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Archives for 02/26/2006 - 03/04/2006

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Tonight in Post Alley

posted by on March 4 at 8:59 PM

If you need something both cozy and coy to amuse you tonight, try the Pink Door’s funny little Saturday burlesque cabaret. Tonight’s musical guest is Sari Breznau, Circus Contraption’s crooning cutie. I think there are two sets, the first starting around 10 pm. (Look for the pink door at 1919 Post Alley, between Stewart and Virginia.)

Can it be true that the Pink Door doesn’t have a webiste?


posted by on March 4 at 5:36 PM

Desperately looking for a way to explain away the video released last week that shows Bush being told something he later claimed he didn’t know, the wingnuts over at the Corner have unearthed this little gem.

WASHINGTON (AP) _ In a March 1 story, The Associated Press reported that federal disaster officials warned President George W. Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees in New Orleans, citing confidential video footage of an Aug. 28 briefing among U.S. officials.

The Army Corps of Engineers considers a breach a hole developing in a levee rather than an overrun. The story should have made clear that Bush was warned about floodwaters overrunning the levees, rather than the levees breaking.

The day before the storm hit, Bush was told there were grave concerns that the levees could be overrun. It wasn’t until the next morning, as the storm was hitting, that Michael Brown, then head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Bush had inquired about reports of breaches. Bush did not participate in that briefing.

Ding! Stop your timers.

See that? He was warned that the levees could very well be overrun, nobody said anything about a breach. A breach, we learn here, is kind of like a hole that allows the water to go through the levees and ruin hundreds of thousands of people’s lives, leaving them stranded for days while their government fucks around and their president plays guitar. An overrun is only a situation where the water goes over the levees, ruining hundreds of thousands of people’s lives and leaving them stranded for days while etc., etc.

Don’t you hate how that damned liberal media is always getting hung up on nuance?

So leave the poor guy alone. He didn’t ignore grave concerns about levees breaching, he ignored grave concerns about levees being overrun. Jeez.

“We Have Your Phone Number”

posted by on March 4 at 4:24 PM

God, I love Keith Olberman.

Sonic Bust

posted by on March 4 at 2:50 PM

The Sonics bill is dead this year.

Gov. Gregoire just held a press conference where she said: “We need further assurance that the city and the Sonics can come to a mutually acceptable working agreement before the legislature acts.”

(Even though, the Sonics are seeking a local tax—the legislature needs to sign off on it.)

She added: “We’re committed to working with the Sonics and local government during the interim [meaning after the session ends] to bring a package forward that both the legislature and the public can support.”

At the press conference she was asked if the votes had been there to support the Sonics package.
She said: “No.”

I wonder if the Sonics gaffe—hosting a Ken Hutcherson event last night—didn’t peel off at least 4 votes in Olympia yesterday.

Anyway, now that the Sonics have failed the last two sessions in a row, you think they might get the idea that the bailout model isn’t going to work?

This Week on Slog

posted by on March 4 at 2:35 PM

Saturday, February 24

Eli Sanders reminded readers of his 2004 road trip through the straightest small towns of America.

Sunday, February 26

Paul Constant wondered if Capitol Hill is the new Pioneer Square and started a conversation about the recent decline and remaining merits of the city’s “diamond neighborhood.” Dave Meinert, owner of the Mirabeau Room, claimed that Pike/Pine will be turning posh any day now (and posited that Lower Queen Anne is poised to be the next hot nightlife ‘hood).

Monday, February 27

Dan Savage and Eli posted reports from people who had a lousy time inside and waiting to get inside the six-figure launch party for Seattle Metropolitan magazine, and Erica Barnett posted a rendering of what the new viaduct might look like under Nickels’s plan.

Tuesday, February 28

Eli wrote about the increasingly amplified call for Bush’s impeachment and Dan entertained himself by composing a surreal tour of the St. Louis airport.

Wednesday, March 1

Erica Barnett posted more news on financing a viaduct fix and a dozen urbanites continued the discussion of what should be done to catch Seattle up to the world’s other great cities.

Thursday, March 2

David Schmader posted proof of Eminem’s bubble butt (as published in Spin, accompanied by the headline, “Is Eminem Addicted to Crack?” —to which our receptionist Ari responded, “Looks more like he’s addicted to crackers.”) The Slog comments were witty, too.

Christopher Frizzelle asked everyone to read a Charles D’Ambrosio story, just to make sure that people do still read fiction. Those who complied and then commented were rewarded with a thoughtful response by Charles D. (posting under the name “Charlie”).

Corianton Hale blogged about miniature fakes that are in fact life-sized and real, Paul Constant picked apart the debut issue of Seattle Metropolitan, and the first reports from Thursday night’s Sims/Hutcherson debate arrived.

Friday, March 3

Annie Wagner hates the Oscars but offered her predictions on who will win (and who should win) none the less. Josh Feit got to the bottom of the deal behind Rev. Ken Hutcherson’s post-game service at the KeyArena. Dan’s original post about the Sonics-sponsored event garnered 57 (and counting) comments—a wild debate between a few conservative Christians and everyone else. Rational Slog readers, we adore you.

Diabetes Punk Rock

posted by on March 4 at 1:09 PM

I simply want to share that I am pleased to have just now been introduced to a song called “I Am A Pancreas (I Seek To Understand Me …),” which contains the line, “Ridiculous eating had nothing to do with this!”

I have heard that this band (Armalite, with the now-diabetic guy from Atom and His Package singing) is double-plus uncool to punk rock people, but I can not let that stop me.

The song is here.

Friday, March 3, 2006

Look Toward the Needle Right Now

posted by on March 3 at 10:47 PM

Just above the Space Needle is the bottom sliver of a cheddar moon… Seattle, my cradle.
(Shooting through one’s window panes while drunk yields lackluster photos.)

In Other News

posted by on March 3 at 5:30 PM

Earlier today, on summary judgement, King County Superior Court dismissed a lawsuit filed by former Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Ruth Bennett. Bennett had filed a lawsuit against KING 5 TV, claiming she had been unfairly excluded from the TV channel’s televised debates in 2004.


posted by on March 3 at 5:04 PM

That’s how much the King County council’s interim chief of staff, Shelley Sutton, is being paid. (Former chief of staff Scott White, who made $121,271, left earlier this year.) When I called to confirm that I had Sutton’s salary right, council spokesman Frank Abe initially said, “that’s alarming,” adding, “I hope that’s not true.” In a subsequent phone call, Abe said it was standard county policy to give a 5 percent raise to employees, like Sutton, who take on additional duties. Sutton’s $8,600 pay hike actually amounts to a 6.5% raise from the $132,000 she made as the council’s policy staff director.

Attempting to clarify his initial reaction, Abe told me that if he had “expressed any surprise, it’s because [Sutton’s salary] is more than the council members make”—$27,137 more. Last year, voters reduced the county council from 13 members to nine; but staffing levels, and salaries, have continued to climb.

Podcasts and Big Shots

posted by on March 3 at 4:26 PM

So tonight’s Big Shot preview party (happening from 6-8 pm at Easy Street Records Queen Anne) is less than 2 hours away. As I said before, all four finalists are playing short 20 minutes sets in order to get themselves (and all you fans) pumped for the big party next weekend, March 11th, at Neumo’s. It’ll be tons of fun, and you should definitely be there.

But what will you do for the next couple hours while you wait? I have an idea! You could listen to the Never Forget podcast! I posted about this a month or so ago, when it first started, but now with six episodes down, the boys are getting more comfortable with the whole podcast thing. They make fun of stupid bands (and each other), all while still playing some really killer and rare post-punk, hardcore, and other good stuff. Go check it out.

Your Justification

posted by on March 3 at 4:11 PM

Who in this office bought a pack “of Crisp Sweet Red and Tart Green Apple Slices?” How can you justify buying apples that are already sliced, even if each slice is “Packed With Vitamin C.”

Speaking of Spokane

posted by on March 3 at 4:01 PM

I was in Spokane last weekend—it’s a shithole, but it’s the shithole where my boyfriend grew up, and we visit two or three times a year to see his folks.

On Saturday night we stopped by the Ridpath Hotel to get a drink at Ankeny’s. It’s a freaking hilarious bar—a time capsule of late 70s/early 80s piss elegance. It’s all smoked mirrors, fat brass rails, and upholstered leopard-print chairs. They have a completely un-ironic piano bar and lounge singers in sparkly dresses. Tony Montana would fit right in. The place is a trip.

Or it used to be.

We walked into the Ridpath’s empty lobby, got in the elevator, and pushed the Ankeny’s button.


And… nothing. The doors closed but the elevator didn’t budge. We pressed the button again. Still nothing. Fearing the worst we pressed the open button, got off the elevator and asked the receptionist—who wasn’t paying attention when we came in, but was very nice when we approached her—what was up.

It turns out that Ankeny’s is closed—forever! My boyfriend gasped. He was crushed. His parents took him to Ankeny’s on his 16th birthday, and he used to go there with friends to get drunk and sing karaoke. The first time I went with him to Spokane eleven years ago he took me to Ankeny’s.

I’m sure all the other Spokane refugees in Seattle will be crushed by the sad news about Ankeny’s.

In other Spokane news, check out this piece I wrote for The Advocate last month about Spokane’s ex-mayor Jim West. It apparently ticked off a number of folks who live in Spokane…

Remember Titty Twisters?

posted by on March 3 at 3:56 PM

Well, they’re tossing kids in jail for ‘em now.

Nipple Pincher Gets Juvenile Detention

A teen who pinched and twisted another boy’s nipple while standing in line at a deli has been sentenced to four days in juvenile detention…. David Thumler, 16, was convicted of offensive physical touching in July 2005, after the victim’s parents complained to police.

Who’s Gonna Win

posted by on March 3 at 3:27 PM

The Oscars are stupid. I refuse to believe that any prize worth getting could have been bestowed upon Titanic, which was a very bad movie. However, because the Academy almost never rewards the best nominee in any given field, there’s a whole lotta randomness going on. And randomness is entertaining… for a while.

So if you want juicy, considered Oscar picks, don’t look at me. (The Carpetbagger has some of that business-analyis-cum-long-term-trending forcast shit going down at the New York Times site.) I’m just going to throw stuff out there. In addition to offering my predictions, I predict that my predictions will be 40% correct.

Performance by an actor in a leading role:
Who’s gonna win: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote.
Who should win (nominees): Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Who should win (entire big wide world of movies): Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role:
I have no idea. How about George Clooney?

Performance by an actress in a leading role:
Who’s gonna win: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line.
Who should win (nominees): Felicity Huffman, Transamerica.
Who should win (entire big wide world of movies): MarĂ­a Alche, The Holy Girl.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Who’s gonna win: Amy Adams, Junebug.
Who should win (nominees): Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain.
Who should win (entire big wide world of movies): Define “supporting role.”

Achievement in art direction
Who’s gonna win: King Kong.
Who should win (nominees): Pride & Prejudice.
Who should win (entire big wide world of movies): Pride & Prejudice.

NOTE: I’m getting bored already. So that means you must be too. Fast-forward through the rest: I’m now doing the first two categories squished together.

Continue reading "Who's Gonna Win" »

Booby Leakage in the Pokey

posted by on March 3 at 3:01 PM

From the Internet Movie Database:

Lil’ Kim “Terrified” of Breast Leak

Jailed rap star Lil’ Kim is reportedly terrified that her breast implants are leaking and is desperately seeking medical attention. The petite rapper - real name Kimberly Jones - was sentenced to serve a year and a day at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on perjury and conspiracy charges last year. A source tells the New York Daily News, “She’s worried her boobs are leaking. She needs to have them serviced.” Bureau Of Prisons spokeswoman Traci Billingsley refused to comment further on the matter saying, “An inmate’s medical history is not public.” Billingsley did confirm the detention centre had a doctor on staff adding, “If (the prison medical unit) can’t handle it, they will contract out treatment.”

Holes in the Walls

posted by on March 3 at 2:50 PM

A few months back, the Frye Art Museum rehung its founding collection of old paintings with elaborate frames in salon style, meaning they take up every inch of wall space in the two central galleries, which have subsequently become dens of visual hedonism. It’s a beaut:


This week, exhibition designers took to removing 7 of those paintings and leaving gaps in their stead. These 7 are the chosen ones. Through museum lore, they’ve come to be understood as visitors’ favorites. Now that they’re gone, visitors will be encouraged to write about why they like them, about what they remember about them, and the most interesting of those writings will be compiled and exhibited next to the favorites when they return in their own separate gallery. In this way, both the museum and visitors will get a look at the sedimentary process by which generations of viewers develop favorite artworks in a permanent collection. Maybe the reasons these are favorites aren’t artistic at all; we’ll see. This is a test.

The disappeared paintings — they’ve even been removed from bookstore postcard racks — are:

1. William-Adolphe Bouguereau, The Shepherdess, 1881, oil on canvas, 46” x 28 ½”

2. Hermann Corrodi, Venice, about 1900, oil on canvas, 49 ¼” x 91 ¼”

3. Alexander Max Koester, Moulting Ducks, about 1900, 28 3/8” x 51 3/8”

4. Adolf Schreyer, Horses Fleeing from Flames, 19th Century, oil on canvas, 47 ¾” x 79 ¼”

5. Franz von Stuck, Sin, after 1906, oil and mixed media on canvas, 34 7/8” x 21 5/8”

6. Fritz von Uhde, The Picture Book, 1889, oil on canvas, 24” x 19 ½”

7. Dάniel Somogyi, Křnigssee, 1878, oil on canvas, 46 5/8” x 59 3/16”

They cover the whole range of subject matter, from lusty ladies to innocent little girls to idyllic landscapes to fluffy animals to fire. Visitors have until July to comment on them.

One more Frye note: On a rotating basis, curator Robin Held invites contemporary artists to write their reactions to the historical art on view, and up now are the musings of Claire Cowie, whose own work is up in the adjoining show Swallow Harder and looks like this:


My favorite of her notes addresses two Marsden Hartleys hung vertically, the top painting of two artichokes and the bottom of a grotesquely austere plainswoman (this one is as ugly, in her way, as some of de Kooning’s Women). The artichokes, Cowie writes, must be the embittered woman’s missing breast armor. Only one step from Hartley to Xena.

Bus Rapid Transit

posted by on March 3 at 2:46 PM

Spokane style:

SPOKANE — A man hijacked a Spokane Transit bus at gunpoint and demanded to be driven to a tavern, where shots were fired before he was taken into custody today.

No one was injured, Spokane Transit Authority spokeswoman Molly Myers said.

Re: Other Uses for Key Arena. A Hutcherson Rally.

posted by on March 3 at 2:41 PM

I just talked to the city (the Sonics rent KeyArena from the City), and they confirmed the detalis of the Hutcherson event. The deal is standard practice for the Sonics—private groups like Hutcherson’s church buy a big block of tickets and in exchange, they get to do a post or pre-game event. That’s the case tonight.

The Sonics are helping pay for the event. KeyArena employees (city employees) have to work extra for events like these. The Sonics cover those costs.

Update: Sonics V.P. of Sales & Marketing Brian Byrnes confirmed all of the above, adding that the Sonics don’t pre-screen or judge the groups that want to do events. “We do not approve or disapprove the content of any events,” he said.

Trouble at Seattle’s Other New Glossy

posted by on March 3 at 2:36 PM

Seattle Sound magazine—which hasn’t even put out its first issue yet—fired its editor today.

Other Uses for Key Arena: A Hutcherson Rally

posted by on March 3 at 2:06 PM

Ken Hutcherson is holding a service at KeyArena tonight after the Sonics game.
I’m told by his church that they got a deal: They sold a ton of tickets to the Sonics game tonight, and in return they get to have an event there afterward. (I’ve got a call into the Sonics to see if this is accurate.)

Hutcherson is going to speak and there’s going to be music.
Gay activists are evidently planning a rally outside to protest Hutcherson’s outspoken views on gay civil rights and gay marriage.

Too bad it wasn’t a Storm game. The protest could have started inside.

Sonics & Starbucks: Gay Haters?

posted by on March 3 at 1:57 PM

This just in:

This is a letter to inform Seattle’s public that Ken Hutcherson is preaching tonight at the Key Arena following the Sonics game. After calling the Key I was told that this is a Sonics sponsored event. I want to know just what Howard Shultz is thinking. How can a director of such a fair minded company such as Starbucks allow bogotted hatred spread through the walls of the Key? Please get the word out to the public that the other side will be there in full force as well .thanks for all of your true journalistic efforts.

Kristeanna Devenuti

Oh, Howard. How could you?

Maybe Seattle’s homos sould be exempt from whatever taxes are collected to yupdate Key Arena.

Talking About Crap

posted by on March 3 at 12:30 PM

Hey folks: Today at 1pm, I’ll be part of KUOW’s The Conversation, putting my doctorate in Showgirls to use by talking about this year’s batch of crappy, crappy movies. Tune in!

Gay Men Do Not Prematurely Ejaculate

posted by on March 3 at 12:14 PM

This month’s Gentleman’s Quarterly features a small article about premature ejaculation, through which I realized it is a phenomenon unique to STRAIGHT men. Andy Selsberg points some interesting facts, and a gay sex advice columnist (who is not Dan Savage) points out that gay men rarely mention this problem. Which got me thinking; A woman expects some time invested, right? A man just expects to come. So for two gay men, there is no such thing as ‘premature’. There is only ‘efficient.’

For the rest of you gentlemen who must have sex with women, there is “Mandelay.”

Get it?


Does someone get paid to name these products?


Dorkbot, ho!

posted by on March 3 at 12:04 PM

Wednesday night I trotted down to the Center on Contemporary Art to catch the monthly meeting of Dorkbot—a group “…involved in the creation of electronic art (in the broadest sense of the term).”
This month’s discussion was on RFIDs (Radio Frequency Identification), small chips which can transmit programmed information (passive RFIDs) and/or read information (active RFIDs). I slogged about RFIDs on Wed. and decided to check Dorkbot out, as it featured several prominent nerds discussing the social and political implications of RFID use.

Joe McCarthy, the first speaker, highlighted the medical advantages of having RFID implants (in an emergency, doctors could scan your hand for your complete medical history), and demonstrated how RFIDs could be used create personal profiles (similar to internet profiles, only embedded in a badge for you to wear or carry) used to meet new Friends and Lovers.

Question from the Audience: “Online profiles serve a specific purpose—they allow two or more people who aren’t physically present to form a connection. What is the benefit of walking around with a profile of yourself when people can simply approach you and strike up a conversation?”

Good fucking point. Everyone in the room was stumped.

McCarthy’s eventual answer: “Shyness?”

Doug Klunder, our next speaker and the privacy policy director for the ACLU, addressed the tricky privacy issues associated with RFID chips. The US government is currently testing RFID implants in passports and national identification cards (due out in 2008). The issue as Klunder presented it was, with standardized technology transmitting private info, what’s to stop people from picking up sensitive info and exploiting it?

Klunder pointed out that aside from implants, RFID chips can just as easily be connected to benign objects and infringe on privacy rights. Clothing label Benetton, for example, implanted RFID chips in its clothing line to track retail sales and returns. As CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering) pointed out, the chips can continue to transmit signals after sales, which is rather ominous. CASPIAN called for a worldwide boycott of Benetton, and the label retracted plans to bug its clothing.

RFID chips, because of their miniscule size and relative cheapness (25 cents on up), can and are being inserted just about everywhere. Libraries are making the switch to RFIDs in order to easily track books. However, if RFIDs embedded in books could be used to track their borrowers (Klunder used the example of an organization or government tracking everyone who checked out a copy of Mein Kampf), profiles of borrowers could be created without readers’ knowledge.

Klunder repeatedly stressed the dangers of standardization; the more standardized technology is, the easier it is to manipulate.

With regards to human RFID implants, I kept wondering if RFIDs are implanted in your hands but serve no practical purpose—the chips can open doors and unlock your car, shit most hands can easily handle—what’s the point? Do RFID-enhanced people regard themselves as walking art or pioneers of new technology? And with the rapid pace of technological advancement, would a person need regular implant updates just to stay current? Yeah, those suckers are small, but over the years will they add up to millions of little scraps floating around in your body, making it all lumpy and shit? Not Fun.

The topic was fascinating, the speakers were engaging, but the best part was how well informed the audience was (there were roughly 70 people in attendance). The event ran more like a conversation than a lecture, with people politely interrupting speakers with questions, clarifications, or comments. Even better, if a question was posed to McCarthy or Klunder that they couldn’t answer, inevitably someone else in the audience could.

Amal Graafstra, the man featured in Wednesday’s Seattle Times article for having RFID implants in his hands, was up as Dorkbot’s final speaker. I was really curious to see what he had to say/unlock, but I had a date with Project Runway. Did anyone else see him speak?

For more info on Dorkbot, Wednesday night’s speakers, and pre- and post- RFID surgery photos, click here!

The Pillowman

posted by on March 3 at 10:47 AM

This week’s New Yorker has a story with the (great, youngish, and Irish) writer Martin McDonaugh whose new play The Pillowman will open soon at ACT Theater. An excerpt from the article that gives you a taste of McDonaugh’s plays:

When he was sixteen, he [McDonaugh] told John [his older brother] a story based on an old folktale: A lonely little boy is on a bridge at dusk when a sinister man approaches. The man is driving a cart on the back of which are foul-smelling animal cages. The boy conquers his fear, offers the man some of his supper, and the two sit and talk. Before the man leaves, he says that he wants to give the boy something whose value he may not understand but will soon come to appreciate. The boy accepts. The man takes a meat cleaver from his pocket and chops off the toes of the boy’s right foot. As the man drives away, he tosses the boy’s toes to the rats that have suddenly begun to gather in the gutters of the town, whose name, we now learn, is Hamelin. The man is the Pied Piper, who saves Hamelin from the plague but kidnaps the local children when the town’s elders refuse to compensate him for his efforts. The boy is the only one of Hamelin’s children to survive, because he cannot keep up with the other kids, who follow the Piper out of town.

I saw McDonaugh’s Skull in Connemara at ACT a few years ago and it was amazing: A grumpy old gravedigger rumored to have killed his wife, his (dumb, young, Irish) assistant who habitually (and accidentally) walks off cliffs, an old woman addicted to bingo and moonshine, and lots of top-shelf gallows humor.

The article is okay (sorry, it’s not online), but it’s got some intriguing details about McDonaugh’s slightly weird life, surprising career, and plays. (Example: “During the London run of [McDonaugh’s first play], audiences actually cried ‘Stop! Don’t do it!’ as they watched Maureen, the play’s long-suffering middle-aged protagonist, hold the hand of Mag, her mother, over a hot stove and douse it with boiling oil.” And: McDonaugh dropped out of school at sixteen to be a writer and live off welfare—hooray for welfare!) It’s getting me all excited to see The Pillowman, which opens March 23 at ACT (for fifty fucking dollars a ticket—but they do have some rush, preview, and student prices).

Overheard in the Halls of Olympia This Week

posted by on March 3 at 10:45 AM

“I just got fucked and Ceis is pissed.”

—Dave Foster, the City’s Lobbyist, after Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36) had a Hamas moment on Tuesday, stunning the House Transportation Committee and Team Nickels with a 26-2 vote demanding a Viaduct tunnel funding deadline by April 1—or else forget it.

Transportation chair Rep. Ed Murray (D-43) (and Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis), however, beat back Dickerson’s challenge yesterday by passing an amendment that would give the city until the end of the year to get its finance plan straight. As Erica Barnett posted yesterday, Murray’s amendment also gives Team Nickels more flexibility on what counts as secured funding.

Big Shot Preview Tonight!

posted by on March 3 at 10:45 AM

Don’t forget! Tonight at Easy Street Records (Queen Anne location) all four Stranger Big Shot finalists—Romance, the Emergency, Speaker Speaker, and Tennis Pro—are playing a free free FREE show right there in the middle of the record store. The fun starts at 6 pm sharp, so don’t be late.

Then be sure to join us next weekend, when the real deal Big Shot show happens March 11th at Neumo’s. There, all four bands will play full sets (and the glorious Visqueen will headline), and the grand prize winner will be announced.

Pet Art

posted by on March 3 at 10:22 AM

I discovered this batch of disturbing pet portraits on a blog, alongthoselines, a good friend of mine recently started.

The dressed up dog in the picture is called Toby.

Here is my question: Why can’t people see animals as animals? It seems that dogs, cats, horses, and what have you, must first be humanized if they are to be seen, loved, and recognized by humans.

Attention Impeachment Dreamers

posted by on March 3 at 10:19 AM

You are not alone. From the latest Gallup/CNN/USA Today poll:

Of the 1,020 adults surveyed, 59% said President Bush can no longer manage the government effectively.

Another Link Between Cocaine & Assholes

posted by on March 3 at 10:06 AM

It’s no secret: Cocaine is stupid. The price-to-pleasure ratio is way out of whack, snorting is an inherently ugly action, and regular use turns regular people into insufferable freaks.

The only component of coke culture I can appreciate is the cutting of the drug with baby laxative, as it’s hilarious to watch a bunch of freshly coked hipsters make simultaneous beelines for the potty. (So chic!)

But now there’s another great reason to stay away from the blow: the threat of gastrointestinal perforation. According to this BBC report, researchers at North Middlesex University Hospital recently charted coke’s ill effects on the gastrointestinal system, with unlucky cokeheads facing the threat of perforated colons and colostomy bags. Chic, chic, CHIC!

Full story here, with added horror coming from an unlinkable study published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, featuring two words no cokehead should ever forget: bowel gangrene.

She Voted Against It Before She Voted For It. And Vice Versa

posted by on March 3 at 9:03 AM

Yesterday, I posted that Sens. Cantwell and Murray were 2 of 15 Senators to support Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold’s filibuster on the PATRIOT Act on Wednesday.

Well, the Act went on to pass 89-10 yesterday.

Sen. Murray voted against it, but Cantwell voted for it.

Only 10 senators — nine Democrats and one independent — voted against the renewal: Feingold; Murray; Jim Jeffords, I-Vt.; Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va.; Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii; Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.; Tom Harkin, D-Iowa; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Carl Levin, D-Mich.; and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

Cantwell is weird. Last time she voted against the Alito filibuster, but then she voted against Alito himself.
This time she did the opposite: Voting for the PATRIOT act filibuster, but then for the PATRIOT act.

Um… Yay, Murray.

Sims V. Hutcherson

posted by on March 3 at 2:45 AM

Here’s the PI’s front-page report on our Ken Hutcherson V. Ron Sims debate last night at Town Hall.

It’s true, there were about 800 people there. Which means: When I had to give the opening remarks, I was fricking nervous.

Thanks to Robert Mak from King 5 for moderating.

I taped the debate, so, I’ll listen back today, and post some of the choice quotes.

For the Stranger writer who has everything…

posted by on March 3 at 12:23 AM

From the always confusing world of Skymall, via Sharper Image, via Satan’s own dark menagerie, comes:

It’s called “Alive” Chimpanzee and it could “live” at your (my) home or office for only $149.95. Can you resist the way its “soulful eyes track movements using infrared ‘radar’ vision”? Or its four different “emotional states,” including Curious, Happy, Feisty, and the ever-popular Fearful? If you’re still not convinced, please check out the video at I’m literally begging you.

On a completely unrelated note, did I mention that my birthday is next Thursday? And that I love you?

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Studio Seven still standing strong.

posted by on March 2 at 5:35 PM

In this week’s paper, we ran a story about FSU members who were arrested outside Studio Seven for weapon and drug possession.

Since the story came out (we posted it online Tuesday afternoon), I’ve gotten a few people calling and asking if Studio Seven was affected at all. Well, I just got off the phone with one of their owners, and she asssures me that the club is up and running and 100% safe. “We have really great security working at all our shows, and we’re still a fun and safe place to see a show,” she said. She also made sure to point out that the members of FSU have been banned from the venue since November and will absolutely not be allowed in the club.

Studio Seven has a bunch of shows coming up (most of them all-ages), and their full calendar can be found at Rock on.

Shrink, Dink, Drink

posted by on March 2 at 5:23 PM

Tonight’s the night of the 5th annual Shrinky Dink auction and party, starting at 7 pm at Zeitgeist, 171 S Jackson St. All the proceeds are donated to local charities. I hear there are at least 300 of the little things.

This one (below) isn’t included. It’s just here to bring on that coloring-on-the-back-side mood.


American Bloodbath

posted by on March 2 at 4:06 PM

This is what the glamorous French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levi had to say about the recent race riots that rocked France (the whole Stranger interview is here).

[You asked if] I found these riots American? Of course yes, and that is what I said, by the way, to my fellow citizens. I told them and I told Americans, who also failed to discover the meaning of the riots. They were full of scandalized articles about the riots in Paris slums, and so on. Remember Los Angeles, and not only Los Angeles but also remember Detroit! Americans have a short memory sometimes, and they should have known that the French behavior had one advantage over the American one: No one died, no bloodbath. You had a bloodbath in L.A. 10 years ago. You know that better than me. Thirty or forty dead. Maybe more. But in France, no one.

Mommy Dearest

posted by on March 2 at 3:08 PM

Identity theft is an increasingly common and utterly wretched experience, but it’s extra awful when the thief is Mom. Last week a 29-year-old Capitol Hill woman filed a police report against her 55-year-old mother, who lives in Los Angeles and who (ever since being released from federal prison, where she’d been serving time for fraud) has allegedly been using the daughter’s name and social security information to launch her schemes.

Who knows what the mother’s actual business is, but in IRS filings she claims to provide “in-home support services,” according to the police report. The daughter suspects it’s something illegal, as she recognizes names of the mother’s clients as those of past collaborators. But since the mother incorporated the business under her daughter’s name, it’s the daughter who hears from the IRS, which wants $2,500 in taxes. The report mentions how the last time around it was Home Depot that was demanding $38,000 from the daughter — debt all accrued by the mother.

Naturally, this hasn’t exactly helped the daughter’s credit rating. She has hired an attorney to help her save it. The daughter told police she hasn’t spoken with her mother in “several years.” If all the above is true, the silent treatment is the least of what mom deserves.

Get Your Lobbying Straight

posted by on March 2 at 2:25 PM

The Seattle King County Vistors Bureau, an umbrella group that represents just about every restaurant and hotel in town, might want to have a talk with its lobbyist in Olympia, Rebecca Bogard. Her firm, Bogard & Associates, also represents The Basketball Club of Seattle, LLC—ie, the Sonics.

The Sonics bill that Bogard is presumably working on would extend the .5 percent food & beverage tax on…wait for it… every restaurant in town. This means restaurants and bars would be funding their competition at an expanded and Yupdated KeyArena. As for Bogard’s other clients—hotels—the bill hits them with a 2 perecent tax increase.

Eminem’s Aforementioned Humongous Butt

posted by on March 2 at 2:21 PM

In an earlier post, I made reference to photos in the new Rolling Stone showing the weirdly made-up face and shockingly huge butt of Eminem.

After several hours of forcing you to imagine these sights for yourselves, I can now let you see them.

Photo 1: Hello, gorgeous!

Photo 2: Assplosion!

Granted, way back in ‘99, Eminem announced his wish for “a big enough ass for the whole world to kiss.” Like the rest of his dreams, this one seems to have come true, too.

Ed Murray’s Counterproposal: Updated

posted by on March 2 at 1:52 PM

Hit with state Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson’s proposal to force Mayor Greg Nickels’s hand on the much-delayed $4 billion Alaskan Way tunnel by forcing him to come up with a plan to pay for the tunnel by April 1, house transportation committee chair Ed Murray just countered with his own viaduct proposal. The Murray plan would push Dickerson’s deadline back to January 1, 2007, and would allow Nickels to include both secured and “anticipated” funding sources in his proposal. Dickerson’s bill, which is much more strongly worded, would limit Nickels’s financing plan to money that is “appropriated, earmarked, or in hand.” A spokesperson for Dickerson says she is supporting Murray’s amendment “because of the situation in the Senate,” where there is little support for Dickerson’s proposal.


posted by on March 2 at 1:46 PM

Here’s a bit of phallocentric fun to brighten your day. It’s totally worth any flash downloads it may require.

Do you know what ‘Tyme it is?

posted by on March 2 at 1:24 PM

If there’s one thing the people like more than censorship, it’s colons.

While killing time at Greenwood’s Diva Espresso the other night, I picked up a copy of a free north end coffee-themed newsletter (the entire stack of Strangers had been removed from the shop, following a “this is raping my child’s innocence” complaint about you-know-which cover) and was blindsided by this piece of grammatical smut:

What bewilders me the most? Is it the excruciatingly constipated punniness? The bizarre respelling of “time”? Lady liberty and her supersonic beacon of colonic hope? That apostrophe??

Or is it the implication that a fully-clothed adult groin is somehow pornographic, but a direct public address to my bowels is totes child-friendly? Okay, then. Have a Ballardian forcibly launder your child’s back passage, but never, ever let the kid look at a picture of underpants. It’s your parental duty.

Me And Everyone I Know At The Oscars

posted by on March 2 at 1:22 PM

This is probably the closest I will ever get to an Oscar, and it’s not that close at all: The director of the Police Beat movie, Robinson Devor, is in competition for one of the lower rung awards to be presented at the Independent Spirit Award this weekend. I want to congratulate him and also Miranda July, who is, of course, in competition for one of the upper rung awards at this splashy event.

“The Bone Game” Game

posted by on March 2 at 12:50 PM

Speaking of my column, that Charles D’Ambrosio short story can be found online here.

Seattlest did a post about D’Ambrosio earlier this week, and when I checked on it again today I was thrilled to see it had 13 comments. (All these people! Reading fiction! And posting their thoughts about it online!) Then I read the comments. (Scroll down.) Turns out they’re all surrounding the thoughts of one guy who’s posted to say he prefers reading his iBook and RSS Reader to reading a physical magazine. (To which I say: what a jackass.)

So… howzabout you smart slog readers read D’Ambrosio’s story and actually post your thoughts about it here in the comments field of this post. Loved it/hated it is fine, more in-depth critique is great, being daring is encouraged, disagreeing with me is most certainly welcome. Show off your writing chops. I’m always in the market for new book reviewers.

“It takes a village—University Village—to marry hunting and gathering with sophistication.”

posted by on March 2 at 12:49 PM

I love you Paul Constant. I was thinking of reading Seattle Metropolitan and doing a column on it—I love new magazines too—but now there’s no need.

Big Shot Sneak Preview!

posted by on March 2 at 12:19 PM

Next weekend the Stranger’s Big Shot showcase is going to invade Neumo’s with a FREE show on March 11th. But tomorrow (Friday, March 3rd), you can get a free sneak preview of all four finalists at Queen Anne’s Easy Street Records. From 6-8 pm, the Emergency, Romance, Speaker Speaker, and Tennis Pro, will play a mini rock show right there in the middle of the store, and you rock fans should come and cheer on your favorite. And get there early, because space is limited. It is a record store, after all, and you don’t want to be stuck out on the sidewalk.

Octavia Butler

posted by on March 2 at 12:12 PM

Slate has a nice piece on Seattle writer Octavia Butler, whose death was announced on Monday.

UPDATE: There’s a memorial gathering for Octavia Butler tonight at 7:30 at the Science Fiction Museum & Hall of Fame. Info in the jump…

Continue reading "Octavia Butler" »

Get Your Bids in Now

posted by on March 2 at 12:05 PM

Monorail properties are going fast. The Seattle Monorail Project just put up this fancy web site, complete with photos and an interactive map, to help it dispose of 33 properties along the proposed monorail Green Line. The SMP is legally required to sell the properties, which range in value from about $350,000 (the West Seattle Herald) to several million dollars (the Denny’s at 15th and Market, which I sincerely hope will stay open), to pay off debt accrued in the SMP’s three short years of existence.

San Francisco Joins Harper’s, the Nation

posted by on March 2 at 11:48 AM

In calling for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for mishandling the war in Iraq and violating civil liberties, by a 7-3 Board of Supervisors vote. San Francisco is the largest city whose city council has called for Bush’s impeachment.

Rachel Corrie Play Kicked Out of New York

posted by on March 2 at 11:37 AM

God knows I’d hesitate before attending a play constructed from the diary entries of Gaza tank martyr Rachel Corrie, but this is some scary shit.

Most Wonderful Art Thing Image, from Nick

posted by on March 2 at 11:24 AM

Thanks, Nick!


I Read Seattle Metropolitan (So You Don’t Have To)

posted by on March 2 at 11:23 AM

Hey guys! Hey! Hey! Didja know that it rains a lot in Seattle? And didja know that we sure do like our coffee! here? It’s true! Ha! Ha! That shit is cray-zee! And Bill Gates lives here—that guy sure is rich!

For some reason, I get excited by magazine launches—I bought myself a charter subscription to the late, unlamentable Radar magazine, sight unseen—which means that I’m a person who perversely enjoys being disappointed. Magazines almost always suck, and, really, only The Believer has ever consistently managed to exceed my expectations. But in that ever-optimistic sense that in every magazine launch there’s a little bit of hope, I was looking forward to Seattle Metropolitan. I was hoping that, somehow, Met magazine would manage to be political and witty, opinionated and absurd. I knew that these hopes were a little much, and so I held onto my basest hope: Surely the goddamn thing had to be better than Seattle Magazine?

Well, I just read it, last night and this morning and, no. No it was not better than Seattle Magazine. It makes Seattle Magazine look like…well, maybe Radar Magazine.In fact, Seattle Metropolitan pissed me off so much that, after the jump, I’m going to explain everything that I hate about it, from cover to cover. Join me, won’t you?

Continue reading "I Read Seattle Metropolitan (So You Don't Have To)" »


posted by on March 2 at 11:17 AM

I don’t know who invented the above word, but I imagine it was Wm. Steven Humphrey, and it’s entered my daily lexicon as an all-purpose utterance signifying confusion.

Most recently I uttered this stupid word upon seeing this mysterious banner ad running across the top of Editor & Publisher’s website.

Is that Ron Sims? Sulking on the left?


My only guess: It’s the work of Ken Hutcherson, who’s trying to pollute Sims’ reputation in advance of tonight’s battle royale. (Suggested Hutcherson debate point: “How can you trust a man who sulks, instead of rejoicing every minute in the glory of the Lord??”)

The Most Wonderful Art Thing in the World, For Now

posted by on March 2 at 10:49 AM

I just came across this web site devoted entirely to “Understanding Duchamp,” called, apparently by a guy named Andrew Stafford. You must go there, and here is why.

It has this fantastic animation sequence of Duchamp’s Large Glass, the pane of glass containing mechanical imagery that he also called The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even and wrote all kinds of pseudo-scientific explanations about, implying that if you could understand the scientific implication of the action, you could unlock the symbolism and the meaning of the thing. Ha! Everybody goes every which way talking about the Large Glass, very Keystone Kop Kritics. So clever, that Duchamp.

Apparently, Andrew Stafford is clever, too, and very deadpan. The thrusting, machine-headed golden bride cartoon spits her vapors and her messages down onto the Fate Machine and the Amorous Pursuit mechanism below. If you want to see which is the Fate Machine and which is the Amorous Pursuit mechanism, you can hide one of them by clicking on the “Hide Amorous Pursuit” or “Hide Fate Machine” buttons. The basic storyline is that the poor bachelor keeps trying, and mostly failing, to squirt something at the bride — either seminal fluid, a flirtatious glance, or a marriage proposal, according to Staffords’ earnest comments, based on Duchamp’s notes — and is blocked by everything from scissors to a boxing match to a little orange Juggler of Gravity. Duchamp would have loved this. If I could post a sample view here, I would.

Have You Ever Had Any Unkind Thoughts About L. Ron Hubbard?

posted by on March 2 at 10:37 AM

Fans of spicy investigative journalism and deep-dish religion exposes are ordered to check out the latest issue of Rolling Stone, which devotes 11 glorious pages to writer Janet Reitman’s fascinating plunge into the world of Scientology. (Look for the issue with the cover shot of Shaun White, the gold medal-winning snowboarder who reportedly logged some post-Torino wang time inside of Lindsay Lohan. “It was a trip,” says White to the World Entertainment News Network.)

As for Scientology: Reitman’s report is loaded with delights, from the coroner’s report which shows that Scientology founder and God L. Ron Hubbard died with the anti-anxiety drug Vistaril in his system (Scientologists believe taking aspirin is a sign of weakness and taking psych meds is tantamount to murder) to details on the special auditing sessions known as security checks. Administered every six months to all Operating Thetans (including Scientology’s scariest spokesmodel Tom Cruise), these security checks are designed to determine breaks from the religion’s “ethical code,” and involve peppering the OT in question with yes-or-no ethical queries. Specific questions cited by Reitman: “Have you ever been involved in an abortion?” “Have you ever practiced sex with animals?” Have you ever practiced sodomy?” “Have you ever slept with a member of a race of another color [sic]?” And the gold medal-winning question: “Have you ever had any unkind thoughts about L. Ron Hubbard?”

Elsewhere Reitman goes further into the daily culture of the religion than any other piece I’ve read. Underlying all the impressive info is the style of the piece. Thanks to Scientology’s reputation as the most aggressively litigious religious organization in the world, it’s safe to assume that published writings about Scientology are among the most carefully vetted writings in the U.S., with the eagle-eyed editing adding up not to any notable literary style but a dense, vaguely haunted simplicity, bouncing between elegant elisions and euphemism and certifiably concrete statements of fact.

Check it out, and don’t miss the photo on page 13. Who knew Eminem wore that much makeup? Or had such a humongous butt?

Will the Real Patriots Please Stand Up?

posted by on March 2 at 10:15 AM

Sens. Murray and Cantwell joined 13 other Democrats with their votes to keep filibustering the PATRIOT Act yesterday.

However, with 55 Republicans and 29 Democrats (including Hillary C., Edward Kennedy, Harry Reid, Dianne Fienstein, and Evan Bayh) voting to move ahead, the pro-filibuster crowd (which also included lead PATRIOT Act opponent Russ Feingold) was nowhere near the 41 votes needed to continue standing up to Bush.

“You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat”

posted by on March 2 at 9:56 AM


PARIS, March 1, 2006 (AFP) - The Pentagon is funding research into neural implants with the ultimate hope of turning sharks into “stealth spies” capable of gliding undetected through the ocean, the British weekly New Scientist says.

The research builds on experimental work to control animals by implanting tiny electrodes in their brain, which are then stimulated to induce a behavioural response.

“The Pentagon hopes to exploit sharks’ natural ability to glide quietly through the water, sense delicate electrical gradients and follow chemical trails,” says the report, carried in next Saturday’s New Scientist.

Or, we could just turn our national defense over to Aquaman. I hear he has some pull with the undersea creatures.

(Via Raw Story.)

Who Wants to Buy a Massive Dance Club?

posted by on March 2 at 9:43 AM

For a figure much less than what it would cost you to purchase Spin, you—yes, you—can own “Seattle’s Hot Spot.” Just go here and cut a check for $850,000; BOOM, you’re now an entrepreneur.

The ad coyly doesn’t mention which club is up for sale, but the photos indicate it’s the venue The Stranger featured here about 18 months ago. Maybe this signals the death knell of trance and progressive house. Roll over, Paul Oakenfold, and tell DJ Tiesto the news.

Real is the New Fake

posted by on March 2 at 9:40 AM

Tilt-Shift photography, and some people who are doing it well: Olivo Barbieri, bitter*girls, and you.

Hot Girls on the Cover…

posted by on March 2 at 9:27 AM

…hot guy on the Slog.

Josh will probably throw one of his little fits—”Dan posted pics of a hot guy on Slog! Oh, my eyes! They burn! My eyes!”—but after last week’s infamous heteroerotic cover I don’t think he has grounds to gripe about one homoerotic post on Slog.

I’m not a big tennis fan, but whenever I see the name Rafael Nadal in the news I flip open the sports section. Spain’s Nadal is the world’s #2 ranked tennis player. The much less attractive Roger Federer is #1. The two are headed for a rematch, one that could result in Nadal taking the #1 position from Federer. If that happens it mean Nadal’s photos would appear in the sports sections of newspapers all over the world on a more regular basis. That would be a good thing—as these pictures prove.





Battle in Seattle

posted by on March 2 at 8:25 AM

Great write-up in today’s Seattle Times about the Stranger’s Sims v. Hutcherson debate tonight at Town Hall…

The Rev. Ken Hutcherson grew up in the segregated South, the illegitimate child of a poor Alabama family whose members rode in the back of the bus and drank from blacks-only water fountains.

King County Executive Ron Sims was raised in conservative Eastern Washington, marching alongside his parents for racial equality and enduring the kind of discrimination he has called searing.

Tonight at Town Hall Seattle, the two will confront each other over the issue of gay rights and whether the gay-rights movement parallels the civil-rights era of the 1960s that helped shape their lives.

Sponsored by the weekly alternative newspaper The Stranger, tonight’s debate comes amid an effort to recall gay-rights legislation narrowly passed by the Legislature last month… “We’ve interviewed both men several times,” said Josh Feit, The Stranger’s news editor. “They are dueling quotes smashed onto a page. We thought we’d bring them together to duke it out.”

The debate is at 7:30 PM, $5 at the door (to cover Town Hall’s expenses). Robert Mak from King 5 News is moderating.

UPDATE: Ahem. There seems to be come confusion about whose event this is—is it a Stranger thing happening at Town Hall, or a Town Hall thing being sponsored by The Stranger? It’s the former. After running piece after piece with dueling quotes from Sims and Hutcherson, we decided to challenge the two to meet in person and duke it out, and then called Town Hall and asked them to serve as the venue for the event.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Trucks ‘n’ Ads

posted by on March 1 at 8:22 PM

The commute to Tacoma every morning and night is taking its toll, but tonight I saw something that made me nearly run off the road. Actually, I did veer to the right shoulder from the right lane so I could get a better glimpse of the right side of the U-Haul-shaped truck that had scrolling, back-lit ads on three sides, like those moving movie billboards at mall entrances. I remember once, a few years ago, pulling into a parking space and noticing an ad on the concrete bumper. Where can ads not go? Are these distracting, lit-up, truck-sized moving billboards going to take over our roadways? What’s up with this? Or do I just need to take my commute pills? I wish I’d had a camera phone, so I could demonstrate the weird movie-on-wheels effect.

Nickels’s $4 Billion Problem

posted by on March 1 at 6:19 PM

Nick Licata, the only city council member to vocally oppose Greg Nickels’s proposed Alaskan Way tunnel, is enthusiastic about a proposal by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson that would prohibit the state from digging the $4 billion tunnel unless Nickels can come up with the money. (The bill, unfortunately, would also de facto mandate rebuilding the viaduct.) Licata’s also skeptical about the city’s ability to pay for all the bells and whistles Nickels promises in his proposal.

Dickerson’s bill would require Nickels to come up with a financing plan by April 10; so far, Nickels has come up with less than $2.5 billion. Deputy mayor Tim Ceis says that when both approved and “anticipated” funds are included, the city can put together $3.2 billion for the project. But those funds include hundreds of millions that would have to be approved by the city council and the Port of Seattle—something neither body has guaranteed it will do. “Basically, he’s assuming we’ll say yes,” Licata says. In the case of utility relocation funding, the mayor is counting on City Light and Seattle Public Utilities to contribute as much as $526 million to the project, which would almost certainly force the council to raise utility rates. (The Port money, meanwhile, would have to be approved, and reapproved, in $20 million chunks over ten years.)

Dickerson’s bill faces an uncertain fate in the full House and Senate, where she says it’s likely to be amended and “negotiated.” Regardless of what happens to her bill, Dickerson says, something has to be done about the viaduct, which has been deteriorating for five years since the 2001 Nisqually quake. “We have been waiting for five years,” Dickerson says. “Safety demands that we move forward.”

Sonics Update

posted by on March 1 at 5:49 PM

Jim McIntire, the north Seattle rep who’s sponsoring the Sonics subsidy legislation that Josh has been covering extensively in the paper and on Slog, just introduced an amended Sonics bill that contains two very different options; either or both proposals could, if the bill is approved, go before voters later this year.

The first, which city council president (and Sonics subsidy opponent) Nick Licata calls the “Schulz option” (after Sonics CEO Howard Schulz) would provide $320 million to the Sonics (in 2008 dollars), including hotel/motel tax, food and beverage tax, and a tax on car rentals, to pay for $176 million in Key Arena renovations. (The rest would go toward paying down debt, arts funding, reserves, and financing.) That option would also require the Sonics to kick in $44 million toward the renovation.

A smaller $113 million option, which Licata has dubbed “the Licata option,” would put a more modest $60 million toward Key Arena, plus debt, arts funding, and financing costs. The new option would also eliminate the tax on restaurants (which forces restaurants and bars near Key Arena to subsidize their own competition, since much of the proposed renovation would pay for new bars and restaurants in the city-owned facility) and would not make the renovations contingent on the Sonics staying at Key Arena. The city and county would have to agree on which proposal (or proposals) to put on the ballot.

I deem you OT level III

posted by on March 1 at 5:40 PM

Striding purposefully south on Meridian Ave in Wallingford, only moments ago: a man wearing a black sweatshirt with the words “PSYCHIATRY IS LEGALIZED MURDER” on both sides.

Have I just spotted a rare Seattle Scientologist? I feel Clearer already. (You do realize they’re from space, don’t you?)

Fucking Hell

posted by on March 1 at 5:17 PM

Is George Bush a lying liar or does he sleep through briefings?

Via Americablog, Sullivan, Dailykos, crooksandliars

After Katrina hit, George Bush said, “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees.” As it turns out Bush was warned before Katrina about the potential failure of the levees that protected New Orleans—remember, it was the failture of the levees that destroyed New Orleans and killed 1500+ Americans. The AP reports:

In dramatic and sometimes agonizing terms, federal disaster officials warned President Bush and his homeland security chief before Hurricane Katrina struck that the storm could breach levees, put lives at risk in New Orleans’ Superdome and overwhelm rescuers, according to confidential video footage.

Bush didn’t ask a single question during the final briefing before Katrina struck on Aug. 29, but he assured soon-to-be-battered state officials: “We are fully prepared.”

My God, what is it going to take? ITMFA, ITMFA, ITMFA!

A Day of Manifestos

posted by on March 1 at 3:53 PM

Dan has posted a manifesto about the cartoon controversy that he likes, here. Earlier today, Charles posted a take on the controversy that he likes, here. And now, at the risk of adding to the Slog’s already heavy reliance on links to The New Yorker, I’d like to direct you to Jane Kramer’s take on the controversy from the Feb. 27 issue.

It’s the kind of take I like: Firm in its defense of free speech as a democratic ideal, but more interested in the root causes of the cartoon controversy than in self-congratulatory remarks about the West’s righteousness. And, to be clear: I don’t gravitate toward this kind of take because, as has been suggested, I’m white-guilt-ridden and fond of self-flagellation. I gravitate toward this approach because I think this is a problem that can’t be solved by hectoring alone.

PR Tonight

posted by on March 1 at 3:04 PM

Fun’s almost over kids. We’re down to Danny V., Chloe, and the ever-contentious Santino. (RIP Diana and Nick—my season faves)

Tonight we find out Tim Gunn’s Big Secret for the trio, and visit the designers as they begin their collections.

Will the Young and Lovely Danny V. continue to woo audiences with his taut skin and pillow lips?

Will Rasputin be able to staunch the hemorrhaging of his recent fashion aesthetic and design something wearable for a change?

Has Chloe been stockpiling her Feminine Hysterics to unleash like weepy little locusts on us all?

I sure hope so.

Théâtre du Castor

posted by on March 1 at 2:53 PM

I’m off my Simone de Beauvoir kick for now — her letters to Sartre got a little depressing by the end — but I still read with interest this review of Transatlantic Liaison, the new play adaptation of her letters to Nelson Algren. Epistolary plays generally give me hives, but those letters display a screwy notion of the English idiom, and they could be strangely touching live.

The play sounds like it dabbles a little too freely in the facile opposition between feminist and lover, but I’d still see it, if only to hear someone ventriloquize the Beaver phrase “my beloved local youth.”

There is Justice in the Universe

posted by on March 1 at 1:59 PM

I don’t know that I got at it in my Slog post this morning about Mary Lou Dickerson’s bill, but people get the irony, right? The mayor was just given a month to come up with a real finance plan!! (If the bill ultimately passes, that is.)

I think Dickerson should add a couple of restrictions on that: Team Nickels can’t use any bonds that last longer than 30 years; he has to shorten the tunnel, and the people get to vote on it.

Look, I’m not for a rebuild (I’m for the People’s Waterfront Coalition no-highway option), but as Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers 1nce said: “Touch the hem of his garment.”

Jyllands-Posten Publishes a Manifesto

posted by on March 1 at 1:53 PM

Jyllands-Posten, the Danish paper that published the 12 Muhammed cartoons, printed this manifesto today.

MANIFESTO: Together facing the new totalitarianism

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism.

We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.

The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is nurtured by fears and frustrations. The hate preachers bet on these feelings in order to form battalions destined to impose a liberticidal and unegalitarian world. But we clearly and firmly state: nothing, not even despair, justifies the choice of obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which kills equality, freedom and secularism wherever it is present. Its success can only lead to a world of domination: man’s domination of woman, the Islamists’ domination of all the others. To counter this, we must assure universal rights to oppressed or discriminated people.

We reject cultural relativism, which consists in accepting that men and women of Muslim culture should be deprived of the right to equality, freedom and secular values in the name of respect for cultures and traditions. We refuse to renounce our critical spirit out of fear of being accused of “Islamophobia”, an unfortunate concept which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion with stigmatisation of its believers.

We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.

We appeal to democrats and free spirits of all countries that our century should be one of Enlightenment, not of obscurantism.

Check out the folks who signed this manifesto…

Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Chahla Chafiq
Caroline Fourest
Bernard-Henri LĂ©vy
Irshad Manji
Mehdi Mozaffari
Maryam Namazie
Taslima Nasreen
Salman Rushdie
Antoine Sfeir
Philippe Val
Ibn Warraq

Since you can’t really accuse the folks on this list of being a bunch of racists, I wonder what the white folks who are constantly making excuses for Islamofasicsts will accuse them of?

SPIN Sale Almost a Done Deal

posted by on March 1 at 1:50 PM

Looks like the sale of the struggling publication will be finalized today. Hiring former Blender boss Andy Pemberton as editor-in-chief is probably a shrewd move, but they still have a rough road in front of them—and his suggestion that we could use a “younger version of Rolling Stone” makes my stomach turn.

Stop the Presses!!!

posted by on March 1 at 1:04 PM

From a press release sent by Chipster PR:

Legendary Twisted Sister frontman and personality, Dee Snider will undergo emergency throat surgery on March 1st to remove a polyp from his vocal cords. A polyp or nodule is a non-cancerous growth that obstructs the voice box’s normal performance.

While the surgery is relatively routine, the healing process and subsequent voice therapy will have Dee out of commission for up to two months. This will mean that all radio shows, television appearances, concert engagements, recording sessions, personal appearances and voice over sessions will need to be pre-recorded, postponed or canceled. This will include Dee Snider’s long running and nationally syndicated weekly radio show “The House of Hair”; heard weekly on more then 200 stations throughout North America.

Dee’s operation will be performed by noted throat and voice specialist DR. Gwen S. Korovin who has helped some of the greatest voices in history including Celine Dion, Pavoratti and Mick Jagger. Says Dee, “All of you people our there, including my wife Suzette who have been hoping I would just shut up, are finally getting your wish…at least for a couple of months.”

If you ever pray, pray for Dee.

The Great Gay Rights Debate

posted by on March 1 at 12:58 PM

I met with KING 5 reporter Robert Mak this morning to go over the format for the Stranger’s Sims/Hutcherson debate tomorrow night. (Town Hall. 7:30. Tickets $5 at the door. BTOBS.)

Mak is moderating because it didn’t seem right to have someone from the Stranger moderate (it’s a gay orgy club over here.)

We thought of having KIRO radio talk jock Dave Ross moderate, but Hutcherson’s camp laughed us out of the room on that idea, saying Ross was biased too. (I’m not sure what they meant by that.)

Hutcherson’s folks were aokay with Mak, though.

Got news for you Hutch, judging from my meeting with Mak, you might have made a big mistake.


Seriously: Mak seems smart as hell, and it looks like he’s going make both Hutcherson and Sims sweat.

The Return of Pearl Jam

posted by on March 1 at 12:00 PM

On May 2, Pearl Jam will release their first new studio album since 2002’s Riot Act; it’s called Pearl Jam. The first single off the album, the cheerily titled “World Wide Suicide,” drops March 14.

I ask in all seriousness and in the interest of determining possible coverage in The Stranger: Do you still care about Pearl Jam in 2006?

Full press release after the jump.

Continue reading "The Return of Pearl Jam" »

Let Him Go

posted by on March 1 at 11:23 AM

That diabetic Texan is lucky to have been held hostage by black African rebels because if he were held by Islamic fundamentalist, his goose would have been cooked.

Words to Live By

posted by on March 1 at 11:18 AM

A friend found this reminder attached to an email he received recently:

Electronic Mail is not secure, may not be read every day, and should not be used for urgent or sensitive issues.

Blowout Coke Bash at Philly Elementary School

posted by on March 1 at 11:02 AM

Yesterday second-grade classes at southwest Philadelphia’s Patterson Elementary School were transformed into a veritable mid-’70s Fleetwood Mac afterparty, after a 7-year-old girl produced 18 bags of cocaine, which she generously passed out among her friends.

Worse, a number of the second-grade coke recipients got all Scarfacey and ate the drug, with Philly’s NBC 10 news reporting at least one of the toddler Tony Montanas being checked out a local hospital for aggressive post-coke twitching.

Lucky for all, no serious damage was reported, and school officials are investigating. Full story here.

Hands: Good for more than masturbating?

posted by on March 1 at 10:59 AM

Apparently, with the help of Technology and minor surgery, your hands can now log you on to your computer, let you in to your house, and unlock your car doors!

The Seattle Times has the fascinating story:

In each hand, between [Amal Graafstra’s] thumb and index finger, is a microchip implant, which he can use to open doors to his apartment and car and sign on to his computer.

The one in his left hand was designed for tracking wildlife, among other things.

Graafstra, 29, is one of a small but growing number of people experimenting with RFID chips in their bodies. He plans to talk about his project at 7 p.m. today at an event called Dorkbot [ !!! ] at Seattle’s Center on Contemporary Art. At the event, a local cosmetic doctor will implant the chip in a Canadian robotics enthusiast.

So he flaps his hands and logs onto his computer, or tracks wildlife with the webs of his fingers (creepycreepycreepy), like David Copperfield high on nosebleeds. But since Graafstra is still using his hands to do mundane shit that hands are supposed to do, basically all he’s negated is his dexterity. I doubt that will make him more popular with the ladies.

If I was on a date with a guy, and he began flapping his hands at me, I would probably mace him. However, if he opened my car door with a flick of his groin, I would applaud. That’s Scientific Progress, my friend.

What Shaviro Has To Say About The Danish Matter

posted by on March 1 at 10:33 AM

My opinion of Hegel is certainly not Steven Shaviro’s opinion; but when it comes down to current issues, his opinion is often my opinion:

Free Speech February 24th, 2006 Okay, let’s see if I can get this straight. A right-wing Danish newspaper publishes viciously racist anti-Muslim cartoons, hoping thereby to stir up trouble. (I say “racist,” because the cartoons involved stereotypical “ethnic” images that were clearly directed against Arabs, not just against Muslim believers of no matter what race or ethnicity). The newspaper succeeds in its provocation, as violent protests spring up across the Arab and Muslim world. (The protests are often cynically fomented by dictatorial governments, and they focus exclusively on the insult to the Muslim religion, not mentioning at all the element of racism involved). Throughout Europe and North America, there is a great outcry supporting free speech; the cartoons are republished widely, as a statement of support for free speech and of solidarity with the Danish newspaper against the would-be censors of the Arab and Muslim world, who are said not to share, or even understand, the Western values of freedom and tolerance.

Meanwhile, the historian David Irving is sentenced to 3 years of jail in Austria for denying the Holocaust. Irving is a vicious ultra-right-wing provocateur, and basically an apologist for Hitler and the Nazi regime. (I do not know the extent to which Irving has made specifically anti-Jewish statements; but I would argue that his very denial of the factuality of the Holocaust is itself already anti-Semitic). But all the people who denounced various Arab and Muslim governments and peoples for their protests against the Danish cartoons are strangely silent about this quite similar case. I do not see newspapers all over the West reprinting Irving’s speeches and articles in solidarity with his free speech rights. I do not see anyone saying that this conviction indicates that Europeans and Christians are incapable of sharing, or understanding, the values of freedom and tolerance.

I do believe in free speech as a universal value. I do believe that we need to support the right of free speech even for racists, and even for people who make provocative statements with the deliberate intent of stirring up violence and trouble. (Speech is itself an action, of course, and it will always be necessary to draw a line somewhere; but I am in favor of extending things as far as possible in the direction of regulating and limiting speech-acts as little as possible). What I don’t like is the double standard according to which some hateful speech (like that of the Danish cartoons) is more worthy than other hateful speech (like Irving’s). Anybody who says that “however much I am in favor of the right to freely express one’s opinion, one cannot allow the denial of the Holocaust to hide behind overly generous freedom of expression” ought to take a similarly stringent line with the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. And anybody who defends (as I do) that newspaper’s right to publish its scurrilous trash ought similarly to defend David Irving’s right to publish his scurrilous trash. As Warren Ellis put it the other day, “The test of free speech always lays in that which is hardest to defend. It really would be nice if maggots like these didn’t make the rest of us work so hard.”

The Great Rock & Roll Swindle

posted by on March 1 at 10:22 AM

I love pop music as well as the next fool, but I also love this passage about Mick Jagger—and rock n’ roll in general—by the late, great Allan Bloom. He’s busy talking about music, its importance to the ancients, the passions of the soul, the triumph of reason through the Enlightenment, and the return of the repressed (and music’s reintroduction to philosophy) with Rousseau and Nietzsche.

Anyway, in the middle of all this, he blasts a salvo at the manipulative money machine called Mick Jagger. It’s kind of stodgy, kind of funny, and rings true and clear. The full passage follows the break, but here are a few representative quotes:

A shrewd, middle-class boy, he played the possessed lower class demon and teen-aged satyr up until he was forty [or sixty… ], with one eye on the mobs of children of both sexes whom he stimulated to a sensual frenzy and the other eye winking at the unerotic, commercially motivated adults who handled the money.
Unaware and unwillingly, however, Mick Jagger played the role in their lives that Napoleon played in the lives of ordinary young Frenchmen throughout the nineteenth century. Everyone else was so boring and unable to charm youthful passions.
He was beyond the law, moral and political, and thumbed his nose at it. Along with all this, there were nasty little appeals to the suppressed inclinations toward sexism, racism and violence, indulgence in which is not now publicly respectable. Nevertheless, he managed not to appear to contradict the rock ideal of a universal classless society founded on love, with the distinction between brotherly and bodily blurred.
Mick Jagger tarting it up on stage is all that we brought back from the voyage to the underworld.

Continue reading "The Great Rock & Roll Swindle" »

Comfortably Dumb

posted by on March 1 at 9:57 AM

From the Associated Press:

CHICAGO - Americans apparently know more about “The Simpsons” than they do about the First Amendment.

Only one in four Americans can name more than one of the five freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment (freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly and petition for redress of grievances.) But more than half can name at least two members of the cartoon family, according to a survey.

The study by the new McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum found that 22 percent of Americans could name all five Simpson family members, compared with just one in 1,000 people who could name all five First Amendment freedoms.

Joe Madeira, director of exhibitions at the museum, said he was surprised by the results.

No wonder it’s easy for Bush and his cronies to trample over our rights. Most people don’t know what those rights are.

Seattle Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson Stuns Mayor Nickels

posted by on March 1 at 6:01 AM

Seattle Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36, Queen Anne, Magnolia, Ballard, Greenwood, Fremont, Phinney Ridge) called me yesterday and left an excited message to call her back. It was deadline day at the paper, and stupidly, I never called back. Turns out she had some big news.

Dickerson sponsored a bill that passed the House Transportation Committee (26-2) that would prohibit using state money to replace the Viaduct with Nickels’s tunnel option unless the city could find the remaining funding by April 1.

Team Nickels has been hyping the tunnel option for over a year now (without the means to pay for the project). Given Nickels’s own record of demanding financial reality from others, finally locking him into a deadline to come up with a hard and fast budget is appropriate. It’s also financially prudent for the city.

The state had pledged about $2 billion for the project, but the costs are soaring (low-balled now at about $3 billion). This evidently makes Seattle legislators like Dickerson nervous that the city isn’t being financially responsible.

Dickerson told The Seattle Times: “Even if the city played the mega lottery, it’s unlikely they’d win enough money for the tunnel option.”

Dickerson’s 36th district colleague, powerful Seattle Rep. Helen Sommers, added: “My constituents are very opposed to the tunnel.”

Tunnel supporter, Seattle Rep. Ed Murray (D-43, Capitol Hill, University District)—the transportation committee chair, and one of the 2 votes to oppose Dickerson’s bill—summed up the bad news for Team Nickels. “I think the city is in serious trouble,” he told The Seattle Times. “I think the fact that a committee voted it out by that lopsided majority is quite a stunning thing.”

Stranger reporter Erica C. Barnett filed a now, super germane story about Nickels’s viaduct funding problems just last week.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


posted by on February 28 at 7:47 PM

Check out the t-shirts a couple of folks were wearing at my speech tonight at the University of MO tonight…



Summer Nights: down but not out

posted by on February 28 at 5:58 PM

Tomorrow’s Stranger will contain a brief story about the cancellation of One Reel’s Summer Nights concert series. I didn’t hear back from One Reel until after my deadline, so I thought I’d share some excerpts of my interview with Sheila Hughes, One Reel’s chief operating officer.

Last week, Friends of Gas Works Park filed a lawsuit in King County Superior Court accusing One Reel and Seattle of violating the public’s right to use the park. Though One Reel’s announcement today made only oblique references to that neighborhood opposition, it was clearly a crucial factor: “It played a role in the sense that the work we were doing in response became a huge part of the timeline,” says Hughes. “It was like having a switchboard with 20 lines open yet trying to have one conversation.”

If that weren’t enough, last week also saw community activist Ben Schroeter email the suit to 140 national booking agents, some of whom had booked their talent or were considering offers to put their bands in the series. As a result, says Hughes, “You have to spend time talking to every individual who received that email. It’s a huge delay and impact on our staff.”

Hughes could not speak directly to the issue of whether the city violated the public process in its efforts to move the Summer Nights series to Gas Works, as the suit alleges. She only knows that the city was responsive and fast and that it appreciated the importance of keeping the series in the city. “It’s an easy thing to let something like this not happen,” says Hughes, and she was impressed that the city tried so hard to make it happen, despite the obstacles.

Despite the failure of the 2006 plan, Hughes says it was an “investment” for 2007 and she is hopeful that with 18 months to negotiate, One Reel can work out a settlement with the Friends of Gas Work Park, which may now withdraw its lawsuit, according to the group’s founder, Cheryl Trivison.

What Civil War?

posted by on February 28 at 5:48 PM

First, the latest AP story out of Iraq:

Civil War Looms With 68 Killed in Baghdad

By STEVEN R. HURST, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Sunnis and Shiites traded bombings and mortar fire against mainly religious targets in Baghdad well into the night Tuesday, killing at least 68 people a day after authorities lifted a curfew that had briefly calmed a series of sectarian reprisal attacks.

At least six of Tuesday’s attacks hit clearly religious targets, concluding with a car bombing after sundown at the Shiite Abdel Hadi Chalabi mosque in the Hurriyah neighborhood that killed 23 and wounded 55.

And now, President Bush, answering a question from ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas during an interview that will be aired on ABC news tonight:

VARGAS: Let’s move to Iraq. This has been a rough few days… We heard fresh reports of violence again today and reports from Baghdad that the violence in these past three days has been the worst since the U.S. invasion of Iraq. There was a lot of criticism from both the Shiites and the Sunnis of the U.S. military for standing back and not doing enough to stop the violence. What is the policy if, in fact, a civil war should break out or the sectarian violence continues? Are you willing to sacrifice American lives to get the Sunnis and the Shiites to stop killing each other?

BUSH: I don’t buy your premise that there’s going to be a civil war…

Friends Stand Charged

posted by on February 28 at 5:21 PM

We just added a breaking news story to our website. This weekend, members of FSU Seattle were arrested for weapon and drug possession outside Studio Seven.

Read all about it here. here.

Sims V. Hutcherson

posted by on February 28 at 5:10 PM

I’ve still got some advance tickets for our Sims V. Hutcherson debate. Otherwise you’ll have to buy them at the door—which, of course, is cool too. (Town Hall, Thursday, 7:30pm, $5).

Anyway, Hutcherson’s folks just called me to put a hold on 50 tickets.

Sounds like a dare, people.

If you want advance tickets, come to the Stranger tomorrow (Wed.) after 12 noon: 1535 11th Ave. Third Fl. $5. Cash only.

They Don’t Suicide-Bomb Like We Used To…

posted by on February 28 at 3:57 PM

The most interesting things in this story (about an old kamikaze pilot who was saved from his suicide mission by engine trouble and the humanitarian mechanics who fooled around to delay his second attempt) are Mr. Hamazono’s nostalgia for, and opinions on, war:

“When I see my uniform, I feel like getting back into that plane,” he said. “But I also think that the time for pilots like me has passed. Now it’s just a case of dropping bombs on civilians from a great height. That’s awful.”

And the 9/11 hijackers:

We were completely different,” he said. “We did what we did for our comrades … the terrorists kill themselves for purely selfish reasons. I don’t get angry when I hear them described as the modern-day kamikaze, but it troubles me that religion, not love, inspired them to do these things.”

Kids these days…

Drinking Liberally

posted by on February 28 at 3:36 PM

Seattle’s chapter of Drinking Liberally, a national movement of booze-positive progressives, meets tonight in Seattle, Burien, and Tacoma.

This is just the kind of thing Dems need to be doing—making politics fun, and bringing folks together for real-time, face-to-face encounters that are pleasurable. At Drinking Liberally, people meet, discuss, and, yes, flirt and drink. And that’s okay. One of the reasons for the success of the right has been its exploitation of the social function and pleasures of—believe it or not—church going.

More info here.

De Lawd

posted by on February 28 at 3:35 PM

So, King County voted 7-2 yesterday to change the county logo from a crown to an image of Dr. MLK Jr.

Two Republicans, Jane Hague of Bellevue and Kathy Lambert of Woodinville, voted against the change.

The funny thing about Lambert’s nay vote—she voted against it because she thought the County might run into royalty claims from King’s estate over the use of his image if the county used its logo commercially— is that she once wrote a children’s book about Dr. King.

As a D staffer at the County quipped: “I guess it’s OK for Kathy Lambert to make money off King’s image [his image is prominently displayed on the cover of her book], but not for the County.”

In all seriousness, I guess changing the logo seems fine given that K.C. changed the County name back in ‘86 to honor MLK. But that original decision always seemed a little weird. Look, I’m a huge King fan—I made my own tee-shirt with civil rights legend Diane Nash on it…and if you don’t know who Diane Nash is, you’re not as big a King fan as me—but I just don’t get what Dr. King (or “De Lawd” as Nash and her young colleagues called him, kinda teasing and kinda not) has to do w/ the Pacific N.W.

The City That Won’t

posted by on February 28 at 3:24 PM

Friends of Gas Works Park—some friends: They want the park all to themselves, and as empty and lifeless as possible—succeeded in killing One Reel’s Summer Nights concert series. The PI reports

In the wake of citizen complaints, One Reel has canceled the Summer Nights concert series that was scheduled to take place at Gas Works Park this year. The nonprofit group said it will work with the City of Seattle and other agencies to revive the series at Gas Works Park in 2007.

A neighborhood group had filed a lawsuit to halt the series in the community park until an environmental impact study is done.

Just another manifestation of Seattle’s “famous culture of No,” which Sean Nelson first wrote about here.

You could cite anything from the rejection of federal funding for mass transit to the rejection of the word “grunge,” but I first encountered the “culture of No” when I wrote about a fledgling foundation’s attempts to buy an unoccupied mansion on 10th Avenue and convert it into a literary arts center. The neighbors, it seemed, were worried about losing their parking spaces, and so, voted as a community to keep Richard Hugo House out of their backyard.

The Monorail, The Commons, mother-in-law apartments, tearing down the viaduct, Hugo House, Summer Nights…

Seattle: The City That Won’t.

It’s Always Better to Get it in Writing

posted by on February 28 at 2:49 PM

I wish I could have seen her face, when she read over this contract.

Because There’s Nothing Sexier Than A Fatally Wounded 14-Year-Old…

posted by on February 28 at 2:39 PM

…especially when she’s your stepdaughter.

Easily winning the prize for Worst Rape Story of the Year (So Far) is this report from The Scotsman, chronicling the saga of George McKee, the 50-year-old man convicted of raping his 14-year-old stepdaughter.

Making everything so much worse: McKee was inspired to commit his sex crime after discovering his stepdaughter’s unconscious body at the foot of the family’s staircase, where the girl had tumbled in a drunk-n-druggy state.

Upon finding his fatally injured stepdaughter, George McKee did what any red-blooded man would do: Boned her while the boning was good.

Hours after the assault, the teenage girl died, and last week, George McKee was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Full story here.

Marr Meets Mouse

posted by on February 28 at 2:17 PM

The Onion originally published this unconfirmed, but fascinating rumour about Modest Mouse collaborating with Johnny Marr.

The Stars of 12 Minutes Max

posted by on February 28 at 1:34 PM

I went to 12 Minutes Max at On the Boards last night. 12 Minutes Max is a night of performance (mostly dance, but also theater, music, etc.) by locals who, if they are selected by that installment’s curators, each get 12 minutes to do whatever it is they do. It’s a way for performers who are developing new work, or who don’t yet have an audience, to perform in a legitimate space, in front of a paying crowd. Predictably, a lot of it wasn’t thrilling.

But then, in the very last piece, the audience got their money’s worth. The main reason I went to 12 Minutes Max last night was to see SuttonBeresCuller do their thing. They are great—geniuses,actually—but they’re strangers to the theater environment. (They usually build their own environments and put them in unlikely places.) But holy shit they should do more theater. Culler and Sutton, as old men, sat at old desks and stamped approval on piles upon piles of paperwork, and Beres, stuffed into a plexiglass cube downstage center, wrote (backwards!) on the walls of the cube and spit cards and rolls of receipt paper through a slit above his head. Eventually he breathed enough fog into the cube so that you could see what he’d written. Meanwhile, a file clerk brought out more and more and more and more and more and more and more paper, a secretary came by, a cryptic CEO type came by, and the file clerk brought out still more stacks of paper, until the old men, unable to keep up, were obscured by towers of it. It teetered. It sometimes slid around. The amount of paper involved was unbelievable. Then the file clerk slipped on a piece of paper downstage center and startled the audience with a flying, impressive, unexpected, spread-eagle, stomach-down fall. What ensued was gradual madness, ending in paper exploding from the wings of the stage. There were no words ever. The characters never broke. The spectacle didn’t deter them. Maybe there weren’t big ideas in this, but it wasn’t about ideas: it was about stylized anxiety. It was impossible to look away from. And then the workday ended, and Beres was left in his clear cube, and the office went dark.

The audience roared. I’ve done it no justice here, but it was awesome.

John, Ben, Zac: Are you listening? Theater in this town sucks. Please do more theater.

Re: March Boldness

posted by on February 28 at 1:27 PM

Lapham’s article was great, but it lacks the punch that 1,000 angry demonstrators waving “…placards reading ‘Devil Bush Go Back,’ with caricatures of Bush as a cross between Superman and Satan — dressed in the superhero’s red-and-blue costume with devil’s horns and clutching a missile” has.

High-five India! As Eli pointed out yesterday, Bush’s approval ratings are plunging like a pig in slop. Why aren’t Americans out roasting marshmallows over a burning pile of Presidential effigies?

Where the hell am I?

posted by on February 28 at 12:56 PM

I’m out of town and a bit disoriented. Where the hell am I? There’s only one way to find out: check the t-shirt display in the airport gift store.


Ah, St. Louis. It’s an interesting town—a big, failed city, like Detroit. I dig downtown St. Louis for its faded grandeur, its could-been-a-contender, early 20th Century urban infrastructure, and its current Omega Man desolation. With roughly half the population St. Louis had at its height, the place exudes a wonderfully inspiring existential despair. I believe Art Chantry moved here when he got sick of Seattle’s poster bans, condos, and millionaires.

Unfortunately I’m nowhere near downtown St. Louis. I’m here to speak at the University of Missouri, and for some inexplicable reason they put me up the Comfort Inn by the airport. Ugh. It’s my fault: I should have scrutinized my itinerary and thrown a fit in a timely manner. By the time I realized I was staying at the airport, it was too late to do anything about it. But it wasn’t until I got in last night at midnight and woke up this morning that the full horror of my predicament dawned on me.

The hotel is near the airport. There’s nothing near the hotel but the airport. If I wanted a paper, if I wanted some tea, if I wanted some lunch… I would have to get in the hotels’ shuttle van and go back to the airport. On a day that I wasn’t flying, I would be eating airport food and soaking up that airport ambience.

So after breakfast at Starbucks overlooking the baggage claim…


…I made my way to a quiet corner where I could charge my computer. The seats were pretty ripped up, but it was near an outlet…

Continue reading "Where the hell am I?" »

Sonic Bust?

posted by on February 28 at 12:27 PM

I just got off the phone with Rep. Jim McIntire’s office. McIntire (D-46, North Seattle) is sponsoring the Sonics legislation on the House side. (There’s a Senate companion bill being sponsored by Sen. Margarita Prentice (D-11, S. and W. Seattle, International District, Burien, and Tukwila.)

While there’s a lot of intriguing back and forth going on between the city and the county over control of the revenue stream and wether or not the Sonics should put some money on the table, it might not even get that far in the House. Asked about rumors that the bill might die, McIntire’s office was pretty candid: “I’d say that it looks dead.”

Hopefully, I’ll get an updated assessment from McIntire himself later today

A Step Back for Transit

posted by on February 28 at 12:09 PM

State Rep. Ed Murray’s proposal to reform the Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID), which would have opened up the taxing district’s project list to transit and relied less on (regressive) sales tax and more on a (progressive) motor vehicle excise tax (MVET) on cars, was drastically amended in the Senate by transportation chair Mary Margaret Haugen, to the chagrin of enviros and transit advocates who were tentatively supporting Murray’s flawed, though far more progressive, proposal. Among other changes, the amended legislation:

• Forces Sound Transit to put any new taxing proposal on the same ballot as RTID, theoretically making the roads-heavy regional tax more palatable to transit supporters;
• Increases the motor-vehicle excise tax (the same tax that would have paid for the monorail) from 0.6% to 0.8%, confirming monorail supporters’ fears that road proponents in the legislature would view the monorail’s demise as an opportunity to increase RTID’s reliance on MVET;
• Quintuples the amount of sales tax allowed in the regional funding package; and
• Limits transit funding to “construction mitigation”; Murray’s bill allowed the tax to pay for transit operations and maintenance.

The amended legislation is now awaiting action on the Senate floor. Environmentalists and transit supporters are almost certain to oppose the amended bill—which is roads-heavy, unfriendly to transit, and regressive—unless it is amended to resemble Murray’s original proposal. The RTID taxing proposal, which encompasses the same three-county taxing district as Seattle, will likely go to a region-wide vote in 2007.

Now this is a party

posted by on February 28 at 11:07 AM

Museum mayhem from today’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

The glistening white Santiago Calatrava addition has made the Milwaukee Art Museum one of the city’s classiest social addresses. But a recent martini fete held there turned into an overcrowded, drunken affair. Some unruly guests accosted artworks, which have been taken off display for a checkup. People threw up, passed out, were injured, got into altercations and climbed onto sculptures at Martinifest, a semi-formal event organized by Clear Channel Radio and held at the museum Feb. 11, according to several people who attended or worked at the event. “Hindsight is 20-20 … it was probably too cheap,” Kerry Wolfe, a local programming director for Clear Channel, said of the event’s premise - unlimited martinis for $30.

A Theory of The Enumclaw Horse Case

posted by on February 28 at 10:59 AM

Because there wasn’t enough room, and because it was a bit too abstract, this piece of theory on the Enumclaw Horse Case did not appear in my feature .

[Big Dick’s] barn is located on the edge of a little town, Enumclaw, that’s on the edge of the most densely populated, the most urban county in the state of Washington, King County. Beyond the barn is one last farm, the last farm in King County; beyond the last farm in King County, is White River, beyond White River is the base of the biggest, and potentially most dangerous, volcano in the Pacific Northwest, Mt Rainier. The fact that there are so many horses in a town that stands at the very limit of Seattle, the fact that horse fucking was thriving here—none of this can be ignored. A horse (nature) fucking a man (reason) is a union (and a limit) that directly corresponds with the geographical situation—Enumclaw, or more closely, Big Dick’s barn, being the point at which the city (reason) is terminated (or limited) by the wilderness (nature, volcano). But why should we stop there. Let’s, like Kenneth Pinyan [the man who was killed by a horse’s penis on July 2, 2005], go all the way. If we see the volcano, Mt Rainier, as the geological equivalent to the organ that got the horse its name (Big Dick), then we must see the town of Enumclaw as an anus. It is the final point of the urban body. And here we start to grasp the true meaning of Pinyan’s death. The loved and desired Mt Rainier is always threatening King County—threatening to explode and destroy the urban body with mudslides and lava. The day that the volcano erupts and kills King County is the day that Pinyan’s death obtains its true meaning.

The Pink Panther Is Not To Be Laughed At

posted by on February 28 at 10:58 AM

That’s the unequivocal message sent to a mother and son in Oldsmar, Florida, after they were booted from a screening of the Steve Martinized/Beyoncified remake of the comedy classic, after complaints about the boy’s excessive laughter.

Granted, the laughing boy in question has Angelman syndrome, a gorgeously named neurological disorder that affects mental development and can, according to the Associated Press, “prompt excessive laughter and seizures.”

But still, the story stinks of “pick on the weird kid” revenge-by-proxy. It’s not the Angelman kid’s fault those folks paid nine bucks to see an unfunny comedy, and his every horse-like chortle must’ve twisted the knife…

Full story here.

March Boldness

posted by on February 28 at 10:16 AM

The March issue of Harper’s has a long cover-story calling for Bush’s impeachment, which I think makes the monthly magazine the first major American publication to explicitly say Bush should be removed from office.

The piece, by Lewis H. Lapham (no surprise) relies heavily on a much-ignored report by Congressman John Conyers (D-Michigan) detailing misconduct by the Bush administration in the lead-up to the Iraq War. You’ll have to buy the issue if you want to read Lapham’s entire piece — it’s not online yet — but a representative quote is below…


Before reading the report, I wouldn’t have expected to find myself thinking that such a course of action was either likely or possible; after reading the report, I don’t know why we would run the risk of not impeaching the man. We have before us in the White House a thief who steals the country’s good name and reputation for his private interest and personal use; a liar who seeks to instill in the American people a state of fear; a televangelist who engages the United States in a never-ending crusade against all the world’s evil, a wastrel who squanders a vast sum of the nation’s wealth on what turns out to be a recruiting drive certain to multiply the host of our enemies. In a word, a criminal—known to be armed and shown to be dangerous.

UPDATE: An alert Slog reader points out that there is an excerpt of Lapham’s article available here.

UPDATE 2: Another reader notes that the Center for Constitutional Rights has articles of impeachment written and ready to go, here. Hey, those of you obsessed with the grassroots push for impeachment, put your favorite links in the comments — I’ve been meaning to do one big impeachment extravaganza Slog post, and your links will help me a bunch.

The persecution continues

posted by on February 28 at 10:07 AM

BBC News reports that Australia’s New South Wales might soon ban smokers from lighting up in cars. Authorities are set to conduct a study of the detrimental effects of second hand smoke on passengers in vehicles (especially children).

Smokers in Australia have already been squeezed out of bars and restaurants, as well as some beaches and most other public places.

A spokesman said that tough action should be implemented to stop the small number of irresponsible people who smoked around youngsters in their cars.

I think it’s a stupid idea. Some of my fondest memories from childhood involve being hot boxed by my father while road tripping around Idaho.

And if kids are complaining about the smoke, they shouldn’t be frequenting Seatt—uh, they shouldn’t be climbing into cars with their puffing parents. Or they could take a little personal responsibility and invest their allowances in military grade gas masks from a local Army Navy surplus store. Whiners.

Monday, February 27, 2006

What’s Up Doc?

posted by on February 27 at 9:20 PM

Given the recent Slog posts and articles I’ve been doing on how the pending $200 million Sonics subsidy is bad public policy, readers might have the impression that I’m harboring some unresolved animosity toward jocks and basketball.

The truth is, I love basketball. (Go Gilbert Arenas!)

So, while I maintain that there’s no way to justify the Sonics bailout, let me take a second to hype what could be an amazing afternoon of hoops. It sounds like there’s going to be a dunk competition at Seattle Central Community College.

A poster up on SCCC’s campus, featuring a picture of Michael Jordan whisking the ball through his legs in mid flight on his way to a dunk, reads: “So you think YOU CAN DUNK? BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT.”

It says it’s free for all students and that spectators are welcome.

It’s Wednesday, March 1st, 4pm to 6pm at the SCCC gym. That’s on the east side of Broadway just north of Pine St.

As George McGinnis said to Doc. J upon being traded to the 76ers: “Doctor, We’re gonna do a number.”

What Nickels’s Viaduct Tunnel Will Look Like

posted by on February 27 at 6:14 PM

At Victor Steinbrueck Park, at the north end of Pike Place Market:

viaduct tunnel.jpg

(Courtesy of the People’s Waterfront Coalition.)

Still Dropping…

posted by on February 27 at 5:49 PM

Bush’s approval rating has hit an all-time low of 34 percent. And Cheney’s is at a dismal 18 percent. (Perhaps just in time for his early retirement.)

More on this tomorrow, but for now check out Daily Kos’s funny take on the “bright spot” in the new poll results.

Congestion Solution

posted by on February 27 at 5:47 PM

Former Milwaukee mayor John Norquist, who now heads a wonky think tank called the Congress for the New Urbanism, came to town last Friday to deliver his pro-Smart Growth, anti-freeway spiel to a small crowd of rapt (and, in several cases, skeptical) local luminaries, including Downtown Seattle Association president Kate Joncas, city planning director John Rahaim, Transportation Choices Coalition director Jessyn Schor, and representatives of the People’s Waterfront Coalition, in the Chinese Room on the 35th floor of the Smith Tower downtown.

Norquist, a tall, soft-spoken man with dark blonde hair and a graying beard, made a brilliant and compelling case for tearing down waterfront freeways and replacing them with walkable, surface boulevards—the same solution the PWC advocates for replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct. City leaders, including Mayor Greg Nickels, prefer to replace the viaduct with a multibillion-dollar tunnel that will dump six lanes of traffic into Pioneer Square and Pike Place Market. Grade-separated freeway segments—those that are elevated above the city street grid, like the current Alaskan Way Viaduct, or buried in tunnels, like Boston’s Big Dig—merely concentrate traffic instead of distributing it through the street grid, Norquist argued, making cities mere “obstacles for traffic to get around.”

“If grade-separated streets were good for the economies of cities, then Detroit would be the most successful city in America—which it was before World War II,” when grade-separated freeways were built all over the city. Today, Norquist said, “Detroit looks like it’s been bombed.” Before Milwaukee removed its waterfront freeway, Norquist added, the best thing Milwaukeeans could say about their waterfront was that “there were a lot of surface parking opportunities. You could park right next to the water and your car could look at the water all day.” Today, thanks to the efforts of Norquist and other freeway opponents, the waterfront has been redeveloped with condos, shops and affordable housing.

Joncas, a vocal advocate for the mayor’s tunnel option, noted pointedly that Milwaukee’s freeway carried far fewer vehicles than the viaduct - about 50,000, compared to 110,000 here. But, Norquist countered, San Francisco’s Embacadero Freeway carried a similar level of traffic as the viaduct - and traffic on that city’s waterfront simply disappeared after the Embarcadero was torn down. In Seattle, he said, “I think [traffic] will randomly distribute, and some of it will go away.” In contrast, replacing the viaduct with a tunnel “won’t do much” to improve congestion. “It still concentrates the traffic at the ends,” he said. “Building grade-separated roads creates more congestion than it resolves.”

Yo, Rock Stars

posted by on February 27 at 5:21 PM

(Do people still say “yo”?)

Seattle bands and musicians: Make sure you’re included in The Stranger’s Seattle Music Directory: Enter your band’s info (and post MP3s and photos) by Thursday, March 2. Once your listing is online you can edit it as often as you like. The print version hits the streets March 9.

The Real Razor War

posted by on February 27 at 3:00 PM

My friend Morgan is responsible for bringing this piece of fiction and this piece of nonfiction to my attention. And I laughed like the bear I am.

Re: Party Famine

posted by on February 27 at 2:23 PM

If Eli’s buddy thought things were bad inside the Paramount at the launch party for Seattle Metropolitan, check out this email from someone who was waiting in line outside the Paramount…

Last week I received an invitation in the mail  to the SEATTLE METROPOLITAN launch party. It is the latest glossy, newsstand publication to target the elite, aging Seattle consumer (45+), similar to SEATTLE MAGAZINE. The invitation included a ticket to the launch party event at the Paramount - for Saturday, February 25th from 7PM to Midnight. No RSVP was required nor any mention that space was limited.

Upon arriving at the Paramount at 8:15 PM, invitees were faced with an over capacity venue and a line that circled the block with hundreds of ticket holders that were instructed to wait patiently for entry. No one from the publication’s staff was available to pacify the crowd, only a few surly security folks that refused to explain what the situation was to the enthusiastic patrons.

As party-goers exited the event complaining of hour long lines for weak libations and Tom Douglas created finger foods, no one was allowed entry from the ticket bearers line, that included current advertisers of the publication, local ad agency staff members, Seattle dignitaries, contributing writers, local television and radio representatives, etc. This went on for 2 hours with no explanation or status updates. No staff member of SEATTLE METROPOLITAN ventured outside to extend apologies or, in the very least, to distribute copies of their first issue that we ventured out to support and celebrate.

Ultimately, no one was let in, as the venue was over capacity by 200+ attendees. The disgruntled crowd slowly dispersed - vowing never to support the publication.

I left at about 10:30 and stopped back by at 11:30. By then the venue was nearly empty and was still refused entry with no explanation as to why my ticket would not be honored.

Just thought you would want to know that SEATTLE METROPOLITAN has launched a publication in the market, while alienating most of their desired readers, advertisers and media supporters.

I did finally pick up a copy of the first issue of SEATTLE METROPOLITAN that had been discarded on the street outside the venue. Sadly, it is a clone of SEATTLE MAGAZINE and brings nothing new, fresh or exciting to the market.This was a double disappointment to those that came out to this event to celebrate the debut of this publication.

The cover proclaims “65 Best Ways to Love Our City”. I can thing of 65+ reasons why NOT to love SEATTLE METROPOLITAN. All I can say is, “good luck” to this fledgling publication. SEATTLE METROPOLITAN has lost not only my support, but much of the community of readers and advertisers they sought to embrace through their negligence and lack of respect.

Party Famine

posted by on February 27 at 1:50 PM

It seemed like everyone I talked to on Friday was buzzing about the Saturday night launch party for this city’s newest glossy magazine, Seattle Metropolitan. And the buzz continued into Saturday morning, when the party received a splashy preview in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. I have to admit, I wanted to go check the launch out, and even had an offer of a VIP ticket from a friend. But then another friend called me from the Paramount, where the party was being held, and warned me away.

Turns out the six-figure bash, which according to the magazine’s publisher was meant to prove that the people of Seattle Metropolitan have what it takes to be “the tastemakers of the city,” didn’t go off so well. The friend who warned me away from the party sent this take on the evening:

Hard to tell whether the Seattle Metropolitan launch party last Saturday night reflected more poorly on the new magazine or on the denizens of Seattle.

The invite said “Space is limited,” and they weren’t kidding. But crowding isn’t necessarily a bad thing at a party; being deprived of food and drink is. And in that sense, the party was a bust. The biggest social activity of the evening was waiting in line. During the eight o’clock hour the Paramount looked like an enormous octopus, with tentacles of patient Seattleites waiting ridiculous amounts of time for a drink, then moving to another line to wait good-naturedly for some food.

Only in Seattle would these conditions have led to anything other than a riot. And in most cities an up-and-coming glossy magazine would get savaged by other media for treating their guests so poorly.

Seattle Metropolitan’s publisher, Nicole Vogel, said it best in a pre-party interview with the P-I: “If we can’t throw a party that makes people drop their jaws, with fantastic food and drink and music, then why should they rely on us every month?”

Answer? Judging by their launch party, we shouldn’t.

Hold the Phone

posted by on February 27 at 1:27 PM

Much as I hate to give props to one of the mayor’s PR initiatives, I have to admit that this, by city standards anyway, is cool.

Wanna volunteer at the Paradox?

posted by on February 27 at 1:21 PM

Tomorrow night, the Paradox (the fabulous all-ages venue in Ballard) is hosting a Volunteer Open House for anyone interested in working at the club. Staff members will be on hand to answer questions about different ways to get involved with the venue, including promotion, sponsorship, running/booking shows, even fullfilling community service hours. It starts at 5:30 pm and is free. E-mail for more information.

Voting On Gay Civil Rights

posted by on February 27 at 12:20 PM

In 1997 a group called Hands Off Washington (HOW), which was originally founded to keep Christian groups from putting anti-gay initiatives on the ballot, decided to put a pro-gay rights initiative on the ballot in Washington State. This was after gay groups, locally and nationally, had spent nearly a decade arguing—all the way to the Supreme Court—that voting on the civil rights of a minority was unconstitutional. It was a bad idea, politically stupid, and its certain failure would, many predicted (myself included), have negative repercussions for years to come. The gay and lesbian community was deeply divided, but HOW pressed ahead with their initiative regardless.

Despite claiming that their initiative enjoyed overwhelming support throughout the state, HOW couldn’t manage to gather enough signatures to get their pro-gay rights initiative on the ballot. But without a campaign the group couldn’t justify its existence, so they refused to take their failure to get the signatures they needed as a sign of lukewarm support for their efforts. They proceeded to hire paid signature gatherers—which they had pledged not to do—and eventually to get just enough signatures.

Their initiative—I-677—was trounced at the polls, defeated by a twenty-point margin. Even voter turn-out on Capitol Hill was pathetic. So with gay money HOW managed to do what anti-gay groups in Washington State couldn’t do: they got an initiative on the ballot, and allowed state voters to say “no” to gay rights. It was, politically speaking, a colossal blunder. The political stupidity displayed by the architects of I-677 was staggering. HOW collapsed, taking gay political organizing in the state down with it.

It took almost a decade to finally pass a gay civil rights bill in Washington state—passed by the state legislature this year, no thanks to the idiots who ran 677. Last year when the gay civil rights bill failed by one vote, Democrats in the legislature who voted against it pointed to the 677 as a reason why they couldn’t support the gay rights bill.

Now that a gay rights bill has passed—thanks to heroic efforts of Ed Murray, who opposed I-677—along comes Tim Eyman, who is gathering signatures to put a repeal of that gay civil rights bill on the ballot. After the manifest idiocy that was 677, gays and lesbians in Washington state can’t argue that voting on our civil rights is unfair or unconstitutional—not after we financed the last vote on our civil rights. So there’s going to be an initiative, which means gays and lesbians in Washington state are going to be asked to write checks to fund a group to campaign against Tim Eyman’s initiative. The group has been founded—Washington Won’t Discriminate.

There’s a piece in today’s Seattle Times about I-677—a piece that fails to capture just how divisive the I-677 campaign was, how unnecessary, or how much damage it did—with a headline that would be funny if it weren’t so tragic: Some question use of ballot box to settle issues like gay rights. Yeah, some of us questioned that back in 1997.

UPDATE & CORRECTION: Apparently I got Lorrie McKay, who didn’t work on I-677, mixed up with Laurie Jinkins, who did. McKay, who was just hired by Washington Won’t Discriminate to run their campaign, left HOW before I-677 went down; according to Tina Podlowdowski, McKay opposed HOW’s efforts to put an initiative on the ballot. I apologize for slapping up a post slamming WWD for hiring McKay without getting my Lorries/Lauries straight.

Me n’ Eve, Just Chillin’

posted by on February 27 at 12:10 PM

So I was talking to Eve Ensler (author of the Vagina Monologues and The Good Body) and she was going “body-image” this and “the-media-perpetuates” that and so I was all like “what about free will?”

And then she was all like, “women need to stop fixing their bodies ” and I was like, “what about drug addicts and really, really fat people”?

She laughed a little. She was good-natured about it. But her answer was kind of weird.

You can read it, and the rest of the interview, here.

The Passion of the Noid

posted by on February 27 at 11:54 AM

Today’s creepy religion news comes from the Times UK:

A FORMER marine who was raised by nuns and made a fortune selling pizza has embarked on a ÂŁ230m plan to build the first town in America to be run according to strict Catholic principles.

Abortions, pornography and contraceptives will be banned in the new Florida town of Ave Maria, which has begun to take shape on former vegetable farms 90 miles northwest of Miami.

Tom Monaghan, the founder of the Domino’s Pizza chain, has stirred protests from civil rights activists by declaring that Ave Maria’s pharmacies will not be allowed to sell condoms or birth control pills. The town’s cable television network will carry no X-rated channels.

The town will be centred around a 100ft tall oratory and the first Catholic university to be built in America for 40 years. The university’s president, Nicholas J Healy, has said future students should “help rebuild the city of God” in a country suffering from “catastrophic cultural collapse”.

Monaghan, 68, sold his takeaway chain in 1998 for an estimated $1 billion (ÂŁ573m). A devout Catholic who has ploughed millions into religious projects — including radio stations, primary schools and a Catholic law faculty in Michigan — Monaghan has bought about 5,000 acres previously used by migrant farmers.

Chocofy your morning

posted by on February 27 at 11:52 AM

Trader Joe’s chocolate tea is scrumptious. It doesn’t sound like it would be good but it is. It’s less like tea or hot chocolate and more like rich, vanilla-and-cocoa-bean infused hot water. No calories, warm belly… try it next time you crave chocolate.

The City Attorney Works for You.

posted by on February 27 at 11:28 AM

Except when, as in several recent cases detailed in today’s P-I, he doesn’t.

The story details the latest fallout from a disastrous 2004 public-disclosure decision by the Washington State Supreme Court that dramatically broadened the definition of records exempt from public disclosure. (Thanks, Seattle Monorail Project.) The ruling exempted from disclosure all legal communications, including those that were merely cc’d to an attorney or communications that might one day be part of a lawsuit—an enormous loophole that gives agencies the ability to withhold basically anything they want.

South Dakota Silver Lining

posted by on February 27 at 10:45 AM

There might be a good side to South Dakota’s looming ban on abortions.

For a long time, the debate over abortion has been fuzzed up by the incrementalism of the right’s approach. Rather than going directly after a woman’s right to have an abortion, the anti-abortion movement has been calling for waiting periods, spousal notification, parental notification, a ban on partial birth abortion, etc. But they haven’t been going directly after the right to have an abortion. Now they are, and it’s going to reframe the debate in stark terms (“Do you want to keep abortion legal or not?”) in a country where most people favor keeping abortion legal.

Here’s an interesting article on what that might mean:

Even as abortion opponents declared a “full frontal attack” on Roe, the 1973 decision that found a constitutional right to an abortion, one question emerged: Which side of the abortion battle will benefit? Activists on both sides claim they have the advantage, but they can’t both be right.

The South Dakota strategy itself has already splintered the anti-abortion movement. One faction is chafing at the timing of this campaign, wondering aloud whether the court — and, perhaps more important, the American public — will really embrace a complete reversal of Roe just yet.

And as a homo I found this comparison very interesting:

In some ways, the split mirrors the rift among gay-rights advocates over the question of same-sex marriage. Some gay-rights advocates pressed for marriage as the ultimate goal, while others warned that a slower approach, seeking other legal rights for gay couples, for instance, might stir less fury and be more effective.

George Michael Arrested Again

posted by on February 27 at 10:12 AM

But not for the reason you might initially suspect.

Limited Tickets to Our Sims V. Hutcherson Debate

posted by on February 27 at 10:00 AM

Tickets to our Ron Sims/Ken Hutcherson debate (Town Hall, Thurs. March 2 @ 7:30) will be sold at the door for $5.

However, a limited batch of advance tickets is still available. You have to buy them at the Stranger offices. They will be available here (1535 11th AVE., Third Floor) today (Monday) and Wednesday between 1pm and 5:30pm. Cash only.

King 5 reporter Robert Mak is moderating the big debate which pits K.C. Exec Sims (who likens today’s gay rights movement to the Civil Rights era of the ’60s) against Antioch Bible Church Pastor Hutcherson, who finds the analogy insulting. (He’d love to tell you why!)

Both men, prominent figures in King County’s African American community, are driving forces in today’s gay marriage debate. Sims helped orchestrate the lawsuit filed by gay couples—currently pending in state Supreme Court—that is aimed at overturning the ban on gay marriage. Hutcherson organized the May Day for Marriage rally at Safeco Field in 2004 & has threatened to organize a boycott of Microsoft for its support of Washington state’s gay rights bill.

Octavia Butler is Dead

posted by on February 27 at 7:27 AM

This is truly sad. Seattle has become a deadly place for famous black writers.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

And in the End…

posted by on February 26 at 10:25 PM

Autistic basketball miracle boys not good enough for you? Tired of Marimba Ponies?

How about juggling in perfect time to the entire finale of Abbey Road (click “Must-See Finale” when you land on the page)?


That’s hard to do, I don’t care who you are.

UPDATE :: Link has been updated. Click “Must-See Finale” when you get to the video page.

Hot as a Pistol

posted by on February 26 at 9:57 PM

A Sunday evening story to touch your little heart…

Jason McElwain catches fire.

Local Playwright in the New Yorker

posted by on February 26 at 1:02 PM

A couple of pals bought me a subscription to the New Yorker (thanks, guys!) and I came home yesterday to find the mailman stuffing the first issue in my mailbox (thanks, guy!).

I idly flipped it open this morning and here was the very first thing my eyes landed on: A short, nice review of Back of the Throat by local playwright Yussef El Guindi. Back of the Throat was the winner of Theater Schmeater’s 2004 Northwest Playwrights Competition and got a full staging there last May. Here’s the review:

To see Yussef El Guindi’s brilliant and sinewy new play, you have to descend twice: first into the basement of the Flea Theatre, and then into the bosom of an intelligence community whose self-restraint has been eroded by post-9/11 paranoia and the Patriot Act. Two government agents search through the belongings of an incredulous Khaled (the convincing Adeel Akhtar), a struggling writer who reminds one of an Arab-American cousin of the young Woody Allen. At first the agents are all daft politeness, but the mock bonhomie soon gives way to a web of allegations. Khaled’s resistance is that of a sane man caught up in Orwellian madness, a sense that’s heightened by the effective work of the director, Jim Simpson. (41 White St. 212-352-3101.)

What a nice way to begin my subscription. Congratulations Yussef!

Is Capitol Hill the new Pioneer Square?

posted by on February 26 at 2:10 AM

Pioneer Square was, basically, neutered when a man died during the Mardi Gras Riots there in 2001. Businesses in the Square that are not bar-related (the sublime David Ishii, Bookseller, among others) either have closed or are in the process of closing, and the bars in the Square don’t seem to be doing so well, either.

As I write this, it’s now 2:10 a.m. Saturday night on Capitol Hill. There are twelve or so police cars blocking Pike street, from Broadway to Boylston. People were staggering about in front of the bars in the scissored-off area. I received a couple offers for various illegal things as I wandered around, trying to figure out if I should intercede in a fight in a nearby alley. A woman in far-too-tight-hot pants was getting escorted across the street while a buzzcut police officer glared at everyone involved. A man in a rooming house near the cut-off streets kept shouting “Cripplefight!” out his window as a fight broke out on the corner of Pine and Boylston. This coming Tuesday, of course, is Fat Tuesday, which means that we are officially in the thick of Mardi Gras: What are your pre-Lenten plans?

And also, Don Knotts is dead. It must be the apocalypse.