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Archives for 12/24/2006 - 12/30/2006

Saturday, December 30, 2006

How Did You Spend Saddam Hussein’s Last Night on Earth?

posted by on December 30 at 10:44 PM

I’m in NY till Tuesday, so I was unable to spend last night doing this (which sucks, because I really wanted to see Charles Mudede ride a mechanical bull). Instead, I did what every sane person did while awaiting confirmation of Saddam Hussein’s hanging: Went to see Dreamgirls.

I’m not crazy about the movie, not by a long shot, but my boyfriend and I both wanted to see Jennifer Hudson’s big kaboom on the big screen again, and we couldn’t imagine a better time or place than a packed opening-weekend screening in Harlem (at the Magic Johnson Cinema, just around the corner from the Apollo, where I was unable to see James Brown’s corpse on Thursday.) The movie still kinda sucks, and the boring parts were even boringer, but Hudson and Eddie Murphy remain great, and if ever a movie benefitted from audience sass-back it’s Dreamgirls: 80 percent of the thing is frickin’ montage, and perfect for subsidiary dialogue. (In Norfolk, the backtalk was primarily encouragement (“Do it!”); in New York, it was conversational observations (“Beyonce looks Asian.”))

Once again, the movie was way more fun that not, and while I’ll never need to see the thing in its entirety ever again, I was happy to pay five bucks for a bootleg Dreamgirls DVD—shot from the audience at a local screening and sold on the street near the cinema—so I can revisit the experience of seeing the movie in a theater full of people going bonkers whenever I want.

Still, throughout the screening, I kept wondering about Saddam Hussein’s impending execution, jonesing for a Blackberry for the first time in my life. When the movie ended, Jake and I rushed home and got the facts from the internet. Then he made this tribute to our evening’s twin obsessions. Enjoy.

Overheard at the Bookstore Bar

posted by on December 30 at 6:33 PM

Last night around 8 PM:

No, porn stars are hung. Dictators are hanged.

This Year on Drugs

posted by on December 30 at 2:10 PM

a year on drugs.jpg

Despite drugs’ appeal and merry-making capabilities, most news about drugs is an unmitigated downer. Poor saps get screwed while rich sports pros walk free; the DEA jerks off about the number of crack-heads they bust while the White House whips parents into rabid hysteria over the next pandemic. Jeezus criminy. We all know our drug policy and propaganda are failing. But will things ever get better?

Looking back on the year, several stories and developments stand out as faint lights at the end of a tunnel, giving hope that the Drug War’s lock-`em-up prescript will crumble under its onerous weight, and that the movement for reform will deliver policies rooted in science, compassion, and frugality. Other stories simply stand out like gruesome traffic accidents you can’t help but check out one more time in your rear view mirror.

Here are some of the inspiring highlights - and the horrifying lowlights — of 2006:

White Out: Meth was declared a national epidemic, and gabby news anchors couldn’t stop flashing pictures of toothless vagabond tweakers and the remnants of apartment laboratories that allegedly exploded without warning. Parents now must recite the alphabet backwards in Gaelic to buy Sudafed and hunters are warned to avoid shooting near unfamiliar trailers lest Hoquiam is inadvertently detonated like Hiroshima.

Continue reading "This Year on Drugs" »

David Lynch’s Inland Empire opens in Seattle Jan 19

posted by on December 30 at 1:38 PM

The public advance screenings I mentioned earlier on the Slog are still on, and though the 7:30 show is completely sold out, a few tickets are being held for the day of show.

A regular theatrical run has been announced as well: starts Friday, January 19 at the Neptune.

Today In Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 30 at 11:59 AM


Eugene Mirman
(A Funny, Funny Man) Imagine Eugene Mirman—a slightly homely but charming man from Russia but with no accent—saying this while wearing feathered wings and a halo as he blows out of proportion every antidrug campaign ever made: “I used to be just like you. I’d party, I’d get a bunch of hookers, smoke pot off their tits… If you smoke pot you might grow a second dick that won’t work. You’ll always go, ‘Which one worked? Was it this one or that one? Oh man, I’m so high, I can’t decide between my dicks!’” He’s funny. Mike Birbiglia, who’s also hilarious, will be there too. (Capitol Hill Sonic Boom, 514 15th Ave E, 568-BOOM. 3 pm, free.) MEGAN SELING

The War On Terror: September 11, 2001 - December 30, 2006

posted by on December 30 at 8:18 AM

The War on Terror ended early Saturday morning, as Saddam Hussein was hanged by the neck until he died. The War on Terror was just over five years old, beginning on September 11th, 2001, with the attacks on the World Trade Center. Finally, with Hussein’s death, all terror everywhere has come to an end.

It’s been a long and arduous process, tracking down and destroying the terror networks that led directly to Hussein, but now the work is done, the mastermind behind the attacks of September 11th has been executed, and we can all rest easy.

There are those who thought that the War on Terror would never be concluded, but—by staying steadfast and resolute—we have succeeded. Terror is no more. Now we need to start a new War On Something Else—Drugs, maybe?—because today is WTV Day, and tomorrow we wil be Bored.

Friday, December 29, 2006

It Ain’t Over!

posted by on December 29 at 5:01 PM


Polls closed at Capitol Hill Seattle moments ago. Unfortunately there’s no one in our editorial offices to post the final results. But here’s a link to CHS, where the final results are sure to be posted by now. Did squirrels hold on to their slim lead? (Despite the best efforts of the Portland Mercury?) Did Slog surge in the final half hour of voting and pull ahead?

We dunno. The Stranger’s edit staff is off having drinks with the winner of this Strangercrombie item. Whatever the result, we intend to contest it and call for a revote. This ain’t over! Because if the squirrels won we don’t know which squirrels won. Our native red squirrels? Or those evil east coast squirrels? Or maybe it was this evil albino squirrel…


And if we won, well, that ain’t right. Because we suck. Re-vote! Re-vote! Re-vote!

Win Your Own Nobel Peace Prize

posted by on December 29 at 4:58 PM


Okay, so you’re not Muhammad Yunus and you didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize this year. You don’t have your own bank and you’re not willing to go to Malawi to make microfinance loans to a struggling tailor.

A few hundred dollars allows said tailor to buy her material at wholesale prices, thus making it possible to sell at lower prices and have higher profit margins. Basic economics, right? Right. But it’s not just dry theory; a small loan at the right time can make the difference between success and failure for a small business.

The problem is, not all of us can make the trip to the market in Mudada, Mozambique to evaluate the loan request of, say, Agostinha Mucombo, who needs $500 to purchase a refrigerator for her small shop. That’s where Kiva comes in.

This is from the group’s website:

“Kiva was born out of Matthew and Jessica Flannery’s combined professional interests, experiences, and expertise. In spring 2004, the couple spent several months working in rural Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda - Jessica as a staff member with Village Enterprise Fund (VEF), and Matthew as a filmmaker. They were struck by the success of hundreds of small businesses started by VEF, the incredible impact of those businesses on their communities, and the vitality and potential of those businesses’ entrepreneurs.”

So when they returned to the states, they started Kiva to facilitate individuals making small loans to vetted worldwide businesses who then pay them back on an agreed-upon schedule. So far Kiva has a loan repayment rate of 100%.

You can loan as little as 25 bucks to help that tailor in Mexico, or that grocery store owner in Azerbaijan, or that seller of soft drinks in Tanzania.

And why wouldn’t you? You’ve got 25 bucks, right? And you’ve got faith in humankind, right? Right? Of course you do.

So come on. Make a pre-New Year’s resolution. It’ll make you feel good.


posted by on December 29 at 4:44 PM

What do these artists have in common?

(Mark di Suvero)

Richard Serra.jpg
(Richard Serra)

ellsworth kelly.jpg
(Ellsworth Kelly)

They will all be in Seattle in January for the opening of the Olympic Sculpture Park.

This artist, however,


will not be attending said events. As Louise Bourgeois told Seattle Art Museum in response to an invitation, “I don’t travel anymore, except in time.” Spoken like a true surrealist.

Hot girls

posted by on December 29 at 4:40 PM

I saw this girl play some breathtaking basketball last night. I wish I was her.


She is Maya Moore, a high school senior from Georgia and she’s the best of her kind in the country. Like I’ve said, I know jack about sports. But there’s something special about watching high school girls play basketball. Not only did these girls have skills … they were sort of funny in that goofy, bratty, cocky way only high school girls can pull off. They shouted more, made sassy taunts, and courted broken bones and bruises with treacherous saves.

Know What I Like?

posted by on December 29 at 4:33 PM

I’m kicking myself for not having written an overview of Tivon Rice this week in light of his installation The History of Television, closing today at 4 Culture. Not because I want to rave, but because I want to understand him and his project better. More on that later, and in print, probably.

But what you still have a chance to see through Sunday is Howard Barlow at PUNCH Gallery. His safety-colored powder-coat-finish steel boxes are pocked with bullet holes; some, like Opposing Views, deliriously pull together the hot logic of a gun with the cold precision of geometric abstraction. Barlow also has a quieter series in gun-metal color, with a sheen like a silky, oily puddle that makes the tears in the steel skin more traumatic than in the neon boxes. For his floor sculptures, Barlow piles fleshy earplugs into bumpy mounds, and makes use of found animal parts—deer limbs that hunters have discarded in the woods, for instance.

opposing views2.jpg

opposing views right.jpg

opposing views left.jpg


PUNCH is in the Tashiro Kaplan building in Pioneer Square, at 119 Prefontaine Place S, noon to 5 Saturday and Sunday. Nate Lippens wrote a lovely full review in the P-I.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on December 29 at 4:09 PM

Formal openings this weekend are sparse, but you probably still need to catch up with December 25th openings:


The dystopian thriller Children of Men is perhaps more scenario than plot, but it’s riveting. My review is here. My interview with director Alfonso CuarĂłn (who also directed A Little Princess, Y Tu Mamá TambiĂ©n, and the best Harry Potter) is up now too. (If you want to read the interview that hogged much of the time slotted for my interview with CuarĂłn, proceed to Sean Axmaker’s piece at Greencine. They actually turned out quite complementary—I stuck to themes and friends, Sean discusses camerawork and films of a comparable genre.)

And the review everyone loves to hate: The ever-witty Lindy West takes on Dreamgirls. Devour with a side course of David Schmader.

Other new and recent openings: Christopher Frizzelle on the forgettable The Painted Veil, Michael Atkinson on the bucolic Sweet Land, and me on competing Goods: Robert De Niro’s dull CIA epic The Good Shepherd and Steven Soderbergh’s fun imitation-’40s drama The Good German.


Film Shorts this week can be enjoyed two ways: The traditional listing format and our new beta-test Movie Times search. Either way, you’ll find capsule reviews of Bonjour Tristesse, Linda Linda Linda, Serenity, and more.

(For old-school Movie Times, complete with the matinee info we haven’t quite figured out the best way to present on the new site, click here.)

Teenage Symphony

posted by on December 29 at 4:00 PM

It’s Friday. Dig this, groovies.

Commenters of the World Unite

posted by on December 29 at 3:36 PM

There’s seems to be a Slog mixer taking shape in this comments thread.

Today In Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 29 at 3:31 PM


Schoolyard Heroes, the Divorce, Kane Hodder, Sirens Sister
(Badass Rock Show) I regret that the liquor board is proposing new amendments to liquor licensing that would ban anyone under 21 from being in a live-music venue that also serves alcohol. Well tonight’s all-ages show is the perfect backdrop for screaming a proverbial “fuck you!” to the proposed changes, with four stellar all-ages-supporting acts gracing the stage at an all-ages-supporting bar. So celebrate, dance, and pump your fists in the air in defiance of the fight to come. (El CorazĂłn, 109 Eastlake Ave E, 381-3094. 7:30 pm, $12, all ages.) MEGAN SELING


posted by on December 29 at 3:28 PM


Polls close in 90 minutes! Vote squirrel!

Slog will be making a speech at Cowgirls Inc. today at 5:30 PM, one half hour after polls close at CHS. Cupcakes will be served.

Vote Squirrel?

posted by on December 29 at 3:14 PM

Found on the pole outside our office:

I’m not so sure about voting for Squirrel anymore. In fact, a rodent that can use a photocopier is a bit terrifying to me.

Bye-Bye, Saddam

posted by on December 29 at 3:04 PM

News outlets are reporting that Saddam Hussein will be hanged in Iraq tonight or tomorrow. The entire event, according to the Iraqi national security advisor, will be videotaped, but it’s unclear whether it will be shown on Iraqi TV. I’m sure it’ll be on YouTube within hours, however, for those who want to watch the ex-Iraqi dictator swing from the gallows.

Hang Him

posted by on December 29 at 3:03 PM

When you wake up tomorrow, this man will be dead.

Re: Women Quit Your Bitchin’, Get Back in the Kitchen

posted by on December 29 at 2:45 PM

The funniest/saddest/most ridiculous thing about this study “proving” that housework “cuts the risk of breast cancer” by 20 to 30 percent: The researchers’ actual conclusion, buried in the 12th paragraph of this BBC story, was that “moderate physical activity” of any kind—walking, riding a bike, masturbating—reduces the risk of breast cancer. So what did the BBC and other media focus on? What else—domestic servitude.

Update: Surprise! A study with similar conclusions was spun the exact same way in 2004. (Via Our Bodies Our Blog).

Women: Quit Your Bitchin’, Get Back in the Kitchen. Because Science Says So.

posted by on December 29 at 2:25 PM

From Medical News Today: “Cooking, Cleaning And Washing Helps You Ward Off Breast Cancer.”

The worst thing about this study isn’t the shitstorm it’s going to kick up or the ways it’s going to be abused by paleolithic fuckwads (the kind who always ignore The Science until it hands them ammo for their 12th-century opinions).

All I can think about are the hacky jokes by awful comedians that will inevitably follow. Can we get a gag order for Adam Carolla on this one? Actually, can we just get a gag order for Adam Corolla in perpetuity?


posted by on December 29 at 2:22 PM


Vote squirrel!

Success Is Ours!

posted by on December 29 at 12:56 PM

George W. Bush hasn’t failed to capture Osama—that’s just “a success that hasn’t occurred yet,” according to an administration official.

Success That Hasn’t Occurred Yet isn’t just for Bush apologists—hey, it’s game we all can play!

The Cubs haven’t failed to win the World Series for decades—that’s just a success that hasn’t occurred yet.

I haven’t failed to sleep with Brad Pitt—that’s just a success that hasn’t occurred yet.

Jesus Christ hasn’t failed to turn Ted Haggard straight—that’s just a miracle that hasn’t occurred yet.

Got a Success That Hasn’t Occurred Yet of your own?

Preview the New Stranger Website

posted by on December 29 at 12:45 PM

Moved this post up. Please take a look around our redesign and tell us what you think if you haven’t yet.


We’re just about ready to roll out a redesigned Stranger website, and we’d like you to take a look at it.

Go to
username: preview
password: preview

It’s still a work in progress, but we’re excited to hear what you think. Send feedback, problems, and ideas large and small to

The preview site is slower than our normal site for various technical reasons; please be patient with it.

Not Enough Brown; More Than Enough Ford

posted by on December 29 at 12:25 PM

Gerald Ford means nothing to America. He contributed jack to the culture. He is the emptiness that came; and emptiness that went. With or without him, we would still be the same America. This can not be said about the Soul Brother Number One.
James+Brown.jpg But the way the newspapers in America are going on about Ford, you’d think he actually gave birth to something that has now become crucial to how we feel and think as Americans. But the way he is now is the way he was back then: a vacuum! The story of his life should have been nothing more than a news brief, and the main of the media’s attention should have been lavished on the real importance, the real substance, an actual 20th century hero, James Brown. But the white press just couldn’t do it. These whites who listen to Brown everyday of their fucking lives, dance to his songs at their fucking weddings—and never had Ford enter their fucking thoughts until the hour he kicked the fucking bucket—they gave their big space to an absolute zero. Why? Because he is white and nothing else. Damn you all.

Payday Loans

posted by on December 29 at 12:15 PM

Newbie Stranger news writer Angela Valdez has a story this week on the latest PR move by Renton-based payday loans company MoneyTree. The new PR strategy? Hire a prominent black political consultant, George Griffin, to help spin. (The payday industry, obviously, is under attack from minority activists and politicians who claim payday loans target poor blacks and Hispanics.)

I was out with my friend Marco last night, and he had an honorable liberal idea about dealing with the necessity of payday loans. He thought local government should take over the industry by contracting out with a local bank to give loans—using city credit to underwrite the loan. His impulse was similar to the notion that government should legalize prostitution and drugs and manage those industries.

His thinking (I had had 3 whiskeys by then) went something like this: Banks obviously, don’t give loans for rent and groceries. And certainly don’t give loans like that to low-income people with shaky credit. But people do need to borrow money in those situations. Which is why MoneyTree is thriving with its 400% APR. The city could cap the interest rate at something reasonable, 10%, have eligibility requirements (requirements that would cater to low-income people with credit problems and prevent those who weren’t really in need from tapping the program), and simultaneously connect the borrowers with social service programs (like money management classes) that may suss out or address the root cause of the borrower’s desperate situation.

Obviously, co-opting the industry like this doesn’t hit the deeper inequities of racism and capitalism (this is what I said on three whiskeys, anyway), but it is a way to stop the harsh usury, provide for people in need, and perhaps help them in the long term.


posted by on December 29 at 11:50 AM


Vote for squirrels—or else!

How Green Is Your Mayor?

posted by on December 29 at 11:22 AM

Not very.

On the same day that…

A giant ice shelf… snapped free from an island south of the North Pole, scientists said Thursday, citing climate change as a “major” reason for the event. The Ayles Ice Shelf—all 41 square miles of it—broke clear 16 months ago from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 500 miles south of the North Pole in the Canadian Arctic.

“This is a dramatic and disturbing event. It shows that we are losing remarkable features of the Canadian North that have been in place for many thousands of years,” Vincent said. “We are crossing climate thresholds, and these may signal the onset of accelerated change ahead.”

This asshole was spotted using a greenhouse-gas-spewing leaf blower at 16th & Aloha…


Lip service isn’t going to reverse climate change, Greg. A “green” mayor he would do something about these dirty, noisy, unnecessary monstrosities. Ban ‘em, Greg.

P.S. Please note that there aren’t any leafs to blow at 16th & Aloha. Just… dust. Or something. Whatever it is this guy is getting off the sidewalk, a broom could do the job without drowning any fucking polar bears.

James Brown: Still Packing ‘Em in at the Apollo

posted by on December 29 at 11:07 AM


Last night I went to Harlem to see James Brown’s final appearance at the Apollo Theater, where the body of the Godfather of Soul/Edison of Rhythm/Babydaddy-Babymama-Funky Doula of Hiphop was laid out yesterday for a public viewing. I got there around 7:30 pm with my fella Jake, who took the photos above and below. When we arrived, only thirty minutes remained in the scheduled showing time (1-8pm). Still, there was a tremendous crowd—thousands of people—lined up along several long blocks hoping to get in.

As we strolled the six blocks to the end of the line, I tried to guess how the night would play out. Would James Brown—in death as in life—prove himself the hardest working man in showbiz and stay on the Apollo stage until every last fan was satisfied? Or was the 8pm deadline set in stone, and all those cops on hand were here to make sure the disappointed crowd dispersed peacefully?

Whatever the case, the crowd was fascinating—lots of families in fancy funeral dress, a rainbow of hipsters young and old, and numerous crusty old dudes reminiscing about James Brown b-sides. This guy walked along the line showing off his original vinyl pressing of Live at the Apollo signed by the man himself, and reciting a story about producing one of Brown’s NY shows in the ’70s.

Finally, we came upon someone addressing the crowd: James Brown’s sister, whose first name I didn’t catch, and who was working her way down the line, addressing groups of 50 or so at a time. The gist of her address: Due to another showing scheduled the next day in Georgia, the Apollo showing would indeed have to cease at 8:00 pm, leaving thousands of people standing on line for naught. “James loves every one of you,” she said with tears in her eyes. “The whole family is so grateful to you for coming out tonight.”

The crowd of addressees I heard answered back sweetly, calling out, “Don’t you worry about it” and “God bless you,” and I imagine she found similarly sympathetic audiences as she worked her way down the line. As we left, I bought a bootleg DVD of “James Brown’s Greatest TV Performances” from one of the many vendors lining the streets. I haven’t watched it yet.

As for the man of the hour (fuck you, Gerald Ford): He’s a giant, he knew it, and he had an awesome life. RIP James Brown.

A Little More Morning News

posted by on December 29 at 10:50 AM

King County Journal to Stop Publishing Jan. 21.

The Best Songs of 1996!

posted by on December 29 at 10:32 AM

Screw 2006! Here are the most awesomest 10 songs of 1996 (with video evidence, of course).

1) Spice Girls— Wannabe

2) Smashing Pumpkins—Tonight, Tonight

Even more 1996 deliciousness after the jump!

Continue reading "The Best Songs of 1996!" »

Re: My Jewish Problem

posted by on December 29 at 9:40 AM

Yesterday Christopher brought up the “hipster” anecdote from my recent story about Seattle’s Jewish Problem. He’s not the first. Ever since that story came out, all my friends (as well as several letter writers and one radio host) have been talking to me about this one particular section of the piece.

Christopher bolded some of the lines and words from the “hipster” section, in which I write about the awkwardness of being introduced as “the Jew” upon arrival at a party, and his boldings aren’t what I would have bolded for readers like him, readers who are my friends. Not that I can control such things, but here’s what I would have bolded for Christopher:

Sometimes, in the right room, in front of the right people, or with good friends, a certain amount of post-Jewish, post-anti-Semitic humor works. There is something liberating about being able to laugh at one’s own identity, especially in the presence of people who don’t share it. But the precondition for this is a shared understanding and respect for the identity that’s being mocked. In Seattle, that precondition is rarely met.

It’s rarely met because Seattle is not the Los Angeles suburbs of Christopher’s youth. Here in Seattle, Jews make up less than one percent of the population. In 1997 in Los Angeles, when Christopher was getting ready to graduate high school with all his Jewish friends, the number of Jews in Christopher’s geographic area was about equal to the entire population of Seattle. Which means that in Los Angeles, there were then (and are now) far more people likely to be ready for post-Jewish, post-anti-Semitic humor than there were (and are now) here in Seattle.

That’s what I was trying to say with the party anecdote.

Christopher is not the “hipster” I was talking about, and neither are any of my other friends who have asked, in different ways, whether they are now, or have ever been, that guy at the party. I’m sorry I didn’t make this more clear in that section, and I’m sorry to get all mushy on the Slog, but attention friends: You people are my friends precisely because you are not that guy at the party and don’t want to be, but are nevertheless willing to make fun of me—even, sometimes, to my face, about my being Jewish, not because you hate Jews, but because you love them enough to laugh fondly at them, and care enough to be careful when doing so.

Christopher brings up the mutability of the word “gay,” which he points out is similar to the word “Jew” in that it can easily morph from a term of derision into a term of endearment, and back again, depending upon the context and the speaker. Same with “fag,” “nigga,” and even, as one of his commenters points out, “chink.”

I don’t think this complicates the point I was trying to make, as Christopher suggests. Rather, I think it makes my point. The point is that context is paramount.

If Christopher were to find himself in a town where gay people made up less than one percent of the population (say, Cheyenne Wells, CO), and he was at some random party (meaning the chances of another homosexual being at this party are less than one percent), Christopher would be unlikely to greet the next party entrant with a hearty “Hey, Faggot!” and he’d be a fool to assume that this statement would be absorbed by everyone around him as some ironic, post-gay comment on the silliness of homophobia and homosexuals alike.

At times, Seattle gatherings can be to Jews what most gatherings in Cheyenne Wells are to gays: Events where the chances of being completely understood by everyone in the room are slim, and therefore events where identity-mocking is going to be problematic, whether well-intended or not, whether well-executed or not.

This is not true at all gatherings in Seattle. This is true at some gatherings in Seattle. Don’t ask me when exactly this is true and when this isn’t true. That’s not my job to figure out. It’s yours.

Back to my vacation. Party on.

And yes, Jewish dudes are super hot.

Morning News

posted by on December 29 at 9:38 AM

Gag! Cloned meat approved by FDA.

The shape of cataclysms to come: Ice mass breaks free from Canada.

Let boring campaign coverage begin: John Edwards throws down.

Let the desperate recruitment efforts begin: Bush ponders 20,000 more troops.

A nation mourns
: Interestingly, the BBC gives better play to Brown than to Ford, who will get five days of national attention here.

Looting begins: As Ethiopians tanks roll into Mogadishu.

Sometimes, things get better: Domestic violence rates dropping.


posted by on December 29 at 9:15 AM


After a contentious meeting late last night in, yes, a smoke-filled room (pot smoke, so it was legal), the authors of Slog have decided to throw our support to SQUIRREL! Squirrels were here on Capitol Hill long before Slog—hell, long before people were—and they’ll be here long after we’re dead and gone. If anyone deserves to win this election, it’s squirrel.

Click here to VOTE SQUIRREL!!!

The vote is currently tied—50/50, Slog/Squirrel. We can only have ties in soccer and, uh, Iraq (“We’re not winning but we’re not losing”), but not elections. A tie could throw this to the House—if you don’t want the likes of San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi or Taxachusetts’ Barney Frank making this decision for us, go vote squirrel!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Late Night News

posted by on December 28 at 9:44 PM

The greatest hoax ever put over on mankind just got hoaxier

Ancient ice shelf snaps and breaks free from the Canadian Arctic STEVE LILLEBUEN (CP) - A giant ice shelf the size of 11,000 football fields has snapped free from Canada’s Arctic, leaving a trail of icy boulders floating in its wake.

The mass of ice broke clear from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 800 kilometres south of the North Pole. Warwick Vincent of Laval University, who studies Arctic conditions, travelled to the newly formed ice island and couldn’t believe what he saw. “It was extraordinary,” Vincent said Thursday, adding that in 10 years of working in the region he has never seen such a dramatic loss of sea ice.

“This is a piece of Canadian geography that no longer exists.”

Dems may lose the Senate yet

Sen. Tim Johnson turned 60 on Thursday, two weeks after emergency surgery to repair a brain hemorrhage that has left him in critical condition.

Julianne Fisher, a spokeswoman for the South Dakota Democrat, said Johnson won’t be present in the first days of the new Congress next week but is continuing to improve. She said he is responsive to directions from his wife but has not yet spoken.

It’s too early to tell how long recovery will take, Fisher said.

Gerald Goddamned Ford—maybe not such a bad dude after all

In his later years, President Gerald Ford accepted an invitation to join the Republican Unity Coalition. The coalition advocated the support for gay issues within the Republican party. He is the only past or current U.S. president to join any such organization that advocates on the behalf of gay equality.

Comments Box

posted by on December 28 at 5:20 PM

We’ve got all sorts of fancy graphs and charts here at the office that show what a great year it’s been for Slog: Increasing page views, unique visits—all that year-over-year quarterly report stuff. So, thank you for hanging out here in 2006.

However, I pressed for a stat today so I could post a thank you note to the sloggiest of Slog like: Mr. X, Violet_Dagrinder, COMTE, GiantLadySquirrels, Gomez, FNARF, Jensen Interceptor, Matt from Denver, FNARF, Mike in MO, GOLOB, Sean, Some Jerk, SoupyTwist, SDA in SEA, Napolean XIV, Elswinger, FNARF—and all of yous all who have posted comments this year.

I know I left a lot of other regulars, occasional commenters, ECB “fans,” mayoral staff commenting under fake names—Howdy, StrangerDanger!—and Seattle Weekly trolls off that quick list, but thank all you guys too.

Thank you for the 83,049 comments you posted in 2006. I know 83,000 of those were malicious slights against me and my colleagues— and the other 49 were spam, but thanks for playing. We’re having fun on our end too.

Here’s to figuring it all out and coming to some sort of understanding in 2007.

Oh, and now is the time to come clean: If all the alter egos would please identify themselves please.

Matzoh Momma

posted by on December 28 at 3:07 PM

For matzoh ball soup:

Roxy’s Diner

Leah’s Bakery and Cafe

and, presumably, Matzoh Momma Catering, 2226 13th Ave. E., 324-6262. They aren’t answering their phone at the moment, but they must be related to the late, great Matzoh Momma’s deli that was on 15th Avenue, I think in the Hopvine space, back in the day.

UPDATE, per a reader: also Eats Market Cafe in West Seattle.

Still Tacoma

posted by on December 28 at 2:21 PM

Early this morning, for the sake of impressing Jen Graves, I resolved to write at least one nice thing about Tacoma by the end of the day. I decided that this act of kindness would take the form of praise for its relatively new convention center, Tacoma Convention and Trade Center, which was designed by the Bellevue-based MulvannyG2 Architecture, a firm that’s receiving a lot of work from China.

I looked and looked at the building but failed to find anything about it that moved me. All that seems to be there, all that I could see, is a building trying too hard not to be Tacoma. It keeps saying (no, yelling) this: If you thought Tacoma was about old buildings and its faded history, then look at me—I’m a slick future of sensual steel and glass… But let me stop right there. I shouldn’t say something bad about Tacoma on the very day that I resolved to do the opposite.

My Jewish Problem

posted by on December 28 at 2:06 PM

Finally had a chance to read Eli’s fascinating feature about the history of Jews in Seattle. There is a lot of history in the piece—and there are some great historical photos—but the section that jumped out at me is the one where Eli describes what it’s like to be Jewish among friends who mostly aren’t, to go to parties and be “the Jew”:

I do frequently find myself in social situations where people say amazingly stupid things about me, or Jews in general. Often, I chalk it up to them never having known a Jew. But at times it can seem an almost willful ignorance, one that makes me wonder whether, at the root of this ignorance, there is some anti-Semitic disinterest, or perhaps disdain.

Lately, as Seattle becomes more sophisticated, and people here travel to and from bigger cities, where they learn that all the cool kids in the really big cities tend to be down with the Jews, I’ve been presented with a new type of awkward encounter. This one involves the Seattle hipster who wants to prove that he’s so down with the Jews that he’s able to make harsh fun of them, to their faces, in front of his friends. This is, of course, a variation on the white guy who wants to publicly call his black friend “my nigga,” and sometimes, in the right room, in front of the right people, or with good friends, a certain amount of post-Jewish, post-anti-Semitic humor works. There is something liberating about being able to laugh at one’s own identity, especially in the presence of people who don’t share it. But the precondition for this is a shared understanding and respect for the identity that’s being mocked. In Seattle, that precondition is rarely met. More often, I experience what happened to me at a party the other weekend: I walked up to the back stoop, where people were outside smoking, and a young hipster friend announced to the rest of the gathering that “the Jew” had arrived. Since it’s not safe to assume any random gathering in Seattle is ready for post-anything jokes, all eyes turned to me, and I was expected to provide a cue, to either get upset or laugh, so that the rest of the gathering would know whether to be silently outraged (as is the Seattle way) or ironically amused (as is the Seattle hipster way).

I like to say nothing in these types of situations, and instead just stare at the eager-to-be-down hipster, trying to achieve an expression that can be interpreted as either annoyance or diffidence, one that lets everyone marinate in the real issue: Their own clumsiness at dealing with Seattle’s Jewish problem.

This section jumped out at me because I have been the other person in this scenario, the person who says cavalier things that could be interpreted as offensive. Eli’s point is well taken—what is he supposed to feel or say?—but his take on this ironic hipster character, this guy who’s eager to prove that he’s down with the Jews, misses something: Some people are very down with the Jews.

I didn’t grow up in Seattle, I grew up in the suburbs of LA. (Eli writes that the Jewish population in 1997 in LA is equal to the entire population of Seattle. Sounds about right.) As a kid, most of my peers were Jewish. I went to public schools, but the town was so heavily Jewish that Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur were official school holidays. Which was awesome—a couple days off right at the beginning of the school year, although I had to entertain myself, since all my friends were at synagogue. My best friend from third to eighth grade, Marc, was Jewish. He introduced me to Mad magazine, had a stereo before I did, had a Gameboy before I did, and had a Bar Mitzvah (a religious service followed by a big reception that Jewish kids get on their 13th birthday) with a make-your-own-sundae buffet. My best friend in ninth and tenth grades, Melissa, was a Jewish girl whose mother, maiden name Cohen, played the piano nonstop, made epic dinners, and treated me like I was part of their family. The Cohens, the Kauffmans, the Birnbaums, the Clebanoffs, the Weisels, dozens of others—all of these families were friends of our family, and better in every way than the Frizzelles, a goyish, fast-food-eating clan of culturally mishmashed derivation. One time we were going to a Bat Mitzvah (same as a Bar Mitzvah, but for a girl) and my mom bought a Bar Mitzvah card at the grocery store. Bar Mitzvah? What an idiot! My brothers and I made fun of her for not knowing the difference. The cool kids in my town didn’t “tend to be down” with the Jewish kids. They were the Jewish kids. My problem was that I wasn’t Jewish. I desperately wanted to be Jewish.

In other words, I’ve always thought of Jewish kids as the lucky ones. To my mind, being Jewish means being popular, being talented, being loved, being comfortable with yourself, having better holidays, eating better food, and growing up knowing your own cultural history in a way I never did. Because I loved my Jewish friends as much or more than my own family—because I was, to use Eli’s formulation, so down with the Jews—I lived in constant horror of the Holocaust. I thought about it all the time. I dreaded ovens. I had a recurring nightmare involving Adolf Hitler standing in front of a chalkboard. In the only acting class I ever took, I chose a scene from The Diary of Anne Frank. My education about the Holocaust involved me imagining all my best friends—almost all the people I knew—being murdered. I am proof that there are some people who live in Seattle who aren’t Jewish but who do have a rich appreciation (or a richer appreciation than you’d expect) of matters Jewish.

Granted, I don’t know what it would feel like to have grandparents who escaped Europe. But I am not dead inside. In the letters to the editor this week, someone writes to Eli: “As far as the hipster at that party who used your entrance in the room to announce that ‘the Jew’ had arrived: Fuck hipsters and their stupid irono-sarcastic humor. Rest assured that they’re dead inside, and stop being their friend.” As someone who has been construed as a hipster before, and someone who definitely has a stupid irono-sarcastic sense of humor, I just want to point out that the conclusion that this hipster is “dead inside” is shallow and possibly a misread, because I have referred to people as Jews to their face, including Eli I think, and for me it’s a term of fondness—even a little veneration—that’s backed with disdain for anyone who’d use it with the opposite purpose in mind. And certainly people have used it with the opposite purpose in mind. The word “gay” is the same way. Some use it to denigrate gay people, while others, like my best friend, will say things to me like, “Oh, you gays,” as a term of affection, knowing full well that it wouldn’t be a term of affection coming from most people.

And on the subject of Jews and gays, let it be said (is this offensive?): Jewish boys are freakin’ hot, second only to South American soccer players. I am in love with all the guys in the pictures Eli found of old Jewish Seattle. I am in love with a letter-to-the-editor writer this week I don’t even know, Jonathan Fine, because of his name (of course) but also simply because he’s gay and Jewish. Hey Savage, is this a fetish? My formative years were spent around Jewish boys. (Confidential to Eli: What happened to the sidebar that was going to go with your article? The one we talked about in editorial meetings? The one about how Jewish guys are freakin’ hot? I know Erica C. Barnett is with me on this.)

Finally, I ask you (because help in this matter was nowhere to be found in Eli’s article): Where the hell can a person get a decent bowl of matzoh ball soup in the 206 area code? I haven’t had a decent bowl of matzoh ball soup since I was 17 years old.

Today In Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 28 at 1:18 PM

Picture 2.jpg

Jan Brueghel the Younger (Art) Go into EMP but head straight for DoubleTake: From Monet to Lichtenstein. Pick one painting to focus on, and bond, because who knows how long it will be before you get to see it again—this is Paul Allen’s private collection, and the show closes Monday, January 1. I recommend Jan Brueghel the Younger’s trompe l’oeil painting of paintings, a circa 1625 portrait of a great cavernous hall dripping with painted and framed scenes leaning, hanging, and stacked absolutely everywhere. Venus and Cupid are hanging out in the center of the room and talking, looking for all the world like a couple of naked critics. (Experience Music Project, 325 Fifth Ave N, 367-5483. 10 am—8 pm, $8.) JEN GRAVES

Tappy Feet

posted by on December 28 at 1:02 PM

When I wrote the following regrets item for Charles, I was kidding.

Stranger Film Editor Annie Wagner regrets that Charles Mudede, an associate editor at The Stranger, was out of town the morning that Happy Feet screened, because a movie about a tap-dancing penguin with a white body and a partially black face named Mumble, of all things, was ripe for a theory-laden review exploring the history of blackface minstrelsy as popular entertainment and the parallels between this particular penguin and Master Juba, the 19th-century inventor of tap who once danced for Mr. Mudede’s second favorite writer after Vladimir Nabokov, Charles Dickens.

Mostly. But the New York Times is taking this issue seriously, if obliquely:

Maybe a proper credit for [tap dancer Savion] Glover just slipped everybody’s minds, including Mr. Glover’s. Maybe dance, even in a film whose entire plot hinges on dance, is so far from the concerns of most people that Mr. Glover’s credit escaped everyone’s attention. But that omission seems especially worrisome when the dance being slighted is deeply rooted in the black American tradition.

Slog Is Tied with a Motherfucking Rodent!?

posted by on December 28 at 11:44 AM

Please vote for Slog right now. Because squirrels are terrifying! 28.jpg

Local Control

posted by on December 28 at 11:30 AM

City Council Member Jan Drago, chair of the council’s transportation committee, sent out a letter on the viaduct today. She dismisses the Governor’s call for a public vote between the elevated rebuild and the tunnel and reiterates her support for the tunnel.

Last September, the City Council vetoed the elevated rebuild option by voting 7-1 in favor of the tunnel—with the boulevard/transit option as the city’s back-up plan.

Here’s Drago’s letter.

December 28, 2006

Dear Friend,

I want to thank you for contacting my office regarding the Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall Project. We have received hundreds of e-mails, letters and phone calls representing every point of view on this issue and stirring incredible debates. I truly appreciate everyone who took the time to contact me. I would like to quickly review the progress of the project and update you on where things currently stand.

There is no disagreement that the viaduct needs to be replaced. The question is how and with what option. Since 2001, the City has been working with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) to determine what alternative should be selected to replace the aging and deteriorating viaduct. After many briefings, meetings, and long discussions, the Council voted in January of 2005 to select a tunnel alternative as the preferred alternative.

During the 2006 Legislative Session, the Legislature did two things regarding the Viaduct project:
it directed the governor to convene an expert review panel to look at the feasibility of the financing and implementation plans, and it delegated authority to the City legislative body (City Council) either to adopt by ordinance a preferred alternative for the Alaskan Way Viaduct or to place the selection on an advisory ballot to the voters of the City of Seattle.

On September 1, 2006 the Expert Review Panel (ERP) released its report which stated that the finances were sound and reasonable for the cut-and-cover tunnel. The ERP accepted the project’s funding assumptions as reasonable and stated there were no fatal flaws in the cost estimate. Following the release of ERP’s report the Council voted to select a tunnel as the preferred alternative. We also noted that if it is determined that a tunnel is not feasible, then we would begin to look at a surface + transit option. This decision was forwarded on to the Governor for her review and final decision.

On Friday December 15, the Governor released findings on both the Alaskan Way Viaduct and SR 520 projects. She stated in opposition to her Expert Review Panel that the finance plan for a Tunnel Alternative was not feasible and sufficient. The Governor stated her preference for a “cut and cover” tunnel as she shares the belief that there is a value to the community and environment. She also believes that an elevated structure has problems of its own.

Instead of making a final decision the Governor is sending the issue back to the citizens of Seattle asking them to select an alternative through an advisory ballot measure. The Governor would like this vote to occur in the spring of 2007.

I was surprised and disappointed by the Governor’s decision. It is one thing if the advisory vote is clear and decisive, however a close vote on a complicated issue may create more problems than it solves. Advisory ballot votes on the monorail project did not determine its fate. The project was canceled after four votes endorsing it. In addition, holding a special election by spring as requested by the Governor will cost Seattle taxpayers roughly $1 million.

My position has not changed. I believe that we have the ability to move forward with a tunnel plan at this time. We have heard from the Expert Review Panel that the financing plan is feasible and that delay is not our friend. We need to move forward with a tunnel alternative.

The Council is preparing to move forward. A decision to hold a special election in March must be made no later than January 19, 2007.

I appreciate your active interest in this project and look forward to hearing your thoughts as we proceed.


Jan Drago, Chair
Transportation Committee
Seattle City Council

Footnote: It’s true that at her December 15 press conference, Gov. Gregoire expressed her preference for the cut and cover tunnel. Although she endorsed the tunnel with a hefty caveat: “This would be an easy decision for me if cost was not a factor…” She goes on to say the tunnel option is consistent with the city’s goals, but then adds: “But cost is a factor I have to consider…The finance plan for the tunnel as described in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is not feasible and sufficient to complete the project.” In the same statement, Gregoire described the elevated rebuild option as “feasible and sufficient.” Gregoire took the surface option and the retrofit off the table.

So, Gregoire wants a vote between two options: An imaginary one and the elevated rebuild.

Given that a vote between an imaginary option and a feasible option seems like a rigged vote, I think Drago’s acid letter is a laudable response to Gregoire… as in: “Yeah, thanks Chris, we’ll take that into consideration.”

After Saddam

posted by on December 28 at 11:07 AM


Who we should hang after we hang Saddam Hussein?


Saddam Hussein found guilty of executing fewer than 200 men and boys after an assassination attempt was made on the dictator’s life near the village where these unfortunate men and boys lived. They weren’t guilty of any wrongdoing—but that didn’t stop Hussein from having these men and boys rounded up, tortured, and executed. Saddam was sending a message to all of Iraq:

“Don’t want fuck with me, people, because that’s going to make me mad and when I’m mad I fucking kill people—yes, even people that had nothing to do with whatever it was that made me mad in the first place. So not only should you avoid pissing me off, you need to keep an eye on your friends, neighbors, and fellow citizens to make sure they don’t piss me off. Because if they do, then a bunch of folks are gonna die—and that might include you and your whole family.”

Saddam’s crime was a horrific—it’s the same crime that got hundreds of Nazis strung up after WWII. When a despot or an occupying power or a rebel army tortures and kills innocent people to send a message to, say, the population of occupied France or Kosovo or Iraq, that’s what known as reprisal killings, and that’s a war crime. And it mystifies me that American fundamentalists constantly accusing Jesus Christ—the Lamb of God, the Prince of Peace, the Savior of All Mankind, etc.—of engaging in reprisal killings and summary executions on a scale that would make a genocidal maniac like Hussein blush.

Remember last December’s Asian Tsunami? How do we account for such suffering? Children ripped from the arms of weeping parents, wives drowned before the eyes of their helpless husbands, entire villages washed away, supermodels stranded in trees? The American Taliban rushed on to cable news programs to explain it all for us: God was angry about the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts. So God tortured and executed a quarter of a million people on the other side of the planet.

And remember Katrina? Remember this image:


The American Taliban told us that God sent a Giant Killer Fetus in the form of a hurricane to send a message to the United States about our tolerance of abortion and to New Orleans about its tolerance of “Southern Decadence,” a gay party that takes place in the French Quarter every year. But the Giant Killer Fetus didn’t inundate abortion clinics or drown Planned Parenthood counselors or pro-choice Democrats. Nope, the Giant Killer Fetus sent by God to punish us for choice and circuit parties drowned helpless little old ladies in nursing homes and small black children in attics. America’s abortion clinics survived unscathed—as did the entire French Quarter, home to Southern Decadence and all of New Orlean’s gay bars.

Likewise the Northridge Earthquake in 1994. Pat Robertson said it was an expression of God’s anger at the American porn industry, which is located near that quakes epicenter. Dozens of people died—not one was a porn star, director, or producer. And 9/11? God was angry at the feminists, abortionists, and gays—so he rounded up, tortured, and killed 3,000 people. Some were probably feminists and there were definitely gay people on the planes and maybe there was an abortion service provider on one of those planes or in the Pentagon (?) or an office in the World Trade Center. But the overwhelming majority—thousands of people—were “innocent” of those crimes.

Yet the very same people who tell us that God expresses his displeasure with the behavior of some by sending hurricanes and tsunamis to execute innocent people also tell us that God is all-seeing, all-knowing, and all-powerful. It seems to me that an ASAKSP God could easily drown abortion doctors and male go-go dancers if that’s what he wanted to do. But he doesn’t do that. He executes innocent people—just like Saddam did. God’s fans here on earth tell us again and again that He tortures and murders innocent people to send a message to the entire population about abortion or gays or prayer in the schools. Which makes God a war criminal. The Prince of Peace is the moral equal of a Saddam Hussein or an Adolph Hitler or a Slobodan Milosevic or a Pol Pot.

So after we hang Saddam I propose we convene an international tribunal, put God on trial, take testimony from his most ardent supporters—first up, Pat Robertson—and then hang God’s murderous, tyrannical ass before he kills again.

He’s a mean one, Mr. MoneyTree

posted by on December 28 at 10:53 AM

I have a story in this week’s paper about efforts by payday lenders to court minority communities by hiring black and Latino spokesmen and spreading money to nonprofits like the Urban League and El Centro de la Raza. The story mostly focuses on George Griffin, a black political consultant who’s been hired by MoneyTree, a Renton-based lender. But the company’s CEO, Dennis Bassford, shouldn’t go unnoticed. I interviewed Bassford and Griffin together at the First Hill MoneyTree. I describe in the story how Bassford lurched over the desk between us to yell at me, getting inches from my face and schooling me about the ideas that had been implanted in my head. Griffin calmed things down momentarily. But, and this didn’t fit in the story, Bassford kept escalating. He implied that I shouldn’t ask certain questions. He rolled his eyes. He interrupted. Finally, I lurched over the desk and hollered at Bassford. “It’s hard to think like this, isn’t it?” It was a little silly, but it did the trick. Old Sparky calmed down and we had ourselves a nice interview.

I think it had been a hard week for the CEO. The day before, he’d received the Grinch of the Year award from Jobs with Justice. He has to share the award with Al Moscatel of 13 Coins.

Good Morning, Gossip!

posted by on December 28 at 10:05 AM

I Love Strippers,” yelps Lindsay Lohan after a party-hearty night at NYC titty bar Scores West, where she hopped up on stage before 400 onlookers and worked that pole like a gay fireman.

Shed a tear for poor pill-popper O.J. Simpson who is allegedly addicted to OxyContin, after his dispicable book (“If I’d Did It”) and special were shelved. Sources say he “has plummeted into a hellhole of heavy boozing, drug abuse and insane jealousy.” Don’t hurt our feelings and overdose, now!

After one disturbing gossip report too many, longtime Britney Spears fansite creator ( is calling it quits. “No matter what anyone thinks, it’s very hard to maintain the respect needed to keep [this website] going.” That’s too bad… will you change your mind if she shows you her vagina?

Remember last week, when all those naughty pictures of Miss Nevada surfaced, and she called her booby-licking adventures an “isolated incident?” Well, more pictures have been found. But this time it was the boob that attacked her tongue!

Miss Nevada_2.jpg

Mountain Madness

posted by on December 28 at 9:04 AM

It’s not good news. From the NYT:

A body believed to be that of one of two American climbers missing in China for more than a month has been found high on a 20,354-foot peak in an isolated part of Sichuan Province, searchers said Wednesday. The search continued for the second climber, who is also presumed to have perished.

The missing climbers, Christine Boskoff, 39, and Charlie Fowler, 52, are elite mountaineers who have reached the summit of many of the world’s highest peaks, including Mount Everest. People in the United States last heard from them Nov. 8….

“It was a leg that was protruding through the snow,” Mr. Jones said. “The ID is only that it is a gray boot, a blue gaiter and modern mountaineering equipment.” A gaiter is worn over a climber’s upper boot and lower leg.

He said that searchers felt certain the body they had found was one of the missing American climbers because of the equipment with the body and because monks in a monastery a few thousand feet below had reported meeting the climbers on Nov. 12.

“At that point they indicated they would be coming back to the monastery in about four days and, of course, they didn’t,” Mr. Jones said.

Morning News

posted by on December 28 at 8:00 AM

More moolah!: What it may take to attract a decent schools chief.

No-good, lazy-ass, absentee mother: At the Woodland Park Zoo.

Endangered: Polar bears may soon be listed as such.

Spooky: Islamists evaporate in Somalia.

Greedy bastard: Ohio Guv fails to report thousands in gifts.

Ballsy: Brits go after food makers on labeling unhealthy products.

Ballsy II:
Oregon’s Republican Senator, Gordon Smith, bashes Bush Iraq policy.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Oh, That’s Why We’re Getting So Much Mail About Paul Constant’s Piece on Gerald Ford…

posted by on December 27 at 6:17 PM


Click here to see larger version. Best letter so far…

Dear Editor, Nothing could be more strange than your article on Gerald Ford. Now, bend over, stick your head up your butt (where it usually is so this should be easy), and come out looking at the world through your belly button. Now, that should feel about right. Grow up. Get a real job. Where were you when men were drafted? Rob

Where was Paul Constant when men were drafted? In utero.

Letter of the Day

posted by on December 27 at 5:04 PM

Dear Ass Holes,

Your headline for today’s article about Gerald Ford is disgusting. Regardless of your opinion of President Ford, it is extremely sickening of you to insult not only President Ford but also God in order to show your hatred. May you reap what you sow, ass holes.

David Steber
Floyd, Virginia, USA
P.S. Fuck You

You can read the headline—and the piece by Paul Constant—that upset David Steber so sincerely by clicking here.

Silent Star Wars

posted by on December 27 at 4:22 PM

For my fellow dorks:

Get Your Inland Empire Now

posted by on December 27 at 3:37 PM

Inland Empire, the latest effluvia from David Lynch’s heated imagination, is a 172-minute opus that has been screening in New York City for several weeks. I’m rather skeptical of Lynch’s later, post-transcendental-meditation oeuvre, but Manohla Dargis’s starry-eyed review has me at least intrigued.


Lynch is self-distributing the movie, and prospects for a longer run in Seattle are not certain. But there will be two screenings at Cinerama on Wednesday, January 17 at 7:30 and midnight (Q&A w/ David Lynch after the first screening only). Get your tickets now in person at Scarecrow Video or through Seattle Art Museum’s box office at 654-3121 starting tomorrow. We’ll have a review in the issue of the 11th, but there’s no guarantee tickets will last that long.

Other events with David Lynch include a DVD signing (a prerelease of a shorts compilation entitled Dynamic 01) at Scarecrow on Wednesday January 17 from noon to 2 pm; and a lecture/reading at Town Hall on Tuesday the 16th at 7:30 pm.

Locke Vs. Ceis for Port Job?

posted by on December 27 at 2:22 PM

The rumor mill has long placed Seattle deputy mayor Tim Ceis as a lead candidate to replace outgoing Port of Seattle CEO, Mic Dinsmore.

The new rumor is that Ceis’s competition for the gig is fomer Governor Gary Locke. Locke currently works at Davis Wright Tremaine, where he’s evidently bored to be out of the political mix.

I’ve got a call into Locke’s office to see if he’s going for the Port of Seattle job.

UPDATE: Locke’s secretary at Davis Wright Tremaine said Locke is out of town, and won’t be back until next week to comment. A source at the Port, well-placed and close to the hiring process, wouldn’t comment on the rumor, but certainly didn’t dispute it.

Oxy Moron

posted by on December 27 at 2:10 PM

Today’s PI has an article about the potential that newly-empowered Democratic Congress members, like Sen. Patty Murray, have for bringing more money to Seattle and Washington state.

Mr. $3.6 billion to $5.5 billion tunnel, Mayor Nickels, is on that train. The PI writes:

Nickels didn’t waste time. He came to Washington, D.C., soon after the election to talk to lawmakers and administration officials about replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct, climate change and broader use of pollution credits.

So, Nickels wants to build a freeway through downtown to accomodate 140,000 vehicles a day (currently the the viaduct serves about 110,000 vehicles a day) rather than pushing for the estimated $2 billion to $2.7 billion boulevard/transit option. (The bolevard/transit option would bring auto traffic down to about 80,000 vehicles—while creating a pedestrian-oriented neighborhood downtown.)

Well then, I guess it’s a good thing that the second two items on Mayor Freeway Through Downtown’s agenda were climate change and pollution credits!

Blah. What a hypocrite.

The New Universalism

posted by on December 27 at 1:57 PM

This comment by Johnny was made for my post on the expanding war in East Africa:

howabouts, we stop our little experiment in proxy imperialism and allow the people of east africa and the rest of the world to determine their own lives and governments? That’d be novel.

The popularity of this view of things must have something to do with the fact that its intellectual content is terribly weak. It’s the kind of relativism that thinks it’s special/novel but is in fact just bone lazy. It’s postmodernism without effort, without muscles. And even postmodernism with an effort is not much at all, as the work of Fredric Jameson makes evident. Jameson (who aspires to a universalism, but his takes the form of a Marxist nostalgia) thinks big but nothing really moves. His most important idea, cognitive mapping, ends just where it starts to get interesting, where it needs to make a final push toward a new universalism, one that processes the actual state of the world, the vast and varying conditions of humanity. We can not be relativists. Nor can we afford to believe there is no such thing as progress, historical progress, scientific progress. We must find the energy to imagine, and apply to the world of many things, a total system that is not inflexible, that does not convert green life into the fixed gray of thought. The new universalism must be agile, global, and, in the last instance, committed to humanist principles.

(Two quick mid-notes: One, it’s easy to imagine global capitalism, but global humanism seems impossible—the source of this failure will certainly be found in the structure of the idealogical apparatus that maintains the power of capitalism. Two, the anti-humanism that springs from Nietzsche, and is finalized by Foucault, must, as a project, be abandoned. We need humanism because we are nothing but humans. Society has no other purpose than improving the living conditions of humans—if we care about the environment, it is because humans live in the environment; if we care about the stars, it is because humans are made by the stuff of dead stars. What is wrong is that which harms the welfare of humans as a whole; what it is good is that which enhances the welfare of humans as a whole: that is the bottom function of the law, anything else is a corruption of this first and final fact.)

Hegel is the grandfather of this human project, but his universalism, shaped by his extermely limited historical narrative of human consciousness (the dawn: China; the noon: Greece; the dusk: Germany), is nowhere near wide or complex enough. His historical concept is nothing more than a toy to us. His successor, Marx, was bold enough to provide humanity with a historical machine, but what we really need today is a historical search engine that does two amazing things: integrates, totalizes a wider area of human experience and history and, in the process, removes the halo from reason—in much the same way Baudelaire removed the halo from the poet in the 19th century. Reason must make its return without the glow of Hegel’s giest, nor the specter of class struggle, as Marx, and Vico before him, envisioned it. It is a reason that takes flight at dawn and sees the expanding reality of global humanism. The thinker closest to this new perspective is Mike Davis, particularly in his latest book Planet of the Slums. What he does for the slums of the world must be done for every area of human life.

Trip to the Grocery Store

posted by on December 27 at 12:43 PM

Here I am, at home in Southern California, where life is far too easy. I’m from the kind of rich hippie town where public art installations are well-funded, but atrocious (yes, the title of that work is “early bird shopper”), and wild teenagers carve peace signs into cactus arms. It’s nice, being on a break and having free time to squander any way I want. Yesterday I went to the grocery store and, overwhelmed by all the colors and marketing schemes, wandered around gawking at different products. The same kind of confusing culture shock happens to me when I watch t.v. news or flip through Sky Mall. Anyway, among the selection of fine pet foods at the market:

dog treats.jpg
Hot dog! Whatta rack! And an enviable waist line, too.

Also, a frightened girl held hostage with a candy cane among these absurd stock images peddling sausage: (Because it’s “Always a Party!” with sausage.)
sausage party.jpg

And, finally, children, brush your teeth with ice cream!

Color Me Impressed

posted by on December 27 at 12:40 PM

It bugs me that the picture on the front of today’s Seattle Times of Gerald Ford is in black and white. Yes, the 1970s were a stark, gloomy decade of malaise, but they were not in black and white. They were full color: Kiss, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, Evil Knievel, Disco, Three’s Company, Jaws, Dr. J, Queen, Vietnam, Farrah Fawcett, Love American Style.

Black and white stops in 1965. And so, black and white is evocative of the mid-60s and earlier. It occasionally works to conjure late 60s stuff because most people still had black and white TVs up through the early 70s. (So, for example, LBJ works in black and white.) But the Ford era? 1974? 1975? 1976 (in particular)? They were gaudy color, man.





Sucking the color out of the ’70s bugs me because it’s an attempt to soften history. To make it quaint. To deny that it happened. To make it irrelevant. People were pissed when Turner Broadcasting started colorizing golden-era Hollywood movies. This is the same thing, in reverse.

For the Love of a Horse

posted by on December 27 at 12:09 PM

Picture 3.jpg
Charles just showed me his new film, Zoo, the Sundance contender about the local man who died after sex with a horse in 2005. It’s also about community, friendship, loss, and the blunt force of will that makes mankind the master of all beasts. Zoo is a documentary but, like Police Beat, it’s also sensual and gorgeous and otherworldly. It left my stomach and my brain both in small knots. I’m not a film fan (I dislike most movies; can’t sit through them), but you must trust me when I tell you that you can’t wait to see Zoo. It’s coming from ThinkFilm in Spring 2007. (And yes, there’s a few unforgettable seconds of horse-in-man footage.)

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 27 at 12:00 PM

Marcus’ Martini Heaven


(DRINKING UNDERGROUND) It may call itself heaven, but Marcus’ has a proximity closer to hell. Walk through the bar’s entrance and you’re quickly presented with a steep flight of stairs. Once you’ve successfully maneuvered yourself down those stairs, you find an exceedingly dim affair, almost cavelike—a man-made rock shelter serving stiff pours and wily martinis. On weekend nights the place bustles; during non-amateur hours it can be like your own personal speakeasy. (88 Yesler Way, 624-3323.) BRADLEY STEINBACHER

Buddha-Boy: A Conjecture that the Famous Ram Bahadur Bomjon, Rumored to Be a Nepalese Child-Saint, Is Not a Charlatan and Just Wants to Be Left the Fuck Alone

posted by on December 27 at 11:28 AM

Here he is, the Buddha Boy:


Also known as Ram Bahadur Bomjon, the 16-year-old BB is a spiritual celebrity who disappeared into the jungles of Nepal in March and reappeared on Christmas day. (Notably, carrying a sword—on Christmas. “I came not to bring peace but a sword,” said Christ in Matthew 10.) The news is all over this kid.

Anyway, his followers believe BB is the reincarnation of Guatama Buddha, with the usual wild claims that congeal around child saints: that as a young boy he would never fight or kill an animal, he refused to eat anything but scraps, that he has been meditating for nearly a year eating nothing but herbs and water.

See him beneath the tree in his sacred grove?


That tree is a pipal tree, aka a bo tree, aka the kind of tree Gautama Buddha was sitting under when he got enlightened.

Skeptics think the BB is full of BS, that the whole scheme (the bo tree, the disappearances, the childhood mythology) is a way to fleece ignorant villagers out of money. I would agree but for one thing: BB’s mudras, or sacred hand gestures. Look at the top picture again. See his hands? If BB was putting on a piece of spiritual theater, his mudras would be grand, the gesture of transmitting wisdom:


or knowledge:


or something else to broadcast his high spiritual attainment. Instead his hands are in the humble shuni mudra:


Shuni is the mudra of give-me-patience. It’s a small gesture, one that allegedly helps you keep your cool (that’s just what I hear—I’m no goddamned hippie). The shuni mudra also looks like the opposite of flipping the bird, like “fuck me, not you.” It’s as if he’s exasperated by the photographer and the attention and just wants to be left the fuck alone.

That is the attitude of a true saint.

Carry on, Buddha Boy!

Japan Is For Lovers…

posted by on December 27 at 11:00 AM

…of schoolgirls and creepy television commercials.

Via Fleshbot. For the rest of this year’s Top 10 Sex Toys, click here.

Crap. I Got An iPod for Christmas.

posted by on December 27 at 9:52 AM


A little girl in Illinois got a Zune for Christmas—complete with gay orgy.

When Derrick Woods and Chanell Martin decided to surprise their 12-year-old daughter with a Microsoft Zune media player, they had no idea how big of a surprise they were in for. The gadget, they said, came preloaded with more than an hour of raunchy pornography.

“It was a homosexual orgy that they had video taped for an hour and 44 minutes,” Chanell Martin told Fox News affiliate WFLD reporter Michelle Gielan.

Preloaded? Sounds hot.

Gerald Goddamned Ford

posted by on December 27 at 9:40 AM

The Seattle papers today had banner headline stories, full of milky-soft words for Gerald Goddamned Ford, who died yesterday at 93 years old. If you have read any of this treacle—from the Seattle Times: “Often the target of jokes, Ford laughed right along,” and the front page of the P.I. repeats Teddy Goddamned Kennedy’s line about how “Time has a way of clarifying past events, and now we see that President Ford was right”—you owe it to yourself to read Barry Werth’s amazing book 31 Days

On reading the book, which covers, um, the first 31 days of Ford’s Presidency, you will re-learn how Gerald Goddamned Ford failed the one mission of his ridiculous term—not pardoning Richard Nixon. (Really: The only thing he had to do was not pardon Nixon. It took him a month to fuck that up.) But, more importantly, you’ll learn how, in Ford’s classic ineptitude, he allowed a bunch of evil jackasses—among them Rumsfeld and Cheney—to worm their way into power. It took a month for that to happen, too. You couldn’t have a George Goddamned W. Goddamned Bush without Gerald Goddamned Ford, and that’s why all these crocodile tears are making me violently ill. This man didn’t guide us through the stormy seas of Watergate, he tossed us into the pig slop of dirty politics, and then cashed more dishonorable checks than any other retired President—if you’re interested in that story, read Mark Updegrove’s trifle of a book Second Acts: Presidential Lives and Legacies After the White House—all without ever being elected to office. Ha, ha, Gerald Goddamned Ford, joke’s on us. Amen.

Morning News

posted by on December 27 at 8:00 AM

895: Days Gerald Ford and his giant lapels served in the office of president. He died last night.

10: Years since the last new Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Until now.

15: Minutes it can take for death following hanging. A court upheld Saddam’s death sentence. Will it be on YouTube?

284,000: Dollars recovered by local investigators from the $8 million swindled by a tech-investment con artist.

260: Estimated number dead in a pipeline explosion in Lagos. And still no one cares.

1 million: Number of cases in a new FBI master database of criminal records. Privacy advocates say eek!

7324.3: Miles away from Iraq (Baghdad, specifically) President George Bush had to remove himself to go do some thinking about what’s wrong in Iraq. He’s in Crawford.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Can We Interest You In a Set, God?

posted by on December 26 at 10:05 PM


Gerald Ford is Dead

posted by on December 26 at 9:16 PM

ford 2.jpg

The oldest living president (formerly tied with Reagan) is dead at the age of 93.

Un-goopy holiday cheer

posted by on December 26 at 7:29 PM

Most soup kitchen stories are brimming with treacle. This one actually just made me happy.

Gus Van Sant Arrested for DUI

posted by on December 26 at 4:48 PM

Come on, Gus, surely there are plenty of handsome young things down in Portland who would want to drive you around—no need to put yourself and others at risk this way!

I Want to See the Plastic Forest

posted by on December 26 at 4:03 PM

As Bethany Jean Clement reports in Bar Exam this week, the Icon Grill has nine full-size Christmas trees scattered throughout the restaurant. Nine. Christmas trees. Covered with, you know, ribbons and lamp-candles and shit. I was there with Clement when she made her foray into the Icon Grill last week, and ever since I’ve been wondering: Where do they store their nine full-size Christmas trees (they’re fake) after Christmas? Are the trees still up today? Have they been shunted into some kind of underground plastic forest, along with the wreaths from the windows and the ornaments and the garlands and everything?

Now please enjoy a bunch of information you didn’t ask for about the history of Christmas trees, including this: “Among the earliest Germanic tribes the Yule tradition was celebrated by sacrificing male animals and slaves by suspending them on the branches of trees.”

Trimming the Merkin

posted by on December 26 at 4:01 PM

And now, per your request Mr. Steinbacher, the etymology of trim—you issued the challenge last week, after several glasses of whiskey, at The Stranger’s Christmas party: “Hey Kiley, find out where ‘trim’ comes from.”

Here is my answer:

Trim, in the vulgar sense, is a gross word that nobody should use—it sounds like something Axl Rose would say: “hey Slash, get out of the green room; I got some trim on the way.” But nobody seems to know where it comes from. (Trim, as in “fit and strong,” is from Old English trymman—”strengthen, make ready”—which is probably related to drumah, the Sanskrit word for tree.) I have three guesses:

1. It could be a corruption of quim which, according to a guess from the 1796 Dictionary of Vulgar Tongue, comes from the Spanish quemar (to burn).

2. It could have something to do with sailors—ships are always women, and when they’re well-appointed, they’re “in trim.”

3. Or it could have something to do with the trimming of pubic hair, once a method of preventing crabs. Bonus etymology: Hair-free privates was not always the fashion (from 1882: “My imagination fills the empty galligaskins with cosy bottoms and hirsute quims”). Hence the merkin, a pubic wig for the trimmed pubis. (Merkin’s etymology is clearer: it comes from malkin, a 15th-century word for mop.)

Trim is also:

A town in Ireland, home to the Trim Haymaking Festival and the annual Trim Show.

An anti-tax wing of the John Birch society. (From the site: “TRIM does not involve itself in partisan politics” and “in several cases, the rejected congressman actually blamed TRIM for his defeat”).

And the name of the first (ahem) cat to circumnavigate Australia:

Trim was born in 1797, aboard HMS Reliance on a voyage from the Cape of Good Hope to Botany Bay. The kitten fell overboard, but managed to swim back to the vessel and climb aboard by scaling a rope; taking note of his strong survival instinct and intelligence, [Captain] Flinders and the crew made him their favourite.

Captain Flinders named the cat after Trim, the butler in Tristram Shandy whose name, in turn, is a double entendre. (In the book, Trim is the manservant and constant companion of Uncle Toby, whose whole life is one long metaphor for male sexual frustration.)

And the circle is complete.

There you go, Brad. You owe me a drink.

Slog: We’re Not Winning, But We’re Not Losing

posted by on December 26 at 3:48 PM

Slog vs. Squirrels is a virtual tie. This is unacceptable. For these who prefer to think in visual terms, here is a handy voter reference guide.

This is a squirrel:


And think of this as Slog:


Now really, which one would you rather vote for? Vote Slog!

Sorry, Canada and Mexico

posted by on December 26 at 3:47 PM

Frenchman starts out researching government funding for the arts, finds out “The United States is a continent.”

War, What Is It Good For?

posted by on December 26 at 3:32 PM

There is no easy way to explain the new war in the Horn of Africa. From one side, it is a war between Ethiopia and Eritrea in much the same way that the recent war in Beirut was really between Israel and Iran—Eritrea backs the Somali Islamist; Iran backs Hezbollah. On another side, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi is not exactly the ideal African leader but one that’s often as bad, as cruel, as corrupt as all the rest of them—Mugabe, Banda, Kaunda. But in the end, how can one side with the Islamic fundamentalists? With their fascistic fantasies, their mad will to make on Earth what they believe is in Heaven? And look at Sudan. Will a Somalia under the power of Islamic fundamentalist not be a lot like Sudan? No one wants war, but it is impossible to support men who believe the law of their God must be the law of all, the law of the land. What a bloody mess.

Baby Jesus delivers!

posted by on December 26 at 1:46 PM

In Latin America, Baby Jesus delivers presents. My question is, how does he get them to people’s homes without a sleigh, reindeer, or, as far as I can tell, even a sack?


Letter of the Day

posted by on December 26 at 12:47 PM

I almost can’t believe this was addressed to us, a mostly non-car-owning, pro-public-transit bunch. I hope a few of you know something about cars and can advise Dave.

To the editor:
The lease on my 2003 Jetta is about to expire (which I can buy for $10,700) and so I need some advice on buying a car. Specifically, what kind of car should I buy? I know, it may seem odd to ask The Stranger for advice on cars of all things, but the way I figure it is that given The Stranger’s rabid anti-car ideology, you should at least know quite a bit about cars to be that passionately against them. I am not a big car buff myself, so I really am sincerely asking for some advice. I need a car, since I live in Queen Anne and work in Bellevue (I took the bus to work for a week and it took me 1:45 each way - no thanks) and I refuse to move to Bellevue. A little bit about what I am looking for:
- I am looking for a car below $25,000
- 30+ mpg in the city
- good safety features

I have been looking at a few cars including the Toyota Prius, Toyota Yaris, Scion XA, Honda Civic (Hybrid and standard). However, the hybrids are pushing the limits on what I feel comfortable paying so they wouldn’t be my first choice. So, do you think I should I just buy my Jetta which is averaging a pathetic 20 mpg, but I really like the way it handles, or should I get something else? Are there any good affordable, fuel-efficient cars that The Stranger would recommend?
Thank you,

Who Wrote This Headline?

posted by on December 26 at 12:26 PM

Site of Capitol Hill massacre is once again a happy home

It hasn’t even been three months since they moved into the notorious rental house on East Capitol Hill, and the four young people are already used to the gawkers and occasional comments about the home being haunted.

They said they knew what they were getting into when they saw the Craigslist ad featuring the East Republican Street home that was the scene of the Capitol Hill shootings. They said they weren’t fazed; they loved the neighborhood.

“The only thing I was worried about were people’s looks,” said one 21-year-old woman who did not want her name published.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 26 at 12:03 PM



(DRINKING AS PREPARATION FOR INCEST) I can’t be the only ex-Texan in Seattle who jumped for joy upon discovering that Linda’s Tavern now has Shiner Bock—the Lone Star State’s best brew—on tap. Take a friend, get a pitcher, then stroll to the nearby Egyptian cinema for a screening of Volver, Pedro AlmodĂłvar’s typically rich and wonderful rumination on mothers, daughters, ghosts, incest, and the vast lusciousness of PenĂ©lope Cruz. (Linda’s Tavern, 707 E Pine St, 206-325-1220; Egyptian Theatre, 801 E Pine St, 206-781-5755.) DAVID SCHMADER

Vote Slog!

posted by on December 26 at 11:48 AM


Evidently Savage is in a post-Christmas stupor, so I’ll have to pick up the slack. It’s Slog vs. Squirrels over at Capitol Hill Seattle. Don’t let the squirrels’ cute and fuzzy appearance fool you. They are pure evil and will one day conspire to topple us from our perch atop the food chain. Slog just has Charles Mudede. You tell me which one is the bigger threat.

Go here to vote.

Squirrels are currently in the lead—but so was everybody and everything else we’ve been pitted against until we started campaigning in earnest. We’re starting now: Vote SLOG!

Names Have Been Changed

posted by on December 26 at 11:41 AM

The January 2007 issue of Seattle Magazine—by far the better of our two list-addicted glossies (“155 Top Lawyers”)—has an essay by Nicholas Sesnak about the difficulties gay couples face when they attempt to create the rights and responsibilities of marriage with private contracts. First, there’s the expense; you’ll spend up to $5000 on legal fees compared to a straight couple’s $50 marriage license. And then there are the limitations; even after you’ve spent your $5000, you still won’t have all the protections or rights of marriage—oh, and a bigoted family can contest your $5000 worth of legal agreements if they feel like it.

But here’s why caught my eye about the piece…

When Daniel Robertson* and Scott Keane* got married three years ago, the wedding was in Vancouver, B.C., for a somewhat obvious reason: They’re both men, and same-sex marriage wasn’t legal in Washington state.

What’s with the asterisks? You have to jump to the end of the story to find out…

Names have been changed.

Names have been changed? There’s a blast from the distant past. And profiling closeted gay men? That’s very retro, Seattle Magazine, very old school.

Back in the dark ages—when gay men and lesbians could be fired, kicked out of apartments, jailed, lobotomized, etc.—no gay person could take the risk of having his name appear in print. When a magazine wanted to profile an invert or write something heartbreaking/titillating our tragic twilight existences, they would place an asterisk after a proper name and a discrete “name has been changed” at the end of the story. Only that offer of anonymity, only the shield of an asterisk, could convince a gay person to open up to a reporter.

But today? Uh… the country is teeming with out gays and lesbians willing to see names in print. Some of us have even gotten married in Vancouver. I’m not saying that Seattle Magazine should have profiled me and my boyfriend (my boyfriend would never agree to it—and he’s one of Seattle’s top lawyers), but it would not have been difficult to find a local gay couple that had been married in Vancouver and was willing to see their names in print. It would probably have been easier to find that couple. Then Sesnak could have written a story about the future of gay relationships—and marriage equality—without employing rhetorical cliches that hearken back to the bad old days of the closet.

And a word for “Daniel” and “Scott”: A marriage, which you entered into in Canada and complain about not being able to enter into in the United States, is a public act. Yes, “most heterosexual citizens take [the legal protections of marriage] for granted.” They take the public nature of marriage for granted, too. If you’re not comfortable enough with your homosexuality to be open about it in the pages of Seattle Magazine, guys, then you’re not ready for marriage.

We can’t demand public recognition for our relationships and hold on the closet too. It has to be one or the other, guys, one or the other.

Latkepalooza Redux

posted by on December 26 at 10:59 AM

Everybody’s favorite pro-porn feminist shares her recipe for perfect potato pancakes. (Note: Food processor and ricer required. If you need the latter, the QFC at Broadway Market has them, no, not in the basement with all the other housewares-type items, but on the main floor near the stairs at the end of one random aisle, where the spatulas and stuff are. Even the people that work there do not know this. Note also: If you require any tea-related implements, those are neither with the housewares-type items nor the spatulas-‘n’-stuff, but back in the southwest wing, towards the milk, on the end of another random aisle. I hate you, QFC at Broadway Market.)

Dreamgirls: No Big Whoop

posted by on December 26 at 9:44 AM

So last night I had the chance to see the much-hyped Dreamgirls and it was…okay. Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy are great, Beyonce barely registers as anything beyond a hairstyle or twelve, and Jamie Foxx continues to gross me out hard.

A lot of what’s wrong with the movie is laid out in this hilarious review by Stranger writer Lindy West. (Money quote: “If I were to come across Dreamgirls on TV at 11:00 a.m. on a hung-over Tuesday, I’d be all about it… but to pay cashmoneydollars in an actual theater? It’s like ordering some fancy fish at Ponti Seafood Grill and having Pat Cashman show up with a Taco Time burrito.”)

One thing West neglects to mention, and which was a much bigger problem for me than the movie’s weak-ass attempts at a multi-layered plot, is the music. Simply put, there’s not a single song in Dreamgirls that comes close to the excitement or hookiness of even the weakest Motown track. It’s all bullshit showtune stuff, and it hobbles the whole movie.

Still, Hudson and Murphy deserve all the gushing in the world, and at least I had the good fortune to see the movie in a super-exciting setting: A packed Christmas-night cinema in Norfolk, VA, in which my mom, my boyfriend, and I were literally the only honkies. It was a blast, and the hilarious, ongoing sass-back to the screen filled up a lot of the dumb holes in the plot.

Morning News

posted by on December 26 at 8:00 AM

The new congress’s first bipartisan group project: drafting an immigration bill. We’ll see how long the gloves stay off.

Yanked from the Macy’s post-Christmas racks: dog hair Diddy jackets.

Not the green Christmas retailers dreamed of: sales fall short despite late rush.

A byproduct of chaos in Afghanistan: better, deadlier smack.

A sign of annoyances to come: one airline to allow cell phone blabber in the air.

Having too many tots: it’ll kill you quicker.

The anti-Hillary: the French flirt with a new spin on female political ascendancy.

Local drunks: cheating the system.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Who Needs a Drink?

posted by on December 25 at 4:48 PM


Once you’re done with family-related obligations, chances are good that you’ll want a cocktail. I’d recommend stopping by the classy-yet-cozy confines of the Hazlewood in Ballard, which is open this Christmas evening. The Hazlewood is located at 2311 NW Market Street, right near Ballard Avenue.

Christmas orphanhood

posted by on December 25 at 4:25 PM

I am a Christmas orphan by choice this year. Even though I finally live within close proximity of my parents, I decided to see what it’s like to just play hooky on the whole, disappointing (unboozy) thing. What is it like? A little glum. I should have remembered my experience when, in the full swing of high school angst, we went to visit the Valdez family in California for Christmas. Too bad they’re Jehovah’s Witnesses. And don’t celebrate holidays. And still don’t drink. And their house was filled with Margaret Keane paintings. I yearned for my mom’s and my weird ritual of eating a miniature dinner of Cornish hens in the kitchen (only child.) So I am soon off to another family’s warm hearth. And unlike my kin, these folks drink.

Perhaps if I get in better spirits I will try to perform this gymnastics move, amazingly called the Valdez.

Darwin’s Rottweiler Strikes Again

posted by on December 25 at 3:10 PM

Thegoddelusion.jpgEvolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has a new book in which he asserts that belief in god is irrational and that religion has an ultimately corrosive effect on society.
Here’s Dawkins discussing the book on the stiff, British Newsnight, and easily outsmarting Steven Colbert.
I hope his book is under my tree (the biggest, brightest atheists’ xmas tree on the block) right now!

Ignoring the Obvious

posted by on December 25 at 3:00 PM

On Friday, the Seattle PI wrote an “article” about eating Chinese food on Christmas Day. Yawn. But I like Chinese food, so I read it, and noticed a glaring omission— the article mentions nothing about Jews.

Jews eating Chinese food on Christmas is one of the dominant Jewish stereotypes, like being a lawyer or having a chatty mother. In my family, it was true every year, even though as Jews we were terribly secular. I remember going to Lexington, Massachusetts to Peking Garden every Christmas Day and sharing the room with many Hasids and yarmulkes.

So how could the PI leave this out of their article? The article does allude to differences of religion in this bit:

Those who show up at Chinese restaurants include people who do not celebrate the Christian holiday; businesspeople and international guests from downtown hotels; college students staying in the area and singles looking for a crowded, lively atmosphere.

And it spotlights Christians who choose to celebrate in a Chinese restaurant here:

Families also have moved their Christmas parties from their dining rooms to Chinese restaurants — with customers showing up in red-and-white hats.

This might be taking the theme a little bit too far, but is it possible that the PI left Judaism out of a very bland article because of the recent outburst of anti-Semitism in these parts? This “story” is so devoid of controversy it makes my gums bleed, but would it have hurt the PI’s political correctness to make a brief mention of a perceived Jewish tradition? In the end, I am confused. Pass the shu mai.

A Christmas Memory

posted by on December 25 at 2:52 PM

It’s Christmas Eve. It’s 1985 or 1986. I am 5 or 6. It’s late, and Dad isn’t home from work yet. The Christmas tree gets trimmed on Christmas Eve in the Frizzelle household. (Mom has a daycare in the house, and a big heavy tree with a bunch of dangling stuff on it would be hazardarous, so it has to be put off until the final hours.) Well, Mom gets sick of waiting for Dad and decides we’re gonna trim the tree without him. It’s all well and good until we try to place the bent star at the top. If Dad were home this would be a lot easier, since he’s 6’5”. But he’s working. So we’re strugging with the thing—Lift me up!Lean this way…Just another…Almost got it!OH SHIT!

Tree comes crashing down on my little brother. Squashes him. He’s bleeding. Mom’s shrieking. Dad walks in.

A big old Christmas Eve fight. Mom: If you had been here this wouldn’t have happened… Where WERE you?…, etc. Dad: The only reason we live in this house and get to have Christmas at all is because I WORK SO HARD and you spend all my money on CRAP for the kids…, etc. Typical stuff. But they usually don’t fight in front of us. They’re so fucking mad at each other that they don’t care this time.

Dad is standing at the sink, rinsing something, and Mom decides he isn’t listening to her. Now, she is normally the gentlest of creatures—a stray-dog saver, a zoo volunteer, a diaper-changer for a living—but there’s something in her eye, something unusual and crazy. Dad says something sarcastic and Mom reaches toward the knife block. She takes out a knife. It glints in the light. She puts the tip of it against Dad’s neck. We start screaming. Dad says to us, “She’s not going to do it.” Mom says, “I’m going to do it.” Now we’re REALLY screaming. Dad says, “No you’re not.” Then Dad turns and shoves her across the room. She falls onto a red wagon. It’s just sitting there in the middle of the kitchen. Mom crashes into the wagon and both of them crash into the kitchen table. Metal wagon, squealing wheels, wooden chairs flying everywhere, Mom screaming, Dad screaming, us screaming. No memory of what happened after that.

A year later they have another child, my youngest brother, which keeps them together another five years, and then they call it quits. Dad remarries and moves away. Mom never remarries, becomes a born-again Christian, develops a strained relationship with her gay son (me), continues to raise other people’s babies, and remains lonely to this day.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Kids of Today

posted by on December 25 at 1:03 PM

I’m visiting my brother and his family in Norfolk, VA—a well-timed trip in regard to my current obsession with Clipse (I haven’t seen them around anywhere) and a welcome reconnection with my brother’s kids, AKA my niece and nephew.

Sarah just turned 16 and is obsessed with punk. (For her birthday, I gave her a signed copy of Courtney Love’s diaries, and she wept in appreciation.) If her idolization of Courtney Love isn’t scary enough, her celebrity dream date du jour is Pete Doherty. (“He’s beautiful!” she says while swooning; next up: crushes on open sores.)

Jake is 12 and loves skateboarding and the Clash. Five minutes ago, he said this about the movie Scarface: “He crams his face in a huge pile of coke, and most people who do that aren’t very happy.”

Kids these days. At least they haven’t mentioned Robotripping or rainbow parties, but the night is young…

Pig. Out.

posted by on December 25 at 12:52 PM

Thanks to the good people of the European fashion industry, now I can scarf down three helpings of Christmas dinner without having to give up my dream of becoming an Italian model.

Thanks, fashion industry!

Bishop Prick

posted by on December 25 at 12:33 PM

Episcopal churches in the United States, horrified by the liberal drift of their church (ordaining women, marrying gay people), have crawled into bed with this man.

The way he tells the story, the first and only time Archbishop Peter J. Akinola knowingly shook a gay person’s hand, he sprang backward the moment he realized what he had done.

Archbishop Akinola, the conservative leader of Nigeria’s Anglican Church who has emerged at the center of a schism over homosexuality in the global Anglican Communion, re-enacted the scene from behind his desk Tuesday, shaking his head in wonder and horror.

“This man came up to me after a service, in New York I think, and said, ‘Oh, good to see you bishop, this is my partner of many years,’” he recalled. “I said, ‘Oh!’ I jumped back.”

Nigeria recently passed a law that makes it a crime for two gay people to be in the same room together, a bill Archbishop Bigot supports. Two gay men or two lesbians seen together could wind up in prison for five years. (Where they would encounter many other homos, presumably.) I would ask if the American congregations that recently voted to put themselves under this bigot’s authority also support that draconian law but I already know the answer. These “conservative” parishes are all in Virginia, home to America’s most draconian anti-gay laws.

At the Art Historians’ Guide to the Movies

posted by on December 25 at 12:10 PM

This holiday, savor the connections between this


and this


Or, between this


and this


And finally, between this


and this


Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 25 at 11:54 AM

Poggie Tavern

Howie and Santa.jpg

(DRINKING ALONE) I called Poggie Tavern in West Seattle, the so-called “Reno of the North,” to see if they would be open for Christmas. The kindhearted woman who answered the phone told me, “The guy who owns the place doesn’t have any family, so he just comes down and opens it up.” There will also be live music, provided by Johnny G, a one-man band. I suggest getting blotto on Bud Light, hitting on the bartender, and pulling a lot of tabs. (Poggie Tavern, 4717 California Ave SW, 5 pm unti last call, 937-2165.) ARI SPOOL

Vera Project Update

posted by on December 25 at 11:30 AM

Hey, Merry Christmas Seattle! You get a new all-ages venue!


The Vera Project is less than $600,000 away from meeting their million and a half dollar goal (and an auction planned for January will certainly help decrease that number), and the construction on the new space is, according to Program Director Melissa Quayle, coming along wonderfully.

Through the drywall dust you can see the new Vera taking shape in Seattle Center’s Snoqualmie Room. The steel framing is in and the walls are up. The silkscreen studio is a studio, the showroom has a sound booth and a stage is in the works.

Here’s what it looks like right now. Both shots were taken by the gifted and handsome Curt Doughty.



Opening weekend is scheduled for February 23rd and 24th, but they’re not announcing who’s playing just yet—we’ll have to wait until after the New Year for that. For now, despite the new space being unfinished, they still need volunteers to help ‘em out as things progress, says Quayle.

We need people to: help out with our auction, carry and move sound, silkscreen and office equipment, and decorate and settle into our new venue. Our next volunteer orientation is on January 11th, at our temporary HQ 766 Thomas at 6pm. We would love to see you!

Where Can I Go Out to Eat Today?

posted by on December 25 at 11:11 AM

In addition to Chinese restaurants in the ID, here’s a handy list of restaurants that are open.

Rapture Ready

posted by on December 25 at 10:30 AM

I have seen the Rapture. Or, at least, I have seen its annual Christmas Day approximation. And I have to say, it’s really quite nice.

When I was young I used to spend Christmas Day feeling left behind. But these days I like to wander the empty city in the morning, when everyone’s at home opening presents and it’s nothing but us Jews (along with Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, chronic innebriates, and assorted apostates) out on the streets.

I always think: If the Rapture really comes, and all the Christians in the world (or most of them, or, at least, a bunch of them) are whisked up to Heaven, this is exactly what it will feel like. An abandoned city. A reign of other religions.

Sure, it’s somewhat lonely. But that’s why, the rest of the year, I like hanging out with Christian sinners. I know, in The End, they’ll never leave me.

Merry Christmas

posted by on December 25 at 10:17 AM

From the Monkees:

Birth of a Critic

posted by on December 25 at 10:06 AM

On Christmas Eve 1986, I went to watch Nine 1/2 Weeks with my cousin, Fararyi. We were expecting to see lots of hot sex.


A fast taxi dropped us at the multiplex in downtown Harare. The show cost us ten Zimbabwean bucks. We took our seats with other men who were there to see what we wanted to see on Christmas Eve. The movie started. The movie ran. The movie ended. And there was hardly any sex in it—and certainly no hot sex. We were very confused? This was nothing like the poster or the American magazines promised, nothing like Betty Blue, which began—bang—with hot sex on a bed. What was all the fuss about? As far as we could see, Kim Basinger did nothing that could be considered scandalous. We wanted our money back. We failed to get our money back. A slow taxi took us home.

The next day, I read a review of Nine 1/2 Weeks in The Herald, a state-owned newspaper, and learned what went wrong: The film critic explained that the censors had cut so much out of Nine 1/2 Weeks that it should have been called Three 1/2 Weeks. That critic’s wit made my Christmas day and, eventually, my life—it was at that point I discovered the satanic power/acid of the critic. We must never forget that Satan was the world’s first (and greatest) critic.

Best Christmas Present, Ever

posted by on December 25 at 10:04 AM


This Clash singles box set that my boyfriend gave me is so beautiful, I thought I might have a heart attack. Strummer and company definitely didn’t fuck around when it came to album artwork.

As of this moment, I’m particularly enamored with this one:


But this one is pretty great too:


As is this one:


Thanks, honey!

NFC West Champs

posted by on December 25 at 9:54 AM

The Seahawks are NFC West champions—not that they deserve it. After blundering it in the final minute against the best team in the NFL, after allowing Hasselbeck to be sacked six goddamn times, they needed the San Francisco 49ers, who swept the Hawks this year, to hork it against the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers obliged, and now if the Hawks lose to Tampa Bay next week—something I certainly wouldn’t put past them—they’ll limp into the playoffs with a .500 record. Even if they somehow beat Tampa Bay, they’ll be 9-7—not exactly a stellar record for the defending NFC champs.

Still, it wasn’t a complete disaster. For one, they gave the San Diego Chargers a run for their money for over 59 minutes. For two, Shaun Alexander had a great game, racking up 140 yards and two touchdowns. And Nate Burleson’s punt return for a touchdown was a beauty to behold, even if it was called back by a bullshit holding call.

But the team no one wanted to face in the playoffs last year, the team that never lost at home, isn’t this team. It will be either Dallas or Philadelphia coming to town the first week of the post-season, and they won’t be exactly shaking in their boots. Yes, anything can happen in the playoffs, but the smart money’s on the Hawks being one and done.

James Brown, Inventor of Everything, Dead at 73

posted by on December 25 at 9:05 AM


Angela gave this a mention in the Morning News below, but it demands an avalanche of follow-up: James Brown died today. Now those of us who loved him (or at least loved what he created) get to bask in the great consolation prize of the rightfully gushy tributes that will be landing over the next couple weeks. Here’s a small taste of what’s to come, from the Associated Press.

If Brown’s claim to the invention of soul can be challenged by fans of Ray Charles and Sam Cooke, then his rights to the genres of rap, disco and funk are beyond question. He was to rhythm and dance music what Dylan was to lyrics: the unchallenged popular innovator. “James presented obviously the best grooves,” rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy once told The Associated Press. “To this day, there has been no one near as funky. No one’s coming even close.”

RIP James Brown. We are forever in your debt. (And please don’t go beating any women in heaven.)

Morning News

posted by on December 25 at 8:11 AM

The Godfather of Soul: dead!

The Horn of Africa: May be engulfed in violence following Ethiopia’s decision to bomb Somalian Islamists and declare war.

The Pentagon: Wasted millions in spending.

The Pope: speaks of “many grave crises and conflicts” in the world. Merry Christmas.

The US: holds Iranians suspected of carrying out attacks against Iraqi security forces.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Walkers for the Children

posted by on December 24 at 5:12 PM

Yesterday I went ice skating at Seattle Center, where the rink is tiny and the ice appears never to have been Zambonied, ever. I come from upstate New York, where the rinks flow like water, or something like that, so this constituted injury enough. But adding insult was the fact that the rink provides child-size walkers for the kids to skate with. WALKERS.

In my day, we kids didn’t behave like crumbling elderly people. We learned to fall. In the process, we learned to skate. Obviously.

Quote of the Day

posted by on December 24 at 4:27 PM

In today’s Sunday NYT “Word for Word” column, there’s an excerpt from an exchange between Henry Kissinger and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Kissinger is meeting Brezhnev in Moscow in 1972 during a secret summit about the Vietnam War.

I won’t bore you with the whole thing. But I love how cocky Brezhnev is. Brezhnev is saying American foreign policy is reckless because the American people didn’t suffer during WWII like the Russians.

He caps it with this fantastic line:

The average American is just not familiar with this, has not gone through this, and his mind is conditioned entirely differently…Americans find life too dull. Rock and roll is dull…

“Rock and roll is dull” !

Where did that come from?

Here, the Nixon administration is completely freaked out and grappling with the counterculture explosion, and this 65-year-old Soviet guy just levels it.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 24 at 11:45 AM



(DRINKING WITH JEWS) The popular Christmas Eve bash for Seattle’s young ‘n’ single Jews and those who love them returns for another year. Latkepalooza ‘06 promises to bring hundreds of people out for a night of dancing, drinking, eating, and schmoozing at the Element dance club, which is graciously donating 25 percent of the night’s profits to benefit victims of this year’s tragic shooting at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle. (Element, 332 Fifth Ave N, 206-441-7479, 9pm—2am, $18 adv at$25 at the door. $50 VIP event includes pre-funk with the band Sasson and liqueur tasting and latkes from 8—9 pm. 21+.) DAVID SCHMADER