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Archives for 03/18/2007 - 03/24/2007

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Tommy Lee Sucks! Toes! Homosexually!

posted by on March 24 at 7:24 PM

It happened at the Fenix, just downtown. Witnesses at the scene agree: There were moist, slurpy noises, and at least one bunion.

Tommy Lee has been revealed to be a huge homosexual toe sucker!

Tommy Lee (former titty-fucker of Pamela Anderson and a very tattooed person) and his band “Supernova” were apparently at the Fenix recently, whence he was approached by a female alleged “groupie” with “red hair” (hopefully not on her toes), and, apparently irresistible feet.

Now please understand: Tommy is a long suspected “podophiliac” who is rumored to stalk full-moon shoe sales in order to steal surreptitious glances at scrumptious and unsuspecting tootsies (it’s something devil worshipers just DO). So it’s understandable that when the red-headed groupie, clearly hypnotized by the unholy power of his hot and diabolical tattoos, offered Tommy…her foot (?!), he took the opportunity to exercise—and thus widely confirm—-his peculiar proclivities. Tommy relieved said groupie of her shoe and began unabashedly sucking that b-b-bitch’s toes like dey was marijuana lollypops wid money in da middle. (Word.)

But he didn’t stop there.

Oh, hell no.

Millions of pretending-to-be-disgusted (but secretly so-horny) witnesses report that thusly encouraged by his own bold and ravenous act of toe-munchery, Tommy abruptly turned his hunger upon the nubile, young and very male toes of Lukas Rossi, whom everyone won’t remember as that horrid indie-goth hermaphrodite with the Manga hair and Cher-eyeliner that won his way onto Tommy’s band “Supernova” via some lame reality TV show and who looks just like my exboyfriend, but that’s enough about that jackass. (Call me!)

And then, having thoroughly tongued the feety crevasses of the young “vocalist”, he launched his now greedy-for-man-feet mouth at the feet of his remaining band members, and sucked their toes too, one…by…one. All of them are equally also male. Like, with dicks and everything. So it was all pretty darn gay and junk.

“Fuck, yeah, I’d let Tommy Lee suck my toes,” said almost everyone secretly to themselves at the scene I bet. Then they got a boner.

While homosexual toe-suckers everywhere rejoice in Tommy’s “outing”, non-homosexual toe-suckers everywhere are all like, “Ewwwwwww!” Relatively speaking, they’re both right.

Does Tommy Lee, a vile and sexy devil worshiper for sure, believe that by feeding off the toes of the living, he will attain eternal life? Or is he trying to commit suicide via overdose of toenails? Or does he simply suffer from an advanced palate far too specialized to be grasped by the common man? Or is he simply. That. Cracked. Out? Will Tommy Lee’s homosexual toe-glut end at the feet of Supernova? Or has an unstoppable toe-sucking monster with really peculiar breath been unleashed upon the world? And would most people—male, female, otherwise—still totally let Tommy fuck their spines apart, even though he’s really old now, if he promised not to kiss them?


(“Quit Looking At My Toes, Fag!”)

This Week on Drugs

posted by on March 24 at 11:33 AM


Lancet Skewers Penalties: Issues index of actual drug harms.

Philadelphia vs. Paraphernalia: Blunts win.

Missoula vs. Marijuana: County commissioners can suck my blunt.

Georgia vs. Ganjapops: Off the shelves.

Sending the Right’s Message: Youths jailed as adults for drug crimes up 208 percent.

Hearing the Right’s Message: Ken Starr blows smoke against “Bong Hits 4 Jesus.”

Was Anna Nicole Smith’s Judge Smoking Marijuana on a Park Bench?: Allegedly.

Is Anna Nicole Smith’s Baby Addicted to Drugs? Is this article for fucking real?

Attention Nick Drake fans!

posted by on March 24 at 10:50 AM

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Joe Boyd, producer of the first two Nick Drake albums, is reading from his genuinely entertaining memoir White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s in a few hours at Elliott Bay Book Company. More info is lurking over in Line Out.

Morning News

posted by on March 24 at 8:37 AM

Posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

BWAHAHAHAHAHA Bush tells Dems to drop partisan politics

Fired: Largo, FL ousts city manager for seeking
sex-change operation

Washington license plates to get extra letter: INTRNRLZ already taken

Texas legislator proposes $500 incentive: for not having an abortion. Babies still worth more on the open market

NYC honors 9/11 victims: by using their remains to fill potholes

The horror, the horror: Glut of shitty scare-films brings renewed threat of regulation

Marky Mark ‘shoots’ intern: when will the madness stop?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Thank Fucking God

posted by on March 23 at 8:39 PM

The FCC is not going ahead with plans to allow cell phone use on airplanes! Holy shit, to whom do we send thank-you notes?

The Federal Communications Commission will give up on the idea of allowing cellphone use on airplanes, the chairman said, because it was not clear whether the network on the ground could handle the calls.

While the chairman, Kevin Martin, cited a technical reason on Thursday, thousands of air passengers have written to the FCC, urging rejection of the proposal because of the potential for irritating passengers.

Wait a minute… the potential for irritating passengers?

Air travel is plenty irritating enough right now, thank you very much, without people shouting into their phones. Cell phones would have made air travel unfuckingbearable. Not all travelers would have used ‘em, of course. Only the assholes—and there are not shortage of them on board an aircraft. And those folks already have plenty of ways to irritate their fellow air passengers without cell phones. They carry on inane conversations, they drag way too much crap on board, they get up and down and up and down, they slam their seats back. Allowing people to use cell phones on airplanes—“Nothing, flying. Uh-huh… What? WHAT? Sorry, lost you… What are you are doing? Uh-huh… Uh-huh… Really? Chicago…. No way! No, I got some pizza at the airport…. Uh-huh…. No. Diane did what? No way…”—would have lead to fist fights in the aisles.

Thanks, FCC. A decision like that could almost restore a person’s faith in the federal government.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on March 23 at 6:15 PM

There are way too many movies opening this week. So first, a news breather:

SIFF Group has hired a full-time programmer for SIFF Cinema at McCaw Hall: We’ll see if summarily fired former Castro Theatre programmer Anita Monga (just the kind of Maryna-cough-Ajaja-cough name to introduce SIFF movies, if she’s dragged in to that racket) will stick with the sloppy thirds AD Carl Spence humbly suggested SIFF would be content with—or seek out more contested bookings. Monga seems like a smart hire. Stranger Genius Award-winner David Russo is presently casting for The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle (formerly #2)—I hope that “immaculate conception” is used in the theologically correct sense, Mr. Russo—according to executive producer Michael Seiwerath on the Northwest Film Forum blog. Also, read Christopher Frizzelle’s interview with Deborah Eisenberg: She has something to say about Inland Empire and a lot to say about short stories that could also be applied to short films.


And in On Screen this week: hot ’70s shorts in the cold-splash-of-inspiration movie Pride, the weird politics of the Antoine Fuqua conspiracy thriller Shooter, overrated art star Matthew Barney scores a touchdown (literally, NOT figuratively) in Matthew Barney: No Restraint, Paris looks all fluffy in Avenue Montaigne, Adam Sandler is actually okay as a post 9/11 sad sack in Reign over Me, the Seattle eco-kid movie The Last Mimzy is … um… about a psychic stuffed bunny, What Love Is made me want to scratch my eyes out, and TMNT is kind of radical, dude.

In Film Shorts this week: Reviews of the stupid John Malkovich vanity project Color Me Kubrick (watch Kiarostami’s Close-Up instead) and the dark Jacques Demy version of The Pied Piper (this is the companion piece to his awesome incest musical Donkey Skin, which showed up in Seattle theaters two years ago); plus: SIFF Cinema is all about Ingmar Bergman this weekend—Monika, The Seventh Seal, Smiles of a Summer Night, and Wild Strawberries—with a bunch of Japanese films beginning Wednesday.

Can You Afford to Spend $50 a Month on Birth Control?

posted by on March 23 at 5:36 PM

Neither can I. And I sure as hell couldn’t when I was in college, where I relied on the student health center to provide cheap, effective birth control pills for between $10 and $15 a month. I can only assume that these days, when tuition and book costs are higher than ever before and rising, a $500-or-more annual hike in birth control expenses is a bigger burden than ever before. Which is why it’s such terrible news that Congress is eliminating an incentive in the Medicaid rebate law that encouraged companies to provide low-cost contraceptives to college campuses. The change will boost the price of birth control as much as 300 percent. Given that many college students do not have private insurance, and given that many private insurers don’t cover birth control, this is going to have a huge impact on the very college students who can afford it the least.

The change was part of a deficit-reduction measure passed in 2005. Because tons of pregnant college dropouts are really going take care of that problem.


Having a Shitty Day?

posted by on March 23 at 5:25 PM

Here, let Knut fix you:

Today on Line Out.

posted by on March 23 at 4:15 PM

Hooray!: This Week’s Setlist.

A Rave Mistake: Not the New Björk Album Cover.

No Mo Lobo: Lobo Saloon to Close.

Best. Song. Ever. (This Week): The Grassroots’ “Midnight Confessions.”

Robot Rock: Shout Out Out Out Out.

Senator Ed Murray and Sound Transit

posted by on March 23 at 2:58 PM

State Senator Ed Murray took some time with me today to explain the letter he wrote earlier this week (the one that’s currently causing a ruckus in Slog comments).

His letter cuts straight to the debate over coupling or decoupling Sound Transit and RTID on this November’s ballot. Murray wants to decouple them—which is ironic, given that it was his legislation last year that made them dependent on each other—and he says his letter proposes a political strategy and an enticing compromise to make that happen.

Murray says he’s not opposed to light rail on I-90. He is, however, anti-RTID—or at least down on RTID’s failure to mitigate the wreckage that’s planned for the communities around 520 and RTID’s “failure to provide one red cent for transit there.”

Murray is also convinced that coupling RTID and Sound Transit on the November ballot will kill light rail at the polls (thanks, in part, to 520-area voters who will give the package the finger despite supporting light rail).

Murray says the proposal outlined in the letter he sent to house and sentate leaders and transportation committee chairs (a proposal to take RTID off the ballot and only put ST’s expansion to the north on the ballot, not I-90) is a tactical move to disconnect RTID from Sound Transit.

To get Eastside legislators to sign off on that, Murray says, he’s appeasing their concerns about light rail on I-90, and putting the brakes on it, so voters there have time to air their concerns.

Sound Transit, pointing out that the Bellevue City Council voted 5-2 to support the plan, believes its $3.5 billion plan for I-90 is good to go: two light-rail lanes down the center; adjacent HOV lanes on both sides; and then three lanes of traffic on each side.

Murray seems to be hoping that putting off ST’s plan for I-90 will end up handing off I-90 planning to the transportation commission he’s proposing, which, he argues, will end up providing more money for light rail and transit there.

Again, all of this is a bit ironic given that state Representative Ed Murray (last year) was the one who tied light rail and RTID together. He has since renounced the idea, blaming it on a compromise solution he was forced into.

Currently, there’s a bill in the house to actually put light rail and RTID under the same ballot title (a step that goes further than simply making the two votes dependent on each other). Senator Murray totally opposes this idea. At least in the current scenario, Murray contends, (if his decoupling proposal fails): If both go down because one goes down, we’ll likely see that roads killed light rail and so, light rail can come back in its own right next time.

Murray concludes: “The news is: I’m the only one in Olympia talking about decoupling Sound Transit and RTID.”

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 23 at 2:52 PM

Eileen Myles (Reading) Facts you can’t ignore: Eileen Myles is a living legend; her new book of poetry is called Sorry, Tree; and tonight the elder spokesdyke of punk poetry and author of the classic story collection Chelsea Girls blesses Bailey/Coy Books with an in-store appearance. (Bailey/Coy Books, 414 Broadway E, 323-8842. 7 pm, free.) DAVID SCHMADER

“I’ve Always Thought a Lot About Death”: An Interview with Deborah Eisenberg

posted by on March 23 at 2:30 PM


The transcript of my interview with short-story writer Deborah Eisenberg promised in this week’s Nightstand is finally online.

Discussed: Why she had never been to Seattle before, why she isn’t published in the New Yorker anymore, having a heart made of synthetic plastic, death anxiety, the anxiety of teaching, novels versus short stories, David Lynch’s Inland Empire, how great it is that Joan Didion is still alive, the culture of brainwashing, and the addictive properties of computer solitaire.

She’s a fantastic writer and a fantastic interview subject. Enjoy.

Letter of the Day

posted by on March 23 at 2:28 PM

Dear Kyle Mills (6 months), I hope somebody reads this letter to you, because I want you to know that you are not alone [New Column, March 22]. I too miss pussy. However, as a grownup, you will get to chase tail as much or as little as you please. But, trust me, enjoy the tit! Not every woman will let you suck on her boobies just because you cry. Stop acting like such a fucking baby and just be grateful for what you have. M. K.

A Neat Way to Support a Neat Nonprofit

posted by on March 23 at 2:22 PM

Artworks is one of my favorite nonprofits in the entire city of Seattle. Besides hosting shows at their space downtown that are run by young people, they also run one of the most subversive community-service programs ever: If you are a kid who is caught tagging, and you receive community service for your crime (most first-time offenders do), then you can serve it out at Artworks. What will you do there? Paint murals. On walls. Outside. It’s so brilliant.

Anyhow, like all nonprofits, they are very poor. Help them out at this fundraiser. It’s super easy, all you have to do is eat.

Come eat with ArtWorks!
March 27th 5 pm til they close!
McMenamin’s Fremont Restaurant, Dad Watson’s, is hosting ArtWorks for a “Friends & Family Night”.
50 percent of all food & drink sales will go to ArtWorks.
Free [except for the food you order]& all ages welcome!
What an easy, fun, delicious way to support Seattle’s #1 nonprofit empowering young people through professional opportunities in the arts.
xo artWorks

Watch This American Life

posted by on March 23 at 2:20 PM

While certain shows on NPR make me want to repeatedly jab an icepick into my ear, everyone loves This American Life with Ira Glass. However! Staunch fans of the program hit the roof when they learned of the televised version debuting on Showtime. Well, I’m here to offer proof that there’s no need to worry. This American Life is just as good, if not improved, in this incarnation with brilliant cinematography and lighting augmenting the weird and wonderful stories.

Don’t have Showtime? Well, check out the first episode in its entirety HERE. (And while the first story about a family bull may sound dull at first, something happens at roughly the four-minute mark that will freak you the frak OUT.)


Trouble in Dildotown

posted by on March 23 at 2:12 PM

Posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

Back in February I wrote about the “ongoing scenario” at Club Lagoon. I spoke with Castle Megastore employee Billy Helton about his experiences working underneath Club Lagoon, which he described as “hell above us.” His employers at Castle were none too happy about that.

Today, Billy e-mailed The Stranger to let us know he’d been fired from Castle, alleging:

i was quoted in the article about CLub Lagoon a few weeks ago . i’m the one that got castle megastores inc all up in a gruff . well , low and behold they fired me for speaking my mind on behalf of the comunity about how much i couldn’t stand working below a club that does nothing but shit out homophobic assholes … for lack of a better word . either way i am now without a job and without rent for my apartment [but] i cant say that i am not happy about not working there anymore

….i heard that they were afraid to fire me
because they thought i would contact the stranger and
let you know what happened and print another story
having to do with castle or something so i thought it
only right to do what they expected and see where it
goes from here .



I asked Castle Human Resources Director Adriana Rosales if, indeed, Helton had been fired for his quote in my article. “No,” she said “There are other reasons [why] and he knows it.”

Club Lagoon owner Ryan Howard took exception to Helton’s description but acknowledged that there had been tension between his business and the neighborhood. Howard said that he intended to make changes to bring in a more mature crowd.

High Friends in Places

posted by on March 23 at 2:00 PM

A protest is underway outside my office at the ACLU of Washington, and the activists are protesting, well, me and my colleagues. They want our organization to withdraw support for a bill that would modify Washington’s medical-marijuana law. Last week the bill (.pdf) passed 39-10 in the state senate. And if it passes in the house, it would make a couple of technical fixes to the law and—here’s where it appears to hit a nerve—require the Department of Health to decide how much pot a patient can legally possess or cultivate. Patients are afraid the agency would impose unreasonable limits, thereby denying them the medicine they need. If the ACLU stops supporting the bill, they posit, it will die.

So, about 25 marijuana activists are chanting, picketing, and arguing about stuff. Meanwhile, the office is prepared: The front desk is armed with information about the bill and lemon-gingersnap cookies.


Personally, I think this bill can only make conditions better for patients in Washington. The existing medical-marijuana law, which passed by initiative in 1998, is broken. Due to a number of unfortunate court rulings and narrow interpretations from law enforcement, patients who are trying to abide by the law are getting busted and prosecuted. The problems stem from a provision that says patients can only possess a 60-day supply of pot. Lots of patients have a different idea of how much pot that is. Cops are equally confused by the ambiguity so they bust patients for having any marijuana and let the courts sort it out.

Continue reading "High Friends in Places" »

How Was It?

posted by on March 23 at 1:37 PM

Q: What do the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival down in SODO, a new Italian place in Belltown called Tavolata, and a black metal show on Capitol Hill starring Book of Black Earth have in common?

A: Our Slog video crew (Kelly O. & Me) were there this past week.

Indeed, we hung outside all three venues, video camera and microphone in hand, to ask attendees a basic question: “How Was It?”

Welcome the first installment of our new Seattle nightlife survey!

God Bless this Mess

posted by on March 23 at 1:26 PM

Did you know that Evangelical Christians are not funny? No, I’m serious. You should watch this video and not laugh. It is not funny in the least.

Here we have the commencement ceremony at a public university in Texas. This young woman, the valedictorian, was allowed to give the (religious) benediction. Ah, but not your standard peace-be-with-you prayer. No, this benediction comes in two acts. Act two is what happens when Christians stop being polite and start getting epileptic. If you’ve never seen what Texas is like, what Evangelicals mean by “witnessing,” or what a for-real Pentecostal freakout entails, then please partake:

You see, when I first watched this video, I had that familiar adrenaline-induced queasiness. I was an Evangelical Xtian once. I did my fair share of witnessing. I recognized the breathlessness and the ballsiness of such a public stunt. Of course that feeling turned into one of sheer awe and disgrace as I realized toward the end (when the school’s president calls for an ambulance) that I recognized that dusty old curtain in back. And that seal on the podium, that looked familiar. Oh, shit; that is Dr. Rodriguez.

This was the university I graduated from. This was my hometown. AND [HORREUR!] I KNEW THAT BITCH. Mary Goddamn King and her fake-tongues-speakin’ ass.

Don’t worry about me, though, y’all. I got saved. I now regularly engage in the eucharist (of my boyfriend’s dick), and it is now I who am regularly blessed with the gift of tongues (guess where!).

Vegfest Ought-Seven!

posted by on March 23 at 1:24 PM

Vegetarians of Washington, unite. Vegfest 2007 costs $5, but then one may indulge in “over 500,000 free food samples from over 200 companies” (“even Chocolate Silk soy milk”!).
Dr. Marilyn Joyce—international radio and television personality, motivational and inspirational speaker, and author of I Can’t Believe It’s Tofu!—will speak on the topic of “Five Minutes to Health” on Sunday at 11:25 a.m. (until 11:30 a.m., presumably).
Clowns will also be available. Aren’t clowns made of meat?

New Column!

posted by on March 23 at 1:22 PM

We didn’t want those of you who don’t have access to the paper version of The Stranger to miss this…

Do NOT Fuck with Lily Tomlin

posted by on March 23 at 12:45 PM

I leapt at the chance to watch these videos—capturing Lily Tomlin and director David O. Russell fighting like maniacs on the set of I Heart Huckabees—when I first saw them hyped on the web last week. But by the time I followed the links, the videos had been removed from YouTube. But now they’re back, and anyone who’s ever wondered what happens when the sublime artistry of Lily Tomlin is subjected to a notoriously flaky director with a temper problem should watch ‘em while they can.

Tomlin vs. Russell over headset:

Tomlin vs. Russell on set:

Update: Following a tip from Slog commenter Monkey, I found Tomlin’s recent discussion of the footage, in which she is embarrassed and forgiving and gracious.

Now That’s Frat-errific!

posted by on March 23 at 12:42 PM

As Josh noted yesterday, the Weekly, under bitter ex-Maria Cantwell staffer Mike Seely, looooves to bag on Maria for being, you know, a bitch. Last week, it fell to Weekly newbie Aimee Curl to demonstrate, via staff turnover stats, that Maria deserves her bitchy reputation. Josh noted the Weekly didn’t compare Cantwell’s staff turnover to other offices; if they had, they would have found that Cantwell’s nine-person turnover isn’t much above the average for the state.

Well, guess what self-proclaimed frat boy Seely’s nickname for Cantwell was, according to a former SW staffer?


Yeah, nothing sexist (or personal) about that.

Angst Over the Apostrophe-S Reaches the New York Times

posted by on March 23 at 12:20 PM

If you’ve been around Slog for a while, you will remember our bitter apostrophe-S wars. I can’t bear them anymore, so I won’t link. However. We are not alone! Today the New York Times has its chief copy editor answering questions from readers, and what is the second question (after “What do copy desks do?”) that the copy chief receives?

Q. Obviously we add both an apostrophe and an “s” to indicate the possessive of singular nouns (Mary’s hair, the desk’s top). Obviously we do this even when the last letter/sound of the noun is an “s” (Bob Jones’s hair, a mouse’s tail, the bus’s engine). Why should the plural be different? (the desks’ color, the trees’ value, the Walshes’ favorite restaurant). Are we punctuating them differently because “bus” and “bus’s” sound different, but “trees” sounds the same as “trees’”? Always was puzzled by this rule.

— Jim Walsh

For the chief copy editor’s answer, and a link to a story about the Arkansas Legislature passing a resolution (!) related to this matter, see here.

Deep-Fried Deliciousness, Redux

posted by on March 23 at 12:16 PM

I posted last week about deep-fried, EZ-Cheese-filled, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, which—as intern Jonah proved last Friday—weren’t bad, once you squeezed some of the grease out. (Next time I recommend draining them on paper towels, Jonah.) This week’s challenge: Deep-fried White Castle burgers, pizza, Gummi Bears (!!!), eggs and cookie dough, via, embarrassingly for me, FHM (I get this stuff from respectable food blogs, I swear). Four of the five were great, one was “incredibly oily and not good at all.” Which one? The answer may surprise you.

Well, That’s Settled Then

posted by on March 23 at 11:58 AM

Headline over at the Drudge Report:

6th Graders Vote that Global Warming is not caused by humans…

It’s more entertaining than Drudge’s usual “Hey, It Snowed Somewhere Today!” links. Snow anywhere, to Drudge, is proof that scientists everywhere are lying about global warming. The opinions of sixth graders are about as relevant.

Back to The Swan

posted by on March 23 at 11:28 AM

Today the P-I published a rather flat article on the gentrification of the Central District. It offers no new ideas about what has happened in that part of Seattle—how and why it was transformed from a hood to a neighborhood. And the mood of the article—its sense of shock, loss, and saudade (an excellent Portuguese word that needs to be fully adopted by English)—is the same mood of the world’s first poem about gentrification, Charles Baudelaire’s The Swan, which was published near the middle of the 19th century in response to the Haussmannization of Paris. This passage makes up the poem’s end and final meaning:

Paris may change; my melancholy is fixed.

New palaces, and scaffoldings, and blocks,

And suburbs old, are symbols all to me

Whose memories are as heavy as a stone.

And so, before the Louvre, to vex my soul,

The image came of my majestic swan

With his mad gestures, foolish and sublime,

As of an exile whom one great desire

Gnaws with no truce. And then I thought of you,

Andromache! torn from your hero’s arms;

Beneath the hand of Pyrrhus in his pride;

Bent o’er an empty tomb in ecstasy;

Widow of Hector — wife of Helenus!

And of the negress, wan and phthisical,

Tramping the mud, and with her haggard eyes

Seeking beyond the mighty walls of fog

The absent palm-trees of proud Africa;

Of all who lose that which they never find;

Of all who drink of tears; all whom grey grief

Gives suck to as the kindly wolf gave suck;

Of meagre orphans who like blossoms fade.

And one old Memory like a crying horn

Sounds through the forest where my soul is lost …

I think of sailors on some isle forgotten;

Of captives; vanquished … and of many more.

Indeed, that lost and consumptive black woman in Haussmannized Paris can be seen even today in the gentrified Central District.

You Know You’ve Lived in Seattle Too Long When…

posted by on March 23 at 10:56 AM

… you start thinking KC Executive Ron Sims is a great orator.

Look, I dig Sims these days. He used to be a safe centrist Clinton Democrat, and I really didn’t like the guy. But man, he’s changed it up. Lately, he’s an outspoken, cocky yet humble lefty leader.

However, at last week’s press conference in Olympia, when I found myself thinking, “Wow, Sims is such a good speaker” (this after I noticed how jealous Governor Gregoire looked when Sims took the mic and made everybody look stiff and canned), I had to remind myself of this column I wrote four years ago:

But the actual reason I can’t stand Sims and don’t want him to run for governor is this: I cannot bear the thought of listening to this guy’s hackneyed speeches from now until November 2004. And what drives me craziest is that Sims’ Toastmasters©-style speechmaking is exactly what people seem to like about him.

My God, if Mr. Pseudo-Preacher is Seattle’s idea of a talented orator, it’s no wonder the quality of local politics is so underwhelming. Why do people fall for this guy’s artificial eloquence? (Then again, this is the same town that believes Mark Sidran is funny, just like Woody Allen.)

The GOP: A Permanent Minority?

posted by on March 23 at 10:55 AM

Andrew Sullivan pores over the Pew report that prompted this story in the L.A. Times and finds lots of bad news for the GOP:

I spent part of last night absorbing the latest comprehensive Pew report on trends in public opinion over the last decade. It’s a devastating indictment of the Bush-Rove strategy for conservatism and the Republican party. They may have created the most loyally Democratic generation since the New Deal with the under 25s. But check the other findings out. Party identification is now 50 percent Dem and 35 percent GOP. The country is now divided in two over the question of whether military strength is the key to ensuring peace; in 2002 62 percent were hawks and 34 percent were doves. Religious intensity is falling; acceptance of gay people is risin. The younger generation is the most secular of any. Support for the military has never been stronger—people don’t blame the troops for the war…. Since Bush has been president, there has been a sharp decline in the number of Americans favoring “old fashioned values about family and marriage.” In the last ten years, opposition to gay marriage has dropped ten points and support has risen ten points. There has also been a striking twelve point increase in support for affirmative action over the past decade—all of it among whites.

It turns out that Karl Rove has gone a long way toward securing a permanent majority in American politics … for liberals and Democrats.

Wedded Bliss

posted by on March 23 at 10:54 AM

With “Wack!” in LA and “Global Feminisms” in NY, there has been a rash of writing lately about feminism and art, but most of it I’ve found disappointing. Why is this so hard to write about?

Then come Roberta and Jerry, of course. (Smith and Saltz, that is, of the NYT and Village Voice respectively, husband and wife.)

Roberta is smooth, personal, critical, and level-headed, and it’s hard to be all of those at once when you’re dealing with such an enormous and loaded subject. She doesn’t have to declare herself a feminist; she just, plainly, is one. She smartly interrogates the category of “feminist art,” and argues subtly that the Brooklyn exhibition sidesteps this basic question. She points out the essentialist, body-centricism of much of the work, in contrast to the focus on digital, disembodied media instead of painting or sculpture. (I can’t wait to see the show in April.)

Here she is, taking it home:

But feminism is not a style, or a formal approach. It is a philosophy, an attitude and a political instrument. It is more important than Pop, Minimalism or Conceptual art because it is by its very nature bigger than they are, more far-reaching and life-affecting. In addition feminism is not of itself an aesthetic value. It is an idea that can assume an organic force in some artists’ work, but others just pay it lip service without much exertion or passion. …

After the press releases proclaiming a “museum within a museum,” the smallness of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art is surprising. But perhaps it will become unnecessary: it will certainly never be able to accommodate all the art, by women as well as men, that has feminist consciousness somewhere in its DNA. The word feminism will be around as long as it is necessary for women to put a name on the sense of assertiveness, confidence and equality that, unnamed, has always been granted men.

And then there’s Jerry’s review of Rachel Harrison’s NY show, written with a velocity and urgency you’d never see in the NYT, but with that same engagement with larger subjects that marks Roberta’s work.

Her current work is particularly prickly when it comes to the subject of men. This hits you before you even walk in the door. Harrison’s exhibition is sarcastically titled after O.J.’s un-televised confessional special, If I Did It—as if to say, “Only a man who’s a probable murderer could come up with such a cocky title.” Here, Harrison, who at 41 has slowly become one of the better makers of walk-around sculpture working today, bitch-slaps Simpson and at the same time implicates herself in some crime. In this case, she’s immersing herself in two forms in apparent crisis—men and autonomous sculpture. …

Harrison obviously has divided feelings about sculpture and memorializing men. On the one hand, she lovingly made these “guys” with a very sensuous, attentive touch. On the other, she’s pointing at how relatively rare and maybe old-fashioned stand-alone medium-sized sculpture is. Indeed, nowadays museums and galleries are brimming with atrium-and-room-filling installations of stuff. Harrison is acknowledging that the form she’s using is considered conservative and passé. Yet, like Amy Sillman who approaches painting similarly, Harrison evinces a real passion for tradition. Along with lots of other contemporary artists, Harrison and Sillman love art; they’re not arguing with it as postmodernists or casting themselves as somehow against it. They continually contest and question the forms and structures of art but they also use artists whose work has either been deemed too well-known or tapped-out to tinker with. They remind us that just because certain movements and artists go out of fashion doesn’t mean they can’t still yield aesthetic pay dirt. Their work is a further indication that what might be called the “Oppositional Aesthetics” of late postmodernism, the boring binary idea that one thing always has to negate another, is finally—and may I say thankfully—waning.

Thanks, US Bishops!

posted by on March 23 at 10:34 AM

It’s not usually a headline that catches my eye…

Bishops Denounce Writings of a Catholic Theologian

I mean, who gives a fuck? The Catholic hierarchy declared jihad on independent Catholic theologians thirty years ago—it began with the soon-to-be-sainted JPII—and it shows no signs of letting up. My Catholic family is convinced that an evil cabal has seized control of the papacy—for only, oh, the second or third time in the last hundred or so years—and is enacting a secret plan to make Lutherans, Episcopalians, and atheists of us all. I’ve pretty much stopped following intra-Catholic disputes because, again, who gives a fuck? But I read the story, and I’m glad I took the time…

The theologian, Daniel C. Maguire, teaches religious ethics at Marquette University, a Jesuit institution in Milwaukee. He is a 75-year-old former priest and a prolific writer, educated at the prestigious Gregorian University in Rome, who has been challenging Catholic teaching on sexuality for years.

Last summer, Mr. Maguire mailed two of his pamphlets, “The Moderate Roman Catholic Position on Contraception and Abortion” and “A Catholic Defense of Same-Sex Marriage” to 270 Catholic bishops. In them, he argued that the Catholic position on these issues was “pluralistic,” and that Catholic theologians through history had taken a variety of acceptable stances on these issues.

The Rev. Thomas G. Weinandy, executive director for the bishops’ doctrine committee, said in an interview, “The big concern was that the pamphlets are written in a very popular and lively style, and from what the bishops knew, they were very widely distributed.”

Well, I hadn’t heard of Maquire or either of his pamphlets until the US bishops took time out of their busy covering-up-for-child-rape schedules to denounce them. Now I’m looking forward to reading “A Catholic Defense of Same-Sex Marriage,” which is available here. Maguire’s other pamphlet, “The Moderate Roman Catholic Position on Contraception and Abortion,” is not yet available online. But it will be shortly now that the US bishops have denounced it.

U.S. House Backs Timetable for Iraq Withdrawal

posted by on March 23 at 10:13 AM

The vote was close, 218 to 212. The measure calls for most American troops to be out of Iraq by Sept. 2008.

Here’s how the Washington State delegation voted:

Reichert (R): Nay

McDermott (D): Yea

Dicks (D): Yea

McMorris Rodgers (R): Nay

Hastings (R): Nay

Baird (D): Yea

Larsen (D): Yea

Inslee (D): Yea

Smith (D): Yea

Hoo Rah!

posted by on March 23 at 9:46 AM

The Text of Sen. Murray’s “Screw RTID (and Sound Transit a Little Too)” Letter

posted by on March 23 at 9:33 AM

Yesterday I posted about state Sen. Ed Murray’s letter calling for Sound Transit’s light rail expansion and the Regional Transportation Investment District’s road expansion plan to be decoupled at the polls.

Murray says RTID isn’t ready to go the voters. He also says Sound Transit’s plan to go east across I-90 is half-baked. (ST told me Murray’s way off base on that point.) Anyway, Murray’s letter basically says the only thing that should be on the ballot in November is ST’s plan to go north, and forget about RTID.

This is all to say, I couldn’t post the actual letter yesterday because I only had a PDF. But voila, now I’ve got a Word version. Sen. Murray’s letter is attached below.

Continue reading "The Text of Sen. Murray's "Screw RTID (and Sound Transit a Little Too)" Letter" »

The Morning News

posted by on March 23 at 7:26 AM

British Sailors: Iran seizes 15 British sailors in Iraqi waters

Making Progress in Iraq: Not us, the insurgents. A suicide bomber blew himself up inside the home of the Iraqi deputy prime minister, killing four and injuring ten.

A Little Good News: Fewer and fewer Americans identifying Republicans, more and more Americas backing Dem policies.

Make That a Half Dozen: Rudy and Judi Giuliani have six marriages between them, not five as previously reported.

Smut: Federal judge blocks law restricting access to porn online.

What’s Glen Beck’s BMI Anyway? CNN host calls Rosie O’Donnell a “fat witch.”

iMug: Local hoodlums stealing iPods, cell phones.

Road Warriors: Some folks in West Seattle really, really, really want a new viaduct, says Seattle Times. That’s nice. But they lost.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Atheists Worst Nightmare?

posted by on March 22 at 7:25 PM

According to this dude, it’s the banana.

This atheist’s worst nightmare? Not the banana. It would be sitting next to this guy on a long flight.

But… hmm… what else has a point at the top, for ease of entry, and is just the right shape for the human mouth? And is sometimes curved toward the face to make a whole other process even easier?

Via Newspeak.

Hooray! Another Bridal Magazine!

posted by on March 22 at 5:54 PM

Obviously, there’s a market for this stuff. Not a market I get (the amount of money people waste pursuing fairy-tale fantasies for marriages that most often end in divorce could fund a small country) but I’ll concede that for as long as I’ll be alive, women will probably still be falling prey to the little girl dream-wedding fantasy. There’s even a market for princess dresses and nuptials blessed by Disney. But it would never have occurred to me that Seattle has a market for not one but two glossy, Seattle-specific bridal magazines. Seattle Metropolitan Magazine begs to differ:

One year after the most successful launch in Seattle’s magazine history, Seattle Metropolitan announces the July 1, 2007, launch of Seattle Metropolitan Bride & Groom (SMBG). [Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?] The oversized, coffee-table-ready publication will establish new standards with sophisticated photography, insightful style advice, and ingenious tips that brides and grooms from Bellingham to Battle Ground can use to transform their wedding-day fantasies into memorable realities.

Today’s soon-to-be-weds are as passionate as ever about multi-tiered cakes and elaborate bouquets, but they’re equally interested in balancing ceremony with innovation.

Guided by style and fashion editor, Jill Spitznass, along with Laura Cassidy, and featuring the stunning fashion photography of Rafael Astorga, Seattle Metropolitan Bride & Groom is primed to attract the most focused and passionate wedding audience in the Seattle metropolitan area. Published twice yearly and available on better newsstands and in specialty boutiques throughout the Northwest, SMBG will make Seattle weddings more beautiful and Seattle love lovelier—one couple at a time.

“Passionate” about cakes and flowers? “Love lovelier”? Gag.

Someone Left This Note Out in the Rain

posted by on March 22 at 4:53 PM


Somehow this breaks my heart. It also makes me wonder what the hell went down.

Bitch Hunt

posted by on March 22 at 4:30 PM

Seattle Weekly’s managing editor, Mike Seely, worked as a campaign staffer for Maria Cantwell during the 2000 election. From that experience, he came away with some simply jaw-dropping analysis (stuff you’d never expect from a 30-something frat boy): Cantwell’s a bitch.

Seely wrote a column about Cantwell’s infamous personality (it’s actually conventional wisdom that, gasp, the Senator is difficult to work for), and he recently handed off his she’s-a-bitch analysis to a new Seattle Weekly reporter, Aimee Curl, to do a big story on it. (You go, sister. Get that bitchy Senator.)

How do you get that story? How do you prove Cantwell’s a bitch? Well, the only factual way to get at it would probably be tracking staff turnover. And that’s what the Weekly tried to do, reporting, for example, that Cantwell has had five legislative directors in six years.

What the Weekly didn’t do, however, is compare Cantwell’s staff turnover to others’ in Washington’s delegation?

We used a research site called to track top staff turnover at the offices of our two Senators (Cantwell and Patty Murray) and three longtime Western Washington Reps. Jay Inlsee, Jim McDermott, and Brian Baird.

Well, it turns out, the real bitch of the Washington bunch is Rep. Baird (D-3, Southwestern WA), whose rate of turnover is 44% above the average. According to Gallery Watch, Baird has lost at least 12 staffers since he started: three legislative directors; two schedulers; four press secretaries; and three chiefs of staff. (We did not include any turnover from Baird’s current term because that would have given us a bigger time frame than Cantwell’s—he’s been in office two years longer.)

According to Gallery Watch, Cantwell has lost nine staffers herself since she started—which puts her, along with Baird, above the average 7.6-staffer turnover rate for our sample going back to the 106th Congress.

One has to wonder, though—with Baird coming in 44% above the average turnover rate and Cantwell coming in at 18% over the turnover rate—why is Cantwell the subject of SW’s bitch hunt?

It couldn’t have anything to do with her being a woman could it?

I’ll See Your Curse, and Raise You a Bucket of Guts!

posted by on March 22 at 3:56 PM

Well, Brendan darling, although the dreadful curse that has been laid upon you by the former-fatty/disputed-boozer sounds like a doozey, let’s not forget the moment, not so very long ago, that I myself woke to find my front doorstep decorated with animal intestines and strange black powders of various sorts and dubious origins. (Whoever did it had to stake out my building for hours and break-in long after midnight—now THAT’S commitment to one’s black art.) Of course, that was back when I was writing theater too, so perhaps there is some connection. Maybe all this evil whammy isn’t aimed at us, maybe it’s aimed at theater. It’s working.

Letter of the Day

posted by on March 22 at 3:52 PM

EDITOR: Thank you thank you thank you for the article on devotees. We devotees are now where gay men and women were 40 years ago: closeted, ashamed, and guilty. The only solution for this is to talk about it publicly. It’s too bad the author had to be anonymous, but I can understand why. In spite of some superficial attempts at inclusiveness and equality, popular opinion still tends to desexualize and infantilize disabled people. This is why we devotees are so shocking, subversive: we find something sexy that we’re not supposed to sexualize. I’m sure you’ll get a lot of letters from the haters, but to anticipate that negative response, no, we’re not looking for someone who’s helpless, or desperate. We just think disability is sexy, and people who are disturbed by that should really take a close look at their conceptions of disability.

Disabled veterans of WWII and Vietnam radically changed the experience of disability in the United States, and made huge strides in demanding equality and integration, but there is still a long way to go. If the disabled veterans of Iraq can take us even further, then there will be at least one benefit of this disastrous, immoral, horrific war.

Devo Girl

Today in Line Out

posted by on March 22 at 3:25 PM

He Brandished No Knives: Modest Mouse reviews here, here, and here.

Show Won’t Go On: Luke Vibert cancels.

I <3 the Hold Steady: And I <3 their new video.

Rawkus Regret?: Seattle’s hiphop community divides over Blue Scholars’ sign to Rawkus.

Eerie & Archives: Grandy’s night out (and unlike the rest of us, he went somewhere other than the Modest Mouse show).

Mika’s (Not so Good) New Video: He’ll sing, he’ll dance, he’ll gyrate his hips around in white pants, but he won’t talk about whether or not he’s gay. Uh huh.

!!! Gets Served: Shout Out Out Out Out are in town tonight.

Goodbye Mr. Smith: Beloved DJ leaves Seattle Eagle.

Now, here’s a picture of a kitten playing the guitar:


Boob Tube

posted by on March 22 at 3:24 PM

I just got a faux-TiVo DVR thing from the cable company. I’m never home in the prime viewing hours, and thus have no TV habits. Is there anything good on? What should I be recording? (Besides Next Top Model and L&O SVU, of course…)

Today in Curses

posted by on March 22 at 3:04 PM

Part One: Sorry

So it all started with me writing this column about Faye the Tattooed Psychic which got this outraged response from the sensitive soothsayer.

This is the sentence that caused the most trouble:

She is loud and exuberant and says she is an ex-biker (divorced from a Bandido), a heavy-metal fan, and a recovering boozer.

She says she never said anything about being a boozer. Says she isn’t a boozer. And I am so, so, really, genuinely sorry if I fucked that up. Because that is a big, bad way to fuck up.

But I could’ve sworn she said she was a recovering alcoholic. And how she “had to hit bottom” and how she turned her life around and learned to love herself (and, along the way, talk to the dead). Her whole schtick is the back-from-the-brink-with-a-message-of-hope persona. (Anybody else see the show? Can anyone back me up here?) It’s even in the notes I took while she was talking:

ex-biker. married a bandido. drugs, alcoholic.

I don’t know how I got that wrong, but I apparently did. And I’m sorry for that.

Part Two: Cursed!

Lady laid a curse on my head! An actual, factual blood-line gypsy laid a fucking curse on my fucking head! From yesterday’s letter:

you my friend just opened a door to shit you may one day look back on and say “oh shit that fat tattooed psychic lady was right…my life is fucked!” Curses suck!

Today is the first day of the rest of my curse: I woke up ten minutes late for an interview. I dropped my keys—not once but twice today. And when I ordered my chow mein for lunch I asked for three stars. And it wasn’t even a little bit spicy.

Man. Curses suck.

Time for a New Books Intern

posted by on March 22 at 2:42 PM

By books intern Chris Weeg

Dear Stranger-reading bibliophiles,

Do you love books? Hardly matters. Do you love data entry? Then have I got the job for you! Literally. I’ve had the job for three months, and now I want to give it to you.

What do you get to do as the books intern? You get to open mail. You get to decipher dozens of improperly formatted emails. You get to scour the internet for Seattle-area readings and lectures. You get to use a Mac’s cut and paste functions. And you don’t get paid for your time.

Does that sound pretty good? It is, actually, for the right person. You get to see how The Stranger works, you get to meet the editors who put it together, and you get access to tons and tons of brand new books. Maybe you’ll get to write for the paper, too.

Interested? Do what I did. Write an email to Christopher Frizzelle ( Explain how you have the proper mixture of [fill in your good points here], say something about how organized and dependable you are, give an opinion of The Stranger’s books coverage, and promise not to flake out once you realize that you really will be spending your time opening mail and entering data. Then, when your three months are up, jet off to Argentina, like I’m doing.

¡Adios, muchachos!

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 22 at 2:03 PM


This 1962 Italian release is charming then funny then sad. An exuberant Sicilian son—who moved to Milan to become a factory efficiency expert—takes his new family to meet his toothless parents, mustachioed sister, and the local Don, who ensnares him in an improbable plot. It’s sweet with a bitter moral, like crushed aspirin at the heart of a bonbon—whether in industrial Milan or mafioso Sicily, we cannot escape being part of vast machines. (Varsity Theatre, 4329 University Way NE, 781-5755. See Movie Times here.) BRENDAN KILEY

Voice of America?

posted by on March 22 at 1:50 PM


My story on Pastor Ken Hutcherson, international man of mysterious titles, is out in this week’s Stranger. You can read it here, and read the blog posts it was built on here, here, here, here, and here.

The reaction so far:

To: Eli Sanders and David Postman


It is amazing how you guys spend so much time trying to humiliate Pastor Hutcherson because he has decided to STAND on the word of God. But if you would actually take the time to read and study the Bible you will find out what God’s word say about homosexuality. Obviously you guys have been convicted by something that Pastor Hutcherson has said, so instead of repenting you continue to attack him and the work that God has called him to do. When are you guys going to wake up and speak the truth? It’s never too late to ask God for forgiveness. I am honored to be apart of Antioch Bible Church because God has called us to make a difference. I will keep you guys in my prayers.

God Bless You,


“How much do you Love and Trust God”

To: Eli Sanders

Subject: your latest article

Dear Eli –

Don’t know you at all, only know what you post and the stories that you write – but, we’ll be praying for you! It’s the only response I have for your vendetta against a man who actually believes in absolutes and in the inerrancy of God’s Word, Pastor Ken Hutcherson! I guess it brings in the advertising bucks to tell such lies about someone who tries to stand for righteousness, but just know we’ll pray that you will one day surrender your life to Jesus Christ and allow Him to rule in your life.



What Would Bill Cumming Do?

posted by on March 22 at 1:47 PM

Well, considering it’s a party, he would come. He’d get drunk. He’d say something rude, probably, but also probably true. And he might come out of it with yet another wife (he’s had seven).

Woodside/Braseth Gallery is throwing a 90th birthday party for Cumming tonight, and it doubles as an opening for his latest show at the gallery.

In 2003, when the Tacoma Art Museum opened its new building with the exhibition Northwest Mythologies (co-curated by Sheryl Conkelton and Laura Landau and with a terrific catalog), I sat down in the galleries with the remaining few artists from that Graves-Tobey-Callahan-Anderson crowd, including Cumming, the photographer Mary Randlett, and the artist and paleontologist Wes Wehr (who has since died).

Things started off this way with Cumming, who was at that point still teaching at what is today the Art Institute of Seattle:

Mary Randlett: Bill knew my mother, and he used to come over to Bainbridge. At one time I remember, before we were in college, you were trying to talk my sister and I into being communists.

Bill Cumming: Fortunately, it didn’t work. I spent a few years as a Marxist myself. If I were to meet the party leaders today, I’d say hi to them very friendly before I machine-gunned them. I don’t believe in a better world. The world was designed to be full of evil.

Why are you looking so evil? Are you going to rebut me or something? You have that intense look that I mistrust in anybody.

Wesley Wehr: Petit moi?

It continued:

Jen Graves: Which Northwest artists are the three of you interested in now?

BC: My students. But they’re not painting students, generally. I’m a boor and a peasant, and so I like these kids and I like commercial art. Fine art is just an excuse for meaning, “I don’t sell. I’m better than other people.”

When I came to town, I was in awe of rich people, but I thought they were damn Yankees and natural-born enemies. But Dr. Fuller was graceful, and he was real. One New Year’s Eve - (SAM PR director) Betty Bowen told me this story - Dr. Fuller was down at the Rainier Club celebrating and at about 11:30, looked at his watch and said, “I’ve got to get home to be with mother at 12 o’clock.” A guy swaggered up drunkenly and started calling “Dickie Boy, gotta go home to Mama!”

Fuller put up with it for a while. Finally, he took off his jacket, folded it and handed it to somebody. What nobody knew is that Dr. Fuller was on the boxing team at Harvard in 1914. He went pop! and creamed this drunk with one little jab.

Cumming was none too impressed with Graves.

JG: Did any of you attend the party at Morris’ house when he didn’t show up and instead left out dirty dishes to greet his guests?

BC: The uninivited party! I wasn’t around for it. But people received an uninvitation. You were uninvited to a party, and the damned fools all went. I thought it was a rather minor victory for sensitivity and creativity.
William Cumming’s Pike Place Market

Festivities start at 5:30.

It’s Different in China

posted by on March 22 at 1:37 PM

I was thinking about political art (specifically Rachel Corrie) and arts funding (specifically, whether publicly subsidizing artmakers is always and everywhere a good idea) when I came across this quote in this article about dance in China:

“The idea of arts as propaganda no longer prevails,” Willy Tsao, who runs three dance companies in China, wrote in an e-mail message. “The government sees that art serves more the purpose of entertaining the public than of education, thus wants the art groups to get more support from the audience through box office and commercial sponsorship. I see that this is a natural transition when the Chinese government is adjusting its policies, shifting from a totalitarian state to a freer society. To me, this is a period of true test; only those who are truly devoted will stay away from the ‘entertainment trap.’

When’s the last time you heard an artist say that less government funding was liberating?

Or that the urge to make politically persuasive art is, at its root, the urge to propagandize?

Or (and, this is my favorite, in this age—and town—of “socially-conscious” mission statements and art-as-vegetables condescension) imply that the entertainment vs. edification dichotomy is false? That propagandizing is bullshit, that entertainment is a “trap,” and we should be thinking in other directions?

Now please enjoy this photo by Chinese artist Wang Ningde:

3 copy.jpg

Breaking News: Adolescents Are Angry!

posted by on March 22 at 1:21 PM

Who knew?

Apparently not Thursday Styles, the weekly torture to the intelligent that the New York Times produces. They have a *STARTLING* report on adolescents being angry, in a (not) new way: writing down all the names of the people they hate on a piece of paper, or *NOW* on the internet!


What I want to know:

Isn’t it good for our nation’s youth to be following in the footsteps of Nixon?

Joseph Beuys, Pop Star, Death Metal Lyricist

posted by on March 22 at 1:13 PM

Metropolitan Museum curator and sometime NYT and Slate critic writes about why it’s so hard to find video art online, and then, thankfully, shares what you can find.

Check out the 61-year-old Joseph Beuys as a bouncing pop star, performing with band and backup singers the 1982 song Sonne Statt Reagan. The title is a play on the pronunciation of the US president’s name, which in German is the word for rain. Beuys stands, iconoclastically, behind his band, not in front of them, moving jerkily, like David Byrne.

The beginning lyrics go:

From the land that is destroying itself and dictating our “way of life” comes Reagan and brings weapons and death. And should he hear ‘freedom’ he sees red. As president of the U.S.A., he says ‘Atomic war? Yes, please, there and there.’ Whether Poland, Middle East, Nicaragua, he wants the Final Victory, that’s just clear.


We want sun
instead of rain/Reagan,
to live without armament!
Whether east
whether west
The rockets must rust!

In the second verse, instead of “the rockets must rust,” Beuys declares, “A plague upon cold warriors!”

(Hat tip to Patrick the Teuton.)

Why I Have No Use For Richard Ford

posted by on March 22 at 12:55 PM

Over at The Morning News, Maud Newton pits Richard Ford’s latest novel, The Lay of the Land against Kate Atkinson’s newest, One Good Turn. Granted, Turn is a totally boring and unnecessary sequel to the very good Case Histories, but it has to be better than anything by Richard Ford, whose career is one of the great mysteries of American literature. Maud explains her distaste for Ford’s main character, Frank Bascombe and Ford’s writing in general (emphasis mine):

He sells houses, lusts after his daughter’s girlfriend (who is “teeth-gnashingly beautiful,” unlike “your standard lesbian”), fantasizes about punching people, repeatedly congratulates himself for his good sense in voting for Gore rather than “idiot Bush,” and drives an SUV. Boy, does he ever drive that Chevy Suburban: up and down the turnpike, through every ethnic neighborhood in the vicinity, surveying the passersby as he goes. At one intersection stands a “shiny-legged Latina” whose “stiff little butt” faces oncoming traffic. A large man who steps out of a Cadillac is probably Italian, although his “spruced-up appearance” suggests he could be Greek, which “wouldn’t be better.” Here we have some “Chinamen.” There we have the academy where “even the Arab and Sri Lankan kids” are rich. And in the Northeast, in 1999, we have a multitude of “Negroes.”

It’s a very brief very exasperated study of the most overrated author of the twentieth century.

Or, if novels aren’t your thing, here is a link to a (possibly plagarized) list of the most unintentionally funny comic book panels of all time, featuring the Joker planning to terrorize Gotham city with his boners, Archie saving Betty by giving three burly men handjobs, and Lois Lane’s torrid evening with an anal-sex loving robot.

Justify Your Pod: The Lindy West Experience

posted by on March 22 at 12:47 PM


Justify Your Pod is the Stranger podcast featuring writers, musicians, and various other celebrity victims defending the most suspicious, troubling, and incriminating songs on their iPods.

This week, I grill celebrated Stranger film writer Lindy West, whose inspired explanations of her lust for Nate Dogg, her love of the Traveling Wilburys, and her dark-n-dirty past with the Northwest Girlchoir nearly cause me to choke to death on improperly suppressed laughter. Enjoy.

The Color of Money

posted by on March 22 at 12:44 PM

Let me get to the point.
Two weeks ago, I went into Gordito’s Healthy Mexican Food with my son. We ordered food. I gave the person at the cash register—a short, young and pretty Mexican woman—my debit card. She ran it, looked at it, looked up at me, and asked for my ID. After matching the information on the ID with the information on the debit card, she cleared my order. I tipped her nothing. Why? Because the man ahead of me in the line was white and she didn’t ask to compare the information on his debit card with the information on his ID card. In short, she asked for my ID because I’m black.

I went to Gordito’s again yesterday with my son. We ordered food. She took my debit card, charged it, looked at it, looked up at me with her pretty brown eyes, and, again, asked for my ID. Dang! Black is just black to her. No person there; just black and that’s that. This time, however, I tipped her two bucks. Why? Because she also carded the Mexican man who was ahead of me in the line. The young Mexican woman sees her kind as no better than black people. (The white woman behind me in the line was not carded.) She was, in short, not really looking down on me, but saw me as one of those people who, like her own people, tend not have the kind of money that white people have. For her, white color means money; brown or black, means no money.

America’s Next Top Disemboweled Corpse

posted by on March 22 at 12:08 PM

Forgive me for getting all Erica C. Barnett on your asses, but last night’s episode of America’s Next Top Model was the most violently misogynist shit I’ve ever seen on primetime television. (Yes, that includes any and all episodes of the rape-tastic Law & Order: SVU.)

At the center of every America’s Next Top Model episode is the photo shoot, and last night’s found the girls posing as crime-scene corpses. Each dead model came with her own murder scenario, each of which cast another girl as the killer—“Strangled by a Model,” “Decapitated by a Model,” “Organs Harvested by a Model.” Each model sported impeccable glamour makeup and skimpy high-fashion clothes, and the crime scenes and attendant bodily harm were rendered with ferocious precision: necks bore sickening purplish-brown strangle marks, blockbuster-quality guts spewed forth from ripped model abdomens.

Both visually and conceptually, it was totally revolting, and spun me off into upsetting revelries on the Nielsen-rating value of sexy dead women. I had to stop watching the aforementioned Law & Order: Special Victims Unit because the sexy-dead-woman factor got too grotesque: Not only did every week seem to feature another woman undergoing brutal sexual torture, the criminal torture was usually caught on video, allowing for repeat viewings by investigators and, of course, viewers at home. The result: more and more screen time was taken up by hideous female suffering (another fun SVU trick is following the trail of a serial rapist, which neatly fills the majority of an episode with scenes of one woman after another recounting her rape for detectives).

As SVU’s dead-woman fetish got crasser and crasser, I couldn’t help wondering if Nielsen bean-counters had somehow determined that the suffering of sexy women was some sort of anti-channel-changing kryptonite, and the more time producers can fill with active female suffering, the better for ratings.

Last night’s Top Model only confirmed my worst suspicions, with a good half-hour of the episode devoted to sexy models playing dead, complete with judges critiques of their sexy deadness. (“You just don’t look dead to me,” said noted fashion photographer Nigel Barker; “She’s got no OOMPH!” added celebrity supermodel Twiggy.) It was horrifying, and while I still don’t think ANTM producer Tyra Banks is a big-foreheaded fat-ass, I do think she’s an asshole.

Chopp Out of Sync with His District. Pt. 2

posted by on March 22 at 11:22 AM

The PI has a story today breaking down the viaduct vote. The data shows which neighborhoods supported the elevated rebuild: West Seattle and Magnolia.

The article doesn’t broach this subject, but the data they present also shows which neighborhoods didn’t support the elevated rebuild.

Yep, as polling had shown, Rep. Frank Chopp’s very own 43rd District (U-District, Wallingford, Capitol Hill) came out heavy against his pet plan, the elevated rebuild.

UPDATE: And by heavy, I mean: 73.8% against the rebuild in Chopp’s 43rd District, according to King County Elections. Oh, and 65.4% against in the 37th District, South Seattle. Talk about “Hell No!”

Last Night at KeyArena

posted by on March 22 at 10:13 AM

With the clock ticking down to zero, Jillbert drove the lane with 3 Sonics hanging all over him, and banked in a lay-up, dropping the ball through the hoop to win the game just as time expired and the backboard lit up to signal the end of play.

Then he took off his shirt and laid it on the floor. Total dose. He scored 42 overall. I don’t think the family sitting next to me liked me very much.


P.S. Oh, and my other favorite part of the game was this: Jill was mad at the ref after getting called for a foul, and so on the next play, he dribbled down the court, stopped at the 3-point line and netted a jump shot. Then he turned and glared at the ref. The guy sitting next to me freaked. “Did you see that? Did you see that? Give him a technical! Give him a technical! Man, they let Arenas get away with everything.” Well, no. Arenas had just been called for a foul two seconds earlier. In fact, Jillbert played with 5 fouls throughout most of the 4th—making his 4th quarter show all the more impressive.

Edwards NOT Suspending Campaign

posted by on March 22 at 9:41 AM

Earlier reports had it exactly wrong.

Calvert DeForest, however, is still dead.

UPDATE: Because I believe that people are all basically good and decent—no wait, I mean, louses and shits—I can’t help but… wonder… and type… and post…

If Elizabeth Edwards’ cancer returned, and John Edwards was going to press on with his campaign, all stoical and stuff, why clear his schedule and call a press conference? Why not just, you know, keep on keeping on? The drama of the last 24 hours—the rushing home, the announcement of a press conference, the clearing of Edwards’ schedule, and, hey, was that a leak about dropping out of the race?—strikes me as a bit manipulative. Even exploitative. If the Edwards’ campaign intended to take the return of his wife’s cancer in stride, well, then why didn’t the Edwards’ campaign do just that?

UPDATE 2: Okay, I am a shit. As more news comes out, it’s clear that Elizabeth Edwards medical news appeared to be worse yesterday, when schedules were cleared and press conferences called. Further tests indicated that things, while terribly serious, weren’t as dire as first thought. EE’s cancer is treatable, and so the campaign continues. Is anyone working on gene therapy to treat congenital cynicism?

Couples Counseling

posted by on March 22 at 9:40 AM

Sen. Ed Murray has sent a letter to Senate majority leader Lisa Brown, House majority leader Frank Chopp, and the Senate and House transportation chairs saying Sound Transit should be able to submit its plan to extend north to voters in its own right—no tie to RTID.

Additionally, his proposal puts ST’s I-90 plan on hold because he doesn’t think the plan is completed.

His proposal puts all of RTID on hold because he doesn’t think their plan is good to go, particularly the 520 piece.

I like the idea of de-coupling Sound Transit and RTID. Indeed, I wrote a column at the top of the session suggesting the legislature take that step.

I’d attach Sen. Murray’s letter, but it’s a PDF and PDFs don’t seem to work with Slog.

Who Would You Rather Cuddle With?

posted by on March 22 at 9:31 AM

The Seattleite who drives this truck:


The Seattleite who made this sign:

Choose wisely!

Are You Enjoying the US Attorney Firing Scandal?

posted by on March 22 at 9:28 AM

Glad to see Alberto “Torture” Gonzelez on the verge of losing his job? Thrilled at the prospect of Bushies—loyal Bushies like Rove and Miers—being forced to answer questions under oath and in public? Enjoy watching President Bush nearly crap his pants during that press conference yesterday?

Then send a few buck to the folks that made this scandal what it is today—uh, not the Bushies that corrupted and politicized the Justice Department. No, send some cash to the fearless political wonks, tireless bloggers, and kick-ass muckrakers at TalkingPointsMemo. Josh Marshal and his crew have been on this since day one. Bush and his cronies wouldn’t be in deep shit today if it weren’t for TPM.

Send TalkingPointsMemo some dough so they can keep up the great work.

RIP: Larry “Bud” Melman

posted by on March 22 at 9:16 AM


Calvert DeForest dead at 85.

Edwards Suspends Campaign

posted by on March 22 at 8:20 AM

Elizabeth Edwards’ cancer returns. John Edwards is putting his presidential campaign on hold, and may drop out entirely.

The Morning News

posted by on March 22 at 7:01 AM

Run, Al, Run: Gore suggests that Congress might want to think about maybe saving the planet.

More Subpoena Authorizations Coming in US Attorney Firing Scandal: Wait, are the Dems in Congress going to issue subpoenas to Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, et all, or not? What’s with all these authorizations? Subpoena or get off the pot, people.

Lying Liars: Tom Delay wrote a book! But did he read it? Can he read it?

Can’t Be Good News: John Edwards cleared his schedule today to hold a press conference with his wife. They going to make an announcement about her health. Mrs. Edwards is recovering—still, we hope—from breast cancer. Will Edwards drop out of race?

We Don’t Negotiate With Terrorists: But Italy does.

Wake Me When It’s Officially a Pogrom: Dallas gay bar vandalized, torched, burned to the ground.

Viaduct Voters: West Seattle and Magnolia supported the rebuild—in fact, the farther you get from the center of the city the greater the support for the rebuild. It’s the people that have to live with, and on top of, the viaduct that want the thing to come down.

Actually, Guns Do Kill People: Knives are so yesterday. Guns are now, baby. Man shot and killed in Columbia City parking lot. Man shot twice in South Seattle. Man convicted of 2003 shooting murder in drug deal gone wrong.

Unsafe At Any Speed: Old lady runs down even older lady.

Colbert Throws Down: Will Democrats “buckle on their balls” and impeach President Bush? Colbert hopes so—it may be the only way to boost Bush’s approval ratings. Dems may need to “impeach him twice,” says Colbert.

A Curse Has Been Placed on Brendan Kiley’s Head!

posted by on March 22 at 2:05 AM

Oooh, Brendan, you shouldn’t have messed with Fay the Tattooed Psychic. Even though your column wasn’t all that mean—you say, “It’s hokum, but it’s pleasant hokum”—she is so mad she’s put a curse on you.

Her email starts with what sounds like a request for a correction:

wow what a great LIE you wrote about me. I never stated I was an ex boozer that was news to everyone who ahs known me for the past 40 years. I also have the entire show on video and it was reviewed and nowhere did i say I was a boozer! So I don’t appreciate your paper lying about me and trying to discredit me…..kind of a PUNK ASS shit thing to do Little Brenden! but everyone knew you would say shit, because that is what you do. I even predicted it on my last radio show before you wrote your silly article. Your paper is very predictable in Seattle my friend. Maybe you should stop boring people with your negative reviews and try soemthing new.

She goes on:

Brendon…i know you will never undestand anything I do or any kind of sprituality that is far beyond your reach. You are my friend, too predicatble and that is your problem. You are nothing but a little punk ass who does not have the balls to say anything to anyones face, so you hide behind a paper noone really reads. I don’t even read it and a friend told me about your silly article. Do you even know what metphysical performers are? Did you educate yourself at all before going to tthe show? Why didn’t you just say what you thought to my face little punk. were you scared that the dead people might get you? because now they will for sure! Couldn’t your little boyfriend protect you?

Um, Faye? Brendan’s straight. We sometimes make cracks about how gay it is that he’s the theater editor but we can only really get away with that because, like, he’s straight as a stick. Boringly straight. But he wears sweaters and collared shirts sometimes—maybe that threw you. Now, dead people?

You and your little lover, he was your boyrfirend right- come in free to our show and then all you can do is make fun of my weight and tattoos! Come On! Give me more than that! That was hysterical. I felt like I was in 6th grade again getting picked on by the boys who never get any attention so they pick on the fat kids! They think it is funny but they don’t relaise the fat kids are really making fun of them too because they are gay! ! Didn”t people make fun of you because you are gay…so why do you think it is ok to talk shit about people you don’t even know. Too funny! There is a saying in gypsy blood you may understand…what goes around comes around- and you my friend just opened a door to shit you may one day look back on and say “oh shit that fat tattooed psychic lady was right…my life is fucked!” Curses suck!

Um, curse?

I don’t care if you call me fat, hell I know that dumb shit-I actually use to weigh 310 pounds so I feel pretty fucking good about myself- I don’t care if you make fun of tattoos…that is just stupid on your behalf…I don’t care if you make fun of my hard life- hell I chew pansy guys like you up and spit them out - you are nothing to me- but you did not need to lie Brenden- not good for you! shame shame shame! I basically think you are a coward and I can not wait to see you again so i can tell you to your face what I think- because obviuosly my balls are bigger than yours. And you want to talk poser! your boyfriend looked like he was in a 1980’s cover band- can you tell him it is not cute and that people think it is funny looking! Tell your boyfriend I said hi and Judas Priest Kicks The Scorpions ASS! i didn’t want to tell him at the show because I did not want him to cry.

Um, Faye? I think you might have read this all wro—

Until we meet again….and we will…in this life … not the next ! :)

I don’t know what that means, Brendan. But it sounds like you’re screwed.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

‘Journalists, of course, are guilty of finding these cases funny.’

posted by on March 21 at 6:18 PM

Bloomberg critic Martin Gayford on how Anish Kapoor’s accidentally discarded sculpture is part of a larger (and amusing) pattern.

Today on Line Out.

posted by on March 21 at 3:55 PM

Playing at Your House: Daft Punk Tickets on Sale Tomorrow.

Being There: Photos from SXSW.

Love Charts: Gabriel Teodros Tops CMJ Hiphop Chart.

Hiphop Kills: Some Beats Kill Songs.

Your Gramma Owns This One: Nick Gilder’s City Nights.

Help: Paul McCartney Signs To Starbucks’ Hear Music Label.

Cuatro: Four Things from the Mind of Trent Moorman.

Killing SXSW: Donte Parks’s Home Taping.

A Real Pain in the Ass: The Trashies’ Tour Diary.

Killing the Internet: A Realer Pain in the Ass.

Angel of Bit-Death: Slayer Remixed.

Backpacking It In: Jurassic 5 Break Up.

Sometimes: Everybody Cries.

Incarcerate the Victim

posted by on March 21 at 3:55 PM

I’ve been dying for our latest issue to go up online because I need to hype a story by our news intern, Jonah Spangenthal-Lee.

Going through court records and SPD reports, and talking to the KC prosecutors office, Jonah found an alarming story: King County is seeking a yearlong incarceration sentence in its case against a teenage prostitute.

Can you say blame the victim? Why is KC even prosecuting a teenage prostitute?

Congrats to Jonah on breaking this important story.

Bummed About Your Pay?

posted by on March 21 at 3:34 PM

Try this.

Peel Your Eyes Away from Slog

posted by on March 21 at 3:13 PM

The new issue is online: What the hell is the Surface/Transit option exactly? Erica C. Barnett investigates. Also: Blue Scholars! A very horny baby! Fucking in the Streets! And one bright side of the Iraq war.

“They Just Got Out and Walked… I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This”

posted by on March 21 at 3:09 PM

How can one read this Seattle Times story

A forgetful driver on this morning’s Kingston-to-Edmonds ferry run walked off the boat upon arrival, leaving behind a car and seriously disrupting the morning commute.

…and not think immediately of this REM video?

The Wonders of Yesler

posted by on March 21 at 1:20 PM


A few hours ago, I saw something wondrous under this tree on 18th and Yesler: A young Japanese woman helping an ancient Japanese woman to reach with her old and crooked fingers the cherry blossoms on a low branch. Why was this vision wondrous? Because it echoed a traditional Japanese ghost story about an ancient woman who has a young woman help her reach a cherry blossom tree in a garden. The old woman is about to die; the young woman has fresh breasts. The old woman does something to the young woman that the old woman in real life didn’t, thankfully, do to the young woman in real life.

c58aa10226c1.jpg Coming across this impressive advertisement on the back of a truck parked near the corner of 14 and Yesler, I wondered who its intended or ideal subject might be? Two handsome men carrying your mattress out of the back of a truck? Who would be pleased by this vision, this particular situation? And what exactly are the smiling men doing with my mattress? Are they taking it out, or taking it in. And if in, is this an invitation?


Here near the corner of 12th and Yesler a wonderful thought appeared in my head much like that wonderful cloud appeared in the sky. The thought concerned one of the sayings (number 29) I read the night before in the Gospel of Thomas, which was translated from Coptic and found in 1945 by a murderer looking for manure.

Jesus said, “If the flesh came into being because of spirit, it is a wonder. But if spirit came into being because of the
body, it is a wonder of wonders. Indeed, I am amazed at how this great wealth has made its home in this poverty.

At first I thought nothing of the saying. It appeared to be the muddying of a puddle to give the effect of depth. Then, at this moment, the corner of 12th and Yesler, it occurred to me that the Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas was saying something that the Jesus in the canon would never say: the spirit comes from humans, from the flesh, from the body (“this poverty”), rather than the other way around. More impressive: the spirit rising from man is far more wonderful, more amazing than the spirit descending from God—or from the sky, as Plato fancies in Phaedrus:

The soul in her totality has the care of inanimate being everywhere, and traverses the whole heaven in divers forms appearing—when perfect and fully winged she soars upward, and orders the whole world; whereas the imperfect soul, losing her wings and drooping in her flight at last settles on the solid ground-there, finding a home, she receives an earthly frame which appears to be self-moved, but is really moved by her power; and this composition of soul and body is called a living and mortal creature.

A scene in Phaedrus brings the conclusion to this post:

Phaedr. What an incomprehensible being you are, Socrates: when you are in the country, as you say, you really are like some stranger who is led about by a guide. Do you ever cross the border? I rather think that you never venture even outside the gates.

Soc. Very true, my good friend; and I hope that you will excuse me when you hear the reason, which is, that I am a lover of knowledge, and the men who dwell in the city are my teachers, and not the trees or the country.

I Was Gonna…

posted by on March 21 at 1:07 PM

…write a column this week trashing Senator Ed Murray’s (D-43, Seattle) regional transportation commission bill, but after a long interview with Murray, I’m still not sure where I stand on the bill. (It’s coming up for a big fight in the house.)

I’ve Slogged about this a couple of times now, but the gist is: Murray wants a new commission to coordinate transportation planning so that roads and transit aren’t developed in isolation. Murray is frustrated, for example, with the dunderheaded plans for SR 520, which don’t coordinate with light rail. He also points out how dumb it is that the viaduct plans were (until last week’s vote, anyway) drawn up without much of a transit component. His point being, let’s force roads planning to include transit.

The obvious criticism of the bill is that by coupling roads and transit planning, smart transit solutions may be jinxed by (forced to incorporate) sprawl and road “solutions.” Basically, I see Murray’s bill as a bigger, badder version of the joint Sound Transit/RTID ballot measure, which forces voters to support both roads exapnsion and transit, when they may in fact only support transit.

However, Murray insists that his bill will be an engine for transit because, he says, all the planning that needs to be done starts with road corridors anyway, and so by forcing multimodal thinking into the mix (which is what his bill mandates), he’s really just bringing transit to the table. And, he adds, people want transit. They voted out obstructionists like Jim Horn and Luke Esser on the Eastside, he says, because voters want transit on the table.

Ultimately, Murray believes this new transportation agency would bring new revenue streams to transit planning. Currently, he complains, the big transit projects are stuck using sales taxes and motor-vehicle excise taxes (MVETs) to the exclusion of other taxes. (Gas taxes can only be used for roads.) A new agency, he contends, would have the power to do all sorts of congestion pricing, like tolling.

Murray told me:

If you simply want light rail built with the sales tax and operating when your kids are having kids, then you don’t want my bill. If you want a significant amount of additional transit or more light rail, and you want it soon, paying for with things like user fees, than you want this bill.

Of course, the Achilles’ heel of Murray’s bill is the fact that every board member of the commission, elected by geographic district, would have a veto. And so, a Seattle liberal could veto a roads component and a Snohomish County conservative could kill transit.

When I brought this up to Senator Murray, he said: “This is no different than my old bill to get an elected board for Sound Transit.” (Sound Transit planning, obviously, would come under the purview of this new commission.) “And you were for that. What’s the difference?”

Murray’s right. I was for that. But you know why I was for that? Because back then (when there were still two potential mass-transit projects duking it out over limited resources), I was for killing Sound Transit. That’s why I wanted an elected board, because I knew it could kill the project.

And, knowing how Murray felt about ST back then, I kinda think he had the same idea.

Gay On Sight

posted by on March 21 at 12:47 PM

Meanwhile in Poland

Poland would sack all gay teachers if a draft plan banning debate on homosexuality in schools and universities is accepted, Brussels reports said Wednesday.

If teachers violated the rules, they would face punishment of being sacked, fined or even jailed, the EUobserver said. Teachers who could be identified as gay on sight could lose their jobs without having violated any rules, the report said…. Polish Education Minister Roman Giertych, whose League of Polish Families party worked out a draft plan, suggested last week there was nothing wrong with the bill that is aimed at prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

Can we start taking the right—at home and abroad—at its word? Their position on homosexuality is clear: The existence of homosexuality is tantamount to the promotion of homosexuality. They say they oppose the promotion of homosexuality, as if promoting it caused it. (Who was promoting homosexuality to all those gay rams anyway?) But what they oppose, what they’re actually against, is the fact of our being, our very existence.

The anti-gay jihad being waged by religious conservatives is an exterminationist movement. The ex-gay idiocy isn’t about helping gay people that are unhappy in our lifestyle, but about convincing straight people that we the gay people don’t necessarily have to exist. It’s a short leap from “don’t have to exist” to “should not exist.” The haters aren’t going to stop with firing “gay on sight” teachers today—or teachers that allow student newspapers to publish editorials in support of tolerance of homosexuals, which is happening in Indiana.

Speaking of ex-gays…

The best way to expose the ex-gay for the fraud that it is? Point a camera at them and let ‘em talk.

My Shoe Award

posted by on March 21 at 12:36 PM

Yesterday, I got a package in the mail from the Discovery Institute, the deep-pocketed downtown think tank best known for pushing intelligent design and other intellectually dishonest propaganda.

It contained this certificate:


And an actual gently used black shoe, which unfortunately does not look much like the crusty specimen pictured on the award. What did I do to deserve being compared to Nikita Krushchev, the Soviet premier who famously banged his shoe on a UN table to interrupt a speech by the British PM?

Well, in addition to their more notorious dealings, the Discovery Institute apparently houses a Real Russia Project, whose purpose is not elucidated on the DI’s homepage. Turning to the Real Russia Project’s blog, it seems they like to promote privatization and foreign investment in the Russian economy, toss homophobic insults at liberal political groups for using pop music in their campaigns (“Perhaps the liberal parties in Russia and their highly-paid Western advisors need someone to explain to them why babushkas are not easily rallied to their banner by underage lesbians cavorting across their television screens”), and spread weird conspiracy theories about Alexander Litvenenko’s fatal brush with polonium 210. I’m not well versed in Russian politics, but I gather that they’re basically pro-free-market Putin apologists.

But this still doesn’t explain what I’d done to offend them. A few weeks ago, I received an email from a non-Discovery Institute email address asking about the “parameters” for film reviews. After blinking a couple of times, I realized the writer, Nick Slepko, was offering to provide a pre-written review for a film his own “Russia-focused organization” was sponsoring. Well, obviously, that arrangement would be unethical. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt and wrote back to tell him that if he could get us a screener, we would watch the film ourselves and review it. Then things got even weirder. First of all, Slepko had claimed the film was “Oscar-nominated,” but I realized there was no Russian film among the 2006 Oscar nominees (The 9th Company was, however, Russia’s submission to the Academy—it was never a serious contender). Secondly, the details of the screening clued me into the fact that this “Russia-focused organization” was actually a branch of the Discovery Institute. Then Slepko told me there were no English subtitles on the screener, but that his organization would provide a translator. Um, what? By this time, the deadline for assigning reviews had passed, and I let it go.

In place of a review (I made it clear I had not been able to see the film), I explained the slightly shady dealings that had transpired in the “Film Shorts” section of the paper:

The 9th Company

OK, I have no idea what’s going on here. A guy with a Yahoo email address wrote me to say he worked with “a Russia-focused organization” and asked whether I could list a screening of an Oscar-nominated film. Uh, no problem. But then he wanted me to run his review of the film. What?! Oh, and then he told me the film was nominated for a 2007 Academy Award for Best Foreign Film; even operating under the charitable assumption that he meant the 79th Academy Awards (the 2007 nominations won’t come out until next year), 9th Company was not in fact nominated, in that or any other category. (It was, however, Russia’s submission to the Academy.) The “Russia-focused organization” that this liar works for is an arm of the Discovery Institute (best known for pushing intelligent design and bus rapid transit). The movie, which Variety called “finely made propaganda,” is about the Soviet Union’s “victorious” war with Afghanistan. I don’t have a clue what the Discovery Institute dude means to accomplish by dissembling so blatantly, but I will say that this screening (of an apparently entertaining movie) is a sweet opportunity to get a peek inside the DI’s downtown HQ.

You’d think the guy would be grateful for the publicity—I even provided the email address for reservations. Here’s what he wrote me immediately following publication:

From: “Nick Slepko” To: “Annie Wagner” Subject: Re: film review parameters? Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2007 10:45:20 -0800

Thank you for the column inches. It was a good use of the interrobang.

But publicly, Slepko claims I have behaved badly. You can read his bizarre version of events here.

Pursuant to that blog post, anti-Putin blogger Kim Zigfeld emailed me her take on the DI’s interest in Russia: “My theory is that, perhaps, DI is attempting to ingratiate itself with the Putin regime so that, in exchange, it will allow DI to promulgate intelligent design in Russian schools. It certainly seems possible that they could have had a hand in financing this suit, though they’ve denied it.” I don’t know about all that (the DI’s Cascadia Institute doesn’t have anything to do with intelligent design), but it’s an interesting question.

Why the hell is the Discovery Institute meddling with ex-pat Russian politics?

Holy Christ, GodTube is Awesome!

posted by on March 21 at 12:17 PM

WFMU just posted one of the best blog entries I can remember seeing, about GodTube, a Christian-centric version of YouTube. WFMU’s post has a ton of great GodTube finds, including these gems below, and some additional info on how the channel got started.

We don’t normally post three embedded videos in one blog post, but these will have your jaw on the floor. Enjoy in the spirit of the Lord.

Baby Got Bible:

Christian Clown Training:

The Cursing Preacher (Not from GodTube, but astounding all the same)

This post was written by Chas Bowie, and originally appeared on the Portland Mercury’s blog. I swiped it because… shit, how could I resist?

In/Visible: Roots & Branches

posted by on March 21 at 12:16 PM

Just up: Margie Livingston, winner of Seattle Art Museum’s 2006 Betty Bowen Award, talks to me about her new show at Greg Kucera Gallery.

Light Season

posted by on March 21 at 12:13 PM

It seems like everywhere you turn lately, there’s a show about light, or a magazine cover story about a show about light. (We’re in the game, too: last week we ran Bruce Nauman’s Mean Clown Welcome on the paper’s cover in reference to the exhibition of his neon works at the Henry.)



Then comes the news this morning that the Tacoma Art Museum will lux it up this summer, in what could be a promising exhibition that will mix local and national artists. Here’s the museum’s press description of what will be in the show:

One of the themes of the exhibition explores the idea of celebrity and fame. The gallery will be populated by selected celebrity images of Kurt Cobain (the legendary lead singer of Seattle-based band Nirvana) by Seattle photographer Alice Wheeler and a promotional campaign by for United We Stand, a non-existent film starring Penelope Cruz and Ewan McGregor. The Myths by Andy Warhol feature Uncle Sam, Santa Claus, and Howdy Doody, each with a patina of diamond dust. Each of Warhol’s characters pinpoints the changing nature of the American psyche. A central theme is self-perception. Works by Marilyn Minter, Kathryn van Dyke, and Josiah McElheny, and assume vivid astro focus examine the fleeting nature of identity and pleasure. Minter twines desire and sexuality in her stunning images of jewelry and designer shoes. McElheny and van Dyke both employ mirrors to fragment reflections and destabilize a sense of solidity and unity. Installations by Alex Schweder and Monique van Genderen also reflect a sense of self-perception through color and movement. The sculpture Anywhere But Here by Jack Daws uses the metaphor of found pharmaceuticals as a commentary on American culture’s growing use of medication to mitigate society’s complexities and contradictions. The painting of Gift-Wrapped Doll #14 by James Rosenquist captures the fascination with new and perfect consumer goods. A giant inflatable flower by Jeff Koons, a deer encrusted in Swarovski crystals by Marc Swanson, a pixilated image of a Northwest forest by Claude Zervas, and Anya Gallacio’s delicate recreation of a small tree all serve as reminders about the fragility and artificial constructions that define the human interaction with the natural world. The idea of the ephemeral qualities of memory are highlighted by a large, knitted Mylar sculpture by Oliver Herring and the exquisite light sculpture by Jim Hodges. Working on minimalist impulses, both Herring and Hodges use light to suggest loss and memory. Issues of race and justice are explored by Glenn Ligon and Donald Moffett. Ligon’s coal-dust painting references the experience of an African American, while the series What Barbara Jordan Wore is Moffett’s tender homage to many contributions of the distinguished politician and civil rights leader.

(Not So) Pure as the Driven Snow

posted by on March 21 at 11:58 AM

Clicking around this morning I came across this small story:

Procter & Gamble Co. has won a jury award of $19.25 million in a civil lawsuit filed against four former Amway distributors accused of spreading false rumors linking the company to Satanism to advance their own business.

The rumors of Satanism stem from this P&G logo


and date way back to the early-’80s. Just how the rumors got started remains a mystery.

In the suit, P&G alleged that Amway

revived those rumors in 1995, using a voice mail system to tell thousands of customers that part of Procter & Gamble profits went to satanic cults.

The jury evidently agreed. But while P&G may have finally put those ugly Satanism rumors to rest (for now), there’s no hiding the company’s dirty past. Specifically, the fact that P&G once hired a struggling young actress/model named Marilyn Ann Briggs to pose as the oh-so-wholesome mother on their Ivory Snow boxes.


Unfortunately, Ms. Briggs shortly thereafter changed her name to Marilyn Chambers, and would star in such porn “classics” as Behind the Green Door and Insatiable.


When word reached P&G that the face of one of their best-selling products could be seen in seedy San Francisco theaters having sex with—gasp!—a black man, it quickly dropped the campaign. The company’s slogan for Ivory Snow, after all, was “99 and 44/100% pure.”

Marilyn Chambers’s billing on the poster for Behind the Green Door was immediately changed to “The 99 and 44/100% Pure Girl,” the film went on to become one of porn’s first “mainstream” successes, and the rest, as they say…

Is Anyone Winning the War in Iraq?

posted by on March 21 at 11:54 AM

Yeah—amputee fetishists.

Those in the know refer to people like me—people who dream of a roll in the hay with someone who had to roll himself out to the barn—as acrotomophiliacs, or amputee fetishists. Those of us who want to sleep with amputees are known as “devotees.” Many of us are men, some are gay, and more of us than you might expect are women. And thanks to George W. Bush’s war, acrotomophiliacs are going to have an easier time finding dates and masturbation material. We’re the only “winners” of this war.

World’s Worst Foster Mother/World’s Worst Jehovah’s Witness Found Guilty of Cruelty

posted by on March 21 at 11:49 AM


So I sincerely doubted I would ever encounter a story as horrible as this one, which was so pointlessly evil and upsetting I actually banished it from Last Days.

But then came this story, and suddenly cutting the head of a troubled girl’s therapy dog and leaving it on her doorstep in a gift-wrapped box didn’t seem so bad.

Among the terrors collected in This is London’s story on Eunice Spry, the 62-year-old foster mother found guilty today of subjecting three young children to a “horrifying catalogue of cruel and sadistic treatment”:

Eunice Spry, 62, routinely beat, abused and starved the youngsters in her care over a 19 year period. The devout Jehovah’s Witness forced sticks down their throats and made them eat their own vomit and rat excrement.

The three victims, known as Victim A, B and C, all gave evidence describing how their daily routines were punctuated by random acts of bizarre and sadistic violence at the hands of their foster mother.

Kerry Barker, prosecuting, told how Victim A, now aged 21, was imprisoned in a wheelchair by the woman following a car crash. Spry had tried to stop Victim A from trying to walk again following the crash so she could get more compensation money.

Victim B, also 21, told how her foster mother would pull her hair and shove her face in her pet dog’s faeces as punishment.

Victim C, now 18, described how his foster mother held his hand down on a hot electric hob until it was left looking like a “gooey mess”. He said he had been force-fed so much washing up liquid by Spry that he could now differentiate between the brands on taste alone.

The abuse was finally discovered after another Jehovah’s Witness secretly confronted the wheelchair-bound Victim A about marks to her head caused when Spry rubbed sandpaper over her face.

Full story, complete with horrible evidence photos, here.

The moral, as always: Count your effing blessings.

“The Private War of Women”

posted by on March 21 at 11:42 AM

I posted yesterday about the cover story from this week’s NYT Magazine, The Women’s War, about the prevalence of sexual violence against women in combat by their own military comrades. (Although no comprehensive survey has been done, one in three female veterans who used VA health services reported rape or attempted rape by fellow soldiers.)

About a week ago, Salon ran a similar, and equally affecting piece by Helen Benedict, who is working on a book on the subject. She writes that female soldiers

at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait, for example, where U.S. troops go to demobilize, told me they were warned not to go out at night alone.

“They call Camp Arifjan ‘generator city’ because it’s so loud with generators that even if a woman screams she can’t be heard,” said Abbie Pickett, 24, a specialist with the 229th Combat Support Engineering Company who spent 15 months in Iraq from 2004-05. Yet, she points out, this is a base, where soldiers are supposed to be safe.

Spc. Mickiela Montoya, 21, who was in Iraq with the National Guard in 2005, took to carrying a knife with her at all times. “The knife wasn’t for the Iraqis,” she told me. “It was for the guys on my own side.”

Spc. Montoya even uses nearly identical language to that used by one of the woman in Corbett’s NYT story: “There are only three kinds of female the men let you be in the military: a bitch, a ho or a dyke.” If you resist sex with fellow soldiers, you’re a bitch; if you have sex, even if it’s with a boyfriend, you’re a ho.

The situation got so bad, Col. Janis Karpinski reported last year, that in 2003 three women died of dehydration because they were afraid of being raped if they walked to the latrines for water after dark. The army has called her charges unsubstantiated.

“I sat right there when the doctor briefing that information said these women had died in their cots,” Karpinski told me. “I also heard the deputy commander tell him not to say anything about it because that would bring attention to the problem.” The latrines were far away and unlit, she explained, and male soldiers were jumping women who went to them at night, dragging them into the Port-a-Johns, and raping or abusing them. “In that heat, if you don’t hydrate for as many hours as you’ve been out on duty, day after day, you can die.” She said the deaths were reported as non-hostile fatalities, with no further explanation.

The US Bureau of Justice estimates that only 59 percent of rapes are reported in civilian life. The underreporting problem is only exacerbated in a combat situation, where a victim has to face her assailant every day (and may rely on him for her own health and safety.) The Department of Justice has belatedly recognized this problem, Benedict reports, and put up a web site that allows anonymous reporting. Unfortunately, the site places most of its emphasis on how women can avoid rape, not telling men not to commit rape, but it appears to be working—according to Benedict, the number of reported rapes rose from 1,700 in 2004 to 2,374 in 2005.

Still Cool After All These Years

posted by on March 21 at 11:05 AM


My hero, Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), is apparently still kicking ass. He won a Backbone award for bucking Democratic leadership in his speech (on Monday) against the Iraq supplemental appropriations bill.

I’m not sure I agree with him on this, but I’m glad to see he’s still “making it plain.”

Heroic Speech at a Politically Lonely Moment Earns
Congressman John Lewis A Backbone Award

Calling members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus this week, one gets the impression that their staff are a little uncomfortable speaking about their bosses’ positions on the upcoming vote for or against the Iraq Supplemental Appropriations bill. Not true at the office of Rep. John Lewis. His receptionist is proud to lead callers through the convoluted online search of the Congressional Record to read the speech her boss Rep. John Lewis gave on Monday. Once one reads it, it’s easy to understand why her tone is so different from many of the other staffers.

“Tonight I must make it plain and clear that as a human being, as a citizen of the world, as a citizen of America, as a Member of Congress, as an individual committed to a world at peace with itself, I will not and I cannot in good conscience vote for another dollar or another dime to support this war.”
Rep. John Lewis, March 19, 2007 House floor

We thank the Congressman for refusing to fund the continued occupation of Iraq, and hope his bold and inspirational floor speech and the leadership of other brave caucus members will help others to vote “NO” on the Supplemental Appropriations bill being pushed by Speaker Pelosi, Leader Hoyer, and others.

Continue reading "Still Cool After All These Years" »

“Exporting Excrement”

posted by on March 21 at 10:45 AM

The view from a Latvian blogger (and a rather distinguished one at that) on Ken Hutcherson, his friends at Latvia’s New Generation Church, and (small world) the character Cthulu.

If, like me, the whole Hutcherson affair has you suddenly interested in Latvian politics, then this blog is definitely worth a read.

Oh, Yoshimi

posted by on March 21 at 10:38 AM

The Flaming Lips are sending their pink robots to Broadway. Here’s the plot, according to Wayne Coyne, for Yoshimi! The Musical! (or whatever the hell they’re going to call it):

There’s the real world and then there’s this fantastical world. This girl, the Yoshimi character, is dying of something. And these two guys are battling to come visit her in the hospital. And as one of the boyfriends envisions trying to save the girl, he enters this other dimension where Yoshimi is this Japanese warrior and the pink robots are an incarnation of her disease. It’s almost like the disease has to win in order for her soul to survive. Or something like that.

The script will be by West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin.

Lump that with the Edward Scissorhands ballet that’s driving the middle-schooler goths wild (and coming to the 5th Avenue Theater in April) and Donald Byrd’s dance pieces (this weekend at the Moore) set to music by Nirvana and Mystikal, and we might be looking at a phenomenon: unironic pop-performance art.

Another American Idol Freakout!

posted by on March 21 at 10:00 AM

As previously stated many times on this blog, something completely FAH-REAKY happens on nearly every episode of this season’s AMERICAN IDOL. Last night, a little girl in the audience had a pre-pre-menstrual freakout of extreme hormonal proportions when the really awful SANJAYA sang The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.” If you can bear this horrible karaoke rendition, check out this video—because when the camera keeps cutting back to this girl crying in sublime ecstasy, you’ll fall in love with the world all over again.
If this girl keeps coming back? I’m voting SANJAYA!

The Morning News

posted by on March 21 at 7:57 AM

Constitutional Crisis: Bush won’t let aides testify under oath, says “don’t you dare subpoena my staff”; Congress issues subpoenas anyway.

Worse Than Watergate: White House turns over all email records related to firing of eight US attorneys—hopes no one notices the 18 day gap.

Run, Al, Run: Gore testifies before Congress, speaks in complete sentences, makes sense. Thanks again, Nader voters.

To Catch a Republican Predator: Shouldn’t folks just assume at this point that any 13 year-old you meet in a chat room is probably undercover detective?

Bottled Waster: Shipping bottles of water half way around the world is—no way!—wasteful and bad for the environment. Upscale SF restaurants now serving tap water.

Teacher May Be Fired: Indiana teacher in charge of student newspaper may lose job for okaying a student-written editorial that came out for tolerance of gays and lesbians. But, hey, maybe it was satire and really meant the opposite of what it actually said, a la Garrison Keillor?

Guns Don’t Kill People: Knives do. Single mother stabbed to death in home; man stabbed on First Hill; 77 year-old dies after being stabbed by his 77 year-old cousin.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hey Fnarf, I Got That Rock and Roll Book

posted by on March 20 at 9:35 PM

I haven’t finished reading the James Madison book yet, but I already got another volume from that Oxford University Press American history series.

This book is called: All Shook Up. How Rock ‘N’ Roll Changed America.

When I posted about the series last week, and mentioned this title, Fnarf had this to say:

I’ll be interested to see where they peg “the birth of Rock and Roll”. Most of the established histories have it wrong, missing out on a whole world of R&B shouters who crossed the rock and roll line long before that. Ideally, such a book wouldn’t mention Elvis until the last chapter. Elvis was more of a Dean Martin impersonator, anyways.

Well, just glanced at the first chapter (Louis Jordan and “Jump Blues” kick off the discussion of the music itself), but Fnarf should dig this graph:

Before it was supplanted by by rock ‘n’ roll, rhythm and blues provided a dress rehearsal on a smaller stage for the agitation that reached [mainstream America] in the second half of the decade. After WWII, the industry substituted rhythm and blues for the harsher-sounding ‘race records’ as the term for recordings by black artists that were not gospel or jazz. But R&B also emerged as a distinctive musical genre, drawing on the rich musical traditions of African Americans, including the blues’ narratives, turbulent emotions, and the jubilation, steady beat, hand clapping, and call and response of gospel. Its vocalsits shouted, growled, or falsettoed over guitars and pianos, bass drums stressing a 2-4 beat…

Although, Fnarf wont dig this. Elvis is on the cover.
And yeah, I agree that’s a drag. Back when I was a total depressed weirdo—around the same time those Elvis stamps came out—I’d write the word ‘racist’ over them when I used them to mail letters.

You Hear That?

posted by on March 20 at 7:23 PM

It’s the sound of the sun crossing the point on the celestial equator where it intersects with the ecliptic plane. This precise moment occurred about 2 hours ago.


In honor of this semi-annual convergence, I suggest you sleep tonight for exactly the same amount of time that you will be awake tomorrow. Or balance some eggs.

Memorial to a Murder

posted by on March 20 at 5:47 PM

In tomorrow’s edition of The Stranger, Cienna Madrid takes a look at the early memorial statuary of Seattle, the bronze portraits of William H. Seward and the like, and she wonders who might make a good candidate for a civic statue now.

In Amsterdam today, not far from where he was murdered, the writer and filmmaker Theo van Gogh was honored with a memorial sculpture that depicts him in mid-scream. It is a layered outline of his face in profile, head thrown back, mouth opening, cast in ceramic and coated in stainless steel. The thin layers are formally reminiscent of the flatness—both physically and emotionally—of Lichtenstein’s pop sculptures, but the layers also carry the appearance of a face veiled, like the outlined nude bodies of the Muslim women depicted in van Gogh’s controversial film, Submission. The film, written by the Somali-born Dutch politician Ayaan Hirsa Ali and directed by van Gogh (a descendant of Vincent’s brother, Theo), was mentioned in the note that was attached to van Gogh’s chest with a knife by his killer, the 26-year-old Islamist Mohammed Bouyeri. Bouyeri shot the filmmaker eight times, slit his throat, and stabbed him in the chest, out in the street on Tuesday morning, November 2, 2004. (Bouyeri is in prison without parole; Hirsa Ali went into hiding for a while and now travels with bodyguards.)

The sculpture’s most obvious a reference is to van Gogh’s painful death, and the moment of action in it is at the mouth, which also refers, according to Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen, to van Gogh’s reputation as a loudmouth who satirized and criticized several religions, including Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Van Gogh was not a loudmouth but a titan of free speech, Cohen says. The artist, Jeroen Henneman, titled it The Scream, as if to declare it a defiant symbol of free speech. But of course the mouth is not the center of this work, the neck is, the throat open and closest to the ground so you come right upon it when you pass. The mosque-torchings, the fiery and unresolved debates about censorship and immigration—it’s a moment well-memorialized by the frailty of an exposed throat.


American Idol: Sanjaya’s Appeal

posted by on March 20 at 4:54 PM

Okay. I don’t watch American Idol. I’ve only seen one episode of the epoch-defining reality show, and only because it was playing in the bar near my mom’s house in McHenry, Illinois. If I’d had the remote, I would’ve switched over to Olberman or something. Because I’m a freak. So I haven’t heard much about this guy—Federal Way’s Sanjaya Malakar—until I read Hump’s post earlier today about a woman going on a hunger strike until Sanjaya’s booted off the show. (Hmph. And some people thought I overreacted to Garrison Keillor’s idiotic column. I only wrote a couple of blog posts, people. I didn’t skip any meals.)

Anyway, I thought, the guy must be bad. A bad singer. Really bad—otherwise, like, why would this woman go on a hunger strike? And then… I picked up the paper, The Seattle Times, and saw Sanjaya’s photo on the cover of the arts section.


I don’t have an opinion about Sanjaya’s singing. I’m not going to run home and watch the show or vote to keep him on it. I don’t care if he gets booted off the show or not. I don’t care if that woman dies of starvation. But, um… gee. I’m ashamed to say it but I kinda can’t help myself: I wanna to fuck the shit out Sanjaya. Is that wrong? Am I alone? Okay, it’s wrong. He is just seventeen, if you know what I mean, and so it’s totally wrong, wronger, wrongest. And I’m a marriedish man. Husband, kid, poodle. But… Christ… shaggy-haired pretty boys with huge mouths? They give me migraines—the good kind.

I mentioned to Nipper that I felt like a dirty old man. He graciously admitted that he would do Sanjaya too—if you put his head on the body of a girl. Two other straight guys walked up and agreed. They would do Sanjaya too—provided he was provided with girl bits.

So perhaps the reason Sanjaya has survived on the show so long—he’s escaped past elimination rounds, I presume—is because Nipper and I are not alone. Maybe we’re not the only ones out there that wanna fuck this guy. Maybe there are lots of guys, gay and straight, who look at that face and think… well, I’m not going to say what I think, in case Sanjaya’s parents read this blog.

And Now for Some Good News

posted by on March 20 at 3:49 PM

Two badass San Francisco bartenders foiled a creepy would-be date rapist as he slipped drugs into his companion’s drink.

It looked for all the world as if the couple on a date — he was darkly handsome and a little older than the pretty, petite blonde with the Russian accent — were having a great time together.

“A really great time,” their waitress, Karri Cormican, recalled thinking. “She was facing him, had one of her legs up on the bench seat.” Good body language.

So it came as a shock when after the woman left the window-side table to visit the restroom, Cormican saw the man shake a white powder into the Hefeweizen beer he had ordered for his date.

“Did I really see that?” Cormican asked herself. “Why would he do that? It seemed like they were having fun.”

The waitress took the woman’s beer away, claiming it had come from a fermented keg. Then, when the woman got up to take a phone call, the waitress rushed outside to tell her what she had seen. While the two were outside, the bartender saw the man do it again.

He said to Tatiana, “Let’s go.”

“Your date’s over, mister,” the bartender told him. “She’s staying with us.”

After offering to buy everybody a shot of whiskey, Szlamnik fled while Bridgeman-Oxley was calling the police, who arrived quickly and took possession of the two beers.

Szlamnik was sentenced to six months in jail on narcotics charges.

Today in Line Out

posted by on March 20 at 3:25 PM

Haven’t perused Line Out today? Here’s what you’ve missed so far:

Ari Likes White Nights: And she says so here.

We Reviewed the Hell Outta Them: Now Clipse reviews Seattle.

Introducing Sea of Hands: “Featuring anything that is somehow related to how Cascadians make and enjoy non-rock-centric music.”

You Didn’t Even Know You Wanted It: Dave Segal interviews Whitey.

Hiphop’s Dying: Nelly’s holdin’ the smoking gun.

Don’t Be Late: Oroku plays early at the Comet.

Cutting Edge: Isaac Brock might need a Band-Aid.

Bad Snare Day?: Kevin Suggs answers your questions.

“Dude, Where’s My Skin?”: Schoolyard Heroes preview new song.

Number One With a Bullet: LCD Soundsystem aims high.

Bridge to Nowhere (But Terror)

posted by on March 20 at 3:17 PM

I heard about this on the BBC as I was falling asleep last night (including a Native American woman speaking about how it is a desecration of a burial ground and its existence felt like knives poking into her very body). One may walk out in this thing and look down BETWEEN ONE’S FEET to the floor of the Grand Canyon FOUR THOUSAND FUCKING FEET BELOW. Nightmares ensued.


Closing the Glacier NW Loophole

posted by on March 20 at 3:13 PM

To protect it from strip mining, the state declared Maury Island an aquatic reserve in 2002. Alas, in 2004, Doug Sutherland, Commissioner of Public Lands, created a loophole for Glacier NW—grandfathering in their controversial mining practices.

Soooo, West Seattle Senator Erik Poulsen (D-34) passed a groovy bill out of the senate 26 to 22 earlier this month that would close the Glacier NW loophole.

The bill is getting a hearing in the Select Committee on Puget Sound at 1:30 PM tomorrow in the House. Should be a no-brainer for the Democrats.

We’ll see.

Audio Clip: Hutcherson in Latvia

posted by on March 20 at 3:00 PM

Pastor Ken Hutcherson says it will probably be a few days, at least, before he gets his hands on the video that he claims will prove the White House backed his recent trip to Latvia (where he appeared with a Holocaust revisionist and called for a “full report” from the local U.S. embassy on its alleged support for gay rights).

But if, in the end, Hutcherson cannot prove that he was endorsed by the White House as a special envoy to Latvia, and if the complaint to the FBI about Hutcherson’s alleged misrepresentations abroad moves forward, then what Hutcherson said in Latvia may take on increasing significance.

Thanks to a tech-savvy Slog reader who posted in this comment thread, I was able to call Latvia and reach Ivan Boryagin, a member of the Latvian church that Hutcherson was visiting. Boryagin, who helps the church out on tech matters, told me that Hutcherson presented himself in Latvia as having “a mandate to represent the White House.”

He also sent me this digital audio clip, which he says is a recording of Hutcherson speaking in Latvia.

On the clip, a man who sounds like Hutcherson talks about having “the power and the commission” to look into certain questions in Latvia.

Federal law states:

Whoever falsely assumes or pretends to be an officer or employee acting under the authority of the United States or any department, agency or officer thereof, and acts as such, or in such pretended character demands or obtains any money, paper, document, or thing of value, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

The Women’s War

posted by on March 20 at 2:42 PM

I wasn’t going to post about this—it falls pretty squarely into the category of Things That Make Me So Sad I Have to Look Away—but now that I’ve made it all the way through Sara Corbett’s brilliant, nuanced 12,000-word article about US women serving in Iraq from this week’s Sunday’s Times Magazine, I implore you to read the whole thing.

Here’s just one holy-shit detail that blew me away: One in three women who have served in the US armed forces say they experienced rape or attempted rape during their service. One in three. Of that group, 37 percent said they were raped multiple times, and 14 percent said they were gang-raped. Others reported being coerced into having sex with men who were above them in rank and thus responsible for their health and safety. There’s even a term for it: “command rape.” Female veterans who have been raped are much more likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder—with symptoms including flashbacks, nightmares, and constant anxiety—than their male counterparts.

Randall’s life story was a sad one, though according to the V.A. psychologists I spoke with, it was not atypical. Growing up in Florida, she said, she was physically and sexually abused by two relatives - a condition that has been shown to make a woman more prone to suffer assault as an adult. Eventually she landed in foster care. She told me she joined the Navy at 20 precisely because she was raised in an environment where ”girls were worthless.” The stability and merit structure of the military appealed to her. Stationed in Mississippi in early 2002, Randall said, she was raped one night in her barracks after being at a bar with a group of servicemen. The details are unclear to her, but Randall says she believes that someone drugged her drink.

A couple of months later, she discovered she was pregnant. In November 2002, she gave birth to her daughter. Less than a year later, Randall’s unit was deployed to the war, stopping first for several months on Guam. She put Anne in the care of a cousin in Florida. The second rape happened after another night of drinking. ”I couldn’t fight him off,” Randall says. ”I remember there were other guys in the room too. Somebody told me they took pictures of it and put them on the Internet.” Randall says she has blocked out most of the details of the second rape - something else experts say is a common self-protective measure taken by the brain in response to violent trauma - and that she left for Iraq ”in a daze.”

The abuse of women by their own brothers in arms has become so prevalent, Corbett writes, that many women in the military adopt a “why-bother” approach and don’t report sexual assaults to authorities. Defense Department statistics bear that attitude out: Of the 3,038 investigations of military sexual assault charges in 2004 and 2005, only 329 resulted in courts-martial. More than half were simply dismissed. Corbett observes that sexual harassment and crass stereotypes contribute to an atmosphere in which sexual assault is accepted and encouraged.
”You’re one of three things in the military - a bitch, a whore or a dyke,” says Abbie Pickett, who is 24 and a combat-support specialist with the Wisconsin Army National Guard. ”As a female, you get classified pretty quickly.”

Many women mentioned being the subject of crass jokes told by male soldiers. Some said that they used sarcasm to deflect the attention but that privately the ridicule wore them down. Others described warding off sexual advances again and again. ”They basically assume that because you’re a girl in the Army, you’re obligated to have sex with them,” Suzanne Swift told me at one point.

And, Well, Retarded Republicans

posted by on March 20 at 2:32 PM

So, Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA.) has some recommendations for who should fill the spot of purged U.S. Attorney John McKay.

One is Interim U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Sullivan, who, during a judicial conference in the 1980’s when he was a Yakima County Prosecutor, used the racial slur “wetback” to describe undocumented immigrants

Sullivan also initiated a policy requiring rape victims to take lie-detector tests.

p.s. This all from a Democratic Party press release (with cites).

That Whip

posted by on March 20 at 2:01 PM

Now is as good a time as any to put some thought into two reggae classics: Bob Marley’s “Slave Driver” and Gregory Isaac’s “Slave Master.”

Both are were recorded in the mid-70s, and both imagine a confrontation between a slave and his cruel master. But in substance, the songs are very different. To understand this difference we must examine the function of the whip sound in each song.

In “Slave Driver” (the version on Catch A Fire), the whip is represented by a double clap (“clap-clap”). Bob Marley sings: “Every time I hear the crack of a whip/my blood runs cold/I remember on the slave ship/How they brutalized our very souls.” After Marley sings “crack of a whip,” the hands of Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh make the double clap. This double clap is repeated for several measures and effectively becomes the song’s beat.

“Slave Driver,” in short, is about a painful memory. To Marely’s present, it transmits, by way of memory, the pain of a slave who was whipped in the past. This is why the song is not easy to dance to—you are dancing to the lashes a slave received from his master. But this whipping, this painful memory, is of vital importance to Marley’s mission because without it the youth of his day will not, he fears, be angry enough to revolutionize the world they’re given—their given enslavement to the world market system (“Only machine make money”). The youth must hear/feel that whip and be enraged by the pain of their ancestors.

Whereas “Slave Driver” is about igniting a revolt in the tenement yards of Kingston, Gregory Isaac’s “Slave Master” is about becoming accustomed to the situation of slavery. This is why Isaac’s song is not really about black slavery but the human condition.

Again, let’s examine the sound of the whip, this time in Isaac’s classic. He sings: “Every time I hear the music/I move my hips-my hips/Slave master comes around with his whip-a whip.” The whip is not about memory but about disciplining the slave’s pleasure, which is a creative pleasure—pleasure from musing, dancing, dreaming, drinking. The ultimate slave master wants to punish the pleasures of being human with his whip. But the desire to be creative is too strong. The human, the slave, must create, must have his pleasure, must dip his hips (“a dip-a dip”).

At the end of the song, Isaac reasserts this creative desire: “[Slave master], back out with it/because I’m accustomed to your whip/And if the chalice is around/I will surely take a sip-a sip/I’m accustomed to your whip.” Here we have the universal wisdom of Cook Ding, the ancient Chinese butcher who dances as he deals with death—a dead ox. As we live, create, play, and drink wine, we must always tell the slave master, who is always Hegel’s Absolute Master (death, nothingness, the negative): “I’m accustomed to your whip-your whip.”

Here Comes Corrie

posted by on March 20 at 1:36 PM

Tomorrow night, the controversial play about local—martyr? accident victim? nobody agrees—Rachel Corrie opens at the Seattle Rep.

Quickly: My Name Is Rachel Corrie is a solo show culled from her diaries and correspondence, had a moderate success in London but planned transfers to New York and Toronto were canceled after a hue and cry that the play was a tacitly anti-Semitic spin job. Authors Katherine Viner and Alan Rickman say the play is just “a balanced portrait” of Corrie, not a commentary on Israel or Palestine.

Which is disingenuous and kneecaps any real conversation about the play and what it means.

Only someone with total access to Corrie’s journals could say whether the play is actually a balanced portrait. (We do know, for example, that it deals a lot with her domestic dreams “I want a garden with pumpkins” but doesn’t touch on edgier moments like Corrie burning an American flag in Gaza.)

Regardless, it’s impossible to take a politicized figure like Corrie and not comment on the circumstances—and the bulldozer—under which she died.

The most baffling thing about the play—which I’ve read but not seen—is that Corrie’s death is the most interesting thing about her. The rest of her life was typical, banal. In Viner’s words Corrie was: “a messy, skinny, Dali-loving, list-making chain-smoker, with a passion for the music of Pat Benatar.” Which is nice and all, but doesn’t exactly set Corrie apart from her peers.

But Viner seems to think Corrie is a really interesting character. Why?

A theory: Corrie’s blandness makes her universal, a stand-in for everyone, someone we can identify with. And if you built the play around a universal character who is strongly partial to the Palestinians and who dies—accidentally or otherwise—at the hands of the Israelis, you’ve made a very strong emotional appeal to identify with Corrie’s way of looking at the world.

Seems pretty manipulative.

That and the scene that closes the show, a video of ten-year-old Corrie at her school’s Fifth Grade Press Conference on World Hunger, with the words “I’m here for other children. I’m here because I care.”

That’s also unambiguously manipulative. Which is fine. There’s nothing wrong with writing partisan plays (as long as they’re good artworks and not just boilerplate)—but to dodge the responsibility of writing a partisan play just reeks.

Viner and Rickman and all the advocates for My Name Is Rachel Corrie should just come out and say: Yes. We identify with Corrie. We want you to identify with Corrie.

Then, and only then, can we talk seriously and critically about the play and what it means.

I’ll hold my tongue about that until after opening night.

Retarded Corporate Democrats

posted by on March 20 at 1:29 PM

The Democrats are pretty high on themselves for moving on the PBDE bill

PBDEs are flame retardants found in common household products. They are harmful, especially to children. The bill phases out PBDEs, setting up a product review system and a fining mechanism. Cool.

Oh, whoops. Check out the exemptions listed in the House bill report:

Exceptions to this ban include:

• products containing Deca-BDE except for mattresses (effective January 1, 2008); and
except for residential upholstered furniture, televisions or computers with electronic
enclosures containing commercial Deca-BDE (effective January 1, 2011);

• used transportation vehicles and used or new parts manufactured before January 1, 2008
containing PBDEs;

• equipment containing PBDEs used primarily for military or federally funded space
program applications;

• Federal Aviation Administration fire worthiness requirements and recommendations;

• new raw material or parts used in transportation vehicles containing Deca-BDE;

• use of Deca-BDE in transportation equipment;

• sale or distribution of any used product containing PBDEs;

• any new product with recycled or used materials containing Deca-BDE;

• new carpet cushion made from recycled foam with less than one-tenth of 1 percent
Penta-BDE; and

• medical devices.

Seems to me that this would exempt a huge local producer of PBDEs— Boeing.

Gotta love those corporate Democrats.

Chimp Morality

posted by on March 20 at 12:06 PM

This summation of Franz de Waal’s thoughts on the derivation of human morality is nice for two reasons.

1) It provides a plausible explanation for why we think cannibalism is worse than eating meat, or abortion is worse than stepping on beetles—that is, that the distinction is not rational, but emotional. Morality is whatever best preserves group harmony.

and 2) It shows that cucumbers are objectively less delicious than grapes. Thank you, capuchin monkeys.

Seattle Lawyer Files Complaint With FBI Over Ken Hutcherson’s Claim that He Is a U.S. “Special Envoy”

posted by on March 20 at 12:00 PM

Dave Coffman, a gay attorney in Seattle, tells me he has filed a complaint with the Seattle office of the FBI requesting that it investigate whether Pastor Ken Hutcherson violated this federal law by claiming to be a White House “Special Envoy” in Latvia when, according to the White House, Hutcherson was never given any such designation.

I just spoke with Special Agent Fred Gutt of the Seattle FBI office. He said his office doesn’t comment on complaints unless they result in criminal charges. However, he spoke with me about section 912 of the federal criminal code:

“There are various federal laws regarding false impersonations that we do investigate, 912 being one of them,” Gutt told me. “That certainly would fall under our purview… This statute, if someone decided to represent themselves as a representative of the White House, could be pertinent.”

An excerpt from Coffman’s complaint is in the jump…

Continue reading "Seattle Lawyer Files Complaint With FBI Over Ken Hutcherson's Claim that He Is a U.S. "Special Envoy"" »

Today in Stabbings

posted by on March 20 at 11:46 AM

A 74-year-old Seattle guy threw a glass at his 77-year-old cousin and told him, “I am tired of you,” and in return the cousin “punched him at least once and stabbed him with a knife he was using to eat.” The 77-year-old: “I wanted to eat my dinner in peace.” A week later, the 74-year-old has died from those stab wounds.

Meanwhile, someone was just stabbed over near Madison and 11th. The suspect has “a beard and blue beanie cap” and a knife.

Stick It to Me

posted by on March 20 at 11:46 AM

DAMMIT. Every single time I bulk order cool stamps, a rate increase is promptly announced—on May 14, first-class postage goes up two cents to $0.41.

The Impermanent Novel

posted by on March 20 at 11:41 AM

Here you can read an essay that Susan Sontag wrote before her death in 2004. The essay essentially argues that the novel is still the leading medium for human expression.

Long ago - it was the 18th century - a great and eccentric defender of literature and the English language - it was Doctor Johnson - wrote, in the preface to his Dictionary: “The chief glory of every people arises from its authors.” An unconventional proposition, I suspect, even then. And far more unconventional now, though I think it’s still true. Even at the beginning of the 21st century. Of course, I am speaking of the glory that is permanent, not transitory.

Later, Susan Sontag adds that the novel is “an ideal vehicle both of space and of time. The novel shows us time: that is, everything doesn’t happen at once. (It is a sequence, it is a line.) It shows us space: that is, what happens doesn’t happen to one person only.”

How do we read this error, this clear mistake? At the moment death is at her door, Sontag, a novelist, is trying to find something that is “permanent, not transitory.” And because she is a novelist, that permanent thing happens to be the novel. But that is not the point. The point is this: The novel was once the leading medium for human expression. It does not lead the 21st century. Nor did it lead the 20th century. The novel had its moment in the 19th century, as “the ideal vehicle” for expressing middle class space and time. Cinema is really the leading narrative art form, and even it is dying. It will be surpassed by another narrative vehicle, in the way it surpassed the novel, and the novel surpassed theater.

It’s About TV!

posted by on March 20 at 11:23 AM

• Woman vows to go on hunger strike until Sunjaya is voted off American Idol! On the other hand, I vow to eat a hamburger for every vote Sunjaya receives.

• In other TV protest news, fans of Paul McCartney have started a campaign to boycott Dancing with the Stars until ex-wife Heather Mills is voted off. Can’t we just vote off her wooden leg?

Patrick Swayze and Melissa Gilbert are teaming up for a musical version of Little House on the Prairie. It’s official! THERE IS A GOD!!

• Most unsuccessful American Idol ever, Taylor Hicks, loses a pound for every record he’s sold. (That would be 22.)

• Still sad because the British version of The Office ended? Well, cry your eyes out, you big baby, because Ricky Gervais has announced the end of Extras. (Oh, cheer up. You can still watch this funny mock PSA to “Save Africa” that Ricky made for Comic Relief 2007.)

BREAKING: Bad Lighting Nearly Ruins Dining Experience!

posted by on March 20 at 11:18 AM

Everybody loves Osteria la Spiga. Me too. I loved la Spiga in its old digs on Broadway—heck, after two or three dozen visits I’d even come to appreciate their Epcot-Center-esque “dat’s Italian!” decor. The food was so good—particularly the pasta—that it hardly mattered that every surface was spackled with cliches. So I was looking forward to eating at la Spiga after its big move to 12th Avenue—particularly in the wake of all the rave reviews, most of which heaped as much praise on la Spiga’s new space as they did on la Spiga’s food. And, yeah, the room is beautiful. And the food? As good as I remembered it… but outclassed, just a bit, by the space.

One thing bothered me, though—the lighting. Not the lights over the booths, which looked fine, but the light over my two-top table. They’ve got these weird… flashlight… things… hanging most of the tables.


The the light they give off is cold and harsh—and has a weird green glow. It’s unflattering—to the food, to your dining companion. Lean forward and it glares in your eyes and makes you look cadaverous…


…lean back and you can’t hear the person your dining with.

I wouldn’t say that the lighting at la Spiga ruined our dining experience. But it came close. Oh, the humanity.

Does This Make Anyone Else Want to Die?

posted by on March 20 at 10:56 AM


(Found in the side column of Idaho’s

Ow! My Red Eye!

posted by on March 20 at 10:35 AM

After watching clips of FOX News’ 1/2 Hour News Hour I thought I’d been witness to the absolute nadir of “edgy political comedy.” Unfortunately, I was wrong. Behold! FOX News’ other political comedy show, Red Eye. At least the title makes sense, since FOX News has been fucking honest political discourse in the ass for years.

Insult upon injury: The show features a snarky “ombudsman” who weighs in throughout the show. It may be time to relieve A. Birch Steen of his duties; if FOX News is doing it, the idea has officially jumped the shark.

Speaking of Questionable Sex Ed

posted by on March 20 at 9:45 AM

A Rhode Island woman and her boyfriend have been sentenced to three years’ probation “for having intercourse in front of the woman’s 9-year-old daughter to teach the girl about sex.”

Video From the Church That Pastor Ken Hutcherson Visited in Latvia

posted by on March 20 at 9:25 AM

This is not the video that Pastor Ken Hutcherson claims will prove him right in his current dispute with the White House. I’m still waiting to get my hands that video so I can see if it sorts out whether or not the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives recently bestowed a “Special Envoy” title upon Hutcherson so that he could go to Latvia, complain to U.S. Embassy officials there about their alleged support for gay rights, and hang out with a Holocaust revisionist.

But while we wait for that video, here’s another video, sent my way by a Slog reader. It shows a church service in Latvia that will look, to most American eyes, like a raucous Pentecostal service from the Bible Belt. I’ve been emailing with a member of the Latvian church that Hutcherson visited earlier this month as a supposed “Special Envoy” from the White House, and this church member tells me that the video below does indeed show his church, the New Generation Church in Riga, the capital of Latvia.

The New Generation member tells me that this video was posted on YouTube by someone opposed to the conservative church’s politics. At the end of the video you’ll see a number of Latvian politicians, members of a Christian-identified party, apparently fainting, or as they say in this country, “getting the Holy Ghost.” The New Generation member I’m emailing with tells me that the intent of this video was embarrass those politicians in advance of Latvian elections.

In any case, this is apparently the church Hutcherson was visiting in Latvia:

Abstinence Education in Action

posted by on March 20 at 8:38 AM

Hm…. I wonder what would happen if I showed up at an American high school, tied a cute blond boy to a table, and threatened to drop a cinderblock on his cock? (It’s at the 6:29ish mark.) I don’t think I’d be invited to visit any other high schools.

Via Feministing.

The Morning News

posted by on March 20 at 7:48 AM

US Troops Want Out: Guess they missed Bush’s speech yesterday.

Abu G: Emails reveal that US Attorney scandal worse than we thought.

Vice President Hanged: Don’t get excited—it was Saddam’s VP, not George’s.

Swept Away: Two hikers drown in Mount Rainier National Park.

Veggie Tales: Americans don’t eat vegetables. We elect them.

350 Square Feet: Americans bought Japan’s small cars. Will we buy Japan’s tiny houses?

Righteous: Two women at a bar intervene when they spot a man slipping a powder into another woman’s drink. It was a date rape drug. The man is going to prison.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Is This Really “Something?”

posted by on March 19 at 6:46 PM

Photos by Ari Spool, text by Jason Simms.

About two dozen police officers gathered at Westlake Center and the downtown federal courthouse very close to the few hundred protesters at each location. The protesters were there to speak out against the Iraq war on the fourth anniversary of its inception.

The heavy police presence wasn’t in response to a very minor outbreak of violence at yesterday’s larger protest, police said; instead, it was the result of some confusion among today’s two groups of demonstrators about which route they would take to meet up at the Federal Building.


There was also confusion among many of the signholders and chanters when we asked them about the school walkout that was planned for today. Despite publicity on 1090 AM and extensive postering, there were very few high-school and college-age people at the demonstration. The Stranger spotted a single group of four teens at Westlake, who each asked to bum a cig before telling us that they’d expected more of their classmates at the Tacoma School of the Arts to have made an appearance. “It’s an art school, after all,” said Amanda Gower, 16. She and classmate Julia Lewis explained that it’s currently WASL week, which means that high school sophomores who wish to graduate on time are forced to hate Bush privately while wielding a number 2 pencil.


Three Northwest High School freshmen told us that they heard about the walkout at the last minute on the radio. They almost didn’t come because of the drizzly weather, but ultimately decided the cause was worth it. “We can’t look at just one protest and say it’s not doing any good,” said 15-year-old Francesca Sarpola.


According to Greg Beiter of Socialist Alternative, the “real” walkout is in a month. He and others promoting that event had heard little or nothing about today’s walkout, but they hope that theirs, which will convene at Westlake at 1:00 pm on April 18, will draw thousands. They plan to march to a Seattle school board meeting, where they will protest the decision to close seven Seattle schools while billions are spent annually on the war. Beiter says he hopes the group will be officially invited to have a say at the meeting by lefty board member Sally Soriano, who has been in contact with the organization.


Hopefully no extremely pissed-off ex-Marines with Bibles and American flag umbrellas under their arms will crash that walkout. One such counter protester accosted Navy veteran Ruben Bustamonte after he spoke at Westlake. “I’m tired of hearing the same stuff from people like that,” Bustamonte said.


With any luck, the walkout/school board demonstration will be more powerful than today’s relatively underwhelming demonstration, which seemed to be happening largely because people didn’t know what else to do. Layla Yamabe, 25, was at Westlake with her two children, age three and two. “I’m here,” she said, “so that when my son is old enough [to be drafted] I can tell him I did something.” The word “something”—as in, “We have to do something”—was thrown around a lot. But the questions remain: Is this something? Is there something more effective we could be doing? I’d love to think so, but beats me what it is.


For information on the April 18 walkout, visit the YAWR site.

UPDATE: White House Contradicts Local Pastor Ken Hutcherson on His Claim that He Is a U.S. “Special Envoy”; Hutcherson, in Response, Says He Will Provide Video Proof

posted by on March 19 at 5:50 PM

Ken Hutcherson, the famously anti-gay pastor at Antioch Bible Church, just outside of Seattle, has recently been claiming that he is a newly-minted White House “Special Envoy.”

Hutcherson’s supposed full title, which he claimed was bestowed upon him by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, was: Special Envoy for Adoptions, Family Values, Religious Freedom, and Medical Relief.

Hutcherson apparently used this title during his recent travels to Latvia, where he complained to the U.S. Embassy there about its alleged monetary support for gay rights groups, and where he also reportedly appeared with Scott Lively, an American who claims gays were responsible for (not victims of) the Holocaust.

This morning I called the White House to confirm Hutcherson’s title. I just received an email from White House Spokeswoman Alyssa J. McLenning, who tells me that Hutcherson was never given any such title. McLenning writes:

The White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives did not give Hutcherson the title, “Special Envoy for Adoptions, Family Values, Religious Freedom, and Medical Relief.”

I’m still waiting to hear back on whether the White House gave Hutcherson any other titles, and whether it provided any material support for his trip to Latvia. I’m also putting a call in to Hutcherson to see if he can explain why he’s been claiming a title that the White House says he doesn’t have.

UPDATE: I’ve heard back again from McLenning, and she she tells me that the White House did not give Hutcherson any other titles and did not coordinate with Hutcherson on his recent trip to Latvia.

FURTHER UPDATE: I just spoke to Pastor Ken Hutcherson. He tells me that White House spokeswoman Alyssa J. McLenning is wrong, that he does have the title he claimed, and that it comes from a “partnership” he’s established with Jay Hein, Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

“You need to talk to Jay Hein,” Hutcherson told me. “He’s the one that I’ve been talking to and the one that we are partnered with.”

Hutcherson claims to have met with Hein at least twice in person about this partnership, once a few months ago in Seattle, and once last month at the White House. I asked Hutcherson what the title and the partnership mean in terms of his work in Latvia. He replied:

“In my meetings, I can represent as being with them [the White House] and having the power I need to get things done.”

MORE: Postman digs up an account of Hutcherson speaking to Latvia’s New Generation Church:

‘I came to you representing the White House’, continued Hutcherson.

And a Slog reader emails me to suggest the following:

If Hutch did engage in an “official capacity” in Latvia claiming he was some sort of “special envoy” without approval from the White House (and likely the State Department as well- they get VERY touchy about stuff like that) it could well be a federal crime.

I’m not a lawyer, and I don’t know if it could be a crime or not, but I’m looking into this question.

MORE FROM HUTCHERSON: Hutcherson just called me again. He sounded quite perturbed that he is being cast as, in his words, “a liar,” and he told me that he is rushing to get his hands on video of an interview with Latvian television that he said will prove his claims.

The video, Hutcherson told me, was shot after a Feb. 8 meeting at the White House between himself; Jay Hein, the director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives; and Pastor Alexei Ladyaev of Latvia’s New Generation Church.

Hutcherson said this White House meeting was the second of two meetings he had with Hein about his plans in Latvia. The first meeting, according to Hutcherson, took place in Seattle on January 18 during a conference on faith-based initiatives attended by Hein.

“That was when he made his first commitment to me and said it was a done deal,” Hutcherson told me.

I asked Hutcherson what, exactly, was a “done deal” after his Seattle meeting with Hein.

“Our partnership,” Hutcherson told me. He said he requested the first meeting with Hein because, in his words, “I just wanted Faith-Based to give me the power to do what I needed to do.”

And the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives did just that, according to Hutcherson.

Hutcherson said that in the video from the second meeting (the one held on Feb. 8 in D.C.) the three men—Hutcherson, Hein, and Ladyaev—are standing on the White House lawn answering questions from a Latvian television reporter.

Hutcherson said the video will show that Hein met with him, knew of his new title, and approved of his mission to Latvia. As Hutcherson put it to me:

I’m gonna prove that I had those meetings, I’m gonna prove that I got that title behind me, and I’m gonna show you the video that says I was coming to Latvia and the purpose why.

If this video actually aired on Latvian television, as Hutcherson says it did, I’m guessing there might be a clip of it out there somewhere on the web. If you find it, shoot me an email with a link.

MORE: No video yet, but here’s a picture of Hutcherson, Ladyaev, and Hein. According to New Generation Church, the picture was taken after the three men met in February at the White House.


(Hutcherson is on the far left, Ladyaev is second from left, and Hein is third from left.)

[First posted at 1:30 p.m. on March 19]

It’s Not Porn ‘Cause It’s In A Family Newspaper!

posted by on March 19 at 5:34 PM

Today’s P-I has a loving slideshow (22—!!!—photos!) devoted to the “preliminary competition photos” from this year’s Miss USA pageant, including several pornarrific shots of identical white beauty-queen hopefuls in identical white string bikinis (see? it’s egalitarian!):



According to the Miss USA web site (apparently “Miss America” is out of vogue?), previous Miss USAs (like coke-snorting faux-lesbian Tara Conner?) have exemplified the “savvy, goal-oriented and aware” modern woman. In fact, Miss USAs “display those characteristics in their everyday lives, both as individuals, who compete with hope of advancing their careers, personal and humanitarian goals, and as women who see [sic] to improve the lives of others. Currently, Miss USA is experiencing a rebirth, playing a critical role in making the next 100 years “The Century of Women.”

Both individuals AND women? Knock me over with a feather. But I’m glad to see Miss USA is looking out for women in the next century; I mean, somebody has to be out there representing my values.

Cross-posted. And don’t worry: I’m working on a big, wonked-out viaduct feature.

I Am My Own Wife Goes to ArtsWest

posted by on March 19 at 4:51 PM

For those who’ve been following this wee drama: There was a clerical error at Dramatists Play Service which indicated that both the Rep and ArtsWest had the rights to the solo show about Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, the famous East German transvestite and founder of the Gründerzeit Museum (the “museum of ordinary objects”)

The Rep conceded, meaning the rumored Rep production team (Jen Zeyl, Allison Narver, Nick Garrison) won’t be doing the show.

The ArtsWest production, directed by Christopher Zinovitch and starring Nick DeSantis, will open in May.

Dept. of Substantiated Rumors: Lucky Seven

posted by on March 19 at 4:25 PM

It’s true: Linda Derschang will open a new “neighborhood pub” on Capitol Hill’s 15th Avenue East in the space currently housing Cypress, formerly known as Mango’s, Kozak’s, Hopscotch, Macguire’s, Jake’s, and one more place that no one can remember. Linda’s latest will be called Smith. I hesitate to speculate about her ability to reverse the curse on this space of doom—I have been very wrong about this kind of thing before (R.I.P., Red Line)—but if anyone can do it, Linda can. Lots of remodeling is planned, maybe an exorcism, and a summertime opening for Smith.

Iraqis Want Us Out In?

posted by on March 19 at 4:18 PM

Against the war. Against the occupation. Against premature withdrawal.

Not a contradiction.

USA Today

posted by on March 19 at 4:17 PM

Today’s USA Today credits the Seattle Times with breaking the news about the Seattle Sonics/Storm owners giving $1.1 million to set up and fund Gary Bauer’s anti-gay marriage group.

That’s funny, because when the Seattle Times wrote about this story, they gave credit where credit was due, citing The Stranger for the scoop.

They Back Sonics, Not Gay Marriage On Politics By David Postman On Politics The Seattle Times’ chief political reporter

Some of the new owners of the Sonics and the Storm are major financial backers of a national anti-gay-marriage group.

At The Stranger’s blog, Josh Feit got that tip Sunday night and followed it up Monday by confirming that Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward—principals in the ownership team—donated to Americans United to Preserve Marriage.

We’ve dinged the Seattle Times plenty of times for failing to give credit. So here’s a belated thanks to Postman and the Times for crediting us on the Sonics story. Now if only those dopes at USA Today knew how to read…

Today on Line Out.

posted by on March 19 at 3:26 PM

Shipwrecked: Modest Mouse Play This Wednesday, Did You Get Tickets?

Tribal Crochet: Why Does Björk Get An Umlaut but Nu Rave Doesn’t?

All Jail West Texas: The Trashies’ Tour Diary.

Shitty Weather and Not-Shitty Enough Vinyl: Jose Feliciano’s California Dreaming.

This Isn’t An Arms Race: Some Kids Remember What Emo Actually Sounded Like.

Overheard in My Inbox

posted by on March 19 at 2:22 PM


From invaluable Stranger writer Cienna Madrid comes this earwitness report from an unnamed downtown Seattle cafe:

There’s a woman at a table next to me, and from what I’ve overheard, she’s on her first date in five years, and she’s explaining to her date why she’s in the process of a divorce: “He’s a giraffe, and I’m a leopard, and I’m never gonna be a giraffe. I’ve tried and tried, but my destiny is as a leopard, you see? I can fake being a giraffe for awhile, but eventually I’m gonna have to rip his throat out and feed on his entrails. It’s in my nature. The only alternative is divorce.” How can I get work done when the conversation beside me is so stimulating??

Notes on the Prayer Warrior

posted by on March 19 at 1:30 PM

Close followers of the Prayer Warrior will have noted that he is currently claiming a new title, which he says was given to him by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

The title? Special Envoy for Adoptions, Family Values, Religious Freedom, and Medical Relief.

I have a call in to the White House checking on the Prayer Warrior’s claim, but in the meantime, here’s an article from a gay online publication, based in the UK, which finds that the “Special Envoy,” while on his recent trip to Latvia, was consorting with a man who claims homosexuality was responsible for both the Nazis and the Holocaust.


Here’s an excerpt from the article:

While Latvia makes faltering steps into Europe’s economic embrace, there are many citizens who’re determined to shun the equal rights and cultural tolerance that ultimately comes with the package.

Latvia joined the EU and NATO in 2004 and has experienced some struggles to balance the country’s faith and nationalism with European laws and values. Latvia is now the only EU member state without legislation specifically outlawing discrimination at work on the grounds of sexual orientation.

Unsurprisingly, it’s been the Church that’s resisted the development of a strong, legally protected LGBT community. Cardinal Janis Pujats, head of the Latvian Roman Catholic Church, issued a series of statements on March 13 denouncing a new national program aimed at preventing problems of intolerance of sexual minorities.

The Latvian population is mostly Christian, the largest group being Lutheran with smaller pockets claiming to be Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. Religious groups are often closely affiliated with political parties in the centre-right coalition which forms the ruling Latvian government.

Not content with a healthy contingent of home-grown homophobes, religious leaders in Latvia have been importing anti-gay firebrands to support their cause.

Last week, ex-NFL player Pastor Ken Hutcherson flew in from Washington to give advice on fighting LGBT rights.

He was joined by another American, Scott Lively, co-author of ‘The Pink Swastika- Homosexuality in the Nazi Party’. This disturbing book is an insane diatribe claiming that ‘homosexualism’ not only gave birth to Nazi imperialism but also led to the Holocaust itself. It’s crackpot theories stem from rumour, conjecture and fantasy and despite the fact that few take it seriously, it’s a best-seller in anti-gay circles…

“I have studied homosexual movement now for 17 years and with all responsibility state that currently Latvia a zone of intense confrontation between Christians and homosexuals,” said Lively.

“This nation will be our main battlefield against this counter Christian culture. God gave Kenneth Hutcherson and me to see that Alexei is the very man God placed to direct this battle, and church should support him in all respects. We are going to help you consistently and effectively to fight those who violate Christ’s rights and target his ministers for their insults.”

I’m not sure who “Alexei” is in the above quote. The piece doesn’t make it clear. But it sure sounds like the new White House “Special Envoy,” if he is indeed a special envoy, was keeping some rather inflammatory company while in Latvia.

Sound Transit: Right on Both Counts

posted by on March 19 at 1:12 PM

In the current issue of the paper, I have a news blurb about Sound Transit’s lobbying effort in Olympia against a bill that would create a regional transportation commission. The commission would make decisions about and coordinate roads and transit projects. The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Seattle), says it’s a way to end the turf war between transportation agenices over transit and roads—forcing them both to think comprehensively. Says Murray: “Now, every corridor would have to consider multimodal transporation.”

The flip side, of course, is that “every corridor would have to consider multimodal transportation” … meaning: Road proponents would get their foot in the door of transit projects.

Anyway, in my blurb, I made fun of the contradiction in Sound Transit’s rap. One ST lobbyist (I’ve got the e-mail) tried to scare Democratic senators by warning, “Every member of this commission would be able to essentially veto a proposed regional plan. Imagine, if you will, [anti-transit Republicans] Luke Esser and Jim Horn as commissioners.” (Indeed, the proposed board, elected by geographic district, would give each member a veto—a key point that was left out of yesterday’s Seattle Times editorial supporting the bill.)

The contradiction turned up on the other side of the aisle, where ST was reportedly telling GOP legislators that “labor and environmentalists will run transportation in central Puget Sound.”

A key point that I left out of my news blurb was this: ST’s tailored spins—one to scare Ds and one to scare Rs—may be contradictory, but they’re both true…. which, if you ask me, is why this bill makes no sense.


posted by on March 19 at 12:52 PM

“I have to tell you, we’ve had some complaints about public displays of affection, and we’re a family restaurant. We can’t accept it, and we won’t accept it.”

That’s what the manager at the IHOP in Grandview, Missouri, told a pair of lesbians who shared a kiss—a friendly kiss, not a tongue kiss—at a booth in his restaurant.

Via Americablog.

Somewhat Less Ugly Than Who?

posted by on March 19 at 12:46 PM

Giving his acceptance speech at the 1988 Republican National Convention, George H. W. Bush—the current president’s father—envisioned a “kindler, gentler nation.” Nancy Reagan, sitting in the Houston Astrodome, saw that line as a swipe at her Ronnie. She famously asked “Kinder and gentler than who?”

This weekend John McCain vowed to repair America’s image abroad. We have an “ugly American” problem, McCain said, and it’s hurting our ability to, you know, lead the world and shit. Laura Bush doesn’t have to ask “less ugly than who?” McCain spells it out:

In a sign that he wants to distance himself from the president—to whom he lost in an ugly campaign in 2000—Sen McCain outlined a series of measures to roll back Bush policies and counter the “ugly American” image.

“I would immediately close Guantanamo Bay, move all the prisoners to Fort Leavenworth (an army base in Kansas) and truly expedite the judicial proceedings in their cases,” he said. “I would reaffirm my commitment to address the issue of climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. I know how important this is in Europe in particular.”

McCain promises to be less ugly than Bush. That wouldn’t be setting the bar too high, of course, but it would be an improvement.

I Am Trying to Break Your Heart

posted by on March 19 at 12:37 PM

Or, How I Plan to Kill Erica C. Barnett

By Stranger News Intern Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

Erica Barnett wrote a brief but meaty post the other day about the heart-stopping joy of bacon-wrapped, cheese-filled, battered and fried hot dogs. (Recipe, via Stuff Magazine, below the jump.)

I decided to call her bluff and see if she’d really eat such a bizarre concoction of unnatural ingredients. With 17 years of culinary experience under my belt and a fridge full of bacon, I dove headfirst into the dark world of lad-mag cookery.


The experiment in terror began with two dozen hot dogs. I hollowed out both ends for maximum cheese penetration. The recipe said to use an apple corer, but who the hell owns an apple corer? I used a rusty potato peeler.


The grossest part was feeling the hot dog get plumper as it filled with toothpaste-like generic “cheese.”


If syphilis was a food product, this is what it would look like.


The longest piece of bacon I have EVER seen. I’m not entirely convinced it came from a quadruped.

(Continued below)

Continue reading "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" »

Ankle Breaker

posted by on March 19 at 12:22 PM

Former NBA point guard known for his devasting crossover dribble, Tim Hardaway, tries to break some ankles in the press:

“I’m looking for a second chance and trying to clean up my image,” he said. “I haven’t been in trouble with drugs or guns. I’m an upstanding citizen. This is a big bump I have to overcome. I’m going to deal with it like a champ. I’ve got to make sure people know I don’t hate gay people.”
Source: Miami Herald

Garrison Keillor’s Apology

posted by on March 19 at 11:26 AM

Garrison Keillor issued an apology for the column he wrote last week—kinda, sorta. In case you missed it, here’s Keillor’s column (“Stating the Obvious”), and here’s my measured, thoughtful response (“Fuck Garrison Keillor”). The full text of Keillor’s apology:

Ordinarily I don’t like to use this space to talk about my newspaper column but the most recent column aroused such angry reactions that I thought I should reply. The column was done tongue-in-cheek, always a risky thing, and was meant to be funny, another risky thing these days, and two sentences about gay people lit a fire in some readers and sent them racing to their computers to fire off some jagged e-mails. That’s okay. But the underlying cause of the trouble is rather simple.

I live in a small world—the world of entertainment, musicians, writers—in which gayness is as common as having brown eyes. Ever since I was in college, gay men and women have been friends, associates, heroes, adversaries, and in that small world, we talk openly and we kid each other and think nothing of it. But in the larger world, gayness is controversial. In almost every state, gay marriage would be voted down if put on a ballot. Gay men and women have been targeted by the right wing as a hot-button issue. And so gay people out in the larger world feel besieged to some degree. In the small world I live in, they feel accepted and cherished as individuals, but in the larger world they may feel like Types. My column spoke as we would speak in my small world and it was read by people in the larger world and thus the misunderstanding. And for that, I am sorry. Gay people who set out to be parents can be just as good parents as anybody else, and they know that, and so do I.

A reporter asked me this weekend if I was satisfied with Keillor’s apology.

Satisfied? Sure, I’m satisfied. Does that mean the column Keillor wrote wasn’t bigoted and offensive? No and no. And his apology is merely satisfactory. Below average, as apologies go.

Keillor apologized only because the column was “misunderstood,” says that it was meant to be satirical, and that the kind of folks that move in his “small world”—folks that actually know gay people, artistic types and such like—were sure to get it. The humor was naturally lost on folks that don’t move in similarly artistic circles. Those folks misunderstood his intention, and for that Keillor is sorry.

Excuse me… what? I’m pretty familiar with gay people, seeing as how gay people have been sucking my cock for close to 25 years now. But somehow I didn’t get it—and neither did Andrew Sullivan, John Aravosis, or Andy over at Towleroad. It wasn’t a lack of familiarity with the gays that lead to those angry responses, Garrison.

And if the column was satire, Garrison, what exactly were you satirizing? The column is titled “Stating the Obvious,” for Christ’s sake, and it’s worth revisiting at length. Maybe I’m selectively dense—that’s certainly a possibility—but this doesn’t read like an attempt at humor:

I grew up the child of a mixed-gender marriage that lasted until death parted them, and I could tell you about how good that is for children, and you could pay me whatever you think it’s worth.

Back in the day, that was the standard arrangement. Everyone had a yard, a garage, a female mom, a male dad, and a refrigerator with leftover boiled potatoes in plastic dishes with snap-on lids…. Monogamy put the parents in the background where they belong and we children were able to hold center stage. We didn’t have to contend with troubled, angry parents demanding that life be richer and more rewarding for them. We blossomed and agonized and fussed over our outfits and learned how to go on a date and order pizza and do the twist and neck in the front seat of a car back before bucket seats when you could slide close together, and we started down the path toward begetting children while Mom and Dad stood like smiling, helpless mannequins in the background.

Nature is about continuation of the species—in other words, children. Nature does not care about the emotional well-being of older people.

Let’s stop here for a second. Opponents of gay marriage and gay adoption argue that same-sex marriage goes against nature. In the last nine months two state supreme courts—in New York and Washington—denied marriage rights to gays and lesbians because, both courts argued, marriage is supposed to put “children center stage.” Marriage isn’t about adults and their needs or rights, but about “the continuation of the species.” A male dad and a female mom—that’s the kind of family in which “children tend to thrive,” wrote the Washington State Supreme Court. Intentionally or not, Keillor is using loaded, explosive language here.

A couple of days before Keillor’s column was published, the Senate in Arkansas voted to ban gays and lesbians from being foster parents, with opponents using the same sort of language Keillor employed in this “humor” column. (The bill in Arkansas bans gays and lesbians from fostering or adopting children to whom they are related by blood!) So you’ll have to forgive me if I didn’t see the humor here, Garrison.

Moving on:

Under the old monogamous system, we didn’t have the problem of apportioning Thanksgiving and Christmas among your mother and stepdad, your dad and his third wife, your mother-in-law and her boyfriend Hal, and your father-in-law and his boyfriend Chuck. Today, serial monogamy has stretched the extended family to the breaking point….

Okay, so divorce and remarriage has made life more complicated for children. I agree—my parents divorced, and that pretty much sucked. My first apportioned Christmas was pretty depressing. So I’m with you, Garrison: I too recognize that marriage, life-long commitment, and less complicated family structures as the ideal, like I said in my original post.

But Keillor probably should have mentioned that he himself has failed—and failed spectacularly—to live up to these ideals. Keillor has children from two of his three marriages, and Keillor’s Wiki entry reads like a page ripped from Peyton Place.

And now for those infamous two sentences:

And now gay marriage will produce a whole new string of hyphenated relatives. In addition to the ex-stepson and ex-in-laws and your wife’s first husband’s second wife, there now will be Bruce and Kevin’s in-laws and Bruce’s ex, Mark, and Mark’s current partner, and I suppose we’ll get used to it.

The country has come to accept stereotypical gay men—sardonic fellows with fussy hair who live in over-decorated apartments with a striped sofa and a small weird dog and who worship campy performers and go in for flamboyance now and then themselves. If they want to be accepted as couples and daddies, however, the flamboyance may have to be brought under control. Parents are supposed to stand in back and not wear chartreuse pants and black polka-dot shirts. That’s for the kids. It’s their show.

I’ve already picked over these two lines at some length. (How much do you wanna bet that “Bruce and Kevin” were “Adam and Steve” in Keillor’s first draft?) But, again, where’s the humor here exactly? I mean, besides the Coulteresque pot-shots at effeminate gay men? Garrison writes that gay men—the swishy ones, at least—have been accepted. (Tell that to the guys who get bashed, guys that tend to be the obvious/swishy.) But: “If they want to be accepted as couples and daddies, however, the flamboyance may have to be brought under control.”

This line does two thing: First, it assumes that Keillor has no gay readers. Gay people are “they.” Nice. And it makes acceptance of gay couples and daddies—what about the lesbian couples and mommies?—conditional. If we behave, acceptance. And if we don’t give up our loud trousers and flashy shirts? What then?

Keillor may be a humorist but it isn’t humor that characterizes this column. It’s regret. Oh, the world is more complicated today—and that’s a dang shame, Keillor argues. Garrison pines for the days when life was simpler—when straight people stay married for life, when kids were always in the foreground, and when no one had to keep track of a gay relative’s current partner, to say nothing of his ex, because back in the good “confirmed bachelors” weren’t so rude as to bring their “roommates” ‘round for dinner.

Because gay people, back in the good ol’ days, were content to commit social and emotional suicide. Sucked for them, of course, but it was good for children. (Except gay ones, of course.)

Garrison’s whole point was that these two social arrangements—life-long commitment for straights, the closet for gays—were better for children. Remember, folks, Garrison is “stating the obvious” here. We’ve become more selfish, we adults, and we don’t seem to notice or care that we’re hurting children in the process. Oh, and we may have to accept gay marriage, but we don’t have to like it. Because, you know, it’s hurting kids.

I’m sorry, but there aren’t two ways to read this column. I don’t doubt that Keillor knows and likes gay people. But I don’t see how this column can be read—by gay or straight people, by people that know gay people or people that don’t—as anything other than hypocritical and homophobic. And, yeah, I’m sure that Keillor knows lots of homos, being in the arts. That makes his column less excusable, not more. And if it’s a joke, what explains the headline: “Stating the Obvious”? Over at Tribune Media Services, which syndicates Keillor’s column to hundreds of daily newspapers all over the country, the column has this headline: “TRUTHS ABOUT FAMILY, GENDER AND MIDWESTERN COWBOYS.”

The final irony, perhaps, is that Keillor didn’t apologize for the column itself. He didn’t apologize for what he said. He apologized for the “misunderstanding.” It’s typical of the politicians Keillor likes to mock: Apologize if someone took offense, not for the offense you gave.

Save the Children, or Billy Ray Cyrus Is an Awful Parent

posted by on March 19 at 11:24 AM

Shit like this just makes my blood boil:


The young woman is Miley Cyrus, daughter of one Billy Ray Cyrus.

Hey Billy Ray: What the fuck is wrong with you?

Haven’t you seen what Disney does to kids? They’re a fucking freak factory, turning normal children into felons, addicts, and religious zealots. Disney churns out more fucked up children than any creepy Victorian orphanage where the kids had to sleep with the spiders and eat gruel. A few years with the Mouseketeers turned this girl:


into this one:


And Britney is just the Mousekekasualty du jour. There’s the sad story of Doreen Tracey, went from this to (NSFW) this. There is the story of poor Darlene Gillespie, who went to the clink for fraud. And tiny Tommy Kirk, who became a drug addict. And Tony Lucca, now a sad little man reduced to fluffing his own Wikipedia articles. And Roberta Shore, who went Mormon. And Tim Considine who sometimes fills in for William Saffire’s language column in the New York Times.

And who’s to say that this gig didn’t knock its star into orbit:


And gave Jackson a traction with the kiddies that was a prelude to all kinds of disasters:

Captain EO.jpg

And now poor wee Cyrus is being fed to the same sinister, corrupting machine.

All you motherfuckers who want to save the children should get your asses over to the Cyrus household and stage a goddamn intervention.

Save Miley. Before it’s too late.

Letter of the Day

posted by on March 19 at 11:22 AM

Big Peace 01.JPG
Big Peace 02.JPG

I painted this 36-foot diameter peace sign on the roof of my house in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. It can be seen by passing aircraft and will eventually be visible in satellite images such as Google Earth and Microsoft VE.
Peter Reiquam

Today’s Employee Challenge

posted by on March 19 at 11:14 AM

As soon as I build a giant clock suspended over a pool of whipped cream, this will be today’s Stranger Employee Challenge. Check out this insanely hilarious clip from Japan’s Haneru no Tobira show, in which strangely dressed contestants hop from pedestal to pedestal while avoiding the hands of a fast moving clock. (P.S. That poor guy at the end of the video has problems so much more complex than being knocked into a pool of whipped cream.)

Domo arigato, Japan Probe!

I Remember When I Remember I Remember When I Lost My Mind

posted by on March 19 at 11:10 AM

The well-named Media Take Out is hyping what is certainly the Paris Hilton rumor of the minute and the Cee-Lo rumor of the millennium: this photo, allegedly depiciting everyone’s favorite celebrity heiress clutching the wang of the Goodie Mob/Gnarls Barkley star. (To see the completely NSFW unedited pic, click the relatively safe pic below.)


Alright. Clearly that’s Paris, but could it really be Cee-Lo? Granted, it’s unlikely Paris kneels before chubby dudes who aren’t superstars with a brilliant track record for turning worthless hos into viable recording artists (Cee-Lo wrote “Dontcha” for the Pussycat Dolls) but until I see Cee-Lo’s goofy smiling head atop that mound o’ flesh the jury’s still out…

Ugh. Sorry.

Cattle in Seattle

posted by on March 19 at 10:45 AM

By news intern Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

Yesterday, in the shadow of Macy’s, a throng of aging tie-dye garbed hippies, angst-ridden Hot Topic punks and unassuming middle-aged Seattleites (all of the above, overwhelmingly white) crowded into Westlake Park to voice their disapproval and anger as the Iraq War enters its 4th year this Tuesday.

From the start, the rally lacked focus due to an unending parade of speakers, taking the stage at Westlake Park, who aired a number of grievances ranging from US forces in the Philippines to the forgotten victims of Hurricane Katrina.

An understandably flustered Joe Colgan (one of the protestors who led a sit-in takeover at Sen. Maria Cantwell’s Seattle offices last year) spoke about his son, Army 2nd Lieutenant Ben Colgan who was killed by an IED in Iraq, asserting that “his service and his death didn’t have anything to do with…protecting our democracy.”

Christa Bell, a Grand Slam Poetry champ who noted that she didn’t “see too many black folk out here,” offered to “give y’all a present. It’s the spontaneous tradition that you’ll find anywhere you find black people.” Bell was talking about the fine art of call and response, something the majority of the crowd seemed unfamiliar with, or at least unwilling to participate in. Bell called for “Peace in Oakland. Peace in Brooklyn. Peace on the West Bank {and} Peace on the West Side,” to the silent crowd before reading some of her own poetry.

My favorite bits:
“We’ll be the apes in shiny silver spacesuits,” “the phallus is institutionalized,” and “the trees are falling for ax murderers.” Bell then announced that she had “come to rock the mic right” and to “get down.” Bell then asked the uncomfortably silent crowd if they were familiar with the works of Saul Williams, which garnered almost no response. Regardless, Bell launched in to Williams’ “Bloodletting.”
Chants against US imperialism and calls for impeachment echoed through the crowd, punctuated by witticisms like “impeach Cheney, send him to Gitmo!”


One of the many causes represented on the long march down 4th avenue

Before Lake Washington High School senior Nick Duncan came onstage to perform several “punk-folk”(polk?) songs. “You can call me optimistic but don’t call me naive,” he sang. “I just want to ride my bike for miles at a time without seeing a single Starbucks sign.” Event organizer Linda Boyd followed Duncan, choking back tears as she angrily recounted the “legacy of torture and genocide” that she fears will be left for her 6 year old son.

I wandered through the crowd (around 3,000), passing t-shirt vendors selling shirts with anti-Bush slogans for 15 dollars, and a woman with a Guy Fawkes mask. Standing by the fountain at the edge of Westlake Park, 8 year old Emily held up a piece of white construction paper with a penciled rendering of a cemetery. She told me she was at the rally to “tell people that war is wrong,” a message she has been promoting since she was 3 years old. The best part of today’s event she said, was “when people were complimenting me on my sign and also, when I got to go to the chocolate store and got candy.”
I raced to the back of the stage when two men in their early 20s appeared brandishing a “Go cry in Canada” sign. A crowd immediately assembled around them as angrily arguing with the young men dressed in Bush-Cheney ‘08 and Mike McGavick t-shirts.

The cameraman from Fox was all over this guy.

The excitement over, the crowd began to march: moving west on Pine before turning down 2nd Avenue. Escorted by a police motorcade, the mass of people called for Bush’s impeachment, sang songs about sending troops home and shouted, “long live Palestine! Long live the intifada!”
Traffic across 2nd came to a halt as motorists climbed from their cars to get a better look at the wave of people flooding down the streets, some honking their car horns to signal their support for the protestor’s various messages.

After turning on Yesler and continuing north on 4th avenue, the crowd arrived back at Westlake Park.
Senator Eric Oemig arrived on stage, joking that he was late because he “got held up by a bunch of peace lovers.” Discussing his legislative baby SJM 8016, Oemig rhetorically asked “Is it alright if I use the word impeachment here?” “Send Bush to Baghdad!” shouted a man in the crowd. While SJM 8016, a measure calling for “impeachment investigations into the actions of” Bush and Cheney appears dead in the water, Oemig spoke briefly with me after his speech saying he is feeling “very encouraged” and that he has gotten “commitment from [Senators Lisa Brown and Tracey Eide] to continue debate on the floor of the senate.”

Senator Oemig speaks to the crowd.

Following Oemig’s speech the rally was winding down and Linda Boyd, president of the Eastside Fellowship of Reconciliation took the stage to announce that a protestor named Mike Ladd had been arrested but gave no further information. She told the crowd he was being held at a King County correctional facility and called upon anyone in the crowd with a legal background to provide assistance if they could.

A quick call to SPD revealed that Ladd had been arrested for misdemeanor assault after punching a counter-protestor in the arm and throwing water on him.
At a peace rally.

A lot more pictures after the jump

Continue reading "Cattle in Seattle" »


posted by on March 19 at 10:20 AM

You drive out of town in a friend’s car with several snowboards strapped to the roof. It’s dark. It’s going to rain. Then you’re in the mountains, several miles south of the Canadian border. You go to bed, you wake up, and sure enough. At the snowboard rental shop, the lady says, “You know it’s raining?” This is so that you don’t ask for your money back. You rent stuff anyway.

The snow on Mt. Baker is juicy. It’s like a white cherry Slurpee. It doesn’t hurt to fall—both because it’s slippery-soft and because you’ve learned how not to fall. But it rains and rains and rains. According to a sign in the snowboard rental shop, the rain is supposed to let up. Doesn’t happen. Over lunch in the lodge, staring out at dogs and cats falling from the sky, everyone else decides they’ve had enough. You all head back to the cabin, sit in the hot tub, drink beer, and say a bunch of things to the effect of, “Next time.”

The next day would have been great for snowboarding—no rain, some sun, perfect temperature, day-after-it-rained snow—but certain people insist on getting back. On the drive back to Seattle you watch the unfolding of spring. You drop someone off in Wallingford, across the street from a crazily blossoming tree. The sliver of Lake Union you can see is crowded with white sails. There are crazily blossoming trees in other neighborhoods too. You have you take off some layers. It’s 62 degrees! You go home and sit in the sun in your living room. Your brain fills with some E. E. Cummings poems about spring: “you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens (touching skilfully, myseriously) her first rose”… “it’s spring and the goat-footed balloonman whistles far and wee”…

Next morning, alas, it’s back to being mud-luscious out. It’s expected to rain all week, according to the radio.

Reportus Interruptus

posted by on March 19 at 9:21 AM

In case you missed this over the weekend:

Hard-core porn interrupts Brokaw broadcast

MESA, Ariz. - A cable news program was temporarily replaced with hard-core pornography, shocking viewers who had been watching a health show featuring former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw.

The Morning News

posted by on March 19 at 8:37 AM

Four Gore Years: The Iraq War turns four today. Yes, I feel terrible.

Patience is a Virtue: Condoleeza Rice thinks Americans need a bit more of it, urges us to be “patient” about Iraq.

“Zip It.” Asked if the President had a “plan for success” in Iraq, White House press secretary tells reporter to shut his mouth.

Whiners and Ingrates: Iraqis are pretty depressed about the state of their country, what with the bombs, the killings, the reprisal killings, the holes drilled in skulls, etc. Shall we should send Tony Snow over to tell them to zip it? Or shall we send Condoleeza Rice over to urge patience?

Maybe This One Will Do the Trick: Protesters march against the war in Seattle and other cities.

Bong Hits the Big Time: Alaskan student’s “Bong Hits for Jesus” banner to be debated before Supreme Court today.

Unsafe at Any Speed: More bad news for elderly drivers.

Lilli Vanilli: Donnie “God Hates a Fag” Davies performs at SXSW—or does he?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

This Last Week on Drugs

posted by on March 18 at 12:13 PM

Bill Here: State senate attempts to fix Washington’s ineffectual medical marijuana law.

Bill There: Gov. Bill Richardson to enact New Mexico’s medical marijuana law.

Bills Everywhere: Love won’t pay her rehab tab.

Bolivians: Take Coca out of the mix and just call it Cola.

Supply, Meet Demand: Sudafed crackdown doesn’t halt small-town meth problems.

Ganja Guru: Most federal charges dropped.

Sun-Light: Shady Seattlites need more vitamin D.

Death-Light: Judge says smokes sold abroad can’t be marketed as “light”.

Jam Tomorrow… High Court will finally take ‘Bong Hits 4 Jesus.’

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 18 at 11:15 AM


(Art) When Franz von Stuck made his painting Sin—the unmistakable dark-eyed, bare-breasted woman wearing a hissing serpent—he intended it to be seen from below, as if on an altar, being worshiped. In the first of an occasional series of explorations of historic works in the Frye’s collection by contemporary artists, Seattle artist Victoria Haven created a large, crystalline, gold Mylar structure that will surround the lascivious early-20th-century painting at its restored, righteous height. (Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave, 622-9250. Noon—5 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES

The Morning News

posted by on March 18 at 9:03 AM

President in a half shell: Veto power!

Laborious: Neighborhood fights Casa Latina relocation

Palestinians form coalition government: Israel refuses to recognize them, they refuse to recognize Israel

Chocolate City conspiracy theory: Ray Nagin points fingers

Crisis of confidence: Race for school board seats begins early

Spider-Man’s greatest foe: Copyright law

Massive pet food recall: Why I only feed my cats leftover spaghetti and Doritos