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Archives for 04/29/2007 - 05/05/2007

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Slate on Zoo

posted by on May 5 at 5:13 PM

Conservative Christians and Rush Limbaugh blame the gays for Mudede’s new movie—hell, for bestiality itself. Slate’s William Saletan blames Rush. It’s all very confusing.

Two Things

posted by on May 5 at 4:35 PM

1. A BBC postcard: “The First Woman to Swim in Saudi.”

Wishing I had someone to witness me swimming in cloak and goggles, I arrived for my swim, at dawn.

2. I went to see Must Don’t Whip ‘Um by Cynthia Hopkins last night. There was good music (gospel and arty country with some Arabic influences you can listen to here and here—though, of course, it sounds a hundred times better live), a frayed story (involving drunkards, a late-’70s farewell concert, Sufism, and a sword miraculously deflected by a clothesline), excellent use of a mirrored piano, and a few empty seats.

Fill ‘em up.


(Plus, OtB’s new season is listed here, with shows by WET, Radiohole, Zoe Scofield, Elevator Repair Service, and Societas Raffaello Sanzio, which is responsible for this weird image.)


posted by on May 5 at 3:32 PM

I wasn’t paying close attention… but the TV at the gym this afternoon was tuned to the Kentucky Derby, and I think I heard them say that one of the horses in the race is named… Scat Daddy.

Or was CNN just shitting me?

The Morning News

posted by on May 5 at 8:40 AM

Posted by Sage Van Wing

Looking the Part: Barack Obama is already protected by the Secret Service.

Keeping Us Safe: The Transportation Security Administration lost a hardrive containing the personal information of over 100,000 employees.

Bush and ECB: Our President likes biking too!

Competitive Pricing: Brazil has decided to break Merck’s patent on an AIDS drug.

That’s Cheap!: The Tacoma Narrows Bridge comes in under budget.

Open for Business: Mt. Rainier (at least some of it).

War is Dirty: US Troops are not terribly ethical.

Kilt Pride: Scottish separatists beat out the Labor Party in the UK’s mid-term elections

Twister: A tornado levels a Kansas town.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Dude, this shirt is KILLER!

posted by on May 4 at 5:17 PM

This shirt is hanging in a local skate shop, next to all the other guns-and-switchblades-and-brass-knuckle COOL-ASS HIPSTER shirts. It is really COOL, right? Right?


We Get Press Releases

posted by on May 4 at 5:15 PM

The announced goal of this morning’s meeting between SOaP, the LGBT Community Center, and Seattle city council members Sally Clark and Tom Rasmussen was, well, Rasmussen said it best…

“It gets very complicated very quickly, particularly for community groups, when there are two parades or festivals over two different days in two different locations,” says Rasmussen. “They have to get volunteers and materials and staff to two different places, and that’s taxing. Ideally we should have one event.”

After the meeting Clark and Rasmussen announced that there would be two parades, on two different days, in two different locations. So the meeting was a failure, right?

Not according to the press release sent out by Clark and Rasmussen this afternoon:

Councilmembers Applaud Weekend of Pride

Councilmembers Sally J. Clark and Tom Rasmussen welcome unity of LGBT Pride groups

Two parades, two festivals, two locations, two days—there is unity in disunity! But since that was the plan before this mornings meeting… uh… what exactly did this morning’s meeting accomplish?

Full text of the press release after the jump.

Continue reading "We Get Press Releases" »

Paris Goes to Jail!

posted by on May 4 at 5:04 PM

Talk about ending the week on a good note! PARIS HILTON is going to jail! After being pulled over for alcohol-related reckless driving, the judge considered that a violation of her parole and sentenced her to 45 days in a Lynwood women’s correctional facility. Even better?

Hilton, who parlayed her name and relentless partying into worldwide notoriety, must go to jail on June 5 and she will not be allowed any work release, furloughs, use of an alternative jail or any electronic monitoring in lieu of jail, Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer ruled after a hearing.

You may start your “Paris Goes to Prison” jokes… NOW!!


Seattle Center Pride 2006

posted by on May 4 at 4:47 PM

Via Seattlest.

The Week in Geek

posted by on May 4 at 4:20 PM

NOTE: Some of the items in The Week in Geek may have been posted elsewhere on the Internet before appearing here. If you discover such an item, please let us know about it in the comments!


The big news this week is of course the way-too-well-publicized cracking of the HD-DVD encryption. This story has been around the world and back 892,000 times so far, and next week it will be forgotten. If you bought a clever t-shirt, you have 20 more minutes to gain any kind of cool points wearing it. After that, points will be deducted.

Moving on!

Awwww - Google rebranded their “personalized home page” service as “iGoogle” this week. Now, in addition to adding your local weather and favorite blogs to your homepage, you can make it super cute!

Here’s mine.

Where all your pedophilic dreams come true - This week Disney launched Disney Xtreme Digital, a social networking site for preteens. It’s unclear whether one has to be an xtreme preteen to sign up, but what is clear is that despite whatever security controls they think they have, the whole enterprise is bound for tragedy.

Speaking of Internet predators, the Brussels police are apparently investigating a case of virtual rape in the freakishly popular nerd-world Second Life. I don’t know what to say about this.

The 11th Annual Webby Awards were announced his week, and The Stranger didn’t even win ONE! Now I know how.. whoever.. feels.


Ironic! - Business 2.0 Magazine loses June issue and has no backup. Ha!

Fat kids to be encouraged to play more video games at school. This can’t miss. Seriously, if your video game-obsessed kids are getting fat, maybe you should stop feeding them so much, and take away their video games. Just a thought.

Command of the week: mv blog damnblog

Today on Line Out

posted by on May 4 at 4:00 PM

Industrial Band Looking For Members: Trent Moorman thinks they need an editor instead.

!!! Review: They played nothin’ but “floor-shakin’ hits.”

LCD Video: For those who missed the show, or want to never forget it.

Across the Universe: A new movie starring Beatles remakes and Marilyn Manson’s girlfriend.

Now instead of something cute, here’s something awesome for your weekend:

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on May 4 at 3:29 PM

The news:

Spider-Man 3 sux, but is still set to rake in cash.

The Guardian on misogyny in torture porn and Jodie Foster jonesing to play Leni Riefenstahl.

Tribeca handed out a bunch of awards; the only film I can presently confirm will play Seattle is NY Loves Film winner A Walk into the Sea, a doc about a Factory collaborator and lover of Andy Warhol’s. It’s in the Alternate Cinema lineup at SIFF, scheduled for Sat May 26 at 6:30 pm and Sun May 27 at 9:15 pm. And it’s a good one.

The SIFF schedule will be released next Thursday, May 10 (official site); tickets are available to the general public starting May 13. So far, they’ve announced a spotlight on Anthony Hopkins, who’ll touch down in Seattle for a spell—his recent experimental film Slipstream (called “a leap into stunning self-indulgence” by Variety) is the news hook.

Opening today:

Spider-Man 3

Bradley Steinbacher reviews Spider-Man 3. Oh, Raimi. What were you thinking?

Crotchety old Francis Veber spreads on a thin layer of French farce in The Valet. Andrew Wright weighs in.

In On Screen this week: Stupid, stupid terrorism thriller Civic Duty (the crawl at the bottom of the cable news shows goes BACKWARD, for fuck’s sake), mopey cyclist biopic The Flying Scotsman (the velodrome sure is exciting, but can we have fewer shots of grown men weeping in corners, please?), and the whiskey-soaked pirate adventure Disappearances (“makes up for its small-budget, straight-to-video feel with an amateur charm,” says Brendan Kiley).

Recommended week-long runs: bizarre incest freakout Madeinusa at Grand Illusion, Vancouver-shot Doug Coupland comedy Everything’s Gone Green at the Varsity, and the spectacular Mexico City doc In the Pit at the Varsity, about the construction of a massive elevated freeway (especially recommended for all the transportation geeks who hang out on this here Slog) and the wry, romantic, funny, macho, and/or wife-beating workers who give away years of their lives to see it built. Plus: Silent Movie Monday (Harold Lloyd!) at the Paramount, 16mm Magnificent Ambersons for those of you cinema purists who wanna have your celluloid and eat pizza too at Central Cinema, and the microcinema showcase Independent Exposure, also at Central Cinema.

In the Pit

This Week on Drugs

posted by on May 4 at 3:08 PM

My God, Where Would Kids Get This Idea? Teenagers in Colorado distribute fliers promoting the virtues of meth.

Oh, Forget I Asked: AP article declares “strawberry meth” the tasty new trend.

Snort Your Heart Out: Colombian military declares largest cocaine seizure in country’s history. Wait, this just in. There were actually 12.5 fewer tons due to an, ahem, innocent miscalculation…

In the Future We Won’t Call Movies “Speed” or Cities “Weed: Lawsuit yanks “Cocaine” energy drink from Texas shelves.

Gateway Getaway: Delegates can enjoy seven days and six nights in the drug-war-torn coca fields of Colombia.

Turning the Table: Cartel raids Mexican military.

Rally Ho! 200 pot marches this weekend, but not in Seattle.

How Many Licks Does It Take to Get to the Center of a Lawsuit? Fentanyl lollipops can kill more than pain.

Sacha Baron Cohen Will Rock You

posted by on May 4 at 2:40 PM

The man that gave the world Borat is set to play Freddie Mercury in an upcoming Queen biopic to be produced by Robert Deniro. Stereogum has the side-by-side comparison shot (and a pretty funny comment thread):


“Social Engineering” Is the Taxes I Pay So You Can Drive

posted by on May 4 at 2:28 PM

You know what’s really social engineering?

Building, maintaining, and operating roads for cars, building housing far away from jobs, allowing people to pollute the air at will, subsidizing the burden that pollution creates on the health-care system, taxing people to pay for traffic surveillance, putting taxes into road maintenance instead of other priorities, permitting noise pollution, neglecting sidewalks, bike paths, and transit, and allowing continued dependence on foreign energy sources.

As soon as the city, county, state and federal governments end all those subsidies, I’ll happily stop supporting tolls to offset a tiny bit of the free ride drivers enjoy every day.

SPD Using Gay Porn to Promote New Traffic Team

posted by on May 4 at 2:24 PM

Ok, they’re not really but look at this poster. O.M.G.


I went down to SPD’s car show for their Aggressive Driver Response Team to have a look-see at their new fleet of Dodge Chargers. Here’s what they look like:




The entire Aggressive Driver Response Team was in attendance - which is good, since I drove as fast as I could and flipped off a number of people on my way to and from the event - and Chief Kerlikowske gave some facts and figures about aggressive driving in Seattle. Kerlikowske also gave me a shout out for my Slog post yesterday. Awesome.

Kerlikowske cited a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration figure that “one third of all accidents are caused by alcohol or aggressive driving” and according to SPD spokeswoman Debra Brown, there were 28 fatal collisions in 2006 which SPD determined were caused by impaired or aggressive drivers. When asked why the SPD needs souped-up super cars to catch speeders when they have a “restricted pursuit policy,” Kerlikowske said that the new cars would help officers “catch up quickly’ and avoid a prolonged pursuit. Apparently, “slow and steady wins the race” is good enough for the rest of the fleet.

SPD will purchase 8 new Dodge Chargers to replace the Ford Crown Victorias that were being retired. Nancy Bean, the Fleets Supervisor said that the new cars cost $30,852 a piece, after they’re upgraded. According to figures from 2001, SPD paid $27,633 for their Crown Victorias. The base salary for an officer at SPD is $47,334

Crash Zone

posted by on May 4 at 2:06 PM

As Jonah reported yesterday and the Seattle Times reported today, the Seattle Police Department is cracking down on “aggressive drivers”—asshole drivers who endanger themselves and others—with a new squadron of scary-looking Dodge Chargers. The team will prowl aggressive-driving hot spots such as Rainier Ave. S., Aurora, the Alaskan Way Viaduct, the West Seattle Bridge and (who knew?) Sand Point Way.

The Seattle Department of Transportation has tracked traffic fatalities in the city since 2002 (185 fatalities recorded, including just five so far in 2007). According to spreadsheets provided by SDOT and compiled by me, the most dangerous streets in the city are:

• 15th Ave. NE, with four fatalities— one at NE 86th St. in 2005, one at NE 52nd St. in 2004, one at NE 143rd St. in 2003, and one at NE 70th St. in 2002.

• 23rd Avenue South, with three fatalities—one at E. Yesler Wy. in 2006, one at S. McClellan St. in 2005, and one at S. Judkins St. in 2004.

• Martin Luther King, Jr. Wy. S., with five fatalities—one at Beacon Ave. S. in 2004, one at E. Yesler Wy. in 2004, one at E. Yesler Wy. in 2003, one at E. John St. in 2003, and one at 35th Ave. S. in 2003.

• 8th Ave. NW, with three fatalities—one at NW 90th St. in 2006, one at NW 78th St. in 2004, and one at NW 95th St. in 2004.

• The West Seattle Bridge, with three fatalities—all in a single accident in 2006.

• Southbound Alaskan Way, with nine fatalities—one at the Columbia St. on-ramp in 2006, one at the Columbia St. on-ramp in 2005, three at the First Ave. S. off-ramp in 2005, one at S. Holgate St. in 2005, one at Yesler Wy. in 2005, one at the First Ave. S. off-ramp in 2004, and one at the First Ave. S. off-ramp in 2002.

• North Aurora Ave., with ten fatalities—one at N. Northgate Wy. in 2007, one at N. 68th St. in 2006, one at N. 115th St. in 2005, one at N. 73rd St. in 2005, one at N. 85th St. in 2005, one at N. 115th St. in 2004, one at N. 128th St. in 2004, one at N. 59th St. in 2004, one at N. 49th St. in 2004, and one at N. 89th St. in 2003.

• Roosevelt Way Northeast, with four fatalities—one at NE 47th St. in 2005, two at NE70th Street in 2005, and one at NE 80th Street in 2004.

But the biggest, baddest offender by far was a street I’ve written about before: Rainier Avenue South, with an astonishing nineteen fatalities since 2002 : one at South Holly St. in 2006, one at S. Oregon St. in 2006, one at 39th Ave. South in 2006, four at 57th Ave. South and Ithaca Place in 2006, one at South Thistle St. in 2005, one at S. Cooper St. in 2005, one at S. Edmunds St. in 2004, one at S. Frontenac St. in 2004, one at S. Kenny St. in 2004, one at S. Carver St. in 2003, four at S. Cloverdale St. in 2003, one at S. Hudson St. in 2003, one at 75th Ave. S. in 2003, one at Ithaca Pl. S. in 2003.

According to SDOT, there have been 1,743 collisions on Rainier in the last three years, 643 of those in the past year alone. This shouldn’t surprise anybody who’s ever driven, walked, or ridden a bike on Rainier—people use Rainier, a fairly direct north-south route with few stoplights, as a freeway to get from Seattle to Renton and points south, driving 50, 60, 70 miles an hour in what is supposed to be a 40-mph zone.

Although the city has an “action plan” in place to try to reduce accidents on Rainier, most of the elements of the plan are things like improving signal timing (which improves traffic but allows cars to go even faster) and cracking down on jaywalkers. (The plan does include some new pedestrian-priority signals and speed-reduction measures in particularly high-collision intersections like S. Hendersen, but doesn’t directly address the need to slow down traffic on Rainier as a whole. Instead, it focuses on enforcement and spot improvements.) The city’s action plan, like the city’s bike master plan, includes no immediate improvements for bikers; Rainier, which has no bike lanes whatsoever, is the only route into Southeast Seattle north of Seward Park. Instead, the city proposes to install “bike friendly storm grates.” Bus service on Rainier is, likewise, notoriously horrible; the 7, which runs down Rainier toward downtown, arrives sporadically and stops every two blocks. Meanwhile, development on Rainier remains overwhelmingly car-oriented; a new mega-development at Dearborn will include roughly 1,000 parking spaces.

I’m all for the city’s renewed focus on Southeast Seattle, and I don’t mean to diminish the value of economic development and affordable-housing efforts in a part of the city that faces real challenges in those areas. However, without significant changes in land use—and a corresponding reduction in auto-oriented street “improvements” on Rainier—the Valley may well be doomed to remain a car-centric, bike-and-pedestrian-unfriendly crash zone that people drive through, instead of a destination where people want to be.

School Board Incumbents Play Hooky from Debate?

posted by on May 4 at 2:03 PM

An active (and evidently angry) member of the 46th District Democrats (North Seattle) just fired off this e-mail:

The 46th District Democrats are hosting our Annual Candidate Forum on May 17th. We’ve been advertising it for weeks, invited all known candidates for school board (as well as port commission and city council). There are many other candidate forums out there, but ours has grown to become a popular venue for residents in north Seattle.

Here is the problem…

We all know that the school board has performed poorly in the face of serious problems in recent years. As a result, the incumbents are going to have a very difficult time with their re-election campaigns. Well, suddenly Seattle Public Schools announces a special meeting to introduce incoming Superintendent Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson on the same evening as our candidate forum! What the fuck?!?!

Hmmm… If I was cynical I might think that the incumbent school directors who are in fear of getting thrown out of office this fall will spend the spring and summer milking the positive publicity of hiring of the new superintendent for all they can get. They might even schedule a feel good campaign event “welcoming event” for the new superintendent that would force them to miss our candidate forum wherein they might be asked to answer some difficult questions.

Bruce & Demi & Ashton

posted by on May 4 at 1:59 PM


Bruce Willis said that the above photographer he took with Vanity Fair wasn’t hard at all. He said that he has no problem seeing his old wife, Demi Moore, “canoodling” with her new husband, Ashton Kutcher. The picture was taken in the Caribbean on just one of many family vacays.

Not hard at all? I’m not convinced Bruce wasn’t rock hard when this picture was taken. Bruce’s comfort level with this younger, studlier guy doing his wife—okay, his ex-wife—is starting to look like a full-blown cuckold fetish to me.


posted by on May 4 at 1:17 PM

A 35-year-old Onalaska man picked the wrong place and the wrong time to hide a container with marijuana in it. Lewis County sheriff’s detectives in Chehalis say they arrested Eugenio Anthony Colon today at 11:25 a.m. after he was seen by detectives hiding the container under a bush in front of their office window…. Colon admitted to hiding the marijuana and told detectives he had no idea he could be seen by them.
Full story in the Bellingham Herald.

Goat Notes

posted by on May 4 at 1:15 PM

Look at the Greek origin of the word “tragedy” and what you will see is a singing goat. From “trag” we get the goat, and from “edy” we get the song. Scholars have yet to produce a hard explanation for the connection between a goat that sings and a play that has a sad ending. But of all the theories that have been thought up—because actors were paid with goats, because some actors dressed up as goats, because goats were brought into the orchestra at the end of a play—this is by far the most compelling: because the sound a dying goat makes is absolutely tragic.

On a farm near Ocean City, Maryland, my father attempts to make a man of me by making me, a boy, kill a goat. The sun is in the middle of the sky, the thick farmer’s face is red, the fat goat is tied to the ground, something sharp and heavy is in my small hands (an ax?). My dad is waiting for me to become a man. The American farmer is waiting for these Africans to get this ritual business over and done with. I look at the goat: it’s eyes are empty and stupid; its mouth is open and stupid, it’s belly is swollen and stupid—but I cant kill the stupid thing. My father sees this, sees his son is soft, takes the ax (or whatever it was), and blood explodes from the blow on the goat’s throat. It screams, bleeds, and dies.

From Charles Mungoshi’s short story “Mountain”:

There was a black goat following us…
“You have insulted [the goat],” Chemai said accusingly.
I said nothing. It was no use pretending I didn’t know what I was doing. I knew these goats. Lost spirits. Because I had laughed at it it would follow me wherever I went. It would behave in every way as if I were its friend or, better still, its husband. It was a goat in body but a human in spirit.

More Big Box, Less Affordable Housing

posted by on May 4 at 12:59 PM

WW. Wonk Warning

I ran into City Council Member Tom Rasmussen last night at an event downtown. Rasmussen, a strong social services advocate, was concerned about the fate of the Lora Lake affordable housing apartments out by Sea-Tac Airport. Everyone agrees that 71 of the 234 units need to be torn down to meet FAA safety zone regulations to accommodate the airport’s planned third runway.

However, the city of Burien—which has zoning control over the land—wants the other 162 units torn down so the city can jump-start a big-box development project. (Just what that area needs!)

The King County Housing Authority (a non-profit low-income housing developer that’s not a KC government entity) runs the Lora Lake Apartments, leasing from the Port, which owns the land. KCHA is pissed that the 162 affordable units are slated to go. “You read the headlines every week,” says KCHA Deputy Director Dan Watson. “There is a short supply of rental housing, especially with the rash of condo conversions*. And in particular, there’s a shortage of affordable rentals. What sense does it make to tear down perfectly good, publicly owned, affordable rental housing? It will cost about $25 to $30 million to replace, which is one quarter of what the entire state spends on housing in a year.”

*There were 2,352 condo conversions in Seattle in 2006, which is particularly alarming for 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.

Port Commissioner Alec Fisken was at the same event last night. And he told me the Port will do whatever the Burien City Council decides.

Well, Jack Block, Jr.—a Burien City Council Member and Port candidate—was also out and about last night, and he told me the Council will vote on Monday night to ice the housing and build big box. He said the KC Housing Authority was trying to pass the buck and make the Burien Council look like “ogres.” He explained that the housing has always been temporary and, knowing that the third runway project has been coming for 10 years, the Housing Authority has simply failed come up with a plan to replace the temporary housing. He also says Burien isn’t in dire need of affordable housing—rattling off this sound bite: “90 percent of the housing in Burien is affordable to people at 80% of median” income, which would be about $61K for a family of four.

It’s not clear, however, that KCHA knew the housing was slated to go. They entered an agreement with the Port knowing that 71 units had to go, but legally, the other 162 did not. KCHA’s Watson says KCHA is now asking a fair public policy question: “Is big box development a better use of public land than affordable housing?”

As to Block’s point that Burien already has a healthy stock of affordable units, Watson scoffs: “Because we have affordable housing, we should tear down affordable housing?”

Below the jump, I’ve linked a May 1 letter from KCHA partners the Church Council of Greater Seattle to Port Commissioner John Creighton.

Continue reading "More Big Box, Less Affordable Housing" »

The In & Out Box

posted by on May 4 at 12:36 PM

Fucking hell. You would think, at this point, I would know better than to read my “Savage Love” mail while I’m trying to eat my lunch.

I am a gay guy with only minimal sexual experience with females, teenage petting, etc. A straight friend recently played some straight porn for me of a female ejaculating. It was alright I guess but I couldn’t help noticing that her anus repeatedly puckered out during her orgasm. I’ve never seen this before. know during female orgasm that the opening of the uterus moves down into the cervix, I think it is, to collect sperm. When this happens are the intestines, colon, anus, etc getting pushed out? And if so is it fair to say that when a woman has an orgasm she basically shits herself? I’m genuinely curious about this and mean no offence to my straight overlords who continue to such a great job making the world a better place to live, war and overpopulation notwithstanding.

Just A Bloke

Oh, man. Anyone want the rest of my sandwich?

And Now, from Highlights, for Children…

posted by on May 4 at 12:21 PM

And so, this olive branch

As a small “please forgive me” for reporting shit about Jay-Z blowing up that was totally sort of not all that true, I offer this pretty poem:

We Are Still Friends

You may not know it, but we are still friends
You may not see it, but we are still friends
You may not like it, but we are still friends.

Don’t have three, have four!
Don’t have four, have five!
Don’t have five, have ten!
Don’t leave anyone out!

You may not know it, but we are still friends
You may not see it, but we are still friends
You may not like it, but we are still friends.

Jessica Salomon
Age 9
New York

From Highlights Magazine. I memorized that shit last night while I was waiting for a haircut a Rudy’s.

Isn’t it just darling?

I Saw Spider-Man 3 Last Night, I Didn’t Hate It

posted by on May 4 at 12:12 PM

But I did think it got pretty ridiculous at times.

And Steinbacher’s review of the film is pretty right on, I just tend to be more forgiving of all the crimes the film commits.

Specifically, a chair-twirling, snap-heavy routine to the tune of “Fever” (all that’s missing is jazz hands), which Peter performs on the dance floor of a crowded club in an effort to turn Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) crimson with jealousy. It’s the sort of astonishingly awful scene that can sink an entire film, and it marks an unfortunate turning point in Spider-Man 3. Up until that moment, director Sam Raimi had delivered a painless, if overly familiar, third installment to the franchise. As Peter makes like a touring member of Chicago, however, the vessel springs a major leak, quickly turns aft in the air, and sinks.

Yeah, that part made me cringe too. But what I couldn’t shake, as I left the theater close to 3 am last night, was the transformation Spider-Man made when he came into contact with that “alien-bred puddle of black goo.”

Steinbacher says:

That last one is some nasty business, able to bring out the very worst in any individual unlucky enough to come into contact with it. For Peter Parker rival Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), this means transforming himself into the mangy-toothed Venom; for the far less flashy Peter, on the other hand, it means rakish bangs, a cocky strut, and an unfortunate tendency toward Great White Way–style dance numbers.

And I say, more than anything, that goo just made Peter Parker look like the awkward and geeky little brother of 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto in his heavy-eyeliner and stupid haircut phase.

You can’t tell so much in this photo, but watch for it in the movie—the resemblance is hilariously uncanny sometimes.



Of course Best Week Ever thinks he looks like Hitler.

So maybe he’s a Hitler/Leto love child?


Re: Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 4 at 12:10 PM

And if you can’t get into the Yard Dogs/Circus Contraption show, try your luck at Re-bar.

Tonight is also the first night of the extended run of Dina Martina’s malapropping, pink-eye-fighting, lame-in-lamé B-Sides.


Her shows have been sold the fuck out for weeks—now’s your chance to see some new bits from the NYC and Provincetown gigs and a few old goodies. (Personal favorite: the Bryman College commercials.)

Get your tickets here. And now.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 4 at 12:01 PM


Yard Dogs Road Show and Circus Contraption

Circus Contraption is more cirque noir—a romantically shabby, Euro-bordello feeling, all accordions and tassels and faded red velvet. The Yard Dogs (from San Francisco) are more nü-vaudeville—electric guitars and burlesque dancing and flashy magic tricks. They’ve both got great skills and great bands—seeing them on the same stage will be a sword-swallowing, fire-eating, trapeze-swinging joy. (Showbox, 1426 First Ave, 628-0888. 8 pm, $18 adv/$20 DOS, 21+.) Brendan Kiley

Clark and Rasmussen Fail to Unite Pride

posted by on May 4 at 11:31 AM

Yesterday Seattle City Council member Tom Rasmussen had this to say about today’s pride parade meeting at City Hall…

It gets very complicated very quickly, particularly for community groups, when there are two parades or festivals over two different days in two different locations,” says Rasmussen. “They have to get volunteers and materials and staff to two different places, and that’s taxing. Ideally we should have one event..”

Rasmussen and Sally Clark—the two gay members of the Seattle City Council—sat down this morning with representatives from SOaP, the group that moved the pride parade downtown last year, and the LGBT Community Center, the organization that ran a rival parade the night before on Capitol Hill. Rasmussen was a few minutes late because he stopped to pick up cupcakes from Cupcake Royal.

As everyone now knows, last year’s downtown pride parade was popular success—more than 200,000 people attended—but the equally-if-not-more-popular festival at Seattle Center after the parade was a financial disaster, leaving SOaP $100,000 in debt. The LGBT Community Center’s rival parade on Capitol Hill attracted far fewer participants; the Center claims 20,000, people that attended put the number at 3,000. A few weeks ago SOaP announced that it was disbanding and declaring bankruptcy; the LGBT Community Center pounced, announced that it would be organizing pride—and moving the parade back to Capitol Hill, and the festival back to Volunteer Park. Then SOaP reversed course, decided not to disband, cancelled the festival but committed itself to organizing the parade downtown on Sunday.

This morning’s meeting had the stated goal of bringing both groups together to work on one set of pride events—i.e. one parade, one rally. But after the meeting Clark and Rasmussen announced that Seattle is going to have two pride parades, on two different days, in two neighborhoods—but at the same hour of the morning. The LGBT Community Center will organizing a Capitol Hill parade on Saturday morning, June 23, at 11 AM; SOaP will be organizing a downtown parade on Sunday morning, June 24, also at 11 AM.

According to Clark and Rasmussen, SOaP and the LGBT Community Center had already been meeting to coordinate their efforts.

“Maybe the fact that they knew they were going to be meeting with Sally and me helped,” said Rasmussen.

The groups pledged to Clark and Rasmussen that they would continue to work together.

“We pressed them on that. What does working together mean? They agreed to weekly meetings, to go over where everyone is at. Shannon [Thomas] was clear that the LGBT Community Center was working on Queer Fest 2007, or the Pride Festival, or whatever they’re calling it. And their march is scheduled for 11 AM Saturday.”

Last year the LGBT Community Center’s parade was held at night before SOaP’s parade, which did help to distinguish it in some ways from Sunday morning’s parade. However, the LGBT Community Center and the Seattle Gay News actively encouraged people to attend the Saturday night event and in place of the traditional Sunday morning parade. With both events scheduled for the same time but 24 hours apart, the distinction between them seems blurrier than ever.

“Look at it this way,” said Clark. “You have many things to choose from for pride weekend, and you can set alarm at 10 AM for both days.”

In this morning’s meeting the LGBT Community Center argued that their parade will be distinct from SOaP’s. “Shannon was clear that her thing is supposed to be more of a political march,” said Clark, “and less of a colorful celebration or a ‘parade.’ They’re doing something different, and they’re not interested in competing. They’re just trying to respond to community members that say they want pride events on Capitol Hill.”

Rasmussen is confident that Seattle’s two pride parades will be distinct.

“The Capitol Hill one is going to be much more a walking neighborhood ‘parade,’ political type of event, no floats—those kind of limitations,” said Rasmussen. “The downtown will be the one with floats and a lot larger. Each one will have its own unique style and appeal.”

But the logistical headaches posed by two parades—for participants, not organizers—remain.

“Logistically, sure, for organizations like Lifelong or the GSBA, for nonprofits and politicians, it’s going to be like, ‘Oh, my god, we have to get the troops out to one or the other or both.’ That’s still an issue. But I’m going to get out to both and I hope everyone will.”

Two other developments came out of this morning’s meeting:

The groups floated the idea of creating a community advisory board. “Some sort of umbrella group to oversee and advise the many organizations that do events for pride,” said Clark. “They’re not sure now if it would be an informal group, or network, or a seperate 501c3 that does fundraising for pride events as well as overseeing them.”

The groups also hope to hire one person to coordinate sponsorships for both events.

This Makes My Brain Hurt

posted by on May 4 at 11:06 AM

Seen at Noah’s Bagels on Broadway (Capitol Hill, you dipshit, not Manhattan):


That blurry text reads, “Our Artisan-Roasted Coffee, Shlepped All the Way From the Pacific Northwest.”

Jay-Z Goes Down In a Firey Ball of Terror Maybe! Or, Wait…It Was All a Bunch of Crap!

posted by on May 4 at 10:44 AM


Rumors have been swirling this morning that rapresario Jay-Z ( aka Sean Carter) was in a plane crash this morning.

Not worried? Wait! It’s gets worse!

TMZ has confirmed that a small plane registered to a citizen of Dublin, GA crashed near Asheville, NC in the Smoky Mountains. The FAA tells TMZ that the four-seat propeller plane did go down this morning, but could not provide any additional details.

And according to sources creepy and unnameable, Jay-Z has allegedly chartered exactly such a plane, and when last heard from, he was en route to Vegas to watch some manly sporting event thingy that I don’t know anything about.


Is Jay-Z alive? Is he not alive? Was he on that damn plane at all? And what does Sanjaya think about all this?


Hang in there, Jay-Z! The rescue party’s a-comin’!

I hope.


The terrible rumor is but a terrible rumor. And don’t be smug little haters about it either, please. I was genuinely concerned. (He owes me a back rub.) And Jay-Z not being a twisted burning corpse is a GOOD thing.



BREAKING: Baggy-pants craze reaches Boston!

posted by on May 4 at 10:36 AM

From today’s Boston Globe

Baggy-pants style not so cool with adults

Mostly teenagers—and mostly inspired by hip-hop or “goth” culture—they prefer baggy, so-low-they-almost-fall-down designer jeans, which are sometimes held up with belts, and sometimes kept in place by periodic yanks.

Like belly, jewelry-jangling hip-huggers, or studded collars, saggy pants are a fashion statement.

By reading the the article in full, says Gawker

You will also learn that: a) kids like to provoke their parents, b) parents forget that they were once kids, and c) sometimes these loose pants fall down. Oh, yeah, and d) the newspaper industry is fucked.

After You Read the McKay Story that Dan Linked in Morning News…

posted by on May 4 at 9:20 AM

read this theory about GOP Rep. Dave Reichert’s connection to the Mckay scandal.

DOJ Scandal: Was Reichert Involved?

posted by on May 4 at 9:19 AM

CoolAqua connects the dots

Rove assistant Leslee Westine becomes CEO of TechNet, replacing CEO Rick White, who is then recommended by Dave Reichert to be the new Washington State Attorney, right after Karl Rove’s Office has just sacked the Washington State Attorney?

Pride Parade Meeting

posted by on May 4 at 8:45 AM

Last night Sally Clark told me that I could attend this morning’s meeting at City Hall with SOaP and the LGBT Community Center (or the LGBT Community Discord Generator, as it’s being called in this comment thread), which she and Tom Rasmussen set up. Last night at midnight an email arrived asking me not to attend this… open… public… meeting…. pretty please?

I’ll have a full report from Clark as soon as the meeting wraps up.

The Morning News

posted by on May 4 at 8:21 AM

Who Won Last Night’s Republican Debate? Mitt Romney, say Drudge readers. Zombie Reagan, say Kos readers.

Who Lost? George W. Bush.

Gay Slights: Republican presidential dopeful Tommy Thompson—last seen insulting the Jews—emphatically states that’s its okay to fire gays and lesbians, then quickly reverses himself.

British Invasion: Queen visits Virginia.

Yahoo! Microsoft seeks to buy popular-ish search engine in hopes of competing with Google.

Jobless: US job growth way below forecasts.

Outrageous: Please read this.

Bridge to Somewhere: U-Bridge open for business.

Tired of Being Depressed, Guys?

posted by on May 4 at 8:10 AM

A new study about Seattle shows that smart density neighborhoods—the kind with beefed up business districts and less parking requirements; the kind that seem to piss off some of the older editorial writers in this town—would do a world of good for some of the older editorial writers in this town.

Time to Go

posted by on May 4 at 2:10 AM

Tonight, I spent a good 2 1/2 hours wandering around the Seattle Art Museum during a preview event, marveling again.

I’m telling you to go. At 10 am Saturday the doors open. They remain open for 35 hours straight, until 9 pm Sunday.

I saw people stretching their legs. Stretching their legs. Yes, the Seattle Art Museum is now so large that it can not really be covered properly in a single visit. Know what this means? That it is no longer a place largely suited to tourists, but instead to repeat visitors, committed visitors, locals, scholars, careful lookers.

“How do you like the new museum?” one man asked another tonight.

“It’s like a museum now,” the other one answered.

In my review of the new SAM experience (the story also has a great slideshow), there were several things I couldn’t mention because I just didn’t have enough room.

First, the most shocking work of art in all the museum* is the painting that hangs in the special-exhibitions gallery to the right of Matta’s gaseous-green geometric-surrealism painting. It looks, as one artist told me tonight, like something thick and graphic, like Jean Dubuffet. It has arrows pointing in various directions, and is brightly colored. Are you ready for this? It’s a 1964 painting by Eva Hesse. Do. Not. Miss. It. It caused another artist to proclaim, “I never knew she was a tube-squeezer!”

(If you’re interested, there’s an essay on Hesse and color in the current edition of October.)

Another unsung thing to behold: the circa-1600 Italian room, made of wood and never before seen (or smelled—smell that wood smell) at SAM.

More: the Chinoiserie room on the fourth floor, decked in Belgian tapestries.

And: the 1640s oil painting Boys Blowing Bubbles, also on the fourth floor, which SAM curator Chiyo Ishikawa, in her research for the reopening, recently re-attributed to the female artist Michaelina Woutiers, about whom I know nothing and am thoroughly curious. (The painting has been in SAM’s collection since 1958.) As Ishikawa pointed out, the bubbles are 350 years old and still haven’t popped.


Anyway, have fun. I won’t lay a bunch of stuff on you all at once—or any more than I already have. Do go. You’ll be glad you did. (Although the Larry Bell fans in the house should return on Tuesday, when the fragile transparent cube by Bell will be replaced in the minimalism gallery after the opening crush.)

*(Sadly, SAM doesn’t have seductive high-res images of any of these things on its web site …)

GOP Candidates: Too Conservative for Kansas

posted by on May 4 at 12:01 AM

from the AP report on the GOP debate:

Kansas Sen. Brownback, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo raised their hands when moderator Chris Matthews asked who did not believe in evolution.

Even Brownback’s home state isn’t with him [or some of his fellow Republican contenders] on this.

They don’t believe in evolution? Wow. What a lulu Party.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Happy Blake Day! B-B-Belated!

posted by on May 3 at 9:37 PM

Ooh…I wonder if poor Sanjaya will cry when he finds out…

City of Bothell to Proclaim April 11 as “Blake Lewis Day”

Bothell, Wash. – In honor of American Idol finalist and Bothell citizen Blake Lewis, the City of Bothell will proclaim April 11 as “Blake Lewis Day.” The special presentation will be made at the April 10 Council meeting (begins at 6 p.m. at the City of Bothell Municipal Court, 10116 NE 183rd Street, Bothell). Mayor Mark Lamb will present the proclamation to Lewis’ parents, Dallas and Dinah Lewis.

“Bothell’s Blake Lewis has brought positive community spirit to this region by sharing his talent and ambition with the world,” said City of Bothell Mayor Mark Lamb. “The City of Bothell commends Blake and his family on his tremendous achievements and we wish him the very best on American Idol and all his future endeavors. I also hereby extend an invitation to Blake to perform at the City of Bothell Music in the Park summer concert series!”

The City of Bothell thanks The Blaker Girls, Lewis’ official fan club, and the Northshore School District for their help in coordinating support for “Blake Lewis Day” in Bothell. Visit for viewing parties and other supporting events for Lewis and for district information.

Welp, I guess Blake Day was April 11th. Did you miss it? I missed it. Did you get a card?

I didn’t get a card.

Happy Belated Blake Day!


Tom Wales

posted by on May 3 at 6:07 PM

This is fucked up

Former U.S. Attorney John McKay’s name was on a list of federal prosecutors to be fired in March 2005, 18 months earlier than previously reported, according to a document released by the House Judiciary Committee today.

And during a hearing in the nation’s capital, a committee member suggested McKay might have made the list, drawn up by the attorney general’s then-chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, for requesting “some action” by the Justice Department with regard to the unsolved 2001 killing of Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Wales.

In questioning former Deputy Attorney General James Comey, Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., said: “It was suggested that Mr. Sampson had concerns or that concerns had been raised … relating to the murder of an assistant U.S. attorney named Thomas Wales, in which Mr. McKay had requested some action by the department.”

Tom Wales was for gun control. Someone shot and killed Wales—Assistant US Attorney Tom Wales—in his home. And McKay was fired… for giving a shit? For wanting to find the killer? For requesting that “some action” be taken?

What the fuck?

Says McKay…

“I’m just sick to my stomach. That’s the first I’ve heard of it,” he said. “Of course I was on a number of occasions, sometimes passionately, pushing for appropriate resources and appropriate attention on the Wales investigation.

“I would be stunned to learn somebody back there put me on a list to be fired because I was pushing on the Wales investigation. This one is bizarre and insulting. It’s insulting to Tom’s family and my office and the people who cared about Tom.”

Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse—just when you think the Bush administration can’t get any more disgustingly corrupt—it gets worse.

The Justice Department under George W. Bush isn’t interested in investigating the murder of an Assistant US Attorney. Suggesting that taking “some action” on investigation into the murder of an Assistant US Attorney can get your ass fired.

And what did the Bush Justice Dept. want to see investigated?

McKay’s appearance on the list in March 2005 would have been contemporaneous with Republican challenges to the closely contested 2004 governor’s election in Washington state, won by Democrat Chris Gregoire. Many supporters of the GOP candidate, Dino Rossi, angrily believed that McKay did not do enough to investigate their claims of voter fraud—something McKay disputes.

Kill an Assistant US District Attorney. No big deal. Fail to bring bogus charges of vote fraud in a close election? You’re fired.

God help us.

Attention Filmmakers

posted by on May 3 at 5:18 PM

Northwest Film Forum’s fancy live auction is Saturday, but you can bid on the online auction for filmmakers right now—the auction’s ending in an hour in a half. There are some sweet items, and plenty don’t have bids yet:

1) One hour pitch with renowned producer Peter Newman. He has produced movies like The Squid and the Whale, Smoke, The Secret of Roan Inish, and the TV show Grey’s Anatomy. The winner will have to meet him in New York.

2) One hour meeting with New York film producer Scott Macaulay.
Another New York prize, the winner can get advice from the producer of Raising Victor Vargas, Idlewilde, Gummo and Julien Donkey Boy. He’s also the editor of Filmmaker Magazine, so you can talk about film writing if you want to.

3) One hour meeting with New York casting director Adrienne Stern.
This one also takes place in New York, where you can talk about creating a plan to cast your film, or ask her about her connections to Sundance.

4) Three hours of feature fundraising and budget advice from cult filmmaker Jon Moritsugu (Mod Fuck Explosion). He lives somewhere around Seattle, so the meeting would probably be here or maybe in L.A. He’s made a handful of underground features and is in a position to give some good advice.

Other auction items include meeting with Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker James Longley (Iraq in Fragments) and a meeting with the Seattle International Film Festival’s Artistic Director Carl Spence to talk about festival strategies, poster designs, production budget consultations, and a whole lot of other stuff.

$125 for documentary advice from Stranger Genius James Longley? Shit, I almost want to bid.

Info about the live auction and gala here.

Hot Air Meets Hotter Air

posted by on May 3 at 4:46 PM

What the hell is up with this picture, now on the front page of The New York Times?


Seriously. What’s going on here? They’re about to have a presidential debate staring at the back end of a jetliner? The scale is giving me a headache, it looks like a cheap Photoshop job.

(via Nat, Systems Administrator nonpareil)

Overheard in the Office

posted by on May 3 at 4:41 PM

Jen Graves: “Christopher is the number one consumer of David Schmader’s nuts.”

It’s All Over

posted by on May 3 at 4:37 PM

Oprah has endorsed Obama.

Tom Rasmussen and Sally Clark Call SOaP and LGBT Community Center in for Meeting at City Hall

posted by on May 3 at 4:05 PM

Tom Rasmussen and Sally Clark—the two gay members of the Seattle City Council—have invited SOaP, the group planning the downtown pride parade, and Shannon Thomas of the LGBT Community Center, the organization that hoped to move the parade back to Capitol Hill, to City Hall for an early-morning meeting tomorrow morning.

“We decided to get together with the people planning pride events,” Rasmussen told me on the phone a moment ago, “to get updated on what everone’s plans are and hear them out. We want to see whether there is conflict, and then see if we can help resolve any outstanding issues.”

Clark and Rasmussen hope the 8 AM meeting can convince both groups to work together on one event.

“It gets very complicated very quickly, particularly for community groups, when there are two parades or festivals over two different days in two different locations,” says Rasmussen. “They have to get volunteers and materials and staff to two different places, and that’s taxing. Ideally we should have one event. Most communities have one parade. A festival may go over a cople of days, but there’s one parade.”

If Rasmussen and Clark can’t convince the groups to work together on one event—and that seems highly unlikely considering the bad blood between the groups, and the efforts of the LGBT Community Center to undermine SOaP’s events last year—they hope to convince both groups, “to be as supportive as they can of each other’s activities.”

“My goal is to have everyone agree to some set of principles that says they’ll all if not collaborate, then at least not undermine other events,” Sally Clark wrote in an email. “There’s just not that much time left between now and Pride weekend. Time would be best spent putting together a great weekend of events—events that compliment and feed into each other.

What happens in 2008 is another question,” Clark added.

Rasmussen wasn’t a passionate supporter of the SOaP’s decision to move the parade downtown last year.

“When the debate was going on last year I wasn’t sure there would be enough energy or enough of a crowd to be really be impactful,” he says. “But I was there and I was just blown away by the parade on Fourth Avenue. It was fantastic, it was just great.

“I loved having it downtown,” Rasmussen continued. “I thought it was really successful and tons of fun. But the main thing now is that we have a good pride festival and parade wherever it takes place. It would not be a good statement about the community, or a good sign, if we had no parade at all.”

As for SOaP’s debt, Rasmussen has been sounding people out about hosting a fundraiser to help retire some of the debt—with whatever money was collected going directly to Seattle Center, not to SOaP.

“I thought the downtown parade last year and the celebration at Seattle Center were both great events,” he said, “and no one charged me to be in it, and most of the people that participated that day didn’t pay a thing. So now the organization is left with all this debt. It seems only fair that people help pay for something that they participated in and enjoyed.”

Traffic Super Cops

posted by on May 3 at 4:04 PM

Tomorrow morning, the Seattle Police Department, along with Mayor Nickels and Chief Kerlikowske, will unveil Seattle’s fancy, new, elite and—according to the press release—”totally fucking badass” AGGRESSIVE DRIVER RESPONSE TEAM.

Ten traffic cops will be behind the wheels of some fancy, new, elite and totally fucking badass Dodge Chargers, which probably look something like this:


Aggressive driving—which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines as “a combination of moving traffic offenses [that] endanger other persons or property”—is, according to SPD spokeswoman Debra Brown, “a serious traffic issue.”

Will these new cars scare asshole drivers into submission? Is this anything more than a PR campaign for the SPD and Dodge? Only time will tell.

What brilliant crime deterrent will the city come up with next?


Today on Line Out

posted by on May 3 at 3:52 PM

Zwickel on Manu Chao: Run with the dub, but ditch the punk.

A Handsome Distraction: Lindsey Buckingham’s “Big Love.”

Laptop Battle Battle: Mat Anderson vs. KFO.

Bad News: The Fratellis cancel tour dates, including May 13 at the Showbox.

Funny Shirts and Freaky Faces: Scenes from LCD.

More Love for LCD: Eric Grandy and Kurt B. Reighley had a great time last night.

Bump the Bass: How to maintain your low end.

Dirty: Songs about dicks and vaginas.



School Board Wrap Up

posted by on May 3 at 3:45 PM

The Seattle School Board held one of its biweekly meetings last night. A gaggle of furious parents, student activists in Bad Brains T-shirts, and concerned citizens vented about budget overruns and problems with the principal-selection process at African American Academy.

Another hot topic: military recruiters in high schools.

During the public testimony session, Philip Locker of Socialist Alternative (I know, I know), stood at a podium and challenged the school board to “go on record… and complain about the federal government,” to take a stand against the military recruitment stipulation attached to the No Child Left Behind act. NCLB, obviously, is the flawed Bush administration program which is supposed to increase accountability and improve performance in public schools. The No Child Left Behind act also includes a provision which requires schools to give military recruiters access to student information. Schools must follow the mandate in order to receive federal funding. Forty-nine million dollars, 10 percent of the Seattle Public Schools’ budget, comes from No Child Left Behind.

Later in the evening, board member Brita Butler-Wall responded to Locker’s impassioned speech, saying, “The problem for us is, at this point, we don’t even have enough funding to do the basic things we need to do. Seattle Public Schools doesn’t have the luxury of rejecting that 10 percent of the budget.”

In a phone interview this morning, board member Darlene Flynn also responded to Locker. “The current administration has us over a barrel. The day that I can afford to send 10 percent of [the budget] back to George W. Bush, I will,” she said.

I’ll be at the next public school board yell-a-thon in two weeks to keep you folks in Slog land up to date about what’s going on in Seattle’s public schools.

Re: Flippin’ Like a Pancake, Poppin’ Like a Cork

posted by on May 3 at 3:29 PM

Brad’s post about The Banana Splits inspired me to find the long-lost intro from Pinwheel, a show I watched as a kid on Nickelodeon (originally called the Pinwheel network.) Never has an intro to a children’s show been more forlorn, wistful, creepy, and sad—from the scary mime at the beginning to the badly animated puppets to the washed-out colors and ghostlike children’s singing. It gets in my head every now and again.

Worlb’s Worst Tattoo

posted by on May 3 at 3:15 PM

TSG reports that 20-year-old college student Jason Harris is suing the House of Ink tattoo shop in St. Louis, where he went to get the words “St. Louis Cardinals, World Series Champions, 2006” tattooed across his back. Unfortunately, according to Harris’s negligence lawsuit, the House of Ink inked the wrong year—2000—rendered “Champions” as “Champs,” and spelled the word “world” as “worlb.” He’s seeking $25,000.

Flippin’ Like a Pancake, Poppin’ Like a Cork!

posted by on May 3 at 3:07 PM

The theme song to The Banana Splits has been torturing me all day. I hereby pass that torture on to you. Enjoy.


posted by on May 3 at 2:23 PM

That’s right.

As everyone already knows, some enterprising 12-year-old (I’m guessing) recently cracked the encryption scheme for HD-DVD, and the not-so-enterprising folks at the AACSLA, are now engaged in a massive, expensive, and obviously useless quest to rid the world of this dangerous string of text integer.

The EFF explains the situation better than any of us can, or wants to. The Times gives a good overview of the fracas as well., after a brief and wildly unsuccessful attempt to prevent the number (run!!! the number!!! protect the children!!!) from being posted on their site, relented and decided to let the chips fall where they may.

So today was a difficult day for us. We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code.

But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.

All of this nonsense is of course the result of one of the most nonsensical laws in our history, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Some enterprising folks have also translated the number into hex colors, and started selling (illegal!) t-shirts.

WARNING: Looking at the following colors may be a federal crime.


Little Dinky Hasselhoff Catches Big Drinky Hasselhoff on Tape, Cries, “Daddy…Please Stop Drinking!”

posted by on May 3 at 2:14 PM

A terrible and too revealing amateur video has been released by something called ET that features David Hasselhoff (who is nothing but Patrick Swayze sans the dancey-dancey, let’s face it) as drunk as two fiddler’s bitches fighting over a liver in a bucket of gin. In it, he is rolling around on the floor half naked and trying to eat a hamburger.

The horrible video was shot by Hasselhoff’s poor 16-year-old daughter, and, most weirdly and horribly of all, the video shoot was allegedly PRESHCEDULED, David having asked his daughter way ahead of time to film him the next time he got shitfaced so he could apparently watch the video as a preventative measure against future inclinations to do really stupid shit like get shitfaced, roll around half naked on the floor, try to eat a hamburger, and preschedule one’s 16-year-old daughter to tape it.

In the video, Taylor begs her father to stop drinking, saying, “Dad, look what this is doing to you. You have to stop drinking alcohol, promise me you won’t drink anymore. They’re going to come tomorrow and test you, and you’re going to lose your job.”

While allegedly soberer, David released this statement:

“I am a recovering alcoholic. Despite that, I have been going through a painful divorce and I have recently been separated from my children due to my work. I have been successfully dealing with my issue. Unfortunately, I did have a brief relapse. Because of my honest and positive relationship with my children, who were concerned for my well-being, there was a tape made when I had a relapse to show me what I was like. I have seen the tape. I have learned from it, and I am back on my game. I thank God for the love and concern from my children. The tape made by my children was never meant to become public, but was obviously released by my estranged wife, who has her own agenda. I hope that someone else will learn form this tape, as I have.”
See the damn video HERE!


Not Sawsquatch

posted by on May 3 at 1:56 PM

wheedle.jpgI’ve been trying to teach recent transplant JZ to say sasquatch (“săs’kwŏch,” “hairy man” in Halkomelem, a Central Salish language). Which made me wonder what ever happened to the Wheedle, a minor childhood obsession of mine. And wasn’t he the Sonics’ mascot once upon a time?

There’s a Wheedle
On the Needle
I know just what
You’re thinking
But if you look up
Late at night
You’ll see
His red nose blinking

Do Northwest parents still tell their kids about the Wheedle?

Re: It’s Unanimous

posted by on May 3 at 1:15 PM

I said it exactly 5 years ago, and say it again today:

We don’t need two hours of Spider-Man thwipping through the skyline. A Spider-Man movie should be low-budget—long, murky shots of Peter Parker sitting on his bed in his lonely apartment, head in his hands, fretting about his mixed-up life: What’s wrong with my best friend, Harry Osborn? Why do the police hate me? How can I tell my girlfriend who I really am?

And wasn’t it supposed to be the original clone story this time?

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 3 at 1:07 PM


!!! (pronounced as any three repeated sounds—most people say “chk chk chk,” but you can call them “ding ding ding” if you feel like it) turn punk purists into disco fanatics and stiff asses into funk jelly. !!!’s eight members combine horns, percussion, guitars, and live effects into taut funk and psychedelic disco backdrops for Nic Offer’s goofy dancing and like-I-give-a-fuck vocals. Song titles like “Get Up,” “Freak the Funk,” and “Take Ecstasy with Me” disclose !!!’s mission: total dance-floor hedonism. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $13 adv, 21+.) Eric Grandy

It’s Unanimous

posted by on May 3 at 1:01 PM


Spider-Man 3 is a dog, and critics are scaling the heights of eloquence to sum up its awfulness.

From the New York Observer:

Bloated and stupid, this movie is so bad you can’t even review it. Over- produced, over-publicized, over-designed, over-computerized and just plain over the moon, it’s so preposterously overwrought with so many bewildering plots juggling simultaneously for over-emphasis, there’s no entry point for criticism. You just stare at it, as you might a great big exploding pile of cow manure.

From the New Yorker:

In an early scene, a meteorite crashes to Earth, and from it crawls what seems to be a tiny garbage sack with half a mind of its own: not a bad image of where this film belongs.

From the Village Voice:

The best that can be said of Spider-Man 3 is that it sheds some light on the whole skinny black jeans phenomenon. Rest easy Hedi Slimane and residents of the 11211, the origin of overpriced mantyhose may now be attributed to the nefarious agenda of intergalactic goo

From something called Ropes of Silicone:

Spider-Man 3 presents a world where people come into rooms, make heartfelt speeches, and then exit for no apparent reason while the other person looks off into the distance. It’s all a wacky attempt at Steel Magnolias (with webs) and it comes off as fully contrived.

And from our own Bradley Steinbacher:

They took a comic, made it into a film, and ended up with a cartoon.

Thanks to Radar for the awful quote-compiling, and condolences to the 500 million people who are still going to see SM3 this weekend.

The Girl With a Dick

posted by on May 3 at 12:54 PM


Did anybody catch the recent Barbara Walters special about transgendered children? If not—hell even if so—the always hilarious ANTM-recapping Four Four blog has edited it down to its greatest hits. From Four Four:

On the other hand, you have deteriorating mastermind Barbara Walters, who spends the entire show gunning for either a Peabody or a guffaw — it’s hard to tell. Whether she’s repeating “The girl with the dick” (I mean, Barbara Walters just said “dick!!!”), calling everything she sees “pretty” (including the female-to-male!) or saying certain words the way that only she can (“Riley!”), the old broad brings a needed sense of comic relief to a subject whose heavy context could otherwise be virtually unbearable. [Barbara Walters voice]Perhaps it is she who is most inspiring of all.[/BWV]

You must watch this. Now.

The GOP. Bad With Money.

posted by on May 3 at 12:40 PM

Goldy’s got the scoop on the KC GOP getting slapped with a hefty $40K fine for filing chronically late and incomplete campaign finance reports.

Dirty Dancing Redux

posted by on May 3 at 11:35 AM


Most ’80s teen film faves don’t hold up upon returning to them as an adult (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, I’m looking at you). So imagine the collective surprise of myself and six friends when we attended the 20th anniversary screening of Dirty Dancing last night at Pacific Place 11 and totally fell for it all over again.

I spent the walk downtown pondering how it came to be that a film about a 1960s Catskills resort and its concurrent libido-enhancing shenanigans should be like an anthem for children of the ’80s. After re-watching the movie I have some ideas, which I’ll get to below.

But it must be said that Jennifer Grey is terrific as the coming-into-high-heeled-womanhood Baby and Patrick Swayze as pompadoured Johnny is, well, Patrick Swayze. Kudos to his abs and his vague Deep-South/New Yawk accent. Their characters are surprisingly three-dimensional, their relationship surprisingly plausable, its development surprsingly natural.

The supporting cast plays their parts with just enough subtle knowingness of the film’s cheeseball quotient that a mellow humor runs throughout. The script is also rather subtle, despite the requisite montage scene, and even lands well-placed jabs at Vietnam-era politicking and Ayn Rand’s bootstrap-pulling theory of objectivism. It harkens back to a simpler time, but it does so with a fair degree of realism and intelligence. It tells a familiar story, but it does so within an original, highly evocative context.

And of course, Dirty Dancing offers a couple classic, unforgettable scenes: Baby first encountering the off-duty resort staff grinding to the Contours’ “Do You Love Me”; Baby and Johnny on crawling on all fours to Micky & Sylvia’s “Love is Strange” (“Sylvia? How do you call your loverboy?”); and of course “the lift” during the grand finale at the end.

I’m not into musicals, but I am into music; Dirty Dancing’s endurance can be boiled down to a couple interesting factors.

Continue reading "Dirty Dancing Redux" »

What He Said

posted by on May 3 at 11:19 AM

The US House of Representatives passes hate crimes bill that includes gays and lesbians.

Bush pledges to veto hate crimes bill.

Says Andrew Sullivan

There are, I think, two coherent positions on hate crime laws. The first is opposition to the entire concept, its chilling effect on free speech, its undermining of the notion of equality under the law, and so on. That’s my position…. The other coherent position is the view that hate crimes somehow impact the community more than just regular crimes and that the victims of such crimes therefore deserve some sort of extra protection under the law….

But the one truly incoherent position is that hate crimes laws are fine for all targeted groups except gays. Gays are among the most common victims of hate crimes, and straight people are also targeted for being gay even when they’re not. If you’re going to buy the whole concept of hate crimes, it makes no sense to exclude gays—none. Notice we need no discussion of the morality or otherwise of homosexuality. All that is being punished is the perception of someone else’s identity. A straight, evangelical married man could have recourse if he was bashed because someone merely perceived him to be gay. A celibate gay man in reparative therapy could have recourse as well. So no serious moral argument can be made to distinguish the gay victims of hate crimes from other victims….

Perhaps making these logical arguments is futile. The reason for this veto is quite simple. Christianists simply regard homosexuality as an evil and a sickness. Any law that implies that being gay is an identity and deserves equal respect and protection as other identities is anathema to them. Implicit in their worldview - and absolutely implicit in the position of the president - is that it’s okay to attack gays in a way that it’s not okay to attack, say, Jews or blacks. This is the core position of the Christianists - which is why I refuse to call them Christians. Bush, we now know, is a captive of this bigotry and an enabler of it. Whatever your general views of hate crime laws, this argument holds. And this president should be ashamed.

“Pro-Family” Christian Leader Notices Stench of Own Shit, Makes News

posted by on May 3 at 11:13 AM

From the Christian Post:

Pro-Family Leader Questions Christians’ Credibility in Condemning Gays

Christians condemning homosexuality and not heterosexual immorality reveals hypocrisy, notes the head of a pro-family ministry.

“There is no doubt that homosexuality is immoral before God; we see that in the scriptures. But the very same scriptures hate the immorality of unbiblical divorces and cohabitations,” reminds Phil Magnan, director of Biblical Family Advocates. “God does not wink at sin just because it’s a heterosexual committing it.”

An August 2001 Barna Group study revealed that co-habitation was becoming increasingly common, even among born-again Christians. Twenty-five percent of born again Christians 30 percent of Protestants had co-habited. Moreover, born-again Christians are just as likely to get divorced as are non-born again adults. The study found 33 percent of all born-again individuals who have been married have gone through a divorce which is similar to the 34 percent statistic among non-born again adults.

“Apparently heterosexuals are setting the example for the homosexual community thinking that if you are ‘loving and monogamous,’ it must be acceptable before God,” Magnan states.

Yeah, straight people! Stop setting such a bad example for the homos! Knock off all that sinful co-habitin’, no more gettin’ divorced, and enough already with the premarital sex! And you might wanna stop having so much goddamn anal sex while you’re at it. How can you condemn the gays for the butt lovin’ when you guys are pounding out more Hostess Cupcakes than we ever could?


PHO BANG!: The Movie?

posted by on May 3 at 10:20 AM

Did you hear that? Shhh

I swear to GOD that I just heard somebody say SOMETHING about PHO BANG!: The Movie. Yes…The MOVIE!

Can it be true?




Kick ass pic by Victoria Renard!

Overheard at the Seattle Center Fountain

posted by on May 3 at 10:05 AM

Texted in by Annie:

I think I have a bruise on my butt. Where I fell on my wooden sword.

I’m hoping that was a kid. Or maybe one of these guys:

The Art of Control

posted by on May 3 at 9:59 AM

One of these traffic control centers is in Seattle, and the other is in Shanghai. Which is which?

A hint, look up the definition of Mandarin in an English dictionary.

Seattle News Blooper Loop

posted by on May 3 at 9:47 AM

I don’t imagine any of us would look very smart if our daily foibles were caught on tape and looped on YouTube, and God knows this clip says as much about its obsessive creator as it does about any of its subjects (except maybe KOMO 4’s Connie Thompson, who comes off seeming developmentally disabled.)

Nevertheless, I am absolutely entranced by this Seattle newscast blooper reel.

(Thanks to Hot Tipper Jake.)

The Morning Commute

posted by on May 3 at 9:26 AM


Photo taken at 8:30 AM on the University Bridge—note the pedestrian on the right, the dangerous bike commuter on the left. Thanks to Slog tipper Doug.

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father

posted by on May 3 at 9:23 AM

Two brothers were locked up in a dog cage when their father used drugs and when they were being punished, and one had to wear a shock collar, authorities said.

The parents appeared briefly in court Thursday on charges of child endangerment and making or selling drugs in front of the children, ages 10 and 5.

Jessica Botzko, 28, and John Westover, 37, were arrested a day earlier, after the boys ran away from home and were found on a neighbor’s porch. The boys told officers that they had been abused and locked in a dog cage at their home, said police Capt. Ray Carroll. They also said their father put them in the cage when he was using drugs, according to Carroll.

Court documents say the 10-year-old boy was repeatedly shocked at the family’s home through a remote-controlled collar meant as a training device for animals.

University Bridge

posted by on May 3 at 8:16 AM

Says SDOT:

TRAFFIC ALERT: University Bridge is open to pedestrians and bicycles but remains closed to other vehicles

The University Bridge is now open to pedestrians and bicyclists. Pedestrians had been restricted from using the bridge since yesterday because of an active natural gas line in the construction area. The bridge remains closed to vehicular traffic until this evening while the sink hole is filled and the area around the bridge abutment is restored. Marine traffic in the Lake Washington Ship Canal is not affected by the incident.

I Need An Intern

posted by on May 3 at 8:15 AM

It pains me to say it, but it is that time of the year when the lovely and talented Abigail Guay must retire to her South Pacific hideout. Otherwise, she’d *totally* continue performing the thankless, pay-free task of compiling the visual art calendar week in and out, doing the occasional research on arcane subjects, and cracking open the strange missives and first novels that arrive in my mailbox.

So until you must retire to your own South Pacific hideout (read: running and screaming from the tedium of data entry), would you like to take her place?

Here’s what I need: Organized. Meticulous. Knowledgeable about contemporary art. No flakes. Seriously about flakes: I’m not fooling.

And ideally, I’d love someone who, like Abigail, wants to write as an art critic. Here, here, and here are some of Abigail’s writings. (Not every intern writes, but the internship can lead to writing opportunities.)

If you’re interested, get in touch with me at The internships tend to last about 3-4 months, are unpaid, and take about 10 hours a week, at least some of which are during daylight hours.

When you write me, feel free to say something, anything, about this:


Camouflage by Julie Blackmon (2006, archival pigment print, 22 X 22 inches), in a show opening next Thursday, May 10, at G. Gibson Gallery.

Letter of the Day: Gay for Pay

posted by on May 3 at 7:38 AM

Why is no one suggesting the obvious? Why not charge for the post-parade festival? Why do Seattle gays think everything should be free? Many cities charge for their pride festivals, sometimes upwards of $20 for a weekend pass. Even if Seattle charged a couple of bucks for attendance, it could raise a few hundred thousands of dollars. Shit, have those tickets be good for admission into the bars or enable 10% off merchandise in sponsoring businesses. Sell the damn tickets in the businesses who think they are losing money with a downtown festival (cheaper if bought at a business versus at the festival). With all the research into the pink dollar and high disposable incomes, lets harvest some of that gay buying power to fund a great Pride Festival. The viaduct replacement isn’t free, mass transit isn’t free, the new 520 bridge isn’t free, and neither should the Pride Festival be free. Good things cost something. Quit being so cheap Seattle.

“I’m Mitt Romney and I approved this ad.”

posted by on May 3 at 7:22 AM

I caught—or was subjected to—my first ‘08 presidential campaign ad last night. More than a year and half out. It was for Mitt “Mormon Underpants” Romney. The ad featured Romney’s wife of 35 years talking about what a swell guy he is, how he rescued the Olympics, how he got his conservative ass elected in a liberal state, look at that jaw, etc. Then we got to hear a bit from Mitt himself. Americans are overtaxed, Mitt said, and laws should be made by the people’s elected representatives and not, you know, all those porn-lovin’, baby-killin’, gay-marryin’ unelected judges in their creepy black robes.

It was dispiriting—especially because it came on during Olbermann, and I don’t watch Keith’s show because I’m interested in hearing right-wing bullshit about taxes and unelected judges.

Anyway, in honor of Mitt “Mormon Underpants” Romney, here’s a classic YouTube take-down of the Mormon church and their annoying Mormon missionaries. Another Australian comic taking on America’s religious nuts—it’s long, but it’s worth five minutes of your time.

The Morning News

posted by on May 3 at 6:41 AM

Just a Damn Minute: When Nancy Pelosi met with the Syrians it was damn near traitorous—we don’t talk to “bad actors,” reward “bad behavior,” the Syrians are bad, bad, bad. So why is Condi Rice meeting with the Syrians today?

Nice President You’ve Got There: GOP ‘08 presidential candidates gather for their first debate tonight. Will they say nice things about the deeply unpopular George W. Bush? Or will they tell the fucking truth?

US Attorneys Scandal: Mistakes were made, Bush and Gonzo conceded. Now it looks like crimes were committed. Go get ‘em, Patrick Leahy.

What Ever Happened to Lon Mabon Anyway? Full domestic partner/civil unions law passes final legislative hurdle—Oregon Senate votes 21-9 in favor—and heads to Oregon governor’s desk along with gay rights bill passed earlier in the session. (Ed? Jamie? Frank? Christine?)

Happy Birthday, Assholes: The very first spam email was sent 29 years ago today.

Closed to Bikes Too? Sinkhole swallows two cars, forces closure of University Bridge until late tonight at least.

Who’s Going to Tell the Kids… a few boring platitudes on their way out the door? UW scrambling to find commencement day speaker.

Transient Stabbed Under Viaduct: This sort of thing never happens on surface boulevards.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A.I. Update…Hold Me, I’m Going to PISS MYSELF!

posted by on May 2 at 9:40 PM

Tonight’s American Idol eliminations are happening RIGHT NOW…this second! And the smarmy closet dweller known as Ryan Seacrest or something just just JUST announced it…..

IT’S DOWN TO CHRIS….OR (hold me) our own darling BLAKE LEWIS!

Do you hear me? CHRIS or BLAKE!!!

You understand what this means…if we lose the sole remaining Seattle-ish A.I. hopeful, we got nothin’….if gorgeous Chris Richardson gets the axe…well, that might suck relatively less, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t trade grandma’s coffin to alternatively hug the stuffing out of him and live in his underwear.

WHAT will happen??? WHO will survive?

We’ll know…after the fucking break!!

It’s like Sophie’s fucking Choice here. I feel like I’m chosing between my hand and my other hand. You know what I mean.


Super Live UPDATE!

Ooh! OOOH! Blake just said that he and Chris are “BEST FRIENDS” (oooohhhh!) and they KEEP HUGGING!!!!


I am going to explode….


And people…


You heard it here first. I have to go lie down.

I wonder what Sanjaya’s doing…

Tin Soldiers and Nixon…

posted by on May 2 at 5:15 PM

I think my colleagues are a little stunned that I haven’t Slogged this yet.

(Two co-workers zapped it to me yesterday.)

I guess I’m trying to shake my rep here at the office as a Eugene McCarthy volunteer.

But I’m posting it because I do have a question.

It’s a tape (recently discovered) of the Kent State shooting. The tape sacks the longstanding claim by the National Guard that they never gave orders to shoot. On the tape you can hear these words: “Right here. Get set. Point. Fire.” Then there’s a chilling stampede of gunfire.

My question, though, is this: What does the woman yell at the beginning of the tape? Is it: “Fuckers!” ?

I’ve Always Wondered….

posted by on May 2 at 4:55 PM

The great Johnny Rotten, he was gay right?

p.s. I didn’t realize until very recently that Little Richard was supposedly gay too.

The O’Reilly Report

posted by on May 2 at 4:52 PM

This study is making the rounds where my friend works as a media industry analyst for the stock market.

It’s about Bill O’Reilly’s use of propaganda. As far as I can tell, it says that O’Reilly cusses a lot. The portion of the study here is a little inexplicable. It compares him, I think, to Father Charles Coughlin, the 1930s populist/fascisty “Radio Priest.” And it has a few other categories that aren’t exactly explained.

I imagine someone in Slogland will have some use for this data.

Crosscut: Change is Scaaaareeeeey!!!

posted by on May 2 at 4:05 PM

In his “Mudville” column (get it? he’s at the bat?), former newspaper columnist and council candidate Casey Corr has a typically Seattle exceptionalist take on the news that traffic got better following the collapse of an interchange in Oakland. “Some,” he says (hmmm, who might he be talking about?) “are taking this as support for the argument that Seattle does not need another highway to replace the aging Alaskan Way Viaduct.” But Casey, as an old-time Seattleite, knows better. He knows (as longtimers around here are wont to “know”) that Seattle is just different than other cities. The rules that apply everywhere else—congestion breeds congestion, people will use transit if you give it to them, and removing highways forces people to find different ways to get around—just don’t apply in Seattle. Because of our geography. Because BART was free during the “crisis.” Because people in the Bay Area worked from home. (And we can’t do that here because…umm… well, just because. YOU HAVEN’T LIVED HERE LONG ENOUGH TO UNDERSTAND!) And because “it’s not unimaginable that a truck carrying 8,600 gallons of gasoline could crash on I-5. And then what?”

Uh, I don’t know… People would find other routes, stay home, or take transit? But never mind. Best to use an entirely hypothetical disaster as a justification for keeping everything exactly the same forever.

Today On Line Out.

posted by on May 2 at 3:55 PM

Mystic Condoms: Trent Moorman on A Nation Taken Over By Porn.

Sticky Fingers: Terry Miller on Three Hats Productions.

Bright Eyes: Jonathan Zwickel on the Paramount’s Dull Sound.

Whiny Babies: Eric Grandy on Fall of Troy’s Pointless Virtuosity.

And now something cute:


Genji’s Door

posted by on May 2 at 3:36 PM

And now for a little beauty, which is plucked like a fruit from one of the many pages that make up what is often claimed to be the first novel, The Tale of Genji, in all of the world that (barely at first but more so later) made it into the recorded history of the only animal in the universe known to this animal, the human, that can store its language, its memories, its ideas, debts, dreams externally, inorganically, outside of its body as marks that to the poetically minded appear as the dessicated breath of this being, this exception to the living rule that can be no more or less than the measure of all that is to it on this side of nothing:

…[I]t seemed as though the waves were at Genji’s door. Night after night he lay listening to that melancholy sound and wondering whether in all the world there could be any place where the sadness of autumn was more overwhelming. The few attendants who shared the house with him had all gone to rest. Only Genji lay awake, propped high on his pillow, listening to the storm-winds which burst upon the house from every side. Louder and louder came the noise of the waves, till it seemed to him they must have mounted the fore-shore and be surging round the very bed on which he lay.

Cakewalk Parade

posted by on May 2 at 3:00 PM

Via Howard Kurtz:

On the anniversary of “Mission Accomplished,” Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Dick Polman compiled some telling quotations from a bygone era.

Neoconservative leader Bill Kristol, April 1, 2003: “There is a certain amount of pop psychology in America that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni….There’s almost no evidence of that at all.”

David Asman, Fox News, April 9, 2003 (upon the toppling of Saddam’s statue in Firdos Square, where tight shots by the cameras masked the fact that the crowd barely filled one quarter of the plaza): “My goose bumps have never been higher than they are right now.”

Brit Hume, Fox News, same time: “This transcends anything I’ve ever seen.”

Dick Morris, Fox News, April 9, 2003: “Over the next couple of weeks, when we find the chemical weapons this guy was amassing…the left is going to have to hang its head for three or four more years.”

Fred Barnes, Fox News, April 10, 2003: “The war was the hard part….And it gets easier. I mean, setting up a democracy is hard, but not as hard as winning a war.”

Columnist Charles Krauthammer, April 19, 2003: “The only people who think this wasn’t a victory are upper West Side liberals, and a few people here in Washington.”

David Broder, The Washington Post, reacting to the events of May 1: “This president has learned how to move in a way that just conveys a great sense of authority and command.”

Columnist Robert Novak: “Could Joe Lieberman get into a jet pilot’s jump suit and look credible?”

Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, same day: “I think it was time to say to the American people, the hostilities in Iraq have ended.”

Bush, speaking to the press, May 29, 2003: “We found the weapons of mass destruction,” claiming that two mobile labs “to build biological weapons” had been discovered. (This was false.) “For those who say we haven’t found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they’re wrong. We found them.”

New Column!

posted by on May 2 at 2:55 PM

You can read the rest of Jesus Christ’s blog here. Also, the new Stranger is online.

Food Safety

posted by on May 2 at 2:42 PM

This post was written by David Goldstein of

The editors of Slog are nothing if not incredibly focused on what they stick in their mouths, so while Dan is busy tracking down the latest on that breaking, chocolate anus story, he asked me to post a quick update on the less high-profile food safety scandal I’ve been obsessing on, over at

In a nutshell, don’t eat dog or cat food. Or pork. Or chicken. Or anything made with wheat gluten, rice gluten, corn gluten, rice protein, rice protein concentrate, milled rice products, corn gluten meal, corn by-products, soy protein, soy gluten, soy bean meal, mung bean protein, protein hydrosylates and amino acids. And while it hasn’t been announced yet, I’d stay away from fish protein meal, farmed seafood, and beef.

In summary, chocolate anus: edible. Everything else: not so much.

The culprit is melamine, an industrial chemical widely used by unscrupulous Chinese manufacturers to illicitly spike the nitrogen levels of livestock feed and the vegetable proteins that go in it. Higher nitrogen levels make the product appear to have a higher protein content, and higher protein fetches a higher price. This helps explain why the U.S., the world’s largest grain exporter, has been flooded with imports of cheap, Chinese gluten. And while it is one thing to out-compete us through hard work, innovation and slave labor, adulterating our food with cheap poison, well, that’s just plain cheating.

It is also deadly. Tainted pet food has already killed at least 4,150 dogs and cats, and sickened as many as 39,000 others. And while the FDA insists that it has no evidence that these widely used adulterated proteins have directly tainted human food—yet—the little known practice of mixing “salvaged” pet food into livestock feed has clearly contaminated tens of millions of hogs and chickens. (Who knew that your unfinished burger might be scraped off your plate, processed into dog food, mixed as salvage into cattle feed, and eventually returned to your plate in the form of another burger? I guess that’s the Bush administration’s idea of “recycling.”) The USDA is now compensating farmers to “depopulate” and dispose of over 100,000 melamine-tainted chickens and hogs, but at least 3 million have already been eaten by consumers. And expect that figure to grow exponentially.

I don’t mean to be too alarmist, but you’ve been eating melamine, and you probably have been for years. So Dan, before you pop one of those chocolate assholes in your mouth, you might want to have it tested.

Atrios Discovers Abortion Politics

posted by on May 2 at 2:22 PM

Atrios makes what he thinks is a novel proposal:

Ultimately, brave people are going to have to stand up and start talking about their personal experiences with these things in a way which communicates “this could happen to you” to people.

Yeah, too bad nobody out there thought of that before Atrios came along.

Update: Atrios backpedals, sort of.

What is Wrong With People that Climb Mountains?

posted by on May 2 at 2:21 PM

Between Dave’s columns and my “Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father” posts on Slog, there’s no shortage of horrific tales of child abuse around here. But this story takes the motherfucking shitcake.

Mountaineers who left woman to die on Everest set out on trek to bury her body

It was a lonely place to die and she begged those tending her in her final moments not to leave. But at the extreme altitude of Everest’s upper slopes there is little that can be done to help those who falter, and since that day in 1998 the body of Francys Arsentiev has been a macabre marker on the route to the top of the world…. Yesterday, the mountaineer Ian Woodall, who along with his wife, Cathy O’Dowd, took the decision to leave Arsentiev, led a small party of Sherpas on an extraordinary mission to bury her body on the mountain that claimed her….

Nine years ago, Woodall and O’Dowd stayed with the American for an hour, listening to her beg, “please don’t leave me”.

“There was nothing that could be done even before we reached her,” O’Dowd said yesterday….

Francys Arsentiev, 40, and her husband, Serguei, were climbing alone and without oxygen. O’Dowd said: “What they were trying was very impressive but extremely risky. If you do it you are best in the world if you don’t you are dead.”

The Arsentievs lived in Telluride, Colorado. Friends said she was an “assertive, tenacious woman obsessed with becoming a skilled mountaineer”. The couple met while trekking in the Himalayas six years earlier and friends said they were ideally suited. Both lived for the mountains although Mrs Arsentiev’s 11-year-old son, Paul, was given the casting vote on whether his mother should go.

The Arsentievs became separated soon after beginning their descent. Although highly experienced, he fell and died while she was forced to spend a night alone on the mountain in temperatures of minus 30C.

“When I think of Francys I feel lonely—it is a very lonely way to die,” said O’Dowd.

When you think of Francys? What about her son? What kind of selfish, idiotic, sadistic ASSHOLE lets an eleven year-old decide whether or not his mother is going to go climb Mt. Fucking Everest?

“Daddy is off to risk his life on a fool’s errand up the side of a mountain, darling. if it’s okay with you, sweetie, mommy would like to go climb Mt. Everest with daddy. No pressure, honey, it’s entirely your decision. What do you say? Can mommy go climb a mountain?”

And then dad and mom die on Everest—and mom’s death is particularly horrible, a lingering death, a death colored by cruelty—and that poor kid has to live with the guilt for the rest of his life.

What is wrong with people?

The Common Mole

posted by on May 2 at 1:08 PM


Learn more here.

A Solution to Seattle’s Traffic Problems

posted by on May 2 at 12:03 PM

How about more sinkholes?

Seattle emergency crews scrambled for hours Wednesday morning to shut down a broken water main that gushed water and mud into Portage Bay and caused a massive sinkhole near the University Bridge that swallowed two cars.

And here’s an email from the UW campus (and hot tipper kt):

This is being sent to all Building Coordinators - Please do not reply to this email.

Be aware that there has been a water main break on the south side of the University Bridge, affecting our SW campus buildings. Water pressure is currently being restored by the City of Seattle. Campus buildings will experience some episodes of brown water, and water pressure surging, as city water is restored.

The surging of water pressure may set off fire alarms in your building. Should this occur, follow normal evacuation procedures. UPD and fire alarm technicians are standing by and are prepared for this occurrence.

Thank you.

Vote sinkhole in ‘08!

The First Lady of the Sliding Scale

posted by on May 2 at 11:18 AM


I was putting together next week’s theater calendar when I noticed ACT is opening Souvenir, a play about Florence Foster Jenkins, the real-life would-be opera diva who self-confidence was only matched by her complete lack of rhythm, pitch, and tone. She was so confident and awful that people crowded to see her. Jenkins sold out Carnegie Hall on October 25, 1944.

About her critics, she said this: “People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”

Here is a sample of her singing a famous passage from Mozart.

It’s amazing.

LAPD Uses Force to Break Up May Day Rally

posted by on May 2 at 11:12 AM

L.A.’s finest, decked out in full riot gear, fired tear gas and rubber bullets into a crowd of demonstrators at a May Day immigration rally in Macarthur Park.

Police were indiscriminate in their use of force, roughing up several Telemundo and Fox crew members in the melee.

There are conflicting reports on what sparked the clash but several reporters, who were at the rally, claimed that the police gave no warning or dispersal order before moving in on the crowd.

The LAPD has stated that they will be reviewing the incident.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 2 at 11:00 AM


‘Johnson Pit #30’ (GRAZED ART) When Robert Morris converted an abandoned gravel pit into an earthwork in 1979, he didn’t intend to cover up the land’s past abuse and turn it into an idyllic setting. He carved his pit into pleasing curves but left human-height tree stumps, coated in black creosote, for all to see. Over the years, another unsightliness came into view: rampant blackberries. So, in April, a Vashon Island rancher named Tammy Dunakin let her herd of 60 goats clean up the place. It’s as good as old. (Johnson Pit #30, S 216th St and 40th Pl S, SeaTac, 296-7580. Daylight hours, free.) JEN GRAVES

Snub Sanjaya, Make Him Cry-a!

posted by on May 2 at 10:44 AM

Federal Way, Washington, like Bethlehem, was blessed in all the world to have produced a very special and magical little someone, for all the world to adore. Unlike Bethlehem, however, (hang in there) Federal Way is full of a bunch of really jealous and rude bitches that can’t boast the good sense to celebrate the homecoming of their most celebrated son. Yes, Sanjaya has returned home, and apparently home really doesn’t give a crap.

City officials in Federal Way, Wash. - a suburb of Seattle - won’t give the “American Idol” phenomenon his own day or a parade - or even a cardboard key to the city.

Good lord! Not even a fucking cardboard key? To a fucking SUBURB?

“Federal Way has more important things to deal with, and unless a council member tried to push through a proclamation, then that ‘Idol’ wannabe should not expect a similar honor,” town manager Neal Beets told a local TV station just before Malakar, 17, was voted off “Idol.”

Well. As long as Federal Way has “more important things” to worry about than giving poor Sanjaya a cardboard key to their suburb. Why, they have to…umm…uhhh…they’ve got…errr…uhhh….they have to…ummm…push some proclamations through apparently, and…umm…where is Federal Way again?

Bunch of jealous bitches. That’s what they all are.

Love him, you jealous bitches! LOVE HIM!

The Blogging Life vs. The Writing Life

posted by on May 2 at 10:17 AM

Sullivan links to a blogger who says they’re not compatible, and is calling it quits. The blogger who’s had enough writes:

I say this recognizing that some … find no conflict between blogging and doing solid, admirably accomplished and serious work … Somehow they make the time to post posts that are well worth reading, that seem to enrich their own perspectives as much as they do the content of this site and blogdom, and (I trust and hope) still devote as much attention as they need and want to what I think of more lasting work, i.e., the stuff requiring ink. (I can hear the cyber-howls coming already …) The Web is a better, more interesting, and more truly informing place for their efforts…

So it works for them - seems too, anyway, and I hope appearances here do not deceive. Yet somehow, for the most part, it doesn’t work for me. My time has never felt more finite, and there inevitably seems something either more pressing or more lastingly valuable to devote it to: a story due, a book to develop, a child to read to, a son’s baseball game to attend, a pile of books to read before I die: the hope and desire, as reader and writer, to create the sort of experience so clearly had by the man in Wayne Booth’s painting (held by me above), titled “Man Reading.”

The Battle for Obama’s MySpace Page

posted by on May 2 at 10:12 AM

It got real ugly real fast, and in the process some 160,000 friends of Obama were lost (at least temporarily). A look at social networking hardball, presidential campaign style.

Context Is Everything; or, Why Blake Lewis Rules

posted by on May 2 at 9:58 AM

Here’s the thing about American Idol: It’s designed to suck. A weekly televised karaoke contest, where the competitors are forced into themes (country week! “inspirational” week!) and crappy tie-in car commercials, is designed by God to make me wince.

However, I am an American, and so I watch, sometimes, and once or twice I’ve been struck by how Idol’s vacuum of creativity creates a most interesting platform for those rare competitors-with-ideas to shine.

Case in point #1: Fantasia, who blew minds and secured her triumph on whatever season of Idol she was on by plopping her barefoot ass down on the stage to belt out a Gershwin tune.

Case in point #2: Last night’s performance by the crown prince of Bothell Blake Lewis, who performed a percussion-infused rendition of Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” that, amazingly, did not make me want to die. Props to the Idol contestant confident enough to sacrifice singing time to make weird noises with his mouth. Go Blake!

The Incredible, Edible…

posted by on May 2 at 9:44 AM



Says BlogBlog

Looking to wow your co-workers at the upcoming office meeting? How about a box of chocolates from The Incredible Edible Anus. What’s that? You’ve never eaten a piece of chocolate shaped like someones asshole before? Well, there’s no better time than the present. According to the folks at TIEA, chocolate has aphrodisiac properties and is also good for helping to ease a hangover. So, why do they have to be in the shape of a rectum? You ask such silly questions. Get your mouth on a piece of chocolate anus and see for yourself. The only question I have is, how did they get a model of the shape to form the chocolates? Hmmm.

Thanks to Slog tipper Wiseblood…

The Besieged Sex-Ed Instructor’s Handbook

posted by on May 2 at 9:30 AM

You know how retrograde fundamentalists all over the world keep banging that irritating don’t-teach-young-people-about-sex gong? And that irritating don’t-teach-young-people-about-evolution gong? And all those other irritating gongs that conspire to turn their kids into scared, confused stupidheads about all sexual reproduction everywhere?

Obviously, the best thing would be to turn the gong-beaters out on their deafened ears. But were I a teacher feeling helpless and hopeless in a school dominated by retrograde fundamentalists in America or elsewhere, I might like to find an end run around the problem. A way to teach about human sex and evolution by teaching about, say, plants and animals.


We could start with an article like this one in the New York Times concerning a scientist and her ducks:

When she first visited in January, the phalluses were the size of rice grains. Now many of them are growing rapidly.
Some ducks grow phalluses as long as their entire body. In the fall, the genitalia will disappear, only to reappear next spring.
A bird phallus is similar — but not identical — to a mammalian penis. Most of the time it remains invisible, curled up inside a bird’s body. During mating, however, it fills with lymphatic fluid and expands into a long, corkscrew shape. The bird’s sperm travels on the outside of the phallus, along a spiral-shaped groove, into the female bird.

Not only is stuff like that demonstrably noncontroversial (hey, they’re just dumb animals; we’re talking facts, not morals), it’s also totally fascinating (ducks have big dicks that fall off then regrow!), and it raises the obvious question: how come?

Part of the answer, [Dr. Brennan] has discovered, has gone overlooked for decades. Male ducks may have such extreme genitals because the females do too. The birds are locked in an evolutionary struggle for reproductive success.

Plus, it’s an easy segue into the sexual mechanics of species whose dicks don’t fall off every year: STIs, contraception (female ducks have a kind of internal diaphragm they use to block sperm from, er, “forced matings”), gay animals, and the rest.

And that’s just one little article.

I know, I know—capitulating to retrograde fundamentalists is distasteful. It’s just not done. But for those of you stuck in atavistic corners of the world: Think of it more like slipping an antidote into the poisoned Kool-Aid.

Does anybody want to get to work on a handbook? We could call it Better Teaching Through Euphemism.

Discovered in the course of researching this post: The Icelandic Phallological Museum!

Which not only houses this intriguing item (moderately SFW) but, if you visit its catalog, you will see that among the specimens of bear, whale, and billy-goat phalli, there are a few listed under homo sapiens sapiens:

Foreskin from a forty year old Icelander. May 2002. In formalin.
Pending, cf. Letter of Donation from Mr. Páll Arason.
Pending, cf. Letter of Donation from Mr. Stan Underwood. With a mould.

Drug Loopholes

posted by on May 2 at 9:06 AM

The pharmaceutical industry is pretty damn powerful in Olympia.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36, Seattle) had a solid bill this past session that would have set up an on-line database for health care consumers showing what gifts pharmaceutical companies had given to what healthcare providers. The intent was to let patients know that their docs’ recommendations may not be objective and also to embarrass drug companies out of such crass behavior. The bill disappeared.

Well, how sweet of drug company GlaxoSmithKline. They sent Sen. Kohl-Welles an e-mail yesterday letting her know that a “compromise” could be worked out—and they alerted her to a bill they’re moving in Oregon. They claim it’s actually an outright ban on gifts.

Here’s part of their e-mail to Sen. Kohl-Welles:

I thought I would forward on to you a copy of the elements of the gift disclosure bill (actually a gift ban) in Oregon that we were successful in negotiating with House Health Committee Chairman Mitch Greenlick. GSK took the lead in rounding up support for the compromise with the PhRMA Task Force members. I think the final bill meets the needs of all parties. Thought you would be interested.

Are they on drugs? Here’s the language. Check out the “following exceptions” bulletpoints:

HB2648-3 Amendment

The Dash-3 Amendment to House Bill 2648 would prohibit pharmaceutical manufacturers from offering or providing to physicians or others authorized to prescribe drugs any gift valued at more than $100, with the following exceptions:

• Scholarships to attend educational conferences, as long as the recipients are chosen by the conference organizers;
• Gifts that have the primary purpose of providing an educational benefit to patients (Example: anatomical models);
• Items that directly convey information about health care products, educational benefits or supporting medical research (Example: reprints of studies from medical journals);
Meals with a value of not more than $100.

The $100 limit would be adjusted annually for inflation beginning in 2008.

Those exceptions—”convey information about health care products;” sending docs off to conferences; buying them dinners; gifts that provide and educational benefit—are exactly the way the companies work it now.

When drug companies lament about steep R&D costs, is this the type of thing (behind-the-scenes lobbying efforts to sweeten marketing guidelines) that they’re talking about?

Why I Like Christopher Hawthorne

posted by on May 2 at 9:05 AM

At the top of ArtsJournal this morning is a link to LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne’s review of the new Seattle Art Museum.

The ArtsJournal teaser reads:

A Museum Where Art And Architect Cooperate
Christopher Hawthorne loves the Seattle Art Museum’s new home, mainly because it manages to properly showcase the art inside it without subsuming the architect’s skill and vision.

And then I read the review, which is a sly one. Hawthorne doesn’t love the Seattle Art Museum’s new home at all. If I’m reading correctly, he seems to find it decent, fairly good, but lacking in the sort of “real architectural cleverness and daring” that you find at the new ICA in Boston or the new Walker—buildings, he says (I haven’t been to either one, sadly), that have calm and well-proportioned galleries but are not humorless.

And I will admit, I hadn’t thought of it before, but the new SAM is humorless.

In my review of the new SAM experience, coming out today, I fail to notice the humorlessness. On the issue of art versus architecture, though, I come out siding with Hawthorne. All the discussion of the new SAM not being “look-at-me” architecture during last week’s press opening events, of the new SAM putting the art first, was tiresome hooey.

As both Hawthorne and I point out, there’s a lot of room between aggressive architecture that forces the art into a corner (and at the art world’s latest architectural bete noire, Denver Art Museum, reportedly, there are some interior corners so sharp they had to be cordoned off), and a humble servant of a building that simply fades into the background and barely registers as architecture. “There is plenty of ego, after all, in Cloepfil’s design,” Hawthorne writes. Indeed. (Check the minimalist majesty of the elevator bank, and you can start there.)

I am skeptical of the interior usefulness of Cloepfil’s brise soleil. Hawthorne questions another one of the sun shade’s stated purposes, its ability to transmit the outdoors into the museum:

The sections of the museum facing west are shaded by a stainless-steel brise-soleil system that can be manually shifted when curators want to change the lighting as they rearrange the exhibitions. But Cloepfil also uses the system to frame and restrict views and even to actively block them. It’s a game he’s played before, particularly in an impressive recent house in Sun Valley, Idaho. The result here is a museum whose views can’t begin to match those of Rem Koolhaas’ nearby public library …

But where Hawthorne really twists the knife is at the end of the piece, when he describes that it’s fashionable to diss the 1991 SAM design by Robert Venturi (the old SAM building). I call Cloepfil’s new SAM a kinder, gentler MoMA (the new MoMA in NY, by Yoshio Taniguchi). Hawthorne writes:

The truth, though, is that cycles of taste move much faster than construction in the architecture world. Planned at roughly the same time as Taniguchi’s museum and in something of the same spirit, the new SAM arrives just as many of us are feeling ready for at least a small corrective to MoMA’s upright and largely corporate approach — for a bit of humor and maybe a splash of decoration as well.

That doesn’t mean going back to the stage-set Postmodernism that Venturi and Scott Brown were turning out in the 1980s and early 1990s, which was often tinny and overly mannered. It only means that every time Cloepfil or Gates or Walsh brought up the Venturi design just to knock it, it served mostly as a reminder of what the new wing is missing.

This is provocative writing, and convincing.

I only have one thing to add: Mr. Hawthorne, you’re lucky you didn’t have to actually use the Venturi building for the last 16 years. It may be vogueish to slam it, but how can you blame us? It was a terrible building, inside and out. Was it worse for having tried at wit, and failed? Perhaps. I suppose that the prospect of another grossly failed attempt at levity and decoration may have seemed too much for this city to bear.

And so we have SAM The Serious.

The museum opens Saturday morning at 10 and stays open for 35 straight hours, until 9 pm Sunday.

Westboro Baptist Church

posted by on May 2 at 8:49 AM

Australian reporter makes a pass at a male Westboro Baptist Church member…

Courtesy of Slog tipper Christin…

America Is a White Woman With Doughy Thighs…

posted by on May 2 at 8:24 AM

…and she wants Obama. Excuse me, but what the fuck is this cartoon about?

Smoking Bans

posted by on May 2 at 7:36 AM

And now, Illinois

The Illinois House overwhelmingly approved a statewide smoking ban in public places Tuesday that would eliminate a confusing patchwork of local laws and leave smokers in every community with one place in common to light up—outside.

For residents of Chicago, the biggest change is timing: Smokers would have to snuff out their cigarettes in taverns and restaurants with bar areas on Jan. 1, six months earlier than the deadline set by Chicago.

The Morning News

posted by on May 2 at 6:59 AM

A Lovely War: Bush vetoes Dem war funding bill that included timetable for withdrawal, dismissing it as a “prescription for chaos and confusion.” And he already has one of those.

Where’s Fidel? Castro misses May Day parades in Cuba.

How Many Czars Does One Democracy Need? Bush appoints “food safety czar.” What the fuck is the FDA for?

Maybe We Need a Paki Czar? US immigration officials wanna keep letting Anglo Brits in without visas… but not Brits of Pakistani descent. It’s not playing well across the pond.

Al Gore = Hitler: So says CNN host Glenn Beck.

No More Making Fun of Hippies: Turns out the dirty hippies were right—about everything. Well, except personal hygiene.

A Win for Medical Marijuana: Federal appeals court tosses Washington medical marijuana patient’s conviction for growing pot.

Pay As You Go: Ron Sims wants to make car drivers pay by the mile to use our roads.

Wanna Keep Housing Prices Low in Seattle? Build more houses and condos—increase the supply, stupid.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Jim Webb for President

posted by on May 1 at 9:59 PM

Says Democratic Sen. Jim Webb

“We won this war four years ago. The question is when we end the occupation.”

Via TPM.

Torture, Religious Fascim… and Now Military Coups?

posted by on May 1 at 9:50 PM

The American right really does hate America.

When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can’t help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup.

Via TPM.

Seattle Times: Contradictory. Stranger Not So Much.

posted by on May 1 at 6:27 PM

David Postman thinks he’s found a contradiction between Erica’s wariness of airing the Stranger’s endorsement process publicly and my insistence last fall that the Seattle Times publicly explain its endorsement of Mike McGavick.

Postman misses the point of my demand that the Seattle Times explain themselves. The Seattle Times McGavick endorsement contradicted a long list of other longstanding Seattle Times editorial positions.

Indeed, at the time I wrote:

So, the question remains: What does the Seattle Times like about McGavick? In fact, I challenge the Seattle Times to add up the issues on which it agrees with McGavick (based on its editorial, I count two: storing nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and repealing the federal estate tax) and measure them against issues on which it disagrees with McGavick (I count eight: the detainees bill, gay marriage, ANWR, gun control, net neutrality and media consolidation, teaching intelligent design in public schools, the war in Iraq, and Social Security). Seattle Times editorial page editor James Vesely did not return my call, so I’m stuck going off the paper’s endorsement to figure it out.

However, our Stephanie Pure endorsement didn’t contradict any of our previous public positions. Pure was a pro mass transit, renters rights, nightlife advocate. She also supported the surface/transit option for the Viaduct. She was in synch with our defining issues.

Unless the Seattle Times wants to claim that repealing the estate tax is its defining issue, their McGavick endorsement demanded an explanation.

p.s. Had we endorsed Jamie Pedersen, I don’t think we would have owed the public much of an explanation either (even though he was a tunnel proponent). Pedersen is a gay rights champion, an issue that we’ve been out front on.

Sorry, Dave.

Hail To The Baron

posted by on May 1 at 5:17 PM


The NBA playoffs go on forever. Seriously—the first round starts the end of April and Finals don’t happen until June. I have a supposed life that I should be living, but the (appropriately nicknamed) “Second Season” is making this very difficult. So much basketball is both a blessing and a curse. The playoffs are killing me with heart attacks of joy. In just over an hour, the Golden State Warriors could pull off the most beautiful, improbable upset in basketball history.

The Dallas Mavericks have been the strongest team all throughout the regular season—they won 67 games overall, went on a 17-game winning streak, and Dirk Nowitzki is likely to be this year’s league MVP. By contrast, the Warriors have been a hot mess—they won just 42 games and are a band of emotional little crazy men with the league’s worst overall free throw percentage. They didn’t make the playoffs until the last possible day. So how is it the Warriors are just one win away from eliminating the #1 seed in the Western Conference?

All heart, baby. Golden State plays loose, passionate ball—they’ve got nothing to lose, everything to gain. They’re helter skelter, fast-paced, mercurial—it’s like watching barely controlled chaos. In Game 2, Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson were ejected from the game for getting angry and taunting referees. (It was frightening and amazing to see.) In Game 4, Baron Davis and his sick playoff beard willed GSW’s victory into existence through brute force. The Warriors are fearless; they relentlessly penetrate the paint and drive to the hole. Their style is riveting and tonight’s game is guaranteed to be epic. You should tune in.

Now please enjoy Baron Davis’s insane buzzer beating half-court three from Game 4:

*And yes, those are bullets in Baron Davis’s fedora. He is the coolest customer.


posted by on May 1 at 5:10 PM

Commencing today, New Urban Eats: like Twenty-Five for $25, but Twenty, Newish, for $30.


“…twenty of our hottest new, local restaurants… special $30 prix fixe dinner menu…. valid Sunday through Thursday (excluding Mothers [sic] Day, May 13)… your choice of appetizer, entrée and dessert…. a taste of our local, world-class talent…. the best NEW URBAN EATS.”

“New” is defined as having opened in the last three years (so, new like Janet Jackson’s top at the XXXVIII Super Bowl). Included are some Stranger favorites (Beàto, Crémant, Crush, 94 Stewart, Ibiza, Dinette, Moxie, Crow); a place where I had a severely disappointing dinner and politely restricted my commentary to an also severely disappointing happy hour; a place of extreme décor and, reportedly, many high-profile political lunches; some places as yet unvisited (Steelhead Diner, which looks promising, what with having the former chef of Oceanaire as well as something called caviar pie; Cucina De-Ra, which looks expensive and, per hearsay, is not worth it); and some places no one’s ever heard of (hello, Issaquah!).

A thought: With the prices at many of these restaurants, $30 for three courses is basically like getting a free dessert (while being limited to dining on certain days from a “special” menu). If you’re not a big fan of punctuating your meal with a sugar fix, N.U.E. isn’t that great of a deal.

Bush Vetoes Iraq Pullout Bill

posted by on May 1 at 4:40 PM

“It makes no sense to tell the enemy when you plan to start withdrawing,” Bush said.

Getting Uglier

posted by on May 1 at 4:31 PM

Pickton’s murder trial was temporarily stopped today because the graphic evidence began overwhelming the jurors.

From the Vancouver Sun.

On the stand today is forensic pathologist Dr. Dan Straathof, who preformed autopsies on the partial remains of three women — Mona Wilson, Andrea Joesbury and Sereena Abotsway — which were found in buckets on Pickton’s Port Coquitlam farm. All that was found of the women were their heads, hands and feet, and the jury was shown graphic autopsy photos of those remains. All three women had been shot in the head, Straathof said. Before Straathof began his testimony, Williams warned the jurors that they would be seeing and hearing some potentially distressing evidence.
When will this nightmare end? Indeed, the evidence of human parts in a bucket, on a suspect’s property, makes any form of punishment below the death penalty seem unfair.

McDermott Loses Another Round in His First Amendment Fight

posted by on May 1 at 3:35 PM

The news is here. My Stranger profile of McDermott and his long legal battle is here.

Today’s ruling came from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. McDermott now has 90 days to decide whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Today on Line Out

posted by on May 1 at 3:25 PM

Jarvis Cocker’s Funny Banter: Kurt B Reighley reviews last night’s show.

Drink, Fall, Plow, Nasty: Mickey Reds’ intense tambourining.

God Bless America: Get stoned with Willie this Fourth.

WWBDD?: Beth Ditto’s advice column.

Summer Sounds: Cal Anderson Park will host live music.

Cry For Me, Crybaby: Bright Eyes and the Fall of Troy fill the city with their tears.

Wanna Play the Capitol Hill Block Party?: Read this to find out how.

Tooting the Horn: The trumpet remains triumphant.

Jake’s left me for Reese. That’s fine. I’m all about Adam Brody now anyway.


Everything’s Bigger in IMAX

posted by on May 1 at 3:21 PM

Posterwire caught a little difference between the standard and IMAX Harry Potter posters.


(Larger photo can be found here—you big perv.)

Ad of the Day

posted by on May 1 at 3:12 PM

According to Towleroad, this ad aired during the recent episode of Heroes. Props to the makers (and thanks to Towleroad.)

Edwards Photo Blogging

posted by on May 1 at 3:04 PM

Not much news came out of the Seattle Edwards event, except his statement on the Iraq war funding bill (which Bush just vetoed). However, the brief Q&A with reporters afterward offered a good study in the various faces of a high-level politician.






Overheard in the Office

posted by on May 1 at 3:02 PM

Charles Mudede, who’s writing a film review, shouting across the office to Annie Wagner, the film editor: “I’m going to misquote Plato. Don’t change it.”

Save the Parking Lots!

posted by on May 1 at 1:51 PM

No bar has long endured at 332 15th Avenue East—which has played host to Cypress, Kozak’s, Maguire’s, Mango’s, Jake’s, and Hopscotch—and the space itself is not, in my opinion, at fault. The building, which is shared with a Starbucks, is no beauty, and the space is a little boxy. But plenty of successful bars are located in worse spaces. It’s what’s across the street that’s cursed 332 15th Ave. E.


That’s the Key Bank building at 15th and Thomas—and the parking lot that surrounds it. It’s a huge pool of empty black asphalt and it makes that part of 15th feel empty, sad, and deserted. Tragically for the owners of all those dead bars, the windows of Cypress/Kozak’s/Maguire’s, et all, looked out over a narrow sidewalk and onto that empty parking lot. The late afternoon sun poured in to the bar, making it almost uninhabitable in summer. To block out the sun the bars’ owners have had to nearly blacken the windows, making the space even less inviting than it already is. Bars and restaurants further north on 15th—where buildings line both sides of the street—do better. That end of the block feels cozy, contained.

Cutting through the Key Bank parking lot on my bike today I noticed one of those yellow land use permits—discretely tacked to a fence at the back of the Key Bank parking lot, facing Malden Ave., as far from the heavily trafficked 15th as possible. It announces that the empty parking lot and the current site of the ugly, ugly, ugly Key Bank building are the future home of a four-story mixed-use development. No other buildings are coming down—just the ugly Key Bank. And the parking lot goes.

This is a test for the knee-jerk anti-development crowd. How can you oppose this development? Capitol Hill loses a butt-ugly building—here’s another pic—and big, ugly, empty parking lot. This is the kind of development we should welcome—nothing is lost, much stands to be gained.

Critics, Sharpen Your Sentences

posted by on May 1 at 1:30 PM

Andras Szanto over at Artworld Salon reports today that the EU has passed a law to keep cultural promoters from misquoting critics.

Szanto writes:

For those of us in the visual art world, this news raises some disquieting questions. First, how would promoters shrink sentences that run, on industry average, four to seven lines of text, into their meager advertisement space? Second, how would these unscrupulous arts advertisers manipulate the meaning of critical utterances, when those utterances themselves are so often nonsensical and, as surveys have documented, devoid of clear judgments?

Yes, yes, we are terrible. Imagine if the US passed a similar law, and we had to be legible, strict, and sound-biteable without reverting to mere punditry? As Szanto points out, it may be a good imaginary restriction for us to put on ourselves before we sit down to write. Who really is smart, opinionated, and quotable?

Awesome Alert: Cynthia Hopkins Returns to OTB This Weekend

posted by on May 1 at 1:26 PM


This weekend brings the much-anticipated return of performance artist Cynthia Hopkins to On the Boards, and if you’re a fan of big, smart, brainy theater (packed with kick-ass music, no less), I urge you to check her out.

I first saw Hopkins when she brought her show Accidental Nostalgia to OTB in 2003. Here’s what I wrote about her then:

As all those lucky enough to attend can attest, the singing/songwriting/dancing/theater-making Ms. Hopkins is some sort of performance art super-woman, whose press-pack comparisons to Laurie Anderson/Tom Waits/Lou Reed are nearly as flattering to the name-checked superstars as they are to the up-n-coming Hopkins, who should return to Seattle as soon as possible for the rock-star reception she deserves.

Hopkins’s new show is Must Don’t Whip ‘Um, and it’s billed as both a prequel and sequel to Accidental Nostalgia. As for characterizing Hopkins’s work beyond “amazing,” I can tell you her shows feature big ideas, great music, moments of stunning beauty and deep hilarity, and a full band.

For more info (including press clips and music samples), check out Hopkins’s website. If it seems like something you’d be into, it is, and you should get your tickets here.

The Galapagos Goats

posted by on May 1 at 12:56 PM

Hm. They’re successfully eradicating non-native goats causing environmental havoc on the Galapagos Islands.

Gripping a semiautomatic rifle, Alonso Carrión, a ranger at Galápagos National Park, recently showed off an impressive arsenal inside a well-guarded complex here. It contained .223-caliber rifles, exploding bullets, telescopic sights, two-way radios, nylon nets and a kennel with dogs imported from New Zealand. If it seemed arsenal enough to fend off an invasion, that was precisely its intent.

This archipelago, which inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, has been for many decades the scene of a war between two nonnative species that have drastically altered life here. It is a battle of man versus goat.

If exploding bullets are good enough for the Galapagos goats, they’re good enough for the Green Lake geese and the Woodland Park rabbits.

Edwards in Seattle

posted by on May 1 at 12:55 PM


Edwards is speaking now, in an industrial park in south Seattle, to union members from around the city. Right off the bat, he talked about the war in Iraq and the probable presidential veto of Congress’s Iraq war funding bill.

Four years ago today, George Bush blew onto an aircraft carried and declared, “Mission Accomplished.” Not quite. The Congress was given a mission this past Novemember, and that mission has not yet been finished either, and that mission is to end this war in Iraq.

Regarding Bush’s promise to veto any Iraq war funding bill that contains a timetable for withdrawal, Edwards said:

It is crucial that the Congress stand its ground on this. If the president vetoes this bill, it is the president of the United States who is not funding the troops.

And if the president does veto the bill, Edwards said, Congress should first try to override the veto, and if that fails, send an identical bill back to the president.

And if he vetoes that one, we oughta do it again.

Want to Play At the Capitol Hill Block Party?

posted by on May 1 at 12:32 PM

Of course you do! Head on over to LineOut to find out how you can get a slot on the main stage!

Jumpy and Green and Screaming with Desire

posted by on May 1 at 12:22 PM

Yesterday, the governor—“wearing a toy frog on her forefinger”—signed a bill making the Pacific chorus frog the “official amphibian” of Washington State.

Washington now has an official amphibian—the Pacific chorus frog—a lighthearted addition to a growing list of “official” things that now includes a state vegetable, ship, folk song and even grass, though not the funny kind.

A couple things: One, throughout history frogs have symbolized fertility, but I doubt anyone told that to the third graders who wrote this bill. (The sound the frog makes—that chorus—is the sound frogs make when they want to do it.) Two, the Associated Press writers calls the passage of this bill “a move Kermit would love.” Three, the jumpy green things have been loaded with political import, as Gregoire is quoted in the above article as saying, “It is truly a One Washington frog,” a reference to some ongoing rhetoric. Four, official amphibian?

Is everybody stoned?

Here’s what it looks like (cute!):


Here is some more information about the frog, which is usually referred to in books as the Pacific tree frog, and here is a short Quicktime video of a male frog making the noises that only mean one thing. Those lady frogs are tough customers: “Most breeding occurs at night. Males sit near the edge of ponds and creeks, and croak out an advertisement call to attract females… Research has shown that female[s]… prefer to mate with males that consistently call earlier than the other males around them… When a female approaches a male, the male will move onto her back, and grasp her under her forelimbs with his forelimbs…” OK, enough of that.

Here is the ’80s video game Frogger, which you can play here for free.

Here is a recipe for fried frog legs.

Here is a short YouTube clip called “Leap Frog of Doom” that makes my heart leap out of my chest every time I see it.

And, just for Megan, here is the video for the Belle & Sebastian song “Funny Little Frog.”

The Women of Papua New Guinea

posted by on May 1 at 12:22 PM

A few days ago, I’m inside of a Manhattan bar talking with a elegant lady from Singapore. She is telling me about her past and her family in an English that has the breath of a Chinese cadence and a touch of her colonial education. Expensive sunglasses neatly pull her black hair back. Her forehead is spotless, and her lips are thin and pink like Japanese paper. “And my parents,” she says without looking up at me but down at the crab cake she’s delicately dissecting a with a fork and knife, “they no longer live in Singapore. Business is not good there anymore and so they moved to Papua New Guinea. Though it’s better for my father’s dealings, it’s a very strange place to live. I mean, the people still have their tribal ways, and the women walk around suckling pigs.”
“Suckling pigs!” I repeat in shock.
She looks up at me—a moment before biting the piece of the crab cake pierced by her fork—and says: “Yes, it’s not an easy thing to look at.”
No diggity.

But, honestly, let’s think about this for a second or two. Why was I instantly disgusted by this practice in Papua New Guinea? What exactly is wrong with breastfeeding a pig? We heavily drink cow’s milk, and happily eat goat’s cheese. So what is wrong with giving something back to the animal kingdom for once? The problem is not the milk but the sucking itself: We suspect that the women are getting some sort of sexual pleasure out of this seemingly innocuous (and very public) sucking and licking. Why else would they do it? For sure, if the sensation caused by a piglet’s saliva and tongue was not pleasurable, then the women of Papua New Guinea would have long ago thrown them back in the barn. Their form of pleasure translates into our form of disgust.

Update: In the comments below you will find an explanation for this revealing image:

Excuse Me?

posted by on May 1 at 12:15 PM

George W. Bush warned today that a timeline for getting the fuck out of Iraq could cause “chaos.” Shame if that happened, huh?

Restored ‘Gates of Paradise’ in SEATTLE?

posted by on May 1 at 12:10 PM

So I’m headed to Chicago next week, and I was checking out the Art Institute of Chicago’s web site this morning when I saw this:

In 1425 Lorenzo Ghiberti was commissioned to design a pair of bronze doors for Florence’s Baptistery. He labored on the task for 27 years, fashioning a masterpiece that Michelangelo called “truly worthy to be the Gates of Paradise” for its remarkable beauty and grandeur. For the past 25 years, Ghiberti’s gates have undergone extensive conservation, and they are now nearing completion. To celebrate the conclusion of this arduous project and its stunning results, three relief panels from the left wing of the Gates of Paradise and sections of the door’s frieze will travel to North America. This exhibition will afford viewers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe Ghiberti’s work up close before the individual elements are reintegrated with the rest of the doorframe and put on permanent display in a hermetically sealed room in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence, never to travel again. Other Venues: The exhibition will also travel to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Seattle Art Museum.

That’s not hyperbole, folks—these gilt panels are founding monuments of the Renaissance, both beloved and important, and this is their first time traveling to the United States since they were made more than 500 years ago.

If they are in fact coming to SAM, it’s a huge deal. (I didn’t even get to see the doors when I was in Florence a few years ago, because they’ve been replaced by replicas and the originals have been taken in for safekeeping.)

It has been repeatedly reported that they’ll come to Atlanta, Chicago, and New York, and then be whisked away back to Florence. But has the West Coast found a way in?

A SAM spokeswoman said nothing is yet firm, and SAM’s web site doesn’t list the show under upcoming exhibitions.

But that’s not a denial, is it?

As for timing, the show just opened in Atlanta Saturday and will spend the summer in Chicago and the fall in New York. After January, maybe we’ll get a glimpse at the gilded bronze panels depicting scenes from the Old Testament.

For now, here’s a CNN story with a good slide show with the curator posted yesterday, timed to the Atlanta opening.

Here’s an image from one of the restored panels:


And here are images of the replicas of the panels that are traveling (top to bottom, Adam and Eve, Rebecca giving birth to Jacob and Esau, and David cutting off Goliath’s head):




The Nation on Climate Change

posted by on May 1 at 11:25 AM

Righteous lefty mag The Nation once dismissed me as a “mainstream homosexual.” (It had something to do with my refusal to wear assless chaps at PTA meetings or something). But I subscribe anyway—mostly for “deadline poet” Calvin Trillin, and columnists Eric Alterman and Katha Pollitt. But the May 7 issue, which only just arrived at my sprawling mansion, was dedicated to climate change, an issue that I find compelling. So I dug into the feature package: “Surviving the Climate Crisis: What Must be Done.” One article in particular caught my eye: “Flying Into Trouble: Why Most Airplanes Must Be Grounded.”

I fly a lot—way too much—and I have the good sense to feel guilty about it. And I damn well should, says George Monbiot:

Jets produce staggering amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases that accelerate global warming…. Carbon dioxide emissions per passenger mile from a standard airliner are very similar to those from cars. But you can cover nearly 15,000 miles in one day by plane. The C02 produced by planes is augmented by the other greenhouse gases they release, magnifying its effect by 270 percent. This means flying is one of the most destructive things we can do.

Monbiot goes to dispel any fantasies frequent flyers have about alternative fuels coming to the rescue of our consciences—like those biolfuels Virgin CEO/loopy billionaire Richard Branson has publicly backed…

Forests in South America and Southeast Asia are being cleared to plant palm oil, sugarcane, and soya for transport fuel… [But] the production of every ton of palm oil results in up to 33 tons of C02 emissions, as trees are burned and peat is drained. This means that palm oil causes up to ten times as much global warming as petroleum.

Hey, I read somewhere they we could use hydrogen fuel in planes—hydrogen burns clean, right?

Jet engines can run on hydrogen; however, because it is a far less dense fuel than kerosene, the planes would have to be much wider to carry it. This means that they must fly in the stratosphere—otherwise they’d encounter too much drag. Unfortunately, the water vapor produced by burning hydrogen in the stratosphere would cause a climate-changing effect thirteen times greater than that of an ordinary plane.

Okay, I give up. I guess I’ll have to start taking the train everywhere—which would great, actually. I prefer the train. When I have the time I take the train home to Chicago to see my family, even though it takes two days. But if trains were faster I would be able to take them more often—and lots of other folks that would otherwise fly would take trains if they were faster. So clearly we should be investing in high-speeed trains, right?

Though trains traveling at normal speeds have much lower carbon emissions than airplanes…. energy consumption rises dramatically at speeds above 125 miles per hour…. If the trains are powered by electricity, and if that electricity is produced by plants burning fossil fuels, they cause more C02 emissions than planes.

So cars are out, planes are out, and trains are out. So how the hell should we travel?

There is one form of… transport that might help us to reduce emissions, but this will not be a popular proposal. The total climate impact of a zeppelin, blimp, or airship is 80 to 90 percent lower than the impact of a jet airplane.

Okay… zeppelins. But the devil, as always, is in the details:

Their top speed is around 80 mph…. A flight from New York to London by airship would take forty-three hours. They also have trouble landing and taking off in high winds and making headway if the wind is against them.

Christ. So zeppelins are out too—at least if you have to get somewhere in a hurry or on a specific day. So the next time I want to go see my friends in the United Kingdom I guess I’ll take a passenger ship, the only travel option left to me. What’s that you say, Monbiot?

Passenger ships appear to be even worse for the environment than jets…. [The] Queen Elizabeth II, the luxury liner run by Cunard, produces 9.1 tons of emissions per passanger on a return trip from Britain to New York. This is 7.6 times as much carbon as you produce when traveling by plane.

What a depressing article. Cars, planes, trains, and passenger ships are all bad—but of them all, passenger ships are the absolute worst. They do the most damage to the environment. And The Nation is calling on us to do “what must be done” to combat the climate crisis, so that means no QE II for me. Because, again, traveling by passenger ship is the most environmentally irresponsible thing a person can possibly do.

George Monbiot’s article is on page 33 of the May 7 issue of The Nation. Check out what’s on page 37. More info here.

No Turrell After All

posted by on May 1 at 11:21 AM

Back in September, I reported here on Slog that Seattle Art Museum has owned a James Turrell light room for two decades but never shown it—but that it would soon come out of storage for the grand opening of the new SAM.

Scratch that.

The Turrell is still in storage.

This from SAM:

The Turrell was going to be installed in the Venturi galleries on the fourth floor, but the exhibition schedule meant that it would only be on view for six months. So curatorial decided to postpone the installation so that it could stay on view longer. We are working on the schedule now and hope to have it view in the near future.

Just didn’t want you showing up this weekend expecting to see something like, you know, this


or this.


Edwards in Seattle

posted by on May 1 at 11:03 AM

John Edwards is in Seattle today, speaking to union members as part of the AFL-CIO endorsement process.

I’ll be at the event, which starts at noon, and if the rumors of wireless internet access prove true, I’ll try to do some real-time blogging (and photo blogging).

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 1 at 11:00 AM


Hidmo (SCENE) Run by beautiful sisters, Hidmo is not only a great Eritrean restaurant, but the place to be and to see some of the dopest hiphop headz in the 206: Silent Lambs Project, Blue Scholars, Abyssinian Creole, Specs One, Amos Miller. You will also hear new hiphop and pop from Addis Ababa and feel the spirit of a new Africa, one that has not lost a sense of its past but is oriented to the future. I love Hidmo. (2000 S Jackson St, 329-1534. 11 am—midnight.) CHARLES MUDEDE

O They Will Know We Are Christians By Our…

posted by on May 1 at 10:57 AM

high speed chases and kidnapping attempts.

Local pastor rams Corvette into squad cars

One man has been arrested after a short pursuit that ended at Division and Indiana.

Officers are investigating a possible kidnapping at Shari’s at Indiana an Monroe. According to police, someone tried to stop the kidnapper, and that person was assaulted by the suspect.

UPDATE: Members of the Morning Star Baptist Church confirm 49-year-old Herman Lewis, arrested this morning after leading Spokane Police on a chase this morning, is their senior pastor. Lewis is charged with unlawful imprisonment and two counts of assault. He’s now in the Spokane County Jail.

Holding Out For a Hero

posted by on May 1 at 10:32 AM

Citizen Prime has been fighting crime in Arizona since January. Here is a link to a news story about him, and here is his MySpace page, which features his introductory video (a failed audition tape for the second season of Who Wants To Be a Superhero).

I’m kind of obsessed with this guy: is he serious? He claims to have the power of hyper-intuition, and then he “primes” people, or releases their inner superhero through what sounds like a series of self-help truisms. Are the police really letting him drive around with a taser and a gun that fires tear gas? Is he really married? Do he and his (no doubt long-suffering) wife really have a baby (or “sidekick,” as he says on his MySpace blog) on the way? How many people has he primed?

Most importantly, when does Seattle get its very own superhero? (Transit Man ((scroll down)) doesn’t count, as he doesn’t own a taser.) I figure we have enough fantastically-wealthy nerds who’ve read both Atlas Shrugged and Marvels one too many times; the law of averages demand that Seattle has earned its very own Citizen Prime. He’s gotta be strong, and he’s gotta be fast, and he’s gotta be fresh from the fight, and he’s probably out on the Microsoft Campus right now, trying to decide if a purple cape and red leggings would clash.

Port Watch

posted by on May 1 at 10:19 AM

I called the Port of Seattle yesterday with some questions about the pending investigation into the Pat Davis/Mic Dinsmore severance scandal.

I left a voice mail with Port spokesman Mick Shultz, and he called back with a voice mail saying I should e-mail my questions.

However, after sending off the questions, it seemed like a silly way of getting the info. So, I sent off a follow-up e-mail.

This exchange seems like a metaphor to me for the whole problem at the port.

From: Josh Feit []
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2007 3:48 PM
To: Shultz, Mick
Subject: seems to me

this would be better to do over the phone. No?

Subject: RE: seems to me
Date: April 30, 2007 3:58:28 PM PDT


Send me the questions and I’ll do my best to get you answers as
quickly as possible.

The Morning News

posted by on May 1 at 8:21 AM


Happy Mission Accomplished Day: Was it just four years ago today that George W. Bush declared “mission accomplished” in Iraq? It was. Since then, more than 3,000 American troops have died, 25,000 have been injured.

Hanged in Smithsonian: What should be done with that banner? Vote over at Kos.

Major Combat Operations: April deadliest month this year for US troops.

To Release a Predator: Miss America took part in high-profile sex sting, posing as teenage “bait.” The eleven men arrested as a result may go free as Miss America refuses to return to Long Island to testify against them.

Love Hurts: Courtney Love to sell Kurt Cobain’s personal belongings—says sleeping in Kurt’s old PJs and wearing his old shirts is preventing her from forming new relationships. It’s that or the drugs and booze.

Eat Less, Move More: Diabetes rate in King County doubles.

What Controversy? Last night’s strip club hearing was a bust.

Monday, April 30, 2007

The Road Less Traveled

posted by on April 30 at 5:53 PM



On Sunday a gas tanker crashed in Oakland—under an elevated highway interchange, melting supports and rivets, ultimately causing the interchange to collapse. (Cool video here.) Chaos was predicted for today’s commute in SF; the governor of California declared the Bay Area a motherfucking disaster area.

Gee, how did that commute go today anyway?

A day after a fiery tanker crash melted and collapsed a critical highway interchange near the Bay Bridge, rush hour commuters in the Bay Area enjoyed a relatively painless morning, as drivers avoided the roads and the expected nightmare largely failed to materialize.

How was the disaster averted? Mass transit got a boost—more trains were running, more ferries crisscrossed San Francisco Bay, and some folks opted to telecommute. Now the same people that predicted disaster today are warning us that the disaster—the chaos! oh, the humanity!—will surely come tomorrow. Or Wednesday. Or Thursday. It’s likelier, however, that disaster won’t come because drivers will do what drivers do only when they must: adjust. Find other ways around, switch to mass transit, telecommute, ride a ferry.

But once again freeway addicts deprived of a freeway predicted disaster and disaster failed to materialize.

Tear down the viaduct now.

So You Wanna Open a Strip Club?

posted by on April 30 at 5:26 PM

There’s a meeting at City Hall in, oh, about four minutes to discuss new zoning proposals for Seattle strip clubs. Wherever you see yellow on this map…


…you can locate a new strip club. I spot a dab of yellow near the former location of Deano’s/Chocolate City, I think, and there seems to be a little smudge of yellow at what looks like Pike and I-5, which might be a nice spot for a gay strip club. But the yellowest parts of town are practically in Elliott Bay or the ship canal. Which makes me wonder… why not just legalize strip clubs on barges, a la “floating” casinos in Iowa, Alabama, Louisiana, etc.? It would make for a livelier waterfront, that’s for sure, and politicians wouldn’t have to take responsibility for okaying strip clubs in any existing neighborhoods.

Port Watch

posted by on April 30 at 5:19 PM

For those of you who are following the Port scandal, The Seattle Times had a meaty scoop this weekend: They confirmed that a big “severance” package was authorized and in play for retired Port CEO Mic Dinsmore despite the fact that the Commission never voted on it; they implicated one Commissioner, Bob Edwards (who’s up for reelection this year) as having been privy to what was initially seen as solely Pat Davis’s screw up; and they had some evidence that the “severance” package was approved in executive session—a major no no.

The idea that the money was discussed in the Exec session comes from Edwards’s comments in the Sea Times (“there was some discussion”) and from notes that Mic Dinsmore took about the Executive session.

Of course, Dinsmore’s notes are a bit suspect: they were taken after the fact (last week maybe?), written in clear longhand, and written in complete sentences. Dinsmore, obviously, has an interest in showing that the Commission approved this whole thing, and it wasn’t just some secret scheme cooked up by him and ally Davis.

However, according to Port Commissioners like Alec Fisken and John Creighton—who maintain that the “severance” package was never discussed in Executive session (“I’ll swear that on a stack of bibles,” Creighton told me)—the whole debate is moot because the real issue, either way, is that Davis signed a memo authorizing the payout without a public vote by the Commission.

Here, Commissioner Edwards wants it both ways. While, as mentioned above, he told the Seattle Times “there was some discussion” … he adds, “the issue was not resolved.”

I disagree with Fisken and Creighton that the Exec session discussion is irrelevant. If the issue was discussed there and that led to Davis’s signature (which is how it appears), it means a “final action” was taken in Executive session. That’s against state law.

As to Dinsmore’s notes, Commissioner Creighton tells me: “That’s really rich coming from Mic Dinsmore. Mic had general counsel tell us to stop taking notes at Executive session.”

Meanwhile, open government activist Chris Clifford is getting set to argue in KC Court that he has just cause to circulate a Davis recall petition.

Here is a pretty good lasso of my coverage on the Port scandal to date.

Shaving Grace

posted by on April 30 at 3:35 PM

And there’s this headline up at the PI

Flasher at large in West Seattle

Seattle Police are looking for a white man in his 20s, suspected of exposing himself to a West Seattle woman early Sunday morning…. The woman called police, concerned at how the man entered her gated community. Police suggested she report the incident, which occurred at about 2:30 a.m., to neighbors to remind them not to let in unknown people—even if they are clean-shaven, as the suspected flasher.

So Much More to Love

posted by on April 30 at 3:19 PM

There’s a headline up at Drudge

Lesbians twice as likely to be obese

LESBIANS are twice as likely as heterosexual women to be overweight or obese, which puts them at greater risk for obesity-related health problems and death, US researchers said. The report, published in the American Journal of Public Health, is one of the first large studies to look at obesity among lesbians.

Keep reading and you discover this…

“The results of these studies indicate that lesbian women have a better body image than do heterosexual women,” [researchers] wrote.

Today On Line Out.

posted by on April 30 at 3:15 PM

Love Pre-Fab Pop In a Uniform?: The Pipettes are Coming to Seattle.

Mythical Beasts: Björk and Sasquatch.

Yes Yes Yes: Kurt B Reighley and Donte Parks on Konono Nº1.

Hung Up Shirts: The Gender Politics of Band Merch.

Yacht Rock: YACHT To Tour With LCD Soundsystem.

Assholes and the Explosion: Opinions are Like Megan Seling, but the Explosion Broke Up.

And now, some adorable vermin (thanks to Kim Hayden):


Freak Flag

posted by on April 30 at 2:37 PM

There was a giant orange flag atop the Space Needle over the weekend; it had been there at least since Friday. Now it’s gone. What gives?

Police Investigate UW Party House

posted by on April 30 at 1:16 PM

As you walk east on Northeast 50th Street, the houses get noticeably shittier the closer you get to UW. Well-manicured lawns and flourishing gardens give way to properties marked by worn, torn pleather recliners in the front yards of the obvious student houses on the east end of the street. The Happy Lucky Place, a house famous for its parties and infamous with police and ave rats, sits near the east corner of 50th that looks out onto the interstate.


Several weeks ago, I was forwarded an e-mail titled: “Police Harassment at Happy Lucky Place.”

“Can’t we all just get along?

The Happy Lucky Place has been harassed by Seattle police for almost a year and a half. Is there no one who will speak out for us?

It all started on New Year’s Day 2006. We found a crackhead camped out in our basement. We asked him to leave. He refused. The police became involved.

The e-mail claims that police “warned’ residents “that if they ever had to come back to the house, they would make [their] lives miserable” and that officers make a habit of “scanning [the house] with searchlights” and routinely “poke through our garbage, look into our cars” and “walk around our yard whenever they have some free time.”

Squatting crackheads weren’t the only problems faced by residents of the Happy Lucky Place. According to a police report, officers were dispatched at 10:30 a.m. on April 11 after they received calls that someone was firing paintballs from one of Happy Lucky’s windows at cars across the street from the house.

A resident let police into the house where, according to the SPD report, they found “the house was in a condition of disrepair.” The report describes such horrors as missing portion of the oven door, exposed wiring, missing dishwasher panels, a “heavily stained carpet with duct tape, a large amount of dirty dishes piled in and around the sink,” and floors and walls… best described as grimy.”

Officers Bright and Schubeck proceeded to the upper floor of the Happy Lucky Place and woke a male resident who informed them that there were two “unidentified males ‘crashing’ in the house.” The report notes that police found “several items that appeared to be marijuana-smoking devices, such as glass pipes and bongs.” According to HLP residents, the officers told residents that “there’s some stuff we should take, but there’s probably slobber all over it,” and left the paraphernalia in the house.

Police then proceeded down the hall and entered the room where the alleged paintball incident occurred, resident Ken Poirier’s room. Poirier is the lone leaseholder at HLP. The report describes his room as being “in drastic disarray, with clothing and various property strewn about. The report continues, “there was a plastic bag containing a large quantity of orange paintballs” that “matched the paintball marks on the vehicles.” Officers found “multiple knives and swords” in Poirier’s room.

An officer called Poirier and informed him that they “would be notifying the Community Policing Team of the incident…[at] the K house,” referencing a large letter K which used to hang off of the roof of the house. The Community Policing Team, which handles neighborhood issues with rental properties along with narcotics and graffiti, informed the landlord and residents of the Happy Lucky Place of their upcoming visit.

A sign on the back door of HLP

I got a tour of the house from Lauren Kozlow, a “friend of the house” named Ben, and a resident who asked remain anonymous but was okay with appearing in photos.

The Happy Lucky Place (HLP) is not your average U-District party house. Every one of its tenants has left a mark on its bizarrely decorated interior and the house is bursting with a kind of genuine eclecticism that would give Fremont residents wet dreams. Poirier, for example, is one half of the sideshow act “The King and the Beast.” The first time I went to the house, the front porch was practically an obstacle course of construction zone signs, a pinball machine, and a real-life bed of nails.


We started the tour upstairs in “The Shire”—a common room filled with aging TVs and electronic equipment—named for its incredibly low ceiling, and cramped quarters. Ben, Lauren and her roommate told me about their frustration with police. “They don’t really respect this place. People live here. They think we’re all criminals or something,” says Kozlow. The incident with the crackhead clearly touches a nerve: “when we found a crack pipe in his stuff [we] kicked him out. Nobody wants to live around that shit.”


I was told that “the house doesn’t put a lot of pressure on the people that live here.” That it’s “laid-back.” “It’s not, like, a party house really” Kozlow says. Volunteer security guards check IDs because everyone in the house wants “to be able to have an event… and let it be safe,” but they all agree that “we’re not gonna have [parties] anymore” because of all of the attention their house has gotten from police. “There’s no reason to specifically target this house. We had no control over the paintball incident” says the anonymous roommate.

Residents say an “ave rat” entered the house and found the paintball gun in Poirier’s room—who was on tour and out of state at the time—and began shooting at cars, before taking off when police arrived.

Poirier—who looks a bit like a younger, happier Glenn Danzig—said in a phone interview that his original philosophy behind HLP was to create an environment where he could “invite people over to listen to music, have fun, get out of the rain, [and] stuff like that.” He admits that things can get wild at the house: “when you have 60 people in a house on a winter day, listening to punk rock, occasionally a book goes through a piece of drywall.”

Along with chunks of missing drywall, there are several small, round, white metal plates embedded in walls and doors on the ground floor which, residents claim, cover bullet holes left from a police shootout that happened with the house’s previous tenants, long ago.


Ben tells me that the Happy Lucky Place—which accurately describes the mellow and, as Josh Feit would say, “groovy” atmosphere of the house— was named by a former tenant named Kaelin. “We might have been tripping on mushrooms,” Ben adds.

I left the house, planning to return for their inspection, and asked a neighbor if he knew anything about the Happy Lucky Place. He’d mostly heard rumors about the place, but said that the tenants he met seemed “nice.” When asked about the problems the Happy Lucky Place were facing with police, the neighbor responded that “it sounds like they’re a little unlucky these days.”

Just over two weeks after the initial paintball incident, I arrived at the Happy Lucky Place just before 1:00 p.m. The door was open but when I knocked, no one answered. I waited around for a while before the landlord came to the door. Moments later, Officer Testerman arrived. The Happy Lucky Place’s landlord, who asked not to be named, pointed out the work he had done to fix the wiring and dishwasher problems. Testerman, who noted that his “concern [wasn’t] with every little nut and bolt,” explained that “if this was a one time incident, then there’s no problem,” alluding to the alleged paintball incident. “Part of my concern [is that they] don’t know who’s coming into the house. I’d be concerned if I didn’t know who was coming into my home.

Poirier, Kozlow and another resident stood in the middle of the cleaned-up living room, nodding as Testerman continued. “Have a party, have a good time. It’s your guys’ house [but] it’s not good when I get a report from officers that someone’s shooting paintballs from inside the house.”

Poirier asked Testerman about the officers he claimed had threatened to “make [their] lives miserable.” “I’m not going to comment on anything I wasn’t there for,” Testerman said. “You guys are the ones living here. You’ve gotta be able to [have] control.”

Testerman told me that he would be removing the Happy Lucky Place from his list of problem houses.

By a 10-Point Margin, Slog Readers Prefer Having the Gay Pride Parade Downtown

posted by on April 30 at 12:37 PM

Last week we ran a poll asking whether you thought Seattle’s Gay Pride Parade should be held on Capitol Hill or in the streets of downtown. Over 1,000 people voted before the poll closed on Sunday. Here are the results:

Even More More More! Morning News

posted by on April 30 at 12:15 PM

The horror! Lesbian kiss results in transfer from Gig Harbor school.

: Seattle’s average water bill ranks highest in the nation.

Fucked: Muslim women, not wanting to “disappoint ” fiances by failing to bleed sufficiently on their wedding nights, are having their hymens resewn in record numbers.

Re: The Verdict on Pedersen

posted by on April 30 at 11:55 AM

Defensive much, Eli?*

“Erica and Josh in particular” didn’t oppose endorsing Jamie Pedersen. Erica, Josh, Sarah Mirk, Annie Wagner, Dan Savage, and David Schmader opposed Pedersen. Everybody, that is, except Eli.

And while we did predict that Pedersen would be disappointing (particularly on issues of interest to renters, which turned out to be true), we didn’t say it would be “corrupt.” What we pointed out was that Pedersen would continue to work for Preston Gates & Ellis, a corporate law firm that lobbies the Legislature, while serving as a legislator, which struck us as a conflict of interest. (The actual endorsement expressed concern that Pedersen would be “too compromised and middle-of-the-road to be truly effective.”) As for “annoying”—well, I don’t know what that means, but I guess I was annoyed by Pedersen’s contention that money has no influence on politics. I certainly stand by my vote for Stephanie Pure. As I imagine the entire rest of the editorial board, all of whom voted against Eli, does.

* Generally, we don’t like to talk about our editorial endorsement process. However, since Eli brought this up, I feel compelled to respond. Having served on the Stranger’s edit board, unlike Eli, for the last four years (and on the Weekly’s edit board for two years before that) I can say that the process is always very contentious, and that heated arguments are extremely common.

The Last Emperor

posted by on April 30 at 11:52 AM

The last pagan emperor of Rome is Julian II. The result of a series of unexpected events was his enthronement in 380 AD, at the age of 30. At 32, however, both life and throne left Julian on a battlefield. To this day it’s not known if an enemy or one of his own killed him with a spear. Much of the reason for the confusion about his death can be attributed to the disastrous war he instigated with the aim of popularizing his flailing program to reestablish paganism as Rome’s official religion. A victorious war would have shown the people that the gods were on his side, and not the side of Christianity, which became the state religion with Constantine’s conversion near the opening of the 3rd century. Using the maximum of his political might, Julian tried to reverse the march of two generations. But the harder he pushed—persecuting Christians, reserving Greek literature for pagan teachers, returning the Altar of Victory to the Senate House—the harder nothing happened because a considerable portion of the population had nothing to gain by going back to the pagan world of Penates, door deities, and augurs. Christianity was a much better deal for them. With paganism, then a religion that had retreated to the elite, all the poor got were monuments and bloody spectacles; with Christianity, there was at least the democratic ideal of real charity—feeding and clothing the less fortunate. Julian was aware of this and tried to reform paganism, making its type of charity more like Christian charity. But before any of these changes became stable and had any effect on Roman society, Julian’s life met its terrible (and inevitable) end in a war he foolishly started.

In the way that the last pagan emperor tried to reestablish an old order on a radically new Rome (transformed by Constantine and his Bishops), George Bush tried to reestablished an older order—oil and church power—on a radically new America (transformed between the fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989, and the WTO protests, 1999). In fact, it’s not hard to imagine a future that will look at Bush and see him as the last Christian president. And the future might also see the connection between Bush’s disastrous war in Iraq and Julian’s disastrous war in Persia.

The lovely lips of Joan Chen:
The scene that first exposed me to the ultimate power of cinema: Joan Chen eating a white flower. The scene is in Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor. Chen’s character, the wife of the emperor, goes mad when she sees in the future the disaster that will become of her husband’s decision to cooperate with Japanese militarism. The weak emperor, who turned to the Japanese for support, is now nothing more than a puppet. Chen sees this fact, sees the emptiness of his power, and as the music plays in a hall celebrating the agreement between the emperor and the enemy of his countrymen, Chen begins to eat a flower, chewing its petals—her red lips, the green stem, the slow and bitter swallowing. The perfect image: beauty eating beauty.

After Burton Watson’s translation of Xiang’s “Cook Ding” story, the peak of literary greatness, follows this short piece of writing by Walter Benjamin:

Again and again, in Shakespeare, in Calderon, battles fill the last act, and kings, princes, attendants and followers, “enter, fleeing.” The moment in which they become visible to spectators brings them to a standstill. The flight of the dramatis personae is arrested by the stage. Their entry into the visual field of non-participating and truly impartial persons allows the harassed to draw breath, bathes them in new air. The appearance on stage of those who enter “fleeing” takes from this its hidden meaning. Our reading of this formula is imbued with the expectation of a place, a light, a footlight glare, in which our flight through life may be likewise sheltered in the presence of on-looking strangers.

The Yellow Tent

posted by on April 30 at 11:52 AM


Just in case the person sitting in the Scientology tent at the Fremont Market yesterday with the e-meter in his hands was an actual innocent passerby and not ringer, here’s a little info about that e-meter, fool.

Re: Virtual Dystopia

posted by on April 30 at 11:37 AM

The Washington Post finally stumbled into the Kathy Sierra story today, months after bloggers were all over the story. Unfortunately, the Post’s story adopts a typical “on the one hand, on the other hand” style, suggesting that while “some female bloggers” are feeling “stifled” by violent threats, others are managing to suck it up and deal. I mean, everybody knows that if you can’t handle threats of strangulation, throat-slashing, and rape—along with the publication of your address and social security number—you’re better off being silent. Rape and death threats: the price of entry for blogging while female.

As evidence that not all women bloggers are “being stifled” (again with the passive voice!) the writer quotes Michelle Malkin—an extremely prominent right-wing blogger—telling other women bloggers they ought to get thicker skin. “‘First, where have y’all been? For several years, the unhinged Internet underworld has been documented here,’ she wrote, reposting a comment on her site that called for the ‘torture, rape, murder’ of her family.” She urged women bloggers to “keep blogging” no matter how ugly the threats may get.

But come on. Kathy Sierra (who blogged about the incredibly contentious world of software development) is not Michelle Malkin. I’m not Michelle Malkin. Very few bloggers in the world come close to Michelle Malkin’s prominence. That doesn’t justify threats against her, of course, but it is a bit unfair of the Post to cite Malkin’s experience as in any way typical of all women bloggers—as if “some women” just can’t take the heat, while “other women” can.

Even worse, the passive voice used throughout the story (bloggers “are threatened” and “made targets”) moves the spotlight onto the victims, and off the violent predators who are driving them offline. The culprits, as Shakes notes, are “painstakingly not mentioned to the point of utter silliness,” resulting in paragraphs like these:

A female freelance writer who blogged about the pornography industry was threatened with rape. A single mother who blogged about “the daily ins and outs of being a mom” was threatened by a cyber-stalker who claimed that she beat her son and that he had her under surveillance. Kathy Sierra, who won a large following by blogging about designing software that makes people happy, became a target of anonymous online attacks that included photos of her with a noose around her neck and a muzzle over her mouth.

As women gain visibility in the blogosphere, they are targets of sexual harassment and threats. Men are harassed too, and lack of civility is an abiding problem on the Web. But women, who make up about half the online community, are singled out in more starkly sexually threatening terms — a trend that was first evident in chat rooms in the early 1990s and is now moving to the blogosphere, experts and bloggers said.

Does it matter who’s doing the targeting, the threatening, the harassing? Of course it does. By failing to talk about the perpetrators of these online crimes, the Post implicitly says it’s OK for men to threaten women, publish their personal information, and bully them into silence. The only solution the offer: Get thicker skin. The obvious alternative—prosecuting the men who are doing the threatening, the publishing, the bullying—goes unmentioned.

Sero-Sorting Works

posted by on April 30 at 11:15 AM

News from San Francisco

A homegrown version of HIV prevention known as “serosorting” has increased dramatically among gay men in San Francisco, according to a newly published survey providing a snapshot of the evolving epidemic a quarter-century after it appeared. Serosorting is choosing to have unprotected anal intercourse only with partners of the same HIV status — uninfected men having sex only with HIV-negatives, while infected men seek out only HIV-positive partners.

The practice evolved in the gay community without the kind of institutional support given to programs encouraging condom use and reducing the number of sexual partners…. Just how protective against HIV transmission the practice may be is unknown.

Or is it? At the same time that sero-sorting has been widely adopted in SF, HIV-infection rates are dropping.

While there was a ten percent decrease in total estimated new [HIV] cases, this seemingly modest decrease is actually a much greater prevention success than it appears.

From 2001 to 2006, the estimated number of gay men living in San Francisco increased from 46,800 to 58,343. The increase was likely due to real growth in the gay community and, potentially, in part the result of an underestimation of the population size in 2001.

When the effect of the increase in the population size of MSM is taken into account, new infections have decreased by an estimated 33 percent.

And who deserves credit for this “prevention success”? Average, rank-and-file, commonsensical gay men that adopted the practice without any “institutional support.” Credit shouldn’t go to AIDS prevention orgs—at least not until they adopt sero-sorting.

Via Petrelis.

Blue Angels: “Comedy” Vs. “Tragedy”

posted by on April 30 at 11:09 AM

This weekend brought the following email to my Stranger inbox:


I read it once, twice, three times before I came to the sad realization that you were actually trying to make a joke of the fatal crash of a Blue Angel’s pilot last week. Yeah, yeah, we all know that you’re an edgy, cooler-than-thou and unabashedly pretentious free paper. And I love you guys. Until this! Just because the guy was in the military, he’s suddenly fair game for your stupid “it’s okay to consider this item good news” comment? Grow a pair and try making a crack about all the people killed at Virginia Tech. Nothing’s sadder than a magazine that takes a horrific tragedy and tries to make it into witty fodder for your often unreadable weekly.

Regards, Ann E. Koepke

The “joke” Ms. Koepke was referring to appeared in last week’s Last Days (scroll down to Saturday), and consisted of two short sentences: Today in South Carolina, the audience at an air show experienced what countless air-show attendees only dream about: the fatal crash of a Navy Blue Angel jet, which plunged into a neighborhood of small homes and trailers in Beaufort, killing the pilot. (If your anti–Blue Angels sentiment runs so deep you consider this item good news, you’re forgiven.)

My response:

Dear Ms. Koepke: Thanks for writing. I wrote the item you take exception to.

Are you really trying to equate the victims of the VA Tech shooting—innocent citizens who made the mistake of going to the wrong college—with a stunt pilot who died doing a death-defying stunt?

I don’t consider the dead Blue Angel pilot worthy of potential mockery because he was in the military—I have great respect for the military. But I think it’s in terribly poor taste for military spokesmodels to be indulging in such expensive showboating as the Blue Angels when there’s a fricking war going on. And when this stupid death-defying military showboating results in a death, I can’t get too worked up over it. (I’m just relieved the fatally-crashing Blue Angel pilot didn’t take anyone else with him into the afterlife.)

College kids getting massacred is a tragedy.
U.S. soldiers losing their lives in Iraq is a tragedy.
Innocent citizens being killed by an out-of-control stunt pilot is a tragedy.
But a stunt pilot dying while attempting to execute a stunt is just an unfortunate accident.

Koepke’s reply:

Yes, it is an unfortunate, tragic accident. So why make a joke about it? You say that people in Iraq dying is a tragedy: I agree, and not just for the US soldiers who lose their lives but also for the Iraqi civilians who die in far greater numbers. You are apparently opposed to the war in Iraq, as you are opposed to the stunt flying of the Blue Angels, so why not take pot shots at the helicopter pilots who lose their lives when colliding with each other?

Also, I do not understand why you consider stunt flying to be in poor taste. Come on, you cannot tell me you don’t “ooh and ahh” with the rest of us when you see them fly over Lake Washington.

Thanks very much for the response.

I don’t normally get into extended conversations with letter-writers, but that next-to-last line is irresistible.

Dear Ann: Actually, I do not “ooh and ahh” during the Blue Angels’s annual Seafair sky-rape. I’m one of those citizens who responded to news of the South Carolina crash with the hope that this stupid accident might finally inspire Seafair to ditch the Blue Angels. Maybe once upon a time the sound of fighter jets tearing through the sky registered as a celebration of military skill/American accomplishment, but since 9/11, the horrifying racket of the Blue Angels registers primarily as the sound of capital-T Terror. And once the U.S. got involved in actual wars, the whole notion of watching fighter pilots for fun became even more grotesque. Add in the wasted money, needless ravaging of the environment, and threat to innocent civilians on the ground, and it becomes clear to me that fatally crashing is about the only thing an off-duty fighter jet can do to make me happy.

That’s where we are now. I’ll keep you posted if it gets better…

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 30 at 11:00 AM


Rords of the Froor IV (BLOTTO BREAKDANCING) Getting drunk and breakdancing at the same time? Hell-to-the-yes! The fourth installment of Rords has a pro-am spin—amateurs compete for four slots, then get paired with pros and battle two-on-two, all the while being force-fed shots of booze. Who’ll hold it all down for the $1,001 cash prize? Costumes are required for participants. Oh, yes. You know you want to. (The War Room, 722 E Pike St, 328-7666. Registration and doors at 9 pm, $10, 21+.) KELLY O

Rep. Pedersen. Good Record Tainted by Condo Bill

posted by on April 30 at 10:56 AM

Note: I hadn’t seen that Eli posted on this earlier. Eli’s coverage of Pedersen, which Pedersen used as a campaign hand out, is here. I’m happy to have voted, along with Dan, Annie, Erica, Sarah Mirk, and David Schmader for Stephanie Pure, who, I believe would have been a solid legislator, particularly on renters’ rights, where Pedersen flopped. Having said that, as my post below shows, Pedersen got due credit from me during the session.

Following up on their cheer leader coverage of the Democratic majority, this morning’s PI gives freshman state Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill) the kind of fawning press you’d expect from his local Capitol Hill Times or the SGN.

Most of the ink in the article— “Rep. Pedersen ‘hits the ground running’: First-year lawmaker gets 6 bills passed”—focuses on Pedersen’s role in getting domestic partnerships OS 1 passed.

I also gave Pedersen props for his role in getting that done. However, if you ask me, the giant Democratic majority in Oly could have passed a full civil unions bill this year like Oregon et al. Furthermore, there were about 400 partnership rights left off the table. And, annoyingly, the bill bars young het couples from getting domestic partnerships.

Having said that, the DP bill is a strong start—I get the incrementalism strategy— and Pedersen was the work horse legislator on the bill. (Peeved e-mail from Sen. Ed Murray landing in my in-box in 1…2…3….)

Additionally, Pedersen brought some helpful legal brain power down to Oly this session. Reports from his colleagues say he was a master at “actually reading the bills” and doing immaculate dentistry to make sure the laws actually lined up legally.

Indeed, Pedersen’s protest vote against an anti-funeral protests bill took courage and legal smarts. I wrote a column early in the session giving Pedersen props for his stand..

Meanwhile, it’s true that he sponsored 6 bills that passed. Some of them good: money for youth housing; providing more health care grants; strengthening no-contact orders; and democratizing corporate boards. And most important for his district—Pedersen was the point person for protecting night life by reforming a costly sprinkler requirement bill for clubs. (He extended the deadline.) Another bill was cool, but mostly symbolic: recognizing Juneteenth as a day of remembrance.

He also had a couple of cool bills die: a civil unions bill and limiting hazardous pesticides in schools.

Here’s one annoying thing though. On one major issue that is a keen concern to his district—renters rights—Pedersen was on the wrong side of the issue. Pedersen did not support giving Seattle the authority to cap condo conversions. He believed that progressive provision would have jeopardized the success of the larger bill which mandated assistance to displaced renters. Pedersen’s timid approach didn’t pay off. The basic bill got killed anyway.

Props to Rep. Pedersen for a diligent and successful session, but he needs to have more awareness of renters. There were 2,352 condo conversions in Seattle in 2006, which is particularly alarming for 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 Winnebago Man

posted by on April 30 at 10:29 AM

It’s Monday morning. Welcome back to work! Look around, it’s not so bad is it? Hey, at least you’re not a Winnenbago salesman….

(Headphones, headphones. Absolutely NSFW.)

Ceci n’est pas une swing set

posted by on April 30 at 10:28 AM

The first sentence of Wikipedia’s entry on swing set: “A swing is a hanging seat, usually found in a playground for children, a circus for acrobats, or on a porch for relaxing.”

Yesterday a swing set was found in the Olympic Sculpture Park. From an email:

And then, right around 1:00 pm, the most extraordinary thing happened. A team of five walked into the park from the south entrance wearing white coveralls, white gloves, and hard hats. In their hands were an assortment of metal objects and signs. Everything was white. Without a word, they marched single file through the park and defined a work area in the grass. Within minutes they had assembled a perfectly white swing set—well, that was until the title sign went in the ground. The title was in French… The sign read, “This is not a swing set.”





The email continues:

Well it sure looked like a swing set. But then again, they did set up a-frame signs around the piece, that bore an uncanny resemblance to those employed by the park. The signs asked the audience not to touch the “art.” My four year old nephew wanted to swing. It was a very confusing moment. Was this swing set sculpture or did this sculpture just look a heck of a lot like a swing? And who is this PDL anyways?

What happened:

I thought you might enjoy these pictures I took of the event, as the “art/swing set/thing” is no longer there. The park staff came and said that it had to leave because it was a liability. I didn’t understand why it would have been a liability any more that Anthony Caro’s “Riviera,” but it was a beautiful day and my mind quickly returned to leisure.

The email, by the way, came from PDL. (According to that link: “This new artist trio, known as PDL, will spend the next twelve months aggressively creating new works, challenging perceptions of contemporary art, and causing general mayhem in the great Pacific Northwest.”)

It was a beautiful weekend. In France, too.

The Verdict on Pedersen

posted by on April 30 at 10:11 AM

I may post more about this on a less busy day, but for now I can’t help noting this recent article in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that looked at Seattle Rep. Jamie Pedersen’s first term in the state legislature.

I’m not sure I can describe the amount of pushback I got from coworkers here at The Stranger for suggesting, during our endorsement debates last fall, that Pedersen would probably make a good legislator, and would certainly get more done more quickly than Stephanie Pure, who ended up being The Stranger’s pick.

In particular, Josh Feit and Erica Barnett predicted that a Pedersen regime would be disappointing, annoying, and even corrupt. Did this doomsday scenario materialize?

Doesn’t look like it.

The Greatest Fat Joke of All Time

posted by on April 30 at 9:57 AM

In the comments Leeerker asks

If someone lit Rush Limbaugh on fire, how long would his bloated corpse burn?

William Shakespeare gives us the best estimate, I think. In Comedy of Errors, Dromio of Syracuse has to fight off the advances of Dromio of Ephesus’ BBW girlfriend.

Marry, sir, she’s the kitchen wench and all grease…. if she lives till doomsday, she’ll burn a week longer than the whole world.

I Loved L.A.

posted by on April 30 at 9:55 AM


I’d never been to Los Angeles until last week, and when I first found out I would be going down there I didn’t expect to like it much.

Growing up in Seattle, almost everything I’d heard about L.A. was negative—especially during the 90s, when this city was gripped by nativist resentment and something close to cultural hysteria about all the L.A. people who were moving up here.

The complaint, at the time, was that L.A. people didn’t drive like Seattleites, didn’t talk like Seattleites, didn’t expect housing to be as cheap as Seattleites, and didn’t have the crunchy-earthy-earnest Seattle ethos. Back then, people in Seattle talked about L.A. transplants the way some locals now talk about the condo boom—a sign that Seattle is being transformed, and not for the better, into a place the old-timers and professional gripers don’t recognize.

Anyway, I landed in L.A. on Wednesday, ready to hate it, ready to look down, like a good Seattleite, on it’s car culture, its fakery, and its self-satisfied sprawl.

It was hot, the light was squint-making, and all that I’d been warned about was there: the cars crawling along the 405, the people always talking like pitchmen, the endless streets, the unapologetic strip malls, the skyline-obscuring haze.

Who knows exactly why one falls in love with a city, but I have a theory about why I proceeded to fall in love with L.A. last week, against all advice and all the long odds of a Seattle native feeling such affection for such a place.

My theory is that L.A. was a huge relief. Maybe I’m more vulnerable to this than most people, because of the nature of my job, but when I landed in L.A. I was completely full up on the hectoring tone of Seattle’s gripers, finger-waggers, and utopia-demanders. It’s unbelievably grating to live in a city where the dominant civic discourse is one of lament about the absence of the perfect (twined with perpetual disagreement about how to get to the perfect, and achingly slow steps toward that end).

L.A., by contrast, is completely fucked up, completely beyond environmental repair, completely imperfect, and completely designed to give tight-assed Seattle people an aneurysm. Granted, I was only there for three days, but it seemed to me that people in L.A. have a sort of wry satisfaction with their state of affairs. I loved that. I drove 20 minutes to get everywhere. I ate in a strip mall. I had superficial conversations. I drove some more. I stopped worrying about sprawl and sprawled out at the beach. (That’s not me below, by the way.)


To ask the hot Seattle question of the moment: Is it sustainable? Would it last, my thrill at life in a city that does everything my home city tells me not to?

I don’t know. Probably not.

But man, it was nice for a while. On my last day I went up to the Getty, wandered its other-worldly gardens…


…and looked down on the huge, flat metropolis. The sun was warm, as always. The air was striving for opaque, as always. I couldn’t quite see downtown Los Angeles to the east and, looking west, I couldn’t quite see where the ocean ended and the land began. It was all blurry, messy, resistant to resolution. Everyone I saw seemed happy with this. I didn’t want to leave.

(Photos by Corianton Hale, who was also in L.A. recently. And cross-posted.)

The Sad Note

posted by on April 30 at 9:49 AM

A fragment of a torn-up letter found in the Denny triangle on Friday afternoon (which I stuck in my coat pocket and forgot about until this morning):

Side One

because I am to close to my
I must keep my focuse and
this storm that I am trapped
out, you can be my umbrella
ght? We got each other and with
er it’s a beautiful thing. So just
hope. I with you and I ain’t going
ght as well as get use to it cause
n you will be able to rest on top of
head on my chest. Any way, I love
share and have I am telling you
and care for you. I found the
I was seeking in you baby. But
other woman come your way that
t, what happens to me? Well, my
this so you can get it soon, but
u I love you always keep it
it’s 100% real.

The writer is a woman. A 100% real woman. Who is afraid of “[an] other woman.” Who thinks about umbrellas and surviving storms and her lover resting his/her/its head on her chest.

Side Two

actually discovered a part of my
I understand my struggle for freedom,
you are my strenght, I thank you and
you’ve been a part of my life and passed
! You have been a wonderful source
ndship, I owe so much to you baby.
for you baby I love you. I want
baby, could you ever feel the way I
finally home with your family for
going for my baby? OK, I do
me tell you this I love you
eep it close to heart OK! Now back
w, I can’t be right there in your
heart in million pieces. Oh well.
days left, it won’t be long to be
lease date is September 29, 2008
ouse, I will be going back to
for the half way house for 6

Uh oh. “[Re]lease date”? Back home with “your family”? And this note torn up in the middle of the road?

Somebody’s not gonna be happy when she gets out of the pen.

Rump Presentation

posted by on April 30 at 9:37 AM

Scientists are work on a new pill—according to a British tab—one that ups women’s libidos while decreasing their appetites.

A wonder pill has been developed which not only boosts a female’s sex drive, but helps her lose weight at the same time. So far it has been tested only on shrews and monkeys, scientists believe humans could be taking it within a decade.

Female musk shrews and marmosets were injected with the Type 2 Gonadotropin-releasing hormone, and displayed classic mating behaviour towards their male counterparts. In the shrews, this was shown by “rump presentation and tail wagging,” while the monkeys began “tongue flicking and eyebrow raising”, said the professor.

Even More Morning News

posted by on April 30 at 9:01 AM

US Supreme Court to leave Vermont Civil Union Law alone.

DC Madam set to provide more names.

More Morning News

posted by on April 30 at 8:58 AM

War Czar: Bush seeks “someone with a lot of stature within the government who can make things happen,” says the man Bush has charged with filling this position. So is this an admission that the president has no stature and can’t get anything done?

Our Man in Baghdad: Iraq’s prime minister is purging Iraq security forces of leaders that have moved against Shiite militias and death squads.

Dim Bulbs: Americans don’t like those energy-saving light bulbs.

Poor Circulation: Daily papers continue to lose readers.

Gun Nuts: Four people dead in Kansas City mall shooting. After the Virginia Tech shooting we were warned that the body count was too high to bring up the subject of gun control. It would seem like we were exploiting a tragedy for political ends. With just four dead in Kansas City… can we talk about gun control now?

Gun Nuts 2: A young woman was the first to die in Virginia, and at first authorities in Virginia thought the shooting was “just a domestic dispute.” You know—no biggie. The children of the woman who was shot to death here Friday night in a “domestic dispute” probably don’t see it that way.

Song of the South: Check out the lyrics for Rush Limbaugh’s “Barack the Magic Negro.”

Today in General American Idol Trash…Are They All on Crack? Yes!

posted by on April 30 at 8:49 AM

Paula Abdul!
Ladies and gentlemen, behold…Paula is possessed by spirits. Gin maybe.

Where’s Sanjaya?
Seen Sanjaya lately? You are, are, ARE not alone! Millions of sources report absolutely nothing on Sanjaya since his mad round of TV appearances last week, and his official status is MIA. But you heard that, like, his folks were weed farmers once, right?

God, I love him.

Blake Lewis!
Poor Sanjaya. He and his come-hither (on me) smile are now but a hairy masturbation fantasy, so we are forced to turn our attention to the next hottest American Idol ‘mo from Seattle-ish: The very blonde and beat-boxy Blake Lewis, who seems to wax more compulsively fuckable by the nanosecond. Bold Blake risked breaking A.I. curfew to follow Chris Richardson’s ever-tappable tail to a Hollywood club over the weekend, where they looked very pretty and danced with no women whatsoever. Glean from this information what you will.



Elsewhile, from the misty land of yesterday’s almost-Idols…Jessica Sierra. No bells? Of course not. Let me refresh you: Former top ten finalist, Season Four, also quite blonde, you’ve never heard of her, got totally arrested yesterday morning for being a coked-up-freak and smashing some poor guy’s face up with a big thick scary drinking glass in a moment of very post-Idol pique. Remember?

Oh, forget it.

Angelina Jolie!
And lastly, in completely other stuff: Exhausted by the complicated and emotional adoption process, Angelina Jolie used the supernatural strength of her amazing lips to bypass it entirely and draw all of the world’s remaining orphans directly to her with one tremendous sucking inhalation…


That is all.

The Morning News

posted by on April 30 at 8:38 AM

War on Terror: Five British men found guilty of “conspiracy to use fertilizer bombs to blow up targets.”

The Surge: More than 100 Americans were killed in Iraq in April.

Selling Books: Former CIA director George Tenet is lambasting the Bush administration over pre-war intelligence.

Patent Disputes: The Supreme Court sides with Microsoft, tells AT&T to suck it.

Under Fire: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert accused of “severe failure” during last summer’s conflict with Lebanon.

Parenting: Tooth decay on the rise in baby teeth. Juice, fruit snacks to blame.

Poisoned Pets: Tainted feed all the rage in China.

Tolls: Ambulances and police cars may have to pay up to cross the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Burning Bridges: If it can happen in San Francisco, it can happen here.

Virtual Dystopia

posted by on April 30 at 8:23 AM

According to the Washington Post, “Sexual Threats Stifle Some Female Bloggers”. Who’da thunk it?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

What He Said

posted by on April 29 at 11:46 PM

Let’s hope.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 29 at 11:00 AM


‘Girls Will Be Girls’ (CULT CAMP CLASSIC) Prior to distinguishing himself as one half of the writing team that made Arrested Development, the most dazzlingly twisted sitcom in American history, Richard Day wrote and directed this unsung camp classic. With its erotic abortions, casual rape, and pervasive blithe cruelty—executed by an all-male cast—Girls Will Be Girls will shock the unshockable. It will also make fans of John Waters, Arrested Development, and ferocious comic mayhem pee their pants. (Central Cinema, 1411 21st Ave, 686-6684. April 27—29, 7 and 9:30 pm, $5, late show 21+.) DAVID SCHMADER

The Morning News

posted by on April 29 at 8:43 AM

Posted by Sage Van Wing

Bigger, Faster: Army’s Chief of Staff wants to accelerate troop increase

Action: Worldwide protests to end genocide in Darfur.

Action: Several suicide bomb attacks.

Democracy+Secularism=Inseparable: Huge rally in Turkey.

Why We Vote: WA State Democrats will continue to select delegates through caucuses.

Compromise?: Rice says no.

The Maze: A piece of highway interchange connecting to the San Francisco Bay Bridge collapsed in flames.

Misleading: Information about condoms wrong in federally funded abstinence-only programs.

Greener?: China may be ahead of the U.S. in curbing greenhouse gas emissions.