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Archives for 07/16/2006 - 07/22/2006

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Kaleidoscope Eyes: A Perfect Escape from a Heat Wave

posted by on July 22 at 2:28 PM


Last night I spent a dreamy evening at the Northwest Film Forum, where the thoroughly air-conditioned main theater is hosting Kaleidoscope Eyes, a series of 16 film segments directed and/or choreographed by cinema genius Busby Berkeley, scored with new songs written by the beloved-and-acclaimed Seattle composer (and first Stranger Genius award winner for Theater) Chris Jeffries. For the show, Jeffries sits at a piano below the screen alongside a small chorus of singers, many of them esteemed Jeffries’ vets, who deliver their songs from behind music stands.

The show’s not perfect, but it’s totally worth seeing. There are some klunky moments and a couple numbers feel extraneous, but on the whole, it’s delightful, and its best moments are near-transcendent. Jeffries’ deep love of Berkeley’s work is clear, and in the best numbers, the amazing screen images mesh with Jeffries’ Stephin Merritt-meets-show-choir songs in dazzling and hilarious ways.

Also, sitting in a deeply air-conditioned room watching 50 identically beautiful women plunge one after the other into a vast cool pool on a black-and-white screen is the most effective heatwave-escaping maneuver this side of suicide.


Arts in America

posted by on July 22 at 11:05 AM

Today The Stranger suggests:

Eugene Mirman, Michael Showalter, Leo Allen
(COMEDY) In the United Kingdom, during the Thatcher years, when “alternative comedy” first gained ascendancy, there was a popular joke: “Hi, I’m an alternative comedian. Every other joke I tell is funny.” These three boys have affiliations with Stella, The State, and SNL, but, more importantly, they beat the alternative-comedy average—two out of every three jokes they tell are funny. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 9 pm, $10 adv, 21+.) BRENDAN KILEY


Roberta Smith on whether art museums should be free. I’m inclined to think she’s being ridiculous with her comparisons to libraries: until all art museums are funded by the state or by private universities (which is probably not a good idea, given the politicization of such entities as the NEA), charging for admission seems like a reasonable way to raise money for acquisition and conservation of new works, to keep crowds down when blockbusters pass through, and so forth. I did learn from Smith’s rundown of free museums that SAM’s admission price is apparently “suggested” as opposed to mandatory. I certainly have never had that feeling at their ticket desk. She does not mention the Frye, which is free thanks to a large endowment. More NYT reporting on freeness here and here. (Thanks to CultureGrrl for the instant archive.)

Now, please enjoy this animated film funded by the National Film Board of Canada. It is the best movie about Scrabble you will ever see.

21st Century Ghetto Trash

posted by on July 22 at 10:52 AM

When I first moved to the CD in 1995, the leading race of trash objects found at bus shelters, doorsteps, and alleys was Olde English. 11 years down the road, I’m seeing less and less beer bottles and more and more of this: b80d13f7005d.jpg The spent object is on the doorstep of my apartment building.

The West Is Dead

posted by on July 22 at 10:30 AM

Earth accept this dishonored guest, former Mayor of Spokane, James E. West, is laid to rest.

Fenix Rising Again

posted by on July 22 at 5:52 AM

Some jackass pulled the fire alarm so I’m up (how are you dealing with this heatwave? I am dying and it’s only dawn!) …and listening to a voicemail from late last night saying the Fenix is reopening in the space that currently houses the Premier on First Avenue South.
Unrelated: Keep your sex-kitten radar on downtown today: The Fabulous Ms. Dita Von Teese is in town (Triple Door, 7 and 10 pm, $28).

Friday, July 21, 2006

Alright, That’s It Motherfuckers

posted by on July 21 at 4:47 PM

First they came for Iggy, and I was silent, for I still had my own lust for life.

Then they came for the Smiths, and I was silent, because I figured, “eh—how soon is NEVER?”

Then they came for the Buzzcocks, and I was silent, because, well, that’s what you get.

Then they came for the Go-Go’s, and I was silent…primarily because changing “We Got the Beat” into “We Got the Meat” is too idiotic to get worked up over.

But now they’ve come for Roky Ericson (13th Floor Elevators) and I want to scream. And yes, I am going to miss him:

There’s no one left to speak out but you, dear Slog readers. Go vent in Line Out about which company ruined a favorite song for you by using it in a commercial. Sometimes it’s a good leg up for young bands (and I support it in that context); sometimes it’s just amusing—but when they go after the old-school classics, it feels just creepy to me.

Beyonce: Reshoot Your Video!

posted by on July 21 at 4:29 PM

The people have spoken, and apparently, they HATE Beyonce’s newest music video “Deja Vu.” In fact they hate it SO MUCH they have started an online petition to force Columbia records to reshoot the offending video. Why the public outcry? Here are the main gripes from the petition’s authors (and I swear I’m not making this up):

This video is an underwhelming representation of the talent and quality of previous music video projects of Ms. Knowles. The following problems have been pointed out by numerous fans on and offline:

A) There is no clear story or theme to the video
B) The dancing is erratic, confusing and alarming at times
C) The sexual themes and shots between Ms. Knowles and Mr. Sean Carter PKA Jay-Z, are alarming and show unacceptable interactions between the two
D) The fashion in this video, while haute-couture, is unbelievable and ridiculous
E) The editing, while professionally done, causes one to get dizzy and disoriented
F) The overall feel of the video leaves a sense of much to be desired
G) The video is very disappointing and is not a clear representation of any of the songs themes

We, the fans of one Beyonce’ Knowles, ask that an alternative video be shot featuring; more choreographed & less spontaneous dancing, clearer visual themes that relate to the lyrics of the song, less gyrating, less scenes of non-existant sexual chemistry between Mr. Carter and Ms. Knowles, less zooming and quick cut edits and a more stylized and clear direction for all other aspects of the video production.

Oh, is that all they want? For those ready to be similarly “alarmed,” here’s the video. Share your thoughts below.

An Illusion

posted by on July 21 at 4:22 PM

Amy and others, see the end of the 80s. The running through the mist, the ghost house in the night, the boogie in the door way—I shall not be beaten.

Jim West

posted by on July 21 at 4:02 PM

Now in critical condition.

Response to Fremont Neighbors on Nightlife Feature

posted by on July 21 at 3:50 PM

Last week, we received a letter from the Fremont Neighborhood Council taking me to task for my feature on Mayor Greg Nickels’s anti-nightlife agenda. Unfortunately, we didn’t have room in the print edition to run the letter. However, here’s a relevant excerpt (full text below the jump):

For over five years, Fremont has been dealing with increasing alcohol-service related incidents, such as vandalism, litter, public drunkenness, urination on private property, noise, property destruction, dangerous and threatening behavior and other disturbances. These have all added up to something far greater than a minor inconvenience for “$500k condo owners” —they are real public-safety concerns and ultimately have a serious impact on the quality of life in the neighborhood. Residents of Fremont have made numerous complaints to us and the police department and despite a stated willingness by the major bar owners through a number of community meetings to work with the neighbors to address these issues, there have been no effective actions to-date and the problems remain unresolved. …

Unfortunately, the voluntary and self-policing approach has not worked in Fremont and we do believe that it is necessary to develop city-wide standards and regulations for the operation of nightclubs to help mitigate the obvious problems while maintaining and encouraging a vibrant nightlife. We believe that the nightclubs should recognize that they are not isolated establishments and their success is due in large part to their specific locations and neighborhoods. Club owners should take the first step to be good neighbors and minimize negative impacts their businesses have on their surrounding neighborhoods.

I agree with the Fremont neighborhood representatives that “vandalism, litter, public drunkenness, urination on private property, noise, property destruction, [and] dangerous and threatening behavior” are real concerns, not mere nuisances affecting only wealthy condo owners. (However, the phrase in quotes, “$500k condo owners,” is theirs, not mine). However, the mayor’s new nightlife regulations either do not address these concerns or do so in ways that place an unfair burden on bars and clubs, requiring them to police and clean up litter in places far away from their property and not under their control.

The nightclub regulations don’t even address vandalism, public drunkenness, urination, property destruction or threatening behavior. What they do deal with is patrons’ behavior on property and parking lots owned or operated by a club, security in and around the club, liquor violations in the club, littering in and around the club, and sound violations. Clubs have no ability nor legal obligation to police the surrounding neighborhood; that’s the job of the police department. If neighbors are upset about illegal behaviors committed by club patrons in the neighborhood, they should address those concerns to the police department, not the clubs. (Vandalism, public drunkenness, public urination, destroying property, and threatening violence are all illegal already, making these issues problems of enforcement, not regulation.) The requirement, already questionable, that clubs police the area around their premises is limited to 100 feet outside the club; it would be totally unreasonable to extend that responsibility to the surrounding neighborhood. Finally, while the draft legislation does address noise, it does so in a way that seems open to arbitrary interpretation by police and residents: Noise that is audible for more than 20 seconds “to a person of normal hearing” inside nearby homes and businesses would be grounds for yanking a nightclub’s license.

Continue reading "Response to Fremont Neighbors on Nightlife Feature" »

Gregoire: Another Behind the Scenes Victory

posted by on July 21 at 3:23 PM

Today’s news that the Washington State Pharmacy Board is withdrawing its June proposal to allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for any reason is the result of behind the scenes work by Gov. Chrisitine Gregoire. Gregoire had objected to the June proposal for all the obvious reasons: If a pharmacist didn’t feel like filling a prescription for emergency contraception or HIV medication etc… they didn’t have to.

I dinged Gregoire pretty hard in the spring for failing to lead on this issue (letting it get as far as it did), so I’ll give her credit where credit’s due now as her increasingly potent m.o. of behind-the-scenes-back-door-diplomacy is starting to be a defining feature of her administration. (She had a similar behind the scenes break through on medical malpractice during this year’s legislative session.)

Indeed, Gregoire brought in Don Downing, a Clinical Associate Professor at the U.W. School of Pharmacy, to facilitate a solution. Downing was the perfect choice. Downing has a long history of working with women’s health advocacy groups to draft legislation and rules (and create programs) nationally and internationally, that ensure women have access to things like emergency contraception. However, he was also “in synch” with Washington State Pharmacy Board member Donna Dockter, the pharmacist who drafted the June rule. Downing agrees with Dockter that there are situations when a pharmacist should be able to refuse to fill a prescription—that don’t have to do with religious objections, but rather, a host of other issues ranging from medical concerns to concerns about abuse and fraud. Dockter’s concerns are good ones, although, during the debate last Spring, she seemed incapable of recognizing that her proposal had a huge loophole in it which would have allowed self-righteous pharmacists to turn women away.

Downing worked with the pharmacy board and Dockter to amend the language—he says the controversial clause that gave pharmacists the open-ended power to simply turn down prescriptions is “gone.” He and Dockter met with the Governor this week to go through “paragraph by paragraph” the new language, and Downing reports that the Governor supports the new draft language.

Downing hinted that the new language will only allow a pharmacist to object for religious or moral reasons if the pharmacy has someone else on staff who will fill the prescription. He said: “We all agreed that the pharmacist has a responsibility to facilitate access and can’t send a patient on a wild goose chase.”

Nora’s Notes

posted by on July 21 at 2:57 PM

Here are the reasons for posting the liner notes of Herbie Hancock’s Empyrean Isles: because very few works of American music can match the greatness of Empyrean Isles; because Hancock’s solo on “Oliloqui Valley” happens to be one of those sacred moments in jazz history; because the recording of the music was done by an opthamologist; because the four original pieces of music absolutely unify the sensibilities of pop, tradition, and the avant-garde; and, finally, because the liner notes, written by Nora Kelly, are, like Kate Bush, beautifully batty.

EMPYREAN ISLES Away beyond the mountains of Lune, in the heart of the Great Eastern Sea, lie the Empyrean Isles, four glittering jewels, beyond the dreams of men. There is a perpetual haze around them, shimmering and distorting, and they seem to hover, ethereal, a little above the water, suggesting a world inaccessible except to fancy. Myth and legend clothe these Isles in mystery, for they are elusive and said to vanish at the approach of ordinary mortals. Yet sailors have seen them glinting from afar, a green and gold illusion. Warm winds caress them, wrapping sinuous tendrils of mist around their lofty crowns and wafting a delicious scent across the waters, fresh, yet heavy, strong and intoxicating. Thus it is said that incense-bearing trees blossom there, filling the air with the frail, intimate perfume of flowers unseen in the dark. No man has ever been known to set foot upon their shores, but ships have passed close enough to glimpse, though the enfolding mists, the slender stems of bright trees swaying in the breeze, and near on of the Isles, to catch the lush, overpowering odor of ripe cantaloupes.

Continue reading "Nora's Notes" »

In Case You Missed It

posted by on July 21 at 2:24 PM

The Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act passed in the House by a vote of 390-33 after Democrats defeated Republican attempts to gut the act by amending several of its provisions out of existence. Among the rejected amendments were: an amendment that would use turnout figures instead of a history of discrimination to determine which states were covered by the Act; one that would eliminate language assistance to people who have difficulty speaking English; and one that would require the Act to be reauthorized every 10 years, instead of every 25.

The 33 members (all Republicans) who voted against reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act, as reported by the Birmingham Times, were:

Jo Bonner and Terry Everett of Alabama; Trent Franks and John B. Shadegg of Arizona; Wally Herger, John T. Doolittle, Edward R. Royce, Gary G. Miller, Dana Rohrabacher, John Campbell, all of California; Joel Hefly and Thomas G. Tancredo of Colorado; Tom Price, John Linder, Lynn A. Westmoreland, Charlie Norwood, Nathan Deal and Phil Gingrey, all of Georgia; Dan Burton of Indiana, Iowa’s Steve King, Richard H. Baker of Louisiana, Roscoe G. Barlett of Maryland, New Jersey’s Scott Garrett; Virginia Foxx and Patrick T. McHenry of North Carolina; South Carolina’s J. Gresham Barrett, John J. Duncan Jr. from Tennessee and six from Texas: Sam Johnson, Jeb Hensarling, Joe Barton, K. Michael Conaway, Mac Thornberry and Ron Paul.

Technicality of the Week

posted by on July 21 at 2:18 PM

Mmm…doughnuts. Is there anything they can’t do?

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Convicted child molester James Degroff is getting a second chance to proving he never molested a 6-year-old girl four years ago. What’s so rare about this case is not that it’s going back to court, but the reason why. The answer lies in the back halls of the Thurston County Courthouse.

In 2003, the first trial judge unwittingly unraveled the case by accepting an ordinary doughnut. The trouble is, the judge took the doughnut from a juror deciding the case.

Don’t Ask Me to Clean That Car

posted by on July 21 at 2:02 PM

After receiving numerous complaints, New Zealand has pulled a dirty, dirty, dirty Nissan commercial starring Kim Cattrall (as her Sex in the City alter-ego Samantha Jones). Though laced with overreaching innuendo, I find this commercial distubing for many reasons OTHER THAN OVERT SEXUALITY. Here’s one of the commericials in the series. Thoughts?

Dubya Does U2

posted by on July 21 at 1:22 PM

Charles’ and Amy-Kate’s war of ’80s ditties leaps to the national stage, as Dubya covers a classic early-’80s battle anthem.

Middle East Ceasefire Infographic

posted by on July 21 at 12:56 PM

The cover of the print version of today’s The Independent has forgone plain text and instead features a large infographic depicting the state of affairs in the Middle East—who’s for and against an immediate ceasefire. Brilliant and infuriating:

(Via Kottke.)

Evolution and Samuel L. Jackson

posted by on July 21 at 12:32 PM

“I want these motherfucking snakes off the motherfucking plane!”

Frank Rich! Jonathan Lethem! Art Spiegelman! Stephen King! Elizabeth Kolbert!

posted by on July 21 at 12:31 PM

The brochure for Seattle Arts & Lectures’s 2006-2007 lecture series came in the mail today. It’s true I have reservations about the way the events are presented, but next year’s lineup is the best lineup in years, rivaling even the unstoppable ‘02-‘03 season (Seamus Heaney, Zadie Smith, George Plimpton, Francine Prose, Andrea Barrett, David Mamet—it was quite a year).

The 2006-2007 season is:

Frank Rich, New York Times columnist, Oct 9
Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes guy, Nov 21
Edwidge Danticat, Krik? Krak! author, Jan 8
Suzan-Lori Parks, first black female playwright to win the Pulitzer, Feb 7
Art Spiegelman, first graphic novelist to win the Pulitzer, March 5
Jonathan Lethem, novelist who deserved the Pulitzer for Fortress of Solitude, April 18

Plus, there are three “special events”—not part of the lecture series, more like dignified, bigger-than-usual readings—with Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), Stephen King (the brochure refers to him as “the absolute monarch” of the horror genre), and The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert.

For season tickets to the lecture series, go here.

Now please enjoy this picture of a monarch butterfly:


Arts in America

posted by on July 21 at 12:30 PM

Tonight The Stranger suggests:

Maria de Barros
(WORLD MUSIC) The beauty of Maria de Barros is matched by the beauty of her voice, which is called the soul of Cape Verde. The beauty of Maria de Barros is also matched by the beauty of the language she sings in, Portuguese, and the music she makes, which is a smooth fusion of Iberian, Caribbean, black African, and South American rhythms. Do something different for once and go and see live music from an island whose name rarely (if ever) enters your consciousness. (Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Ave, 575-3472 or 325-2993. 8 pm, $20.) CHARLES MUDEDE

It’s a nice movie weekend, too: Police Beat has been extended for another week at the Varsity. Northwest Film Forum is opening its Luc Moullet series (I recommend Brigitte et Brigitte tonight at 7 pm, with additional shows through Sunday; and I highly recommend Attempt at an Opening, a wicked short about Coca-Cola, which plays before Anatomy of a Relationship Monday and Tuesday at 7 and 9 pm. A Girl Is a Gun, which is reputedly excellent.) Finally, there’s a completely FREE program of 3 Stooges shorts at the Grand Illusion this weekend and next: It’s at 11 pm tonight, 12:30 pm and 11 pm tomorrow, and 12:30 pm Sunday. Did I mention it’s FREE?

Also, art-wise:

Here is an Artforum Top Ten written by the anonymous dude who does the cat graffiti in Paris. (His cats were also the subject of the lame Chris Marker movie The Case of the Grinning Cat, which you may have seen at SIFF this spring.)

And finally, does the art of seduction count? Here is a sensationalistic but riveting article from Harper’s about bride tourism in the Ukraine:

But what they really wanted, and what most imagined they would find in Ukraine, was a fusion of 1950s gender sensibilities with a twenty-first-century hypersexuality. Along with everything else, the men had heard that the women here were “wild,ā€¯ “uninhibited,ā€¯ that being with them was “a whole different ball game.ā€¯ [ … ] The vision was Madonna and puttana rolled together, an American male desire shaped in equal parts by the Promise Keepers and Internet porn.

UPDATE: The Coke movie Attempt at an Opening is now playing with A Girl Is A Gun, aka An Adventure of Billy the Kid (not Anatomy of a Relationship) at Northwest Film Forum, Mon-Tues at 7 and 9 pm.

“We need to make the cave paintings for the 21st century.”

posted by on July 21 at 12:08 PM

It’s that time of year again: comic book fans of the world are uniting in San Diego for ComiCon International. There’s the usual craziness: the adults in superhero costumes, the shameless pimping of books, movies and videogames, etc. etc. But this year (in the first day of exhibition, no less!), there was something extra-special: comics writer Grant Morrison (who has written some of the best comics in the last twenty years) and Deepak Chopra (the Michael Bolton of Eastern Philosophy and co-publisher of a new line of comics) sharing a stage to discuss the spirituality of superheroes. I always wondered whether my chakras were more like Batman or Superman.

However, since I honestly love the comics, I want to point out that it’s not all people who take themselves way too seriously. If you’re looking for something good, try Scrublands, by South African cartoonist Joe Daly. There’s a feel of the good old-fashioned Crumb head comics in some of Daly’s stuff—lordy, he does love the reefer—but he’s reminiscent of nothing so much as a early Dan Clowes, back when he was unafraid of being funny (read the comic about loving art a little too much in the Amazon excerpt and tell me that I’m wrong.)

Without Question the Most Exciting News of the Year

posted by on July 21 at 10:44 AM

Apple is working on an IPod phone.

If only they could make it open my front door, pay for my groceries, and plan my schedule for me, too…

Mike McGavick: Debating the War is Inappropriate While Troops are Still in Harm’s Way

posted by on July 21 at 10:33 AM

As he continues to campaign across the state, GOP U.S. senate candidate Mike McGavick spoke to the Lewiston Tribune. Here’s part of their report:

Lewiston Morning Tribune, July 20, 2006, By DEAN A. FERGUSON of the Tribune. McGavick: It’s wrong to debate war. McGavick is a fierce supporter of the “War on Terror.” Just as previous generations fought fascism and communism, this generation must battle terrorists, he said. “The paramount job of the federal government is to keep us safe and secure,” he said. In an earlier stop at the Lewiston Tribune, he said it is wrong to debate the war. Despite a “large” list of mistakes, the war debate needs to happen when the war ends. “We’ve got lots of time and we’ve got lots to learn,” McGavick said.

Quips Washington State Democratic Party Spokesman Kelly Steele: “What if the war never ends? When should citizens start debating it?”

Table-pounding State Democratic Party Chair Dwight Pelz was a bit more harsh. In a press release Pelz said: “After more than 2,500 American casualties and a failed Bush strategy with no direction or end in sight, the fact that Mike McGavick believes citizens shouldn’t be debating the war in Iraq is simply un-American. If my position were to blindly support Bush’s failed strategy in Iraq and stay indefinitely, I wouldn’t want to debate it either.ā€¯

This is a good gotcha on McGavick from the Democrats. Although, I’ve talked to McGavick about his position on the war, and it’s not radically different from Cantwell’s. Yes Cantwell voted for the Levin amendment—which called on President Bush to come up with benchmarks for a troop phase out. But Cantwell has also made it clear that she’s against withdrawal until the situation on the ground is stabilized. That is fundamentally McGavick’s position as well. He just doesn’t want to superimpose withdrawal deadlines. And quite frankly, if you believe, as Cantwell does, that the situation on the ground needs to stabilize before hard and fast decisions are made about withdrawal, it seems to me she would oppose the Levin amendment—as McGavick did.

More to the point: I’m still confused about Cantwell’s position. Didn’t her new outreach staffer, Mark Wislon, support the Kerry amendment…which not only called for establishing withdrawal benchmarks, but named them: Troops out by July 2007?

Having said that, at least she still believes in thinking and talking about it.

War, Unedited II

posted by on July 21 at 9:54 AM

One of the comments in the last post about YouTube and Iraq had a link to this wartime video, from the comedy department:

Colin Farrell Confronted by ‘Victim’ on Tonight Show

posted by on July 21 at 9:20 AM

The blogosphere is abuzz over reports from yesterday’s taping of The Tonight Show, during which Colin Farrell was confronted by a woman who (unsuccessfully) sued him for sexual harassment. According to witnessess, Farrell was chatting with Leno when Dessarae Bradford marched onstage and placed a copy of her self-published book Colin Farrell: A Dark Twisted Puppy on Leno’s desk before Farrell calmly led her from the stage, telling her, “You’re insane.”

For proof of Farrell’s diagnosis, check out Dessarae Bradford’s website. In addition to the aforementioned book on Farrell, Bradford is selling her tell-all book I Fucked Alec Baldwin in His Ass. Bradford also hypes her forthcoming “new single!” “Colin Farrell is My Bitch”.

To hear the “phat underground house” song, go here.

A Bomb

posted by on July 21 at 7:24 AM

Amy, enough is enough. To end the present conflict, I have no other choice but to go nuclear.

The Morning News

posted by on July 21 at 6:32 AM

Right-wing nut job opines:”Dogs aren’t born mooing, and people aren’t born gay.”

Middle East death toll rises; “The country has been torn to shreds,” Lebanese prime minister says.

Washington state pharmacy board backs off, decides letting personal feelings dictate medical decisions is a dumb idea.

Oklahoma City celebrates announcement of Sonics sale.

Google profits more than double, blowing away rival Yahoo!.

Religious nuts celebrate Middle East turmoil.

Bush, addressing the NAACP for the first time, uses African-American group’s convention to shill for estate-tax repeal.

Shell takes hard line against biofuels made from crops that could be used for food.

Landis breaks away in Tour, reclaims third place in history-making performance.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

High Cover

posted by on July 20 at 6:25 PM

Based on the present cover,
this week’s feature, High Art: A Review of Seattle’s Skyline (and What It’s Becoming), must be read with the music for this movie:
Northby Northwest 15.jpg

The real “Knitta” gritty

posted by on July 20 at 6:11 PM

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Knitta, please: It isn’t just for Houston, TX anymore. Look around the city, Seattle. We have some knitting dignitaries in town, and they’ve left their colorful tags in several neighborhoods—including Capitol Hill, Ballard, and Fremont (above)—in the past 24 hours.

War, Unedited

posted by on July 20 at 5:47 PM

Vietnam (and the nightly news) brought (edited) war into American living rooms. Iraq (and YouTube) are bringing (unedited) war onto American computers:

(Thanks to Andrew Sullivan.)

New Queen Anne QFC Plan

posted by on July 20 at 5:32 PM

The planned transformation of Queen Anne’s beloved little Metropolitan Market into a city block size QFC has gotten tons of media coverage — mostly due to the persistent and vociferous anger expressed by the Queen Anne Neighbors for Responsible Growth, who aren’t letting their corner specialty foods store go without a fight. In addition to saying that the QFC will create a less pedestrian-centered village and replace a small local business with a “giganticā€¯ chain store, the neighborhood group takes issue with the destruction of an apartment building and two homes to make room for the planned 35,000 square foot grocery.

A new development in the dramalicious project, though, has as of yet gone unreported:

In response to this community hostility, the developers have changed their plans for the four-story building. The new plans will be presented at a community meeting next Monday that QANRG member Audrey Wennblom promises will be “bulging with people who have concerns.ā€¯

The old design positioned retail and parking above the first-floor QFC, the new plan replaces this second floor retail and parking with apartment units — 55 of em! — on the top three floors and places at least 158 parking spots underground.

And now, some context. Here’s the site (in dignified, classic black and white):

The architect is required to submit three different design proposals for the building and I’ll post about the differences of all the designs after we hear from the developers and the community on Monday. Style-wise, they all look pretty much like this:


While QANRG members say the replacement of lost living space is an improvement, it doesn’t fix their root complaint of wanting to keep the little market in and the big QFC out. “This is radically different,ā€¯ said member Kirk Robinson, “but not radically different enough.ā€¯

What the feisty neighbors hope now is that QFC will for some reason decide to get out of its lease… or even if the project goes through, to have sent a direct message to the city and developers about the ferocity with which the neighborhood will cling to its local businesses. The group plans to make the development process as costly as possible for QFC, via the land use lawyer they’ve hired.

“We want them to reconsider. Period,ā€¯ says member Nancie Kosnoff.

Check out the meeting: Monday at 7pm in Bethany Presbyterian Church on Queen Anne Ave.

re: You Were A Photograph It’s No Better to Be Safe Than Sorry…

posted by on July 20 at 5:18 PM

Charles, Tears for Fears has nothing on the Cure dancing badly in kilts, capes, and faux fur. But if you want pure ’80s fantastic, this conversation must end with Aha. (What did we do in the years between classic MTV and YouTube?)

Peggy Noonan: Still an Idiot After all these Years

posted by on July 20 at 5:03 PM


From today’s WSJ:

During the past week’s heat wave—it hit 100 degrees in New York City Monday—I got thinking, again, of how sad and frustrating it is that the world’s greatest scientists cannot gather, discuss the question of global warming, pore over all the data from every angle, study meteorological patterns and temperature histories, and come to a believable conclusion on these questions: Is global warming real or not? If it is real, is it necessarily dangerous? What exactly are the dangers? Is global warming as dangerous as, say, global cooling would be? Are we better off with an Earth that is getting hotter or, what with the modern realities of heating homes and offices, and the world energy crisis, and the need to conserve, does global heating have, in fact, some potential side benefits, and can those benefits be broadened and deepened? Also, if global warning is real, what must—must—the inhabitants of the Earth do to meet its challenges? And then what should they do to meet them?

You would think the world’s greatest scientists could do this, in good faith and with complete honesty and a rigorous desire to discover the truth. And yet they can’t.

Actually, they can. And have.

Meanwhile, Britain just had its hottest July day ever, wtih temperatures in the Underground subway system topping out at 117 degrees. In the US, 2006 has been the hottest year on record since the US started keeping track in 1895, with the heat wave expected to continue for the rest of the year.

Tom Tomorrow

posted by on July 20 at 4:35 PM


Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on July 20 at 4:21 PM

In this installment, a thrilling suspense narrative is set up: Will God bring justice to the identity thief who is running up a big bill on the Prayer Warrior’s credit card?


July 20, 2006

I just found out my credit card was used to purchase a laptop computer, which I cannot afford, to be sent to a place I’ve never been. Please pray for this situation to be dealt with soon, without any further charges against my account.

Your Pastor,

Re: Bat, Bat, Where You At?

posted by on July 20 at 3:36 PM

Brendan, you should visit Austin. Not only are they kinder towards (and more appreciative of) their music scene, they love the bats too—they even have a statue of one:

bat statue.jpg

I cannot, however, testify to the strength of their theater scene.

Bat, Bat, Where You At?

posted by on July 20 at 3:27 PM

I love bats. I really, really love bats.

Perhaps because of my grandfather, in southern Virginia, who was always working on some kind of construction project so he always had small chunks of wood, usually sweet-smiling pine, lying around that, at dusk, he would toss straight up into the air, where a dozen bats were circling, and three or four would sense the chunk of sweet-smelling pine and chase it down to the ground. “Fishing for bats,” we called it. We would sing out, as we tossed the chunks of sweet-smelling pine into the crepuscular sky: “Bat! Bat! Where you at?!”

Or perhaps because of a house I stayed in on the coast in a hot, foreign country, that had a broad, second-story veranda overlooking an overgrown courtyard and the nearby hills that would’ve had sagebrush had they been in America—a veranda where you could sit in the twilight and eat something fresh you just bought from a local fisherman and bread and olive oil and drink wine and talk to a pretty young woman visiting from a different hot, foreign country and watch the bats (hundreds of them) who lived in the eaves of the building come out, at first in ones and two and threes and then in dozens, circle the courtyard a couple of times, then head out for a night’s hunting, skimming above the sagebrush-less hills.

Bats are excruciatingly romantic.

But King County Public Health has, once again, brought the insidious hand of fear into my world with a press release about the dangers of bats, five to ten percent of which, in King County, test positive for rabies:

A recent human rabies case: In 2006, a Texas teenager awoke to find a bat in his room. Public Health in Texas was not contacted and the bat was not tested. The teenager did not seek medical care until symptoms of rabies appeared, at which point it was too late to receive preventive treatment. Sadly, the teenager died of rabies about five weeks after exposure to the bat.

My innocence is dying slowly, by the death of a thousand cuts. Thanks to King County for taking another slice.

The rest of the press release follows, below the jump.

Continue reading "Bat, Bat, Where You At?" »

Project Runway Recap #2

posted by on July 20 at 2:45 PM

Whoa boy! Did the crazy come out last night or what!?

Because I don’t want to spoil anything for the Project Runway fans who’ll watch the encore episode on NBC Monday night at 8 pm, I’m going to hide my gushing/ranting behind the cut. So click to continue reading, unless you don’t wanna know what happened.

Continue reading "Project Runway Recap #2" »

Raising the Dead(wood) From Six Feet Under

posted by on July 20 at 2:40 PM


Much like Jen Graves, I was crestfallen when the HBO series Six Feet Under came to a bittersweet end last year. And though I’m not a regular viewer, I know there were plenty of disappointed fans when the Shakespearean-tinged wild West drama Deadwood was supposedly slated for cancellation.

Well, I have good news on a couple of fronts. First off, Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball is working on a new project entitled True Blood, a dramatic series about…vampires! Normally, such subject matter would have me cringing, not salivating, but because it is in the hands of someone as talented as Ball (who’s already demonstrated a knack for all things morbid), I find it cause for celebration.

Secondly, it appears that a fan campaign may have provided the whores and vagrants of Deadwood with a stay of execution, at least for now.

Furthermore, HBO has greenlit John From Cincinnati, a new series from Deadwood creator David Milch that focuses on a surfing community in Hawaii.

Revenge Is Hers

posted by on July 20 at 2:23 PM

While reading Jen Grave’s High Art: A Review of Seattle’s Skyline (and What It’s Becoming), you must not forgot where she moved from. Though the article is packed with insights and displays a mind that can bend and lift ideas with the strength a muscle man, it is still an act of revenge. Ouuufffff. Seattle’s skyline feels her blow and moans. Graves is in the house.
rkajjm-1.jpg Even the Columbia Center gets hit by Graves. Though I understand why she and other people might not like this building, for reasons that are personal, I’m partial to structures that are big and black.

Feline Reflection Showdown: Britney vs. Rilke

posted by on July 20 at 2:14 PM

It’s a fact: At some point in his or her career, every poet will be inspired to write about a cat.

Today brings a sexy new poet into the feline arena, thanks to the amazing cat reflections posted this week on the website of Britney Spears, and shared with the world by Perez Hilton. But how do Spears’ sentiments compare with the hallmarks of the cat-poetry genre?

Below are a pair of verses celebrating various members of the Felidae family. One was written by Rainer Maria Rilke, one by Britney Jean Spears. Can you guess which is which? Reply with your best guesses, and good luck!

Option A: The Panther

His vision, from the constantly passing bars, has grown so weary that it cannot hold anything else. It seems to him there are a thousand bars, and behind the bars, no world. As he paces in cramped circles, over and over, the movement of his powerful soft strides is like a ritual dance around a center in which a mighty will stands paralyzed. Only at times, the curtain of the pupils lifts, quietly. An image enters in, rushes down through the tense, arrested muscles, plunges into the heart and is gone.

Option B: The Tiger

In some ways, people are a lot like animals. We all hunger for the same things. Love, lust, danger, warmth, and adventure. Like people, animals all have their own rhythm to life. I’m mesmerized by tigers. Their eyes, their stripes, their constant quest for survival. They almost have a sense of mysteriousness about them. They pull you in and make it difficult to look away. They make you wonder what is behind their gaze. A sense of eerie awe comes over you in their presence. The fear they give you when you pass them is stunning. Behold the beauty of the tiger.

Re: Hezbollah Is a Beautiful Word

posted by on July 20 at 1:32 PM

Actually, Christopher, Hezbollah is the Arabic phrase for “Party of God.” (In this sense, a more accurate English transliteration would be Hezb-Allah.)

Still want to give little girls that name?

Hezbollah Is a Beautiful Word

posted by on July 20 at 1:10 PM

Don’t you think Hezbollah—stripped of its associations (machine guns, martyrs, jihad)—would make a beautiful name for a little girl? I know several people who’ve had baby girls in the past few months, none of them named Hezbollah. Nor does it appear on this list of the most popular children’s names for 2005. It’s not a name anyone considers. But consider it. “Time out, Hezbollah—go sit over there.” “Hezbollah is the best-behaved girl in the class.” “Hey Hezbollah, what’s that all over your shirt?” It rolls off the tongue. The sound of it makes me think of an undulating field of flowers.

This woman didn’t name her son Hezbollah, but she did name him after one of the long-range missiles Hezbollah is using against Israel.

For the record, a quick internet search for definition of Hezbollah reveals that it doesn’t mean undulating field of flowers. It means: a Shiite terrorist organization with strong ties to Iran; seeks to create an Iranian fundamentalist Islamic state in Lebanon; car bombs are the signature weapon. I got that definition from this website. Click on that link and notice the ads by Google above and below the definition. One of them is—can this be a joke?—”Meet Jewish Girls” followed by “View Profiles, Email, Chat & IM Join Now & Get 3 Months Free!”

And if you haven’t seen Police Beat yet

posted by on July 20 at 12:56 PM

GET ON IT. It’s a great date movie. It’s a terrific movie to see with a friend. It even satisfies the sketchy we-kinda-dated-but-now-we’re-kinda-friends gray area of movie watching.

And thanks to its already immense popularity, the Varsity is extending its run until July 27, so you have another week to catch it.

See it because Police Beat is set in Seattle, so you can point and coo during the whole goddamn thing (and its blessedly free from trite shots of the space needle and the Fremont Troll).
And because the story is beautiful and engaging, and because you will swear that half the extras are your neighbors, and you will secretly think that they have gained weight, but maybe that’s what they get for letting their dog always shit on your front lawn.

If that isn’t reason enough for you, from the press release:

POLICE BEAT, “the undiscovered masterpiece of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival”, is both a strikingly poetic examination of displacement and a gently surreal compendium of criminal behavior. Z, a young Senegalese and Muslim man, experiences his adopted city of Seattle through his job as a bicycle cop, leading him to encounters with all manner of strange and troubled people. Z himself, however, is less concerned with his job than with the possibility that his American girlfriend may be cheating on him while on a camping trip with a male friend.

Varsity Theatre, 4329 University Way NE, Seattle, 206.781.5755.

Showtimes for POLICE BEAT at the Varsity Theatre for the week of July
21- 27
Fri-Sun 1:10, 3:10, 5:10, 7:10, 9:10
Monday 9:10 only
Tue-Thur 7:10, 9:10

Also: I advise you to bring a tubful of fresh raspberries and sneak them into the theater. Share them with your partner/friend/awkward other. Raspberries were made for poetic crime movies like sex was made for rocking chairs.

Also Tonight…

posted by on July 20 at 12:46 PM

In addition to tonight’s Busby Berkely goings on, there’s also Slideluck Potshow—started in Seattle, perfected in New York, and now recently returned to Seattle.

Professional and emerging photographers from this city and around the country will be showing their best new work and sharing their best hot casserole: Pravda Studios, corner of 10th and Union, potluck starts at 7, slideshow at 9.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

posted by on July 20 at 12:44 PM

This is despicable:

A beer-brewing kit and over 50 iPod music players are among hundreds of thousands of dollars’ in wasteful purchases by Homeland Security Department employees following hurricanes Katrina and Rita, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Poor oversight allowed department employees to make a wide range of questionable purchases during the response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita last fall, congressional investigators at the Government Accountability Office found.

The trouble started when Congress increased the cap on Homeland Security credit cards from $2,500 to $250,000 after Katrina, while putting no guidelines in place for how such cards should be used. Among the questionable purchases by DHS, the Coast Guard, and the Secret Service:

ā€¢ An $8,000 plasma TV;
ā€¢ $68,000 worth of unused dog booties designed to protect search dogs’ feet;
ā€¢ 110 laptop computers;
ā€¢ 54 IPods;
ā€¢ “Team-building exercises” at private golf and tennis resorts;
And, perhaps most shocking:
ā€¢ $1,000 worth of beer-brewing supplies, which the Coast Guard said “enabled the agency to save money that would be otherwise spent on commercial brands at official functions.” Because obviously, it’s our duty as Americans to pick up these people’s bar tabs.

David Norquist, Homeland Security’s new chief financial officer, said the agency has approved tighter spending guidelines but hasn’t implemented them.

Your Tax Cuts Did What?

posted by on July 20 at 12:32 PM

This is from Fox News:

WASHINGTON — The 2006 federal deficit will be lower than expected, thanks to added tax revenue, President Bush said Tuesday. Additional revenue generated from groups that pay their taxes quarterly — primarily corporations, small businesses and the wealthy — dropped the projected federal deficit for the 2006 budget year to $296 billion, a $127 billion decrease from a February estimate, Bush said.
The president said his pro-growth policies, including tax cuts passed in 2001 and 2003 and a limit on additional discretionary spending, had enabled the economy to improve tax revenues to the point that his 2004 pledge to cut the deficit in half — to $260 billion by 2009 — will be reached one year early.
Have I gone insane? I don’t understand this at all: The deficit dropped because of an unexpected tax revenue surplus that was generated by deep tax cuts. I’ll be darned.

Hurray for Annoying, Elitist White Liberals. Seriously.

posted by on July 20 at 12:18 PM

In my article on the Sonics sale, I said Seattle was the 2nd whitest city in the U.S. About 70% of the population is white.

A reader e-mailed this morning wanting to know what the whitest city was.

It’s Portland, Oregon, where about 77% of the population is white. (This is for cities w/ populations over half-a-million.)

Oklahoma City: 68% white.

*This info is culled from a service called areaConnect, which got its numbers from 2000 U.S. Census Bureau data.

I know the implication of my “analysis”—that the NBA is dominated by black athletes—is a little upside down. While I am right that the league is dominated by black players, the league is actually marketed to an upscale, white crowd. So really, white Seattle should be a perfect market for the NBA.

Ha. I think it’s kind of cool that our city and our politicians said no to massive subsidies and rejected the NBA’s business model. Let Red state turf like Oklahoma City screw over its tax payers.

Ironically, it’s working class whites who might be most pissed about losing the Sonics—even though, the league isn’t marketed to them. More important, they’re the ones who get screwed most by tax hikes.

This is all pretty heady/complicated race & class stuff I’m getting into here, but I say: Score one for our elitist liberal white city for saying no to a convoluted form of racism and corporate subsidies. Sometimes annoying white liberals, as much as I can’t stand KUOW, get it right.

Anyway: Steve Nash? MVP? Please.

The VerAssassins are coming!

posted by on July 20 at 12:15 PM

Starting at next weekend’s Capitol Hill Block Party, Seattle is going to be taken over by the VerAssassins, a gang of ruthless hunters out to destroy their enemies before they themselves are destroyed.

VerAssassins is a game where players won’t see their opponents. Its playing field spans an entire city. There are no boundaries, and everyone at anytime could be a potential assassin. Every player is at the same time an assassin and a target, when one player assassinates the other they acquire their victims target, until there is only one assassin left standing.

To become a VerAssassin, all you have to do is donate a minimum of five bucks to the Viva Vera campaign. You can register and read the official rules (like no real looking weapons, and no “hunting” anyone down in their house or place of employment) at Once you complete the registration process, you’ll get set up with a target. Then it’ll be open season starting the weekend of the Block Party (July 28th and 29th). The last person standing is the winner and ultimate VerAssassin.

While the game is geared towards those who have volunteered at Vera and/or are familiar with Vera’s members and friends, everyone is invited to play. Visit for all the details.

In other Vera news, the recent week-long A Drink for the Kids fundraiser brought in $22,500! The Allen Foundation has matched the amount to make it a total of $45,000 to put to the new Seattle Center venue!

You Were A Photograph

posted by on July 20 at 11:53 AM

Amy, I grant you “Cities in Dust,” it’s a great song and video (few images can match the greatness of hot lava flowing down to Siouxsie’s ass). But, Amy, the 80s (goth and all) are still mine.

Cop In New Zealand Moonlights As Sex Worker

posted by on July 20 at 11:42 AM

Interesting that even in a country where prostitution is legal, it’s said that…”the type of work is inappropriate and incompatible with policing…” If it’s not against the law, what’s so inappropriate and incompatible?

But wow, only 312 dollars a night? I hope that’s more money there than it is here…

They’re Hurtin’ For ‘Celebrities’ Down at the 8-2-6

posted by on July 20 at 11:40 AM

This Saturday, 826 Seattle will be having a fundraiser. Here are the details:

826 Seattle Variety Show!

Come see the musicians, jugglers, and young comedians at the Phinney Neighborhood Center for the first-ever 826 Seattle Variety Show! Coconut Coolouts, The Bad Things, Lillydale, and The Trashies will be performing. Further distractions include an old-fashioned cakewalk, a cupcake-decorating station (featuring irresistible Cupcake Royale treats), and the Sonic Boom Celebrity Dunk Tank. Bring your friends. Bring the family.

Where: Phinney Neighborhood Center, 6532 Phinney Ave N (65th and Phinney)
When: Saturday, July 22, noon-5 p.m.
Cost: $6

Besides the fact that 826 is a ridiculously good cause, the Trashies are an amazingly fun band, and you’ve waited your entire life to finally see an “old-fashioned cakewalk” (not to mention that, like me, you have no idea what an “old-fashioned cakewalk” is), I have a more self-involved reason for posting this. I will be in the dunk tank from 12:30 until 12:50 p.m. I am incredibly excited about this—I think it was the job I was born to do. if I get dunked more than the other dunkees, perhaps a secret carny recruiter will see me for the closeted sideshow barker that I am and I will get to run away with a carnival, marry a woman named Placenta, and become the proud father of 5 sets of Siamese Twins. Please. Help me achieve my dream.

B & O Espresso staying put — for now

posted by on July 20 at 11:37 AM

A 6-story, 75-unit condominium with ground-floor retail will be built on the land now occupied by the B & O Espresso, at Olive Way and Belmont Avenue, but for now it appears likely that the owners will sign a 2-year lease for their space, after which they will leave for a new Capitol Hill location.

Majed Lukatah, who with his wife owns B & O, told us last May that he was looking to buy a new building and relocate in advance of construction. The developer, John Stoner, has expressed his interest in selling the roughly 4,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space to B & O, but the construction would have forced the coffee shop and bakery to take a costly sabbatical. “I don’t see how (I could have stayed) if they’re taking the building down,” says Lukatah. “I don’t want to be on the street for a year.”

But Lukatah says that during these intervening months he hasn’t been able to find a site as good as the one he has now. By signing a the two-year lease, he has more time to devote to that search. Construction, then, appears likely to begin on the mixed-use project about this time in 2008.

re: Gimme the Ring!

posted by on July 20 at 11:36 AM

Charles, I’ll match your nonsensical lyrics and great goth melodrama and raise you one great glass elevator revolving in deep space.

Documenting “Wank Week” in the U.K.

posted by on July 20 at 11:21 AM

Those crazy Brits can’t wait to go home to masturbate, they have to do it on the telly now.

Arts in America

posted by on July 20 at 10:58 AM

Tonight The Stranger suggests:

‘Kaleidoscope Eyes’ (MUSICAL CINEMA EXTRAVAGANZA) It’s a most promising pairing: Busby Berkeley, the cinema-choreography genius of the 1930s, and Chris Jeffries, Seattle’s beloved theatrical composer and first-ever Stranger Genius Award winner for theater. For Kaleidoscope Eyes: Songs for Busby Berkeley, Jeffries has written a series of new songs that he’ll perform live to 16 of Berkeley’s greatest film sequences, packed with dazzling dames, breathtaking visual spectacle, and, if we’re lucky, at least one roller-skating baby. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, Thurs—Sun, 8 pm, $15/$12. Through July 30. ) DAVID SCHMADER

And here, in the New York Review of Books, Susan Sontag once suggested that to be drawn to Busby Berkeley’s fantasias was to be attracted to fascism. Excellent.

In other arts news:

Francine Prose proves herself to be one big pile of pretension: “In one instance, I was at a graduate MFA colloquium and a student asked me, “How do you spell Turgenev?ā€¯ And I thought, Uh oh. We’re in trouble here.” God forbid a graduate student request assistance in spelling a transliterated 19th-century Cyrillic name. (Via Bookslut.)

The Economist reviews Seattle director James Longley’s brilliant documentary Iraq in Fragments, also giving props to the lesser but still interesting My Country, My Country. (Via Greencine.)

Geoff Haggerty retranslates the Book of (Sega) Genesis (via Maud Newton):

Then God said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters. No, not a firmament. Let there be a dolphin in the midst of the waters. A dolphin who can change his shape and use sonar as a weapon. And God made the dolphin and called it Ecco. And Ecco the Dolphin was so cool that God shook the freaking sky every time he played it. Thus there was the sky. Evening came, morning followed. The second day.

And, finally, Portland filmmaker Matt McCormick liveblogs jury duty. And you thought the 43rd debate was boring… (Scroll down for actual movie blogging stuff.)

Dick Kelley has knocked 10,000 doors

posted by on July 20 at 10:50 AM

Some people attending the 43rd debate last Tuesday night were a little disappointed that the candidates weren’t asked the questions we posed to them in last week’s issue, so Josh posted the questions again on the Slog. Miracle of miracles, two of the candidates responded via the comments thread to that post.

Josh posted Bill Sherman’s response yesterday, but we didn’t notice Dick Kelley’s response until this morning. Sorry for the lag, Dick, we didn’t mean any favoritism by it.

Here’s what he’s got to say:

Josh’s question in response to my statements last night, “Besides your push for publicly funded campaigns, what other issues do you want to push in the legislature?ā€¯ is one I am happy to answer. I have knocked on over 10,000 doors since February and talked about the same issues to everyone: investing more in our children from childcare to preschool to K-12 to college; marriage equality; doing whatever it takes to clean up Puget Sound; funding low-income housing and human services; and putting our transportation dollars into transit, buses, HOV lanes and bicycle lanes and not building any more general-purpose lanes into Seattle. My campaign literature is very specific on these issues.

These things cost money, and I have consistently advocated three areas of tax reform: first, a serious review of all the $6.8 Billion per year in private tax preferences in the State tax code, aimed at reducing the amount that is drained out of the treasury before it gets to the budget; second, shifting the B&O tax to a net-profits tax; and ultimately a progressive income tax to reduce or eliminate the regressive taxes we have now. It was great to hear all the candidates talking about cutting the private tax credits and exemptions last night, after my working to interest people in the idea for months.

But these reforms, and these changes in spending priorities, will never happen as long as special interests and big campaign contributors have as much power in the Legislature as they do now. That is why I intend to introduce an Arizona-style public campaign financing bill, and that is why I am not accepting any contribution of more than $100 per person per election, and the same for organizations. So far over 650 people have contributed, and many say the reason they gave is my limit on contributions. In the shadow of Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff, there is real desire in the 43rd for reducing the power of money in our democracy.

The Stranger deserves credit for devoting so much effort to covering the race.

-Dick Kelley

On TV Tonight!

posted by on July 20 at 10:02 AM

Frequent readers of I Love Television already know I’m ga-ga for the FX sitcom, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Thursdays, 10 pm)—about four of the most amoral pals you’ll ever see on TV. Check out this funny clip from last season when one of the guys figures out a new way to get laid: Lying to girls at anti-abortion rallies!
P.S. “Is that Taylor Townsend from The O.C.?” Oh hell yeah, it is!

The Morning News: Gay Edition

posted by on July 20 at 9:22 AM

According to Washington State Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens, the court’s long-awaited ruling on gay marriage is imminent, with a decision predicted to land before the Sept. 19 primary.

Meanwhile in Australia, a 37-year-old gay man has confessed to abducting and raping a woman: “I wanted to see if I could do it,” said the suspect to police.

The Morning News

posted by on July 20 at 6:21 AM

War in Israel: “Not even a war,” WH press secretary says.

Financial markets: soaring on interest-rate news.

AIDS vaccine: $287 million closer to reality.

“Under God”: protected by US House.

NAACP: No longer snubbed by Bush.

Black suspects: tortured by Chicago cops.

Embryonic stem-cell research: thwarted by Bush veto.

Tsunami death toll: still rising.

US rider: bounced from Tour lead.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

A Somewhat Frightening Prospect

posted by on July 19 at 8:58 PM

Tori Spelling is supposedly with child.

Will the Real Valerie O’Neil Please Stand Up?

posted by on July 19 at 5:15 PM

In a story about angry Sonics fans contemplating a Starbucks boycott (Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz owns/owned both the Sonics and Starbucks), The Seattle Times writes:

But a spokeswoman said the company had seen no signs as of Tuesday afternoon that basketball fans were taking their frustration out on the coffee chain.

“We would hope that fans would understand there’s a separation between Starbucks and the Basketball Club of Seattle. Even though the chairman is the same, the businesses are completely unrelated,” said Starbucks spokeswoman Valerie O’Neil.

If the businesses are completely unrelated, why is Valerie O’Neil also a spokesperson for the Sonics?

To wit: Check out this snippet from a PI story on the Sonics from last spring:

OLYMPIA — The Seattle Sonics are preparing to pull up stakes or put up the “for sale” sign as the Emerald City ponders the pros and cons of paying $220 million to remodel KeyArena to keep the team.

But while Seattle officials deliberate, other leaders want to discuss ways to keep the basketball team in Washington even if Seattle and the Sonics part ways.

Call it plan B, as in Bellevue.

The problem is Bellevue lacks a key element for a pro basketball franchise — an arena.

The city would need to start work on the project almost immediately to build an arena in time to meet the Sonics’ needs, said team spokeswoman Valerie O’Neil.

“It’s in the realm of possibilities,” she said. “But it needs to be on the fast track.”

No Charges Necessary, Says Bill Sherman

posted by on July 19 at 4:47 PM

In my post about last night’s 43rd District candidate debate, I republished the set of questions that me and Eli and Sarah Mirk had suggested (in last week’s issue) for the debate.

The question for candidate Bill Sherman was: “As a King County prosecutor, would you press charges against the Critical Mass bicyclist involved in the altercation with undercover King County cops?ā€¯

Well, Sherman answered the question in the comments thread. Here’s what he said:

Josh — you and the Slog readers deserve a straightforward answer to your question, and I’m happy to oblige.

The question is: “As a King County prosecutor, would you press charges against the Critical Mass bicyclist involved in the altercation with undercover King County cops?ā€¯

My answer: I would not file charges in this case. Assaults on officers are very serious — they have an exceedingly difficult job, stressful and dangerous, and they deserve our respect and thanks. They also deserve the full protection of the law. I have often filed assault charges dealing with attacks on officers, and I expect to file more such charges in the future.

With all the ordinary caveats — I haven’t read the police reports, and only know what I’ve read in America’s Hometown Paper, etc. — as a prosecutor, you basically face three questions: Did a crime occur? Can it be proven to a jury? And what outcome would be in the interest of justice and the community? In this case, there is serious doubt that a crime occurred — the weight of evidence suggests not, and suggests that even if a cyclist did assault an officer, there is doubt that he knew that it was an officer — an essential element of the crime. Second, given the statements that have been discussed in the press, even if a crime occurred, it cannot be proven. Taken together, the just result is not hard to find: I would not file charges.

Posted by Bill Sherman - July 19, 2006 04:41 PM

Meanwhile, I talked to the K.C. prosecutor’s office today. (They were supposed to decide if they were going to press charges by around July 17.) They said they haven’t made a decision yet, but to check back on Monday, the 24th.

Correction to Page 27

posted by on July 19 at 4:37 PM

Due to a production error, the numbers on the map corresponding to the proposed developments described in my article about Seattle’s future skyline (in tomorrow’s paper) slid up the page roughly one inch. We have corrected the error in the web version of the story.

(The error had nothing to do with Weber + Thompson and Realogics, who were kind enough to let us borrow their illustration.)

Well, That Sucks.

posted by on July 19 at 4:30 PM

A half hour ago, the House failed (235-193) to overturn President Bush’s veto on stem cell research. They needed 290 votes to override the President’s veto.

Let’s give the microphone to my favorite U.S. Rep, Jay Inslee, an original co-sponsor:

For five years now, researchers have been handcuffed. Rather than unshackling them, the president and a minority of House members threw away the key by rejecting a common-sense measure on stem-cell research that would have offered hope to people living with Parkinson’s, diabetes, ALS and other serious conditions. As is the case with organs, we should allow Americans to make their own decision on the donation of stem cells that otherwise would be destroyed.

I’d like to see a vote in the Senate—which is, obviously unnecessary (and maybe even procedurally prohibited now), but it sure would be interesting to see what Rs are willing to buck President Bush.

7 of Washington state’s 9 reps, 6 Ds and 1 R, voted to override the veto (including Republican Dave Reichert). Two Republicans did not: Doc Hastings from Central Washington and Cathy McMorris from Eastern Washington. Here’s the roll call.

Eddie Murphy to Marry Scary Spice?

posted by on July 19 at 4:04 PM

You heard right! According to Starpulse, former funny man Eddie Murphy is engaged to wed former Spice gal, Scary Spice (Mel B) in an intimate ceremony at LA’s Roosevelt Hotel. And not only have they known each other for just ONE MONTH, Eddie divorced his wife of 12 years in MAY.
WOW! For the love of god, somebody get these two an MTV reality show… STAT!


Washington State Gay Marriage Decision Coming Before the September Primary

posted by on July 19 at 4:00 PM

Via the Associated Press:

SEATTLE — Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens said today that the court’s long-awaited ruling on the constitutionality of the state’s gay marriage ban will be issued before this September’s primary, contrary to rampant speculation that the justices would hold off because of the topic’s sensitivity.

Stay Perky, Party People. Or At Least Conscious.

posted by on July 19 at 3:32 PM

Locked into a leather bar: Barfly left high & dry hours after last call.
The best line: “A parking attendant heard Louis Rosano, 39, of the Bronx, yelling for help but didn’t immediately react. “I went to lunch and came back,” said Rigo Rodrigo, 29, the attendant. “He was still up there.”
Apparently a man with a taste for confinement scenes.

America the Beautiful

posted by on July 19 at 3:21 PM


Last night a bear walked through our campsite. Today that same bear was shot for threatening people. Ah, camping. None of the comforts of home, none of the luxuries of a hotel—and the occasional killer carnivore drops by for dinner. We were told today that there are nine maulings in this national park every year. There hasn’t been one this year yet—so maybe tonight will be our lucky night!

But the Grand Tetons—that’s where we’re staying, and it’s French for “Big Tits” (really!)—are beautiful. Still, I can’t wait to get back to a place where the bears drink Miller Lite and maul only each other (and occasionally our art director), and not innocent campers.

South Park’s “Trapped in the Closet” Returns!

posted by on July 19 at 3:15 PM

Well, well, well. After being nominated for an Emmy this year, guess which infamous and CENSORED South Park episode is back on the air TONIGHT? Yep, it’s the classic and heee-larious “Trapped in the Closet” episode in which Stan is declared the grand thetan of all Scientology, and through a series of events, Tom Cruise, John Travolta—and of course—R. Kelley end up trapped in Stan’s closet. It’s a truly delicious satire—especially if you roll your eyes at Scientologists as much as I do. So if you missed it before, be sure to tune in tonight at 10 pm on Comedy Central!


Happy Hour Roundup!

posted by on July 19 at 2:56 PM


[It’s 2:56, and I’m moving this to the top of the page in hopes of getting a fresh wave of replies.]

Hello citizens of the Slog.

I have a question for you, and it has to do with cheap booze and food.

Specifically: What are your favorites of Seattle’s many fabulous happy hours?

If you’ve got a happy hour to hype (perhaps adding a few words about what makes it special), please reply below. Thanks!

Last Night’s Candidate Debate: 43rd District State House Seat

posted by on July 19 at 2:12 PM

My two cents on last night’s debate…although, mostly: Why I liked Jim Street…

although although, how he could have been way better. (Hint: Criticize the current legislature.)

Quickly: I thought Bill Sherman and Lynne Dodson and Jim Street emerged as the heavy weights. Those three owned the evening with the most presence/charisma (Sherman), energy (Dodson), and substance (Street). I think Jamie Pedersen disappeared. Dick Kelley seemed downright kooky. And Stephanie Pure, who I was rooting for, ping-ponged between displays of charismatic smarts & displays of being in-over-her-head on specific issues.

Okay: Personally, I liked Street the best. He distinguished himself by being the only candidate to really answer the “What would you cut out of the budget?” question. Rather than the standard D answer (“I’d find cuts in the $6.8 billion tax preferences handed out to special corporate interests”), Street called that approach “vague and fuzzy” and then proceeded to lay out stats on incarceration and vent about his frustration as a judge overseeing buy bust arrest cases. He said he would take the knife to the corrections budget. In fact, he started in on a passionate criticism of “The War on Drugs” before his time ran out, giving a hint that he’ll be a reformer on this issue. I dug him.

He also (twice) made biting comments about ridding ourselves of our addiction to auto-dependency. “We can’t rely on the automobile,” he warned after answering the “What House committee do you want to be on?” by saying definitively, the Transportation Committee.

I wish, however, that he had expanded that criticism to blast the current crop of Seattle Democrats in the house for standing by the line that the $2 billion for the Viaduct must accommodate auto capacity. If Street is as dedicated to reforming our auto culture as he appeared, he (and anyone else up there, really) should have slammed our local delegation for not standing up to WashDOT on that point. I know Ed Murray and Frank Chopp were in the audience and all, but if you’re afraid to challenge your colleagues…

Final note: I do wish the moderator (Heidi Wills) had forced the candidates to answer the 6 tailor-made questions that Eli, star news intern Sarah Mirk and I had suggested in our our debate preview last week.

Our candidate customized questions were:

For Lynne Dodson: “Do you part company with labor on any issue that’s in front of the legislature?”

For Dick Kelley: “Besides your push for publicly funded campaigns, what other issues do you want to push in the legislature?”

For Jamie Pedersen: “Is it true that you were against filing the marriage-equality lawsuit before you decided to join it?”

For Stephanie Pure: “With only 300 contributors—the lowest of all the candidates—do you have enough support to win this?”

For Bill Sherman: “As a King County prosecutor, would you press charges against the Critical Mass bicyclist involved in the altercation with undercover King County cops?”

For Jim Street: “As a city council member (in the 90s), why did you vote for the Teen Dance Ordinance? And how did you vote on Mark Sidran’s civility ordinances?”

Last Night’s 43rd District Debate, Cont.

posted by on July 19 at 2:00 PM

Ok, I promised earlier today that I would post something more about the big “debateā€¯ last night at Town Hall. Here goes…

First off, there seems to be some confusion (in the comments) about whether the event was actually billed as a debate. As you can see in this press release from the 43rd District Democrats, who put on the event, the audience was promised a “debate-format program.ā€¯ To me that means debate—conflict, for the purpose of clarifying positions—and last night the audience did not get what it was promised.

Which is really too bad, because the major problem for voters in this race is going to be parsing the differences among six Seattle liberals who all seem to agree more often than they disagree. The 43rd District Democrats did a disservice to the voters in their district by letting their lefty aversion to conflict get in the way of a potentially illuminating clash of ideas and philosophies.

Does King County Deputy Prosecutor Bill Sherman agree with former judge Jim Street’s vaguely anti-drug-war rhetoric? How does Dick Kelley’s ranting about “special interestsā€¯ sit with business lawyer Jamie Pederson, whose firm does a lot of lobbying on behalf of “special interestsā€¯? Do Stephanie Pure, 32, and Lynne Dodson, 45, really agree on the same feminist agenda?

We didn’t find out last night. (And we, the members of the media, also didn’t have wireless access—another boneheaded move by the cheapskate 43rd District Dems, who decided not to pay Town Hall a wireless rental fee and thereby kept their event from being live-blogged.)

The absence of conflict in this race is letting the candidates off too easy, and it’s also serving to amplify the power of money in this political contest. If all the candidates are essentially the same, then the candidate who can buy the most name recognition wins.

The candidates love this state of affairs, I’m sure. It lets them focus on fundraising and on the kind of mild differentiation by which Bill Sherman becomes the earnest environmentalist, Jim Street becomes the experienced wise man, Dick Kelley becomes the campaign finance reform martyr, Stephanie Pure becomes the voice of youthful optimism, Jamie Pedersen becomes the business-savvy do-gooder, Lynne Dodson becomes the rabble-rousing labor darling—and in the eyes of many voters, it all becomes a wash.

If this race doesn’t see some conflict soon (and maybe it finally will at the conflict-friendly Stranger endorsement interviews on July 26) then the winner is going to be chosen largely on superficial, not substantive, matters. You can see this happening already in the comments, where people are talking about Sherman’s “poise,ā€¯ Pure’s “positive enthusiasm,ā€¯ Street’s “weirdoā€¯ vibe, Pedersen’s “brown-nosingā€¯ vibe, Dodson’s “intensity,ā€¯ and Kelley’s ability to induce a “yawn.ā€¯

In today’s P-I, Chris McGann was able to scrape together enough substance to make a short article. But he, too, mocks how similar the candidates were in their support for “raising taxes and sending fewer people to jail — political suicide in most areas but the gold standard for Seattle voters.ā€¯

And when everyone meets the gold standard, the gold standard becomes a meaningless measure.

What’s left, then, is for those paying attention to this race to get very People Magazine on the candidates. That’s what I found myself doing last night—taking notes on style when substance failed to materialize. For what it’s worth, here are my People Magazine thoughts:

I thought Pedersen did himself no favors with his khaki pants and his quickness to argue over whether he had been given two minutes or three (in fact, he had been given his full three minutes). He should follow Sherman’s lead and embrace lawyer-casual: Blazer, slacks, no tie, and also, no arguing over process—just substance, please.

Sherman, for his part, is walking a fine line between sharp-looking, natural-born politician and smarmy, overly-self-assured climber. His confidence is clearly up since he got those big endorsements from the Sierra Club and the Washington Conservation Voters, but it’s cutting both ways. Last night, for the first time, I heard the words “sexy” and “smarmyā€¯ used, in about equal proportion, to describe him. Another example of the same phenomenon: People are starting to describe Sherman as Clinton-esque. If he made fewer cloying references to his two young sons and their drawings of birds, that might go a long way to lessening his appearance as a man on the make.

Stephanie needs to cut the word “wowā€¯ out of her vocabulary. She also needs to stop over-stating her experience, which reads as overcompensation, and instead start embracing the potential freshness of her vision. She does not, however, need to change her outfit, which was the best at the event (with Sherman’s a close second).

Jim Street needs to stay seated. When he got up, at the very end, and walked around the table to the front of the stage, I was shocked at how short he was. The beard is great however, given his attempt to be the 43rd’s Solomon.

Lynne Dodson needs to stay standing. When she’s upright, commanding an audience, and talking about the issues that make her passionate, she really looks… alive, in control, and like good legislative material. In these moments, her rabid ambition (which shows through so clearly you can imagine her gnawing one of competitors’ legs off to get ahead) is an asset.

And as for Dick Kelley: Please, never utter the phrase “Help me, Jesusā€¯ again.

Leave it to the WSJ to Find the “Bright Side” of Global Warming.

posted by on July 19 at 1:19 PM

In the words of one Greenland sheep farmer, “We, as people, need warmer weather as well.”

Tell that to the residents of California, the Netherlands, and Lower Manhattan, who will find themselves underwater if the Greenland ice sheets melt.

Full story here.

Re: “These Boys and Girls Are Not Spare Parts.”

posted by on July 19 at 1:10 PM

Not only is President Bush willfully deaf to scientific fact, he’s also a coward. How else can you explain his signing his first-ever veto away from the press? Could it be because he knows that 66% of Americans are for stem-cell research?

“These Boys and Girls Are Not Spare Parts.”

posted by on July 19 at 1:09 PM

Actually, they’re not “boys and girls,” either.

In his statement prior to vetoing legislation passed by Congress that would expand embryonic stem-cell research today (media were barred from the actual signing ceremony), President Bush revealed his utter contempt for science and his willful ignorance of what actually becomes of most of these so-called little boys and girls.

Surrounded by cheering Republican supporters, Bush called individual embryos “unique human life with inherent dignity and matchless value. These boys and girls are not spare parts.”

An embryo is not a child. It is a cluster of cells smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. Only about 10 percent of embryos left over from in-vitro fertilization are implanted and ultimately adopted; the rest are treated as medical waste and discarded.

Because embryonic stem cells have the potential to turn into almost any type of cell in the human body, overwhelming scientific consensus regards stem cell research as a potential step toward finding cures for diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

Then again, since when has Bush ever paid attention to overwhelming scientific consensus?

Re: If You Leave, Don’t Look Back

posted by on July 19 at 12:59 PM

Amy, gimme the ring!Sisters-Of-Mercy-Body-And-Soul-109805.jpg

Burn on Humanity

posted by on July 19 at 12:51 PM

Robots make better decisions.

From the NYT:

Studies have shown that models can better predict, for example, the success or failure of a business start-up, the likelihood of recidivism and parole violation, and future performance in graduate school.

They also trump humans at making various medical diagnoses, picking the winning dogs at the racetrack and competing in online auctions. Computer-based decision-making has also grown increasingly popular in credit scoring, the insurance industry and some corners of Wall Street.

The main reason for computers’ edge is their consistency — or rather humans’ inconsistency — in applying their knowledge.

“People have a misplaced faith in the power of judgment and expertise,ā€¯ said Greg Forsythe, a senior vice president at Schwab Equity Ratings, which uses computer models to evaluate stocks.

Stem Cell Soft Sell

posted by on July 19 at 12:42 PM

Local conservative blog Sound Politics linked my Slog post about Mike McGavick’s support for the stem cell research bill.

What’s interesting is to read the comments thread on Sound Politics.

It’s stuff like this:

I don’t see what is good about the bill. It approves government funding for the destruction of human embryos (i.e. fellow human beings), therefore people like myself are forced to fund legally sanctioned killing of the very innocent and helpless. The size of the human being doesn’t matter.

It’s no wonder McGavick hasn’t posted his position on this high profile bill (President Bush has pledged to veto it) on his web site.

Even though he did a press release on it (to me anyway), nowhere on his web site—not under “Health Care” or “News”—does he mention his position on this hot issue. I guess he realized The GOP base might stay home if he were to brag too much about supporting science.

Meanwhile, McGavick hasn’t said if he would vote to overturn a presidential veto on the stem cell research bill.

Arts in America

posted by on July 19 at 12:32 PM

Today, The Stranger suggests:

Punk-Rock Film Fest (FUNDRAISER) In the same way I’d rather buy a Real Change newspaper than hand a crumpled bill to some jerko in front of Jack in the Box, a fundraiser should give something BACK to you. Tonight’s benefit—for The Rambler, a new film by supertalented local punks and filmmakers Calvin Lee Reeder and Brady Hall—is sure to put the “fun” back in “fundraiser.” For a mere $5 donation, you get a screening of THREE amazing short films (Piledriver, Little Farm, Kite Flyers) and live music by THREE new bands—mishy-mashups featuring members of the Intelligence, the Pulses, and Holy Ghost Revival—all hosted by Jerkbeast. (Rendezvous, 2322 Second Ave, 441-5823. 10:30 pm, $5.) KELLY O


Theaters are preemptively warning patrons about “mild peril” in the plays they are about to see. Sure, that’s pathetic, but even more preposterous is the juxtaposition of the words “mild” and “peril.” According to the OED, peril is defined as “the position or condition of being imminently exposed to the chance of injury, loss, or destruction; risk, jeopardy, danger.” Imminently exposed! Ain’t nothin’ mild about peril. (Oops, this item isn’t American, is it?)

Film International offers a long essay on Claire Denis, who is the best filmmaker in the world. (But not, ahem, America.)

Neighborhood activists are mad about the film adaptation of Monica Ali’s Brick Lane, set in that East London neighborhood. I would like to inform Mr. Mahmoud Roug, chairman of the Brick Lane Business Association, that upon reading Brick Lane, I visited said neighborhood and dropped quite a few pounds at local businesses. Fiction is fiction, but put your neighborhood up on movie posters all around the world, and I would bet you’d see an uptick in business. (Uh, sorry, this isn’t about America either.)

OK, here’s some bona fide Americana: the UC Santa Barbara Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project has been converting wax cylinders to MP3s for quite some time now, and there’s a treasure trove of free songs for you to listen to. I recommend “The Alcoholic Blues,” by Vernon Dalhart, 1919: “So long highball, so long gin / Oh tell me when you’re coming back again…”

Joel Siegel Flees in Horror from Clerks 2

posted by on July 19 at 11:34 AM

Apparently, an early scene in Kevin Smith’s forthcoming Clerks 2—in which two characters graphically discuss fellating a donkey—was enough to send Good Morning America punster Joel Siegel running for the exit.

For the full story—including Kevin Smith’s hilariously bitter response—see Page Six.

Just a Theory

posted by on July 19 at 11:23 AM

Vincent familytree.jpg

If You Leave, Don’t Look Back

posted by on July 19 at 11:08 AM

Charles, you missed a mass awes session of ’80s classics at Noc Noc last night (and a guy dancing emotively dressed as Ben Franklin, I kid you not). Can you decode the symbolism of the bird and the moon in that video? Did you see Andy McClusky’s rubber bracelets?

It’s Gay Marriage, Stupid.

posted by on July 19 at 10:50 AM

The Democrats accused Republicans of raising the issue even as they ignored what the Democrats said were more pressing problems, including the war in Iraq, an expanding conflict in the Middle East, high gasoline prices and North Korean missile tests.

But Representative Jack Kingston, Republican of Georgia, said the marriage issue was “just as important and a top-tier issue as any of those.ā€¯

The Republican from Georgia is right. And Democrats need to stop saying (pretending) and/or implying that gay marriage isn’t a pressing issue. Yes, flag burning is a non-issue! But gay marriage? Gay marriage is the zeitgeist. Courts in NY, Nebraska, Connecticut all just issued decisions on big cases. And, obviously, there’s a case about it in Washington’s Supreme Court.

When Democrats pooh-pooh GOP efforts to weigh in on the issue—no matter how much Democrats think the GOP position is hateful or lulu or annoying or wrong—it makes the Democrats look oblivious and condescending. And most important: It makes Democrats look scared. It makes Democrats look like the father of teenage girl who doesn’t want to talk about sex because he wants to pretend it’s not an issue for her.

Yes, the Iraq war and the expanding war in the Middle East are pressings issues. Gasoline prices are a pressing issue. N. Korea is a pressing issue. Health care is a big issue. And… so is gay marriage. Democrats should stop saying it isn’t.


posted by on July 19 at 10:34 AM

Last weekend, while walking to the office, I came across this dazzling scene on 24th and East Spruce:
What’s taking place in the image is something holy. At the top of the steps, a priest is about to appear and descend to the street with a case on his head that contains a piece of God. He will then walk about the Central District with the living spirit of his church, the Eritrean Orthodox Church, which thrives in the shell of a dead Scandinavian chuch, St. Johannes Dansk Evangelisk Lutherske Kirke.

What I love about the CD, and I hope will be preserved after the present fever of development has cooled, is this confusion of cultures, races, and history. I do not care at all for strictly black neighborhoods, nor strictly white or Asian ones. Instead I follow professor Sheryll Cashin’s advocation of neighborhoods that have three or more racial groups. It is for this reason, I would much rather to live near South Center Mall than in Fremont, which is racially, culturally flat. Nowhere else but in the confusion of colors and languages does our actual future exist. God is on the priest’s head.

Project Runway Tonight

posted by on July 19 at 9:45 AM

Okay. So. Think they’ll get rid of crazy “Basket Hat” Vincent?

UPDATE: Or will it be last week’s winning desiger Keith, who, as Schamder reported yesterday, steals other designers designs? In his defense, he claims the “borrowed” sketches were part of a “research” project. Uh huh.

Last Night’s 43rd District “Debate”

posted by on July 19 at 9:00 AM

Perhaps you can tell from the headline that I was a bit disappointed by last night’s event at Town Hall, which had been billed as an exciting debate among the six candidates who are vying for the open State House seat in Seattle’s 43rd District. I’ll say more about the evening and its disappointments later in the day, but for now here’s a brief photo blog…

The scene outside was promising (if you squint really hard you can see City Councilman Peter Steinbrueck holding a Stephanie Pure sign in this image).


And inside, moderator Heidi Wills (formerly of the City Council and now changing the world through golf) did her school-marmish best to keep the candidates to their time limits.


But then there were the candidates themselves (and then, in addition, there was the uninspired format). We’ll get to the particulars later, but for now here is Jamie “I grew up in Puyallup” Pedersen, seated to the right of Jim “I was reading in The Economist the other day…” Street.


And here is Dick “The power of special interests!” Kelley, seated to the right of Stephanie “I have the experience” Pure.


Here is Lynne “I’ve walked the picket lines” Dodson—who prefers to stand.


And here is Bill “When I was working for President Clinton…” Sherman, who prefers to stand and walk around to the front of the table.


I promise to post something more analytic later in the day. In the meantime, what did you think of the “debate”?

The Morning News

posted by on July 19 at 6:04 AM

Deadly heat wave continues; US responds by breaking power consumption records.

Sonics owners sell; anti-Sonics initiative still in bid for ballot.

Senate passes bill expanding embryonic stem-cell research; WH press secretary vows Bush veto, says the president “thinks murder is wrong.”

Israel says Lebanese offensive will last “another few weeks”; Snow, meanwhile, goes off on Helen Thomas

House rejects constitutional ban on gay marriage; fundies nonetheless insist the “overwhelming majority of Americans” want the ban.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sonics Sideline

posted by on July 18 at 6:43 PM

On a related note, Sonics dance team tryouts are this Saturday at 10 am. All participants must wear a half top and form-fitting shorts (and be willing to relocate).

Rem Dumped

posted by on July 18 at 6:39 PM

There wasn’t enough local coverage about this, but last month Joshua Prince-Ramus, the Seattle native who managed Rem Koolhaas’s American projects from a New York City office, and is often credited as the real man/mind behind the Seattle Public Library (the building that sealed Koolhaas’s American fame), not only split with his master but also took his master’s 35-member New York staff with him to form a new firm called REX.
Rem is 61; Joshua is 36. Rem opened the doors for Joshua; Joshua ran through those doors and became a young star. The reports say the break was friendly, but we all know that’s perfect bullshit. As human history has shown, breaks like this—breaks between the old and the new—are always emotionally messy.

From Isben’s play Master Builder:

DR. HERDAL. But you—yourself—you rose upon the ruins. You began as a poor boy from a country village—and now you are at the head of your profession. Ah, yes, Mr. Solness, you have undoubtedly had the luck on your side.

SOLNESS. [Looking at him with embarrassment.] Yes, but that is just what makes me so horribly afraid.

DR. HERDAL. Afraid? Because you have the luck on your side!

SOLNESS. It terrifies me—terrifies me every hour of the day. For sooner or later the luck must turn, you see.

DR. HERDAL. Oh nonsense! What should make the luck turn?

SOLNESS. [With firm assurance.] The younger generation!

DR. HERDAL. Pooh! The younger generation! You are not laid on the shelf yet, I should hope. Oh no—your position here is probably firmer now than it has ever been.

SOLNESS. The luck will turn. I know it—I feel the day approaching. Some one or other will take it into his head to say: Give me a chance! And then all the rest will come clamouring after him, and shake their fists at me and shout: Make room—make room—! Yes, just you see, doctor—presently the younger generation will come knocking at my door—-

Loose Ball

posted by on July 18 at 4:37 PM

It’s not surprising that Howard Schultz and company—which bought the Sonics in 2001 for $200 million threw in the towel and sold the team for $350 million. (Nice profit.)

They failed to get anything (meaning a $200 million subsidy) out of the legislature for two sessions running. Thanks to Council President Nick Licata, the Sonics (and Storm) also faced strict city council guidelines for any deal with the city. Council parameters included: putting any public-funding proposal up for a public vote; using any new tax revenue for the Sonics to first pay off the 1994 loan; and ensuring that any non-Sonics revenues generated from KeyArena ultimately come back to the city. The Sonics also got clobbered with I-91—a stringent anti-subsidy initiative that 23,000 signatures sent to this fall’s ballot.

The new owner Bennet says he wants to keep the team in Seattle—if he can strike a deal with the city to renovate Key Arena. There are currently three different deal scenarios on the table, which deputy mayor Tim Ceis had offered to the old ownership group last May. The Sonics never formally responded to the offers, Ceis says. Ceis says those deals are still on the table for the Oklahoma ownership group: a $198 million renovation with a $49 million contribution from the team; a $149 million renovation with $37 million from the team (both of those would have to be approved by voters); and a $50 million renovation.

Ceis said flatly he’s not going to “go thereā€¯ if Bennett’s group tries to play Seattle off Oklahoma. “Nope, we’re not doing that,ā€¯ Ceis says.

It does appear that Bennett’s group will play that card, though. A spokesman for Chesapeake Energy Corp., whose CEO is one of the new owners, told the Seattle Times: “The people of Seattle have to make a decision about how important NBA basketball is to them. The people of Oklahoma City really fell in love with NBA basketball. [The New Orleans team played in Oklahoma City last season after Katrina displaced them] There’s a lot of people in Oklahoma that would be excited to have this team in Oklahoma City as well.ā€¯

Bennett’s ownership group may be in for a surprise. The public is sick of subsidizing a private business that hasn’t kept its end of the bargain. Indeed, our current lease is a bum deal for the city because we got stuck paying off the $74 million renovation we funded in 1995. Obviously, the Sonics were supposed to pay off the debt. Instead, we’re paying $2.3 million a year (spiking at nearly $3 million last year) on a tab that’s going hit about $130 million by 2014 when debt service is included.

This may explain why, I-91, the anti-Sonics subsidy cruised onto the ballot. “We sent a message that Seattle is not a Socialist state,ā€¯ says I-91 co-Chair Chris Van Dyk. “People don’t want government subsidizing private business. They know that government doesn’t pay their rents or leases. So why cover a guy who just cashed $50 million in stock options?ā€¯

Van Dyk says I-91 is staying on the ballot. “The city needs some standards by which to measure when public facilities are built on behalf of private, for-profit entities.ā€¯

My Least Favorite Celebrity Couple…

posted by on July 18 at 4:19 PM

…have finally split. May they both go into self-imposed exile. Please.

Bikers vs. Environment

posted by on July 18 at 4:09 PM

Apparently, it’s a draw.

According to a new study by Terrapass founder and U-Penn professor Karl Ulrich, moving people from cars to bikes offers virtually no environmental benefit. The logic of this seeming paradox goes like this: If a formerly sedentary person starts biking instead of driving a car, they reduce their reduce her fuel consumption and CO2 emissions—good. But they also consume more food, which requires energy to produce—bad. And they live longer (about 10.6 days for every year of sustained bicycle use, according to Ulrich’s study)—really bad, environmentally speaking, because population is one of the primary factors that drive up energy consumption. The best thing you can do for the planet, it seems, is to die as soon as possible.

But wait a minute. Is everyone who takes up biking really completely sedentary (and thus likely to die sooner) to begin with? And is it accurate to assume that the population “bump” from more bicycling will happen right away?

At any rate, there are plenty of other good reasons to go without a car. Besides the obvious health benefits, bikes don’t get stuck in traffic, which Seattle residents consistently rank as number one among the things that most dissatisfy them about the city. Additionally, driving a car costs the average American $850 a month; beyond startup and maintenance costs, riding (and parking) a bike is absolutely free.

We Can’t Send Him Anywhere

posted by on July 18 at 3:47 PM

President Bush gives German Chancellor Angela Merkel an uninvited massage. (Video is in the box on the left side of the page). Via

In the Wake of the Big Dig Collapse…

posted by on July 18 at 3:43 PM

Seattle’s own waterfront tunnel proposal is getting some long-overdue national scrutiny.

In an article headlined “‘Big Dig’ Collapse a Blow to Urban Dream,” Reuters reports:

“When things leak and certainly when things fall down that aren’t suppose to, clearly that undermines people’s confidence in government’s ability to deliver,” said David Luberoff, a Harvard researcher and co-author of “Mega-Projects: The Changing Politics of Urban Public Investment.”

Seattle, he said, will struggle to convince voters that replacing the earthquake-damaged Alaska [sic] Way Viaduct on its waterfront with a $3 billion to $3.6 billion [sic] tunnel is worth the cost.

The story also quotes People’s Waterfront Coalition leader Cary Moon, whose organization supports tearing down the viaduct and replacing some of its capacity with transit and fixes to surface streets downtown. (The reporter inexplicably identifies Moon, a woman, as “he.”)

“The risks of building an urban tunnel are huge,” said Cary Moon, a director at People’s Waterfront Coalition, a Seattle-based organization that wants to prevent construction of a new highway on Seattle’s waterfront.

“Given the very limited use our highways have relative to highways in Boston, it’s just preposterous to think taking that risk and expense is necessary,” he said.

Read the full article here.

Arts in America

posted by on July 18 at 3:15 PM

Today, the Stranger suggests you ease into:

Slide Crawl 2 (ART) What would happen if artists reviewed themselves? If when they spoke in public, they talked about their fears instead of their intentions? At an artist-run collective like Crawl Space, real, serious, open conversation about art is a definite possibility, and might even happen at Slide Crawl 2, the second installment of a relaxed quarterly slide show. This one’s featured artists are Cat Clifford, Tony Weathers, and Portland’s Stephen Slappe. (Crawl Space Gallery, 504 E Denny Way #1, 322-5752. 7:30 pm, donation suggested.) JEN GRAVES

Also tonight: Thievery Corporation (some of whose songs from The Richest Man in Babylon will appear on the Tiger Woods PGA Tour ‘06 video game, which is a little weird) will play the Moore.

In other thieves: I don’t know what the hell a buchla music easel is, but it looks like this, was swiped from the Evergreen State College, and some students are very upset about it.

In other upsets: South Africans are getting worked up about a racist ringtone. Will those honkey boers never learn?

In still other upsetting upsets: Here is a beautiful still from Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait that directors Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno have been making for three years. Beautiful because it reveals the true dimensions of professional sports, so often obscured by TV and print coverage that erroneously magnifies the players. The infrastructure, the stadiums, and their investors are the real stars:


From the International Herald Tribune:

It sounds like a documentary, but it feels much more like raw feed that only occasionally evolves into performance art. There are no interviews and no analysis, which actually comes as a relief considering that soccer and Real Madrid, in particular, are among the most overanalyzed subjects on the planet.

In other overanalyzed subjects: My heart is Montague, but my prick is nonpartisan.

In other pricks: Critics—specifically film critics—totally blow.

And, just to prove it: Snakes on a Plane is being hidden from the critics. SOAP goes straight to the fans!

Gnarls Barkley—Smiley Faces Video

posted by on July 18 at 3:10 PM

If you hate that fucking AWFUL “Dani California” video from the Red Hot Chili Peppers (wherein they dress up like famous rock acts throughout history), check out a far superior creation via Gnarls Barkley and their new video for “Smiley Faces.” Plus it’s narrated by Dennis Hopper and Dean Stockwell! AWESOME!

New York Times Cuts Paper Size, Jobs

posted by on July 18 at 2:32 PM

In what looks like another blow to the beleagured US print media, the Times announced yesterday that it’s reducing the width of its papers by an inch and a half (making it the same size as USA Today) and closing a printing plant in New Jersey, cutting its production staff by about a third (to about 550) and saving around $42 million a year. Shrinking the paper would reduce the total space for news in the Times by 11 percent; Times editors say they plans to add pages to make up for about half that loss. The Wall Street Journal, meanwhile, said it would follow in the NYT’s footsteps early next year.

BMX Course Hits KIRO

posted by on July 18 at 2:20 PM

If this week’s Stranger article about a secret BMX course in Queen Anne piqued your interest, then tune in for the KIRO-7 5:00 news. The story’s hero, Rama Fire, and his professional BMX rider friends are trying to make the case for their course’s being spared death by City of Seattle bulldozers. To that end, they’ll be engaging in some bicycle acrobatics, including a jump over a KIRO reporter. Spoiler Alert: He survives.

Since the story’s publication, readers have walked through the dense foliage of MacLean Park to find the course themselves. They’ve been welcomed by Fire and the other riders. We’ve received letters from readers who want to support the BMX course. The best advice is to email Jack Tomkinson of Urban Sparks, who is quoted in the story. He’s putting together a list of supporters — he wants names and email addresses so that he can show them to the Seattle Parks and Recreation board. It might also help him to organize a future rally for the course’s support, if it comes to that.

Confidential to KIRO: We know that with the Sonics story breaking, there’s a temptation to bump the BMX piece to 6 or 11. If you do, please give us a heads up.

TONIGHT: 43rd District Face-Off

posted by on July 18 at 2:15 PM

The local politics event of the season will be taking place tonight at Town Hall as the six candidates who are trying to become the next Ed Murray square off, all of them vying for the coveted endorsement of the 43rd District Democrats.

Our intern, Sarah Mirk, previews the event in the current Stranger, here. And if you’re just looking for the address and start time, here it is:

Town Hall

1119 8th Avenue (at Seneca Street)

6 pm — “Social Hour Mix and Mingle”

7:30 pm — Debate

Murray, who is giving up his seat in the state House of Representatives to run for state Senate, will be there offering “remarks,” along with Speaker of the House Frank Chopp.

And former city councilwoman Heidi Wills will be moderating the debate between the candidates, who are, in no particular order: Bill Sherman, Jamie Pedersen, Lynne Dodson, Stephanie Pure, Jim Street, and Dick Kelley.

Back in April, we hosted a whole week of Slogging by five of these candidates. You can see their posts here. We also ran a story about the sixth candidate, which you can find here.

See you at the debate!

The House Follows the Senate…

posted by on July 18 at 1:13 PM

and rejects the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

Full report here.

The Man Who Killed the Sonics?

posted by on July 18 at 12:42 PM

Chris Van Dyk, co-chair of I-91 (the anti-sports stadium subsidy initiative) says his initiative was “the first message the Sonics understood.”

He says political leaders had been trying to tell the Sonics that they were not going to get a deal, but it wasn’t until 23K people signed to put I-91 on the ballot that the Sonics finally realized they weren’t going to get subsidized and needed to take their game elsewhere. (The Sonics were sold to an Oklahoma investment group today.)

Van Dyk says he’s “saddened” that the Sonics are leaving after 40 years, but the people just don’t support giant sports subsidies. “We sent a message that Seattle is not a Socialist state. People don’t want government subsidizing private business. They know that government doesn’t pay their rents or leases. So why cover a guy who just cashed $50 million in stock options?”

Van Dyk is also confident that the news will not create a wave of public sympathy and push the city into a bidding war. “Our leaders are smart enough not to get into a bidding war with misguided Oklahoma,” he says.

Van Dyk says I-91 is staying on the ballot. “The city needs some standards by which to measure when public facilities are built on behalf of private, for-profit entities.”

Stop Taking LSD! I MEAN IT!!

posted by on July 18 at 12:04 PM

HEY YOU! Yes, you, with your crazy drug and LSD habits. LSD is for L-O-S-E-R-S! Don’t believe me? Then heed the wise words of Florrie Fisher from the 1970 PSA film, The Trip Back. Better go to the bathroom first—because you’re about to get the POOP scared out of you!!

Further Developments…

posted by on July 18 at 12:02 PM

…in the stories of the day: Iran’s Hizbollah has announced that it’s ready to attack Israeli and U.S. interests worldwide, while Bravo/NBC’s Project Runway is undergoing some explosive upheaval of its own.

[Updated at 1:01 pm to remove overstated connection of Iran’s Hizbollah to Lebanon’s Hizbollah.]

Sonics Reportedly Sold

posted by on July 18 at 11:47 AM

From the Seattle Times:

The Sonics have been sold to a group from Oklahoma City led by businessman Clay Bennett, according to multiple sources. A news conference to announce the sale has been scheduled for 3 p.m. today.

Mercury Music Prize 2006 nominees announced

posted by on July 18 at 11:17 AM

The nominees for the UK’s most prestigious music award, the Mercury Music Prize, were announced this morning. Arctic Monkeys lead the list, but, as always, the choices are pretty disparate. Check ‘em all out—and weigh in with your own opinions, pro or con—over in Line Out.

Matt Briggs Wins American Book Award

posted by on July 18 at 10:40 AM

Matt Briggs was busy drawing a business flow chart in Renton yesterday when he got the call that his novel Shoot the Buffalo, published by Clear Cut Press, is getting an American Book Award. I’ve been doing a little bit of research about the American Book Awards and according to this out-of-date website it seems to have been founded as a reaction to the National Book Awards (“The American Book Awards have evolved as the serious alternative to the monolithic cultural uniformity of the National Book Awards and others…”). According to an up-to-date website, the American Book Awards “recognize outstanding literary achievement by contemporary American authors, without restriction to race, sex, ethnic background, or genre.”

A short pile of books win the award each year. Past winners include Richard A. Clarke, Chris Ware, Sherman Alexie…

Briggs’s response to the news: “What a nice summer.”

McGavick Supports Stem Cell Bill

posted by on July 18 at 9:42 AM

Yesterday, I asked where Mike McGavick stood on the stem cell research bill. He had given a pretty hazy statement on the campaign trail which included this bizarre line: “We have a nervousness about creating what amounts to a marketplace for fetuses.” (Stem cell research has nothing to do with creating fetuses, and that statement struck me as a weird bit of scare tactic politics.)

However, McGavick’s people called me back and, as opposed to the rigamarole they gave me on network neutrality last month, they gave a definitive answer: McGavick would vote for the stem cell bill.

Oh, I also asked if McGavick would vote to override Bush’s promised veto. They didn’t give me an answer to that question yet.

Operation Project Runway

posted by on July 18 at 9:35 AM

As war explodes in the middle east—where Israel’s Gaza-occupying Operation Summer Rains somehow inspired Hezbollah’s Israeli soldier-kidnapping Operation Truthful Promise, thus inspiring Israel’s Lebanon-bombing Operation Just Reward—I can only watch in ignorance, dread, and horror.

And so I turn on the television, and find that an episode of basic cable’s most alluring program—Bravo’s fashion-design competition Project Runway—is being aired on NBC.

Apparently, Project Runway has proven such a big hit on Bravo and in the collective imagination of the nation that producers are experimenting with a primetime network run. Should the ratings rise high enough, the network run will continue throughout the show’s just-started third season.

Last night brought the first episode of PR’s season three to NBC. It was delightful.

Next Monday, NBC will air the second episode of season three at 8pm. It is your duty as an American to watch it.

Thanks to our nation’s credibility-destroying endeavors in Iraq, Guantanamo, and elsewhere, the U.S. has little moral leverage to affect what’s going down between Israel and Lebanon. But we can still affect what television shows make it to primetime.

Operation Project Runway: Next Monday, 8pm, NBC. Be there. Ask not what television can do for you, but what you can do for television.

The Morning News

posted by on July 18 at 5:30 AM

Middle East fighting continues unabated; “what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it’s over,” Bush says.

Heat wave continues to sear US; “too hot for a dog,” Chicago woman concludes.

Another tsunami slams Asia; “We saw a big wall of black water,” survivor says.

Bush vetoes stem-cell bill; badly needed research “kills young life,” Republican supporter says.

Dan Quayle storms out of Mellencamp concert after the singer makes a statement against Bush policies; rocker’s performance “was not very good to begin with,” former VP sniffs.

Gunmen mow down 50 in Baghdad; “Ready for recovery,” Commerce secretary says.

Big Dig bolts causedb collapse; glue-based system “isn’t working,” governor says.

Space shuttle Discovery returns from orbit; NASA promises “more regular” use of costly shuttles.

CBS to pimp its fall lineup on 35 million eggs; “it’s totally healthy,” CBS marketing president says.

Federally funded pregnancy centers mislead teens about abortion risks; “all abortion causes an increased risk of breast cancer in later years,” one center lies.

Monday, July 17, 2006

DADUs, or: What the Hell Is Wrong with Seattle?

posted by on July 17 at 6:31 PM

Next week, the city council’s urban planning and development committee will take up the ever-controversial issue of detached accessory dwelling units, also known as mother-in-law apartments. DADUs, as they’re acronymically known, are separate living spaces on the same lot as a single-family house; Mayor Nickels proposed allowing them citywide a couple of years ago, but abandoned that plan in favor of a much more limited proposal (in Southeast Seattle only) after neighborhood activists shrieked that the apartments would bring traffic, noise, and—gasp!—density to Seattle’s sleepy single-family neighborhoods.

Reality check: According to a council staffer who works on the DADU issue, a city-commissioned study found that, based on the number of (perfectly legal) attached accessory dwelling units that have been built to date in Seattle (basement apartments, for example), the new legislation would lead to the construction of just 10 to 20 new DADUs across Southeast Seattle. In other words: Yawn. Nonetheless, expect a barrage of opposition from anti-DADU activists at the urban planning committee briefing on this subject next Wednesday afternoon.

Noisy Campaign Contributors

posted by on July 17 at 6:02 PM

As Tom Francis has documented, developers Pryde + Johnson are planning a large (208-unit) condo development on a block of Capitol Hill that includes Linda’s Tavern, Bill’s Off Broadway and the War Room—three bars with outdoor seating and a young, sometimes rowdy clientele. Meanwhile, Mayor Nickels has proposed a new nightclub license that would require bar and club owners to maintain order and quiet on their own and adjacent properties. Among other provisions, the law includes a new noise ordinance that would allow the city to yank a club’s license if noise from the club is audible inside neighboring residences for more than 20 seconds. (Linda’s, though not a club, would fall under the new regulations because it has DJs.) The new regulations could mean the end of nightlife in Seattle as we know it. (As the case of Twist in Belltown demonstrated, it doesn’t take many angry neighbors to change the character of a bar for good.) Oh, and there’s nothing in the law that requires people who move into condos, like these, on top of existing bars to acknowledge that they’re sharing walls with nightlife.

Pryde + Johnson’s contributions to Nickels’s reelection campaign last year? $2,600.

How Would Mike Vote? Issue No. 2: Stem Cell Research

posted by on July 17 at 5:45 PM

It took a while to suss out Washington state GOP U.S. Senate candidate Mike McGavick on net neutrality last month. How about this week’s issue: stem cell research?

Sen. Maria Cantwell, who spoke on the Senate floor today in support of stem cell research, is set to vote for the bi-partisan Specter/Harkin bill tomorrow. Here’s what she said on the floor this afternoon:

“We understand that by investing today we can save lives tomorrow. We cannot stand in the way of science. We must move forward and offer hope to the millions of Americans who need our help. I will vote for this bill tomorrow and I will work to overturn any attempts to veto this bill.”

Indeed, for his part, President Bush is set to veto the bill. Looks like everyone knows where they stand on this issue…

Well, everyone, it seems, except for McGavick, who had this to say earlier this month in Friday Harbor as he campaigned around the state:

“You know I’ve had briefings from both sides on stem cell research. And I’ve listened to people who have passionately different views about where to go on this one. And I continue to listen to them. I haven’t made a final decision, I will before this election is over. But I would note one thing. I tend toward science, I tend toward science. I tend towards human exploration of science. There are a couple of things though that we all have a nervousness about when it comes to particularly embryonic stem cell research. We have a nervousness about creating what amounts to a marketplace for fetuses. I think all of us would have a certain concern about that and we have concerns about places that kind of research could go that make us uncomfortable with the definition of life and cloning and some of these other things. So there are certain ethical frontiers that I think have to be considered very carefully along with science. But I tend to be biased toward science but I want to know how those boundaries are going to be well-established.” [Friday Harbor, 7/6/2006]

Perhaps McGavick has clarified his position since then. Team McGavick said they’d call me back to tell me how he’d vote on the bill and how McGavick would respond to a Bush veto.

I’ve linked Cantwell’s floor speech below. While McGavick sounds hesitant, Cantwell extolls the virtues of stem cell research.

Continue reading "How Would Mike Vote? Issue No. 2: Stem Cell Research" »

Escape from Nebraska

posted by on July 17 at 5:24 PM

If you’re ever in Nebraska—and I hope you never are—don’t camp at the Lake Minature State Park. Windy, hot, flies everywhere, mud-bottomed lake, and, uh, filth. Broken bottles, empty beer cans, dirty diapers, and I swear to God I saw something on the beach that could only have been a used colostomy bag.

So anyway, we got up early and made for the exits—Wyoming was just 40 or so miles away. But Nebraska wasn’t through with us. Our left front tire came apart on a few miles from Scottsbluff, Nebraska.




The tow truck came.


And soon we were at a tire place somewhere in the middle of nowhere that, as is the case in the United States these days, looked like it could be anywhere. I once listened to a lecture given by an urban design critic who said—and I paraphrasing here—that, “…the United States is the wealthiest country in the history of the world and it has the ugliest built environment in the history of the world.ā€¯ It’s too freakin’ true.

Three hours and a hundred bucks later we were in Casper, Wyoming, where we just finished touring the downtown core. We enjoyed visiting the Dick Cheney Federal Building (here’s a better view of Dick’s place), viewing the public art (loved this huge mural on the main drag—that boy is the only person of color we’ve seen for days), and marveling at what has to be the coolest bank building I have ever seen. The banks tower dominates the skyline here and it’s is so freaking cool that I about wet myself when I saw it. Can’t you just picture Angie Dickinson bursting from the building, gun in hand, in hot pursuit of some miscreant? Here’s the tower at sunset. Some parts of America are still beautiful despite our best efforts to destroy the place.


America! Fuck yeah!

(Yeah, yeah: This post is really dull and it’s only of interest to my mother—maybe not even to her—and I’ve wasted a good deal of scarce and precious space here on the Internets with this long post and Beruit is burning and we’re havin’ a heatwave and how dare I? So sue me.)

Win a Date with Jessica Biel!

posted by on July 17 at 4:42 PM

jessica_biel_003.jpgPersonally, I think Jessica Biel is kind of a drip—but OF COURSE I would still have sex with her! And though this might not be the best way of going about it, Jessica Biel is auctioning off a date with herself to help a teen from her hometown who lost a leg on prom night after being run over by a HUMVEE STRETCH LIMOUSINE. (That’s not me laughing, because it’s not at all funny.)

Here’s where to place your bid and listen to a stilted recording from Jessica Biel. The auction takes place TUESDAY (tomorrow, July 18) so steal your mom’s credit cards or something and bid whatever you can! Do it for the one-legged teen! (Or at least for the scant possibility of having casual sexual coitus with Jessica Biel!)

Discovery Makes It Back in One Piece

posted by on July 17 at 4:34 PM

Despite flying against the warnings of top NASA officials and those few nervewracking pieces of foam that fell away during liftoff, the U.S. Space shuttle Discovery has landed safely back on Earth.


Why You Might Want to Ride a Bike from Seattle to Portland (and Something That Could Make You Think Twice)

posted by on July 17 at 4:21 PM


This past weekend marked the annual STP bicycle ride, an epic (at least it felt that way to me) 204.5-mile journey from the Emerald City to the Rose City. More than 9,000 hardy riders took to the highways, byways, and breakdown lanes of a course that was touted as mostly flat (true, with a few notable exceptions), scenic (ditto: see, as counter-example the industrial Portland suburbs), and fun (which, I guess depends on how you define fun).

It was pretty, with the temps in the low ’80s and the verdant farmland of Lewis County (who knew?) in particular providing a gorgeous backdrop to the seemingly endless miles between Chehalis and Castle Rock. The hills weren’t too bad, even for someone like me who had fallen woefully behind in his training regimen. [Note: it’s also hard to complain too much about the hills when I passed on one particularly long one a man riding a hand-cranked bike, a man riding a modified Big Wheel, and a man riding a goddamn UNICYCLE.] And there was that feeling of accomplishment as I rode through the triumphal archway, greeted by literally dozens of cheering fans.

I should mention the food. Despite eating anything and everything within reach, I was perpetually famished. The peppy rest stop organized by REI in Kent did much to assuage my hunger with their delicious pre-cut bananas and peanut butter pitas, as well as some great mid-’90s radio-friendly hits (“Hey Jealousy,ā€¯ “One Headlight,ā€¯ etc.). And I can almost feel good about recommending the Spicy Chicken Crunch Wrap from Taco Bell — its layers of flavor got me through some tough miles. Even the pancakes at the official breakfast in Centralia were delightfully fluffy and vanilla-scented despite being in frightfully short supply. I am also now a connoisseur of Clif bars, though I never want to see one again for as long as I live.

To sum up: Although at times it was heart-crushingly difficult to get back up in the saddle after an all-too-brief rest stop, I’m happy I rode those miles. I am. Really. One word of warning, though, for those seduced by thoughts of acres of spandex, yellow jerseys, and gentle, undulating terrain: It’s nearly 24 hours since I last sat on my bike (now posted on Craigslist in case you’re interested) and I still can’t feel my ass.

The “S” Word

posted by on July 17 at 4:15 PM

As Eli reported earlier today, President Bush said a dirty word! Here’s the video of Bush saying the “S” word to Tony Blair—for those who like to see a hillbilly redneck in action. (What’s really great is that he says it with his mouth full.)

For Those About to Rock: The P.I. Instructs You

posted by on July 17 at 4:14 PM

In today’s Seattle P.I. there ‘s a review of last Friday’s Slayer show. The best part of the review is right here:

“Evil horns” or “rock horns,” also known as “evil hand,” refers to a gesture in which one or both fists are raised above and slightly forward of the head with pinky and index fingers extended, thus making “horns.” Thumbs can either secure the two downed fingers to the palm or jut to the side for added effect. The gesture can be given any time one is inclined to express one’s approval, as if to say, “This rocks!” or “I am moved beyond words and can only express myself gesturally.” Last and most important, horns must always be administered when a rock god commands, “Get your horns in the air!”

But if you really want to read the rest of the review, to find out who won the “evil horn-off,” it’s here. You see why we have to save print journalism? Our cultural heritage is at stake!

My Second Favorite Joan

posted by on July 17 at 3:50 PM

I’m one of those oddballs who reaches for the Book Review in the Sunday NYT before anything else (even though it’s almost always disappointing, as I’ve said again and again). It’s fairly rare that I read a book review that actually makes me want to rush in the direction of the nearest bookstore. That’s how I felt reading this piece by Joan Acocella, a review of Stefan Zweig’s Beware of Pity. I had never heard of Beware of Pity before. I had never heard of Stefan Zweig before. According to the first paragraph, I’m not alone.

Honestly, the only reason I read the review was because of Acocella’s byline. She’s probably my favorite among The New Yorker’s regular critics. She’s all brain. She’s a pleasure. Her energy for distinguishing a work from other works is incredible. The faults she finds are always big and interesting. (I’ll never forget gushing about Zadie Smith’s On Beauty and then flipping open The New Yorker to find Acocella brilliantly describing On Beauty’s failures.)

Also in the current New York Review of Books: Jonathan Raban reviews the new Updike book.

Art Work

posted by on July 17 at 3:24 PM

Jen Graves and people who produce art in capitalist societies, this passage, which is taken from an article posted on Open Democracy’s site, is just for you:

The subjects originally required by Juche art [North Korea’s version of Socialist Realism—a Soviet school that produced several masterpieces, the most remarkable of which is Cement] were limited to such themes as: portraying the General, the relationship of the military and the people, the construction of socialism, National Pride and such like. However, in the 1970s landscape was also approved, when Kim Jong-il instructed: “The idea of describing Nature in a socialist country is to promote patriotism, heighten the national pride and confidence of the public in living in a socialist country.” The result has been a huge increase in the production of oil paintings of natural scenes. All artists in North Korea are registered as members of the Korean Artists Federation and receive monthly salaries, for which they are expected to produce a certain number of works. Some artists work “on the spot”, at factories or construction sites, whereas others go to an office. Both would be expected to work regular hours and have about two hours of study or discussion in the evenings with regular reports and evaluations. Abstract or conceptual art is forbidden and the subjects and themes of works of art are limited.

The next item is this incredible building, Ryugyong Hotel, which is in the Potong-gang District of Pyongyang, North Korea:
Ryugyong_Hotel_Closeup.jpgFor those not in the know, this building has yet to be completed. Its construction began nearly 20 years ago and stopped 14 years ago. If it were completed, it would be the 7th tallest building in the world. But it’s too expensive to finish, and even if it were, who would dare sleep in it? Sleeping in that hotel is like sleeping in a nightmare. Nevertheless, Pyongyang is the only building in the world that has made the crane that made it into a permanent fixture.

Overheard in the Office

posted by on July 17 at 3:16 PM

Earlier: “I’m eating spice drops from Rite Aid for breakfast. I am not a foodie.”—Annie Wagner

Just now: “I’m a feminist. Ramtha isn’t.”—Annie Wagner
Then Charles: “I’m a feminist too.”
Someone else: “Really, Charles?”
Charles: “Well… you know how in anthropology there are behaviorists? In my world there are beaverists—I’m a beaverist.”

Arts in America

posted by on July 17 at 3:15 PM

Today, Annie Wagner suggests I see:

‘Who Killed the Electric Car?’ (FILM) So, Annie, did you like the movie? “Yes.” Why? “Well, there are these annoying people who owned this electric car, the EV1. Rich people, like Mel Gibson, and eager activists who want them back. See, GM rolled out the cars to great fanfare and then it took them back and said it wanted to squish them.” Squish them? “GM didn’t say ‘squish.’ It said ‘we’re going to put them in this parking lot.’” Wait, why did GM recall the cars? “Well, that’s what the movie’s about.” (See movie times for details.) BRENDAN KILEY

Otherwise, tonight looks quiet. The books listings aren’t enthusiastic about anything. The music calendar just sighs and turns to the wall. The theater calendar offers a play reading (Little Bookstore Riots, by local Josh Beerman, at Theater Schmeater, if you’re interested). There are some concerts by bands I’ve never heard of with intriguing names like A Gun That Shoots Knives, in the opening-opening-opening slot at Skylark. If I wanted to, I could check them out on the Stranger bands page. I could listen to an audio clip, read about them, consider whether I’d like to see them play. If I felt like it.

For those who missed Alex Ross give his iPod lecture on the history of 20th-century music at On the Boards in April—relax, already. You can hear a lecture by the New Yorker music critic—on his marathon listen of Mozart’s entire ouvre, nearly seven full days’ worth of music, with observations on bass lines, Bob Dylan, and Salieri—here.

T.S. Eliot’s lost hiphop poem is here.

Don’t know what to get the Vatican museum for its 500th birthday? Museums director Francesco Buranelli says he wants to begin acquiring more modern art, specifically a Picasso (who will have his 125th birthday later this year). What God wants, God gets.

Newsflash: Superman not medically accurate.

(UPDATE: Per the reader comment below, here is an image from another Alex Ross, a comic-book illustrator famed for his complex and realistic style. You’re right, Lark. He’s impressive.)

Inside Ramtha

posted by on July 17 at 3:11 PM

Ah, Ramtha. Remember Ramtha?

I was in Olympia this weekend, where they can’t forget the 35,000 year-old Lemurian warrior because he resides inside a South Puget Sound woman named JZ Knight. (The Z stands for Zebra.)


So this weekend, the Olympian did a special report (part 2, and 3, and 4) on JZ and the Ramtha School of Enlightenment. Sadly, there’s little investigative journalism. (JZ has apparently been pursuing a program of careful public relations, and she invited the Olympian to visit an introductory seminar.) There are, however, some funny pictures:

Blind archery!


And some choice quotes:

Christie, who is the music technician at Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment, recently began using her [telepathic] skills with the state Lotto game. “I’ve consistently seen two out of six numbers, just about every time,” she said. “(Eventually) that number will move to three, then four. Then the big one will hit.”

Also revealing: “38 percent [of Ramtha’s students] earn an annual income of under $20,000.” It costs about $1,500 per year to maintain your active membership at the school.

In a cheerier side of the South Puget Sound, here is a picture of a portion of the door of the state legislature. It portrays a clear cut:


Why is Mayor Nickels Acting like Mark Sidran?

posted by on July 17 at 12:26 PM

Last week, Erica C. Barnett broke the news that Team Nickels was floating a proposal to regulate clubs out of existence: a new noise ordinance; summary nightclub license suspensions by the police; a requirement that clubs police adjoining properties; and a rule that clubs can lose their licenses if anyone sneaks in drugs . The annoying development probably strikes a lot of Stranger readers as a bizarre play from the mayor… one that will cost him dearly politically … right?

In short, you’re wondering: What is Nickels thinking? Along with his attempt to regulate strip clubs out of business, his new assault on regular old nightclubs seems like a crazy miscalculation, no?

Actually: No. Despite the Stranger’s horror at Nickels’s transmogrification into your 7th grade teacher, his self-conscious & ham-fisted anti-nightlife ploy is likely to play well with much of the public.

Here’s the deal: Nickels is worried that his other policy play—tampering with longstanding zoning regulations to promote density—is politically dangerous. Nudging Seattle toward big citydom makes a lot of Seattleites uncomfortable and makes Nickels a bad guy to old-school Seattle. So, he’s made the political decision to couple his efforts to transform Seattle into a big city with a simultaneous war on nightclubs to win points with the voters he may be alienating with his density stuff. (Not to mention winning points with developers.) It’s actually a smart political calculation. Clampdowns are sexy and high-profile. He’s going to get a lot of ink for his war on fun, and it will inoculate him against the charge that he’s abandoning Seattle’s small-town charm with his development agenda.

Unfortunately, by clamping down on the very cultural spark that comes with growth, Nickels misses the point entirely: He’s undermining his own development agenda. It’s a wise move politically, but it’s a dumb policy for our city.

I don’t think Nickels personally buys into these condescending regulations, but I think he sees it as a political windfall.

Free Your Inner Porn Star

posted by on July 17 at 12:07 PM

Hump2006.jpgIf you’ve ever thought about making porn, now’s the time to hook up with like-minded locals. HUMP! hopefuls are looking for actors and crew via our online classifieds. Get moving: The deadline for HUMP! entries is August 21. And stay tuned to Slog for a ticket-sale announcement.

One Contest You Definitely Don’t Want to Enter…

posted by on July 17 at 11:28 AM

“Everyone wins some cash just for trying.” (NSFW. Via PunkAssBlog.)

The L.A. Riots Spectacular!

posted by on July 17 at 10:50 AM

In a year that has Hollywood fighting over who can make the most offensive film (Little Man, World Trade Center, and yes, You, Me & Dupree), here’s the film that just may take the cake. It’s a comedy based on the 1992 L.A. riots called The L.A. Riots Spectacular—starring Snoop Dogg and Emilio Estevez. Opens in (where else) L.A. on August 11 (and please God! Let it come here soon!).

Kinky Sluts vs. Feminists

posted by on July 17 at 9:55 AM

Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Village Voice piece about kinky, slutty sex is stirring ire in the feminist blogosphere. I agree with Pandagon that what women need sexually is a complete range of options. But my experience with women who identify as feminists is that they don’t like me slapping boys around and pegging them any more than they like women acting out rape fantasies. “False consciousness” is the term I’ve generally had assigned to me, which means “You think you know what you want, but you’re deluded. We’re going to tell you how your sexuality should look.”

Which is why, while I actively support just about everything that feminists identify as political goals, I do not call myself a feminist.

Bush Unfiltered

posted by on July 17 at 9:54 AM

Caught on mic at the G-8 summit, President Bush utters two surprising words: shit and irony.

The Morning News

posted by on July 17 at 6:46 AM

Lebanon and Israel: Still at war.

Southern California: Still in flames.

Iraq: Under siege.

Condi: In denial.

Medicare recipients: Out of luck.

United States: In a record heat wave.

Mexico: Under pressure.

China: Underwater.

North Korea: Under threat of US sanctions.

G8 summit: Overshadowed.

Israel. Hezbollah. Hamas. Flames.

posted by on July 17 at 1:28 AM

In all other crises there was hope that if Israel ceded land and gave the Palestinians a chance to lead normal lives, then tensions would ease. But this crisis follows withdrawals in Lebanon and Gaza, and interrupts the withdrawals from the West Bank that were at the core of Ehud Olmert’s victory platform.
—”As Israel goes for Withdrawal, Its Enemies Go Beserk,” David Brooks, NYT, 7/16/06

Indeed: Israel withdraws from Gaza. Israel elects the Kadima government that pledges to withdraw from the West Bank.

Meanwhile, the Palestinians elect a Hamas government that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, continues attacks from Gaza, and kidnaps an Israeli soldier.

The Israelis withdraw from Lebanon in 2000, abiding by UN agreed-upon borders. In 2005 even the Palestinian Authority blames Hezbollah for undermining the Israeli/Palestinian truce by funding militant cell attacks on Israel. In 2004, 2005, and 2006, the U.N. repeatedly says the existence of Hezbollah’s military wing violates U.N. resolution 1559 (adopted in 2004) to disband militias. Indeed, with an eye on the Iran/Syria-backed Hezbollah, Kofi Annan stated in 2004: “It is time, 14 years after the end of hostilities and four years after the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, for all parties concerned to set aside the remaining vestiges of the past. The withdrawal of foreign forces and the disbandment and disarmament of militias would, with finality, end that sad chapter of Lebanese history.”

Hezbollah—translated, the party of God— kidnaps two Israeli soldiers.

Hezbollah’s actions take place in this context: Last year, the Lebanese kicked Syria out of Lebanon—which, given Syria’s alliance with Hezbollah, jeopardizes Hezbollah’s standing on the street. (You’ll remember, when the Lebanese were staging those Cedar Revolution mass protests against Syria last year, an antsy Hezbollah staged counter-, pro-Syrian demonstrations.) (Here’s an analysis of Hezbollah published in Sunday’s NYT. *If the link is screwed up by Times Select, I’ve pasted the article in below.)

Certainly, Israel’s response (which will likely backfire) has been brutal, but it’s weird to me that in the conversations I hear around town, and in the conversations I had myself over the weekend, the conventional wisdom—the given—is that Israel is so clearly in the wrong. Typical line, “I mean Israel is bombing Northern Lebanon! Hezbollah is in the South.” I wonder if these same critics wonder with as much vigor why Hamas continued to attack Israel from Gaza, when Israel was no longer in Gaza.

It seems to me that Israel, having withdrawn from Lebanon, from Gaza, and getting ready to withdraw from the West Bank, was robbing radicals like Hamas and Hezbollah (and Iran, which backs Hezbollah) of an issue that allows them to maintain some power and legitimacy.

And so, cleverly, Hamas and Hezbollah drew Israel right back in. Israel took the bait. Israel seems to be the only thing that can unite Shiites (Hezbollah) and Sunnis (Hamas). But why is Israel condemned for taking the bait, when the radicals who set the trap aren’t denounced as well? Or, if they are denounced, it’s with a sense of “understanding” … while Israel is just “out of control.”

I know I’m going to get blasted for this post. And that’s fine. But some ground rules, please:

1) No comments about how I’m Jewish, and so, I’m part of the Stranger’s irrational “pro-Israeli” coverage. (And folks wonder why people say anti-Israeli sentiment is anti-Jewish.) Most of our coverage of Israel, which is minimal by the way, is driven by our editor, Dan Savage, who is a Catholic. And, Eli Sanders, who wrote our excellent 8,000 word-feature on Rachel Corrie back in 2003, is more knowledgeable about the Middle East than most people I know, and is critical of Israel, even though he is Jewish. For the record, I am also one of those Jews who is critical of Israel. However, I think the Gaza withdrawal and Kadima’s intention to withdraw from the West Bank were excellent moves, and I found myself increasingly frustrated with Hamas’ intransigence. Israel gets criticized by the left for refusing to recognize the popularly elected Hamas, but Hamas isn’t criticized by the left for failing to recognize Israel. (The Israeli govt., which is calling for a withdrawal from the West Bank, and a Palestinian state, was also popularly elected.)

2) Conversely, no comments about how you appreciate our “pro-Israel” coverage. This post hardly constitutes editorial coverage. And again, our coverage of Israel has been minimal, and in fact, has included condemnations of Israel. For the record, I published this condemnation of Israel in the Stranger in an anti-Iraq war essay I wrote in 2002:

The first order of business in an American campaign for Middle Eastern democracy is to serve up some democracy for Palestinians. Indeed, we should start our mission by creating a Palestinian state. Righting the bloody standoff (i.e., war) between Israel and the Palestinians will quell the number one organizing principle among radicalized Muslims (there’s a reason bin Laden, whether he means it or not, slips Israel into his rhetoric), and creating a Palestinian state will also give the U.S. credibility to demand democratic reforms from Arab states like Egypt.

The U.S. has the leverage to force Israel’s hand in the long-lost peace process. Not only is the U.S. a huge financial supporter of Israel ($3.3 billion a year!), but we are typically the lone voice lending support to Israel as that country pursues military wreckage on the Palestinians. By severely cutting aid to Israel and joining the world chorus against Israel’s belligerence and settlement policy, we can bring Israel back to the negotiating table. This is not rocket science: President Jimmy Carter got Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to the table in 1978, getting Israel to sign a miraculous land-for-peace treaty with Egypt after 30 years of toe-to-toe hostility, including four raging wars between the two hostile neighbors; and President Bill Clinton got Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to the table in 1993 after six years of a bloody intifada. Let’s put the pressure on Ariel Sharon.

3) No debate about Anti-Israel=Anti-Jewish … or Anti-Israel doesn’t = Anti-Jewish.The bottom line is: Sometimes critiques of Israel are anti-Jewish and sometimes they are not.

I will yank any coments that don’t follow these ground rules.

Keep the comments germane to my post, which basically sets out to challenge the conventional Seattle wisdom that Israel, which has withdrawn from Gaza and is pledging to withdraw from the West Bank, shouldn’t hold Lebanon accountable for the belligerent Hezbollah and shouldn’t, post-withdrawal, hold Hamas accountable for its attacks on Israel. I imagine the rejoinder is that Israel is fanning the flames of violence. To which I say: Fanning the flames? Israel withdrew from Gaza and they elected a government that ran on withdrawing from portions of the West Bank. Rather than setting about the business of building a state or accepting Israel’s right to exist (which could jump start talks, so that Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank isn’t on unilateral terms), Hamas continued to attack.

Continue reading "Israel. Hezbollah. Hamas. Flames." »

Sunday, July 16, 2006

It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s… Three Dragon Restaurant!

posted by on July 16 at 8:36 PM

Three weeks ago, SuttonBeresCuller walked into a huge plywood box, a box that took up almost the entirety of the very large front room at Scott Lawrimore’s new art space Lawrimore Project, and closed the door. They promised to open the box again in three weeks, revealing a new work of some kind.

The walls of the box came down last night at 7 pm, or better yet opened up, flower petal-like, to reveal… well, uh, a Chinese restaurant. My gosh, they’ve air lifted a Chinese restaurant into an art gallery, I thought when I got there—the detail is pretty amazing. Among the details: glistening chickens on hooks in the window; street lights; a sidewalk bike rack thing; a neon OPEN sign; a menu in a flourescent-lit box; vents breathing kitchen steam; garbage; graffiti; a roof with weathered stone shingles; and a sign on the top of the roof, lighted from within, that reads:

Dine-In 206-501-1231 Take-Out

They made that sign—the phone number apparently calls Scott Lawrimore’s cell phone—as well as all the walls (painted, dirtied up with mud). Inside the restaurtant were several tables, one messy with the remains of a meal and another where two diners, actors, were eating an elaborate meal. And having a date. They were really good—impervious to all distractions, and you can bet people tried to distract them—and they were actually on a blind date. At least one of them was from out of town. I must report that the date seemed to be going well. John Sutton agreed, and said, “If they end up having babies, it’s a masterpiece.”

Mistah Brooks—he dead.

posted by on July 16 at 5:57 PM

“Robert Brooks, the chairman of Hooters of America, Inc. who made his fortune selling chicken wings served by scantily clad waitresses, was found dead at his home Sunday, officials said. He was 69.” To you who has crossed with direct eyes to death’s other Kingdom, please remember us—if at all—not as lost, violent souls, but only as the hollow men. The chicken wings men. The stuffed men.

No More Bling

posted by on July 16 at 5:37 PM

In recognition of the lives devastated by Hurricane Katrina, the founding father of bling, Mr. T, is shedding his neck-thick chains of gold. “As a spiritual man,” Mr. T told reporters, “I felt it would be a sin against my God for me to wear all that gold again because I spent a lot of time with the less fortunate.” Tell it like it is, brother, tell it like it is.