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Archives for 12/17/2006 - 12/23/2006

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Evolution

posted by on December 23 at 9:32 PM

It’s not too late to proclaim your holiday religion free with this printable topper for your secular tree.

Vote… Slog…

posted by on December 23 at 3:11 PM


Polls close tonight—this is your last chance to vote slog. And did you know you can vote once a day? You can.

And did you know that even I’m sick of this now? No more four-day polls, CHS, okay?

Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on December 23 at 2:34 PM

This is… um… something that came in the mail today.

Now that Santorum has only one disgusting meaning instead of two, it’s a good opportunity to take another devastating swipe at the dangers of homophobia.

The sad fact is that those intrepid climbers on Mt. Hood could’ve survived had all three simply huddled together and kept warm in a snow cave. That would have been their only hope, and it’s very unfortunate for them and for their families that their all-American values of homophobia probably hopelessly prevented them from ever even considering that option. But separated and clutching blocks of ice instead of each other, they were doomed to freeze and die.

The climber’s families and the nation have stoically embraced prayer and hope, while at the same time the climbers themselves were very likely frozen stiff all along because they had stoically refused to embrace each other. (Even heterosexual penguins are only able to survive the Antarctic winter by huddling together.)

As we thoughtlessly go about destroying the habitability of this planet and as we prepare to militarily impose our shallow, commercialized values upon the rest of the oil-producing world, a more accurate assessment of the needless Mt. Hood tragedy might help to bring more Americans to their senses and to make us a more human, a more practical, and a more tolerant people. The entire world will greatly benefit from that change.

Realistic And Luckily Practical Hetero

I’m not endorsing this letter by posting it. I’m actually a bit flabbergasted by it. But I don’t know anything about mountain climbing or snow caves or surviving extreme cold. I do, however, know something about huddling with men. I’m disinclined to think that RALPH here is correct, i.e. that the men could have saved themselves by huddling together—or that they refused to do so for fear of being perceived as gay by the… uh… snow? The cold? The mountain?

But, like I said, I don’t know. I also haven’t been following this story—which is tragic, and I ache for the families, and I think it’s silly to try and blame it on homophobia (and please note that the letter is from a straight guy, not a gay guy). But did I miss something? Was there are a news report that quoted someone saying that the men would have survived if they had only spooned? WTF?

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 23 at 12:26 PM

‘A Child’s Christmas in Wales’


(DRINKING MAKES CHILDREN CUTER) There is no better way to prepare for a half hour of children in a tiny theater acting out the excellent Dylan Thomas poem (complete with flubbed lines, hot cider, scratchy violins, and irreproducible cuteness) than by softening your heart with a few glasses of tequila over at Beso Del Sol. (Beso Del Sol, 4468 Stone Way N, 547-8087; Stone Soup Theatre, 4035 Stone Way N, 633-1883, 3:30 and 7:30 pm, $14.) BRENDAN KILEY

(Fact: Thomas lived and died in an alcoholic vapor. He collapsed in a Manhattan bar while on a promotional speaking tour and expired soon after in St. Vincent’s Hospital. His last words were: “After 39 years, this is all I’ve done.” Merry Christmas.)

Good God

posted by on December 23 at 10:50 AM

Helplessly entranced by the “beauty” of the Pottery Barn catalog, this Sex and the City writer decides materialism trumps Judaism. Eli, Josh, thoughts/feelings/bile?

Friday, December 22, 2006

It’s Brissmas!

posted by on December 22 at 5:13 PM

I’d like to thank Jim Jones once more for contributing to the Christmas music canon.
Image Hosted by
Jones’ “Dipset Christmas Time” might beat out Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” and Run-DMC’s “Christmas In Hollis” for my favorite Xmas jumpoff. As an album though, i gotta admit Dipset Xmas is no Christmas on Death Row.

In particular, the title track’s 2nd verse (from newcomer Mel Matrix) gives an oft neglected holidays perspective- that of a Harlem Blood enjoying the finer things in life.

Brissmas time, everybody jolly (where da bottles at?)
feelin’ good, e’ybody wanna polly (what’s good, homie?)
get ya flag on, red rags out (soo-wooo!)
feelin’ good, pull the red Jags out (gettin’ money!)

hit the club, buy the bar out
where the dutches out?
get the jars out (let’s get high, blood!)

and we could one-two step
throw your gang up
what hood you rep (9-Tres!)
and everybody spaz out
get blowed homie til you fuckin’ pass out
it’s Brissmas

Don’t let his natural aversion to the letter ‘C’ perturb you- but I can’t help but have a hearty bowl-full-of-jelly belly laugh at his rechristening Jesus’ birthday ‘Brissmas’…considering the meaning of ‘briss’. Maybe Ol Mel was referring to this.

Last Minute Gift Idea

posted by on December 22 at 5:07 PM

For the procrastinating penny-pinchers out there, a deal too good to pass up.



You can’t afford to let this one get away. It’s like making $500,000! Free Money!!

Declaring War On Nature

posted by on December 22 at 4:45 PM

Conservative commentator, Jew-baiter, gay-basher, dark-skinned-immigrant-despiser, Nixon-administration-staffer, and two-time GOP presidential candidate Pat Buchanan had this to say in 1983 about the AIDS epidemic:

“The poor homosexuals—they have declared war upon nature, and now nature is extracting an awful retribution.”

That infamous quote—Buchanan gives good talking head—came to mind when I read this story in today’s L.A. Times.

Recent gay-sex scandals involving evangelical pastors have prompted much soul-searching among conservative Christian leaders.

No one has proposed rethinking the theology that homosexuality is a sin. Instead, there’s a growing consensus that the church must do a better job of helping pastors resist all immoral desires, such as a lust for pornography, an addiction to drugs or a lifelong same-sex attraction.

Seminary professors, Christian counselors and veteran clergy say the best way to help pastors fight temptation is to get them talking—even about their most shameful secrets. They don’t want a sordid tell-all from the pulpit each Sunday. But they would like pastors to bare their weaknesses and admit their lapses before a small group of “accountability partners”—friends committed to listen with empathy, then rebuke or advise as needed.

No one has proposed a re-think—that’s good. We’d hate to see the haters stop lumping homosexuality in with porn and drug addictions. Sheesh.

The evangelicals have been reeling since Ted Haggard, then head of the National Association of Evangelicals, was exposed as a meth-snorting, gay-hooker-banging hypocrite. Last week, yet another mega-church pastor—Rev. Paul Barnes, also of Colorado Springs—resigned when it was learned that he, too, is a great, big fag.

When he was exposed as a homo, Ted Haggard gave us this memorable quote:

“There is a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I’ve been warring against it all of my adult life.”

When he was exposed as a homo, Paul Barnes gave this equally memorable quote:

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

Reading Barnes’s quote, I recalled Haggard’s. Recalling Haggard’s, I remembered Buchanan’s. Because it should be clear to everyone just who has declared war on nature—and it’s not us homos, Pat, however pitiable some of us are.

Homosexuality is a naturally occurring phenomenon; it has existed in all human societies, through all of recorded human history. Homosexual activity and orientation have been documented in hundreds of other species. If it weren’t a desirable trait, natural selection would have eliminated it millions of years ago. Homosexual sex is every bit as “natural” as heterosexual sex.

I will give Pat this: Homosexuals did declare war in the 1970s and early 1980s, and we should be taken to task for it, and never allowed to forget. But it was common sense, not nature, that we waged war on. Gay men, being men, and being free for the first time in centuries, created a culture that celebrated promiscuity. (Straight men celebrate promiscuity too—it’s just harder for them to pull off.) The first out generation of gay men created an unsustainable, out-of-control sex culture. We ignored warning signs—concurrent epidemics of syphilis and gonorrhea, for starters—and fought to normalize a culture of rampant promiscuity. I came out of the closet in 1980-81 and caught the tail end of it. My first boyfriend and first gay friends thought I was a freak for not wanting to suck off strangers in bookstores, bathhouses, and parks. (Does it even need to be said? I’m no prude. But even at sixteen I was able to recognize the inherent risks of rampant promiscuity; as an adult and a sex columnist, I now recognize the inherent risks of stultifying monogamy.)

The end result? Well, AIDS—a health crisis that gay men in the West created the “disease settings” for. When those disease settings met up with cultural prejudice and sex phobia, it became a perfect storm. We’re still living with the consequences.

But even at the most extreme (Google “Mineshaft” sometime), gay sex was and is “natural.” What isn’t natural is the war evangelicals are waging on human sexuality—it’s not natural and it’s every bit as unsustainable as the gay sex culture of the 1970s. Homosexuality—in a pastor or lay person—can’t be wished or prayed or cried away. Ask Paul Barnes. Providing evangelical ministers with a forum where they can “bare their weaknesses” to “accountability partners” may delay the next Haggard, but it won’t stop him. (How much do you want to bet that “accountability partners” with similar “weaknesses” will soon be getting it on?)

Gay men are going to have gay sex, just like people are going to look at pornography and have premarital sex. (A recent study finds that 95% of everybody has premarital sex—so much for the hundreds of millions of dollars we’ve spent on abstinence education.)

Gay sex, porn, premarital sex—these aren’t moral failings. These are natural expressions of human sexuality. Evangelicals can stomp around their mega churches trying to convince themselves and others that folks who “succumb” to these “immoral desires” are weak or flawed or sinful. They’re not—they’re human. And there’s nothing sinful about homosexuality or pornography or premarital sex. There is something ridiculous about waging war on any one or all of these things—you might as well wage a war on blinking. Evangelicals who think they can prevent additional Haggards from tumbling out of the closet by redoubling their efforts, by going deeper into denial, are in for a series of rude shocks. There will be more Haggards—an endless stream of them.

So pity the poor evangelical ministers. They have declared war on nature—their own natures—and now nature is exacting an awful retribution.

Nobody Tell Charles Mudede

posted by on December 22 at 4:21 PM

From the New York Times’ #1 most emailed article right now:

Studies are piling up that show that messy desks are the vivid signatures of people with creative, limber minds (who reap higher salaries than those with neat “office landscapes”).

Charles’s desk, to jog your memory:
charles's cove.jpg

MIA Judaism

posted by on December 22 at 3:22 PM

I know slagging the Weekly on the Slog can get a little tiresome for readers—and certainly, bashing a corporate chain paper while it’s down doesn’t take much effort. But I can’t hold my tongue on this one.

The new editor of the Seattle Weekly, Mark Fefer, is a Jew. The Weekly is one of four main papers in Seattle. Seattle’s Jewish community got bitch slapped last week. Seattle’s Jews sat through a creepy, chilling, and ugly class on Anti-Semitism 101 (“Let’s stop exchanging gifts at Christmas and see if the Jewish-owned stores want gifting brought back”!!??)

But this week’s edition of SW doesn’t have a single word about it. Nothing—nothing in the news well, nothing in the feature section. There wasn’t a single word about it in last week’s paper either. (Not that I could find—did I miss it? Was it buried?)

Where’s your sense of responsibility, Mark? Where’s your pride in your identity? You command an entire paper. Speak up! The silence in your paper’s print edition about the outrageous avalanche of anti-Semitism on websites like KING 5’s is astonishing. (One post on your blog? A blog that no one reads except us? That’s not enough.)

The editor at The Stranger is (was) a working-class Catholic. I don’t think I need to explain the ugly history of anti-Semitism—from Father Coughlin to Pat Buchanan to old-school Catholic schools—that has coursed through the Catholic community.

Yet, here’s Savage responding big. Check out this week’s great, great cover.


Read Eli Sanders’s story.

Read my column from last week. (Savage called me at home late at night and suggested I do my column on the Sea-Tac controversy as it was going down. I already was, I told him frantically. And I’m glad I did. I have never received so many thank you e-mails and people just stopping me during interviews on other matters to say how much the column meant to them or their spouse. I even got congrats e-mails from reporters at the Seattle Times and P-I for speaking out. I felt proud.)

Read our entire issue this week, which is sprinkled with Jewish-themed articles.

Merry Christmas Savage, you understand the spirit of the Season.

Happy Hanukkah, Fefer. Do us better next time.

Mulling Bush

posted by on December 22 at 3:14 PM

Good news America: “Bush to mull Iraq strategy over holidays.” Will he mull over the holiday meal? Come up with ideas as the peas are being passed around the table? The president comes up with something as he opens a present. America, rest your worries, cool your horrors: the mind of the man is mulling.

Martian Teenage Weekend

posted by on December 22 at 3:04 PM

Friday again. Students for a Democratic Society, man.

Rape Charges Dropped in Duke Lacrosse Case

posted by on December 22 at 2:58 PM

Read about it here. (Kidnapping and sexual assault charges are still moving forward.)

Leaving aside the question of whether the three Duke lacrosse players were guilty (the evidence on that is point, a good overview of which can be found here, is far from clear), a few things have struck me about how the reaction to the charges.

First, there’s the phrase “crying rape,” which came up a lot in the reaction to the woman’s accusations. (Typical is this Huffington post comment thread, which includes statements such as the following: “Typical BLACK liberal welfare whore who cannot keep her legs closed and tries to cash in on who she perceives as rich Duke students by crying rape. This is shameful and typical of blacks and liberals. Always looking for the handouts to fund their immoral behaviour.”) The phrase implies that all a woman has to do is yell “Rape!” and a man automatically gets falsely convicted. As if physical examination, cross-examination in front of a jury in court, name-calling of the type referenced above, having your character questioned in public and in the media, and being subjected to impossibly high standards of morality (“but she was drunk!” “but she had had sex just that week!”) and proof are all just part of the fun of “crying rape.” Moreover, studies show that just 1.6 percent of rape allegations are false reports.

The second thing that struck me is how many people have rushed to the players’ defense by insisting that they’re “good, upstanding young boys.” At the very least, these young men spent $800 to hire two escorts, got one of them drunk, called her a “nigger” (news reports say that the boys complained that the escort service hadn’t sent a white girl, using “a racial epithet,” yelled a racial slur at her and a friend as they left the party), and may have had gang sex with her. They’re not good guys. And yet virtually everyone in the Duke community who has spoken up about the case portrays them as “fine,” “upstanding,” “wonderful boys.” (Don’t take my word for it: Check out this support page for the lacrosse players to get a sense of this dirty-black-whore-upstanding-young-innocents dichotomy. Sample quote: “You are ‘stand up’ men and I would be proud to have any one of you as my own son.”) The fact that they’ve been cleared of rape charges doesn’t make them paragons of virtue. These lacrosse players, and everyone who’s defended them and their actions on the night the alleged rape took place, should be ashamed of themselves.

It’s a Christmas Miracle!

posted by on December 22 at 2:29 PM

David Goldstein (Horse’s Ass) and Stefan Sharkansky (Sound Politics) actually agree on something: this week’s feature story by Eli Sanders on “Seattle’s Jewish Problem” is a must-read.

This idiot, however, begs to differ.

The Sadness of Lost Extensions

posted by on December 22 at 2:25 PM

Kelly O has already chronicled the unique forlornness of abandoned hair extensions. I merely wish to add this, which I saw, to my lasting regret (and to the lasting regret of my lunch partner), this afternoon on Broadway:


Sign of the Times

posted by on December 22 at 2:11 PM


When Brown Bunnies Turn Bad

posted by on December 22 at 2:04 PM

ATTENTION LADIES! For a mere $50,000 (plus expenses) actor/writer/director Vincent Gallo can be all yours—for a night, at least. ($100,000 for a full weekend.)


Update: In the comments, Andrew Hitchcock—who managed to read farther down on Gallo’s page than I did—points out this bit of lunacy in a post where Gallo offers to sell his sperm for $1 million:

Mr. Gallo maintains the right to refuse sale of his sperm to those of extremely dark complexions. Though a fan of Franco Harris, Derek Jeter, Lenny Kravitz and Lena Horne, Mr. Gallo does not want to be part of that type of integration. In fact, for the next 30 days, he is offering a $50,000 discount to any potential female purchaser who can prove she has naturally blonde hair and blue eyes. Anyone who can prove a direct family link to any of the German soldiers of the mid-century will also receive this discount. Under the laws of the Jewish faith, a Jewish mother would qualify a baby to be deemed a member of the Jewish religion. This would be added incentive for Mr. Gallo to sell his sperm to a Jew mother, his reasoning being with the slim chance that his child moved into the profession of motion picture acting or became a musical performer, this connection to the Jewish faith would guarantee his offspring a better chance at good reviews and maybe even a prize at the Sundance Film Festival or an Oscar.

Vulcan Village

posted by on December 22 at 1:17 PM

I spent some time the other day in the giant, slanted roof building at Westlake and Denny—the sales office for three nascent Vulcan condoliths all either now or soon to be under construction. The building, in my opinion, looks like a giant toaster oven, ready for a big piece of French bread pizza. Maybe I was just hungry. Vulcan reps (could they have thought of a scarier company name?) say it’s a green building, constructed in easy to move segments. If you are ever at Whole Foods, kitty-corner, and need a little walkabout to digest your overpriced deli fare, I recommend wandering through this ultra fancy toaster oven/sales building/gallery. It contains such marvels as a doll house-like model of the floor plans in Enso, the fanciest of the three new buildings, which includes miniature sushi and copies of Seattle Metropolitan magazine. It’s kind of amazingly fastidious. I asked after the obsessive compulsive who built the thing and they told me it came from a company called Mice in the Southwest, but wouldn’t tell me how much it cost. There is also a large model of downtown Seattle featuring buttons you can press to light up various neighborhoods and transportation lines. Giant touch screen tv monitors can show you the rooms, views, specs, etc. ad nauseum, for all of the fancy condos you will never be able to afford. It would be interesting to see how you get treated based on what you wear into the place. I was wearing a long wool coat, and about eight people rushed to help me.

Anyway, the condos:

Enso: Situated at the southwest corner of Denny and Westlake, across from Whole Foods. Two towers are already under construction, set to finish in early 2009. The north building will hold 12 floors of office space. The south building will consist of 135 condos, starting in the $400,000s and climbing to $1 million-plus. Retail on the ground floors of both buildings.

Rollin Street: Construction is set to begin next week on this building, being marketed as an “urban sanctuary,” at the northeast corner of the same intersection. Like the Veer Lofts, below, the 208 “SoHo style flats” will have open floor plans. Prices start at $300,000 and go up to $1 million-plus. Expected to open mid-2009. Retail on the bottom floors.

Veer Lofts: Construction starts early next year. The Vulcan people think this will be the only building in Seattle with a bocce ball court on the roof. The 99 condos, on 9th Ave. North and Harrison, are geared “first time home-owners.” First time home owners with at least $200,000. The tower is expected to open mid-2008. Also with retail on the bottom.

The Big Question: Vulcan’s plans for South Lake Union were dreamed up with Portland’s Pearl District in mind. Will the new neighborhood live up to its inspiration? Though viewed as a commercial success, the Pearl has its lovers and haters. The typical complaint is that it attracted a bunch of people with lots of money and zero cultural capital and limited civic engagement. One funny illustration: the childless hipsters in the condos surrounding a popular park call in noise complaints during the summer when poorer families bring their screaming children to play in the park’s fountain.

Rumor Has It

posted by on December 22 at 1:05 PM

There’s a new comedy club opening across the street from Key Arena. It’s going to be called Mainstage. It will open in February.

It will be owned and driven by women: Beka Barry (a comic) and Julie Mains (a singer-songwriter).

The People’s Republic of Komedy at CHAC just went from a monthly night to a weekly night, comedy nights at cafes and bars are springing up like mushrooms, now the Mainstage is opening—comedy in this town is popping.

And Now, Pro-Life Checks…

posted by on December 22 at 12:19 PM

A friend who works as a teller at a big local bank was aghast yesterday when a woman passed him one of these pro-life checks.


Put out by LifeChecks of Joppa, Maryland, these checks come in various designs—black child, white child, rainbow coalition of babies, mother nuzzling infant—with bold messages inscribed on the checks, such as: “Adoption, not abortion. Care enough to let them live!”; “It’s a life, not a choice. Stop Abortion!”; “Every baby is wanted by someone. Say no to abortion.”; “Choose life! Your mother did.”; and “Every 4th baby dies by choice. Say no to abortion.

And then there is one that stands out. It’s a picture of feminine hands holding two tiny feet and proclaiming: “The PRECIOUS FEET of a 10-week unborn child.” I can’t grab an image of that check, but here’s a similar image from a pro-life address label:


If the religious right is going to campaign for the right of pharmacists to refuse to dispense the “morning after” pill, perhaps they should also, in fairness, promote giving bank tellers the right to refuse to cash these kinds of checks.

Luke Esser Will Announce Next Week

posted by on December 22 at 11:56 AM

Look for Luke Esser, the deposed Republican State Senator from Bellevue/Kirkland/Redmond, (he lost to born again Democrat Rodney Tom last month), to declare his candidacy for GOP State Chair next week. He’ll be challenging Diane Tebelius, who’s had the gig for barely a year. (She took over from Chris Vance last January.)

Esser’s announcement will come with some power: Both Dino Rossi and AG Rob McKenna will amp Esser’s announcement with their glowing endorsements.

P.s. On the Democratic side, no one will bother challenging party chair Dwight Pelz—who took over from Paul Berendt last January.

Kansas Abortion Provider Charged

posted by on December 22 at 11:34 AM

Phill Kline, the rabidly anti-abortion attorney general in Kansas, brought charges today against one of that poor state’s only abortion providers. One of the charges? That Dr. George Tiller performed an abortion on a ten year-old girl. Yeah, it would be better for everyone if the 10 year-old rape victim had had been forced to go forward with that pregnancy, don’t you think?

And before you mutter “what’s the matter with Kansas” under your breath and scroll on, there’s a bright side to this story: Kansas voters turned Kline out of office in November. He has just three weeks left in office. It seems that Kline just wanted to see his name in the papers one last time.

Grey Gardens: The Good, the Bad, and the Courtney

posted by on December 22 at 11:19 AM

Hello, citizens of the Slog. Please forgive my lazy Slog habits both this week and next as I’m on vacation, visiting my dude in NYC, Amtraking to Virginia to see my family for Xmas, and determined to bask in experiences I am not compelled to immediately summarize with hypertext.

Nevertheless, I’ll toss up virtual postcards when I see noteworthy shit—like the musical of Grey Gardens, based on the cult-classic Maysles brothers’ documentary, now running on Broadway. As anyone who’s seen the movie can tell you, the idea of a Grey Gardens musical is spooky but far from hopeless. When your source material is 90 minutes of film following a pair of delusional shut-ins with fascinating and tragic backstories as they babble at each other and the camera, your musical better damn well be weird, and Grey Gardens: The Musical isn’t weird enough.

Continue reading "Grey Gardens: The Good, the Bad, and the Courtney" »

Save The Parking Lots!

posted by on December 22 at 11:15 AM


When I was editing Erica’s excellent feature on the changes coming to Pike/Pine I asked her to give some context to one particular quote she had included. Someone was bitching about the building going up at Broadway & Pine. It was called out as an example of how developers are ruining our beloved ‘hood. My God, a Walgreens was going in. And, uh, dozens of units of affordable housing—including three-bedroom units, designed to be big enough for low-income families. How awful, so much worse than what was there before… which was what again?

A gas station.

There used to be a Texaco sitting on that corner—one the same block with a Chevron. I’ll be accused of being in the pocket of developers for saying this but, you know, I’ll take a drugstore—even a chain—and dozens of units of affordable housing over a gas station any day. The development at Broadway & Pine is a net gain for the neighborhood, unlike the development planned for current site of the Bus Stop, Cha-Cha, Manray, etc. That development represents a net loss—of affordable retail spaces and character. And as Erica pointed wrote, it’s a highly stupid move on the part of the developers. They can’t simultaneously sell condos by promoting their proximity to lively independent businesses while also tearing down the buildings that house their businesses (and refusing to build new retail spaces small enough to host small, indy businesses). Or they can—just not for long.

Anyway, on my way to work today I passed the building shown above—it’s at Harvard & John, behind the new U.S. Bank building. I’ve heard folks bitching about it too. Oh, look at those awful little balconies! (Erica, for one, really hates little balconies.) And look at that out-of-scale, out-of-place trellis! And the brick veneer slapped on the first two floors! Shit, there goes the neighborhood!

Yeah, it could be better designed. So could a lot of the housing around here—including buildings like this ugly piece of shit, which predate the condo boom by decades. But what was on this spot at Harvard & John before this building—apartments, not condos—came along and ruined the neighborhood?

A parking lot.

Surely this building—despite its manifest flaws—is preferable to a parking lot. I remember a time when city dwellers regarded parking lots as an affront to urban values, not something worth preserving or mourning. “Save the parking lots!”—or the Texacos—isn’t a rallying cry that will bring me to the barricades.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 22 at 11:03 AM

The Cody Rivers Show


(DRINKING WHILE LAUGHING) The Cody Rivers Show is a high-concept, loopy comedy duo that’s funny ha ha and funny weird. Augment your experience by showing up early and tipping back something you don’t normally drink. Tip back a lot. There’s no waitperson during the show. (Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater, 2320 Second Ave, 800-838-3006, 8 pm, $10.) BRENDAN KILEY

Obviously Untrue

posted by on December 22 at 10:48 AM

But oh, how I wish.

A Christian Nation

posted by on December 22 at 10:40 AM

In November, right-wing blowhard Dennis Prager wrote in a column for Townhall that

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

He should not be allowed to do so — not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

Prager went on to write that

Devotees of multiculturalism and political correctness who do not see how damaging to the fabric of American civilization it is to allow Ellison to choose his own book need only imagine a racist elected to Congress. Would they allow him to choose Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” the Nazis’ bible, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those defending Ellison’s right to choose his favorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to public office?

Today on Think Progress, there’s this:

In September, [Prager] was appointed by President Bush to a five-year term on the taxpayer-funded United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

Yesterday, the Executive Committee of the Holocaust Memorial Council adopted a resolution condemning Prager’s views as “antithetical to the mission of the Museum as an institution promoting tolerance.”

The resolution can be found here.

Vote SLOG!!!

posted by on December 22 at 10:35 AM


Slog’s lead over Victrola is shrinking fast. While Slog was once leading by forty percentage points, our lead is now just 30 percentage points. With 458 votes counted, it’s Slog 65% to Victrola’s 35%. Polls will be open until tomorrow night and you can vote once a day. So even if you’ve already voted click here to vote again.

Why should you vote for Slog? Because we want it. We’re actively campaigning, we’re taking this race seriously. We’ve got the fire in the belly. And Victrola? Seattle’s best coffee shop—sorry, Vivace—has a blog. They’ve posted once during this election. About the vote? No, about their holiday party. Victrola clearly doesn’t care. Since we now know that, if nominated, Victrola will not run, can we risk electing Victrola? If elected, will Victrola serve? Unlikely. A Victrola victory is a risk we simply can’t afford. The stakes are too high.

Vote SLOG!!!

This Week on Drugs

posted by on December 22 at 10:27 AM

DOC: Most folks busted in Snohomish testing positive.

YTD: Fewer kids puffing pot but more popping pills.

R&R: Malibu is hot spot for rich in rehab.

VIP: Peru’s president pushes coca leaf recipes.

DUI: Cops net Phish head.

MADD: Miss Teen USA gets cut off.

GMO: Colombia develops immortal super-pot.

OMG: Pot declared top US cash crop.

Canned in Canada

posted by on December 22 at 10:05 AM

Toronto’s major theater has scrapped plans to make My Name Is Rachel Corrie the centerpiece of its 2007 season.

Bragg’s version: When he read the script (based on Corrie’s journals) he had an emotional reaction and was “absolutely reduced to tears” as he told the Star’s Richard Ouzounian five weeks ago. But later when he went to see it on stage at the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York’s Greenwich Village (where it recently closed) it fell flat. The theatre was half-empty, and there was no standing ovation at the end. “The truth is it just didn’t seem as powerful on stage as it did on the page — and the audience wasn’t buying it.”

The alternate version being told among CanStage insiders: Members of Bragg’s board were alarmed by negative response from influential supporters of the theatre, especially in Toronto’s Jewish community, who were canvassed for their opinion. Many were dismayed and openly critical when confronted with the prospect of the city’s flagship not-for-profit theatre producing a play that could be construed as anti-Semitic propaganda, especially during a frightening period when Israel’s existence is threatened by Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Calling the play “anti-Semitic propaganda” is a bit much, but Corrie, scheduled to open at the Rep in March, is certainly stirring up the hornets but the controversy isn’t helping to sell tickets—The New York production closed ahead of schedule.

Anyone who says the Rep doesn’t know how to take a risk is now officially wrong.

Come Together

posted by on December 22 at 10:03 AM

Zero more shopping days for this little masterstroke.

(Perhaps you remember learning of the Global Orgasm Project in this Slog chestnut.)

It is what to get the person who has everything. It is not, however, a gift that keeps on giving (or, one imagines, the stuff of good pickup lines). However, as holiday hippie bullshit goes, it seems like a better use of time than, I don’t know, prayer?

The Science

The Global Consciousness Project (, runs a network of Random Event Generators (REGs) around the world, which record changes in randomness during global events. The results show that human consciousness can be measured to have a global effect on matter and energy during widely-watched events such as 9/11 and the Indian Ocean tsunami. There have also been measurable results during mass meditations and prayers.

The Zero Point Field or Quantum Field surrounds and is part of everything in the universe. It can be affected by human consciousness, as can be seen when simple observation of a subatomic particle changes the particle’s state.

We hope that a huge influx of physical, mental and spiritual energy with conscious peaceful intent will not only show up on Princeton’s REGs, but will have profound positive effects that will change the violent state of the human world.

Isn’t it pretty to think so.

TAM’s Xmas Presents

posted by on December 22 at 9:54 AM

This year, Tacoma Art Museum bought or acquired more than 100 works of art. Fifty-two of them are 19th-century Japanese woodblock prints, including this one,

Unknown - Choyo Gate-RE.jpg

adding to the museum’s already fabulous collection of ukiyo-e prints. These were donated by Al Buck, a descendant of the US ambassador to Japan from 1898 to 1902, and his wife, Betsy. Because the family kept the prints stored for more than a century, they’re in mint condition (as you can see). Their imagery ranges from scenes from the Tales of the 47 Ronin to depictions of Japanese westernization. I can’t wait to see these up.

Also cool and new to the collection: three sculptures from Patrick Holderfield’s recent Pilgrim show at James Harris Gallery, purchased with funds from trustee Rebecca Stewart and her husband, Alexander; works by Brian Murphy,

Murphy, Invisible.jpg

and Blake Haygood;

Haygood, Easy.jpg

and two videos, by Ron Lambert

Lambert, Safety.jpg

and Jared Pappas-Kelley.

San Francisco Gets Skyline-Happy

posted by on December 22 at 9:27 AM

Once you get into the business of remarking on the death of the American skyline, why, somebody will go and prove you wrong. Chicago’s had its share of discussions about tall buildings lately, but that city is always on the architectural move. Now, San Francisco developers announce (thank you, as always, ArtsJournal) their plan to throw up towers taller than anything outside New York and Chicago, where the Sears Tower and the Empire State hold the No. 1 and 2 slots for highest American building:

The plan presented Thursday to the city’s Planning Department envisions a cluster of thin towers rising from 2 acres at the northwest corner of First and Mission streets. The cluster would include two 1,200-foot towers, two 900-foot structures and a 600-foot companion.

On The Radio

posted by on December 22 at 8:47 AM

Originally posted yesterday

I’ll be on KUOW’s Weekday tomorrow later this morning, beginning at 10 a.m., to talk about the news of the week and my feature in this week’s Stranger, “Seattle’s Jewish Problem.”


The Morning News

posted by on December 22 at 8:39 AM

Charged with Murder in Iraq: Marines Charged in Haditha Rampage.

Charged with Murder in England: 48-year-old Charged in UK Prostitute Murders.

Former NSA Official: Writes OP-ED in Today’s NYT.

Former Drug Agent: Makes How-To Video.

Edwards and Obama: Dems Tied Atop Iowa Poll. McCain Leads Republicans.

Fatah and Hamas: Truce Holds, Kinda.

In Local News:

WA. Supreme Court: Forbids Referendum on Critical Areas Ordinance.

WA. DOT: Announces Higher Roads Project Costs.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Ooh, How Did I Miss This Good One?

posted by on December 21 at 8:43 PM

Since Mike Seely is getting pissy over at the Seattle Weekly’s blog about this kind acknowledgment from an editor at the P-I, I thought I’d mock the Weekly in turn.

Where to begin? The glaring omission of movie times for such centrally located theaters as Cinerama, Pacific Place, and Uptown (all included in the print edition of this week’s Stranger)? [Forgivable: Seattle Weekly readers probably never leave their cozy homes in the suburbs, n’est-ce pas?] The lack of information about bargain matinees? [Forgivable: Seattle Weekly readers have oodles of money to spend on movies that—oh, yes—they never bother seeing in theaters anyway.]

But really, I have to hand it to the Seattle Weekly for this extraordinarily helpful write-up in this week’s derogatorily titled “Oddballs and Events” listing of limited engagement films:

We Found It in the Basement The GI unleashes its secret trove of celluloid oddities. Expect a 100-minute mash-up of various cartoons, previews, industry shorts, and God knows what else. (NR) Grand Illusion, 1403 N.E. 50th St., 206-523-3935. $2.50-$5. 11 p.m. Fri. Dec. 1-Sat. Dec. 2.

Come again? December 1st and 2nd? What kind of randomly burping database are you using over there, Rachel Shimp? Oh, and you missed The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If Mos Def as Ford Prefect isn’t oddball, I don’t know what qualifies.

Overheard at Havana

posted by on December 21 at 8:20 PM

From the booth next to ours: “I’m Rick James, bitch!”

The person sitting with his back to Rick James: “He’s white, right?”

The person facing Rick James: “Yes.”

The person sitting with his back to Rick James: “And bald?”

The person facing Rick James: “Yes.”

The person sitting with his back to Rick James: “I knew it.”

Proof Squirrels Are Sharper Than We Think (And May One Day Surprise Us With a Coordinated Sneak Attack)

posted by on December 21 at 5:41 PM

From Scientific American:

Nut-obsessed squirrels scurry around collecting and secreting away food for the future. The amount of acorns they find, though, is not what determines how many baby squirrels there will be in the spring. Instead, squirrels predict how abundant their food supply will be the following year and coordinate a second litter to be born during times of bountiful harvests, says a new study.

Mark my words: One day squirrels will become our enemies. Last September’s attack in Mountain View, CA was just the beginning.


Soul Rebels

posted by on December 21 at 3:55 PM


“The techno-rebels are, whether they recognize it or not, agents of the Third Wave. They will not vanish but multiply in the years ahead. For they are as much a part of the advance to a new stage of the Third Wave. They will not vanish but multiply in the years ahead.”

Alvin Toffler

Thursday Afternoon

posted by on December 21 at 3:53 PM

Overheard outside our offices:

Two twentysomething hipsters were walking by to the Value Village next door. The woman saw our news box and said: “The new Stranger? Shit. it’s Wednesday already? I was supposed to call Jason today.”

New RTID Costs

posted by on December 21 at 3:15 PM

WSDOT presented the RTID board with inflation cost updates for all the projects on RTID’s list this afternoon. (In September WSDOT updated the numbers for two RTID projects—the Viaduct replacement options and 520.)

I’ll give a full report after I go through the whole memo (there are 14 projects), but it’s a pricey update.
I-405, for example, went up $300 million—from $1.7 billion to $2 billion. WSDOT’s memo to the RTID board recommended deferring specific aspects of all the projects—like deferring westbound SR 520 to southbound I-405, so that RTID could stay within its $7.4 billion budget.

The trick, obviously, is not deferring popular items (like HOV lanes) that may kill support for RTID … and in turn, kill light rail expansion—which is (stupidly) coupled with RTID on the ballot.

UPDATE The new cost of the 14 projects combined is about $20.8 billion. The previous cost was about $16 billion. This isn’t including the Viaduct replacement and 520.

Obviously, the $7.4 billion RTID budget was never supposed to cover the original $16 billion total costs. (RTID is reasonably banking on an assortment of other funding sources depending on the specific project. The Viaduct replacement, for example, had $2.2 billion coming from the state.) And so, RTID isn’t expected to cover the new $20.8 billion either. But the percentage that the $7.4 billion can cover is far less.

Given that the bottom line difference between the original cost ($16 billion) and the new cost ($20.8 billion) is $4.8 billion—the projects will have to be scaled back considerably.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

posted by on December 21 at 2:27 PM

Okay, the sun is out—and that’s weird. But can you spot the “fashion don’t” in this picture?


This Capitol Hill hipster is wearing a brown hankie in his right back pocket. Which in Great Gay Hanky Code means… um… that… you want someone to take a dump on you. Is this hipster being ironic? Is he oblivious to GGHC? Hard to say. And while GGHC has fallen into disuse among the gays—the modern homo itemizes his sexual interests on the internet—walking around a gay neighborhood with a brown hankie hanging out of your back right pocket can’t be a good idea. It could land you—literally in this case, literally fans—in some deep shit.

The Donald vs. Rosie: The Rosie Strikes Back!

posted by on December 21 at 1:49 PM

For those who have been following what could shake out as the greatest battle of the year (DONALD TRUMP vs. ROSIE O’DONNELL), last night the Donald struck back at Rosie’s claims that he has horrific hair and is a “snake-oil salesman” by spending two minutes telling her how fat and ugly she is. Want to hear Rosie’s response to this slight? LET’S GO TO THE VIDEO! (Thanks BWE!)

Now who’s side are you on?

Benefit show for Kate Fleming

posted by on December 21 at 1:40 PM

Tragically, Kate Fleming drowned in her basement last week, when the room was suddenly filled with a rush of water during the storm.

In an effort to help her family with the costs of the funeral service, her friend Burke Thomas (of Pris and Vendetta Red fame) has put together a benefit show at El Corazon tomorrow night with Speaker Speaker, Patience Please, Megaspien, and In the Empty City.

It’s an all-ages show, it costs $7 at the door, and it starts early at 5 pm.

“Kate was an incredibly talented girl in town—voice talent, actress, producer,” says Thomas. “She had a huge heart.”

The Headline Is Sad…

posted by on December 21 at 12:41 PM

… but the first paragraph is sadder:

Iraqi Comedian Shot to Death in Baghdad

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Gunmen killed a veteran Iraqi actor and comedian known for his stage portrayal of the lighter side of life in Baghdad during Ottoman rule in the early 1900s, police said Wednesday.

He was 60 years old.

Dogs in Ink

posted by on December 21 at 12:27 PM

Trivia heads: Who’s the cartoon dog with long ears, a bandana around his neck, and a cowboy-ish hat?
It’s not
Deputy Dawg7.jpg

Deputy Dog (too early, too short in the nose)


Huckleberry Hound (too blue)








Smedley (though his hat takes the cake).

I’m obsessing. Help!

On Being Mean-Spirited and Creepy

posted by on December 21 at 12:18 PM

This week, Dale Chihuly stopped suing people over copyright issues. He dropped the remaining suit he hadn’t already dropped. This prompted Regina Hackett of the P-I to write an account of the suits and the press coverage of Chihuly in the past year on her blog.

Naturally, she reported that her writings in the P-I about Chihuly—the ones that set him as a brother to Jeff Koons and Andy Warhol—are the only ones that made any sense. What I’ve written has been “mean-spirited” and “eccentric.” (I guess it’s eccentric even to consider the questions of ownership and creation raised by a copyright lawsuit — an explicit assertion of ownership and creation — especially in light of the art world’s current unquestioning approval of artist studios as thoroughly corporate structures, replete with romantic-celebrity CEOs, regardless of whether these structures are in philosophical keeping with what the art they produce purports to represent. Not to mention the class issues Chihuly’s work raises … but I digress, and I sure as hell am not going to digress into Daleworld any more this year.)

Clearly, Hackett and I are of very different minds about the conceptual underpinnings—or lack thereof—of Chihuly’s work. Hey, that’s what critics are for.

But there are two things you’re still doing, Regina, that are really pissing me off. One, you’re labeling me a hater, maybe because it’s easier to dismiss me that way. If I was a hater, I’d never write about Dale. Witness my predecessors here at The Stranger. So stop it. I’m having a more interesting conversation than that. Or at least I’m damn well trying.

And two, you called Christopher Frizzelle a “creepy” man on your blog because Christopher asked whether Dale was creepy. Doesn’t that make you creepy for calling Christopher creepy? Don’t be such an easy target, will ya?

Now happy Xmas, damnit, one and all.

That Was Fast

posted by on December 21 at 12:16 PM

In October, New Jersey’s supreme court ruled that gays and lesbians should be able to marry. Today, New Jersey’s governor signed a law that will allow same-sex couples to get civil unionized starting in February.

In response, Lambda Legal launches “Civil Union Watch” to help same-sex couples “navigate the pitfalls of a government-sanctioned second-class status.”

Stephen King Agrees with Paul Constant…

posted by on December 21 at 12:06 PM

…about The People’s Act of Love. Constant calls it the best book he read in 2006. It’s on King’s top 10 list.

Take Your Phonebooks and…

posted by on December 21 at 11:55 AM

A friend who manages an apartment building on Queen Anne Hill sent this made-for-Slog rant. (By the way: Got a rant you think the people need to hear? Send it my way and maybe I’ll post it.)


Every year, multiple publishers of yellow pages (there isn’t just one phone company anymore, so there isn’t just one yellow pages) decide that everyone must have their books. The problem is, who needs a phone book anymore? Okay, there are lots of people out there who aren’t tethered to the internet. But a growing number of people just don’t need these enormous, old-school tree killers. The publishers don’t mail them out (too expensive), so they just drop them at the door. At my apartment building, 90 percent of the books go unclaimed. I call this trash.

There’s a movement out there to encourage people to recycle their old yellow pages when a new one arrives. But what about the new books that no one wants? Why are these being printed and distributed in a blanket manner when their relevance is sharply declining? My guess is that the publishers charge advertising rates based on the fact that everyone gets one, whether they want it or not.

I’ve never found a contact number in the books that I can call to ask that they stop delivering them. And I’m skeptical that type of request would get anywhere because of the incentive to deliver to everyone. Last year, I took about two dozen Qwest yellow books and dumped them at Qwest’s doorstep downtown. But as far as I can tell, the Verizon office responsible for their books is up near Everett mall (Verizon just delivered the batch seen in the photo). That’s a bit too far out of my way for direct action.

Any other ideas out there on how to kill yellow pages rather than letting them continue killing more trees?

News Flash: Miss Nevada No Virgin Mary!

posted by on December 21 at 11:52 AM

As these scandalous (scandalous!) photos reveal.

Dirty, dirty Miss Nevada. Who would have thought that someone who paraded around in a bikini and bowed and scraped at the feet of Donald Trump to win her Miss All-American Virgin crown would have engaged in such disappointingly unwholesome behavior?

(Speaking of the Don: When Rosie pointed out that the twice-divorced cheater isn’t exactly a moral paragon, he did what all playground bullies do: called her fat and threatened to beat up her girlfriend.)

Oh, and by the way: 95 percent of Americans fuck before marriage.

Christmas Comes Early

posted by on December 21 at 11:51 AM

Well, it did for me anyway: Jeb Bush tells reporters he has no political future—thanks to his idiot brother.

The shadow of President Bush seemed to loom large over his younger brother on Wednesday, as the outgoing Florida governor ruled out any plans to return to elected office.

“No tengo futuro (I have no future),” Jeb Bush told Spanish-language reporters in Miami, when asked about any possible political ambitions after he steps down next month. The popular, two-term governor has often been touted as a savvy politician with a good chance of following both his brother and father, George H.W. Bush, into the White House.

But the unpopularity and dismal job-approval ratings of his brother may have scuttled any plans Jeb Bush may have had for a future in politics after running one of America’s most crucial swing states for the past eight years.

Norm Rice Is Too Nice

posted by on December 21 at 11:45 AM

I just got back from KING 5—taping a year-in-review segment for Up Front with Robert Mak. It airs on Dec 31. Lively panel—got to spar with radio jock Dori Monson and political consultant Cathy Allen among others. So, tune in next week.

But I will share the 2007 prediction I made: Former Mayor Norm Rice gets the superintendent of public schools job and flops.

Here’s why: Seattle parents have too much micromanagement power and, like spoiled children, need to be told NO! Rice is the archetypical Seattleite, and so, is incapable of playing that role. He wants everybody to be happy. He wants consensus. For this reason, he will come in as a savoir, but fail fail fail as superintendent.

Thursday Morning Sports Report

posted by on December 21 at 11:39 AM

Lorenzo Romar’s boys beat up #12 LSU last night. Spencer Hawes had 23 points, Jon Brockman 19. Even better: LSU stud Glen “Big Baby” Davis was held to just eight points—the first time he’s scored less than double-digits in almost 50 games.

Bob Hill’s boys horked it against the Dallas Mavericks, losing 103-95. Even worse: Rashard Lewis left just after the first minute with damaged tendons in his right hand.

The Mariners say they really want Barry Zito, and might even consider breaking their budget to get him.

Rosie vs. Donald

posted by on December 21 at 11:37 AM

Rosie said…

Donald said…

I’m worth billions of dollars, and I have to listen to this fat slob? When I saw the tape, I said, “You’d better be careful or I’ll send one of my friends over to take your girlfriend!” I imagine it would be pretty easy to take her girlfriend away, considering how Rosie looks.

Gawker says…

Donald Trump Succeeds in Making Rosie O’Donnell Loads More Likeable

Bush on Iraq: We’re Not Winning, We’re Not Losing

posted by on December 21 at 11:26 AM

From yesterday’s Washington Post:

Bush has now adopted the formula advanced by his top military adviser to describe the situation. “We’re not winning, we’re not losing,” Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. The assessment was a striking reversal for a president who, days before the November elections, declared, “Absolutely, we’re winning.”

So not winning… not losing… then it’s a tie, right? So why can’t we just declare it a tie and get out already?

Nightclub Licensing Legislation

posted by on December 21 at 11:15 AM

We’ve decided to host our copy of the proposed Nightclub License legislation that we received last night here. It’s a PDF, so if you can’t read it download Acrobat Reader. You can read Megan’s orgininal post here.

Like we said last night, we are in the process of looking into this and finding out more information, but we thought everyone would like to review the legislation for themselves.

Invade Libya?

posted by on December 21 at 11:13 AM

Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor have been sentenced to death—again, after a retrial—by a Libyan court. The charge? They intentionally infected hundreds of Libyan children with HIV on the orders of our CIA and Israel’s Mossad. The six medical professionals have been imprisoned for seven years, and two of the nurses were tortured into confessing. The Libyan court ignored evidence that HIV was spreading through the hospital before the arrival of the Bulgarian nurses and Palestinian doctor. The likely source of the infection? The hospital’s practice of reusing dirty needles.

Bulgaria is a member of NATO and will shortly be a member of the European Union. What should NATO and the EU do about this?

A.J. at Americablog thinks we should… invade.

I would not at all be opposed to a rescue operation to extract these workers from Libya. A NATO special military operation to rescue six wrongfully imprisoned workers, condemned to death by a reactionary population fueled by a dictatorial leader, would, to me, be an appropriate use of force. If agreed to by NATO-member nations (and I should note that UN disapproval would not be a deal-breaker for me) and planned and executed in a way that effected minimal civilian casualties, I think I would support such an action.


posted by on December 21 at 11:11 AM

Mistah Saparmurat Niyazov TĂĽrkmenbaĹźy, President of Turkmenistan, Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, and Father of All Ethnic Turkmen—he dead.


Greatest hits:

1. Forbidding TV news anchors from wearing make-up because he couldn’t tell the men from the women.
2. Banning ballet and opera as “not a part of Turkmen culture.”
3. Building an ice palace in the desert.
4. Changing the Turkmen word for bread, and name of the month of April, to that of his late mother.

One small fact noted in the newspaper reports: “In older pictures, Niyazov had white hair; at the time of his death, it was black.”

Weird update: I went back to the Wikipedia page to check something and this was the entry:

Saparmurat Niyazov From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Santa Muryata is a penis testicle area of the nymph glands of the vaginal canel, and he is actually a she. Thank you.

When I refreshed, the page went back to normal.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 21 at 11:02 AM



(DRINKING BEFORE ART) It is difficult to say which is better: screw-cap wine or Scott Foldesi’s paintings. The one is pure, unimpeded-by-hardware Dionysia; the other is serenely Apollonian, like a shattered view put delicately back together again, but with missing parts. They make the perfect counterpoint; grab the wine at Whole Foods nearby, then cross over to the Center on Contemporary Art and stand, sipping stealthily, in front of Foldesi’s poolside and bus-stop paintings in CoCA’s 2006 Annual. (Whole Foods, 2210 Westlake Ave, 621-9700, 8 am—10 pm; Center on Contemporary Art, 410 Dexter Ave N, 728-1980, noon—5 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES

Election Season

posted by on December 21 at 11:00 AM


Slog retains its commanding lead over Victrola—with 361 votes counted, Slog has 69% to Victrola’s 31%. Polls stay open—provided CHS isn’t lying—until sometime Saturday night. Oh, and this morning I was able to vote again, so click here through even if you’ve voted once already.

And our own poll—on what should replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct—remains open for, uh, the rest of the month.

Create polls and vote for free.

Storm? What Storm?

posted by on December 21 at 9:14 AM

The view from my window this morning:


The Morning News

posted by on December 21 at 8:02 AM

The Pentagon Wants: More Money.

President Bush Wants: More Troops, Less Taxes, and Maybe a Minimum Wage Increase.

He Also Wants: Everyone to Go Shopping.

Denver Wants: The Snow to Melt.

Iranian Students Want: Ahmadinejad to Shut Up.

U.S. Students Want: Pain Killers.

Iranian Voters Want: Ahmadinejad to Take the Hint.

News Outlets Want: AT&T’s Role in Bush’s Surveillance Program Disclosed.

Phone Companies Get: Access to Cable Markets.

Monica Lewinsky Gets: Degree from London School of Economics.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

All Ages Shows in Trouble. Again.

posted by on December 20 at 5:45 PM

Looks like the liquor board is trying to ban all ages shows once again. According to the newly proposed Nightclub License amendments (which were just announced today), “Persons under twenty-one years of age are not allowed in a nightclub at any time.” Their definition of a nightclub is “a business that is operated primarily for the purpose of providing alcohol which offers live entertainment and promotes its entertainment offerings as it’s primary customer draw.”

Translation? Kids under 21 years old will not be able to attend show at venues that also serve liquor during shows. This will eliminate the possibility of shows at venues like the Showbox, El Corazon, Neumo’s, the Crocodile, Hell’s Kitchen, Chop Suey, etc.

You can learn more information at the Seattle Nightlife & Music Association’s website (

More importantly, though, you can speak up against this new amendment to the liquor laws by emailing the mayor’s office and our State representatives (it’s being submitted to the legislature, which would make it a statewide, not just a King County issue). Also, e-mail the liquor board at

We’re looking into dissecting this bill more thoroughly, as there is a lot of, as the kids would say, whack shit goin’ on.

Today’s Vote

posted by on December 20 at 5:36 PM


At the end of today’s voting Slog is leading Victrola by a wide margin. With 239 votes counted, Slog has 72% to Victrola’s 28%. Remember: polls stay open—provided CHS isn’t lying—until sometime Saturday night.

If you haven’t voted yet, click here to vote Slog!

Ha ha, we won. Holiday spirit at the Sheriff’s Office

posted by on December 20 at 5:06 PM

A holiday greetings press release from sheriff’s office spokesman John Urquhart lists the things he has to be thankful for in “another interesting year of robberies, homicides, traffic accidents, floods, rain and wind.” He does a little jig over the PI’s loss in a public records dispute with the sheriff’s office: “We trounced the P-I at the Washington News Council hearing, so not a bad year!” Now that’s the spirit of the season!

WSDOT Releasing New (Higher) Cost Estimates on RTID Roads Projects

posted by on December 20 at 4:45 PM

As everyone knows, inflation jacked up the cost estimates for the Viaduct tunnel plan: Originally between $2.98 and $3.6 billion … now between $3.6 and $5.5 billion.

Inflation also did a number on 520 cost estimates: Formerly beween $2.7 and $3.1 billion to now between $3.3 and $5.4 billion.

With that in mind, we’ve been waiting for the inflation updates on the other 14 projects slated for RTID. Before the inflation update, RTID’s project list was coming in at around $7.4 billion total.

I had done a public records request for the numbers last week, but no need, WSDOT will be releasing the numbers tomorrow.

All I could get out of spokesperson Joy Carpine is that there will be “commodity and inflation increases across the board.”

The significance of RTID cost increases is this: the RTID vote is (stupidly) tied to the Sound Transit vote. And so, as costs spike for roads, costs for mass transit spike too.

First order of business for the new legislature should be to decouple RTID and Sound Transit.

The Ineffable Sadness of Columbia City Cinema

posted by on December 20 at 4:27 PM

I have not been to Columbia City Cinema. I hear it is lovely.


This afternoon, along with a notice that the kids’ matinee lineup has changed, came a tale of woe so touching I just had to reproduce it here:

The Christmas Party No one Missed

Yikes! What if you give a party and no one comes. We thought it would be a great idea to introduce our new screening room in the lobby with four nights of free showings of It’s a Wonderful Life and Bad Santa but no one else did. No one came. No one. Yes, we did send out an email. The good news is the picture and sound are great. You’re probably going to hate your old home dvd system. The bad news is we’re canceling the remaining two nights but we’re still going to play It’s a Wonderful Life free in the lobby for the next few days at 1:00 4:15 and 7:00 and maybe try again after Christmas.

(Just for the record, the screenings were announced after we went to press last week so you couldn’t hear about them in the paper.) As though things couldn’t get any worse, the email continues:

Bad Santa

Here’s an announcement we hate to make. But sometimes things happen. We’ve been fending off a well-known (to police) invader crackhead for several days as he attempts to slip into the building and support his habit with anything he might find. He stole the tip jar at The Alehouse. We’ve thrown him out several times and taken increased security measures. But alas, through a concatenation of emergencies and events all happening like a perfect storm at exactly the worst moment, and a computer repairman who left two doors unlocked (not his fault, we should have caught it), said head was allowed to penetrate security and rifle through drawers for about fifteen minutes, while everyone else was attending to pressing problems. The weekend cash, minutes away from being deposited, was lost. We saw him run out and almost caught him but he slipped away. “Well, thank god those doors were locked,” we said. Do you see where this is going? Never mind how much was taken, but it was a staggering loss for our little cinema. That’s bad enough, but there may be worse problem. Some checks were taken and we feel we need to alert you. So here goes: If you wrote a check for tickets, gift certificates or concessions on Tuesday, Dec 12, or Saturday, Dec 16, or Sunday December 17, it’s gone and you could be at risk for all that identity theft stuff that goes on. Not likely but we thought we should let you know. These are the times we live in and this isn’t Bedford Falls. When Miss America has to go into rehab what can you expect? Tell us why we’re playing It’s a Wonderful Life again. Free tickets if you’re forced to stop payment on a check.

Poor Columbia City Cinema. If you’d like to show ‘em some love, Charlotte’s Web is playing at 5 and 7 today and 1, 3, 5, and 7 pm through Saturday. I advise paying with cash.

Viaduct: Let’s Vote Now!

posted by on December 20 at 3:45 PM


CHS isn’t the only blog in town that can host a poll. Seattle theater treasure and Slog regular Laurence Ballard put together this poll on replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Unlike the governor’s rigged vote on just the rebuild or tunnel options, Ballard’s poll allows us vote on all four options: the retrofit, the re-build, the tunnel, and the surface option. Who needs our fuckwitted city council? Or our useless mayor? Or our cowardly governor? Let’s vote now!

Create polls and vote for free.

Slog’s Lead Holding Steady

posted by on December 20 at 3:34 PM

With 185 votes counted, Slog is leading Victrola by a wide margin: Slog 73%, Victrola 27%. But the polls are open for four more days and our GOTV efforts continue. Click here and vote for Slog!!!

Breaking: Marriage Solves Everything!

posted by on December 20 at 3:06 PM

(P.S. Gays need not apply.)

Never missing an opportunity to prove that women need to be happily, heterosexually married to avoid going completely nuts, researchers now claim proof that the soothing touch of a husband’s hand is just the thing to “calm a threatened wife” and “bust” her stress. UVA assistant professor of neuroscience James A. Coan put women in an MRI machine and threatened them with electrical shocks while they held their husband’s hand, a (male) stranger’s hand, or no hand at all. The result? Women in “highly satisfying” marriages were less alarmed by impending electrocution while holding their husband’s hand—thus proving, as the China Daily headline put it, “High-quality marriages are the best stress-busters for women.” No male brains were studied; nor, as Twisty notes, did Coan bother to study “the female brain response when the electrically-imperiled subject was offered the hand of her girlfriend, or her mother’s hand, or a golden retriever puppy, or a margarita.”


Just look at it. Don’t you feel calmer already?

An Era Ends

posted by on December 20 at 2:21 PM

New York City just retired its last mechanical parking meter.

The old metal meters have been replaced by multi-space battery-operated digital meters, similar to the solar meters going in all around Seattle. Personally, I hate the new meters—you have to go back to your car to display the sticker, they involve tons of waste (all those little stickers go straight into the trash) and you can’t take somebody else’s unused time. Plus they’re hard for motorcyclists to use (you’re supposed to put it on the mirror, but the stickers can be stolen or blown away) and can’t be used as a bike rack (a real problem for cyclists who used to lock their bikes to meters).

So long, mechanical meter. We hardly knew you.


posted by on December 20 at 12:40 PM

Sarah Mirk changed addresses just in time. A fat, ominous-looking envelope arrived for her at The Stranger offices today from Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation.

You sure you don’t want your job back, Sarah?

Free John Hodgman!

posted by on December 20 at 12:23 PM

Nerd alert: My favorite record of 2006 was an audiobook, specifically, the 6-disc audio rendition of John Hodgman’s almanac of complete world knowledge, The Areas of My Expertise. The book is a masterpiece, but I’ll go so far as to say that the audiobook is better, for several reasons. Most obviously, you don’t have to read an audiobook. Also, though: You can enjoy it while driving, or cooking, or cook-driving. Plus: songs by Jonathan Coulton! And: Paul Rudd can’t make cameos in books.


Though I paid more than $30 for my copy, you can have yours for FREE RIGHT NOW at the iTunes store. I have no idea how long “now” will last, so if you’re smart, you’ll hurry. Don’t worry if you’re not smart. You wouldn’t like the book.

And triple points, obviously, for the Intellivisionesque ad campaign. Quadruple, even.

(Fact: I learned of this at

Annals of Psilocybin

posted by on December 20 at 12:04 PM

This just in: Tripping your face off on mushrooms makes even the most O.C.D. humans unconcerned about washing their hands over and over for four to 24 hours. Truly, a startling outcome. “People would report that it had been years since they had felt so good”! (Our Mr. Frizzelle, while not a Purell-carrying germaphobe, does have a thing about hand-washing.)

Surrendering Local Control

posted by on December 20 at 11:59 AM

Given that Governor Christine Gregoire declared the $3.6 billion to $5.5 billion tunnel option “not” feasible in her press release last week (this being Gregoire’s big announcement that called for a vote between the tunnel and the $2.2 billion to $3.3 billion rebuild option), I wonder what the city council is going to do.

You see, the council has authority over the vote and last September they passed an ordinance, 7-1, declaring the tunnel their preferred option with the following stipulation: “In the event a tunnel proves infeasible, the city recommends the development of a transit and surface-street alternative…”

Well, the state just said the tunnel option is not feasible. So, is the council going to stand up to Gregoire—whose vote mandate pisses on the city’s preference—and do what they said they’d do and develop that transit and surface-street alternative?

The main council proponent of the surface alternative, Peter Steinbrueck—he’s the one who put the transit and surface-street language in the council ordinance —is/was on vacation “in a cabin somewhere” when I called to ask what he planned to do. But I did get a call back from Council President Nick Licata.

Licata, a fierce advocate of the rebuild option (he was the 1 in the 7-1 vote), says the council—which again, is in charge of the ballot language:

“…is cognizant of not wanting to alienate the governor and the legislature. It’s pretty clear the governor’s not going to support a surface option. [The surface option] might be interpreted by the legislature as Seattle going its own way and being too stubborn.”

Oh, we certainly would never want to do that.

For Unto Them a Savior Is Born

posted by on December 20 at 11:39 AM

…or “saviors,” plural. And the “them” in this case? Komodo dragons.

Flora the Komodo dragon has managed to become pregnant all on her own without any male help. She is carrying seven baby Komodo dragons.

“We were blown away when we realized what she’d done,” said Kevin Buley, a reptile expert at Flora’s home at the Chester Zoo in this town in northern England. “But we certainly won’t be naming any of the hatchlings Jesus.”

Slog Pulls Ahead!

posted by on December 20 at 11:23 AM

We may not need to release the results of our opposition research after all—Slog has pulled ahead of Victrola. As of now, with 48 votes counted, Slog is leading 67% to 33%. That’s a 34% lead, which looks comfortable—but the polls are open for the next four days (or so CHS says), and this is no time for complacency. Click here and vote Slog!

And while you’re there, vote Squirrel!

In search of brilliance on Allen Iverson

posted by on December 20 at 11:20 AM

I am not what you would call a sports fan, mostly because I just don’t understand the games. I blame this on my parents who refused to sign me up for team sports as a kid. I think it had something to do with not wanting me to be preppy. So I, a short, roundish bifocaled geek, was forced to take ballet with a bunch of mean blond gazelles. Anyway, I do really like reading about sports. It’s some of the best writing out there. The men (mostly) who cover sports get all into this metaphor of the game as life that I can’t resist. I’ve been hunting for a good take on the Sixers’ abandonment of Allen Iverson (the Sixers are the only team I’ve ever run down the street drunk and yelling for). So far, the best I’ve found is this analysis in Slate, which basically says that despite AI’s heart and talent, his stubbornness and trouble making will overshadow any team he plays for.

The Tranny Panty

posted by on December 20 at 11:12 AM

For the woman who has everything—well, almost.

I’m curious about something: Guys? Click the link. That’s a pretty girl, huh? Hot. Nice crotch, nice everything. But how would you feel if you had just gotten her pants off of her and discovered her tranny panties? Could you get to chomping on that? Or what?

Are You the New Hugh Foskett?

posted by on December 20 at 11:03 AM

The King County Republican Party is looking for fresh faces to represent the GOP in Seattle

Michael Young, the newly re-elected chairman of the King County Republican Party, [has] a lofty if audacious vision: bringing some political diversity into Seattle’s contentedly liberal Democratic corridors of power.

Good luck with that, Mr. Young.

“Absolutely” Winning a Month Before We Were, Uh, “Not Winning”

posted by on December 20 at 11:02 AM

Today’s Washington Post scoop shows that John Kerry’s not the only one to have committed a mammoth “flip-flop” on the Iraq War.

As he searches for a new strategy for Iraq, Bush has now adopted the formula advanced by his top military adviser to describe the situation. “We’re not winning, we’re not losing,” Bush said in an interview with The Washington Post. The assessment was a striking reversal for a president who, days before the November elections, declared, “Absolutely, we’re winning.

Vote SLOG!!!

posted by on December 20 at 11:00 AM


It’s election day over at Capitol Hill Seattle—it’s always election day over at CHS—and today the cruel bastard in charge of CHS has pitted Slog against an old and dear friend: Victrola. Victrola a favored hangout for Stranger staffers (it was also the subject of a lengthy feature by Sean Nelson), and the coffee shop where I’m likeliest to write “Savage Love” on any given week.

But this election forces us to set aside our personal feelings for Victrola and campaign in earnest. The people deserve a spirited debate and and we can’t allow our affections for Victrola to deprive voters of this accountability moment. Will Victrola move on to the final round? Or Slog? The power is in your hands.

Later in the day we will be revealing the results of our opposition research—just how dirty is that spatula with the bathroom key attached to it?—but right now all that matters is this: Victrola is kicking Slog’s ass. With 18 votes counted, Victrola has 61% and Slog just 39%. We’re not concerned at this stage. Early polling results tends to favor coffee shops, as their customers get out of bed early. Slog readers tend to get out of bed later in the day (to say nothing of Slog writers), so we expect to close the gap—but we can only do that with your help.

CHS says they’re keeping the polls open for the next four days—but CHS has lied to us before. In the last round of voting CHS said the polls would be open for 48 hours and then a “technical error” forced them to close the polls after just 24 hours. This election is being entirely conducted with computer technology, so there is no paper trail much less a way to independently verify CHS’ claims about “computer errors.” So we encourage you to vote NOW. When it comes to polling times, CHS has no credibility. click here and go VOTE NOW!

With your help we can win this thing. You have the power! Vote Slog!

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 20 at 11:00 AM

‘The History Boys’


(PEDAGOGY) Piss off, Dead Poets Society. The History Boys, about a pack of smart, crass British kids trying to pass the Oxford and Cambridge entrance exams, is the new boyhood bildungsroman for the Western Hemisphere. Its writing is funny, its characters are tragic, and its 1980s soundtrack is nostalgic. It is substance versus style, youth versus age, straight versus gay versus curious versus celibate—and every man against himself. (See Movie Times for details.) BRENDAN KILEY

Yo Capitol Hill Raps

posted by on December 20 at 10:55 AM

Today’s PI has a report on Pine Street redevelopment.

Erica C. Barnett did a bang up job on the story a few weeks ago.

The PI’s front-page local section headline announces in the print edition: “Condos soon will replace a bit of funky, counterculture Seattle.”

Funky? You gots that right, yo.

A Christmas Story

posted by on December 20 at 10:24 AM

As the anniversary of Jesus’s birth approaches, explores the history (and mystery) of one of the many gifts/priceless collector’s items he left his followers—antique foreskin.

In 1983, as the residents of Calcata, a small town 30 miles north of Rome, prepared for their annual procession honoring a holy relic, a shocking announcement from the parish priest put a damper on festivities. “This year, the holy relic will not be exposed to the devotion of the faithful. It has vanished. Sacrilegious thieves have taken it from my home.” Not since the Middle Ages, when lopped-off body parts of divine do-gooders were bought, sold, and traded, has relic theft been big news. But the mysterious disappearance of Calcata’s beloved curio is different.

This wasn’t just the residuum of any holy human—nor was it just any body part. It was the foreskin of Jesus Christ, the snipped-off tip of the savior’s penis, the only piece of his body he supposedly left on earth.

Just what the holy foreskin was doing in the priest’s house—in a shoebox at the back of his wardrobe, no less—and why and how it disappeared has been debated ever since the relic vanished. Some suspect the village priest sold it for a heavenly sum; others say it was stolen by thieves and ended up on the relics black market; some even suggest Satanists or neo-Nazis are responsible. But the most likely culprit is an unlikely one: the Vatican.

jesus santa.bmp

Ho ho ho! Praise him!

Wednesday Morning Sports Report

posted by on December 20 at 9:48 AM

Four Seahawks—Walter Jones and Mack Strong (starting), Julian Peterson and Lofa Tatupu (reserves)—are headed to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii.

The Huskies landed a commitment from California star DT (ranked #36 in the country) Nick Wood.

The Mariners chatted with Barry Zito, upticking the team’s chances of landing him from Snowball’s Chance in Hell to Not in a Million Years.

Despite being six games below .500, the Sonics are still confident they can make the playoffs.

Allen Iverson is now a Denver Nugget. Meanwhile, the Phoenix Suns have won 15 in a row.

And in Cricket news…I have no idea what this means:

South Africa’s hopes of an unlikely victory in the first Test against India rest on the shoulders of Ashwell Prince. Having seen his side’s top order demolished by Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, Prince hit an unbeaten half-century as the Proteas ended the third day on 163 for five.

The left-hander will look to chalk up his fifth Test century if South Africa are to have any chance of victory as the hosts chase 402, the highest target ever set in Johannesburg.

The Morning News

posted by on December 20 at 6:30 AM

Bush: Washington Post Intvw: “We’re Not Winning in Iraq; Need Bigger Military; Need More Troops in Iraq.”

Cheney: Will Testify in Libby Defense.

Sistani: Backs Iraqi Coalition to Isolate Extremists.

Zawahiri: Al Qaeda Leader Condemns Hamas Compromises with Fatah.

Gates: Secretary of Defense Arrives in Iraq.

The Pope: Warns Against Secular Trends.

Gregoire: $30 Billion Budget Ups Government Spending.

Sex: Going Back to the 1950s, 95% of Americans Have Pre-Marital Sex.

Violence: Aid Workers Driven from Darfur Town.

Hate: GOP Congressman Lashes Out Against Muslims.

The Future: Robots Will Have Rights.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Creationists Concede Defeat in Georgia

posted by on December 19 at 8:43 PM

No wonder the smoke ‘n’ mirrors crowd over at the Discovery Institute has been trying to distract us. Another defeat for intelligent design proponents has come down in Georgia, where a school district has finally given up a bald attempt to confuse students by slapping a sticker on science textbooks warning that “evolution is a theory, not a fact.” (You know, like gravity.)

Here’s the AP article. The Discovery Institute has nothing to say, so far.

Erica’s Head is Going to Explode

posted by on December 19 at 6:41 PM

This gas guzzling monstrosity…


…is currently parked right outside our offices.

Meanwhile, In the War on Cars

posted by on December 19 at 4:56 PM

Portland is replacing some on-street car parking with parking for bikes, allowing more people to park in the limited available space. Here’s a picture of the BikeOasis, designed for Hawthorne Boulevard by architects Browning-Shono:


Confidential to the Cascade Bike Alliance: Can you get on this?

The “War on Christmas” War Continues

posted by on December 19 at 4:40 PM

Apropos of all the “War on Christmas” nonsense that went on at SeaTac while I was away (shorter version of Josh’s column: Taking down the Christmas trees at SeaTac was a smart move because the Port of Seattle was implicitly endorsing Christianity; putting them back up was a wimpy capitulation to a rash of loud anti-Semitic, pro-Christian complaints), I’d like to offer a brief anecdote from my trip to Denver.

First, some context: Denver is drowning in a sea of Christmas: Lights, Christmas trees, carols, angels, and mangers as far as the eye can see. Still, I was somewhat shocked when I entered the Denver headquarters of the Regional Transportation District (the equivalent of our Sound Transit) and was hit with an onslaught of publicly funded Christmas cheer: A recording of explicitly religious carols played loudly in the foyer; Christmas decorations decked every surface; and Christmas cookies were piled to the rafters. After our interview, the light rail program director addressed employees, who were having a traditional Christmas potluck. Her first words? “Merry Christmas.”

Still, plenty of people continue to believe there’s a war on Christmas (fought mainly, of course, by pushy Jews who won’t keep their traps shut during the three-month-long Christmas onslaught). Take this editorial from AgapePress, the media mouthpiece of the American Family Association:

What I resent, and a whole lot of Americans resent, is when in the name of multi-culturalism, diversity and tolerance, we began to sacrifice traditions that have made America great in the first place.

For example, news services across the country reported this earlier in the week: “Zogby polling shows an overwhelming majority (95 percent) say they are not offended by being greeted with a ‘Merry Christmas’ while shopping, including 98 percent for weekly Wal-Mart shoppers. But greet them with a ‘Happy Holidays,’ and 46 percent say they take offense.”

The reason that 46 percent of those surveyed take offense is because they are Christmas shopping, not holiday shopping, and everyone knows this. Families don’t give each other presents on Thanksgiving Day. Kids don’t run downstairs on New Year’s morning seeing what awaits them under the holiday tree. The Christmas-gift buying season is what keeps the American retail business in business.

These numbers also mean that most citizens want Christmas to maintain the special place it has long held in the American heart. We don’t want to see Christmas melt into a generic “holiday season” or “winter celebration” some hard-core secularists and atheists want to see happen.

Now I am about to give you an example of how the political correctness / multi-culturalism movement seeks to remove the Christian message about Christmas from the scene. One of the things it has done recently is attempt to elevate Hanukkah and Kwanzaa as if they were equal to Christmas in American cultural relevance. They are not, but because we have been brainwashed with political correctness for a number of years now — and because we are fearful of being labeled racist or as anti-Jewish — many people in our country feel compelled to mention Hanukkah and Kwanzaa in the same sentence with Christmas. In America, Christmas — as a holiday — has always been in a league of its own. It points to the message of Christ and to our Christian heritage, and that is what the multi-culturalists and the politically-correct crowd want to change.

The editorialist goes on to repeat the most popular canard associated with this whole “Christmas”/”holiday” debate:

Another interesting fact here is that Christians do not consider the tree to have any spiritual significance. Especially in the same way a Jew looks at a menorah for instance. A Nativity scene would be the equivalent to the Christian. The tree is simply a traditional decoration that many Americans use to mark the Christmas season. Most people consider them just something nice to look at.

OK, it may be true that most people think Christmas trees are “nice to look at.” And it’s certainly true that Christmas is a bigger holiday to Christians than Hanukkah is for Jews. But whether Christians consider it to have religious significance or not, a Christmas tree is a CHRISTmas tree. It is, inevitably, a religious symbol—because it’s a symbol of a religious holiday. Symbols of Christmas are already EVERYWHERE—in our department stores, decked on our light poles, in our workplaces. Public spaces (like the airport) should be a bastion of secularism in the midst of our overwhelmingly non-secular society.

Soy Makes You Gay, Now With Footnotes

posted by on December 19 at 4:12 PM

Jim Rutz, chairman of Megashift Ministries, blew the minds of Slog readers and people everywhere last week with his warning that soy products make a person gay. This week he’s back to answer a few questions…

The shocking statements in my column produced much incredulity, the more so because I did not footnote or go into detail. I simply did not have room to introduce all the biggest problems with soy and do it in a scientific, footnoted format.

I will make an attempt to compensate for that shortcoming in this column and the next few…

Let’s start here: The most common question of the past week has been, “If soy is so harmful as to potentially alter sexual physiology and behavior, why haven’t the Chinese and Japanese all died off or become homosexual centuries ago?”

Good question! For the answer, click here.

Back to the Farm

posted by on December 19 at 4:05 PM

Late last May, Sarah Mirk arrived in town and started as The Stranger’s news intern.

It became obvious to the news team right away that this reliable, mature, and witty young woman—in accordance with her “I Amaze Myself” lapel pin— was no ordinary intern. And after she filed some fat stories for us like this one about immigration law, we realized we weren’t as screwed as we could’ve been when news writer Thomas Francis left The Stranger for a job in Florida.

He left in August, and I offered Mirk a job.

Unfortunately, Sarah was only 19 years old and had two more years left to go in college. (Mirk goes to Grinnell College in Iowa.) Savage and I tried to talk her into dropping out of college. Certainly, a whip-smart chick like Sarah would be bored with college by now, we figured, and would jump at the opportunity to take a real job. After all, isn’t that what college is for? Getting a job?

Well, Mirk surprised me again. She’s in deep at college: Editing her campus paper and plugging into local programs (she teaches history at a nearby prison). And she wouldn’t dream of bailing out of school with two years to go. I was disappointed, but secretly inspired by Mirk’s level-headed, self-aware response: She needs to grab all the opportunities at hand—including two more years in Iowa.

Luckily, she was also having a great time busting up The Stranger newsroom. And so, she cancelled the first semester of her junior year (there had been plans to study in Ecuador) and opted to stay on at the paper through December, covering for us while we found Francis’s replacement. (That would be Angela Valdez!)

I’m glad we got those four months out of Sarah Mirk. She continued to bang it up in the newsroom, writing stories about:

condo conversion;
more 520;
FBI watch lists; and
prisoner rights.

… Or as Sarah laments in her staff bio: She’s “paid to cover the news stories no one else wants to write.”

Meanwhile, her conniving sense of humor and street smarts started shining on Slog. Her Hugh Foskett interview on election night—and her Governor Gregoire interview!!— were instant classics.

Additionally, Sarah hit Slog with news stories we couldn’t fit in the paper—like her fine-tuned take on the politics of faith-based initiatives and her report on the immigration rights community meeting in Bellingham.

We’re more than halfway through December now and junior year is calling. (Today is her last day.)

There was a goodbye party Saturday night (it was the 233rd anniversary of the Boston Tea Party—so, it was a serious theme party), where staff got a chance to salute her in person—and in style. It’s surprising how many brands of whiskey seem to have colonial themes.

But I wanted to give her a public nod here on Slog. We’ll miss your work Smirk. And you too.

Good luck bumpin’ in “History of Ecology” class.

sara mirk.jpg

Bomb Ass Cock

posted by on December 19 at 4:02 PM

Josh’s post on “Kool Thing” got me thinking about the oft-confusing world of pop music. In particular, one thing that always confused me about some of my very favorite music…

If you grew up during the heydey of West Coast rap such as Ice Cube, Above The Law, Compton’s Most Wanted or The Dogg Pound you might’ve noticed a curious quirk of slang from the Fresh Coast’s gangsta MC’s.

Hickory dickory dock, it was twelve o’clock Cinderella ain’t home must be givin up the cock…
-Ice Cube, “A Gangsta’s Fairytale”

For some reason, when LA rappers say “cock”, they typically mean “pussy”(unless of course they are referring to cocking a 9mm pistol). I never quite got my head around the reasoning for this, even hailing from South Central myself. Of course I left LA before I was getting any- so maybe i missed out on the seminar.

Woke up one morning out some bomb ass cock
My dick kinda limp so I cruise around the block…

-Dogg Pound, “Big Pimpin”

I’m no entymologist or anything, but I always perceived “cock”(like, as in “dick”) as strictly white slang. Only in very recent years have I heard black folk using it. OK. so how did two converse, parellel meanings develop here?

Like bomb cock, it’s got me comin back for mo’…
-WC & The Maad Circle, “Homesick”

In the super-homophobic world of gangsta rap, why did this go unnoticed? For all the times Ice Cube or Eazy E must have bragged about their sexual conquests around the Ruthless offices, didn’t Jerry Heller or Donovan “Dirtbiker” Smith ever notice that these famously macho negroes seemed to be describing man-on-man encounters?

I got that bomb ass cock, a good ass shot…
-Lil’ Kim, “Queen Bitch”

I have brought this up to a few of my rap-loving colleagues, and reactions have ranged from incredulity to heated denial…until they go back and listen. How did people miss this for so long? I realize I am the resident rap expert (recognize!) round here but this one has baffled me since I was wearing Cross Colours. If anybody has any thoughts on this I’d love to hear them.

Lawrimore, Miami-Style

posted by on December 19 at 4:02 PM

In the slightly disjointed and slightly bedraggled piece I wrote the day after returning from Art Basel Miami Beach last week, I called out Scott Lawrimore as a master impresario whose installation at the Aqua hotel ruled the day.

Yesterday, Lawrimore sent out images of said installation, complete with the bar he lugged down to Miami and stood behind, serving drinks and changing videos (showing under the bar’s glass top); connective “n” sculptures by Cris Bruch, and the closet mess that accompanied Charles LaBelle’s gritty LA street photo and found video. Since folks near and far have been asking me for images from some of the Miami installations (I only have images of works from galleries!), I thought I’d at least post these.

It’ll be like you were there








That last one is a view of the Lead Pencil Studio video from their summer installation Maryhill Double, which I’ve written about extensively and which was a large part of why we gave Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo this year’s Visual Art Genius Award. It’s worth pointing out that MAN (blogger Tyler Green) is head over heels for these two Squire Parkers.

On that subject, I couldn’t agree more with him. And as Betsey over at Hankblog pointed out, I couldn’t disagree more with him on the subject of the “Red Eye” exhibition of LA art at the Rubell Collection in Miami. Peter Schjeldahl agreed with me in a piece The New Yorker put out yesterday. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t understand several of Schjeldahl’s other conclusions (can someone please explain “money, like virtue, is as it does” and “I disliked the nineties. … I missed the erotic clarity of commerce—I give you this, you give me that—and was glad when creative spunk started leeching back into unashamedly pleasurable forms. Then came this art-industrial frenzy, which turns mere art lovers into gawking street urchins. Drat”?).

Another Miami shout-out coming up.

Worst Movies of 2006

posted by on December 19 at 3:42 PM

If Oscar buzz is giving you tinnitus, it’s often restorative to consider the noxious filth that was released to American movie screens in the past year.

Remember, as the editor of The Stranger’s film section, I get to assign myself reviews. Therefore, I have probably avoided the very worst movies of the year. But I still managed to expose myself to ten movies I wouldn’t advise my parents’ deaf dog to see. They are, in descending order of evil:

1) What the Bleep?: Down the Rabbit Hole: STRANGLING NEWBORN BABY KITTENS EVIL (original review here)

2) Deck the Halls: BILIOUS VOMITOUS EVIL (original review here)

3) Wicker Man: OK, I actually haven’t seen this one, but I believe Lindy WestNEIL LAPUKE EVIL

4) Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus: SLIMY HAIRBALL EVIL (original review here)

5) Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School: FLOURY COITUS EVIL (original review here)


7) Expiration Date: Local, but I’m sorry, CRINGE-INDUCING EVIL (hidden in Film Shorts here)


9) School for Scoundrels: SCROTAL MASOCHISM EVIL (original review here)

10) Fast Food Nation: UNFORTUNATE INEPTITUDE EVIL (original review here)

Who saw John Tucker Must Die? Material Girls? One Night With the King? Does anything approach the evil of a science-distorting reincarnated Lemurian warrior?

Have a Shroomy Day

posted by on December 19 at 3:34 PM

A reader read my feature on mushroom hunting in Astoria this week and wrote in. She said some nice things about the writing—thanks!—and then went on to say:

But as an amateur mycologist, I have to say one thing: YOU FREAKING IDIOT. You trusted a community-college dropout you’ve never met to make judgments that could affect the rest of your life? For a five-hour trip? But even more irresponsibly, you described psilocybes just enough to make some readers think they too could go mushroom-hunting. Mushrooms containing psilocin and psilocybin are poisonous—it’s the poison that makes you trip. The difference between the kind of poison that makes you trip and the kind of poison that makes you die cannot be ascertained by someone without a deep knowledge of mycology and extensive field experience.  If you’re fascinated by the idea of mushroom-hunting (it is great fun), you should join the local mycological society and go on a few innocent field trips. Absorb a general knowledge about the identifying characteristics of mushrooms.  To get into hallucinogens, type ‘psilocybin mushrooms’ into, buy a couple of the guidebooks available, read them, and study the pictures.  Learn enough to realize how much you DON’T know. Then take your guidebook and the comprehension that you’re playing Russian roulette, and go hunting if you want…

I’m a freaking idiot? Agreed. Although in my defense, I knew I was being a freaking idiot the whole time. And, knowing I was being a freaking idiot and going through with it in spite of the knowing about the being of a freaking idiot was part of what the story was about. (It’s sort of like Captain Jonathan Thorn of the Tonquin knowing full well that it wasn’t a good idea to trade with the natives of Vancouver Island in the early summer of 1811 but doing so anyway, because he wanted to, because he’d gotten it into his head that he was going to—alas, he ended up clubbed in the back of the head, stabbed to death, and thrown over the side of his ship.) Anyway, your point is well taken, and I hope people don’t read the piece and get inspired to be idiots.

On the other hand, the author of Mushroom John’s Shroom World, a website I quoted from in the piece, just called to say that looking for and eating blue-stemming mushrooms—the stems go blue when they start to decompose, which happens within minutes—isn’t all that dangerous because this attribute separates them from other kinds of mushrooms, including deadly poisonous ones. “The bluing in these mushrooms, it’s very evident,” he said. So I couldn’t have died doing this after all? “You could have died relying on someone who was with you who didn’t know a lot about what they’re doing. The person who was taking you around, I don’t think he was much of an expert.” Which is true.

“But overall I enjoyed the article. I just had one similar published in Shroom Talk,” he said. And he wished me to “have a shroomy day.”

PS: Here’s the website of the Puget Sound Mycological Society, purveyor of innocent field trips, classes, mushroom recipes, etc.

Think of the Children and Legalize Pot Already!

posted by on December 19 at 2:50 PM

Big news earlier in the week about pot—big news that Dominic already Slogged about today. Pot is now America’s #1 cash crop. If this had happened on Clinton’s watch, of course, we’d be hearing about how the non-inhaler-in-chief is to blame. Bill Clinton set a poor example for all those red-state farmers growing weed, the president “sets the tone” and Bill Clinton’s tone is pure moral relativism, blah blah blah. But since Bush was in office when pot shot to #1, well, I don’t think we’re going to hear much about this story on Fox News.

Here’s my favorite chunk of the story:

Marijuana remains popular with the baby boomer generation, which first experimented with it in the 1950s and 1960s. And its use is booming among teenagers and young adults, especially as alcohol cannot be sold to under 21s.

That’s a point I made in my book Skipping Towards Gomorrah, which featured a long chapter on pot. If we want to keep pot out of the hands—and lungs and stomachs and brains—of the darling kiddies, then we need to legalize pot. Someone with a license to sell booze isn’t going to risk losing that license by selling cases of Schlitz to children. A liquor license is too valuable, and the booze business is too profitable, to flush it away by selling six-packs to 14-year-olds.

Someone who sells pot, on the other hand, doesn’t need a license. It’s every bit as illegal to sell pot to 15-year-olds as it is to 25-year-olds or 35-year-olds. Pot dealers, unlike booze dealers, have no reason to police themselves. So if you want to stop pot dealers from selling to high-school students (hell, if you want to stop high-school students from dealing), legalize pot, issue licenses to growers and dealers, and sell it in “coffee shops” like the Dutch.

Will some kids manage to get their hands on pot anyway? Yes, some will—just like some kids get their hands on beer. But it will be much, much harder for them to get their hands on pot.

Goldy is Not Amused

posted by on December 19 at 2:25 PM

At Pastor Joe Fuiten’s advice to Jews who were alarmed by the Christmas tree controversy at SeaTac Airport. Goldy quotes the Pastor as having said, on KING 5 TV:

The reason the airports are packed is because of Christmas — they’re not traveling for Hannukah for sure. […] Even Jewish merchants ought’a be gathered around their cash registers singing `what a friend we have in Jesus.’

I’ll have a few things to say about the SeaTac Christmas tree controversy, and the general problem of being Jewish in Seattle, in tomorrow’s Stranger.


posted by on December 19 at 1:10 PM

Any Koreans—or Korea scholars—out there willing to explain the “ajumma” phenomenon to me? That is, apparently, one of the terribly offensive elements of the sketch comedy show, put on by Americans living in Busan, South Korea, that has gotten them in trouble with the law. (See yesterday’s Slog post for the full story.)

The English teachers-cum-amateur thespians violated their visas by charging money for a small comedy show they put together—but that seems a minor infraction in proportion to the reaction of the Korean police (interrogation, drug testing, threats to fine and/or deport the offenders). Seems like the comedy—”ajumma,” from what I can tell, seems to be some kind of middle-aged woman—hit a nerve. But, not knowing from Korea, I don’t get the joke.

The online discussion pages among expats (like this one at Dave’s ESL Cafe, which includes a newspaper report) indicate some nastiness in the comedy—as well as a strain of expat cultural relativism taken to a sad extreme: “You know, I don’t doubt that the police were called because of the content, but I don’t blame them.” Yeesh. (As my Southern momma used to say: “Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out.”)

Anyway: Who the fuck are the ajumma and how’d those cows get so sacred?

Saddam and Rummy

posted by on December 19 at 12:24 PM

The shake of the snake.

Eat Your Heart Out, Corn!

posted by on December 19 at 12:24 PM


From the department of things we more or less already knew: Pot is America’s top cash crop. Thank you, analysts — we can now say it with confidence.

These official findings mean a few things:

We can flip the bird to B.C. and their vaunted bud. We have enough of our own - $38.5 billion worth — and, besides, their pot sucks compared to the stuff grown here.

If we regulate pot and tax it like hooch or cigarettes, we’d have acres of revenue for all sorts of programs that currently run dry. Drug treatment on demand: No problem. Education programs so kids don’t get hooked on smack: Bam. Monorail (marijuanarail?): On track. Damn, it would be nice.

In exchange, by converting the marijuana market into one ruled by corporations (which is less sexy but better than stoners getting plugged in the slammer), the cottage industry of folks growing pot and hooking up their friends would run dry. Dealers wouldn’t be liquidating billions of their illicit cash, thereby shifting overall consumer spending (no, not by stoners on Twinkies because you’d still have roughly the same amount of pot smoked and munchies craved). What would be affected? Snowboarding industry: Shredded. X-Box sales: Unplugged. Ziploc Corporation: Sacked. I’m sure there’s other stuff, but you get the picture. There would be real - however trivial - consequences.

Of course, establishing a regulated national market would literally require an act of Congress. So don’t hold your breath.

Doctors Without… Much

posted by on December 19 at 12:02 PM

I can’t get enough of this sad, bizarre story: Five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor sentenced to death in a Libyan court for purposefully giving hundreds of children HIV, charges of CIA involvement, scapegoating on all sides:

According to a Libyan intelligence report submitted to the court, the nurse, Kristiyana Vulcheva, later confessed that the vials were given to her by a British friend who was working for the KBR subsidiary of Halliburton at the time. The nurse was quoted in the report as saying that she and her colleagues used the vials to infect the children.

This case is eight years old—eight hellish years that, the nurses and doctor say have involved torture and rape to coerce the confessions. Of course Gaddafi, who has been pursuing rapprochement with Europe and the US, has everything to lose if the nurses are executed. But he seems unwilling or unable to override his country’s court and pop them out of prison. The irony is killing (literally): the Western democracies want nothing more than for Gaddafi to go back to his bald-faced dictator days and violate the local rule of law.

And talk about a deterrent for folks like Doctors Without Borders and other medical philanthropists. Show up in a hospital with bad hygiene, happen to be there when the whole floor is diagnosed, and bang—you’re a CIA operative charged with bringing down the state by (huh?) infecting kids with HIV.

And, of course, AIDS conspiracy theories in Africa and America have a long, sad history of their own—how many people will refuse smallpox vaccines because of this?

People are just fucked.

Last Call

posted by on December 19 at 12:01 PM

In an effort to combat the record numbers of people jumping off the Aurora Bridge, six high-altitude hotlines.

New at Walgreens

posted by on December 19 at 11:56 AM

Vibrating condoms. Well, a $7.99 condom with a “vibrating ring.” Disposable. Made in Taiwan. Battery included. Battery lasts approximately 20 minutes. I’m just sayin….


The Best Book of 2006?

posted by on December 19 at 11:49 AM

Over in The Stranger’s book section, we don’t really bang the drums NYT-style about “the best books of the year” and nonsense like that. (True, the current issue of a certain fashion magazine has me on record calling Charles D’Ambrosio’s The Dead Fish Museum is the best short story collection of the year [it’s true!].) But! Everyone’s favorite reviewer-of-books/crasher-of-parties Paul Constant has come down with a verdict on the best book he read all year—and it isn’t on that NYT list. It came out in hardback in January and it just came out in paperback, and… well, take it away, Paul:

I had no idea that this book was so good when it was released at the beginning of the year, and I’m so happy that I read it in December so that I can declare it the best thing I read in 2006.

The book is called The People’s Act of Love. Yeah, the title sucks. You don’t get cannibalism, a cult of castrates, or a silent assassin from that title. Constant’s review is right here.

Chump Change

posted by on December 19 at 11:11 AM

Mark Zuckerberg, the 22-year-old creator of Facebook, has turned down a billion dollar buyout offer from Yahoo.

Merry Christmas From the Bush Family

posted by on December 19 at 11:10 AM

Actually, what this card from 1970 says is “A very Merry Christmas From All the George Bushes.” There’s also some sort of wish for “a world at peace.” Hmmf. Note the smoking G-Dubya:

bush xmas.jpg

A full image of the card and oddly phrased greeting can be viewed here. Via Nerve.

Historic Moment!

posted by on December 19 at 11:05 AM

This weekend, in Fremont, I witnessed the first bumper sticker EVER that has made me laugh.


“Toughest mofo in town… and sexy, too!”

It’s just a piece of duct tape! Stuck to the bumper! You’re right, you are the toughest kid in town.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 19 at 11:00 AM

El Vez’s Merry MeX-mas


(MUSIC) El Vez, AKA Robert Lopez, is such a freakishly handsome creature that looking at him too long is sort of like staring at the sun. Still, it’s worth burning your corneas out to witness his flawless showmanship, and tonight’s holiday-themed extravaganza is no exception. (Triple Door, 216 Union St, 838-4333. All-ages show at 7 pm, 21+ at 10 pm, $20 adv/$23 DOS.) HANNAH LEVIN

Who Will be ‘Queer of the Year’?

posted by on December 19 at 10:39 AM

Mike Jones is currently leading the pack—Jones is the gay escort that outed Ted Haggard. After you vote for squirrels, go vote for Jones.

Decision 2006: Vote for Squirrels!

posted by on December 19 at 10:30 AM


Over at Capitol Hill Seattle, squirrels are currently tied with Canterbury and Hopvine for the honor of, um, something or other. I voted for squirrels this morning because it’s so damn cold in the Canterbury these days that it’s damn near impossible to enjoy a plate of nachos. So I voted for Capitol Hill’s squirrels and you should too. Click here to vote.

Like I said, squirrels are currently tied with Canterbury and Hopvine. You could cast the deciding vote.

Bush People

posted by on December 19 at 9:47 AM

This is a sad situation. The bushmen of Botswana have feelings for the desert; they want to go back to it, back to a way of life that has not changed in thousands of years. But how can this be possible? How can any man in this day and age honestly live in the desert, honestly chase wild animals for food, honestly preserve water in ostrich eggs? The urge for this sort of nonsense must not be encouraged. Enough is enough. It’s time for bushmen to wake up and smell Starbucks coffee: They live inside of history (not outside of it, as their idiotic ancestors did—“idiotic” in the original sense of word: to be sustained by the land) and are connected to a complex and computerized network of human societies. This desert business just wont do. Animals live in reserves (wildlife parks), not people.


Here’s where things get a little complicated: Kalahari Bushmen, like the ones pictured, have for two decades rejected every effort the democratic government of Botswana has made to modernize them. So passionate are they about this bush type of existence, they took their cause, by jet plane, all they way to the UK, where, of course, they found sympathy and political support. It was easy for the whites in Europe to understand why a black man would desire nothing more than to live barely better than a beast in the bleak back of nowhere. Bolstered by the British, the bushmen sued the Botswana government and won. They are now free to return to the deep past and sleep for another thousand years.

Before naming me an arrogant bantu, think of this: Botswana is one of the few African countries that can afford to offer free health and education to its citizens. Just go next door to Zimbabwe and ask President Mugabe for a physician—you’ll be lucky to even get a witch doctor. So it’s arrogance on the bushmen’s part to believe he/she can live without others, live like wax cavemen in a museum, and discard “like it ain’t no thang” the kind of social welfare most Africans are daily dying for.

The humans must be crazy.

Xmas Miracle: Trump Saves Miss USA

posted by on December 19 at 9:46 AM

If you’ve been watching the tabs lately, you already know that Miss USA TARA CONNER has been in a heap of trouble, after she was spotted whooping it up in the NYC nightclubs (and by “whooping it up” I mean underage drinking, snorting blow, and tongue kissing Miss Teen USA Katie Blair—Whoop! Whoop!). And over the past weekend the Miss USA organizer DONALD “Fuck YOU, I’m the Donald” TRUMP has been deliberating over whether to make Conner give up her crown.
And Trump has decided to let Miss USA STAY Miss USA as long as she goes into rehab! OMG, what a mensch!

“She’s agreed to go into rehab. She knows that if she makes even the slightest mistake from here on, she will be immediately replaced,” said Trump. The carefully coifed billionaire explained that he will use Conner as a role model. “I believe she can do a tremendous service to young people.”

Conner thanked Trump for the pardon saying, “I’ve had a very big blessing bestowed on me. It truly takes someone with a wonderful heart, a heart of gold and a blessed soul.

WOW. Now you can leave work and say, “Today I heard something that has never been uttered before in the history of humankind.”

For a moment, let’s imagine these two making out.

Windstorm ‘06

posted by on December 19 at 9:18 AM


I was already in bed when I heard the news about a woman drowning in her own basement on the night of the storm just a few blocks from my house. There were no real details in the first reports, just “woman drowns trapped in basement by rising water.” Now that we know the details, well, it’s so much worse.

Kate Fleming was in her basement sound room, recording digital books for her fledgling business, when a 4-foot wall of water rushed down Dewey Place East. The water slammed her small house in Seattle’s Harrison neighborhood so hard that it smashed the north foundation and filled the basement, trapping Fleming inside.

Fleming’s partner, dental assistant and interior designer Charlene Strong, rushed out of the house screaming for help, neighbors said.

“She ran out screaming, ‘My partner is stuck in the basement; my partner is drowning!’ ” said David Tilford, 28, an exercise specialist who lives a few houses away and rushed to help when he heard Strong’s calls.

Tilford couldn’t reach the drowning woman.

“The basement was 100 percent full of water,” he said.

Drowning in your own home. What a terrible way to go. Very 9th Ward. And now we learn that Fleming may have drowned for the same reason that so many people drowned in the 9th Ward: Government neglect and mismanagement.

Chronically dysfunctional storm drains on East Madison Street—the subject of several complaints to the city over the years—may have caused the death of well-known voice-over actress Kate Fleming.

High above Fleming’s neighborhood, water flows down to East Madison from neighborhoods to the east and west, and collects there. Witnesses said that Thursday, a huge amount of water covered most of the two-lane urban artery and spilled over the south curb. The torrent dug a hole under a fence and took a tumbling and twisting 40-foot plunge to Fleming’s neighborhood. It hit her house like a giant hammer, smashing the foundation, filling the basement and drowning her….

Three drains on East Madison haven’t worked properly for years, said Catie Corpron-Smith, 50, co-manager of the landscaping department at City People’s Garden Store at 2939 E. Madison St. It isn’t because of leaves, she said.

Corpron-Smith, who is also a city councilwoman in Brier, said she was on East Madison Street during the flood on Thursday. She said she tried to clean leaves out of the drains, but couldn’t find many.

“Even though I cleared out the leaves from four of the drains, three still wouldn’t receive water,” she said.

Then she heard the screams of Fleming’s partner far below.

Corpron-Smith said she has personally called the city about the problem “six-ish times” and had “kind of given up.” She and others painted blue stripes next to each drain so they could easily find them during rainstorms, and clear out debris, though that doesn’t always help, she said. “Even in a light rain, it doesn’t drain,” she said, pointing to one of the drains near the garden store.

“This is a terrible, terrible waste of a life,” said Charlene Strong, Fleming’s partner, after hearing from a reporter what the witnesses said. “We’ve got to make this right, so nothing like this happens to anyone else. This is unconscionable.”

Greg Nickels has ordered all city agencies to treat same-sex partners like any other legally married couple. I expect that Nickels will order the city’s lawyers to treat Charlene Strong, Fleming’s lesbian partner, like any other spouse when she brings a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. And I expect that the settlement Strong receives for her mental anguish, for her partner’s suffering, for Strong’s loss of Fleming’s companionship, and emotional and financial support will be so large that the city will think twice before it neglects critical infrastructure like storm drains again.

UPDATE:: In the comments Jeff writes…

Gee Dan, I’m suprised your crack team of reporters couldn’t link this death to some form of racism. You are clearly not looking hard enough.

Well, Jeff… I can link Fleming’s death to racism:

The neighborhood in which Fleming lived and died was once known as “Coon Hollow.” Perhaps the neighborhood’s drainage systems are in such disrepair due to decades of neglect—which was, perhaps, motivated by institutional racism.

In big cities all over the United States white neighborhoods tend to receive better city services—and have better sewers, drainage systems, lighting, sidewalks, trash pick-up, etc.—than minority neighborhoods. When a neighborhood gentrifies and goes from predominantly minority to mostly white, the new white residents have to live with—and, it seems, die as the result of—years of racist neglect.

See, Jeff? Easy—easy because it happens to be true.

The Morning News

posted by on December 19 at 8:30 AM

Baghdad: Talk About Problems with the Electric Grid!

King County:We’re Kinda Still Fucked, too.

Hillary: Makes the “If I Had Known Then” Speech on Iraq….

Tony Snow: Botches Administration’s Line on Censoring Former NSA Staffer.

Led Zeppelin: Old-Timer Rock and Rollers Sue Website for Selling Nostalgia Items.

Pentagon Pt. 1: Joint Chiefs Disagree with White House on Troop Expansion in Iraq.

Pentagon Pt. 2: New Report Says Iraq is on the Brink of Becoming a “Failed State.”

Palestinians: Factions Exchange Gunfire. Five Dead.

Monopoly: GOP FCC Chair Doesn’t Get His Way on BellSouth-AT&T Merger.

Inflation: Unexpected Comeback.

Monday, December 18, 2006

American Apparel: SOLD!

posted by on December 18 at 6:03 PM


Dov Charney is reported to be selling his underpants empire.

Tickle Me Emo

posted by on December 18 at 5:32 PM

All I want for Christmas is this:


Props to Mr. Matt Garman for sharing.

Have You Fucked These Men?

posted by on December 18 at 4:48 PM

Have you fucked any of the pastors at New Life Church in the ass?

If you have, the “Overseers” appointed to, um, oversee the spiritual cleansing of Ted Haggard’s New Life Church in Colorado Springs want to hear from you.

To assist in both the process of Rev. Haggard’s restoration and the protection of the Church itself, the Overseers are open to receiving current information relevant to either Rev. Haggard’s recovery process or any concerns about New Life Church staff or its leaders. While they cannot promise confidentiality, the Overseers will handle any such information discretely.

The Overseers have put a form up on New Life’s website to help you help them rid New Life of closet cases, drug abusers, and other bad elements. Just click here to share any dirt you might have on any of these guys:


Did you fuck Ross Parsley, Senior Pastor, in the ass? Click here.


Did you fuck Rob Brendle, Associate Pastor, in the ass? Click here.


Did you fuck Glenn Packiam, Associate Worship Pastor, in the ass? Click here.


Did you fuck Brad Parsley, Choir Director, in the ass? Click here.

The Overseers don’t want to hear from friends-of-friends who fucked New Life leaders in their asses. Rumors won’t do—the Overseers are looking for blue dresses, people, not blue gossip.

The information you share must be first-hand, factual, and detailed with as many dates and specifics as possible for your communication to be considered credible (no rumors, please).

And does it even need to be said? False reports about gay hookers running riot through the sanctuary or New Life pastors sucking off all comers at Colorado’s crowded rest stops are not helpful. False reports could seriously impede the Overseers’ work and slow the spiritual cleansing of New Life Church. Thank you.

(Uh… does anyone else think that the use of “overseer” is an odd choice of words? I mean, when I hear “overseer” I think one thing: slavery. An overseer was an unpleasant person who carried a whip and brutalized slaves in the American South. Is the word even used in other contexts? If “overseer” is okay, why not “OberfĂĽhrers”?)

Christmas Is a Week Away…

posted by on December 18 at 4:43 PM

…and if you have the slightest inclination to see some theater this holiday, read this first. It’s a very, very funny round-up of all the Christmas plays a’playing in Seattle right now, edited by the very funny(-looking) Brendan Kiley and featuring this newspaper’s funniest writers (including its abosolute, bar-none funniest).

Downed Pilot

posted by on December 18 at 3:42 PM

These are pictures of the van that belonged to Downpilot frontman Paul Hiraga (who, incidentally, released one of the most well-written and criminally overlooked records of the year). Sorry, Paul!



American Comedy, Korean Trouble

posted by on December 18 at 3:37 PM

I just got this email from Chris Tharp, who once lived in Seattle and was part of the Piece of Meat Theater1 and has been working as an English teacher in Busan, South Korea for the past two and a half years. Now Tharp and some other teachers are in trouble with the law over a sketch comedy show:

Since I’ve been over here, I’ve done a little performing in the expat community in this city. Two weeks ago, I produced a comedy show called Babo-Palooza! (babo means “idiot” or “fool” in Korean). We sold out two nights in a small theater where we took the piss out of ourselves and Korea as well, complete with fake puke and on onstage pissing (I tried infuse it with a bit of the old Piece of Meat aesthetic.)

The show was a big hit. People laughed hard and loud.


This week, all of us involved with the show were detained by the local police. They had sent a couple of undercover detectives to watch the show. We were questioned for two hours, drug tested, and fingerprinted. They are accusing of breaking the law by violating our visas and not getting permission to perform the show. They are using this as a pretext to go after us because they were offended by some of the content.

Several of us are now facing large fines and deportation. The story is blowing up all over the Korean press—it’s making the major papers and websites. Korea purports to be a democracy with free speech, and yet they are rounding up foreigners for the crime of performing a weekend comedy show.

Here’s the story from the Korea Herald (where we learn, among other things, that the supposedly illegal, visa-violating comedians had applied for a city arts grant to offset costs).

Updates (hopefully) forthcoming.

1. Piece of Meat made extremely physical, dark, and gritty theater about desperate characters: moonshiners, drug dealers, hippie losers. They also used to walk around Bumbershoot half-naked, wrapped in bloody, muddy bedsheets, carrying rubber snakes, and canting out shitty spoken word. They had the audacity to call themselves buskers and ask for money. Seattle audiences had the idiocy to cough it up. My favorite Piece piece was The Still, which was in some tiny theater I can’t even remember, and involved a fight scene involving cast iron skillets. Here is a review of one of their shows by sometime Stranger arts editor Eric Fredericksen.

A New High (And Low)

posted by on December 18 at 2:48 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 — There were an average of 959 insurgent and sectarian attacks against American and Iraqi targets every week in Iraq over the last three months, the highest level ever recorded, according to a Pentagon report on security trends in Iraq issued today…

The report was dated Nov. 30, but it is not clear whether its release was delayed until [former Defense Secretary Donald] Rumsfeld had left office.

She Who Must Not Be Nominated

posted by on December 18 at 2:45 PM

Hillary Clinton—everyone knows she can’t win, right? Too divisive, too polarizing. If the Dems are foolish enough to nominate Hillary, why, they might as well hand the keys to the White House to John McCain or Rudolph Giuliani. Those guys—the likeliest R nominees—are so freakin’ popular! America loves them! They’re not divisive and, man, they’ll beat the pantsuit right off Hillary Clinton. That’s why we’ve got to line up behind Barack Obama now—only Obama can beat McCain and Giuliani!


Clinton’s up 50-43 over McCain, 48-47 over Three Wives Giuliani, 58-32 over Mitt Romney.

McCain beats Obama 45-43, Giuliani beats Obama 47-44, Obama beats Romney 55-25.

Atrios has some thoughts on the numbers above, which come from this Newsweek poll. All i want to say now is this: Everything we’re hearing now about Hillary’s chances in ‘08 we heard when Hillary ran for the U.S. Senate in 2000. She was too divisive, too polarizing. Didn’t stand a chance. How’d that Senate race work out for her anyway?

Oh, and I’m not a Hillary fan. Her positions on gay marriage, abortion, the flag amendment—don’t like ‘em. I’m just not buying the anti-Hillary hype. And neither, according to the polls, are American voters.

“We Are a Much Stronger Offensive Team”

posted by on December 18 at 2:35 PM

Dashing the hopes of many, Jose Vidro passed his physical, making him the Mariners’ new DH. From Larry Stone’s post-mortem wrap-up:

“Jose is a professional hitter,” said Bill Bavasi, the Mariners’ executive vice president and general manager. “We feel we can add him to our batting order anywhere from the second to the sixth spot and he will add production to our lineup. With the addition of Vidro and Jose Guillen to our returning players, I think we are a much stronger offensive team.”

Bavasi may be the only one who feels that way.

Head Case

posted by on December 18 at 1:37 PM

A 15 year-old girl willingly gave a blowjob to a 17 year-old boy. In Georgia. The boy was arrested, prosecuted, and sent to prison—for ten years. The Georgia Supreme Court upheld the sentence. Read it and weep.

Oh, and the legislature in Georgia recently amended the state’s sex crimes laws. What the boy did is no longer a felony, just a misdemeanor. But that didn’t move the court. He’s going to do his ten years. For getting a blowjob.

Rip-Off Artist

posted by on December 18 at 1:21 PM

Theater director held for robbery:

[He] is accused of robbing banks in Germantown, Md., on Sept. 17, Mountain Home, Idaho, on July 17, and the Washington Mutual Bank in Gold Hill on July 6. In all three robberies the robber passed a note implying he had a gun, and left with cash. Less than $1,500 was taken in the Gold Hill robbery.

He was a faithful theater artist to the end—always dealing in small sums.

Sane, Sensible Love

posted by on December 18 at 1:13 PM

The most-emailed article in the New York Times right now resembles a very tame, technical version of Savage Love: Undisclosed “relationship experts” compiled a list of Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying. The thing pretty much boils down to: hey! communicate with your partner! Yes, about finances, career goals, etc., etc., but also about sexual needs!

Here are some excerpts from the list of 15 questions:

1) Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?

5) Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?

6) Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?

7) Will there be a television in the bedroom?

8) Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?

14) If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the other’s family, are we prepared to move?

15) Do each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?

I feel like if you have to sit your partner down and ask them any of these questions on the night before you’re betrothed, you’re probably not ready yet to walk down the aisle. These are all the sort of fundamental bits of information that should seep out in conversation eventually and just be obvious after you’ve spent enough time in a relationship with someone. I hope no one uses this as a checklist, inviting his or her partner over for A Talk and then asking, “So, do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas?” These are not so much “questions you need to ask” but “beliefs and opinions that you should figure out” before you decide you want them in your life FOREVER.

Disclaimer: I am young and naive.

The inclusion of the television question is also interesting… does watching TV while together have such a big impact on one’s relationship that it’s right up there with big choices like having children?

A Change Is Gonna Come

posted by on December 18 at 11:52 AM

The House elections on November 7 sent a big “no” to Bush and American extremism. Similarly, the current local elections in Iran are sending a big “no” to Ahmadinejad and his form of extremism.

“Early results show that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s list has suffered a decisive defeat nationwide,” the Islamic Iran Participation Front, the largest reformist party, said in a statement. “It is a big ‘no’ to the government’s authoritarian and inefficient methods.”

The pro-reformist newspaper Etemad-e-Melli said in an editorial: “The most important message of Friday’s vote was that the people have chosen moderation and rejected extremism.”

The way Americans voted in November must not be separated from the way Iranians are voting at this moment. Ahmadinejad’s power fell at the same rate that Bush’s power fell because, in the first place, it was Bush’s intolerance that pushed Iran to the far right. Bush made Ahmadinejad possible at the same time he made the situation in the Middle East impossible. If the results hold in Iran, the election, like the American one, can be read as a correction within the ruling system, capital. Once properly fixed and the soft power of the Clinton years is restored, then the global justice movement can return to the business it began in earnest in Seattle at the end of the 20th century. We are still on the road to planetary democracy, planetary socialism.

Another Dick Cheney Hunting “Accident”?

posted by on December 18 at 11:35 AM

Wonkette has the scoop on the dead deer supposedly found this morning on the (hunting?) grounds of the Vice President’s offical residence…

Remain Cool

posted by on December 18 at 11:17 AM

Once upon a time, I thought Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon schooled Public Enemy’s Chuck D in their battle of the sexes, races, hipsters when they squared off during the break of Sonic Youth’s “Kool Thing” back in 1990.

Here’s the script:

Chuck D: Yeah, tell ‘em about it,
hit’em where it hurts

Kim Gordon: Hey, Kool Thing, come here, sit down beside me
there’s something I gotta ask you.
I just wanna know, what are you gonna do for me?
I mean, are you gonna liberate us girls
from male white corporate oppression?

Chuck D: Tell it like it is!

Kim Gordon: Huh?

Chuck D: Yeah!

Kim Gordon: Don’t be shy.

Chuck D: Word up!

Kim Gordon: Fear of a female planet?

Chuck D: Fear female planet. Fear, baby!

Kim Gordon: I just want you to know that we can still be friends.
Come on, come on, come on …

Chuck D: Let everybody know.

Kim Gordon: …come on…

But now I realize the truth: As the sarcasm drips to a crescendo, Chuck D clearly wins this mockery contest.

Here’s why. Kim goes through too many poses, while Chuck D remains in place. Ultimately, the shift in her role playing reads a little desperate and uncertain, while Chuck D reads kool and conscious.

She’s ultimately pushed to her best line, the “still be friends” line (which, btw, is perfect early ’90s pussy power feminism—reversing the gender roles by discarding Chuck D. after their brief flirtation)—but Chuck D doesn’t flinch.

At that, Kim switches voices again, and gives us her: “come on, come on, come on.” This is both mocking sexy, but—as she swings it back into the song—actually sexy. And so, she undermines her previous aloof “We can still be friends” line. She is unsure of herself. He stands watching.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 18 at 11:00 AM



(ESCHATOLOGY) On principle, we should un-Suggest Apocalypto for Mel Gibson’s criminally awful opinions on everything. But his recent movies are vivid fever dreams about the fall of civilizations. Watch The Passion of the Christ first, then chase it with Apocalypto, a jungle action-thriller about a Mayan Christ-figure wreaking total, empire-razing revenge on his (or His?) enemies. Plus, there’s a hilarious scene involving hot pepper and genitals. Hee-haw! (See Movie Times for details.) BRENDAN KILEY

Another Fundie Pastor Resigns in Disgrace

posted by on December 18 at 9:46 AM

The “youth pastor” at Ted Haggard’s New Life church resigned yesterday—read all about it at NEWSPEAK. Christopher Beard—hey, I thought Mrs. Haggard was the only beard at New Life!—has admitted to “sexual misconduct and other mistakes.” Beard and New Life won’t discuss his failings in detail, but they did want everyone to know that “it did not involve Haggard or a minor.” Some other fun details…

Before his resignation, Beard oversaw a church ministry called twentyfourseven, a nine-month training program for young adults in missionary work and leadership. He has led mission trips to 53 countries and had a role in this year’s church Easter drama.

In 2002, Beard was reprimanded by church officials after he staged a missionary training drill using fake assault weapons. A SWAT team was put on alert after a passing motorist thought the guns were real.

New Life’s missionary training includes drills with assault weapons?

Justin Timberlake on SNL!

posted by on December 18 at 9:43 AM

This meeting of the JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE APPRECIATION SOCIETY is now in session! First order of business? EEEEEEEEEEEE! JT was on SNL on Saturday and was so freakin’ awesome I couldn’t believe it. I even had people who were veteran JT pooh-poohers call me on Sunday to say, “HUMPY, YOU SO RIGHT.”
Still don’t believe that Justin is a great singer and comedian? Check out my favorite sketch, where JT and that other SNL guy does a great parody of COLOR ME BADD-style boy bands with this song entitled… well, you’ll hear it.

The Future of Hiphop

posted by on December 18 at 9:27 AM

Friday afternoon Slog posts tend to get lost. So, I’m reposting Kelly O’s Slog about Dope Emporium at CHAC.

It was a great night, and I echo one of the comments on Kelly’s original post: “Yes! more Dope Emporiums.”

Be sure to click on Charles Mudede’s giddy interviews with the likes of Jace and Blak from Silent Lambs Project where Mudede begins: “What’s the future of hiphop? I mean, I don’t start small.”

The Morning News

posted by on December 18 at 8:02 AM

Local Tragedy: Mt. Hood Body Identified.

Local Travesty: Over 200,000 Still Without Power, Mostly in East King County.

Drug Sales, Pt. 1: NYT Finds Eli Lilly Markets Drug Under False Pretenses.

Drug Sales, Pt. 2: Pot is Biggest Cash Crop in U.S. at $35 billion.

Net Goods: Shopping Online Spikes.

Net Roots: Fundraising Online Spikes.

Net Loss: U.S. Trade Deficit Spikes.

Troops: Colin Powell Criticizes Increasing Troop Presence in Iraq.

Clones: South Korean Scientist Claims to Have Cloned Dog.

Deals: Air America Says It’s Close to Sale

Nice! Pt. 1: Anti-Ahmadinejad Slate Leading in Iranian Elections.

Nice! Pt. 2: My Man Gilbert Scores 60 Points Against Lakers.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dispatch from Denver

posted by on December 17 at 10:16 PM

While Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire was punting the Alaskan Way Viaduct question to voters (and proposing that the City Council artificially limit the choices to the two that involve building huge new freeways) I’ve been in a city that has actually managed to improve its transportation situation by taking cars off the road: Denver. Here, in a city pretty much no one would regard as cutting-edge (the girls are still wearing tube-tops; the guys still favor large wire-framed Dick Cheney glasses), light rail has managed to take thousands of cars off the road. Surveys found that nearly 50% of light rail riders switched to transit from cars, and that more than 25% of commuters to the city center get there by transit. Light rail ridership here has been 60 percent higher than projections.

Yesterday I took a jaunt on the six-year-old southwest light rail extension to the suburb of Englewood, which planners here hold up as an example of transit-oriented development—the kind of stuff Sound Transit is planning for the area around its own light rail stations. Here, much unlike Seattle, the process of planning and building light rail has been quick and relatively painless—three years from groundbreaking to ribbon-cutting for a 19-mile segment from downtown to Denver’s southeastern suburbs (which opened on time and under budget one month ago), three and a half years for an older segment to Englewood and other suburbs to the southwest. Compare that to our regional system, Link light rail, for which crews broke ground three years ago. It will be three more years before the first segment from the airport to downtown is complete, and a decade before rail opens from downtown to Husky Stadium. A still-unfunded extension to Northgate, meanwhile, will take even longer.

Denver has several advantages Seattle doesn’t. It’s flat, so trains don’t have to burrow through any hills (they do go up in the air, though, to avoid railroad right-of-way). It’s big and sprawling, and land is relatively cheap, so stations don’t cost as much to build. And it’s a major rail depot, so many of the lines run along (or sometimes over) existing tracks.

Still, I can’t help thinking Denver’s success at building light rail where Seattle has faltered (five light rail lines have been built so far, and voters recently approved 119 new miles of rail that will be built simultaneously in the next 12 years) has something to do with our cities’ respective cultures. Seattle, for all its pretenses of being a “green,” “progressive” city, is really overwhelmingly conservative. Change never comes without a huge cost: in time, money, and pointless deliberation. In Denver (like, I might add, New York, where the subway system is stillbeing expanded), density isn’t up for debate—officials and citizens I’ve talked to seemed surprised by Seattle’s irrational opposition to any project that removes even one precious single-family home. In contrast, the debate here has largely been over which communities get light rail first: Every single suburban mayor in the Denver region supported expanding the system, and the latest expansion passed 58 to 42 percent.

Light rail’s popularity here could be the product of frustration: Denver’s traffic is head-splittingly bad—not “bad” like Seattle (where you sometimes have to slow down to 10 miles an hour) but bad like Houston, where getting from downtown to the airport can be a three-hour process. People here seem to recognize that doing things the same way (endless sprawl, endless freeway expansion) is never going to lead to a different result. For example, when Denver officials proposed closing off a mile-long stretch of road through downtown in 1982, there was virtually no organized opposition: People saw how bad the congestion was, and turning it into a pedestrian mall seemed like a better idea than just leaving things the way they were. (Imagine if Seattle City Council members proposed shutting down First Avenue from Yesler to Bell Street). Now you can ride light rail to the station on the east end of downtown, hop on one of the free shuttles that run every couple of minutes, and ride down the center of a bustling, congestion-free pedestrian mall to your destination—or catch another rail line at the west end of downtown. Urban renewal, in the form of loft conversions a la Portland’s Pearl District and high-rise residential towers, has also started springing up in and around downtown, drawing suburbanites back to the city. How logical. How civilized. How urban. We don’t plan things that way here because we’re addicted to process, afraid of change, and convinced that Seattle is so exceptional that doing things differently is simply impossible. Additionally, it may be that things in Seattle just aren’t bad enough yet to get us to change our anti-urban, car-loving ways: I get the impression that light rail happened when people just got fed up with sitting in traffic.

Denver’s not a paradise, of course. As mentioned earlier, it’s a big, sprawling mess of a city, with suburbs stretching out from the freeways as far as the eye can see. Their light rail plan also includes more than 20,000 new parking spaces for long-distance commuters, more or less wiping out the environmental benefits of choosing rail instead of driving a car. (Most emissions happen when you start your car.) The “transit-oriented development” at Englewood had a distinctly suburban feel—identical taupe stucco and brick apartments perched on top of liquor stores, nail salons and chain restaurants, and right around the corner was a massive, ugly Wal-Mart/Petco retail complex. Still, change takes decades, not years. At least Denver is getting started.

No Good News

posted by on December 17 at 5:59 PM

Has any good news come out of the Pacific Northwest recently? From the NYT: Climber Found Dead in Cave on Mount Hood.

Rescuers looking for three missing climbers on Mount Hood found a body Sunday in the area where one of the climbers made a distress call last week, authorities said.

The dead climber had not yet been identified, said Pete Hughes, a spokesman for the Hood River County Sheriff’s Office. The victim was believed to be one of the three missing climbers, authorities said.

The body was found in a second snow cave near another such cave where rescuers found a sleeping bag, ice axes and rope, officials said.

Rescuers would be coming off the mountain early Sunday evening and will review the information gathered today before making plans for Monday, said Capt. Mike Braibish, spokesman for the Oregon National Guard.

”We remain hopeful,” Braibish said. ”We are going to still collect information and pursue the rescue of the two other climbers.”

Living Off the Land in Darkest Kirkland

posted by on December 17 at 4:39 PM

Chris and Lindsey braved the darkness last night and headed into Kirkland…


We had to drive into Kirkland last night at about 8 PM, and it was like driving into an abyss. About halfway across the 520 bridge, it was completely dark except for vehicle headlights… not a single light from the bridge to downtown Kirkland, all along 520, 405, and 85th street. Driving back on Lake Washington Blvd to 520, we passed some people burning a felled tree in a small campfire on the edge of the street… We stopped to tell them how awesome they are, and they shared their marshmallows. That’s me enjoying my marshmallow in the bottom left of the frame. You can see the felled tree behind us.

Who got power first?

posted by on December 17 at 4:39 PM

The inevitable question has come to our attention: did the slow return of power to blacked-out neighborhoods favor the rich and white over the poor and minorities? It’s hard to tell, since City Light yanked its map schematic of which hoods were illuminated. Our tipsters point to the troublesome clues: the great white North got power back before the South End and the West. And pockets of gentrification down south, like Mt. Baker and Columbia City, got juice back before poorer sections of the Rainier Valley. One possible explanation: infrastructure in poorer neighborhoods has historically been in worse shape. So the lights coming on less quickly in less affluent neighborhoods could be the result of years of neglect—yes, racist neglect— without intentional racism now. We’ll be trying to find some answers on Monday.

Fatah Represent

posted by on December 17 at 11:59 AM

I used to sympathize (sympathize) with the “Third World” revolutionists who came out of the Frantz Fanon/Kwame Nkrumah/Ben Balla school: the PLO, the ANC, the FLN, the Sandinistas…

But ever since religious freakazoids like Khomeini, Hamas, Hassan al-Turabi, and the Taliban booted Che Guevara resistance and turned international slum nation liberation into sharia and takfir (see Darfur, the GIA, the Beslan school siege…), I have zero patience or sympathy for their cause.

And so, I got a quiet pang of leftist macho glee from this morning’s NYT photo of masked and armed Fatah guys standing up to Hamas. Yes, I know Fatah is a corrupt failure, supported now by Bush. And these guys probably don’t know who Frantz Fanon is. But a flicker of the secular left in the Middle East, bad ass on the streets, is okay by me in context.


Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 17 at 11:00 AM

I Heart Rummage


(LAST-MINUTE GIFT BONANZA) Kill a gazillion gift birds with one simple stone at I Heart Rummage, featuring the work of 50 of the Northwest’s most innovative indie designers and “urban crafters,” all of which is for sale. (Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave, Noon-4 pm, free.) DAVID SCHMADER

Eastside Refugees seek 4-star shelter

posted by on December 17 at 9:46 AM

It’s been three days since roughly one million families in the Eastside and greater Seattle area lost power at approximately 10 pm Thursday night during the worst storm in a decade. Passing up a rare chance to camp out at Qwest Field, whole neighborhoods have instead migrated to upscale, downtown hotels for the weekend.

If you’re going to be a refugee, I can think of worst places,” says Lakewood resident and current refugee Pat McVee of the Sheraton room he shares with his wife. “It’s like a rich man’s Superdome.”

McVee takes another bite of his BLT, while his wife dips into an artichoke-cheese spread the approximate size of her face.

“It’s hard to compare ourselves to people that are really in dire straits,” McVee says.

This is true. Most refugees don’t have the luxury of driving their SUVs to the nearest Sheraton or Westin hotel for a weekend getaway.

Several blocks away a handful of well bred dogs on designer leashes are being patiently walked around the lobby of the Westin hotel while two rival packs of neighborhood children play a screamier, more elaborate version of tag. The bar is full. The lobby is full. The restaurant is closed (“Get out,” one exhausted waiter tells me, “please” he adds.) There are no available seats left except on the floor.

“At least two other families in our neighborhood ended up here,” says refugee Richard Eastern of Bellevue. He and his wife, along with their three young children have been staying at the Westin since Friday.

“We just want to go home,” Eastern tells me, “the quarters are really cramped here; the hotel is packed. It’s really easy to take your house for granted until you don’t have it anymore.”

But going home presents it’s own challenges; their children are afraid of the house post-storm.

“My oldest son is afraid to sleep in his room,” Eastern says, “you look out his window and all you can see is a tree pressing against the pane.”

“A tree branch speared through my bedroom,” another young neighborhood girl, Emma, pipes up. “I wasn’t there but my brother and dad were.”

“It looks like our children are going to be sleeping with us for a little longer,” Eastern sighs.

Down the street at the Hotel Andra, front desk agent Jennifer Prytz takes a much needed break. It’s 11 pm at night, her lobby is finally empty even though the hotel restaurant, Lola, is still crowded and cooking.

“Usually we’re at 50% capacity this time of year,” she tells me. “We’ve been at 100% capacity the last two days. There have been nonstop phone calls from more families asking about rooms, and we can’t even recommend places to go—everything’s packed. Whole neighborhoods have been relocated to our hotel.”

It is not clear when power will be restored to all neighborhoods. Repeated calls to Puget Sound Energy were met with automated responses:

“If you reached this recording, we are experiencing a high volume of calls…” and “Currently, we are experiencing longer than normal wait times to speak with a customer service agent…” and finally “As of daybreak Sunday, Puget Sound Energy has restored power to 400,000 customers.”

PSE is working on an automated progress report system, which should be available by Sunday afternoon.

For updates, call: 425-452-1234


posted by on December 17 at 9:23 AM

Sharpshooters kill Laden!