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Archives for 04/09/2006 - 04/15/2006

Saturday, April 15, 2006

the Poetics of Pork

posted by on April 15 at 12:22 PM

Did anyone else notice this weird and philosophically troubling headline in Wednesday’s P-I?

PIGS: Facing the reality that they are created to die

The article (which profiles a litter of little piglets destined for the table at Brasa) goes on to describe baby pig meat as “almost creamy,” and to say, “Deliberately, the piglets are not given names.” The sad dichotomy of being both adorable and delicious. I like it.

Seattle Psycho Gets Sentenced

posted by on April 15 at 12:01 PM

Back in the issue of March 23, Stranger writer Thomas Francis wrote a great and highly disturbing story on Demar Rhome, the Seattle man convicted of first-degree murder after convincing a teenage girl to fatally stab another young woman (during a creepy sex scene, no less).

From beginning to end, the Rhome case was filled with freakish intrigue, from the purchase of the murder weapon at that kooky 99 Cent store next to the post office on Broadway to Demar Rhome’s stupid but entertaining decision to serve as his own lawyer. (For a full, disturbing portrait of the crime and trial, see Thomas’ original story.)

And for the conclusion, check out the Seattle Times, which has the story on Demar Rhome’s sentencing yesterday in King County Superior Court, where Rhome was ordered to spend the next 31 years in prison.

Who Lived at 1117 Pike Street in 1930

posted by on April 15 at 11:58 AM

The building at 1117 Pike Street—now Club Z—was a quarter-century old in 1930. There’s a mention in that article that the apartment manager before Yoshinobu Hasegawa was G. Nakahara, but in all my research I couldn’t find any information about Nakahara nor the building at the time he was manager. Stranger reader Gregg Watts writes: “I liked your article on the building at 1117 Pike Street. As an amateur genealogist, I dived into some other sources I have and found out who was living in the building at the time of the 1930 census. Thought you might like this for your files should you ever do more follow-up.” The census! Of course! I’ve been posting all the follow-up from the article here on Slog, so I’m posting Gregg’s findings here, after the jump—click on “Continue reading ‘Who Lived at 1117 Pike Street in 1930’” for the name, birthdate, age, proficiency in English, occupation, marital status, and amount per month in rent paid by each person living in the building the year that Neil Armstrong is born, Betty Boop is invented, and The Shadow is first broadcast. The residents of the building in 1930 have names like Bertus Geiger, Meaddy Brunson, and Bonnie Brannon. One of them has the occupation “moving machine picture operator.” Any Slog readers know what became of any of these people?

Continue reading "Who Lived at 1117 Pike Street in 1930" »

Slippery Slope?

posted by on April 15 at 11:16 AM

From the P-I:

Robots can give birth now.

[Noelle] is a lifelike, pregnant robot…She ultimately delivers a plastic doll that can change colors, from a healthy pink glow to the deadly blue of oxygen deficiency…The computerized mannequins emit realistic pulse rates and can urinate and breathe.

And destroy humans.

I Loves Me Some Book-Readin’…

posted by on April 15 at 9:47 AM

Sadly, my day job can keep me away from the Intra-Nets for days at a time, but I saw this plea from Cienna attached to my last post, about Chuck Palahniuk’s newest, glow-in-the-dark book:

Paul, on a somewhat related topic:

What is the best book you have read in the last year?

and I can’t just let a question like that disappear into the Wi-Fi Ether.
The best book of 2005 was, as I wrote for The Stranger, readily apparent in February. And I’m glad you asked, because it’s brand new in paperback, so nobody has an excuse. I loved Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and On Beauty as well. But if we’re talking 2006, we have to discuss Apex Hides The Hurt, by Colson Whitehead. It’s the best book I’ve read so far this year, but it’s not exactly…to use the parlance of the times…unimpeachably the best book of the year. And, in fact, if you’re somebody who enjoys Palahniuk, you should give Whitehead a shot. He’s got a lot of the same elements that people in Palahniuk’s….um, cult…seem to enjoy—disaffectedness, cynicism—only he’s, you know, a good writer. So there’s that.

Unrelated, Party Crasher-wise: No Easter parties, Seattle? I got, like seventy Passover invites: aren’t the lapsed Christians gonna represent?


Friday, April 14, 2006

Slideluck Potshow!

posted by on April 14 at 6:34 PM

It was a hit in Seattle, then it was a hit in New York, and tonight it’s back in Seattle at:


Photographic Center Northwest
900 12th Ave
6pm potluck, 7:15 pm slideshow

Sorry about the last-minute posting, but if you’re able to make it you should check it out. Local photographers, new work, cheap red wine… What more could you want?

Is it hot in here… ?

posted by on April 14 at 6:17 PM

Yesterday Amy Kate posted pix of the well-dressed sexies in the editorial department. I felt that we up here in the production loft got it goin on when it comes to hot bods dressed in spiffy clothes.

Corianton and Robin are on vacation, and Angie left early cuz today was her last day, so we’re not operating at 100%, but I think these pictures more than make the case for the production posse.

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In looking at these photos, I realize it’s more about hot bods than hot clothes, but what are you gonna do? Production’s got the goods and we’re not afraid to show it.

Give Me Liberty…

posted by on April 14 at 5:38 PM

The charms of the Canterbury are myriad, but it is not a good place to get a martini. Liberty is, and tonight’s the official grand opening party. It’s at 517 15th Ave. E., near the Brazilian wax place, across from Sonic Boom.

Daniel Freykis Issues a Threat!

posted by on April 14 at 4:47 PM

For all those who’ve been following the thrilling Daniel Freykis saga (see here and here), it looks like I’ve finally gotten a threat:

I would have thought you would have learned from Kyle Huff when you pussy ass hip punk rockers fuck with real men with guns???  Now its like you have to be taught all over again- don’t worry no guns with me just a beating coming like you’ve never had in your life Schmegma YOU COCKSUCKER!!!!!!

Once again, that’s Daniel_Freykis@yahoo.com.

(Also, despite it’s impressive cuss-word quotient, “Schmegma” is an entirely unimpressive nickname for “Schmader.” Best I’ve heard in my life (so far): Darth Schmader and King Sunny Schmadé).

I Tried a Golden Shower Last Night

posted by on April 14 at 4:33 PM

The beergeeks are in town for their annual convention. Last night some of them gathered with their king, Michael Jackson (not that one—sorry, Mr. Schmader) at Union. I scored a copy of Mr. Jackson’s weirdly fascinating book Great Beers of Belgium (5th ed., if you please; in it, he describes beer with phrases like “dense malt grist” and “hard-muscled body, slimmed by sugar”), and I got to try a Golden Shower. It’s a beer, people. One speaker (the brewer, perhaps? It’s all a bit of a blur) described it as “very provocatively named and conceptually very provocative as well.” Rumor among the beergeeks was that the name Dogfish Head Brewing initially came up with for this classic pilsner got shot down by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, raising the question of the evening: What could be a dirtier name for a beer than Golden Shower? Union chef Ethan Stowell was kind enough to do my investigative work whilst I slipped into a food/beer stupor; the anticlimactic answer—Prescription Pils. At one point, the A.T.F. also wouldn’t allow a Flemish beer to be sold under the name Delirium Tremens in our great nation. I reckon they don’t know what a golden shower is. Burn on them.

The Golden Shower itself is indeed golden and very enjoyable.

Public Displays of Affection?

posted by on April 14 at 4:13 PM

Wow. Noon on Saturday…. Stick your tongue in a stranger’s mouth at the Seattle Center Fountain?

I Heard It On The Radio

posted by on April 14 at 3:57 PM

Larry Mizell, let the people know what time it is:

Tune into 90.3 FM for KEXP’s Audioasis this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. Fellow Stranger “hiphop philosophist” Charles Mudede and I are cohosting the all-local radio show every third Saturday of the month. I know some of y’all hate the station, but tune in and hear us play the finest in local hiphop, past and present. We’re proud to join the ranks of local hiphop radio, including the good kids at Rainydawg Radio; KBCS’s weekend warriors Khazm, WD4D, and GeeTeezy; Jon Moore and DJ Hyphen over on KUBE’s Sunday Night Sessions; and of course B-Mello, Scene, Ethx, and Lace Cadence on KEXP’s Street Sounds. Don’t touch that dial, fool!

In time, my brother, in time.

Scout Niblett Cancels.

posted by on April 14 at 3:52 PM

Unfortunately, Scout Niblett had to cancel her Vera show tonight due to illness. The show must go on, as they say, and the new line-up is Emma Zunz, Ghost to Falco, and Boys in the Coven (featuring members of Holy Ghost Revival). There might be a few more special guests in the works too, so don’t miss it.

Show starts at 7:30 pm tonight at C.H.A.C. (1621 12th Ave) and costs $5 at the door with a Vera club card ($6 without). More info at www.theveraproject.org.

Red-Light Update

posted by on April 14 at 3:42 PM

Peter Steinbrueck—defying expectations, so far, that he’d allow the mayor’s proposed red-light district to move through the council unimpeded—has pitched the plan into the laps of the city’s planning commission, asking them in a letter sent today to offer their “views on the model proposed by the Mayor, where new adult cabarets would be limited to one area of the city, versus a model where they would be allowed citywide but required to be a certain distance from specified uses.”

The letter continues:

Does the Commission believe that the boundaries of the proposed permitted area, and the requirement that adult cabarets be 1000 feet from specified uses, adequately protect nearby businesses and the surrounding residential areas of Georgetown, Beacon HIll, and South Park from undesirable impacts? … Overall, we would like to know if the Planning Commission endorses the Mayor’s proposal as the best way to provide for adult cabarets, or if the Commission recommends further study and/or changes.

Earlier this week, Steinbrueck and the Urban Planning committee heard dozens of South Seattle residents testify against placing the strip-club zone in a part of town that has already taken more than its share of undesirable businesses. Yesterday, he said he would take their concerns to heart. “I heard very compelling testimony from members of the three surrounding communities that gave me cause for pause,” Steinbrueck said, “particularly the inference that the South End is the dumping ground for all the unwanted things that the city can find no other place to put.”

If the Planning Commission decides to take up the strip-club issue, it could be weeks or months before it lands back in the council’s hands. Meanwhile, people are free to open strip clubs in commercial areas throughout the city; so far, no one has applied for a permit to do so.

Their Home Was

posted by on April 14 at 3:03 PM

So, my boyfriend and I were driving from Queen Anne to Capitol Hill by way of Denny around 10 this morning when what should we see along Denny—on one of those small, junked up traffic islands with a patch of grass on it—but a camping tent, presumably with people inside. Here’s a hastily snapped Polaroid.

tent1.jpg

Here’s a zoom-in on the discarded cardboard by the side of the tent. It reads “OUR HOME WAS” and then, apparently, whoever was making the sign gave up.

tent2.jpg

More photos:

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It’s kind of beautiful, if you don’t think about it too much. The photos are by Hunter Bronn.

Why is Jean Godden Wearing Sunglasses?

posted by on April 14 at 2:53 PM

Godden.jpg

Theories? Put ‘em in the comments.

This Just In

posted by on April 14 at 2:08 PM

Eco-terrorists are attacking corporations by distributing flyers, “inundating computers with e-mails, “jamming … phone lines with repeated calls,” and “sending continuous faxes in order to drain the ink supply.”

Homeland Security is on the case.

Innocence

posted by on April 14 at 2:07 PM

I Suggested seeing Innocence on Monday, but shows actually start tonight at Northwest Film Forum, 7 and 9:30 pm. Go, see, shudder.

Innocence.jpg

If you’re curious about the source material for the film (and you read German), you can check it out for free online: Mine-Haha, or the Corporal Education of Young Girls, by the German playwright Frank Wedekind. It isn’t available in English, so far as I can tell, though there are many translations of his equally puberty-obsessed plays (Spring Awakening being the most famous, and Pandora’s Box being the one that was made into a G.W. Pabst movie with Louise Brooks).

Also, there’s another new movie based on “Mine-Haha”—I haven’t seen it, but apparently it’s bad. The IMBD entry for Fine Art of Love: Mine-Ha-Ha is here.

I made some brief arguments regarding the connections Innocence director Lucile Hadzihalilovic makes between her vision of a confined girlhood and various (mostly male, possibly perverse) ideas about what little girls are good for. I could go on and on about the image of the little girl—and her being-toward-death—in Western culture going back to Antigone, but you guys don’t want to read that. You just want to hear about what creepy things Lewis Carroll wrote about little girls’ knees.

Compare and contrast:

A photograph by Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) of Xie Kitchin on a chaise longue:
xiekitchin.jpg

A film still from Innocence:
Innobed.jpg

$10,000

posted by on April 14 at 1:45 PM

I’m not Slogging much today. Why? Because I have $10,000 worth of ITMFA orders to fill.

ITMFA merch.jpg

What the fuck was I thinking? The motherfucker is going to be impeached—or retire—long before I can get all these orders filled! Yikes!

To Die For 2: Alabama Boogaloo

posted by on April 14 at 1:21 PM

Unlike the original, the real-life sequel stalls at the level of sex and murder allegations, with no one actually killed, thank God.

Should Hollywood decide to film the new version, I think Anne Hathaway would make a lovely alleged student banger/murder planner.

Free show tonight!

posted by on April 14 at 1:14 PM

There’s a great show at the Crocodile tonight, starring the lush and wonderful Siberian, Sirens Sister (featuring Zach from Vendetta Red), Blue Checkered Record Player (Sonny Votolato’s solo project), and Sea Navy (think pop goodness a la Ted Leo). I’d probably tell you to go even if it cost $10, but it doesn’t. It’s totally free.

The Spectacular By-Product

posted by on April 14 at 12:36 PM

From IMDB:

Tom Cruise enjoys a “spectacular” sex life with his pregnant fiancee Katie Holmes, because they have such good communications skills. The Hollywood actor reveals his sex secrets in the May issue of GQ magazine, declaring the physical act is a “by-product” of a successful pairing. Cruise enthuses, “Sex is about the connection. Great sex is a by-product, for me, of a great relationship, where you have communication and it’s an extension of that. Where it’s just free. And that’s how it should be. It’s spectacular. If you’re not in good communication with your partner, it sucks. (Meaningless sex outside of a relationship) is really horrible and pathetic and lonely.”

Dave, the bold is just for you.

Fear of Dissent

posted by on April 14 at 12:36 PM

Grendel, an industrial EBM band from the Netherlands, was supposed to play a show here last night, but instead their whole US tour had to be canceled due to the currently absolutely fucked state of America. On March 25, after playing Montreal, the band was denied entry to the US and detained at the border.

GRENDEL US TOUR CANCELLED // Please read :: [27 Mar 2006|03:32pm]

extol_involute
Very bad news: I have been in detention for the last two days, trying to get into the US from Canada. I have been rejected on the basis of apparently being a spreader/carrier of ‘obscene and communist political extremist’ material (total bullshit) based on the following:

- T-shirts: Feindflug ‘Volk und Armee,’ Combichrist ‘Enjoy the Abuse,’ one depicting a Kolasjnikov gun and some rockabilly shirts by Monster & Felon.

- CD`s: Suicide Commando, Leaetherstrip ‘Suicide Bombers’ and two Laibach CDs.

- Lyrics sheet of Grendel. Didn`t include the band name or titles, so they probably thought it was speech or something.

I was not even asked about these, but simply accused right there an then of having these on me to spread/sell. All of this was for my personal use, the t-shirts had all been used previously and the CD’s were only with the corresponding booklets, one original of each, in my CD folder. Also, I didn`t realise the cold war was still going on..Can you say: Good night & good luck? As soon as these items were found, the border control officer made a note of these on the computer system and I believe it was at this point I was already blacklisted.

Then came being accused of being a ‘fulltime professional musician’ (also bullshit — based on the amount of albums released) and trying to enter the US without a work permit. I was not carrying any gear or merchandise with me, as that was given to someone else by car to avoid all of this. Even then, they got me. Reason for this being them searching my CD’s and looking up the websites on them, such as on the copies of two Grendel releases I had with me in my CD folder/booklet. They found the picture of myself and the tour data. So that was the end of that.

More here.

Hey, Darcy Burner Fans and Skeptics!

posted by on April 14 at 12:09 PM

We’ve had a lot of criticism in the comments section concerning our coverage of Darcy Burner and her bid against Dave Reichert for the 8th District Congressional seat:

I’ve read everything Eli has posted. Am a fan of his writing. Am not criticizing him, but am honestly wondering when we get to hear more about Burner because I’ve been waiting. So far we know she won’t vote against a contitutional ban on Gay Marriage, and she is somewhere sort of against the Iraq war but not having a solid plan of how to get out. Okay, cool, so what else? I want to get as excited as the political junkies who are excited about her fundraising and insider political press, but I get excited about ideas and I am hope Burner has some. Assuming she does, let’s hear them. Where is she on No Child Left Behind, Iran, Immigration Reform, Health Care, Drilling in Alaskan Wildlife Refuge, Media Consolidation, Radio Payola, The Microsoft Anti-Trust case, minimum wage, whate’s her energy policy, etc, etc, etc. I am exctied to see a true progressive win in the 8th. Is she one? What are her three top ideas she is going to bring with her to Congress that she will turn into legislation?

Burner has agreed to address The Issues you find most important, but that we’ve apparently been negligent in covering. So post your questions in the comments section below, and we’ll trot them over to Camp Burner and slog her responses sometime early next week.

Martin Amis and Mohamed Atta

posted by on April 14 at 12:05 PM

It’s appropriate that responses to Sept. 11 from filmmakers and writers are proliferating during the unbelievably weird trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, who doubtless will spawn some kind of takeoff himself.

The latest comes from Martin Amis, whose new book, coming out in the fall, imagines The Last Days of Mohamed Atta in a short story:

As explained by his publisher, Jonathan Cape, the tale can be summarised like this: “Accompanied by one of the ‘muscle’ Saudis, Mohamed Atta drove to Portland, Maine, on 10 September 2001. Noone knows why. In ‘The Last Days of Mohamed Atta’, Martin Amis provides a rationale for Atta’s insouciant detour, and for other lacunae in the ‘planes operation’. We follow Atta on that day: from his small-hour awakening in the budget hotel room in Portland, all the way to 8:46am - and beyond.”

Also in the book, which is titled House of Meetings after the novella that opens it, is a short story called In the Palace of the End:

“In the Palace of the End” is narrated by one of the doubles for a Middle Eastern tyrant - clearly a figure such as Saddam Hussein or his demented son and heir, Uday.

“The double divides his day between epic torture and epic lovemaking with picked beauties - all of it filmed for the delectation of the dictator,” according to the publisher’s blurb.

It continues: “He also has a third obligation: he must duplicate on his person the wounds sustained by the dictator in the almost-daily attempts on his life.”

Rumours have long circulated in the Middle East that Saddam Hussein, the now deposed Iraqi dictator, did, indeed, have up to four doubles, though none has ever surfaced.

See How This Works?

posted by on April 14 at 11:40 AM

Let’s say you’re in the Republican Party, and you notice that one of your swing-district Congressmen, Dave Reichert, is facing a serious challenger who has raised twice as much money as him in the first quarter. Worse than that, this challenger, Darcy Burner, is getting a lot of good press for having raised all that cash.

What to do? Well, since there’s no penalty for filing flimsy complaints with the Federal Elections Commission, why not file a complaint that suggests Burner has been violating campaign finance rules? That will make it seem like she’s been raising all that money because she’s playing fast and loose with the rules, not because she has momentum. Great idea!

Step 1: Have the State Republican Party write up the complaint. Mail it off, post it on the web, and send an email to local bloggers and reporters headlined: “8th District Democrat named in campaign violation complaint.” That’ll get their attention. And it does! Bloggers post it (here and here), and the next day the Seattle Post-Intelligencer picks it up, as does the King County Journal.

Step 2: Nevermind that the Burner campaign has already answered the allegations, calling them “frivolous.” The seeds of suspicion have been planted. It will take the FEC weeks, if not months, and maybe even until after the election, to determine whether the complaint has merit. In the meantime, encourage conservative blogger Stefan Sharkansky to do a running series of posts on the subject (here and here).

Step 3: Feed the story to the conservative Washington Times so that when it dutifully reports on the allegations (as it did today) Sharkansky can do a post announcing “Darcy Burner Makes the National News. Ouch.”

And there you have it: Aspersions cast, doubts raised, a “national story” created, and all of it just in time for Reichert’s campaign kickoff next Tuesday!

Seattle Opera at the Arctic

posted by on April 14 at 11:29 AM

On February 23, 1945, American soldiers raised this flag at Iwo Jima.

On July 20, 1969, American astronauts planted this flag on the moon.

And yesterday, at 9:30 am, Charles Cossé, outdoorsman, president of Cossé International Securities, and trustee for the Seattle Opera, planted this flag at the North Pole.

From the press release: “Seattle Opera’s flag will not be left at the Pole. Conscious of the potential impact on the environment of leaving items in the Arctic, Cossé plans to return the flag to Seattle Opera to be placed in the company’s archives.”

The combination of luxury, frivolity, and conscientiousness is just… amazing.

Signs of the Times

posted by on April 14 at 11:20 AM

Every generation has those moments that perfectly encapsulate the zeitgeist: “waist-up” footage of Elvis on Ed Sullivan, Dick and Mary’s separate beds on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Patty Hearst clutching that rifle on the Hibernia bank surveillance tape.

Last night, I experienced what felt like another of these zeitgeist-defining moments. I was watching The Office on NBC. During a commercial break, the face of an Office cast member appeared on the screen. It was the actor/comedian B.J. Novak, and he looked very, very concerned. The reason why soon became apparent: This was one of NBC’s “The More You Know” public service announcements, which for the past 17 years have enlightened Americans on current events and societal dangers, from racism and drug addiction to eating disorders and internet safety. Tonight, B.J. Novak tackled a new threat ruining the lives of Americans everywhere:

“Never, ever, ever videotape yourself having sex,” said Novak, with deep and impressive gravity. “You can say you’ll tape over it, but you won’t, and the tape will fall into the wrong hands. So just don’t do it. Never, ever, ever tape yourself having sex.” Then, NBC’s signature musical flourish, and Novak’s serene voice: “The more you know…”

Recounting it now, I realize NBC’s plea may have been designed to protect viewers as much as would-be sex tape participants. (God knows my life would be happier if I’d never seen that Fred Durst video.) Still, apparently we’ve come to a point in history when citizens need to be told not to record themselves having sex via prime-time public service announcements, which kinda makes the Pope’s psychotic Good Friday address seem not so crazy….which is a terrifying state of affairs.

And then comes the glorious punchline: The whole ad is a joke, and can be seen here!

God, I love a good mindfuck. Thank you, Office.

Kos on Washington State Politics

posted by on April 14 at 11:06 AM

Kos posted a round-up of candidates generating buzz today on DailyKos, and he opens with Washington State…

Darcy Burner is taking on freshman Republican Dave Reichert in WA-08. She will report numbers of over $300K for Q1, which is impressive. But more so than that, the Washington state blogosphere helped her raise over $90K online in the closing hours of the fundraising quarter without any national buzz. That’s not Daily Kos or Atrios, that’s the local bloggers, and $90K is more than what we “big boys” can usually raise. If that’s not a sign of the growing power and influence of the local blogs, I’m not sure what is.

Meanwhile, it was quite shocking to see just how much local activists hate Sen. Maria Cantwell. It isn’t that they’re disappointed in her positions on issues like Iraq in an effort to appear “moderate” or “centrist,” it’s that she won’t even talk to them about those issues. The dislike was near universal and truly based on that lack of communication.

Happy Good Friday

posted by on April 14 at 10:22 AM

Here’s footage of Jean-Claude Van Damme in the film Breakin’ to put you in a godly mood:

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(Courtesy of those geniuses at CHUD.)

Rummy & Bush: Absolute Failures

posted by on April 14 at 10:20 AM

Okay: This is big.

The widening circle of retired generals who have stepped forward to call for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld’s resignation is shaping up as an unusual outcry that could pose a significant challenge to Mr. Rumsfeld’s leadership, current and former generals said on Thursday…

“We need to continue to fight the global war on terror and keep it off our shores,” General Swannack said in a telephone interview. “But I do not believe Secretary Rumsfeld is the right person to fight that war based on his absolute failures in managing the war against Saddam in Iraq.”

…There were indications on Thursday that the concern about Mr. Rumsfeld, rooted in years of pent-up anger about his handling of the war, was sweeping aside the reticence of retired generals who took part in the Iraq war to criticize an enterprise in which they participated.

Remember Bush saying over and over again that he wasn’t listening to critics at home, but to his commanders in the field? Well, uh, gee. Maybe Bush was, ohidunno, lying? Regardless, it looks like he can’t hide behind that line of shit anymore.

You can read more about this rather stunning development at Americablog and Kos.

Good Moon Rising

posted by on April 14 at 9:14 AM

Their little brothers in Nirvana may have made it in first, but Sonic Youth can now claim the honor of being included in the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry. More specifically, their 1988 masterwork, Daydream Nation, has met the Library’s criteria as a recording that is ” culturally, historically or aesthetically important, and/or inform(s) or reflect(s) life in the United States.”

In addition to this simply being a well-deserved notice, just reading the announcement from the Library of Congress is a delight:

“Pioneer members of New York City’s clangorous early 1980s No Wave scene, Sonic Youth are renowned for a glorious form of noise-based chaos. Guitarists Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo had previously performed with Glenn Branca’s large guitar ensembles, and their alternative guitar tunings and ringing harmonies attest to this apprenticeship. On Daydream Nation, their third album, the group’s forays into outright noise always return to melodic songs that employ hypnotic arpeggios, driving punk rock rhythmic figures and furious gales of guitar-based noise. Bassist Kim Gordon’s haunting vocals and edgy lyrics add additional depth to the numbers she sings.”
.

Kool things, indeed.

Via Pitchfork.

Thank You for SMOKIN’ (Sssssst!)

posted by on April 14 at 9:09 AM

True, I said in my review that the satire in Thank You for Smoking was “safely and securely dated”. But how was I to know that former Hollywood superagent Michael Ovitz (spoofed by a kimono-draped Rob Lowe in Smoking) was going to tell the F.B.I. that “he paid Mr. Pellicano [a detective] in April or May of 2002 to obtain information on 15 to 20 people who were saying negative things about him”?! (Mr. Ovitz’s lawyer denies that Mr. O asked for info on anybody except people who were suing him.)

Michael Ovitz has now lived up to Rob Lowe’s lamest performance ever.

Cantwell’s Lead Shrinks

posted by on April 14 at 7:53 AM

In CounterIntel this week, I said the shakeup at McGavick’s campaign (his campaign manager quit last weekend), actually calls attention to problems with Cantwell’s campaign. Here’s why.

At the end of the column, after reporting that Cantwell was up by 13 points according to late-March poll numbers the Democrats gave me, I wrote: “Expect more phoned-in muddles from Cantwell (and dialed-in messaging from McGavick) to eat away at Cantwell’s lead.

The latest poll numbers came out yesterday. McGavick picked up about 5 points.

Os Mutantes to play Seattle!

posted by on April 14 at 7:32 AM

For fans of Brazilian music, the upcoming shows by trio Os Mutantes are the equivalent of a Beatles reunion. This morning, it was announced that, after their first show since 1973 at the Barbican museum in London on May 22, 2006, and a pair of U.S. dates (in New York and LA, natch), the seminal Tropicalia band will also perform in San Francisco, Chicago, and, on Wednesday, July 26, at the Moore Theater in Seattle.

The full press release from V2-Artemis Records (which distributes Luaka Bop, home of the Os Mutantes primer Everything Is Possible) follows…

Continue reading "Os Mutantes to play Seattle!" »


Thursday, April 13, 2006

It’s Somewhat of a Relief…

posted by on April 13 at 6:18 PM

…to know that the Beatles’ catalog is no longer in the hands of Michael Jackson, though you have to wonder what’s going to happen to it when Sony takes control.

Calling Crémant

posted by on April 13 at 5:57 PM

The phone number listed in Bethany Jean Clement’s review of the best new restaurant in Seattle is wrong in this week’s paper. It’s listed as 322-6400, but the correct phone number is 322-4600.

Call, make a reservation, go—the food is fantastic. Start with the mussels.

Another ~!@#$%^ Post About Spam

posted by on April 13 at 5:08 PM

Today alone I’ve been bombed with about 8.3 million spams from a “new dating website for conscious people.” You unconscious people are just flat out of luck. Again. Anyway, peep the message below. Go crazy, conscious singles!

Dear Friends. Here is at last a new dating service for conscious people all around the world. Check this out and meet your match! http://www.consciousnubians.com

Quote of the Day

posted by on April 13 at 4:32 PM

From the electronic mail bag (re: Club Z):

“If fisting is what I think it is I have a question.”

Buttrock Fuckup

posted by on April 13 at 4:30 PM

See this Suggests? See how Buttrock Suites is suggested for Thursday? And if you check here, in the theater calendar, you will see that Buttrock Suites runs Friday through Sunday—the correct dates. Buttrock Suites doesn’t play on Thursday.

“You can blame it on me,” said Christopher Frizzelle, editor of Suggests.
“No, it’s my fault, blame it on me,” said Brendan Kiley, editor of theater and writer of the Suggest.
“Blame it on me.”
“No, me.”
“No, me.”
“No, me.”

We’re sorry.

Collateral Damage

posted by on April 13 at 3:23 PM

April 13 (Bloomberg) — American pessimism about the Iraq war has deepened and may be feeding doubts about President George W. Bush’s efforts to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions, the latest Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll found.

A majority of those surveyed — 56 percent — said Iraq is now in a civil war, and just 37 percent said they believe Bush when he says a lot of progress is being made there, down from 45 percent who said they believed him in January.

Forty-eight percent said they would support military action against Iran if it continues to produce material that can be used to develop a nuclear bomb, down from 57 percent in January. Forty percent oppose military action, up from 33 percent in January.

A majority — 54 percent — said they “don’t trust” Bush to make the right decision about whether the U.S. should go to war with Iran, compared with 42 percent who said they do trust him. Forty percent said the Iraq experience had made them less supportive of military action against Iran, while 38 percent said it had no impact. The poll surveyed 1,357 American adults by telephone April 8-11 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

It’s comforting to remember that Bush will be gone within three years. It’s not so comforting to remember that he started, and has since bungled, two wars in his first three years.

This Is a Blog Entry About Parking

posted by on April 13 at 2:48 PM

Literally. But if you live in a neighborhood in Seattle, or drive a car, or want to see more affordable housing in Seattle, it affects you.

Here’s the deal: The city is getting ready to revise its parking requirements—the amount of parking developers are required to build when they put in new residential or commercial developments. Currently, developers have to put in one parking space for every 200-350 square feet of commercial space, and one space for every 1-1.25 residents in new residential buildings. The new proposal would reduce those requirements to one space for every 250-500 feet of commercial space, and one space for every housing unit. Because each new parking space costs tens of thousands of dollars, developers have a financial incentive to build fewer spaces. And because readily available parking creates an incentive to drive—something Seattle government says it does not support—the city has a political incentive to encourage them to do so. Affordable-housing advocates also argue that the fewer parking spaces developers have to build, the less expensive housing will be.

At a packed forum on the new requirements at city hall Tuesday night, business owners, neighborhood advocates, and planning experts debated whether the new minimums were too low, too high, or just right. Greg Hill, a Wallingford resident and longtime spokesman for the more-parking camp, argued that lower parking requirements and more expensive parking would lead to “spillover parking” in neighborhoods and decimate thriving business districts. But others, including Greenwood neighborhood activist Mike McGinn and San Francisco planning consultant Jeff Tumlin, argued that meeting demand for parking (as even the new, reduced requirements do) is a prescription for auto dependence and gentrification.

Tumlin even argued for getting rid of minimum parking requirements altogether, and instead setting maximums, allowing developers, if they wished, to build no parking at all. “The debate in San Francisco is not about having minimum parking requirements,” Tumlin said. “It’s about how low the maximum should be. In San Francisco, the primary tool to control gentrification is to reduce parking maximums.” Unfortunately, because the mayor’s proposal more than meets existing demand for parking, it does nothing to encourage alternatives to driving.

Maybe we’re not ready for a progressive, San Francisco-style parking maximum, but I hope the city will consider reducing the minimum requirements further, and reducing the amount of “free” parking throughout the city. I don’ t like to pay for parking either. (And as someone who just had my car towed from a “free” parking spot because I failed to move it after 72 hours, I sympathize with those who want parking to be plentiful and cheap.) But the fact is, parking is never free: Someone—the government, business owners, developers, or drivers—has to pay for it. Why not the people who use the parking?

What We Are Wearing Right Now

posted by on April 13 at 2:40 PM

“Brad” asked what we’re wearing, so I looked around, expecting to see thoughtlessly dressed writers (everyone’s working so hard right now)… but damn, was I wrong! Check out Christopher’s brand-new hairdo and the heap of style in my corner of the office.

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For Once, I Agree with the NIMBYs

posted by on April 13 at 2:00 PM

Strip clubs should not be concentrated into a single area.

Last night, dozens of speakers lined up to lambaste a proposal by Mayor Greg Nickels that would create a red-light district, of sorts, in narrow swath of the Duwamish industrial area bordering Georgetown and SoDo. The mayor proposed the strip-club zone after a court decision that ruled a 17-year-old “moratorium” on new strip clubs in Seattle unconstitutional, opening the door for new clubs to open in commercial areas across the city. (To date, not one new strip-club permit has been filed.) The mayor ostensibly chose the area because it’s far away from churches, schools, day cares, and single-family neighborhoods—the type of areas where the city has decided strip clubs would be inappropriate. (Georgetown residents have a different perspective, noting that in recent months, the city and county have located sex-offender housing and a new transfer station for the city’s garbage near their neighborhood.)

What surprised me about last night’s hearing was not so much the unanimity of the speakers’ opposition—it’s no big secret that no one wants strip clubs in their neighborhood—but their willingness to accept some strip clubs as long as they’re dispersed throughout the city. Speakers from Beacon Hill, Lake City, South Park, and Georgetown expressed dismay that the city would dump yet another “blight” on South Seattle (that’s debatable—city crime statistics have shown no solid correlation between strip clubs and crime), and agreed that a proposal that kept them 1,000 feet from churches, schools and daycares citywide would be the “fair and equitable” thing to do. “There is a faint whiff of classism in putting something we would rather not deal with in a neighborhood that isn’t ours,” one speaker said. Another, George Robertson, went further, arguing that it makes little sense for the city to ban strip clubs near churches and schools if it doesn’t ban “other harms we visit on churches and schools,” like major arterial roads and freeways.

In the past two days, both daily papers have said that planning committee chairman Peter Steinbrueck does not plan to consider alternatives to the mayor’s proposal. However, at the end of last night’s hearing, Steinbrueck asked for a show of hands: How many people would accept a dispersement approach, in which strip clubs can be located throughout the city? At least three-quarters of those in the packed council chambers raised their hands. Then Steinbrueck asked another question: How many would accept dispersement if it meant one or more strip clubs in their neighborhood? After some hesitation, nearly everyone raised their hands again. After the hearing, Steinbrueck said it was “fascinating” to see so much support for a citywide approach, adding that he’d take “a serious look” at such a proposal. “This is by no means a done deal,” he said last night. Let’s hope not.

Beckett Birthday Quiz!

posted by on April 13 at 1:27 PM

That’s right! Samuel “kickin’-paparazzi-in-the-muthafuckin’-face” Beckett is 100 years old. Today. Happy birthday! How’s the afterlife? Does God care about theater?

In honor of the man who wrote a famous play in which “nothing happened… twice,” you should enjoy this cartoon (from this week’s New Yorker):

beckett.gif

And then take this quiz! (Answers follow the jump.)

1. Beckett never granted a single interview. True or false?

2. Beckett was a party animal. True or false?

3. Beckett once wrote an entire play on a postcard. True or false?

4. John Lennon and Beckett wrote sketches for the same theatrical revue. True or false?

5. What famous writer did Beckett work for as a research assistant?

6. Beckett was stabbed in the chest by a Parisian pimp. True or false?

7. What major military honor did Beckett receive and why?

8. Beckett was a major sports fan. True or false?

And finally, I’ve always enjoyed this apocryphal anecdote:

Beckett was walking with a friend through a Parisian park on a lovely summer morning.
“Beautiful day, isn’t it?” the friend asked.
“Yes,” Beckett answered.
“Makes you feel glad to be alive, doesn’t it?”
“I wouldn’t go that far.”

Continue reading "Beckett Birthday Quiz!" »

What Are You Wearing Right Now?

posted by on April 13 at 1:09 PM

In case you haven’t seen it, and especially if you don’t give a rip about fashion, I urge you to have a look at this week’s second annual Stranger fashion special, Worn Out. It’s a wild and informative read (miles away from your usual here’s-what-to-buy fashion spread) and an honest-to-god celebration of the myriad modes of flair walking the streets of Seattle. Who knew so many smokin’ hot individuals are hanging around downtown? Who knew Dan “These are my dress-up jeans” Savage and the rest of the hoodie-enshrouded Stranger staffers have an eye for style? (I know, Kelly O must have been the mastermind behind the curtain.) Also: We’ve posted a bunch more photos of local chic that didn’t make it into the print edition.

Judith Butler Was Body Slammed In Wall Street Journal

posted by on April 13 at 12:55 PM

I just found this 1999 article and feel the need to share it with you. Near the end of the short article, Judith Butler, a brilliant theorist, gets body slammed by a Kantian philosopher, Dennis Dutton, who, like so many of his American colleagues, is of the numb opinion that critical theory is all show and no substance. To begin with, what is wrong with showing off; two, anyone who has taken the time to learn Butler’s language knows that it’s packed with substance. The example the her critic uses is not even that hard to understand:

“The move from a structuralist account in which capital is understood to structure social relations in relatively homologous ways to a view of hegemony in which power relations are subject to repetition, convergence, and rearticulation brought the question of temporality into the thinking of structure, and marked a shift from a form of Althusserian theory that takes structural totalities as theoretical objects to one in which the insights into the contingent possibility of structure inaugurate a renewed conception of hegemony as bound up with the contingent sites and strategies of the rearticulation of power.”

Not only is the writing relatively clear, it’s beautiful.

The Scourge of Mediocrity

posted by on April 13 at 12:27 PM

Everyone who cares about the state of the world is REQUIRED to attend a panel discussion tonight at Northwest Film Forum. It’s about life, death, and the meaning of ecstatic experience. Just kidding. It’s about mediocre movies. I’m talking, along with NWFF programmer Adam Sekuler and some hot local filmmakers and critics. Hear me rant about Kinky Boots and maybe Hoodwinked and maybe Citizen Kane (if I’m feeling especially cheeky), or whatever else I feel like trashing mildly.

7 pm, 1515 12th Ave between Pike and Pine on Capitol Hill.

Holy Shit

posted by on April 13 at 12:03 PM

(Via Raw Story) Nigeria takes state-sanctioned homophobia up a notch with this proposed law:

It would impose a five year sentence on any same-couple who marries or goes abroad to marry. It also bans same-sex couples from living together, wed or not, outlaws adoption by gays and goes so far as to make it a criminal offense to be a member of a gay club, social organization or LGBT civil rights group.

The legislation would also impose a prison term on anyone who attends a same-sex union, witnesses a union or celebrates a ceremony involving gay or lesbian couples.

The bill would include foreigners living in Nigeria - a move that has humanitarian aid organizations concerned.

This law is “likely to pass easily” in Nigeria, according to the article (courtesy of 365 Gay News).

Keep Those Damn Atheists Out of Office

posted by on April 13 at 11:40 AM

Apparently, erasing the line between church and state has been outright codified in many states. According to a factoid printed in the May issue of Playboy magazine (which also contains an excellent short story by Joyce Carol Oates), the states of Texas, Massachusetts, North Dakota, South Dakota, Maryland, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania all limit or deny the right of atheists and agnostics to hold public office.

Note: In typical Hefner fashion, you can’t access the section of the magazine that mentions this online—you’ll have to pick up the print edition if you want to read it for yourself.

Meanwhile, In the Austere World of Literature…

posted by on April 13 at 11:08 AM

Haunted, Chuck Palahniuk’s newest paperback release, has a glow-in-the-dark cover. Watch out, Phillip Roth! Looks like someone’s got designs on your future Nobel.

More Pessimism

posted by on April 13 at 10:38 AM

Yesterday I posted about pessimism over at DailyKos concerning the Democrats’ chances of taking over the House this November.

This morning the Washington Post also strikes a pessimistic tone:

An 18-month recruitment drive by the Democrats has produced nearly a dozen strong candidates with the potential for unseating House Republicans, but probably not enough to take back control of the House absent a massive anti-incumbent wave this fall, according to House political experts.

As I read this story, I wondered whether eastside Democrat Darcy Burner, who’s challenging Republican Congressman Dave Reichert in the 8th District, made the Post’s list of “strong candidates.” She didn’t, although it’s not clear whether she’s seen as one of those who could “ride a wave” of anti-Republican sentiment into office.

“If this election comes down to the individual, race-by-race, case-by-case campaigns, like we’ve seen for the last four cycles, the Democrats don’t have enough top-tier candidates to win 15 seats,” Amy Walters, a House political analyst at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, said, referring to a net gain. “But they do have enough second- and third-tier candidates who can ride a wave.

Political analysts divide the Democratic field into three tiers: the top-ranked challengers who pose a real threat to Republican incumbents, a second level of challengers who have a chance because of the Republicans’ problems nationally and their own competence on the stump, and a third tier of aspirants who have proved to be inept campaigners but who are running in swing districts that are susceptible to change.

There are a good number of Slog readers with strong opinions about Burner. Where do you guys rank Burner on this scale?

UPDATE: Whoops, should have read more closely. The Note points out this handy graphic, in which the Post ranks Burner in the third tier, which is defined as “races in swing districts where Democrats should have recruited stronger candidates.” Ouch.

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Condoleezza Rice Inspires Another Embarrassing Racial Incident

posted by on April 13 at 9:59 AM

Just weeks after a St. Louis radio host was fired for accidentally using a racial slur in reference to Condoleezza Rice, the African-American Secretary of State has inadvertantly inspired another instance of racial insensitivity, this one at Bellevue Community College.

At the center of the controversy is a question included on a math exam, details of which come from the Seattle Times:

The question read, “Condoleezza holds a watermelon just over the edge of the roof of the 300-foot Federal Building, and tosses it up with a velocity of 20 feet per second.” The question went on to ask when the watermelon will hit the ground, based on a formula provided.

Upon finding the question, several BCC students alerted school officials. When the students felt their concerns weren’t being taken seriously, they started an e-mail campaign, eventually inspiring an explanation and apology from Bellevue Community College President Jean Floten. Says the Times:

The test question was originally written with the name of a comedian, Gallagher, whose signature shtick was to smash a variety of objects, often watermelons. Later, the question was rewritten, and the name was changed to Condoleezza, Floten said.

Full story here.

Send the Marines

posted by on April 13 at 9:31 AM

An email from my brother Bill…

This story, about a Marine reservist named Daniel Brown returning from fighting in Iraq who was kept off a plane because his name appears on the Feds’ top-secret terrorist watch list, finally made me realize what really pisses me off about the current political environment. It’s not just that the President of the United States is a lying fundamentalist loon, or that Congress is run by a bunch of Christianist theocrats: it’s that their fear, their madness, and their incompetence has filtered down to every level of American society.

Before Bush and Company created the Age of Fear we live in, any American security guard with half a brain and one working eye and a fucking backbone would have the common sense to say, “Hey, this guy’s name might be on this magic list, but he’s with his unit returning from combat, and there’s no way he’s a terrorist. His name is also very common. Probably thousands of Daniel Browns out there. Not only will I let him go through security to his plane, I’m buying him a drink in the departure lounge.” But no. Now everyone is so fucking afraid that they cannot make a simple commonsense decision to do the right thing.

And so the American myth of the self-made man, the man who can boldly do the right thing, dies, suffocated by fear and incompetence.


Get Your “Go Live in France Pussy You Faggots!!” T-Shirts!

posted by on April 13 at 9:24 AM

Less than 24 hours after Slog readers were introduced to the typo-loving, gay-hating freak known as Daniel Freykis, a wonderfully ambitious reader known only as “Mainstream” has placed Freykis’ signature phrase on t-shirts and buttons.

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The quote’s even credited, care of another priceless Freykis quote printed in smaller letters under the primary phrase:

BushTastic American STRAIGHT White Male! Daniel_Freykis@yahoo.com

Buy yours today!
And thanks, “Mainstream”!

Only the Lonely

posted by on April 13 at 8:58 AM

From the UK Telegraph:

A woman’s skeleton was discovered in her flat three years after she is believed to have died, it emerged today.

Joyce Vincent was surrounded by Christmas presents and the television and heating in her bedsit were still on.

The 40-year-old’s body was so decomposed that the only way to identify her was to compare dental records with a holiday photograph.

Police believe she probably died of natural causes in early 2003, and was only found in January this year when housing association officials broke into the bedsit in Wood Green, North East London.

Our Godless State

posted by on April 13 at 6:00 AM

Geitner Simmons, editorial page editor of the Omaha World-Herald, maps religious adherence on his personal web site. Check out Godless Washington State…

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Larger version of the map here.

We’re not as Godless as Oregon, but we’re a whole lot beiger than, say, Utah, which looks like a bloody freakin’ tampon on this map. I’ve never felt more blessed to live in Washington State than I do right now.

Via Sullivan.


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Paul Allen and J.M.W. Turner, BFF?

posted by on April 12 at 10:35 PM

I was just looking at a news item from this past weekend about Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s selection to represent the US at the 2007 Venice Biennale (more on that in a forthcoming post) when I saw something I’d overlooked, from the NY Times:

A mysterious American collector bought a dreamy scene of Venice by J. M. W. Turner for $35.8 million, a record for the artist, at Christie’s in New York yesterday [April 6].

“Giudecca, La Donna della Salute and San Giorgio” (around 1840) was being sold by St. Francis of Assisi Foundation, a nonprofit organization in White Plains that supports the missionary efforts of Capuchin priests and brothers worldwide. The painting was given to the foundation by a European collector who wishes to remain anonymous. It had been on view for many years at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Three bidders — Robert Noortman, a dealer from Maastricht, the Netherlands; and two unidentified telephone bidders — vied for the painting, which was bought by one of the telephone bidders described by Christie’s officials only as an American who frequently bought Impressionist and Modern art.

Names being bandied about included the financier Leon Black and the Microsoft giant Paul Allen, who both already own Turners, as well as the hedge-fund manager Kenneth Griffin.

The Turner painting of Venice that we do know Allen owns is gorgeous; it’s up at the Experience Music Project through September and may be the best work of art on display right now in Seattle. (EMP didn’t make a reproduction of it available, and I can’t find another Turner Venice picture online that seems comparably compelling, otherwise a scene of a hazy, dissolving world would appear right here.) The fact that it’s in a half-baked show in a sub-par museum, well, that’s the subject of my review in this week’s issue.

Soundtrack Fit for Clowns?

posted by on April 12 at 7:15 PM

An ice cream truck just drove by my window. Does anyone else find this to be the most terrifying sound in the world? Something about that off-kilter tinkle immediately makes me think the driver has a few dismembered bodies in his cooler, not Drumsticks. I haven’t even seen this movie, but I’ve been creeped out by ice cream trucks as long as I can remember.

Burner Hits Back, Accuses Republicans of “Frivolous Partisan Attack”

posted by on April 12 at 4:50 PM

This morning the state Republican party announced it has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission against Democrat Darcy Burner, the newcomer who’s trying to unseat Republican Congressman Dave Reichert in the 8th District.

I wrote that the complaint marked the opening round of political hardball in the closely-watched race, and now Burner’s campaign has hit back with a release that parries the Republican charges and makes me think Burner will probably win this round.

Here’s the statement:

4/12/06

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nervous about the Strength of Burner’s Campaign, Republicans resort to Frivolous partisan attack

The week after Darcy Burner raised twice as much as Republican Congressman Reichert in the first quarter, the Republican Party launched a frivolous partisan attack on the Darcy Burner’s campaign. The Republican charge focuses on legal volunteer activities conducted by private citizens.

“Because of people’s desire for change, hundreds of people helped Darcy raise twice as much as Congressman Reichert last quarter. This obviously spooked the Republican,” said Zach Silk, Darcy Burner’s Campaign Manager.

The activities outlined in the Republican letter are the actions of an individual who voluntarily put together a video without compensation.

Under Chapter 100.74 of the Federal Elections Campaign Act, an individual may volunteer personal services to a campaign without making a contribution as long as the individual is not compensated by anyone for the services. Such volunteer activity is not reportable [see details below].

Darcy accepts invitations to speak at dozens of volunteer-driven citizen groups across the district. These activities are perfectly legal under FEC law.

Legal chapter and verse in the jump…

Continue reading "Burner Hits Back, Accuses Republicans of "Frivolous Partisan Attack"" »

A Honey of an Ohhhhhh

posted by on April 12 at 4:21 PM

“A small but highly efficient killing machine lurks in the mountains of Japan—the Japanese giant hornet. The voracious predator pumps out a dose of venom with an enzyme so strong it can dissolve human tissue. Just a handful of these hornets can kill 30,000 European honeybees within hours. Watch an attack of giant hornets on a beehive, and learn the surprising secret that Japanese honeybees use in their defense.”

With a heavy metal soundtrack.

Crab Army—my treat!

posted by on April 12 at 4:13 PM

Andrew, might I direct you to this tasty horror of horrors?

Dessert

posted by on April 12 at 3:36 PM

Continuing today’s impromptu Critter vs. Critter grossout showdown theme, an octopus totally eats a shark. In the Seattle aquarium, no less.

I’ll stop now.

The Problem With Downward Assimilaton

posted by on April 12 at 3:00 PM

This story from today’s PI deserves a very close reading, which I can not provide at this moment in time. But it basically says one thing without saying it outright: When black Africans become black Americans they suffer the horrible fate of black Americans—prison, poverty, drug addiction. This belief informs the sociological concept of upward and downward assimilation: If a white European becomes a white American, that is upward assimilation; if a black African becomes a black American, that is downward assimilation.

From near the end of the story:

These kids, being the first generation (to be born in America), they don’t know who they are,” said Abunie, an energetic 45-year-old computer consultant. “They are in-between. We have a responsibility to teach them who they are, where they come from.”

On a recent rainy morning, Abunie lectured 10 students about Ethiopia’s independence from Italy in 1896. He taught a few phrases in Amharic, including “Sit down” and “Be our guest.”

“This is your homework for next week! Read, read, read it, OK?” Abunie said, waving a sheet of phrases. “Make a conversation with your parents, OK? You guys, are you listening?”

It seemed like a losing battle. An 11-year-old boy in the back was watching a D4L rap video. An 8-year-old boy played a gun-slinging computer game, while two teenage girls listened to Mariah Carey on headphones.

The PI story pits black African parents against their black Americanized kids. The parents, black Africans, have a work ethic; their kids, black Americans, don’t. The parents have a sense of culture; their kids, because they are now black Americans, don’t. That is the ultimate meaning of the PI article, and this is why it is ultimately rotten.

Black American culture does not stand outside but inside of the American economy; it is shaped by the American economy, and responds to real economic conditions. The PI article is written as if black American culture is completely isolated and produced purely by the accident of biological circumstances. However, what is wrong or bad is not being a black American but being in a society that refuses to distribute its wealth in any way that resembles fairness. Without this context, an examination of the black African experience of black America can only be useless and racist.


The Right to Slur the Gays

posted by on April 12 at 1:30 PM

I knew it was coming, but that doesn’t make it suck less: Today the Los Angeles Times reported on the growing movement of conservative Christians willing to sue for the right to discriminate against gays. From the Times:

The religious right aims to overturn a broad range of common tolerance programs: diversity training that promotes acceptance of gays and lesbians, speech codes that ban harsh words against homosexuality, anti-discrimination policies that require college clubs to open their membership to all.

At the center of the Times story is Ruth Malhotra, a 22-year-old student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, which officially bans slurs based on sexual orientation. “Malhotra sees that as an unacceptable infringement on her right to religious expression,” says the Times, and so Malhotra’s suing, in hopes of forcing Georgia Tech to revoke its tolerance policy.

I could go off for miles about the “stop oppressing my oppression!” school of Christian victimization (of which Ken Hutcherson is a master practitioner.) But it’s far more fun to share this most vibrant example of gay slurring found in my inbox this morning. (Sic throughout.)

Hey man, mu brother just sent me a link to your goddamn fish rapper…wow what a bunch of bullshit do you guys all eat each others ashole in that town to??? What in the FUCK man! He said “Dude you won’t believe how gay this town is!” sure enough you sound like a frickin’ fruit parade or something? Suck dick much???? The dude in the sling is that you or your boyfriend? Man you fags are something else but I supose it’s all Bush’s fault huh you aids infected dick bag? Christians have fuckin had it with your shit celean up your street and close down you fag clubs and then get back in the closet oh I guess you’ll be in a cofin soon enough with aids. Faggot. I CANNOT BELIVE my brother moved to such a fag town oh well he makes more money than YOU (guranteed!) so he’ll pay more taxes and maybe just habe all your pussy ass places where you shit on each other closed down do you think aids is just a coincidece? GOD FUCKING HATES YOU MAN!!!!!!! Fucking fags my brother is right it’s time to send all of you to a island and then nuke the fuckin island! GO live in France pussy you faggots!!!!

Here’s hoping “Go live in France, pussy you faggots!!!” becomes the hot new rallying cry of anti-gay Christians everywhere.

(And FYI: The author of the screed above calls himself Daniel Freykis, a name he repeats in his e-mail address: daniel_freykis@yahoo.com.)

28 Seconds to Glory

posted by on April 12 at 1:23 PM

Attention filmmakers, would-be filmmakers, and jackasses with access to a video camera: The Stranger’s third annual 28 Second Short Film Contest is underway!

The grand prize includes two passes to this year’s Seattle International Film Festival, free tuition to a Northwest Film Forum filmmaking workshop, and—perhaps most importantly—all the fame and glory you can leverage out of having your winning entry shown before a real, live audience prior to four—count ‘em, four—Stranger-sponsored screenings.

The deadline is April 28. Full info, including rules and disclaimer-like blurbage, can be found here. Get filming!

Please Enjoy, part 2

posted by on April 12 at 12:46 PM

Niiice. In related news to Cienna’s post, here’s a freaking giant centipede eating a gawddamned mouse. Not to be viewed while eating, or most likely anytime else.

In terms of Hermann soundtracks, I’m thinking the theme for Cape Fear, mixed with occasional audible gagging.

Please enjoy

posted by on April 12 at 12:28 PM

this video of a snake regurgitating a hippo.

Like Charles, I also suggest you watch while listening to Herrmann’s theme for North by Northwest.

All Eyes on CA-50, Part 2

posted by on April 12 at 12:19 PM

Yesterday’s special election in California to replace jailed Republican Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham was seen as a potential bellwether for the upcoming midterm elections in November.

If Democrat Francine Busby could get more than 50 percent of the vote in this red district, the thinking went, Republicans would really be in trouble this fall. Well, Busby didn’t get 50 percent. Turnout was “abysmal,” according to DailyKos, and she only got 44 percent. Now, because no candidate, Republican or Democrat, got over 50 percent, the race goes into a runoff election to be held in June.

Kos has pessimistic analysis here and here.

The Democratic leadership thinks that the GOP implosion will ipso facto translate to Democratic victories in November. But the electorate is universally disenchanted with politics.

The GOP has proven, time and time again, that it is incapable of governing. But Democrats have not shown they are any different. They do not paint any bright lines between them and us. And they do nothing to motivate the Democratic base to turn out and vote.

My sense of pessimism for November’s elections only gets deeper the more elections show lower and lower turnout. Our supporters have stopped giving a shit. They were burned three elections in a row, and seeing nothing different come from the leadership, it has become easier for them to tune out.

There has got to be change in strategy from DC. Because right now, the Democratic leadership is just as reality-addled as the GOP’s.

Fill My Empty Word Balloon

posted by on April 12 at 11:18 AM

Next Wednesday, the 19th, I’m going to be interviewing Harvey Pekar onstage at Town Hall. You should go, because Harvey’s a lot of fun when he has an audience (just ask Letterman), and you should also go because his newest book is the weirdest biography you’re ever likely to read—equal parts sarcastic bitchslap and attentive hagiography, depending on how you look at it. Unlike so many of the comics greats, Harvey is doing his best work right now.
Further, if you have a question you’d like me to ask Harvey, you should Comment or send me an Electronic Mail. It doesn’t matter if your experience with him begins and ends with the American Splendor movie, now’s your chance to get that intimate or embarrassing Harvey Pekar question asked in a public forum by someone who’s not you. (Namely, me.)

Go play “Jump” at top volume in her memory

posted by on April 12 at 11:16 AM

June Pointer, the youngest of pop music’s ass-kicking Pointer Sisters, is dead at 52. (Note to neophytes: Although “Baby” June had her own run-ins with the law, and also recorded solo albums, do not confuse her with older sibling Bonnie Pointer, who made an eyebrow-raising Gay Pride appearance at The Cuff last year.)

Slipped These Tron-ish Bonds

posted by on April 12 at 11:12 AM

For quite some time, I’ve been wrestling with an increasingly persnickety, possibly coal-powered, desktop computer, which had finally flamed out to the degree where it was risky to have Word and the Net open at the same time, making successfully spelling the likes of Chiwetal Ejiofor in a review a serious chore. (And let’s not even talk about the theoretical difficulty in theoretically viewing a site like Suicide Girls. Theoretically.) So, anyway, I finally decided to mortgage my future in order to buy a new laptop, and the thing is fly. Most of my brain is still rendered agog by all the newfangled bells and whistles — it comes with pinball! — but I’m starting to think about testing out the whole portable Wifi thing. Does anyone have any suggestions as to the locations of some decent, semi-quiet, writer-friendly hangouts around these parts? Thanks much. See Brick. And/or Slither.

Japanese Soul

posted by on April 12 at 10:59 AM

If you go to this site you will find a rare pop jewel by a Japanese singer named Tohsi Kubota. The track is called “Nothing But Your Love,” and it’s produced/remixed by the great and late Jay Dee. Kubota sings in perfect black English. In fact, when I first heard the song on a mix by the LA-based beat-builder Take, I thought the singer was a black female obediently following Grace Jones’ androgynous path. But the chorus caught me by surprise: “I’m not nothing.” Though sung with a black English twang (“nothaang”), the construction is not common to black or white English. We almost never say “I’m not nothing.” To utter such a thing is to create an impossible black hole in the sign system of our language. After Take informed me of the singer’s nationality during a chance meeting in Park City, I became obsessed with “Nothing But Your Love.” It offers so much to consider: trends in Japanese pop music; the strange inventions that occur when one language meets and interacts with another language; the globalization of black English (or black singing); and so on and so forth. Listen to the song and be amazed (as I’m) by our age of transnational pop and capital.

Transcripts of United Airlines Flight 93

posted by on April 12 at 10:58 AM

Even if you think you’ve seen all the raw, horrifying evidence from 9/11 (our government’s role aside), the transcripts from United Airlines flight 93 are still terribly unsettling (FYI—this PDF takes a while to load). Personally, I’m opposed to the death penalty, but I could see details like these pushing the jury to recommend it.

Via Reuters, Yahoo, and AP coverage of Zacarias Moussaoui’s trial.

“Ahmadinejad…I’m Coming to Get You!

posted by on April 12 at 10:38 AM

With our military forces already stretched near the breaking point, some of our more timid citizens are worried how the Bush administration will deal with the threat of a nuclear Iran.

Fear not, loony peaceniks, for Bush and Cheney already have a surefire plan.

Balls Out

posted by on April 12 at 10:38 AM

If you were going to let some guy cut your balls off because castration turned you on, wouldn’t you want the guy to be just a little bit hotter than Master Rick?

MasterRick.jpg

Here’s a little detail from the latest reports about the North Carolina castrators that’s going to give me screaming nightmares:

Officers confiscated a video camera apparently used to record the procedures, as well as scores of CDs and computer files. They also seized a Tupperware container from the kitchen freezer holding what appeared to be human testicles.

Hmm… the North Carolina Castrators? Sounds like a good name for a pro-sports team. Maybe if the Sonics move to North Carolina they could change their names to the Castrators?

8th District Hardball Begins

posted by on April 12 at 10:30 AM

Eastside Republican Congressman Dave Reichert doesn’t even kick off his reelection campaign until next week, but with his opponent, Democrat Darcy Burner, having out-fundraised him by 2 to 1 in the first quarter, the gloves are already coming off.

The State Republican Party today announced it is filing a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission about Burner’s handling of contributions. I’ll post a response from Burner’s campaign as soon as it arrives.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 12, 2006

8th District Democrat named in campaign violation complaint

Seattle, WA — The Washington State Republican Party today filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) charging that US Congressional candidate Darcy Burner violated numerous federal election laws in her bid to unseat incumbent 8th District Congressman Dave Reichert. Diane Tebelius, Washington State GOP chairman, asked the FEC to look into alleged violations of federal campaign reporting laws including receipt of excessive contributions and failure to properly report disbursements.

Continue reading "8th District Hardball Begins" »

I Owe the Seattle Rep $2.50

posted by on April 12 at 9:59 AM

A couple of issues ago, I wrote this column about small crimes in and around theaters, which contained this passage:

In keeping with the petty-theft theme, I attended the opening of 9 Parts of Desire at the Seattle Rep and, unable to find any outlaws associated with the production, swiped a cookie from the concession table. The play, based on interviews with Iraqi women, is excellent as documentary, but so-so as drama. The set, with its tiled walls and crumbling concrete, is impressive. The cookie, full of chocolate chips, was pleasantly moist.

This morning, in my mailbox, I found this:

invoice.jpg

Why Matt Briggs?

posted by on April 12 at 9:59 AM

To Mr. Briggs: An answer is needed as to why you pulled down your great post from the Art Gab forum? If there’s no good or real reason, could you please return it.

Hit by Brick

posted by on April 12 at 9:59 AM

After reading Andrew Wright’s rave in last week’s Stranger, I headed to Pacific Place to check out Brick, the teen neo-noir written and directed (on a budget of $500,000) by Rian Johnson.

Wright’s right: Brick is amazing, and it’s unlike anything I’ve seen before. The plot tracks a lonely high-school kid as he attempts to solve and avenge an ex-girlfriend’s murder, and the influence of the great films noir (classic and contemporary) is all over it. (Primary referents: Chinatown, Blue Velvet, The Last Goodbye, and Murder, My Sweet.)

But the style of Brick is all its own, thanks primarily to the dialogue, which is ferociously stylized, occasionally to the point of incomprehension. Imagine one of Gus Van Sant’s recent “static suburban dreamscape” films lit up by a psychotic screwball comedy script, and you’ll get a sense of what Brick feels like.

That Rian Johnson was able to get his young cast (including Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lukas Haas) to uniformly nail his from-outer-space dialogue style is amazing. Typically, movies attempting to set stylized adult plots in high-school settings are ridiculous. (See Cruel Intentions, the would-be prep-school Dangerous Liasions.) But Brick nails it, in a way that hasn’t been done, or even attempted, before. If you dig noir-styled anything, go see it.

Big Buildings

posted by on April 12 at 9:40 AM

Yesterday I recommended listening to Herrmann’s theme for North by Northwest while reading this science article. But for the best results one should listen to it while looking at big buildings like the ones in this photo by Joseph O. Holmes. The opening of North by Northwest is one of those supreme moments when the visual fever induced by the fusion of architecture and cinema reaches the high condition of a Koolhaasian delirium.

Bumbershoot in Billboard

posted by on April 12 at 8:15 AM

The preliminary line-up for Bumbershoot 2006—including a stadium show with Kanye West—is the lead news item in this morning’s edition of music industry bible Billboard. Of the acts not cited in the Billboard piece, but also confirmed, I’m particularly excited about another local appearance by soul great Bettye Lavette and a rare show by neo-folk icon Vashti Bunyan.

After 30 Years, B&O Espresso May be Forced to Close

posted by on April 12 at 6:42 AM

Frizzelle may lose his view yet.

An ominous notice has gone up at B&O Espresso on Olive Way: The building the B&O is in may be torn down to make way for yet more condos. “It’s kind of up in the air, and it won’t be for a while,” Katharine, a manager, told me when I called B&O. “The city put up a sign, and it looks like the soonest it would happen would be a year and a half from now.”

Nate, a Stranger reader who lives a block from the B&O, wrote in after receiving a letter from the city about the new development. Says Nate…

I am really, really furious: B&O is a landmark on capital hill… they have the best desserts ever, and it is such a good place I always keep going back! It is in the top 3 reason I moved here, and I always take friends & family who are visiting Seattle to B&O. The worst part is that they just finished printing all their 30 year anniversary flyers when they received the news. If they would at least provide enough space in the new mega building so B&O could open up again, I think it would be okay. I would prefer not to have a mega building like that on my block, but if B+O goes away it is going to change the feeling of the neighborhood drastically…. Well, if you guys think this is important, then you can get the word out right?

We’re on it, Nate.

Unfortunately your idea—make sure the B&O gets the retail space in the new building—isn’t going to work out. Majed Lukapah, who has owned B&O for 30 years, tells me that the developers talked to him about occupying the retail space in the new building, “but it’s very, very small, 2200 square feet. Once you put in a kitchen, handicapped bathrooms, a counter—there’s no room left for seating. We would need at least 3500 square feet of space.”

According to Lukapah, B&O Espresso was the first espresso place on Capitol Hill, and one of the first three in the entire city.

“People are angry, and they think I’m the one to blame,” says Lukapah. “People are saying it’s my building and I want to tear it down and build condos. People are asking me, `Why do you want to tear this building down?’ I say, `It’s not me, there’s nothing I can do about it!”

There’s a meeting next Wednesday, April 19th, at Seattle Central Community College, at 6:30 PM. “Anybody who wants to complain can meet with the city at this meeting and talk with them,” says Lukapah. “There is a chance, if people fight this, that we can save the building.”

If the building can’t be saved, perhaps the developers can be convinced to expand the retail space to the 3500 square feet that Lukapah needs to keep the B&O in business.

In the meantime, if anyone knows of a space on Capitol Hill that’s at least 3500 square feet, Lukapah would appreciate a call.

UPDATE: Aw, crap. I tossed this up as quickly as I could, because I had to get home. I wanted to amend this post before anyone really saw it, but… too late. I’m already being called out in the comments. Isn’t the Stranger for density? We are, and I’m not all that upset about the demise of the one-story building that currently houses B&O. While B&O may be historic (or as historic as a thirty year-old coffee shop can be), the building its in isn’t really all that remarkable.

I was working toward my preferred solution at the end of my dashed-off post: Instead of pressuring the city or the developer to drop the project, we should pressure the developer to increase the size of the retail space so that B&O can stay on the site.

And even if the B&O doesn’t survive—God forbid—it hardly signals the end of Capitol Hill culture.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Remember early CD packaging?

posted by on April 11 at 10:53 PM

It is a sign of the progressive nature of linear time that we no longer fight with a foot-long plastic harness to extricate our compact discs from their purchase situation. This change makes me feel nothing but good.

50ft DVD Queenie

posted by on April 11 at 5:46 PM

Aside from her bewitching music videos and her bizarrely appropriate role as Mary Magdalene in Hal Hartley’s Book of Life, PJ Harvey has avoided visual documentation of her live performances (and her personal life) for quite some time. Happily, that will change when she releases a live DVD on May 23rd, comprised of live footage from the Uh Huh Her tour and (gasp!) “behind-the-scenes footage.” Yay!

Pharmacy Fundamentals

posted by on April 11 at 5:17 PM

Going to be breaking a story in tomorrow’s paper (and on-line this afternoon) about Cedar River Clinics—a network of abortion, birth control, and reproductive health clinics. They have filed a formal complaint with the state Dept. of Health about pharmacists refusing to honor prescriptions for Cedar River’s clients.

Cedar River’s complaint is timely because the Washington State Board of Pharmacy is currently considering writing rules that could allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for things like emergency contraception if they have moral objections.

If that possibility concerns you—you should attend the pharmacy board’s public hearing on Wednesday April 19 in Tumwater. (That’s in Thurston County a little south of Olympia.) It’s at 9:00am in the Labor & Industries Auditorium, 7273 Linderson Way SW.

Planned Parenthood forwarded a map to me that shows spots around the state where pharamacists have refused to fill prescriptions—including Seattle. The map also explains the incidents. I didn’t have room to put the map in the paper. Check it out.

After Work

posted by on April 11 at 4:50 PM

Finally the day is done and now it’s time to do what I most enjoy doing after work. If any one wants me for one reason or another, I will be at my usual place and my cell will be on. Cheers!

SHON_YINK_005.jpg

Building on Broadway

posted by on April 11 at 3:32 PM

Early on a Saturday morning last summer I awoke to the skull-breaking sound of a jackhammer. I live on Broadway, so I’m used to loud, what with the speed freaks carrying out their agonizing dramas at three in the morning, and ambulances two or three or nine times in a day, depending on the forces of chance, and, as happened last weekend, occasional major collisions (an SUV flipped a couple times and landed on its side in front of Trendy Wendy), but that Saturday morning jackhammer was unbelievable. They’d just torn down the former U.S. Bank there at Broadway and East Olive and were jackhammering the old vault into a bunch of small pieces so it could be carted away. Do you have any idea how long it takes to jackhammer a vault the size of a studio apartment into small pieces? Holy mother.

Ever since, I’ve been watching the development project in that lot carefully. Daily. It is what I see when I open my blinds in the morning. It is the foreground of a view of the downtime skyline that I’ve been looking at as much as possible, knowing that a good chunk of it will disappear when the new building is finished.

Turns out, my view isn’t going to disappear. At all. Weirdly, this disappoints me. I live on the sixth story of my building, and the new building across the intersection is only going to be four stories. This disappoints me because current height limits on Broadway allow you to build up to six stories. It disappoints me because I want to live in a city. I want a towering building of lit-up windows blocking part of my view. I want to wave at other people in their apartments going about their lives. I want to live on an urban canyon of a street. The urban canyons of New York City are a rare beauty.

And the other thing? The building going up is cheesy/trendy/contemporary. The old U.S. Bank building was a monument to someone’s brutal cement fetish circa 1970, but at least it had character. The new one (its address is 113 Broadway E, and there’s a color sketch of what it will look like at the site) comes complete with a tacky clock that hangs out from the roof in a very this-would-be-cool-if-it-were-still-the-’80s way—it doesn’t exist yet and already looks dated—that sums up everything wrong with this new building, if not all new architecture in Seattle in general.

I just got off the phone with Richard Muhlebach at Kennedy Wilson, the real estate company handling 113 Broadway E (as well as the building that will be right behind it, on Harvard Ave), and he told me that when 113 Broadway E was designed, the height limits on Broadway were still at four stories. “We were so far along in the design and building permit [when they raised the height limits] that for us to add two more floors, it could have delayed us another 6 to 9 months. Plus we could have had to go two levels deeper for a garage.” I.e., building to six stories would have cost Kennedy Wilson more money. (But it would have made a better building! Which is going to be there forever!) Then I aired my gripe about how it looks. “We think they’re very attractive,” he said, referring to 113 Broadway E and the building behind it. (The building behind 113 Broadway E is marginally better looking than the one that’s going to be on Broadway; for one, it doesn’t have that damn clock.) “The building on Broadway is, I’m not an architect, I don’t know what to say, I don’t want to say edgy, but it’s a little more contemporary,” he said.

To which I say: Whatever happened to old-fashioned and good?

“Since Winter Came, The Sweater Was Worn.”

posted by on April 11 at 3:13 PM

PON, or the “he” in this narrative, is a bunny rabbit standing in autumn foliage.

My name is PON. Since winter came, the sweater was worn. Osaka Castle Park

僕の名前はぽん。寒くなったのでセーターを着ました。
大阪城公園

Since he caught a cold last year, I made the sweater to him.
It was my socks without necessity. It is a recycling.:P
He is pleased very much in this sweater.
I show him a sweater. Then, he expects to go to take a walk!!
Jump! Runs!
* yasuko * (heaven@air)

I tried to post the photo that accompanies this story, but for some reason, it won’t work. The best I can do is the link. The sweater is worn here.

Drinking Liberally

posted by on April 11 at 3:00 PM

Drink liberally tonight at the Montlake Ale House. Jesus’ General, this week’s featured guest, is almost as impressive as last week’s featured guest, emerging Dem superstah Darcy Burner.

Drinking Liberally—tonight at 8 p.m., at the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. More info over at Goldy’s.

More on Connelly’s Whidbey Island Roommates

posted by on April 11 at 2:47 PM

Yesterday, blogger Stefan Sharkansky reported that four people, including two who actually live overseas, are registered to vote at P-I columnist Joel Connelly’s 737-square-foot Whidbey Island vacation cabin. Connelly, infuriated at what he characterized in an e-mail to the Stranger as a “right-wing attack” (Sharkansky is indeed a conservative blogger), bombarded Sharkansky with e-mails defending the foursome’s “residence” at the tiny cabin. In one, he offered to provide photos one of the overseas residents, David Lawsky, in the Cascades, Olympics, and on Whidbey Island.

“Please send them, Joel,” Sharkansky wrote. “I’ll post them along with pictures of myself in Massachusetts, North Carolina, Spain, Austria and other places where I’ve spent a few vacations but have no right to vote.”

In other Connelly-related news, Sharkansky reports that Lawsky described his residency on a message board in 2003 as follows: “I have lived in Brussels, Belgium, since January, 2001, for the same reason I lived in Washington, D.C., for 18 years (we own a house in DC) — I’m a reporter and I write about governments from their capitals.”

And, in still more Connelly-related news, Connelly wrote a letter to the editor this week lambasting me for not “bothering to talk with him” for a one-sentence item (which I got from two other sources, neither of them in Nick Licata’s office) in my column last week. Connelly, for the record, has never once called me or former City Hall reporter Josh Feit before reporting as fact, repeatedly, that a single source at city hall is a “sieve” who’s “notorious for leaking news to the Stranger.”

I Have Eaten Near the World’s Finest Restaurants

posted by on April 11 at 2:40 PM

Five hundred and sixty international food critics just got together to vote for Restaurant magazine’s list of the world’s 50 best restaurants. Turns out I’m a classier dude than I (or anybody else) expected—I have dined in close proximity to several of these fine eateries. Among them:

Finest restaurant #8: Per Se, New York, New York
Per Se is in Columbus Circle, where they have those bronze reliefs of the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María. In rememberance of the Spanish invasion of the New World, I got a hot dog from a street vendor. (Pigs, like dandilions and rats and horses, are not indigenous to the Americas.) It was rubbery and unsatisfying.

Finest restaurant #26: Charlie Trotter’s, Chicago, Illinois
My meal at Charlie Trotter’s was actually a steaming, bitter plate of crow. I was walking around with a young lady I wanted to treat to a nice meal. I was new to Chicago—and, apparently, to common-sense research—and had heard that Charlie’s was a “good” restaurant. But really, how fancy could it be with a name that sounded suspiciously like a euphemism for diarrhea? Pretty goddamned fancy, in fact. I asked to see a menu and my eyebrows shot up so fast, I thought I’d sprained my forehead. In retrospect, it’s clear that the maitre d’ was just humoring me and, being a professional, probably would have saved my dignity, saying something like “we’re full up tonight,” if I’d let him. Instead, I blanched, stammered, and nearly threw the menu back at him for fear of incurring a fine for soiling it with my plebian fingers. I left with the young lady and slopped her like a hog at a nearby taco truck—my treat.

Finest restaurant #17: Le Cinq, Paris, France
Le Cinq is off the George V metro stop, part of Line 1, the first subway line in Paris, which opened in 1900. I remember sitting on the subway at the George V station, surprised that a station named for an English king came between one named for de Gaulle and another named for FDR. I was eating a croissant sandwich with ham and cheese—which, I thought, was an appropriate Franco-Anglo-American fusion snack.

Finest restaurant #1: El Bulli, Girona, Catalonia
I was living in Manresa, a fading former textile town near Girona (which is near Barcelona) but further inland. My girlfriend and I wanted to visit the historic old town (singing “my-my-my-my Girona!” a la the Knack) and I discovered El Bulli while googling. It sounded incredible: 27-course meals built of micro-plates made with lasers and centrifuges and other sci-fi machines. El Bulli serves “pistachio truffle cooled in liquid nitrogen” and “air of carrot,” a frothy carrot foam. “Liquid” is just a peach dipped in liquid hydrogen. One day, we got some ham and tomato bocadillos and hiked around the bumpy roads heading out of town, looking for El Bulli. We never found it, but we pretended to; we sat on a stone by the roadside and ate our baguette sandwiches in 27 tiny bites.

Speed is sexist

posted by on April 11 at 12:47 PM

According to a recent study conducted at John Hopkins University, men’s brains react more strongly to amphetamines than women’s brains.

Researchers — led by Dr. Gary Wand, a professor of endocrinology — found men’s brains showed evidence of up to three times the amount of chemical dopamine as women’s when exposed to amphetamines.

Fickle, fickle drugs.

R.I.P. Proof

posted by on April 11 at 12:44 PM

A key member of Eminem’s notorious D12 hiphop crew, Proof (AKA 32-year-old Deshaun Holton), was fatally shot in the head during an argument at a strip club on Detroit’s 8 Mile Road, which was immortalized in the Eminem bio-pic 8 Mile. A respected battle rapper, Proof appeared in that film and was Em’s best man in his second marriage to Kim Mathers in January.

Obie Trice, another Motor City MC tight with Eminem, was shot while driving on a metro Detroit freeway in December 2005.

Buy Him Some Peanuts and Crackerjack

posted by on April 11 at 12:44 PM

Via Drudge: Cheney threw out the first pitch for the Washington Nationals today—and was loudly booed.

Michiko Kakutani’s Voluminous Stream of Bile

posted by on April 11 at 12:32 PM

Everyone has an opinion about her. Anyone can do a passing imitation of her. Everyone loves saying her trochaic trimeteric name. It’s practically become an American sport for literary journalists (i.e., people who write about books) to take New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani, roll her up into a ball, and shoot baskets with her. And she totally deserves it. Among people who write about books, no individual has more influence than she does, no one is more enamored of her own opinion, and no one is quite as polar. Your book is the best thing since Shakespeare, or your book is not worth the ink it’s printed in—with Kakutani, there’s not much in between. She’s pretty simple that way. She’s infuriating.

The one shooting hoops with her this time is Ben Yagoda, who writes in an aside: Kakutani “has justly been called out for her near-obsessive use of ‘lugubrious’ and ‘limn,’ words that probably have never been said aloud in the history of English,” which is funny, and echoes something I wrote praising Jonathan Safran Foer—while bashing Kakutani—last year. I counted the number of times Kakutani has used the the word “limn” since she started at the New York Times. (Although, later in that piece, I now notice, I use the word “lugubrious.” I’d argue that “lugubrious” is used a lot more than “limn” in conversation… But whatever. Could be wrong. Sigh.)

Since I’m on the subject—will my computer explode if I link to Seattle Weekly’s website?—here’s a review of the reviews of Zadie Smith’s second novel that I wrote years ago, which includes some Kakutani bashing as well. Enjoy.

Iranian Rumbling and the Reza Love Fund

posted by on April 11 at 12:31 PM

Yes, Iran has just successfully enriched uranium, but fear not:

Ahmadinejad said Iran “relies on the sublime beliefs that lie within the Iranian and Islamic culture. Our nation does not get its strength from nuclear arsenals.”

Thanks, President Ahmadinejad! (Did you know that his first piece of legislation was the creation of a billion-dollar “Love Fund”? Did you know that it’s supposed to be used to help youngster get jobs and afford marriage, and help them buy their first homes? Using oil revenues? Isn’t that sweet for an otherwise unlikable man?)

Closer to home, the storm clouds keep gathering

Western defense sources and analysts told a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations that Britain and the United States are preparing for the prospect of air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities in late 2006 if diplomatic efforts at the United Nations Security Council are not successful.

“In just the past few weeks I’ve been convinced that at least some in the administration have already made up their minds that they would like to launch a military strike against Iran,” Joseph Cirincione, director of the Washington-based Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said.

The Utility of Mass Protest

posted by on April 11 at 12:30 PM

Remember back in the fall of last year, when that big (and somewhat ignored) anti-war protest in D.C. led to a discussion in the forums about the utility of protest?

The forum thread got going because some people, including myself, were wondering whether mass protest is even relevant anymore in the age of the Internet. Since then, I’ve heard a lot of people suggesting that protesting in the streets is an anachronism that will eventually be replaced by more powerful forms of online organizing. But it seems to me that the immigrant protests of this week (nevermind recent events in France) have put a bit of a dent in that theory.

What say you, tech utopians?

You are beautiful.

posted by on April 11 at 12:30 PM

beautiful.bmp

I saw this while walking down Pine St last week, on the pole in front of the Egyptian. It made me smile, so thanks to whoever is responsible.

Speaking of What Conservatives are Saying

posted by on April 11 at 11:20 AM

As Dan points out, some conservatives are now saying things Democrats like to hear.

But here’s a Republican attack web site that’s saying something Democrat Maria Cantwell is not going to be happy to hear. Leaving aside the predictability of DonkeysWantYourMoney.com, this site raises a question: Where are the Democrats’ vicious attack web sites?

When I was riding around last week with liberal blogger Jerome Armstrong, who’s working as a technology adviser to Mark Warner’s “potential” presidential campaign, Armstrong told me that viral Internet messaging is seen as a campaign tactic of the future.

Well, viral web messaging is exactly what Republicans are going for with this anti-Cantwell site. Where’s the Democrats’ response?

Kaption Kontest Konclusion

posted by on April 11 at 10:53 AM

Dear readers: As some of you undoubtedly recall, in the Stranger issue that hit streets on Thursday, March 23, we announced a Kaption Kontest, inviting readers to submit, uh, “kaptions” for a single-frame cartoon, with a promise of $10 in quarters and a half-pound of ham for the writer of the best entry.

The cartoon was commissioned from artist Danny Hellman, who did a great job of drawing exactly the scenario I described: A man who’s just murdered his entire family, and is now on the phone.

This joke wasn’t that funny to begin with (which was sort of the point) but after the tragic events of Saturday, March 25, it became the least funny thing in the world. The “Kaption Kontest” was relegated to the pre-Capitol Hill massacre history bin, and we resumed filling the “New Column!” space with fake celebrity columns that rhyme, which never offended nobody (except Sandra Oh’s lawyer; more on that in the forthcoming issue.)

Then, yesterday, I received this email from one David Massie:

“Did you guys ever declare a winner for the Kaption Kontest? WHAT ABOUT THE HAM?? Millions are starving, waiting for word on whether or not to shop for meat, fearing a deluge of pork may send them into cardiac overload. Please, please! Tell us! OH GOD!!”

And so, in light of the growing distance between the cartoon scenario and its horrific real-life correlative, we’re finally announcing a winner in the Kaption Kontest.

Continue reading "Kaption Kontest Konclusion" »

Fox News Belarus: Fair and Balanced

posted by on April 11 at 10:49 AM

The European Union, reports the New York Times, has placed “travel restrictions on President Aleksandr G. Lukashenko of Belarus and 30 more of the country’s officials, blocking their entrance to much of Europe as punishment for election tampering and violent crackdowns on dissent in the former Soviet state.”

In barring Lukashenko and his cronies, the European Union slams Belarus’ “three state-controlled television [that] endlessly flatter the president and criticize his perceived foes.” Good thing we don’t have to put up with anything like that in a democracy.

Bush Haters

posted by on April 11 at 10:40 AM

Okay, we’re all Bush haters here. No one here but us liberal ducks, quack quack quack.

Reading nothing but Americablog, DailyKos, Atrios, and, um, Slog, and other liberal blogs—finally we have a the left-wing echo chamber that can compete with the right-wing echo chamber!—can warp your take on national politics, and give you the impression that everyone out there agrees with you about Bush and the GOP. Bush is dangerous! He’s incompetent! He’s unpopular! But if everyone agrees with you, why is Bush president? Why is there even a question that Dems will re-take the House and Senate in November (go, Darcy Burner, go!), or the White House in 2008?

So as not to lose perspective, it’s important to check in at conservative blogs every once in a while, just to see what the right-wing echo chamber is saying about Bush. Take this guy, an arch-conservative if ever there was one, writing on the National Review’s website, an arch-conservative publication if ever there was one:

I voted for President Bush twice, and contributed to his campaign twice, but held my nose when I did it the second time. I don’t consider myself a Republican any longer. Thanks to this Administration and the Republicans in Congress, the Republican Party today is the party of pork-barrel spending, Congressional corruption — and, I know folks on this web site don’t want to hear it, but deep down they know it’s true — foreign and military policy incompetence. Frankly, speaking of incompetence, I think this Administration is the most politically and substantively inept that the nation has had in over a quarter of a century. The good news about it, as far as I’m concerned, is that it’s almost over.

Billions and Billions

posted by on April 11 at 9:16 AM

To intensify the impact of this science article about “how individual galaxies in galaxy clusters evolve over time,” I recommend reading it to Bernard Herrmann’s theme for North by Northwest. (I know some of you might automatically try the theme for The Day the Earth Stood Still, but it doesn’t have the thrilling effect—Big Space, Big Stars, Billions of Big Galaxies—that you get from North by Northwest.)

The Contagion of Crowds

posted by on April 11 at 8:49 AM

Philip Kennicott has a great essay meditating on the immigration marches and the psychology and pathology of crowds in today’s Washington Post. A piece of it:

Plenty of Americans throw themselves happily into crowds, into throngs of shoppers at Christmastime, into the subway at rush hour. We are not immune to crowd psychology. Even when utterly defended inside the metal carapace of our cars we obey the law of the pack: What else would you call those traffic jams caused by our morbid desire to see an accident up close? Even so, we don’t think of ourselves as a people that does crowds. On some primitive level, with the memory of Civil War prisons and the squalid world of New York tenements echoing inside us, the crowd makes us ask, impatiently, will we never be clean?

Very little has changed since Emma Lazarus wrote her poem, the one that welcomes immigrants to our shores even as it calls them “the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.” An immigrant is still something to be cleaned and scrubbed and molded into an American. That the people who have gathered in the streets in the past weeks are often the same people who clean for us, who do the so-called “dirty jobs,” only reanimates the longstanding fear that someday this country will be full up, that we will have to rub up against each other in a way that sullies us. And so the pundits ask, again and again, the big question of the political season: Does the immigration issue really touch voters?


Monday, April 10, 2006

Happy Birthday, Earthquake!

posted by on April 10 at 7:39 PM

The anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake is coming up, and this article in the New York Times is a harrowing depiction of what happened, along with some post-hoc scientific analysis.

I want to die in an earthquake (or some other suitably historical event), but I’m still chilled by morbid earthquake spectacles, especially this Library of Congress site, which has a film made in the immediate aftermath of the quake.

Scared yet? Here’s King County’s comforting (ha!) predictions and advice regarding earthquakes in the Seattle area.

Marching in Seattle, Washington, and Washington D.C.

posted by on April 10 at 6:44 PM

There are huge pro-immigrant marches going on today all over the country. I don’t have much to say about them—the marchers’ cause is self-evidently just, and Republican attempts to smear and stigmatize immigrants, legal or not, are offensive and will backfire. The brightside: whatever inroads Republicans were making among Hispanic voters are being destroyed. This is an opportunity for Dems.

Anyway, not much to say, but John Aravosis has some moving images up on Americablog from the march in D.C. today.

Bleak House Is on Fire

posted by on April 10 at 5:10 PM

Literally. (So much for all that precipitation.)

Pink, Karen O, and What the Little Girls Understand

posted by on April 10 at 5:06 PM

While I deeply appreciate the difficult (and often unrecognized) efforts of the underground and indie music communities, I think it’s equally important to pay attention to mainstream pop music. It’s being more widely digested and is therefore a barometer of what the mass cultural experience looks like at a given moment—for better or for worse. This is especially true when you consider its impact on non-urban audiences who might not have regular access to edgy, underground artists. While most of the mind-numbing “music” on MTV2 bores me to tears, every once in a while a mainstream artist blindsides me with unexpectedly strong work.

In 2004, it was Green Day that impressed me with their blatantly anti-war rock opera, American Idiot (they also did a couple of rather bold videos, especially this one). This year, it’s looking like Pink may be the artist that deserves high praise for taking a gutsy political stance. I don’t know specifically what instigated this passion for bringing punk-minded feminism to young girls, but “Stupid Girls,” the single from her new album, I’m Not Dead, is a sharp, take-no-prisoners critique of current female gender roles, beauty standards, and consumer culture. No, it’s hardly advanced feminist theory, but a young girl (particularly one who’s stuck in red state hell) absorbing the messages in this video is undoubtedly a very, very good thing.

Conversely, listening to the new Yeah Yeah Yeah’s CD, Show Your Bones, has proved to be a terribly disheartening experience. After a move to L.A. and a few years under the helm of Interscope Records, Karen O and company sound soft, safe (I thought I was listening to Tegan and Sara when I first put the CD in) and uncharacteristically one-dimensional. No one should expect a promising young band to duplicate their debut, but watching a beautifully chaotic, hyper-creative punk trio mutate into something so sedate and toothless is quite jarring—especially when their frontwoman was such a fierce and fearless presence.

While these two records are hardly polar opposites, seeing two artists release highly anticipated records to fans who will probably be divided over their new statements is worth examining, which is exactly what I’ll be doing in a future edition of the Stranger.

To see Pink’s video for “Stupid Girls,” go here.

To see the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s video for their first single, “Golden Lion,” go here (scroll down to the “media” section).

Jewish Sex Commandos

posted by on April 10 at 4:38 PM

Mm… Jewish sex commandos. Sounds hot, huh?

Well, not in this case. These sex commandos are actually anti-sex commandos. A group of ultra-orthodox Jewish computer geeks are hacking into pornographic websites and replacing images like this with pictures of this dude.

Jewish “sex commando” targets Israeli porn Web sites

A group of Jewish ultra-Orthodox hackers is waging a war against pornographic Web sites, replacing their content with nothing but the picture of a revered rabbi, an Israeli paper reported.

To fight what they see as an abomination, the ultra-Orthodox “sex commando” has so far targeted only Israeli-based Web sites…

Instead of seeing images of sexy girls, anyone who logs onto the site encounters the stern look of the white-bearded Rabbi Menahem Mendel Schneerson, the late leader of the popular Jewish Lubavitch stream.

Dangerous, Crazy Right-Wing President Tossed Out of Office

posted by on April 10 at 4:31 PM

Unfortunately, we’re talking about the president of Italy. Still, it’s nice to know that no crazy, dangerous right-wing president is forever.

Opposition unseats Berlusconi in Italian election: exit polls

The centre-left opposition led by Romano Prodi has won Italy’s general election, unseating Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, according to exit polls.

“We are still very cautious but if these indications are confirmed that would mean that Italy had decided to turn the page and begin a new era,” said a spokesman at Prodi’s campaign headquarters on Monday.

“Reichert may have to fight tooth-and-nail”

posted by on April 10 at 3:35 PM

Roll Call, a D.C. publication for political insiders, has just published a story about the closely-watched House race between eastside Republican Dave Reichert and his strong Democratic challenger, Darcy Burner. (Pictured bottom right.)

Burner.jpg

The Roll Call story is yet another sign that Burner’s momentum is getting her major attention in both Washingtons. You’ll need a subscription in order to read the whole thing online, but here’s an excerpt:

Reichert May Face Tough Challenge From Neophyte

By Nicole Duran

Rep. Dave Reichert probably envies his fellow freshman Republican from the Evergreen State, Rep. Cathy McMorris.

Both emerged from tough primaries to win nationally targeted open seats in 2004. Both have distinguished themselves early in the 109th Congress and are considered rising stars in the GOP — Reichert even snagged a subcommittee chairmanship out of the gate, one of only six freshmen ever to do so. And both face unknown political neophytes in their re-election campaigns this November.

But while McMorris, whose district sits safely east of the Cascade Mountains in strong GOP territory, likely will coast back to Congress, Reichert may have to fight tooth-and-nail to become a sophomore.

Reichert represents a classic swing suburban district outside of Seattle that is becoming more Democratic. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) took the 8th district with 51 percent of the vote in 2004, compared to President Bush’s 48 percent, and Reichert won with just 52 percent last time.

“The 8th is a swing, Democratic district,” concedes Reichert’s political consultant Bruce Boram. “Any Democratic opponent who runs against Reichert starts at 43 percent [of the vote].”

Add that more than 60 percent of 8th district voters currently believe the country is on the wrong track, according to recent polls, that the popularity of Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress are at all-time lows and that the district “is definitely trending in the Democrats’ favor,” and “it’s an environment where you have to take that seriously,” Boram added.

The factors Boram ticks off combine to make a potent electoral cocktail, but what could make it a double for Reichert is money.

Democrat Darcy Burner surprised national Democrats, Republicans and probably Reichert by outraising him 2-1 in the first quarter of this year.

She still trails him in overall cash on hand, but she dramatically narrowed the ratio with a stellar three-month period that saw her bring in $140,000 in the last 10 days of March.

Boram said Reichert likely began April with more than $700,000 while Burner had $355,000 in the bank.

Burner gave her campaign $25,000 and loaned it $10,000 but is not expected to seriously self-fund.

“Darcy Burner has done a phenomenal job establishing herself as an aggressive candidate for change right out of the gate,” said Kate Bedingfield, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “She’s really demonstrated she’s going to make a run at this seat.”

Neither the DCCC nor the Washington Democratic Party recruited Burner, a 35-year-old former Microsoft executive. A wealthy state Representative passed on the race, as did a number of other officeholders and the well-known radio personality Reichert defeated last time.

Burner initially had a primary opponent, but he dropped his bid and endorsed her. The Democratic members of the state’s Congressional delegation have held a fundraiser for her, and House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) will headline an event for her later this month.

“Darcy has exceeded expectations at every point in her life,” said Zach Silk, her campaign manager. “I think she has a story and a biography that connects with the district. I think Republicans are going to dismiss her at their peril.”

Connelly Lives in Madrona, Votes on Whidbey

posted by on April 10 at 3:19 PM

Stefan Sharkansky reports that P-I columnist Joel Connelly—the same Joel Connelly who has repeatedly worked himself into an ethical lather about Stranger reporters’ friendships with certain City Hall employees—has four people registered to vote at his 737-square-foot vacation home on Whidbey Island, including Connelly, his landscaper, and two friends who actually live overseas. According to Sharkansky:

The registrations that appear to be outright fraudulent (and I don’t use that word lightly here) are those of Ellen and David Lawsky. David Lawsky is a correspondent for Reuters, who relocated from the Washington, DC bureau to the Brussels bureau in 2001. Ellen Lawsky is Head of the International High School in Brussels. In a May 2004 column, Connelly described Lawsky as “a hiking buddy visiting from Washington, D.C.” Funny then, that this out of town visitor and his wife had registered to vote at Connelly’s Island County cabin in October 2002 and have voted in 8 elections since, including those for local school, park and library measures. But how can they legitimately claim to be legal residents of Island County, Washington State, and not Washington, DC? As far as I can tell, they can’t.

Sharkansky also posts pdfs of his correspondence with Connelly, in which the P-I columnist attempts to justify allowing his overseas friends to claim residency at his tiny cabin: “They are… former Seattleites who registered with the expressed intent of moving back to Washington when present assignments come to an end. David has more than a bit of sweat equity in the place. He helped haul railroad ties used to buttress the trail system.”

A good friend, indeed. But in terms of specific legal facts that establish residency? Neither of the Lawskys possess Washington state drivers licenses, and the kicker—they continue to own their longtime home in Washington DC where they claim the homestead property tax credit which is available only for property owners who use the property as their principle place of residence.

Connelly also defends his own Whidbey Island registraton, calling the “place… far more than a ‘vacation cabin’: It’s been featured on the Travel Channel.” But despite his righteous indignation (he also accuses Sharkansky of “ratfucking” him) Connelly appears to actually live in Madrona, to which he has referred in columns as his “home” and “neighborhood.” Lucky for him, Connelly can choose where to vote. The rest of us have to vote where we actually live.

Rock Lottery!

posted by on April 10 at 3:16 PM

Participants of this year’s Rock Lottery have been announced. For those unfamiliar, Rock Lottery gathers a pool of 25 local musicians, splits them up into five groups of five, and locks each group up in a room for a day, where they’re forcced to name their new band and write a short set of original material. Later that night, the new bands are released from their cells and thrown on stage where they perform the outcome of their day-long band rehearsal.

Last year’s Rock Lottery at ConWorks was a lot of fun. I distincly remember Sean Nelson of Harvey Danger singing a poppy dance number about a spider on the drumset with one of the girls from Smoosh.

This year’s rock lotter includes Jim Antonio (The Purrs), Dave Bazan (Headphones, Pedro the Lion), James Bertram (754-Hero/Red Stars Theory), Dave Brozowski (Tall Birds/the Catheters), Emery Carl (Chairman of the Pike Market Performers Guild), Richard Davidson (The Young Sportsmen), Heather Duby, Aaron Ellh (the Ruby Doe), Greg Gilmore (Mother Love Bone), Gavin Gregory (Water Kill the Sun), Kim House (C’est la Mort), Aaron Huffman (Harvey Danger), Grant Johnson (Big Smokey, Model Rockets), Nouela Johnston (Mon Frere), Zeke Keeble (Marrow, Locust), Aaron Malver (The Red Note), Chris McFarland (Suretoss), Rob Schaffer (the Femurs), Sonic Smith (the Emergency), Conor St. Kiley (Holy Ghost Revival), Shane Tutmarc (Dolour), James Van Leuven (Plan B), Sonny Votolato (Slender Means, Blue Checkered Record Player), and Reggie Watts (Maktub).

Members of Mon Frere, Harvey Danger, the Emergency, and Holy Ghost Revival? It’s gonna be awesome. The show will take place at Neumo’s on April 29th. Visit rocklottery.com for info.

Lady with Unlimited Memory Speaks!

posted by on April 10 at 3:08 PM

A couple weeks ago, Jen Graves wrote a Slog post about the woman who remembers everything. (And I got in on the discussion in the comments section.)

Last week, ABC News followed up with a report—featuring a short interview—with the Amazing Memory Woman. This ABC report answers a few of the questions that have been floating around since Jen’s original post (primarily, is perfect memory a gift or a curse?) and can be found here.

Lost and Found

posted by on April 10 at 3:07 PM

Classified appearing in yesterday’s Yorkshire Evening Post: “If anyone found my book bound in human skin, please return it to me. Great sentimental value.”

And you wonder if it was worth it to throw off the shackles of Mother England.

All Eyes on CA-50

posted by on April 10 at 3:05 PM

The political world is watching closely today as voters in California’s 50th Congressional District go to the polls in a special election to replace Randy “Duke” Cunningham.

Cunningham, you may recall, became a poster-child for the Republican “Culture of Corruption” when he was sentenced to eight years in prison for bribery and tax evasion earlier this year. His district is pretty solidly Republican, but Francine Busby, a Democrat who is one of 18 candidates trying to replace Cunningham, has a good deal of momentum and has received strong backing from the liberal blogosphere and the Democratic Party.

Most experts are saying a win today by Busby is still a long-shot, but if she does win it will be taken as a sign that Democrats are right in thinking they can retake the House this fall:

“If Busby wins, that would be the political equivalent of a tectonic shift,” said Amy Walter, senior editor at the Washington-based Cook Political Report. “The next story you would hear is this is the first rumblings in what would be a major earthquake in November.”

I’ll post again when we know the results.

Give an Infant a Keyboard, and She’ll Play for a Day…

posted by on April 10 at 3:03 PM

I have no idea why this is the eighth-most-emailed article on the New York Times web site today. I have no idea why I am linking to it.

Maybe it is this picture of the baby piano Condi was given as an infant:

condis_piano.jpg

Maybe it is because of the description of Ms. Rice’s “long, thin fingers.” Maybe it is how Ms. Rice tells her colleagues, “”My tempo is not your tempo.” Maybe I am nostalgic for old-school society pages. I haven’t the slightest clue.

But it is a very dumb article. Don’t read it.

A cry for help

posted by on April 10 at 2:58 PM

I’ve been alternating between denial and panic for weeks, but time is running out and I need to own up: My beautiful teenage brother, Charles Christopher Madrid IV (Carlos), will turn 14 on April 28.

I have no idea what to get him for his birthday. I feel out of touch with his tastes because I haven’t lived with him for years, but I’ll be damned if I give up my title as the reigning Queen of Cool City to (ack!) my mother.

These are the things I know about my brother: He likes music, especially Common Market, Blue Scholars, Atmosphere, DEL tha funkee homosapien, and Hieroglyphics.

He is not into sports, his peers, or talking in complete sentences. But he loves music, reading about music, computer games, and skate boarding. (and His Sister)

I’m leaning towards a music-y gift because that’s what he seems to dig the most—but I’m open to any ideas (Please Jesus). Last year for his birthday I bought him a fat gift certificate to I-tunes. For Christmas, I bought him tickets to see MF Doom at Chop Suey (and then I made him take me as his date).

I hear vague mutterings from my male friends about the sea of perversion all boys dive into with relish at this age, but I am not looking for that kind of gift. He is my little brother. No boobies, no drugs.

Let me make it clear: I need to find something in the next three weeks suitable enough to impress/delight a teenage boy and his thug friends so that they continue to think I am cool. And just maybe one of them will finally get up the nerve to ask me to junior high prom.

Because if my mother gets asked and I do not, I will Simply Die.

Anyone willing to advise me on brilliant gifts for teenage boys? Please?

Water-Soluble Crystalline Carbohydrates

posted by on April 10 at 2:43 PM

sugar.jpg
Looks like Sugar won its match against Pulse, at least according to the sign out front today.
It’s a shame that doesn’t say Fagbar.

Not What Run DMC Had In Mind?

posted by on April 10 at 2:41 PM

Apparently, Adidas has come out with what some folks think are racist tennies

_41543836_adidas-shoe203.jpg

`I Have an iPod—In My Mind

posted by on April 10 at 2:34 PM

This funny piece in The Onion captures exactly what I’ve been thinking for several months now. If only I could download the jukebox in my mind onto your iPod. You’d need a dozen of those suckers…

Woman Lifts Keg With Boob

posted by on April 10 at 2:18 PM

I have my doubts.

Who Likes Warm Beer?

posted by on April 10 at 2:17 PM

A Savage Love reader on the east coast alerted me to a new product that will interest a certain segment of my readership. Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales has is lauching a new beer: Golden Showers.

How do you market Golden Showers to the American public? Dogfish Head has the answer…

INSTEAD OF MAKING IT INOFFENSIVE MAKE IT TASTE GOOD!

Nobody should believe that Dogfish Head Golden Shower tastes good… until they try it. Why should they? Not many people are going to try it because, without a traditional marketing campaign, it’s going to be hard to find for a long time. But a small group of people who trust their taste enough to decide what to drink for themselves are going to find a Golden Shower and try it and we’re pretty sure they are going to like it.

Funny, that’s the same thing my German boyfriend used to tell me about Golden Showers.

Who’s Your Daddy?

posted by on April 10 at 2:06 PM

I’m guessing that if I rounded up a bunch of 11-14 year old boys and sodomized them with a broomstick, I’d be spending the next decade or six in prison. But not 19 year-old Ryan Bennett of Arizona. After sodomozing 18 boys with a broomstick, Ryan’s not going to spend even one night in jail. Why? Because his daddy is the Republican President of the Arizona State Senate.

The elder Mr. Bennett is a big opponent of gay marriage, naturually. Family values and like that.

Doppelgangwar

posted by on April 10 at 2:00 PM

I had heard rumors about this, but two ladies at a party on Saturday night gave me an official sighting (shout-out to Natalie and Elaine): some piece of shit is impersonating Party Crasher. This piece of shit’s modus operandi goes as follows: he buzzes in to an apartment or walks into a house where a party is going on, announces himself as Paul Constant, the Party Crasher, and then…well…crashes the party.
To the Seattle House-Partygoing Public, I offer these warning signs that your Party is being Crashed by this fraudulent piece of shit:

1. If nobody at your party invited partycrasher@thestranger.com, it’s probably not me.

2. I hear that this piece of shit doesn’t take notes at all. I pretty much have a notebook in my hand the whole time I’m at a party.

3. I also take pictures at the parties I attend, and everyone who has a picture taken has to fill out and sign an Official Stranger Photo Release Form. The piece of shit in question doesn’t take pictures, and doesn’t have release forms.

4. This piece of shit promises that your party will be in the next week’s Stranger and then it never shows up.

5. The piece of shit asks to kiss your cheek, or generally does anything cheeky at all. I am a Goddamned Professional who judges the Quality and Timbre of parties, whereas this piece of shit is probably some sort of dog-fucking pervert (which is illegal in Washington now, BTW.) I never hit on anyone while on the job.

And if you’re in doubt about whether your Party Crasher is the real Party Crasher, please ask to see my driver’s license…I’ll gladly show it to you, and I have never lost or misplaced it or not had my driver’s license on me. If the driver’s license doesn’t say Paul Robert Constant, this isn’t the Party Crasher. Tell him to leave, or call the fucking police.
None of the stories that I’ve heard make the piece of shit Faux-Party-Crasher out to be any sort of a sophisticated con man. He doesn’t have access to my e-mail, he’s probably just some harmless, nerdy piece of shit who saw a party or two (private parties that didn’t invite Party Crasher in the first place) and decided to ride on my cache. But I’m seriously pissed off that some schmuck (by all accounts, a normal-looking bland little white guy) is using my name, and I’m pissed off that people think they’re going to get written up, when really they’re entertaining some piece of shit who can’t make his own goddamn friends. And then these people are disappointed that their parties didn’t get written up.
If you think you’ve been crashed by this piece of shit, please add a Comment to this story, or e-mail partycrasher@thestranger.com with as many details as you can recall. And I’m sorry about using up so much valuable Slog-space, but I need to include an Open Letter to this Goddamn Piece of Shit.

Dear Pathetic Goddamn Piece of Shit:

What you are doing is creepy, illegal, and wrong. I think that you probably just Crashed a couple Parties in a desperate and misguided effort to make friends, but if you’re going to continue this, you will be caught. You will be exposed for the creepy piece of shit you are. And I’m fairly certain that you can be prosecuted for Identity Theft, or at least Fraud. I will press those charges without question. So fuck you.
Now I would like to officially challenge you, you piece of shit, to a Kung-Fu Steel-Cage Match to the Death.
In conclusion: Fuck off and die. You piece of shit.
(heart,)
Paul Bobby Constant

To the rest of the Shouldn’t-You-Be-Working Masses, I thank you for your time and I apologize for all the cusswords. Enjoy the remainder of your beautiful Monday.

Ruff Question, Mr. President

posted by on April 10 at 1:58 PM

Sit, beg, rollover—but, whatever you do, don’t answer the question.

The Conservative Asshole of the Day Award Goes To…

posted by on April 10 at 12:49 PM

radio host Brian James! Congratulations!

Betting on Iran

posted by on April 10 at 11:41 AM

Seymour Hersh believes the US will respond to the Iranian WMD situation in this way. Bush says the US will respond to it in this way. Now who is telling the truth? As the man on that Bonzai show says, “Gentlemen, place your bets.”

Not Good Enough, Lorrie

posted by on April 10 at 11:33 AM

On Saturday I posted this about Lorrie McKay’s decision to leave Washington Won’t Discriminate, the group that is supposed to be fighting Tim Eyman’s effort to repeal Washington’s gay rights law. McKay was recently hired to run the group’s campaign. She left after just four weeks.

The parting is being described as amicable—and, hey, aren’t they all? McKay told the Seattle Gay News that she was stepping down because “we had a difference in style—the [Executive Committee of Washington Won’t Discriminate] and I…. I really had to ask myself if it was really more helpful for me stay [sic] or get out of the way.” Campaign co-chair Anne Levinson described McKay’s departure as “pretty normal for campaigns,” adding, “we will keep moving on.”

From the outside it looks like something’s rotten at WWD—and ERW, for that matter—and unless someone with direct knowledge of what exactly is going wrong at WWD is willing to step forward and make some non-amicable public comment, WWD will continue to limp along. Which wouldn’t be a problem if Tim Eyman weren’t sprinting past us. There’s a terrible fear of rocking the boat in Seattle’s gay political circles. If something is seriously wrong at WWD, Lorrie, say something now, not after Eyman kicks our asses this November.

In the comments thread, Lorrie wrote this:

Eyman will only kick our ass if we remain distracted and if we remain confused about Referendum 65. Currently, we are both.

Referendum 65 asks voters whether our state’s law (2661) that protects people from discrimination based on sexual orientation should be “approved” or “rejected.”

We want the law that the legislature passed in January (2661) to be ‘approved.’

Don’t be confused. If they gather enough signatures for Referendum 65 to qualify for the ballot, we will need R-65 to pass in November. We will need to campaign to Approve R-65 in order to retain the law (2661).

Avoid being distracted. Move forward, focus and support the next campaign manager who steps up to lead Washington Won’t Discriminate and this campaign on our behalf.

Sorry, Lorrie, but vague platitudes aren’t good enough. Folks want to know—including other folks in the comment thread—why you left the group after just four weeks. What the hell is going on at WWD?

Sandeep Kaushik, also in the comments, wrote this:

I have heard that it is not just Lorrie who has left the campaign (though that is bad enough, given her smarts and extensive campaign experience). My understanding is that a couple weeks ago Kelly Evans, who ran the brilliant and gloriously successful anti-I-912 campaign, and who had been signed on as a top operative for WWD’s anti-Eyman effort, also quit abruptly.

If WWD is fatally screwed up and you know it, Lorrie, you have a responsibility to speak up now. When you came on everyone said you walked on water and knew your shit. Same with Kelly Evans—if she helped defeat I-912, which everyone expected would pass, we need her working at WWD. But it looks like good, smart folks can’t work with the folks who are running WWD. And if that’s the case, well, people who are being asked to pour money and volunteer hours into what WWD are going to conclude that it’s a deeply dysfunctional organization and withhold their support. If it’s not deeply screwed up, Lorrie, you’re going to need to explain why exactly you had to leave. And why you’re going to have to explain why others should work with a group that you yourself couldn’t work with. Not knowing the reasons why you left makes it harder to do that.

And if the group is really screwed up, Lorriw, you should say so. Holding your tongue only allows the group to remain screwed up. And there’s too much at stake for that.

High Dive Benefits for Capitol Hill Murder Victims’ Families

posted by on April 10 at 11:06 AM

High Dive booking agent (and all-around philanthropic guy) Greg Garcia has coordinated two benefits on April 17th and 24th to benefit the Capitol Hill murder victims’ families. He’s booked a nice array of DJs, including Capitol Hill club favorites like DJ Colby B and DJ Fucking in the Streets. Full details on the High Dive website.


Great Men of Genius Debriefing #4: L. Ron Hubbard

posted by on April 10 at 10:44 AM

The final installment! Featuring meth! And bovine death!

(Read all four!)

Mike Daisey (performer): I was behind the eight-ball all day because L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology has such an epic story that it’s hard to know what to keep and what to throw away, and the stakes could not have been higher—a totally sold out show, with the Church of Scientology expected to be in attendance. The performance for me was strange, surreal and alternated between great fun and sheer fucking terror as I felt the wide, staring eyes of Scientology members radiating their disapproval—at first I thought it was paranoia on my part, but I hit a section where I talk about my issues with psychiatry and I felt their approval, which was much more disturbing than when they were hating me. After the show I spoke with Scientologists and Scientologist survivors, and the survivors were extremely gracious and moved by the show, which meant a lot to me. The Scientologists I spoke with weren’t as happy. The series ended with a bang, and I’m delighted to have had the chance to birth it here in Seattle—now I am taking a nap, and then it goes up in New York City in May.
Anthony Hecht (audience member): The last night of Mike Daisey’s Great Men of Genius finally arrived, the night everyone had been waiting for—L. Ron Hubbard night. When we arrived at the theater a line snaked halfway down the block on 12th Avenue. My companion and I scanned the crowd, trying to pick out the Scientologists. Some women in the back held up their programs like protest signs briefly, but I didn’t have the angle to read what they said. L. Ron Lives? Daisey is an SP? Get me some Jujubes?

Continue reading "Great Men of Genius Debriefing #4: L. Ron Hubbard" »

Today: Seattle’s Immigration March

posted by on April 10 at 8:45 AM

If all goes according to plan, today Seattle will join L.A., Dallas, Salem, Oregon, and about a dozen other U.S. cities where citizens have hit the streets by the thousands (and hundreds of thousands) to rally for fair immigration reform.

According to KING 5:

The march in begins at 3:30 p.m. Monday at 20th Avenue South and South Weller. Demonstrators will march up to Jackson Street, along 12th to South King, onto Fifth and South Jackson, then to Fourth, to Madison, and finally to the Federal Building on Second Avenue.

Organizers are expecting up to 20,000 marchers, and afternoon commuters are being warned to expect delays….

The Last Word

posted by on April 10 at 8:31 AM

Here in the Art Gab section of the forums, you will find the most honest comment yet on the state of local poetry. The final word on the matter must go to Snackcraker.


Sunday, April 9, 2006

My Smobriety: Three Months Out

posted by on April 9 at 1:52 PM

It was three months ago yesterday that I quit smoking. I decided to write about the experience on the Slog, thinking it would be a nonstop thrill ride of pain, torment, and failure, and therefore sure to entertain the Shouldn’t-You-Be-Working Masses. Instead, the thing that I learned was that quitting smoking is a pretty dull experience, and that it’s been so easy that I felt vaguely tricked by all the non-smoking literature that I’ve read.
Two months have passed since my last entry, and…well…not much has changed, really. Even in my duties as Party Crasher, spending time drinking amongst smokers, I haven’t had a single moment where I considered smoking. I did gain about ten or fifteen pounds in the second month—yesterday, I was sitting in a bar with a friend of mine and I suddenly blurted: “I feel like a sausage!”
Come to think of it, the three months since quitting have been the least healthy months of my life…

Continue reading "My Smobriety: Three Months Out" »

Great Men of Genius Debriefing #3: Nikola Tesla

posted by on April 9 at 12:24 PM

Featuring alpha geeks! And war with Thomas Edison!

Mike Daisey (performer): Today’s preparations were hard—the rain got to me, because I needed to walk and think, so I got very wet and miserable. I do another monologue called MONOPOLY! that is also about Tesla, as well as Microsoft’s antitrust case, Wal-Mart, and the board game Monopoly, and I was determined not to reuse any material I’ve done before: a friend who had seen MONOPOLY! was amazed that no material was repeated, so I feel the effort paid off. I had vocal strain right at the top from a poorly judged “BWAHAHAHAHHAH!” but recovered as the show evened out. At one point I used the word “amplitude” incorrectly and I saw an audience member scowl—probably an electrical engineer. Someone took out a Sidekick right after I made a statement about Tesla, and I’m certain they were googling my statements—fact-checking in real time—which I thought was simultaneously lame and awesome.
Anthony Hecht (audience member): Mike Daisey is really starting to get to me. I knew his selection of geniuses was right up my alley, but even more amazingly, the order of geniuses is perfect for me. Each night presents a subject I’m familiar with and fascinated by, and each night I feel more connected to Daisey’s narrative. Tonight he talked about his stints in the Gifted and Talented Program in elementary school (check), as a Star Trek nerd (check), and having thoughts of the end of the world while hanging around Loring Air Force Base (check). I can only assume that tomorrow night he’ll recount how his Scientologist aunt tried to indoctrinate him and his wife as they passed through Clearwater, Florida in 2003.

Tonight’s subject was Nikola Tesla and Daisey was in top form. Tesla is dear to Daisey’s heart, as evidenced by another of his monologues, MONOPOLY! which deals with Tesla’s war with Thomas Edison over whether the nation would be powered by alternating or direct current. Tesla is a verifiable genius and someone who has a profound effect on our lives, but most of us don’t know anything about him. Some people—Daisey calls them the alpha geeks—know a lot about Tesla. Like your favorite teacher, Daisey plays to the uninformed and the geeks. You get the feeling that Daisey is coming to new conclusions and realizations all the time, right there on stage—that his delving into the minds of these men is never complete, and that it’s deepening before your eyes. (Though Daisey claims he’s no longer a geek, he has a picture of a MacBook Pro booting Windows XP on his website, and if he’s in the 0.64% of the population who thinks that’s in any way interesting or noteworthy, he’s definitely a geek, but in a good way.)

Over a couple of whiskeys after the show, I went on and on and on to a friend about my experiences with Scientology, and met with the usual response: “You have got to be fucking kidding me.” And I didn’t even get into the really weird shit. Needless to say, I’m very excited about tomorrow night’s final performance. If there’s one thing I like more than the history of science and technology, it’s cultivating a frothy loathing for Scientology.