning or think better of getting blind-drunk in at a frat house. It’s recognizing reality—sad, tragic, wish-it-weren’t-so reality.


posted by on January 12 at 8:23 AM

I happened to be driving down to Portland yesterday evening just as an amazing show was getting going on KEXP: “Martin Luther King and the Songs of Freedom - How Gospel Music Inspired a Movement.” I listened until, somewhere south of Tacoma, and sometime after The Death of Emmett Till, the signal fizzled out.

My God. Someone give Greg Vandy a raise. Right now. The show isn’t up in podcast format or available for audio streaming yet (as far as I can tell) but as soon as it’s available online it’s your duty as an American to listen.

And can I just say again how much I love Odetta. Maybe this reveals me to be a music naif, but I’d never heard of her until I watched that Bob Dylan documentary on PBS a few months ago. In the documentary she was slapping her guitar with a thick, flat hand and letting out a primal wail in which one could hear the entire spectrum of anger and sadness that folk musicians like Dylan would later try to pick off in manageable chunks. Vandy played Odetta’s version of The Times They Are A-Changin and I felt like that thick hand was grabbing a fistful of my shirt and pulling me right in front of Odetta’s face so she could tell me how the song was supposed to be sung. It was one of those moments when all you can do is curse, it’s so good.

(A note to the gay boys: Odetta was fierce before fierce was fey.) ((And speaking of divas.))

KEXP: I demand a rebroadcast!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

My Smobriety, Day Four: Hellllooooo, Antidepressants!

posted by on January 11 at 5:45 PM

Smobriety Charticle Four

Weight: 173 pounds

Pulse Rate: 80 beats per minute

Song Stuck In Head: “Theme From Shaft,” Isaac Hayes

Horniness Increase Since Yesterday: 74.86%

Increase in Confidence of Wellbutrin’s Potency on Author’s Part: 100%

Smoking Resumption Risk: Minty Green
(Mid-to-high; today is Author’s first day back at work at the retail job he has held for the last six of his twelve smoking years…this is where the ‘habit’ concerns start to kick in.)

Symptoms: Pointless sweating, lack of concentration, a newfound inability to read Newsweek because of the length of the articles and difficulty understanding the intellectual content therein, night sweats, one screaming nightmare, lower back pain, interest in celebrity lifestyle seems to be focusing directly on Sienna Miller’s struggle to accept Jude Law’s infidelities.

Ooooohhhh-ho-ho-ho. Man, oh, man. Whoever you are, stop reading this right now and go out and get yourself some Wellbutrin. Whooooooo! Seriously. It’s some good motherfuckin’ shit. F’real. That is all.

The Casualties of Poetry

posted by on January 11 at 5:36 PM

The cost and casualties of the war on poetry can be monitored here and here. Jen Graves, it is not what you think it’s about. It’s all about poetry and merely poetry. What proved to be the last straw was a lady poet in Vancouver BC who killed the mood of an otherwise perfect evening with her poems about something or other. This sort of thing must come to a stop!

How did that hand get covered in sprinkles, anyway?

posted by on January 11 at 5:13 PM

In the latest chapter of the hard-hitting investigation into how James Frey is a wussy drinker instead of a tough crackhead, Random House is offering refunds to anyone who bought the book directly from the publisher. Because a fake real book with a fake real root canal scene isn’t worth $14.95.

Go And Watch I Am Cuba

posted by on January 11 at 4:47 PM

I saw I Am Cuba again last night and the beauty of several scenes almost choked some tears out of my eyes. I woke up this morning with the score in my head. That sad humming, that wild country, that ride in the taxi through Havana. This is the power of cinema.

Big Meanies

posted by on January 11 at 3:28 PM

Judge Alito’s wife Martha fled the confirmation hearing in tears.

ALSO: Since the media is going to have a field day with this, no doubt portraying democrats as bullies in the process, Atrios is right to say:

…I appreciate that Alito’s wife may geuinely find this stressful and bummer for her, but I just can’t stand the fact that our media which can’t seem to understand that people who support groups which try to reduce women an minorities on campus, who rule in favor of warrantless searches of 10 year old girls, who will likely declare the uterus state property, who shoot down almost any racial discrimination claim, and who support the practice of striking jurors based on their race might cause a few tears as well.

The media keeps declaring these hearings to be just political theater, and then they focus on the soap opera.

This. Shit. Matters. Pretend you care, or get new goddamn jobs.


Presidential Fallout

posted by on January 11 at 3:20 PM

Earlier this week, supporters of council presidential hopeful Jean Godden proposed forcing a vote on the presidency while Tom Rasmussen, part of a four-member council bloc supporting Richard Conlin, was out of the country, giving Godden the presidency by a 4-3 majority. (Ever since Conlin supporter Jim Compton resigned, the council’s remaining eight members have been split 4-4 between Conlin and Godden.) Today, Rasmussen’s staff confirmed that he is cutting his vacation short, coming back from Ecuador a week early to weigh in on the decision. Rasmussen’s return brings the council back to its previous 4-4 deadlock, solving nothing. Personally, I think Jean Godden should pay for his ticket.

Miming Jesus lost forever?

posted by on January 11 at 3:19 PM

Israel is now refusing to negotiate with Pat Robertson over his beloved Biblical Theme Park because of Robertson’s callous (yet unsurprising) criticism of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon following Sharon’s stroke last week.

Blaming Sharon’s stroke on his decision to pull Israelites from the Gaza Strip, Robertson said:

“He was dividing God’s land, and I would say: ‘Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course’… God says: ‘This land belongs to me, and you’d better leave it alone’.”

Today on Robertson’s show, God added, “This land belongs to me, and also I demand a theme park. Where is my flock of miming Jesuses with their hilariously oversized, bobbing heads? I will bitch slap you, Israel.”

Fortunately, Avi Hartuv, who works in Israel’s tourism ministery, has clarified Israel’s position for God and man:

“We will not do business with [Robertson] - only with other evangelicals who don’t back these comments,” he said. “We will do business with other evangelical leaders, friends of Israel, but not with him.”

My Platform (Shoes)

posted by on January 11 at 3:15 PM

I’m for vocal debates, educated voters, boys in eyeliner, brown rice, lap dancers, art, Hong Kong, privacy, thank-you notes on nice stationery, belly buttons, abortion rights, urban landscapes, electro-pop, loyal friends, wetsuits, the right words at the right time, and love.

Timeless Aphorism by E.M. Cioran

posted by on January 11 at 2:59 PM

From my favorite book by my favorite Romanian philosopher: “History—irony on the move.”

Brad’s bun in the Jolie oven…

posted by on January 11 at 2:41 PM

And baby makes three, or, in the case of this new celebrity family, five.

Chuck Norris Action Cords

posted by on January 11 at 1:33 PM

Last month I posted about these Chuck Norris jokes bouncing around the internet.

Today this was pointed out to me.

Life is beautiful.

My Platform

posted by on January 11 at 1:03 PM

I’m for a piano in every home. I’m also for doing knife-hits of weed and beating on said piano for hours.

I’m for documentaries. I truly believe they can save the world. Recent faves include Overnight, Devil’s Playground and Grizzly Man. Looking forward to seeing Grey Gardens, Vernon, Florida and Born Into Brothels.

I’m for 30-minute showers and all-day naps.

I’m for calling bullshit on the whole divisive red state/blue state concept. If you look at a county by county continuous-spectrum map you realize we’re all varying shades of purple.

I’m for lingus in its variety of forms.

And I’m for hippies. There. I said it.

Hitchcock Extravaganza

posted by on January 11 at 12:49 PM

Seattle Art Museum may have vacated its downtown building, but its winter film series, curated by Greg Olson, is still happening at the Museum of History and Industry in beautiful lowland Montlake (psst: it’s a better theater anyway). While you’re in Montlake, you should definitely stop in at Mont’s Market on 24th, which is the fanciest and most delicious convenience store in the city.

The series starts tomorrow with The Lady Vanishes at 7:30 pm, not The Thirty-Nine Steps as was previously announced (and as appears in the Film Shorts section this week). Next week is Rebecca, and The Thirty-Nine Steps scoots back to the 26th. Also, rumor has it that Hitchcock’s daughter Patricia may stop in for the March 9 screening of Strangers on a Train.

Series tickets available through the SAM box office: 654-3121.

No Americanization

posted by on January 11 at 12:28 PM

Barbie submits and converts to Islam.

Microsoft’s Role in the Finkbeiner Reversal

posted by on January 11 at 12:20 PM

Here’s an interesting political tidbit that I didn’t have room for in my article about Republican State Senator Bill Finkbeiner’s decision to endorse the gay civil rights bill this year:

As you might remember, there was a big shit storm when the gay civil rights bill went down last year. What set it off was The Stranger’s revelation that Microsoft had decided to withdraw its support for the bill, after being pressured by an eastisde evangelical pastor named Ken Hutcherson. The idea that one religious fundamentalist could convince one of the most powerful corporations in America to reverse its position on gay rights fed straight into the post-election fear that evangelicals were taking over the country, and the story became big national — even international — news. After a ton of embarrassing publicity and blogosphere pressure, Microsoft reversed its reversal and pledged it would support the gay rights bill this year.

What does this have to do with Finkbeiner? Well, Finkbeiner’s district includes Redmond, where Microsoft is headquartered, which makes him Microsoft’s man in the state senate. So did Microsoft’s about-face on gay rights have anything to do with Finkbeiner’s about-face on gay rights? Did Microsoft make good on its promise to lobby for the bill this year by pressuring Finkbeiner to change his vote?

“They did,” Finkbeiner told me on Monday. “As much as they talked to me about anything except transportation, this was it.”

However, Finkbeiner took pains not to appear too deep in Microsoft’s pocket and said that the decision, in the end, was his own: “I put a lot more weight on what my constituents would think about this issue than I did on what Microsoft would think about it.”

Still, for those wondering whether all the blogosphere pressure (scroll down to “Microsoft Abandons Gays, or Gates-Gate,” left hand column) worked, and whether Microsoft made good on its promise to push the bill this year, the answer seems to be a resounding yes.

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

posted by on January 11 at 11:42 AM

Last night, some friends and I agreed to reread “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” the story I usually dredge up to counter the fashionable dismissal of Hemingway as a drooling, half-literate boob.

I was surprised by how much I had forgotten about the very short story. I like to think I forgot so I could enjoy rediscovering its sweet, sad sentences, from “Our nada who art in nada, nada be thy name…” to “an old man is a nasty thing” to this exchange, which I intend to forget before the day is through:

“Last week he tried to commit suicide,” one waiter said.
“He was in despair.”
“What about?”
“How do you know it was nothing?”
“He has plenty of money.”

That kills me.

I Hate the Word “Buzz”…

posted by on January 11 at 11:25 AM

…and the phrase “writer’s writer” is dumb too, but I was happy to see that Charles D’Ambrosio’s new book, being published by Knopf in April, is at the “top of nearly every list” of books expected to be big this spring, at least according to this. The book is called The Dead Fish Museum and it will have eight stories in it, six of them first published in The New Yorker. I’m admittedly biased — D’Ambrosio has written for The Stranger, he came up from Portland to be in our huge Chop Suey literary event last April, I’ve been in his house — but it’s true, it can’t be denied: his stories are awesome.

Don’t Kiss the Chicken

posted by on January 11 at 11:05 AM

Girl Gets Bird Flu After Kissing Chicken By BENJAMIN HARVEY, Associated Press Writer

VAN, Turkey Sumeyya Mamuk considered the chickens in her backyard to be beloved pets. The 8-year-old girl fed them, petted them and took care of them. When they started to get sick and die, she hugged them and tenderly kissed them goodbye. The next morning, her face and eyes were swollen and she had a high fever. Her father took her to a hospital, and five days later she was confirmed to have the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu. “The chickens were sick. One had puffed up and she touched it. We told her not to. She loved chickens a lot,” her father, Abdulkerim Mamuk, said of the second youngest of his eight children. “She held them in her arms.” Her oldest brother, Sadun, said Sumeyya loved animals and took care of puppies and kittens in Van’s Yalim Erez neighborhood. When her mother saw Sumeyya holding one of the dying chickens, she yelled at her and hit the girl to get her away. Sumeyya began to cry. She wiped her tears with the hand she’d been using to comfort the dying chicken. “She wiped her face,” said her father, speaking in broken Turkish and wearing a leather jacket and a typical Kurdish headdress in their bright, clean home. “She started to swell. She had a really high fever.” Following a few tense days when her family worried if she would recover, Summeya’s condition has improved due to quick treatment with the antiviral drug Tamiflu, said Dr. Huseyin Avni Sahin, chief physician at the Van 100th Year Hospital. But at least two other children have died of the same virus in Turkey, and as of Tuesday, 15 people had tested positive for infection in preliminary tests.

Twisted Lindsay

posted by on January 11 at 11:04 AM

Less than one week after her admission of battling bulimia hit newsstands, celebrity teen Lindsay Lohan has gone on the defensive, telling Teen People she’s never battled bulimia and that “[t]he words that I gave to the writer for Vanity Fair were misused and misconstrued.”

Vanity Fair stands by its reporting, citing its audio-taping of the entire Lohan interview. Full stupid story here.

Humor Heals

posted by on January 11 at 10:36 AM

Josh Friedman is a screenwriter whose blog ”I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing” never fails to be entertaining.

Recently, a tumor was discovered on Friedman’s kidney, and he’s started blogging about his ordeal in an inspired, often hilarious, way. Do yourself a favor and give the entire blog a read. Here’s a taste:

Here’s the deal: I had a malignant tumor growing on my left kidney. I use the past tense because on December 27th I had what is known as a partial lower nephrectomy. Removed from my body were: a malignant tumor some two and a half inches around, approximately 10% of my kidney, and half of my eleventh rib. The rib was a surprise. I remained in the hospital five days, and have been home since New Year’s Day recovering. I have an eight inch incision in my side. I cannot drive, lift my son, sit up in bed, or sneeze without crying.

Biopsies performed during the surgery indicate the cancer had not spread. I will be scanned every 3-6 months for the next five years but will require no chemotherapy and no radiation for this particular cancer. Without being too dramatic about it, there is a very good chance my bout with food poisoning saved my life. Which goes to show, if you see a taco stand and it looks even the least bit sketchy, get in line.


posted by on January 11 at 10:15 AM

With the exception of that time I made it plain about Queen, I don’t typically post about music.

However, I’ve got to make it plain about the circle of trust, the downright beloved community that will be bringing some freedom high to the Lo Fi Performance Gallery at 429 Eastlake Ave. E this Saturday night, January 14.

Six DJs billing themselves as the Emerald City Soul Club will be spinning ’60s soul records for the masses.

I’m only judging by the nice-looking brown and green poster that’s got a picture of an early-60s girl group—three beehive ladies who are definitely a few of God’s beautiful creatures— but this show looks promising.

As SNCC Chairman Stokely Carmichael once said: “Martin, I deliberately decided to raise this issue on the march in order to give it a national forum and force you to take a stand for Black Power.”

It’s not the 24 days straight of rain…

posted by on January 11 at 9:28 AM

…It’s the fact that for once in my life my great love and a great job can both be in the same city that yes, I am leaving the Stranger. As I’ve told people at the paper many times in the past 24 hours, it was a heartbreaking decision to quit—one that made me perform the most dreaded of Maerz actions, getting all mushy and upset at work—as I truly believe the paper is the best place I’ve ever had the chance to work. The writers, the editors, the art production people, the artists, the sales people, the accountants, the management…it’s a highly qualified, fun, engaging group of people and I am very lucky to have worked here for almost four years. It’s the dysfunctional family I was promised and I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. That’s not even mentioning how much I love being involved with the Seattle music scene—a music scene that rivals any other city in the country for excellence, enthusiasm, invention of new ideas, and just a shitload of stellar people working their asses off to make it shine.

But at the end of the month, I’m off to San Francisco, the city I moved here from in the first place, to both live closer to my boyfriend and to be the music editor of the SF Weekly. There are a lot of really great people at that paper too, and I’m thrilled that they’ve hired me to join their staff. It should be a lot of fun, and I’m hoping to see a lot of Seattle bands tour through the Bay Area.

I’ll be here until the end of the month, after which Dave Segal will be the new music editor. Dave was my editor at AP magazine before I moved to Seattle, and he definitely knows his shit—as anyone who’s read his stuff already knows. He’s an excellent writer and editor, and has opened up the city to whole new genres of music that were never covered to any degree of depth before. I have utmost confidence in his abilities.

So before I write a book on the Slog, I’ll save the rest of my thoughts on all this for a farewell piece, and say thanks to the Stranger and Seattle in general for making my run here so difficult to give up (it took me a year of being engaged to realize maybe it’s time to live closer to my man). Oh, and I will not miss the 24 days straight of rain.

The Elements of Style

posted by on January 11 at 9:17 AM

Rule #1: Always place the most upsetting words at the end of your headline.

Speaking of upsettingly misplaced meat, last night I saw a commercial for eBay, featuring the word it spelled in eBay’s chunky font, cut out of a four-inch-high chunks of steak sizzling on a grill. It’s really hard to explain, but it’s totally puke-inducing. (Did you know thick letters cut out of steak jiggle like Jello?)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

McDonald’s Gospelfest?!? Right Here in Seattle? OMG!

posted by on January 10 at 4:27 PM

Bust out those choir robes, kids, McDonald’s Gospelfest is coming to town!

Hi Dan,

For the first time ever, McDonald’s Gospelfest is coming to the Pacific Northwest! Did you know that there are over 4000 churches in Western Washington alone?  But Gospelfest participants don’t come from just churches; the competition this year includes adult and youth choirs, soloists, groups (2-8 people) and praise dancers. McDonald’s Gospelfest Seattle supports the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Washington Scholarship program, which last year donated over $75,000 to graduating high school seniors.

Auditions are being held the first week of February throughout the region. If you are interested in this new, exciting event, please feel free to contact me anytime.

Best Regards,

Katie Lindstrom
DDB Public Relations

Praise dancers? I’m not into gospel music, but I would pay cash money to watch some praise dancers dance all, you know, praisefully and shit. Perhaps the lap dancers the city is trying to put out of work should open a church where men can go and get the laps praised on.

Who’ll Stop the Rain?

posted by on January 10 at 3:52 PM

Tuesday was the 23rd consecutive day of rain in Seattle, 10 below the record set in 1953.

Horny Geniuses of Letters?

posted by on January 10 at 3:07 PM

After filing this post, I wondered: Who is writing quality erotica in the 21st century? Which current writers are stimulating brains and loins with equal potency? Is anybody filling De Sade’s formidably kinky boots (with extravagantly lubricious prose, I mean)? Does a modern-day Henry Miller wax phallocentric among us? I’ve become out of touch (so to speak) with this branch of literature. Can anybody point to some future classics of the genre?

Eugene O’Neil Simon QUIZ!

posted by on January 10 at 2:15 PM

Last week, Stranger theater editor Brendan Kiley made a mistake worthy of lifelong shame, somehow confusing Neil Simon with Eugene O’Neill. Brendan made a prompt apology, but can a mere apology suffice? Of course not, hence this quiz, through which Brendan will confirm his new and thorough understanding of these two ridiculously distinctive playwrights. Feel free to join in the fun!

From the Archives

posted by on January 10 at 1:02 PM

JT Leroy — or “JT Leroy,” as the case may be — wrote a great piece for The Stranger once, back when he was writing under the name “The Terminator.” Here it is.

Also, there’s been some talk on the Slog lately about James Frey, who wrote an audience review for The Stranger in 2004. Check it out.


posted by on January 10 at 12:47 PM

I just got an e-mail from The Popcorn Board (!) informing me that January 19th is National Popcorn Day. Begin planning your parties accordingly.

Thank God We Live in a Two-Newspaper Town

posted by on January 10 at 12:17 PM

From today’s Times:

“Sweet Start to Session Ends Quickly”

And today’s P-I:
“Opening Session Not So Sweet”

My Smobriety, Day Three: Ennuijaculations

posted by on January 10 at 12:13 PM

Smobriety Charticle Three

Weight: 175 pounds

Pulse: 58 beats per minute

Smoking Resumption Risk:
Blue (low to intermediate risk)*

Unusual Ejaculations: None

Song Stuck In Head: “Stand By Your Man,” Tammy Wynette

Symptoms: In-freakin’-somnia, slight agitation, lack of concentration, the ability to talk for minutes without even realizing that I’m speaking, continued fascination with the lives and lifestyles of celebrities, especially celebrities who are getting married or divorced, intense back and neck pain.

*And, yes, this is the replacement for the Presidential Mood-O-Meter. Yes, the presidents I chose did have a meaning, (Van Buren, for instance, was obsessed with the Post Office, spending more time than any other president regulating it, and yesterday stamps went up to 39 cents) but the only people who would find them meaningful would be me and possibly Sarah Vowell. Today’s president, if you care, would of course be Jimmy Carter, who falsely claimed to be a transsexual truck stop whore before running for governor of Georgia, and then lied about being wanted in three states while running for president.

You know what? The act of quitting smoking is boring. By which I mean to say that quitting smoking is itself very, very dull. It’s like playing Tetris or Space Invaders on the first level forever: a thought drops into my head: “Cigarette would be nice right now. Cigarette’s what I do right now.” And then I think, “I don’t do that anymore.” And that’s it, the thought goes away. Which is fine, it’s pretty easy to do, it’s kind of like cult retraining, except it happens a thousand times a day, so it gets really monotonous.
And The Bupe is…well, it’s fine. It’s kind of hard for me to say where I’d be without the Happy Pills. None of the sexual side effects have happened, and, in fact, besides the insomnia, none of the signs of the bupropion actually working have kicked in. Which makes me wonder…apparently, it takes anywhere between five days and two weeks to kick in. I started on the third. Which means I could kind of be doing this cold turkey. If I don’t start lactating root beer or something equally fantastic really soon, I’m gonna feel gypped.
Oh, wait! There is an unusual ejaculation story, after the jump…

Continue reading "My Smobriety, Day Three: Ennuijaculations" »

Absurdity and the Newspaper Mode of Production

posted by on January 10 at 11:30 AM

It’s a funny thing to work in an industry where day after day, I can wake up to articles, like this one by Michael Kinsely in Slate, that explain why my industry’s modes of production no longer make sense.

But here’s what’s funnier: Blogging about it.

James Frey: Not a Badass :(

posted by on January 10 at 11:29 AM

For anyone who read A Million Little Pieces, The Smoking Gun’s expose on James Frey and his wild ways is a fascinating read.

I zipped through the book quite a while ago (before Oprah, thankyouverymuch), and even though I thought it was a thrilling and disgusting page-turner (oh my god, his teeth! I cringed for days!), Frey’s bravado struck me as false in some places, and TSG finally reveals why: his non-fiction accounts of his own badassary have more than a bit of fiction to them. This article is nearly a novel itself, but worth the read if you have time.

Some highlights: Here is Frey’s account in A Million Little Pieces of his arrest in Ohio that resulted in charges of Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Assaulting an Officer of the Law, Felony DUI, Disturbing the Peace, Resisting Arrest, Driving Without a License, Driving Without Insurance, Attempted Incitement of a Riot, Possession of a Narcotic with Intent to Distribute, and Felony Mayhem.

As I was driving up, I saw her standing out front with a few of her friends. I was staring at her and not paying attention to the road and I drove up onto a sidewalk and hit a Cop who was standing there. I didn’t hit him hard because I was only going about five miles an hour, but I hit him. The Cop called for backup and I sat in the car and stared at her and waited. The backup came and they approached the car and asked me to get out and I said you want me out, then get me out, you fucking Pigs. They opened the door, I started swinging, and they beat my ass with billy clubs and arrested me. As they hauled me away kicking and screaming, I tried to get the crowd to attack them and free me, which didn’t happen.

What a badass. In the book, this stunt lands Frey in jail for three months.

Now, here is the arresting officer, Sergeant Dave Dudgeon’s police report from that incident, as reported by TSG:

While on foot patrol at about 11 PM on October 24, Dudgeon was standing in front of a knick-knack store called the Tole House when he spotted a 1989 white Mercury pull out of a nearby bank parking lot. The driver then attempted to park in a no parking zone directly across the street from the Granville firehouse and a few doors down from a bar/pizzeria popular with Denison students. The vehicle’s right front tire rolled up onto the curb, missing a power pole by just a few inches.
Dudgeon, then 32 and on the Granville force for 3-1/2 years, approached the car and told Frey that he was in a no parking zone. Dudgeon noticed that Frey was slurring his words, his eyes were bloodshot and glassy, and he smelled of alcohol. There was also a half-full, 12-ounce bottle of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer between the car’s bucket seats. After Frey exited the Mercury at Dudgeon’s request, the cop administered several field sobriety tests, which Frey failed. Dudgeon then arrested the 23-year-old. Since Dudgeon was on foot, a second cop came and drove Frey the few blocks to police headquarters. There, Patrolman Charles Maneely reported, Frey declined to take a blood alcohol test.
Since headquarters did not have a cell or any kind of secured holding area, Cartnal explained, Frey would have been placed in a paneled room with chairs and a fold-up table upon which sat the department’s Breathalyzer machine. And Frey would not have been handcuffed unless he was being unruly, added Cartnal.
Frey was issued two traffic tickets, one for driving under the influence and another for driving without a license, and a separate misdemeanor criminal summons for having that open container of Pabst. He was directed to appear in Mayor’s Court in 10 days. Frey was then released on $733 cash bond, according to the report, which was written at 4 AM on October 25. So, Frey’s time in custody did not exceed five hours.
I read a lot; fiction, non-fiction, speculative fiction, journalism—I love it all equally. But it pisses me off when a genre is misrepresented like this. Frey’s novel still holds merit as a work of fiction, but it definitely loses its punch when you discover your gutsy badass protagonist was really a soccer playing frat boy (as TSG also reveals) with—yes—a drinking problem, but also with a vivid imagination and impeccable manners.

Oh, and what I’m for: bacon, puppies, and running.

Country Boys

posted by on January 10 at 11:17 AM

PBS is apparently doing an adolescent-boys-in-crisis series this week, with the miniseries documentary Country Boys yesterday through Wednesday and a doc on troubled urban boys called Raising Cain Thursday night. I don’t approve of the conceit generally—seems like a modified version of that perennial (and perennially overrated) crisis in masculinity to me—but Country Boys is good for other reasons.

The series follows two high schools students named Cody and Chris who live in the hollows of Appalachian Kentucky. Their lives are tough—Cody’s father shot his stepmother and then himself when Cody was 12; Chris’s father is an alcoholic who can’t hold down a job. So far the politics of the region are addressed only obliquely, but it was fascinating to see Cody, who talks through a Heath Ledger-style lockjaw, arguing with a friend about whether government was good or bad. (Cody came down pro, and to illustrate his point he mimed shooting his friend in the head and said that without government he would experience no repercussions.) What was really eye-opening for me was to see how thoroughly religion was woven into the public alternative high school the boys attend. Prayers open the graduation ceremony, a science teacher says humans shouldn’t be cloned because you shouldn’t mess with God’s creation. The Supreme Court has no clout here.

You can watch yesterday’s episode online here; tonight’s episode airs in Seattle at 9 pm on PBS.

Sharon: More Popular Than the Beatles?

posted by on January 10 at 10:49 AM

There is an urban legend that crime dropped precipitously in New York City for one hour on Feb 9, 1964—when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show.

It appears, however, that Ariel Sharon has achieved what the Beatles couldn’t. From the UK’s Times:

Burglaries, car thefts and other crimes have more than halved since Israelis began gluing themselves to television sets for news on the health of Ariel Sharon, their ailing Prime Minister.
In the first three days after Mr Sharon’s stroke only 865 burglaries were reported, compared to 1,739 in the corresponding period last year. Police attributed the fall to the fact that householders and would-be burglars have been preoccupied with their Prime Minister’s fight for life.

Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on January 10 at 10:29 AM

A lot of the mail at Savage Love is from readers who aren’t happy with something I’ve written. Which is fine—it’s advice, not gospel, and advice, according to Webster’s, “is an opinion about what could or should be done,” and people are free to disagree with my opinions and share their own. (They’re also free to go get their own damn advice columns.) But sometimes people send me letters that make me want to reach through the ether and slap their faces. Like this one:

I can’t believe you wrote this, Dan: “Stereotypical straight women, as every man knows, like to get little calls, you know, just ‘cause.”

Excuse me, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. That is a stereotype!!!

I’m a straight woman and I HATE talking on the phone. I would much rather have my car fixed or my face cum on.


Golly, it’s stereotyping to say that women like to talk on the phone? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO shit, Krista. And guess what? There was a clue in the column that made it pretty clear that I knew that already. Slowly re-read this sentence and see if you can spot the evidence that I’m knowingly employing a stereotype about women: “Stereotypical straight women, as every man knows, like to get little calls, you know, just ‘cause.”


20th Century Manicaland

posted by on January 10 at 10:24 AM

While reading for the third time Tsitisi Dangarembga’s novel Nervous Condition, which was published in 1988 and is set in in the 60s in the region of Manicaland, Zimbabwe, home of my tribe the Chimanicas, I came across this wonderful passage: “An enterprising owner of one of the tuckshops…introduced a gramophone into his shop so that the youth could entertain themselves with music and dancing. They played the new rhumba that, as popular music will, pointed unsystematic fingers at the conditions of the times: ‘I’ll beat you if you keep asking for your money,’ ‘Father, I’m jobless, give me money for roora,’ [roora is money paid for a bride] ‘My love, why have you taken a second wife?’ There was swaying hips, stamping of feet, to the pulse of these social facts.” The first two of the three samples of afro-pop need no explanation. The third (“a second wife”) concerns the modernization process, the crumbling of an older, African order and the emergence of a new, Christian-based one. The passage from Nervous Condition is important not only because I’m related to its author (we share the same totem) but also because it shows how any historical study of late-20th century African culture is useless or incomplete with the exclusion of its popular music. This is not true for all cultures; some require only written materials for the reconstruction of a given time. With Africans, particularly from the southern nations, you must listen to the music.
The same is also true for post-independence Jamaicans, whose history is nowhere else but in popular music—listen to Horace Andy’s ‘National Heroes’ or Johnny Clarke’s “Declaration of Human Rights.” Another excellent example is this sad song by the great Gregory Isaacs (the Lonely Lover) “Front Door”: “I gave her back the key to her front door/ because it seemed she didn’t care about me any more/I gave her all the love I had and she spilled it/So I packed my things into a shopping bag and decided to quit.” The opening of “Front Door” contains two significant “social facts”: one, the the singer survives in a capitalist economy (shopping bag); two, extreme poverty determines the singer’s reality (he can fit all of his belongings into a shopping bag).
I want to say more on this subject, as there are more examples from Zimbabwean and Jamaican pop, but I fear it’s not a very interesting topic for most of you.

Xanax is for relaxing

posted by on January 10 at 10:15 AM

Apparently, art museums are good for you.

Kind of like Mozart. Except that classical music has been hailed as relaxing and healthy for years, and that has only harmed classical music by convincing everyone it’s totally boring and giving conductors and orchestras cause to make it ever more boring, harming it even more. Why is relaxation always the only measure of health? Why isn’t it just as healthy to get good and riled up over something, get a little color in your cheeks?

Unfortunately, art often seems to be complicit in what has become a loser race to relaxation. I was at Seattle Art Museum on its final day last week, wandering with the hushed crowds through the Tiffany show. The lamps were gorgeous, even titillating. But what was interesting, frustrating, and above all, worth talking about, was the show’s (unstated) range. Because, as I discovered, Tiffany was a terrible painter, truly terrible. Of course, organizers want the show to hang together, to form a respectable whole, and that doesn’t allow for frank talk about the artist’s ability levels in various mediums. Yet for my money, that debate would have been more fun, smarter, and virtually packed with vitamins and minerals.

Awake with the Wind

posted by on January 10 at 9:29 AM

There were howling wolves outside my apartment all night.

I live on the top floor of a six-story building, in the corner, and all night long the wind howled like you wouldn’t believe — long, irregular, animal-like wails as it whipped around across the brick and terra cotta features of my building. I usually sleep like a bag of rocks. The building is on one of the busiest intersections in Seattle and I’m used to noise — ambulances, crack heads shouting at each other, jackhammers on Sunday mornings, all of it. This wind was loud, hellish, and unrelenting. I’d say I got less than an hour of good sleep. After a while I went and tried to sleep on my couch away from any windows. I could still hear it, and I don’t really fit on that couch. Then I went back to bed and opened the window above my head just a crack, thinking maybe there was just a problem with air pressure, that if I opened my window the sound would die. This was just before dawn. The blinds lifted in the rush of air and flags of cold wind ran through me and ruffled the sheets and the noise, if anything, got louder. It’s morning and I’m exhausted. I feel like I’ve been beat up by wolves.

Men’s Abortion Rights

posted by on January 10 at 9:23 AM

The New York Times keeps John Tierney’s column behind their “Times Select” firewall, so you’ll either have to pick up a copy of the paper or surf around a bit and find someone who has posted the entire column on the web. But everyone who is pro-choice should read his column today. In “Men’s Abortion Rights,” Tierney walks folks through this controversial idea: Just as women should be able to accept or reject maternity, men should be able to accept or reject paternity.

If the pro-choice side adopted a gender-neutral policy, then either the man or the woman would have the right to say no to parenthood. I don’t’ know of anyone advocating that a woman be required to have an abortion, but there’s another right that could be given to a man who impregnates a woman who isn’t his wife. If the woman decided to go ahead and have the child, she would have to notify him and give him the option early in the pregnancy of absolving himself of any financial responsibility for the child.

This option to have a “financial abortion” has been advocated by a few iconoclasts—not all of them men with child support payments…

After years of getting letters at “Savage Love” from teenage boys asking me if they’re fucked—i.e. on the hook for 18 years of child support payments—when their knocked-up girlfriends decide to go ahead and have the baby, the right to a financial abortion makes sense to me, and I’m not a man making child support payments. It’s a sexist stereotype that all boys who knock up girls were negligent or abusive and are therefore to blame: I’ve heard from boys whose girlfriends swore they were on the pill when they were not; from boys whose girlfriends swore they were pro-choice and would have an abortion and then changed their minds. Not all men are dogs and not all women are righteous—there are women who entrap men, depriving them of their right to make up their own minds about whether or not they’re ready to become parents. So to me it seems only fair that boys, as well has girls, be given the same right to choose.

When I’ve floated the idea to friends (I also touched on the subject in The Kid), I’ve been told that boys do have a choice—they can choose not to have sex. If a boy chooses to have sex, well, he has to accept the consequences, doesn’t he? That language, however, smacks of the rhetoric the rights uses when it argues against a woman’s right to choose an abortion—hell, it is the rhetoric the right uses to argue against abortion. “Not ready for parenthood? Then don’t have sex.” How can that be sexist when the anti-choice crowd says it to girls and progressive when pro-choicers say it to boys?

Maybe I’m just so enamored of the rhetoric of choice and the equality of the sexes that I support—at least in concept (there are a lot of details that would have to be worked out)—a man’s right to a financial abortion. Women and men should both be able to choose when and how they become parents, and the ability or willingness of the male to chose fatherhood is certainly something a woman should weigh when she’s deciding whether or not to chose motherhood.

Would a man’s decision to reject paternity have a coercive affect, nudging a woman toward making the choice to have an abortion? Yes, it certainly would—but what’s wrong with that? Again, the willingness of the man involved to actually be the father—emotionally and financially—is something that a woman should consider when she’s deciding whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.

More from Tierney:

If it were just a question of the woman’s rights versus the man’s rights, I’d go along… But if the man gets a financial abortion and the woman goes ahead with the pregnancy, someone else’s rights still need to be considered: the child would be suffering because of the parents’ decisions.

Tierney assumes that the child of woman who goes ahead with the pregnancy is going to live in poverty. But he overlooks the other choice a pregnant woman whose partner has chosen financial abortion can make: she can choose to place her child for adoption.

But He’s Our Psycho

posted by on January 10 at 8:10 AM

George W. Bush is a dangerous lunatic—who knew?

Thomas Friedman did, actually. In a NYT column in 2002, Friedman wrote: “There is a lot about the Bush team’s foreign policy I don’t like, but their willingness… to be as crazy as some of our enemies, is one thing they have right.”

The Shock of Deluise-Related Lust

posted by on January 10 at 8:00 AM

So there I was, enjoying an Arby’s commercial wedged between segments of Wife Swap when I noticed the guy in the Arby’s commercial was easy on the eye. I’d seen him before, in a Beneful dog food commercial, and here he was again, with his lunky goodlooks and meaty frame. Then it hit me: I was having impure thoughts about a Deluise.

For those born after the 1970s, the horror of having erotic thoughts about anything even remotely related to Dom Deluise will be hard to fathom. And David Deluise isn’t just RELATED to Dom Deluise—he was shot out of the end of Dom Deluise’s penis! He is the spawn of Dom.

Nevertheless, he’s dreamy. His acting career doesn’t look like much, building from such resume-padding roles as “Fratguy” in 2002’s Buying the Cow to the ostensible peak of 2003’s Bachelor Man. (For extra fun, read the back of the DVD case. Holy fuck!)

Still, he’s got such expressive eyebrows. He’s nice to waitresses. He looks nice with a beard. He even looks okay rendered in Claymation (though I’ve got a bad feeling about that hook). Sometimes it seems like he might even be a homosexual.

But no, he’s been married. And it looks like he’s capable of being an asshole. But that’s part of his Deluisey appeal.

I live in shame.

Alaska Air Abuses Doggies

posted by on January 10 at 6:39 AM

But, really, why should Alaska treat their canine passengers any better than they treat their human passengers?

The Shock of Metal-Related Horrors

posted by on January 10 at 12:52 AM

No, I’m not talking about my shameful recommendation of last year’s Def Leppard concert (I already apologized for that), but the fact that this CD actually exists. An acoustic version of the Scorpions’ “Rock You Like a Hurricane”? The resurrection of Nelson?! Someone over at VH1 Classics needs to be given paper cuts in the webbing between their toes.

Monday, January 9, 2006

Today’s Council Intrigue

posted by on January 9 at 8:08 PM

As well-dressed city dignitaries and council spouses filed into council chambers to witness the ceremonical swearing-in of four reelected city council members and one mayor this afternoon, the council itself was mired in intrigue so thick that at one point it was unclear whether the show would go on at all.

The source of today’s frenzied, hush-hush negotiations was a position so obscure that probably no more than one out of ten citizens can say who currently holds the post, but so coveted it has caused serious acrimony between long-term colleagues: the council presidency, currently held by Jan Drago but sought by both two-term incumbent Richard Conlin and first-term council member Jean Godden. Drago, who was supposed to surrender the post today, will hold on to the position until the council can agree on a new ceremonial leader; currently, the council’s eight remaining members (minus Jim Compton) are split 4-4 between Godden and Conlin, and no one seems willing to budge.

Enter Tom Rasmussen, the quiet, hard-working Conlin supporter whose ongoing vacation in Ecuador left the council with a 4-3 majority in favor of Godden on Monday, its first meeting after a three-week recess. Rasmussen’s long-planned trip ignited a flurry of conspiracy theories in December, when Conlin supporters expressed concern that Godden (or Drago, a strong Godden supporter) would force a vote while Rasmussen was out of reach. Such a vote, the city attorney’s office has confirmed, would be legally defensible.

As of Friday, Conlin and Godden were working on a deal under which Godden would cede the presidency in exchange for new committee responsibilities. This morning, however, the council remained in deadlock, with four members each supporting Godden and Conlin. All that changed around 11:30, when council members and staff got wind of a plan by Godden’s supporters (Drago, Godden, David Della, and Richard McIver) to force a vote on the presidency, giving Godden a 4-3 majority. Soon the entire council hallway was awash in intrigue, with each faction meeting in frantic closed-door meetings, separating briefly into their individual offices, then reconvening for yet another meeting a few minutes later. (I personally saw Nick Licata, Peter Steinbrueck, and Conlin retreat into three meetings in three different council offices over the course of an hour.) Council members were pissed at other council members, council staffers were pissed at other staff, and all the while the 2:00 deadline approached when everyone would have to file into council chambers and make nice while friends and family members administered the ceremonial oath of office.

A vote today, Conlin supporter Licata told me about an hour before the meeting, “would certainly violate the spirit of democracy. This seems to be taking direct advantage of [Rasmussen] being gone.” Peter Steinbrueck, who appeared simultaneously livid and bemused at the whole debacle, told me angrily that “there is nothing to justify such an underhanded approach.” He added, “This is not the time or the place to be having a political brawl. It’s supposed to be a day of celebration.”

Finally, the deadlock broke. Conlin, Steinbrueck and Licata threatened to walk out of the meeting. That would leave just four members - one member less than the quorum required to hold a council meeting. That would cancel the swearing-in, embarrass the current council president, Drago, and give Rasmussen - who was unreachable all day today, and presumably had no idea what was going on in his absence - a chance to come back from his vacation early or negotiate with his colleagues about when a vote might happen. Drago, recognizing that such a spectacle would not be “good for the council or the city,” agreed to vote against any motion to choose the president without Rasmussen present, and the whole issue was tabled until at least next week. And life went on.

What all this ultimately means for the council, however, is still less than clear. Both Conlin and Godden are compromised now, both by their political maneuverings and by the lack of consensus for either candidate. “Both Richard and Jean are going to have challenges mending fences and rebuilding relationships,” Steinbrueck told me. That gives rise, yet again, to the possibility that a third “compromise” candidate, such as Nick Licata, could take the position - a possibility no one appears to be ruling out.

The Really Cool Thing About Finkbeiner’s Decision is This

posted by on January 9 at 7:45 PM

After passing Murray’s civil rights bill, the Democrats will finally be forced to get some new issues. Beyond being pro-choice & pro-gay rights, I can’t really figure out what Deomocrats stand for.

I Cram 2 Understand U

posted by on January 9 at 6:53 PM

Attn: Dave Segal-
I think I have that female MC you were looking for right here.

You people think Tacoma is uncivilized?

posted by on January 9 at 6:06 PM

Yeah, I’m the new visual art editor (I’m told the official title is Visual Art Editor). At least we think I am. But on to something about which I am not a miserable knownothing, and that is the house tour my partner and I went on this weekend with our smashing German realtor.

1. Lesbian Kingdom, Renton Ave. Parade of bare-breasted Amazons and goddesses: welcome distraction from dilapidated dullhouse in dim neighborhood.

2. Swamp country at the base of Madison Valley. Really. But a plump blue parrot named Alex almost made up for it. He has his own bedroom. (I hope he doesn’t have to share in the new place.)

3. We sort of liked the bloodstained carpets, the holes in the walls and the dirty doors. It was the `80s renovation in this Central District “charmer” that scared us. Oh, the fixtures.

4. I’m calling you out, 6224 Seventh Ave. N.W. You were cute. You were in a good location. But you turned out to be a big fat liar. You only have one bedroom, not two. You bring shame upon the listings.

5. Chicken-wire closet drawers. Chunks mysteriously missing from every wood floor. Wildly unmatching linoleum on all other surfaces. Scary raggedy dolls (is low-budget staging really a good idea?). Growling neighbor (human).

It hurts.

Finkbeiner’s Challenger Responds

posted by on January 9 at 5:30 PM

Eric Oemig, the Democrat who will be running against Republican State Senator Bill Finkbeiner this November in the 45th District (Redmond, Kirkland, etc.), had this to say about Finkbeiner’s new position on the gay civil rights bill:

Why do we have to wait for an election year for Bill Finkbeiner to find his conscience?

Continue reading "Finkbeiner's Challenger Responds" »

Our New Visual Art Editor

posted by on January 9 at 5:01 PM

This just in: The Stranger has a new visual art editor. Her name is Jen Graves. She comes to us after some glory-filled years at the News Tribune in gun-filled, aromatic Tacoma. She’s also lived in California (she studied at Stanford) and upstate New York. She’s currently traipsing through houses on the market in Seattle shocked by how we live in this city—blood stains, birds, you name it. She’s going to give us all the gory details here on the slog.

Make her feel welcome. It’s her first day. And first days are weird.

Thoughts on the Finkbeiner Evolution

posted by on January 9 at 4:45 PM

So Republican State Senator Bill Finkbeiner is now in favor of gay civil rights. It’s big political news, and I’m going to be writing about it for the next issue of The Stranger. But here are some first thoughts:

A Republican who repudiates his party’s stand against gay equality is such a rare creature that he deserves close scrutiny. And with Finkbeiner there are two especially fascinating veins of inquiry to explore: His evolution, and his motivation.

How did he evolve from a Democrat who voted for gay civil rights into a Republican who voted against gay civil rights, and then today into a Republican who plans to vote against his party and in favor of gay civil rights? And: What, exactly, motivated him to change his mind now?

I just got off the phone with Finkbeiner, and after a long and interesting discussion I can’t say I’ve definitively answered these two questions. (But one can see how Finkbeiner, who is up for reelection this November, might think it is in his interest to keep his evolution and motivations a bit mysterious.)

Here’s how Finkbeiner explained it all to me:

Continue reading "Thoughts on the Finkbeiner Evolution" »

Hope for Tomorrow

posted by on January 9 at 3:53 PM

This came with my lunch, ingeniously tucked in a cookie:


Tomorrow we’ll find out if that fucking cookie lied to me.

Freyed Edges

posted by on January 9 at 3:27 PM

Those who have read James Frey’s drug abuse/rehab memoir A Million Little Pieces (and judging from the 1.77 million copies sold last year, mainly after the book made it into Oprah’s Book Club, there are many) might want to read The Smoking Gun’s takedown of the author and his alleged fabrications.

This is especially damning:

Police reports, court records, interviews with law enforcement personnel, and other sources have put the lie to many key sections of Frey’s book. The 36-year-old author, these documents and interviews show, wholly fabricated or wildly embellished details of his purported criminal career, jail terms, and status as an outlaw “wanted in three states.”

In additon to these rap sheet creations, Frey also invented a role for himself in a deadly train accident that cost the lives of two female high school students. In what may be his book’s most crass flight from reality, Frey remarkably appropriates and manipulates details of the incident so he can falsely portray himself as the tragedy’s third victim. It’s a cynical and offensive ploy that has left one of the victims’ parents bewildered. “As far as I know, he had nothing to do with the accident,” said the mother of one of the dead girls. “I figured he was taking license…he’s a writer, you know, they don’t tell everything that’s factual and true.”

“Open Letter to John Richards”

posted by on January 9 at 3:11 PM

A beguiling collection of words gathered under the above title has appeared in the I, Anonymous forum.

It’s not really an I, Anon, or an open letter to John Richards, but it’s definitely worth the six seconds it takes to read it.

Yay, gold fire hydrants!

Vinyl Goldmine

posted by on January 9 at 2:53 PM

This just in from one of our freelancers, Mairead Case

Have you been to the Neptune Music Company? It’s just off the Ave, not-so-uncoincidentally next to the Neptune Theatre, and it is brilliant. The walls are yellow, the selection (vinyl! vinyl!) solid, and the dude (David Sandlund) solid-er—he was one of Amoeba’s first employees. Sabzi and the Jivetime dudes have been combing the stacks. Admittedly, I am telling you this because dude merits a mention somewhere, but also because yr stash might be enriched.

One-eyed kitten or Tom Cruise’s Love Baby?

posted by on January 9 at 2:32 PM


Either way, I predict Doom for young Katie Holmes…

(You can read about the one-eyed kitten here.)

Alaska Air

posted by on January 9 at 2:00 PM

They don’t grease their jackscrews, a plane crashes and kills everyone onboard, and they continue to neglect greasing their jackscrews. They fired their union baggage handlers and outsourced the work to some company that seems to be routinely banging up their planes—which knocked a hole in one and almost caused it to crash. And now they’re not following FAA safety regulations on cabin lighting during take-offs and landings.

If you ever wondered what those little prayer cards they pass onboard Alaska Air were for, now you know. Your prayers may be the only thing keeping your plane aloft.

I have to fly to LA in Feb to do a TV show. When the producer called to make travel arrangements, I said, “Anyone but Alaska.”

Seattle Weekly Staffers Get Out…

posted by on January 9 at 1:45 PM

…while the getting out is good: Tim Micklos, director of advertising, and long-time production manager Mary Bradford, both quit last week. Micklos was a recent hire from Las Vegas; Bradford had been at the paper for a decade.

Weekly staffers tell us Miklos is leaving for personals reasons and that Bradford is leaving to go to the soon-to-launch Seattle Metropolitan, the new glossy city magazine that’s attracting ex-Weekly staffers like, oh, 100 Best Dentist issues attract ads from dentists. Seattle Metropolitan has hired a slew of former and current Seattle Weekly staffers. Judging by the staff the new mag is pulling together, it will no doubt be going after Seattle Weekly readers and advertisers.

Many weekly staffers have been looking for jobs elsewhere since the paper—along with the rest of the Village Voice Media—was sold off to the Phoenix-based New Times chain, a deal that’s expected to close at the end of the month. Some outgoing staffers feel that the Weekly will change dramatically with the new ownership and that there will be mass firings.

But will there be anyone left at the Weekly for its new owners to fire?

Seattle Metropolitan is clearly taking advantage of the low morale at the Weekly when it comes to staffers. If this new mag can also exploit the confusion in the market place over the Weekly’s identity (and survival), it will deliver more painful blows to the already bloody paper.

(I heard about this on Friday, when I got a mysterious email from one “Terry Coe.” Not “the” Terry Coe, SW’s publisher, but someone who mailed me from an anonymous email account. Gee, sounds like morale ain’t so good at Seattle’s smaller weekly newspaper.)

Confirmed: Republican State Sen. Finkbeiner to Vote for Gay Civil Rights

posted by on January 9 at 1:40 PM

I posted a link to blogosphere reports of this on Saturday. Now Sen. Finkbeiner has confirmed it, in a rather remarkable statement, considering it is coming from the Republicans’ former leader in the state senate:

“I want to take this opportunity to let you know that I plan to vote for House Bill 1515 this year.

“There are two strong reasons that have swayed me to support House Bill 1515 for the 2006 state legislative session. First of all, I’ve had a number of conversations over the past year that have led me to more fully understand the level of discrimination against gays and lesbians, and I now find it is both appropriate and necessary for the state to make it clear that this is not acceptable.

“Secondly, I believe that, unfortunately, this issue has become a political football used by both parties. This bill failed year after year, even in years when Democrats have held strong majorities, because it motivates some party activists on both sides. And the issue has become one of many `wedge’ issues used to split our communities and divide us. Real people are affected by this issue: our friends, our co-workers, our family members, our neighbors. I don’t agree with the politicization of people’s personal lives and I think it is time to move on.”

Re: Who the hell is JT Leroy

posted by on January 9 at 1:32 PM

The New York Times piece is good, but New York Magazine busted JT Leroy months ago. Check out this take-down/take-apart by Stephen Beachy.

At least one Stranger reader is pretty pissed about the JT Leroy scam. From the Comment section of an earlier post about Leroy:

This has me outraged. I am all for tricksters and fakes, ala Orson Welles (even Genet understood the power of the fake), but this is something else. It appears that a straight, white, middle class woman pretended to be a homeless, abused, junkie, whore, HIV positive gay man/transgendered person in order to sell books (and, apparently, some crappy cd’s). The damage that this does to people who have experienced actual traumas and worked hard to give expression to their experience in a literary and artistic form is incalculable…. This is such a huge embarassment for so many people. And, as funny as hell as this story is (wigs and glasses), I think people should be reminded that this goes way beyond the travesty of faking hate crimes. This is using trauma and abuse to sell hip, indie product. FUCKERS. Fuckers, fuckers, fuckers, fuckers. Goddamn middle class str8 white fuckers who never experienced anything even remotely traumatic, and who don’t have the slightest idea what it’s like to actually live through something traumatic AND try to express yourself on top of it. Fuckers. That’s what these people are.

I Told You So

posted by on January 9 at 1:15 PM

So, last week I filed a column of New Year’s predictions.
Here was the first one on my list:

State Republican Chairman Chris Vance. In the wake of Paul Berendt’s resignation, the spotlight is currently on the state Democratic Party and Berendt’s likely successor, Dwight Pelz. But the focus will shift to the Republicans later this year when their current state chair, Chris Vance, resigns, taking a lower-profile gig. (That court case in Chelan County just didn’t work out as planned, and the voter-challenge fiasco was an embarrassing follow-up.)

Well, this just in from the State Republican Party

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Chris Vance January 9, 2006 (206) 575-2900 Vance to step down as state chair Seattle, WA — Below is a copy of the memo Chairman Chris Vance sent to the Republican State Committee earlier today announcing his intent to resign. An election for Chairman will be held on Saturday, January 28. To: State Committee From: Chris Vance Date: 1/9/06 Re:         Resignation, Effective January 28 I am writing to notify you of my intention to resign as WSRP Chairman, effective upon the election of my successor at our meeting on January 28. I have been deeply honored and gratified to serve you and our Republican candidates and office holders these past five years, but as a husband and father I need to make decisions that are in the best interest of my family, and that means taking advantage of opportunities I now have in the private sector. This is a difficult decision driven by personal, not political considerations.

Who the hell is JT Leroy?

posted by on January 9 at 1:11 PM

Former Stranger staffer (and current Mercury news editor) Amy Jenniges sent me this great NYT article about the real identity of author JT Leroy. The oddball writer is either a brilliant con artist or a brilliant creation of other con artists, and either way “his” facade is being chipped away by journalists craving the Truth. My dealings with Leroy were brief—a writer by that name wrote a piece or two for me when I worked for Dr. Drew of Loveline’s web site, and Leroy emailed as a fan of Drew’s work. I think he wrote about being a runaway and maybe interviewed the band Hanson…it was a couple years ago. There was no reason not to buy it, so we worked with him briefly, all via email. I love the idea that this may be a giant publicity stunt, though, as one of this magnitude—and concerning a writer with such celebrity cult status—would deserve major props for being pulled off so well and for so long.

This One Will be a Disaster

posted by on January 9 at 1:11 PM

Snakes on a Plane stars Samuel L. Jackson as an FBI agent escorting a witness on a commercial flight during which an assassin releases a crate of deadly snakes.
WIRED mag reported, “The studio tried to change the flick’s name to Pacific Air Flight 121 earlier this year, but star Samuel L. Jackson balked, saying the title was a big reason he signed on,” and ran this:


Larry’s Loses Liquor License

posted by on January 9 at 12:57 PM

Pioneer Square hiphop hotspot Larry’s had it’s liquor license suspended by the State Liquor Control Board on Friday, according to the Seattle Times. Mayor Gridlock asked the board to take away Larry’s Hennessey priviledges, citing several incidents, including Seahawk Ken Hamlin’s catching a seriously bad one, and an alleged stabbing on New Years’ Eve. In order to protect the “welfare, health, peace, morals and safety of the State of Washington,” Liquor Board agents absconded with every last drop of alcohol. It looks like owner Larry Culp is going to fight the decision, as detailed here.

I’d been to Larry’s a couple times in the last few years, and it was aiight- crispy white tees glowing in the blacklight, Lil’ Jon, Hpnotiq- y’know, club shit. I don’t typically fuck with P-Squeeze at all, because of all the morons, tourists, and desperate clubgoers who drove in from the boondocks. You can go ahead and miss me with that shit. There’s always a lotta bullshit in that area because of the alcohol, and there’s a lot of it because of the Square’s bustling drug trade. Is one club the source of all evil in the Square? I don’t believe so.I’m reminded of comments that 206 legend Vitamin D made while I was interviewing him awhile ago:

They wanna say Larry’s nightclub is the cause of this violence in Pioneer Square? No, it’s not, it’s because you guys allowing all that drug trafficking in that area- and it’s been there for years! Don’t say it’s cuz of the hiphop at the club- that don’t make no sense. You guys need to control your streets so we can have a club in Pioneer Square where hiphop is played. It’s not hiphop, or the club dj’s fault. It’s out in the parking lot, and it’s goin down out there no matter what’s going on at Larry’s. They need to lighten up for real- let the people kick it on some hiphop shit.”

Wild Things

posted by on January 9 at 12:21 PM

This will either be brilliant or a disaster. From Variety:

Warner Bros. has acquired “Where the Wild Things Are” out of turnaround from Universal.

Adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic kid’s book, which Spike Jonze will helm from a script he and novelist Dave Eggers penned, is expected to get under way late in the year.

Playtone’s Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are producing, along with Sendak and John Carls.

Figuring out a way to turn the 338-word “Wild Things” story into a movie has been a long process, with multiple helmers and writers weighing in. Details of the Jonze-Eggers version have been closely held, but pic will be a live-action feature that will likely require a sizable CGI budget.

Black Elvis

posted by on January 9 at 12:05 PM

Robert Washington turned 19 on August 16, 1977, the day that Elvis died. Two years ago, Washington cracked the color barrier and became the first black World Champion Elvis Impersonator at the “Images of Elvis” contest in Memphis, TN.

Sadly, you have to go all the way to Olympia to catch Robert Washington, but it might be worth the trip - the 6th Annual Elvis Birthday Bash on Saturday will also feature a documentary about championship Elvis impersonators, a velvet Elvis art show, and fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches. Visit
this site for more information.

Eyman’s Latest: The Son of the Son of I-695

posted by on January 9 at 11:55 AM

Tim Eyman has filed a new initiative. He’s demanding…can you guess… flat $30 car tabs. He’s going after the weight fees that nudge car tab fees over $30. And, mostly, judging from his sound bites— “It is contemptible that state and local governments, especially Sound Transit, are spitting in the face of voters and forcing a third $30 tabs initiative to be sponsored” —he’s going after Sound Transit.

Here’s the basic:

* Reestablish tabs at a fair, reasonable $30 fee for vehicles such as cars, light trucks, vans, SUV’s, motorcycles, motor homes, RV’s, and other vehicles; * Repeal numerous motor vehicle taxes and fees (weight fees on vehicles and motor homes and license plate fees, for example) imposed by the Legislature in 2005; * Repeal motor vehicle taxes and fees that counties want to impose in 2006; * Require any government (now and in the future) that imposes vehicle taxes (Seattle monorail, for example) to calculate the taxes using vehicle market value, not the artificially inflated manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP); and * Require Sound Transit to stop collecting the vehicle tax repealed by the voters with I-776 in 2002.

My Smobriety, Day Two: Big Tobacco Owns Big Dictionary

posted by on January 9 at 11:55 AM

Smobriety Charticle Two

Weight: 175 pounds*

Pulse Rate: 61 beats per minute

Current Mood, as Identified by U.S. President: Martin Van Buren

Song Stuck In Head: “My Girl,” The Temptations

Symptoms: Tremendous lack of concentration, night sweats (possibly caused by Sean Nelson’s terrifying Wellbutrin story posted on the SLOG yesterday,) increased interest in glossy magazines about celebrities, major physical craving for a cigarette, some shaking, slight cough, and also a tremendous lack of concentration.

* No, I did not lose five pounds between yesterday and today. Yesterday’s readings were taken from my doctor’s appointment on Tuesday the third. So I’ve lost five pounds from Tuesday to today, which makes sense since I was incredibly nervous about quitting.

The first day’s worth of recriminations, resolutions, and slow-motion montages are after the jump.

Continue reading "My Smobriety, Day Two: Big Tobacco Owns Big Dictionary" »

What I’m For…

posted by on January 9 at 11:51 AM

Legalization of all drugs and, ergo, ending the war on said drugs, which has been going worse than that in Iraq for decades. It is past time we ended this futile fiasco.

Going through life without a single tattoo or piercing. This is about the most non-conformist thing one can do at this late date.

Georges Bataille’s The Story of the Eye and Pauline RĂ©age’s Story of O. These tomes are the twin towers of 20th-century erotic literature. Roll over, AnaĂŻs Nin, and tell Henry Miller the news.

At Least It Ain’t 70

posted by on January 9 at 11:44 AM

It can’t be good news for Bush when the John Birch Society conducts a poll and 69% say the president should be impeached.

(Via All Spin Zone.)

Random fact of the day

posted by on January 9 at 11:32 AM

As you may or may not know, the price of a regular postage stamp increased today to $.39. According to NPR, the post office is not allowed to make a profit; their increases in stamp costs can only be used to pay for increases in post office costs, so rounding up to $.40 is out of the question.

Gayest Post Ever

posted by on January 9 at 11:05 AM

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera becomes the longest-running musical in Broadway history tonight. This would be worth getting all upset about if Webber’s schlockfest wasn’t stealing the crown from another Webber schlockfest, the incoherent, despicable Cats.

And, yes, this is the gayest post ever on the SLOG—and for that I apologize.

Virginia Is For Haters

posted by on January 9 at 10:23 AM

My brother Bill—who takes a keen interest in lesbian issues—just sent me this link.

A bill in the Virginia state legislature would prevent unmarried women from using assisted reproductive technology, including lesbians who frequently use donor insemination to have children. Del. Robert Marshall (R-Manassas), who has also sponsored measures to ban same-sex marriage and strictly limit abortions, pre-filed HB 187 on Jan. 2 for the 2006 state legislative session, which begins Jan. 11.

The measure would forbid medical professionals from providing to unmarried women “certain intervening medical technology” that “completely or partially replaces sexual intercourse as the means of conception.” The bill provides a list of medical procedures, including “artificial insemination by donor” and invitro fertilization.

Equality Virginia, the state’s gay political group, denounced the measure as a “direct attack on Virginia’s families…”

This piece that I wrote for The Stranger in June of 2004 is truer now than it was then:

We’ve reached an odd point in the struggle for gay rights. If a gay man in the United States wants to know what rights he enjoys, he has to ask himself, “Where am I?” The issue of full civil equality for gays and lesbians is dividing the country geographically like no other issue in our history besides slavery. Indeed, it’s hard not to look at one of the “gay rights maps” on the websites of the Human Rights Campaign or Lambda Legal without thinking “slave states and free states.” In some states, we have no rights. We’re non-citizens. In others, we have achieved full civil equality.

Monday Morning Morrissey & Murder

posted by on January 9 at 7:19 AM

Here are a couple delights to kick off your week.

First up, international mopester Morrissey has a new album due out soon. Entitled Ringleader of the Tormentors, the record’s tracklist (published by is a delight unto itself. But the real treasures are the reader-submitted fake Morrissey song titles. (Scroll down.) My faves: “My Tears Could Cure Cancer, But I Don’t Cry” and “You’re Still The Only One I’ll Ever Love, Dead Psycho Killer.”

Speaking of psycho killers and homosexuals trapped in prisons of their own making: Michael Alig, the notorious “club kid killer” profiled in the movie Party Monster, got a fresh burst of notoriety thanks to the WOW Report, which was sent a letter found by a reader at a Brooklyn junk store, written by Alig from prison in 1998.

Creepiest passage (and one that should be featured in every parole hearing Alig ever applies for): “The movie is called Honeymoon Killers…go out and get it special attention to the hammer killing—it is the most realistic killing I’ve ever seen in any movie! It looks just like that when you kill someone with a hammer!

(See full letter here.)

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Brokeback Mountain Pulled From Local Movie Theater

posted by on January 8 at 6:07 PM

Gee, I wonder why?

The theater manager refused to tell KOMO why the movie was suddenly pulled after days of advertising and ticket presales… One person pointed to a sign in Regal’s parking lot that revealed the theater rents out the building to a local church for Sunday service.

Alito’s Slimey Seat

posted by on January 8 at 4:07 PM

Okay, this is just fucking nuts.

Insisting that God “certainly needs to be involved” in the Supreme Court confirmation process, three Christian ministers today blessed the doors of the hearing room where Senate Judiciary Committee members will begin considering the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito on Monday.

Capitol Hill police barred them from entering the room to continue what they called a consecration service. But in a bit of one-upsmanship, the three announced that they had let themselves in a day earlier, touching holy oil to the seats where Judge Alito, the senators, witnesses, Senate staffers and the press will sit, and praying for each of the 13 committee members by name.

“We did adequately apply oil to all the seats,” said the Rev. Rob Schenck, who identified himself as an evangelical Christian and as president of the National Clergy Council in Washington.

Via Americablog.

On manhood and being…um, one..of those. Men, I mean.

posted by on January 8 at 3:43 PM

One of the comments on my first Smobriety post went something like “…be a man and quit cold turkey…” I’m fascinated by this little nugget from the comment for two reasons:
1) If being a man means that I have to experience as much pain as I possibly can without any kind of pain reliever, I’m ready to be fitted for my vagina any day now.
2) Isn’t “Be a man” one of those things that people just don’t say anymore? Not because it’s politically incorrect or anything like that, but just because it’s fallen out of use? It reminds me of this time last summer when a friend of mine was complaining about a homeless man who sings part of the song “My Girl” over and over again. She asked if there was anything we can do about him, and I shrugged and said “It’s a free country.” My friend just stared at me, and we realized that nobody says that anymore. In fact, I don’t think I’ve heard it since the late nineties…or at least definitely since you-know-who.
Are there any other phrases that are teetering, Edsel-like, on the edge of extinction?

My Smobriety: Drugged and Dreaming of Weight Loss

posted by on January 8 at 3:21 PM

Most of the comments that were posted under my first SLOG, this past Friday, were very supportive of the quitting smoking, thankyewverymuch, but there were a couple concerns that should probably be addressed: why I’m taking The Happy Pills and why I’m trying to lose weight at the same time. After the jump is probably more than you’ve ever wanted to know about both the mind of a smoker and the reasoning behind a man-diet.

Continue reading "My Smobriety: Drugged and Dreaming of Weight Loss" »

(What are We For?) ??

posted by on January 8 at 2:59 PM

You’re kidding right?

We say what we’re for all the time.

Let me see if I can remember: density, rapid mass transit, district elections, all-ages shows, the People’s Waterfront Coalition’s no highway option, gay marriage, the gay civil rights bill, porn, legalizing drugs, free speech, Nick Licata, smoking pot, smoking pot and watching movies, smoking pot and watching theater, smoking pot and watching porn, getting drunk, threesomes, strap-ons, local bands, Dwight Pelz, saying ‘Fuck’ in print, Democrats, the Urban Archipelago, and more density…

Everybody already knows what we’re for because we make the case for this stuff all the time.

I’m for all of it. But here’s what else I’m for: A little less preaching.

RE: Smobriety

posted by on January 8 at 2:08 PM

I’m reminded of a funny story: I tried Wellbutrin, not to quit smoking (I used the patch for that), but to help combat the constant feeling that the world and I would both be better off if I killed myself. After a day or two, the effects were unbelievably positive; for the first time in 20+years of active, chronic depression, I felt I could see a way through the miasma. And it had a nice buzz, to boot. Plus: no sexual side effects, and no weight gain (again, unlike quitting smoking, which cost me 30 pounds). Everybody wins!

Then, exactly three weeks into my treatment, I awoke to find myself vigorously scratching my shin. My leg and hand were wet with my own blood, which was now flowing onto the sheets. I was scratching so hard in my sleep that the skin was tearing away. When I woke more fully, i discovered that my entire body was covered in big red hives, and these mammoth super-hives known as angioedema. The look and feel of these super-sized welts made it seem as though someone had subcutaneously inserted upside-down saucers into random parts of my anatomy. The pain, itching, and embarrassment were as bad as any I’d ever felt. I quit the Wellbutrin, got some shots, and began the course of steroids that got the swelling down within a week or two.

Then, a few months of severe depression later, my doctor and I decided it was ok to try Wellbutrin again, this time with the name brand version, and in conjunction with no other medication. Turns out the allergic reaction I suffered is the number one side effect of Wellbutrin’s generic brand, but only in the top 5 of the name brand. Despite my trepidation, the drug got to work immediately. It wasn’t that I stopped experiencing highs and lows, but rather that the path toward unprovoked despair suddenly seemed like a path, something I could more or less choose to avoid. It was a choice I relished, a life-altering shift in consciousness (a bit like quitting smoking, actually, only a million times more edifying). I relished it for exactly 21 days, whereupon the hives and angioedema returned, just like nothing had ever happened. I went back to the shots and steroids and threw the glorious pills away.

Anyway, good luck, Paul!

My Smobriety, Day One: Jesus Saves, I’m Fucked

posted by on January 8 at 1:09 PM

Smobriety Charticle # 1

Weight: 180 pounds

Blood Pressure: 117/78

Song Stuck in Head: “Goody Two-Shoes” - Adam Ant

U.S. President Who Most Resembles Current Mood: William Henry Harrison

Withdrawal Symptoms: Extreme fucking grumpiness, pain in neck and back, insomnia

Re: the title: I entirely lost the previous version of this post when my rickety old computer decided not to publish it to the SLOG but rather to simply stare at me, one-eyed, until I finally had to Ctrl-Alt-Delete. I really liked the last version of this post. It even had a witty reference to Kazaam. But anyway.
Last night I went to a bar with two of my friends who are also quitting today. Because they are using the patch and the nicotine gum, they were able to drink. Because I am taking Wellbutrin a.k.a. Bubropion a.k.a. Zyban (I call them my Happy Pills,) which has been known to cause seizures when combined with alcohol, I was unable to drink. But I still had a fine time, discussing our respective methods of quitting and also what our Hobo Names would be (for the record, mine is Paulie Big-Britches.) Then I had my last cigarette, which was incredibly anticlimactic. I think that every smoker wishes it would be a wistful, or even eventful thing, but there were no fireworks or prophetic statements or the like. I tossed my last pack into a dumpster, came home, and spent most of last night staring at the ceiling. And then I woke up and tossed two hours of writing into the ether. So I’m going to post this up and then, a little later today, when I’m not ready to toss my laptop into the dumpster to chase the cigarettes, I’ll continue.


posted by on January 8 at 1:07 PM

If it sounds too good to be true—truck-stop prostitute who had escaped rural West Virginia for the dismal life of a homeless San Francisco drug addict—it probably is.

Bloody Sunday

posted by on January 8 at 12:57 PM

Yes, yes—I know. But still.

Who Should Replace Paul Berendt?

posted by on January 8 at 12:11 PM

If you’d like to get a glimpse of the candidates running to replace Paul Berendt as the Democratic Party State Chair, there’s a candidates forum today at 2pm in Renton.

It’s at the Carpenters’ Hall/Local 1797 at 231 Burnett Ave. N.

There’ll be a meet and greet reception at 3:30 with the candidates (Jean Brooks, Bill Harrington, Mark Hintz, Dwight Pelz, and Laura Ruderman) following the forum.

For directions, call Luis Moscoso @ 425-776-9061

Whose Space? Rupert’s

posted by on January 8 at 11:34 AM

Is Rupert Murdoch destroying MySpace? Depends on whether you think censorship and dirty tricks will help or hurt MySpace’s cred.

Angry members of MySpace, the personal file-sharing website for young adults, are accusing Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation of censoring their postings and blocking their access to rival sites. The 38 million subscribers to MySpace, which News Corp bought for $629m (ÂŁ355m) last July, discovered that when they wrote to each other about rival video-swapping site YouTube, the words were automatically deleted, and attempts to download video images from YouTube led to blank screens.

Via Atrios.

So the Prophet Muhammad Walks Into a Bar…

posted by on January 8 at 10:09 AM

A Danish newspaper is under fire—death threats, protests, international condemnation—for publishing a series of cartoons that mocked the Prophet Muhammad. The NYT reports

When the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, including one in which he is shown wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse, it expected a strong reaction in this country of 5.4 million people.

Muslims gathered at city hall in Copenhagen in October to protest cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published in a newspaper, Jyllands-Posten.

But the paper was unprepared for the global furor that ensued, including demonstrations in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, death threats against the artists, condemnation from 11 Muslim countries and a rebuke from the United Nations.

“The cartoons did nothing that transcends the cultural norms of secular Denmark, and this was not a provocation to insult Muslims,” said Flemming Rose, cultural editor of Jyllands-Posten, Denmark’s largest newspaper, which has declined to apologize for the drawings.

The piece goes on to talk about whether Denmark’s “famously liberal laws on free speech have gone too far.”

Yeah, that free speech stuff—how much of it can one country stand?

The xenophobe in me reacted harshly to that idiotic statement. Can we all agree to stick up for free speech? You would think that a newspaper that is currently under assault from the Feds for publishing stories that annoyed the president would fall squarely on the side of free speech. For Muslim immigrants to the liberal democracies, I would say this: if you can’t stand the free speech, stay the hell out of the West. (And, yes, I’m opposed to idiotic “speech codes” that seek to protect sensitive homos from hate speech.) Seriously—free speech, and the occasional offense it causes, is part of the price of admission. One Danish Muslim calls the cartoons “mental torture.” That’s bullshit. It’s a cartoon. Oh, you’ve got every right to be offended, of course, and to fight speech you regard as bigoted with more speech (even protests), but death threats and insisting that it shouldn’t be legal for a paper to mock your prophet because it hurts your feelings? Sorry, no.

And how can one possibly argue with this:

Soren Krarup, a retired priest and leading voice in the party, said the Muslim response to the cartoons showed that Islam was not compatible with Danish customs. He said Jesus had been satirized in Danish literature and popular culture for centuries - including a recent much-publicized Danish painting of Jesus with an erection - so why not Muhammad?

Damn straight: Why not Muhammad? Why not L. Ron Hubbard? Why not Jesus Christ? Why not Nazi Popes? Why not Joseph Smith? Freedom of thought, freedom of speech—it means, amongst other things, people have a right to think your religious beliefs are utterly ridiculous and the right to say so.

Unfortunately Krarup goes on to say this…

“Muslim immigration is a way for Muslims to conquer us, just as they have done for the past 1,400 years.”

That’s crap, of course. Xenophobic crap. Pointing out that immigrating to a country with liberal tradition of free speech means tolerating the occasional swipe at your sacred cows is not xenophobic, however. It’s necessary, it’s crucial. Liberal democracies won’t survive—to say nothing of liberal newspapers—if they shy away from making that point aggressively.