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Archives for 04/01/2007 - 04/07/2007

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Slightly Unnerving

posted by on April 7 at 1:18 PM

According to The Guardian, the US offered to help out Britain’s hostages with some old-fashioned military showmanship in Iranian airspace. Smart thinking, dudes. ‘Cause Iran has no idea whatsoever how thin our military is stretched.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 7 at 10:59 AM

‘My Name Is Rachel Corrie’ (Theater) Marya Sea Kaminsky plays Rachel Corrie, the irrepressible young American who lost her life attempting to protect a Palestinian family’s home in the Gaza Strip in 2003. Like the best nonfiction-as-art, what you already know going in is acknowledged in subtle, brilliant ways, like when, as Corrie nears her death, Kaminsky climbs on top of the set and looks down on the earth below her. She, of course, doesn’t know what’s coming. (Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St, 443-2222. 7:30 pm, $10—$40.) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

See what else the Stranger Suggests this week.

The Morning News

posted by on April 7 at 9:32 AM

Posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

War of words: Legislature takes vacation, Bush criticizes…while on vacation

“Anger at the modern world” Giuliani lumps Iran and al Qaeda together

No proof: Documents found in Iraq cast doubt on Al Qaeda link

Airstrike: Israel fires missiles into Gaza

Slipping: Gonzales aide who refused to testify abruptly resigns

Hunger: Inefficient US aid policies creating crisis

Dried up: Bleak outlook for southwest’s water supply

Oh shit: Apocalyptic UN global warming report ”watered down”?

No more Frito Pie?! USDA revamping school menus

Head, Meet Sand

posted by on April 7 at 12:35 AM

Instapundit, one of the gods of the right-wing blogosphere, posted this today:

HAS AL GORE BEEN TO CINCINNATI LATELY? Because I’m visiting my brother here and drove the last hour or so through heavy snowfall. It’s freezing (literally) and it’s April. Ugh.

Greenhouse effect? Global warming? Faster, please.

Nevermind the idiocy of urging global warming. This is merely another example of the Right’s attempt to cloud the issue of climate change. (See also: Drudge and/or Rush Limbaugh weekly.)

Friday, April 6, 2007

I Love CHAC But

posted by on April 6 at 4:54 PM

This sounds like the opposite of fun:


Today in Line Out

posted by on April 6 at 4:39 PM

I Bet They’re Nervous: Grand Archives are going to play the Modest Mouse show.

This Week’s Setlist: Is pretty good.

Lightning Bolt: Already making kids wait, and still blowing minds.

Ari Can’t Decide: So she wants you to do it for her.

Battle of the Drag Queens: Pho Bang! vs. Laguna Bitch.

Party Summer Soundtrack: Spank Rock mix for Fabric.

Love For Love & Pride: Terry’s BSE (TW).

In My Room: Making your room sound as good as it can.

Pioneer Square Dance: Zwickel’s night on the town.

BSE (TW): “God Only Knows.”

And for Friday, a sloppy little kitten (thanks to Matt Garman—and his mom—for sharing):


McCain Reverses Himself

posted by on April 6 at 4:37 PM

Trying to keep this…


…from becoming this…


…McCain is now saying this:

“Of course I am going to misspeak and I’ve done it on numerous occasions and I probably will do it in the future,” he told CBS correspondent Scott Pelley. “I regret that when I divert attention to something I said from my message, but you know, that’s just life.”

Intern? Intern. Naked? If You Insist…

posted by on April 6 at 4:32 PM

But seriously, then. You MUST be nude.

I need an intern. Yes, AN INTERN. It has nothing to do with The Stranger, so sorry, so this is completely inappropriate to post here probably, but kiss my ass. I need an intern. AN INTERN!


Looking for: Student types with Media, Video/Film Production, and Design hankerings.

Location: Northgate-ish.

For: A fabulous place where creativity runs fresh and free and the lunches are long and elaborate. And you will report directly to ME, so that’s a plus. (I’m fucking awesome.)

Nudity not really encouraged. But not discouraged, either. That’s just how I roll. Jews, blacks, and faggots a plus. No Irish need apply.

Interested parties should contact me. You know where I am.



God damn Irish.

This (Newsy) Weekend at the Movies

posted by on April 6 at 3:40 PM

Lots of local news and updates this week.

1) On Wednesday I met SIFF’s smokin’ new hire Anita Monga—formerly of the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, and various festivals since—who’ll be the programmer for SIFF Cinema at McCaw Hall starting with the July calendar. (In the meantime, SIFF Cinema will house rentals like the Polish Film Festival and a brand-new National Film Festival for Talented Youth, or NFFTY, which is being organized by former Stranger One-to-Watch Jesse Harris. And, of course, SIFF itself.) Monga already has some excellent films lined up: In July she’ll be reviving her weeklong festival-style program Noir City, featuring scholar/raconteur Eddie Muller and plenty of rare prints dug up from the archives at UCLA and Fox. So far, she’s booked Desert Fury, Leave Her to Heaven, Woman on the Run, Jeopardy, and a few others.


Despite SIFF AD Carl Spence’s humble suggestion, when I first talked to him about SIFF Cinema, that the theater would be focused on things that would otherwise slip through the cracks of Seattle exhibition (i.e., films that had been passed over by Northwest Film Forum and Landmark), Monga’s raring to compete. Noting that NWFF had scored the Seattle theatrical run of the Toronto favorite Manufactured Landscapes, she told me, “I’ve I’d been here two months ago, SIFF would’ve gotten it!” (Spence, who was there as her driver/minder, just smiled.) This is going to be fun. Though Manufactured Landscapes is a doc, Monga said her tastes run toward narrative (Kubrick and Wong Kar-Wai are especial favorites)—but nothing “neat” (she hates Todd Fields).

2) The Seattle/Astoria production Cthulhu had its friends-cast-&-investors premiere at SIFF Cinema last Friday. The movie is not great: The digital image looks janky, the plot makes little sense, there are sloppily edited bits, and the political subtext is really buried. That said, the locations are fabulous, it’s quite entertaining, and it has this ’70s throwback quality that’s not quite camp, but something equally adorable. If it plays SIFF, go.

3) Finally, the Guy Maddin film Brand Upon the Brain!, which was filmed in Seattle and produced by the formerly Seattle-based Film Company will not be screened in Seattle in its full foley-orchestra glory. Lame! Here’s the pseudo-apology from Film Company co-president Gregg Lachow:

A number of you have expressed dismay at there being no Seattle show of the live version of BRAND UPON THE BRAIN! It is not for lack of desire. It is just a very expensive show to mount, and we can only afford to do shows where we are fairly certain of breaking even. The good folks at both SIFF and NW Film Forum tried hard to help the show happen, but ultimately there wasn’t enough money to make sure I didn’t go further into debt.

We are lining up great narrators for the NY run (Lou Reed came on board yesterday), and perhaps we’ll be able to give the film a high enough profile that corporate sponsors will want to help. I will continue to work on it.

In any event, the film will have a regular theatrical run in Seattle in June, in glorious 35mm!

Opening this week:

In On Screen, we’ve got Brendan Kiley on “hero-cum-sonofabitch” Ralph Nader in the doc An Unreasonable Man; Martin Tsai on the Rodriguez/Tarantino double-header Grindhouse.


Plus, Bradley Steinbacher on the guilt-free literary con The Hoax; Andrew Wright on the too-literal First Snow, and me on the family- and homosexual-friendly Firehouse Dog.

As for limited runs: I’d personally recommend SIFF Cinema’s Cría Cuervos, NWFF’s Canadian New Wave entry Nobody Waved Goodbye, and the Grand Illusion’s Iraq in Fragments and The Fallen Idol.

Movie times and film shorts can be found via Get Out. Enjoy!

The First Olympic Sculpture Park Bumper Sticker

posted by on April 6 at 3:07 PM


Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on April 6 at 2:45 PM

Good Friday edition…


Thank you for praying for all the media events I was involved in yesterday! I felt your prayers and they made me bold in the Lord! To God be the glory! God just moved me out of the way and He took over. I just want to let you know of one of the responses I received this morning from the Editor of Venus Magazine. Please click on the link and read this amazing story.
Pastor Hutcherson,

I thoroughly enjoyed you last night on CNN with Anderson Cooper. No compromises! I loved your bold stance on biblical principles with regard to homosexuality. And that’s saying a lot coming from me. One year ago I would be writing to blast you for being a gay bigot. The Lord saved me after 29 years of gay activism and 13 years publishing a magazine supporting the black gay community. I printed my own testimony on our cover a few months ago which caused a firestorm reaction within the gay community. Please take a look.

God Bless, Have a Happy Resurrection Day!


What one life can do when it is living in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ!

Pastor Hutch

Deeply Disturbing

posted by on April 6 at 2:36 PM

Or, as a friend in San Francisco puts it, “Holy f*cking NOTlikingIT!”

Heaven Is Square

posted by on April 6 at 2:20 PM

In honor of commenter number ten in yesterday’s foodie fight, I’m posting David Cross’s old Cosí-squagel routine. (That begins at minute three. Feel free to enjoy his heaven routine immediately proceeding.)

Rove in ‘72

posted by on April 6 at 1:25 PM

This 1972 news report on the Nixon re-election campaign is interesting for the clip of a young and be-sideburned Karl Rove discussing his strategy for winning the youth vote, as well as for how it shows how drastically the television news has changed in 35 years, not just technically, but substantively.

Also noteworthy: in 1972 you were considered a “fat cat” if you plunked down $500 to have dinner with a 13” TV with Nixon on it, and Dan Rather looked a lot like my dad.

Via Huffington Post and Slog tipper Bob.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on April 6 at 1:05 PM


Bad Medicine: DEA inaugurates 2005 meth law by busting man who bought seven boxes of Bronkaid.

Rough Rider: Woman gets DUI riding a horse.

Smooth Rider: Zamboni driver skates by DUI on thin ice.

Dairy Vows: Quit smoking.

Buds Bunny: Stuffed.

Poppies: NATO wants ‘em legal.

Roswell 911: New Mexico stops busting folks calling for overdoses.

Bakers’ Dozen: New Mexico becomes 12th medical marijuana state.

Interest Party: Guy nailed after applying for loan to buy crack.

Laced and Rolling: Kids take to the rink for D.A.R.E.

Keith Richards
: Not snorting family lines after all.

Attack of the Charo!

posted by on April 6 at 12:47 PM

scaled.charo attack.jpg

Last night I was among the dozens of Seattle-area homosexuals who made the journey north to the Skagit Valley Casino, to see the one and only Charo.

As the pic above suggests, the show was full of sparkles and fringe and aggressive audience interaction. (The man above is about to have his face crammed in Charo’s bountiful cleavage.)

As for the show: It was okay. She “sings” along with a dense vocal track, and even her artsy flamenco-guitar segment was underscored with craptastic synthesizer. But her between-song banter was delightful, and she clearly loves what she does and has been doing since 1492.

Here’s a (blurry) pic of Charo and me and my fella Jake, and here’s a pic of Charo’s impressive neck.

(Photos by Corianton Hale.)

Three Quick Things

posted by on April 6 at 12:36 PM

The King County Court House:

By John Ruskin:

The architect is not bound to exhibit structure; nor are we to complain of him for concealing it, any more than we should regret that the outer surfaces of the human frame conceal much of anatomy; nevertheless, that building will generally be noblest, which to an intelligent eye discovers the great secrets of its structure, as an animal form does, although from a careless observer they may be concealed.

Comment One: Before arriving at the core of Artwalk activity, I passed the King County Courthouse building and again felt myself pulled into the debate that has been with us since the century that experienced a tremendous transformation in building materials, the 19th century: Is architecture that hides the actual structure of a building being dishonest? And if so, is this a bad thing? For me, the answer for both questions is a solid yes. And King County Courthouse is one such example of this dishonesty. From top to bottom, the building speaks not a single truth. It’s engaged Ionian columns, the useless balconnets, and, worst of all, the massive Palladian windows which make the top two floors look like one floor (the lower, long columns play a similar trick on the ground floor).

What you see on the surface has no relationship with the internal system. The surface doesn’t express or articulate the actual structure. The two are divided. If this bulk had some unity, then the King County Courthouse would look more like this. It’s a shame that a building whose function is the administration of justice has an architecture that does nothing but tell lies.

In Freeway Park:

From the “Desire Issue”:

My Lover’s Window. On another June night, we were underneath the monstrous Freeway Park, on a street called something like Bubble Place. The involved traffic roared around us. Not far from where we stood and kissed and groped, was a strange window (maybe the strangest window in all of Seattle) which, from the park’s artificial waterfall, one can see the traffic on I-5 rush by. Looking into this window is like watching your sleeping lover’s dream from a discovered window under her hair. The thing that dreams in Freeway Park’s window — which is yellow, cracked in certain parts, and situated in a small recess over which water flows like transparent waves of hair — is the city itself. The city dreams of traffic streams.

Comment Two: On Wednesday I went to Freeway Park to look at my favorite opening in all of Seattle. The opening looks down at the traffic rushing by on I-5. Because of the artificial light in the echoic tunnel, and also the blend of the artificial waterfall’s sound with the sound of the traffic, the scene looks unreal. I wanted to see this unreality again but couldn’t because of a resident madman. In the image above, the madman is just beyond the concrete block, pacing back and forth, talking to himself about things that only himself can understand. I left the park without looking into my magic opening.


From volute O, “Prostitution, Gambling”:

“If it is the belief in mystery that makes believers, then there are more believing gamblers in the world than believing worshipers.” Carl Gustav Jochmann.

Comment Three: I found this abandoned poker set on a bench that’s separated from Chapel of St. Ignatius by a parking lot. Gambling and God? But the chapel, is not really about God, it’s about design and distortion. Like the King County Courthouse, the chapel is dishonest, and in the space of that dishonesty—the dishonesty of what it is really about, as well as a dishonesty between surface and the structure—we shall find the marked card of the architect.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 6 at 12:00 PM

JJ Grey & Mofro (The Blues) The beauty of the blues comes from the universality of suffering. So even though he’s a native of the North Florida backwater of Whitehouse—somewhere near Jacksonville—you and JJ Grey have something in common. The main man behind the slide-guitar-twangin’, southern soul-singin’ combo called Mofro, Grey laments the loss of his pastoral native soil to condos and parking lots. That’s something Seattleites know all about. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $15 adv, 21+.) JONATHAN ZWICKEL

See what else the Stranger Suggests this week.

The Office: Did Roy KILL Jim?

posted by on April 6 at 11:42 AM

Office fans everywhere have been biting their nails in anticipation of last night’s episode, wondering if Roy (Pam’s ex-fiance) was going to follow through with his cryptic words: “I’M GOING TO KILL JIM HALPERT.” (For those just joining us, Jim kissed Pam and Roy found out. Oooooooooh!)
THE RESULT? Roy DID try to kill Jim, which weirdly resulted in one of the funniest Office episodes in recent memory. If you missed it, download it off iTunes (online now, $1.99, it’s called “The Negotiation”) — it’s THAT FUNNY. And just to wet that whistle, here’s the soon-to-be-classic scene of Roy attempting to… KILL JIM HALPERT!

Romney the Hunter

posted by on April 6 at 11:17 AM

Remember how much crap John Kerry got for this hunting photo-op? (For one example, see here.)


Well, what if John Kerry had compared himself to Jed Clampett?

That’s what Republican Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, is doing as he tries to tamp down a mini-controversy over his iffy hunting record.

Mitt Romney’s camp spent Thursday dealing with a dust-up over an Associated Press story that said Mr. Romney’s hunting experience was not what he had been making it out to be on the campaign trail as he sought to appeal to pro-gun Republicans, a powerful force in the primary races.

At a community forum in Keene, N.H., on Tuesday, when asked about his stance on guns by a man wearing an N.R.A. cap, Mr. Romney said twice that he’d been a hunter “pretty much all my life.”

By Thursday, his campaign was forced – following those news reports that he had hunted only as a teenager and then at a preserve last year in Georgia – to clarify his record.

Eric Fehrnstrom, a campaign spokesman, added that Mr. Romney had also done some small game hunting, “nothing bigger than a rabbit or quail,” on his Utah property. “This is all a little bit silly,” Mr. Fehrnstrom said in an e-mail message. “Governor Romney never said he was Teddy Roosevelt. He’s more like Jed Clampett.”

Silly only when it’s a Republican whose hunting cred is being questioned?

Romney already has a problem with the Republican base for shifting his positions on abortion and gay rights. And gun-rights advocates already view him warily (he only joined the NRA last year and has supported the Brady Bill as well as his state’s tough assault weapons ban). This latest contretemps puts Romney in even more danger of being tagged with the same label that Kerry was forced to wear throughout the last presidential race: A flip-flopping, liberal, pseudo-hunter from Massachusetts.

What’s the Matter With Kansas?

posted by on April 6 at 11:15 AM

Not much—provided you stay in Lawrence, Kansas, home to the University of Kansas and a pretty liberal, gay-friendly place. For, you know, Kansas.

Queers and Allies, the University of Kansas’ gay group, brought me in as a part of their Pride Week programming. I’m an odd choice for Pride Week . I have a rather famously low opinion of “pride” as currently practiced by the gays. Basically I think we should keep the parade, keep the parties, keep the floats and sex and dykes on bikes, but jettison the idea that being gay and out today is an accomplishment that should fill a person with pride. In the ’60s and ’70s? Sure. Now? Uh… I don’t think so. (I devoted a whole chapter to pride in my book Skipping Toward Gomorrah.)

Four of the guys that run the gay group took me to dinner before the event…


From left to right, Stefan, Ryan, David, and Jonathan.

Going out to dinner with thems that brung ya’ is a contractually obligated aspect of most speaking gigs—and it’s not always a pleasant contractually obligated aspect. Before you stand up and talk for a couple of hours in a lecture hall… you’re forced to sit down in a restaurant and talk for a couple of hours. But Stefan, Ryan, David and Jonathan were gracious enough to talk about themselves while I ate instead of making me talk. We discussed—what else?—their coming out stories. All four came out in high school or immediately after—two in small towns, two in the suburbs—which is more and more common.

Gays and lesbians are coming out younger and younger—lots of folks have pointed that out. I started coming out in high school and was totally out by the time I got to college. But I was exception among gay men at the time. How much so? I was the only out gay guy in the theater department at the University of Illinois. Years later most of the straight guys in my theater department had come out—after graduating from college, which was how most gay guys used to do it.

The most moving part of Stefan, Ryan, David, and Jonathan’s coming out stories, however, were the parts their parents played. With one exception, all four sets of parents were supportive—even if the boys didn’t always realize it. One set of parents oppressed their son by insisting that he, a sophomore at the time, not date a senior—because he was too young to be dating a senior, not because the senior was another boy. Another set of parents strongly disapproved of their son’s boyfriend—because his boyfriend directionless loser with a drug problem. But they’re delighted by his current boyfriend, a guy that’s in school, doesn’t abuse drugs (except tobacco), and has ambitions.

Another set of parents constantly warned their son to “be safe.” It got on his nerves. What he heard his mother saying was, “Gay people are diseased and you’re going to catch something now that you’re gay.” What I heard—as a grown-up gay person and a parent—was, “We know you’re sexually active and we want you to be careful. So be careful.”

That’s better than the old deal parents used to offer gay sons. Back in the bad ol’ days most parents couldn’t deal with idea that their gay sons might be having sex. They didn’t want to meet your boyfriends—and they certainly weren’t going to offer you any advice about your sexual conduct (“be safe”). They were willing to put up with your being out—they wanted to see you but not see it—but on the condition that you spare them from unpleasant mental images. The same parents that pried into every aspect of your straight siblings’ romantic lives—from who they were dating to whether they were sexually active to what kind of birth control they were using—were silent on the subject of their gay children’s romantic lives. They didn’t ask, you didn’t tell—and these were the supportive parents!

Things have changed so radically for the better. Even in Kansas. We obsess about the haters—there were rumors that Fred Phelps was going to show up at my talk in Lawrence, which is only 80 miles from his home base in Topeka—and sometimes forget to mark the slow, steady progress is being made. Increasingly parents with gay children step up and do the right thing. They treat their gay kids like the treat their straight kids—more straight parents are actually parenting their gay kids. They’re meddling, demanding good conduct (“be safe”), setting limits instead of turning a blind eye, expressing their approval or disapproval of certain boyfriends or girlfriends.

When it comes to the difficulties faced by gay youth—substance abuse, violence, depression, sexually transmitted infections—the discussion often goes like this: “What is the gay community going to do about the problems facing gay youth?” Uh… nothing? What can we do? The overwhelming majority of gay youth have straight parents and it’s up to straight parents to do something about the problems that confront their gay kids. Out gay adults living big cities can’t do anything for gay teenagers coming out in high school in Kansas. It’s up to their parents to, well, parent them.

Thank God more and more straight parents of gay children are doing just that.

Oh My God! Only Six Days Until the Stranger Gong Show

posted by on April 6 at 10:52 AM


Attention talented freaks and those who love to gawk at them: On Thursday, April 12 at the Crocodile Cafe, The Stranger will be presenting its first-ever Gong Show, hosted by yours truly.

In advance of the show date, we’re looking for any and all unique and entertaining acts hungry to strut their stuff before a panel of drunken judges for fabulous prizes. This means jugglers, magicians, yodelers, strongmen, stand-up comics, clog dancers, air bands, contortionists, jug bands, sword swallowers, vaudeville acts, and anyone else with an act that’s under four minutes long and doesn’t involve fire or minors. (The Croc is a bar.)

For more info and to sign up for the competition, go here. (Talent may also sign-up at the door the night of the show.)

And if you just want to gawk/cheer/heckle the drunken celebrity judges (including Sarah Rudinoff, Kerri Harrop, Dave Meinert, On the Boards artistic director Lane Czaplinski, and Stranger music editor Jonathan Zwickel) show up at the Crocodile on Thursday, April 12 for the fabulous and totally free freak parade kicking off at 9pm.

In the meantime, please enjoy this archival Gong Show footage, dug up for me by Slog tipper Andrew, featuring the immortal Popsicle Twins:

Oly and Out

posted by on April 6 at 10:51 AM

I’ll be out of Slogging commission today … and yesterday. I’m on assignment for the papier.

So, here’s some quick stuff: Postman’s got the latest chapter in the budget drama I was Slogging about last week. He’s also got a great write up from a meltdown that I missed on the House floor yesterday involving Dem Majority leader Lynn Kessler (D-24, Hoquiam) and Rep. Dan Roach (R-Bonney Lake).

Meanwhile, I just got off the phone with Rep. Maralyn Chase (D-32, Shoreline), who’s working on the condo conversion bill —a bill that guarantees financial assistance for tenants displaced by condo conversion. Chase reports that despite some last-minute GOP stalling shenanigans, the bill will go through. We’ll see. (And perspective: The bill has already been stripped of the more powerful conversion cap.)

*There were 2,352 condo conversions in Seattle in 2006—as opposed to 430 in 2004. And the average price of the new condos was $250,000. I don’t imagine 2,352 renters have that kind of cash.

Beyond that: Back in elementary school, I thought the SSes in KISS were Hebrew Lameds… Ls. I thought that was too cool. Here’s a song I like on a real spring day.

Open Letter to Drivers

posted by on April 6 at 9:56 AM

Just in time for summer, a few handy tips to help drivers navigate the road without mowing cyclists down or scaring the living crap out of us.

1. You do not have automatic right-of-way just because you are a) larger b) faster c) in a hurry or d) for any other reason. So don’t buzz us, pull out in front of us, or cut us off. Your inconvenience will last a lot longer if we have to call the police.

2. Honking is not acceptable unless we’re breaking the law and endangering ourselves or others. (Honking at a biker who crosses against the light on a completely empty street is like glaring at a jaywalker. It’s about your moral superiority, not our behavior.) Honking because we’re a) preventing you from taking a right turn or b) moving too slowly in a narrow lane where we can’t get out of the way will only make us move more slowly. I promise—just try it.

3. If you yell, “Get on the sidewalk!” you’re an asshole.

4. “Yield” means yield to oncoming traffic. It does not mean oncoming traffic (yeah, that includes bikes) must yield to you. That means that when you’re coming off the freeway, for example, if there’s a biker “in your way,” you have to yield to them, even if you’re really, really in a hurry, or on your cell phone, or hurrying really fast to make the light.

5. Zooming past us does not prove you’re bigger. We know you’re bigger. It just makes you look like an insecure douchebag.

6. Pulling out of driveways without looking for bikes as well as cars endangers bikers. Especially when it’s rainy or we’re rolling downhill, it can be extremely hard to stop when you pull into our path.

7. Even if you’re not parked next to a bike lane, never open your door without looking. You can’t just assume that the biker whose path you open your door into will be able to get out of your way in time.

8. Don’t keep rolling forward into a biker’s path, even if you’ve made eye contact with him or her. You’re sending a mixed signal. Just stop and wait for the biker to pass.

9. The law says you’re supposed to keep your car three feet away from cyclists. That means if you can’t both fit in a lane, you have to wait until you can go around. Sometimes it’s hard to gauge how close you are to a biker, so play it safe and give then plenty of room.

10. If you yell at cyclists, you’re an asshole.

11. Don’t try to “outrun” a cyclist who’s going straight when you’re turning left into their path. They have the right-of-way, just like cars do. You can wait.

12. Bikes are a lot like cars — we have the same rules and the same rights as you do. The difference is, if you hit us, we’re not surrounded by two tons of steel. Don’t drive as if you’re in a bubble.

Two further notes: A) This is not an open thread for “but bikers break the law too!” whiners. Generally, when bikers break the law, they inconvenience drivers but don’t threaten their safety. Dangerous drivers (and they’re everywhere) endanger our lives. B) If anyone has anything to add to this dashed-off list, I encourage you to do so in the comments.

Never Mind Outdoor Drinking (For Now)

posted by on April 6 at 8:45 AM

Amy has the outdoor drinking question covered. But of more immediate concern: The next eight work hours.

Forecasters predict a high of 76 degrees today. Where can I best position myself to check this prediction?


Location must have: Strong and free wireless signal, available power outlet nearby for recharging laptop, eye-candy, and sun (but not so much glare that I can’t see my screen every once in a while).

When You Wish Upon a Star

posted by on April 6 at 8:13 AM

Your dreams come true

The Walt Disney Co. has changed its policy to allow same-sex couples to participate in a popular Fairy Tale Wedding program it runs mainly at its two U.S. resorts and cruise line, a Disney spokesman said Thursday.

Disney previously had allowed gay couples to organize their own weddings or commitment ceremonies at rented meeting rooms at the resorts, but had barred them from purchasing its Fairy Tale Wedding package and holding the event at locations at Disneyland and Walt Disney World that are set aside specifically for weddings.

Hey, American Taliban? How’s that Disney boycott going anyway?

The Morning News

posted by on April 6 at 7:00 AM

Once again: No links between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda.

S.O.S.: For 911.

Splenda vs. Equal: The court fight.

Bush “clearly unfit to lead,” says Joe Klein of TIME Magazine.

That which does not kill Sanjaya makes him stronger.

Under the bridge: Sex offenders.

Zip it: With clothes pins.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Bad Intelligence?

posted by on April 5 at 10:30 PM

Or willfully distorted b.s.? This MUST. READ. article from the Washington Post reports on a declassified DoD report that shows that Saddam Hussein was never thought to be associated with Al Qaeda by anyone—except Douglas Feith and his Pentagon propaganda office.

The opening salvo:

Captured Iraqi documents and intelligence interrogations of Saddam Hussein and two former aides “all confirmed” that Hussein’s regime was not directly cooperating with al-Qaeda before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, according to a declassified Defense Department report released [today].


The report’s release came on the same day that Vice President Cheney, appearing on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program, repeated his allegation that al-Qaeda was operating inside Iraq “before we ever launched” the war, under the direction of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist killed last June.

Flabbergasting enough up front—but on the off chance that you you can’t get through the entire piece, here’s the devastating closing graph:

[Abu Musab al-]Zarqawi, whom Cheney depicted [today] as an agent of al-Qaeda in Iraq before the war, was not then an al-Qaeda member but was the leader of an unaffiliated terrorist group who occasionally associated with al-Qaeda adherents, according to several intelligence analysts. He publicly allied himself with al-Qaeda in early 2004, after the U.S. invasion.


posted by on April 5 at 4:53 PM

Jen’s post below reminds me of the “exercise” video i was recently given…”Kabbalah Yoga”. You are instructed to sit in the lotus position and chant, “Shalaauuuuuuuuummmm”.

No. I’m not joking. Not a smidge, even.


This One Is About Television Fitness, Not Art

posted by on April 5 at 4:50 PM

This morning I awoke to find myself desiring that particular company that comes from a television exercise show. The shows are short. They are easy. The trainer is funny. There is no need to change out of pajamas.

For many, many years, the Lifetime channel has presented to me one Denise Austin in the morning. This is Denise Austin, on the cover of a recently released DVD:


Her signature phrase is “Burn that butter!” and she has an endearing idea of what a grapevine is. Of any fitness trainer I have ever seen (and I used to be an elite athlete—in the 80s, when aerobics were a requirement), Denise Austin has the worst rhythm. She is 50.

This morning, at 7:30, I placed my toothbrush back in its holder and went downstairs to see my old friend Denise Austin. Instead I found a woman I do not recognize. She was doing Boot Camp workout.

This means that before 8 am this morning, I checked my living room floor repeatedly for landmines, squashed bugs on the floor while crouching in a defensive position, climbed an escape rope, slogged through a swamp while squatting down with a heavy backpack (of weights) on my shoulders, punched multiple hand-to-hand combatants, and floated in water (on the floor) holding my backpack (of weights) on my stomach to keep it from getting wet.

I can barely say what a state this left me in. It is only necessary to note that this will not stand. Denise, I don’t care that you’re 50. I do not want to go to war ever again.

Sir What?

posted by on April 5 at 4:14 PM

From a recent New York Times story about the release of the British hostages:

Boarding two naval helicopters, they then left for their base in Devon, where they are to be debriefed and to undergo medical and psychological checkups, said Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, chief of the defense staff.

Penny with the Weight of Its Own Making

posted by on April 5 at 4:04 PM

In a lecture Tuesday night about the antecedents of contemporary sculpture, Seattle Art Museum curator Michael Darling started with Tony Smith’s Die (thankfully not skipping the double-entendre of the title) and soon arrived at the Misdemeanor and Felony series of Jack Daws, a Seattle artist represented by Greg Kucera Gallery. It was a short leap. Smith’s Die looks like a blank black die, as in the singular of dice; it also looks like a nihilistic crushing machine, an obliteration carving itself into space.

I haven’t had the pleasure yet of meeting Daws, or of seeing a solo show of his work. But I first came to know his work in a Twin Towers-inspired photograph he submitted to the 2004 Northwest Biennial at Tacoma Art Museum (remember this one?):


For the image, he constructed the towers out of McDonald’s freedom, er, French fries, and Richard Nichol shot the photo.

His Felony and Misdemeanor series were similarly formally restrained and bracingly topical. In Felony, each 8-inch black box had locked inside it, according to the labels, one of the following substances: cocaine, crack, crystal meth, ecstasy, heroin, or LSD. You can imagine what Misdemeanor carried. Here are five of the six Felony works.


Daws hasn’t shown in town recently, but on the morning of March 29, he put a new sculpture out into the world. It began its trip at LAX airport. It is a penny cast in 14-karat gold and plated in copper. It looks just like any other penny, but weighs about twice as much, is slightly smaller due to the casting process, and does not have a mint mark. It is dated 1970.

Daws spent it somewhere at LAX that morning, after carrying it in his pocket for months in order to give it a patina. It has about $100 of gold in it, he says.

“Whoever finds the sculpture could sell it for the value of the gold, but they might want to hold onto it,” he wrote in a statement. “Daws has more of them, and his Seattle art dealer is selling them. Prices start at $1,000.”

In other words, the circulated penny may well be worth more than $100 and possibly more than $1,000. Well—worth? Its use value is one cent. Its gallery value is $1,000. Its auction value? Who could say. In today’s art market, plenty of people looking at art see piles of money in its place.

Money as a subject for artists has a long history, at least in part because of the inevitable comparisons between meaningless objects that are then assigned value in a collective way. Warhol’s first silkscreens were dollar bills. He suggested that artists should simply tape the worth of a painting, in dollar bills, on the wall, instead of making the art (I seem to recall an artist recently doing this—can anyone help me out?). The artist JSG Boggs made a name for himself by drawing precise dollar bills, spending them with people who don’t know what they are (art), and then tipping off collectors if they want to find the bills for themselves. (Yikes! Looks like Boggs may not be doing so well these days.)

I love how Daws’s penny is alone in the world, possibly never to be discovered. Pennies aren’t like dollar bills. They’re barely even money anymore. There’s a great chance that this gold-hearted penny could lie in the street the rest of its life, kicked along until it falls down into a sewer line and rides its way into waste treatment, a piece of old value (gold, pennies) lost, the most valuable artwork of its series, the original, you might say, gone. That seems about right.

UPDATE: The press release said this: “When asked if he was concerned about possible criminal charges for counterfeiting, Daws replied, ‘If they’re looking for criminals they should raid the White House and the Capitol.””

He needn’t have worried, points out Slog commenter Josef:

And, apparently there is no fine for forging a penny. Check this out:

“Manufacturing counterfeit United States currency or altering genuine currency to increase its value is a violation of Title 18, Section 471 of the United States Code and is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to 15 years, or both.

Possession of counterfeit United States obligations with fraudulent intent is a violation of Title 18, Section 472 of the United States Code and is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to 15 years, or both.

Anyone who manufactures a counterfeit U.S. coin in any denomination above five cents is subject to the same penalties as all other counterfeiters.”

The lowly penny is above the law!

Today On Line Out.

posted by on April 5 at 3:45 PM

insert “Rehab” Joke Here: Amy Winehouse Won’t Go Away (…to rehab—there, happy?).

Notes From the Pretty Underground: “Ehhh is the the name of the band.”

Absolutely Coco: CocoRosie’s “Rainbowarriors”.

Social Ghost Society: Makes Me Think of “Are You Afraid of the Dark”.

Greatly Exaggerated?: Nightlife Not Quite Dead.

Washing Away Winehouse: “Cherish” as Sonic Cleanser.

Minimize Me: Gui Boratto and the Fields’ Maximally Enjoyable Records.

Freaky Like a Fox: Mr Fox’s Crazy Folk Psychedelia.

And now, the delightful Slow Loris:


Today In Flânerie

posted by on April 5 at 3:37 PM

The boy and the balloon between plain pillars can found on 14th and Union on a house that has no future:

This lovely grass glove is on the sidewalk near 20th and Jackson:
a85929377cf0.jpg Does the grass glove have a partner? Is there another one in the world? What’s more lovely than one grass glove is two grass gloves. Check out the extra green thumb.

Finally, from Leaves of Grass: “A leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.”

Holy Crap! An Earthquake!

posted by on April 5 at 3:33 PM

Fishing around on the state highway department’s web site for information on the viaduct , I came across this simulation of what might happen to the 520 bridge in a major earthquake. All I can say is I’m glad I don’t work on the Eastside (especially since they’re having a little trouble figuring out how to pay for a replacement).

It’s on TV Tonight!

posted by on April 5 at 3:03 PM

• 8 pm NBC THE OFFICE — As CLEARLY stated in this week’s TV column, I’m pissed at the way NBC “super-sizes” their episodes. For example, tonight’s Office is 42 minutes long, which throws off the rest of the evening, and makes me confused and worried I may have developed a brain tumor. REGARDLESS! New episode tonight in which Michael demands a raise, and we find out if Roy makes good on his cryptic words: “I’M GOING TO KILL JIM HALPERT.”

• 8:42 pm NBC 30 ROCK — “8:42??” Puh-LEEZE! Anyway, Arrested Development fans rejoice, because WILL “GOB” ARNETT guest-stars tonight as a network exec gunning for Jack’s (Alec Baldwin) job! (Maybe Buster and his hook will drop by as the body guard?)

• 10:30 pm MTV HUMAN GIANT — Comedians Aziz Ansari, Rob Huebel, and Paul Scheer team up to bring us this new sketch comedy show that… might actually be funny?!? Here’s a clip.

Vegetable News of the Day

posted by on April 5 at 2:30 PM

Posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

Here’s some news that should excite foodies across the state.
House Bill 1556, “Designating the Walla Walla sweet onion as the official Washington state vegetable,” has passed both the House and Senate!


Updates will be made available as the many the layers of this story are peeled away.

One Week from Tonight: The First-Ever Stranger Gong Show

posted by on April 5 at 2:28 PM


Attention talented freaks and those who love to gawk at them: On Thursday, April 12 at the Crocodile Cafe, The Stranger will be presenting its first-ever Gong Show, hosted by yours truly.

In advance of the show date, we’re looking for any and all unique and entertaining acts hungry to strut their stuff before a panel of drunken judges for fabulous prizes. This means jugglers, magicians, yodelers, strongmen, stand-up comics, clog dancers, air bands, contortionists, jug bands, sword swallowers, vaudeville acts, and anyone else with an act that’s under four minutes long and doesn’t involve fire or minors. (The Croc is a bar.)

For more info and to sign up for the competition, go here. (Talent may also sign-up at the door the night of the show.)

And if you just want to gawk/cheer/heckle the drunken celebrity judges (including Sarah Rudinoff, Kerri Harrop, Dave Meinert, On the Boards artistic director Lane Czaplinski, and Stranger music editor Jonathan Zwickel) show up at the Crocodile on Thursday, April 12 for the fabulous and totally free freak parade kicking off at 9pm.

In the meantime, please enjoy this archival Gong Show footage of the astounding Ducky McGinnis. As she puts it, in a nightmarish baby voice, “I’m only sixty-one and a half!”

Unseasonable Warmth

posted by on April 5 at 1:28 PM

I just watched a woman walk v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y between her salon’s threshold and the curbside mailbox 10 paces away. If you haven’t been outside, you should make up an errand and go. Tomorrow’s supposed to be even better. Here’s a handy guide to drinking al fresco (it’s three years old, so do call first and make sure your target is still in business).
That’s Nickerson Street Saloon’s pretty patio.

Re: The Bagelspindle

posted by on April 5 at 1:25 PM

If you liked Brendan’s bagelspindle, you’ll love the Banana Bunker:


Nightlife: Not Dead Yet

posted by on April 5 at 12:48 PM

At a meeting this morning of the city council’s neighborhoods committee, club owners and music-industry reps spent an hour airing their concerns about Mayor Nickels’s controversial nightlife legislation, and offering their own suggestions about how the city should regulate problem clubs without adversely impacting nightlife in the city.

Bar owners Jerry Everard, Jeff Steichen, and Pete Hanning, and music promoter Dave Meinert, spent an hour outlining for the committee the problems with the mayor’s proposal and the solutions they’d like to see to address neighborhoods’ primary issues: Noise and violence. Neither the ordinance itself nor the clubs’ issues with the ordinance have changed much since the mayor’s nightlife task force was disbanded last year. Club owners feel its provisions (which require clubs to police the area outside their property and allow the city to shut clubs down for minor violations) are unnecessarily punitive and don’t address the problems they were meant to solve. (Georgetown Merchants Association representative Kathy Nyland, who opposes the legislation, called them “comical.”) For example, “If you have three minor health code violations in 24 months, that is grounds to have your license revoked,” Everard said. “The mayor’s office says [they] wouldn’t do that, but the fact of the matter is that is what the ordinance says.” Everard said the ordinance also gives too much latitude to the head of the office of economic development (which answers to the mayor) to shut clubs down if he or she feels they may be a problem. For example, “if the director is of the belief that hip-hop music is going to create violence, the director can say a club can’t have hip-hop music.” Perhaps most egregiously, Everard said, the proposal would hold clubs responsible for the actions of patrons and “prospective patrons” within 50 feet of their property; two violent incidents within 50 feet would be grounds to shut a club down, even if the perpetrators had no intention of entering the club at all.

What club owners do want, the music-industry representatives told the council, is more police; better training for bouncers; an enforceable noise ordinance that targets clubs and patrons; the ability to hire off-duty cops for security; a real nightlife commission that helps clubs operate safely, instead of just enforcing punitive laws; and a new law requiring sound insulation in new and converted condo buildings, so that the sound of people talking (the cause of most residential complaints) couldn’t be heard inside units. “If an unamplified human voice can be heard on the seventh floor of your condo, that’s a problem with sound insulation, not a problem with the human voice,” Meinert said.

As for security, Meinert said, “It used to be that big clubs with huge clubs hired off-duty police officers. That tool has been taken away from us and the mayor’s office has refused to give it back.” Steichen pointed out that the city provides police officers to manage crowds and traffic at big events like the Bite of Seattle and Mariners games; Friday and Saturday nights in Belltown, he argued, are no different than a downtown-wide special event. “It is a police problem when 10,000 or 20,000 people are going down to an entertainment district, and it seems quite wise when that many people are assembling in a neighborhood to beef up police controls.”

Council members on the committee, which also included Jan Drago, Peter Steinbrueck, and Richard McIver, responded positively to most of the club representatives’ ideas. Failing to provide increased police presence downtown on weekends, Steinbrueck said, “is not unlike if the city were to say to the Mariners or the Seahawks, ‘You’re responsible for patrolling the traffic after your games, and we won’t provide any officers to help.’” Drago chimed in, “You are pointing out a huge hypocrisy—the Mariners and the Seahawks do hire police, and are required to by the city. … It’s not at all clear to me that more regulation solves the problem. What is clear is that enforcement goes a long way toward solving the problem.”

Some in the nightlife industry have expressed concern that even after all her meetings (this morning’s committee meeting was the third of eight on the subject), Clark won’t substantially change the mayor’s proposal. This morning, however, she seemed extremely receptive to what nightlife representatives had to say. “One of the things I keep hearing is that Seattle doesn’t have a way to deal with the one or two problem clubs that keep arising,” Clark said. “Maybe we need to change some of the existing laws to make them more enforceable.”

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 5 at 12:00 PM


Charo (Cuchi-Cuchi Queen) It’s one of popular entertainment’s most brilliant inventions: the stealth bimbo. In America, we’ve got Dolly Parton, whose buxom Muppety-ness camouflages one of our great singer/songwriters. In Spain, they’ve got Charo, the Love Boat staple and “cuchi-cuchi” queen, whose buxom Muppety-ness camouflages her jaw-dropping mastery of flamenco guitar. Charo’s onstage transformation from pidgin-English floozy to flamenco Hendrix has made her an international star for over 500 years, and it’s totally worth the 70-mile drive north to Skagit Valley to see her work her magic in person. (Skagit Valley Casino Resort, 5984 N Dark Lane, Bow, 7 and 9:30 pm, $30.) DAVID SCHMADER


‘Tussle in Shorthand’ (Art) “Do you want to feel the Freedom of Spirit?” asks Japanese artist Meiro Koizumi at the start of his nine-minute digital video. By its sinister conclusion, according to curator Yoko Ott, you might wish you had said no. The whole show is based on struggle and chagrin, and the feelings are international. The London-based Mexican artist Raul Ortega Ayala wrestles an office chair into submission; the New York—based French artist Hugh Walton types out his frustrations with his body. And Seattle’s Shawn Patrick Landis, in a new work, stages his own hanging. (Punch Gallery, 119 Prefontaine Pl S, 621-1945. 5—8 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES

See what else the Stranger Suggests this week.

Fuck “Foodie” (or: Hello 1994!)

posted by on April 5 at 11:46 AM

I thought the word “foodie” (that sneaky, silly word) was going where it should—into the grave. I hadn’t heard it in awhile. Hadn’t read it in awhile. Thought it was dead. Was glad.

But then, yesterday, I got an email that included the phrase: “… all my ‘foodie’ (god how I hate that word) friends.”

To which I replied: “I always thought ‘foodie’ was just a shame-faced way of saying ‘gourmand’—with both the epicurean connotations and the gluttonous, I-just-love-to-eat connotations.”

To which she replied: “For me, ‘foodies’ are those annoying, pretentious people who claim to LOVE food and know the subtleties of regional vinegar and six types of cinnamon but seem to only pull these random facts out to show just how much of a foodie they really are. One reason I find them obnoxious is that, often, I know better than they, and they’re talking rubbish.”

To which I didn’t reply: “Then stop using the goddamned word.”

But I did try a Lexis-Nexis search. That silly word is still everywhere. Within the last month, “foodie” has been used, without comment, in stories by CNN, NBC, New York Magazine, Willamette Week, the Cincinnati Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Globe and Mail, the New York Observer, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Australian, Boston Magazine, the Fresno Bee, the Jamaican Observer, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Glasgow Daily Record, the Los Angeles Times, the Montreal Gazette, the English edition of Agence France Presse, the Washington Post (which at least had the decency to clothe its naked ugliness in quotation marks), the South China Morning Post, the Utne motherfucking Reader, and Singapore’s Electric New Paper, whose name gives me the virtual creeps.

Foodies of the world: Just call yourselves gourmands. Don’t hide your aspiration under a fake-homey bushel. Fuck foodie. Figgity-fuck foodie. Forever.

And now, to cleanse the palate—for people who love bagel sandwiches, but don’t know how to keep them from getting smashed and soggy on the way to work: Bagelspindle!


Thanks, BoingBoing.

Help Find Grover

posted by on April 5 at 11:35 AM

On page 15 of this week’s Stranger comes this sweet sad ad:


That fuzzy text below the picture lists specifics on the lost Grover: 9 inches tall, fuzzy, blue, cute, last seen Wednesday March 29 on Pine Street, between 15th and Boren. The ad in the Stranger includes more info:

I lost my unbelievably sweet and wonderful boyfriend’s most beloved, treasured possession: GROVER. Yes, little blue Grover from Sesame Street. Grover has been around the world and back with him—Vienna, France, Tokyo, and rode shotgun with him across the country more than once. PLEASE return him if you have him. REWARD: a different Grover of your own. IF YOU FIND HIM: Please email us at

We may not be able to bring troops home now, or impeach George W. Bush, or cure cancer or AIDS or spina bifida. But we can help this lady find her boyfriend’s lost Grover. If Grover remains at large, the terrorists have won.

The Roller Coaster Ride

posted by on April 5 at 11:16 AM

U.S. home prices, adjusted for inflation, 1890 - present, plotted to a roller coaster:

(Via Sullivan)

Thursday Morning Sports Report

posted by on April 5 at 10:07 AM

Egads. That was $25 million well spent. If you allow the first run of the game to be scored on a balk, you know you’re gonna have a bad night. I’m guessing that 15.43 ERA Batista left with in the fifth inning didn’t sit too well either.

Still, Batista’s not the only one to blame for last night’s 9-0 pummeling. The M’s offense managed just three hits—one from Ichiro, and two from Ibanez. Sexson? Beltré? Betancourt (who just got a three year deal)? Nope, nada, nyet.

Today is an off day. Tomorrow the M’s take on Cleveland. If their bats are as cold as Jacobs Field is sure to be, then it could get ugly.

Also: Renton officials don’t think a proposed $500 million Sonics arena would turn a profit; the Sonics lost last night in what will probably be their future home; the Wizards’ Gilbert Arena is done for the year; the Masters is underway; and the Kansas City Royals are about to get a taste of Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Hutcherson on Anderson Cooper Tonight?

posted by on April 5 at 9:50 AM

This sure sounds like the Anderson Cooper show that Hutcherson was taping last week.

Are Christians obsessed with sex? Some say the church is interfering in private lives, others say sex is something to be explored as part of one’s walk with Christ. A “360°” special report: “What is a Christian,” tonight, 10 ET.

UPDATE: Ask and ye shall receive an email from the Prayer Warrior:


April 5, 2007

“Tune in tonight at 7:00 pm PST when CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 presents a feature show on the topic of homosexuality, the ex-gay movement and faith. The show will highlight Focus on the Family’s Love Won Out conference and will feature interviews with Exodus President Alan Chambers and Dr. Ken “Hutch” Hutcherson, featured speaker at this year’s Exodus conference and Senior Pastor of the Antioch Bible Church in Seattle, Washington.”

Dear Prayer Warrior,

Please pray that they play what I taped, and it will come across accurately!

Your Pastor,

While the World Obsesses Over the Talentless Sanjaya…

posted by on April 5 at 9:42 AM

the talented Chris Richardson and even more talented Blake Lewis love each other…


Thank you, Towleroad.

Attention RSS Nerds

posted by on April 5 at 9:41 AM

The eagle-eyed may have noticed a wee little orange RSS icon—rss—next to the title of your favorite comment thread. That’s right, you can now subscribe to a feed for comments on any individual Slog post. Why you’d want to is questionable, but you can.

Wondering if there’s still any action on yesterday’s Haugen Amendment post? You’re not the only one! Subscribe to this feed and you’ll be kept up to date!


It’s a Boy!

posted by on April 5 at 9:30 AM

Dick Cheney says he’s as proud as can be that his lesbian daughter will be giving birth to a little man.

All the necessary reminders of rank hypocrisy here and here.

Giuliani Adviser Dupes NYT

posted by on April 5 at 8:55 AM

In a recent NYT story on Rudy Giuliani’s position on gun control, Giuliani adviser Anthony Carbonetti told the NYT he didn’t know where Giuliani stood on the assault weapons ban.

The NYT wrote:

“If there was a federal assault weapons ban up right now that he had to make a decision on, I honestly don’t know where he would stand,” Mr. Carbonetti said. “Right now, there’s nothing for him to read and take a look at.”

Hey, I have an idea: Carbonetti—or the NYT for that matter—should ask Giuliani where Giuliani stands on the assault weapons ban.

It’s what I did when Giuliani was in town last year stumping for Mike McGavick.

He told me: “I don’t think [the assault-weapons ban] is one of the most critical issues right now. The assault-weapons ban is something I supported in the past.”

If the NYT did ask Giuliani directly about the assault weapons ban, here’s what they came away with:

Mr. Giuliani’s campaign says it is not clear that he would support a measure he once championed, an assault weapons ban. In explaining his past positions, he and his aides say they were about fighting crime in New York City when he was mayor, adding that restrictions that make sense there can be wrong for other parts of the country.

Not clear? That’s a forgiving interpretation. Giuliani made it clear to me. He supported it in “the past.” In the context of my question, everything was clear: Ixnay on the assault weapons ban.

An Available Slot Is a Terrible Thing To Waste

posted by on April 5 at 7:22 AM

Teenagers all over America are clamoring to become… congressional pages?

In September, news broke that [Mark] Foley, a Florida Republican, had sent sexually explicit e-mails and instant messages to a male former page in 2005. Foley immediately resigned, and House Republican leaders came under fire for not taking any action…. House Democrats demanded an investigation, and a handful of Congress members called for the page program’s immediate suspension….

Six months later, the Democrats have taken over Congress and a House Ethics Committee investigation concluded that Republican leaders did not break any rules in handling Foley’s actions toward the pages. Not only does the House page program remain intact, it has received a record number of applications since the Foley scandal broke, according to the House’s Office of the Clerk, which runs the program. A year earlier, the House page program couldn’t even fill all of its available slots.

Insert your own “available slots” joke here.

O They Will Know We Are Conservative Christians By Our…

posted by on April 5 at 7:11 AM

sex crimes:

A search warrant released Friday revealed disturbing details about Brock’s alleged relationship with a 17-year-old boy who came to him for spiritual guidance after a friend’s death of cancer. When the boy’s mother learned that Brock had allegedly begun a sexual relationship with her son she went to the police…. In arrest warrants, police said Brock engaged in sexual activity, sexual bondage, anal sex and oral sex with [the] 17-year-old boy…

And the church funds we embezzle and spend on our mistresses:

The Rev. Henry Lyons, 65, was wildly popular before his conviction…. While the minister was on a 1997 trip to Africa, his wife, Deborah Lyons, discovered he had purchased a $700,000 waterfront home with a mistress, Bernice Edwards, a convicted embezzler who worked as public relations director for the national convention. Deborah Lyons set the home on fire.

The resulting investigation unmasked Henry Lyons’ use of his leadership role to access millions of dollars to finance his lavish lifestyle. Officials estimated the minister took about $4 million to buy luxury homes and jewelry and support his mistresses.


The Morning News

posted by on April 5 at 7:00 AM

Free: The British hostages.

Heartbreaking: The ballad of Sam Ross.

Unusual: Democrats lead Republicans in presidential fundraising.

Flush: Obama.

Nervous: Gonzales.

Unveiled: Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan.

Sorry: The guy from Colville who put a hit on his ex-girlfriend’s fetus.

Chillin at Quiznos: A Chicago coyote.

The World’s Top Fetish

posted by on April 5 at 6:38 AM


The votes have been counted and the results are in: we love feet.

Results from the largest global study of sexual kinks ever undertaken show that feet and shoes are by far the biggest turn-ons.

Researchers from the University of Bologna found that, among sexual preferences for body parts, feet and toes were the most popular, with 47 per cent of those sampled preferring them. They also found that, when it came to objects associated with the body, shoes, boots and other footwear scored 64 per cent.

“Feet and objects associated with feet were the most common target of preferences,” say researchers.

The survey, based on the views of men and women, also revealed some of the more obscure objects of affection. These included 150 people with a penchant for hearing aids, and two whose hearts go into overdrive thinking about pacemakers.

When you write a sex-advice column you get some questions over and over again—and “where do fetishes come from?” tops the list. Often the question is posed by someone that is dating a fetishist and wants to understand; less often the question is posed by an unhappy fetishist who goes on to ask “why me?”

There are no satisfactory answers to those questions, sadly. Back to Bologna:

How and why people develop sexual kinks is not known, and the researchers said that despite many theories having been put forward none is convincing.

For every adult into spanking who points to having been spanked as a child as the underlying cause of his adult fetish there’s another adult into spanking that points to not having been spanked as the underlying cause.

Human beings are just freaks—there’s something about our big brains and our highly developed social structures, to say nothing of the network of social and sexual taboos that constrain us, that inspire sexual fetishism in some, not all, of us. But tying to pinpoint where your fetish or your partner’s fetish came from, what inspired or informed it, is a fool’s errand. The biggest fools seem to think that discovering the root cause, recalling the experience or distinct set of circumstances that lead to the development of the fetish, will somehow “cure” the fetishist. It won’t. So if you have a fetish don’t waste your time wondering why.

So long as your fetish can be indulged with other consenting adults—feet, hearing aides (!), safe, sane, consensual BDSM—go for it. You really don’t have a choice, you perv. Seek out pervs that share your kink or find yourself an understanding, indulgent partner and knock yourself out.

What’s the AP Smoking?

posted by on April 5 at 6:30 AM

First posted last night at 11 P.M.

Washington’s legislature went out on a limb, err, stalk to protect medical marijuana patients tonight, but you might not know it from reading this:

The state House late Wednesday passed a measure clarifying the state’s medical marijuana law and addressing supply issues, but medical marijuana advocates and patients opposed to the measure argue it does nothing to help them.

The measure, which passed on a 64-30 vote, requires the state Department of Health to determine the quantity of marijuana that could reasonably be considered a 60-day supply. The bill passed the Senate last month, but since it was amended in the House, it must go back to the Senate for concurrence.

Strangely, the AP article fails to mention that medical marijuana advocates and patients who support the measure argue it does a lot to help them. Joanna McKee, who runs the state’s oldest medical marijuana organization, Green Cross, and Martin Martinez, one of Washington’s foremost authorities on the medical use of marijuana, both testified in favor of the bill. They said it would help authorized patients avoid arrest by defining how much pot they can possess. Instead of quoting them, or the bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36 Seattle), the AP only talked to this guy…

Steve Sarich, executive director of CannaCare, a medical marijuana advocacy group, said that doctors - not the state - should determine the supply a patient needs.

“Does the state determine how many birth control pills you take, or how much Percocet you need?” he asked.

“This bill provides no significant protection for patients whatsoever,” he said.

Sarich, a rabble-rouser new to Washington with a relatively unknown organization, is partly right. The bill wouldn’t provide much protection for him. He was nailed earlier this year for growing 1,500 plants. With that sort of operation, the case is automatically in federal jurisdiction and would greatly exceed any reasonable 60-day supply that would be set by Washington’s Department of Health.

Sarich is also little misguided about the premise that doctors should be prescribing specific amounts of cannabis like pharmaceuticals. It’s a great idea, but prescriptions are overseen by the DEA – a federal agency that doesn’t recognize medical marijuana at all.

Currently, as long as authorized patients don’t mess with the DEA or grow so much pot they get bumped out of the state’s legal system, they’re protected in Washington courts. But if this bill is signed into law, as now appears likely, sick people could avoid arrest and court altogether. That’s a big deal.

Somehow, the AP story missed those facts.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Sanjaya’s Big Mo

posted by on April 4 at 8:48 PM

The whole world’s watching

Sanjaya Malakar, the talk of “American Idol” fan sites and blogs, advanced on Wednesday to another round…. Rocker Gina Glocksen was sent packing from the group of nine finalists on the Fox television show, while Malakar, the 17-year-old whose finalist status has defied shaky performances and criticism from the judges, was easily voted through.

Malakar wasn’t even among the bottom three vote-getters in this week’s competition.

The Sex Offender II

posted by on April 4 at 4:57 PM

A 30 year-old woman has been arrested for posing as a 17 year-old boy—and moving in with his 14 year-old girlfriend’s family.

That ain’t right. You could fault the family—I certainly did when I first heard the news—because, gee, maybe it’s not the best idea to let your daughter’s boyfriend/statutory rapist move in, regardless of his/her real age or gender. Of course there’s a big difference between a 17 year-old sleeping with a 14 year-old and a 30 year-old sleeping with a 14 year-old, but still. But the parents are Vietnamese immigrants and there’s a language barrier and so… they could be victims here too. Of an old, creepy, queer grifter/child rapist.

Still, ugh.

Giuliani Supports Public Funding for Abortions

posted by on April 4 at 3:55 PM

In 1989, Rudy Giuliani said this:

And today he stood by his statement in support of public funding for abortions. Angry press releases from every religious right organization in the country coming in 3… 2… 1…

New Column!

posted by on April 4 at 3:44 PM

grabbag-500.jpgAnd the new issue is online! Sweet!

Today in Line Out

posted by on April 4 at 3:30 PM

Bumbershoot!: Wu Tang, the Shins, and a shitload of others make the cut.

Speaking of Bumbershoot: Zwickel is particularly stoked for the Avett Brothers.

Waaaaaaah!: Don’t cry, now their music is free!

Monster Trucks: Pitchfork gives props to Truckasaurus.

Prelude: It’s not Christian rock, it just looks like it.

Roll Up: Rat City Rollergirls’ badass brutality.

Killer in Me, Killer in You: Remember when the Smashing Pumpkins were good?

And now, just in time for Easter, you know him and love him…. Pancake bunny.


Getting Worse

posted by on April 4 at 2:54 PM

As Eli linked in today’s Morning News, The Seattle Times has a piece on Jonathan Rowan, the man who murdered his ex-girlfriend Rebecca Griego on Monday.

This week’s Police Beat column by Charles Mudede offers a creepy addendum: A look at the three police reports, escalating in creepiness, written about Rowan in the last year. The first report is from June ‘06, when the police end up chasing Rowan after attempting to pull him over for drunk driving (“I told the driver to stop his car and he rolled his head over and looked at me with a blank stare and then accelerated away from the stop.”)

The second two reports, from March 5 and 6 this year, were filed by officers after Griego contacted them about Rowan’s threatening behavior. (“Rebecca and her boyfriend came back to the precinct. She was decidedly in more fear this time. She states that since she and her sister left the precinct earlier [today], she received at least 10 calls on her cell phone.”)

Mudede begins this week’s extended column with two other reports: Two typical write ups, one from March 31 and one from April 1, phoned in by victims of exes and stalkers.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 4 at 2:30 PM


‘Le chat dans le sac’
(Film) Northwest Film Forum kicks off a Canadian New Wave series (Tuesdays and Wednesdays through April 25) with this fresh little number about youth, class, and love in 1960s Montreal. It’s fantastic across the board, but director Gilles Groulx is especially perceptive about the problem of sympathy between minority groups—from the ironic use of John Coltrane as a soundtrack to Francophone rage to the protagonist’s final admission that maybe his Jewish girlfriend just doesn’t get what’s so difficult about being an angry young Québécois. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 267-5380. 7 and 9 pm, $5—$8.50.) ANNIE WAGNER

Somewhere Paulie the Penis is Weeping

posted by on April 4 at 2:29 PM

The man who gave us this


as well as this


has died. RIP, Bob Clark.

The Countdown Begins: Eight Days Until The Stranger Gong Show

posted by on April 4 at 2:21 PM


Attention talented freaks and those who love to gawk at them: On Thursday, April 12 at the Crocodile Cafe, The Stranger will be presenting its first-ever Gong Show, hosted by yours truly.

In advance of the show date, we’re looking for any and all unique and entertaining acts hungry to strut their stuff before a panel of drunken judges for fabulous prizes. This means jugglers, magicians, yodelers, strongmen, stand-up comics, clog dancers, air bands, contortionists, jug bands, sword swallowers, vaudeville acts, and anyone else with an act that’s under four minutes long and doesn’t involve fire or minors. (The Croc is a bar.)

For more info and to sign up for the competition, go here. (Talent may also sign-up at the door the night of the show.)

And if you just want to gawk/cheer/heckle the drunken celebrity judges (including Sarah Rudinoff, Kerri Harrop, Dave Meinert, On the Boards artistic director Lane Czaplinski, and Stranger music editor Jonathan Zwickel) show up at the Crocodile on Thursday, April 12 for the fabulous and totally free freak parade kicking off at 9pm.

In the meantime, please enjoy this archival Gong Show footage of that human tab of Ecstasy known as Gene Gene the Dancing Machine. Since his glory days as America’s favorite TV dancer, Gene has lost his legs to diabetes—a tragic turn of events, but you can bet he’s glad he used his legs like mad while he had ‘em. How’s your blood sugar? Are you sure? Just in case, don’t you think you should come bust some crazy-ass moves at the Stranger Gong Show? Use ‘em while you got ‘em, bitches.

Re: Race in America

posted by on April 4 at 2:10 PM



Yeah, but you’ll notice that people of color are pretty much nowhere to be found on Out’s just-released list of “the most powerful gay men and women in America”… Although Anderson Cooper and Jodie Foster both make the cut.

(Via Pam’s House Blend.)

Wonks Only

posted by on April 4 at 2:00 PM

I’ve updated my earlier post about Sen. Haugen’s amendment to the light rail/RTID bill with a Sound Transit interview. I talked to spokesperson Geoff Patrick.

Just slog down.

Race In America

posted by on April 4 at 1:50 PM

Indeed, you the mensch:
First this:

Two-time Academy Award nominee Will Smith is the most powerful actor on the planet, according to an annual list by America’s Newsweek magazine. The Independence Day hunk has eclipsed last year’s winner Tom Cruise and previous regular winner Tom Hanks. Newsweek spoke to a host of studio chiefs and film producers anonymously for fear of offending other stars. Smith was chosen because of his huge box office success and his ability to tackle any genre - sci-fi I, Robot, action comedy Men In Black or drama The Pursuit Of Happyness. Following behind was Johnny Depp at two, Ben Stiller at three, Brad Pitt at four and Cruise at five.

And then this

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) raised at least $25 million for his presidential campaign in the first quarter of the year, putting him just shy of Sen. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, who made a splash with her announcement Sunday that she had drawn a record-breaking $26 million.

Obama appears to have surpassed Clinton in several ways: He reported donations from 100,000 people, double the 50,000 people who gave to the New York senator’s campaign. He raised $6.9 million through donations over the Internet, more than the $4.2 million that Clinton raised online.

A black man is the leading figure of America’s immense dream machine? A black man is the leading figure of American politics? I admit, it feels like we are entering a new world with completely new rules. I will, however, remain loyal to Marx and the socialist program of the man whose name and fame was robbed by Darwin, Alfred Russel Wallace.

John McCain’s Latest Blunder

posted by on April 4 at 1:19 PM

John McCain just announced the appointment of Nixon aide Fred Malek as his campaign’s finance co-chair. The press release calls Malek a “pioneer in business and government … an inspiring public servant who has served our nation well.” (If you go to McCain’s web site, be sure to click on the “McCain as Mensch” link on the left. Oy, vey.) What McCain doesn’t mention is that in 1971, Nixon ordered Malek to count the Jews in high-ranking posts in the Bureau of Labor Statistics, where the paranoid president thought a “Jewish cabal” was out to get him. (He came up with 13 names, though his methodology was questionable.) According to the Washington Post,

Instead of refusing, Malek set about compiling a list of 13 of 35 top BLS employees who, he believed, were Jewish. Less than two months later, two senior BLS officials who were Jewish were moved out of their jobs to less visible posts. Malek acknowledges carrying out the disgusting hunt for Jews, but he denies having anything to do with the transfers.

What will that straight-talking maverick think of next?

Nancy Pelosi Wears Head Scarf, Right Wing Contracts Amnesia

posted by on April 4 at 12:33 PM

What Shakes said (in response to right-wing critics who smeared Nancy Pelosi as “subservient” for wearing a head scarf while visiting a mosque):

Meanwhile, Drudge is whipping the Bush Minions into a frenzy with a picture of Pelosi wearing a headscarf while visiting the tomb of John the Baptist in Damascus. Think Progress has a collection of reactions from rightwing bloggers with a case of the vapors, no doubt fanning themselves on a fainting couch while waxing concerned for the delicate sensibilities of fragile progressive feminists like me: “It pains the left too, I’m sure, to see the most powerful woman in America having to yield, however slightly, to a misogynistic culture’s expectations.” And so forth.

You know, I might get more exercised about that if I hadn’t spent my life, much like Nancy Pelosi certainly has, yielding to the expectations of a misogynistic culture’s expectations myself.

Anyhow, since I don’t suppose any of us can expect the Brave, Brave Culture Warriors of the Right to understand the sort of subtlety of a statement like “Just because you don’t make us wear headscarves doesn’t mean America is sexism-free, douchebags,Think Progress takes the picture-book route and simply posts a picture of Laura Bush in a headscarf during her visit to the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

Photos of Laura Bush and Condoleezza Rice being “subservient” here, here, here, here, and here.


posted by on April 4 at 12:20 PM

Over at Best Week Ever today, Alex Bragg posts the best explanation of why voting for Sanjaya could actually SAVE pop culture… and simultaneously DESTROY American Idol!

We don’t sincerely LOVE Sanjaya (with the exception of sobbing tween girls), we sincerely HATE Idol, and thus want to see it fail. Sanjaya winning the competition - an unlikely scenario that inches closer and closer towards probability by the minute - would be the arrow through Idol’s Achilles Heel, destroying the legitimacy and relevance of the competition - the lynchpins on which the whole show is held together - by exploiting its democratic nature to expose it’s inherent fraudulence.
AGREE OR DISAGREE? Regardless, read the rest of this excellent article here!

And here’s this week’s SANJAYA performance (?) on Idol. Trust me, HE AIN’T GOING ANYWHERE.

Today In Flânerie

posted by on April 4 at 12:13 PM

This lost bag of pot was found near the corner of Third and Stewart.
b8697417b15e.jpg As no one else seemed to notice or care about it, I picked up the bag, smelled its content (real “sticky icky”), put it in my pocket, turned and was caught by this mirror/window:
269201c71d01.jpg Was I set up? Was someone recording me? Did I break a law? The pot is still in my pocket.

Later I came across this cartouche:
8f0dbf83c918.jpg The eye of the cartouche, which is behind (and blinded by) the decaying sign for a decaying business, seems to have no inscription, no date of birth. It’s a blank and very sad cartouche. It’s an unloved orphan of a cartouche. One day it may fall from the facade and smash into the death it so desperately desires.

“Still Not Convinced?”: The Day in Ridiculous Conspiracy Theories

posted by on April 4 at 11:35 AM

First, enjoy this inspired bit of whimsy from the Titanic Truth Movement.

Then, take a cold plunge into humorless bullshit with this non-whimsical offering from evangelist Chuck Missler, who aims to disprove evolution with a jar of peanut butter.

(Thanks for the double heads-up to Nancy and Phil.)

The Haugen Amendment: Transit Hub at UW

posted by on April 4 at 11:32 AM

Senate transportation chair Senator Mary Margaret Haugen (D-10, Camano Island) has attached an amendment to the light rail/roads joint ballot title legislation.

Nervous that Sound Transit is going to sign a deal that will botch the idea for a transit hub that connects 520 bus service with the Husky Stadium UW light rail stop, Sen. Haugen added this mandate as the bill made it out of the Senate Transportation Committee before cut off on Monday:

However, as part of the single ballot proposition submitted to voters under this subsection, the authority shall include in the authority’s plan assurances that the authority will not enter into any agreement that would restrict the type of transit station serving the west end of the SR 520 floating bridge such that it would be unable to accommodate a comprehensive and coordinated corridor-based multimodal public transportation system to serve the SR 520 bridge area from Seattle to Redmond, including a high capacity transportation system not limited to rail service.

Why would ST sign a deal that would ratchet back a transit hub at a light rail station? I’m not sure they would. (I’ve got a call into them now to get their take on this amendment.) But here are some theories:
1. The UW is not to keen on having scores of buses pouring in.
2. A smaller station is cheaper.


I talked to Sound Transit spokesman Geoff Patrick about Sen. Haugen’s amendment. Patrick says, “We intend to work closely with WashDot and the UW to coordinate our plans. We’re working with WashDot to maximize the public benefit of both projects. [WashDot’s] 520 design isn’t done yet.”

Patrick acknowledged that bargaining with UW—which is antsy about a big transit center—does have its effect on what ST can do. “It’s correct that they have an understandable interest in traffic circulation.”

Patrick also said: “We’re interested in getting as many people to ride our system as we can. At the same time, we need to be sensitive to WashDot and the UW.”

I asked Patrick if—wanting to maximize ST ridership—he supported Sen. Haugen’s amendment. After all, it would seem to give ST a bargaining chip with the UW. That is: ST could say: “Look, Olympia has mandated that we’ve got to have a major transit hub here.”

Patrick said: “Our commitment is to work with our partners. We hope the plan will please Senator Haugen. ”

“The stubborn nail has been removed.”

posted by on April 4 at 11:05 AM

This house…


… which belonged to the Wu family, Chinese media heroes, agitators against property developers and cultural authoritarianism in general, as well as cover-artists of these accidental earthworks…


… has been destroyed.

The best part? Mr. Wu defiantly stayed in the house until its late-night demolition. Mrs. Wu, when told the house had been demolished, said: “Oh well.”

One gets the sense that something more than a house has been destroyed.

Our Distinguished (and Right On) Local Chapter

posted by on April 4 at 10:57 AM

For years now, the national Sierra Club has been shorthand for mainstream, yuppie, Utne Reader environmentalism. But our local chapter—man oh man. Make. It. Plain, brothers and sisters. From lobbying hard for real CO2 cap legislation in Olympia to their early support for the surface/transit option on the waterfront, our local club, the Cascade Chapter, is the real deal.

Case in point: late last week, they wrote a letter about the grating Utne Reader compromise joint ballot title for light rail and roads.

I’ve attached the entire letter below. Here’s a snippet:

Sierra Club support for the ballot measure would require fundamental changes to the project list as well as legislative changes to restructure RTID objectives. Given the inherent structural defects in RTID and adverse environmental impacts of certain projects, we do not believe that a joint ballot can gain our support. Therefore, the Sierra Club adopts the position that Sound Transit be allowed to proceed to the November 2007 ballot separately.

Continue reading "Our Distinguished (and Right On) Local Chapter" »

British Hostages to be Released

posted by on April 4 at 10:37 AM

A “gift” from Ahmadinejad. (Do the men get to keep these nice suits?)


Wednesday Morning Sports Report

posted by on April 4 at 9:52 AM

Last night when I was able to tune in to the Mariners game Seattle had a 4-2 lead in the 7th. Then Mateo took over and promptly coughed up that lead. My immediate thought: Here we go. Just like last year.

Then something beautiful happened. Betancourt pounded a shot over the wall, scoring two, a triple by Ichiro scored another run, and Beltré sacrificed Ichiro home. Suddenly the M’s were up 8-4. Thanks to Brandon Morrow, all of 22 years old, they didn’t look back.

Now the Mariners are 2-0 for the first time since 1996, and though its stupid early in the season, taking the opening series, from the A’s of all teams, is huge. Tonight Miguel Batista hopes to deliver the sweep.

Other News: The Lady Vols are national champions again; Huskies center Spencer Hawes will announce whether he’s jumping to the NBA by the end of this week; the Seahawks signed defensive tackle Craig Terrill to a one year deal; and the Seattle Storm are looking to draft a guard or wing player in today’s WNBA draft.

Bumbershoot Lineup Announced

posted by on April 4 at 9:50 AM

Want to see who’s playing at Bumbershoot? Head over to Line Out.

Cheney’s Bush

posted by on April 4 at 9:27 AM

What the fuck is up with Dick Cheney? Why is he lurking in the bushes during Bush’s press conference? And God bless C-SPAN for this opening shot…

How Was It?

posted by on April 4 at 9:01 AM

The Comic Convention at Qwest Field Event Center.

My Name is Rachel Corrie at Seattle Rep.

Cattle Decapitation, Daughters, and The Locust at Neumos.

We’ve got one question. How was it?

Previously on “How Was It?” the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival, Tavolata, and a death metal show.

The Body Discourse

posted by on April 4 at 9:00 AM

What is missing from this impressive image?
l_97252149ae2239a6fd6d1cba4c0b70c1-2.jpg This is missing. A tentacular monster from the sea in its distance. But what are the sources of the erotic charge that gives the fisherman wife’s dream its unusually powerful impact? For one, the creature from the sea symbolizes the oceanic forces, the origins of life, the Jungian drive to be something that breathes, bathes, brushes and brims with being. We all come from the depths of the sea and often we have sex that looks and feels a lot like swimming.

The rocks, the crashing waves, the creature, the naked woman. The image’s erotic charge is also triggered by the creature’s tentacles. The octopus has many ways to keep pleasing the fisherman’s wife. If one tentacle goes limp, there is another one ready and erect. And as all straight men know, to satisfy a woman, more than one tentacle, one session of sex is needed, which is why the most ridiculous ménage à trois arrangement is two women and a man. How can one man hope to satisfy two women? It’s a situation that must resort to lesbian sex if it hopes to find any happiness. Two men and one woman, however, makes total sense. Two men are well on the way to achieving that tantacular bliss the one on the beach experiences.

Lastly, there is this marvelous passage from Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past:

It is in sickness that we are compelled to recognize that we do not live alone but are chained to a being from a different realm, from whom we are worlds apart, who has no knowledge of us and by whom it is impossible to make ourselves understood: our body. Were we to meet a brigand on the road, we might perhaps succeed in making him sensible of his own personal interest if not of our plight. But to ask pity of our body is like discoursing in front of an octopus, for which our words can have no meaning than the sounds of the tides, and with which we should be appalled to find ourselves condemned to live.
The body, like the octopus, like the tides, like the sea and sex itself, is alien to us reasonable mammals. The mind is the idea of the body, said Spinoza in an an imaginative effort to reconcile Descartes’ terrific split. But even the idea of our body looks strange and alien to those who are “condemned to live” in a body.


posted by on April 4 at 8:43 AM

Obama raised 25 million so far this year—from 100,000 donors—just a million short of Hilary’s 26 million.

The figure was the latest evidence that Obama, a political newcomer who has served just two years in the Senate, has emerged as the most powerful new force in presidential politics this year. It also reinforced his status as a significant threat to Clinton, who’d hoped her own $26 million first quarter fundraising total would begin to squeeze her rivals out of contention.

The Morning News

posted by on April 4 at 7:00 AM

“Hmmm,” says the president, when asked tough questions at his press conference yesterday.

McCain to revamp his fundraising after a bad first quarter, and delay his “official” entry into the race. (Question: How many times does he plan to enter this race?)

Meanwhile, the big papers continue to kick the legs out from under McCain’s recent statements about Iraq.

Echoes of 1995 in the Iraq War funding standoff.

Cooling tempers in the Iran-UK hostage standoff.

Who was Jonathan Rowan?

It’s not drunk driving if it’s a Zamboni.

And now, negligent dancing.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The World Is Yours

posted by on April 3 at 6:05 PM

Picture 2.jpg

Today On Line Out.

posted by on April 3 at 3:40 PM

Brass Balls: Keith Christmas’ Brash Brass Section.

Franklin Comes Alive: The Puppet With a Black Power Fist Inside.

Construction Site: Weakerthans Record New Album.

Dead Soles: Joy Division Sneakers Keep Calling Me.

Momma, I’m So Sorry: They’re So Obnoxious.

Daddy, I’m Not Sorry: Keith Richards’ Family Lines.

And now, an adorable Fennec Fox:


Overheard in the Office

posted by on April 3 at 3:01 PM

“I just smell my fingers and if they smell like shit I wash them again.”

Said by a co-worker who asked that I not release his (or her) name.

And no, it wasn’t Nipper.

Jews Not Stoned, Gnosh Down 300%!

posted by on April 3 at 2:50 PM

O, silly Jews. What are they smokin’!

At the moment, not what I am, that’s for damn sure. Happy Passover, indeed.

What’s Keith Richards Snorting?

posted by on April 3 at 2:31 PM

Find out on Line Out.

Tonight on TV!

posted by on April 3 at 2:07 PM

• First and foremost, you WILL watch the 6th season premiere of THE SHIELD (FX, 10 pm), because it is the best cop show ever. When we last left Vic Mackey and the Strike Team, obsessed internal affairs officer Kavanaugh (Forrest Whitaker) was closing in on the gang’s shenanigans, and Shane had lobbed a grenade into the car of co-Strike team member Lem, out of fear he was going to snitch. Nobody does moral ambiguity like this show, so don’t miss it!

• In less interesting news, tonight at 8 pm (ABC) you can either watch the AMERICAN IDOL contestants slaughter the songs of guest Tony Bennett and laugh at Sanjaya’s latest hairstyle, or you can save yourself a lot of time and grief by showing up here tomorrow, where I will undoubtedly post the only watchable stuff. The choice is yours.

• In slightly more interesting news, Heather Mills is now being accused of cheating on DANCING WITH STARS (results show tonight, 9 pm) because she’s using some kind of crazy, cyborg robotic prosthetic leg. Check out the video if you don’t believe me!

Coming Soon: The First-Ever Stranger Gong Show

posted by on April 3 at 1:55 PM


Attention talented freaks and those who love to gawk at them: On Thursday, April 12 at the Crocodile Cafe, The Stranger will be presenting its first-ever Gong Show, hosted by yours truly.

In advance of the show date, we’re looking for any and all unique and entertaining acts hungry to strut their stuff before a panel of drunken judges for fabulous prizes. This means jugglers, magicians, yodelers, strongmen, stand-up comics, clog dancers, air bands, contortionists, jug bands, sword swallowers, vaudeville acts, and anyone else with an act that’s under four minutes long and doesn’t involve fire or minors. (The Croc is a bar.)

For more info and to sign up for the competition, go here. (Talent may also sign-up at the door the night of the show.)

And if you just want to gawk/cheer/heckle the drunken celebrity judges (including Sarah Rudinoff, Kerri Harrop, Dave Meinert, On the Boards artistic director Lane Czaplinski, and Stranger music editor Jonathan Zwickel) show up at the Crocodile on Thursday, April 12 for the fabulous and totally free freak parade kicking off at 9pm.

In the meantime, please enjoy this archival footage of an orginal Gong Show legend: the Unknown Comic. I’m hoping for an array of unknown talent at the Stranger Gong Show (all it takes is a paper bag and some chutzpah), including but not limited to the Unknown Burlesque Dancer, the Unknown Tuba Soloist, and the Unknown Mime. I also have a fantasy about perfectly replicating whatever blend of cocaine, scotch, valium, and CIA amnesia drugs give host Chuck Barris the magical charisma he displays in this clip.

Gregoire Caves on Family Leave

posted by on April 3 at 12:53 PM

Gov. Christine Gregoire has (once again) endorsed punting a politically contentious decision to the voters, endorsing a statewide vote on a new payroll tax to fund mandatory paid medical leave. A measure to create a statewide paid family-leave program has been struggling in the state House, where business lobbyists have been putting pressure on the Democratic leadership to kill it.

The plan, to be paid for with a 2-cent-an-hour tax subtracted from workers’ pay (up to 40 hours a week), would provide $250 a week for leave from full-time work to care for a newborn or for a sick family member for up to five weeks, starting in 2009. Polling shows that 61 percent of voters support paid family leave, and that 70 percent of those support splitting the cost between workers and employers.

This year’s proposal doesn’t even go that far, placing the entire burden on workers. Moreover, it’s a flat tax (as opposed to a percentage of wages), so it’s also regressive, placing a heavier burden on those who make less.

California’s family leave program, in contrast, was funded by a 02. increase in workers’ payroll taxes. Minimum wage workers pay an additional $11.23 a year; the average worker pays $46.00 a year. For that, workers get approximately 55 percent of their pre-leave wages, up to $840 a week—far more than the proposed Washington State standard of $250 a week. And California’s leave lasts a week longer.

So the Washington proposal, though it would be a huge improvement over current state policy (basically: You’re on your own), is already a tremendously watered-down, entirely worker-funded version of California’s far more comprehensive family-leave law. Despite that, businesses oppose it, in part because large businesses will have to hold positions open. (Translation: They can’t fire you for taking five weeks off to bond with your baby.) Caving to pressure from the business lobby, Gregoire now says she wants to put the family leave proposal up for a public election, where the very same lobbyists whose predictions of disaster swayed legislators and Gregoire into punting it will be able to spend millions working the same magic on voters. (There’s a reason you never hear about a well-funded, all-powerful new-mothers’ lobby: There isn’t one.) Gregoire is up for reelection in 2008. I wonder if she’ll brag about killing aid to working mothers.


Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 3 at 12:28 PM


‘Why History Matters’
(Art) At the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, curator Michael Darling organized several shows that made his name, most of all Superflat, the anime explosion. Last year, he came to head the modern and contemporary department at Seattle Art Museum, and this is his first public lecture. “Why History Matters: Context and Reference in Contemporary Sculpture” is a meaty and relevant subject: Darling will explore how the modernist traditions of the sculpture in the park live on, and mutate, in sculpture made today. (Olympic Sculpture Park Pavilion, 2901 Western Ave, 654-3100. 7:30 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES

Transit and Roads Sitting in a Tree…

posted by on April 3 at 11:37 AM

This Godawful bill, linking light rail expansion to roads expansion under one ballot title, passed out of the House in late Februrary and is on the move in the Senate. The bill made it out of the transportation committee and into Rules yesterday.

I’m told Gov. Gregoire is going to endorse the idea today at noon. I wonder if this is part of her environmental Strategic Framework for Acti…blah blah which she unveiled on Feb. 7.

No Talent, No Problem

posted by on April 3 at 11:25 AM

A Sub Pop rep defends Sanjaya.


(Hat tip: TMZ via the Hasson seder.)

Event Committee Faces City Audit

posted by on April 3 at 11:23 AM

Is the Special Events Committee an unaccountable body that dismisses constitutional law while catering to the city’s interests; is it merely a tangle of city departments that occasionally gets behind schedule issuing event permits; or are some snarky activists just whining when they don’t get to have their party in the park?

The Office of the City Auditor wants to find out.

An audit of the Special Event Committee’s permitting process that was requested last summer is going full-steam ahead, according to Megumi Sumitani of the auditor’s office. “We contacted the Special Event Committee last fall to let them know but didn’t get gung-ho until about a month ago. We are looking at how the process is working, and how efficient and effective the process is for the city and applicants,” she said.

The committee, which annually considers about 250 applications for events on public property, has fallen under scrutiny in recent years after event organizers filed lawsuits against the city and bemoaned the entity for failing to issue permits promptly or with reasonable conditions. Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck told the Stranger last summer that the city has received “numerous complaints” about the issuance of permits.

So the auditors will try to determine if the committee and applicants have complied with the city’s special event code – whether event applications were reviewed in a timely manner, what requirements were made, and other details of the process. Megumi says they are interviewing committee members and the organizers of about 70 randomly selected events from last year. A few other events that proved problematic for the city in 2006, which did not appear in the random sample, will also be examined as case studies.

Committee chair Virginia Swanson explains that the “Special Events Committee serves multiple constituencies and everyone isn’t always going to agree with the committee. But we don’t say ‘no’ very often.”

A written report of the findings will likely be submitted to the City Council later this year. If the report shows the committee has been operating out of bounds, the council could modify the application process or even rewrite the city’s special events law.

Continue reading "Event Committee Faces City Audit" »

Today in Cats

posted by on April 3 at 11:11 AM

Science! “The parasite Toxoplasma gondii uses a remarkable trick to spread from rodents to cats: It alters the brains of infected rats and mice so that they become attracted to—rather than repelled by—the scent of their predators… The parasite can only sexually reproduce in the feline gut, so it’s advantageous for it to get from a rodent into a cat—if necessary, by helping the latter eat the former.” Roughly half of the world’s human population is also infected with Toxoplasma gondii.

Religion! Cat Stevens (née Steven Demetre Georgiou, now known as Yusuf Islam who, in 2000, recorded a children’s album called A Is for Allah) insists that this story (about him refusing to speak to any women who aren’t veiled) is “baseless” and “stupid.”

Weirdness! High on the smokin’ success of My Name Is Rachel Corrie, the Seattle Rep has just announced its latest theatrical coup:

The Moscow Cats Theatre

I know. They’re coming in June. Wanna see a slightly disturbing video of the MCT? I thought so:

The guy in the chef’s hat is Yuri. He started his cat circus 10 years ago. And now (according to this video interview) owns 120 cats.

From the MCT’s press release:

We glorify them and that’s why we provide the cats with a traveling entourage including a vet, kitty caretaker and personal stylist to tend to the needs of our feline superstars. The cast includes 35 cats, 1 dog, and 5 clowns.
The Theatre and its famous felines are available for interviews. Please contact Dmitri Krassotkine at (602) XXX-XXXX.

Seattle Times Interviews Angry Sen. Weinstein

posted by on April 3 at 10:02 AM

Seattle Times Olympia reporter Ralph Thomas has a good follow-up story to the interview I did over the weekend with state Senator Brian Weinstein (D-41, Mercer Island). (I interviewed Weinstein on Sunday about his frustration at having his homebuyers’ protection bill iced by House Speaker Rep. Frank Chopp.)

Sen. Weinstein told me:

This is democracy at its worst. Here is one guy that overruled 30 Democratic Senators and the Democratic House Judiciary Committee. What’s the point of working hard on a bill? There’s no point in doing the fact finding, holding eight hours of hearings, of doing the right thing, if a dicatator can just pull the rug out from under you. I feel helpless.

But Thomas got some even sharper quotes.

Sen. Weinstein, referring to Chopp’s relationship with the Building Industry Association of Washington and Chopp’s decision to table the homebuyers’ protection bill:

If you start connecting the dots, you see he [Chopp] has some kind of understanding that he isn’t going to hurt them this year. They knew they had an ace in the hole. They knew Frank was going to kill it.

BIAW lobbyist Tom McCabe on Weinstein’s hearings and on Weinstein:

They weren’t hearings,” McCabe said. “They were inquisitions. He was nasty to anyone who didn’t agree with his idea.”

McCabe acknowledged talking to Chopp about the bill. Did the speaker promise to kill it?

“Not really,” McCabe said. “We talked about the bill. He listened to reason, which Weinstein wouldn’t do. I think that guy’s irrational.”

And Senate Majority Leader Sen. Lisa Brown (D-3, Spokane) on Sen. Weinstein:

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown said she has urged Weinstein to tone it down and “to focus on the policy rather than the person.”

Thomas, however, gives Weinstein the last word:

“I haven’t been here long enough to play by some of the rules that some people play by,” Weinstein said. “But I don’t mind taking off the gloves when I know I’m right.”

Meanwhile, The PI weighed in with an editorial on Weinstein’s bill, scolding Chopp.

Tuesday Morning Sports Report

posted by on April 3 at 9:59 AM

Yes, Bobby Crosby was as responsible for our team’s win yesterday as the Mariners offense, but it was King Felix who ruled the day. And even ESPN managed to looked westward and notice it:

Seattle’s Felix Hernandez vs. Oakland (8 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 12 K) Joins elite list of pitchers to whiff a dozen batters on Opening Day since 1975: Nolan Ryan, Bob Gibson, J.R. Richard, Randy Johnson (twice), and Pedro Martinez.

In the P.I., Art Thiel reports:

Already halfway to their 2006 win total against the Oakland A’s, the Mariners’ weapons-grade giddiness in the Opening Day clubhouse Monday evening was understandable.

Yet none of his teammates saw the squinty-eyed grin Felix Hernandez flashed reporters as he offered his final remark in the interview room.
“We’re going to make some noise this year,” he said.

While in the Seattle Times, Larry Stone sees hope in Richie Sexson’s three-run blast in the sixth inning:

It might have seemed to the outside world that this spring marked a regression. Sexson was, after all, 0 for 18 to start the Cactus League, and finished with just two extra-base hits in 59 at-bats.

But Sexson was looking for more subtle signs, and he found them. The swing began to feel grooved in the final two weeks, even if the results didn’t reflect it. The gambit of taking strikes, of working on hitting the ball up the middle, convinced him — and his manager — that the average was irrelevant, because the mind-set was solid.

So when Sexson stepped up in the sixth Monday with two outs, runners on first and third after Raul Ibanez’s sacrifice fly, Haren trying desperately to limit the damage of shortstop Bobby Crosby’s second error, he was ready.

Meanwhile, U.S.S. Mariner simply asks, “Johan Who?”

Tonight: Game two, Washburn vs. Blanton.

Elsewhere: Thanks to A-Rod the Yankees skirted an embarrassing opening day loss to the Devil Rays. And as for Boston: Any time Curt Schilling receives a shellacking I’m a happy man. Plus, Gil Meche—no, really—looked good in his first Royals start. Both Detroit and the White Sox went down in defeat. And the Reds spoiled Sweet Lou’s Cubs debut.

In Non-Baseball News: It’s safe to say Florida absolutely owns Ohio State; the Seahawks won’t be playing the Patriots in China after all; and the smart money is on Tiger at Augusta.

More on McCain’s Stroll in Baghdad

posted by on April 3 at 9:33 AM

Today the New York Times knocks the legs out from under McCain’s claim that one can take a care-free stroll through the neighborhoods of Baghdad:

BAGHDAD, April 2 — A day after members of an American Congressional delegation led by Senator John McCain pointed to their brief visit to Baghdad’s central market as evidence that the new security plan for the city was working, the merchants there were incredulous about the Americans’ conclusions.

“What are they talking about?” Ali Jassim Faiyad, the owner of an electrical appliances shop in the market, said Monday.

Even Andrew Sullivan thinks McCain looks like a fool on this one.

FBI Follows Up on Hutcherson

posted by on April 3 at 9:07 AM

It’s impossible to know exactly what this means, because the local FBI office doesn’t comment on investigations in progress, but Dave Coffman, who filed a complaint with the FBI regarding Pastor Ken Hutcherson’s potentially illegal activities in Latvia, says an official with the bureau contacted him yesterday to follow up on the complaint.

According to Coffman, the official simply asked for another copy of his original complaint about Hutcherson.

Meanwhile, it’s been two weeks since the White House, in Hutcherson’s words, called him a liar, and Hutcherson still hasn’t produced the video that he says will clear his name.

The Morning News

posted by on April 3 at 7:00 AM

Tracing the bogus Iraq War Intelligence: The Washington Post gets closer to the bottom of that phony 2003 claim about Iraq trying to buy uranium from Niger. (This Post article is excerpted from a book, to be published today, titled: “The Italian Letter: How the Bush Administration Used a Fake Letter to Build the Case for War in Iraq.”)

Who’s going to be forgiving whose debt in the future? The New York Times continues looking at how rich Western nations, which have done the most to create global warming, may end up owing the rest of the world big time for creating a mess that poorer nations can’t afford to clean up.

The EPA has the power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, says the U.S. Supreme Court.

An American is missing in Iran.

A 6.2 earthquake hits Afghanistan.

The UW shooting: The news, the timeline, the protective order, the bigger picture.

The tease: Obama still won’t say exactly how much he raised in the first quarter.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Download the Cat Movie Now!

posted by on April 2 at 6:48 PM

Jonas Mekas is doing this 365 project—365 video iPod-sized movies a year posted at his website—but until a freelancer (who’s also a filmmaker) reminded me about it, I hadn’t seen any of them. OOPS!

Today’s movie is actually by Pola Chappelle, with an introduction by the distinctively accented Mekas. It is adorable.


How to Draw a Cat starts at the 2 minute mark. Download the movie for free until midnight, and for $1.99 thereafter. You can watch them on your computer if you, like me, do not own a video iPod.

Overheard in the Office

posted by on April 2 at 5:52 PM

Posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee


Me: That’s a big bag of nuts.

Nipper: It’s my nut sack.

Re: Dept. of Low Employee Morale

posted by on April 2 at 5:14 PM

In February, when the KC Council issued a righteous statement coming out against the Sonics subsidy , I actually went and dinged them.

It wasn’t that I disagreed with their stance (no money without at least a pubilc vote), but this was the same KC Council that overruled the public and built Safeco field. Indeed: This was the same KC Council that then proceeded, every subsequent opening game day, to cancel its public meetings and play hooky at the Mariners game.

I expected as much this year, but, evidently, with righteous Council Member Larry Gossett taking over as the new chair of the Council (from Larry Philips), the Council actually stayed at work on opening day today. That’s apparently more than some can say.

Sheeeesh, Dan.

Overheard in the Office

posted by on April 2 at 4:54 PM

From 04:46:30 pm till 04:46:58 pm, Charles Mudede sang—a capella—the first verse of Kate Bush’s “Cloudbusting,” with feeling.

What made it special made it dangerous.

Dept. of Low Employee Morale

posted by on April 2 at 4:13 PM

Savage, knowing I’m stuck at work covering for him while he enjoys opening day at Safeco, sent me this pic, along with the message: “First beer of the season. It’s a beautiful thing.”


(In happier news, King Felix already has 5 Ks in just two innings of work. That, as they say, is nasty business.)

Your Amazing Afternoon Fact

posted by on April 2 at 4:11 PM

“Presbyterians” is an anagram of “Britney Spears.”

Thank you, Defamer.

A Passover Tip

posted by on April 2 at 4:01 PM

From Japan, via Sullivan:

Today in Line Out

posted by on April 2 at 3:44 PM

Basketball Jones: Set a pick for me at the freethrow line of life!

Exclusive Jesse Sykes Video: From her wolf-taming performance at the Tractor.

Justify my Pod: Zwickel listens to Tom Jones, and I make fun of him for it.

The Locust Live On: And they swarmed Neumo’s this weekend.

Classic: Feel five years younger instantly by visiting The Stranger’s archives.

Naked Hippies: The Trashies are still on tour, their stories are still crazy.

Local Nightclubs Need Your Help: Down with the proposed nightlife legislation!

More Volta News: Björk wanted some sort of “shaman sort of voodoo thing.” Nothing is shocking anymore.

And now, something cute enough to make me almost pee my pants:


What McCain’s “Anemic” Fundraising Means

posted by on April 2 at 3:20 PM

Adam Nagourney, the political reporter from whom a lot of other political reporters take their cues, sees McCain’s first-quarter fundraising numbers as a big problem:

Senator John McCain of Arizona – who for so long has stood in the wings as the presumptive frontrunner for his party’s nomination, who is running for the White House for a second time – reported that his campaign had raised $12.5 million. That is less than Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Romney, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, John Edwards and – almost without a doubt – Barack Obama.

For the full Nagourney assessment of what this means for McCain, click here. But perhaps more important is what it means that Nagourney’s assessment is generally negative—that’s going to start a lot of the mainstream media moving in the same direction, which means even more bad news for McCain.

We Always Thought of It First

posted by on April 2 at 2:45 PM

In case you were wondering:
Yes, the new Windows Vista television ad campaign IS ripping off this old feature of ours.

The Contenders (Rumored and Otherwise)

posted by on April 2 at 2:34 PM

Rumors about who’s running for city council have started flying over the last few days. I’m on the phones trying to track down which ones are legit and which ones are fake; in the meantime, however, here are a few of the names I’ve heard as possible candidates in the past few days:

1. KCTS host Enrique Cerna, who has reportedly talked to consultant Cathy Allen;
2. Former monorail board member Jim Nobles;
3. Democratic Party veteran Noel Frame (who, at 27, would be the youngest candidate in any race);
4. State Rep. and perennial rumored council contender Phyllis Kenney;
5. Longtime civic gadfly and Historylink founder Walt Crowley;
6. City employee and political junkie Tim Durkan, who sought the open seat formerly held by Jim Compton; and
7. King County disease intervention specialist Carrie Shriver.

Of those, only Shriver has declared her intent to run (she’s seeking the seat that Peter Steinbrueck will vacate next year). More details and clarifications as they emerge.

Beauty #2

posted by on April 2 at 2:20 PM

The NYT was awesome this weekend. Yesterday, there was that preview of Zoo (which a certain someone keeps calling Farm, which is hilarious). And Saturday, Manohla Dargis wrote up the Warhol/Edie Sedgwick series at Museum of the Moving Image, occasioning the prettiest still from Beauty #2 that the internets have ever known:


The whole Edie slideshow is here.

The Offenders

posted by on April 2 at 2:10 PM

In my profile of a Level 3 sex offender in this week’s Stranger, I mention the effect that news stories about high-profile sex crimes have on public policy. This story, making the rounds today, reminds me that stories about attempted sex crimes can also have the same effect:

Law enforcement officials in Polk County Fla., arrested 28 men for soliciting sex with minors after setting up a weeklong sting operation in a suburban home where undercover officers communicated with the alleged predators over the Internet. Three of the 28 people who were arrested told authorities they worked for the Walt Disney Company, which owns and operates several theme parks in the Orlando area including Walt Disney World. Among the other arrested suspects were a volunteer for the Orlando Boys and Girls Club and a student at the University of Florida.

Those arrested ranged in age from 17 to 55. Each arrived at the suburban house apparently believing they were going to meet with an underage girl.

Instead, they were met by a house full of armed detectives working a sting led by the Orlando County Sheriff’s Department, which conducted its second operation in less than a year to target internet crimes against children.

What I find most interesting about this story—aside from the employers of the people involved—is an assumption that the Polk County sheriff makes about the alleged offenders in this case:

“These deviants came to the undercover location to have sex with a child,” the Polk County sheriff, Grady Judd, said in a statement. “We stopped them.” “I don’t know any other way to say this,” he added. “We will not tolerate anyone preying on our children. We will not allow these criminals’ behavior to escalate to kidnapping or murder.

Now, I’m not at all defending the actions of the people arrested in this sting. (For video of the sting, click here and go to the “news” tab on the media player.)

But after realizing, in the research for my sex offender article, how little is actually understood about the psychology of sex offenders, I find myself feeling a bit skeptical of Sheriff Judd’s suggestion that all pedophiles, if left unchecked, eventually end up kidnapping and murdering children. Again, I’m not defending the alleged pedophiles caught in this sting. The crime they are accused of committing is real, and serious, and should be prosecuted.

But there’s a danger in leading the public to believe that every sex offender—or even every pedophile—wants to kidnap and murder children. It makes it difficult for legislators to create laws and policies that are nuanced enough to deal with the wide spectrum of sex offenders, most of whom do not want to abduct and murder children. (And, although there’s a value in warning the public about the ease with which sex offenders can use the internet to pursue children, there’s also a danger in suggesting that this is the biggest danger facing the children of Florida, or of any state or community. Most sex crimes against children are committed not by a stranger lurking on the internet, but by someone known to the child—in almost half the cases, by a family member.)

More on this here.

Frito Pie

posted by on April 2 at 1:11 PM

As a native Houstonian, I grew up eating Frito pie: Fritos topped with chili (meat only, of course!) cheese and chopped onions. Traditionally, they’re served right in the bag, like so…


… but I always bought them at the school cafeteria, where they looked more like this:

Frito Pie 02.jpg

Friends here have never heard of Frito pie. Often, they seem disturbed that I grew up eating this stuff—along with chicken-fried steak, pork tamales, and cheese enchiladas. (Were you just dirt poor? Were your parents abusive? Did you grow up in the time before the FDA?) But it got me to thinking: What regional specialties that others might find revolting did Slog readers grow up eating and loving? (Searching middle-school menus across the country, I find exotic delicacies I had never heard of in my palate’s formative years: Things like bagels with cream cheese on Long Island, chicken teriyaki in Virginia, and Philly cheese steak in Pennsylvania). Do your middle-school food memories inspire nostalgia or revulsion? And do you still make them for yourself?

Breaking News: The Victim

posted by on April 2 at 12:07 PM

News intern Jonah Spangenthal-Lee interviewed someone who works in the office where this morning’s shooting took place who reports that the victim was a woman named Rebecca Griego. Griego worked at Gould Hall at the College of Architecture and Planning as the Managing Director of Real Estate. She had a restraining order against the shooter. Our source, who also works at Gould Hall, Jad DeLisle, says the shooter was Griego’s ex-boyfriend.

UPDATE: Here’s Jonah’s report from UW Campus Security Assistant Chief Ray Wittmier.

At 9:31 a.m. the UW police recieved a series of calls from the third floor of Gould Hall. Five or six campus security officers responded in two minutes. On the fourth-floor, southeast corner office, they found two people with gunshot wounds. A man and woman. There was a handgun in the room. It appeared to be a murder suicide.

Wittmier said: “I think we will find they’re not students. It’s a woman in her mid to late 20s and a man in his 40s. There was definitely someone in the building that had a restraining order.”

Jonah also interviewed students who said the victim was a guest lecturer at the school and was a liason between the faculty and students. One student had heard about her restraining order a month ago, but says: “It could have been going on longer that. She had problems with this person before.”

UW Security says there are no security measures in place to keep people out of the building. And this morning’s news will not change that. They report that guns are banned on campus. Witmier “wagers that the man probably did not have permission to have a gun on campus.”

According to a custodial manager that Jonah just interviewed, pictures had been circulated to staff of the man with the restraining order.

Another custodial worker that Jonah interviewed hid in a closet on the fourth floor during the shooting and described the victim as a “very nice, quiet girl.” According to her, the “victim was being stalked.”

Sprinkler Legislation Hearing Today

posted by on April 2 at 12:03 PM

Legislation extending the deadline for clubs to install expensive sprinkler systems will get a hearing in the state senate’s Ways and Means Committee at 1:30 this afternoon. The legislation would push the current December 2007 deadline for installing sprinklers back to December 2009, giving clubs two more years to install the systems. Club owners say they need extra time because only a handful of contractors do sprinkler installations, and because they need time to negotiate with landlords over who will pay for the systems.

In addition to extending the sprinkler deadline, the legislation, HB 1811 (and its companion bill, SB 5832) would change the definition of “nightclub” to encompass only clubs with open floors (no seating) of 350 square feet or more. That would eliminate smaller clubs and clubs with fixed seats. The bill would also provide a business and occupation tax break to anyone who has to install a sprinkler system, including club owners who lease their space; the break would amount to half the cost of installing a system. Tim Hatley, lobbyist for the Seattle Nightlife and Music Association, says he’s optimistic that the bill will get out of Ways and Means today, the deadline for bills to make it out of committee and onto the Senate floor.

Sprinkler systems are expensive—anywhere from several thousand dollars for the simplest installations to $70,000 or more for large venues like the Showbox. The cost varies depending on the size of the venue (the larger the place, the more pipes have to be installed) and whether the club has a four-inch water main (upgrading from a two-inch main costs $26,000.) Many club owners say they may have to shut down if the deadline is not extended.

Oly E-Mail

posted by on April 2 at 11:54 AM

Okay, I’m trying not to get too obsessed or go too inside baseball, but here’s Rep. Brendan Williams (D-22, Olympia) last Thursday (in an e-mail to his caucus) predicting that Dem leadership was going to kill his homebuyers’ protections bill thanks to the BIAW.

From: Williams, Rep. Brendan Sent: Thursday, March 29, 2007 12:20 PM To: @HDC Members; @HDC Caucus Staff Subject: Please support Homeowners’ Bill of Rights! Importance: High

Yesterday the House Judiciary Committee passed ESSB 5550: The Homeowners’ Bill of Rights.

In our state there is no statutory warranty protection for new homes – 9 other states provide this. Nor is there any right of action for negligent construction, a far more substantive protection – 10 states provide this (and DC provides strict liability). And 14 states provide a more enhanced implied warranty of habitability than does Washington – in Washington your only guarantee with a brand new home (and you must be the original purchaser) is that the foundations supporting the new home are firm and secure and the home is safe for your intended purpose in living in it. It need not even be fully-constructed.

ESSB 5550 would grant statutory warranty protections to Washington homebuyers effective July 1, 2008. Prior to that date, the bill would commission a residential construction committee to study remedies available to consumers and report to the Legislature by December 31, 2007.

We need the hammer of substantive protection for this study to be meaningful, or BIAW will simply run out the clock. Yesterday they attempted to turn the bill into a study only, and their amendment revealed their sincerity about protecting consumers: They would have reduced the civilian representatives on the residential construction committee to 6 – with 4 of the 6 representing builders’ interests, one representing the insurance industry, and just one representing consumers.

This was farcical. But BIAW has treated this bill as comedy because they believe they can kill it in House Rules.

Consider the source when it comes to BIAW’s alarums about the effect ESSB 5550 would have on the construction industry. After all, they claimed women are “eradicating manly jobs”; denied global warming’s existence; denied the Puget Sound ecosystem is imperiled; lobbied for U.S. Attorney John McKay’s firing (now under Congressional investigation); orchestrated House floor attacks this session on tribes; etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Even Habitat for Humanity has been threatened over this bill!

Look at the facts: D.R. Horton is the nation’s largest homebuilder, and does business in the states that provide far more substantive protections to homebuyers. DR Horton is presently building a lot of homes in my 22nd Legislative District, too.

California provides statutory warranty protections, for example, and DR Horton has over 30,000 lots under development there. Of the statutory warranty states, DR Horton is building homes in all but Kentucky.

And BIAW would regard our allowing negligent construction claims as a “thermonuclear option” compared to statutory warranty protections. After all, attorneys could actually make money off of negligence (tort) claims. Yet, even in the states that provide negligent construction claims, DR Horton is building in Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, New Mexico, and Oregon. Evidently it must be profitable to do so. The company made over $1 billion in profit last year.

If protecting homebuyers would destroy the homebuilding industry why is DR Horton doing so well in states where homebuyers are protected? What does BIAW know that the nation’s most successful homebuilder does not?

Buying a home is life’s greatest investment, and those incurring 30-year mortgages should have at least some meaningful, guaranteed protection for the quality of their investment over the course of that indebtedness. There is no better “message bill” for the middle class than this bill. Let’s give hope to all of those dreaming of buying a home that their dream of homeownership will not turn into a nightmare. Please share your support for this bill with leadership.

Because a caucus member gave to BIAW a previous internal memo of mine on this issue, I am sending this as an e-mail to make it easier to forward to Tom McCabe. :)

Rep. Brendan W. Williams

Some Things Are Getting Better; or, Thank God for Evolution

posted by on April 2 at 11:50 AM

Yesterday’s New York Times featured a story I’ve been waiting to read for as long as I can remember: Michael Winerip’s quietly thrilling profile of Zach O’Connor, a Connecticut teenager whose coming-out experience—navigated with the full participation of his family—proves that the ongoing pogrom against gays is occuring in (and is perhaps a backlash against) a society where progress for gays is palpable.

My favorite chunk, showcasing the benefits of a prompt and purposeful coming-out for gay teens:

Now, as a 17-year-old 11th grader, Zach has passed through phases that many gay men of previous generations didn’t get to until their 20s, 30s, even 40s. “Eighth grade was kind of his militant time,” [Zach’s dad] says.

After reading the piece, I was ready to hail Zach O’Connor’s parents as heroes, for so forcibly and imaginatively taking the reins on their son’s coming-out experience. But the O’Connors are merely doing what all good parents should do: taking care of their kids as best they can, which is heroic in its own right.

Read the whole heartening story here.

Save Seattle Clubs: Email Margarita Prentice NOW

posted by on April 2 at 11:21 AM

A message from Grady West, a.k.a. Dina Martina:

Hey everyone,

PLEASE DO THIS TODAY! Re-bar, along with many other amazing places we love in Seattle (Neumo’s, the Crocodile, the Tractor, etc.), is in danger of closing at the end of 2007 because of a new bill requiring certain businesses to install expensive sprinkler systems by Dec. 1, 2007 or close. That wouldn’t be so hard to comply with, except for the fact that these sprinkler systems cost anywhere in the neighborhood of $70,000-$90,000. These businesses aren’t asking to be excused from installing the sprinkler systems, just that they be given sufficient time to get that huge sum of money together.

There’s currently a bill (HB 1811) in Olympia that would move the sprinkler installation deadline to Dec. 1, 2009, but if it doesn’t make it out of committee by the end of the day MONDAY, APRIL 2ND, it is dead and we’ll be stuck with the Dec. 2007 deadline, which would effectively close a lot of these important Seattle establishments.

If you want to help, below is a short paragraph I typed to the Ways and Means Committee Chairperson, Margarita Prentice, that you should copy and paste into a new email and send to her at And don’t forget to add your name at the bottom!


Here’s the text West would like you to send to Margarita Prentice:


I’m emailing you to ask you to please do everything in your power to help HB 1811—the sprinkler bill—to pass (which would move the installation deadline to 2009) because there are SO many establishments vital to the social scene and character of Seattle (character which has already largely disappeared due to gentrification) which would be forced to close. They’d be forced to close because the time they’ve been given to raise the necessary amount of money (anywhere from $70,000 to $90,000) to install a sprinkler system by the Dec. 1, 2007 deadline is inadequate. Many of these businesses would need at least another year to amass that kind of money.

PLEASE don’t let this happen. Thank you.



This was originally posted on Sunday afternoon, but I’m moving it up.

The Idea That Hillary is Elitist is an Elitist Idea (Pt. 2)

posted by on April 2 at 11:18 AM

As Eli noted in Morning News, the first quarter fundraising totals are in for the declared 2008 presidential hopefuls—and Hillary Clinton raised a startling $26 million.

Here’s the more impressive news from Clinton, as reported by the NYT

A spokesman for Mrs. Clinton’s campaign said that it had received contributions from 50,000 donors and that 80 percent had given less than $100 each.

This is just more evidence that self-hating elitist liberals who are nervous that Clinton is a turn off to the lumpen prole vote are clumsily misreading the lumpen prole vote as they (double reverse back flip) awkwardly try temper their own feelings to cater to the lumpen prole vote.

As I’ve reported before: HRC will get the Wal-Mart vote.

Now, if you don’t like her because she’s a hawk, well, that’s your own problem.

Shooting at UW, Two Dead

posted by on April 2 at 10:10 AM

From the Seattle Times:

Two people have been killed in a shooting inside Gould Hall on the University of Washington Campus, according to the Seattle Fire Department.

University Police responded to the shooting around 9 a.m. Monday morning.

Gould Hall houses the College of Architecture and Urban Planning. It’s located at the corner of 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 40th Street.

Walking Freely With John McCain

posted by on April 2 at 9:39 AM

You may recall that last week, John McCain declared Baghdad safe enough to stroll through unarmed. Yesterday he took a stroll through Baghdad — backed by 100 soldiers, three Blackhawks, and two Apache gunships.

In a press conference after his Baghdad tour, McCain told a reporter that his visit to the market today was proof that you could indeed “walk freely” in some areas of Baghdad.

Don’t Leave Me, Debra Dickerson!

posted by on April 2 at 9:32 AM

Dear Debra,

That’s some open letter you wrote me today on Salon. I’ve lost readers over the years, God knows, but never with quite so public a display of disaffection.

Your Savage Love sex advice column not only made me a better lover but a better person. You introduced me to people, places and things I would have never otherwise been aware of. You were my secret gay crush for five years. Or you used to be. But, sadly, this is both a fan letter and a Dear John, Dear Dan. It’s over and it’s better this way. You’ll see. No, please, Dan—it’s not you. It’s me. But I’m hoping we can still be friends.

Of course we can still be friends, Debra. Why not? You intend to keep on reading Savage Love, but only for kicks now, no longer for tips. I’ve never asked my friends for more. As for the particular column that made you fall out of love with me—the one about a certain diaper-wearin’ husband and the indulgent wife whose needs he was neglecting—I have to say that I’m surprised by your reading of it.

You trained me well, Dan. I know I should applaud my fellow savage for being so GGG (good, giving and game), but I don’t. I think she should have headed for the hills at the first mention of Depends. I know I shouldn’t think it. But the fact is that I do. Now, instead of regretting what I missed out on sexually, I’m terrified of what I might learn if I give the least hint of a sexual openness.

Oh, Debra. As a long-time reader of Savage Love, you should know that the appearance of a kink in the column—and there have been so many others, Debra, and so many worse ones—is not an endorsement, nor is it an indication that said kink has passed into the Must Go There Zone, i.e., it does not mean the kink has suddenly joined the list of kinks that an indulgent partner is expected to, well, indulge. It only means the kink… is. What to do about the kink, how to handle it, assess it, respond, and, if possible, incorporate the kink—that’s where the advice comes in.

You describe me as “a raging ‘mo with no boundaries,” Debra, which is sweet and, oh, how I wish it were true! All people have boundaries and limits and hang-ups (me too!), and I’ve hammered that point home in Savage Love over the years. But I am guilty of insisting that, yes, there are times when it is worth considering expanding our boundaries and limits —for a particular person.

Paris is worth a mass and sometimes “Dave from accounting” is worth a spanking, you know what I mean? That’s why I advise people to be “good, giving, and game,” to be up for almost anything. Because people are package deals—you have to take the good with the bad, the relatives you like with the relatives you don’t, and the desires that align neatly with your own with the kinks that sometimes challenge your ideas about what is and is not sexy. On a case-by-case basis, Debra, all of us will, over the course of our love lives, face moments when we have to decide if person A is worth engaging in kink B for.

When it comes to sex we sometimes mistake unfamiliarity for revulsion, and blurt out “no” without thinking. Really, how bad is, say, being with a foot fetishist? Is a little slobber on your toes too much to ask for love? Taking a hairbrush to someone’s backside now and then? Too high a price to pay for love?

But I’ve never ordered people to charge out of the trenches, Debra, and do absolutely anything asked of them, ever, by a lover, however twisted, however objectively disgusting. All kinks are not created equal. Some kinks are revolting. (And some people with revolting kinks are thin-skinned and shortsighted. Hello, poop fetishists? If you’re turned on because your kink is revolting and taboo then I’m helping to keep your kink hot by reinforcing the idea that it’s revolting and taboo. You’re welcome.) I describe a kink like a thing for poop as “a fetish too far,” and I’ve told people with AFTF’s that they should seek out like-minded fetishists online and refrain from springing their AFTF’s on unsuspecting vanilla-to-GGG types. (Thank God for the internet, which has removed poop fetishists from the general dating pool! Thank you, Al Gore!)

And Debra, Debra, Debra. Your column today at Salon implies that my sympathies always lie with the kinkster. Not true! I’m harsh on kinky folks who take their indulgent partners for granted, kinksters who fail to recognize how good they’ve got it when they find someone that, unlike me and Debra, will “go there” on an issue like diapers. And you have to know that’s my position, Debra, as it’s in my response to the woman with the diaper-lovin’ husband, a response that hardly reads like an endorsement of diaper fetishism—a response you don’t quote in your piece! Your piece on Salon reads like I suggested that diaper fetishism is wholesome and sweet and somehow browbeat the woman who wrote in about her husband’s kink. The diaper community—that’s right, the diaper community—didn’t see it that way. I got so much waa-waa-waa from adult babies for that column that I can’t walk down the Depends aisle at Walgreens without shuddering. Here’s my response, Debra:

Does your “baby girl” realize what he’s got in you? The world is crawling—literally crawling—with adult babies who are alone and single and miserable and always will be. While the internet has made it possible for adult babies to find each other, a shared interest in nappies and nurseries doesn’t guarantee compatibility. Plus, female adult babies are scarcer than folks who can read “my husband whines and cries and pretends to be a baby during sex” without hurling. Your husband should be doing everything in his power to keep you happy.

My advice: Take that break. Cut the brat off—no more baby games until he can successfully wrap his bonnet around this: Your pleasure matters as much as his does. He may not be interested in regular sex, but he better learn to fake it convincingly. And finally, BA, tell him that his continued failure to meet your vanilla needs is gonna get his diapered ass divorced, leaving him single and shit out of luck, sex-partner wise, for the rest of his adult infancy.

“Dump the honest foot fetishist,” I warned a woman a few weeks ago, “and I guarantee that you will marry the dishonest necrophiliac.” That’s the Karmic Rule of Kink. But vanilla partners are not the only ones subject to KROK. For kinksters lucky enough to be with generous vanilla partners, your somewhat-less-pithy version of KROK goes like this: “Drive off an understanding, adventurous partner by failing to joyfully accommodate his or her desires for vanilla sex and you will NEVER get your kinky rocks off again without having to pay a pro $500 an hour to put up with your bullshit.”

Frankly, Debra, I don’t see how you get from that response to this strange epiphany:

Now, instead of regretting what I missed out on sexually, I’m terrified of what I might learn if I give the least hint of a sexual openness. Now it’s me who’s on the down low, repressing my sexual fantasies for fear of what his might be. I’m the hall monitor geek in the coming-of-age movie who cuts physics for an orgy only to wake up with a persistent itch, a stalker and a big, fat secret to keep buried deep inside. I simply do not want to know what bland Dave in accounting keeps in his spare room.

It took a gay activist to convert me to don’t ask, don’t tell, and regretfully, I’m going to have to DTMFA. Hard as I tried, it turns out that I’m not so good, not very giving and definitely gone. I’m not dumping the column—can’t live without it. But I’ll be reading as a peeping Tom, not an acolyte.

And reading this in your column made me feel like all my efforts at Savage Love have been wasted:

Now, instead of regretting what I missed out on sexually, I’m terrified of what I might learn if I give the least hint of a sexual openness.

Sexual openness does not create kinks, Debra, nor can sexual closedness protect you from them. Oh, you can run from kinks but you can’t hide. Unless you intend to settle down with a Hitachi Magic Wand, odds are good that you will have to come to terms with a kink or two. You have a kinky appointment in Samara, Debra. Because people are kinky, and men are particularly kinky. Women, in my experience (all book learnin’, but lots of it), tend to get kinkier as they get older. Something about sexual peaks, which men hit earlier than women, makes people freaky. Our sexual energy—whether we’re male or female, gay, straight, or bi—has never fit inside the “normal” box into which we stupidly insist on stuffing it. Human sexuality bursts boxes—and, yes, sometimes diapers.

When you fall in love, Debra, please know that I’m still here for you. Hopefully it won’t be diapers or poop or beating off parakeets, but it’ll be something. And I’m confident that the lessons you learned reading about more extreme kinks in my column—lessons about kindness, compassion, mutual respect, a sense of fun, and being open to possibility—will apply.

So there’s still hope for you, Debra. You may be a wild child yet. I’ll see you in Samara.



Lobbying 101: Wining & Dining (Pt. 2)

posted by on April 2 at 9:14 AM

The most recent lobbying expenditure report for Tom McCabe, the lobbyist for the BIAW, the powerful building industry group that convinced House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43) to table the homebuyers’ protection bill according to bill sponsors, Sen. Brian Weinstein (D-41) and Rep. Brendan Williams (D-22), shows that McCabe hasn’t sprung for whole lot of schmoozing dinners this session.

Unless you count this one:


If you’re having trouble reading the fine print—on line two it says: Dinner at Ricardo’s Restaurant in Lacey with Speaker Chopp on February 13.

Politicians constantly scoff at this type of reporting. “It just doesn’t work that way, Josh!” Whatever you say, guys.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 2 at 9:00 AM


Ishmael Beah
(Reading) He was born in Sierra Leone in 1980 and by 1993 was a child soldier in a civil war that killed his parents and two brothers. It was “a drug-filled life of casual mass slaughter,” according to the Publishers Weekly review of A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. Eventually, Beah fled to New York, graduated from Oberlin, and wrote this memoir, which Starbucks is currently pushing. Tonight you can see Beah read somewhere other than Starbucks. (University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, 634-3400. 7 pm, free.) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

There’s Always Next Year

posted by on April 2 at 8:05 AM

Opening Day. A’s vs. M’s (first pitch 3:35 or so). U.S.S. Mariner declares Happy Opening Felix Day here. Seth at Seattlest breaks down A’s starter Dan Haren here.

In the P.I. Art Thiel declares:

If the Mariners sweep the A’s — Mariners go to the World Series.

If the Mariners win the series 2-1 — A contending team with a real shot at the division title.

If the Mariners lose the series 1-2 — Gather into the basement the elderly, the children and bring some bannock and hardtack.

Meanwhile, over at ESPN, only Enrique Rojas of thinks the M’s will take the AL West. And Jim Caple predicts Felix Hernandez will win the AL Cy Young.

And then there’s this post, also at Seattlest, which can be nutshelled like so: Whiney former transplant can’t get over 2001 season, declares Mariners and fans sucky on opening day of 2007 season.

Go Mariners!

The Morning News

posted by on April 2 at 7:00 AM

Tsunami: This time in the South Pacific.

Seattle Living: Unaffordable for the average Seattle worker.

The Democrats’ First Quarter Fundraising: By the numbers.

Who calls 911 from a hospital? These guys.

Day 10: The British hostages.

Iran strike date: April 6?

Tommy Thompson: In the running.

No New Parks, and Nickels Cites… lack of enthusiasm?

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Like TISP?

posted by on April 1 at 6:04 PM

Check out Google’s two other new products, just launched today:

Gmail Paper and Google Writer.

Via my dad.

Slow Ride’s Solid Gold Dancers

posted by on April 1 at 3:37 PM


Tonight at War Room: Slow Ride, a laid back night that features, according to a trusted source, “the best goddamn FM rock from the ’70s and ’80s.”

I went to check it out last Sunday night and five minutes after we arrived a group of Cornish dance students and teachers—including everybody’s favorite 80s girl dance duo, Fankick!—walked in and took over. It was like being in the middle of the “Hot Lunch Jam” scene from Fame. The spirit of Debbie Allen was definitely in the house. Here’s hoping Slow Ride’s Solid Gold Dancers turn up again tonight.

What Do All These Quotes Have in Common?

posted by on April 1 at 1:28 PM

“Unabashed aesthetes… “

“We just want to be.”

“Neither squeamishness nor prurience… “

“If someone can go there physically, I can go there mentally.”

They are all in the story about Mr. Charles Mudede’s new movie in today’s (Sunday’s!) New York Times.

Congratulations, Charles.

Democratic State Senator Calls Democratic House Speaker Chopp a “Dictator.”

posted by on April 1 at 12:53 PM

On March 8, Senator Brian Weinstein (D-41, Mercer Island, Bellevue) passed his homebuyers’ rights bill 30-19 out of the Senate. (The bill would give homebuyers a warranty against shoddy construction.)

Weinstein believed he had his ducks in row to also pass the bill in the House. Last summer, he says, he met with powerhouse House Speaker Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Seattle) at Chopp’s de facto office, the Tully’s on 45th in Wallingford. Chopp, Weinstein recalls, said the idea sounded good and handed Weinstein off to House legal staffer Barbara Baker to iron out the details. Weinstein reports that Baker was excited about the bill.

Weinstien also found a House member, Rep. Brendan Williams (D-22, Olympia), who was excited about the legislation. Rep. Williams told Weinstein that faulty housing construction was a big issue in his district. Rep. Williams went on to champion the legislation on the House side.

However, earlier this week, after the House Judiciary Committee passed the bill onto the Rules Committee, Speaker Chopp tabled the bill. As The Olympian reported yesterday, Rep. Williams is pissed and threatened to resign.

Sen. Weinstein, who I talked to this morning, is also pissed. He told me flat out he now believes Rep. Chopp had a deal worked out with the BIAW (the builders lobby) to table the bill all along.

The BIAW doesn’t like the bill because they believe it will spike insurance rates for homebuilders because the bill will empower homeowners legally. Weinstein scoffs at the compliant: “Lawyers can get sued. Doctors can get sued. Anybody can get sued. Homebuilders are the only people in this state that can’t get sued. Aren’t they willing to stand by their work?”

Senator Weinstein, however, reserves his harshest words for House Speaker Chopp. Here’s what he just told me:

This is democracy at its worst. Here is one guy that overruled 30 Democratic Senators and the Democratic House Judiciary Committee. What’s the point of working hard on a bill? There’s no point in doing the fact finding, holding eight hours of hearings, of doing the right thing, if a dicatator can just pull the rug out from under you. I feel helpless.

Weinstein says Chopp doesn’t want to alienate the BIAW so the Democrats can keep their majority … “and” he added derisively, “not do anything with it.”

Your Bird Flu

posted by on April 1 at 12:38 PM

For those who are preparing/stockpiling for the bird flu pandemic, please read this and, by connection, think about what you are really doing.

A taste of reality (not hysteria):

The world’s richest countries, which have contributed by far the most to the atmospheric changes linked to global warming, are already spending billions of dollars to limit their own risks from its worst consequences, like drought and rising seas.

But despite longstanding treaty commitments to help poor countries deal with warming, these industrial powers are spending just tens of millions of dollars on ways to limit climate and coastal hazards in the world’s most vulnerable regions — most of them close to the equator and overwhelmingly poor.

Today the Stranger Didn’t Suggest

posted by on April 1 at 11:26 AM

Because sometimes there just isn’t room for everything:


The French Project

The French Project is a little bit Serge Gainsbourg, a little bit Hank Williams (if Hank Williams was not just a cowboy but an opium-smoking French cowboy). It’s a sleazy, romantic night of songs (from Dolly Parton to Prince) sung en français, featuring Erin Jorgensen (marimba, accordion), Charles Smith (autoharp, dulcimer, etc.), Basil Harris (bass), Sara Edwards (guitar), and guest musician Kirk Anderson (of “Awesome,” drums, mellifluous crooning). The Rendezvous cabaret, with its old bordello wood-and-red-velvet feel is just right venue. (Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater, 2320 Second Ave, 800-838-3006, Sun–Mon at 8 pm, $10.) BRENDAN KILEY

The Morning News

posted by on April 1 at 9:21 AM

Posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

Violence spreads: Baghdad crackdown pushes violence to outlying areas

Contradiction: Tuskegee Airmen awarded Congressional Medals as Air Force attempts to debunk their legend

”The language of living in the Ghetto”: Gingrich mocks bilingual education

Vulnerable: Poor countries face the greatest risks from global warming

Permanent record: University of Washington proposes tracking, disciplining students for off-campus behavior

Timmmberrr: Chinese lumber trade falls victim to corruption

Conflict of interest: No Child Left Behind contractor hired to evaluate own program

“I am the reliable conservative” Tommy Thompson enters the ‘08 presidential race

Pop music promotes violence: Shots fired at Nickelodeon awards after party

The future of the internet Google introduces new DIY ISP

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 1 at 7:00 AM


The Locust
Of all the bands to rise out of the fertile San Diego hardcore scene, none have had anywhere near the longevity or bizarre widespread appeal of the Locust. Bizarre, because the Locust make fast, loud, difficult music. But unlike the many hardcore bands that stagnate in a hermetic world of increasingly fast riffs, predictably chugging rhythmic breakdowns, and macho bullshit, the Locust are uncontainable experimentalists and constantly mutating musicians. Despite their roots in hardcore, the Locust more accurately belong amidst avante garde sound and noise pioneers such as John Zorn and Boredoms. Their live shows are hectic, costume-heavy, often short, and punctuated by some of the snappiest banter/heckler retorts in punk rock. With Daughters, Cattle Decapitation. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike Street, 709-9467, 7 pm, $12/$15, all-ages, bar w/ID.) ERIC GRANDY


Leslie & the Lys
(Musical Performance Art) After bursting into humanity’s consciousness as that chick on the internet with all the gem sweaters, artist Leslie Hall got busy with her true calling: rocking the fucking mic. Citing L’Trimm and Apple’s GarageBand as key influences, Leslie & the Lys create a honky hiphop hoedown you won’t forget. (Think Dina Martina as a rap act, with an actual vagina.) With Scream Club and Team Gina. (El Corazón, 109 Eastlake Ave E, 381-3094. 10 pm, $8, 21+.) DAVID SCHMADER
Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter
(Musical) With its husky androgyny and deeply resonant, hard-won soul, Jesse Sykes’s voice calls to mind a more rockin’ Nina Simone. The connection is especially evident in the sultry, hushed ballads on Sykes’s latest album, which she is celebrating with a pair of shows this weekend. Her wounded-but-empowered persona shines when she’s under the spotlight, buoyed along by her band like a dry leaf in the wind. (Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave NW, 789-3599. 7 pm, $10, 21+.) JONATHAN ZWICKEL