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Archives for 01/29/2006 - 02/04/2006

Saturday, February 4, 2006

Party Crasher is Disappointed in You (An Open Letter)

posted by on February 4 at 7:14 PM

Dear Seattle,
The Party Crasher Electronic Mailbox ( contains no invitations to a Super Bowl Party. How can this be? Are there no houses opening their doors to guests to celebrate the balletic, sweaty crush of football players’ bodies flying together, as though freed from gravity by some supernatural force not unlike love?
Oh, I think that there are parties. And this can only mean one thing: Somebody out there is celebrating Seattle’s annexation into Sportugal and not inviting an Impartial Party-Centric Journalist (h-hem) to record the proceedings.
And that, needless to say is bullshit. What do your Superbowl Celebrations have to hide, Seattle?
Paul Bobby Constant
P.S. No, I’m not drunk, but thank you for asking.

By Popular Demand…

posted by on February 4 at 11:14 AM

Yes, Seattle, I will be live-slogging the Seagulls game tomorrow.

Check back here for constantly updated analysis of the big game starting at 3 PM. I will be cracking open a lucky bottle of Lillet—I was drinking le Aperitif de Bordeaux when our beloved Gulls triumphed over the Painters in what was, as it turned out, the Gulls penultimate football contest, and not the championship game, as I had mistakenly assumed.

Still, no other football commentator in the Northwest possesses more insight about the history, strategy, and complexities of the game than yours truly. Join me,, why don’t you, for what will surely be a memorable day of footballing.

UPDATE: Last minute shopping to do before the game? Need snacks and beer?


Today rioters set fire to the Danish embassy in Syria—and the Norwegian embassy too. Nice—you print a comic, we burn down buildings. At rallies in Islamic states, speakers are insisting that the protests will go on until every last one of the cartoonists, all of whom are now in hiding, is beheaded.

Give a shit about freedom of expression? Don’t want what you think, write, draw, and publish to be vetted by a bunch of religious fascists who long to live in the 14th Century? Like your women unenslaved, your speech free, your homos alive, your booze legal, your beard shaved, and your cartoonists headed?


I’m going to run out today—“Windstorm ‘06” be damned!—and buy a few cases of Carlsberg Beer for my Super Bowl party. You should too. I’m also going to get my kid some brand new Legos to put together, in case he gets bored watching the game. There’s always a nice selection of Danish cheeses at the QFC on Broadway, and I’m going to swing by and buy some. Mmm… cheese. Whatever you’re going to buy today, why not do the right thing?


UPDATE 2: Okay, we ran out and bought Danish. So we’re all set for the Super Bowl tomorrow—we’ve got tons of Danish beer, Danish cheese, and Danish crackers. We even drove around until we found a tin of those Danish butter cookies.


Going shopping for your own Super Bowl party? Support free speech! Piss off the theocrats! BUY DANISH!

Thou Shalt Place No Local Sports Franchises Above Me

posted by on February 4 at 9:33 AM

This is all purely speculative, mind you, but between the hellacious gusts of wind out there today and the eerily barren flagpole, it’s almost enough to make one think that God ripped the 12 flag right off the Space Needle.
Go Seagulls!
(Unless it’ll earn me eternal damnation.)

Friday, February 3, 2006

This Week on Slog

posted by on February 3 at 9:35 PM

Highlights from the last seven days, for those of you who aren’t reading every word in real time. (You can stay on top of Slog by subscribing to our RSS feed.)

Friday, January 27

Readers translated the Japanese on Dan Savage’s bag of Party Time Crabs: “A time spent with fun companions—come on now, all together!” (Conveniently, this also summarizes Jennifer Maerz’s Friday night farewell bash at Vito’s.) Later, Josh Feit made several people cry with his poignant vignette from the big party at the Paramount after Washington State’s gay civil rights bill passed.

Saturday, January 28

Josh reported that the Washington State Dems and Rs voted in new state party chairs. Debate on the merits of the new leaders followed (and someone calling herself Gasgirl attempted to discredit Josh’s reporting by accusing him of “hanging out with Team Nickels”).

Sunday, January 29

Andy Spletzer tossed his final paper airplane from Sundance/Slamdance, noting locals who claimed prizes.

Monday, January 30

When Tim Eyman announced he will be filing both an initiative and a referendum seeking to repeal the gay civil rights bill, Eli Sanders sent him an e-mail with a simple question: “Why are you doing this?” While we awaited his answer, 20 readers offered guesses, and one wondered what the difference between an initiative and a referendum is. Shortly thereafter Christopher Frizelle admitted to just now discovering John Cassavetes and sparked a friendly chat among cinephiles, which ended with romance between Sean Nelson and Rich Jenson. And in “Our Own Big Dig,” Erica Barnett quoted some of a recent Belltown Messenger cautionary tale about waterfront tunnels and drew 44 passionate opinions, including several toilet metaphors.

Tuesday, January 31

Eyman answered Eli’s question. Sort of.

Wednesday, February 1

Erica fired readers up again with more scorching viaduct talk. Though Savage was silent during yesterday’s State of the Union address, he and a dozen or so readers had plenty to say during Wednesday night’s Project Runway.

Thursday, February 2

Charles Mudede has been waiting for the perfect opportunity to write to word “drinky”—today it arrived. Corianton Hale posted porn starring The Stranger’s receptionist and a grease pie. Cienna Madrid told a hilarious tale of electronic romance. And Brendan Kiley unearthed what appears to be the prototype for the brilliant Wonder Showzen.

Friday, February 3

Paul Constant reported that since he’s quit smoking, he’s been very, very ill. Readers also reported suffering through colds and flus after quitting and offered several explanations for the the phenomenon. Also: “This Week on Slog” was born. Is it worth my time? Discuss.

Score One for the Haters

posted by on February 3 at 8:59 PM

Via Drudge:

Danish cartoonists fear for their lives

TWELVE Danish cartoonists whose pictures sparked such outcry have gone into hiding under round-the-clock protection, fearing for their lives.

The cartoonists, many of whom had reservations about the pictures, have been shocked by how the affair has escalated into a global “clash of civilisations.” They have since tried, unsuccessfully, to stop them being reprinted.

A spokesman for the cartoonists said: “They are in hiding around Denmark. Some of them are really, really scared.”

posted by on February 3 at 8:16 PM

Some final words of wisdom from a Savage who knows and cares about football: my brother, Bill Savage.—Dan Savage

Okay, one last bit of advice:

How to actually watch the game. The key thing you need for a successful Super Bowl party is a girlfriend who just doesn’t give a shit about sports. Now, before you get your hipster gender equality panties in a twist, let me say that this “girlfriend” doesn’t have to be a girl. Plenty of women like sports (I’ve shared Bears’ season tickets for over 15 years with a female friend), so this girlfriend is more of an Jungian archetype, and could actually be a boy or a neighbor or a homeless person or a Stranger staffer you hire for the event (Sounds like a job for Our Worst Enemy, actually).

But it’s crucial to have someone around who doesn’t care if the game is a thriller, or if Troy Polamalu offers some of his plentiful hair for a charity transplant to Matt Hasselbeck’s shiny bold dome.

The person who doesn’t care has the vital job of shuttling more food and drink to those people transfixed by the TV for four hours (not counting the pregame hoopla, which actually begins sometime Friday). These people—you, me, those who do care—will not willingly get up from our seats for anything short of a bladder-busting need to piss. (Catheterization while technically possible, is not advised, since it can be painfully dislodged by sudden movements). Need more chips? Salsa bowl running low? Beer somehow empty again? Gotta have someone who doesn’t care tend to it.

And no, you cannot just see to these tasks yourself during commercials. Commercials are often the actual highlight of the Super Bowl, since the game can be a boring rout. To craft the ads that people will still be talking about the next day (or decade), entire New York ad agencies sell their collective souls (OK, that’s not such a big transaction, really, since the Devil already bought their damned souls). Newspapers will devote pages of coverage to the ads, like they do to the dresses bimbo starlets wear to awards ceremonies.

So, invite someone who doesn’t care. Stock up on food that will put you in the weight class of the NFL players destined to die young, claim the seat with the best view of the tube, and enjoy your Seahawks.

My call: Seattle 29, Pittsburgh 21.

This Week’s Not-So-Special Guest on Audioasis

posted by on February 3 at 7:03 PM

In an odd twist of fate, KEXP has asked me to appear on its Audioasis program Saturday Feb. 4 at 7 pm to play some tracks by Seattle electronic-music artists and to discuss the scene in general. (Lisa Wood is hosting the show this week.)

I’ve occasionally been harsh on the popular radio station in The Stranger, so respect is due to John Richards for letting bygones be bygones and asking me to do this. Tune in for the great music and the thrilling drama of me struggling to attain a monotone on the mic.

What They Did in Bremerton

posted by on February 3 at 6:26 PM

The public can breathe a sigh of relief: They didn’t miss much.

As expected, the city council’s annual retreat was pretty uneventful - for two days, council members and their staff holed up to plot media strategy, “focus on the big picture,” and learn about “external communications.”

Day 1, which I missed, was apparently chock-full of the kind of goofy team-building exercises that the Stranger has mocked the council for in the past: Staffers put together puzzles, broke big problems into little steps, and did exercises designed to teach them to share.

I skipped out on the love-fest and showed up last night just in time for karaoke at the South Pacific Sports Bar, across the street from the hotel. While some staffers stuck with the tried-and-true (Pat Benatar; Stevie Wonder; Madonna), others got adventurous: unsuccessful council president candidate Richard Conlin, a karaoke virgin, sang a poignant rendition of “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and a dozen people crowded the stage for “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That”) by Meatloaf. (Meanwhile, Richard McIver, Sally Clark, and a handful of council staff were playing poker in a nearly conference room. Tom Rasmussen staffer Mike Fong won.)

This morning, staffers and council members hauled themselves creakily back to the conference center, where Seattle P-I writers Mark Trahant and David McCumber talked about media strategy, how to get coverage, and the P-I’s increased focus on local news, an attempt to position the paper against the regionally focused Seattle Times.

Later, council communications director Jackie O’Ryan led a discussion of TV news that I found sort of depressing (O’Ryan instructed council members to “distill and condense your message” for easy television digestion, and called TV interviews, in contrast to interviews for print media, “a very good way to spend your time”) and a communications seminar that disintegrated into a debate about a nonsense issue - whether the city should lift its (fictitious) ban on blue chewing gum - when council members couldn’t agree on an actual issue to discuss.

Despite the undeniable time-suck factor of it all, I do wish the council would hold its retreats closer to home - or at least film the (public) meetings so citizens could watch them if they wished. Besides me, only one non-city hall employee - new P-I city hall reporter Angela Galloway - showed up for the retreat, making the “public” meeting essentially an off-the-record event.

No More Fanaticism as Usual

posted by on February 3 at 5:35 PM

The last time the Islamic world was losing its shit over inconsequential crap, Salman Rushdie wrote an absolutely brilliant op-ed for the New York Times. Here’s a sample, but you should read the whole thing. It’s behind the firewall on the NYT’s site, unfortunately, but if you Google “no more fanaticism as usual” you’ll find the piece on plenty of other websites.

It’s been quite a week in the wonderful world of Islam.

Nigerian Islam’s encounter with that powerhouse of subversion, the Miss World contest, has been unedifying, to put it mildly. First some of the contestants had the nerve to object to a Shariah court’s sentence that a Nigerian woman convicted of adultery be stoned to death and threatened to boycott the contest—which forced the Nigerian authorities to promise that the woman in question would not be subjected to the lethal hail of rocks. And then Isioma Daniel, a Christian Nigerian journalist, had the effrontery to suggest that if the prophet Muhammad were around today, he might have wanted to marry one of these swimsuit hussies himself.

Well, obviously, that was going too far. True-believing Nigerian Muslims then set about the holy task of killing, looting and burning while calling for Ms. Daniel to be beheaded, and who could blame them? Not the president of Nigeria, who put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the hapless journalist…

Finally, let’s not forget the horrifying story of the Dutch Muslim woman, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who has had to flee the Netherlands because she said that Muslim men oppressed Muslim women, a vile idea that so outraged Muslim men that they issued death threats against her….

Where, after all, is the Muslim outrage at these events? As their ancient, deeply civilized culture of love, art and philosophical reflection is hijacked by paranoiacs, racists, liars, male supremacists, tyrants, fanatics and violence junkies, why are they not screaming?

At least in Iran the students are demonstrating. But where else in the Muslim world can one hear the voices of the fair-minded, tolerant Muslim majority deploring what Nigerian, Egyptian, Arab and Dutch Muslims are doing? Muslims in the West, too, seem unnaturally silent on these topics. If you’re yelling, we can’t hear you…. The Islamic world today is being held prisoner, not by Western but by Islamic captors, who are fighting to keep closed a world that a badly outnumbered few are trying to open. As long as the majority remains silent, this will be a tough war to win. But in the end, or so we must hope, someone will kick down that prison door.

UPDATE: Okay, Michelle Malkin is a dangerous nut. But you know what they say about stopped clocks: Malkin has posted pictures on her website taken at a protest in London. Click here to see what the delicate flowers who burst into tears when someone draws an unflattering cartoon of Mohammed have to say. Those Danish cartoonists are so rude! And the Islam-means-peace crowd, by contrast, is so sensitive! (I’m not a regular reader of Malkin’s site—I spotted this on Andrew Sullivan.)

Like Rushide says, the fair-minded, tolerant Muslim majority is unnaturally silent.

The Chief Justice Speaks (Again)

posted by on February 3 at 3:45 PM

On Jan. 12, the chief justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, Gerry Alexander, caused a stir by telling the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that he and his colleagues hoped to have a ruling on the state’s landmark gay marriage case before the end of the legislative session in March.

It’s highly unusual for any justice, let alone the chief justice, to speak about a pending case, and so Alexander’s comment both shocked court watchers and left them parsing his words for clues about which way the court might be leaning on gay marriage.

The P-I has since corrected its reporting of Alexander’s statement, casting the chief justice’s hope as his alone, and not that of his colleagues.

That’s because, as Alexander told me a short while ago in his huge office in the Temple of Justice in Olympia, he recently called the paper and asked for a correction.

“I remember exactly what I said,” Alexander told me, emphasizing that he did not bring up the subject of the marriage case with P-I reporter Chris McGann, whom Alexander had approached wanting to discuss his campaign for reelection this November. It was McGann who raised the issue of the marriage decision, and in response, Alexander told me, “I said the court is aware of the intense interest in this case, and we’re endeavoring to get [a decision] out as promptly as possible.”

And then, in an “unguarded moment” that he now “really” regrets, Alexander says he also told McGann: “I’m hoping we can get it out before the legislature adjourns.”

But what was never said, according to Alexander, was that the entire court shared his hope. “I can’t make a promise like that,” he told me.

Nevertheless, his comment didn’t sit well with fellow justices. “A couple of them wished I hadn’t said that,” Alexander told me. “Including myself.”

And the chagrined chief justice now wants all the people who are watching his words closely to know: “There was no hidden message.”

Which perhaps takes those tensely awaiting the gay marriage ruling back to where they were before the P-I first reported Alexander’s comments on Jan. 12: No clue which way the court will rule, and no clue when, either.

The Varieties of Spiritual Credulity

posted by on February 3 at 3:10 PM

I was so moved by the new “directors’ cut” remix What the Bleep?!: Down the Rabbit Hole (a flabby, 2.5-hour elaboration of the original pseudoscience “documentary” What the #$*! Do We Know?!) that I wrote a web-exclusive long review in addition to the punchy short version you’ll find in the print edition this week.

Many people have been equally moved by my review. So far, my hate and love (or beautiful and ugly crystal) letters include:

is somebody afraid of reality? :or have you already gotten yourself a jar of lube to prepare for fascism? -george!


I absolutely loved this article/review! Hilarious. After seeing “What the BLEEP” I struggled to explain to my friends why I was so enraged by it. You managed to articulate my scorn perfectly. Thanks for that! -marc

In addition, one of my assertions has been challenged by one of the film’s director/producer/evident Ramtha devotees, William Arntz.

As for David Albert. Dr. Albert was invited (not by us) to give a presentation at a conference last year with most of the other interviewees. We were going to re interview everyone so I contacted David. We had a long talk about the previous film. I said we were going to issue an extended version, but would not include him against his wishes. However I said that his views were extremely interesting and I thought it would be a loss. We then came to the agreement that we would re-film but, but would only include footage of him in the Rabbit Hole subject to his OK. He was sent a DVD of those interview segments, with interviews before and after so that he could see the context. He approved all of them.

I have emailed Columbia philosophy professor David Albert to ask whether this was indeed the case. If he chooses to reply, I’ll let you know.

Mr. Arntz does not, however, challenge my criticism of the film’s use of a former seminary president who was accused of sexual abuse of a minor. Miceal (sic) Ledwith uses his screen time to expostulate on the subject of victimhood—specifically, how victims are complicit in their own victimization.

Won’t you give a gay sperm a good home?

posted by on February 3 at 1:52 PM

I’ve just finished reading this article, entitled “God’s Senator,” in the current issue of Rolling Stone. It’s about Senator Brownback, which means it’s predictably bizarre (death penalty for abortion doctors, Christian rock, something called “‘faith-based’ eroticism”), but nothing we didn’t already know. One passage did stand out to me, though - about Brownback’s chief of staff, Robert Wasinger:

Wasinger is from Hays, Kansas, but he speaks with a Harvard drawl, and he is still remembered in Cambridge twelve years after graduation for a fight he led to get gay faculty booted. He was particularly concerned about the welfare of gay men; or rather, as he wrote in a campus magazine funded by the Heritage Foundation, that of their innocent sperm, forced to “swim into feces.”

It’d be fruitless to speculate about the amount of “innocent” non-gay sperm “forced” to “swim into feces.” But hey, can everyone get off feces’s figurative back for a minute? It’s just doing its job. It’s just feces.

My Smobriety (And Other Whiny Recoverers)

posted by on February 3 at 12:19 PM

The thing that nobody tells you…ever…about quitting smoking is that, once the nicotine completely leaves your system, your body becomes a lush and abiding petri dish for any virus that may come along. I have been ill for the last six days with the worst goddamn cold I’ve had since I had mono ten years ago. Two days in there, I slept for 19 hours. All of the anecdotal evidence I’ve scrounged up has confirmed that, not only is the Viciously Bad Cold part and parcel of the smoking cessation, I’m also likely to get sick two to three more times in the next year, plus whatever the number of times a year it is that I’m normally sick (once or twice). Which means that I can get sick up to six times in the first twelve months of smobriety. Which is almost enough to convince a man to smoke for his health, except for the fact that if I were to smoke right now, my lungs, which are currently moist dishrag-like things hanging limply in my chest cavity, would probably burst into flames. So, you know, fuck it. I’m committed.
And, for those who enjoy dead horses being beaten into A Million LIttle Pieces, there’s a bonus schadenFreyd post, after the jump.

Continue reading "My Smobriety (And Other Whiny Recoverers)" »

Holy Shit! Local Playwright Leaves Town!

posted by on February 3 at 12:17 PM

Sometime Seattle playwright Steven Dietz (Lonely Planet, God’s Country) is leaving us for a “sweet gig” as a playwriting teacher at the University of Texas at Austin.

And he makes the case for the post-play discussion, which I always thought was the worst thing you could possibly see in a theater. Including fire.

Read the interview here.

First Thursday=dud

posted by on February 3 at 11:55 AM

Not much new art to see last night, and the few openings ranged from mediocre to slightly embarrassing. (What’s with the velvet-painting-like flower photographs and vaguely potato-shaped ceramics at Catherine Person?)

There was one exception: Satomi Jin’s drawings at SOIL. SOIL is always feels cramped, and I leave wondering whether I’ve seen all the art, but I believe Jin has two large pieces up: “Millions” and “Blue Drawing.” “Millions” is a 12-foot-long and 4-foot-tall work on paper consisting of thousands of tiny, obsessive circular marks made in pen that cohere as if by magnetic force into large, floating orbs. The result is gorgeous and impressive, if not terribly original.


More complicated is “Blue Drawing,” a 5-foot square of plywood painted a smoky blue with an almost invisible, intricate floral pattern rising up from its surface in looping stitches of thin wire painted the same color blue. From the side, all that wire looks like a mound of blue pubic hair. In one sense, the wire seems to grow out of the plywood, but the surface’s decorative pattern and Jin’s overall monochromatic restraint draw from entirely different sources. Like “Millions,” it’s a painstaking drawing with austerely formal results, but it’s also a painting, a sculpture and a bit of sewing.

This is Satomi Jin’s web site.

One addendum, because even though I’m not usually crazy about art-by-children shows, I feel I’d be a terrible human being if I didn’t at least mention this show of drawings by Sudanese kids at UW’s Odegaard Library through Feb. 22. This, from the press release:

The exhibition features 27 drawings by children from Darfur, who escaped the massive ethnic cleansing in Sudan. In 2005, Human Rights Watch investigators working on the Darfur crisis gave children notebooks and crayons to keep them occupied while they gathered testimony from the children’s parents. Without any instructions, the children drew harrowing and heartbreaking accounts of what they witnessed in Darfur: the brutal attacks by government sponsored militias known as the Janjaweed, the indiscriminate bombings by Sudanese government forces, the shootings, the burning of entire villages, and the flight to Chad. Schoolchildren from seven refugee camps offered Human Rights Watch researchers their drawings as living testimony of life in Darfur. These drawings with their unique visual vocabulary of war have given a forceful voice to the youngest victims of the crisis, which has taken the lives of an estimated 200,000 and displaced over 2 million.

If you want to know more about the background of the current Sudanese slaughter, I’d recommend “Emma’s War” (2002) by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Deborah Scroggins. (Unfortunately, it’s so readable that it’s being made into a film starring Nicole Kidman.)

Vatican On Line Three!

posted by on February 3 at 11:41 AM

Georgia10 makes a great point over at Daily Kos:

.What we should remember as this story unfolds is that the tensions between religious sensitivities and free speech is not limited to the borders of Europe and the Muslim world. Within our own borders, we have repeatedly witnessed the protesting of art by religious groups who perceive the works to be blasphemy.  Perhaps the starkest example of this occurred in the late 1990s with Chris Ofili’s “The Virgin Mary”.  Ofili’s painting depicted the Virgin Mary surrounded by elephant dung.  Ofili’s painting was so controversial, the gallery that exhibited it almost lost its funding.  More recently, religious groups protested the (now canceled) television show “The Book of Daniel” because of its “anti-Christian bigotry.”, and several local affiliates refused to air the show.  In Russia too, the tension between free press and religious sensitivity has come into sharp relief. Last year, a museum director in Russia was convicted and fined for “inciting religious hatred” with their presentations of “Caution! Religion.”  (the artist was acquitted. See his art here). The convicted museum directors just filed an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights.

Point taken.

Oh, I also loved this bit of her post…

Unfortunately, it appears the controversy is growing instead of dying down. Saudi Arabia’s interior minister has called upon the Vatican to intervene and prevent publication of the cartoons.

Is that how they think it works? Editors and writers sitting around waiting for marching orders from the Vatican?

Ode to Romance II

posted by on February 3 at 11:41 AM

Long distance marriage proposals (which I slogged about yesterday) pale in comparison to the creepiness of consummating a Valentine’s Day marriage in a coffin
stalking loved ones via their cell phones
um, Dr. Love’s love calculator.


posted by on February 3 at 11:35 AM

While Muslims fume over decpitions of Mohammed, Christians are up in arms over a forthcoming episode of Will & Grace, denounced by the American Family Association for “mocking the crucifixion of Christ.”

Chief among the problematic plot points of the April 13 episode of W&G: A TV cooking show hosted by a conservative Christian (played by ghetto guest star Britney Spears), entitled “Cruci-fixin’s.”

The Christians aren’t laughing. “To further denigrate Christianity, NBC chose to air [the episode] the night before Good Friday,” complained AFA Founder and Chairman Donald E. Wildmon. NBC does not treat Jews, Muslims or other religions with such disrespect. Yet the network demonstrates a deep of hostility toward followers of Christ.”

Full story here.

In the meantime, join me in contemplating the ability of Christians to turn the other cheek when one of their own legitimately denigrates Christianity (see Pat Robertson, death threats issued by). Then try to figure out where shit like this fits in…

Ron Sims Smackdown!

posted by on February 3 at 11:25 AM

From a press release issued from Sims’s office:

King County Executive Ron Sims and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato have made a friendly wager on the Super Bowl XL match between the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburg Steelers. Both executives chose foods and products representative of the culture and industries of their counties.

Pittsburg? Damn, Sims, THAT’S COLD! You just gonna take that Dan Onorato?

One hour left!

posted by on February 3 at 10:58 AM

You have only ONE HOUR to submit your little love notes for this year’s Valentine’s Day issue. At noon today, the online submission form will be removed.

Click here, or forever be the world’s worst boyfriend/girlfriend.

Flux Capacitor Meets the Pup Tent

posted by on February 3 at 10:57 AM

Because it had to happen eventually, here’s the trailer for Brokeback to the Future.

Happy Friday!

posted by on February 3 at 10:33 AM

In advance of a Super Bowl Sunday even I am looking forward to, please enjoy this video of Star Jones getting hit in the face with a football.

Secret Service May Have Too Much Time on Its Hands

posted by on February 3 at 10:14 AM

An essay written by a Rhode Island seventh-grader that speculated a perfect day would include causing damage/harm to President Bush, Coca-cola, Wal-Mart, and Oprah has alarmed the SS enough to prompt an investigation. Your tax dollars etc. etc.

Faith Forced Telemarketing

posted by on February 3 at 9:32 AM

My friend Morgan (of the famous Dutton sisters) sent me this link, which opens to what now is the funniest thing I have read so far this year. God Bless America!

I Must Not Draw Mohammed

posted by on February 3 at 9:06 AM

Check out this cartoon—mentioned on NPR this AM, all over the web, up on


The hand of a cartoonist—at least I presume the hand represents the cartoonist—is writing “I must not draw Mohammed” over and over again. And he’s creating an image of Mohammed with those words, all under the watchful eye of a cleric who has taken up residence in his pencil. It’s brilliant.

The political cartoon was published on the front page of Le Monde, a lefty daily in France. As Sullivan says…

This is the perfect response, it seems to me, to the intimidation of the press in Europe.It describes what Islamism is trying to do: threaten those who want to discuss and debate the intersection of fundamentalism and politics, the clash between freedom and faith. That the leftist paper, Le Monde, would publish this could be a sign that Europe is beginning to stand up again for the principles for which the West stands: tolerance, sure; faith, yes; freedom of speech: non-negotiable.

More death threats are, no doubt, on their way.

UPDATE: Gotta love this quote in the NYT piece about the controversy…

“We are angry — very, very, very angry,” said the legislator, Jamila al-Shanty. “No one can say a bad word about our prophet.”

To which I say: Fuck Mohammed. And Jesus too—fuck him. And while we’re fucking, let’s fuck L. Ron Hubbard and Joseph Smith and David Koresh and the Rev. Moon and Bhudda. Fuck ‘em all.

How Convenient

posted by on February 3 at 8:31 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge on Friday set former White House aide I. Lewis ”Scooter” Libby’s trial date in the CIA leak case for January 2007, two months after the midterm congressional elections.

The trial for Libby, who faces perjury and obstruction of justice charges, will begin with jury selection Jan. 8, said U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton. The judge said he had hoped to start the trial in September but one of Libby’s lawyers had a scheduling conflict that made that impractical.

$100,000 per minute

posted by on February 3 at 7:36 AM

That’s the current cost of the war in Iraq.

New World and Same Old

posted by on February 3 at 6:33 AM

I went to see Terence Malick’s beautiful, complicated The New World at the Neptune the other night, along with maybe 30 other people. The narrative was far more engaging than I expected, based on a bunch of reviews that insisted on calling it a “tone poem” and such like (dude, it’s not really a tone poem if it has pictures…). I won’t go into it too much, except to say that for a story about different kinds of love (love of an ideal vs. love of a reality), the film has a profound reach. Malick never quite goes where you expect him to, and he resists the obvious tricks of drama and characterization that would make the story easier to grasp, but harder to love. I think it’s about the eternal conflict between the existential and the transcendental, and there’s no mistaking that Malick favors the latter.

HOWEVER, the movie wasn’t the only show going on that night. A couple of wasted Native American street dwellers were sitting in the balcony, loudly heckling the film, repeating every line uttered by the natives in the film, and generally disrupting what would, under normal Seattle circumstances, be a highbrow, honky evening. It’s always a drag when people ruin movies by talking, but there was an obvious supradialectic at work here, between the events depicted in the film (white man vs. native, before the fall), and the events being enacted in the balcony (Native Americans vs. polite white society, 300 years later). The disruption was working on so many levels (literal, metaphorical, cultural, historical, humorous, tragic) that the folks on the ground level all seemed to be conscious of the vectors—at least they were in my imagination.

The hecklers were eventually removed, at length, and at high volume (“I thought this movie was about my family! I want my money back! Don’t fucking TOUCH ME!”), and we went on watching the tale of Pocahontas’s (and the land’s) domesticization by the forces of Christendom. In a way, it completed the story better than the 20 minutes Malick cut from its original release ever could have.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Steve Spacek Show Cancelled

posted by on February 2 at 5:47 PM

The subject of this week’s Data Breaker column, Steve Spacek, has cancelled his show at Seattle’s Baltic Room tonight. In his place, fellow British broken-beat producer Daz-I-Kue performs. It’s disappointing news, but Daz is a helluva consolation prize. Show promoters SunTzu Sound’s press release is after the jump.

Continue reading "Steve Spacek Show Cancelled" »

Where Do Babies Come From?

posted by on February 2 at 5:45 PM


If that link doesn’t work, try this one.

You Wonder Showzen fans may have seen this, the unaired pilot. If you make it through the hot dog factory segment, you deserve a prize. Or involuntary sterilization, depending on who’s asking.


posted by on February 2 at 5:44 PM

I was the shadow of a drinky bird slain by the false azure in a window pane.


posted by on February 2 at 4:58 PM

From Seattlest, posting on the various wagers between politicians over the Super Bowl:

Governor Christine Gregoire is putting up a bushel (which we think is two more than an acre) of apples vs. Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell’s box of hot dogs with Heinz condiments. Along with all of the food, a Hawk win would compel the Quaker Staters to fly the 12th man flag above their state capitol (sending a team of Texas A&M lawyers, ladders in hand, to Harrisburg).

In a related note, Dino Rossi made a similar wager with an imaginary Pennsylvania governor while in line at Blockbuster Video.

But the wagers don’t stop in the judicial branch. Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have also made a bet with Pennsylvania’s junior senator Rick Santorum. If the Steelers win, Santorum gets apples, salmon, and coffee. However, if the Seahawks win, his wife has to have an abortion.


What Are They Doing in Bremerton?

posted by on February 2 at 4:15 PM

Every year, the City Council leaves town (La Conner,Issaquah, this year it’s Bremerton) for a retreat. Since, more than 5 council members are present, the retreat qualifies as a public meeting. And so, every year, advocates of open government raise smart questions about the legitimacy of the council retreat. Public meetings are supposed to be accessible to the public, and well, Bremerton is something of a hike.

I can tell you from experience that nothing interesting ever happens at these meetings—nothing nefarious and no policy decisions are ever hammered out. However, there is an open governance principle at stake. The council, and particularly its new president—open governance stickler Nick Licata—should be sensitive to this principle. That’s why it seems like a bit of a slap in the public’s face that the agenda for this two-day meeting is nowhere to be found on the council’s web site.

The RCW about about public meetings are telling on that score:

A “meeting” as defined in the Open Public Meetings Act does not occur simply because a quorum of a governing body is gathered together. A training or team-building session would not be a meeting under the Open Public Meetings Act if the governing body (e.g., city council, board of county commissioners) does not discuss city or county business, as the case may be, or otherwise take action as defined in the Act. Receiving training or engaging in team-building exercises does not inherently require the discussion of city or county business. If the governing body is not going to open such a session to the public, it should be made clear that the members of the governing body are not to discuss business at the session.

A retreat is a council meeting which must be open to the public. Regardless of whether a meeting of the city council is called a council retreat, a council workshop, or a council study session, the Open Public Meetings Act requires that the public be allowed to attend. This does not mean that citizens must be given an opportunity to make comments or discuss issues at the retreat, but they must be allowed to attend. Even if held outside the city limits, a retreat is still a meeting and the public must be allowed to attend.

When you look up the retreat on the council’s website, here’s what you get.

The Stranger’s city hall reporter, Erica Barnett, got a copy of the agenda, but rather than finding it where it’s accessible to the public, she asked for it.

I’ve posted the Bremerton agenda below.

Continue reading "What Are They Doing in Bremerton?" »

How will I survive?

posted by on February 2 at 3:31 PM

Here’s an interesting article about the sketchy future of the internet, courtesy of The Nation.

The nation’s largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online. Verizon, Comcast, Bell South and other communications giants are developing strategies that would track and store information on our every move in cyberspace in a vast data-collection and marketing system, the scope of which could rival the National Security Agency. According to white papers now being circulated in the cable, telephone and telecommunications industries, those with the deepest pockets—corporations, special-interest groups and major advertisers—would get preferred treatment. Content from these providers would have first priority on our computer and television screens, while information seen as undesirable, such as peer-to-peer communications, could be relegated to a slow lane or simply shut out.

I spend a good chunk of each day emailing friends and scanning gossip rags for celeb fashion faux pas. You could say my life revolves around emails and panty lines. If this article is true, the future looks bleak.

Supreme Burger

posted by on February 2 at 3:07 PM

Right after eating a burger at Dicks with my friend Rich Jensen, who got me going on about I Am Cuba, a film that changed my life in much the same way that the three thousand pages in Remembrance of Things Past changed my life when I was 23, I started thinking about A Love Supreme by Coltrane, a record that is constantly changing my life.

Just recently, after almost two decades of deep admiration for this magnificent work of musical art, I realized that it starts with a chinese gong. I have no idea why I didn’t notice this until three or so days ago, and the realization changed (extended) my understanding of the whole project. “Acknowledgment,” the opening and most famous track, starts with a chinese gong, an instrument that is rarely heard in the world of jazz, and it was the one and only time John Coltrane used it—this gong shimmers magically like a city appearing in the sky. It is the concept, the sun, the thing that makes everything what it is. And after the gong’s sound diminishes, radiating out into the nothingness of space (drummer Elvin Jones is the one who strikes the gong), Coltrane blows a fanfare, an announcement, a call to all to come alive, to be born, to be reborn, to rise from either side of life, the void before and the void after existence. On the wings of the fanfare, we descend, angel-wise, spiraling through clouds, to earth and arrive at the ground, the human—the famous four note bass line performed by Jimmy Garrison. That four note bass line is the blues, simply and true. It is the basic block, the basic pulse of life, the human being—its life beat, its life blood. And so, in the 30 seconds that radiate from the majestic gong, the magical sun splash, the life stuff of stars, we go down, by way of Coltrane’s fanfare, to the blues, the beat of human beings. I will stop here. I’m on fire.

Jensen, thanks for the burger.

Cheesy Bites, A Four-Part Love Story

posted by on February 2 at 3:03 PM


Pizza Hut’s glossy insert in today’s Stranger has sent waves of awe and controversy through the office. Witness now, in full color, as our extraordinary receptionist Mike Nipper meets, mates, and quickly fellates the compliant doughy nugget. Nipper says, “I really wish they were filled with chocolate. Then it would be pizzert.”

Alert Sound Politics!

posted by on February 2 at 2:59 PM

More voting irregularities!

House Republicans vote for Majority Leader, but they hit a little snag. More votes are received than actual number of people voting.

A Dog Dilemma

posted by on February 2 at 2:31 PM

There is a custody battle raging in Capitol Hill that would confound even a sage such as King Solomon. Except this case deals not with a baby, but a bulldog.

Here’s what we know, based entirely on the police report: The original owner of the bulldog became friendly with another bulldog owner in his neighborhood, based on their common canines. So when the one guy decided to move to New York, he asked this fellow bulldog enthusiast to watch his dog till he was settled in New York and could have the dog shipped. An agreement of some kind was reached.

(Unfortunately, the police report has redacted the names of the two guys involved in this dispute, their addresses, and even the name of the dog. If any are reading this, I invite them to write and tell us more about the situation.)

The original owner moved to New York in late November and in mid-January he emailed his dog-sitter to tell him to ship his dog. The sitter emailed him back to basically say, “It’s my dog now,” and he refused to ship it East. Apparently, during those two months he grew attached to it. Last week, the original owner filed a police report, accusing his former friend of theft. He placed the bulldog’s value at $1,700.

As I see it, there are three ways to settle this case.

A) The sitter deserves the dog because the original owner was guilty of neglect, allowing his dog to stay West for two months. If he truly valued the dog, he would have brought it East, no matter the difficulty. And besides, the sitter would have been feeding the dog, scooping its shit, cleaning its wrinkles (which get easily infected) for two months. At some point during that caretaking process, it becomes his dog.

B. The original owner deserves the dog because he bought it, licensed it, etc. And as onerous or unreasonable as the arrangement was, the sitter agreed to it, and even if he became attached to the dog, he has to honor the original agreement.

C. Call it the Josh Feit solution: Saw the dog in half, and give equal shares to both.

Seattle Police Department spokesman Sean Whitcomb (who assured me that getting information on this explosive issue was the most important task of his day, if not his career), says that detectives need to investigate the matter further, getting both sides of the story before deciding whether the sitter ought to be charged with theft or if the owner will have to pursue his case in civil court.

To borrow a line from The Big Lebowski: There are two detective teams on the case. They’re working in shifts.

Barely Human

posted by on February 2 at 2:14 PM

The November National Geographic magazine published an article explaining that most of your cells aren’t human.

If you had to count all the cells in your body, the vast majority—by a factor of ten—would be microbes. They’re everywhere. They’re on your eyeballs, in your mouth, nose, and ears, and all over your skin.

The article claims we are actually a composite of species, only part human. In a troubling idea, the article notes that we don’t even know the identity of most of these microbes, but if you magnified them they would look like “horror-movie monsters.” In a more positive spin, it claims the human body “is like a complex ecosystem—a biosphere, almost.”

It ends with an idea straight out of science fiction:

What if we discovered that our entire evolution is essentially a side effect of the requirements of the microbes in our guts? Maybe those organisms needed to modify their hosts to be more efficient at finding certain kinds of food for them.

Talk amongst yourselves—you and your microbes.

Net Losses

posted by on February 2 at 1:12 PM

When asked how much Seattle would be hurt if the Sonics left town, City Council President Nick Licata told Sports Illustrated, “On an economic basis, near zero.”

Licata is right. While the Sonics can trot out NBA studies showing how the team brings $200 million a year to the city, academic studies, like this recent CATO institute study, show that sports teams have no effect on, and may actually hurt, local economies.

Howard Schultz is currently seeking a $200 million subsidy that would tax Queen Anne restaurants and bars along with bars and restaurants all over the city to support a one-stop shop night out at Queen Anne’s Key Arena.

Schultz responds to Licata’s quote in today’s Seattle Times sports page saying, “I read that, and said, ‘Who is this guy representing?’”

Given that city already financed an estimated $70 plus million upgrade to KeyArena just 10 years ago, and given that the city is now paying out about $2.6 million a year (with a debt service schedule until 2014) to pay off that construction—a bill the Sonics were supposed to cover with their own revenues—I’d say Licata is representing Seattle tax payers.

At yesterday’s city council Parks Committee meeting, city staffer Bill Alves lays out exactly how the city is getting dinged by the Sonics. (Go to the “Parks, Education, Libraries, and Labor Committee 2/1/06” link and then fast forward to about 38:00 in the streaming video.)

Come Get Mauled

posted by on February 2 at 1:01 PM


Today’s “Corianton Suggests?” Re-bar’s firs bear-night, aptly titled RE-BEAR. The chances of seeing Dan Savage there with a rug glued to his chest? High.

Earwax is Racist

posted by on February 2 at 12:44 PM

Well, maybe not racist, but as this KING 5 report makes clear, members of different ethnic groups have radically different earwax.

Specifically, East Asians produce dry earwax, while those of European and African descent produce wet earwax. For full info (as well as fascinating comparisons of different ethnic groups’ body odors) go here.

Slogdance Wrapup

posted by on February 2 at 12:36 PM

Our man at Sundance, Andy Spletzer, is back with a complete report of the flatlining festival, which you can read here.

Iraq in Fragments

Iraq in Fragments

Andy points out something I’m kicking myself for not realizing earlier: James Longley, the Seattle-based filmmaker who brought home a bunch of Sundance awards for his new doc Iraq in Fragments, is also the director of the great movie Gaza Strip, available now at Greencine and Netflix and Scarecrow and other fine DVD outlets. Feed the queue.

Puppy chow?

posted by on February 2 at 12:35 PM

Mighty Mix dog food just offered to send Kenya a donation of 6,000 emergency packs of dog food to feed starving children.

Kenya declined the offer because Africans are not dogs. In fact, being equated with dogs is pretty fucking insulting (surprise!). They aren’t even kept as pets.

“The offer was very naive and culturally insulting given the meaning of dogs in our culture,” said government spokesman Alfred Mutua.

According to the article, four million people are facing hunger in Kenya due to severe drought. Aid agencies say dozens of people and thousands of livestock have died in recent months.
Here’s a thought: Why don’t we offer them people food?

I’m such a fool…

posted by on February 2 at 12:31 PM

Honestly. Daniel V. is GAY!? I mean, I sorta (okay, totally) knew it, but I was in denial because I’m a woman and he’s a man and I really wanted it to work between us. But no. We find out last night, he is indeed gay and he came out to his parents last year and his ex-girlfriend still doesn’t know (she does now!).

Lucky girl.

Either way, I’m glad my Danny got immunity for the next challenge… at least I have that to celebrate.

Flight 83

posted by on February 2 at 12:30 PM

When I read about those Jet Blue passengers who got to watch their own emergency landing live on in-flight television, I thought it sounded like the scariest thing in the world.

Then, last night, I was flying home from New York to Seattle on Jet Blue flight 83, when what should come on my live in-flight television screen but… Flight 93, A&E’s dramatic recreation of the last hours of one of the hijacked passenger jets on Sept. 11.

“I can’t believe they’re showing this on a plane,” a woman seated in my row said.

I looked around. Everyone else seemed to be sticking with ground-borne dramas (Law & Order, Hardball), but my row was apparently filled with masochists. All of us were watching Flight 93. On Flight 83.

My fear of flying used to be really bad. But one thing that’s helped cure it is getting into situations that are so freakin scary I might as well not be scared. Like that flight from Peurto Rico to Vieques in a small plane with no doors. Or like that aborted landing in the fog in New Delhi — a touchdown, then screaming engines, a quick takeoff, and an announcement from the pilot that he’d overshot the start of the runway, sorry, and would now be trying again. Or, like watching Flight 93 on Flight 83.

I would venture that A&E had no more receptive audience than the people in my row last night. I cried every time someone on the doomed flight made a phone call to a loved one — and as anyone familiar with the “Let’s Roll” story of Flight 93 knows, we’re talking about a lot of calls. Calls to mom, calls to wife, calls to a nice woman at the Verizon Airphone call center. At one point I found myself pouring a bit of bottled water onto my t-shirt so I could use it to clean off my glasses, which had become spotted with dried tear salt, and I thought: Maybe I should shut it off now.

And then I thought: No, this is good for me.

The A&E broadcast of Flight 93 ended with the plane plowing into a field in Pennsylvania. Which I think cured my fear of flying for a good long while. There was the charred hole in the ground, and there I was, somewhere over Montana, having just experienced the terror of a plane crash — and not just any plane crash, but a plane crash preceeded by hijacking, stabbing, wild flying, thousand foot dives, and a desperate attempt by passengers to retake the plane.

If my plane crashes now, I thought, it’ll just be a cheap re-run, with a lot less drama. Thanks, Jet Blue.

Dead Heat

posted by on February 2 at 12:28 PM

Buried in this morning’s P-I story about a state Senate proposal to move the primary election to August is the disturbing news that 108 dead people voted in last November’s election. Secretary of State Sam Reed says the number of deceased voters was higher than usual because the state just started using something called the Social Security Master Death Index, which allows elections officials to track people who died out-of-state. “What we don’t know is whether they were alive when they voted. I’m assuming most of them were. That’s what’s being investigated right now,” Reed said.

Meth Hits Home….

posted by on February 2 at 12:24 PM

And not just home, but Full House, as Jodie Sweetin, she who played the sweetheart older sister to alternating Olsen twins on the sickly sweet ’90s sitcom, tells ABC News all about her meth addiction.

(Unfortunately, unlike recent heroin busts, Ms. Sweetin’s story comes without a shocking this-is-your-face-on-drugs horror shot. And so we’re left to imagine what a methed-up Jodie Sweetin looks like. Here’s my guess.)

Let’s Play Spot the Suck

posted by on February 2 at 11:03 AM

Award yourself two shiny blue stars if you spotted the typos on today’s Stranger cover. Since it is quite possibly the ugliest cover we’ve ever run (amazingly worse than last week’s), I suggest you tear the fucker off and begin again with the graceful Turgeon Raine rings and the creepy R2D2 tattoo on page 3.

A modern day romance

posted by on February 2 at 10:51 AM

Just in time for Valentine’s day, I have received an email from the only man to propose marriage to me. Last year I worked for an NGO in Antananrivo (Madagascar) for three months. Several college students I ran with regularly asked me to tutor them in English, so I started an English class. This is where I met Jeannot; he came to one of my classes, and he made me slow dance with him at my going away party. The day I left, he began emailing me his “staff information” and proposing marriage twice a week for six months:

Friday 17 june 2005 Hello MISS CIENNA! what are the news come from you? For me, I have many news to tell ,repeat or to say to you reticent to our my BEST FRIEND:I hear the youngsmans who demand your e-mail address,in your english club in the months:March- Avril- May years 2005, they are proud (or pride) persons. Your relationship to them is no problem ,but certainly, I tell and know the information’s life or the reality about them, I tell you : Be careful my best friend, they have a dangerous disease, AIDS, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.They are mistaken or despise me in front of you to destroy our best relationship. but don’t worry to have a relationship to me. I’m good health bodily and mentality currently. Besides, I’m not satisfied about your answer about my letter last week, I reinforce about it. YOU know my staff information; forever BACHELOR; My best wish I LOVE YOU SERIOUSLY MISS CIENNA! I PROPOSE YOU TO COME MY WIFE IF YOU AGREE ABOUT. WE ARRANGE OUR PROGRAM. Christian’s life if you agree it, because you’re good looking, intelligent, you are attracted my heart. We prepare our plan “in the best things in our life.” Finally; carrying on relationship;I wait your answer;I demand you listen WESTLIFE VOLUME TWO and CELINE D’ION VOLUME TWO;michael LEARN PAINT MY LOVE song in your cassette. Sunday: you listen GOSPEL CHORALS I kiss you! Good luck in your week-end; busy JEANNOT BACHELOR STUDENT GEOGRAPHIC ANTANANARIVO -Madagascar

I stopped responding to Jeannot’s emails after he promised “your virgin will feel good in my hand! CHRISTIAN LIFE!” I hadn’t heard from him since August, when he mentioned that instead of marriage he would accept a wire from Western Union. And now this:

Thrusday 02 february 2006 Hello! MissCIENNA;YOUR Parents:MOTHER,FATHER! Greeting,CHRISTMASDAY;NEW YEAR 2006! I visit and wish you good health,I am forever good health bodily and mentality.What are the news come from you? My news: First,I succeed in my exam ,to get LICENCE, prepare my first MASTER GEOGRAPHIC THEORICALLY;next I remember kindness indeed for MISS CIENNA because I defend or protect her in cause of many youngboys propose to steal her sexuality Our relationship take place normally, I establish diplomatic about trade of precious stones,name in french: CRISTAL ,QUARTZ ROSE, another kinds of stones precious, YOU know in the next message ,if YOU answer. WE do or make a agreement about it:quality, cost,or trade. Before OUR meeting, I demand your place money and reception stone precious MADAGASCAR towards USA .The PLAN of sale or trade stones precious will begin in the months JULY 2007. I wait YOUR answer. The AUTHOR:JEANNOT GEOGRAPHIC ST! UDENT ANTANANARIVO 101 MADAGASCAR

With less than two weeks until Valentine’s Day, I encourage everyone to grip your lover gently and say, “I’m the only one who loves you baby; everyone else has AIDS. Now let’s listen to some Celine Dion while you fetch me some cash.” Romantic, no?

Brokeback Mountain paintings on ebay

posted by on February 2 at 10:48 AM

Well, Valentine’s Day is coming up


The Prophet Mohammed as Young Man

posted by on February 2 at 10:11 AM

Here is some rare video footage of Mohammed as a young man.

Invest in Your Future…

posted by on February 2 at 10:06 AM

….by pre-ordering your casket from Costco!

Not the burying type? Costco’s got urns! (My favorite: It’s a tie between the Ebony Love Urn and the Eternity Large Pet Keepsake Urn.)

And don’t forget: Mother’s Day is right around the corner!

Nabokov on MySpace

posted by on February 2 at 9:52 AM

…light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta…

Rock and roll kills rockers dead

posted by on February 2 at 9:50 AM

That was the subject line on an email I got this morning from my partner Patrick, who sent me the link to this compassionate, Christlike site.

Jesus has a special hate-place for leukemia and MS victims.


posted by on February 2 at 9:18 AM

I want to congratulate my former country, Zimbabwe, for making it into Bush’s list of evil countries during his recent speech about the poor state of the union. Once considered to be the bread basket of Africa, Zimbabwe became under Mugabe’s presidency the basketcase of Africa. Now it has the honor of sharing company with the likes of Syria, North Korea, and Iran, another basketcase of a country (President Bush, however, is responsible for the making this sad country mad—if he hadn’t attacked Iraq, Iran would have remained on the road to reformation).
Big question on my mind: I wonder how much practice it took for Bush to get the pronunciation of Zimbabwe down (Zimbabwe means house of stone—imba, one of the most beautiful words in shona, means house). But he pretty much got it right, with a Texas twang—Zimbabway. To my former countrymen, I say this: makorokoto (congratulations)!

Depictions of Mohammad—From Iran

posted by on February 2 at 8:03 AM

There’s a great link up on Sound Politics this morning. This website has images of Mohammed—ancient, modern, reverent, satirical. Some are even from countries that are currently screaming that creating any images of Mohammad is blasphemy. Check out this picture of Mohammed from Iran…


Hmm… Mohammed is sooooo dreamy. And, hey, is that fairy dust coming out of his book?

There’s also a good story on the controversy in today’s New York Times. I particularly liked this graph:

In Germany, the conservative Die Welt printed one image on its front page and declared in an editorial: “The protests from the Muslims would be taken more seriously if they were less hypocritical. When Syrian television showed drama documentaries in prime time depicting rabbis as cannibals, the imams were quiet.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

All That Wet Stuff That’s Falling on You?

posted by on February 1 at 11:17 PM

It’s valuable! Someone is selling a 16 oz. bottle of bona fide Seattle rain water on e-Bay. It’s currently at $10. You have five days left to bid.

Quick! Open your windows! Bottle some more!

(That’s for the tip, Mr. Tripp.)

It’s a Motherfucking Walkoff!

posted by on February 1 at 10:00 PM

Project Runway is ON!

This is the best show on television.



posted by on February 1 at 6:27 PM

After 2 or 3 minutes of exhaustive research, I’m fairly sure that these people aren’t even kidding.


At first it seems funny, hilarious even. Especially when you watch the trailers to such instant classics as Breaking the Bonds of Disobedience (Bibleman: “The full armor of god… Never leave home without it!”) or contemplate a battle royale between the central themes of Defeating the Shadow of Doubt and Shattering the Prince of Pride.

But then you read things like “Bibleman’s spectacular battles against the flamboyant villains of Darkness are an exciting way to introduce your children to the Bible and the power of God’s Word” and “I pray that God will use our mutual efforts to plant seeds in our children that only He may harvest,” and suddenly… not so funny.

Welcome to the West

posted by on February 1 at 5:49 PM

Don’t like freedom of the press? Don’t like freedom of expression? Can’t stand a little blasphemy now and then? Then, well, gee—I hate to sound all xenophobic and shit, but, like, um, get the fuck out of the West then. Freedom of expression—including expression that this Pope, that Mullah, or the other Rabbi might find blasphemous—is part of the price of admission. It’s right up there with having to see women voting and driving themselves around in cars, homosexuals kissing each other, and places of worship where people are praying to some other brand of deity.

In case you’re just tuning in, a newspaper in Denmark printed a full-page comic that made fun of Islam and the Mohammad. Individuals Muslims and Islamic states all over the world are—can you guess?—outraged. They’re boycotting Danish products, burning Danish flags in the streets, and—can you guess?—issuing death threats. The editors of other newspapers in Europe, rightly concerned for their hard-won freedom to publish whatever they wish, have been re-printing the comic in solidarity with the beleaguered Danish paper.

You can see the comic here. You can read the latest here. You can enjoy a little Stranger-style blasphemy here.

And, again, I hate to sound xenophobic, but I’d rather sound xenophobic than go all wobbly on freedom of expression, freedom of the press, and the freedom to offend.

Don’t Fuck with the Frites!

posted by on February 1 at 5:41 PM

Some punk has run off with the Frites sign. For those who don’t know, Frites is the little shop inside of Neumo’s that serves Belgian Frites (or Pommes Frites), essentially classy french fries with fancy sauces. They are delicious and they make you smarter.

Apparently some fool didn’t eat his Frites and was feeling extra-dumb last night and made off with their colorful sandwichboard. The Frites folks are freakin. They just want their beloved sign back. If you are the previously mentioned punk/fool do the right thing and return the sign. Otherwise, prepare yourself for the swift and vengeful wrath of Pommes (the Belgian god of potatoes).


posted by on February 1 at 5:21 PM

If we can live without the Alaskan Way Viaduct for four years during construction, a scenario that now appears increasingly likely, why can’t we shut it down permanently?


posted by on February 1 at 4:29 PM

What’s worse than elephant dealers and heroin puppies? A two-ton pile of pets in a West Virginia dump, “some decapitated, some with intravenous tubes still inserted in their forelegs.”

In other West Virginia news: People keep dying in coal mines.

Last Night, Of Montreal. Tonight, BOAT!

posted by on February 1 at 4:12 PM

The most spectacular new band in Seattle is Boat. They are smart, hooky, self-effacing, and poppy-yet-scorching in a Stephen Malkmus kinda way. I can’t take their new self-released EP “Make Way for the Genius to Appear” off my stereo. They’re headlining tonight at the Crocodile Cafe with the Quiet Ones and Blitzen Trapper. What else are you gonna do on a Wednesday night? Watch Veronica Mars?

Take the heroin stuffed puppy and run

posted by on February 1 at 3:59 PM

This is what happens when you mix dog lovers with drug pushers:

The Drug Enforcement Administration arrested 22 Colombian nationals for smuggling heroin into the United States via various methods, including surgically implanting the drug into puppies, officials said Wednesday… At least three puppies died from having liquid heroin packets placed inside them and then being stitched back up, DEA spokesman David Ausiello said.

That is Sick and Wrong, but you know what else is fucked up? Lindsay Lohan lost her diary the other day. Pretty soon the entire world is going to read her deepest thoughts on life, love, and family… Any guesses on what those deepest thoughts will be?

Today my dad told me he doesn’t think I’m all that hot! :( But then I invented a new diary made completely out of mirrors, so I can watch myself right [sic] about my favorite stuff :)

My Favorite Day of the Year…

posted by on February 1 at 3:52 PM

…is TODAY, thanks to the publication of the Village Voice’s annual Pazz & Jop Critics Poll. Yeah, I’m a geek, but I’ve been tracking this shit since I was, like, eleven, and Pazz & Jop day is the closest thing I’ve ever had to a Super Bowl Sunday in my life.

Making the day even sweeter: The completely-expected-but-still-thrilling double-triumph of Sir Kanye West, who follows up last year’s P&J-topping The College Dropout with this year’s P&J-topping Late Registration, making West the first artist to top the poll two years in a row since the Clash’s double-whammy of 1980/81.

(And while London Calling may trump The College Dropout, Late Registration kicks the shit out of Sandinista….)

In Nashville, all the elephants roam free.

posted by on February 1 at 3:46 PM

How can I resist a headline that starts with the words “Unchained Elephants”?

It’s majestic or something.

And who knew about the seedy underworld of unscrupulous elephant dealers? I didn’t even know we still had The Circus. Does it still “come to town”? In a train with two giraffe heads sticking out the top of the giraffe car? Furthermore, where do ringmasters come from?

Sorry about that, Mrs. Sheehan

posted by on February 1 at 3:44 PM

There would have been a lot less written and said about Sheehan at the SOTU if they had just let her sit there in her t-shirt and listen to the President lie. From the AP:

Capitol Police dropped a charge of unlawful conduct against antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan Wednesday and offered apologies to her as well as a congressman’s wife after they were ejected from President Bush’s State of the Union address for wearing T-shirts with war messages.

Police removed Sheehan and Beverly Young, the wife of Rep. C.W. “Bill” Young, R-Fla., from the visitors gallery Tuesday night. Sheehan was taken away in handcuffs before Bush’s arrival at the Capitol and charged with a misdemeanor, while Young was not arrested.

Capitol Police did not explain why Sheehan was arrested and Young was not.

Choke on it, Rev. Hutcherson

posted by on February 1 at 3:27 PM

Andrew Sullivan put this quote up on his website today…

“I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people, and I should stick to the issue of racial justice. But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother- and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.

Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence, that spreads all too easily to victimize the next minority group.

Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida, and many other campaigns of the civil rights movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions.” - Coretta Scott King, in 1999 at the 25th Anniversary luncheon for the Lambda Legal Defense Fund.

The Northwest’s own Rev. Hutcherson likes to scream that gays and lesbians have no right to refer to our movement for justice as a “civil rights movement,” or to compare our experience of oppression to the African American experience of oppression. I believe—and I’ve said, again and again, most recently on John Carlson’s talk show—that the gay experience and the African American experience are very, very different. (Some African Americans are gay, of course, and get to experience both forms of oppression.) Gays and lesbians have not been economically marginalized the way that African Americans have been; African Americans are not rejected by their families in the way that gays and lesbians have been.

But whether someone burns your house down or fires because they hate you for being gay or for being black, you’re still homeless and unemployed. The animus may have a different justification—racial bigotry, religious bigotry—but the suffering can be very similar. In both instances, the law should side with the oppressed, whether he’s gay or black or both.

Your Strength Is Your Weakness

posted by on February 1 at 2:57 PM

When the Democrats elected Dwight Pelz as State Party Chair this past weekend, I cautioned that Pelz needed to brush up on his field campaign skills. His predecessor, Paul Berendt, obviously had know-how when it came to ground game, and I suggested that Pelz take some pointers from Berendt.

I also, however, applauded the Dems for selecting a quote machine like Pelz. For years, Republican party chair Chris Vance had run circles around Berendt in the media with his acerbic knack for sound bites. (Vance stepped down this year, and the Republicans replaced him with attorney Diane Tebelius.)

Well, what I saw as Pelz’s strength may also be his weakness. Democratic Party chair for less than 24 hours, here’s what Pelz told PI reporter Neil Modie about Tebelius…

from the PI:

“The two new chairmen expressed wary respect for each other Sunday. Pelz labeled Tebelius ‘Chris Vance with a skirt.’”

But More Importantly…

posted by on February 1 at 2:50 PM

…Project Runway is on tonight!

Who will get the boot? Santino, at last? Kara? Weepy Fag? Anyone but Daniel V.!


Take the Bunny & Run

posted by on February 1 at 2:30 PM

Here’s a ridiculous yet entirely true story sent by my friend Freddy, found on the LiveJournal of one CCDeville, concerning the alleged abuse and heroic kidnapping of a Capitol Hill bunny.

so this morning i walk into work and my boss tells me this weird story. apparently my coworker todd went out to a bar last night and picked up on these two guys who took him back to their place. these two guys have a pet bunny and apparently abuse the shit out of it. todd said that they were tossing her around like a football, put her in the oven while it was on, and hung her by her ears while holding her over the flame on the stove. my friend was horrified, so when the guys left the room, todd took the bunny and ran! he ran it down broadway at 2am, hidden under his coat…. todd has a large pitbull so he can’t keep the bunny, and so today i find myself in the situation of foster parent. commander bun bun is sitting under my chair as we speak, i’m taking her for a couple days but i dont know if my apartment will be the right fit, but she is a total doll with floppy ears… if it doesn’t work out with me, anyone know anyone that would want her?

To apply for ownership of Commander Bun Bun (and read the entertaining comment thread following the original post) go here.

“Schola Nigga”

posted by on February 1 at 2:28 PM

I’ve received a few letters and calls about “Schola Nigga,” a comic that ran in last week’s issue. You can see the comic by clicking here.Oddly enough, the letters and calls are coming from the East Coast, not from Seattle. Here’s a letter just arrived in my inbox about the comic—and with my response, below.


You’ve revealed yourself as being very strange indeed to the Black community of Seattle. What possessed you to publish a blatantly racist, minstrel inspired, self hating comic like the “Schola Nigga’??? You’ve truly lost your minds! Do you really think the Black community is so invisible that this would fly in a city of self defined liberals?

This is not 1906 its 2006! Wake up.

I understand Mr Mudede is on your staff and that makes this all the more peculiar. How would the Stranger’s editorial group respond to other comics inspired by stereotypes and caricature titled, “The Masculine Faggot” or “The Logical Cunt”? I’d hope they’d reject it outright as offering no value to the social dialog but apparently someone on your staff had been inspired by the MLK holiday and decided to insult as many African Americans as possible.

Awaiting your public apology.

Educated Black Man

Here’s my response to EBM:

Dear EBM,

No apology, public or otherwise, will be forthcoming.

Here’s the background on the comic you object to: Every year The Stranger auctions off various sections of the paper to the highest bidder. The auction is a benefit for Northwest Harvest, a charity in King County that feeds the hungry. In addition to arts reviews, features, columns, and the cover, we auction off the comic space at the back of the paper. The person who purchased the comic submitted the piece you object to. I have no idea if the person who created the comic is black or white. No one on The Stranger’s staff had a hand in creating the comic.

As for the timing of the comic’s appearance in our paper, the Strangercrombie issue of The Stranger, in which we publish the pieces purchased in the auction, was set six months before we saw the comic. The comic was not, therefore, “inspired” by Martin Luther King Day. What’s more, the comic had nothing whatsoever to do with Martin Luther King Jr.. It was about Charles Mudede. Mr. Mudede, while black, is an entirely different human being.

Continue reading ""Schola Nigga"" »

Smoking in the Boys’ Room

posted by on February 1 at 2:24 PM

Whoever just smoked a cigarette in the second-floor bathroom: rude. Unless you had sex in there first, in which case add sick.

Hot for Coretta Scott

posted by on February 1 at 2:15 PM

In today’s Coretta Scott King obit, the NYT quotes the ubiquitous Taylor Branch to describe MLK’s first flirtations with Coretta Scott. According to Branch, Scott was initially turned off by MLK’s histrionics, and she didn’t dig that he was short. She was, however, impressed “by his erudition and confidence.”

Boring stuff.

The NYT should have gone to MLK historian David Garrow—who won a Pulitzer for his MLK bio “Bearing the Cross” in 1986. Garrow’s got a much better account. He’s got Coretta Scott complaining about/smitten with MLK’s “jive talk” and how he just wanted to get into her pants. Totally charming stuff.

Murtha vs. Bush

posted by on February 1 at 2:06 PM

John Murtha beats the crap out of George W. Bush over at the Huffington Post.

This March will mark the beginning of the 4th year of the war in Iraq. In contrast, U.S. involvement in WWI came to an end after 19 months. Victory in Europe was declared in WWII after 3 years 5 months. In the Korean War, a cease-fire was signed after 3 years and 1 month. But after more than three and a half years into the war in Iraq, your administration finally produced what is called a “Plan for Victory” in Iraq.

It’s a long letter, but worth the time.

Since Bush Wants Us to Resist Isolationism

posted by on February 1 at 1:40 PM

Here’s Al Jazeera’s report on Bush’s speech.

More from Al Jazeera?

Here are some recent reader polls from Al Jazeera.

Some interesting numbers. For example, more Al Jazeera readers agree with the U.S. and the EU re: Iran’s nuclear ambitions than buy Iran’s line.

“The 12th Man Is Stupid”

posted by on February 1 at 11:38 AM

Seattlest takes on the 12th man.

The Two Made One

posted by on February 1 at 11:36 AM

Forget the State of the Union, Cindy Sheehan getting pinched, the fact that Iran is close to having nukes, etc. The real story of the day is that there’s going to be a sequel to The Dark Crystal.

Cindy Sheehan

posted by on February 1 at 11:19 AM

You can read Sheehan’s account of what happened last night—and what was so fucked up about it—over at Americablog.

My ticket was in the 5th gallery, front row, fourth seat in. The person who in a few minutes was to arrest me, helped me to my seat.

I had just sat down and I was warm from climbing 3 flights of stairs back up from the bathroom so I unzipped my jacket. I turned to the right to take my left arm out, when the same officer saw my shirt and yelled; “Protester.” He then ran over to me, hauled me out of my seat and roughly (with my hands behind my back) shoved me up the stairs. I said something like “I’m going, do you have to be so rough?” By the way, his name is Mike Weight.

The officer ran with me to the elevators yelling at everyone to move out of the way. When we got to the elevators, he cuffed me and took me outside to await a squad car. On the way out, someone behind me said, “That’s Cindy Sheehan.” At which point the officer who arrested me said: “Take these steps slowly.” I said, “You didn’t care about being careful when you were dragging me up the other steps.” He said, “That’s because you were protesting.” Wow, I get hauled out of the People’s House because I was, “Protesting.”

I was never told that I couldn’t wear that shirt into the Congress. I was never asked to take it off or zip my jacket back up. If I had been asked to do any of those things…I would have, and written about the suppression of my freedom of speech later. I was immediately, and roughly (I have the bruises and muscle spasms to prove it) hauled off and arrested for “unlawful conduct.”

Required Reading

posted by on February 1 at 11:15 AM

If you’re only going to read one essay about Bush’s speech last night, read this one.

Doing My Patriotic Duty

posted by on February 1 at 11:14 AM

Like many others, I can no longer bear to gaze upon the retarded monkey face of George W. Bush. Of course this means I skipped last night’s State of the Union address, a necessary bit of self-protection that still made me feel kinda crappy. (Considering all the havoc Dubya’s wreaked around the world, a part of me feels it’s my duty as an American to suffer through his speeches, no matter how torturous or infuriating.)

Instead, I did something legitimately patriotic: My taxes. This task was every bit as boring as watching Dubya make words, but 10 zillion times less insulting to my intelligence. Plus, ruffling through all those papers and receipts, I learned something: I saw only six and a half movies in the cinema last year. (Two of them were Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know, which I loved, while the half-movie was the first hour of Sin City, which bored the shit out of me.)

Tales of plummeting movie attendance have been common for a couple years now, but still, I was surprised. But there’s no denying that between pre-movie commercials and the existence of Netflix (God’s gift to lazy movie lovers), the reasons for staying the hell out of the multiplex are substantial, and I can only imagine 2006 will bring many, many more.

As for Bush’s speech (and the second half of Sin City): Did I miss anything?

Because “The Singer for REO Speedwagon” Just Wasn’t Catchy Enough

posted by on February 1 at 10:59 AM

I love this idea, and desperately want to make this happen.

Everything That’s Wrong w/ This Country…And Always Has Been

posted by on February 1 at 10:27 AM

From Drudge:

FLASHBACK: Man Wearing Anti-Clinton T-Shirt Removed from Senate Gallery at Impeachment Trial

Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war activist who was removed from the House gallery last night before the State of the Union address for wearing a t-shirt with a political message, is not the first person to be tossed from a Congressional gallery at a high-profile event for wearing a political t-shirt.

In the early days of the Senate’s impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton in January 1999, a Pennsylvania man named Dave Delp was removed by the Capitol police from the Senate gallery for wearing a t-shirt that said, “Clinton doesn’t inhale, he sucks.”

The Pennsylvania school teacher was yanked out of a VIP Senate gallery and briefly detained during the impeachment trial for wearing a T-shirt with graphic language dissing President Clinton.

Delp, 42, of Carlisle, Pa., and a friend had just settled into their seats when four Capitol security guards approached them. Delp said at the time that he was ordered to button his coat and follow the guards. Outside the chamber, he was told “several people felt threatened by your shirt.”

Even after establishing that Delp was a guest of Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), the guards wouldn’t let him back in and escorted him to a basement security area, where they questioned and photographed him.

After being given one of the photos as a souvenir, Delp said he was banned from the Capitol for the rest of the day. “They were polite and professional,” Delp added, “but they really did scare me. I think I should have been given the chance to cover up.”

Done Deal

posted by on February 1 at 10:22 AM

January 31, 2006 For Immediate Release The merger of New Times Media, LLC and Village Voice Media, LLC was completed today, combining the nation’s two leading alternative media companies. The new company is called Village Voice Media and will publish free weekly newspapers and Web sites in seventeen of the nation’s largest markets.

For further information contact:
Scott Spear
Senior Vice President
Village Voice Media

The NPR First Word of the Day—Final Entry

posted by on February 1 at 10:19 AM

I was really hoping for words that touch either end of the spectrum, like “puppies” or “clitorectomy”. Unfortunately, everything seems to land in the middle, so this will be the last daily entry of the NPR First Word of the Day, though I reserve the right to report the ocassional “honeysuckle” or “leprosy”.

Today’s first word: “surveillance

Can’t imagine what that was in reference to, now can ya?

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Everything That’s Wrong With This Country

posted by on January 31 at 7:44 PM

Cindy Sheehan was invited to attend Bush’s State of the Union speech tonight.

Bay Area Congresswoman Lynn Woosley gave the anti-war activist a gallery pass late Tuesday, just hours before the planned State of the Union speech. Sheehan was in Washington to protest the president during his national address, but then came word she was invited to see the speech live.

A spokesman for Sheehan says she decided to accept the invitation two hours prior to the speech. The spokesman also said that Sheehan will be respectful and listen to the address because she is a guest of a member of congress.

That could be problematic for Bush—imagine if the cameras cut away to Sheehan, or if—God forbid—she made a scene during his speech. So Bush had Sheehan arrested. No Sheehan, no problem.

Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a fallen soldier in Iraq who reinvigorated the anti-war movement, was arrested and removed from the House gallery Tuesday night just before President Bush’s State of the Union address, a police spokeswoman said.

Her crime? She wore a t-shirt with an anti-war slogan. Can’t have that.

Jesus Fucking Christ.

Re: The Fire That Drives The Engine of Capitalism

posted by on January 31 at 5:25 PM

Goddamn I love this.

As all who’ve watched it know, the big pleasure—aside from seeing rhythm-free honkies rap about Brer Rabbit syrup and Fleishmann’s margarine—is listening for all the rhymes concocted to scan with “super-broker shuffle.”

My favorite: “I didn’t come here to drop my duffle, I came here to do the super-broker shuffle.”

Runner-up: “I didn’t come here to feather my ruffle.”

Now I must go somewhere to drop my duffle…

The Fire that Drives the Engine of Capitalism

posted by on January 31 at 5:00 PM

And you thought the local coffee concern (remember “We Built this Starbucks on Heart and Soul” anybody?) had a lock on magical inspirational corporate videos.

Eyman Better Hope Dunmire is a Homophobe

posted by on January 31 at 4:31 PM

Woodinville businessman Michael Dunmire’s contributions to Tim Eyman’s last initiative campaign accounted for about 70% of the money Eyman raised. Dunmire, an executive with the investment firm Benchmark Plus Partners, which manages investment funds for institutional and individual wealthy investors, kicked in $490,000 directly to Eyman’s I-900, the audit initiative. Dunmire dropped another $100,000 to the political committee, Help Us Help Taxpayers, which contributed handsomely to the campaign as well. That’s $590,000.

Early in the I-900 campaign, when Dunmire had “only” given about 200K, but was clearly emerging as Eyman’s sugar daddy, Dunmire told David Ammons of the AP:

“I’m 60 years old and have been very successful in business and wanted to do something to give back to the community.”

Hopefully, Dunmire doesn’t think Eyman’s new initiative—which would allow discrimination against gays in housing, employment, insurance and credit—is a way to give back to the community. Take back from the community, would be more like it.

Nam June Paik, RIP

posted by on January 31 at 4:26 PM

The Score columnist Christopher DeLaurenti notes the passing of an avant-garde legend:

Pioneering video artist Nam June Paik passed on. CNN has an obituary and you can see his work here as well as read a good summary of his work here.

Famed among musicians for cutting John Cage’s necktie in concert, Paik transformed television screens into orbs of hallucinatory disorder. He was a key member of the 1960s Fluxus movement. Paik’s “Danger Music No. 5” instructs the performer to crawl into the vagina of a living female whale; in “Opera Sextronique,” performed in 1967, Paik’s body served as a fingerboard for the bare-breasted cellist Charlotte Moorman; photos of Paik’s “TV Bra for Living Sculpture” (1969) remain standard illustrations in music history textbooks.

State of Shame

posted by on January 31 at 3:55 PM

Is anyone going to watch tonight’s State of the Union address? I can’t stomach even a minute of smirky Gee-Dub these days. I hope someone will slog it in real time so I can get the filtered gist none the less.

Where’s Your Valentine?

posted by on January 31 at 3:50 PM

What, is there no love in your life? Why don’t you send a valentine to your mom or your best friend’s mom or to me?

The next Rove scandal

posted by on January 31 at 3:34 PM

Karl Rove, driven into the shadows after Plamegate, has recently slithered back into the light. And while it’s nice to see The New York Times welcome him with the domestic spying scandal, I would like to propose a more salacious scandal — one that would obliterate Rove’s God-fearing, gay-fearing base. In short, I think Rove has a monster man-crush on George W. Bush.

You may have noticed how when Bush stands at a podium Rove always stands behind, eyes moving up and down the commander in chief’s posterior portions. Rove’s hands are always folded discreetly over his groin. He is always half-smiling, like this:


That is such a porn-watching face.

But here’s the smoking gun, buried inside a May 2003 New Yorker profile. The writer, Nicholas Lemann, had asked Rove about his first memory of George H.W. Bush, to which Rove responded blandly: “Great character. Very thoughtful. Really generous in his openness and attitude.”

Then Lemann asked about Rove’s first memory of George W. Bush, which led to this:

I can literally remember what he was wearing: an Air National Guard flight jacket, cowboy boots, bluejeans, complete with the—in Texas you see it a lot—one of the back pockets will have a circle worn in the pocket from where you carry your tin of snuff, your tin of tobacco. He was exuding more charisma than any one individual should be allowed to have.”

Seriously, does that leave any doubt?

Unrelated Items

posted by on January 31 at 3:29 PM

These items aren’t related in any way, and I’m not sure they’re the least bit important—I mean, if I wanted to write up something important I might Slog about the fact that Samuel Alito is going to be sitting on the Supreme Court for, gee, the next forty years. Or, as I like to think of it, until I’m 73 years-old.

And I suppose I could try to make George W. Bush’s impending State of the Union speech bearable by inventing or swiping a SOTU drinking game. (Every time the Republicans all jump to their feet to applaud their Dear Leader, take a drink! Every time Bush puts the em-PHA-sis on the wrong syl-LAH-ble, take a drink! Every time you remember that this fucktard is going to be your president for three more fucking years, hit yourself in the face with a brick!”) But I’m not up to it. I’m feeling down—succumbing, I think, to a bad case of S.A.D., a case compounded by political news that just keeps getting worse. (Hey, didja hear? Alberto Gonzeles, our torture-lovin’ Attorney General, perjured himself before Congress! Gee, remember when perjury about blowjobs could get a guy impeached?)

But fiddle-dee-fucking-dee, let’s think about the collapse of our democracy tomorrow. Right now let’s pause and ask Scott C. Liao, a resident of Mill Creek, Washington, to stand. Scott was named to the Dean’s List for the fall 2005 semester at Alfred University in upstate New York. I just got a press release from Alfred’s Office of Communications about young Scott’s singular achievement—”students must maintain at least a 3.3 grade point average to qualify for the Dean’s List”—and so I wanted to point Scott out. He’s sitting up there in the balcony right next to Laura Bush.

Also, apropos of nothing, a flyer for a new dance night at Re-bar has the best DJ name I’ve heard since DJ Fucking In The Streets blew into town: DJ Ate My Baby. I haven’t heard DJ Ate My Baby do his baby-eating thing, but with a name like that he’s got to be good. DJ Ate My Baby—along with DJ Jack—will be performing at Re-bar on Thursday, Feb. 9. $3. If I survive the many, many blows to the head I will be administering to myself during Bush’s SOTU speech tonight, I will swing down to Re-bar on Feb. 9th.

The Next Big Question

posted by on January 31 at 2:55 PM

Now that the city council has settled on Sally Clark to replace Jim Compton, who resigned last month, the unanswered question is: Who will run against her in November? Clark, whom I talked to at her Lifelong AIDS Alliance office yesterday, was already filing her campaign paperwork with the state Public Disclosure Commission; so far, only one of the 103 candidates for this year’s open council position - Michael X. Ford, who didn’t receive a single vote from the council - has filed, but others are certain to do so as November’s election approaches. Sharon Maeda has said she’ll wait until 2007 to run again, but others - Joann Francis? Venus Velazquez? - have not made their intentions known. Four of the nine current council members ran for election after failing to win appointments to open seats, so there’s plenty of precedent for a resilient and politically savvy candidate to take on Clark or another council member, either this year or in 2007.

Help Me Tree

posted by on January 31 at 2:38 PM

Does anyone out there know what kind of tree this is?

They used to call me Chewy

posted by on January 31 at 2:24 PM

It had to do with a pair of Chewbacca slippers and the nickname lasted a long time, only to die completely (how strange that I lost a name entirely). But that is not why we are here. This photo, for reasons unknown to me, is on Chewbacca’s blog, which also includes puppies.


Eyman Writes Back, and Leaves Many Questions Unanswered

posted by on January 31 at 1:30 PM

Earlier today I posted the beginnings of an email exchange I’m having with Tim Eyman about his efforts to repeal the gay civil rights bill. (After nearly three decades of defeats, the bill was finally passed by the legislature last week and signed by Gov. Christine Gregoire just hours ago.)

You can catch up on our exchange so far here.

And now I bring you the latest from Tim Eyman, along with my new response and questions.

From: Tim Eyman

Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 10:46:42 -0800

To: Eli Sanders

You’re entitled to your opinion and you’re entitled to express your views on this issue as you see it, and I don’t think that you’re a bad person or “wrong” because you view this issue differently than we do. But realize the obvious: not everyone thinks like you or believes what you do. Every voter comes at this issue with their own experiences, values, and beliefs. Just because they believe differently than you do doesn’t make them bad, doesn’t make them wrong, it just makes them different.

To which I have responded….

From: Eli Sanders

Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 13:23:48 -0800

To: Tim Eyman

Yes, as you say, everyone is entitled to his or her own beliefs. But there is also the issue of what is true, and what is not true. And as you well know, people can be led to believe things that have no relation to the truth — particularly when pre-existing prejudices are involved.

In a democracy, the results of this kind of manipulation can be quite serious (see Iraq, War in). And on this issue, they will be quite serious as well. You want voters in Washington State to decide whether or not to repeal a new law that protects gays and lesbians against discrimination in housing, employment, and financial transactions. But you seem to want voters to believe that the law in question has something to do with “preferential treatment” based on sexual orientation. It doesn’t, and you know it. Why the sophistry? You still haven’t answered my question.

Eyman also wrote:

We simply believe that the voters, and not the politicians, need to make the final decision on this issue. And regardless of how the vote turns out, voters on either side of the vote will at least feel they had some say on the matter. They didn’t get that with the rush-to-judgment vote in Olympia over the past several days.

Public debate is a release valve for people’s passions. Squelching public debate causes many more problems than allowing the voters a chance to participate.

To which I have responded…

Tim, we’re talking about a debate that had been going on in the state legislature for nearly 30 years before last week’s vote. A vote that, you neglect to mention, was conducted by “the people’s” elected representatives. How exactly does what happened in Olympia last week constitute a “rush to judgment” or a “squelching” of public debate?

Eyman also wrote:

The only poll that counts is the one on election day. But it is certainly true that voters overwhelmingly approved Initiative 200, an initiative I co-sponsored, in 1998 which prohibited government from granting preferential treatment to anyone based on race, gender, color, ethnicity, or national origin. This measure simply gives voters the opportunity to reaffirm that same principle with regard to sexual orientation or sexual preference.

To which I have responded…

I asked whether you had any data to back up your claim that people in Washington want a state-wide vote on gay civil rights.

You’re telling me that you won’t have the data to prove this claim until election day? And that in the meantime, you’re acting based on the results of a seven-year-old initiative that had nothing to do with repealing discrimination protections for gays and lesbians?


Amy Taubin Saved My Day

posted by on January 31 at 1:20 PM

I was pretty shitty until I read this. It is an honor of the highest order.

The Long Goodbye

posted by on January 31 at 1:11 PM

With Alito’s cakewalk onto the Supreme Court complete, and pro-lifers already lining up in a number of states to take on Roe, I’m curious if other liberals agree with this piece from the Atlantic Monthly.

Yummy, Yummy Heroin

posted by on January 31 at 1:05 PM

Is everyone doing heroin except for me? Is heroin the new coke? Now it’s that poor girl from American Pie, living on the street, lining her arms with bloody dots, threatening to molest her neighbor’s dog…

Picking on the Dead

posted by on January 31 at 11:43 AM

After several decades of distinguishing himself as a Bible-wielding fag basher of unprecedented malevolence, this month Westboro Baptist Church’s Fred Phelps sank to a new low, somehow finding a way to make January 2’s West Virginia mining disaster even more upsetting for survivors.

Phelps’ money quote (excerpted from a Westboro Baptist Church press release and published by The Advocate):

“They died in shame and disgrace, citizens of a cursed nation of…unholy perverts who have departed from the living God to worship on ‘Brokeback Mountain.’”

Speaking of Brokeback: Hurrah for the slew of Oscar nominations bestowed upon the imperfect but gorgeous film. Here’s hoping March 5’s Oscar ceremony is the greatest night for gay visibility since last Friday.

Fresh new terrors in Iraq

posted by on January 31 at 11:41 AM has a chilling editorial on a military cover-up concerning the deaths of several women serving in Iraq.

Apparently, female soldiers are dying from dehydration. They stop drinking water in the afternoons— despite the hundred-degree desert climate—because they don’t want to go pee at night. Why? Because these women are afraid of getting raped on the way to the bathroom. So they’ve been dying in their sleep instead, while the military continues to ignore and hide the problem.

Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, Sanchez’s top deputy in Iraq, saw “dehydration” listed as the cause of death on the death certificate of a female master sergeant in September 2003. Under orders from Sanchez, he directed that the cause of death no longer be listed, stated [Col. Janis Karpinski who has testified before a panel of judges at the Commission of Inquiry for Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration]. The official explanation for this was to protect the women’s privacy rights.
…There was an 800 number women could use to report sexual assaults. But no one had a phone, Karpinski said. And no one answered that number, which was based in the United States. Any woman who successfully connected to it would get a recording. Even after more than 83 incidents were reported during a six-month period in Iraq and Kuwait, the 24-hour rape hot line was still answered by a machine that told callers to leave a message.

Bastards. If the military isn’t going to protect its female soldiers, it should at the very least pay for cosmetic surgery for women, so they can have (detachable) rows of jagged teeth or a few sharp, angry pincers guarding their vaginas. Sound horrible? No more so than getting raped when you’re trying to pee, or dying to prevent it. Jesus.

Let’s Pretend We Don’t Exist

posted by on January 31 at 10:31 AM

If you’ve got tickets to tonight’s sold out Of Montreal show, consider yourself either incredibly smart, or LUCKY AS BALLS. As I sit here, twitching with excitement, it is clear that I fall into the latter category.

Oscar Hates Music

posted by on January 31 at 9:57 AM

What the hell is up with the Academy Award nominations for Best Original Song this year? There are only three nominees - from Hustle & Flow, Crash, and Transamerica. But the sublime “A Love That Will Never Grow Old,” sung by Emmylou Harris and composed for Brokeback Mountain? Absent. The critics seemed to nominate Bareback in every other eligible category, and the song won a Golden Globe just a few weeks ago. WTF, Hollywood?

Birds Don’t Win Super Bowls

posted by on January 31 at 9:45 AM

More Super Bowl insight from my brother Bill.—Dan Savage

At a certain point, you have to let the oddsmakers have their way, and consider various other methods to worry about the Super Bowl and your Seahawks’ chances. Getting away from reality is part of the appeal of sports, so how’s this for some unreal analysis, something that occurred to me while drinking some real ale and chatting with a barman regarding American sports:

The Seahawks are up against it because no bird-named team has ever won the Super Bowl. And don’t tell me about the Baltimore Ravens: despite their logo, they are NOT named for a bird: they’re named for a poem about a bird, which makes them about the gayest team in the NFL, hence all the macho posturing and murder charges their players get tangled up in as they try to salvage the tattered fragments of their masculine heterosexual self-image.

But back to nicknames: If you divide up the previous 39 Super Bowl winners by what sort of nickname they have, an ominous pattern appears: teams named after Industrial Workers (broadly defined to include ranch-hands) do very well. The Packers, Cowboys, Steelers, and 49ers have a combined 17-5 record in the Super Bowl, and 3 of those losses came at the hands of another Industrial Worker. The other Super Bowl winners can be sorted as follows: Thieves (Raiders, Bucanneers); Marine Mammals (Dolphins); Politically Incorrect Dehumanizing Racist Labels (Chiefs, Redskins); Hoofed Mammals (Colts, Rams, Broncos); Ursin Omnivores (Bears); and Abstracted Humanoids (Giants, Patriots).

Now, this isn’t a hard-and-fast analysis; some Thieves (Vikings) have done very badly in the Super Bowl, for instance. But note: no Super Bowl Champions have been named for birds. The Eagles have lost two, the Falcons one. So, the Seahawks should perhaps be 4 point underdogs, since they’re up against the Industrial Workers of the World, united as the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Thank You Google

posted by on January 31 at 9:40 AM

I have nothing to say about this, except awesome.

jesus with rifle

I want it on my wall.

Your Kids Are Learning About Sex From Miranda July

posted by on January 31 at 9:10 AM

Today’s New York Times article on the mass media’s effect on teen sexual behavior (in the four-alarm “health” section) starts like so:

In last summer’s prize-winning R-rated film “Me and You and Everyone We Know,” a barely pubescent boy is seduced into oral sex by two girls perhaps a year older, and his 6-year-old brother logs on to a pornographic chat room and solicits a grown woman with instant messages about “poop.”

Is this what your teenage children are watching? If so, what message are they getting about sexual mores, and what effect will it have on their behavior?

Are you kidding me? What kind of article on mass media would chose a movie that grossed less that 4 million bucks in the U.S.? Or one that’s rated R? Or one that’s stylized to the point that it seems to take place in some sort of parallel universe?

But if you insist, here are the lessons Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know has to teach about sexuality:

1) Little kids are more interested in their own bowel movements than pretty ladies.

2) Adult men may talk sexy, but when it comes right down to it, they’d rather “sleep and sleep and sleep like little sleeping babies.”

3) If you, as a teenage girl, don’t want to do something sexual that a friend has dared you to do, you don’t have to do it. In fact, your friend probably doesn’t want to do it either. The two of you will exchange glances and run down the street gleefully while electronic indie pop swells in the background.

Also, parents and schools should monitor their kids’ internet use, because the internet is a potentially dangerous place.

So, Ms. New York Times: I think those kids you’re so worried about are probably okay. Maybe you should be looking at the teens who are watching, I don’t know, American Pie or something.

Wake Up and Smell the Eyman

posted by on January 31 at 9:01 AM

As promised, Tim Eyman yesterday filed two ballot measures seeking to repeal the gay civil rights bill. And as predicted, the reaction has been mainly: “Wow, what a jerk.”

This morning’s Seattle Times finds that while the Christian Coalition is (no surprise) supporting Eyman in his anti-gay crusade, others, like the Rev. Joseph Fuiten, who vehemently opposed the gay civil rights bill, aren’t so sure a repeal campaign is a good idea.

In other words, Eyman can’t even get the unanimous backing of religious extremists for this effort. Which is why Rep. Ed Murray (D-Seattle) sounds right on target when he tells The Times: “We can see [Eyman] for what he’s always been… A member of the extreme right who is out of touch with moderate voters in this state.”

And it only gets worse for Eyman in this morning’s P-I, which finds that it’s not just effete urban liberals who see Eyman’s new campaign as distasteful:

Yelm resident Tony Engler, 47, said his view of Eyman has changed because of Monday’s filing.

“I’m not gay or Christian, I’m not a right-wing whacko or a bleeding-heart, tree-hugging Evergreen liberal,” Engler said.

“I’m just a guy who’s partially disabled and who has laws set up out there to protect my rights to live as a human, not as some second-class citizen,” he said. “I’m glad the Disability Act was established before Tim Eyman came along or I’d still be fighting high curbs in crosswalks.

“I used to think Tim Eyman was an OK kind of guy, fighting the good fight; now I see his true colors.”

Yesterday, I noted on the Slog that Eyman had failed to answer a simple question that I emailed to him several days ago: Why are you doing this?

Well, this morning Eyman wrote me back and, just as he did with The Seattle Times (which this morning notes its own frustration in getting Eyman to talk about his motivations), stuck to his prepared talking points.

Eyman’s email is below, and my response to his email is below that. As you’ll see, I have more questions for Eyman. Hopefully he’ll write back and share his answers with me and all the Slog’s readers….

From: Tim Eyman

Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 06:13:14 -0800

To: Eli Sanders


(1) The issue has become hopelessly politicized in Olympia

(2) The voters want to have the final say on this issue

(3) The voters overwhelmingly rejected government-imposed preferential treatment based on what group you belong to (race, gender, color, ethnicity, or national origin) when they overwhelmingly approved Initiative 200 in 1998. This measure(s) simply gives them the opportunity to reaffirm that
same principle in 2006, adding to the list of groups not getting preferential treatment to include sexual orientation or sexual preference.

To which I responded..

From: Eli Sanders

Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 07:39:18 -0800

To: Tim Eyman

1. It seems to me you’ve only extended the amount of time in which this issue will be politicized. Do you really think you’ve de-politicized this debate by filing these ballot measures?

2. Do you have polling to back this claim up? Or are you just basing this claim on the “phone calls, faxes, and emails” you’ve said you are being “inundated” with?

3. This is, in my opinion, the greatest logical fallacy in your argument in favor of a ballot measure. The gay civil rights bill has nothing to do with “preferential treatment.” It’s about equal treatment. It doesn’t establish quotas for the hiring of gays and lesbians. It just says you can’t fire someone simply because he or she is gay.

Don’t you think it’s disingenuous for you to paint the gay civil rights bill as akin to “government-imposed preferential treatment” when it’s clearly no such thing?

And: If you believe so strongly in the wisdom of the people, why confuse them with this type of sophistry?

The NPR First Word of the Day

posted by on January 31 at 7:43 AM

Today’s first word: “burst

Eggs and Everything

posted by on January 31 at 7:33 AM

Not only is Lindsay Lohan stacked, she’s also slippery.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Our Own Big Dig

posted by on January 30 at 4:29 PM

This cautionary tale about waterfront tunnels, written by Boston urban designer Thomas Oles, ran in this month’s Belltown Messenger. In it, Oles convincingly compares Seattle’s proposed Alaskan Way Viaduct tunnel to Boston’s disastrous Big Dig, noting that the transportation engineers who designed that monstrously expensive (and notoriously leaky) waterfront tunnel have recently acknowledged that “tunnels-surprise-will do nothing to reduce congestion, that traffic has already reached the levels predicted for the end of the decade.”

Oles continues:

Now I learn that what I fled in Boston is about to happen in Seattle, even involving some of the same actors. And cost overruns, graft, and faulty construction in Boston? Not to worry, right?-these are the products of corrupt East Coast political machines, of politicians with Italian names and friends who can get your legs broken. This is so much feel-good, back-patting Northwest pabulum: Large tunnel projects invite corruption and almost always run over budget and past completion date, and our local politicians are just as corrupt even if their personal style is more yoga-and-hiking-boots. To an ignorant observer it might seem the viaduct proposal is designed to assure that the project fails as spectacularly as possible while giving the most meager public benefit, continuing the proud lineage of transportation debacles-the bus tunnel, Sound Transit, and the Monorail-in Seattle over the last two decades.

In many ways the tunnel, with road capacity not at issue, is even more egregious than the Central Artery Tunnel: For the sake of 100,000 cars that could be carried on a series of large city streets or a shoreline boulevard like the universally admired Passeig de Colom in Barcelona, the Viaduct “solution” will create a 180-foot-wide new rip in the city at its south end in Pioneer Square, as well as leaving a piece of elevated expressway-historic preservation Seattle-style?-for tourists at the Pike Place Market.

In the face of all their obvious shortcomings, there must be some other reason why officials and planners love tunnels-and, for that matter, subterranean parking. Really. it is not a matter of faster trips to the airport, or more cars, or greenbelts, or any of the rest of it. What tunnels do for us is this: They mask the physical and moral ugliness of what Margaret Thatcher called the “Great Car Society” by pandering to our nostalgia, by sustaining our illusions of urban cleanliness and order. They are like the modern toilet designed to let us forget that we shit.

Zombie Duke Orsino

posted by on January 30 at 4:23 PM

In response to this post about Twelfth Night of the Living Dead, one reader posted a zombification of Hamlet (“To be, yet not to be, is that the question?”) and another posted this zombification of the opening scene of Twelfth Night:


If man-flesh be the food of mine, eat on;
Give me excess of brains, that, surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.
That brain again! it had a dying fall:
O, it came o’er my gums from the sweet teeth,
That feed upon a man with violence,
Stealing and giving offal! Enough; no more:
‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.
O necrotizer! how quick with flesh art thou,
That, notwithstanding thy capacity
Receiveth as the grave, nought enters there,
Of what validity and pitch soe’er,
But falls into abasement and gored eyes,
Even in a minute: so full of haste is frenzy
That it alone is zombie-tastical.

Grr! Arrgh!”

I want congratulate these keen readers for furthering the noble cause of zombification of the arts. There oughta be a grant for that.

Cantwell Doesn’t Support Filibuster, Murray Does

posted by on January 30 at 4:14 PM

John Kerry needed 41 votes to force a filibuster on the Alito nomination.
He only got 25 because 19 Dems broke ranks.
Our Senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, split on the vote w/ Cantwell breaking ranks.

That is: Cantwell voted to end the debate (no filibuster) and Murray voted to keep debating (yes filibuster).

Cantwell says she’s voting against Alito tomorrow morning, though, on the grounds that his record on privacy (abortion) and executive power is lame.

I’ve attached a full roll call on the filibuster vote below.

Continue reading "Cantwell Doesn't Support Filibuster, Murray Does" »

No Sex, No Problems

posted by on January 30 at 3:58 PM

That’s the line of reasoning put forth by a new ad campaign concocted by the Washington State Department of Health, designed to promote abstinence among Washington’s horny, horny kids.

To its credit, the ad campaign claims to be aiming its message on the value of delaying sex at “youth between 10 and 14”—who, call me old fashioned, really shouldn’t be having sex yet.

But with icky-poo commercials such as this, the end result looks like more fear-based, hyper-simplistic bullshit.

Sure, there’s an argument to be made that, during the tumultuous years of puberty, super-simplistic reasons for postponing sex are exactly what kids need. But our well-funded government groups have to be able to do better than this…

Real Anti-Christian Behavior

posted by on January 30 at 3:42 PM

It’s hard to argue that it’s not Christians themselves who are doing the most damage to Christianity in this country. From today’s Washington Post:

More than a dozen states are considering new laws to protect health workers who do not want to provide care that conflicts with their personal beliefs, a surge of legislation that reflects the intensifying tension between asserting individual religious values and defending patients’ rights.

About half of the proposals would shield pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control and “morning-after” pills because they believe the drugs cause abortions. But many are far broader measures that would shelter a doctor, nurse, aide, technician or other employee who objects to any therapy. That might include in-vitro fertilization, physician-assisted suicide, embryonic stem cells and perhaps even providing treatment to gays and lesbians.

Because many legislatures have just convened, advocates on both sides are predicting that the number debating such proposals will increase. At least 18 states are already considering 36 bills.

The Stranger is often accused of being anti-Christian. We’re not—we’re just anti batshitcrazy Christians who assume their beliefs trump the health and freedoms of others.

What’s the Matter with Kansas?

posted by on January 30 at 3:31 PM


Once again—hello, straight people? The Right’s war on sexual freedom isn’t just about taking down gay sex and abortion. They want to criminalize sex, period, not just gay sex. From today’s Kansas City Star:

Kansas AG lauds teen-sex ruling

Bolstered by an appellate court ruling, Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline on Saturday said he would demand anew that all health professionals report cases of underage sexual activity.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned a federal district judge’s order that had blocked the state from enforcing a law requiring reports of consensual sexual activity among children under 16…. “These laws are important tools to bring child rapists to justice,” Kline said.

An attorney for the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, which had obtained the initial court order, said the new ruling will not take effect for at least two weeks. Also, a trial focusing on another part of the legal challenge to the reporting requirements is scheduled to begin Monday in federal court in Wichita.

“The gravest concern is that a lack of confidentiality will drive adolescents away from health care they need,” said Bonnie Scott Jones, an attorney with the center, a nonprofit organization that is active in abortion and reproductive health-care laws and policies.

The legal dispute over reporting requirements stems from an opinion that Kline issued in 2003 about a 1982 state law. Kline said that doctors, nurses, social workers and other licensed professionals are required to report cases of sexual activity involving an adolescent under 16, even if it was consensual activity between two persons of about the same age.

Sexual contact with or among children under 16 is against the law in Kansas. Kline contends that even consensual sex is harmful to children.

This is so fucked up I don’t even know where to begin. Suppose a 15 year-old contracts a sexually transmitted disease from, say, another 15 year-old—are they going to seek treatment if they fear being reported? Or arrested? What sexually active teenager will confide in a therapist in Kansas? What about high school seniors, age 17, dating high school sophomores, age 15? Arrest them too?

Some teenagers are sexually active, as much as it pains the right wingers, and they need access to birth control, condoms, and responsible adults who can help them access health care and good info. This is just nuts—nuts.

And, hey, my sex advice column runs in Kansas, and I occassionally from people under the age of 16 who are sexually active. Am I required to report them to the police now too?

Your Love Notes in Print

posted by on January 30 at 1:02 PM

The deadline for sending us a Stranger Valentine is fast approaching. Just jot a note to your lover and we’ll print it in our February 9 issue (for free!). C’mon, spread some mushy, messy love around.

He’s no prom queen, he’s our president

posted by on January 30 at 12:08 PM

From Editor & Publisher (via Rawstory): The White House routinely regulates photo journalists’ access to Bush and stages pictures of the president to (assumedly) present him to the public in a less moronic light.

A review of Associated Press archives found that during the entire eight years of the Clinton administration, only 100 handout photos of events were released to the press. During the first five years of Bush’s presidency, more than 500 have been distributed.

The key is that each of these events was closed to news photographers.

…Veterans who criticized the practice said it both limits real news coverage of the president and allows the White House to choose only those images it wants people to see… But the opposition to White House-manufactured images is not just a press access issue, photographers contend. They point out the power such an arrangement gives the White House to literally control news.

Why would the Bush administration want to literally control the news? Maybe because Bush has a face that literally dares you to take it seriously. Jesus, they’re regulating photos of him and this is still the crap we see?

Trailer Trash

posted by on January 30 at 11:06 AM

I’ve got a beef.

Consider, if you will, the trailer for Annapolis. (Believe me, I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t for a good reason.) Take a few moments afterwards to reflect, and/or towel off.

Ok, you remember all the shots of the fighter planes flying about all higgedly piggedly? Tyrese yelling dramatically for a medic? The money shot of the battleship blowing up? Here’s the thing: none of these are actually in the movie. My legal knowledge is limited to repeated viewing of From The Hip, but doesn’t this violate some sort of Truth in Advertising law?

In better news, behold the downright shivery teaser for the astonishingly-might-not-suck remake of The Omen. (Mia Farrow as the demonic nanny? Right on!)

Oh, and the greatest trailer ever? Yep, it’s still Cliffhanger.

Everything’s Better With Zombies

posted by on January 30 at 10:57 AM

Overheard after seeing Die Wandlung at CoCA, (an experimental performance goulash of gutter dandy costumes, butoh dance, cirque noir makeup, German expressionist text, and clanging percussion on found objects—it was as confusing as it sounds):

“That was intriguing.”
“Woulda been better with zombies.”
“You think?”
“Oh yeah—everything’s better with zombies.”

Too right:


“Twelfth Night of the Living Dead. The Bard meets George Romero: Cross-dressing zombies in the sixteenth century. Who’s a man? Who’s a woman? Who’s living? Who’s dead? Hilarity ensues.”

(From Yankee Pot Roast.)

My John Cassavetes Kick, Years Late

posted by on January 30 at 10:56 AM

I’ve been on a John Cassavetes kick in the last week, and I have to say, he’s good. (Hi everyone, I’m Christopher, sorry I’m late to the party.) I rented Faces and watched it at my neighbor’s apartment while my neighbor had a passive-aggressive conversation in the hallway with his on-again off-again girlfriend; appropriately enough, Faces alternates between passive-aggressive marital meltdown and out-and-out shrieking, and ends with an extended shot of a dissatisfied couple smoking on the stairs of their suburban L.A. house. (I am a tool of the tobacco industry, an enemy of the smoking banners — I like watching people smoke in movies.) The next night I watched Shadows, which is a tense tone poem about a bunch of awkward young musicians and one particularly manipulative beautiful girl, and just about every shot is absolutely necessary. (The whole thing is blissfully about 80 minutes long.) And then a couple days ago in San Francisco a friend invited me to a Cassavetes film festival, which was just him and a few friends watching a Cassavetes DVDs on a laptop. On the night I joined, the movie was A Woman Under the Influence, which, again, I realize is very famous and has been seen by all, but I’d never seen it. Gena Rowlands loses her shit for 2 and a half hours. It’s unbelievably great. If you’ve never seen any of Cassavetes’s movies, that’s where I’d start. (Although I have many more to go. Next up: Husbands.)

The first week of my discovery of Cassavetes ended yesterday, in one of those uncanny synchronicities, with the Sunday New York Times Book Review piece about the filmmaker’s first “genuine biography.”

Cheese on Toast Is Evil

posted by on January 30 at 10:38 AM

The New Age docu-drama What the Bleep Do We Know?!, which gave new meaning to the term “cult favorite” upon its release in 2004, is being reissued in a pumped up “directors’ cut” edition this Friday at Uptown and the Neptune. You can read my review in the forthcoming Stranger, but while you wait, I’d like to offer a snippet of Caitlin Moran’s review from the always-hilarious London Times:

Prime Bleep ideas include the notion that unhappy thoughts are responsible for cell degeneration, ageing and death, and that negative thinking affects physical matter on a sub-atomic level. To illustrate this, photos appear of a Japanese “experiment” in which bottles of water were labelled “love” and “I hate you”. The “love” bottles had “produced” water-crystals, which, under a dark field microscope, look like beautiful, harmonic Venetian mirrors. The “I hate you” bottles, however, “produced” ugly crystals which — students of evil and discord will be intrigued to discover — greatly resembled cheese on toast, served with a splash of Lea & Perrins. Bleep saw this as evidence of the quantum power of thought, while missing the real big stories here — WATER HAS STARTED TO READ, and CHEESE ON TOAST IS EVIL.

All Satanists hail cheese on toast.

What Would Jesus Do?

posted by on January 30 at 10:21 AM

Jesus would drop everything and watch this right now.

Vancouver Art Gallery definitely moving

posted by on January 30 at 10:19 AM

They’ve talked about expanding for a while, but over the weekend made the announcement that they won’t be staying in their august 1911 building, a former provincial courthouse on Georgia and Hornby streets. Where will the gallery go? Not sure, but directors seem to have ambitious plans and want to stay downtown. The full story is here, from the Globe and Mail.

Also this weekend, the gallery opened the first comprehensive survey by Vancouver artist Brian Jungen, known for sculptures and installations that turn common materials into totems, like this mask fashioned from Nike Air Jordans.


The Jungen show is up through April 30.

Conservative Trash Talk

posted by on January 30 at 10:15 AM

From those intellectual titans at The National Review:

GO STEELERS! [Michael Novak] So it’s steeltown America on the rise, the rough and the ready, not a rich team but always fighting and always playing smash-mouth, and running hard, and slashing… and I love it that their opponents this year will be wearing the colors of —hard to comprehend this — Hamas! Couldn’t be a better opponent, who will probably be favored. …. Pittsburgh is the city of the Deerslayer, and the American flag, and always the highest casualty rates in American wars … This is the city where they make steel, the first and the best on any continent. They make steel with white-hot heat, and fire, and rolling mills, in open spaces where men sometimes fell into molten steel, or molten steel spilled on them, and the smell (my old, now dead uncle once told me) was one you never forgot…This is Tough Town U.S.A., tough and vulgar and often mean … and where people have heart, and don’t quit. They don’t ask for a break, and don’t expect one, because they haven’t experienced many. Last quarter, seven minutes to play, and down fourteen points? That’s life! … All of us here are used to it, so lower your head, plow straight on, and be determined not to be stopped, until you win. I love the Pittsburgh spirit. ’ Against Adversity’ is its middle name. Here they pronounce it ‘grit.’

It’s bad enough that all the media can talk about leading up to the game is Pittsburgh, acting like Seattle doesn’t belong there, but now our Hawks are being compared to Hamas?

Ya think?

posted by on January 30 at 10:15 AM

A new study finds “that supporters of President Bush and other conservatives had stronger self-admitted and implicit biases against blacks than liberals did.” Tell it to New Orleans.

Via Drudge.

A “New Dawn,” and a New Political Reality

posted by on January 30 at 9:00 AM

Last week’s passage of the gay civil rights bill ushers in a new era in Washington State politics. Read my take on what it means for the major political players, and for further progress on gay rights in this state, here.

Meanwhile, yesterday Tim Eyman announced he will be filing an initiative and a referendum seeking to repeal the gay civil rights bill. (A referendum would require fewer signatures to get on the ballot.)

I sent Eyman an email two days ago with a simple question: “Why are you doing this?”

Still haven’t heard back.

It seems to me that he’s on dangerous ground here, if he cares at all about his reputation. It’s one thing to be known as the man who took on car tabs. It’s quite another to be known as the man who appealed to people’s fears in order to take away basic protections for a minority group.

That will put him in the company of… Well, read the language in his most recent email, and it’s pretty obvious who he’s now in the company of:

For weeks, we’ve been inundated with phone calls, faxes, and emails from supporters appalled at the arrogance of Olympia concerning House Bill 2661. Politicians are deciding based on special interest group pressure and their own reelection calculations. The voters have watched this disgusting display of arrogance and selfishness for weeks. The issue has become hopelessly politicized.

Politicians aren’t thinking about what the voters want. Let the voters decide.

The NPR First Word of the Day

posted by on January 30 at 7:24 AM

Today’s first word: “evacuees

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Slogdance 22 —Seattle Award Winners!

posted by on January 29 at 11:02 PM

If there were fewer Seattle films in Park City this year, you wouldn’t know it from the awards ceremonies. Over at Slamdance, Lynn Shelton’s We Go Way Back won the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature. That is awesome news for the movie, and also great news for The Film Company, who produced it.

Over at Sundance, James Longley’s Iraq in Fragments may not have won the Grand Jury Award, but it did pick up three other important awards: Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing. Hot diggity dog!

With that, I’m closing down this Slogdance blog. Maybe I’ll write this thing again next year.

-Andy Spletzer

Slogdance 21 — Hangin’ with the Peeps

posted by on January 29 at 9:22 PM

Even when the movies aren’t the greatest, the thing that makes Sundance worthwhile is the people you meet and the people you hang out with. First off, I’ve got the best condo-mates with Jonathan Marlow and Hannah Eaves from GreenCine, and Seattle freelancer Shannon Gee. There’s also people I see every year, like Adam Roffman from the Independent Film Festival of Boston, film critic Ray Pride, Jonathan Wells from Res Magazine, Shawn Levy from The Oregonian, and a host of others. Some of these people I’ve met at Sundance, and others I only seem to see at Sundance.

Then there’s the filmmakers. One highlight from this year was hanging with the goofball brothers David and Nathan Zellner. They are the best makers of foreign films to come out of Texas. Their current short film Redemptitude is set in Australia (filmed in Austin), their last short was set in Scotland (filmed in Austin), and I believe they’ve set a movie or two in made up countries (filmed in Austin). Anyway, they came to the condo for chili and it was a blast. It was also fun hanging with the folks who made the Slamdance Special Jury prizewinner, The Guatamalan Handshake, when we were out and about. I hope both teams make it into SIFF.

We also hung out with Seattle’s own Lynn “We Go Way Back” Shelton a couple times, and met up with current Seattle resident (born in the Pacific NW), James “Iraq in Fragments” Longley. That was great, too.

So that’s how we filled our time when we weren’t sitting in mediocre movies. We were hanging with excellent people.

-Andy Spletzer

Allah Together Now

posted by on January 29 at 4:49 PM

Sing along with Osama—It’s in the Koran!

Via Sullivan.

Smothering Mothering

posted by on January 29 at 3:24 PM

As Savage would say, every child needs a mother.

Don’t You See? Big Momma’s House 2 Is All Of Us!

posted by on January 29 at 2:15 PM

Today I checked the box office tallies for the weekend, hoping that Bubble, Soderbergh’s new movie which is simultaneously being released in theaters, on DVD, and on teevee-on-demand, would do well—I like the idea of movies available in as many different formats as possible, because I love the idea of tiny quality indies being able to make as much money as ridiculously huge Hollywood movies. But it didn’t crack the top ten—it’s actually not even mentioned in any of the articles I found. I did find this weird bit of crowing in regards to Big Momma’s House 2, the weekend’s top movie:

Bruce Snyder, president of domestic distribution for Twentieth Century Fox, said the popularity of its “Big Momma” films rests with Lawrence’s comic appeal. “People like the “Big Momma” character, pure and simple. She’s funny, she’s sassy, but it’s a guy underneath there,” Snyder said.

Snyder then added a ‘ka-boing!’ sound effect, farted for added emphasis, and fell down a flight of stairs, landing face-first in a woman’s cleavage. Sweet Jesus in a smoking birchbark canoe, some people really talk like this don’t they?

In other movie news, it looks like the movie version of A Million LIttle Pieces, originally slated to film this spring, might not get made after all. Which, I think, is maybe a little too rash…it could be done, really entertainingly, in an Adaptation sort of way, add some confessional stuff…a good director could have fun with it. Imagine a really amped-up scene where Frey, played by, say, Johnny Knoxville, blows up a cop car with a rocket launcher, and then we cut to Frey, played by, say, Sam Rockwell, being beaten to a distinctly unmanly pulp by Oprah and her army of angry white women. It could be great…unless, that is, James Frey isn’t willing to accept the fact that he’s a literary asterisk now, but he really just ought to acknowledge it and cash in while he can.

The NPR First Word of the Day

posted by on January 29 at 9:44 AM

Today’s first word: “challenge

Not so bad…