Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

Archives for 03/12/2006 - 03/18/2006

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Tree Mitt! (AKA WTF of the day)

posted by on March 18 at 8:50 PM

Spotted by reader Steven Cobb at Hamlin and Eastlake Avenue:
tree mitt close.jpg


posted by on March 18 at 6:08 PM

The band formed in January 1996 and by August 1996 had recorded both Tigermilk and If You’re Feeling Sinister; in the amount of time it takes a human being to make one child, Belle and Sebastian made two.

[This has been a Belle and Sebastian Fact of the Day. They play the Paramount on March 25.]

Boycott “Mission Impossible: 3”

posted by on March 18 at 5:49 PM

Andrew Sullivan is pretty worked up over Paramount censoring South Park to appease outraged Scientologists.

Email Viacom to protest their submission to Tom Cruise. The main email address I can find on their site is Email Comedy Central to demand the airing of “Trapped in the Closet”; use this page to send an email and put “Support Freedom of Speech” in the contents line; and add your own personal message beneath. If you’re a blogger, encourage your readers to do the same, and advertize these email addresses on your site. Let’s see if we can harness the blogosphere against the censors. Finally, make sure you don’t go see Paramount’s “Mission Impossible: 3,” Cruise’s upcoming movie. I know you weren’t going to see it anyway. But now any money you spend on this movie is a blow against freedom of speech. Boycott it. Tell your friends to boycott it.

I wasn’t going to see “Mission Impossible: 3,” but Paramount doesn’t know that. I’m sending them a letter—you should too.

400 Detentions Issued at Seattle Prep in One Day?!?

posted by on March 18 at 4:00 PM

After the morning prayer at Seattle Prep on Friday, the school’s popular Dean of Students Jim Flies (pronounced fleece) came on the public address system and warned students not to ditch class.

The administration had gotten word the students were planning a walk out—organized, in part, via a flurry of text messages—to protest the school’s rumored decision earlier that week to demote Flies. (The rumor is that Flies was offered a job as the IS guy.) The students had circulated a petition earlier in the week, signed by about 400 of the 600 plus students at Prep, voicing support for Flies as dean.

To the students, the rumored decision about Mr. Flies was symbolic of a trend at Prep this year under the school’s brand new principal, Father Tyrrell, to de-prioritize student voices and concerns—and to get tougher about issuing detentions (or JUGs, Judgment Under God). (One student says the hostile trend began right away at the beginning of the school year when the administration tried to institute silly stuff like a new dress code barring students from wearing clothing that revealed the collarbone.)

Flies is popular among students for being fair and open minded. Students believe the administration wants to replace him with someone who is more of a cut and dry disciplinarian. Earlier in the week, when Prep’s board of trustees was reportedly meeting during the school day to discuss Flies’s status, 400 students donned neon orange or green index cards—stringing the cards around their necks—emblazoned with Mr. Flies’s name and either a quote from Seattle Prep’s mission statement (quotes about creating a community of dignity and respect) or one of the Jesuit proverbs from the school handbook. The students believed the Jesuit sayings reflected Mr. Flies’s nature—and thus, reflected the hypocrisy of the administration’s reported decision to remove him as dean of students.

“We ran out [of the cards]. Everyone wanted one,” one of the two seniors who stayed up the night before making the impromptu neon protest gear reports.

At 8 O’clock, shortly after Mr. Flies’s plea that students stay in class, another voice came over the intercom. A couple of students had surreptitiously commandeered the public address system. “The Walk Out is Still On at 8:30!”

Then at 8:30, the student voices came on the P.A. once again: “The time is now. Stand up for what you believe in. Don’t let your voice be silenced.”

About 400 students walked out of class and congregated in the central plaza of the campus where students, anyone who wanted to, gave speeches using a megaphone. Several speakers demanded that Father Tyrrell come out and talk to the crowd. (Flies was there at the start of the rally and asked everyone to return to class. Although, one student reports he wasn’t too forceful about it.)

When Father Tyrrell came out and told the students to go back inside he was met with a resounding “no” from the group. He was, according to the students, forced to meet with a group of about five juniors who were identified as the leaders of the walk out. Against Father Tyrrell’s wishes, the crowd of students remained in the plaza while he met with the leaders. The students said they would decide to return to class or not—once they heard a report from the student leaders on how the meeting had gone.

About two hours later, after Father Tyrrell’s meeting with the student leaders concluded, the juniors reported that Father Tyrrell had committed to further dialogue about honoring and respecting student concerns.

The students returned to class.

In reference to the negative reaction she encountered from some Prep teachers, one senior who helped organize the protests said: “It’s really hypocritical. For the past four years I’ve been told to stand up for what I believe in. And the minute I do, there’s this backlash.”

“There was a JUG list for about 400 kids,” another student reports. The detention list was about 15 pages long.

Father Tyrrell announced later, however, that the students who took part in the walk out did not have detention.

*There’ll be a more detailed report on the Prep walk out in next week’s paper. I have calls out to the administration and hope to talk to them on Monday.

Poster Megalomaniacs Is More Like It

posted by on March 18 at 2:46 PM

Poster Giant is still at it.

While walking up the Hill on East Pine forty minutes ago, I passed a guy tearing down a large number of carefully-selected flyers off of telephone poles. At the next pole ahead of him, I stopped and started reading the posters. When he caught up to me, he started tearing down certain flyers, right in front of me - while engaged in a cell phone conversation.

“Why are you doing that?” I queried.

“I work for Poster Giant,” he replied, still on the cell phone, still ripping down flyers.

“Oh,” I said. “I’m an independent promoter.” (I am, for the record - and I’ve always tried to have a sense of decorum about who/what I cover when putting up my own flyers.)

“Well, these are covering up our posters,” PG guy said. “These are our poles.

“Wait… you own these poles?”

“Yes.” He then returned to his phone conversation, ignoring me. “No, no, just some guy asking questions,” I heard him say to whomever was on the other end of the line. “No, I know… no more than three per pole.”

On my walk back from QFC ten minutes later, all the phone/utility poles on that side of Pine for several blocks were stripped bare of anything except the ubiquitous top-to-bottom, 100% coverage with events for big name clients on full-sized posters. Thanks Poster Megalomaniacs!

Alas, I don’t have a camera on my cell phone, or I’d have snapped the guy’s picture (he was wearing some amusing shoes, regardless of his poor poster etiquette). It was NOT the same gentleman pictured here a few days ago. But the offer still stands, Poster Giant - contact the paper and tell us why you’re targeting small promoters with these tactics: (206) 323 7101 and ask for Eli Sanders or Hannah Levin, or e-mail or .

SXSW Observations, Day 3

posted by on March 18 at 11:41 AM

—Caught Detroit techno star Matthew Dear DJing in the Pitchfork tent (insert sexual innuendo here). His deep, minimal set sounded incongruous in the Texas sunlight, but the bass frequencies kept everyone, uh, regular. Later that night he did a fantastic live set under his Audion moniker at Karma Lounge, causing many a pelvis to undulate seductively and fist to pump righteously. It sounded like a soundtrack to a highbrow porn film that will never be made (a pity). Dear’s parents watched proudly from a sofa, stage right. Aw.

—Following Dear in the Pitchfork tent, Swedish quintet Love Is All played a set that could’ve emanated from England circa 1980, as they gouged out the sort of edgy funk rock that dominated the Manchester and Leeds underground circuits back then. They also featured the weakest cowbell playing I’ve ever heard.

—Quote I keep expecting to hear, but haven’t yet: “I downloaded your album to my celly.”

—The sparsely attended (at least early on; it may have filled up for Drop the Lime and label honcho Kid606) Tigerbeat6 showcase at the Velvet Spade patio found the Oakland-based label shifting its emphasis to embrace bands with guitars, drums, singers, and stuff like that. (I will quickly pass over the slapdash opening set by Crunc Tesla, who need to spend more time in the lab before dragging their keytar and rudimentary beats rap shtick onto stages.) Clipd Breaks and Genders evidence this trend with shambolic displays of menacing bass rumbles and flinty guitar shrapnel. The former reminded me of early Savage Republic and Butthole Surfers, with their rhythm-heavy dementia and inchoate, simmering rage. Genders are more on the sparse, avant-dub tip, sounding like A Certain Ratio, early Scritt Politti, and Arthur Russell getting angsty in an abandoned warehouse. Three minutes into Genders’ set, my friend asked, “Have they started yet?” Take that whichever way you want to.

—Over at Oslo, TTC exuded outrageous energy and power, coming on like a goofy amalgam of Onyx, Elephant Man, and Cannibal Ox. This weird-looking French foursome of indeterminate species were rocking it right until they asked all the “lovely ladies in the house” to dance onstage. Then things devolved into mediocre booty tech and a stream of dance-club clichĂ©s. Much better were Spank Rock, who bring some Dolemite dynamite to the hiphop live experience, with two fantastic DJs and two galvanizing MCs. If anybody’s funk is hitting harder or with more neon vividness right now, I’ve yet to hear it. What distinguishes Spank Rock is their ability to infuse Baltimore club bounce (the most party-igniting style in the history of party music) and a freewheeling mashup aesthetic into hiphop’s matrix. MC Spank Rock (AKA Naeem Juwan) is a helluva dancer and is prone to drop lines like, “All you white girls shake it till my dick turns racist.” All this and the weirdest version of “Louie Louie” I’ve ever heard.

—Favorite street scene so far: an earnest, ball-capped white dude sitting on Sixth Street with two tiny Vestax turntables and a minuscule speaker, spinning ’60s/’70s funk 45s and captivating many appreciative onlookers. The guy’s name is Gabe Vaughn; I gladly bought his CD-R of Second Line New Orleans funk for $5. Hit him up at

—Best sticker seen on a toilet today:
[scrawled on crudely drawn TVs]

South Park

posted by on March 18 at 11:04 AM

Remember when the Islamic world was throwing a carefully orchestrated, manipulative, hypocritical fit over those Mohammed cartoons? I wrote then that if Islam wanted to be seen as an all-grown-up-now world religion it would have to learn to put up with being mocked, and that freedom of speech included the freedom to blaspheme—indeed, as those bomb-throwing radicals at the The Economist pointed out…

Freedom of expression, including the freedom to poke fun at religion , is not just a hard-won human right but the defining freedom of liberal societies.

Today it’s Tom Cruise and his touchy, litigious fellow Scientologists who need to grow the fuck up. The creators of South Park produced an episode that made fun of Tom Cruise—Tom hid in Stan’s closet and refused to come out—and the thoroughly ridiculous things that Scientologists believe. Scientologists are free to believe whatever ridiculous crap they want, of course, just as Catholics are free to believe that those wafers turn into the body of Christ, and Mormons are free believe that Joseph Smith wasn’t a fraud, a liar and a sociopath. And other people—religious, non-religious—have a concurrent right to think their religious beliefs, which can not be proved or disproved, are utterly absurd, and a right to say so.

Cruise seems to have successfully prevented the “Trapped in the Closet” South Park episode from being shown in the United Kingdom, and last week he is alleged to have badgered Paramount into yanking a scheduled repeat of that South Park episode.

Paramount may have caved, but not the guys behind South Park.

“So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun!” the “South Park” creators said in a statement Friday in Daily Variety. “Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies… You have obstructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail!”

Reichert a Moderate? The Burner Campaign Says No Way

posted by on March 18 at 10:20 AM

Yesterday, eastside Republican Congressman Dave Reichert put out a press release positioning himself as a “moderate” in his race against Democratic challenger Darcy Burner.

After reading about Reichert’s press release on the Slog, Burner’s campaign manager, Zach Silk, sent this response:

They can spin all they want. It doesn’t change the facts: he has voted over 90% of the time with the Republican leadership, he is more conservative than 55% of the House, and he is more conservative than all of his Western Washington colleagues.

Any way you look at it Dave Reichert is too conservative for this district.

This debate over whether Reichert is a moderate traces, in part, to this article, which ran in the National Journal last month. (Scroll down and click on “The Centrists” for some of the data that’s at the heart of the controversy.) Get ready to see the National Journal article cited repeatedly by both campaigns as this race, which could help determine whether the Democrats take back Congress, starts to heat up.

Meanwhile, the great Burner debate has begun in the forums.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Cops “I Can’t Stay Focused” Tour Blog, Installment 2

posted by on March 17 at 6:37 PM

Thursday, March 16th

We arrive in Austin at 4:30am after a 16-hour drive from Tucson. That show left us with near-fatal hangovers induced by a raucous night at Club Congress—a wonderful place, but dangerous. It’s a club/hotel where infamous bank robber John Dillinger and his gang were supposedly nabbed by authorities after a fire in the hotel forced them out. They kindly offer us complimentary rooms, which naturally encourages us to misbehave. The bill includes fellow Pacific North Westerners Pink Mountaintops, with whom we make fast friends and enjoy endless drinks throughout the late night together.

We also meet a colorful and drunken fellow in Tucson. The nameless dude is from Sequim, Washington, sells Kirby vacuums for a living and was very excited to see a band from Seattle. He buys several rounds of drinks for us and also manages to steal a CD from our merch table, which we eventually sign.

The morning comes too early, but we buck up and shove off to Austin. Long drives can warp your senses. We do our best to pass time, stopping at numerous truck stops that sell $200 dream catchers and tickets to see “the Thing.” Apparently “the Thing” is a mysterious little shack behind a gas station where you pay a dollar to get in and witness some inexplicable phenomena or entity. We choose to save our money for beer. We have a chance run-in with Earlimart at a gas station in the vast desert. The anticipation for Austin is high and we push on through a foggy, deer-filled night. The scent of the van is questionable.

Never Forget! Again!

posted by on March 17 at 5:42 PM

A new episode of the locally produced podcast, Never Forget, is posted. This time it’s all covers! Tune in to hear Sicko cover Iron Maiden, Casket Lottery and Small Brown Bike cover David Bowie, and Dillinger Escape Plan cover Aphex Twin (although, in the midst of their excitement, the dorks wrongly credit Rammstein for penning the song “Come to Daddy,” please forgive them).

They also talk about hating Germans. But uh… I think they’re kidding?

Beating a dead horse…

posted by on March 17 at 4:21 PM

…I know, but I can’t help myself. Back to Cantwell’s effusive pro-Dirk quote:

”He understands the Northwest and a lot of Interior issues,” [Cantwell] said…

Um, interior issues like drilling the shit out of things? That is what Kempthorne favors.

Conversely, Cantwell thwarted Republicans from drilling in Alaska in December 2005—but now has no problem supporting Kempthorne for Secretary of the Interior.

Via The Seattle Times:

Emboldened by electoral gains and President Bush’s re-election in 2004, Republicans believed they had enough clout to muscle the [Arctic National Wildlife Refuge drilling] measure through as part of this year’s annual budget process.

But proponents were thwarted again Wednesday as Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., rounded up enough allies to derail a bid by Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, to attach the [ANWR] plan to a bill funding Iraq and Afghanistan military operations.

What the fuck is Cantwell’s logic?

On the bright side, in 2004 The Washingtonian awarded Cantwell top Senatorial honors for their “Looks Good in a Bathing Suit” category (hat tip to my mother).

Call. Email. Compliment her on her flattering Bathing suit win and bitch her out for being douchetarded.


posted by on March 17 at 3:19 PM

In the winter of 1996, Belle and Sebastian, trapped in a snowstorm on Kangchenjunga—the highest mountain in India and the third-highest mountain in the world, with a name that translates roughly to “Five Treasures of the Snow”—were confronted with a Bengal fox, disgruntled, out-of-place, and hungry, as Bengal foxes feed on rats, reptiles, crabs, termites, and melons, mostly, none of which are easily found in snowstorms on high mountains between Nepal and Tibet, and the band, who had little to defend themselves with except for Sarah’s violin and Stevie’s guitar, killed the starving thing, allegedly out of sympathy but much to the frustration of keyboardist and vegetarian Chris, who convinced Stuart to write a piano-heavy tribute to the animal, titled “Fox in the Snow,” considered to be either one of the band’s greatest songs or one of its silliest, and included as track five on the group’s second album, If You’re Feeling Sinister, which also carries tracks titled “Mayfly” and “Judy and the Dream of Horses,” suggesting a rather consuming preoccupation with living creatures but, notably, no interest whatsoever, not even in “Fox in the Snow,” in the beleaguered status of Tibet.

[This has been a Belle and Sebastian Fact of the Day, now with some fictional elements, as previous BASFOTDs have been critized as being “really lame.” Belle and Sebastian play the Paramount on March 25.]

Reichert’s Two Opponents

posted by on March 17 at 2:55 PM

The office of eastside Republican Congressman Dave Reichert just put out a press release casting Reichert as a “centrist” and a “down the middle mainstream moderate.”

Now, I don’t want to overestimate The Stranger’s influence in D.C. But I do know that Republican strategists in D.C. are aware of the current issue of The Stranger, and my long profile in it of Darcy Burner, Reichert’s impressive Democratic challenger in Washington’s 8th District. I know this because I got an email about the profile from someone at the National Republican Congressional Committee yesterday.

Could it be that Reichert’s D.C. handlers are worried that Burner is gaining momentum in the race and want to preempt her strategy of tying Reichert to the unpopular far-right policies of the Republican party?

It certainly is strange timing for this press release, since the National Journal article that the release is based on came out last month. Why is Reichert touting these centrist credentials three weeks late and on a Friday afternoon?

In any case, it’s clear that Reichert now has two opponents as he tries to hold on to his seat in the 8th Distrcit: Burner, whom he’ll be running against, and the right wing of his party, which he’ll be running from.

As he tries to make the case that he’s a centrist, here are some other things Reichert will probably have to run from: His votes against stem cell research, in favor of weakening House ethics rules, against a woman’s right to choose, and against investigating the intelligence failures that led to the War in Iraq. And he may also have to run from the fundraising that has been done for him by indicted former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Text of the Reichert release is in the jump…

Continue reading "Reichert's Two Opponents" »

Nerve’s SXSW Blog

posted by on March 17 at 2:21 PM

Practically everyone immersed in the indie rock orgy that is SXSW has a blog going (including our Slog entries from music editor Dave Segal and local rockers the Cops), but one of my favorites is being maintained by Nerve contributor Peter Smith. Frizzelle (and all his fellow Belle and Sebastian disciples) will appreciate the extensive coverage of their showcase last night.

Get Murdered at Denny’s!

posted by on March 17 at 2:11 PM

For years, Denny’s has been the place to go for craptastic food and, during the ’90s, situational racism.

But after the three deadly shootings at three different Denny’s in Southern California this week—taking the lives of five citizens—getting a skilletful of unpleasant eggs should be the least of anyone’s Denny’s worries.

Full story on the deadliest week in Denny’s history here.

This Week on Slog

posted by on March 17 at 2:02 PM

Slog was especially rich this week, and I am unfortunately short on time today, so forgive the inadequacies of this wrap-up, and if you have time, do scroll back into the archives and see what else you missed.

Saturday, March 11

Josh Feit thinks adults should be legally allowed to wed whomever they want to. He gathered dozens of comments in a discussion of the merits and drawbacks of polygamy and whether it and same-sex marriage are equally defensible.

Sunday, March 12

On Sunday, Slog rested.

Monday, March 13

Eli Sanders was on KUOW speaking about the sale of Knight Ridder, what that means for Seattle’s daily papers, and the future of the news media; and Megan Seling recounted underhanded tactics in the record industry.

Tuesday, March 14

Christopher Frizzelle debuted BASFOTD, Megan Seling debuted MFOTD, and Hannah Levin put the call out for favorite lavatory graffiti.

Wednesday, March 15

Wednesday delivered an abortion how-to, bad poetry, sloppy publicists, and three-dozen new names for GWB.

Thursday, March 16

Eli Sanders denied having a crush on Darcy Burner, Dave Segal checked in from SXSW, and the Cops, a local band on tour, Slogged from the road.

Friday, March 17

Thus far on this St. Patrick’s Day: Green mayo, alcohol popsicles, creepy crawlies, Matthew Barney’s lovely, self-indulgent visions, more from Segal in Austin, and Cienna Madrid hot and bothered over politics. Keep reading…

Headline of the Day

posted by on March 17 at 1:59 PM

Man Severs Own Penis, Throws It at Officers

The Chicago Sun-Times reports…

Before cops threw the book at him, Jakub Fik threw something unusual at them—his penis.

Fik, 33, cut off his own penis during a Northwest Side rampage Wednesday morning. When confronted by police, Fik hurled several knives and his severed organ at the officers, police said. Officers stunned him with a Taser and took him into custody.

“We took him out without any serious injury, with the exception of his own,” said Chicago Police Sgt. Edward Dolan of the 16th District.

The man’s penis was reattached by docs at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. And you gotta love this quote about from the docs:

Dr. Greg Bales, associate professor of urology at the University of Chicago, said severed penises are uncommon but surgery usually works.

Let’s hope they’re uncommon. And it’s the fact that the surgery usually works is some small comfort, I suppose— in the case of Jakub Fik, rumor has it that it’s a very small comfort indeed.

According to highly placed sources in the investigation—my dad was a Chicago cop, don’t forget—the inside dope goes like this: The cause of Fik’s naked, dick-cutting rampage? His girlfriend insulted the size of his dick. Enraged, Fik decided to show his girlfriend what a really small dick looks like. Adding insult to injury, whoever wrote the police report made snarky reference to the size of Fik’s severed penis: “After an extensive search, the organ was found.”

Elliott Bay Oil Spill?

posted by on March 17 at 1:50 PM

SEATTLE (Reuters) - The U.S. Coast Guard said on Friday it is investigating a possible spill of oil or fuel that is creating a sheen on the water in Seattle’s Elliott Bay.

If this can somehow be blamed on that sweaty chode Dirk Kempthorne, I will find a way.

Dirk Kempthorne is a weasely, incompetent chode

posted by on March 17 at 12:04 PM

I’m from Idaho and I hate Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne. I hated him when he was Senator Kempthorne. I hated him when he was Mayor Kempthorne. And I am resentfully preparing myself to hate him as Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne:

Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, a pro-development Western Republican, will be President Bush’s chief advocate for more oil and gas drilling from the Gulf of Mexico to Alaska’s North Slope if confirmed as the nation’s next interior secretary.

But before I do, a few words:

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

The environment is fucked.

I know it’s been a long time coming, Dirk, you smarmy little weasel. I watched your pink ears perk and beady eyes grow dewy with excitement when you were bounced around as a possible candidate in 2003. Sadly, you had to patiently shit all over Idaho for a few more years before winning the coveted nomination.

Let’s take a look back at what you have accomplished for Idaho’s environment:

During six years in the Senate in the 1990s, Kempthorne scored a “0” on the League of Conservation Voters’ legislative scorecards every year except 1993 [Kempthorne voted with the environmental organization only once in 70 votes.]. Knight Ridder’s Seth Borenstein reported June 23 that in the two years after Kempthorne became governor of Idaho, the state increased toxic emissions by 2 percent—this during a period when the national average declined by 9 percent. The chief of staff for Idaho’s Department of Environmental Quality told Borenstein that environmental inspections were at “a bare-bones minimum” aimed only at staying in compliance with a state court order.

I bagged his groceries once in the Boise Co-op when I was 16, and that night my parents told me they were getting divorced. Coincidence?

[Kempthorne] has cut his state’s environmental budget three times and sharply reduced enforcement of environmental regulations…A court order this year [2003] is forcing the state to increase monitoring and cleansing polluted waterways.

With 76 million pounds of toxic releases in 2000, Idaho - population 1.3 million - has more total toxic emissions than California, population 33.9 million.

Every time I have seen Kempthorne “in the flesh”, dogs have been barking at him. Because he stinks of evil.

“I have become so frustrated with EPA that I’m on the verge of inviting the EPA to leave Idaho,” Kempthorne stated in 2001 after butting heads with environmentalists who supported the Coeur d’Alene Basin Superfund cleanup. [Which would remove harmful amounts of with lead, arsenic, zinc, and cadmium from contaminated soil, groundwater, air and the river systems.]

Maybe it was his knack for gross mismanagement that sparked fruitful relationships with kindred spirits in Washington:

One Democrat, Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington, said she welcomed the appointment. ”He understands the Northwest and a lot of Interior issues,” she said, adding that Kempthorne had ”stood up to the administration” over nuclear waste cleanup at a federal facility in Idaho.

Maria Cantwell, you stupid wench. Has your brain been replaced with sawdust, and if so, can we stuff your mouth as well?

Neverland Closes

posted by on March 17 at 11:43 AM

I’m surprised that Schmader hasn’t had anything to say about this. Via Defamer

Neverland Ranch, Michael Jackson’s personal Xanadu built on a million candy cane dreams and Underoos-bottom nightmares, has been suffering dearly from neglect as its owner reconfigures his life in Bahrain. First, his large staff of llama wranglers and cotton candy engineers were barred by officials from reporting to work due to hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. Then, after he managed to somehow come up with the money, Jackson decided to shut down the estate and lay his staff off…

THIS JUST IN: Michael Jackson has not abandoned Neverland, despite earlier reports to the contrary.

Michael Jackson has not left his Neverland Ranch for good, his spokesman said after authorities last week raided the ranch and forced the superstar to pay his employees months of back wages.

“It is public knowledge that Mr Jackson currently resides in the Middle Eastern country of Bahrain. He therefore decided to close his house and reduce his workforce,” Raymone Bain said Thursday in a brief statement.

Closing down the ranch, he added, “is a common practice when a residence is vacant for an extended period of time. Reports indicating that Neverland has been closed or ‘shut down’ for good are inaccurate.”

AudioSlog: Darcy Burner on the Iraq War

posted by on March 17 at 11:36 AM

One place where I do join Dave Meinert in criticizing my profile of eastside Congressional hopeful Darcy Burner involves my profile’s lack of an exploration of Burner’s thoughts on the Iraq War.

However, I did speak to Burner about the war while I was interviewing her for the story, and thanks to the wonders of digital recorders I can post her responses here, as an MP3 file. Enjoy.

(The background noise you’ll hear is the muzak and coffee-making clatter from the Starbucks where I conducted the interview.)

Dave Meinert on Darcy Burner

posted by on March 17 at 11:35 AM

Down in the forums, political gadfly Dave Meinert is raising a stink over my profile of Darcy Burner because, he says, it doesn’t contain enough information about where she stands on the issues.

And in an email to me, Meinert puts it this way:

I honestly hadn’t heard of Burner until I read the Stranger today. And even after I did, I might know enough to date her but not near enough to vote for her, and definitely not enough to actively support her.

Let’s unpack that, Dave: You say you didn’t even know about Burner until you read my piece. Well, why do you think we ran the piece? It’s nine months before the election, and a lot of people who should know about Burner (like you) don’t. Her race could help determine whether the Democrats take back Congress, but because it’s happening on the eastside it’s not getting as much attention as it otherwise might from the Seattle political scene, and we wanted to change that. Looks like we have in your case.

The piece is about 3,500 words long, and it sounds like you’d want all of those words to have been spent on an exegesis of her political statements so far. But Dave, it’s nine months before the election. People (like you) don’t even know she exists. The article does go into some of the problems with Burner’s opponent, Congressman Dave Reichert, and it does go into Burner’s political beliefs, but we also wanted to let people know who Burner is as a person, because while that might not matter to obsessed political types like you, it’s important to a lot of voters. In fact, this “sense of the candidate as a person” has a lot to do with why Reichert got elected in the first place. He had virtually no political experience, but as the tough-guy sheriff who had caught the Green River Killer he had a lot of name recognition and a ton of personal appeal.

Also, Dave, it doesn’t matter if you want to vote for Burner or not. You can’t. As a resident of Seattle, you’re outside of her district. What matters is whether you’re interested in helping her win her district (by volunteering, raising money, etc.), which could help the Democrats win control of Congress, which could dramatically change your life in Seattle.

We’re going to keep covering this race, which is the only Congressional race in this state where there’s a strong chance for a Democratic “pickup,” and there will be a lot of time over the next nine months to examine where Burner and Reichert diverge on the issues. If you want a primer, click here. And if you want to join Meinert in the bitching about my piece, well, click here.

SXSW Observations, Day 2

posted by on March 17 at 11:27 AM

—Hit a panel on podcasting featuring Nic Harcourt and other white guys with well-modulated voices. It is, undoubtedly, The Future—as is HD Radio. This is the first time I’ve heard the latter term. I am officially Out Of Touch. Another first encounter: Rich Dean of KUT used the term “mindshare.” That sounds ominously Orwellian to me.

—Most trite utterance heard in a men’s room (after a long, loud, obscene grunt, a guy steps to a urinal and says to the dude pissing next to him), “Sometimes you gotta unload the clip.”

—Seattle’s Velella Velella played a fruity, friction-y set of party funk at Velvet Spade to an enthusiastic crowd during the always-challenging 8 pm time slot. VV cast an infectious spell of well-being without pandering—a neat trick. They just get the job done, casually swapping instruments with unassuming professionalism and joy.

—Question I keep expecting to hear, but haven’t so far: “Will you remix my iPod?”

—At the Mush Records showcase, Thavius Beck, Caural, and Daedelus playfully rearranged hiphop’s DNA, turning its history into a malleable plaything. Keeping it real isn’t even an option with these guys. Surreality is their oxygen.

—This is going to sound corny, but I had a religious experience at a Presbyterian church while witnessing the minimal dronemeister Arnold Dreyblatt and guitar maximalists Jonathan Kane and Rhys Chatham at the Table of the Elements showcase. I’ll wax hyperbolic on this in the next Data Breaker.

—SXSW is way too much, yet also somehow not enough—frustration often trumps satisfaction. This paradox will make sense to anyone who’s ever attended the festival. There’s a gnawing lack at the core of SXSW’s surfeit, a numbing homogeneity among the hundreds of bands, with a small percentage of mavericks/deviants making the whole thing worthwhile, but it takes savvy digging and maneuvering to find these status-quo-quashers. Another paradox: time seems to be moving incredibly slowly despite my massive intake of Vivarin, Red Bull, and Glaceau energy vitamin water. I’m bursting with energy, but the clock isn’t keeping up with my hyper metabolism. I kind of like it.

The Wedded Bliss of Matthew Barney + Bjřrk

posted by on March 17 at 11:26 AM

Matthew Barney is known for dressing up as a satyr and an apprentice and stuffing bloody rags into his mouth and behaving strangely in a series of 5 chilly, dense, vaguely perverse films named after the muscle that controls the descent and ascent of the testes, the cremaster muscle.

I got to see the full Cremaster exhibition at the Guggenheim three years ago, where all the films were being screened, but I didn’t have time to watch them all, and the prop sculptures exhibited along the circular ramps seemed forced and pointless. The parts of the films I did see were awfully indulgent on the part of the artist, and yet they were alluring, rich, and metonymic instead of metaphoric. I found them taxing, but I wanted to spend more time with them. Their conceit is prenatal sexual differentiation, which progresses in a tortuous way via narratives and characters including the Chrysler Building, the murderer Gary Gilmore, Harry Houdini, the artist dressed only in an apron and high heels, and some very stringently beautiful women in cramped quarters, constraining outfits, and pasties.


The Cremaster tone and symbols look alive and well in Drawing Release 9, Barney’s first big project since Cremaster. It’s a collaboration with his baby-mama, Bjřrk, and in the just-released trailer, the Icelandic singer (whose icy voice accompanies the scenes in a soundtrack with songs like “Ambergris March”) and the jock-y artist steal uneasy glimpses at each other from beneath furry costumes that look like the garb of a barbaric ancient clan. (Her white hair helmet is worth seeing.)

They also make out, with knives.


“The core idea of Drawing Restraint 9 is the relationship between self-imposed resistance and creativity, a theme it symbolically tracks through the construction and transformation of a vast sculpture of liquid Vaseline, called The Field, which is molded, poured, bisected and reformed on the deck of the ship over the course of the film,” the promo text says.

A full synopsis of the 2 1/4-hour film, shot on board a Japanese whaling ship and sure to be eye candy for the habitual Bjřrk-oglers, is here. The soundtrack is already for sale.

The film will be released March 29, but I don’t know where (can’t imagine Seattle). I’ll keep an eye out anyway. I’m curious about whether Barney’s moment is over, or whether he’ll get past Cremaster.

One Way or Another

posted by on March 17 at 11:19 AM

Let’s consider this image for a new movie called Slither.
If that leg was a male leg, then those penis-looking creatures would be going only one way: into the tub. But seeing that it is a female leg, the creatures can either be entering the tub or leaving it.

Speaking of Democrats Bailing on Censure Resolutions

posted by on March 17 at 11:00 AM

Earlier this month, at the Democratic precinct caucuses—the annual meetings where the Democratic Party starts to hammer out its platform precinct by precinct—several precincts in the pesky 46th District (N. Seattle) passed resolutions censuring Sen. Maria Cantwell for her vote against the Alito filibuster.

The resolutions, however, failed as they went to the next level.

That must have infuriated the dissidents in the 46th, like those who participated in the larger area-wide caucus, where a cringe-worthy Cantwell letter was read aloud. Cantwell had the nerve to obliviously state: “this year, Democrats have had the opportunity to send a clear message to George W. Bush that Washington State is not going to sit idly by while he strips away our rights by nominating anti-choice, anti-civil liberty justices to our Supreme Court.”

As I reported in in this week’s paper, some precincts refused to read Cantwell’s letter.

Double Puff Oreos

posted by on March 17 at 10:29 AM

While busting a pot operation, the DEA found candy and soda products laced with pot

Confiscated items reportedly bore labels including Stoney Ranchers, Munchy Way, Rasta Reece’s, Buddafingers, Pot Tarts, Double Puff Oreo, Keef Kat, Twixed, Budtella, Puff-A-Mint Pattie, Puffsi, Bong’s Root Beer, and Toka-Cola.

The feds say they’re worried that pot-laced candy and soft drinks will tempt children. Don’t know about kids, but I’m certainly tempted. Double Puff Oreos? I’ll take a case. Make it two. Still, as a responsible pot user, I wouldn’t want any kids to get their hands on Double Puffs—not on my stash, at any rate. Because, as one DEA agent quoted in the story said, ‘[kids who] get their hands on these products [will] think they are just normal candy or soft drinks.”

It just goes to show you that people who grow and sell pot are monsters. It practically goes without saying that the responsible folks who produce and market legal intoxicants would never, ever create products that children might mistake for normal candy or soft drinks.

Oh, wait. Any poor kids who run across these alcohol popsicles might be confused…

Freaky Ice.gif

And the new malt liquor beverages that resemble energy drinks might confuse kids…


To say nothing of the “100% Fruit Juice” line of “alcopops” that Anheuser-Busch is rolling out


…alcoholic fruit drinks in such flavors as strawberry with passion fruit and cranberry with peach. The St. Louis company recently invited editors at some of the nation’s top women’s magazines for free manicures and facials at a Manhattan spa, where they sampled the drinks…. A fall 2004 poll of 12- to 18-year-olds by the AMA showed the extent of girls’ exposure to ads promoting alcopops…. The poll found that more girls swigged alcopops in the previous six months than teen boys (31 percent versus 19 percent)…

Yeah, lock up the pot dealers and pot growers. They’re a danger to the kiddies.


posted by on March 17 at 10:02 AM

Oh mayonnaise fans, please forgive me for neglecting to post a fact of the day yesterday. It sure was a busy day. To make up for it, though, I have this extra special MFOTD… a recipe for Green Mayonnaise in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day (found on!


2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chervil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Pulse herbs in a blender with lemon juice and 1/2 cup mayonnaise until puréed. Add remaining 1/2 cup mayonnaise, salt, and pepper and blend well.

Transfer to a bowl and chill, covered, at least 2 hours to allow flavors to blend.

Makes about 1 cup.

“Snakes on a Plane”

posted by on March 17 at 9:53 AM

Finally, the movie of the year gets a trailer.

(Via Ain’t It Cool News.)

Protest Photos

posted by on March 17 at 8:39 AM

Impeachment Demo 009.jpg

Late yesterday the above photo was sent to Last Days from Hot Tipper Aaron, who wrote:

“Here are two photos of a group of demonstrators braving the wind and rain to urge the impeachment of the president. The demo was at the Seattle Federal Building on March 16, 2006 from 11:30 - 12:15. The demonstrators were from peace groups in Bellingham and Mt. Vernon. I was invited as the son of one of the demonstrators to take photos.”

Dear Aaron: Thank you for attending and photographing and sharing. Please pass my regards along to your mother or father and the rest of the protestors, who deserve great props not just for showing up to represent a dream embraced by every sane American, but also for their savvy deployment of anti-war nudity. (If you can look at that soft pink Cheney without melting a little inside, your heart pumps tar.)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Hospital Keeps Baby as Collateral

posted by on March 16 at 6:11 PM

“Moqassed Hospital in East Jerusalem allegedly refused to release a baby to its mother for two months until she paid her hospital bill. “

(The rest of the story, from Haaretz, here.)

What to do Tonight

posted by on March 16 at 5:54 PM

I already mentioned this in my column, but it’s worth reminding folks that tonight is the last show at Hana’s, the delightfully decrepit dive that has attracted cranky old queens, general riff-raff and the occasional pod of punks for years. Another great haunt bites the dust and this city loses another alternative venue for bands, but least they’re going out in gritty, grassroots style with a set from Sugar Farm.

After I’ve said farewell to Hana’s, I’ll be heading back to the north end (one Seattle neighborhood that knows how to protect and appreciate its dive bars) for El Chupacabra’s one-year anniversary celebration. No bar this year has brought me more happiness and headaches than Phinney Ridge’s Day-of-the-Dead-themed bar and I’m looking forward to enjoying a couple of pomegranate margaritas with Otis and the rest of the regulars. It’s happy hour all night and Slayer will undoubtedly be blaring from the jukebox, so if tequila, metal, and a seriously homey environment (the Chup is an old, converted bungalow) are your ideas of a good time, it’s the perfect place to spend your Thursday.


posted by on March 16 at 5:47 PM

The singer and main songwriter in Belle and Sebastian, Stuart Murdoch, is a Virgo.

Other Virgos in world history include D.H. Lawrence, Mother Teresa, Michael Jackson, Ivan the Terrible, Swoosie Kurtz, H. G. Wells, Eli Sanders, Erica C. Barnett.

[This has been a Belle and Sebastian Fact of the Day, posted after Megan Seling has left the office, so she won’t follow up with one of her mocking Mayonnaise Facts of the Day, which she posts with the intention of trivializing me, Belle and Sebastian, and Scotland in general. Seling is not a Virgo. Belle and Sebastian play the Paramount on March 25.]

Downtown ZZZZoning News

posted by on March 16 at 5:46 PM

Peter Steinbrueck plans to roll out a compromise version of his downtown height and density proposal, an amended version of Mayor Nickels’s plan to raise building heights and density downtown. Steinbrueck’s latest proposal would reportedly increase the amount developers must pay toward affordable housing, put some limits on above-ground parking, and possibly lower maximum building heights in the Denny Triangle, where Steinbrueck has said the mayor’s plan allows buildings that are out of scale with the surrounding neighborhood. According to city council member Tom Rasmussen - who hurriedly flipped over a copy of Steinbrueck’s proposal, which had been sitting in plain view on his desk, when I asked if he’d seen it - the latest version would require developers to pay some amount between $15 and $20 a square foot into an affordable housing fund (the mayor’s plan called for a $10 bonus; Steinbrueck’s, $20) and would allow more flexibility for above-ground parking than Steinbrueck’s initial proposal. Some council members who had been skeptical about Steinbrueck’s controversial plan seemed prepared to support whatever Steinbrueck and Nickels come up with; Council member Jan Drago told me that if Nickels and Steinbrueck reach a compromise, “I’m there.” As of late Thursday afternoon,negotiations were still underway.

Confidential to Philip

posted by on March 16 at 5:22 PM

It has been brought to my attention that you are upset about a certain Slog item. The dig that annoyed you, Philip, wasn’t actually aimed at you. Your bosses, all men, have described your workplace as a matriarchy, and that’s what the “ladies with penises” joke was about. We certainly don’t think you’re a lady with a penis—not that there’s anything wrong with being a lady, having a penis, or being a lady who has a penis. The Stranger is for all of those things.

But, if it makes you feel better, we’ll post this clarification: That Slog item was false, a tissue of lies, riddled with errors. For the record Philip is not a woman, nor does he have a penis.

The Cops “I Can’t Stay Focused” Tour Blog, Installment 1

posted by on March 16 at 5:05 PM

Saturday, March 11th

We’re now in Eugene, where we play at the Indigo District with Clair de Lune and our Seattle homies, the Divorce. The Indigo District is a giant restaurant that morphs into a hipster club after dark. There are several people in the place, but they all seem to be in the bathroom during every band’s performance. Poor fuckers missed a real good rock show. We stay with our amazing friends Katie and Aaron, and breakfast on eggs, country ham, and Katie’s homemade biscuits. The van smells more like a bar than a vehicle today, but not too bad. The soundtrack of the day includes Marvin Gay, the Pretenders, Black Mountain, and some punk/new wave mixes. Michael buys a new Gibson SG in Portland.

Sunday, March 12th

Up next is Oakland for a show at an art space, Lobot Gallery. Before the show we hang out at this killer hip-hop dive bar called the Golden Bear. John tells the bartender that she pours a strong drink; she replies, “welcome to Oakland bitches!” Dave subsequently invents a new drink he christens “Rumgin” that consists of 4 shots, 3 cubes, and one glass. You do the math. The show is sparsely attended but we see several friends. We eat granola and crappy chips in the van and conclude that we’re now writing checks our body can’t cash.

Continue reading "The Cops "I Can't Stay Focused” Tour Blog, Installment 1" »

Re: Martin Sheen @ City Hall

posted by on March 16 at 5:03 PM

More like:

Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis

Mayor Greg Nickels.

Martin Sheen @ City Hall

posted by on March 16 at 4:10 PM

According to the sign-in log at City Hall: “Martin Sheen, President” had a meeting with Council Member Jean Godden yesterday, 3/15 at 4:20pm.


Wondering what prankster would sign in that way, or what visitor thought of himself as President Bartlet, I asked Godden’s staff: “Who did Council Member Godden meet with at 4:20 yesterday?”

A: Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis.

(What does that make Greg Nickels, Donnatella “Donna” Moss?)

Godden staffer Tom Van Bronkhorst wouldn’t say, however, what the meeting w/ President Bartlet was about.

Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis

Mayor Greg Nickels

Missed This

posted by on March 16 at 3:25 PM

Given all the Slog talk about newspapers this week, thought I’d post a bit of newspaper news that I missed yetserday: The McClatchy Company says it will be holding on to its new 49.5 percent share of The Seattle Times Company, for now.

Sexy Jim Bennett

posted by on March 16 at 3:12 PM

EDITOR: I wondered how your Seattle’s Sexiest people got to be named that? There is no information about how to submit someone, or who decided this, or ??? that I could see on your site. I just turned 40 and recently lost 140 lbs. Here’s my photo…
Jim Bennett, Marysville Jim

Jim—Good work! You are damn sexy for a gray-hair (Joke! Stop spitting Ensure at me, old people!). The Stranger’s Seattle’s Sexiest issue happens near Valentine’s Day every year. People send in nominations and the paper’s carefully-chosen panel of critics, tastemakers, and shallow, callous assholes decides who makes the cut. You can nominate yourself next January. I don’t think Marysville is quite Seattle, though.
Amy Kate Horn

RIP Catwalk Club

posted by on March 16 at 2:19 PM

When I was in high school all my coolest, dark-edged, drinking-aged friends partied at the Catwalk Club on weekends. When I turned 21, the place had Windexed its image a bit and lost some of its bloodstains, but the club was still a good place to dance in Pioneer Square (even the best place to dance in the city) away from meatheads and cheerleaders and thugs. The music was always dark and loud and patrons—fetishists, cyber-punks, industrial goths, naughty girl-elves, gender-benders, duct-taped nightmare boys, friendly dancing fiends—dressed way up to get past the strict bouncer at the door.

The same owner opened a cute Mediterranean kitchen (172) on street level in 2001 and I washed my hands of khaki dust from my corporate job with spicy puttanesca lunches.

The last time I went to the Catwalk a guns-drawn standoff blocked my way to the entrance, and my beloved basement had morphed into unfamiliar with to-bright lights and cheap, ’70s pop-disco decorations dangling from the walls. Now it looks like the Heavens Nightclub is set to open in its place.

Ye olde Seagoths, delivering mail now, leading book clubs, cheering for your kids’ soccer moves: Pause and mourn what once was our heathen paradise… and make way for this new set of sinning imps.


posted by on March 16 at 12:52 PM

When President Bush was informed of Claude A. Allen’s string of petty crimes, one which is featured in this week’s Police Beat, he was shocked, sad, and disappointed. The Republican Party’s answer to Barack Obama, Allen was destined to rise above Justice Clarence Thomas, whose name will be forever linked with the image of pubic hair on a Coke can. None of that from immaculate Allen. Born poor to the bone, Allen made it to the top by sticking to the rules, working damn hard, fearing God, and obeying the orders of his betters (Jesse Helms,Dick Cheney, Karl Rove). The Republican Party was only moments away from finally getting a black conservative whose political position was all the way to the right (which Powell failed to do), who had a wholesome family (which Rice’s womb failed to produce), and whose name didn’t popup images of soda cans with pubic hairs on them. Then the whole world discovered that Allen habitually stole merchandise from, of all places, trashy Target. Indeed, what a disappointment. Another right brother goes down hard. But what white Republicans should get into their heads is that mental health cannot be sustained in the head of a black Republican. In the head of a white American, yes; the head of a black American, no way. Why? Because the Republican Party is no longer the business party in the traditional sense. If that were the case, if the Republican Party reverted to its initial platform, then blacks could enter its ranks without paying the price of their mental health. The substance of the black brain can subsist on the idea that business is business. What the Republican Party is about, however, is morality—not (overtly) business or even ethics (morality and ethics are two different things: the first has to with the individual, the second with society, and one could say that Republicans are about morality whereas Democrats are about ethics). My point is, black Republicans are just plain crazy, and there is no way around that.

Does This Outrage You?

posted by on March 16 at 12:19 PM

Those bags of baby carrots at the grocery store are not in fact miniature carrots, but a certain tender, larger variety that are washed, whittled, and polished into their “mini-carrot” shape. That’s why they turn dry and white when exposed to air—no protective skin. (Thanks, O magazine.)

In a Word, Asshat

posted by on March 16 at 12:15 PM

Yesterday I noted a new Pew Research poll showing that people’s favorite one-word description of Bush is now “incompetent.” Then I asked Slog readers for their favorite one-word descriptions of Bush.

We got a ton of responses, from “ballwasher” to “asshat.” And today, Americablog has the same idea and is asking its readers for their favorite one-word Bush descriptions. Among the adjectives that Americablog readers have come up with and ours haven’t: “cokehead” and “fuckwit.”

Slog readers, how did you ever forget “fuckwit”? I herewith give you a chance to continue the Bush descriptor brainstorming…

Forbidden Love

posted by on March 16 at 11:42 AM

Last Sunday, and then again today, I was reading ANOTHER story about teacher-student sex, and it made me wonder: Is it more common now and that’s why it’s all over the papers or has it always been happening and we just didn’t hear about it?

My husband commented that his high-school girlfriend married one of their teachers, and another friend married her teacher the second she graduated. (Probably a mistake on her part since the guy will still be surrounded by teenage girls all day.)

Are we just more sensitive to it now? Are students more sexually advanced than before? Has Mary Kay Letourneau ruined it for everyone? Is it only now being seen as predatory? Discuss.

The Cops Are Coming

posted by on March 16 at 11:34 AM

Local band the Cops are slogging for the Stranger as they tour their way towards SXSW. Look for their first entry later today and read about their encounters in L.A. with current major-label poster children the Lashes, a reunion with previous touring mates the Hold Steady, and the olfactory evolution of their van’s environment…

SXSW Observations, Day 1

posted by on March 16 at 11:30 AM

— Ran into Alan McGee of Creation Records/Biff Bang Pow! fame. He looked terribly out of place and Dickensian in Austin with his expensive wool navy trenchcoat, bald pate, and translucently white Scottish skin. He’s managing Mogwai now. It’s something of a comedown after running one of the most influential and excellent indie-rock labels ever, but he seems to be enjoying it. Do yourself a favor and listen to this all-time pop classic: “There Must Be A Better Life.”

—Tried to see Jose Gonzalez at Eternal Nightclub; was turned away because I had a record bag. “No bags,” said the security dude, “unless you’re a photographer.” “How about if you’re a journalist?” I replied. “No.” WTF? Are pens now dangerous weapons?

—Walking around Austin during SXSW, it becomes apparent that rock—be it indie or major label—quickly assumes the character of Muzak. It’s everywhere and most of it blends into the background with a peppy, gray-beige innocuousness. It’s telling when watching the SXSW crowds is far more interesting than 97 percent of the artists playing the fest.

—Cleverest street vendor name: The Best Wurst.

—Cleverest sticker seen on a portable toilet:
songs that don’t suck

—Norwegian quintet Serena Maneesh really love Loveless by My Bloody Valentine. Although obviously in thrall to that shoegazer masterpiece, SM do the legacy justice, and they all look fantastically fuckable (except for the violinist). They play Seattle March 25 and their album drops in late May on Matador. Start salivating now.

—Cleverest T-shirt slogan spotted: I LOOK BETTER ONLINE

Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster resurrected psychotic gothabilly with a druggy danger. The vocalist roamed throughout the Flamingo Cantina club and had the gall to bump into a patron, who in turn spilled her drink on my notepad and track jacket. You see how I suffer for you?

—At Parrish, Art Brut’s singer actually sings, “Unfortunately, this is my singing voice.” He wears an ironic mustache, an ironic suit and tie, and starts every song, “Ready Art Brut?” He’s in the tradition of great British frontmen like the Fall’s Mark E. Smith, Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, and whoever sang for Half Man Half Biscuit—too hyper-aware by half and deconstructing his words as they tumble out of his rotten-toofed mouf. It’s funny for about 20 minutes, cloying for any longer. The music is angular, Fall-like post-punk with choons you can whistle instantly.

—At GoGoGoAirheart’s gig, there was a guy dressed all in red and wearing a mustache. I don’t think any of it was ironic.

Democrats in Eastern Washington?

posted by on March 16 at 11:20 AM

A reader in the Slog comments asks: “Is there anything we can do in Eastern Washington?”

I ran into Democratic state party chair Dwight Pelz last night, and he was talking up Peter Goldmark, a rancher in Okanogan county who he’s lined up to challenge first term GOP Rep. Cathy McMorris in Eastern Washington’s 5th U.S. congressional district. Goldmark agreed to run this weekend.

“The news is, I’ve got someone to run in the 5th!” Pelz said when I asked him what he was working on these days as the new chair.

Former Democratic Speaker of the House Tom Foley hailed from this very turf, so yes, it’s possible to elect a Democrat in the 5th. Foley was run out in the GOP Revolution in ‘94. Pelz says McMorris is a consistent vote for Bush and the race in the 5th will be a bellwether check on how the Country feels about President Bush. Words that could come back to haunt Pelz.

Or will there be a 2006 Democratic revolution?

Asked how much money Goldmark would need to raise (McMorris has $350,000 on hand), Pelz said he wasn’t ready to talk about that.

How to Preserve a Newspaper

posted by on March 16 at 11:10 AM

I finally got around to framing the November 2004 Urban Archipelago issue and now I’m watching it yellow slowly. I wish I’d found these instructions a few months ago.

A Little Public Grooming With Your Popcorn

posted by on March 16 at 10:36 AM

Evidently movie theaters don’t have enough of a problem attracting customers. According to this report from Movie City News scribbler Gary Dretzka, a new concession stand product was unveiled this week at the annual ShoWest industry convention in Las Vegas: dental floss.

The single most intriguing new concession item was StaiNo’s Floss ‘N’ Toss, which qualifies as one of those why-didn’t-I-think-of-it ideas. The product is sold in the same vending machines that typically dispense plastic capsules filled with cheap trinkets and candy. The company simply has crammed its retail dental floss device into the bubbles, in hopes of attracting consumers who enjoy a good floss after their popcorn. Each 50-cent capsule contains four flossers, which, one hopes, will be disposed of in an empty popcorn box or napkins, instead of being thrown on the floor with the uneaten nachos.

Commercials, ringing cellphones, rude moviegoers jabbering—and now public flossing? Can disposable nail clippers be far behind? No wonder the DVD industry is booming.

Darcy Burner Love

posted by on March 16 at 10:22 AM

Over at HorsesAss, Goldy suggests that I have a crush on Darcy Burner and warns that she has a husband.

(Confidential to Goldy: What with me being a homo and all, I don’t think Mr. Burner has much to worry about. I will admit, however, to loving Darcy’s power suits and pearls.)

Goldy goes on to say that a lot of people are becoming infatuated with Burner lately—or, at least, with her candidacy. And he echoes The Stranger’s excitement about her:

This is a seat the Democrats must win — a blue district in a blue state — if they’re to have any hope of regaining control of the House. And as The Stranger makes clear, the Democrats have the strategy, the circumstances, and the candidate to do it.

Re: Dumb Disses Dumber

posted by on March 16 at 9:59 AM

I wrote last week about how Roman Richards, founder of an excavation company in Everett, snubbed an invitation to the same dinner in D.C.

So if neither a blue-collar construction guy nor a pop tart like Jessica Simpson is going to dine with Bush, then who will?

Straight Rights Update

posted by on March 16 at 9:52 AM

Via Americablog: Fresh from its victory over abortion rights in South Dakota, the GOP is nowattacking birth control in Missouri:

Yesterday, during debate on HB1010, the budget for the Departments of Health and Mental Health, House Republicans voted to ban county health clinics from providing family planning services.

So the GOP has finally come clean that they are opposed to contraception. They used to argue that they opposed family planning because Planned Parenthood played a role. But now the GOP has targeted family planning provided by the county health clinics. Their action is a direct attack on women’s access to traditional family planning services.

When are straight people going to wake up and smell the Holy Water? The right wing isn’t just waging war on the sexual freedom of gay people—they’re after your asses too, from banning the over-the-counter sale of Plan B to blocking the HPV vaccine (which will save thousands of women’s lives every year) to banning abortion services (not something that gay people have much use for) to criminalizing heavy petting in Kansas.

Don’t just sit there, breeders. Sooner or later you’re going to have to start fighting back.

Missing Me

posted by on March 16 at 9:47 AM

Tonight I will be reading (not fiction) at this venue, Oseao Gallery, at 7:45 pm with two excellent writers, Anna Maria Hong and Matt Briggs. To get more information about the event you can go here (Matt Brigg’s blog) and here (Seattle Times), but not here (The Stranger). For reasons that are far beyond me, this paper has consistently refused to inform its readers of my readings. (Even my event last night at the Screenwriters Salon was not noted in this paper.) And then there is the Seattle Weekly. It mentioned the Oseao Gallery reading but didn’t mention my name. Brian Miller writes: “Poet Anna Maria Hong and novelist Matt Briggs (Shoot the Buffalo) are featured.” Featured! There is only one other person left after Briggs and Hong. You people are such the weasels. Anyway, come to the reading if you can. I will be there.

“The Pony Hidden in Slavery”

posted by on March 16 at 9:47 AM

It’s the new catchphrase that’s sweeping the nation—according to Wonkette. Read it and weep.

Dumb Disses Dumber

posted by on March 16 at 9:34 AM

After a year marked by aesthetic crimes against humanity and heartbreak, today Jessica Simpson will transport herself to Washington DC, where the talent-free celebrity divorcee will lobby Congress on behalf of Operation Smile, described by Reuters as “a non-profit venture offering free plastic surgery for disadvantaged children overseas with facial deformities.”

But there’s one thing Simpson won’t be doing: meeting with President Bush. After initially accepting an invitation to a gala fund-raiser of the National Republican Congressional Committee, where Dubya is the guest of honor, Simpson soon recanted, claiming she doesn’t want to “politicize” the cleft-palate-correcting charity.

Hurrah for Jessica SImpson for standing up for what she believes in, or at least heeding her father’s advice about not jeopardizing her career profits. Still, it’s kinda sad Jessica won’t get to hear all about Dubya’s beloved rug.

(Full “Jessica snubs Bush” story here.)

Driving Votes: This Year a 15-minute Commute

posted by on March 16 at 9:15 AM

This week’s Stranger includes my long profile of Darcy Burner, the Democrats’ promising candidate for Congress on the eastside. I wasn’t able to fit everything I wanted to say about Burner into the paper edition, so following the lead of Mr. Mudede, I’m going to post some extras on the Slog today and tomorrow.

The reason I bring up Driving Votes in the headline of this post is to remind liberals of all the effort they went to in 2004 to help tilt swing states in favor of the Democrats. As I say in my piece:

While the 2004 presidential election was about the swing state, this fall’s congressional elections will be all about the swing district, and Burner, a former Microsoft executive, is running in Washington’s swing district par excellance, the 8th Congressional District… Democrats need to wrestle 15 seats from Republicans in order to take back the House, and it’s in places like the 8th District that they plan to do it.

The 8th, for those who don’t have congressional district maps seared into their brains, is just a short drive from Seattle, covering the Eastside from Duvall in the north to Mt. Rainier National Park in the south. So, attention veterans of Driving Votes, the Swing State Project, and other similar efforts:

During the 2004 presidential election, many Washington Democrats… flew on their own dime from safely blue Washington to volunteer in contested swing states like Ohio and Iowa. Their “Will Travel for a Win” attitude sprung from a recognition that national elections, be they for control of Congress or the presidency, turn on outcomes in relatively few locales. This year, however, Democrats in the deep blue cities of Western Washington don’t have to go all the way to Iowa or Ohio. To be a part of halting the Bush agenda, they simply have to drive 15 minutes across Lake Washington.

That said, where are this year’s “Will Travel for a Win” efforts? If winning back Congress is the top Democratic priority this year, why aren’t liberals in Seattle holding fundraising concerts for Burner and preparing caravans of volunteers to head to the eastside to help her defeat Republican Congressman Dave Reichert? Why aren’t people as excited about tilting the 8th from red to blue as they were about trying to tilt Ohio?

Each day gets more depressing

posted by on March 16 at 9:08 AM

Via Kansas City:

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House voted Wednesday to ban state funding of contraceptives for low-income women and to prohibit state-funded programs from referring those women to other programs.
…the proposal’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Susan Phillips of Kansas City, said contraceptive services were an inappropriate use of tax dollars. “If doctors want to give contraception privately or personally, they can,” Phillips said. “But we don’t need to pay for contraception with taxpayer funds.”

On the bright side, Rep. Susan Phillips does probably endorse using taxpayer funds to sew impoverished women’s vaginas shut until marriage, thereby circumventing the need for contraceptives. She isn’t a complete monster.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Tebelius Still Silent.

posted by on March 15 at 5:25 PM

I just got another press release from GOP State Party Chair Diane Tebelius. It was titled: “Censure Watch Day 3. Cantwell Still Silent.”

Since I called Tebelius yesterday to challenge the premise of her original press release (see my Slog post earlier today, which ended up getting linked at!), and since Tebelius has yet to call me back: I’m starting “Inaccurate Press Release Watch Day 2. Tebelieus Still Silent.”

I called her assistant again today, and he said she was getting on a plane, but he’d have her call me.

Which Douchebag is Which

posted by on March 15 at 5:18 PM

In this “Douchebag of the Day” entry on Wonkette, it’s hard to tell who is the bigger douchebag — the obsequious plastic surgery victim passing for a newscaster or Pierce Bush, W.’s smug asswipe of a nephew.

Don’t Call Me, Alma Mater

posted by on March 15 at 3:56 PM

To the alumni association fundraisers from the University of Illinois who call me twice a year to see if I might want to write a check: Don’t bother calling now, dickwads, because I am never sending a check to the U of I—not after this bullshit.

An editor who chose to publish caricatures of Prophet Mohammed in the University of Illinois’ student-run newspaper last month has been fired, the paper’s publisher announced Tuesday. Acton H. Gorton was suspended, with pay, from The Daily Illini days after the Feb. 9 publication of the cartoons, which sparked Muslim protests around the world after they first appeared in a Danish newspaper….

The Illini Media Co. board of directors, which comprises students and faculty, voted unanimously to fire the editor after a review “found that Gorton violated Daily Illini policies about thoughtful discussion of and preparation for the publication of inflammatory material,” according to a statement.

Gorton has said he sought out advice from The Daily Illini’s former editor-in-chief and others before deciding to run the cartoons. He has said that accusations he tried to hide his decision were wrong.

On Tuesday, he called his firing a blow against free speech on college campuses….

The paper’s opinions page editor, Chuck Prochaska, also was suspended for his role in publishing the cartoons. He declined to be reinstated, the board said.

Prochaska said he and Gorton moved quickly to publish the cartoons because they were newsworthy.

“We had a news story on our hands, with violence erupting about imagery, but you can’t show it because of a taboo, because of a taboo that’s not a Western taboo but a Muslim taboo?” he said. “That’s a blow to journalism.”

The very first op-ed I ever wrote appeared in the Daily Illini. It was about the gays—it was pro—and it pissed people off. At the time you could even call it “inflammatory material.” Newspapers publish inflammatory material all the time. Gorton should be reinstated and the Daily Illini’s board should be slapped, then fired, then slapped again.

“Oh my goodness!”

posted by on March 15 at 3:27 PM

Via Seattlest: According to a KIRO 7 Eyewitness News report, students at Western Washington University were “stunned” to learn of the arrest of a fellow student, an arrest that “sent shockwaves throughout this campus.” Some students were so stunned by these shockwaves that they ran screaming through the streets of Bellingham—bare-ass naked. You can watch the video here.

Based on the reaction of the TV reporter—the lovely and clueless Dawn Scott—I’m guessing she’s never seen a man’s ass before. Goodness had nothing to do with it, Dawn.

Ignorance Remains Bliss

posted by on March 15 at 3:08 PM

From Drudge:

The Pew Research Center recently updated a question about happiness that the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago has been asking since 1972.

In every asking of the question, ROLL CALL reports, Republicans have been happier than Democrats.

Republicans tend to be better off than Democrats, and that is one explanation for the happiness gap. But when the researchers controlled for household income, Republicans at all income levels were happier than Democrats at those same income levels.

Tell Murray & Cantwell to Support Feingold

posted by on March 15 at 3:00 PM

This is an email I received from a comrade:

To all my friends, Tired of weak-kneed Democrats letting the Bush crime family walk all over them? Well, you might not be able to change that, but you CAN a least say you tried.

Call Senators Murray and Cantwell and tell them to stand behind Russ Feingolds call to Censure Bush for illegally spying on us. I just did it and it only takes 30 seconds and it’s free!

Senator Patty Murray
District Office:
Seattle: 206-553-5545

Senator Maria Cantwell
District Office:
Seattle: 206-220-6400

We all know that this criminal should be Impeached. So why are the Democrats running from Feingolds call for Censure? They think it’s slick politics not let the Republicans make them look weak on terror. But this has nothing to do with fighting terror. This is about holding Bush accountable for breaking the law. The Congresses #1 job is to protect and defend the Constitution. Shame on any Democrat that shirks this responsibility. Wag the finger at your Senators, call now.

Views from Rebuilt Viaduct Would be Blank Wall Panoramic

posted by on March 15 at 2:54 PM

Yesterday’s Seattle Times reported that a rebuilt viaduct (one of two viaduct replacement options that will likely go on the ballot this November) would be “a blank wall,” citing deputy mayor Tim Ceis’s pro-tunnel presentation to the city council Monday afternoon. “Views would be gone for cars,” Ceis said at the presentation. “People counting on views would be out of luck. … I think that’s something the public doesn’t realize.” Ceis’s diatribe, which followed Nickels’s podium-pounding pro-tunnel State of the City address last week, was the second public volley in what promises to be a rancorous anti-rebuild campaign from the mayor’s office.

But was it accurate? State Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson (D-36), who supports the cheaper rebuild, says Ceis doesn’t have his facts straight. Views from a rebuilt viaduct, she says, “would be just like the [520 and I-90] floating bridges” - obstructed by a 32-inch barricade, but visible from most vehicles, including cars. Ron Paananen, the state’s viaduct project manager, says the new railing would actually be about four inches shorter than the existing barricade, although it, like all modern railings, would be solid concrete. “I think most people would be able to look over it,” Paananen says. “I think the best way for people to get a feel for what it would look like would be to drive over the floating bridges” across Lake Washington, he adds.

The mayor has a problem: He’s still at least $1 billion short of the money needed to pay for the “full” tunnel (which still dumps six lanes of traffic into the north end of Pike Place Market), with no additional state money in sight. Current funds are enough to pay for the rebuild, making it an appealing option in an era of rampant cost overruns.

State legislation passed earlier this month set a January 1, 2007 deadline for Nickels to come up with a funding package and instructed the city to put just two options on November’s ballot - the tunnel and the aerial rebuild. Both Ceis and state transportation secretary Doug MacDonald were adamant at Monday’s meeting that the legislation only “allows” the city to consider those two alternatives. But others, including city council member Peter Steinbrueck, want to include a third, no-rebuild alternative on the ballot. Steinbrueck was livid at the implication that the state could dictate the contents of a city ballot measure. “Is this the beginning of a new trend — legislators dictating what municipalities can put on the ballot? They cannot tell us what to do,” Steinbrueck said. “We can ask our citizens for advice on anything we want.”

It’s Hard Out Here for a Publicist

posted by on March 15 at 2:12 PM

And I don’t want to make fun of anyone who’s just trying to do their job and makes a small error, but just now I got a note from a publicist for this book about Darwin (which actually looks interesting, is written by a local author, and has maps and pleasant drawings of birds in it) that says: “Seattle author Lyanda Lynn Haupt has a reading on March 24th at Elliot Bay. Any chance Seattle Weekly may run coverage on Lyanda or the book in advance of the event? Thanks for your help!”

Funny. Although it’s not quite as funny as a letter I once got from a Sarabande Books publicist that said, “[Author] Brian Leung requested that I contact you regarding a reading he is doing on Sunday, June 5th and 3:00 p.m. I would really appreciate it if you would consider listing the event in NW Asian Weekly.” That letter is still hanging on my wall. It has faded with age.

Busby Berkeley Dreams, Part 1

posted by on March 15 at 1:48 PM

After weeks of waiting, yesterday brought an advance copy of the glorious new Busby Berkeley DVD box set to my desk. I’ll be writing more about the films in the set—including the miraculous Gold Diggers of 1933—in next week’s DVD column.

Today I’m concerned with a relatively minor component of Gold Diggers… and other films of the era: the use of adult little people to portray babies and children.

The prime example comes from the aforementioned Gold Diggers film: During the vast, glorious “Petting in the Park” musical number, a cute little baby sits up in his stroller, gives an adorable baby smile, then leaps to the ground and begins roller skating. It’s an amazing moment, followed by a string of equally delightful/far creepier moments, such as when the “baby” starts giving horny winks to the camera. (RIP, Billy Barty.)

Granted, casting little people as babies is a little crude, but so is casting Elisabeth Shue as an anal-rape victim. Hollywood’s not in the business of bestowing dignity, and considering what we’ve learned about the eternal mind-fuck of child stardom, casting little adults as little kids makes plenty of sense.

Not only is it amazingly entertaining to watch a “baby” roller skate, smoke a cigar, and gaze lasciviously up a lady’s skirt, Home Alone would’ve been at least 10,000 times funnier with a face-slapping dwarf in the lead.

Abortion Lit

posted by on March 15 at 1:30 PM

All this talk about DIY abortions recalls me of Waterland by Graham Swift. I haven’t read it in years, but I vividly remember the abortion scene (in an old woman’s cabin, on a fen, involving herbs and sucking on a straw—and madness, death, and guilt). It’s a sad book, but it’s not partisan about abortion. I’m going to get another copy of the novel. I suggest you do the same, especially if you care anything at all about budding heterosexuality, young pregnancy, and the moral dilemmas they create.

And while we’re at it, how about Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants”? It’s a heartbreaking sketch of a young American couple in Catalonia, drinking in a train station bar, on their way to an abortion in Madrid. (“‘It’s really not anything. It’s just to let the air in.’ The girl did not say anything.”) They think the abortion will restore something they’ve lost. Of course, they’re wrong.

“And if I do it you’ll be happy and things will be like they were and you’ll love me?”
“I love you now. You know I love you.”
“I know. But if I do it, then it will be nice again if I say things are like white elephants, and you’ll like it?”

How many young American couples have a variation of that conversation this week alone?

Any other lit suggestions for the policymakers?

Speaking of One-Word Descriptions

posted by on March 15 at 1:26 PM

According to Pew Research the new favorite one-word description of Bush is “incompetent.”

What’s your favorite one-word description of our president?

Poetry Lives Again!

posted by on March 15 at 1:22 PM

Billy Corgan injects fresh life into the morbid body of poetry with his new collection blinking with fists. Here, open your mouth and have a taste of vitality:

the follies of summer

Quicksand, ocean sky
Wondering, don’t ask me why or how we got here
We just did
The most eternal sun-drenched kiss is locked in my mind as
something I won’t miss
Or even try to remember
Summer and come and gone so many times I’ve lost count
Endless, nameless, marked by time as nothing special
But the warmth is here, you see
In darling soliloquy
Hidden in costume and fine-boned prose
Under canopies or sheltered light and life
Summer is here and it is all mine

Billy is presently working on a novel that will put to shame The Hottest State.

Bush Falls to 33%

posted by on March 15 at 1:18 PM

The latest Pew Research poll finds Bush’s approval rating at 33 percent, down seven points from last month. And this, spotted by the folks over at Kos, seems quite significant:

Bush’s personal image also has weakened noticeably, which is reflected in people’s one-word descriptions of the president. Honesty had been the single trait most closely associated with Bush, but in the current survey “incompetent” is the descriptor used most frequently.

Say what you will about the Democrats’ skills at messaging, but stunts like this do seem to be paying off:


To Be Human Is To Be Lazy

posted by on March 15 at 12:57 PM

In response to President Hu Jintao’s fourth virtue for China’s men and women (“Work hard; don’t be lazy and hate work”), I offer this startling passage from a famous book by the Hegelian philosopher Kojeve:

An animal at liberty is never lazy, for if it were, it would die of hunger or not propagate. Man can be lazy only at work, precisely because work, properly so-called, corresponds to no vital necessity….Work is always a ‘forced’ work. Man must force himself to work, he must do violence to his ‘nature.’ And, at least at the beginning, it is another who forces him to it and thus does him violence.

Death to Child Rapists

posted by on March 15 at 12:04 PM

I’m generally against the death penalty, but there are folks out there that I would happily execute myself. Reuters reports on the bust of a child porn ring:

U.S. and Canadian law enforcement officials said on Wednesday they had cracked an international pornography ring that featured live molestations of children streamed over the Internet…. Authorities have identified seven child victims, including an infant whose molestation in April by a suburban Chicago man was transmitted live via an Internet chat room to a co-conspirator who used the screen name “Big_Daddy619.”

Holy Christ.

Re: DIY Abortion

posted by on March 15 at 12:02 PM

Dan, Annie, don’t even get me started. Well, I guess I have.

Before I entered the music industry, I worked at Planned Parenthood as a clinical researcher and counselor for four years. The number of calls I took from women in the mid-’90s asking about the proper dosage of pennyroyal tea horrified me (sorry gals, there is none—it’s generally ineffective and frequently toxic). However, I was always sympathetic and news like this makes me want to simultaneously vomit, cry, and abandon my post as a music journalist, as melodramatic as that may sound.

I am on the board of directors for a remarkable local organization that far too few people know about called C.A.I.R. We provide funding for women who need abortions, which includes helping women outside of Washington state obtain safe and (as of now) legal abortions. We can’t help everyone, but thankfully, we are not entirely alone. There are a number of non-profits that assist women with not only medical costs, but transportation and lodging expenses—essential funds for women living in anti-choice states. Women living in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon should contact the C.A.I.R. Project directly at (888) 644-CAIR (we are available 24 hours a day). Women outside the northwest should reach out to the National Network of Abortion Funds.

Speaking frankly (and not on behalf of the C.A.I.R. board), I don’t want to see the necessity for a D.I.Y. abortion network to evolve, but I am starting to fear it may be inevitable. Should it come to that, I’ll do everything I can to support it, as frightening as that prospect may be.

New World, Old Squabbles

posted by on March 15 at 11:52 AM

Check out this hilarious thread on NYT DVD critic Dave Kehr’s web site, in which local curmudgeon NP Thompson gets himself banned from the public sphere on account of his snarling love for Malick’s The New World.

It’s also good for exposing some of Kehr’s own critical biases in plain terms. (He’s a New Critic, yo.)

Eight Honours, Eight Disgraces

posted by on March 15 at 11:46 AM

The leader of the global economy, China’s Hu Jintao, has just posted “eight honours, eight disgraces” for the hoi polloi:

1) Love, do not harm the motherland.
2)Serve, don’t disserve the people.
3)Uphold science; don’t be ignorant & unenlightened.
4)Work hard; don’t be lazy and hate work.
5)Be united and help each other; don’t gain benefits at the expense of others.
6)Be honest and trustworthy, not profit-mongering at the expense of your values.
7)Be disciplined and law-abiding instead of chaotic and lawless.
8)Know plain living and hard struggle, do not wallow in luxuries and pleasures.

Political Bro-Down

posted by on March 15 at 11:38 AM

Presidential hopeful John McCain will be in town next week to raise money with local Senate hopeful Mike McGavick. What brings these two guys together for a night of mutual reassurance? Two formidable women: Hillary and Maria.

Blissin’ & Pissin’

posted by on March 15 at 11:27 AM

On a flight to Austin (where I’m attending the SXSW music fest), I read an interview with film director David Lynch in United Hemispheres. In it he extols the bliss-inducing, stress-relieving, and intellect-enhancing powers of Transcendental Meditation (TM).

“This is so powerful,” Lynch gushes. “This bliss is physical, emotional, spiritual happiness. It gives a thrill of fulfillment and energy. This causes negativity to go like sunlight causes darkness to go.”

For Lynch, all it takes is 20 minutes in the morning and 20 more at night to attain this state of contentment and mental clarity. By the way, Lynch also admits to drinking 20 cups of coffee a day. Between all that blissin’ and pissin’, how does he find time to direct? Maybe that’s why his films take so long to complete…

Local Pharmacists Want Permission to Refuse Plan B Prescriptions

posted by on March 15 at 11:22 AM

Check out this KOMO story, about the state pharmacy board considering a proposal that would permit pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for Plan B. (Thanks to AMERICAblog for the link.)

[S]ome pharmacists are stepping up and saying they won’t fill prescriptions on moral grounds.

Note to KOMO: Whiny right-wing pharmacists are not “stepping up” to fulfill perceived moral obligations. They’re stepping down from their professional responsibilities. They should be fired, not mollycoddled.

If you want a local pharmacist who’ll step up to his/her duties, check out Princeton University’s emergency contraception access list, complete with a special symbol for Washington State pharmacists who can dispense Plan B without a doctor’s prescription.


posted by on March 15 at 11:19 AM

Mayonnaise kills lice!

Lice can be killed quickly, easily, cheaply and safely with mayonnaise. Simply get a new jar of mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip) from your kitchen shelf or at the grocery store. (Don’t grab one from the refrigerator, as it will be way too cold.) Grab a handful (or several) and cover all of you child’s hair, being sure to get behind the ears and down the neck a little. You can cover this with a plastic shower cap to keep the mayonnaise from dripping or getting onto your furniture. Leave the mayonnaise on for two hours to smother the lice and developed eggs. Then, remove the shower cap and throw it away, and shampoo the hair thoroughly. It may take two or more shampoos to get the hair clean.

Oh mayonnaise… Belle and Sebastian can’t do that!

One Good Thing about the Alito Appointment

posted by on March 15 at 10:57 AM

Sandra Day O’Connor gets to speak her mind.


posted by on March 15 at 10:50 AM

The band name Belle and Sebastian is taken from a series of children’s books (and a cartoon) of the same name by French author Cecile Aubrey. Singer Stuart Murdoch chose the name sort of randomly, and then tried to get official permission to use it. As he explains in Belle and Sebastian: Just a Modern Rock Story: “I wrote to quite a lot of people. I found out that they’d made it into a cartoon and that the cartoon was owned by Viacom, so I wrote to a man there. It’s quite annoying, ‘cause you try to do all that stuff, and nobody ever wrote back, and…it wasn’t until three years later when The Boy With the Arab Strap was released in France that Madame Aubrey bothered, and she wasn’t fine with it at all, she didn’t want us to use the name, and it was only after we went to Paris to meet her that she grudgingly let us carry on. And it was only because she liked us… At first she was determined not to let us use it, but she grudgingly let us use it in the end. She was really quite nice, quite a glamorous older lady, there was something quite Mrs. Robinson about her.”

[This has been a Belle and Sebastian Fact of the Day. B&S play March 25 at the Paramount.]

DIY Abortion

posted by on March 15 at 10:37 AM

A feminist blogger has posted do-it-yourself instructions so that the women of South Dakota can perform their own abortions.

An abortion, especially for an early pregnancy, is a relatively easy procedure to perform. And while I know, women of South Dakota, that you never asked for this, now is the time to learn how it is done. There is no reason you should be beholden to doctors—especially in a state where doctors have been refusing to perform them, forcing the state’s only abortion clinic to fly doctors in from elsewhere.

The Seattle Times published this wire service story about the website yesterday. The DIY abortion posting went up on February 23, and the blogger, a 21 year-old Florida woman who goes by “Molly Saves the Day,” says she has received more than 700 emails about it—many of them from folks who are angry about her posting. Her response?

“If anyone has a problem with this and they don’t think non-doctors should perform medical procedures, there’s a simple way to guarantee that won’t happen: Make sure Roe v. Wade is not overturned,” she said.

The story is fascinating, and you should read the whole thing—particularly the stuff about a group called Jane that before Roe used to perform illegal abortions around the country. But what really jumped out at me about the piece was this quote:

Olivia Gans, an abortion opponent who now regrets her own 1981 abortion, said she finds it “terrifying that anyone could advocate creating a subculture in which this dangerous, potentially deadly practice would be performed.”

If anyone is responsible for “creating a subculture” that forces women who need abortions to opt for dangerous, potentially deadly illegal abortions it is Ms. Gans and her accomplices in the anti-choice movement. Doing away with abortion rights will not do away with abortion. It will only force desperate women to take desperate measures, up to and including performing their own abortions. It will most certainly result in formation of a new abortion underground, one modeled on the ones that existed before Roe. And while the 125 members of Jane educated women about abortion in secret (and ran clandestine medical clinics), in the Internet age information about performing abortions is going to be much easier to disseminate. As Molly says…

No textbooks or guides existed at that time to help [Jane], and the equipment was hard to find. This is no longer true. For under $2000, any person with the inclination to learn could create a fully functioning abortion setup allowing for both vacuum aspiration and dilation/curettage abortions. If you are careful and diligent, and have a good grasp of a woman’s anatomy you will not put anyone’s health or life in danger, even if you have not seen one of these procedures performed.

Whatever you think of DIY abortions (and I’m guessing most people who are pro-choice would be against it), Molly deserves praise for calling the bluff of the anti-choice movement. They want to frame the debate like this: Shall we have abortions in America or not? But that’s a false choice. The real question, what we really need to debate, is this: What kind of abortions are we going to have? Safe, legal, and rare? (And the only way to make abortion rarer in America is to make good sex ed and access to contraception less rare.) Or are we going to have unsafe, illegal, back-alley and/or DIY abortions? Legal abortions, performed by doctors? Or abortions performed by women who’ve only read about them on the web?

That’s the question we should be debating—legal and safe, illegal and potentially dangerous. And if Ms. Gans doesn’t like the idea of people performing their own abortions, or people who aren’t doctors performing abortions, then she’s on the wrong side of the abortion debate.

Oh, and those abortions performed by amateurs? Just how dangerous were those abortions? According to Molly, they weren’t as dangerous as you might think.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, when abortions were illegal in many places and expensive to get, an organization called Jane stepped up to the plate in the Chicago area. Jane initially hired an abortion doctor, but later they did the abortions themselves. They lost only one patient in 13,000—a lower death rate than that of giving live birth.

Diane Tebelius, The Washington Post, and Everyone We Know. (Or At Least 47% of Everyone We Know.)

posted by on March 15 at 12:45 AM

AmericaBlog spotted a curious moment in Wednesday’s Washington Post. John Aravosis at Americablog writes:

To wit, this lead sentence from tomorrow’s front-page Washington Post story on Senator Feingold’s censure resolution:
For months the Democrats have resisted calls from their liberal base to more aggressively challenge President Bush.
Calls from their “liberal base?” Really? Where did you get that from? Seriously. I want facts. How did the Washington Post determine that it was the “liberal base” of the Democratic party that has been the driving force calling for Dems to challenge President Bush?

Actual real-life surveys show that most Democrats, and most Independents, have had it with Bush. Not just liberal Democrats, but all Democrats, and even most Independents.

So, seriously, where did the Washington Post get the facts to justify the very first line of its front page story about Senator Feingold? Nowhere, that’s where.

They just made it up.

Close, John. But they didn’t just make it up. They got it straight from the GOP. (I know because I get the GOP’s press releases.)

Indeed, Aravosis’s take jumped out at me because for the past 2 days, Washington State’s new GOP Chair, Diane Tebelius, has been sending out press releases playing up the same angle the Washington Post is pushing.

Tebelius’s pitch is that Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold’s resolution to censure President Bush for his surveillance program is a “far left wing” position, and (here’s Tebelius’s local angle for this nationally-cultivated GOP talking point)—she wonders where Sen. Maria Cantwell stands on it.

Tebelius’s ploy is twofold. 1) She’s attempting to rein in growing anti-Bush sentiment by characterizing opposition to Bush policy as “far left wing.” (Good luck, in the latest CNN/ USA Today Gallup poll, released Monday, the percentage of people who approve of the President dropped to 36 percent, the lowest of his presidency). And 2) She’s going for a squeeze play on Cantwell—trying to force Cantwell to either alientate her Democratic base or be framed as out-of-the-mainstream.

I posted Tebelius’s first press release on Monday. This was a press release where Tebelius said Congress approved Bush’s surveillance program. (???) Sorry, but everyone from GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) to Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA.) called for an investigation into the program after the controversial program was outed by the NYT last December. Even more, GOP Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said “there is no doubt this is inappropriate.” He called Bush’s program “clearly and categorically wrong.” Republican Specter’s call for an investigation was seconded by another Republican in D.C., Congressman Rob Simmons (R-CT). Simmons is chairman of the House Homeland Security Intelligence Subcommittee.

More interesting, Tebelius’s press release cited a Washington Post poll that found a majority of Americans supported the program. However, in my post I asked if the Washington Post poll explained that Bush’s surveillance program violated existing law and did not have Congressional approval. (My diligent colleague Annie Wagner quickly followed up my post, by digging up and posting said Washington Post poll. Annie’s post answered my question: The poll did not present any relevant facts about Bush’s controversial surveillance program—like the fact that it breaks surveillance laws and did not get Congress’ blessing.)

Unfortunately, judging from the Washington Post article, Tebelius’s spin—part of a concerted national effort by the GOP to marginalize Democrats—seems to be working. Apparently, the Washington Post is getting the same GOP press releases I am—and adopting the GOP’s spin job.

FOOTNOTE: I called Tebelius’s office when her second press release arrived on Tuesday afternoon and asked her to justify using the Washington Post poll as evidence that opposition to Bush’s surveillance program was “far left” when the poll actually found that 47% of Americans opposed it (as did 55% of Independents). Is she saying that 47% of the country is far left? Is she saying that 55% of Independents are “far left”? I also asked her to explain why she relied on a poll that did not present all the relevant facts about the surveillance program. (I actually asked all of this of Tebelius’s assistant. He said she’d have to call me back. She was in Washington, D.C.)

I’ll report back when Tebelilus calls me to answer these questions.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

New Lacey Napkin Surfaces

posted by on March 14 at 6:35 PM

Village Voice Media’s executive editor, Michael Lacey, announced the firing of the Village Voice’s interim editor, Doug Simmons, via napkin. You can see the napkin here.

Today a Voice staffer emailed The Stranger a digital image of another of Lacey’s napkin communiquĂ©s. This napkin—or pair of napkins—was posted today in the Voice’s offices in Manhattan:


You can see a larger version of the napkin by clicking here. The new Lacey napkin reads:

I recently discovered that many of the young ladies who advertise in the back pages of the Voice actually have PENISES. They appear to be ladies until it’s too late.

Back in Arizona we had a name for ladies with penises: Seattle Weekly staffers. Here in New York we have a name for classifieds people who fail to explain to the new boss just what “Shemale” means: EX-Village Voice staffer. My shit’s packed, so start packing yours.

Three months in New York and already I’m a pansy. Guess Musto was right.


Trapped in the Closet

posted by on March 14 at 5:31 PM

Apropos of all the Scientology talk around here lately, if you haven’t seen the South Park episode “Trapped in the Closet,” you should. Paramount has agreed never to air the episode in the UK, and I imagine it won’t be airing around here again anytime soon, either.


See it on You Tube (requires registration) or Xenutv.

Science Is Some Cool Shit

posted by on March 14 at 5:15 PM

From the BBC:

The researchers injected the blind hamsters at the site of their injury with a solution containing synthetically made peptides - miniscule molecules measuring just five nanometres long.

Once inside the hamster’s brain, the peptides spontaneously arranged into a scaffold-like criss-cross of nanofibres, which bridged the gap between the severed nerves.

The scientists discovered that brain tissue in the hamsters knitted together across the molecular scaffold, while also preventing scar tissue from forming.

Importantly, the newly formed brain tissue enabled the brain nerves to re-grow, restoring vision in the injured hamsters.

“We made a cut, put the material in, and then we looked at the brain over different time points,” explained Dr Rutledge Ellis-Behnke, a neuroscientist at MIT and lead author on the paper.

“The first thing we saw was that the brain had started to heal itself in the first 24 hours. We had never seen that before - so that was very surprising.”

Battlefield: Mirth

posted by on March 14 at 3:52 PM

Given that the last few weeks have already contained enough anti-Scientology links to more than likely open the lawsuit floodgates on us, I feel compelled to point out that Russell Miller’s Barefaced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard, an astonishingly comprehensive recounting of The Great Man’s life, is available to read on the web, free of charge, after years of legal shenanigans. Trust me, compared with all the other stuff Hubbard allegedly accomplished in his time on earth, (Torpedoing suspicious Japanese logs off the coast of Oregon! Twice! Participating in a black mass orgy intended to spawn the Anti-Christ! Smuggling his underpants through Customs!) the whole Xenu volcano thing actually comes across as pretty logical. Favorite bit: the description of the Commodore’s Messenger Organization, an army of pubescent girls, clad in gold lanyards and hot pants, empowered by Hubbard to spit in his daughter’s face when she disobeyed. (pg. 301) I’m telling you, suddenly Ernst Stavro Blofeld seems tame.

The Best Bathroom Graffiti

posted by on March 14 at 3:46 PM

If Seling can throw out posts on the origin of mayonnaise and Frizzelle can regale us with Moby Dick Mad Libs, I figure it’s time I ask everyone about their most beloved bathroom graffiti sightings (present or past). I’ll start us off with this gem from the ladies’ room at the Pacific Inn:

The intial scrawl: “Jesus was a carpenter.”

And the subsequent response: “Jezebel was a whore. Long live Jezebel!”

Get Your Tickets for ‘Iraq in Fragments’

posted by on March 14 at 2:49 PM

Tickets for this year’s Arab and Iranian Film Festival have just gone on sale. You should snap up opening night tickets quick, not only because filmmaker James Longley is a local guy and his film won the cinematography and documentary awards at Sundance, but because Iraq in Fragments sounds like cinema’s answer to Anthony Shadid.

“An Analysis of the Forces Required to Drag Sheep Over Various Surfaces.”

posted by on March 14 at 2:38 PM

BBCNews highlights last year’s Ig Nobel winners—scholars whose academic research papers make “people laugh and then think.”

Such as: “Courtship Behaviour of Ostriches Towards Humans.”

Dr Paxton and three cohorts set about studying ostrich mating patterns, only to discover that, the creatures tended to direct their mating rituals at the researchers rather than their avian equals.

“It appeared to us the female ostriches were directing their sexual behaviour more to us,” says Mr Paxton, who is appearing on the current Ig Nobel tour.

I’m not sure what this is supposed to make me think about, but the mental images are pleasant.

Another star of this year’s tour is Claire Rind, of Newcastle University, who won a 2005 Ig Nobel for her work showing edited extracts of Star Wars to insects.

The reason? In research part-funded by car-maker Volvo, Dr Rind was trying to track whether locusts - whose neuro-circuitry have, apparently, been extensively mapped - could detect imminent collisions. What with all the battles between X-wing fighters and Tie fighters, there are lots of those in the original Star Wars.

“We were studying the responses of visual stimuli. We found locusts have dedicated nerve cells specifically to detect collisions,” says Dr Rind.

The trick for Volvo, now, will be to use the Star Wars research to design an artificial eye for its cars.

Fascinating! But it doesn’t quite beat “The Effect of Country Music on Suicide”

BREAKING: Local Republican Can’t Take it Anymore

posted by on March 14 at 12:50 PM

In another blow to the Washington State Republican Party’s efforts to moderate its image, Republican State Representative Rodney Tom of Bellevue is quitting the party and becoming a Democrat:

“I realized the far right has complete control of the party and for me to be effective for my constituents I need to be a Democrat,” Tom said.

He said being a Democrat is not only a better fit for the changing political demographic of the 48th Legislative District, but a more comfortable fit for his ideology, which includes support for legal abortion, gay rights and higher taxes for transportation.

As a newly-minted Democrat, Tom will be challenging Republican Luke Esser for his state senate seat in the 48th.

Etymology of the Booty Call

posted by on March 14 at 12:49 PM

Or, in the spirit of today’s Slog posts, Etymological Fact of the Day.

Last night I got into a conversation about the origins of “booty call.” I checked my favorite sources (the Online Etymological Dictionary and the online Oxford English Dictionary—free from the Seattle Public Library website!) and dredged up a varied collection of usages, definitions, and other cheap language-geek thrills. The marrow of the matter (including mentions of St. Augustine, the origins of “call girl,” and prison rape) follows the jump, but here’s the short version:

“Call” goes back to Old English, Old Norse, and Proto-Germanic, meaning “shout.”

“Booty,” as ass or genitals, goes back to (ethnographer, folklorist, and novelist) Zora Neale Hurston and her contemporaries.

So the “booty call” is a coupling between an African-American colloquialism for the tender bits and old Norse/Germanic for “shouting.” Say what you will about the richness of your Chinese dialects, the beauty of your Farsi and Icelandic, or the purity of your AcadĂ©mie Française—American English is the most fecund and cosmopolitan, and, yes, the sexiest language in the world.

Continue reading "Etymology of the Booty Call" »

Moby Dick Mad Lib

posted by on March 14 at 12:49 PM

You can get the first four chapters of Moby Dick in Mad Lib form here.

Call me [PROPER NOUN]. Some years ago—nevermind how long precisely—having little or no [NOUN] in my [NOUN], and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would [VERB] about a little and see the [ADJECTIVE] part of the world.

(Via Maud Newton.)

This Bitter Earth

posted by on March 14 at 11:46 AM

From CNN: “Miss Deaf Texas struck by train, killed

Soccer Nuts

posted by on March 14 at 11:45 AM

From Reuters (via of something called the Macon Daily):

BERLIN (Reuters) - The combination of nail-biting soccer matches and crowds of beer-swilling males could mean hefty profits for Germany’s sex industry.

It is deploying an army of prostitutes to satisfy the needs of libidinous fans during the month-long 2006 World Cup.

Some 1 million foreign visitors are expected to flood into Germany from June 9 and many expect large numbers of male spectators to wind down after a match in the arms of a prostitute or in the red light districts of the 12 host cities.

Hamburg’s St. Pauli quarter, the country’s largest and most famous red light district, is bubbling with optimism that it could be a bumper season for the legal sex industry.

In a related story, the city of Seattle is bracing for six months of chronic weeping and alcohol-induced erectile dysfunction as the Seattle Mariners begin their 2006 season.


posted by on March 14 at 11:33 AM

I don’t like Belle and Sebastian or Sisters of Mercy. But I wanna do a fact of the day too!

So, here’s the first installment of my “Fact of the Day” on something that’s just as good as Belle and Sebastian and Sisters of Mercy combined… Mayonnaise.

According to, Mayonnaise is believed to have been created by the chef of Louis François Armand du Plessis, duc de Richelieu in 1756, to celebrate the Duke’s victory over the British at the port of Mahon (the capital of Minorca in the Balearic Islands).



posted by on March 14 at 11:13 AM

Andrew Eldritch took “Sisters of Mercy” from a Leonard Cohen song of the same name when he and Gary Marx formed the band in 1980.

[Sisters of Mercy play Saturday, March 25, at the Premier, the same night as Belle and Sebastian.]

Brokeback High

posted by on March 14 at 11:05 AM

A heterosexual highschool student in West Linn, Oregon, was expelled—expelled!—for making a film for a class project that included a gay “snuggle” scene. has the details.


More, Please

posted by on March 14 at 10:51 AM

Here’s a talking point, via Sullivan, that the world could use a lot more of:

Senator, when you took your oath of office, you placed your hand on the Bible and swore to uphold the Constitution. You did not place your hand on the Constitution and swear to uphold the Bible.


posted by on March 14 at 10:26 AM

The sound that occurs about 17 seconds into track two (“Expectations”) on Belle and Sebastian’s first album (Tigermilk), which sounds almost like paper being torn, or two raw slices of bacon being separated, or someone peeing, is the sound of singer Stuart Murdoch unzipping the jumper he was wearing. As quoted in Belle and Sebastian: Just a Modern Rock Story, “I was standing on a chair, ready to sing, and I decided I’d be better with my jumper off.”

[*BASFOTD stands for Belle and Sebastian Fact of the Day. Every day until their concert at the Paramount on March 25, an illuminating fact about the band will be posted here on Slog.]

Domestic Abuse Done Right

posted by on March 14 at 10:24 AM

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A Mexican couple were recovering separately after a marital spat got out of control and saw them firing guns, throwing knives and hurling homemade bombs, Mexican daily Milenio said on Monday.

… Juan Espinosa and Irma Contreras fought until their house blew up in a homemade gasoline bomb explosion, Milenio said.

Espinosa told reporters he was glad his wife had suffered burns, while Contreras said she was only sorry she had not “hacked off his manhood” during the fight.

More Reasons For Former Fans to Hate Ryan Adams

posted by on March 14 at 10:22 AM

Master bridge-burner Ryan Adams has struck again, as elaborated upon in this report from Pitchfork yesterday.

Civil War Watch

posted by on March 14 at 10:12 AM

BAGHDAD, Iraq, March 14 — The police reported finding 87 bodies today scattered around the city, as the wave of reprisal killings in the wake of Sunday’s attack on Shiite civilians appeared to gain steam.

The victims, all male, were shot or strangled after being bound and blindfolded. Many of the bodies were found in Sadr City, the Shiite-controlled area where Sunday’s bombings took place. The Interior Ministry also reported finding 29 bodies buried in the city’s western regions and 15 bodies were found in a minibus on a road heading out of the city, according to the Iraqi Interior Ministry.

The wave of killings began with a graphic display of street violence on Monday, in which Shiite vigilantes seized four men suspected of terrorist attacks, interrogated them, beat them, killed them and left their bodies dangling from lampposts, witnesses and government officials said. The sense of growing lawlessness deepened Monday night with a mortar strike against a well-known Sunni mosque in Baghdad, killing three people.

Annie Proulx Stabs Hollywood with her Pen

posted by on March 14 at 9:51 AM

Thanks to the The Guardian, readers all over the world now have the chance to experience this year’s Academy Awards ceremony from the inside, with “Brokeback Mountain” author (and fierce Brokeback Mountain supporter) Annie Proulx offering this essay on her experience at Hollywood’s night of nights.

Splashiest part of Proulx’s smart and stylish essay: Her open disdain for Crash, the Best Picture winner she refers to as Trash, before offering this prediction: “Next year we can look to the awards for controversial themes on the punishment of adulterers with a branding iron in the shape of the letter A, runaway slaves, and the debate over free silver.”


Monday, March 13, 2006

On David Foster Wallace

posted by on March 13 at 6:06 PM

I missed this review, by Erik Henriksen, my counterpart at the Portland Mercury, of David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster and Other Essays, which incidentally was given to me for Christmas by my brother.

Anyway, Erik begins his review with a threat:

Let’s get this out of the way first: If you don’t love David Foster Wallace with all of your heart, I will punch you in your face.

Here is my review of David Foster Wallace’s Everything and More. I believe the gauntlet has been thrown. Huh, Erik? You gonna come up here and hit me? Let’s see it.

Thanks to Maud Newton for the heads up re: our own damn sister paper.

Best-Bloggin’ Newspapers

posted by on March 13 at 6:04 PM

NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen has offered up some interesting observations on the merits and foibles of newspaper blogs (via Media Bistro). Here’s hoping we don’t start losing readers to the Spokesman Review.

Obnoxious Artist Talk of the Town, Part II

posted by on March 13 at 5:09 PM

Art dealer Marianne Boesky asked Barnaby Furnas to make a painting that she hoped would be the biggest one in the big fat Armory Show this past weekend in NY. The New Yorker critic Calvin Tomkins went along to watch it being made, and wrote tartly in this week’s edition of the magazine that Furnas, “who is thirty-two, seems to like talking about his work almost as much as he likes making it.”

Here’s a quick followup about the fate of the painting, which ended up being 26-by-11.6 feet and called “Red Sea.”

First of all, the watery-looking red sea painting, as far as I could tell, was definitely a Hummer among sedans parked in the booths at the piers. Apart from pieces painted directly on the entry walls of the show, it won the Big prize.

Standing in front of it, I couldn’t help but overhear Boesky talking about it to a customer who wondered why there weren’t detectable figures (see another Furnas painting below to get an idea of his more typical style) beneath the glowing yellow orb of the sun hanging above the crimson tide.

“Where are the figures?” said the customer.
“They’re in there,” Boesky said. “But they’re drowning.”

I love these types of literal explanations. They are completely absurd.

The painting sold. Fast. Before the show even officially opened, in the preview period on Thursday. Boesky’s assistant, whose dark hair and suit looked smashing against the bloody thing, wouldn’t say for how much.


Chef Quits Southpark…

posted by on March 13 at 5:05 PM

Isaac Hayes just quit his career-reviving gig on South Park because… well, because the show finally got around to making fun of his religion:

Hayes, who has played the ladies’ man/school cook in the animated Comedy Central satire since 1997, said in a statement Monday that he feels a line has been crossed.

“There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins,” the 63-year-old soul singer and outspoken Scientologist said. “Religious beliefs are sacred to people, and at all times should be respected and honored,” he continued. “As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years, I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices.”

Matt Stone ain’t having it:

“South Park” co-creator Matt Stone responded sharply in an interview with The Associated Press Monday, saying, “This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology… He has no problem — and he’s cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians.”

I hope we’ll be seeing a South Park episode about this next season.

Smart Talk about the Stupid Drug War

posted by on March 13 at 4:33 PM

Attention responsible pot heads and those who love them/appreciate their jokes: Tomorrow night—that’s Tuesday, March 14—the University of Washington’s Kane Hall will be hosting the seminar Marijuana, the Unnecessary War, sponsored by NORML and hosted by PBS’s endearingly dweeby globetrotter Rick Steves, who’ll devote his wordly knowledge to contrasting the relative tolerance of European drug laws with the punitive approach of the U.S.

It should be a good, enlightening, and infuriating evening, plus it’s a benefit for NORML. $10 general admission, and the talk starts at 7pm…

In the meantime, check out this long-ish but illuminating video about the stupidity of the American drug war. Best in show: Former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, who calls the War on Drugs the most evil and damaging American policy since slavery. Enjoy!

First Online Museum Ever?

posted by on March 13 at 4:07 PM

The Smithsonian’s design museum, the Cooper-Hewitt, has announced its plan to create a clone of itself online that anybody can mess with, not just curators and administrators. Visitors will be able to curate shows in the online space, create digital collections, and fill in tips for curators about works that “have yet to be researched fully,” Wiki-style.

The Goog tried doing something like this a few years back that was going to be an online space for online art, but gave it up in the prototype phase. The Cooper-Hewitt doesn’t want to say when its virtual sibling will be born, but an “interactive educational” component will appear in October.

These anti-institutional outcroppings increasingly attached to institutions in some online form often sound simultaneously utopic and apocalyptic. They promise something democratic, but they also undermine genuine experts, and I have to wonder whether this people’s-choice uprising we see in the arts would fly in medicine or science. We’d have to accept a certain amount of paternalism to understand why, when there’s a by-demand collection of images online, the online lineup shouldn’t simply dictate what goes on the actual walls.

Re: State GOP Out of Touch

posted by on March 13 at 3:31 PM

A majority of Americans, huh, Ms. Tebelius?

Here’s that poll:


By a slim margin of 51%, Americans approve of the use of wiretapping. But Democrats and independents both disapprove by a margin of at least 5%. They were not told it was against or pushing the limits of the law.

Also, this poll was from January 11, and Bush’s approval ratings have dropped precipitously since then.

State GOP Out of Touch

posted by on March 13 at 3:15 PM

State GOP Chair Diane Tebelius characterized U.S. Senator Russ Feingold’s call to censure President Bush over the controversial domestic surveillance program as a “far left-wing” position. She issued the provocative charge in a press release today, trying to box Sen. Maria Cantwell into a corner.

Seattle, WA — Feingold’s censure call is another example of the shrill partisan tone that has come to define the other Washington.  The program, approved by the President shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, allows the government to use wiretaps to investigate individuals with known terrorist connections. An ABC/Washington Post poll found that a majority of Americans approve of the program and see it as an acceptable way to combat domestic and international terrorism. “I think this should raise several questions in the minds of Washington State voters,” said Washington State Republican Party Chairman Diane Tebelius. “Where does Maria Cantwell stand on the call for censure? Does she stand once again with the far left wing of the Democratic Party?

Sorry, but Congress did not authorize President Bush to ignore FISA guidelines. Did the ABC/Washington Post poll make that clear? Did it explain that Bush could have gotten the required warrants 72 hours after getting the wire tap—yet he still chose to circumvent the rules?

Thanks to the Republican deal, Congress has retroactively brought President Bush into compliance by lowering the bar after the fact. No wonder Feingold is trying to take a stand. The “rebellious” GOP sure isn’t.

Anyway, don’t listen to me (I used to be a member of the Symbionese Liberation Army). Here’s that far left wing publication, The Seattle Times, weighing in today on President Bush’s surveillance program:

Congress folds on Bush spying: Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee reached a deal with the White House over its domestic-spying operations. Instead of following the law, the Bush administration can do whatever it wants.

That is the essence of the compromise GOP leadership reached with the administration. Perversely, the agreement is being sold as congressional oversight. Current law created in 1978 requires a president to seek a special warrant from judges who sit as the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court. They decide whether to allow eavesdropping and searches, and they routinely did. Regulations even provide a 72-hour window for the government to act before it explained itself or sought retroactive permission.

The Bush administration has ignored the law based on its own sympathetic legal interpretations from its own Justice Department.

Republicans in Congress squawked and then did nothing. The new agreement says the administration must go to the federal panel whenever possible.

If the White House does not do what it is already not doing, it would have 45 days before it must appear before a seven-member terrorist surveillance committee to explain itself. Then it would have another 45 days to blow off the committee and, well, do whatever it wants as the cycle repeats itself.

This is a frightening moment in U.S. history that transcends partisan politics. Fundamental checks and balances to the power of the executive are being trampled.

For the moment, Republicans hold the majority in Congress. They are forsaking a basic institutional responsibility.

Kissing Homos and Naked Ladies

posted by on March 13 at 2:38 PM

I find it hard to fault Holland for their new immigration policies—particularly this innovative program:

Two men kissing in a park and a topless woman bather are featured in a film that will be shown to would-be immigrants to the Netherlands.

The reactions of applicants—including Muslims—will be examined to see whether they are able to accept the country’s liberal attitudes.

From this Wednesday, the DVD—which also shows the often crime-ridden ghettos where poorer immigrants might end up living—will form part of an entrance test, in Dutch, covering the language and culture of Holland.

Those sitting the test will be expected to identify William of Orange and to know which country Crown Princess Maxima comes from (Argentina) and whether hitting women and female circumcision are permitted.

I think it makes perfect sense—if you’re not down with two men kissing, topless female sunbathers, and you can’t promise to refrain from beating women and/or cutting their clits off, then perhaps you’re not right for liberal Holland and liberal Holland isn’t right for you.

But some folks don’t see it that way…

Muslim leaders in Holland say the film is offensive. “It really is a provocation aimed to limit immigration. It has nothing to do with the rights of homosexuals. Even Dutch people don’t want to see that,” said Abdou Menebhi, the Moroccan-born director of Emcemo, an organisation that helps immigrants to settle. He added: “They are trying to find every pretext to show that people should not come to the Netherlands because they are fundamentalist or not emancipated…”

Yeah, God forbid that the Netherlands should want to keep fundamentalists or the non-emancipated from immigrating to a country filled with non-fundamentalist, thoroughly emancipated people—many of whom do want to see “that,” Mr. Menebhi.

Tough Standards

posted by on March 13 at 2:11 PM

If you’re overweight, tattooed, a high school dropout, gay, or on Ritalin, the army doesn’t want you.

But if you know how to rape, you’re in! Bonus points if you’re diseased!

Victory Records fucks with Def Jam. Def Jam gets pissed.

posted by on March 13 at 1:37 PM


On Februrary 28th two big (and pretty bad) records dropped at the same time—Hawthorne Height’s If Only You Were Lonely (on Victory Records), and Ne-Yo’s In My Own Words (on Def Jam). Well, in an attempt to “bring rock back,” Hawthorne Heights and Victory Records made it their mission to outsell Ne-Yo and debut at number on the Billboard charts. Their plan of action? Screw Ne-Yo and Def Jam by asking street team members to go to stores and hide Ne-Yo records.

According to MTV News, the head of Hawthorne Heights’ street-team sent out an e-mail saying this:

“As for Ne-Yo, the name of the game is to decrease the chances of a sale. If you were to pick up a handful of Ne-Yo CDs as if you were about to buy them, but then changed you mind and didn’t bother to put them back in the same place, that would work,” the e-mail read. “Even though this record will be heavily stocked and you might not be able to move all the stock, just relocating a handful creates issues. Even though the store will appear to be out of stock, the computer will see it as ‘in stock’ and not re-order the title … then Ne-Yo will lose a few sales later in the week.”


Victory’s plan didn’t work, Ne-Yo made #1 while Hawthorne Heights came in at #3, but the e-mail was circulated all over the internet and Def Jam caught on. And now they’re pissed. Def Jam is threatening to take legal action against the indie label, which has been in its own shitstorm of controversy for years due to owner Tony Brummel’s cutthroat marketing and management style.

Granted, all this is really doing right now is generating more hype for both albums. That’s why the only way I’ll actually be stoked on this is if Def Jam decided sue Victory (and they totally should). But still, it’s pretty funny. Regardless, neither record is good, so you should ignore the hype and go buy something else… like the new Mclusky box set, Mcluskyism, which comes out March 21st.

Speaking of Newspapers

posted by on March 13 at 1:21 PM

I’ll be on KUOW’s The Conversation in just a few minutes talking about the McClatchy takeover of Knight-Ridder, and what it means for the newspaper war between the Seattle Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

If you’re one of those people who thought I was full of shit with this piece about the P-I’s future, now’s your chance to call in and tell the world.

UPDATE: The show was really fun and interesting. You can listen to it here, though please ignore my second-to-last answer, which was rambling and made little sense, even to me. I blame too much caffeine. Local conservative blogger Stefan Sharkansky called in and made some interesting predictions about the future of online reporting, and media expert John McManus repeated his prediction that traditional newsrooms will slowly be “depopulated” as the best reporters move online, starting their own specialty blogs or joining news blogs. And I have to say, I didn’t hear a lot of callers bemoaning the likely end of Seattle as a two-newspaper town. By and large, they seemed far more interested in how to help online journalism become an even better substitute for paper-based journalism.

Oh, and Rupert Murdoch agrees: go online or die.

Well-Tempered Civilization

posted by on March 13 at 1:05 PM

I have been steadily listening to András Schiff’s The Well-Tempered Clavier (Book 1 and 2) for almost ten years with no indication in my soul and mind that I will soon tire of the recording. If anyone knows of a better interpretation of Bach’s famous fugues and preludes, please give me the name. But I just can’t imagine how any pianist could improve on Schiff’s mastery not only of the pieces but the instrument itself. He makes Glenn Gould’s version of Book 1 sound barbaric and blockish. Indeed, those who lack the education (bildung) to appreciate the difference between something that is civilized and something that is primitive, the difference between something that is the product of specialized culture and something that is the product of common culture (and such distinctions do exist in the world made up by man), will find Schiff to be instructive. His art is the avatar of what it is to be civilized—being, at once, human (deeply intelligent) and divine (celestially graceful).

Nature’s Revenge

posted by on March 13 at 12:28 PM

Four headlines from today’s Drudge Report:



“SUMMER EARLY: 88 Degrees in Washington, D.C.”

“Tornados Kill 10 Across Midwest; Wildfires Kill 7 in Texas…”

Rights and Wrongs

posted by on March 13 at 12:25 PM

A 24-year-old computer repair technician at Quid•nunc—the bustling computer store on California Ave. SW at Alaska Junction—is used to seeing porn pop up on people’s computers. “Everything from beaver shots to weirder stuff like Japanese animation featuring tentacles and slime,” he says. But the file he saw last month freaked him out. It was titled “5-year-old Girl” and it was a picture of a grown man having sex with a little girl. There were several other j-peg files with similar titles, he says.

It’s against the law not to report child porn, so he called the police. (An account of the police report appeared in Charles Mudede’s Police Beat column last week.)

In the report Officer Askew states: “I arrived and met with the complainant. He showed me the file of several children engaged in sexual acts. I seized the computer. Once at the SW precinct I opened the files once more to examine its contents. I saw numerous pictures of children engaged in sexual acts with other children and adults. Some of the children appeared to be as young as seven years old.”

I have since interviewed the folks at Quid•nunc, and they told me the suspect called the store to check in on his computer. They told him he had to talk to the police about the computer. He asked why, and they gave him a case number and told him simply he had to call the SPD. They say he seemed “nonchalant” about it. He even came in later to pick up a CD.

Are the SPD onto a major child porn bust? (The police believe the name the suspect gave to the computer store may be an alias.) Is this an isolated case? Or perhaps the man doesn’t know how the shocking j-pegs got on his computer.

Last week, in response to Mudede’s Police Beat item, Qud•nunc received the following anonymous letter:

“Although I do believe child pornography is wrong, sick, disgusting, etc; I believe it is equally wrong what your employees did…I do not want to be concerned about some misguided do-gooder taking my private information and reporting it to ‘big brother’. This is just one more example of the decay in civil rights in this country and you have chose to contribute to it. I will not let this happen. I will no longer patronize your business…Just two days ago I referred a friend to your business to have his computer upgraded. I immediately called him and strongly advised him to go elsewhere. When I explained why, he agreed. We need to begin organizing boycotts against individuals who threaten our personal freedoms.”

Quid•nunc owner Bill Hibler says: “We were not casually snooping. The customer asked us specifically to solve a problem he had opening certain image files. The files we found were not images attached to spam emails or downloaded through casual surfing. They were full-resolution JPEG files with descriptive file names—the kind that someone likely received as a result of payment or exchange.

After checking with the Seattle Police Department, we learned that it is a felony for us to find this kind of thing and not report it. Finally, I would love to be on record stating my belief that no one has the ‘personal freedom’ to support the sexual exploitation of a child.”

According to the folks at Quid•nunc, the suspect actually called the store again and asked if the store had fixed his computer before turning it over to the police. No, they had not.

According to the Quid•nunc employee who took the call, the suspect said: “Figures,” and hung up abruptly.

32 Newspapers, Anyone?

posted by on March 13 at 10:36 AM

Here’s what I found most interesting about the purchase of the Knight Ridder newspaper chain by the smaller McClatchy Company: No other media company wanted Knight Ridder.

Not long ago the second-biggest newspaper company in the country would undoubtedly have drawn a fair amount of interest. That it did not does not speak well for newspaper companies; their stock prices have already fallen because of the Internet’s increasing popularity with readers and advertisers.

And not surprisingly, McClatchy announced today that it will be selling 12 of its newly-purchased newspapers. However, looks like it will be holding on to the minority share in The Seattle Times Company that it got in the Knight-Ridder deal.

Anyone want to share theories about what McClatchy’s new minority ownership of The Seattle Times Company will mean for Seattle’s newspaper war?

Overheard in the Office

posted by on March 13 at 10:35 AM

Annie: “God, all those people are underachievers—they all went to community college.”
Christopher: “I went to community college… and I’m your boss, so fuck you!”
Annie: [laughs.]

Puget Sound Twist

posted by on March 13 at 10:26 AM

This comment by horatiosanzserif to Josh’s last post is exactly what I was about to write, so I’m pulling it out:

If this goes through, McClatchy would own the dailies in Tacoma, Olympia, Bellingham and the Tri-Cities — plus 49.5 percent of the Seattle Times. Hegemony!

The juiciest bit to me is that as of today, the owner of T-town’s underdog daily (which now has a circulation that rivals the P-I’s) owns a serious portion of Seattle’s major daily. Will McClatchy be more willing to sell its shares to Frank Blethen than Knight-Ridder was, or will McClatchy, like K-R, keep its interest in the Times alive and well? I have no idea.

On a personal level, this reminds me of all those times when, as a reporter for the Trib these last 6 years, I’d ask a Seattle source for an interview, and the response would be, “There’s a paper in Tacoma? Do you publish every day?” (That’s if they’d even stoop to make themselves available; certain art museum directors flat refused to grant me an interview.)

To which I would respond with the secret to McClatchy’s success all these years: “No, we just publish when we feel like it.”

You have to love Seattle’s total, smug ignorance of Tacoma.

Poor Bush Administration

posted by on March 13 at 10:22 AM

Screwing up the country sure can be exhausting.

Of all the reasons that President Bush is in trouble these days, not to be overlooked are inadequate REM cycles. Like chief of staff Card, many of the president’s top aides have been by his side nonstop for more than five years, not including the first campaign, recount and transition. This is a White House, according to insiders, that is physically and emotionally exhausted, battered by scandal and drained by political setbacks.

You know, I haven’t been sleeping well these past six years either.

Remember the Hug?

posted by on March 13 at 10:16 AM

Remember when George W. Bush was running in 2000 and he slimed his primary opponent and fellow Republican John McCain—calling him crazy and spreading rumors that his adopted Bangladeshi daughter was the product an adulterous interracial affair—after McCain won the New Hampshire primary? The Bush/Rove slime machine worked, and McCain lost—surprise!—several southern states, and ultimately the nomination.

And remember how in 2004 John McCain decided to swallow his anger and support Bush? And not just support him, but hold Bush ever so close? No one thought for a minute that the torture-surviving, grudge-holding McCain liked Bush. Nope, McCain’s vocal support for the Bush was seen as a calculated move to appeal to the GOP base, which delights in nothing so much as picking the kernels of corn out of George Bush’s shit. Remember all of that?

Well, fat lot of good it did him.

Seattle Times’ minority owner, Knight-Ridder, Sold

posted by on March 13 at 12:20 AM

Here’s the story on the $4.5 billion sale to the McClatchy Company.

Knight Ridder owned 49.5% of the voting common stock and 65% of the nonvoting common stock of Seattle Times Company.