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Archives for 03/04/2007 - 03/10/2007

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Violence on Capitol Hill

posted by on March 10 at 7:41 PM

There’s a lively discussion going on under Grandy’s post about a shooting at Sugar last night.

A mini-debate is brewing in the thread about whether or not the violence was homophobic.

I don’t have the answer to that question, but two weeks ago when we broke the news about Broadway’s recent “ongoing situation” (as the SPD reports we reviewed called the scene by Club Lagoon), the people we interviewed definitely talked about a new current of homophobia.

In general, that story was about a basic culture clash between Broadway’s indie Free to be You and Me vibe and the testy Partay! kids (more often seen in Belltown and Pioneer Square) who are venturing onto Capitol Hill now.

Anyway, if you missed our Club Lagoon story, check it out. It’s worth reading and seems germane to the comments thread about Sugar.

Remember to Vote

posted by on March 10 at 7:10 PM

March 13th, the deadline to get your ballots mailed, is this Tuesday.

So, find your ballot— hidden among all those bills, lost in your back pack, gone missing on the living room table, or on the floor with your laundry, homework, and bong—and fill it out and send it in.

The Stranger recommends voting ‘No’ on the tunnel and ‘Hell No’ on the rebuild.

The Seattle Times reported today that 102,099 voters have already sent in their ballots and elections officials anticipate another 85,000 will come in before it’s all over—for about 55% voter “turn out” … or I guess, “turn in.”

King County mailed out over 341,000 ballots in mid February.


Round Two

posted by on March 10 at 6:36 PM

Darcy Burner to challenge Dave Reichert again in ‘08. McJoan’s all over it at DailyKos.

It’s Time

posted by on March 10 at 3:31 PM

Clock.jpgSet your clocks ahead one hour tonight; daylight savings time starts at 2 am Sunday.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 10 at 2:52 PM


”Why a Northwest Biennial?’ (ART PANEL) Although something else is going to be on everyone’s mind, Stranger art critic Jen Graves, independent art critic Matthew Kangas, and Seattle P-I art critic Regina Hackett have promised to stay on topic. The topic: the Northwest Biennial currently up at Tacoma Art Museum. What does this show tell us about what art’s heavy hitters are thinking about? What does it tell us about biennials? And exactly how long did it take Alex Schweder to cast his entire bathroom in packing peanuts and spit? (Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Ave, Tacoma, 253-272-4258. 3 pm, free with $7.50 museum admission.) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

This Week on Drugs

posted by on March 10 at 12:06 PM

Green Traveler: John Popper popped outside Ritzville.

Take It With a Grain of Sugar: Study claims morning coffee only relieves caffeine withdrawal.

Doping While Black: Minorities singled out for NYC pot busts.

Winter Chills: More students busted while toking in dorms during snow storms.

Utah Supremes: Nosey cops can’t make warrantless searches on smell alone.

THCPR: New Mexico Governor tries to resuscitate dead medical marijuana bill.

License to Pills: High-schoolers with California pot cards can carry prescriptions but not cannabis on campus.

Nightmare from Elma: Woman allegedly gives toddler bong hits.

Beef in Wellington: Barista sued for switching stands.

Pardon Me: Man serving 17-year sentence for smoking pot freed.

Boys at Arms

posted by on March 10 at 10:10 AM

I was recently coerced into chaperoning a camping trip with three other adults and 40 10-year-olds. Normally I’m not a kid person; the concept of spending two hours, let alone 48, with more than one person under the age of 18 frankly gives me the creeps. The exception to this rule is my brother, who has just turned 11, and this winter break attended a daycare program whose final adventure was an overnight camping trip on the bay.

Continue reading "Boys at Arms" »

The Morning News

posted by on March 10 at 9:18 AM

Fox News=class act Fox News president Roger Ailes jokes:

“And it is true that Barack Obama is on the move. I don’t know if it’s true that President Bush called Musharraf and said, ‘Why can’t we catch this guy?”

Democrats not laughing

Only getting worse: Headlines like 18 Killed in Baghdad Suicide Bombing make it hard for the Pentagon to find fresh troops

Donde esta el trust in government? Three years later, some doubt Spanish government’s official story on train bombings

Osama Bin Laden turns 50 US wonders where to send present

Jerry, Jerry, Jerry! Alleged child molester really wants to be on TV

And you thought cell phone companies were robbing you blind: Cingular employee sentenced for stealing 598 cellular phones

Back to the future: Daylight savings time is coming to ruin your week

Gunfire At Sugar

posted by on March 10 at 2:19 AM

There were gunshots outside of Sugar tongiht. The driver of a Chevy Avalanche was wounded. The cops are blocking off Pike between 10th and 11th. The shooter apparently escaped on foot. A witness says that the gunfire resulted from a fight in front of Sugar. The gunshot victim says, “There was no altercation that I know of.”

(Phoned in by Ari Spool and posted by Eric Grandy on Jonathan Zwickel’s computer)

Friday, March 9, 2007

300: Didn’t the Spartans Have Slaves?

posted by on March 9 at 6:48 PM

There’s a lot of screamin’ and yellin’ going on about the new gay porn sand-and-sandals epic 300. Is it a metaphor for the Iraq war? Does it endorse torture? Is it anti-gay? Anti-lesbian? Anti-Persia/Iran? We hated it, the New York Times hated it, and Slate has issues

300 digitally re-creates the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., where, according to classical history and legend, the Spartan king Leonidas led a force of only 300 men against a Persian enemy numbering in the hundreds of thousands….

Here are just a few of the categories that are not-so-vaguely conflated with the “bad” (i.e., Persian) side in the movie: black people. Brown people. Disfigured people. Gay men (not gay in the buff, homoerotic Spartan fashion, but in the effeminate Persian style). Lesbians. Disfigured lesbians. Ten-foot-tall giants with filed teeth and lobster claws. Elephants and rhinos (filthy creatures both). The Persian commander, the god-king Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) is a towering, bald club fag with facial piercings, kohl-rimmed eyes, and a disturbing predilection for making people kneel before him.

Meanwhile, the Spartans, clad in naught but leather man-briefs, fight under the stern command of Leonidas (Gerard Butler), whose warrior ethic was forged during a childhood spent fighting wolves in the snow. Leonidas likes to rally the troops with bellowed speeches about “freedom,” “honor,” and “glory,” promising that they will be remembered for having created “a world free from mysticism and tyranny.”

But here’s a word I haven’t seen in any of the reviews yet: helots. Uh, didn’t the Spartans, bravely fighting for their freedom (when they weren’t getting it on), own slaves? Indeed they did:

Not all inhabitants of the Spartan state were considered to be citizens (part of Damos). Only the ones that had followed the military training, called the agoge, were eligible. However, the only people eligible to receive the agoge were Spartiates, or people who could trace their ancestry to the original inhabitants of the city. Others in the state were the Perioeci, who can be described as civilians, and Helots who were state owned serfs.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on March 9 at 5:30 PM

I didn’t hear about it until after we went to press, but for all you procrastinators out there: Iraq in Fragments is getting a limited re-release at the cozy Grand Illusion starting this weekend. The times are 1 pm this Saturday and Sunday, continuing next weekend. Background reading here, here, and here.


Movie news, etc.: Wild Hogs was tops at the box office last weekend. WILD HOGS! Does anybody know anyone who bought a ticket to this stupid movie? Premiere magazine is going online only, starting in April. Starting today, you can read Cahiers du Cinéma in an English translation for 35 euros a year. (No, I haven’t ponied up yet, but I’m tempted.) And Northwest Film Forum is starting a blog… any day now…

In the paper this week, you can read my piece on SIFF Cinema and its prospective impact on the independent exhibition scene. My instinct, not elaborated there, is that SIFF will in fact be in direct competition with Northwest Film Forum for bookings, which in turn will further restrict the programming options for Grand Illusion. For viewers, there are tradeoffs in either direction. Getting to Seattle Center can be a bitch, but the theater itself is fantastic. If SIFF Cinema sucks up to middlebrow tastes in order to fill their 400-seat house, the programming could end up dispiriting. But it will be fun to watch everything play out. One nice factoid that didn’t make it into the piece: SIFF artistic director Carl Spence told me that their digital projector is capable of the live Metropolitan Opera simulcasts that have so far been relegated to suburban theaters in our market. (Pacific Place plays “encore” presentations, but it’s just not the same.)

Opening today:


Andrew Wright reviews the giant, toothy tadpole movie The Host: “Fleet-footed, slimy, and prone to regurgitation at the most inconvenient of times, the monster serves as a reminder of the simple, goofy pleasures that a well-made creature feature can induce.”

I review the British quiz-show movie Starter for Ten. Note to heterosexual male film critics: PLEASE stop calling James McAvoy “likeable,” “attractive,” “handsome,” etc. He is none of the above. I think I have it right: McAvoy is a hateful empathy suck.

Speaking of heterosexual male film critics: Andrew Wright tackles the homoerotic bronzed-muscle epic 300. His conclusion? “Stand down, Showgirls; a new shining star of queer cinema has been erected.”

And in On Screen this week: Lindy West on Gray Matters (“I thought [Heather Graham] was a harmless, wobbly, mildly amusing bug-face. But that was before I realized that THE WOMAN MAKES ME WANT TO DIE.”), Andrew Wright on Mafioso (“fresh as a daisy!”), and Jen Graves on the consumer debt agitdoc Maxed Out (“the scariest movie of the year!”).

Our fully searchable movie times and film shorts are available via Get Out. The practically compulsory Jacques Rivette series continues this weekend at the Northwest Film Forum, Jean Renoir’s definitely compulsory The Rules of the Game opens today at the Varsity, and the almost compulsory Janus series at SIFF Cinema continues with The Organizer, Ballad of a Soldier, The Cranes Are Flying, and the experimental Yugoslav quasi-documentary WR: Mysteries of the Organism. Crazy go!

Watcha Doing Tonight?

posted by on March 9 at 4:35 PM

Only a few people around here have plans laid out for this gray evening, and I have a feeling most of these are work-related obligations:
“Seeing The Host at the Neptune.”
“Checking out a Jewish safe house owned by a wealthy financier (part of a freelance assignment).”
“Wishing I was at Noroît, Jacques Rivette’s lady pirate adventure, at Northwest Film Forum.”
“Seeing El Perro del Mar at Neumo’s”
“Going to the Misshapes dance party at the Last Supper Club, then trying to catch the end of the Saturday Knights (also Neumo’s).”

Today on Line Out

posted by on March 9 at 3:40 PM

Courtney gets sued.

Nacho invasion.

Randy Jones inspires imagery.

Lucinda Williams = Perfection.

Jared Leto gets fat.

Golden Earring’s golden treasure.

DJ/rupture blows Eric Grandy’s mind.

Hear the Prime Time Nine on Setlist.

Bloc Party to DJ Misshapes tonight

Industrial Revelation pleasantly surprise Zwickel.

Daft Punk are coming to Seattle.

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on March 9 at 3:19 PM

Looks like the Prayer Warrior is back in Latvia:


March 9, 2007

Dear Prayer Warrior,

Praise for 4 extraordinary meetings today! God is doing incredible things through me in Latvia!


• Everyone received their luggage but me. They need to find my luggage and return it to me!

• I will be having a difficult meeting with Ambassador…I just found out that our Embassy in Latvia has been supporting gay groups monetarily to come into this country.

• Continue to pray for strength and stamina.

Your Pastor,

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 9 at 1:30 PM


Seattle Notables Costume Party

(DUMB ART PARTY) Apparently the “Seattle Notables” party celebrates some photography exhibit and you’re supposed to come dressed like a person from McLeod’s list of local (read: third-rate) celebrities. I’m not saying that I’m insulted I didn’t make the cut (even though the Sonics’ Squatch and Christopher “Already-Too-Big-For-His-Britches” Frizzelle did). I’m just saying I don’t even care. It’s just a dumb popularity contest. Whatever. (McLeod Residence, 2209 Second Ave, 441-3314. 8 pm, $15.) BRENDAN KILEY

Daft Punk Are Playing Seattle

posted by on March 9 at 1:14 PM

Details here on Line Out.

Kingdom Cum

posted by on March 9 at 1:12 PM


Own a piece of homo history: Mike Jones, the Colorado callboy that redefined “rub one out” when he exposed Ted Haggard, is selling his massage table—for charity. “T’ain’t the prettiest thing,” says Towleroad, “but if you’re into roleplaying it could prove quite useful.”

All the details here.

On the Secret Ballot

posted by on March 9 at 12:49 PM

After universal suffrage, the second of the six voting reforms that the Chartist movement demanded from parliament during the period of major reform acts in the UK (1830s to 1870s), was election by secret ballot. At the time, those who were allowed to vote—a very small number of men—had to make their vote public. There was no secrecy, everyone knew who selected who, and this situation, the Chartist argued, encouraged corruption, particularly in the rural areas, where tenant farmers were often forced to vote the way their landlords wanted them to vote. But my question is this: Is voting secrecy still necessary in the 21st century? One can understand why it was needed back then, when a good portion of the population was rural and there was little or no official way to report abuses. But as recent presidential elections have shown, secret ballots are nowhere near safe from corruption. In fact, those in power now, unlike those in power in the 19th century, much prefer the shadows of secrecy over the light of transparency. It is to power’s advantage that Americans completely depend on the government for all election results. Reverting to public voting just might be the solution for an age that is everything but private.


posted by on March 9 at 12:41 PM

The headline:

“A Youth Ministry Some Call Antigay Tests Tolerance”

The story:

It is the type of event that cities usually salivate over: more than 20,000 teenagers, all with a keen interest in pop culture, plenty of chaperones, and, of course, pockets full of disposable income.

But when the group in question is a Christian ministry from Texas that condemns homosexuality, and the place is San Francisco, often referred to as “the gayest city in America,” the civic welcome wagon collapses pretty quickly.

A two-day event called BattleCry starts Friday at AT&T Park, the downtown baseball stadium….

[One participant stated] that she did not think there was anything antigay about the event, though she believes gay people are “misguided.”

Mr. Luce echoed that sentiment, saying his group loves gay people, but does firmly believe their sexuality is sinful.

“We see homosexuality like a lot of other things that do harm to us, like lying, or cheating, or stealing,” he said, adding that he said he had seen studies suggesting that many gay people are depressed or unhappy. “And it’s not very loving to leave them in that state and not show them another way.”

Uh, this is a group that “some call” anti-gay? It seems to me that this is a group that is pretty upfront about opposing homosexuality—which is hilarious in and of itself. You might as well “oppose” the dawn. The sun is going to come up tomorrow just the same, your opposition notwithstanding. But any group that says that homosexuality is akin to lying, cheating, and stealing, and that describes it as a sin, and seeks to lead homosexuals out of “that state” and show us another way? It’s objectively anti-gay. You don’t need to qualify that descriptor with “some call.”

The group is upset about the chilly reception its received from San Francisco’s politicians. But an anti-gay group that holds quasi-militeristic rallies in San Francisco—on the steps of SF’s City Hall, site of all those gay marriages a few years back—is making a political statement. Hell, they’re engaged in political provocation. (What’s the name of that rally again? Oh yes: BattleCry!) They can’t then turn to weepy bags of sensitive slop and run crying to the New York Times, of all publications, when their political provocation provokes a political response.

But, hey, it’s a free country—despite the best efforts of Christian fundies. So by all means, BattleCryBabies, go to San Francisco and spend your idiot money. (But if you don’t want any of that money going into the pockets of gays and lesbians you might want to bring your own food and sleep on the sidewalks—the hotels and restaurants are crawling with queers.) Your little rally won’t harm SF and it will do the closeted gay kids dragged to SF by their hateful parents and church youth pastors a world of good. They need to see that there’s another way to live.

Oh, and you gotta love this: “…many gay people are depressed or unhappy.” Yeah, unlike straight people, who are all ecstatically happy, each and every one. There’s no cure for depression quite as effective as the heterosexual lifestyle. Just ask Laci Peterson.

Viaduct Construction Hassles: Not Just for 99 Anymore

posted by on March 9 at 12:39 PM

By now you’re already aware that building a new elevated viaduct on the waterfront would involve long-term closures of SR-99, the route that uses the Alaskan Way Viaduct—up to up to 81 months of partial closure for the rebuild, according to state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) documents.

What you probably didn’t know is that viaduct closure isn’t the half of it.

Because rebuilding the viaduct would also impact roads north and south of the viaduct proper, the ramps that feed the viaduct from downtown (and give viaduct traffic downtown access) would also be closed for long periods while the larger new elevated viaduct was being built. (Tunnel construction would mean long closures too, but since that option appears DOA, I’ll stick to viaduct construction closures, which are as long or longer anyway.)

• First Avenue/SODO off-ramp southbound: closed for 3 months.
• Downtown southbound on-ramp: closed for 48 months.
• Elliott southbound on-ramp: Closed for 75 (!!!) months.

… which is a combined closure of ten years.

Northbound closures aren’t any shorter:

• First Avenue/SODO off-ramp: closed for 27 months.
• Downtown off-ramp: Closed 27 months.
• Western Off-ramp: closed 63 months.

Meanwhile, Alaskan Way itself would be “restricted” for ten full years. That means access to and from downtown will be drastically restricted for a decade—to the chagrin, no doubt, of all those West Seattleites who apparently believe a new elevated viaduct would emerge in place overnight, no disruption required. Reconnecting the street grid to the waterfront would provide access, and

wouldn’t require a decade of disruptive construction.

WSDOT’s plan for accommodating additional traffic downtown includes re-routing traffic onto First Avenue and I-5: Not exactly a visionary (or practical) solution.

Tired of Reading About Critics Instead of About Art?

posted by on March 9 at 12:08 PM

Here are a few great reads that have sustained me through the last week:

1. Elizabeth Bryant’s look on Artdish at death, obsolescence, the post-medium condition, and commodification—is there anything relevant that this amazing essay does not cover? It covers shows at the Frye, the Henry, Western Bridge, Lawrimore Project, and Francine Seders Gallery.

2. Roberta Smith’s brilliant, in-depth description and assessment of Rauschenberg’s use of a medium I had no idea he worked in: transfer drawing.

3. Tom McDonough’s essay on vision, architecture, and the new ICA in Boston in Art in America, also suggested by the always insightful erin82 over at Hankblog. (For this piece you have to pick up a copy of AiA; no links available.)

Krispy Kreme Whole-Wheat Donuts: “So Good, You’ll Suck Dick.”

posted by on March 9 at 11:52 AM

Whose dick, exactly, is entirely unclear.


Just the Facts

posted by on March 9 at 11:38 AM

Up through yesterday the comments were still raging on (approaching the all-time record) in Jen Graves’s original Slog post about the ethical questions raised by art critic Matthew Kangas’s turn as a collector and curator. There are good questions raised in those comments. There is also a lot of speculation and bile. For a broader look at the facts—and the perspective of a lot of people in the field, including artists, art dealers, the New York Times’s culture editor, and a historian of art criticism at Syracuse University—read Graves’s essay here.


[Above: Eye Spy a Hallmark Hit, an oil painting of Matthew Kangas by Leiv Fagereng, originally created for Vital 5’s 2002 show of artists’ portraits of critics.]

The Art of the Meth-Based Horror Film

posted by on March 9 at 11:29 AM


With the cinematic horror genre dominated by faux snuff-and-torture shit like Saw 14: Flayed with an Apple Peeler, I’m finding much more gratifying horror-related entertainment in the burgeoning genre of shocking meth commercials.

Top of the heap: the Montana Meth Project, the visionary anti-meth campaign founded and funded by a concerned gazillionaire whose dream of bombarding Montana kids with meth-negative messages quickly turned the MMP into Montana’s biggest advertiser, with the group’s “saturation-level advertising” reportedly reaching 70-90 percent of Montana teens three times a week.

The group’s first wave of ads primarily targetted potential meth users’ vanity, with “Faces of Meth”-style ads. (See above.) But the latest batch of TV commercials takes things up a few horrifying notches, showing how meth can drive you to beat up your mom, fuck skeezy old guys in motel rooms for money, and ruin Christmas.

See them all here. (And don’t do meth.)

Campaign Season

posted by on March 9 at 11:22 AM

John McCain is about to get the Swift Boat treatment.

Try Bukkake Brand Milk: It’s a Flavor Explosion!

posted by on March 9 at 10:53 AM

In today’s LA Times, there’s a story about bloggers getting paid $15 per post if they promote certain products on their sites. WELL, HELL YEAH, I WANT IN ON THAT ACTION! That’s why I’m happy to promote my newest, most favorite product in the world, BUKKAKE MILK. (Yes, I know “bukkake” is a NSFW word… but this hilariously weird commercial is totally safe. After all, it’s just about milk, right? And what’s wrong with milk? NOTHING, THAT’S WHAT. Now give me my 15 bucks, jerkhole.)

Thanks Super Deluxe!

Required Reading

posted by on March 9 at 10:40 AM

Paul Constant on The Secret in this week’s Stranger.

They call this the Law of Attraction, under the pretense that the universe wants to shower you with abundance and beauty. Again, Byrne: “The only reason any person does not have enough money is because they are blocking money from coming to them with their thoughts.” The Secret protects you from cancer and other diseases: “You are also inviting illness if you are listening to people talking about their illness… If you really want to help that person, change the conversation to good things, if you can, or be on your way.” It will even help out that pesky Peak Oil problem: “Belize has become an oil-producing country because an extraordinary team of people believed in the unlimited power of the mind.”

A reasonable person might ask: What about starving children in Somalia and elsewhere? What about genocide? What about people who hate America precisely because of its ridiculous abundance and smugly stupid material-spiritualism? The Secret has the answer for that, too: “When I discovered The Secret I made a decision that I would not watch the news or read newspapers anymore, because it did not make me feel good.”

I repeat: This is an Oprah-endorsed bestseller.

And do you know to whom The Secret is dedicated? That’s right: You. And can there be any wonder why? “The Earth turns on its orbit for You… Every beautiful thing you see, every wondrous thing you experience is all there, for You… You are the master of the Universe… You are the perfection of Life… the time to embrace your magnificence is now.”

And also: You are a lemming, and if You follow the directions in this book, You will be an Asshole of the Highest Order.

USA Today Looks West, Notices Seattle

posted by on March 9 at 9:29 AM

Today’s USA Today has a story about Seattle’s viaduct debate. Famously media-shy Mayor Greg Nickels (who generally only speaks to Seattle media through one of his many spokespeople) even deigns to speak to America’s Newspaper. Unfortunately, he still seems as deluded as ever about the prospects for his four-lane “tunnel lite,” which he tells USA Today “really talks to the soul of Seattle.” (Governor Christine Gregoire has said in no uncertain terms that the tunnel isn’t happening, which means Seattle can say goodbye to $2 billion in state money. No other elected officials in Seattle are still talking about the tunnel as a real possibility.) More coherently, Nickels says that if the voters reject a tunnel, he’ll “opt to reconfigure existing city streets rather than build another viaduct,” according to USA Today’s paraphrase.

Nose, Face, Spite

posted by on March 9 at 8:54 AM

From this morning’s Seattle Times:

Myrtle Woldson, a 96-year-old Spokane heiress, owns one of the last big blocks of undeveloped land along Seattle’s waterfront.

Her property between Seneca and Spring streets already is considered prime land but would be even more valuable if the Alaskan Way Viaduct gets torn down.

All along the waterfront, property values would increase up to 25 percent if the area is no longer cast in shadow by the 54-year-old roadway, a city study says.

Well, that’s not going to help no-rebuild opponents—enriching heiresses? Even old ones in Spokane? And jacking up the property values of all those downtown condos? God forbid. Let’s build three viaducts—put own down Second Avenue in Belltown—and really punish those fucking condo owners.


The story goes on to point out that there isn’t likely to be much of a building boom along the waterfront if the viaduct comes down—most of the area is already developed, protected by zoning regulations, or publicly owned. But the headline—remove the viaduct and property values will rise!—will no doubt incense the same troglodytes that came out strongly against the Commons.

The Commons was a large park proposed for South Lake Union that Seattle’s citizens were asked to tax themselves to construct. There were two votes, both failed. The person most responsible for the failure of the Commons was Paul Allen, billionaire and South Lake Union landowner. Allen was prepared to donate a good deal of land and, if I recall correctly, about 20 million in cash. He also owned most of the land that surrounded the park. The tax hit on Seattle citizens? A quarter of a billion dollars. In the weeks before one of the votes Allen made a billion dollars in a stock rally—in one day. If Allen had any sense—if he acted more like a Carnegie and less like a carny—he would have cashed out a quarter of his take that day, given the money to the city, and asked that the park be named after his mother. (Paul Allen has the worst advisors on earth. Hey, Paul? Ten minutes after you drop dead the EMP is going to be a Taco Time. You are not making a mark on this city or leaving much of a legacy, dude.)

Opponents of the Commons pointed to the handful of warehouses and small business in South Lake Union—which was otherwise mostly streets, alleys, empty lots, and parking lots. They also condemned the park as a pricey “front yard” for the condos that would be constructed around it. Seattle’s working people were being asked to pay for “park views for millionaires”! So we voted the thing down. Twice. Yay! We saved South Lake Union from Paul Allen! And today South Lake Union is… pricey condos, biotech, office buildings. All those businesses we saved? They’re gone. And there’s no public park, no open space, no green space. Way to go, Paul, way to go, class warriors. We didn’t get the park, the condos came anyway.

Some of the same rhetoric of class resentment is playing out in the debate over the viaduct. (Hey there, Joel!) If we remove that ugly pile of shit—which no one would propose constructing today—some condo owners will benefit. Less noise, better views, rising property values—God forbid. But rising property values along the waterfront don’t just benefit condo owners, heiresses, and landlords. All those condo owners pay property taxes, which benefit the whole city. And even if we make the mistake of rebuilding the viaduct, people are still going to buy, sell, and live in condos, put up office buildings, and be ancient heiresses. They’ll just pay less for those condos and less in property taxes.

What we won’t have if we make the mistake of rebuilding the viaduct is an open, inviting waterfront that functions as amenity to all of Seattle’s citizens. People in condos—less valuable condos—will still enjoy their views out over Elliot Bay from ten, twenty, and thirty stories up. But as with South Lake Union, there will be nothing downtown for the average Seattle resident to enjoy. Plenty of condos, no open public space. Just noise, traffic, and pollution.

The Morning News

posted by on March 9 at 8:19 AM

The Justice Department says the FBI is abusing an administrative subpoena in order to get personal records in national security cases.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been giving some veterans the shaft.

Breaking News: Newt Gingrich is a hypocritical fucktard.

President Bush is set to sign a biofuels pact with Brazil. Critics worry he wants to create an OPEC-like cartel on ethanol.

The European Union has drafted an agreement that would “make Europe the world leader in the fight against climate change.”

Unemployment down, violent crime up.

The local group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is calling for an investigation of Representative Doc Hastings.

Less than half of the people who work in Seattle are able to live in Seattle. Now some public and private officials are trying to change that fact.

Costco has taken its beer and wine battle with Washington State to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Rossi Residue: Citizens for Accountable Elections has filed an initiative to make the King County elections director an elected position.

A ban on cell-phone use while driving has passed the state senate.

The Seattle Times reportedly has two stories up for the Pulitzer.

“Do You Ever Take Drugs So That You Can Have Sex Without Crying?”

posted by on March 9 at 7:27 AM

After the live “This American Life” recording at the Paramount on Wednesday night, I got home at around midnight, went to bed, got up at 4 AM, and headed to Sea-Tac. I flew United (“We Know Why You Fly—Because You Have To, Motherfucker. No One Would Subject Themselves to Our Bullshit Willingly”) all the way to Bloomington, Illinois, where I spoke to three hundred students at Illinois Wesleyan University about sex, female ejaculation, Mary Cheney, gender roles, bisexuality, coming out, parenting, and same-sex marriage—all on three hours of sleep.

Before the talk the students filled out three-by-five cards with their questions. Using cards allows students to anonymously ask questions they might be embarrassed to ask out loud in front of their friends. I always take the cards with me when I leave—I don’t want people fishing cards out of the trash after the talk to see if particular question is written in their boyfriend, girlfriend, or sorority sister’s handwriting. I’m at Bloomington’s teensy airport now, waiting for my flight, looking through last night’s cards, trying to remember if I said anything that’s going to get the Student Senate or the Pride Alliance in trouble for bringing me here.

So what’s on the minds of the students at Illinois Wesleyan? Here are some sample questions from last night…

Settle a bet for me: Is the anus self-lubricating?
Does using a vibrator desensitize you?
Why couldn’t my boyfriend ever keep it up?
What is the relationship, if any, between lesbian/bisexual gender roles and strap-on sex?
How did you find the courage to come out to your family?
What’s your favorite posish?
What do you do if you’re a horny woman and the guy you’re dating refuses to have sex with you?
I have a fantasy about having two dicks and double penetrating my girlfriend. Can I use regular strap-on or is there a “special” variety for men with this fantasy?
Is it possible that after anal sex with my boyfriend, his dick will have poop on it?
How can a woman make herself orgasm? (Be specific!)
Female ejaculation—what’s that about?

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Today’s History Lesson

posted by on March 8 at 5:10 PM

A tribute to America’s father, George Washington.

I heard that motherfucker had like 30 goddamn dicks…

(Hat tip, even though I hate that phrase, to Matt Garman.)

Luke Esser’s Sexual and Biological Contradictions

posted by on March 8 at 5:04 PM

So, here’s GOP chair Luke Esser’s press release on the sex ed bill.


The State Senate passed a bill to discourage abstinence-based sex education on Wednesday, giving state bureaucrats more power over curriculum and blocking key amendments that would have given parents and local school districts more the authority to determine the best ways to teach sex education in their community.

“Sponsors have claimed the bill is intended to promote medically accurate sex education, but that is just a smokescreen designed to camouflage an “Olympia-knows-best” agenda to discourage and then eliminate abstinence-based sex education,” said Washington State Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser.

Huh? Abstinence is explicitly cited in the bill as part of the curriculum: “Every public school that offers comprehensive sexual health education or abstinence education shall offer both abstinence education and comprehensive sexual health programs.”

Furthermore, all the testimony I heard from supporters of the bill included abstinence on the list of birth control options. The Democrats that passed the bill simply want other forms of birth control taught alongside abstinence.

Luke, the GOP has no place making the case that all the possibilities shouldn’t be taught. Isn’t the GOP the party that says all the possibilities must be taught in biology class: evolution and intelligent design. Your candidate for U.S. Senate said so last year and GOP President Bush says schools should teach all the theories.

Are you arguing that when biology class gets to sex ed, public schools should be allowed to limit the discussion by only teaching abstinence?

Donnie Davies Responds!

posted by on March 8 at 4:47 PM

Hello everybody. Yesterday I slogged about the booking of America’s hottest new ex-gay troubadour Donnie Davies at next week’s South by Southwest music fest.

Today I noticed a man purporting to be Donnie Davies himself replied to the post:

Actually, Dan correctly discerned that I am a far right neo-conservative hate speech propaganda program cleverly disguised as a far left comedy stunt. The SXSW staff was very impressed by how much you blogged about me and agreed that we were on to something. God is going to help me make you straight, and all of your Gay Seattle minions too.

Thanks, Donnie! I can’t wait! Break legs at SXSW, and ladies—get ready! Once I’m straight, I’m going down on all of you!

Today On Line Out.

posted by on March 8 at 4:25 PM

My Selektor: Modeselektor Mix Boogy Bytes Vol. 3.

Come On Feel The Noise: Music You Can Touch.

Hating the Game Theory: C’mon, a 7.7’s Not That Bad.

New Erections: New Locust MP3s.

Trash Talk: The Twilight Realm of the Trashies.

Olfactory Talisman?: The Official Fragrance of “Disaffected, Sexually Ambivalent Grunge Youth.”

Loser?: Sub Pop Wants to Send You to College.

Aw, Dude!: Rap Still Loves You, Weed.

Getting Bent: Modified Toy Orchestra’s Rewired Electronics.

Jive Turkey: Dorky Musos and Jive Time Records.

Concerted Effort: Jon Fischer’s Live Inking.

Punk Realness: More of the Trashies.

Mashmatics: DJ Swindle’s Almatic.

More Vomitting: Now The Pussycat Dolls Can Make You Throw Up Too.

Signing in the Way of Control: The Gossip Get Major.

Letter of the Day

posted by on March 8 at 3:50 PM

[The following letter was composed on a typewriter and arrived before Jen Graves’s current feature on critic Matthew Kangas went to press.]

March 3, 2007

I’m keeping Jen Graves’ Mary Henry and Frye Museum articles for a little Stability in this nutty Life.

Graves’ reference to Mathew Kangas’ discovery of “breast and Vagina” elements in Henry’s work reminded me of Kangas’ earlier claim that men who used male subjects in their work were likely to be GAY. I have a clipping somewhere of my response that I’m not Gay: “not even Cheerful”; and I use male figures because they are easier to DRAW. Many Critics are Fools.

Gordon Anderson

You Like Concerted?

posted by on March 8 at 2:50 PM

We have been receiving a lot of letters about Trent Moorman’s article on Jon Fischer’s Concerted comic. If you would like to see Fischer drawing, there is a cool video posted on Lineout right now.

Dirty Sanchez

posted by on March 8 at 2:24 PM

I’m falling in love—but not with Sanchez. It’s Max Blumenthal that’s doing it for me.

Via JoeMyGod.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 8 at 2:22 PM


‘The Cranes Are Flying’ (FILM) Though Mikhail Kalatazov’s The Cranes Are Flying is not as good as I Am Cuba, his masterpiece—and, for me, the greatest film ever made—it is an outstanding work of cinema. As with I am Cuba, Cranes is a feast for the eyes, a feast of experimental edits, architectural photography, dazzling angles, close-ups of beautiful faces, and long tracking shots of the masses. Though the story is ordinary enough (the love of two young Soviets is brought to an end by World War II), not one moment in the film lacks the excitement of a person telling the most original story ever imagined. (SIFF Cinema at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St, 464-5830, 9 pm, $9.) CHARLES MUDEDE

and …

DJ /rupture, Filastine (MUSIC) “The Earth’s smartest DJ” might not be saying much—DJs are generally known for their technique, not their intellect—but DJ /rupture (AKA Jace Clayton) is a true scholar. His rumblings on mash geopolitics with literary criticism with adventurous musicology, and his DJ mixes are every bit as jumbled and deep—fusing global pop, hiphop, and speaker-blowing breaks. Local co-conspirator Filastine explores similar postworld territory. With Jessika Kenney and Eyvind Kang providing voice and viola. (CHAC, 1621 12th Ave, 388-0569. 9:30 pm, $7, 21+.) ERIC GRANDY

Scientology Round-Up

posted by on March 8 at 1:08 PM

Yesterday’s letter of the day, from the Church of Scientology, referenced an “Erica Barnett article from several months ago.” I dug up the paragraph that chafed their theta, plus the few other print mentions since 2002 (and it’s clear we need to crank up the frequency of mockery, people):

So You’ve Decided to Become an Idiot (from The Stranger’s Secret Student Handbook), Sept 20, 2006:


Stay away from Scientology, also known as Dianetics, also known as the crazy “religion” created by the schizophrenic science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard. (Hubbard reportedly once claimed that he had visited heaven twice, and that it had a bank, newspapers, and a restaurant.) Scientologists, who set up tents on campus offering “stress” or “personality” tests, believe that 75 million years ago, an alien ruler named Xenu killed everyone on 76 planets to deal with interplanetary overpopulation. Then he froze their bodies and transplanted them to volcanoes, which he exploded with bombs. Their souls were blown out of the volcanoes and left to wander around looking for new bodies to inhabit. Every time one of these spirits moves into a new person it brings memories of previous lifetimes. “Auditors” test the quality of Scientologists’ thoughts by hooking them up to lie detectors and interrogating them. Scientology also involves hypnosis, repetitive exercises (reading things to the wall until you have them memorized), and writing big checks as a way of moving up the Scientology ladder. Fun, right? Scientologists say critics unfairly take all the stuff about Xenu out of context. Which raises the question: In what context would this crap make sense?

In Touched by an Uncle, November 24, 2005:

Uncle L. Ron

We had no choice. Clearwater stood squarely between us and getting out of Florida, and on a road trip, you can’t pass within 350 miles of relatives without stopping by. It’s a rule.

Consequently, Liz and I found ourselves being quizzed on our educations by my step-uncle Jim. At the mention of my philosophy degree, Jim’s eyes lit up. He leaned across the table, took my hands, and said, “Oh, so you love knowledge? You want to understand the world!”

“Uhh, sure,” I said. “I guess so.”

Over dinner, Jim and Patty invited us to an “event.” Liz and I exchanged nervous glances. “What kind of event?” I asked. “I think you’ll be very interested,” they told us. “It’s only for a few hours.”

At the Scientology center, we were given a tour, and then led into a small classroom. As Jim was leaving the room, Liz overheard him describe us to the lecturer as “prime age, prime property.” We put down our soda and cookies. The more palatable tenets of Scientology were explained to us (no mention of our bodies being inhabited by millions of tiny space aliens), and then we were asked to split into pairs to “audit” one another. Amid the shuffling of chairs, we saw our opening and escaped.

That night, after everyone had gone to bed, I trolled the internet for the beliefs and practices of Scientology. What I found shocked me enough to wake Liz and we stayed up eyeing the intercom on the wall and searching for hidden cameras.

In the morning, Jim brought out a plastic device with several dials, a couple of needle-meters, and two silver cans attached by thin wires—an e-Meter. I politely insisted that I wasn’t interested, but Jim persisted, pushing the cans into my hands. He asked me emotionally charged questions like “What is your earliest memory of your mother?” and “What is your greatest fear?” I answered with lies as he twisted the knobs and studied the gauges. I gently squeezed my hands to make the little needles jump back and forth to the tune playing in my head. Jim pronounced the readings “very interesting.”

“We’d better get going,” I said, putting down the cans. “Thanks for a really weird time!” ANTHONY HECHT

In Dave Schmader’s Last Days column from December 9, 2004:

Violent Muslims are some scary motherfuckers—like Scientology scary—and the majority of intelligent people will find ways to rationalize their avoidance of being placed on psycho-Muslims’ shit lists. RIP Theo van Gogh.

In A Comprehensive User’s Guide to Drugs Both Hard and Soft, September 23, 2004:

Reality [regarding LSD use]: People do freak out on LSD and get hurt. People also injure themselves doing hot yoga, kayaking, and frying bacon. There are people who take too much acid and are never quite right again. There are also people who discover Scientology and are never quite right again. (NATE LIPPENS)

And this gem, from In Other News, December 19, 2002:

Nickels: Scientologist?

Last Saturday, December 14, Mayor Nickels and his wife paid $19.95 for a used oversized biography of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard at the Elliott Bay Book Company. NANCY DREW

Another One Bites the Dust; Expect More Street Theater

posted by on March 8 at 1:07 PM

Tacoma Actors Guild is dead.

Eerily, the next thing to flash across my computer screen was an email about today’s production of the 365 Plays (Suzan-Lori Parks’s short-play-a-day project, which is being performed throughout 2007 in Seattle, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, Austin, etc.):

Tonight’s 365 plays will take place on the highway overpass on Pine (between Capitol Hill and downtown) at 6 pm.

Highway overpass theater. It’s the wave of the future.

Iranian Cinema

posted by on March 8 at 12:52 PM

It seems that people are doing a lot of musing about Iranian cinema lately—our web editor, Amy Kate, just asked me what I thought of Makhmalbaf’s Kandahar (seems more of a historical landmark than a film of historical significance, but I enjoyed it); and here critic Jonathan Rosenbaum (who was instrumental in popularizing Iranian cinema in the U.S.) tears into David Denby for reversing course on Kiarostami (subject of a new retrospective in New York):

In an April 1998 review of Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry in New York magazine, David Denby scoffed at the idea that other critics were calling it a masterpiece. “This is a movie of great interest—an original work,” he said, “but it lacks the courage, the surprise, the ravenous hunger for life, of a serious work of movie art.” Almost nine years later, in the New Yorker’s listings, Denby promotes a Kiarostami retrospective at MOMA by calling the same film one of Kiarostami’s best, noting that he “redeems humanism by combining it with enchanting formal play” and “can turn the simplest action into a philosophical quest.”

It’s not quite a reversal, acknowledged or otherwise, but it does suggest a changed attitude, and a welcome one, perhaps spurred along by a desire to counter Bush’s demonization of what he chooses to call “Iran.” Or perhaps Denby has decided that a nonserious work of movie art can also be a philosophical quest that combines humanism with “enchanting formal play.”

I’m not sure what the fuck Rosenbaum is talking about when he says “what [Bush] chooses to call ‘Iran’”—is he supposed to call it Persia? The Islamic Republic of Iran? جمهوری اسلامی ايرا? I suppose Rosenbaum’s trying to get us to recall that grating cowboy pronunciation. But I understand the impulse: Iranian cinema of the last ten years is obstinately humanist, sometimes as a sort of consequence of censorship (the focus on children allows filmmakers to entirely circumvent issues regarding sex and veiling), sometimes in spite of it (the list of films banned in Iran that have gone on to international renown stretches from the prerevolutionary The Cow to Jafar Panahi’s Offside, which will probably play in SIFF ‘07 and open later in June). Seeing the people—the often poor, always poetry-loving, obviously romanticized, but nonetheless touching—people of Iran, as depicted in Iranian cinema, is a useful antidote to “axis of evil” political rhetoric about the government.

But more importantly, the films are great. And Farsi is a beautiful language. Balleh, balleh, it has the prettiest sounds in the world.

Greencine has a decent primer on the latter Iranian New Wave.

Here are my favorite Iranian films:

Forough Farrokhzad’s The House is Black (1963), available on DVD from Facets. A heartbreaking film about a leper colony, with Farrokhzad’s (a poet who died early, in a tragic car crash) own verse as voiceover. This is essential viewing for anyone interested in the aesthetics of documentary film.


Abbas Kiarostami’s Where is the Friend’s Home? (1987), Facets. Adorable, and a fascinating use of space on a child’s scale.

Kiarostami’s Close-Up (1990), Facets. A mindblowing movie in which an actual crime (the impersonation of the most famous Iranian director, Mohsen Makhmalbaf, by an abject fan, who uses his fraudulent “fame” to gain access to a well-off family) is reenacted by both the con-man and the people he deceived—culminating in the actual criminal trial and a meeting between the con-man and Makhmalbaf himself. These intricate layers of meta-realism never, amazingly enough, weigh down the film, which maintains a cheerily absurdist incredulity and loud-broadcast compassion throughout.

Samira Makhmalbaf’s The Apple (1998), out of print but available for rental at Scarecrow. The daughter of Mohsen Makhmalbaf made a film more arresting than (though nowhere near as polished as) any of her father’s films on her first outing at the age of 17. Also employing an actual family to play themselves, this time in an astonishingly cruel story of ignorance and child abuse, Makhmalbaf introduces us two stunted girls who have been locked behind the walls of their home for 12 years.


“Asshole Inflamed Over Anuses”

posted by on March 8 at 12:50 PM

That headline comes from Horsesass, where they’re talking about Republican Sen. Pam Roach’s comments in Olympia last night during debate over a bill requiring medically and scientifically accurate sex education in Washington State.

Sen. Roach clenched her…her…fists, and proclaimed:
What does the word anus have to do with sex ed when we’re talking to fourth graders? No parent wants their child to be talking about sex and anuses.

A tipster who watched the debate last night told me that Republican Sen. Val Stevens also raised some eyebrows:

At the end of her speech Val said the only person who could benefit from this bill is a prostitute.

Gov. Gregoire Vs. The Stranger

posted by on March 8 at 12:50 PM

On a trip to North Dakota last week, Gov. Gregoire, unprovoked, lashed out at The Stranger.

Gregorie was speaking at North Dakota State University as part of its Women’s Week programming.

I got this report from a reporter there who had asked Gregoire about the Plan B controversy (which I was on about last year) and how Gregoire had reportedly handled it with behind-the-scenes meetings

Here’s a bit of my source’s report:

Hi Josh, I met with Gov. Gregoire today as part of North Dakota State University’s Women’s Week. I thought you’d be interested to hear what she said:

“Last year, what the pharmacy board did was basically say ‘Pharmacists can choose not to fill a valid prescription.’ There wasn’t any closed-door discussion—I refused to go behind closed doors. People were saying to me, ‘You go over as governor, and you do one-on-ones with those members of the pharmacy board, and tell them to toe the line.’ I refused to do that. I wanted my advocacy to be open and public, so I didn’t have one-on-one meetings with them. I didn’t go meet behind closed doors. I advocated publicly that they had to fundamentally change and brought to them a list of 40 organizations, ultimately got together with Washington State Pharmacy Association, got them to agree. They signed onto the list. So I think your impression, actually, was the opposite. There was one new reporting crew, a magazine or publication called The Stranger, that got it wrong. I didn’t want to go behind closed doors. I think people ought to see the dialogue and see the debate.”

What an odd, defensive (and inaccurate) rant.

She “refused to do that” ? Completely false.

At the height of the controversy last July, Gregoire met with Donna Dockter, the lead opponent of the proposal requiring pharmacists to fill all prescriptions, along with UW prof and pharmacist Don Downing, to negotiate. Later, Gregoire met with women’s rights groups like the Northwest Women’s Law Center and Planned Parenthood.

Gregoire has gotten deserved props for using her skills as a lawyer this way to take polarized parties in intractable debates (like the debate over medical malpractice) and hammer out agreements. It’s her M.O. and her first instict, and she’s generally pretty good at it. It’s what she tried to do with the viaduct.

Gregoire’s office even told me this. When I was reporting on the controversy and pushing a reticent Gregoire to take a stand, I was told repeatedly by Gregoire’s spokesperson Holly Armstrong that Gov. Gregoire didn’t want to have a fight in public and wanted to let the process work. That process included closed-door meetings with the pharmacists that ultimately led to a compromise.

Sheesh. I don’t know why Gregoire decided to pounce on The Stranger and misrepresent the facts to boot. But now that I know she’s trash-talking us at ND State U., all I can say is this: Add that to her anti-Seattle viaduct ploy (ramming a new elevated viaduct down our throats), and she’s going to have a hard time getting this paper excited about drumming up Seattle votes for her when she tries to make nice with Seattle in 2008.

Gregoire famously took Seattle votes for granted in the 2004 election. And it showed: 75,135 people in King County who voted for John Kerry did not vote for Gregoire.

Gregoire beat Rossi by 133 votes.

In Other Morning News

posted by on March 8 at 11:25 AM

It’s International Women’s Day.


The theme chosen by the UN this year is “Ending Impunity for Violence Against Women.” International Women’s Day is little known in the US but widely celebrated around the world; the International Women’s Day web site lists just 53 events in the US, out of more than 400 worldwide. (None of them are in Seattle.) You won’t read a word about International Women’s Day in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or most other US news outlets; in fact, a Google news search for information about International Women’s Day yields reports from all over the world—from Guyana to Papua New Guinea to New Zealand—but not the United States.

If you don’t think a day recognizing violence against women is necessary, here are a few statistics you should be aware of:

One in three women throughout the world will be beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Usually, the abuser is a family member or someone the woman knows.

The UN estimates that between 113 million and 200 million women are demographically “missing”—the victims of infanticide or lack of food and medical attention.

The number of women forced or sold into prostitution worldwide is estimated to be between 700,000 and 4,000,000 per year. Profits from sex slavery are estimated to be between $7 billion and $12 billion a year.

More than two million girls are genitally mutilated every year—one every 15 seconds.

President Bush’s annual budget request for funding the Violence Against Women Act this year falls short of what Congress has requested—for the sixth year in a row.

The U.S. is one of only five countries without guaranteed maternity leave, and one of only seven that has not ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

Meanwhile, Bush is also requesting cuts in funding for maternal and child health care and family planning.

Internationally, rape is still not widely recognized as a war crime or prosecuted as such, according to two UN reports.

Women around the world continue to suffer from what the International Labor Office calls the “feminization of working poverty“—a huge barrier to freedom and self-sufficiency for many women. Here in the US, Sen. Hillary Clinton has reintroduced pay equity legislation. Currently, women make 76 cents for every dollar made by men; the National Organization for Women estimates that if women in the US received the same wages as men who work the same number of hours, have the same education and union status, are the same age, and live in the same region, those women’s annual income would rise by $4,000 and poverty rates would be cut in half.

For more info, check out the IWD web site here.

BREAKING: Planets Align For Slim Suits!

posted by on March 8 at 11:20 AM

I don’t want to pile on the NYT “Thursday Styles” section. Eli already took issue with this morning’s write-up of Calvin Klein’s new perfume aimed at, er, some market segment they’re calling technosexuals. (Maybe metrosexuals and metronaturals can gang up to kick the shit out of the technosexuals?) But I found this story utterly baffling…

WONDROUS planetary alignments may excite astronomers, but not the average Joe, who just wants to see a nice comet. The same is true in the slow-moving world of men’s wear. But a harmonic convergence in tropical-weight wool is taking place even as we speak, and men should listen up, because it will probably affect their lives a lot more than Mercury going into retrograde ever will.

Anywhere a man shops—fashion houses like Gucci, Prada and Yves Saint Laurent; the English-y prep confines of Polo Ralph Lauren and Paul Stuart; traditional Italian luxury houses like Brioni and Kiton; old-school American clothiers like Brooks Brothers and Hickey Freeman; and trendy young lines like Rag & Bone and Trovata—the most popular suit is an elongated and trimmed-down silhouette that is sending other shapes packing (and don’t forget the mothballs).

With slight deviations to reflect taste, the specs of the contemporary man’s suit are as follows: a two-button closure; narrow lapels in a high-notch or peak style; high armholes; narrowly set and thinly padded shoulders; low-waist, slim-cut pants with hems that never quite touch the top of the shoes, daring to bare (just as women first did a century ago) a bit of sock or skin.

This is not a sudden convergence, having been a decade or more in the making. But the fact of a single silhouette coming into focus at so many diverse clothiers represents a rare consensus in the world of men’s wear.


What planet did that lead graph come from? And that list of stores—“anywhere a man shops”—is so long that it you can’t help but wonder if they were afraid of leaving a single advertiser off it. And, I’m sorry, but who worries about this shit? Hems, lapels, two buttons—who gives a fuck? I’m a huge fag and I don’t know a single man, gay or straight, that gives a shit about suits. Suits are for funerals and weddings and, if you’re unlucky, work. They’re not something you read about, stress about, or get all giddy about.

And that list of stores? Again, “anywhere a man shops”? I’ve never been in any of those stores. I’ve never shopped at a Gucci or Brooks Brothers or Polo—hell, I’ve never even heard of Brioni and Kiton or Hickey Freeman.

Nosy Bosses, Please Look Away

posted by on March 8 at 11:14 AM

SFW Slog? Word. More options here. Now Show Friends and Workmates…

The Ultimate Bond

posted by on March 8 at 10:26 AM

The couple in this picture are lovers:
_42649123_couple203.jpg They are also directly related: the man, Patrick, is a brother to the woman, Susan.

Patrick, who is 30 years old, was adopted and, as a child, he lived in Potsdam. He did not meet his mother and biological family until he was 23. He travelled to Leipzig with a friend in 2000, determined to make contact with his other relatives. He met his sister Susan for the first time, and according to the couple, after their mother died, they fell in love.
Because incest is illegal in Germany, the price of their love has so far cost Patrick two years in prison. Some more punishment will fall on him in the near future if an old criminal code that forbids incest is not overturned.
This law [which was established in 1871] is out of date and it breaches the couple’s civil rights,” Dr Wilhelm [their lawyer] said. “Why are disabled parents allowed to have children, or people with hereditary diseases or women over 40? No-one says that is a crime… This couple are not harming anyone. It is discrimination. And besides, we must not forget that every child is so valuable,”

We have here a classic confrontation between human law and divine law, between the state and the family. During this social crisis, however, we must not fail to recall a troubling point made by a German philosopher who also had a very close relationship with his own sister, Hegel. In his famous book, Phenomenology of the Gist [“Gist” is actually the closest word we have in English to the German word “geist”], he stated that the bond between a brother and sister is so close that “the loss of a brother is thus irreparable to the sister, and her duty towards him is the highest.” Can the state break such a bond? A bond that has about it a supernatural aura? Yes! It shall and it will.

Closing Forever, Forever! Immortal Mama, Exposed!

posted by on March 8 at 10:16 AM

It’s a place of wicker and mystery…

As anyone who has ever been anywhere near Broadway knows damn good and well, the import store called Africa Mama traffics in gourd rattles, miniature elephants carved of jade, wicker baskets, gargantuan boxes of Nag Champa (which, the last time I checked, was a Hindu sort of thing that comes to us via Mother India, which isn’t Africa, but there you go), and nifty clay jars that are handy for carrying water to your village on your head through fifty or so scorching miles of sweating jungle—if you aren’t eaten by a lion (or “recruited” for pennies a week by Nike) on the way every day. Djembes. Ladysmith Black Mambazo. And so forth.

As far as anyone knows, Africa Mama began life on the ground floor of The Broadway Market. As the old timers tell it, as soon as she opened she was closing again, and the loud red signs went up everywhere to prove it: STOREWIDE SALE! 50-75% OFF!!! Going OUT of BUSINESS, EVERYTHING MUST GO! CLOSING FOREVER! CLEARANCE! Et cetera! Yes sir, those big red signs went up… and stayed up. But Africa Mama stayed put. It just sort of fucking sat there. It didn’t go out of business at all. And the years rolled by.

And then some more years. Rolled by. And then some more. Rolled by.

At this point, or so they say, people began to wonder a thing or two about this strange place called Africa Mama. Clearly, the poor place was going out of business. That much was sure. (Signs never lie.) Yes, it was going—but it never seemed to get there. Was there some strange kind of hoodoo/voodoo thing keeping the old girl alive? Was the place a front for drugs, or thugs, or an underground railroad for illegal Chinese? Or did they just really suck at going out of business?

And then, one fine day, years and years later, it happened, just like that. BOOP! Africa Mama—which had been going and going and going—finally went. Gone at last! All of it! The gourds were retired, Ladysmith Black Mambazoed no more. And that, as they say, was that.

Or was it?

Fuck no.

A few short months later there was as strange stirring in the wind… a strange AFRICAN MAMA sort of stirring. (Hang in there.) And then, there it was again! A stone’s throw from where it had been going out of business for years and years before—AFRICA MAMA! The DRUMS! The CLAY WATER-ON-YOUR-HEAD POTS! The NAG fucking CHAMPA! All of it lifted and moved a mere few blocks from where it began. And as soon as the Nag started Champing, they went up, too: the big red signs in the window screaming STOREWIDE SALE! 50-75% OFF!!! Going OUT of BUSINESS, EVERYTHING MUST GO! CLOSING FOREVER! CLEARANCE! Et cetera! And, again, the months rolled by…

Africa Mama went out of business at its new location for a relatively long, long time. (Going on two years, I reckon.) Then, as suddenly as it had reappeared, it vanished again… for about, oh, maybe four months. Like before, Africa Mama hadn’t gone out of business at all… She had only hoisted up her beaded skirts and tiptoed to the other end of Broadway, across from the Post Office, where the old KINKOS used to be, cattycorner from the Jack in the Box. This is where she sits now, with her djembes and wood zebras, and at this moment, her big red signs are screaming (you guessed it!), STOREWIDE SALE! 50-75% OFF!!! Going OUT of BUSINESS, EVERYTHING MUST GO! CLOSING FOREVER! CLEARANCE!

Et cetera.

Quantum physics, or something freakier, might be involved. What the (BLEEP) Do We Know ? may have to be watched. (Shudder.) Scientists are baffled. Religionists are alarmed. Anabaptists are nonplussed. Mormons are sexy. Can a business really go out of business forever? And if so, how? And if how, why? And if why, when? And in general, what? The? Fuck? The whole issue has me damn rattled, and rather alarmed. How long can this go on before a hole is ripped in our reality? And why can’t Africa Mama share some of its remarkable staying power with the thousands of deeply cherished Capitol Hill-ish establishments that are falling to the plague of rabid development, and time? (O, why?!) CAN ANYONE PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS IN A RATIONAL AND COHERENT MANNER?

I didn’t think so. I certainly can’t.

(And did I mention that in all three of its (known) incarnations, nothing, oh but nothing, in Africa Mama’s entire inventory ever resembled anything even close to 50-75% off? I guess that goes without saying. )



CK One Was Grunge? Well, Anyway, Meet CK in2u, the Fragrance of the “Technosexual Generation”

posted by on March 8 at 10:00 AM

OK, I don’t know about this, from today’s New York Times Style section:

IN 1994, Calvin Klein designed a fragrance that embodied, in its flat little screw-top bottle, the disaffected, sexually ambivalent grunge youth of the moment… A unisex brand that became the olfactory talisman of Generation X, CK One was so authentically grunge it was carried in record stores alongside albums by Nirvana.

Maybe I’m not the best spokesman for Generation X, but in my Seattle high school in the 1990s, when grunge was just becoming “grunge,” CK One was totally homo. Again, maybe I’m missing something. Maybe Garfield High School was not your normal CK One territory. But in my mind, CK One was and remains completely, totally gay, and not in any sort of pejorative way. Just as an olfactory fact.

So for me, the smell of CK One does not bring back memories of Nevermind. Maybe the smell of wet flannel does that, maybe, but not CK One. For me, CK One brings back the memory of every single gay boy I met or hung out with from about 1995 to 2000. I resent it a little bit, but it is definitely the “olfactory talisman” of my first gay crushes, so much so that when I smelled CK One on some gay guys at Seattle’s Pride Parade last year, I knew instantly that they were from way out of town, from a place that had just heard that CK One equaled young and gay.


Next month, Calvin Klein Inc. and Coty, its fragrance licensee, will introduce a sequel to CK One for a new generation, the so-called millennials, and in doing so, they will attempt to capture lightning in a bottle for a second time. Calvin Klein, now without its namesake designer, hopes to rejuvenate a fragrance embodying the essence of hip 20-somethings — even at the risk that such a notion is as outdated as a Prince song about partying like it’s 1999…

The CK in2u bottle, designed by Stephen Burks, is made from the same materials — white plastic and glass — recognizable in an iPod. (Fabien Baron designed the original bottle.) The name is written in the shorthand of an instant message, a casual invitation to sex so immediate as to imply there was no time to spell it out: “in to you.”

We have envisioned this as the first fragrance for the technosexual generation,” said Mr. Murry, using a term the company made up to describe its intended audience of thumb-texting young people whose romantic lives are defined in part by the casual hookup.

Last year, the company went so far as to trademark “technosexual,” anticipating it could become a buzzword for marketing to millennials, the roughly 80 million Americans born from 1982 to 1995. A typical line from the press materials for CK in2u goes like this: “She likes how he blogs, her texts turn him on. It’s intense. For right now.”

Here’s a great spoof of that ad copy. (Memo to Calvin Klein: Bloggers are known for many things, but not for being smoking hot.)


The reaction from some “millenials” is my favorite part. Here’s one:

Youngna Park, 24, a freelance photographer, would seem to be just this kind of individual and consumer. She has been interviewed by companies looking to tap into the millennial mind-set (though not by the researchers for CK in2u). Ms. Park moved to New York two and a half years ago and began taking pictures in restaurants and writing an online food column for Gothamist, a blog for urban markets. Her network of friends and professional contacts was forged partly through the Internet, and she has occasionally dated people she met online.

She would seem an ideal candidate to illustrate the term “technosexual,” if the idea did not immediately turn her off. “That’s such a weird phrase,” she said. “I just imagine kids putting on cologne to sit behind their computers. That’s really weird.”

What does it smell like? Is smells, apparently, “spontaneous and seductive.”

The women’s scent includes notes of pink grapefruit, bergamot and red currant with a core of neon amber, the common denominator of all Calvin Klein scents. The men’s version of CK in2u is more beachy, with a salty mix of lime, cocoa and musk.

Because millennials are used to fast-moving information and images, Ms. Gottleib said, the fragrance is meant to be quick-acting and immediately recognizable on the skin. Their food and drinks, like Smartwater and coffee-flavored colas, and gum charged with flavor crystals, all come in high-definition, intensified varieties. So their fragrance should also seem busy.

More than anyone, Americans smell with their eyes and their brains before they smell with their noses,” she said.

I don’t even know what that last quote means, but good luck, CK in2u.

Sarah Silverman Sleeps with God

posted by on March 8 at 9:49 AM

Oh, you poor person. Still too morally proud to own a TV? Well, luckily for you I’M HERE to help you out with all the AWESOME stuff you missed. For example, last night’s season finale of THE SARAH SILVERMAN PROGRAM in which Sarah has sex with God. Unfortunately for Sarah, God is one of those people who won’t get the hint that it’s time to leave. Check out this hilarious scene!

Want to see the entire show for yourself? Run out, buy a TV, install cable (or preferably a satellite dish), and tune in tonight for a repeat viewing on Comedy Central at 10:30 pm!

A Ray of Anonymous Sunshine

posted by on March 8 at 9:46 AM

Typically, The Stranger’s I, Anonymous column contains nothing but spite, from threatening someone’s hairdo to mocking someone’s genitals.

But this morning brought a rare nice I, Anonymous submission to my inbox, and after a decade and a half of printing bile, I feel I must share it:

Dear Nice Lady, You saw me running for the bus. You saw the bus stop for a second, right as I was by the back door, and you probably thought—like I did—that I’d just barely made it. And then you saw it pull away. You must have also seen me continue to run for a bit, slightly confused in my pre-coffee haze, that it hadn’t actually opened the doors. And then you pulled over and asked if I wanted a ride down the street so I could catch him. My normal instincts are to turn these kinds of offers down—there are mass murderers and crazy people everywhere you look these days. But I took a second look at you with your expensive-looking little dogs and your Magnolia persona and I thought—what the hell? You’d had a bad morning and were trying to reverse your karma, and I can understand that, and you strategically zoomed ahead in such a way that not only did I make the bus; I made it onto the express bus that was ahead of it. I made it to the doctor’s with extra time to get coffee. And so, nice lady, I doubt you are a Stranger reader, but I am out of ideas for how to say THANK YOU. You made me one of the luckies today and here’s to hoping your day turned around. You’re the best. Love, Running For The Bus Lady

Thanks to Anonymous for sharing, and thanks to the karma-correcting driver for not murdering Anonymous.

Ceci N’est Pas Un Croissant, M. Schultz

posted by on March 8 at 9:23 AM

Apparently Seattle-area Starbucks are now stocking croissants made with palm oil instead of butter. This nasty substitution is a consequence of trans-fat hysteria, according to the New York Times: the FDA doesn’t distinguish between natural trans fats (from dairy) and artificial trans fats (from partially hydrogenated oils and deep frying), so stores that want to get the coveted “trans fat free” label have to eliminate both.

Adieu, sweet, sweet beurre.

The Morning News

posted by on March 8 at 8:00 AM

The day-to-day commander of American forces in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, says the troop build-up will be needed into 2008. Meanwhile, House Democrats are gearing up to propose troop withdrawal by fall of that same year.

President Bush is feeling pressure to pardon I. Lewis Libby.

Nine people—including eight children—were killed when a fire swept through a Bronx apartment building late last night. It was New York’s deadliest fire since 1990.

The UN International Atomic Energy Agency has suspended 22 technical aid programs to Iran.

For the second time in less than a week, a prisoner at Clark County jail has been found hanged to death in his cell. The sheriff’s office is investigating.

Donald Trump wants to inflict his towering ego upon downtown Seattle.

There was only one bidder—at $95.3 million—for the job of building the Sea-Tac light-rail stop. Sound Transit was not impressed.

After a drop in January, home prices in Seattle were back up last month.

A UW professor pleaded guilty yesterday to dumping hazardous materials down a sink. His reason: It would have cost $15,000 to do it the legal way.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

“While we all hope that our teens will remain abstinent, we must acknowledge that over half of all teens are having sex.”

posted by on March 7 at 9:57 PM

After five years of making it through the House, but getting nowhere in the Senate, the sex ed bill —mandating that sex ed be medically accurate and that abstinence cannot be taught at the exclusion of contraception—passed the state Senate today, 30-19.

This means, pending the Governor’s signature, it’s good to go.

Applauding the news, Karen Cooper, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, who I’m quoting up above, also said, “teens need accurate, complete information about sexual health in order to avoid unwanted pregnancy and protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases.”

I Slogged about the bill when the House held hearings in late January. Here’s an important update to those original posts: The local chapter of Planned Parenthood does not advocate that Washington schools use a text called Making Sense of Abstinence. I’m bringing this up because an abstinence-only group called AWARE, which testified at the House hearings I slogged about, had accused PP of pushing the book on local schools. Furthermore, the book, which was advertised on a PP web site in New Jersey, does not advocate that teens look at porn, as AWARE testimony also claimed.

Simulacra and Simulation

posted by on March 7 at 8:44 PM

Jean Baudrillard is dead at 77.
His death did not take place.

Slow News Day

posted by on March 7 at 5:26 PM


Britney Spears IS Real Ultimate Power!!!!

posted by on March 7 at 5:11 PM

Britney Spears can kill anyone she wants! Britney Spears cuts off heads ALL the time and doesn’t even think twice about it. This chick is so crazy and awesome that she flips out ALL the time. I heard that once Britney Spears was eating at a diner. And when some dude dropped a spoon Britney Spears killed the whole town.

More here.

Today on Line Out

posted by on March 7 at 4:15 PM

Reh Dogg hates your friends.

Pussycat Dolls or prostitutes? Either way, they make Eric Grandy puke.

SXSW survival tips.

My long-winded ramblings about a generic sounding band.

ASCAP announces record revenues.

AC Lewis does it right.

No love for Jimi Hendrix-themed alcohol.

Jonathan Zwickel unpacks a treasure

Mountain Dew has a lot of extra money.

Geoff Ott’s drum tips.

“Basic Rights for People”

posted by on March 7 at 3:45 PM

In your face, Dick.

On Newton

posted by on March 7 at 3:22 PM

The Hollywood actress Thandie Newton is half British and half Zimbabwean.
thandie-newton-036-img.jpg Newton is often said to be the daughter of a “Shona princess.” Well and good. But what one wants to know, however, is exactly Thandie’s tribe. What tribe is she actually from. To say she is a Shona is not to say what tribe she is from, but that she is from a collection of tribes that share a common language. Shona is a nation, rather than a tribe. (In the middle of the 19th century, the Ndebeles, descendants of the mighty Zulus in South Africa, called the tribes they met and oppressed in the area that is now Zimbabwe, “the shonas,” which meant something like “the foreigners”—a similar history is behind the name Wales.) My tribe, for example, is a Shona-speaking group called the Manicas, whose homeland is the mountain area near the border between Zimbabwe and Mozambique. If Thandie turns out to be a Manica (which is very unlikely—her name comes from Ndebele and not Shona) that would be a great thing for me to know because, according to my father, a man with the memory of an elephant and manners of an old-world gentleman, my grandmother, a heavy drinker who died last year at a very old age, was the daughter of a princess. Yes, it is a stretch, but allow me to dream, dream, dream.

Moby Dick Is Everywhere

posted by on March 7 at 2:25 PM

I tried to argue here—and sort of failed to say it right—that people are born knowing the plot of Moby Dick. At least they’re born thinking they know it. If you’ve never read it you probably nonetheless think of it as familiar. You could probably say something about it at a party. You know enough about it that you see no reason to crack it open short of a teacher holding a gun to your head. It’s encoded into you.

Or something. I’m just thinking out loud.

ANYWAY, a week after the first of my five-part series on Moby Dick, I opened the new issue of The Believer to find, on page 12, something called, hilariously:


You can read the first four paragraphs here, but to get to the best paragraph in it, you have to buy the magazine. I have to quote it. I can’t help it. Hey, Believer, you don’t mind if I go ahead and quote it, do you? [Yawning silence.] Guys? [Not a sound.] OK, here goes:

I want to lay a koo-koo trip on you tonight, folks. It’s something that happened to me last time I had the great honor of shipping out to sea on one of our country’s terrific whaling vessels. Those cats do some top-notch work, and there’d be a whole mess of empty oil lamps without them, am I right? Am I right, folks? I think America’s whalers are the best in the world, who’s with me?

Then, last night before bed, I was in the mood for something funny and happened on Woody Allen’s short story “The Whore of Mensa,” which I’ve got in an anthology of New Yorker short stories. “The Whore of Mensa” is about a guy who makes joy buzzers but is an intellectual, see, only his wife has nothing to say about Proust or Yeats or anything, so he calls a madam with a degree in Comparative Lit and has her send over girls to talk to him—no sex, just talking—but he can’t let his wife know that she doesn’t turn him on in the brain region, and then the madam tries to blackmail him, telling him she’s gonna tell his wife if he doesn’t cough up ten grand, so he goes to a private investigator for help. (“They bugged the motel room,” he tells the investigator. “They got tapes of me discussing ‘The Waste Land’ and ‘Styles of Radical Will,’ and, well, really getting into some issues.”)

The the private investigator calls up the madam and says:

“I’d like to discuss Melville.”
“‘Moby Dick’ or the shorter novels?”
“What’s the difference?”
“The price. That’s all. Symbolism’s extra.”
“What’ll it run me?”
“Fifty, maybe a hundred for ‘Moby Dick.’ You want a comparative discussion—Melville and Hawthorne? That could be arranged for a hundred.”
“The dough’s fine,” I told her and gave her the number of a room at the Plaza.

I won’t ruin the rest of the story, but it’s great. (OK, I’ll give away a little more. The investigator eventually finds the headquarters for the operation. “Pale, nervous girls with black-rimmed glasses and blunt-cut hair lolled around on sofas, riffling Penguin Classics provocatively… But it wasn’t just intellectual experiences—they were peddling emotional ones, too. For fifty bucks, I learned, you could ‘relate without getting close.’ For a hundred, a girl would lend you her Bartók records, have dinner, and then let you watch while she had an anxiety attack.”)

MEANWHILE, some crazy shit has been happened in the Antarctic. The Japanese say they were doing research on whales. The Australians say they were illegally whaling.

The Australian federal police dispatched two ships to throw “smoke bombs and bottles containing a harmful chemical substance on the decks of the [Japanese] mother ship Nisshin Maru” and the smaller whaling vessel Kaiko Maru, “resulting in two injured crewmen,” according to the Japanese. According to the Australians, it was a “nontoxic obnoxious smelling substance” that “cleared the flensing deck and stopped all work of cutting up whales.” There was also an unexplained fire on board Nisshin Maru, and a collision—well, a ramming—between an Australian ship and the Kaiko Maru. Quoth the Australian captain: “The fact is that when we ram an illegal whaling ship, we proudly accept credit for our actions.”

All this conspired to end the Japanese whaling (er, “whale research”) season early.

The story written from the point of view of the Japanese is here.

The story from the point of view of Greenpeace in New Zealand—a few days later, after it had come to light that one of the Japanese crew members died—is here. (Here’s a Greenpeace spokesman addressing the Japanese: “This must be the last time your government sends you to the Southern Ocean to hunt whales and threaten the Antarctic environment. For the sake of the environment, the whales, and your crew—never again!”)

According to Greenpeace, the Japanese caught 505 minke whales and 3 endangered fin whales this season.

You want some pictures? OK. Here is what a happy fin whale looks like.


Here is what a not-as-happy fin whale looks like.

French Fin whale 4.jpg

French Fin whale 2.jpg

Here is Melville, in the chapter “Cetology,” on the “Fin-Back” whale (the same creature? who can say?): “The Fin-Back is not gregarious. He seems a whale-hater, as some men are man-haters.”

Sticker of the Day

posted by on March 7 at 2:18 PM


Let Them Eat Decent Biscuits

posted by on March 7 at 2:09 PM


This is Patricia Tabram of Humshaugh, England. Police arrested the 68-year-old grandmother for growing some pot in her walk-in wardrobe. After striking a plea agreement to do community service, she had this to say:

The police can come to my house every week. I’ll give them a cup of tea.

I’ll give them a decent biscuit…

Wow. England.

Boss Around a Canadian!

posted by on March 7 at 1:34 PM

Today brought this email to my inbox:

Does “The Stranger” publish a “best of” for Seattle?? The Georgia Strait in Vancouver does and it guides me for a whole year!! I am looking for some unique ideas for a weekend in Seattle… any suggestions?? Restaurants, tours, activities, night clubs, etc… We are staying around Queen Anne and any suggestions would be appreciated.

Typically I’d ignore a letter like this, or answer only with sass. (“Don’t miss Seattle’s premier restaurant and hottest hangout!”)

But today I’m feeling generous and helpful, and so I’ll attempt to answer honestly.

My favorite places to go in Seattle are this bar and this cafe. On weekends, I enjoy getting late brunch either here or here.

For a visiting Vancouverite who likes to eat, I’d recommend checking out this new restaurant that folks are going bonkers for. If the Vancouverite happens to be visiting on the second Saturday of the month and likes to dance, I’d send him to this, and if he’s here on a Wednesday and likes to drink and laugh, I’d send him here to see this.

Also, just as no American is allowed to visit Canada without buying Canadian codeine aspirin, no Canadian can visit America without firing a real American gun, and I recommend doing it here.

Granted, the number of exclamation points used in the above email suggests the writer may be more of a Pike Place pig-and-Cheesecake Factory type of guy, but who knows? Feel free to share your recommendations for Mr. Vancouver’s wild Seattle weekend in the comments.

Still Born

posted by on March 7 at 11:57 AM

So a pregnant Boston woman went to Planned Parenthood for an abortion and the doctor somehow failed to, uh, complete the mission. Then the woman—still pregnant—went to another doctor, and the second doctor somehow failed to detect that she was 20 weeks pregnant. The woman later went to the hospital complaining of “pelvic pain” and—surprise!—gave birth. So now the woman is suing—perhaps rightly so. But this detail made my head explode:

A Boston woman who gave birth after a failed abortion has filed a lawsuit against two doctors and Planned Parenthood seeking the costs of raising her child. The complaint was filed by Jennifer Raper, 45… she gave birth to a daughter on Dec. 7, 2004. She is seeking damages, including child-rearing costs.

Uh… gee. Maybe I have a bias, being an adoptive parent and all, but it seems to me that if you tried to abort your baby and the abortion failed and the baby was born… shit… maybe you should have put that kid up for adoption. Raper is raising the kid herself? Knowing that mom tried to abort her is going to be a nuclear zap on that poor kid’s head. It’s not like that detail of little Miss Raper’s birth narrative is some deep, dark family secret. Mom’s name—Raper? Who’s her lawyer? Vholes, Esq.?—is right there in the paper, along with the kid’s date of birth. (A day that will live in infamy, no doubt.)

However much money mom gets to cover her child-rearing costs—and she’ll probably get a nice chunk of change—here’s hoping mom sets half aside therapy expenses.

Obama’s Blind Trust

posted by on March 7 at 11:55 AM

Until now, people have pretty much trusted—perhaps blindly—that Sen. Barack Obama is as principled, and as free of typical-politician ethical compromises, as he claims. But today the New York Times delivers a hard blow to that image, reporting on a “blind trust” run in Sen. Obama’s name:

Less than two months after ascending to the United States Senate, Barack Obama bought more than $50,000 worth of stock in two speculative companies whose major investors included some of his biggest political donors.

One of the companies was a biotech concern that was starting to develop a drug to treat avian flu. In March 2005, two weeks after buying about $5,000 of its shares, Mr. Obama took the lead in a legislative push for more federal spending to battle the disease.

The most recent financial disclosure form for Mr. Obama, an Illinois Democrat, also shows that he bought more than $50,000 in stock in a satellite communications business whose principal backers include four friends and donors who had raised more than $150,000 for his political committees.

A spokesman for Mr. Obama, who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination in 2008, said yesterday that the senator did not know that he had invested in either company until fall 2005, when he learned of it and decided to sell the stocks. He sold them at a net loss of $13,000.

The spokesman, Bill Burton, said Mr. Obama’s broker bought the stocks without consulting the senator, under the terms of a blind trust that was being set up for the senator at that time but was not finalized until several months after the investments were made.

Maybe no one will end up caring about this. And maybe Sen. Obama was truly a victim of a poorly-designed blind trust. But this revelation will certainly become fodder for people arguing in the opposite direction, people who say that Sen. Obama’s claims to a “new politics” can’t be trusted.

My New Comedy Crush

posted by on March 7 at 11:50 AM

Step aside Eugene Mirman and Michael Ian Black, I have a new comedian crush—now I <3 Jim Gaffigan.

His comedy special, Beyond the Pale, was released last year, but Comedy Central aired it again last night so I finally got to see the whole thing. Fuckin’ hilarious. He’s currently on tour, but sadly there are no Northwest dates. Oh well. Thanks to YouTube, I can still get my fix.

Here he is talking about the wonders of Hot Pockets:

Deeeead Pocket…

What’s Next—Kurt Cobain-Brand Bullets?

posted by on March 7 at 11:39 AM

Jimi Hendrix’s stepsister (and queen of the dead rock legend’s multi-million dollar estate) has filed a lawsuit against the makers of Hendrix-themed vodka.

As the Seattle Times reports:

[Hendrix’s stepsister Janie Hendrix] claims that Craig Dieffenbach and his company, Electric Hendrix LLC, have committed trademark infringement, false advertising and other unlawful acts by describing their company as “a Jimi Hendrix family company.” Janie also said that the use of Jimi Hendrix’s likeness to promote alcohol is offensive: “In view of the circumstances of my brother Jimi’s death, this attempt to associate his name with the sale of alcohol beverages amounts to a sick joke.”

Full story here.

Bill O’Reilly’s Head Is Going to Explode

posted by on March 7 at 11:21 AM

Godless U.S. currency!

An unknown number of new George Washington dollar coins were mistakenly struck without their edge inscriptions, including “In God We Trust,” and made it past inspectors and into circulation, the U.S. Mint said today.

The Price of Narcissism

posted by on March 7 at 11:14 AM

This morning I was scrolling the headlines and saw this:

Fire. Kiley. Now.

For one nauseating fraction of a second, I thought the story was actually about me.

Donnie Davies to Play SXSW!

posted by on March 7 at 11:12 AM


That’s right: Donnie Davies, America’s hottest new ex-gay troubadour will be preaching to the sinners gathered next week at Austin’s South by Southwest music fest.

What He Said

posted by on March 7 at 11:10 AM

Sullivan on HRC—that’s “Human Rights Campaign,” not Hillary Rodham Clinton—at The Daily Dish:


[HRC is] a corporation designed to milk the gay market for money to hire more fundraisers and marketers to milk more gay pockets. It’s a racket with a plush new multi-million dollar headquarters and salaries that would make corporate America blush. Have they actually done anything for gay rights? After a couple of decades observing them, my own view is: nada. Their main activity in the 1990s was selling the Clinton administration to gays. The reward was some jobs and sinecures for their own clique. And the reason they got along so well with the Clintons is that the Clintons are all about raising political money as well. You can see all HRC’s consumer products—jewelry, designer fashion, candles, cuddly toys (as the “equality dog” above) and on and on—here. It all helps achieve what HRC is all about: the money. They get tens of millions of dollars a year from well-intentioned gay men and lesbians. They’ve been doing it for years. And what have we got? Nothing. Wake up, guys. Give your money to people who actually fight for gay equality.

Mafia Birds

posted by on March 7 at 11:09 AM

News from the animal kingdom:

Raise my kids, or else! People have long wondered how cowbirds can get away with leaving their eggs in the nests of other species, who then raise the baby cowbirds. Why don’t the hosts just toss the strange eggs out? Now researchers seem to have an answer — if the host birds reject the strange eggs, the cowbirds come back and trash the place.

The so-called “Mafia behavior,” by brown-headed cowbirds is reported in this week’s online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“It’s the female cowbirds who are running the mafia racket at our study site,” Jeffrey P. Hoover, of the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Illinois Natural History Survey, said in a statement.

“Our study shows many of them returned and ransacked the nest when we removed the parasitic egg,” he explained.

This is a cowbird:
bronzed cowbirds.jpg

In Defense of Ann Coulter

posted by on March 7 at 10:56 AM

The gay writer at Time who wrote that mag’s—that dying mag’s—cover story about Coulter comes out for the defense

…speech codes deeply offend conservatives, which is the point Ann Coulter was making when she said this last week: “I was going to have a few comments about the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards. But it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot.’”

Coulter is heterosexual, so I suppose I should condemn her as well. But note that she was using the word “faggot” with virtual quote marks around it. Surely all of us are allowed to do that—just the way I used the N word in quote marks above. She didn’t say “John Edwards is a faggot.” She would never say that—not because she respects the rights of gays to full equality before the law (she doesn’t)—but because it wouldn’t be funny. Coulter wants to make people laugh more than anything; she is, as I have argued here, a right-wing ironist and comedienne as much as she is a political commentator. This is obvious if you watch her speak with the sound off—she is smiling or even giggling most of the time; she theatrically rolls her eyes; you can see her pause and toss her hair into a jaunty cant before delivering a punchline. We don’t read her body language the way we normally do because the words she is uttering are so peremptory and shocking. If we did, we would put her in the same league as Bill Maher or Jackie Mason, not the dry policy analysts who are sometimes pitted against her on cable-news shows.

Hm… of course Coulter is a comedienne, if not a very funny one. And maybe we would read her body language more clearly if she was doing stand-up in a comedy club and not at a political conference attended by thousands of conservative activists and every last Republican asshole running for president. And Coulter didn’t describe her joke as a object lesson on the offensiveness of speech codes. The joke, according to Coulter, was calling a straight man a gay man, putting Edwards down by feminizing him, reducing Edwards to the level of a fairy—a politically powerless fairy. With good hair.

Still, the Time writer is correct when he says…

Pretty much everyone in mainstream politics, right and left, then condemned her. Coulter is very good at sparking these controversies. She does it once or twice a year, to the great benefit of her fame and book sales.

Letter of the Day

posted by on March 7 at 10:52 AM

Hello Mr. Steinbacher:
My name is Ann Pearce and I’m the community representative for the Church of Scientology locally. I’ve tried to call you a couple of times to request a meeting with you recently.
From time to time The Stranger writes about our church or founder and when the information is incorrect or intolerant, I hear concerns from parishioners. An example of this was the Erica Barnett article from several months ago - I’ve tried to contact her as well.
In the interest of fairness, I’d appreciate the opportunity to meet with you, brief you on what community projects we’re active in and answer any basic questions you might have.
Can you tell me when would be a convenient time for you to meet?
Rev. Ann Pearce
Director of Public Affairs
Church of Scientology of Washington State

Only on FOX

posted by on March 7 at 10:23 AM

The blog Balloon Juice caught this fair and balanced moment from Fox News:


Every other media outlet on the planet focused on the four counts Libby was convicted of. Leave it to Fox News to focus on his lone “not guilty.”

Isaiah Washington: Total Fag

posted by on March 7 at 9:21 AM

That faggot Isaiah Washington—fresh from anti-gay rehab—was given an NAACP “Image Award” last night. Hm. One can’t help but wonder what the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People would have to say if the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation had presented a GLAAD Award to a gay guy that freely used racial slurs. Probably nothing nice.

And, no, Isaiah Washington is not a fag. But as Ann Coulter pointed out on Fox News yesterday, there’s nothing wrong with calling a guy a faggot—so long as he’s straight.

The Morning News

posted by on March 7 at 8:38 AM

A passenger jet crashed in Indonesia this morning, killing at least 22. A camerman was onboard and survived. Look for his footage on YouTube any minute now.

Will Dick Cheney face a political fallout following the Libby verdict? The smart money’s on no.

Six former U.S. attorneys testified yesterday that they had received “improper” phone calls and “thinly veiled threats” from republican members of Congress. Washington’s own Rep. Doc Hastings is embroiled in the controversy.

Two million Iraqis have fled Iraq since the war began, leading Syria and Jordan to tighten security at their borders.

Rudy Giuliani is failing the Evangelical Purity Test.

The Pentagon is blocking televised coverage of Guantanamo Bay hearings. That should put the “sham tribunals” charges to rest.

A longtime Wikepedia editor has been asked the resign after it was revealed he was a 24-year-old from Kentucky and not, in fact, a tenured professor of religion.

China is planning a doggie massacre in an attempt to combat rabies.

The U.S. ain’t joining no UN Human Rights Council.

Mayor Nickels wants 105 new police officers.

Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis is under scrutiny following the Walter Reed debacle.

Yesterday sure was purdy.

State Sen. Ed Murray wants an outside mediator to help settle the Highway 520 squabbling.

There were two winning tickets in last night’s record $370 million tax on the poor Mega Millions jackpot. One was bought in New Jersey, the other Georgia.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Press Release of the Day

posted by on March 6 at 6:24 PM

Funerals go “Outside the Box”
Seattle — A growing number of families are thinking “Outside the Box” when it comes to funeral arrangements. Instead of sending the body of their loved one to a funeral home to be cared for by strangers and spending thousands of dollars on a casket, an increasing number of families are choosing keep the body at home—forgoing expensive funeral home merchandise and services.

The pun’s the thing, but if you’re curious about at-home funerals (Heloise says to use dry ice, not embalming fluid!), you can read the rest after the jump.

Continue reading "Press Release of the Day" »

Every Child Needs a Mother and a Father

posted by on March 6 at 5:23 PM

“I’ve got her, and you’re not going to get her.”

Beth Johnson heard those words from her ex-husband Monday morning, shortly before he crashed his rented single-engine plane into his former mother-in-law’s southern Indiana home, killing himself and the couple’s 8-year-old daughter.

The mother-in-law, Vivian Pace, gave the account of the cell phone call Tuesday as federal and state investigators were trying to determine why Eric Johnson, a student pilot who had soloed before, strapped daughter Emily into the passenger seat of the Cessna and took off from Virgil I. Grissom Municipal Airport….

The plane had already crashed but the occupants hadn’t been identified when Beth Johnson arrived at the Bedford Police Department to file a missing person report because her daughter hadn’t arrived at school that morning after spending the weekend with her father, Bedford Police Maj. Dennis Parsley said Tuesday…

“It is just gut-wrenching to think about what was happening to that child just prior to the crash”.

Gone Is Gallo

posted by on March 6 at 5:06 PM

The man, Ernest Gallo, who smashed wine’s halo to pieces and made millions is dead.

85903350_a591608229.jpg Gallo’s life ended at 92 but his wine will liver forever.

In Seattle, 65 feels like 80

posted by on March 6 at 4:37 PM

It’s 65 degrees outside. So frickin’ nice. Can we leave work early? It feels like SPRING! Don’t you just want to throw on some of your NSFW shorts and go for a nice walk?

Other Than That, How Was the Flight?

posted by on March 6 at 3:31 PM

A 20-year-old airline employee—Samuel Oscar Gonzalez, 20, of Lakewood, Washington—has been arrested for, well, let’s just go to the story…

It happened on the redeye Monday morning from Seattle to Minneapolis. The woman was headed back to college.

Near the end of the flight, the FBI said Gonzalez sat next to the woman as she was trying to sleep. He touched her, which she described as spooning, lifted her shirt and then got up and left. Court documents said she felt a warm fluid on her back, clothes and seat after he walked away. She told the officers he had ejaculated on her….

The FBI said Gonzalez was detained after his initial appearance in federal court on Monday. He could face up to six months in jail.

So there’s a guy doing 10 years for getting a consensual blowjob at 17 from a girl who was 15. When he gets out, that guy is going to have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. But a guy that comes all over a sleeping woman on an airplane is only looking at a misdemeanor charge and six months in prison?

I’m not calling for all sex-crime laws to be universally draconian, but… sheesh. Willingly giving head to a 17-year-old when you’re 15 has to be less traumatic—or not traumatic—than being spooged on by some creepy freak on a redeye flight. And if it gets out there that a guy is only going to do six months for a crime like this, how many secret spoogers will figure the crime, in this case, is worth the time? Will any woman ever feel safe falling asleep on a flight ever again?

Today on Line Out.

posted by on March 6 at 3:10 PM

<3: The Flirtations’ “Heartache.”

206: Blue Scholars Sign to Rawkus.

Back Again: What What in the Butt.

What the World Needs: Brendan Kiley on Amy Winehouse.

The Anti-Lilly Allen?: Jonathan Zwickel on Amy Winehouse.

Quitting Time: The Ghost of Bruce Springsteen.

Hot Lunch All Over Your Face: A Tribute to Veggie Lasagna.

Cat Power & Spiv: Infinitely Easier on the Eyes Than His Genesis P. Orridge Interview.

Nothing Like You: Sebadoh’s Lackluster Reunion.

Die Young, Stay Pretty: Sebadoh’s “Skull.”

Disco Dust: Terry Miller: “No More Disco Posts for a While.”

Minimal Information: Villalobos Remixes Beck, and It’s Only 14 Minutes Long!

RIAA to College Students: “I’m a Computer, Quit Yer Downloading.”

Heading South: Dave Segal Moves tothe OC Weekly. He Will Be Missed.

Letter of the Day

posted by on March 6 at 3:08 PM

I live on 11th and Pike above the wildrose. Lived here three years, loud, always something going on but I love it. I came home Friday night around 1:30 from a very long happy hour and took my dog for a walk. I stepped outside turned the corner and began walking down 11th heading towards Madison. Two guys were peeing on the recycling bins. My dog being curious decided to try and smell the guys leg, he kicked her. I began to say something when I was punched in the face. I was more shocked then anything, before I even knew what was going on the guy was pushed into a car. The female driver apologized saying “sorry, he has had a really bad night.” They left. I was standing there, beneath my window, bloody mouth and lip, wondering what the fuck just happened. The cops came took my report, I gave them the license number and they informed me that an incident report would be filed but not to expect much. This I sorta figured because I have heard stories about how bad the Seattle police follow up is, but what concerned me is what they said next. They had just walked over from an assault at the shell gas station. They told me it was the third assault in this area in the last couple hours. This shell station assault was just some guy walking by the shell gas station on the corner of Broadway and pike. As he was walking a car pulled up, two guys got out hit the guy numerous times, then drove away. Anyway…just a tip on some of the craziness in the area, maybe the full moon. —Chris

A Note on Undifferentiated Unity

posted by on March 6 at 3:07 PM

In the second paragraph of this week’s feature on Samuel Stephon Curry, a young man who was shot to death by an off-duty cop who caught him in the act of robbing another man at gunpoint, Angela Valdez writes:

A procession of teenage girls walked into the peaked wooden chapel, tottering on red spike heels and clutching each other’s hands. They began to cry loudly when they reached the casket. One girl could be heard above the rest. Her high voice whined and cracked. She wailed like the mother of a child killed in a faraway war zone. But Trina, the dead man’s cousin, is just 16. She wore a commemorative RIP T-shirt and low-rise, cropped khaki Dickies. Turning away, she covered her eyes. “I can’t see it. I can’t go,” she said, and stumbled out of the room.

The public, of course, is cold to Curry’s death. The corpse in the funeral described by Valdez is that of a man who in actuality was a violent criminal. Curry’s end turned out to be one of those splendid moments when the swift service of justice saves the society the heavy expense of court dates and jail time. The family, however, lost one of their own and that is all that matters to it. What this shows, and I think why Plato in the Republic advocated the destruction of the family structure and family feeling, is that the the institution of immediate relations is at root amoral. Some political scientists, in reference to the substance of mafia bonds, call it “amoral familism.” Curry could have been killed while in the process of raping and murdering someone, and still his family would have accepted his corpse and buried it with love. The family, as we see in Antigone, is not the site of human laws (reason, nomos) but human mysteries. It is bound by and with the cosmic.

But does the amoral nature of the family not make it a bad standard for society—an association of mostly unrelated people? Mustn’t we do our best to break the family up and reformulate all relationships on the communal terms of the Republic? Isn’t it dangerous to expose the development of a child to the lawless unity of the family? Yes and no. Family feeling is bad; social feeling is good. But as Spinoza pointed out in his late political writings, social feeling, the feeling for unrelated others, extends from the feeling of kind, the family feeling—the natural feeling of love for those who look and act like you. In short, the love of yourself. (Family love is nothing more than self-love.) From family love we grow social love. One is from birth; the other is from instruction. The tendency must already be there if it is to be socialized.

An example directly from experience: Last week an old woman was sitting across from me on the bus. Her stop arrived, she stood as the bus slowed down. But when the bus came to a full stop, there was jolt that knocked the old woman backward. I suddenly feared her life and without a thought raised my hand and caught her fall. I restored her to her feet. She thanked me for her life. But why was I so quick to catch her, this old woman who had nothing to do with me and my well-being? Because the same fall a few years ago hurt my mother and revealed a cancer in her spine that was ultimately to kill her. My mother spent the last year of her life suffering the pain of that bus fall. From immediate connections we develop connections that are not immediate.

The feeling that was expressed at the funeral for Curry, a feeling that finds its force in the mysteries of life and death, is the feeling that needs to be transformed into the force of the law. A society must represent the highest development of love.

Men: They Have Emotions, Too

posted by on March 6 at 2:25 PM

Speaking of gender generalizations, here’s one: Guys just don’t like “chick flicks.” Stories about noble dying women and unrequited romance leave them cold. And they don’t get why we girls are into them.

Fortunately, the Today Show has discovered a few films that unleash even the manliest emotions. Most of them have to do with sports (Rudy), death or violence (Dead Poets Society, Gladiator), or war (Saving Private Ryan, Legends of the Fall). The story itself is fine (if poorly copyedited: “when the credits role”?), but the film clip that runs with it is a minefield of dumb stereotypes about both genders. Guy: “The only reason you should ever go to a chick flick is to find out how women think so you can use it against them.” Woman: “We [women] like relationship movies that help us make sense of our lives.”

Meanwhile, Today defeats its own argument, reporting that a recent survey found that men do like “chick flicks,” they just don’t like to admit it. They even feel emotions sometimes while watching them.

Gee, you think that could be because guys are… you know… human?


Washington’s Own Doc Hastings Implicated in Growing Scandal

posted by on March 6 at 2:12 PM

And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. From the P-I:

Former U.S. Attorney John McKay said Tuesday that the chief of staff for a Washington state congressman called him to ask about an investigation into the disputed election of Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire.

McKay is one of eight federal prosecutors fired last year by the Bush administration. He told a Senate committee that Ed Cassidy, then chief of staff to Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., asked him about allegations of voter fraud in the 2004 election. Democrat Chris Gregoire won over Republican Dino Rossi by just 133 votes out of nearly 3 million cast after the second recount.

McKay said he told Cassidy he was sure that the call was not intended to suggest that Hastings was calling for a federal investigation, because that would be improper.

Read all about this scandal at TPM.

Support the Troops

posted by on March 6 at 2:02 PM

Latest headline over at the Seattle Times: “Local soldiers charged with gang rape in Georgia.”

Dept. of Unsubstantiated Rumors

posted by on March 6 at 1:59 PM

This just in over the Internet tubes…

The cops have 1st closed off between King and Jackson, and on King they have it closed between Occidental and 1st. Supposedly a suspicious package or something—nobody would talk to me.

No Shame

posted by on March 6 at 1:29 PM

These days, all around bad news and George Bush cannot be separated:
Picture 1.jpg What’s amazing about this concatenation of scandals, exposed abuses, neglect, and corruption, is that it has not yet resulted in even one suicide—in some final act that expresses a deep sense of shame and dishonor. The most you can get out of these people at top is this:

Libby, who was once Cheney’s most trusted adviser and an assistant to President Bush, was expressionless as the jury verdict was announced on the 10th day of deliberations. His wife, Harriet Grant, choked out a sob and sank her head.
That’s it? Sank her head? What happened to the spectacle of shame? _38691859_swaggart238.jpg

Who Cares What Kate Riley Thinks?

posted by on March 6 at 1:24 PM

To paraphrase Goldy: Why the fuck should I care what some knuckle-dragger who doesn’t even live in Seattle thinks we should do with the viaduct on our waterfront?’

From Times staff writer Kate Riley’s column:

Mayor Greg Nickels and the majority of the City Council speak nobly of investment and paint a truly gripping vision of Seattle connected to its waterfront without the wart of the aging, increasingly rickety viaduct. They would shrink the road and bury it. More people would be pushed onto buses plying surface streets — better for the environment, proponents argue.

People who own downtown real estate in the viaduct’s shadow suddenly would gain an equity-boosting view of Elliott Bay. The poor plebe’s view of the bay — that jaw-dropping, soul-raising drive on the viaduct — would be lost. People would sit longer in traffic everywhere and pay more for the honor of it.

More people using transit! Better views for downtown workers! Heaven forfend!

Riley doesn’t live in Seattle, but she claims to “play” here often. Apparently, however, the most “jaw-dropping, soul-raising” thing she can think of about our city is the experience of driving past it.

Is He/She the One? Take the E101 Quiz and Find Out!

posted by on March 6 at 1:23 PM


Being a total girl—I love you, Erica, my sister!—my absolute favorite new mag is Engagement 101. I wrote about this slick new publication last week—it’s just packed with tons of great advice for engaged couples!—and mentioned, in passing, E101’s are-you-ready-to-pop-the-question quiz on page 26. Now you can take the quiz yourself by clicking here.

Dan Savage: Total Girl

posted by on March 6 at 1:04 PM

Dan says:

Of course it’s homophobic to insult a straight man by calling him a homosexual—whatever term you use. The joke invokes pure homophobic prejudice, i.e. the notion that being gay is so self-evidently revolting, so disgusting, that simply associating a straight man with homosexuality or homosexuals diminishes him and makes him ridiculous. Coulter’s joke—calling Edwards a sissy or a faggot or whatever—amused the attendees at CPAC because it lumped him, a heterosexual man with a wife and three kids, in with them, all those less-than-men homosexuals with their limp wrists and sissified ways.

Which is nothing at all like making fun of football players by calling them the “Shehawks.”

A Faggot Coulter Likes?

posted by on March 6 at 12:37 PM

Meet Cpl. Matt Sanchez, 36-year-old conservative commentator, student at Columbia University, and … former gay porn star?


If you are familiar with Cpl. Matt Sanchez, you probably know him as the handsome 36-year old Columbia University junior and USMC reservist who recently made the rounds of right-wing talk shows like O’Reilly Factor and Hannity & Colmes, where he received praise for coming forward and complaining about his treatment at the hands of Columbia’s “radical anti-military students” who called him names and mocked his military service. Sanchez was then feted at the CPAC conference where Ann Coulter made her “faggot” remark. Sanchez wrote an op-ed piece on the Columbia experience for the NY Post and began a blog and MySpace page chronicling his media exposure.

Now, if you’re like me, you might think, “Hmm, 36 years old and he’s a junior in college and only a corporal in the Marines?” Odd, but not totally implausible. But Sanchez’ face tinkled a few gay bells out there in fairyland, and last night I began to get emails letting me know that his rather late appearance on the Ivy League scene was because Sanchez has had a lengthy career in gay porn, working under the names Rod Majors (NSFW) and Pierre LaBranche, starring in such art films as Jawbreaker, Donkey Dick, and Glory Holes Of Fame 3, where his “11-inch uncut monster cock” earned him a devoted following.

Ann Coulter: Faggot-basher and fag-hag?

The Slog Post I Was Going to Write

posted by on March 6 at 12:15 PM

It was called “The Real Sexual Minority” and it went like this:

* * * *


Victoria Glancy and Karl Hodgetts got married in May. They had sex once, but have no real interest in doing it again and still consider themselves asexual.

And, should you want to come out as a—what would the slang term be? an aggot?—there are some helpful hints on this site:

Sexual people.

They’re pretty much everywhere. Most of the characters we see in movies, most of our friends, most of the people that we’re in relationships with and most of our families care about sexuality a great deal. As asexual people many of us have no innate understanding of why the world spends so much time meditating on the nasty…
* * * *

But, by the time I finished it, the post seemed vapid and a little mean. (Aggot? Seriously, Brendan?)

So I abandoned it and decided to go have some lunch instead.

(An Aggot, by the way, turns out to be an actual thing for cricket teams: “The Aggot™ has been developed by coaches who are just as interested in helping other coaches gain an understanding of what is actually happening when the ball is released from the bowlers hand.”)

Moving Books

posted by on March 6 at 11:31 AM

On this site there will be at the start of the next decade a six-story, 75-unit apartment building and a four-story, 48-unit apartment building:
3003013-1.jpg Presently you will find there a number of small businesses, the most notable of which is Twice Sold Tales. Jamie Lutton, the owner of that book store, moved into this location in 1990 from the Broadway Market. She explained to me yesterday that she is now looking for a new place to sell her books and show her cats. By her reckoning the relocation will occur along Pike.

I bought this book from her business:
801193cf9ee8.jpg I also bought a short book by Herbert Marcuse.

Sean Hannity: Total Faggot

posted by on March 6 at 11:29 AM

Ann Coulter went on Fox News last night to defend herself—she was invited on CNN, with John Aravosis of Americablog, but she bailed. Apparently Coulter didn’t want to go on TV with an out homosexual—you know, someone that might argue with her—so she went on TV with that total faggot Sean Hannity instead. Here’s Andrew Sullivan on Coulter’s Fox News appearance:

I watched Ann Coulter last night in the gayest way I could. I was on a stairmaster at a gym, slack-jawed at her proud defense of calling someone a “faggot” on the same stage as presidential candidates and as an icon of today’s conservative movement….

I’m not going to breathe more oxygen into this story except to say a couple of things that need saying. Coulter has an actual argument in self-defense and it’s worth addressing. Her argument is that it was a joke and that since it was directed at a straight man, it wasn’t homophobic. It was, in her words, a “school-yard taunt,” directed at a straight man, meaning a “wuss” and a “sissy”. Why would gays care? She is “pro-gay,” after all. Apart from backing a party that wants to strip gay couples of all legal rights by amending the federal constitution, kick them out of the military where they are putting their lives on the line, put them into “reparative therapy” to “cure” them, keep it legal to fire them in many states, and refusing to include them in hate crime laws, Coulter is very pro-gay. As evidence of how pro-gay she is, check out all the gay men and women in America now defending her.

Her defense, however, is that she was making a joke, not speaking a slur. Her logic suggests that the two are mutually exclusive. They’re not. And when you unpack Coulter’s joke, you see she does both. Her joke was that the world is so absurd that someone like Isaiah Washington is forced to go into rehab for calling someone a “faggot.” She’s absolutely right that this is absurd and funny and an example of p.c. insanity. She could have made a joke about that—a better one, to be sure—but a joke. But she didn’t just do that. She added to the joke a slur: “John Edwards is a faggot.” That’s why people gasped and then laughed and clapped so heartily. I was in the room, so I felt the atmosphere personally. It was an ugly atmosphere, designed to make any gay man or woman in the room feel marginalized and despised.

Of course it’s homophobic to insult a straight man by calling him a homosexual—whatever term you use. The joke relies on pure homophobic prejudice, i.e. the notion that being gay is so self-evidently revolting, so disgusting, that simply associating a straight man with homosexuality or homosexuals diminishes him and makes him ridiculous. Coulter’s joke—calling Edwards a sissy or a faggot or whatever—amused the attendees at CPAC because it lumped him, a heterosexual man with a wife and three kids, in with them, all those less-than-men homosexuals with their limp wrists and sissified ways.

Andrew Sullivan nails it:

And for the slur to work, it must logically accept the premise that gay men are weak, effeminate, wusses, sissies, and the rest. A sane gay man has two responses to this, I think. The first is that there is nothing wrong with effeminacy or effeminate gay men—and certainly nothing weak about many of them. In the plague years, I saw countless nelly sissies face HIV and AIDS with as much courage and steel as any warrior on earth…. And that is especially true of gay men whose effeminacy may not make them able to pass as straight—the very people Coulter seeks to demonize. The conflation of effeminacy with weakness, and of gayness with weakness, is what Coulter calculatedly asserted. This was not a joke. It was an attack.

Secondly, gay men are not all effeminate. In the last couple of weeks, we have seen a leading NBA player and a soldier come out to tell their stories. I’d like to hear Coulter tell Amaechi and Alva that they are sissies and wusses. A man in uniform who just lost a leg for his country is a sissy? The first American solider to be wounded in Iraq is a wuss?

But, hey, the right sets the rules for our national debate—the right tells us what is and is not acceptable. So from here on out it’s officially not homophobic to call a man a faggot—so long as the man is straight. Like that faggot Sean Hannity. Or that faggot Rush Limbaugh. Or that faggot George W. Bush. Or that faggot Bill O’Reilly. Or that faggot George Will.


The Latest in Dinner

posted by on March 6 at 11:20 AM

Ever since eating at Tavolata a couple weeks ago, I haven’t been able to get the cannelloni out of my head. Oh man. And the conghilie with mussels and such? Oh baby. And the handmade mozzarella? Oh yeah baby man. And the fact that this place is OPEN UNTIL 2 A.M. EVERY NIGHT OF THE WEEK?!

Bethany Jean Clement says all this better than I can. She’s right. Tavolata is possibly the best thing to happen to Seattle at night ever.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 6 at 11:01 AM

Dr. John
(Sonic Medicine) There are some who say that Dr. John—the high priest of psychedelic swamp blues—is getting old and starting to stumble. To those some I say: Don’t go see Dr. John because he is the soul and flower of New Orleans music, because he used to play with Professor Longhair, because he recorded his first album on studio time stolen from Sonny and Cher, because he was the inspiration for Dr. Teeth, the bandleader on The Muppet Show. Go see Dr. John because he’s been playing both old and new tunes on this tour, sampling widely from a career that has already ascended to the status of legend. (Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave, 441-9729. 7:30 pm, $26.50—$28.50.) BRENDAN KILEY

For the Love of God

posted by on March 6 at 10:00 AM

From the wonderful world of Metafilter comes a collection of videos that’s been haunting my dreams.

First is this bluntly stunning instructional video for Christian clowns preparing to visit nursing homes:

(This video’s must-see second part can be found here.)

Then make room in your heart for The Hands of God, Alyson Levy’s mini-documentary about a Christian puppetry camp:

(Here’s the rest of The Hands of God: Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.)

God + comedy = ow.

Libby Verdict Coming… Now

posted by on March 6 at 9:00 AM

Verdict will be read aloud in the courtroom at noon EST.

UPDATE: Libby’s been found guilty on four out of five counts, including obstruction of justice. Liveblog here, if you can get it to load.

WASHINGTON — Former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was convicted Tuesday of obstruction, perjury and lying to the FBI in an investigation into the leak of a CIA operative’s identity.

Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was accused of lying and obstructing the investigation into the 2003 leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity to reporters.

He was acquitted of one count of lying to the FBI.

FURTHER UPDATE: There’s already one call for Cheney to be impeached if he doesn’t testify before Congress about what caused his closest aide to lie to investigators.

What If Everything You’ve Been Told About the Cultural Elite is Wrong?

posted by on March 6 at 8:56 AM

For twenty or more years now right wingers—from the old maid Ann Coulter to high-profile divorce-a-holic Newt Gingrich—have been screaming about the supposed assault of the “cultural elite” on marriage and family. It’s the elite that are out there smoking dope, pushing sex education, dismissing the two-parent family, and in general doing all they can to destroy the institution of marriage, devaluing it and degrading it. Meanwhile average, patriotic, God-fearing Americans—the ones the elite haven’t been able to lead astray—still hew to traditional values like marriage and family.

So how do we account for this trend?

As marriage with children becomes an exception rather than the norm, social scientists say it is also becoming the self-selected province of the college-educated and the affluent. The working class and the poor, meanwhile, increasingly steer away from marriage, while living together and bearing children out of wedlock.

Marriage has declined across all income groups, but it has declined far less among couples who make the most money and have the best education. These couples are also less likely to divorce.

Couples with high levels of education and income are also more likely to be atheists, more likely to support same-sex marriage, and less likely to divorce.

Photo of the Day

posted by on March 6 at 8:33 AM


The Morning News

posted by on March 6 at 8:17 AM

At least 70 dead following two earthquakes near the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Vice President Dick Cheney has a blood clot in his leg. Unfortunately, he won’t be receiving treatment at Walter Reed.

Nine soldiers were killed yesterday north of Baghdad. It was the deadliest day for U.S. troops in a month. Meanwhile, at least 90 Iraqis were killed in two suicide blasts just this morning.

NATO is attempting to clean up U.S. neglect in Afghanistan.

Taiwan has tested missiles capable of hitting China. Meanwhile, China has increased its defense budget by $45 billion for 2007.

Locally, Reps. Jim McIntire, Jamie Pedersen, Joe McDermott and Eric Pettigrew think Seattle voters should get a chance to vote on the surface/transit option.

Police, anti-war protesters clashed at the Port of Tacoma yesterday.

It’s getting stormier around here, and researchers say pollution from Asia is to blame.

Microsoft is taking on Google’s copyright policies.

Monday, March 5, 2007

A Public Transportation Observation

posted by on March 5 at 7:29 PM


I start in San Francisco at 7:03 a.m. I’m on foot, with much baggage. A smiling cab driver stops without my hailing him. I get on the Muni instead. Almost everyone’s reading the Chronicle in the bright morning sunshine. Smells like coffee. Foxy grandma tells me she just LOVES my hair. On to the BART, no waiting. Two shiny ladies with impossibly high heels sit down. Lance Armstrong’s number-one fan sits across from them with his fancy bike. I admire the Oakland graffiti. Back in Seattle. The 194 is so full, that I have to stand next to the driver. Bus smells like old beer. Immediately a fight breaks out between a 30-something with a do-rag and a nasty scar, and a 50-something wearing a dirty tie-dyed shirt and a crusty beard. Do-rag is challenging Tie-dyed…. says he isn’t REALLY handicapped. Bus driver threatens to call the Metro Police. Do-rag finally stops, and puts a defiant unlit cigarette in his mouth. Lady with bad bleach job pushes on, kicking over my suitcase. She laughs in my face. She’s amped on more than coffee. It’s 12:06 p.m.

The whole thing makes me wonder if Seattle will really actually ever have smooth and easy public trans to Sea-Tac Airport. It also makes me happy to be home. The Californians were freaking me out.

And This Isn’t Campaigning… How?

posted by on March 5 at 4:35 PM

Marybeth Turner, a staffer for the (pro-tunnel) mayor’s office, just sent out a “media clarification” about today’s Seattle Times story on plan s for a rebuilt Alaskan Way Viaduct. The “clarification” contains two “corrections”:

The following statement in today’s Seattle Times article about the Alaskan Way Viaduct needs clarification:

“The state expects a mere three months of total shutdown, keeping catastrophic congestion from becoming a way of life.”

Correction… [T]he full closure for the elevated structure could last up to six months.

[The state Department of Transportation]ss January 2007 plan set for the elevated structure also shows there would be up to 7 years when SR 99 would be closed nightly and weekends and 7 years that the corridor would be reduced to two-lanes in each direction. …

Additionally, the following statement in the same Seattle Times article needs clarification:

“Construction of a tunnel would close the highway completely for nearly three years.”

The estimated full closure for the tunnel is 27 - 33 months. The article uses the low end estimate for the range of closure for the elevated structure (3-6 months) by stating it would only be closed, “a mere three months” while the high end of closure for the tunnel is listed. To use an equal comparison to the elevated structure, construction closure for a tunnel should be listed as 27 months.

First of all, dickering over three months-vs.-six and 27-vs.-33 glosses over the fact that, in any case, building the mayor’s tunnel will mean significantly longer shutdowns than the elevated rebuild.

Second, I can’t recall the mayor’s office ever sending out a clarification when it hasn’t served Nickels’s own political interests. (It’s hard to imagine them correcting misinformation that cast the tunnel in a positive light.) If they were in the business of issuing corrections every time the papers screwed something up, that would be weird (no other city office sends out blanket “corrections” to multiple media outlets), but it wouldn’t smack of campaigning the way this self-serving press release (and a similar one issued January 5) does.

A Few of My Favorite Things

posted by on March 5 at 4:14 PM

This is Yukimi Nagano:
nfile.jpg Japanese by blood and Swedish by birth, Nagano is a singer with a remarkable voice. She first appeared on Koop’s debut CD, Waltz for Koop, five or so years ago and has haunted my imagination ever since. Her voice is the ghost of jazz.

This Eva Mendes:
Eva-Mendes-101.jpg The Hollywood actress turned 33 today.

This is Boxcutter’s new CD, Oneiric:

Belfast’s Boxcutter is not as good as South London’s Burial, but his dub is more spiritual than Burial’s, whose dub is more soulful than Boxcutter’s. Check out Boxcutter’s Breezeblock set; it transports you from the stable here of now to a realm of mirrors that reflect as they twirl the shades and shimmers of a thousand supernatural happenings.

Finally, from “The Dawn of Day”:

When the sound of music reaches the ears of the lover, he thinks: “It speaks of me, it speaks in my stead; it knows everything!”

True Son of Liberty

posted by on March 5 at 4:14 PM

I promised myself I’d stay away from Slog on my vacation, but eat your hearts out true patriots:

So, I’m in Boston, and over the weekend I saw the famous battlegrounds at Lexington and Concord where the Revolutionary war started. The “Shot heard around the world” …

And I also went to the site of the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. The Boston Tea Party museum was actually closed for renovations, but me and my revolutionary friends ducked under the “Do Not Enter” barricade, walked out to the site over the harbor and dumped some Starbucks coffee down into the water.

But here’s the thing: It turns out that today, March 5, 2007 is the 237th anniversary of the Boston Massacre and—there’s a reenactment tonight! Who knew?


I am psyched. Heading back down now.

Today On Line Out.

posted by on March 5 at 3:45 PM

Beastie Men: Beastie Boys at Work on New Album.

Cuts Like a Knife: In Praise of Deep Cuts.

Merci, Beau Coup: In Praise of the Coup.

Bright Black Light Kid: Charlie’s Golden Picks.

P(wnd)-Funk: Dave Segal Goes Back to P-School.

Pre-Funk: Chi-Chi Favelas’ Rock Solid Disco.

Any Minute Now: Soulwax To Rock Seattle.

Sticker Shock

posted by on March 5 at 2:45 PM

Looks like somebody doesn’t like the planned Pearl Apartments at 15th and Pine:


Is this the anti-apartment version of this?

The Scale of Blackness

posted by on March 5 at 1:40 PM

The battle to be seen in Selma is over…


…but the battle to get to the right spot on the scale of blackness has only begun.

(Hat tip: Sullivan)

Blown by Truffaut at Seattle Center

posted by on March 5 at 12:15 PM


Sorry for the lurid subject line, but I want to gush about seeing The 400 Blows this weekend at SIFF’s new Seattle Center digs, and “Attending Janus Films Essential Art House Cinema at Nesholm Family Lecture Hall at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall” seemed too dry an introduction to what was a thoroughly wonderful experience.

As Annie Wagner will be explicating fully in next week’s film lead, the Seattle International Film Festival has begun year-round programming at Seattle Center, starting with Janus Films’ Essential Art House Cinema Festival, a crash course in 20th-century cinema featuring masterworks from Bergman, Kurosawa, Jean Cocteau, Max Ophuls, and many more.

On Friday night, I joined a couple hundred other folks at the screening of Truffaut’s 400 Blows, which I’d never seen before and which knocked me out. I think I first heard of the movie in connection with Lasse Halstrom’s My Life as a Dog, which was hyped by a critic or two as some sort of sibling of/successor to The 400 Blows. But as most people know and I just found out, Truffaut’s film is in a class by itself, capturing the experience of childhood more fully than any movie I’ve ever seen, and featuring a number of scenes I’ll never forget. (Top of the heap: the spin-cycle centrifugal-force carnival ride, and the kids watching the puppet show, shot from the puppet show’s perspective.)

As for the venue: It’s dreamy. It reminds me a bit of the BAM Cinemas in Brooklyn, where I saw Memento for the first time years ago. Comfortable, great sightlines, big screen, and the coming weeks bring more great films that I can stand (Jules & Jim! The Seven Samurai! Smiles of a Summer Night!!!), all of which deserve to be seen on a big screen in a dark room full of entranced strangers. (For a full list of films in the Essential Art House festival, go here.)

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 5 at 11:07 AM

Art Spiegelman
(Lecture) He’s most famous for Maus, the first comic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize, in which he recounts family stories like the one about his aunt poisoning his older brother, herself, her daughter, and her niece to keep them from the clutches of the Nazis. He also made the black-towers-against-a-black-sky cover of the New Yorker after 9/11. He chain smokes, and he thinks the world is ending. He’s said, “I’m not even sure I’ll live long enough for cigarettes to kill me.” (Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, 621-2230. 7:30 pm, $10—$25.) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

I’m Holding My Breath…

posted by on March 5 at 10:15 AM

…until I hear how Ms. Didion’s play—which is not exactly an adaptation of The Year of Magical Thinking but more an extension of it—fares on its first preview on Broadway.

(If you are anywhere near New York tomorrow and can afford the $100 tickets, please purchase one here, attend the show, and tell me, in detail, what it was like.)

You can read Didion the writer on Didion the playwright here.

I have been asked if I do not find it strange that Vanessa Redgrave is playing me. I explain: Vanessa Redgrave is not playing me, Vanessa Redgrave is playing a character who, for the sake of clarity, is called Joan Didion. At points before this character appears onstage, she loses first her husband and then her daughter. Such experiences of loss may not be universal, but neither are they uncommon. If you take the long view, which this character tries to do, they could even be called general.

This does not close the subject. “But Vanessa Redgrave is nothing like you.”

This is not entirely true. As it happens I knew her before I ever thought of writing a play. Tony Richardson, to whom she was married, was until his death in 1991 one of our closest friends. I had known their daughters since they were children. She and I understand certain kinds of experience in the same way. We share the impulse to make things, the fear of not getting them right. I would even guess, although I have not asked the question, that she has had the nightmare in which you get pushed onstage without a script.

I say some of this.

“But she’s taller than you are.”

This is true. She is taller than I am.

I try to suggest that her task in this play, for better or for worse, offers more elusive challenges than height impersonation.

Then I give up.

Good News For Renters?

posted by on March 5 at 9:52 AM

Housing bust just beginning, says Slate.

The Wages of Sin

posted by on March 5 at 9:40 AM

New Life Church—the megachurch founded by Ted “Competely Heterosexual” Haggard—has fallen on hard times. The church, which has 14,000 members, is in the process of laying off up to 50 staff members. It seems New Life’s members aren’t digging as deep as they once did. Pity.

Via Newspeak.

Sexist Advice Columnists Suck

posted by on March 5 at 9:28 AM

And, no, I’m not talking about me.

Backstage at Talk Sex last night with time to kill (thanks to that four hour call), I picked up Friday’s edition of the Toronto Sun. The Sun runs two advice columns: the phoning-it-in-from-Mars “Dear Abby” (now written by the original Abby’s adult daughter), and “Dear Val,” a column I’d never run across before. “Dear Val” is written by Valerie Gibson, a sixty-something looker.

The first letter in Val’s column on Friday was from a woman who is—can you guess?—furious with her husband. You see, four years ago the woman’s husband announced that he was “no longer interested in sex,” without giving a reason. “In the last six months I’ve lost a lot of weight and worked hard on getting fit and suddenly he wants to restart our sex life!” The woman is resents the fact that her husband “couldn’t love me the way I was before,” and has decided, now that their kids are grown, to get a divorce. Val’s response?

You’ve worked at getting fit and are at the weight that feels good and you’re seeing your life more clearly than you have before…. Consult a divorce lawyer to see where you stand financially and what divorce will mean for you.

Okay, fine, whatever—I tell people to break up all the time. Perhaps Val should have mentioned that the wife bears some small responsibility for the breakdown of her marriage. Yes, her husband didn’t give her a reason for his loss of interest in sex, but what was he supposed to say? “Honey, you’ve put on a lot of weight”? Men are constantly told—by their wives, by Oprah, by advice columnists like Val—that a statement like that is the third rail of heart-to-hearts. The exact same professional advisors that urge honesty in all things warn men that they’re absolutely, positively not allowed to be honest about that. The same professional advisors that urge us to own and honor and share our feelings tell men that they’re absolutely, positively not allowed to feel that. That brand of candor—that honesty—will land your ass in divorce court about as quickly as an affair.

Oh, and speaking of affairs, the last letter in Val’s column is from a man who believes his wife has cheated on him—multiple times. His kids are grown, and he’s also contemplating divorce. “She has always denied having affairs but I have quite a lot of evidence to the contrary. I want her to be honest with me so our marriage can continue.” Val’s advice? The man shouldn’t divorce his wife—he shouldn’t even confront her with the evidence of her infidelities, as that would put his wife between “a rock and a hard place,” leading her “to deny everything.” No, he should look to the real culprit—himself.

What you really should be doing, if you’re convinced of her guilt, is asking yourself why she needed to have affairs (assuming your evidence is substantial), what went wrong with your marriage, and why you didn’t satisfy her.

Uh… gee. Couldn’t something similar be said to the wife in the first letter? Something went wrong with her marriage too. The first woman’s weight gain—there I said it—made her unappealing to her husband. She no longer satisfied him—and his lack of attraction wasn’t about her age, but her size. Did her husband cheat? Nope, he just lost interest. And now that she’s lost some weight, he’s interested again—and this is capital offense, proof that he in fact doesn’t love his wife. Divorce his ass! But when a wife cheats on her husband? Repeatedly? And he has evidence that confirms his suspicions? Well, says Val, the husband was clearly doing something wrong! He must have failed to satisfy her in some way, which means her infidelities are his fault!

It’s a wonder that men write to advice columnists at all. So many are like Val: whatever the problem, whatever has gone wrong, it’s gotta be his fault.

Reasonable Doubt, Only Human Edition

posted by on March 5 at 8:44 AM

The back-and-forth over “reasonable doubt” continues at the Libby trial. The jury seems to want to know if they should decide Libby’s guilt based on whether it is “humanly possible” for a person to have forgotten all that Libby claims to have forgotten, or if they can decide his guilt based simply on whether they believe him or not.

The judge now wants them to clarify what they mean by “humanly possible.”

See here and here for more language parsing.

The Morning News

posted by on March 5 at 8:11 AM

Iraq’s intelligence agency appears to be back in the torture business.

At least 26 dead, 54 wounded in latest Baghdad suicide bombing.

The Bush administration has no backup plan for Iraq—unless you count “Plan B is to make Plan A work” as a backup plan.

Asian stock markets took another tumble last night. Wall Street, so far, is mixed.

John Edwards responded Sunday to being called a “faggot” by Ann Coulter:

“I think its important that we not reward hateful, selfish, childish behavior with attention,” Edwards told reporters in Berkley, Calif. “I also believe that is important for all of us to speak out against language of this kind; it is the place where hatred gets its foothold, and we can’t stand silently by and allow this kind of language to be used.”

After less than two years on the job, NAACP head Bruce S. Gordon is resigning.

Walter Reed isn’t the only VA hospital in need of attention.

Advances in technology are helping us pollute, start unnecessary wars longer than expected.

420 lbs. woman goes to hospital with stomach pains, leaves with surprise newborn son.

Microsoft throws a ton of money at search engines, loses ground to Google.

Seattle Big Brother nabbed over 8,000 red-light running drivers last year.

A King County Metro driver has been arrested on suspicion of voyeurism.

Breaking News: Meals on Wheels to start delivering baby food.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

“Talk Sex” Not “Sex Talk”

posted by on March 4 at 9:31 PM


I had a good time doing Sue Johanson’s call-in sex advice program. (And it was great to finally meet Wired’s Regina Lynn in person.) There was just one thing weird about the show: the call time. It’s a live show, on Oxygen from 11 PM to Midnight, and we asked to be at the studio by 7 PM. That’s four whole hours before airtime. Soooo we had lots of time to kill between rehearsals—also weird, as most television shows don’t let you rehearse lest you sound rehearsed (the calls were not rehearsed, just the intro and outro)—and getting into makeup. I didn’t bring a book so I slipped out of the studio, which is located inside a sports arena, and went for a walk around the Renaissance Hotel next door. (It was too cold to go for a walk outside.) And look what I found…


There’s an honor bar on the sixth floor of the Renaissance Hotel! If you take a drink you’re supposed to fill out a little form with your room number on it so they can charge you for it. Here’s the price list for those of you with any honor. For the rest of us, well, it looks like there’s an open bar on the sixth floor of Renaissance Hotel at One Blue Jays Way in the Rogers Centre/SkyDome. Oh, and there’s cake too!

And finally, to readers that complain about the names of Seattle’s comedy clubs: The names of comedy clubs suck everywhere.

Sex Talk & RTE

posted by on March 4 at 1:57 PM


I’m in Toronto to do Sex Talk with Sue Johanson. The topic is technology and its impact on sex and Sue’s other guest is Wired’s Regina Lynn. I’m excited about meeting Lynn. If you’re not reading her blog, Sex Drive Daily, you should be. The show doesn’t tape until late tonight, so I had some time to kill today. There was nothing I wanted to see at the movie theater near our hotel, so I got in a cab and headed to a theater where Last King of Scotland was showing. I don’t usually take cabs in cities where I can ride buses or trains… but, shit, it’s fucking cold in Toronto and I only have a windbreaker with me. And I didn’t know if there was a subway stop near the theater.

Twenty bucks later, I was dropped in front of the movie theater—which sits literally on top of a subway station. (I mean “literally” literally, Frizzelle.)

After the movie, I took the subway back downtown. And quickly came down with a bad case of Rapid Transit Envy, a malaise that strikes me whenever I’m in a city with a real rapid transit system. It cost less than $3 Canadian to ride the subway downtown and it got me back to my hotel faster than the cab got me to the movie theater—on a Sunday afternoon! Can you imagine how much faster the subway is than driving on a weekday? Toronto doesn’t call its rapid transit system “the red rocket” for nothing, it seems.

But subways can be just as cruel as buses. A little old lady was standing on the platform when we pulled in, and then she waited patiently as people poured off the subway. Just as the last person disembarked and the little old lady took her first step toward the door… slam. So it’s not just bus drivers, Charles. I didn’t see the front car, so I don’t know if the subway had a driver or if Toronto’s system is automated, but someone or something cruel slammed the subway doors shut in the face of that little old lady.

Now if only Toronto could do something about the Gardiner Expressway—a.k.a. “the mistake by the lake”—which cuts the city off from its Lake Ontario waterfront.

Live From CPAC

posted by on March 4 at 1:27 PM

A reporter from The Nation—Max Blumenthal—takes us behind the scenes at CPAC, the conservative conference where Coulter called Edwards a faggot. It’s great stuff. Gotta love his short exchange with Michelle Malkin and his interview with, er, a black Republican. And be sure to catch Blumenthal’s follow-up question for Coulter.

Via Sullivan.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 4 at 11:03 AM

Nina Hartley
(Porn-Star Royalty) Not all female porn stars are overtanned, overbleached bobble-heads. Nina is the queen mother of the new whip-smart, sex-positive women ruling today’s adult-film industry—trailblazers like Jenna Jameson, Belladonna, and Joanna Angel. Hartley, with her 22-plus years in porn and an education as a registered nurse, comes to Seattle with a new book, Nina Hartley’s Guide to Total Sex. If you want to learn a thing or two about being hotter and happier in 2007, then don’t miss her workshop. (Babeland, 707 E Pike St, 328-2914. 7:30 pm, $30, 18+. Free book signing at Babeland Sat March 3, 7 pm.) KELLY O

For Josh

posted by on March 4 at 10:10 AM

I think I know why you love Gilbert Arenas after reading this profile in the Sunday Times Magazine. Gilbert sets himself apart from other sports freaks.

He says, to Chuck Klosterman:

“The freak part of me is not that I’m going to take 60 pills to get attention. I’m not that kind of freak. I just like to watch the Gummi Bears on TV.”