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Archives for 11/26/2006 - 12/02/2006

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Rumsfeld Memo

posted by on December 2 at 10:57 PM

I’ll leave it to the learned and concerned to weigh in on the political ramifications of Rumsfeld’s final memo, printed in tomorrow’s NY Times (i’m linking even though you have to pay to read it; I’m sure it’s already up on every goddamn blog in the world). But let me just say this about its emotional impact (which, I know, is not super useful when talking about the Bush War anymore): I always had a hard time hating Rumsfeld, even as I recognized the degree to which his leadership was largely to blame for making the ineluctably terrible situation in Iraq far worse than it might have been. I don’t know why—possibly because he betrayed some hint of wit during his press conferences, unlike every single other member of Bush’s administration, who reveal only venality, mendacity, and meretriciousness every time they open their foul little mouths. I had this strange idea that among all the Ashcrofts, Rices, Fleischers, Bushes, and (especially) Cheneys, Donald Rumsfeld had a glimmer of humanity that might be able to influence his work one day. Despite everything, I just couldn’t hate him, the way I reflexively hated his confreres on an almost cellular level. I didn’t approve of his actions any more than I approved of any of the others’, but he always seemed like a person to me.

Then I read the memo.

I assume the memo will be read as a snidey vindication by some faction of the anti-war contingent (“even Rumsfeld admits Iraq is a mess!”), and a too-little-too-late by most people. Though I wanted to give the document (and its author) some credit for revealing that someone important was finally paying attention to reality, I found it to be all the more infuriating for its reversals. Things aren’t going well in Iraq after all these years. Here are some ideas I have to fix it. FUCK YOU. Where were you when anybody needed you? Not one item on the list of “above the line” suggestions for improving the situation wouldn’t have been more useful YEARS AGO, WHEN OTHERS WERE BEGGING FOR THEM TO BE IMPLEMENTED—except of course, for those ones that reveal BLATANT COWARDICE. One hates to use the term (because if you object to them using it, you really can’t go using it yourself and still be moral), but jesus: FLIP-FLOPPER!

All that is obvious enough, and has been or will be said better by smarter people than I, however, the suggestion that really got to me was this:

“Begin modest withdrawals of U.S. and Coalition forces (start “taking our hand off the bicycle seat”), so Iraqis know they have to pull up their socks, step up and take responsibility for their country.”

PULL UP THEIR SOCKS! TAKING OUR HAND OFF THE BICYCLE SEAT! With QUOTE MARKS! Just like a Republican mastermind to use the most asinine, just folks, middlebrow, all-American metaphors to backpedal from responsibility. Anyone who can even make the leap of analogy from U.S. forces shunting “democracy” into a country they just decimated to a dad teaching his kid to ride a bike is a moral idiot, and a defiler of language. Sure, these people are about to get abandoned, right before they get slaughtered, and it’s basically because of our poor planning… But maybe not if they pull up their socks and get at ‘er! Hey, buck up! Get some sticktuitiveness! Gotta grow up sometime! Fuck you forever, Rumsfeld. This memo doesn’t redeem you. It just shows what a deceitful, myopic turd you always were. Shame on me for imagining there was something moral in you. You just got demoted to Cheney’s sub-basement in hell.

Ed Murray: A Letter of His Own

posted by on December 2 at 7:20 PM

While Rep. Frank Chopp is busy lining up a new House transportation chair who will follow his lead on a Viaduct rebuild and busy getting the rest of the House membership to sign onto a letter supporting the rebuild , outgoing chair, Rep. Ed Murray (Murray moves to the state Senate in January) fired off a letter to WashDOT and SDOT saying it’s time to look at the boulevard surface option.

And while Murray may be leaving the House, word is that his opinion matters there.

From today’s Seattle Times article:

House Majority Leader Lynn Kessler, D-Hoquiam, said that although Murray is leaving the House, his views still carry weight there.

She said most members of the House Democratic caucus oppose replacing the viaduct with a tunnel. Talk of a surface route is just emerging, she said.

“For people who think maybe they won’t get the tunnel and they still don’t want the viaduct, they’re going to try to find an alternative,” Kessler said.

Kessler’s quote also confirms what PWC leader Cary Moon has been saying all along: While the expensive tunnel option and the butt-ugly rebuild option (two options that accommodate our destructive addiction to excessive car use) duke it out, the surface boulevard option may emerge as the default solution.

While I’d certainly rather see our elected leaders choose the surface boulevard option because they actually get that it’s the wisest choice, it’d be kind of cool otherwise—just to see a political underdog and busy mom like Cary Moon completely school the well-oiled Nickels machine and the condescending planners in Olympia.

Smoking Bans: Now, the UK.

posted by on December 2 at 3:42 PM

As a frequent visitor to the UK—I fly British Airway’s radioactive planes!—I have to say I’m pretty happy about this news. It’s nice to know that the UK has its fair share of addicted whiners too…

British artist David Hockney is among those outraged at the ban, which will follow similar moves in Ireland, France Scotland, Italy and Lithuania.

“Pubs aren’t health clubs. What do you go to a pub for?,” said the artist, who has warned that move will “destroy bohemia” and described those who proposed it as “absolutely dreary”.

Who knew that bohemia was dependent for its very existence on those huge multinational corporations that sell cigarettes? You learn something new every damn day.


Mmm… his paintings sell for millions… he’s so boho…

Mars Hill Protest: It’s Off

posted by on December 2 at 3:08 PM

Tomorrow’s protest at Mars Hill has been cancelled—and so has MH Pastor Mark “My Fat Wife Made Me Do It!” Driscoll’s column in The Seattle Times. Now you’re going to have to go to Driscoll’s church to enjoy his sexist ramblings.

Driscoll has, he claims, repented of his sexist ways. After instructing his flock that women are supposed to shut up, have kids, and keep their husband’s balls drained, Jesus spoke to Mark through a woman. And not any woman, but Ted Haggard’s niece. From Driscoll’s blog:

I was contacted by Carolyn Haggard, the neice of Ted Haggard. She said that she had been tracking some of the furor in bloggerdom. She wanted to let me know that her family was praying for me, they appreciated the first blog that caused some people to be upset, and they did not interpret it as personally directed at anyone. At the church Ted Haggard pastored, Carolyn oversees, of all things, media relations. As we have exchanged some emails, God used her as both an encouragement and an instructor…. Through her, God convicted me that I need to hire someone to do what she does. Most helpful would be someone who could keep up with the blogging and media worlds and let me know what is going on so that my critics can be my coaches and help me do a better job of serving Jesus and people.

Wow! God spoke to Driscoll through a woman! How will God speak to Driscoll next? Perhaps through a fluffy bunny?

As Slog tipper Phil M. points out, Driscoll’s apology isn’t really much an apology at all.

…on the surface it might sound like an apology, but it’s really more of a, “I’m sorry that people feel this way, and I’ll word things differently in the future,” sort of statement.

Or hire someone to help me word things differently…

Mother-In-Law Apartments

posted by on December 2 at 2:54 PM

Mother-in-law apartments, or ADUs, create in-city affordable housing, help retirees hold on to their houses as their property taxes rise, and help people buy who might no otherwise be able to afford a house. They’re also good for the environment, and create density without altering the character of existing neighborhoods. Other cities are doing it:

Hundreds of communities across the country have rewritten their zoning rules in recent years, to eliminate longtime bans on apartments in single-family houses and encourage new ones to be built….

Once fairly common in large houses but prohibited by zoning ordinances after World War II, so-called accessory apartments in places like garages or attics are now seen as one way to expand the supply of moderately priced rentals. They are intended for older people on fixed incomes, young people starting out and workers needed for essential but relatively low-paying jobs.

For a homeowner, a granny flat can be a source of rental income to help cover property taxes and other costs.

We hear about our pressing need for more affordable housing all the time. But we can’t seem to do what other places have done—approve ADUs—because here in Seattle we just talk wanna talk about our problems. And talk and talk and talk.

Forget Metronatural. Here’s a slogan for our screwed up city: Seattle: All talk, no action. Ever.

FCC Hearings

posted by on December 2 at 12:06 PM

On Thursday night, two of the five FCC commissioners—the two Democratic commissioners—were in Seattle for a public hearing at the Downtown Library. Under consideration: A proposal by the GOP-appointed FCC Chairman Kevin Martin to further loosen media ownership rules so, for example, a single company would be able to own TV stations and a newspaper in the same market. Critics of the proposed rules changes correctly argue that relaxing media ownership regulations will lead to more consolidation of the media in fewer and fewer corporate hands—and squash diversity of reporting and views.

There were opening remarks from: liberal Rep. Jay Inslee, who has fought these rules changes in the House and is pushing a bill to promote local ownership; the two liberal commissioners who strongly oppose the rules changes; and Frank Blethen, who—differentiating himself from most owners in the mainstream media—also opposes the rules. (I imagine that’s because he realizes the giant Hearst Corp., which owns the PI, would have a life-threatening advantage over his Seattle Times if the rules were lifted. But nonetheless, Blethen’s remarks eloquently echoed the undisputed sentiment on the panel and in the room that big media is bad.)

I had to leave shortly after the public testimony started, but judging from the first round I did hear—and from blog reports over at HorsesAss (posted by Geov Parrish, who’s now blogging with Goldy) and from the effusive and always too-easily-impressed- with-liberal-rhetoric Andrew (over at Northwest Progressive Institute, it went as expected: A redundant chorus of lefties denouncing big media.

I certainly agree that these rules changes are terrible, but the nagging question I had going into the hearing isn’t being addressed. The big question, I think, has to do with the Internet. While TV and newspapers are still important, something about the hearing—and particularly the histrionic tone of the speakers—felt archaic to me.

Both Andrew and Parrish touch on the Internet issue. But, incorrectly I think. They credit Rep. Jay Inslee and radio host John Carlson (who also spoke) with adequately dispensing of the notion that the Internet is making the problem of TV and newspaper consolidation a bit irrelevant.

Parrish touted Carlson, writing:

…several compelling progressive arguments against cross-ownership went entirely unmentioned. (For example, addressing the pro-business argument that Internet diversity makes distinctions between regulated broadcast stations and unregulated newspapers irrelevant — an argument Carlson skewered — by noting either that many Americans still don’t have home Internet access, let alone broadband, or that while diverse information is widely available on the Internet, citizens must seek it out — through search engines, links, or URLs — whereas turning a dial, flipping through a remote, or dropping quarters in a box gets you radio, TV, and newspapers, a far more general mass audience.)

And Andrew touted Inslee, writing:

Representative Jay Inslee, who reminded the gathering that media consolidation is not a problem that can be solved by the Internet alone.

I’m also guilty of trying to dispense with the notion that the Internet is a cure-all for media consolidation. In the comments thread of a Slog post promoting the hearing, I addressed the Internet issue:

Josh, In all seriousness, why do I care since I get all my news on the internet? I’m inclined to agree, but I’m looking for reason. I’m open to reason. Posted by: Y Generation | November 22, 2006 04:26 PM

Y Generation,
1) Internet providers are owned by big Telecom companies, and those companies…AT&T…can certainly get in on the media ownership game. So, the Internet is hardly safe from media consolidation. Read up on Net Neutrality, YG… current rules allow big Internet providers to discriminate against smaller content providers in terms of distribution.
2) You, Y Generation, may be a savvy and discerning Internet news hound, but a lot of folks aren’t. And so, while you’re well-armed with diverse, independent analysis, others—the majority of others, who can out-vote people like you at election time—are not. Soooo, don’t you want those folks exposed to as many different sources as possible…rather than one giant media corp?
Posted by: Josh Feit | November 22, 2006 04:33 PM

However, my comments and Carlson’s comments and Inslee’s comments (Inslee cited a recent study that found 75% of Internet users say they watch local TV news twice a week) all ultimately miss the mark.

We’re all addressing 2006. You don’t have to be Isaac Asimov to know that the current situation is already a thing of the past. (I’d like to hear the context on Inslee’s stat. I can only imagine the percentage is trending down—and fast. I called his office on Friday after the hearing, and they’re getting me the report.)

This is all to say: Yes, Congress and/or the FCC needs to reject these rules changes. And No, the Internet isn’t the antidote. But the real discussion and energy needs to be about keeping the Internet safe from corporate claws. Google’s purchase of YouTube is already raising concerns.

The dramatic FCC discussion seems to divert attention from where the real focus needs to be.

Inslee, actually, is a leader in Congress on a more germane issue:Net Neutrality— the wise notion that all content providers must be treated equally by the big Telecom and cable companies that control the Internet pipelines. Additionally, cable companies are regulated by municipalities, and so local governments have just as important a role to play—if not more important—as we confront the future of media consolidation.

Tyra & Janet’s Ass Chat

posted by on December 2 at 11:38 AM

Thanks to Sean Nelson for the heads-up. Now I must go light a match.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 2 at 10:13 AM


826 Seattle Anniversary, Fantagraphics Store Opening (TWO LITERARY EVENTS)

From noon to 5:00 p.m. is the one-year birthday party for youth writing center 826 Seattle and affiliated retail concern the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. The party features Sherman Alexie, Sean Nelson, Ellen Forney, other notables, and free jelly donuts. Then, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. in Georgetown, is the grand opening of Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery. The inaugural exhibition is 30 Years of Misfit Lit featuring Bagge, Blanchard (that’s his drawing above), Burns, Clowes, Crumb, Forney, Sacco, Ware, Woodring, and others. Many of them are expected to be there. (826 Seattle, 8414 Greenwood Ave N, 725-2625, free; Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery, 1201 S Vale Street, 658-0110, free.) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

Friday, December 1, 2006

Spanking WalMart for its sodomy sins

posted by on December 1 at 4:57 PM

Last week I slogged about Evangelical group Operation Save America’s campaign to defend WalMart from the slings and arrows of heathen liberals: namely, the gay conspiracy which forced WalMart to join the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The group’s plan to protest 300 WalMart locations on the day after Thanksgiving with sodomized-smiley posters apparently didn’t go too well, because for the last few weeks their mailing list has received exactly zero announcements.

Until today! An email that doesn’t mention the protest at all put instead the sodomy smiley to shame.

In a statement to the American Family Association yesterday, Wal-Mart agreed that they, “…will not make corporate contributions to support or oppose highly controversial issues unless they directly relate to our ability to serve our customers”. To this we say, “NUTS!”

“Wal-Mart is running scared! It fears the power of the Church of Jesus Christ to move in people’s hearts and change them - to change even where they shop.” Wal-Mart needs to fear the God of Sam Walton!”
“Every executive at Wal-Mart that allowed this to happen needs a good old fashioned spanking” said Flip Benham, Director of Operation Save America, creators of the website. “What Wal-Mart has done is sin! It is a betrayal our Lord Jesus, of Sam Walton’s Christian legacy, and Christian families everywhere. Wal-Mart must bear the fruit of repentance.”

See what repressed sexuality will do to a man? It starts leaking out between the cracks.

This Weekend In Local Hiphop

posted by on December 1 at 4:53 PM

This Sunday, December 3, the Massline posse (Geologic, Gabriel Teodros, Khingz, and Macklemore) is back on Street Sounds—90.3 FM or streaming live on the web at Starting at 6 pm, the show will run for three hours and transmit the best independent local and national hiphop. The last time Massline took over Street Sounds, two or so months ago, it was like something wonderful.

(For those who desire to go to the upcoming Dan the Automator/Common Market show on Dec 6 for free, the opportunity of satisfying that desire will appear during the hours of the show—free tickets are being given away.)

Be Read By the Best

posted by on December 1 at 4:43 PM

So You Wanna Be a Writer: Everything you’ll need to begin your career as a professional scribbler (social awkwardness and self-loathing not included). Gary Shteyngart, author of Absurdistan and The Russian Debutante’s Handbook, will read and critique 3,000 words of your opus. Richard Hugo House will waive tuition to a class of your choice (and the price of one stiff drink at their bar). Plus, a $30 gift certicate to Epilogue Books, a literary CD combo (featuring sea shanties sung by Nick Cave, Bryan Ferry, et al., and plague songs by Stephin Merritt, Rufus Wainwright, et al.) and a case of Solaris wine, just in case you want to drink yourself to death! Priceless! Opening bid: $1.99.

(By the way, Absurdistan made the New York Times’s top ten books of 2006. Congratulations, Mr. Shteyngart.)

Now please enjoy this:


Très romantique.

The Cubicle Constituency

posted by on December 1 at 4:40 PM

With a plaintive cry of “Do you pimp your cubicle?” the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has tacitly acknowledged that a newspaper is becoming a thing read less here…


…than here:


It’s Friday. Dance to the Teenage Sound.

posted by on December 1 at 4:30 PM

The Vogue

posted by on December 1 at 4:25 PM

Last night, after a tequila tasting at Liberty, I headed to the Vogue to see my favorite goth-rock British punk band of the 1980s, New Model Army. (My search for MP3s was, as an erstwhile colleague put it, “flawed in its execution,” so you’ll have to take my word for it: They rule. People even danced.)

Anyway, while I was waiting for the show to start, I struck up a conversation with the club’s owner, who told me they’ll be moving out of their current space on 11th Avenue between Pike and Pine at the end of the year because their landlord just raised the rent a whopping $3,000 a month - nearly double what it is now. Given that the space next door is about to be taken over by brand-new condos (developed by the same company that’s buying up the Linda’s block) the rent hike seems like a not-too-subtle message to the current tenants: The Vogue isn’t the kind of place wealthy singles fresh from suburbia are going to want right outside their bedroom windows. The club may reopen as part of Capitol Hill Arts Center early next year; the person who answered the phone at CHAC said the group would announce details as soon as they’d figured out specific arrangements.

Bob Ross Takes A Stand

posted by on December 1 at 3:48 PM

I’m stuck sick at home and can’t stop coughing long enough to fall asleep. But Bob Ross is here with me, and he says that even though viewers write in to tell him not to paint dead trees in his landscapes, he persists in painting dead trees “because they’re a part of nature.”

Speaking of dead trees, last night was the opening of a terrific show of new work by Seattle artist Dan Webb at Howard House. His wood carvings—of a face mask stretched and squished, of a candle full-bodied and burnt, of a grocery-store helium balloon—toy with the memorial aspects of sculpture, its presumed responsibility to mark and fight time. This is his Splash. (What appears to be a late-afternoon shadow falling on the object is in fact just the color of the wood.)


Webb is not only funny, he’s smart, and he’s giving a talk at the gallery tomorrow at noon. It’ll be good.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on December 1 at 3:15 PM

The exciting local movie news this week is James Longley’s Iraq in Fragments won the Gotham Award for documentary, beating out nominees An Inconvenient Truth (the Oscar front-runner), Deliver Us from Evil, and more. The more attention it gets in the weeks leading up to the Oscar nominations, the better chance it has of making the final five. (It’s already made the 15-film shortlist.)

Here in Seattle, Iraq in Fragments is back at the Crest ($3!) for another week. See it, see it, see it, or risk missing the first locally-produced Oscar nominee in… I don’t know, ever?

If you haven’t read Lindy West’s review of The Nativity Story, um…. SCREEEEEE! I think I can confidently say her review is 8 billion times funnier than the movie.


At Northwest Film Forum, you’ve missed today’s marathon screening of BĂŠla Tarr’s SĂĄtĂĄntangĂł (the 7+ hour formalist epic is considered the Hungarian filmmaker’s masterpiece), but you can still catch it tomorrow and Sunday from 2 until 10 or so (screens with two welcome intermissions). My preview is here—looks like I’m not going to be able to make it, unless my obligations on Sunday somehow dissolve, so you’ll earn permanent cinephile bragging rights over me if you do. (The Tarr series continues next week with Damnation and Werckmeister Harmonies—both reviewed here.)

Also opening today: 10 Items or Less (shouldn’t that be “fewer”?), The Beales of Grey Gardens, and Fuck—all reviewed here. Plus, Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj and Turistas.


The Stranger’s carefully prepared, lovingly updated Movie Times.

And Film Shorts, a compendium to all dance films (NEXT Fest NW!), planned chaos experiments (Bring Your Own Projector!), Humphrey Bogart-in-a-face-surgery-mask (Dark Passage!), and Grand Illusion’s program of bits and pieces of film they found lying around the projection booth (late nights now only $2.50 for members and $5 for the general public!).

High Court Takes “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”

posted by on December 1 at 3:09 PM

As if a lower court’s ruling and the Constitution aren’t already clear enough, the Supreme Court agreed today to step in to clarify a student’s right to free speech. In an appeal, Kenneth Starr will argue that the Juneau, Alaska school board was right to suspend a high-school student for promoting illegal drug use when he displayed a banner declaring “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” off school grounds. The student, who has been represented by the free-speech lovin’ ACLU, claims he just wanted the message to appear in the background of local TV news footage when they filmed the Olympic Torch passing though Juneau on its way to the 2002 Olympic Games.

Any level-headed American knows the 1st Amendment exists to protect such speech - no matter how inane - and it’s far too late for Jesus to do bong hits.

It’s World AIDS Day

posted by on December 1 at 1:44 PM

So why not commemorate it by pushing abstinence on married African women, who aren’t in a position to abstain?

Hell, why not push for funding cuts?

Fortunately, there are still some people who believe information (and access to contraception), not marriage, prevents AIDS.

In A Commercial for Gap, Your Name is Mentioned

posted by on December 1 at 1:40 PM


In the grand scheme of things, I like Common. I enjoy Like Water for Chocolate and “I Used to Love H.E.R.” and plenty of stuff off Be, and if he’s got some humorless dissing of gays in his lyrical past, he seems to be learning and growing. (I imagine he took his pal Kanye’s call to cut the homophobia in hiphop to heart.)

Nevertheless, Common’s new Gap commercial sucks shit. Entitled “Holiday in the Hood,” the Common-penned-and-performed ditty is meant to hype the Gap’s hooded sweatshirts, but primarily succeeds in making Common look like a total tool.

The rap sucks, Common’s delivery of the sucky rap sucks, and did I mention how much the rap sucks? SO MUCH. It’s a rap your cousin would do. The only thing that emerges from the commercial with a shred of dignity is the Gap’s hooded sweatshirt, which looks kinda stylish and comfy. Common’s pretty easy on the eye, too, if you ignore the garbage spewing from his rap-hole.

Still, shame on all involved.

Britney’s crotch, Letterman, Putin and Maliki

posted by on December 1 at 1:31 PM

What do all of these things have in common? Find out from the comic genius, Bad Reporter

What’s the Hardest Part About Being You?

posted by on December 1 at 1:27 PM

If you’ve ever been asked this question, and you’ve never been able to successfully furnish a decent answer, then check out this awesome quick vid from THE PEOPLE’S COURT. It’s the most perfect response I can think of.

Hurray for Video Dog!

Still Horny After All that Howling

posted by on December 1 at 1:15 PM

Why are some straight guys so worried that a gay guy is going to jump them? Maybe because of Allen Ginsberg.

Below Andrew Bleeker’s takedown of the popular poet on the books page this week—it’s the 50-year anniversary of the publication of Howl, and lots of books have just been published to capitalize on the moment—don’t miss Brendan Kiley’s anecdote about getting hit on by the 68-year-old Ginsberg.

Here’s another anecdote from another straight guy, Stranger contributor Chris McCann. He says:

I was interviewing Robert Creeley for my senior thesis and Ginsberg rolls into the room, all jowls and slobber and crazy eyes. He then begins massaging my shoulders and neck with what can only be called an erotic touch. Creeley starts snickering as I try to engineer my escape, made more difficult as Ginsberg whispers a few unprintable words (both wetly and hotly) into my appalled undergraduate ear.

Needless to say, I hastily concluded the interview. And then I ran.

Robert Christgau’s Consumer Guide Lands at MSN!

posted by on December 1 at 12:48 PM

I am officially indebted to Sean Nelson, who has used his position as editor of Microsoft’s music site to rescue my favorite offering from one of my favorite living writers. Robert Christgau’s Consumer Guide—the legendary, letter-graded album-review column that many of us have been reading for as long as we can remember, the fate of which has been up in the air since the idiotic dismissal of Christgau from the Village Voice—will continue at Microsoft’s music site, with the debut installment scheduled to go live one week from today.

Thank you Sean! Thank you Christgau! Thank you Jesus!

Re: Shorter Pike-Pine Feature for the Attention-Deficient

posted by on December 1 at 12:10 PM

Erica is right that her article is consistent with the Stranger’s longtime POV on density. It’d be one thing if she gave the microphone to Capitol Hill leaders who were bitching that development was displacing single-family housing with multi-family housing, or bitching that development was displacing empty lots … that’s the sort of NIMBYism we’ve condemned in the past. And yes, we’ve even condemned NIMBY resistance to development when that development would change the face of our beloved Capitol Hill.

The kind of urban planning we support already exists in the Pine St. neighborhood, though: A jukebox necklace of jumping independent businesses strung across Pine and surrounded by dense housing…the densest in the city. Erica’s opposition proves that we’re not just pro-development for development’s sake … as some lunkheads contend. It proves that we see development as a tool to create lively, up-tempo, urban communities. And so, rather than ruining that type of community (which already exists around Pike/Pine) with excessive development, we’d rather see infill and density where it can improve neighborhoods. This is what we’ve argued all along.

In Viaduct News

posted by on December 1 at 11:58 AM

The Times reports the conclusions of a new state study, which finds that the viaduct can be retrofitted, but at a large aesthetic and financial cost. (The Times does not report how long a retrofit would last; previous studies have concluded the viaduct would have to be retrofitted again or replaced within, at most, 25 years.)

The engineers said extensive foundation retrofit would be required by adding additional pilings at each footing, 12 at some and 14 at others.

The engineers also said the foundations of the viaduct would require a retrofit, by adding stability and enlarging the footings.

Other recommendations include wrapping all the columns with metal fibers; strengthening the beam that supports the lower floor; and “jet grouting” the soil under the structure with concrete to strengthen it.

Meanwhile, as Gov. Christine Gregoire prepares to make her recommendation on how to replace the viaduct, proponents of the surface/transit option (tearing down the viaduct and replacing some of its capacity with improvements to transit and surface streets downtown) have written to implore her to at least consider this affordable, environmentally responsible option. In a letter, the governor’s dismissed their request, noting that the city council hired an expert review panel earlier this year to study the various viaduct options, and concluded that a tunnel was best. The letter implies that the panel studied all the viaduct options; in fact, however, it ignored both the surface/transit option and the retrofit. It’s a subtle but important point. If the review panel had truly considered all the available options, and the city had still concluded that the tunnel and rebuild were best, that would be one thing. But the options were artificially limited from the beginning. The review panel’s findings aren’t evidence of anything except the city and state’s own anti-surface/transit, anti-retrofit bias.


posted by on December 1 at 11:49 AM

Yesterday, after reporting that the State House Democrats were warned by D leadership to tiptoe around Olympia rather than flex their muscle, I complained that they were missing the point of the mandate they just got, and they better use it … or else they’re going to lose it.

After that post, I learned that it’s worse than I thought. Two of the City’s top agenda items in Olympia this year are closing the state’s gun show loophole and passing an assault weapons ban (as many states have already done since the fed ban expired in 2004.) Unfortunately, Democratic House leadership told the city that pushing gun control isn’t going to fly.

Shorter Pike-Pine Feature for the Attention-Deficient

posted by on December 1 at 11:34 AM

Seattlest gets it, the Weekly doesn’t.

This week, I wrote a story about changes coming to the Pike-Pine neighborhood, where a six-story condo development is displacing seven locally owned, independent businesses. (Another proposed development threatens four more, including neighborhood institution Linda’s.) I argued that while density is generally a positive development when it replaces empty lots and industrial uses (as new condos did in Belltown), tearing down the things that make a neighborhood desirable in the first place is bad. People want to move to Pike-Pine because of its “character”; therefore, new developments that destroy that character, rather than filling in empty or underutilized lots, are bad.

Quite a few people seem not to have read the entire article, and have accused me of being a NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard-er) when, as the Weekly’s editor put it, it affects my “favorite watering hole,” the Cha Cha. Leaving aside the fact that I hadn’t set foot inside the Cha Cha for several years before visiting for this story, I’d like to offer a few relevant paragraphs for those too lazy to read the entire thing. (Bolds helpfully added.) Mark Fefer, you’re welcome.

The pace of development is unprecedented for the area, and on par with that in a much different center-city neighborhood—Belltown, where condo towers replaced a wasteland of parking lots, warehouses, and unused industrial space. There was some grumbling about the loss of a relative handful of independent businesses in Belltown (like the original Cyclops, World Pizza, and the Ditto Tavern), but development of mostly derelict land in that neighborhood led to a greater gain (dense, if pricey, housing for people who might have otherwise moved to the suburbs). By contrast, the newest development in Pike/Pine threatens to displace the good stuff that’s already there: the independent bars, clubs, shops, and restaurants that made the area desirable to developers in the first place.
Contrast these and other block-razing proposals with developments that have gone up on empty or underutilized lots in the neighborhood: the Braeburn and Cameo developments on 14th Avenue and East Pine Street, which replace a closed Red Apple supermarket and an empty parking lot, respectively; the 12th and Pike Lofts, which will restore a historic building and add 24 new housing units; and the Capitol Hill Housing Improvement Program building at Broadway and East Pine Street, which will replace a Texaco gas station with 44 low-income apartments.

But as developers run out of empty lots along Pike/Pine to develop, they’re starting to eye blocks where businesses already exist. The end result? The death of Pike/Pine as we know it.

Developers and real-estate agents love to talk about the “vibrancy” of neighborhoods like Pike/Pine. The website for the Braeburn describes the neighborhood as “vibrant and diverse.” An ad for the Brix, which is going up at the north end of Broadway, calls the area “the neighborhood that shows Seattle how to have fun.” Promotional materials for the Press Condos right across the street from the Weber + Thompson development that will displace the Cha Cha, the Bus Stop, and Manray show black-clad hipsters in ripped jeans sitting around in bohemian bars. Of 21 local businesses included on a map available on the Press website, half will soon be gone.
When developers talk about “vibrancy,” what they mean is places like the Cha Cha, Bimbo’s, Manray, the Bus Stop, R Place, Bauhaus, Babeland, and dozens of other small, independent businesses. Pike/Pine wouldn’t be “vibrant” without those businesses. Yet as empty lots get harder and harder to come by, developers are increasingly gobbling up land that’s already occupied—by the very businesses that make the area attractive for development in the first place. What goes up in their place is often chichi salons (like Swoon in the Braeburn), chain stores (like Kinko’s at the north end of Broadway), non-retail uses (like the builder and architect who fill two of three storefronts at the new-ish 615 East Pike lofts) and, frequently, empty storefronts.

It’s not that there isn’t room in a neighborhood for Walgreens and Kinko’s and pricey salons—all three are improvements on the empty lots they replaced. But when the Walgreens and empty storefronts and salons start displacing established local businesses, the character of the neighborhood—the hook used to draw high-end buyers into the area—is destroyed.

Dreamgirls is Turning Me into a Total Faggot

posted by on December 1 at 11:28 AM

So if you haven’t heard already, the film version of the smash Broadway musical Dreamgirls is due on screens this Christmas. I never saw the show, haven’t heard the soundtrack, don’t like musicals, and am actively repelled by one of the film’s stars (that means you, Jamie Foxx.)

Nevertheless, I am nearly jumping up and down with excitement to see the film, and it’s entirely the result of the avalanche of hype being dumped on Jennifer Hudson, the former American Idol contestant who reportedly steals the film, leaving the cast’s high-wattage star power—Foxx, Beyonce, Eddie Murphy—sputtering in the dust.

For a taste of the intoxiciating buzz swarming around Ms. Hudson, check out this story in today’s New York Post. (This is one of a dozen such pieces that have landed over the past couple weeks.)

I happened to see the Oprah show featuring the Dreamgirls cast, and the segment featuring Jennifer Hudson was one of those Beatles-on-Ed Sullivan/LL Cool J-on-MTV Unplugged moments I won’t forget. The Beatles/LL Cool J parallel is an imperfect one, as Hudson didn’t perform on Oprah—she just came out for an interview alongside Beyonce and Foxx. Still, it was electrifying: Oprah had seen the film, the entire audience had seen the film, and everyone in the entire studio (with the notable exception of Beyonce; see the above link for more on that) was beside themselves with amazement and adoration for what Hudson achieves.

Best of all, Jennifer Hudson was as amazed as anyone. Here she is, this chubby young woman who got axed from American Idol and had been performing on cruise ships, who not only scores a role in a major film with major stars but totally steals everyone’s thunder and then some. “You’ve not just arrived, you’ve smashed through the wall,” said an adoring Oprah to Hudson, who sat there with the stunned smile of a lottery winner.

I love shit like this. Sports fans have their glorious goosebump memories, their Michael Jordans and 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey teams, and pop-art lovers have moments like the Hudson hype, when a chubby underdog comes out of nowhere and kicks everyone’s ass, including snooty glamorous skinny bitches like Beyonce.

Counting the minutes till Dreamgirls and Jennifer Hudson’s glorious Oscar speech…

Poetry is Pretty

posted by on December 1 at 11:17 AM

Who the fuck is Nancy Pagh? And who the fuck at Poetry on Buses, 4 Culture, and King County Metro thought it would be a good idea to slap up Pagh’s ode to her cat’s asshole on the bus?

On the way to work yesterday I read—I was forced to read—this:


little Greek star




of fur

as the cat

walks away


Can I get a “what the fuck?”

Who wants to think about cats’ assholes first thing in the morning on their way to work? What sort of a sick fuck writes poems like this? It’s about an asshole and it doesn’t even fucking rhyme? And don’t tell me I didn’t have to read this asshole poem—it was right over the back door, where you wait to get off the bus. I glanced up and by the time I realized what the poem was about it was too fucking late. And don’t tell me the only reason I didn’t like this poem is because I don’t like cats. I don’t like cats—no sane person does—but do even cat lovers want to read poems about cats’ assholes first in the morning?

And, cat lovers, don’t tell me you think this cats’ asshole poem is cute because “cats are like part of the family!” Your mom is part of the family too but do you want to read poems about your mom’s asshole first in the morning?

I’m out of town today but when I get back on Monday, trust me, I intend to start making some phone calls. I’m going to get to the bottom of this—or the cat’s asshole of it—and find out whose bright idea it was to inflict this asshole poem on the poor, long-suffering bus passengers in this city. Riding the bus is unpleasant enough without being forced to read poems about animals’ assholes. Heads are going to roll.

And poets wonder why they’re despised.

שקט בבקשה

posted by on December 1 at 11:05 AM

This was originally posted yesterday, but Slog disappeared yesterday. So….

That’s Hebrew for Shut the Fuck Up. It’s pronounced Sheket Bavakasha! Literally, it means: “Be quiet please.” But generations of angry Hebrew school teachers, scolding noisy students, have transformed the polite admonition into a nuclear threat.

Starting today, I’m going to start issuing semi-regular Sheket Bavakasha! awards. The first Sheket Bavakasha! goes to Team Nickels for the ridiculous press release it just sent out.

In the release, titled “Corrections and clarifications to today’s news stories” Team Nickels whines about the PI:

In today’s Post-Intelligencer, the following passage is incorrect:

“Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels … is still scrambling to come up with a finance plan to cover the additional expense of tunneling.”

Correction: The City of Seattle, in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Transportation, has developed a detailed funding package that would cover the costs of replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct with a cut-and-cover tunnel. That funding package has been fully vetted and endorsed by an independent Expert Review Panel appointed by Governor Christine Gregoire.

Sheket Bavakasha! Team Nickels. The project is estimated to cost between $3.6 and $5.5 billion. You’ve got $2.2 billion from the state (and that might only be for a rebuid or retrofit…not a tunnel.) And then you’ve got $3.75 billion in “anticipated” funding … counting iffy money from an iffy regional package that hasn’t been worked out yet…that still may fall apart once it is finalized. And then it still has to go to voters.

The PI is right: Mayor Nickels is “still scrambling to come up with a finance plan to cover the additional expense of tunneling.”

שקט בבקשה

Gays Targeted in Iraq Civil War

posted by on December 1 at 10:29 AM

Iraq’s homosexuals are in hiding, under threat from “moral purification” death squads, and, increasingly, disappearing, according to this London publication.

“These disappearances are the latest `sexual cleansing’ operations mounted by extremist Islamist death squads, many of whom have infiltrated the Iraqi police,” notes [Ali] Hili, who has obtained details of the kidnappings from his underground Iraqi LGBT activist colleagues in Baghdad…

Earlier, in June this year, extremist lslamist death squads burst into the home of two lesbians in city of Najaf. They shot them dead, slashed their throats, and murdered a young child the lesbians had rescued from the sex trade.

The two women, both in their mid-30s, were members of Iraqi LGBT. They were providing a safe house for gay men on the run from death squads. None of those men were at home when the assassins struck. They are now hiding in another of the group’s safe houses in Baghdad.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 1 at 10:11 AM

‘We Never Like Talking About the End’ (DANCE) Since her time as one half of Seattle’s freakishly awesome dance-theater outfit 33 Fainting Spells, Dayna Hanson has been creating brilliantly loopy concatenations of dance (modern), film (Ă  la Cassavetes), and assorted obsessions (near-death experiences, biodiesel, Gena Rowlands). This weekend’s world premiere also includes music by Maggie Brown (the Garfield student who played Kate-at-13 in Lynn Shelton’s We Go Way Back) and an appearance by Hanson’s dad, Vern. (On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. 8 pm, $18.) ANNIE WAGNER

Lindsay Lohan… You Never Disappoint!

posted by on December 1 at 9:49 AM

Though the internet lit up yesterday with reports that LINDSAY LOHAN was the newest member of Alcoholics Anonymous, her very recent display of INSANITY at the GQ Men of the Year dinner would seem to prove otherwise! Here’s the scoopage from Page Six

When Lohan arrived at the exclusive dinner - joining the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Gore, Jay-Z, Jennifer Connelly and Magic Johnson - she “flipped out” upon seeing Jessica Biel, the luminous star of “The Illusionist,” there with her assistant.

Biel’s assistant used to work for Lohan and earned the “Mean Girls” star’s ire when she quit several months ago.

According to a witness, Lohan started screaming, “If she stays, I’m outta here! I can’t look at that girl! I can’t believe you would allow an assistant in here - she doesn’t belong in here!

Lohan was shunned at the glittering affair by other celebs who are tired of her bratty antics and bad work ethic. Overhearing her tirade about Biel’s assistant, Will Ferrell turned to DiCaprio, Gore and Affleck and said, “Who cares about that freak anymore, anyway?” - setting off laughter.

OUCH! Looks like it’s back to AA for you, young lady. (On a sidenote, do they have a similar organization for celebrities who can’t help flashing their vaginas? Something like VA?)


On Feeling Young

posted by on December 1 at 9:39 AM

Old Joan Collins recently came out against “a culture obsessed with youth,” arguing that “being young doesn’t last. For most of your natural life, you will be classified as middle-aged or old,” and, besides, “you are as young as you look and feel.” Collins is noted for her “sexy” appearance which defies her terrific age, 73. And often young women come up to her and say things like: “I hope I look as good as you do when I’m your age.” All of this is, as you can see, very, very sad. Collins is just an old woman; she is no “spring chicken.” Her youth has long gone; it vacated her face, her flesh, her bones, her breasts; and what remains is the damage done by gravity, time, wind, and the rays of the sun.

Creams, surgery, diet, exercise—none of these can restore the youth of an old woman or man. Over here, we have the young; over there, the old. If the old confront the youth on the grounds of their youth—a young, fresh, life-full body—then they will lose badly. As for society, it has one very good reason to worship youth: because it is, as Collins points out, short-lived (between 15 and 25). It is the body at its peak moment. The body at its single moment of perfection.

Finally, this business of “feeling youthful” is a bankrupt business when your body looks old. The power of the old must not be drawn from pity, which is what Collins is ultimately, secretly, skillfully asking for—recognize a septuagenarian’s youthful heart, not their sagging breasts. It is better that the power of the old be like that which we find in the old man, Cephalus, in Plato’s Republic. When Cephalus is asked by Socrates what it’s like to be old, he says it’s not so bad, it’s fine, it’s bearable, provided you have money. Money not for rare, rejuvenating creams, nor for buying young lovers, but to payback all the sins you committed when your body was the king, when you fucked everything and fucked everyone over. From Cephalus’s point of view, being old is really about giving your past actions serious consideration, being thoughtful, repayment for wrongs, and confronting the fact of death. True, Socrates doesn’t think very highly of Cephalus’s approach, but at least it is one that recognizes being old is not about being (feeling, acting) young.

On Calling Bullshit

posted by on December 1 at 7:52 AM

Every daily paper reporter and editor needs to read this. And then start doing it.

Calling bullshit, of course, used to be central to journalism as well as to comedy. And we happen to be in a period in our history in which the substance in question is running particularly deep. The relentless spinning is enough to make anyone dizzy, and some of our most important political battles are about competing views of reality more than they are about policy choices. Calling bullshit has never been more vital to our democracy.

It also resonates with readers and viewers a lot more than passionless stenography. I’m convinced that my enthusiasm for calling bullshit is the main reason for the considerable success of my White House Briefing column, which has turned into a significant traffic-driver for The Washington Post’s Web site.

I’m not sure why calling bullshit has gone out of vogue in so many newsrooms — why, in fact, it’s so often consciously avoided. There are lots of possible reasons. There’s the increased corporate stultification of our industry, to the point where rocking the boat is seen as threatening rather than invigorating. There’s the intense pressure to maintain access to insider sources, even as those sources become ridiculously unrevealing and oversensitive. There’s the fear of being labeled partisan if one’s bullshit-calling isn’t meted out in precisely equal increments along the political spectrum.

The Morning News

posted by on December 1 at 6:04 AM

The withdrawal method: Bush is not a fan.

African girls: In danger.

Electronic voting machines: Condemned by the U.S. government.

Eyeing the exits: LA Times staffers.

State viaduct report: Retrofit wins backing.

Found: Cracks on another Bellevue crane.

Arrested: Reichert backer, on charges of arranging sex with a 13-year-old girl.

1600 Men: The presidential seal, on your toiletries.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It’s Snowing in Chicago…

posted by on November 30 at 10:42 PM

…really snowing, snowing hard. We’re going to get a foot here tonight. Could you imagine the paralysis that would follow a foot of snow falling in Seattle?

I was AWOL from Slog today because I was on my way to do a speaking gig in my home town. I’m staying at the Hilton on South Michigan Avenue, which is pretty deserted. I was having a drink in the huge lobby bar all by lonesome, but they shut it down so the bartenders could get home before the city was totally snowed in. So I took my drink—the bartender topped me off gratis—and found a nice, quiet spot in the hotel to read and drink: the grand ballroom, which I have all to myself right now.


According to the hotel, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had dinner in this very ballroom in 1959. For an old fashioned monarchist like me, that makes my drink all the sweeter.

Sprawl Project Hits Snag

posted by on November 30 at 8:12 PM

A new, sprawl-promoting, habitat-endangering freeway in Pierce County - the so-called “cross-base highway” across Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base - has been opposed by environmentalists since it was first proposed more than 20 years ago. Nonetheless, its inclusion in the proposed Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID) made it more likely than ever that the state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) would finally get to move forward on Washington’s first new freeway in years. Yesterday, several environmental groups, organized as the Cross Base Coalition, put a snag in the state’s plans, announcing that they plan to sue WSDOT, the Federal Highway Administration, and Pierce County over the $289 million highway. The groups will argue that the highway violates state and federal environmental law.

In letter of intent to sue, the groups argue that the freeway will drive out equestrian businesses and slice the largest remaining oak woodland-prairie left in Washington in half and destroy or isolate 3,000 acres of grassland and woods, for which highway builders offered to buy just 358 acres in compensation, according to the Seattle Times. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, those prairies represent some of the rarest habitat in North America, home to “at least 29 species of federal threatened, endangered, candidate and sensitive plant and animal species.”

Dear Readers

posted by on November 30 at 7:46 PM

If you’re experiencing trouble loading Slog, you ain’t the only one. Our tech guys are working on the problem and hope to have it solved shortly. Our apologies, and thank you for your patience.

“The Group Sex Thread”

posted by on November 30 at 2:50 PM

Attention all fans of sexual confession, amateur pornography, and anti-Virgil haiku: If you’re looking for a good time, head over to “The Group Sex Thread” in the “Free Skate” section of the Stranger forums.

That is all.

Methamphetamine Awareness Day

posted by on November 30 at 2:22 PM


In a White House Press release, George W. Bush declared today, November 30th 2006, the national day to recognize the harms of methamphetamine and encourage communities to curb drug abuse.

To help reach these objectives, my proposed 2007 budget includes $25 million to help ensure that Americans have access to effective methamphetamine abuse recovery services and programs.

So three cheers for George Bush, right? I mean, he’s talking about sinking some big bucks into treatment programs, which might actually mitigate the problems that prisons fail to address. But, predictably, this call for treatment and allocation of funds appears mostly a smokescreen for continuing the same-old, ineffective drug war tactics that rely primarily on incarceration. A report (.pdf here) on federal drug spending shows how their budget shapes up:

The Bush Administration is drastically overhauling the way in which the federal drug control budget is determined and presented. This new approach will hide some of the real costs of the drug war, especially the cost of prosecuting and incarcerating a record number of drug offenders. While the revision promises to eventually fix real problems that exist reporting on treatment spending, i.e. the current method overstates how much is actually spent on drug treatment, the planned revision may actually make reporting problems worse.

Official reports aside, my first clue that Meth Day’s call for treatment was a tad disingenuous was not their message but their main messenger: The Department of Justice, which is, of course, in the business of prosecution and incarceration.

What do…

posted by on November 30 at 1:37 PM

…this guy:


…this ship:


…this city:


…this American philosopher:


…and this mushroom:


…have to do with 2004 Stranger Genius Award-winning prose poet John Olson?

Find out tonight at the Henry Art Gallery, 7 pm, free. I’m giving a short talk—a footnote—following Olson’s reading. Annie Wagner is footnoting Matt Briggs’s reading with a scientific explication of earwigs, Charles Mudede is footnoting Jonathan Raban’s reading with a short discussion of Philip Larkin, and Jen Graves is intermittently holding forth on matters artistic. Brendan Kiley’s carbuncle, as you may have heard, is emceeing.

Obviously you don’t want to miss this.

The Anti-MoMA, and Clyfford + Brad

posted by on November 30 at 12:17 PM

Nicolai Ourousoff waxes poetic in this morning’s New York Times about the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, which opened Oct. 26 in what used to be an abandoned car dealership.

The headline, “Seeing the Seediness, and Celebrating It,” made me cringe for fear that the architect and the sophisticates involved in funding and organizing MOCAD were, well, making a show of slumming it, and that Ourousoff had jetted in from New York to jot down the charming phenomenon.

But Ourousoff’s piece explores the links between contemporary art and urban cycles of creation and destruction as opposed to suburban fantasies of stasis. And check out the photographs.

Here’s the aptly glum facade of the building, decked out with Barry McGee’s sardonic graffiti exhortation, the barely readable “AMAZE.”


Here’s a Kara Walker video showing in a typical exhibition space, which looks post-something, sort of bombed out and halfway to oblivion. (For better or worse, this is a place where you can barely imagine showing a painting.)


Here’s a Nari Ward piece on the wall, but that burst of light you see in the background is near a ceiling space heater, which is the crude way that the place gets warmed up. (In Detroit!) In another gesture that isn’t visible, the architect, Andrew Zago, housed the mechanical systems for the museum not in a side room or a hidden bubble on the roof but in the corner of a gallery, behind a chain-link fence.


The other architectural news this week (sorry about my absence, I’ve been away!) is that Brad Cloepfil’s Portland-based Allied Works won the contract to design the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver. It’s a plum job, because a single-artist museum offers an architect something very, well, singular to bump against conceptually, and also because Still is a particularly intriguing character, he of the high-minded anti-commercial principles that gave Rothko such a heavy conscience.

Still was a classic modernist, the very height of the movement in all its piousness and surety. Jeff Jahn on PORT (which also has a great look at Thom Mayne’s new courthouse in Eugene, although it glosses over Seattle artist Cris Bruch’s contribution) writes that Cloepfil’s earthy/heavy and light/airy sides are a perfect match for Still’s dichotomous paintings. I don’t know; the tidiness of Cloepfil (he of the Seattle Art Museum expansion downtown, among many other projects) would seem to deflate the oversized grandeur of Still. Stay tuned for the design.

A Goddamned Vespa!

posted by on November 30 at 12:08 PM

Next week—Strangercrombie. With words like these:

A Goddamned Vespa! A wonderful, beautiful, shiny new Vespa with all the trimmings: set-up and prep, plates, tabs, and license fees, two Vespa Soft Touch helmets, two riding jackets, shoulder bags by Chrome, a front rack, and more! (Good-looking passenger not—necessarily—included.) Valued at over $4,000! Opening bid: an idiotically low $1.99.

And photos like these:



Merry Kwaanzikuh!

Disco Yodelling

posted by on November 30 at 11:53 AM

First, some background: I first met Dan Savage in the early-mid-’90s, when he was a drag queen sex columnist and I was a bookstore employee performance artist. He started directing my shows, I started writing for his paper, and we started hanging out.

Back then, Capitol Hill’s Broadway was littered in the spring and summer with what can only be called gay jeeps, brightly colored sports vehicles driven by brutally tanned and shirtless men, whose presence and motives beguiled both Savage and me. Key to the gay jeep experience was music—huge, thumping, techno-sex beats (“Everybody’s FREEEEEEEEEE!!!!”) blasting forth from each gay jeep, while the tanned-and-shirtless drivers did their best to act oblivious to the thumping racket, seemingly pretending the music was coming from somewhere else, like a personal soundtrack provided by God to underscore their great gay existence.

The sight of these stone-faced disco jeepers totally cracked my shit up, and before long, Savage and I began indulging in some gay jeeping of our own: Cruising down Broadway in my boyfriend-at-the-time’s Pontiac van (ooh la la!), we’d roll down the windows, crank up the music, and do our best to maintain sexy stoic faces—which wasn’t easy, because I refused to blast any other song besides The Sound of Music’s “The Lonely Goatherd.”

Have you ever tried to look cool and sexy, or even just keep a straight face, while riding in a car blasting “The Lonely Goatherd”? It’s next to impossible, but we spent most of the summer trying, cruising down Broadway—and on special occassions, through Volunteer Park’s notorious “Boner Row”—to the thrilling racket of Austrian children yodelling before an orchestra. It was never not hilarious.

Now it’s eleven years later, and I don’t visit Broadway enough to know if the gay jeep culture still exists, but if it does, there’s a good chance one of the gay jeepers will soon be blasting my most cherished cruising anthem in an entirely non-ironic context, thanks to the new single by Gwen Stefani, entitled “Wind it Up”.

(Thanks to Jake for alerting me to this bizarre twist of history and pop culture, and good luck to all of you in getting that damn yodel out of your head.)

Nickels Nightlife Proposal

posted by on November 30 at 11:20 AM

Yesterday, Mayor Greg Nickels sent out a press release announcing he’s officially sending his bar and nightclub regulations to the council. Today, both the Times and P-I jumped on the story. For a detailed rundown of the proposal, check out Erica C. Barnett’s story from three weeks ago about the nightlife task force meeting where the proposal was officially unveiled.

An Open Letter to My Carbuncle

posted by on November 30 at 11:09 AM

Dear My Carbuncle:

Just a few days ago you were a humble subcutaneous zit. But that wasn’t enough for you. You wanted to break out! To see the sights! And so you became a monstrously obvious ruby eruption right between my eyes.

Welcome to the world, My Carbuncle.

I can’t help but wonder if you’ve reached your peak today, of all days, because you want to co-host Loudhailer at the Henry Art Gallery this evening. Would you like to emcee with me, My Carbuncle? Would you like to meet esteemed writers like Jonathan Raban, Matt Briggs, and John Olson, who will be reading stories regarding Philip Larkin, earwigs, and anxiety, respectively?

Would you like to help me introduce less-esteemed writers like Christopher Frizzelle, Charles Mudede, Annie Wagner, and Jen Graves, who will be delivering footnotes on the more-esteemed writers’ readings? Are you just here to upstage me?

Would you like your own microphone, My Carbuncle? What can I do to make you happy today, of all days, midway on your journey between nothing and nothing?

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 30 at 10:05 AM


Jonathan Raban is going to read about an encounter with England’s gloomy genius Philip Larkin. Matt Briggs is going to read a very short story involving a peach and an earwig. John Olson is going to read a prose poem that seems to boil insanely from within. Between readings by these past Stranger literary Geniuses, various Stranger editors will present footnotes—alluring images, true histories, sidelong connections, made-up stuff. By the way, the Henry’s exhibition on the Genius Awards is up for two more weeks. (Henry Art Gallery, 15th Ave NE and NE 41st St, 543-2280. 7 pm, free.) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE


posted by on November 30 at 9:54 AM

One of the largest-ever studies of HIV treatment has found that patients who temporarily stop taking their powerful medicines more than double their risk of dying.

Many HIV patients have sought doctors’ permission to periodically take a break from the tiresome regimen of AIDS-fighting drugs, which can cause incapacitating side effects. Several small studies have suggested ”holidays” from medication might be OK for patients who appear to be doing well.

But the new study, published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests such a strategy can be dangerous: The rate of disease progression or death was more than twice as high in patients who took medications intermittently than in those who took them every day.

It’s a Mandate, Stupid. Use It or Lose It.

posted by on November 30 at 9:25 AM

In my column today, I’ve got a report from the recent state House Democratic caucus meeting (held at the Sea-Tac Doubletree on Nov. 19). The Democratic legislators were advised by their leadership not to overreach. Democratic state House leaders feel they may lose power if they alienate voters with a sweeping agenda.

Of course, if you voted Democratic, that type of Catch-22 logic is maddening to hear about.

What’s the point of having power if you don’t use it? Use it or lose it, I say. I think voters will be more upset with the Democrats if the Democrats don’t get anything done, than if the Democrats actually pass some meaningful legislation. So go for it. And given all the recent pro-D vote counts around here (No estate tax repeal, No “property rights” initiative, No gas tax repeal, Yes renewable energy, 7 Dem pick-ups in the state House for a 62-36 advantage, and Cantwell by 56%), I’d roll the dice on doing something and, well, expecting voters to dig it.

And so, in my column, I admonish the Democratic leadership for advising their House members to tiptoe around the place.

However, I wanted to add something that I didn’t have the room to spell out in print.

It’s this: My admonishment may seem to contradict what I’ve said here on Slog about the national elections. That is, I believe the Democratic victory at the national level was the result of President Bush’s overreach—running his party of the cliff, and thus, alienating mainstream votters. Soooo, you may ask, why am I risking the same fate with the state House Democrats by advising them to push their agenda?

The answer is this: Judging from recent vote counts, there’s no evidence that people are going to be turned off by the Democratic agenda. In fact, the opposite is true. In other words, there’s a big difference between the status of Olympia’s Democrats today and Bush’s status after election 2004. In January 2005, Bush acted like he had a mandate, but he didn’t. He only beat Kerry by 51%. And remember, he actually lost the popular vote in 2000. You can’t run around playing Anna Wintour with shaky numbers like that.

Ahhh, but check this out: The Democrats cleaned up here in Washington state in 2006. For example, they posted numbers like 59%, 59%, 58%, 57%, and 67% in the used-to-be hotly contested eastside suburbs. They even knocked out a GOP Senator in Spokane’s suburbs by 54.5%. Meanwhile, GOP agenda items like the estate tax repeal and radically prioritizing “property rights” over the environment got trashed by 61% and 58% respectively.

And in the state’s only official statewide partisan contest, GOP candidate Mike McGavick didn’t even crack 40%. Again: He didn’t even crack 40%. It was Cantwell 56.8% to McGavick 39.9%. Ouch. Meanwhile, in the unofficial statewide partisan contest, incumbent Washington State Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens crushed a challenge from a hotly partisan GOP state Senator, Stephen Johnson, who was backed by the GOP business lobby—59% to 40%.

These are mandate numbers. This is a mandate. Use it or lose it.

Good Morning, I Would Like to “Sex You Up.”

posted by on November 30 at 9:01 AM

If there was ever a skeezier (and therefore more strangely awesome) boy band than COLOR ME BADD, I would like you to name them. Here’s the video for their biggest hit, I WANT TO SEX YOU UP—which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that it doesn’t matter what your hair looks like, you can eventually find someone to have sex with you.

The Morning News

posted by on November 30 at 6:00 AM

Snubbed in Amman: Our president, who apparently dined alone.

Banned in the DPRK: Champagne, race cars, fake fur, and cognac.

Grounded in the UK: Two irradiated British Airways planes.

Par Avion: A letter to the American people from Ahmadinejad.

With regret: An apology to an Oregon Muslim from the federal government.

After careful consideration: Iraq Study Group to recommend troop pullback.

For Council consideration: Nickels’s proposed nightclub rules.

And it’s official: This is now the wettest Seattle month on record.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Driving By Dudes on a Snowy Evening

posted by on November 29 at 11:31 PM

The snowy drive home from Capitol Hill, while harrowing, was not without diversion.

This man, for example, was having a snowball fight with his buddies, who were all at least shirtless. Our hero, however, made a commitment to excellence, and stripped down to his wee panties. That’s why he gets his picture in the “paper.”

He was even gracious enough to pose.


Then I zoomed off at 7 mph, blowing everyone’s mind, including my own. I’m buying new underwear tomorrow.

Do It Yourself

posted by on November 29 at 6:50 PM

If you’ve ever wanted to display your artwork but didn’t have the gallery space,
If you’ve ever been passed over by curators or snubbed by the art world,
If you’re tired of the elite telling you what art is important,
If you don’t really ‘get art’ but still want influence,
If you’d like to win free money,
If you’re an artist looking for feedback,
If you’re a rebel looking for a cause,
If you’re a curator on the side of ‘the people’,
If you’ve ever secretly felt that art should be…democratic,
If you’ve nodded or choked back tears to any of the above,

Then you would fit right in on, which advertises itself as “A grassroots project bringing democracy to the world of art.” Its goal is to discover the next masterpiece, by democratic means, accomplished through “the people,” of course. Everyone is encouraged to join: art lovers, artists, curators, critics, even the casual web surfer.
Here’s how it works: ArtFaceOff provides every artist who joins with free tools and webspace to create an online portfolio of work. Every artist who builds a portfolio is automatically entered into the first stage of the art competition, the Ratings stage. During this time, anyone, even unregistered voters, can look through the portfolios and rate work based on a scale of 1 to 10.

Then, artists with sufficiently high scores are entered into the next stage of the competition, the Face Off stage. This is hand-to-hand art combat: a series of one-on-one competitions in which two of an artist’s highest-rated works appear side by side and viewers vote for their favorite of the two. The artist with the most votes moves on to the next round. Eventually, winners go up against winners until the pool is narrowed and there is only one artist left standing in each of eight media categories.

The artists who survive the competition win a cash prize and enjoy the prestige of being crowned “Humanity’s Greatest Living Artist” by ArtFaceOff’s underground co-op of art rebels.
Portland-based creator Steven W. Ochs’s, who launched the site in early September, explains why he started ArtFaceOff: “Radio created rock stars—movies and TV created movie stars—the internet will create Art Icons.”

Someone needs to shake poor Steve and tell him that striving to identify the world’s next great artist on ArtFaceOff is like expecting to find the world’s next supermodel on
“Yea!” for a concept that invites all people to get involved in art.
“Nay!” for a structure in which the art equivalent of Britney Spears could be named “Humanity’s Greatest”.
- Alli Urban

Drunk of the Week Danny Devito!

posted by on November 29 at 6:34 PM

Danny Devito was on TV this morning, drunk as a skunk! He talks trash about President Bush (YAWN) then admits that he once rode some balony-pony in the Lincoln Bedroom of The White House (YUCK)

Britney Bares Her Baby-Maker

posted by on November 29 at 6:23 PM

“I thought for sure I could find a link on the Slog to those panty-less Britney Spears photos everyone’s talking about,” wrote Slog tipper Keith. “SLACKERS!!!”

Dear Keith: You’re right. It was terrible of me to even think about protecting Slog readers from Britney’s hairless coochie. Click the photo for the full, NSFW “goods”.


What’s amazing to contemplate is the millions of dollars Britney flushed down the toilet by allowing some stalker with a camera phone to take these shots instead of a Playboy or Swank professional.

(Thanks to Defamer for both versions of the photo.)

Mars Hill Protest Agenda

posted by on November 29 at 6:00 PM

Regarding Sunday’s protest in Ballard, a reader asked…

Is the group organizing the protest at Mars Hill on Sunday pro-gay or anti-gay? I know that the protest is specifically in response to Driscoll’s recent anti-woman comments, but I don’t want to go if they turn out to be anti-gay and pro-woman (which I think is really retarded). The last thing I want to do is support a group who only condemns Mars Hill and Driscoll for one thing and not the 10 gazillion other things that are wrong with it.

People Against Fundamentalism organizer Paul Chapman says…

People Against Fundamentalism is not an anti-gay group. However, for the sake of the clarity of our message, we are keeping our protest specifically about Mark Driscoll’s demeaning comments about women.

Of course you can choose your own message on Sunday (I’d like to protest the fictional nature of religion).

For Josh

posted by on November 29 at 3:10 PM

Actually, Josh, don’t look. Everybody else: This woman makes art with medical themes and materials, often using her own blood. I’m particularly drawn to the Blood Scarf, a scarf knitted from clear vinyl tubing that attaches to the wearer via an intravenous device, filling with the user’s blood. It’s beautiful…


… and also creepy.

Also check out “Pillows,” on which the artist has silk-screened close-up shots of human skin:


There’s an equally squeam-inducing video of mirror-image blood drops approaching each other and receding over and over again, but you’ll have to go to her web site to see it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The Middle Finger

posted by on November 29 at 3:05 PM

This must be done. It will be done. HDNet gets my middle finger for killing the funding for Zoo (at the time, March 2006, called In The Forest There Is Every Kind Of Bird) at the last fucking minute, after a crew was hired, a schedule was set. And look at you fuckers now! More specifically, look at you, Mark Cuban, the owner of HDNet (as well as the Dallas Mavericks). You greenlighted the project and then, when filming was about to start, suddenly pulled the plug. The whim of a billionaire. Anyway, fuck you Cuban.

And here is a lovely picture from the movie.
111Picture 3.jpg

In the Forest There Is Every Kind of Zoo

posted by on November 29 at 2:09 PM

Congratulations to our very own Charles Mudede, whose new documentary (with Robinson Devor) about the Enumclaw horse fucker has been accepted into competition at Sundance 2007. It’s called Zoo (formerly In the Forest There Is Every Kind of Bird)—and it will be distributed by THINKFilm post premiere. I’ve only seen the teaser, but the zoom onto a horse’s crazy eyes… It will give you nightmares.

Charles and Rob went to Sundance in 2005 with their narrative feature Police Beat. This time, there will be no Miranda July to “steal Charles’s thunder.” I wish them every kind of luck.

The Lost Seinfeld Episode: Kramer’s Rant

posted by on November 29 at 1:41 PM

STOP WHATEVER IT IS YOU’RE DOING RIGHT NOW, and watch this amazing mash-up of Michael Richard’s racist rant with a bunch of Seinfeld episodes. IT IS BRILLIANT.


More on Crane Collapse

posted by on November 29 at 1:35 PM

Yesterday the PI reluctantly admitted that Warren Taylor Yeakey, the man operating a crane that collapsed in Bellevue, wasn’t on drugs at the time of the accident. Still, the PI felt certain that Yeakey, what with his history of substance abuse (unlike a certain PI columnist I could name), must be to be blame somehow. So the same PI story that cleared Yeakey of substance abuse speculated at length about other stuff Yeakey could have done or failed to do that would cause the crane to collapse, killing one man and causing millions of dollars worth of damage.

Investigators are also looking into whether the crane was allowed to “weathervane,” or swing freely, during windstorms before the collapse. A failure to do so by the crane operator would have put more stress on the massive structure, experts say…

“If the crane is not in weathervane mode, the torque from the wind load on the boom can contribute, at least in part, to failure,” said Frank Shih, a mechanical engineering professor at Seattle University. [The Italics are mine.]

Who was the crane operator? Why, Yeakey, of course. He was the crane operator, singular, the only person up there operating that crane, the only crane operator named in reports about the accident. If the crane operator, singular, neglected to put that crane in weathervane mode at the end of the day, then surely the crane operator, singular, caused the collapse.

Well guess what? Yeakey wasn’t the only person that operated that crane—a crane that, according to photographic evidence, was leaning dangerously to one side back in October. From today’s Seattle Times:

The construction crane that collapsed in downtown Bellevue Nov. 16 appeared to be leaning in a photograph taken more than a month before the deadly accident….

The photograph is one reason investigators are questioning several crane operators who worked at the site to determine whether they unlocked the crane’s horizontal arm during high winds the week before the collapse. The practice, known as “weathervaning,” is required during strong winds to allow the arm to swing freely, relieving pressure on the crane, said the source familiar with the investigation.

Among the operators who has been questioned is Warren Taylor Yeakey, 34, of Tacoma, who was in the crane’s cab when it collapsed. He suffered minor injuries.

So Yeakey was not only sober the day of the collapse, he’s also just one of several people that operated the crane. And the crane appears to have already been leaning dangerously to one side—two to three feet at the top, when the max allowed for a crane its height is 5 1/4 inches—more than a month before Yeakey was unlucky enough to show up for his shift on November 16. (You can see a picture of the crane here.)

But if you read only the PI—something I’m going to have to give up—you wouldn’t know that Yeakey was only one of several men that operated the crane. We also don’t know when the PI will drop its drug-hysteria inspired innuendo campaign against Yeakey or when the PI will apologize to him.

I hope Yeakey has a good lawyer and I hope he sues the fuck out of the PI.

New in the Seattle Weekly Film Section: Showtimes in NYC for the Week of July 21

posted by on November 29 at 1:19 PM

I’ve resisted pointing out, so far, that every movie review in the Seattle Weekly is now written in New York. (Erstwhile film editor Brian Miller is still about, but now he’s writing Northwesterly prose about “the mud puckering beneath my feet on the shoreline trail” for the news section.) They’re also being assigned at 200 words or fewer, which is kind of impressive.

But this week? Whoever’s in charge of the film section now (it isn’t made clear on the masthead) imported a Village Voice review by Drew Tillman complete with showtimes for its New York premiere at the IFC Center in July:

Making its debut as a midnight movie, The Beales of Grey Gardens is essentially leftovers: footage from the original shoot that, not surprisingly, offers more of the same and lacks the first film’s sense of revelation.

In Seattle, Grey Gardens is making its debut as a regular old movie, Friday-Sun 7 and 9 pm at Northwest Film Forum.

A Day Without ILLEGAL Immigration

posted by on November 29 at 1:13 PM

According to Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, a day without illegal immigrants would save the lives of 12 legal Americans!

What would that May 1st look like without illegal immigration? There would be no one to smuggle across our southern border the heroin, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines that plague the United States, reducing the U.S. supply of meth that day by 80%. The lives of 12 U.S. citizens would be saved who otherwise die a violent death at the hands of murderous illegal aliens each day. Another 13 Americans would survive who are otherwise killed each day by uninsured drunk driving illegals. Our hospital emergency rooms would not be flooded with everything from gunshot wounds, to anchor babies, to imported diseases to hangnails, giving American citizens the day off from standing in line behind illegals. Eight American children would not suffer the horror as a victim of a sex crime…On the negative side, the price of a pound of tomatoes might go up from $0.79 to $0.80. That is unless you have a garden.
My amazement: So, you’re telling me that without the cheap, illegal labor the price of a pound of tomatoes would only go up a penny? Annie Wagner’s amazement: A pound of tomatoes is only 79 cents? I think one tomato costs that much. Megan Seling’s question: Is that on the vine or steak?

An Open Letter to Washington Ensemble Theatre

posted by on November 29 at 12:56 PM

Dear Washington Ensemble Theatre,

Let me just say, I love that you do shows on Mondays. No other theater does shows on Mondays. What’s wrong with other theaters? Don’t they know how much other stuff happens on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays? Don’t they know that if they, like you, did Thursday-through-Monday runs, they’d reach a lot more people? And they’d stand a lot better chance of getting into Stranger Suggests?

That’s all. Oh, I also love that you do awesome shows. (Spoiler alert! Brendan Kiley raves about Never Swim Alone in the paper coming out this week.)

your faithful Stranger Suggests wrangler

Operation Infinite Donkey

posted by on November 29 at 12:04 PM

This is what the war on terror has come down to.
(note: NSFW)

La-di-Da, LBJ. Here are Some books that I Have Read

posted by on November 29 at 11:30 AM

Coming in May 2007, sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick is transmogrified into a literary writer. The American Library is dedicating one of their fine fine editions to four Dick novels, including Ubik, which, in my opinion, is one of the greatest American novels.

If you haven’t read Ubik, it’s about how the reach of corporate culture extends into the land of the dead. It also features the creepiest villian, besides Enron’s Andy Fastow, in American letters. I realize that Andy Fastow, detailed in this great book, is non-fiction. But as PKD once said, Ubik is non-fiction!!

The other 3 Dick novels in the volume are: The Man in the High Castle, The 3 Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Unfortunately, no Martian Time Slip.)

D. Parvaz in Iran

posted by on November 29 at 11:20 AM

It’s no secret: D. Parvaz is one of my favorite writers at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. We met years ago on a writers panel, she wrote an installment of Last Days during the P-I/Times strike of the winter of 2000, and our “relationship” even earned some finger-wagging from huffy Weekly writer Mark D. Fefer.

Funnily enough, Fefer neglected to mention the sketchiest of Parvaz’s and my dealings: An afternoon visit to the downtown Deja Vu Showgirls strip club, for a P-I piece Parvaz wrote about my unhealthy obsession with the movie Showgirls. This strip-club visit was a trip for both of us. As a homosexual, I made cracks about how venturing into Deja Vu was less erotic than scientific; as an Iranian expatriate, Parvaz made cracks about how venturing into Deja Vu—without a head scarf, no less—would be cause for her execution in her homeland.

Which brings us to the purpose of this post: D. Parvaz’s three-part series on her return to Iran, which kicked off yesterday and continues today and tomorrow.

I haven’t been there in 22 years. I last saw the place as a 12-year-old girl who knew even then it was unsafe for her to express her opinion in public. I’m now a woman in her mid-30s who pops off for a living….[W]hy the heck am I bothering to go back? Because I need to see what’s left of the place I couldn’t have imagined leaving as a kid. Because I have yet to visit my grandmother’s grave. And, finally, because I fear neither will be there in a few years.

Check it out the whole thing (so far) here.

A High-Tech Linguistic Sliming

posted by on November 29 at 10:57 AM

You’re a Republican. You’re trying to figure out how to bash the uber-popular Barack Obama. What to do?

Here’s the strategy one GOP operative has settled upon:

Pronounce Obama’s first name as Bar-eck (which echoes the way most Americans prounounce the last name of the current Egyptian President), and then emphasize Obama’s middle name, Hussein.

Presto! A black American Christian who was born in Hawaii and raised in Kenya becomes…. a scary Muslim.

Via Wonkette.

Wednesday Morning Sports Report

posted by on November 29 at 10:20 AM

Seahawks: Matt Hasselbeck might have a broken finger on his non-throwing hand.

Mariners: Are the M’s looking to bring Freddy Garcia back to town?

Also: Michael Vick has been fined $20,000 for telling Atlanta fans they’re #1; the Yankees spent $26,000,194 for a chance to talk to Japanese pitcher Kei Igawa; and Nick Lachey is one of the new owners of the Tacoma Rainiers.

And finally: It’s not looking good for Mark McGwire and the Hall of Fame. From ESPN:

The AP contacted, via e-mails and telephone, about 150 of the approximately 575 present or former members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America who are eligible to cast ballots. Of that number, 125 responded, including 25 AP sports writers. Most of the voters’ names were obtained in the Major League Baseball media directory.

And the breakdown was:

• 74 will not vote for McGwire.
• 23 will vote for him.
• 16 are undecided.
• 5 refused to say.
• 5 aren’t allowed to vote by their employers.
• 2 will abstain from voting.

That means if all the undecideds and those refusing to say voted for McGwire, and everyone else voted, McGwire would need 84 percent of the rest to get into the Hall.

Yesterday, Slog readers had their own discussion about McGwire and the HOF. And today DMZ at U.S.S. Mariner weighs in:

The Hall of Fame rightly provides voters wide latitude to consider a player’s contributions to the game off the field. There can and should be no statistical test for a plaque on the wall. But there are really no analogs in the history of the Hall of Fame for excluding a player of McGwire’s accomplishments on the basis of things he may have done while playing, for which there is no evidence, and his possible association with a larger, greater baseball scandal.

Webb 1, Bush 0

posted by on November 29 at 10:13 AM

From today’s Washington Post:

At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia’s newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn’t long before Bush found him.

“How’s your boy?” Bush asked, referring to Webb’s son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

“I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President,” Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

“That’s not what I asked you,” Bush said. “How’s your boy?”

“That’s between me and my boy, Mr. President,” Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.

Holy shit—a Democrat who refuses to make nice with George W. Bush after the election. James Webb for president!

Via Americablog.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 29 at 10:00 AM

(ART) Which is a fact: a photograph or a sculpture? Um, a sculpture. A photograph is an opinion. But Roy McMakin has set himself the task of building photographs that are facts. He took hundreds of photographs of a single found domestic object—like a green dresser, or a Dutch oven—and piled them on top of each other, flattening the image so that it has no traditional three-point perspective and is true to scale. The subjects have been liberated from the constraints of photographic vision. They’ve become actual. (James Harris Gallery, 309A Third Ave S, 903-6220. 11 am—5 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES

You Read It Here First

posted by on November 29 at 9:42 AM

This one’s for you, Joel Connelly

Today Seattle Times gives a splashy treatment to a letter House Speaker Frank Chopp—he represents, poorly, Seattle’s 43 District—sent to Gov. Christine Gregoire. The letter backs a rebuild of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Thirty members of the Dem caucus signed Chopp’s letter, which was sent on November 16.

Josh Feit broke the news about Chopp’s letter on the Slog a week and a half ago, and devoted a CounterIntel column to Chopp’s letter in the November 22 issue of The Stranger.

The Seattle Times, naturally, does not credit Feit for the scoop.

Be My Intern?

posted by on November 29 at 9:38 AM

[Originally posted on Monday, but I’m hoping to get a few more applicants, so here it comes again…]

Want to help me dig into the lives of national politicians, big-time bloggers, small-time weirdos, despised killers, hard-core pornographers, and controversial building managers?

If so, I’d love your help. I’m looking for an unpaid intern who wants to do research about big, juicy, complicated topics and big, juicy, complicated people. An interest in digging through court records and old news articles is a must. An affinity for the Prayer Warrior is a plus. Time commitment is very flexible.

Email me about your experience and availability at

Hearts and Minds

posted by on November 29 at 9:37 AM

From this morning’s New York Times:

U.S. Troops Kill 5 Girls in Assault on Insurgents

BAGHDAD, Nov. 28 — American troops killed five girls, including at least one baby, and what the military described as either a boy or a man, when the troops attacked a house Tuesday in volatile Anbar Province after they suspected insurgents of firing at them from the roof.

Another person, which the military described in a written statement as either a girl or a young woman, was wounded in the attack and refused treatment by the Americans.

The Pope’s Style

posted by on November 29 at 9:05 AM

Neo-bavarian and Wagnerian,” according to the Italian magazine L’Espresso, which offers this photo gallery.

(Via Sullivan)

The Morning News

posted by on November 29 at 7:35 AM

Memo to Bush: Maliki may be unable to stop Iraq violence.

Blacks at American law firms: Set up for failure?

Lawsuit about mistaken CIA abduction: Thrown out of court.

Shiites: Quitting the Iraqi government.

Blame game: It’s all the Iraqis’ fault.

Another poisoned Russian? Perhaps.

Snoop Dogg: Under arrest.

Downtown library: Seattle’s friendliest homeless shelter.

Today’s forecast: Up to three inches.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Blizzard of ‘06

posted by on November 28 at 10:09 PM

Is there anything in the mother-lovin’ universe more unbearable than local television news coverage of a minor snowfall? Is there? Seriously, I’m asking.

Ho-ly shit.

Every Child Needs a Mother and a Father

posted by on November 28 at 6:32 PM

Well, at least she didn’t have gay parents

A mother was arrested on suspicion of murdering her newborn daughter by putting the baby in a microwave oven. China Arnold, 26, was jailed Monday on a charge of aggravated murder, more than a year after she brought her dead month-old baby to a hospital.

“We have reason to believe, and we have some forensic evidence that is consistent with our belief, that a microwave oven was used in this death,” said Ken Betz, director of the Montgomery County coroner’s office.

He said the evidence included high-heat internal injuries and the absence of external burn marks on the baby, Paris Talley.

To those who object to these occasional posts, I quote once again blogger Pam Spaulding, who has posted similar tales of horrific hetero child abuse 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.

So long as attacks on gay parents continue, these posts will continue. I took my kid snowboarding this weekend. I refrained, despite temptation, from popping him into a microwave oven. Yet there are people who would argue that I, being a homo, should forever be barred from parenting. Kinda fucked up, no?

Austria is the New Kazakhstan

posted by on November 28 at 3:51 PM


From the Kuwaiti Times, of all publications…

After the worldwide success of Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, that turned the central Asian country into global laughing stock, Austria now fears becoming the irreverent British comedian’s next victim.

Universal Studios announced that after Borat wreaked havoc in the United States, he will be succeeded by Bruno “a gay, stupid, self-centred and Nazi-adoring Austrian, lifestyle journalist.”

Bruno works along the same lines as Baron Cohen’s alter ego Borat Sagdiyev from Da Ali G Show. Both show alarming dress sense, misbehave unscrupulously and provoke even more embarrassing reactions from their unsuspecting, but often not undeserving victims.

Bruno hosts “Funkyzeit mit Brueno” (funky time with Brueno) on a fictional Austrian TV channel, conducts interviews on fashion, celebrities and homosexuality….

Similar panic is now spreading among Austria’s tourism marketers, who fear that the gay fashionista, Bruno, will trigger images of a country brimful of Nazis instead of the advertised mountains, blue lakes and pretty girls in Dirndl folk costumes.

Hm… Borat, however offensive he was to rube sensibilities, was at least a straight character. I somehow doubt that Sasha Baron Cohen will survive the filming of a Bruno movie if he attempts a similar sort of road trip through the American “heartland.”

Soul Searching

posted by on November 28 at 3:41 PM

Looking for a way out of the night that set on Nov 7, a senior editor of National Review, Jeffrey Hart, makes the bold claim that G. W. Bush is not a conservative. The strange syllogism that produces this strange truth:

(Major premise) Conservatives are realists.
(Minor premise) Bush is not a realist.
(Conclusion) Bush is not a conservative.

Out of all Hart has to say and stress, this is the only passage worth pointing out:

Richard Cheney:

Once you get to Baghdad, it’s not clear what you do with it. It’s not clear what kind of government you put in place of the one that’s currently there now. Is it going to be a Shia regime, a Sunni regime, a Kurdish regime? Or one that tilts toward the Baathists, or one that tilts toward Islamic fundamentalists? How much credibility is that going to have if it’s set up by the American military there? How long does the United States military have to stay there to protect the people that sign on for that government, and what happens once we leave?

Smart man, that Cheney. The only problem is that he said that back in 1991 during the first Gulf War when he was secretary of defense in the administration of George H.W. Bush.

Snowboard While You Can

posted by on November 28 at 3:39 PM

Speaking of winter sports, one scientist predicts that we may not be able to enjoy ‘em for much longer

The earth has a fever that could boost temperatures by 8 degrees Celsius making large parts of the surface uninhabitable and threatening billions of peoples’ lives, a controversial climate scientist said on Tuesday.

James Lovelock, who angered climate scientists with his Gaia theory of a living planet and then alienated environmentalists by backing nuclear power, said a traumatized earth might only be able to support less than a tenth of it’s 6 billion people.

“We are not all doomed. An awful lot of people will die, but I don’t see the species dying out,” he told a news conference. “A hot earth couldn’t support much over 500 million.”

Lovelock goes on to predict that humanity—all of “life,” actually—will have to move up to the Arctic, like it did during another huge climate shift 55 million years ago. But what does Lovelock know? He’s the whacko that came up with that dingbat Gaia theory and pissed off all those other climate scientists, right?

Lovelock adopted the name Gaia, the Greek mother earth goddess, in the 1960s to apply to his then revolutionary theory that the earth functions as a single, self-sustaining organism. His theory is now widely accepted.


Via Drudge, who naturally pairs the Lovelock link with a link to a story about how unusually cold it is somewhere right now (“Temps in Calgary Hit 100 Year Low”). Pairing these links proves, to Drudge and his readers, that all this talk about “global warming” is a crock of shit.

Of course, global warming carries a risk of extreme shifts in weather patterns, with some places getting much hotter while others get colder. That Calgary is, according to the second link, experiencing an “arctic deep freeze… on track to break a 110-year-old weather record” isn’t evidence that all is well. Far from it.

An Open Letter to the Girl I’ve Had a Crush On (and Haven’t Seen) Since High School and Who, I Just Found Out, Got Married Last Week:

posted by on November 28 at 3:22 PM

Dear the Girl I’ve Had a Crush On (and Haven’t Seen) Since High School and Who, I Just Found Out, Got Married Last Week:

In Phoenix?! You got married in Phoenix? To some guy who lives in Phoenix? What were you thinking, TGIHCO(HS)SHSWIJFOGMLW?

I know we haven’t spoken in years and I know you’ve probably forgotten all about me—how I used to come do yard work at your parents’ house on Saturdays; how I’d be pulling weeds, mowing the lawn, wondering if you were inside; how sometimes you’d come out and sit with me and we talked with a quiet ease we never did when we bumped into each other in the high school halls. And I remember one of those afternoons when your mother made us lunch and was trying to compliment me and said “I wouldn’t mind if you married this guy.” I thought we were meant to be: TGIHCO(HS)SHSWIJFOGMLW and This Guy. Together forever.

Remember the summer night TGIHCO(HS)SHSWIJFOGMLW, when you and I went down to the dock and sat and talked under the stars? And how, when we drifted into silence, you stood, took off your clothes, and jumped into the water? The phosphorescence was bright that night and the outline of your body shone up from the black water like a luminous silhouette. Because I wanted to seem game, I jumped in after you, but I would’ve been happy to sit there and watch you swim and make the water bright in your wake.


I know I haven’t been the most faithful fiancĂŠe. I know I haven’t called you in… twelve years. But your wedding announcement, in our hometown paper, somehow got to me, TGIHCO(HS)SHSWIJFOGMLW. I want you to be happy—really, I do—but I can’t help but think that getting married in Phoenix is a bad omen. And that, like, a million percent of American marriages end in divorce.

I guess I’m just saying it’s never too late.

No Bike Paths for South End

posted by on November 28 at 3:10 PM

OK, that’s not exactly true. The leaked bicycle master plan does call for one new bike lane in Beacon Hill (the red line in the map below), and new striping along Beacon Avenue (the yellow line), but the worst street for bikers in the city, Rainier Avenue South, is labeled “Improvement Needed, But Unknown.” So is Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. South, where light rail builders Sound Transit capitulated to drivers and agreed not to add a bike lane, which could slow down traffic. (Both streets are marked with dashed black lines on the map.)Nor is there any improvement scheduled for Airport Way into Georgetown, which used to be on the short list for improvements but was de-listed after industrial businesses complained.

bike paths south.jpg

This sucks for several reasons. First, light rail is supposed to make MLK a more pedestrian-friendly, bike-friendly corridor. Sounds like it’ll just be another expressway for cars. Second, it is fucking scary to bike down Rainier. Thanks to recent road “improvements,” drivers can careen down the road at speeds of 50 mph and higher with impunity. And Georgetown is already hard to get to without a car; a bike lane or trail along Airport would have finally given cyclists easy access to the neighborhood. Many improvements in the North End, like the much-delayed “missing link” of the Burke-Gilman Trail, are badly needed and long overdue. But I wish Seattle’s bike planners hadn’t left South Seattle in the cold.

Russian Royale

posted by on November 28 at 3:07 PM

Have you seen Casino Royale yet—specifically, the ridiculous, nerve-shattering, supergreat construction-site scene? And: Have you seen this?

End AIDS with your c(RED)it card

posted by on November 28 at 2:32 PM

I’m glad we’ve moved into the retail-crazed countdown to Christmas. Why? Because Thanksgiving Day rings the death knell for downtown’s corporate charity window displays. Until recently, 4th and Pine seemed like the epicenter for the Gap Product (RED) campaign.

It’s easy to hate on the Gap for any number of reasons (sweatshops, commercials), but this specific campaign always rubbed me the wrong way. Last year, celebrity charity WonderTwins Bono and Bill Gates convinced Gap — and a group of other major corporations — to donate some of the profits from (RED) products to a global AIDS fund. And the campaign has raised a lot of money! $10 million so far. That’s fantastic! So why does the campaign still make me squirm? Because it’s not a charity campaign, it’s an ad campaign. And while it raises bundles of money to fight AIDS, Gap and others aren’t hosting it because of altruism or commitment to improving The Condition of Man. The campaign is good for business — not only does it make the corporation look good, but it makes their customers feel warm and fuzzy with righteousness.

As the Executive Director of the Global Fund said in an October NYT article, “I could go with my begging bowl every year to a major corporation and say `give me some money,’ and they might give me a one-off contribution, but it wouldn’t be large and it wouldn’t be sustainable. Red is intrinsically sustainable because Red is good for the companies.”

Rob Walker, the (in my opinion) stud who writes the Consumed column in the Sunday New York Times Magazine, summed this all up well on his blog:

“I don’t really want to come across as being against something that funnels at least some money to people who need it. But the way the participating brands are using this, it seems to me, is pure marketing. It’s a way to give a “halo” (as they say in the trade) to an entire brand, without giving up profits from the brand’s entire product line… And now that I think about, that’s basically the same thing Red consumers get: Give me good product, and throw in a little “I care about others” with that, willya?”

Thanks, Rob. The Onion says it well, too.

Remember how the cure for 9/11 was to revitalize the economy via more shopping? Campaigns like this tell Americans that they can help fix the world — from the environment to the AIDS crisis — not by changing their lifestyles or actively committing to reform but… buying iPods…


and Armani watches…

Which is a lot easier (but no necessarily more effective) and soothes American consciences into complacency. Thank you for reading today’s scathing-critique-of-capitalism Slog post.

Gentian Violet, Ringworm, Aquaflavine Emulsion, Lead Lotion

posted by on November 28 at 2:11 PM


In 1977, the little old lady on top published this sentence in a book:

Our ‘nursing’ seldom involved more than dabbing gentian violet on ringworm, aquaflavine emulsion on cuts and scratches, lead lotion on bruises and sprains.

In 2001, the man on bottom published this sentence in a book:

In the way of medical treatments, she had already dabbed gentian violet on ringworm, aquaflavine emulsion on a cut, and painted lead lotion on a bruise.

Her name is Lucilla Andrews. His name is Ian McEwan.

Some people are outraged. He is standing his ground. She is dead.

No Longer the Only Gays in the Village

posted by on November 28 at 2:10 PM


This is as hard for me to admit as it will be for many of you to believe but… I’m a snowboarder. Dude, really, don’t laugh. I know it seems unlikely, considering my advanced age (34) and my taste in music (Sondheim, Gorme, Carr). But last fall I was ordered to attend three snowboarding classes at Snoqualmie Pass. Not only did I quickly learn to snowboard, I fell madly in love with the—what the hell is it anyway? A sport? Maybe when Sean White does it. For me it’s more of, oh I dunno, an activity?

I didn’t wanna learn—and that’s putting it mildly.

My boyfriend and our son, both of whom skateboard, started snowboarding together two years ago. (My boyfriend lied about our son’s age to get him into his a snowboarding class at the Pass.) Soon we were taking trips together, all three of us, to massive Canadian ski resorts near my boyfriend’s parent’s hilarious time-share/time-capsule condo. (It is always the early `70s at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.) On these trips, they would go off snowboarding while I sat around the lodge, drinking beer and reading. It was ideal, in my opinion, but my boyfriend insisted that I at least try to learn how snowboard. So that we could all do it together. You know, as a family.

So I learned—reluctantly. But I fell in love with it fast. So last year we went to Sunshine Village and Panorama in the Canadian Rockies; Silver Mountain in Idaho; Snoqualmie Pass (a dozen times), 49 Degrees North, Mount Baker in Washington. I bring to snowboarding the same reckless disregard for my safety that I’ve long brought to biking. Who knew that falling down a mountain could be so much damn fun?

Our first snowboarding trip this year was last weekend. We went to Crystal Mountain—that’s my son and boyfriend in the picture above; that’s Mount Rainier behind them. On Saturday we had tons of new snow and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Brilliant. On Sunday we had even more new snow, but with howling winds and near-blizzard conditions. Also brilliant.

But what we really liked about our visit to Crystal was discovering that, for what felt like the first time, we were not the only gays in the ski village. We haven’t run into many other queers in the ski resorts we’ve visited. Yes, yes: there’s some big annual gay ski thing/circuit party in Whistler. But we’re not interested in segregating ourselves, nor do we resent having to share mountains with straight people—like our son. We’ve just wondered, you know, where the other homo skiers and snowboarders are. Winter sports, it seems, aren’t big with queers. (Water sports on the other hand…)

So we were thrilled to discover a whole pack of hot, urban, snowboardin’ dykes up on Crystal last weekend. Friday night our waitress gave off a slightly dykey air. On Saturday night we noticed a whole table of slightly dykey looking 18-25 year-old women.

We were right: They were all dykes. And they’re all living and working on the mountain this season! And, man, can those girls drink! How did Crystal come to have a pack of resident dykes? Our waitress, we learned, worked at Crystal last year, and she was the loneliest lesbian in Washington State. This year talked a bunch of her snowboarding lesbian pals into applying for jobs, and she’s no longer lonely.

So if you’re a snowboarder too, head up to Crystal this year and say hello to Crystal’s resident dykes. And tell `em I said hello too.

We’re headed to Mt. Baker next. Who knows? Maybe we’ll find some fags up on that mountain…

An Open Letter to an Organic Butternut Squash

posted by on November 28 at 1:20 PM

Hey Organic Butternut Squash I Bought at QFC the Other Day,

You’re good. Man, you’re good. You were the biggest squash on that stack, all beige and giant-peanut-like, and your size (and organic-ness) cost me. You were $10. But I needed you big. I had big plans for you.

I took you home and cut you. I scraped your cute insides out. I put some olive oil on you. I set you in a pan filled with a half inch of water and put you in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Then I browned a huge onion and some butter in a stock pot, with lots of salt and pepper. When I took you out of the oven after 45 minutes you were all hot and mad, but you were pretty soft, so I took a spoon and scooped you out of your skin and put you in the stock pot with the browned onions, and then I poured a giant can of chicken broth over you. Then I just let you bubble for a while. Bubble, bubble, bubble. Simmer I guess is the word that people who know what they’re doing would use. I’m not a cook. All of this made me so nervous. I got all these instructions from a friend, and I was sure I had some of them wrong. Chicken stock? I kept thinking. Bock, bock, bock!

After a while bubbling in that chicken broth you went real soft. Your orangey hunks become a chunky puree. I gave you some more pepper, and some cinnamon, and if I could have found the nutmeg I would have given you some of that too. I tried you with a spoon. God damn! I could have just eaten you like this, but I was feeling fancy, I was in the mood to go all the way, so I got out the blender and blended you. In batches. With the help of a mug, since I don’t have a ladle. Once you were smooth, I poured some of you into a bowl, with a plop of organic sour cream in the middle, and I ate you.

It was snowing. You were so good.

Dear Santa…

posted by on November 28 at 12:58 PM

All I want for Christmas is this.


Leaked Bicycle Master Plan!

posted by on November 28 at 11:50 AM

A source recently slipped me a near-final first draft of Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan, which will be unveiled for public comment next week starting on December 5.


The plan recommends expanding Seattle’s networked bike trails from 69 miles to 162 miles over the next five years, outlines exactly where new bike lanes and mixed-use trails should go, suggests that certain streets become “bicycle boulevards,” fixes the Burke-Gilman Trail’s problematic “missing link,” and offers a schedule for when to do what. These improvements will be funded, in large part, by Proposition 1, which was just passed by Seattle voters to improve the region’s roads. The $365 million levy is designed to include about $70 million for non-car-centered improvements.

Will this new master plan make good on Mayor Greg Nickels’s promise to make Seattle the most bike-friendly city in the nation? See for yourself.

Below are six large PDF files that show the plan in its current form. The “action plan” shows generally what the city should do where. The “facility recommendations” show what specific bike-oriented improvements should go where (climbing lanes, paved shoulders, “sharrows,” etc). And the “phasing recommendations” suggest when all of this should be done.

I recommend clicking on the facility recommendations. That way you can see what’s being proposed along your regular bike route and whether the changes make good sense. Again, there’s a public hearing on this first draft on Dec. 5 in Ballard, and another one on Dec. 7 in Columbia City.

One cool “long-term” proposal in the master plan: A separate bridge for cyclists next to the treacherous Ballard Bridge.


Facility Recommendations, north and south.

Action Plan, north and south.

Phasing, north and south.

Shit’s In the PI: Yeakey Cleared of Drug Use

posted by on November 28 at 11:46 AM

Warren Taylor Yeakey—the guy operating the crane when it collapsed in Bellevue on November 16—passed his drug test. The news about Yeakey being clean on the day of the collapse was in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer this morning. While the PI splashed Yeakey’s history of drug use all over its front page the day after the collapse (“Operator In Crane Wreck Has History of Drug Abuse”), today’s news—the news that exonerated Yeakey—was presented with much more restraint. Here’s the headline:

Crane Looked to be Leaning Earlier

And then in much smaller type…

Operated passes test for drugs after crash

The PI only devotes a single graph to the news about Yeakey’s drug test—a graph that didn’t land on the front page, but well after the jump, seven paragraphs into the story. Here’s that graph:

Drug test results show that Yeakey, 34, was not under the influence at the time of the crash, an informed source told the P-I. The results have not been made public. Yeakey has a history of substance abuse, including a number of criminal drug convictions, according to court documents.

The PI doesn’t mention that Yeakey’s last brush with the law for drug use was six, almost seven years ago, and that he completed a drug treatment program. The single paragraph in today’s story about Yeakey’s drug test could be read as implying that Yeakey, sober at the time of the crash, could very well have been ripped to to the tits the day before or the day after. He does have a history of substance abuse, you know.

What the fuck? As I wrote last week, the PI is constantly running stories about local drug addict who manage, with the help of just the kind of drug treatment programs Yeakey was in, somehow manage to turn their lives around. See here, here, here, here, and here for examples of the PI’s previous take on reformed and reforming drug addicts.

Before he was unlucky enough to be sitting in a crane that collapsed, Yeakey was a perfect candidate for one of those glowing reformed-drug-addict profiles in the PI. But now it seems that if someone has a history of drug use—or a history of drug convictions—and is involved in an accident, well, the PI isn’t going to wait to find out if the drug use was relevant before it crucifies that person. It will run to the drug war/drug hysteria playbook, and splash the drug use all over its cover. And if the person cleared of drug use, the PI will play down the results of your drug test.

And then make a renewed effort to blame the drug abuser for the accident.

Despite evidence that there was something wrong with the crane—that stuff about how it was leaning—most of the rest of the piece in today’s PI is given over to speculation about how the collapse could still be Yeakey’s fault. Did he turn the brake off? Did he let the crane “weathervane,” swing in the wind, like he was supposed to? Did that untrustworthy drug abuser follow all the proper protocols?

We’ll find out at some point, of course, if it was operator error. Yeakey wasn’t the only person to operated that crane, however, just the operator who was in it when it came down. But if the investigation shows that Yeakey was not only have been stone-cold sober at the time of the collapse, but also to have done everything right, following all the proper protocols, then Yeakey deserves an apology from the PI.

On the front page, above the fold, with a large headline, and the apology should appear in the first graph.

An Open Letter to U.S. Bank

posted by on November 28 at 11:42 AM

Dear U.S. Bank at 135 Broadway E.,

Could you please turn out your goddamn light? I realize you are in new and surely expensive digs there at Broadway and E. Olive Way, one of the busiest corners on Capitol Hill, and your bright, bright sign goes a long way toward advertising your fine banking services to the people of the U.S., but who exactly are you hoping to reach with your lighted brightness at 3 am? Those junkies sleeping under the Rite Aid sign? Wailing their junkie opera at all hours? I’m guessing they’re not your intended market for home equity loans and financial consulting.

That Rite Aid sign, with its imitation-Deco marquee, is a lot more impressive—a lot more deserving of being lit up all night—than your six chunky san-seriff characters, and yet Rite Aid turns off its sign sometime between 10 and 11 every night. Say what you will about Rite Aid, they’re saving energy. And they are sparing the people in their living rooms in the apartments across the street the feeling that they live on a brightly lit football field.

I’m “pro-density,” as the kids say, and I’d like to stay pro-density, but you’re really, really making that difficult for me, U.S. Bank. I happen to live in that apartment building across the street, and the magic flourescent whiteness of your unblinking sign penetrates my blinds even when they’re shut tight. How does that happen? Is that nuclear power you’re using? Am I sleeping in a bath of radiation?

Be a pal, would you? Be like the good people of Rite Aid, who outright refuse to stock club soda but at least have the decency to let their neighbors sleep without having to wear those airplane face masks?

your sleepless neighbor

The Saddest Christmas Gift Ever

posted by on November 28 at 11:09 AM

As featured in yesterday’s Seattle P-I: The Nintendog, a virtual puppy from Nintendo. You know, for poor kids:

Can’t have pets in the apartment complex? The kids will love this Nintendo DS game that lets them take care of a virtual puppy — washing it, taking it for walks, teaching it to fetch, etc. Best of all, the carpet stays clean.

Amazon takes a somewhat more mercenary approach:

In Nintendogs Dalmatians & Friends you’ll get to train and care for a a puppy, without having to clean up all those soiled newspapers. As you teach your puppy to obey, it’ll start competing in dog shows. See if your dog can earn money you can use to buy new breeds!

Have fun, kids!

Okay, be Honest

posted by on November 28 at 11:04 AM


Has anyone actually read this book…for real…cover to cover? It won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize in biography and the 2003 National Book Award, but I don’t believe anyone has actually ever read it.

I bought the hard cover when it came out and tried to read it. I stalled around page 100 (it’s 1100 pages.) Caro was laying out the history of the U.S. Senate and LBJ hadn’t been mentioned yet.

I picked it back up again last night and stalled yet again as, still no sign of LBJ, Caro was discussing the infirmities of aged Senators.

This book is impossible to read. No one has read it.

Grant Cogswell Outed!

posted by on November 28 at 10:39 AM


The things you learn from Atlanta-based gay publications: According to Southern Voice, Grant Cogswell—the former Stranger writer/Seattle City Council candidate who’s preparing for the release of his film Cthulu (he’s the fey one in the hat on the right)—is a total fag.

From the article Scream Queens: Gay Fans, Filmmakers Breathe Life into the Horror Movie Genre:

In “Cthulhu,” a just-wrapped indie film starring Tori Spelling and set in the Pacific Northwest, a gay man returns to a sinister reality he thought he had shed: his small town roots. The flick borrows from an H.P. Lovecraft fable about a demonic presence that possesses an entire town, and turns a focus on the worst nightmare of at least a few gay men and lesbians: going home again.

“I feel this is a pretty universal story,” promises straight writer-director Daniel Gildark, who crafted the script with help from gay co-writer Grant Cogswell. “I think it will speak to artists, gay people, people who have been marginalized and had to go away to find themselves. I think it’ll speak to them by showing a character who’s dealing with their struggles.”

Hmm. Maybe Gildark—he’s the butch one in the coat on the left—knows things about (inside of?) Grant the rest of us don’t. If so, Grant should know he has The Stranger’s full support for his newly chosen lifestyle. Or maybe Gildark’s just a driven pro, and had he been talking to a reporter from Autoimmune Disease Digest, Grant would’ve suddenly become his co-writer who’s battling lupus. (Or maybe the Southern Voice is just another gay newspaper prone to delightful typos.)

Whatever the case, congratulations Grant! Out and proud! Keep fighting lupus!

(Thanks to Slog tipper Keith.)

Sworn In

posted by on November 28 at 10:30 AM

Apparently I’ve joined the city council—in Philadelphia.

“To Catch THE Predator”—A Dateline NBC Exclusive

posted by on November 28 at 10:19 AM

Check out this hee-larious parody of those Dateline NBC specials “To Catch a Predator,” where online perverts try to hook up with teens and are busted by NBC hidden cameras. However, in this version, the Predator really is THE PREDATOR.

The Truth About How Porn Is Made

posted by on November 28 at 10:19 AM

Oh yeah, this is exactly what I’ve seen happening on all the porn sets I’ve been on. Except that the bondage was better, and the voice-over people had to wear gags to get the correct sound.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 28 at 10:00 AM

‘Days of Heaven’
(FILM) All the rapturous bleating about Terrence Malick’s recent trifle The New World makes sense only in one context: the absolute glory of the films made before his 20-year hiatus. Days of Heaven, from 1978, is slow and takes visual luxuries that the story—about a love triangle between two migrant workers and a wealthy landowner—can’t quite justify. But when you see those blissfully arid images pouring through a new 35mm print, you won’t care. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 267-5380. 7 and 9 pm, $5—$8.) ANNIE WAGNER

Tuesday Morning Sports Report

posted by on November 28 at 9:45 AM

Seahawks: There was snow. There was wind. There were four turnovers in the first half. But in the end, the Hawks managed to beat the Green Bay Packers 34-24 thanks to 201 yards rushing from Shaun Alexander (on 40 carries!), and a second-half effort by Matt Hasselbeck that served as a complete reversal of his 30 minutes of blundering before halftime. Even better: the D played a full game—probably because our offense, in the final 30 at least, was able to stay on the field.

So here we are: 7-4, with a two game lead in our division. ESPN’s John Clayton finds much for Hawks fans to be hopeful about. The Seattle P.I.’s Ted Miller…well, he doesn’t. And as for “Shrug” over at Field Gulls:

Out of the 12 games I’ve attended personally at Qwest Field, Monday night’s 34-24 Seahawk victory over the Green Bay Packers was, unquestionably, both the most bizarre and thigh-slappingly hilarious contest I’ve witnessed. This was more entertaining than free towel night.

Up next, former AFC West rivals the Denver Broncos, who just kicked Jake Plummer to the curb in favor of rookie QB Jay Cutler. It should be interesting.

Baseball: Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn, and Mark McGwire are on the 2007 Hall of Fame ballot. Ripken and Gwynn are shoo-ins, McGwire not so much.

Chopp’s Shop? Sommers’s Reign?

posted by on November 28 at 9:34 AM

This was originally posted yesterday at 6:45 pm.

State House Speaker, Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43), is trying to dilute the power of his powerful Democratic colleague, longtime Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Helen Sommers (D-36). The two have sparred over transportation issues in the past and there’s probably some bad blood over Chopp’s indifference when Sommers faced an intraparty challenge from progressive candidate Alice Woldt (a friend of Chopp’s) in 2004.

As Dem working groups continued to meet and organize this week in the run-up to January when they will have a commanding 62-36 advantage in the state House, Chopp pushed the idea of creating three subcommittees for Appropriations that will make recommendations on business before Sommers’ committee. Sommers told me she’s okay with one of the committees (an education subcommittee) because that’s a sprawling issue.

However, Chopp also wants to create a General Government subcommittee and a Human Services Committee that observers say would put too many cooks in the kitchen—watering down Sommers’s famous hold on state spending.

The new subcommittees would also put Speaker Chopp—who’s in a position to orchestrate the appointments—in control of more goodies to dole out, thus making more members indebted to him.

The Morning News

posted by on November 28 at 6:05 AM

Iran is training Iraq’s fearsome Shiite militia-men, but Bush won’t talk to Iran.

In Anbar province, the Marines have reported “pogroms” and add that U.S. forces “are no longer capable of militarily defeating the insurgency” in the area.

NBC says Iraq is now in a civil war, and the LA Times has been saying the same since October.

Annan says Iraq is near a civil war, and officials say Cheney’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia wasn’t a friendly visit. Rather, he was “basically summoned” by a kingdom “concerned about the damage that the conflict in Iraq is doing across the region.”

In Lebanon, advertising against a civil war.

In London, more traces of radioactive poison and the spy-death plot thickens.

In New York, Bloomberg is calling 50 shots to kill a man “unacceptable.”

In St. Petersburg, Gazprom is baiting Charles.

In D.C., another nod in favor of light rail going to the UW.

And in Seattle, much ado about snow.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Unscheduled Live Blogging/Nepotism

posted by on November 27 at 7:09 PM

OK, so I wasn’t planning on Slogging a god-damn thang (sorry, thought I was on the Weekly for a second) thing about the Seahawks -Packers game till tomorrow morning, but when I rode into Bruno’s (yep, it’s 60 F here, and I’m on my bicycle mere days before December begins) and I saw the snow falling, I said to Darrin the Bartender, “Hey, is this game in Seattle or Green Bay?”

Snow is just slightly more solid water, people. The pick that Hasselhoff just threw was pathetic (and I say this knowing fully that Brad and Mike in MO will be pointing out Rex Grossman’s many patheticnesses). Folks in Seattle oughta be used to rain, and Holmgren’s aneurismic facial expressions suggests to me that he hasn’t been watching the Weather Channel (or reading the Slog) enough to notice that Seattle is getting a lot of fucking snow. ADJUST! This is what he didn’t do in the Super Bowl last year, when bad calls by the Refs were half to blame, and a total lack of flexibility and adjustment sealed the deal.
fter halftime, the ‘Hawks—if they’re a well-coached team—will come out like snow means no-thang, and they’ll run the ball and win.

UPDATE : OK, WTF Have proper spikes on for chasing down pesky Packers’ receivers.
UPDATE.: OK, I see: the receivers cannot catch wet balls—Dan, insert your own joke here—but the RBS can run. With the lovely palindromic score of 21-12 at the moment, we still have two teams that are in different places mentally about snow: one that cannot deal, one that eats it for lunch. But I have faith—and hope—that the Seahawks will defeat the Packers… Maybe it’s just the amount of beer I’ve had. Speaking of which, Darrin…
UPDATE : GREAT FUCKING CATCH—glad to see that someone has adapted, though the snow is now not falling. Reminds me of a story about snowballs and cars… nah, fuck that, it’s Monday Night Football…

Yet another UPDATE : OK, w.4.44 left in the third, that tipped pass by Farve shoulda been a pick. That’s the difference between the Bears Defense and the rest of you pussies. Gotta take advantage of every opportunity..

End of 3rd Quarter UPDATE
OK, this game is totally the ‘Hawks if they step up and HIT Favre. He’s throwing lotsa bullshit, and Shaun is running effectively. You’ve got 15 minutes to score 3 to force overtime, or more to win. The Packers won’t score again unless your D just lays down like a Prayer Warrior’s Wife.

2 Point Conversion Rule: OK , this has nothing to do with getting the Prayer Warrior to agree to give up on the Gay Conversion thing. But not only was the ‘Hawks touchdown a good thing, the 2-point conversion was a great call by the ‘Hawks beleagured but now not being snowed on coaching staff. That move puts makes a touchdown by the Packers less important. Trust me on this.

Put Skirts on The QB UPDATE:
OK, that roughing the passer call was bullshit. This if football, not croquet or cricket or some other civilized game for the love of god.

Shaun Alexander is pretty fucking good UPDATE
With 7:00 to go, I like this guy. Hope his feet stay healthy.

UPDATE. And Stevens’ feet are even better. Nice move to get ‘em both down. Now, that 2-point conversion matters a lot, as the ‘Hawks are up 10 instead of 9, which means—MUCH LESS now that Seattle finally got the pick on Favre that the Bears woulda had a while ago. Game over, ‘Hawks win, see you all in January.

“Land of a Thousand Words”

posted by on November 27 at 5:29 PM

The new Scissor Sisters video…

Here It Comes Again

posted by on November 27 at 5:20 PM


Forecast: One to three inches.

It’s in the Weekly, Dawg

posted by on November 27 at 5:15 PM

From Voracious, the Weekly’s food blog:

Our first digital recon has resulted in a tasty recipe for chocolate & cherry cookies from local blogger the Accidental Hedonist. They look scrumptious, and the devilish voice inside me wants to recommend that you enjoy them with a warm, spicy mug of Glřgg, the Swedish Christmas beverage that’ll make your house smell like Kris Kringle’s workshop (recipe below the jump).

Two holiday parties in the can for me, and at each of them I served a particularly potent version of Glřgg alongside my own signature holiday cookies—orange/cranberry/oatmeal, suckas! Eat ‘em and weep, they’re so delicious. Like every worthy holiday consumable, they’re NOT good for you, and this batch makes 48. The Hedonist’s Kate Hopkins worries that making an excess amount of cookies is the first step down the path of wearing Cosby Christmas Sweatahs without irony. Ms. Hopkins, I feel you, but I salute your taste in cookies. I think puff paint is a ways off for both of us yet.

“Suckas”? “Sweatahs”? “I FEEL YOU”?

Wait - I forgot. The Weekly’s the BLACK newsweekly. My bad, yo.

All My Transgender Children

posted by on November 27 at 4:29 PM

Admittedly, I’m not really up on the latest trends among soap opera writers, but having the lesbian daughter of the iconic Erica Kane make out with a male-to-female transsexual seems pretty progressive. Granted, said pre-op tranny is a very stereotypical, “flamboyant rock star” bestowed with the freakish name of “Zarf,” but the producers actually brought in consultants from GLAAD. The story arc begins on Thursday and I predict plenty of angry housewives across the Red states will be letting networks know their thoughts. Bravo, AMC!

Incidentally, this Zarf character adores Mike Patton and showed up in this widely circulated and completely hilarious Youtube clip a couple of months ago.

The New and Improved Male Pill?

posted by on November 27 at 4:28 PM

A hormonal contraceptive pill for men is currently being developed right here in spunkphobic Seattle. Most of the discussion around the pill centers on whether or not straight men will take a daily contraceptive pill—a pill that would prevent the production of sperm but not of semen, rendering men sterile for as long as they took it. Most of discussion boils down to this: Can women trust men—even men that don’t want to get anyone pregnant—to the (male) pill?

No, in my opinion, they can’t. And even if some men would take the pill, a woman would have to be a fool to believe a man—particularly a one-night stand—who claimed to be on the pill. Remember, ladies, we’re talking about the same people you can’t trust to keep a condom on during sex.

The reason men won’t take a sterility-inducing contraceptive is this: Straight men like to think of their semen as potent and dangerous. Come is powerful magic, thanks to its ability to knock women up, create life, and create havoc. Straight men—and, yes, some gay men—find their spunk thrilling precisely because they view it as potent, dangerous stuff, creator and destroyer of lives. (Creates babies; destroys lives with deadly STDs.) Men get off on the idea that the post-orgasm contents of that condom, diaphragm, vaginal canal, throat, or anal canal has to be handled with care.

A pill that permanently diminishes the erotic toxicity of spunk? A castration pill? Straight men aren’t gonna take it. Spunk that doesn’t have sperm just isn’t as thrilling, it isn’t as erotically charged. It’s just not spunk.

So I clicked right through the link on Drudge today about a different male contraceptive pill. This new pill, researchers theorize, is one that men would willingly take. Why? Because it doesn’t have to be taken every day, and its effects are temporary.

British scientists have developed a revolutionary pill that men could take as a one-off contraceptive just before a date. The tablet would prevent a man from being able to impregnate a woman, but within a few hours his fertility would return to normal.

Sounds great! Sounds like a pill that more men—not all, but certainly more—would take. And since a woman could observe the guy in the act of swallowing this one-off pill (she could even hand him a pill from her own stash), it would be easier for her to trust-but-verify a one-night stand’s temporary sterility! Everybody wins!

But keep reading the story and you discover that this new male pill…

contains chemicals that prevent ejaculation. Sexual satisfaction is not affected and the absence of hormones [from the new pill] means that a man’s fertility should return to normal within hours of stopping the treatment.

The contraceptive was inspired by the observation that some drugs used to treat schizophrenia and high blood pressure also prevent ejaculation.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there’s no way in hell that any man on earth is going to take this pill. Moving from a pill that results in spunk-without-sperm to one that results in no-spunk-at-all is not going to be seen by men as some sort of improvement.

Newsflash, researchers: Men like to ejaculate. What’s more, they associate ejaculation—quantity, force, speed, distance—with sexual satisfaction. Additionally, straight men enjoy ejaculating on women as much as they enjoy ejaculating in them. Faces, butts, tits, hair, elbows, foreheads, ears, ankles, knees, toes—you name it, straight guys want to come on it. So even if this new, improved pill allows men to feel as if they’re coming but without actually ejaculating, that empty condom, diaphragm, vaginal canal, throat, or rectum, to say nothing of that splatter-free face, butt, tit, ankle, etc., is going to be seen by all men everywhere as a major buzzkill.

Head back to the lab, British researchers, because your new male pill isn’t going anywhere.


posted by on November 27 at 2:57 PM

Women in the US may not have equality, but at least I know that if I need an abortion, I can get one.

Not so in Nicaragua, where doctors are predicting a total abortion ban (including in cases of rape, incest, and when the woman’s life is endangered) will imperil the lives of thousands of women and result in thousands more illegal abortions annually. Currently, due in large part to the difficulty of getting a legal abortion even before the ban (a woman had to either prove she was raped or convince three doctors to testify that her life was at risk) about 32,000 illegal abortions are performed in Nicaragua every year.

On a related note, the BBC reports that unsafe abortions kill 68,000 women a year worldwide, and send at least five million other women to the hospital for infections and other complications.

Lead researcher Dr Susheela Singh said: “The evidence shows that the health burden of unsafe abortion is large.

“The most effective way of eliminating this highly preventable cause of maternal illness and death, would be to make safe and legal abortion services available and accessible.

“A second, more immediately achievable, goal is to prevent unintended pregnancies in the first place through improved contraception use.”

Meanwhile, in Africa, the AIDS pandemic is getting worse after years of progress, thanks in large part to ineffective Bush administration policies that emphasize abstinence until marriage over condom use. Many women are infected by their husbands, and are not in a position to abstain from sex, even as more married men have multiple partners.

World AIDS Day

posted by on November 27 at 2:34 PM

I’m looking for events happening in honor of World AIDS day around Seattle. Any info you have would be helpful. Thanks,


Uh… I got nothin’. Anybody know what’s going on here Friday to mark World AIDS Day?

We’re No. 22

posted by on November 27 at 2:15 PM

In the world, according to the World Economic Forum’s annual Global Gender Gap report, which puts us behind Colombia, Croatia, Sri Lanka and pretty much all of Europe. The report uses indicators such as wage equality for similar work, participation in the labor force, political empowerment, and availability paid maternity leave to determine how much of a “gender gap” exists between men and women in 115 nations comprising 90 percent of the world’s population. The good news: Women in the U.S. live longer, are more likely to be literate, and go to school longer, on average, than women in any other nation. The bad news: The US ranks 37th in wage equality, 20th in labor force participation, and 66th in political empowerment, determined by combining the number of women in ministerial positions (14 percent), the number of women in Congress (15 percent) and the number of years the nation has had a female head of state (none). Read the whole thing for yourself here.

Update: Meanwhile, in Canada (No. 14), an awesome new $1.4 million government campaign will target 8- to 14-year-old girls with messages about dating violence, sexual harassment, and building a positive self-image.

First Reese, then Britney, and now Pamela

posted by on November 27 at 1:48 PM

Pamela Anderson files for divorce from Kid Rock—which means she’s now free to marry Borat.


Ted Haggard: Non-Gay For Pay?

posted by on November 27 at 1:45 PM

Per Dave’s post from earlier today: It appears that Rev. Ted Haggard is going to be in some sort of gay-sex-and-meth reprogram camp for the next three to five years. Wow! It takes a long time to beat the gay out of someone who doesn’t even want to be gay—who knew? Can you imagine how long it would take to de-gay someone like me? Someone who wakes up every day thrilled to itsy-bitsy pieces that he’s a pole smoker? Still, that doesn’t stop the right-wing Christian nuts from sending me emails about the miracle that awaits me if I should just accept Jesus H. Christ as my personal trainer. Or something.

A lot of letters explaining that Jesus is laying in wait, ready to pounce, and change me from gay to straight came in after I threatened in a recent column to bitch-slap the next fundie douche who sent me a note about Jesus flipping my switch. Jesus is ready to work a miracle in my life, they tell me, even if he can’t be bothered to work on in Haggard’s. (Having seen my boyfriend in Speedo, I’d say Jesus already worked a miracle in my life.) The arrival of these letters can only mean one thing: there are a lot fundies out there who want to be slapped around by fags. (In that column I also threatened to shit in Paula Zahn’s mouth if she ran another credulous piece about ex-gay conversion therapy. She hasn’t, so clearly Zahn doesn’t want me to shit in her mouth.)

But that’s not what I this post is about. What I really wondered, after reading about the long, hard road in front Ted Haggard was this: Are they paying him? Haggard has a wife and a family—six hungry mouths to, uh, feed. If he spends all his time having the gay beat out of him, how is Haggard going to support his wife and kids? How will he keep a roof over their heads?

Which makes me wonder…

Is Ted Haggard drawing some sort of salary while he’s on his big ex-gay adventure? And if he is, how are we supposed to view it as something other than hush money? Haggard embarrassed the hell out of his evangelical buddies; Dobson seems beside himself with less-than-Christian rage. What really annoys them about Haggard’s fall from grace is how neatly it gives the lie to their whole ex-gay argument. Again, if Jesus didn’t make Haggard straight, and if it’s going to take five years for the top evangelical ministers in the country to pray the gay out of him—again—what “hope” is there for the rest of us? Why should we bother?


Being a cynic and a fag that believes that male homosexuality is innate and fixed, I can’t help but wonder if Big Gay Ted is being bought off. The last thing the evangelicals want is for Big Gay Ted to pull a Jim “I Am a Gay American” McGreevey. They don’t want Big Gay Ted to come out, renounce his previous support for ex-gay ministries, write a book, and go on Oprah.

We can’t see what’s inside Big Gay Ted’s heart—or pants, or rectum, or anything else—but I think we have a right to ask how Big Gay Ted is supporting himself these days. If he is getting some sort of salary or stipend, then we have a right to doubt his sincerity. Big Gay Ted may want to come out now but can’t—not with an angry wife and five furious children to support.

After the jump: Some of the letters I’ve received from fundie douches about Jesus wanting to change my sexual orientation. Be warned: The letters are long, and the first is from a person didn’t get that “mea gulpa” was an oral sex joke.

Continue reading "Ted Haggard: Non-Gay For Pay?" »

Barbie Does Buenos Aires

posted by on November 27 at 1:38 PM

That’s Barbie Bush the younger:

Stories of the twins’ visit took on wild proportions in the Argentinean press. One tabloid headline had the young women running nude in the hallway of their hotel, a report the hotel staff denied to ABC News. According to sources, the U.S. embassy encouraged the two girls to cut their stay short because the added attention was making their security very difficult. But to the dismay and anger of some U.S. embassy and security staff, the girls stayed on.

You Can Buy Happiness!

posted by on November 27 at 1:26 PM

Cheer Up, Motherfucker! Stave off suicidal ideation with a therapeutic light box from the Indoor Sun Shoppe and a video of Mike Nipper, The Stranger’s chipper receptionist (and Emerald City Soul Club DJ), shaking his sweet, sweet ham to cheerful tunes of his own choosing. What? You’ve never seen Nipper dancing? His slick moves have inspired neo-Nazis to join the Anti-Defamation League and once gave Mother Theresa a hard-on—and they will save your life. Priceless! Opening bid: $1.99.

Stranger (News Dept.) Suggests

posted by on November 27 at 12:37 PM

Don’t forget: This Thursday at 6pm at the Downtown library on 4th and Madison, there’s a public hearing on an FCC proposal to lift the cap on the number of media outlets a single company can own.

Overheard in the Office

posted by on November 27 at 12:30 PM

Amy Kate Horn: “Every time you order brown rice it’s a small victory for your colon.

Graphic novels… now for girls!

posted by on November 27 at 12:02 PM

More news on the inevitable mainstreaming of comics: this weekend brought a story in the New York Times about DC Comics partnering with patented shitty-stuff-for-teens-promoter Alloy for the development and release of a line of graphic novels for teenage girls. This is a smart move for the publisher, since American teenagers are increasingly hot for manga (Japanese serial comic books that rake in $5 billion internationally every year) and the first “graphic novels for girls” are going to be less like traditional graphic novels (a somewhat-scorned artsy term usually applied to BIG IMPORTANT works like Art Spiegelman’s Maus) and more like manga and chick lit. The author of the first book released under the new DC Comics push previously penned works called “Boy Proof” and “The Queen of Cool”. And the page of the new novel previewed in the New York Times is downright insipid.


Look at those sharp-faced Mean Girl stereotypes! This isn’t surprising, but it’s disappointing. What I like about cartooning is there’s usually not a lot of money in it for anyone — the artist or the publisher — so the work is refreshingly weird. Comics have the ability to be unique and still be marketable, they routinely push the boundaries of art and narrative. But as the contrived panels above show, “girl comics” are the new ridiculous Superhero genre. Being creative is risky and books have such razor-thin profit margins that it makes financial sense to just copy the style of selling-like-hotcakes manga and chick lit. I just hope it doesn’t do harm to real girl comics and pulls more people into comic book stores where they may, eventually, wade through the glossy shlock to something actually worth reading.

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on November 27 at 11:55 AM

In this missive, we find the Prayer Warrior acting in his role as Hollywood power broker…


November 27, 2006

Dear Prayer Warrior,

Please pray for me today as I talk to Sylvester Stallone, who wants my endorsement on the family quality of his new Rocky movie.

Also, pray for Rick Warren, who would like us to pray that he will not be misunderstood regarding AIDS awareness and the “peace movement.”

Your Pastor,

Land of the Free Watch

posted by on November 27 at 11:30 AM

A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.

Some residents who have complained have children serving in Iraq, said Bob Kearns, president of the Loma Linda Homeowners Association in Pagosa Springs. He said some residents have also believed it was a symbol of Satan. Three or four residents complained, he said.

Peace is the last thing you want to see break out if you actually have children serving Iraq—God forbid your kid shouldn’t come home in a box. And, yes, this is all my fault.

Thanks to tipper Gomez.

“Why Do They Hate Us?”

posted by on November 27 at 11:29 AM

Gee, I wonder…

Hat tip to Amy Dials.

Kramer’s Rant… REEEEEEE-MIX!

posted by on November 27 at 10:24 AM

Actually, I didn’t see this one coming… though I guess I should have. The peeps over at YTMND have remixed MICHAEL RICHARD’s racist rant into… well, I’m ashamed to say it, but… a pretty bangin’ rap number! Obviously the language in this song is strictly NSFW (not safe for the world), but DAMN! That beat is tight!



Tip o’ the hat to BWE!

Today in Stencil Graffiti

posted by on November 27 at 10:22 AM


UPDATE: As noted in the comments, the resemblance is striking…


For The Love Of Mingus

posted by on November 27 at 10:07 AM

If the power that fuels Coltrane’s genius is cosmic spirituality, then the power that fuels Mingus’s genius is the most human, the most direct form of love.
We are but stick insects in the shadow of such artistic greatness. And the love Mingus had and generated in the short space of his life is the kind of love (a love that is concentrated in the moment, in the realm of life, in the biological, the physical, the temporal, the here and now and nowhere else) we can no longer even imagine it—let alone reproduce it. We the weak ( we who give pity the highest status in all our doings-sex, pregnancy, life, death) can only hear it on Pithecanthropus Erectus, be excited by it in the opening of “Love Chant” or the end of “Profile of Jackie,” and then, when the music stops, fall into despair because we are nothing more then moral and emotional stick insects, incapable of reaching, matching, expressing our world situation with such determination, intensity, and honesty. “To speak the truth and to shoot well with arrows,” was not only a “Persian virtue,” it was also that of the masters of modern jazz (1947-1969).

Note: I’m not sure if stick insects exist in the US, but there are plenty of them in Zimbabwe. Their ridiculous appearance, and the way they clumsily fly through the air, is such a shame, such a motherfucking shame. They are the penguins of the insect world.

The miserable stick insect we are.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 27 at 10:00 AM

Tacos el Asadero
(NOT YOUR MOM’S FOOD) So is it cool if Thanksgiving is over by Monday? Can we go back to eating food that is actually enjoyable, instead of white starches and dry bird meat? If that’s fine with you, go pick up the absolutely astounding ceviche de camarones at the best taco truck (or bus, if you want to get technical) in the whole of Seattle. It’s very colorful. (Tacos el Asadero, 3517 Rainier Ave S. 10 am—10 pm.) ARI SPOOL

Dobson Predicts Five More Years of Gayness for Ted Haggard

posted by on November 27 at 9:40 AM

This appeared on last Wednesday’s Larry King Live but is still worth watching five days later: Focus on the Family figurehead Dr. James Dobson holding forth on the long, hard road of “spiritual restoration” before disgraced mega-pastor /meth hoarder Ted Haggard:

(According to Dobson, “Three men will oversee discipline and punishment” for the fallen Haggard. Hubba hubba.)

Speaking of impressive imagery: You know what’s better than a photo of Dina Martina with Three’s Company’s Joyce DeWitt? Nothing, unless it’s a photo of Dina Martina, Joyce DeWitt, and that weird drag-queen puppet Madame.

(Thanks to the Lady Bunny for the Dina pics.)

2006=YouTube … and Condos, condos, condos!

posted by on November 27 at 9:27 AM

Admittedly, Time magazine is completely irrelevant these days. But their Man/Woman/Thing of The Year ritual—they’ve been doing it since 1927 (Charles Lindbergh)—has a relevant life of its own outside the dying magazine. Getting excited about Time’s Person of the Year is like enjoying Super Bowl Sunday even if you don’t watch a single NFL game all year (moi).

2006 has been a Year-Zero, history-altering kind of year: The GOP implosion; the on-line upheaval that’s undoing traditional media; and the tragic War in Iraq. 2006 is on par with previous cultural watersheds like 1966, 1980, and 1994. And so I’m curious to see who or what is crowned Person/Thing of the Year to define these shape-shifting times.

I nominate Google/YouTube as 2006’s standard-bearer. I think October’s $1.65 billion deal perfectly sums up the new media insurgency that’s exploding the status quo right now.

Runner-up for Time’s annual honor: Maybe “Purple America?” After years of pushing its radical, divisive agenda, the GOP finally alienated the majority of the country. Voila: 2006 starred the emergence of the Democrats and the new center.

I think the Blogoshpere—based on its role in upending the traditional media (and its role in the Democratic landslide)— should also be a candidate for the 2006 title.

Something about the war also seems like it should be under consideration, but I don’t know what best sums it up. Time chickened out of giving the title to Osama bin Laden in 2001 (the obvious choice), so I certainly don’t see them giving it to the Iraqi insurgents this year. Rumsfeld, maybe? (Remember, the Person of the Year doesn’t have to be a success story…just the person or thing that had the biggest impact on events.)

And 2006 locally? I’d nominate Condos as Seattle’s thing of the year.

As for those other shape-shifting years I mentioned: In 1966, the honor went to the Young Generation. In 1980 it went to Ronald Reagan. And 1994 was reflected back belatedly: Newt Gingrich got Time’s Man of the Year in 1995. (1994 itself went to Pope John Paul II ?)

Shape-Shifting Years Past:




And Hitler got in 1938.

Monday Morning Sports Report

posted by on November 27 at 9:18 AM

Seahawks: Seattle vs. Green Bay on MNF. Both Alexander and Hasselbeck are set to start.

Sonics: Another loss. Spurs center Tim Duncan scored his 15,000 career point—thanks to a goal-tending charge against the Sonics’ Nick Collison.

Mariners: In the wake of Willie Bloomquist’s contract extension, DMZ at U.S.S. Mariner has this to say:

Where this is really harmful is getting him 250 at-bats a year. If Bloomquist gets that many at-bats, something is badly wrong with the way the manager is using him. 250 at-bats for a guy hitting .247/.320/.299 is bad for the team. It costs them runs, and runs cost the team wins, and we want to see the Mariners win games and compete for pennants and go to the World Series and win it, because we’re fans.

Building winning teams takes two things: roster management, where you assemble all the best tools you can, and the actual use of those tools. While a million dollars is too high a price to pay for Bloomquist, he does have value when used correctly. Paid too much and used so badly, he’s a symptom of what’s wrong with both the roster construction and on-field management of the Mariners, and that makes us sad.

Also: Ohio State #1, USC #2, Michigan #3; Slog regular Mike in MO happy, Chicago Fan not happy; and the Baltimore Ravens sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger nine times yesterday. Nine times.

The Morning News

posted by on November 27 at 6:04 AM

Seattle’s wet November: Noticed in New York.

Today’s snow forecast: Up to two inches in-city.

The very rich: Getting very richer.

Civil war: It’s not just for Iraq anymore.

Iraq Study Group: A partial preview.

In Iran: Another military plane crash.

King County Elections: Still counting.

School Board smack-down: The trash talking continues.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

It’s Snowing In Seattle

posted by on November 26 at 6:57 PM


Doesn’t it seem kind of early for this? Usually Seattle gets its one or two days of snow sometime in early February, not late November. But whatever: It sure is pretty outside, huh?

The kids on our block are running up and down the street, having a snowball fight. They’re tossing snowballs at any cars that drive down the street too. We used to do that in Chicago, where I grew up, and where angry drivers would jump out of their cars and chase us through the gangways between the apartment buildings on our block. No drivers are jumping out of their cars on block tonight—they seem almost amused, these Seattle drivers, by the snowballs hitting their vehicles.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on November 26 at 4:55 PM

The Big Sleep

(MOVIE) During the making of this 1946 movie, legend has it that neither Humphrey Bogart (who plays Raymond Chandler’s hardboiled gumshoe Philip Marlowe), nor director Howard Hawks, nor screenwriter William Faulkner(!), nor Chandler himself, could figure out the complicated plot twists. But in the end, after all the dope, pornography, blackmail, and gunfire, you, the audience, will understand it and more. Here’s all you really need to know anyway: This is the best noir movie ever made. (Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th, 523-3935. See Movie Times, p. 84, for details.) JOSH FEIT

Rain in the Forecast

posted by on November 26 at 2:24 PM

Photo 35.jpg