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Archives for 05/13/2007 - 05/19/2007

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 19 at 12:00 PM


Fishbone

(MUSIC) There are no Fishbone haters, only unrealized fans who haven’t seen them live. To the lucky diehards I’ve met in the pit over the years, seething to the punk-funk ecstasy of “Bonin’ in the Boneyard”: See you at Studio Seven (wherever that is). To the rest of you who don’t know what you’re missing: After two decades of horn-drivin’, bass-slappin’, heavy-soul madness, the L.A. septet are still one of the greatest live bands around. (Studio Seven, 110 S Horton St, 286-1312. 8 pm, $15 adv/$18 DOS, all ages.) JONATHAN ZWICKEL

Hm…

posted by on May 19 at 11:21 AM

This sounds vaguely familiar

But after nearly 80 years of peaceful jumping, a civil war of sorts has broken out among the human overseers of this annual, undeniably bizarre event, which was inspired by Mark Twain’s classic 1865 tall tale, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” about an inveterate gambler and his gifted amphibian. The dispute, which pits the group that has long presided over the jump against the fair’s organizers, has resulted in a pair of dueling competitions this year, each planning to hold their finals on Sunday.

All of which has cast a pall over what should be the county’s biggest weekend of the year.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on May 19 at 10:44 AM

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Smoke Signals: Feds raid three Washington Indian reservations for selling untaxed cigarettes.

Grizzly: Eviscerating a teddy bear to find weed deemed illegal.

Hip Popped: Method Man caught with pot.

Wham! George Michael popping pills, having better sex, and would like to buy the world a toke.

Tea’d Off: Tea drinkers in China perking up for coffee.

Masshole: Principal announces random drug and alcohol tests at prom.

Big Island: Hawaii refuses federal funds for cannabis eradication.

Where There’s Smoke: There are vagrants getting ticketed on Berkeley sidewalks.

Here It Comes Again: Nonviolent drug convicts bearing brunt of prisoner rape.

Field Marshall: Poppies winning the war in Afghanistan.

Still Making Up Her Mind

posted by on May 19 at 9:43 AM

Since his death last month, lots of people have been reminiscing about reading Kurt Vonnegut back in high school.

I read him back then too and liked it fine, but it didn’t last for me like it has with a lot of smart people I know.

I came across this blog post and this one from an actual real live high schooler talking about reading Kurt Vonnegut in the here and now.

Freed from the effects of distance (and in the context of the current Vonnegut lovefest), it was nice to hear this teenager’s candor. She doesn’t dislike it (she seems to like it, actually) but rather than being definitive, she seems measured—still making up her mind about it. Kind of refreshing.

The Morning News

posted by on May 19 at 9:00 AM

Posted by Sage Van Wing

Fourteen Years For Telling The Truth: Navy lawyer found guilty for revealing names of Guantanamo prisoners.

No Regrets: Blair says to al-Maliki.

Bodies Under Bridges: 1 under Magnolia Bridge, identified; 1 under Ravenna Bridge, murder.

On the Verge of Being A Failed State: Iraq, according to a new British report.

NY Church Guilty in Sex Abuse Case: The first not settled out of court awards $11.4 Million to victims.

That’s Some Shipwreck!: $500 million worth of gold coins found in 400 year-old wreck.

Legal Maneuvering: Watada re-trial hung up on accusations of double-jeopardy.

Bird Flu!:11,000 poultry confirmed dead in China. Meanwhile, Foot and Mouth Disease sickens 900 people.

Feeling On Top Of The World At 18: Teenager climbs Mt. Everest. Meanwhile, two local climbers fall to their deaths on Mt. McKinley.

Beam Me Down, Scotty: Actor’s ashes fall back from space.


Friday, May 18, 2007

Why I love Romain Duris

posted by on May 18 at 8:20 PM

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Duris as Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, AKA Molière

Well, what’s not to love? Like his countryman Mathieu Amalric (Munich), the heavy-browed, hairy-chested Duris is attractive in an unconventional sort of way and incredibly versatile. He was charming as a shaggy drummer in When the Cat’s Away, believable as a brooding pianist in The Beat That My Heart Skipped, and hilarious as a lovelorn writer in Russian Dolls. You may also recognize him from L’Auberge Espagnole (the precursor to Dolls), Le Divorce, CQ, and Gadjo Dilo. This year, SIFF presents two Duris selections.

Molière, the closing night film, doesn’t exactly break new ground. It plays like a cross between Amadeus and Ridicule, but it isn’t as epic as the former or as nasty as the latter—though Ludivine Sagnier gives it her best shot. Still, it’s a pleasant enough way to pass the time and Duris, as ever, does a bang-up job. Molière represents one of those multi-faceted roles where an actor has to do literally everything—quip, cry, disguise his identity, and act badly (the dramatist is presented as a failed tragedian). You name it, Duris pulls it off.

Continue reading "Why I love Romain Duris" »

Fantasy and Reality

posted by on May 18 at 4:46 PM

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Nothing Can Forgive Him For This “Comedy”…

posted by on May 18 at 4:31 PM

…Even if he is donating all of his proceeds to the West Seattle Food Bank.
Cut to the press release:

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Tuesday May 22nd

The Showbox presents

ROBIN WILLIAMS

WORKING ON MATERIAL

Doors at 7pm - 21+

$45.00 ADV / DOS

Dear Seattle:
If you choose to go to this, keep in mind that those hours of your life can never be retrieved.

The Week in Geek

posted by on May 18 at 3:59 PM

brought to you by Florbl Pro

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Hardcore Accessibility - This week saw the launch of SoundsDirty.com, a porn site for the blind. In addition to steaming-hot audio, they have a “Zoom Room”, where those with only partially impaired vision can “enlarge the part that [they] want to see most.” The site appears to be a great improvement over past missteps in this area.

Naked Google - Appeals Court rules that thumbnail porn is fair use! Yay thumbnail porn!

Patent Armageddon - Microsoft claimed this week that various flavors of Linux and other open-source software violate 235 of their patents. Since they can’t innovate their way out of paper bag anymore, they figure they can maintain their strangelhold on the world by patenting the idea of showing stuff on a computer screen in a little box. Bravo.

Jungle Music - Local online retailer Amazon.com announced that they will soon launch a music store featuring DRM-free music to compete with Apple’s iTunes. Anything that’s DRM-free is good.

iWantOne - Apple’s much-anticipated iPhone gets FCC approval, making it officially legal to sell it in the U.S., which they’ll start doing late next month. In related news, I hate my phone.

Halo 3 Beta drops, thousands of geeks call in sick.

The Power of Bullshit - Tech site Engadget posts false info about iPhone and Mac OS delays, Apple stock drops 2.2%.

And finally, local wiseacre newsweekly launches super-freaky reader review system on restaurant listings, and there is much rejoicing.

Monty Python reference! Geek Out!

Command of the Week: if ($ENV{‘SSH_ORIGINAL_COMMAND’} =~ m’fuck’ ) { print “I hate you.”; }

The Rolling of the Truckles

posted by on May 18 at 3:46 PM

More (sorry) about the Cheese Festival:

To launch the Third Annual Seattle Cheese Festival off on the right wheel, a “Rolling of the Truckles” will pit men against cheese on Saturday, May 19 beginning at 10:00 a.m. A truckle is an 18-pound barrel-shaped cheese that’s taller than it is wide. Rolling one of these cylinders requires a special cheese spatula and, perhaps, a sense of humor.

Competitors include:

* Seattle’s Granite Curling Club
* Chef/Ower Thierry Rautureau, of Rover’s restaurant
* Kurt Beecher Dammeier, of Beecher ’s Handmade Cheese

“Truckle”: best word ever.

KC Superior Court Approves Pat Davis Recall Petition

posted by on May 18 at 3:44 PM

Despite arguments in KC Superior Court today from Pat Davis and her lawyer Suzanne Thomas from Preston Gates that Port Commissioner Bob Edwards (not Davis) negotiated Mic Dinsmore’s hefty retirement package and despite her line that Dinsmore never got the money anyway, KC Superior Court Judge Charles Mertel ruled that good government activist Chris Clifford’s recall petition could go forward. (He’ll need about 150,000 signatures to get it on the ballot.)

The judge even changed some of Clifford’s language, making it more damning. The judge, for example, added the word “knowingly” into the accusation that Davis entered into a pay out contract with Dinsmore.

Thomas reportedly told Clifford she’d be seeing him in front of the Supremes.

Universal Niggers

posted by on May 18 at 3:39 PM

Women of the world, I feel your pain. The mindless girls who frequently appear in a window at the corner of Myspace’s front page are for you what Steppin Fetchit was for black folks.

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To put it like Alice Walker once put it, women are the niggers of the universe.


9/11: Debunking the Debunkers

posted by on May 18 at 2:44 PM

What’s that mean? I don’t know, but it’s the name of a forum tonight at Town Hall. Lots of folks have their panties in a bunch about what actually happened on September 11, 2001. They think a Neo-con conspiracy may have been behind the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center. Are they correct? Are they insane? Are they paranoid delusional anti-authoritarian wing-nut crack heads? Like I said. I don’t know. However, I do know that when people suggest Americans might have had a hand in harming fellow citizens for political or financial gain and then covered it up—which we know has never happened before—seemingly sane folks lose their fucking minds.

Decide for yourself tonight at 7:30 p.m. when Dr. David Ray Griffin responds to critics of the so-called 9/11 truth movement. (Town Hall, 1119 8th Ave, doors at 6:30 p.m., $15 at the door.)

Word Geeks?

posted by on May 18 at 2:00 PM

Posted by Sage Van Wing

I interviewed author Amy Fusselman yesterday about her new book 8 (she calls it a “non-fiction novel”). In the book she talks about the Beastie Boys a lot, so I asked her about her relationship to music. She told me that music is the greatest art. She said, essentially, that music is this great invisible force that nonetheless makes us feel something. It has an actual, visceral, physical effect on us, even though it is not something that you can see or touch. Literature doesn’t have this same kind of ability because you have to go through the words to get to the feeling, she said. This made me think of this I Ching quote :

“The wind blows over the surface of the lake. In this way, the effects of the invisible are made visible.”

I think I remember that there is an actual word to describe this phenomenon, but I can’t figure out what it is. I know there’s an italian word—dietrologia—for the invisible forces behind the visible. But that’s not quite right, because it has a more sinister sense—it usually refers to the backroom political negotiations.

What I’m looking for is a word for the exact moment when the powerful, yet invisible, forces of our world (wind, electricity, magnetic attraction, or God, I guess, if that’s your sort of thing), become tangible and real. A wheat field swaying in the wind, the spark of static electricity, etc.

IS there a word for that moment? Can anyone think of it?

Remember the Children?

posted by on May 18 at 1:38 PM

That bunch of cute kids, in their PJs and footies, sitting downstage at Town Hall the last time Sean Nelson and company did their Nelson sings Nilsson show?

What was their name? The Late-Night Tiger Choir? The Past-Their-Bedtime Boys ‘n’ Girls Song Club? Ugly Kid Joe? Something like that.

Anyway, they’re back. Tomorrow night. At the Triple Door. With their backing band, featuring Sean Nelson and Mark Nichols and members of “Awesome” and the French Project and Circus Contraption and the Sarah Rudinoff-Nick Garrison band and the rest of the Nelson sings Nilsson gang.

But you and I both know it’s all about the children.

Details and tickets here.

Body Found in Ravenna Park

posted by on May 18 at 1:21 PM

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SPD got a call at 6:35 this morning about a body in Ravenna Park. A white male, in his late 40s to early 50s, was found with a gunshot wound to the head. According to SPD spokesman Sean Whitcomb, police are conducting a “suspicious death investigation.”

The weird thing about this investigation is that SPD hasn’t determined (or at least isn’t saying) whether this is a suicide or a homicide. Whitcomb told me they haven’t found a weapon, but pointed out the the body was found in the woods and officers are “very slow[ly] and methodical[ly]” searching the area. Whitcomb says that “at some point in the investigation, we are going to be calling for a K-9 unit” to sniff out any firearms.

I’ll update when more info is available.

UPDATE:

According to SPD spokesman Sean Whitcomb, the man’s death is now being classified as a homicide. SPD has detained a Seattle resident and acquaintance of the victim for questioning. He will be booked into King County Jail later today.

More updates when I have more info.

Lunch

posted by on May 18 at 12:10 PM

It’s been a disappointing week, food-wise: many promising meals, many unfulfilled expectations. There was the chewy ribeye (you can’t just mark a steak on the grill for a few minutes, then cook it in the oven and expect no one to notice when the meat moves back and forth with the knife instead of getting sliced), at a fancy, expensive dinner, the uninspiring pupusas at the overrated pupuseria, and the downright bad tartines (albacore tuna from a can?!) at a French restaurant. I woke up this morning, depressed, realizing that the best thing I ate this week were the few sloppy, stolen bites of someone else’s hot dog in front of the Comet last night.

In dark times like these, I turn to Philadelphia Fevre. Nothing takes pain away like a Hot Pepper Mush—soft bun, spicy crispy meat bits, just the right amount of grease running down your chin—and a Coke. If you go to the Fevre for lunch, sit at the counter. You can count on Kenny (Fevre’s cook/my guardian angel) to have People’s Court on the television and be ready to talk basketball. If you want, bring your computer because the Fevre’s got wi-fi.

I’m off for my redemptive cheesesteak now. Kenny (distressingly) is a Spurs man, and my Suns have got to win tonight to stay alive, so we should have plenty to discuss today…

“Owning a barnyard animal isn’t as easy as it looks on the internet.”

posted by on May 18 at 12:03 PM

I don’t expect much out of MTV these days, but last fall’s Rob and Big (about pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek, his bodyguard Chris “Big Black” Boykin, and their incredibly tender platonic man-love) surprised me by being some of the funniest, dumbest, most endearing shit ever. (And possibly the first show about male friendship that doesn’t rely on panicky gay jokes.)

Can a huge fat person really be best friends with a small tiny person? Can two men successfully co-parent an adorable dog that is also part meatball? What is up with Big’s weird jank-eye? And is there anything at all interesting about skateboarding?

Season 2 premieres next Tuesday at 10:30 pm, and hopefully MTV didn’t fuck it up too bad with gimmicks and fluff. From the looks of this trailer, Big is still fat and falling down, the dudes are still ridin’ dirty, and (am I in Heaven?) they’ve adopted a miniature horse. Yessssssss!

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 18 at 12:00 PM


Big Bang Bash

(ART) This year, the Henry’s fundraiser party features hundreds of artworks by Yuki Nakamura, Joe Park, Lead Pencil Studio, and dozens more. At $100, $200, or $300, every piece is a bargain, but there’s a catch: They’re anonymous, so you must buy based on how much you like a piece, not by who made it. It’s like a blind date with art. Plus, music by Sarah Rudinoff, Nick Garrison, and the ever-stellar DJ Riz; cocktail-napkin portraits by Ellen Forney; et cetera. (Henry Art Gallery, 4100 15th Ave NE, 800-838-3006. 8 pm—midnight, $50—$150.) BRENDAN KILEY

and… .

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War Room Second Anniversary Party

(AND YOU DON’T STOP) To celebrate the beginning of its third year of existence, the War Room is spinning beats and showing art. Providing the beats: Shortkut (of the world-famous Beat Junkies) and DV One (who is fighting a bad case of police brutality in court). Providing the art: Obey Propaganda. “Hey DJ won’t you play that song/you keep me dancing, dancing all night long.” (War Room, 722 E Pike St, 328-7666. 9 pm, free, 21+.) CHARLES MUDEDE

The Wonderful World of Chow Gossip

posted by on May 18 at 11:56 AM

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First, yesterday evening I followed Bethany’s advice and ventured down to Union for the Seattle Cheese Festival-sponsored extravaganza of grilled-cheese sandwiches and beer. It was heavenly. The cheese came from the amazing Beecher’s, the beer came from Belgium and Ireland and the Czech Republic, and I have no idea where the bread came from but it was exquisite and played extremely well with both beer and cheese. The place was packed, the waitstaff was harried but charming, and did I mention the fucking amazing cheese? (Seattle Cheese Fest continues today through Sunday at Pike Place Market, with “cheese showcases” both Saturday and Sunday from 10 am-5 pm in the Market’s main thoroughfare. If you’re a friend of the bong, give it a kiss on Saturday or Sunday morning, then head to the market for some world-class munchie-quenching adventure, starring mold.)

In other Chow-related gossip: The day before yesterday I announced the addition of readers reviews to The Stranger’s Restaurant Listings. Already, the reader-supplied offerings provide invaluable info and rewarding reading.

Case in point: This couplet about Capitol Hill’s thrifty and delicious pan-Asian eatery Ballet, which sums up Ballet’s thrift-to-deliciousness ratio perfectly:

If it’s better, it’s three times as much
if it’s cheaper, it’s three times worse

To view more Reader Reviews and compose your own, go here.

Philosopher King

posted by on May 18 at 11:18 AM

None of the books I have read by Zizek, the “over-prolific” philosopher, have told more about him than this picture:
110123694_l.jpg Nevertheless, Zizek is an entertaining speaker. This lecture, The Ignorance of Chicken, or, Who Believes What Today?, which was delivered last year at the University of Chicago, has several great jokes, comments on American politics and events, delightful observations about “global consumerist culture,” a fresh reading of Marx’s theory of commodity fetishism, and a Lacanian critique on the nature of belief and respect in the 21st century. Because I’ve listened to the lecture only once, early this morning while walking to work, I’m not sure if it’s coherent. On first impression, it’s very fragmented and more instinctual than intellectual.

Fun Jerry Falwell Game!

posted by on May 18 at 11:16 AM

Ready to play? I thought you were!

OK, so here’s a list of quotes, and all you have to do is figure out who said each one. Was it Jerry Falwell or Adolf Hitler?

Get Ready!

1. My feelings as a Christian point me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter.

2. This ‘turn the other cheek’ business is all well and good but it’s not what Jesus fought and died for.

3. Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith…. We need believing people.

4. I hope I live to see the day when, as in the early days of our country, we won’t have any public schools. The churches will have taken them over again and Christians will be running them. What a happy day that will be!

5. Universal education is the most corroding and disintegrating poison that liberalism has ever invented for its own destruction.

6. We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.

7. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit … We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press…we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess.

8. This the national government will regard its first and foremost duty to restore the unity of spirit and purpose of our people. It will preserve and defend the foundations upon which the power of our nation rests. It will take Christianity, as the basis of our collective morality, and the family as the nucleus of our people and state, under its firm protection….May God Almighty take our work into his grace, give true form to our will, bless our insight, and endow us with the trust of our people.

9. Remain strong in your faith, as you were in former years. In this faith, in its close-knit unity our people to-day goes straight forward on its way and no power on earth will avail to stop it.

10. We’re fighting against humanism, we’re fighting against liberalism … we are fighting against all the systems of Satan that are destroying our nation today .

Answers after the jump!
I found this here, via Boing Boing.

Continue reading "Fun Jerry Falwell Game!" »

Bendy Electronic Paper

posted by on May 18 at 9:55 AM

It’s likely coming to Seattle, and could be delivering the Post-Intelligencer within two years. Yet another development that could upend the local media market…

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Hitch Redux

posted by on May 18 at 9:47 AM

Christopher Hitchens unleashes on Hannity & Colmes.

Sean Hannity, needless to say, is an unbelievable asshole.

The Morning News

posted by on May 18 at 8:55 AM

$6 billion: The price Microsoft is going to pay for the online ad company aQuantive (that’s 85-percent more than the company was worth when the markets closed yesterday).

The immigration deal: The details.

A neo-con’s second chance goes badly: The fall of Paul Wolfowitz.

Michelle Obama: Star.

The tyranny of the second home: The horror! The horror!

Confidence in Gonzales sinking: Still.

The Floyd Landis hearing: A surprise pulp-fiction blockbuster.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Falwell’s First Time

posted by on May 17 at 11:37 PM

In all the celebrating since Jerry Falwell died, it seems we’ve neglected to post the wonderful Hustler ad parody that took Falwell and Larry Flynt all the way to the Supreme Court in 1988.

Where would The Stranger be, really, If not for the precedent set by Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell?

Thanks, Jer, we owe you, motherfucker!

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(Click image for larger version.)

The Dehumanization of Pot Smokers

posted by on May 17 at 6:00 PM

Governments could never persuade their citizens to wage an unprovoked war without dehumanizing an enemy. The most pestiferous modern example was that of Nazis upon Jews, branded as vermin in need of extermination.

It also comes in much subtler forms in less heinous wars. Consider these two recent ads from the White House and their ultimate function in the war on drugs. The first is a video: A teenage girl describes her friend on the couch, whose pot smoking has literally deflated her into a non-person.

Next is a radio ad I heard just the other day—unconvincing, but funny: Smoking weed is the gateway to Indie Rock, and becoming a robot.

Neither ad persuaded kids to “just say no.” In fact, the campaign was deemed generally ineffective, and counter-effective for the demographic targeted in the ads above. The Government Accountability Office reported there was “a relationship between campaign exposure and higher rates of [drug] initiation … among certain subgroups of the sample (e.g., 12 1⁄2- to 13-year-olds and girls).”

So why does the White House keep running the ads of robotic emo kids and withered girls? They aren’t trying to reduce demand for drugs at all. (They know the percentage of adolescents who try drugs is relatively static, with slight cyclical variations affected by a confluence of social and political factors.) They continue because public opinion on marijuana is the front line of the drug war—they must undercut a surging wave of support for drug law reform among young people. Otherwise, the post-DARE generation will soon join pot-friendly baby boomers in the voting booth to pass a slew of pot-legalization initiatives headed to state ballots over the next decade. Unless, of course, the young voters of tomorrow don’t feel compassion for jailed pot smokers, who are barely human.

Neighborhoods Vs. Schools and Skateparks

posted by on May 17 at 5:32 PM

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In this week’s paper, I covered the ongoing legal battle between the Lower Woodland Neighborhood Association (LWNA) and the Seattle Parks Deparment’s Skate Park Advisory Committee (SPAC). Today, I spoke with LWNA member Kristine Fuller about the controversial development.

Fuller complains that the proposed skate park is “a bad site for kids” since, according to Fuller, there are “no sidewalks,” “poor bus service” in the area, adding that the skate park would be “jammed right up next to a soccer field.” She says that the site is ” a spot that is [frequently] used by the neighborhood” and that neighbors “don’t want to be displaced.” She adds that she doesn’t think the soccer or baseball fields should be at the park either. Fuller also says that kids have plenty of city streets they can skate, and feels that the parks department is all too eager to encroach on “passive parks.”

In a bizarre moment in our conversation, Fuller alluded to the fact that SPAC board members Matt Johnston and Ryan Barth “aren’t locals,” implying that they had moved here as part of some massive, pro skate park conspiracy. She was completely serious.

While Barth did not directly address whether he was part of some super-secret pro skate park agenda, he notes that he is well connected to the area and lives just over 2 miles away from Woodland Park. Barth also adds that half of the SPAC board lives within a five mile radius.

Addressing Fuller’s concerns about the safety of the park, Barth says that “once the facility is built, it will be surrounded by other recreational facilities and constant user activity will lead to self policing of the park.”

After my interview with Fuller, she sent me an email:

PS I know the slant Stranger will take since I’ve been reading the paper for years. I’ll forgive you (phew!). PPS, I own and use a skateboard. I will never be any good on it, but you can at least give me credit for even trying it out. And I am no spring chicken.

So maybe that’s the solution for SPAC: take Kristine out and teach her the Stalefish.

Speaking of combative neighbors, Hamilton Middle School’s renovation - scheduled for 2008 - is causing a bit of a stir in Wallingford as neighborhood residents worry that the building remodel will have a major impact on Wallingford Park, which sits just north of the school.

Wallingford resident Greg Flood spoke with me about the neighborhood’s issues with the proposed renovation. He says that Seattle Public Schools’ plan is playing fast and loose with city zoning standards, overbuilding on a two-acre property not meant to hold 900-1000 middle-schoolers.

Seattle Schools spokesman David Tucker sent me an email in response to Flood’s concerns about school’s population:

“Hamilton’s current capacity is 923, although enrollment runs under capacity right now. The new school will be able to house 900-1000 students, so essentially capacity stays the same. ” Tucker also adds that Hamilton will get a skylight in the middle of the building, as part of the remodel, which will “only slightly” increase the building’s height.

Many years ago, Seattle Public Schools had planned move Hamilton to Lincoln and turn Hamilton into a community center, but plans changed as demand for middle schools in the north end grew and Lincoln became an interim site while the district’s aging high schools are being revamped. Hamilton neighbors have accused the school of attempting to annex part of the adjacent park, which Seattle Public Schools capitol projects community liaison Eleanor Trainor says “that’s just a false perception.”

Reagan Hypocrisy Lives On

posted by on May 17 at 4:08 PM

Republican King County Council Member Reagan Dunn (his mom Jennifer named him after then Gov. Ronald Reagan) has an editorial in today’s Seattle Times supporting his legislative proposal to require the County to mail out individualized breakdowns of how your property taxes are being spent.

You can already get the info several ways—calling the county, calling your mortgage broker etc.—but it’s a fine idea. I’m for it.

However, why doesn’t Council Member Dunn—who says of his proposal in today’s editorial, “The right of the people to be informed about where their tax dollars are going is fundamental to our democracy“— support another idea that’s fundamental to our democracy: Making it easier to vote.

Just like tracking your tax dollars on-line or by contacting the County or your mortgage broker is inconvenient, it’s also inconvenient to skip out of work early on Tuesdays and take the bus to your polling place. So, just like Dunn’s proposal makes it easier to track your tax dollars, the Democrats passed legislation making it easier to vote. The County mails your ballots to you.

Dunn voted against it.

So, he wants to make it easier for you to know where your tax dollars are going, but he doesn’t want to make it easier for you to vote on those tax measures.

Well played Reagan.

Can Salmon Be Farmed Safely?

posted by on May 17 at 3:50 PM

Posted by Sage Van Wing

Not bloody likely says a new legislative report in Canada. In fact, the report, from the Sustainable Aquaculture Committee of the B.C. Legislature, recommended shutting down all salmon farming operations in the province. My favorite part, though, is where they say that the only way to farm salmon safely without undue environmental impact is… something that hasn’t been invented yet. That’s right, until those Canadians figure out how to raise salmon in giant, completely sealed pens—which will float in the open ocean but not interact with the water at all—we may not be getting any salmon from across the border. Never fear, though. For those who still need their cheap, dyed salmon, we in the U.S. import most of our farmed fish from Chile anyhow.

Wolfowitz Is Out

posted by on May 17 at 3:32 PM

He’ll resign as president of the World Bank, effective June 30.

Meanwhile, in the senate, top Democrats, including Sen. Charles Schumer, are seeking a no-confidence vote on Gonzales.

“We need an attorney general who is a prosecutor, not a puppet,” said Mr. Schumer, who has been one of Mr. Gonzales’s sternest critics.

Wonkette’s prediction? Gonzales will resign and be appointed by Bush as the new president of the World Bank.

Today on Line Out

posted by on May 17 at 3:05 PM

Happy Birthday: Computer music hits a half century.

Input Jacks: Keep ‘em away from blood, sweat, and beer.

Block Party Additions: Even more bands get added to the line-up.

Fascinator Returns: Tonight! At Neumo’s! It’s free!

Nerd alert!

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(Thanks, Kelly O.)

Field of Schemes. Update. And More Questions.

posted by on May 17 at 2:49 PM

Last week, I published a story that raised questions about the public agency that oversees Safeco Field, the Mariners Public Facilities District, or PFD.

Without a competitive public bid the PFD awarded a $100,000 consulting contract to Pat Fearey of The Fearey Group. (It’s worth noting that the chair of the PFD, Jose Gaitan and Pat Fearey are both members of the Community Development Roundtable—a private luncheon group of CEOs, consultants, lawyers, developers, media—that meets every Monday at the Washington Athletic Club downtown. Pat Fearey is the president of the group.)

In my article, I pointed out that all Washington State agencies, King County agencies, and Seattle agencies—including King County’s other stadium agency (the Public Stadium Authority, PSA, which oversees Qwest)— have rules requiring consulting contracts to go out to a competitive bid if the contract is over $25,000 to $43,000, depending on the agency. I also pointed out that state law governing PFDs says “purchases, contracts for purchase, and sales” must be competitively bid at $35,000 or above.

PFD director Kevin Callan was quoted in the article saying the PFD’s own rules allowed them to award a $100,000 contract without a public bid. Given the rules governing other public agencies and the state rules governing PFDs, I voiced my skepticism.

However, Callan was right. The PFD was within its legal bounds. There is another rule governing PFDs that I was not aware of—about consultants—that allows PFDs to set their own rules when it comes to professional services (or consultants). And they did just that.

Callan had me do a public records request to get the PFD’s own rules. It turns out they passed a resolution saying the consultant contract threshold for public bids is $100,000.

So, everything is kosher over at the Mariners stadium watchdog group.

Or is it?

For me, some questions remain.

Why is the PFD’s threshold for hiring consultants so out of whack with other public agencies’ policies? For example, the Public Stadium Authority (the Qwest Field agency) has to do a competitive public bid for consultants at $25,000.

Jack Zeigler, the state bureaucrat who oversees contract procurement rules, added a bit of context to the $100,000 no-bid contract. In the context of the state’s laws and rules that require competition, Zeigler said, “If someone has made a purchase of $100,000, I’d ask for a sole source justification. I don’t know of any other state that as a general rule doesn’t require a competitive bid for that amount of money. In our state, buying without a competitive bid is the exception.”

Why does a PFD that’s overseeing a $520 million public project get to make up its own rules?

And, as I reported, why is it okay that the terms of four of the seven board members who approved Fearey’s contract have expired?

Specifically to the Fearey contract: What has the PFD gotten for its $100K? Looking over the bills, it seems to me like a lot of “brainstorming.”

Pot Brownies: The Silent Killer?

posted by on May 17 at 2:43 PM

One thing’s for certain: Pot brownies can FUCK… YOU… UP. I’ll tell you a story sometime. Until then, check out the most hee-larious 911 call yet from a police officer who made pot brownies (with confiscated marijuana, no less), then got so effed-up, he was convinced he was dying.
I know the feeling, brother. I know the feeling.

The Art of Burial

posted by on May 17 at 2:12 PM

Back in the middle of last year, the dub genius Burial had this haunting image on his Myspace music account.
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Two or so months ago, I came across this image while looking through an art magazine:
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James Casebere is the photographer. He lives in Manhattan. A mountain bike hangs upside down from the ceiling of his studio. On his studio’s tables stand miniature models of the halls and cells he uses to produce photographs of spaces that are not for humans but the spirits of dead humans.
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Two weeks ago, I sent an email to Burial, who lives in South London, and asked for his position on the American photographer. Last week, I received this response:

yeah i love james casebere!.. i dont know much about art but i loved his images the moment my dad showed me them when i was younger. it is my dream to one day have a real james casebere photo on my wall! ive got a book of his that i look at and i make a lot of my music with those pictures next to me. i get pulled into those solitary empty spaces and i dream of the kind of emptiness that he has in his photos. in my dreams my music would be echoing through those rooms. i wonder who he is?.. im reluctant to find out any real information about people who r important to me.

Not I. I want to know everything about Burial. I want to know that in the dreams he has at night (moon shining in the window of his room) his music echoes through Casebere’s empty spaces.


Demand Side

posted by on May 17 at 2:11 PM

Last week, Erica C. Barnett’s column led with an item about a new group in town— Seattle Great City Initiative.

I was at their kickoff event (at Triad Development’s downtown yuppie/green offices) and wanted to second two of Erica’s observations.

ECB noted that civic-minded people like Mike McGinn (the group’s founder and director) used to run for office, but now they start groups instead.

An anecdote from the event: When the charismatic McGinn, former chair the state’s Sierra Club and 47 going on 16 energy-and idealism-wise, jumped up on a coffee table and speechified in his easy manner, an attendee whispered to me: “In two years he’ll be doing this on the election trail.”

Wrong wrong wrong, I protested. That was the story: He’s not running for office. In fact, fixated on the idea, I asked McGinn about it. “Why aren’t you running for office?”

After all, Great City’s biggest accomplishment so far is a legislative one. They, along with the Cascade Bicycle Club, lobbied and helped pass the Complete Streets ordinance, which dictates that any new roads fixes in the city must be designed with pedestrians and bicyclists as part of the equation. If that’s the kind of thing McGinn is focused on, why not run for city council?

“The question,” McGinn, who drops phrases like “We can make a better world” casually and elegantly into sentences, says, “is how to be most effective. I believe it’s ultimately public demand that pushes issues. Politicians in Seattle always tell me they will only go as far as the public will let them go. Well, I’m in the public demand side to demonstrate that the public is ready to make the changes we need to make.”

McGinn’s list for seattle includes retooling car-dominated public rights-of-way. He wants more dedicated bus lanes—and bike lanes, HOV lanes, sidewalks. His to-do list also includes changing design and zoning codes so we can have taller buildings without building butt-ugly condos in our neighborhood urban hubs—housing more people and simultaneously creating prettier ground-floor streetscapes. Additionally, he wants to push what he calls green infrastructure—building sustainable, energy-efficient buildings.

The other observation Erica made is that McGinn, who came up in the neighborhood movement, is helping redefine what it means to be a neighborhood activist. Neighborhood activist used to be shorthand for folks that wanted to limit heights, limit growth, zone against multi-family housing, prioritize cars and parking (using public policy to dictate car-dependent lifestyles.)

Now, folks like McGinn—reclaiming the neighborhood movement— want to throw off the regulations that dictate car dependence; throw off regulations that dictate bad building design; throw off regulations that prevent more people from living in neighborhoods; throw off regulations that dedicate our streets to single-occupancy cars.

The old neighborhood movement accuses people like McGinn—people who want to get stuff done—of turning process into a dirty word. It’s a political ploy, they grouse, meant to silence the neighborhood movement. They’re wrong. McGinn is a pro-consensus, pro-process, pro-neighborhood guy.

What the old neighborhood movement doesn’t like (really) is the consensus McGinn’s building and the impact that’s having on “their” process.

Ohmigod It’s Asparagus Pizza!

posted by on May 17 at 1:49 PM

In honor of Spring, Pagliacci is serving asparagus pizza. Bethany Jean Clement had hoped to write about it in her love letter to asparagus this week, but they weren’t making it yet. Fortunately, starting today, they are. Pagliacci just delivered a couple of pies to the office, and DAMN it was good: Delicate, skinny stalks of roasted asparagus, thinly sliced red onions, and fresh tomatoes on top of yummy white pizza. Here’s what the last few pieces looked like before they were snatched away:

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Asparagus pizza, like asparagus itself, is only available for a limited time.

“Grown Men Should Not Be Having Sex With Prostitutes Unless They Are Married to Them.”

posted by on May 17 at 1:32 PM

Pam’s House Blend has a roundup of the selected wit and wisdom of Jerry Falwell, including this gem: “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way — all of them who have tried to secularize America — I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped [9/11] happen.’”

The Fastest-Growing Religion

posted by on May 17 at 1:25 PM

Yesterday the New York Times ran this interesting piece about Wiccans—a.k.a. witches. It seems that they’re pretty oppressed, especially in the Bible Belt, where Wiccans live in terror of their families, friends, landlords, and employers discovering their shameful secret and disowning, evicting, and firing them respectively.

Above the woman’s fireplace hangs her wedding picture, taken in a Lutheran church years ago. Below it, on the mantelpiece, is a small Wiccan altar: two candles, a tiny cauldron, four stones to represent the elements of nature and a small amethyst representing her spirit.

The wedding portrait is always there. But whenever someone comes to visit, the woman sweeps the altar away. Raised Southern Baptist in Virginia and now a stay-at-home mother of two in this Washington suburb, she has told almost no one—not her relatives, her friends or the other mothers in her children’s playgroups—that she is Wiccan.

On behalf of disowned, evicted, and fired homos everywhere, Wiccans, I’d like to say, hey, we know what you’re going through. Buck up, witches and warlocks, and come out—it’s the only way to change things for the better.

But here’s what really caught my eye:

It is unclear how many Wiccans and other pagans there are. The 2001 American Religious Identification Survey by the City University of New York found that Wicca was the country’s fastest-growing religion, with 134,000 adherents, compared with 8,000 in 1990. The actual number may be greater, Ms. Berger said.

Google “fastest-growing religion” and you’ll find thousands of links to stories crediting every last religion on Earth—particularly the more idiotic ones, like Scientology, Mormonism, Wicca, Pentecostalism, and Islam—with being the “fastest-growing religion” somewhere or other. Usually it’s the fastest-growing religion right where the reporter that filed any given story happens to be filing his story from.

What gives? Just like all children can’t be above average, every last religion can’t be the world’s or the nation’s fastest-growing one. Is this accurate? Or is “fastest-growing religion” the secular media’s PBUH? Something that’s mindlessly tacked on to stories about religion just to show respect? If so, can we abbreviate it to FGR already?

UW Treading Water After Griego Murder

posted by on May 17 at 1:21 PM

The PI has two articles out today, revealing how UWPD dropped the ball in handling Rebecca Griego’s stalking case and how they’re struggling to keep up with the influx of domestic violence cases.

The first piece details the failed system at UWPD that lead to Griego’s case being closed by UWPD, days before she was murdered in Gould Hall.

“There weren’t any other leads to follow up,” [Assistant UW Police Chief Ray] Wittmier said.

On March 28, the detective wrote: “As of this writing, Griego has not received further contact from Rowan. Case inactivated.”

5 days later, Griego was killed. My article, which ran yesterday, about a young woman at UW seeking protection from her ex-boyfriend, shows that UW still hasn’t fixed their broken threat assessment system. Wittmier told me that the young woman’s case had been evaluated by their assessment team and was closed. So was Griego’s.

Unsurprisingly, people have been more apt to report cases like this to UWPD and a second story from the PI sheds some statistical light on the increased caseload at UW:

More than three times as many employees have sought help from the university’s workplace violence-prevention assessment team since Jonathan Rowan fatally shot Griego on April 2 than came forward in the entire year before

Team members have had to meet two or three times weekly since Griego’s homicide to handle the 53 requests for help — a dramatic increase over the 15 threat assessments done the previous year.

I’m sure it’s busy down at UWPD these days but after Griego’s murder, how is it that they can be so confident that their assessments are accurate? The young woman I wrote about is genuinely afraid and her teachers and peers have been supportive - setting up a security program for her when UW wouldn’t - but ultimately, the risk and the responsibility of keeping UW’s campus safe for its students shouldn’t fall to them.

If UWPD was able to let Griego’s case get filed away, how long will it be before another young woman slips through the cracks?

Here’s What T-Shirt Hell Has to Say About Falwell’s Death

posted by on May 17 at 12:59 PM

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Get your “Dick in a Box” t-shirt here.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 17 at 12:41 PM

Miranda July
(EVENING OF MYTHICAL PROPORTIONS) Tonight is the first night of the rest of your life, and to celebrate, The Stranger is presenting a reading and dance party with Miranda July, the omni-talented filmmaker (Me and You and Everyone We Know), author (No One Belongs Here More Than You), visual artist, performer, and champion NHL goalie. Also on the bill: the musician and performer Sarah Rudinoff; the musician Becky Stark; the youngest principal musician in Seattle Symphony’s history, Joshua Roman; and “Awesome,” the official band of Stranger literary events. Plus, DJs Fucking in the Streets and Sam Rousso Soundsystem. Oh my god, and it’s free. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. Doors at 7 pm, show at 8 pm, party at 10 pm, free, 21+.) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE

Lee Marvin Kicked Ronald Reagan’s Ass

posted by on May 17 at 12:31 PM

This story over at the New York Times has been a long time coming. It’s a heartfelt appreciation of the films of Lee Marvin, who’s also the subject of a long-overdue film festival in New York right now.
Lee Marvin, in case you didn’t know, is the motherfucking man. Unlike countless other overrated action stars who try to come off like badasses, Lee Marvin moves like a panther and his voice sounds like he just ate a death sandwich and he loved the taste. If you’ve never seen any of his movies, or if you only know him from The Dirty Dozen, I’ve summarized four of his best movies after the jump. These four movies, applied properly to your Netflix queue, will serve as an apartment-sized Lee Marvin film festival, blissfully free from annoying NYC film snobs.

Continue reading "Lee Marvin Kicked Ronald Reagan's Ass" »

All Hail the Surveillance Age

posted by on May 17 at 11:31 AM

In Middleton, New York, a man attempted to sexually assault a woman in a church.

After the woman stabbed the man repeatedly with a pen, he fled.

The whole thing was caught by the church’s surveillance cameras, and you can see edited video of the attack here.

Grilled Cheese + Beer = Love

posted by on May 17 at 11:30 AM

The third annual Seattle Cheese Festival officially starts tomorrow (a little background on CheeseFest I and Cheesefest II here), but tonight at Union: different delicious grilled cheese sandwiches (made with Beecher’s cheeses of Pike Place Market) paired with different delicious beers. Also on hand: the world’s foremost authority on grilled cheese (one assumes), Laura Werlin, author of Great Grilled Cheese: 50 Innovative Recipes for Stovetop, Grill and Sandwich Maker.

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It’s from 5 to 9 p.m. in the bar. Union’s at First and Union. Each grilled cheese/beer pairing: $8. Here they are in all their glory:

Best Grilled Cheese featuring Beecher’s Flagship Reserve
Golden Revolution, Herold Brewery, Czech Republic

Salami & Cheese featuring Beecher’s Just Jack
Zwaanend’ale, Dogfish Head, Delaware USA

Cheesy Gabouse Egg Sandwich featuring Beecher’s Raw Milk Flagship
Wrasslers XXXX Dry Stout, Porterhouse, Ireland

Continue reading "Grilled Cheese + Beer = Love" »

Gagging Ellen!

posted by on May 17 at 11:15 AM

Yes, maybe Ellen went just a little “dyke overboard!” when she flew screaming from the closet way back in 1492, and she junked up her then sitcom with rainbow flags and big gay issues accordingly. The show, of course, soon tanked. But have you noticed on her NEW show—the talk show, of course—-that she seems mummer than mum’s mums when it comes to any and all donut rubbing whatsoever? That she addresses her lesbianisms almost not at all? (Baring the compulsive need to rub Jennifer Aniston’s feet whenever she’s on, naturally.) Have you noticed? Have you?

Well, I have, and I don’t even watch the damn thing. And now there’s an explanation!

According to some horrible source called Rosie O’Donnell (who is also rumored to be a former closet case who overcompensates just a itsy bit), Ellen is FORCED not to talk about gays, gay things, gay stuff, gayness, homosexuality, homosexuals, and any and all pursuant homosexualia on her show in any capacity whatsoever by the producers/network/powers-that-be, who clearly fear she’ll start twirling rainbow pride tassels from her tits and biking around the studio with a Harley strapped to each foot should they let her off her leash. Apparently, they don’t want another big alienating ratings disaster, like her old show.

Of course, Ellen’s repressive peeps have denied every word, and have just lately made Rosie detract her assertions. But liars fry in hell. So. Sad for them.

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Who You Callin’ DYKE?

Here’s What Martin-Zambito Fine Art Has to Say About Falwell’s Death

posted by on May 17 at 11:12 AM

This was posted in the shop’s window this morning:

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Flatland

posted by on May 17 at 10:57 AM

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For the last three weeks, six artists, including Seattle’s Alex Schweder, have been living in a four-story, two-foot deep “vinyl tenement,” as Gothamist called it—a sort of human ant farm based on a 19th-century science fiction novel.

The rooms are barely wider than the artists’s shoulders, the floors connected by slim ladders. They can not pass each other in the hall, but must go around each other, above or below.

The project is called Flatland“Six people, 20 days, an expedition into 2 dimensions”—and is happening at the Sculpture Center in Queens.

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Flatland ends this Sunday, May 20, but by reading the blog you find that at least two of the artists have thrown in the towel and liberated themselves already—and Schweder is planning to leave today. (The two who did leave found themselves with cramps in their feet just from walking in the big, regular world.)

This from Schweder’s last entry on the blog, dated Saturday, May 12:

This space is tight, it is a restraint of one direction. Limits also exist in the amount of space I have, 16 square feet. If I were to take off my skin and stretch it over my floor, I would have some skin left over.

There are other limits that inform how we relate to space based on our instructions for occupation: For twenty days, you can leave anytime you want, but cannot re-enter if you do. This points to another facet of occupation, duration.

… The most difficult thing about this proposition is not the tight space, but the duration that you need to stay in it. I could ask someone to get me a scarf at the back of the closet and it would not be a problem. If I asked you to stay in that closet for a week it would likely be met with hesitation.

… This project is a three week house. To follow Wurm’s example, what would a one minute house look like? What would a five year house look like?

Schweder promises in an email that he’ll talk more about living two feet wide when he gets reacclimated and back to Seattle next week.

Why…

posted by on May 17 at 10:22 AM

is the PI giving American Idol the Pearl Harbor treatment on the front page?

p.s. I ran into a PI reporter on Saturday, and we were standing in front of a PI box (they had a big Blake splash on the cover that day too), and he/she cringed and wondered out loud what the fuck his/her editors were up to.

Freakishly Talented Singer Loses Popularity Contest

posted by on May 17 at 9:37 AM

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Millions of American jaws hit the floor last night as Melinda Doolittle, the most accomplished vocalist ever to compete on American Idol and a total fucking sweetheart to boot, was eliminated, leaving hometown heartthrob Blake Lewis and some girl called Jordin to battle it out for the top spot.

Congratulations to Blake, who I really, really hope clobbers that girl called Jordin next week, and condolences to Melinda, who doesn’t need them, as she’s doomed to have a humongous career, no matter how many toll-free votes she got…

The Morning News

posted by on May 17 at 8:30 AM

Wolfowitz won’t quit: Yet.

John Edwards is worth $30 million: And other findings from presidential candidate financial disclosures.

Twenty six: The actual number of U.S. Attorneys the Justice Department considered firing, according to the Washington Post. (Gonzales, in sworn testimony, said the number was eight).

Nude thumbnails: Google wins the right to post them in search results.

Lee Harvey Oswald not quite as special as thought: A former FBI scientist uses metallurgy to cast doubt on the lone gunman theory.

Getting less white: Washington State.

McKay: Running for office?

New cure for baldness: Head wounds.

Sexy Sexy Republicans

posted by on May 17 at 7:38 AM

This just in from an article in The Hill, one of the insider political rags in DC, about the (non) effect of the Democratic majority on dating:

One female staffer admitted that she wasn’t interested in Democratic guys, even though they are in the majority and she shares the same political views.

I am sooooo not into Dem guys even though I am a Dem,” the aide wrote in an e-mail. “Republican boys are generally more attractive, sharper dressers and throw better parties.”

I drew a similar conclusion about the foxiness of Ds vs. Rs last year while covering the Cantwell/McGavick race.

Required Viewing

posted by on May 17 at 7:22 AM

Christopher Hitchens on Jerry Falwell: “A conscious charlatan, bully and fraud.” It’s worth watching the whole thing…

Via Sullivan.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Brancusi & Newman

posted by on May 16 at 6:20 PM

Something’s been on my mind since SAM opened. (Sorry I’m behind, I was in Chicago last week lavishing love on buildings like this and art like this, this, and a gorgeous little El Greco of Mary and Jesus saying goodbye to each other that I can’t find online.)

It’s just a little thing: the muted Barnett Newman painting at the entry of the special exhibition gallery is lost in that spot. Meanwhile, it would be gorgeous on the wall facing Brancusi’s Bird in Space, where the exhibition text is printed. I wish they could be switched.

But since that probably won’t happen, make sure you stand back and to the side of the Brancusi so you can see its golden, wooden, and white-marble forms lining up with Newman’s raw vertical patches.

(And to the Seattle critic who complained that Bird in Space needs more room around it: buh. Check out Brancusi’s studio outside the Pompidou, or MoMA’s grouping of his works. They’re not meant to stand in a vacuum.)

Money Sells

posted by on May 16 at 4:59 PM

Damien Hirst, according to Bloomberg, may rise into the stratospheric auction-record ranks next month when his For the Love of God—a skull made of platinum and covered in 1,106.18 carats of diamonds—goes on sale for $99 million. (Clever cheater, dealing in jewels to get up there.)

White Cube isn’t handing out any images (it will be damn disappointing if the thing doesn’t exist), so instead I leave you with 99 cent II (2001), the most expensive photograph ever sold at auction ($3.3 million in February at Sotheby’s in London).

It’s German artist Andreas Gursky’s giant diptych of a dollar store.

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What’s Going On At Slate?

posted by on May 16 at 4:20 PM

Today the online mag posted a piece called “The best (and worst) of Seattle’s architecture,” and yikes.

The writer, Witold Rybczynski, profiles all the notable buildings in the city—with nary a mention of the new Seattle Art Museum, which opened downtown less than two weeks ago to national coverage in the press. (Editors didn’t notice the oversight?)

Making matters worse, Rybczynski mistakes Richard Serra for Anthony Caro, twice.

It’s not only that Serra is famous and that Serra and Caro are impossible to mistake for one another, but that Serra’s works are among the most architectural in the history of sculpture—well within the bounds for an architecture critic.

Ouch.

Runte Runs

posted by on May 16 at 4:01 PM

Former mayoral candidate Al Runte’s back—this time, in the race for the open seat on the City Council. (Also in that race: Venus Velazquez, Bruce Harrell, Jim Nobles, and fellow also-ran John Manning.)

In his press release, Runte says he plans to run “an unconventional but winning campaign by speaking out on issues, preservation of our parks and neighborhoods, the needs of middle-class citizens, and public transportation.” (Runte likes parks? Now that’s unconventional!.) You can read his last “unconventional” campaign here. He’s also promising not to “take any developer money.” Although he hasn’t filed any campaign disclosure information with the city, my guess is they’re fine with that.

Questions About UW Security

posted by on May 16 at 3:40 PM

Jonah Spangenthal-Lee has a scary story in the new edition of the paper. It’s about an anxious UW student— with a domestic violence police report in hand—who believes, along with her nervous colleagues, that she’s not getting adequate help from UW security.

Given last month’s horrible tragedy at the UW—proceeded by similar police reports—Jonah’s story is a nerve wracking read.

Today in Line Out

posted by on May 16 at 3:25 PM

Shout at the Devil!: Trent Moorman’s ode to death metal.

Pete Wentz’s (Bad) Poetry: I’m ready for it, c’mon bring it.

Eric Grandy’s Nightmare: Hippies will live forever.

Thanks to Nipper for this moment of greedy but adorable squirrel action.

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The Downtown Condo Gender Gap

posted by on May 16 at 3:22 PM

This is interesting: The rising cost of condos in downtown Seattle is driving single women out of the area, according to the Seattle Times.

Half of downtown condo buyers are couples, a third are single men and the remaining 17 percent are single women, condo marketer Leslie Williams told a forum on downtown living presented this morning by the Downtown Seattle Association.

A decade ago, single men and single women each were about 25 percent of the market, said Williams, president of Williams Marketing.

“Females just can’t afford the prices downtown,” she said. “The biggest issue is affordability.”

Attention Mayor Nickels

posted by on May 16 at 3:17 PM

Why isn’t Seattle involved in this planet-saving program? (And if the answer is that we weren’t asked, why not create a Seattle version?)

One more: Every Child Needs a Mother and Father

posted by on May 16 at 2:49 PM

Yikes!

She waited until he was asleep and then used his hunting knife - a Christmas present she gave him - to stab him in the neck, inside the collar bone. He woke up, realized what happened, said, “You bitch!” then grabbed a metal bar and hit her hard on the leg before he bled out and died, she said.

She told the undercover officers that she informed told Mr. Steadman she was “bringing him a package,” court heard.

She cleaned up the basement, wrapped her husband’s body in a tarp and duct tape and somehow hauled it up the stairs and into the hatchback of her Ford Probe, court was told, adding that at one point their young son witnessed her dragging the body and called, “Daddy! Daddy!” before she took him to his room. She said she drove the body to Alberta where she and Mr. Steadman severed the head and removed the hands before disposing of them in separate places in the mountains of Spray Lakes, Alta.

Brokeback Passions

posted by on May 16 at 2:42 PM

I watch a LOT of TV, and I’ve seen a lot of dirty things slip past the censors… but I have NEVER seen man-on-man anal sex on NBC in DAYTIME. Thank god then for the best soap opera ever, Passions, for finally breaking the anal barrier.

LITERALLY.

I just can’t quit you, Passions! (Oh, yeah… this might be a bit NSFW-ish.)

Ron Paul Rulz!!! Or Not.

posted by on May 16 at 2:26 PM

Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul is really cool, right? He, like, supports impeachment and getting out of the war and stuff. And he’s cool with pot and gay marriage. Dude, he’d make a totally awesome president!

Umm, yeah. He also:

Opposed federal aid to Katrina victims;

Opposed Congressional medals of honor for the people who died on board United Flight 93 on 9/11;

Wants the US to withdraw from the UN and NATO;

Supports outlawing the Department of Education, the CIA, the FDA (!!!), the federal income tax and the Federal Reserve (and bringing back the gold standard);

Opposed efforts to increase penalties for severe workplace safety violations after a deadly refinery explosion;

Once said that he lived in fear of being “bombed by the federal government in another
Waco. ”

Once claimed that 85 percent of black people are criminals (and 95 percent of black DC males)…

…and on and on and on. Don’t be fooled by his “live and let live” positions on social liberal issues. This guy was a nutjob in the Texas House, he’s still a nutjob in the US Congress, and he’ll remain a nutjob during his latest campaign for president.

More on the Amazingly Good and Effervescently Free Musico-Literary Extravaganza Featuring Miranda July Tomorrow Night at Neumo’s

posted by on May 16 at 1:58 PM

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Your questions answered:

It’s free?
Free.

Really? Wow.
Makes you feel a little effervescent, doesn’t it?

Well, but am I going to be able to get in?
Yup. There’s that whole upstairs area. And, unlike at past Stranger musico-literary events, there won’t be a bunch of chairs taking up space.

Who else is on the bill? What’s going to happen?
Isn’t that always the question? As for the bill, the people on it are Sarah Rudinoff, a performer and musician who won a Stranger Genius Award for theater in ‘05 and who (in excellent news) has been writing songs, and is going perform one of them for the first time ever, along with two other songs-written-by-others, one of which is a Jeff Buckley cover (funny, there was one of those at the Zadie Smith musico-literary extravaganza at Neumo’s also in ‘05 [good year!]); Joshua Roman, the 23-year-old principal cellist of the Seattle Symphony, who’s accompanying Rudinoff and is disarmingly nice; Becky Stark, the singer from Lavender Diamond, whose gorgeous first album Imagine Our Love just came out; “Awesome,” the official band of Stranger musico-literary extravaganzas, who were commissioned to write a bunch of original songs (they are wonderful) based on July’s book; and the famous athlete Miranda July. The music sets are all extra short. Then July will go on and read and then get interviewed about her hockey career.

And then what?
A dance party. DJ Fucking in the Streets and DJ Sam Rousso Sound System presiding, with a little more pop thrown in than usual.

Are there any other awesome individuals—like any other Stranger Genius Award-winners—associated with this?
We’re working on it. We’re going to try to project some new stop-motion footage by Web Crowell, who won the Stranger Genius Award for film in ‘04. Parasols are involved.

Wow, that’s a lot of stuff.
We don’t use the word “extravaganza” lightly.

How do you make all this free? Are you laundering money?
Yes. Well, no. We’re laundering books, sort of. The books The Stranger gets sent every day from publishers. We only have room to write about a fraction of them in The Stranger. Most book reviewers hoard the reviewer’s copies they get and sell them to used bookstores—and keep the money. We sell them off and put that money back into the literary community in a new way.

Can I go if I’m under 21?
Sadly, no. But you can watch it all later. We’re taping it and we’ll put it on our website.

When does it start?
Doors are at 7.

Where’s Neumo’s again?
Corner of Pike and 10th on Capitol Hill.

There’s an article about Becky Stark in the new Seattle Weekly, but they don’t mention this event at all, not even in their readings calendar, and this is the only Seattle reading July is giving. Are they just ignoring the event because it’s being put on by The Stranger?
No one knows.

Can I buy a copy of the book at Neumo’s?
Yep. Elliott Bay Book Company, our bookstore sponsor, is going to be there.

I have a question I want you to ask Miranda. Will you ask it?
Sure, or you can ask it during the audience Q&A. If it’s something you can only ask in the cozy bliss of Slog-commenter anonymity, go ahead and put it in the comments and we’ll see what we can do.

Volunteer Park Cafe & Marketplace: Now Better Than Ever!

posted by on May 16 at 1:35 PM

Tonight’s the inauguration of dinner at Volunteer Park Cafe & Marketplace—dinner hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 5 to 9 p.m. Their website has yet to be updated, but here’s the menu after the jump. Salads! Pizza! Meatloaf!

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Continue reading "Volunteer Park Cafe & Marketplace: Now Better Than Ever!" »

Every Child Needs a Mother and Father

posted by on May 16 at 1:28 PM

Since Dan’s out of the office today, I give you: Nineteen-year-old father allegedly microwaves baby:

A Galveston County grand jury will decide today whether to indict an Arkansas man accused of burning his 2-month-old daughter’s face and left hand by putting her in a motel microwave oven.

Joshua Royce Mauldin, 19, faces indictment for felony injury to a child, which carries a maximum sentence of from five to 99 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. Mauldin, who police said claimed he was sent by God to be a preacher in Galveston, remained in the Galveston County Jail today.

Microwaving babies: Not as funny as it sounds!

Get Drunk in Ballard and Belltown! But Screw the U. District, Queen Anne, and Downtown Drunks.

posted by on May 16 at 1:10 PM

Harborview will open its final two taxi stands in Ballard and Belltown this weekend.

They’ve already opened stands in Capitol Hill, Fremont, and Pioneer Square.

It’s a great idea. I’ve got one question, though. The press release (I’ve linked it below) says they opened the stands in the five most popular drinking neighborhoods. However, according to their own data the most popular neighborhoods to go drinking are:

1) Capitol Hill (20%)
2) Fremont (18%)
3) Belltown (16%)
4) Downtown (13%)
5) Pioneer Square (12%)
6) U-District (8%)
7) Queen Anne (2%)

Ballard’s not on the list. Downtown is. The U-District is. Queen Anne is. What of those drunks?

Continue reading "Get Drunk in Ballard and Belltown! But Screw the U. District, Queen Anne, and Downtown Drunks." »

Presidential Potboiler

posted by on May 16 at 12:58 PM

We’ve mentioned this a couple of times in the last two days, but if you haven’t heard the story of the late-night hospital visit, the blaring sirens, and the attempt to get an ailing John Ashcroft to sign off on Bush’s domestic spying program, here’s the video:

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 16 at 12:00 PM

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Zoo

(CONFLICT OF INTEREST) In 2005, Variety reported that Police Beat—a movie directed by Robinson Devor and adapted by Charles Mudede from his column in this paper—had been accepted to Cannes, the world’s most prestigious film festival. That information turned out to be premature and untrue. This year, however, Mudede and Devor’s dreamy documentary Zoo is in. The Frenchies get to contemplate the Enumclaw horse fucker in a couple of weeks Sunday. Your turn is now. (See Movie Times for details.) ANNIE WAGNER

It’s Time For Somebody Somewhere To Do A Story on Sally Clark

posted by on May 16 at 11:43 AM

Best if it’s a really long story. Something you just threw together at the last minute would be fine. Ideally with a photo. She’s such a fascinating figure I just wish someone would get on that as long-windedly and pointlessly as possible. Anyone in the media out there want to step up?

Restaurant Listings: Now with Reader Reviews!

posted by on May 16 at 11:42 AM

Attention food-eaters: It is my great pleasure to announce that the Stranger’s Restaurant Listings are now tricked-out to accept reader reviews.

Why is this so effing great? Because, as the recent Cafe Stellina fracas made clear, diners’s experiences are freakishly subjective, and restaurant offerings are sometimes wildly varied, and having an ever-expanding backlog of real-life reviews will give every diner that much more information about where to eat and what to expect.

So go nuts! Write about places you love! Bitch about places you hate! Enjoy the love-writings and bitchings of your fellow diners!

In the meantime, please enjoy this picture of an anthropomorphic hot dog.

Late Night Special

posted by on May 16 at 9:55 AM

If any of you watched The Daily Show last night, you probably caught a glimpse of a disturbing video featuring several young men alternately dry humping an ottoman, a floor, and a wall. Intrigued, were you? Hot and bothered, were you? Well, I’ve got a treat for you:

But there’s more:

This shit doesn’t need any cute banter from me; the YouTube comments really say it all. One of the solo videos has a comment crying, “[Gay] as hell and he need to take off them dirty ass socks.” I couldn’t agree more. No one’s exactly sure what these dudes do, but clicking around on their MySpace profiles and videos reveals that the group—”Peer Pressure“—is available for parties, where, presumably, they will entertain by putting their backs into it to D-list R&B slow jamz while suspiciously eyeing each other’s movements.

I’ll let you explore, but suffice it to say that one of the member’s favorite musicians is Lil Wayne. Are you dying? HOW ABOUT NOW?

Oh, and ladies—you’re in luck; they’re straight.

The Dangers of Dance

posted by on May 16 at 9:50 AM

First there was the 48-year-old Connecticut man who engaged in a parking-lot dance battle and died.

Now, there’s this:

Ow. (And awesome!)

Balls

posted by on May 16 at 9:47 AM

The morning perusal of Serious Eats brought this golden nugget of food news to my attention:

This past Saturday, over 300 people paid $5 for all-you-can-eat, deep-fried goat, lamb, and bull balls at the ninth annual Testicle Festival at Mama’s Place Bar and Grill in Elderon, Wisconsin. This “nut fry,” as founder Nancy Fenske refers to it, grew from humble beginnings as a birthday party for her husband twelve years ago to a full-on ball eating rager. Now, they’re frying around 100 pounds of the stuff each year.

I’ve not had the pleasure of eating balls, but I’d like to try them. I imagine, if cooked well, they’d be similar to brains and sweetbreads, which are best fried—crispy on the outside, deliciously melty, soft, subtle, and flavorful on the inside. Anyone know a place where a girl can get some good balls in this town?

Talk of the Testicle Festival reminded me of a great post last fall on Michael Ruhlman’s blog about one Vermont woman’s experience preparing testicles. She pan fried them with butter and lime. She also took pictures.

And So the Apologist Bullshit Begins

posted by on May 16 at 9:44 AM

I’ve linked the apologist bullshit below.

It’s a joint press release from Sound Transit and RTID hyping their joint ballot measure.

The local Sierra Club has already blasted this thing for its counterintuitive strategy of making transit expansion dependent on roads expansion. (Can I have a milkshake with that salad? A $7 billion milkshake.)

If there’s one thing Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43) and I agree on (he told me outright at the beginning of last session that he wanted to decouple light rail and RTID) it’s this: a joint ballot measure combining massive roads expansion with light rail is mangled politics rather and smart policy.

If enviro opposition doesn’t kill this thing, neighborhood activists just might.

According to Seattle Sen. Ed Murray (D-43), pro-transit neighbors along the 520 corridor are going to be so upset by RTID’s plans along 520 that their NIMBYism will outweigh their progressive leanings, and an important Seattle bloc—the very voting bloc that road warriors were trying to win over by combining their measure with a transit measure—will vote against the package.

Continue reading "And So the Apologist Bullshit Begins" »

The Whole World’s Laughing

posted by on May 16 at 9:34 AM

A ten month-old baby in Illinois was issued a gun permit—complete with the infant’s picture. The BBC reports…

The licence includes a picture of a toothless Bubba and a squiggle that represents his best attempt at a signature.

In an article in the Chicago Sun-Times, Mr Ludwig, 30, said that he expected the application to be turned down.

Two rejections did in fact come, he said, but both related to technical problems—on one application he forgot to tick a box stating his son was a US citizen—rather than Bubba’s youth.

Deadly Serious Trouble in Wisconsin

posted by on May 16 at 9:06 AM

When a man died in Enumclaw after having sex with a horse—the man was the passive partner and died of a perforated colon, as you may have heard—our state legislators were disturbed to learn that bestiality wasn’t actually illegal in Washington state. It is now. You can murder animals in Washington, you can eat their flesh, you can skin them and wear their hides… but can’t make sweet, sweet love to them. If the animals could talk I think they might object.

Well, state legislators in Wisconsin learned something disturbing about their own state’s legal code yesterday. Three men attempted to dig up the body of a recently deceased young woman. They intended to have sex with the corpse. The men were caught, arrested, and charged with attempted sexual assault. Yesterday the sexual assault charges were dropped.

Three men accused of trying to dig up a young woman’s body to have sex with it had charges of attempted sexual assault dismissed Friday by a judge who noted Wisconsin has no law against necrophilia.

For the moment Wisconsin is a necrophiliac’s paradise.

The Republican Debate

posted by on May 16 at 8:55 AM

The most talked-about moment in last night’s Republican presidential candidate debate? When Fox News Managing Editor Brit Hume asked the candidates how hard they would torture a bunch of suspected terrorists with possible information about an upcoming attack. McCain rambled, Giuliani seemed to endorse water-boarding, and Romney called for a bigger and badder Gitmo. Guess which answer the crowd loved best?

More from The Corner, Sullivan, and Politico, which says the best punch-line of the night came from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who complained:

We’ve had a Congress that’s spent money like John Edwards at a beauty shop.

The Morning News

posted by on May 16 at 8:15 AM

Presidential Potboiler: The story of how Bush intervened to save his secret domestic spying program.

And now, a “War Czar”: Meet Gen. Douglas E. Lute.

The Republican Debate: In which Romney expresses his hope that Gitmo will double in size.

Wolfowitz: The longest goodbye.

Thirty-seven Operations: But no sign of the missing U.S. soldiers.

Faith, Hate, or Teletubbies? The legacy of Jerry Falwell explored.

$163,618: Gov. Gregoire’s new salary.

The condo boom: Still booming.

Just the Headline

posted by on May 16 at 7:37 AM

I know it’s a sad story, but what a headline:

Man Suspected Of Killing Prostitute With A Hoe

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Falwell in Hell

posted by on May 15 at 7:26 PM

Rev. Fred “God Hates Fags” Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church to picket… JERRY FALWELL’S FUNERAL!

WBC will preach at the memorial service of the corpulent false prophet Jerry Falwell, who spent his entire life prophesying lies and false doctrines like “God loves everyone.”

Excuse me, Fred—but what the fuck are you talking about? Did two corpulent Falwell dudes die today? Jerry Falwell taught that God loves everyone? Really? When? I want to see the video.

But come on, what are your reel beefs with Jerry? Let’s see a list, Fred—make the damn/damning case.

There is little doubt that Falwell split Hell wide open the instant he died. The evidence is compelling, overwhelming, and irrefragable. To wit:

1. Falwell was a true Calvinistic Baptist when he was a young preacher in Springfield, Missouri, and sold his soul to Free-Willism (Arminianism) for lucre.

2. Falwell bitterly and viciously attacked WBC because of WBC’s faithful Bible preaching—thereby committing the unpardonable sin—otherwise known as the sin against the Holy Ghost.

3. Falwell warmly praised Christ-rejecting Jews, pedophile-condoning Catholics, money-grubbing compromisers, practicing fags like Mel White, and backsliders like Billy Graham and Robert Schuler, etc. All for lucre—making him guilty of their sins.

Falwell is in Hell, Praise God!!

Holy crap… Falwell, Phelps, Falwell, Phelps… whose side do you take in this fight? And I had no idea that Falwell was wrapped up in Free-Willism. You think you know a guy, huh? You get a good hate going and then you find out he had a soft spot for killer whales. Sure makes you think.

Today on Line Out.

posted by on May 15 at 4:07 PM

Montage à Trent 10,000 Miles With Trent Moorman in 4:30 Minutes.

Healing Haircuts At This Benefit For Eric Lashes.

Ono You Didn’t Ari Spool Feels Yoko’s Magic The Only Way She Can.

Free Booze At New York’s Benefit for Eric Lashes .

So-So Soulive’s Mediocritized Jazz.

And now, the wise old tamarin monkey:

twycross_babies_tamarin_emp_351x470.jpg

How Crooked Is Your Arrow?

posted by on May 15 at 3:46 PM

On a day like today, with the sun glittering gloriously and Jerry Falwell dead, dead, DEAD (hooray!), it seems almost vulgar to bring up Whitney Houston. But I must. It’s simply the card I drew. It’s my dharma or whatever. Forgive me:

As you might have noticed (or probably not), the Houston Team has been scrambling hard to undo years of hard damage to the former Mrs. Brown’s reputation, liver, and complexion (she’s often been compared unfavorably to beef jerky—by ME) by ignoring the fact that they ever happened. The strategy would work perfectly, baring one flaw: Whitney is still a psychopathic whore. According to some very sourcey sources, Whitney was caught partying her purple pants off at some big celebrity shindig, and her poor, overworked peeps were forced to issue a terrible lie:

“Whitney is “straight as an arrow”, according to her record label, refuting reports yesterday that she seemed to be in an altered state in the Bahamas last weekend.”

Of course, liars burn in hell. In response to the totally true allegations, Miss Houston herself fell back on an old chestnut:

And no, I probably didn’t crib that shit from Talk Soup. (Don’t you love that guy? The adorable host? Even though he’s going bald, bald, BALD? He’s from around here, you know. Reowr!) And, if you can believe it, I’m still getting these…

Hi Adrian, I realize everyone and their mother has seen Dave Matthews around town at some point since he moved here, but I just ran into him at the Seattle Center Fun Forest, with his 5-year old twin daughters Stella and Grace. Nobody seemed to notice him, but then again, the place was empty. (Maybe the only time he’d dare go there?) They just walked around, watching and laughing at the people on the rides. He looked both happy and tired! I have pictures, but I don’t think you can print them without a release? Anyway, thought you should know!

Tim

Well Tim, my mother has never seen Dave Matthews. My mother wouldn’t know Dave Matthews if he were dancing on the head of her Q-tip. Just so you know. Thanks for writing, though.

Lastly, in something that has been plaguing my mind for ages…

SNL’s Andy Samberg and The Stranger’s Eric GrandySecretly the same person?

bios_andy1.jpgEric.jpg

No. Eric is funny and has bangin’ hair. That is all.

Everything Gives You Cancer

posted by on May 15 at 3:27 PM

My new column is up on the Stranger’s website. I address the news that having oral sex with more than five partners increases a person’s odds of developing throat cancer by 250%.

If you and your girlfriend have had more than five oral-sex partners in your lives, PBA, you are both 250 percent more likely to develop throat cancer than some sad asshole who’s never had oral sex.

“Researchers believe,” reports New Scientist, “[that] oral sex may transmit human papillomavirus (HPV), the virus implicated in the majority of cervical cancers,” and the virus lodges in the throat, where it can cause cancer. Study subjects infected with HPV were 32 times more likely to develop throat cancer; folks who tested positive for one highly aggressive strain of the virus, HPV-16, were 58 times more likely to develop throat cancer. Smoking, previously believed to be the culprit behind most throat cancers, only triples a person’s risk. (A new slogan for the tobacco industry: “Smoke cigs, not pole.”)

A “Savage Love” reader crunched the numbers and sent this comforting email…

While there were many interesting ideas and findings in the recent Oral Sex/Cervical Cancer study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, one of the claims made by some is entirely out of proportion to reality. Some have claimed that the increase in risk due to throat cancer from oral sex in individuals is remarkably higher than those who do not engage in oral sex. Looking at the numbers, however, shows that this is simply not the case.

Tonsil and throat cancers affect about two in every 100,000 adults in the US, according to the New England Journal of Medicine (vol. 356, p. 1944), by way of New Scientist, “while [p]eople who have had more than five oral-sex partners in their lifetime are 250% more likely to have throat cancer than those who do not have oral sex.”

Or, in other words, from 2 in 100,000 (1:50,000) (the norm) to 5 in 100,000 (1:20,000; as 250% more than 2:100,000 is 5:100,000). While this might seem like a substantial increase, keep the following information in mind: the ACTUAL percentage (not the relative percentage) is .002% in the normal case, and .005% in the other, the difference being .003 percentage points. In other words, if a man or woman has had more than five (5) oral-sex partners, then he/she is only 3 thousandths of a percent more likely to get throat cancer than someone else who abstains from oral sex.

While the data involving oral cancer from HPV is interesting and demands more study, this does not radically affect the average person who engages in oral sex. No one should be put off from oral sex due to these numbers, as cunnilingus and fellatio do NOT significantly increase one’s risk of throat cancer.

Rock-Hard Numbers

Who Cares What John McCain Says? Wev with John McCain. Dude’s a Loser.

posted by on May 15 at 2:52 PM

Giuliani’s move to the center is brilliant, and he will be the GOP nominee because of it (not in spite of it.)

It will be Obama vs. Giuliani in a battle for America’s (sick of the extremist Bush years) centrist soul.

Time mag will say of Giuliani: “Bringing the GOP Back Home.” Time mag will say of Obama “Restoring Democratic Faith” And it will be a brawl.

Although, I’m still for HRC as the “Burn on Everybody” candidate. That is: Burn on self-hating liberals and hater GOPers alike.

Necropandering

posted by on May 15 at 2:24 PM

John McCain has released this statement about Jerry Falwell…

“I join the students, faculty, and staff of Liberty University and Americans of all faiths in mourning the loss of Reverend Jerry Falwell. Dr. Falwell was a man of distinguished accomplishment who devoted his life to serving his faith and country. Our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Falwell’s family at this difficult time.”

It’s kind of sick that John McCain still has his tongue wedged up Jerry Falwall’s ass—I mean, now that the man is dead and everything.

Shutterbugs!

posted by on May 15 at 2:13 PM

From the show that makes me wish I had cable, MTV’s Human Giant.

Attention Geico Caveman Fetishists

posted by on May 15 at 2:08 PM

caveman_1.jpg

The Geico cavemen have been given their own sitcom. Reuters reports:

[ABC has] picked up a comedy called “Cavemen,” adapted from the Geico commercials as an offbeat commentary on ethnic prejudice from the perspective of three prehistoric guys trying to make their way in the modern world.

I don’t know what to say. Can the Mucinex Phlegm Family Variety Hour be far behind?

No Comment

posted by on May 15 at 1:51 PM

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A Critically Ill Attorney General, a Late-Night Showdown in a Dark Hospital Room…

posted by on May 15 at 1:02 PM

The Grilling of Gonzales is bringing out some dramatic stories. From NYT:

On the night of March 10, 2004, a high-ranking Justice Department official rushed to a Washington hospital to prevent two White House aides from taking advantage of the critically ill Attorney General, John Ashcroft, the official testified today. One of those aides was Alberto R. Gonzales, who was then White House counsel and eventually succeeded Mr. Ashcroft as Attorney General.

Those aides wanted Ashcroft, who was “barely aware of his surroundings,” to sign a renewal of a then-secret domestic surveillance program which he had opposed when he was well. The rushing “high-ranking Justice Department official” was James B. Comey, who had been appointed acting Attorney General while Ashcroft was in the hospital.

Comey said Gonzales and the other goon, Andrew H. Card, were in the darkened hospital room, trying to talk Ashcroft into signing the renewal…

“And Attorney General Ashcroft then stunned me,” Mr. Comey went on: He raised his head from the pillow, reiterated his objections to the program, then lay back down, pointing to Mr. Comey as the attorney general during his illness… Mr. Ashcroft had such serious reservations about the program that he considered resigning then, Mr. Comey testified. Instead, he stayed on until November 2004.

Cloak and motherfucking dagger.

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on May 15 at 12:12 PM

On the passing of Jerry Falwell…

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May 15, 2007

Dear Prayer Warrior,

Our prayers go out to the family and the ministries of Pastor Jerry Falwell, a stalwart in the faith, who passed into the presence of his Lord. Pray that God would be glorified in his death, as much as He was in his life.

Pastor Hutch

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 15 at 12:00 PM

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Salon of Shame

(PUBLIC CATHARSIS) After a legendary run at the Rendezvous, the Salon of Shame—the reading series featuring pros, amateurs, and diarists revisiting the most humiliating writing of their lives—moves to the Capitol Hill Arts Center. The last Salon I caught knocked me out with palpable pathos, deep hilarity, and the inimitable cadence of junior-high journal entries. These things sell out, advance tickets recommended. (Capitol Hill Arts Center, 1621 12th Ave, www.brownpapertickets.com. 7:30 pm, $6 adv/$7 DOS, 21+.) DAVID SCHMADER

What He Said

posted by on May 15 at 11:51 AM

Gas prices hit record highs! Hooray! Let’s celebrate by raising the gas tax!

But don’t listen to me (I am, after all, one of those smug non-car owners). Listen to the guy who drives a beater and lives way down in South Seattle:

No doubt the tripling of gas prices over the past six years has been a hardship for working and middle class Americans, costing many families thousands of dollars a year. But to do nothing is to tacitly approve a course of action that would surely lead American consumers from bad to worse. Between global warming, Middle East security concerns and approaching peak oil, the price of energy is going nowhere but up.

So I’d like to one up the P-I editorial board and suggest that we cannot wait for Congress and the President to act unpopularly, if responsibly. We need to dramatically increase gasoline taxes in Washington state, while amending our state Constitution to permit gasoline tax revenues to be spent on mass transit and alternative energy research and development.

A massive investment in rail and other mass transit infrastructure is the fastest way to get Washington drivers out of their cars and away from the pumps. Meanwhile, given the focus and the money, there is an opportunity for the region to take the lead in the development and manufacturing of the alternative energy technologies of the future, assuring another generation of high tech jobs in the region to accompany those in the aerospace and software industries.

Falwell Obits

posted by on May 15 at 11:44 AM

Jerry Falwell’s death at 73 (confession: My first, karma-destroying response was to cheer. Sorry, God!) has prompted a swift reaction from the blogs.

Grist: Falwell was “a paranoid, avaricious, hate-spewing enabler of America’s basest lizard-brain impulses.”

Dispatches from the Culture Wars: “A shameless liar, a demagogue and a driving force for a variety of anti-liberty causes.”

Sadly, No!: “God Kills Falwell.”

Feministe: “Hope he’s wearing asbestos underwear.”

Shakespeare’s Sister: “If there is a god, may s/he show Mr. Falwell precisely as much compassion as he showed others during his lifetime.”

Gawker: “We guess if you say enough ignorant, intolerant shit over enough time, God finally does call you home.”

Pandagon: “The gates of hell swing open and Satan welcomes home his beloved son.”

The Carpetbagger Report, meanwhile, has a comprehensive timeline of Falwell’s life and work, including a statement in 1999 that the Antichrist prophesied in the Bible is alive today and “of course he’ll be Jewish.”

What She Said…

posted by on May 15 at 11:25 AM

Over at Wonkette

At a time like this, people deserve sympathy and good wishes … except for Falwell, who is an evil sonofabitch. Over his long career as a vile televangelist building an empire of bigotry from the donations of poor people, Falwell has supported South African apartheid, called AIDS an invention of Jesus to punish gays, attacked Martin Luther King and U.S. civil rights, and blamed 9/11 on feminists and homosexuals.

Reached in Heaven, the Lord God said he was “looking forward to speaking to Jerry,” and that God’s loyal lieutenant Satan Von Lucifer would “go Abu Ghraib on his fat ass for the next 10 million years.”

(Yes, I know Wonkette is now written by hes.)

Overheard at Victrola

posted by on May 15 at 11:02 AM

Our youthful editor, Dan Savage, saying: “You know, on MyFace or SpaceBook or whatever…”

The Trainshed

posted by on May 15 at 10:55 AM

St, Pancras, London was competed in 1877.

IMG_0431resized.jpg

How monstrous it is, and how it must have shocked the inhabitants of that century into a new and higher awareness. When you arrived here, you knew you had left forever another kind of mind. There was no going back. The origin of the mind that our age has been leaving since around 1969, is within the iron frame and glass skin of this super shed. Here is our cradle, our cave.

Never Forget: Jerry Falwell on 9/11

posted by on May 15 at 10:50 AM

We’re sure to be treated to a week’s worth of blather describing Falwell as a “devout man of God,” and those of us he devoted his life to attacking, marginalizing and belittling will be called ungracious if we object, in any way, to the bouquets the media is going to toss at Falwell’s casket over the next few days.

So here’s a taste of who Falwell really was. Being interviewed by Pat Robertson after 9/11, Falwell said we had it coming, that we deserved it. And instead of blaming the attacks on the perpetrators—religious nuts like Falwell—he pointed a fat, greasy finger at secularists, gays and lesbians, and the ACLU.

JERRY FALWELL: I fear, as Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense said yesterday, that this is only the beginning. And with biological warfare available to these monsters; the Husseins, the Bin Ladens, the Arafats, what we saw on Tuesday, as terrible as it is, could be miniscule if, in fact, if in fact God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.

PAT ROBERTSON: Jerry, that’s my feeling. I think we’ve just seen the antechamber to terror. We haven’t even begun to see what they can do to the major population.

JERRY FALWELL: The ACLU’s got to take a lot of blame for this.

PAT ROBERTSON: Well, yes.

JERRY FALWELL: And, I know that I’ll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen’.

PAT ROBERTSON: Well, I totally concur….

John Avarosis has a long list of choice Falwell quotes up on Americablog.

The man was a raving bigot—God doesn’t hear the prayers of Jews, Jerry Falwell supported apartheid, AIDS was God’s wrath—but now that he’s dead we’re going to be bullied into pretending he was a simple man of God. (If an obscenely wealthy one.) We’ll be told that Falwell did only what he believed his faith required of him. But if man’s faith requires bigotry and hatred of him? Either there is something wrong with the man or something wrong with his faith. We have a right to question both Falwell’s faith and Falwell’s character in the wake of his untimely death.

Jerry Falwell

posted by on May 15 at 10:38 AM

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Dead.

Jerry Falwell—founder of the Moral Majority and the face of the religious right in the 1980s—died Tuesday after being found unconscious in his office, a Liberty University executive said.

Ron Godwin, Liberty’s executive vice president, said Falwell, 73, had been found unresponsive around 10:45 a.m. and was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital. Godwin said he was not sure what caused the collapse, but noted that Falwell “has a history of heart challenges.”

Yeah, heart challenges—like not having one.

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Down he goes.

Falwell Falls Ill

posted by on May 15 at 10:05 AM

The Rev. Jerry Falwell was hospitalized in “gravely serious” condition Tuesday after being found unconscious in his office Tuesday, a Liberty University executive said. Ron Godwin, executive vice president of Falwell’s university, said Falwell was found unconscious after missing an appointment Tuesday morning.

Falwell, a television evangelist who founded the Moral Majority, became the face of the religious right in the 1980s. He later became president of the conservative Liberty University. Falwell was hospitalized twice in early 2005 for heart and lung problems.

Dear Bionic Woman: I Have Some Good News… and Some Bad News

posted by on May 15 at 9:52 AM

TV nuts and sci-fi geeks are undoubtedly psyched about the resurrection of The Bionic Woman, the classic ’70s show that’s being revamped for a Fall slot on NBC. The new version is being put together by David Eick (Battlestar Galactica), who should provide a dark, sinister edge… or it could be unintentionally heee-larious as the following clip suggests! (Work on that bed-side manner, doc!)

Kiki & Herb: Now Tony-Nominated!

posted by on May 15 at 9:35 AM

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This morning, po-mo cabaret geniuses Kiki & Herb added another honor to their roster, becoming the first Wu-Tang-interpreting half-drag act to earn a Tony nomination.

Congratulations to the peerless K&H, who only have to beat a soul-searching ventriloquist to claim their Tony for Best Special Theatrical Event. Tune in to the CBS awards broadcast on June 10 to see how it all shakes out.

(Congratulations as well to Duncan Sheik, who’s “barely breathing” under an avalanche of nominations for his Spring Awakening, and to Christine Ebersole, who should easily claim Best Actress in a Musical for her amazing double-turn in Grey Gardens. Full list of nominees here.)

Sex Survey

posted by on May 15 at 8:43 AM

The UBC Sex Research Team at the University of British Columbia needs YOU—if you’re male and are willing to spend about 45 minutes taking this online sex survey. The UBC Sex Research Team is looking into “sexual arousal regulation and its role in problematic sexual behaviors,” which sounds like the story of my sex life. There are three aspects to his study, the online component being just one. And here’s the download on the online part…

The online questionnaire has several parts which ask about sexual behaviours, attitudes, thoughts, desire and activity. Warning: it is personal and takes about 45 minutes to fill out. It’s also completely anonymous. Once you complete the questionnaire, you’ll get to see how you stack up against the averages. For comparison, your scores will be displayed along with scores from previous research and the current averages for this study.

The UBC Sex Research Team apologizes for the fact that the questionnaire is pretty heterocentric—but they have to use standardized questionnaires, most of which were written in the 1970s and 1980s. But anybody can take part—gay or straight—although you do have to be 18 or older.

You can go directly to the questionnaire by clicking here.

NSFW image sent to after-the-jump ghetto.

Continue reading "Sex Survey" »

The Surge

posted by on May 15 at 7:41 AM

How’s that surge working out?

Insurgent death squads dumped 234 bodies around Baghdad in the first 11 days of May, a 70.8 percent increase from the 137 bodies dumped around the capital during the first 11 days of April, The Observer of London reported Sunday.

Sure, a 70% increase in death squad activity sounds bad—if you’re a defeatist/coward/traitor:

Speaking before the release of the new statistics, a Pentagon spokesman in Baghdad downplayed the increase of violence. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell told reporters in Baghdad that there had been a “very slight uptick” in the number of “murders and executions” in Baghdad.

“It’s been very minimal,” Caldwell said, according to a transcript of the May 9 briefing. “I mean, it’s not been anything significant… And we’re looking at that very closely, and obviously we’re very concerned about it, too.”

So there you have it. For those keeping score at home: 70% increase = “very minimal.” As you were…

History’s on Our Side

posted by on May 15 at 7:41 AM

I re-read one of my favorite books this weekend, The Birth of the Republic, 1763-89, a 1956 standard by brainiac U.S. historian Edmund S. Morgan.

There’s a lull in the third-to-last chapter—between the end of the war and the Constitutional Convention. But then it’s a page-turner until the very last paragraph. And what a paragraph! Check this, the last three sentences:

The Constitution was a bulwark to protect what they had gained, but it was also a base from which to continue the exploration. The bulwark still stands, and in spite of halts and pauses along the way the exploration still goes on. As long as any man remains less free than another, it cannot hardly cease.

The Morning News

posted by on May 15 at 7:00 AM

Getting closer: Iran is enriching more uranium. But for what?

Getting testier: Ahmadinejad warns of a “severe” response if the U.S. attacks.

The missing soldiers: Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia says to stop looking.

Last days: The report is in on Wolfowitz: “self interest over institutional best interest.”

And then there was one: The No. 2 at the Justice Department resigns.

Can a person run in the Olympics with no feet? A South African forces the question.

“Something must happen”: If not, $8 billion and the entire discipline of physics goes down the drain.

!@##$)&%#)(!%@!!: Seattle fails to make the list of top road rage cities.


Monday, May 14, 2007

LaMagna Running for Pres

posted by on May 14 at 4:52 PM

Postman’s got details on anti-war activist Dal LaMagna’s plans to run for President on an anti-war ticket.

A La Carte Domination Studio?

posted by on May 14 at 4:25 PM

A friend spotted this in a storefront window in Chicago…

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Paying by the individual lash? Man, that could add up quick.

Today on Line Out.

posted by on May 14 at 3:45 PM

Whoa, Here She Comes: Hall & Oates To Play Seattle.

Your Music Scene is for Pussies: Once Again, Hall & Motherfuckin’ Oates.

It Is a Gay Show: Ari Spool Misses the Gossip.

Vice “DO”s: DJ M’Château and Truckasauras.

Let It Flow: Megan Seling, an Old Man at a Bus Stop, and the Lovin’ Spoonful.

Mustaches Wild: Yet More Hall & Oates.

The Once and Future King: The Return of Arthur Magazine.

Amazing Disgrace: Megan Seling Still Loves You, Jon Auer.

Totally Gross: And Possibly Rape-y Tour Stories

And now, the adorable Truckasauras:

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“They saw the Hump! 3 ad and completely freaked out.”

posted by on May 14 at 3:29 PM

That’s Clint Berquist, director of STIFF, the Seattle True Independent Film Festival, talking about Portland’s Wright Business Graphics, which was supposed to print STIFF’s programs, but refused at the last minute because of some content, including a Hump! ad.

That’s $2,000 worth of prudishness—WBG’s freakout is forcing the little film festival to find another printer to do an expensive rush job.

Clint delivered the program proofs to a printer-broker (a Seattle middleman) last Monday, expecting to pick up his programs today. But on Thursday, he got the bad news. “Apparently, they took issue with the back cover,” he said.

(This, an Ouch My Eye ad, which is a little weird-looking but probably doesn’t even earn NSFW status.)

“Then they looked inside and they saw the Hump! 3 ad and completely freaked out.”

So Clint had to find a new printer to do a rush job. Wright Business Graphics was going to charge $3,000. But, at the eleventh hour, all the other printers said STIFF would have to pay $5,000. (STIFF’s annual budget is around $35,000.)

“It was kind of a Jimmy Stewart moment,” Clint said. “I went to the other people at the festival and said, ‘I just don’t have the money.’ Then one person said ‘I’ve got a thousand dollars’ and another said ‘I’ve got five hundred’ and it went from there.”

Why didn’t Clint just take out the offending ads?

“It never even crossed our minds—the same way it’s a moral issue for them, it’s a moral issue for us. Ouch My Eye and you guys have been very supportive and I think Hump! is one of the coolest things going.”

“Still,” Clint said, “it sucks. We were planning on doing a lot more promotion with that money.”

UPDATE: It’s not Right Business Graphics, as Clint originally wrote in his email—it’s Wright Business Graphics. I’ve left them a message and am waiting for their reply. Their contact info is here.

Hungry for Film Noir?

posted by on May 14 at 3:24 PM

Over at SIFFblog, they’re wondering what’s up with the rumored Noir City mini-festival at SIFF Cinema.

As it happens I got an email from programmer Anita Monga with the final lineup last week. Here’s what’s playing at Seattle’s first Noir City (all double features priced at $10, many with an intro by Eddie Muller), running July 6-12 at SIFF Cinema:

July 6: Thieves’ Highway w/ Deadline at Dawn

July 7: Pitfall w/ Woman on the Run

July 8: Desert Fury w/ Leave Her to Heaven

July 9: 99 River Street w/ Framed

July 10: I Love Trouble w/ Pushover

July 11: The Spiritualist (AKA The Amazing Mr. X) w/ Nightmare Alley

July 12: Scarlet Street w/ Wicked Woman

Earlier, Monga had promised Jeopardy, which fell through, but it looks like a great lineup, with a healthy dose of shady Bs.

Newsweek on Transgenderism

posted by on May 14 at 3:18 PM

Newsweek has a long-overdue cover story on transgenderism that gets it—almost—exactly right.

Today’s transgender Americans go far beyond the old stereotypes (think “Rocky Horror Picture Show”). They are soccer moms, ministers, teachers, politicians, even young children. Their push for tolerance and acceptance is reshaping businesses, sports, schools and families. It’s also raising new questions about just what makes us male or female.

What is gender anyway? It is certainly more than the physical details of what’s between our legs. History and science suggest that gender is more subtle and more complicated than anatomy. (It’s separate from sexual orientation, too, which determines which sex we’re attracted to.) Gender helps us organize the world into two boxes, his and hers, and gives us a way of quickly sizing up every person we see on the street.

Exactly. So why “almost” right? Because Newsweek had to go and ruin its sensitive, nuanced portrayal of transpeople by throwing in hackneyed gender stereotypes and treating them as biological facts (I wear pearls and pantyhose because being a girl requires it), not culturally acquired social adaptations.


Jona Rose, a 6-year-old kindergartner in northern California, seems like a girl in nearly every way—she wears dresses, loves pink and purple, and bestowed female names on all her stuffed animals. But Jona, who was born Jonah, also has a penis. When she was 4, her mom, Pam, offered to buy Jona a dress, and she was so excited she nearly hyperventilated.

Note: I’m not denying all gender differences between men and women. However: Wearing dresses, favorite colors, “femininity”—all are cultural signifiers, not biologically determined truths. Just because a transgirl likes “feminine” things, that doesn’t mean she isn’t responding to social cues the same way a “normal” girl would. It’s sad that Newsweek felt compelled to frame gender identity in the context of behaviors that are entirely cultural, not biological, in nature.

Also worth checking out is the slide show of 14 transgender Americans. (Link doesn’t work, but it’s at the top of the screen). One thing that’s always fascinated me is how many transwomen adopt a hyperfeminine aesthetic (lots of makeup, super-low-cut blouses) rather than, say, a sporty or “butch” look. Is it a celebration of being able to “pass” as a woman? Pride in their new bodies? Something else?

Letter of the Day

posted by on May 14 at 2:54 PM

TAXICAB SURVIVAL TIPS

EDITOR: As an ex-cabbie, I found “The (Less Than) Amazing Race” an entertaining, if not nostalgic, read. To passengers, especially locals, it may seem like a simple task to drive along one’s usual rut from point A to Point B. But Seattle’s geography, along with its sometimes perplexing traffic engineering, make this city a challenging place to drive, especially when you are expected to figure out the best route between any two points that chance throws at you.

To reduce the chance of getting the cab ride from hell, I suggest using the following formats:

(1) When calling a dispatcher, state the exact address you are at, followed by the exact address or name of your destination. Understand that a vacant cab might be just around the corner, or things might be very busy and take longer. There’s no way around this. The alternative is having too many drivers (all starving) waiting for your beck and call. It’s sometimes next to impossible for the dispatcher to really know how long it will take to get a cab to you.

(2) When getting in the cab (whether you called or hailed it), FIRST state the general area you’re headed (“We’re going to Ballard”), then state the exact street address. If you know the route you would like to take, state that LAST (“We’d like to go up 15th through Interbay”). Very rarely you will encounter an immature driver who doesn’t like to be told what route to take; get out. Most drivers oblige, and may even appreciate the help.

Finally, if the Stranger REALLY wants to compare cab companies, do it during a weekday afternoon. And go against the glaciers; Wedgewood to Crown Hill, Magnolia to Madison Park, Seward Park to the Fauntleroy ferry dock. East-West travel in this city is generally trickier than north-south. That ought to overrun your weekly feature budget pretty well.

Blair Johnson
Farwest, North End & Yellow, 1980-1987

Re: When Is Rape Not Rape?

posted by on May 14 at 2:15 PM

As Dan noted below, the Massachusetts Supreme Court recently ruled that “consent” obtained through deceit does not count as rape—putting would-be rapists everywhere on notice that as long as they drug or otherwise trick her into fucking them, they’ll get off scot-free.

Also fucked up is the photo ABC News chose to illustrate this horror story:

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Yikes.

When Is Rape Not Rape?

posted by on May 14 at 1:42 PM

When consent is obtained through the use of fraud—so says Massachusetts’ supreme court.

A Hampden County man who allegedly tricked his brother’s girlfriend into having sex with him by impersonating his sibling in the middle of the night cannot be convicted of rape, the state’s highest court ruled yesterday in a controversial decision that affirms the court’s long-held view that sex obtained through fraud is no crime.

The Supreme Judicial Court unanimously ruled that a judge should have dismissed the rape charge against Alvin Suliveres , 44, of Westfield, because Massachusetts law has for centuries defined rape as sexual intercourse by force and against one’s will, and that it is not rape when consent is obtained through fraud.

Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court is the same court that legalized same-sex marriage in that state. So they’re not all bad. But… man.

Killer Tiger

posted by on May 14 at 1:29 PM

Authorities have killed a tiger that mortally wounded a B.C. woman in front of her children.

Tanya Dumstrey-Soos died Thursday night when a Siberian tiger at her fiance’s private zoo clawed first at her dress, then her legs.

The animal hit an artery and Dumstrey-Soos died from the wound.


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No sensible satisfaction can come out of killing an animal as punishment for killing a human. It is a misfortune that must be left as such, as a misfortune.


Grandma Goes to Prom

posted by on May 14 at 1:22 PM

Today on Crosscut:

An Adult Goes to Prom: The dresses, the dances — it’s all pretty shocking

…after seeing the dance floor, I fully understood the need for short dresses. The preferred dance style is with the young fellow standing behind the young lady, who has her back turned to him. The young lady backs up until her backside is in contact with the young fellow’s frontside, and then she gyrates while the young fellow steps from side to side and bobs his head…. It was a little unnerving to see beautifully clad and fresh-faced young adults taking part in what were essentially lap dances.

Perhaps the new dirty dance style is understandable. Over the years, women (young and old) have gotten tired of hearing men tell them they don’t want to dance. So maybe one day a young woman said to her boyfriend, “OK, fine. You don’t have to dance. Just stand there while I rub up against you to the beat of the music.” This was really what the young man had wanted all along, so he agreed.

Six and a half years ago in the Washington Post :

Blue and red light beams blend, spreading hazy purple air. As the hip-hop pounds, the hips intermix; they’re 14-, 15-, 16-year-old hips. They’re boys’ hips, girls’ hips, front to front, back to front. It’s twos, it’s threes; standing up, bending over.

It looks like sex, but it’s dancing. It’s called freak dancing, and teenagers of all types are freaking at middle and high school events across the country. And though pairs of grinding pelvises filled the floor at a Valentine’s Day dance at a suburban Washington public high school, it might well have been the tamest freaking on record: The kids stayed dressed and on their feet.

The Rise of the High-Tech Preemptive Media Strike

posted by on May 14 at 1:20 PM

I’m fascinated by this new public relations strategy, in which the subject of a potentially negative investigative story uses technology to try to torpedo the story-in-progress (and, in doing so, tries to get his or her own version of things out to the public first).

We saw an example of this here in Seattle earlier this year, when one of the people behind Real Change used his blog to launch a preemptive strike against a Seattle Weekly story-in-progress.

Today finds Scientologists using the same kind of techno-guerrilla tactics against the BBC.

Faced with potentially negative press from an upcoming BBC documentary, Scientologists filmed the people filming the documentary, created their own “counter-documentary,” distributed it widely on burned DVDs, and have now released a YouTube video showing a BBC documentary reporter losing his cool and berating the shadow-documentarians.

The BBC, in response, has posted its own not-quite-as-compelling YouTube video of a Scientologist losing his cool (sorry, embedding disabled). More here.

Biking to Safeco Field

posted by on May 14 at 1:19 PM

I didn’t ride my bike to Safeco Field to watch the Mariners beat the Yankees last Friday night because I’m a smug piece of bike riding shit. I ride a bike when and where I can because, gee, I actually prefer riding my bike. I enjoy biking around. Not only is being on a bike in the city in the spring a hell of a lot more pleasant than being in a car, riding to Safeco Field on a Friday night at 6 PM is a hell of a lot faster than driving.

So this post isn’t about me wanting to have my virtue rewarded or recognized; nor am I hypocritically drawing attention to my carbon-neutral trip down to carbon-crazed Safeco Field. But I have to say…

Wouldn’t it would be better for everyone if more people rode their bikes—people who can, people that live close enough—to Safeco Field to watch the Mariners play? And not just better for the planet but better also for people who choose to drive to Safeco Field? More people riding bikes to the game means less competition for those $20 parking spots, less congestion before the game, less of a traffic jam after the game. (I know drivers have a hard time with this concept—bikers make a city a better place to drive!—because my boyfriend, a driver, is incapable of recognizing it.)

So it seems strange that our city—which is widely rumored to have a bright green mayor—hasn’t placed bike racks all around Safeco Field. There’s one lonely rack in the parking lot across the street on the South side of the stadium and that’s it. Depending on where your seats are located, locking up in that rack may mean a six block walk to your seats.

There ought to be bike racks near every entrance. Racks that would allow folks who ride their bikes down to Safeco to lock up near the entrance closest to their seats. Racks that would, by their presence, serve as constant visual reminders, letting people know they can ride to their bikes down to the game.

But the city believes that a half a dozen bike racks around Safeco Field would impede foot traffic. Maybe they would. But that seems like a small price to pay to get more people to ride to Safeco. And it’s not as if people on bikes aren’t already locking their bikes up near the entrances closest to their seats anyway. They’re locking their bikes to trees…

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…to garbage cans…

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…and to expensive, olde-timey light posts.

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The five bikes above were all locked up on the North side of the Safeco Field—all by one entrance, all within twenty feet of each other. Spread out along the sidewalk, these five bikes—one of ‘em is mine—were a greater impediment to foot traffic than they would have been if they were gathered up in one bike rack.

Wingnut Look-Alikes

posted by on May 14 at 1:19 PM

Via Sadly, No!

Unhinged author, internment camps advocate, inspiration to domestic terrorists, and all-around loathesome human being Michelle Malkin = Bat Boy

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and:

Ann Coulter, Ilsa the s/he-wolf of the GOP = Ric Ocasek of 80s pop rock band The Cars

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Gazillions more here.

Local Sierra Club Strikes Again

posted by on May 14 at 12:41 PM

Our uppity local Sierra Club chapter is at it again. They’ve sent their second letter to the Regional Transportation Investment District (RTID) Board in just over a month, demanding that RTID re-prioritize its project list—scaling back roads expansion projects like the Cross-Base Highway expansion, 509 extension, and four lanes on 405—and get busy on 520 safety fixes, 405 “braiding” (connecting to 520), and focusing on HOV improvements instead.

RTID’s $7 billion roads package is linked to Sound Transit’s $9 billion light rail expansion. The loss of environmental support for the package could undermine light rail expansion this November.

From today’s Sierra Club press release:

“There’s still time for our public officials to ramp down the exuberant funding on highway spending in the draft package,” said Mike O’Brien, the Cascade Chapter Chair. “As gas prices soar, it is wrong to lock us into a highway-building program that doesn’t help our region’s mobility. We cannot sacrifice Sound Transit by weighting it down with an overreaching, fiscally irresponsible highway spending bill that digs the global warming hole deeper.”

The reprioritization of the projects has the added benefit of slimming down the package – the most essential pieces can be done with about half the amount of money asked for by the RTID. Its board can eliminate the regressive sales tax for roads and slice the motor vehicle excise tax to 0.5%.

“The most efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars is to make the current infrastructure work better,” said Tim Gould, Cascade Chapter Transportation Chair. “We can’t build our way out of global warming or bad traffic. With a combination of strategic road projects and tolls, we can spend less money and get better results. We need to offer commuters more buses and light rail choices, fix unsafe choke points, and finish the most pressing projects – all in our lifetimes.”

J’accord! As I wrote a few week’s ago, I’m bummed that the Democratic legislature failed to get serious about the environment and address the RTID fiasco:

On this score, the supermajority Democrats blew it. They not only failed to put a check on car dependency, they actually accelerated the problem. Rather than putting guidelines on the $7 billion RTID roads package they authorized—like demanding the projects assess transit alternatives (a bill that died in the house)—they officially made transit dependent on building roads, by linking RTID to light rail under one ballot title.

To read the entire Sierra Club statement follow the jump.

Continue reading "Local Sierra Club Strikes Again" »

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 14 at 12:00 PM

SSmon-160.jpg

Jhumpa Lahiri

(READING) Okay, we all know Seattle Reads only picked The Namesake because it was being made into a movie. And the movie was not so great. But the novel, by Pulitzer Prize—winning author Jhumpa Lahiri, is the kind of unfussy, empathetic storytelling that you stay up all night to finish. This will be a fantastic reading (and not just because JhuLa—as I like to call her—is a total hottie). (Museum of History & Industry, 2700 24th Ave E, 324-1126. 7 pm, free. Additional events Tues, see www.spl.org for details.) ANNIE WAGNER

Wanted: MySpace Pedophiles

posted by on May 14 at 11:02 AM

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Top law enforcement officers from seven states issued a letter to MySpace.com on Monday, asking the social networking site to turn over the names of registered sex offenders who use the service.

The letter asks MySpace to provide information on how many registered sex offenders are using the site, and where they live. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper signed the letter, along with attorneys general from Connecticut, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Politics the Old-Fashioned Way: Members Only

posted by on May 14 at 10:35 AM

There’s a link between the two articles I wrote for this week’s news section that I didn’t have room to explain in print. (TGFS!)

My Counter•Intel column is about the Community Development Roundtable, a membership-only group of local big wigs—executives from the PI and Seattle Times, lobbyists for local Fortune 500 companies, and political consultants and lawyers—that meets every Monday at the private Washington Athletic Club in downtown Seattle. The column tried to highlight the notion that a cozy relationship between the press and those they cover is a suspect equation. It was also a little alert to “good-government” Seattle that our fair city is just as susceptible to back room dealmaking that corrupts every city.

My news story was about the Mariners Public Facilities District, the public agency that oversees the Mariners lease at the publicly ($500 million plus) funded Safeco Field. I reported that the watchdog agency may have violated state rules governing public contracts by awarding a $100,000 contract to the political consultant/lobbyist firm The Fearey Group without a competitive public bid.

What do these two articles have to do with each other? This: The chair of the Public Facilities District, Jose Gaitan, and the head of the Fearey Group, Pat Fearey, are both members of the private Community Development Roundtable. In fact, Pat Fearey is the president of the Community Development Roundtable.

In short, rather than doing their business in public, there’s an appearance here that they’re making decisions the old-fashioned way—at private luncheons on the third floor of the WAC.

The Religious Right’s Candidate

posted by on May 14 at 10:23 AM

Meet former Sen. Fred Thompson, “better than all of the above,” according one social conservative:

Several leading Christian conservatives say they will rally to former Sen. Fred Thompson, who they expect to announce “in a matter of weeks” that he will seek the Republican nomination for president next year.

“It’s not ‘if’ but ‘when,’ he will announce,” one Protestant evangelical leader says of the behind-the-scenes maneuvering for position in the 2008 race.

A prominent Roman Catholic social conservative says the three Republicans who have raised the most money and have led the polls — former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — fall short of social conservatives’ expectations, but Mr. Thompson doesn’t. “He’s right on the issues … He’s better than all of the above.”

Blue Angels

posted by on May 14 at 9:16 AM

They’re back.

For weeks, area airplane aficionados have been awaiting word on whether the Blue Angels would perform this year at Seafair, an air show that has become a summer ritual for thousands. A crash last month had put the acrobatic group’s entire schedule in limbo.

On Sunday, Seafair officials announced that the Blue Angels would indeed be making the trip to Seattle, performing three shows in August. In addition, the Blue Angels recently added a local man to their group: Lt. Cmdr. Craig Olson, who is from Kirkland. Olson, 37, will replace Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Davis, 32, who died in an April 21 crash while the Blue Angels were performing in South Carolina. It was the first crash for the group since 1999. The cause is under investigation.

Luckily for us planes can’t crash in Seattle—just like rapid transit can’t work here and taking out an elevated freeway can’t work here and bike commuting can’t work here and urban density can’t work here. Seattle is exceptional in each and every respect.

The news was greeted with cheers this morning at my house—my son is ecstatic, as is my boyfriend. They like loud things, luckily for me.

And hey, Seattlest? We won’t have to stock up on adult-sized diapers. We keep a supply around the office at all times for the adult babies on staff.

Alert the Bunny Brigades!

posted by on May 14 at 9:00 AM

While here in Seattle, at the behest of furious bunny huggers, we’re capturing the bunnies overwhelming Woodland Park Zoo and gently transporting them at great expense, Australians are preparing to gun down much cuter, much bigger, much hoppier mammals.

Authorities said Monday they want to shoot more than 3,000 kangaroos on the fringes of Australia’s capital, noting the animals were growing in population and eating through the grassy habitats of endangered species.

The Defense Department wants to hire professional shooters to cull the kangaroos at two of its properties on the outskirts of Canberra, which counts 1,100 kangaroos per square mile - the densest population ever measured in the region.

Maybe we can buy Peter Cottontail a plane ticket to Sydney?

Bobby Brown Does Not Appreciate Homoerotic Jokes

posted by on May 14 at 8:55 AM

On the new UK talk show 24 Hours With.., host Jamie Campbell interviews a celebrity with whom he’s locked in a room for an entire day. The first episode featured D-list celebrity and ex-con Bobby Brown, who has some issues.

Thank you, Towleroad.

Mickey-Slippers and Murder Threats

posted by on May 14 at 8:26 AM

I disapprove of attempted date rape as much as the next person. But this I, Anonymous writer takes it to a new level.

You and your date-rape-drug frat brother watch your backs.

I know what you did, I saw how she acted, the only reason she wasn’t carried out of the bar by you and your “helpful” friends is because she’s a soldier and what you dickless rapist fucking faggots put in her drink just wasn’t enough to knock her out. You’re not going to live long enough to party as hard as she already has, but I guarantee YOU will be on your knees at the end and the irony won’t be lost when you’re being fucked through the new holes I’ve cut in you, violated with power tools in ways you would never imagine another human could actually do to another person. You won’t have the privilege of dying quickly, you’ll be on life support and when you’re finally out of organs and extremities to mangle, shred and burn you’ll have forgotten what you did to deserve this—I will cut, burn and torture you until I’ve seared the memory of pleasure from your mind. Lucifer himself will pity what you’ll have endured when you come knocking at his gates. God would have never made mankind if he had known the ferocity and horror you’re going to experience when you’re pulled from your beds in the night, and the last thing your eyes will see is my face. I’ll be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen, because I will give you the release of death. Your lives are over, when I’m finished even the rats will vomit when they come across the scraps of your flesh in the gutters of this city.

I know what you were trying to do, and you tried it on the wrong girl. You didn’t realize she is protected from up on high by the prince of darkness, by the angel of death and all the armies of hell. Did you stop for a minute to think about the fact that everywhere you go in this city, every bar you visit, every inch of Seattle from Ballard to Pioneer Square, from Capitol Hill to the U district has eyes that will soon know your face, know your names and the cars you drive.

You are marked men, if you have even a shred of intelligence in your soon to be crushed beyond identification even by dental records skulls you will leave this state, go as far away as you can and never come back. There is money on your heads, each of you, and you will never outlive it, never outrun it, never escape the wrath you’ve brought upon yourselves.

I will take your lives, each and every one of you.

Confidential to anonymous vengeful Satanists: Before resorting to power-tool torture and mass slaughter, why not try reporting the alleged mickey-slipping to the police?

The Morning News

posted by on May 14 at 7:00 AM

Missing U.S. soldiers: Still not found.

Size matters: New postal rates and rules take effect today.

The Giuliani files: Courtesy of The Washington Post.

Fort Lewis Strykers: An increasingly popular target in Iraq.

Just kidding: Elementary school teachers in Tennessee stage a mock gun attack on their students.

Does the Wall Street Journal make money? Not much, it seems.

“Sad to waste my entire life like this”
— Venice’s first woman gondolier on her last ten years.


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 13 at 12:00 PM

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Mommie Dearest

(MOTHER’S DAY MASSACRE) Today is Mother’s Day. Have you called your mother? Good. Now take a humongous bong hit and head to Cinerama, where this morning brings Mommie Dearest, the 1981 biopic that made Joan Crawford a child-abuse icon, ruined Faye Dunaway’s career, and thrived in infamy. Make no mistake: Mommie Dearest sucks. But Ms. Dunaway’s fearless exertions elevate overacting to the status of an Olympic event. Plus: free pre-screening doughnuts! (Cinerama, 2100 Fourth Ave, www.seattlequeerfilm.org. 10:30 am, $12.) DAVID SCHMADER

The Morning News

posted by on May 13 at 8:21 AM

Posted by Sage Van Wing

“Crusaders”: al Queda claims to have 3 missing U.S. soldiers.

Potheads: Funding Islamic terrorists.

Finally: U.S. and Iran will hold direct talks about Iraq.

Violent Political Rallies: Not in L.A., in Pakistan.

“I had to go to the bathroom”: Thompson’s new excuse for anti-gay sentiment at the Presidential debates.

On the ‘Safe’ Side: Five climbers who were stranded on Mt. Hood have been rescued.

Don’t Run With Scissors: Or even reach for them. Six year old girl dies in scissor accident.

Screwed With the Wrong Guy: O.J. Simpson decides not to sue a Kentucky Steakhouse which refused him service.

Comic Geeks: Novelists revive comic book series.