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Archives for 08/27/2006 - 09/02/2006

Saturday, September 2, 2006


posted by on September 2 at 6:05 PM


Wanna see the trailer—the censored and uncensored versions—for John Cameron Mitchell’s new film? Then go here. I’m so fucking excited about seeing this film that I’m gonna wet my damn self.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Got a Computer Monitor You Wanna Get Rid Of?

posted by on September 1 at 6:20 PM

There’s this traffic circle at 14th and Howell that I pass twice a day on the way to and from work. A week or two ago someone tossed a computer terminal into the traffic circle. A few days later someone—the same someone? someone else?—tossed a second computer monitor into the traffic circle. Riding by on my bike yesterday I noticed that someone—same? else?—had tossed in a third. Today, a fourth.


I stopped to take a picture and someone crossing the street said to their companion, “Is this a joke? Is it art?”

Can’t it be both?

Got a computer terminal you don’t need? Get in on the joke, or the art project, and drop it off at 14th and Howell.

UPDATE: How dare Capitol Hill hipsters! Disposing of computer terminals in a traffic circle! Those things are packed with toxic chemicals! They must be disposed of properly—so they can be shipped to China, where they’ll only poison poor Chinese people and not the defenseless grasses and weeds growing in our traffic cirlces! For shame!

Fun Farm Facts

posted by on September 1 at 5:38 PM

Check out this rap from the Pro-920 website (I-920 is the initiative to repeal the estate tax)

Even though the legislation passed in Olympia purports to exempt family-owned farms, some experts looking at the bills say it may not. Often the family assets are tied up in machinery, equipment, buildings, inventory and property. In today’s world, it doesn’t take too much to hit the $2 million threshold when… a combine on the Palouse goes for a couple hundred thousand.

The folks who put up the pro-920 website (the Association of Washington Business & the National Federation of Independent Businesses) should probably take a look at another website—namely the Washington state Dept. of Revenue website, which says explicitly that family farms and machinery are exempt from the estate tax.

The only requirement to exempt a family farm is that the farm actually be a family farm business—the requirement being: “The farm must comprise at least 50 percent of the total estate’s adjusted value.” In other words, it’s designed to exempt working family farmers.

Again: Of the deaths that are anticipated in 2006, less than 250 estates will pay any estate taxes.

Oh My God!

posted by on September 1 at 4:04 PM


I just got trapped in the Stranger elevator—with the horrifying ghost of SOMEONE’S NOXIOUS FART!

Whoever beefed it in the lift—thanks for the olfactory rape.

Now it’s payback time…

Lonelygirl15. Idoru.

posted by on September 1 at 3:35 PM

Don’t know if I’m late to this 21st Century pop story about
Bree and Daniel the faked reality TV show subterfuge on YouTube starring Bree (or lonelygirl15 ), an existential homeschooled girl with strict strict parents.

But I just read about it (in BusinessWeek), and it’s weirder than that page that comes about half way thru every Philip K. Dick novel where you’re not sure if you’re the android reading the book in the book.

I’ve pasted in the BusinesWeek article below in case the link above didn’t work.

Continue reading "Lonelygirl15. Idoru." »

I Take No Pride in Mocking the Bereaved…

posted by on September 1 at 2:52 PM

However, this “Wanted” poster, found on a number of street posts in the Central District, demands comment.


Okay. I understand that people can care deeply about ferrets, which for a certain kind of person reportedly make delightful pets.

However, I sincerely doubt that the average person, coming upon a loose ferret on the street, will be willing to lure it indoors and feed it yogurt. Far more likely, the person will do everything in his or her power to beat the disgusting hair-snake to death, perhaps with a shovel.

Still, if anyone’s seen Cookie, please give Pam a call.

In the meantime, here’s a most disturbing photo of “The Easter Ferret.”

Yogic Photography

posted by on September 1 at 2:42 PM

Last night’s Portland artists talk was … interesting. Because there were several artists and a slide show is no way to get to know an artist’s work anyway, it was instead a conscious proposition about the personality of Portland’s art scene, led by soft-spoken den-mother-curator Stephanie Snyder (of Reed). There was so much talk of breaking bread and community and dreaming and feelings that one friend of mine described it as a hippie Heaven’s Gate meeting. Maybe I was feeling misanthropic?

On the other side of the ledger for PDX is this piece I like very much by Matthew Stadler in the issue of Visual Codec out today.

He describes the methods of Portland photographer Shawn Records in opposition to the cooked-up, accumulated objects of Gregory Crewdson, Jeff Wall, or any number of contstructive photographers. In “yogic photography” such as Records’s, Stadler writes,

The photograph emerges from the body and camera together in the world, a kind of emanation of living, like breath or memory. Here, the camera remains central. The photographs of Ari Marcopoulos, to cite one example, are shaped with such clarity and transparency that one feels no distance between the object and its making. To encounter such a photograph is to witness its making. … These are not the secondary documents of an interesting mind. Their pleasures are not voyeuristic. They are, instead, evidence of the marriage of photography and seeing—as brilliant, refined, and masterful as the breathing of a yogic teacher. … Shawn Records … carries two cameras—a Mamiya 7 and a Pentax 6x7, both medium format cameras, one a rangefinder, the other an SLR—and responds to what he sees by using them. His habit is to photograph without much intention; he rarely knows what he is looking for, but he often finds it. For Records this practice rests in a habit of seeing without much desire. Records does not hunt for the perfect moment of, say, a Cartier-Bresson, but instead scans for landscapes of information stripped of any single organizing drama. … He is able to achieve his astonishing results only by freeing himself and his camera of the compulsion toward meaning.

I have no idea whether this is the only or the best way to talk about Records’s work, because I don’t know the work at all. But as with much memorable art criticism, the idea—a photographer whose eye, lens, and body are directed by a lack of desire—is worth thinking about beyond this artist.

Death of a President

posted by on September 1 at 2:31 PM

If you appreciated Ben Metcalf’s ballsy outburst in Harper’s a few months ago, you’ll probably love this documentary set to debut at next week’s Toronto Film Festival.

Dusty Birds and Fragile Crabs

posted by on September 1 at 2:29 PM

I am excited about seeing People Talking and Singing tonight. I am excited about seeing “Awesome“‘s pared-down version of noSIGNAL tomorrow. But I’m especially excited to see Museum Play at WET on Sunday. Here’s why: It’ll be the first play of their new season and their last season opener was Crave, which was a hypnotic nightmare. Museum Play has a young playwright (Jordan Harrison, originally from around here), a good director (Marya Sea Kaminksi), good actors (Lathrop Walker, Elise Hunt, et al), and Jennifer Zeyl for a set designer.

I got to see a little bit of the set the other night: I met Zeyl, this year’s Theater Genius (and daughter of Donald Zeyl, Ph.D. of classical philosophy at Harvard, lecturer at Brown and professor at University of Rhode Island, and Plato translator for Hackett, one of the best humanities publishing houses in the world), at her apartment for a drink. I had Scotch. She had gin and juice. We talked about her dog, her boyfriend, sets, theaters, directors Friesland, siblings, religion, and, a few drinks later, tottered down to the Washington Ensemble Theater on 19th to see how the set-building for Museum Play was coming along.

It was a jumble of tools, props, and museumy things: Bones, butterflies and moths, netting, and a false ceiling that stretched out over the fourth row. There were a dozen people in various states of busyness—actors sawing, the director talking about lights, the lighting designer talking about lamps (“Do you have a two-foot-tall lamp?” Zeyl turned and asked), someone cutting holes in the ceiling for some kind of puppetry, someone adjusting a skull hanging on a wall, knocking over some postcards. A long, dusty stuffed bird stretched over three seats. Someone said to watch out for the delicate, dried crab on the stage. Someone else went for a beer run. Everyone was in for the long haul and everyone was surprisingly not-panicked for a play that would open in two nights.

“I want the scooter to stand up,” Zeyl said to Allen Johnson (yes, that Allen Johnson) who was helping.
“I could go to the Depot tomorrow and get some casters,” he said.
“Casters? I got casters! An ass-load of casters!” She dug around in a plastic box, picking up, examining, and discarding broad plastic wheels.
Johnson turned to me: “This is great. This is keeping me out of trouble. And of course I’m going to stay all night. Because why not?”

Someone handed me a bottle of superglue, some plastic insects, and mounting to glue them onto. “Look out, Ema got her fingers stuck together for hours last week.” I opened a beer, tried to be careful, and got to work.

A Note On American Christianity

posted by on September 1 at 2:27 PM

The main problem with postmodern American Christianity is that it’s no longer about faith. It is now objective and social, whereas faith, by definition, is a personal commitment, a personal resolve. No one has to know your faith; it’s not necessary to share your belief in God and His salvation with other souls. By acting according to the standards set by Jesus, and praying in complete silence, you can live a Christian life. In fact, as one existential philosopher pointed out, there is really only one Christian in the world—the one who knows, by heart, that he/she believes in God. As for others, who but God knows what is in their hearts? But American Christianity has, particularly since the rise of Reagan, abandoned personal faith and relentlessly, even ruthlessly, pursued its externalization, pursued the mad dream of transforming what is personal into a social system that requires subjects (or consumers) to show their belief, to put it on display. What American Christianity wants to see is a spectacle of faith, a theater or soap opera of commitment. The soul, which is dangerous because it is essentially silent, is not the place for red state religion; but, instead, the clothes one wears, your hairstyle, your house, neighborhood, books, movies, political party, mall—all of this stuff, which one must buy into, is the locus of American Christianity. The silence of faith has been replaced by the noise of testifying. Your own personal Jesus has been replaced by the Moral Majority. Kierkegaard’s leap of faith has been replaced by the fresh breath of Testamints.

“Can I Hold the Purppy?”

posted by on September 1 at 2:03 PM

So maybe you read my film review of Lassie in this week’s paper, and maybe you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about when I said “Can I hold the purppy?” at the end.

Well, I stole it from the funniest Stella skit in the world.

Watch this and it’ll all make sense. It will also make you laugh. You know, if you like Stella… like I do.

The Village Voice Also Fired…

posted by on September 1 at 2:02 PM

…their books editor (and Believer coeditor) Ed Park. Stupid, stupid Village Voice.

TSA: Transporting Smooth Anal?

posted by on September 1 at 2:02 PM

Over at Wonkette, they’ve noted that while the TSA banned traveling with all creams and lotions (including Neosporin and lip gloss) after the London liquid bomb scare, for some reason they’ll make an exception for 4 oz of “personal lubricant”. That’s right! You can bring your sex lube with you! I’m glad TSA has its priorities straight — what could suck more than scrounging around for hotel pharmacy lube while you’re on a romantic getaway? Babeland even sells lube in convenient 4 oz bottles.

Also note that wedged between “tweezers” and “toy weapons” on the TSA Prohibited list is a category okaying “toy transformer robots” in carry-on luggage. Did Hasbro pay them off for product placement, or was this really a big issue in the 80s?

The 43rd Disctrict, by the Endorsements

posted by on September 1 at 1:55 PM

I thought by now there would be a clear front-runner in the 43rd District race, someone who was racking up most of the big endorsements and emerging as the popular favorite. But just over two weeks before the primary, we still have a fragmented six-way contest, and the major endorsements tell this story pretty clearly.

Jamie Pedersen: Endorsed by Equal Rights Washington (the state-wide gay rights lobbying group), The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the Seattle Metropolitan Elections Committee, and the Stonewall Democrats.

Stephanie Pure: Endorsed by The Stranger.

Jim Street: Endorsed by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and King County Executive Ron Sims

Bill Sherman: Endorsed by The Sierra Club and Washington Conservation Voters.

Dick Kelley: Endorsed by the King County Democratic Party.

Lynne Dodson: Endorsed by the Seattle Metropolitan Elections Committee and the Washington State Labor Council.

Two big endorsements are still hanging out there: The nod from the Seattle Times and, if he changes his mind and decides to endorse someone, the nod from outgoing State Rep. Ed Murray. And, given how spead out the endorsements are thus far, the Times and Murray now find themselves in a position to play a sort of endorsement king-maker role.

If the Times gives its support to Street, he’ll be seen as the two-daily-approved establishment candidate, and the front-runner in terms of name recognition. If the Times gives its support to Pure, she’ll have both the crazy Stranger and the prim Fairview Fanny behind her — a broad base of support indeed. And if the Times gives its nod to someone other than Street or Pure, well, it’s just another reminder that it’s a wide open race.

Murray, I’d say, could have even more influence on the race than all of this city’s publications and interest groups combined. After 11 years representing the 43rd District, if he hand-picks an heir to his own seat, many voters are likely to listen. Murray’s said repeatedly that he’s unlikely to be endorsing any candidate, but then again, the role of kingmaker can be hard to resist…

More Closed Mike!

posted by on September 1 at 1:48 PM

The comments threads on the latest McGavick DUI stuff are leaning toward: I’m making too big a deal out of all this. But, given that McGavick scored points for candor last week, there’s an update that’s worth pointing out.

Neil Modie at the PI reminds us that when interviewed about his campaign blog DUI mea culpa last week, McGavick said he wasn’t arrested…that he only got a citation.

Nope. McGavick was handcuffed, arrested, and dragged down to the station … where he was handcuffed to a desk.


posted by on September 1 at 1:35 PM

Here’s the trailer for the new fake history of Diane Arbus’s early life. Watch it all the way to the end, because the very last shot is Diane (Nicole Kidman) as Chewbacca.

Are they serious? Then again, this is from the director of the intriguing, freaky Secretary.

Counting the Days Till the Demise of Dubya

posted by on September 1 at 1:35 PM

The Stranger’s been counting down the days till the end of George W. Bush’s presidency since the start of his world-imperiling second term. (Look below the title on the front cover.)

But thanks to Three Imaginary GirlsDana, here’s a way for everyone to bring the end-of-Bush countdown into their homes: The Election Day Advent Calendar.

“Does it have chocolate inside?” wonders Dana. “Do regular Advent calendars have democracy inside? No? Well, these don’t have chocolate, but maybe next time they’ill have gum or fruit leather. Hope this is useful.”

It is.

Killer Raccoons

posted by on September 1 at 1:23 PM


It appears that the killer raccoons, like killer bees before them, are migrating north. First spotted in Olympia, where they’ve killed cats, attacked dogs, and robbed coffee shops, this strain of aggressive, crack-addicted raccoons have arrived in Seattle.

Late last night my boyfriend got up to let our dog out for his late-evening piss. I was upstairs in bed when I heard what sounded like two mountain lions trying to kill each other, which was closely followed by the sounds of my boyfriend shrieking—er, screaming, not shrieking. Screaming in low, manly tones. I ran downstairs and out into the yard where our dog—a five pound, deaf, one-eyed, brain-damaged toy poodle (don’t ask)—was being chased in circles and occasionally tackled by a hissing, screeching 300 pound raccoon.

The raccoon was trying to kill—and eat—the dog. Once I was on the porch the boyfriend ran inside, leaving me alone with the killer raccoon and the retarded poodle. I picked up four large table legs that were sitting on the porch. As soon I spotted a little space between the dog and the raccoon I hurled a table leg at the raccoon, like Zeus hurling lightening bolts (did Zeus did that in his boxers?), in an attempt to get the raccoon away from the dog.

Once I successfully separated the dog and the raccoon, I expected the dog to run into the house. Ah, nope. Our retarded dog, seeing the raccoon in retreat, concluded that he had the upper hand now, and proceeded to charge at the raccoon. The raccoon, seeing a dinner-sized dog coming back at him, proceeded to charge after the dog. The dog, suddenly remembering that the raccoon outweighed him by 295 pounds, proceeded to turn and run. I managed to separate the raccoon from the dog four fucking times, and each time the dog went after the raccoon, which then went after the dog.

I managed to separate the dog and the raccoon one last time just as the boyfriend came back out the house. He grabbed our retarded, suicidal poodle and dragged him inside.

I hate raccoons.

The Future Man

posted by on September 1 at 1:05 PM

When this building is completed next year in Denver:

You will then know the name of this man:
15034.jpg And you will also know why SAM’s new extension has low architectural value. And you will wonder, wonder, wonder why the Central Library has failed to learn this city.

Hatin’ on the Critics

posted by on September 1 at 12:50 PM

And to think, I used to flatter myself that theater people hated me. I ain’t got nothin’ on Toby Zinman (of the Philadelphia Inquirer). And Sam Chanderson? You ain’t got nothin’ on We Love Toby! the blog, “one long, public love letter from the Philadelphia theatre community to Toby Zinman.” It’s pretty entertaining.

More interesting than the Toby Zinman pile-on in Philadelphia, however, is the Hedy Weiss pile-on in Chicago, aptly summarized by the New York Times here. Basically, it’s a she-said, they-said, she-said, they-said.

According to Hedy Weiss, the new musicals presented at Stages2006 were “deeply flawed”.

According to Edward Albee, Christopher Durang, Tony Kushner, Marsha Norman, John Patrick Shanley, and many other members of the Dramatists Guild of America, Hedy Weiss’s decision to review workshop productions was “shocking and irresponsible.”

According to Hedy Weiss, she was never asked not to review the shows. In fact, she’s done so in previous years without incident (her remarks were more positive in those years), and she was given “tickets, elaborate press materials, and photos to accompany [her] review.”

According to the theater that provided those materials, um, oops.

What all of this made me think about, though, was how theaters can expect to shelter preview performances, workshops, etc. from public exposure in the days of instantaneous blog coverage. If you pay for a ticket, are you allowed to write about what you see? If not, says who? Is the Dramatists Guild coming down hard on Suzy Conn of, who gushes about Stages 2006 here and here?

There’s a decent discussion in the comments here.

WORST Dressed at the VMAs

posted by on September 1 at 11:42 AM

And as long as Osama bin Laden is killing people, he should murder the designers of the WORST DRESSED GALS at last night’s Video Music Awards.
J.Lo, Vanessa Minnillo, Paris Hilton… get ready to take yer lumps!


Fire away, Sloggers! (Tip o’ the hat to PopSugar!)

Dirty Dancing at the VMAs!

posted by on September 1 at 11:31 AM

Hey! Did you catch the MTV Video Music Awards last night? Is your stomach still sore from all the RETCHING? Me, too! Seriously, Osama bin Laden should’ve celebrated 9/11 by flying a plane right down host Jack Black’s boring piehole while murdering every last one of those useless blights on society.
On the other hand, at least the VMA’s always produce some good gossip—such as this priceless piece about pre-VMA parties from Page Six

Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey raised eyebrows at the bash held at Tenjune. The heated-up lovebirds arrived after Lachey’s own party at Cellar Bar wound down and a besotted Minnillo was “all over Nick,” said our source - and the feeling was mutual. At one point, Lachey leapt up and gave his woman a steamy, face-to-crotch lap dance. Also there was Ryan Seacrest, who hung all night with Lance Bass and his boy toy Reichen Lehmkuhl.


Vanessa and Lachey’s crotch sittin’ in a tree… K-I-S-S-I-N-G!

Closed Mike!

posted by on September 1 at 11:10 AM

The Everett Herald got a copy of Mike McGavick’s DUI arrest report.

Two things about the story. One funny. And one weird.

Here’s the funny thing. In his “candid” mea culpa last week, McGavick admitted that he “cut a yellow light too close.” However, the police report says McGavick drove right “through a steady red signal.”

Additionally, when McGavick was interviewed last week about his campaign blog DUI mea culpa, he said he got a citation, but wasn’t arrested. However, according to the report McGavick was, in fact, arrested, and at the station, he was hand cuffed to a desk.

Now, here’s the other thing: Check out the McGavick campaign’s reaction to the Herald.

Campaign spokesman Elliott Bundy said the candidate does not intend to speak about the arrest again in the campaign.

“The report is as it is,” Bundy said. “The interviews were given. Questions have been asked and answered. We don’t have any further comment on this.”

Typical. They put this out there (to frame it as they want and score the points they want…points for candor), but the minute people start asking questions, they clam up.

Stephin Merritt Is Doing a Show Tonight…

posted by on September 1 at 11:02 AM

…Not with Magnetic Fields, but with Lemony Snickett (AKA Daniel Handler, who was in Magnetic Fields for a while, or at least played accordion on 69 Love Songs). Also in this show is Colin Meloy, Smoosh, Zach Rogue, someone from a famous band that can’t be mentioned, Sarah Vowell, John Hodgman, and Dave Eggers. The show was arranged by Bumbershoot but it happens tonight, the night before Bumbershoot, and the tickets are separate from Bumbershoot tickets. I explain everything here.

The Lifeguard

posted by on September 1 at 11:01 AM

The daughter of the dead woman found on East Jefferson Street by a lifeguard—the police report was in the August 10-16 issue of my Police Beat column—has contacted me about how she might contact the lifeguard and thank him for trying to help her mother. If the lifeguard wants to accept her thanks, he can email me at charles@thestranger.

The End of a Pointy-Headed Era

posted by on September 1 at 10:57 AM

So, as Hannah Levin mentioned over on Line Out, the Village Voice has fired Robert Christgau, the contentious but undeniably vital “Dean of American Rock Critics,” and one of my favorite living writers.

Christgau’s not dead, and a lot of his greatest writing has appeared in non-Voice venues for years, so there’s no need for an obit. Still, it’s a major shift, one that makes me terribly sad. Since first encountering it as a pre-teen in Creem, Christgau’s writing has been an integral part of my reading life, and I’d look forward to the Voice’s annual Pazz & Jop Critics Poll—which Christgau’s overseen since 1974—like others anticipate Super Bowl Sunday. Lots of folks can’t stand his dense, reference-heavy writing, but when you find him pointing his exceedingly pointy head at a work of art you love, you realize how intricately he understands what makes it work, and makes it matter.

Here’s Christgau on two of my eternal beloveds, PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me and the Magnetic Fields’ 69 Love Songs, respectively:

“Never mind sexual—if snatches like ‘Make me gag,’ ‘Lick my injuries,’ and ‘Rub ‘til it bleeds’ aren’t genital per se, I’m a dirty old man. And if the cold raw meat of her guitar isn’t yowling for phallic equality, I’m Robert Bly, which is probably the same thing. She wants that cock—a specific one, it would seem, attached to a full-fledged, nonobjectified male human being, or maybe an array or succession of cocks, it’s hard to tell. But when she gets pissed off, which given the habits of male human beings happens all the time, she thinks it would be simpler just to posit or grow or strap on or cut off a cock of her own. After which it’s bend-over-Casanova and every man for him or herself.”
“Accusing Stephin Merritt of insincerity would be like accusing Cecil Taylor of playing too many notes—not only does it go without saying, it’s what he’s selling. I say if he’d lived all 69 songs himself he’d be dead already, and the only reality I’m sure they attest to is that he’s very much alive. I dislike cynicism so much that I’m reluctant ever to link it to creative exuberance. But this cavalcade of witty ditties—one-dimensional by design, intellectual when it feels like it, addicted to cheap rhymes, cheaper tunes, and token arrangements, sung by nonentities whose vocal disabilities keep their fondness for pop theoretical—upends my preconceptions the way high art’s sposed to.”

Screw the Voice, and best of luck to Christgau.

Lindsay Lohan Gets Engagement Ring?

posted by on September 1 at 9:55 AM

If a celebrity’s boyfriend is shopping at Cartier, that can only mean one thing: WEDDING BELLS! (Or he’s been fucking someone else and feels guilty.)
HOWEVER! Since the boyfriend in question is LINDSAY LOHAN’S man of the minute Harry Morton, it’s gotta be an engagement ring! (How else is he going to get her to stop porking every man in sight?) From Splash News…

Harry Morton was spotted at Cartier (dude can’t afford Harry Winston?) allegedly purchasing an engagement ring. The wealthy 25-year-old entrepreneur has dated 20-year-old Lohan for little more than a month, but is now ready to get down on one knee and ask for her hand in marriage. Soon after purchasing the ring Morton whisked Lohan away on a romantic vacation to Hawaii. And his Pink Taco people even admitted Extra TV that he bought Lohan some bling.

BTW, “Pink Taco” refers to a chain of Mexican restaurants started by Morton. All together now…
Congrats, Lindsay! You’ve bagged a real winner.



posted by on September 1 at 8:30 AM

I’ll be on KUOW’s Weekday this morning starting at 10 a.m. (right after the “Cookin’ With Leftovers” segment!), and I’ll be talking with Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat about the news of the week, including, potentially: Iran, Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan, alcohol impact areas, the mayor’s club crackdown, Plan B, and Mike McGavick.

Details here.

Qaddafi? We Hadn’t Seen Nothing Yet

posted by on September 1 at 7:40 AM

I love the idea that he gets so vociferous about perverted Islamists and suicide bombers, and that the world has gone on at a pace beyond what he was prepared to do in his own time, if you like.

Spoken by Ramon Tikaram, the singer playing Qaddafi in the opera about him at English National Opera starting Thursday. The Guardian has the story on why Qaddafi is a great, albeit controversial, opera subject. I wish, oh how I wish, this opening were in Seattle.

The Morning News

posted by on September 1 at 7:04 AM

Americans to Iraq: Bush tosses 13,000 more troops at failed Iraq war policy.

Iran to World: Fuck off.

The Loyal Opposition Acts Like One: Dems push no confidence vote in Rummy.

Like father, like son: FBI raids office of Alaska Senator Steven’s son.

Global Warming: California does something about it.

Plan B: Washington pharmacists must dispense morning after pill—unless, you know, they don’t wanna.

More Carnage: Another day, another crazy driver.

Under the Gun: How to convert to Islam against your will.

Chairman Mao: He’s history.

Andre Agassi: Old pro beats odds, kids.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pedersen is Not a Lobbyist

posted by on August 31 at 3:25 PM

This correction will run in next week’s paper, but I want to get it up on Slog right now.
At one point in our endorsement for Stephanie Pure for 43rd District Rep (vote Pure, she’s a smart, articulate, urban headed woman who will make stuff happen in Olympia), we incorrectly identified Preston Gates & Ellis attorney Jamie Pedersen (another candidate in the race) as a lobbyist. Pedersen is an attorney with Preston Gates. He is not a lobbyist.

Preston Gates do have several registered lobbyists in Olympia, but Pedersen is not one of them.

We regret the error.

This Day in Lunch 2: Smalling Salts

posted by on August 31 at 3:24 PM

How come the nicer the restaurant, the smaller the salt shaker?


These salt and pepper shakers have been blown up to roughly ten times their actual size.

A new place opened on 12th—Cafe Stellina—and while we had to wait a while for our chow (entirely forgivable, as it’s only their 5th day), the food was good, and the place is fancy. And, since it’s fancy, the salt shaker is really dinky. Check out the salt and pepper shakers, shown actual size, with my hand in the picture for perspective.


My hand looks like some sort of giant hand, doesn’t I? I look like some sort of huge ogre reaching out to crush these tiny little salt and pepper shakers with my bare giant monster hands. Grrr.

While we waited for our food—which was worth the wait, totally delicious—I kept wondering…

How often do they have to refill the tiny salt and pepper shakers at Cafe Stellina? They’ve been open for five days now—have they refilled them once already? Twice? Three times? Every hour on the hour? And if the-nicer-the-restaurant-the-smaller-the-salt-shaker, just how small are the salt shakers at the fanciest restaurant in the world? Do they just put a single crystal of salt on your table?

But mostly I wondered if wondering about all of this means I’m still stoned.

Re: The Scarlet Letter

posted by on August 31 at 3:20 PM

Re: the London literary feud Brendan mentioned, here are some other anagrams of “Ever Been Had?”

Investigators, take note!

Abe? He’d Never
Eva, Bend Here
Ah, Bed Veneer
He Bade Verne
Rev. Edna Heeb
Eh, Dane Breve
He Be Eve Rand
Heaven Be Red
Have Beer, End

Last Chance to Get Your Hump On

posted by on August 31 at 3:01 PM

Due to overwhelming—and I do mean overwhelming—demand (you buncha pervs), we’ve added five more screenings of Hump 2. They are:

Saturday September 9 at noon and 10 pm (of all films in competition).

Friday September 8 at 7 pm, and Saturday September 9 at 1 pm and 5 pm (for the marathon sessions, wherein every single film entered will be screened).

Tickets go on sale FRIDAY AT 9 AM. $20 for the regular showing; $25 for the marathon shows. To get tickets and info, go here.

Drinking with the Portlanders

posted by on August 31 at 2:55 PM

Lectures and exhibitions and art fairs be damned! I forgot to mention the party-with-the-Portlanders at Lawrimore Project tonight at 9.

Shoelaces recommended. If you haven’t been to the gallery, it is at 831 Airport Way South and more or less looks like this inside:


Drugs in the Mayor’s Office?

posted by on August 31 at 2:52 PM

So, Dan’s sting at Mayor Nickels’s office on Monday has caused quite a stir.

For starters, there’s about 100 comments on Dan’s post about it.

I wanted to respond to a particular comment in the thread in a new Slog post. But before I do that, check this out: I’ve heard that the mayor’s office is: 1) writing this off as a ridiculous Stranger stunt; and 2) saying we’ve lost all our credibility. Oh no, I’ll never get an interview with the mayor again : (

Let’s see. Of course, it was a ridiculous stunt. More like a sting, actually—that was designed, in its very ridiculousness, to draw attention to Team Nickels’s ridiculous nightlife proposal. Thanks to Savage, as everyone now knows, one of Nickels’s dumb proposals—one that has startled club owners—is this unreasonable demand: “1. Security Standards. ii. Drugs. Nightclubs shall prevent patrons from entering a nightclub premises with any illegal drugs.

If a patron is able to sneak in drugs or weapons, the city can shut down the club. The scariest part being, it’s such a loosey-goosey standard, the SPD can pick and choose who they want to shut down. Raid any bar, nightclub, restaurant, coffee shop or Mariners game and search everyone in the place—you will find drugs, every time, on someone. This provision would give the city the ability to shut down any club, any time, whenever they want. Clubs with “problem” clientele or uppity, politically-active owners would be obvious targets.

Credibility? Whatever. Quit changing the topic. The credibility of the mayor’s proposal is the issue. Whether or not the mayor will speak to me again is irrelevant. If you think the mayor returns our calls now when we’ve got questions about his $4 plus billion tunnel plan, forget it.

Really, the only relevant question about credibility is Team Nickels’s credibility…and how much of it they have left with club owners, patrons, and neighbors as they push a bizarre piece of ill-prepared legislation.

Indeed, at the meeting where it was presented to club owners, the Mayor’s point person on this issue, Jordan Royer, kept addressing club owners’ concerns by saying: “Well, that’s how it’s done in San Francisco. I didn’t make this stuff up.” To which offended club owners like Jeff Steichen from the Showbox asked for specific examples of how these rules were carried out in San Francisco. Royer said he didn’t know and would have to look into it. Wait a minute?! The mayor’s office had proposed legislation based on rules that they didn’t even understand themselves. Talk about underwhelming credibility.

As Savage proved the mayor can’t do what he’s asking others to do. Unless the club is wired like the NSA, airport security, the FBI, and your mom, how the hell are clubs supposed to prevent their patrons from bringing drugs in with any certainty?

Anyway, here’s the comment I wanted to respond to…

This was nothing more than a publicity stunt. The Mayor’s henchmen had already agreed to change the language - and Dan knew it. He had two reporters at the meeting, but it didn’t fit their agenda to tell their readers how it really went down.

This is nothing more than a reporter wanting to BE the story instead of reporting the story. Dan may get kudos from his readers, but with those in the know, he (and The Stranger) have lost just about all of their credibility.—Posted by a different tim

Club owner Dave Meinert jumped in before I fired off a comment of my own. Here’s Meinert:


You are wrong. The Mayor has still not agreed to change the language, and Tim Ceiss is pressing hard to not change it. But beyond that there is the issue of the whole ordinance, which no matter the exact language, is flawed at it’s core because it basically makes club owners do the work of the Police. And Dan demonstrated how silly this is.

To say this was a publicity stunt is an incredible understatement. It was indeed, and a very funny one that effectively pointed out the ridiculousness of the nightclub ordinance to many people who might not have otherwise paid attention.

We need a serious overall policy in Seattle to deal with and support a vibrant safe nightlife. This ordinance is a joke and lacks political vision and leadership. Even many Mayoral staffers agree there is no need for the ordinance and that it won’t accomplish what the PR on it claims it will. But it will harm the music community and will result in legal businesses being shut down by government because someone doesn’t like the people or music at a club. We’ve seen it happen without this ordinance, and this ordinance will just make it easier. It seems the ordinance is being pushed by someone other than the mayor, who has generally been very pro-music since elected (Vera, AADO, Music Office, supporting Bumbershoott, etc). It is shocking to see such a blatant anti-music community ordinance coming out of his office. Hopefully Dan’s stunt will bring the whole issue to his attention and Nickels will stop this silliness.—Posted by Meinert

Finally, here’s what I said to Different Tim:

The Stranger did have two reporters at the Task Force meeting. I was one of them. Erica C. Barnett, who’s been covering the hell out of this, was the other. There was no indication at that meeting that Nickels intended to change the security language regarding drugs.

I did a long Slog post about that meeting and reported that Jordan Royer, the point person for the mayor, was evasive and unprepared. He inspired little confidence among the club owners that the mayor would even consider the club owners’ comments—or that the club owners would even get a chance to meet again to discuss the legislation.

In fact, I ran into Tim Ceis after the meeting, and he confirmed that the mayor’s office had no intention of convening the task force again.

When those “in the know” post misleading comments, they lose their credibility.

Finally, what I think is actually going on with all this: Nickels is trying to look like a law & order bad ass to old school Seattle voters because he knows that old school Seattle voters are wary of his push for big city density. Mayor Nickels is hoping his assault on nightlife will inoculate him against the charge that he’s abandoning Seattle’s small-town charm.

The Scream Is Back

posted by on August 31 at 1:57 PM

The Munchs stolen in 2004 have been recovered, and they’re not harmed. (At least they think these are the originals; testing will confirm.)

This Day in Lunch

posted by on August 31 at 1:46 PM

Um, I just ate the best thing ever at Belle Epicurean (4th and University). It’s called a Ham and Cheese Feuillette, which roughly translates as “buttery cheesy ham-ball from heaven.”

Say hello!

(Also available: buttery cheesy vegetarian-balls from heaven.)
What have I been doing with my life? Thousands of meals! Wasted!

Playgirl October 1986

posted by on August 31 at 1:17 PM


Any old queens out there got a copy of Playgirl’s October 1986 issue? It’s the issue that features shots of conservative Supreme Court candidate John Groen’s gay friend, Geoff Thompson. I’m dying to see what Thompson’s got goin’ on…

Alexander v. Groen

posted by on August 31 at 12:40 PM

If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to check out David Schmader’s hilarious interview (scroll down to the bottom) with former Playgirl centerfold Geoff Thompson, the “gay friend” Supreme Court candidate John Groen proffered as a reference when he met our endorsement board. I think Thompson sounds loony (re: candidate Groen, Thompson says dreamily, “My relationship with him is one of the most important I have with another man”). But feel free to judge for yourself. Here’s that 1999 Willamette Week article about Thompson. My favorite non-sequitur: “Thompson says he works out six days a week and does not take steroids.”

Despite his odd choice of friends, voters should obviously assess John Groen on his own merits. That is, if he has any. One of Groen’s pet claims—which he trotted out in our endorsement interview, but which we didn’t have room to address in our endorsement of his opponent, incumbent Chief Justice Gerry Alexander—is that Alexander will have to retire five years into his next term. Groen thinks that’s a bad thing. From his website:

When a candidate runs for office they must be capable of fulfilling the duties of that office. Gerry Alexander seeks re-election despite being unable to complete the next term. The Washington State Constitution mandates retirement for judges at age 75. This results in the Governor appointing a replacement, thus weakening the separation of powers between the judicial branch of government and the executive branch and politicizing the judiciary.

Politicizing the judiciary? Excuse me, but I think electing judges is the best possible way to politicize the judiciary (uh, see the above). Groen, who’s given thousands of dollars to Republicans and whose campaign is being funded by a conservative lobbying group, should know that better than anyone.

There are certainly arguments on either side of the judicial election/selection debate. But coming from someone who’s basically buying his way into office, the anti-appointment argument seems particularly obnoxious.

Let’s Get It On?

posted by on August 31 at 12:39 PM

This is a diversion, admittedly. But I’ve had “Let’s Get It On” stuck in my head. This predicament is much better than when my inner soundtrack comes on with “Deutschland, Deutschland, Ăśber Alles” (it truly is catchy).

But am I the only one who feels like the sexiness of Marvin Gaye’s ditty is dampened by the fact that he sounds like a teenage boy trying to seduce a girl he met at church with BS? Is “Don’t you know how sweet and wonderful life can be?” his version of whining about blue balls? In other words, isn’t it a little depressing when all that stellar Marvin Gayeness is cut with, like, Meatloaf, and your worst memories of your 16-year-old boyfriend?

The Scarlet Letter

posted by on August 31 at 12:26 PM

This is great: A.N. Wilson, a British biographer who writes about poet John Betjeman, got hoaxed via a forged love letter. Wilson, who received the note from one Eve de Harben (an anagram for “Ever Been Had”), published it as evidence of a nonexistent affair—but the first letter of every sentence spells: “A.N. Wilson is a shit.” Prime suspect: A rival biographer who also writes about John Betjeman. (The latter, as it happens, has a very pretty headstone.)

Full story here.

(Hooray for London, where people care enough to have literary feuds with teeth.)

Mo’ Betta Porn

posted by on August 31 at 12:23 PM

This petition, which may (which must) be a joke, found its way to me a few days ago. It demands from the porn industry “more accuracy” in how it represents fucking black people. Not all black men are bulls; not all black women are ghetto bitches. Most black men are not packing monster cocks; most black woman are not packing big butts.

It also complains about the quality and setting of black porn:

The videos available are as low budget as one can possibly get; the actors and actresses are usually taken from the most disenfranchised and marginalized portion of the population, the sets appear to be nothing more than housing project residences with cameras and lights set up. Similarly, Black oriented magazines seem to produce a fair amount of income from the most minimal of investment.

And the lack of skin tone and somatic variety:

Black women can be beautiful and sexy with natural hair yet they seem to be dangerously missing from the adult industry. Showing image after image solely of African American female buttocks simply serves to objectify and dehumanize the subjects. Apparently, lighter complexioned African American men are not considered attractive or sexual because their presence in the adult industry is minimal which only serves to reinforce the “Mandingo, cotton-picking, big-dicked-Negro-as-Buck” stereotype. That negatively defines Black manhood as being equivalent to skin tone and penis size.

The most absurd demand, and the only that leads me to believe that the petition is a hoax, is this:

The reinvestment of profits made from the adult industry Black market be made into inner city neighborhoods to improve schools and provide job training to rectify the intentional exploitation of lower income African Americans.
If the purpose behind the passage is not comedy, then someone, somewhere is watching porn films while listening to Public Enemy and somehow seeing a connection. “I like porn but wait a minute/the neighborhood supports so put some money in it.”

Another One of Those `Harvard Guys Get Really Drunk and Lose All Their Money’ Blog Posts

posted by on August 31 at 12:00 PM

Very good twice-yearly journal N+1 was having a fundraiser, and somebody ran off with the three thousand dollar proceeds.

But it wasn’t inebriation that led to the editors’ absentmindedness, Mr. Gessen said. “We’ve been much drunker than this,” he said, “but the party was so nice that we were lulled into a false sense of security. Everybody was wearing jackets; there was classical music.We didn’t think anyone was going to steal our money.”

He added: “Also, our office manager got into a fight with his girlfriend and had to leave the party, and he’s usually the guy who watches the cash box.”

All I can say is, thank God we hire eunuchs to guard the Genius Awards money.
Full story here, and you really should check out N+1, though I currently (heart) A Public Space more. (Thanks to Maggie for pointing out the story.)

Get Your Portland On

posted by on August 31 at 11:39 AM

What’s going on in Portland this season makes Seattle look drab. In the complicated (and yes, I suppose, always only half-baked) equation of comparison that factors in the sizes of the cities and balances the cool gallery activity in Seattle against what feels like a fallowness at higher levels in Seattle (SAM circling the runway, no art fair or biennial in the city proper), I think Portland is coming out ahead at the moment.

I’m going to the lecture tonight at the Henry Art Gallery at 7 pm with a bunch of Portland artists and Reed curator Stephanie Snyder to add to the computation of my ongoing equation, and you should, too.

Coming up in P-town:

1. Pierre Huyghe show at PAM, opening Sept. 23. Thanks to Jeff Jahn at PORT blog, I saw this doubting account of Huyghe’s Tate show in London. It made me reconsider Huyghe’s Whitney Biennial albino-penguin extravaganza, which struck me as likable for its blend of archness and sentimentality, but maybe it was a shade too adorable. (What comes to mind as a not-dissimilar work, but with a dash of bracing discomfort, is Douglas Gordon’s 30 Seconds Text, which I recently saw at MoMA: a sheet of white text on a black background in a dark room is lit by one hanging bulb that clicks off every 30 seconds and leaves you in a small crowd standing in the dark. The text is the account of a French doctor who elicited reactions from a human head for 30 seconds after it was guillotined.)

2. The art fair at Jupiter Hotel, Sept. 29-Oct. 1. This is the third year for the fair, and there are galleries from around the country, and, well, I’m just looking forward to seeing what a Northwest contemporary art fair can be, since there is no other, and since I haven’t been before.

3. PICA’s fourth annual Time-Based Art Festival Sept. 7-17. I still can’t decide whether to go to this. The bulk of the vis-art events seem like highly missable lectures. Anybody want to convince me otherwise?

4. Alice Wheeler showing The influence of flowers on a melancholy day, a series of new photographs, at Chambers Gallery Sept. 7-Oct. 14. Any woman who makes both of these photographs interests me:



(By the way, the second is Jefferson Street at Broadway.)

Summer Reading Cheating at the White House

posted by on August 31 at 11:23 AM

Local blogger Boom wonders: Is Bush cheating on his summer reading list?

There is mention of a contest between Mr. Rove and Mr. Bush, to see which of them will read more books this year. There are a lot of professional media outlets writing about this contest, and including a part of the Bush’s complete reading list for the year in their articles.

I got curious about whether Bush has released previous reading lists and did a little online poking around. Last summer, the Guardian UK and other sources made mention of his three-title 2005 summer reading list. The three books [were] Salt: A World History, The Great Influenza, and Alexander II: The Last Great Tsar. These three are all also mentioned on the list for books he’s read in 2006, as part of that “contest” with Rove. I doubt he’s read them twice.

One possibilty is that he started them in August of 2005 and didn’t finish any of them until January 2006, but that raises the question of how he has since completed the 57 additional titles listed in his contest record in the last eight months. Does “books read this year” include “books barely started” and “books intended to be read”, as well as “books previously read”? And of course, the fact that I found this mystery in about two minutes makes me question why no one at any of the places (CNN, US News and World Report, etc) who reported on this supposed contest bothered to check the list this way.

Is Bush cheating on his reading list? Will Rove make him forfeit the contest? What does his librarian wife believe should happen to people who cheat in summer reading programs? Why can’t the press be bothered to do a little fact checking on official media releases?

More, Please

posted by on August 31 at 11:02 AM

Having lived in New York, I think this is great. Want to own a place in Belltown for under $150K? Then get used to living the way people in big cities live…

The moda condos, set to break ground in October, promise “New York-style living,” with units as small as 296 square feet that start at $149,950.

Here’s the floor-plan, via the P-I:


But density boosters, take note: What makes a place like this livable is not just a change in attitudes about how much space a person needs. Tiny condos (and apartments) are most livable when they exist in a city with lots of places to go out to—a city with a vibrant night-life, great parks, good public transportation, cheap restaurants, etc.

In New York and other big, dense cities with expensive real estate, people live in tiny apartments and condos without much trouble because they’re almost never home—they’re at bars, they’re biking along the Hudson River (along a bike path whose speedy completion puts Seattle’s endless bike-friendliness planning process to shame), they’re on the subway to grab Korean food across town, they’re scamming their way onto the list at some club or party.

So yes, Seattle, bring on the “New York-style living.” But make sure it doesn’t end at the doors of our 296-square-foot condos.

Murder by Bus?

posted by on August 31 at 10:50 AM

Early last evening in downtown Seattle—on Third Avenue between Pine and Stewart streets, to be exact—a female pedestrian was fatally crushed by a Metro bus.

What’s more, it doesn’t seem to have been an accident. According to KIRO 7 News, witnesses reported seeing a man on a bicycle push the pedestrian under the bus. “They were arguing or they were playing and she got pushed under a bus,” said eyewitness Eris Washington to KIRO. And while police wouldn’t confirm the alleged pushing, they did detain a man that witnesses said was responsible for the death, whom police found hiding in a dumpster near the death scene.

Further details come from today’s Seattle Times, which reports the arrest of an unnamed 53-year-old man booked early this morning at King County Jail on suspicion of second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death.

Stay tuned for further details. In the meantime, here’s a stupidly upsetting story from stupidly upsetting Pierce County, where on Tuesday afternoon, a uniformed National Guardsman was brutally attacked by five white males who bashed the Guardsman while repeatedly calling him a baby-killer. Full story here.

Focus Freebies: The Gig Is Up!

posted by on August 31 at 10:44 AM

It was fun while it lasted—enjoyed Chronicles of Narnia with my son last night, then curled in bed and read a few chapters of How to Prevent Homosexuality—but it looks like Focus on the Family has decided to stop making their books, CDs, DVDs, and hate available free-of-charge.

A reader who attempted to follow Noel Black’s step-by-step instructions got this message in return:

We are unable to process your request online, as the amount you’ve chosen to donate is less than the suggested donation. We may be able to complete your request, but need you to contact us directly at (800) A-FAMILY (232-6459) so that we may serve your resource needs directly. If you wish, you may return to the previously screen and specify a different donation amount for these resources. Thank you!


posted by on August 31 at 10:43 AM

Not only is this kid’s t-shirt delightfully emblazoned, he just won the court battle to wear it to school.

Vote Yes on I-88

posted by on August 31 at 10:40 AM

I-87, the initiative that would have directed local property taxes (about $156 a year on a $400,000 home, raising $40 million a year) to smaller class sizes has been yanked from the November ballot by King County Superior Court.

(The judge sided with the city, which argued that city taxing authority could not be used to fund schools, a state responsibility…nor could citizens dictate city budgeting through initiative.)

In this week’s issue The Stranger Election Control Board endorsed I-87’s counterpart initiative, I-88, which is on the September 19 primary ballot. I-88 authorizes the ability to levy the tax. I-87, the one that got thrown out, directed the funding.

The I-88/87 campaign is appealing the decision to the Washington Supreme Court…and so, we still urge you to vote yes on I-88.

City Council Member Peter Steinbrueck has pledged, if I-88 passes, to propose council legislation enacting 87—which directs money to smaller class sizes, all-day kindergarten, and arts and music education. “I’m damn mad that the mayor and the city atorney are trying to to stop the school levy,” Steinbrueck told me this morning. He thinks the mayor is fighting the levy because it’s a funding package that competes with Team Nickels’s road maintenance levy. (I agree.) If I-88 passes, Steinbrueck says, “the city must keep faith with the voters who want to tax themselves to fund schools…and pass the money through.”

The Stranger Election Control Board agrees that these school initiatives aren’t pretty (although, neither are schools without money: We rank 46th in the nation in class size). But we had initiative supporters (funded by the WEA) in to our offices last week facing off against Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis. Ultimately, we were swayed by the logic of a Garfield Highschool parent, Beth Sanders, who told us: “It’s a choice between neat public policy and failing schools, and messy public policy and better schools.”

Footnote: City Hall should take over the schools. In our ed board meeting, Ceis kept stressing that he didn’t want to throw city money at the Seattle schools because he thinks the school board is incompetent. This undermined his other argument…namely that it was the state’s responsibility to fund schools. So, Ceis is a-okay with giving state money to incompetent leadership? At that, we pressed Ceis to have the mayor take over the schools. He laughed that off, telling us if he did that we’d probably accuse Team Nickels of conspiring in a big power grab. Actually, he’s wrong… we’re already on record supporting a city takeover.

The L.A. mayor just joined NYC, Chicago, and Boston in a similar takeover.

John Travolta: Man Smooch!

posted by on August 31 at 9:37 AM



From the National Enquirer:

John steals a smootch from an unidentified friend before the pair boarded Travolta`s personal 707 airplane together, in Hamilton, Ontario. He is in Toronto working for his role as “Big Mamma”, in the new film adaptation of “Hairspray”.

Umm, people… c’mon! He’s preparing for his role as “Big Mamma”—and that other guy must be playing his son, right? Really, your gaydar is WAY OFF.

The Morning News

posted by on August 31 at 7:09 AM

Iran: Still enriching uranium.

California: Putting a cap on greenhouse-gas emissions.

Seattle: Banning cheap booze throughout the central city.

Iraq: At least 48 dead in latest wave of violence.

Texas Republicans: Trying dirty tricks to ward off a Democratic win in DeLay’s district. .

Bikers: Out of sorts with Seattle’s bike network.

The ozone layer: On the mend, according to NASA.

Bush: Inadvertently honest in comments to Katrina survivors.

Suri Cruise’s poo: immortalized in bronze.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Project Runway

posted by on August 30 at 11:14 PM

I call bullshit on Angela getting sent home. It should have been Kayne—he indeed looked fucking ridiculous in that outfit. And how the hell does Vincent hang in there week after week? And remember when we all hated that other guy? The one who got sent home for cheating? He’s fucking Mother Theresa compared to Jeffrey—what an asshole. His outfit was cool and all, but… Christ. What a jerk.


PAX Americana

posted by on August 30 at 4:41 PM

Crowds of over-bearing geeks stared at their Nintendo DS’ as they wrapped around the corner of Meydenbauer Center in downtown Bellevue. These long lines are an anomaly for a city whose pastimes include picking up a Starbucks latte at the drive-thru while on the way to pick up the kids from soccer practice in their polished Hummer. They all waited on a warm summer day to enter Penny Arcade Expo, otherwise known as PAX06. Starting on Friday, Augest 25th gamers flew, drove, and walked to one of North America’s largest electronic consumer shows to stay the weekend, invading upscale downtown Bellevue hotels. Almost doubling in attendees every year, PAX has become an overnight success in the gaming convention world. PAX went from 3500 attendees its first year in 2004 to 19,323 attendees this year.

Created by illustrious web comic artists Tycho and Gabe of Penny Arcade, the instant success can often be attributed to not only the fame of its patrons, but the wide variety of gamers it is meant to include. Increasingly, gamers are referred to as a subculture despite the fact that many gamers consider themselves to belong to different subcultures simultaneously. PAX brings together tabletop, console, PC, card, and pen and paper games into the same arena. Tycho and Gabe assert that PAX has filled a void in the gaming convention world. Many gamers take great pride in their gaming roots, nostalgia and emotions run high as soon as someone pulls out an original Nintendo Entertainment System or the Zelda theme is played. Gamers even piled into concerts Friday and Saturday night in the main theater, where there was a host of instrumental video-game music by the “Video Game Pianist” and the NESkimos along with performances by video-game rappers MC Frontalot and Optimus Rhyme.

Since the U.S. Army has taken to rappelling from the rafters at gaming expositions, the Army has taken great efforts to target the video games market, but they are not seeking profit, instead they seek fresh recruits. The jockishness of the U.S. Army’s first-person-shooter game called America’s Army lingered at the edges of this virtual fantasyland at PAX. Hailed as a major recruiting tool and as an ultra-realistic game, the sense death provided a queasy background more suited for Jean Baudrillard or Orson Scott Card. Constant assurances that the Army consisted of hardened warriors (demonstrated by commercials using real footage of Army operations with lines like “No cheat codes. No power-ups”) clashed readily with the lottery offerings of swag such as a high-end graphics card, Army action figures, and a skateboard with a Meal Ready To Eat design, in exchange for gamer’s address and email.
Brandon Eng
Thanks to Rev. Beau for the pics

Very Focused Group

posted by on August 30 at 3:51 PM

A focus-group questionnaire distributed recently to prospective condo buyers at First Church Seattle , a sanctuary undergoing redevelopment at the intersection of 15th Avenue East and East Denny Way (right by Group Health), posed the following question: “If you are buying a $1.5 million unit, would having some smaller 750K units in the building be a drawback?” How the definition of riffraff has changed on Capitol Hill: from drunks and vagrants to folks who can afford to spend $750,000 on a condo.

First they Came for the Straight Men…

posted by on August 30 at 3:03 PM

Last month, Details paid back-handed tribute to a new generation of “plate-scraping… padded” starlets (check out some of Details “fatties” here). This month, they take on the scourge of “heterophobia”—”disdain for the heterosexual lifestyle.”

The hetero male lifestyle, anyway. American maleness, Details laments, has been hijacked by the gays, who make straight men feel inadequate, clueless, sloppy, and—worst—”lumbering.”

Straight guys are subconsciously embracing a kind of vulgar mediocrity—a wobbly drive down Minivan Lane in pleated khakis and a rumpled T-shirt. Call it the media-enabled Straight Guy Inferiority Complex.

Or call it the Declining Newsstand Sales Desperation Tactic.

Straight men have also been conditioned to strive for the prototypical “gay body”—the gym-sculpted, plucked, waxed, and otherwise ultra-groomed physique (which is, ironically, out of fashion among more and more gays). If a product can be made to seem “hot” with gay men, it can go mainstream and still retain an edge. Outside of, say, sports equipment, gay males often determine what straight males will eventually buy.

Poor, poor straight men: Always being forced to consume whatever’s “edgy” and yet “mainstream.” And yet where, exactly, do they get their ideas about what to “eventually buy” … if not, say, fashion rags like Details Magazine?

The gays are even making straight men feel bad about sex.

Dan Renzi, a journalist and blogger (and former MTV Real World gay guy), believes that straight guys “are jealous that gay sex includes blow jobs by default.” And Andrew Sullivan, the political and gay-issues commentator who blogs on, points out another reason straight guys think they’ve got it worse: “The most common gay envy I get from straight guys is simply that single gay guys can have sex and not expect to be called the next day.”

I can’t say I blame Details (whose past incarnations have included slyly gay, openly gay, and not-gay-at-all) for trying to shock. It’s competing, after all, with magazines Stuff and FHM. Personally, though, I’m sticking to Esquire.

The Bicycle Master Plan Meeting

posted by on August 30 at 2:55 PM

Yesterday’s post about Seattle’s upcoming Bicycle Master Plan generated a ton of comments, so we sent new Stranger intern Lena Baisden to last night’s public meeting about the plan. Here’s her report. (Got a report of your own? Post it in the comments. Want to listen to audio of the meeting? A guy named Dave Maass recorded it and put it online here and here.)

Ironically, there were not enough bike racks to house all the bikes at the City of Seattle Bicycle Master Plan Public Meeting last night at Gould Hall on University of Washington campus.

Bill Schultheiss, an engineer for Toole Design Group, the company Seattle hired to implement road changes in order to make Seattle the most bike-friendly city in the U.S., said that the turn out was the largest he’d seen in any city. (We have a call in to SDOT to see how much Toole is getting paid.) Tammy Sufi, another representative from Toole Design Group, announced the head count was over 450. That’s a ton of concerned folks gathered in one place to discuss the ever-mounting list of biker concerns. Unfortunately, the discussion I witnessed was not a two-way street…

Continue reading "The Bicycle Master Plan Meeting" »

Promotions, Awards All Around

posted by on August 30 at 2:44 PM

For Haditha, of course.

The Night Was … Humid

posted by on August 30 at 2:28 PM

Those in a movie mood should consider checking out Jim Emerson’s Opening Shots Project, in which a number of disparate talents wax rhapsodic about their favorite movie beginnings. Occasional indecipherable dud aside, the essays here are of a surprisingly high quality, with nary an LOL or Joel Seigalism to be found. Hell, another few dozen sites of similar quality, and the awful specter of Harry Knowles’ infamous cunnilingus-themed Blade 2 review may finally be allowed to dissipate.

Please don’t click on that last link.

The Abstinence Industry Strikes Again

posted by on August 30 at 2:08 PM

Just in time for your daughter’s “Purity Ball,” it’s the Purity Princess Survivor Kit! (Via)

Complete with “Purity Pledge, the Pink Abstinence Card, valuable information on STD’s and your worth as a girl created by God! From nail enamel quick dry spray, a cute polka dot shower cap [?!?!?!] to nail glue, a pre-threaded sewing kit, and a dual make up sharpener…this kit is for you!”

Because nothing says “purity” like eye makeup and glue-on nails.

The kit is meant as a gift for “college girls,” “purity parties,” or “even a COMING OF AGE gift for when she finally gets her period.”

If I was 18 and my dad gave me this as a going-away gift for college, I would never come home.

I couldn’t find any details on what “valuable information on STDs” comes in the Purity Princess box (STDs are God’s punishment, you wayward slut?), but here’s the (abridged) “purity pledge.”

Dear God,

Thank you for keeping me! I am so blessed to be a virgin and today I realize that I must make a pledge to show you how serious I am about keeping my virginity and staying pure!

I make a commitment, right now, that I will not have sex until I am married. … I will wait on You, Lord. You know what is best for me. … I must keep my eyes and ears from watching or hearing anything that might lead me into temptation. Help me to not even think on things that are unpure. Jesus take hold of my imagination, let it not run wild but stay focused on you and your purpose for my life! Keep alcohol and drugs away from me. Send your Holy Spirit to help and comfort me all of my days.

And here’s the father-daughter version, originally linked by Brad:


I pledge to remain sexually pure…until the day I give myself as a wedding gift to my husband. … I know that God requires this of me.. that he loves me. and that he will reward me for my faithfulness.


I, (daughter’s name)’s father, choose before God to cover my daughter as her authority and protection in the area of purity. I will be pure in my own life as a man, husband and father. I will be a man of integrity and accountability as I lead, guide and pray over my daughter and as the high priest in my home. This covering will be used by God to influence generations to come.

“Cover my daughter”? Purity “survivor”? Creeeeepy..

We <3 Honeycrisps!

posted by on August 30 at 1:55 PM

It’s true. We really do.

Sean Nelson once interviewed the apple here, and one year ago I felt it was necessary to slog about how good they are (because they really are that fucking good).

With that in mind, a kind reader named Jessica just sent in the best e-mail I’ve gotten all week.

I don’t know if you all are still obsessed with the Honeycrisp apples this year, but if you are, they are available at the Redmond Whole Foods. Fair warning, it’s their opening day, and it’s crazy. However, the apples are insanely delicious (I’ve already had two) and absolutely made up for the parking lot madhouse. QFC should be getting theirs next week.

Who wants to carpool to Redmond? I want a Honeycrisp!


posted by on August 30 at 1:52 PM

Okay, people… CONFESS. Who posted this video of CORKY from LIFE GOES ON lipsynching and dancing to Public Enemy’s FIGHT THE POWER? I don’t know… maybe you think it’s funny. IT’S NOT. You should totally be ashamed of yourself.

On the other hand… the kid can dance.

$2 off Snakes on a Plane

posted by on August 30 at 1:34 PM

I don’t like movies all that much, and I really hate how expensive they are. I dream of a satisfaction-based donation after the fact so one could pay $25 for the rare really amazing film and $2 for a crap one. Anyway, I just noticed that Costco has AMC (Cinerama, Pacific Place) tickets in two-packs (a $19 value) for $14. They have no restrictions and never expire. Chronic moviegoers could save a bundle. (Is this the most boring Slog post you’ve ever read or what? Christ.)

McGavick: Drunk at the Wheel. Democrats: Asleep at the Wheel.

posted by on August 30 at 12:38 PM

Seattle Times reporter David Postman has a post up on his blog defending the media against charges that the media was lazy for not having the McGavick DUI story…that is, before McGavick himself blogged about it.

Maybe. Although, I’ve been on the phone with the Montgomery County, MD. courts for three days now trying to find a trace of McGavick’s DUI file from 1993 (he had it expunged from his record), and so far, I’m coming up empty handed. And this is after knowing in advance that he got pulled over. (I’m still trying.)

Anyway, while people might want to cast stones at the media for getting scooped by McGavick himself on this DUI thing… I’d say, the people who got scooped were the fucking Democrats!

All you ever hear from Democrats these days is: “Man, we gotta play hardball like the Republicans. We got to play mean and dirty. Man, if I had been running Kerry’s race…” etc etc etc…

Well, my question is: Why didn’t the Cantwell campaign have this first? Per usual, Republican McGAvick was the savvy politician and framed the debate (oh, what a candid and brave mea culpa…) while the Democrats were asleep. Had the Democrats gotten it first they could have framed the debate and put McGavick—whose stump speech is about family, God, and flag—on the defensive.

On Grass

posted by on August 30 at 12:22 PM

My Eritrean friend, Rahwa, asked: “Is it just me or is this like the funniest thing ever?”
The sign translated: “Stepping on grass is not allowed.”

I Saw Snakes on a Plane Last Night

posted by on August 30 at 12:09 PM

It was not entirely believable.

Pot Cookie, Mr. Mayor?

posted by on August 30 at 11:40 AM


That’s my bike messenger bag—totally rad, my boyfriend had it custom made just for me R.E.Load Bags.


That’s my box of pot cookies—totally killer, baked just for me by a friend with a gift for creating delicious THC-packed pastries.


That’s my gun—totally fake, but real enough looking when it’s tucked in the front of your pants.


And that’s City Hall.

The mayor believes that club owners should be able to prevent folks from entering nightclubs carrying drugs and weapons. If a club can’t prevent people from entering carrying drugs and weapons, the mayor thinks the club should be shut down.

Reading the mayor’s proposed regulations for nightclubs I thought, gee, I wonder what would happen if a guy tried to enter City Hall with drugs and weapons? Would the mayor be able to “prevent” that?

I went downtown Monday to find out.


The full story is here.

I Thought Every Woman Knew This Stuff

posted by on August 30 at 11:25 AM

But just in case you were out sick from school that day: A Guide to Laying Down the Hardline in the Bedroom, by a feminist stripper. “If a woman does not want to have sex, or is uncomfortable doing a sexual act, or doing a sexual act a certain way, or simply not in the mood, the word No should be enough. End of story. If a male continues on with the pressure or merely takes what he wants, those things are coercion and rape, and are punishable by law. But if you find No gets boring or old, or if it is not so much a matter of coercion and rape, well, I suggest the following tactics for dealing with the penis-bearing oppressors when they get out of hand…
Penis-bearing overlord: “I wish you had bigger tits.”
Upstart Female: “Well, I wish you had smaller tits and a bigger cock, but I don’t make a big deal about it now, do I?”

Why Are All Those Thin and Pretty Young Woman Lined Up Around Nordstrom?

posted by on August 30 at 11:18 AM


To audition for America’s Next Top Model, of course.

Unfortunately I don’t have a camera, so I’ll just have to describe what I saw in words.

Basically, there are several hundred young women of varying degrees of natural and artificial beauty standing in line at Sixth and Pine, shifting from one high-heeled foot to the other. While I was there, a well-dressed, amply sized African-American man was bellowing at the would-be models about the healing power of the Lord, and numerous panhandlers were enjoying the view.

Raking It In, Maryhill-style

posted by on August 30 at 11:12 AM

This not-at-all photoshopped image of Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo in the northern Oregon desert about to bury their $5,000 in Genius loot arrived in yesterday’s mail.

annie and daniel.jpg

What I want to know is, what do you think of our selection of these two shysters as this year’s art Geniuses?

(I know you art diehards are lurking out there. You have the option of a nom de comments, you know. No one has to be the wiser.)

A Commercial YOU’LL NEVER SEE in the U.S.!

posted by on August 30 at 11:11 AM

From British television, introducing the Ford Sportka—a very nasty little car.

Tip o’ the hat to RT!

No Access

posted by on August 30 at 10:09 AM

In a move that’s being called “positively Orwellian” by the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), the Bush Administration has decided to “end public access to research materials” at EPA Regional libraries without Congressional consent.

Nearly 80,000 documents are being boxed up, likely never to be seen again. At least 15 of these regional libraries will be closed down by Sept. 30, 2006. They sure do move fast when it comes to erasing our society’s collective knowledge. Not so much when it comes to increasing it.

PEER press release.

Via OpEdNews.

No More Sunshine

posted by on August 30 at 9:55 AM

Project Runway is on tonight. With Robert gone, who’s Kayne gonna make out with?

And seriously, if Vincent and/or Angela don’t go home tonight, I might have to break-up with the show. It’s taking more than it’s giving, and that’s hardly the basis for a healthy relationship.


posted by on August 30 at 9:38 AM

The Henry Art Gallery is now open for blogbusiness. List of fall/winter exhibitions posted today: Bruce Nauman to neuroTransmitter. Intriguing link to the mysterious East River Project by Gretchen Bennett and Yann Novak, which as far as I can tell involves associating New York images with Seattle, and Seattle images (check the industro-luminist vision below) with New York.


Naguib Mahfouz

posted by on August 30 at 9:19 AM

The first writer to win a Nobel Prize for work in Arabic is dead, at 94.

The Morning News

posted by on August 30 at 6:12 AM

Rumsfeld loses his mind, portrays US enemies as undifferentiated fascists, critics as “morally, intellectually confused” appeasers.

Ernesto craps out, heads toward Keys as a mere tropical storm.

One year after the levees broke, Katrina victims still lack electricity, bus service, hospitals, and schools; Bush shrugs, calls flood “biblical.”

Iranian president pushes for debate with Bush; reporters, however, keep him on the defensive.

Surprise! We’re We’re worse off than we were a year ago, with more uninsured and lower earnings all around. The “good” news? Poverty is steady. (No wonder Bush & Co. wanted to bury the Census report.) Via

Connecticut Republicans move toward endorsing Lieberman. Meanwhile, in Texas, DeLay’s district rated “Leans Democratic” by Congressional Quarterly.

Paris Hilton’s album tanks, proving that there is justice in the world.

A hundred kids look on in horror as clown is crushed to death.

US Marines torture Saddam by forcing him to watch his Satanic, libidinous gay likeness on South Park? So claims the Daily Telegraph.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Dept. of Self-Abasement

posted by on August 29 at 6:56 PM

Bradley Steinbacher, Charles Mudede, and I were reflecting (boozily) on the nature of blogging and the careful, loving attention our readers pay to our errors and minor embarrassments. We love it. Really, we do. And as a reward, we have decided to throw our most dedicated critics a bone. Or three bones (plus a bonus bone!)—a series of embarrassing facts:

Charles’s first date—at the age of 17—ended because he couldn’t hide his erection 15 minutes into the date. He tried to conceal it, but he couldn’t. She left, disgusted, and he was, in his words, “mortally wounded.” (We couldn’t decide which was more embarrassing—his inability to conceal his boner or the fact that he didn’t score his first date until he had nearly graduated from high school.)

Brendan once shat himself while walking down a sidewalk. On the plus side, he was close to home. On the minus side, he was 19 years old.

When Bradley was 11, he got a pen stuck up his ass. As in, it wouldn’t come out. He says he was “experimenting” at the time. To this day he claims to be heterosexual.

(BONUS CHARLES MUDEDE ITEM: When Charles was 25 years old, he met a woman, she took him home, and in the course of the night he pissed the bed. The kicker: He hadn’t even been drinking.)

This concludes this evening’s self-mockery. Let the mockery from others begin.

Motion for Reconsideration Filed in Washington’s Gay Marriage Case

posted by on August 29 at 5:13 PM

The gay rights lawyers involved in Washington’s landmark gay marriage lawsuit have just announced they are filing a motion for reconsideration with the state supreme court.

The court upheld Washington’s ban on gay marriage in June, but the gay rights lawyers and their clients now want the court to think again about the case:

“We still believe that Washington’s Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry,” said Jon W. Davidson, Legal Director of Lambda Legal. “Instead of explaining why our clients couldn’t marry, the court told us why marriage is good for different-sex couples. Barring same-sex couples from marriage only hurts same-sex couples and their families—it doesn’t help anyone.”

Full press release in the jump…

Continue reading "Motion for Reconsideration Filed in Washington's Gay Marriage Case" »

Municipal League Endorsements

posted by on August 29 at 4:10 PM

They’re out, and in Seattle’s 43rd District, the “outstanding” rating went to Lynne Dodson.

(Stephanie Pure, Bill Sherman, Jim Street, and Jamie Pedersen all received “very good” ratings, while Dick Kelley received just a “good.”)

Arts in America: Triumphant Return!

posted by on August 29 at 3:10 PM

Most of the juicy arts news has already been covered here, here, and here, but here are a few more headlines that you can probably live without but I’ll share them with you anyways.

Jessica Simpson is ordered to shut up. Hooray!

Not everyone is afraid of Tom Cruise’s insanity. Boo!

Stephen King is up for a Quills. Whatever a Quills is.

Also, Brendan Kiley knows French and suggests the French Project.

The French Project
(MUSIQUE) About 100 years ago, a British jackass named EV Lucas wrote that “Americans are people who prefer the Continent to their own country, but refuse to learn its languages.” The French Project calls bull-merde on that by playing songs (from Serge Gainsbourg to Prince) completement en français. Featuring Erin Jorgensen (marimba, accordion), Charles Smith (autoharp), Basil Harris (bass), and Sara Edwards (guitar), it’s a little sleazy and a lot romantic, and je m’appelle totally looking forward to it. (Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 233-9873. 9 pm, $5.) BRENDAN KILEY

Lastly, let the countdown begin. The new season of Nip/Tuck starts in exactly one week. Does anyone else love this show? Because I do. And I’m not ashamed (okay I am a little ashamed) to admit it.

Yay for art!

Re: The “#1 Christian Porn Site”!

posted by on August 29 at 2:52 PM

From the “In a Nutshell” page at

Hey a little porn never hurt anybody, right? C’mon dude! Get a clue. A little porn is like a little heroine.

I’ll say.

xxxchurch is a decoy site, meant to lure Christian porn addicts into the light and away from the lurid glow of their computer screens. This site, however, outlines a “proposal for a Christian pornography.” Couples must be married, no swearing, must have instructional content (just like PBS!), all predictable and dull.

But the Christian threesomes page is an amazing bit of Biblical contortionism. The two major pitfalls to a Christian threesome (adultery and homosexuality) are artfully dodged by exegesis and paleo-cultural “common sense”:

… many lesbians do assume masculine roles and attitudes, adopt male clothing and mannerisms, and play the part of a male in their relationships with women. Women who fall into this category (“butch” lesbians, or “bulldykes”) are indeed going against nature with regards to their sexuality. At the same time, however, there are many women who engage in lesbian or bisexual activity who nevertheless maintain a traditional feminine role and demeanor (i.e., “lipstick” lesbians). Since there is no specific prohibition against lesbian sex, as long as these women remain within the boundaries of the female role prescribed by Scripture, and submit to the authority of the men in their lives, we assume it is permissible.

Our worst fears are confirmed: God is a fan of The L Word.

One Man’s Treasure is Another Man’s Torture

posted by on August 29 at 2:16 PM


As someone who loves South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut a great deal, I’ve always been slightly confused by the subplot involving the homosexual relationship between Satan and Saddam Hussein. To me, the selection of Saddam for Satan’s lover always smacked of some last-minute replacement after studio heads nixed the idea of the Devil getting it on with Hitler. But now the choice of Saddam finally makes sense, as Yahoo! News reports that the actual Saddam has been made to repeatedly watch the movie in which his paper-puppet likeness sings, dances, and buttfucks Satan.

Speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone said US Marines guarding the former dictator during his trial for genocide were making him watch the movie “repeatedly”. “I have it on pretty good information from the Marines on detail in Iraq that they showed him the movie last year. That’s really adding insult to injury. I bet that made him really happy,” Stone said.

Full story here.

Krump City

posted by on August 29 at 1:56 PM

I don’t know how this happened, but I seem to have become The Stranger’s go-to guy for all things Krump.

So, as part of my Krump-monitoring responsibilities, I now point you to the Youngs Town Cultural Arts Center, 4408 Delridge Way SW, where tomorrow, the “hottest local Krump families” will be “battling for the title of certified krump.”

Seattle has Krump families? Who knew?

(Doors at 5:30 pm, show starts at 6, cost is $15.)


Re: The Bicycle Master Plan

posted by on August 29 at 1:24 PM

I won’t be able to attend the Bicycle Master Plan meeting tonight—I’ve got a bad cold and I’m going to be at home tonight packing an overnight bag in case I’m arrested at work Wednesday afternoon (full details in the paper that hits the streets tomorrow), but here’s an issue I’d like to see addressed: How come there aren’t any fucking bike racks at Safeco Field?

There’s one—one!—in the parking lot across the street on the southwest side of the park, but there aren’t any on the sidewalks around the park. There’s no place to lock your bike on the north side of the park at all. So if your seats are in, say, the northeast corner of the park, you’re expected to lock your bike at the other side of the park and waste 20 or 30 minutes walking all the way back to your seats. There are no other options around Safeco—no parking meters, no signs posts. There’s nothing you can lock a bike to except for the occasional big, green garbage can.

If we want people to ride their bikes to Safeco on game day—and we do, right?—it would make sense to have bike racks all around the stadium, near every entrance. Every family that bikes to the park—which I like to do with my son—represents on less car crowding downtown on game days. Cyclists should be able to ride up to the gate nearest their seats, lock up, and stroll in. Cyclists should be rewarded for riding to the game, not penalized.

The sidewalks around Safeco are wide enough to accommodate bike racks, and if racks were strategically placed along parts of the street where there are no crosswalks they would serve a crowd control function as well, funneling people toward the marked crosswalks.

The “#1 Christian Porn Site”!

posted by on August 29 at 12:48 PM

Bizarre. And completely SFW.

In Reproductive News

posted by on August 29 at 12:43 PM

Cautious optimism edition:

Vermont minors will continue to have access to over-the-counter emergency contraception, despite an FDA ruling restricting access to women 18 years of age and older.

Ortho-McNeil backs down, agrees to roll back the price of contraceptives after raising prices from pennies a month to more than $18 in some cases. The decision sent family planning clinics into a tailspin, Slate reported earlier this month. Ortho did not, however, say how much it planned to roll back prices on its popular contraceptives.

New Orleans birthrate soared by 39% after Katrina, due largely to lack of access to contraceptives in the wake of the storm.

Katherine Harris Is Gay

posted by on August 29 at 11:29 AM

Happy, I mean, she’s happy. Happy about God. The former Secretary of State of Florida, now running for U.S. Senate, says in an interview with Florida Baptist Witness that…

The Bible says we are to be salt and light. And salt and light means not just in the church and not just as a teacher or as a pastor or a banker or a lawyer, but in government and we have to have elected officials in government and we have to have the faithful in government and over time, that lie we have been told, the separation of church and state, people have internalized, thinking that they needed to avoid politics and that is so wrong because God is the one who chooses our rulers.

In answer to the question: “Do you support civil rights protections on the basis of sexual preference?”

Civil rights have to do with individual rights and I don’t think they apply to the gay issues. I have not supported gay marriage and I do not support any civil rights actions with regard to homosexuality.

Mmm. Delicious Katherine Harris. And check out that glamour photo! Someone’s been to the mall.


Every Child Needs a Mother and a Father

posted by on August 29 at 11:03 AM

Three year-old Marcus Fiesel was placed in a foster home—and luckily for Marcus, he had opposite-sex foster parents. Only a foster mother and a foster father, you see, can provide a young boy with gender-appropriate role models he needs. Placing Marcus with a same-sex couple would amount to “state sanctioned child abuse,” according to religious conservatives.

So how’s Marcus doing in the home of his opposite-sex foster parents? Not as well as you might hope.

The foster parents of Marcus Fiesel, a 3-year-old boy, have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to WKRC Local 12.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters, Sheriff Simon Leis, Jr and Clermont County Prosecutor Donald White held a news conference at 3 p.m. to announce the arrest of David and Liz Carroll, Marcus Fiesel’s foster parents. They are charged with involuntary manslaughter, but more serious charges are expected.

Deters said David and Liz Carroll placed Marcus in a closet for two days, before going to a family reunion in Williamsburg, Ky. Aug. 4. When they returned, he was dead.

David Carroll is accused of burning the boy’s body in Brown County…. The Clermont County Children’s Services has taken charge of the Carroll’s four children.

People get upset when I post these stories—and people should, as they’re pretty fucking upsetting. As a parent and a human being, I take no pleasure in reading these stories. Frankly, they freak the hell out of me—it’s impossible to read about a child suffering without imagining your own child suffering. So why post ‘em? Blogger Pam Spaulding has been posting similar tales of horrific hetero child abuse over at Pam’s House Blend. Says Pam

None of these horrifying cases has anything to do with heterosexuality, of course. But there is no call to regulate the rights of straight folks to have children based on the fact that some heterosexuals, clearly do not deserve to be anywhere near a child. One cannot judge a person’s character or ability to care for and love a child based on orientation alone, but that’s exactly what goes on in many states where the rights of gays and lesbians are constantly under attack when it comes to their ability to adopt of foster children who need loving homes.

Drug Applications

posted by on August 29 at 11:01 AM

This just in from Gov. Christine Gregoire’s office:

Pharmacy Board Two positions open in January. Applications are being accepted now! Establishes policy for the practice of pharmacy, including licensing, disciplinary hearings and enforcement of laws pertaining to legal drugs; licenses the manufacture and sale of poisons. Qualifications: Two Licensed Pharmacists.

Two terms (on the 7-seat board) expire next year: Chair Asaad Awan and Seattle pharmacist Donna Dockter—the pharmacist who pushed conscience or refusal clause language earlier this year.

To that I say: Apply, apply, apply all you elitist, urban, secular pharmacists. It’s not clear to me how the recent FDA rule on Plan B will play out in the drug store (and the under 18 issue is certainly still a sticking point), so it’d be nice to stock the board. Dockter can reapply too.

Food on a Train

posted by on August 29 at 11:00 AM

Took the train to Olympia this weekend. The train is a beautiful way to travel—the way the lakes and cargo containers and small towns open up and slide by; the way you can maneuver, do work on your laptop, lay back and read, play Scrabble, do cartwheels through the cars, meet people. Passing through Tacoma afforded everyone an awesome view of the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge going up. It’s a second bridge placed right next to the first one. Its caissons, towers, cables, and anchorage are all in place; all that’s missing is the deck, the part of the bridge that cars will drive on. It’s beautiful right now, with the cables that will one day hold up the deck just dangling in the wind. Here’s a webcam from the center tower of the bridge, so you can see what I mean.

But travel on the trains of the Northwest was frustrating this weekend. On Friday, owing to a derailing near Tacoma, all the trains were hours late, and we were down to sharing one track with freight trains and other passenger trains traveling in both directions. Lots of not-going-anywhere. Eventually I got so hungry that I decided I wasn’t going to wait until Olympia to eat and ventured back to the “bistro” car. Clever name. In the bistro car I ordered a chicken sandwich with mozarella and sundried tomatoes. Sounds delicious, right? Most disgusting thing I’ve held in my hand in days. First of all, they gave it to me microwaved to a wet, blubbery cloud (I didn’t ask for it to be microwaved). Then I bit into it. What was inside smelled like chicken, but it had been processed to the point of abstraction. It was gray and glistening. Mmm. Meat-approximating chemicals!

I threw it away.

Hours later, in downtown Olympia, I had a dee-licious slice of olive and mushroom pizza at Old School Pizzeria (108 Franklin St NE). It was absolutely worth the wait.

I Am Not A Crook

posted by on August 29 at 10:46 AM

The FBI is investigating Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light.

On the always great Edward Winkleman today: inventing a new art movement. I’d say we’re in late-ThatsallIgotism, mid-Sizzlemyshizelism, and early-Geewilikerism. Whatcha think?

Pee Diddy!

posted by on August 29 at 10:17 AM

Sean “H.R. Puff ‘N’ Diddy” Comb’s video diary continues with this revealing look at a superstar URINATING. Why is he peeing in front of millions of people? Because he’s CRAZY!! Like Martin Lawrence crazy. Plus, he has a special moral for the viewers at the end of the video—call it a “Pee S.A.” if you will.

The Bicycle Master Plan

posted by on August 29 at 9:50 AM

Ever notice that this city seems to have no over-arching plan for integrating bicyclists into the urban commute? The Stranger has, and last year I took a bike tour of some of the city’s meanest streets to point out how bad it can get for cyclists.

The city has noticed, too, and tonight it’s holding a city-wide meeting to work on… wait for it… a bicycle master plan.

The plan is due out late next year, which is slightly comical. Seattle, which Mayor Nickels wants to make the most bike-friendly city in America, won’t have a bicycle master plan until the end of 2007?

If the mayor wants to reduce Seattle’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2012, as he’s so famously pledged to do, shouldn’t having a master plan for bikes be on more of a fast-track?

In any case, the meeting is tonight. If you care about bikers’ rights and routes in this city, get thee to it.

UPDATE: I forgot about the two things I enjoyed most about the story I’ve linked to above: It was a chance to write a brief homage to Charles Mudede and also a chance to propose a theory for urban bike integration more radical than anything the city is likely to come up with in its “master plan.” First, this image of a busy intersection in China:


With a tip of the hat to Stranger writer Charles Mudede, who can work a tenet of Marxism into almost any story, I would like now to briefly mention Marx’s theory on the three stages of economic development. Basically, Marx believed that the imperfections of feudalism would give rise to the need for capitalism, and that the imperfections of capitalism would then give rise to the need for communism. Leaving aside the issue of whether one thinks Marx was correct, I’d like to propose a parallel theory on the three stages of bike-transportation development.

The first stage would be the car-centered city, a stage whose imperfections we are all familiar with. It has helped produce, to name just a few things: environmental degradation, sprawl, terrorism funded by our oil dependence, global warming, and the obesity epidemic. The second stage would be the one Seattle, at the direction of Mayor Nickels, is trying to get to: the stage of modifying the existing corridors of the car-centered city to accommodate both bikes and cars—the stage of compromise, of separate but equal, of bike lanes divided from car lanes. The imperfections of this phase will be similar to the imperfections of racist “separate but equal” policies; as with with white-supremacist thinking, car-supremacist thinking is not likely to create a biking experience separate but equal in comfort to that of driving.

The final stage may be as hard for Americans to get their heads around as Marx’s third stage: communism. But it is not hard to picture. It would look a lot like the images we see of intersections in developing Asian countries, where there are no separate lanes for bicycles, but rather a chaotic integration in which bicycles fill the street along with cars, rickshaws, pedestrians, and other locomotion. It turns out, against all of our American intuition, and also against our penchant for order and clean division, that this kind of anarchic arrangement is actually safer.

Continue reading "The Bicycle Master Plan" »

Weed and Seed

posted by on August 29 at 9:05 AM

Every now and then you pick up the paper and read about the police doing a flyover, searching local rural areas and farms for pot plants. Can’t have that marijuana growin’ round here! Gotta keep demand for and the price of BC Bud high! When pot plants are spotted, the police get a warrant, storm on to the property, and arrest the person or persons suspected of growing pot—if they can find them. Most people who grow outside are smart enough to grow on public land. Or someone else’s land.

Flyovers are just one hugely expensive aspect of our hugely ineffective drug war. Somehow despite the never-ending flyovers and busts, no serious dent is ever made in the availability of pot.

But if the police want to waste their time searching for pot, perhaps we should make it easier and cheaper for them to find it? The Duluth News Tribune reports today that sprinkled pot seeds into a planter outside the front doors of the West Duluth police substation.

During law enforcement’s briefing on how they were going to conduct the ATV [pot] sting Saturday, [reporter Janna] Goerdt heard two members of a rival news team talking about “something interesting” in front of the police station at 5315 Grand Ave.

Eavesdropping like a good reporter, Goerdt filed the comment away in her memory bank and accompanied law enforcement on the ATV crackdown.

When that assignment was over, Goerdt returned to the police station and took a walk around the building. She found the marijuana plants. Although she said she didn’t know that they were marijuana plants.

She plucked one of the leaves and brought it back to the newspaper. “I needed some evidence,” she said. “I didn’t know if anyone would believe me….”

Duluth City Gardner Tom Kasper was given the leaf for inspection Monday and confirmed that it came from a marijuana plant.

Kasper immediately traveled to the West Duluth police substation to inform neighborhood supervising police Lt. John Beyer of the pot growing in the front-yard planter.

Beyer pointed out that he, his police officers and the public use the backdoor entrance to the police station. The front door just off busy Grand Avenue is usually locked and not used.

“The only thing I can say is somebody has a sense of humor,” Beyer said. “Now they’ll read about it in the paper and say, ‘Yeah, that was me.’ “

Goerdt provided the scoop and Kasper did the scooping.

The gardener dug out the 12 marijuana plants by their roots and presented them to Beyer. They were 4 to 6 inches high and Kasper estimated they had been growing about three weeks.
Beyer said the plants will be placed in a paper bag and destroyed when the next batch of police-confiscated drugs are gotten rid of.

Congrats to the person who seeded the planters outside the police station in Duluth. But I see this as something more than a practical joke. Sure, it shows a sense of humor, but seeding a city with pot is also be a wonderful form of civil disobedience. Just like they call it “dope” for a reason (an anti-pot PSA that was popular when I was in grade school), they call it “weed” for a reason too. It grows like one—it grows wild all over the world. We can’t eradicate pot anymore than we could eradicate dandelions.

It seems to me that if the police want to waste time searching for pot, well, why not make it easier for them to find? Let’s seed the whole city—public parks, every last concrete planter downtown, the “green” roof at city hall, Discovery Park, Freeway Park, Cal Anderson Park, the Zoo, along roads and highways. If we keep the police busy pulling up pot plants in the city, perhaps they’ll have less time on their hands to harass serious grow operations in the boonies.

Some will say that it’s a waste of good pot seeds, but pot seeds are plentiful and cheap. And it won’t be a waste if spreading a few bushels of pot seeds all over town draws attention to just how wasteful the drug war is. Or if it eats up so much police time that they don’t have time to go after all the pot growing in rural areas.

So what do you say, Stoners? Shall we seed the city? Not now, of course, but in early spring?


posted by on August 29 at 8:24 AM

Michiko Kakutani gets seriously vicious in this review of Jonathan Franzen’s new memoir, “The Discomfort Zone.”

First Ben Marcus and now this…

In his new memoir, “The Discomfort Zone,” Mr. Franzen turns his unforgiving eye on himself and succeeds in giving us an odious self-portrait of the artist as a young jackass: petulant, pompous, obsessive, selfish and overwhelmingly self-absorbed.

Ground Control to Southern Afghanistan?

posted by on August 29 at 7:30 AM

Another Taliban suicide bombing. This one kills 17, is the second deadliest of the year in the wild south of the country.

The Morning News

posted by on August 29 at 6:53 AM

Iraq: At least 40 dead in battles between Shiites and Iraqi forces. “We have reduced the amount of violence,” US military spokesman says.

The world’s oldest person: dead at 116, leaving a 115-year-old man to claim the title.

Katrina recovery progress: “Amazing,” according to Bush.

Katrina recovery progress: Minimal, according to Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch.

(Bonus: TP’s Katrina timeline, just in time for the one-year anniversary.)

Karr: Krazy, but not guilty.

British would-be terrorists: Ill-prepared, but still ominous, according to investigation.

Ernesto: Headed for Florida.

Gender: No longer an issue for students at one private Oakland elementary.

World flags not appropriate for Denver classrooms—even geography class.

Monday, August 28, 2006


posted by on August 28 at 7:10 PM

GOP Senate candidate Mike McGavick recently apologized for his work on the 1988 Slade Gorton campaign when he ran an ad saying Gorton’s opponent, Mike Lowry, supported marijuana legalization. “We should have pulled it once evidence mounted that [the ad] was not an accurate reflection of his views,” McGavick wrote on his campaign blog last week.

Well, McGavick just released a radio ad accusing his current opponent, Maria Cantwell, of opposing the sales tax deduction on federal income tax—which brings in about $550 on average for Washington residents a year.

McGavick bases this wild claim on the fact that Cantwell voted against extending the sales tax deduction in a recent smorgasbord GOP bill. Of course she voted against it: The bill also included such GOP class warfare goodies as gutting the estate tax on the richest .2 percent of heirs and imposing a tip deduction on wait staff—which would have socked working class wages down to about $2.15 an hour.

Here’s what’s worse about McGavick’s ad: The reason Washingtonians have been able to save an average of $550 a year is because Cantwell struck a bipartisan deal to extend the sales tax deductibility provision in 2003. Meanwhile, she’s the lead sponsor this year, along with Texas Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, of a bill that would make the sales tax deduction permanent.

Saying Cantwell is against the sales tax deduction certainly isn’t an accurate reflection of Cantwell’s views.

The Democrats have asked accurate! Mike to pull the ad.

Of course, McGavick is being technically! accurate when he says Cantwell voted against the recent sales tax deduction. But he’s also being disingenuous and uncivil.

The Photos of Alan Chin

posted by on August 28 at 6:48 PM

Given all the media attention currently being given to the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it seems like the appropriate time to share some of the extraordinary images captured by photojournalist Alan Chin. Both heartbreaking and beautiful, his work is something I think everyone should see:

katrina 1.jpg

katrina 2.jpg

katrina 3.jpg

More of his work can be viewed here.

Predictions of a Democratic Takeover

posted by on August 28 at 5:45 PM

Chris Bowers over at MyDD has just posted his forecast for the House elections this fall (a forecast whose thoroughness, he says, “easily surpasses anything publicly available anywhere in the nation”) and he’s predicting a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives.

Note to local political nerds: Those who were interested in MyDD’s critique of a recent TV ad put out by eastside Democrat Darcy Burner will also be interested to hear that MyDD is now calling Burner’s race a “toss up.” (“Should be ripe, but poor first ad and poll,” says Bowers.)

Bowers’ overall summary:

I currently project Democrats to take 15-25 seats, which would give them a narrow majority of between 218-228 seats. I am a little worried that in the final decisions I was too optimistic by a tier in a few races (FL-16, ID-01, IL-06, NY-24, OH-01, OH-02, PA-07, PA-08, TX-17 and WA-08) and too pessimistic by a tier in others (FL-13, IN-02, NY-20 and WV-01). Overall I think it is a very good forecast even if, perhaps, very slightly too optimistic.

Via Kos.

The Back Room at Hattie’s Hat Is Loud, and the Shark in the Shark Tank Looks Sad

posted by on August 28 at 5:03 PM

Also, Linda’s new Ballard bar, King’s Hardware, is not yet open, although a certain daily paper said that it would be as of last Thursday.

Dept of Mind in Gutter

posted by on August 28 at 2:25 PM

Seeing this headline, triggered an image of this guy doing something unsavory.

In slightly more civilized news: A 1947 issue of the New Yorker published this item on a psychologist who helps performers fight stage fright. His treatment (which can be reduced, simply, to “think happy thoughts”) does not include any of the methods pursued by the celebrities mentioned in John Lahr’s good—not great, but good—essay on stage fright in this week’s New Yorker (Sorry, it’s not online.) Some go for drinking. Some go for spanking. Some go for “slapping the shit out of De Niro.” Some go for disappearing in the middle of a run, driving to Jutland, and swearing never to perform on stage again. The latter was Stephen Fry, the “man with the brain the size of Kent.” The others you’ll have to find out for yourselves.

Re: 0.17 & Mike McGavick

posted by on August 28 at 1:22 PM

The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration reports that drunken drivers drive under the influence about 772 times before being caught.

This raises a question. And well, KIRO’s Dori Monson asked it on the air on Friday—after McGavick confessed on his campaign blog that he was once cited for DUI when he “cut a yellow light too close.”

Monson: First and foremost the drunk driving citation arrest in 1993—you were point one seven.

McGavick: Right.

Monson: That’s not just drunk, that’s stinking drunk, behind the wheel.

McGavick: Look I clearly had too much to drink. That is no question. I should have never gotten behind the wheel. It was a terrible mistake.

Monson: Every time somebody is arrested for driving drunk, the cops tell me, they’ve very likely driven drunk 50 times for every one time they’re caught. How many times did you drive drunk and not get caught?

McGavick: (loud exhale) No, that, I, that, all I know is this — when I, when I got arrested and and learned more about what I had done, I resolved that that would never happen again and I can guarantee you it has not happened again and it will not happen again.

Monson: You have never been anywhere near the legal limit behind the wheel since 1993?

McGavick: No. If I think there’s some question of whether I should drive, I don’t drive.

Monson: Okay.

McGavick has won quite a bit of praise for his candor. But it seems to me that he’s actually raised a much larger question. And—at least on the Dori Monson show—he wasn’t candid about it at all.

For starters, McGavick says he was driving home from “several celebrations” honoring his then new relationship with his current wife. So, was he driving from celebration to celebration getting drunker and drunker? Mainly, as a friend of mine points out: DUIs are like cockroaches…if you’ve got one….

I’ve got a call into the McGavick campaign.

Karr Won’t Be Charged

posted by on August 28 at 1:20 PM

There was no DNA match. Not guilty, just crazy. But, hey, that media frenzy sure was fun to watch.


posted by on August 28 at 12:41 PM


So HUMP 2 is entirely sold out—two weeks before the event. There are still people who want tickets and we’re hearing from them. We feel your pain, really we do, and we intend to do something about it. Be sure to pick up this week’s paper for info about any additional HUMP screenings that we can manage to squeeze on to the schedule. We’re not making any promises, but we’ll see what we can do.

This week we’ll also be announcing times and ticket availability for HUMP 2 Marathons. At the marathons every film submitted to HUMP—not just the films that made it into competition, but every last film—will be screened. The HUMP 2 Marathons are intended to honor the hard work that everyone put into their HUMP submissions—this year we wanted to make sure that every HUMP entry was screened—and to allow folks whose taste for porn is bottomless to come and gorge themselves.

Stay tuned for updates!

“Sports Corset”!?!

posted by on August 28 at 12:21 PM

Oh, yes.

With real boning and laces.

Rhymes with “Bone”

posted by on August 28 at 12:09 PM

So I was at two—count ‘em, two!—of the Ms games this weekend. Good stuff.

Saturday night I sat down near the Ms dugout, where I got to inspect one of the Ms newest—and hottest—players, T.J. Bohn. A minor-leaguer called up from Tacoma, Bohn has shaggy blond hair that flips out from under his baseball cap. We were thrilled to be in the park for Bohn’s first Major League hit—a single—and even more thrilled to be sitting close enough to get this picture of Bohn in the dugout.


If Bohn makes the team next year we’re going to start a fan club—“The Bohners”—and get some t-shirts printed up. (UPDATE: Apparently Bohn pronounced his name “Bahn,” but so what?)

Sunday afternoon I sat up near the ozone hole with Sherman Alexie and a lovely couple—Mr. and Mrs. O-L—who bought the going-to-an-Ms-game-with-Alexie-and-Savage package in last year’s Strangercrombie. We had a great time roasting our asses off in the nosebleed seats. While we were shooting the shit Sherman told us that Randy Johnson once hit a bird with a pitch. I found that hard to believe, and Sherman he told me to look it up on YouTube when I got home. Well, what do you know…

Pedersen Plays the Gay Card

posted by on August 28 at 12:02 PM

Or maybe it’s the P-I that’s playing the gay card for him. In any case, today’s article brings yet another opportunity to wonder: Is homosexuality (and $140,00) the magic formula for winning in Seattle’s 43rd District this year?

The P-I says:

Of the many qualities and qualifications Jamie Pedersen brings to the race to take Seattle’s open seat in the state House of Representatives, one may carry more weight than all the rest.

Pedersen is gay.

The evidence:

The 43rd District is smack in the middle of the metropolitan area with the nation’s third-highest concentration of same-sex couples in the nation, according to 2004 data from The Gay and Lesbian Atlas.

So, being the only gay candidate could matter a lot.


Last month, the State Supreme Court upheld the state’s Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits gay marriage… Political observers say the anger in the gay community generated by the court ruling could mobilize gay voters. That alone could influence the outcome of the September primary, which, in the solidly Democratic district will almost certainly determine the winner.

Close readers of the Slog will know that we’ve been on both sides of the debate over whether Pedersen’s sexual preference is important. Our endorsments, out this week, should settle where we stand on that score — or, at least, where a majority of our endorsement board stands. Until then, what do you think?

Is Pedersen’s homosexuality going to make you vote for him?

Goodbye, Hoss, Another Loss

posted by on August 28 at 12:01 PM


Despite the hopes of organizations like Cornish College of the Arts, which offered to help keep Barry McGee’s 20-by-80-foot blazing red graffiti mural, Hoss, in Seattle, the mural is headed back to San Francisco, where McGee lives, this week. (I first wrote about Hoss’s predicament here.)

“It really is too bad,” said Eric Prager, the board president of Consolidated Works. With no staff and, by Friday, no home, the multidisciplinary nonprofit arts organization is nothing more than a question mark. Earlier this year trustees decided to vacate the South Lake Union warehouse at 500 Boren Avenue North after nearly four years there, citing expensive needed seismic repairs to the space and the lack of a long-term lease.

The mural was ConWorks’s only remaining asset, really, and the only significant work of art it was holding. McGee painted it in 1999 at Rice University, then left it with ConWorks shortly thereafter, in an ownership agreement laid out in a letter between the artist and then-directors Matthew Richter and Meg Shiffler.

The letter has not been found, but ConWorks is returning the piece anyway. The artist may have been amenable to the piece staying in Seattle if it hadn’t sustained damage when ConWorks moved from Terry Avenue in 2001, Prager said: “Barry looked at photos of the piece and did not think it properly represented his work.” (Prager said the piece was damaged when painted parts were pressed against each other during that transition.)

This week, Hoss will be divided into its painted parts, boxed up, and put on a southbound plane, at the expense of the artist or one of his galleries.


posted by on August 28 at 11:31 AM

Walking down Rainier Avenue between Columbia City and Hillman City this weekend, I came across this sign on the front of a neighborhood business:


The “Roach Hotel,” of course, refers to the controversial housing project for 100 mentally ill homeless men proposed by the Downtown Emergency Service Center. Walking through the neighborhood, I could certainly sympathize with residents’ concerns. Hillman City, connected to Columbia City by an ugly stretch of Rainier Ave. dotted with abandoned lots, auto repair shops, and a few struggling convenience stores, is in transition. It probably isn’t fair to concentrate social services in the neighborhood just as it’s starting to deal with endemic poverty and crime. (On Rainier alone, there are already at least three prominent social-service agencies, including a group that helps recently released prisoners transition back into society, located just a few blocks from the proposed homeless housing project.)

Still… “Roach Hotel”? That’s ugly, pointless, mean invective, and hardly the level of debate I’m used to seeing in Seattle. Whichever side wins this argument, I hope cooler heads prevail in framing the discussion.

Oh, And.

posted by on August 28 at 11:12 AM

Britain chose Tracey Emin for the 52nd Venice Biennale next year.

Eric Fredericksen wrote me:

So, Canada = David Altmejd. Britain = Tracey Emin. USA = Felix Gonzalez Torres. I think US wins so far, even if we did have to exhume a dead guy to do it.

Very much agreed. I’ve never seen Altmejd’s grotesque sculptures in person, but on paper I’m not blown away. And Felix’s empty bed on a billboard beats Tracey’s look-at-me bed any day. Remember, in the movie Radio Days, the story of the baseball player who had heart? Gonzalez-Torres is like him, only seriously.

Things I Missed

posted by on August 28 at 10:49 AM

Back from Maine, from swimming with the American eel in a pond that seemed large enough to be a lake and lacked scum entirely, and catching up on the news.

Seattle Art Museum spokeswoman Erika Lindsay this morning says that with the concrete strike over, SAM is moving forward with construction on the Olympic Sculpture Park. “We will hopefully be announcing the new opening date for the park after Labor Day.”

Portland Art Museum hired a director, a man from Tulsa.

Two new pieces of architecture to chew on, museums in Toledo (LATer Christopher Hawthorne compares artistic and architectural minimalism, and declares triumph) and Denver (Paul Goldberger expresses whiplash-inducing ambivalence about Libeskind).

(The Toledo museum contrasts with the Museum of Glass by Arthur Ericksen in Tacoma. Toledo’s Glass Pavilion is thin—its utility systems are underground or in a nearby building—light, and, well, glassy, whereas Ericksen’s Tacoma monument is thick, the museum itself set underneath a heavy burden of concrete and steel so that it feels as though it is underground.)

Hillary’s Village

posted by on August 28 at 10:36 AM

My Father:

“Makorokoto (congratulations) on the birth of your son,” maiguru (older aunt) says to him. “Thank you,” he says to maiguru in response. But how can he say such a thing? How can he thank her for congratulating him? He did not have the child by himself. His father and mother had that child. His wife had that child. We all had that child. In traditional Manica culture he is supposed to say “tese (for us all).” The congratulations is for us all.
As my father is saying this, I cant help thinking (in the context of the present presidency, the present war, deep tax cuts, soaring oil profits) that Hillary Clinton’s African village is now dated, a thing of the past, even laughable in its innocence. The last decade was a soft decade.

The Curse of the Beatles’ Wives’ Legs?

posted by on August 28 at 10:14 AM

While Paul McCartney’s embroiled in a bitter divorce from wife Heather Mills (who lost one of her legs in a traffic accident), another Beatle’s wife’s leg has made headlines:

Horse breaks leg of Ringo Starr’s wife.

Fifty bucks says Yoko gets a busted kneecap in a “random” attack by the end of the week…

The Seattle Times: Predictable. And Predictably Wrong.

posted by on August 28 at 10:10 AM

We knew it was coming. And it did.

Yesterday, the Seattle Times published an anti-estate tax editorial.

What a load.

Here’s the lead graph (footnotes are mine):

The Seattle Times opposes all estate taxes. This state’s death tax, which has a top rate of 19 percent (1), is joined to a federal death tax (2) that has a permanent top rate of 55 percent (3). The supporters of this tax argue that it is OK because it applies only to estates over $2 million.(4) But this is a tax on assets, not cash in hand. There is scarcely a block in Seattle that does not have $2 million worth of houses on it (5), and in business, $2 million is fairly small change.

(1) The first $2-4 million (single/couple) is exempt from the tax. This means the full value of the estate isn’t taxed at 19%. In fact, the rate is graduated, so 19% hits only a portion of an estate that is valued well above $4 million. (In fact, the 19% doesn’t kick in until $9 million.) Because of the $2-$4 million exemption (and the $5 million that isn’t taxed at 19%), the net effective tax rate is far less.

(2) Up to 46% of your state estate tax payment is deductible from your federal taxes.

(3) The current top rate for the federal estate tax is 46%, not 55%. Get your facts right.

(4) That’s right. The state estate tax only applies to estates valued over $2 million for an individual or $4 million for a couple. That means: Of the 47,000 deaths in Washington state estimated to happen in 2006 less than 250 estates will pay the tax: One half of one percent of the richest estates. In other words: More than 99.5% of Washington estates don’t pay the tax.

(5) “There is scarcely a block in Seattle that does not have $2 million worth of houses on it…” Yes, I guess if you add up the values of all the houses on a block in Seattle, it probably does come out to $2 million, but that’s kind of irrelevant (or intentionally misleading…or just poorly written…) The fact remains: Only 250 estates will be affected by the tax. Again: 99.5% of estates wont pay.

The Seattle Times editorial concludes:

The final argument for this tax is that government is sorry to impose it, but that government needs the money. This is nonsense.(6) The federal tax brings in barely 1 percent of revenues.

(6) Nonsense? The tax brings in $100 million a year. It all goes to targeted education funding like creating 7,900 higher ed slots, increased financial aid for college students, and a learning assistance program for K-12 students. Indeed, this is a small percentage of revenues (state revenues are about $13 billion). Look, it’s certainly a shame that these education programs make up such a small portion of state spending, but don’t blame the victim, man. Again: That small percentage goes to school funding. If the state drops the tax on the richest one half of one percent of estates, who does the Seattle Times think should make up the difference?

Tyger, Tyger, Burning Bright

posted by on August 28 at 10:06 AM

In the city streets of the night, in the form of this video project, parts of which appear to be shot in Seattle: From the website: “At night projections from moving cars are shone on the buildings downtown. Each car projects a video of a wild animal. The animal’s movements are programmed to correspond to the speed of the car: as the car moves, the animal runs along it speeding up and slowing down with the car, as the car stops, the animal stops also.”

EDIT:Click here to have the G-rated Quicktime video open in its own window.

Monday Morning Sports Report

posted by on August 28 at 10:02 AM

The Mariners swept the Red Sox this weekend, forcing some 20,000 invading Boston fans to contemplate ritual suicide in Pioneer Square.

The Seahawks are gearing up to crush the dreams of a number of players. Also, if anyone has a spare Tight End kicking around, please send him the team’s way.

Tiger Woods won again on Sunday, bringing his career win total to a staggering 52 in just 10 years. What. A. Fucking. Freak.

A number of players on the Carolina Panthers’ 2004 Super Bowl team were allegedly juiced to the gills. On a related note, the sun rose this morning, will most likely set this evening.

And finally: Grown men drive in a circle really fast, try to not crash.

It’s Official

posted by on August 28 at 9:42 AM

Driving a car while listening to an iPod through headphones: I’ve always known it’s stupid (and totally fun), but as the Seattle P-I reports, it’s also officially illegal:

Wearing headphones while driving is against state law, Washington State Patrol spokeswoman Courtney Stewart said. The activity falls under RCW 46.37.480 (2), which states it is illegal while driving to wear “any headset or earphones connected to any electronic device capable of receiving a radio broadcast or playing a sound recording” if the headset or earphones also muffle other sounds. The law in some form has been on the books since 1977 and has been modified through the years to fit changing technology, Stewart said. A ticket, which troopers issue when observing a violation, carries a $101 penalty.

Jesus! I’m not allowed to drive with my iPod on, not allowed to smoke pot in Cal Anderson Park, not allowed to come within 200 feet of Ken SchramWHERE IS MY COUNTRY???

The Morning News

posted by on August 28 at 7:27 AM

120: Number of days by which an Alaska-based Army brigade’s tour in Iraq was extended just as they were preparing to return home, prompting Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to snap, “I’d love to be Santa Claus. I’m not.”

45: Percentage of US gross domestic product represented by wages and salaries in 2006, the lowest level in US history.

49: Number of passengers and crew killed when a Comair commuter plane crashed in Kentucky yesterday after taking off from the wrong runway.

Two: Number of days remaining before New Orleanians must “gut or otherwise clean up” their wrecked homes, according to city officials.

25, 40: Percent by which rents and home prices, respectively, have risen in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina one year ago.

50:Minimum number killed in attacks across Iraq yesterday. Nonetheless, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki says his country “will never be in a civil war,” adding: “The violence is in decrease.”

Eight: Number of states with anti-smoking initiatives on the ballot this fall, including tax hikes and workplace smoking bans.

250,000: Number of photographs taken of Earth from the International Space Station, as of the end of August 2006.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

First & Virginia

posted by on August 27 at 10:12 PM

So… not sure exactly what happened downtown tonight.

Stopped at Le Pichet for dinner around 8:15—what’s up with the kitchen there? it took an hour and half to get our freakin’ food—and found a King County Sheriff’s car t-boned into a black car at First & VIrginia. The accident had already happened when we arrived, and both cars were just sitting there. The sheriff’s car was empty but the siren was blaring, the car that the sheriff’s car hit was empty, and a bike was on the ground. Another sheriff pulled up and got into the first car and turned off the siren. A crowd of waiters and customers from Le Pichet and Virginia Inn were standing around, checking it out.

Found out later that—according to the rumor mill—that the black car was stolen, the first sheriff’s car was in hot pursuit, the black car attempted to swing through the intersection and go around the sheriff’s car, and that’s when the black car got hit. Apparently the accident caused the driver of the black car to spill nacho cheese sauce all over the inside of his car. The driver of the black car then fled on foot and the first sheriff chased him, which is why both cars were empty when we arrived. According to the bartender at Le Pichet, the sheriff shot the fleeing driver… in Pike Place Market somewhere.

I’m sure the dailies will write this up for the morning papers, so we’ll all be able to compare the street-corner-rumor-mill version of events with the actual police reports tomorrow.

Finally, I was having dinner with my brother, who was visiting from Chicago. The violence made him feel right at home. The amount of time we had to wait for our food made us both feel right in France.

The Zombies of Seattle

posted by on August 27 at 2:24 PM

In the movie Taxi Driver, the anti-hero says, as he’s driving through New York City,”The animals come out at night.” While walking to work early this morning, from the CD to Capitol Hill, that line came to mind because there seemed to be an extraordinary number of permanently damaged human beings stumbling up and down streets, or being held up by store walls, or completely collapsed on front yards and sidewalks. For them, there’s not a drop of hope; from crust to core, they have been fried by the heat of the most ruthless capitalist system in the advanced world. And so many of them in the CD, in First HIll, in Capitol Hill, in such a rich city. Each smelly, each practically dead, each hardly a human any more, and because they cant even fend for themselves, hardly an animal. In New York City, “the freaks come out at night,” according to an oldskool song by Whodini; in Seattle, the freaks come out in the morning.