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Archives for 05/07/2006 - 05/13/2006

Saturday, May 13, 2006

More Women With Hats

posted by on May 13 at 2:05 PM

On my way to the Sweet Spot to buy amber essence and some incense (the very small business is run by a black American who dresses like Osama bin Laden—I’m certain his operation is under surveillance), I came across this small event in Red Apple’s parking lot:


The women with hats are members of MOMAW (Mothers Day Original Movement Against War) and their program is inspired by an anti-war proclamation made in 1870 by the founder of Mother’s Day, Julia Ward Howe, who invented the now-innocuous, entirely Hallmarked occasion in response to the Civil War. “Our husbands,” Howe wrote,” shall not come to us reeking with carnage.” Though my knowledge of Howe is limited to this parking lot, and the question as to whether or not the notion of a “just war” (if there can ever be such a thing, which I very much doubt) can be applied to the Civil War is largely unsettled in my head, in his book Marxism and Literature, British sociologist Raymond Williams describes this type of re-appropriation of a people’s history as a “counter-hegemony.” “[It is] a deliberately selective and connecting process which offers a historical and cultural ratification of a contemporary order.” Later he writes: “It is significant that much of the most accessible and influential work of counter-hegemony is historical: the recovery of discarded areas or the redress of selective and reductive interpretations.”

The hats the women wore looked pretty in the sun, and after a moment of listening to their music and speeches (“Tell President Bush and Senator Cantwell to stop funding the Iraq war…We can support our troops without supporting the war”), I went the Sweet Spot, which is near the intersection of 23rd and Jackson. The space that once contained the small business was empty. Sweet Spot had closed. Was it the CIA? The war on terror? I always wanted to tell the owner that it wasn’t wise to look like Osama bin Laden in this day and age. On closer look, a note on the glass door of the empty space informed me that the business had moved to a new location not far from Columbia City. Sadly, the Walgreens behind the ladies with the hats does not sell the essence that was once in Sweet Spot.

Emerald City Soul Club: Tonight at Lo-Fi!

posted by on May 13 at 1:26 PM

It’s Seattle’s best dance night tonight at Lo-Fi (429 Eastlake Ave. E.), where DJs Mike Nipper, Kevin Jones (who swears he’ll play a Betty Everett 45), and DJ Soulcial Gene Balk spin ’60s soul sides. Doors open at 9pm. $7.

It’s non-stop dancing until 2am.

I think a quote from student leader, John Lewis, speaking right before MLK, Jr. at 1963’s March on Washington, is in order:

“The revolution is a serious one. Mr. Kennedy is trying to take the revolution out of the streets. Listen, Mr. Kennedy. Listen, Mr. Congressman. Listen, fellow citizens. The black masses are on the march for jobs and freedom, and we must say to the politicians that there won’t be a ‘cooling-off’ period.”

Email Fiction

posted by on May 13 at 10:04 AM

Fiction rarely gets better than this:

Holy Cross East Africa
Development Office
P.O. Box 25827
Kampala, Uganda, East Africa

Dear Sir, Charles Tonderai Mudede

On behalf of the Trustees and Executors of the late British Prime Minister estate, Sir Edward Richard George Heath, KG, I once again try to notify you as the earlier letter to you by the lawyer through the post were returned undelivered; hence I hereby attempt to reach
you via your e-mail address.

I wish to notify you that the late Sir Edward Heath made you a beneficiary to his (will), he bequeathed the sum of Seven Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars Only (US$750,000.00), to you in the codicil and last testament to his (will). This may sound
very strange and unbelievable to you, but it is real and true. Being a widely popular traveled man, he must have been in contact with you in the past or simply you were nominated to him by one of his numerous friends here or abroad who wished you well. Sir Edward died in Salisbury, England, July 17, 2005 at the age of (89) years. He served in the Royal Artillery during World War II, rising to the rank of Colonel. He was elected to Parliament as a Conservative in
1950, and held several posts in the party whip’s office (1951-55), before becoming Government chief whip and parliamentary secretary to the treasury (1955-59), He was Minister of Labour (1959-60) that led the Tory Government as Prime Minister between 1970 and 1974.

The late Sir Edward Heath until death was a real gentle man; a very dedicated Christian who loved to give out, his support to the Church here in England is very fresh in our memories. Quoting former Labour Chancellor Roy Jenkins, a friend of Sir Edward, Mr. Tony Blair added: “He was a great lighthouse which stands there flashing out beams of light, indifferent to the waves which beat against him.

He was also a member of several non-governmental organizations (NGOs), here in UK and beyond, his great Philanthropy earned him numerous awards during his lifetime. According to him this bequest is to support your Christian activities and to help the poor and the less privileged ones in your local community and Country.

Please if I reach you as I am hopeful, endeavor to get back to me as soon as possible to enable the lawyer executing the (will), conclude his job, you forward you’re most current telephone and fax numbers including your mailing address.

I look forward to hearing from you soon thanks.

Yours sincerely in the Risen Lord,


Impressive stuff!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Super Happy Fun Smile Time Show

posted by on May 12 at 11:26 PM

I … I’m afraid of the toothless old man.


posted by on May 12 at 8:40 PM

I’m not a music guy (I like Blondie), but I gotta admit: Charles’s original Blue Scholars post was funny as hell.

However, there appears to be a more serious story now. Erica Barnett’s startling revelation in the comments thread, which people may have missed, is worth more attention:

When I worked at the Weekly, the staff would have an obligatory discussion/debate every time we put a non-white person on the cover, because the editors believed that doing so depressed circulation. (Translation: Fewer people in Seattle pick up newspapers with black people on the cover.) From what I remember of the circulation numbers, that theory was true.

Posted by ECB - May 11, 2006 02:28 PM

Today in Speculation: Rove Going Down

posted by on May 12 at 6:02 PM

Lots of rumors today that a Rove indictment is coming soon…


* But it’s late in the day, so I’m only going to give you the most certain-sounding of these indictment predictions. It comes from Truthout:

Within the last week, Karl Rove told President Bush and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, as well as a few other high level administration officials, that he will be indicted in the CIA leak case and will immediately resign his White House job when the special counsel publicly announces the charges against him, according to sources.

To Do This Weekend

posted by on May 12 at 6:02 PM

Holy mother, there’s a lot going on.

First of all, whatever you do tomorrow night, you should try to end up at 1534 First Avenue South, which is one block south of Safeco Field. Anyone who ever went to Infernal Noise Brigade parties is distraught that the band has broken up, for reasons related to the band’s music but also because of the parties they used to throw—happy, huge, weird, open to everyone, creative, all-night-long-lasting, etc., etc. The kind of parties that make living in the city magical. The Infernal Noise Brigade (which had its share of bike messengers in it) doesn’t exist anymore, but some of its members are part of a new collective for bike riders and owners called The Bikery, which has its first benefit party this Saturday, i.e. tomorrow, at that address at the beginning of this paragraph, from 8 pm to 3 am. There will be music (bands—The Dead Science, Whale Bones, Truckasaurus, Western Graves, Orkestar Zirkonium—as well as DJs Can o’ Beans, M’Chateau, and Schism). The $8 suggested donation is bumped down to $5 if you bring any bike part or tool. If you want more info, according to the flyer, you can email Go ahead. Send them a love note.

What should you do now, tonight, you ask? Jen Graves suggests seeing the movie Art School Confidential (show times here) and/or visiting an actual art show, the BFA show at Cornish (Cornish Art Department, 2000 Terry Ave, 726-5011, 7—10 pm, free).

Tomorrow during the day, before you go to the Bikery’s party, you should go up to Greenwood for the Greenwood-Phinney Art Walk. Venues include Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. (which is 826 Seattle’s storefront).

Archbishop Tutu receives creepy gift in Cap Hill

posted by on May 12 at 5:59 PM

Last night, Archbishop Desmond Tutu had an authentic Capitol Hill experience: He met a weirdo with a gun. Around 9 p.m., after an event at St. Mark’s Cathedral on 10th Avenue East, Tutu was approached by Joseph LaTour, who engaged him in a brief conversation. Here’s the statement released by the Seattle Police.

LaTour then handed Archbishop Tutu three .45 caliber rounds. The Archbishop handed the rounds to another person and walked to his car. As soon as officers were alerted to the incident, they immediately contacted LaTour who was cooperative. Due to the fact that LaTour had ammunition on him, officers conducted a pat down search and found a loaded Remington pistol, an extra magazine and a fixed blade knife inside the bag. Further investigation revealed that he was a convicted felon.

LaTour, a 58-year-old Seattle resident, was arrested for violating firearms laws. Police say he did not threaten Tutu.

Do It

posted by on May 12 at 5:33 PM

I don’t know much about “urban contemporary” art, and in fact the term makes me feel a little queasy, but what I do know is that Kirsten Anderson has run Roq La Rue for 8 years, and has earned your respect doing so, and if you have even remotely liked anything she’s done (it’s not easy being a gallerist, you know), then get over to the opening of her new venture tonight from 6 to 10 pm. The place is called BLVD, the address is 2316 Second Ave (next to Roq La Rue), and she says “urban contemporary” means stuff influenced by graffiti, hiphop, DIY, and skateboard culture.

“The kids who do pop surrealism (RLR’s specialty) grew up listening to punk rock,” she told me in a recent interview. “The kids who do urban contemporary, as we’re calling it, grew up listening to hip-hop and rap.”

Anderson sees her gallery in opposition to conceptual and abstract art, and the way she expresses her opinion about that is funny: “The whole thing is, people want to see pictures of people doing stuff.”

You decide. Get down there.

Here’s an image from the opening show, by Iosefatu Sua.


Take Your Mom to the Market

posted by on May 12 at 5:14 PM

The Broadway Farmers’ Market returns this Sunday (11 am-3 pm, behind the B of A at East Thomas). More market info at

You Don’t Want This

posted by on May 12 at 5:09 PM

A rare, horrible disease is spreading across Florida, California, and South Texas, and no one knows what causes it or how to cure it.

Among the symptoms, according to the Morgellons Research Foundation: lesions that never heal; strange fibers that pop out of a victim’s skin in different colors; sensations of bugs crawling under the skin; black, tarry balls that emerge from the skin like beads of sweat; and “extreme difficulty with mental concentration and short-term memory.”

I don’t know about you, but I think I’d rather have mad cow disease, foot-and-mouth disease, dengue fever, or any number of other rare disorders than this shit.

According to a story in the San Antonio Express-News, the disease, which can go on for years without getting better, “is not yet known to kill, but if you were to get it, you might wish you were dead.

Bush Hits 29%

posted by on May 12 at 4:22 PM

Even worse: People think Bill Clinton is more honest. Now that has to sting.

Rocka Rolla Regrets

posted by on May 12 at 4:18 PM

In my column this week, I implied that I purchased the new issue of Bitch, a CD by underrated Bay Area punks Crime, and a pin emblazoned with the logo of equally underrated Bronx-based band ESG at Rainy Day Records in Olympia. I subsequently received an email from local Jive Time Records employee RJ, who kindly informed me that while I may have bought Crime at Rainy Day, I couldn’t have bought the pin there because they are made by Jive Time and sold exclusively to Easy Street Records in Seattle and Phantom City Records in Olympia. RJ is right, and in fact BOTH the CD and the pin were purchased at Phantom City Records. The only thing I bought at Rainy Day was a R. Crumb postcard and that issue of Bitch. Apologies to Phantom City Records, who I’m guessing often live in the shadow of Rainy Day. I regret the error. Here is the fabulous pin on my purse (click the photo for a closer view), along with flair depicting George Harrison, Dios Malos, the Cops, Randy Rhoads, Mclusky, Dusty Springfield, a bunny, Black Eyes and Neckties, Girlschool, and of course, Dan Savage’s “Impeach the Motherfucker Already” pin. Incidentally, the bag is made from the grill fabric from an old Fender guitar amp and was designed by local style queen Victoria Simons, who makes all sorts of lovely handbags.


How Long Is Too Long?

posted by on May 12 at 3:58 PM

As a staff, we’re divided on how long Slog posts should be, and whether writers should use those “continue reading” links. We need feedback. On average, do you think our Slog posts are too long, too short, or just right? Please take our poll.

Who’s Sexier?

posted by on May 12 at 3:55 PM

Since the GOP is reeling from this NSA story, I figure I oughta throw a little good press their way. Here it is: So, I’ve been in both Democratic and Republican campaign headquarters in the last 24 hours, shuttling back and forth on a contentious story between the two camps. And I gotta say, Republicans are way foxier.

No offense to the Democrats, but you guys seemed a little pasty and schlubby (hunched over in your cubicles) compared to the slim and youthful batch of hotties I saw working away over at the Republican shop.

So there you have it, the GOP might be laying waste to the 4th Amendment w/ the help of AT&T, but they look damn good doing it.

Words From The Man…aging Editor of Seattle Weekly

posted by on May 12 at 2:56 PM

Jesus H. Christ, Charles. How do you get to “cultural,” much less “racial,” in labeling our decision to put The Divorce on the cover?

We’ve written a lot about Blue Scholars but not so much about The Divorce. End of story.

Please stop insinuating that race or culture had anything to do with this. You don’t know what you’re talking about, and you’ve made no effort to know what you’re talking about. You’re a lazy hack.

Chuck Taylor
Managing Editor
Seattle Weekly

Now I know Taylor didn’t call me lazy because I’m black.

Portland’s Courteous Drivers

posted by on May 12 at 2:32 PM

So Portland has the same new parking meters that we have in Seattle—actually, Portland had them before we got ‘em. You put in your dough, the meter/kiosk spits out a sticker, which affix to the inside of your car window facing the sidewalk. Or the street. Or something.

Anyway, walking around Portland today I noticed that drivers removing the stickers from their cars and slapping them on telephone poles and occasionally on the parking meters themselves, leaving their stickers—and any unused time that might be on them—for the next driver who comes along. I haven’t seen anyone do this in Seattle, but I think it’s a behavior we should adopt.


In other Portland news, you can still smoke in bars and clubs down here—and it fucking blows.

In national news, QWest—which refused to cooperate with the Bush administrations illegal spying—explained why today. From the NYT:

The telecommunications company Qwest turned down requests by the National Security Agency for private telephone records because it concluded that doing so would violate federal privacy laws, a lawyer for the telephone company’s former chief executive said today.

In a statement released this morning, the lawyer said that the former chief executive, Joseph N. Nacchio, made the decision after asking whether “a warrant or other legal process had been secured in support of that request.”

God bless QWest.

Old Ladies, Red Hats

posted by on May 12 at 2:09 PM


Today in Portland—old ladies everywhere you turn, all wearing purple. And red hats, which don’t go and don’t suit them.

Cheap Eats

posted by on May 12 at 1:35 PM

What I’ve learned so far today:
Glory hole is two words.
A dirty Sanchez is, among other things, a fecal-matter mustache.
A tea dance is an afternoon or early-evening drinking and dancing event.
Benihana has a generous sushi happy hour with $1 hand rolls in the bar (Mon-Fri 5-9 pm).
Who knew?

This never would’ve happened on the monorail…

posted by on May 12 at 1:32 PM

I was taking the bus downtown today and at Westlake we got caught in a swarm of jaywalking supersized, badly-dressed people sporting fannypacks. The bus driver, who I will be building a shrine to presently, blurted out: “Goddamn tourists! Go home!” The whole bus laughed.
Also, as he was announcing the prominent points of each stop (e.g. “Madison, Marion, ferry terminal, Federal Building”), he seemed to be at a loss for landmarks at one street: “James Street…Um…James….well…There’s a really good barber shop on James Street…”
Some days the Metro makes it all worthwhile.

Save the Internet

posted by on May 12 at 1:02 PM

Confused about the debate over Net Neutrality? It’s basically where the big telecommunications companies are trying to start what amounts to a protection racket for the Internet. They are evil and mean and we hate them.

It’s a bit more complicated than that, though. Ask a Ninja gets you up to speed…

If that doesn’t crystalize in your mind just how important this issue is, try this much more boring, but informative video.

Then call your congressthingie. Save the Internet. It’s important. Think of the porn.

Nothing Against SIFF, but

posted by on May 12 at 12:58 PM

… this is all I can think about right now. Tonight at Midnight @ the Egyptian.


Literary Community to World: “Zzzzzzzzzz….”

posted by on May 12 at 11:48 AM

So this story in the New York Times is just too dull to even consider not commenting on. They asked hundreds of writers, critics, and editors what the best work of American fiction from the last 25 years was. The winner was Beloved. The rest of the list, though, with one or two exceptions, is the most rote, East-Coast old popular white guy bore-nanza I think I’ve read outside of a bad college syllabus. Sure, sure, Roth is a great writer, but can we make a fucking list of fiction authors without sticking Updike near the top? Or Richard Ford? Is it possible to honor authors who don’t write entire fucking ouvres about asshole white authors who have affairs and get divorced?
My pick for best American fiction of the last twenty-five years would probably be something by Stanley Elkin…George Mills or The Magic Kingdom or The Rabbi of Lud. What’s yours?

Get Yourselves Together and SIFF SIFF SIFF SIFF SIFF!

posted by on May 12 at 11:29 AM

The umpteenth annual, most-unnecessarily-gargantuan film festival of all, our own Seattle International Film Festival, starts Thursday, May 25: which is, not coincidentally, also the date you can pick up our gargantuan SIFF NOTES guide to the movies. Don’t miss it—I guarantee we’ll have more real reviews than anybody else in town.

The official guide to the festival, which will give you a basic idea of what the movies are about, is out now, and the box office is open. Check out the SIFF website to research and buy tickets.

Here are some quick highlights, specially curated for the tastes of Slog readers:

Love/hate Dale Chihuly? He’s been invited to introduce and discuss a favorite film, and he chose a Western called Lonely Are the Brave, which is about the threat of “encroaching technological progress.” Hmm.


This great picture is from The Window, a film noir with baby cheeks, being shown in a newly restored print.

Want to hit the big names?

-Christopher Doyle did the cinematography for the retro melodrama Perhaps Love.
-Whack Czech animator Jan Svankmajer has a new one called Lunacy.
-Amy Sedaris, Stephen Colbert, and Philip Seymour Hoffman are in the big-screen prequel to Strangers With Candy.
-Michael Gondry’s The Science of Sleep, starring Gael GarcĂ­a Bernal (who’s also in some mediocre movies in the fest) and Charlotte Gainsbourg.
-François Ozon (Swimming Pool, Sitcom) gives us Les temps qui reste, with Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, a favorite actress of mine, and some cute boys.
-Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Three Times has finally made it to Seattle, however belatedly.
-The increasingly bizarro Lukas Moodysson (Show Me Love, but also A Hole in My Heart) goes hole-hog experimental with Container, a movie with a whispery, unrelated voiceover by Jena Malone.

Looking for the weirdest movie experience of your life?

-Try Princess Raccoon, a whack opera/tap-dancing/Snow White/Romeo and Juliet/musical about half-raccoon spirits who aren’t allowed to fall in love with humans. (Guess what happens.)
-The Midnight Adrenaline movie Evil Aliens is about just that.
-The Last Communist is a documentary-musical about the exiled Communist leader of Malaysia. That’s right, a musical!

Won’t sit still for a movie unless it’s about politics and current events?

-Road to Guantanamo, by Michael Winterbottom, is about torture, among other things.
-Who Killed the Electric Car? is about a slick little number called the EV-1.

More highlights and tips to come.

Racing Fuel for the Human Race

posted by on May 12 at 11:15 AM

Finally, an energy drink geared to my exacting demands. I look forward to a limitless, sleepless future.

Someone Asked: “Who is Hong Tran?”

posted by on May 12 at 11:11 AM

Hong Tran is a public interest lawyer with the Northwest Justice Project who jumped into the Democratic primary against Maria Cantwell.

Tran seems pretty cool to me given that all I know about her is this: I wrote a 3,000 word article back in 1999 zooming in on a case she took up on behalf of low-income folks who were getting forced out of a trailer park in Renton thanks to $1.5 billion (today) developer Trammell Crow Residential.

Re: What’s Great About USA Today’s NSA Story is…

posted by on May 12 at 10:35 AM

It’s not the exact same story at all, Josh. What’s really great about USA Today’s NSA story is that it goes further than the New York Times’ original story, uncovering a vast database of purely domestic calls — as the Times itself notes in its story today:

The New York Times first reported in December that the president had authorized the N.S.A. to conduct eavesdropping without warrants.

The Times also reported in December that the agency had gained the cooperation of American telecommunications companies to get access to records of vast amounts of domestic and international phone calls and e-mail messages.

The agency analyzes communications patterns, the report said, and looks for evidence of terrorist activity at home and abroad.

The USA Today article on Thursday went further, saying that the N.S.A. had created an enormous database of all calls made by customers of the three phone companies in an effort to compile a log of “every call ever made” within this country. The report said one large phone company, Qwest, had refused to cooperate with the N.S.A. because it was uneasy about the legal implications of handing over customer information to the government without warrants.

After the original Times article, the debate was mainly about whether the NSA should be intercepting calls in which one person was on foreign soil, because that’s what the Bush administration said the NSA was watching — international calls from and to Al Qaeda operatives. This is a very different debate, because it’s now clear the administration wasn’t telling the truth in its “foreign calls only” pushback on the original Times article. The new USA Today story shows that the administration is also compiling huge amounts of information on purely domestic calls.

This distinction is what a lot of editorialists are picking up on today. For example, the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson:

At least now we know that the Bush administration’s name for spying on Americans without first seeking court approval — the “terrorist surveillance program” — isn’t an exercise in Orwellian doublespeak after all. It’s just a bald-faced lie

You’ll recall that when it was revealed last year that the NSA was eavesdropping on phone calls and reading e-mails without first going to court for a warrant, the president said his “terrorist surveillance program” targeted international communications in which at least one party was overseas, and then only when at least one party was suspected of some terrorist involvement. Thus no one but terrorists had anything to worry about.

Not remotely true, it turns out, unless tens of millions of Americans are members of al-Qaeda sleeper cells — evildoers who cleverly disguise their relentless plotting as sales calls, gossip sessions and votes for Elliott on “American Idol.”

Friday Morning Geekery

posted by on May 12 at 10:23 AM

The greatest Star Wars parody ever.

What’s Great About USA Today’s NSA Story is…

posted by on May 12 at 9:43 AM

it’s a USA Today story.

The exact same story ran in the NYT last December—an immediate follow-up to their FISA story. And it didn’t have any traction.

I can’t tell if USA Today—a more populist paper than the NYT—is simply a sign of the times, reflecting back the anti-Bush zeitgeist, stronger now than it was in December, (which would explain the traction)—or if USA Today’s populist status is giving the story more traction.

Either way, the Big Brother rap on Bush’s GOP puts the Big Government rap on the Democrats in some perspective.

The Other Cover

posted by on May 12 at 9:37 AM

Yesterday Mandy, a women who contributed a comment on the post concerning Seattle Weekly’s seemingly racial (if not, then certainly cultural) decision to place on the cover of their Music Awards issue the white band (The Divorce) that did not win the most votes from its readers, instead of the nonwhite band (Blue Scholars) that did, wrote:

“Sabzi [of the Blue Scholars] is far, far hotter than any of the combover urban outfitter hipsters on the cover of the weekly. If they are trying to appeal to female readers, Sabzi would have done that, at least to me….and everyone else I know or have ever met.

Here are three images of Sabzi:



221831740_l.jpg (Blue Scholars)


CM Press Photo 3 Hi Res.jpg (In this photo he is with the rapper, RaScion, of his second and equally popular rap group Common Market)

That Didn’t Take Long

posted by on May 12 at 9:00 AM

This new web site thanks Qwest for not turning over its customers’ phone records to the NSA.

Meanwhile, I know this is just a snap poll, but… wow.

A majority of Americans initially support a controversial National Security Agency program to collect information on telephone calls made in the United States in an effort to identify and investigate potential terrorist threats, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The new survey found that 63 percent of Americans said they found the NSA program to be an acceptable way to investigate terrorism, including 44 percent who strongly endorsed the effort. Another 35 percent said the program was unacceptable, which included 24 percent who strongly objected to it.

A slightly larger majority—66 percent—said they would not be bothered if NSA collected records of personal calls they had made, the poll found.

Underlying those views is the belief that the need to investigate terrorism outweighs privacy concerns.

Overheard at DoubleTake

posted by on May 12 at 8:57 AM

I was communing with a fantastic Turner at the somewhat unholy show of Paul Allen’s collection at EMP when an elderly woman pointed out a pair of paintings to her husband.

“Oh, this is Manet and Toulouse-Lautrec,” she said, walking toward them. Her husband walked to the labels to verify his wife’s testimony, which was entirely wrong.

The piece she mistook for a Toulouse-Lautrec was a chaste Degas pastel of a woman (in a hat, if I’m remembering correctly) by the piano. The painting she called out as a Manet was an ominous bedroom scene by the living artist Eric Fischl.

But this woman’s unintentional pairing brought to mind ideas more interesting than the curator’s. Manet and Fischl are actually a great match. Manet’s solidity, modernity, and early insertion of commodity culture in the relations between the sexes—pure Fischl, all of it (or more like the other way around). The blue-and-white stripes in the Manet Venice scene that hangs directly across from the Fischl at EMP began to vibrate in concert with the striped back of Fischl’s woman, who stands in the sunlight coming through the blinds.

Then I started to think about Toulouse-Lautrec’s seductive graphic style in his portraits of spent prostitutes, and the connections to Fischl through Balthus, the contrast to Degas, and I realized how a single T-L would make this whole show kinkier, more bodily.

Thank you, marvelously mistaken elderly woman.

Goldfrapp-er’s delight

posted by on May 12 at 1:12 AM

Did you miss the Goldfrapp gig at the Showbox? Read my gushing recap over in Line Out.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Cafferty on Fire

posted by on May 11 at 5:15 PM

On CNN, regarding today’s domestic spying revelations. Watch the video here (hat tip to Americablog).

CNN’s WOLF BLITZER: …[some wisdom] from Jack Cafferty in New York.

CNN’s JACK CAFFERTY: I don’t know about wisdom but you’ll get a bit of outrage. We better hope nothing happens to Arlen Specter, the Republican head of the Judiciary Committee, because he might be all that’s standing between us and a full blown dictatorship in this country. He’s vowed to question these phone company executives about volunteering to provide the government with my telephone records and yours, and tens of millions of other Americans.

Shortly after 9-11, AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth began providing the super secret NSA with information on phone calls of millions of our citizens, all part of the war on terror, President Bush says.

Why don’t you go find Osama Bin Laden and seal the country’s borders and start inspecting the containers that come into our ports?

The President rushed out this morning in the wake of this front page story in USA Today and he declared the government’s doing nothing wrong and all of this is just fine.

Is it? Is it legal?

Then why did the Justice Department suddenly drop its investigation of the warrantless spying on citizens? Because the NSA said Justice Department lawyers didn’t have the necessary security clearance to do the investigation.

Read that sentence again.

A secret government agency has told our Justice Department that it’s not allowed to investigate it. And the Justice Department just says okay and drops the whole thing.

We’re in some serious trouble here boys and girls.

Here’s the question.

“Does it concern you that your phone company may be voluntarily providing your phone records to the government without your knowledge or permission?”

If it doesn’t it sure as hell ought to.

Help Cast a Reality TV Music Show

posted by on May 11 at 4:52 PM

Please go to Line Out and recommend some hot singers to this cat Bert Klasey from ABC to check out over the next few nights in Seattle.

Dead Heat

posted by on May 11 at 4:34 PM

Today’s NYT has this headline: “In the Race for the Millions, 2 Paintings Come in Tied,” above these images:


With the caption: A large detail of Roy Lichtenstein’s “Sinking Sun,” left, and Willem de Kooning’s “Untitled XVI.” Each sold for $15.6 million last night.

I love the proposition that these two pieces are exactly equally valuable.

(Quick compare:
Sinking Sun, 1964, 5 1/2 feet by 6 1/2 feet, oil and magna on canvas, machinism/appropriation/Pop.
Untitled XVI, 1975, 5 3/4 by 6 1/2 feet, oil on canvas, pure expressionism.)

Dept. of Government Stupidity

posted by on May 11 at 4:25 PM

I know not everyone’s a fan of Donnie Darko, but does director Richard Kelly really belong on the no-fly list?

Headline o’ the Day

posted by on May 11 at 3:44 PM

Bush Denies Spying Infringes on Privacy

McGavick on Domestic Spying

posted by on May 11 at 3:21 PM

I’m not sure this quote is as damning as the state Democratic Party thinks it is, but here’s what Republican Senate hopeful Mike McGavick had to say about the NSA spying program yesterday, during an online interview with a D.C. publication called The Hill:

The Hill: Do you think the NSA warrant-less surveillance program is legal?

McGavick: I think that the program, having been used in the emergency following 9-11 and having been the subject of routine briefings of congressional leadership, was initially justified. I believe, however, that when such programs become “routine” they should be subject to the logic of the separation of powers. And if the existing judicial approval process was inadequate, I would have been open to some reform of it, but not to ignoring it.

Keep in mind that this statement, whatever you make of it, was made yesterday, before this morning’s bombshell domestic spying revelations in USA Today.

To me, what’s more interesting than this local hit on McGavick is how many similar press releases I’m getting today from various Democrats who want to leverage today’s domestic spying revelations in the drive to take back Congress. They clearly see this as a moment to highlight how much Republicans, and in particular those serving in the Republican-controlled “rubber stamp” Congress, have been willing to let Bush get away with.

The question is: Will it stick this time, or will it fade away like the last domestic spying revelations?

Badger! Badger! Snake! Oh, it’s a snake!

posted by on May 11 at 3:06 PM

I don’t care if it makes me look like a complete idiot, because these cartoons totally make a lame day get 10x better in a matter of seconds and I love them to death.


My friend Patty said about the Kenya cartoon: “Don’t you just want to put the tiger in your mouth and chew him like bubble gum!?”

Yes. Yes I do.

What You Should Do Tonight…

posted by on May 11 at 1:47 PM

…is go see Charles D’Ambrosio read from his new book of short stories, The Dead Fish Museum, at Elliott Bay Book Company. To prepare yourself for the reading, check out this week’s book section. Jonathan Lethem, Dale Peck, Gary Lutz, Adrianne Harun, Tom Nissley, Anna Maria Hong, Trisha Ready, and Charles Mudede review the stories in the book—one writer per story. Short story buffs and Sean Nelson will detect, in the headline, the (attenuated) echo of another great book of short stories.

Here’s Dale Peck—you remember him, right?—on the first story in The Dead Fish Museum:

Imagine Ernest Hemingway and Flannery O’Connor holding hands as they walk down a dusty country road, animist and Christian both hedging their bets by conflating faith in God with mental illness, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of this story’s ethos. What would God say to that? He’d probably pass the buck to one of his writers. O’Connor, ever the bossy boots, would probably respond that no one should be surprised by how bad things are. Hemingway would be mad she spoke first, but sadness would mute his anger, because nothing has changed since his day. As for D’Ambrosio, well, he can tie it all together with some of the prettiest metaphorical bows around…

The reading goes down at Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main Street, 624-6600, at 7:30 pm, and it’s free.

(Confidential to certain of you: Yes, it’s true, I’ve been writing a lot about D’Ambrosio in the last year. [But this is his first book of stories in 10 years!] After tonight’s reading, I promise to find a new obsession.)

Heir Apparent

posted by on May 11 at 1:38 PM

State Sen. Pat Thibadeau just announced she will not seek re-election, effectively ceding her seat to state Rep. Ed Murray (D-43), the only Democrat running to represent the solidly Democratic district. The Times has the story here.

Race march on Beacon Hill

posted by on May 11 at 1:37 PM

There was another race march on Beacon Hill this afternoon. It sounds like this one was smaller — a few dozen people, according to witnesses — than the march that happened two weeks ago. It was still big enough to attract riot police, though we’re told they didn’t need their gas masks. Again, the issue was whether Sound Transit seriously considered black contractors for the light rail project. Here’s an article I wrote last week about allegations of racism inside the project. Lafect Campbell, who is quoted in that article, is talking about organizing a march of his own next week.

Critical Line (With a Nod Toward Mass)

posted by on May 11 at 1:10 PM

Last week, a new contemporary art gallery opened in Tacoma, bringing the total of contemporary galleries, and really, the total of notable walk-in galleries outside of museums, to two (the good non-walk-in spaces are Tollbooth Gallery, a video-and-paperworks kiosk on the street; and Tacoma Contemporary’s Woolworth Windows). The newest spot is Critical Line at 741 St Helens, run by the guys who invented Tollbooth about two years ago. The other gallery, which opened less than a year ago, is Icebox Contemporary Art at 301A Puyallup Ave, run by curator Tracey Fugami and artist Eugene Parnell.

New ventures in Tacoma always spawn conversations about whether Tacoma finally has its own scene, whether it has reached a safety point in becoming a place where contemporary art and artists will not be evicted one day. (Hannah Levin explores a concurrent conversation about South Sound music in this week’s Stranger.)

No doubt Tacoma has become a nicer place to have dinner and walk around. And despite its gentrification and rising housing prices in many parts, it remains a friendlier place to pay your rent than Seattle, and the best place in the Puget Sound besides Seattle for an urban environment bounded by history and landscape.

What never seems to change about Tacoma are two factors: the persistent old notion that contemporary art is a fraud (after the opening of Critical Line’s Found Space show, an *artist* living in Tacoma sent me an email that seemed to doubt that the show’s photography, painting, and video should even be called art: “If this is ‘contemporary’ art,” the artist wrote, “how would it be described as such?”), and the threat of turnover, since, as in any smaller city, contemporary art rests on the fatiguing shoulders of a very few. (I should add that the artist’s email was asking for my opinion and clarification on the show, and may not have been intended as a slight—but it was hard not to see it that way.)

Don’t get me wrong: right now, more than ever, it is worth going to Tacoma to see some art. On Saturday, Tacoma Art Museum is opening a show of Roy Lichtenstein prints and paintings based on the unsung inspiration the Pop artist found in Native American art. (I haven’t seen it yet, but this could give the Henry Lichtenstein show a run for its money in the category of freshness.) Then, on May 20, TAM opens its exhibition devoted to the Neddy Fellowship nominees and winners for this year: Brian Murphy, Jaq Chartier, David C. Kane, and Barbara Earl Thomas for painting; Barbara Robertson, Dawn Cerny, and Blake Haygood for printmaking. This promises a great contemporary show (and again, one that naturally invites comparison to a Seattle museum: the contemporary show now up at SAAM in Volunteer Park is diffuse and small, but well-chosen).

On the gallery side, Icebox has an installation-based show by Justin Hahn opening May 16, called Essential Vesicles. (ves•ic•le 1a: a membranous and usu. fluid-filled pouch in a plant or animal, Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Tenth Edition)

Here’s the gallery’s description of the show:

The artist will strategically place massive quantities of post-industrial polymeric material throughout the gallery. The space will be transformed into a massive installation of vesicle—like forms, color, and textures.

And here’s an image:

At Critical Line, an airy place where the floor is made of vivid, glossy manufactured wood marked with factory text, Jared Pappas-Kelley and Michael Lent have curated a group show.

Kevin Haas makes color-stained photographic images seen through the lens of fences. I particularly like Ann Kendellen’s (see below) crackling black-and-white photographs of built structures (as in Steve Carlton’s excellent recent show at Olivodoce—at which I found out, by the way, that he’s moving to Chicago for his darned girlfriend, so sad). Matthew Keeney dressed up in a white suit and squeezed into small spaces in his absurdist performance photos. E.J. Herczyk contributed quiet, painted-on photographs that signal science through abstraction (I think—I didn’t get to look at them for as long as I’d have liked; I can’t find good images of these online to show you), and there’s a white-on-white video of polar bears by Ido Fluk. The video was hard to see because the room wasn’t dark enough; this is something the gallery directors are working on, I’m told.

Those Kendellens I promised:



To sum up: Yes, you should go to Tacoma, not because it is some new and improved version of itself, but because the contemporary art people there work harder than they should have to, and they deserve your support.

Salon of Shame: Feel the squeam

posted by on May 11 at 1:10 PM

Yesterday I slogged about the bi-monthly Salon of Shame, where brave people recite vintage journal entries, love letters, poetry, and weighty works of fiction in front of an appreciative audience. Today I am pleased to report what a hoot the event was. Everyone’s readings were both hilarious and touching. Among last night delights were samples of teenage Goth poetry, journal entries about losing one’s virginity to a born-again Christian (and subsequently being dumped a born-again Christian), and a transcribed telephone conversation between an innocent 14-year-old girl trying to counsel an unknown teenage boy (?) over why his penis kept leaking. Innocent musings from innocent minds, and a packed audience with the good sense to laugh at all the right moments. The only downside was the lack of men willing to share their shame with the crowd (one brave dude to 10 shameless chicks).

The next Salon of Shame will be held July 12. Email Ariel Meadow Stallings at if you want to sign up. Ariel also cleverly captured part of my reading on her cell phone (I read from a romance novel written when I was 13). You can view it here.

And now, for those of you who couldn’t make it last night, here is a sex scene from my aborted romance novel, The Flames of Passion. Enjoy. [Note: Miranda, the heroine, can communicate with animals, Mentally. This is a key plot point.]

“I think we would both be more comfortable if we took our clothes off,” Captain Jack said romantically. “By the fire,” he added.

Miranda was unsure. Could she trust this man with her heart?
“Do it,” someone said to her. Miranda gasped. It was Sparky, Jack’s faithful dalmation.
“Do it! Take your clothes off!” the dalmation urged. “Don’t worry, he loves you dearly. I won’t look.” And with that, the dalmation trotted outside.
“Can I trust you?” Miranda asked.
“You can trust me,” Captain Jack replied.
Miranda took her top off. Her long hair covered her body like a suit.
“God, you are just so beautiful!” screamed Jack.
He tackled her. She clawed at his clothing. Soon they were both naked. Tentatively, they began humping each other.
“I think… I’m falling in love with you!” cried Jack as he dissolved into ecstasy. Somewhere outside, a dog howled at the moon.

Update: Read The Flames of Passion in it’s entirety after the jump.

Continue reading "Salon of Shame: Feel the squeam" »

Because I Can’t Resist…

posted by on May 11 at 12:56 PM

Littlecrue is opening for Minikiss.

Please Take These Guns to Shoot Us With

posted by on May 11 at 12:42 PM

From the UK Mirror:

SOME 200,000 guns the US sent to Iraqi security forces may have been smuggled to terrorists, it was feared yesterday.

The 99-tonne cache of AK47s was to have been secretly flown out from a US base in Bosnia. But the four planeloads of arms have vanished.

Orders for the deal to go ahead were given by the US Department of Defense. But the work was contracted out via a complex web of private arms traders.

And the Moldovan airline used to transport the shipment was blasted by the UN in 2003 for smuggling arms to Liberia, human rights group Amnesty has discovered.

It follows a separate probe claiming that thousands of guns meant for Iraq’s police and army instead went to al-Qaeda.

I’ve never been in a war, let alone run one, but isn’t the idea to disarm the enemy?

Qwest, Your Protector

posted by on May 11 at 11:35 AM

USA Today this morning reports on the latest of NSA’s domestic spying schemes: an attempt “to create a database of every call ever made” within the nation’s borders.

Naturally, you don’t have to be suspected of a crime to be spied on by your government, according to the story. The NSA is tracking the domestic phone calls—not their content, only the details of who calls who where and when—of ordinary homes and businesses, thanks to the friendly cooperation of AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth. Those companies weren’t required to hand over information, they just decided to go ahead and do it, for kicks.


Among the big telecommunications companies, only Qwest has refused to help the NSA, the sources said. According to multiple sources, Qwest declined to participate because it was uneasy about the legal implications of handing over customer information to the government without warrants.

Oh, regional Qwest: Captain, my captain.

This is what it has come to.

That Giant Snapping Sound You Heard…

posted by on May 11 at 11:30 AM

That giant snapping sound you heard yesterday was the sound of gay Democrats snapping their checkbooks shut. Howard Dean managed to piss off every thinking gay or lesbian voter in the country yesterday (and all thinking gay and lesbian voters are Dems), the same voters and donors whose early support was crucial to Dean’s run for the White House in 2000. Just how badly did Dean fuck up? You know shit is bad when even the cringing pansies at the Human Rights Campaign are furious with your ass.

What the hell happened? Interviewed yesterday on the Christian Broadcasting Network, Dean said that the 2004 Democratic Party platform didn’t back gay marriage, but said that “…marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s what it says.”

Uh… wrongo, Howard. Here’s what the Dem platform said:

We support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibility, benefits and protections for these families. In our country marriage has been defined at the state level for 200 years and we believe it should continue to be defined there. We repudiate President Bush’s divisive effort to politicize the Constitution by pursuing a `Federal Marriage Amendment.’

No, the Dem platform didn’t include a full-throated (ahem) backing of gay marriage, but it wasn’t “one-man-and-one-woman” either, and it clearly backed full gay marriage rights in Massachusetts and opposed the FMA.

Today Dean retracted his comments and corrected himself. But the romance is over, Howard.

Re: Is the Weekly’s Cover Too White?

posted by on May 11 at 11:11 AM

Weekly managing editor Chuck Taylor, responding to criticism about the Weekly’s decision to put the Divorce, a white band, on its Music Awards cover instead of “best band” winner Blue Scholars, a non-white band, writes in our comments: “We’ve had people of color on our cover twice in the past month.” Those people were: Harpeet Gill of Punjab Sweets (featured in a special issue on—cringe—“ethnic eateries”) and Steven and Julio Gonzalez, brothers of a jailed immigrant.

However, those two covers featuring people of color were the exception, not the rule. The previous weeks’ covers featured, in reverse order: a photo illustration for a story about a white talk-show host, a white model, a photo montage featuring Capitol Hill killer Kyle Huff (white), an illustration of Courtney Love (white), an illustration of Bill Gates (white), a homeless person of indeterminate race, a photo illustration of a white prisoner, a killer whale (both white and black, but not a person, an illustration of a white priest, a white sex-shop owner, Darwin (white), a white actor, an illustration of a (white) “nanny,” photos of Gary Ridgeway and Dave Reichert (both white), an illustration of white Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, and a bunch of bands, all of whose members appear to be — wait for it — white.

Da Vinci Code Soundtrack Rattles the Rugrats

posted by on May 11 at 11:11 AM

Part of me appreciates the fact that this recognizes the emotional impact of a film’s score, but another part of me thinks it’s just studio-generated controversy.

Wild No More

posted by on May 11 at 10:33 AM


SAN JOSÉ DEL GUAVIARE, Colombia — Since time immemorial the Nukak-MakĂş have lived a Stone Age life, roaming across hundreds of miles of isolated and pristine Amazon jungle, killing monkeys with blowguns and scouring the forest floor for berries.

But recently, and rather mysteriously, a group of nearly 80 wandered out of the wilderness, half-naked, a gaggle of children and pet monkeys in tow, and declared themselves ready to join the modern world.

We do not want to go back,” explained one man, who uses the sole name Ma-be, and who arrived with the others at this outpost in southern Colombia in March. “We want to stay near town. We can plant our own food. In the meantime the town can help us.”

The Nukak have no concept of money, of property, of the role of government, or even of the existence of a country called Colombia. They ask whether the planes that fly overhead are moving on some sort of invisible road.

The Nukak don’t know what they’ve gotten themselves into,” said Dr. Javier Maldonado, 27, a physician who has been working with them.

The rest of the fascinating story from the New York Times. And yes, that kid is biting into a monkey head.

Dog and Wolf

posted by on May 11 at 8:15 AM

The one novel I’ve been dying to read for too long a time is Sasha Sokolov’s Between Dog and Wolf. It was published back in the 80s as the follow-up to his literary miracle, School of Fools, one of the few (if not the only novel) to receive a blurb from Nabokov. The reason why I have never read Between Dog and Wolf (or at least read most of it—I have read parts of it), is because it has never been translated into English. And the reason why it has never been translated into our usually accommodating language is because all translators have determined it to be untranslatable. The novel is not long (about 200 hundred pages), it’s in the Seattle Public Library’s system (Mezhdu Sobakoi i Volkom), and was inspired by this image, The Hunters in the Snow, by the Flemish painter Pieter Bruegel:


As the painting makes apparent, Sokolov’s novel, which was recently made into a play with almost no words, is all about the dusk—that late time of the day when there’s not enough sunlight for the shepherd to tell the difference between his trusty dog and a deceitful wolf (the expression goes all the way back to Latin).

The compiler of this list rates Between Dog and Wolf as one of the greatest Russian novels of all time—though his list of 50 novels is a bit inconsistent. (He correctly includes all of Bely’s major novels but excludes Sologub’s sublime Petty Devil and Oleshi’s innovative Envy; also he rates Dostoevsky (or Dusty) too highly, and fails to position Gogol’s Dead Souls as the greatest Russian novel. And it’s a sin to place Bitov’s Pushkin House below Solzhenitsyn’s A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich—Solzhenitsyn is not even a real writer, and a much better “thaw period” novel is Vladimov’s Faithful Ruslan. Finally, not mentioning The Gift, Nabokov’s last Russian novel, is ridiculous.)

I can only pray that one day I will have the opportunity to read what I believe must be the most twilit novel of the 20th century.

A Hero for these Troubled Times?

posted by on May 11 at 8:11 AM

Who knew I’d appreciate these G.I. Joe public service announcements from the 80’s even more as an adult? Click here to download my favorite, but there are plenty more to choose from.

Thanks to Jhames.

Is The Weekly’s Cover Too White?

posted by on May 11 at 7:11 AM

I’m trying to figure this out. The Divorce, a white rock band, is on the cover of the Seattle Weekly’s music awards issue, which can only mean The Divorce got the most votes from the paper’s readers. But look inside and it’s the Blue Scholars, a hiphop duo, that actually won the “top vote getters overall,” not the The Divorce—they won the most “pop/rock” votes.So what does this mean? I called Blue Scholars, who are on tour in California, and explained the odd situation.

DJ Sabzi, who is Iranian American: “That’s very interesting.”

MC Geologic, who is Asian American: “I’m not surprised, that’s how they treat hiphop. They are always privileging rock over rap.”

Blue Scholars promise to take a deeper look into this matter.

I’m Holding Out For Heat Vision

posted by on May 11 at 6:40 AM

CLEARWATER - Matt Feshbach believes he has super powers. He senses danger faster than most people. He appreciates beauty more deeply than he used to. He says he outperforms his peers in the money management industry.

He heightened his powers of perception in 1995 when he went to Los Angeles and became the first and so far only “public” Scientologist to take a highly classified Scientology program called Super Power.

Under wraps for decades, Super Power now is being prepped for its eventual rollout in Scientology’s massive building in downtown Clearwater. That will be the only place worldwide where the program, much anticipated by Scientologists, will be offered.

A key aim of Super Power is to enhance one’s perceptions - and not just the five senses we all know - hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell.

Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard taught that people have 57 “perceptics.” They include an ability to discern relative sizes, blood circulation, balance, compass direction, temperature, gravity and an “awareness of importance, unimportance.”

Super Power uses machines, apparatus and specially designed rooms to exercise and enhance a person’s so-called perceptics. Those machines include an antigravity simulator and a gyroscope-like apparatus that spins a person around while blindfolded to improve perception of compass direction, said the former Scientologists.

Much, much more here

Is Kane Hodder really breaking up?!?

posted by on May 11 at 2:00 AM

Yeah, I heard that rumor too. Nervous Hodder fans should head on over to Line Out, the Stranger’s music blog, to get the latest on the local band’s current status.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Tale of Two Sinatras

posted by on May 10 at 9:31 PM

First, the really cool news: Nancy Sinatra is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Now, the really, really bad news: Bolton Swings Sinatra to be released May 23.

CDBaby Loves Jen

posted by on May 10 at 6:38 PM

Recently, I purchased a CD from I had never bought anything from this site before, but it had the item I wanted, which was the Refugee Allstars CD Living Like a Refugee, which includes such lyrics as “We are the clients of the UNHCR” (the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).

Anyway, the CD has been shipped, and this I know because I just received this email:

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure
it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over
the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money
can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party
marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of
Portland waved ‘Bon Voyage!’ to your package, on its way to you, in
our private CD Baby jet on this day, Tuesday, May 9th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did.
Your picture is on our wall as ‘Customer of the Year’. We’re all
exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you once again,

Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
the little CD store with the best new independent music
phone: 1-800-448-6369 email:

I will never again shop for CDs anywhere else. May the store’s stock stay rich, and may the families of all its employees prosper.

Let’s Get Lost

posted by on May 10 at 6:22 PM

I love Wednesday night television as much as Megan, but I’m significantly more devoted to Lost. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve seen a show of this caliber since Twin Peaks was on the air. Because we are rapidly approaching the season finale and I know I’m hardly the only Slogger fan, I say we all report back here after the episode and dork out together. Perhaps one of you can analyze why I have a huge crush on Hurley.

Re: Memo From Brian

posted by on May 10 at 5:06 PM

Apropos of the baby ducks that are learning to swim in the water feature in Cal Anderson Park (as of yesterday, they were still there), please enjoy this brochure from the Audubon Society, titled “Living with Urban Mallards,” along with this photo of baby ducks:


Curious George

posted by on May 10 at 4:29 PM

Discovery Channel News is changing my life at this very moment.
It started with this:
Dolphins Name Themselves.
Um, okay. Creepy, but I can deal. Then this happened:
Drunk Monkeys Mirror Humans.
“The singly housed monkeys certainly drank more than the socially housed monkeys.” God. I know, right? Depressing. And then THIS:
Monkeys Pay to View Sexy Photos.
They literally pay! With juice! To look at a picture of a lady monkey’s monkey-junk! Juice is monkey currency! I think I speak for everyone when I say that being a monkey sounds like a 24-hour party situation. How much juice will it cost me to get a room at the Naked Monkey Peep-show Boozehouse?

I’m Glad I Don’t Manage Rock Bands Anymore

posted by on May 10 at 4:21 PM

Though I’d like to think I’d never make this unfortunate choice and receive this sentence. Frankly, it seems like the violent loss of that many lives warrants a significantly longer sentence.

What You Should Do Tonight

posted by on May 10 at 3:53 PM

Annie Wagner suggests you go see the movie United 93.

A straightforward—which is to say, turbulent and vertiginous—recounting of one of several “events” of September 11, 2001, United 93 is a fascinating movie. It’s about heroism, but it offers no heroic characters. It’s about chaos, but it’s rigorously structured. It’s based on a narrative encumbered with the grandeur of myth, but the screenplay is astonishingly quiet: more like the outline for a story than an already inked annal of history.

It plays in several theaters around town.

Happiness Is Pirate Pearls M&Ms

posted by on May 10 at 2:29 PM

This is a fantastic development! Three of my very favorite things—skulls, pirates, and white chocolate—can finally coexist in my mouth!
candy2.jpgIf you can’t get up right now and go get some, you can at least play this game. (It took me a bit to figure out the rules and object, and all the while the talking M&M made fun of me; let’s hope you are brighter than I am.)

Just 30 Days and Counting…

posted by on May 10 at 2:20 PM

…until the greatest sporting event in the world. That’s right: the goddamn World Cup.

I know George & Dragon will be swarming with fanatics. And my own neighborhood hangout the Summit Public House is going to be all over the tournament. But where else in town is a good place to get your World Cup on?

Slate’s Artist of the Month: Photographer Andrew Miksys of Seattle

posted by on May 10 at 2:12 PM

Andrew Miksys was born and raised in Seattle, where he photographed bingo parlors as part of his first major body of work. His images have been exhibited at the Seattle Art Museum, he’s been an Artist in Residence at Photographic Center Northwest, and for the past five years he’s been living in Lithuania, photographing gypsies, discos, and the transition of Lithuanian society from old Russia to new capitalist.

Now he’s also been chosen as Slate’s artist of the month. Check out his stunning photographs, some of which will be included in a book on Gypsies due out later this year.

And back to bingo parlors, here’s his Stay Drunk, taken in Seattle in 1997:


Speaking of $6-a-Gallon Gas…

posted by on May 10 at 1:06 PM

Expensive gas isn’t enough to keep many Americans from moving out beyond the exurbs—way beyond, according to this story in Sunday’s NYT.

According to the story, formerly remote rural places like Blairsville, GA (80 miles north of Atlanta), Milaca, MN., 60 miles north of Minneapolis, and Vilas County, WI, 220 miles from Milwaukee, are growing rapidly, even as urban areas lose residents. The logic, according to the story, “is not obscure,” even for those who face commutes of more than 100 miles. “The new destinations are precisely the places, like Archer County, that have been undervalued — whether by industry or agriculture or mass leisure or urban flight. They are the places where you can still get something that feels like a good life, without the salary of a chief executive.” Amanda Peterson, a 27-year-old machine shop worker in Minneapolis, justifed her 120-mile round-trip commute from Milaca thus: “We saved forty to fifty thousand dollars on a house, and that buys a lot of gas.”

The story, like coverage of Midas’s “America’s Longest Commute” contest (the gas-guzzling winner, a man who drives 372 miles round-trip between Mariposa and San Jose, CA, every day, got $10,000 in free gas), ignores the huge environmental impact of such a car-dependent lifestyle choice, though it does mention one possibility that could end the alarming ex-ex-ex-urban migration: Gas prices, already over $3 a gallon, could continue to increase, “stop[ping] the American movement from spreading farther out.”

The Flames of Passion and a Salon of Shame

posted by on May 10 at 1:02 PM

Awhile ago a friend turned me onto the Salon of Shame, a bi-monthly series that happens at the Rendezvous. Writers are invited to bring vintage samples of shameful things they’ve written (material from high school/college are gems) and read them before a crowd. I don’t know who else is reading, but tonight I’m going to take the plunge and recite passages from a romance novel I wrote when I was 13(ish) called The Flames of Passion. This is the story of Captain Jack, an affable fireman/poet, and Miranda, the shy temptress/animal psychic who thaws Captain Jack’s heart and teaches him to love again. Here is a sample of tonight’s reading:

They vibrated against each other. It felt awesome.

“You feel so awesome,” whispered Captain Jack.
Miranda threw her head back and she laughed, her long hair flowing like a hairy curtain over her delicious booty.
“Thank you,” she said.
They embraced tightly.
“I would love to cook you a romantic seafood dinner,” he said.
“Cool,” she replied. Miranda loved seafood dinners.
“I’ll bring dessert,” she added. They both knew what dessert would be on the menu: her heaving womb…

Oh, so shameful. So very, very shameful. And it gets worse.

For those who are interested in reading at the next Salon of Shame, go here and sign up. If anyone wants to find out how a 13-year-old girl (cough, me) writes a sex scene, come to the Jewel Box Theatre at the Rendezvous at 7:30 tonight. Doors open at 7:00 pm. If you’ve got your own shameful material you’d like to recite in public, get there early and sign up for the open mic. And if it’s more shameful than The Flames of Passion, I will buy you a drink.

Eastern Mythology

posted by on May 10 at 12:24 PM

Last week, to deflate high Democratic expectations for the Eastside (Dems think they have a shot to pick up 4 to 6 suburban seats in the state house), GOP State Chair Diane Tebelius told me the Ds are misreading the trends.

While Dems point out that: the Eastside went for Kerry in 2004; gave I-912, 2005’s gas tax repeal, a thrashing; and have gone from zero to six seats in the Eastside ‘burbs since 1998—Tebelius counters with some compelling examples herself: Dino Rossi carried the Eastside; GOP AG Rob McKenna carried the Eastside; and perhaps most compelling—she says Dave Reichert beat Democrat Dave Ross for U.S. Congress in 2004.

But wait a minute. Tebelius has that wrong. Reichert actually didn’t carry the Eastside. While Reichert did win the 8th Congressional District overall (which includes turf like North Bend, Snoqualmie, Carnation,Issaquah, and Black Diamond) he actually lost in the 41st, the 48th, and tied in the 45th. This means, in the turf that constitutes the Eastside (Mercer Is., Bellevue, Woodinville, Kirkland, and Redmond) Ross beat Reichert: 86,287 votes to 84,255 votes.

Hat Tip: Dean Nielsen, Washington State Director, Progressive Majority

Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 14th.

posted by on May 10 at 11:55 AM

And this year, say “Thanks for not killing me when you drove down the freeway at 65 mph while I sat unbuckled in your lap” by sending your mom a Britney Spears’s Foundation teddy bear for Mother’s Day!

My favorite night of television…

posted by on May 10 at 11:40 AM

It’s Wednesday! Hooray! That means it is time for America’s Next Top Model AND Top Chef!

Man, it’s the best day of the week.

Tonight’s episode of Top Chef is a reunion, so while no one is gonna get the boot, we can expect plenty of bitching ($20 says Dave and Candice both cry). For those of you who haven’t caught every episode, Bravo is running a Top Chef marathon starting at 3 pm today. The newest episode, the reunion, airs at 10 pm. I can’t wait!

But on Top Model, it’s a different story. Someone is gonna have to go home. If that someone isn’t Jade, I’m gonna boycott that fucking show for the rest of my life. That woman is vile and obnoxious. She’s a terrible model. I can’t watch another second of her getting closer to success. UGH. Did you see last week’s episode when she did the awful Thai dancing and said “I’m not an arrogant person”!?! Did you!? I can’t take it anymore!! Go home, Jade. GO HOME.

Ghost Tower

posted by on May 10 at 11:30 AM

Opening the PI early this morning, I see in a photo a ghost that has returned to haunt me.

The ghost comes from the tower that rises 250 feet from the bulk of the century-old King Street Station, whose interiors are currently being remodeled (or closer yet, unmodeled). That tower is a replica of the campanile in Piazza San Marcos in Venice.


Last year I turgidly wrote this about the Campanile di San Marco and King Street Station in the fall issue of Arcade Journal.

“Built in the 9th century, the Campanile dominates what the 18th century conqueror of Venice, Napoleon, famously called the ‘drawing room of Europe,’ the Piazza of San Marco, the civic “heart of Venice.” Initially the campanile was used as a lighthouse; it guided merchant and military ships by means of a golden angel with wings that glittered as it turned in the wind. In 1609, Galileo explained and demonstrated his invention, the telescope, to a doge (governor of Venice), showing him the moons of Jupiter. The campanile was a tourist destination on the day it collapsed, July 14, 1902—two years before the construction of King Street Station began. The campanile was rebuilt and reopened in 1914, eight years after its double was completed. In the 1100-year history of the Campanile di San Marco there was a moment, a space of eight years, when the only place you could see it was in Seattle.”

The problem began earlier this year while researching the parks of Lawrence Halprin. Halprin, as everyone knows, designed our always wonderful and occasionally deadly Freeway Park. He also designed in 1973 the Skyline Park, which is in downtown Denver. To compare Denver’s Halprin with our Halprin, I opened the link to this image:

Skyline Park North Block.jpg

The shock, as you can imagine, was powerful. There before my eyes was another replica of the Campanile di San Marco. Quick research led me to these hard facts: It’s 330 feet, called the D&F Tower, and, most damning of all, it was completed in 1910. This meant my claim in the Arcade Journal (“[The Campanile di San Marco] collapsed, July 14, 1902…and was rebuilt and reopened in 1914… In the 1100-year history of the Campanile di San Marco there was a moment, a space of eight years, when the only place you could see it was in Seattle”) was half wrong—it was actually only four years (King Street was completed in 1906). A person living during that time could also have seen the tower in Denver in 1910. But even that might be wrong; there might be other replicas of the Campanile di San Marco that I know nothing about.

This is my curse. I have to make bold claims; I will never stop making bold claims, but reality will continue to tear every bold thing I say apart and leave me with these ghosts of errors.

Oh, Mary

posted by on May 10 at 11:24 AM

I like the way Aravosis has gone after Mary Cheney and her new book, Now It’s my Turn, but I like even more the way the users of have gone after Cheney, “tagging” her book with some choice words:

Customers tagged this item with:

hypocrite (3), sellout (2), stockholm syndrome (2), amoral (1), conservative puppet (1), greed (1), invertebrate (1), mental illness (1), narcissistic (1), non-sensical (1), politically retarded (1), sadly wrong (1), self-loathing (1), sociopath (1), wicked (1)

$6 Gallon of Gas

posted by on May 10 at 11:03 AM

Mark Morford is a brilliant columnist at the SF Chronicle. Check out today’s Morford—could the man be more right?

No wait, not six. To hell with that. Make it 10. Ten bucks a gallon, no matter what the going rate for a barrel of light sweet crude. That would so completely, violently, brilliantly do it. Revolutionize the country. Firebomb our pungent stasis. Change everything. Don’t you agree?

Here’s what we could do: Give gas discounts to cab drivers (at least initially) and metro transit systems and low-income folks, those who have to drive their busted-up ‘78 Honda Civics to their jobs scrubbing restaurant toilets and flipping burgers and vacuuming the residual cocaine from the seat cushions of numb SUV owners. Everyone else, 10 bucks a gallon, across the board. Eleven for premium.

It would take some finessing. Maybe also give a price break to some truckers and trucking companies (so vital to the overall economy), but not so much to global delivery companies (FedEx, DSL et al.), because not doing so would force them to raise shipping rates and force you (and me) to reconsider buying everything online and hence will encourage you to shop locally once again, thus reviving a stagnant local economy.

Voilá—gas crisis, oil crisis, warmongering agenda, pollution issues, road rage, traffic congestion, urban decay, oil profiteering—all completely almost totally somewhat solved. Or at the very least, dramatically, gloriously shifted toward … I don’t know what. Something better. Something more humane, less greedy, more sustainable. Could it work? How outraged and indignant would you be to have to pay that much for gas? How long would that feeling last?

Go read the whole brilliant thing.

This One’s For You, Dan

posted by on May 10 at 10:56 AM

Tom Hanks, testicles, Andy Samberg being hot.

Be Afraid

posted by on May 10 at 10:37 AM

George W. Bush thinks his brother Jeb should run for preznint.

President George W. Bush praised his brother, Florida governor Jeb Bush, as an “excellent” leader who would make a “great president” of the United States, according to news accounts. “I think Jeb would be a great president. But it’s up to Jeb to make a decision to run,” Bush told reporters at a roundtable interview here with several Florida newspapers…

He added that his brother’s “political future is very bright—if he chooses to have a political future. But he is an independent-minded guy. His priority is his family.”

Jeb’s family, of course, includes drug addicts, smugglers, and drunks. Naturally Jeb is a big backer of family values—but mostly for other peoples’ families. His own family gets a pass.

This Post Sponsored by the Number 420

posted by on May 10 at 10:36 AM

Last night, while reading The New Yorker, I came across this sentence in a “Talk of the Town” piece by Lauren Collins:

And then there’s George W. Bush, who passed out in the process of eating a pretzel stick, performing a sort of auto-Heimlich.

I had completely forgotten about Bush’s near-death experience back in 2002. And I started to wonder: If President Bush had, indeed, died by choking on a pretzel, what would it have meant for the pretzel market? Would pretzel sales go up? Or would the nation rally against the salty treat for bringing down our Commander in Chief?

Any economist/wonky types care to weigh in?

The Party of National Security

posted by on May 10 at 10:31 AM


How much do you think Osama bin Laden would pay to know exactly when and where the President was traveling, and who was with him? Turns out, he wouldn’t have had to pay a dime. All he had to do was go through the trash early Tuesday morning.

It appears to be a White House staff schedule for the President’s trip to Florida Tuesday. And a sanitation worker was alarmed to find in the trash long hours before Mr. Bush left for his trip.

It’s the kind of thing you would expect would be shredded or burned, not thrown in the garbage.
Randy Hopkins could not believe what he was seeing.

There on the floor next to a big trash truck was a thick sheaf of papers with nearly every detail of the President’s voyage.

“I saw locations and names and places where the President was going to be. I knew it was important. And it shouldn’t have been in a trash hole like this,” he said.

The White House later reponded to the gaffe:

A spokesman traveling with President Bush says officials are still trying to learn more about the papers. The White House confirms the 9 News story and says many White House offices have “burn bags” that are used to discard sensitive documents like the schedule. However, it appears this one ended up in the general trash.

While it is marked official the Secret Service says it is NOT classified. But you don’t have to be in Presidential security to figure out the big mistake here.


posted by on May 10 at 10:26 AM

According to a reliable source, the account on Line Out of the Seattle Weekly Music Awards, which took place last night at the Fenix Underground, is entirely accurate. The situation was sadder than even I could’ve imagined.

Cigarette Sales Up

posted by on May 10 at 10:23 AM

Despite the smoking ban and a tax hike, cigarette sales in Washington state are up. What could it mean? Well, I guess it means that the mighty power of the dreaded totalitarian nanny state isn’t quite as mighty as handful of Seattle’s desperate, whiny, ever-so-slightly inconvenienced addicts feared. Smokers continue to smoke—they’re apparently smoking more—they just have to step outside to do it, or they can light up at one of the many bars in town that aren’t enforcing the smoking ban too aggressively. (Take it away, Dave Meinert!)

Note to Aberdeen

posted by on May 10 at 9:03 AM

If Kurt Cobain didn’t “put you on the map,”, I don’t think a ten-minute visit from Tom Cruise is going to make much of a cartographic impression.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

The Stranger. The Slog. The CIA. And The City Attorney.

posted by on May 9 at 8:06 PM

Some days, working two jobs (that is: writing and editing for the Stranger & writing for the Slog), catches up with you.

That day was today. I was working on the Stranger all day— which is why I haven’t Slogged since 7:30 this morning. (Some good stuff to show for it in tomorrow’s paper, though, including a fly-on-the-wall account of Sen. Cantwell’s closed door meeting w/ the sit-in anti-war group.

Anyway: All I can add to Slog today is that President Bush’s nominee for the CIA post, Michael Hayden, images.jpg

looks exactly like Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr. homepage_left_photo_car.gif

Re: Peacocks! Dreaded Cartoon Crashes!

posted by on May 9 at 5:14 PM

Sorry, the URL prefers to be pasted in the window rather than clicked:

Peacocks! Dreaded cartoon crashes!

posted by on May 9 at 5:11 PM

That is what Bjřrk said to Diddy when he called her up on the phone.

Shocker: Sharkansky Makes an Error

posted by on May 9 at 4:15 PM

And now that his mistake has been spelled out for him online by Goldy, will Sharkansky correct this flawed post?

The Culture of Life

posted by on May 9 at 3:47 PM


From CBS/AP:

U.S. Ranks Low On Newborn Survival

Report Finds One Of Highest Infant Death Rates Among Developed Nations

America may be the world’s superpower, but its survival rate for newborn babies ranks near the bottom among developed nations.

Among 33 industrialized nations examined in a new report, the United States tied with Hungary, Malta, Poland and Slovakia with a death rate of nearly 5 per 1,000 babies. Only Latvia had higher mortality figures, with 6 per 1,000, according to the report by the U.S.-based Save the Children.

As SusanG over at Daily Kos says:

I’m waiting for the Christianist conservative right to ramp up a coordinated, astroturfing, indignant, fear-mongering, self-righteous campaign on behalf of infants in response to the release of yesterday’s report from Save the Children indicating that the U.S. is failing to protect very-recent-embryos - newborns to the rest of us - from dying.

Somehow I sense this issue will not get the traction the overheated fetus debate gets with the fundamentalist crowd. There’s just something not quite as alluring about discussing health care provisions for pregnant moms and their offspring compared with telling your neighbor what to do with her womb.

Drinking Liberally

posted by on May 9 at 3:12 PM

Drink liberally tonight at 8 PM, the Montlake Ale House, 2307 24th Avenue E. Tell ‘em fuckin’ Sandeep Kaushik sent ya.

RE: Shall I Compare Thee to My Big, Fat Ass?

posted by on May 9 at 3:05 PM

Uh, Dan, I personally only hate most poetry. We did once give a Genius Award to a poet, after all. A poet who doesn’t even rhyme!

(Confidential to everyone else: Dan was out-voted, you see.)

Shall I Compare Thee to My Big, Fat Ass?

posted by on May 9 at 2:28 PM

I just went and got my mail, and this came from some outfit called the Academy of American Poets:

Dear Dan Savage,

Today it give me great pleasure to invite you to become an Associate Member of the Academy of American Poets.

As Chairman of the Academy, I very much hope you will accept.

In joining us now, you will enter into a new and exciting relationship with the best American poets of today and tomorrow. You will receive public recognition for your role in nurturing the art of poetry.

[blah blah fuckin’ blah]


Eunice J. Panetta

Uh, Eunice?

We’re not exactly nurturing poets here at The Stranger. I can safely speak for everyone at the paper when I say that we hate poetry, and we’ve done all we can to stamp out your insipid little “art form.” The Stranger has never knowingly published poetry. Give us a call when you bitches start rhyming again—maybe then we’ll think about publishing poetry. Until that day comes, you can keep your Academy, your form letters, and your special membership gift—”a copy of our latest DVD, The Poet’s View, a $20 value… that I believe you will enjoy immensely.” If you believe that, Eunice, it would give me great pleasure to invite you to become an Associate Member of my Big, Fat Ass.

Re: What You Should Do Tonight…

posted by on May 9 at 2:12 PM

Speaking of Madeleine Albright and her claim of being able to leg-press 400 lbs — well, of course it sparked some controversy in Washington, D.C., with former gym-mates voicing anonymous doubts about her leg-press prowess, former students writing emails defending her, and one blogger reminding Albright (rumored to be a sweaty leg-presser) that she should wipe down her gym equipment after each use. Finally, this fantastic clarifying statement arrived from the former Secretary of State herself:

Yes, I do leg-press 400 pounds. To what end I don’t know. I could make a vulgar comment.

The full leg-press controversy, as chronicled by Wonkette, is here, here, here, and here.

What You Should Do Tonight (if You Don’t Have Tickets to Madeleine Albright)

posted by on May 9 at 1:44 PM

Since Albright at Town Hall is sold out, may I suggest…

The Commune, a documentary about utopian communities the early ’70s, at the Northwest Film Forum (1515 12th Ave, 7 and 9 pm, $5-$8).

Oscillate: minimal techno and quality electro at the Baltic Room (1207 Pine, 9 pm, $3).

Live hiphop and breakdancers at Lo_Fi (429B Eastlake Ave E, 9 pm, $3, women free before 11 pm).

Flamenco music and dance at the Capitol Club, plus half-priced bottles of wine (414 E Pine St, 9 pm, no cover).

Molt, a dance performance designed by Paige Barnes, at ConWorks. A friend said, “Slow, fast, warm, cool, abstract, literal… I’m no dance critic, but I really enjoyed it” (500 Boren Ave N, 8 pm, $10-$15).

The Promise by the director of Farewell My Concubine—Charles says it’s “gorgeous” (Uptown at 8 pm, Guild 45th at 7 and 9:30).

’80s music and dancing with a fun/friendly crowd at Noc Noc (1516 Second Ave, 9 pm, free).

What else?

Lorelai, Kim and Coco Too

posted by on May 9 at 1:30 PM

Say what you will about Amy Sherman-Palladino’s recent resignation from Gilmore Girls, but I definitely plan on catching tonight’s season finale with a live performance from Sonic Youth. Full story and adorable photos on

On a related note, SY have confirmed a June 30th date at the Moore Theater and the Stranger will be running a review of their new CD, Rather Ripped, in an upcoming issue.

Star Jones is Unemployed

posted by on May 9 at 12:50 PM

Star Jones is out. At the View. You really don’t care, right? Hey, neither do I. Really. So try to resist clicking this link and reading all about it. And then, after you click the link and read all about it, try to resist the urge to reprimand me in comments for posting a link to such a trivial story.

And Now, a Question From Spokane

posted by on May 9 at 12:41 PM

I understand why I get emails like this, being a gay reporter and all. But I really don’t have time to help people plan their gay pride weekends, nor do I have any desire to pick up the slack for the organizers of Seattle Pride 2006 — organizers who, as these homos from Spokane point out, are offering little information about the weekend on the Pride 2006 web site. (Why doesn’t this surprise me.)

Slog readers, can you help these Eastern Washington homos?

We’re some Spokane guys that will be attending the Pride Fest this year, as usual, but can’t find any information regarding entertainment or activities. The Pride website has no information. I’ve called The Cuff and The Elite with no results as well. We have our hotel rooms booked but should I buy Pink tickets??? or should I wait to see if something I would rather go to comes up? Trip planning is bothersome anyway but there is NO info out there. Do you know of any events that we should know about?

What You Should Do Tonight…

posted by on May 9 at 12:25 PM

…is go see Madeleine Albright’s talk at Town Hall. Mr. Sanders writes in Suggests:

The former Secretary of State, who recently told the New York Times that she can “leg-press up to 400 pounds,” speaks with Washington Post columnist Michael Kinsley about politics and religion. Albright has a new book out, The Mighty and the Almighty, which looks at the problem of religious fervor in a world system more used to dealing with “rational actors.” Asked by the Times whether it might be rational to be spiritual, Albright responded: “No.” (Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Ave, 682-7395. 7:30 pm, $10/$50 [patron ticket includes reception, book, and good seats].)

And bring a gift, would ya? A handmade Czech toy? She is Czech, and her birthday is in six days.

Behold the power of Super Power

posted by on May 9 at 12:13 PM

Great religions inspire faith, community, passion, and imagination in their devout followers. Now these religions have something else in common: theme parks. There’s Dinosaur Adventure Land (where dinosaurs and the Bible meet!) and The Holy Land Experience, while evangelical Christians led by Pat Robertson are still bargaining with Jews to open up a theme park on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. In this environment, the time is ripe for Scientologists to unleash their much anticipated Super Power:

Under wraps for decades, Super Power now is being prepped for its eventual rollout in Scientology’s massive building in downtown Clearwater… A key aim of Super Power is to enhance one’s perceptions - and not just the five senses we all know - hearing, sight, touch, taste and smell.

Senses such as “awareness of awareness”, “tasten colorn depth” and 55 others are mysteriously honed in the Super Power chambers. It’s all very secret, but here are a few tantalizing glimpses leaked by former Scientologists:

Super Power uses machines, apparatus and specially designed rooms to exercise and enhance a person’s so-called perceptics. Those machines include an antigravity simulator and a gyroscope-like apparatus that spins a person around while blindfolded to improve perception of compass direction [another super power, or “sense”], said the former Scientologists.

Meanwhile, somewhere else:

A video screen moves forward and backward while flashing images is used to hone a viewer’s ability to identify subliminal messages, they said.

Scientologist Ron Pollack, who donated $5 million dollars to the Super Power project, likened it to a “trip to Disney.” Only with more screaming children, one assumes.

Former Scientologists Bruce Hines and Chuck Beatty, once staffers at the church’s international base in Hemet, Calif., said that while on punishment detail [?!!], they made chairs of various sizes - ones big enough for a giant, others too small even for a child.

This chamber will be used to hone Scientologists’ sense of chairs. But really, I’m more interested in how “punishment detail” is assigned, and how building mini chairs ranks as punishment in comparison to, say, starring in Battlefield: Earth.

Super Power will be up and running next year. Can anyone say, “Woohoo, Spring Break 2007!”

Stupid American

posted by on May 9 at 12:08 PM

“As the lust for large and easy profits is fanned into a hot flame, the mark puts all his scruples behind him. He closes out his bank account, liquidates his property, borrows from his friends, embezzles from his employer or his clients. In the mad frenzy of cheating someone else, he is unaware of the fact that he is the real victim, carefully selected and fatted for the kill. Thus arises the trite but none the less sage maxim: `You can’t cheat an honest man.’ ”

Greedy or just gullible? Cunning or a little bit too imbued with good, old-fashioned Christian values?

The verdict: just an avaricious dumbass.

Here’s the story of a mail-order psychologist falling prey to his own greed and lack of even basic common sense. Oh - and those Nigerian scam artists, too. The sad thing is: they’re not even that good. He’s just the perfect mark.

Moral: A grand don’t come for free.

The Sniff Test

posted by on May 9 at 12:02 PM

Lesbians smell funny.

How Much is a Flight to Chicago?

posted by on May 9 at 11:57 AM

Who else wants to go to the Vice-curated Intonation Festival? Raise your hands!

Rafael Nadal—Just Say Yes

posted by on May 9 at 11:53 AM

Straight Ladies and Gay Gentlemen, I give you—again—hottest man in professional sports today: Rafael Nadal.


He’s Spanish, he plays tennis, and he’s kicking ass.

Routine HIV Testing—Just Say Yes

posted by on May 9 at 11:36 AM

The CDC is recommending that we change our approach to HIV testing.

Testing for the AIDS virus could become part of routine physical exams for adults and teens if doctors follow new U.S. guidelines expected to be issued by this summer.

Federal health officials say they would like HIV testing to be as common as a cholesterol check….

One-quarter of the 1 million Americans with the AIDS virus don’t know they are infected, and that group is most responsible for HIV’s spread, CDC officials said.

I agree 100% with Georgia10 at DailyKos:

We cannot stop the AIDS epidemic with a rate of 24%-27% of undiagnosed carriers. Making AIDS testing as common as an ordinary blood test can go a long way to dealing with this health crisis.

If everyone who carried the virus knew his or her HIV status, it would significantly reduce the infection rate. It wouldn’t eliminate new infections, of course, but it would bring it way down. Not only would more people who are currently infected know that they had to take steps to protect their sex partners, routine HIV testing would also mean that more people who are infected would get treatment—and treatment seems to make HIV-positive people less infectious by reducing their viral load, which would further cut the infection rate. It would also lead to more, and more effective, sero-sorting, the practice of positives seeking out other positives as sex partners, and negatives seeking out negatives. Sero-sorting is credited with reducing the infection rate in San Francisco, of all places.

Wow! Routine testing for HIV would save lives—so naturally the AIDS establishment is opposed to the CDC’s sensible recommendation:

Some patients’ advocates have voiced concern that the recommendations do not include pre-test counseling and sufficient informed consent.

You can read GMHC’s take here, and San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s take here.

Perhaps the CDC’s proposal can be tweaked—who could object to more counseling?—but the primary reason AIDS orgs will oppose the new guidelines is that many do little more than encourage people to get tested and offer HIV tests. If HIV tests become a routine part of regular medical care—and it should—it will be harder for many HIV orgs to justify their expensive, ineffectual existences.

Please don’t listen to the AIDS orgs on this issue: It’s past time that we began treating HIV like other sexually transmitted diseases. That means routine testing, names reporting, and contact tracing—all routine public health measures that will save lives, particularly the lives of African American women.

In a side note: One of the problems with HIV prevention education in this country is the slogan “Be Safe—Get Tested,” which creates the impression that testing is safety. I know lots of gay men who regard regular testing as some sort of retroactive absolution for whatever unsafe or risky activities they participated in between tests.

Sasquatch Anticipation

posted by on May 9 at 11:15 AM

Head over to Line Out and let us know which acts playing the Sasquatch festival (May 26-28) have your heart fluttering like a hummingbird’s wings.

Strip-Club Referendum Update

posted by on May 9 at 10:55 AM

This November’s proposed strip-club referendum, which would overturn draconian new rules that would ban lap dances, require bright lighting in strip clubs, and confine dancers behind a tall railing, is on track to become the best-financed local ballot measure in Seattle history: Six months before the election, referendum supporters have poured more than $425,000 into the ballot measure —a total that’s even more astonishing when you consider that all but $5,000 of it came from just two sources—Lakc City LLC (Rick’s strip club, with $190,000) and Seattle Amusement Co. (Deja Vu/Showgirls, with $232,000). The remaining $5,000 came from Sands West, a strip club on 15th Avenue NW in Ballard.

The Loyal Opposition

posted by on May 9 at 10:45 AM

Can you spot what’s wrong with this headline?

“Democrats may block impeachment resolution in California”

With Democrats like these, why do we bother running candidates against Republicans at all?

Added Activities: It’s Baaaaaack…

posted by on May 9 at 10:31 AM

The Seattle Times reports today that Seattle nightclubs and neighborhood residents are working together to craft rules “that would give the city the muscle it now lacks to force sloppy nightclub operators to change their business practices or risk being shut down,” by requiring “all clubs and bars to apply for a nightclub license — and live up to new rules of conduct.”

What the Times doesn’t mention is that the new rules would effectively duplicate the controversial “added activities ordinance,” a law that required club owners to obtain a license for live music or dancing. That ordinance was overturned as an unconsitutional prior restraint on free speech in 1999; the new proposal, which is coming out of Mayor Greg Nickels’s office, appears to get around the free-speech issue by licensing nightclubs themselves, rather than entertainment—a constitutionally protected activity.

Although Jordan Royer, the former bartender and mayoral staffer charged with crafting the nightclub proposal, did not return numerous calls for comment, task force co-chair Brett Allen confirmed that Royer did recommend “some form of licensing. What was disappointing,” Allen added, “was that the mayor’s office was supposed to be balancing the regulation of nightlife with some sort of assistance program” for clubs; instead, he said, “all we’ve seen is the regulation part.”

I Wish I’d Never Seen Your Face

posted by on May 9 at 8:29 AM

For no other reason than I rate it as one of the greatest pop songs ever written, I have decided to post the lyrics to Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May”:

Wake up Maggie I think I got something to say to you/ It’s late September and I really should be back at school/ I know I keep you amused but I feel I’m being used/ Oh maggie I couldn’t have tried any more/ You lured me away from home just to save you from being alone/ You stole my heart and that’s what really hurt

The morning sun when it’s in your face really shows your age/
But that don’t worry me none in my eyes you’re everything/
I laughed at all of your jokes my love you didn’t need to coax/
Oh, maggie I couldn’t have tried any more/
You lured me away from home, just to save you from being alone/
You stole my soul and that’s a pain I can do without

All I needed was a friend to lend a guiding hand/
But you turned into a lover and/
Mother what a lover, you wore me out/
All you did was wreck my bed/
And in the morning kick me in the head/
Oh maggie I couldn’t have tried anymore/
You lured me away from home ‘cause you didn’t want to be alone/
You stole my heart I couldn’t leave you if I tried

I suppose I could collect my books and get on back to school/
Or steal my daddy’s cue and make a living out of playing pool/
Or find myself a rock and roll band that needs a helpin’ hand/
Oh maggie I wish I’d never seen your face/
You made a first-class fool out of me/
But I’m as blind as a fool can be/
You stole my heart but I love you anyway

Maggie I wish I’d never seen your face/
I’ll get on back home one of these days

(Rod Stewart/Martin Quittenton)

Utterly Heartbreaking.

Daily Newspaper Circulation Drops Again

posted by on May 9 at 7:36 AM

The latest numbers on daily newspaper circulation hit yesterday.

The numbers are dropping as predictably as Bush’s approval rating. Circulation is down 2.6%.

And the drops are even worse at the Seattle Times & the PIdown 5.4% and 9% respectively for the six-month period that ended March 30.

Monday, May 8, 2006

One Small Victory for Reality

posted by on May 8 at 10:28 PM

David Blaine, who’s been floating in a fish bowl at Lincoln Center for the past week, just tried and failed to break the underwater breath-holding record (8 minutes and 58 seconds). He went just over 7 minutes before he had to be rescued. It was a thrill to see the illusionist fail at something. No word yet on whether he caused himself brain damage.

On the same topic, here’s a “Street Magic” levitation trick you can try at home.

Iraq: Reasons to Smile

posted by on May 8 at 9:05 PM

I have a conservative friend in Michigan who sometimes sends me articles like this one. Here, Bill Crawford of National Review Online states, “Someday the media will have to admit what it doesn’t want to admit about Iraq, that with each passing day, the situation is getting better…

Damned liberal media; always accentuating the negative.

Every Baby Animal Needs a Mother

posted by on May 8 at 5:53 PM

This article by Natalie Angier (author of that book Woman: An Intimate Geography—you know, the one with the stupid line drawing of thighs on the cover) is about cannibal mommas; and callous, twin-bearing, one-child-raising panda mommas; and momma birds that stand by while one chick pecks the other to death. Ah, Mother Nature.

Re: Cruise Control

posted by on May 8 at 5:03 PM

This just in: the bio of Kevin McCoy, winner of the contest which allows him to meet Tom Cruise in Aberdeen.

About Kevin McCoy
Kevin is 27 years old (he turns 28 on June 10th) and has lived in Aberdeen on and off for the last 10 years. He was born in Seattle and has lived various places throughout Washington State. Kevin has worked for the One Hour Photo in Wal-Mart for about a year and a half. He has three brothers and three sisters. Kevin’s hobbies include reading and watching science fiction genre books and films. His roommate/younger brother was the first to hear the exciting news that Kevin had won the People’s Premiere.

Kevin! You’re 27! Why did you allow Tom Cruise’s people to write you a bio fit for a wee child?

One Day Porn Shoot Haunts Teacher

posted by on May 8 at 5:01 PM

A teacher in Kentucky was fired last week after officials found out she’d appeared in a porn video 11 years ago.

Tericka Dye, a science teacher and volleyball coach at Reidland High School in Paducah for the last two years, was suspended Wednesday and told she would not return to the classroom in the fall.

“Your presence in the classroom would cause a disruption to the educational process,” McCracken County Schools Superintendent Tim Heller wrote in a letter to Dye. “I fear there would be less than a serious approach to schooling by students who viewed the video or know about it.”

Dye said she suffers from bipolar disorder and agreed to appear in the 1995 flick because she had no home or income and her disease wasn’t being treated. Dye said she spent one day in Los Angeles filming the movie and did not use her real name.

Today the website FreePornStarPix revealed the name of the porn videos that Dye appeared in under the name Rikki Andersin: Ass Whores 12; Climax Shots 86; Three To Tango ;Double Your Pleasure Double Your Fun; Eruptions; Double Dippin; In Thru The Out Door 7; In Thru The Out Door 8; Party House 5; Sex Freaks 10; Tight Ass; Wet Cum Shots 6; Exit Only 6; Wet Cum Shots 7; Rug Munchers; Major Slut; and Butt Brats 7.

Whoa… that one was a long day she spent in LA. (Hat tip: Fleshbot.)

RIP Grant McLennan; Long Live the Go-Betweens

posted by on May 8 at 4:59 PM

Grant McLennan, one-half of the songwriting duo that gave the Go-Betweens their peerless brilliance, is dead. According to Pitchfork, McLennan passed away in his sleep on Saturday, with the cause of death not yet known.

I’m shocked, and terribly sad. More than any other band from the ’80s, the Go-Betweens stuck with me, with my appreciation of their music getting deeper every year. “The Smiths for grown-ups” is how I characterized the band’s music to neophytes, an imperfect description that nevertheless gave an idea of their alterna-pop smarts.

Between 1983 and 1988, the Go-Betweens released a series of records—Before Hollywood, Spring Hill Fair, Liberty Belle & the Black Diamond Express, Tallulah, and 16 Lovers Lane—containing some of most intelligent, complex, and elegant art-pop ever made. In the late ’90s, they started recording again, releasing another series of albums that stand alongside their original output without qualification.

I had the great fortune to see the band perform at the Triple Door in 2005, and it’s a night I’ll never forget. I wrote a preview for the show for this paper. The title: “So Far From Done.” Most unfortunately, my pronouncement was wrong.

Condolences to Grant McLennan’s loved ones. Everyone else, go pick up a copy of Liberty Belle & the Black Diamond Express and start learning about what we lost today.

Re: Cruise Control

posted by on May 8 at 4:46 PM

You can register your displeasure with Mr. Cruise in person, today at 6 p.m. in Aberdeen. Which demands the question: Where will Aberdeen procure a red carpet worthy to bear the weight of the guy who played Jack O’ The Green?

Memo from Brian

posted by on May 8 at 4:11 PM

This just in from one of our tech-support specialists:

Can you folks (or at least one of you) stop with the politics and transit debate and focus on the cute baby ducks in the pool at Cal Anderson? Please. There’s about 12 of them and they’re so tiny and fuzzy that they can’t be more than a week old. In fact, today is the first day i’ve seen them and I walk through that park daily.

Kim went to see them and shot this photo. She says they’re even smaller and fluffier in person.

Goodbye Girls

posted by on May 8 at 4:09 PM

If you value the smart, funny writing that informs the WB series Gilmore Girls, then you won’t be too happy to hear that series originator Amy Sherman-Palladino (who was also the critical force behind the groundbreaking first few years of Roseanne) has left the building, apparently making her one of the first casualties of the merging of the UPN and WB networks. Full story here. Granted, the quality was starting to slip this season anyway, but Sherman-Pallandino’s brain was the source of all those fantastic pop culture references (nods to the dialog of Chinatown, the excesses of Dorothy Parker, and the virtues of Fugazi, just to name a few), so I can’t imagine they’ll rebound from this too easily.


posted by on May 8 at 4:08 PM

See the world’s slums, gawk at the unfortunate locals, maybe even sniff some glue.

It’s not exactly Delhi Disney…

Babloo, who thinks he is 10, has been living here for maybe three years. His hands are splashed white from the correction fluid that he’s breathing in through his clenched left fist, and he pulls a dirty bag filled with bottles with his other hand. His life is unrelentingly bleak and he recognises this. ‘I don’t know why people come and look at us,’ he says.

‘Sometimes the children don’t like having cameras pointed at them, but mostly they are glad that people are interested in them,’ Javed claims, adding that the friendly smiles of the tourists are more welcome than the railway policemen’s wooden sticks and the revulsion of the train travellers. He hopes the trip will get a listing in the Lonely Planet guides. Nevertheless there is something a little uncomfortable about the experience - cheerful visitors in bright holiday T-shirts gazing at profound misery.


I Traded My Soul for a Shrimp Tostada

posted by on May 8 at 3:39 PM

Danny Bennett has a great blog dedicated to locating and reviewing Seattle-area taco trucks. His favorite is Tacos El Asadero at 3517 Rainier Ave S, which Bethany also raved about a while ago.

More Good News for Virgins

posted by on May 8 at 2:40 PM

If you’re too impatient to take a virginity pledge and wait twelve months to get laid, then consider a trip to Berlin, Germany—where prostitutes are undergoing sensitivity training so they can better serve virgins.

A brothel has become the first in Berlin to offer special deals for virgins with prostitutes trained in the delicate art of catering for customers who have never had sex, a German newspaper reported Friday….

“These are men who either never had sex before or have never been in a brothel before,” the brothel’s operator was quoted as saying in Berlin’s B.Z. tabloid…. Prostitutes are given “sensitivity training” for first-time clients, who the brothel operator said are not necessarily young but often 40 or older: “They need to be aware of how much courage it takes to go to a brothel the first time.”

Death by flying robot?

posted by on May 8 at 2:29 PM

Experts call it inevitable—the ones who aren’t too busy pissing on Isaac Asimov’s grave. Sigh. If only we’d built scruples for our robots when we had the chance.

…thanks to satellite positioning systems, [robots!] can now be programmed to hit targets some distance away with just a few metres (yards) short of pinpoint accuracy.

Japanese company Yamaha, meanwhile, has produced 95-kilogram (209-pound) robot helicopter that is 3.6 metres (11.8 feet) long and has a 256 cc engine.

It flies close to the ground at about 20 kilometres per hour (12 miles per hour), nothing but an incredible stroke of luck could stop it if it suddenly appeared in the sky above the White House — and it is already on the market.

“We are observing an increasing threat from such things as remote-controlled aircraft used as small flying bombs against soft targets,” the head of the Canadian secret services, Michel Gauthier, said at a conference in Calgary recently.

On another note, fuck Will Smith.

Her Heart Won’t Go On

posted by on May 8 at 2:11 PM

The last American survivor of Titanic has died. She was 99.

Music Post

posted by on May 8 at 1:44 PM

Here’s another 1 of my fine I-pod playlists.
This one is called: Socialist. It’s linked below.

Meanwhile, here are my other playlists: Anne Frank Quartet, and Teenage Upsetters, and Gloom-Room-A-Go-Go.

Continue reading "Music Post" »

Cruise Control

posted by on May 8 at 1:26 PM

Women—angry about Tom Cruise attacking Brooke Shields and creeped out by Katie Holmes’ vacant eyes and silent births—don’t want to see the new Tom Cruise movie.

Andrew Sullivan doesn’t want you to see the new Tom Cruise movie.

Audiences don’t appear to be all that excited about seeing the new Tom Cruise movie.

But not to worry, Tom! Your fellow Scientologists will do what they can to make it look like people want to see your new movie.

While some of Tom Cruise’s pals from the mothership clearly failed in their mission to support Scientology’s brightest light on his big day, at least one other emissary did her part to make sure a local theater was packed with a Cruise-friendly contingent. Reported an operative on Saturday night:

“I’m buying tixs for the movie here at the arclight and standing next to me is a woman self-admittedly from the scientology center who is buying 700 tickets with piles of cash. wow.”

Hollywood Interrupted also has an eyewitness account of the (same, we assume) group sale, claiming a purchase of 900 tickets for almost $9000.

Wanna Fuck?

posted by on May 8 at 1:06 PM

I get letters at Savage Love every day from 20, 30, 40, and 50 year-old virgins—male and female—who want to know what they can do to lose their virginities. I’ve long advised these unhappy virgins to floss, bathe, exercise, drink, dance, and hit on people. Well, it looks like I need to add one more item to my standard response: vow to abstain from sex until marriage. A new Harvard study has found that half of all people who pledge to remain virgins have sex within a year.

Virginity pledges, in which young people vow to abstain from sex until marriage, have little staying power among those who take them, a Harvard study has found. In fact, more than half the adolescents who make such signed, public promises give up on their pledges within a year, according to the study released this week.

So if you’re anxious to get laid, kids, make that virginity pledge today!

Gregoire: MIA on Women’s Health Care

posted by on May 8 at 12:54 PM

I’ve been writing a lot about the Washington State Board of Pharmacy’s pending decision on whether to allow individual pharmacists the right to refuse to fill prescriptions.

I first covered this story when I learned that a refusal had taken place at a Seattle pharmacy—the pharmacy at Swedish Medical Center. (In other words: this isn’t just happening east of the Cascades.)

The issue got a lot of play this past weekend. As Savage posted below, the Sunday NYT Magazine had a huge piece about the Right’s war on American bedrooms—putting the EC debate in that larger context. Meanwhile, the Seattle Times got on to the Swedish Medical Center story.

Since writing my initial news story, I’ve been editorializing about the role Gov. Gregoire can play. I’ve urged the governor to use her bully pulpit to pressure the Board to err on the side of protecting women’s health rather than protecting individual pharmacists’ feelings.

Gregoire sent a low-profile letter to the board last January stating her opinion that the board needs to protect women’s access to health care. However, as the deliberations have moved ahead (and as of the last meeting, tacked right) Gregoire has remained silent. This has to change.

The Democratic Governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, took up this issue last year, and basically forced his rules board to protect women’s health. I’d like Gregoire to follow his lead, and stand up to the fundamentalists.

Indeed, wasn’t this the reason liberals voted for Gregoire back in 2004? Gregoire barely made a case for herself, but her campaign hammered away that Rossi was a social conservative. The basic message was: Look, we know you’re not thrilled with Gregoire, but at least she’s not a radical on social issues like Rossi. Okay. Well, it’s time for Gregoire to deliver.

Just in case Gregoire is nervous about taking a stand (even though she supposedly believes in women’s right to health care) here’s a little incentive for her: Polling.

Illinois Gov. Blagojevich decided to act after he saw some numbers. In his state: 66% were opposed to rules that would allow individual pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for EC. (Only 26 percent favored the legislation.) 79 percent of independents were opposed.

While Illinois (pop. 12 million) is twice as big as Washington (pop. 6 million), the two states have similar political leanings. Illinois has 2 Democratic senators and a Democratic governor. So do we. Illinois voted for Kerry 55 to 44. Washington went for Kerry 53 to 46. Illinois has 10 Ds in Congress and 9 Rs. Washington has 6 Ds and 3 Rs.

I know Gregoire isn’t the bravest politician around when it comes to standing up for Democratic values, but I thought I’d put Illinois’s polling numbers out there to appeal to Gregoire’s focus group mentality. Polling indicates: This one’s a no-brainer.

Gregoire has the power to rally public opinion to pressure the board. Oh, and she also has the power to hire and fire them.

Why is the governor remaining silent on this issue?

987 More Days…of Gettin’ It On

posted by on May 8 at 12:45 PM

I’m probably the last human being on Earth to get onto this hayride, but I think I’ve officially been driven insane by The Coup’s new album, Pick A Bigger Weapon. It sounds like the soundtrack to a 1970’s Pam Grier movie having lights-on make-up sex with Stankonia. It’s literate and political without being dry or forgetting that Stevie Wonder was, at one point, The Messiah.
And, though it’s not the best song on the album, the slow groove of track 15, “BabyLet’sHaveABabyBeforeBushDoSomethin’Crazy,” is the best excuse for fucking all night that I’ve heard in ages. In a just universe, this whould be the bestselling album in Seattle for the next six months.

Slow Going at Septieme

posted by on May 8 at 12:27 PM

I’m starting to feel a little sorry for Septieme.

Saturday’s planned protest outside the restaurant was a bust, but the cafe’s business does seem to be taking a hit after the firing of popular manager Vance Wolfe, who gave the restaurant’s mostly Latino staff a day off to participate in the May 1 immigration rally. Last night, Septieme seemed dead even by Sunday-evening standards, with just four diners in the entire restaurant. (Owner Victor Santiago and two friends were holding down the bar.) The two waiters who were working last night told me business had been noticeably slower since last week, with only about half the usual number of customers. “I’ve only made about half what I usually make this week,” one waiter said. “I’ve seen a lot of regulars walk by and not come in.”

Straight Rights Update: The New York Times Magazine Jumps In

posted by on May 8 at 11:57 AM

I’ve been running around with my hair on fire for a year now. I’ve been writing “Straight Rights Updates” in Savage Love in a desperate attempt to convince heterosexuals that religious and social conservatives aren’t just interested in oppressing gay people. The war over gay marriage and the never-ending attacks on gay people, parents, and sex may get all the press, but the American Taliban has a big, scary, anti-sex, anti-pleasure, anti-freedom agenda for America’s straight folks too. They want to ban abortion, they want to block access to birth control, they oppose truthful/useful sex education, they want to prevent the morning after pill from being sold over-the-counter, they oppose the 100% effective vaccine for HPV (which would save the lives of 4,000 American women every year), they want to do away with no-fault divorce, and on and on. On March 23, I wrote :

The GOP’s message to straight Americans: If you have sex, we want it to fuck up your lives as much as possible. No birth control, no emergency contraception, no abortion services, no life-saving vaccines. If you get pregnant, tough shit. You’re going to have those babies, ladies, and you’re going to make those child-support payments, gentlemen. And if you get HPV and it leads to cervical cancer, well, that’s too bad. Have a nice funeral, slut.

Ironically enough, the American Taliban’s agenda is also pro-abortionas we’ve recently seen. By working to make contraceptives harder to come by and by promoting “abstinence education” programs that convince young people that contraceptives are ineffective and/or evidence of immorality, the American Taliban is responsible for slowing the decline in the abortion rate. If things keep trending the way they are now, the American Taliban may succeed in driving up the numbers of abortions in America.

But that’s a price they’re willing to pay, it seems. Because the American Taliban’s beef isn’t really with abortion, but with non-procreative heterosexual sex. You might think that the folks who’ve been screaming and yelling about abortion for thirty years would not want to do anything to encourage people to have abortions—which is precisely what depriving people of access to birth control does. But, again, the American Taliban isn’t so much anti-abortion as they are anti-sex. Oh sure: they don’t want to see straight women getting abortions, but what they really don’t want to see (or hear about) is straight people having sex—unless they’re married and not using contraception.

So after raising the alarm for months, I was intensely gratified to pull the The New York Times Magazine out of the paper this weekend and see the cover story: “The War on Contraception.” Russell Shorto’s brilliant feature—it’s also a long feature, and yes you should read the whole damn thing—walks readers through the American Taliban’s plans to deny birth control to heterosexual Americans. And why would they want to do that?

In particular, and not to put too fine a point on it, they want to change the way Americans have sex . Dr. Stanford, the F.D.A. adviser on reproductive-health drugs, proclaimed himself “fully committed to promoting an understanding of human sexuality and procreation radically at odds with the prevailing views and practices of our contemporary culture.” Focus on the Family posts a kind of contraceptive warning label on its Web site: “Modern contraceptive inventions have given many an exaggerated sense of safety and prompted more people than ever before to move sexual expression outside the marriage boundary.” Contraception, by this logic, encourages sexual promiscuity, sexual deviance (like homosexuality) and a preoccupation with sex that is unhealthful even within marriage.

It may be news to many people that contraception as a matter of right and public health is no longer a given, but politicians and those in the public health profession know it well. “The linking of abortion and contraception is indicative of a larger agenda, which is putting sex back into the box, as something that happens only within marriage,” says William Smith, vice president for public policy for the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. Siecus has been around since 1964, and as a group that supports abortion rights, it is natural enemies with many organizations on the right, but its mission has changed in recent years, from doing things like promoting condoms as a way to combat AIDS to, now, fighting to maintain the very idea of birth control as a social good. “Whether it’s emergency contraception, sex education or abortion, anything that might be seen as facilitating sex outside a marital context is what they’d like to see obliterated,” Smith says.

But it’s not just pre-marital sex they’re after. The American Taliban doesn’t think married couples should use birth control. Some choice quotes from Shorto’s feature:

“We see a direct connection between the practice of contraception and the practice of abortion,” says Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, an organization that has battled abortion for 27 years but that, like others, now has a larger mission. “The mind-set that invites a couple to use contraception is an antichild mind-set,” she told me. “So when a baby is conceived accidentally, the couple already have this negative attitude toward the child. Therefore seeking an abortion is a natural outcome. We oppose all forms of contraception.”
“I cannot imagine any development in human history, after the Fall, that has had a greater impact on human beings than the pill,” Mohler continued… “Prior to it, every time a couple had sex, there was a good chance of pregnancy. Once that is removed, the entire horizon of the sexual act changes. I think there could be no question that the pill gave incredible license to everything from adultery and affairs to premarital sex and within marriage to a separation of the sex act and procreation.”

This is for the apathetic straight people out there: If you care about heterosexual freedom—and not just the right of heterosexuals to have pre-marital sex, but the right of married heterosexual couples to decide whether, when, and how many children they’re going to have— go read the entire piece , and then start making some noise. And don’t think these are just some anti-sex religious wackos—as Shorto reminds us in his piece, the Bush administration listens to these wackos and is appointing wackos to important positions in the FDA and all over the federal government—and let’s not even think about the federal judges Bush has already appointed to life-time positions.

This is some serious shit, breeders. You’re being attacked. Fight back.

Biggest Failure’s Not-So-Best Moment

posted by on May 8 at 11:55 AM

Could there be a connection between this:

BERLIN (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush told a German newspaper his best moment in more than five years in office was catching a big perch in his own lake.

“You know, I’ve experienced many great moments and it’s hard to name the best,” Bush told weekly Bild am Sonntag when asked about his high point since becoming president in January 2001.

“I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5 pound (3.402 kilos) perch in my lake,” he told the newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.

And this:

WASHINGTON — President Bush’s approval rating has slumped to 31% in a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, the lowest of his presidency and a warning sign for Republicans in the November elections.

The survey of 1,013 adults, taken Friday through Sunday, shows Bush’s standing down by 3 percentage points in a single week. His disapproval rating also reached a record: 65%. The margin of error is +/- 3 percentage points.


Et Tu Ira?

posted by on May 8 at 10:55 AM

I saw Julia Sweeney and Ira Glass on Saturday night. The whole show was great (even though it was mostly Sweeney) and he was absolutely darling. However, last week Ira was on Weekday on KUOW talking about the new This American Life television show on Showtime. What the? Everyone I have mentioned this to seemed to already know about it, don’t ask me where I’ve been. Has he abandoned public radio? Is this the end of This American Life as we know it?

As an aside, I always loved This American Life and Ira, listened to the show regularly, etc. But last year I heard him on Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me, during the chitchat part of the show he told a story about how on the air he had been cynical about a person’s claim that chickens had personalities. As a result a woman invited him to come over and meet her chickens and see the reality of chicken individuality. He told about how when he met these chickens, even though their personalities weren’t huge, he could see they definitely were each their own little self. He said he didn’t eat chicken after that. It was so adorable.

Re: Burger King Flaunts Its Meat

posted by on May 8 at 9:58 AM

While Burger King works to harden arteries everywhere, Disney is ending its decade-long promotional relationship with McDonald’s because “the family-friendly entertainment giant wants to distance itself from fast food — and its links to the epidemic of childhood obesity.”

Burger King Flaunts Its Meat

posted by on May 8 at 6:25 AM

From what I’ve gleaned from the blogosphere (shudder), this commercial has been around for a couple weeks, but I only saw it last night.

The product: Burger King’s new Texas Double Whopper.

The sell: A burly musical extravaganza hyping the new burger as the ultimate man food. (The accompanying “manthem” is a rewrite of Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman (Hear Me Roar),” here altered to—wait for it—“I Am Man (Hear Me Roar).” )

The money shot: Over a testosterone-drunk, Whopper-craving horde, a banner is unfurled from a rooftop: EAT THIS MEAT.

Never has Burger King seemed faggier (which considering that king-n-construction-worker-in-bed ad is saying in lot).

And never has this book seemed more sensible and attractive.

See the full “Manthem” ad here.

Sunday, May 7, 2006

Burner and the National Netroots

posted by on May 7 at 5:46 PM

Some of the major national political blogs (the liberal ones, of course) are currently trying to decide which Democratic candidates to add to their ActBlue page, which so far has raised over $140,000 for six House and Senate candidates.

Not surprisingly, there’s a strong local push to get eastside Democrat Darcy Burner added to the page.

The idea of adding Burner has been getting a lot of support on MyDD and a good number of endorsements on DailyKos, too. She recently told reporters that it could cost her $2 million to unseat freshman Republican Congressman Dave Reichert, and there’s no doubt that being added to the national bloggers’ ActBlue page could help her, since it would mean contributions from liberal blog readers across the nation.

Horsesass makes the case for nominating Burner here. If you’re persuaded, you can vote for her in the comments here or here.