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Archives for 01/07/2007 - 01/13/2007

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Smart Reader

posted by on January 13 at 7:59 PM

While Frizzelle is busy in a post a couple below this one abusing a reader (well deserved, given that the reader was complaining about the excellent Lindy West), I want to take a moment to give props to a reader.

Yesterday, I posted a GOP press release that trashed the Democrats for, the Republicans contended, “showing their true colors” by proposing a gay marriage bill and an income tax bill instead of working on “real priorities” like education and transportation.

The GOP complaint read, in part: “State Republican Chairman Diane Tebelius today said that week one of the Democrats’ agenda is ‘not what the people of Washington want …The Democrats have created their own mandate to impose a state income tax, [and] redefine marriage…’”

I called bullshit on the GOP and Chairman Diane (that’s just weird) by providing a link to a list of 26 education bills that had been filed last week. I also noted a couple of bills the Democrats had on the fast track, like a children’s health care bill and a drug bill for seniors.

However, a Slog reader named Baxter had a much smarter response to the GOP ploy than I did.

For many of the voters who wanted a Democratic majority, gay marriage IS a top issue. Those GOPs sure are sore losers.

Baxter is right. Gay marriage is a top priority for many Democratic voters. (And so is tax reform.) The Democrats won in a landslide. They now control the state house 62-36 and the state senate 32-17. Suck it up Tebelius.

p.s. Because of our regressive sales tax, the poorest 20 percent of Washington residents pay 17 percent of their income in taxes while the richest one percent pays just three percent of their income. So, thank you state Sen. Rosa Franklin (D-29, Tacoma) and Seattle-area state Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36, Ballard, Queen Anne) for proposing an income tax.

On this cold winter day

posted by on January 13 at 7:39 PM

I would like to thank Baby Jesus for Cara Cara pink navel oranges fresh from the refrigerator and steamed artichokes with mayo.

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Good Delivery

posted by on January 13 at 7:24 PM

It’s a nice night to stay in—nippley and slippery out—and I’m not in the mood for pizza. Anyone have a delicious-dinner-delivered idea (Cap Hill/First Hill area)?

Dumb Readers of the World, Unite and Take Over

posted by on January 13 at 6:20 PM

A reader writes:

Editor:

Is Lindy West’s internship over yet?

A movie review should be something that helps the reader decide if the discussed feature is worth spending their time and money to view. Ms. West’s reviews are basically about Ms. West, her adolescent opinions and some yammering on about something or other that usually has nothing to do
with the film. Its not useful and honestly, its not even entertaining.

Please, could someone on the editorial staff find some time to mentor her or, at the very least, read and edit the copy?

Uhh, what planet are you from, person? Is it cold there? Is it as cold there as it is here? Is it all very relaxing and literal there? Ms. West’s internship ended when Ms. West was a good year or two younger than Ms. West is now, and Ms. West continues to write movie reviews for The Stranger because, well, Ms. West is just about one of the best freakin’ film reviewers I’ve ever read. Seriously. If you read Ms. West’s reviews and can’t decide if you want to spend your time and money on a movie, well, I don’t know what to tell you, but the problem isn’t Ms. West. Do you get Seattle Weekly out there? You might like it.

Wait, hold on a second, are you Hilary Swank?

NYT Style Section does it again

posted by on January 13 at 12:19 PM

This bizarre quote from this story on why women still buy with cash to hide their spending habits from their husbands:

…the age-old practice of women disguising personal indulgences by paying in cash persists even though the majority of women today earn a salary and, in an affluent age, families have more disposable income.

Which families are those?

True, a group of Americans are enjoying a new gilded age. But those who are not are more numerous than before. Even though the gap between the rich and poor gets covered in the main body of the Times, the style section still lives in a world of opulence for the masses.

Text Message from San Francisco

posted by on January 13 at 11:19 AM

Walking down Valencia Street yesterday, I saw something in a storefront window. I stopped and read it. It happens to be something I’ve read dozens of times, maybe a hundred. It was photocopied from a book and enlarged into a huge sort of poster, the letters fuzzy and weird. It was the first paragraph of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s post-meltdown autobiographical essay “The Crack-Up.”

Of course all life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work—the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside—the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don’t show their effect all at once. There is another sort of blow that comes from within—that you don’t feel until it’s too late to do anything about it, until you realize with finality that in some regard you will never be as good a man again. The first sort of breakage seems to happen quick—the second kind happens almost without your knowing it but is realized suddenly indeed.

Sorry I didn’t think to take a picture. This was in the window of this gallery. The person who just answered the phone there says it was part of a piece by the artist Adam McEwen. Everything you need to know about writing—and everything you need to know about life—is in that paragraph.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 13 at 11:00 AM

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Christian Marclay
(ART)
Almost exactly three years ago, in these pages, art critic Emily Hall declared Christian Marclay’s Video Quartet to be “a 15-minute four-channel video that you should drop everything to run over to the museum and see immediately.” I don’t know about you, but I generally trusted Emily Hall. Because of this, now that Video Quartet is opening at Western Bridge (exhibition home of its owners, Bill and Ruth True), I plan to run over there and see it immediately. (Western Bridge, 3412 Fourth Ave S, 838-7444. Noon—6 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES


Friday, January 12, 2007

Teenage Crescendo

posted by on January 12 at 5:25 PM

Tonight!

Let’s Go to the Video Tape

posted by on January 12 at 5:15 PM

I originally posted this at 3:30 today, but there’s an update from the House Democrats now.

The state GOP just sent out a press release trying to hype three Democratic bills to characterize the entire D agenda to show that the Democrats are out of touch with voters who are clamoring for action on kitchen table issues.

Here’s the press release:

Week One of Democrats’ Agenda in Olympia: State income tax, gay marriage and pay raises for themselves. State Republican Chairman Diane Tebelius today said that week one of the Democrats’ agenda is “not what the people of Washington want,” and that top issues like the transportation budget shortfall and education “have taken a backseat to a state income tax, gay marriage and pay raises for state legislators.”

“The Democrats are showing their true colors,” said Tebelius, “The Democrats have created their own mandate to impose a state income tax, redefine marriage, and increase their own paychecks while ignoring the real priorities of transportation, education, and the state’s long-term fiscal health.”

“Instead of top priorities, this is what we got during week one of the Democrats in control,” said Tebelius:

Sen. Rosa Franklin introduces a state income tax,
Sen. Ed Murray and Rep. Jamie Pedersen introduce a gay marriage bill,
Sen. Majority Leader Lisa Brown and other Democrats lobby for higher pay from the citizens panel that oversees pay raises for the governor and state legislators. The panel is recommending the largest pay increases in the past 20 years, including a 10 percent raise for the governor.

Nice try. But let’s take a just at a cursory glance at a basic like education. In just one week, there’s already a list of 26 bills in play about schools including the major D priority—changing the levy hurdle from supermajority public vote to simple majority public vote. Also on the list: low-income student aid; standards accountability measures; and expanding highschool completion programs.

Update:
I ran Tebelius’s press release by the Dems and laughing (and pointing out the gay marriage bill hasn’t even been filed and the pay increase wasn’t proposed by the Democrats) they hyped three priority bills that are already on the fast track:

a drug co-payment bill for seniors; a

health care coverage bill for children; and a bill to

outlaw PBDEs.

Today on Line Out

posted by on January 12 at 4:15 PM

CDs = Nuts: People don’t buy no more, they just download like this.

Less Creepy than Those Posthumous Celebrity Cola Ads: New Mon Frere video.

Persons of the Year: User generated content, doing our job for us in 2007.

Mark Kozelek Version of Geddy Lee: What about the voice of Graig Markel, how did it get so high?

So Much to Do: Tonight in Music

Now Listen Up: Now Gather Round.

Slivers of Success: Splinters in the Wire.

Club Crackdown: The SNMA Responds

posted by on January 12 at 4:06 PM

The Seattle Nightlife and Music Association, a lobby group for Seattle’s music industry, just completed its analysis of Mayor Greg Nickels’s proposed nightlife license and new regulations for bars and clubs. Not surprisingly, it’s a scathing takedown of a proposal that already seems unlikely to survive in its current form. The SNMA begins by pointing out that, although Nickels included club representatives on his Nightlife Task Force, they had nothing to do with the drafting of the legislation—belying claims by the mayor’s staff that the proposal had the full sign-off of the club representatives. “This was extremely frustrating and, in our opinion, resulted in a product that is far less effective and fair than something which had been developed in true collaboration.”

Other highlights from the SNMA’s analysis:

Perhaps one of the biggest concerns in the definition section relates to the new concept of “impacted public area” which is defined as “a public place within fifty (50) feet of the nightlife premises where prospective patrons gather.” Obviously the concern regarding this definition would be for an establishment having responsibility for other people’s property or behavior who may not even have visited an establishment. This essentially conveys public safety responsibilities from the police to bar owners. We feel this is not good public policy.

New requirements that club owners prevent violence and other criminal activity and litter in and near their property are “ones which most, if not all
establishments try to meet and which there are existing regulations and penalties which
the city or state can enforce. New standards such as preventing litter 50 feet from your
business are excessive
.”

It appears that the legislation seeks to target specific types of establishments, yet provides no findings or other pertinent data to justify their reason for imposing additional regulations on such establishments.

The Mayor’s proposal will dramatically reduce investment in the nightlife industry and will impair Seattle’s international image as a music and entertainment capital. At a time when other cities and states are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to convince the “creative class” (educated 25 to 35 year olds) that they have a vibrant night life in order to entice them to live in their cities and states1, the Mayor’s office is proposing that Seattle squander its advantage. … The Mayor’s proposal assumes that the nightlife industry is only a source of problems; it is inherently flawed in that it fails to recognize that the nightlife industry is the key to this city’s economic future.

One thing they didn’t point out is that the mayor himself has dedicated hundreds of thousands of dollars to promoting Seattle’s music industry. Given the city’s claim that the music industry contributes $650 million annually to Seattle’s economy, it might behoove Mayor Nickels to listen to what that industry is telling him.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on January 12 at 3:50 PM

SEATTLE MOVIE NEWS:

Local artist and filmmaker Sarah Jane Lapp gets some love from AO Scott in the New York Times (you didn’t know you were casting his wife’s stepfather, did you?); the feature Zoo (by Robinson Devor and our own Charles Mudede) and the short Little Farm (by Calvin Reeder, also known for Jerkbeast and Piledriver) prepare to dazzle Sundance Film Festival next week; and Warren Etheredge attempts to christen Seattle’s movie-making renaissance: Witness the birth of munge.

OPENINGS:

This weekend you should see Pan’s Labyrinth. No excuses. I don’t want to hear any “I’m an asshole, I don’t like fairy tales” or “fanboy bullshit la la” in the comments. Seriously. It’s amazing.

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Guillermo del Toro was going to do a press tour, but he canceled, so we don’t have an interview. It’s too bad, because he’s prone to announcing that that one of his favorite directors is Hitchcock “because he was fat, repressed, and Catholic, which is excellent for me.” (The format of that interview, a conversation between del Toro and his adorable star Ivana Baquero, is ad-heavy, but there’s some good stuff in there.) The Austin Chronicle has a decent interview that gets into some of the sound-based characterizations I describe in my review.

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51 Birch Street, opening tonight at Northwest Film Forum, is also fantastic, though on a much tighter scale. I love those “first person” documentaries (as NWFF is wont to call them) that reveal a distinct, flawed personality behind the camera. The movie’s ostensibly about Doug Block’s parents, but you’ll learn just as much about the awkward filmmaker himself.

Letters from Iwo Jima isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, according to Andrew Wright. But at least it’s less maudlin than his previous WWII-in-the-Pacific-theater film, Flags of Our Fathers.

Also reviewed this week in “On Screen”: Alpha Dog, starring a tattooed Justin Timberlake (scattershot, says Bradley Steinbacher), Flannel Pajamas (““‘Oops! I got Snapple on my merkin!’” transcribes Lindy West), and Stomp the Yard (“the coolest moves this side of Footloose,” says Megan Seling).

_________________

In DVD, Lindy West reviews the Bollywood take on Fight Club, a Hinglish rumpus entitled Fight Club: Members Only (oh, and buzz off, Caryn James, Fight Club is the best film Brad Pitt has ever done).

Film Shorts are fully integrated with Movie Times this week; look for reviews of Old Joy, The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes, and more.

Cranky crankster

posted by on January 12 at 3:14 PM

I may have jumped the gun earlier today posting a reader’s complaints, accompanied by documentary photos, about school district employees parking their vehicles on the sidewalk of a school full of handicapped children. Turns out this diligent reader, Tom Bailiff, is a very diligent complainer, having logged regular grievances with the district operations office for EIGHT YEARS. The operations manager, Lynn Good, receives several calls from Bailiff every day. Some of Bailiff’s complaints are technically justified. It is illegal to park on the sidewalks. But since the school was built in 1903, it was never designed with mass truck deliveries in mind. Good says drivers will now begin blocking off the street to make deliveries. From what I can tell, however, most of Bailiff’s issues are bunk. He wants to reopen a road that once divided the playground from the school. It was closed off in the 1970s. For safety reasons. Bailiff also complains about the school removing trees from the property. Turns out Bailiff himself planted the trees—without a permit—in some holes in the asphalt near the school. Apparently, the campus needed beautification. Some people have too much time on their hands.

From the Archives: The Real World Paparazzi Contest!

posted by on January 12 at 3:05 PM

Fulfilling the wishes of commenters on this post, here is some archival evidence of The Stranger’s legendary fucking with The Real World.

For those with smaller monitors, here’s the fine print:

The Stranger wants YOU to hit the streets and catch The Real World in action! What’s in it for you? Cash and prizes! Here’s how it works: Whenever you see the Real World cast and crew out in public (they LOVE hanging out at rock clubs, coffee shops, Planet Hollywood—you know, ALL the Seattle “hot spots”), videotape or photograph them doing whatever it is they do—preferably something embarassing! Then send it to us by May 1, 1998. On May 20, at the Broadway Performance Hall, The Stranger and the Seattle International Film Festival will host a big awards ceremony and screen the best of the best videos, and fabulous prizes will be bestowed!

Good times…

The Idea That Hillary Is Elitist Is an Elitist Idea

posted by on January 12 at 2:44 PM

The self-hating rap from elite urban liberals is this: “I can’t support Hillary Clinton because she turns off mainstream voters.”

The grating irony of this analysis is that in trying to understand, cater to, and bond with the white working classes, liberal elites who are nervous that Clinton will alienate the lumpen proletariat are actually misunderstanding (and condescending to) the lumpen proletariat… yet again.

We took a look at all the counties in New York State where: the income is lower than the state median; where the percent of college graduates is lower than the percentage of the state as a whole; and where the white population is greater than the state as a whole (basically, the great white working classes). It turns out, Hillary cleaned up in those counties in her most recent run for U.S. Senate. It wasn’t all Manhattan.

She comfortably won 35 out of the 38 counties that would qualify as Joe and Jane Public voting blocs (counties measured by data on education level and income level which typically define the white working class. The “Wal-Mart vote,” if you will.)

And in some of those counties, where the the data skews even more dramatically toward white working class, Clinton really really cleaned up. For example, in Franklin County where the median is $32,531 and only 13 percent of the population graduated from college, Hillary scored 65 percent of the vote. In Chautauqua County, where the median income is $33,000 and only 17 percent graduated college, Hillary got 55 percent. In Chemung County, where the median income is $36,000 and only 19 percent graduated college, Hillary got 58 percent. In Montgomery County, where the median income is $34,000 and only 13 percent graduated college, Clinton got 62 percent. All these counties hover around 80 percent white.

In other words, judging from the electoral outcomes in New York, the masses don’t think Hillary is the “lesbian witch” that liberal elites worry the masses think Hillary is.

My point being, urbanites should stop hand-wringing and tempering their own beliefs on behalf of the pick-up truck crowd—especially when it seems they’ve got the pick-up truck crowd all wrong.

Judging from New York State, anyway, Clinton’s a bit of a star.

P.S. Clinton’s also a star among non-whites. In places like Queens, where 45 percent are non-white, HC got 80 percent of the vote.

News Intern Brian Turner crunched the numbers for this Slog post.

Chicago, Chicago

posted by on January 12 at 2:39 PM

In a real city like Chicago you can ride rapid transit…

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…and get your picture taken with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Oh My Freaking God

posted by on January 12 at 2:15 PM

What is Paula Abdul smoking on Q13 news?

hat tip to Amy D.

The Argyle Bar

posted by on January 12 at 1:49 PM

The gig doesn’t start until midnight tonight, so after loading in, I walked around central Berlin (near Hackescher Markt, for anyone who’s counting) looking for an old bar I used to go to.

I first found it in 1998, when I was studying in the Czech Republic. I took a short trip to Berlin and was wandering around on my first night, lost and hungry, when I happened into a small, warmly-lit bar. It was empty but for one old man, with a small grey beard and a sweater, reading. In my head, I immediately dubbed it the Argyle Bar—it just felt like would argyle would look like, if argyle was a place. I stammered out my phrasebook German, asking for a whiskey and the old man answered back in perfect English (this was a shock to me, having just come from Prague where, at that time, almost nobody spoke conversational English). We talked, just the two of us, for hours—about my homesickness, about medieval history, about Germany and the Czech Republic and America and Bohumil Hrabal and Kafka, who I had been reading. The warmth and intelligence of the old man, and the pleasure of the evening, is burned on my brain.

Whenever I come back to Berlin (the two or three times since) I have always tried, successfully, to find the bar. I don’t know its name or address, but I always manage to find my way to it.

Not this time—the five years since I’ve been to Berlin has seen a lot of growth—shops and boutique clubs and cafes, which is all well and good, but the small playground and dark street I used as my landmarks were nowhere to be found.

If the rest of the area is any indication, the place is probably closed or renovated now. The old man is probably dead. I’ll probably never go to the Argyle Bar again.

But I like to think I passed it somewhere tonight without knowing. Or even that the club the bands are playing in, which is in the same area, is the place and I just don’t know it. I’m going to pretend that’s the case tonight, while I sit in the back of the club, drinking whiskez, watching the kids rock out, thinking of the old Berliner who was so gentle and kind to me when I was their age.

23 Skiddoo

posted by on January 12 at 1:41 PM

I’ve got a hellacious cold right now, so forgive me if this has been posted here earlier today, but: Robert Anton Wilson is dead. I read the Illuminatus! Trilogy, which he cowrote with Robert Shea, when I was nineteen, and it’s honestly one of those books that puts you in a “before I read this” and “after I read this” state. Granted, it’s probably a book that’s launched a million fruitcakes, but the lessons that a young reader can pull from Illuminatus!—that you should always ask “why” and look for the hidden connections between people, places and things—are things that every journalist and every critic (hell, every citizen) should learn as early as possible. And, as far as crazy-making young adult books go, it could always be a lot worse.
Without Wilson’s writing, a lot of people would still be reading bad sci-fi and fantasy, but the road from Illuminatus! is the road to Pynchon, and back to Sterne and Gaddis and forward to Gass and Vollman. It’s the Gateway Big Book, and that is why someone who is not currently an overachieving mucous factory should drink many toasts to Robert Anton Wilson tonight.

Ichiro’s Last Year in Seattle?

posted by on January 12 at 12:16 PM

U.S.S. Mariner is reporting that Ichiro has told the Japan Baseball Daily he wants out of Seattle after the 2007 season. He wants to play for a contender—Boston, New York, etc.

Update: Ichiro’s agent tells U.S.S. Mariner the story is hooey.

McDermott’s New Post

posted by on January 12 at 12:10 PM

Lots of people were watching to see what nine-term Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott would get when committee assignments were handed out in the new Democrat-controlled Congress.

Today brings the answer: McDermott was just elected chairman of the Human Resources Subcomittee, a part of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Says McDermott’s press release:

The subcommittee has jurisdiction over many vital social and economic programs that support the American people, including Unemployment Insurance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Supplemental Security Income, some portions of the Social Security Act, and programs to protect and care for vulnerable children and disadvantaged families.

McDermott’s first move: Change the name of his subcommittee to “the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support,” in order, he says, “to better reflect its vision and mission.”

The Contenders: Christopher J. Dodd

posted by on January 12 at 12:05 PM

Sure, November 2008 is nearly two years away, but it’s apparently never too early to declare one’s intention to run for president, and thus it’s never too early to get to know the people who might be the next leader of the free world. This month we’ll be taking a brief look at them.

220px-Christopher_Dodd_official_portrait_2.jpg

Christopher J. Dodd

Party: Democratic

Age: 62

Status: Declared on Jan. 11

www.chrisdodd.com

Christopher J. Dodd, the senior senator from Connecticut, formally declared his candidacy for president yesterday. He immediately denounced Bush’s Iraq “surge,” saying:

I think it’s a huge mistake, this escalation.

Dodd is the son of former Connecticut Senator Thomas Joseph Dodd and a former peace corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic. He’s in his fifth term representing Connecticut in the Senate. Before that, he served three terms as one of the state’s Congressmen

Dodd is not seen as a front-runner for the Democratic nomination, but he’s talked of having an “itch” to run, and apparently it proved unignorable. He is fluent in Spanish, very interested in Latin American affairs, and highly opposed to U.S. policy toward Cuba.

He supported his fellow Connecticut senator, Joe Lieberman, in last year’s hot primary between Lieberman and Ned Lamont. However, after Lamont won the primary, Dodd reportedly tried to convince Lieberman to drop out of the race (advice Lieberman ignored, going on to win as an Independent).

Dodd is married to Jackie Marie Clegg, formerly of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, and the couple has two daughters. The man who advised Dodd to run? Reportedly Jim Jordan, the same man who worked as John Kerry’s campaign manager.

Previously: John Edwards, John McCain, Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Barack Obama, and Sam Brownback.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on January 12 at 11:55 AM

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Not in Kansas Anymore: Wichita stops busting folks for low-level drug possession.

Less Treatment, More Prisons: Second-terminator proposes California budget.

Crack Down: New Orleans cops focusing on drug busts.

Nicotine Hand Gel: You’re smoking in it.

Bun in the Oven: Baked.

Sticky Fingers: Audit finds DEA may be pocketing seized dough.

Coca Banana: Millions in blow found in fruit boxes.

Hard Cash: 100 percent of Euros have traces of cocaine.

Hard Wired: SF company offers “Meth Coffee.”

The Luke Esser Questionnaire

posted by on January 12 at 11:41 AM

I’ve been waiting for former GOP state senator Luke Esser to announce his candidacy for chair of the Washington State Republican Party. (Esser was ousted from his state senate seat by born-again Democrat/former GOP representative Rodney Tom in last November’s state house elections.)

I haven’t seen any formal announcement yet, but judging from this post over at Sound Politics it looks like Esser’s in.

The current chair, Diane Tebelius, is obviously reeling from the ‘06 elections (where the GOP got clobbered in the suburbs). Additionally, Tebelius didn’t have the support of GOP bigwigs like Rossi and AG McKenna when she took over last year.

Esser, who represented the suburbs himself (Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond), before losing to Tom 53-46, addresses the suburbs issue in the SP post I linked above. Here’s an excerpt:

5) How do you propose to help make GOP candidates relevant in the suburbs again?

It all starts with the vision. Just as it’ll be easier to recruit donors and activists, it’ll be easier to recruit candidates and gain the support of the independents populating the suburbs if we present a vision that’s relevant to suburban voters.
We’ve also got put more effort into electing and nurturing a farm team of local officeholders. The most successful candidates are often folks who’ve been involved in local government before running for state office. That experience teaches them about their community’s concerns and trains them to speak to the issues their neighbors care about.

Practically, that means the WSRP should work with county parties to offer support to promising local candidates. The key here is support, no micro-managing. Since we are the party that truly believes in local control, me must always remember that the WSRP exists to help the county and legislative district organizations, and not the other way around.

The Bad Game of Life

posted by on January 12 at 11:13 AM

Look closely at the top of this hospital and you will see a few of its patients:
3bird hospital.jpg Operated by Jains (pronounced “Janes”) and located in New Delhi, India, this very special hospital accepts only birds (the limit is 60 a day), and is open roughly between 8 am and 8 pm. The hospital has an intensive care unit, an operating room, and a general ward. On Saturdays, its roof is opened and recovered birds (usually pigeons) fly out and back into the dangerous “urban jungle.” Though all birds are welcome, “the hospital reluctantly [treats] non-vegetarian birds.” (A bird doctor treating an injured hawk is much like a human doctor treating a gangster on the run from the law.) The hospital is busiest during the fall and winter months because, as a surgeon, Dr. Vijay Kumar, explained to Khaleej Times, “it’s the kite-flying season in New Delhi.”

Each day we get scores of birds, mostly pigeons, whose limbs have been cut by kite strings in which the birds get entangled…

For Jain monks and nuns, life, no matter what form it takes, is of the greatest importance, and they do their best not to harm, hurt, or kill a single thing. Their commitment to this unusually high standard is so resolved, so extreme, that they travel with brushes and brooms to carefully remove insects from spots they might sit on. Though seeming to affirm life, this extraordinary care, this rejection of all death, is, ultimately, a rejection of the whole living world. Jainism is, as Nietzsche once wrote in an unrelated context, “a means and artifice for withdrawing from a bad game.”

Obama: The Swimsuit Issue

posted by on January 12 at 11:07 AM

Via Hotline, the current People Magazine has a spead of paparazzi swimsuit photos that includes Penelope Cruz, Hugh Jackman, and… Sen. Barack Obama.

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Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 12 at 11:00 AM

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14/48
(WORLD’S QUICKEST THEATER FESTIVAL)
14/48 is the hit-and-run theater festival that’s all about the numbers: In the span of 48 hours, seven playwrights, seven directors, seven designers, seven musicians, and 35 actors will conceive, write, design, score, rehearse, and perform 14 plays. Tonight kicks off weekend number two, and fans of rollicking pressure-cooker theater—where “the experience” is as valuable as the art—shouldn’t miss it. (Capitol Hill Arts Center, 1621 12th Ave, 1-800-838-3006. 7:30 and 10 pm, $15, all ages.) DAVID SCHMADER

Whose sidewalk is it?

posted by on January 12 at 10:59 AM

A reader sends these photos of the nice sidewalk parking jobs of school district employees at Lowell Elementary — a school with many handicapped children. Perhaps it’s designed to give them a little off-road training in their wheel chairs.

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And two more.

Tight security at Columbia Tower

posted by on January 12 at 10:57 AM

I’m sitting at the Tully’s at Columbia Tower, working on my laptop. I just walked two steps over to chat with the guys at the next table when I got scolded by a balding British security guard. He said, “Excuse me ma’am,” (it sounded like Marm in his thick accent) “don’t step away from your computer.” I hardly think a thief could heist my iBook when I’m inches away. But, he said, there have been a lot of laptop swipings in the building of late. Now I’m paralyzed. I want to get coffee, but I don’t want to pack up all my stuff to go all the way over to the cashier, like 15 steps away. I’m fearful that the city is turning into one giant airport in terms of security.

Did The Stranger Run The Real World Out of the Country?

posted by on January 12 at 10:12 AM

That’s what AOL’s TV Squad is suggesting. After mentioning the possible relocation of MTV’s bracingly shameless “reality TV” monolith to Australia for its next season, TV Squad member Julia Ward muses:

Actually, it’s a pretty wise move to beat it for foreign shores. The alternative newsweeklies in American cities, like The Stranger in Seattle, have made it harder and harder for the Real World crew to shoot without interruption and open hostility from the locals.

Granted, it’s been almost 45 years since The Stranger devoted itself to punking The Real World: Seattle, but still, anything we can do to help rid the United States of the booze-and-syphilis-drenched Real World plague is a pleasure…

Ali G on the Radio

posted by on January 12 at 10:11 AM

You know you love Ali G. He’s hilarious. One of my favorite moments from Da Ali G Show was when he asked dumbfounded former astronaut Buzz Aldrin whether he was “upset that Michael Jackson got all the credit for inventing the moonwalk.”

Anyhoo, Sacha Baron Cohen is going to be on Day to Day at noon today on KUOW. Listen to it on 94.9 FM or on the web.

Sticking Up for the Seattle School Board

posted by on January 12 at 9:26 AM

Over on the Drudge Report right now you’ll find this headline:

Seattle school board restricts Gore global warming movie…

But when you click the link you’re taken to this story in the Olympian.

FEDERAL WAY - The school board in this suburb south of Seattle has restricted showings of Al Gore’s movie on global warming, including requiring that it be balanced with an adequate opposing viewpoint.

Uh, Matt? Seattle’s school board has its head lodged in its ass, no argument there, but our school board didn’t yank Gore’s movie. It was the school board in Federal Way, at the behest of a Frosty the Fuckwit, that banned Gore’s movie. Federal Way is a soulless, clueless suburb of Seattle. I somehow doubt the mistake was accidental—all of your posts about climate change are slanted. If someone says it’s hot in Europe, you post something about it snowing in Los Angeles because that proves that, hey, the planet isn’t getting hotter!

You no doubt wrote that headline on purpose, so that your casual readers, the ones who didn’t click on the link, would think, “Al Gore’s film must be complete bullshit—worthless propaganda!— if the school board in hyper-liberal Seattle has banned it!”

Fuck you, Matt.

Nartards and Neo-Nazi Trading Cards

posted by on January 12 at 7:07 AM

[Brendan Kiley is on tour in Europe with the Holy Ghost Revival this month.]

A new word for me: Nartards (“anarchist retards”): noun, used to refer to people (70 percent men, 99 percent white) who look like punk rockers from the ’70s, minus any variation in their taste in music (all growling hardcore) or the color scheme of their clothes (all black, with the obligatory studs, spikes, and patches of mostly American bands). The aesthetic is a postindustrial apocalyptic yearning. They drink by the gallon, smoke by the pack, rarely laugh, sometimes live in squats, parrot the same empty threats against The Man, but are super-serious about fighting low-level neo-Nazis.

Going to high school in the ’90s and being a casual fan of punk rock, I never understood all the “smash Nazis” patches and stickers that the dedicated American punks wore on their clothes. (Where were these phantom Nazis? Shouldn’t those punk kids take road trips to throw Molotov cocktails in Idaho or something?) But in a Bremen squat bar, they have collectible cards with the photos and addresses of alleged neo-Nazis and a few paragraphs of text detailing their crimes, so you can look them up and smash their windows or something.

Last night, the bands played in and stayed at a squat in Potsdam. It was an old East German brewery, now a several-stories-tall concrete warren with two stages, two bars (one with an old Chevy wedged into the wall and a morose goth-looking bartender serving beer and absinthe), pungent bathrooms, and around 20 full-time residents. It was a punk-rock time warp from the 1970s: leather, studs, the porcupine hairdos. It was like a cross between a bomb shelter, a castle, and a kids’ clubhouse, with graffiti and posters on the walls. The most memorable ones: a vintage Nazi poster with a swastika and the slogan “In the name of the German people,” and one of a punk with scales—the lighter one holding a beer, the heavier one holding a bomb and the slogan; “If you do not resist, you are part of the problem.”

This squat was nice and clean enough, unlike the horror story we’ve been hearing in several cities about a Copenhagen squat where a young woman overdosed and either crawled or was shoved under a bed and wasn’t found for a month. According to the story, she had to be scraped off the floor by the police. Supposedly it was cold enough and smelled bad enough already (some of these places are truly filthy, with human shit and dog shit and vomit left to shellac the corners) that nobody noticed. Apocryphal, but illustrative.

We’ve just arrived in Berlin, where the Holy Ghost Revival and Clorox Girls will play a bar called White Trash Fast Food. It looks fairly nice from the outside, with a Chinese look a la Chop Suey. We load in the gear soon (our daily weight lifting routine).

Tonight, the venue will put us up in a hostel, where we’ll have showers and maybe laundry. I can’t even smell myself any more. Which is a good thing.

The Morning News

posted by on January 12 at 6:30 AM

One War at a Time, Please: Did Bush declare war on Iran? He’s acting like it.

Brilliant! The Kurds are our only friends in Iraq. Let’s piss ‘em off!

London Calling… More of the Queen’s troops home from Iraq.

Tears of a Clown: President Bush cries at ceremony honoring very heroic—and very dead—U.S. soldier. Maybe we can forgive Pat Schroeder now.

Screwed: Pentagon rips up old rules and calls up National Guard troops for second year-long tours of Iraq.

Bombed: Explosion at U.S. embassy in Athens.

Smoked: Cops seize 120 pounds of pot, finally putting an end to the sale of that illegal drug in the United States.

Running Man: Senator Dodd declares.

Hard News: A David Beckham photo album—brought to you by the Washington Post.

Demver: Denver gets 2008 Democratic National Convention, beating out New York City.

The State of Coahuila… way more progressive than the State of Washington. Far-reaching civil-unions law approved in Mexican state that, hilariously enough, once shared territory with Texas.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Get the Picture

posted by on January 11 at 8:49 PM

In a post from Olympia earlier today, I ran some lengthy quotes from Sen. Ed Murray (D-43) and Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43) regarding the gay marriage and domestic partnerships bills.

Those quotes, in which both legislators explained their gay marriage strategy, were butchered (by me) as I transcribed them in a hurry. Here they are again. More intelligible hopefully.

Murray told me:

By emphasizing issues in the domestic partnership bill—being able to visit your partner in the hospital and bury your partner—we emphasize two of the 400 … 500 rights of marriage that gays and lesbians don’t have. Every year we’ll introduce more of these and people are going to get the picture that we just need to do the whole thing

The idea here is a multiple bill strategy to get people educated. If we just focused on marriage we’d just have this huge culture war.

By breaking out: “This is what we’re asking for” ….hundredes of things down the line…to be able to visit our partners… to have them on our health care… we educate people to the reality. We show people that we need to be able to protect the person we’re with or have access to their property.

Pedersen added:

What’s central to going about it this way is that we can make this progress this year. If we were going to do a symbol bill where we don’t think we’re going to pass it, why don’t we just do a marriage bill [on its own]? Or do comprehensive domestic partnership legislation. We’re doing what we can do this year, knowing that we’re going to keep on doing this and keep on adding things every session until we get marriage.

The reason for including the specific rights they did is because these rights are all things gays or lesbians could do if they paid lawyers enough. “This has an economic justice component too,” Pedersen says. “You’ve got people who can’t afford to have lawyers make all these fancy expensive arrangements,” that straight people get for the cost of a marriage license.

21,500

posted by on January 11 at 8:44 PM

In addition to the worrisome stuff about Iran and Syria, this is the important quote from Bush’s speech last night:

Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons: There were not enough Iraqi and American troops to secure neighborhoods that had been cleared of terrorists and insurgents. And there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have.

There’s a theme that has fueled the GOP since its resurgence under Reagan—a magnetic theme that continued to carry them right up through Bush’s win over Kerry in 2004. The GOP is the macho party.

They’ve been able to tap this theme because of the powerful myth they created about Vietnam. Despite hardcore shit like the Phoenix program, and the tons of napalm, and the relentless bombing, and over ten years of warfare, the word is: We didn’t give it our all in Vietnam. We held back. No, we were held back.

That storyline turned Democrats (the party associated with the anti-war movement) into wimps. And it turned Republicans into righteous macho men, who have some ass kicking to do.

(This theme was formalized at the height of the Reagan revolution with the Rambo movies, which, if I remember right, were about a Vietnam vet returning to Vietnam to kick some ass. Subtle.)

Bush, obviously, tried to stoke this theme last night. “There were too many restrictions on the troops…”

Here’s my worry: If he’s shut down, the “We were held back” resentment will play out all over again in a backlash against Democrats. If not in ‘08, too soon still. Remember— the Vietnam War was unpopular too. But in a direct way, that defeat gave way to Reaganism…Gingrich…Bush. With the legitimate war against al Qaeda still on our agenda, a backlash against “defeatism” won’t be so hard for Republicans to exploit.

So, am I advocating allowing Bush to send 21,500 more troops to Iraq as a partisan bait and switch so the country can finally learn a lesson from this failure—even though more Americans and Iraqis will die?

Fuck. I’m not that cynical or macabre or depraved. Am I?

But here’s the thing. I do kind of want Bush to send his troops and watch as nothing changes. We will finally see his foreign policy—GOP foreign policy—discredited. (Yes, I know it’s already been discredited, but Bush has provided an opening to discredit it on GOP terms. He’s provided an opening to discredit the definition of the party.)

He’s on record now saying he was held back. He wants to “surge.” And so, he has set up the machismo myth to be exposed. Imagine a year from now if things look the same. Who will Bush blame?

The GOP will be clutching a meaningless trump card.

I want this war over. I want the blowing up to stop. But more troops or less troops, it’s going to be bloody for a while anyway. So, could it be worth it, in the long run, to let Bush play Rambo and unwittingly fuck his party’s defining myth?

Interstellar Text Message

posted by on January 11 at 5:30 PM

I just received this text from a friend:

If you can get up high enough, look for the comet. It’s in the low western sky, to the south of the Olympics.

He must be talking about this.

Today on Line Out

posted by on January 11 at 4:44 PM

Phantom Single: Deflating the Shins.

Magic Limbs: The many arms of KJ Sawka.

Modest Sampling: Blue Scholars think globally, riff locally.

Phantom Single, A Rebuttal: Deflating Christopher Frizzelle.

Serious Qualifiers: Best rapper alive, Australian female edition.

Serious Back: Best rapper alive, Stranger staffer edition.

Curtains: Last Call For Gun Club Documentary.

Gray Rights

posted by on January 11 at 4:41 PM

Why does the domestic partnerships bill make a special category for seniors?

Indeed, in the list of requirements that must be met—like, “both persons share a common residence” and “neither person is married to someone other than the party to the domestic partnerhsip” —there’s this requirement: “Either (a) both persons are members of the same sex; or (b) one of the persons is at least sixty-two years of age.

Said Annie Wagner to me: “I’m confused about both the choice to include heterosexuals and to exclude heterosexuals under 62. whaa?”

Here’s what’s up with discriminating against young people: There are elderly couples that don’t get married because if they do marry, they may lose the pensions that their original spouse left them.

Meanwhile, since they aren’t married to their new partner, they don’t have any of the hospital visitation rights, funeral arrangment rights etc.. with that new partner. Getting a domestic partnership allows them to collect their previous spouse’s pension, while also being able to have rights regarding their new partner.

Iraq, Iran, Syria

posted by on January 11 at 4:14 PM

At the Washington Note, Steven C. Clemons writes:

Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.

The President may have started a new secret, informal war against Syria and Iran without the consent of Congress or any broad discussion with the country.

From Bush’s speech last night:

”We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We’ll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”

Clemons also writes:

Adding fuel to the speculation is that U.S. forces today raided an Iranian Consulate in Arbil, Iraq and detained five Iranian staff members. Given that Iran showed little deference to the political sanctity of the US Embassy in Tehran 29 years ago, it would be ironic for Iran to hyperventilate much about the raid.

But what is disconcerting is that some are speculating that Bush has decided to heat up military engagement with Iran and Syria — taking possible action within their borders, not just within Iraq.

Some are suggesting that the Consulate raid may have been designed to try and prompt a military response from Iran — to generate a casus belli for further American action.

(Click here to read the whole thing, including Condoleezza Rice’s non-denial denials in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today.)

Update: Here’s White House Press Secretary Tony Snow talking to Chris Matthews about Iran on MSNBC:

SNOW: Ok, but, let me just do a couple of things here. I think you understand and most Americans understand Iran is the foremost financier of global terror. It’s a problem. But you don’t deal with everything militarily, as you know. The United States exhausted all diplomatic options before going into Iraq, and I think what you’re doing if you’re trying to go down the road of speculation that is just way ahead of events. Right now, we’re working on making Iraq a success. One other thing about Iran, Chris. The Iranian public, most which of is young, is very pro-American.

Whew. Now I feel better.

Savage Love Poll

posted by on January 11 at 3:51 PM

pro_amputees.jpg

Today I got into a debate with a “Savage Love” reader. He felt that his fetish—he’s into amputees—was less kinky than BDSM. I begged to differ. We leave it to you, Slog readers, to decide. Who’s kinkier? Dudes that want to make sweet, sweet vanilla love to girls and/or boys that happen to be missing one or more limbs? Or dudes that want to be tied up and smacked around by girls and/or boys with four fully functioning limbs?

Vote for the one you think is kinkier


Create polls and vote for free. dPolls.com

Thanks to Mr. B. for helping my tech-unsavvy ass pull this poll together. And sorry about the graphic—the very cheesy, highly heterosexist graphic. It was imposed on us in a non-consensual fashion.

Hardcore Jimmy Carter

posted by on January 11 at 2:50 PM

Carter’s new book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, caused this to happen:

“We are deeply troubled by the president’s comments and writings and are submitting the following letter of resignation to the Carter Center…”

The letters were signed by Alan Abrams, Steve Berman, Michael Coles, Jon Golden, Doug Hertz, Barbara Babbit Kaufman, Liane Levetan, Jeff Levy, Leon Novak, Ambassador William B. Schwartz Jr., William B. Schwartz III, Steve Selig, Cathey Steinberg, and Gail Solomon.

During the 80s, the peak of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, wasn’t Israel the only country that maintained an official diplomatic relationship with South Africa? Just wondering.

Like I Said

posted by on January 11 at 2:29 PM

One of the best things about the Olympic Sculpture Park is going to be the debates it inspires. And it begins!—in a heated (overheated) exchange on Artdish that I finally had to get involved in to set the record straight about minimalism, Stinger, twelve-tone music, and being a bad cop.

Condi’s Guys

posted by on January 11 at 2:06 PM

“My Fox guys, I love every single one of them,” gushed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice into an open microphone between television interviews this morning. She also said she’d like to do a “one-on-one” with CBS anchor Harry Smith next time she’s in Iraq. As though we needed further proof that the mainstream media is in bed with this administration…

Posted by Sage Van Wing.

The Contenders: Sam Brownback

posted by on January 11 at 1:54 PM

Sure, November 2008 is nearly two years away, but it’s apparently never too early to declare one’s intention to run for president, and thus it’s never too early to get to know the people who might be the next leader of the free world. This month we’ll be taking a brief look at them.

Sam Brownback.jpg

Sam Brownback

Party: Republican

Age: 50

Status: Will Enter Race Jan. 20

www.brownback.com

After Sen. Sam Brownback announces his entrance into the 2008 presidential race later this month in Topeka, Kansas, he will, according to the plan laid out by his spokesman, fly straight back to Washington, D.C., to participate in an anti-abortion march marking the anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade ruling. It’s a fitting maneuver for a conservative Catholic who rode into the House of Representatives during the Republican Revolution in 1994 and quickly made the jump to the Senate.

Brownback was born in tiny Parker, Kansas, and first got into politics as a student at Kansas State University, campaigning for Ronald Reagan during Reagan’s unsuccessful run against Gerald Ford for the Republican nomination. He earned a law degree from the University of Kansas in 1982.

He opposes abortion and gay rights, promotes the teaching of intelligent design, and is, in a way, casting himself as the non-Mormon version of Mitt Romney. While Evangelical Christians tend to align with Romney’s positions on social issues, they also tend to look down Mormons as members of a “cult.” Brownback, being a Catholic, doesn’t have that problem.

Brownback has been understood to say that he does not believe the Constitution guarantees a right to privacy. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee he has, however, expressed some concerns about the Bush administration’s secret wiretapping program. He is a fiscal conservative and a moderate on capitol punishment.

And this week he broke from other Republican contenders by announcing that he doesn’t support Bush’s plan for a troop surge in Iraq.

Brownback is married to a Topeka newspaper heiress and the couple has five children.

(With research help from super-star intern Sage Van Wing)

Previously: John Edwards, John McCain, Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, and Barack Obama.

Hot.

posted by on January 11 at 1:26 PM

English soccer stud David Beckham is coming to America to play for the U.S. Major League Soccer team in Los Angeles.

David Beckham.jpg

Hey, Big Spender.

posted by on January 11 at 1:01 PM

At this morning’s press conference, Seattle Times reporter David Postman smiled, welcomed me to Olympia, and then lit into me. Postman said I was being “unfair.” He was defending his colleague Ralph Thomas.

My Oly•Intel column this week (plus a companion Slog post yesterday) took issue with a front-page story that Thomas wrote in last Sunday’s Seattle Times: “Governor’s Big Spending Plan: Can We Afford It?”

Postman said Thomas’s story was right on—asking a fair question about Gregoire’s $30 billion budget, which proposes $4 billion in new spending.

I had taken issue with the story for portraying Gov. Gregoire’s budget through a standard GOP lens: “It’s unsustainable!” the piece explained.

That’d be okay, if the piece also had explained why it’s unsustainable.

The GOP would have you believe, and the Seattle Times laid out the problem this way, that Gregoire’s budget is unsustainable because she’s expanding government. She’s going on a “spending spree” the story said.

That’s the GOP frame, to use a fancy word.

I agree that the budget is unsustainable. But it’s unsustainable because years of tax cuts and Eyman initiatives (plus an inequitable tax structure where rich people pay three percent of their income in taxes and poor people pay 17 percent of their income in taxes) has prevented government from doing its job.

Government is trying to drive on a half tank of gas. Yes, that’s unsustainable, but not because Gregoire is expanding government. Her budget is actually small when judged by the six previous biennium budgets.

So, indeed, I agree with Postman that his colleague Thomas asked a fair question. But Thomas’s article didn’t offer any anwswer other than the same-old GOP scare mongering about uncouth spending.

2007 Elvis Invitationals at EMP

posted by on January 11 at 12:49 PM

Okay. I admit it. When someone says “Elvis Impersonator” I think of this photo, that I took in Las Vegas last year:

elvis?.jpg

When I called the EMP, to see if I could interview one of the participants in tomorrow’s 11th Annual Seattle Elvis Invitationals, well, I never expected to meet a LADY, especially not a lady as charming and sweet as this:

Please check out other interviews, as well as some excellent podcasts on our brand new Stranger Pod/Vod page!

Meta Gay Marriage: In a Good Way

posted by on January 11 at 12:15 PM

The five gay legislators in Olympia (but mostly two of them: Sen. Ed Murray (D-43) and Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43) …) unveiled two bills at a press conference in Olympia this morning.
One bill, a long shot that Murray acknowledged will “move slowly” —refusing to make any prediction about how many sessions it will take to pass, was a bill for full marriage equality for gays and lesbians.

The other bill, which Pedersen said would pass this session in the House, is a domestic partnerships bill. This bill would grant about 10 rights to domestic partners—like allow domestic partners to have hospital visitation rights; allow domestic partners to give informed consent on hospital decisions; allow partners to make funeral arrangements; and allow domestic partners to inherit property in the absence of a will.

It leaves a host (423 and counting according to the latest study) of other rights off the table, like access to your partner’s health care or your parnter’s pension benefits; the ability to file a wrongful death suit if you partner is killed; and the right of “spousal privilege” —which would shield a domestic partner (like a husband or wife) from being compelled to testify against one another.

Indeed, the legislators have decided to take a bite size approach.

(I cannot link the bills yet because they haven’t been officially filed.)

The incremental approach is certainly about gaining rights, but it’s also about highlighting what rights gays and lesbians don’t have. Murray and Pedersen believe this is a way to dramatize the issue for those who may oppose gay marriage.

Murray told me:

By emphasizing issues in the domestic partnership bill—being able to visit your partner in the hospital and bury your partner—we emphasize two of the 400.. 500 rights of marriage that gays and lesbians don’t have. Every year we’ll introduce more of these and people are going to get the picture that we just need to do the whole thing

The idea here is a multiple bill strategy to get people educated. If we just focused on marriage we’d just have this huge culture war.

By breaking out: “This is what we’re asking for” ….hundredes of things down the line…to be able to visit our partners… to have them on our health care… we educate people to the reality. We show people that we need to be able to protect the person we’re with or have access to their property.

Pedersen added:

What’s central to going about it this way is that we can make this progress this year. If we were going to do a symbol bill where we don’t think we’re going to pass it, why don’t we just do a marriage bill [on its own]? Or do comprehensive domestic partnership legislation. We’re doing what we can do this year, knowing that we’re going to keep on doing this and keep on adding things every session until we get marriage.

The reason for including the specific rights they did is because these rights are all things a gay or lesbian could do if they paid lawyers enough. “This has an economic justice component too,” Pedersen says. “You’ve got people who can’t afford to have lawyers make all these fancy expensive arrangements,” that straight people get for the cost of a marriage license.

Domestic partners—and there’s a straightforward definition of who qualifies including “living together” and “consent”—would apply for a license at the state and pay a small fee.

Romney on the Issues (1994 Edition)

posted by on January 11 at 11:45 AM

Likely Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is against abortion and gay rights… these days. But check out these clips from his debate with Ted Kennedy back in 1994, when Romney was against repealing Roe v. Wade and for gays in the Boy Scouts.

Football is so Gay

posted by on January 11 at 11:39 AM

Just admit it. The hypermasculinity of the uniforms—broad shoulders, narrow waists (except on offensive linemen), muscles. So it’s never made much sense to me that so many Slog readers are so vehemently anti-football when so many are also pro-voyuerism. Straight guys who like football are all secure enough in our masculinity to just enjoy the violence, but there’s plenty to watch for the rest of ya.

Anyway, Slog posts that primarily link to other places are kind of lame, but I’m busy at work today, and as usual, the freakin’ geniuses at Deadspin.com are better at this than I am.

So: how one Green Bay Packer and Rex Grossman are gay gay gay.

How Matt Hasselhoff is lame lame lame

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 11 at 10:20 AM

Matthew Stadler is talking to Steve Scher on KUOW right now. Will somebody please call in and ask how he got his hair to do this?

hair.jpg

Matthew Stadler

(LECTURE) Matthew Stadler brings the concept of “Zwischenstadt” to Seattle. The concept calls for a new interpretation and reorientation of urban space. Stadler believes that the old concept, the city center, is only adequate for a kind of urban space that no longer exists; the new concept, Zwischenstadt, is adequate for the new realities of centerless and globalized urban space. But that is just the surface of the matter. Expect to hear much more from the mind of a man who has made utopia the business of his thought. (Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Ave, 624-6600. 7:30 pm, $5.) CHARLES MUDEDE

Chameleon stories

posted by on January 11 at 9:45 AM

New York and Seattle papers report the story of Esther Reed, a drop out from Mountlake Terrace High School, who stole other women’s identification and conned her way into several colleges, including Harvard and Columbia. After being cornered by police in New York City, she agreed to take a DNA test and then vanished. She’s still on the run. This reminds me of another chameleon story in the weird Northwest, Treva Joyce Throneberry, the 32-year-old Texas woman who pretended to be a high school student in Washington State.

I think these women get addicted to their masquerades. That and they feel entitled to things that were always out of reach.

Democrats Pick Denver for 2008 Convention

posted by on January 11 at 9:41 AM

Another sign of the rise of the Western Democrat.

A Sac of Rooms Three Times A Day at Suyama Space, or, How Alex Schweder is On Fire This Season

posted by on January 11 at 9:33 AM

Here’s something that, if we hadn’t accidentally left it off of our listings this week, would have been double-dog starred:

Press Release Triptych b.jpg

Seattle artist/architect Alex Schweder continues his exploration of the permeable relationship between occupied space and occupying bodies, upcoming at Suyama Space, located at 2324 2nd Avenue in Seattle. The site-specific installation, A Sac of Rooms Three Times a Day, opens to the public on January 15 and continues through April 13, 2007. A reception on Friday, January 12 from 5 – 7 p.m. will be followed by an artist lecture on Saturday, January 13 at 12 noon. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and admission is free to the public. With A Sac of Rooms Three Times a Day, Schweder creates a bungalow-sized, transparent vinyl envelope measuring 21’ x 28’ x 9’ that contains four smaller forms alluding to rooms with such architectonic references as windows, doors, and interior walls. The smaller sacs, similar to the silk volumes of Do-Ho Suh and the concrete castings of Rachel Whiteread regularly inflate and deflate inside the larger envelope in a choreographed sequence. The sacs push against each other and against the interior space of the larger envelope, causing them to distort and re-conform to one another. This writhing “performance” occurs three times a day, each performance lasting 40 minutes.

Want more on Schweder? No problem. He has had two shows at Howard House this fall, this and here.

Totally Fucking Awesome: The Freedom Writers Promotional Tote Bag

posted by on January 11 at 9:17 AM

scaled.freedomwriters-bag.jpg

Courtesy of the good folks at Defamer, here’s the must-have swag of the season: the Freedom Writers tote bag, commemorating the Hilary Swank-as-an-inner-city teacher vehicle (ably dismantled by Stranger writer Lindy West here) and described by Defamer’s tipster thusly:

It has all this fake graffiti on it, like a bunch of disaffected, inner city kids freedom-wrote all over it in PENCIL. “I don’t trust anyone.” “I hate the way this gun feels against my side”—shit like that. Shit that cries out “Thank you, Hilary Swank, for helping me get all of this off of my asthmatic, inner city-kid chest!” If it were possible to want to see that movie less than I already did, I now do.

Full Defamer item here. P.S. I hate the way this gun feels against my side.

The President Speaks

posted by on January 11 at 9:12 AM

337_bush_2.jpg

The president spoke last night, and now the bullshit calling and body-language-parsing begins. As Howard Fineman says, the president looked unusually scared as he ordered more than 20,000 additional troops into Iraq:

George W. Bush spoke with all the confidence of a perp in a police lineup. I first interviewed the guy in 1987 and began covering his political rise in 1993, and I have never seen him, in public or private, look less convincing, less sure of himself, less cocky. With his knitted brow and stricken features, he looked, well, scared. Not surprising since what he was doing in the White House library was announcing the escalation of an unpopular war.

He also continued to try to create his own reality, so much so that the Associated Press filed a report on the speech headlined: “Bush rhetoric hard to square with facts.”

In doses of rhetoric hard to square with facts in the region, Bush portrayed the ordinary people of the Middle East as being behind U.S. goals in Iraq, in his speech to the nation Wednesday night.

And he declared the need to address Iran’s and Syria’s support for insurgents, without acknowledging his refusal to engage either country diplomatically, as many U.S. allies and the Iraq Study Group proposed.

The AP goes on from there:

Bush declared “al-Qaida is still active in Iraq” and a failed U.S. mission would give such terrorists a safe haven from which to plot attacks against Americans.

Although few quarrel with that appraisal now, it is also the case that Iraq — contrary to assertions at the time — was not a magnet for al-Qaida before the U.S. invasion.

Andrew Sullivan heads straight for Bush’s flawed premise:

The premise of the speech, and of the strategy, is that there is a national democratic government in Baghdad, defending itself against Jihadist attacks. The task, in the president’s mind, is therefore to send more troops to defend such a government. But the reality facing us each day is a starkly different one from the scenario assumed by the president. The government of which Bush speaks, to put it bluntly, does not exist.

Keith Olbermann goes straight for Bush’s credibility.

And I would like to note these lines from Bush’s speech…

Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grandfathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship.

…and this picture of Bush, taken on the deck of a battleship in 2003:

mission-accomplished.jpg

Meanwhile, there is quite a bit of alarm at Bush’s assertion that succeeding in Iraq means defending its territorial integrity, and that this…

…begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.

DailyKos sees this line as the beginning of “Bush’s Cambodia.” William M. Arking of the Washington Post also noticed the line:

If there’s anything in the President Bush’s remarks tonight that we didn’t already know or didn’t anticipate him saying militarily about Iraq, it is his evident willingness to go to war with Syria and Iran to seek peace.

Speaking about the two countries tonight, the president said that the United States will “seek out and destroy” those who are providing material support to our enemies.

It is only a threat. But it is a far cry from the diplomatic proposals floated just last month for making Syria and Iran part of the solution. Can the president really be saying that we are willing to risk war with the two countries, and even attack elements inside them, to achieve peace in Iraq?

It goes without saying that most Democrats are not on board with this plan. But, tellingly, neither is Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, one of the most conservative Republicans now running for president in 2008.

The Morning News

posted by on January 11 at 7:10 AM

Bush’s Big Speech: He wants 21,500 more U.S.troops in Iraq.

Bush’s Big Speech: Non-apology apology out of touch with public opinion.

Bush’s Big Speech: He threatens Iran and Syria.

The L.A. Times Responds: Saying Bush’s Plan is just like Vietnam.

Democrats Respond: They threaten to block the troop escalation.

Republicans Repsond: They wonder if they should support Bush or… not.

The Arab Response: Sending more U.S. troops is a bad idea.

Democrats: Want to raise the minimum wage.

Democrats and Republicans: Daring Bush to veto new stem cell bill.

Democratic Sen. Christopher Dodd: Announces he will throw his hat in the 2008 ring.

Republican Sen. Sam Brownback: Announces he doesn’t support troop surge.

Seattle Parks Board: Considering proposal to expand the parks exclusion ordinance.

Fundie Parent: Forces Federal Way schools to put moratorium on Gore Movie.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Our Long National Nightmare

posted by on January 10 at 6:49 PM

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Just finished watching Bush’s speech announcing his “new” strategy with my favorite Pundit, former Stranger news weirdo, Sandeep Kaushik. Blame this drunken, self-loathing “analysis” on him.

Really, Bush didn’t announce anything new. He’s staying the course with a few more troops… 20,000 exactly. It’s going to fail miserably. Let’s be rude enough to state the obvious: as Bob Shrum (of all people) said a few months ago, “the Iraq war is over, except for the killing.”

Everyone had their scripted roles: Bush played Churchill, the Democrats played the loyal opposition, the press acted portentious, as if this was some kind of truly momentous turning point, the protesters outside the White House screamed as if their hoarse shouts made any difference. The only thing interesting about the whole ritualized charade was what Bush did not say.

He did not say “Sadr”—though he hinted that we would soon be fighting house-to-house in the endless slums of Sadr City. He did not say “escalation,” or even “surge.” Our commitment, apparently, is open-ended. He did not say, as was expected, that the US would invest $1 billion in a new jobs program to pacify angry Iraqis. He did not say “Democrats”—though he denounced “pessimists.”

Most importantly, he also didn’t announce any tangible benchmarks to measure—at some point—the success of his plan.

If the Democrats were smart, they’d make a lot of noise (as they did after the speech, kind of) that Bush has it backwards, and if we want to empower the Iraqis, we need to split. But rather than standing him down, they should let him go ahead and allow the charade play out according to script: The Democrats pass a non-binding resolution, going on record as “pessimists”—but then allow Bush’s own on-record strategy to backfire.

Tonight was a hail Mary from Bush. Let him throw it. And let all the GOP candidates drop it.

Mistakes Were Made

posted by on January 10 at 6:41 PM

Apparently someone gave a speech tonight.

All Props and Such to PORT

posted by on January 10 at 6:40 PM

In the last week, I’ve been drawn in at least three times to read all the way to the end of a very, very long post over at PORT, the spectacular blog on PDX art goings-on. Led by Jeff Jahn, whose review this afternoon on the new Storm Tharp show at PDX Contemporary is worth your full attention (and which contains links to every work in the show—oh, the instant gratification), PORT has a staff of several, and they do interviews, reviews, heads-ups, and wide-ranging op-eds. I’m jealous of PORT. Very, very jealous.

Before treating you to some Tharp pics (before this, I was lukewarm on the guy, and some of the works I see online from this show still strike me as twee, but man, several knock me out, and that’s more than I can say for any recent painting/drawing show in Seattle), let me note the other PORT spot you must click on: the 2006 curatorial roundup.

And now for your art treat. (For more from the show, called We Appeal to Heaven, click here.)

Storm Tharp, Einstein (2006)
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Storm Tharp, Rare Bird (2006)
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Storm Tharp, Jerimiah Puckett (2006)
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Sculpture Study Group, Part II

posted by on January 10 at 6:15 PM

The sculptor Erwin Wurm asks the question—or has a fat house do it for him—can an artwork be fat? (If you haven’t already, check the Wurm show at the Frye.) What about, can an artwork be dead? How do you know it’s dead? In this week’s In/Visible podcast, up now here, we try to determine at what point Joseph Beuys’s dried-up, clamped-together fat wedges and other works like it become, well, like Terri Schiavo. What about when artists put the DNR stamp on their works, and conservators ignore it? What would be the point of making a sculpture that’s destined to die? Well, we keep making people, don’t we? I talk to artists Tivon Rice, Susie Lee, and Mike Magrath, and writer/curator Suzanne Beal about permanence and sculpture, which really means talking about art and death. It’s fun, though. Honestly.

And while we’re on the subject of sculpture, there’s a little early debate going on over at Artdish about the Olympic Sculpture Park. I love that it’s already causing arguments.

Baugh! Episode One

posted by on January 10 at 5:36 PM

There’s not all that much to bitch about in John Longenbaugh’s first outing as a theater news columnist at the Seattle Weekly. Pomposity is kept to a minimum, he gets Ann Graham’s name right—oh, wait, no he doesn’t. No ‘e,’ Longenbaugh. At least to a fellow e-less Ann, that’s a pretty irritating error. But what was that you emailed me again?

As to all your other comments—whatever. I assumed that having someone fact-check my column each week is what the Weekly’s supposed to do, but if you want to donate the time, go for it.

Sure thing! Glad to help.

What else? It’s old, for news. Read that press release closely and you’ll note that as of Dec 11, Northwest Actors Studio needed to raise $25,000 by Dec 31. Longenbaugh’s Jan 10 update? NWAS has narrowed the gap to… $25,000, needed by—um—sometime before March?

It’s got a hoary old anecdote about the days when Longenbaugh was producing Carlotta’s Late-Night Wing Ding (are you sure you want to bring that up?), and exactly two sources. I’m not saying Seattle Weekly readers might want the dirt on Ann Graham—they’re far too mature for that. But maybe some hint that paying $3,600 for Graham’s acting lessons might not be quite the “bargain” he claims it is?

And Mr. Longenbaugh, you really need to talk to whoever’s the clip art director at the Weekly these days.

longenbaugh.jpg

Seriously?

Welcome to the New Website

posted by on January 10 at 5:30 PM

Disoriented? You’re in the right place; we’ve just upgraded and redecorated. You’ll find brand-new, fully searchable movie, music, and arts calendars, a spiffed-up dining guide, podcasts, videos, Get Your War On, and all the usual news, entertainment, and columns gussied up in more refined attire.

The Stranger’s web redesign team is Tim Keck, Anthony Hecht, Nick Scholl, Nancy Hartunian, Kelly O’Neil, Ari Spool, Corianton Hale (since moved on), and me. This project has consumed months of our lives, so go ahead and tell us how much you hate it… if you want to find out how hard I can hit! Seriously, though, we’re always accepting feedback at webfeedback@thestranger.com.

UPDATE: If you get a login box, just use preview for both the username and password. We’re working out all the little launch kinks. Thanks for your patience.

Whoops

posted by on January 10 at 5:16 PM

The filing deadline for this year’s local elections is June 8—not, as I reported in In the Hall, June 31. That means Port, City Council, County Council and school board hopefuls have just under six months to jump in the pool.

Everyone Loves Teen Dances

posted by on January 10 at 5:14 PM

The mayor and city attorney have each sent separate letters to the liquor control board opposing provisions in its nightclub license legislation that would have the effect of banning all-ages shows. As I reported in this week’s paper, City Attorney Tom Carr’s letter expressed concern “that the new legislation could effectively eliminate musical shows available to persons under 21” and suggested requiring that minors be excluded from shows “or effectively segregated” from drinkers after 11 pm. Today, Mayor Greg Nickels followed up, “oppos[ing] provisions in the Liquor Control Board’s proposed legislation that would limit the ability of clubs in Seattle to hold all ages dances and shows.”

Bully for them. Now if only they’d drop their support for a citywide nightclub license that places unreasonable restrictions on clubs that offer live music.

Crime ain’t what it used to be

posted by on January 10 at 5:04 PM

The Seattle Times reports that Seattle is number four in the nation for bank robberies. Nation-wide, bank heists have only become more popular among thieves hungry for quick cash. But it’s a decreasingly noble pursuit. In 132 King County bank jobs in 2006, bumbling bad guys snagged just over $300,000. My grandmother, a swash-buckling crossword menace from Montana, married into the family of James Younger—this was after she parted ways with Grandpa Valdez. Younger and members of his James Gang were real hoods. In the first recorded daylight bank heist in US history, he and others were suspected of making off with more than $60,000 — that’s more than $700,000 in modern ducats.

Today On Line Out

posted by on January 10 at 4:46 PM

Work is hard: And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Jewel Cases.

We Deserve It: Eurovision, Here We Come.

50 Imaginary Albums: Three Imaginary Girls’ Best NW Albums of 2006.

Weekend At Brownie’s: James Brown is dead, and he’s still the hardest working man in show business.

Like A Rolling Stone, Sort Of: Real music critics are not be telegenic.

Punker Than Thou: The Vera Project is not your basement.

Word of the Day

posted by on January 10 at 4:45 PM

Fundotardilism. Example of usage:

Today’s our first day with Bill Ritter as governor [of Colorado], and I for one thank the sweet baby Jesus above that, for all Ritter’s faults, he lacks that certain je ne sais fundotardilism.

Twilight of the Empire

posted by on January 10 at 4:39 PM

Based on information provided by a slog tipper, there is a comet in our sky.
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The comet is called McNaught and is supposed to be “one of the brightest comets in decades - visible at sunrise and sunset.” If the comet is actually in the sky, you will not see it at dusk because clouds are between us and it. But the slog tipper made the important connection that in history, when a comet appears like this, so bright and so evil, it means the end of an empire is near. Have this in mind when Bush makes the announcement tonight that more American bodies are going to be dropped into the hell of a war that can not be won no matter what, no matter how long, no matter how many.

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on January 10 at 3:58 PM

I don’t post every single note I receive from the Prayer Warrior, and this one, which arrived today, almost didn’t make the cut. But I’ve consulted fellow Prayer-Warrior-watcher Dave Schmader, and he’s convinced me there are enough little gems in this one to make at least half of it worth your time. The rest is in the jump.

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January 10, 2007

Dear Prayer Warrior,

Please pray for continued results in our study of Matthew over the last four years, that God’s Word would continue to do its work. Remember the final truth of Matthew in this:

• Everyone has a free choice, but when you choose, your rights end, and God has all power over the consequences of your choice, not you.

• The consequence of your choice far outweighs and far outlasts any reason for that choice.

Here are the four questions I asked on December 24, that I want you to answer this coming year:

1. What price is enough to keep your mouth sealed about the power of Jesus’ resurrection? A wise man gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.

2. What price is enough not to be shaken when you see the Word of God being butchered by saying the resurrection of Christ is only biblical myth? Your relationship with someone else or something else is not worth giving up your relationship to Jesus Christ.

Continue reading "Notes From The Prayer Warrior" »

Kick Out the Jams, Motherfuckers.

posted by on January 10 at 3:57 PM

I luv this week’s issue.

Sarah Mirk is back! with this excellent profile about Ballard’s self-appointed crank, whose mission is to rip the veneer of the neighborhood.

We have a new music column by our new music writer, Eric Grandy, called Fucking in the Streets. I haven’t read the column yet, but the time has come for each and every one of you to decide whether you are going to be the problem or you are going to be the solution.

And my brother Tom Nissley, who is smarter than every GRE question ever, reviews one of those 33 1/3 books, this one on James Brown, alongside the new Pynchon novel. A beautiful books cocktail.

Also, it must be noted that newsie Erica C. Barnett, who filed about 500 stories this week, including her usual chock-full-of-scoops column, is the new Ben Jacklet. (Google him, kids.)

Political Roleplaying

posted by on January 10 at 3:45 PM

Watch Bush “screw the country” in this NSFW video. (Via) (Via)

When the People of the Future Look Back on the Pandemic…

posted by on January 10 at 3:12 PM

They won’t be able to say we didn’t have any warning.

Get Rich Quick: Ditch Your Car!

posted by on January 10 at 3:01 PM

A new report by the American Public Transit Association finds that the average two-person household can save more than $6,200 a year by ditching one car and using public transportation—more than the $5,781 the average household spends on food each year. Most of the savings (around $5,800) comes from not paying for maintenance, insurance, and loan payments. Doubling transit use nationwide, meanwhile, would increase fuel savings to 2.8 billion gallons a year—the equivalent of 216 million tanks of fuel, 68 oil tankers from the Middle East, or 7.8 million gallons of gas a day.

That’s just one car. The survey didn’t look at savings experienced by households, like mine, with no cars at all. I gave up my car about a year ago because, among other reasons, I had pretty much stopped using it. (I hate driving in the city). Since then I’ve traded gas, insurance, maintenance, car payments, tickets, and tow fees (from the several times a year the city towed my car because I didn’t move it around enough) for biking, busing, walking, FlexCar, cab rides and the charity of my friends. I’m not saying everybody can get by without a car; but if you want to save money and have access to a bus route, it’s worth trying out.

Human Spam

posted by on January 10 at 2:41 PM

Walking up Fourth Avenue around one this afternoon, I watched as a scrum of WashPIRG volunteers intercepted hapless office workers headed back from lunch. The office workers just wanted to get back to their cubicles—baby, it’s cold outside—while the WashPRIG volunteers… er, wait.

They’re paid solicitors, right? Those WashPIRG kids can’t be standing around outside all day, in the freezing cold, wearing their WashPIRG jackets and holding their WashPIRG clipboards, for free, right?

So I watched as the WashPIRG workers hit the office workers up for donations. And I thought, man, I hate those WashPIRG people. I know, I know—all for a good cause, blah blah blah. But I still fucking hate it when one of a WashPIRGer collars me on the street. According to their website, WashPIRG is a “non-profit, non-partisan watchdog group working on behalf of consumers, the environment, and good government,” and the subtext to any interaction with a WashPIRGer is, basically, “Give me some money—unless you don’t care about product safety, the environment, good government, and all that other stuff.”

Most people—smart people—say no or shake their heads and keep walking. Some folks try to be nice and exchange a few words with the WashPIRGers. But allowing yourself to be drawn into a conversation with a WashPIRGers is not a mistake you make again. But there must be some folks that actually make a donation. Otherwise WashPIRG wouldn’t send these folks out into the street to harass people, right? If some folks didn’t fall for the WashPIRGers earnest, guilt-laden pitches, they wouldn’t be out there on the street at all.

You know what? Those WashPIRGers? They’re human spam—they’re the original spam. What are we constantly told about spam? If it weren’t for people stupid enough to respond—if it weren’t for guys buying penis enlargement pills or going into business with the widows of Nigerian generals—there would be no money in spam, and the flow of spam would instantly cease. If we want to stop the spammers, we have to ignore the spam. All of us. And most of us do. But just enough of us respond, just enough of us fall for it, to make bothering all of us worth a spammers’ while.

Remember that the next time a WashPIRGer collars you on the way back from work.

The Trouble with Nermal

posted by on January 10 at 2:32 PM

Remove the thought balloons from a Garfield comic, and Jon Arbuckle becomes a sad, profound, profoundly sad man.

garfield1

garfield1

More here.

On The Front Page

posted by on January 10 at 2:26 PM

Can you believe your eyes?
Picture 1.jpg An image on the front page of the Seattle Times that’s above mediocre. How did this happen? Why today instead of never happening at all? The reasons behind the happening are surely cosmic. Somehow (by influence of the stars? a passing comet? the arrangement of tea leaves at the bottom of a cup?) a picture worth looking at (its magic: the yellow on the first of the twin bell towers) and thinking about is there, waiting to be liberated from the metal prison of a newspaper dispenser. The last time this occurred, the last time one stopped and looked and searched for quarters, was in October of 2005, with this funny image:

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Now He Tells Us

posted by on January 10 at 2:14 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 — President Bush will announce tonight that he is sending more than 21,000 American troops to Iraq to quell the violence there, while conceding for the first time that he provided neither enough troops nor enough resources to control the chaos in Iraq last year

Mr. Bush and his top advisers are acutely aware that their new strategy, only 13 months after they unveiled a “Plan for Victory” that was never executed, marks the last chance that the president may have to get Iraq right.

The speech begins at 6 p.m. PST. Details on his new plan here.

UPDATE: Over at Horsesass, Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) rejects the president’s plan in advance of the speech.

Not the Bees!

posted by on January 10 at 1:46 PM

Last year’s remake of The Wicker Man, reduced to its “best” moments.

We all love Alice

posted by on January 10 at 1:36 PM

Calvin Trillin has released a short book based on his 2006 New Yorker essay, “Alice, Off the Page.” The essay was an ode to Trillin’s wife, Alice Stewart Trillin. Any reader of his could not help but fall in love with her. She was not just a static muse, but a moving assemblage in his life. The essay made me cry and cry. It didn’t really give me hope for my own love life. Their love was truly rare and special. Sorry for the treacle. Alice was a powerful writer in her own right. The New Yorker published her own essay on illness and doctors here.

Inequity is Unsustainable

posted by on January 10 at 1:22 PM

Over the last couple of days, in reaction to the “It’s unsustainable!” mantra that the mainstream dailies have been parroting on behalf of the GOP to criticize Gov. Christine Gregoire’s $30 billion budget and its, gasp, $4 billion in new spending, Goldy has posted some helpful doses of context.

Goldy did a nice job summarizing the wonky, but important analysis from the Washington State Budget & Policy Center, a lefty think tank that released studies last month showing that Gov. Gregoire isn’t actually expanding government spending. Gregoire’s budget represents a smaller percentage of our economy than the previous six state budgets. Government under Gregoire is smaller.

Gregoire’s budget is a standard update that happens every biennium in Olympia that’s necessary to meet the growing needs of our expanding economy and workforce. (Gregoire’s “expansion” is about 9.6%, which falls well within the average percentage increases of our state budget biennium to biennium going back more than ten years.)

You wouldn’t know any of this from reading the front-page Sunday Seattle Times which (without any context) regurgitates GOP sound bites like this one: “Under the governor’s new budget, the state would spend nearly $6 million a day more than it did when she took office.”

The simple rejoinder to the GOP’s flip scare mongering is that our economy was underserved when Gregoire took office (thanks to the spree of lockstep tax cuts that dominated the GOP era before Gregoire—which depleted state coffers) and she’s fixing that problem by putting money into things like education and health care that the public expects (demands) out of government.

It is true that there’s a problem: Updating our budget to meet the growing needs of an expanding economy (that is: simply providing the services at the level government provides currently) will be “unsustainable” as we move into the next biennium.

But the root cause of the problem isn’t ballooning spending (again Gregoire’s budget represents a smaller portion of your personal income than any recent budget before her) … the root cause is on the revenue side. Thanks to years of GOP tax slashing, our budget is unsustainable because we don’t have an equitable tax structure. In short: Government is being expected to drive the car on a half tank of gas.

Of course, I could also lay the blame on the Democrats. They always talk big about retooling our tax structure so that rather than relying on a sales tax (where the poorest 20 percent of Washington residents pay 17 percent of their income in taxes while the richest one percent pay just three percent of their income), we would shift to something more equitable like an income tax.

But, alas, they (and Gregoire in particular) have shied away from any structural reform. With such whopping majorities right now, it’d be nice to see the Democrats call bullshit on the GOP’s misleading analysis once and for all. “Yes,” the Democrats should say, “We agree. This budget is unsustainable. But it’s not because of big government. It’s because of a flawed tax system. And we’re going to do something about it.

American Idol Disses Seattle

posted by on January 10 at 12:18 PM

You know how when you call your mom a fat ass, it’s hilarious, but if someone else does it’s war? That’s totally how I feel about this Entertainment Weekly article, in which the folks of American Idol trash the Pacific Northwest.

As EW’s Jessica Shaw writes of American Idol’s new season:

Brace yourself for some new lows. ”Season 6 has the most delusional people I’ve ever seen,” says [Paula] Abdul. ”If people love that part of the show, they’ll love this season.” And they’ll be positively besotted with the city of Seattle, which [exec producer Nigel] Lythgoe says ”stands out as possibly the worst city I’ve ever seen for crazies. Maybe they’re drinking too much coffee.”

Granted, the Pacific Northwest is packed with impressive crazies, along with countless casualties of the “if you can dream it, you can do it” school of positive affirmation (dreaming about Beyonce does not enable you to sing like Beyonce, tragically). Nevertheless, fuck Nigel Lythgoe and Paula Abdul and every other American Idol fuck for bad-mouthing my hometown’s talent pool. I hate to think of Seattle’s wonderfully deluded and talented freaks wasting their gifts on those fucks from Fox.

It kinda makes me miss Pizzazz!

Dead Man Rapping

posted by on January 10 at 11:58 AM

We can look at this new CD in two ways: pastedGraphic.jpg
One, and the weaker view, Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother, is keeping her son’s work and dreams alive; two, as the title of Nas’s new CD puts it, hiphop is dead. The question to ask is this: What is the function of hiphop today? Do black Americans really need it? In the 80s, during the crack epidemic and Reagan’s ruthless execution of anything that looked or acted socialistic, hiphop had three main functions: one, producing pleasure (as Tricia Rose pointed out in her masterpiece Black Noise), creating economic opportunities in areas that were abandoned by the formal economy (NWA in Compton, Boogie Down Productions in the South Bronx), and lastly, offering a base from which black artists could launch into other and higher areas of the entertainment industry (for example, Will Smith, Ice Cube, Puff Daddy, Queen Latifah, and LL Cool J). These days, however, hiphop primarily provides pleasure (and a bad pleasure because it is an empty pleasure). Blacks don’t need hiphop for the other purposes; and it is in the decadence of pure, empty pleasure (50 cent, Lil Kim, Nas) that the sun of its life has set. All of its creativity is now in the networks of an underground world not unlike the one in Lucas’s THX 1138.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 10 at 11:00 AM

Give $$$ to Vera!

SSwed-160.jpg

(DO IT!) Remember when the Vera Project announced they were going to attempt to raise a million and a half smackaroos to remodel and open their new venue at Seattle Center? That’s a lot of dough—a lofty goal indeed. But the cash started flowing and Vera started construction on the new space last summer. Now there’s only about $600,000 left to go, and their new venue (read more about it here), is set to open February 23. This is the final push, Seattle. Don’t leave Vera hanging. (To donate, visit www.vivavera.org, or send a check to Viva Vera, 1122 E Pike St #849, Seattle, WA, 98122.) MEGAN SELING

The Backseat of a Volkswagen

posted by on January 10 at 10:19 AM

Via New York Magazine via the Centers for Disease Control comes some interesting news from the CDC’s National Survey of Family Growth:

The survey, released last year, showed that 38.2 percent of men between 20 and 39 and 32.6 percent of women ages 18 to 44 engage in heterosexual anal sex. Compare that with the CDC’s 1992 National Health and Social Life survey, which found that only 25.6 percent of men 18 to 59 and 20.4 percent of women 18 to 59 indulged in it.

The survey also finds that more married couples are trying anal than non-married ones. And pegging appears to be on the rise—though it still has a long way to go:

Though the report is chock-full of all kinds of straight, gay, and lesbian sex in fairly graphic detail, there’s absolutely no research on female-to-male anal play. It turns out that the straight-male fear of reciprocal anal play is a potent mix of sexism and homophobia; a straight man can do it to someone else, but having it done to him isn’t okay.

But the newly discovered anti-cancer benefits of prostate stimulation are giving straight guys—especially the progressive New York breed—a legitimate excuse to be more, shall we say, open to exploration. And men’s magazines, which until recently discussed anal sex only in terms of how to trick a girlfriend into giving it up, now publish articles on the Aneros—the doctor-created, FDA-approved prostate stimulator—and the male G-spot, a.k.a. the P-spot, a.k.a. the He-spot.

The Contenders: Barack Obama

posted by on January 10 at 9:22 AM

Sure, November 2008 is nearly two years away, but it’s apparently never too early to declare one’s intention to run for president, and thus it’s never too early to get to know the people who might be the next leader of the free world. This month we’ll be taking a brief look at them.

barack-obama.jpg

Barack Obama

Party: Democratic

Age: 45

Status: Undeclared

http://obama.senate.gov

Barack Obama is beloved by Democrats for many reasons, but in the context of their hopes for winning back the White House he is beloved because he is a fresh, charismatic face unburdened by a 2002 vote to invade Iraq. He is also reminiscent of pre-scandal Bill Clinton in his charm, intelligence, potential, sunny optimism, and magnetic good looks. Obama’s recent book, The Audacity of Hope, is a further Clintonian echo (Bill was the original “boy from Hope, Arkansas”) and in a sign of Obama’s wide appeal, his memoir has been on the New York Times best-seller list since it was published last year.

Another big reason for the attention Obama’s been getting: He is only the fifth black Senator in the nation’s history and would be the country’s first black president.

Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii to a Kenyan-born father and American-born mother. His globe-trotting early life took him to Indonesia, California, New York, Chicago, and finally Cambridge, where he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School after having become the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review. In 1996, after moving back to Chicago, Obama was elected to the Illinois state legislature.

In 2004, he vaulted into the national consciousness, giving a remarkably strong keynote address at the Democratic National Convention and winning the Senate seat from Illinois. Here’s the speech, in two parts:

After two years as a Senator—during which he has served on the Foreign Relations; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and Veterans’ Affairs committees—Obama’s greatest strength among Democrats, his short record in Washington, is also his biggest potential weakness.

(Aside from his early opposition to the Iraq War, his positions largely track with those of mainstream Democrats.)

Obama is married to attorney Michelle Robinson. The couple has two children and they attend Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ.


(With research help from super-star intern Sage Van Wing)

Previously: John Edwards, John McCain, Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton, and Rudy Giuliani.

Playoff Facts of the Day

posted by on January 10 at 9:01 AM

The Bears have lost three straight home playoff games. The Seahawks have not won a playoff game on the road since 1983.

One of these streaks will end Sunday. Such certainty is one of the great things about sports.

The Morning News

posted by on January 10 at 6:00 AM

20,000: Bush to announce plan to send more troops to Iraq. It’s a surge, not an escalation.

General Discontent: Remember when Bush said he was listening to his generals? Those days are over.

Dems Take a Stand: House and Senate Democrats to vote against Bush’s planned escalation of the war in Iraq. But don’t worry, George, the vote is only symbolic.

A Better Idea For Dems: What Atrios said.

Lying Liar: Tony Snow, lying sack of shit.

They Will Know We Are Christians By Our… … collaboration with the communist secret police.

Taking Climate Change Seriously: They’re doing it in the European Union. Why can’t we do it here?

Why Worry? In the United States, 2006 was the hottest year on record.

Who Knew? Nickels’ climate change campaign all talk, no action.

You Think? Woman that set herself on fire in hotel elevator trying to commit suicide, according to officials.


Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Bangkok? Get It? Bang Cock?

posted by on January 9 at 5:48 PM

What the fuck is going on in Colorado Fucking Springs? Three Colorado Springs’ pastors have resigned for sexual misconduct—most famously Ted Haggard—and another is in trouble for some sort of alleged financial misconduct. Now this:

A former high school basketball coach faces 39 charges for allegedly hitting male students in the groin, showing them pornography and pouring water on his players then driving them to games in the winter with the windows rolled down.

Gregory Lynn Burr, 28, face charges ranging from sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust to child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, according to court documents reviewed by The Gazette of Colorado Springs. One of the students claims to have had scrotal surgery because of Burr’s alleged assault.

A student in documents said Burr would ask them, “What is the capital of Thailand?” When they would answer “Bangkok,” he would hit them in the groin.

The incidents allegedly took place from September 2005 to March 2006 at The Monument Academy.

Colorado Springs is the spiritual home to the American Christian Evangelical movement. It’s their Vatican Fucking City. Remember that the next time some born again douchebag starts going off about the Nancy Pelosi and her “San Francisco values.” I’ll take SF’s values over CS’s values. I mean, people get hit in the crotch in SF all the time—CBT they call it there—but it’s consensual and it doesn’t involve children. Christ!

Moody Sky

posted by on January 9 at 5:03 PM

west.jpgWe are between storms at the moment (heavy rain and gusty wind just passed on to the east, snow is on the way).

Seattle Spelling Bee Crowns First Champ

posted by on January 9 at 4:53 PM

Andrew Bleeker has filed this update after his final round in the Seattle Spelling Bee (see last issue’s “Speak and Spell”):

Last night, the Seattle Spelling Bee awarded its first championship. My confidence was at an all-time high as I entered the Re-bar—I figured that my great new haircut and vague overtures toward studying would carry me to a respectable finish. I felt prepared for anything, provided that I wasn’t called upon to spell the word “perseverance.” After I floundered out of the first round (P-E-R-S-E-V-E-R-E-N-C-E), reality set in. I became the most inept finalist in Seattle Spelling Bee history by misspelling three words out of my given five, with only “groceteria” and “valise” to comfort me.

Continue reading "Seattle Spelling Bee Crowns First Champ" »

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on January 9 at 4:52 PM

After a long silence, the Prayer Warrior returns with a new injury and a new request.

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Dear Prayer Warrior,

My horse stepped on my foot last night and broke it. Pray that it isn’t too bad of a bread [sic], and it heals quickly.

Your Pastor,
Hutch

Today on Line Out

posted by on January 9 at 4:30 PM

Today (and late last night) on Line Out:

The Great Beatles Debate Rages on, Tangentially: Is Hank Williams better than Revolver? Is square dancing more fun than Rubber Soul?

The Great Dave Segal Debate Rages on, Pointlessly: Dave lives, the Coachwhips die.

Trent Moorman’s Sweet Spot: Intrepid reporter discovers the best acoustics this side of an actual ticket to see My Morning Jacket.

The Sycophantic Slogs All Say: I knew him first, and I knew him well. Well, at least I knew his iTunes.

“No, Vanilla!”: The makers of I Love the 80s team up with the authors of The Big Book Of Racism to bring us white rappers.

Acid House King: Kooky scientist tonight at Oscillate.

Chicken Noodle Soup for the Music Crit Soul: Bono can’t cure AIDS, but at least Radiohead are good for the common cold.

Chicken Noodle Soup For the Folk Singer Soul: Odetta falls ill, cancels shows.

Odetta Cancels

posted by on January 9 at 4:00 PM

I was super-excited to see Odetta tonight at the Triple Door, but she’s reportedly very ill and can’t perform. This is the first show she’s cancelled in a decade (except for the time she broke her hip). Tomorrow’s show in Portland is cancelled too. Sad email in the jump.

Continue reading "Odetta Cancels" »

Wow

posted by on January 9 at 3:47 PM

A handy guide to the paleolithic gender stereotypes in this incredible series of ads for Sony’s Bravia, billed (confusingly, Seth Stevenson notes in Slate) as the first “TV for Men and Women.”

Here’s a summary if you don’t want to watch all three: Man and woman meet in front of Sony store, realize they both like the same TV. Man turns to woman and says, “Do you want to…” Then there are three alternate endings. The one for women (shown below) turns into a musical about shoes titled (I can’t believe I’m typing this either) “Shoesical!” in which the woman coos lines like “I wish I was born with ten more feet!” The two alternate endings for men have something to do with football (macho coach saves the day) and anime (macho anime dude saves the day). I couldn’t find either YouTube, but you can watch them here.

Anyway: Get it? Women (they’re on the pastel-pink side of the web site) just looove “shoes, shoes, shoes!” And guys (they’re on the baby-blue side) just can’t live without their football and Japanese cartoon-hero fantasies.

As for why this TV is for “men and women”—well, Sony doesn’t really say. Something about beauty vs. brains, I think.

Meanwhile in Spokane

posted by on January 9 at 3:11 PM

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A man walks into a bar in Spokane, Washington.

The man proceeds to make rude remarks about another man in the same bar. The second man, fed up, hauls off and punches the first man in the face, causing the first man to fall backward and strike his head. This causes the first man to lose consciousness. The unconscious man has recently moved back to Spokane from Auburn with his 4-year-old daughter. His daughter’s mother, his ex, lives in Spokane. In an odd coincidence, his ex was on her way to the hospital for the birth of her brother’s baby—the story doesn’t indicate whether she was the one carrying her brother’s baby—while the bar fight transpired. She arrived at the hospital shortly after her ex did, moments before he died of his wounds but not, sadly, in enough time to make it to his room to say goodbye.

In a final, freakish twist, the dead man’s mother and sister have his 4-year-old daughter, and the girl’s mother tells police that they refuse to return the child to her only surviving parent (the woman who was at the hospital for the birth of her brother’s baby and the death of her ex).

The police have spoken to the man who threw the punch but they made no arrests.

Everything you need to know about Spokane, Washington, is contained in this story.

The Surge

posted by on January 9 at 2:55 PM

Everybody’s talking about Bush’s surge, which is supposedly going to be announced by the president in a speech tomorrow evening. Sen. John McCain has supported the idea, even though it means his own son could end up as part of the operation, which would aim to stabilize Iraq by pouring in thousands more American troops. Sen. Ted Kennedy has launched a pre-emptive strike against the plan, introducing legislation that would require Congressional approval for any more troops. And over at TPM, Josh Marshall lobs the question that no one in the Bush administration has been able to answer:

The president’s ‘surge’ plan is at best supported by a minority of generals, military affairs experts, foreign policy hands, etc. In fact, that’s generous. And it is overwhelmingly opposed by the American people.

Now, ‘experts’ aren’t always right. And popular ideas aren’t always good ideas.

But going back now some four years, who can point to even a single Bush administration decision in Iraq, either strategic or tactical, that didn’t turn out to be either a bad idea or a complete disaster? Anything? One good call?

When the president goes before the people on Wednesday, he is basically saying, trust me.

It’s never really possible to know what the future will bring, especially for most of us who may have gut level instincts about military strategy but little detailed operational knowledge. But given the track record and the fact that few people outside the White House seem to think this is a good idea, what possible basis is there to put any trust in Bush’s latest gambit?

Robbers In Jesus’s Time

posted by on January 9 at 2:23 PM

This painting by Rubens is called “Christ on the Cross between the Two Thieves” (1620):
1rubens4.jpg The men who were crucified on either side of Jesus were not thieves in the modern sense, common criminals, but actually highway robbers who had a position in Roman society that was close to that which Robin Hood had in 12th century England. These robbers where enemies not of the people but the Roman state. Unlike obedient members of society, they were armed and posed a real threat to the army. According to Flavius Josephus, an invaluable 1st-century Jewish historian, the revolutionary eruptions that frustrated and challenged Roman power during Jesus’s time were often instigated, ignited, supported by highway robbers. This is why they were crucified when caught: Roman authority recognized their revolutionary potential. In short, Jesus was not, as Christians of today like to believe, hung with two pathetic crooks, but with men who were as revolutionary and dangerous to the Roman order as he was. It is the slave morality (the morality that turns pity and ‘ressentiment’ into power) that has distorted this fact, brought Jesus down to the level of the weak, and disassociated him with whom he actually belongs: the strong, the dangerous, the master’s enemy. Jesus died with his own kind.

Seattle Greendrinks Tonight

posted by on January 9 at 2:13 PM

The awesome, wonky, and awesomely wonky Sightline Institute (which I still think of as Northwest Environment Watch) will be hosting the monthly Greendrinks event at Vulcan’s South Lake Union Discovery Center (101 Westlake Ave. N) tonight starting around 5:30pm. Come and talk environmentalism, sprawl, and transportation with some of the region’s smartest enviro thinkers and activists, including Sightline research director and viaduct obsessive Clark Williams-Derry, whose collected analysis of Seattle’s six-year-old viaduct debate can now be found here.

Big words and good diction

posted by on January 9 at 2:05 PM

Margit Rankin, the executive director of Seattle Arts and Lectures, reminds me of all the girls who always got As in my IB English class in high school. She has remarkable elocution and knows about the French epistolary tradition (authors writing letters). She is also nervous and boring. And she ruined what could have been a fine “conversation” with Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat last night at Benaroya Hall. I will not bludgeon you with the entirety of her questions. They all concerned bookish subjects like how Danticat “edges up against the line” between short story and novel. Whenever Danticat meandered into actually interesting territory, like the savage poverty and violence of her homeland, squeamish Margit put on the breaks with meek responses that consisted of a sour expression and trailed off sentences. “Well, that’s…,” wince, end.

Finally, Danticat read a section from her forthcoming nonfiction book about an uncle who died in the custody of Homeland Security. I think I will check out the book. She also took questions from the audience, which were far superior to Margit’s queries. They asked substantive questions, about politics, culture, real shit. The evening ended with Danticat getting the audience to help her come up with examples of parables from Haiti. The best one had this gist: the dead are always wrong.

Payday lenders hijack Latino lobby

posted by on January 9 at 1:25 PM

The debate over proposed legislation that would cap interest rates on payday loans has driven a wedge between two opposing sides of Latino activists and leaders. Take for example this recent switcharoo: The Hispanic Legislative Day, a strangely named organization that puts forward a list of Latino priorities for the state legislature, voted late last year to add the payday cap to this session’s list of to-dos. The group assigned the task of writing an opinion paper to Ligia Velazquez, the president of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. Velazquez brought her draft to a meeting last Saturday, expecting those gathered to vote to accept the document or approve revisions. Instead, the group voted to take the cap off their list of priorities. Velazquez felt like the meeting had been stacked. In attendance were two Latino employees of MoneyTree, a local payday lender. One of them, Dan Gandera, voted to boot the cap. The way it’s been explained to me, any member of the “Latino community” is eligible for membership and voting privileges at the Hispanic Legislative Day. But Velazquez says Gandera—who works as a lawyer for MoneyTree—has an obvious conflict of interest. She described MoneyTree’s influence as a hijacking. The company has donated to Latino politicians, including State Sen. Margarita Prentice (D-11), who opposes the cap. CEO Dennis Bassford has also said he would like to find a way to give money to El Centro de la Raza, a prominent Latino nonprofit. More on their strategy here.

Update: I just talked to the director of Hispanic Legislative Day, Carlos Jimenez. He said the incident needs to be used as a learning experience. “The other side of this issue, they are well-organized,” he said. “We need to get organized and we need to be persistent.”

In the Bathroom at Catherine Person Gallery

posted by on January 9 at 1:00 PM

During Artwalk Thursday night, I stopped in to see the show of 2003 abstractions by the late Drake Deknatel, who moved into figuration after that year. The movement is already afoot in pieces such as this marvelous potatoes portrait:

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Some of the paintings are harsh in their sense of color—there’s too much of it, simply put, so much that it hurts—but another minor annoyance is that two of the best pieces up in the gallery, both later self-portraits by Deknatel, are hanging in the restroom, instead of someplace like, say, behind the desk. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen great stuff hidden in the back of Person’s gallery.

The gallery is open Tues-Sat 11-5. I’d say check it out. If you like the self-portraits, like me, then ask Person to bring them out front. Maybe she will. The better of the two shows the artist as a smoky presence emerging from a brushy, greeny yellow background like a faded photographic subject. It’s a mature, gorgeously restrained piece. And the sign beneath it refers to the toilet.

On Edward Albee

posted by on January 9 at 12:49 PM

So, Albee is coming to town to talk about his “rarely produced play, The Lady from Dubuque.” This event, which is to happen “on Monday, January 15, 2005 at 6:00 p.m. in the Leo K. Theatre of Seattle Repertory Theatre,” is one you should do your very best to avoid. Why? Because few writers in the tradition of American theater are as bad, as vapid, as blunt, as boorish, as obtuse, as this Albee character. It is a wonder that anyone would go out of their way to produce one of his plays, all of which have neither the alacrity of a keen intelligence or the force of good instincts. They are filled with a false sense of importance. They are filled with mucky muck. They are, in the Samkhya theory of matter, the epitome of the tamas guna—heavy, murky, dull. They are noisy and oppressive. They are the products of an imagination that is fueled by big chunks of elephant dung. Albee is an artistic elephant. You know that, right? Of course you do! With just one ear you can hear, from many miles away, his muddy mind plodding on a bad plot. There is no grace, no sensitivity in the pages of his work, just the dumbness of a mass that crashes through trees, stomps on fallen leaves, breaks bark with its rough and thick butt. This is the elephant that writes plays in, that tromps on, our fine language. And yes, I was a student of this monster for a moment.

Um… How Did This Happen?

posted by on January 9 at 12:45 PM

I came home last night, emptied my pockets, and found this. I swear I wasn’t drunk. I swear I didn’t pick this flyer up on my own, fold it three times, and then stash it away for future reference. Should I be flattered? Did someone slip this into the back pocket of my pants when I wasn’t looking? Is reverse-pick-pocketing the new help wanted ad?

Go-GoBoys.jpg

UPDATE: Turns out someone at The Stranger knows someone behind the flyer, and that person writes:

The idea is a big gay extravagents with emo go go boys and really buff sailor types who when you walk by they hit you in the head with their ______.

I think it will work, but we are still working on finding go go boys, they dont seem to like this city, but i am determined to find some.

Good luck, anonymous go-go boy hunter! And confidential to go-go boys everywhere: Why so sour on this town?

The Contenders: Rudy Giuliani

posted by on January 9 at 11:30 AM

Sure, November 2008 is nearly two years away, but it’s apparently never too early to declare one’s intention to run for president, and thus it’s never too early to get to know the people who might be the next leader of the free world. This month we’ll be taking a brief look at them.

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Rudy Giuliani

Party: Republican

Age: 62

Status: Exploratory Committee Formed

www.joinrudy2008.com


Lionized for his steady hand and reassuring demeanor when the twin towers were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani has been mentioned ever since as someone with the national stature and anti-terrorist-cred to mount a presidential campaign on the Republican ticket.

However, his colorful personal life and his moderation on social issues could make his candidacy a non-starter with the Republican base.

Giuliani was born in Brooklyn in 1944 to second-generation Italian immigrants. He graduated from New York University’s law school in 1968 and went on to make a name for himself as a federal prosecutor who took on organized crime and Wall Street corruption. In 1993, on his second attempt, he became mayor of New York, ushering in a tough-on-crime era that is credited with making New York a safer (and less interesting) place to live.

As outlined in a recently leaked (or, according to Giuliani associates, “stolen”) campaign document, the former mayor faces perhaps insurmountable obstacles to winning over social conservatives. He is currently on his third wife, having left his first after allegedly finding out that she was his second cousin, and having used a news conference to tell his second wife that he was leaving her. People speculate that he was already seeing his now-third-wife, Judith Nathan, at the time. On top of that, Giuliani was a staunch supporter of disgraced former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerick; Giuliani has dressed in drag on several occasions (see below); and he supports gay rights, is pro-choice, and has said he believes Americans should have to pass a written test to own a gun.

(With research help from super-star intern Sage Van Wing)

Previously: John Edwards, John McCain, Bill Richardson, Mitt Romney, and Hillary Clinton.

No, January Is Not A Good Time to Open A Sculpture Park

posted by on January 9 at 11:00 AM

The reasons are plain. And talking to landscape architect Charles Anderson Monday, he described the three-month period of December, January, and February as the park’s only vegetative “dead zone.” The other nine months every year will show some flowering on the plants—red, white, yellow, blue.

Lately, people have begun asking me about this shirking of logic on the part of the museum, which basically arrived at the opening date by stumbling toward it, continually pushed forward by a series of controversies and delays and then stopping more or less haphazardly in the middle of winter. My only response is, what do I look like, the museum director? It’s opening Jan. 20 and that’s that. Don’t want to go in the cold? Your loss.

If, like me, you are mildly irritated and yet determined to show up, a calming, warming drink might help. One of the toughest, best sculptures in the park is Tony Smith’s Stinger, an enclosure of four matte-black walls in the shape of diamonds that rest on the ground on their tips. The artist named it after the ferocious cocktail disguised by its sweetness. To make a Stinger, mix 1 1/2 ounces brandy and a half-ounce white creme de menthe. Or for another version of it, keep going, and add a half-ounce vodka. It’s cold out there. You’ll need one after your first tour.

stinger.jpg

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 9 at 11:00 AM

‘Children of Men’

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(FILM) A dystopian thriller, Children of Men imagines a world where a plague of infertility has afflicted all wombs, where religious cultists self-flagellate in roadside huddles, where refugees from war-torn nations flee to a dangerously nativist Britain. (Our species’ deepest fears end up looking uncannily like Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib.) Amidst all this chaos, a pregnant woman appears, and Clive Owen has to whisk her to freedom. It’s terribly exciting. (See Movie Times for more info.) ANNIE WAGNER

Apple Unveils iPhone, Internet Explodes

posted by on January 9 at 10:40 AM

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The internet is all abuzz over Steve Jobs’ unveiling of new Apple products at the Macworld Conference and Expo today in San Francisco.

Among the delights: the new iPhone, which Towleroad reports will combine a widescreen iPod, mobile phone, and “internet communicator” all in one sleek, handheld package, and Apple TV, which ABC reports is a doodad that will facilitate easy streaming of video from computers to TV.

Among the dead: Zune, Microsoft’s heartbreaking attempt to catch-up with the old-school iPod. From its groaner of a tag line (“Welcome to the Social!”) to its lack of an (Apple-patented) “click wheel,” the Zune will go down in marketing history as the aborted love-child of the Edsel and New Coke.

For more info on Apple’s new products, see the internet.

Gay Legislators to Introduce Gay Marriage Legislation

posted by on January 9 at 10:33 AM

busy, busy getting tomorrow’s paper out, but here’s an exciting announcement from the five gay legislators in Olympia:

Equality for all Washington families

OLYMPIA — Democrats from the state Senate and the House of Representatives will unveil two separate legislative proposals designed to provide equality for all Washington families.
These include a bill to extend domestic partnership benefits to same sex-couples and a bill to extend marriage equality to same-sex couples.
Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, Rep. Joe McDermott, D-West Seattle, Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, and Rep. Dave Upthegrove, D-Des Moines will introduce the two proposals.


In Booze News

posted by on January 9 at 10:33 AM

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Another Democratic First in Olympia…

posted by on January 9 at 10:10 AM

although, it’s not necessarily worthy of applause.

The State House, dominated by a 62-36 Democratic majority, voted unanimously yesterday to change the rules so they could do something that’s never been done: Appoint a member of the minority party as a committee chair.

Indeed, the Democrats made Rep. Tom Campbell (R-2, Parts of Pierce and Thurston Counties) chair of the environmental health committee. Additionally, the Dems handed a vice chair postion to Rep. Maureen Walsh (R-16, Walla Walla). Walsh will be vice chair of the Early Learning & Children’s Services committee. Democrat Ruth Kagi (D-Lake Forest) will chair that committee.

Speaker of the House, Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Capitol Hill, Wallingford, U-District) explained the move:

Good ideas and leadership do not come from just one side of the aisle. The continued prosperity of Washington state depends on all of us working together cooperatively. In making their decisions, the House Democratic Caucus carefully considered the varied talents of all House members, the needs of our people, and the forward momentum of our state. Rep. Walsh and Rep. Campbell remain Republican members of the House, but that does not impact our respect for their abilities and their dedication to this institution — in fact, we think Washington will be better served by this bipartisanship.

Tuesday Morning Sports Report

posted by on January 9 at 9:49 AM

College Football: Florida are National Champions. It wasn’t even close, as the Florida D kept Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith to just 35 yards passing; Ohio State as a team only mustered 82 total yards on offense. In fact, outside of returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown (and then losing one of their most dynamic players to a foot sprain on their very first drive), Ohio State—ranked #1 since the beginning of the season, undefeated until last night—looked absolutely outclassed.

Congratulations, Gators.

Also: Seahawks wide receiver Darrell Jackson could be healthy for Sunday’s game against Chicago; Washington State is ranked #22 in college hoops; and the Baseball Hall of Fame votes are due today. Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. will most likely make it, Mark McGwire most likely not.

FREE TIGGER!

posted by on January 9 at 9:27 AM

Have you heard the story about the teen at Walt Disney World who was allegedly punched in the face by Tigger? Well, the video is finally here, and you can judge for yourself who’s in the wrong. But while watching the video, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:

1) Doesn’t anyone who wears a sleeveless shirt and a single black fingerless glove deserve to be hit?

2) Who’s the bigger douche: the kid or the dad?

3) Is this really what anyone—besides the BIGGEST PUSS IN THE WORLD—would call a “punch in the face”?

YOU MAKE THE CALL!

What Stinks?

posted by on January 9 at 9:26 AM

New York smelt, New Jersey dealt.

Principal Exposed

posted by on January 9 at 8:44 AM

The principal at North Seattle’s Whittier Elementary School has been charged with indecent exposure. Alex Coberly has been the principal at Whittier for three years—and according to police he’s admitted to flashing his junk at unsuspecting women for a lot longer than that. Coberly has been placed on leave, not fired, and charged with a criminal misdemeanor, not a felony. From this morning’s PI:

According to police reports, Coberly admitted to exposing himself in early November to a 24-year-old woman who was riding in a car next to his on Aurora Avenue North in Northgate.

The woman told police she was “shocked and offended” and called 911 to report the man’s description and license-plate number.

When police later confronted him, Coberly said he had exposed himself to women on several occasions in the past five or six years, the report said. He exposed himself only to strangers, and only while driving his car, according to the report.

The November incident spurred him to seek counseling, the report said.

Should Coberly lose his job? No one has accused of him of flashing a minor and it’s not like he drives his car down the school’s halls. Still, a sex-crazed flasher for a grade school principal? Here’s Coberly’s lawyer in the PI:

“There is no connection between this incident and his job,” Vogel said. “It does not involve any children, and it does not involve his work.”

I’m not sure where I come down on this. As a sex advice perfeshuhnal, I reject the notion that someone’s life and livelihood should be utterly destroyed because he did something stupid and sexually transgressive—even if, as in this case, the sexual transgression was rightly criminal. Men that expose themselves to women have issues; they get off on intimidating, shocking, and—visually at least—assaulting women. That, as the counselors say, is not okay. Coberly needs counseling to help him control his impulses and to get a grip on his issues with women. He also needs to understand—to be made to understand—that his behavior exists on a continuum of sexual violence directed at women. And that’s not okay. But flashers are not rapists. As sex crimes go, well, let’s just say there’s a reason Coberly has only been charged with a misdemeanor.

But as a parent of a kid in a gradeschool, well, I’m pretty con men or women that have difficultly controlling their inappropriate sexual impulses working in schools.

The Morning News

posted by on January 9 at 6:00 AM

Bad to Worse: Heavy fighting “erupts” in Baghdad, which had been so peaceful until recently.

Why Should the Ethiopians Have All the Fun? We bombed Somalia on Sunday.

Two More Years: Bush’s surge will require National Guard troops to go on second, two-year-long tours of Iraq.

Saddam 2: New snuff footage featuring Iraqi dictator posted on Internet.

Arnold 2: Remember when the governor of California was a Republican? Arnold Schwarzenegger proposes universal health coverage for all Californians.

Sharpton 2: Joke 2004 candidate contemplates joke candidacy in 2008.

Malibu Is Burning: Wildfires destroy mansions in Malibu, California.

They Will Know We Are Christians By Our… decision to toss old folks out into the street. Seattle University evicts 135 elderly nursing home residents, will use space for offices and labs.

Jim Forman Reporting Live: Brace for snow, wind, rain, and hysterical local news reports—more shitty weather headed our way.


Monday, January 8, 2007

Another Skatepark Update

posted by on January 8 at 10:47 PM

On a belly full of phad thai, I’ve returned home from the skatepark advisory committee meeting where I learned a few things (no, I already knew they don’t have phad thai in Thailand).

The Seattle Center has a March 1 deadline to show the City Council a site to replace the recently demolished skatepark. John Carr, chair of the skatepark advisory committee, said the City Council will withhold a quarter of the Center’s funding until they provide an analysis and recommendation of potential sites.

The committee talked more about how surprised they were the park was demolished so soon, and why they didn’t know earlier, and how people from the city’s parks department didn’t know either, or how someone might have known but didn’t tell anyone, and so on…

After realizing they will never solve the mysteries of the bureaucratic black hole, the moved on to talking about “skate plazas,” which are skateparks with benches and handrails like an ordinary street corner, as a possible replacement for the old park.

-Brian Turner

More Agenda Items From Opening Day in Olympia

posted by on January 8 at 7:55 PM

When I was leaving today’s swearing-in ceremonies, I ran into Zach Hudgins’s 11th District colleague, Bob Hasegawa. ( I had talked to Hudgins earlier today.)

I ran into Hasegawa by a snack table in the rotunda where he had just finished eating a bag of potato chips. Hasegawa had an ambitious (and kind of exciting) agenda.

He told me that he was thrilled (and a little nervous) to have been assigned vice-chair of the finance committee. There, he said, he was going to push a tax on excess oil company profits and also take up a bill being pushed by the Washington Tax Fairness Coalition that would force the value of corporate tax breaks to be itemized in the budget alongside other expenditures.

Additionally, Hasegawa says he wants part-time college students (that is, working class college students) to be eligible for college aid funding that’s currently only available to full-time students.

Today on Line Out

posted by on January 8 at 5:40 PM

Sonic Booming: Fremont Sonic Boom expands.

The Band So Nice, They Changed Your Life: The Shins announce Seattle dates, play SNL.

Ben Bridwell in a Wig: My Morning Jacket tonight at the Moore.

In Europe, they Love Techno: Kanye West’s newest enemies.

Poo-poo: Ari Spool’s favorite shittiest month.

From the Angels of “All That Is”

posted by on January 8 at 3:20 PM

Received in the mail by Brad, and reproduced verbatim by the news team’s intern Brian for your Monday astral enjoyment. Goes down best with a delicious dose of melatonin.

Greetings, I bring you new inspiration from the Angels of “All that Is.” I down the number 3,441,555,213,424 and smiled. I asked the Angels on the moon to make a time portal at the center of moon crater Herschel. So people can try to Astrally project 3 trillion years in the future. Crater Herschel is 41 kilometers across. At its center every Tousday at 3pm for 9 minutes the portal will open (Maryland D.C. time) I think you can detect that same spot in our galaxy in the far future. A wave of soul power will accur starting Jan 2 2007. I call it the “keep talking” portal. And try to give prison inmates a free melatonin pill every night. Angels will appear every tousday to fill you in on how to Astrally project your soul into the far future. On the phycic shore where souls go after death you are blessed. I asked the Angels to naturally tranfer you in the future time to the same arm of the galaxy and the same quadrent of stars where we are. The Devil might be an accultic tructster that sends messengers of satin in spaceships to our solar system. These want to fling the recently departed down a tunnel another Galaxy. I want the right foot of every willing soul traveler to the future 3 trillion years hence to be stepped into the portal so you can feel it. And this helps your soul is not flang to another galaxy after your death.

SF Is #1; Seattle Is #2

posted by on January 8 at 2:40 PM

From USA Today

Nearly 13% of San Francisco residents reported using some type of illicit drug, such as marijuana, cocaine, or heroin, in the previous month, according to data from the National Surveys on Drug Use and Health 2002-05. The national average is 8.1%.

Other areas with drug-abuse rates [to my ire, they don’t distinguish between use and abuse] higher than the national average included Seattle, 9.6%; Detroit, 9.5%; Philadelphia, 9.1%; and Boston, 8.5%. Cities with the lowest drug use: Houston, 6.2%; and Washington, Dallas, and Riverside/San Bernardino, Calif., all at 6.5%.

Coincidentally, San Francisco and Seattle also rate first and second, respectively, for percentage of residents that identify as LGB or T. Hmm… maybe this explains why I never moved away.

Sold Out

posted by on January 8 at 2:13 PM

This entry was posted by news intern Brian Turner

When the city’s skatepark task force meets tonight, one of the first topics they will cover is how to replace the last remaining skatepark in the central city, which was demolished last week to make way for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s new headquarters. More than a half million dollars set aside from the sale of the 12-acre parking lot where the skatepark was located will go toward replacing it somewhere on the Center campus.

The destruction of the skatepark came as a surprise to skaters like John Carr and Matt Johnston, both members of a citywide skatepark task force, who were under the impression that a site for a replacement park would be named before the wrecking crew came through.

Carr and other skateboarding advocates met about seven months ago with Seattle Center and city officials to find a feasible location on the Seattle Center campus. Seattle Center communications director Kari Shaw says, “It was a positive meeting and lots of great ideas were exchanged.” However, she adds, “It’s a long process of identifying where the skatepark needs to be. We’re looking for a spot that is 15,000 square feet and there is not a lot of space like that [at the Center].”

Johnston, however, says Seattle Center officials have not been eager to communicate with the skateboarding community. “We walked around the entire campus and had to listen to why a skatepark was not possible on every inch of the campus,” Johnston says.

Pro-skatepark city council members Richard Conlin (and, reportedly, Jan Drago) agree that working with Seattle Center has been challenging.

“Why [skaters and Center officials] have been at odds baffles me,” Conlin says. “The skatepark could bring in a new constituency—young people to activate it more than it is now. But [Center officials] don’t seem to think that way.”

Conlin adds that he didn’t expect the demolition to happen so soon. “I’m not happy that it would take place without a replacement for the park being sited,” he says.

The requirement to rebuild the park comes from a city council resolution sponsored by Council Member Drago almost two years ago. IRIS Holdings, a for-profit company closely affiliated with the Gates Foundation, bought the property in 2005. The company is also heading the development of the foundation’s new headquarters where the skatepark once stood.

Under the terms of the purchase agreement between the Gates Foundation and Seattle Center, the new skatepark is supposed to be open by the time the parking facility for the new headquarters is finished in late 2008.

In a letter to City Attorney Tom Carr’s office, lawyers for the Gates Foundation reiterated that “it is incumbent on the [Center] to complete its actions and obligations to relocate the skateboard park.”

For now, though, there isn’t so much as a sketch of what the new park will look like.

The skatepark task force will meet at 7:00 p.m. tonight at the Seattle Parks and Administration Building, 100 Dexter Ave N.

My Smobriety: One Year Out

posted by on January 8 at 2:09 PM

It’s officially been one year since I quit smoking.

For those who’ve arrived on the Slog since January ought-six, last year, I quit smoking, and Slogged a daily record of how I felt. I did this because I thought that my pain and humiliation would be thrilling reading. I was totally wrong. Quitting smoking turned out to be a dull enterprise, and not difficult at all, except for the frequent colds that took hold in the open-sore petri dishes of my lungs. I had images of Leonardo DiCaprio-like moaning and rolling around on the floor, begging for another hit, one more hit, drooling on myself and other kinds of rampant overacting. Instead, it turned out to be more like waiting for a bus that never comes. I haven’t had a cigarette since, not even a close call, or, really, a craving since the first three days. This includes the many times I’ve had drinks with smokers—I am the Party Crasher, after all. I’ve never asked for a drag, or asked people to blow smoke on me, or any of those weird, longing ex-smoker’s tricks.

In fact, if I’d always known how easy quitting cigarettes was, I would’ve quit years before.

For those who are thinking about quitting smoking, or who are interested in what the first year of smobriety feels like, there is a fuller accounting after the jump.

Continue reading "My Smobriety: One Year Out" »

Planning on Heading Up to Stevens Pass to Ride All That Fresh Powder?

posted by on January 8 at 2:07 PM

Uh… time to make other plans.

Stevens Pass Suspends Operations 4 pm Mon. - Tues. Jan. 9

SKYKOMISH, Wash. (January 8, 2007) — Strong winds coupled with a powerful winter storm disrupted power to much of Chelan County and the Central Cascade corridor, including Stevens Pass, at approximately 3:00 p.m. Sunday January 7, 2007. Due to the current power outage, Stevens Pass will suspend resort operations from 4:00 p.m. Monday evening through Tuesday January 9, 2007…. Guests are encouraged to check www.stevenspass.com for current updates and operating schedules.

Opening Day: Animated and Paranoid

posted by on January 8 at 1:48 PM

I’m at the opening session of the new legislature in Olympia.

It’s all boring formalities, but there were some loaded moments. On the Senate side they swore in former GOP Rep. Rodney Tom as a Democratic State Senator (D-48, Eastside Seattle Suburbs). The Democrats now have a 32-17 advantage in the Senate after picking up six seats. I also saw former Rep. Ed Murray (D-43, gay marriage gay marriage gay marriage), get sworn in as a State Senator—sworn in by anti-gay marriage anti-gay marriage anti-gay marriage WA. Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerry Alexander.

On the House side I watched them swear in all the new members—mostly Democrats (6 picks up there too), giving the Democrats a supermajority, 62-36. They also re-elected Frank Chopp (D-43, Capitol Hill, U-District, Wallingford) as speaker of the house, and he gave an “animated” speech, as Republican leader Rep. Richard DeBolt (R-20, Chehalis) called it. Indeed, Chopp sounded like a football coach in the locker room cheering on “the Husky and Cougar members” of the House to work for “One Washington.”

Before the ceremony, (which was lots of formal stuff from the Washington Guard Honor Guard and angelic singing from a Kirkland church choir), I ran into newly-elected Rep. Roger Goodman (D-45, Eastside Seattle suburbs) in the wings outside the chamber.

Our paper enthusiastically endorsed Goodman—it’s no understatement to say Goodman is a radical drug reform advocate. He headed up the King County Bar Association drug reform task force, which issued a report in early 2005 calling for the legalization of drugs.

Goodman was a bit startled that I recognized him (we’ve only talked on the phone, but I’ve seen his picture in our paper).

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“How do you know me?” Goodman asked, surprised. “I’m paranoid.”

Oh, really? Paranoid are you?

This is going to be an interesting session.

Seriously though, Goodman—vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told me his “mantra” is “No new… prisons,” offerfing up this tidbit: “95 percent of the justice system goes to prisons.”

I also met with Rep. Zach Hudgins (D-11, South Seattle), who said he’s going to push legislation—like allowing gas stations to amend their contracts with oil companies—to create more market opportunities for biodiesel.

Reading Primo Levi

posted by on January 8 at 1:31 PM

I was reading the latest New Yorker this weekend, and was surprised to see a short story by Italian writer Primo Levi, since he’s been dead since 1987. He came to writing later in life, after he had survived the horrors of internment at Auschwitz. I always read his writing with a bit of sadness, since I learned that his death was ruled a suicide. His book Survival in Auschwitz gets the attention, but the book that has always stayed with me is The Truce, a recounting of his eight-month journey across Europe to get home after he was released from the camp. It chronicles his bafflement at his own survival and his attempts to reconnect with the post-war world.

The Brutal Beauty of Concrete

posted by on January 8 at 1:09 PM

Under construction is the 25-story Seattle Sheraton Union Street Tower.
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When completed in spring it will make the Sheraton the largest hotel in Washington, with a total of 1283 rooms and 18,000 square feet. But these are just dull facts. What’s remarkable about this tower, which owes its design to the big and global Seattle-based firm Callison Architecture, is the amount of concrete used in its make up.

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Callison Architecture calls it the “modern aesthetic,” which may well be the case, but what’s certain in our day and age is that corporate structures of this kind, and expense, $130 million, almost never allow concrete to dominate the design. The north face of the Seattle Sheraton Union Street Tower is entirely composed of pre-cast concrete. The south face has the usual aluminum and glass style that deliberately resembles One Convention Place, which stands just north of the hotel and was also designed by Callison. As far as I can tell, not since Freeway Park has concrete played such a large role in a work of big architecture. Just look at it—so dense, so brutal, so raw.

The greatest of all manmade stuffs is concrete. It is the very substance of a city. It is unforgiving and never stops getting harder. When we speak of reality, we rightly speak of it as being concrete.

At the delicate age of fourteen, I hit the real real-hard: The handle of my tennis racket got caught in the spokes of my bike, the front wheel jammed, my body flew over the handle bars, and my forehead crashed into the side of the street—it was a messy matter of blood, skull bone, and concrete. The pain was terrific—cranial thunder, screaming stars, brain bolts—but to this day I treasure the experience: a head-on collision with the no nonsense of concrete, the ur-stuff of civilization. I almost lost my eye to it.

Overheard in the Office

posted by on January 8 at 1:08 PM

Megan Seling: Let’s just be honest, you’re smarter than I am.

Christopher Frizzelle: Well…I’m more manly than you are.

Move Along, Nothing to See Here…

posted by on January 8 at 12:59 PM

Dozens of bird carcasses litter downtown Austin, Texas, prompting police to shut down the main north-south route through downtown. Two cops report feeling sick; health officials report “no threat to public safety.” Still, as long as birds are mysteriously dropping dead from the sky, why not be prepared to stay indoors for a while?

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Also dead: the inventor of instant ramen.

A Picture Is Worth…

posted by on January 8 at 12:43 PM

…not a fuck of a lot, actually, when the media “protects” you from it. Richard Blair blogging at the All Spin Zone noticed a strange sentence in this story from Sunday’s edition of the Washington Post.

Capturing images of war on their digital cameras, as many troops in Iraq have done, Marines took dozens of gruesome photographs of the 24 civilians who were killed in Haditha, Iraq, in November 2005… Among the images, there is a young boy with a picture of a helicopter on his pajamas, slumped over, his face and head covered in blood. There is a mother lying on a bed, arms splayed, the bodies of three young children huddled against her right side. There are men with gaping head wounds, and a woman and a child hunkered down on their knees, their hands frozen around their faces as if permanently bracing for an attack…

The images are contained in thousands of pages of NCIS investigative documents obtained by The Washington Post. Post editors decided that most of the images are too graphic to publish…

Blair points out that the newspapers had no issues about publishing this graphic image…

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…or this image of villagers massacred at My Lai by U.S. troops…

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So why not show the American people images from Iraq? Says Blair

Attitudes toward the war [in Vietnam] started changing when these photos were published….

During a week when George Bush is preparing to announce his strategery for escalation of U.S. involvement in Iraq, and on a day when five more servicemen were killed, the Post editors made a decision that they wouldn’t publish graphic images of the war, either in their newspaper or online.

Post editors decided that most of the images are too graphic to publish.

There should be red flags flying everywhere. Why is the WaPo holding back graphic images of a civilian massacre in Iraq? Could it be that they’re trying to avoid controversy and outrage from the neocon howler monkeys if the images were to be made available?

…By holding back these images of atrocities committed in the name of the American people, the Post editors allow the atrocities to continue. This is particularly true in a week which decisions are going to be announced that will define U.S. involvement in Iraq for at least the rest of George Bush’s term in office.

Care to complain? Here’s the contact info for the ombudsman at the Washington Post:

Deborah Howell 202-334-7582 ombudsman@washpost.com

Los Cojones de Doug Harvey

posted by on January 8 at 12:30 PM

LA Weekly art critic Doug Harvey (a contributor to The Stranger) is not only a firebrand of a writer, he’s an exhibiting artist, too. I’m having a hard time thinking of another contemporary critic working this combo. It used to happen more often, but these days, critics are academics and public intellectuals at best and half-hearted observers at worst. We’re rarely experienced artists. (I’m certainly not.)

I can’t wait to read the reviews of Harvey’s show, titled Great Expectorations. It’s showing at High Energy Constructs in LA from Jan. 13 to Feb. 18. Here’s an image (a detail from Bling) and a description:

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Taking the same kind and sized piece of paper, the element of eruption, and a lifetime of experience with the creative act, Harvey has made over 60 individual Expectorations—painting, drawing, collaging, erasing, oozing, and free associating, as if carrying out some sort of occasional, yet quietly consistent ritual in the studio, away from his writing desk. Historically drawing upon the visual and painterly influences of Jess, Oyvind Fahlstrom, Asger Jorn, Kenneth Patchen, Tadanori Yokoo, Peter Saul, Sigmar Polke, Martin Kippenberger … A consistent element throughout Great Expectorations is Harvey’s existential nausea filtered through a visual sense of humor.

Cheers, El Jefe.

Damn You, Westneat!

posted by on January 8 at 11:54 AM

A week or two ago I was in a bar, ranting away at Josh Feit—an odd occurrence, I know—about the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Odder still, huh?

Right now there are three options on the table: rebuild, tunnel, or the surface option. (And, yes, the surface option is barely on the table.) The rebuild is favored by the governor, faux-populists, and idiots that tell us they enjoy the view from the viaduct (aren’t you supposed to be driving?). The tunnel is favored by the mayor and his staff. The third option—the surface option—is favored by, well, The Stranger, the People’s Waterfront Coalition, and all sensible people everywhere. (Okay, there’s a fourth: retrofit. But that’s only favored by batshitcrazies.)

Our leaders insist that we can’t replace the current viaduct with “nothing,” their word for the PWC’s proposal for a wide surface street coupled with transit and traffic improvements throughout the downtown core. We are told again and again that we have to maintain the viaduct’s current capacity at all costs—even if those costs run into the billions of dollars, even if maintaining capacity flies in the face of the other stated goals like, oh, cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

So certain are our elected officials that the PWC’s plan is a non-starter that they refuse to seriously study it, much less consider it. We simply can’t live without the viaduct, they insist, and all the cars it carries to and through the heart of the city every day. If the hippies and bike huggers who favor the surface get their way we’ll see gridlock.

But get this: Whether we go with a pricey tunnel or criminally stupid rebuild, we’re going to have to live without the viaduct anyway. For years. Whether the mayor is pouring money into the ground or the governor is building a brand new elevated freeway through the middle of the city (at the same time other cities are ripping them out), we gonna be without the viaduct for a long, long time.

So… since we’re going to have to live without the viaduct for years anyway… why not run a little experiment? The structure is unsafe—shut it down yesterday. Make transit and traffic improvements throughout the city core. And then wait. It seems to me that we’ll find out pretty quick if we can, in fact, live without the viaduct.

I was gonna write about all of this… but that damn Danny Westneat at the Seattle Times beat me to it. Worse still, he had a real-world example to back up his policy suggestion. From Westneat’s Sunday column:

When the downtown Seattle bus tunnel closed for two years of construction, transit bosses were braced for gridlock.

“There was a lot of concern it was going to be a disaster, with buses jamming the streets and traffic backed up all over the place,” says Jim Jacobson, deputy manager of Metro, which runs the buses. People were so worried buses would be at a standstill that the city chose to ban cars from Third Avenue, the street above the tunnel, during rush hours.

Then people fretted that cars would hopelessly clog the other streets. So Jacobson says they did “a thousand little things” to compensate—such as moving bus stops farther apart and eliminating some parking to aid traffic flow.

Fifteen months ago, the tunnel closed. A funny thing happened: Most commuters have been getting through downtown faster than ever.

That’s right: faster. Buses are traversing almost every downtown street quicker without the tunnel. In some cases, dramatically so…

Who knew? We could live without the bus tunnel! Hey, doesn’t that mean that maybe we could live without…

[The] tale of the bus tunnel has me wondering again about our other tunnel, the one not yet built. What to do with the Alaskan Way Viaduct is down to two choices: build a new elevated one or a tunnel. It’s the big ugly or the big costly.

Do we really need either one? What if we did a thousand little things instead?

This idea is not mine. It’s been talked about for years: Tear down the viaduct, reduce Highway 99 to a small boulevard through Seattle and then try to make up for the loss of the freeway with busways, freightways, beefed-up arterials and so forth.

I have no idea if it would work. I could quote experts saying it’d be smooth sailing. And experts saying it would paralyze the city. You know, it would sound a lot like the debate about the bus tunnel.

So here’s my modest proposal: Let’s just try it. Close the viaduct. It’s unsafe anyway, remember? Let’s come up with a thousand-point plan like they did for the bus tunnel and shut down the viaduct for a month or two. Then see what happens.

Yes, yes, yes to Westneat’s proposal. Which is actually my proposal, only Westneat beat me to making it, and made a better case for it than I could. Damn you, Westneat. Anyways…

Rebuild or no rebuild, tunnel or no tunnel, we’re going to have to live without the viaduct for five-to-seven years anyway. So… it seems to me that it might be a good idea to see what life without a viaduct is like before we commit to spending billions of dollars to replace it. Since we’re going to have enact everything surface option backers are proposing during the construction of a tunnel or a rebuilt viaduct, why not enact the surface option now and see if the doomsday predictions come true? Because it’s going to be a tragedy—a fucking crime—if we find out we can live without the viaduct only after we’ve started to build a tunnel or a new elevated structure.

Federal Homophiliacs

posted by on January 8 at 11:47 AM

What’s a straight male Japanophile amateur photographer of pretty snowscapes to do when he discovers that the people handing out the money at the Japan-United States Friendship Commission (and at the National Endowment for the Arts, which helps sponsor the JUSFC grants) are a bunch of homo-lovers?

Why, document the dastardly gay-love of the feds on his web site, of course, where the tagline is “Hard Release: If you’re not gay, it’s not art.”

What our hero is so upset about is that two years in a row, the JUSFC has sent gay male photographers to work in Japan. Nevermind that these two photographers, Dean Sameshima and Joseph Maida, couldn’t be more different. They have taken pictures of naked men, and they have won grants, and damnit if the art world isn’t so damned gay! Nevermind all the other artists on the JUSFC’s list, including plenty of married-couple teams.

No, if “Hard Release” didn’t win a grant from the American government, it must be because he refuses to have sex with other men. Hey, “Hard Release,” the solution is simple. Real artists sacrifice for their art. Imagine the grants that would come your way if you opened your arse for business!

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 8 at 11:00 AM

My Morning Jacket

SSmon-160.jpg

(EPIC ROCK) Releasing a live double album may sound like a quaint marketing throwback suited more to the early careers of KISS or Peter Frampton, but the shaggy-haired guitar heroes in Kentucky-based My Morning Jacket are ideal candidates for live documentation. Okonokos, a concert captured on both DVD and CD that the band released late last year, amplifies the reasons why their live performances are enchanting and invigorating experiences rightfully worthy of comparison to Radiohead or the Flaming Lips. (Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave, 292-2787. 8 pm, $25, all ages.) HANNAH LEVIN

Monday Morning Sports Report

posted by on January 8 at 10:33 AM

Seahawks: So it’s next Sunday, 10 am PST, against Chicago. The Hawks have lost their past five road playoff games. The Bears have lost their past three home playoff games. Which team will end their streak?

The full playoff schedule:

Indianapolis vs. Baltimore: Saturday, 1:30 pm PST (CBS); Philadelphia vs. New Orleans: Saturday, 5 pm PST (FOX); Seattle vs. Chicago, 10 am PST (FOX); New England vs. San Diego, 1:30 pm PST (CBS)

Also: It’s Ohio State vs. Florida tonight in the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game (can Florida pull off a miracle?); Randy Johnson is back with the Arizona Diamondbacks; and, in more Mariners off-season misery, Bavasi and company are rumored to be interested in creaky Darin Erstad.

Update: Are the Seahawks cheaters? From Pro Football Talk:

There’s talk in league circles of suspicion that the Seahawks’ ball boys/men/persons selected the slickest of the new “K” balls and held it back for a key moment in the game against the Cowboys.

The rumor/innuendo/scuttlebutt is that the slipperiest of the “K” balls was first put into play when the Cowboys lined up for a potential game-winning field goal late in the fourth quarter. Holder Tony Romo caught the snap but lost control of it as he was trying to get it in place for the kick.

Still, if the Seahawks did keep the slickest ball out of rotation until the crucial final kick, there’s nothing in the NFL Rule Book to prevent them from doing so—at least not yet.

Fun with Dunces

posted by on January 8 at 9:09 AM

God knows I love a spirited back-n-forth with a Stranger reader, and while I don’t think today’s story will scale the operatic heights of the Freykis fracas, it’s still worth sharing.

It begins with a letter sent to Last Days from a male reader who had some quibbles with this week’s Chow lead by Chris McCann. The man signed his e-mail grievance with what looks like his real name, but for the sake of fair play, I’ll give him a pseudonym.

“Albert Einstein” writes:

Chris McCann’s first paragraph reads:

“Seattle is a city in crisis. The war rages in its neighborhoods and in the hearts and minds of its citizens. Do we want to embrace the idea of Seattle as a dense urban center or work to maintain the vision of our city as a collection of sprawling neighborhoods? Each side struggles daily to convince us that its urban vision is correct, honorable, sensible, while maligning proponents of the other Seattle as either retrograde or rash. “

If you could, try to explain to Chris that writing a lead-in paragraph that actually describes the restaurant he’s attempting to review will help retain readers, while at the same time make him sound intelligent.

“Albert Einstein”

My reply:

uh, yeah, but he’s reviewing two restaurants, and his existing lead-in paragraph sets up his discussion of both quite well.

thanks for writing.

david schmader
chow editor

His reply:

2 restaurents or 3, 3 dead troops or 300 it really doesn’t matter. It’s a very sloopy leadin paragraph.

My reply:

sloopy?

Einstein’s next email:

He’s actually reviewing only 1 restaurant and not two as you claim. How you got the idea that he’s reviewing 2 pizza places is beyond me, because it simply is not in print.

My reply:

he reviews both all-purpose pizza and tom douglas’ serious pie.

are you sure you know how to read?

Still waiting on a reply. I’ll keep you posted. (And here’s hoping “a very sloopy leadin paragraph” becomes standard copy-editor parlance.)

The Contenders: Hillary Clinton

posted by on January 8 at 9:05 AM

Sure, November 2008 is nearly two years away, but it’s apparently never too early to declare one’s intention to run for president, and thus it’s never too early to get to know the people who might be the next leader of the free world. This month we’ll be taking a brief look at them.

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Hillary Clinton

Party: Democratic

Age: 59

Status: Undeclared

http://clinton.senate.gov

No one, Democrat or Republican, has generated more ink in the run-up to the run-up to the 2008 presidential election than Hillary Rodham Clinton — and she hasn’t even declared her candidacy (although everyone assumes she will soon).

For political journalists and pundits, part of the attraction to writing about Hillary Clinton is that she’s such a rich topic: She’s an automatic front-runner if she enters the race; she’d be the first woman president ever; she’s a “polarizing personality” who has nevertheless won fans in the red parts of New York State; she’s smart as hell and, by the admission of many Republicans, a formidable force in the Senate; and she’s married to Bill Clinton, ex-president, ex-philanderer, current international do-gooder, and constant object of fascination, demonization, and idolization.

Can she win? Should she run? Is she a selfish distraction from better candidates? Does Obama have a better chance? If you’re hanging out with Democrats, you’re hearing all of these questions and more, constantly.

And so is she. Here’s Hillary herself talking recently about Obama:

Hillary Rodham Clinton was born in Chicago in 1947 to a Methodist family. As a child she was fond of sports. As a Girl Scout she earned lots of awards. In 1964, she campaigned for Republican candidate Barry Goldwater. In 1969, having switched parties, she graduated from Wellesley College with a BA in Political Science. She then entered Yale Law School, where she began dating Bill Clinton. In her summers, she worked for Senator Walter Mondale, assisting a subcommittee on migrant workers. Later she worked for George McGovern’s presidential campaign.

In 1975, two years after graduating from Yale, she married Bill Clinton and moved with him first to Fayetteville Arkansas, and then to Little Rock where he was elected as governor in 1978. By that time she was the first woman to be made full partner at Little Rock’s Rose Law Firm. In 1980, Chelsea Clinton was born.

Something of a feminist, Hillary only began attaching the surname “Clinton” to her own name during her husband’s second gubernatorial bid, in 1982. She was named Arkansas Woman of the Year in 1983 and Arkansas Mother of the Year in 1984, and throughout her time as First Lady of Arkansas continued to practice law with the Rose Law Firm.

When Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, Hillary became the first first-lady to hold a post-graduate degree and the first to have a successful career of her own. Even more ground-breaking, Bill Clinton appointed Hillary to the powerful Task Force on National Health Care reform. However, the body’s recommendations failed to gain traction in either the House or the Senate, resulting in the well-known “Hillarycareâ€? debacle.

Hillary won a race for the U.S. Senate in New York in 2000, and again in 2006. As senator, she sits on the Committee on Armed Services; the Committee on Environment and Public Works; the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; and the Special Committee on Aging.

Clinton voted for the war in Iraq but has been critical of the way the war has been conducted. She’s pro-choice, in favor of domestic partnership rights for gays and lesbians, and against the Federal Marriage Amendment. She supports three-strikes sentencing, the Kyoto Protocol, and gun control. She’s against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Her record in the Senate has been lauded by people on both sides of the aisle, leading many, including journalist Chris Smith, in a recent New York Magazine article, to wonder why she would want to give it all up and deal with a bruising campaign in which stuff like this would come to look tame:

It’s a good question, and one likely to be answered in the coming months.

(With research help from super-star intern Sage Van Wing)

Previously: John Edwards, John McCain, Bill Richardson, and Mitt Romney.

Second Time’s the Harm

posted by on January 8 at 7:48 AM

Sorry for not having weighed in sooner, but I was on a road trip that didn’t involve internet access. Did you know that if you go three whole days without checking the internet, your eyeballs grow back?

Anyway, there’s plenty of reason for fans of both the Bears and the Seahawks to be gloomy about Sunday’s upcoming NFC playoff game. The Seahawks only advanced because of Carrie Underwood’s slickness all over Tony Romo’s fingers, and the Bears have a habit of losing playoff games at home to teams they crushed that year (cf, Carolina last year).

And there are plenty of reasons for both Bears and Seahawks fans to be optimistic: you’ve got Shaun Alexander back, and the Bears D line is decimated by that inevitable NFL combination of injuries and felonies. Your secondary has more holes than most golf courses, but if Bad Rex shows up, he’ll just throw the ball to the guys with the odd-colored helmets. We’ve got the hope of Good Rex showing up, and our secondary is healing nicely. Plus second year runner Cedric Benson seems to finally have figured out this whole running the ball FORWARD thing.

But my bet: it’ll come down to the kickers. Robbie “Good As” Gould has his stroke back, and Josh “No, I’m serious” Brown just wins games. The Bears are currently favored by 7, with an over/under between 37 and 38.5. Take the Seahawks and the over, as I suspect the game will come down to a field goal either way. My call: Bears 26, Hawks 24.

More to come as the week goes on.

The Morning News

posted by on January 8 at 7:37 AM

The Suspense Is Terrible: Bush to announce new Iraq strategy on Wednesday.

Benched: Bush plan for Iraq features benchmarks for Iraqi leaders. Yeah, that ought to do the trick.

Triple: The number of Iraqis dying due to war tripled in 2006.

The Red Bishop: Polish archbishop who collaborated with communists resigns.

Mars Attacked! There’s life on Mars… and we killed it.

Manhattan: Strong stench of gas creates a panic in New York City.

WTO Protests: Court case over unconstitutional mass arrests could cost city millions.

Border Crossings and The Phallus

posted by on January 8 at 1:00 AM

A Virginia-based conservative group called Young America’s Foundation recently released its “Dirty Dozen” list of “America’s Most Bizarre and Politically Correct College Courses.”

Charting at #6 on the list is a class being offered this Winter quarter at our very own UW called “Border Crossings, Borders: Transnational Feminist Perspectives on Immigration.” It’s being taught in the UW’s Women Studies Dept. Here’s the course description:

WOMEN 490 D Border Crossings, Borderlands: Transnational Feminist Perspectives on Immigration M W 12:30-2:20 Serena Maurer

In the United States, immigration has recently become a topic of widespread public
discussion and concern. In this course, we will use a transnational feminist perspective
to explore what is highlighted and concealed
in contemporary public debates about
US immigration.

Charting at No. #1 on the list was this class on the phallus from Occidental College in Los Angeles, CA.:

CTSJ 342. THE PHALLUS.

A survey of theories of the phallus from Freud and Lacan through feminist and queer takings-on of the phallus. Topics include the relation between the phallus and the penis, the meaning of the phallus, phallologocentrism, the lesbian phallus, the Jewish phallus, the Latino phallus, and the relation of the phallus and fetishism. Prerequisite: a 200-level CTSJ class.

Tobin
CORE REQUIREMENT MET: GROUP 6


For descriptions of all 12 classes that made the list, click on the Dirty Dozen link above. In the mean time, here’s a simple list of the course titles:

1. The Phallus (Occidental College)
2. Queer Musicology (UCLA)
3. Taking Marx Seriously: “Should Marx be given another chance?” (Amherst College)
4. Adultery Novel (University of Pennsylvania)
5. Blackness (Occidental College)
6. Border Crossings, Borderlands: Transnational Feminist Perspectives on Immigration (The UW)
7. Whiteness: The Other Side of Racism (Mount Holyoke College)
8. Native American Feminisms (University of Michigan)
9. Mail Order Brides: Understanding the Philippines in Southeast Asian Context (Johns Hopkins)
10. Cyberfeminism (Cornell)
11. American Dreams/American Realities (Duke)
12. Nonviolent Responses to Terrorism (Swarthmore)

If you ask me, though, Young America’s Foundation gave short shrift to Olympia’s Evergreen State College. Check out Evergreen’s current course catalogue where YAF would have found this cool course on “Awareness”

Awareness

Fall, Winter and Spring quarters

Faculty:
Bill Arney, Sarah Williams
Major areas of study include:
somatic studies, philosophy, sociology, education, feminist theory and consciousness studies.
Class Standing:
This all-level program offers appropriate support for freshmen as well as supporting and encouraging those ready for advanced work.
The faculty and perhaps some students are continuing work begun in “Awareness” in winter and spring quarters, 2005. Any student is invited to join this program at the beginning of any quarter.

The modern university is based on a rupture, effected a millennium ago, between head and heart. This institution—the one in which we meet as teachers and students—is devoted almost exclusively to the technical and critical disciplines. Ascetic disciplines were left in the proverbial dust. Secularization rendered proverb and metaphor, even language itself, disenfleshed and idolatrized. Our task in this program is to become deeply aware of the devastation caused by this rupture, this loss. Because of what has been betrayed, we dare not simply imagine an alternative form of education, much less another new institution, devoted to the healing of this rupture or the recovery of any loss. Instead, we will, through disciplined, mutually supportive inquiry, become mindful of what we scholars participate in, here and now.

Students will begin their work by designing independent learning projects. These field studies, which will constitute half of each quarter’s work, can be anything (community service, sailing, midwifery, writing, gardening, Aikido, reading, etc.). We will begin our work together by answering these questions: What do you want to learn? How are you going to learn it? How are you going to know when you have learned it? How are you going to show others—faculty and colleagues—that you have learned it?

She Must Be Young, Willing, and Have Some Wheels

posted by on January 8 at 12:12 AM

And enjoy this bit of Swedish culture, courtesy of Kenneth and the Knutters, whose national hits included We Will Keep Our Bikes, I Kiss Betty Without a Helmet On, and Moose Hunt Rap:


Sunday, January 7, 2007

Seen in Stockholm

posted by on January 7 at 11:16 PM

1. The buildings: They aren’t the spindly, spiraling towers of the southern Gothic, nor the blocky confections of Amsterdam, but something in between. All European cities have architecture from the 14th century rubbing up againt 21st-century post (or post-post?) modern contortions of sheet metal, but in Stockholm, the transitions seem weirdly smooth, as if the medieval Swedish builders already felt IKEA quickening in their designs.

2. The rockers: They really fucking rock. Holy Ghost Revival and Clorox Girls were both well-received (the latter is wonderfully happy, dancey punk music, the former is a bit of a baroque-glam-metal spectacular that somebody here described as “Shakespeare meets Rock & Roll High School”) and the club they played, Debaser ( it’s Pixies-themed, with heavy emphasis on Doolittle and drink names like “Monkey Gone to Heaven”) was hopping.

3. Sticker number one:

More dead cops.

4. Sticker number two:

Missing: Dawit Isaak. Swedish citizen and journalist imprisoned in Eritrea without trial since 2001. Please direct appeals to the Eritrean embassy in Stockholm. +46(0)8 44 17 170.

5. The people: They really are beautiful—all of them. White and black, young and old, Turkish taxi drivers and the lone Asian geezer I saw walking through old town, carrying a shopping bag. Must be the water. That, or they round up the ugly people at night and execute them. This is socialism, after all.

6. Sticker number three:

You are not your job,


Your not how much

money you have

on the bank…

PondeR

There’s a whole genre of stickers specifically aimed at tourists—they’re in English in all the scenic parts of town and Swedish in all the residential neighborhoods, like where our host, Johan, lives and near his band-practice space, an old bomb shelter with carpeting, recording equipment, and a squeeze-toy of Osama Bin Laden holding a machine gun.

Next stop, Linkřping, sister city of Palo Alto, California.

Duck, Barrel, Gun

posted by on January 7 at 9:15 PM

In today’s mail…

My name is Janie. I am in college for Visual Communications and I work for my town’s newspaper. In the near future I plan on working for a magazine. (Hopefully yours.) I was wondering what exactly are the qualifications of becoming an editor or a designer at The Stranger. When you get time, please reply. I will greatfully appreciate it.

With Facts Like These, Who Needs Fiction?

posted by on January 7 at 2:21 PM

Marijuana, known for making people catatonic and hungry, is actually a gateway to violence - according to a brochure (.pdf here) from the Office of National Drug Control Policy

Marijuana use is associated with violent behavior. Kids who use marijuana weekly are four times more likely to engage in violent behavior than those who don’t.

Um, how did they get this statistic? Since they don’t cite the source, I assume they got the figure by drug testing the people arrested for violent activity and discovering that some of them tested positive for pot - America’s most popular illicit drug.

By applying this backward logic, other popular activities, such as drinking milk, could also be associated with violent behavior. You see, most people who commit acts of violence have drunk milk, meaning that — here it is - drinking milk leads to being violent. And pot leads to violence, too. Obviously.

Does it not occur to these propagandists that if they repeatedly say things that fly in the face of common knowledge, even if there is some convoluted statistic to back it up, people will eventually conclude they’re full of crap and ignore everything they say? Well, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report on federal drug advertising, that’s exactly what is happening.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 7 at 11:00 AM

‘Notes on a Scandal’

SSsun-160.jpg

(FILM) There are many reasons to spend part of your day and money watching this fine British thriller, the main of which are the lips of Cate Blanchett. One could exhaust hours just looking at them; they are perfect for the formation of lovely English words (“plenty,” “plum,” “perhaps”), perfect for sipping tea, perfect for seducing 15-year-old schoolboys. Cate’s kissing lips are fresh, soft, and filled with delicious blood. (See Movie Times for more info.) CHARLES MUDEDE

Postcard from Stockholm

posted by on January 7 at 9:53 AM

I’m sitting in a Swedish 7-11, which happens to have internet access. I’m on tour with two young American bands, the Clorox Girls and Holy Ghost Revival, a Seattle group recently signed to a Columbia Records subsidiary and packed off for a shoestring month-and-a-half European tour. My brother Conor is the singer/songwriter/ringmaster for the group, which is how I weasled my way into the tour van, which is roughly the size and shape of a paddy wagon and packed like a clown car—it barely holds nine people, their luggage, amps, drums, music gear, effluvia, etc. We also picked up a German in Hamburg named Jens whose primary contribution has been teaching us macho insults in German, including

warmduscher: taker-of-warm-showers

sitzpinkler: he-who-sits-while-pissing

and my favorite

turnbeutelvergesser: gym-bag-forgetter

And what, exactly, is so un-masculine about forgetting one’s gym bag?

“It’s stupid to forget a gym bag,” he said.

I said I still didn’t understand.

“Ach!” he said. “You are weichei. And I don’t explain that one.”

Sunday Morning Sports Report

posted by on January 7 at 9:16 AM

Seahawks: A botch 19-yard field goal with just over a minute left to play. A crazy ass safety. Jerramy Stevens hearing cheers instead of boos. The Seattle D stepping up in a big way. Jordan Babineaux stopping Tony Romo just short of a game-ending first down…

In short, what a game.

Up next: Either New Orleans or Chicago, depending on the outcome of today’s Eagles vs. Giants.

Update: The Eagles just beat the Giants with a last second field goal, 23-20. So next weekend it will be Seahawks vs. Bears. Endless taunting from Chicago Fan begins…now.

Also: Wazzu shocked #7 Arizona; the Huskies finally got a win against a Pac-10 opponent; and the Sonics…well, you can probably guess the outcome.

Oh, and the Mariners signed another mediocre pitcher.