Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

Archives for 04/08/2007 - 04/14/2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Community Teams With NAACP to Support Rajnii Eddins

posted by on April 14 at 11:52 PM

A small but determined group of sixteen of Rajnii Eddin’s friends, acquaintances and supporters gathered at Waid’s Place on 12th and Jefferson this afternoon to plan their next move. Eddins, a 26-year-old teaching artist from Rainier Beach High School, was charged with obstruction on April 5th after attempting to intervene on behalf of a student being arrested near the school. While Eddins was unable to attend the meeting, due to a prior commitment, his mother Randee Eddins was there to express her frustration and dismay over her son’s arrest. “As a concerned parent and a community activist, this seems like a trend,” she said, providing a foreboding tag-line for the group’s campaign to exonerate Eddins: “Rajnii today, you tomorrow.” Randee Eddins called on attendees to “flood [Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr]’s ass with e-mails,” to let him know “the whole community is watching. Drop the charges against Rajnii! Folks know that my son is a good guy. People know I raised him well.”

“We had so much energy in that courtroom last week,” exclaimed Eddins’ lawyer Danielle Anderson, referring to Eddins’ hearing on April 10th. Anderson then called on “everyone who has been marginalized at some point in their life to come forward” and support her client.

Randee Eddins proposed a name for the group: “Saving Ourselves, Lifting Ourselves.” S.O.L.O. is currently planning a benefit concert to raise money to hire an investigator to look into Eddins’ case as the Office of Professional Accountability, which provides citizen oversight of the police department, has not yet responded to complaints filed after Eddins’ arrest. Seattle’s Chief of Police Gil Kerlikowske recently opted not to fill an open position at the OPA, which may further inhibit the already glacially slow process of investigating citizens’ claims.

The president of the Seattle chapter of the NAACP, James Bible, was also at the Eddins’ meeting, pushing for “a vote of no confidence in the OPA.” During the course of the meeting, the OPA was repeatedly described as “toothless,” referencing the lack of accountability in the cases of Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes and DV-One. While Eddins’ description of the events surrounding his arrest varies greatly from the account given by officers in the police report, Bible astutely summarized the reality of the situation “he’s a teacher and he was doing what he needed to do for a student.”

The NAACP will hold a press conference at city hall on Monday, April 16th at 11AM.

Eddins’ next hearing is set for May 29th.


posted by on April 14 at 10:44 PM

I went out for pizza last night and drove by a wonderfully modified billboard.
I thought I’d share with you:

I couldn’t get the whole thing in the shot because I suck at scaling buildings (which is why I’ll never make editor) but it read “Every baby deserves to be breastfed.”

Vancouver Art Gallery Censored by the SPCA

posted by on April 14 at 6:44 PM

In a press release sent out less than an hour ago, the Vancouver Art Gallery, hosting Huang Yong Ping’s installation with live animals, Theater of the World, announced it will remove all the animals by end of business tomorrow. In their place—as a protest—the museum plans to put up documentation of the museum’s dialogue with animal-rights activists, who envisioned the artist’s intended artificial microcosm instead as “something that resembles a zoo or a pet shop, where each species is neatly separated into different glass boxes,” the artist wrote in a statement.

I wrote a few days ago about the controversy brewing up north over the installation.

The museum and the artist still contend that the conditions for the insects and lizards were absolutely livable. When I asked for an interview, the Vancouver Art Gallery did not respond. But at the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis, the installation’s display depended on first consulting a local exotic pet expert to ensure that the animals were fed and watered properly, although the stress of the strange, bare environment was unavoidable—and part of the artist’s intent. By the end of the exhibition, the Walker curator noted, most of the animals had adjusted to the presence of each other and to their new surroundings, “and just looked bored.”

But the prospect of an imagined bloodbath was too much for the Vancouver SPCA to bear, evidently.

I’d like to know why the museum folded (the Walker made its case to local animal-rights activists, and they backed down), and maybe to do that I’ll need to visit the show and talk to the curators, providing they make themselves available. My hunch is that the censorship is a shame, and a sham. Human culture is built on the exploitation of animals; this installation, intended to prompt a consideration of that among other things, to me would barely seem to register on the scale of abuse.

Tattoo Times

posted by on April 14 at 5:41 PM

Should I cover up my Tweety? Tweety Bird with Accidental Mohawk? My one and only tattoo? The one I got in high school, with a homemade gun, from that weird kid who huffed the rubber cement in Mr. Reimann’s art class?


The place to do it would be the 28th Annual National Tattoo Convention. Down in SeaTac. Runs tonight until 11 pm, and Sunday 10 am - 10 pm. There’s hundreds of tattoo artists from all over the world scheduled, including Japan. Something tells me they all have real tattoo guns too.

Luminous Pie

posted by on April 14 at 3:08 PM

In honor of the triumphant return of The Light in the Piazza, I offer you this screen shot from :


Hee haw!

This Week on Drugs

posted by on April 14 at 12:19 PM


You say, “tomato,” and Pullman police say, “You have the right to remain silent.”

You say, “pot,” and Australia says, “It mightn’t kill you, but it could turn you into a dickhead.”

Great Leaks: Michigan water tainted with birth-control hormones.

Great Looks: Kirsten Dunst wants you to smoke more pot.

Who Let the Dogg Out? Snoop beats jail rap.

Who Let the Clips Out? Vigilantes behead drug lords on YouTube.

Gonorrhea: Resisting treatment.

Bitter Pill to Swallow: Washington pharmacists have to sell Plan B.

Would You Like Some Fries with that Diet Coke?

posted by on April 14 at 11:47 AM

Over at HorsesAss, Goldy’s got a post laying out polling numbers on a combined RTID/light rail package.

The numbers, about 61% in favor after a dose of messaging, are pretty positive, and so Goldy seems to be saying, everybody should stop complaining and fretting about a joint measure.

While I’ve certainly Slogged and bitched that a joint measure will fail (transit advocates and environmentalists will abandon the measure), my real gripe isn’t so much that it will flop at the polls. My real gripe is this: I don’t want to vote for roads expansion in order to get transit. It seems a bit like putting a dash of soy milk in my chocolate, almond syrup shake to keep the weight off.

Moreover, in order to ensure victory at the polls, planners might lower the price tag (currently it’s about $9.5 billion for light rail and about $7.4 billion for roads). Since they’re joined at the hip, planners would probably cut from both projects. Well, it sure seems dunderheaded to scale back transit expansion in order to lower a $16/$17 billion plan, when already, 40 plus percent of the package isn’t for transit.

Goldy’s contention that polling looks good doesn’t address my biggest fear—in fact, it confirms it: It’s going to pass, and we’re going to undo the benefits of voting for transit by simultaneously voting to expand roads.

Indeed, here’s the polling I’d like to see: light rail on its own and RTID on its own. I’d bet light rail would pass and RTID wouldn’t.

Don’t Try This At Home

posted by on April 14 at 11:30 AM

Posted by Sage Van Wing


A librarian friend of mine recently turned me on to the fantastic 1957 movie “Desk Set.” This is the last of the Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy romantic comedies and one of the only ones filmed in color. It is witty and funny and, best of all, thoughtful about issues that still concern us today.

Based on a Broadway play, the movie pits the hands-on research crew at a large television broadcast company in the 50’s against the coming of technology in the form of a giant, noisy, imperfect early computer known as the “mechanical brain.” Hepburn leads the reference whiz kids, Tracy pioneers the scary machinery that threatens their jobs.

The mechanical brain, the researchers are told, can answer the most complicated of questions in mere seconds. Simply type in a few keywords, and, with the click of a button, Kate and her team of witty librarians are obsolete.

Google, anyone?

In the age of the internets, when the answer to anything is merely a keystroke away, what happens to the humble librarians who have for so long been the gatekeepers of information?

Not surprisingly, librarians are quick to point out that Google does not make them obsolete. “There are limitations with the search engines,” Marilyn Parr, public service and collections access officer at the Library of Congress told me. “You can type in ‘Thomas Jefferson’ in any search engine and you will get thousands of hits. How do you then sort through those to find the ones that are verifiable information, authentic and not someone’s personal opinion?”

The job of a reference librarian these days, says my librarian friend, is to help people use Google more efficiently. “We spend a lot of time helping people be more efficient on the internet. Oftentimes, we won’t even look in a book.” Most of the former “library schools” have now changed their names to “School of Information.” Their graduates are “information specialists” not simply librarians. The difference is not merely semantic. “The job of a librarian now is to teach information literacy—to teach people how to evaluate the information that they do find,” said Chris Sherman, executive editor of industry blog site “I think that’s where librarians are extremely important. They are trained to evaluate the quality of the information.”

Google is a powerful tool, but for serious research it should be used with caution, and preferably in tandem with other sources. Even Craig Silverstein, Google’s Director of Technology, has said that “information professionals are needed to help people articulate their information needs.”

“When Google doesn’t work, most people don’t have a plan B,” said Joe Janes, an associate professor in the Information School at the University of Washington in Seattle, who teaches a course on Google. “Librarians have lots of plan B’s. We know when to go to a book, when to call someone, even when to go to Google.”

In fact, most of the librarians I talked to said their jobs are actually getting more interesting now. While it’s true that they do get fewer questions, the ones that they do get take longer to answer and are much more involved. “People can answer the basic reference questions themselves,” said my librarian friend with a glint in her eye, “they come to us with the really hard stuff.”

This brings us back to the movie. In the final scene of “Desk Set,” the computer, when asked a simple question, is very effective. However, when faced with a more complicated question, it spews out ream upon ream of useless trivia. Meanwhile, Katharine Hepburn coyly recites the correct answer. In the end, the reference librarians get to keep their jobs because it is obvious to everyone that their skills are necessary in order to get the right results from the unwieldy machine.

I know I still call the New York Public Library’s Reference Line at least once a week.

The Morning News

posted by on April 14 at 10:26 AM

Bad News For Karl: Deleting email doesn’t make them disappear.

Scratch Another Neighborhood of McCain’s Iraq Walking Tour: Car bomb kills dozens, injures scores more, in city of Karbala.

Fucking Nonsense: Abstinence education does not work—this MSNBC headline says it best: “Abstinence students still having sex.”

New Jersey Governor: Corzine’s Injuries much worse than reported at first. He was the only person in the car to be seriously injured… and the only person in the car not wearing his seat belt.

Warming Warning: Demonstrators take to the streets to raise awareness of climate change.

Didn’t We Vote Against This? State legislature keeps new, publicly-financed Sonics arena alive.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 14 at 10:01 AM



(DRAG) The lineup reads like Eleanor Lambert’s wet dream: Dina Martina, Jackie Hell, Sylvia O’Stayformore, and more. With those Tater Tots in charge, the entire population of Seattle might wake up the next morning in a magical land where the streets are made of polyester and everyone sings show tunes. All that’s certain is this: Something great will happen at Trannyshack and a sweaty dance party will follow, with DJ Baby J. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 9:30 pm, $8, 21+.) ARI SPOOL

Friday, April 13, 2007

What Is The Matrix?

posted by on April 13 at 11:29 PM


Find out here

Still More Responses to the Question: What Were You Doing When You Found Out Kurt Vonnegut Died?

posted by on April 13 at 6:49 PM

Sherman Alexie, novelist, poet, lives in Seattle: “I’ve been thinking and talking about him a ton in the last month or so, because my new novel is directly influenced by Slaughterhouse-Five and I’ve been getting some scathing reviews. My publisher, Morgan Entrekin, was giving me a pep talk yesterday and he mentioned that Slaughterhouse was savaged upon publication (I hadn’t known that Morgan, as a young pup, edited Slaughterhouse), that Vonnegut’s mix of sci-fi time travel and moralism was pummeled. So I looked up the New York Times Book Review of Slaughterhouse-Five and was stunned by its absolute condescension. And I thought, ‘Jeez, if Slaughterhouse-Five can be treated that way, then my own meager novel has no chance.’ So I was feeling, if not vindicated, then at least relieved. And then, this morning, I walked down the stairs to my wife’s stunned expression. ‘Kurt Vonnegut died today,’ she said. I mean, jeez, every conversation in my house for 10 days has revolved around Vonnegut and now this. I was sad for the man, for his friends and family (I’d never met him), and sad for the literary world. What I will miss in his ability to laugh at everything, to mock all conventions, and most tellingly, to see the madness in both sides of any conflict, any war. I know we certainly need a Vonnegut novel to explain Iraq, and we won’t get it. A fucking madman suicide bomber just exploded the Iraqi parliment, and I thought, ‘And so it goes.’ In my imaginary graveyard, Vonnegut’s tombstone reads, ‘And so it goes.’ I mean, for the first half-dozen books of his career, Vonnegut was ignored. Then he was a huge figure for around 15 years, and then he was ignored again. We should have never let him go… I’ll never let him go… Man, he lived a great and painful and long and glorious life. Good for him. Good for us. And let us keep talking about him for weeks. Let’s sing a thousand songs to mark his passing.”

Jonathan Raban, novelist, political and cultural critic, lives in Seattle: “Breakfasting at a town in Utah named Hurricane. Unrepentant chain smokers who die at 84 deserve a toast, and I hereby raise a glass of Laphroaig to Vonnegut’s memory, and I’d light up a cigar if we weren’t stuck in a non-smoking room in Eureka, NV right now. Nevada/Arizona have amazingly powerful NPR stations that seem to reach everywhere, and this afternoon I was driving through snow over sagebrush red desert when I picked up Vonnegut reading—a little haltingly, and very touchingly—from Slaughterhouse-Five. Wished that [my daughter] Julia had heard of—let alone actually read—him.”

George Saunders, fiction writer, lives in upstate New York: “Just sitting right here at this computer. Very sad, very proud that we had such a great writer at all, you know? He was The Man, for sure.”

Sarah Vowell, author, NPR star, lives in New York: “Talking on the phone after a flight from Pittsburgh. Those are always the best deaths—the ones of oldsters who had a good run and left behind things to be proud of.”

More responses from other writers and artists here and here.

I Want My $87 Million Back.

posted by on April 13 at 5:57 PM

You know all those abstinence education programs we’re funding with our tax dollars (87 million of them)? And you know how the Bush Administration says teaching abstinence is the most effective way to prevent kids from having sex? To the point that real, medically accurate sex ed is pretty much verboten from coast to coast? Well, the numbers came out today on how abstinence-only programs (like Washington State’s “No Sex, No Problems” campaign) are working out. The numbers speak for themselves, but here are some pretty pictures to illustrate them.


You’ll notice that both bars are basically identical in every graph. In other words, the programs made absolutely no difference. You could tell these kids their genitals would rot if they have sex and they’d still have sex. That’s because kids aren’t stupid—and they like having sex.

And from the report:

The study found that youth in the four evaluated programs were no more likely than youth not in the programs to have abstained from sex in the four to six years after they began participating in the study. Youth in both groups who reported having had sex also had similar numbers of sexual partners and had initiated sex at the same average age.

We spend $87 million a year on these programs, and they have NO effect. Awfully quiet from the White House, isn’t it?

First Time for Everything: White House admits “We screwed up”

posted by on April 13 at 5:48 PM

The controversy surrounding Karl Rove’s missing e-mails ballooned today when it was revealed that the White House may have deleted as many as 5 MILLION e-mails from their servers.

“We screwed up, and we’re trying to fix it,” said White House spokeswoman Dana Perino.

The Democratic response:

“You can’t erase e-mails, not today,” said Leahy, D-Vermont. “They’ve gone through too many servers. They can’t say they’ve been lost. That’s like saying, ‘The dog ate my homework.’ ”

Leahy said the e-mails would have remained on party or campaign computer servers, and he compared the situation to the famous 18½-minute gap in one of the Watergate tapes.


Watered-Down Family Leave Bill Emerges in House

posted by on April 13 at 5:27 PM

Members of the state House were expected to vote today on a scaled-back version of the family leave bill, which would only give time off to bond with a new child (the earlier version would have allowed family leave to care for sick relatives, too) and which doesn’t include a specific funding source. The earlier bill would have funded the program with a two-cents-an-hour payroll tax. The new version would have the legislature convene a 12-member task force that would come back the following year with a funding proposal and a detailed outline of how the program would work.

Oh, and the amount of family leave (currently $250 a week) won’t be indexed to inflation—that measure got stripped out too.

Does it surprise you to learn that Gov. Christine “Process” Gregoire and House Speaker Frank “Consensus” Chopp both supported watering down the family-leave bill? It shouldn’t, because both Chopp and Gregoire wanted to send the bill to the voters, where it would face a certain multi-million-dollar campaign by businesses to kill it, followed by a likely death. What leadership.

Hey, Supermajority Democrats!

posted by on April 13 at 4:25 PM

The bill to protect Maury Island from strip mining— the bill that got stripped late last month thanks to some serious lobbying by mining company Glacier NW, needs to come up for one more vote today if it’s going to be amended back up to speed and/or at least pass the legislature in some form. (Today is the cut off for bills that passed one house earlier in the session to make it out of the other.)

It already passed the Senate back on March 6.

Activists who support the bill fear that the bill may just die in the House in the next hour.

Rep. Joe McDermott (D-34, West Seattle) has a series of amendments to strengthen the bill. I’ve got a call into McDermott to see where things are at as we tick toward 5 0’clock cut off.

Rep. Joe McDermott (D-34, West Seattle) just left a message on my voice mail (4:40pm) saying, “it’s a sad day for Puget Sound.” He says the Maury Island bill is dead.

The Republicans offered up 60 amendments “using the process to slow down the bill… to kill time” —and kill the bill.

McDermott explained that he and bill supporters Rep. Dave Upthegrove (D-33, Des Moines) and Rep. Eileen Cody (D-34, West Seattle) worked continually all week to get the bill to the floor, but “even if we stripped away some of the Republican amendments,” McDermott said, there still would have been enough—with amendment sponsors allowed three minutes each—to run interference.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” McDermott says.

Interoffice E-mail of the Day

posted by on April 13 at 4:20 PM

Subject: protocol for munching my nuts

dear beloved co-workers,

god knows i don’t mind if you help yourselves my desk nuts and god knows i love when one of you munchers leaves a couple bucks for future nut purchases.

however, please don’t leave cash directly in a bag of nuts, as that’s kind of gross.

thank you,
david schmader

“Good morning, Seattle. It’s time to wake up.”

posted by on April 13 at 4:12 PM

In the early morning hours of April 6th, Seattle Center security witnessed two individuals carry a “device” onto the campus, leaving it attached to a metal pole with a note.

Seattle Center, who cancelled its New Years Eve celebration in 1999 due to terrorism fears after Ahmed Ressam was caught with explosives while crossing into the US from Canada, called in Seattle’s Bomb Squad to deal with what the police report describes as “a collective of plastic, wires, paper, cardboard and metal tubing.” When police arrived at Seattle Center, they discovered the ‘item…buzzing and blinking [and] the surrounding area was secured with police tape,” while the bomb squad “took control of the scene.”


A one-page manifesto attached to the device read

Good morning, Seattle. It’s time to wake up. I watch you all. Every day. Watch you try and make sense of your wars, of your hatred…because [you don’t] fit with what the rest of the world expects them to be.

The manifesto continues, addressing what its writer believes to be the root of society’s ills: fear.

Fear, a great pulsing, beating heart that drives the human race’s blindness. A great pulsing, beating heart that – instead of the spark that’s inside all of you, instead of your common humanity and in that, DIVinity – connects each and every one of you. An organ of control that drives everything you do. This beating heart…right here. Take a look. A good look.


The bomb squad assessed that the device was “non harmful” and removed it for disposal.

You’d think the bomb squad showing up to the Seattle Center in the middle of the night would be big news, but none of the city’s papers have reported on the incident.

The Stranger contacted the device’s creators, who turned out to be a Bremerton couple who go by the names “Neo” and “Trinity.”

I met with the couple at a Capitol Hill coffee shop and asked about their connection to the Matrix film series. Neo and Trinity told me that they enjoyed the action in the Matrix films, “but they didn’t really accurately portray our lives”…and they were totally serious.

Sitting in the coffee shop, Neo—short and round faced, dressed in a torn black trenchcoat, hair dyed blue and eyes hidden behind mirrored sunglasses—said, “People are making the same mistake they did in Zion,” referencing his alleged past-life in The Matrix.

Neo believes “quantum reincarnation” has brought him to our world to open humanity’s eyes and save us from ourselves.

When asked about detractors on his website (currently down terrible) that have accused him of being an extremely dedicated role-player or a loon, Neo responds, “Technically you’re only crazy if you can’t function. I’d like to be able to roll a D-12 and forget the memory of being raped on the deck of The Logos,” referencing elements of The Matrix series Neo says were not accurately represented. Additionally, Neo and Trinity claim to run an international grassroots organization, with over 1200 members dedicated to their cause.

Neo’s device, which he claims to have seen in a vision, says his piece represents “the human race being connected and driven by the heart of fear.”

Stranger art critic Jen Graves stared at the photos of Neo’s device for a solid five minutes before declaring “It’s just terrible. There’s a million reasons why.”

I called Seattle Center to find out their take on the incident.
A public relations representative called it “a non-event.”

I have some great pictures of “Neo” and “Trinity” that I took yesterday but I left my camera at home. I’ll update later today.

Google Buys Doubleclick, World

posted by on April 13 at 4:04 PM


Google has reached an agreement to buy web ad behemoth DoubleClick for $3.1 billion in cash.

If that sounds like a lot of money, consider this: it’s about 1/5th as much as the U.S. Army has paid to Halliburton in no-bid contracts since 2001. I got that information from this website, which also features interesting drawings of how big different amounts of money are. I assume, of course, that their information is accurate.

You may not know DoubleClick, but they know you—likely a lot more about you than you’d like.

Today on Line Out

posted by on April 13 at 4:00 PM

Getting RVNG: DJ Justine D’s creative mix.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Olympics: Episode two with Andrew WK (maybe) and Shane from the Divorce (really).

At the Bus Stop: Lil Jon in the morning.

R.I.P Joe Crawford: Memorial tomorrow afternoon.

Missed Her Train to Mars: So she’s outback downloading hard-to-find Hum songs.

New Blog: A love letter to Synopsis Elektronica.

BSE (TW): “Don’t Touch My Bikini” by the Halo Benders.

We Got the Beet: Ted Leo’s delicious dinner.

Hey Local Bands!: Enter to win a slot at Endfest!

Charlie Says: A 13-year-old reviews Pink Floyd.

Need a Name?: Bands, take note.

Also, did you know a baby bat is called a pup? Aww! Actually, it’s not cute. It’s kind of creepy…


This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on April 13 at 3:50 PM

First, the news.

Insider baseball: Chicago film critics throw a fit over studios’ manipulative screening practices.

Government scolds: The FTC released its report about marketing “torture porn” to young’uns.

Preemptive propaganda: Iran says it’s making a movie and a book out of the British hostage situation. (Via the IFC blog.)

Hearts aflutter: The Joe Wright adaptation of Atonement has a teaser. (Via the IFC blog.)

And a barrage of openings: In On Screen this week, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (gee, thanks, Borat), Perfect Stranger (Halle Berry annoys Megan Seling, and Bruce Willis scares her), Wild Tigers I Have Known (fashion, not film).

Pop quiz: Which is the gay movie? (Mouse over for answers.)

Black Book: NOT GAY, despite the nipples.


Wild Tigers I Have Known: GAY! Damn, that flowery pillow was a giveaway.

Okay, back to On Screen: Black Book (from the director of Showgirls: a Holocaust adventure movie that is “epic, old-fashioned, and genuinely moving”), Pathfinder (there are B-grade Viking epics, and then there are D-grade Viking epics), and the sturdy, sensitive, entirely unpronounceable Grbavica: The Land of My Dreams (it’s about Balkan rape babies).

Not yet reviewed, but available for your movie-times searching pleasure: the teenybopper Rear Window takeoff Disturbia, the automobile porn Redline, and the “urban” Usual Suspects ripoff Slow Burn.

In Limited Runs this week, accessible via Get Out: The very, very, actual last weekend of the brilliant locally produced documentary Iraq in Fragments; the loose, gorgeous bumpkin-in-the-big-city tale Entre la mer et l’eau douce; Sean Nelson’s favorite movie EVER, The Third Man; Three Dollar Bill’s very cool ’50s queer cinema series continues with the women’s prison drama Caged; and Pacific Place presents a previously recorded screening of Metropolitan Opera’s Eugene Onegin. And in SIFF Cinema’s lovely Janus series: Roman Polanski’s debut Knife in the Water, the Aussie outback drama Walkabout, Hitchcock’s slightly nutty The Lady Vanishes, and a couple by Kurosawa starting Wednesday and Thursday.

Overheard in the Office

posted by on April 13 at 3:46 PM

“Has anyone here ever been to Hooters?”

“Of course, I’m from Florida.”

The Museum of Glass Formerly Known as the Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art

posted by on April 13 at 3:40 PM

Sometime around the turn of this century, what was then just a glimmer in the eyes of its founders—chiefly George and Jane Russell of the Russell Co. in Tacoma—came to be called the Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art.

And a great groan spread throughout the land.

The museums would be the Henry, the Frye, SAM, BAM, TAM, and MOG: ICCA.

And after the first wave of dread passed, and shoulders had shrugged themselves tired over whether MoG or MOG was correct, why, people started wondering just what was the epistemology of that little old colon. Was this a “Museum of Glass” or an “International Center for Contemporary Art”?

Considering the split between the world of studio glass and mainstream contemporary art, this division took on meaning inside and outside the museum, and ultimately confused the hell out of just about everybody who wondered where, anyway, was the Chihuly? (Dale Chihuly visited the museum to work in its hotshop approximately once a year, but there was no permanent display of his work—that display was over at the Tacoma Art Museum, further confusing things. Chihuly, in fact, is not involved in the glass museum. Further complicating matters, the City of Tacoma, not the museum, owns the Chihuly Bridge of Glass leading from downtown to the museum. And yet plenty of people still persist in calling it the Chihuly Museum—maybe because their eyes glazed over at the prospect of deciding between MoG: ICCA and MOG:ICCA?)

In any case, a new day has dawned. A day of nomenclatural clarity, at the very least. I can only imagine that the whole of Tacoma—where the Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art was and continues to be the largest arts organization hands down—will breathe a sigh of relief to hear it.

The glass museum will now be called the Museum of Glass.

No more colon.

No more “international center” of anything, let alone contemporary art. (Did anyone ever hear of a name so provincial and depressing?)

This, I imagine, does not mean that contemporary art from around the world will not be seen in the museum. But I presume that when it appears, it will have something, at least marginally, to do with glass.

The board also approved a new, streamlined mission: The Museum of Glass provides a dynamic learning environment to appreciate the medium of glass through creative experiences, collections and exhibitions.

I should give the place a visit. Haven’t been there in a while.

In any case, the Unbearable Length of Museum Name is dead, and maybe the Unbearable Confusion of Museum Mission is, too.

To pin things down even more, the museum specifies in its press release that MOG, with all caps, is the preferred acronym.

After five years open, the museum finally has a legible name on its birth certificate. Long live clarity!

Re: My Pigeon

posted by on April 13 at 3:23 PM

Thanks to all the helpful commenters who weighed in on the plight of my pigeon.

Joe suggested it could be a reincarnated spirit, and pointed me to this lovely New Yorker piece about a pigeon that, for a time, came daily into a Burmese restaurant on the Upper West Side, walked down some stairs to its favorite landing, and took a nap. The Buddhist waiters at the restaurant believed the pigeon might have been the place’s former owner.

Tenspeed suggested I enlist the help of a Pelican:

Keshmeshi warned that sometimes well-fed pigeons attract much bigger pigeons.

And Lloyd Clydesdale told me to call PAWS already.

Which I did.

The PAWS people discouraged me from leaving a nonflying pigeon on the streets to fend for itself, which had been one of my plans. They basically suggested that if I abandoned my pigeon (a bird I never asked for, by the way) I would probably become complicit in this poor creature subsequently getting mauled by a dog, hit by a car, scratched by a cat, or tormented by “mean humans.” They got to me with those images. Once I could envision the chain of events I might set in motion by releasing an injured rat-with-wings into the wild city, I couldn’t live with the thought.

So I agreed to take the bird down to the Seattle Animal Shelter, where the PAWS people swoop through each day and pick up certain animals that they then rehabilitate up at their Lynwood facility (my pigeon, I was told, would be one of the PAWS picks).

The PAWS media representative wrote me:

Thanks for showing compassion toward urban wildlife.

And so I headed home to box up the pigeon and take it down to the animal shelter. But when I arrived the deck was empty again. The pigeon had disappeared, leaving nothing behind but uneaten bread and bird droppings.


Was it just toying with me earlier this morning when it showed me it was unable to fly away? Did it simply require a little more rest? At this point, I like Joe’s reincarnated spirit theory best.

“It’s the Sex Version of Air Guitar.”

posted by on April 13 at 3:22 PM

Via Fleshbot.

Stranger Gong Show Videos!

posted by on April 13 at 3:07 PM

Here are two teasers from last night’s Gong Show! A longer edit, with all the contestants, coming soon….

Patricia Douglas for President!

Tiny Dancer…

posted by on April 13 at 2:45 PM


As a boxer, “Iron Mike” Tyson was known for pulverising his opponents with his power rather than dazzling them with his agility. Now Bollywood wants to develop his rather leaden footwork by casting him in a new action film later this month.

The Mumbai film producer Firoz Nadiadwala, whose last movie Phir Hera Pheri - More Fraud - was a big hit in India, is lining up Tyson for a dance sequence in his upcoming film Fool-n-Final.

The only way this could get better is if it included a guest spot on Dancing With the Stars.

Full story (via Guardian Unlimited) can be found here.

Thanks to Matt Garman for the tip.

Looking for a Band Name?

posted by on April 13 at 2:44 PM

Check out the title of this press release from the Kitsap Board of Commissioners.

Unfamiliar Face

posted by on April 13 at 2:21 PM

You walk into a bar again and again for five years, sit in the same booth a hundred times, and then you look up one day and see something on the wall…


…and you ask your drinking buddies, “When did they hang that thing up there?” And your drinking buddies look at you like you’re crazy and say, “That’s been there since the bar opened.”

How does that happen?

Teach Your Children Well

posted by on April 13 at 2:16 PM

This Wednesday afternoon, I was at the Seattle Center, working on another story, but there were a bunch of kids and parents milling around on the grass. There were booths teaching lessons in “financial literacy” for kids—how to save, how to budget, that charitable donations are good. Moonjar was there. And Jumpstart.

The most popular station, by far, was “Financial Windfall,” a clear box the size of a telephone booth filled with real money and a fan. Kids got in, the fan turned on, blowing the bills everywhere, and they grabbed what they could. And kept what they grabbed. One volunteer said that that morning, the booth started with $2,500. I passed a clutch of little kids on the grass, counting out their stack: “fifty-six, fifty-seven, fifty-eight…”

The saddest part—even sadder than me being kind of broke that day and envying the seven-year-olds and their stacks in the grass, even sadder than the hobos milling around—was a father who obviously cared about the financial windfall more than his kids did. He kept pushing them through the crowd, saying, “We’ve got to stay focused, team! Let’s go get some money!”

They looked embarrassed. I was embarrassed for them.

What a way to commemorate the launching of the Washington quarter.

Letter of the Day

posted by on April 13 at 2:11 PM

This arrived just now, April 13, at 1:38 pm:

SLOG TIP: Kurt Vonnegut is dead.

The Age of the Madeleine

posted by on April 13 at 12:23 PM

You can buy this madeleine for a buck at All City Coffee, Pioneer Square.
The main reason why madeleine’s are easy to find in Seattle is Remembrance of Things Past. A bite of the petite sweet opens one of the longest and greatest novels of the 20th century.

She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called petites madeleines, which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim’s shell. And soon, mechanically, weary after a dull day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate than a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place…
I bought and brought the madeleine to the office and had Jen Graves eat it, as I permit nothing except coffee to enter my stomach in the morning.


Jen took a bite but was not inspired to write a very long novel about how she became herself, an art critic. She was even not happy to bite the madeleine. It seemed like a waste of time to her. Indeed, the world of the madeleine has left us for good. Like some temple artifact that has survived its age of meaning at the total price of its religious power, the madeleine has survived its age at the sad price of persisting in a world that is dead to the novel.

Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream…

posted by on April 13 at 12:20 PM

…and it featured a whole bunch of gongs.


Thanks to everybody who came out last night to the Crocodile for the first-ever Stranger Gong Show, which was an effin’ blast. Extra-special thanks tinged with non-denominational worship for every single one of our brave and generous contestants—from the filthy-joke-spewing Easter Bunny to the unjustly gonged chicken-themed performance artist and everyone in-between—without whom the night never could’ve been what it was: a tornado of wonderfully talented freaks.

Among the surprises: the ferocity of the judges (who gonged a good half of the acts), the corresponding ferocity of the audience (who seemed to be taking their cues from Showtime at the Apollo), and the eternal surprise instigated by the question, “Do you have a talent you’d like to share?”

Among the highlights (for me, at least): the insane and largely indescribable Doors-themed performance poem of the grand-prize-winning Lizard Queens, the jaw-dropping riding-a-unicycle-on-a-tightwire-while-making-balloon-animals skills of Alooishus Von Bootcrack, and, my personal favorite, the young Ms. Patricia Douglas, who channeled the spirit of the original Gong Show’s legendary Gene Gene the Dancing Machine by kicking off her shoes and doing a full-on, this-is-how-I-dance-when-I’m-alone-in-my-bedroom blowout to Sheila E’s “The Glamorous Life.”

Ultimate highlight: The aforementioned ferocious passion displayed by both judges and audience, which created a vibe wisely identified by Stranger Gong Show mastermind Caroline Dodge as “totally un-Seattle.” It’s true: the points-for-trying condescension frequently displayed by Seattle audiences was nowhere to be found, or at least it was easily shouted down. And the passion ran in all directions: Yeah, lame acts were promptly gonged, but mind-blowing acts were treated to the type on long, hard, lusty screaming applause typically reserved for stadium rock stars. It was delightful, thanks again to all who came, and I imagine we’ll be doing this again sometime. We’ll keep you posted.

P.S. In case you haven’t already heard, Fnarf wore a suit and put quarters up his nose. It was entrancing.


Photos by Kelly O.

“Savage Love” Letter of the Day

posted by on April 13 at 12:17 PM

I loved your answer to HELP, the person who’s roommate is into BDSM porn. You actually helped me realize something about my own porn proclivities. Like any decent, upstanding, patriotic American, I like a little light bondage but I’d never been particularly interested in anything too hardcore or complex, usually finding it kind of silly. However, I just recently started looking into some BDSM porn sites and was surprised to find how much I enjoyed it. I think you put your finger on two reasons why. 1: Almost without exception, the models on BDSM sites are clearly actually getting off. That almost never seems to be the case with regular porn. While my suspension of pornographic disbelief is often enough to make even the most rote, passionless sex seem real enough to get the job done, there’s nothing like the real thing to get me really turned on.

2: All of the BDSM sites I have happened to check out bend over backwards (pardon the pun) to show that the sex is consensual. There’s always the conspicuously posted consent documentation you find on a lot of sites, but I often find that they’ll do things like show “after” footage of the models hanging out with their tormentors proving not only that it was consensual but also talking about how much they got into it.

I find that regular porn is often ironically far more degrading to women in general than the BDSM stuff I’m seeing. A lot of the time when I’m watching regular porn, there’s an underlying conflict going on in my feminist head as I imagine the circumstances that drove the poor model into the porn industry. I’m sure there are plenty of exceptions and I may even be deluding myself but I’d go as far as to say that the BDSM porn I’ve seen is somehow empowering for the models. Sure, the sex is degrading but it’s clearly a fantasy acted out under established and very protective circumstances that respect the boundaries and rights of the people involved. To me that’s hot.

Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing

Whatcha Doing?

posted by on April 13 at 12:13 PM

Well, it’s Friday, so I’m thinking LAUGH and then DRINK whilst jamming on some SEXY-FUNKY BEATS (DJ Freakazoid,presiding).

What are YOU gonna do?

My Pigeon

posted by on April 13 at 11:55 AM


So I wake up this morning and there’s a pigeon walking around on my deck. It won’t fly away when I try scare tactics. It flaps around, but can’t seem to achieve liftoff. It looks tired, perhaps injured. I call Brendan.

I’m not feeling hugely sympathetic toward this creature. I’m also not feeling ready to put my fingers all over a flapping, possibly injured bird first thing in the morning. I want the pigeon gone. I want it to stop shitting all over the place. But I don’t want to get my hands dirty, so to speak. I’m a heartless wimp.

I figure Brendan will be both heartless and ready to get his hands dirty. I think: Perhaps he’ll make a lunch of it. You know: snap the pigeon’s neck, pluck off its feathers, garnish with a sprig of parsley.

Or, at the very least, I figure Brendan will be supportive of getting this nonflying pigeon off of my deck somehow—either by carrying it down to the street for me or by tossing it over the side and letting it sink or fly, so to speak.

Harsh, I know. But the urban jungle is harsh. What else am I going to do? Nurse it back to health?

This, it turns out, is exactly what Brendan recommends. This man, who once stalked 12th Avenue in search of pigeon prey, now tells me to fetch a cardboard box and some breadcrumbs so that he can make a nest for my weakly flapping house guest.

How could I not comply? The urban hunter was more sympathetic than I was. I felt ashamed.

The pigeon gets 24 hours.

(Cross posted)

Should There Be A Moratorium on Nonessential Charlotte Brontë Paraphrases in Criticism?

posted by on April 13 at 11:55 AM

From Manohla Dargis’s review of Year of the Dog (which opens in Seattle next week):

What gets everything moving, including [the writer-director’s] somewhat sneakily or perhaps cautiously articulated intellectual interests (this is, after all, a studio-bankrolled comedy), is [the beagle] Pencil’s untimely death, which tears a hole in Peggy’s world and eventually her psyche. For Peggy, a woman who greets her beloved four-legged friend with a toothy smile that rivals the sun for warmth (Pencil shines right back), this isn’t the death of some adopted stray, one in a line of carelessly loved dumb beasts. It is a shock to the system, a life-altering tragedy, a terrible end that becomes—movingly, through one odd story kink after another—a radical new beginning.

Reader, she becomes a vegan.

Now, I am an ardent fan of the reigning queen of American film criticism. Especially that time she compared Santa’s bag of toys to a scrotum. This is a more general query.

Aren’t Jane Eyre paraphrases getting a bit tired? The, um, attempt at bathos (? I think that’s what’s happening here—“Reader, I married him” is this terse climax in the original; veganism is always good for a laugh) is overwhelmingly ridiculous. And it’s such a slutty phrase! As long as you start with “Reader,” pretty much anything goes—first to third person, slightly transgressive active verb to the flaccid “become.” And it’s everywhere. Unfortunately, Google won’t do caps-sensitive searches with commas, but trust me on this one. I’m sure I’ve done it myself.

Is it time for a moratorium on nonessential Charlotte Brontë paraphrases in criticism? Perhaps we can get with some Milton or George Eliot instead? “Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme”? “So spake the grisly Terror”? “Imagination is a licensed trespasser”? “Ignorance gives one a large range of probabilities”? There must be a solution.

Gong Show Rocked

posted by on April 13 at 11:54 AM


The Stranger Gong Show last night at the Crocodile was friggin’ hilarious. The over 30 acts were a mishmash of everything—earnest a cappella singers to freaky performance art to the Easter Bunny. The best acts had a definite shtick, even when their talents were questionable.

First prize—a giant package of tickets and gift certificates and $100—went to the fabulously entertaining Lizard Queens, “the Doors do performance-art spoken word” remembers judge Jonathan Zwickel. I thought people might fall over, they were laughing so hard during the act.


Some noteworthy also-rans: Fnarf putting 14 quarters up his nose, the slack-rope-unicycling balloon-animal tier, the “Glamorous Life” dancer, and the WTF?! woman regurgitating Twinkie bits for her rubber-chicken babies.


The audience was gustily participatory, both with the loving and hating, as well as freely expressing opinions on acts’ gong-worthiness. The judges were appropriately drunk and opinionated, throwing out one-liners and snap judgments. Host David Schmader kept things going, trying to keep bedlam at bay while soothing the hurt feeling of gonged-off participants, one of whom actually looked like he might hit someone.

Have no fear: Our video-production team is working on getting some video together for viewing soon.

Thanks to Kelly O for the photos!

Re: Rants and the Ranting Ranters that Rant Them

posted by on April 13 at 11:53 AM

Okay, make that 1.2 percent.

Real Change Vs. Weekly

posted by on April 13 at 11:52 AM

The feud continues. Weekly writer whines. Tim Harris of Real Change calls the whaaambulance.

Rants and the Ranting Ranters that Rant Them

posted by on April 13 at 11:50 AM

On Wednesday I tossed something up on Slog about my reluctance to wash my hands in the toilets on airplanes. (You have to touch the sink, the spigots, the soap dispenser—ick! My dick, I figure, is the cleanest thing in an airplane bathroom.) In the comment thread attached to that post someone—not a Stranger staffer, a commenter—suggested that some of the other comments were posted in the thread were written by Weekly trolls. Which prompted My Two Cents to make this comment:

You don’t have to be a “Weakly troll” to be sick and tired of all of the petty rants against the Weekly and every other paper in town lately. Do they think that these posts will boost their circulation? Yeah, right. All I can do is scroll through the crap and look for something more interesting.

The slog used to be a really fun destination, but now we have to endure this juvenile turf war, compliments of the “cooler-than-you” Stranger staff. I think that’s why there are so many negative comments these days.

The Slog used to be fun, way, way back before we started beating up on the Weekly and every other paper in town. But… uh… we were beating up on the Weekly and other fine local publications before the Slog came along. To me the amount of Weekly-and-every-other-paper-in-town bashing on Slog seems pretty minimal. (And necessary, as I’ve written in previous posts.) We have unlimited space here and we could post rants about other papers ten times a day, every day, if we cared to. But we don’t care to. We post about them once in a while—and they post about us every once in a while too. (Hi, Mike!) But is it really excessive? Or is this just a case of “why can’t we all get along” pansy-asses and Weekly trolls lurking in our comments trying to create the impression that we post rants about the Weekly and other fine local publications all the freakin’ time?

So I asked one of my subordinates—it’s good to be the king—to go through the last month’s worth of Slog posts and count up the total number, the number that ranted about other local publications, and give me some stats.

Okay, that was tedious… here’s what I found: I tallied all the Slog entries containing snarky comments aimed at the Weekly, the Seattle Times, and the P-I. I did not count mere mentions of these papers, or posts where we discussed serious issues therein—I only counted “look how lame they are” and “we scooped them” -toned posts. The rants.

In a three month period in 2007 (Jan-March), out of 1,881 posts, 21 were nasty toward another paper. That’s 1.1 percent of the total posts.

I looked at the same period in 2006 (Jan-March) and found something very similar: out of 1,625 posts, 18 (again, 1.1 percent) were mean-spirited or petty.

So: We’re about as mean as we ever have been, and we don’t target these newspapers all that often.

1.1 percent of posts—1.1 percent! And no spike in the number of “petty rants” over the last year. We get about 150+ posts up on Slog in any given week. So that works out to about one rant every week and a half. So quit whining, Weekly trolls.

Sonics Bill

posted by on April 13 at 11:35 AM

I was out too late last night at Schmader’s Gong Show to make this morning’s 8:30 Senate Ways and Means Committee meeting on the Sonics subsidy bill.

However, no gong for $400 million in public susibidies for the Sonics this morning. The bill made it out of committee.

Postman’s got some fat reporting on it.

Initially, it looked like Seattle Sen. Jeanne-Kohl Welles (D-36) was going to be the swing vote on it, putting her in the awkward situation of bucking big labor (the Northwest Labor Council supports the bill) or bucking Seattle—74% voted against subsidizing the Sonics last November. (Although, another labor group, the hard ball SEIU Local 775 is against the bill too.)

However, as Postman reports, Bellingham Senator, Republican Dale Brandland (D-42) eventually provided the vote to move the bill out of committee.

One of my favorite legislators, Republican-turned-Democrat, Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Medina) took the lead against moving it out of commitee.

I did get an interview with him today. Here’s what he told me.

I don’t think we should be subsidizing professional sports when we can’t pay our teachers. People don’t understand. We’re not buying the stadium. The ownership group gets the naming rights and seating licensing. All we are doing is subsidizing player payroll. Paying Ray Allen $16 million a year when we can’t eve pay a teacher $31,000.

… and another thing…

Key arena was just renovated 10 years ago. [Tom is right. And we’re still paying that off and more.] I don’t see us renovating schools every 10 years. There are schools in Seattle where you can’t even drink the water.

Sen. Tom said he doesn’t think the bill will pass the full Senate because everyone knows it’s not going to pass the House. (Speaker Chopp says he won’t give the bill the time of day.)

Tom says that passing the bill would “take away from all the good things we’ve done this session on education, transportation, and health care.” (The Dems have done some good things there: funding health care for low-icome children and getting money into school construction and education grants. Not so sure about the transpo piece.)

Tom says if they pass the bill the GOP will slam them, saying: “You’re funding stadiums not schools.”

I’m not sure the GOP, with its share of sports fans in the base, would go there, but perhaps Tom is right. After all, he used to be an R.

Tom also trashed Sonics owner Clay Bennett—saying “this isn’t who King County shoud be joining hips with.” Tom was referring to Bennett’s wife’s family, the Gaylords, a prominent Repbulican family, which owns the ultra conservative Daily Oklahoman. I’ve been talking to the Oklahoman Democrats about the Gaylords. More on that later.

Sen. Tom may be onto something. As I reported earlier this year, the new Sonics ownership has worked to deny rights for gays and lesbians (hello Storm.)

Gong Show Memoirs

posted by on April 13 at 11:35 AM

Oh, it was a beautiful night at the Crocodile. I was not there long. But I did see the ventriloquistish woman who allowed the tiny imaginary man inside her puffy-cheeked mouth to speak and sing his heart out.

I saw Jim Morrison and his mother. I saw a comic who made me laugh but whose jokes I do not remember. I saw a rhyming poet who is quite angry with the Bush administration and seemed scary in general. The gongers were afraid.

I feel I missed so much …

Oh, It’s On: PAM v. TAM

posted by on April 13 at 11:25 AM

A press release this morning announces that the Portland Art Museum will be expanding its biennial—which for years has been Oregon-only—to include the entire Northwest. Exactly what the biennial will look like will remain a mystery until this coming Monday morning, when the museum will unveil its “plans for a broader Biennial exhibition program celebrating the most compelling contemporary art of the Northwest” at a press conference in Portland.

I won’t be there, but I’m dying to hear PAM’s plans. Tacoma Art Museum has had a lock on the Northwest Biennial for the better part of two decades, and now a larger institution will step into the fray, giving TAM a run for its money. What will become of the two shows? How will their reputations and their values differ? Which one will be better?

It should be fun to see how it all plays out, considering how contested and overheated biennials get, and ultimately how important they can be seen to be. Also, will PAM’s plan urge TAM to revise the wrongheaded strategy that I believe it employed this year? We’ll see …

I reached TAM curator Rock Hushka on his cell phone in New York and delivered to him the news about PAM’s expanded biennial plans. “How fascinating,” he said. TAM has no plans to overhaul its biennial, he added.

But fascinating indeed.

Your Daily Chris Crocker

posted by on April 13 at 11:06 AM

Rock ‘N’ Roll Olympics, Episode 2: Andrew WK vs. Shane from the Divorce

posted by on April 13 at 10:51 AM

Welcome to our new video series, Rock ‘N’ Roll Olympics! In these videos we take “rock stars” that you may or may not have heard of and make ‘em do silly sports in an epic battle of the mind and spirit. Then we declare an arbitrary winner (in the endgame, there is no real winner).

Enjoy our second episode featuring Andrew WK (?) vs. Shane from the Divorce!

Make sure to check out our first episode with Leslie & the Lys vs. Scream Club while you’re at it!

Out of Africa

posted by on April 13 at 10:45 AM

Right here at the start I’m going to state that, hey, I don’t really know what the hell I’m talking about. I’m not an expert on Africa—but I have been a regular reader of multiple newspapers over the last 25-or-so years. And over that quarter of a century I’ve been reading pretty much the same stories about Africa again and again—you know: regional war, grinding poverty, famine, habitat loss, endangered species in decline, AIDS, “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” Bono, etc.

Anyway… Thomas Friedman wrote a column about Africa in Wednesday’s New York Times. (Can’t link—it’s behind the TimesSelect firewall.) He focused on Kenya and the impact that climate change is going to have on that long-suffering country. Kenya wasn’t in great shape to begin with and climate change is already fucking with the weather there—in ways that are potentially devastating for humans and wildlife. The rainy seasons are changing as “worldwide precipitation” shifts “away from the equator and toward the poles.”

Kenya also has to worry about deforestation and poaching, although poaching is now under better control. Kenya’s forests have been reduced from 10 percent of the country’s land-mass at the time of its independence in 1963 to 2 percent today, while in the same period its elephant population went from 170,000 to 30,000 and its rhino population went from 20,000 to around 500…

Climate change could worsen this…. Africa accounts for less than 3 percent of global CO2 emissions since 1900, the report noted, yet its 840 million people could suffer enormously from global-warming-induced droughts and floods and have the fewest resources to deal with them.

Sounds pretty grim. It makes a guy think that maybe buying RED t-shirts at the Gap and RED Nokia phones isn’t enough to save Africa after all.

Friedman’s column focused on the plight of wildlife and humans in Africa, and that struck me. When we talk about “saving Africa” we have two goals—goals that, when you pause to consider them for a moment, are in almost direct conflict. We want to save the wildlide—the elephants, the rhinos, the gorillas in the mist, and all the other endangered species on that continent. And what’s wiping them all out? Habitat loss and poaching. Basically, humans—Africans—are wiping them out.

The population of Africa in 1900 was roughly 108 million. Today it’s 840 million. If we’re concerned about saving the elephants and the rhinos and apes then we need to recognize that one of Africa’s chief problems is… well, all those Africans. It’s the overpopulation, stupid.

But we want to save the Africans too—from AIDS, from genocide in Darfur, from batshitcrazy Robert Mugabe. And we should not only want to save Africans, we should do something about saving Africans. But saving Africans isn’t in the best interests of all that African wildlife, our concurrent concern. They’re almost mutually exclusive. So what do we do?

It seems to me that we can save Africans and Africa by… getting Africans the hell out of Africa.

Back to Thomas Friedman:

The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just concluded that two-thirds of the atmospheric buildup of heat-trapping carbon dioxide has come—in roughly equal parts—from the U.S. and Western Europe. These countries have the resources to deal with climate change and may even benefit from some warming.

Gregg Easterbrook wrote an article in April’s Atlantic Monthly titled “Global Warming: Who Loses—and Who Wins?” (You have to be a subscriber to read the article on their website, but you can read letters about it here.) Guess what? We win—the northern hemisphere. Canada wins, parts of the United States wins (Alaska wins), northern Europe wins. Freakin’ Siberia wins—that frozen wasteland may become the breadbasket of the world.

In a March column in The Nation on how the west is reacting to falling birth rates, Katha Pollit wrote

If fears of population implosion result in paid parental leave, improved childcare and more support for mothers’ careers, it won’t be the first time a government has done the right thing for the wrong reason. But isn’t it weird to promote population growth while we wring our hands over global warming, environmental damage, species loss and suburban sprawl? The United Nations projects that in 2050 the world’s population will reach 9.2 billion…

Getting a better deal for mothers has been at the forefront of the feminist agenda for decades, although you’d never know it from the way the women’s movement is always being accused of attacking women with kids. So it’s ironic that what is finally driving at least some governments to act is the desire to boost fertility rates. The aim is to breed the next generation of workers—ethnically correct workers, too, not the troublesome immigrant kind…. [Why] not learn to live with [population decline]? Economically, the problem is a coming dearth of young workers to fund social security and care for an aging population. Yet while demographers fret about those unconceived second and third babies, every country on earth throws away plenty of children who are already here. Poor children, for example—why can’t they grow up to be those missing skilled, educated people and productive workers? What about the children of France’s Arab immigrants… The Gypsies of Eastern Europe… Vladimir Putin bemoans Russia’s free-falling population, but babies are still being stashed in his country’s appalling orphanages…. Instead of cajoling or bribing women into gestating the home-health attendants of the future, states should start treasuring the people—all the people—they have right now.

That includes immigrants.

Yes. We’ve got a birth-dearth in the west. The west has made a mess of the planet and the people of Africa in particular are going to suffer for it. And there are too many people in Africa, eating up habitat and poaching wild animals to survive. So why not… open the doors? Without a doubt tens if not hundreds of millions of Africans would welcome the opportunity to immigrate—legally, with dignity—to, say, Canada, Russia, the United States, Northern Europe. We shouldn’t force anyone to leave Africa—um, of course not, never again—but it seems pretty clear that, given the opportunity, many millions of Africans would willingly leave Africa.

And that would be good for Africans, good for Africa, and good—good penance, good environmental policy—for us.

‘A Junkyard of Humanity’

posted by on April 13 at 10:00 AM

If you haven’t read Sudarsan Raghavan’s terrifying Washington Post piece on yesterday’s Iraq parliament bombing, do so now.

Don’t Cry for Don Imus: He Has a Future in the Furniture Business

posted by on April 13 at 9:46 AM

When the new chocolate-coloured sofa set was delivered to her Brampton home, Doris Moore was stunned to see packing labels describing the shade as “Nigger-brown.”

She and husband Douglas purchased a sofa, loveseat and chair in dark brown leather last week from Vanaik Furniture and Mattress store on Dundas St. E.

Moore, 30, who describes herself as an African-American born and raised in New York, said it was her 7-year-old daughter who pointed out the label just after delivery men from the Mississauga furniture store left.

“She’s very curious and she started reading the labels,” Moore explained. “She said, `Mommy, what is nig … ger brown?’ I went over and just couldn’t believe my eyes.”

Hot tip courtesy of Fnarf.

Today in Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 13 at 9:30 AM

An Evening of Sin
(ART) An Evening of Sin revolves around Franz von Stuck’s most famous painting, the 1893 femme fatale nude Sin, which is just luscious and ridiculous enough to have made great album art for the right ’80s hair band. Stranger Genius Award winner Victoria Haven will talk, choreographer Zoe Scofield and her dancers will perform, and poets and breakdancers will join in. I only wish they were taking confessions, too. (Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave, 922-6250. 7 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES
Clear Cut Press Potlatch

Future So Bright: A Film with Live Soundtrack by Matt McCormick

(HAPPENING) This event has trouble describing itself. According to the invitation, it is a “maelstrom” in “a cathedralesque barn of a space” with a “steaming sulfuric acid bath.” Matt McCormick plays a new music and video piece. Matthijs Bouw gives a slide talk, Michael Brophy’s paintings are auctioned, DJ Masa mixes, and the few who made reservations eat dinner. (Chateaux [sic] Duwamps, 207 S Horton St. Dinner at 7, register at Auction/party at 8, no registration required. The invitation says: “Money will be recycled at the door.” We’re not sure what that means.) JEN GRAVES

More Rights for Gays and Lesbians

posted by on April 13 at 9:27 AM

In this week’s paper, I got an important fact wrong about the domestic partnership legislation— which passed on Tuesday afternoon.

I wrote:

the bill grants about 10 rights to domestic partners—such as allowing domestic partners to have hospital visitation rights, allowing partners to give informed consent in medical decisions, allowing partners to make funeral arrangements, and allowing partners to inherit property in the absence of a will.

That is true. However, I added:

The bill leaves a host (423 and counting according to the latest study) of other rights off the table, like access to a partner’s health insurance or pension benefits, the ability to file a wrongful-death suit if one’s partner is killed, and the right of “spousal privilege,” which would shield one half of a domestic partnership from being compelled to testify against the other.

While the new domestic partnership legislation does leave out over 400 rights, the bill was amended to include the right to sue for wrongful death.

Meanwhile, I’m happy to report the bill now includes two other rights that were not in the original version: the right to be named on a deceased partner’s death certificate, just like a spouse and (while a bit isolated, still important)—the bill gives gay or lesbian doctors the right of health care power of attorney for their partners.

Reports Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Seattle), the main co-sponsor of the bill in the House: “The existing law [said] that a health care provider cannot hold a health care power of attorney for another person unless that person is a spouse or blood relative. That has been a real problem for gay or lesbian couples where one is a doctor, because —contrary to what the opponents have been saying about how we could get all of the rights in the bill by private contract — the law actually prohibited couples from making arrangements to take care of each other.”

Can’t Afford a Seattle Condo?

posted by on April 13 at 9:07 AM

This is yet another sign of how expensive it’s becoming to own a house or condo in Seattle, and perhaps it’s also a sign of how salaries in this city aren’t keeping up with the cost of living here. But it’s a good development for a few lucky home buyers:

If you’re single and you make less than 80 percent of King County’s median income (which means you make less than $41,700 per year), then you now qualify for help from this home-buying assistance program.

What would that help look like? A grant of up to $110,000 that doesn’t need to be repaid.

Choice Chopp

posted by on April 13 at 9:05 AM

Ever since he discontinued doing “Media Availabilities” several weeks ago, the Olympia press corps has been griping that they can’t get interviews or even basic comments from House Speaker Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Seattle).

Seattle Times writer Nicole Brodeur even wrote a column today about staking out Chopp’s office and getting zippo.

I’ve got a feature on Frank Chopp in this week’s Stranger.

And while I also ran into a brick wall trying to interview Chopp—eventually relying quite a bit on quotes he had given me earlier in the session, like this obstreperous model Chopp moment—”Do you want agriculture to go under in this state? I don’t. Hell no. It’s too important for our state. [Ending business tax breaks] isn’t as clear cut as you think”—I did ultimately get Chopp on the phone for about 10 minutes earlier this week.

It was more of a lecture from Chopp than an interview, but here are some new quotes from the recently reticent Speaker:

But he said, “The caucus was still working something out.”
“The Republicans try to bring division between voters with wedge issues between urban and rural voters, between the environment and business. Well, we’ve had enough of that. We want to bring people together and balance different perspectives.”
(Chopp says the BIAW had nothing to do with his decision. The bill wasn’t ready for prime time, he says.)
“One legislator [Representative Bill Grant from Walla Walla] asked me to keep it alive and I did.”
But he said, “The caucus was still working something out. “There is significant opposition in the house and senate,” Chopp says. “In the house I could work it, but obviously I haven’t figured out a way to pass it.”
“I’ll try to resurrect it next session,” Chopp says.
“Representative Grant has a beef manufacturer in his district,” Chopp says.

Chopp also told me, regretting that the condo conversion bill got killed this session, that he was close friends with Seattle activist John Fox, the leader of the Seattle Displacement Coalition. Chopp said he recognized that Fox’s bill had serious merit. Fox was the lead advocate for the condo conversion bill. The bill would have protected displaced tenants and given cities the right to cap condo conversions. There were 2,352 condo conversions in Seattle in 2006—average price: $250,000.

The Morning News

posted by on April 13 at 7:04 AM

Investigations: The Republican National Committee is “missing” at least four years worth of e-mails from Karl Rove.

Apologies: World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz is “sorry” for giving a woman he was involved with an “automatic ‘outstanding’ rating and the highest possible pay raises during an indefinite posting at the State Department, as well as a promotion upon her return to the bank.”

Borders: Australia Prime Minister John Howard says his country’s borders should be closed to HIV-positive immigrants.

Porn: China is cracking down on internet pornography because it has “perverted young China’s minds.”

Apologies Part Deux: Having just been fired from the radio, Don Imus met with Rutgers women athletes yesterday.

Investigations Part Deux: The Pentagon has opened a criminal investigation into whether U.S. Marines fired into a group of civilians in Afghanistan last month.

Science: Protein has been recovered from the bone of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

New Chief in Town: The Seattle School Board has found their woman.

Rx: The Washington State Board of Pharmacy ruled yesterday that even freaked-out christians must fill prescriptions—even for Plan B.

Sexy Presidential Fact of the Day: From My Life by Bill Clinton:

What I had done with Monica Lewinsky was immoral and foolish. I was deeply ashamed of it and I didn’t want it to come out. In the deposition, I was trying to protect my family and myself from my selfish stupidity. I believed that the contorted definition of “sexual relations” enabled me to do so, though I was worried enough about it to invite the lawyer interrogating me to ask specific questions. I didn’t have to wait long to find out why he declined to do so.

From the Starr Report:

At about 10 p.m., in Ms. Lewinsky’s recollection, she was alone in the Chief of Staff’s office and the President approached. He invited her to rendezvous again in Mr. Stephanopoulos’s office in a few minutes, and she agreed. (Asked if she knew why the President wanted to meet with her, Ms. Lewinsky testified: “I had an idea.”) They met in Mr. Stephanopoulos’s office and went again to the area of the private study. This time the lights in the study were off.

According to Ms. Lewinsky, she and the President kissed. She unbuttoned her jacket; either she unhooked her bra or he lifted her bra up; and he touched her breasts with his hands and mouth. Ms. Lewinsky testified: “I believe he took a phone call … and so we moved from the hallway into the back office … . [H]e put his hand down my pants and stimulated me manually in the genital area.” While the President continued talking on the phone (Ms. Lewinsky understood that the caller was a Member of Congress or a Senator), she performed oral sex on him. He finished his call, and, a moment later, told Ms. Lewinsky to stop. In her recollection: “I told him that I wanted … to complete that. And he said … that he needed to wait until he trusted me more. And then I think he made a joke … that he hadn’t had that in a long time.”

Thursday, April 12, 2007

No End to the Imus Carnage

posted by on April 12 at 8:29 PM

The governor of New Jersey injured in a car crash—rushed to hospital with a broken leg, broken ribs, cuts, chest pain. And where was he going?

Mr. Corzine was on his way to Drumthwacket, the governor’s mansion in Princeton, for a meeting between the Rutgers women’s basketball team and Don Imus, the talk-show host who was fired on Thursday for making a racist and sexist remark about the players.

Yay, American Airlines!

posted by on April 12 at 5:10 PM


I’ve written elsewhere about American Airlines’ misguided attempt to market themselves to women by creating special dumbed-down search page for the ladies. (The search box is pink! And it doesn’t have all those icky “tools”! Tools are for guys.) BUT, I’m extremely excited that American is now offering a once-a-day direct flight from Seattle to Austin. (Or from Austin to Seattle, actually, since the flights are timed for Austin commuters to get here in the morning). I would go to Austin much more if it wasn’t such a hassle (even Texas-based companies like Southwest and Continental make you stop in Dallas or Houston, and don’t even get me started on Delta and United), so this is a really exciting development. Seattle, Austin, you’ve arrived.

Animals in the Art Gallery

posted by on April 12 at 5:05 PM

There’s a little stir up in Vancouver right now over an artwork by Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping at Vancouver Art Gallery. The piece is a container shaped like a turtle’s shell. In it are tarantulas, scorpions, crickets, millipedes, and lizards. The environment is bare, and the intervention nil. The animals are fed, but otherwise left to their own devices in their little microcosm. It’s called Theater of the World (1993).

This is far from the first time an animal has been seen in an art gallery. Just recently, the Vancouver Art Gallery itself showed Brian Jungen’s closed-off room containing birds resting on products from IKEA. Probably the most famous example is from 1974, when German artist Joseph Beuys sat in a gallery for three days with a coyote. Theater of the World is not Huang’s only piece with a live animal; another one involves a lone tarantula.

There’s something necessarily unsettling about animals in a gallery or a museum. They’re serving at the pleasure of humans. But the artists who use this device purposefully invoke its taboos.

I couldn’t find an image of Huang’s Theater of the World on the Vancouver Art Gallery’s web site, but here’s what the piece looked like when it was installed previously at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, which organized the traveling Huang retrospective:



In Vancouver, The Globe and Mail reports that animal activists have complained about Theater of the World on principle. But to me their view sounds like a prognostication based more on the bloodshed and devastation happening in the human world, rather than an understanding of the artist’s intent or the actual conditions in the gallery.

“It’s pretty clear that the intention is that the observer is intended to witness potential conflict between the animals, which frankly I think is kind of sick,” Mr. Fricker [of the Humane Society] said.

(The Globe and Mail also calls Vancouver “an animal-loving city”—is the implication that residents of other cities are coldhearted bastards?)

I haven’t seen the piece yet. To test Fricker’s hypothesis that it is nothing but a voyeuristic bloodbath, I called the Walker to find out exactly what happened inside the cage in Minneapolis. Did the animals kill each other? Was it like a Shakespeare play in the end, with no one left standing? When an animal was killed, was it removed for reasons of decorum or left as a tough testament to the authenticity of the artificial ecosystem? Did people torch the place? If the microcosm was a symbol for the world, which animal came closest to behaving like the United States?

Doryun Chong helped to organize the show at the Walker and is curating the international tour. (The 40-work show closes in Vancouver Sept. 16 and goes after that to Beijing.) He admitted that while the show has many works, Theater of the World was transfixing for viewers. “It’s kind of a showstopper,” he said. “You would see people going around the exhibition and they would just stop and congregate around it. And we had people coming back to see the exhibition because they were interested in seeing what was going on in Theater of the World.”

Hearing about Chong’s experience with the piece is fascinating. He learned that crickets are very resourceful—some mysteriously escaped from the piece, probably when the snakes were being removed to be fed or when water was refilled. He learned that hissing cockroaches and African millipedes are antisocial. They congregated in their own corners and hardly moved. Scorpions were the Americans of the bunch. They went after tarantulas. Most of the aggression was limited to the early part of the exhibition, when the animals were acclimating.

Chong saw a scorpion molting, its exoskeleton splitting open. It didn’t survive the process.

When the animals got killed or died, they were left alone, not removed. Some disappeared, having been eaten. Some died naturally, “and I couldn’t exactly tell what happened,” Chong said. “There were a lot of things that happened in there that I couldn’t understand how it happened.”

Chong said the fights were fascinating, but also a little scary. It sounded like the same could be said of the entire installation, of not knowing what would happen, of the mixture of artificiality and human control with alien animal instincts and natural orders.

The Walker got a complaint on its blog, and that blog commenter contacted the Humane Society and Animal Control shortly before the show closed; representatives from those organizations visited the show and approved the conditions. “On the one hand, I can understand the outrage, but human interventions are always interrupting ecological systems, and always creating new ecological balances, disruptions, and microcosms. We put animals to human use all the time,” Chong said.

Before the show began, curators met with Bruce, the owner of the local exotic pet store, in order to procure the animals. The artist based his list of animals on an ancient recipe from southern China for a magical potion—created by putting five venomous creatures (centipede, snake, scorpion, toad, and lizard) into a pot and leaving them there for a year. Huang also wanted locusts and spiders; he ended up with crickets and tarantulas.

The museum asked Bruce to be on-call constantly during the exhibition and to check in twice a week. For his part, he told the museum that he’d only feel comfortable providing animals if they all came from the same ecological region so that they weren’t entirely alien to one another. All the animals at the Walker came from Africa.

On the Walker’s blog (unfortunately, the Vancouver Art Gallery does not have a blog), Bruce issued a call for people to resist anthropomorphizing so much: “It gives people who go there and look at [Huang’s work] with an open mind the realization that, yes, they are predator and prey and they can cohabitate together—the lion sleeping with the lamb. Most animals don’t kill for the sheer pleasure of killing. It’s either defense or obtaining prey.”

Theater of the World just opened a week ago in Vancouver. The Vancouver Province reported Sunday that the museum was missing two toads. I called the museum, and spokesman Andrew Riley was cagey as hell (pun intended), probably tired of dealing with dim accusations regarding animal rights but coming off as defensive. He couldn’t say what was going on with any of the animals. For that I’d need to speak with chief curator Daina Augaitis. I waited all day. Unfortunately, she never called. At the very least, I can’t wait to hear more, and to see the show. Huang is one of the most radical artists to come out of China in recent years, and the Vancouver Art Gallery was smart to take the show.

More Responses to the Question: What Were You Doing When You Learned Kurt Vonnegut Died?

posted by on April 12 at 4:54 PM

Paul Collins, novelist, memoirist, lives in Portland: “I was signing on and saw it on the Gmail ticker, and I just sat there stunned for a minute, because it was Kurt Vonnegut who single-handedly made me want to become a writer in the first place. I’ve always been glad that I was later able to tell him this in person. But to your question: yes, I was staring at my computer. This is how I hear of most deaths. In fact, I don’t think I’d even be convinced of my own unless I got an e-mail about it.”

John Hodgman, writer, emcee, TV guy: “I was at Green-Wood cemetery in Brooklyn. I was doing a little cameo in the Flight of the Conchords show (if you do not know their work, I hope you will look into it). I felt very sad, obviously, but he leaves behind such a large and good body of work—not forgetting, of course, his cameo in Back to School—that I felt more of a kind of melancholy appreciation than shocked grief.”

Frances McCue, poet, essayist, lives in Seattle: “Well, I’ve just gotten in from my stepdad’s funeral on Cape Cod. It was in the same town where Vonnegut had lived for many years, the same town where I’d lived, as a child growing up with my grandparents. I remember that reading Slaughterhouse Five, my recollections of that town—a place where a drunk cop directed traffic and old barns turned into clothing stores—became smeared into one illusion. I swear that I can see him walking into the newsstand and I’m about seven years old, eating an ice cream on the bench outside. Hearing that he died, just this morning after coming back from that place, was really jarring. I loved how Vonegut never said the cliched thing, the ordinary thing—and yet he was so full of common sense. He reminded me of Jim Harrison.”

Bruce Bawer, political and cultural critic, lives in Norway: “I was at my computer, doing my daily round of newspaper websites and blogs. I saw the headline at the New York Times website, and immediately read Dinitia Smith’s article. Her line about how in the 1960s and ’70s “Dog-eared paperback copies of his books could be found in the back pockets of blue jeans and in dorm rooms on campuses throughout the United States” choked me up a bit, for mine was one of those dorm rooms. During my freshman year of college (1974-5) I devoured all of Vonnegut’s then seven novels, plus the collection Welcome to the Monkey House, and for months thereafter everything I wrote sounded like Vonnegut. Though his later books left me cold, and though in recent years I was reminded of his existence mainly by his occasional, cringe-worthy political comments, I still warmly recall the enthusiasm with which I gobbled up those early books in my now even more distant-seeming youth.”

Adrianne Harun, fiction writer, lives in Port Townsend: “Feelings? Shoot. When I was a little kid, we had those massive boxes of crayolas with a zillion colors and that lovely, absolutely ineffective sharpener in the side of the box. As I’ve grown older, I’ve seen a lot less variety of color in my life, and as these old guys like Vonnegut go, it’s as if another row has been extinguished. Vonnegut was one of those writers who seemed as if he’d always been here as a writer—and always would be. It’s always something of a shock to realize that one is gone—and then to realize too all over again the impact of the work left behind.”

John Olson, poet, lives in Seattle: “I had just gone to bed and turned the radio on to 1090 am to listen to Mike Malloy. I felt a jolt, a feeling that one of our last truly wise men was gone, and that the surrounding landscape of venal cowards and rapacious imbeciles had one less critic around to point out their foibles. Then I reminded myself that Vonnegut was 84 years old, a heavy smoker who wanted to sue the tobacco companies for not killing him sooner, and that his time was coming; that there’s a special providence in the fall of a Vonnegut. If it be now, it is not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come. Mortality is a bitch. The readiness is all.”

Paul Constant, Stranger critic, fiction writer, bookstore employee: “I was at work, at the bookstore, and so it was a good place to find out, I think. Everyone else seemed pretty sad about it, too. I feel very sad about it—he was the first adult author I’d ever read who was, you know, good. I didn’t want to Slog about it because I knew that everyone would either write ‘God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut’ or ‘So it goes.’ (‘So it goes’ is winning by a landslide, according to Google Blog Search.)”

The earlier responses today—from Jonathan Safran Foer, Miranda July, Deborah Jacobs, and lots of others—are here. I have been unable to think about anything else today.

Lifelong AIDS Alliance: Now Backing Sero-Sorting and Restraint

posted by on April 12 at 4:18 PM

I agree with Eli when it comes to writing about HIV/AIDS:

Writing about gay men’s health is one of the most repetitive and least rewarding types of writing I do. It’s repetitive because the fundamental dynamics affecting gay men’s health have not changed since long before I ever started in on the subject. And it’s unrewarding for the same reason: No matter what anyone writes, little seems to change.

Writing about HIV/AIDS is like banging your head against a brick wall—you get bloodied, the wall gets wet. And what’s left to say at this point? We need single-payer, national health insurance in the United States now; gay men need to grow the fuck up and stop whining (lesbians don’t run around claiming that homophobia drives them to use meth); African-American churches and communities have to choose between their hatred of homosexuality and the lives African-American women; if you’re HIV-negative condoms are a fact of life until you’re in a stable relationship with someone who is also HIV-negative (and trustworthy); it’s immoral—very wrong, super bad, really evil—to knowingly, maliciously, carelessly expose someone to HIV. End of discussion.

But for years HIV prevention organizations refused to tell gay men anything they didn’t want to hear—you couldn’t even get them to say that it was wrong to knowingly expose someone to HIV, or that they might not want to smoke crystal, or that it was possible to have too much sex, or that lesbians can’t get married either and you don’t see them jumping into slings at Club Z.

When you wrote about how, you know, fucked up it was that HIV prevention organizations seemed so unconcerned with actually preventing HIV infections—which required telling some gay men what they didn’t want to hear—people tended to yell at you, the writer, for being the bearer of bad news, the hanger-outer of dirty laundry, etc. Crystal-abusing, sexually-out-of-control gay men were the victims! We must attack the root causes—the homophobia, the culture, the church. Blah blah blah. We can’t talk about what we’re doing, or not doing, or our personal responsibility as gay men—to ourselves, to each other.

Eventually I stopped writing about HIV/AIDS. I figured that I had my say, made my points, and I was done. Oh, I have lots of friends with the disease, so I still thrill to every bit of progress made against the damn virus. I’m still hopeful that one day there will be a vaccine or a cure. And I’m still worried about what might happen when that vaccine or cure arrives (it can never be 1978 again, guys). And, of course, I still worry that I might one day contract the virus myself. So I’m only done writing about HIV/AIDS, not worrying about it.

As I long ago wrote off the efforts of our local HIV-prevention orgs (particularly the utterly useless Gay City, which limps along now in the form of a coffee shop), I stopped paying attention to the messages they pump out. The last time I looked at anything Lifelong AIDS Alliance’s prevention squad put out it was an absolutely idiotic campaign that made crystal meth addiction look somehow heroic, like a blow you could strike—or snort, smoke, or booty-bump—for gay rights.

So I was shocked when I stopped in Purr last night—a gay bar across the street from our offices—and found an actual HIV prevention put out by an actual HIV prevention organization. Here’s the front of the card…


Here’s the back…


The fortune cookie thing is a bit… odd. But the messages on the back—particularly the messages about sero-sorting and reducing your number of partners—are kick-ass, honest-to-God HIV prevention messages. Again, put out there by an HIV prevention organization. How long has this been going on?

When I suggest sero-sorting in my “Savage Love”—a.k.a. positive-positive and negative-negative partners—I get a lot of angry letters. Sero-sorting is a blunt instrument and it’s not always reliable, as not all positive men know that they’re positive. But it’s also been shown to be very effective. No HIV org came up with sero-sorting; gay men in SF and other cities started sero-sorting all on their own. It’s controversial because you can’t back sero-sorting without backing suggesting that HIV-negative men can or should “discriminate” against HIV-positive men. (Oddly no one objects when poz men discriminate against negative men; some negative men are willing to assume the risk of being with a poz partner; poz sero-sorters discriminate against these neg men.) Nice to see Lifelong backing sero-sorting equally, for positives and negatives. That’s brave.

Also praiseworthy is the advice to “reduce your number of sex partners.” For too long HIV prevention orgs told gay men that it didn’t matter how many men they had sex with, it only mattered how they had sex. But the more people you fuck—the more random, anonymous, or one-night hook-ups you have—the greater your risk of exposure. Period. Condoms break, condoms fall off, assholes that don’t care about you—the pool you’re drawing partners from if you’re having tons of sex (a pool that also has higher rates of HIV-infection to begin with)—tend to be careless about condoms. Some are just evil and remove condoms mid-fuck. So the more partners, the higher your risk of exposure—gay men need to be told that, again and again.

Discriminate against poz or neg partners; have fewer sex partners. These used to be controversial things to say. I know because I caused a lot of controversy when i said them. Hell, sometimes I still get shit for saying them. I’m pleased to see Lifelong saying them. Finally.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Olympics, Episode 1: Leslie & the Lys vs. Scream Club

posted by on April 12 at 4:02 PM

Welcome to our new video series, Rock ‘N’ Roll Olympics! In these videos we take “rock stars” that you may or may not have heard of and make ‘em do silly sports in an epic battle of the mind and spirit. Then we declare an arbitrary winner (in the endgame, there is no real winner).

Enjoy our first episode featuring Leslie & the Lys vs. Scream Club!

The next episode is coming soon! Stay Tuned!

Letter of the Day

posted by on April 12 at 4:01 PM

From The King and The Beast (of HUMP! infamy):

EDITOR: The Happy Lucky Place [home of The King and The Beast] has been harassed by Seattle police for almost a year and a half. Is there no one who will speak out for us? Is there no one to protect us?

It all started on new years day 2006. We found a crack head camped out in our basement. We asked him to leave. He refused. The police became involved. When they first arrived they began yelling at us. They told us they didn’t Like coming to this house. They apparently were upset about something that happen here 2 years before we moved in. They did remove the crack head, but they “Warned Us” (more like threatened) that if they ever had to come back to the house, They would “Make our Lives Miserable.”

The second time they came to our house we were having a small party in our back yard. They police informed us that we were being “too loud”. mind you, we could still hear the I-5 freeway next to us just fine. So I guess it was the level of the “noise” that was the problem, but the type of noise, which in this case was MUSIC. I guess the cops don’t like MUSIC. The police officer of course could do NOTHING, Because we weren’t violating any laws, and we never do. But that doesn’t stop them from coming over and yelling at us.

Since then, the police make regular drive by at the HLP. Scanning with there search lights. They come over and poke through our garbage. Look into our cars with flashlights. park in front of house and walk around our yard, when ever they have some free time.

On April 11, 2007, a street punk (or “ave-rat” as the are called) going by the name of “chase” trespassed into our house. He has been a problem before and told to stay way unless there was a party. He snuck into the house when everyone was asleep. Went into Ken “the King“‘s room (who wasn’t home) and took King’s paint ball gun and started firing at cars from the bedroom window. He took off soon afterwards with the gun.
Police burst into the house that day with out a warrant. Woke up the sleeping residents, interrogated them while they were still in there underwear. they then proceeded to “toss” the entire house.

For those of you unfamiliar with the word “toss”, It is a police term for “search”. But, when they “toss” they don’t just search the house, they empty all the draw throw the clothes and personal items all over the room, flip over beds, cut into mattresses, smash glass items. One of their favorites rummaging through women’s underwear. In addition to all of that, they opened up sealed boxes (including funeral ashes), attempted to open the safe, broke into locked briefcases, broke into roommates rooms who weren’t home, and searched through all the personal files on our computers. Please explain this to me. If you are looking for a “paint ball gun” why do you need to look at computer files?

We explained to the police about the trespassing and gave a description of “chase”. They refused to make a trespassing or burglary report. They then went next door to where our land lord was working and told him that he “HAD to evict us immediately or they would press charges against him”.

We have done nothing wrong. We have committed no Crime. Our rights and liberties are in no Way protected by the Seattle police. If a crime is committed against us we have no protection. Most of the crimes committed against us are committed by the Seattle police department.

On Friday May 4, we will be holding a protest against the Seattle police department at the HLP (414 NE 50th St.). The rally starts at 3pm and ends at 9:30pm. If you come please bring a sign and noise maker to show your support. Bring a camera and document the police response. We need all the news and media coverage we can get, so please inform your favorite paper or TV station. Please do not bring drugs and alcohol as the police will be there; we don’t need to give them any excuses. This is a peaceful protest. There will be LOTS OF MUSIC.

Happy Lucky Place: 414 NE 50th ST

Today on Line Out

posted by on April 12 at 3:47 PM

Here’s what you’ll find today in Line Out:

Sweet Water Reunion: Dreams do come true.

Rock & Roll Olympics: Episode One!

The Score: Additions to this week’s column.

Portland vs. Seattle: Modest Mouse doesn’t know the difference.

Making Friends: The Cave Singers haven’t signed to Matador, but Matador sure does think they’re swell.

Roof!: The memorable Moondoggies.

Banging the Band: Which band do you wanna have sex with?

Guitar Geek Out: Which stringed baby is your favorite and why?

Missing Mustaches: Muchtache rock without the mustaches? We Wrote the Book on Connectors say yes.

Kurt Vonnegut, the Doors: The Doors, Kurt Vonnegut.

Have You Tried Wilco?: Eric Grandy needs to chill out.

And now, at the request of Charles Mudede (who is currently singing Gwen Stefani’s “Holla Back Girl”), a picture of a baby baboon:


With Reference To Nothing

posted by on April 12 at 3:42 PM

Except, perhaps, that today is the 45th anniversary of the death of Sir Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya.

First: Some photographs, sent by a friend in Calcutta, India. As I scrolled past this one and this one and this one…


… I thought “yeah, yeah, Hindu swastikas, everyone knows about those.” But then, for the punch line, he included this one, which actually surprised me.

Second: This, sent by a friend in Bloomington, Indiana. Its pleasures can only be experienced, not explained:

Texting While Driving

posted by on April 12 at 3:23 PM

Today’s morning headlines announced the legislature passed a law making it illegal to talk on your cell phone while driving.

This afternoon, the Senate is hearing a companion bill that already passed the House 73-23, outlawing texting while driving.

Texting while driving? I can’t believe anyone has ever done that. But ECB tells me I’m an old fogey and people do it all the time. Hmmm.

I do know that ECB has texted me while biking!! Legislators?

No-No Most Popular Choice

posted by on April 12 at 3:14 PM

Wonk extraordinaire Clark Williams-Derry has crunched the numbers on last month’s viaduct vote. I can’t really explain it, so instead of pretending to do math, I’m going to cut and paste Clark’s post and send you over to Sightline.

Unfortunately, the King County recorded the votes, there’s no way to tell exactly how many people voted in any particular combination (yes-yes, no-no, yes-no, blank-blank, and so forth). The best I could do was to figure out the maximum and minumum number of people in each precinct who could have voted in any particular combination. Here’s what I learned:

* At most 24 percent of the electorate — and possibly as low as 0 percent — voted “yes” on both measures.
* Somewhere between 21 percent and 51 percent of the electorate voted “no” to both options.
*At most 4,624 voters, or 3 percent of the electorate, followed the Municipal League’s advice, and handed in blank ballots.
* Opposition to the tunnel was pretty close to universal: out of 984 precincts across the city, only 16 precincts reported a majority in favor of the tunnel. (Ouch.)
* About 30 percent of the precincts voted in favor of the elevated.

Now, as I was playing with the numbers, I noticed something kinda neat — if you average the minimum and the maximum in each vote category, you come pretty darn close to the total votes cast for each option. And that suggests that the average of the minimum and maximum gives a pretty good approximation for how people actually voted. The score:

* No to both: 36%
* No to the tunnel, yes to the elevated: 31%
* No to the elevated, yes to the tunnel: 16%
* Yes to both: 12%

(The remainder left at least one ballot blank — e.g., “yes” to the tunnel, abstained on the elevated.)

Read more sharp analysis here.

Et Tu Bright Eyes?

posted by on April 12 at 3:05 PM

Stranger Music Editor Jonathan Zwickel slipped me the new Bright Eyes album, and I was listening to it while blogging when something caused my homo ears to perk up. In the song “Hot Knives,” indie heartthrob Conor Oberst sings:

Give me black lights

Give me hot nights

On a dance floor

No one tells time

Yeah I’ve made love

Yeah I’ve been fucked

So what?

One more sign that black lights, hot nights on the dance floor, and butt sex are not just for the gays anymore.


Plan B Update

posted by on April 12 at 3:05 PM

Last summer, I was pretty freaked out about the state pharmacy board.

What a difference a few new board members make: Good news today.

Staying Alive: The Sonics Bill

posted by on April 12 at 3:01 PM

Sen. Margarita Prentice is holding an executive session in her Senate Ways and Means Committee on her Sonics bill tomorrow morning in Olympia, 8:30am.

To help subsidize the Sonics’ $500 million stadium proposal (new digs in Renton), Sen. Prentice’s plan would shift expiring Qwest/Safco taxes (a hotel/motel tax, an admissions tax, a car rental tax, a restaurant tax) and extend them to float owner Clay Bennett’s plan.

The Seattle Times reported yesterday that another portion of the tax—the sales tax, was taken out of the package.

It’s not clear how’d they’d make up for that money, though.

Apparently, Sen. Prentice has the votes on her Committee and in the Senate to send the bill over to the House. The word from Speaker Frank Chopp is that he will not move the bill.

If, weirdly, something actually does come out of the legislature this session, it will ultimately be up to the King County Council, who have pledged that they will not okay a subsidy without sending the question to the voters.

Sprinkler Bill Passes Senate

posted by on April 12 at 3:00 PM

Senate Bill 1811—the legislation that pushes back for two years a requirement that all bars over a certain occupancy and size install costly sprinkler systems—passed the Senate last night and is moving on to the House, where it already passed in a different form. (A business and occupation tax credit for businesses that install the systems was cut from the Senate version.) Gov. Gregoire is expected to sign the bill.

Hutcherson Says He Won’t Share His White House Tape (At Least, Not With The Stranger)

posted by on April 12 at 2:40 PM


If you’ve been following the strange saga of Pastor Ken Hutcherson’s travels abroad as a “Special Envoy” for the White House, you’ll remember that when this whole thing started, Hutcherson promised to produce a video tape that would prove the White House had given him the “Special Envoy” status he was claiming.

That was more than three weeks ago.

Since then, the White House has repeatedly denied that it gave Hutcherson any titles, “Special Envoy” or otherwise, in advance of his trip to Latvia.

There have been numerous accounts, however, of Hutcherson suggesting or outright stating that he was representing the White House as he lobbied against efforts to promote gay rights in Latvia. A local lawyer, Dave Coffman, has suggested that these claims by Hutcherson could have violated federal laws against posing as an official U.S. representative while abroad. Coffman filed a complaint with the FBI in late March, and said he received a follow-up call from the bureau on April 2. (The FBI will not comment on investigations unless charges are brought.)

Hutcherson, for his part, has maintained that he did indeed have support from the White House for his trip, and he has bridled at being called, in his words, “a liar.” As a German press agency reported in late March:

White House officials contacted by Deutsche Presse-Agentur denied that Hutcherson had any link with [the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives].

Hutcherson “was not appointed ‘special envoy’ by [the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives],” said White House spokeswoman Alyssa McClenning.

He has no official status or links with the body which would legitimately allow him to claim to represent the White House on a foreign visit, she added.

Hutcherson responded angrily to the comment, saying that he “did not appreciate being called a flat liar” and that the White House press office were unaware of his role.

Because Hutcherson himself set up the viewing of this alleged video as the proof that his version of events is true, I’ve been trying for weeks to get a look at the tape. I’m not the only one.

Hutcherson has been a hard man to get in touch with. However, I finally managed to reach him on his cell phone yesterday.

When we spoke, Hutcherson reversed course and said he had the video, but would not be showing it to me.

“Oh yeah, I have it,” he told me. But, he added: “My relationship with the White House is much more important than my relationship with you.”

Hutcherson said he believes that if he produces the video, it will be used to embarrass the White House.

“I’m not going to give you information so you can go and attack the White House,” he told me. “Either way you win.”

If he doesn’t show the video, he remains vulnerable to charges that it doesn’t exist and that he was exaggerating or outright fabricating his “Special Envoy” status. If he does produce it, he risks further eroding his relationship with the White House.

Hutcherson told me that he believes the director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives recently put out a statement supporting Hutcherson’s version of events. I can find no evidence of this, and it seems unlikely that such a statement would have been missed by the reporters who are interested in this story. A phone call (today) and an email (yesterday) to the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives requesting clarification on this point have not been returned.

That’s fine with Hutcherson.

“You tell the White House, if they’re not going to say anymore, that’s fine,” Hutcherson told me.

Hutcherson seems to hope this story will stop here, with him claiming the White House version of events is wrong and the White House declining to comment further.

Perhaps it will. Or perhaps he’ll be willing to show his alleged tape to a reporter for a paper that he isn’t so upset with.

Hutcherson certainly sounded fed up with The Stranger in our conversation yesterday, which was a dramatic change of tone. After calling me his “brother” in phone and email messages over the past weeks, he angrily told me yesterday not to call him anymore, said The Stranger had “attacked” him, and said he would be happy to show his video in a court fight against The Stranger—which I interpreted as a thinly-veiled threat of legal action against the paper.

I told him I was simply trying to follow up on a test he himself had set up: The alleged video.

“Brother, I’m not giving you nothing,” Hutcherson said to me. “Don’t call me. Bye.” And then he hung up.

Your Daily Chris Crocker

posted by on April 12 at 2:34 PM

This is the Chris Crocker video features his grandmother, mentioned in the “Your Daily Chris Crocker” comments thread yesterday.

Imus Is Off the Radio, Too

posted by on April 12 at 2:23 PM

Gawker has the memo from Les Moonves himself.

Slog Thanks You

posted by on April 12 at 2:18 PM

There’s a flattering story in today’s P-I about local blogs and how Slog leads the pack.

Sure, it was built on the success of Seattle’s popular alternative weekly, but Slog, chatty little sister to The Stranger, stands on its own as one of the most popular blogs in the city, with 3,000 RSS subscribers and 725,000 page views in March alone. Thirty-five regular contributors cover political scandals, nuggets of neighborhood silliness and what went down on “The Colbert Report” last night in the snarky, racy tone that has made parents steer tykes away from The Stranger’s newsstands since 1991. Always good for a smirk, the two-year-old Slog picked up street cred among local news outlets with its insider coverage of last year’s Capitol Hill massacre. The diversity of topics and seemingly incessant posting—five per hour is not unheard of—gets readers checking back.

I gave the reporter our readership numbers and hoped to get a peek at the same stats from other local blogs in return (finally! a hard indicator of how we’re doing versus our peers), but Slog’s were the only numbers that made it into the piece.

Slog’s birth and healthy adolescence resulted from relentless efforts by dozens of brave and prolific writers. Self-congratulation is frowned upon here (thank Savage and his Catholic upbringing), but dammit, I’m proud of us.

And of course, a blog with no readers is pretty much impotent—it’s you all that have made this blog such a success. Thank you for reading, for adding your comments, and for tolerating the disgusting stuff, the softcore porn, the petty whining, the narcissism, and that Donnie Davies period. We’re grateful for every one of you (except Shoshana).

Who You Calling A Butch?

posted by on April 12 at 1:54 PM

From the New York Post:

One of them was “slightly pretty,” so the freelance film director decided to say hi.
Next thing he knew, he was encircled, beaten and knifed in the gut right there on a Greenwich Village sidewalk - by seven bloodthirsty young lesbians.

“The girls started coming out of nowhere,” Dwayne Buckle told a Manhattan jury yesterday, describing the bizarre beat-down he suffered last summer, allegedly at the hands of a seething sapphic septet from Newark, N.J.

“I felt like I was going to die.”

Buckle, 29, of Queens, took the stand in Manhattan Supreme Court yesterday to admit he was defenseless and terrified after his simple “hello” spurred a predawn melee on Sixth Avenue at West 4th Street.

Later in the report:

The women, in turn, claim they were defending themselves against a violent, anti-gay bigot, and counter that Buckle provoked them as he sat outside the IFC Center movie theater trying to talk pedestrians into buying his latest movie.

When they rebuffed his advances - telling him he wasn’t their type - he began calling them “f- - -ing dykes,” they say. He then spat on them, threw a cigarette at them, and even grabbed on e of them by the throat - which, like much of the melee, was caught on an IFC video security camera.

“I’ll f- - - you straight, sweetheart,” he told defendant Venice Brown, 19, before choking her, her lawyer, Michael Mays, told jurors.

Buckle told a different story on the stand, assigning many of his alleged attackers monikers.

There was Brown, the one he admittedly called an “elephant.” Then there was the one with the “low haircut,” do-rag and wife-beater T-shirt, whom he admittedly called “a man,” and the “slightly pretty” one to whom he first said hello.

It all started, he said, when the first two walked by. “They looked effeminate [sic] and one of them was slightly pretty, so I said ‘hi’ to them,” he said.

But the “heavier girl, she started to dog me out,” Buckle said.

“What does that, perchance, mean,” asked the judge, Justice Edward McLaughlin. “Just disrespect me,” Buckle explained. Then “more girls started coming out of nowhere.”

Buckle admitted he retaliated, telling the one with the “low haircut” that “she looks like a man.” He felt spit on the back of his neck, and spat back.

That’s when the women’s fists began flying. “I had my hands in the air in defense of their blows,” he said. Then “I felt like a nick in my abdomen. I didn’t know what happened.

“Everybody just jumped me,” he added…

Despite the provocation:

Three of the original seven women are currently serving six-month jail sentences for attempted assault. But four others are on trial on first-degree gang-assault charges that could get them anywhere from three to 25 years in prison.

The accused ringleader - Patreese Johnson, 20, whom Buckle called the “slightly pretty one” - is additionally charged with attempted murder for allegedly pulling a knife from her purse and slashing Buckle repeatedly, lacerating his liver and stomach.

Even from this report, which favors the filmmaker, it is clear that he deserved the beat-down. Instead displaying his emotional wounds in public, he should thank the gods he lived through the punishment and move on.

Tonight! The First-Ever Stranger Gong Show!

posted by on April 12 at 1:39 PM


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

If you’ve got a unique and entertaining act—be it juggling, yodeling, clog-dancing, or really-fast-hot-dog-eating—it’s not too late to get in on the act. Just show up tonight at the Crocodile (2200 2nd Ave) anytime after 7pm to sign up. (All acts must run between 45 seconds and 4 minutes, and require less than two minutes to set-up. Also, no fire, and no kids—the Croc is a bar.) For full performance info, go here. Prizes include an array of Sasquatch, Bumbershoot, and Capitol Hill Block Party privileges and $100 cash!

If you just want to come watch, show up anytime after 7pm with your ID. The show is free and starts at 9pm.

In the meantime, please enjoy this archival Gong Show footage of a loony crooner. Also, host Chuck Barris is higher than anyone’s ever been. See you tonight!

Have You Heard About the Book?

posted by on April 12 at 1:36 PM

Golf-pants Ian wanted to know if I had “heard about the book.”
“What’s the book?” I slurred.

Last night at a bar, after many beers, a man I refer to as Golf-pants Ian told in hushed tones about “the book.”

Ian had seen a Craigslist post advertising a communal notebook tucked away on a park bench along Greenlake’s paved pathway.
The book, he said, was for people to write down their thoughts and observances as they watched ducks, joggers, and strollers pass by the bench.

I had to see this “book.”

I ventured out into the night, several friends in tow, wandering up the long concrete path that makes a wobbly circle around the lake.
There they were.
Two yellow all-weather notepads, secured by several feet of fishing line.
My quest had succeeded.
So I stole them.


I opened the first steno pad:

The Greenlake Preservation Society, in association with The Brown Eyed Handsome Man Corporation


(at Bench #1)

Addressing the intent of the books, the GRPS continues:

The short answer:
A place to write stuff down while sitting in this exact spot.
Then, a place to read what people have written while sitting here. It’s anonymous and fun!
Like the Internet, but less hi-tech.
Like a bathhouse, but less touchy-feely.

But we’re not really sure what this notebook is for.
The society and The Corporation have just noticed tons of people sitting on this bench, looking like maybe they needed a pen and some paper.
Other people have looked like that wanted something to read or some wisdom.

It could be all those people were just looking at girls, boys and/or dogs, but we thought we’d provide paper and a pen anyway.

What’s in the book?

Glad you asked:

I have a ass ake from riding a hard ass bike with my friend on the back


I can see a skeleton tree that reminds me of fall. When will it be warm and sunny! Lame Seattle…lame, P.S. Don’t drink water from Greenlake or you’ll get rabies and locust will devour your soul.

My personal favorite:

EASTER CONFESSION Yesterday I took my dog for an Easter morning walk from my house in Fremont to the U-District Big 5. On the way, my dog pooped so I cleaned it up and desposed of it in my neighbors garbage can left out for the garbage man. Big 5 was closed for Easter. Damn, I really wanted a carribeaner. On the way back my dog pooped again! This poo was of equal size or greater than the original. My pradinkadink was that I only brought one plastic bag with me on my Easter conquest. So I look left, I look right, shit! There are people who may have seen my dogs stinky loafs dropping. Think quick. I lean over the pile, pretending to grab something from my pocket, and pretend to be picking up the poo until the pedestrians pass. Phew. Then I walked home. To any readers in search of some vigilante justice, the poop at hand is located on the sidewalk grass on the north side of 43rd between 11th and Brooklyn.

Ian M.

I am a sucker for scatological humor.

I am also a total dick.
I shouldn’t have taken the books and I wanted to post an open letter that goes a little something like this:

Dear Greenlake Preservation Society,

I’m sorry I took your books.
I regret it and would like to profusely apologize.
If it is of any consolation, my hangover has been a truly punishing experience.

The least that I can do is link your website and promise that your books will be returned today.



Thanks to Golf-Pants Ian for the tip

Responses to the Question: What Were You Doing When You Learned Kurt Vonnegut Died?

posted by on April 12 at 1:19 PM

Jonathan Safran Foer, novelist, lives in New York: “I was writing, actually. Needed to look something up on the Internet, and my computer opens to GoogleNews. Made me sad.”

Deborah Jacobs, Seattle’s city librarian: “It was 5:15 am and the papers finally arrived. Coffee had finished dripping. As I took the New York Times out of the blue bag I saw his face upside down and knew why he was on the front page. I immediately poured myself coffee and sat down and read page one and went on to the C section. Didn’t feel like reading any more of the paper; thought about how I wanted to read him again, thought about Saul Bellow’s death two years ago, just about this time; thought about how when Jews and immigrants die their obituaries always include mention of libraries…”

Miranda July, artist, fiction writer, lives in LA: “I was driving from my boyfriend’s house to my house and I got teary-eyed.”

Stephen Elliott, fiction writer, essayist, lives in San Francisco: “I was in a coffeeshop (Ritual on Valencia Street) and I saw it on the front page of the New York Times. It continued in a full page spread in section C. I read the whole thing. I thought a lot about Slaughterhouse Five and what that book meant to me and a lot of people my age and older. I’m pretty sure I’ve read all of Vonnegut’s books. It’s devastating to think about, really.”

Nancy Pearl, action figure, former Seattle librarian, author: “I was driving to the U Book Store this morning and heard it on the radio, and I thought, oh no, another symbol of the 1960s is gone. And I remembered when I first read Welcome to the Monkey House and the rhyme in the first story—I think it’s the first story, I haven’t read it in years: ‘Cover yourself with Jurgen’s Lotion, here comes the one man population explosion.’ Funny what sticks in your head.”

Matt Briggs, fiction writer, lives in Seattle: “I was about to do my morning writing. I have to write for a living as a technical writer, so I try to do not-technical writing in the morning before I wreck myself on technical writing. Vonnegut worked as technical writer. I try not to check my email because then I find myself squandering my time reading obituaries or speculation about new Apple products. So I wasn’t really doing much of anything at all.”

Michael Wells, owner of Seattle bookstore Bailey/Coy Books: “I was in bed. I heard it on NPR when my alarm went off. I feel an affection for Vonnegut that I could never feel for other writers of his generation, even though it’s probably been 20 years since I’ve read one of his books. When Philip Roth goes down I suppose I’ll shrug and go on about my day. Susan Sontag, whatever. But Vonnegut… I’m a child of the ’70s so his weird black comedy sci-fi paranoia mixture really defined the world I was looking at. Reading his books in Normal, Illinois in 1978 made me feel subversive and strange, off-kilter and dangerous. A little crazy. Also, I went to school in Iowa City, where his presence was still felt in the Writers Workshop. Mostly for the famous Kurt Vonnegut Halloween Party which happened every year (at what was supposedly the house where he wrote Breakfast of Champions). It was a rite of passage for us corn-fed Midwestern undergraduate English students and it was a booze-filled, drug-fueled bacchanalia with bonfires and dark shadows and very loud music. It was a blast.”

Stacey Levine, fiction writer, lives in Seattle: “I was in the bathroom. I thought so fondly about Dr. Paul Proteus from Player Piano! It’s like he was an old friend. To read Vonnegut’s books was the raddest thing you could do, a long time ago. I didn’t know anything then and tried to adopt his downer but crazily-creative-in-the-midst-of-all-hell worldview. It was a solid 20th century philosophy.”

Scott Lawrimore, owner of Seattle art gallery Lawrimore Project: “I read it in the P.I. this morning at around 8:00. I was eating a cereal cocktail of Raisin Bran and Special K with Berries, while watching Saved By The Bell with KEXP on in the background playing something from the new Low album. My first instinct was to equate his death with the recent death of Sol Le Witt. I was trying to decide what role each has had in the development of my psyche—what they each contributed to my *personality.* I determined Kurt beat Sol hands down. Since they say death comes in threes, I was also wondering who’s next and how this little triad could possibly be built into some juicy conceptual framework. I’m hoping for Stephen Hawking. Should I feel wrong for saying that?”

Cienna Madrid, Our Worst EnemyTM at The Stranger: “Sitting at my computer in my pajamas trying to write something funny, but instead dwelling on the fact that my dad was diagnosed with MS yesterday. It seems that everyone I admire will soon be tap dancing with Jesus. I should never read the news for cheering up. On the bright side, I’ve been noshing on a giant Sees chocolate-butter egg for breakfast, and it’s fucking delicious.”

David Rakoff, essayist, lives in New York: “Dreaming of Dresden, oddly enough.”

Now That Was a Nightmare

posted by on April 12 at 1:18 PM

I had a terrifying dream last night.

I think it was somehow related to this:


And watching this:

Money for Your Life

posted by on April 12 at 1:08 PM

Today’s New York Times brings us a chilling snapshot of the US Army’s program to dole out cold hard cash to compensate for Iraqi civilians’ cold hard bodies.

Of the 500 cases released, 204, or about 40 percent, were apparently rejected because the injury, death or property damage was deemed to have been “directly or indirectly” related to combat.
Check out the article to view the claim form, written in English of course, and horrific excerpts of the claims, such as this one:
In the case of the fisherman in Tikrit, he and his companion desperately tried to appear unthreatening to an American helicopter overhead.

“They held up the fish in the air and shouted ‘Fish! Fish!’ to show they meant no harm,” said the Army report attached to the claim filed by the fisherman’s family. The Army refused to compensate for the killing, ruling that it was “combat activity,” but approved $3,500 for his boat, net and cellphone, which drifted away and were stolen.

And if that doesn’t shit on your day enough, you can use this searchable database, created by the ACLU, who requested the data, to read about each of the 500 persons’ undeserved injury or demise and the pittance their family received in exchange.

Poor Little Grindhouse

posted by on April 12 at 12:29 PM

All the film blogs are doing Grindhouse post-mortems (it earned only a “pokey” $11.6 million over Easter weekend), but if you’re a normal person, it probably does not surprise you that our aggravatingly religious nation was not about to plunk down ten bucks on Good Friday for 3+ hours (!) of Rose McGowan clomping around with a machine gun for a leg.

However, if you have any heart thumping in your chest, you will want to know how to stop the Weinstein brothers from inflicting their rotting vision (Miss Potter, Factory Girl) on the world. This New York Times article has hints. I have another: Avoid the 2008 meerkats doc like the plague. Meerkats are cuter than penguins. Meerkats are too cute for the big screen. You will go into cardiac arrest.


The Lesser City

posted by on April 12 at 12:17 PM

This is the Robertson Tunnel on the MAX Blue Line in Portlandia:
51369516_480104b540_m.jpg The train enters the 3-mile tunnel after the Goose Hollow stop and exits it shortly before the Sunset Transit Center. What is significant about this tunnel, what constitutes its monstrous power, is that it transports the riders from the city above to the city below.

The train leaves the sunshine of the city’s center and takes passengers down to its underworld, its suburb. Indeed, while in the rushing train, which has one stop in the tunnel (Washington Park Station), you can hear a thousand witches screaming from, and scratching with metal nails the concrete walls of, hell.

The haunting experience brings to mind a passage in Diana George’s short story Park and Ride Home: Greater Redmond 2099:

Formed in horror of the city, the suburb carries the city’s ghostly imprint… The word suburb, meaning “there where there is no place else,” is often thought to derive from the name for “lesser city.” In truth, the suburb was never the lesser city but that which had always slumbered or festered or shimmered beneath the city. This underside of the city retains its hold on us today, in the suburban buildings we drift in and out of in a state of inattention.

The basic and mythical movement from city to “lesser city” is, nevertheless, powerfully felt in the Robertson Tunnel, and it will take years, a new generation of city beings, a Copernican revolution of experiencing urban space, to weaken or eradicate the structure of this feeling. A Copernican revolution of urban space is precisely Mathew Stadler’s present mission. And it’s curious that the city he picked for this revolution has such a stable and convincing distinction between above-city, Portland, and below-city, Beaverton.

Super Majority for Simple Majority

posted by on April 12 at 12:10 PM

The Senate passed the House bill calling for a Constitutional amendment to lower the threshold (from 60 percent to a simple majority) to pass local school levies.

Now, the measure goes to voters where it only needs a simple majority to pass. To send a Constitutional amendment to voters the bill had to pass both houses with a two-thirds vote.

The House did so last month, easily clearing the two-thirds requirement with a 79-19 vote.

And the Senate just passed it this morning. Although, they just made it, with 3 Republicans voting yea, for a 33-16 vote. (Specifically, the bill needed 33 to pass.) Two Dems voted against it, including “Democratic” Sen. Tim Sheldon (“D”-35, Potlatch).

One of the Rs who voted for the Democratic priority bill was Sen. Cheryl Pflug (R-5, Maple Valley), who I had criticized earlier this session for her allegiance to the pharmaceutical lobby.

I was only able to watch some of the hearing on TVW leading up to the vote, and the part that I actually caught was Pflug’s speech. To my surprise, indeed, she was hammering away at how poorly our public schools are funded, recounting how her local HS footaball team had to play 20 miles away in a rented field.

She also credited Seattle for suing the state for failing to fund education. She concluded by dissing her fellow GOPers for pontificating about high property taxes, saying: “Enough pretty speeches. Let’s do our job.”

Hypothesis: I Am Invisible

posted by on April 12 at 12:09 PM


1. This morning, I did a Slog post at 9 am. I hit “publish,” assumed it went up, and went about my business. Two hours later, all evidence that my post had ever existed had vanished.

2. On my way to work, I saw the bus approaching. I made eye contact with the driver, waved at him, and ran the three blocks to my stop alongside the bus. Upon arriving at the stop, the driver took one passenger and drove away. I was fewer than 20 feet from the bus. I yelled, “Wait! Please!” He did not stop.

3. Afterward, I went to the coffee place by the stop. I stood in line for about 10 minutes while two 12-year-olds dithered about whether they had enough change to buy a grande frappuccino or a venti. I tried to get the attention of the World’s Slowest Starbucks Barista (isn’t the point of going to Starbucks that they’re fast?) but she didn’t appear to hear me. The super-slow non-express bus came. I left.

Conclusion: I do not exist.

Step It Up, Seattle

posted by on April 12 at 12:05 PM

Most of the news about climate change is bad.

On Saturday, there’s an opportunity to do something good.

Step It Up—a project spearheaded by The End of Nature author Bill McKibben—is holding more than 1,300 events in all 50 states on Saturday, April 14. The goal is to hold the largest global-warming action in US history and push elected officials to commit to an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050.

I don’t often recommend rallies—too often, they’re ineffectual groups of activists preaching to the choir—but this is one event you should attend. Our leaders are listening. Be heard.

(Not convinced? More info here .)

An Irresistible Combination of Titillation and Revulsion

posted by on April 12 at 12:04 PM

Today’s million-dollar question: If you had to “do it” with a band—every single member of a band—which band would it be?

Do the math (it’s gonna hurt—for every Robert Plant there’s a John Bonham, for every Carrie Brownstein, a Janet Weiss) then weigh in on Line Out.

Oh. Those Sad and Lovely Lumps.

posted by on April 12 at 12:01 PM

You’ve seen this, of course.


You don’t want no drama. No, no, no.

Local Farmers’ Market on the Move

posted by on April 12 at 11:50 AM


The fabulous Friday farmers’ market that has been providing locally grown delicacies at 20th Avenue and Madison Street during spring/summer is moving eastward. The new location is the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Union Street, in the parking lot of the Grocery Outlet.
A giant sign announces the opening on Friday, May 4, from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. Buen provecho!

False Rape Accusations

posted by on April 12 at 11:47 AM

So the Duke lacrosse players didn’t do it—that’s today’s big news.

Well, it was until a bomb exploded inside the building that houses the Iraqi parliament, killing at least three lawmakers—a building that is inside “the heavily fortified green zone. So it looks like there’s one less neighborhood in Baghdad that John McCain can freely stroll through.

Back to those falsely-accused Duke lacrosse players:

There was no credible evidence of an attack—there was no DNA evidence and no witnesses at the party who could corroborate the accuser’s account, Cooper said. The accusation also was not consistent with time-stamped photographs and phone records, he said.

A written summary of the factual findings that investigators relied on to conclude that no attack occurred will be released next week. Cooper added that perjury charges against the accuser were considered but rejected, because she appears to believe in her uncorroborated and sometimes contradictory accounts of a sexual assault.”

Prosecutors may, however, go after the prosecutor that brought the charges against the Duke lacrosse players—here’s hoping they do.

And at the risk of incurring ECB’s wrath, I gotta say that I think the stripper ought to be prosecuted too. Back in the bad ol’ days a woman who claimed to have been raped was not believed or blamed. That was wrong. Now accusations of rape are taken seriously, as well they should be. But the pendulum has swung so wildly that the presumption of innocence no longer exists for a man accused of rape. He’s guilty until proven innocent—that’s what the Duke lacrosse players were put through.

False charges of rape are so damaging, so potentially life-destroying, that they have to be regarded as criminal themselves. They are criminal—filing a false police report is a crime. I don’t think women should be in legal trouble when an accusation of rape can’t be proved—when it boils down to a he said/she said dispute—but when there is evidence that the charge was entirely false, when the issue isn’t murky consent but malicious fabrication, charges should be brought.

We don’t want to discourage women from reporting crimes, which was the case in the bad ol’ days. But we should discourage women—and men and children and pets and houseplants—from making false rape accusations.

Better to Rent or Buy?

posted by on April 12 at 11:41 AM

This story is now a day old, but I don’t think it got enough local attention (or any, as far as I can tell).

Yesterday, The New York Times announced that it had crunched the numbers and found that over the last two years, renting was a better bet than buying.

In a stark reversal, it’s now clear that people who chose renting over buying in the last two years made the right move. In much of the country, including large parts of the Northeast, California, Florida and the Southwest, recent home buyers have faced higher monthly costs than renters and have lost money on their investment in the meantime. It’s almost as if they have thrown money away, an insult once reserved for renters.

Granted, this finding represents a nation-wide view, and the Seattle real estate market, as everyone is always pointing out, is a bit anomalous. I don’t have time today to parse all the nuances of this story or figure out how well it applies to Seattle (if at all), but I bet our commenters do.

At the very least, I bet a lot of people will enjoy this fascinating online calculator, set up The Times to help you figure out if it’s better to rent or buy at your price range in your particular locale.

A Post About Two Things I Love

posted by on April 12 at 11:40 AM

First of all, I love this story about JoAnna’s Soul Cafe by Angela Garbes that is in today’s paper. I have a huuuuge hankering for catfish now, which will hopefully be sated this weekend.

Secondly, I haven’t been to a county fair in years, and I was thinking about it yesterday. Magically, this morning, this email arrived in my inbox:

The King County Fair will celebrate 145 years of family fun in July 2007! Mark your calendars for July 18-22, and set your sights on the King County Fair at the Enumclaw Expo Center (formerly the King County Fairgrounds), where you will find five days of non-stop entertainment, a brand new carnival, fair food, games, animals, exhibits, vendors and more! General admission prices are $8 for adults, $6 for children ages 6-12, and $6 for seniors 62 and over. Access to all of the stage entertainment is included with the price of admission.

What a glorious day!

O They Will Know We Are Christians By Our…

posted by on April 12 at 11:36 AM

shady bookkeeping

In a move filled with admonishments and anger, a federal judge overseeing the bankruptcy proceedings of the Roman Catholic Diocese here on Wednesday ordered an outside accounting expert to sort through what she called “the most Byzantine accounting system I have ever seen,” and to report directly to her.

The order was issued in a contempt hearing in which diocese lawyers and priests were ordered to explain why they should not be sanctioned for trying to move church money without court authorization.

The judge, Louise DeCarl Adler of Federal Bankruptcy Court, also said that she had not “foreclosed” on the idea of appointing a trustee in the case, an extraordinary move if executed. Judge Adler said that the diocese would have to resubmit documents describing its assets, and have them signed by Bishop Robert H. Brom under penalty of perjury.

…and the fact that it’s regarded as newsworthy when our priests rape children at less brisk a clip

Claims of Sexual Abuse by Priests Fall, Report Says

Bishop Gregory M. Aymond of Austin, Tex., who heads the bishops’ Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, said he was encouraged by the trend in numbers: 1,092 abuse claims in 2004, 783 in 2005 and 714 in 2006.

Still, Bishop Aymond called the findings “sobering” and added, “The fact that there are any recent cases at all is very disconcerting.” … More than 13,000 molestation claims have been filed against clergy members since 1950, and the bishops say abuse-related costs have exceeded $1.5 billion.

The Perfect Penis

posted by on April 12 at 11:30 AM

Does this guy have it?


Try To Do Something Nice for an Endangered Species and How Does It Show Its Gratitude?

posted by on April 12 at 11:28 AM

By gettin’ et.

School Levies Bill in the Queue

posted by on April 12 at 10:17 AM

Yesterday, I crossed my fingers that the Democratic bill that lowers the hurdle to pass local school levies (from a 60 percent vote to a simple majority vote) would come to the Senate floor.

The bill is on for this morning. It needs 33 votes (two-thirds) to pass because it is a Constitutional amendment.

Gawker Editor Reduced to Tittering, Eye-Rolling Goofball by Larry King Impersonator

posted by on April 12 at 9:23 AM

My morning stroll down Towleroad turned me on to this beguiling YouTube treat, featuring Jimmy Kimmel, guest host of Larry King Live, grilling a Gawker editor into giggly submission.

Is she really the most eloquent representative Gawker could find? Does she still have a job?

The Morning News

posted by on April 12 at 8:14 AM

Surge Meeting Surge: Two dead, at least 10 wounded after a bombing in the cafeteria of Iraq’s parliament building; at least 10 more dead after the bombing of a bridge in Baghdad.

Kurt Vonnegut Dead at 84.

People aren’t supposed to look back. I’m certainly not going to do it anymore.

I’ve finished my war book now. The next one I write is going to be fun.

This one is a failure, and had to be, since it was written by a pillar of salt. It begins like this:


Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time.

It ends like this:


Tour of Duty: Now three months longer.

Duke Lacrosse Players: After 13 months, all charges dropped.

Stem Cells: President Bush set to veto latest effort to ease federal restrictions.

Boob Off Boob Tube: Don Imus’s simulcast on MSNBC has been dropped.

Al Qaida, Ohio: Man from Columbus charged with aiding the enemy.

Sex Ed: Soon to be medically accurate in Washington State schools.

$101: How much using your cellphone while driving may soon cost you in Washington State.

Sexy Presidential Fact of the Day: From The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris:

The young couple [Theodore and Alice Roosevelt] took their departure around four o’clock, and traveled to Springfield, where Theodore had reserved a suite of rooms at the old Massasoit House. Later that evening he noted tersely in his diary: “Our intense happiness is too sacred to be written about.”

(Unfortunately that’s about as sexy as Teddy Roosevelt gets. Thankfully, Bill Clinton is tomorrow.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sex Ed Bill Passes

posted by on April 11 at 9:27 PM

The sex ed bill (mandating that sex ed be medically accurate and that abstinence cannot be taught at the exclusion of contraception) passed the House tonight, 63-34. It passed the Senate earlier this session 30-19. Onto Governor Gregoire.

I’d like to be thrilled about the news, but given that the bill has passed the House for several years running now (while traditionally stalling in the Senate), I actually thought it had already passed the House earlier this year. Some reporter I am.

Anyway. Three cheers !!!

Meanwhile: Rocky Horror Picture Show, people. That was my high school sex ed bill. (Hey, Allison.)

Sorry for the drunk post. A happy press release from NARAL, which has supported this bill for years, is linked below.

Continue reading "Sex Ed Bill Passes" »

Kurt Vonnegut

posted by on April 11 at 8:30 PM


In Other Imus News

posted by on April 11 at 7:09 PM

Guess who’s sticking up for this man:

Are you ready?


Today on The View (my favorite show that I’ve never seen) Rosie declared that Imus’s “nappy headed ho’s” comments were, and should be, protected free speech:

JAMIE-LYNN SIGLER: I think people who have a public voice just need to be conscious then of what they’re saying and the effect that it can have and understand that there’s going to be consequences if they say things like that.

O’DONNELL: Right, you just worry if the consequences, you know —

BEHAR: Because you could be next.

O’DONNELL: -impede upon- which is all right. If that happens, it happens. But the point of the story is, if it impedes on free speech in America, democracy is at stake. Because democracy is based on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. So we really have to worry about that in this country.


HASSELBECK: And we should be concerned and responsible without freedom too.

O’DONNELL: Right, but it’s not a freedom if you outlaw certain words or thoughts, because then the thought police come and then before you know it, everyone’s in Guantanamo Bay without representation.

Unfortunately I haven’t found any video of the conversation but I’ll post it if I do.

Via Newsbusters

Shut Up and Drive

posted by on April 11 at 6:09 PM

It’s not just a good idea. It’s the law.

After seven years of debate, the Legislature passed a measure that bans driving while talking on a cell phone with a bipartisan, 59-38 House vote. But Senate Bill 5037 would make driving with a hand-held cell phone only a secondary offense, which means drivers would not be ticketed unless they commit another driving infraction.

And drivers would still be allowed to use “hands free” cell phone devices like headphones or earpiece.

But studies show that “hands free” cell phone devices are every bit as distracting to drivers as cell phones. Hand-held or hands-free, using a cell phone will driving makes you more dangerous than a drunk driver. So what does this law achieve? Not much—it may, in fact, make us less safe.

Now when I see someone driving toward me holding a cell phone up to her fool head, I give her a wide berth. I think, “There’s a dangerous, might-as-well-be-drunk driver, and I’m going to keep an eye on that asshole and get the fuck away from her as soon as possible.” But once those same assholes are all using handhelds, I won’t be able to tell which drivers are might-as-well-be-drunk drivers and which aren’t. I won’t be able spot drivers I need to avoid on my bike, I won’t know at a glance who I can trust to see me in the damn crosswalk.

So come one, lawmakers, no half-measures here. If you’re going to ban cell phone use by drivers because it’s not safe then fucking ban it, period, hand-held or hands-free. Sheesh.

C’mon Fucker, DIE!

posted by on April 11 at 5:50 PM

Warning: this post is unimportant and of only moderate entertainment value, and that only to some. It’s not blood on the bathroom floor, but it’s close. Those whose time is exceedingly precious should go no further. Do your taxes.

Super Majority Needed for a Simple Majority

posted by on April 11 at 5:33 PM

The state Senate is great about keeping reporters posted on their voting docket as we head into the home stretch of the session. Sine Die (last day of the session) is April 22.

However, I keep waiting for the bill that lowers the hurdle for passing local school levies (from a 60 percent vote to a simple majority vote) to hit the Senate floor. The bill passed the House 79-19 in early March. Ironically, this vote itself needs to pass with a two-thirds majority in the Senate (33 yeas), as it did in the House, because it amends Washington’s Constitution. If it passes the legislature, a simple majority of voters would have to pass it as well.

This is a centerpiece item of the supermajority Dems’ agenda. Word from the Senate Democrats is that it might come up tonight. No word on whether they have the 33 votes lined up.

If it doesn’t come up tonight, “it better [come up tomorrow] … we’re running out of time,” one Dem staffer says.

Today On Line Out.

posted by on April 11 at 4:38 PM

The Lover Speaks: David Freeman’s Desperately Romantic New Wave Gem.

Danger High Volta: Björk’s Free Video Podcast.

Real Live Disco: Escort’s Disco Revival.

RIP, Joe Crawford: New Mexican’s Guitarist Killed in Hiking Accident.

Energy: Megan Seling Loves Operation Ivy.

Chuck Taylor, The Ramones, and AIDS: And All You Get Is This Crappy Shoe.

Concerted: Communicating With Elbows.

Gush Gush Gush: Band of the Week, Levi Fuller.

Booze and Fake Boobs: Ponys and Deerhunter at Neumo’s.

Walkabout: Optimo’s New DJ Mix.

ALL ONE!: But I Thought Punks Hated Soap…

Louvin It: Kim Hayden on Charlie Louvin.

Mordor’s Muzak: Embalmed’s Orc Juice.

And now, nature’s frightening grampa, the Wolf Eel:


Vulcan Trolling on 2200 Westlake Blog?

posted by on April 11 at 4:36 PM

This week I reported on a lawsuit against the developers of Vulcan’s 2200 Westlake project, detailing the many problems that have arisen since its staggered opening in the fall of 2006. During my reporting, I spoke with Alex, a resident at 2200, who anonymously runs the blog Fast Times at 2200 Westlake.

When I interviewed Vulcan, I cited Alex as one of my sources inside 2200. Subsequently, several comments appeared on Alex’s site challenging him to reveal his identity and attempting to discredit him:

One truth I have been dying to find out is your true identity, Chucky. For some one who is interested in the truth, it is unnerving to listen to someone who hides behind a false identity.

Alex checked the IP addresses the comments were posted from.
According to Alex, his search revealed that the comments were coming from the offices of Vulcan Inc. and their PR team at The Fearey Group.

[An] anonymous comment[er]…is logging on from The Fearey Group is a PR agency that represents Vulcan, as evidenced from their website. It is distasteful that Vulcan and Fearey have decided to troll this blog and attempt to discredit me and the discussions that we (owners, future residents, local area residents) are having. I am extremely disappointed in Vulcan that they have chosen this path. I urge them to listen to the concerns on this blog instead of trying to silence them. Vulcan: You’ve already got your payment from all the condo residents here! We can’t exactly ask for a refund, so what do you have to lose?

I attempted to contact Vulcan and The Fearey Group to comment on Alex’s claims but my calls were not returned.

Wavery Canadians

posted by on April 11 at 4:35 PM

So, Northwest Film Forum has been doing this series on Canadian nouvelle vague-inflected films from the sixties. It is awesome. Due to an ill-timed editorial meeting, I missed the press screening for the movie screening this week, Nobody Waved Goodbye. Apparently every other film critic in town did too, because when I went to see the movie last night, the lone press clipping posted on NWFF’s window was my sad rewrite of their calendar boilerplate.

Let me make amends. Don Owen’s 1964 film Nobody Waved Goodbye, financed by an unwitting National Film Board (which thought it was producing a documentary), is a slangy juvenile delinquency tale about a gap-toothed smart aleck named Peter (Peter Kastner) from the Toronto suburbs. Peter takes his father’s car for a joyride, is arrested for reckless driving, and spends the night in jail. Let’s just say he doesn’t quite get the message. The movie is unimaginative visually—actually, it reminded me of Mutual Appreciation, with its I-hate-personal-space close-ups and negligent mise-en-scène—but the acting is top-notch and the dialogue is hilarious. It’s definitely worth catching, especially if you’ve seen Rebel Without a Cause too many times and are still feeling restless. Showtimes are 7 pm and 9 pm tonight at Northwest Film Forum.


Today I went back to the Film Forum to see next week’s entry, Michel Brault’s Entre la mer et l’eau douce. Apparently the francophones totally get mise-en-scène: There are so many amazing shots in this film, from the boatload of freshly cut logs making the voyage from the Quebec hinterlands to a doorway crowded with three fleurs-de-lis—in two corners of the molding and on a banner hanging just between them on a hallway wall. The plot concerns a sexy country boy named Claude Tremblay (Claude Gauthier) who goes to stay with his brother in Montreal for the winter, working petty jobs as he tries to make it as a folk singer. The road to fame is strewn with pretty girls: the Native woman he was embarrassed to be seen with at home, the waitress and dance instructor who hooks him up with an agent, the TV personality with an unhappy marriage. The story is sort of unsatisfying, but it’s so beautiful you won’t care. Entre la mer et l’eau douce screens next Tuesday and Wednesday at 7 and 9 pm.


And the week after that is the most amazing movie in the series, better than even the amazing Le chat dans le sac: The verité (which is to say, surely partially staged and definitely operatically edited) documentary A Married Couple, by the director of Warrendale.

Dept. of Troubling In-House E-mail Part Two

posted by on April 11 at 4:23 PM

To: Editorial
Subject: Coat Rack

I broke it.

Don’t ask.

The H Word

posted by on April 11 at 4:16 PM

One thing that has troubled me (and others) during this whole Don Imus scandal is the media’s willingness to use the word “ho” when quoting Imus’s racist, misogynistic tirade. Why are words like “bitch” and “ho” acceptable material for “family newspapers” while words like “nigger” and “faggot” get rendered “the n-word” and “the f-word”? (Here’s an example from the Seattle Times that ran just today.) Is it because the latter terms are degrading to African Americans and gay men, respectively, while the former are “only” degrading to women? (Come to think of it, the high-minded Seattle Times uses the term “dyke” without asterisking out any letters, too). Personally, I’m all for judiciously quoting racist (and sexist, and anti-Semitic…) remarks without any hankie-clutching redaction: The more Imus gets quoted, the more his racism and misogyny gets exposed (and discussed) for what it is. But it seems pretty hypocritical for so-called “family” newspapers hypocritical to print slurs against women while redacting all the others.

Dept. of Self-Indulgent Slog Posts

posted by on April 11 at 3:29 PM


From the comments:

I don’t care about Stranger employees hand washing habits, smells or menstruation cycles. STOP IT ALREADY! It’s very self indulgent. Please show some restraint.

Darn. I was just sitting down to write a long post about how I don’t wash my hands after I use the toilet on an airplane because I figure my dick has to be the cleanest thing I might touch in one of those toilets.

End Game

posted by on April 11 at 2:55 PM

From the BBC:

Last month, the Chinese authorities banned any new cyber cafes from opening this year in an effort to combat addiction. It has also set up a department, charged with monitoring the content of games.

Games which offer a view of history at odds with the official version in China, such as the Swedish game Heart of Iron which shows Tibet as an independent state, have been banned.

Boot-camps have been set up to provide military-style training in an effort to wean youngsters away from the net.

Though not mentioned in this report, one of the reasons for the clamp down on the amount of time Chinese youth are spending online on games was the shocking, and recent, death of a young man from “game exhaustion.” He spent such a long time in the world of the game that his body in the world of things collapsed. Those familiar with the 18th century Chinese novel Hónglóu mèng, will recall the sick young man, Chai Jui, who died from spending too much time in a magic mirror given to him by a Taoist sorcerer. In the mirror, he was fucking a fantastic creature (Feng-chieh), while in the mirrored/actual world, he was wasting his body and ejaculating on himself for no apparent reason. It was a sticky situation for his relatives.

Finally the mirror dropped, and then there was no movement. When [Chai Jui’s parents] came up to look, he had already ceased to breath. The lower part of his body was icy cold and moist; he had emitted a large mass of semen. He was at once hurriedly dressed and laided out on the bed. Tai-ju and his wife cried themselves into hysterics and pronounced great curses on the Taoist. What magic was this which he had practiced?

The mind and body can only live as one.

A Cloud of Words

posted by on April 11 at 2:26 PM

tag cloud.jpg

Just found this on this fascinating blog about the hows, whats, whys, and whatthefucks of online tagging. It may sound boring, but people creating their own taxonomies is pretty radical. You create the hierarchy or refuse to. You ascribe meaning or deny it. You shhh those rowdy kids in the corner or you join them. We’re all librarians now.

And as for the Presidential speech tag cloud (what an ingenious visual metaphor, by the way), you can scroll through the years and watch the shifting patterns of light and shade, slavery and territory, war and economy, family and debt, strength and freedom. It’s an almost-visceral experience that left me curiously moved.

Dept. of Troubling In-house E-mail

posted by on April 11 at 2:15 PM

To: Editorial


Subject: Unpleasant Situation

Hello 2nd Floor Denizens,

This is a difficult email to write, but the time has come.

A couple weeks ago, I encountered blood on the bathroom floor. Not wanting to touch it, but not wanting anyone else to have the same unsettling experience, I cleaned it up. Today [REDACTED] encountered the same thing. Blood on the bathroom floor and some on the toilet. Left there, for the rest of us to enjoy or avoid at our own discretion.

First of all, I hope that everyone here is okay and not bleeding profusely from some horrible stapler accident or friendly punch to the nose from a co-worker. These scenarios probably not being the case, I move to admonishment. What the hell?! This is absolutely ridiculous and absolutely unacceptable. It is unsanitary, inconsiderate, and makes me think badly of everyone who uses the restrooms on this floor.

Stop this behavior. If you make a gross mess, clean it up. Don’t leave it for others to make it magically disappear. Our cleaning service comes twice a week. If [REDACTED] did not take it upon herself to clean and disinfect the area, it would probably have remained like that until Sunday when our crew comes again.

I would really like to not have to deal with this situation again. Be an adult and clean it up.

Changes for Chang’s

posted by on April 11 at 1:26 PM

According to a graffiti-covered land use action sign, the long-empty Chang’s Mongolian BBQ on Broadway will soon be torn down and replaced by a six-story, 65-unit apartment building with parking for 66 cars. According to Sound Transit, the former Chang’s will soon be torn down and replaced with a light rail station.

The debate over what will happen to the site (and another across the street) has been complicated by land-use changes on Broadway that allow developers to build more-valuable six-story buildings; previously, buildings on Broadway could only be four stories tall. The change could enable developers, claiming they plan to build, to get a higher price from Sound Transit for their property. Hugh Schaeffer with Driscoll Architects, which designed the six-story building and is pushing it through the city’s land use process, says the architects have “never talked to Sound Transit. We were hired to design the building and we did.” A final design review meeting is scheduled for April 18.

Sound Transit made its final offer to the owners of the property and filed for condemnation late last year. According to Sound Transit spokesman Bruce Gray, the dispute is scheduled to go to trial in August; however, he adds, “we’re hoping that we can come to an agreement before then.”

UPDATE: Soul Force at SPU

posted by on April 11 at 1:25 PM

[Originally posted at 11 a.m.]


I’m at Seattle Pacific University this morning, listening in as the gay rights group Soul Force lectures the students of this Christian university on the many ways in which accepting gay people is not incompatible with their faith. Above is one of the Soul Force “Equality riders.” Her group has been traveling the country doing these types of lectures at Christian universities, and sometimes getting arrested.

SPU has taken a different approach, welcoming the Soul Force people onto their campus as a way of showing that this university is “grace-filled.” Does that mean that SPU thinks being gay is compatible with Christianity? No, it does not.

The forum I’m sitting in will involve a presentation by Soul Force, a counter-presentation by an SPU professor, and then a question and answer period. I’m pretty skeptical about all of this. I admire the effort the Soul Force people put into these events, but personally, I don’t understand why a gay person would waste his or her time trying to argue against Biblical literalism.

Biblical literalism is not rational, therefore it doesn’t respond to rational argument. End of story.

In addition, the rubric of the “Equality Ride” is of course intended to echo the anti-segregation Freedom Rides of the 1960s, but there’s a big problem in this comparison: Gay people who willingly attend anti-gay Christian universities today are not in the same situation as blacks in the South in the 1960s. The difference is very obvious: If gays and lesbians don’t like the inequality they experience at Christian universities, all they have to do is leave them.

Here’s a picture of an SPU student who asked one of the questions at this event:


UPDATE: After the discussion, I talked with a young woman who had been sitting next to me taking notes during the presentations. Her name is Tiffany Gathers. She’s a 21-year-old sociology student (with a minor in educational ministry) and she wasn’t at all persuaded by Soul Force.


“I didn’t exactly feel like the arguments held a lot of ground,” Gathers said. She believes the Bible is the literal word of God. Being gay, she told me, “is something that Satan places on you.” But, she added, it’s also a choice that a person can refuse.

She told me she’s “not a gay-bashing person,” and that she might support gay marriage if it was state-sanctioned and religious groups weren’t forced to marry gays in religious ceremonies. I asked her if she could point me toward a gay person at SPU. “No one really knows who the gay people are here,” she replied.

It wasn’t hard for me to spot the gay men at SPU. I walked up to one and asked if I could speak with him. Then I asked if he was gay. He replied: “Yes, but not here.” He wouldn’t let me take his picture, but he did allow me to take a picture of his shoes.


The young man is 19 years old. “I don’t really like this university at all,” he told me. “But I attend because I love Seattle, and I love the people I’ve met here.”

He’s from California, from a conservative Christian family that sent him to therapy when he came out. His mother, he told me, wouldn’t pay for his college education unless he was attending a Christian university. He’s not comfortable on the SPU campus, he told me, and can’t wait to get out.

“Next year is my last year, thank God,” he said.

I also ran into a gay man who dropped out of SPU because he felt uncomfortable on campus, but came back for the forum. His name is Jimmy McKay:


McKay is 21, and now attends Seattle University, a religious university where he says he feels comfortable being out. He left SPU, he said, because “I didn’t see why I should pay so much money to an institution that didn’t support a big part of me.”

Does he think the event today was worthwhile?

“It might not change anyone’s mind,” he told me. “But it will help them to put a face to people who are gay instead of holding on to their stereotypes.”

Hey, Supermajority Democrats!

posted by on April 11 at 1:16 PM

A bill to keep tabs on corporate tax breaks by including those de facto expenditures in the budget, died in the House this session.

The bill, pushed by the liberal Tax Fairness Coalition, had 17 co-sponsors, including lead sponsor Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos (D-37, South Seattle). Sanots’s bill was passed out of the Finance Committee to the Rules Committee, but leadership yanked it from Rules and sent it back to Finance, where it’s now, reportedly, wasting away.

Mucus: Now 50 Times More Adorable!

posted by on April 11 at 12:34 PM

As regular Last Days readers are aware, I have some serious problems with Mucinex’s use of anthropomorphic mucus in their television commercials. It was bad enough when the ads centered on just one walking, talking mucus wad—who looks and acts suspiciously like Danny DeVito—and things got worse when Mr. Mucus took a bride. (Snot can get married but gays can’t?)

Naturally, Mr. and Mrs. Mucus started a family, and today brought a plush novelty version of the Mucus family’s beloved son to my desk.


Now I can stare at the snotty offspring of mucus all day long, and give him a squeeze whenever I’m feeling jittery.

Speaking of squeezing things, the Boy Mucus doll was accompanied by a stuffy nose key chain, which, when squeezed, produces a snot-like goo.


Thank you, Mucinex, for fulfilling a variety of novelty mucus needs I didn’t know I had. Next on my wish list: A blow-up sex doll version of that horny Nasonex bee.

(Thanks to Joe Joe for the swag, and to Kelly O for the photos and finger-modeling.)

Re: Teaching While Black

posted by on April 11 at 12:13 PM

Rajnii Eddins, the 26-year-old African-American writer and teaching artist arrested by police for a disputed obstruction charge (Eddins said he was trying to calmly inquire about the arrest of one of his students, the police report said he was being “non-compliant,” you can read about it here), had his arraignment yesterday.

He plead not guilty. His case goes to trial May 29th.

Eddins, a slam poet, has taught and led writing workshops at Seattle Public Library, Seattle Art Museum, schools, and (ironically) youth detention centers, mostly through youth-advocacy organizations like Arts Corps whose director, Tina LaPadula, attended the hearing. She said the place was packed with Rajnii’s supporters—old and young, black and white and Hispanic and Asian, men and women. “It made me teary,” she said.

LaPadula also reminded me of this story, about another Arts Corps teaching artist who got arrested (and beaten) when he questioned a police officer who was giving somebody else a hard time.

An Irresistible Equation

posted by on April 11 at 11:36 AM

Paris Hilton plus Nicole Richie plus Susan Powter plus enemas equals TV garbage heaven.

Full story here.

Under New Management

posted by on April 11 at 10:02 AM

… New Times’ Seattle Weekly takes on the little guy: How contrarian. How interesting. Real Change’s Tim Harris responds.

Your Daily Chris Crocker

posted by on April 11 at 10:01 AM

Congress: Abstain From Funding Abstinence Education

posted by on April 11 at 9:08 AM

This is going to break your heart: The right-wing quacks, religious abusive parents, and fundamentalist fuckwits willing to gamble with the health of young people—assholes that believe it’s better for teenagers to have unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, and cervical cancer than to have access to accurate information about birth control, disease-prevention, and life-saving vaccines—are crying to the media about the possibility that those big meanies in the Democratically-controlled congress are going to cut their funding.

Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation promoting comprehensive sex education instead of abstinence-only curriculum. They want to send money to schools that stress abstinence while also instructing students about the health benefits and side effects of contraceptives.

Besides opening their own trade association, abstinence educators hired a public relations firm with a long list of Republican and conservative clients….

Currently, Congress uses three different programs to fund abstinence education. The largest of those programs has gone from $20 million to $113 million in seven years. President Bush is requesting $141 million next year.

The second largest pot of money, $50 million, goes through the states, which match that funding with $3 for every $4 they get from the federal government. The programs teach that sex outside of marriage is likely to be psychologically and physically harmful….

Wade Horn, who oversaw the two largest abstinence education programs until he resigned last week, predicted Congress will give states more flexibility in determining how Title V money is spent.

But he doesn’t believe Congress will make major funding cuts.

“I think it’s going to evolve, but I don’t think it’s going to go away,” he said. “I’ve seen some bills introduced by Democrats that suggest they want a separate fund dedicated to comprehensive sex education, but my sense is that it won’t be at the expense of abstinence education. I think it’s a matter of both, not one or the other.”

Hilarious. When Republicans were in control of Congress the abstinence-only crowd insisted that it had to one program—their program—never both. Never mind that their programs were backfiring everywhere. Teenagers subjected to abstinence-only education do not abstain from sex until marriage—and when they do become sexually active they were less likely to use birth control and condoms and, consequently, get themselves knocked up and infected with various STIs at higher rates than teenagers that receive comprehensive sex education.

Sorry, Wade, but there isn’t room for both—Congress should cut all funding for abstinence-only sex “education.” It was a grand experiment, a nice way for the corrupt Republicans to funnel money to the religious right, as well as a full-employment program for sexually stunted Jesus freaks terrified of their own desires. But guess what? Abstinence education hurts kids. Kill it, Nancy. Kill it, Harry.

The Morning News

posted by on April 11 at 7:49 AM

The Drumbeat of War: U.S. General William Caldwell accuses Iran of supplying weapons to Iraqi insurgents.

The Search for a War Czar: The Bush administration is looking to appoint someone, anyone, as head of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So far three four-star generals have declined the position.

Pink Slips: Citigroup, American’s largest bank, is cutting 17,000 jobs.

Democracy in Action: Investigation into voter fraud may, in fact, be a fraud.

Battle of Algiers: At least 17 dead after a bombing in Algeria linked to al Qaeda.

Ship, Sinking: Staples and Procter & Gamble have yanked their advertising from Don Imus’s radio show.

Good News for Gays and Seniors: The domestic partnership bill passed the state House yesterday, awaits signature from Gov. Gregoire.

Sea Sickness: Scientists are left scratching their heads as seabirds continue to wash up on beaches in alarming numbers.

Scrap Yard Sting: Local metal-recycling yard shut down, accused of “trafficking in stolen property.”

Sexy Presidential Fact of the Day: From John F. Kennedy: A Biography by Michael O’Brien:

At the age of seventeen, Ralph Horton related, Jack lost his virginity. Horton already had some experience with sex; now it was time for Kennedy and Billings. All three took a cab to a whorehouse in Harlem, and after watching a “dirty show,” for three dollars Jack had sexual relations with a white prostitute in a room. Billings followed suit. Billings and Jack returned in a panic to the apartment of Horton’s parents in New York. “They were frightened to death they’de get a VD,” said Horton. “So I went with them to a hospital…where they go these salves and creams and a thing to shove up the penis to clean it out.” Subsequently, though, Jack would adopt a far more casual attitude toward venereal disease.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Two Meetings

posted by on April 10 at 10:49 PM

…Two projects with lots of neighborhood opposition.

The first, a proposed four-story garage on the west side of the Woodland Park Zoo, was the subject of a meeting of city council member David Della’s parks committee earlier this evening, where dozens (and dozens, and dozens) of speakers lined up to express one of two points of view. According to one group, the zoo garage is an absolutely necessary amenity that will benefit the neighborhood by providing necessary parking for visitors to the regional facility, many of whom now park on residential streets. According to the other, the zoo garage is a blight that will sap the neighborhood of its character and cater to cars at the expense of innovative solutions—like a shuttle—for moving people in and out of the zoo.

Slightly more speakers seemed to oppose the garage than supported it, although those who spoke in favor of the new garage uniformly described the zoo as a regional facility that serves families, the disabled, and out-of-towners who simply can’t or aren’t willing to park on city streets and walk several blocks to the zoo. (Never mind that visiting the zoo itself requires walking, or at least exposure to the elements.) Steve Leahy, president of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, said that the garage would be both less “intrusive than some people may fear” and necessary for those who drive to Seattle from other cities. Others, such as erstwhile council candidate and former parks commissioner Bruce Bentley, cited the “need to serve all the families in our city.” And still others, such as former zoo board member Maggie Walker, argued (somewhat incredibly) that the parking garage would allow people to more easily drive to the zoo to experience plants and animals, thus promoting environmental awareness and conservation.

It won’t surprise frequent Slog readers to learn that the arguments against the garage, although frequently shrill, struck me as far more compelling than the arguments in favor. Neighborhood residents argued that the garage was unnecessary, because of the ample amount of street parking in the area; typical was Phinney Ridge resident Irene Wall, who told the council that “the residents of Phinney Ridge have made it clear that we are willing to manage more cars in our neighborhood.” (Her lengthy tirade was cut off repeatedly by Della, a garage supporter.) Another Phinney Ridge resident, Esther Barfteld, said “free parking [on neighborhood streets] is just too tempting” to make a four-story paid garage pencil out. Several others argued against building a monument to cars and global warming in the middle of a park in the self-proclaimed greenest city in America. Seattle “has made a strong commitment to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions,” said Rob Johnson, policy director for the Transportation Choices Coalition. “I think that requires a lot of really tough choices.”

I could have listened to lots more along those lines, but I had to run out the door to make it to the POWHAT (Pine-Olive Way-Howell-Area Triangle neighborhood association) meeting on Capitol Hill, where residents and couple of business owners gathered in the chilly basement of the Capitol Hill Presbyterian Church to discuss strategies that could improve the block-long development on East Pine Street between Summit and Belmont, where seven small bars and retail businesses currently stand.

The meeting, led by the indefatigable Jennifer Powers, was by turns depressing, combative, and hopeful—although, ultimately, mostly the former. The problem with strategizing against a massive development is that the law is always in the developer’s favor—developers have the money, the permits, and the ability to more easily prevail in court if challenged, making it hard for a little neighborhood group (at its strongest, the meeting numbered 30 folks) to wield much leverage against even the most egregiously out-of-character development (and this one, if ever one did, fits the bill). Powers began the meeting by tacitly acknowledging all that, saying, “If we just go, ‘Oh, [the development] makes us cranky and we hate it,’ no one’s going to listen.”

A few things emerged during the meeting.

1) The design for the block is getting worse, not better.

The latest renderings show a six-story, block-long structure with tiny balconies, several different colors of siding (how original!)and almost no green or open space. “It doesn’t fit into the neighborhood so well,” Powers said. The developer’s plans would require four variances from city regulations. First, the developers want out of the city’s Green Factor standards, which require the building to meet certain green-building standards. Second, they want to take up more of the lot than the maximum allowable depth. Third, they want to provide only half the open space required by city regulations. And fourth, they want to reduce the sight lines around the large entrance to the underground garage to less than the city minimum.

2) The city’s design review process offers very few opportunities for meaningful opposition, a fact that frustrated some residents and led them to lash out at developers and developers’ lawyers in attendance.

“The whole thing has to pencil out,” said Liz Dunn, a member of the Pike-Pine Neighborhood and developer of several buildings that feature local business on 12th Avenue. “They’ve paid a fortune for the land. That deal is done.” Dunn’s comments prompted a tirade from hill resident Dennis Saxman, who accused Dunn of “saying this deal is done and so there’s no point complaining.” After Powers had restored order (which took a while), Dunn suggested that Capitol Hill activists consider pushing for a conservation district, which would allow the neighborhood to restrict certain types of signage but would be less restrictive (and easier to obtain) than historic-district designation. “It turns out that when you eliminate a lot of signage criteria you eliminate a lot of chain stores, because [bright plastic underlit signs are] their corporate signage,” Dunn said.

3) Variance requests by developers give neighborhood residents leverage. The developer’s requests to be exempted from local land-use laws aren’t automatic, and neighborhood residents could (and should) use them to their advantage. Whatever the neighborhood ultimately decides is most important—green space, or neighborhood-friendly retail, or soundproofing in new condos—the best leverage they have is the variances from city rules the developers are requesting.

Let’s Pretend We’re Married

posted by on April 10 at 6:39 PM

The House passed the domestic partnership bill 63-35. It passed the Senate 28-19 last month. So, now it’s off to Governor Gregoire’s desk. She has said she supports the bill and is expected to sign it.

Sponsor, gay Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Seattle), already coming off of last year’s gay civil rights bill, issued this statement:

In 1998, this Legislature shamefully blocked the door of equality for gay and lesbian families,” said Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, the bill’s prime sponsor. “With the passage of this legislation, we begin to slowly open that door and provide much-needed protections for the tens of thousands of gay and lesbian families in Washington. This marks a beginning – not an end – of the work ahead us in achieving full marriage equality.

Protections offered under SB 5336 include: hospital visitation rights, the right to make health care decisions for an incapacitated loved one, the right to make funeral arrangements funerals and inheritance rights when there is no will.

I did a longer interview with Sen. Murray (who voiced concerns about the political strength of the gay marriage movement), and that interview will be in tomorrow’s paper.

Meanwhile, this evening’s press release also gives the microphone to the lead sponsors in the House, gay Reps. Jamie Pedersen and Rep. Joe McDermott, both from Seattle.

Our dialogue with the public has been successful,” said McDermott, noting that a public opinion poll conducted by independent pollster Stuart Elway in early February found nearly 60 percent of Washington voters approve of same-sex domestic partnership rights. “Marriage equality is still the goal, and so the conversation continues.”

And Rep. Pedersen:

“The Legislature passed the so-called ‘Defense of Marriage Act in 1998 and codified discrimination against gay and lesbian families,” said Pedersen. “The state Supreme Court upheld discrimination last summer and now the Legislature is responsible for correcting the injustice. This bill includes only a small fraction of the rights and protections associated with marriage. Each year, we will be back to add more of those rights and protections until the public understands that it’s only fair to allow gay and lesbian people to marry.”

Late-Breaking Congratulations

posted by on April 10 at 4:58 PM

I love the daily featured videos on ArtsJournal—little bits of Joshua Bell playing his violin or Joan Didion talking about turning The Year of Magical Thinking into a play.

Today’s feature is Jen Graves and Kelly O’s video interview with SAM conservator Nicholas Dorman, who talked about restoring The Triumph of Valor Over Time which was painted by Tiepolo, the Venetian son of a sailor who also painted this:


Excepts from Awake!, a Magazine Someone Left Two Copies of on a Bench in an Oregon Train Station

posted by on April 10 at 4:37 PM

Over the weekend I had to kill a half hour in a train station in Oregon. There were these two copies of a magazine called Awake! sitting on a bench. On the cover of one is a crying little girl in a pink shirt and, in the corners, images of explosions, helicopters, tornadoes, and flooding. The cover text: “WHY?” And in smaller letters: “Answering the Hardest of Questions.”

Intrigued, I flipped it open right to an article titled “Young People Ask… How Can I Conquer This Habit?” The accompanying photo is of a man sitting in a leather chair with his chin in his hand. The first sentence:

Perhaps you, like Luiz, have been enslaved to the habit of masturbation. You know that Jehovah would be pleased with you if you resisted the urge and exercised self-control, a fruit of God’s holy spirit…

Jehovah? Oh, Jehovah! As in the Witnesses! Those crazy kids known for “door-to-door preaching, their objection to blood transfusions, and for not celebrating birthdays or holidays.” (And also smelling weird and being opposed to their children going to college and learning things, if the few of them I’ve known are any sample.)

Naturally, I was riveted. Third paragraph:

If your feelings are similar to those of Luiz, Pedro, or André, take courage. You’re not alone, and your case is not hopeless! Many young people—and older ones—have struggled with masturbation and have been able to overcome it. You can too.*

The asterisk corresponds to this footnote:

Although the people quoted in this article are males, many females also struggle with masturbation. Hence, the advice given pertains to both genders. Note, too, that this article discusses masturbating oneself. Doing it outside of marriage to another person is included in what the Bible calls fornication, a very serious sin in God’s eyes.—See the article “Young People Ask…What’s Wrong With Premarital Sex?” in our issue of July 22, 2004, pages 12-14.”

Person who left these magazines for me on the bench, why oh why couldn’t you leave the July 22, 2004 issue? I want to read what’s wrong with premarital sex!

One more quote from the article and I’ll let you have your Slog back:

One Christian who struggled with masturbation for several years commented: “How I wish I could have summed the courage to talk to someone about it when I was a youth! Feelings of guilt plagued me for many years, and it seriously affected my relationships with others and, above all, with Jehovah.”

Mmm. Yeah. But it’s okay One Christian. Just don’t go to college or get a blood transfusion and I think Jehovah will be okay with you.

Man, I feel so alive after reading this magazine. I feel like a youth again!

Who Loves the Electoral College? Not Maryland.

posted by on April 10 at 4:30 PM

In a bid for more attention (eventually) one of the states that tends to be most overlooked by prospective presidential candidates has approved pulling out of the electoral college altogether:

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland officially became the first state on Tuesday to approve a plan to give its electoral votes for president to the winner of the national popular vote instead of the candidate chosen by state voters.

MoveOn’s Virtual Town Hall Meeting

posted by on April 10 at 4:15 PM

It’s live online now. Listen here.

The topic is Iraq, and the guests, in order of appearance, are: John Edwards, Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, and Barack Obama.

Domestic Partnerships Update #2

posted by on April 10 at 3:45 PM

The House is voting on the domestic partnership bill this afternoon. There were 56 co-sponsors for the original bill in the House (today’s vote is a House vote on the bill that cleared the Senate in March ). So, it seems like a sure thing.

Congrats to gays, lesbians, and het seniors.

The bill would grant about 10 rights to domestic partners—like allow domestic partners to have hospital visitation rights; allow domestic partners to give informed consent on hospital decisions; allow partners to make funeral arrangements; and allow domestic partners to inherit property in the absence of a will.

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

The key legislators on the bill, Sen. Ed Murray (D-43, Seattle) and Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Seattle), are taking a bite size approach and promised in January, when they introduced the legislation, to come back for more bites next year… and the next…

As for you weirdo straights under 65 that just. don’t. want. to get married, well, SOL.

Today on Line Out

posted by on April 10 at 3:12 PM

Andrew W.K. Mystery: Is there a partying impostor? Ari and Eric try to crack the case.

Welcome Home, Trashies!: Their final corn-dog-fueled installment from the road.

Whole Lotta Guitar Lessons: Become the next Jimmy Page.

Grand Archives (Again): Sub Pop, not surprisingly, snatches up the local buzz band.

Before Lady Marmallade: The man behind the hits.

Attention Vinyl Lovers: New blog on the block.

And now a moment of cuteness from this baby hedgehog:


The Shift

posted by on April 10 at 2:42 PM

Not the US but the EU is the terminal of history. Fukuyama:

The End of History was never linked to a specifically American model of social or political organization. Following Alexandre Kojève, the Russian-French philosopher who inspired my original argument, I believe that the European Union more accurately reflects what the world will look like at the end of history than the contemporary United States. The EU’s attempt to transcend sovereignty and traditional power politics by establishing a transnational rule of law is much more in line with a ‘post-historical’ world than the Americans’ continuing belief in God, national sovereignty, and their military.
Even Hegel, the inventor of the philosophy of history, thought America would be the place where the end would happen.

Why the confusion and constant adjustments? The problem in all of this is the notion of the end itself. Fukuyama just has to let it go. The adjustments and modifications wont stop until he lets the idea go and comes up with a completely new one. One that begins by seeing there is no end in sight, no end to “the voiceless wailing,/No end to the withering of withered flowers,/To the movement of pain that is painless and motionless,/To the drift of the sea and the drifting wreckage…” Not an end of anything but a constant addition to everything. Jean-Luc Nancy is right to speak of the restlessness of history, rather than its completion, its return home, its end.

Is the Andrew W.K. Who Performed at Chop Suey Last Week an Imposter?

posted by on April 10 at 2:26 PM


Go to Line Out to weigh in.

Cheap Beer Leads to Violence

posted by on April 10 at 2:16 PM

A study conducted by Cardiff University and published in Applied Economics has established a strong link between the price of beer and violence.

The researchers examined admissions to 58 hospital accident and emergency departments over a five year period and found that as the price of beer increased, violence-related injuries decreased.

In general, studies have found that alcohol consumption increases both the risk of being a victim of violence and the perpetrator of it. There are three main theories on why alcohol and violence are linked: i) due to the drug effects on the brain; ii) because people use alcohol as an excuse for violent behaviour; iii) because people who use alcohol might be more likely to be violent, perhaps due to personality factors like sensation-seeking, impulsivity or risk-taking.

As Andrew Sullivan points out, similar studies on the use of marijuana have not been conducted, nor would our government fund one, because pot—pot use—is not associated with violence. Alcohol makes people aggressive while lowering their inhibitions—an explosive combo in some. Pot, on the other hand, mellows people out while making them hungry. So which would you rather have, say, your teenage son experiment with? Pot or beer?

I say pot—and I said it on Fox News when Skipping Towards Gomorrah was published, which damn near caused Judith Regan’s head to explode.

Nothing to See Here…

posted by on April 10 at 2:15 PM

Two Seattle cops under investigation for botching a Belltown drug bust have beaten the rap, but it’s still unclear what happened during the bust.

The inquest started after an African-American man in a wheelchair claimed the officers planted crack rocks on his lap and then arrested him using excessive force. Those allegations were followed by decisive action: dismissal of the man’s case, suspension of about 17 other cases, and an internal investigation of the two officers’ conduct. But the investigation found one misstep punishable only by letter of reprimand.

Chief Gil Kerlikowske said both claims proved to be unfounded. “I can tell you this case was investigated very thoroughly,” he said.

The officers are expected to be disciplined for failing to report they briefly handcuffed and detained a second man during the arrest.

That’s odd. When the PI broke the story in March, the prosecutor’s office indicated there were other problems with the case.

The man’s defense attorney, Ramona Brandes, said that when she pressed for a better reason, the deputy prosecutor told her: “Your client will know why.”

Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, also would not elaborate beyond what was said in court. “We felt we had proof problems on this case,” he said.

If failing to document a temporary detainment created “proof problems” that were grounds for a major investigation, why would Kerlikowske practically exonerate the officers when they’re found guilty? Claims of excessive force are fairly common but probes of this scope are rare, so I doubt that suspect’s complaint on its own triggered the investigation.

It seems to me that police investigators and prosecutors genuinely suspected a greater malfeasance but couldn’t quite prove it. Video evidence of the scene apparently didn’t shed any light on things – it mostly showed the officers’ backs.

Re: Women: We Have No Sexual Orientation

posted by on April 10 at 2:03 PM

I’m very busy Tuesdays, so I haven’t had a chance to read the aforementioned NYT article. But I do note that it appears not very many Slog readers noticed my intentionally inflammatory book review of March 14. It follows.

Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics by Jennifer Baumgardner (FSG) $24

Coauthor of the third-wave handbook Manifesta, Jennifer Baumgardner (the one who was dating Amy Ray, not the one who had an abortion) has written one of the first general-interest books on female bisexuality. It’s ridiculous that it’s taken so long. Popular terms like “girl crush” (which Baumgardner, a former Ms. editor and second-waver in spirit, professes to find “cloying”) and LUG (lesbian until graduation) are politically incorrect acknowledgments of an easily observed truth: Female sexuality is fluid and adaptable. It doesn’t take a jail cell or a whaling vessel to turn a straight girl on to other women, whether it’s for a semester or 50 years. The converse, while even touchier, is also true: Self-professed lesbians stray every day. Drawing lightly from psychoanalysis (Freud via Marjorie Garber) and heavily from her own life, Baumgardner breezes from the political lesbianism of the ’70s to the sudden efflorescence of pop-culture bisexuality in the ’90s. She attempts to recuperate bizarro Anne Heche, lavishes perhaps too many pages on confessional CEO Ani DiFranco, and tells her own story in serially monogamous anecdotes. In the exhausted tradition of consciousness raising, Look Both Ways is ultimately more memoir than treatise. But it’s still a provocative heads-up. ANNIE WAGNER

Teaching While Black

posted by on April 10 at 1:46 PM

Last Thursday afternoon, there was a big fight in an apartment complex near Rainier Beach High School. Multiple cops cars, multiple arrests, lots of noise.

A young drama instructor named Rajnii Eddins was headed to the high school, saw the aftermath of the fight, and one of his students, who looked upset because one of her friends had been arrested.

He approached the police to ask after the girl, was arrested, taken to King County jail, dressed in prison reds, and held until midnight. Why?

According to Eddins: “Just because I’m a black man and asking a question about one of my students, a 14-year-old girl.”

According to Officer Richard Nelson’s police report: “I advised him he was under arrest for obstructing a police officer.”

Eddins and the police report disagree with just about everything—Eddins said he identified himself as a drama instructor, that he was at Rainier Beach to direct a play, that he just wanted to know what the girl was being charged with and whether her parents had been notified yet. He said that the police told him to step back, so he did and repeated his question. The cops told him to step back again, he did, and repeated his question. Eddins says he was then searched, told he was being arrested for “interfering” and held at the precinct for a half an hour before his rights were read.

“I was not rash or hostile,” Eddins said. “I’m not an aggressive person. I highly doubt that if I was in Bellevue and white that I wouldn’t have been just given the information” about the arrested student.

The police report tells a different story: That Eddins walked up to the squad car, talked to the student, refused to explain who he was or why he was there, and wouldn’t move away from the car when asked. “I perceived his non-compliance and actions as a serious threat to my Officer safety and escorted him to the front of my patrol car,” Officer Nelson wrote. “[Eddins] later informed [Officer] Atofau that he is employed with a drama company which contracts with the Seattle public schools.” (Eddins works with Arts Corps, Youth Speaks, and other youth-art-advocacy organizations.)

It’s an unusual case of he said/he said: teacher versus cop.

Eddins has a hearing this afternoon. I’ll keep you posted.

Congratulations, I Guess

posted by on April 10 at 1:07 PM

Larry Birkhead, the celebrity photographer who willingly had sex with Anna Nicole Smith, has been confirmed as the biological father of celebrity orphan-no-more Danielynn Smith.

Oh My God: Only Two Days Until The Stranger Gong Show

posted by on April 10 at 12:48 PM


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

This means 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, starting at 7pm.

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 greatest Gong Show act ever, featuring an aghast cameo by guest judge Zsa Zsa Gabor.

Fried and Gone to Heaven

posted by on April 10 at 12:27 PM


Just a quick note to say that I had my first experience with Ezell’s fried chicken last night.


The spicy blend was actually spicy, not like most weak-ass “spicy” eats I’ve found in Seattle in the couple months I’ve been here. The skin was perfectly crisped, the flesh perfectly moist and tender, the overall sensation perfectly delicious and homey (because I was eating take-out at home).

I sing the praises of Ezell’s!

Re: Women: We Have No Sexual Orientation

posted by on April 10 at 12:23 PM

One reason the NYT’s piece on sexuality is, as Jen pointed out, so muddled and confusing, is that scientists are just beginning to study female sexuality. They really don’t know much about it yet. Thus we get paragraphs like the following:

What was the feminine equivalent of an erection anyway? Was it vaginal swelling and lubrication, or something else entirely? Women are generally smaller and less muscular than men. What might the feeling of being physically threatened do to enhance or hamper a woman’s sexual appetite?

Elsewhere, the story says researchers were confused by women’s failure to adhere to culturally approved norms—the widespread belief, for example, that women can’t get turned on when they’re sad, or that women shy away from images of genitals (and thus don’t like porn), or that women don’t care what men look like.

Conventional wisdom has it that a woman’s libido is stifled by unhappiness, anxiety or anger, but the survey showed that about 25 percent of women used sex to lift them out of a bad mood or to resolve a marital spat.

Women also differed in the importance they accorded a man’s physical appearance, with many expressing a comparatively greater likelihood of being aroused by evidence of talent or intelligence — say, while watching a man deliver a great speech.

Well, what of it? The Times observes these behaviors, but fails to reach any conclusions. These are not minor points—female arousal, for example, is currently assessed based on vaginal swelling and lubrication (a byproduct of male sex research that assesses arousal based on whether a man gets an erection). If it’s “something else entirely,” perhaps the Times’s other conclusions—such as the assumption that men simply have “higher sex drives”—might also prove untrue. (And don’t even get me started on the “women-just-don’t-want-sex” myth, which asserts that women lack sexual desire while ignoring the many cultural factors that might make it so.*)

The same thing goes for all the researchers’ other “surprising” conclusions. Maybe the fact that women are turned on by different things than men doesn’t speak to our mysterious. Sphinxlike complexity and otherness, but the fact that researchers are asking the wrong questions. Perhaps the real story here is that researchers are finally getting around to studying women’s sexuality—and the surprise isn’t that what turns women on is “different,” but that no one’s ever bothered asking us.

* I think this also speaks to the researchers Jen mentions who say men are “stubborn” about the type of sex they want to pursue, while women are more “flexible.” When you go through your entire life being told your sexual desires don’t matter, and that you need to be flexible and easygoing in all things, including but not limited to sex, it might follow that you’d be more pliant in the sack as well. Then again, maybe us girls are all just bi.


Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 10 at 12:00 PM

A New Fuel (Conflict of Interest) Dani Cone wrote for The Stranger before opening the first Fuel—a gem of a coffee shop—on 19th Avenue East in 2005. A second Fuel opened in Montlake in 2006. This week, a third Fuel opens in Wallingford. Cone has a knack for creating hip-but-comfortable spaces, and the new Fuel features her trademark rough-edged industrial theme. The opening art show is also a conflict of interest: Peter Kearns is The Stranger’s club ad rep—and a talented photographer ( (Fuel Coffee, 1705 N 45th St, 634-2700. Grand opening Sat April 7, 2-—9 pm.) DAN SAVAGE

See what else the Stranger Suggests this week.

Matt Dillon’s the Shit, Everybody Knows It

posted by on April 10 at 11:55 AM

Matt Dillon of Sitka & Spruce (prescient, fervent, very-first-ever review by yours truly here) has been named one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best New Chefs (also of local note: Gabriel Rucker of Portland’s Le Pigeon). Matt is making lunch at Sitka & Spruce RIGHT NOW. He just got back from New York (photo session, etc.); he sounds sleepy but happy. They have oysters.

Don’t Call Me “Square,” Hippie.

posted by on April 10 at 11:41 AM

You know, everytime I bash hippies on this blog, a bunch of long-haired soap-scared hippie freaks crawl out of the woodwork, and accuse ME of being close-minded. AND YET? I keep finding proof that I’m absolutely correct in my assumption that hippies are effing GROSS and STUPID. Today’s proof comes from a 1967 episode of LOST IN SPACE, in which the crew are obviously under the ill effects of a real marijuana freakout. Watch this clip and decide for yourself: IS WILL ROBINSON “A SQUARE”? (I think you know my answer.)

Thanks, Cracked.

Women: We Have No Sexual Orientation

posted by on April 10 at 11:40 AM

I picked up my New York Times Science Times today to discover—in the midst of layers and layers of other completely uninteresting reporting about sex, as if the Times discovered sex existed a few days ago and rushed to deadline with the vaguest of scoops—that only men are hetero or homo.

The scientists refer to this as a hardwired sexual female “flexibility.”

Whether women describe themselves as straight or lesbian, “Their sexual arousal seems to be relatively indiscriminate — they get aroused by both male and female images,” Dr. Bailey said. “I’m not even sure females have a sexual orientation. But they have sexual preferences. Women are very picky, and most choose to have sex with men.”

Dr. Bailey believes that the systems for sexual orientation and arousal make men go out and find people to have sex with, whereas women are more focused on accepting or rejecting those who seek sex with them.

Similar differences between the sexes are seen by Marc Breedlove, a neuroscientist at Michigan State University. “Most males are quite stubborn in their ideas about which sex they want to pursue, while women seem more flexible,” he said.

Was this not worth its own story? Or is the research too flimsy to base an entire story on, so you bury it in another one? Seems like a big story when you’re declaring that half the population is incapable of having a sexual orientation.

If it were the male half, wouldn’t this be on the front page? Is it buried here because women are just considered such creatures of indecision anyway that a little matter of sexual ambidextrousness is like a tough choice between colors of nail polish?

There’s more—in another story in the section, written by a different reporter and citing a different scientist. Is this becoming common wisdom?:

Women’s sexual fluidity extends beyond the strength of desire, he said, to encompass the objects of that desire. In his survey, heterosexual women who rated their sex drive as high turned out to have an increased attraction to women as well as to men.

“This is not to say that all women are bisexual,” Dr. Lippa said. “Most of the heterosexual women would still describe themselves as more attracted to men than to women.” Still, the mere presence of a hearty sexual appetite seemed to expand a heterosexual woman’s appreciation of her fellow women’s forms. By contrast, the men were more black-and-white in their predilections. If they were straight and had an especially high sex drive, that concupiscence applied only to women; if gay, to other men.

Dr. Diamond of the University of Utah also has evidence that women’s sexual attractions are, as she put it, “more nonexclusive than men’s.”

And then it starts to get messy:

One factor that may contribute to women’s sexual ambidextrousness, some researchers suggest, is the intriguing and poorly understood nonspecificity of women’s physical reactions to sexual stimuli. As Dr. Chivers of the Center for Addiction and Mental Health and other researchers have found, women and men show very divergent patterns of genital arousal while viewing material with sexual content.

For men, there is a strong concordance between their physiological and psychological states. If they are looking at images that they describe as sexually arousing, they get erections. When the images are not to their expressed taste or sexual orientation, however, their genitals remain unmoved.

For women, the correlation between pelvic and psychic excitement is virtually nil. Women’s genitals, it seems, respond to all sex, all the time. Show a woman scenes of a man and a woman having sex, or two women having sex, or two men, or even two bonobos, Dr. Chivers said, and as a rule her genitals will become measurably congested and lubricated, although in many cases she may not be aware of the response.

Ask her what she thinks of the material viewed, however, and she will firmly declare that she liked this scene, found that one repellent, and, frankly, the chimpanzee bit didn’t do it for her at all. Regardless of declared sexual orientation, Dr. Chivers said, “with women, there’s a discrepancy between stated preference and physiological arousal, and this discrepancy has been seen consistently across studies.”

Now, in addition to being indecisive biologically, our various systems are not even connected. (Even though when you ask us what we want, we know.)

I’d write more, except that this office is full of interesting men and women. It’s all I can do to figure out which ones I am attracted to today.

Hey, Supermajority Democrats!

posted by on April 10 at 11:24 AM

Today’s The PI has the final chapter on the condo conversion legislation we’ve been following this session that Seattle activists and City Council Members were pushing in Olympia.

In short: It’s dead for now.

So much for conventional wisdom east of the mountains that Seattle runs the show in Olympia. Heck, even with the urban Democrats in the supermajority (not to mention a House speaker from the urbane 43rd District), the legislation didn’t pass.

The bill would have provided relocation assistance and notice guidelines to tenants displaced by condo conversions.

There were 2,352 condo conversions in Seattle in 2006, which is particularly alarming for low-rent renters given that 3,900 lower-priced rentals have been either converted to condos or filed for conversion in the last two years. The average price of new condos is $250,000.

The version of the bill that got iced didn’t even include an earlier provision that would have put a limit on condo conversions. Dems took out that provision as a compromise to move the legislation. Yeah, that worked.

Confirming What You Already Knew

posted by on April 10 at 11:20 AM

Ejaculation turns off men’s brains.

Did Matt Sanchez Ever Suck Dick?

posted by on April 10 at 11:10 AM

Matt Sanchez—the former gay porn star/male escort turned marine/conservative poster boy—told Radar magazine late last month that he “doesn’t remember” if he ever sucked cock on film. Which means he can’t really be all that gay.

Clearly Sanchez has been paying attention to the way the Bush administration handles scandal. Never deny anything, never admit to anything—just claim to have an unreliable memory. Did I attend meetings at which the politically-motivated firings of eight US attorneys were discussed? Alberto doesn’t remember. Did I out a covert CIA operative working on weapons of mass destruction? Scooter can’t recall when exactly he first forgot. Did George W. Bush ever meet with Jack Abramoff, give Ken Lay a nickname, or fuck the shit out of Jeff Gannon? Bush has no specific recollection of having met, nicknamed, or fucked any of these men.

The faulty memory defense doesn’t work as well for Sanchez—after all, we’re talking about whether or not he sucked cock in one of the pornos in which he appeared. Remembering what Ronald Reagan had to say about the Soviets—trust but verify—Jack at GayPornBlog went to the videotape.

Here’s a NSFW—well, your workplace, not mine—image of Matt Sanchez sucking cock. And eating ass—literally, not the way he ate it on O’Reilly.

John Baldessari Sings Sol LeWitt

posted by on April 10 at 11:00 AM

This, from Caryn over at, is a great watch, and a perfect counterpart to Christian Marclay’s Video Quartet. In fact, Baldessari’s performance would have fit right in with Eric Fredericksen’s entire current show at Western Bridge, Kit Bashing. (I review it in tomorrow’s paper.)

On Haters. (Specifically: Who is Allowed to Have Them?)

posted by on April 10 at 9:30 AM

Down in my Chris Crocker post from yesterday morning, there’s a high-minded discussion brewing about the threshold for claiming to have haters.

Can the common man (and woman) claim to have haters? Or is it a privilege/affliction reserved for the the infamous, the famous, the mildly famous, and the somewhat known in some circles (including the writers and bloggers of this here publication)?

An excerpt:

I have to disagree with robotslave. No matter who you are or how insignificant you feel, there will always be someone out there ready to hate you.

Posted by mattymatt | April 9, 2007 03:52 PM

mattymatt, I think you deliberately elide the significant difference between having someone somewhere out there ready to hate oneself, and actually having so many vocal, antagonistic observers that one can say one “has haters.”

I would never say that most people don’t do anything hateworthy, or that people by and large don’t hate; I am suggesting, rather, that only public figures, or those with aspirations to fame, are at all likely to think they “have haters,” and reflexively use a phrase like “You Think You Have haters….”

Posted by robotslave | April 9, 2007 06:13 PM

And now, a NSFW word from Mr. Crocker on haters. (And another word—actually, a bunch of identical words—from one of his many YouTube imitators. And another. And another.)

Meet Rev. Hutcherson’s Favorite New Ex-Lesbian

posted by on April 10 at 9:27 AM


It’s a miracle! Charlene Cothran has been freed from the bondage of lesbianism! We could write her off as just another weak, silly, insecure homo finally undone by the zap family (disowned when she came out) and religion (raised in a deeply homophobic faith) put on her head. But Cothran is also the founder and publisher of Venus, a lifestyle magazine for black lesbians. If God can make someone like Cothran straight—because that’s what ex-gay is, right? ex-gay = straight, right?—then miracles do happen and anything is possible through God and no one has to be gay and can I get an “amen!” and blah blah fuckin’ blah.

But check out Clay Cane’s interview with Cothran—we know you’re out there reading, Rev. Hutcherson, and I’m ordering you in particular to go read Cane’s interview with Cothran. Here are some choice quotes:

So, what about you now really makes you heterosexual?

Charlene: Nothing. You’ve spoken a piece of truth. Right now I am completely satisfied with my walk, which is me and God. My prayer wasn’t—Lord make me heterosexual. My prayer was not fix me, repair me and make me straight—that was not my prayer. My prayer was God make me whole in every sense of the word, make me whole mentally, make me whole spiritually, make me whole completely….

Are you saying that you are not heterosexual?

Charlene: I am saying that I am celibate right now. I’m not saying there won’t ever be a man in my life. You’re asking me about where I am and that’s all I can speak to. Today I am celibate. Again, I don’t say I will never have a man in my life, I’m not saying I will never be married to a man. Who knows what the Lord has in store for me. But…there is one thing I can say and one thing I will go on record and say—I will never be entangled with the bondage of lesbianism again….

Are you physically attracted to men?

Charlene: [pauses] I am physically attracted to the spirit of Christ right now. You’re trying to take me down a road that I won’t go down right now.

Oh no, I’m just trying to ask the questions that I know people have been asking.

Charlene: Right now I’m in a place where I won’t even allow myself to think about attraction to men….

Are you still attracted to women or is that attraction completely gone?

Charlene: I would say after 29 years of walking in the sin of lesbianism that if the devil were going to try and tempt me that he’s probably not going to send a football player, if you will, because that didn’t do it for me. You follow me?

It’s nice to know that ex-lesbian Charlene Cothran is in a place where she isn’t allowed to think about attraction to men. My office is down the street from just such a place—it’s called the Wildrose, Seattle’s only dyke bar. I’ll buy you a beer, Charlene, the next time you’re in town.

And Rev. Hutcherson? You may fool some straight people—particularly the straight fools in your congregation—with your talk about “ex-gays,” and the healing power of Christ, and miracles, and getting right with God. But sane, secure gay people—the vast majority of us—don’t buy it. We know being “ex-gay” doesn’t “free” a weak, silly, and insecure homosexual from her homosexuality. It only “liberates” her from the possibility of a full, adult, intimate relationship. She doesn’t get to be straight…. she gets to be celibate. Wow. That’s enticing.

So while Charlene may have reunited her with her bigoted family and “gotten right” with her fictional boogeyman of a savior, she hasn’t become straight. She’s still a ‘mo—a slow ‘mo, but a ‘mo.

Two other quick observations: Venus used to be a lifestyle magazine for lesbians. Now it’s… what? A lifestyle magazine for lesbians that want to leave the lesbian lifestyle? I’m not sure there’s a big market for that.

And you gotta love the cover text: “REDEEMED! 10 Ways to Get Out of ‘The Life’ if You Want Out!” It would appear that Cothran attended the same magazine publishing seminars as the editors and publishers of Seattle’s idiotic “lifestyle” magazines. “10 Ways Out of the Gay Lifestyle!” “25 Up and Coming Neighborhoods!” “367 Top Doctors!” “Seattle’s 100 Best Restaurants!” Lists, lists, lists. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Your Daily Chris Crocker

posted by on April 10 at 8:27 AM

Don Imus Meet Don’s Teen Town.

posted by on April 10 at 8:09 AM

Don Imus’s racist outburst about the Rutgers women’s basketball team brings us right back to where we started:

In 1956, the North Alabama Citizens Council—after picketing an integrated concert bill at Birmingham’s Municipal Auditorium starring the Platters, Bo Diddley, Clyde McPhatter, and Bill Haley & the Comets (!)—forced Birmingham to pass legislation instructing the venue, “not to book any shows, basketball games, or any other type of event that had mixed races in the personnel.”

Although, for once, let’s exculpate mid-20th Century Alabama. Last night, I read this excellent story about Bessemer, Alabama: In 1960, when Don’s Teen Town announced they were canceling the evening’s show because the Ku Klux Klan had threatened to assault that evening’s entertainment—local black rock and roll disc jockey, Shelley Stewart— the all-white, teen audience overwhelmed the Klan contingent, beating them up and scaring them away.

The Morning News

posted by on April 10 at 8:01 AM

Housing: Nationwide boom linked in part to skeezy mortgages.

Slapped Wrists: Don Imus suspended two weeks for calling Rutgers basketball players “nappy-headed hos.”

Piracy: The U.S. puts China on notice.

Profits: Britain tells former captive sailors they can’t sell their stories.

May 1: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s deadline for taking control over his country’s oil fields.

Obesity: Americans 100lbs. or more overweight are the country’s ”fastest-growing group of overweight people.”

2007: The year Turner County High School in Georgia finally de-segregated its prom.

North Korea: Already missing deadlines for nuclear dismantlement.

Imagine That: Appeals court says President Bush’s save-the-salmon plan is “sleight of hand.”

Servants: Southern California millionaires are having trouble finding good help.

Fort Lewis: Contaminated water may be poisoning family homes.

The Shield: Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske won’t spend the $120,000 the City Council gave him to hire a sergeant to investigate officer misconduct.

Seattle Sonics: One step closer to boondoggling Renton.

Voting: On-line registration awaiting signature on Governor Gregoire’s desk.

Sexy Presidential Fact of the Day: From Edmund Morris’s Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan:

Reagan tried to kiss Pat[ricia Neal] once, more out of duty than desire, and she fended him off easily: “Oh, Ronnie, no!” She was neither the first nor the last woman to find him more attractive than desirable. Joy Hodges once told me a similar story, and said that Dutch en s’excitant gave her a curious urge to giggle.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Color Me Disturbiad

posted by on April 9 at 11:15 PM

Am I just getting soft in my old age, or is there something not-so-cool about opening up SLOG and seeing footage of a woman taking an aluminum bat to the face?

The worst part? After four or five repetitions I started thinking, “Eh, I guess it’s not so bad…”

Update: Domestic Partnership Bill

posted by on April 9 at 9:28 PM

This e-mail just came in:

Since we’re coming down to the end of the legislative session, and I can’t seem to find progress on it, I’m wondering if you all had heard the status of the domestic partnership bill. It sounded like such a sure thing, but seems to be forgotten at this point.

How’s about using your journalistic prowess to find out from Jamie Pederson what the status is. Cause really, wouldn’t that suck if we were this close to getting some rights and have it not make it out of committee in the house?



43rd District Sen. Ed Murray’s DP bill passed the Senate in early March and it’s on the move in the House. In fact, I talked to House Speaker Frank Chopp (D-43, Seattle) today, and he reports that he hopes to pass it this week. That seems likely given that the original companion bill in the House, Rep. Pedersen’s (D-43, Seattle) bill, had 56 co-sponsors, more than enough to pass.

Hey, Republicans!

posted by on April 9 at 5:30 PM

You know how the Democrats are supposedly beholden to big labor. Well, check this out, the supermajority Dems in Olympia chickened out on passing two no-brainer pro-union bills this session.

One bill would have prevented employers from requiring employees to attend “captive audience meetings” —an infamous union busting tactic that companies use to intimidate and influence workers.

A second bill would have made the $3.2 billion tax subsidy that Boeing got in 2003 contingent upon a pledge from the company to refrain from union busting.

So there, the Ds aren’t the union toadies you think.

And, like, hey supermajority Democrats: What gives?

Tomorrow: MoveOn’s First Virtual Town Hall Meeting. Topic: Iraq

posted by on April 9 at 4:30 PM

I don’t know how this will work out in the end, but MoveOn has secured the participation of all the major Democratic presidential candidates for what it is billing as an “unprecedented” online forum about Iraq. It begins tomorrow at 4:15 p.m. Seattle time.

Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Dennis Kucinich, and Joe Biden will answer questions from’s 3.2 million members in the first of three unprecedented virtual town hall meetings. Topic: Iraq.

This virtual town hall is real people-powered politics. MoveOn members wrote the questions, voted for the ones they like best, and will ask the candidates questions on the most important issue of our time — Iraq. At house parties across the nation, voters will listen—and afterward, will vote for whose position they prefer.

You’ll be able to watch it here.

Iran and Phenomenology

posted by on April 9 at 3:35 PM

Iran is not only enriching uranium but also Hegelian scholarship:

The Iranian Institute of Philosophy in Tehran will host an international conference on the 19th century German philosopher Hegel to commemorate the influential thinker’s 200th birthday.

But we must not be alarmed by the call for this conference. It is a matter of common knowledge among Hegelian scholars that the section on natural religion in Phenomenology of Mind begins with the Zoroastrian idea of “God as light.” So falling upon Persia, in the history of Hegel’s world, is “the light of sunrise.”

Today On Line Out.

posted by on April 9 at 3:30 PM

The Emperor’s New Beard?: Triumph of Lethargy’s “Pointless, Stupid Defiance.”

The Emperor’s New Whites: Andrew WK’s Awful Joke.

The Emperor’s New Beard, pt 2: Why should You Give a Shit About Grand Archives?

The King’s Old Quintet: The Jackson Five are Absolutely Fantastic.

Les Claypool’s New Gallants: Two Gallants to Open For Primus Mastermind.

Andrew WK’s New Page: Angry Fans on

The Editor’s Old Job: Jeff Deroche’s Archived Resignation.

And now, the always ecstatic Bearded Dragon:


And You Thought Your Accounting Firm Was Tense This Week

posted by on April 9 at 3:09 PM

Today at an accounting firm in Michigan…

Some witnesses told police that when the shooter walked into the office on the building’s second floor around 10 a.m. Monday, he looked as if he was trying to hide something, Troy Police Chief Charles Craft said.

He was hiding a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. One person is dead.

Obama’s Out…

posted by on April 9 at 2:49 PM

…of a presidential candidates debate sponsored by Fox News and the Congressional Black Caucus. Politico says that means the entire debate, which had become controversial among Democrats because of its association with the Fox network, is now doomed:

Obama is the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus running for President, and his decision allows other candidates to skip the debate without facing criticism that they are turning their backs on a leading black institution.

UPDATE: And Clinton is out, too.

Women’s Fantasies: Not Just About Waterfalls Anymore

posted by on April 9 at 2:04 PM

You may recall the recent story about female orgasms in which a researcher claimed chicks really dig fantasizing about waterfalls.

Well, now you can add men doing housework to that list:

The Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative, responsible for this little 98-page gem … says that when it comes to pornography, what really turns women on is men who clean the bathroom without being asked, or make a gourmet dinner, or bring home flowers for no reason, or volunteer to watch the kids.

They took all those fantasies, and photographer Susan Alexander lined up a bunch of great-looking guys to pose for them, and the result is “Porn for Women” (Chronicle Books, $12.95). When it comes out next month, it may very well leave women begging for more.

I don’t know what’s sadder: That a man who manages to clean the bathroom is a fantastical creature, or that this is what’s supposed to get my rocks off?:



Laguna Beach Star Arrested in Seattle

posted by on April 9 at 1:36 PM

Jason Wahler wasn’t looking this amicable when SPD picked him up on the third floor of the Waterfront Marriot, where he drunkenly called an officer a nigger and a faggot.

In Other Saturated Fats

posted by on April 9 at 12:42 PM

N = C + {fb (cm) • fb (tc)} + fb (Ts) + fc • ta
N=force in Newtons required to break the cooked bacon, fb=function of the bacon type, fc=function of the condiment/filling effect, Ts=serving temperature, tc=cooking time, ta=time or duration of application of condiment/filling, cm=cooking method, C=Newtons required to break uncooked bacon.

It sounds like bullshit but that, according to the BBC, is a formula scienticians at Leeds University invented in their quest to create a perfectly, objectively crispy bacon butty:


(A bacon butty, a kind of sandwich favored by the British, can also be expressed in a formula: Bacon Butty = BLT — [L+T].)

Things You Will Never See in Seattle…

posted by on April 9 at 12:16 PM

…a breakfast with not one, but TWO, count ‘em two strips of bacon, two sausage patties, one biscuit, two eggs, a pile of grits, and a cup of coffee for $3.50…


…a barbecue smoker, that smells like hickory wood and pure heaven, in the shape of a giant gun…


…or a strip club filled with gays, straights, oldies and punks, all getting piss-drunk together while aging strippers tell knock-knock jokes and pole dance to ‘Rosanna’ by Toto…



An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse

posted by on April 9 at 12:10 PM

What was I supposed to do when my friend Trent texted me on Saturday, around noon, asking me if I wanted to buy a pint of Monarch Rum, put it in a Coke bottle, and walk down to the Convention Center to gawk at Sakura-Con?

You can’t say no to that shit.

Sakura-Con hits Seattle once a year. It’s the oldest and most well-attended anime convention in the Northwest. It’s ten years old. You can always tell it’s here if you walk downtown and you see high school kids in costumes. Crazy costumes. Costumes that they all had to make, because you can’t buy costumes to look like you are from the anime Noruto at Champion.

I figured when we started walking down that we were going to go have a hearty afternoon of making fun of nerds. I love making fun of nerds. We would get drunk, sit in the courtyard of Freeway Park, and quietly whisper and giggle. But there was nothing to make fun of. All we could do was sit in awe.

The kids looked to mostly be around 14 or 15, but there were also adults there. I wish I knew more about anime so I could tell you what these costumes are supposed to be–-any information I get in the comments will be added. Also, the repeating character is my friend Trent, who both provided these pictures and demanded to be in almost every single one.

I do know this one is supposed to be Jango Fett.

Anyhow, we sat in this courtyard for about three hours, going nuts with the cell-phone camera. Everyone was very amicable about having their picture taken, and we weren’t the only people whipping cameras out every five seconds. But eventually the costumes started disappearing, and we learned that everyone was inside the convention. We had to get in.

After a couple running starts at the guarded escalators and an aborted elevator mission (those old men who check badges at the Convention Center can run faster than you think they can), we finally found an abandoned staircase and dashed up. We really wanted to see what all these kids were up to (and remember the rum?).

When we got upstairs, we saw tons more costumes, but still, it seemed like a lot of people had disappeared. Walking towards the back of the Convention Center, we found rooms upon rooms of people playing different kinds of games with eachother: American video games like Halo, Japanese video games, Japanese/American video games like Dance Dance Revolution, card games analogues similar to Pokemon, board games like Go, and so on. There were also lectures that I wouldn’t understand. But there were still lots of people missing, and they paid a lot of money to get into this joint: why would they leave at 6?

And then, we found them, in the back, in three gigantic conference rooms all connected with eight 10-ft high screens projecting what was going on onstage all the way to the back of the room. On stage, teenagers in anime costumes were acting out fan fiction. They had made up skits featuring the characters they were dressed as, and they were (badly) performing fantasies involving situations that the writers of anime would never engage their characters in. I have lately been obsessed with the phenomenon of fan/fic and slash/fic (fan fic but with sex), so this was a dream come true.

Another note about the conference, before I get ahead of myself—cross dressing was the norm. Girls were dressed as male characters, and boys were in real drag all over the place (like the blue space creature up above). Not only that, but many of these young people ran all over the place kissing each other. We couldn’t tell whether it was bona-fide sexual attraction or character play-acting.

Anyhow, we watched the skits for a while, and then decided to see if there were any parties. We found one-right next to where the skits were being acted. But it wasn’t a party, it was a rave. And you needed badges to get in. Dang it. Thankfully, we knew a few people who were actually attending, and we got momentary use of their badges to get us through the door. Thank god!

The rave was basically a high-school dance redux. These kids are definitely not popular in their high schools, but here, they are the coolest, and they bumped and ground to terrible house. Trent and I jumped up and down, since standing on the bouncing floor made one dizzy. We saw the world’s longest conga line, which continued, without stopping, for an hour and a half. We saw Luigi from Mario Bros. dance-battle with Wah-Luigi (his evil counterpart). We saw 14 year olds make out, and kids breakdance (badly). We ended up staying at Sakura-con from 3 pm-midnight. And it was incredible.

The Countdown Begins: Three Days Until The Stranger Gong Show

posted by on April 9 at 12:05 PM


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

This means 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, starting at 7pm.

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 featuring a young Paul Reubens, proving that even the gimmickiest Gong Show duet can lead to a triumphant Hollywood career and unfortunate public-porn bust. (And who is that lady with him? She looks so effing familiar, but I’m drawing a blank…)

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 9 at 12:00 PM

‘The Fallen Idol’ (Film) Carol Reed and Graham Greene were a perfect cinematic pairing; their twin instincts for mischief and morality yielded potboilers rich with human detail. The Fallen Idol, the second best of their collaborations (dude, The Third Man!), is this story of a convenient friendship between a lonesome French diplomat’s son and his butler. A murder mystery, a boy crying wolf (and kissing snake!), postwar intrigue, class politics, and the lasting power of a beautifully photographed staircase—just a few elements that keep this masterpiece alive. (Grand Illusion, 1403 NE 50th St, 523-3935. 7 and 9 pm, $5—$8. Dude, The Third Man plays next week!) SEAN NELSON

See what else the Stranger Suggests this week.

Condo Prices, Sales Up

posted by on April 9 at 11:59 AM

The Seattle Condos and Lofts blog has a full report on condo prices in Seattle. The bad news: Citywide, the median condo price went up $35,000 from March 2006 to March 2007—from $280,000 to $315,000, or 12.5%. The highest increase was on Capitol Hill, where median prices increased 19.7%, from $281,698 to $335,985. The good news: March is apparently a good time to buy, with sales increasing even as prices dropped—by a statistically insignificant amount citywide, but substantially (more than 10 percent) on Queen Anne and Capitol Hill.

Even Jonah Will Agree That This Goes Too Far

posted by on April 9 at 11:55 AM

For your Monday atherosclerotic pleasure, I give you: Deep-fried butter balls!


That’s right. Deep-fried balls OF BUTTER. The recipe (from an episode of Paula Deen’s Food Network show called “Everything’s Better With Butter,” relies heavily on butter (two sticks) but uses cream cheese (two ounces) as a binder. You cream them together, freeze until solid, batter and fry. Full recipe below the jump, but trust me, you really don’t want to go there.

Continue reading "Even Jonah Will Agree That This Goes Too Far" »

The MySpace Primary

posted by on April 9 at 11:20 AM

Everyone’s talking about the rush by many states to hold earlier presidential primaries next year.

Add to all that: The MySpace primary.

(Via Postman)

Baby Steps Toward Blogger Code of Conduct

posted by on April 9 at 10:47 AM

Today’s New York Times has an interesting story on a subject that should fuel discussions and arguments for the next few years: the creation and enforcement of a blogger code of conduct.

Some of the basic proposed principles are laid out here, and so far there’s nothing too surprising or oppressive, just old standards—no threats, no libel, don’t feed the trolls—made official. “The aim of the code is not to homogenize the Web, but to make clearer the informal rules that are already in place anyway,” said blogger/lawyer David Weinberger told the NYT.

Full story here, and interested parties can submit conduct proposals here.

This Seems Significant

posted by on April 9 at 10:47 AM

And, of course, all my fault:

Iraqis Protest U.S. Occupation of Iraq

BAGHDAD, April 9—Large crowds marched in the city of Najaf today, the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, to protest the American occupation of Iraq.

The peaceful demonstration was being held at the urging of militant Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr. He exhorted Iraqi security forces on Sunday to unite with his militiamen against the American military in Diwaniya, an embattled southern city in Iraq where fighting has raged for four days….

Iraqi soldiers in uniform joined the crowd, which was led by at least a dozen turbaned clerics….

Soooooo…. Iraqi soldiers in uniform—soldiers we’ve trained, armed, and equipped—joining a march against the occupation, a march with the state goal of encouraging Iraqi soldiers to join with the insurgents in battling the US forces. How’s the military spinning that?

“This is the right to assemble, the right to free speech—they didn’t have that under the former regime,” Boylan said. “This is progress, there’s no two ways about it.”

Nothing to see here.

In an unrelated development, 10 US servicemen died this weekend in Iraq and five were wounded. I’m sure this is a sign of progress too. Under the former regime Iraqis didn’t have the right to, you know, plant roadside bombs.

Guggenheim Fellowship for Ann Gale

posted by on April 9 at 9:35 AM

The Guggenheim Fellowships have been announced, and one goes to Ann Gale, professor of painting at UW. Below are a few of her works, with plain reference to Lucian Freud, Alberto Giacommetti, even Cezanne. I’ve never seen them in person, but they do carry a certain weight even in reproduction.




Sol LeWitt Dead

posted by on April 9 at 9:30 AM

During a preview tour of the new Seattle Art Museum (opening May 5) recently, I noticed that the lobby of the old Venturi building was scrubbed clean of bright color, instead showing only muted colors—white, gray, tan. Sounds regular enough for a museum lobby, except then I remembered what I missed: Sol LeWitt’s vivid wall drawing of blocks that used to hang over the entire space, forming an implicit contrast with the ancient sculptures on the other side of the museum’s first floor. The drawing was made according to the artist’s specifications, directly on the wall, and when the wall was torn down, so went the drawing. The artwork was not the drawing, but the specifications, and it can be remade at any point. But even given its conceptual framework, it is possible to feel the pang of it being missing. When I heard this morning that LeWitt had died, I felt the pang again.

Seattle Art Museum’s Seven Cubes with Color Ink Washes Super-Imposed (1997), consisting of India ink washes and installation rights, by Sol LeWitt, 1928-2007.

Seattle Art Museum’s 1,2,3,4,5 (1980-1983), balsawood and chipboard, by LeWitt.

You Think You Have Haters…

posted by on April 9 at 9:00 AM

Try being Chris Crocker, a white, self-described homo whose YouTube fame comes, in part, from this “bitch, please” video. (NSFW unless you have headphones on.)

I’m not sure what to think of this guy. A cross between Dina Martina and Prussian Blue? A YouTube Andy Warhol?

In any case, Mr. Crocker has some serious haters. He addresses them here and here, among other places.

The Morning News

posted by on April 9 at 7:23 AM

Four Years Ago Today: Baghdad fell. “Mission Accomplished” indeed.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan: The Taliban is back in the business of beheading people.

Nuclear Iran:

“We have gathered, thanking Almighty God for the introduction of the uranium enrichment program to the industrial phase, and once again we thank Almighty God for allowing us to attain industrial enrichment plans,” said Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization head, Gholamreza Aghazadeh, addressing an audience at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran.

Mexican Drug Cartels: Fighting the drug war on YouTube.

America’s Fastest Growing Sport: Beating up the homeless

President Bush: Taking another stab at the immigration issue.

Freedom of Speech: Princeton professor criticizes president, lands on terrorist watch list.

One Million Down: Species census hits milestone. Meanwhile, the Florida manatee is about to lose its endangered species status, despite record deaths in 2006.

Downtown Bellevue: Discovering people like to walk on occasion.

Washington State: Looking to help students who have lost parents in Iraq.

News From the Funny Pages: Johnny Hart, creator of B.C. and The Wizard of Id has died.

Sexy Presidential Fact of the Day: From David McCullough’s Truman:

Sometime earlier that fall, when Bess had returned from a long stay with her mother in Independence, both she and the President had been so “jubilant,” so obviously happy to be with each other again, that the whole domestic staff felt a lift of the spirits. Everybody kept grinning, West remembered.

The next morning, when West reported to the First Lady’s study at nine as usual, to go over the day’s menu, she told him “in a rather small, uncomfortable voice” that there was a little problem with the President’s antique bed. Two of the slats had broken during the night, she said, blushing.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Movies and Books!

posted by on April 8 at 1:23 PM

According to certain commenters, I am not allowed to Slog about war or diplomacy. Properly chided, I return to my humble sphere of arts and culture. Here is a website by the filmmaker/performance artist/writer responsible for Me and You and Everyone We Know. I endorse all of it except, perhaps, the Amazon link. Obviously you should buy books by Miranda July from Powell’s.

Wait, am I not allowed to write about books, either? Shit. Even books by filmmakers?

OK, fine. Here is a profile of the most astonishingly gorgeous, narrative-freezing actress in the whole entire world. Um, is India off-limits too?

(Both links via GreenCine.)

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 8 at 12:00 PM

Slow Ride (Club Night) What if you knew about this crazy-good club night, but no one else did? Would you tell people and risk the night going ballistic? Or would you keep it to yourself? Slow Ride—featuring ’70s and ’80s FM rock—is the best club night you haven’t heard about yet. The last time I went, hiphoppers played air drums to Billy Joel while students from Cornish danced all over. (War Room, 722 E Pike St, 328-7666. 9 pm, free, 21+.) TERRY MILLER

See what else the Stranger Suggests this week.

The Morning News

posted by on April 8 at 9:30 AM

Posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

Denied: Iran refuses to let Iraqi PM enter airspace

Debacle: Gingrich says Gonzales should resign

Red flags: White House knew about Kerik’s problems

Exaggerated: Iraq withdrawal will not encourage terrorism

“The government did not respond to our demands” Taliban kills
Afghan journalist

Busted: US allowed secret arms deal between North Korea and Ethiopia

Amnesty: Thousands march in Los Angeles for immigration rights