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Archives for 01/15/2006 - 01/21/2006

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Slogdance 6 - Overheard on Main Street

posted by on January 21 at 10:51 PM

Trying to weave our way down Main Street, snaking through people who are standing outside of parties that they’ll never get into, we overheard a guy say this: “So, at this party. Was Jay-Z actually there?”

Slogdance 5 - Back to Main Street

posted by on January 21 at 6:55 PM

Hey! They turned on the wi-fi in the condo! Awesome!

So I was planning on sitting around for a while, writing about some of the movies I saw. But the best laid plans of mice and men tend to lead you back to Main Street. I shall be meeting the condo-mates up at the Wassup Brew Pub (or something like that) for a party celebrating the movie Guatamalan Handshake, which is a Slamdance movie that I both saw and enjoyed.

I’m starting to wonder if I’m going to write about any of the damn films. My new promise to myself: Tomorrow morning I’ll skip the 8:30 am screening and the 9 am screening and the 9:30 am screening, and will write about Friends With Money and the rest of the stuff I’ve seen. We shall see.

By the way, Seattle folks are starting to show up, and they’ve put together a big party tomorrow night. Sub Pop is bringing in Iron and Wine and a few more acts. I’ll tell you more about that after it passes.

-Andy Spletzer

Porn Fantasy

posted by on January 21 at 5:59 PM

There are ’70s Penthouse covers on display in the women’s section of American Apparel on Broadway.

It’s presented as a pop-art exhibit, and so, the series of magazine covers is accompanied by a written statement that waxes nostalgic about the “natural” look of “70s and 80s” porn when “curves” and “body hair” and “blemishes” and “stretch marks” were hallmarks.

What a bunch of revisionist bull shit.

Yes, there was half a second in the early early early 70s when a “natural” look was in (meaning big bush—but certainly not blemishes). But ’70s sex symbols were air-brushed skinny blondes with manicured bushes and big tits, just like today. Yes, there’s something about the depressed ’70s that seems dirty and slutty and dark and “real,” but let’s stop pretending that the sex industry was celebrating normal bods. Idealized disco sexiness in the ’70s was exactly the same as sex industry sexiness today: skinny, blonde, busty, and airbrushed. The hairstyles and lip gloss were a little different, but that’s about it.

Certainly, porn circa 2006 stars shaved women and/or super-trimmed women, but the ’70s models were hardly Woodstock hippies. They were manicured and airbrushed. (70s porn films may have been more “real,” but that’s because the industry was much more underground, and so, there wasn’t as much money, and so, production values were low and fly-by-night.)

If American Apparel is talking about Hustler…Well, Hustler was more graphic (more spread legs), but it did not promote “natural” women. And, if American apparel is talking about Hustler, than they should be displaying Hustler, instead of Penthouse.

Even more absurd: American Apparel’s attempt to include the ’80s in its statement. The ’80s?? The ’80s?? There couldn’t be a more plastic, unnatural time than the stilted ’80s. The ’80s were leather, barbie doll new wave, big tits, and once again: skinny skinny skinny. The ’80s were not a time when “natural” anything was on the menu.

Bareback Mountain

posted by on January 21 at 5:55 PM

The inevitable porn rip-off/riff-off of Brokeback Mountain—Bareback Mountain—is coming soon. Some shots from the flick can be seen here.

Republicans? Or the Mafia?

posted by on January 21 at 4:47 PM

This new websiite——helps you keep track of the corrupt white guys running the country.

Casinos! Bribes! Hitmen! Is this Season 5 of The Sopranos? No, it’s just another day in the life of today’s Republican party. Are you confused by the names of all these obscure GOP operatives in the news? DeLay, Scanlon, Safavian, Abramoff… how’s an average joe supposed to keep track? Here at ROTM, we simplify the process by comparing corrupt Republicans and their shady goings-on to well-known characters and scenes from your favorite gangster movies.

Has PostSecret Already Jumped the Shark?

posted by on January 21 at 3:16 PM

Now, I love me some PostSecret, but when I see entries like this, I worry about the Jerry Springer-ification of it all.

After all, how sexually inhibited can you be if you can take a picture of yourself wearing nothing but a chastity belt and send it in to a website for publication??

Late-Night Entertainment

posted by on January 21 at 3:01 PM

Here are two late-night events that didn’t make it into this week’s theater calendar but are worth your attention:

1. Playwright Bret Fetzer reading his original fairy tales at the Hugo House. Like the old-timey fabulists—and not the cutesy, “fractured” types—Fetzer writes short, imaginative morality stories with kings, peasants, talking animals, and the other indispensable fairy tale features. One of my favorites is a grisly tale about a bereaved king who banishes Death from the land. Death agrees and the results are… vivid. (Hugo House, 1634 11th Ave, $7, 10:30 pm)

2. The Stay Up Late Show, an anarchic, drinky-drinky, low-fi talk show at the Capitol Hill Arts Center, hosted by the ever-brassy Rebecca Davis. Tonight’s guests include Nancy Guppy (of Almost Live) and a man who calls himself Gary “The Gorilla Man” Davis. (CHAC, 1621 12th Ave, $10, 10 pm.)

And here is a picture of a funny plane crash:


London Mourns

posted by on January 21 at 12:08 PM

When a whale is tired of London…

The northern bottle-nosed whale that strayed into the River Thames in central London two days ago has died.

Slogdance 4 — Music

posted by on January 21 at 11:42 AM

Finding a wi-fi hot spot is not always as easy as you would imagine here. My ISP is through Comcast, and so there’s no dial-up that I can use, and my condo isn’t wired. Anyway, I spent yesterday seeing a bunch of movies (which I’ll blog about in a bit), and ended the afternoon in the Music CafĂ© to catch a show by Rufus Wainwright.

That was more like it. This was my first time seeing him, and I found him to be a very funny performer who has written some sweet and sincere songs. Of course, at an official festival venue like this, the crowd isn’t always there for the show. Take, for example, the drunken, middle-aged former sorority sisters who kept taking pictures of themselves next to the bar. One actually heard a song or two, because she was overheard saying, “The whiny guy is really good, but his songs make me sad.” Of course, his songs made many other people happy, but this is proof positive that he can get through to anyone.

He finished his set with the Leonard Cohen song “Halleluiah.” Beautiful. And it’s a song that’s featured in the Leonard Cohen doc I’m Your Man, which I’ll write about eventually.

In fact, my grand plan is to write about the movies that I’ve seen. I swear I’ll get to that eventually. I swear.

-Andy Spletzer slogging from Sundance in Park City, Utah

Nominate Seattle’s Sexiest by Wednesday!

posted by on January 21 at 10:47 AM

We’ve gotten tons of great nominations of hot folks for this year’s “Seattle’s Sexiest,” and their pics will run in our Valentine’s Day issue along with thousands of our readers’ valentines. But there’s still time to nominate someone as one of Seattle’s Sexiest—the cut-off is this coming Wednesday at 5.

Know an unsung sexy someone? Sexy yourself? Email a photo or photos of your nominee—photos taken with permission, please—to Include the nominee’s name, some clues about where we can track ‘em down, and a few words about what makes ‘em so freaking sexy.

And, yes, feel free to nominate yourself—why be shy?

And (free!) reader Valentines are due in no later than Friday, Feb 3—click here to send your lover, spouse, or secret admiree a free valentine in the Stranger. One per person, please—unless you’re poly, in which case we’ll make an exception for you and yours.

Black Mass

posted by on January 21 at 10:18 AM

I don’t know quite how to feel about this story from the UK:

A British vicar has created his own version of the Rocky Horror Picture Show to lure the faithful back into the fold—a new twice-monthly church service for the Goths in his parish, complete with rock music and compulsory black garments. The idea is the brainchild of Martin Ramshaw, associate Anglican vicar and resident Goth at the very traditionally named church of St Edward King and Martyr in the very well-heeled eastern university city of Cambridge.

“The service seeks to find new ways of making the life of the church meaningful to people from alternative, and particularly Goth, communities,” Ramshaw explains on the church’s website,”

St. Edward King and Martyr isn’t named for Edward II, the English king who was murdered at the orders of his wife, Queen Isabella, and her lover, but it should be. Edward II was a big homo, so they shoved a red-hot poker up his butt—they literally got Medieval on his ass. A very Goth way to go. I just read a new biography of Isabella, Edward’s wife, by Alison Weir. Weir argues that Isabella not only didn’t have Edward killed, but that Edward II escaped from England and lived for decades as a hermit and a penitant Italy until his death decades after his son, Edward III, took the throne.

I only mention this crap because after I posted something about Project Runway earlier this week I was accused in the comments favoring trash TV over reading books. Not true. I make time for both.


posted by on January 21 at 9:36 AM

If you’re anything like me (lazy, kind of bored, stressed OUT), this will occupy an unreasonable portion of your day.


Friday, January 20, 2006

Get Your Stranger Valentine In!

posted by on January 20 at 10:17 PM

Your girlfriend, boyfriend, sugar daddy, Mistress, mistress, lover, husband, secret crush, partner, wife, best friend, fat spoiled cat, etc., would be thrilled if you took a moment from your day to compose a little valentine for him or her. It’s free and it’s easy. Go to and fill out the form. We’ll print your love note in the February 9 issue of the paper. There will be no good excuse for you if your lover searches the Valentine’s Issue in vain.

NOTE TO PROCRASTINATORS: The deadline for valentines is NOON on Friday, February 3. (Your “I missed the deadline” excuse won’t suffice this year, baby.)

Today’s Lesson: America is Screwed

posted by on January 20 at 10:16 PM

I began today with a brief stop at Bartell’s. As I was checking out (chocolate, toothpaste, and batteries), a young male employee (overeager, glasses, hair with product) had the following exchange with a middle-aged woman employee (tired, glasses, no product):

“Good morning!” he shouted.
“Good morning,” she replied.
“I saw you coming out of the elevator!”
“Oh really?”
“Yeah, I came running and shouting at you!”
“Oh. I didn’t notice.”
“Yeah, I was running!”
[awkward silence.]
“I guess I didn’t notice. I guess you could’ve been a rapist.”
[awkward silence.]
“Yeah,” she repeated. “A rapist. And I wouldn’t have even noticed.”

He nodded awkwardly, probably feeling as nauseated as I was—it was a bit early in the morning for rape jokes—and life went on. Was she trying to tell us something? Tell him something?

I ended today, ironically enough, at Cowgirls, Inc., where I rode the mechanical bull. I’ve never been to the Inc. before, never even considered going, but the staff was nice, the jukebox was rockin’ (in an AC/DC and Zep kind of way), and the mechanical bull was great fun. It jerked in unexpected directions and dared me to keep my balance. I eventually fell off—everybody does—tried to look cool leaving the bullpen and ordered a beer from a woman dancing on the bar. And I thought: “I review plays all the time. I wish they were as unpredictable as that mechanical bull.” And then I thought: “If an art form is more predictable than a mechanical bull, it’s in bad trouble.”

By the way: Did you hear about the honors-student high school debater who got in serious, serious trouble for simply positing, in a discussion, that one example of violent revolutionary protest would be to plant a bomb in the school? And his principal, a very popular, and by all accounts effective, woman got fired for not reporting him to the police? He didn’t threaten anything, as far as we can tell from the news reports. He was just illustrating a point.

Remember: The ragtag American army won the Revolution because it was fast, adaptive, guerilla, and creative, while the Brits lost because they were orderly, mechanized, and disciplined. The famous anecdote from when I was a schoolboy in Lexington, MA, went like this: During the Revolutionary War, British troops would march in formation down a country road while American snipers sat in trees. The snipers would pick off soldiers one by one, killing some troops and terrorizing the rest, while the ever-stoic Brits couldn’t break ranks and fire back unless their commanders—at the head of the phalanx, who never noticed—ordered them to. This was a very effective strategy for the Americans.

In conclusion, today’s events have indicated that America has lost the nimble, creative, no-holds-barred virtues that made it the most artistically, intellectually, and militarily powerful country in the world. Now we’re repressed (rape “joke”), mechanized (art vs. bull), bureaucratic (punishing kids and principals for a hypothetical), and stupid.

We’re totally fucked.

In Case Anyone Was Wondering…

posted by on January 20 at 7:40 PM

…whatever happened to Cherie Currie of the Runaways.

Focus on the Family: No Comment on Whether it Supports Rev. Hutcherson’s Boycott

posted by on January 20 at 6:18 PM

I spoke several times today with Gwen Stein, who works in the public relations daprtment at Focus on the Family’s headquarters in Colorado Springs. She sounded like a very nice woman, and I told her I had a very simple question: Does Focus on the Family support Rev. Hutcherson’s national boycott?

Ms. Stein very nicely told me that a representative of her department would be happy to call me back and answer the question, if such a person could find the time to do so before the close of business in Colorado today. Now, I don’t think it’s a difficult matter for an organization like Focus on the Family to determine whether it supports a national boycott of several major American corporations several days after said boycott has been announced by the Associated Press.

Hutcherson said he has the support of several national organizations, including the Family Research Council, Southern Baptist Convention and Focus on the Family. Several of those organizations’ offices could not be reached after hours Monday.

But given five hours, Focus on the Family proved unable to call me back and tell me whether the above was true. Which I interpret as “no comment.” And which I also interpret as a bad sign for the truth of the above.

Keeping in mind that Focus on the Family is not generally shy about letting people know when it does support particular political actions, let’s tally up where Rev. Hutcherson’s “national boycott,” as he described it to the AP, currently stands:

Did Rev. Hutcherson announce the “national boycott” on Focus on the Family’s national radio program on Thursday, as he told the AP he would? No. Does the AP agree with Rev. Hutcherson’s claim that he was misquoted by the AP about the Thursday broadcast? No. Does the Family Research Council support Rev. Hutcherson’s boycott, as he told the AP? No. Does the Southern Baptist Convention support Rev. Hutcherson’s boycott, as he told the AP? No. Does Focus on the Family support Rev. Hutcherson’s boycott, as he told the AP? No Comment.

That’s some national boycott.

More Council Intrigue

posted by on January 20 at 6:17 PM

If the council doesn’t decide on a president next Monday, January 23, the presidency could become an issue in their choice of a new council member, expected to wrap up next Thursday. And, since the council plans to interview council candidates in private, one-on-one interviews (something even public-meeting supporter Peter Steinbrueck does not oppose), council members could ask candidates who they would support as council president and no one would ever know about it - adding an unseemly political dimension to what has already been a lightning-speed, closed-door process.

Gay Rappers: Too Real For Hip-Hop?

posted by on January 20 at 5:48 PM

Through this thread on the I Love Music message board, I just discovered an interesting article on gay rappers written by Toure in the April 20, 2003 New York Times. You can find it here without having to pay NYT for the privilege. Here’s an excerpt:

Hip-hop is now as large a cultural stage as baseball was in the 50’s, yet the mainstream is just as closed to gay rappers as the major leagues were to black men before Robinson. And, as with Robinson, for Caushun to break through could have a profound impact on how gay people are perceived throughout America.

Caushun recently signed with Baby Phat Records, and his debut album, “Shock and Awe,” will come out at the end of June before Gay Pride Day. His self-confidence is so strong that he doesn’t believe his being gay will keep him from selling a million records and having a video played on MTV 20 times a week — in other words, from becoming a star.

Anybody heard that Caushun album? He’s neither in the nor the databases, which leads me to believe that the album never came out (even though the rapper did).

Gay Civil Rights Bill Passes the House, 60 - 37

posted by on January 20 at 5:35 PM

Next, the state senate:

With Friday’s House vote the bill proceeds to the upper chamber, where Majority Leader Sen. Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, has said the upper chamber will act on the bill quickly.

Need something to do this weekend?

posted by on January 20 at 5:34 PM

First of all, tonight Speaker Speaker are playing at Neumo’s with Super Deluxe. I LOVE Speaker Speaker, they’re currently one of my local favorites and they remind me a bit of Sicko (yay!). You can check out their infectious power pop here.

And tomorrow, the all-ages crowd should be happy to hear that a handful of really fantastic local bands are playing on the Eastside at Kirkland’s Teen Union Building (—The Divorce, Super Deluxe, Young Sportsmen, and the Conversation Heart play at 7 pm for $7.

I just got turned onto the Young Sportsmen not too long ago, and boy are they great. See what I have to say about them and the Divorce in this week’s Underage column.

What’s real?

posted by on January 20 at 5:14 PM

The debate over authenticity in books (see all the James Frey debate) has spilled over into the world of music. Check out Chris Parker’s piece for the Stranger on keeping it real in music here.

Steinbrueck Keeps it Public

posted by on January 20 at 5:09 PM

Here are the latest picks from City Council Member Steinbrueck. He keeps lefty lefty Juan Bocanegra in the mix! as the list gets whittled down to the 6.

Once again, I am posting with the stranger my short list of candidates for the city council position. the follow “stellar” candidates, not order of preference, will be named by me at the council’s Monday morning meeting:

Ross Baker
Juan Bocanegra
Gail Chiarello
Stella Chao
Sharon Maeda
Venus Velazquez

your humble public servant,


“Drop It Like It’s Hot”

posted by on January 20 at 4:34 PM

I just received a most amazing Hot Tip from luxury-class Hot Tipper Keith Bacon, whose eyewitness report so fucked with my being I can’t justify tampering with it in any way:

Last Saturday I was at the Double Header —”Seattle’s oldest gay bar,” but usually populated by street drunks and sports fans. When I went to the restroom, there was a guy taking a dump in a stall with NO DOOR. And the john was sorta pushed forward so he was basically in plain view. I hid at the farthest urinal away from him, which thankfully had a small “privacy shield.” But then this other guy comes in, stands between us, and starts TALKING TO THE GUY TAKING A DUMP. It went like this:

Guy: (looking at Dumper) Mmm. Man, that’s the worst. You must really gotta go.

Dumper: When you gotta go you gotta go, knowwhatI’msaying?

Guy: I heard that! You gotta drop it, whatcha gonna do?

Dumper: Drop it like it’s hot!

Guy: Heh heh, that’s right: drop it like it’s HOT!

At this point my head exploded and I ran out of the bathroom as the two
guys laughed at me for laughing at them.

I swear it’s 100% true.

Thanks to Keith for surviving and sharing.
Now I must have a full-body skin transplant.

Rob Dickinson of Catherine Wheel

posted by on January 20 at 3:40 PM

I was a big Catherine Wheel fan in my teen years, and when I heard former frontman Rob Dickinson has since gone solo and was coming to town, I was really curious and planned to go to the show (he played the Crocodile last night). Sadly, fluish symptoms kept me at home and on the couch, so if anyone went, I’d love to hear about it. Did he play CW songs? All original material? Someone please fill me in! If I missed hearing a solo acousitic version of “Black Metallic,” I might cry a little bit…

Re: Mr. Mirman

posted by on January 20 at 2:50 PM

Perhaps enough has been said about Eugene Mirman over the past couple days, but I just want to quickly second Brendan’s recommendation, but also suggest you take a few minutes to watch some of his videos too. “Pot Video” and “Sexpert” are two of my favorites. “Scotch and Soda” is great too.

“Women love danger. If they could, they’d just date a fire!”

Sooooo funny.

Don’t Tread on Wiley

posted by on January 20 at 2:42 PM

Recently, I wrote a review of Seattle Repertory Theatre’s Restoration Comedy, which was based on two plays of the Restoration period. I said:

Amy Freed’s Restoration Comedy isn’t a meta-commentary on the frivolous plays of the 17th century so much as a CliffsNotes version of two such plays—Colley Cibber’s Love’s Last Shift and John Vanbrugh’s snarky response The Relapse—stripped of their verbal gymnastics and inconvenient subplots and crammed with physical comedy and modern clichĂ©s.

Turns out the publisher of CliffsNotes—excuse me, CLIFFSNOTES® study guides—has a troupe of Googling monkeys monitoring the web for trademark infringement, because yesterday we got this letter:

Re: Trademark Infringement of CLIFFSNOTES®

To Whom It May Concern:

Wiley Publishing, Inc. (“Wiley”), publisher of the well-known and well-regarded CLIFFSNOTES® series of study guides recently became aware of The Stranger’s use of the CLIFFSNOTES® trademark in The Stranger theater listings, posted on its web site at

As you may know, Wiley has over 20 trademark registrations in the United States and other countries for the CLIFFSNOTES® trademark, including CLIFFS®, CLIFFS NOTES®, CLIFFSAP®, and CLIFFSNOTES.COM®. The CLIFFSNOTES® series has been in existence since 1958 and has enjoyed tremendous success.

Due to the significant efforts undertaken by Wiley to promote and protect its trademarks, and because of the potential for confusion or dilution regarding the CLIFFSNOTES® mark in the manner The Stranger has used Wiley’s trademark…

We ask that you refer to CLIFFSNOTES® as “CliffsNotes study guides” in any future editorials or articles.

Wiley asks for it, Wiley gets it. Here is the new, improved review of Restoration Comedy, which has closed at the Rep but will enjoy a run at California Shakespeare Theater in July:

Amy Freed’s Restoration Comedy isn’t a meta-commentary on the frivolous plays of the 17th century so much as a CLIFFSNOTES® study guides version of two such plays—Colley Cibber’s Love’s Last Shift and John Vanbrugh’s snarky response The Relapse—stripped of their verbal gymnastics and inconvenient subplots and crammed with physical comedy and modern clichĂ©s.

Much better.

entertainment for the whole family

posted by on January 20 at 2:36 PM

Salon’s daily fix is as wise as it is addictingly trashy, but a pain in the ass to get to.

So please, savor along with me, gentle reader:

The secret profanity of “40-Year-Old Virgin” revealed: Screen It, a Web site ostensibly devoted to parents concerned about the content of Hollywood movies, bills itself as “an unbiased, easy to use, yet heavily detailed and complete look at popular entertainment your kids might see, rent, or buy.” But in protecting kids from smut, the people behind Screen It have had to learn to wallow in it. See their painstaking assessment of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” for an example of just what “heavily detailed” means. Their rundown of the film’s profanity: “At least 68 ‘f’ words (2 used with ‘mother,’ 16 used sexually as are phrases such as ‘laid,’ ‘nail,’ ‘screw,’ ‘do it,’ ‘get it on’ and ‘tap’), 29 ‘s’ words, 19 slang terms using female genitals (‘p*ssy,’ variations of that word and ‘poon,’ and ‘tw*t’), 15 using male ones (‘d*ck,’ ‘c*ck,’ ‘c*cks*cker’ and ‘pogo stick’), 4 slang terms for breasts (variation of ‘t*tty’), 17 asses (2 used with ‘hole’), 4 hells, 3 damns, 1 S.O.B., 15 uses of ‘Oh my God,’ 8 of ‘God,’ 4 of ‘Oh God,’ 3 of ‘My God,’ 2 each of ‘G-damn’ and ‘Swear to God’ and 1 use each of ‘For God’s sakes’ and ‘Oh Jesus Christ.’ ” Oddly, the site also includes a number of possibly imitative phrases to watch out for that range from “F*ck your mother” to the seemingly innocuous (or laden with hidden meaning?) “Forty is the new twenty.” For even more awkwardly precise descriptions, see the “Sex/Nudity” section of the site’s “Brokeback Mountain” review.

After perusing the website, I can attest that Screen It! answers the important questions on every parent’s mind, such as Just how sadistic is “Hostel” and is it appropriate for anyone? Unfortunately, you have to become a member to reap all of the hilarious rewards of this site, but here is a teaser of the Screen It Family’s take on Brokeback Mountain:

After a night of drinking, Ennis decides to sleep outside, but after his fire dies down, he’s freezing and Jack tells him to join him in the warmer tent. As they lie side by side, Jack pulls Ennis’ arm around him and then tries to kiss him several times, but Ennis is slightly resistant (pushing him away, but obviously interested). Jack’s pants are then undone and he turns with his rear toward Ennis who pulls down Jack’s pants (we briefly see the side of his bare butt). Ennis then undoes his own pants, spits on his fingers (for lubricant) and then puts his hand down toward his crotch (we don’t see the actual act). We then see him thrusting behind Jack (rear entry anal intercourse) with related sounds, but no nudity or full shots of the encounter.

Their description feels very National Geographic, somehow. And now I have an odd longing for Screen It! to narrate my next sexual encounter, preferably with a British accent. I wonder, do they take requests?

I, Drunk Idiot at Dead Can Dance Show

posted by on January 20 at 2:32 PM

We just got a nice, penitent I, Anonymous from someone who apparently made a complete ass of him- or herself at last fall’s Dead Can Dance show at the Paramount.

Better late than never. Enjoy!

A Curious Comic in the Seattle Times

posted by on January 20 at 2:16 PM

Check out today’s Prickly City, one of the many forgettable comics that run in the Seattle Times:


In case you can’t read it: Two children are walking past a movie theater showing Brokeback Mountain.

“Yeesh, a kissin’ cowboy movie!”

“Somewhere, John Wayne is weeping…”

“John Wayne cried?”

“Of course not. Buf if he did, he would…”

Americablog is currently slapping around the Washington Post for running the same cartoon…

You see, a movie about gay people is gross and very unmanly, and thus a movie that showed gay people as normal suffering human beings is something that a real American like John Wayne would be disgusted with. And apparently the Washington Post has no problem publishing bigoted attacks against gays and lesbians because, on a page frequented by children no less, so they published the cartoon.

The Seattle Times is pro-gay marriage, and earlier this week Nicole Brodeur slapped Rev. Hutcherson for his anti-gay antics. Why would they run this bigoted cartoon?

Last Days Remainder Roundup

posted by on January 20 at 2:00 PM

Despite my frequent professions of “nothing happened today,” Last Days is actually never at a loss for material, just space. But thanks to the unfillable vastness of the internet, those Last Days-worthy items that don’t make the cut for the column can now enjoy life on Slog.

First is this week’s Last Days Remainder Roundup is a fascinating case reported by the New York Law Journal, concerning one Jerry Colaitis, a prominent New York furrier whose path to Last Days began back in January 2001, when Colaitis, his wife, and several family members went to the high-octane Japanese eatery Benihana for a birthday dinner. Trouble came in the form of a flying shrimp, tossed at Mr. Colaitis by his table-side hibachi chef. Here things get muddy: One side says Mr. Colatis was trying to dodge the shrimp; the other side says Colaitis was trying to catch it in his mouth. Either way, Colaitis threw out his neck, with the injury requiring surgery. Following this surgery, Colaitis developed a related infection which required another surgery. Two months later, Jerry Colaitis died of a blood-borne infection. And now his wife is seeking $10 million in damages—from Benihana. Ridiculous full story here.

Speaking of New York curiosities: On both my outgoing and return flights to and from NYC last week, I was seated directly behind the same man. More importantly, I recognized the man by his promotional yarmulke, an otherwise standard saucer-sized head cover emblazoned with the Windows XP logo. Are promotional yarmulkes common? Or was this a yarmulke anomaly? If anyone knows anything, please share.

Finally, this Hot Tip from Hot Tipper Danielle:

While waiting outside the Wayward CafĂ© on 9th and 55th, I witnessed a woman lean back against the window in her booth while her husband/boyfriend/whatever leaned in with his army knife to clip a stray nose hair from the hippy chick’s nose. This went on for about 30 seconds until the hair was finally clipped. It then turned into a discussion about how difficult it was to clip it, and how she thought she’d gotten it earlier but didn’t, and will cutting it make it grow faster and should she have pulled it instead? I was too close to avoid seeing it, and they were too loud to ignore the conversation.

Thank you, Danielle. Everyone else, see you next week.

Misidentity Politics

posted by on January 20 at 1:31 PM

Seattle City Council Members are making a big deal about choosing a woman from a minority community to fill the current vacancy. “We need another female, and it would help to have another person of color,” Council Member David Della told the Seattle Times.

There are a bunch of obvious reasons to criticize this childish bit of identity politics.

But first, consider this reason: While Council Members like Della are grandstanding on this issue to score some easy points with NPR Liberal Seattle, I’d like to point out that the current minority council members (Richard McIver & David Della) and women council members (Jan Drago & Jean Godden) make up the council’s conservative bloc. It’s three white men (Nick Licata, Peter Steinbrueck, and Richard Conlin) who make up the council’s progressive bloc…and most often take on Greg Nickels’ big development agenda.

Southern Baptist Convention: We’re Not Supporting Rev. Hutcherson’s Boycott

posted by on January 20 at 1:15 PM

The list of incorrect things that Rev. Hutcherson told the AP keeps growing. Jill Martin, spokeswoman for the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, tells me that the SBC is not backing Rev. Hutcherson.

“We have no record of the SBC having a position on the boycott,” she says.

Again, that’s not what Rev. Hutcherson told the Associated Press:

Hutcherson said he has the support of several national organizations, including the Family Research Council, Southern Baptist Convention and Focus on the Family. Several of those organizations’ offices could not be reached after hours Monday.

I asked Martin why Rev. Hutcherson would have told the AP that the Southern Baptist Convention was backing him when it wasn’t.

I don’t know,” she told me. “I think that you need to talk to Pastor Hutcherson and his church about his comments.”

Interesting Coincidence

posted by on January 20 at 1:04 PM

Council members Jan Drago, Richard McIver and Jean Godden voted for the exact same city council candidates eight times (out of a total of 10 to 12 votes). In comparison, the council’s more liberal bloc - Peter Steinbrueck, Nick Licata, and Richard Conlin, voted for the same candidate just three times.

Family Research Council: We’re Not Supporting Rev. Hutcherson’s Boycott

posted by on January 20 at 1:00 PM

Amber Hildebrand, a spokeswoman for the conservative Family Research Council, tells me that FRC is not backing Rev. Hutcherson’s boycott of companies that support Washington State’s gay civil rights bill.

“Hutcherson is a good friend of FRC,” Hildebrand told me. “FRC opposes laws protecting people based on the language of ‘sexual orientation.’ But FRC is not participating in the boycott. We don’t participate in any boycotts.”

Funny, that’s not what Rev. Hutcherson told the Associated Press:

Hutcherson said he has the support of several national organizations, including the Family Research Council, Southern Baptist Convention and Focus on the Family. Several of those organizations’ offices could not be reached after hours Monday.

But at this point, I’m not surprised that yet another thing Rev. Hutcherson told the AP isn’t checking out.

What Happens Now

posted by on January 20 at 12:54 PM

The city council selection process is about to become less public than ever.

Over the weekend, city council members will narrow down their choices to fill council position #9; on Monday, the council will meet to name their picks, compile the lists, and narrow them down to approximately six finalists. Then, according to city clerk Judith Pippin, the council will likely recess the meeting, allowing council members to interview candidates in one-on-one, private meetings or go into a (closed) executive session to discuss the candidates’ qualifications.

I called City Attorney Tom Carr’s office to see what the law says about holding executive sessions to discuss a candidate for public office. Elected officials frequently go into executive sessions to discuss potential employees or board appointments, but it seems to me that a candidate for city council - someone who will represent me, as opposed to someone who merely works for me - is different.

As it turns out, there is such a law: RCW 42.30.110, which says governing bodies can go into executive session “to evaluate the qualifications of a candidate for appointment to elective office.” OK. So the executive sessions, though troubling (the council doesn’t plan to hold a single public meeting before making this very important decision) are legally defensible.

However: The RCW continues, “any interview of such candidate to elective office shall be in a meeting open to the public.”

Hmm. So how is it that council members are holding private meetings with council candidates when state law explicitly says that such meetings shall be public? City Attorney Tom Carr’s spokeswoman didn’t know; she’s getting back to me on that.

Meanwhile: Just because the council can talk about candidates in closed session, that doesn’t mean they should. From start to finish, the process of choosing a new council member will take just under three weeks. Shouldn’t a decision as important as this one involve at least a little public process?

Bradybunch Mountain

posted by on January 20 at 12:19 PM

There goes the neighborhood:

From ‘Brady Bunch’ to wild bunch Christopher Knight and Barry Williams, who played clean-cut brothers Peter and Greg Brady on “The Brady Bunch,” will portray gay lovers on “That ’70s Show.” Knight, 47, and Williams, 51, have already shot the episode, in which they move next door to Topher Grace’s TV family, a Fox rep confirmed to us. Word is the former Brady siblings may even share a kiss. It would have been unthinkable in 1969, when the Bradys began their five-year run. Back then, you never saw Greg kiss any of the many girls he dated. The word “sex” wasn’t mentioned until the series’ final episode. Network censors wouldn’t even let us see the family’s toilet. We can just see the Bradys’ housekeeper, Alice (Ann B. Davis), breaking up the boys’ lip-lock with her broom. In real life, Williams has been married twic e. Knight, who was the best man at one of those weddings, has also been wed twice. Knight’s recent romance with “America’s Next Top Model” Adrienne Curry, 23, was chronicled on VH1’s “My Fair Brady.” (In the new Playboy, she calls their sex life “elaborate” and “exhibitionist.”) His TV fling with Williams is due to air in April

(Thanks goes to Bellen Drake for sending me this piece of enlightenment.)

He’s Baaaack. And Now He Doesn’t Like The Gays

posted by on January 20 at 12:06 PM

As usual Tim Eyman’s got a slew of initiatives queued up.

There’s one preventing the legislature from raising taxes without a 2/3 majority vote. There’s one keeping car tabs at $30. There’s one that opens up carpool lanes during non-rush hours and mandates that all car taxes go to roads only. And there’s one prohibiting affirmative action.

Eyman updated the anti-affirmative action one yesterday, adding this language:

The commission may not require anyone to grant quotas, set-asides, or other preferential treatment for any individual or group based on sexual orientation or sexual preference. The specific protected classes under this chapter shall not include sexual orientation or sexual preference.

Basically, Eyman is trying to preempt the gay civil rights bill, which, for the first time in 30 years, looks like it’s going to pass.

Us Perverts Thought of that First

posted by on January 20 at 12:00 PM

Michael Savage, the conservative radio talk show host, is a jackass, and he’s a little slow on the uptake. He thinks Brokeback Mountain is “disgusting” and “vile filth” and that every Hollywood movie “is about a sexual deviant, or a pervert, or about somebody who hates America, or a corrupt businessman” — read excerpts of his rant here — and to that end he’s trying to kick up trouble by renaming the movie Bareback Mounting.

Dude, we called it. That’s exactly what Annie Wagner titled her review three weeks before you came up with your pun. Although she thought the movie was “a gorgeous love story,” “fierce and convincing.”

(If you go to that link about Michael Savage’s rants, click on the link to the comments — they’re pretty good.)

What Is Soul?

posted by on January 20 at 11:49 AM

Parliament-Funkadelic answer that question and then some in this rare 1969 footage of the world’s greatest psychedelic funk band, from around the time of their stone classic self-titled debut album. Band leader/vocalist George Clinton (sporting the suspenders and crazy hairstyle) must be trippin’ hard. Study and worship them, people.

Fuck the “Liberal” Media

posted by on January 20 at 11:15 AM

Fuck CNN.


Fuck the Washington Post.

Fuck CNN again and then fuck ‘em some more.

AP Reporter: “I Stand By the Reporting in My Story”

posted by on January 20 at 10:45 AM

I just got off the phone with Rachel La Corte, the AP reporter who wrote the story in which Rev. Ken Hutcherson promised he would be leading a “national boycott” of companies supporting Washington’s gay civil rights bill — a boycott that, on closer examination, seems not to exist.

Rev. Hutcherson told the AP on Monday that he would be announcing the boycott on Thursday on James Dobson’s national radio program, Focus on the Family, and the AP quickly pushed that news out over its wires. When the Thursday announcement never came, Rev. Hutcherson told me that the AP had its facts wrong.

Did the AP get its facts wrong?

“I stand by the reporting in my story,” La Corte told me.

She’s since talked to Rev. Hutcherson about all this and says: “He insists that I misunderstood him. I don’t feel that I misunderstood him.”

La Corte told me that before she spoke to Hutcherson on Monday, “He’d been trying to get ahold of me all weekend to let me know something he was going to do.” When they finally connected, he told her that he was going to be leading a national boycott of every single company (Microsoft, Boeing, Hewlett-Packard, Nike, Corbis, Vulcan, and RealNetworks) that signed a letter recently supporting Washington’s gay civil rights bill. She asked when he was going to make this announcement, and she says he replied:

“I’m going to be on the Focus on the Family show on Thursday.”

As it turned out, Rev. Hutcherson was not on the Focus on the Family show on Thursday. He was on a “drop-in” segment aired with the show on a few local stations in Washington — not a great way to start a national boycott — and didn’t even mention the boycott on the “drop-in.” Could Rev. Hutch’s vague language to the AP reporter have been a deliberate attempt to mislead her into giving him some national press?

“I’m not going to go into what his motives were, and what his intentions were,” La Corte told me. “I’m just standing by this story.”

Which raises an interesting question: When does a “national boycott” begin to exist? When Rev. Hutch promises the AP one is coming? When the AP reports that one’s coming?

“We find the show secondary to his announcement on Monday,” La Corte says. “Hundreds of millions of AP readers read that story across the country, so in essence, it was announced at that time.”

Here’s something else that was announced at that time via the AP story, and now sounds a little fishy:

Hutcherson said he has the support of several national organizations, including the Family Research Council, Southern Baptist Convention and Focus on the Family. Several of those organizations’ offices could not be reached after hours Monday.

Has La Corte heard back from the FRC or the Southern Baptists about whether they are, in fact, supporting this “national boycott”? She told me she hasn’t yet.

Will the AP be taking another look at this boycott to see if it actually exists, now that it’s been announced to “hundreds of millions” of readers? While she wouldn’t give an absolute yes or no, she did tell me:

“That’s something that we may end up doing a story on — talking to all of these groups again to see where they stand.”

Maryland Court Backs Gay Marriage

posted by on January 20 at 10:29 AM

A court in Maryland says banning same-sex marriage is sex discrimination, and is therefore unconstitutional.

A Baltimore Circuit Court judge ruled today that Maryland’s law against same-sex marriage “cannot withstand constitutional challenge,” a key ruling in the volatile national debate on gay rights.

“After much study and serious reflection, this court holds that Maryland’s statutory prohibition against same-sex marriage cannot withstand constitutional challenge,” Judge M. Brooke Murdock wrote in her decision… Murdock also wrote that “although tradition and societal values are important, they cannot be given so much weight that they alone will justify a discriminatory statutory classification.”

Doing My Part for America

posted by on January 20 at 10:16 AM

Even though Google has refused to release internet search queries to the Bush administration, I thought I’d help Dubya out and release my own searches from the past week:

Bradley Steinbacher + The Stranger (vanity search)
Bradley Steinbacher + fuckwad (vanity search)
armpit + rash + cancer (hypochondria)
Rachel McAdams + naked (self-explanatory)
Dan Savage + naked (no explanation)
Resident Evil 4 + cheats (geekery)
scab + won’t heal + cancer (more hypochondria)
chronic pot smoking + loss of sex drive (girlfriend-requested search)
Bradley Steinbacher + “coiled sexual fury of a jungle cat” (no results)
Colin Farrell + naked (don’t ask)
Seattle Metro (self-explanatory)

For Keck’s Palm

posted by on January 20 at 9:56 AM

“History…is not the theater of happiness. Periods of happiness are blank pages in it.” —Philosophy of History

Potty Prison

posted by on January 20 at 9:52 AM

Good God:

A 73-YEAR-OLD woman is being investigated for “kidnapping and maltreating a family member” after allegedly keeping her mentally disturbed daughter locked in a darkened bathroom for 30 years.

Police said that Annina Gentilezza had kept her daughter, Giuseppina, now 52, a prisoner in the top-floor council flat at Pescara, on the Adriatic coast. They raided the flat after being tipped off by Signora Gentilezza’s daughter-in-law.

They found Giuseppina curled in a ball in a tiled room measuring 7ft x 9ft containing a lavatory, bidet, sink and washing machine. Wires hung from the ceiling where the light had been disconnected. The room contained a camp bed and plastic dog bowls in which Giuseppina was allegedly fed leftovers.

Police said that instead of being washed Giuseppina was “hosed down” on the balcony. Nicola Zupo, the officer who led the raid, said that Giuseppina was sometimes left out on the balcony as a punishment, especially in the winter, and beaten. She was allowed out once a month with her mother and stepfather, but only to collect her invalidity pension.

Full wretched story here.

Ken Hutcherson: Lying to the Associated Press?

posted by on January 20 at 8:15 AM

Earlier this week, in a story picked up by local television stations and both major Seattle dailies, eastside Rev. Ken Hutcherson announced he is launching a nation-wide boycott of Microsoft, Boeing, Hewlett-Packard, and other companies that are supporting Washington’s gay civil rights bill. Here’s an excerpt from the Associated Press story that ran all over the nation:

The Rev. Ken Hutcherson, pastor of Antioch Bible Church in the Seattle suburb of Redmond, said he would formally issue the boycott Thursday on the conservative radio show Focus on the Family.

It would have been a big deal for Rev. Hutcherson to appear on James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio show, which is part of the powerful religious right media machine and reaches nearly 9 million people across the country each week. Well, yesterday was Thursday. And the day came and went with no sign of Rev. Hutcherson on Dobson’s national broadcast, which instead explored the hot tactic of “Confronting Abortion Through Prayer.” What gives?

I called Focus on the Family’s headquarters in Colorado Springs, and found the people there very reluctant to explain why Rev. Hutcherson hadn’t been on Dobson’s national show as promised in the AP article. They did tell me, however, that Rev. Hutcherson was allowed to record a “drop-in” for the radio stations in Washington State that carry Dobson’s program. A “drop-in” is a short segment that can easily be added by local radio stations to the beginning of a pre-recorded broadcast like “Confronting Abortion Through Prayer.” Could I listen to the Washington “drop-in”? The answer from Dobson headquarters: No.

In the end, I did find a way to listen to Rev. Hutcherson’s “drop-in,” but before I get to what it contained (and conspicuously didn’t contain), a question for the Associated Press:

What kind of nation-wide boycott is launched on a few local radio stations in Washington State?

It seems Rev. Hutcherson, a very skillful media manipulator, may have tricked the AP into giving his “boycott” the kind of national audience that his buddy Dobson wasn’t willing to provide. If this is the case, will the AP correct the record?

Dobson headquarters had suggested I try one of the local AM radio stations here in Seattle for a copy of Rev. Hutcherson’s “drop-in,” and in short order I found Keith Black, the news director for KCIS radio, a local “Christian Inspiration Station” (AM630) that has fewer than 50,000 listeners.

Black played the “drop-in” for me over the phone, and it began with Tom Minery, the Vice President for Public Policy at Focus on the Family, telling listeners that he had “a special announcement for all of our listeners in the great state of Washington” about something that would be happening in the state senate “today.”

Did the announcement have anything to do with a national boycott? No. And was anything happening on the gay civil rights bill in the state senate on Thursday? No. The bill hasn’t even been taken up in the senate yet.

The rest of the four-minute “drop-in” consisted of Rev. Hutcherson telling listeners to call certain Washington State senators (Republican Bill Finkbeiner of Redmond, Democrat Marilyn Ramsussen of Yelm, and Democrat Mark Doumit of Aberdeen). “Call these senators and let them know we are against this bill,” Rev. Hutcherson said, warning that the bill was on a fast-track. Then Minery (incorrectly) told listeners that the bill is a “most significant matter that will be voted on today in the state capitol.”

And of course there were Rev. Hutcherson’s standard complaints about the gay civil rights struggle being compared to the black civil rights struggle, the standard religious right language of “special rights,” and warnings about Washington State becoming a “mecca” of gay marriage as a result of the bill (which has nothing to do with gay marriage).

Here’s what this sounds like to me: False information in the radio spot, false information in the AP report (which was picked up by The Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer among others), and all of it adding up to another media manipulation victory for Rev. Hutcherson.

Again, I return to the question the AP and the newspapers that published this story should probably be asking:

Does this “national boycott” actually exist? Or did Rev. Hutcherson trick the press into splashing his name nationally when he knew even his buddy Dobson wasn’t going to?


Attention Rachel La Corte of the Associated Press: I spoke to Rev. Hutcherson and he says you have your facts wrong.

The AP was wrong,” Rev. Hutcherson told me. “I never said I was going to announce a boycott today.”

So when will he announce his national boycott?

“I will let you know, Eli,” Rev. Hutcherson said. “I will let you know.”

While I wait for Rev. Hutcherson to let me know, I’d also like to know whether the AP agrees that it got his quotes wrong. The AP’s a pretty reliable organization, and I’d be surprised if they did. But this gives us a great opportunity to find out who’s more trustworthy: Rev. Ken Hutcherson, or the Associated Press?


Over at the blog, Goldy weighs in with some advice for media manipulators and a question for the Washington State press corps:

One thing I never do is lie or trick journalists into reporting something I know to be false. That would not only be rude and inconsiderate, it would destroy my credibility… Rev. Hutcherson now claims he never said he was going to announce a boycott today, and I suppose that AP reporter Rachel La Corte could have gotten it wrong. But if she didn’t, my question for her and the rest of the press corps is: “Are you ever going to trust Rev. Hutcherson again?”

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Flip over to KCTS

posted by on January 19 at 10:42 PM

Part 1 of the TV version of Jared Diamond’s history of civilization, “Guns, Germs, and Steel,” is on in high def right now. I hardly ever watch TV without doing something else at the same time, but this is urging me to put the laptop down.

And the Candidates Are…

posted by on January 19 at 8:09 PM

The city council spent the day interviewing 14 candidates for council position #9, and I spent the day watching them.
For the interviews, the council split up into two groups and spoke with candidates for 24 minutes each, asking predetermined questions sent to candidates by email earlier this week. One group met in council chambers; the other in a cramped conference room outside the mayor’s office on the seventh floor. Virtually no members of the public showed up to watch the interviews; the audience, such as it was, was made up almost exclusively of reporters and city staff. Unlike last week’s parade of wannabes, unknowns and also-rans, today’s aspirants were serious contenders, identified as “semifinalists” by the council on Tuesday.
What distinguished today’s candidates from one another, more than their political leanings (all are liberal Democrats), were their specific positions on issues from the Alaskan Way Viaduct to bus-rapid transit. I won’t try to summarize all their responses here; instead, I’ll highlight a few moments that grabbed my attention:

• Dolores Sibonga, a former city council member who says she won’t run for reelection if she gets the position (but didn’t rule out the possibility of running for another seat), said she supported “increased bus service” now that the monorail to Ballard and West Seattle is dead, but had little response to council members who pointed out that buses, unlike elevated or subway trains, get stuck in traffic. “I wasn’t altogether sold on the monorail because it… took people off buses,” Sibonga said. “Elevated transportation cuts light and air and access for people on the stret.”

• Venus Velazquez, a public-relations consultant who some say has been difficult to work with, seemed to rub some council members the wrong way when she answered pointed questions about how she would respond to minorities who oppose linking gay rights to civil rights by laughing uncomfortably and dodging. “The bus is big enough for all of us… When one group goes down the rest of us go down.” (Velazquez also had an annoying tendency to speak in corporate PR jargon, e.g. “building bridges,” “keep everyone moving up the economic ladder,” “all things being equal,” “finding win-win solutions,” “bringing everybody to the table,” etc.)

• Attorney Joann Francis took a tough stance on police accountability, supporting indemnification from officer lawsuits and access to unredacted officer complaints for Office of Police Accountability Review Board members. She did raise a few eyebrows, however, when she talked about her work as an attorney for First and Goal, the Paul Allen corporation that built and operates Seahawks Stadium. And she floundered a little when asked what cuts she would make in difficult budget times, stating the obvious — “you listen to the public in terms of specific priorities and go to basic services that the government’s responsible for” — without answering the question.

• Sally Clark, the Lifelong AIDS Alliance employee and former aide to ex-city council member Tina Podlodowski, came across as poised and well-versed in city issues, while Stella Chao seemed vague and unspecific, talking generally about “working collaboratively toward common goals” without identifying what those goals might be.

• Javier Valdez responded pointedly to Tom Rasmussen’s question about whether he would be an independent council member, given that he has worked for the last five years under the mayor as an employee of City Light: “You were the head of the mayor’s office for senior citizens [when you ran for office], council member Rasmussen, and I think you’ve really done your job remarkably well,” he said.

• Verlene Jones, a union organizer, elicited some puzzled looks when she referred to the Alaskan Way Viaduct as “one of the beauties of Seattle,” continuing effusively, “It’s very rare that you can call a freeway a beauty. I would hate to lose that beautiful vision I have every morning of our city that gets me going, gets me pumped, makes me happy to be here.”

• Sharon Maeda, alone among all the candidates, expressed interest in a proposal to tear down the Alaskan Way Viaduct and replace its capacity with improvements to surface streets downtown, noting that while she was living at Harbor Steps, across from the viaduct, “I would occasionally see little pieces of concrete falling off it.”

On Monday, January 23, the council will announce its list of six finalists. They’ll interview those finalists throughout the week, and will likely choose a new council member on Thursday. Peter Steinbrueck tried unsuccessfully on Tuesday to convince his colleagues to hold a public hearing on the three top contenders, but his effort failed, and no public hearing is planned.
For more on the top 14 contenders, see the council’s web site.

This is what it sounds like…

posted by on January 19 at 8:03 PM

when dogs fly.

Slogdance 3 - The Press Office

posted by on January 19 at 4:54 PM

In years past I’ve been sent the catalog of films ahead of time, where I’ve been able to make notes about what I’m looking forward to and what I can’t wait to avoid. This year I never got the book, probably because I was nearly late with my press application. Though I’ve gone through some of the films on-line, it’s harder to make notes in the margins when looking at a computer screen.

Two Seattle films are playing in Park City, one at Sundance and one at Slamdance, and I’m looking forward to them both.

I’ve heard from people in Seattle who’s worked on both the sound and the video post-production that Iraq in Fragments is a poetic and visually arresting film. I’ll report back on it once I’ve been to the press screening.

The other local film is Lynn Shelton’s Slamdance entry We Go Way Back, which was produced by the non-profit studio The Film Company. I’ve seen an advanced screening of this sweet and deceptively simple film, and I’ll report on that down the line. Plus, I’m dying to find out if they raised enough money to retrieve the 35mm print from the lab. I’m guessing they did, but I’ll know for sure in a day or two.

Anyway, I’m grabbing the catalog from the press office right now, and I’ll write back with more movie news in a bit.

-Andy Spletzer slogging from Sundance in Park City, Utah

New Larry Clark film

posted by on January 19 at 4:42 PM

Yes, he of the scantily clad teen sex and whatever flicks, Larry Clark is back at it with Wassup Rockers. It’s premiering at the Slamdance Film Festival and opens nationwide in April. Let’s hope it’s better than that piece of shit Ken Park (although aside from that one I do like Clark’s stuff).

Slogdance 2 - The Arrival

posted by on January 19 at 4:39 PM

I’m sitting in the airport as I write this (though I’m posting it several hours later in the free wi-fi of the Sundance Press Suite), waiting for my friend Jonathan Marlow to arrive from San Francisco before we drive into Park City. The snow advisory has been lifted, and it looks like it’ll be a lovely day. There’s even sun shining outside.

Funny thing about sitting in this Salt Lake City airport: you can tell by looking at them who is here on business, who is here to ski, and who is here to make a splash at Sundance. Something tells me the people-watching is much more fun at this time of year. I’m talking about the LA trio where the girl in the designer jeans is laughing a little too loudly at the joke made by the guy in the adidas sport coat. I’m talking about those awful dyed green Nikes. I’m talking about the two lost and rural-looking guys who haven’t mastered the attitude needed to pull off those flashy fur coats. Oh my god, are short ponytails on guys coming back, or is he a time traveler from 10 or 20 years ago?

The entertainment begins as soon as you land.

-Andy Spletzer slogging from Sundance in Park City, Utah

Theater Don’t Pay

posted by on January 19 at 4:37 PM

Your neighborhood supplier of corporate theater (the touring productions of The Graduate and The Lion King at “Broadway in Seattle at the Paramount”) changed hands recently. The infamous Clear Channel Communications got rid of its theater and concert division—which produced 12,000 theater productions, 10,000 concerts, and 600 “motor-sports events” last year—and the new company, called Live Nation, went public. Guess what happened? Clear Channel stock shot up, and Live Nation’s promptly plummeted. The lesson? There is no money in theater.

Long Time No Talk

posted by on January 19 at 4:36 PM

Osama bin Laden has broken his long silence. In a videotape aired today on Al-Jazeera, he did three things:

1. He offered a truce.
2. He threatened another attack like Sept. 11.
3. He offered recommended reading for this weekend: “The Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower,” a book by the American author William Blum about how the American government is inviting terrorist attacks.

R.I.P. Wilson Pickett

posted by on January 19 at 4:10 PM

Sure, he wrote “Mustang Sally” many, many years ago, but I still think 64 is far too young.

I love Juno. Juno is dead.

posted by on January 19 at 4:10 PM

I’m not the only one who misses Juno, the defunct local rock band, right? Of course not, they were great! Now fellow fans can rejoice because frontman Arlie Carstens (who has since relocated to LA) is working on a new project called Ghost Wars. A bunch of Seattle musicians have collaberated with Carstens, including Rosie Thomas, Jay Clarke and Derrick Fudesco of Pretty Girls Make Graves, Cory Murchey of Minus the Bear, Nate Mendel of the Foo Fighters, as well as former Juno bandmate Gabe Carter, and the results are pretty awesome.

If you’re curious (and you probably are), a few tracks are available via myspace at Go. Listen. Love.

Mr. Mirman

posted by on January 19 at 4:05 PM

This website is not a bad place to while away a few precious moments of your ever-shortening life. I particularly recommend the Who medly.

Forget The Patch

posted by on January 19 at 3:49 PM

Forget the gum. If you’re trying to quit smoking, chew the hell out of these little guys. They’re amazing. They burn your mouth and make you forget. You can find ‘em at Madison Market, next to the hippy toothpaste.

A Reader Wants to Know…

posted by on January 19 at 2:47 PM

I think a crack reporter should be assigned to investigate why downtown is being buzzed repeatedly this afternoon by a quartet of fierce looking unmarked Hueys or some other sort of most very military looking helicopters. All week long a single one of these monsters has been going up and down the waterfront, but today there are four, flying low, flying loud, back and forth, all along the waterfront. Why?

Anyone got any info?

Another Good Reason To Stop Smoking

posted by on January 19 at 1:31 PM

Apparently, smoking cigarettes can disrupt the healing and lead to the rejection of face transplants.

Why do we know this? Because the lady who just got a new face in France has resumed puffing. See this Associated Press report—sporting the prize-winning headline New Lips Not Made For Smoking—for details.

Courtney’s Mom Has Got It Goin’ On

posted by on January 19 at 1:25 PM

To the great many harboring low-level obsessions with the peerless human train wreck that is Courtney Love: Be sure to check out this interview with Courtney’s mom—a web exclusive on The Stranger site.

Basic story: Linda Carroll, the professional therapist and woman from whence came Courtney, has written a book about her famously tortured child. Judging from the interview, Her Mother’s Daughter looks to provide some invaluable new insight into the forces that formed one of the 20th century’s most fascinating and exasperating artists (and one of the 21st century’s lamest jokes.)

P.S. Linda Carroll reads from Her Mother’s Daughter at the University Book Store next Tuesday, January 24 at 7 pm.

Where Will Qaeda’s Next Hit Be?

posted by on January 19 at 1:05 PM

If he were smart, bin Laden would hit the San Fernando Valley, ground zero of the porn industry, with a nuke. That would put Bush in a weird spot w/ his Christian Conservative base.

The Lost Wolf

posted by on January 19 at 12:55 PM

While walking to work this morning, I came across this scene on the corner of 19th and Yesler: Clouds are in the sky, a school bus is picking up school kids, a man wearing a heavy jacket is walking down the street with a dog wearing black shoes. I stop in disbelief and look at the man and his best friend. The man is tallish and altogether normal. The dog is husky-like and each of its paws is covered by what appears to be a leather black pouch—a dog shoe. Shame was all over the dog’s face. I felt sorry for the poor thing. Now, here is one of my many fantasies: I have always wanted to meet a mid-sized dog on a level plain and fight it with no weapons, no stones. Me: just my hands; it: just its teeth. We would fight with precisely what nature gave us. Fight with our givens and nothing else. The dog after my throat; me trying to poke its eyes out. All of this happening simply to determine which living machine is in actuality better. The dog I saw on the street corner certainly sensed (or sniffed) this fantasy of mine, and communicated through the saddest of eyes that it too had this fantasy: a fair fight with a human. But the shoes made it look so ridiculous. For a human, well and good. But for it, for an animal to wear shoes—how far it had fallen from the age of the wolf.

My Smobriety, Day Eleven: My Anti-Smoking Campaign

posted by on January 19 at 12:05 PM

Smobriety Charticle Ten

Weight: 175 pounds

Pulse: 67 beats per minute

Song Stuck in Head: “The Man Comes Around,” Johnny Cash

Risk of Smoking Resumption: Lemon Yellow (pretty much non-existent)

Symptoms: My cough is getting deeper, which is inspiring some concern over how deep it can go. I’m afraid that I’ll be coughing up toe jam in a week or so.

As a recently reformed smoker, I have received a few questions from concerned parties that run along the lines of: “How can I convince my friend/loved one to quit smoking?”
Answer is after the jump.

Continue reading "My Smobriety, Day Eleven: My Anti-Smoking Campaign" »

More From Sullivan

posted by on January 19 at 12:04 PM

Andrew’s got a great post up about gay cowboysreal ones—and why gay marriage matters even to them. Especially to them, in this instance. It’s heartbreaking, and it isn’t fiction.

A Contradiction in Terms?

posted by on January 19 at 11:34 AM

OLYMPIA — The lawmaker tapped to speak for Senate Republicans opposing gay-rights legislation is an affable, soft-spoken man who believes gays will go to hell unless they change their ways.

Go Home, Santino!

posted by on January 19 at 11:19 AM

I apologize to the 98.5% of you who could give a shit about Bravo’s reality television/competition show Project Runway, but does anyone else think that the resident egotistical asshole, Santino Rice, needs to go home!? Did you see the ice-skating outfit he designed last night!? Jesus! It was horrific! It wasn’t quite as bad as his lingerie line, though, which actually made me want to throw-up in my mouth a little bit. “It’s supposed to come off!” he screamed at the judges when they criticized his creation… Who’d feel sexy in something that looked like an Oktoberfest celebration exploded all over their body!?

He’s an asshole, he only pulls off good designs about 30% of the time, and he’s ugly. Auf Wiedersehen, Santino! Go home!

re: A Million Little Feces

posted by on January 19 at 11:12 AM

I haven’t read Frey’s book, but ironically enough I heard all about it from my parents over Christmas, as they both read it and loved it. So we all plunked in front of the TV to watch the big, sappy ass Oprah special with Frey, where he meets a recovering alcoholic who had his words tattooed on her arm, Frey’s mother gave a teary-eyed explanation of how happy she was for her son, and Frey himself spoke of holding on when things get rough. It’s really creepy thinking of all the acting that went into this whole Oprah performance—to me it’s a lot sicker than someone like JT Leroy (whoever that person is) writing books and keeping the sermons out of the picture. The recovering alcoholic was in tears talking to Frey…wouldn’t that make you feel just a little bad about how far you’d taken your con? I guess that’s the age of (sur)reality TV we’re now immersed in though.

Re: O’Beirne

posted by on January 19 at 11:07 AM

If you enjoy being inflamed, Jennifer, scan this Salon article in which writer Rebecca Traister interviews O’Beirne over lunch here.

Here is my favorite passage:

In the chapter about VAWA [Violence Against Women Act] you describe some of the signs of abuse — like having a partner who monitors what you’re doing, humiliates you in public, and controls your money — as trivial. Do you really think those things are trivial?

I think they are potentially trivial. Could any one of those things rise to the level of a real abusive situation? I suppose so. But it strikes me as a sort of alarmist [attempt to define] domestic violence down in order to find some epidemic of it. [If those were true] every dating relationship in high school would be abuse. I mean constant, constant humiliation in front of people? It’s all so subjective: like every time I go out he asks me where I’ve been?

What I see there is an attempt to define it down because it has to be an epidemic — because there’s a lot of money in it being an epidemic.

Right. You complain about all the jobs VAWA created. But you also write about how the domestic crime statistics fell between 1993 and 2002, calling that bad news for all the people who need the stats to be high to keep their VAWA jobs. But given that the numbers fell with all those people in those VAWA jobs, isn’t it conceivable that those jobs helped lower the domestic violence rates?

The overall crime rate’s also down; you just don’t ever know, frankly. But I do know that they have an incentive to hype an epidemic. We don’t know. Because it’s so unclear what they’re doing [in VAWA jobs] except advocating and hyping the epidemic.

Goddamn VAWA for inventing and perpetuating the domestic violence epidemic just to get jobs, and perhaps good holiday bonuses! It’s as underhanded as Gay Recruitment!

Ricky Martin Loves Piss

posted by on January 19 at 10:58 AM

…which is pissing off Unicef. Read all about it here. Hat tip: Alert reader Maria. (And, yes, Maria, a golden shower comes from the penis—if a man is doing the showering.)

A Million Little Feces

posted by on January 19 at 10:53 AM

Originally, I was cavalier about the James Frey debacle. I’d read A Million Little Pieces, got a fair sense of its self-serving romanticizations upon contact, and initially dismissed the hubbub as naive mudslinging.

As the controversy spun out, I learned the specifics of Frey’s inventions, the nature of his amplifications, and, most creepily, the switcheroo in the book’s classification. (Originally shopped around as a novel, the book only sold after Frey re-labelled it a memoir.) The more I thought back on Frey’s book, the creepier it all got: At bottom, AMLP is a Tale of Redemption, but the stakes of any redemption are set by the depths from which the protagonist is redeemed, and by artifically lowering his depths—grossly overstating his criminal history, inventing rehab tortures out of whole cloth—Frey reveals himself to be a con artist.

The strongest argument I’ve read against Frey came in this past Sunday’s New York Times, where Liars’ Club author Mary Karr blasts Frey’s deeds on moral grounds before hitting her most persuasive angle, discounting Frey in the name of art:

At one point [during the writing of Liars Club], I wrote a goodbye scene to show how my hard-drinking, cowboy daddy had bailed out on me when I hit puberty. When I actually searched for the teenage reminiscences to prove this, the facts told a different story: my daddy had continued to pick me up on time and make me breakfast, to invite me on hunting and fishing trips. I was the one who said no. I left him for Mexico and California with a posse of drug dealers, and then for college. This was far sadder than the cartoonish self-portrait I’d started out with. If I’d hung on to my assumptions, believing my drama came from obstacles I’d never had to overcome - a portrait of myself as scrappy survivor of unearned cruelties - I wouldn’t have learned what really happened. Which is what I mean when I say God is in the truth.

The point: Truth is stranger—and slipperier—than fiction, and James Frey sucks for taking the easy, self-aggrandizing way out.

From one strong woman to another

posted by on January 19 at 10:15 AM

I forgot to Slog about this book review after reading it on Sunday, but it’s recommended reading in my book. Reviewer Ana Marie Cox rips apart author Kate O’Beirne’s new book, Women Who Make the World Worse. The book takes down old school feminists, from Betty Friedan to Gloria Steinem, but it’s O’Beirne who receives the big bruising here. My favorite part of the review, though, happens when Cox really sticks it to O’Beirne where it hurts:

In the age of the book-as-rant (see Goldberg, Ann Coulter, Al Franken and Michael Moore), perhaps one shouldn’t expect better than O’Beirne’s simplistic caricatures. Today American women have unprecedented access to educational and professional opportunity and to the machinery of power. O’Beirne, however, attributes women’s progress not to any feminist agitation but to “the natural evolution of social expectations.”

Unfortunately, there is no such thing. Social change is often the product of confrontation between extremes. To depict one extreme as pernicious and all-powerful reduces real debate about equality into a cartoon about underarm hair. Feminism isn’t always pretty (see: underarm hair). Without it, however, Kate O’Beirne would have been unlikely to have this book published - and most women would not have their own money to waste on it.

They’ll Just Change the Rules—Again

posted by on January 19 at 10:04 AM

Andrew Sullivan linked to this by Christopher Hitchens:

“I believe the President when he says that this will be a very long war, and insofar as a mere civilian may say so, I consider myself enlisted in it. But this consideration in itself makes it imperative that we not take panic or emergency measures in the short term, and then permit them to become institutionalised. I need hardly add that wire-tapping is only one of the many areas in which this holds true.

The better the ostensible justification for an infringement upon domestic liberty, the more suspicious one ought to be of it. We are hardly likely to be told that the government would feel less encumbered if it could dispense with the Bill of Rights. But a power or a right, once relinquished to one administration for one reason, will unfailingly be exploited by successor administrations, for quite other reasons. It is therefore of the first importance that we demarcate, clearly and immediately, the areas in which our government may or may not treat us as potential enemies.”

Sullivan praises Hitchens, who is one of the plaintiffs in the ACLU’s lawsuit challenging Bush’s domestic spying (Hitchens may have been a target), for getting it. Then he ads…

Now the real question: why are there not more conservatives skeptical of a newly intrusive government power? Has it occurred to them that these powers may one day be deployed by a president they don’t trust?

There’s an easy answer to that question: It has, without a doubt, occurred to conservatives that one day someone like, say, Hillary Clinton or Russ Feingold or even—God forbid!—Howard Dean may be sitting behind that desk in the Oval Office. But why should they worry? When and if that happens, conservatives no doubt believe they can change the rules—again.

Remember the conservative outcry when some low-level schmuck in the Clinton administration improperly peeked into a few FBI files? Who can ever forget conservatives screaming that Clinton lied to the American people? Oh, it was about a blowjob, sure, but still the man had to impeached. And remember how the Republicans claimed, during Bill’s war on Kosovo, that they could slam the Commander in Chief and pick apart the mission of our troops in the field? Remember “No one elected Hillary—tell that woman to shut up and host state dinners!”

Once Bush was elected, conservatives changed all of the rules. The president, as it turns out, can lie to the American people—provided the president in question is a Republican. The First Lady can say whatever she likes—hell, Laura Bush is free to slam Hillary Clinton—an elected member of the U.S. Senate!—and no one says, “Who elected Laura?” The same conservatives who drove Vincent Foster to suicide—suicide!—scream at Dems for making poor Mrs. Alito cry. Spying on American citizens? That’s okey-dokey. Don’t like the conduct of the war? Well, you can’t critique Bush—or Rummy or Cheney or Rice—without being accused of having the blood of troops on your hands.

How many times over the last five years has Bush gotten away with shit that would have gotten Bill Clinton impeached? I’ve lost count.

Conservatives are confident that, having changed the rules once, they can change the rule again—they’re not concerned that one day a second President Clinton or President Dean will have exercise the powers they’ve allowed/encouraged Bush to grab.

I’d like to think that this belief—that conservatives can stuff the genie of an above-the-law, imperial presidency back into the constitutional bottle when a Dem is elected president—is more evidence of Republican and conservative hubris. But five years of muttering “Bill Clinton would have been impeached for this shit” to myself over and over again has left me feeling pretty pessimistic. I’m half-convinced that the Republicans will be able to change the rules again—change `em back—when a Dem takes the White House.

P.S. Andrew Sullivan’s blog is now hosted by, and it’s been redesigned. Check it out.

The Old Man’s Back Again

posted by on January 19 at 9:49 AM

Rejoice, oh fans of Scott Walker - the enigmatic yet hugely influential singer-songwriter-weirdo is set to release, The Drift, his first new album in 11 years, this spring:

“4AD is delighted to announce that SCOTT WALKER has completed work on his first album for the label.
The long-awaited new album - titled “The Drift” - will be Scott’s first since the ground-breaking “Tilt” was released in 1995. 4AD will release the album worldwide in May. The exact date will be announced shortly. A documentary film about Scott’s music - including the making of “The Drift” - is being made by the New York-based director Stephen Kijak. The film features a rare and unprecedented look into the creative world of one of rock’s most uncompromising and influential enigmas. Titled “Scott Walker: 30 Century Man”, it will also be released in 2006.”

Hasty Ethics

posted by on January 19 at 9:47 AM

I missed this article that ran in the Tacoma News Tribune last weekend. It’s a nice hit on Washington Congressman Doc Hastings. (Hastings heads up the House Ethics Committee, and the question is: With Tom DeLay roaming the halls, why didn’t the Pasco, WA Republican hold a single hearing in 2005?)

Here’s a choice quote:

“They might as well disband and stop pretending to have an ethics committee,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics. “They are a disgrace. Hastings should be embarrassed.”

Vatican Signals Support of Pennsylvania Ruling

posted by on January 19 at 9:03 AM

Judge Jones’s recent ruling banning the teaching of intelligent design in Pennsylvania public schools has gotten a subtle thumbs up from the Vatican. The New York Times has the story.

The article is pretty great, especially since it casually crushes the Discovery Institute’s floundering line of reasoning, without much pretense to journalistic pseudo-objectivity:

There is no credible scientific challenge to the idea that evolution explains the diversity of life on earth, but advocates for intelligent design posit that biological life is so complex that it must have been designed by an intelligent source.

Who Elected Laura Bush?

posted by on January 19 at 6:18 AM

What John said.

Slogdance 2006 - Preparation

posted by on January 19 at 12:06 AM

My bags are packed and I’m ready to head down to Park City to attend the annual Sundance Film Festival. Yep, it’s that time of year again. It’s time to mingle with the celebrities who have descended on a scenic mountain town to talk (at press conferences) about how they’re making movies “for the love of the art” and not for the publicity and goodie bags.

Of course we all know that celebrities are not the reason to attend a film festival. It’s the movies, stupid. Last year there were some great films buried among some Hollywood wannabe indies, and it was a crapshoot trying to guess which movies would be good. I feel better about this year’s crop, if only because there are fewer films with a Hollywood pedigree and more movies that seem to be taking chances. We shall see.

Actually, it sounds like the skiing is the reason to go to Park City this year, judging from the news reports about how much snow has been falling in the last couple of days. I’m hoping it won’t be too much trouble just getting into town from the airport. You’ll see how my expectations match up with my realities, and hear about all my adventures (both in and out of the snow), as I blog from Sundance. Stay tuned.

-Andy Spletzer

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


posted by on January 18 at 11:44 PM

The Seattle City Council will be interviewing the 14 semifinalists for vacant City Council position #9 all day, from 9 am to 5 pm. Tune in live online or check out Slog for continuing coverage.

OMG! Project Runway is ON!

posted by on January 18 at 10:01 PM

Everything stops for Project Runway. I’m rooting for/lusting after Daniel V.—who’s with me?

Literally Literally Means Literally (Literally)

posted by on January 18 at 9:47 PM

The eminent Andrew Sullivan, appearing on The Colbert Report (which has gotten to be incredibly funny), just explained that blogs “are literally web logs…”

That’s all I’m saying.

My Smobriety, Day Ten: Nothing Going On

posted by on January 18 at 5:30 PM

Smobriety Charticle Nine

Weight: 175 pounds (There was a particularly delicious, although diet-destroying, trip to Dick’s yesterday. New diet procedures will begin in earnest tomorrow.)

Pulse: 68 beats per minute

Smoking Resumption Risk: Aqua (No real risk of resumption)

Song Stuck in Head: “Jackie,” Scott Walker

Symptoms: Worsening cough, inability to concentrate on my retail job (Please note that this is more a symptom of real life than any kind of smobriety symptom.)

In honor of Shatner’s kidney stone, I’m going to begin selling any bits of my lung that may come up in the next few weeks. Keep an eye on eBay!
The most obnoxious thing about quitting smoking is that people no longer believe me when I say that it’s been an incredibly easy experience. They lean in and whisper, “But really, what time of the day do you miss it the most?” The answer, that I haven’t really wanted a cigarette since that first day, usually results in some variation on “Well, it’ll start getting difficult any time now.” Because people want me to be in tremendous pain, apparently, and I need to be struck down for my arrogance.
Well, thanks. Thanks a lot.
That’s all I have today. Maybe I’ll suffer tonight or something. Cheers.

Paris Hilton’s Facial

posted by on January 18 at 4:36 PM

This is for my husband (because he appreciates both Paris and You’re the Man Now Dog way more than anyone else I know).

(Link works best in Explorer.)

You want a piece of me?

posted by on January 18 at 4:35 PM

William Shatner sells his kidney stone for $25,000.

On the subject of valuable extractions: Our cat once swallowed magenta mesh and had to have surgery to remove it, and I still have the mesh in an orange prescription pill bottle at home. It is the foulest-smelling thing in all the world. I will never sell it.

Act Two: Iran

posted by on January 18 at 4:27 PM

The war on terror is endless; Iran is next.

Like Leaving Home with My Fly Gaping

posted by on January 18 at 4:17 PM

In tomorrow’s Stranger, careful readers will see the embarrassing error at the front gate of Brendan Kiley’s Theater News column. What kills me is that there was some discussion about this sentence and whether it was just too much, and yet no one noticed the homophonous impostor.

Wither: verb, “shrivel”
Whither: adverb (or conjunction) “to what place or result”

Please insert a tiny sans-serif h for me when you get there.

Another Teen Idol Busted

posted by on January 18 at 4:05 PM

The LA Times is reporting that Leif Garrett, former teen idol, was busted today for heroin possession.

Garrett pre-heroin:

Garrett Then.jpg

Garrett post-heroin:

Garrett Now.jpg

This breaks my heart.

Leif Garrett was my first big crush—and that’s okay, Eros Thought Police. There was nothing pedo about my crush on Garrett: I was a teenager myself when I was stuck on Garrett and he was the older man in our fantasy relationship. I outgrew Garrett, but my crush on Garrett was, um, formative. It left me with a life-long affinity for shaggy-haired blonds with big lips. At 13 I wanted to marry Garrett when I grew up, but I settled for the next best thing. I married a shaggy-haired blond guy with big lips who doesn’t have a heroin problem. Yet, anyway.

UPDATE: Some Leif links…

Visit Leif’s official website—there’s a “news” link but the LA Times story isn’t linked yet. Download his new song: Betty Ford for Xmas.

A huge Leif fan site, and another, and another filled with Leif quotes. And, of course, VH1.

Well Shut My Mouth

posted by on January 18 at 3:43 PM

According to the eyewitness report of a US Department of Agriculture inspector—and despite widespread reports to the contrary—the animals at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Zoo are perfectly fine.

Good for them. As for Jacko, he’s still being sued over a nearly $100,000 veterinarian bill he’s allegedly refused to pay. A hearing’s set for May 2.

Josh Isn’t Kidding

posted by on January 18 at 3:14 PM

Not only has the Stranger covered the hell out of all the issues the Weekly’s cover story visits today, the Weekly itself is just now discovering them. In recent years, the Weekly has done a total of three stories about strip clubs, not one story about the smoking ban (unless you count a lone Geov Parrish opinion column), not one about the alcohol impact area, just two (in 1999) about the poster ban, and not one about the mayor’s club task force, which, according to Dawdy, “many people in the club scene read as an attempt to hassle clubs.” (Which people, Philip? The ones I quoted in my stories about the task force, linked in Josh’s post?)

The Weekly’s discovery of urban issues is belated and unconvincing. And, in at least one instance, just plain wrong: The All-Ages Dance Ordinance, which Dawdy calls “ridiculous” and says “is meant to choke off the all-ages music scene,” was actually a progressive response to the (ridiculous) Teen Dance Ordinance, which restricted admission at teen dances to people under 21, required clubs to hire off-duty cops for security, and mandated $1 million worth of insurance for each dance, among other draconian restrictions. To quote the Weekly itself, from 2000, “the new rules are a sincere, well-thought-out attempt to let dance clubs and promoters actually play within the rules.”

It’s About Time

posted by on January 18 at 2:55 PM

In a long-overdue Seattle Weekly cover story this week, Seattle’s elder weekly finally comes down from its snooty perch (“Seattle’s Smart Alternative”) and writes about the stuff we’ve been covering for years. They venture into the real Seattle—a city of bars and nightclubs and oppressed strip clubs—and, as we’ve been doing forever, attack Seattle’s lurch toward nanny statism. It’s a welcome editorial change.

For years, the uptight/upright Weekly has ignored these issues—hell, they’ve repeatedly attacked The Stranger for prioritizing these issues as news. But we’ve slogged on, pushing urban values and defending urban vices week after week—stripping, strap-ons, postering, drinking, getting high, mass transit, more drinking, density, free speech, getting high while postering , and all-ages shows.

As the Stranger’s news editor, I’m glad (and kind of flattered, actually) that the new owners at the Weekly are following our lead and allowing one of their writers to get a little riled about the issues we’ve been screaming about for years. The piece reads like a summary of issues that Stranger readers are all-too-familiar with, maybe even a little bored with already.

But these are not boring issues. So, better late than never. To encourage the Weekly’s new editorial direction, we’d like to help out by bringing them up to speed on issues that they’ve been a little too mature or uptight or too serious to cover. We think the Weekly’s new owners will find this quickie primer— including the story where we broke the news about the smoking ban’s idiotic 25 foot rule and the story where we brought the unconstitutional de facto ban on strip clubs to the city’s attention—super useful! Welcome to the city, Seattle Weekly. But what took you so fucking long?

Read up on strip clubs here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Read up on the Poster Ban here, here, here, and here.

Read up on the recent smoking ban, including our Edit Board recommendation to Vote No, here and here. Read up on team Nickels’s Anti-Club Joint Assessment Team here and here. Stuff on the Unfair Alcohol Impact Area here, here, here, here,here, and here. Read up on the Teen Dance Ordinance here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Suck That Carrot, Girl

posted by on January 18 at 2:12 PM

Okay, maybe you’ve already seen this, but I just watched it last night for the first time.
Are you fucking kidding me—is this REALLY
the Governor of California?

Oh, Canada…

posted by on January 18 at 1:05 PM

Kyle Shaw, the editor of The Coast, a weekly newspaper in Halifax, Nova Scotia, wrote this piece for us in 2004, when the Liberals turned back a challenge from the Conservatives. It’s a good primer on national politics in Canada—no, wait! That sounds terrible! It’s funny as shit and makes fun of George W. Bush! Go read it! I swear it’s not the least bit educational!

Where the Money Went

posted by on January 18 at 12:46 PM

Twelve of the 14 finalists for City Council position #9 - formerly Jim Compton’s seat - have given financial contributions over the years to current members of the city council (the same folks who voted to short-list them on Tuesday). This doesn’t suggest a quid pro quo—in council races that now cost a minimum of $200,000, even the maximum $650 contribution doesn’t go far—but it does highlight the insularity of Seattle’s political class.

Here they are, in order of amount contributed, with their largest contributions in bold:

Joann Francis gave $1,275 to council members Richard McIver and Nick Licata, including $1,225 over the years to McIver. (Francis got McIver’s vote but not Licata’s.)

Bruce Bentley gave $1,085 to McIver, Jean Godden, Richard Conlin, Jan Drago, and Licata, including $485 over the years to Drago. (He got all their votes except Godden’s.)

Ross Baker gave $886 to Conlin, McIver, Peter Steinbrueck, David Della, and Drago, including $205 in contributions to Drago. (Baker received all five council members’ votes.)

Sharon Maeda gave $825 to council members Tom Rasmussen, McIver and Della, including a $650 contribution to Della. (Maeda received all three council members’ votes.)

Dolores Sibonga gave $615 to council members Della, Conlin, McIver, Rasmussen and Drago, including a $200 contribution to Rasmussen. (She got all five council members’ votes.)

Venus Velazquez gave $550 to Drago, Licata, McIver and Conlin, including $200 over the years to McIver. (She got all their votes except Licata’s.)

Stella Chao gave $350 to Conlin, Jan Drago, Richard McIver, Peter Steinbrueck, and Della, including a $175 contribution to Della. (Chao received all five council members’ votes.)

Javier Valdez gave $345 to Rasmussen, Drago and McIver, including a $150 contribution to Rasmussen. (He got all three council members’ votes.)

Darryl Smith gave $300 to Conlin and McIver, including $250 to McIver. (He got both their votes.)

Gail Chiarello gave $300 to Conlin, Steinbrueck and Rasmussen: $100 each. (Chiarello got all three council members’ votes.)

Sally Clark gave $185 to Conlin, Licata, and McIver, including $65 to Licata. (She got all three council members’ votes.)

Ven Knox gave $50 to Richard Conlin. (She got his vote.)

Missing Child Actor

posted by on January 18 at 12:40 PM

So the PI reported earlier this week that a local child actor is missing. The police think Joe Pichler, who appeared in some movies you’ve never heard of, killed himself. They found his car near a bridge, along with some poetry—never good signs. Picher’s family doesn’t believe he killed himself and are a little upset about with the police. And who can blame them? What mother wants to hear a cop say about her son, “it could take months for him to show up in the water.”

I wanted to post a link to the PI story along with a photo of the missing child actor—who is actually 18 now (or was 18)—along with a photo and so I typed his name into Google images. (Just wanted to help spread the word.) And I did find a couple of photos, and I clicked through… and then I noticed the URL was for a website called “boyhaven.” Um, that sounded like it might be some creepy child porn site—or a site that assembles “innocent” pictures of young boys for the viewing pleasure of creepy old men—and so I quickly closed my web browser and went and washed my hands.

Anyway, here’s a safe link to click through to about the missing child actor. And if you see Pichler—hopefully not in the water—call the cops.

Still Fantasizing About Moving to Canada?

posted by on January 18 at 12:19 PM

Well, forget it.

Thanks to the corruption scandals that the ruling Liberal Party has presided over, Canada’s Conservative Party is about to win an election—not on the strength of its platform, which most Canadians loathe. The Conservative Party and its leader, Stephen Harper, are opposed to Kyoto, pro-Iraq war, and are talking about repealing gay marriage and drug reform. But because they’re not the Liberals, folks are gonna vote for `em.

Harper is against gay marriage and the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouses gases, and he once referred to Canada as a “northern European welfare state.” He also said he would reassess Canada’s decision to opt out of the U.S. ballistic missile program.

Martin has warned that Harper also would scrap abortion rights.

But Harper has largely kept his ultraconservative views to himself, and his handlers have successfully portrayed him as a moderate who will work for the middle class.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because that was the load of shit that George W. Bush fed American voters—I’m a moderate! A reformer with results! A uniter not a divider!

One bright spot: Canada has a parliamentary system, and a government that rapidly loses support can be forced to face the voters sooner rather than later. A Canadian Prime Minister with approval ratings anything like George W. Bush’s—40% and below in most polls—would be out of office pretty quickly. Paul Martin, the current Liberal Prime Minister, won an election in June 2004. But in November 2005, the ruling party lost a “no confidence” vote and an election was called. Hopefully that will act as some restraint on Harper.

Seattle’s Smaller Weekly Watch

posted by on January 18 at 12:17 PM

For the week of January 19-25:

Seattle Weekly: 80 pages.
The Stranger: 92 pages.

Funnily enough…

posted by on January 18 at 12:04 PM

Lately I’ve been using the word “funnily.” It’s a good word, I like the way it sounds. But the other day, Dan Savage caught me and told me it wasn’t a real word at all. So, being the highly respected professional that I am (ahem), I had to cut back on using my favorite fictional word. It was really quite devastating. But today my friend Bryan informed me that according to, funnily is an acceptable word! It says so right here! I couldn’t be happier.

Funny Ha Ha

posted by on January 18 at 11:56 AM

A new Albert Brooks movie entitled Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World is opening this Friday at the Metro and the Meridian 16. Meanwhile, the Washington Post has found comedy in the Muslim world: in the form of “the Arab version of Laurel and Hardy.” Hallelujah!

Be Careful What You Say…

posted by on January 18 at 11:05 AM

…in front of your boyfriend’s damn parrot.

A parrot owner was alerted to his girlfriend’s infidelity when his talkative pet let the cat out of the bag by squawking “I love you Gary.” Suzy Collins had been meeting ex-work colleague “Gary” for four months in the Leeds flat she shared with her partner Chris Taylor, according to reports.

Mr Taylor apparently became suspicious after Ziggy croaked “Hiya Gary” when Ms Collins answered her mobile phone. The parrot also made smooching sounds whenever the name Gary was said on TV.

It’s Raining in Amsterdam, Too

posted by on January 18 at 11:02 AM

That’s what I keep telling myself. I’m trying not to let the weather get to me.

I was digging around about Amsterdam this morning, and I came across this tourism website. It doesn’t let me link directly to my favorite feature, but scroll down to Panorama Amsterdam (lower right) and then click on Dam Square for a 360-degree view of the center of town. There are other locations in the city you can click on too, but the technology has a weird distorting effect, and Dam Square looks the best. Lots of birds. Plus, it’s sunny.

Screw curry, scarf yogurt

posted by on January 18 at 10:43 AM

Via Drudge/Newstrack:

Brown University scientists say they’ve genetically modified some of the ‘friendly bacteria’ found in yogurt to release a drug that blocks HIV infection.

If bacteria steps up and bails our asses out of a health crisis as mold did with penicillin, we are going to owe it one hell of a long, lingering hug.

An Open Letter to the Woman Behind the Man

posted by on January 18 at 8:30 AM

I have a friend, Stuart, who has a penchant for emailing religious fundamentalists whenever they upset him. Which is often. And, as it turns out, they sometimes write him back. You should have seen the exchange he had last year with the person who answers James Dobson’s email.

Anyway, with Redmond’s very own Rev. Ken Hutcherson now agitating for a boycott of Microsoft, Boeing, and other companies over their support of Washington’s gay civil rights bill, Stuart is back pounding away at his keyboard. Problem is, it’s not easy to find Hutcherson’s direct email address. Instead, one has to go through his personal assistant, Anne Comer….


…who describes herself this way:

I love to sing in Choir and the Praise Teams, study God’s word and listen to the birds outside early in the mornings… God has blessed me with a wonderful, godly upbringing, (thanks Mom and Dad) a godly husband, godly children and a church that I can grow my faith in Jesus Christ. “Thank YOU Jesus, for saving my soul!”

Here is Anne’s email address. And here is an email from Stuart about his decision to email Anne to politely complain about her boss’s opposition to gay rights. Stuart asked me to share the email with Slog readers, and he encourages you guys to follow his lead, if you’re so inclined:

I woke up this morn to this news on the radio… that one Rev. Ken Hutcherson at a church in Redmond, WA (which is real close to Microsoft, for those out-of-staters I’m sending this to) is threatening another of those tiresome boycotts that sometimes seem to get folks in the business world to cower and retreat. All because it looks like for the first time in 30 years of trying, Washington is about to get a gay civil-rights bill passed…

I know that I don’t necessarily have the power to stop his ignorant and evil threats and thoughts, and, when you go to his website, you can’t seem to send HIM a personal email voicing your opinion. What you can do is email his personal assistant, who, by proxy, is complicit in his views. I have sent a polite email to her, and it made me feel just a tad better.

My email went something like this:

“Since one cannot email Rev. Hutcherson directly on this site, I chose to email you, and ask, politely, what if one of your godly children turned out to be gay…would you want them to be discriminated against, and have no protection under the law?

Just asking…food for thought.”

Basically, I’m not looking for folks to be rude; I’m looking for these folks to stop and think for a minute what they’re doing and asking others to do.

I’ve never done a mass email like this before, but, after the Ford boycott and other endless threats by these people, I felt like I had to do something, albeit small.


I’ll let you know if Stuart gets an email back from Anne, or her boss, and in the meantime, here’s that email address again.

Oh, and if you do write an email to Anne, and want to post a copy of it in the Slog comments for all to see, well, the link to the comments is right here ——>

Strangercrombie in Action

posted by on January 18 at 6:05 AM

Among the many items that helped the Strangercrombie ‘05 holiday gift auction raise a record $39K for Northwest Harvest was a package that’s become an annual favorite, in which the Stranger Distribution Team comes over in a big van to help you move.

Purchased for a most reasonable $202.50, this year’s Stranger-distro-team-helps-you-move extravaganza went down this past Sunday, when the distro crew descended on a houseboat docked in the Gasworks Marina, inhabited by a man employed as a Dungeons & Dragons webmaster for Wizards of the Coast and described by distro leader Kevin as “super nice.” Further specifics on the move—from the man’s loaded boat to a roomy Capitol Hill home—are supplied by Kevin (he’s the one with the busted toof and shockingly smooth thighs) below.

Did you have to move any pianos?
“No pianos, just a bunch of boxes, some with comedic labels like ‘EXOTIC SPICES FROM AFAR,’ ‘MAN-EATING PLANTS,’ and ‘SEX TOYS.’ That one was was really light. And there was a giant TV, which was playing the game. It was the last thing we hauled off the boat and the first thing we plugged in at the house.”

Were you offered any booze, drugs, or ‘swingvitations’?
“No drugs or swing invites, but he supplied us with beer and let us smoke on the deck of his boat.”

Anything to add?
“No. The guy was great, we got off easy. Plus, on the day of the move, I wore the ‘Drunk of the Week’ shirt I won this terrible weekend last month. Everywhere I went, people treated me like royalty. It was weird.”

Look for more Strangercrombie intrigue in next week’s paper (the one coming one week from today…).

“Swingvitation” is the registered neologism of Jake Nelson.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

This Just In…

posted by on January 17 at 5:16 PM

A press release just arrived in our inboxes…

Finance Expertise added to the Seattle Monorail Board

With over 26 years of experience implementing solutions to complex and difficult government finance-related issues, Tim Kerr brings his financial expertise to the Board of the Seattle Monorail Project (SMP).

Better late than never, I suppose.

The Jews and Christ and Ken Hutcherson

posted by on January 17 at 5:07 PM

Goldy—or I should say GOLD STEEEEN—over at HorsesAss, has a screed about this infamous Ken Hutcherson quote from a radio interview the Eastside Evangelical pastor did with the Australian Broadcast Corporation back in February of 2004. Hutcherson was talking about Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.

“I think it’s going to be controversial to those believers who don’t want to admit the suffering that Christ had to go through to pay for our sins. I think it’s going to be controversial to the whole view of the Jewish nation. The truth is that they did push to have Christ crucified. That’s just plain truth… that’s Biblical truth.”

This Just In: Wikipedia Not Totally Trustworthy

posted by on January 17 at 4:53 PM

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia. You may have heard of it, used it, or even contributed to it. According to this Village Voice piece, users mostly get what they (don’t) pay for. Sample a taste of the skeptical article after the jump.

Continue reading "This Just In: Wikipedia Not Totally Trustworthy" »

Stallone’s Post-Pudding Launch

posted by on January 17 at 4:35 PM

Mere months after he launched his pudding, Sylvester Stallone has partnered with Auburn, WA’s Glacia Nova to produce a bottled water product drawn from Mount Rainier’s 10,000-year-old Carbon Glacier. According to the Puget Sound Business Journal, Sly Water will be hitting shelves in March.

If water associated with Sylvester Stallone doesn’t float your boat, how about a kidney stone produced by and ejected from the body of William Shatner?

Seeking Perfect Produce

posted by on January 17 at 4:25 PM

There is still a hole in my life. And today the promise-filled kiwis I carefully selected at QFC were mashed by the time I got home thanks to an inept bagger.
I see Safeway has started bringing groceries to somebody in my building, and the Pioneer Organics insert in this week’s paper is enticing. Anybody have a good experience with a local grocery or produce delivery service?

It Is What It Is: Derrick May

posted by on January 17 at 4:17 PM

Mixmag’s interview of techno innovator Derrick May has its ups and downs. This is one of its ups:

The last time I heard [Derrick May] play in London he worked the set up to a point of passion then dropped ‘Icon’, one of his own tracks. It might have been four years old but it still sounded breathlessly perfect. Its strings came out of silence like ghosts having one last look at a world or lover they can no longer touch. The rhythms turned funk into poetry. People couldn’t look at each other while it was playing. If you heard ‘Icon’ on a dancefloor you wouldn’t know if you wanted to cry or die or dance.

The Also-Rans

posted by on January 17 at 3:56 PM

Some interesting candidates who didn’t make it into the council’s top 14 contenders to fill the vacant seat formerly occupied by Jim Compton, but who did receive at least two of eight possible council votes, include:

• Alec Stephens, a civil-rights attorney who chaired the 37th District Democrats and ran for Seattle school board in 1997;
• Alice Woldt, a peace activist and former director of the Church Council of Greater Seattle who ran against 36th District State Rep. Helen Sommers in 2004;
• Bookda Gheisar, a social worker and director of the Social Justice Fund Northwest;
• Denise “Cookie” Bouldin, a progressive cop and former professional model;
• Harriet Walden, a longtime civil-rights and police-accountability activist;
• Jack Whisner, a transit planner at King County Metro who supports parking taxes and dynamic tolls, in which the amount drivers pay to access roads changes according to traffic levels;
• Jan Brucker, a Northgate community activist who opposed Mayor Greg Nickels’s plan for the mall’s redevelopment;
• Kate Mortenson, a South Lake Union resident and youth and public safety activist;
• Mark Hinshaw, an architect and urban planner who helped design the downtown bus tunnel;
• Michael Peringer, founder of the SODO Business Association and president of Process Heating Co.;
• Peter Holmes, the fiery head of the Office of Police Accountability Review Board;
• Robert Zappone, a labor negotiator and union carpenter;
• Robert Rosencrantz, a property manager who ran for council unsuccessfully twice before;
• Roger Valdez, head of King County’s anti-smoking program and a former state legislative candidate;
• Russ Brubaker, a member of the city’s Pro Parks Levy Oversight Committee;
• Sara Patton, executive director of the Northwest Energy Coalition, a group that advocates for renewable energy;
• Sue Donaldson, a former city council member who sought the seat as a temporary “caretaker” position;
• Thomas Whittemore, an employee of the city’s department of neighborhoods; and
• Tim Durkan, a mayoral staffer and former real estate agent.

Gay Families to Crash White House Easter Egg Roll

posted by on January 17 at 3:22 PM

Two gay groups—Soulforce and Family Pride—are planning to crash the White House Easter Egg Roll, and the puckerbutts at the Weekly Standard are up in arms.

According to Soulforce, “LGBT” participants are being urged to gather at the White House gate the night before so as to be the first to enter the next morning. Volunteers will stand in line for “LGBT” parents who cannot do it themselves. Although Soulforce insists this will not be a political protest, only a gathering for families, its supporters will arrive with special “non-political” t-shirts to identify themselves as “LGBT…”

THE WHITE HOUSE EASTER EGG ROLL dates back to Rutherford Hayes, who opened up the South Lawn to children after the Easter egg roll at the Capitol was shut down. In typical fashion, a fusty Congress became concerned about damage to its lawn and turned the kiddies away. President Hayes and his successors have been glad to compensate for Congress’ lack of hospitality. Besides thousands of children and parents, the roll often includes prominent entertainers, the Easter Bunny, and sometimes the president and first lady.

The Easter Egg Roll has remained non-controversial for too long, apparently.

Republicans who beat up on gay couples and gay families—DOMA, anti-gay adoption laws, the FMA—shouldn’t be surprised when gay families decide to show up at a White House event that’s open to families to prove that we’re not monsters. And, excuse me, but gay families are American families and we have as much right to exist—and roll eggs on the White House lawn—as any other American families. I long for the day when gay families are as non-controversial as the White House Egg Roll was, is, and will be even if gay families show up. There’s nothing inherently disruptive about our presence—and, hey, our tax dollars help buy those eggs and maintain the White House lawn.

And if the fact of our existence troubles the White House and the religious nuts in its base, well, that’s too bad. We’re here, we’re queer (even if most of our kids aren’t), better get used to us.

Oh, and here’s an interesting side note: I had to get a physical before I adopted my son—it’s one of the things adoptive parents have to do that bio parents don’t. The doctor who cupped my balls and asked me to cough and then stuck his finger in my ass to check my prostate? Dr. Rutherford Hayes IV, the great-grandson of President Rutherford Hayes…

Damn Cars

posted by on January 17 at 3:03 PM

There I was sitting inside Ha Na, trying to have lunch with the winner of the “write Savage Love” Strangercrombie auction item (her name is Cara and she’s funny and smart and she’s going to do a bang-up job), and all the while some jackass’ car alarm is going off. Some ugly silver Chevy—new, but ugly—WHOOP! WHOOP! WHOOP!

First, who would want to steal that ugly car? Second, if someone had come along and stolen it, anyone in earshot would have cheered the thief on—yes, steal that car, just get it the fuck out of here! Third, who would want to steal that ugly car?

When the dope who owned the car showed up he seemed confused. It took him a while to figure out how to turn the alarm off—but he didn’t look ashamed or seem in any hurry to silence his bleating automobile.

I’m not sure where this is going. I’m just venting. Damn cars.

I want a visual art intern.

posted by on January 17 at 2:46 PM

This would be a 3-month gig, for about 4 hours every week on a weekday or two during business hours. The bulk of the job is assembling the visual art calendar, so I’m looking for someone who is knowledgeable about art, organized and detail-oriented. (I love nerdy copyeditor types.) NO FLAKES. Seriously. I can’t keep up with flakes and become very neurotic in their midst.

To apply, send me an email ( that tells me why you want to do it and why you’d be good at it, with some background information or a resume attached. Unfortunately, the position isn’t paid, but if things go well, it could become a way to start writing the occasional piece for The Stranger.

I’m looking to find somebody ASAP, so don’t stall if you’re interested.

Ah, the Gay Civil Rights Bill Hearing

posted by on January 17 at 2:42 PM

Anyone else out there catch the hearing for House Bill 2661 this morning in the Washington State House of Representatives? Anyone else feel like they needed a shower afterward, or maybe electro-shock therapy — something, anything to cleanse the mind of that parade of dim citizens whose objections to the gay civil rights bill were eloquently summed up by a man who identified himself as Alex. His testimony to lawmakers went like this:

“House Bill 2661 is not the answer. Jesus is the answer.”

And that, my friends, was basically the beginning, middle, and end of the intellectual argument against the bill — at least as the argument was articulated by the fine citizens of Washington State who got themselves to Olympia at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday morning to encourage lawmakers not to protect homosexuals against discrimination.

One of my favorite moments came when a man wearing a USA baseball cap addressed the State Government Operations & Accountability Committee, telling them that he had proof that homosexuality is a condition easily remedied, and therefore in no need of protection from discrimination. His proof? LUGS.

“Do you know what LUGS are?” he asked the legislators. I was watching the live online feed, so I couldn’t tell whether or not the question drew knowing nods from lawmakers. The man continued, explaining LUGS are Lesbians Until Gradution, a trend he finds courageous in its ultimate rejection of lesbianism (albeit after four years of dorm-room scissor sistering). For an anti-gay activist he seemed to have a surprisingly intimate knowledge of LUG goings on. But don’t they all these days?

The median age of the bill’s opponents seemed to be about 55, which once again reminded me that the struggle for gay rights is as much about changing people’s minds as it is about waiting for an older generation of permanently closed minds to die off. And the median education level of the opponents was, I’d guess, not very high, based on the amount of illogic on display — and on the number of times the committee chair had to simply cut people off because they couldn’t make their arguments without resorting to the type of derogatory language she’d told them at the outset wouldn’t fly.

Not in attendance: Rev. Ken Hutcherson, who supposedly is so upset about the support the bill is getting from Microsoft, Boeing, and other major companies that he’s launching a national boycott. Perhaps “Hutch” was too busy fielding media calls to show.

It’ll be a rainy day in hell…

posted by on January 17 at 2:08 PM

This is my first winter in Seattle, and I was nearly driven mad by this past month’s nearly 14 inches of rain. It led me to check the world record for a month, and appears we just missed it — by 352 inches.

Hell is wet, and it’s called Cherrapunji.

My Smobriety, Day Nine: The Fifth Sense

posted by on January 17 at 1:14 PM

Smobriety Charticle Eight

Weight: 174 pounds

Pulse: 64 beats per minute

Song Stuck In Head: “Cheap Sunglasses,” ZZ Top

Risk of Smoking Resumption: Ultraviolet
(Low to none)

Symptoms: A nagging cough which is getting worse, making my speaking voice very quiet, and also kicking up disgusting things. The disgusting things which are being kicked up are vaguely making me nauseous. The being nauseous is making me slightly pale. Ultimately, if this keeps up, I could wind up here.

There is one horrible thing about quitting smoking. In this week-and-a-few-days, I seem to have recovered my sense of smell. I don’t understand how you people who don’t smoke can do this day in, day out. Seattle, frankly, stinks to high heaven. Here, a whiff of dog shit. There, a wrinkled pastel-wearing freakshow who thinks that a gallon of perfume could somehow make her wattles more desireable. The smokers stink, yes, it’s true…a smoker walked into my place of employ the other day and I had to turn to a coworker and ask, “Is that what I smelled like?” (Her response, a moaned “Oh, my God, yes,” still makes me wince with embarrassment)…but there are plenty of nonsmokers who stink, too. Here I’m talking about grown men, men in suits, who reek of ass and Pomade. Here I mean the children who answer the heretofore eternally-unanswerable zen koan “What do boogers smell like?” Have you ever actually smelled cooking eggs? Disgusting!
I understand that I haven’t had a sense of smell since I was a lad of 18, in rural Maine. And I understand that I will probably get used to these smells very quickly, that I’ll soon be as unaware of them as I was when I was smoking a pack a day, but for right now: Seattle, you smell like urine. I hate to be the one to tell you, but you’ve really gotta do something about that.

On Slam Poetry

posted by on January 17 at 1:02 PM

Slam poetry is really the last ditch of 18th-century romanticism. While the rest of us are sobering up from the mists of genius and inspiration, slam poetry preserves those heated values, lives by them, gets drunk on words, mystical with sentences, high on the oral discharges of language-possessed individuals. Most slammers call themselves poets without a drop of embarrassment, a funny feeling, an icky sensation. You ask: What do you do? They say: I’m a poet. I’m part of that grand tradition of genius, the 300-year history of divine inspiration and all of its unearthly fevers.
Yowza! I’ll be honest with you slam poets: I’m embarrassed to call myself even a writer (it’s so individual, so personal, so touchy). I’d much rather be called a social worker, or a social worder, one who works with others in the gradual process of building sense out of the ordinary stuff of words. And words are not sacred, nor is the mind. If Madonna is a material girl, then I’m a material guy.

I, Anonymous Adultery War

posted by on January 17 at 12:58 PM

There’s a spicy back-n-forth on adultery in the I, Anonymous forum.

First comes the furious rant of the other woman.

Then comes the harsh reply of a married man, who rubs the other woman’s face in it.


Monorail Update

posted by on January 17 at 12:51 PM

So, for anyone that’s still interested in the monorail agency, they’re having a board meeting tonight. I bring this up because Item #6 on the agenda (which I’ve bolded below) is kind of intriguing. Take a peek.

Continue reading "Monorail Update" »


posted by on January 17 at 11:45 AM

And what exactly is this about? Jeff Bezos, founder of, wants to conquer outer space? Man, ain’t a damn thing changed. What Gil Scott-Heron said back in the day still makes sense here in Seattle and now in the second half of the first decade of the 21st century.

A rat done bit my sister Nell. (with Whitey on the moon) Her face and arms began to swell. (and Whitey’s on the moon) I can’t pay no doctor bill. (but Whitey’s on the moon) Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still. (while Whitey’s on the moon) The man jus’ upped my rent las’ night. (‘cause Whitey’s on the moon) No hot water, no toilets, no lights. (but Whitey’s on the moon) I wonder why he’s uppi’ me? (‘cause Whitey’s on the moon?) I wuz already payin’ ‘im fifty a week. (with Whitey on the moon) Taxes takin’ my whole damn check, Junkies makin’ me a nervous wreck, The price of food is goin’ up, An’ as if all that shit wuzn’t enough: A rat done bit my sister Nell. (with Whitey on the moon)

LIVE NOW: Gay Civil Rights Bill Hearing

posted by on January 17 at 10:46 AM

Everyone has been warned by the committee chair that they will be “shut down” if they make any derogatory remarks. Watch it here, and see if they follow her command to be civil.

The Top 14

posted by on January 17 at 10:39 AM

The City Council just narrowed its list of candidates for council position #9, the seat formerly occupied by Jim Compton, to 14 contenders. Here is the list, arranged by the number of votes each candidate received:

Eight Votes (unanimous support)
Sharon Maeda

Seven Votes
Ven Knox (Jean Godden, Richard McIver, Peter Steinbrueck, Richard Conlin, David Della, Jan Drago, Tom Rasmussen)
Stella Chao (Nick Licata, McIver, Rasmussen Steinbrueck, Della, Drago, Conlin)
Verlene Jones (Godden, Licata, McIver, Rasmussen, Conlin, Della, Drago)
Ross Baker (Godden, Licata, McIver, Steinbrueck, Conlin, Della, Drago)

Six Votes
Dolores Sibonga (Godden, Licata, McIver, Rasmussen, Della, Drago)
Darryl Smith (Godden, McIver, Rasmussen, Conlin, Della, Drago)
Sally Clark (Godden, Licata, McIver, Rasmussen, Conlin, Drago)

Five Votes
Juan Bocanegra (Godden, Licata, McIver, Steinbrueck, Della)
Joann Francis (Godden, McIver, Rasmussen, Steinbrueck, Drago)
Gail Chiarello (Godden, Licata, Rasmussen, Steinbrueck, Conlin)
Bruce Bentley (Licata, McIver, Conlin, Della, Drago)
Venus Velazquez (McIver, Rasmussen, Conlin, Della, Drago)
Javier Valdez (Godden, McIver, Rasmussen, Steinbrueck, Drago)


posted by on January 17 at 10:34 AM

Yesterday after lunch I was crossing the street and I had the impression that the person standing next to me was rearranging and disappearing and reappearing in my peripheral vision. I could see her hair and her nose and when I turned to look at her I could see she was all there, but in my periphery she was just free-floating parts. I said to her, “I have the sudden feeling you’re a hologram.” Then when I got back to the office and sat at my desk I was disoriented. It was hard to read my computer screen. I had a swirling blind spot in the scattered shape of a galaxy in my left periphery. It was bursting with color. I considered whether I was dying.

In our offices here we have a couple couches, and I went to lay down on one. Charles Mudede said I should take some aspirin in case I was having a stroke. I’m 25, I’m healthy, there’s no way I was having a stroke, but I took 3 aspirin. I turned on my iPod. Mudede said not to fall asleep, not to lose consciousness, but my eyes were going crazy so I closed them. The room was spinning. I tried keeping my eyes open. The room was still spinning. There was some vague pressure in my head. Nausea. My left foot tingled.

The swirling eye thing lasted about a half an hour but I was feeling weirder and weirder — my running theory was that someone at the restaurant where I’d had lunch had drugged me — so I called my doctor, who said I should go to the emergency room. It was pouring. The waiting room was crowded with huge, malodorous people watching one of those daytime court shows. I listened to Radiohead’s Amnesiac while I waited. I explained my symptoms to a nurse. Soon enough I got taken back to a clean, big room with a huge light apparatus bolted to the ceiling. I was given an eye test. I explained everything again to a doctor’s assistant. I listened to Belle & Sebastian’s If You’re Feeling Sinister while I waited for the doctor. The doctor came in and asked about any history with migraines (none) and family history of strokes (lots) and shined lights in my eyes and pressed on my legs and arms and asked me to tell her how many fingers she was holding up in my periphery, which I could see because the eye thing had gone away. This doctor was awesome. She said her plan might sound a bit drastic, but it would rule out any major problems: she wanted to do an MRI.

Did I have insurance? Was I claustrophobic? Did I have a pacemaker? Had I ever had surgery? Did I have anything implanted in my body — staples, metal joints, anything? If so, they would be ripped out of my body a la Indiana Jones in the nuclear magnetic resonance imaging process. I waited an hour or so until the machine was ready for me. In that time, they took my blood, they set me up for an IV in case I needed it later, I peed in a cup, I listened to my iPod since I wouldn’t be able to listen to it during the MRI, and I peed a second time.

Finally a technician came and got me and wheeled me on a bed down corridor after corridor and up several stories in an elevator. I told him I felt like I was in ER. He was the third guy of the day who asked me what I did for a living and who told me that all of them there at Swedish read and love The Stranger. Then another guy came by and said the same thing. Then two more guys came around with a narrow table. I got onto it. My feet hung off the edge. They confirmed that I had no staples nor metal implants nor a pacemaker in me, rolled the table into the next room, a much warmer room, pushed some ear plugs in my ears, put a pillow under my knees, folded up the plastic sides of the table next to my head to keep my head in place, said this was going to take about 20 minutes, and left the room. The table slid backwards into the machine. A plastic cage over my face. My sides cramped. No way out if I tried. My heart raced. Holy shit I’m claustrophobic I can’t breath my heart is racing what if there’s an earthquake I can’t sit up where am I why is it so hot will this give me cancer where are my legs I’m claustrophic I’m claustrophobic I’m claustrophobic.

Continue reading "My MRI" »

The Curse of George Michael

posted by on January 17 at 10:26 AM

On the shockingly hilarious and criminally under-watched Fox sitcom Arrested Development, the teenage character George Michael (played with squirm-inducing pathos by Michael Cera) suffers a parade of tortures, from debilitating lust for his cousin to widespread exposure for his humiliating homemade light-sabre video.

But who would’ve guessed the real George Michael had an even worse existence? Not me, until I read this story from the London Guardian, detailing the former Wham! man’s years of hideous suffering.

Among the horrors: the death-from-AIDS of Michael’s boyfriend in 1993, which sent Michael into a clinical depression and was soon followed the death of Michael’s mother; the development of a crippling paralysis, for which Michael underwent a major back operation before learning the paralysis was psychosomatic; and finally, Michael’s depression-fighting purchase of a Labrador puppy, which promptly drowned in the Thames.

But now he’s doing better. Read all about it here.

Keeping up with the Klimts

posted by on January 17 at 10:15 AM

Yesterday, an Austrian arbitration court ruled that the country is obligated to return five Klimt paintings taken by the Nazis — now valued at $150 million — to Maria Altmann, a 90-year-old Los Angeles woman who is her Jewish family’s oldest heir. (She’s also the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer, the subject of this well-known painting.)

The fine print in this delicious story is that Altmann’s 60-year-old son, Peter, lives in Lakewood. But don’t get excited about the Klimts making a visit to the Northwest. There are plenty of heirs in line before Peter, and anyway, the family says it will probably negotiate to leave the paintings in Austria. (Another nice connection: Altmann’s lawyer in the case was E. Randol Schoenberg, the 12-tone composer’s grandson.)

Guard your treasure, eat some curry

posted by on January 17 at 10:04 AM

Most sports don’t arouse my interest, but I am a huge fan of the prostate. Via The Washington Times, here are some new ways to guard your boys from prostate cancer.

Madam President

posted by on January 17 at 9:51 AM

Chile just elected a female president. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was sworn in as President of Liberia yesterday, the first woman elected as a head of state in an African country. Israel, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Iceland, Norway, Malta, New Zealand, India, Finland, Ireland, Guyana, the United Kingdom—they’re among the countries that have all had female presidents/prime ministers.

Meanwhile here in the United States, we’re still just fantasizing about a female president—Geena Davis. And we can’t even allow ourselves to fantasize about actually electing a female president. Davis is VP and becomes president when the man elected to that office croaks.

Still, when and if we ever get around to electing a female president, we will be subjected to an orgy of self-congratulation—you know, “another first,” “what a wonderful thing it says about this country that we could elect a female president,” and, of course, “only in America.”

Holocaust Memoirs: True?

posted by on January 17 at 9:50 AM

So Oprah said that the “underlying message” of a memoir matters more than its truth. And her next book is… Night by Elie Wiesel?

Seems like an awkward choice to illustrate the who-cares-if-it’s-phony argument…

Former Synchronized Swimmers, Unite

posted by on January 17 at 9:34 AM

With our glorious lungs and our desperate desire to spend time underwater after having been exiled from a sport only suited to those 20 and under, we can totally rule this underwater sport.

See you there Tuesday nights. It’ll be way better than watching Esther Williams movies longingly.


Altered States’ Rights

posted by on January 17 at 8:45 AM

Today’s 6-3 U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding Oregon’s assisted suicide law is great news for the drug reform movement.

King County Bar Association drug reform activist Roger Goodman specifically cited this pending case when I did a story on his push to legalize drugs last year.

Here’s an expert from my story on Goodman and the King County Bar Association’s legal strategy to decriminalize drugs in Washington state:

The KCBA report, which Goodman put together, outlines a couple of states’ rights arguments that could be used to trump that authority. The report points out accurately that states have exclusive rights to protect the health, welfare, and safety of their citizens, which includes regulating the practice of medicine. “Recent case law has limited federal authority to meddle in the states’ regulation of medical practice,” the report says, “particularly limiting the use of the federal Controlled Substances Act to override a state’s decisions.” This is a reference to a 2002 decision in Oregon v. Ashcroft when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stopped the feds from using drug law to upend Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act where drugs are used in assisted suicide.

And, from today’s AP article, here’s the good news for Goodman’s line of argument:

The ruling backed a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said Ashcroft’s ”unilateral attempt to regulate general medical practices historically entrusted to state lawmakers interferes with the democratic debate about physician-assisted suicide.”

Another Year, Another Boycott Threat From Rev. Ken Hutcherson

posted by on January 17 at 8:38 AM

But unlike last year, this year Hutch doesn’t seem to have corporate America running scared. Microsoft, Boeing, and other major corporations are standing by their support of Washington’s gay civil rights bill, and standing up to Hutcherson’s threat of a national boycott. (As usual, the reverend has media-savvy timing; the civil rights bill gets its first public hearing today in the Washington State House of Representatives.)

Asked about Hutcherson’s threat Monday, Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos said, “Our position is well known, as we said in our letter last week, and we stick by it.” He declined to comment further.

Boeing spokesman Peter Conte said the company had no plans to withdraw its support.

“The position that we have taken is one that we do feel strongly about,” he said. “It is entirely consistent with our own internal practices and policies.”

Meanwhile, Equal Rights Washington had this to say yesterday about Hutcherson’s timing:

It’s sad that on the day we remember MLK that a small minority of people believes that it’s okay to fire someone or deny them housing simply because they are gay. The vast majority of people in Washington State support protecting all Washingtonians from discrimination.

Monday, January 16, 2006

re: Hit-her Locklear

posted by on January 16 at 6:26 PM

While I could care less about football, Tom I have to comment on your write-off of NASCAR as a way to rope in the rednecks. I went to Evergreen Speedway last summer for a huge demolition derby blowout that included figure 8 racing, school buses, cars towing boats, and scores of Repo Man-style racers spitting fire….it’s a fucking blast (with a big fireworks finale). If that’s redneck fun, count me in that lot…it’s a good old fashioned party watching fast vehicles nearly explode upon contact (and drinking cans of cheap beer while you’re at it).

Conlin Posts His List

posted by on January 16 at 6:15 PM

Council Members Peter Steinbrueck and Nick Licata started a trend by posting their lists of finalists for the Position #9 City Council vacancy on the Slog. Today, Council Member Richard Conlin made his list of 18 finalists public here on Slog. Where’s your list Jean Godden? Or yours Richard McIver. (We asked Jan Drago, and she demurred.)

Here’s Council Member Richard Conlin’s post (bolded names are those that also made Steinbrueck’s and Licata’s lists) (Also, I know a lot of these names don’t mean anything to a lot of Slog readers. So, we’ll be filling in the details on these folks tomorrow when the final list of 12 is hammered out). Anyway, Richard Conlin says:

Here are my selections:

Ross Baker
Bruce Bentley
Russ Brubaker
Stella Chao
Gail Chiarello
Sally Clark
Bookda Gheiser
Lee Hatcher
David Hopkins
Verlene Jones
Ven Knox
Sharon Maeda
Kate Mortenson
Sara Patton
Darryl Smith
Roger Valdez
Venus Velasquez
Thomas Whittemore

Continue reading "Conlin Posts His List" »

Re: Seattle Signs the Funny

posted by on January 16 at 5:01 PM

Speaking of Eugene Mirman, the very funny man will be performing Thursday, Jan 26th at the University of Washington’s Husky Union Building.

I’ve seen him four times now, and each time I leave aching from laughter. No joke.

You can get tickets here at TicketsWest. They’re only $10. Totally worth it.

Vote Yes

posted by on January 16 at 4:47 PM

You can vote for Gore right now on this idiotic AOL poll—he’s trailing now, but that’s because it’s an idiotic AOL poll.

Wal-Mart Accidentally Spits on MLK’s Grave

posted by on January 16 at 4:14 PM

Wow. This story broke last week, but damn if I didn’t hear of it until today, which, incidentally, is the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

Short version: On Wal-Mart’s website, customers who purchased this movie were informed they might enjoy “similar films” including this, this, and this.

Wal Mart officials have apologized, blaming the “hurtful and offensive” film pairings on a computer glitch. Full story here.

Hit-her Locklear

posted by on January 16 at 3:41 PM

Seahawks lineman Sean Locklear spent Saturday whoopin’ the Redskins and Sunday allegedly whoopin’ his wife/girlfriend/whatever.

The National Football League was invented so that 6’3”, 300-pound men like Locklear could whale on fellow giants. You know, the way that NASCAR was invented to cut down on rednecks drag racing on the freeway. Scary to think what kind of damage Locklear could have done to a normal-sized human.

Great year on the field for the Seahawks. Horrible year off of it.

Going Public

posted by on January 16 at 3:36 PM

City council members Peter Steinbrueck and Nick Licata have posted their preliminary lists of candidates to replace city council member Jim Compton on the Stranger’s Slog. Read all about it here.

Re: Run Al, Run

posted by on January 16 at 3:18 PM

I’m with Sean: I want Al Gore to run for president in 2008.

The romantic in me wants Gore to run to right the wrong that was done him personally in 2004—he won the popular vote and the EC vote, and the election was stolen. Can you imagine the existential hell that has been Al Gore’s life for the last five years? But more than that, I want Gore to run to right the wrongs that have been done to this country by the man who stole the election from him in 2000 and barely managed to hold on to the White House in 2004. I believe Gore would make a great president—particularly after spending eight years in exile, as the result of spending eight years in exile.

I also suspect Gore wouldn’t select this idjit as his running mate in 2008.

Notes on MLK Day

posted by on January 16 at 3:13 PM

I spent my lunch hour listening to KUOW’s 2pm show, the Beat, where Seattle lawyer/author Drew Hansen gave a very interesting take on the details of Martin Luther King Jr.’s rise to power and the events surrounding his famous “I have a dream” speech. You can check out his conversation with host Megan Sukys here.

There’s Too Much Sex On TV…

posted by on January 16 at 3:11 PM

…and too little sex in front of it. Via Drudge:

Thinking of buying a TV for the bedroom? Think again—it could ruin your sex life.A study by an Italian sexologist has found that couples who have a TV set in their bedroom have sex half as often as those who don’t.

Read all about it here.

My Smobriety, Day Eight: Armed & Dangerous

posted by on January 16 at 3:00 PM

Smobriety Charticle Seven

Weight: 174 pounds

Pulse: 77 beats per minute

Song Stuck in Head: “This is How I’m Comin’,” L.L. Cool J

Risk of Smoking Resumption: Cornflower
(Low risk of smoking resumption)

Symptoms: Tiredness, lack of concentration

Clean of the cigarettes and also the anti-depressants, I seem to have crashed…today I slept until 1 p.m.
I am not proud.
Last night, it occurred to me that I could potentially never step into a smoke shop again for the rest of my life. I’m not sure how that makes me feel. Many people are unaware that smoke shops sell any number of items that have nothing to do with smoking. Yes, there are the bongs and the cleansers that supposedly purify one’s urine of any trace of marijuana, but there are also the weapons. There are knives and brass knuckles (once I watched as a savvy smoke shop owner upgraded a sale of a pair of ordinary brass knuckles into a more profitable sale of a pair of brass knuckles with a four-inch knife sticking out of the top of them. That’s the spirit of small business at work for America.) And there are also the stun guns.
I was buying cigarettes once and this guy ran into the shop, shouting “I need a stun gun! I need a stun gun!” Ever polite, I stepped back and let him go ahead of me. The shop owner pulled a stun gun out and let the man look at it. “How many volts does it have?” the panicked buyer asked, ” I need at least a hundred thousand volts!” The shop owner clearly didn’t know how many volts the gun had, and tried to divert the conversation.
Again, “How many volts does it have? I need at least a hundred thousand volts!”
The shop owner commented on the low price of the unit, only to be cut off again. “How many volts-“
The shop owner, formerly the picture of calm, finally snapped: “Enough. It’s got enough volts, okay?”
The guy wound up buying the stun gun and ran out of the store, fast as he came in.
By that point, I really needed a cigarette.
…What was I saying…?
Anyway, here’s a Frenchwoman who really, really likes Aidan Quinn.

Support the Troops

posted by on January 16 at 2:32 PM

This is really, really fucked up:

Two deploying soldiers and a concerned mother reported Friday afternoon that the U.S. Army appears to be singling out soldiers who have purchased Pinnacle’s Dragon Skin Body Armor for special treatment. The soldiers, who are currently staging for combat operations from a secret location, reported that their commander told them if they were wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin and were killed their beneficiaries might not receive the death benefits from their $400,000 SGLI life insurance policies. The soldiers were ordered to leave their privately purchased body armor at home or face the possibility of both losing their life insurance benefit and facing disciplinary action. The soldiers asked for anonymity because they are concerned they will face retaliation for going public with the Army’s apparently new directive. At the sources’ requests DefenseWatch has also agreed not to reveal the unit at which the incident occured for operational security reasons.

So first we send troops into battle with too little body armor, then when some troops privately purchase their own armor the Army tells them to leave it behind? What could possibly be their reasoning?

Recently Dragon Skin became an item of contention between proponents of the Interceptor OTV body armor generally issued to all service members deploying in combat theaters and its growing legion of critics. Critics of the Interceptor OTV system say it is ineffective and inferior to Dragon Skin, as well as several other commercially available body armor systems on the market. Last week DefenseWatch released a secret Marine Corps report that determined that 80% of the 401 Marines killed in Iraq between April 2004 and June 2005 might have been saved if the Interceptor OTV body armor they were wearing was more effective. The Army has declined to comment on the report because doing so could aid the enemy, an Army spokesman has repeatedly said.

Note to Pinnacle: If you want to save lives, you’re going to have to pony up some more dough like Interceptor OTV.

UPDATE: Daily Kos has more.

Run Al, Run

posted by on January 16 at 2:32 PM

I know I’m not the only one who still harbors deeply conflicted feelings about former Vice President Al Gore, the man who won the 2000 presidential election (but only if you count votes). I have been and remain angry, sad, hurt, and astonished about his paltry response to the immediate post-election period, and will never stop being disdainful of the way he ran his campaign (i.e. away from Clinton, away from himself, toward some focus grouped nightmare of mock Presidentiality).

HOW-THE-FUCK-EVER, when I read the text of his MLK Day speech (pasted after the jump), I remembered that he not only should have been, but could have been, and in a sense, almost was president instead of GWB. Just last night, I shed a tear while watching Spike Jonze documentary about Gore that was screened at the 2000 Democratic Convention. (The long lost short is available in the first edition of Wholphin, the DVD magazine that comes with the current issue of McSweeney’s.) I don’t know if Gore was an ideal candidate—the documentary just makes him seem human, something his campaign was incapable of coming close to doing. I just know that it now seems basically unimaginable that an American President could ever have been concerned, intelligent, eloquent, and capable—all traits Gore nobly embodies—all at the same time.

And that, my friends, is a tragedy.

Continue reading "Run Al, Run" »

Put To Death

posted by on January 16 at 2:15 PM

On every political and social topic, I stand to the far left, save the issue of the death penalty. My heart believes that men who commit murder at a certain age should be put to death (and not in a nice medical way, but quartered or hanged—the final punishment should always be graphic, visceral, and public). But my brain knows that the final punishment system is such that class (and as a consequence, race) plays too big role in the judgment process. (I also have an esthetic reason for supporting the death penalty: What would film noir be without it. But as with most matters that concern crime and punishment, the fiction of noir barely translates into the facts of life; those who are executed by the state tend not to look like Fred MacMurray but Michael Clarke Duncan.) The only reason I say no to the death penalty is because the system is seriously imperfect.
But what say you about this case.

SAN FRANCISCO - A 76-year-old convicted killer — legally blind, nearly deaf and in a wheelchair — tried to stave off execution early Tuesday by arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court that it would be cruel and unusual punishment to put a feeble old man to death… Allen went to prison for having his teenage son’s 17-year-old girlfriend murdered for fear she would tell police about a grocery-store burglary. While behind bars, he tried to have witnesses in the case wiped out, prosecutors said. He was sentenced to death in 1982 for hiring a hit man who killed a witness and two bystanders.

I say, like the robot in Blade Runner, “Wake up! It’s time to die.”

Annie Wagner Is a Hologram; or, I’m Dying

posted by on January 16 at 2:11 PM

I had lunch with Annie Wagner today. Then we went to Dick’s and got chocolate milkshakes. Then, crossing Broadway, I realized in my periphery that I could only see parts of Annie. I said to her, “I have the sudden feeling you’re a hologram.” Sure enough, everything on my left side seemed partial. In pieces. Missing chunks. This happened all the way back to the office. Now I am sitting at my desk and there is definitely some weird colorful activity happening in my left periphery. And things seem missing. A floating, colorful blind spot. My right eye is fine. My left eye is clearly not fine. Am I dying? Does anyone know what this is? Was there something in my chicken club at Septieme?

If anyone out there is a doctor, please post a comment. I’m going to call my doctor if this keeps up.

Pool Boys

posted by on January 16 at 12:08 PM

Before the smoking ban took effect I predicted that the cool boys would still hang out and Linda’s and shoot pool—only they wouldn’t be smoking anymore. They would still, however, manage to look and be cool without filling their lungs and mine with smoke. Well, I was at Linda’s a few nights back and there they were…


…cool boys shooting pool. It’s as if nothing has changed. The air is clearer and the pool boys are, no doubt, healthier, and they’ll live longer. And, with any luck, they’ll get sick of having to walk outside to have a smoke and decide to quit.

Observations From Watching the Seahawks Triumph

posted by on January 16 at 11:29 AM

#1. Based on the number of sightings, creatively named linebacker Lofa Tatupu’s jersey is the most popular this year. Second place: Matt Hasselbeck. Surprisingly, only two Shaun Alexander jerseys were seen, though this could have had more to do with the status of your correspondent (see #3) than with Alexander’s popularity as a player.

#2. The J&M in Pioneer Square does playoff viewing right, with ample screens (including a monstrosity), game audio pumped throughout the bar, and quick, attentive bartenders. The camaraderie was impressive—there was much cheering, proper booing, and on a number of occasions strangers even hugged. Plus, with the door open you could hear the crowd roars from the stadium. Nice.

#3. Downing five beers and two shots in under three hours is not the smartest of moves, even during a playoff game. It leads to lapses in judgment (see #4), and it makes your girlfriend mad.

#4. Cowgirls Inc. is the strangest place to watch a game. The positive: the bartenders put on a show atop the bar during commercial breaks. The negative: proper football viewing has to compete with loud music and bouncing boobies for your attention. And there’s an attendant in the men’s room—what the hell is up with that?

#5. Based on the crowd’s post-game mood, not winning a playoff game since Reagan’s first term is a long, long, loooooooong time to wait. If the Seahawks make it to the Super Bowl, Seattle will officially freak the fuck out. Which it should.

Bring on the Panthers!

Optimal Charisma

posted by on January 16 at 11:15 AM

I’m no political analyst (to state the bleeding obvious), but while going through notebooks I wrote during the 1988 presidential campaign, I found an observation that I think is worth airing 18 years later.

After hearing Jesse Jackson speak at a political rally in his characteristically fiery manner, I thought: this man has too much charisma for the office of president. He could seduce an entire nation down the most irresponsible paths through his rhythmic rhetoric. I’d prefer a more restrained—even dull—president, but one, of course, with a sharp mind and compassion. Fire and brimstone do not belong in the White House; an emotionally inflamed populace threatens rational behavior. Jackson could make World War III sound like the best party ever.

In retrospect, America’s mostly docile, apathetic citizenry could benefit from some of Jackson’s rabble-rousing speeches and ideas, which, while far from flawless, at one point seemed to offer so much promise. It seems as if Jackson’s fighting spirit and influence have been waning ever since that presidential race. It’s a shame. I can get behind a candidate who uses language like this:

Today’s students can put dope in their veins or hope in their brains. If they can conceive it and believe it, they can achieve it. They must know it is not their aptitude but their attitude that will determine their altitude.

Seattle signs the funny

posted by on January 16 at 10:37 AM

With David Cross already on their roster, Sub Pop added more comedy to their routine by signing Eugene Mirman (formerly signed to Seattle label Suicide Squeeze). As the indie rock/indie comedian bond grows stronger by the minute via this Seattle institution (and with comedians touring with and opening for bands), the larger question is what’s happening with our local comedy scene? Who are the good Northwest comedians? And will the Sub Pop connection mean stuff’s gonna get funnier around town soon?

Every Trademark Carefully Removed

posted by on January 16 at 10:26 AM

I would, if I had gobs more time, wrap every brand-obvious product in my home (too bad there isn’t a soybean-emblazoned wrap for soy milk) and live more like Cayce in William Gibson’s Pattern Recognition.

Undermining? Really?

posted by on January 16 at 10:18 AM

Hey Josh, isn’t it a bit inconsistent to be calling for strategic transparency in the post directly below this one, while arguing for strategic non-transparency in the post directly below that one?

Steinbrueck Adds 3 Names to His List

posted by on January 16 at 10:17 AM

Over the weekend, Peter Steinbrueck posted his preliminary list of picks to fill the Compton vacancy—right here on the Slog. He’s since updated the list. (I’m glad to see he’s added police accountability advocate, Peter Holmes.)

Tonight, I add three new names to my choices for the council vacancy:

#3 Peter Holmes
#29 Ven Knox
#17 Joann Frances

Tomorrow night, I will post my complete list for submittal to full council on Tuesday morning.

Cheers, Peter

Posted by peter steinbrueck - January 15, 2006 10:53 PM

Council Member Nick Licata posted his list here on the SLOG over the weekend as well.

I hope other Council Members will follow suit and post their lists here on the SLOG to make this as public a process as possible. Jan? Tom? Jean? What’ve you got?

Have a Donut

posted by on January 16 at 10:05 AM

On Friday morning, Mighty O donuts delivered two boxes (and them some) of donuts to The Stranger’s offices. Mighty O is a local company that makes donuts using no partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (which is the source of trans fat, the evil fat), no dairy products (which makes them vegan), and organic ingredients (coconuts, peanuts, raspberries, etc). The other thing about Mighty O donuts: they’re pretty. They’re striped. And if you didn’t know they aren’t made the way donuts are made everywhere else, you probably wouldn’t be able to guess.

I tried to get as much of the staff to eat them as I could. One writer said, “There is no trans fat in these donuts? I don’t believe that. We’ve got to take them to a lab and test them.” Another said, as she shoveled one into her wheat-allergic self, “I don’t eat donuts. These are good. I’m going to break out into a rash soon.” Another said, “They have a nice clean taste.” Which, unbeknownst to him, echoed Mighty O’s motto: “The cleanest hole in town.”

Why Democratic Blogs Undermine Democrats’ Chances of Regaining Power

posted by on January 16 at 1:55 AM

If you think about it, the Democratic blogs may actually be undermining the Democrats’ chances of taking back the country. Too often, Democratic blogs are bona fide public brainstorming and public strategy sessions. Democrats are cultivating and honing their ideas in public—for everyone to see, especially Republicans.

Today, Democrats face much the same situation that Republicans faced in the 1970s and 1980s.
In the `70s and `80s, liberal Democrats controlled Congress because, by and large, the political & moral template of the country was liberal. The `70s, and even the backlash Reagan `80s, had been forged by the overwhelming liberal renaissance and cultural revolution of the 1960s. The Civil Rights movement, the anti-war movement, the youth movement, the feminist movement, consumer rights, gay rights, environmental protection—all these things blossomed in the 60’s and early `70s and—despite Ronald Reagan’s best efforts—these values completely defined the country for years and years. Heck, Republican President Nixon established the EPA. Republican President Reagan appointed the first woman to the Supreme Court. And the Congress rejected a conservative wing nut like Robert Bork. These were simply the given values of the day. Witness the fact that a powerful, popular personality President like Reagan was forced to wage his war in Central America under the radar, illegally. And he was busted for it during the Iran-Contra affaire. This was because the lessons of Vietnam still carried weight.

However, Republicans were certainly active during this era. The Heritage Foundation, Grover Norquist and his American Taxpayers Union, The Olin Institution at Harvard University were all active during this time—cultivating and fleshing out the ideas that would eventually explode in 1994 with Newt Gringrich’s Republican Revolution. But they were doing it quietly.

And ever since 1994, the tables have been turned. Since that time, the political and moral template of the country has been conservative. Just look at Clinton’s biggest accomplishments: Welfare Reform and a balanced budget. These were Republican agenda items. The country was so conservative post ‘94, that Clinton was impeached by the House of Reps even as he reigned over peace and prosperity.

The key to the Republicans’ success at overthrowing the established order of the `70s and `80s was this: In the `70s and `80s, the Heritage Foundation and Norquist et al, operated below the radar screen. The Democratic establishment was largely unaware of the right-wing thought machine, the right-wing hand wringing strategy sessions, and all the Republican brainstorming. And so, in 1994, the conservatives were able to take Clinton, seemingly by surprise, and unveil an ideology that they’d been stoking and cultivating quietly for years. And, in 1994, they successfully ended the era of liberalism that had dominated this country since about 1970.

In comparison, today, the Democrats do their brainstorming and hand wring and strategizing out in the open. They do it on the blogs. It’s all right there for the Republicans to see. This is why the Democratic blogs, as good as they make us feel, are jeopardizing a successful liberal revolution. Democrats do too much plotting out loud.

If Grover Norquist had had a blog in the `80s, I think the Democrats would have been more prepared in 1994.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Republican Trick the Dems Should Steal #4,382: Blind ‘Em With Star Power!

posted by on January 15 at 7:10 PM

Walken in 2008? Huzzah!

If Chile can elect a woman (and socialist, doctor, and former political prisoner who beat the pants off her billionaire opponent), we can certainly elect an actor who kicks seventy times more ass than either of these guys:


New Pantheon Finalists

posted by on January 15 at 4:15 PM

I’m really excited about the upcoming New Pantheon awards (formerly the Shortlist Music Prize). Large scale music awards rarely support/inspire independent artists, and it’s always the same names over and over. So I feel really flattered to be part of the nominating committee narrowing down last year’s talent into a worthy set of finalists (which were just announced last week). I think prizes like this one, festivals like Arthurball, radio stations like KEXP, KUSF, and WFMU and independent publications and record stores are helping keep the national music landscape interesting by promoting underpromoted artists…for every American Idol-winner-turned-cover-girl, there’s a growing force recognizing, supporting, and furthering experimentation with the old pop and rock structures. It’s already feeling like 2006 is going to be another inspiring year in music.

Seattle is so “middle of the road”

posted by on January 15 at 3:55 PM

Mark Kozelek definitely isn’t my thing—that whole mopey, valium balladry puts me to sleep—and it seems to me that anyone who agrees with that assessment shouldn’t be spending $15 to see him live. And yet a couple friends who are fans and went to Kozelek’s Friday show said the venue had more than a few people obviously not into the former Red House Painters front man’s set. In fact, there were so many frat types telling the singer to fuck off, drunk patrons talking loudly through the show, and one girl who apparently passed out standing up that Kozelek cursed the Seattle audience, calling this city “middle of the road” and stopping his set to tell people to shut the fuck up. Which brings up two things I don’t understand about the live music scene here—why do people go to mellow shows only to bitch and pester the performer, when if they hate it so much they can leave and be loud at a bar? And why doesn’t the Triple Door have more indie shows? I love the TD space, and they’ve had a handful of mellow indie/pop acts, but it would cut out a lot of the rude crew (and cut down on the boredom of standing for three hours to hear a sloooow set of music) to have Kozelek types in that swank supper club.

What’s Wrong w/ This Picture?

posted by on January 15 at 2:30 PM

Today’s David Horsey cartoon shows Seattle City Council Member Richard Conlin chairing last Thursday’s Position #9 vacancy hearing.

Horsey draws a line of crackpots queing up to the microphone (a guy in a clown suit, a naked guy, a prostitute, and a guy in a rain coat w/ a fish in his pocket and tennis racket in his hand) and Conlin is asking “So, what are your qualifications?”

The problem is… Conlin wasn’t even at Thursday’s hearing.

It was announced, vaguely, that Conlin had a prior commitment.

Just sayin’.

The Gobalization of Anti-Semitism

posted by on January 15 at 1:39 PM

I almost want to see this conference happen in Tehran. A conference to discredit the Holocaust as a myth. Imagine who would attend: Neo-Nazis, Neo-Black Panthers, representatives from the Klu Klux Clan, Islamic fundamentalists—all under one roof in Tehran. Iran is to the first decade of the present millennium what Afghanistan was to the last decade of the 20th century.

Here’s Nick Licata’s List. Jan? Jean? David?

posted by on January 15 at 12:59 PM

Seattle City Council Member Nick Licata followed Steinbrueck’s example, making his list of Postion #9 contenders public here on the Slog.

Stranger friends: picking up on Peter Steinbrueck’s good idea of sharing his list with the public, I’m providing my total 18 names below. Each Council Member will submit a list of 18 names on Tuesday morning.

There are still worthy and capable candidates that are not in my list, so the choices were difficult to make. I took into consideration their resume, their 3 minute presentation, the support they received, any personal contact that I have had with them, and finally I just took into account my impression of how they could contribute to the overall welfare of the city.

I believe that the City would best be served by someone who could concentrate during this year on the work of the Council and not on campaigning for this coming fall. Also, I believe it is more democratic to have the citizens of Seattle choose the future Council Member rather than just the 8 sitting Council Members.

Consequently I will be leaning to those candidates in the second round who would consider being a caretaker for one year. They would of course be free to run in the following year when that same position most be voted on again.

#2 Juan Bocanegra
#3 Peter Holmes
#6 Dolores Sibonga
#16 Robert Zappone
#20 Gail Chiarello
#21 Harriet Walden
#27 Sally Clark
#28 Sharon Maeda
#34 Stella Chao
#38 Jack Whisner
#46 Bruce Bentley
#47 David Bloom
#49 Jan Brucker
#50 Thomas Whittemore
#55 Verlene Jones
#75 Bruce Herbert
#79 Ross Baker
#87 Alice Woldt

Posted by Nick Licata - January 15, 2006 09:09 AM

Why Does Minnesota Get All The Cool Gubernatorial Candidates?

posted by on January 15 at 12:12 PM

Via Wonkette:
This is the most entertaining website I’ve seen in forever. The writing is brilliant, the pathos are real (you simply must read about Jonathon’s Dark Side.) Study it, and then spend the rest of your Sunday feeling bad that Washington gets governors who can’t even decisively win against men named Dino. I bet Gregoire’s never impaled anything in her life.

My Smobriety, Week One: No News Is Dull News

posted by on January 15 at 11:23 AM

Smobriety Charticle Six

Weight: 173 pounds

Pulse: 68 beats per minute

Song Stuck In Head: “Love, Thy Will Be Done,” Martika

Risk of Smoking Resumption: Eggshell White (virtually unimaginable)

Symptoms: Tiredness, and, er…tiredness.

An apology: could not post yesterday, as the closest I got to the internet was a digital watch that had a calculator function. Also yesterday, I forgot to take any Happy Pills at all until four in the afternoon, whereupon I decided to just quit it altogether, and I have not really suffered any kind of side effects since.
I wrote, exactly one week ago, that I quit smoking with three people. One was “Dick,” who is using The Patch intermittently, but is, for the most part, as they say, clean and smober. On Friday night, I finally met back up with the third member of the, um, Smoking Cessation Posse, who we’ll call “Tim.” Tim was going to use The Gum. Many people fear The Gum; when I told people our methods of quitting, they would nod as I said that Dick was going to use The Patch, they would grimace a bit when I said I was going to use The Happy Pills, but when I’d say that Tim was going to use The Gum, they would rear back and blurt, “The Gum doesn’t work!”
It was for this reason that I figured that Tim would be the one to fail.
Results after the jump.

Continue reading "My Smobriety, Week One: No News Is Dull News" »

Give ‘em hell, John.

posted by on January 15 at 10:12 AM

What he said.