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Archives for 01/14/2007 - 01/20/2007

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Mr. Hands Goes to Park City

posted by on January 20 at 2:22 PM

On Greencine Daily, you can read former Stranger film editor Andy Spletzer interview current Stranger Associate Editor Charles Mudede about his new movie Zoo, premiering tonight at the Sundance Film Festival.

Remember when fans of The X-Files started calling themselves X-Philes? Let’s fervently pray fans of Zoo don’t follow suit.

Now, please enjoy this HistoryLink essay on Enumclaw, a quaint hamlet whose name is derived from a word meaning “thunderous roar.”

A Very Comprehensive Update on the Viaduct

posted by on January 20 at 2:18 PM

Yesterday’s council meeting was supposed to give voters a chance to decide how to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct while satisfying Gov. Christine Gregoire’s demand that the city send a clear message to the state about whether it will accept a new elevated freeway, Gregoire’s preferred option. Instead, it did neither. The result of the meeting—two separate up-or-down votes March 13 on a new viaduct and a four-lane “Tunnel Lite” (renamed, for PR purposes, the “surface/tunnel hybrid”)—will not be binding. Gregoire and the state legislature can do whatever they want, with or without a Seattle advisory ballot. Moreover, the outcome may be inconclusive. Because the two votes will be separated on the ballot, people can vote yes for both, yes for one and no for the other, or no for both; it’s conceivable, perhaps even probable, that both options could either fail or win. And even if one option does emerge the clear winner, unless the vote is overwhelming, it will hardly be a mandate either.

Yesterday’s hastily scheduled council meeting began inauspiciously, when council president Nick Licata (an elevated option supporter) refused to allow public comment because the meeting was technically a “special committee meeting,” not a meeting of the council. After a flurry of discussion over whether the council could and should amend its rules (Tom Rasmussen and Peter Steinbrueck said yes; Licata and David Della said no), Licata backed down and allowed about 20 people to speak. Reflecting every opinion poll to date, almost none of yesterday’s speakers supported the tunnel; most favored a new viaduct, a retrofit or the surface/transit option, which the council has so far refused to consider. Larry Todd of Friends of Seattle spoke eloquently in favor of the surface/transit proposal, noting that if a “progressive” city like Seattle can’t come up with a sustainable solution (i.e. one that doesn’t cater exclusively to cars), “who will? To look at this as merely a transportation issue is to miss the significance of what we’re about to do.” Todd also noted that, by putting two advisory measures on the ballot, the city would be “wasting a million dollars on something that isn’t binding anyway.” Council member Peter Steinbrueck picked up that theme, calling the election “political tyranny” and an “expensive, glorified opinion poll.”

“It may seem populist to have a ballot measure, and I come from a very strong family tradition of populism. … [But] it’s disingenuous to be putting options before the voters … for something the state has told us they will not honor.” Nonetheless, the council approved both ballot measures, with Licata, Della and Steinbrueck dissenting. (Licata, as mayor pro tem, had to sign the measure because Mayor Nickels was absent.)

After the vote, Steinbrueck stood up and made an extemperaneous, emotional speech about the future of Seattle if we, unlike 85 other cities that have torn down elevated freeways, decide to build a new viaduct on our waterfront:

We will be a laughingstock. We will be an embarrassment. We will not be able to stand on our leadership. We will not be able to be taken seriously when we talk about sustainability and the environment if we do this. There is a solution that’s more cost-effective and more financially responsible that we can develop. It would save the state money if they would just free us from this stranglehold of focusing on auto capacity. Twenty-five years from now, if we proceed with this plan, this elevated structure will be congested, backed up to West Seattle the day it opens. If we don’t take steps to address our transportation problems now, it will be gridlock. This is not a choice about my political future. If I could trade this job today and stop that elevated freeway I would do it in a flash. It is that important to our city, this beautiful place, the environment we live in that is so envied by people the world around.”

For months, the council and mayor have been under enormous pressure from Gregoire and the state legislature to make a decision about the viaduct. (They’ve voted four times to support the six-lane tunnel, but Gregoire has said that option is financially “infeasible.”) Initially, Gregoire insisted on a March vote between a new viaduct and the six-lane tunnel option; two weeks later, however, she recanted, telling the city to accept a new viaduct or lose $2.2 billion in state money to the SR-520 bridge replacement. That put the city (viaduct supporters excluded) in a nearly impossible position: If they did nothing, Gregoire would move forward with a new viaduct. But if they put the $3.6-$5.5 billion tunnel on the ballot next to a $2.2-$3.3 billion viaduct, the elevated option would almost certainly win. The decision they made yesterday—two side-by-side ballot measures—muddies those waters by allowing the possibility of an ambiguous vote. As Drago noted yesterday, “If we do nothing, the governor will go forward with the elevated [option]. Voting in March is our only chance of changing that.”

Well, that may be overstating it. There are four possible outcomes, only one of them even potentially good for the tunnel.

First, the tunnel could win. If it won by a small margin, it would almost certainly have no impact on the governor’s decision. If it won by a large margin, supporters hope it might convince the governor to reconsider. However, the state house of representatives remains extremely hostile to the tunnel; the senate, meanwhile, is considered a bit more open to the idea.

Second, the elevated could win. If it won by a large margin, the governor would have a mandate to move quickly to start construction. If it won by a small margin, the city could try pleading its case to the state; however, any win for the elevated is bad news for supporters of both the tunnel and the surface/transit option.

Third, both options could win. If that happened, the state would likely take the vote as a message that Seattle voters are fine with either option—a victory for the elevated replacement.

Finally, both options could lose. That would send the state the message that voters don’t like the choices they’re being given—a potential boon for backers of the surface/transit option, which neither the city nor the state has been willing, thus far, to consider.

Ballots will go out in about three weeks, giving supporters of all three options almost no time to gear up their campaigns. (The mayor has a jump on his opponents; his Waterfront for All campaign has already raised $164,000.) Tunnel supporters clearly hope that supporters of the surface/transit option—about 10 percent of Seattle voters, according to the most recent poll—will go for the “surface/tunnel hybrid.” However, most of the “surface” elements of the new tunnel could be built in any scenario, including alongside a new viaduct, and aren’t actually funded as part of the proposal.

The city council, for its part, has repeatedly stated its support for the six-lane tunnel. Weeks ago, the council passed a resolution stating that the proposed rebuild violates state and local law (including the city’s own Comprehensive Plan and the state Shoreline Management Act), opening an avenue to litigation by environmental groups and waterfront businesses if the state decides to move forward with a new viaduct. (The city itself would be hard pressed to sue if the tunnel wins, however, as that would be seen as violating the will of the voters). Yesterday, the council supplemented that resolution with one explicitly rejecting the elevated option.

Because the vote will probably be inconclusive, the council also voted yesterday (unanimously, for a change) to move forward with construction south of King Street (where there’s no debate about how to proceed) and to start implementing mitigation measures that will have to be done no matter what option is ultimately chosen.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 20 at 10:30 AM

Olympic Sculpture Park

(Grand Opening) When was the last time you scuffed your shoes victoriously on a former Superfund site and at the same time considered modern sculpture? (Hey, when that sculpture was being made, this land was being polluted!) In all seriousness: go. This is like an entire new museum. Free shuttles are leaving from several YMCAs; check the schedule at (Olympic Sculpture Park, 2901 Western Ave, 654-3100. 11 am—9 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES

Hillary Clinton Is Running for President

posted by on January 20 at 10:16 AM

It’s official:

If successful, Mrs. Clinton, 59, would be the first female nominee of a major American political party, and she would become the first spouse of a former president to seek a return to the White House.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Confidential to Gomez

posted by on January 19 at 5:49 PM

From everyone at Slog…

We miss you, man.

The Stranger Arrested

posted by on January 19 at 4:59 PM

“You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney …” (From RK, emailed to me)



Has Paul Allen finally lost his mind, or are we going downtown? (Sorry, Curt Doughty, photographer, I didn’t know, I swear I didn’t know.)

Today On Line Out

posted by on January 19 at 4:35 PM

Tonight: In Music.

My Generative: Brian Eno Gets Oblique On Your Ass.

No Relation To Mike Jones: George Jones skips Seattle, fails to repeatedly shout own name on mixtape guest spots.

Welcome To Hypermagic Mountain: Björk’s violently schizophrenic new album.

Goobcast: A new edition of Setlist.

Frizzelle Is Very, Very Wrong: Stream the Shins’ new album, if you haven’t already hypothetically heard it.

Damm, Where’s the Glitter Paint?: Poster of the Week Needs More Pizzaz!

Freaky Sexualiens: What the Fuck is Of Montreal Talking About?

Sacks and SATs: Junkface Get Homeric on Your Ass.

My Hoodie: Stuffing Catbutts and other Blue Scholarship at Grammy Career Day.

Pixellated Tubes: Hype Williams is Big, it’s the Pictures that Got Small.

Bad Brains Is Megan Seling So Unusual, or Does She “Just Wanna Have Fun?”

Teenage Dolor

posted by on January 19 at 4:30 PM

What a week.

And this is the last time my fantastic high holy rock and roll numbers will appear on Slog. Next week I’ll be moving them to Line Out, man.

Slog, I leave you with this high school bedroom masterpiece:


1) Teenage Crescendo. Generation X doing “Untouchables” in 1982. Posted Jan. 12.

2) Teenage Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola. Unknown band covering “Anarchy in the UK.” Posted Jan. 5.

3) Teenage Symphony. The Troggs doing “Love is All Around” in 1967. Posted Dec. 29.

4) Martian Teenage Weekend. The Only Ones doing “Another Girl, Another Planet” in 1978. Posted Dec. 22.

5) Sad & Groovy Friday. The Jam doing “Art School” in 1977. Posted Dec. 15.

6) Teenage Poet Laureate. The Jam doing “That’s Entertainment” in 1980. Posted Dec. 8.

7) It’s Friday. Dance to the Teenage Sound. The Who doing “I Can’t Explain” in 1965. Posted Dec. 1.

Next Week in the Legislature

posted by on January 19 at 4:05 PM

Some hot topic bills are starting to work their way through the legislature next week: there’s a work session on the payday lending bill; there’s a hearing on the public financing bill for judicial races; and the domestic partnerships bill is getting a hearing.

The legislature is also taking up bills to: reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions; provide medically and scientifically accurate sex ed; prohibit the payment of signature gatherers on a per-signature basis; and crack down on haters who disrupt funerals.

Meanwhile, Sen. Franklin’s income tax bill, referred to Ways and Means, doesn’t seem to be getting any play. And there’s no Sonics bill anywhere in sight.

And here’s a bill for suffragette Erica C. Barnett.

To which I say, over David Bowie/Mick Ronson electricity guitar:
“Hey man, I gotta straighten my face.”

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on January 19 at 3:40 PM

It’s a huge movie week for Seattle: David Lynch’s Inland Empire opens at the Neptune today, Sundance Film Festival began last night, Oscar nominations are coming in on Tuesday.

At Sundance, Seattle is being represented by two decidedly perverted films. Up first: Charles Mudede and Rob Devor’s Zoo, screening tomorrow through the coming week.


Since it’s about the Enumclaw horse fucker, no writer can resist dropping a line or two into festival previews. But what will the prurient think when they see the picturesque, crypto-sympathetic film? Charles should be checking in to the Slog sometime this weekend to keep us updated on all the parties and gorgeous women in Park City. Calvin Reeder’s Little Farm, which screened at Northwest Film Forum during the Local Sightings festival, is getting a bunch of screenings prior to the horror feature The Signal next week. But you can watch it on the internets! Click here to see incest and exploding heads.

Other movies of note at Sundance include Chicago 10—Josh Feit’s new favorite movie even though he doesn’t know it yet—about the aftermath of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, liberally spiked with animation and Eminem: The Chicago Tribune has an interesting preview here. I’m queasily fascinated by Teeth, a horror movie about abstinence education and an actual vagina dentata, by Roy Lichtenstein’s son Mitchell. Catholics (or at least, the Catholic League, which is like the Anti-Defamation League, and just as prone to going waaaayy off topic) are up in arms about the Dakota Fanning rape scene (and short shorts) in Hounddog, which sounds like Bastard Out of Carolina, but with more blue suede shoes and less Jena Malone. Ghosts of Abu Ghraib (here’s an interview) is about the prison; and fans of Stomp the Yard should take note of How She Move, featuring 14 step dance sequences. For the Bible Tells Me So is this year’s Jesus Camp; it’s about what the Bible actually has to say about homosexuality. Jessica Yu (who blended animation and reportage to lovely effect in the Henry Darger doc In the Realms of the Unreal) unveils an unconventional documentary with a Greek chorus played by puppets. And, of course, everybody’s talking about Waitress, by murdered actor/director Adrienne Shelly.

Will Tuesday bring an Oscar nomination for Stranger Genius James Longley, director of Iraq in Fragments? British film critics discuss his chances and admire the film, which opens in London today.

In the film section this week: Michael Atkinson reviews David Lynch’s three-hour experimental film Inland Empire.


Be sure to check out his interview with Lynch. (And, if you missed it, Sean Nelson’s Slog post about the film and Lynch’s Q&A at the Cinerama.)

Also opening today: the French police procedural Le Petit Lieutenant, opening at the Varsity, about a Billy Budd-like figure in a tough Paris precinct. I review the film here. And Charles Mudede revels in the greedy, nasty, despicable specimens of humankind in The Photographer, His Wife, Her Lover at Northwest Film Forum.


Film Shorts this week include reviews of Double Indemnity, Romántico, and Eve and the Fire Horse.

Lindy West reviews The Hitcher: Strictly for people stuck under a rock since 1985.

Weekend Agenda

posted by on January 19 at 3:29 PM






Smutty Emails

posted by on January 19 at 3:17 PM

It seems that a few dozen Port of Seattle police officers sent smutty emails to each other. Heavens—where are my smelling salts? From today’s PI:

Thirty-two current and former Port of Seattle police officers—nearly a third of the department’s sworn force—have been caught exchanging or receiving racist, sexist and sexually explicit e-mails since the end of October 2004, department records obtained by the Seattle P-I show.

For 16 months, no one in the department reported the smut-laced e-mails to top-level managers or internal investigators, even though the field-level supervisors joined line officers spending hours on their shifts viewing the material. The behavior wasn’t discovered until a woman accused one officer of harassment, and internal investigators looked at his computer.

The racist emails? Not okay, very bad, disgusting. But I’m always a little weirded out when public employees get into trouble for sending sexually explicit emails at work—just for sending them, mind you, not for sending them to someone who objected or felt threatened. The guy who sent dirty emails to that woman who didn’t think they were appropriate? Okay, that guy oughta be busted, in trouble, reprimanded, whatever. Maybe fired. But the other dopes? In trouble just for sending smutty emails? Sheesh. Seems extreme.

Stories like this that make me glad that I work in the private sector, where people can’t do public record requests and obtain my email. If they could, shit, the PI could do a three-part series—total Pulitzer bait!—just on the emails that Bradley Steinbacher sends me.

You see, every once in a while I’ll get an email from Brad, the managing editor around here, with a subject line like “New Deadlines,” or, “Freelance Payment Question.” Thinking the email is work related, I open it and—KABAM! My eyes are assaulted by smut that would make the PI’s editors’ heads explode. I’m going to give an example. I’m going to post a picture—a link to it—that Brad sent me at work. It made me push back from my desk so fast I fell out of my chair. Click on the link below at your peril—but be warned. This link is not safe for work, not safe for home, not safe for democracy. Don’t say you weren’t warned:


What Is the Prob

posted by on January 19 at 3:10 PM

As anyone who read the 2006 Regrets issue knows, Stranger associate editor emeritus Sean Nelson was supposed to write about Dave Eggers’s What Is the What for the books section. He failed to. He even failed to read it. Another writer, Travis Nichols, ended up reviewing it instead.

A guilt-racked Mr. Nelson offered to write a short humorous something explaining why he’d failed to meet his deadline for his review of What Is the What. Then Mr. Nelson failed to even get even this turned in within a reasonable timeframe. Not that it mattered, ultimately, because there ended up being no room for it in the print edition. But here, at long last, is his explanation.

(In other News of the Nelson: His book about Joni Mitchell’s Court & Spark is out now; here he is talking about the album on KUOW. And the book will be for sale at The Stranger’s next literary-event-in-a-bar-with-a-band. This one’s an evening of alternative fatherhood with Neal Pollack, Dan Savage, and “Awesome” and it happens at Chop Suey on Thursday, February 1. And it’s free. Nelson is emceeing. More details in next week’s paper.)

The Uber-Sexy, Extra-Hot, Post Celebrity I Saw U Super Letter Round-Up!

posted by on January 19 at 3:00 PM

Like some sort of disturbing “phantom limb” phenomena, it just keeps itching and itching—and the “Adrian! I just saw a CELEBRITY!” letters? They arrive and arrive and arrive. And except for all of those readers I’ve ignored over the years, I never ignore a reader, so let’s do this quickly and get it over with, once and for bloody all…

“Dear Adrian, I saw David Lynch smoking with a bunch of folks outside Dahlia Lounge. Guess he was there for dinner after the thing at Cinerama.” –B. Mathew.

“Dear B. Mathew, Smoking kills.” –-Adrian

“PS—Have you ever been to that old Twin Peaks dinner up in North Bend or wherever? The one they featured in the series? Coffee and cherry pie? What a fucking rip-off. They changed the name to “Tweedy’s” (WTF?), and decorated it with cheesy velvet oil paintings and a bizarre and a rather disturbing display of stuffed toy “Tweety Birds” (not, indeed, “TweeDy Birds”, the big tards) that they’ve stapled, glued, and otherwise fastened somehow to every wall. And almost $10 for a burger?! A sin, I tell you. A fucking sin. I think I’m gonna buy that place and turn it into Adrian’s Super-Sexy Extra-Hot Twin Peaks Memorial Museum….remodel it to look just like it did in the show, and fill it full of wax renderings of dead Laura Palmers wrapped in plastic. Or maybe I’ll just burn it down in a rage. At this point, anything’s possible.”

“Adrian—What?! Was I the only one who saw Mary K. Letourneau and her much younger lover at The New York Dolls show?—-Bill

“Darling Bill, Yes! You were. But did you know that my hairstylist’s boyfriend is in the band that opened for The New York Dolls that night? The ‘Greatest Hits’ they are called? Well. They‘re pretty hot. So is my hair these days. I’m just saying.”—-Adrian

“Dear Adrian, I was in Seattle visiting my girlfriend Jill, who is currently starring in the WE channel’s ‘Dirty Dancing’. She was working at the Italian Restaurant ‘That’s Amore’, when my old boss Conan O’Brien came in to pick up pizzas. I wrote for ‘Late Night’ in 1996 until Mark Henry, the world’s strongest man, dropped me from the world’s biggest bowl of chili, severely injuring my back. Conan ordered ninety dollars of Italian pies, thanked my girlfriend, and then left without tipping. I brought the man orange juice every morning for six months, never spiking it. Times change, but beware the O’Briens!”—Cheers, Aja West - Mackrosoft CEO

“Dear Aja, My, that was a very long letter.” –Adrian

“Adrian, my dear…there is no way that you would ever have lost your virginity to a SHE. Thanks for my two columns of fame.”—-“Emelio” (A cherry-poppin’ possible relative of Evel Kneivel)

“Dear ‘Emelio’, I have no idea what you’re talking about. But, hey: we’ll always not have Paris.” —Adrian

“Dear Adrian, I saw Jeremy Piven at Asami, the Japanese restaurant next to Uwajumia! Does he have a bald spot in the back of his head? What’s he filming here? Or is he on leave from a Vancouver shoot? I swear it was him.”—-PlaneDanna

“Dear PlaneDanna, The answers to your questions, respectively, are as follows: Yes, Maybe, Only time will tell, and SHAZAM! Although their really was no fourth question. SHAZAM anyway. Thank you.” —-Adrian

“PS—-Who the hell is Jeremy Piven?”

The Contenders: Dennis Kucinich

posted by on January 19 at 2:50 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.


Dennis Kucinich

Party: Democratic

Age: 61

Status: Declared

Go ahead, call Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinish a tinfoil hatter. A lot of people do. But here’s where he stands on the issues: He’s the only prospective presidential candidate to have voted against the Patriot Act, he’s for gay marriage, he’s for decriminalizing marijuana, he’s for bringing troops home from Iraq now, he’s a supporter of Roe v. Wade, and he favors universal healthcare.

Oh, and he hangs out with Sean Penn and friends:

Kucinich was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1946. His father was a truck-driver, and the Kucinich family had moved 21 times by the time Dennis was 17. The oldest of 7 children, Kucinich was the first in his family to go to college. He graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 1973. He was elected to the Cleveland City Council in 1970 at the age of 23, and then elected as Mayor of Cleveland in 1977, at the age of 31.

His mayoral tenure was turbulent, and Kucinich garnered national attention for refusing to sell the city’s failing municipal electrical company, which landed the city in big financial trouble. Partly due to the unpopularity of this decision, Kucinich was defeated for re-election in 1979. Kucinich now uses this incident as proof of his strength in standing up to big business.

After laying low from politics during the 1980’s, Kucinich returned to Ohio to run a successful campaign for state senate in 1994. In 1996, he was elected as a U.S. Congressman representing Ohio’s 10th District and has been re-elected four times since. He ran (very unsuccessfully) for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.

He is vegan.

Kucinich has been married three times. He has a daughter with his second wife, and is currently married to Elizabeth Harper, a British citizen. During the 2004 campaign, he was a bachelor and was quoted as saying:

As a bachelor, I get a chance to fantasize about my first lady. And you know maybe Fox will want to sponsor it as a national contest or something. But in any event I would want definitely want someone who would not just be there by my side, but be a working partner because I think we’re in a day in age when partnerships are imperative to making anything happening in the world. And I certainly want a dynamic, out-spoken woman who was fearless in her desire for peace in the world and for universal single-payer health care and a full employment economy. If you are out there call me.

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

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

Have I Ever Mentioned…

posted by on January 19 at 2:48 PM

How incredibly soothing I find City Council chambers? It’s like a cocoon in here: Warm, relatively quiet, softly lit, filled with the soothing drone of Richard Conlin’s singsong voice…

Anyway, I’m sitting here at the council meeting on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. After a long debate about whether to allow public comment (Licata and Della, who both support a new elevated viaduct, were against it), followed by a mere 20 minutes of comment, it looks like the council is poised to put not one but two ballot measures up for a vote in March: An up-or-down vote on an estimated $2.82 billion elevated viaduct, and an up-or-down vote on an estimated $3.41 billion four-lane “Tunnel Lite.” (A vote between the six-lane tunnel and a new viaduct failed 7-2 earlier this afternoon.) Both could pass; neither could pass; or one could fail and the other could pass. (Nick Licata gave a rousing speech opposing the ballot measures.) No matter what happens, no one thinks this advisory ballot will be final; Gov. Christine Gregoire and the state legislature get the final call.

Meanwhile, the council also passed a resolution, sponsored by Conlin, committing to begin the mitigation measures that will be necessary during viaduct construction, including expanding transit service, renovating the Spokane Street Viaduct, improving the Spokane, Lander and Mercer corridors, and synchronizing traffic signals. The council also committed to convening a “mediated summit to seek consensus on how to proceed with a principled solution for the Central Waterfront section of the viaduct.” (Can’t you just hear Conlin saying that?) That resolution passed unanimously.

I’ll post a more thorough report on today’s meeting when I get back later this afternoon.

Text Messages from City Hall

posted by on January 19 at 2:36 PM

Erica C. Barnett is down at City Hall covering the Viaduct meeting. I’m dying for her Slog post.

For now, her text messages will have to suffice. So far, I’ve gotten three. They say, in order, verbatim:

At first there was no public hearing per Nick, then they voted to allow it, and now they’re wrapping up. Overflowing with people. looks like vote in march.
Five different resolutions so far.
Yeah. I think it may be two votes—up or down on tunnel AND rebuild.

What a freak show. And burn on Nick L. for trying to shut down public comment and failing.

What a Cool Bill

posted by on January 19 at 2:25 PM

A recent Knight Foundation survey found that 49% of high schoolers agreed with this statement: “It is OK for the government to censor the news.”

Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-33, Sea Tac, Des Moines), who’s obsessed with civics (I get the impression he thinks he got a shitty high-school education when it came to learning about citizenship), has a bill that would prevent high-school and college adminstrations from censoring news and editorial opinion in school newspapers.

Certainly, the papers don’t have free reign to print libel, or publish an unwarranted invasion of privacy, or create imminent danger, but Upthegrove’s bill ensures that students’ rights to freedom of the press are not trammeled by, you know, adminstrators who, kissing up to weirdo parents, tend to censor Al Gore movies and stuff.

Read the whole bill, it’s cool. Here’s an excerpt:

The legislature finds that freedom of expression and freedom of the press are fundamental principles in our democratic society granted to every citizen of this state and the nation by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and by Article 1, section 5 of the state Constitution. These freedoms provide all citizens, including students, with the right to engage in robust and uninhibited discussion of issues. The legislature finds that court decisions have not provided adequate protection for the free speech and free press rights of students. The legislature intends to ensure free speech and free press protections for both high school and college students in the state in order to encourage students to become educated, informed, and responsible members of society.

P.S. to Rep. Upthegrove: Learning about the Tinker decision in my HS jounalism class did in fact, hot-wire my brain for all time.

What a Bullshit Bill

posted by on January 19 at 1:05 PM

Reacting to last year’s shocking development that partisan groups actually spent money on the state Supreme Court elections (um, duh), Democrats are putting forward this stupid bill to institute public financing for state Supreme Court candidates.

Here’s the willfully naive, self-righteous language from Rep. Shay Schual-Berke’s (D-33, Sea Tac, Des Moines) bill:

The intent of this act is to protect the fairness of elections for the highest courts in Washington state - the supreme court and court of appeals. Doing so will maintain the public’s trust in the integrity and independence of our courts in the face of increasingly large sums of money raised and spent by special interest groups. That flood of money threatens the impartiality, independence, and credibility of our judiciary. To maintain public confidence in the judiciary, we must prevent not only corruption, but the appearance of corruption, for the judiciary is the one branch of government that must be uniquely impartial, independent, and unbiased in order to best serve the residents of Washington. It would be destructive for our democracy to allow our courts to become 19 influenced by large amounts of money, and for our citizens to think that judicial decisions are influenced by those large amounts of money. This act is necessary to ensure that our highest courts continue to be unbiased and insulated from special interests.

I am so sick of this high-minded reaction to last year’s SC races. Candidates for our state Supreme Court run for election. It’s a partisan job. They seek political endorsements.

Washington voters need to stop living under this pretense of purity. Come on. Everyone knows the courts are political.

But no. For years, in Washington sate, SC candidates have hidden behind the obtuse objectivity of the seat to run vague and meaningless campaigns. As a result, voters hardly know what they’re getting. (Ever been to a candidate forum featuring state Supreme Court candidates? They answer every question by telling you they’re not allowed to answer the question.)

This year’s partisan cash infusion—$1.4 million from conservatives, and $564K from liberals—was refreshing. The piles of cash dumped into the Johnson/Owens race and the Groen/Alexander race was a reality check, forcing the candidates out of hiding. And guess what: the liberals won handily.

Until there’s comprehensive campaign-finance reform (I’ll address those stupid bills in another post), let’s not single out SC judges as some special breed in need of protection. Let’s keep who they are out in the open. The real lesson from last year’s SC races is this: state Supreme Court seats are partisan; let’s duke it out.

And given that liberals raised a half million dollars (and won!) they proved they can play this game too. Liberals should stop hand wringing about independent expenditures. Follow the money. It tells the truth—calling bullshit on our consensual nod and wink charade about the objectivity of our high court.

Here’s how the bill works, by the way: A candidate is eligible for public financing if they can demonstrate popular support by getting 250 people to donate $10 to their campaign. The state will kick in 50X the filing fee. (The filing fee is one percent of an SC salary, I believe. So, we’re talking about $70K in the primary and $140K or so in the general.

The idea is this: A candidate who opts to get public financing can hype that as a trump card against a “bought up” candidate who is raising money the old-fashioned way from doners and partisan groups. Get it: public donations to a SC candidate mean the candidate is politically compromised while publicly financed candidates are objective robots and won’t ever make a subjective decision. Yeah, right.

What a lie. Voters are partisan and political. The candidates are partisan and political (publicly financed or not). There’s a political battle over the courts. Let’s have that battle. I wish the Democrats would stop trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist with a PR bill that caters to this delusion about the purity of our Courts.

Mom’s Paranoia

posted by on January 19 at 12:40 PM

I steal wireless from my generous neighbors. So my mom sends me this. Seattle isn’t Singapore, yet.

Love, American Style

posted by on January 19 at 12:39 PM

Not porn, but not really SFW either…

Thanks to Slog tipster Keith.

Notes from The Prayer Warrior

posted by on January 19 at 11:55 AM

No, I am not making this one up.


January 18, 2007

Hey Prayer Warriors,

It was the most amazing meeting I have ever had with the White House Faith Base leadership [sic, very sic]. They said just ask them for what I want to do and they are my partners! Wow! Wow! Woooooow!!!! This was only possible because of the power of you Prayer Warriors. Let’s change the world together my friends.

Pastor Hutch!!!

The possible things we can do and the impossible things with God just take a little longer.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on January 19 at 11:54 AM

The Patient Men: Task force raids Everett medical-marijuana group.

Packed Cigarettes: Report claims nicotine levels increased 11 percent over a seven-year period.

Similar to Sex Offenders: Indiana considers registry for meth convicts.

Reclassified: UK ratchets up meth possession to seven-year sentence.

KFC, Heroin, and the Devil: Combo lands granny four years for trafficking.

Coffee Kills: Warehouse workers crushed under wall of beans.

Butt Out: French resent impending smoking ban.

Made from Scratch: Hens used to produce drug-filled eggs.

Bear vs. Owl

posted by on January 19 at 11:18 AM

Really, treat yourself this morning to those Colbert-on-O’Reilley/O’Reilly-on-Colbert clips. They’re still up.

O’REILLY: I have a sheet here. It says you dislike and are afraid of bears and owls. Is that true?

COLBERT: I’m afraid of bears. I think owls are a waste of time.

Steinbrueck: Up Since 4:30 a.m.

posted by on January 19 at 11:10 AM

When I got into work this morning there was a lengthy message from city council member Peter Steinbrueck on my voice mail. (He later told me he’s been up since 4:30 a.m. drafting a resolution to present at today’s hotly anticipated council meeting on the viaduct.)

Here’s the money quote from the voice mail: “Nickels’s ballot measure, if you could call it that, is a folly.”

When I reached Steinbrueck, he said that after meeting with Ron Sims yesterday he wants to propose a resolution today to partner with the county to do surface improvements, corridor improvements, and transit improvements (all of which Sims is “eager and willing and committed to implementing immediate action on,” Steinbrueck said).

Basically, Steinbrueck’s plan is to leave the viaduct up while implementing transit, corridor, and local fixes to divert traffic from the viaduct—prioritizing freight and commercial traffic there.

Steinbrueck scoffs at any ballot measure calling it “political cover” and “followship not leadership.”

He says the state has just “rolled us on this” for the rebuild.

“I don’t know how many times we have to say this,” Steinbrueck’s initial phone message said, “but we are not for the rebuild.” Indeed, the council voted 7-1 last September for a tunnel or surface option.

Erica C. Barnett will file a report from today’s big meeting. Stay tuned Sloggies.

The Dishwasher Ghetto

posted by on January 19 at 10:49 AM

This New York Times story focuses on a fancy pants NYC chef who’s being accused of refusing to give promotions to Latino and Bangladeshi staff. Reading it, I thought, it’s about time! Griping about restaurant racism is considered passe, even among restaurant employees. Every restaurant I’ve worked in has kept the Mexicans in the back. It’s just assumed they can’t move up to the front, or even onto the line.

Man Runs from Camera

posted by on January 19 at 10:44 AM

Takes pictures.. (Via Althouse).


Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 19 at 10:30 AM

‘In DisDress Now: Redux’

(Theater) Directed by Stranger Genius Award winner Jennifer Zeyl and written and performed by shortlister Marya Sea Kaminski, this stretchily autobiographical show (completely revised since the version at On the Boards last summer) tackles everything from alcoholism to the death of theater—without ever feeling maudlin or overstuffed. Be sure to show up early for audience karaoke. Oh, and stay put during “intermission”: Kaminski’s bringing back the entr’acte. (Washington Ensemble Theatre, 608 19th Ave, 8 pm, $10—$15, closes Sat.) ANNIE WAGNER

People of Slog, Greetings

posted by on January 19 at 10:26 AM

Umm. Hi. Hello? Hello. Well! So this is “Slog”! “The” Slog! I’m Slogging! Look at me! SLOGGING! For the very first time ever! How heady! How delightful! How grand! I am now an official Slogger, for indeed I do Slog. Sloggoriffic Sloggified Sloggification. Sloggy. Splendid!

Wait…would that be “Slogg-o-riffic”? Should I be doubling up the “g’s”? Am I working without an editor here? Is someone going to look this shit over?


Is this thing on? I am doing it right?

So, then! It sure is great to be here. On “Slog”. “Slogging”. And guess what? I get to “Slog” (tee hee hee!) about just about what-the-fuck-ever I-the-fuck want! Isn’t that REMARKABLE? Freedom of speech in action, that’s what that shit is right there. You betcha. If I want to discuss, oh, say, Courtney or Whitney or Paris (not fucking likely) or whatever like I used to in Celebrity I Saw U (remember? Ahh…it all seems so long ago …), I can, but, I mean, I don’t HAVE to. I can so-called “Slog” about almost anything!


The price of Chinese food in Milwaukee (cheap!), my daily BMs (cathartic!), the African AIDS baby that I just ordered from the new ‘07 catalog (they’re hotter than iPods!) or even my top-secret plan to assassinate….well. Never mind. (We’ll save that chestnut for later.) You get the idea. ANYTHING! It’s a fresh new day! I am reborn! Unleashed from my paper prison of only-celebrities, free to explore, express, expound, explicate, excrete (mmm…cathartic!), and I have to go think of something to actually say now….

Thank you for your support.

Yay, SLOG!

Cornish Grads and Ridiculous Interpretive Dance…

posted by on January 19 at 10:04 AM

are a natural combo. (See Fankick! and Streetbeat.)

But Cornish grad Amelia Rose Zirin-Brown takes it to a whole ‘nother level. Unlike the Fankickers and Streetbeaters, Ms. Zirin-Brown was a drama major, rather than a dance major, and unlike the local groups, she took her schtick to the Big Apple, where sources tell me she is “a high profile, and supposedly very good, NYC burlesque phenom.”

See for yourself in this damn funny YouTube video, created by Ms. Zirin-Brown and her cute and limber cohorts in the Varsity Interpretive Dance Squad:

(Thanks, as always, to Jake.)

Puffin’ Pres?

posted by on January 19 at 10:01 AM

If you do nothing else today, watch and read this:

Obama the Smoker

Summary: Fox News host John Gibson claimed that Sen. Barack Obama’s “dirty little secret” is that he is a cigarette smoker, despite the fact that Obama’s cigarette use was, in fact, known during his 2004 Senate campaign. Guest John H. McWhorter claimed that that the reason Obama is “considered such a big deal is simply because he’s black.” McWhorter added that “if you took away the color of his skin, nobody right now would be paying him any attention.”

You Appreciate Music, Don’t You? And Rodney Graham?

posted by on January 19 at 9:40 AM

Tonight is the opening party at the Henry Art Gallery for Make Your Own Life: Artists In & Out of Cologne, and what you need to know is as follows:

1. The Rodney Graham Band will be playing, from 8-11 pm! If you do not know Canadian artist and musician Rodney Graham, then it is time. Here he is now.


2. There is also something called The Book of Lists, and Factums with the artist Brent Watanabe, who recently created “the weeping illusion of a creepy puppy” at SOIL, according to Charles Mudede.

3. If the museum lets you wander in and out of the galleries, there’s some great stuff to see. Albert Oehlen’s ugly painting overlooking Merlin Carpenter’s Make Your Own Life, a series of maddening shopping bags on the floor. More on this show later, but for now, do not miss the opening!


AND there’s a “listening event and panel discussion” on Saturday at 2 at the Henry that I’m not going to miss, with Rodney Graham and the Music Appreciation Society of Vancouver, B.C. Kathy Slade and Brady Cranfield of the society and special guests Rich Jensen and Mike McGonigal are going to “trade opinions on choice picks from popular music and art.” Myself, I happen to love choice picks.

Little Controversy

posted by on January 19 at 9:28 AM

Rich Little told a reporter that he was told he was ordered not to mock George W. Bush or utter a peep about Iraq at the upcoming White House Correspondents’ Dinner.

Rich Little won’t be mentioning Iraq or ratings when he addresses the White House Correspondents’ Dinner April 21.

Little said organizers of the event made it clear they don’t want a repeat of last year’s controversial appearance by Stephen Colbert, whose searing satire of President Bush and the White House press corps fell flat and apparently touched too many nerves.

“They got a lot of letters,” Little said Tuesday. “I won’t even mention the word ‘Iraq.’”

Little, who hasn’t been to the White House since he was a favorite of the Reagan administration, said he’ll stick with his usual schtick—the impersonations of the past six presidents.

“They don’t want anyone knocking the president. He’s really over the coals right now.”

First, Colbert’s performance only “fell flat” with George, Laura, Fox News, and the assembled power rimmers in the White House Correspondents Association. We loved it out here in the real world.

Second, the White House Correspondents Association is denying that Little was told not to make fun of the president or mention Iraq .

The Las Vegas Review-Journal… reports that Little claimed he did not plan to even mention Iraq or to attack the president, implying that these were the wishes of the inviters. But Steve Scully, president of the White House Correspondents Association, told E&P Friday that the organization never asked Little to avoid subjects like Iraq or back off criticism of President Bush.

The Las Vegas paper had reported that Little said organizers of the event made it clear they don’t want a repeat of last year’s controversial appearance by Colbert… But Scully replied: “I cannot be more clear that we never mentioned Iraq, we never gave him any guidelines,” says Scully.

Gee, I wonder who’s lying?

Via Americablog—where right now you can watch clips of O’Reilly on Colbert and Colbert on O’Reilly. Watch the clips now because YouTube is gonna yank ‘em down soon.

I Repeat

posted by on January 19 at 9:25 AM

Give the money to 520.

Shut the viaduct and, you know: see what happens.

I also still kind of like the idea of just putting the elevated up for a vote.

Oh and Governor Gregoire is Mayor Nickels. And Mayor Nickels is Joel Horn.

O, They Will Know We Are Christians by Our…

posted by on January 19 at 9:06 AM

…sparsely attended social-justice protests.

Two weeks ago, I posted a linkydink to this story in the Seattle Times about Seattle University. I suggested there was something heartless and, like, a little un-Christian about a Catholic university evicting 135 distressed nursing-home residents in order to build a few offices and some labs. In the comments thread I was called out for being an asshole because, you know, those eviction notices were hand delivered, which is what Jesus would do if he were shutting down an old folks’ home. (The commenter bolded “hand delivered,” so we couldn’t miss the significance. I’m sure the Alzheimer’s patients at the nursing home were touched.) Oh, and SU is run by Jesuits and Jesuits are, like, so totally into social justice. Really, how dare I even open my educated-by-Jesuits mouth about it?

Well, it seems that I’m not the only person who thinks evicting the sick and elderly for a few labs and offices is a heartless, un-Christian thing to do. From today’s PI:

About 40 protesters held a candlelight vigil outside the Seattle University administration building Thursday, saying the scheduled closure of a campus nursing home contradicts the school’s core values. Forcing 135 residents to find a new home does not uphold the Jesuit tradition of service to others and social justice, said sophomore Matt Salazar, who organized the demonstration attended by students, staff, and faculty.

University officials said the Bessie Burton Sullivan Skilled Nursing Residence—a three-story building with 60,000 square feet—needs to be converted into dorm rooms, classrooms, science labs, and faculty offices for an institution with a growing enrollment and space demands.

“They say they made this decision for the good of the students,” said Salazar, 19, the student campus minister for community service. “I don’t want an elderly person kicked out of their home for my benefit.”

Forty took part in the protests, which amounts to about .0055 percent of SU’s 7,200 student body. (I’m bad at math, so if my figures are wrong let me know.) Still, this was just the first protest; another is planned for Monday at 4:00 p.m. in front of SU’s administration building, and there’s going to be a student forum on January 30 to raise awareness of the issue. Perhaps the commenter who took me to task for failing to recognize the Christ-like compassion that is a hand-delivered eviction notice should show up at the forum and explain it all to these SU students. The person who carried this sign at the protest clearly needs to have her eyes opened:


Finally, you gotta love this quote from today’s story in the PI

Although the facility has “not been a moneymaker” for at least four years, Leary said, the Rev. Stephen Sundborg, university president, has stated emphatically that the closure decision was not based on finances.

Sure it wasn’t.

Zadie Smith on Failing

posted by on January 19 at 8:12 AM

In October, Zadie Smith gave a lecture that was the best thing I saw at The New Yorker festival. Didn’t write about her lecture very well in that piece, because when you hear a lecture, you hear it and, well, then it’s over, you can’t revisit the parts you liked or want to think about some more and you certainly can’t recreate it.

Well, the lecture has been published as an essay in the Guardian, and while this published version of the lecture doesn’t have the benefit of (1) her accent, (2) the off-topic photos of movie stars she flashed on the screen in the course of the lecture for the hell of it, or (3) the palpable raptness of a packed auditorium, it does have all the ideas.

Hard to decide what to yank out and quote for you. How about this:

To writers, writing well is not simply a matter of skill, but a question of character. What does it take, after all, to write well? What personal qualities does it require? What personal resources does a bad writer lack? In most areas of human endeavour we are not shy of making these connections between personality and capacity. Why do we never talk about these things when we talk about books?

(Confidential to Julia: Oh, no, I’ve gone and mentioned The New Yorker again. Race you to the comments!)

Oprah Goes There

posted by on January 19 at 7:45 AM


That kid abducted in Missouri? The one held against his will for four years? The kid everyone in the whole country is very, very concerned about?

Do you think it was in his best interests—you know, for his recovery from his ordeal and shit—for Shawn Hornbeck’s parents to go on Oprah and say that, yes, they believe Hornbeck was sexually abused during his captivity? It would probably come out in the trial, I suppose, but when Oprah asked…

OK, I’m going to go there and ask you, what do you think happened? Do you think he was sexually abused?

…wouldn’t it have been better for Hornbeck if his parents had said, “Well, we’re not going to go there, Oprah, we’re just not going to discuss that.”

I realize she’s Oprah and everything, and you can’t say no to Oprah, and all of her guests are sworn in before they appear on the show, and you can go to jail for years if you perjure yourself on Oprah… but still.

The Morning News

posted by on January 19 at 7:30 AM

Satellite of No-Love: China enters the space arms race.

Lobbying and Ethics Reform: Passed in the Senate.

International Pressure Works: If not on Ahmadinejad, then at least on Khamenei… maybe.

No Smoking While Driving: In Bangor, Maine, if you’re driving with children.

The Two Americas: The people who bought a D.C. mansion from John Edwards, and the people he wants to vote for him.

Zzzz Time for Hitler: Norman Mailer has a new novel about young Adolf, and it’s only 477 pages.

Who Can Keep Track: Now a vote, on the tunnel, in March, maybe.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

$300 Million… Plus Another $170 Million For Land & Parking Lots

posted by on January 18 at 6:30 PM

That’s what the Sonics want

The Seattle Sonics want the state to authorize $300 million in taxes for a new multipurpose events center, according to a letter from team owner Clay Bennett to Gov. Chris Gregoire and Legislative leaders. The arena the team wants built would cost between $340 million and $360 million, according to the letter. That does not include $150 million to $170 million needed for the land or the parking.

The money could be raised by extending existing restaurant and rental car taxes, which were imposed to pay for Safeco Field and Quest Field.

Didn’t we just vote on this? Wasn’t the answer “fuck no”? I mean, wasn’t that Seattle’s answer? If Bellevue wants the Sonics, let Bellevue pay the freaking taxes.

Hit It

posted by on January 18 at 6:18 PM

The mighty Sculpture Puncher (courtesy Slog commenter Noel Black).

Sculpture puncher.jpg

Sculpture puncher 2.jpg

The Best Thing Ever

posted by on January 18 at 6:10 PM

My birthday is in May, and I’d like a Capuchin helper monkey, please.

“Monkeys can do everything from putting a CD in the CD player, work with DVDs, help with computer work…”

(A tip from Jen Graves: “Get as far as the monkey bath. Do not miss the monkey bath. Do not miss it.”)

Slog by Topic

posted by on January 18 at 5:50 PM

You can now sort Slog posts by topic. Click on the “Categories” link at the top of Slog and you’ll find a list of posts sorted by type. Coming soon: RSS feeds by category.

Today On Line Out

posted by on January 18 at 4:55 PM

Tonight: In Music.

My Pretties: “Jam Out With Their Clam Out”.

There’s Something Wrong With My Toast: The Fire Breathing Kangaroo and Blackened Crust.

Thunder Claps: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s New Album.

Radio Blackout: Border Radio Fades Out.

Mixtape Drama: RIAA clown themselves, again.

Down, Boy: Fallout Boy Pete Wentz has is a Famous Dick.

Pixellated Boobs: This Moment In White Rap.

The Rest of the Shit Pile: Stephen Malkmus Gets the Expanded Reissue Treatment.

In DisDress Now: Redux

posted by on January 18 at 4:38 PM

Tonight through Saturday: See Marya Sea Kaminski’s solo show In DisDress Now: Redux (the title, as Kaminski explains near the beginning, is a reference to the director’s cut of Apocalypse Now—director Jennifer Zeyl apparently found this “funny”). WET (19th Ave between Mercer and Roy), 8 pm.

The show’s been completely reconceived since the On the Boards preview in June. I wasn’t so impressed by the first outing, a high-concept monologue starring an enormous magenta dress. But this version is much less Bust and much more Sassy—instead of a slightly tedious celebration of astrology and cupcakes and other thirtyish indulgences, it’s a straight-up teenage story about how to get here from there. The confessional stuff (getting out of a small town, alcoholism, bad boys) is broken up with unselfconscious fourth-wall fooling (lip-synching, audience karaoke, and a transcendent entr’acte involving—no, I can’t tell you, but stay in your seat during “intermission”).

Kaminski also ventures into a perilous discussion of the always-imminent “death of theater,” but she works it. (With a dig at the Seattle Weekly, too—at least the night she knew I was in the audience.)

Tickets are available here, and they’re cheap! $16.36 including the service charge, or $15 at the door. Go!

In/Visible, Art BS, Art Slog

posted by on January 18 at 3:22 PM

This week’s art podcast is about—what else?—sculpture, with Eric Fredericksen. You even get a pretty picture of the guy.

And Tyler Green is calling BS on Johanna Burton’s proposal (mentioned yesterday on Slog) that the difference between installation and sculpture is that one needs you, while the other doesn’t. He says all art is equally needy—or at least from Henry Moore to Thomas Hirshhorn. But doesn’t some art want you more than other art? Thomas Hirshhorn desperately wants you, it seems to me. Jasper Johns could care less about you. This doesn’t exist?

Hey, also, I want to announce: for those who have been looking for art and architecture posts on Slog and have had a hard time finding Charles and I on a regular basis, our Slog posts are now being routed directly to the Visual Art page of The Stranger online. Make this your new bookmark.

Stellina: Dinnertime!

posted by on January 18 at 3:13 PM

As of last night, Stellina at 12th and Pike (home of tiny salt and pepper shakers as well as delicious food that sometimes wears a “pastry hat”) is open for dinner. This is especially good news if you’re trying to get a table next door at the new incarnation of La Spiga at, say, 6 p.m. on a Wednesday (or, say, 7 p.m. on a Monday) and they are completely booked, which was been the case this last week. People are crazy about it, and for good reason: The space is scream-and-die beautiful. Likewise: the eggplant. But if they serve you mushy, overcooked pasta (which has been the case with me twice this last week: oh, the sorrow), don’t be a martyr: Send it back. They will be nice about it, and life will improve dramatically with the pasta re-do. More in next week’s paper.

(Note that if you want to go to La Spiga tonight, you will be forced to go to Stellina or elsewhere, as La Spiga is closed for a private party, something I find intensely annoying that seems to be happening more and more around here. Like the last three times I tried to go to Sitka & Spruce. Oh, the sorrow.)

Colbert Destroys D’Souza

posted by on January 18 at 2:48 PM

As promised, here’s the tape of Stephen Colbert destroying conservative asssplat Dinesh D’Souza. (Yes, you have to watch a short commercial first—but it’s worth it.)

Condoms in Prison

posted by on January 18 at 2:33 PM

I can’t believe we’re still debating this shit almost three decades into the AIDS epidemic.

With studies showing that U.S. jails can’t enforce bans on sex between inmates, lawmakers and AIDS-prevention advocates say it’s time to start distributing condoms in Washington prisons.

Legislators are pushing a bill calling for a five-year plan to reduce the number of sexually transmitted infections among inmates.

Though the bill does not specify condom distribution, its prime sponsor, Rep. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, said she hoped it would rekindle stalled discussions about providing inmates with protection.”We have to start somewhere,” she said.

The state Department of Corrections is worried that giving condoms to inmates might send “a mixed message,” because it’s illegal for inmates to have sex. But they are having sex, and everyone knows it. And it can’t be stopped. So… uh… how about we get fucking real? Too many people couldn’t give a rat’s ass about prison inmates—and, hey, no one said going to prison was going to be fun. If you don’t want to do the time—and endure the prison rape and the high likelihood of HIV infection—don’t do the crime.

The only problem with this attitude—well, one of the problems—is that most people don’t go to prison for life. Most people go to prison for a few years, maybe more, then are released back into the community. If they were infected with HIV on the inside, they’re likely to spread HIV on the outside. And while you may not be the kind of person that sleeps with ex-cons—knowingly, anyway—it’s conceivable that you might be sleeping with someone that has, or sleeping with someone who’s sleeping with someone that has.

Stopping the spread of HIV in prisons isn’t just about protecting the health and safety of the prison population. It’s about protecting the health and safety of the general population.

Condoms in prison already—and needle exchange, comprehensive sex education, access to health care, and equal rights and responsibilities for homos.

It’s on TV!

posted by on January 18 at 2:14 PM

For those who love a lil’ extra BEEF in their BEEFCAKE, be sure to tune in to tonight’s much-ballyhooed episode of the CW’s SMALLVILLE (8 pm), which I go on about at length in this week’s I Love Television™. In a nutshell, Lex Luthor is fucking up some shit, which precipitates the formation of THE JUSTICE LEAGUE (or rather a fairly lame version thereof). But as long as they all take off their shirts? No problem here, officer! (You can check out the first 12 minutes of this episode HERE.)

ALSO! Don’t forget to roll those TiVo’s for tonight’s second greatest pairing ever, when faux conservative STEPHEN COLBERT and real conservative BILL O’REILLY appear on each other’s shows! You can hold your nose and catch THE O’REILLY FACTOR at 5 pm on Fox News, and then THE COLBERT REPORT on Comedy Central at 11:30 pm. THIS IS GONNA BE GOOD!

ALSO! The increasingly awesome O.C. should be muy hilarioso tonight when stupid fucking hippie CHE takes SETH into the forest on a “spirit quest.” (9 pm, Fox) And did you hear what that bitch MISCHA BARTON (formerly the drippy Marissa Cooper) said today? According to Starpulse News the reason why The O.C. is getting cancelled in six episodes is because the network killed her off, and that SHE was the main reason people tuned into the show! BAAAAAAA-LONEY! As I’ve ranted about on several occasions, if Marissa “Buzz Shackler” Cooper had been killed off in episode two, they may have been able to save this sinking ship. As it stands, we still have six more episodes of the beguiling TAYLOR TOWNSEND, so enjoy ‘em while you got ‘em.

ALSO! I think “That’s so Raven” is a great catchphrase to use in our daily lives. For example, when your friend knocks over a flower vase with her booty? “That’s so Raven.” Or when he or she accidentally drops a bag of dope into the vegan stew? “That’s so Raven.” However, certain things are not “so Raven.” Such as President Bush sending 21,500 additional troops to Iraq? “That’s not so Raven.” Or a drunk Vancouver, WA father killing his daughter while dragging her behind his truck in the snow? “Definitely not so Raven.”
Use the phrase wisely.

So very Raven.

Oedipal Much?

posted by on January 18 at 1:51 PM

Via Feministing, check out this amazing story about “Integrity Balls,” the mommy-and-son equivalent of pro-abstinence “Purity Balls” for little girls (the ones where the daughter promises her Daddy that she’ll wait to have sex until she “gives herself as a wedding gift to my husband.”) The basic premise is that boys shouldn’t have sex with the girls they’re dating now, because those girls will probably be somebody else’s future wives. If a girl “gives up a piece of” herself by having sex now, she won’t be able to be fully owned by her husband in the future.

Baker told the young men that the women they had come with, their mothers, were somebody’s daughters, and they meant the world to those parents. He further told them that when they date a girl, she is somebody’s daughter, and they care deeply for her.

Baker also told them that while they might not believe it at the time, the girl they may date in high school is probably not going to be the one they will marry. “So you’re dating someone else’s future wife,” he told them. He also told them that someone else may be dating their future wife.

“If you knew somebody was with your future wife,” Baker asked them, “touching her in ways you wouldn’t like, pressuring her, how would that make you feel?”

Girls have to be “pure”; boys just have to have “integrity.” Boys aren’t “ruined” by having sex; they’re supposed to abstain out of respect for someone else’s future property. Girls are defined entirely in terms of their relationships to men: First as daughters, then as wives. And they certainly wouldn’t assent to sex without male “pressure.”

If that’s too subtle for you, check out this story, told by an “attractive 19-year-old” virgin at the dance (how creepy must the adult male writer of this story be?):

She told the tale of a person who had waited a long time to buy the car of their dreams, but when the day arrived to drive it home, the dealer told them that the steering had problems, that it had a lot of mileage on it, and had been in a few wrecks. She likened this word picture to sexual purity and the hopes for a future spouse.

Get it? See what she did there? Girls are like cars: Objects men take possession of when they’re done “waiting.” So don’t put too much mileage on those genitals, ladies!

Speaking of self-control and the meaning of sex, Baker told the young men, “Having sex doesn’t make you a man. Dogs have sex, but it doesn’t make them a man. Guys, separate yourselves from the animal kingdom.”

Oh, and by the way, sex is something only boys want. Girls are just receptacles who consent under pressure from “animalistic,” horny guys.

The event was billed as a “fun evening out for mothers and their sons.” It featured a “clean comedian” and an opportunity for “mothers and sons … to get out on the dance floor together,” where they swayed to tunes including the Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody,” which includes the following lines:

Oh, my love, my darling,
I’ve hungered for your touch a long, lonely time,

Umm… Ew.


Gov. Gregoire’s Other Afternoon Meeting

posted by on January 18 at 1:45 PM

Newspaper reporters weren’t the only ones waiting around the Governor’s office yesterday afternoon for her 1:15 viaduct meeting to get out.

Activists from the LGBT community like Lifelong AIDS Alliance director Tina Podlodowski and folks from the Northwest Women’s Law Center (lead advocates on last year’s gay marriage case in the state Supreme Court) were there for a 3:30 meeting. Thanks to the fact that the viaduct meeting ran nearly three hours, the group wasn’t escorted into Gregoire’s office until about 4:15.

The annual gay rights meeting with the governor had some urgency this year thanks to the gay marriage bill and domestic partnership (awkwardly called dp) bill filed by Sen. Ed Murray and Rep. Jamie Pedersen earlier this week. The group wanted to know where the governor stood on the bills.

According to folks in the meeting, Gregoire “registered her support for equal rights and benefits” and they “believe she’ll sign the DP bill if it shows up on her desk in its current form.” They also said Gregoire had “no comment” on the marriage bill but “acknowledged that the goal of the DP bill was ultimately gay marriage.”

A Gregoire staffer in the meeting pointed out that the DP bill has “momentum” and reminded Gregoire that Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown (D-3, Spokane) and House Majority Leader Frank Chopp (D-43, Capitol Hill, Wallingford) both support the DP bill. Indeed, the House version has 56 co-sponsors, including 3 Republicans. The Senate version has 21 co-sponsors, with no Republicans. The marriage bills have 12 co-sponsors and 26 co-sponsors (no Rs) in the Senate and House respectively.

Meanwhile, I talked to Sen. Ed Murray yesterday about what some folks at the Stranger see as a flaw in the DP bill: It discriminates against young people.

Here’s the deal. Seniors, and particularly elderly women in new relationships, are caught in a bind. If they re-marry they lose access to their former husband’s pension. Meanwhile, if they don’t marry their new partner, they lack the same type of rights gay couples don’t have: hospital visitation, inheritance, wrongful death lawsuits etc. So, the DP bill solves the problem by allowing people over 62 to be eligible for domestic partnership along with same sex couples. Therefore, they can still collect their husband’s pension, but they can also access the rights of domestic partnerships with their new squeeze.

The problem? This is blatant discrimination against young people, who, for whatever reason, want the rights of domestic partnership, but just like elderly couples would rather not get married.

Murray acknowledged the discrepancy, and said the drafters had gone back and forth on that issue. The NWLC told me they support domestic partnerships for everyone. Pedersen says his ultimate preference is for domestic partnerships for het couples under 62 as well, but he wants to take an incremental approach. “We made a judgment that we would get more substantial pushback if we created an alternate family status for everyone.”

Pedersen also defended the legality of granting seniors special status over youngsters. For example, current law makes it illegal to hire someone under 40 instead of someone over 40 on the basis of age, but it doesn’t work the other way around. Pedersen, ironically, also pointed out that the legislature has the right to come up with a “rational basis” for granting seniors special status—just like DOMA’s “rational basis” for granting straight couples marriage rights.

In other words, just like the legislature can pass DOMA because it “protects the family” and not be dinged for discriminating against gays, the legislature can say dps (for seniors only) protect elderly women’s pension rights without discriminating against youngsters.


Climate Change Moving Us Closer to Doomsday

posted by on January 18 at 1:44 PM

Experts assessing the dangers posed to civilization have added climate change to the prospect of nuclear annihilation as the greatest threats to humankind. As a result, the U.S.-based Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has moved the minute hand on its Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to midnight (Armageddon).

The effects may be less dramatic in the short term than the destruction that could be wrought by nuclear explosions, but over the next three to four decades, climate change could cause irremediable harm to the habitats upon which human societies depend for survival.

The clock now reads 11:55.

Awesome Systems

posted by on January 18 at 1:42 PM

Russian Futurist Kazimir Malevich (1879-1935) wrote:

God, feeling the weight in himself, dispersed it in his system, and the weight became light and relieved him, placing man in a weightless system; and man, not feeling it, lived like and engine driver who does not feel the weight of his locomotive in motion, but had only to remove one part of the system for its weight to come down and crush him. Likewise, Adam transgressed the limits of the system and its weight collapsed on him. As a result the whole of humanity is laboring in sweat and suffering to free itself from beneath the weight of the collapsed system, is striving to distribute the weight in the systems, wishing to repair the mistake—hense his culture consists of distributing weight in the systems of weightlessness. God relieved himself of weight or, as weight, dispersed himself in weightlessness, himself remained free. Man too in all three points strives for the same thing—to disperse weight and himself become weightless, i.e. enter God.

This passage is as beautiful as this image:


A quick note:

In terms of content, Kazimir Malevich passage is a poetic expression of the modernist project—or, to use a more defined literary term, the neo-modernist project (Stein and Williams). This modernism, according to Jeffrey M. Perl, wants thinness as opposed to the thickness of originary modernism (Joyce and Pound).

Neo-modernism corresponds with the international modernism in architecture and ultimately becomes postmodernism. What postmodernism breaks with is not neo-modernism but original modernism. There is, however, a touch of the original modernism in Malevich’s passage, in the sense that he makes a reference to the ancient past, to myth—Adam, Eden, and The Fall.

At the center of the originary modernist project was a doomed drive to salvage the fallen present, a disenchanted society, a mass produced world consciousness. Hence an ad representative for a Dublin newspaper becomes Odysseus. The ancient myth is called upon to give thickness to the thin present.

What our point in time needs is a return of the thickness but without the dead heroes of Eliot and old Europe exerting their ghost force from outside of time, from a distant place (Greece, Venice) imagined to be better than the now. What is needed is a thickness that is synchronic, simultaneous, and entirely in world space. A humanism without a God entering and trying to save the system. We need to be builders of thick, human systems. We must no longer see the heroes of history as reaching out from the past to redeem the surface of the now but must see them and all of history as actually present in the way memories are not in the past but in the flesh of the living body.

To conclude: We must image an absolute but not an abstract one. A functional world absolute, and I limit the absolute to the world, can only be a concrete absolute.
SNV31104.JPG (Thanks to Slog reader Neil Corcoran for the image.)

Web-Altering Substances

posted by on January 18 at 1:28 PM


An important cautionary tale from the ever-conscientious Canadian government.

Deflowering Seattle Opera’s Don Giovanni

posted by on January 18 at 1:24 PM

Oh, hay. Have you churren made it to Seattle Opera’s new Don Giovanni yet? No? I don’t blame you, but here’s a preview:

If you haven’t read Paul Constant’s excellent review of it, do so right away. He lays bare the problems with the production and directing approach (though, to Seattle Opera’s credit, the teenaged boner for cliché indicators of wit rears its… um… head all-too-frequently in even the world’s most prestigious houses and productions), and he accurately names the two most compelling singer-actors in the cast.

But since I’ve been obsessed with opera since I was fourteen and could talk about it for hours—peppered, of course, with plenty of “Fuck that bullshit”- and “What a ridiculous douche“-type comments about anyone from the stagehands to the singers to the management—I will further explore the details of the performance and production, including first-wave feminism (“Oh, ha ha, that.”), the non-topic of rape (“They were seduced!”), the Pastry class, the suspension of the suspension of disbelief, my usual bitchin’ and praisin’ about the singing itself (as if you care), and a butt-dump of video and mp3 examples.

Continue reading "Deflowering Seattle Opera's Don Giovanni" »

Your New Favorite Blog

posted by on January 18 at 1:14 PM

Seattle Alley Watch, whose top story is a mind-blower.

(Thanks for the heads-up to Slog tipster J.P.)

Sonics get more soapbox time in Olympia

posted by on January 18 at 12:32 PM

The Sonics’ Lenny Wilkens, and perhaps others, have been granted 30 minutes of stump time before State Sen. Margarita Prentice’s friendly Ways and Means committee today at 1:30 pm. Prentice, who refuses to return my calls, is a big Sonics booster. Last year, her detractors say, she stacked hearings with other team-boosters during debates over increased public funding for the arena.

Personal to the Senator: What will it take to get a call back? Chocolates? Flowers? I will take you to a game when Iverson’s in town. Please?!

Madame Fashion Plate

posted by on January 18 at 12:26 PM

Yeah, Nancy Pelosi is the most powerful woman in America, blah, blah, blah. But the Times’ Style section has the real scoop: For a chick in Washington, she dresses really well! (Hey, she also scored major victories on the minimum wage, financing for stem cell research and Medicare drug prices—but the important thing is that she “did it looking preternaturally fresh”!)

Just raising the issue of a powerful woman’s wardrobe choices strikes some people as sexist, an undermining of her talents and qualifications. And last week, when a reporter approached several of the female members of the House and Senate, or their staff, to talk fashion, some did not want to engage. Others cringed, at least initially. But when the conversation veered into the nitty-gritty — what do you wear, where do you buy it, what image do you want to project — the women in politics happily chatted away.

Just goes to show that if you pester the ladies long enough, they’ll eventually abandon talk (whoops—”chat”) of foreign policy for Armani pantsuits and Tahitian pearls.

“We all want to be taken seriously and you certainly don’t want to be too sexy,” added Ms. Bono, a California Republican, “but you have to maintain your femininity.

Be feminine but not too sexy. Be pretty but not matronly. And never forget the fine line between virgin and whore:

“You don’t have to grow up to look like a librarian,” said Lauren Solomon, founder and director of LS Image Associates, which has clients in the corporate and political fields. “ But you don’t have to look like a hooker, either.”

At least the Times is willing to own up to its share of the blame:

Women in politics are the first to say that they give serious thought to their appearance because, like it or not, voters at home, powerbrokers on the Hill and the news media are all mindful of the slightest faux pas. It is wrong to look too risqué, they say. But isn’t it retrograde to equate looking good with being empty-headed?

Not that anyone asked, of course…

On a related note, do you think this suit makes Barack Obama look kind of gay?


(You win, Eli!)

It’s in the CD

posted by on January 18 at 12:04 PM

A couple days ago I posted this article about a nickname for part of the Central District that, unlike other mini-neighborhoods in the area, doesn’t have its own name. Some folks thought I wanted to denounce the CD name altogether and replace it with some gentrifying developer crap. Not so.

As a current Central District resident who also grew up and went to school here, I’m darn proud of the title for my big, sprawling neighborhood. But the Central District is so big and so sprawling that simply saying a location is “in the CD” is pretty vague. This map shows it stretches from the TV towers on Capitol Hill to the I-90 tunnel.

To compartmentalize the area, lots of little neighborhoods with their own identities nest inside of the CD, such as Squire Park, Judkins Park, and Garfield. Likewise, Capitol Hill includes Pike/Pine, Broadway, 15th, and North Capitol Hill. So it makes sense for this little patch of the unincorporated CD to have its own nickname. Furthermore, a moniker adopted by locals is far better than some ridiculous name imposed by developers, like downtown’s West Edge.

Anyhow, these are the leading suggested names for the area around Union and Madison: Union Triangle, TriBeMa, SoMad, SoMa, Burner Triangle, Minor, Hendrix and “the fucking CD.” We’ll see if any of them catch on.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!

posted by on January 18 at 11:48 AM


The entirety of the band’s forthcoming new album Some Loud Thunder can be heard on their MySpace page.

(Among the many things CYHSY’s debut record was—including a well-timed Feelies resurrection and a glorious dose jangle-pop bliss—for me it was, first and foremost, a nearly inexhaustible work soundtrack, and here’s hoping the same for the new one…)


posted by on January 18 at 11:30 AM

In the print edition of this week’s lead news article “Sell-to-Play” we wrote:

If a band sells fewer than 25 tickets, they make nothing. If they sell 25 to 29 tickets, the band gets 50 cents for each ticket. The rest goes to BigTime. The scale bumps up to a dollar for the band if 30 to 39 tickets are sold. Selling 29 tickets—quite a crowd for a weeknight—would bring in $188.50 for BigTime. The yield is less than $15 for the band. Selling 24 tickets would bring in $168 for BigTime, but nothing for the band.

That is incorrect. The following, correct explanation, got lost somewhere in the production process:

According to BigTime Entertainment’s website, bands get $1 per ticket for the first 34 tickets they sell. The rest goes to BigTime. If the band sells between 35 and 49 tickets, the band gets $1.50 for each ticket. The scale bumps up to $2 per ticket for the band at 50 tickets sold, and $4 per ticket after 100 tickets are sold.

So, for example, selling 29 tickets — quite a crowd for up-and-comers on a weeknight — would bring in $174 for BTE and $29 for the band. Similarly, 24 tickets would bring in $144 for BTE and $24 for the band.

We regret the error.

American Idol: The Psychotic Seattle Episode—The Aftermath

posted by on January 18 at 11:03 AM


Last night’s Seattle-based American Idol episode more than lived up to its freaktastic hype.

Here’s the Associated Press report on the carnage, along with a more personal screed submitted to I, Anonymous:

To all the freaks, geeks and self-righteous assholes who decided to audition for American Idol in Seattle: Thanks for embarrassing our city! Now every person in the rest of the country dumb enough to watch that crap has a wonderful image of Seattle. And the majority of you wastes of sperm and egg weren’t even from this city. This will hurt tourism, college recruiting and our political standing. I swear having all the freaks migrate to Seattle for this episode is a conspiracy by FOX and the Republican Bastards that run it. Thanks for painting a horrible picture of a great place to live and BE from. I hope that was worth your 15 seconds of embarrassment, you freaking weird opportunistic bastards!

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 18 at 10:30 AM


(Lesbian Dance Party) Cream-of-the-crop lesbians go to Lick. The Wildrose, the one lesbian bar in town, never provides much in the way of true punk-rock dancertainment. Thank goodness the Lick ladies take over Chop Suey once a month and have a huge sweaty party, because if they didn’t, what would there be in Seattle for them? With DJs Freakazoid, Amateur Youth, Mathmatix, and Dewey Decimal. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 9 pm, $3 until 10 pm, $5 after, 21+.) ARI SPOOL

The Tunnel Is Dead—Long Live the Tunnel

posted by on January 18 at 10:13 AM

To keep the viaduct discussion in one place: Here are links to all of yesterday’s tunnel coverage on Slog.

The mayor plans a surge.
I have a theory.
Erica weighs in.
Slog breaks the news.
Hovering outside Gregoire’s office.

and here’s

the Seattle Times coverage.

and the

PI coverage.

Of One Mind

posted by on January 18 at 10:07 AM

“‘It was kind of like 9/11,’ said Steven Wullinger, 35, a German who saw the falling man.”
1dubai-large.jpg Our age only has one memory. A Tacoma boy catches two flights to Texas sans ticket, sans detection, and what do we remember? A tower burns in Dubai, and what do we remember? Bush announces “the surge,” and what do we remember?

Yep. I went to the 2007 Porn Convention.

posted by on January 18 at 10:02 AM

Expected to take lots of crazy photos, and see tons of porn stars and rock ‘n’ rollers… did NOT expect to find Jesus!

Watch the video!
(Probably NSFW - “not safe for work”)
Cameos by Gene Simmons and three of my favorite ladies of porn, Dana DeArmond, Joanna Angel, and Belladonna.


Barack Obama, circa 1979

posted by on January 18 at 9:21 AM

Speaking of Senators with style: A blogger has fondly offered up what she says are pictures, from her high school yearbook, of Sen. Barack Obama:


Safe Skies

posted by on January 18 at 9:21 AM

Here’s hoping that the terrorists aren’t as sophisticated as the nine year-old boy that ran away from home—and managed to get on two Southwest Airlines flights without a ticket.

Early the next morning, though, Semaj took off again. He slipped out of his suburban Tacoma home and somehow made it to Sea-Tac Airport, where he sailed through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint.

Authorities say the boy managed to lie his way onto two flights, aiming to get to his native Texas….

Airline spokeswoman Marilee McInnis said Semaj approached the Southwest ticket counter Monday morning. He said he had lost his boarding pass and his mother was already in the boarding area.

Southwest’s policy for unaccompanied minors only applies to 5- to 11-year-olds, and Semaj—apparently having done his homework—told the agent at the ticket counter that he was 12

To recap: You can’t bring a bottle of water into the airport. But a nine year-old boy, without any identification, who claims to be 12 will be handed a boarding pass and waved through security. How long before the terrorists add shorties and sob stories to their arsenal…

When Slog Worlds Collide

posted by on January 18 at 8:44 AM

OK, normally I handle the Sports-slogging along with Brad, and my brother takes care of the Smoking Ban Updates in his crusade to never have to change his clothes after a night out boozing. But sometimes, worlds collide.

Several suburbs near Chicago that recently banned smoking in all public places, including taverns, are reconsidering because of the success of the Chicago Bears. Seems business was waaay down last week when the Bears snuck past the Seagulls. In yet another demonstration of the fact that the most effective smoking bans would be state-wide, smokers would abandon their regular haunts to go to nearby suburbs without the ban. So much for customer loyalty. If I were a bartender in one of these joints, any regular who went elsewhere would never see another free drink so long as I lived. Money quotes from two such patrons:

Smoking outside Bud’s in Tinley Park on Wednesday night, Chris Barry, 22, of Posen and Marc Melgar, 26, of Tinley Park said they need their smokes more than ever because of these Bears games.

“It’s weird to explain, you get all irritated,” Barry said. “And you don’t want to miss the game to have a smoke, but you have to.”

“The suspense kills you—especially when you’ve bet a lot of money on it,” Melgar said.

He gets jittery when the Bears are losing and that feeling intensifies when they are trying to mount a comeback.

This jitteriness might be explained by the fact that those fuckers who run tobacco companies are apparently upping the levels of nicotine, the addictive chemical in cigarettes.

Meanwhile, my prediction for Sunday: Bears 23, Saints 10. The over-under is 43, but with rotten weather and both teams talking about running all day long, it should be low-scoring. Bears are favored by 3.5, but that’s only because all of the sentimental (read: “sucker”) money is on the post-Katrina feel-good Saints. The Saints running backs’ average yards per carry plummets when they’re outdoors, and the Bears D will be ready for them. Meanwhile, Gross Rexman (as one sore loser Seahawk called him) will play conservative enough to not lose.

David Lynch’s Magical Ocean

posted by on January 18 at 7:56 AM

I went to the sold-out premiere of Inland Empire at the Cinerama last night. The movie was great—ultimate Lynch, best Lynch since Blue Velvet, all crazy Lynch narrative and stylistic tricks present and indulged to glorious, hilarious, and terrifying effect, a genuine gesamtkunstwerk if ever oh ever a gesamtkunstwerk there was. But you don’t need me to tell you that when you have Michael Atkinson’s fine review in this week’s paper. Lynch was in attendance to introduce the screening. Minister for Culture Annie Wagner asked me to Slog about it “if he says anything freaky.”

Well, he came out to a huge ovation, looking like Jimmy Stewart with a $500 haircut. Now that I’ve seen him in person, I can say without qualification that David Lynch has the best hair I’ve ever seen. For a while it was between him and Jarmusch, but Lynch wins. He introduced the amazing local musician Paul Rucker, who played an improvisation on cello “to set the mood.” Then Lynch read from the Aitareya Upanishad and wished us all a great time. Then the movie blew every mind in the room for three solid hours (and I’d have been happy to see a fourth). Then Lynch sat down in a director’s chair to endure Q&A. A brief note: I have never seen a post-screening film director Q&A that wasn’t at least uncomfortable. It’s nobody’s fault—the dynamic is almost impossible for even perfectly smart, nice people to navigate with grace. This one was mostly awkward, occasionally embarrassing (for spectators and director alike), but occasionally hilarious thanks to Lynch’s comic timing. I always forget that Lynch films are really funny; it shouldn’t have been surprising that even though he’s clearly a weirdo genius who doesn’t make sense in this world, he also knows how to work a room full of movie nerdlingers coming at him with reverential praise and questions about what the Twin Peaks pilot will make it to DVD.

The best thing by far was watching how the fingers of his right hand wiggled and danced as he spoke.

Some things he said:

Asked about his sound design process, he explained that “a film is pictures and sound.”

Asked about how he comes up with his ideas (I think), he described“a magical ocean at the source of thought” and explained (in a pretty compelling argument, actually) that it’s possible to achieve a “total bliss consciousness” that can vanquish all negativity and make you leap out of bed every morning.

Asked what the film was about (yes, someone asked what the film was about—a fair question, actually, but come on!), he said “a film is a film and that’s it. It’s worked on until it feels finished and then that’s it.” He cautioned against “changing cinema back into words” because everyone has an interpretation and “everyone is valid.”

After observing that a lot of people get hurt in his films, someone asked what was the worst he had ever been hurt, to which Lynch replied “Whoa!” After a long pause (filled with much laughter) he told a story about hitting his head in Spokane one time. “A Northwest story.”

Asked if he would sign some guy’s Blue Velvet DVD, he said “Sure, I’ll try to do that for you.”

And whenever someone said they loved the movie, or all his movies, or said they thought he would “go down in history as one of the great living filmmakers,” or explained that he was a major influence on their lives or on their desire to be filmmakers or on the way they viewed the world, he always said the same thing, and it always got a laugh, but he obviously meant it: “Bless your heart.”

The Morning News

posted by on January 18 at 7:30 AM

The Battle of the Surge, Part I: Biden, Levin, and Hagel offer a non-binding resolution opposing Bush’s “surge” plan for Iraq.

The Battle of the Surge, Part II: Clinton offers her own resolution to cap U.S. troop levels.

The Battle of the Surge, Part III: Obama says he has a resolution, too.

The Battle of the Surge, Part IV: Everyone’s a critic.

Climate Change in D.C.: A slew of bills to decrease U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and with the Democrats in control, there’s a good chance of one passing.

Wiretapping Oversight: An “innovative” solution, and some skeptics.

Wardrobe Change in D.C.: The New York Times Style Section takes a look at Nancy Pelosi’s wardrobe, as well as the Congressional fashion ripples it’s causing. (I’ll go way out on a limb here and predict a response from Erica by day’s end.)

The Libby Trial: How do you pick a jury when everyone knows everyone in D.C.?

The Viaduct: Tunnel option seems dead.

Tunnel Surge

posted by on January 18 at 12:15 AM

The reason Mayor Nickels didn’t appear when Gregoire came out with Chopp et al to make her announcement this afternoon is because Nickels left the meeting early (after his tunnel plan got shot down). He headed out the back way because he didn’t want to talk to the press.

That was around 3:35 when Deputy Mayor Ceis was called back. Earlier, I Slogged that Ceis had been called into the meeting at that time.

Nope. Ceis had been called back to exit out the back with the mayor.

The mayor’s security guard, who had been sitting with Ceis in the lobby, cut out with Ceis. I couldn’t help notice the guard was reading a copy of Fiasco, Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks’s fat volume on the Iraq war. It says Fiasco in bright red on a white background.

Obviously, Bush’s war is one of the gravest blunders in this country’s history and Nickels’s tunnel plan doesn’t even merit a footnote in the scheme of things. But I have to say: Nickels’s intransigent oblivious commitment to his tunnel fantasy (the financing just never penciled out) reminds me of Bush and how Bush is delusional about Iraq.

And so, I thought it was fitting when the guard shuffled after Ceis—with his nose still buried in a copy of Fiasco. I have this funny image of Team Nickels heading back up to Seattle on I-5. Ceis and Nickels are in the back seat sternly plotting their surge to revive the tunnel. And the guard is sitting up front by the driver, still quietly reading his copy of Fiasco.


Anyway, here’s the statement that Team Nickels sent out to the press once the Mayor got back to Seattle:

“Deeply disappointed”

SEATTLE- We are deeply disappointed with the announcement today by the Governor and
legislative leadership. After asking for a public vote, the leadership in Olympia is
now saying they are not interested in the opinions of Seattle citizens. Instead,
they are threatening to impose a new elevated freeway or, even worse, taking state
funding away from the most dangerous section of highway in the state of Washington.
No other city in the state has been treated in this manner.

It is clear that Olympia is not interested in a real solution to the Viaduct
replacement. The proposal for the Surface/Tunnel Hybrid offers a more
cost-effective, environmentally-sound transportation solution that will save over $1
billion compared to WSDOT*s inflated six-lane alternative.

Olympia has arbitrarily rejected the Hybrid solution and ignored the advice of their
own Expert Review Panel. Their assertion that the Hybrid Tunnel had not yet been
validated rings hollow in light of the Governor*s order that WSDOT stop working on
this proposal last Friday.

The voters of Seattle have a clear expectation that they will be given honest
choices; that their voices will be heard; and their choices respected.

This is a choice about the future of our city, not about politics in Olympia. We
will move forward with our plans to put the question on the ballot and let the
people of Seattle decide the future of our city.

We will follow the will of the people of Seattle, not the dictates of Olympia.

Arbitrarily rejected?

At the meeting yesterday, Nickels laid out his plan to fund his abridged tunnel option, which according to him would cost about $3.4 billion (as opposed to the $3.6 to $5.5 billion for his full-fledged tunnel.)

He included $250 million in Local Improvment District money (money that would have to be approved by a supermajority vote of businesses that would be negatively impacted by tunnel construction); $200 million from the Port (not secured); $800 million in RTID money (not anywhere near secured); $373 million in money the Governor had earmarked for the elevated (ummm?); and some $110 million in federal money. That’s $1.7 billion right there that sounds pretty shaky.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Thank You All for Playing

posted by on January 17 at 9:58 PM

I have to go cry in the shower now.

“Cooler than Carrot Top”

posted by on January 17 at 9:50 PM

There’s a boast to reckon with.

Re: The Tunnel is Dead

posted by on January 17 at 9:49 PM

Here’s a scenario I like:

The council should say no to the re-build (as they already have), and they should tell the legislature to move the money to 520.

Then the city should close the Viaduct and tear it down.

Then, the City should institute the plan it drew up in 2004 to accommodate traffic during tunnel and/or re-build construction. Pursuing that course would (de facto) turn people on to the surface/transit option.

The road block is this: Speaker of the House Chopp (D-43) reportedly made it clear in today’s closed door session that he will not let that happen. The Viaduct is a state highway, and Speaker Chopp can make sure the state prevents the city from tearing down the Viaduct.

The council should take that fight.

Too Sugary for a BRIT?

posted by on January 17 at 9:42 PM


I Don’t Know What to Say

posted by on January 17 at 9:31 PM

Not only was that hairdresser insane, I think I’ve made out with him.

British People Are Fucking Mean

posted by on January 17 at 9:22 PM

What the hell’s wrong with those effing Limeys?

This is Entrancing

posted by on January 17 at 9:15 PM

They’re not going anywhere on this show, but clearly, they deserve their own Bravo series.

(Or maybe LOGO series…)

I Must Admit

posted by on January 17 at 9:09 PM

As a group, we Pacific Northwesterners are a weird looking people.


posted by on January 17 at 9:06 PM

He’s kinda got Steve Perry’s nose, too.

Thank God

posted by on January 17 at 9:05 PM

Man. I was perusing the Slog, killing time earlier today as I was waiting for Governor Gregoire to emerge from her 2 hour and 40 minute Viaduct meeting, and Bradley’s Muhammad Ali post came up… and before I could actually focus on what it said, my throat caught, and I thought…

And man, I almost started bawling right there in the Governor’s office.

Here—from memory (so I may have it wrong)—is that Amiri Baraka poem I referenced yesterday. The one I was lucky enough to come across while doing detention after school in my high school library:

Note to America
You cannot hurt Muhammad Ali
and stay alive.

Nick Zitzmann

posted by on January 17 at 8:58 PM

…will kill one of us someday.

This Brother & Sister Duo

posted by on January 17 at 8:52 PM

are the next Donny & Marie.


posted by on January 17 at 8:43 PM

This thing is TWO HOURS LONG?

I need more…everything.


posted by on January 17 at 8:37 PM

kicks this guy’s beat-box ass.

Is That Rosacea?

posted by on January 17 at 8:32 PM

Or a body stocking?

Troutdale in the House

posted by on January 17 at 8:30 PM

That was lovely.

How DARE They..

posted by on January 17 at 8:28 PM

…associate this city with Milli fucking Vanilli!

Well, we are the suicide capitol of the U.S….

The Question of the Minute

posted by on January 17 at 8:20 PM

Will the Goddess Kring make an appearance?

Dina Martina….

posted by on January 17 at 8:15 PM

has a sister?!

I Really, Really Want Amy to be Good….

posted by on January 17 at 8:08 PM

That’s all I’m saying.

“The Hotness”

posted by on January 17 at 7:39 PM

She’s a miracle.

All Wax Figures Are Creepy…

posted by on January 17 at 7:35 PM

…especially these.


Thanks Defamer.

Countdown to American Idol: Seattle Lunatic Edition…

posted by on January 17 at 7:30 PM

They’re hyping the hell out of it on Q13: Tonight brings part two of American Idol’s season premiere, featuring the famously freaktastic auditions from Seattle.

This part of American Idol—covering the nationwide, open-call auditions that kick off each season—is all about horrible freakage, so the only question is what kind of freaks will reign in Seattle?

Humorless freaks, like last night’s singing hippie stick-juggler?

Hideous trainwreck freaks, like last night’s young woman who spent a minute and a half trying to remember the lyrics and melody to one 15-second stretch of Prince’s “Kiss”?

Superstar freaks, like William Hung?

Place your bets. My money’s on an even split of Burning Man-styled freakazoids and mildly delusional dopes with marginal talent and a surplus of ‘if i can dream it, i can do it’ spunk. And…perhaps ONE GLORIOUS STAR?

See you back here in 30 minutes…

The First Word on Aitken: Boo

posted by on January 17 at 7:01 PM

Richard Lacayo, the Time magazine writer on art and architecture who launched a blog recently, says the hyped Doug Aitken video thingy projected on the exterior walls of the Museum of Modern Art (it opened yesterday) is “predictable” and “sanitary”.

For those who relish the puncturing of an even easier target than media darling Aitken (who showed in 2005 at the Henry), here’s a good old YouTube parody of Matthew Barney’s Drawing Restraint 9. (Thanks, Craigmonster!)

Re: The Tunnel Is Dead

posted by on January 17 at 6:41 PM

It looks like at least one version of the Alaskan Way tunnel—the six-lane cut-and-cover tunnel preferred by the city council and Mayor Nickels—is off the table. The four-lane “tunnel lite” drawn up at the last minute by Nickels and council transportation chair Jan Drago, meanwhile, is on life support. What’s still unclear is how the city council will respond to Gregoire’s latest ultimatum: Build a new, larger elevated freeway or the state will yank the $2.2 billion it provided to replace the viaduct.

There are, despite appearances to the contrary, a few options. The council could decide to give in to Gregoire and build a massive new elevated freeway on the waterfront. That option, however, is immensely unpopular among most council members; only two, David Della and Nick Licata, support it. Opting for a new viaduct, meanwhile, would open the state to the possibility of massive lawsuits from downtown businesses and potentially from the city of Seattle itself; the city council has already adopted a resolution stating that the proposed rebuild violates state and local law (including the city’s own Comprehensive Plan and the state Shoreline Management Act), opening a clear avenue to opposing the rebuild in court. Council member Peter Steinbrueck, who sponsored that resolution, says “massive litigation” is “the most likely result of trying to force a rebuild on Seattle.” Viaduct reconstruction would require the city, at the very least, to move utilities and provide construction support; if the city withheld its assistance, the replacement viaduct would founder.

Another, less likely, scenario is that that council could move forward with a vote in April (most members feel the March vote favored by Gregoire as of two weeks ago would be too soon to put together a coherent, legally sound ballot measure and launch a campaign) between the rebuild and the new four-lane cut-and-cover tunnel. Council member Tom Rasmussen, for one, still hopes the city will reach a compromise that will allow this to happen. “We need to stop this brinkmanship and try to reach some kind of agreement with the state on how we’re going to make this decision, and I would hope that it would allow us to choose between a tunnel and the rebuild,” Rasmussen says. However, there are many reasons this scenario is unlikely. First, the vote would probably favor the rebuild anyway, if polls can be believed. Second, at least four members of the council (and probably five, a majority) now oppose a public vote. Third, unless it was really overwhelming, a pro-tunnel vote wouldn’t force Gregoire and the legislature to do anything. They could, if they chose, still redirect the $2.2 billion currently slated for a viaduct replacement to fixing 520, as they have threatened to do.

That brings us to our final scenario, in which we have a vote, the tunnel wins, and the legislature does yank the money. (The council could also choose to reject the rebuild and let them take the $2.2 billion without a vote. Some, including Steinbrueck, favor this scenario. Politically, though, that seems unlikely, especially with five council members up for reelection this year.) What then? The city still has $200 million from the federal government; it could choose to use that money to tear down the viaduct and come up with local funding to implement the surface/transit option. Much of the work for that option will have to be done while Alaskan Way is under construction anyway; as Steinbrueck notes, there are “a thousand very practical, sensible things we could be doing right now” in the Alaskan Way corridor, including new bus service, upgrades to Spokane Street, and surface-street improvements. Highway 520, he says, “needs it far more urgently anyway, and they have a much bigger [funding] hole.” Even if the surface/transit option had won out, its supporters note, the state would never have provided the billion dollars or more needed to pay for it; that money would have had to come from city and county sources under any scenario. “I feel like [the Washington Department of Transportation] picking up their toys and going home is the best possible scenario,” People’s Waterfront Coalition founder Cary Moon says. “If the state won’t support ‘tunnel lite’ and they won’t let us use their money for it, the city’s going to have to design and fund the solution themselves.” But that will only happen, Moon adds, “if people have the courage to say we can solve this problem locally. But we’ve been talking about car capacity for so long people may be afraid of living without a highway.”

Gregoire’s announcement today was a surprising turnaround for a governor who, just two weeks ago, insisted in no uncertain terms that the city hold an either-or vote between the six-lane tunnel and the elevated rebuild. “I’m a little confused as to why the governor says [the tunnel] is dead, given that the governor is the one who asked for a vote back in December,” council member Sally Clark says. “There’s such a finality to this announcement.” Some speculated that Gregoire simply didn’t want to wait until April for a public vote, because it could create the appearance of still more delay in a project that’s already been on hold six years. However, Rasmussen notes, “it’s hard to see how waiting until April creates a problem for the state or for this project.” Others say Nickels’s tunnel numbers just didn’t pencil out. But because the four-lane scenario is so new, it seems it would be impossible to tell whether the numbers were good or bad; the six-lane tunnel, in any case, was much more expensive, and Gregoire wanted a vote on that. It’s also possible that Gregoire feared that enough voters would support a cheaper four-lane tunnel to edge out the rebuild; then she’d go down in history as the governor who tried to force on Seattle an elevated freeway it didn’t want. And changing positions so radically at the last minute, whatever her motivation, makes Gregoire look fickle and indecisive.

The council has a special meeting scheduled Friday to discuss a potential ballot measure. Steinbrueck is dead set against it. “We don’t need an emergency meeting on legislation we haven’t seen,” he says. Licata, for his part, says the meeting will go forward. However, he adds, “if no one shows up it won’t happen.” Unless at least five council members are present (a quorum), the meeting will not go forward, and a March vote will be out of the question.

Does Sculpture Exist? Or The Search for Traction

posted by on January 17 at 6:35 PM

When I started researching this essay about the Olympic Sculpture Park, I found myself thinking, hmm, sculpture—what’s that again? Nobody really uses the term much anymore. Everything is an installation. Or a site-specific work. Or multimedia. “Sculpture” was like something you buried in a trunk years ago and forgot about, and rediscovering it, taking it out, and turning it over in your hands is a surprisingly refreshing thing to do.

In a podcast that’s going online tomorrow morning with former Stranger staffer and Western Bridge director Eric Fredericksen, he talks about visiting the sculpture park for an early tour with the artist Steven Brekelmans. Brekelmans has a piece called Kit Bashing in WB’s new show of the same name. The piece is a drum set made of balsa wood and tissue paper. Spotlit in a corner, the drum set looks like it’s just waiting for the guys in the band to come out from under the stage and play it. Yet it also looks existentially alone and unplayably fragile, the cymbals distorted by the delicacy of the materials (you can’t get that metallic curve from balsa wood and tissue paper).

Walking through the park, Fredericksen says it never occurred to him that Brekelmans was a sculptor in the tradition of the sculptors in the park—several of them titans of the 20th century. Brekelmans may not have considered it, either, though at least for the time he was making that drum set, he was a sculptor. This is a symptom of the “post-medium” condition, in which artists work in any and all mediums. In this world, the term “sculptor” can be considered an insult, a way of diminishing an artist.

Artists are supposed to be defined by their ideas, not their materials, and yet the materiality of art, in truth, is going absolutely nowhere. What else is the art market other than an exchange of art objects? It’s in a frenzy. And there have been recent exhibitions (Thing at the Hammer in 2005 and The Uncertainty of Objects and Things currently up at the Hirshhorn) that propose a renewed respect for the category of sculpture. They defy the conventional wisdom that sculpture, having become anything and everything in the 1960s and 70s, collapsed into nothing and died.

The brilliant writer Johanna Burton (who doesn’t even let the materiality of Duchamp’s readymades off the hook—an issue Rosalind Krauss skirts by categorizing them as not-quite-sculptures) takes on the brave task of defining sculpture in a Hirshhorn podcast recorded Oct. 30 called “The Current State of Sculpture.” Burton contrasts sculpture today to sculpture in the “expanded field” of the 1960s and 70s:

Sculpture was not architecture, not landscape, but increasingly relying on even while challenging both. Today, sculpture may be defined as opposed to other things: a particular aptitude for troubling easy consumption, though of course hardly fully. Sculpture is not painting, one would say, or film or photography, but I actually think the contingencies between these mediums is more complex and perhaps the distinctions between them not so obvious as one might think.

Rather, I’d like to distinguish sculpture precisely from that word that it is usually assumed intimacy with: installation—installation, perhaps the most ubiquitous term in art today. Installation acknowledges the viewer as central to the work, provides or professes to provide or satisfy an experience, where sculpture continues to posit itself as central to the work. It’s glad you’re looking at it, but it really doesn’t need you.

Or, as Miami sculptor Mark Handforth said in the podcast, “installation is like taking the net off a tennis court: where’s the traction?”

Is this search for traction a retrenchment of old-fashioned ideas about sculpture? Or is it just paying attention to activity that’s been going on under the noses of curators and critics for all this time but was out-shouted by the novelty of installation and the rebellious lure of mixing things up? Is sculpture coming back the way painting did? In a different way?

Uncertainty curator Anne Ellegood told me in a phone conversation why she wanted to mount a sculpture show in the first place.

Whenever things start to be a bit of an assumption—that artists are working post-studio, that they don’t really make things anymore, they travel around the world and cook dinner for people, they make web sites, that’s true, and that’s interesting, but I wanted to say, what about all these artists that are interested in creating autonomous objects? What about these artists who really identify themselves as medium-specific, as ‘I’m a sculptor’? What does that mean today? I think the commitment to the object is a really interesting thing. It’s a very traditional thing in some way, but today, it’s almost a riskier position to put yourself in, as opposed to being all over the place.

Thursday at 7 pm, the Frye Art Museum is using the occasion of its Erwin Wurm exhibition to talk about the state of contemporary sculpture. Rene de Guzman, director of visual art at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, is coming to talk with Frye curator Robin Held, and I’ll be interested to hear whether their conversation accommodates any of this old-new tension, or simply reiterates the performative tenets of Wurm’s practice, which in many ways are precisely what Ellegood means by “all over the place.” Wurm’s work is smart, but how does it connect to younger artists like Handforth, or Nathan Mabry or Aaron Curry of LA?

Here are some photographs by Mabry that cracked me up as I was thinking about the sculpture park, and below them, a gallery “setup” by Mark Handforth (he told me he prefers not to call them “installations”).





In Other Music Section News

posted by on January 17 at 6:00 PM

We have a new music editor!

His name is Jonathan Zwickel, and his job history includes having driven a semi in Sacramento, picked apples in New Zealand, ski bummed in Lake Tahoe, and sold Christmas trees in New York. He also has experience, you know, writing about music. He’s coming to The Stranger from San Francisco, where he’s currently Pop and Rock Editor at Before that, he was Music Editor at New Times Broward-Palm Beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He’s written about music for Pitchfork, XLR8R, Harp, Urb, Village Voice, and a lot of other places.

Here are the 25 best songs from 2006, according to him. Let the fighting begin.

He starts in February. We can’t wait.

Five Things…

posted by on January 17 at 5:12 PM


1. Southwest Airlines boarding procedures turn people into animals—animals.

2. Can I just say how proud I am to have made the McLeod Residence’s list of Seattle Notables—along with my colleagues Jen Graves, Christopher Frizzelle, Charles Mudede, and Juan the Frye Apartment Guy. (But someone needs to tell the McLeod Residence that Real World Danny moved away.)

3. On my way to a theater in Chicago on Friday night I called a friend and asked for directions. He said, “It’s between a Subway and a Starbucks.” I move that the phrase “between a Subway and a Starbucks” be henceforth used in place of the phrase “between a rock and a hard place.” For, you know, obvious reasons: All good things in urban areas find themselves squeezed between a Subway franchise and a Starbucks location these days—with many ultimately squeezed out altogether.

4. At Midway Airport, you will be carded at the bars. You can be a million years old and look it (I sure feel it today), but you’re going to get carded regardless. But you are allowed to carry your drink with you to the gate. So you can buy a drink for a minor—but only if you’re dexterous enough to hand it off to said minor without spilling his drink all over the terrazzo.

5. When I was 15 years-old I was on a high school field trip to I-don’t-remember-where. It was far, though, way the fuck out in the ‘burbs someplace. An older student that I admired—okay, a senior I desperately wanted to fuck—looked out the window of the bus, sighed, and said, “You couldn’t pay me to live out here.” I just spent three days in McHenry, Illinois, where I had a nice time—it was actually pretty relaxing. I got some reading done, some writing, and there’s an dishonest-to-God faux cafe near walking distance from my mom’s house with free wifi. (And far too many people saying grace before they eat their bear claws.) But you couldn’t pay me to live out there.

Today On Line Out

posted by on January 17 at 4:40 PM

Tonight In Music.

Please, Don’t Get Your Rocks Off: Primal Scream Frontman Wants Primal Quiet.

What I Got You Gotta Get It, Put It In You: The Red Hot Chili Peppers Must Die.

Thank You: You’re Welcome.

Why Don’t We Just Fuck Already: I Work Here Now, Scratch My Back.

Rave Off: Seattle Won’t Techno For An Answer.

Sound On: EMP Announces Sound Off Contest Finalists


posted by on January 17 at 4:15 PM

OK, one more dig at our dying competitor and I’m done, okay?

Hey, Weekly, where’s your review of Inland Empire? Sucks not having an in-house film editor, huh?

Not to brag or anything (I’m only doing my job), but here are The Stranger’s review of the film and interview with director David Lynch.

Oh, and to prove I’m not entirely evil, here is a picture of an adorable baby hedgehog:


The Tunnel Is Dead

posted by on January 17 at 4:10 PM

(3:35 p.m.) Well, Deputy Mayor Ceis was just called into the governor’s office to join: the meeting with Nickels, Chopp, Brown, Clibborn, Haugen, and Licata. (Word is city council transportation chair Jan Drago is on speaker phone.)

I guess this is one of those Gregoire meetings—it’s already run an hour and a half over—where no one leaves until there’s a compromise. (Gregoire has pulled it off before, including, famously, brokering a deal between doctors and lawyers on medical malpractice…)

Oh wait… Gregoire just came out (it’s 3:55 p.m.)—with everybody except Nickels and Ceis (?!?)— and she read a statement that there are only two options on the table now: Move forward with an elevated viaduct replacement or reallocate funding to the 520 replacement.

According to the statement, Nickels and Drago tried to pitch having a vote on tunnel lite by April 24. However, Chopp and the governor and all the transportation chairs rejected that timeline.

Gregoire left it this way: Everyone needs to get back to her with their ideas on the elevated option and also the possibility of moving the $2.2 billion to 520.

This is a nuclear threat from Gregoire to the city saying you either build this elevated viaduct or lose the money to 520 (i.e., no fucking surface option, and no obstructing the elevated in order to revive the tunnel).

It looks like the governor and Democrats like Chopp do not want to go back up for election in 2008 having got the 9.5 cent gas tax for major projects and not having delivered on either one of the biggies.

The Hot, Slippery, Questionably Spackled Elephant in the Room

posted by on January 17 at 3:40 PM

I just received the following communiqué from a concerned friend:

I need you to rally the mighty readers of Slog to help me with this mystery that has gone unsolved since childhood. Surely every surface of TUBS is covered in semen and other questionable bodily fluids? I mean, isn’t that the point? How come nobody wants to discuss the obvious? Why is their e-mail newsletter called the “Cyber Club”? It’s like they’re rubbing it in our faces that we can’t prove anything. Were you aware that in order to book a tub at TUBS there’s a two person MINIMUM?? There has to be AT LEAST two people there? WHY?? They recommend that you bring in your own music to play in your private Tub Suite! HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYONE GO IN OR OUT OF TUBS? Will you help me? I need help.

She then cites the following Citysearch recommendation:

worked hard
Posted on 12/09/2002

one of my best places to go when I worked so hard with two jobs no kids I love it

* Pros: fixed me up, alone with boyfriend, makes me feel great
* Cons: have to leave, have to pay, not enough time
* Overall user rating: Highly Recommended

Ah, TUBS. Don’t ever change. I once soaked inside that weird marble mausoleum, as a child, for a friend’s ill-conceived 4th-grade birthday party. I was too young to identify any “questionable bodily fluids,” but I do have a fuzzy, mauve-and-black-tiled impression of a damp, dimly lit chamber with many sharp corners—and the feeling that I’d stumbled guiltily into a realm of adult secrets I wasn’t ready to process. (As far as I knew, it was totally plausible that my parents did a special kind of hugging in a black enamel cauldron and then the baby came out. And I definitely didn’t want to be involved. Eew.)

But what’s the real deal? Any insights? Any TUBS frequenters/detractors/illicit fluid depositors? Any soundtrack recommendations or lascivious tales? Or, better yet, any perfectly wholesome tales of whimsy and delight? I guess it’s possible that the place is entirely on the up-and-up, but we should at least be more diligent about making fun of it. (I mean, just that fountain on the front? Those soaring arcs of urine manage to remind me more of urine than actual urine does, somehow. Know what I mean?)

Because the Homeless Have Tons of Money…

posted by on January 17 at 3:30 PM

The owner of an antiques store in New York City is suing four homeless people for $1 million in a misguided attempt to get them to stop defecating, spitting, and sleeping around his shop.

With the money he is paying his lawyers for this lawsuit, he could probably afford to put these guys up in some low-income housing. He says he just wants the city to deal with them—why doesn’t he just deal with them himself, by helping them out? What a fogey.

Love, Hot Off the Press

posted by on January 17 at 3:08 PM

In tomorrow’s paper (online now), we love snowboarding, Stephen Malkmus, and Olympic Sculpture Park! Online you’ll find juicy extras such as Michael Atkinson’s interview with David Lynch, the Kink Calendar, I Saw U, and our new searchable movie, arts, and music calendars.

Grand Theft Auto—Seattle

posted by on January 17 at 3:04 PM

I’m a big fan of dismissing this city’s violent crime alarmists, but I have to say, the amount of auto theft here is no joke. Seattle has the sixth highest rate for auto theft of U.S. cities — and this particular offense continues to rise despite drops in every other category of crime. When I asked Dan Satterberg, the prosecutor’s office chief of staff, about the problem he said flimsy penalties have a lot to do with it. In Washington State, your first offense for swiping a Honda will stick you in jail for at most 60 days. Chronic thieves won’t spend time in prison until their seventh offense.

I’m sure Satterberg is partially right. But I’m also sure other states have lenient laws. What he can’t explain—at least not to a reporter—is the underlying reason for Seattle’s popularity among car thieves. What I’ve heard from police and the odd FBI type I’ve managed to corner is that Asian (Vietnamese) gangs do much, though by no means all, of the actual acquiring of hot cars, while other Northwest mafioso, likely Russians, have mastered the fine art of moving the product. Replacing VIN numbers can be a highly nuanced process.

The prosecutor’s office is currently pimping a bill in Olympia (HB 1001) that would create higher penalties for auto theft. Maybe it deserves a look — but it doesn’t seem like much will change until we know a little more about those underlying explanations.

The Greatest

posted by on January 17 at 2:59 PM


Muhammad Ali turned 65 today. To celebrate, here’s footage of Ali introducing George Foreman to the canvas during the “Rumble in the Jungle.”

American Idol: The Psychotic Seattle Episode—Live-Slogged Tonight!

posted by on January 17 at 2:56 PM

As every single one of you is undoubtedly aware, tonight brings night number two of American Idol’s two-night season premiere—and this evening’s episode is devoted to the wealth of talent, delusion, and freakery the Idol auditioners found right here in Seattle.

To properly commemorate this momentous occasion, I will be live-Slogging the show as it airs. The show’s on Q-13, starting at 8pm. See you here then. (I’ll be the one gaping in horror and choking on bong smoke.)

And in Other Olympia News…

posted by on January 17 at 1:50 PM

Governor Gregoire is currently meeting in her office with: the transportation chairs from both houses (Rep. Judy Clibborn and Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen); Mayor Nickels; Seattle City Council President Nick Licata; House Majority Leader Frank Chopp; and Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown to hammer out some sort of compromise on the viaduct.

This morning, two sources close to the meeting offered me their sense of how it’s going to go down.

Source 1: “There will be no compromise. Nothing’s going to happen.”

Source 2: “The governor is losing patience with Nickels.”

The meeting should be wrapping up soon. I’ll see what details I can get.

The 1:15 p.m. meeting was supposed to run an hour. But it’s 3:00 p.m. now, and I’m still standing outsided the governor’s office waiting for the meeting to wrap up so I can find out what happened. I’m waiting out here with Dep. Mayor Tim Ceis, a Clibborn communications staffer, and Licata’s assistant Newell Aldrich. Aldrich has already had to cancel Licata’s next few meetings.

The New Black Beauty

posted by on January 17 at 1:27 PM

Check it:
7ae00d32e623.jpg Since its birth in 1945, John H. Johnson magazine, the black American version of Life, Ebony has had no other goal, no other purpose than to arrive at this final point of absolute black respectability. This is bushi power, bushi confidence, bushi beauty. If Johnson were alive today to witness this moment, this perfect image of the Obamas, he would have cried and gone mad like a man walking out of a dark cave and seeing the brilliant sun for the first time. As with all ideals that are realized, it’s just too good to be true.

Ex-Smokers Are the Most Vehement Anti-Smokers…

posted by on January 17 at 1:23 PM

and ex-Republicans are evidently the most fired up about being Democrats and taking on the GOP.

Check this out: The prime sponsor (as in, it’s his bill) of the gun-show loophole bill (as in, closing the gun-show loophole) is former Republican state rep turned current Democratic state senator, Rodney Tom (D-48, Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Medina).

Co-sponsors include Seattle-area Senators Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Adam Kline, Ed Murray, and Ken Jacobsen. Tom’s Eastside suburban colleague, Sen. Brian Weinstein (D-41, Mercer Island, Bellevue, Factoria, New Castle), is also a co-sponsor.

The bill has been referred to the Kohl-Welles’s Labor Commerce Research & Development Committee.

I guess it’s not too surprising that a legislator from the fey suburbs (as opposed to say, a Democrat from someplace manly like Puyallup—like Sen. Jim Kastama or Rep. Dawn Morrell) is taking up gun control. But still, former GOPer Tom seems to be coming out loaded for bear.

Although, he’s yet to sign onto Sen. Murray’s gay-marriage bill..

We’ll see if he completes the big FU, and does so.

Music Section News

posted by on January 17 at 12:52 PM

The new Stranger column to watch—if you care about music—is Eric Grandy’s Fucking In the Streets, which made its debut in last week’s issue. The first installment was full of wild predictions (“I’ll probably regret saying this, but what the hell—Feral Children are the next Modest Mouse”), news (“Seattle’s venerable (or is that venereal?) den of after-hours iniquity Egg Room closed this weekend without so much as one last blowout party”), rumors (the “popular hiphop weekly, Stop Biting, is rumored to be moving to Thursdays at the Baltic Room in the not-too-distant future”), a report on the atmosphere at a benefit featuring James Mercer of the Shins (“Nothing injects a crowd with quiet sobriety quite like the specter of muscular dystrophy”), plus updates on a whole bunch of other stuff including Jeremy Cooper, Rags2Riches, the Bus Stop, a new DJ night at Sugar, and the elusive Cafe Un-American, and a blind item about a “coked-up fight” involving a local record store employee and some new wave LPs.

That was the first week. We haven’t had a music news column this plugged in for years. What’s coming in this week’s F.I.T.S.? The scuffle at Neumo’s last Friday, things you would never expect at the Comet are happening at the Comet, spring programming changes at Chop Suey, Clayton Vomero’s upcoming tour as DJ Pretty Titty, a not-yet-named electronica night starting in April “uniting Decibel, Fourthcity, Simply Shameless, and Electrosect for a two-room, 18+ night that may regularly run as late as 4:00 am…”), and more…

How does Grandy, like, know all this? His answer: “In the years that I’ve spent DJing and putting on shows and going out to bars I’ve accumulated a bunch of connections who keep me filled in.” He grew up on the Eastside and used to go to all-ages shows at Redmond’s Old Firehouse as a teenager. Then he worked there for 5 years. Then he went to college in Olympia, interned at K Records, volunteered at Yo Yo a Go Go, moved to Seattle and put on house shows (Japanther, Thrones, Fast Forward, Tussle, Yellow Swans, Secret Mommy, Shoplifting, Doomsday 1999, Wrangler Brutes, Triumph of Lethargy Skinned Alive to Death, and others), and in 2003 started DJing under the moniker Fucking in the Streets—a reference to the MC5’s batshit political wing, the White Panther Party.

He became a full-time Stranger music staff writer two weeks ago.

AND! More music staff news will be announced later today. Stay tuned…

Baugh!: Episode 2

posted by on January 17 at 12:30 PM

John Longenbaugh’s column in the Seattle Weekly this week is about whether it is embarrassingly provincial or supportive of audiences to applaud sets before a single actor sets foot on stage. The column is boring. There is one minor error: the assertion this practice is “rare.” You haven’t been spending much time in Seattle theaters lately, have you, Mr. Longenbaugh?

That was a rhetorical question. Let’s go to the tape. Through my contacts at Washington Ensemble Theatre, I have obtained the voicemail message which constituted Mr. Longenbaugh’s first ever contact with WET.

Helloooo… This is John Longenbaugh calling the WET ensemble [sic]. I’m doing an article for the Seattle Weekly about the current state of Seattle theater, especially in light of the recent closure of the Empty Space. And, uh, I would like to talk to some of you because, uh, I haven’t seen any of your work—because I haven’t been seeing much theater at all in the last couple of years[….]

Kinda hard to draw sweeping conclusions about the behavior of Seattle audiences when you haven’t been seeing much of them, huh?

I also had the chance to talk to Lathrop Walker, one of three members of WET whom Longenbaugh interviewed for his initial feature, which ended up being unduly condescending to WET. (He apparently didn’t talk to Marya Sea Kaminski or Jennifer Zeyl—who, if you’ve been paying attention and look past the hype about democratic decision making, are two of the more powerful members in the ensemble, and certainly the most qualified to talk to the press.)

If you recall, I’d wondered in my initial reading of Longenbaugh’s feature:

Dude, did you even bother to ask WET, over drinks, if they’re trying to be the “next Empty Space”? Their ensemble model is nothing like Empty Space’s.

According to Walker, Longenbaugh did ask—over and over again, because he didn’t like the answer he was getting. And that answer, according to Walker, was “no.”

Pack Your Knives, and Go

posted by on January 17 at 12:10 PM

Am I the only person that watches Bravo’s Top Chef? Am I the only person that has a huge crush on Sam?


Dreamy, isn’t he? Although you must see the show, this photo doesn’t do him justice. The boy can cook, too! (Admittedly, that cream covered watermelon and cheese dessert from last week did look pretty awful… and he does need a haircut, but whatevs.) The point is, if you’ve yet to catch it, it’s on tonight at 10 pm. It’s the last episode before the two part finale. I can’t wait to see what happens—apparently some shit goes down, someone crosses the line and gets kicked off the show. Now I don’t know what is gonna happen, but these cooks carry knives with ‘em most of the time… and these cooks all HATE that little weasel Marcel… just a thought…

Nitelife [sic] in the Zwichenstadt

posted by on January 17 at 12:06 PM

From Charles Mudede’s Fluid Beaverton (emphasis mine):

Stadler has abandoned “the old centralized city” for the edge city, the “Zwischenstadt,” as he calls it, borrowing the term from a German urbanist named Thomas Sieverts. Zwischenstadt is an in-between space that does away with the binary order of power that makes a city meaningful to itself: urban/rural; nomos/physis; futuristic/backward. Stadler’s paradigm for Zwischenstadt is Portland’s former suburb Beaverton, an area that most in the center of the city would read as a wasteland of manufactured homes, strip malls, and corporate parks. But Stadler sees this area as the next site of political, racial, and cultural revolution.

Glory To The New Born Queen

posted by on January 17 at 11:59 AM

Think about it. A female chimp called Teresa gave birth to a girl without mating the males in a place called Chimp Haven in Shreveport, La. With this information, what must immediately come to mind is Hortus Conclusus, those Renaissance paintings of the Virgin Mary.


From Wikipedia:

Christian tradition states that Jesus Christ was conceived to Mary supernaturally and without disrupting her virginity by the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Holy Trinity. As such, Mary in much Medieval and Rennaissance art was shown in or near a walled garden or yard. This was a representation of her “closed off” womb, which was to remain untouched.

A bright star now shines over Chimp Haven, over Virgin Teresa, over her immaculate chimpanzee. Praised be her name.

Britney Spears- Reigning American Queen of Subtlety?

posted by on January 17 at 11:47 AM

Of course not!

Here is a leaked YouTube picture montage set to her new song, called “Fed-Up.”

Gee, I wonder if this song could possibly be about her recent divorce? Do you think the title is a play on words? Get it? You can’t spell Federline without Fed? DO YOU GET IT? DO YOU GET WHAT SHE’S DOING THERE?

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 17 at 11:00 AM


51 Birch Street
The best that navel gazery has to offer: Doug Block made a documentary about his 83-year-old father, who married another woman a mere three months after Doug’s beloved mother died. With all the drama of Paradise Lost (if not the poetry), our sympathies tip between the agonized dead mother and her copious diaries, the happy father and his slightly stupid new bride, and the awkward Doug and his stunned sisters. Slowly, the scales are pried from his eyes. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 267-5380. 7 and 9 pm, $5—$8.50.) ANNIE WAGNER

Down With the Gays?

posted by on January 17 at 10:29 AM

…Yet also able to understand the shame in that? Got a PayPal account? Want to make some extra cash? Dumb as a stump? A slice of spam for you!

From: Alex Brock, G.L.A.S.S.,

Dear jobseeker!

Would you like to work from Home and get paid instantly after completing a task? We are glad to offer you such a position at $1000-$2000 per week (read below)!

G.L.A.S.S. stands for Gay, Lesbian and Ally Support Services. G.L.A.S.S. is a public interest legal organization working to defend and expand the rights of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender individuals. G.L.A.S.S. is one of the largest gay and lesbian organization in the world and offer the widest array of services to gay men and lesbians available anywhere. We provide healthcare, confidential counseling, legal assistance, volunteer and political action opportunities and more. In order to answer the growing needs of our Community, we are looking for honest, loyal, responsible and hard-working people who wishing to become an agent.

We receive a lot of donations and other forms of support daily, however, considering the nature of our Community, most of the people prefer to make donations through the 3rd party to preserve some level of anonymity (hope that is understandable), that is why we need someone with VERIFIED account to assist us in collecting payments from people who wish to donate by PayPal. However, If you don’t have a account, but still would like to participate with your checking account, feel free to contact us anyway.

Hurry up, we are going to hire only 1 Representative. Main requirements: US bank and/or PayPal account, Cell phone accessible at least 8 hours a day, 1-2 free hours during the day, and a good resume with references. If you are interested and feel like you meet our requirements, please send your resume to: Don’t forget to include your cell phone number and the best time to contact you.

Best regards,
Alex Brock,

$1.2 Trillion (With a ‘T’)

posted by on January 17 at 10:26 AM

That’s how much the Iraq War has cost us so far (in money, not in ruined lives), which, as the New York Times points out

…would pay for an unprecedented public health campaign — a doubling of cancer research funding, treatment for every American whose diabetes or heart disease is now going unmanaged and a global immunization campaign to save millions of children’s lives.

Combined, the cost of running those programs for a decade wouldn’t use up even half our money pot. So we could then turn to poverty and education, starting with universal preschool for every 3- and 4-year-old child across the country. The city of New Orleans could also receive a huge increase in reconstruction funds.

The final big chunk of the money could go to national security. The recommendations of the 9/11 Commission that have not been put in place — better baggage and cargo screening, stronger measures against nuclear proliferation — could be enacted. Financing for the war in Afghanistan could be increased to beat back the Taliban’s recent gains, and a peacekeeping force could put a stop to the genocide in Darfur.

The Morning News

posted by on January 17 at 8:35 AM

Deadly Wars: At least 60 people dead after a two bombs were set off at Baghdad University yesterday. 17 more dead (so far) in car bomb explosion today.

Deadly Storms: 54 dead in nine states (20 of them in Oklahoma).

Deadly Gangs: Black and Latino gang members are battling on Los Angeles streets.

Deadly Lakes: Thin ice on Martha Lake responsible for the death of a local teenager.

Deadly Hubris: Mayor Nickels really, really wants his tunnel—even if it’s smaller and not as pretty.

(Not As) Deadly Diseases: Cancer deaths in the U.S. are down for a second straight year.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Watch Colbert Tonight

posted by on January 16 at 8:56 PM

Right-wing jackass Dinesh D’Souza has a new book out: The Enemy At Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11. You see, it’s all our fault. If only America—the most religious country on earth after, say, Saudi Arabia—weren’t so damn secular and tolerant! Then Osama bin Laden wouldn’t have attacked us on 9/11! He would’ve attacked, oh, Canada or Luxembourg or Sweden.

D’Souza’s book is blames Hollywood, fags, feminists, and atheists for 9/11. It’s very Jerry Falwell, very September 12, 2001.

I just watched Stephen Colbert absolutely destroy D’Souza on the Colbert Report tonight by—what else?—agreeing with him. Violently. The video isn’t up on YouTube yet, but as soon as it is we’ll post it here.

Wassup, Girls?

posted by on January 16 at 8:26 PM

Just got back to mom’s place after a wild night on the town. We drank our way up and down McHenry’s answer to Pike/Pine. Riverside Drive runs along the Fox River, and it’s home to McHenry’s not inconsiderable bar scene. There are some nice taverns in this town—the Town Club, the Old Bridge, The Fox Hole, After the Fox, and Bimbo’s (yes, Bimbo’s). We brought a deck of cards and at the Old Bridge we played a little gin rummy while we watched American Idol on the big screen TV. (No liquor control board to worry about here. “Yeah, you can play cards,” the bartender told me when I asked if it was alright to play cards. “So long as you’re not gambling—you know, gambling obviously—it’s not a problem.”) After Idol, we played some Monster Madness, a little pool, ate some popcorn. Then the bar started clearing out—it was almost 10—so we headed back to mom’s place.

But then… on my way out the door… I spotted two newspapers… competing… free… newspapers… stacked by the window… just like The Stranger and the Weekly… in the window… back at Linda’s.

Ladies and gentleman, I give you Suburban NiteLife


And Wassup! Local Magazine


But which is McHenry’s Stranger? And which is McHenry’s Weekly?

Hard to say. Wassup! has the Wassup! Girls. (They wish you a happy new year, by the way.) The Wassup! Girls serve the same desperate function, presumably, as the Weekly’s “street team.” But Suburban NiteLife has the “Best of the Burbs” issue. The Weekly,, of course, also runs a “Best of the Burbs” issue. Wassup! has an advice column—”Ask Margarette”—but no horoscope, and Suburban NiteLife has a horoscope—”A Look at the Stars through the Funhouse Mirror”—but no advice column. Wassup! clocks in at 48 pages; Suburban NiteLife blows ‘em away with 80 pages.

So I guess it’s a draw. Each of these papers is a little bit Weekly, a little bit Stranger—and, hey, without a doubt McHenry is the richer for it. Culturally speaking.

Oh and while Riverside Drive is McHenry’s answer to Pike/Pine, my mother actually lives on McHenry’s honest-to-God Pine Street. My mom, such a hipster—a replaced hipster, but still.

(And it looks like a smoking ban is coming to Illinois—and not a moment too soon. We’ve been here a week and we’ve had to change our clothes twice.)

An Earnest Response to Matt, Jude Fawley, Dougsf, Charles, and Julia Bovee, Who Are Probably Nice, Good People, But Who Are Wrong, Wrong, Wrong

posted by on January 16 at 6:55 PM

I saw a paragraph hanging in a window in San Francisco a couple days ago, a paragraph that I’ve been turning over in my mind for years, and I wrote here on Slog that “everything you need to know about writing—and everything you need to know about life—is in that paragraph,” and Matt in the comments said that this was “a patently untrue statement” and that I did “not mean it in earnest” and he wanted to know: “So why bother writing it? I am genuinely curious.” And someone named Jude Fawley seconded Matt, and Charles thirded Matt, and Julia Bovee (my weird new hater) fourthed Matt, all while Dougsf weighed in with his opinion that the paragraph in the window was “Myspace-blog level stuff.”

OK. I’ll bite. But you might want to skip this. This is going to get earnest and probably boring and won’t be interesting to anyone except Matt, Jude Fawley, Dougsf, Charles, and Julia Bovee, and maybe not even very interesting to them, owing to the earnestness and because my love for the paragraph—which I really do think has just about everything you need to know about writing in it—has much to do with stuff like em-dashes and subordinate clauses, and Lord knows what grief a person gets when, say, he writes in a column somewhere that he gets excited about punctuation. (I refer to the great Lydia-Davis’s-punctuation brouhaha of 2003.) This is mostly for you, Matt, but also for you Jude Fawley, and you Dougsf, and you Charles, and—oh, hey, Julia Bovee’s here too. Don’t remember inviting you, but here you are, all cowy and full of hate. Have a drink, everyone. Sit wherever.

Here’s the paragraph in question again, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald just before he died:

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.

These lines are so loaded I don’t know where to begin. The beginning? “Of course all life is a process of breaking down” is great because the “Of course…” is a confidently conversational way to start, often how you start when you’re talking to a friend at a party and you’re exaggerating something for the purposes of emphasis (“Of course Woody Allen hasn’t made a good movie in 20 years”) or you’re boldly stating as a fact something that is actually just opinion or conjecture (“Of course the Yankees are going to win”) or you’re using a cliche but you want to couch it in language that lets the other person know you know you’re using a cliche (“Of course it rains every day in Seattle”), but the “Of course” runs straight into “life is a process of breaking down,” which is not exaggerated or an opinion or a cliche but the biological truth, and something people rarely say to others, their friends included. In other words, you go into the sentence thinking you’re going to get one thing, but right off you get something else, and it’s something real, and it’s startling. If a reader thinks they’re going to get something in a sentence (or a character, or a plot) and then they do, they’ve been desposited into a cliche—which is not good writing. Good writing is: You think you’re going to get one thing, but you don’t.

“…[b]ut the blows that do the dramatic side of the work—the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside—” is great because it’s rhythmic and alliterative (“but the blows,” “do the dramatic”) but it doesn’t dress up in tap shoes and a tutu and say, “Hey everyone, I’m being rhythmic and alliterative!” It just sounds good/right. Also, several of the words echo (“blows,” “come,” “side”/”outside”) without calling lots of attention to the echoing. The echoing just comes across as simplicity (why reach for another word when what you mean is the word you just used?) and—this is sort of a reach, what the hell—making the words echo echoes the prevailing point about getting older, because the idea of an echo contains the idea of lapsed time. (A word appears early [in life/in the sentence] and then it appears again later [in life/in the sentence].)

“…[T]he ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don’t show their effect all at once” is great because (1) “the ones you remember” makes you think of all the blows you’ve forgotten; (2) the “blame things on” is both a more complicated verb than “remember” (so you’re not expecting it) and yet it’s colloquial (again, unexpected), and it contains the biting suggestion that blaming whatever it is you’re choosing to blame is dishonest and weak; (3) the “and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about,” is funny and devastating and unexpected all rolled up into a couple words; and (4) the “don’t show their effect all at once” is the payoff for something that comes much earlier in the sentence, a promise that’s been suspended since the “but” after the first comma, but it’s a payoff you don’t expect, that leaves a lot unsaid, that raises further questions and, by doing so, draws you further in. The “…don’t show their effect all at once” gives me a funny feeling in my chest every time I read it, like I’m being lifted up by it, which is the same feeling I get at the end of a lot of great first sentences. (The first sentence of Joan Didion’s essay “Insider Baseball” comes immediately to mind—check it out sometime.)

After all that—those pyrotechnics in that first sentence—we get a very regular second sentence, not a complicated one or one where the grammar echoes the meaning or even one with alliteration or much in the way of rhythm. In other words, Fitzgerald’s saying: I realize that first sentence was super rich, have a glass of water now. This is a relief, and yet this second sentence seems a lot like the previous sentence, so there’s no interruption. The glory of the third sentence is that em-dash. Notice the way it doesn’t function like em-dashes usually do. “The first sort of breakage seems to happen quick—the second kind happens almost without your knowing it but is realized suddenly indeed.” On any planet, that em-dash should be a semi-colon. Or it should be a period. But here it’s like a People Mover at the airport: it slides you forward without your doing anything. It sends you right into what should be the next sentence, carries you forward too quickly, against your will, as if you’re trapped in the forward-moving-ness of, well, you know, life, and getting older, and the process of breaking down, in spite of your every wish…

Aw, look. You’re asleep.

Farewell, Snowflakes

posted by on January 16 at 4:55 PM


Photo by Michael Holden.

Sneaky booze

posted by on January 16 at 4:51 PM

The Metropolitan Improvement District has reported a drop in public drunkenness since the bans on high alcohol content products went into effect in Seattle’s Alcohol Impact Area. According to the city’s neighborhood newsletter, however, they’ve also noticed some new brands on the shelves that may be sneaking under the ban — which only effects a list of 29 products. No one returned my calls today so I’m still waiting to hear which new brands of malt liquor you can still score downtown. Probably not Crazy Horse. Maybe one of these. The city can make a request with the liquor board to add new brands.

Today On Line Out

posted by on January 16 at 4:30 PM

Harshed Fellows: Akimbo Live to Crush, Drink Eggnog.

The FCC Will, Like, Totally Change Your Life: Major Label Payola Leads to Mandatory Indie Rock?

They Let Anyone Go to Harvard These Days: Rivers Cuomo Likes Country, Thinks Lost Is too Violent.

How Nothing Feels: The Promise Ring Don’t Get Old.

A Picture Postcard: Jason Gnewikow’s Perfect Lines.

Republican Priorities

posted by on January 16 at 4:22 PM

With the exception of threatening to file a bill to define marriage as being between a man and a woman (take that Sen. Ed Murray!), the GOP doesn’t seem to have many priorities or agenda items in Olympia this session—unless you count harassing animals.

Indeed, I just got of the phone with Sen. Bob Morton (R-7, Orient) who’s sponsoring a bill to allow people to “run down and harass deer, elk, and wildlife” with their snowmobiles. Currently, this is illegal. Morton told me his bill would change that.

Here’s the language:

(2) No person shall operate a snowmobile in such a way as to run down or harass deer, elk, or any wildlife, or any domestic animal, nor shall any person carry any loaded weapon upon, nor hunt from, any snowmobile except: (a) By permit issued by the director of fish and wildlife

Sen. Pam Roach (R-31, Auburn) is a co-sponsor, which seems weird to me given that she made such a big deal about protecting animals last year.

Roach said this last year when she sponsored a bill to outlaw bestiality: “I will be working with groups concerned with animal cruelty to make sure we get a strong law on the books next year. The similarity [between molesting children and] animal abuse is that these perpetrators chose unsuspecting and innocent victims.

Not so, I guess, when you’re going after them with snowmobiles and guns?

Bubbles in a can

posted by on January 16 at 4:10 PM

I know it’s old news, but I finally got around to tasting some canned sparkling wine yesterday. For $4.99 at Whole Foods I purchased one chilled can (with bendy straw attached) of Sofia, made by the It girl director’s father’s winery. I expected instant fun, if not high quality.


No such luck. As one sampler suggested, the flavor resembled sweet-tarts, complete with the chalky after-taste. And although I’m a big fan of boxed wine, there’s just something missing without the cork pop and skinny glass. Maybe if the wine were named after a director I liked better…. Wim Wender’s Prosecco?

Goths Are the Devil’s Children

posted by on January 16 at 3:27 PM

God Hates Goths is making me laugh. “The greatest threat to today’s society is the rise of the gothic subculture” and “All goth are potential terrorists.” The merchandise is equal parts hateful and hilarious (“The Only Good Goth Is a Dead Goth”).

While we’re on the topic, don’t miss how to dance gothic (example move: “Stuck in My Coffin”).

Feeling Sorry For Sex Offenders

posted by on January 16 at 2:48 PM

I have no sympathy for sex offenders—real sex offenders, the kind of fuckers that leap to mind when you hear the term “sex offender.” Men that kidnap and rape women, pedophiles that sexually abuse children—you know, people like that. But between voyeuristic crap like “To Catch a Pedophile”—a disgusting television “news” program that makes titillating theater out of the entrapment of sick dumbfucks (and smug furies out of viewers)—and the ongoing efforts to define “sex offender” status down, well, I’m actually starting to feel sorry for sex offenders.

Check out this story out in today’s Chicago Tribune.

If a state law enacted last year is upheld, [a] 17-year-old’s name and photograph could soon appear on the state’s public registry, available to anyone on the Internet—marking him as a sexual offender until he’s 24.

An increasing number of states are requiring that those who commit sex crimes as juveniles be added to public sex offender lists, a move that has stirred juvenile-offender and victim advocates alike. Under the law, some juveniles could be placed on the public lists for the rest of their lives and others for many years, depending on their crime.

What was this 17 year-old’s crime? When he was a 13 boy he rang a doorbell and grabbed the boobs of a 13-year-old girl that lived in that house. He agreed to plead guilty to home invasion and sexual abuse—in part because his family was assured that he would not have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Oh, he had a register as a sex offender—but only for 10 years (!), and only on a restricted sex offender list available “only” to cops, schools, and day care centers. But the law has since been changed, and now this poor kid may have to register on adult sex offender lists with rapists and child molesters. For the rest of his life..

So because this boy groped a 13 year-old when he was a 13 year-old his life is going to be ruined—the “sex offender” tag will make it all but impossible for him to go to school, get a job, or find a place to live. Why don’t we just take him out and shoot him?

Knowing that the term “sex offender” gets slapped on 13 year-old boys that grope 13 year-old girls renders the term all but meaningless. What does the term tell us, what does it communicate, if it lumps a serial rapist in with this kid?

And, fuck, I’m glad I’m adult now and not a teenager, since I’m pretty sure me and all friends, gay and straight, would qualify for the “sex offender” label. Still, I seriously worry for my eight-year old kid. What are we going to do when he’s a horny teenager? Besides, yes, urging him not to rape anyone, date rape anyone, grope anyone, or do anything to anyone that could in any way be construed as non-consensual touch. We’re going to have to terrorize him, basically, all through puberty with the horrible, life-long consequences of even a momentary lapse in judgment. Fuck, maybe we’ll move to Europe when he turns 12, just to be safe.

From the Trib:

For victim advocates, publicizing juvenile sex offender records is necessary to protect the community. But juvenile-justice leaders say laws like Illinois’ lump those guilty of “youthful indiscretions” with serious sexual offenders.

I’m with the juvenile-justice crowd on this. I’m starting to think that “victims advocates” are creating as many victims as they’re helping.

Name That Hood

posted by on January 16 at 2:20 PM

In the middle of Seattle there is neighborhood suffering an identity crisis because it doesn’t really have a name.


It’s not quite Capitol Hill - according to realty maps, the “Hill” begins north of Madison Avenue. It’s also not the absurdly-named Squire Park - the community council Web site says the area only reaches as far north as Union Street and east to 23rd Avenue. It’s not the entire sprawling Central District – because that has many smaller neighborhoods within it and informally includes everything from Judkins Park to the Madison Valley, and we are not supposed to utter the acronym “CD” because it sounds like “seedy” or something. Here’s a map of the area.

The boundaries leave everyone on the “other” side of Capitol Hill, between Union and Madison and east of 23rd, neighborhoodless. And the vibe in the northern part of Squire Park - around 21st and Union where I live and near where I grew up - feels like a different country from the southern part of Squire Park on 12th and Jackson Street, where everything is written in Vietnamese.

Around here, spunky coffee shops, cult movie houses, and hipster bars characteristic of Capitol Hill are juxtaposed with CD institutions like Thomson’s Point of View and Ezell’s. Freaks and queers live adjacent to indigenous African-Americans and prodigious breeders, and we love one another and everything is good.

Politics of gentrification aside, it’s the coolest place to live in Seattle. And it feels like a neighborhood. A friendly debate over the name regularly ensues amongst residents, as we often don’t know how to describe the location.

You see, the name of your neighborhood is part of your identity and right now we’re identityless, so dammit, we need a name. And there is nobody better to help name it than you, the brilliant readers of Slog.

A few names we’ve tossed around are SoMa, as in South-of-Madison, Union Square, for the area around 23rd and Union, and the Triangle of Influence, since it’s an up-and-coming neighborhood kinda shaped like a triangle.

We have ideas for you to consider; you have better ideas and a lovely comments section, so, I beg you – for the sake of our identity – please help us choose a name for our hood. We might even run a Slog poll for the leading contenders and declare the winner “squirrels” which is like “squires” only they actually have parks. Once we decide, we can sing it from the crematorium tower at Providence Hospital to the poorly-lit Safeway on 23rd and Madison.

Make Believe House

posted by on January 16 at 2:07 PM

Today, Steven Holl finally seduced me! I have never really had an ideal for a living space until I saw his new design for T-Husene (T-Houses) in Copenhagen.

Why here and nowhere else? It’s not exactly the design, nor the fact that my middle name is Tonderai, but because T-Husene was “inspired by twilight and the Scandinavian sky.”

The T-shaped buildings maximize high quality residential floor space with views to the horizon and sunset. Building downwards from the maximum height level, taking into consideration maximum view, each tower will contain 50 apartments in 22 different configurations ranging from 73 sq.m. to 135 sq.m.

A living space inspired by Scandinavian sky and twilight is the only living space for me. The first thing I will do when I move into that ideal in the twilight is hang this nice painting in the crepuscular living room:
18.jpg Moi rudo dansk (“my love dusk”), happiness together at last.

Notes on Film

posted by on January 16 at 1:29 PM

I should acknowledge first that I may be taking offense at Charles not having any interest in Children of Men after reading my review (assuming he’s read my review), but this is mostly bullshit.

It’s boring to think that theory begins and ends with your professor (especially a relatively minor figure like Steven Shaviro), and even more boring to misinterpret him. Children of Men is not science fiction; it’s fantasy. There’s no attempt to construct a plausible bridge between cause (environmental pollution?—then why not all other animals? God’s wrath?—then again, not science fiction) and effect (universal human infertility); nor between cause (universal human infertility in 2009) and effect (near-immediate collapse of all societies by 2027, an economic downturn before the youngest humans have even reached the work force, implied widespread war over resources that can only be more available than they were before). The only link that makes strict sense is people fetishizing the youngest humans and coddling their kittens.

Does Children of Men collapse the future and the present? Sure. The action and mise-en-scène are explicitly about today’s politics and today’s preoccupations—terrorism, immigration, global Islam, torture, cheap sentimental culture, and celebrity, with environmental crisis as subtext. But really, what’s so fascinating about that? Cultural studies and, especially, historical fields like American studies love to take science fiction from the past and discover the way its preoccupations twine with the cultural climate of its day. But simple one-to-one correspondences—i.e., the torture of hooded prisoners=Abu Ghraib; concentration camps for British immigrants=American, British, and Western European anxiety about immigration, especially when it threatens the current hegemony in a visible way—aren’t going to be fertile ground for the cultural critics of tomorrow.

Furthermore, does this kind of mimesis truly induce “cultural estrangement”? I would argue no. Alfonso Cuarón’s mimetic mise-en-scène (and yes, of course it’s mimetic) doesn’t make your world unfamiliar. Your world is there, in front of you, just as it is today—only worse. Historical contingency is actually diminished, because we can’t imagine any true historical shifts. What we have today merely deepens, turns hysterical, and explodes.

Finally, that review neglects the essentially cinematic form of mimesis that immerses you in Cuarón’s world. Despite the stunted imagination in the scenario, I think the hand-held camera, peripheral action, and long takes (meant not to provoke orgasms in form-obsessed cinephiles, but to remind you of newsreels and documentaries) successfully drag you into the action and make you forget to ask, “Why are only women infertile?”, “Why are only humans infertile?”, “How is Kee immune?”, and “What the fuck is the Human Project? Noah’s Ark?”

Indeed, I think some of the most interesting ideas in Children of Men—the ones that may indeed provide ground for future cultural critics to till more deeply—are the echoes of Bible stories, from the Nativity to Moses to Noah, and the masochistic religious revivalism that the film imagines taking root in the face of universal despair.


Also, I have to say this. Meryl Streep is a wonderful actor, a perfect actor, an always fascinating actor. But she did not deserve a Golden Globe for The Devil Wears Prada, and she does not deserve an Oscar. Film acting is as much about casting as it is about the actor, and Streep was cast in Devil not because she can convincingly portray a one-dimensional bitch whose third-act transformation is truly a shock (see the terrible but entertaining roman a clef by Lauren Weisberger), but because of her star power. Her character should have been a scary harpy. Instead, she was a sympathetic, driven woman whose purported bitchiness was clearly, from the beginning, a simple prerequisite for her job. That gaping disjunction ruined what should have been a trashy but amusing movie.

Sacha Baron Cohen Won a Golden Globe

posted by on January 16 at 12:48 PM

and delivered probably the filthiest acceptance speech in Globe history:

Another Miraculous Apparition

posted by on January 16 at 12:36 PM

The Lord moves in mysterious ways. Click this link if you dare, atheists and doubters.

Seen Outside The Stranger This Morning

posted by on January 16 at 12:06 PM

Two guys and a girl trying to snowboard down the Value Village loading ramp (harder than it looks, it turns out).

Also, these tracks:


White House’s Chickenshit Asswipes

posted by on January 16 at 11:57 AM


The White House Correspondents Association isn’t taking any chances this year. Last year they invited Stephen Colbert to headline their annual dinner—and Colbert tore Bush into a million tiny pieces and blew them up the smug, self-satisfied asses of the media pros in the audience. To make sure nothing remotely A. hilarious or B. newsworthy happens this year, the WHCA has booked Rich Little to perform at their annual bash. Say’s Wonkette

After a White House Correspondents Dinner marred by a speech that was actually, tragically funny, the WHCA has taken steps to ensure that never again will the C-SPAN-watching public accidentally crack a smile. This year’s dinner guest of honor: Rich Little.

Yeah, the impressionist known for his humorous takes on Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Johnny Carson, and hopefully some people who aren’t dead.

It’s been a while since I watched the tape of Colbert’s WHCA performance. It’s still funny—and the reporters that cover the White House are still cowards.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 16 at 11:00 AM


David Lynch
For nearly three decades, the world has wondered how the hell David Lynch comes up with this shit. Tonight the mastermind behind Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, and Mulholland Dr. offers something of an answer, taking the stage at Town Hall to discuss the thrilling connections he’s found between his creative process and meditation (AKA the thinking-man’s opiate, hallucinogenic, and torture device). (Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Ave, 624-6600. 7:30 pm, $5, tickets available at Elliott Bay Book Co.) DAVID SCHMADER

Focus on the Family

posted by on January 16 at 10:58 AM

Shortly after Noel Black’s piece on how to get free crap from Focus on the Family ran in The Stranger back in August—much to the consternation of “ethical” progressives (this is war, people)—the Talibangelists at Focus stopped shipping stuff for free. This may or may not have been legal, as the group enjoys tax exempt status. It’s a charity, you see, not a business or—heavens!—a political organization. (That’s why Rev. Dobson “ruled out” John McCain as a Republican nominee for president last week.) So while they can accept donations for merch, they can’t charge people for merch as if they were Amazon or See’s Candies or ExtremeRestraints.

Well if you missed out on a free Chronicles of Narnia DVD after Noel’s piece ran, you’re in luck. The freebies are back on Focus on the Family’s website! But there’s one small catch. Noel explains it all for us over at Newspeak:

THE BAD NEWS: In order to get the free shit (i.e. enter “0” in the donation field when you’re checking out), you must enter a credit card number to validate your identity, which means that you have to enter a legitimate identity, or have the credit card number of somebody else….

As far as I’m concerned, there’s no reason not to give Focus your personal information. And it’s not like they’re just gonna start charging random shit on your credit card. Yes, you may get junk mail from them, and you’ll probably have to be judicious about the amount of shit you order, but no big whoop. If we can get even 1,000 people to order the Chronicles of Narnia CDs (probably the only truly palatable item) at what must cost them at least $30 a pop wholesale plus $5 shipping, that’s $35,000 plus that’s coming straight out of their pockets.

Casualties of the YouTube Revolution

posted by on January 16 at 10:41 AM

The YouTube era has blessed our daily lives with an avalanche of riches, from the pleasures of instant replay TV to the ability to watch that woman fall through that trap door 500 times in a row.

One casualty of the YouTube revolution: slideshows, the parade-of-still-photos-on-a-common-theme which always kinda sucked and became 40 billion times less appealing once full-action footage was readily available.

Still, some media outlets are refusing to let slideshows go the way of the 8-track—most notably, New York’s WCBS-TV, which has upped the slideshow ante with a series of mildly salacious and spicily bizarre photo collections.

May I recommend Stars Killed By Gunfire? Or this parade of closeted gay stars of yesteryear?

Congrats to WCBS for their invention, and thanks to Defamer for the heads-up.


posted by on January 16 at 10:39 AM

I had no desire to watch the Children of Men until I read this short analysis of it by a young and smart local writer named Yair.

Here are two passages from the analysis :

This film takes the idea of ‘cognitive estrangement’ to its radical conclusion and reintroduces the familiarity of the present, or should I say, its ultimate negation. I can’t think of a single film that’s caused me to go through such a visceral experience. I have never felt so involved in the environment of a film especially one set twenty years into the future. The passivity I can usually experience even at the most gruesome displays of violence on screen was completely ripped away from me and I felt like I was watching something happening in real time, in a future that already existed, that I would find once I left the exit doors. So what causes this ‘reality effect’ of this film?


So where’s the paradox you ask? It is followed by a question; how can a film that, as I argue, seeks to critique or deconstruct the reality effect not get entangled and ultimately shortchanged by its own device? Or should I say, if this film achieved its goal in conveying the sheer horror of contemporary reality as it did on me, could one not say it simultaneously achieved the goal of reaffirming the reality effect itself? By creating in myself such a viscerally ‘real’ experience based on a compendium of media images (images that by nature are unreal but generate reality), doesn’t the simulacra in effect achieve its ultimate goal? Doesn’t it create in me a reality more real than itself?

Yair’s review does two admirable things. One, it actually thinks—meaning it’s not mere writing but, instead, the movement of a thought (or thoughts) by the means of writing. Two, it is packed with references to other ideas and thinkers—meaning, again, it’s not just mere writing but is also a conversation, a dialect (in the old Greek sense of that word), with other texts.

The most rewarding texts are always textual.

Hat in the Ring

posted by on January 16 at 9:46 AM

After all the hype and chatter, Barack Obama is now officially running for president has filed papers to form a presidential exploratory committee.

Two Examples of Really Great Outdoor Sculpture

posted by on January 16 at 9:13 AM

The Olympic Sculpture Park Mania has begun. This weekend, the New York Times weighed in with a piece about the happymaking effects of Microsoft and Starbucks money. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer hit the money angle, too, dubbing Seattle Art Museum “the king of cash.” And the Seattle Times has done a lot of description, and printed a very nice graphic that online turns interactive.

My sculpture park windbaggery will be coming your way tomorrow, and while I’m not going to spend the next five words summing up 4,500, I will say it has been an outrageous pleasure being obsessed with sculpture, and I hope the park gives you all the occasion to do it after it opens on Saturday.

Public sculpture has long been a losing game for artists. They have to compromise to the point of oblivion. But I can think of at least two good examples on the campus of the University of California at San Diego, which has a serious collection.


This is Michael Asher’s Untitled (1991): the functional, commercial-style drinking fountain in the foreground. It is set on the axis with the American flag in the middle ground, and a granite landmark in the background commemorating Camp Matthews, a World War II training center and rifle range that occupied the land UCSD stands on now.

The piece has a wicked sense of understated humor, and it cuts to the core—using only corporate banality—of the link between violence and nationalism. The best part for me is that my late father-in-law, a brilliant Scripps marine biologist and a quiet agitator of his own—was on the university committee that accepted this piece into the collection. Jim didn’t like contemporary art, and neither understood nor liked this piece, but he voted for it anyway. That seems to me the perfect spirit to hold while voting for an artwork like this. It is a necessary work. I’m glad my family was part of it.

(Perverse addendum: the fountain has acquired the reputation of being lucky, so students stop by and drink the lucky water before tests.)

But lest you think I live on conceptualism alone, here’s another terrific sculpture on the UCSD grounds, and one that needs no explaining. You simply must go and nestle with it. It is 23 feet tall, and it was made of eight very large stones weighing 180 tons, in 2005. It sits in the grass and mostly giggles, though you fear it could have a tantrum right out there in front of the computer science and engineering buildings.

UPDATE: Somehow, I forgot to note that Bear is by Tim Hawkinson. Sorry!

Tim Hawkinson _Bear_-1.jpg

(Perverse addendum: I would like the bear to have a tantrum all over the person who thought this PR photograph should have children running through it.)

Morning News

posted by on January 16 at 7:00 AM

All by ourselves: 51 percent of American women live solo, sans husband. First time ever.

Headless henchman: Saddam’s half-brother decapitated by hangman’s noose.

This condo for rent : The bottom begins to give in big city housing markets.

Duh of the century: Simpson did it. He confessed.

Duh Number Two: Low level inmates languish at Guantanamo.

Who cares?: The Golden Globes happened. Some sad snubs.

Fight over smoking ban spreads : To apartment buildings.

“I Fawking Kill You”

posted by on January 16 at 1:54 AM

We’re in Imperia (sister city: Newport, Rhode Island), a smallish town on the northern Mediterranean coast of Italy, for a day of laundry, full meals, and rest. We need it.

Best tattoo (Munich): “Long live the dead.”

Best vegetarian grafitti (Milan): A long bone, surrounded by elaborate, different-colored circles, with the caption: “Tofu Pax.”

Best hater graffiti (Utrecht): “How do you get a goth out of a tree? Cut the rope.”

Most intimidating conversation (in an apartment full of loud, aggro, drugged-up rockers, Milan):

Me: What’s your name?
Italian #1: El Conquistador.
Me: Why do they call you Conquistador?
Italian #1: Hm?
Me: Your name. Conquistador. Why.
Italian #1: Oh. Ah. Thee-ah Espanish conquistadores.
Me: Yes. But why you. Why is that your name?
Italian #2 (pops out of nowhere, screams): BECAUSE THAT’S EES FAWKING NAME, FAWKER! CONQUISTADOR! STOP ASKING STUPID FAWKING QUESTIONS! One strike. (Makes a chopping gesture.) Strike one.
Me (trying to sound not-intimidated): What happens after three strikes?
Italian #2: I fawking kill you.

I never got strike two.

Best song lyrics (copied from the back of a record by Out With a Bang, Milan):

“Do What My Cock Says”

Right and wrong make no fucking sense,
‘Cause I’m here. Fucked up. To do. What my cock says.
-set this fucking night on fire-yeah.
+set this stupid night on fire-
(and he says)
“get laid! get hurt! this is what you gonna do, and
get high! get drunk! fuck control man, ABUSE!”
-set this stupid night on fire-
-set this fucking night on fire-

Guess who the singer was? Italian #2. (They were nuts, totally wasted, played with tons of feedback, everyone in the crowd seemed to hate them, and when the sound guy at the Milanese punk squat tried to get on stage and turn off the amps, the guitarist just glared, shook his head, and the sound man shrunk back into the crowd. It was great. My brother said it was like seeing an Italian version of the Germs.)

Most disconcerting sight (driving from Munich to Milan): So little snow in the Alps. The fucking ALPS.

Next stop: Marseille.

Monday, January 15, 2007

When You Absolutely, Positively Have to Have a Parakeet at Half Past Eleven On a Monday Night

posted by on January 15 at 8:25 PM

I’m not sure if a grocery store is supposed to have a “Live Pets” section…


But it’s nice to know that when I need a parakeet or a hamster in the middle of the night in McHenry, Illinois, I can just head to the Meier on Route 31. It’s by the Starbucks, just past the Subway… across from the Payless Shoe Source… shares a parking lot with the Borders…

Update on Pike-Pine Development

posted by on January 15 at 5:31 PM

Carl Goodman over at Urbnlivn gives the latest details of the proposed new development at Pine and Belmont (the condos that will displace the Cha Cha, Bimbo’s, and five other businesses) an unequivocally negative review, calling it “blocky and bereft of true design inspiration.”

Skimpy, unusable, Juliet balconies adorn the elevations. An ineffective attempt at relieving the monolithic Pine Street façade is sought through the incorporation of a series of tiered shallow setbacks, allowing the sidewalk to become wider at the downhill Summit Avenue corner.

Goodman notes that the designer, Weber + Thompson, is also responsible for the sprawling, unpopular (among neighborhood residents at least) building at the corner of Broadway and Roy, a fact that has unnerved neighbors who are already alarmed at the prospect of losing seven local businesses. The developer has made clear that bars will not be welcome in the new building; independent retail, meanwhile seems unlikely since the rent in the large new retail spaces will be double what the current tenants are paying now.

The Day in Women

posted by on January 15 at 5:11 PM

Hooray! Now girls can have scantily clad junior sexbots perform suggestive dance routines at their games too!


Victory for men oppressed by 25-cent drinks everywhere: Ladies’ night banned in Denver. Steve Horning, the plaintiff in the legal crusade against ladies’ nights, is a self-described “major anti-feminist.” He says he plans to visit as many ladies’ nights as he can now that the nights are banned; “I feel it could net me $3,000 to $4,000 a week easy and I’m going to do it. It takes me five minutes to be discriminated against.’’ It’s worth noting that, besides failing to note the routine price-based discrimination women encounter every day of our lives (see: haircuts, clothes, dry cleaning, shoes, the 24-cent-per-dollar wage disparity), Horner didn’t notice the world’s anti-male bias until his wife left him several years ago; since then, he’s made it his mission in life to make sure women have to pay more for the privilege of getting drunk and being preyed upon by men like him.

Elsewhere in Colorado, a coed homeless shelter welcomes with open arms a felon convicted of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. Residents of the shelter, including children and victims of sexual assault, were not told that they might have to share their quarters with a convicted “sexually violent predator” because the shelter does not take criminal history into account when deciding who gets admitted. “The very first clause in our mission statement is to provide safe shelter,” the shelter’s director said. Just not, you know, for women.

New York Times’ Modern Love writer talks about falling in love with a convicted rapist, deciding he was the victim. “No longer was my response autopilot compassion for the girl. No longer would I assume the guilt of intoxicated boys in the company of intoxicated girls everywhere. His ordeal will always haunt me.” The writer, Ashley Cross, claims to have “learn[ed] everything I could about the case” and reached the conclusion that the plaintiff was just “hysterical.” Yet, as Gawker notes, there was no way she could have decided her beloved wasn’t guilty if she’d bothered to read any of the news coverage of the trial, which concluded there was “no question” that Cross’s boyfriend-to-be had forced himself into his sleeping victim’s room and had sex with her after she attempted to fight him off physically and repeatedly told him “no.” Shouldn’t the Times have done a little fact-checking before it printed a column claiming a convicted rapist was innocent?

Finally: An Australian designer unveils the Burqini, a bathing suit for Muslim women whose religion doesn’t allow them to show more than their feet, hands, and face in public; wearers describe it as “very comfortable”:


(Cross-posted here, where you’ll find plenty more along the same lines. If you’re into that sort of thing.)

Today On Line Out

posted by on January 15 at 4:58 PM

Cows and Amateur Radio: Tonight in Music.

Meth Cooks Get New Van: These Arms Are Snakes Get Jacked.

Rex Bossman: Bruce Springsteen’s New Glory Days.

End Hits: Lake of Falcons = Good.

The Sober Age: Mingus = God, but God is Dead.

A Dream Deferred: Blood Brothers’ Record Label Dries Up, Or Does it Explode?.

Musique Concrete: Rural Washington Sound Clash.

On Television

posted by on January 15 at 4:37 PM

Celebrity chef/bad boy Anthony Bourdain was here in June, taping segments for “No Reservations”; the program featuring our fair city airs tonight at 10 p.m. on the Travel Channel. The geoduck-digging mission that led him to make a comparison to fisting Shamu will be included, as will his dinner at local underground restaurant Gypsy; his groping by a female fan at downtown’s Union will presumably be left out.

MLK Box Office

posted by on January 15 at 4:19 PM

The dream has finally been reelized. Four out of the five top grossing films over the MLK weekend are basically black movies.

1 Stomp the Yard $26,400,000 ($26,400,000) 2 Night at the Museum $21,500,000 ($190,156,000) 3 The Pursuit of Happyness $11,000,000 ($138,379,000) 4 Dreamgirls $10,242,000 ($67,084,000) 5 Freedom Writers $8,776,000 ($20,100,000)
Americans forked out nearly sixty million bucks to see blacks do their Hollywood thang. I suppose that’s progress.

Cuckolding Confusion

posted by on January 15 at 4:04 PM

This week’s “Savage Love” touched on race. I advised a white man that felt guilty about his desire to be cuckolded by a black man—that is, to have a black man fuck his wife in front of him—that it was possible for him to act on his “racist” fantasies and still be considered a good progressive. (You can read it here.)

Some felt my response was racist….

The question Can’t Understand Cuckold Kink asked was racist, and your response was racist. A person cannot consider himself anything but sick and inhuman if their sexual gratification derives from the debased objectification of other people, regardless of anyone’s consent. Your entire argument would have one believe that a person’s sexuality should operate under situational ethics. I disagree. There’s never a good time to derive sexual pleasure from Black male dehumanization—not because of a question of consent, but because such treatment disavows the very concept of Black male humanity no matter what. It’s just wrong…. Frankly, I don’t know how anyone can consent to their own degradation, but a person can’t consider their fantasy objectifying another person and still perform said act because the soon-to-be-objectified person ‘consented.’

J. L.

While others felt it was not racist

I am a faithful reader of “Savage Love” in the Philadelphia Weekly and after having just read your advice to CUCK (Can’t Understand Cuckold Kink) about the white man with a cuckold fantasy I felt the urge to give you kudos. As a heterosexual black woman, I have constantly been aware of the black, verile, “birth of a nation” stereotype and even though I am not a man, it has constantly bothered and insulted me to an indescribable point. I think you handled the advice very well, with just the right amount of social/racial consciousness and honesty but also bringing it back to what CUCK wanted which was sex advice. I’ll not go off into a tirade on racism & stereotypes b/c #1 that’d take forever and #2 that’s not what i want this email to be about.

Good to see there is another person out there with some sense regarding race that isn’t Black themselves. I’d call that progress and it does give me hope.

Girl With A New Appreciation For Savage

And some folks thought I missed the point…

There’s more to the b/w cuckold thing than what you wrote in your advice. At least in some situations, the white man who fantasizes/worries about “his” woman being fucked/raped by black men is actually transfering to the white woman his own unacknowledged lust for black men. The giant glistening black cocks are for him, not her.

Also, in the past two hundred years, identifying yourself as white, masculine and hetero has meant at least two three relationships of dominance: being dominant over non-whites, being dominant over “effeminate” or homosexual men, and being dominant over women of all colors. As writers and scholars of colonialism (George Orwell in “Shooting An Elephant,” Ashis Nandy in THE INTIMATE ENEMY) have pointed out, this exercise in relentless dominance is pretty tiring, and sometime what the white/masculine/hetero man wants is to hang up his racial and gendered boots
and NOT be so dominant.

The “white man’s burden” is precisely that: a burden, associated with particular ideologies of whiteness and masculinity. The burden can generate fantasies of equality (as it did with Orwell in BURMESE DAYS and E.M. Forster in A PASSAGE TO INDIA), or it can generate fantasies of being reduced to the state of the cuckold, where the top dog gets to be dominated for a change, and FREED, paradoxically enough, from the burden of having to be so relently white/manly/straight.

A third fantasy is identification, where the white man wants to BECOME black. CUCK’s fantasy of watching a black man fuck his wife is related to late-19th and early-20th century blackface performances. Listen to Marlon Riggs in the documentary ETHNIC NOTIONS: the blackface performance was entertaining to whites because it set them free to act out their inner desires, unconstrained by the rules of whiteness. Your letter-writer doesn’t just want to see a black man fuck his wife, he also wants to BE the black man fucking his wife. The black guy boning his wife is his own self, in blackface.

Sorry about the lecture. I teach history, if that’s any excuse.


And, finally, it seems that Oprah isn’t interested this subject

I just read your Village Voice article about the white male cuckold who dreams of a black dude fucking his wife. I just wanted to state that I’m a black man in New York City. I’m a member of several Yahoo groups that cater to white women that love fucking black men. You’d be surprised at the number of white males that post messages to the group seeking black men to fuck their wives. I’ve even emailed Oprah Winfrey about this, and suggested she do a show about it. Of course, I’ve never gotten a reply.

I once fucked an attractive 40something white businesswoman in a Manhattan hotel room while her husband watched and jerked off. White men watching black men fuck their wives or girlfriends is one of America’s biggest secrets.

Well Endowed Black Man Enjoys Boffing Any Cuckold’s Spouse

The Contenders: Newt Gingrich

posted by on January 15 at 3:05 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.


Newt Gingrich

Party: Republican

Age: 64

Status: Unclear

Newt Gingrich’s name keeps circulating as one of those back-bench Republicans who could make a credible run for president if the conditions proved just right. For now, he likes to say that he is “not running for president,” but “running to change this country.”

Newt Gingrich was born Newton McPherson in 1943, in Pennsylvania. His parents divorced soon after he was born and when his mother re-married, he was adopted by her new husband, Robert Gingrich.

He received a BA from Emory University in 1965 and went on to garner both an MA and then a PhD from Tulane University in Modern European History. He then taught history at West Georgia College until 1978, but was denied tenure.

Newt Gingrich already had two unsuccessful bids for Congress under his belt before finally, in 1978, he won a Congressional seat representing Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District. He was re-elected 10 times. In 1989 he became House Minority Whip after Dick Cheney was appointed Secretary of Defense.

In 1994 he co-authored the Republicans’ “Contract with America” and, after his party took control of the House for the first time in 40 years, Gingrich became Speaker of the House.

Congress voted on all ten of the contract’s issues within the first 100 days of the session. Democrats filed 84 ethics charges against Speaker Gingrich during his term, all of which were eventually dropped. After the poor performance of Republicans in the 1998 Congressional elections, Gingrich stepped down as Speaker and resigned from his Congressional post. Many believe that it was his relentless attacks against President Clinton in the Lewinsky scandal that let to the Republican Party’s slide in public opinion, and that his resignation was a preemptive measure before he was forced out by his own party.

Since then, Gingrich has been a bit of a political gadfly, appearing as a special commentator for Fox News Channel, sparring with Ali G….

….and, recently, declaring World War III:

On the issues, Gingrich is a proud member of the “activist judges” chorus (both on gay marriage and on abortion rights). He’s pro-death-penalty, supports amending the Constitution to support prayer in schools, opposes the Kyoto Accord, and has been somewhat critical of the conduct of the Iraq War.

Gingrich has been married 3 times and has two daughters with his first wife, whom he divorced as she was recovering from cancer. It was rumored that he was involved with his third wife, Calista Bisek, a House aide, while he was still married to his second wife.

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

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

The State of Illinois Center

posted by on January 15 at 2:41 PM

Wandering around downtown Chicago Friday afternoon, I walked by the State of Illinois Center—a huge, squat… monstrosity… that was inflicted on the citizens of Chicago in 1985 by the state of Illinois. When I saw it again I thought, “I wonder what the fuck Charles would make of this?” The State of Illinois Center sits across the street from Chicago’s City Hall, a much lovelier bit of civic architecture. Unlike every other building in Chicago’s loop, the State of Illinois Center is wider than it is tall and it’s, well, here it is…


It doesn’t have that weird crease down the center—that’s just from my two photos pasted together. The exterior of the building is smooth, sloped, and curved. (Click here for a larger image.)

And here’s the inevitable bad public art…


And here’s the interior of the building—a wide, round space. Very… uh… vaginal, this shaft. Or something.


Anyway, Charles? Your thoughts?

No New Religion

posted by on January 15 at 2:22 PM

One fact that suggests that this is indeed “the age of reality,” as LKJ once put it, is that the album here pictured did not establish a new religion:
1Charlie-Mingus-The-Black-Saint-A-339544.jpg This music is much like those galactic clouds of dust and gas; clouds that were ejaculated from the lives of earlier stars. The molecular materials, particulate matter, atomic stuff of these clouds form new stars, new points of fusion in the vacuum from which all comes and to which all returns. And in the beginning of what now is everything, matter became matter because it preferred not being matter. That instinct—the preference that made the universe, gasses, dust, and stars possible—is with us (within us) to this day. It is the source of all religions. Which gets us to The Black Saint and Sinner Lady. In this music, not only do we have the materials for religious belief, for the experience of something that feels total—and truth is always the whole truth—but also a celebration of the preference to be, to exist, to thrive. Here we hear the most gravid passions of Mingus’s genius and it is a wonder that a new faith in the future did not condense within the rich and erotic cloud of his music. Ours must truly be the sober age of “science and technology.”

You Had a Dream

posted by on January 15 at 1:39 PM

In a comment to my my earlier post about Amiri Baraka and MLK Day, a commenter writes:

what a wasted opportunity…the stranger’s readers are young and could use some updating on the civil rights movement. and what do you do on MLK day? make some kind of cynical, obscure statement about a white hipster.

wow, you all are so cool aren’t you?

White Hipster? Amiri Baraka is black.


And let me set you straight:

For something that happened 40-plus years ago, the Civil Rights movement gets an odd amount of ink on Slog and in our paper. From me.

In honor of Stokely Carmichael.

In honor of SNCC.

In honor of John Lewis.

More on John Lewis.

The Emmett Till murder.

Those are just some quick links off the top of my head that, like today’s post, evidently went way over your head.

Bad kids, Delridge

posted by on January 15 at 12:49 PM

I recently spent a Saturday evening at the Delridge Community Center’s “late night,” a weekend after-hours for young people. I’d read a police report that said there had been a spate of recent assaults at the center because of a gang war between one gang with a really long name, which had been blacked out, and one with a really short name, ditto. When I called the police over there they said, “What gang war?” So I went to check it out. What I found were a bunch of kids playing basketball. I’m sure some of them were in gangs. One was wearing a diamond the size of my thumbnail in his ear. But the ballers were by no means all of a kind—it was the most diverse gathering I’ve seen in Seattle in a long time. And anyway, basketball seems like a good way to lure young hustlers off the corner, at least for a few hours. The sad thing is that the center isn’t open as late as it used to be—it now closes at 12 instead of 1—and staff has been cut.

One other interesting tidbit: The staff at Delridge said they do have occasional problems out in the parking lot. And they’re sure some of the fights are gang related. They also cited the temporary relocation of Cleveland High School from the east side, Beacon Hill, to the west side, on Delridge Way SW. Suddenly, the west-side kids are invading east-side territory. Not quite the Jets and the Sharks, but still an interesting twist in an old Seattle rivalry.

Local Boy in The New Yorker

posted by on January 15 at 12:15 PM

How many expressive young men are sitting around Seattle dreaming of one day being in The New Yorker? Who can keep track… But here is one Seattle native, photographer Andrew Miksys, who has actually made the leap. His picture “Kissing Couple,” from 2001, accompanies William Trevor’s short story in the current issue of the magazine.


Here’s a cleaner version of the photograph. It’s from Miksys’s time in Lithuania, where he’s focused much of his attention on the Roma. Miksys will be at Seattle’s CoCA on Jan. 26, along with NPR commentator and poet Andrei Codrescu, to present images from Miksys’s new book, BAXT.

If you go, ask him about this lady.

Free at Last?

posted by on January 15 at 12:15 PM

Not yet…

According to the federal Household Survey, “most current illicit drug users are white. There were an estimated 9.9 million whites (72 percent of all users), 2.0 million blacks (15 percent), and 1.4 million Hispanics (10 percent) who were current illicit drug users in 1998.” And yet, blacks constitute 36.8% of those arrested for drug violations, over 42% of those in federal prisons for drug violations. African-Americans comprise almost 58% of those in state prisons for drug felonies; Hispanics account for 20.7%.

But the enforcement disparity in Seattle couldn’t be as bad, right?

African-Americans constitute about 8 percent of Seattle’s population yet 57 percent of adult drug arrests in 1999 were African-American.


Why We’re Losing

posted by on January 15 at 11:15 AM

Four in ten Americans have a “personal bond” with their cars, and believe their car has a personality of its own. Three in ten think their car “has a gender,” with three times as many thinking of their cars as female (23 percent) than male (seven percent).

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 15 at 11:00 AM


Pan’s Labyrinth
Guillermo del Toro’s anti-fascist fairy tale isn’t just for fanboys and LOTR freaks. Its sound is as vivid as its pictures: The squeak of new leather and the metallic scrape of a straight razor herald the entrance of the bad guy, a little girl’s evil stepfather. Yeah, that’s an evil stepfather—this original story is more feminist than any of that revisionist shit. Pan’s Labyrinth is unapologetically brutal, just like traditional fairy tales. And it’s really scary. (See Movie Times for details.) ANNIE WAGNER

Pardon the Preceding Post

posted by on January 15 at 10:44 AM

Our Slog poetry filter must be on the fritz; Andrew’s post slipped through somehow. Please accept our apologies.

Yes, Yet Another Top Ten List

posted by on January 15 at 10:33 AM

Ok, I realize that this is a little late. (Out of respect for my #9 pick, I followed the Mayan calendar.) Nevertheless, here are my top-10 movies of the last year, rendered in the traditional haiku form.

1. Brick
Hurt high-school Hammett
Should’ve been cutesy, but ain’t
Dead solid shamus

2. Pan’s Labyrinth
Cliché as it sounds,
Just pure sheer movie magic
That’s one Grimm fairy

3. Perfume
Unfilmable? Feh.
Adapts, adopts, and improves
Shame about Hoffman

4. The Descent
Tight, controlled chaos
Jesus, that night-vision part!
The end makes it sing

5. 13 Tzameti
Neck hair stood up straight
For a solid freakin’ hour
Pepsid sales explode

6. Edmond
Macy with Ginsu
Mamet at his prickliest
Why am I laughing?

7. United 93
Strip away the real
Still a tremendous glimpse of
men at work, pressured

8. Deliver us from Evil
Doc form’s getting stale
But the anger breaks on through
A must-see, sadly

9. Apocalypto
The dude’s a loon, but
ace on the primal level
Ugh, me like. Jaguar!

10. Casino Royale
Begone, Moonraker
Driving, shooting, and screwing
all seem cool again

The Obesity Epidemic

posted by on January 15 at 10:06 AM

It’s genetic—or, hey, maybe it’s all the soda pop we’re guzzling at breakfast.

It’s not unusual for Dee McKinsey to have three cans of Coke before she leaves the house each morning for her job as the regional director of boards and volunteerism at the American Cancer Society in Chicago.

“There is nothing better than the feel of Coke on the back of your throat in the morning,” said McKinsey, a morning pop drinker since the 1970s, savoring the cold, stinging sensation that coffee drinkers just don’t get.

But these days, more people are enjoying that chilled morning jolt as they increasingly turn to soft drinks instead of coffee, flaunting mom’s no-pop-for-breakfast rule many had in their youth.

Consumption of soft drinks at breakfast eaten outside the home has nearly doubled in the past 15 years, while coffee consumption with breakfast outside the home has fallen nearly 25 percent, according to data compiled by New-York based consumer research firm NPD Group, which has offices in Rosemont.

Two questions…

Coffee consumption has fallen 25 percent in the past 15 years? What? Is Starbucks selling coffee? Or is it a money-laundering operation for the mob?


I don’t wanna be a scold—hey, I don’t care if people want to shoot heroin in the morning—but it’s nuts that the obesity epidemic isn’t mentioned anywhere in this story from today’s Chicago Tribune. If folks want to pour Coke down their throats in the early morning and have diabetes by late afternoon, that’s fine with me. Whatever. But shouldn’t a little bit of the bad news about soda have made it into the piece? The story in the Trib reads like it was drafted by the Carbonated Beverage Council.

For the record: Soda makes you fat, fat makes you sick, sick makes you die. If you’re going to chug soda for breakfast, that’s cool. It’s a personal choice and unlike, say, cigarette smoke, Coke doesn’t float through the air and down other peoples’ throats. But four Cokes at breakfast is about as good for you as four cigarettes before breakfast. That belonged in the story.

Bewigged Gyllenhaal

posted by on January 15 at 9:47 AM

In case you missed it, host Jake Gyllenhaal kicked off this week’s Saturday Night Live with a passionate rendition of the Dreamgirls smash, “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.” Yes, it was shameless pandering to the gays, and yes, it was some well-timed promotion for Dreamgirls, but more than anything, it was a perfect example of how to host SNL.

Clearly, the first question that should be put to any SNL guest host is: What can you do that’s hilarious? In the case of Jake G., the answer clearly involved his unexpected ability to sing in his upper range and hit yelly high notes with a minimum of effort, and glory be! SNL had a legitmately funny opening skit—a rarity, given that most show openers involve some uncomfortable celebrity reading lame, self-referential jokes off a cue card.

Congrats to SNL and Mr. Gyllenhaal, and advice to readers: If you’re interested in that clip, watch it now, as it will likely be yanked from YouTube before long.

On Being a Journalist with a Blog

posted by on January 15 at 9:20 AM

David Carr has a great piece in the New York Times today about the the way blogs are changing the life of the newspaper writer. Also discussed: the crack-like addictiveness of blog comments, the intimacy of electrons, and the harsh judgment of web analytics.

There has always been a feedback loop in journalism — letters to the editor, the phone and more recently e-mail messages. But a blog provides feedback through a fire hose. The nice thing about putting out a newspaper was that, at some point, the story was set and the writer got to go home. Now I have become a day trader, jacked in to my computer and trading by the second in my most precious commodity: me. How do they like me now? What about … now? Hmmmm … Now?

A Quote for MLK Day

posted by on January 15 at 9:15 AM

Let me preemptively say that I’m in awe of MLK Jr. and the civil rights movement.

And I certainly don’t fall for the pseudointellectual, contrarian hipster stance that MLK was a softy sellout compared to bad Malcolm X.

Having said all that, there is an uncanny, eccentric, and magnetic quote in Sunday’s NYT from dissident black poet Amiri Baraka (formerly LeRoi Jones) that does a real number on today’s festivities.

Jones was a member of the white Beat literary scene in the late 1950s before exploding like an ANC Molotov cocktail in his own right as an orthodox Black Power Marxist in the mid-’60s. He changed his name upon Malcolm X’s assassination to Amiri Baraka. From that day forward, he has been an incorrigible bomb thrower.

(I don’t think much of Baraka these days, but he was important to me as a kid. I’ll never forget stumbling across his agit-prop poem about Muhammad Ali, “Note to America,” while sitting in detention in my high-school library one afternoon—and later, reading Baraka’s black music history book, Blues People, where he plays the dozens against the minstrelsy of Al Jolson, Glenn Miller, Elvis Presley, and Mick Jagger.)

Anyway, here’s Baraka’s hot Marxist quote from yesterday’s NYT that, in Baraka’s inimitable style, seems perfectly timed to detonate on MLK Day.:

“The civil rights movement,” he said, “has just provided more opportunities for prostitution.”

Happy day off, everybody.

The Morning News

posted by on January 15 at 7:30 AM

Pursed Lips: Democrats talk about using the “power of the purse” to stop Bush’s surge, and Bush’s advisers talk back.

Silence = Betrayal: So says John Edwards, consciously echoing Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1967 call to end the Vietnam War (and on Hillary’s turf no less).

Hey, Jealousy: Why are some well-known black leaders feeling cool toward Senator Barack Obama? Perhaps it’s the hand of Clinton. Or perhaps it’s all about envy.

Perfectly Legitimate: Cheney sees no problem with the Pentagon and CIA peeking into Americans’ bank records.

On Trial: Cheney’s former chief of staff, starting Tuesday.

Hanged Before Dawn: Two Hussein associates.

Not Changing: The Gates Foundation says it will keep investing in companies that work against its mission.

The Ice Storms: Much worse than a few days of cold.

I Have a Dream: That was about the abolition of slavery, right?

Last Hour of the Wildebeest: On the way out in Africa.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Re: The Seattle Times Visits Zoo

posted by on January 14 at 6:00 PM

To get a sense of where Charles took the freaky material at hand, check out the feature story Charles wrote for us last February.

I believe the story was a first draft of the script Charles eventually wrote for Zoo.

Good luck in Utah, Mudede.

The Seattle Times Visits Zoo

posted by on January 14 at 3:20 PM


In advance of the film’s debut at Sundance this week, the Seattle Times takes an in-depth look at Zoo, the new documentary written by Charles Mudede, directed by Robinson Devor, and devoted to the Seattle man who was fucked to death by an Enumclaw horse.

As I imagine will be the case with a lot of Zoo’s mainstream press, the Times story is preoccupied with reiterating the fact that Zoo is not a bestiality porno film:

“It is not tabloid, it is an aestheticizing approach,” said Mark Urman of THINKfilms, the New York company that will distribute the movie. “That eliminated the ‘ick’ factor and made it a film, not the sort of thing you’d see on reality-based television…If it were done salaciously or sniggering, it would not only be a disservice to the film but an enormous turn off. [Zoo] is discreet with respect to how it communicates. It is a very serious film.”

Read the full Times story here, and best of luck to Zoo in Utah. (If the Seattle Seagulls can’t earn the Northwest the glory it deserves, maybe the Enumclaw Horse-Lovers can…)

I’m So Sorry

posted by on January 14 at 2:17 PM

That I was wrong about the final score. I called Bears win 26-24, not 27-24. But anyone who took my advice—take the Seahawks and the Over—can at least take solace in their gambling winnings despite the disappointment of the season ending for y’all like this. I’d hoped to Live-Slog it, but even after driving like a bat out of hell—actually, out of Iowa which is pretty much the same thing—I didn’t make it to Bruno’s in time to pick on anyone, like Sputnik, Sey, Lloyd Clydesdale, Doug and Horatiosanzerif, who thought I was a)full of shit and b)rooting for a loser.

Enjoy the off-season. I suspect the Bears will lose next week (since we were totally out-coached and almost out-played today) but it’s one more week…

27-24 in OT

posted by on January 14 at 1:24 PM


Congratulations, Chicago Fan(s). It was a hell of a game.

Go Saints!

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on January 14 at 11:00 AM


Barrington Levy
(Real Reggae)
Barrington Levy, AKA “The Mellow Canary,” has to his credit the reggae song “Shine Eye Gal.” Now, I know you’re thinking: “Black Uhuru also has a song by that name.” You are right, they do. But Black Uhuru’s version is about a Rasta dealing with a woman whose beauty (“shine eye”) “is a trouble to a man.” She is a Rasta corruptor. Levy’s version is also about a beautiful woman, but instead of criticizing the “shine eye gal,” who desires worldly things (cars, champagne, diamonds), he presents her with the ultimate human question: “What do you really want?” Rarely does reggae get better than the best of Barrington Levy. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $20, 21+.) CHARLES MUDEDE