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Archives for 12/10/2006 - 12/16/2006

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Uh….

posted by on December 16 at 7:57 PM

So… like… you can’t bring a full bottle of shampoo on to an airplane, but some germphobe can carry battery-powered air filter that can burst into flames?

Fire on Plane Forces Landing in Colorado

A personal air filter sparked a fire Friday on a Continental Airlines jet with 160 people on board, forcing an emergency landing.

Six people were taken to a hospital, officials said. Their condition was not immediately known, John McGinley, Colorado Springs Airport’s assistant director of operations, told The Gazette of Colorado Springs.

Flight attendants put out the flames, and the plane landed safely at around 5 p.m. Mountain time, Continental spokeswoman Julie King told The Associated Press.

The battery-powered device, which is worn around the neck and filters air near the person wearing it, malfunctioned and sparked a fire, King said.

The person was wearing it when it caught fire, but it was unclear how badly hurt the person was.

I Told YOU So

posted by on December 16 at 7:43 PM

Late last month I predicted that YouTube (or blogs) would nab Time’s Person of the Year Honors—as a symbol of the radical shift in mass media. Here’s what I wrote:

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… I nominate Google/YouTube as 2006’s standard-bearer… I think the Blogosphere—based on its role in upending the traditional media—should also be a candidate for the 2006 title.

I was damn close. The AP reported on Time’s selection today, writing: ” The winners this year were anyone using or creating content on the World Wide Web.

Indeed, putting a personal computer screen on its cover Time selected YOU as the Person of the Year.

And Drudge sums up the choice this way:

**EXCLUSIVE** 7:38 PM ET… IT’S YOU! YOU were named TIME magazine ‘Person of the Year’ Saturday for the explosive growth and influence of user-generated Internet content such as ‘blogs’, video-file sharing site YouTube and social network MySpace…

In my November Slog, I compared 2006 to years like 1966—watershed, jump-cut kind of years when accumulating forces explode to redefine culture. Interestingly, the AP report on Time’s selection, makes a nod to ‘66:

It was not the first time the magazine went away from naming an actual person for its “Person of the Year.” In 1966, the 25-and-under generation was cited…

La-di-da. Anyway, today’s the 233rd anniversary of the Boston Tea Party. Tonight, Boston Harbor is a tea pot!

Bears Fan Blames Seattle

posted by on December 16 at 4:43 PM

As I’m sure any Slog-reading sporstfan has heard, Chicago Bears defensive lineman Tank Johnson is in a heap of trouble. Thursday, suburban cops raided his home while he was at practice, finding six firearms (for which he had no permits) along with his girlfriend, their two children, and a felon who called himself Johnson’s bodyguard—who, thankfully, claimed ownership of the 2.5 ounces of marijuana the cops also found. The raid happened because of repeated complaints by neighbors in the downscale suburb of Gurnee, home of the downscale Great America “amusement park,” about gunshots, pit bulls running wild, folks smokin’ dope on the back porch. Oh, and Johnson is on probation for a prior gun-related offense, and would be in more trouble had a Chicago cop not chosen to forego prosecution for a scuffle in which Johnson allegedly said something to the effect of “If it wasn’t for that badge, I’d kick your ass.”

So, doing the right thing for once, the Bears put him on the inactive list for Sunday’s game and read him the Riot Act. The bullshit gamesmanship—the GM Jerry Angelo claiming that Johnson, like all players, was responsible for his off-field actions, while head coach Lovie Smith claimed that Johnson was being left off the active roster because Smith had to choose the team that gave the Bears the best chance to win—is just the team covering its ass. The team’s best DLman, Tommie Harris, is out for the year, and Johnson is the next best player at that position. The Bears were trying to be relatively responsible citizens and let this guy know that there are boundaries, even for football players, but only in a half-assed way.

So what does the mope do the very next night? Go out clubbing. And at about 1:30 Saturday morning, his “bodyguard” gets shot to death in the 700 block of North Clark Street.

Obviously, a really quick learner Mr. Johnson is not.

I mostly send this your way because, as a Bears fan, I blame Seattle: Johnson played his college ball at the University of Wasthington. Any stories about this Einstein from the U District?

Re-build: Up or Down Vote

posted by on December 16 at 2:25 PM

Yesterday, Governor Gregoire demanded a vote between the tunnel option and the re-build option, adding that the tunnel option is, according to the DEIS, “not feasible.”

So, Governor Gregoire: Why are we voting on the tunnel at all?

Pitting the tunnel vs. the re-build is a false choice—and a rigged election that will saddle Seattle with an elevated highway through downtown for another 100 years by default.

Seattle should vote on the only currently fleshed out plan, the re-build, in its own right, up or down.

(And doesn’t voting on the tunnel idea vs. re-build idea violate the two-subject rule?)

If the re-build wins on its own merit, as opposed to winning in opposition to an unfunded tunnel plan, then okay.

But if it loses, well, then: We can look at other options like a tunnel with a real funding plan or a boulevard/transit option—which no one has looked at yet.

KC Exec Ron Sims wants to look at the boulevard/transit option.

Seattle State Senator and former House Transportation Chair, Ed Murray wants to look at the boulevard/transit option.

State House Speaker Frank Chopp wants to look at the boulevard/transit option.

So, let’s look at it.

And I’m tired of hearing that there isn’t a boulevard/transit option. There is. The People’s Waterfront Coalition has laid one out. They say that 25% of riders will transfer to transit. They earmark $200 million for north/south transit fixes. And actually, given that the mid-range price for the re-build is $2.8 billion and the boulevard is $2.1—there may actually be $700 million for transit fixes.

What does $700 million get? I don’t know. So, let’s find out and… study it.

Mean time: Re-build, up or down, in its own right.

Crime! Gangs! Frozen reporters!

posted by on December 16 at 12:27 PM

I have bad meeting mojo this week. I was scheduled last night to meet a source at the Starbucks at 23rd and Jackson. Of course, when I got there at 5:30, the intersection was pitch black. The outage stretched for as far as I could see. I would have just left but a friend with no cell phone had promised to come get me at 6:30. So … I waited. My source never showed. Wearing rubber boots and a skirt my mom might tsk at, I started to get cold, and attract attention from passersby. I was plotting my escape when a woman started yelling “Call 911!” and young man with blood streaming from his nose ran up and threw himself down on the ground. The boy, a slim, pale, 22-year-old lad from Boise, had decided to skate past a group of red and black-clad young men standing at the entrance of the creepy parking lot behind the Starbucks. The young men jumped the skater. They took his board and his I-Pod. He held onto his wallet. The kid will be okay. He’ll have a black eye and maybe, but I doubt it, a broken nose. When police arrived I tried to talk to them about gangs in Seattle — what I was supposed to talk to my source about. The officer I spoke with said the Central District had lots of gangs (he couldn’t name them) but definitely no Bloods (so why were those kids wearing black and red?). I remain skeptical. To me, Seattle’s gang problem still sounds like a bunch of loose groups of scary, but not exactly organized or murderous, kids. They’re obviously out there, but we have bigger things to worry about. The police left and before frostbite set in, my ride arrived. Two hot toddies later, I had thawed out.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 16 at 11:00 AM

Peter Bagge & Ellen Forney

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(ALTERNA-CARTOONISTS) Two of Seattle’s most beloved and accomplished cartoonists light up Georgetown’s brand-new Fantagraphics Bookstore: Peter Bagge will screen rarely seen animated shorts produced by Sub Pop and MTV, and Ellen Forney will present her multimedia performance of I Love Led Zeppelin. Everyone will have a good time. (Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery, 1201 S Vale St, 658-0110. 6 pm, free.) DAVID SCHMADER

Sacha Baron Cohen’s Secret Plot Is Working…

posted by on December 16 at 10:11 AM

… I totally clicked on this story about iodized salt because it led with an anecdote from Kazakhstan.

Curiously, this piece neglects to mention that iodine isn’t mandatory in salt in the U.S. I have two varieties of non-iodized salt (fleur de sel and kosher) in my cupboard right now.


Friday, December 15, 2006

Dope Emporium

posted by on December 15 at 6:56 PM

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Last night’s Dope Emporium at CHAC proved to be a success, despite the rain and wind. Those who missed the show missed some of the best local hiphop performances of the year. Oldominion did a dynamite set and made it clear that they are still a force to be reckoned with, still a powerful pack of rappers, still got love for the streets. Abyssinian Creole threw down their humanist hiphop, and Dyme Def, who are produced by Bean One, dissolved any doubt that they have the goods to make a big impact on 2007. Dope Emporium has all that it needs to become an important venue for new hiphop. Let’s hope that Jace, the event’s primary organizer, keeps at it, keeps making it happen.

Charles Mudede and Kelly O interviewed Grynch, Silent Lambs Project, and the mighty D.Black. Check ‘em out.
(Also stay tuned for Larry Mizell’s interview with Specs One)

The Stranger: A Farce for Good

posted by on December 15 at 5:47 PM

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Strangercrombie 2006 raised $40,000 for Northwest Harvest, making this year’s holiday auction our most successful ever. Brendan Kiley was the Stranger’s editorial point person on the auction this year, Nancy Hartunian was the executive point person—thanks to Brendan and Nancy for all their hard work. But Strangercrombie would be an annual bust if it weren’t for everyone who donated goods and services and everyone out there that bid ‘em up. So thanks to all who participated.

Oh, and due to a lil’ SNAFU, ten items are still up for bidding until tomorrow—including the goddamned, brand-new, tricked-out Vespa. Go, bid, buy!

Cheer Down

posted by on December 15 at 5:03 PM

I just lost the Strangercrombie Cheer Up package at the last minute. LITERALLY!

Bidder Bid Amount Date of bid

quinntheeskimo US $258.10 Dec-15-06 16:59:54 PST

me US $253.10 Dec-15-06 16:12:28 PST

authoress US $250.00 Dec-15-06 16:08:21 PST

me US $227.90 Dec-15-06 15:59:47 PST

authoress US $225.00 Dec-15-06 15:18:46 PST

me US $221.90 Dec-15-06 15:58:44 PST

authoress US $200.00 Dec-15-06 14:58:37 PST

me US $176.90 Dec-15-06 12:47:34 PST

authoress US $175.00 Dec-15-06 14:58:08 PST

Authoress and I were locked in a heated battle for the privilege of seeing Mike Nipper dance, and then along comes quinntheeskimo, a dark horse if ever I saw one. Well played, quinntheeskimo. Everybody gonna jump for joy.

“There’s no tactful way to give you this information.”

posted by on December 15 at 4:42 PM

Enjoy this and many other dynamite sentences in the greatest letter every written by a school principal, featured on The Smoking Gun.

14th E. & Roy

posted by on December 15 at 4:32 PM

From Slog tipper Nick…

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Attached is a photo of a big upside-down chunk of a tree taking up all of 14th Ave E near Roy St. It’s resting on a thin telephone wire that can’t be seen in the photo, and seems to be improbably standing mostly on its own collection of small branches.

O’Reilly’s cupcake logic

posted by on December 15 at 4:28 PM

Bill O’Reilly is at it again. On his Dec. 13 show, he used a confectionery metaphor to pooh-pooh research showing that children reared by same sex parents don’t grow horns. According to Media Matters, O’Reilly suggested that if children didn’t suffer from being raised by gay or lesbian couples “wouldn’t nature then make it that anybody could get pregnant by eating a cupcake?”

Huh?

He also ragged on “very liberal” Seattle PI columnists Joel Connelly and Susan Paynter who, respectively, called the TV mouth on his double standards and specious statistics.

This Is What Democracy Looks Like

posted by on December 15 at 4:26 PM

Vote for A-Super Clean!!!

Foot In Mouth

posted by on December 15 at 4:24 PM

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In this week’s Savage Love I beat the living crap out of woman who signed herself “Freaked Out Girl.” Her boyfriend loved to massage her feet—and that was fine with her, until she found out he had a foot fetish. FOG dumped her boyfriend because she didn’t want to date a guy that wasn’t “normal.” No freaks for her, she said.

You know what, FOG? You are the worst kind of sex partner: judgmental, selfish, and cruel… a freakishly petty and sexually immature dumbfuck.

I predict—no, I guarantee—that this is going to come back to haunt you. There is a Karmic Rule Of Kink (KROK), FOG, and it goes something like this: “Dump the honest foot fetishist, and you will marry the dishonest necrophiliac.” Break up with a guy over his relatively tame fetish—and a foot fetish is about as tame as they get—and KROK will make sure your next boyfriend is some lying corpse-fucker who tells you only what you want to hear. (“Honestly, honey, I only like live girls!”) Only after you’ve married the corpse-fucker and had a few kids—once extricating yourself from the marriage becomes a hugely complicated ordeal—will he ask you to lie in a tub of ice until you’re good and cold.

And when you’re lying in that tub of ice—and odds are you will, FOG, because you won’t want to put your poor kids through a divorce—you’ll remember that sweet, harmless foot fetishist whose heart you broke back in college, the man you could have married.

And your heart will break.

Man, I really let her have it. Because, like, everyone knows or should know that no man is “normal,” that all men have fetishes (most women too), and that as fetishists go a guy with a thing for feet is completely harmless.

Uh, this is from yesterday’s New York Times:

Speculation About Foot Fetishist in Killings

When four prostitutes were found slain in a marshy ditch on the outskirts of Atlantic City three weeks ago, each was barefoot, a detail as intriguing as it was mystifying.

So on Monday, after managers and several guests at an Atlantic City hotel where two of the victims had sometimes stayed read an account of a man described as being obsessed with women’s feet—which appeared on a private group’s Web site—they said they recalled a peculiar man who took a room there for three weeks this fall.

What led people at the hotel to wonder about a connection between that man—who registered using an address in Phoenix—and the obsessed man described on the Web site as a serial killer, was one chilling theory in the site’s unofficial account: “He has an extreme foot fetish and has a collection of women’s shoes and the shoes of his victims,” the document said.

It went on to speculate that “he may even be known for offering women foot massages.”

I take it all back—any man that offers to rub your feet, ladies, should be considered a violent, dangerous predator. And you’re not really “the worst kind of sex partner,” FOG. The worst kind would have to be the kind that kills you and dumps your body in a ditch in Atlantic City. I apologize for exaggerating. You’re the second-worst kind of sex partner.

Ten-Item Extension

posted by on December 15 at 3:59 PM

Due to some miscommunication with ebay, ten of our Strangercrombie packages will be available for bidding until tomorrow at noon. (They closed some auctions early, we set them back up, there’s a ten-day minimum for all auctions, blah blah blah.)

Those packages are (please imagine the rolling of a thousand tiny drums):

1. Silver Platters gift certiïŹcates.

2. Buy an enthusiastic review of the CD of your choice for The Stranger’s January 25 issue.

3. A gift certificate to the Triple Door.

4. Sixteen boxes of porn.

5. Band t-shirts.

6. A signed copy of the screenplay to Shortbus.

7. The So You Wanna Be Orson Welles package.

8. The Harvey Danger cover song.

9. The Pearl Jam lovers’ package.

and

10. The goddamned vespa.

The rest of the bidding stops in one hour.

Bad Company

posted by on December 15 at 3:50 PM

From today’s Seattle Times:

One of the world’s top female high-altitude climbers, Seattle-based Christine Boskoff, is presumed missing in the unclimbed 20,000-foot peaks in Southwest China…

Boskoff has ascended six of the world’s 26,000-foot peaks, including Mount Everest. She owns Mountain Madness, a Seattle adventure-travel company formerly owned by Scott Fischer, one of the guides who died on Mount Everest in the 1996 season recounted in Jon Krakauer’s best-selling book “Into Thin Air.”

Boskoff and her husband bought Mountain Madness in 1997, just months after founder Fischer died on Everest. Two years later, Boskoff’s husband died.

Clearly Mountain Madness is cursed—it’s the freakin’ Hope Diamond of adventure-travel companies.

Sims Rejects Gregoire’s Limited Option

posted by on December 15 at 3:26 PM

Sims sets the record straight: Gregoire never looked at the People’s Waterfront Coalition option. WSDOT simply looked at a six-lane option to accomodate cars cars cars… without considering that people ride cars … and people can take transit. Anyway, here’s Sims’s statement:

Sims statement on Gov. Gregoire’s call for a vote on the Viaduct

“Governor Gregoire’s announcement today that the public should vote between two Viaduct replacement options — a tunnel or a rebuild — is too limited. While I can support the idea of a public vote, and strongly prefer the tunnel over the rebuild, I disagree with the governor’s call for excluding a surface-boulevard-plus-transit option from public consideration.

“That option, which could potentially open up the waterfront while providing an affordable, environmentally friendly means of moving traffic through the city, has not yet been studied. The surface option that WSDOT briefly examined contained no transit element and bears little resemblance to what surface-transit advocates are proposing.

“If we are going to position Seattle as a vibrant world-class 21st century metropolis, we need to proceed with boldness and vision. We need to think beyond present-day categories, with an eye to the long-term. How we decide on the Viaduct today is a profound test of our commitment to a better, more enlightened future. The right sort of transit-friendly surface proposal could meet that test.”


The Week on Drugs

posted by on December 15 at 3:18 PM

Off the Charts: Pot convict to serve 55 years.

Off the Hook: Court drops charges for 32,524 pot plants.

Off the Record: Taiwanese actors admit to high times.

Take the Plunge: New Jersey legislature approves needle exchange program.

Take Two: San Diego County appeals in attempt to overturn CA medical marijuana law.

Best Brownies Ever: Belgium sows pot plantation.

Ask Your Doctor: Drug ads may not be right for you.

Up or Down Vote on the Re-Build.

posted by on December 15 at 3:16 PM

Gregoire has set up a rigged vote.

Here’s what she has said about the two options she wants to put before the voters:

The finance plan for the Elevated Structure Alternative project as described in the draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) is “feasible and sufficient” to complete the project;

The finance plan for the Tunnel Alternative as described in the DEIS is not “feasible and sufficient” to complete the project.

Well, okay. So why vote on the tunnel option at all?

If the only feasible option right now is the re-build, let’s just have an up or down vote on that. Pitting the re-build against a project without feasible or sufficient funding is like asking someone who’s got $6 in their wallet if they’d rather go to Dick’s or Black Bottle in Belltown. It’s not a meaningful question.

Of course, since there’s no funding for the tunnel, people are going to choose the re-build. But is that really their choice? The fairer question is: Do they want the re-build? Yay or Nay?

In other words, there are other things we can do besides the tunnel and the re-build. But since the only one that is feasible right now is the re-build, let’s figure out if we want that—without landing there by default in a rigged vote.

The Governor never actually studied a real surface/transit option. The WSDOT studies prioritized moving cars rather than people, and so, never looked at divvying capacity up into cars and transit.

Pimping Ethan

posted by on December 15 at 3:15 PM

Yes, it’s a lot of ducats, but $844 seems LOW for dinner for six (plus copious excellent wine!) made at your own goddamn home by god-among-chefs Ethan Stowell of mother-fucking-great Union! Plus: Ethan is really funny and cool. Everybody hearts Ethan! If you’re a rich person with a mouth and brain, or you know such a person, get on it, fool!

Sad & Groovy Friday

posted by on December 15 at 3:15 PM

I’m depressed. Our talented art director, Corianton Hale, is leaving. And the surface/transit option has been tabled by the governor.

But still, it’s Friday: Dig the important teenage sound:

Anything that you wanna do, anyplace that you wanna go
Don’t need permission for everything that you want
Any taste that you feel is right
Wear any clothes just as long as they’re bright
Say what you want, ‘cos this is a new art school
Do what you want if it takes your mind
Better do it now, ‘cos you won’t have time
And never worry if people laugh at you
The fools only laugh ‘cos they envy you
Time is motion and the hands are fast
Young words are mumbled, they don’t always last
It’s up to us to be sure they understand
Who makes the rules that make people select
Who is to judge that your ways are correct
The media as watchdog is absolute shit
The TV telling you what to think
Anything that you wanna do, anyplace that you wanna go
Don’t need permission for everything that you want
Any taste that you feel is right
Wear any clothes just as long as they’re bright
Say what you want,
‘cos this is a new art school
Do what you want, ‘cos this is the new art school

Letter of the Day

posted by on December 15 at 2:31 PM

Editor: I see that our wonderful mayor, having been repudiated by a public referendum concerning his vendetta against Rick’s Nightclub (Dec. 15th) has decided to go ahead and make it a personal attack (along with Chief Gil) against the club.
Now, I may be wrong, but there seem to be a lot more URGENT areas of crime in the city that need attention. I won’t get knifed or mugged in Rick’s. Try walking through Pioneer Square, the U-District, Belltown (etc… need I continue?) at night (heck—-in the day!) and see how safe you feel.
Sixteen officers spent many hours with the dancers hours that could be spent watching our streets.
I have been asking the Mayor’s office for more police in this city. We get 31 more this year! Based on our population, Seattle is one of the least represented in police staffing in the nation! And the mayor thinks that’s all right!
Do I care what is happening in Rick’s? NO. It’s between two consenting adults. What I do care about is walking the streets in safety! Arson in the U-District, drug dealers along “the Ave” allowed to prosper (the only time I have witnessed a cleanup is when the Sheriff’s Department arrived); drug deals in full view in Pioneer Square.
The NUMBER ONE CONCERN the mayor should have for Seattle is the safety of its people. And that is blatantly not occurring!
There is an International website that shows that the University District is the best location to buy drugs in Seattle. Note this website showing crime in Seattle. And the mayor says we need no more police!
The mayor’s phone number is (206) 684-4000. Please call him and let him know that you won’t stand for his repudiation of your vote and that we need more police to actually PROTECT the people of Seattle rather than play “granny” with our nightclubs!
John

Writer for Sale

posted by on December 15 at 1:46 PM

Um, I’m just going to point out that there are only three hours left in the Strangercrombie bidding and the So You Wanna Be a Writer package is only at $187.50. Gary Shteyngart, one of the, I dunno, five or six writers in America whose books are both praised to the skies by the literary establishment and bestsellers? He’s like our Amis, or our Zadie Smith, or Amis and Smith stirred together, covered in butter, and baked in a piroshki. He’ll read your short story (or 3,000 words of your novel) and give you his feedback—in writing! (Which writing itself is worth something!) Plus, a free class at Richard Hugo House, maybe Lyall Bush’s upcoming one on Joyce? Plus a gift certificate to Epilogue Books? Plus a CD of literaryish sea shanties? Plus a case of Solaris wine, to drink yourself to death with?

(You don’t know who Shteynhart is? You don’t read The New Yorker? OK, here’s the New York Times describing Shteyngart’s latest novel as “burstingly sure of its barbaric excellence.” Here is Shteyngart giving a reading and talk at The New Yorker festival two months ago. Here he is in an interview talking about the best novel he’s read in a long time—The Sopranos on HBO. “It’s amazing. It’s like Flaubert or something…except it’s obviously a television series.”)

Anyway, there is no greater gift in the world for that aspiring-writer-who-has-everything on your list. Or for yourself. And right now it’s cheap. Just sayin’.

The Return of the Birds

posted by on December 15 at 1:22 PM

This blood:
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Belongs to this bird:
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The bird is, as you can see, no more. It is a dead thing. It’s murderer is not the windstorm but a hawk that wanted to make a quick meal of it. For reasons that will forever remain, like death, a mystery, the hawk changed its mind and dumped its kill on the sidewalk. Because the hawk is picky, the pigeon is now garbage. The leaves around it are also dead. The clouds above are thick and slow. And somewhere deep in the universe there is an orb of ice with a crack in it. That crack creaks now and then. Also deep in space there is a star the size of Manhattan. That star is alone and glows for nothing.

Lakeview Cemetery

posted by on December 15 at 1:21 PM

A few snaps from Lakeview Cemetery…

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And another and another.

Sadly it doesn’t look like any bodies popped out of the ground.

My Very Last Slog Post…

posted by on December 15 at 12:33 PM

goodbye.jpgIt’s true… as I type I am surrounded by towers of comic and art books, archived work discs, and empty bottles of Talisker. Six years worth of wonderful memories. Today is my last day: I am leaving to turn my freelance work into a career, and passing the torch to two fantastic and enthusiastic designers: Aaron Huffman (our new Art Director) and Aaron Edge (our new Design Director). It’s been an incredible run. Here’s to the reign of the Aarons.

The Olive Garden

posted by on December 15 at 12:19 PM

When you’re here, you’re family—nauseated, puking, shitting, vomiting, feverish family!

They Killed the Goddess of the Yangtze

posted by on December 15 at 12:11 PM

The Chinese river dolphin, also known as the baiji (癜鱀豚), also known as the Goddess of the Yangtze (é•·æ±Ÿć„łç„ž), has been declared extinct. It is the first major aquatic mammal to go the way of the dodo since the Caribbean monk seal (hunted to death) in 1932. Scientists blame hunting, ship traffic, and the Three Gorges Dam.

The last known sighting, of a stranded dead baiji, was in 2004.

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Gregoire Punts: Tunnel Vs. Re-Build. Shot Vs. Hung

posted by on December 15 at 12:10 PM

Gov. Christing Gregoire says Seattle voters should choose between the tunnel and the rebuild. She takes the boulevard option off the table.

And, in her press release, she gives a little shout out to Team Nickels:

The finance plan for the Tunnel Alternative as described in the DEIS is not “feasible and sufficient” to complete the project.

This uninspired decision from Gregoire shows a jaw-dropping lack of leadership. She’s too worried that a real recommendation would have alienated voters, both in Seattle and statewide.

Let the chess games begin.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 15 at 12:10 PM

‘A Terrible Price for Whimsy’

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(HILARITY) Roscoe is a boy inventor straight out of an Encyclopedia Brown book. His dog Scampers can talk. The two of them upset history by drunkenly driving a Timecycle through the past, accidentally killing Abe Lincoln, and causing a randy zebra to bugger the baby Jesus to death. It’s horrible; it’s wonderful. (Theatre Off Jackson, 409 Seventh Ave S, 800-838-3006. 8 pm, $14.) BRENDAN KILEY

Our Far-Flung Correspondents

posted by on December 15 at 12:00 PM

We’ve heard that numerous trees are down in Volunteer Park. Here’s a picture someone sent in…

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We’ve also heard that numerous large trees were uprooted last night in the graveyard next to Volunteer Park. Lakeview Cemetary is home to numerous deceased Blethens and Nordstoms, along with the earthly remains of Bruce and Brandon Lee. If you’re passing by Lakeview Cemetery today and have a moment, feel free to send us pictures of any coffins or corpses that were popped out of the ground by the massive root balls of any massive trees brought down in last night’s storm.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on December 15 at 11:55 AM

The hotly anticipated film adaptation of Alan Bennett’s The History Boys is here, complete with sexy boys (and one fat one), skinny ties (and one bow one), and a soundtrack full of New Wave classics (and two quavery renditions of “Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered”). Performance editor Brendan Kiley makes the audacious claim that “the best movie of the year is actually a play.” How very heterosexual of you, Brendan.

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Charlotte’s Web is opening this week, and while it isn’t a perfect movie, it does feature the adorable illustrations of Seattle artist and Stranger illustrator Kathryn Rathke. Here is one of her sheep:

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Or perhaps you’d prefer the tragic tale of a Christian indie rocker overtaken by his glamorous protegĂ© Sufjan Stevens. (By bizarre coincidence, Stranger news reporter Angela Valdez is featured in this documentary interviewing Stevens. You may not recognize her, however; Angela describes this phase of her life as the time “before I learned to be a girl.”) Sean Nelson loves Danielson: A Family Movie to pieces here. (Plays at Northwest Film Forum for one week only.)

The final installment of Northwest Film Forum’s BĂ©la Tarr series is Werckmeister Harmonies, a strange and wonderful fake allegory about a prince and a whale and the stars. Very beautiful. It plays through Sunday.

Also opening: The kiddie fantasy movie Eragon (bleh, says Andrew Wright); Will Smith and his cute son Jaden in The Pursuit of Happyness (bleh, says Brendan); and Unknown (nifty (scroll down), says Andrew Wright).

_______________________

Check out even more reviews in The Stranger’s Film Shorts, including the amusing Eating Out 2: Sloppy Seconds (I feel dirty just typing that), It’s a Wonderful Life, and Santa Smokes.

And as always, our carefully compiled, lovingly updated Movie Times. You should probably call ahead to make sure the theater has power.

Buy Drunk of the Week

posted by on December 15 at 11:52 AM

Drunk-Main.jpg

Only 5 more hours! Put on your drunky-pants and let’s go dancing! You get sh*t-canned, and I, Kelly O, will show up at the bar of your choice and take your picture for January 25th issue. I’ll buy the first round—the money you spend on the auction goes to charity. Make your Momma proud. Like these guys. Or this guy. Heh, remember this guy? Tori Spelling is a former Drunk of the Week. So am I. So is this girl, this girl, and these girls. Go bid now!


Skatepark Public Hearing at Town Hall

posted by on December 15 at 11:38 AM

Last night I braved the deluge to attend the public hearing on the citywide skatepark plan, which proposes 26 new skatepark sites around Seattle (check out the map here). Getting to the meeting was an adventure itself. I love riding the buses during crazy weather — remember when it was snowing and you could tell everyone on the bus is just thinking, “Snow!” — and last night’s ride involved a couple belting “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” at the crowded stop and, later, the driver pulling the fuckin’ ballsiest bus driver move ever: pulling around a line of stopped cars at the corner of Pine and Boren and roaring through the intersection past a stalled car (“Ye-ah!” said a man from Oklahoma up in front, “I like this driver!” and everyone on the bus cheered).

The meeting, though… much less exciting than the trip to the meeting. People showed up as early as 5PM to sign up to speak in front of the Board of Parks Commissioners, who will evaluate the plan and vote yah or nay on January 11th. The skatepark portion of the meeting didn’t actually start till 7:15 and I’m impressed with anyone who has the physical and mental strength to sit through over an hour of mind-numblingly dull Parks presentations just to express their feelings for three measly minutes. The room, in the basement of the grand Town Hall, felt mostly deserted, with only 31 people occupying the many rows of chairs, accompanied by the constant thumping of some Northwest School pageant taking place overhead.

Susanne Friedman, the Project Manager, noted that over 700 citizens made comments on the project during its conception and the City has “heard very clearly from the public that there is a need for skate parks.” She also presented skating as a rather innocuous Martha Stewart-esque pastime, describing skatedots as “little elements peppered throughout the City… such as a whimsical bench or chair.”

Nineteen people gave testimony in total, with several skaters — most of them older — thanking the Parks Dept for all their work in creating safe places for kids to skate.

The main opposition to the plan is neighbors who are upset about possibly losing green space to the cement skate parks. While the Skatepark Taskforce prioritized sites that are already covered in asphalt of cement, several parks are slated to be built on what is now grassy open land. Neighbors from Genesse Park showed up to say that they’d formed a 30-family neighborhood association in response to concerns about the planned district skatepark which would occupy up to 30,000 square feet of green space. The group pointed out that the Taskforce has been using somewhat shaky numbers to assess the demand of skating in Seattle — there’s been no actual count of skaters in the city, instead the project’s been estimating the number of Seattle skaters by extrapolating from national figures.

The Parks Board seemed excited overall (“In another life, I’ll be thin and a skater,” said Commissioner Ramels) and definitely committed to building skate facilities. They’re concerned though, too, about green space and how the parks’ cement will affect storm water at the sites. They’ll keep reviewing and take a vote January 11th.

Final Hours!

posted by on December 15 at 11:04 AM

The bidding ends today!

All those packages, all for charity:

VIP passes to Bumbershoot, Block Party, Sasquatch, and more!

A high culture package with a wine and cheese tasting party and tickets to the opera and ballet!

The Shortbus screenplay, signed by John Cameron Mitchell (plus 123 Shortbuscondoms).

The Stranger distro team helps you move!

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Shove your foot in the door of rock stardom by getting the big shots at Barsuk and Sub Pop to listen to your demo!

A crazy party in gold with Ben Exworthy!

Ticket packages to On the Boards and the Washington Ensemble Theatre, with a backstage tours and drinks with the artists!

A birthday bash with the Rat City Rollergirls!

Hugh Foskett and a wall of beer!

Beautiful furniture!

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Food! Boat rides! Romance! Sex! A basketball game with Sherman Alexie! Rare autographed posters! Fancy threads! More!

There are still heaps of deals and steals—and it all ends today at 5 pm.

Go! Bid! Buy!

An Online Newspaper Town

posted by on December 15 at 10:40 AM

Both Seattle dailies are publishing exclusively online today, but it’s not some bold experiment relating to the future of journalism.

Bothell, where both newspapers are printed on presses owned by the Seattle Times Company, apparently lost power last night during the print run, leaving the Times with a measly 13,000 printed copies that it says it’s sending to downtown Seattle and Bellevue.

All of which points out that in the paperless newspaper future, if indeed it’s coming, an Achilles’ heel in the mode of production will remain the same: the need for copious amounts of electricity.

You can’t print a newspaper without power. And an online newspaper doesn’t work so well when 1 million potential readers can’t turn on their computers.

One More Week for Tower Scavengers

posted by on December 15 at 10:02 AM

Here’s what $139.26 gets a motivated scavenger at the just-about-dead Tower Records on lower Queen Anne, where all records are 70% off, all hip-hop records are $1, and all DVDs are 60% off. Tons of local stuff (the slightly sad consequence of Tower’s having been a national chain that seemed inordinately committed to selling releases by local/regional artists among its vast catalog, perhaps to its detriment in the end) and a fair amount of weirdo imports remain.

Though I’ve been hearing rumors of its imminent dissolution for almost 10 years, the fact that Tower is actually closing does seem kind of sad. Still, I can’t get too emotional about the passing of a big chain like this, however much better it was than most of the others, and however much time I have spent in its aisles over the years (as a teenager in Nashville, I had almost no other options—Tower was my Sonic Boom/Easy Street/Scarecrow Video; that doesn’t make it Sonic Boom or Easy Street or Scarecrow, which is part of why I moved to Seattle to begin with…).

For more heartfelt ruminations on Tower’s collapse, read this piece by a soon-to-be-erstwhile TR (not Teddy Roosevelt) employee who is also a really smart, funny bloggournalist, and also this one, by the great Ann Powers (the best!), who references the very location whose bones I was picking just last night while the great storm of ought-six raged outside.

Now then:

Brand Nubian-Best of
Scritti Politti-The Boom Boom Bap (single)
Bonnie Prince Billy-Cursed Sleep (single)
Graham Coxon-You and I (import single)
Graham Coxon-Standing On My Own Again (import single)
Paul Williams-Someday Man (Japanese import)
Bob Dylan-Masked and Anonymous Soundtrack
Lee Hazlewood-The Cowboy and the Lady
V/A-Reaching For the Best Northern Soul compilation
Damien Jurado-Postcards and Audio Letters
King Kong-The Big Bang
Alan Price-A Price on His Head
People’s Choice-Golden Classics
V/A-Sur La Mer Samp-Le-Mer (5RC compilation)
Spoon-Loveways EP
Gary Reynolds and the Brides of Obscurity-Instant Happiness
Screaming Lord Sutch-Hands of Jack the Ripper
Sea of Love Soundtrack (notable for Tom Waits version of title song)
Thee Emergency-Can You Dig It?
Mark Pickerel and His Praying Hands-Snake in the Radio (already own it, bought as a gift)
Psapp-Tiger, My Friend
Danielson-Ships
Steve Turner and His Bad Ideas-s/t
The Gossip-That’s Not What I Heard
Laura Veirs-The Triumphs and Travails of Orphan Mae
v/a-Angel of Ashes (Scott Walker Tribute)
Sandie Shaw-Puppet on a String
Sparks-Sparks
Beastie Boys-Ill Communication (I’ve never liked this album, but for $2 I’ll try again)
Afrika Bambaataa-Beware (The Funk is Everywhere)
Goldie Lookin Chain-s/t
DVD
Friends and Crocodiles (BBC)
My Name is Bill W (James Woods is incredible in this movie!!!)
Gangster Number One

I probably wouldn’t have bought a lot of these had they not been so drastically marked down (Paul Williams is an obvious exception), but then, I probably wouldn’t have been there if Tower wasn’t going out of business, so, as my erstwhile colleague Josh Feit might say, burn on everybody.

We Are Winning

posted by on December 15 at 9:56 AM

I challenge the New York Times/CNN/Associated Press to match the sort of military expertise Fox News routinely provides its viewers.

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(Via Think Progress.)

We’re Not Alone

posted by on December 15 at 9:45 AM

Heavy rain in Scotland.

Heavy rain in Florida.

Freezing rain in Moose Jaw.

Sewage-liberating rain in Salem.

Heavy rain in Qatar.

In much, much drier news: The winner of the 2006 Grandma’s Marathon was disqualified after testing positive for anabolic steroids.

(Sadly, Grandma’s Marathon is not so named because one must be a grandma to enter, but because it’s sponsored by Grandma’s Saloon and Grill in Duluth, MN. Can someone get working on a grandmother-only marathon please? And find a wizened old cheater so the headline “Grandma’s Marathon Runner Disqualified for Steroid Use” will have a proper payoff?)

Vote Slog!!!

posted by on December 15 at 9:29 AM

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We’re very concerned here at Slog’s GOTV efforts about the effects of last night’s storm. Bad weather—to say nothing of impassible roads, power outages, and deaths—can seriously depress voter turnout. So, please, if you know someone that hasn’t voted yet, or is without power, do what you can to get them to the polls.

Because it’s round two of Capitol Hill Seattle’s referendum. In this round Slog is pitted against ShopRite. Yesterday at 4 PM ShopRite was freakin’ creaming us—but by 5 PM our GOTV efforts had reversed the trend and Slog took a commanding lead. But it’s not over until it’s over and the polls are open until late tonight. So click here to vote!

Vote Slog!

UPDATE: Er, it seems that the polls closed last night—accidentally. So we’ve already won this round…

The Morning News

posted by on December 15 at 8:54 AM

Mother Nature: Three dead and one million without power following yesterday’s storm.

Homos: New Jersey legislature votes to recognize same-sex civil unions.

Iraq: The Bush administration says it’s not interested in talking to Iran and Syria. John Kerry, however, is.

Senate: Senator Tim Johnson remains in stable condition. Fox News remains disappointed.

Hikers: Yesterday’s storm certainly didn’t help in the search for missing hikers on Mt. Hood.

Money: The Dow hit a new record yesterday.

Missing Laptop: The Boeing employee who lost a company computer containing information on 400,000 employees has been fired.

Bad Pasta: More than 160 people get sick after eating at an Olive Garden in Indianapolis.

Seahawks: Fuck.

Yeah, Yeah.

posted by on December 15 at 8:48 AM

So it looks like we had a windstorm, SeaTac Airport closed down, no one has power, a woman drowned in her own basement. (!!!!!) Am I a terrible person for waking up this morning most concerned about South Dakota’s ailing Democratic senator?

Yup.

He’s doing better, according to reports.

Senator Tim Johnson, Democrat of South Dakota, was said to be in critical condition but “responsive” Thursday after an operation to stop bleeding in his brain, and Democrats declared that his condition would not imperil the narrow majority they will carry into the Senate next month.

The attending physician of the Capitol, Adm. John F. Eisold, who examined Mr. Johnson before he was sent to the hospital Wednesday, said the bleeding was caused by a rare tangling of the blood vessels in the brain, known as a congenital arteriovenous malformation, that physicians say often goes undetected. The operation successfully drained the blood and stabilized the problem, Admiral Eisold said in a statement released by Mr. Johnson’s office.

“He has been appropriately responsive to both word and touch,” Admiral Eisold said. “No further surgical intervention has been required.”


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Why I Love Strangercrombie

posted by on December 14 at 10:54 PM

Because someone’s willing to pay at least $300 to be Drunk of the Week.

(Bidding ends tomorrow, Friday December 15, at 5:00 pm. If God exists, He’ll make sure the Buy Drunk of the Week package goes for no less than $595.)

Holy Crap

posted by on December 14 at 10:39 PM

Seattle woman dies after being trapped in flooded basement

A Seattle woman died after spending eight minutes in rising water after she became trapped in her basement while the room flooded, according the Seattle Fire Department.

The woman was stuck in the windowless utility room of her home in the 500 block of 30th Avenue East after floodwaters blocked the only door out and the water inched toward the ceiling, spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick said.

Firefighters pulled the woman out at about 5:30 p.m. by cutting a hole in the floor of the room above and pulling her through the ceiling of the basement.

Medics began CPR after the woman was rescued. She was transported to Harborview Medical Center, Fitzpatrick said. She died later Thursday evening.

For Your Holiday Enjoyment

posted by on December 14 at 10:17 PM

(Thanks, Bob Geldof!)

It’s Christmastime
There’s no need to be afraid
At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shade
And in our world of plenty we can spread a smile of joy
Throw your arms around the world at Christmastime

But say a prayer

Pray for the other ones
At Christmastime it’s hard, but when you’re having fun
There’s a world outside your window
And it’s a world of dread and fear
Where the only water flowing is the bitter sting of tears
And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging
chimes of doom
Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you

And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmastime
The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life
(Oooh) Where nothing ever grows
No rain nor rivers flow
Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?

(Here’s to you) raise a glass for everyone
(Here’s to them) underneath that burning sun
Do they know it’s Christmastime at all?

Feed the world
Feed the world

Feed the world

Let them know it’s Christmastime again

Feed the world
Let them know it’s Christmastime again

Swimming to the Movies

posted by on December 14 at 10:13 PM

Russ sent this picture from Kirkland…

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And, uh, this one…

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Casuelitas update

posted by on December 14 at 7:14 PM

I just returned from a canceled PTSA meeting at Thurgood Marshall Elementary in Judkins Park, where the most exciting agenda item concerned the new liquor license application from Casuelitas Island Soul, a nearby restaurant that’s been trying to sell a little beer and wine with their spicy vittles. Co-owner Theo Martin first applied early this year only to have his license rejected by the board because of the school’s opposition—mainly from principal Winifred Todd. Since then, Martin, who grew up in Judkins Park, has been rallying the support of his neighbors, who think a nice restaurant serving alcohol would not produce hoards of marauding drunks. They actually think it might be a good social anchor for the community. Martin has reapplied and, last week, asked the liquor board for a formal review of his case. I managed to corner Todd for about five seconds at the school and asked her if she would share with me her point of view. She said “I have no point of view,” and directed me to talk to the school district’s legal office.

Thank God it Aint Katrina, but It’s a Mess Out There

posted by on December 14 at 6:48 PM

It was too dark for my cell phone camera to get a shot of the car that’s submerged (!!) at Denny and 10th, but here’s another pic from 23rd & Republican—where a giant oak tree came crashing down on a van:

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Like, Savage said: If you’ve got pics of the storm and its aftermath send them to press@thestranger.com or editor@thestranger.com, and we’ll post ‘em. Be sure to send the details too.

Wild Weather We’re Having

posted by on December 14 at 6:33 PM

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The weather outside is frightful. The photo above is of a tree that fell on a van at 23rd & Republican. No one was hurt, says our eyewitness. But it was close.

Downed trees, lights flickering, flooded streets—it’s been a shitty afternoon and it’s shaping up to be an even shittier night. Got a picture or a harrowing story to share? Did you suffer a weather-related near-death experience? Send pictures to editor@thestranger.com—and, if you can, CC josh@thestranger.com, eli@thestranger.com, and smirk@thestranger.com—and we’ll toss ‘em up on the Slog.

Brian writes…

Yet another reminder of our need for a distributed, diverse, modern and robust transportation system: I submit to you a few pictures I took of the absolute goddamn mess that was Mercer (under Aurora) and Aurora southbound this evening. My apologies for having a digital camera that lacks a floodlamp for a flash.

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For a larger version of Brian’s picture, click here. Brian continues…

Thankfully, I walk to and from work, and didn’t have to do more than gawk at this scene with my fellow pedestrians. The scene was truly bizarre, one canal floating along in a concrete trough directly above another canal, both with several drowned cars stranded in water up to their windows. I imagine that the cars stuck on Mercer were overwhelmed by a torrent as they idled in rush-hour traffic, although I wasn’t present at the time of their drowning to say for sure. If this is what Mercer and Aurora looked like, I can’t help but think that other roadways around area were similarly affected.

The question: what happens to a city’s transportation infrastructure when a torrential downpour completely disables two of its most critical arteries at the beginning of rush hour?

The answer, of course, is that it shuts down, and becomes a freaking catastrophe. We’re boxing ourselves into a corner, brick by brick, with every home and road we build in the suburbs and every townhouse or condo we build in the city limits, all the while encouraging this development without first providing adequate transportation alternatives to ensure that extreme weather events such as today’s storm don’t have such disastrous affects. God forbid we should have a “serious” emergency, like a 9.0 earthquake. I don’t even want to think about how fucked we would all be then. When will the city of Seattle, its fellow communities and the Puget Sound basin as a whole finally pull their heads out of their collective asses and agree to a) limit development outside of already-developed areas and b) provide fast, convenient and comprehensive mass transit options designed to maintain service even during extreme weather or other emergencies?

Vote for Slog!

posted by on December 14 at 5:00 PM

BallonDrop.jpg

Oh my God! It’s Round Two of Capitol Hill Seattle’s, uh, election or something, and Slog is pitted against Shoprite—and Shoprite is freakin’ creaming us! Click here to vote! Vote Slog! Get us in to round three of… whatever this thing is. We may not know what it’s about—we not sure CHS knows what it’s about—but we know we wanna win. And do you know why we wanna win? Because a victory for Shoprite would embolden terrorists everywhere. I mean, it’s no accident that we haven’t been hit since Slog triumphed over CHS and a little kitten in the last election.

So keep America safe! Vote Slog!

Follow Bethany’s Advice…

posted by on December 14 at 4:57 PM

…and build an ark. Look out the window. It’s raining. It’s really, really raining. The streets are flooded, people crossing the street are up to their knees in water, it’s impossible to get a cab, coats and sticks and small dogs are floating by.

Rumors from downtown say it’s “totally flooded and gridlocked.” There are several inches of water in the streets—cars are stalled and pedestrians, unable to ford the crosswalks, are crossing in the middle of the road. (You’d think all the excess water would fall off the edge of the city into the sound, right? Or does it not work that way?)

And it’s going to keep raining. If you look to the column on the right, you will see life is, and will continue to be, “uncomfortable.”

(Or, barring an ark, bid on this.)

A Light Drizzle

posted by on December 14 at 4:48 PM

We’ve all been watching things get worse and worse outside the windows at the office here. Kelly O just tried to take a picture of the river running down the side of Pine Street, but it wasn’t very representative, so watch this instead:

Top Pot donut holes … They exist!

posted by on December 14 at 4:30 PM

From a confidential source: The dough boys and girls at the downtown Top Pot occasionally make donut holes, which the counter staff eat with cinnamon and sugar and do not share — even for a profit — with us longing consumers. Donut holes are almost as good as small, individually wrapped chocolates in their ability to make you feel like you’re not being as sinful as you actually are because you just ate 10 of them.

Thanks for the Grub!

posted by on December 14 at 4:28 PM

Waid’s, a Haitian restaurant on 12th and Jefferson, sent us over some food today, specifically roasted chicken and plantains. It was very nice, as the deluge prevented many people from going out and grabbing a proper meal today. But then, three hours later, there is the carnage:

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Waid, may I present to you this question? Do you really want these savages eating at your restaurant? Everyone has been sharing these chicken legs by picking off the meat with their fingers. Is your restaurant a respectable establishment? Because inviting these people in will lower your standing.

P.S. The food was good. Thanks!

Hey, Terrific!

posted by on December 14 at 3:45 PM

If you haven’t been outside lately, what appears to be a full-scale deluge is under way. Meanwhile, according to The Stranger’s sources afield, they’re strolling through Central Park in t-shirts and, likewise, it’s 70 degrees in Denver. Thanks, global warming! I am now going to build an ark.

Ask Mary Cheney’s Fetus!

posted by on December 14 at 3:31 PM

For those readers who experience The Stranger via the web rather than the print edition, here’s this week’s New Column! (Click image below for large, more readable version.)

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Black male homicide rate is gradually dropping.

posted by on December 14 at 3:09 PM

But you wouldn’t know from reading most daily papers. An LA Times crime reporter dishes some good sense on the numbers in Salon.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began keeping statistics for blacks as a separate group only in 1950. The agency’s count shows that homicide death rates for black men then were 28 percent higher than in 2003 and 12 times the white male rate. Spikes in these rates came in the early 1970s, around 1980, and again in the recession years of the early 1990s. Each spike was roughly as high as the last. But running through these spikes is a gradual long-term trend of lower rates and racial convergence.

This suggests we need to take another look at the widespread assumptions that urban violence is the byproduct of modern street gangs, single-parent black families, crack cocaine and the proliferation of handguns. These things matter. But so do deeper and more enduring factors. The reality is that blacks in 1976 were almost twice as likely to die from homicide as blacks in 2004, and the disparity between black and white rates was 20 percent higher than today.

More Fun from the “Literally” Police

posted by on December 14 at 3:03 PM

It takes a certain kind of person to derive pleasure out of people misusing “literally.” (I am one of those people. As is Sean Nelson. Eli Sanders dissents via Slate.) That Lincoln one—the first link there—remains my favorite, although I just got a great one in my inbox, from a publicist of Anthony Swofford’s second book, Exit A. (His first book was Jarhead, which later became a movie.)

In the middle of offering several story ideas, the publicist writes:

He was literally a small fry in the book world when JARHEAD came out…

Now please enjoy this picture of Swofford, followed by a picture of fries:

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You know, there is a resemblance.

Discovery Institute Throws Tantrum About the Dover Decision, 13 Months After the Fact

posted by on December 14 at 1:02 PM

The Discovery Institute had its ass handed to it on a plate when federal district court judge John E. Jones, a Bush appointee, ruled against a Pennsylvania school district that had required an evolution disclaimer to be read aloud by ninth-grade biology teachers. (This statement, available near the top of the Kitzmiller decision here, suggested that students seek out an intelligent design textbook in the school library.) A full year after the decision was handed down, the hacks at the Discovery Institute have made a stunning discovery: Judge Jones is a stupidhead! And he copies other people’s work!

The DI’s belated “analysis” of Jones’s opinion (accomplished with the assistance of such advanced technological tools as Microsoft Word’s Word Count) concludes, with carefully chosen diction, that “90.0% (or 5,458 words) of Judge Jones’ 6,004-word section on intelligent design as science was taken virtually verbatim from the ACLU’s proposed ‘Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law’ submitted to Judge Jones nearly a month before his ruling.”

Uh-oh, sounds like plagiarism! The AP pounced on the story, and Martha Raffaele’s confusing article appeared in the P-I on Tuesday. What the he said-she said story conspicuously omits is the Discovery Institute’s own admission that “judges routinely invite lawyers to propose findings of fact in order to verify what the lawyers believe to be the key factual issues in the case. Thus, in legal circles Judge Jones’ use of the ACLU’s proposed ‘Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law’ would not be considered ‘plagiarism’ nor a violation of judicial ethics.” Judges ask both plaintiffs and defendants to submit proposed findings of fact, which are actually written in the voice of the court so as to ease adoption by the judge if he or she agrees with a given statement. Note also that the DI “analyzed” a mere 6,004 words of Jones’s 139-page opinion.

The science claims in the Discovery Institute’s report have been adequately fisked by Ed Brayton, but there are plenty of other annoying distortions. First, the proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (available at the National Center for Science Education website) were not written by ACLU bogeymen. It was submitted by the lawyers for the plaintiffs, which included a team of six lawyers from Pepper Hamilton LLP, two lawyers from the ACLU of Pennsylvania, and three from Americans United for Separation of Church and State. It was signed by Eric Rothschild of Pepper Hamilton LLP.

Jones clearly adopted the plaintiffs’ persuasive arguments; but more importantly, he also cleaned up their English. Check out this masterful piece of editing:

Plaintiffs:

Intelligent design is not science. It fails on three distinct levels, any one of which invalidates the proposition: a) by invoking and permitting supernatural causation, intelligent design violates the centuries-old ground rules of science; b) intelligent design, including it’s [sic] poster child argument, irreducible complexity, employs the same flawed and illogical, contrived dualism that doomed creation sciences in the 1980’s; and c) intelligent design has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, generate peer-reviewed publications, or been the subject of testing and research.

Jones:

After a searching review of the record and applicable caselaw, we find that while ID arguments may be true, a proposition on which the Court takes no position, ID is not science. We find that ID fails on three different levels, any one of which is sufficient to preclude a determination that ID is science. They are: (1) ID violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation; (2) the argument of irreducible complexity, central to ID, employs the same flawed and illogical contrived dualism that doomed creation science in the 1980’s; and (3) ID’s negative attacks on evolution have been refuted by the scientific community. As we will discuss in more detail below, it is additionally important to note that ID has failed to gain acceptance in the scientific community, it has not generated peer-reviewed publications, nor has it been the subject of testing and research.

Bravo, Judge Jones. You’ve made the anti-ID argument that much more stylish.

(Thanks to Gavin for the hot tip.)

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 14 at 12:43 PM

Take the Cake

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(CLOSING PARTY) Henry Art Gallery’s exhibit on the work of Stranger Genius Award winners over the past four years is closing. To celebrate the departure of the riffraff, they’re throwing a big party, packed to the rafters with performance (Sarah Rudinoff! Gabriel Baron!), dance (Velocity Dance Center!), art (SuttonBeresCuller! Susan Robb!), and a ritual “defacing” hosted by the exhibition’s literary curator Matthew Stadler (and Rebecca Brown!). (Henry Art Gallery, 15th Ave NE & NE 41st St, 543-2280, 7-10 pm, $5.) ANNIE WAGNER
  and …
Dope Emporium

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(LOCAL HIPHOP EXPO) It’s common for the best hiphop produced in this city to be the hardest hiphop to find. Specs One’s self-released EPs and his work with FOSCIL, BeanOne’s volcanic creations with a variety of local rappers, and Silas Blak’s 1986 are but a few examples of this unfortunate state of things. (Oldominion alone has a galaxy of hard-to-find CD releases.) What Dope Emporium offers, along with live performances from the best of the best, is an opportunity to access rare but excellent rap directly. It makes it easy for you to support local hiphop. Peace. (CHAC, 1621 12th Ave, 388-0500. Merchants tables at 6 pm, performances at 8 pm, free, all ages, cocktails for 21+ in CHAC lounge.) CHARLES MUDEDE

Put your hands up!: Police raid Rick’s

posted by on December 14 at 12:42 PM

As the PI’s blog reports, in the culmination of an “undercover investigation” Seattle police staged a huge raid on Rick’s strip club on Lake City Way last night, arresting 14 dancers and one manager for violations of the Adult Entertainment Ordinance. While down at the police station in early November, I stumbled across a packet of police reports from a similar raid on Ricks, where a few dancers were cited (but not arrested) for inappropriate dance moves and touching and some illegal flashing of T,A&V.

Last night, between 16 and 20 officers showed up at the club, arresting 14 dancers and detaining all 25 other strippers for license checks, according to Rick’s lawyer Gil Levy. The club closed for two hours.

From the PI post:

One dancer who wasn’t arrested complained outside: “Well, now I’m not going to make any money tonight.”

One officer who allegedly said it was his first raid at a strip club actually was getting his photo taken with some of the women, said a dancer named Miracle, who showed some of the photos she had taken of the raid using a camera phone. She said police were also take photos of each of the dancers and checking them for their city dancing license and to see if they had any outstanding warrants.

She said police did not appear to be searching lockers, only checking individual dancers.

“This is absurd,” Miracle said outside the club, waiting and hoping it might reopen before the night ended. “I just came on when this happened and haven’t made a dime.”

Levy thinks the raid is politically motivated. “From 2002 to present, there’s been sporadic enforcement of the adult entertainment ordinance,” he told me, “Now, since the election, things have definitely heated up.” Levy says in the 7-8 months leading up to November, there were no arrests made at Rick’s but since November 7th, a dancer has been arrested “every few weeks”, though he didn’t know the exact number. “I don’t know if it’s revenge, or if it’s them trying to make a point because during the election we talked about how the Ordinance isn’t really enforced anyway,” says Levy.

“Are there really no thieves to chase, no meth labs to bust, no missing children or lost puppies to track down?” asks our own Amy Kate Horn.

UPDATE: Police also raided Rick’s last Thursday, December 7th, arresting two women for prostitution and two for “vice-prostitution” (golly!). “During a covert operation of the above listed establishment, the suspect violated the above listed sections of the Adult Entertainment Ordinance and Prostitution Ordinance,” reads the report in, I think, rather defensively technical language. The above listed sections are: Illegal Touching, Nudity, Accepting Money for an Illegal Act* and Prostitution. The suspect’s “clothing, scars, marks, tattoos, pecularities” are identified as “White Mesh Top with darker Bikini Bottom AKA: Bridget”

*this always bugs me — shouldn’t it be “illegally accepting money for an act” since blow jobs and sex themselves are not illegal acts? These are the kinds of hard questions we ask at The Stranger.

I Love You, Dad.

posted by on December 14 at 11:44 AM

This morning, I got a text message from my ornery old dad back in DC.
My loving dad, who thinks I —not Savage—should be the editor of this newspaper, wrote:

Savage was on the Colbert Report. Very boring. Wizards looked good beating Denver last night.

Miller Greens

posted by on December 14 at 11:20 AM

Scott Engler’s proposal to build 11 cottages on a vacant lot at Thomas and 24th Ave. E is “still in the massage phase.” The Miller Greens development needs to get the city’s approval to rezone the land from single-family, which would only accommodate four homes, to L1, and intermediate classification that allows a buffer of moderate density. Engler submitted his application on Dec. 4 and is negotiating with the city over the last remaining sticking point, a community building on the lot that exceeds height limits. Engler says neither he nor the city want to give up the building, which would be open to the entire neighborhood. Once the city accepts his application, the approval process could take six months or more, and construction will consume another year. Engler, who has been a builder in Seattle for forty-plus years, says his dream is to “to build the most sustainable project Seattle has seen and make it marketable.” Here are some specs: At 1,100 square feet, the concrete and glass homes would have: 1.5 baths (with storm-water flushed toilets), green roofs and stained concrete floors with radiant heat. The single-story buildings will face a central courtyard, increasing, Engler says, the chances of accidental encounters among neighbors. An underground parking garaged will provide one and half times as much parking as the city requires — but some neighbors are still in a huff over that. The units will sell for $600,000-plus.

Re: Senator Hanging In There

posted by on December 14 at 11:15 AM

There’s prayer, and then there’s Senate procedure.

And as it turns out, according to Time.com (via Wonkette), the question of what happens to Senator Johnson may not be as important as the question of what happens on Jan. 4, when an obscure “organizing resolution” goes up for a Senate vote.

Karen Tumulty explains.

Joel Connelly: Seattle’s Social Engineer

posted by on December 14 at 10:04 AM

In yesterday’s P-I, as ECB Slogged, Joel Connelly grouses about the evils of “social engineering.”

He writes:

Boneheaded behavior does not occur in a vacuum: The Emerald City—formerly the Queen City—has become a sucker for social engineering and sugarplum dreams called urban vision. It’s costing us.

OK, this column warns about global warming, preaches environmental protection, and argues that diversity makes our town a vastly more interesting place to live.

Underpinning these convictions, however, is a belief that Americans will voluntarily do what’s right. We don’t need to get harassed into behaving.

The city is lately going on an anti-automobile kick, in a season when people are drawn downtown and to interesting neighborhood shopping areas (e.g., Madison Park) for the year’s peak shopping time.

The city council adopted new rules Monday that businesses and developers need not provide parking in several of our “urban villages.” Our city fathers (and mothers) did likewise with commercial parking requirements downtown a year ago.

Here’s what bugs me about Connelly’s “populist” complaint against social engineering: Like any trite demagogue, he’s got it ass backwards. Joel: Social engineering is when you prohibit something (smoking indoors) or mandate something (busing).

In this instance—not requiring developers to build parking—the city council isn’t mandating or prohibiting anything.

In fact, they’re doing the opposite: They’re letting the developers decide for themselves. They’re letting developers look to the market to build whatever they want. If developers think they can attract more and charge more for development with parking (which they obviously can), they’re free to do it. If they think they can save money by not building parking, they can do that.

It seems to me, that Connelly’s belief in the status quo—requiring developers to build parking—is the very definition of social engineering. It caters to and promotes a certain lifestyle. That lifestyle just happens to be Connelly’s.

In short: Developers shouldn’t be forced to build parking just to accommodate one lifestyle over another. They should be free to choose. If developers want to build for a pedestrian-oriented community, rather than a car-oriented community, that’s their right. Joel should stop demanding social engineering. He should stop harassing developers to push his lifestyle.

Cupcakes and Cowgirls, Oh My!

posted by on December 14 at 10:01 AM

Last January, we threw a surreal and hilarious birthday party for a vivacious young lady, Alithea, who was the lucky recipient of Strangercrombie’s Cupcakes and Cowgirls party package. She’s going to tell you about it below. Then you should bid!—you only have until Friday at 5 pm to vie for this and dozens of other wildly fabulous gifts.

The Strangercrombie Cowgirls and Cupcakes auction is, as far as I can tell, the unity of the four most holy elements on earth: Booze, Cupcakes, The Stranger, and Scantily Clad Women Serving Booze.
Last year, I wasn’t exactly subtle when it came to my desire for me and my closest friends to get trashed with the staff of The Stranger, nor was I subtle about the fact that I could probably eat all four dozen of those sweet, sexy cupcakes myself. And that is just what I got for my 21st birthday: Copious amounts of rainbow-colored baked goods, and the opportunity to drunkenly yell at Dan Savage about anal sex. Hooray!
The fine young ladies at Cowgirls, Inc. greeted us warmly when we arrived; they were already on the bar, dancing and swinging from ropes in a way that I am sure you have never seen in gym class. The staff of The Stranger are a hilarious and friendly bunch who are more than willing to demonstrate their bull-riding skills, or in Sean Nelson’s case, challenge you to a cage fight over a chocolate cupcake. I, as the birthday girl, drank anything and everything that was “fruity and full of booze” —a phrase that also aptly sums up my state by the end of the night, made apparent when I was attempting to talk to a member of the bar staff but realized that absolutely none of the words coming out of this pretty lady’s mouth made sense.
Not only was this the best night of 2006, it was also the best birthday party I have ever had. It even beats out the Little Mermaid-themed birthday I had when I was 7, which did not involve yelling at Dan Savage about anal sex.

Johnson and Schiavo and Thurmond

posted by on December 14 at 9:59 AM

After burying your holy statues, practice these talking points:

If the Republicans could sue to keep Terry Schiavo, brain-dead and drooling, alive, well, damnit, the Democrats can keep an ill Senator Johnson in office to maintain their Senate majority. Any arguments that he’d be medically incapable of doing his job can be settled by having Bill Frist diagnose him on video. Or by just pointing out how long Strom Thurmond stayed in office after he was senile.

God DOES Exist (and He is Soooooo Gay!)

posted by on December 14 at 9:49 AM

No one can blame you for doubting the existence of God. However, what if former child actor/current Bible Thumper KIRK CAMERON and his BANANA-LOVING FRIEND could use a piece of fruit to mime fellatio, AND prove there actually is a God, all at the same time?
I thought you’d be interested.

Thanks BWE!

Thursday Morning Sports Report

posted by on December 14 at 9:29 AM

The Seahawks take on the 49ers tonight at Qwest Field. The game is being televised on the NFL Network (might as well keep the TV on mute). If the Hawks win, they win the laughable NFC West.

Meanwhile, in off-season madness, the Mariners have made another miserable move, trading beloved, but injury prone, outfielder Chris “Doyle” Snelling and relief pitcher Emiliano Fruto to the Washington Nationals for oft-wounded second-baseman Jose Vidro. The move means Vidro will shed his infield duties and be the M’s designated hitter. Freakouts about the trade can be found here and here and here.

The Sonics lost to the Chicago Bulls last night—their first lost in Chicago since Michael Jordan left the team. Also, there’s grumblings that the team’s new owners might really want to stay in the area after all.

Elsewhere: The Red Sox completed a deal with pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka (six years, $52 million after already spending $51 million just to talk to him); Allen Iverson remains a 76er—for one more day, at least; Lindsay Davenport is pregnant and may never play professional tennis again; and Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt has died. Among his accomplishments: founding the rival, and later absorbed into the NFL, league the AFL, coining the name “Super Bowl,” and, in his final year, landing a third Thanksgiving Day game.

Stallone Vs. Gere; or, How Sly Did Not Start the Rumor About the Gerbil in Richard’s Butt

posted by on December 14 at 9:27 AM

stallone_gere.jpg

Ain’t It Cool News has a long, morbidly fascinating interview with Sylvester Stallone, who answers a request to “share an anecdote or two about the filming of The Lords of Flatbush” with a freaky story featuring Richard Gere’s method acting, Sly’s mustard-soaked thigh, and the alleged origin of those pesky gerbil rumors:

The original part of Chico, which was played by Perry King, was originally supposed to be played by Richard Gere, but we never hit it off…One day, during an improv, he grabbed me (we were simulating a fight scene) and got a little carried away. I told him in a gentle fashion to lighten up, but he was completely in character and impossible to deal with. Then we were rehearsing at Coney Island and it was lunchtime, so we decided to take a break, and the only place that was warm was in the backseat of a Toyota. I was eating a hotdog and he climbs in with a half a chicken covered in mustard with grease nearly dripping out of the aluminum wrapper. I said, “That thing is going to drip all over the place.” He said, “Don’t worry about it.” I said, “If it gets on my pants you’re gonna know about it.” He proceeds to bite into the chicken and a small, greasy river of mustard lands on my thigh. I elbowed him in the side of the head and basically pushed him out of the car. The director had to make a choice: one of us had to go, one of us had to stay. Richard was given his walking papers and to this day seriously dislikes me. He even thinks I’m the individual responsible for the gerbil rumor. Not true… but that’s the rumor.

Read the whole thing here. (And thanks to Towleroad for the heads-up.)

Senator Hanging In There

posted by on December 14 at 8:14 AM

The AP says Senator Johnson is “recovering without complication,” but he’s in critical condition and it would be “premature to determine whether further surgery will be required or to assess any long-term prognosis.”

I’m not a praying man, needless to say, but I’m going to go buy a statue of St. Jude and bury it in my backyard. Jude is the patron saint of hopeless causes. I’m not saying Johnson’s condition is hopeless, but I’m going to make a preemptive strike against hopelessness. When it comes to the Democratic majority in the Senate, I don’t think we can be too careful.

And the bury-the-statue-of-Jude thing? It really works—my mom’s name is Judith because her parents buried a statue of St. Jude in their yard when they were having trouble starting a family. My grandparents went on to have six children. Coincidence or miracle? My head tells me it has to be the former—but what if my head is wrong? Better to err on the safe side and bury the damn statue.

And the Jude miracle? It can apparently go on for generations. My son D.J.—a bit of a miracle himself—is named for my mother. His full name is Daryl Jude. (Daryl is my boyfriend’s late father’s name.) So D.J. is named for St. Jude too, just like his grandma.

The Morning News

posted by on December 14 at 8:02 AM

The Senate: Senator Tim Johnson is (D-SD) recovering from surgery after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

Iraq: The Joint Chiefs of Staff recommend a change in the administration’s war strategy. A troop increase, however, isn’t recommended.

Assassination: Israeli high court upholds the country’s right to assassinate members of terrorist organizations.

More Iraq: Armed gunmen pose as Iraqi police, kidnap 20-30 people.

Capital Punishment: In Florida, a lethal injection goes awry; condemned man needs two doses, takes over 30 minutes to die.

God’s Anger: After a month of record-setting rain, hurricane-force winds are headed our way. Plus, you know, more rain.

Profits: Seattle’s cruise business is booming, but the Port of Seattle isn’t reaping the benefits.

Speaking of Pollution: Gov. Gregoire reveals a plan to save Puget Sound.

Great Headlines: World’s Tallest Man Saves Dolphins in China.


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Shorter Joel Connelly: WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

posted by on December 13 at 10:38 PM

I’m writing this from my bed at the Comfort Inn and Suites in a southern suburb of Denver, where the Stranger has sent me to learn about Denver’s planned light rail system, Fastracks. I drove my rental car here along miles and miles and miles of freeway, and yet I’m still way on the outskirts of the city, in an anonymous suburb with sadly limited food options: IHOP, Arby’s, McDonald’s, and a chain sandwich place called Panera Bread whose main claim to quality is that if you eat there you’ll “never have to eat a bite of bread that wasn’t baked fresh that morning.” (Way to aim high!) There was no traffic here but on my way to the airport in New York, where I spent the past three days, a massive, messy accident shut down all the lanes of the freeway to La Guardia for about an hour - a minor inconvenience that I could have avoided by taking transit instead of shelling out $40 for a cab ride.

I bring this up because of this piece by Joel Connelly in today’s Post-Intelligencer. In brief, Connelly’s upset because the Seattle City Council recently voted to do away with parking requirements in the city’s “urban villages” - places where neighborhood planners have decided transit and bike and pedestrian access will be a priority. That doesn’t mean that developers can’t build parking, mind you - only that they no longer have to if they don’t want to bear the extra expense.

Anyway, this is enough to drive Connelly into a full-on apoplectic fit:

Councilman Peter Steinbrueck, a Naderite of considerable hubris, intoned, “This looks to the future for a vision of a city that is less auto-dependent.”

The practical effect of this “vision” is obvious, at least to this shopper: If parking gets impossible in Madison Park, near my Seattle residence, I’ll pay fewer visits to its restaurants, bookstore and wine shop.

The impulse will be to head for shopping centers and box stores in the burbs rather than trying to patronize individually owned small businesses. (In my case, I still have wonderful Langley on Whidbey Island, where parking is plentiful.)

Meanwhile, “green pay-parking kiosks are sprouting around 2,000 spaces where parking was previously free. As in Vancouver, B.C., officials are plotting the extension of pay-parking hours into night and weekend hours.”

First, Madison Park is already an established, well-developed neighborhood with ample, if not exactly plentiful, street parking. The new legislation doesn’t take any of that parking away - it just eliminates the requirement that developers build even more. The difference for lazy folks like Connelly who drive to businesses in their own neighborhoods will be imperceptible. Second, I know Peter, and Peter’s no Naderite. And third, it’s tough to summon a lot of sympathy for a guy with enough money to own not one but two houses in tony neighborhoods - one in chichi Madison Park, the other on suburban Whidbey Island. Driving isn’t a human right, Joel. Suck it up and pay a little bit of its cost.

Money, Money, Money, Money

posted by on December 13 at 6:35 PM

Since everybody’s talking today about the non-figure released from various news outlets about total sales at the main fair in Miami, Art Basel Miami Beach—$200 million to $400 million, provided by sketchy unnamed sources (who couldn’t even be specific!) and not by the fair’s organizers, who are staying mum on the numbers—I thought I’d provide at least one cold, hard, happy-making number coming out of Miami.

The non-profit SOIL artist collective, based in Pioneer Square and represented at Aqua Art Miami, sold $43,000 worth of art down there, according to a newsletter sent out to the members late last night. Because SOIL is a collective that runs on dues, the gallery itself doesn’t get a cut of the sales. The artists made the money.

Last year, SOIL only did $14,000 in sales, and members were thrilled. (Check the podcast.) For members, it’s too bad that SOIL isn’t invited to be part of Aqua next year. The fair has to turn over to be fresh.

Congratulations to all the artists whose works found homes, including Claire Johnson, Satomi Jin, Isaac Layman, Susie Lee, Buddy Bunting, and probably plenty more. Now you can turn back on your heat.

UPDATE: I lied. SOIL gets 15 percent of the sales.

Letter of the Day

posted by on December 13 at 6:18 PM

Phil Fischer responds to yesterday’s “Open Letter to Phil Fischer”:

Dear Mr. Anonymous Starbucks Executive,
Let me apologize about offending you.
The fact that I am a Christian was never meant to offend anyone, and I am sorry if it offended you or anyone else at Starbucks or anyone else in Seattle.
I’m from the Yukon and Alaska originally and they make em dumb up there. I dropped out of 8th grade so there is a good excuse for the pathetic attempt I made.
I made the stupid assumtion that my CD would make a fine addition to the other music you carry on your shelves. But “Its who you know I guess” that still runs the music industry, even at Starbucks. I only say that because some of my “good” friends are sitting on your shelves now.
Maybe I should have faked it like they did, but I cant deny my God. Please try however not to categorize me with anyone religious. I don’t believe in religion, wars, Bush, or anything you try to categorize us with. I do however believe in a man born 2000 years ago that died on the cross for me and pulled me out of the mess I was in. You say that I should loose the hummer. I have went through 3 engines trying to push bio diesel through it and since it gives off less fumes than a Subaru cut me a break OK? What more must I do to drive my truck?
With regards to my distant chances of getting a deal with HEAR, I can’t say I blame you for your comment.
Even thoughtmy first album was completed before I found Christ, the mere fact that I am a Christian probably scares the hell out of you guys up there so message received loud and clear. No problem. I still think your coffee kicks ass.
(This email is from Phil Fischer, and is not sent anonymously.)
Phil

Does This Look Like A Louise Bourgeois To You?

posted by on December 13 at 4:57 PM

Bourgeois Plaster Casts.JPG

Or does it look more like a halfhearted commission?

I’m reserving judgment until Bourgeois’s male nude fountain (drawing here) is finished at the Olympic Sculpture Park next month, but this photograph of the father-and-son figures from her studio doesn’t look promising. The figures are stiff, undistinguished, and utterly unpathological. Considering Bourgeois’s legendary loathing of her father and fixation on her mother, she’s a strange choice for this commission. And now that the men appear to be so neutral? I hate to even ask, but could it be that the nonagenarian artist isn’t, well, terribly invested in this piece?

We’ll see.

Zoo Fraud

posted by on December 13 at 3:39 PM

Because of the Howard Stern Show, over 30,000 people are under the impression that this abomination is ZOO, the new documentary made by the people behind Police Beat (Devor, Mudede, Kirby, Shapiro, and Ferris). Please have this in mind at all times: Zoo did not get into Sundance, get slotted on the hottest nights of that festival, Friday and Saturday, because of horse sex. Trust me on that. The movie is in Sundance because it is made of the stuff that is known as cinema.

Speaking of cinema, the former film editor of this paper, Andy Spletzer, has a blog about “film, TV, hobos, robots and Vikings.” At the very top of the front page of that blog, Andy asks that we at The Stranger slog about his blog. Ok, your blog is now slogged.


Re: Mutual Appreciation at NWFF. See it While You Can.

posted by on December 13 at 3:36 PM

I second Josh’s endorsement of Mutual Appreciation, though I wish there were more establishing shots—you get claustrophobic enough being so shoved into puny twentyish worldviews. Josh and I both loved the Patricia character. That’s her smirking on the left:

hires_alanpatricia.jpg

Also notable: The avant-garde filmmaker Bill Morrison has a long cameo as the used-to-be-connected lunkish friend of the main character’s father.

Here is a still from Bill Morrison’s beautiful movie about floods and whiteness (The Highwater Trilogy):

highwatertrilogy.jpg

Babeland Party

posted by on December 13 at 3:13 PM

Babeland Party Like a Tupperware party, but with sex toys! The professionals at Babeland, Seattle’s favorite sex-toy emporium, give an hour-long presentation on sex tips, toys, and techniques, featuring the party presenters’ favorite oils, books, and vibrators. A $150 value! Current bid: $43.56!

And this is an old, but sort-of germane, item from the Guardian in 2002: “Percentage sales increase at Toys in Babeland, a sex store in the Lower East of New York, in late September/October 2001: 30.”

My Brother is a Better Person Than I Am

posted by on December 13 at 3:10 PM

While I spend my days chronicling babies in microwaves and obsessing over failures, my five-years-older brother Wally is actually interested in making the world a better place—the business world, specifically, which is both the subject of and audience for his brand-new book, Full Contact Leadership.

From the Amazon website:

In today’s world, it is rare that leaders bring their hearts and souls into the office. Author Wally Schmader shares his most practical techniques on how you can use your “whole self ” to connect and understand people at all levels of an organization-the hallmark of a “Full Contact Leader.” Schmader helps you deepen your skill set, heighten your self-perception and lead with higher expectations. You will upgrade your “leadership vocabulary” and learn new ways of handling some of your most vexing leadership and management challenges.

Fuck yeah! My brother has been nothing but supportive of my stupid life as a performance artist journalist, and I shall be equally supportive of his life as an enlightened book-writing businessman. (If he managed to refrain from mocking my solo play about prank-calling hookers, I can have nothing to say about his will-to-power business book. Plus, of the dozens of people I’ve heard say “I’m gonna write a book” over the past two years, my brother’s one of the very few who actually did it.)

As for his leadership skills, I can attest that he did an effective and soulful job of leading me to my first booze (Coors), my first pornography (Hustler, ugh), my first fake ID (lost by some guy named Tony, who looked enough like both of us we passed it back and forth), and my first Elvis Costello record (Imperial Bedroom, Christmas 1982, on vinyl with that gorgeous wall-of-words lyric sheet.) Congratulations, Wally!

Cut and Fun

posted by on December 13 at 2:46 PM

turtleneck.jpg

I don’t know how much longer anti-circumcision activists can hold out against headlines like this:

Circumcision Cuts AIDS Risk, Study Says

And here’s a bit from the report…

Circumcising African men may cut their risk of catching AIDS in half, the National Institutes of Health said today as it stopped two clinical trials in Africa, when preliminary results suggested that circumcision worked so well that it would be unethical not to offer it to uncircumcised men in the trials.

AIDS experts immediately hailed the result, saying it gave the world a new way to fight the spread of AIDS, and the directors of the two largest funds for fighting the disease said they would now consider paying for circumcisions.


Good Fucking God

posted by on December 13 at 2:33 PM

A Democratic U.S. Senator—Tim Johnson—has suffered a stroke. If he should be incapacitated or die, his replacement would be appointed by the the governor of his state. The governor of his state? A Republican. This could hand control of the U.S. Senate back to the Republicans.

An argument could be made that the governor should appoint a Dem, and respect the will of the voters. And that argument might carry some weight—and the governor might pay a political price—if we weren’t talking about the governor of South Dakota.

Let’s all say a little secular prayer for Tim Johnson.

And if 30 house Dems suffer strokes before the end of the years, we’ll know that George W. Bush really liked what he saw when he looked in Putin’s eyes.

UPDATE: Aradia cuts and runs from health care system

posted by on December 13 at 2:10 PM

Long-time Seattle women’s health group cuts and runs, overwhelmed by uninsured

Yesterday Josh slogged the news that Seattle’s 30-year-old, beloved Aradia Women’s Health Center is closing its doors this January. This closure takes a lot of people by surprise (us included!) but “it’s been on the table internally for a lot of years,” according to board member Amie Newman. Aradia has had razor thin profit margins for many years and in 2005, came up $84,000 short. No CEOs have been getting million dollar severance packages or anything duplicitous like that (Aradia’s executives actually get paid very little - peruse their tax forms yourself). The shortfall is mainly because their insurance provider tripled their malpractice insurance in the last three years and also because more low-income women are using clinic services.

While Aradia has a cadre of committed donors, it has, since its creation by a group of frustrated women in the 70s, relied primarily on clinic services for funding. Individual donors and grants foot only 10% of its operating costs, while 90% comes from women who pay for abortions, gynecological work or check ups. The money from the clinic not only pays doctors and staff, but Aradia’s education and advocacy programs. But since the early 90s, the number of patients on Medicaid has jumped from 55% of their clientele to 70% in 2004. Yes, nationwide abortion rates are declining — but only among women above the poverty line. Low-income women are still getting abortions at the same rate, but Aradia makes no profit off them. When 70% of their customers aren’t able to pay, it’s easy to see why they’d be in financial trouble.

So, I asked, if the clinic isn’t supporting you anymore, why not shift your funding focus and try to make up the difference with grants and donations? What it boils down to is this: Aradia’s board of directors believes that their health care model (while wonderful! And great for patients!) is not a good business model. There’s no way, providing the kind of care they do for the kind of people they do, that they can ever do more than just tread water financially. “People have been asking me, ‘How much money do you need? How can we save Aradia?’” says Newman, “But even if we received a check for a million dollars, it may keep Aradia open a few more years, but ultimately this model is not sustainable.”

They decided they had three options: close, merge with a major health care provider or remain independent and open, axing either the advocacy program or the clinic, and slip into bankruptcy more gradually. They decided to close in a large part because they feel women in Seattle won’t be underserved if they disappear — a huge Planned Parenthood just opened ten blocks away from Aradia, for example.

But the causes of the closure point to the atrociously failing American health care system, which puts providers in the Catch 22 of either having to serve only those people who can pay or take a hit by giving free service to those who can’t. 14% of Washington is uninsured (that’s 824,990 people) and 12% is on Medicaid. Nationwide, the number of people on Medicaid, as well the the number of uninsured, has grown steadily over the last twenty years (plateuing, sort of, during the late 90s). Nowdays, 13% of people nationwide are on Medicaid and 15.9% are uninsured. So Washington is pretty typical in terms of its health care woes — we’re ranked 23rd and 24th in numbers of people uninsured and on Medicaid, respectively.

Geez, that’s a lot of numbers to wade through. The point is: what Aradia is experiencing is part of a major, ominous, nationwide trend. Even though Aradia had community support, an excellent and committed staff and a high demand, it proved impossible to provide high quality health care for low income people and not sink into the red.

Now take a second to think about this: what other facilities provides health care service for a large slice of the population, many of whom are uninsured or on public assistance? Nursing homes — and they’re seeing a crunch, too, as the baby-boom demographic bump creeps into old age. While Aradia decided to close its doors, nursing homes are dealing with precipitous profits in a more alarming way: providing worse care, according to a report (.pdf) from the Northwest Federation of Community Organizations. Aren’t you glad Aradia dropped out instead of flunking out? Not that we should be counting our lucky stars… fuckin’ health care system…

I Love New York

posted by on December 13 at 2:09 PM

BlackHat.jpg

The bagels? Chewier. The Jews? Jewier.

Perhaps it’s too soon after the whole Airport Menorah vs. Airport Christmas Trees smackdown for this post—or the Inclusion vs. Exclusion Smackdown, as I should probably call it—but the sentiment is sincere. Growing up in an Irish/Jewish neighborhood in Chicago (rapidly transitioning at the time to Mexican/Jewish/Irish), one of the things I enjoy about getting away from pasty-white Seattle—besides rapid transit, of course—is the religious and ethnic diversity you encounter in other big cities. Mmm… diversity… good. We give it a lot of lip service in Seattle because we have so little of it. And then when we’re asked to walk the talk, as the Port was, we somehow manage to screw it up royally.

And, yes, I know that not all of New York’s Jews are as Jewtastic as this guy and his traveling companions, thanks, just as I know that not all fags are screaming fairies. But I dig this guy and his hat—just like I dig screaming fairies.

Some Good Shit

posted by on December 13 at 1:37 PM

There is an article in yesterday’s New York Times about a method being used in Europe to better estimate regional drug use: drug testing entire cities.

The technique was used on samples from two wastewater treatment plants, in Milan and Lugano, Switzerland. The researchers, who describe their approach in the journal Analytical Chemistry, said they were able to detect the drugs (and metabolites) at as low as 10 nanograms per liter. It made little difference whether the wastewater was treated.

Traditional methods for generating estimates are considered faulty because the data is gathered through conversations that boil down to this:

Ring, ring

Hello?

Hello, I’m calling on behalf of the federal government.

M’kay…

Yeah, are you using illicit drugs?

Why, gosh, no. I’m not using illicit drugs.

Not surprisingly, lots of drug users claim squeaky clean living when questioned by the government (or any stranger calling them at home), so the results show usage rates far lower than the real deal. Last year, when Italian officials tested the Po River, they discovered previous estimates for cocaine use were way off.

According to official Italian statistics, 1.1 per cent of people between the ages of 15 and 34 admit to having used cocaine “at least once in the preceding month”. Almost all cocaine use occurs in this age group.

Assuming that there are 1.4 million young adults in the Po River basin, the official statistics suggest that there would be 15,000 cocaine-use events per month. But the evidence from the water suggests that the real usage is about 40,000 doses a day, a vastly greater figure.

Hmm… Statistics for Washington estimate 8.52% of people have used an illicit drug in the past month; I wonder what the real numbers look like.

Press Release of the Day

posted by on December 13 at 1:04 PM

This just in from Big Machine Media:

Late last night (Tuesday, 12/12) the world’s first Supermodel, Janice Dickinson, was on her way back from a 2(x) ist Underwear shoot in Catalina, being driven back to her Los Angeles home by a Production Assistant on the Interstate 405. A hit-and-run truck driver ran their SUV into the median and although seat-belted threw Janice head-first into the windshield, resulting in a concussion. Also involved in the accident were Ms Dickinson’s makeup artist, Gabe Giesner and her stylist Duke Stanton who were unharmed but shaken. The group was taken to Cedars-Sinai hospital and released this morning. After review doctors gave a clean bill of health and Janice is expected be back in fine form in time for the debut of her second season of THE JANICE DICKINSON MODELING AGENCY on Oxygen TV on 1/10/07.

“Unharmed but shaken”—just like a good baby. Congratulations to Janice for surviving, and props to Big Machine for their ingenious news release/product-placement bonanza.

Mutual Appreciation at NWFF. See it While You Can.

posted by on December 13 at 12:30 PM

On Sunday night, bored out of my mind, I perused the movie reviews, and despite this paper’s tepid write up, I went and saw the 9 pm show of Mutual Appreciation at NWFF.

I went back again last night. Because. It’s great.

I dragged Stranger film editor Annie Wagner along with because she’s a brain about movies, and I wanted to see what she thought about it. I was having trouble figuring out why I liked it so damn much. Annie liked it too and offered this fitting capsule: “You’re at the rock show.”

Yes, you are! (There’s a rock club scene in the movie that tops the famous Yardbirds scene in Blow Up or even the great Crime and the City Solution performance in Wim Wenders’s Wings of Desire.)

And more important: You’re on the couch, in the kitchen, in the car, on the phone, at strange parties, in the rumpled beds, and alone with the characters at all times. And mostly, in their faltering, hopeful, 5-D conversations.

Mutual Appreciation is a low-fi, DIY movie: black and white, 16mm, and obviously shot on location in a bunch of Brooklyn kids’ apartments, at their jobs, and favorite bars. It “stars” an ensemble of the filmmaker’s pals and the filmmaker, Andrew Bujalski, himself. Bujalski’s previous movie—I haven’t seen it—was apparently a similarly low-fi movie called Funny Ha Ha.

Thanks to the (improv?) real-time, realistic dialogue, the movie is winning comparisons to Cassavetes films. (I’d say it’s Cassavetes shot through a PlaySkool Pixelvision!)

This might all sound a bit pretentious, but it’s not a pretentious movie at all. And really, unlike Cassavetes, the movie doesn’t try to hype its ambiguity with a sullen or pensive mood. It’s kind of buoyant, actually. And rather than trying to turn the minimalist conversations into meaningful contemporary poems, the script is elevated instead through the idealism that peeks through these kids’ slow-motion poses.

This is particularly the case for the lead girl character—Ellie, who’s caught up in a floating-in-limbo flirtation with her boyfriend’s longtime best friend, Alan. Ellie’s persistent attempts to bring clarity to the whole situation by pushing it, rejecting it, and eventually trying to make sense out of her relationship with her kind (on paper, anyway) beau, are undermined by the other characters’ languid and charming defense mechanisms.

Her moves are also tangled up in the litter of entertaining, oddball subplots. The non-theater-theater project being awkwardly organized by a mysterious woman named Patricia, for example, starts out as a hilarious bit that ultimately finds its way into the sad confrontation between Ellie and her boyfriend.

Anyway, 3 Cheers to NWFF for bringing this indie gem to Seattle. Everyone should see it. I’m going again. It’s playing—shows at 7pm and 9pm—thru Thursday night.

Payday pile-on

posted by on December 13 at 11:24 AM

The campaign against payday lenders is getting hotter. King County Executive Ron Sims has added his name to the list of groups and community members supporting a 36 percent cap on interest rates (currently, the average annualized rate is nearly 400 percent). He’s the first major local pol to put his name on the list. The Hispanic Legislative Day, a lobbying group that represents Latino interests in state politics, also voted to add payday lending reforms to their legislative agenda. Organizers of the campaign, Communities Against Payday Predators, are hopeful about a potential bill’s prospects in the state House. They are worried, however, that it may have to survive the gauntlet of the senate committee on financial institutions, where Senator Margarita Prentice is a member. Prentice, who has comfortably held her 11th district seat since 1993, has received campaign contributions from a local payday lender, Money Tree, and has defended the industry at community meetings. More to come in the paper out tomorrow.

More Capitol Hill Carnage

posted by on December 13 at 11:19 AM

This just in from Slog tipstress Sara:

A few weeks ago the owner of Da Lat, that amazing little Vietnamese restaurant at the corner of Broadway/10th/Roy, told me and my companion that he would be closing early in 2007. Apparently the owner of the building, which also includes Elite (“Seattle’s Oldest Gay Bar”) and the now boarded-up convenience store next door to Elite, is upset that the parking lot behind his building is wasted space. (From my understanding, he currently rents out a few parking spaces to the individuals businesses for staff parking.) The Da Lat owner reported that the building owner believes he’ll make more money by converting the 3 spaces into one mega-space, throw in the parking lot, and charge the new occupant a lot more that what he’s currently getting from the current occupants. The owner does not own the building with Siam Thai (but does own the old Jade Pagoda) so it doesn’t look like Brix2 will be going up anytime soon.

I’m devastated that I will no longer be able to get the Best Peanut Curry and Spring Rolls on Earth, but my gay friends are sad that they’ll no longer be able to go to Elite at 10am on the occasional Friday morning. A friend in Chicago is considering a last minute trip to Seattle to say good-bye.

Wild Crane Downtown

posted by on December 13 at 11:02 AM

My husband just called to tell me that he’s watching a crane at the Fifth and Madison Condominiums site swing wildly in the wind. The boom’s been revolving faster and faster, and it appears a cable attached to it has busted some glass on the Bank of California Tower. King 5 has footage of the same crane from earlier this morning.

Sonic Elders

posted by on December 13 at 10:56 AM

This video will be most entertaining to those familiar with Sonic Youth’s “Schizophrenia” (AKA the first track on Sister), for whom it will be one of the weirdest and most wonderful things ever.

Thanks, as always, to Jake.

Salman Rushdie, Babe Magnet

posted by on December 13 at 10:16 AM

I have always been a little ambivalent about Salman Rushdie. Would he really have been all that without the fatwa? Anyway, who knew he was such a player? Page Six, which has called him the Butterscotch Stallion, has this story on how he helps his son pick up chicks. Junior also thought the fatwa was cool.

Class in the Class Room

posted by on December 13 at 10:15 AM

With Alito and Roberts tipping the balance on the Supreme Court now, it’s likely that race will be formally thrown out as a legitimate factor in public school admissions policies.

As everybody knows, Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District made it all the way to the high court last week.

In summary: The Plaintiffs, shot down in by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in late 2005, contend that the Seattle School District’s admission policy, used between 1999 and 2001, violated the 14th Amendment by discriminating against white students. The District policy used race as a tiebraker when the number of students trying to get into a particular shcool was greater than the spots available. The school district policy was an attempt to make the popular schools reflect the 60/40 split of non-white to white students respectively in the district as a whole—an honorable attempt to maintain racial diversity in our schools. This honorable attempt, however, may gets its ass handed to it by the high court.

This may not be a bad thing, though. In fact, it may be a great opportunity. The jolt may finally breathe some life into an idea that former conservative Seattle School Board Member, Don Nielsen, used to hype: Class-based integration rather than race-based integration.

The New Republic makes the case this week that, thanks to the Seattle case, the end of mandated racial integration is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for liberals to tackle the broader social justice issue of class:

If the Court decides that schools can no longer take race into consideration, those who care about social justice will need to find another way to promote equal educational opportunity. Luckily, roughly 40 school districts have been trying a new approach—income-based school integration. Because of the overlap between race and economic status, this policy produces a healthy amount of racial diversity. At the same time, even opponents of using race in student assignment concede that using socioeconomic status is perfectly legal. Moreover, socioeconomic integration provides an even more powerful lever for raising achievement.

Under racial desegregation plans, for example, black student scores rose in Charlotte, North Carolina, but not in Boston, Massachusetts. But discrepancies like these reveal a clue as to what does work. The difference between Charlotte and Boston is that in Charlotte, poor blacks had a chance to go to school with middle-class whites; whereas in Boston, poor blacks were mixed with poor whites. The answer isn’t race—it’s class.

I’ve posted in more of the article below (in case the link above didn’t work.)

Continue reading "Class in the Class Room" »

Bugging the RAZR

posted by on December 13 at 10:06 AM

Not as easy as downloading a ringtone, but not too hard for the FBI.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 13 at 10:00 AM

Casino Royale (ESCAPISM) I closed my eyes during one of the two torture scenes in this film and therefore cannot review the entire work for its artistic merit. But! It’s a movie so packed with plot twists, exotic locales, runaway gas trucks, and machete fights in casino stairwells that by the time everyone’s dead except Bond, I could only vaguely recall what got them all in trouble anyway. Were there really Liberian freedom fighters in this film? (See Movie Times for more info.) SARAH MIRK

The Stranger Seeks a Phlebotomist

posted by on December 13 at 9:53 AM

Are you a licensed, qualified phlebotomist? Are you free this Thursday, Friday, or Saturday evening to help us out with an experiment? If so, please send an email to brad@thestranger.com. Confidentiality and anonymity guaranteed.

We Know Why You Fly…

posted by on December 13 at 9:41 AM

…other airlines. For the FOURTH TIME in FOUR WEEKS my American Airlines flights have all been cancelled. I’m bouncing around the country today, trying to get home. My original flights, cancelled. My re-booked flights, cancelled. The flights I’m booked on now? Delayed.

It’s like they do it on purpose.

The Morning News

posted by on December 13 at 8:25 AM

In Iraq: The Iraqi Army wants to take on more responsibility in Baghdad. Meanwhile, 15 more have been killed in car bomb explosions, and Saudi Arabia might support Iraqi Sunnis against the Shiites—if the U.S. leaves the country.

In Other Civil Wars: The Somali Prime Minister thinks a full-fledged war is inevitable.

In “Justice”: Father Athanase Seromba, who ordered his own church—and those hiding within—destroyed during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, has been sentenced to a paltry 15 years by the International Tribunal.

In England: A serial killer may be targeting prostitutes.

In California: Students are worried after UCLA’s administrative computers were hacked; some 800,000 records were exposed.

In Fast Food: Taco Bell wants people to know their food is safe to eat.

In More Identity Theft: Boeing loses a laptop, the information of 382,000 workers.

In Pullman: Washington State University has a new president.

In Olympia: Governor Gregoire will offer her opinion on the viaduct by the end of the year.

In More Transportation: The state’s DOT asked “How’s our driving?” Much vitriol ensued.

In Jackasses: This won’t make working with him any easier.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Colbert Report: Food… Gift Bags… Vodka… Panties…

posted by on December 12 at 10:25 PM

Star.jpg

So I made it to Colbert alive—no thanks to you, Dave, and your jinxy ass post—and got through the show. I had a tiny green room all to myself, a producer—the lovely and talented Amy—at my elbow the whole time, and the whole thing was all over before I could stress out about it. Colbert is gracious as hell, his crew is laid back and charming. Oh, and they put my name in a great, big overstatement-of-a-star on the door to my wee green room.

Oh, and check out the spread in the green room—all for me, man, all for me.

Food.jpg

Eat your hearts out. Oh, and that bag on the floor next to the table? My swag bag, bitches. Vodka, wine, Rockport shoes, gift certificates, Avon products, Atkins Advantage products, Hanes t-shirts and, uh, panties. I gave my panties to Amy, who seemed touched—apparently other guests on Colbert haven’t been so giving of their panties.

So how’d I do? Feel free to tear me apart in comments.

Aradia Closing

posted by on December 12 at 5:29 PM

This letter just came in from the Aradia Women’s Health Center:


December 12, 2006
Dear Friends,

Today I write to inform you that at the end of January 2007 Aradia Women’s Health Center will cease clinic operations and programming, and close its doors permanently.

Several factors have significantly impacted the organization’s ability to grow and thrive. These include costs associated with rising malpractice insurance as well as increased security and rent. In addition, growing numbers of clients require subsidized health care — the number of lower-income women seeking abortions at Aradia has increased by almost 20 percent over the last five years, as well as the number of women needing publicly funded contraception and family planning. Seventy percent of our clients currently require subsidized health care from our clinic and the burden of making up the cost of providing services has become too heavy to shoulder.
I hope that Aradia’s closure will help consolidate community support for reproductive health and rights. I also see this as an opportunity for our community to highlight the need for more government resources to subsidize women’s health care and to invest in a new system of health care delivery.

Seattle is lucky to have numerous quality reproductive health providers and clinics that offer women a lot of choice in where they receive care. We are actively working to transfer client care and files to the appropriate provider to ensure a smooth transition for the women we serve. In addition, we are engaged in a thorough process to transition our teen sexual health program, CONNECT, which offers essential health education to youth in our region. I feel extremely confident that the community will gracefully step up to fill in any gaps in health care services, education or advocacy that may arise from Aradia’s dissolution.

I thank you for your support of Aradia Women’s Health Center over the 34 years we have served our community. Since 1972, Aradia has been a leader in reproductive health care and rights, providing abortion and gynecological health services, community education, state legislative advocacy and medical training throughout the Pacific Northwest. As a nonprofit feminist women’s health center, Aradia Women’s Health Center has encouraged all women to take an active role in their health care and believes that women deserve a place where no question is ignored or trivialized.

Aradia was founded in 1972 as a YWCA-sponsored community collective of gynecological health care providers. After Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in 1973, the clinic offered pre- and post-abortion counseling, and in 1977 began providing the safe and sensitive abortion care for which it has been known for almost 30 years. Since that time, Aradia has provided more than 54,000 women with compassionate, non-judgmental abortion and gynecological health care, trained more than a thousand medical students and has served as a training ground for hundreds of staff women and volunteers. In 1982, Aradia Clinic became Aradia Women’s Health Center, incorporating outreach, education and state-level legislative advocacy into our work — programs that have continued to this day.

Our success is due in large part to you, Aradia’s supporters, who have consistently believed in the power of feminist health care and championed Aradia’s mission. I hope our vision statement continues to inspire you and that you carry it forward: Aradia Women’s Health Center envisions a world where each woman’s individual choices regarding her reproductive and sexual health are respected so that she may live freely and truly reach her highest potential.

We look forward to celebrating the success of the organization with you in the near future.

On behalf of the board and staff of Aradia Women’s Health Center,


Scott Leopold, President
Aradia Women’s Health Center

I’ve attached Aradia’s press release below.

Continue reading "Aradia Closing" »

I Should Be Working

posted by on December 12 at 5:16 PM

But I’m totally not.

Instead, I’m playing this very addicting game, which is Nintendo’s geeky answer to a winter advent calendar.

That snowman is SO f-ing CUTE!

More homeless in Seattle despite more money?

posted by on December 12 at 3:45 PM

We ran an In Other Neighborhoods blurb last week about this alarming statistic: In 2005, ROOTS, a youth homeless shelter in the U-District, turned away 250 people from their first-come-first-served beds at night. In 2006, just through the end of October, they turned away 500.

To try and discover what’s up with the turnaways doubling, I spent last Friday night talking to ROOTS deputy director Matt Fox as the shelter served up its free Friday Feast (hey! It was better than my last Friday night). We met a few minutes after 6 pm in the large, flourescently lit basement of University Methodist Church, which was lined with 20 folding tables, boxes of food, and the remnants of the church’s Friday afternoon thrift store. Our conversation was punctuated with the sounds of men outside banging on the shelter’s metal door—food’s supposed to be served at 6! It was already 6:05! That night’s meal was “egg souffle” served in large casserole pans pulled hot from huge Soviet-era ovens.

Matt cautioned that the turnaway statistics aren’t anything too damning; it doesn’t mean that there’s twice as many people on the streets than there were last year, it means ROOTS has been turning away an additional person every couple nights. And there’s a couple reasons that help explain that increase. A big factor is that ROOTS was originally only a three-night-a-week shelter when it opened its doors in 1999 and moved to seven nights in 2004. Word of mouth about the place has probably grown, and since the shelter is open more nights each week, it has more chances to turn people away. In 2006 so far, more people used the shelter overall than in 2005, though only by a small percentage(370 people compared to 358).

Also, this is the first year ROOTS hasn’t had to shut its doors for any nights due to lack of volunteers—during UW breaks, volunteers dry up—so since they’ve been open more nights, that could be driving up their turnaways.

But still, doubled?

It’s pretty near impossible to get definitive statistics on the number of homeless people in Seattle, so even official groups like the Committee to End Homelessness (which is responsible for distributing moneys from the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness) get their knowledge from the One-Night Count and anecdotal evidence from service providers.

Well, as the P-I reported (and Dan responded) last week, the number of homeless deaths rose by 14 percent between 2004 and 2005. That combined with the doubling of turnaways from ROOTS… the anecdotal evidence is pointing toward an increase in homelessness despite the increase in funding to end homelessness. If that’s true, then somehow that money’s not been making a difference since it started rolling in two years ago. Why the hell is that? Unemployment is lower than in 2004, so I have no idea.

In light of that, December is always a busy time for shelters (Christmas = entire paycheck), so check ROOTS’s website if you want to help dish out egg souffle sometime. Looks like they’ll need help for a long while, still.

Surfing in Heaven

posted by on December 12 at 1:54 PM

Quick report from Stevens Pass: I risked my life to get there in last night’s storm, and it was well worth it. Powder! Meadows and valleys and heaps of powder! They’re open until 10 pm now, Thursday through Monday. Buy 10 gallons of gas at Shell and get a 2-for-1 voucher good for Monday nights (and a slew of other times on other hills).

Letter of the Day

posted by on December 12 at 1:48 PM

This letter came in via e-mail to editor@. It was sent through an anonymizer, and it’s unsigned, so there’s no way to know if it’s actually from someone inside Starbucks.

OPEN LETTER TO PHIL FISCHER: Although I cannot reveal my name, I am one of the Starbucks executives you were trying to reach with your advertisement in last week’s Stranger [Dec 7, Page 40]. The good news is that your ad worked… to the extent that three senior Starbucks executives talked about you for an hour at last Friday’s meeting.

The bad news is, well, frankly they were laughing at you the whole time. In fact, some are still thinking it must be a joke. Not me: I’ve been in the industry almost 20 years, and I can spot a misguided Christian rocker from the opposite shore of the red sea.

My point is not to humiliate you. You did that yourself with your public kissing of our corporate butts, with a picture of your mulletness standing by your vanity-plated Hummer.
My point is to challenge the progressive readers of The Stranger to stop laughing at people with your addiction to myth.

If the last six years have taught us anything, it is that Jesus freaks are not harmless—They are delusional, and dangerous.

We gave up Zeus. We stopped sacrificing virgins. We don’t think the world is flat, and we laugh at Scientologists. Well, Christians are no less embarrassing, and deserve no more respect than the blind followers of any blatant mythological dogma.

Your delusion goes far beyond your hopes for a deal with Starbucks. Your belief perpetuates dangerous behaviors (like flying planes into skyscrapers, or dropping bombs on countries for no apparent logical reason). You need help, and I’m urging the enlightened public to start giving it to you, because the stakes are too high.

As an executive, I am gagged by a corporate policy that strictly prohibits offending anyone; everyone is a potential consumer to be exploited.

But as an individual, I have a responsibility to raise humanity higher for my children and for the future of this planet. This Christmas, remember why you no longer believe in Santa, and consider the same for Jesus. And while you’re at it, lose the Hummer.
Anonymous

Vapostori

posted by on December 12 at 1:44 PM

My father is a theologian. (He is also an economist, but that is another story.) He lives on First Hill. He lives here because living in Zimbabwe in this day and age is impossible. When I visit the old theologian, we usually eat and talk about the Bible, about this or that gospel, this or that miracle, this or that moment when God speaks to a human. Recently, we talked about angels: are they an effective or ineffective means of communication? If ineffective, what then is the best medium for God-to-human messages? Possession? Burning bushes? Whirlwinds?

Last night we talked about the Vaspostori, a Christian sect in Southern Africa that believes that the Bible should be followed not only to the letter but to the fashion. Vapostori strive to look and live exactly like the people in the new and old testaments.

21-2.jpg

“They are a continuation of the apostolic tradition,” my father says as his cooks vegetables and fish. “What the apostles did is what they do. They are the only group I know of that has not established buildings for a place of worship. They meet out in the open. They walk with long shepherd staffs. They wear robes that are white in color, like Middle Eastern people would wear in Jesus’ time. Overall, they want to maintain tradition directly: the clothes, the worship order, the the theology itself. But the one good thing about Vapostori? You will never find them at your door looking for a job. They make their own jobs.”

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on December 12 at 1:40 PM

Due to his sojourn in Latvia, the Prayer Warrior missed some of the Sea-Tac Christmas tree controversy. However, upon his return he fired off an email to supporters, and then followed up today with another note that shifts from the “War on Christmas” back to the war on the gays. Both emails below.


unknown.gif

Yesterday:

Dear Prayer Warrior,

I just returned from Latvia, just to find all the Christmas trees removed from SEATAC. I would like you to send me an email of protest, requesting that the Christmas trees be returned. Tomorrow Rabbi Lapin and I are going in to see the Port of Seattle Commissioner, and will take all our emails with us. Send emails to pmays@abchurch.org.

It’s good to be back in Seattle…see you on Sunday!

Your Pastor,
Hutch

Today:


Dear Prayer Warrior,

A very big THANK YOU to all who responded with emails. Praise God, they had already made the decision to return the Christmas trees!

Final report from Latvia trip:

I am standing here with 1,400 signatures of support from 14 different nations: United States, Latvia, Finland, Denmark, India, Nigeria, England, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, and Germany. The signatures are on a declaration we wrote to stand for family values, religious freedom…it’s time for Christians to stand up and be counted as never before! If they stand with me with “Watchmen on the Wall,” pray that the same people will stand to make sure the Initiative is passed here to protect traditional marriages.

Pray for me as I get with the media to discuss this Initiative.

Your Pastor,
Hutch

A Computer Older Than Christmas

posted by on December 12 at 1:39 PM

Every day, some cretin drops his cell phone in the water.

Twenty-one hundred years ago, some Cretans dropped a fucking computer in the ocean.

Here is one of its gears, regular and radiographed:

GR2006121100040.jpg

By turning the gear mechanism, which included what Edmunds [a British astrophysics professor] called a beautiful system of epicyclic gears that factored in the elliptical orbit of the moon, a person could check what the sky would have looked like on a date in the past, or how it would appear in the future.

Epicyclic gears systems—explained here and here—are themselves celestial: They consist of “planet gears” that rotate around a “solar gear,” all for the purpose of increasing the output speed. They are also elegant. Here are some modern epicyclic gears:

450px-Train_planetaire.JPG.jpg

It’s like a little metal solar system.

(In other wonderful science news: “Small nuclear war could severely cool the planet”.)

Yay! We Beat the Pushy Jews

posted by on December 12 at 1:35 PM


226trees_clap.jpg
Front-page PI Photo of Alaska Airlines employees cheering as Christmas trees are put back up at SeaTac

Well, we put that pushy Jew in his place. The Christmas trees are back up at Sea-Tac. Hallelujah!

Honestly, the defensive reaction from the Anti-Defamation League (we’re sorry, we’re sorry, we didn’t mean for the Christmas trees to come down!); the initial mixed-up media reports (“a Jew threatens to sue the Port for displaying Christmas trees”); and most of all, the avalanche of anti-Jewish vitriol that piled up on KING 5’s website (“let’s stop exchanging gifts at Christmas and see if the Jewish-owned stores want GIFTING brought back!”), are all classic elements from the predictable, gross script of anti-Semitism. (And yes, yes, thank you Edward Said/Noam Chomsky, I know that “anti-Semitism” is an ill-ïŹtting description for anti-Jewish sentiment because Palestinians are Semites, blah, blah, etc.)

Anyway, yes, predictable script. And mostly predictable because, well, how does it end? Like this: The Jews apologize after backing down in the face of the anti-Semitic outburst that was unleashed after an even-keeled call from a Jew over a month ago for equal representation at the Port.

Indeed, here’s another example of the brotherly Christmas spirit that was posted on KING 5’s website: “Why couldn’t the rabbi leave well enough alone… He is just another example of why Jewish people, and others, especially the ACLU (which is supported predominately by Jewish people), are looked upon as the leading proponents of asking a nation based upon Judeo-Christian values, to remove those values. I guess diversity is great, except when Christianity is involved. Christians are asked to be diverse daily. We must accept everyone else’s values and symbols. But, you would think the world is coming to an end when minorities are asked to respect our values and symbols. The Sea-Tac management is spineless and without a backbone. They might prove me wrong by restoring the Christmas trees. I’m not holding my breath.”

“Leave well enough alone”? You mean shut up and go away. Okay, never mind that this creep doesn’t seem to realize that Judeo means Jewish, or that “everyone else’s values and symbols” aren’t prominently displayed in publicly funded institutions like the Port, or that in fact, the Port showed it did have a spine, and um, a backbone too, by standing up to the pushy Jew. The real question is: Why didn’t the Port of Seattle respond weeks ago and avoid this whole thing?

Here’s the PI’s unhelpful report on that point:

Bogomilsky said he raised the threat of a suit to get a menorah added, but only after getting “stonewalled” by the agency for weeks after a port consultant, Mitchell Stein, made an initial verbal request in mid-or late October. Port spokeswoman Terri-Ann Betancourt said a formal request came in mid-November.

But when Bogomilsky threatened to sue, the commission had only 18 hours to respond, Betancourt said, leading it to direct staff to remove the trees instead of simply adding a menorah as Bogomilsky had requested.

And you bet the Port initially took the trees down—because they would have lost the lawsuit. By picking one religion over another, the Port was in all likelihood, breaking the law? And shouldn’t that be the point? Isn’t that important? To anybody?

And please. Presumptuous editorials like the one in today’s Seattle Times that says Christmas trees aren’t religious and are simply “a symbol of winter, the holidays… for people of all faiths” totally miss—and unwittingly make—the whole point that a Christian holiday supposedly deïŹnes winter for all of us. (A) They’re called CHRISTmas trees. (B) The holidays? Whose holidays? Chanukah is a minor Jewish holiday and is only propped up as the equivalent of Christmas by Christian culture and (again) permissive Jews—as a condescending way to include Jews in a Christian holiday that dominates American culture.

Even though Chanukah, ironically, isn’t such a big deal holiday, the rabbi should have gone ahead and sued.

What’s Missing from This Picture?

posted by on December 12 at 1:34 PM

Gridlock.jpg

Look at that—gridlock! At 3 pm, in New York City. All those brake lights! Cars, taxis, buses, trucks—and no one’s moving, no one’s going anywhere fast. But what’s missing from this picture?

Spineless politicians. Specifically the kind of spineless politician inclined to tell drivers that Something Must Be Done about their predicament. We do that in Seattle—and other cities with crappy public transit, cities that Seattle should be ashamed to associate with, cities like Dallas and Phoenix and Los Angeles. No politician in New York would promise new roads (they can’t—no where to put ‘em), or timed lights (they’re already timed), or any other angry-motorist-mollifying lie. If you don’t want to sit in traffic in New York, politicians tell you to take the subway. Or commuter rail. Or walk (don’t laugh—it’s how most people get around here). The message? You have options. No one has to sit in traffic—in fact, you’re pretty much regarded as a borderline retard if you choose to sit in traffic.

But if you must drive, well, that’s your choice. But no one is going to listen to you complain, no one is going to have any sympathy for your dumbfuckass. Take the subway, dope, it’s faster.

In Seattle we don’t have options. Politicians can’t brush off drivers and tell them to take, oh, the subway (that we never built) or the monorail (that we could really have used during the years we’ll be without a viaduct, regardless of what we build in its place). Hell, they can’t even tell people to walk—not in a city with neighborhoods that still lack sidewalks.

Yes, we’re building light rail. We’re going to need lots more of it—like they’re doing in Denver—and we’re going to need to make sure that any additional light-rail lines are grade-seperated, like a subway or a monorail, so that light-rail trains aren’t stuck in traffic behind cars and buses and taxis and trucks. People here take the subway for two reasons: the stick that is stuck-in-traffic gridlock and the carrot that is on-the-subway speed.

Soy is a Devil Food That Makes You Gay

posted by on December 12 at 12:06 PM

So says James Rutz, chairman of Megashift Ministries, who has an astounding editorial today on the conservative news site WorldNetDaily.

Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That’s why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today’s rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products. (Most babies are bottle-fed during some part of their infancy, and one-fourth of them are getting soy milk!) Homosexuals often argue that their homosexuality is inborn because “I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t homosexual.” No, homosexuality is always deviant. But now many of them can truthfully say that they can’t remember a time when excess estrogen wasn’t influencing them.

“This isn’t just some goofy fringe news site,” writes AmericaBlog’s John Avarosis. “It’s…a site that all the right-wing pundits use as a source for their daily vitriol.” Read the entire, amazing, funnier-than-The Onion-but-real editorial here.

Miami Shoutouts Part I

posted by on December 12 at 11:51 AM

So I spent last weekend in Miami looking at acres and acres of art, and I’ll be putting up sometime posts on artists I got hooked on down there. I’ll start local: Isaac Layman and Claude Zervas, both of Seattle. In Miami, both were at the Aqua fair, Layman at SOIL and Zervas at James Harris.

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I first saw Layman’s bookcase photograph in SOIL’s photography survey a few months ago. It is a digital pile of images, but also a portrait arranged physically, a face with as much outward presence and inward mystery as any person’s (what are the subjects of these books? why are they turned away?). And then the digital sewing begins to show. There are seams everywhere, and once you spot one, you spot them all. Does this make things fall apart or come together? Not clear. Layman doesn’t have gallery representation—yet—and I’m not sure when he’ll have a show locally, but I’ll keep you posted. Can’t wait to see more of him.

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LydiaShoal.jpg

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Claude Zervas has been around for a while, and done photography, more traditional (and even humorous) sculpture, and probably other mediums that I’m not even aware of. But it feels like he has come fully into his own with these light sculptures that glow and dangle and drag and are named and molded after natural Northwestern occurrences such as rivers, pasages, shoals, and nudibranches (a kind of mollusk) (can you guess which above is which?).

The delicacy and commitment to white are affecting. In Nooksack (third down), referring to the Nooksack River and in the collection of the Seattle Art Museum, Zervas lays the cords down unpreciously, but they do draw the basic curves of a river’s ripples, or of the way it might meet land. The less determinate light coming from the pieces with slowly blinking LEDs is mesmerizing. Like Richard Tuttle’s wire drawings or Eva Hesse’s fleshy, dangling sculptures, Zervas’s pieces have the feeling of utter contingency.

The Colbert Report: Tonight Featuring Dan Savage!

posted by on December 12 at 11:49 AM

That’s right, tonight our fearless leader will be sparring with the worship-worthy Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report.

The show’s on Comedy Central at 11:30 pm, and for all of us without cable, it looks like the Comedy Central website does a good job of archiving their guest interviews.

P.S. Seconds after I first posted this at 11:20, Savage yanked it down from wherever he is in NYC, fearing the hype will somehow “jinx” something. (He hasn’t taped the show yet.) Then I called him a pussy and he said I could put the post back up. But if Dan gets struck by a cab on his way to Colbert’s studio, it’s all my fault.

Undervalued

posted by on December 12 at 11:43 AM

This brand-new, shiny-blue, sweet little machine (plus great helmets, riding jackets, bags, and a bunch of other riding gear) is currently being bid at $2,600.

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You know what it’s worth? Almost $6,000.

Remember, all the money—every last penny—goes to feed the hungry.

Go! Bid! Buy!

Third Time’s the Charm?

posted by on December 12 at 11:01 AM

tds-109goodbye.jpg

Santorum—the substance—gets another, er, plug from The Daily Show.

Is That a Newspaper in Your Lap or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

posted by on December 12 at 10:28 AM

While we enjoy the latest evangelical-minister-revealed-to-be-a-big-fat-homo scandal here in the United States, Sweden is enjoying a gay sex scandal of its very own.

Now this is remarkable because Sweden’s homosexuals are fully enfranchised citizens, and places like Sweden typically don’t have that many gay sex scandals. When a nation depoliticizes homosexuality, when it allows gay people to be who and what they are without paying a steep social or political price, fewer homos choose to live their lives as tormented closet cases. So places like Sweden don’t see many Ted Haggards or Mark Foleys come tumbling clumsily out of the closet.

Meet—well, meet an unnamed official of Sweden’s Christian Democrats, “a party known for its strong adherence to family values.” Unnamed Official was spotted at a public pool giving a handjob to another man. While the gays are tolerated in Sweden, public sex is not—the law in Sweden classifies public sex as “molestation.” Unnamed Official probably could have gotten away with the handjobs, but Unnamed Official wanted something more…

The two men are then alleged to have moved on to another part of the building, where the politician was spotted giving oral sex to his companion.

The police were called, the men were questioned. But it was all a big misunderstanding, says Unnamed Official:

When questioned about the allegations, the politician denied taking part in any sexual activities on the swimming pool premises.

“I understand that it could have looked like that,” [he said] to police. Instead he explained that the whole thing was a misunderstanding. He had been leaning over to read his companion’s newspaper when the pool employees arrived on the scene.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 12 at 10:00 AM

Stellina (LUNCH) The other day I ventured over to Stellina and had a curry vegetable potpie—less a potpie and more a bowl of vegetables in curry with a pastry hat. Delicious. The guys sitting next to me were real-estate businessmen who took off their hardhats as they sat down. That noise? The construction next door. The view? Another construction site across the street. The catch? Stellina’s only open for breakfast and lunch—for now. (Stellina, 1429 12th Ave, 322-2688, 8 am—5 pm, closed Sundays.) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

Grammy Battle 2007: Death Cab Versus Cuties

posted by on December 12 at 9:45 AM

So last week brought that annual parade of bewilderment known as the Grammy nominations. Key to the morbid fascination of the Grammys is the bizarre arbitrariness of the category groupings, illustrated most delightfully by this year’s nominees for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group, which pit local heroes Death Cab for Cutie against both the Black Eyed Peas and the Pussycat Dolls.

Attention Death Cab: I understand your placement in the pop category was beyond your control. Neverthless, if you lose to either “My Humps” or a bunch of lip-synching strippers, don’t bother taking another in-breath.

For the full list of nominees, go here.

Sure, It’s Light Out Now

posted by on December 12 at 9:35 AM

But the sun sets tonight at fucking 4:18 p.m.

I was walking around at about 6 p.m. yesterday, it was black as night, and I found myself having one of those weird Seattle winter thoughts. I started feeling sympathy for the dinosaurs. They were just moving about in their lives and then bam, an asteroid hits what we now call Mexico. Huge explosion, fire, ash, and then a debris cloud settles over the earth, blocking out the light and killing all kinds of life.

Poor dinosaurs.

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And poor us, to still have ten more days of this damned early darkness (which was a plague, by the way) before the winter solstice.

But oh, the winter solstice, what a change it will bring! On the day after, the sun will set at, um, 4:21 p.m.

Better Than Hitler? (What Isn’t?)

posted by on December 12 at 9:00 AM

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This charming little Moroccan landscape by Winston Churchill sold for the hefty sum of 612,500 pounds ($1.19 million) at Sotheby’s yesterday.

The Morning News

posted by on December 12 at 8:50 AM

Iraq: 56 dead after the latest car bomb explosion in Baghdad.

Profits: Goldman Sachs reports earnings of $9.34 billion this year. That’s a record for Wall Street.

President Bush: A new low in approval rating; seven out of ten think he’s royally fucked up in Iraq.

Eavesdropping: The National Security Agency denies spying on Princess Diana.

Oregon Menace: Search continues for missing hikers on Mt. Hood.

Lunatic: Three people dead in Massachusetts after an armored gunman opened fire at a strip club.

Parenting: In Louisiana, an infant’s toes were chewed off by the family pit bull while her parents slept.

Education: Governor Gregoire proposes $197 million for math and science education.

Speaking of Science: Exciting news from the University of Washington on the fight against pancreatic cancer.

War on Christmas: Christmas trees back at Sea-Tac. Baby Jesus can stop weeping now.

Real Estate: 2007 looks good for landlords, bad for tenants.

Annexation: The Seattle City Council takes another step towards annexing White Center.

Christmas Trees Return to Sea-Tac

posted by on December 12 at 7:20 AM

Did you know all this fuss—yes, including the fuss I made over it—was about just 14 fake Christmas trees?

Pat Davis, president of the Port of Seattle commission, which directs airport operations, said late Monday that maintenance staff would restore the 14 plastic holiday trees, festooned with red ribbons and bows, that were removed over the weekend because of a rabbi’s complaint that holiday decor did not include a menorah.

Airport managers believed that if they allowed the addition of an 8-foot-tall menorah to the display, as Seattle Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky had requested, they would also have to display symbols of other religions and cultures, which was not something airport workers had time for during the busiest travel season of the year, Airport Director Mark Reis said earlier Monday.

Port officials received word Monday afternoon that Bogomilsky’s organization would not file a lawsuit at this time over the placement of a menorah, Davis said in a statement.

“Given that, the holiday trees will be replaced as quickly as possible,” he said.

Davis added that the rabbi “never asked us to remove the trees; it was the port’s decision based on what we knew at the time.”

There were no immediate plans to display a menorah, airport spokesman Bob Parker said, saying restoration of the trees was expected to take place overnight Monday.

“A key element in moving forward will be to work with the rabbi and other members of the community to develop a plan for next year’s holiday decorations at the airport,” the port statement said.

Oh, goody. We’re going to attack this problem with a little Seattle-style process—working with the community to develop a plan for next year’s decorations. Sounds like fun—actually, what it sounds like is a good way to keep requests from other “religions and cultures” to a minimum. Christmas? You’re in. The menorah has a leg up, of course. But you say you want some other religious or religion’s symbols displayed at the airport? Okay, well, you need to fill out these forms, attend a sensitivity training seminar and an orientation session, and then come to roughly 257 planning meetings, during which the community will work to come to consensus about the steps involved in developing a plan for addressing the display issue in a timely matter.

Which means your pentagram will be on display at Sea-Tac by December of 2043.

Nothing

posted by on December 12 at 1:11 AM

Just this:
image517703x.jpg

Monkey angels, monkey journalists. Discuss.

Apoca-puke-o

posted by on December 12 at 12:53 AM

I spent (maybe I should say wasted, but the company was good) a few hours of my day off to watch Apocalypto, Mel Gibson’s riff on the fall of Mayan civilization. The critics are falling over themselves to praise the crazy drunk Catholic’s film—such a fun, counterintuitive stance to take! But I must say, the movie is a weak melodrama and offensive, bordering on racist. The historical inaccuracies, which are legion, are discussed elsewhere. They mainly bother me because most North Americans, myself included, know jack about what actually happened down there. We need all the help we can get—and the real story is plenty dramatic for a film. What really bothered me is that the savages are totally fetishized, especially the women. All the female natives have straight, white teeth and perky, prepubescent breasts. A little sexualized exoticism would be interesting to watch if it were a good movie. But it’s not. I got bored, I didn’t really care about the hero and there were far too many moments—Kelly O—when I laughed when I should have been crying.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Mein Kristmas

posted by on December 11 at 6:05 PM

An orgy of anti-Jewish vitriol has erupted on KING-5’s website over the Christmas tree story.
Here are a couple of choice comments in the thread:

Posted by: tom at December 11, 2006 04:20 PM

Why couldn’t the rebe leave well enough alone this year. He could have waited until next year and then ask that a Mennorah be included. What was so important to have it done this year - two weeks before Christmas?

He is just another example of why Jewish people, and others, especially the ACLU (which is supported predominately by Jewish people), are looked upon as the leading proponents of asking a nation, that history can demonstrate was based upon Judaeo Christion values, to mask / remove those values.

I guess diversity is great, except when Christianity is involved. Christians are asked to be diverse daily. We must accept everyone elses values and symbols. But, you would think the world is coming to an end, when minorities are asked to respect our values and symbols.

The Sec-Tac management is spineless and without a backbone.

They might prove me wrong by restoring the Christmas trees. I’m not holding my breath.

Um, Tom, the Rabbi made his request 6 weeks ago. The question is: Why’d the Port ignore him until now?

Posted by: og3p at December 11, 2006 04:22 PM Lets stop exchanging gifts at Christmas and see if the Jewish owned stores want GIFTING brought back!

og3p, Jewish-owned stores? Nordstrom, for example?


Quite the News Day at MSNBC

posted by on December 11 at 5:59 PM

All in today’s heds:

Bringing new meaning to ‘firing blind’

The blind would be able to go hunting if a Texas bill becomes law. The bill would allow legally blind hunters to use a laser sight, or lighted pointing instrument, which is forbidden for sighted hunters.

Condoms a big problem for men in India

Condoms designed to meet international size specifications are too big for many Indian men as their penises fall short of what manufacturers had anticipated, an Indian study has found.

Bargains roasting on an open fire …

Conflagration in aisle 3: An electrical fire that filled an Ohio department store with smoke didn’t deter holiday shoppers, and firefighters had to block the doors to keep customers from coming in, authorities said.

Man fined for puzzling hotel pig toss

Kevin Pugh, 20, of Cedar Bluff, Miss., has been fined $279 for tossing a pig over the counter at the Holiday Inn Express in West Point on Nov. 12. Police speculated the stunt might have been “a redneck thing.”

(Thanks, Lin!)

Mel Gibson is Nutballs

posted by on December 11 at 4:50 PM

This might be old news, but someone just showed me the freaky secret Mel Gibson photo hidden in the Apocalypto movie trailer. Man, he looks weird. That smile! Is he wearing his drunky pants? Is that a cigarette, or a pencil?
It goes by fast - so watch carefully! It’s in the Teaser Trailer to the right.

About 2/3 of the way through, right after this frame

freeze frame.jpg

click STOP, then use the frame-by-frame arrows on the lower right. Hoo wee!

Also, confidential to the couple who had to sit behind me at this past Saturday’s matinee. I didn’t mean to laugh so hard when his head shot out of the quicksand, or do that spit-take when her baby popped out. That was pure comedy. Or maybe it was the whiskey. Also on Saturday, SNL did their own version of the trailer. Sans subliminals.

What He Said

posted by on December 11 at 4:23 PM

From Atrios:

Look, it’s very simple. There are two Christmas holidays. One is the secular holiday, decreed by the federal government to be a national holiday, which is celebrated and marked with festive displays of trees, lights, fat guys with beards, and elves, along with lots of shopping and the giving of gifts. The other holiday involves a celebration of the birth of the Messiah, and is celebrated with religious rituals and displays of nativity scenes and other religious imagery.

Public displays of secular Christmas imagery? Fine.

Public displays of religious Christmas imagery? Less fine.

Christmas trees in airports? Fine.

Baby Jesus scenes in airports? Less fine.

Oh, and for the record…

I dashed off a quick post about this dumbfuck controversy this morning at Sea-Tac—half asleep, on my way to a plane—just to reemphasize the point I made yesterday: It wasn’t the dreaded secular humanists that got the freaking “holiday trees” yanked from Sea-Tac Airport. It was a religious person—what religion? who cares?—that complained about them, which prompted the Port of Seattle to yank ‘em. Does it matter that this religious person—a rabbi—just wanted to get a Menorah added to the festive clutter? And that he didn’t necessarily want the Christmas trees removed? Even if he threatened to sue if he didn’t get his way?

Sure, yeah, whatever. But so what?

Nicole Richie’s DUI

posted by on December 11 at 4:05 PM

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The terrifyingly thin Nicole Richie was popped this morning for driving under the influence of Vicodin and pot. Girlfriend weighs 85 pounds, according to her booking sheet. Aside from her obvious need for a court-mandated glucose IV, someone needs to have a talk with her about how to enjoy a Vicodin/pot buzz properly. She should have been on a couch, not in a car, preferably watching this.

Re: Yah!

posted by on December 11 at 3:52 PM

Sarah Mirk, that is a second-rate rainbow. Its colors are faded, it’s thinnish, it’s meek. None of the glorious, utopian vibrancy of a prime rainbow is in the one you pictured. Mirk, you must step up your game; don’t simply like rainbows because they are rainbows. Judge them, demand more of them, and hate them when they underperform.

Yah!

posted by on December 11 at 3:46 PM

rainbow.JPG

Hello giant rainbow over Capitol Hill! You are so pretty and noncontroversial. Everyone loves you. Maybe even Charles.

The Future of Islam?

posted by on December 11 at 2:27 PM

This is the plan for the International Islamic Centre in London:
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There are two things to laugh at here: One, the ridiculous design; two, the very idea that futuristic architecture can correct the backwardness of the religion (clearly the architect’s intention). And Islam is backwards. Nothing about it is in the future. All of it is in the deep and dark past, which is why anti-Western Muslims are not revolutionaries—they are not after change but restoration, the return of an order that’s much like the one T.S. Eliot longed for in his thick writings on Christianity and society.

1London New Islamic Centre2.jpg Architecture, what are you thinking? Futuristic glass and steel shapes sheltering men in clothes suited for the ancient desert and praying to the desert? We cant help ourselves: we must hold our bellies and laugh the big, big laugh.

Holiday TV Classics

posted by on December 11 at 1:46 PM

Via Slog tipper David C.: Holiday TV classics re-dubbed and subverted

Head to 10zenmonkeys for updated Rudolph, Frosty, and more…

Another Colorado Pastor Goes Down

posted by on December 11 at 1:07 PM

One month after preaching to his congregation about “integrity and grace” in the aftermath of Ted Haggard’s meth-and-rentboy scandal, Denver Reverend Paul Barnes has resigned as head of the evangelical megachurch Grace Chapel, admitting his own homosexuality.

“I have struggled with homosexuality since I was a 5-year-old boy,” said Barnes. “… I can’t tell you the number of nights I have cried myself to sleep, begging God to take this away.”

Clearly, God said no. Still, after Foley and Haggard, my year’s supply of schadenfreude is used up, and now this shit just makes me sad. Nevertheless, I look grimly forward to fundies spinning this as further proof of the insidious evil of homosexuality. “If it can take even our strongest leaders, clearly this is a sin we need to fight with all our might…” Sigh.

What Krishna Meant

posted by on December 11 at 12:57 PM

The third movement of the third chapter of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets ,”Dry Salvages,” comes to end with this:

“O voyagers, O seamen, You who came to port, and you whose bodies Will suffer the trial and judgement of the sea, Or whatever event, this is your real destination.’ So Krishna, as when he admonished Arjuna On the field of battle. Not fare well, But fare forward, voyagers.

The passage references the main section of the “Bhagavad Gita,” which is part of the epic poem Mahabharata. In this section, two prominent families are on the battlefield, ready to fight over the throne. On one side, is the archer Arjuna and his army; on the other side, the enemy, the Karavas. Before giving the command for the battle to start, Arjuna looks across the battlefield, sees his relatives, people he has grown up with, on both sides of the war, and begins to wonder if the battle (if the fight for power and glory) makes any sense: What good can come out of brothers killing brothers? Krishna, disguised as Arjuna’s chariot driver, sees the archer is in a moment of doubt and begins giving him advice. The advice turns out to be bad advice.

Krishna points out the Arjuna is a soldier and so it is his job, his karma, to fight. Not to fight is to go against his nature, his duty to his nature. Krishna also points out that Arjuna must act. He is in the world, and world demands action. Worst of all, Krishna tells Arjuna that the men about to kill each other on the battlefield are inconsequential; they are only the masks of reality and not reality itself. What is final is God, the all, the substance of reality, and not its manifestations, humans.

Arjuna was right to hesitate and recognize the waste of human life that his command would cause. His hesitation was human hesitation—only a considerate human could recognize the seriousness of the situation and provide it with serious thought. Arjuna was thinking forward, thinking about what matters most to the present, the future. In that moment of doubt, Arjuna was pro-life, pro-human.

Which brings me to the poem “Dry Salvages.” Why does Eliot repeat Krishna’s bad advice in the modern world of “periodicals and business letters”? Ancient Krishna was not looking forward but backward. His was a world dominated by forces outside of the world of human experience. Humans were mere victims of what Hegel would call “the cunning of history.” Eliot studied Eastern philosophy and so very well knew the substance of Krishna’s advice: The actual world has no real value, individuals are just illusions, death is an illusion that dissolves an illusion, and a man must act not in his own, particular interest but in the interest of the universal mind. Krishna was anti-human, anti-life.

There are sites in cyberspace that transport visitors back to medieval times—to the age of kings, bishops, and knights. The prototype of this virtual technology is surely Eliot’s Four Quartets: By means of modern English, he sent readers back to a time when God (Brahmin, the prime mover unmoved) dominated the past and the future and society was obedient, managed by strict customs, and properly cemented (serfs, church, castle). Eliot hated humans.

Posters!

posted by on December 11 at 12:01 PM

So Strangercrombie is currently at $20,935 and rising. That’s a good number. That’s an excellent number—but it isn’t yet last year’s total ($35,000) so keep at it.

There are still weirdly neglected deals to be had, like the poster packages (some signed, some rare, some both), which are hovering way down below their actual value: forty bucks? Eleven bucks? Shocking.

There are the Jeff Kleinsmith posters that look like this.

There are the Sasquatch prints that look like this.

There are the autographed posters that look like this.

Not to mention the Signora of Sasquatch (tickets, VIP access, camping passes) that currently languishing down at $100. You know somebody you know wants that present…

Sixteen Boxes of Porn!?!

posted by on December 11 at 10:48 AM

My favorite Strangercrombie item is the Date for One package. Here’s the item description:

Date for One
Not one, not two, but sixteen (!) boxes of heterosexual pornography, from the original Debbie Does Dallas to Specs Appeal: Girls with Glasses to the disconcertingly named Anabolic Initiations IV. This vast collection of preowned but nonsticky wankspiration is spread over DVDs, VHS tapes, and even a few laserdiscs (?!?), and comes with a complimentary package of tube socks. Priceless! Opening bid: $1.99!

Bid Now! As of this posting, it’s only at $51. What a steal!

In case you needed a little more convincing, there are many amazing things one can do with 16 boxes of heterosexual porn. Some of my ideas include theme parties, birthday presents, disguise birthday presents (where you innocently insert a porn into a case for the movie Clueless), gluing them together to make a wonderful bookcase, booby-trapping Dan Savage’s office (a porn in every desk drawer!), photocopying the case “art” for posters and thank you cards, and masturbating.

The possibilities are endless.

Re: Tenor Tantrum at La Scala

posted by on December 11 at 10:03 AM

Assuming that Jen and I aren’t the only persons in our readership who care about opera, you can get even more of the scoop on Alagna’s walkout at the fabulous new(ish) opera blog Opera Chic, whose tagline is “I’m a young American woman in Milan…and you’re not. I go to La Scala a lot…and you don’t.”

She’s got a sort of running log of all the events, from the prima, to the walkout, to the ensuing statements from Alagna (“I sang beautifully, I was bravissimo. Too bad for those who didn’t understand.”), to Alagna’s little man syndrome (and his ridiculous platform shoes), to the Italian press’ reaction, to the forthcoming lawsuits from La Scala and Alagna’s record label, Decca.

You see, opera isn’t antiquated or outdated. It’s gossipy, nasty, hilarious, and pathetic—just like regular pop culture. There are sex scandals, terrifying autograph confrontations, stalking, bitchy queens, etc. I’m just waiting for the first operatic panty-less crotch flash.

I mean, srsly. Check out the nakedness, the codpiece, the lithe and nubile body of dancer Roberto Bolle. Oh, and yes—that is Donatella Versace (looking ever more like Jocelyn Wildenstein) and Rupert Everett (looking ever more his age). Ciel!

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 11 at 10:00 AM

Never Swim Alone (THEATER) Two men—once childhood friends, now adult rivals pretending to be friends—face off in a game show broken into 13 rounds: “Power Lunch,” “Business Ties,” “Who Falls Dead the Best,” etc. Their competition is scored and refereed by a young woman, a ghost from their shared past, and she takes unholy pleasure in announcing that one of these men has a gun. The acting is good and the script is great. This is what WET does best—tight, tense, and funny little plays that aren’t boring. (Washington Ensemble Theatre, 608 19th Ave E, 800-838-3006, $10—$18, 8 pm.) BRENDAN KILEY

Gun Play in Olympia

posted by on December 11 at 9:48 AM

Last week, Speaker of the House, Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Capitol Hill, U-District, Wallingford), told me that Seattle’s top legislative priority in Olympia (gun control legislation) isn’t a top priority for him.

This weekend’s shootings (including one in Chopp’s district—the U. District) have now, according to David Postman’s blog, raised the volume on the call for at least one of Seattle’s demands: Closing the gun show loophole. Seattle’s other gun control item is renewing the assault weapons ban.

These even-keeled and practical measures don’t jar the 2nd Amendment, and they are serious issues for the SPD and Chief Gil Kerlikowske. Seattle (and Seattle money) are big reasons the Democrats have such a commanding majority in Olympia. Kerlikowske (and Chopp’s district) deserve respect and action on this.

State Sen. Adam Kline (D-37, South Seattle) is readying a gun control bill on the Senate side.

Monday Morning Sports Report

posted by on December 11 at 9:47 AM

Seahawks: Fucking hell. A loss to the Arizona Cardinals? On a week when we should’ve wrapped up the division? Where was our D? Super Bowl caliber teams don’t give up a touchdown bomb to the Cardinals on their very first play of the game—but then, the Hawks aren’t a Super Bowl team. They haven’t been one all season.

Turnovers, an inability to stop the run, no luck running the ball themselves—it was quite the clusterfuck of a game for the Hawks. They may have lost by a single touchdown but it felt like a blowout. Our defense was slow and unable to tackle. And even when we got breaks—like Julian Peterson’s miraculous interception that really wasn’t—we managed to deliver the Cardinals a break in return. At least Nate Burleson and D.J. Hackett showed up to play. And Hasselbeck’s fumble recovery was nice.

Adding insult to injury: San Diego RB LaDainian Tomlinson broke Shaun Alexander’s single-season touchdown record yesterday—with three games left to play. That there is a real MVP.

Up next, a Thursday night game—short week: joy!—against the San Francisco 49ers. Hell, if the Hawks can cough up a 100-yard game to Edgerrin James, Frank Gore just might run for 300 on Thursday.

Mariners: Fox Sports is reporting that the M’s are close to signing pitcher Miguel Batista. Dave at U.S.S. Mariner
thinks…

…Miguel Batista is not what this team needs. He’s a durable guy that turns 36 in February who keeps the ball in the yard and won’t get you blown out of ballgames, but he doesn’t miss bats and has mediocre command. That package makes him a #4 starter on a team with a good rotation, but now, he’s the Mariners #2 starter. A three year contract would wrap him up through his age 38 season.

If the Batista signing comes through, the rotation will be Felix and four guys who profile as back of the rotation arms. They’ll be paying in excess of $20 million for Jarrod Washburn, Miguel Batista, and Horacio Ramirez. That’s just poor roster construction, and the opportunity cost is just as large as the salary.

Sonics: Luke Ridnour mustered 13 points in the fourth quarter to help the Supes beat Golden State 117-115.

Tonight: It’s Bears vs. Rams on MNF. Rex Grossman is playing for his job, and Marc Bulger has managed to piss off his entire team. But hey, at least the Chicago Fan/Mike in MO trash-talking should be entertaining.

What Would Rosey Grier Do?

posted by on December 11 at 9:45 AM

This one’s for you, Mudede.

I, Anonymous: The Dina Martina Christmas Show Edition

posted by on December 11 at 9:36 AM

In my experience, The Dina Martina Christmas Show has brought nothing but feelings of great joy and vague nausea. But for one (classically passive-aggressive) Seattlite, Dina’s show became a forum for scalpal assault and sucky single-entendre humor.

To the creepy faggot I had to sit next to at the Dina Martina show last Thursday: for the record, it is NEVER okay to give someone you do not know a noogie. You freaking put your arm around me and gave me a noogie? You fracking weirdo. Also, it is completely ultra-mega ninja creepy that you kept trying to make our legs touch throughout the show. You thought you were being all sly about rubbing it against me, but listen mister, you have a horrible (and might I add fugly) poker face. I seriously wanted to punch you in your bitch tits. Also, your fucking loser friend kept knocking my chair crooked and as I tried to straighten my chair you guffawed, “Good luck trying to straighten anything out at Re-Bar.” That is the worst fucking joke EVER! I hate you; I don’t even know you, and I hate you. I wish I have some crazy scalp disease that is only transmitted from scalp to knuckle contact that’s going to kill you, that’s how much I hate you.

I agree: Anything involving an unwanted head-lock sucks, as does that “joke.” But don’t let that scare you away from this year’s Dina show, which is amazing. Get your tickets here.

(And, for the Dina fan who has everything, may I suggest this Strangercrombie gift pack, featuring Dina Martina singing the cover song of your choice?)

Tenor Tantrum at La Scala

posted by on December 11 at 9:25 AM

Love it.

DIY Medicine

posted by on December 11 at 9:12 AM

At approximately 5 pm yesterday, a splinter the size of a toothpick slid into the ball of my right foot. After a half hour of the needle-and-tweezer routine, my partner and I realized this was no ordinary pursuit. He brought the exacto knife up from the basement in one hand, the tequila in the other. Two hours later, we had two-thirds of the chunk of wood out of my foot and had mysteriously lost sight of the third third.

It was a great satisfaction performing minor at-home surgery. A few months ago, I had a doctor tell me to do something similar with a cyst, and the suggestion that I should DIY it freaked me out at first, so I began asking people what they thought. One person told me that he had a friend who worked with Doctors Without Borders. This doctor friend told my person that a doctor who tells you to perform your own minor surgery is an especially good doctor. I have no idea why, but I found this convincing.

College Bowl Season—$$$ for everyone but the players

posted by on December 11 at 8:19 AM

So, as college football winds down its season with innumerable bowl games sponsored by various corporate entities, it’s a good time to remember: Division IA college football players are unpaid labor, while coaches, media outlets and boosters make gazillions. Professor Telander, former NU cornerback and current Sun-Times columnist, explains it all yet again. And if you want to reform college football, you couldn’t do better than he suggests in his book The Hundred Yard Lie: The Corruption of College Football and What We Can Do to Stop It.

What He Said

posted by on December 11 at 7:46 AM

From Andrew Sullivan:

The standards that the theocons apply to gays should apply to straights as well. The only reason they don’t is because they could never win majority support; but gays are such a tiny minority the Christianists can vent their anger at the general culture by beating up on them alone. Hence the apoplexy over gays getting married but relative indifference to divorce and single mothers. If a child needs a mother and a father, shouldn’t divorce be illegal for couples with kids?

The Morning News

posted by on December 11 at 7:29 AM

The Taliban: Proud owners of northern Pakistan.

Iraq: Needs help spending billions of dollars in oil revenues.

Obama: Causing a stir in New Hampshire.

Gaza: Three children killed by lunatic gunman.

President Bush: Cooking up a new Iraq policy just in time for Christmas.

Gen. Augusto Pinochet: Gone, but not forgotten.

Iran: Hosting a conference on the Holocaust. Germany, Israel, and the U.S. don’t think it’s such a swell idea.

Sea-Tac: The latest front in the neverending War on Christmas.

The Weekend: Busy with shopping, shootings.

Eastern Washington: Couldn’t give a shit about the health of Puget Sound.

Sea-Tac’s War On Christmas

posted by on December 11 at 7:18 AM

SeaTacLobby.jpg

I’m at Sea-Tac Airport where those offensive Christmas tress have been removed—not that I find them offensive, mind you. I may be one of those secular humanists, but I don’t have a problem with Christmas trees or Christmas elves or Christmas puddings or Christmas cockrings. I have a Christmas tree in my living room. Remember, right-wing nutters, it was a religious idiot that got the Christmas trees yanked out of Sea-Tac Airport, not a secular humanist idiot.

BREAKING: But wait? What’s this? Pockets of Christmas cheer remain at Sea-Tac Airport! There are poinsettia plants here and there! And hold on a minute—can it be? There are Christmas trees at Sea-Tac!

SeaTacTrees.jpg

I found these trees at Anthony’s Restaurant, where I’m enjoying a deliciously greasy breakfast right now. There are three of them, in a merry clump, right behind the host stand. Alert the media!


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Gay Seattle Can Be Yours!

posted by on December 10 at 8:45 PM

gay.jpg

The domain name GaySeattle.com is for sale on eBay. Opening bid: $1,000. Auction closes December 20.

Late Evening News

posted by on December 10 at 6:11 PM

Running Man? Obama visits New Hampshire, “sparking frenzy.”

Milky Ways: Scientists find evidence of recent human evolution. John Aravosis says it’s the 2006 election results; scientists say it’s lactose tolerance.

Royal Treatment The United States was, for some unfathomable reason, spying on Princess Di.

Well Done, Please: Augusto Pinochet now roasting on a spit in hell.

Killer Party: Another U-District house party, another shooting.

The War On Christmas Comes Home

posted by on December 10 at 4:36 PM

Okay, this is completely retarded.

All the holiday trees were removed from Sea-Tac Airport. Why? Because radical secular humanists objected? Were atheists threatening to picket? Were godless gays and lesbians threatening to show up and hang dildos on the trees?

Ah, no.

All 15 Christmas trees inside the terminal at Sea-Tac have been removed in response to a complaint by a rabbi.

A local rabbi wanted to install an 8-foot menorah and have a public lighting ceremony. He threatened to sue if the menorah wasn’t put up, and gave a two-day deadline to remove the trees.

Hey, Bill O’Reilly! Please note that a religious idiot complained about the Christmas trees at Sea-Tac—someone who no doubt shares your reverence for our “Judeo-Christian heritage”—and not some radical secular humanist with a stick in his ass. This didn’t happen because irreligious people are intolerant of religion, but because religious people are intolerant of each other’s religions. Please make a note of it.

And finally: Why wouldn’t Sea-Tac just let the rabbi put up his fucking menorah?

More Love for ‘Iraq in Fragments’

posted by on December 10 at 12:23 PM

Yes, I’ve been slogging this movie to death, but we like to see our annointed go on to worldwide domination.

James Longley, 2006 Stranger Genius in film, has won the best documentary prize at the IDA Awards for Iraq in Fragments. Congratulations!

You can’t see the feature in Seattle any longer, but check out the Genius exhibit at the Henry, where Longley’s short Sari’s Mother is looping through this week.

Bootleg Bonus Auction!

posted by on December 10 at 11:27 AM

From inspired dumpster diver/”Schola Nigga” cartoonist Ivan Cockrum comes this hilarious “Bonus Strangercrombie auction!”

scaled.frizzelle2.jpg

Has your labor of love been slagged by Stranger Books Editor Christopher Frizzelle? Here’s your opportunity to chuckle over his ignominious past as a Sales Support Person for Adams & Associates, Inc. This trophy was lovingly plucked from Frizzelle’s very own dumpster, where it was discarded like a wriggling maggot. Next time Frizzelle prints a negative word about you, just shove this in his face. Gives you instant authority to demand where a hack office drone like him gets off criticizing your genius! Proceeds go to hunger-relief agency Northwest Harvest!

Ivan has indeed arranged for proceeds earned by the item to go to Northwest Harvest, and Chris is thrilled that his trash has the potential to help the hungry. So: Go! Bid! Buy!

Christgau’s Consumer Guide Premieres at MSN

posted by on December 10 at 11:04 AM

As I mentioned last week, 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, where the debut installment landed this week.

Since the column’s been on hiatus since late summer, he’s playing a bit of catch-up. Among the winners: OutKast (he’s a staunch Idlewild defender), the Hold Steady, and Bob Dylan (whose Modern Times earns that Consumer Guide rarity, an A plus, making Dylan the first artist to get double-whammy top grades with two consecutive studio albums since the New York Dolls in ‘73/’74.) Among the losers: The Who, North Mississippi All-Stars, and my beloved Scissor Sisters.

Check out the whole thing here and look for new installments every other month.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 10 at 10:10 AM

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists

(MUSIC) Yes, the Juno reunion is exciting, but Ted Leo & the Pharmacists are a big part of this bill’s appeal. Though adoration for the D.C.-based Leo has been spreading widely over the last few years, it wasn’t until I caught him at the Touch and Go anniversary show in Chicago this year that I really understood how close this kid is to becoming a modern-day incarnation of Alex Chilton. With Juno, Junior Boys, and Cold War Kids. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, ticketswest.com, 7 pm, $20, all ages, balcony only.) HANNAH LEVIN