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Archives for 06/03/2007 - 06/09/2007

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on June 9 at 12:00 PM

Pretty Girls Make Graves (Last Show Ever) With six years and three full-lengths under their collective belt, Seattle’s Pretty Girls Make Graves are gracefully saying their goodbyes—they’ll perform two farewell shows tonight, then be gone forever. So even if you haven’t cared about ‘em since Good Health, you should come to one of tonight’s shows, ‘cause that’ll be your last chance to go crazy during “Speakers Push the Air.” Until, of course, they reunite for the Capitol Hill Block Party 2012. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 5 and 9 pm, $12 adv, all ages.) Megan Seling

SIFF 2007: Sat Highlights

posted by on June 9 at 9:34 AM

Dude, I just saw Sharkwater, and one thing Jen Graves neglected to mention is that its director and rather puny, adorable primary subject has an abiding aversion to clothes.


This is Rob Stewart “free diving,” a technique that relies on the intake of a single solitary breath and, conveniently enough, requires no cumbersome equipment. Just a Speedo.

Anyway, sharks are dying! Don’t eat shark fin soup! Sharkwater plays again Sunday at 11 am. The puny adorable one should be inattendance.

Now for today’s picks.


Egyptian, 11 am. In his guise as a Lacanian intellectual, Slavoj Zizek can be a bit of a hack. But below this sinister exterior lurks a genius film critic. Watch A Pervert’s Guide to Cinema and learn.

Harvard Exit, 1:30 pm. Lindy West was horrified by Soldiers of Conscience, a fascinating look at the psychological training for modern warfare.

Late afternoon. Take a break, unless you like idealistic anticolonialism movies from the ’70s.

Egyptian, 7 pm. The Boss of It All: the movie that plunged Lars von Trier into a deep and debilitating depression. It’s funny!

Harvard Exit, 9:15 pm. Charles recommends Northern Light.

Neptune, midnight. SXSW horror favorite The Signal.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Confidential to Havana

posted by on June 8 at 6:08 PM

I got to the bar at 5:30 PM.

At 6:00 PM I left—without having a drink. The place was crowded, but not completely packed, so there’s no excuse. I mean, you’re a bar that doesn’t serve food—all you do is drinks and if you can’t get drinks into peoples’ hands in less than a half an hour… well, what’s the point? There was one bartender and one cocktail waitress on and based on my experience just now I’d say that’s clearly not enough staff for a Friday at 5:30 PM—you know, happy hour, after-work drinks, beginning of the weekend. WTF?

Woulda, coulda, shoulda had two cocktails. Didn’t have one, left without spending a cent. Staff up, would you?

Last Thoughts

posted by on June 8 at 6:04 PM


Well, it’s been fun, even if my browser fried out a few times. Lessons learned:

1. Don’t send pics of your friends (see the above actual image for the Tel Aviv parade).

2. HTML is too hard.

3. Tabs are great except when you’re trying to write HTML.

4. Everyone will want to post the same thing about Paris Hilton, J-Lo, or Lindsay Lohan, so don’t bother.

5. Political figures are great for making fun of.

6. It’s hard to imitate Dan.

Oh, and…

7. Actually read the article your son sent you before posting it. Thanks, Ian!

The Realm of the Senses

posted by on June 8 at 5:34 PM

If you’re reading this post then you’ve missed your last chance to see this work of beauty: 04.jpg A part of this actress, Anna Tsuchiya, is Russian American and the other part of her is Japanese. She is an established pop star, an emerging film goddess, and in the movie that’s running in SIFF at this very moment,Sakuran, she plays a feisty whore.”How beautiful you are/Just like a movie star.”

Thanks, Guest Sloggers!

posted by on June 8 at 5:30 PM

That was amazing! A big round of applause for all our guest Sloggers…

Dave Meinert
Mike in Mo
Kerri Harrop
Will in Seattle

…and this concludes Slog’s first Freaky Friday. We think it was a big success—thanks, of course, to the efforts of guest Sloggers!—and we will definitely be doing it again.

But now it’s Michelob time…

All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned on Slog

posted by on June 8 at 5:16 PM

Lessons learned today:

1. Fnarf is even more prolific than I imagined.

2. Spending the day Slogging is hard when it is sunny outside.

3. Most of the people that read and comment on Slog are pretty nice.

4. Some of the people that read and comment on Slog are total assholes.

5. You can never mention penis size enough.

6. My one day coffee consumption is at a near record-breaking high.

7. There are a million things I wanted to post about but didn’t get to.

8. Given the opportunity to post, Meinert has no time to argue with me online.

9. People will freak the fuck out if an HTML tag accidentally gets left open.

10. Slogging all day would be a lot more interesting with a few bong hits.

Thanks for having me, Slog. It was a lot of fun.

Licata vs. Nickels

posted by on June 8 at 5:13 PM

Monday, Seattle Councilmember Nick Licata is introducing a charter amendment to be added to November’s ballot, requiring the Mayor’s State of the City Address be held at City Chambers, addressing the council directly. This year Nickels skipped addressing the council, instead doing the annual State of the City Address at the Convention Center, thumbing his nose at the Council and, many feel, at the general public. Should be a fun showdown. You can read Erica’s story on it here.

Final Post

posted by on June 8 at 5:08 PM

Today was an incredibly stressful day at work, but I took solace in the time I could get away to make SLOG.

As an undervalued and underpaid UW secretary, living paycheck-to paycheck sucks ass. But getting to read Slog and illegally download music all day makes it worthwhile.

Now I am going to drown myself in pizza at the Wallingford Pizza House (I have a coupon) before going home. I will write a review as soon as it is listed in the Stranger’s fine Restaurant Guide.


KEXP Rules!

posted by on June 8 at 5:03 PM

KEXP has just about finished one of their most successful fund drives ever—but there’s still time to donate by calling (206) 903-KEXP. By donating you can support one of, if not the best radio stations around, and for sure one of the leading tastemakers nationally in music right now. Aside from being a great station playing great music and supporting the local scene, KEXP has raised over $20,000 for organizations, about 16 of them so far, including WWOZ in New Orleans, Art with Heart (kids dance party), and others. They were also voted CMJ station of the year, and won a Plug Award for the same thing, all while having the highest ratings in their history. Go Seattle!

Monsterpuss, Monsterpuss, Meow My Monsterpuss

posted by on June 8 at 4:55 PM

“Sometimes I have some challenging ideas, or crazy like some other people would say. This time I thought about our cat who is the whole day out, returning sometimes hungry sometimes not, sometimes with traces of fights, sometimes he stay also the night out. When he finally returns, I wonder where he was and what he did during his day. This brought me to the idea to equip the cat with a camera.”

So says Mr. Lee, creator of Cat Cam, a website offering a photo journal composed of pictures taken by his cat. Mr. Lee also gives helpful how-to instructions on outfitting your own fancy feline with its very own Cat Cam.


Thanks to the always-delightful Enchanted Porkfist.

The Real Me

posted by on June 8 at 4:51 PM

It’s been fun, kids, but I’m tuckered. I know you all want to know what’s under the gold suit, so leave I you with Psychrolutes marcidus.


[photo (c) Kerryn Parkinson, NORFANZ, Australian Museum]

Story of My Life

posted by on June 8 at 4:47 PM

I’m sure all the Sloggers have been wondering, “Where is Mike in MO? Have his special Freaky Friday privileges been revoked?” No, I’ve been sequestered in a room with my boss all day going over shit so mundane I wouldn’t bore my worst enemy with it.

Which brings me to the nature of the headline. The story of my life is: sad irony.

Two weeks ago I was so bored with my job I accepted a new position with more responsibility. I thought, “I love slogging and reading ThinkProgress all day and geting paid for it, but the grown-up thing to do is take on more shit and get paid.”

Sure enough, now I’m busy as hell, I never get to slog, and to top it all off, I am chosen as a “prolific commentor” and bestowed a rare privilege to Slog, BUT I CAN’T! I’m so jealous of all the fun my fellow Freaky Friday Sloggers have been having.

I only hope I’m unemployeed next time I’m handed the keys to The Slog…

Parting Words

posted by on June 8 at 4:43 PM

So what have we learned today, kids?

We learned that you can hand Slog to nine carefully selected commenters and that they can offer up some interesting content while keeping the peace (well, save for my last post) and not blowing everything up.

And… hm, well, I guess that’s all I have to say about that. Sorry. I thought that’d be longer.

Thanks to the staffers who came up with this crazy idea that turned out not to be so crazy after all… I think. In the end, having to put forth more effort than usual to throw these up, it goes to show me how hard the Stranger staffers work, as they do all this Slogging AND put in all the work on pieces that end up in their fine rag each week.

And in light of my previous, inflammatory post, the one solace that ECB, Josh Feit and Dan Savage (and any other writers/commenters who disagree with me) can take, as always, is that The Stranger is their paper. Their take speaks loudest.

So don’t worry too much about me or anything I say ;) I’m just squawking. You know me.

That’s all you’ll get from me on the front page. Anyone with internet skills knows how to find my blog if they really want to read it… and, as always, I’ll be here running my yap in the Forums and the comments section about whatever.

Have a good weekend!


posted by on June 8 at 4:39 PM

These are the vehicles I don’t like to be behind on the road. Scary! What kinds of crazy explosive gasses are in there?


Today in History

posted by on June 8 at 4:33 PM

On June 8, 632, Muhammad (picture unavailable) died in the city of Medina, exactly 62 years to the day that the religion of Islam was founded in Mecca (according to Scopes “Any Day In History”), and 1297 years before the birth of Jerry Stiller.

Republican Declares Against Dow Constantine

posted by on June 8 at 4:30 PM

Today is the deadline to file for local races in November. Last minute filings include John Potter (R) in the County Council race against incumbent and super progressive cool dude Dow Constantine. No news on how freaky of a Republican Potter is, but count on him being backed by the strip mining companies who want to destroy Maury Island, joined by anti-environmentalists who hate Dow for being a leader on environmental issues. Dow was also a DJ on KCMU back in the day.

The Best Excuse is One That Everybody Validates

posted by on June 8 at 4:20 PM

I’m flying today so I get to read the best of the worst our culture provides. That Avril is a hussy! Heh.


Boring Poland

posted by on June 8 at 4:12 PM

Among other things my wife and I collect boring postcards. While we don’t have too many masterpieces on the level found in Martin Parr’s brilliant series of books of cards from the UK, the USA, and Germany, I did find some just the other day from the untapped splendor of the Soviet Bloc. I’m just getting around to scanning them. Here are four from Poland — respectively Gorzów Wlkp., Boleslawiec, Wroclaw and Warszawa:





This One’s for Bradley Steinbacher

posted by on June 8 at 4:07 PM

Over bottles of two buck Chuck last Friday at my old friend Ben Gibbard’s house, I picked up some interesting knowledge from my new friend John Krasinski. You may know Ben from his indie-rock sensation band, Death Cab For Cutie, or perhaps from his work in The Postal Service. John used to be an intern on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, but you probably recognize him as the dude that plays Jim Halpert on The Office.

A few years back, while he was still waiting tables in NYC, and well before the success of The Office, John managed to sweet talk his way into buying the film rights to Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, a collection of short stories by David Foster Wallace published in 1999. I didn’t really get to the heart of what the hell Krasinski was thinking when forming his game plan for this project; frankly, I was gobsmacked by the daunting notion of adapting Wallace’s epic prose into film.

I mean, come on, we’re talking about some heavy duty writing, stuff that doesn’t scream out make a movie out of me! It’s not exactly blockbuster-making material and I would guess that Krasinski had to do some serious hustling to finance the project. I have a feeling that Wallace’s literary agent probably thought the project would never get off the ground.

But, not only did Krasinski manage to get the project off the ground, he scored a slew of interesting actors, including Oscar winner Timothy Hutton and our very own Benjamin Gibbard. It is Krasinski’s debut as a director and, based on his real-life charm and abundance of smarts, I think it’s going to turn out pretty well.

Shooting for Brief Interviews with Hideous Men wrapped early this year and the film is currently in post-production. It is the first David Foster Wallace book to be adapted to film. It is also Gibbard’s first role on the big screen. He will not be leaving his day job in Death Cab For Cutie for the bright lights of Hollywood any time soon. Whether or not the recent stamp rate increase will affect any future releases from The Postal Service is yet to be determined.

Talking Fountain

posted by on June 8 at 4:01 PM

Anyone who’s found themselves thirsty in Sea-Tac airport has probably fallen victim to the Talking Fountain. Even when I know to expect the startlingly loud noise of an amplified babbling brook, I feel instantly nervous, hurried, and vulnerable. I guess it’s sort of amusing to watch unsuspecting travelers jump during their turn at the fountain, but I don’t think it’s the calming work it was intended to be. The piece was designed by Jim Green in 1992.


Manga Goes Mainstream for Girls

posted by on June 8 at 3:14 PM

According to the Wall Street Journal, both DC Comics and Marvel will be publishing many U.S. manga titles aimed at teen girls this year, instead of the usual male-dominated titles they have done in the past.

DC Comics is launching the Minx line of manga, with titles such as Good as Lily, Re-Gifters (Tae Kwon Do girl falls for surfer boy and re-gifts him), and Clubbing (goth city girl into music and lit gets caught using fake ID and is exiled to country club life of grandparents).

Marvel Entertainment is supposedly doing the same, but you can’t find anything not action-figure guy-oriented online there.


Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Resigns

posted by on June 8 at 3:08 PM

The last remaining leadership figure from former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s tenure at the Pentagon resigned today.

Now here is a picture of of a cute little kitty stoned on crack:


Required Reading

posted by on June 8 at 3:01 PM


For proof of the above equation, you must read this. Matt Taibbi is a fucking genius and uses words like a shiv. This shiv is going right between the ribs of Rudy “I Hate Ferrets” Giuliani.

Stranger Staff Misconceptions

posted by on June 8 at 2:52 PM

You know you were waiting for something like this.

The RTID/ST roads/transit package will lead to more roads!

The roads aspect of the package will be spent on the widening of existing roads, and the extension, plus connection, of dead-end roads, streamlining the street grid. This money isn’t going to be used to build entirely new highways, as Stranger writers like to infer.

My favorite Dan Savageism: Seattle won’t do [X urban change] because Seattle believes it is special and different from other cities.

As entertaining as it is to extend Seattle’s sociocultural autism as a indication of decisions being pure nonsense… guess what?

Seattle is a city fenced in by two large bodies of water, Elliott Bay and Lake Washington, plus bisected by a partially artificial body of water in the Canal. The land itself is a constant series of rolling hills on which overlaying a street grid, let alone building on top of, is very difficult to do, if not impractical in places. As a result of this and the crackheaded conflict of interest by those who designed our city, Seattle’s layout does not lend itself to the modular quick and easy logistical and structural changes of other cities.

Most cities are built on flat land, have a nice straight four way street grid with few exceptions, and getting around is easy and adaptable. Even an exception like San Francisco has a complex, existing network of over a dozen transit system, including the famous BART train.

Not so in Seattle, where the topography and layout leads to only a handful of feasible thoroughfares, including your loathed viaduct. And yes, no mass transit has been built, but blaming the viaduct is like blaming ESPN for making your sportsmongering husband a bad father, or blaming the alcohol for making your dad an alcoholic. The city’s officials, not the highways that people use, are the problem.

Seattle isn’t special, but it sure is different in a very practical and tangible sense.

The monorail would’ve cost us $2.1 billion/$4-6 billion

No, only the initial Green Line that didn’t go anywhere particularly useful would’ve cost us $4-6 billion (NOT $2 billion), and that’s the revamped line that only went to Interbay, not Ballard.

Any expansion of the system would undoubtedly cost several more billion.

People drive because they are car-loving and car-obsessed.

People drive because:

1. It’s completely impractical for them to get around on foot or via transit. Families with kids who need to get to school or daycare come to mind, as do many of the disabled and, to a lesser extent, those who don’t live near reliable transit routes.
2. They chose to live in suburbs whether for comfort or because it was the best they could afford, if not the location of homes that met their needs or wants.

My mother in Las Vegas pays $500 a month on the loan for a gas guzzler, a 2006 Dodge Magnum. When we talk about it on the phone, she sure doesn’t sound like somebody who loves cars.

Disincentives for driving are the only way to spark change.

Disincentives are a great way to turn the general public against your cause. Tear down the viaduct without preparing suitable alternatives, and I’m guessing you won’t have very many surface/transit fans in West Seattle or Ballard.

INCENTIVES are the best way to spark change. They empower and reward citizens and get them on your side. Tax breaks for not driving and using transit or carpooling, quick and convenient transit options, supporting viable transit projects, I dunno, etc.

Link Light Rail sucks and is over budget.

1. It’s rail transit, most of whose route is a dedicated right of way.
2. Unlike the other transit pipe dreams, it’s actually being built.
3. EVERY initial transit project goes over budget, especially when being built in settled areas. Things happen, and unforeseen issues are discovered. If anything, the tired ‘over budget’ line could have been made about the Green Line. The $4-6 billion price tag would’ve undoubtedly gone up as complications arose.

Greg Nickels and the City of Seattle killed the Green Line.

Here’s what killed the Green Line:

1. The inherent uselessness of the route, which would have served the sleeper glorified suburb of West Seattle, Downtown, a smidgen of Lower Queen Anne, and Interbay, whose amenities include a bunch of warehouses, train tracks and a golf course. Why there and not the U District, or Northgate, or strung through First and Capitol Hills?

2. Funding the project with the MVET car tab fee. My best friend Turner was ambivalent about the monorail. Then he went to renew his car tabs, and discovered he was paying, on top of the steep registration renewal fees, a $110 Monorail MVET tax. He came home hollering, “Fuck the monorail!” When it came up for the final vote, he voted against it. I had a coworker who, shortly after moving here, discovered she had to pay $600 in MVET fees on top of the price to register her car. She too turned against the monorail immediately.

And you wonder why everyone turned against the monorail. It had nothing to do with Joel Horn’s loafing or Greg Nickels absolving the City of support… and absolutely everything to do with this stupid idea to fund the line by charging people an absurd amount of overhead to register their vehicles. This passive aggressive PWC-inspired cheap shot at drivers veiled as a funding mechanism was what killed support for the Green Line dead. Once it took effect, BOOM. Add in the fact that it was going to fund a giant tram that would have only transported a few thousand people a day, and support went bye-bye.

Gomez hates us.

If I hated you, I wouldn’t read you. I’m critical when I need to be.

Passionate About Passions

posted by on June 8 at 2:40 PM

Can I just say how much I love Passions? I work from home, so I can have this trash on all the time, and the best parts are when Endora Lenox is the main focus. For those of you too lazy to follow the link, Endora is the child of the local witch, the product of a drunken one-night stand. That would be high camp all by itself, but when you add in that the 4-year-old girl who plays her is the most unresponsive, unemotive actress to ever exist, it becomes gloriously bad. Seriously, she makes Brian Bonsall look like Sir Laurence Olivier. As she refuses to speak, her dialogue is done through thought bubbles, and as she refuses to do much aside from sit there like a lump, cheap, cheap special effects are used to illustrate her witchcraft. Please see the below video, and just try telling me this child’s casting was not an act of serendipity that elevates soap opera to a new level of ridiculousness.

The Day the Sixties Began

posted by on June 8 at 2:31 PM

I’m going over quota here, and stepping on my co-guest-sloggers’ film mandate.

The scene early in John Schlesinger’s Billy Liar, made in England in 1963, where Julie Christie steps into the world to the sound of some flutey jazz, is the moment the 1960s began. Not the Beatles, not JFK: Julie Christie.

I wish I could rip it and YouTube it, but I am too dumb.

Later, Christie again shows why she shone brighter than a thousand other, supposedly prettier, girls (only Rita Tushingham can match her) in this scene with the great Tom Courtenay:

LIZ: I want to marry you, Billy.

BILLY: Ah, I think I get engaged a bit too often.

LIZ: Oh, I don’t want to get engaged, I want to get married.

BILLY: Well, uh—we will one day.

LIZ: Yes. “One day.”

LIZ: Billy.

BILLY: What?

LIZ: You know—you know what you wanted me to do that night, when we were walking through the park? And I said, “another night.”


LIZ: Well it’s another night tonight, isn’t it?

BILLY: Are you sure?

LIZ: Yes.

BILLY: Uh…. [they kiss]

LIZ: Billy.

BILLY: Mm-hmm?

LIZ: You know there have been others, don’t you?

BILLY: Well, uh, somehow I imagined that there might have been.

LIZ: Shall I tell you about them?

BILLY: No, no—

BILLY: Well, then, go on, tell me about it.

LIZ: No, not now.

BILLY: Go on, tell me about it.

LIZ: You think that’s why I’m always going away, don’t you?

BILLY: I don’t know!

LIZ: Oh, it’s not that.

LIZ: Sometimes I want to go away. It’s not you, Billy. It’s this town, it’s the people we know. I—I don’t like knowing everybody, I don’t like becoming a part of things—d’you know what I mean?

BILLY: Yes, I do, Liz, I do—

LIZ: What I’d like to be is invisible. I’d like to be able to move around with having to explain anything.

And then the world changed. What light.

Back on the Booze

posted by on June 8 at 2:18 PM


(Via AP.)

The Death of an Elephant

posted by on June 8 at 2:07 PM

Hansa the elephant has died.

Beloved 6-and-a-half-year-old Woodland Park Zoo resident Hansa the elephant has died. Zoo officials said during a news conference this afternoon that they would be conducting a necropsy today on the elephant. But they cautioned it could be weeks before the results are known, but it is not believed that she was the victim of heterosexual parental abuse.

The Big Gay Bout

posted by on June 8 at 2:06 PM

You should know upfront that my girlfriend is a rollergirl, so my journalistic integrity will be shot to shit in this entry, but wait… I’m not a journalist, and I’m not getting paid. All right, fuck it.


Miss Fortune, Ann R. Kissed, Juliet Bravo

I don’t know if you guys know this, but the Rat City Rollergirls are volunteers. They don’t get paid to play; in fact, they PAY for their own gear, uniforms, away-game lodging, etc. Because of the strain on the pocketbooks of these very passionate athletes, they have a lot of fundraisers to subsidize their activities. Seriously, like at least one every weekend. Go check one out! Those girls are crazy fun! I’m only going to talk about the Big Gay Bout in this post, but you can find out about more events at the website (

The planning of Seattle Pride has been a clusterfuck and the rollergirls fell victim to the havoc of it all. Instead of hosting a Big Gay Bout in KeyArena right after the parade as they initially planned to do, they have decided to do it a little differently:

Big Gay Bout, June 23—tickets on sale online through Ticketmaster but we’d rather you purchased them at any one of our in-person ticketing locations.

The Rat City Rollergirls are back at the fabulous WaMu Theater at Qwest Events Center just in time for Seattle Pride. With the beautiful and illustrious Gay Bingo Hostess Glamazonia as our guest announcer, it will truly be an event for “family” of all kinds!

THE BIG GAY BOUT will feature the Derby Liberation Front vs. Grave Danger, and the Throttle Rockets vs. “The Mile High Club,” the Denver Roller Dolls’ All-Star team. Ten percent of the profits from THE BIG GAY BOUT will go to support Lambert House, a center for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning youth and their allies that encourages empowerment through the development of leadership, social and life skills.

Roll with us this year for Pride!

Go show your hometown rollergirls some love while watching some hot girl-on-skate action!

Incidentally, there’s a SIFF film called Blood on the Flat Track: The Rise of the Rat City Rollergirls, and it premieres next Thursday, I believe.

Gay Pride in Tel Aviv Has Low Turnout

posted by on June 8 at 1:51 PM

Sadly, only 10,000 gays, lesbians, and activists turned out for a disappointing gay-pride parade and beach bash today, hosted by Israel’s Tel Aviv.

If they can’t get at least half a million to show up, we need to start an alternate parade, maybe moving the location to the Gaza Strip.

If a country where even the prime minister’s daughter is an open lesbian can’t manage a decent turnout, then how can we in Seattle ever hope to succeed? And don’t get me started about the debacle last year in Jerusalem… and the stabbing in 2005…

[apologies to Dan Savage]

Romper Room

posted by on June 8 at 1:34 PM

According to Denver’s Rocky Mountain News, the basement where JonBenet Ramsey’s strangled corpse was found is being remodeled into a fancy-pants rec room, complete with synthetic-stone-lined walls, a flatscreen TV, and a wet bar.

The actual room where Ramsey’s bound and gagged body was discovered by dear old dad is not included in the design plans, and will remain as an unfinished storage space.

The former Ramsey abode was purchased by Tim and Carol Milner in 2004, for just over $1 million. The Milners make their money through the Almighty Grace of God — Carol is the daughter of televangelist Robert Schuller, Hour of Power host and founder of Crystal Cathedral Ministry, where husband Tim is employed.

In early April of this year, Robert “Evel” Knievel was baptized at Crystal Cathedral. “I wanted to scream to the world that I am a born-again Christian on the Hour of Power,” he said in the church’s online propaganda vehicle newsletter, offering proof that the many injuries he has sustained from his daredevil antics over the years also include brain damage.

Southern Hospitality Falls Short in Alabama Senate

posted by on June 8 at 1:28 PM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Simmering tensions in the Alabama senate boiled over Thursday when a Republican lawmaker punched a Democratic colleague in the head before they were pulled apart.

Republican Sen. Charles Bishop claimed that Democratic Sen. Lowell Barron called him a “son of a (expletive).”

“I responded to his comment with my right hand,” Bishop said. Alabama Public Television tape captured the punch.

Barron refused to comment and went into a closed-door meeting with other Democrats. Sen. Vivian Figures went into the meeting carrying first aid supplies, but she said he was not hurt.

Bishop said he regretted throwing the punch because “that’s not the way grown men solve their problems,” but added that he would not immediately apologize to Barron.

The fight came on the final day of the 2007 regular session of the Legislature. Republicans and a few Democrats have protested all session the Democratic majority’s Senate rules, saying they were unfair. They want to bring up an election reform bill.

The Senate had just taken a recess Thursday afternoon when Bishop approached the chair where Barron was sitting. Moments later security officers and others rushed to separate the two senators.

Members of the Alabama House said the incident makes the entire Legislature look bad.

“It’s certainly a black eye on the legislature and the Senate in particular,” Republican Rep. Jay Love said.

Although, I’m sure that after some time, they’ll sit down over some sweet tea and laugh about it.

You’re Not Helping, Private

posted by on June 8 at 1:24 PM

Jesse MacBeth is a crusader against the war after what he saw firsthand as a solider in Ir- oh wait.

MacBeth, 23, of Tacoma, claimed to have killed more than 200 people, many at close range, some as they prayed in a mosque. He spoke at an antiwar rally in Tacoma and appeared in a 20-minute antiwar video that circulated widely on the internet.

Trouble is, none of MacBeth’s claims was true. He made it through only six weeks of army basic training, was never a Ranger and never set foot in Iraq.

The last thing the antiwar movement needs is key antiwar testimony from pathological liars.

Yes, I know everyone on our side is not a liar and some of the stories are true. But this sort of thing is meat in the Republican shark tank.

This Is a Great Day for America

posted by on June 8 at 1:19 PM


The story isn’t Paris Hilton going back to jail. The story is that the news channels have been live with the story for over an hour. I just heard some Nancy Grace type on MSNBC shout “This is a Great Day in America.” Then the anchor twat turned and said, “Let’s find out what other celebrities are saying about this.”

Paris is just not that bad compared to these jackals.

Casualty of My Freaky Friday

posted by on June 8 at 1:15 PM

This is the result of snarfing down a half-size super vegi burrito from Taco Del Mar in two minutes flat whilst driving home to go pack for a trip. Apologies to anyone near me when I was driving and texting this. I’m ecstatic about the double chin.


Breast Milk Cheese

posted by on June 8 at 1:09 PM

Savage Love recommended against it.

A woman in Indonesia tried to make it, in the style of paneer, but failed.


But now a company in France is selling it, so your search for human breast milk cheese is finally over.

“The authentic cheese with the mother’s milk of woman” for “the gastronomes in search new savours.”

Not for me, thanks. I’m a big fan of breasts, but I take my coffee black and my cheese, mmm, perhaps a nice fresh chevre from Monteillet in Dayton, WA; do you have a nice Auslese Riesling to go with that?

But I’m sure most Sloggers will be champing at the bit to get at these babies.

Where the White Women At?

posted by on June 8 at 12:30 PM

I’m going to skip this when it comes to the Paramount, but I’d totally see Blazing Saddles, the musical.


Viaduct Love

posted by on June 8 at 12:21 PM

After the great age of Roman building, the art of the viaduct and aqueduct lay fallow for many centuries, until the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain, when the burgeoning network of canals and railways needed ways to to get around each other. The most wonderful of these structures was the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, in Wales, built by the genius Thomas Telford in 1795. This carried the water of the Llangollen or Ellesmere Canal in a cast iron channel over the River Dee. Imagine looking up from a boat on the river in the eighteenth century and seeing the mast of a ship high in the sky above you!


The first great railway viaduct was the Sankey Viaduct, built by George Stephenson in 1830,which carried the first proper railway, The Liverpool and Manchester Railway, over Sankey Brook (part of the Sankey Canal, which was in some ways the first modern canal).


The dreamlike Millau Viaduct in southern France, finished in 2004, and carrying a highway over the valley of the River Tam, is a superlative example of the modern engineer’s freedom from the customary restraints of the earth.


The Lai Chi Kok Viaduct in Hong Kong, currently under construction, is more prosaic but just as technologically challenging.


The viaduct of the Cahill Expressway in Sydney, Australia frames the bustling heart of the most beautiful harbor in the world (center right in photo).


Our own entry in this catalog of pathways through the sky is the beautiful and functional Alaskan Way Viaduct, which elevates hundreds of thousands of cars above the city and the heads of its residents, allowing them to pass freely beneath between the commercial districts and the waterfront.


While some malcontents complain of dark and gloom and noise and dripping dankness, they are insensible to its considerable charms. Concrete, humankind’s most versatile and beautiful material, acquires a sumptuous grey-green patina after bathing in decades of rain, mildew, and exhaust, and glows with a depth that mere stone requires centuries or millennia to acquire.


The bold unadorned structural elements speak of the unpretentious working life of the blue-collar city, speeding aircraft mechanics, waitresses, longshoremen and administrative assistants to their jobs. It also provides anyone with a car the spectacular Puget Sound views that would otherwise belong only to those in expensive downtown condominiums. It also forms a cohesive whole with the seawall that keeps the city from sliding into Elliott Bay on its foundation of slippery mud. Surely this is a triumph not only of the engineering and construction arts, but the urbanized aesthetic beauty of a great regional center?


Rag & Bone

posted by on June 8 at 12:17 PM

The online music community (words that should cause any rational human being to cringe) was all a-twitter last week over the news that Icky Thump, the forthcoming full-length release from the White Stripes was leaked by Chicago radio station Q101.  According to DJ Elektra, the on-air “personality” responsibly for the faux pas, the hourlong unauthorized broadcast was a “lovefest” for the band.

Jack White didn’t agree.  In fact, Jack White was pissed.  Upon receiving the news that his new record had been broadcast in its entirety, he phoned the radio station from Spain and ripped the idiotic DJ a new one.  It must have been a hell of a conversation; Elektra was rattled enough to post details about the tongue lashing in her blog.

It’s common knowledge that records (along with gossip items, titillating photos, and “insider facts”) get “leaked” all the time by companies and publicists, with hopes of getting an early buzz going.  These leaks are very rarely actual leaks—more often than not, a single that makes its way to the airwaves well before release date is the not-so-covert work of an A&R schmuck.

This was not the case with Icky Thump.  White, notorious for his exacting ways both in and out of the studio, insisted on limited access and tight controls on advance copies of the record.  The folks at Q101 did not have an official advance copy of the record, nor did they contact White’s label prior to airing the entire record in one shot.  The broadcast was an illegally obtained download, apparently forwarded to the station by an enthusiastic fan.

The whole incident brings up a lot of issues pertaining to Digital Rights Management and puts yet another chink in the armor of record labels struggling to deal with the very real fact that they are losing revenue generated by record sales on an hourly basis.  It also raises important questions about the responsibility of folks manning the airwaves.

I’m not shedding any tears for the major-label pimps who have yet to figure out how to deal with modern technology’s affect on their business.  They’ve screwed enough artists and music buyers over the years and leaner times are a good way of forcing a new business model.  I am, however, bummed for Jack White.  Dude is not happy with the crappy recordings that are making the rounds and I don’t blame him.

The record is a big, giant-sounding piece of work, filled with everything from mariachi horns to bagpipes.  White continues to channel the spirit of the mighty Led Zeppelin, and I’m not talking about the Robert Plant-esque eight and some change he’s packing in his front pocket.  Icky Thump should be heard the way it was meant to be heard, in all its bombastic glory, not some tinny-sounding third generation rip off the radio.

And, yes, I plan on buying the record when it is released on June 19, even though the clean-as-a-whistle copy I have (don’t ask) will blow your balls off.


Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on June 8 at 12:00 PM

Sign o’ the Times (Concert Film) Northwest Film Forum kicks off its 20, 30, 40: A Trio of Anniversary Concert Films series (also featuring Lasse Hallström’s legendary ABBA: The Movie and D. A. Pennebaker’s Dylan classic Don’t Look Back) with the greatest concert film ever made that’s not Stop Making Sense. On both record and celluloid, Sign o’ the Times captures Prince at his all-time best, with a minimum of crappy plot elements and a maximum of rock ‘n’ funk ‘n’ roll. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 267-5380. 7 and 9:15 pm, $8.50/$6.) David Schmader


Nortec Collective (Music) Tijuana, Mexico, 3:00 a.m.: Bass-heavy European techno spills from an all-night disco, mingling with horn-laden norteño from a transistor radio and American hiphop from a passing car stereo. This intoxicating city is on the busiest border crossing in the world, and the sound of its daily—and nightly—reinvention is Nortec Collective. The five-man production crew samples traditional Northern Mexican instruments—tuba, accordion, timbales—over modern dance music production, making music unstuck in time and place. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 9 pm, $12, 18+.) Jonathan Zwickel

Is it wrong…

posted by on June 8 at 11:50 AM

That this picture makes me want to run out, adopt four little girls, and give them all afro puffs?


SIFF 2007: Freaky Friday Highlights

posted by on June 8 at 11:49 AM


If you haven’t seen the print edition of this week’s paper, there’s a sweetened and condensed “SIFF Picks” for week three of the festival on page 95. Check it out online here. Daily recommendations for the festival continue below and at

I’d say something about the films Thursday, but since I spent an hour driving around Magnuson Park with my son looking for the Pyramid practice for the Solstice Parade, I didn’t see any. Maybe I should get a cell phone… or a watch. Nah, all I need is my Platinum Pass to SIFF…


Neptune, 4:30 pm. Rather than the Americanized version we saw recently in theaters in Geisha, you can watch the manga-inspired version of a girl’s life as a geisha in the Edo era instead, Sakuran. And this means you’ll get the extra added bonus of a sense of humor, colorful costumes, and a musical soundtrack that is not just old period music, but a mixture of jazz, electronica, and Japanese pop. Yes, the review in SIFF was by Charles Mudede, but in this case he’s right—go see it!

SIFF Cinema, 7 pm. All good films come from Canada, at least those about the sea. Especially documentaries, of which good ones with great photography are hard to find. Luckily for us, we have Sharkwater, an amazing film done by someone unafraid to show us the true tale of the wholesale worldwide slaughter of sharks, including graphic footage of their fins being ripped off and then having their shuddering finless bodies tossed back to sink to the bottom in agony. Not only that, but we have Canadian Rob Stewart hugging sharks underwater, being chased by Central American shark poachers in a gunboat, narrow escapes from the law, and nearly losing his leg. Good thing Charles Mudede didn’t review this, but the SIFF buzz says it’s a great film, and Jen Graves agreed.

Harvard Exit, 9:30 pm. Sophie Fiennes may be the sister of actors Ralph and Joseph Fiennes, but she’s also the director of The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, an innovative documentary/travelogue/academic lecture by the Slovenian philosopher de jour Slavoj Zizek, with his peculiar brand of cerebral slapstick. This has Zizek placed in 43 seminal films, discoursing on the nature of desire, death, and our addiction to fantasy, be it in Blue Velvet, The Birds, or City Lights. Peter Bowen reviewed this. Go see it so that everyone that I know can go see the other 9:30 pm movie instead!

SIFF Cinema, 9:30 pm. Trail of the Screaming Foreheads. It’s like retro schlock. Monster-wriggling foreheads invade earth and spread—what Tarantino’s codirector in Grindhouse should have been doing instead of the lame plotless farce he cranked out. Another good thing to see instead of my choice for a 9:30 pm flick!

Neptune, 9:30 pm. Whatever you do, don’t go see this film, because everyone I know (including myself and my son) will be watching Day Watch. Yes, it’s the sequel to Night Watch, which wowed the audiences of SIFF before. Yes, it has the epic quest for Magic Chalk, cars racing on the sides of buildings, the battle between good and evil, a son who has chosen the dark path while his father has chosen the path of light. Sure it has hot Russian women in black leather outfits that make your jaw drop, and men in cool suits or scruffy street wear, enough to satisfy your prurient lust no matter if you’re gay, straight, bi, or transgender. Sure, it has a rocking soundtrack that will have you bouncing for joy for the next week. But if you go see it, how will I get a row of five seats all together for my friends and I to go see it? So, if you have to see it, go see it at Lincoln Square on Sunday instead, and skip the U.S. Premiere tonight…

The Cosmic Callousness of Mykonos

posted by on June 8 at 11:44 AM

The church is a cloud of solitude.


The relationship between land and sky, however, is troubling. So much so that I’m selling all of my worldly possessions and moving to wherever this church is and making it my mission in life to correct the imbalance. How I will battle these forces I know not, but I know it is important to do so. The church was built by god knows who and is located in the Greek Isles. (Sorry Charles,
I had to!)

Sexy, Sexy New Mexy

posted by on June 8 at 11:33 AM

I was born in New Mexico and grew up in a deeply political family. My mom was active in the League of Women Voters. There’s a picture of me, 6 years old, next to Senator Jeff Bingaman when he was a freshman senator; one of our closest family friends was so active in his campaign that when he walked in a local parade, he recognized her, walked over and shook her hands to thank her. We had lively political debate, and I got dragged to a lot of Election Night parties. The thing is, local and state politics in New Mexico were incredibly dull then. New Mexico was such a small player on the national scene that people forget we existed. A monthly column, One of Our Fifty Is Missing, ran in New Mexico magazine each month, detailing incidents in which people from out of state assumed that we were foreign nationals. They were numerous, and I could give you personal anecdotes.

There were and remain three House seats in New Mexico, and at the time, they were safer than a woman’s virginity at Ricky Martin’s house. The incumbents won by Jim McDermott-sized landslides every two years, and even my intensely political parents couldn’t rouse themselves to do more than attend a fundraising dinner or two for whatever sacrificial lamb was challenging the incumbent. The state legislature was no more interesting. It wasn’t that it was dull in the sense of a house full of technocrats battling it out over whether to increase a tax by .012 percent or .0125 percent. It was boring because it was a political machine run with more ruthless efficiency than Tammany Hall. Even the corruption was dull. There was never an extravagant scandal like in New Orleans, and the prospect of viewing or reenacting the cold, mechanical processes was so dull that I never even considered applying for Boys State, even though it would have been a nice little addition to the college app. In presidential elections, things were never close, and I dreamed fondly of being represented in Congress by someone whose most interesting trait wasn’t that I went to school with his nephew, who had a reputation for wetting his pants in class.

Then I moved here in 1996. The next year, Bill Richardson gets plucked from the House and made UN Ambassador. Gary Johnson, the formerly dull governor of New Mexico, gets reelected in 1998, and starts screaming his head off about legalizing all drugs, including cocaine. The aforementioned congressman gets skin cancer (that’s one of the drawbacks of living in the sun belt no one seems to mention), dies, and leaves a continually competitive seat behind, one that both parties pour money and manpower into. In 2000, Gore wins the state by a handful of votes, and in 2004, Kerry loses by a handful of votes. Bill Richardson gets mentioned repeatedly as a candidate for VP in 2004, and in 2006, Heather Wilson, who won that competitive seat, and Pete Domenici, senior senator from New Mexico made a call to David Iglesias and pressured him to bring indictments early for political reasons. To top it all off, Bill Richardson is running for president. I gotta say, it’s weird seeing my stupid home state move from political Siberia, to, if not the center of national politics, at least within sight of it. It probably also explains my love affair with Bill Richardson’s candidacy. It’s flailing, and people are going to bring up the fact that New Mexico scores really low in most areas of achievement, but if you’d grown up there, you’d see that taking a state from 49th to 35th in something is actually a huge accomplishment. Plus, the man has the funniest fucking ads of any candidate so far:

A Hypothetical Interview between Charles Mudede and Mariners Star Ichiro

posted by on June 8 at 11:29 AM

The following interview is completely fabricated and never actually happened. Thank God.

Mudede: So, Ichiro, what is baseball about? Is it a classic struggle of men against rationality, a gladiatoral exhibition of cannonball pugilism among sticks and horsehide? Is it a descent into the seventh level of existential hell?

Ichiro: Baseball is a chess match. Think of the pitcher as a hard-throwing Bobby Fischer, the batter as Kasparov, the umpire his clock timer, the ball his next move. The bases are your squares, and the bat your queen. The goal in swinging your bat is to put your opponent in check. The outfielders are bishops, the throws like diagonal slices across the board, the middle infielders the rooks, moving laterally and charging to and from.

Mudede: But does this not put faith in draconian systems of thinking and enable one to free his mind, to maximize one’s being? Men are made millionaires from a game where you throw a leather ball and hit it with a stick. Have you abandoned your purpose in life by turning your back on the burdens of the world to play a child’s game?

Ichiro: The game of a child can also reap the rewards of adulthood. The nuances of a child’s game teaches many lessons that aspects of adulthood cannot.

Mudede: But it is not adulthood! It is still a child’s game played in a steep and concrete monolithic palace, with seats for the middle-class masses to watch the travails of grown children as if they were gladiators! A palace built on the fruits of man’s labor that serves no other purpose!

Ichiro: One need not live the life of convention to self actualize, and a batter is not a gladiator. The batter is a samurai, the pitcher like an American cowboy, holding the handle of his pistol, ready to fire like a gunslinger. The ball is his bullet, the bat of the batter his sword, and he needs to swing quickly and accurately for two strikes lest he hari-kari himself with strike three.

Mudede: I feel as if I’m speaking to a brick wall! The oppression of poverty tortures the transients that sleep in the gutters of SODO not one block from where you play this child’s game!

Ichiro: They are the fallen, those who did not find the focus to find their purpose in life. For flowers to grow, your roots must be free of weeds. The weeds of society are uprooted and left for dead out of the grass of growth.

Mudede: Are you a nihilist?

Ichiro: I am the center fielder for the Seattle Mariners.

Mudede: You are a grown child making more money than a hundred men to play a child’s game!

Ichiro: You will need to discuss the terms of my contract with my agent.

Mudede: A sports agent! An instrument of a polarized aristocracy! A man who destroys the equity of the world’s economics in order to fund the excessive lifestyles of men who play a child’s game!

Ichiro: This is a strange interview. I’m going to need two ice creams after dinner tonight.

Mudede: You, sir, are an instrument of the world’s destruction!

Ichiro: Please go away before I call security.

History of Same-Sex Marriage

posted by on June 8 at 11:12 AM

Last Friday, New Hampshire became the fourth state to legalize same-sex civil unions. And of course Christians who feel the need to control everyone else’s sexuality but their own had a lot to say about it.

Of greatest concern to the freaks this time is New Hampshire Governor John Lynch’s statement, “How could any one of us look into the eyes of our neighbors, our friends, or our loved ones if we continued to deny them these basic legal protections?”

Tony Perkins from the Family Research Council responded: “Homosexuals have experienced disapproval, but they have not endured centuries of violence, abuse, segregation, and slavery. Unlike ethnicity, homosexual behavior is a choice. A person can choose to either participate in homosexual behavior or not to participate. An African-American cannot choose to participate in having black skin; they are born with it. Lynch’s suggestion that homosexuals who want to marry are oppressed or victims of discrimination is simply outrageous. No person is being denied the right to marry. They are simply asked to meet the core requirement (since civilization began) that both genders be present.”

Aside from the utter ridiculousness of discounting the historical and current abuse of homosexuals, I have to counter the claim heard over and over again from the nutty right that same-sex marriage has never occurred in the history of humanity. Not that Christians give any credence to history, science, or logic that doesn’t fit into their horrible biases, but the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches sanctioned gay unions for a period of more than 1,000 years, between A.D. 500 and 1500 in a ceremony called the Adelphopoiesis, or “the making of brothers”. So all you Christians, go ahead and hate others because of your fear of your own sexuality, but don’t use history to defend it. Facts and history aren’t on your side. (And is his point that having “black skin” is only not a sin because it’s not a choice?)

Drowning for Dollars (Mudede Parody)

posted by on June 8 at 11:05 AM


As Google’s mission statement says, “Don’t be evil”, but we must quantify the search for good in the study of evil. For Evil itself is merely Live backwards, and the quest to both end and begin Life acts as a bookend on our quotidian musings.

In Africa, bathing the dead is a religious ritual accompanying death, and with large numbers of orphan children left to the ravages of continent-wide diseases that are killing off most of the parents, the connection between income and a child’s life becomes clearer.

Perhaps that is why a Seattle father tried to drown his child for insurance money. For on Wednesday he was charged with exactly that by Seattle police, themselves frequent arbiters and observers of life and death.

As the firefighters pulled three-year old Ashley McLellan from the pool in 2003, the unreal dichotomy of life and death was exposed in the figure of her father, who stood there calmly, unscathed by water’s clean touch, not asking if she would live.

Joel Zellmer perhaps was going back to this primal state, and his history of dating single mothers, convincing them to get insurance on, and then harming their children, through trials of fire and water, showed his struggles with parenthood and the demand for money. This included burning the hands of one child (fire), holding a hot cup to the lips of another so that it blistered her lips (fire and air, the very breath of life, transfused through the cup (earth) in liquid form (water)).

King County Sheriff’s Department will not be pursuing charges in the other cases which happened as far back as 1990.

For little Ashley, Zellmer told emergency workers a tale, suitable for those sitting around a fire between the huts of a tribe in Africa: While her mother worked, Ashley opened a sliding glass door to a deck in order to eat a cake provided by her father, then descended as if unto Hades by a flight of stairs, there to cleanse her hands in the Stygian depths in an unlit, uncovered pool. All this while the temperature approached that of the underworld, 39 degrees, and for a girl with a fear of the dark. For is not the transition to death that of a child in fear?

On Growing Up in a Driver’s World

posted by on June 8 at 10:59 AM

My mother still makes fun of the fact that, when I was a kid and we’d go out for drives, I’d crane and turn my head to watch every car that we passed go by, one by one by one. Given my pedantic nature today, there must have always been some OCD in me.

I loved highways and traffic systems, road maps and street grids. One of the biggest thrills in my young life was actually going for a ride and getting to ride on the freeway in Las Vegas. Of course, this was back in the 80’s, when Vegas still only had 150,000 people, Interstate 15 had three lanes each way, the 95 Expressway ended Downtown, and you could drive in either direction nonstop no matter what time of day.

I grew up and times changed. Sure, once I got my first car, a hand me down ‘88 Dodge Aries, I went for drives when I could, and when I skipped class my senior year in high school, I drove all around the city, sometimes out of town, because of Vegas’ surprisingly militant truancy laws, and the fact that anyone I knew would advise my parents if I saw them (and my parents, lax as they could be, were absolute hellraisers with me about things like ditching school).

But see, you think King County is a hot market for newcomers. Las Vegas, even to this day, receives 5000-6000 new residents each month. Each month. The city, over time, sprawled out of control, out of sight. The freeways became a crowded mess during the day, even as they expanded I-15 to ten lanes, expanded the existing Expressway to 10 lanes, stretched it all the way out to Boulder City, built the I-215 beltway all around the edges of town. Driving during rush hour became a nightmare on the freeways. I call home and my mother tells me that, since I left, some of the more functional surface arterials have becoming a gridlocked nightmare as well.

I had heard of this strange thing called urban density, but never knew was it really was until I visited Chicago with my best friend Turner back in 2000. It was a badly planned trip that left us up the creek without transport, so he was understandably scared off his ass most of the time, but I really liked what I saw despite it all. I liked being able to walk and take buses and public trains wherever I needed to go, instead of having to rely on an expensive car or take a crappy bus that you had to wait 20-30 minutes for per stop.

Vegas has a bus system, but it’s nothing like Metro. Citizens Area Transit, aka the CAT bus, ramped up service in the early 90’s, running a grid system where each route is concentrated along a major arterial in Vegas’ well meshed grid, and over time has improved its existing lines, but you still need to wait 15-20 minutes for a bus (in the Vegas heat, no less) even on the best routes, and probably need to catch at least 2 if you’re not just heading a couple miles down the street, meaning another 15-20 minute wait. And if you’re on the outskirts, like Green Valley, where the service is new and still infrequent, the wait is more like an hour. And Summerlin… hahahaha.

So when I moved here, I was in complete awe at Metro and SoundTransit. Buses that run everywhere! On time! Buses that show up within 15 minutes! Areas with half a dozen routes! Actually being able to get anywhere by bus! Sure, you’re still up the creek if you live way the hell out in, say, Auburn, Redmond or Everett, but who wanted to live way the hell out there anyway? I didn’t have a car and I didn’t need one! I didn’t have to pay for parking, gas, insurance, maintenance, tabs… just a bus pass.

That hasn’t changed, even as the honeymoon has ended and I’ve seen the warts that the citizens have infected Seattle with. By this point, my childhood love for highways is more like the love you have for a really awesome boy/girlfriend that you broke up with after some sort of drama, and you and her moved on and got new mates and whatever else. Sure, there is still a soft spot in my heart for getting on the freeway and seeing the open road.

But that’s the thing with Seattle: there IS no open road! Anyone who commutes knows how terrible the traffic is here. The traffic is similarly bad in Vegas, but usually during the day, during the rush hours. You see for yourself what good spending ALL your DOT money on expanding highways does: not a whole lot when you’re constantly getting new residents to reclog those new lanes up. And the city’s designers clear smoked their crack before laying out the street grid for this city. The grid in places resembles an MC Escher painting, with surprise dead ends and turns everywhere. I’ve seen dungeons in 3D shooter games with a better layout than our neighborhood streets.

So the point of all that long-winded spiel was… no, despite any background with highways and roads, no, I don’t love highways, and at this point in life, I wholeheartedly support the wise integration of street improvements with transit. As much as I liked the road growing up, I like life without it a whole hell of a lot better. I could never see myself living with a car again.

How Was It?: The Streets

posted by on June 8 at 10:54 AM

I went out last night to pound the pavement to bring you some riveting accounts from Seattle’s finest. I asked everyone in the video just one simple question, “How Was It?” The rest was up to them. Thanks to everyone on Capitol Hill last night who indulged me.

Continue reading "How Was It?: The Streets" »

Update on Webcaster Royalty Rates

posted by on June 8 at 10:48 AM

A recent story in Line Out crying wolf about the impending death of web radio (don’t worry) reported how new performance royalty rates for webcasters could shut down many small webcasters. Most of the information reported came from, a front group for the big webcasters. SaveNetRadio is funded by DiMA, the lobbying arm for AOL, Yahoo, Real, etc.

Since then, SoundExchange has offered, but small webcasters have not accepted, a deal allowing small (under $1,250,000 in revenue) webcasters to pay just 10 percent of their first $250,000 in revenue and 12 percent above that to the cap of $1,250,000.

SoundExchange has also offered noncommercial stations lower rates. Stations at schools with under 10,000 students would pay an annual fee of just $250, and stations at schools with over 10,000 students would pay $500. They have a listener cap that, by their own evidence, 99 percent of colleges will not come close to during this license period. If they exceed the cap, instead of the rate set by the CRB of .11 cents, these services would pay .02 cents (two hundredths of a penny) for each song streamed if they exceed their cap. This rate is five times lower than the CRB rate and would significantly reduce any additional obligation.

What hasn’t been discussed much in all the hyperbole about the potential death of web radio is the value of music. First, realize that when it comes to terrestrial radio (AM/FM), the United States is the only country that doesn’t require a royalty be paid to the owner of the recording and the artist. Because the U.S., due to the powerful lobbying efforts of the NAB, doesn’t pay this royalty, it also isn’t paid to U.S. artists in other countries. So a beloved indie band like the Gossip who is getting a ton of airplay in the UK, isn’t getting paid what they should be. And in the U.S., where almost every station is owned by billion-dollar-per-year corporations, these corps get to make money off the backs of the musicians. The royalty in the web-radio debate is the same royalty. Thanks to artist-rights groups and labels, webcasters do have to pay a performance royalty. And it’s not much: Based upon various studies of internet-radio listeners, an independent source calculated that the average internet-radio listener would consume 473.2 hours of music per year and the artist and label would receive $8—473 hours of music for $8 seems like a pretty good deal. In 2010 when the new rates in question peak, a listener listening to 40 hours of music per week would require a service to pay $1.14 in royalties. So 40 hours of music for less than half a latte! Or 160 hours of music per month for $4.56.

But many small webcasters still claim they can’t afford to pay this, so SoundExchange has offered them a break. However, many of them wish to pay nothing for their music, claiming the airplay they offer sells albums and so the artist and labels are already benefiting. Of course this argument would never hold up if applied to any other art form. If I were to make a movie based on someone’s book, I have to pay for the book rights even the the film will no doubt lead to increased book sales. Like any property, recorded music is owned by someone, it has value, and the creator and owner of the copyright should be able to receive payment when it is used, especially when it is used to make a profit. SaveNetRadio of course would argue that they have the support of many musicians. However, of the 400 artists who have provided testimonials for SaveNetRadio, 90 percent have never been reported on a playlist by the stations reporting to SoundExchange. On the other side, there are 3,000 SoundExchange artists and independent label members who have written to Congress in support of the value of music, and over 20,000 musicians are members of SoundExchange.

Due to the lobbying efforts of DiMA, the usually fair minded Jay Inslee has introduced a bill in the U.S. Congress that is supposed to help little guys but ends up being a land grab for the 20 largest webcasters who pay in 95 percent of the webcasting royalties. If the bill passes, artists and labels will have to return $12 million in royalties these services have already paid under rates they agreed to in 2005. The Inslee bill not only overturns the CRB rates but discounts rates that were set in 2002 by the initial arbitrators and approved by the Librarian of Congress by over 70 percent—a windfall of over $75 million for the 20 largest webcasters, many of whom have market capitalization individually that is larger than the entire recording industry. Fourteen of the 20 have market caps over 1 billion. No doubt why SaveNetRadio/DiMA support the Inslee bill. Musicians should realize that if they have received royalties for web-radio play, they will have to pay them back. Which means indie musicians returning money to AOL, YAHOO, Clear Channel, etc. Small webcasters should accept SoundExchange’s offer, and Inslee should stop supporting the megamedia corporations over musicians.

On the Major League Baseball Draft

posted by on June 8 at 10:46 AM

As astute readers may have surmised, Fnarf and I, along with Dylan and a few other commenters, are devout Seattle Mariners fans. And don’t think our fandom’s restricted to watching FSN, reading the fishwrap, and mentioning the Mariners once or twice on Slog.

Fnarf and Dylan are loyal readers of the fine, well-written and researched Mariners blog USS Mariner. I pop in there and get in arguments with Dave CamERRRRRR, offer some commentary from time to time, but my Mariners blog of choice is Lookout Landing, run by a young, prolific writer named Jeff Sullivan who has also helped popularize the use of Win Expectancy statistics. He makes charts (often decorated with some topical photos) after every Mariners game (a sample).

I suddenly and, admittedly, inexplicably took on the responsibility of writing the Minor League Wrap-Up, a recap of how the Mariners minor leaguers are doing at their respective levels, for the LL blog. A fellow writer named Devin previously handled the duties, but life’s complications intervened and he had to abandon it midway through last year. I had wanted to see someone else take it on, but seeing that no one else did, I decided to take matters into my own hands. The results have been better than expected.

Since I’m displaying a clear inability to get to the point today, I’m moving along: I’m no expert, but I think I have done enough research and possess enough knowledge to say this with some sort of credibility:

The Major League Baseball Draft is not a big deal.

Yesterday, for the first time, MLB televised the first round of the draft. Seeing the obvious success of TV coverage for the NBA and NFL drafts, MLB decided to go for it this year. There are, however, some obvious problems and differences:

1. Nobody knows who the hell these kids are. Okay, sure, educated bloggers probably know the top 40-50 names on the draft board, but these are high-school and college kids. High schoolers obviously receive no real TV coverage and the only time we see college baseball on a mainstream level is the College World Series, and that’s just the eight best teams out of hundreds. It’s not like college hoops with the constant TV games and the NCAA Tournament. It’s not like college football, where the sports world stops on Saturdays in the fall to watch these kids play on network TV. College baseball players play in near-total anonymity. Last year, UW had one of the best pitchers in the country, Tim Lincecum, and outside of Conor Glassey, myself and a few others, no one in Seattle knew who the hell he was. You think if UW basketball had an All-American center or UW football had an All-American QB, that he’d be as anonymous?

2. The draft pool is far too large. The NBA Draft is only two rounds long, which means only 60 guys are getting picked, which means that the networks can focus their coverage on the best players. The NFL Draft is larger, at seven rounds, but given the coverage and focus from each college team’s fanbase, and given the numerous roles filled on a football team, you can still focus on a handful of guys at each position and gain familiarity. Plus, of the dozens of players who graduate, only a handful of them are good enough to gain attention from scouts and get drafted.

The MLB Draft lasts an astoundingly long 50 rounds, plus compensation rounds (teams that lose players to free agency often get compensation draft picks in return). And it used to be LONGER: once-great slugger Mike Piazza was a 60th-round selection back in the day. Remember, every college, every high school, every community and junior college, graduates dozens of kids who have enough skill to warrant consideration for a draft pick. The marginal difference in skill between players gets negligible even at the top of the class. Imagine the sameness of the peloton for a draft pool with a couple thousand baseball kids.

Add in the lack of general coverage for these kids pre-pros, and there’s no way the casual fan can decipher one player from another.

3. Even the best draft picks are a long, long way from the majors. For the uninitiated, baseball’s minor leagues are composed of several levels resembling Dante’s 7 Levels of Hell. There’s Triple A, the closest level to the majors (most big-league callups come directly from Triple A… Double A (not all of them, though: last year’s laughably bad Mariners backup catcher, Rene Rivera, is currently stashed at AA West Tennessee)… and then separate levels of Single A: High Single A, Single A and Short Season Single A. And then there’s Rookie ball and Extended Spring Training, which usually take place in Arizona.

With very few exceptions, basically every player drafted gets put in either rookie ball or is used to fill out the Short Season A squad, which starts play, coincidentally, a few weeks after the draft. You need to do well or show skill improvement to earn a callup to the next level.

With the top draft picks, and I mean the first round and that’s it, it’s only a matter of time before they reach the bigs unless you’re a bust. For everyone else, the chances are dim even if you do well out of the gate: 90-95 percent of minor leaguers never reach the bigs, and many of those that do reach the bigs don’t stick around for long. Between the sameness of your fellow competitors, the injuries that derail baseball careers, players who succeed at one level and hit a wall the next… trying to get to the bigs is like running across a battlefield without a weapon or any body protection.

It’s hard to get excited for kids who may never step on a big league ballfield. Compare this to the NBA, where the draft pick can step in and play immediately, but usually at least gets a spot at the end of the big club’s bench (or at worst, a year of seasoning in the D-League)… or the NFL, where top draft picks are usually taking the field immediately. And in both cases, kids sometimes become instant stars. That doesn’t happen in MLB.

It’s been done, but the names on this list indicate that, even then, glory isn’t likely.

4. As a result, the waste-time-and-talk format of draft coverage just doesn’t work. NFL and NBA work off their own clocks and, when a team’s ready to pick, they can walk up there before their time was up. But ESPN insisted on making MLB wait the full five minutes between picks during their first-round coverage, to mix in commercials and analysis. Before coverage, the picks were made in bang-bang fashion. The TV coverage slowed down a speedy process and had nothing to offer in the interim other than the same commercialized crap. Plus, all that other stuff I said.

This fails. Take it off TV.

I’m Gonna Break My Rusty Cage and Run

posted by on June 8 at 10:39 AM

Looks like skanky hotel heiress Paris Hilton could be headed back to the pokey, and not the kind of pokey where she’s facedown on 600-thread-count sheets, getting a good rogering from some equally vapid piece of Hollywood man meat.

According to US magazine, my favorite piece of garbage disguised as news, Ms. Hilton’s early release from the Century Regional Detention Center has outraged prosecutors for the case and the superior court judge is none-too-pleased with the whole mess.

Full details here.


Pervy Teacher Arrested at Seattle School

posted by on June 8 at 10:33 AM


The talk of the middle-school crowd in Seattle is the latest bust of one of Whitman Middle School’s molestors teachers for having child pornography on his computers at home and at school.

This came, as it almost always does, as a total surprise to the students of Whitman Middle School, even the ones that had him for a teacher. But not for Seattleites long used to hearing about teacher-student relations that make national headlines… as in Mary Kay Letourneau.

As Charles Mudede would say, it’s good to know what local teachers are thinking about—and a focus on students always leads to better education…

Naturally, the reaction from some local middle-school students could best be expressed, as Ian in Seattle (aka John Hamsta) did last night: “HOLY CRAPZ!”

Logo, My Ass. No, Really.

posted by on June 8 at 10:17 AM

Yesterday Bradley Steinbacher slogged about the seizure-inducing Olympic logo, but had a different take on it. Apparently some people think the new Olympic logo looks like Lisa Simpson giving head.


Hmm. Kind of a stretch, but on their page about the Most Unfortunate Logos Ever my favorites are the ones that ambiguously suggest pedophilia. Heh. Have a look at some of the images people think best represent their businesses.


Brazilian Institute for Oriental Studies


posted by on June 8 at 10:01 AM

Staying home this weekend and watching DVDs.


The weather is supposed to royally suck this weekend and unless you already have tickets to SIFF I suggest just staying home and watching any number of DVDs that came out this week.

Personally, I am going to make a big batch of spaghetti and meatballs and get fat watching The Sergio Leone Anthology, which includes remastered, full-length cuts of Leone’s three Clint Eastwood westerns: A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and his lesser known James Coburn-Rod Steiger western, Duck, You Sucker (aka A Fistful of Dynamite).

This eight-disc set comes with 10 hours of extras including every deleted scene that has survived, interviews with surviving cast and crew members, period advertising, and recent visits to the locations that were used 40 years ago. Add Leone’s two-disc deluxe version of his 1968 masterpiece Once Upon a Time in the West that came out a few years ago and you have a solid 25 hours of Anglo-Italian goodness.

Kathy Griffin—Her Life on my Shitlist

posted by on June 8 at 9:57 AM

My girlfriend and I recently gave into the bored and disaffected bourgeois yearnings of our hearts and had cable TV installed. Since that day, watching television has been a celebrated event in our home.

“Have you been watching TV?”

“Yes, since I got home.”

“Yay! Good work! “


A couple nights ago I was home and, in the grand (if brief) tradition of our household, watching TV. Kathy Griffin—My Life on the D-List was on Bravo in some kind of Kathy Griffin marathon including her standup show and the new season premiere of her series. As much as I want to hate Kathy Griffin (because she’s so obnoxious), she does make me laugh. A few things that bothered me about her have been percolating in me since that night.

1. Doesn’t she closely resemble Lady Elaine from Mr. Rogers?



Seriously, except for Kathy’s hair (which is fake), they could be twins. Same sharp pronounced chin, same bulbous nose, same red and defined cheekbones and scary eyebrows; it’s uncanny. It’s like the more Kathy tries to be beautiful (she’s admitted to having lots of cosmetic surgery) the scarier she gets. Without makeup she looks like a normal (and homely) woman, but with all of that cakey face paint on she becomes some creepy drunk carousel attendant of an imaginary world.

By the way, I don’t feel the least bit guilty about criticizing her looks, and if you’ve ever watched her standup you’d understand why. The woman makes a living being a total bitch to whomever she wishes. It’s hilarious.

2. She claims to have the gay demographic on lock.

She goes on and on about her gays, and gay this, gay that. That bugs me. Who does she think she is… Margaret Cho?! I don’t think so. Like a crack baby with tons of health problems, Kathy Griffin was adopted by the gays because no one else wanted her. She loves us because we’re the only ones willing to give her a chance in this cold, cruel world (gays love an underdog). Will she abandon us when she’s finally upgraded to the C-List? Only time will tell.

This woman has a voice like nails on a chalkboard and tells frantic stories about her brief encounters with celebrities who constantly dismiss and belittle her. She gives off a vibe of dejection and inferiority that makes me want to break her. I think it’s a Darwinian instinct on my part. She’s weak and compromises the integrity of the human race.

I appreciate her standup, but what does she leave you with? A few spent laughs, and that’s it. There’s no sound bite, there’s no catchphrase, there’s no joke that you can pipe up with at a party. It’s just some desperate woman telling her stories of brief encounters with those who are more famous and more talented than she. Her self-esteem is all tied up in price tags, status, and celebrity acquaintances. It’s sad. She’s sad.

And that’s what’s funny.

Isaiah Washington Fired

posted by on June 8 at 9:44 AM

Looks like that PSA Isaiah Washington made isn’t doing his career any good. Washington has been fired from Grey’s Anatomy.

While this does mean he’s losing out on a lucrative career on a hit show, if he disavows the PSA he made, maybe he can get nominated for Surgeon General.


posted by on June 8 at 9:42 AM


People who complain that Seattle doesn’t have enough “open space” usually turn out to be unaware of much of the copious amount of it we do have, sometimes in the most unexpected places. It’s not always easy to find. I had often wondered about some mysterious park-like spots along West Marginal Way, on the West Seattle side of the Duwamish, but I could never find out anything about them on the city’s Parks Department web page.

That’s because they’re not City of Seattle parks. They’re Port of Seattle parks.

For all of the many malfeasances of Mic Dinsmore’s and Pat Davis’s crony operation down on Port 69 (where elected officials and port businesses gather to fellate each other), they did a fantastic and largely unheralded job building a network of waterfront parks. Some of these fulfill the classic parks ideal of picnic tables in a field of grass, but they also don’t shy away from the truth about Seattle’s waterfront. Work goes on there, heavy industrial work, work that is a lot of fun to watch.


These parks are tucked in between working port sites and can be hard to spot. Some of them have sexy, romantic names like “T-105 Park”, but don’t let that put you off. They’re quite pretty, and have lovely river views. The Duwamish lives beneath the radar of most Seattleites, but it is the center of our Indian heritage, our early white settler heritage, and our industrial heritage.

The last time you filled your tank with gas, it probably came from a truck distributing the contents of one of the storage tanks on Harbor Island; there’s a nice park there at Terminal 18 that only a few skateboarders seem to know about, where you can watch those trucks go by.


Sure, the water’s weirdly grey in a lot of places, and the mud seems somehow more than just mudlike, and some things glisten with an oily sheen that strictly speaking shouldn’t, but what’s a little toxic waste between friends? There are informative signs detailing the Indian and white history of the area, and there’s a bike path running own West Marginal between several of the parks. You can see the working waterfront too. Check it out.

This is supposed to be a restored salmon spawning ground in T-107. The salmon are reportedly skeptical.


All photos by Fnarf.

The Languages of Brown People

posted by on June 8 at 9:25 AM

Whenever the English as official language or English only bullshit comes up, I can generally blow it off, but KUOW had to have an hour long show on the subject that put paid to the idea that the listeners of public radio are any more intelligent than rest of America. I think the following quote encapsulates the debate beautifully:

“I think that English should be the official language out of the principle of E Pluribus Unum.”

I was driving when the idiot caller said that, and I was pissed enough at the unseen and uncommented on irony of that statement to nearly get in an accident.

The show went only slightly into the details of the amendment to the quickly dying immigration bill, and here’s the skinny: It would say that English is the official language of the US. However, since actually denying non-English speakers any services or rights would be unconstitutional, any place where previous law carved out an exemption would stand, meaning that non-English speaking defendants would still be entitled to a court appointed interpreter at government expense. Ballots would still be printed in multiple languages. Health agencies would still put out information for speakers of every language with a significant presence in an area.

In other words, it would be purely symbolic. The message: “Fuck you, brown people! Your languages are stupid. USA! USA!“ I mean, anyone out there that thinks that this is aimed at the German speaking town of New Braunfels, Texas, is deluded.

The hypocrisy of this makes me want to scream more than usual. Let’s start with the fact that the English colonists who came to the US were a minority of European colonists. Then, let’s point out that when the Continental Congress was deciding on a language of government, German lost by one vote. Next, these English colonists who gained their independence bought a parcel of land from the French who had gotten it from the Spanish. There weren’t a lot of fucking Americans going to the Louisiana Purchase saying, “Now that we’ve come into this French and Spanish speaking territory, we ought to learn the languages,” just a lot of cursing filthy papists and their languages. Same pattern after the Mexican-American War, except that the children of Spanish, Navajo, Apache, and Pueblo speakers were stolen and beaten if they spoke their native languages.

Getting into the modern day hypocrisy though, is the fact that we’ve based our economy on importing Spanish speakers precisely because their isolation makes it easier to exploit them for cheap, powerless labor. If they spoke fluent English, they wouldn’t be confined to the bottom of the economic ladder, doing the shit jobs American citizens consider ourselves too good for, or at least too good for at the wages employers are offering. (I personally would be happy to change sheets in a hotel—for $25/hr).

So, sure, talk about English as the common and unifying language of the US. That’s both fine and true. But shove your official language bullshit up your ass, and learn a second language.

The Creation Museum Gets Sexy

posted by on June 8 at 9:19 AM

The good people over at, a great blog that keeps track of the ridiculous antics of the religious right, have created a new site dedicated to the new Creation Museum opened by a group called Answers in Genesis.

But of course no Christian craziness is complete without some sort of sex-related scandal. The Associated Press reports that the actor, Eric Linden who plays Adam in the Creation Museum’s film Adam and Eve in the Land of the Dinosaurs, also owns a website called Bedroom Acrobat where he has been shown smiling alongside a drag queen, wearing a shirt with the site’s “sexually suggestive” logo. The film has been pulled from the museum.

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

posted by on June 8 at 8:47 AM

A South King County man, Joel Zellmer, has been charged with first-degree murder in the 2003 drowning death of his then 3-year-old stepdaughter, Ashley McLellan. Bail has been set at $5 million.

This 2003 incident occurred three months after Zellmer’s marriage to Ashley’s mother, Stacey Ferguson, and after he purchased a $200,000 life-insurance policy for the toddler. There have been at least four similar incidents leading up to Ashley’s death, where accidents kept happening to Zellmer’s often insured stepchildren.

The first known case occurred in 1990. Zellmer was accused of breaking the legs of his then 4-month-old stepson in order to collect on a $25,000 insurance policy, for injuries sustained in what his mother reported as a nonexistent car accident.

I was also going to make this post a “Freaky Friday Twofer,” tagging it with Dan’s other regular Slog post “O They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our…” because on KING 5 last night, Zellmer’s “K-Fed Wannabe” son claimed his father couldn’t possibly be guilty because “he is a pastor in our church,” but I couldn’t find the clip and it isn’t mentioned in the news stories I found this morning.


posted by on June 8 at 8:37 AM

…In Reno. But this could be what the future holds for Seattle if our council can’t come together to show some leadership on music and nightlife issues. This story from Reno involves Seattle band the Degenerate Art Ensemble, former Seattle resident Britt Curtis, and a pastor named John Auer (I think not OUR Jon Auer, but things change).

Britt is leading an all-ages music and art space called The Holland Project, which was sited for “disturbing the peace” and shut down just before the Degenerate Art Ensemble could perform. The Vietnam vet with a crocheted American-flag wreath hanging on his door who made the complaints that resulted in The Holland Project being shut down says, “I shouldn’t have to put up with all the teenagers.”

Our council needs to keep this in mind when crafting new noise rules or strengthening current nuisance laws to deal with nightlife issues. One pissed off old dude who doesn’t like teenagers can stir up a lot of shit. With new condos moving in across from the new Vera Project I wonder how long it will be until a similar thing happens there. However we solve the current nightlife issues, we need to create rules that won’t allow one neighbor to ruin a venue that serves thousands of people.

The Sublime vs. The Merely Beautiful

posted by on June 8 at 8:35 AM

Photo of Fnarf (c) 2007 John E. Hollingsworth.

The concept of “beauty” as imagined by the Platonic philosophers is inadequate to describe all of the fearful and irregular forms of nature. The conventional beauty of the Northwest (expressed in mountains, evergreen trees, blue skies, blue water) fails to full range of feelings aroused by this gold man. These feelings can be called “the sublime.”

While Plato believed that the beautiful and the sublime were harmonious, later thinkers such as Edmund Burke and Immanuel Kant recognized that there was a depth of experience, characterized by awe and an awareness of the “dark, uncertain, and confused”, that simple beauty, however pleasurable, could never encompass. The gold man in nature brings to us what Schopenhauer called “the fullest feeling of sublime”—the immensity of the universe’s extent, and pleasure from one’s oneness with nature.

This picture, however, is merely beautiful.

Photo of Ash Grove Cement, Seattle, (c) 2007 by Fnarf.

Bring It On

posted by on June 8 at 8:25 AM

It only seems appropriate that my first post should be about The Stranger, since ye olde Slog writers are continually getting flak for talking about themselves. I’m actually a fan of the self-referential posts and the overwrought inner workings of the staff. It’s kinda like spying on that weird neighbor across the street or eavesdropping on the bus.

Since we’re all slogging from the comforts of our homes or (non-Stranger) offices today, there won’t be any Overheard in the Office posts concerning crazy things Charles has uttered, wacky outfits worn by Nipper, or disgusting foodstuffs making the rounds in Editorial.

Sigh. It’s gonna be a long day.

Thankfully, I’ve got dirt on Christopher Frizzelle and Eric Grandy to share, after conversations with both of them at the packed-to-the-rafters CSS show at Neumo’s last night. I am beginning to believe that Freaky Friday is actually an experiment in psychological terror, possibly conceived by the Editorial staff while stoned out of their gourds on wacky tabacky.

I should state this for the record: I like Christopher and Eric. I have disagreed with them many times in the past, and hope to do so again in the future. This does not mean I don’t think they are good dudes. I am happy to know them. I cannot, however, overlook the diabolical glee they each exhibited when discussing today’s switch-a-roo.

Christopher was positively giddy when telling me that he could hardly wait to comment on whatever we post. “You can dish it, but can you take it?” he asked, with a suspicious grin on his face. He then voiced his concern about the volume of today’s content. “I don’t know how you guys will keep up,” he said, proudly adding that Thursday’s Slog post total hovered around 40.

I had to remind him that the twenty-plus Editorial staffers that churn out such numbers are actually paid to write, unlike the motley assortment of nine ne’er-do-wells they’ve assembled here today, most of which will be furtively posting while employed at places other than Stranger.

Eric was more understated in his attempts to psyche me out. We talked a little local music world gossip and shot the shit about the Line Out segregation and their lack of participation in today’s inevitable online chaos. It was a fun and friendly conversation. But, under his genial manner and honest enthusiasm beat the heart of a warrior. I could see the look in Eric’s eyes and it all but screamed, “I’ll get you, Kerri Harrop, and your little dog, too!”

Payback, as they say, is a bitch. Let the games begin.

The Morning News

posted by on June 8 at 8:11 AM

Apartment 3-G: Smokin’ über-bitch Margo does not like being woken up early.

G-8: Bush to meet new French prez Sarkosy, agrees to bullshit some more on climate change.

Toss Your Charger: MIT scientists reveal successful wireless electricity test.

Confined: Skanky heiress can party in home detention; treatment sparks righteous anger.

Rejoice!: M’s select 18-year-old Québécois prep pitcher with #11 draft pick.

Salmonella: Your feeder is killing the birds—supposed to be cats’ job.

Smart: Tiny Smart ForTwo starts US tour, set for first official sale in January.

Lotto: County hopes to win 150 mil fed $ for 520 electronic tolling.

Wolves: Wolverhampton Wanderers sale for £10 nears completion.

Oh, and Basketball: Some teams played Game One of a tournament.

Since I don’t know anything about Star Wars, I offer instead this classic indiepop hit of the week: The Men of Westenesse doing “The Coldest Water” from 1989.

Early Friday Soccer Report

posted by on June 8 at 8:09 AM

In case anyone cares about USA Soccer, they won yesterday.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Freaky Friday

posted by on June 7 at 11:00 PM

Tomorrow is Freaky Friday on Slog. We’re turning our blog over to nine of our most prolific commentors (commentators?) for the day. Below, the Freaky Friday crew introduce themselves. Some of us are terrified that these folks will do a better job of Slogging than we do. If it works out all right, we’ll likely do it again—so don’t fret too much if you weren’t among the chosen few this time. The fun starts tomorrow at 8:00 a.m.

ELSWINGER I’m 43, have lived in Seattle for 17 years, grew up in several towns in Thurston County and graduated from Evergreen in 1990 (btw, I’m a slacker, not a hippie). At Evergreen I was a film major, which has prepared me for my career as a secretary at the UW. I collect music (about 5,000 albums) and watch a lot of TV and DVDs. I have no clue as to what I’ll Slog about but I read about 5 real news, and 5 entertainment news pages before work. I’m an agnostic lefty but I don’t beat people over the head with my beliefs, or lack of them.
CAROLLANI Carollani has lived and worked in the Seattle area since the fall of 1999, when she emigrated from a small eastern Washington town to attend The Art Institute of Seattle. She’s been an avid blogger since 2000 and has maintained a small and loyal readership despite her mediocre accounts of daily activities and trite musings. She also is a contributor to The Snog—a blog about freshwater snails (a thrilling read)—and answers boring and/or bizarre questions from time to time at Queries for Carollani—a total failed ripoff of Savage Love. It should be noted that she is completely incapable of writing a bio for herself that isn’t entirely self-deprecating despite her monstrous ego and penchant for pretension.
FNARF Fnarf (Steve Thornton) was born in Seattle a thousand years ago, but has lived in Oregon, California, Massachusetts and New York, which gives him the perspective needed to impose his incessant, idiotic ranting on all manner of urban and economic issues. A fat, foulmouthed drunk, he is also an expert on indiepop (he has run the premier indiepop mailing list,, for over a decade), fashion (he particularly enjoys loafers and ascot ties), English League soccer, English literature, liquor, religion (he is an atheist), gay culture (he is straight), and attacking the personal opinions and choices of others. He has been arguing for the sake of arguing on various portions of the internet since 1987. He works as a computer network boffin in Seattle, and lives near (not in) the zoo with his wife, who wishes to be left out of this, and a bunch of fish.
WILL IN SEATTLE When not commenting on Slog, Will has been known to be overinvolved in the film, arts, environmental, transit, and political communities, or finding cures for diseases that afflict millions of people. And he actually lives in Fremont, not Seattle, with a Diplomatic Passport from the Republic of Fremont.
GITAI Gitai Ben-Ammi was born in Roswell, New Mexico and has had to deal with stupid alien jokes ever since. Upon graduating from high school, he fled to Seattle, went to UW, and decided that living in a place where a penchant for using fifty-cent words, comparing peoples’ romantic situations to Abelard and Heloise, and babbling in Hebrew while drunk are considered charming quirks of personality was a good place to call home. He is currently squandering his liberal arts degree by whoring himself out as an insurance agent.
MIKE IN MO I’m 33, of Mexican descent. I have a BA in Spanish from the U of Missouri St. Louis. I work for a big huge evil corporation, but I try not to think about it too much. My family is pretty conservative, but I’m the black-sheep liberal. I’ve been Slogging since about a year ago when I discovered while I was searching for Dan Savage’s pieces. You can tell him that; I know how he loves having his ego stroked….
KERRI HARROP I was born at Swedish hospital and spent most of my years growing up in the suburban misery of Bothell. I found out about punk rock in the summer of 1981 and it totally changed my life. I’ve traveled a fair amount and spent part of my young adult years living in London, but my heart belongs to Seattle.

I’ve had a variety of fun and interesting jobs at places such as Sub Pop Records, Seattle Weekly, Chop Suey, and Miller High Life. I’ve been a barista, a bartender, a booking agent, a band wrangler, a sales director, a marketing manager, and a freelance writer, among many other things. I like to switch things up.

I started DJing in the early ’90s and have since played records under the name DJ Cherry Canoe at spots such as the Showbox, the Gorge, the Rainier Club, and virtually every rock club and bar of note in Seattle. I still only play vinyl.

I like smart and funny people with good manners. I miss the rough and tumble feel of old Seattle but don’t want to be a curmudgeon about it. I love sushi from Mashiko, Margaritas on the War Room deck, and the catfish sandwich from Matt’s in the Market. You probably could not pay me enough to live on Capitol Hill again. I sometimes Google myself, just to find out what the hell I’ve been up to.

GOMEZ A worker drone and student who doubles as a pedantic asshole who doesn’t cite his sources, Gomez is the commenter who everyone* wishes would shut up. Forever.

* Well, everyone who doesn’t get it, anyway.

MEINERT Dave Meinert is a graduate of Seattle Christian High School.

SIFF Notes: The Podcast

posted by on June 7 at 9:32 PM

The SIFF Notes podcast for week three is up now over at podcast central. In honor of half the festival being halfway over, we only talk about the good stuff. Enjoy.

They’re Out in Force at the Venice Biennale

posted by on June 7 at 7:13 PM

The biggest art exhibition in the world has begun to accept visitors, and the critics are blogging. I won’t be able to send updates tomorrow, when many will probably come in, because of Freaky Friday, but I can tell you who’s out there doing what.

The NYT’s arts blog, Artsbeat, looks like it intends to be all over it, with words and pics.

Time critic Richard Lacayo, the best blogging critic for my money, is already in with some preliminary thoughts about Rob Storr’s big show in the big show.

Charlotte Higgins from the Guardian podcasted on her first day here, and I’d stay tuned to the Guardian blog—it always has something going on. (A good little backgrounder by Adrian Searle here.)

Wish I were there; I’m hoping to go in September. More soon on how the Felix Gonzalez-Torres sculpture of reflecting pools just barely touching (below, installed in the entry courtyard of the US pavilion, photo from the NYT today), almost stood at Western Washington University instead.


Mondrian’s White Space

posted by on June 7 at 6:14 PM

So perfect for ads!


From Bernard Perroud.

Tugboat Annie

posted by on June 7 at 6:00 PM


I had never before seen a movie or play with the name “Annie” in the title. I imagine this was originally an accident, but then it became a way for me to pretend I didn’t know what people were on about when they sang “Tomorrow” at me. And then it became an irrational obsession.

Anyway, I broke my decades-long Annie boycott yesterday for Tugboat Annie (1933), which was filmed on Lake Union and on the Seattle waterfront but set in the hybrid town of Secoma. (Yeah, it’s too close to “glaucoma” for comfort, but I actually think this is a more attractive portmanteau than SeaTac.) The audience was seeded with lots of local film critics, but mostly I saw the characteristic turtlenecks and chignons and woolly beards of the native Seattleite.

I like to read early film criticism to make myself feel better about my writing, so it’s with no small quantity of glee that I give you an excerpt from Mordaunt Hall’s original New York Times review of the film.

That grand actress, Marie Dressler, delivers an even more effective characterization than usual in her latest picture, “Tugboat Annie,” which is based on a series of magazine stories written by Norman Reilly Raine. In this film, now on exhibition at the Capitol, she appears as the often troubled, determined, but always sympathetic Annie Brennan, who is the guiding spirit of the Pacific Coast tugboat Narcissus. And Wallace Beery, who was teamed with Miss Dressler in the enormously successful “Min and Bill,” gives an excellent account of himself as Terry, Annie’s bibulous spouse.

Not only is Miss Dressler’s part more satisfactory than those she had in her previous pictorial ventures, but the story, with all its rambunctious mirth and its spells of sentiment, is superior to the other vehicles. The episodes in which Terry indulges his taste for alcohol are set forth in such a humorous fashion that they aroused loud waves of laughter from the audience at the first show yesterday.

Bibulous is a good word, though. It means either “absorbant of moisture” or “addicted to drinking or tippling.”

A more entertaining take on Tugboat Annie can be found in the virtual pages of Time Magazine. My favorite line: “The next three reels of Tugboat Annie show a few more of the things Annie has to put up with.” It’s worth reading the whole thing—seriously. You’ll find out how many massages and colored servants Marie Dressler had at the height of her fame.

The film was based on the Tugboat Annie stories (and illustrations) in the Saturday Evening Post.


Historylink denies the claim that the titular Annie Brennan was based on Thea Foss, the original Puget Sound lady tugboat titan. But her descendants’ tugboat Wallowa (afterward called Arthur Foss) was used extensively in the film.

The movie suffers from the awkward transition (noted by the Time review) between Annie’s husband’s slapstick drunkenness, played for laughs, and his stupid, destructive alcoholism, which nearly derails her career. (Not that the ’30s perspective admits she might deserve one.) And there’s an awful lot of direct-to-camera mugging, occasioned by taxi windows and tugboat fire boxes and so forth. But Annie’s inventive cussing can make you forgive many sins. And how about that tug, huh?


I wonder if Matt McCormick has seen it.

Lord Knows I’m Not the Guy to Ask About Ethical Journalism

posted by on June 7 at 5:52 PM

This is going to be a longish, possibly confusing post, since I have to be very vague about the particulars. Apologies in advance.

I have a friend…let’s call her “Jen,” who works as an editorial assistant at a Seattle publication—kind of a niche publication.
Today, Jen got an e-mail from a writer at a much more prominent Seattle publication—let’s call her “Diane.” The e-mail, minus redactions, went exactly like this:

[Jen,] I’d like to introduce myself. I’m in the market for story ideas, and was wondering if we could talk for a bit. I’d love to know what kinds of issues are going on, if there’s anything recent that’s been frustrating you or a recent…issue that you think is interesting.

I look forward to hearing from you!

All my best,

Jen was confused by this e-mail, because, in addition to being an editorial assistant, she’s a gifted writer herself, and she understands that, in the journalism world, story ideas are kind of the coin of the realm. You don’t just give away your pitches to other people. But Jen was feeling nice, and wondering if maybe the letter was just poorly worded, and so she sent back an e-mail to Diane:


I’ve forwarded your message on to my editor, [Name redacted.] Any story pitches can be sent to her. (Editorial inquiries intended for her often make their way to me).


And Jen dutifully forwarded Diane’s e-mail along to her editor. A few minutes later, she got this response from Diane:


Oh, sorry for the miscommunication! I was just looking to you as someone who might have ideas for a possible story, given your unique perspective. I’m sure you see and hear some interesting things that us common people don’t!


And now Jen was livid. She wrote me an e-mail asking if, in fact, Diane was trying to poach ideas from Jen’s publication and then cover them as if they were her own ideas. Granted, I loathe Diane’s publication, but it looks pretty cut-and-dried: this e-mail might as well read: Do my work for me. So Jen sent an e-mail back to Diane:


As a writer myself, I find it somewhat odd that you are contacting someone at one publication for story ideas for another publication. I’m not sure what you mean by “unique perspective” but clearly I would be professionally and ethically bound to pass along any…story ideas I know of to…my employer.
I hope I was understanding you correctly. If not, my apologies. And, of
course, [Name of publication redacted] always welcomes queries and pitches from [new] writers.

And then, a few hours later, Jen got this response from Diane.

Hi [Jen]— Apology greatly appreciated!

All my best,

And that, besides Jen nearly popping a vein in her brain out of apoplectic rage at the snotty-ass response, was that. I guess I feel as though Diane ought to understand that her e-mails and responses were entirely out of line, if not downright unethical. There are journalistic sources and then there’s scamming ideas wholesale out of other publications by buying coffee for pissed-off interns, and I think that that’s what Diane is doing. I hope that her publication will pay heed to what their writers are doing and maybe tug on the leash a little bit..this town is too small to get away with this kind of bullshit.

Children’s Hospital Vs. Laurelhurst

posted by on June 7 at 5:41 PM


There’s sure to be a hoopla at tonight’s meeting between neighbors and Children’s Hospital execs at Laurelhurst Elementary - located at 4530 46th Ave. N.E. -, which goes from 6-8pm.

Children’s Hospital, located on Sand Point Way, wants to double the size of their 880,000 square foot facility. Super-affluent Laurelhurst neighbors are concerned about the size and scope of the expansion. Watch for Children’s Hospital to finally play hardball with the neighbors.

Sharkwater: The Gospel

posted by on June 7 at 5:41 PM

The man who made the movie Sharkwater is first seen sitting on the bottom of the ocean, hugging a shark. The shark stays in the hug at least five seconds before it swims off.

Later, the man is on the roof of a building, discovering another rooftop full of hundreds of shark fins drying in the sun, in what is a major South American mafia trade. The bad guys scramble to take the fins out of sight and then they give chase. The shark-hugger runs.

There is another chase, too, a boat chase. The shark-hugger joins forces with a badass environmental vigilante who citizen-arrests shark poachers at sea. When the poachers get citizen-arrested by the shark-hugger and the vigilante-boater, the government whose laws they are violating protects them and arrest the shark-hugger and the vigilante-boater instead. A legal chase ensues.

Here’s what the poachers do: They catch the sharks. They pull them aboard. They chop off all their fins. They dump the stubby bloody sharks back into the water, where the sharks sink to the ocean floor and bleed to death.

Sharkwater says that 90 percent of the world’s sharks have been killed in recent years so that class-conscious people can eat fancy sharkfin soup sold to them through powerful organized criminals, and so that superstitious people can eat the ground-down powder of sharkfins although it has not been proven to have any health benefits.

Watch this movie. Start with the trailer above, and then here’s the making-of on YouTube (which includes the hug scene).

Sharkwater plays at SIFF Cinema, down in the bowels of McCaw Opera Hall, tomorrow (Friday June 8) at 7 pm and Sunday (June 10) at 7 pm.

Who Will Be the Next Director of Seattle Arts & Lectures?

posted by on June 7 at 5:19 PM

Just got off the phone with Kim Brown Seely, who’s in charge of the search committee for a new director for Seattle Arts & Lectures. (Seely is vice president of the board.) SAL’s current director, Margit Rankin, announced earlier this week that she is stepping down.

THE STRANGER: I was just looking at SAL’s website, and it says “There are currently no open positions with Seattle Arts & Lectures.” That’s not exactly true.
KIM BROWN SEELY: Well, we have a search committee that is being put together as we speak. We’re launching a national search. The website I suppose is a day or two out of date.

It must be a hard job to do a search for the position, since the right person has to be an excellent administrator with the educational background to oversee SAL’s three educational programs and dream up the lecture series and be its emcee. Have you guys considered dividing the executive director role into two roles, like an artistic director and a managing director?
It’s actually too soon for me to speak to that. We’re looking at a number of possibilities, and the organization has grown to the extent that we may be looking at a different model.

Is the organization secure enough—you’re going into your 20th year—that you guys are willing to take a few more risks?

What about finding a local literary superstar to dream up and emcee the lecture series on a not-full-time basis? Is that a possibility?
It’s way too soon for me to speak to that.

I’ve always thought it would be great to hire someone like Sherman Alexie to do that. He’s great on stage.
It’s interesting that you should bring that up. We’ve been looking at all sorts of different models—maybe even having different people host each lecture. Sherman would be phenomenal.

Does the new director of SAL need to wear glasses? Will that help them in the interview process?
That’s a very difficult question. As someone who’s legally blind, I can’t wear glasses. They would be too thick to wear. Now that’s literary! They would be thicker than coke bottles. [Laughs.] They don’t need to look the part, obviously. We’re looking for someone who’s interested in ideas.

Will you consider internal candidates—current SAL staffers?
It’s too soon to speak to that.

Rebecca Hoogs really smart.
I know.

I know you haven’t even put the whole committee together yet, but if people want to apply, what should they do?
They should contact the office directly.

[Rankin is leaving at the end of July. The official press release about her departure is after the jump.]

Continue reading "Who Will Be the Next Director of Seattle Arts & Lectures?" »

My Kind of Woman

posted by on June 7 at 4:53 PM


Via The Superficial

Gay Activist Leader: Gov. Gregoire

posted by on June 7 at 4:46 PM

Over at their web site, The Faith and Freedom Network (formerly Washington Evangelicals for Responsible Government), Washington’s very own conservative Christian activist group, had this to say about Gov. Gregoire’s proclamation about June as GLBT Pride month.

Here’s the crux of it:

The secularist left and the gay activists could not find a more true and faithful leader than Christine Gregoire.

One has to wonder if the Governor will proclaim next December as Christian Pride month with displays and endorsements or perhaps, since June, a month traditionally known for heterosexual marriages is now the annual gay pride plus month, perhaps July or August could be designated as heterosexual month.

It isn’t likely.

Today in Line Out

posted by on June 7 at 4:11 PM

Bye Bye Cha Cha: One last night at the “hipster coke den.”

Radiohead, Indiana Jones, and Jawbreaker: And my confusing relationship with all three.

Crocodile Jim: The man behind the Croc’s soundboard.

Maldives at the Tractor: Zwickel reviews last night’s show and doesn’t apologize for mentioning Jimmy Buffett.

White Boy: John Lennon still rules.

Pop Quiz!: If you guessed Bon Jovi, you are correct.

Chop Suey, Poster Giant, and Colin Johnson: Club’s owner weighs in on the matter.



Great Experiments in Cunnilingus

posted by on June 7 at 3:55 PM


More women experimenting with bisexuality

More women—particularly those in their late teens and 20s—are experimenting with bisexuality or at least feel more comfortable reporting same-sex encounters, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The survey, released Thursday by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, found that 11.5 percent of women, ages 18 to 44, said they’ve had at least one sexual experience with another women in their lifetimes, compared with about 4 percent of women, ages 18 to 59, who said the same in a comparable survey a decade earlier.

Wow… from 4 percent to 11.5? What percent increase is that? Like, 100 percent +, right? Back to the story…

When it comes to women and same-sex relationships, Mosher said it would be worth studying why young women seek such relationships, and whether they may be trying to avoid diseases more commonly spread through sex with men.

But some experts who study sexuality say it’s even more likely that many college students simply see experimentation as a rite of passage. “It’s very safe in the academic community; no one thinks anything of it,” said Elayne Rapping, a professor of American studies at the University of Buffalo who has written about sexuality.

“But to some extent there’s more talk than action,” she added, noting that the bisexuality label has become a “badge of courage” for some college women, even those who only date men. Meanwhile, she said, men who have same-sex experiences are often less likely to talk about it publicly.

The trend among college women has prompted some sexual behavior experts to light-heartedly refer to the term “LUG,” or “lesbian until graduation,” said Craig Kinsley, a neuroscientist at the University of Richmond who studies the biology of sexual orientation and gender.

Where Will You Be?

posted by on June 7 at 3:36 PM

Look, my computer died, so I’m on borrowed time on a borrowed machine. Please forgive this this subpar slog on a matter of supreme importance.

NBA Finals. Game 1. Tonight. 6 p.m. Stone Buddha vs. King James.

Truth be told, I’m not all that interested in this series. Since the Western Conference Semifinals, the playoffs have brought me little more than heartache and the sound of my own stupid, hollow self-reassurances about next year. Still, I will watch every game. And I will root for the Cavs. It’s not going to be easy, but I like what LeBron has to say for for his team—no logic, no talk of fundamentals, just this: “It’s our time.”


And oh yeah, fuck the Spurs.

Handsome Richard’s Late Night Phosphate

posted by on June 7 at 3:35 PM

If you like Peer Pressure’s divan defilement, then you’ll love…

Please Don’t Push the Pedestrians

posted by on June 7 at 3:35 PM

As a loser pedestrian, with no car or plans to get one, I’ve LONG been annoyed with how Seattle drivers stop traffic to give you a little condescending wave-wave to cross the street. Happens every frickin’ day. It just happened at lunch. Did you ever stop to think, that if I’m not waiting at a cross walk, maybe I don’t want to walk in front of your car? Maybe I’d rather wait until the street is empty? I used to live in Detroit. You definitely WAIT for the streets to clear there. You don’t dare even trust the crosswalks. People there, they drive fast, and they drive HARD.

And in Michigan, crazy things like THIS happen.


Obama’s Quiet Riot

posted by on June 7 at 3:30 PM

The speech that’s causing the stir is here, in full.

Many of the folks in this room know just where they were when the riot in Los Angeles started and tragedy struck the corner of Florence and Normandy. And most of the ministers here know that those riots didn’t erupt over night; there had been a “quiet riot” building up in Los Angeles and across this country for years.

If you had gone to any street corner in Chicago or Baton Rouge or Hampton — you would have found the same young men and women without hope, without miracles, and without a sense of destiny other than life on the edge — the edge of the law, the edge of the economy, the edge of family structures and communities.

Those “quiet riots” that take place every day are born from the same place as the fires and the destruction and the police decked out in riot gear and the deaths. They happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates. Despair takes hold and young people all across this country look at the way the world is and believe that things are never going to get any better. You tell yourself, my school will always be second rate. You tell yourself, there will never be a good job waiting for me to excel at. You tell yourself, I will never be able to afford a place that I can be proud of and call my home. That despair quietly simmers and makes it impossible to build strong communities and neighborhoods. And then one afternoon a jury says, “Not guilty” — or a hurricane hits New Orleans — and that despair is revealed for the world to see.

Hall Monitor

posted by on June 7 at 3:18 PM

Lisa Herbold, superstar aide to Council President Nick Licata, called me with a “tiny little complaint” about my article in this week’s paper. The article explains the city waited until after SAM reopened their downtown museum to announce that Hempfest could use SAM’s sculpture park as an access route to Myrtle Edwards Park this August. In other words, the city wouldn’t piss off SAM until after their big gala.

Herbold was disappointed because I omitted mention of Licata’s efforts to mediate a solution. I didn’t have room in the printed piece to include Licata’s role, but there’s room in these here tubes.

Over the past year, Licata and his staff spent dozens of hours trying to find an access agreement between SAM and Hempfest. He coordinated numerous meetings, including representatives of SAM and Hempfest, the Council’s Parks Committee chair David Della, and the council’s Public Safety Committee. He even wrote an official letter last year asking SAM not to excavate a beach on the waterfront, which would severely narrow the path to Myrtle Edwards Park. Yet SAM dug it out anyway—SAM was the 800-pound gorilla on the waterfront. Licata did his best and deserves credit for his efforts. Several other factors lead to the city’s decree: The law department knew the city didn’t have a legal leg to stand, as was clear from the autocratic letter sent to SAM last month; newspapers gave SAM and the city bad ink; and an audit of the city’s Special Events Committee requested by Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck put the entire process under a microscope.

Which of the councilmembers, meetings, legal threats, news stories, legal department edicts, or invisible hands from the upper floors of city hall ultimately prompted the city to harsh SAM’s mellow? It is undoubtedly a confluence of factors, but, for whatever reasons, the official interpretation of the two-year-old waterfront-use agreement wasn’t made in Hempfest’s favor until one week after SAM’s re-opening.

Benoit Astonishes Me

posted by on June 7 at 3:13 PM

I just want to salute Paul Constant on his wee review of The Little Girl and the Cigarette, which I also read and loved:

The Little Girl and the Cigarette

by Benoit Duteurtre

(Melville House) $ 14.95

You’ve got to hand it to the French. Benoit Duteurtre is a young satirist who’s written 10 books, and Milan Kundera has sung his praises. Duteurtre has a reputation as a rabble-rouser and provocateur, so what do the French do? They give him his own TV show, called Astonish Me Benoit. Imagine if we did the same in the U.S.—the mind reels at the thought of a 1970s variety show called That’s So Vonnegut.

The Little Girl and the Cigarette is the first of Duteurtre’s books to be translated into English, and luckily the satire translates as smoothly as the language. A man sneaks a forbidden cigarette in a bathroom, when a child walks in on him. The little girl screams bloody murder, and soon enough, the smoker is on trial for pedophilia—corruption of a minor, don’tcha know—while a cold-blooded killer on death row starts spouting Deepak Chopra–like platitudes and the masses scream for his release. Like most satires, the ending is a little weak (can you really remember how Gulliver’s Travels ends?) but the novel goes down swinging—it gets its excited jabs in at everything from the nanny state to the way that children rule the adult world like tiny tyrants. PAUL CONSTANT

Paul Constant, I salute you!

More about Benoit:

•This is his first book translated into English. Which is a fucking shame.

•He was discovered and mentored by Samuel Beckett.

Astonish Me Benoit is actually a radio show (no fault of Paul’s—it was wrong on the press release) on which he plays light opera, Brian Eno, Offenbach, Spike Jones, and whatever else he wants.

•In 1995, he wrote Requiem pour une avant-garde, an attack on the institutionalized “avant-garde” in French music. It made him famous. (He also studied music with György Ligeti and palled around with Iannis Xenakis.)

•You will be hearing more about this guy. He is 47 years old and he’s incredibly smart.

You should read The Little Girl and the Cigarette, even though I have a feeling it isn’t his best work. It’s slim and can be read in a single day in the sun. And it’s got funny, grim scenes, like the terrorist group called John Wayne’s Conscience that kidnaps internationals for ransom and puts on an internet TV show called A Martyr Idol—the hostages have to sing karaoke, dance, answer trivia questions, etc. Viewers can vote and the contestant who gets the fewest is beheaded.

And it has a beautiful cover:


I liked the book so much I wrote to Benoit, though his publisher, and he responded. The complete exchange follows the jump, but here are some bits:

As for poor John Wayne, it’s not really about him—but it is interesting to me that the Islamic terrorists lay claim to an American model that fascinates them in many respects.
The dominant cultural model today is American, and no longer European. And we are partly responsible: in France, for example, the avant-garde of the ‘50s (the “Nouveau Roman”) had a very tedious idea of what was avant-garde literature. For a long time, I myself preferred American novels, because they were about more interesting things about modern life.
Ligeti was the most remarkable, because he had such a free spirit, and we would talk equally about Schumann, the Marx Brothers or Astor Paizzola.
Question: The first page of the novel contains this sentence: “Obviously, the idea of defending the health of a man condemned to death could be considered puzzling, unless you viewed it as a refinement of cruelty.” The book is, basically, about the refinement of the worst parts of life—bureaucracy, terrorism, the worship of the juvenile. Are we all falling more deeply in love with the worst parts of ourselves?
Answer: Yes, certainly.

The whole damn thing follows the jump.

Continue reading "Benoit Astonishes Me" »

Re: Freaky Friday

posted by on June 7 at 3:08 PM

Bet there won’t be any posts about the Port!

Port Update: Fake Candidate?

posted by on June 7 at 2:53 PM

Reform minded Port Commissioner Alec Fisken is already in for a tough reelection. No, he’s not involved in the recent scandal (except that he expressed shock and dismay at the Pat Davis/Mic Dinsmore retirement makeout party), but just like poor Margaret Pageler in strippergate, it’s likely antsy voters will just throw him out too.

Fisken is being challenged by status quo candidate Bill Bryant—who, as ECB first reported, has a history of donating to Republicans.

Well, more bad news for Fisken: A third “candidate” has entered the race, Steve Symms. Now, Symms—the manager of the Seattle office of NYK, a Japanese shipping company—hardly seems like a bona fide candidate. In fact, he hasn’t even registered at the PDC.

Fisken’s theory is that Bryant supporters asked the shipping company exec to put his hat in the ring in order to crowd the field to force a primary—which will make Fisken’s race more difficult.

I called NYK, but the machine that answered said I should disconnect now.

UPDATE: Even weirder. The Steve Symms who’s listed as filing isn’t the Steve Symms at NYK, it’s his uncle, who has the exact. same. name. I interviewed him and he laughed at Fisken’s contention that he’s a red herring candidate. Although he did say he “wouldn’t call it [his campaign] serious because he’s not going to raise the money it takes.” Symms, who’s retired with a part time gig doing security for the fed courts, says his issue is making the port more secure from terrorism.

If You’ve Ever Been Mad About a Parking Ticket, Read This

posted by on June 7 at 2:33 PM

KC Superior Court ruled today that the city of Seattle issued thousands of parking tickets (on holidays) when they weren’t supposed to. Part of the problem—as with the main plaintiff in the case—was that holidays that fall on a Saturday (like New Year’s Day 2005) are supposed to be honored by meter maids on the previous Friday.

I just talked to one of the attorneys on the case, DeWelle Ellsworth, and he says the case will now go to the damages phase, and he estimates that the city is looking at refunds of up to $500,000 for the 4,000 people who were ticketed.

Ellsworth and his co-counsel, David Stobaugh, got hold of SPD records to determine how many people were inappropriately ticketed on the city’s 11 official holidays.

Here’s their press release:

June 7, 2007 — Seattle, Washington C Colette Turner, a Bellevue resident who had come to Seattle to shop, parked at a meter on Friday, December 31, 2004. When Turner returned to her car, she found that she had been issued a $35 parking ticket for failing to pay the meter even though it was a legal holiday. Having seen signs stating that parking was free on Sundays and holidays, she was shocked to be ticketed.

Collette Turner filed a class action lawsuit alleging that the City of Seattle unlawfully enforced metered parking on holidays defined by the City Code as being free parking days. Turner contended that the City unlawfully issued parking tickets and collected parking meter revenue on legal holidays. The Court certified the class on March 30, 2007. The class consists of over 4,000 individuals who received parking tickets on legal holidays and those who paid parking fees on legal holidays.

Today Collette Turner and her counsel received Judge Harry McCarthy’s June 6, 2007 written decision agreeing with Turner that the City of Seattle violated state law and city ordinances by issuing thousands of parking tickets on legal holidays.

SMC 11.14.277 Legal parking holidays. The following are legal holidays: Sunday; the first day of January, New Year’s Day; the third Monday of January, the anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr.; the third Monday of February, Presidents’ Day; the last Monday of May, Memorial Day; the fourth day of July, the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence; the first Monday in September, Labor Day; the eleventh day of November, Veterans Day; the fourth Thursday of November, Thanksgiving Day; the day immediately following Thanksgiving Day, and the twenty-fifth day of December, Christmas Day. Whenever any legal holiday, other than Sunday, falls on a Sunday, the following Monday shall be a parking holiday. Whenever any legal holiday falls on a Saturday, the preceding Friday shall be the legal holiday.

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father—Mitt Romney Edition!

posted by on June 7 at 2:13 PM

I occasionally link to news stories about horrifying tales of child abuse perpetrated by heterosexual parents—a mother and a father—because the religious right likes to run around screaming that “every child deserves a mother and a father!” Never mind that each news cycle clearly demonstrates that every child needs fit parents, period, not parents with a matched set of His and Her genitalia.

My “Every Child…” posts to Slog aren’t beloved by all—so gory, such a downer, so depressing. But this “Every Child…” post doesn’t include a horrifying tale of child abuse, so those with delicate sensibilities can read on.

All I want to do in this “Every child…” post is quote CBN—a conservative Christian news service—quoting Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney has made his support for traditional marriage a major talking point in his bid for the presidency. Constantly you’ll hear him talk about the fact that, “I think every child deserves to have a mother and a father.” He’s also said before that gay marriage is not right on paper or fact.

Needless to say, CBN supports Mitt Romney’s when he parrots their “every child deserves a mother and a father” line. Because every child deserves a mother and a father, every child deserves a mother and a father, every child deserves a mother and a father—yeah, yeah. Tell it to this guy’s kids.

But the CBN story quoting Romney is a slam, actually, and not a wet Baptist tongue slipped up Romney’s tight Mormon asscrack. You see last night in Concord, New Hampshire, an actual lesbian parent—not an abstract argument about lesbian parents, or gay male parents, or what every child “deserves,” but an actual living, breathing, parenting lesbian parent—had the nerve to ask Matt Romney this question:

“I am a gay woman and I have children. Your comment that you just made, it sort of invalidates my family. I wish you could explain to me more, why if we are sending our troops over to fight for liberty and justice for all throughout this country, why not for me? Why not for my family?”

Instead of striding manfully across the stage and slapping the lesbian across her carpet-munching face—the only right thing to do, according to religious conservatives, under the circumstances—Romney said…

“Wonderful, I’m delighted that you have a family and you’re happy with your family. That’s the American way… People can live their lives as they choose and children can be a great source of joy, as you know. And I welcome that. There are other ways to raise kids that’s fine: single moms, grandparents raising kids, gay couples raising kids. That’s the American way, to have people have their freedom of choice.”

Bolds and italics added willy-nilly by yours truly.

Romney’s answer is making heads explode over at CBN, the 700 Club, the American Family Association, Liberty University, et all. Because gay parents aren’t fine with them—and they certainly don’t want same-sex parenting described as “the American way.” The religious right already mistrusts Romney; he used to support gay rights, and abortion rights, and he wears those Mormon underpanties. And if they can’t trust Romney to keep his pandering straight—he was at that event to pander to Christian bigots, not lesbian parents!—how can they trust him at all?

CD Correction

posted by on June 7 at 1:25 PM

This statement is in my current feature, A Central District Story
A Bar, a Mugging, a Protest, and a Misunderstanding

Here’s an interesting note: Not one of Mollmann’s white customers was ever killed or injured by the drug-related violence that regularly went down across the street. For the most part, black guns kill black people

The statement has been proved wrong by Devon Musgrave. From his email, which he allowed me to post:

Hey, Charles. Thanks for your article this week, “A Central District Story.” I especially liked its close; I couldn’t agree with you more.

A small note: I, a white guy and 10-year-resident of Judkins Park, was shot inside the Twilight Exit, when it was on the north side of Madison. The bullet/pellet/whatever is still lodged near my spleen. I don’t know what the incident was related to. I know of no specific drug connection; someone just opened the back door of the bar and fired. (Seattle detectives told me other people were shot in the area that night.) I was taken to Harborview for some entertaining and effective emergency treatment.

The incident, he felt, was not racial but random:

I have no idea who was shooting people that night (or even if it was only one person shooting people). Nor do I care. I consider the incident as proof of the random and often violent nature of existence. And your article prompted me to share a story I find entertaining.
Devon is my kind of existential man.

Neubert: Early and Late

posted by on June 7 at 12:45 PM

Rookie Stranger reporter Jonah Spangenthal-Lee had been pitching (agitating) me for weeks to do something on the Neubert/Tietjen story.

I sighed, “Well, what have you got? The Seattle Times is kicking ass on this story, and so maybe it’s not the best use of your time given how small our newsroom is and how much other stuff we want to cover.”

Jonah, who’d been doing a lot of reporting on the story, was frustrated by my lack of enthusiasm, but dutifully turned back to his other reporting—filing some pretty fat stories for a rookie this past month: last week’s piece on charges of racism at Seattle’s elite Bush School and his scary scoop about a female UW student who couldn’t get campus security to protect her against a troubling ex-boyfriend.

Meanwhile, one particular longtime reader/critic/fan of the Stranger news section (hey, T.G.!) kept reminding me that Jonah’s famous predecessor, Amy Jenniges, and I had done some important and early reporting on Neubert back in the day, and like, why the fuck weren’t we doing anything now?!?

So, before I left for DC last week (to visit my old parents), I changed my tune and gave Jonah the green light.

Burn on me. Jonah hit it hard and landed a sit down interview with George Patterson—the man at the center of the Neubert/Tietjen story. Patterson, of course, is the man who stars in the controversial drug bust video.

And so, while this week’s story is a bit late, Jonah has certainly added a nice addendum to the Seattle Times coverage. It’s worth checking out.

p.s. We’re still working on the video link that we promised. Hopefully we’ll get it to work.

Another highlight from this week’s news section (edited by ECB while I was gone) was apparently a very funny column by ECB, so says ECB.

Jury’s out, but the column does include this sexy tidbit:

Molly Neitzel, Clark’s campaign manager and a former Music for America organizer, resigned on May 31, reportedly in response to Clark’s the nightlife proposal. (Clark brought Neitzel on to fill in for council staffer David Yeaworth back in March, in part to help her formulate nightlife policy.) Neitzel maintains that she left to run another campaign; she acknowledges, however, that “I don’t agree with [Clark’s] position” on nightlife.

How Many Bowel Movements Can Fit Into a Right Whale’s Testicle?

posted by on June 7 at 12:29 PM

How many breast implants can fit into Jennifer Aniston?

How many cans of soda can fit into a spider monkey?

Find out here.

Turn Your Eyes Inside and Dig the Vacuum

posted by on June 7 at 12:18 PM

In this week’s paper, Jeff Kirby writes about Ivan Brunetti’s new book Misery Loves Comedy. Kirby’s description of the book—hateful, self-loathing, misanthropic—is absolutely correct. But I’d like to add that I’ve been following Brunetti’s work for over ten years, and I happen to think that he’s hi-fucking-larious, like an irredeemably nihilistic Woody Allen who’s read too many Nancy comics*. And, more importantly, Brunetti will be appearing at the Fantagraphics store tomorrow night. I can’t make it (work commitments) but you should totally go.

There’s more to Brunetti than what appears in Misery Loves Comedy, of course. His last issue of Schizo, not collected in Misery, hints at personal growth: besides a couple strips that seem to imply that he’s gotten into Hello Kitty worship and also meditation, much of the book, for once, isn’t even all about Brunetti, instead telling cute, one-page stories of great twentieth century artists. He’s also one of the finest comics historians on the planet: he’s versed in just about every style, movement, and obscure 1940’s comic book creator that you’ve never heard of. His Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories is the best comics anthology that’s ever been published. And he’s done a few New Yorker covers that are genuinely sweet.

If you couldn’t begin to care about comic books or cartoonery, but you’ve still read this far, I’d like to give you a consolation prize: the title for this Slog post came from one of Brunetti’s early stories, which in turn cribbed the line from a ca-ray-zee beatnik poetry scene from the movie High School Confidential (a.k.a. Young Hellions.) Here is that scene:

* In the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to point out that though I’ve never met him, Brunetti did the spot illustration for an early Stranger piece of mine, here,and it remains one of my favorites.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on June 7 at 12:00 PM

Christopher Hitchens
(Eloquent Atheism)
You can call Hitchens many things—heretic, traitor, genius, liar, coward, hero, hack (and that’s without going ad hominem)—but “people pleaser” isn’t one of them. His brilliant new book, God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, is a characteristically polemical and belligerent argument against not only the existence of a deity, but against the idea of a deity. Amen, brother. Hitchens will read and debate all comers. He will also be funny and charming and serious and rude. He will also be right. He usually is. (Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Ave, 652-4255. 7:30 pm, $5.) Sean Nelson

Sexy, Sexy Plumbing

posted by on June 7 at 12:00 PM

Posted by Sage Van Wing

In 1991, when Bush’s current Surgeon General nominee, Dr. James Holsinger, was serving on the Committee to Study Homosexuality of the United Methodist Church, he submitted a treatise entitled “Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality.” The treatise claims, among other things, that Gay sex can lead to “lacerations, perforations and deaths.” Holsinger went on to claim that, from a medical perspective:

The logical complementarity of the human sexes has been so recognized in our culture that it has entered our vocabulary in the form of naming various pipe fittings either the male pipe fitting or the female pipe fitting depending upon which one interlocks within the other. When the complementarity of the sexes is breached, injuries and disease may occur.

I always think of my genitalia in terms of plumbing. Clearly our medical decisions should be based on what is common vocabulary.

Not long after writing that paper, Holsinger resigned from the committee because he “felt certain its conclusions would follow liberal lines.” He also warned “that acceptance of homosexuality would drive away millions of churchgoers.” Holsinger went on to serve as Kentucky’s health secretary and chancellor of the University of Kentucky’s medical center. He also, with his wife, founded a congregation in Lexington, Kentucky, which helps some gay members to “walk out of that lifestyle.” According to its pastor, Rev. David Calhoun, Hope Springs Community Church “ministers to people who no longer wish to be gay or lesbian.”

As president of the Methodist Church’s national Judicial Council, Holsinger voted to support a pastor who blocked a gay man from joining a congregation. In 2004, he voted to expel a lesbian from the clergy. The majority of the panel voted to keep the lesbian associate pastor in place, citing questions about whether she had openly declared her homosexuality, but Holsinger dissented.

Doesn’t that sound like just the person you’d like to serve as “America’s Doctor”? (Look here, here, and here for people who have some concerns.)

Free Paris, My Fanny, and a Lusty Message from the Cement Hotel!

posted by on June 7 at 11:50 AM

So. Paris fucking Hilton. Out already. Dammit. Who knew that you could escape jail with note from your doctor? (It worked for gym class, I suppose, and that was very much like jail.) Possibly the greatest disappointment of Paris Hilton’s untimely release from prison (next to perhaps the complete and total corruption of the justice system) is that…well…I was kind of sort of hoping that Paris and I could be pen pals while she was locked up. I really was! They say reprobates go MAD staring at the walls, and just LOVE pen pals. And I was about to totally capitalize on that shit, and send the biznatch my first letter!

Well, it’s a moot point now.

I will have to content myself with this absolutely and entirely real “fan” letter (forgive me), that I received, handwritten in suspiciously ubergirly cursive on blue lined notebook paper, from an actual, genuine INCARCERATED PERSON recently. It gives us an inside peek at the dim, twisted, desperately horny universe that seems to be jail. It will have to do in lieu of a message from Paris. The transcribed text is as follows:

Hey Sexy! How are you? I know you may not know me (I wrote a similar letter around 3 years ago!) but I’m still a fan, and I love your articles. I was just wondering if you were actually gay or not.

I must pause here so that we all may enjoy a hearty chortle. Chortle, chortle! Let us go on…

I love that line about your “great big floppy sausage dick” and I’d love to see you cry when you cum. Hey Adrian, my name is (REDACTED) but I too go by “Adrian”, is there some way I could get a gay pen pal that I can write and send my sexy artwork to? I have so much of it I want to send someone. Please, Mr. Ryan, could you write me back, a LONELY PRISONER WHO ALSO HAS A HUGE SCHLONG and wants to stuff your “malebox” with a special delivery. Come on and let me give you something to write about. Is there a line for that morning blowjob? You know you would love a double size serving of HIV- negative, 100% protein tube steak. Black, bold, strong and thick as a wrist. I got it a head on it the size of a brass doorknob and would love to cause you a little bit of uncomfortable pain when I ease this monster up your fanny. Keep up the good work. Print some of my art in The Stranger.


Good heavens! A special delivery? In my FANNY?! If that’s what prison is about, we may never understand the true reason Paris was so eager to renounce her imprisonment. Never!

The scanned letter (in all its girly cursive glory, and containing the aforementioned “sexy artwork”) is below. (CAUTION! LURID PENISES AHEAD!) Enjoy!

Continue reading "Free Paris, My Fanny, and a Lusty Message from the Cement Hotel!" »

The Underture

posted by on June 7 at 11:47 AM

Since you all loved my Tommy coverage so much (btw dunderheads: In the 7th grade, after I bought the Who album, I drove my mom, dad, and big brother completely crazy because I would not. stop. singing. “I’m a gypsy/the acid queen” over and over for about a month), I wanted to alert you to my coverage in this week’s Stranger of the greatest punk new wave band ever.

Here’ the anti-Ramones thesis statement :

It’s the Kmart barre-chord electric-guitar riffs and spat-out lyrics—”Hero Worship” and “52 Girls” are the standouts—that give the album a “we are fucking serious” octane that the “we are goofing” Ramones never matched. And it is that realization, that the B-52s were fucking serious about their monster-movie shtick, that they meant it when they sang—no, pleaded—”Don’t go on the patio, beware of the pool,” that makes their histrionic pose legitimate and beautiful.

Let There Be Riots

posted by on June 7 at 11:45 AM

If you haven’t heard, asshole heiress Paris Hilton was released from prison this morning, “reassigned” to 40 days home detention.

Clearly, this is a mile-high mountain of bullshit. The official reason for Hilton’s early release: unspecified “medical issues,” which were presumably too great for the prison infirmary to handle but not so serious that Hilton required medical attention beyond what was available at her West Hollywood home, where she was taken upon her release.

Entertainment Tonight reports “Sources close to the Hilton family tell ET the medical reason was actually a rash she developed on her body.” (According to People, Paris was having trouble behind bars. “She cries all day,” a source told the magazine. “She looks unwashed, she has no makeup and her hair is tangled. She cried audibly through the first two nights.”)

Understandably, people are pissed. Count me in.

I wonder how Martha Stewart feels about all this…

Cinema Africa One

posted by on June 7 at 11:44 AM

An action scene from Blood Diamond:
picuteonebd_wlp04_800x600.jpg What is Blood Diamond about? Not Africa, of course, nor about the evils of globalization, but about the maintenance of American middle-class values in the storm of the public’s growing awareness about the evils of globalization.

Middle-class values are entirely attached to property laws. Which is why the marriage in the middle-class system converts love to property, to an agreement, a contract. The symbol of that contract is the wedding ring, which is often the most valuable piece of property in a middle-class home. What Blood Diamond attempts to do is, one, make an ironic connection between the violence in poor West African countries and the diamond on a wedding ring purchased from an American jewelry store: death for love, pain for joy, and so on and so forth; and, two, to provide a solution that adjusts, rather than totally changes, middle-class values. The adjustment that will correct this evil (the false problem) is how one shops, how one buys diamonds and other products originating from the mineral-rich cradle of mankind. But the property value (the real problem) remains in essence the same.

What must be smashed to pieces first is the middle-class mind and its mousey faith in land ownership, in savings, and the laws that convert a marriage into a piece of property. These values are the burden of the world. They fill university class rooms with students not looking for an education (in the Latin sense of that word) but job security, for the sunshine of a big paycheck. The middle-class mind cant produce knowledge or low/high culture because all it can think about is building financial certainty. But the designs of the middle class are the same as a house being built on running water, on a river that can never be crossed twice. The middle-class mind is one of a slave who pays his absent master for the job of overseeing him/herself.

My next images for consideration will be, two…

and three…

My Pleasure, As They Say

posted by on June 7 at 11:43 AM

That’s what David Schmader says, sweetly self-consciously, at the end of a short interview about the narcotics of comedy and his new one-man show, “Litter.” When Schmader talks, and when SuttonBeresCuller reveal their fear of becoming their character, Earl Gray, you should listen.


For myself, I’m going to see them all perform, at On the Boards, on June 16 and 17, in the Northwest New Works Festival.

And this one’s for Charles:


An Olympics Seizure

posted by on June 7 at 11:33 AM

The logo for the 2012 Olympics in London is ugly and all, but now it seems to be causing seizures. From the Guardian UK:

The organisers of London 2012 may have foreseen some of the criticism they have received since unveiling the Olympic logo - variously derided as an uninspiring emblem, a puerile mess, an artistic flop.

But yesterday evening, they were forced to pull the promotional video for the new brand from the official website after complaints from a completely unexpected quarter - Britain’s epileptics.

In the two and a half minute animation, the logo comes alive, springing from athletes’ bodies and bouncing vividly across the city, and one flashing section has triggered seizures.

Here’s the offending logo, in non-seizure-inducing form:


And, lest we forget, here’s Izzy, the mascot of the 1996 games in Atlanta, widely regarded as the worst mascot in the history of mascots:


Poster of the Day

posted by on June 7 at 11:28 AM


The Marooned Art of Sonny Assu

posted by on June 7 at 11:15 AM

In all the architectural and big-name chatter at the SAM opening, many interesting and more obscure artists were pushed aside, most of them dead or at the very least already established (the late John Covert and the very much alive Jo Baer, who was born in Seattle and educated at UW and who might make a good SAM survey considering her various turns, for example).

But then there’s the young Canadian artist Sonny Assu, whose work is marooned in a hallway off the Native American galleries. His cereal boxes are bitingly revamped to reflect the relationship between natives and the governments that screwed them: “Treaty Flakes,” “Lucky Beads,” “Salmon Crisp,” “Salmon Loops,” “Bannock Pops.”


In case you noticed his work dangling out there alone in the hall and wondered in what context it really belonged, Assu will talk about his art and influences Saturday (June 9) at 6 pm at SAM’s auditorium.*

*(We might have Suggested this, or at least run it in the listings, but Seattle Art Museum sent the release about the event after the paper went to press this week.)

Be Careful What You Wish For

posted by on June 7 at 10:40 AM

It’s irritating to listen to Joni Balter this morning griping about the fact that there’s a shortage of candidates running in this year’s city council races.

Nevermind that she’s about a month late on the story, what’s grating about Balter’s column is that a big part of the reason no one is running for city council is this: the Seattle Times invested relentless energy and ink a few years ago branding the council as a “circus animals” council because, in truth, the Seattle Times was scared by the emergence of youthful, progressive, pro-density council members like Heidi Wills and Judy Nicastro. Well, guess what? The anti-council smear campaign worked. Really really well.

Sorry Joni Balter, but by consistently condescending to the youthful, activist council, your paper helped damage its standing. Yes, obviously there were other contributing factors, like strippergate, but the endless “circus animals” drumbeat had a longterm impact. You got what you wanted. No one respects the council.

And so, quality people like Mike McGinn would rather agitate from the outside and Peter Steinbrueck would rather leave.

Righteous Brother

posted by on June 7 at 10:37 AM


The plan was to try and shine a black-light on the engima—not to penetrate it, but to respect it, and to let the music tell its own story.
— Stephen Kijak, director’s statement


After his sixties success with the Walker Brothers ran its course, Scott Walker released several solo albums, then disappeared.
Every few years, a new record would appear, but Walker would not. He wasn’t finished with music, but he was finished with show business. No more interviews, tours, or television appearances.
From now on, the music would have to do the talking.

Stephen Kijak (co-director of the festival favorite Cinemania) discovered the music of Scott Walker in 1990. Eleven years later,
he set out to make a documentary about the man with the bottomless baritone. Five years later, it was finished. Scott Walker: 30 Century Man took so long because Kijak wanted Walker’s permission—and his participation. Countless emails, phone calls, and faxes later, Walker gave his consent. Kijak had earned his trust, and Walker agreed to
sit down for a two-session interview and to allow cameras into the studio during the making of last year’s haunting Drift.

Continue reading "Righteous Brother" »

SIFF 2007: Thursday Highlights

posted by on June 7 at 10:30 AM

If you haven’t seen the print edition of this week’s paper, there’s a sweetened and condensed “SIFF Picks” for week 3 of the festival on page 95. Check it out online here. Daily recommendations for the festival continue below and at

But first, a correction: I promised that Tugboat Annie would contain “extensive footage of the Pike Place Market back in the day.” Actually, the cumulative footage of the Pike Place Market in Tugboat Annie amounts to approximately three seconds. If that. Lots of Seattle waterfront, though. More about that imperfect but highly enjoyable film later, if I get the chance.


Pacific Place, 2 pm. This movie sounds completely absurd. But the most memorable part of every SIFF is seeing ridiculous movies from countries you’ve barely heard of. Hence, I give you Tajikistan’s To Get to Heaven First You Have to Die, about a novel cure for impotency.

Neptune, 4:30 pm. I really like the unusual Israeli coming-of-age movie Sweet Mud. It’s understated and beautiful. But if you want to keep up with the cinephiles, you should probably put your time in at Syndromes and a Century (SIFF Cinema at 4:30 pm), the new film by Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Neptune at 6:30 pm. Charles Mudede fell hard for Sakuran.


Late evening. Two crowd pleasers: the mockumentary American Shopper (Harvard Exit at 9:30 pm) and Hula Girls (Egyptian at 9:30 pm), a Full Monty ripoff with pretty girls in place of fat men.

Cell Phones are Dangerous

posted by on June 7 at 10:24 AM

Cell phones and toilets are a match made in hell—just ask Christopher Frizzelle, who plopped at least one phone into the john last month, or the 850,000 British citizens who drop their cellies down the loo every year.

But none of this can touch what went down yesterday in Sheboygan, WI, where the worlds of cellular communication and standing water collided in a deadly and excessively stinky fashion. From the Fond du Lac Reporter:

A 41-year-old Sheboygan man drowned Wednesday afternoon after getting stuck in a storm sewer while attempting to retrieve a dropped cell phone, police said. Brett R. Gunn, who weighed more than 300 pounds, was wedged with his head and shoulders underwater in a vertical storm drain in front of his home. There was about 12 inches of water at the bottom of the sewer, police said.

Eep. Full story here.

(Updated at 10:38 to fix upside-down W and dumb joke that completely ignored the word “storm” before “sewer.” I’m an idiot.)

She Has a Face: Part III

posted by on June 7 at 10:12 AM

To crib a category from Kathy Fennessy, I have got to talk about Isild Le Besco’s face. Here she is:


But usually she’s playing very young and slightly unhinged sensualists. She usually looks more like this:


I write about Backstage (SIFF 2006) in the DVD column this week. I was impressed by her performance—not to mention her name (Le Besco? what does that mean, woodsy one?)—in that damp-eyed impression of celebrity mania. But she’s even better as a suicidal nurse named Fred in SIFF 2007’s A Parting Shot (original title Pas douce, a reference to Fred’s not-so-soft preferences in bed), which plays again Monday at the rather inconvenient time of 2 pm.

Le Besco has a great body—has she ever not taken off her clothes in a movie made after she was 16?—but her face is completely enrapturing. When she’s blank, she’s creepy. When she’s angry, she’s terrifying. When she smiles, it’s unreal.

I think the first movie I saw her in was Girls Can’t Swim (SIFF 2002). But I realize I’ve missed so many! I was disappointed when I found out that Scarecrow doesn’t have A Song of Innocence (La Ravisseuse), in which Le Besco, as a 19th century wet nurse, stars opposite (be still my heart) Gregoire Colín. But it’s not on DVD. I even checked

Revenge of the Trees

posted by on June 7 at 9:50 AM

Remember that rock climber whose arm was pinned by a boulder? The guy who cut his own arm off with a pocket knife—that guy? Got a book deal, went on Oprah?

Well, he’s got competition.

Alone in the woods with his left leg pinned beneath a fallen tree for 11 hours, a 66-year-old man used pocket knives to cut off his limb below the knee to free himself, a neighbor and authorities said.

Al Hill had been cutting trees Friday when one fell on him.

Troubled Council Candidates

posted by on June 7 at 9:36 AM

When I saw this headline in the PI

Council candidate recounts ‘tough times’ with law

…I assumed it was about John Manning.

It’s not.

Forcing the Sonics to Stay

posted by on June 7 at 8:46 AM

SOS, the group working to keep the Sonics and Storm in town say they’ve found a clause in the lease agreement with the city that would force the Sonics/Storm to stay at the Key through the 2009-2010 season.

They report that they’ve met with City Attorney Tom Carr and say he agrees that they’ve got a case.

The Liberation of Paris

posted by on June 7 at 8:23 AM

Paris Hilton is a free woman. She got an early release for “medical reasons.”

Suitable for Framing

posted by on June 7 at 8:16 AM

“I Saw U” ads in The Stranger—hooking up Seattle since 1994:

Hello, I met my girlfriend through the stranger’s, “I Saw U” pages nearly a year ago. As our one year anniversary approaches, I would love to get a hold of that original paper and frame the add. Is it somehow possible to a get a copy of the paper, or some form of reproduction?

Help Wanted: Brainless—Excuse Me, Bible- Believing—Baristas

posted by on June 7 at 8:04 AM

Kentucky’s newly-opened creation museum—Answers in Genesis—is seeking baristas. Qualified applicants must believe that first lattes were made with dinosaur milk and provide AIG with…

• Resume

• Salvation testimony

• Creation belief statement

Thanks to Slog-tipper Brian…

It Can’t Happen Here

posted by on June 7 at 7:52 AM

When Al Gore showed up for his book reading and signing in Chicago, the crowd greeted him with chants of “Run, Al, run!”. Says the Sun-Times:

The former vice president, of course, is asked the same question almost everywhere he goes: are you running?

Except, of course, in Seattle, where we politely sat on our hands, nodded earnestly, and put ever-so-polite, completely idiotic questions to Gore about changing hearts and minds. What the hell is wrong with us?

The Morning News

posted by on June 7 at 7:27 AM

Strippergate: Charges filed

Homosexuality: Bush’s surgeon general now says it’s not natural or healthy

Wiretaps: Cheney’s idea

Ghost Detainees: US still has 39 of them

Investigated: Saudi prince Bandar “Bush,” after taking secret payments from UK’s biggest arms dealer

Incursion: Turkey denies they sent troops into Iraq

Science Is Rad: Skin cells the new stem cells?

Dump it:
Georgetown wants to take out the trash

Going Up: Your power bill

Star Wars Fact of the Day:

If you can’t enjoy the Yub Yub song, you have no soul.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Exclusive!!! Bands Added to Bumbershoot’s Lineup!

posted by on June 6 at 5:06 PM

Who’s playing? Find out only on Line Out!

Clark on Nightlife: Drop the 50-Foot Rule

posted by on June 6 at 4:57 PM

Council member Sally Clark responds to comments made at Monday’s public hearing on nightlife on her blog (who knew?). The biggest news is that Clark wants to drop the so-called 50-foot rule included in the mayor’s nightlife licensing proposal, which holds clubs responsible for nuisance crimes and violence in a 50-foot area outside the club itself. “This ‘impacted public area’ strikes me as impossible to for a club to control, if not dangerous for a club to try and control. I think the 50-foot proposal should be dropped,” Clark wrote. Also in response to public comments, Clark now plans to pull the nightlife proposal from the agenda for Thursday’s neighborhood committee meeting; the committee will take it up again on June 21, and at least once more after that.


posted by on June 6 at 4:37 PM


Today on Line Out.

posted by on June 6 at 4:10 PM

Time Warp: Serge’s Vintage Future.

B Shorty, pt. 1: Three Quick Questions with Blake Lewis.

A Shining Beacon: Gabriel Teodoros’ “No Label” Video.

B Shorty, pt 2: Blake Lewis with Ra Scion, Blue Scholars’ “Back Home”.

Hump Day: Why, Megan? Why?

Pop Quiz: Who is This Band?

And now, this delicious baby cow:


Lawsuit of the Day

posted by on June 6 at 3:48 PM

Speaking of penises…

A man has sued the maker of the health drink Boost Plus, claiming the vitamin-enriched beverage gave him an erection that would not subside and caused him to be hospitalized.

The lawsuit filed by Christopher Woods of New York said he bought the nutrition beverage made by the pharmaceutical company Novartis AG at a drugstore on June 5, 2004, and drank it.

Woods’ court papers say he woke up the next morning “with an erection that would not subside” and sought treatment that day for the condition, called severe priapism.

They say Woods, 29, underwent surgery for implantation of a Winter shunt, which moves blood from one area to another.

Full story can be found here. And a Google image search for “Winter shunt” turned up this:



posted by on June 6 at 3:46 PM

Apparently, I fucked up on my review of Tommy at Issaquah’s Village Theater.

But come on, who knew that some band called the Who (kinda of a cool name anyway) originally did this in 1969? I mean, how can you expect someone to know about some hippie rock album from nearly 40 years ago?

Anyway, these letters just in:

I am so confused by Josh Feit’s article Baby Bomber, where he calls the performance of Tommy performed in Issaquah a “world premier” and talks about how the soundtrack sounds like radiohead. Ummm…Tommy was written in 1969 by The Who, and was translated into both a movie (1975) and a stage musical (1992). We performed it at my highschool. You can buy the soundtrack on Amazon. I love the Stranger, but this just seems crazy. Josh, if you are reading this, there are no Iraq metaphors because the music was written forty years ago, and it’s bizarre and has weird shit about pinball because they were probably all on acid when they wrote it. As to why it sounds like a mix between Queen and Radiohead…I don’t know. —Anna Berentsen

And this:

Dear Josh: I must admit that I don’t often agree with The Stranger’s reviews, but I do appreciate the fact that they’re usually written with strong convictions and an educated perspective of the piece in question. Your recent review of Village Theatre’s production of The Who’s Tommy, however, seems to have all of the former and none of the latter.

The show is described in the secondary headline as a “World-Premiere Musical” and in the first paragraph as “a new musical premiering at the Village Theatre”, but this stage version premiered on Broadway in 1993 and won five Tonys. You say that the show’s numbers are “derivative of Radiohead, with flourishes of Hendrix and Queen”, but nowhere in the article do you mention that this is Pete Townshend’s own adaptation of The Who’s 1969 rock opera album. While the show adds a new song, rearranges the track order, and includes several new or rewritten lyrics, the majority of the music is left pretty much alone. Perhaps this is the reason you feel the music is “mired in rock cliches” - some would argue that The Who were a bit influential in creating several of those cliches. And while your criticism that the production lacks any allegories to modern times may be fair, dismissing the concepts and themes of the show as “tired baby-boomer touchstones [dredged up for] self-indulgent Issaquah hippies” only underlines your ignorance of the show’s origins. It’s like wondering why Shakespeare had to write so damn much about royalty.

Hate the show if you want, but at least do some of your basic homework before showing up at the theatre. And shame on the drama phags and so-called music lovers on The Stranger’s editorial board for not catching this before it went to print. —Matty Worth

Yeah, shame on my editors for not catching this. The nerve.

Sanity from Fnarf. This comment just in:

I thought it was hilarious. Not knowing who the Who is or what Tommy was is the funniest thing Josh has ever written. Zoom zoom, over their heads. It’s not like there weren’t hints all the way through the piece. I mean, c’mon, Josh has posted Who video clips to the Slog before. Posted by Fnarf | June 6, 2007 5:09 PM

He’s right, I have posted Who clips b4.

Anyone Seen This Movie?

posted by on June 6 at 3:13 PM


New Column!

posted by on June 6 at 3:05 PM


And! The new issue is online.

The Measure of a Man

posted by on June 6 at 2:14 PM


A 60-year study of men’s penises (can we get one of those for the causes of breast cancer, guys?) was released this week. According to the Guardian,

The survey ultimately concluded that “the average erect penis was 5.5ins to 6.2ins long and 4.7ins to 5.1ins in girth”. And looked hilarious resting on a Petri dish.

If we generously take the average to be six inches, and multiply that by the total number of appendages, it means they examined a total of 72,000 inches of penis, which sounds impressive until you input that figure into a conversion calculator and realise it’s a mere 1.136 miles. A frail old lady could cycle that distance in less than five minutes, assuming she could keep her eyes on the road.

Anyway, it wasn’t all warm hands and tape measures. The researchers also asked the owners of the penises some probing questions - presumably in a misguided attempt to break the ice, or make the whole scenario feel faintly less awkward. They found that “those with a ‘normal-sized’ penis often mistakenly thought theirs was too small”. Perhaps the researcher had huge hands.

Other findings from the survey:

• Guys everywhere will go to great, um, lengths to make their penises larger. In Brazil, the Topinama people encourage poisonous snakes to bite their penises to enlarge them for six months; in India, Sadhus men use weights to increase the length of their penises; and in Borneo, Dayak men pierce the glans of their penis and insert things into the holes to stimulate their partners.

• Sixty-six per cent of men said their penis was “average”, 22 percent said it was “large,” and 12 percent said it was “small.” Eighty-five percent of women said they were satisfied with their partner’s penis size, but only 55 percent of men were satisfied.

• Fully ninety percent of women prefer a wide penis to a long one. Eight-five percent of women said they were satisfied with their partner’s penis size.

• “Small penis syndrome” (yeah, it’s a real diagnosable illness) is much more common in men with normal-size penises than those with an actual “micropenis”—a penis that has a flaccid length of less than 2.7 inches when fully erect.


The Least Comfortable Television Interview in History

posted by on June 6 at 12:58 PM

The kid’s the new national spelling bee champion, the lady’s a CNN anchor, and they both deserve some sort of medal.

The Best Trailer So Far This Year….

posted by on June 6 at 12:56 PM

… is this one, for the French release of Persepolis. (Which all of Seattle read, right? So you know the story.)

Do not, I repeat, do not stop the video before the French lady pipes up with “Eye of the Tiger.”

The Greatness of Mexican Modernism

posted by on June 6 at 12:28 PM

The house is a perfect thought.
1024326602.jpg The vegetation, however, is ugly. In fact the house is at war with the sun-thriving plants that surround it and hunger to undo this most human of doings: the box, the beams, the lines and lights. The house is Guadalajara, Mexico and was designed by bgp arquitectura, a firm founded by Bernardo Gomez-Pimienta and based in Mexico City.

What Obama Should Do

posted by on June 6 at 12:22 PM


Looks like a lot of people had the same thought after watching the Democratic debate in New Hampshire: Barack Obama needs to figure out a better way to take on Hillary Clinton.

For my part, I noticed, when I was at the debate, that Obama seemed overly gentle with Clinton, passing up several opportunities to take her on while not hesitating to slap down John Edwards.

What’s he scared of?

Obama scored one of the biggest sound-bite coups of the night when he turned to Edwards and told him that he was “about four and a half years late” in speaking out against the Iraq war. He could have said something similar to Clinton, and had several opportunities to do so, but didn’t. I write about one of Obama’s missed opportunities, briefly, in the issue of the Stranger that’s coming out later today.

Today in the New York Times, Maureen Dowd devotes her whole column to this issue. It’s behind the TimesSelect firewall, so you can’t read the whole thing unless you pay, but here’s an excerpt:

In the New Hampshire debate Sunday night, Mr. Obama again missed his chances. Hillary is the one he needs to unseat, but he treads gingerly around her. He seems afraid of a repeat of that moment last December, as the clamor for him to run was building, when he touched her elbow and winked at her on the Senate floor, and she kept walking. He called a friend afterwards, stunned at her icy behavior.

Instead, he wasted his time tangling with Dennis Kucinich in the first debate and slapping back John Edwards in the second.

When Hillary admitted that she had not read the National Intelligence Estimate before voting to authorize the president to go to war, Senator Obama had a clear shot… He missed another chance when Hillary said at the beginning of the debate that she believed “we are safer than we were” before 9/11, even though the Democrats won Congress with the opposite argument last fall, and even though the Iraq war has clearly made the world more dangerous than ever…

The Boy Wonder cannot take over the country unless he can take on Wonder Woman.

A TIME blogger finds Dowd’s advice ironic. Sullivan thinks he should largely dismiss it, but that Obama needs to “play down the seminar and pump up the sermon.” But both seem to agree that Obama’s debate delivery could use some tweaking, and the general consensus in the political world seems to be that Clinton won the last debate—and that this, sent out by the Obama camp the day after the debate, was too little too late.

SIFF 2007: Wednesday Highlights

posted by on June 6 at 12:19 PM

We’re officially halfway there—only twelve days (4 to 6 movies per) left to go! The Stranger’s recommendations for every damn slot in the festival continue below and at


Skip the early afternoon matinee—the awkward Almost Adult—and eat something.

Egyptian, 4:15 pm. Your last chance to see the nutso Dasepo Naughty Girls.

Early evening. This is one tough choice, with a lot of seemingly ordinary movies that break the rules. Do you see the delicate and absorbing Israeli film Sweet Mud (Neptune at 7 pm), about coming of age in the ’70s on a suffocating kibbutz?

Sweet Mud

… or the excellent sports movie White Palms (Pacific Place at 7:15 pm), which addresses the pervasive influence of coaches from former Communist countries on Western gymnastics clubs today?

Then there’s Tugboat Annie (SIFF Cinema at 7 pm), the only showing of the MGM blockbuster from 1933 that was shot on location in Seattle (including extensive footage of the Pike Place Market back in the day). Decisions, decisions.

Tugboat Annie

Late evening. For urbanites: Agua (Pacific Place at 9:30 pm), another sports movie, this time about a doping scandal in swimming. For those who sleep on the Eastside: Northern Light, a simple but beautiful film set in Amsterdam. Charles loved it.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on June 6 at 12:00 PM


The Handsome Family
Married couple Brett and Rennie Sparks are a slightly creepy, slightly country duo from New Mexico who sing about ghosts in convenience stores, bottomless holes in Ohio farmlands, and Nikola Tesla. She writes the lyrics, he writes the music, and their songs (played on banjo, saw, trombone, guitar, etc.) are sepia-toned but never hokey. The Handsome Family is sweet, eerie, and sad—nostalgia incarnate: “Come with me to the forgotten lake, where covered wagons and the wings of missing planes float between blind fish beneath the velvet waves.” (Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave NW, 789-3599. 8:30 pm, $10 adv/$12 DOS, 21+.) BRENDAN KILEY

Quote of Last Week

posted by on June 6 at 11:31 AM

“I think what you saw,” Wolff says, “must have been a game between Evan Bayh and Orrin Hatch staffers.”

You probably need a little context: The quote is from a story that ran in last week’s City Paper, DC’s alt weekly. The story is about a scare on the DC playground basketball courts: People playing “Loser gets ball” as opposed to the traditional, and obviously cooler, “Make it take it.”

Segregation Forever: Welcome to Saudi Arabia’s Starbucks

posted by on June 6 at 11:10 AM

A western reporter in Saudi Arabia spots a familiar American icon in a mall…

THE hem of my heavy Islamic cloak trailed over floors that glistened like ice. I walked faster, my eyes fixed on a familiar, green icon. I hadn’t seen a Starbucks in months, but there it was, tucked into a corner of a fancy shopping mall in the Saudi capital. After all those bitter little cups of sludgy Arabic coffee, here at last was an improbable snippet of home—caffeinated, comforting, American.

I wandered into the shop, filling my lungs with the rich wafts of coffee. The man behind the counter gave me a bemused look; his eyes flickered. I asked for a latte. He shrugged, the milk steamer whined, and he handed over the brimming paper cup. I turned my back on his uneasy face.

Crossing the cafe, I felt the hard stares of Saudi men. A few of them stopped talking as I walked by and watched me pass. Them, too, I ignored. Finally, coffee in hand, I sank into the sumptuous lap of an overstuffed armchair.

“Excuse me,” hissed the voice in my ear. “You can’t sit here.” The man from the counter had appeared at my elbow. He was glaring.

“Excuse me?” I blinked a few times.

“Emmm,” he drew his discomfort into a long syllable, his brows knitted. “You cannot stay here.”

“What? Uh … why?”

Then he said it: “Men only.”

He didn’t tell me what I would learn later: Starbucks had another, unmarked door around back that led to a smaller espresso bar, and a handful of tables smothered by curtains. That was the “family” section. As a woman, that’s where I belonged. I had no right to mix with male customers or sit in plain view of passing shoppers. Like the segregated South of a bygone United States, today’s Saudi Arabia shunts half the population into separate, inferior and usually invisible spaces.

Via Sullivan.

Mary Tudor

posted by on June 6 at 11:01 AM

She’s a longtime Seattle artist and teacher, she’s fighting breast cancer, and she’s in need of financial aid, her students tell me. If you’ve ever intended to pick up one of her paintings for your collection, now’s the time.

Mexico, 2002, oil and wax on canvas

The Rat Woman

posted by on June 6 at 11:01 AM

Room 101:

Officers seized more than 100 pet rats, dozens of rabbits and other animals including several birds from the home of an 81-year-old woman, who was later treated at a hospital for what appeared to be bites, authorities said.
By the way, the Shona word for “rat” is the same as the name for that blue muppet with a long beak, Gonzo.

Local Environment

posted by on June 6 at 10:07 AM

For a second I thought the Seattle Times was about to go for it this morning.

Their lead editorial today begins: “President George W. Bush is not fooling any of his G-8 colleagues in Germany with his belated call to set long-term goals reducing emissions related to global warming. The same is true here at home.

When they said “here at home” I thought they were about to take it to the 2007 state legislature for failing to act like it’s 2007.

Nah. Easier to bash George Bush, I guess.

Look, thanks to the fact that our state’s leaders chickened out on the necessary reality check, voters are about to vote on a $17 billion (or $37 billion, if you measure it in year of expenditure dollars) roads and transit package.

I wrote about this blackmail package two weeks ago and ECB’s got the latest coming out in today’s paper. And having just come back from a week on the east coast (transit options everywhere… as well as diversity, density, and good pizza people), I’ve gotta say, our inability to get smart about the environment is maddening, especially given the Dems’ control of Olympia.

Oh well on that. As for seizing Al Gore’s 2007 Academy Award–winning moment and doing something real about the environment? This is the supermajority’s biggest hoax this session. Under the guise of a “Strategic Framework for Action,” the Democrats held a press conference and passed a law calling to convene a panel to come up with a way to limit emissions.

Okay, I’m being a little unfair. They did pass an emissions cap governing power plants that enter into new contracts with utilities. I’m not sure how much CO2 this limited rule will actually capture, though, given that the cap doesn’t govern existing contracts. Nor am I sure how relevant reining in utility emissions is in Washington State. According to a February report from the state’s Department of Community, Trade & Economic Development, emissions from utilities make up just 16 percent of the 88.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, including CO2, our state produces annually. The real culprit, according to the report, is “transportation” (cars)—which makes up 45 percent of our emissions.

“It’s a little embarrassing,” one of the report’s authors told me. “Our overall emissions are lower than most states, but we’re on the high end for car emissions.”

True: According to the most recent data from the federal Energy Information Administration, 52.4 percent of the Evergreen state’s CO2 emissions come from transportation, making us one of the top five offenders, along with California (59.4 percent). Nationwide, the average is 32.7 percent.

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. Meanwhile, they approved another $7.5 billion roads package, including $915 million for work on the Alaskan Way Viaduct that may lock in a highway option there.

When the task force on emissions finally comes back next year with recommendations on how to lower CO2 their first suggestion should be aimed at the Democrats: less hot air, more action.

Redmond High: Drug Free Since 2003!

posted by on June 6 at 9:52 AM

Today’s Seattle Times has a glowing profile of a baby-faced police officer who went undercover at Redmond High School. Matt Peringer dressed like a skate punk, hung out with the stoners, and bought pot, coke, and prescription drugs from students. Five kids were ultimately arrested—including a pair of twin brothers. As a result of their arrests, these five busted high school students may not be able to get student loans, go to college, etc.

But that’s a small price to pay if it means keeping Redmond High drug-free.

The Seattle Times doesn’t ask about it, but I have to assume Redmond High has been completely drug-free since those five hapless stoners were arrested in 2003. Otherwise you would have to argue that the police time and public resources poured into this investigation were wasted, and that Officer Peringer’s excellent adventure is just another example of the idiocy and futility of the War on Drugs. And unless Redmond High is drug-free, you would have to argue that the breathless, credulous piece in today’s Seattle Times is just another example of the mainstream media’s complicity in perpetuating the un-winnable, unjust War on Drugs.

Get the Idea

posted by on June 6 at 9:40 AM

Utterly grim is this piece of news:

A female owner of a radio station in Afghanistan has been shot dead. _43014943_afghanjourno_body.jpg

Zakia Zaki was shot seven times, including in the chest and head, as she slept with her 20-month-old son at her home north of Kabul, officials say… [T]he attackers were three men armed with pistols and rifles, who broke into Ms Zaki’s house and got into the bedroom.

An older son, aged three, was with her at the time of the attack, but none of her six children was injured.

Zakia Zaki, was 35 years old and worked as a reporter and a schoolteacher.

She was one of the few female journalists in the country to speak out during the Taleban’s rule. She had also headed the US-funded station, Radio Peace, since it opened after the fall of the Taleban in 2001.

The fact the assassins didn’t kill her children is somehow more terrifying than if they had done so. Why is that? The answer must be close to this: It shows a committed hatred, one that has a design, a purpose. This is not random violence, or even a thirst for blood; it’s reasoned violence. The assassins may even have nothing against the person as such, but the will inside of the person. They killed an idea that happened to be embodied.

Update: BAM Embezzlement

posted by on June 6 at 9:30 AM

The police and the insurance company are now involved in investigating the embezzlement of $200,000 from the Bellevue Arts Museum that the museum has said was committed by its chief financial officer.

From a new letter BAM sent its supporters:

First, we filed a notice of claim with our insurer. Second, we made a referral to the Bellevue Police Department. We intend to work with both the insurer and the authorities to ensure that the Museum’s interests are protected and that any losses are recovered. In addition, the Museum is taking steps to tighten its financial controls. We have already adopted a number of controls designed to prevent similar misconduct. The forensic accountant, our independent auditing firm and our financial committee are reviewing and approving an updated and improved accounting procedures manual, as well as considering other measures.

In Restaurant News

posted by on June 6 at 9:11 AM

A thug tried to rob Serafina, a popular restaurant on Eastlake Ave., last night. The bartender resisted and the wannabe robber shot the bartender in the arm, then fled. No arrests have been made.

Edible Anus: The Wait is Over!

posted by on June 6 at 9:05 AM


The Blog Blog reports

The Incredible Edible Belgian Chocolate Anus store is now open for business. You can finally place your order. And when you do, please be so kind to let them know you heard about it here. Enjoy!

Dept. of Student-Teacher Relations

posted by on June 6 at 8:42 AM

Back in April the principal of a Catholic boy’s school made a friendly wager with three 14 year-old boys: He would pay each of them $15 and kiss their bare feet 50 times if they won a student-teacher volleyball game. Surprise! The kids won, and the principal paid up and kissed the boys bare feet, over and over again, fifty freakin’ times. Alert parents complained, police investigated, and no one could see this coming:

…400 photos depicting adult foot fetish behavior were found on two school computers seized from Holloway’s office. The photos depicted the scenarios that he had engaged in with the boys.

The principal was fired and charged with “sexual imposition,” which I didn’t know was a crime, and unauthorized use of public property. (The school’s computers, not the boys’ feet.)

I was reminded of this story when I saw this picture over at the Associated Press this morning. It seems another teacher lost a bet with students. A physical education teacher in Mahomet, Illinois, agreed to let her students turn her into “a human sundae” if they raised enough money for the Red Cross. They did, and as you can see in the picture the teacher—Lu Rippy—is covered in ice cream, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, and cereal.

Uh… I don’t know how to break this to the folks in Mahomet… but it’s entirely possible their PE teacher is a fetishist too. From

While outsiders might assume that messy fun has something to do with playing around with scat (shit) and golden showers (urine), it’s really far more lighthearted than that. Messy fetishists get off on anything from baked beans poured over crinolines to brides falling in swimming pools and snorkeling in rubber clothing in quicksand. It’s about messing up the strictures of everyday life and throwing a pie in the face of society’s rules and regulations. For true messy fetishists, taking a slapstick approach to breaking taboos about propriety is an intensely ecstatic experience.

Bill Shipton, publisher of Splosh! Magazine (the UK’s premiere messy fun mag) devides the messy crowd into three main subgroups: wetlook (water) mudlarking (mud and clay) and sploshing (food and paint, etc.). As a general rule, messy fans require that mess be thrown on people wearing clothes.

Hm… that PE teacher in the AP photo looks pretty ecstatic, and I’m guessing she was clothed. Compare the pic of her to these NSFW messy fetish images posted at Sploosh.

Maybe it’s time for another police investigation?

The Morning News

posted by on June 6 at 7:48 AM

GOP debate: McCain and Brownback admit not reading Iraq intelligence report

Gouged: Man wants $10 million for Flight 93 crash site

Denied: Winnie Mandela barred from entering Canada

Scooting Off to Jail: Libby gets 2 1/2 years

Getting Colder: Bush and Putin spar over missile shield

Ick: Whitman Middle school teacher charged with possessing child porn

Crisis: Violence spreads through Lebanon

Dying Breed:
Number of Republicans in US declining

Castro back from the brink of death

Fun Star Wars Fact:

George Lucas wanted David Lynch to direct Return of the Jedi. Instead, Lynch made Dune.

And now, a Star Wars fan video that doesn’t totally suck:

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Stoli Rocks Block

posted by on June 5 at 7:11 PM

Just last night I was watching The Daily Show when one of those new commercials came on for Stolichnaya—have you seen them? The campaign is fabulous—black-and-red Socialist Realism, Russian Constructivism, Cold War nostalgia on steroids. “Stolichnaya is a Russian vodka,” Stolichnaya’s new ads shout. “Russian! And Russian vodka is authentic vodka! Only a simpering pussy would drink anything else!”

After watching the ad—honest to God—I said to my boyfriend, “I’m never drinking Stoly again—not after what happened in Moscow. Gay people should boycott Russian everything.”

In case you missed it, here’s what happened in Moscow:

For the second year in a row Russian authorities banned a gay pride parade in Moscow—and this year when Russian activists, activists from EU countries, and Members of the European Parliament attempted deliver a petition to Moscow’s city hall, they were attacked by thugs and fascists. The police made arrests—they arrested the gay activists, including the men you see getting punched in this video.

Well, it’s on.


Gay activists are calling for a boycott of Stoli. There was a protest today at the Russian embassy in New York City. New York-based gay blogger Joe My God was there:

With Russian news cameras rolling, rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker and gay activist Brendan Fay poured Stolichnaya vodka into the street in front of New York City’s Russian embassy in protest of the treatment of Russian gays by their government. Under the wary eye of the NYPD (who did NOT want to be photographed) and U.S. State Department operatives (the earpieces are a dead giveaway), a small group of protesters marched on the sidewalk with placards. Brendan Fay attempted to deliver a letter of complaint to the embassy staff, but they did not come to the door.

Stoli, says Joe, is the third largest selling vodka in America, taking in $400 million annually. And here’s a pic of Stoli going down a sewer in Manhattan earlier today:


The organizers of the boycott are calling on all American gay bars to stop serving Stoli:

All American gay bars will be asked to not serve Stoli vodka until the Russian government acknowledges the human rights of its LGBT citizens, and Russian gays are guaranteed the right organize, assemble in the streets and live free of government harassment.

And the organizer of the Moscow Pride March, Nikolai Aleseyeev, welcomes the boycott:

“We are thankful for the support of gay Americans mobilizing on our behalf to do what we can’t - stage vigils at Russian government offices. Please don’t forget about your brothers and sisters beyond the United States, and our difficult struggle for equality.”

Yay! A boycott! Now I can do something—something symbolic, but still—to protest what’s being done to gays and lesbians in Russia. I don’t drink Stoli myself, but I will ask my friends—hello, Tim “Stoli Rocks” Keck!—to switch to a new brand. And then I’ll call Seattle’s gay bars and ask if they’re going to honor the boycott. Because it’s the right thing to do… right?

Wrong, says Good As You, another gay blog, which argues that Stoli isn’t the right target for a big gay boycott.

If you are protesting the gay-unfriendly attitudes of a specific country or their government, then you should by all means speak out loudly and fervently against the injustices you perceive. However, it seems more than a little shortsighted to turn that antipathy towards a privatized product, and to call for a boycott of said product. This is especially true when that particular product and company not only advertise on gay programs and in gay magazines, but also serves as the SOLE BACKER of a show on the nation’s most prominent gay cable network!!

Stoli is a national corporate sponsor for Lambda Legal and is bottled, it seems, in Latvia, not Russia.

I need a drink.

Lower Woodland Skatepark Is Go!

posted by on June 5 at 7:03 PM


Seattle’s Skate Park Action Committee (SPAC) has cleared the last legal hurdle toward building a new skatepark in Lower Woodland Park. The Lower Woodland Neighborhood Association (LWNA) opposed the project, claiming that a skatepark would damage the aesthetics of the area and destroy green space, and that the park’s plan did not meet the requirements of the State Environmental Policy Act. A superior court judge disagreed.

LWNA member Kristine Fuller says LWNA isn’t down for the count. “The laws are always open to interpretation. The judge happened to file against us. We’re going to file an appeal,” she said.

While LWNA could still appeal the ruling, SPAC chair Ryan Barth believes they won’t. “Our understanding is that if they appeal, they need to post a bond for construction costs that would be delayed. We’re confident that they would not do that because they don’t have a case.”

At 2 pm tomorrow, the city council’s parks committee will hold a public meeting to talk about plans for 26 proposed skateparks.

No firm date has been set for construction of the Lower Woodland skatepark.

Death, Life, Bling, Whatever

posted by on June 5 at 6:58 PM

Who else for today? Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons.

Yesterday and today the Guardian has had a blitz of coverage on Hirst’s new exhibition, the media highlight of which is his diamond-encrusted skull for sale for 50 million pounds. Who’ll buy it? The first name the Guardian throws out is Paul Allen. My first thought was: nah, considering the conservatism of what he owns, I doubt it.

But is the skull a conservative or a progressive work? Will it be a joke on the one who buys it, or a genuine treasure? In a quick interview with one of the several Guardian writers dispatched to deal with the spectacle, Hirst says, “To me it seems gentle, quite soft. I would hope that anybody looking at it would get a bit of hope, and be uplifted. We need to line the world with beautiful things that give you hope.” What’s with the naif-speak? Sounds blank, just like Koons. But back to that.

Guardian critic Jonathan Jones today declares a totally immoderate love for the skull (he compares its stature to Picasso’s Demoiselle exactly a century ago), and even asks Britain to shell out the 50 mil to keep it within the isle’s borders.

Jones, for all his overzealousness, makes a convincing case for Hirst’s grand gesture. He sees something besides stale references to Warhol and Duchamp, something ancient. Which is why I find Hirst’s tone in the quote to be so disappointing. I’d love to believe that this object is, as Jones calls it, the “King of Death,” something high and mighty and low and dirty all at the same time, but something not funny, not a joke, not ironic, not about that sorry old little subject of art.

I wish I could be over there to see for myself. (Conversely, I haven’t had a regret about missing that other big show that a major publication’s critic has raved about in the last few days: Richard Serra’s retrospective at MoMA, oddly fawned over by Michael Kimmelman. Is it the art or the critic? Goes to show the lasting power of rhetoric.)

And what about Koons? Most of his work irritates me, and his persona certainly does. Many people see it as an update of Warhol. Who ever needed an update on the endgame that was Warhol? (Reminds me of what Alec Soth so simply uttered on his blog today about another artist, “Certainly only one photographer is allowed to bury his photographs”). And B, Koons achieves profundity simply by being confusing. This isn’t a living koan, it’s a lazy American.

But for a piece that ran Sunday, Koons told The Observer something that struck a nerve with me, having just seen the new show Sparkle Then Fade at Tacoma Art Museum:

Too verbose to be oracular, too random to be eloquent, Koons nevertheless releases the occasional pearl of sense. The real readymades he’s interested in, he says, are not the objects, but the people reflected in them. Inflatable toys, which have influenced him since the beginning of his career, ‘turn everything inside out. They’re dense on the outside, and everything that’s ethereal is on the inside. We inhale air, that’s a sign of life, and when you exhale your last breath that’s a sign of death. When an inflatable has a hole in it, it’s deadly.’

In that case, there’s more than one potentially toxic work at TAM these days (the first is Jack Daws’s bubblegum machine filled with prescription drugs), because the yellow-flower Koons inflatable in the gallery has a slow leak. It sags on its pedestal and has to be re-inflated from time to time, but it wouldn’t be right to patch the hole, because that would compromise the original object, Rock Hushka, the show’s curator, told me. The owners (the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation) are stuck between a flower and a soft place.

Poster of the Day

posted by on June 5 at 5:34 PM


Watching the Republicans

posted by on June 5 at 4:05 PM

The debate’s on, with the introductions just finished at New Hampshire’s St. Anselm’s College.

4:02 p.m. Giuliani had a rather amazing self-introduction: “I’m Rudy Giuliani, and I agree with the motto of your state, ‘Live free or die,’ and I think it would be a pretty good motto for our times.” (For an interesting Rolling Stone look at Giuliani’s love of hitting the fear button, click here.)

4:05 p.m. Mitt Romney dodges the question of whether invading Iraq was a mistake knowing what we know now. Giuliani says it was absolutely the right decision, because you can’t separate Iraq from the “War on Terror.” McCain doesn’t get the same question; instead he gets asked what we should do if the “surge” doesn’t work. He doesn’t have a clear answer. Instead he attacks Hillary Clinton for saying the Iraq war is Bush’s war.

4:20 p.m. Debating the new immigration bill… Every Republican candidate dislikes it, except McCain, who backed the bill in the Senate: “If someone else has a better idea, I’d like to have them give it to us.” Just about everyone on stage raises his hand to signal he has a better idea. McCain quickly adds: “That will get enough support…”

4:27 p.m. McCain is the only one on stage who doesn’t think English should be the official language of the United States.

4:30 p.m. God mad at the Republicans? The audio keeps being interrupted by loud buzzes. Wolf Blitzer has told the audience that these buzzes are due to a lightning storm outside.

4:32 p.m. Giuliani is trying to explain his view on abortion. The lightning cuts off his audio briefly. Giuliani points to the heavens as a joke. (Hey, that’s my joke! See 4:30 p.m.) The candidates on either side of him, Romney and McCain, back away slowly. Everyone laughs. Rudy says he’s scared, apparently of God’s wrath, but continues his abortion answer, which gets interrupted a couple more times by lightning/the wrath of God.

4:40 p.m. No one will dis creationism, Romney isn’t ashamed of his Mormonism, etc.

4:45 p.m. Ron Paul says, in almost as many words, that the Iraq war is about oil. Lightning doesn’t strike.

4:49 p.m. Giuliani, Romney, and McCain all think “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is just fine, and shouldn’t be tinkered with, especially in the middle of a war. “It is working, my friends,” McCain says. “The policy is working.”

4:52 p.m. Wolf Blitzer, who asked the Democrats on Sunday how they would use former-president Bill Clinton if elected, asks the Republicans how they would use future-former-president George W. Bush. Tommy Thompson says he’d send him out to lecture the country on “honesty and integrity.” Tom Tancredo says he’d tell President Bush to get lost—and gets applause from the audience, many of them likely Republican voters.

4:59 p.m. Would any of them pardon Lewis Libby? McCain doesn’t answer, Giuliani suggests it’s likely he would (and uses the opportunity to filibuster about his experience as a prosecutor), and Romney suggests it’s likely he would, too.

5:09 p.m. We’re in the audience Q&A session now, and McCain gets up out of his chair to try to explain to a woman why the loss of her brother’s life in Iraq was worth it. “This is long, and hard, and tough, and I believe we will succeed,” he says.

5:12 p.m. Ron Paul: “You can’t enforce our goodness, like the neocons preach, with armed force… It doesn’t work and we have to admit it.”

5:19 p.m. As Wonkette notes, a blond woman asking a question says that Iraq used to be run by a “terrorist leader.”

Good work, Cheney!

5:24 p.m. An audience member who is a philosophy teacher asks: What is the most pressing moral issue facing the country today? Huckabee: Abortion. Giuliani: Having the “moral strength” to tell the rest of the world about the goodness of our ideals. Paul: The acceptance of preemptive war. “I do not believe that’s part of the American tradition… We have rejected the ‘just war’ theory of Christianity.” Brownback: Abortion, and adds a not-so-subtle dig at Giuliani: “That’s why I don’t think we can nominate someone who’s not pro-life in our party,” he says. Blitzer asks: Could he support Giuliani? “I don’t think we’re going to nominate someone who’s not pro-life.”

5:34 p.m. The candidates fight over whether it’s right to run a campaign ad in the dreaded Spanish.

5:44 p.m. Tancerdo goes on a nativist rant that ends in him decrying having to “Press one for English, and press two for all other languages.” Giuliani does a good job of slapping him down by quoting Lincoln. McCain describes what Tancredo said as “Beyond my realm of thinking.”

That’s all, folks.

My Motherland

posted by on June 5 at 4:03 PM

Even to this day, I can find no quick way around this image:
B00005R1Q5.01._SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg It’s the cover for Natalie Merchant’s 2001 album Motherland. What kind of power is this? It’s a power that is opposite that of the ascetic. And as the rich once admired the ascetic’s power of nothingness, of restraint, of absolute self-control, here we admire Merchant’s power of abundance, of unrestrained production. The production of milk, of life, of the universe. Here in this moment under the tree she is pure positivity.

The Republican Debate

posted by on June 5 at 3:30 PM

Starts in half an hour. Watch it live on CNN, or live online here.

An Anecdote About the Al Gore Event that Didn’t Make it into Tomorrow’s Paper

posted by on June 5 at 3:23 PM

According to an employee at Elliott Bay Book Company, which organized Al Gore’s talk and signing last night at Town Hall Seattle, a bunch of Elliott Bay employees had to rush over some stanchions before the event started. They took a taxi. As they were riding over in the taxi with the stanchions, they got to talking with the cab driver. When the driver learned that the stanchions were for an Al Gore event, he refused to accept payment for the ride. Because he loves Al Gore.

Dude’s GOTTA run. He just has to. I’d hoped people would be chanting so loudly for him to run at last night’s event that he wouldn’t be able to get a word in edgewise. The only chanting was by LaRouchebags. Ah well.

Now please enjoy this picture of four would-be Gore voters in Town Hall’s lobby last night: Dan Savage, King County Councilmember Dow Constantine, Annie Wagner, and some tall guy. Bill Anthony took it.


Holocaust Deniers Can Eat Shit and Die

posted by on June 5 at 3:14 PM

KIEV, Ukraine — Pipeline diggers unearthed a mass grave believed to contain thousands of Jews slaughtered in Ukraine during World War II, a Jewish community spokesman said today, a grim finding in a nation that one Holocaust expert described as “an enormous killing field.”

Today in Line Out

posted by on June 5 at 3:13 PM

Stars, They’re Just Like Us: An almost Idol and Arthur & Yu drink coffee.

Heavy Metal in Baghdad: The NPR interview.

Gun Gun Son of a Gun: Have you heard of this great new band called the Vaselines?

B.Y.O.D.: House shows sound so good but smell so bad.

Aphrodite’s Child Appreciation
: I admit, I was one of the writers in the car who had no idea what Terry was talking about.

Raindrop Hustla: Stranger contributors start new hiphop blog.

Listen Up: What are your ears telling you about sound?

Blue Scholars = 6.8: Pitchfork pounces on Seattle hiphop.


(Thanks, Nipper!)

Disco Berry? Who Ever Heard of a Disco Berry?

posted by on June 5 at 2:52 PM

Have you noticed Starburst’s new limited edition “Retro” flavors? What a weird fucking concept for candy.

Each flavor is tied to a decade—Psychideli-melon (60s), Disco Berry (70s), Optimus Lime (80s), and Hey Mango-rena! (90s). I haven’t been able to find a package of all the retros kinds yet, but the regular packs of Starbursts all feature one of the new flavors in them and today I got a sample of “Disco Berry.”

What the hell is a Disco Berry? What do berries have to do with Disco? What does Disco have to do with berries? Why, if the concept doesn’t work, would you force it to such ridiculous lengths? Disco Berry, for the record, tastes like fake raspberry. While it is delicious, it doesn’t appear to have anything at all to do with platform shoes, afros, mirror balls, and coke. I just don’t get it.

I am happy, though, that the 90s flavor plays on the “Macarena” phenomenon instead of heroin and flannel. Heroin flavored candy would be yuck.

Also new and limited? Skittles Carnival—five new flavors including Cotton Candy, Candy Apple, Green Slushy, Red Licorice, and Bubble Gum. Now that whole carnival spin makes more sense to me than “Retro,” and the flavors don’t have the stupid pun names to boot! I haven’t been able to find those anywhere either.

Someone. Anyone. Please. Gimmie gimmie gimmie!

SIFF 2007: Tuesday Highlights

posted by on June 5 at 2:45 PM

The Stranger’s recommendations for every slot in SIFF continue below and at

Skip the 2 o’clock (oops, you missed it) and plop down at SIFF Cinema for the entire evening.

4 pm. The documentary Nanking, about the Japanese Rape of Nanking, promises to be massively depressing. But good!

7 pm. Conflict of interest! We can’t help but recommend Stranger alum Sean Nelson, who’s interviewing the rock documentarian Julien Temple on stage. (He also directed Earth Girls Are Easy.)

Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten

9:15 pm. Stay put for Temple’s newest, a documentary about the Clash frontman: Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten. Here’s some advance reading material, via the Guardian.

Grimm Love: You’ll Believe a Man Can Fry

posted by on June 5 at 2:39 PM


Remember Godzilla? There was the original Japanese version, with no white people in it, and then there was the version released for American audiences with Raymond “Perry Mason” Burr. Burr played a television reporter sending dispatches back to the states about this big monster stomping on the Japanese.

Grimm Love, which gets its second SIFF screening today at 4 PM, is kind of like Godzilla—only you’ve got your German cannibal in place of your giant lizard and your Kerri “Felicity” Russell in place of your Raymond “Ironsides” Burr. Inspired by the true story of a German cannibal and a man he met on the Internet who consented to be killed and eaten, Grimm Love uses Russell—playing an American grad student studying in Germany—the same way Godzilla used Burr. That is, as a clumsy and unnecessary framing device.

Looking cadaverous and goth, Russell swans around a dimly lit German moonscape, eventually breaking into the house where the murder went down… where she falls down some steps into the creepy, dank basement where the murder took place… and takes some pictures. She eventually manages to get her hands on a videotape of the fateful night by, no shit, posting a note up on a website. A helpful, anonymous cannibal quickly delivers the video to Russell’s apartment on an appropriately dark and stormy night. She settles in to watch… the cannibal cooks his victim’s penis… which he then shared with his victim… who complains that his own penis is tough…

“I wanted it to be perfect,” says the German cannibal’s victim/date, before he sets his head down on his plate. Then the cannibal stabs his victim to death. Russell cries.

The end.

At the screening I attended someone from SIFF instructed us to view the film as if it were a modern Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale. This is something the audience was assumed to be too stupid, I guess, to deduce from the title alone.

Grimm Love is… well, it’s no modern Grimm Brothers’ fairy tale. It’s a crude, pretentious, stupid, and offensive slasher flick with just one slash. It’s Hostel or Tourista or Saw XVIII for pretentious homosexual film aficionados. Definitely to be missed.

SPOILER ALERT: The man that wanted to eat human flesh? It was his mother’s fault. The man that wanted his flesh to be eaten? It was his mother’s fault. The girl that just had to see the snuff video? Kerri Russell’s agent’s fault.

At This Very Moment…

posted by on June 5 at 2:38 PM



…both Almost Idol Blake Lewis and Sub Pop hush-rockers Arthur & Yu are at Cafe Vita doing interviews.

How’s that for a Seattle confluence?

Them There Bags

posted by on June 5 at 2:14 PM

This is a picture I took of Kaige Chen:
de67fe538394%282%29.jpg I would do anything to have under my own eyes the bags that are under the eyes of this famous Chinese director. Just look at them! So heavy, so sad. These eyes have been exhausted by the whole world they have seen and can’t stop seeing.

The Auburn Supersonics

posted by on June 5 at 1:39 PM

Take our pro-basketball team, please!

The Muckleshoot Tribe is actively crafting a proposal that could move the Sonics to a new arena on tribe-owned land in Auburn.

The idea has attracted interest since Sonics owner Clay Bennett met with tribal officials in February at former NBA star and Sonics coach Bill Russell’s home on Mercer Island, said Bob Santos, the longtime civic and International District activist who arranged the meeting.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on June 5 at 12:00 PM


20 Years of Artist Trust
(Hit Parade)
Artist Trust has been giving out money for two decades, and here are the results. Jaq Chartier’s bleeding dye experiments, Patrick Holderfield’s roaring flames and shipwrecks, the flesh of Brian Murphy, the discipline and restraint of Victoria Haven and Robert Yoder—it’s all here, along with a new installation by Mandy Greer (of bloody beaded-stag fame) for the gallery’s University Street window. (SAM Gallery, 1220 Third Ave, 343-1101. 10:30 am—5 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES

About a Soundtrack

posted by on June 5 at 12:00 PM

His death was all I knew of him, and its impact on me continues to resound even now; but watching this film, listening to him speak, I was able to separate him from that for the first time.
— David Lowery on AJ Schnack’s new documentary


Here’s the track listing for the soundtrack to Kurt Cobain: About a Son, set to be released by Barsuk on 9/11/07. (Bummer about the date, but what can ya do…) The Ben Gibbard track is previously unreleased. (Click here for my post about the Seattle premiere.)


Steve Fisk & Benjamin Gibbard - “Overture”
audio excerpt - Never Intended
Arlo Guthrie - “Motorcycle Song”
The Melvins - “Eye Flys”
audio excerpt - Punk Rock
Bad Brains - “Banned In D.C.”
Creedence Clearwater Revival - “Up Around the Bend”
Half Japanese - “Put Some Sugar On It”
The Vaselines - “Son of A Gun”
Butthole Surfers - “Graveyard”
audio excerpt - Hardcore Was Dead
Scratch Acid - “Owner’s Lament”
Mudhoney - “Touch Me I’m Sick”
audio excerpt - Car Radio
Iggy Pop - “The Passenger”
Lead Belly - “The Bourgeois Blues”
REM - “New Orleans Instrumental No. 1”
audio excerpt - The Limelight
David Bowie - “The Man Who Sold The World”
Mark Lanegan - “Museum”
Ben Gibbard - “Indian Summer”

Continue reading "About a Soundtrack" »

Landmark’s Back in the Repertory Game

posted by on June 5 at 11:57 AM

I just received this press release from Landmark Theatres:

“METRO CLASSICS” Landmark’s Metro Cinemas is proud to announce the launch of Metro Classics, a new repertory film series that will run every Wednesday night from June 27th through August 22nd.  This initial experiment presents a decade-by-decade survey of film history from the 1920s through the 2000s. Each film is a representative example of the types of cinema being made at that particular moment in history. From the heights of Silent Cinema in the late 20s, through the Classical Hollywood Studio period, the radical re-imaginings of cinema in the 60s, 70s and 80s in both Europe and America, to the self-conscious postmodern style of the 90s and the explosion of Asian cinema at the dawn of the 21st Century. Nine classic films exemplifying the wide-range and depth of film history. 

Feeling the heat from SIFF Cinema’s summer programming, perhaps? Here’s the lineup—nothing too adventurous, but intriguing all the same. (Well, except Crouching Tiger.)

Wed June 27 at 7 and 9 pm: Sunrise

Wed July 4 at 6, 8, 10 pm: Duck Soup

Wed July 11 at 7 and 9:15 pm: Casablanca

Wed July 18 at 7 and 9:30 pm: The Searchers

Wed July 25 at 7 and 9:30 pm: Blow-Up

Wed Aug 1 at 7 and 9:30 pm: Taxi Driver

Wed Aug 8 at 7 and 9:30 pm: Do the Right Thing

Wed Aug 15 at 7 and 9:30 pm: Miller’s Crossing

Wed Aug 22 at 7 and 9:30 pm: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The Nightlife Hearing

posted by on June 5 at 11:11 AM

Originally posted last night.

I’m sitting in the packed public hearing for Sally Clark’s proposed (but as-yet-unreleased) nightlife legislation (more on that here), where the crowd is stacked up ten to one against the proposal. Dozens of pro-nightlife speakers and a handful of neighborhood opponents have spoken passionately about Clark’s proposal, an amended version of Mayor Nickels’s proposed nightlife license legislation. Most of the testimony against the bill has focused on the so-called “fifty-foot rule,” which would require bar and club owners to police the area within 50 feet of their property for nuisance crimes and violence. “To be responsible for all the activities in that perimeter, I would have to double my staffing,” said Matthew Darling, owner of a small West Seattle club called Skylark. “I would have to train my servers and bartenders to essentially be security guards. People and issues that may have nothing to do with our business will be my responsibility.”

Bar owners and several downtown residents said the problems associated with nightlife could be addressed by increasing police presence around clubs, not piling on more regulations. Nancy Dillon, a longtime Belltown resident who lives in the vicinity of seven bars, said she routinely sees “no police action” on the street on Friday and Saturday nights. “I’ve personally gone over and talked to police who were just sitting there and had them say, ‘that’s not my problem. That’s not my job.’” David Osgood, a longtime attorney for nightlife establishments, suggested that a different approach to policing, not licensing, is the answer. “We have rules. We have laws against noise. We have laws against public drunkenness,” Osgood said. “What we don’t have is the policing model we need in this town to deal with large crowds of people late at night.”

On the anti-nightlife side were a small cadre of neighborhood activists, who clustered on the far right side of council chambers and applauded loudly every time one of their number spoke. John Cook, a resident of the Pomeroy apartments above the Twist nightclub, suggested that downtown clubs “move to a warehouse somewhere,” adding, “if folks don’t find a way to be decent neighbors, when the next set of regulations that come out, they’ll wish they’d accepted these regulations.” However, another downtown resident, Todd Nelson, spoke immediately after Cook; he said he “learned early on” that Belltown is a noisy place to live. “There’s a solution. It’s called earplugs. I sleep with them every night. The people who want the noise to go away—I would suggest that you move to Magnolia.”

Meat Crosses Another Boundary

posted by on June 5 at 11:09 AM

Ah, Father’s Day in Fremont. You can sit inside Roxy’s Deli and watch the Fremont Fair Nakies go by with Dad. You and Dad can eat for $5 on Father’s Day at Roxy’s, as long as you order from the special menu. Let’s take a peek at it, shall we?

Dad’s $5 Menu: Big Hearty Twigs and Berry Specials to keep the man in you going all day long.

Sounds good! But what alcoholic beverage shall we drink with our brunch?

Cocktail Specials: Meat & Potato Martini made with Potato Vodka and garnished with smoked sausage.

Oh wow. Jonah Spangenthal-Lee, I give you an assignment.

Oh hey! Did you know we’ve got dining reviews now? If you eat anything weird anywhere, make sure to spill the beans!

Decent Photos of Al Gore at Town Hall

posted by on June 5 at 10:41 AM

My live-Slogging of Al Gore’s speech at Town Hall last night was marred by some viciously crapbadawful cell-phone pictures. Sorry about that—my phone died right before Gore started, and Frizzelle’s cell phone takes terrible pictures. But now we’ve got some lovely Brooke Kempner photos in…




For another POV on Gore’s speech, check out Dan Gonsiorowski’s write-up over at Seattlest, Postman’s piece in this morning’s Seattle Times, and some good live-blogging at Northwest Progressive.

Libby Love Letters

posted by on June 5 at 10:02 AM

The Smoking Gun has copies of some of the letters written to Judge Reggie B. Walton in an effort to get Lewis Libby a lighter sentence. Among the writers: Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and… New Republic literary editor Leon Wieseltier?

They All Look Alike

posted by on June 5 at 9:54 AM

Fox News made a little mistake in yesterday’s coverage of the William Jefferson indictment.

Update: Talking Points Memo notes Fox News ran an sorta-kinda apology for the gaffe today:

The Fox anchor didn’t note that they’d shown video of one African-American congressman (Conyers) in place of another (Jefferson). They just said they’d “mistakenly run the wrong video” with no explanation of what the mistake was. I’m not sure what an ‘apology’ means one way or another. But it seems like a clarification was in order that the guy they showed, Conyers, actually didn’t get indicted for anything.

It is convenient for some to try to tarnish Conyers though since he’s played a lead role in investigating the Attorney Purge.

Today in the Gimp Parade

posted by on June 5 at 9:52 AM

Since I’m going to be on crutches for a little while, I thought I’d do some etymological cruising on “gimp.” The etymology is weak—OED: “uncertain, perhaps a corruption of ‘gammy’” which is, awesomely, “Tramps’ slang for bad, not good.”

Wikipedia doesn’t have much to say except that “gimp” is a politically incorrect term and a BDSM character and a kind of plasticky thread (aka “Scoubidou,” origins: French) used for making all that woven crap kids bring home from summer camp.

Then I, uh, stumbled over The Gimp Parade, a blog by Blue/Kay Olson, “a thirtysomething disabled feminist. Overeducated, underemployed.”

She’s got surprising and interesting thoughts about amputee soldiers and disability in poetry (Robert Pinsky), movies (Tiptoes), and jokes (“Does this wheelchair make my butt look big?”).

The surprise: How much she and her oft-linked friends at Not Dead Yet hate, hate, hate Jack Kevorkian:

Though often described as compassionate, legalized medical killing is really about a deadly double standard for people with severe disabilities, including both conditions that are labeled terminal and those that are not… People already have the right to refuse unwanted treatment, and suicide is not illegal. What we oppose is a public policy that singles out individuals for legalized killing based on their health status.

Which seems to be kind of missing the point of assisted suicide. As in, extending the ability to kill oneself to people need help finding the means, swallowing the pills, dragging themselves to the edge of the cliff, etc.

I don’t really get it, but perhaps our resident expert on disability issues, Ms. Erica Barnett, can explain it to me.

Clinton Coming to Town

posted by on June 5 at 9:50 AM

Bill, not Hillary, for what sounds like a private, not public, fundraiser on June 23.

An Anonymous Modern Dance Rant

posted by on June 5 at 9:27 AM

This morning brought this I, Anonymous to my inbox:

The last 24 hours have been very difficult for me…Currently, I’m recovering from an overdose of modern dance. I love that I have friends who appreciate the arts, because then it feels like I don’t have to. I don’t need that kind of pressure in my life. Last night was a benefit for a local modern dance studio. There was complimentary champagne being served from 5:15 to 5:23, followed by a catered “gourmet” buffet (a contradiction in terms), intermingled with spastic performance art commonly referred to as Modern Dance. Evidently, all you need in order to be a modern dancer is to have an ego the size of Montana and a mild to severe case of epilepsy. The seizures are accompanied by digital recordings of gastrointestinal phenomena backed by a horn section. Japanese cartoons are no longer a pre-requisite. Truly, a very fucked up evening.

Actually, egotists with epilepsy writhing to digital farts sounds like the kind of modern dance I like…

“The Truth Matters”

posted by on June 5 at 9:10 AM

Libby gets 2.5 years in prison for perjury and obstruction of justice in the CIA leak case.

The Morning News

posted by on June 5 at 7:16 AM

Fucking Awesome: FCC loses legal battle over “decency”

Rep. Jefferson charged with bribery

No Jurisdiction:
Charges against 2 Guantanamo prisoners dropped

Approved: Domestic partner benefits in Bellevue

Dead: Wyoming Senator Craig Thomas

Side Effects: Pfizer sued by Nigerian government over drug trials

Busted: US breaks up Laotian coup plot

Expanding: US Embassy in Iraq grows, gets volleyball court

Fun Star Wars Fact of the Day:

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there was a Star Wars Holiday Special. Lucas bought up all the copies of it and buried them in his backyard because it is so eye-searingly bad. The first 15 minutes of the movie is entirely in Wookie. No subtitles. Nothin’.

Here are the highlights:

Warning: This is 5 minutes of your life you’re not getting back

Monday, June 4, 2007

Name-Checked by Al Gore

posted by on June 4 at 10:11 PM

A short and probably not exhaustive list of people and things name-checked by Al Gore:

Lyndon LaRouche, Gandhi, Socrates, Plato, Gutenberg, the Bible, “the Founding Fathers,” Thomas Paine, Common Sense, Theodor Adorno, Network, Lindsay Lohan (I think the former vice president meant to say Paris Hilton—Lohan’s in rehab, not jail), Britney Spears, K-Fed, Earth in the Balance, An Inconvenient Truth, Star Wars.

There was much pop-culture bashing tonight; and as much as I hate to call a halt to all of the Donna Brazile-inspired fat-pinching prognostics, Gore sounds like a professor, a kindly scold, an elder statesman. He doesn’t sound like a man who’s running for president. That speech had a lot of red meat, but no A-1, if you know what I mean.

And now, a short selection from Theodor Adorno’s “The Culture Industry”:

The whole world is made to pass through the filter of the culture industry. The old experience of the movie-goer, who sees the world outside as an extension of the film he has just left (because the latter is intent upon reproducing the world of everyday perceptions), is now the producer’s guideline. The more intensely and flawlessly his techniques duplicate empirical objects, the easier it is today for the illusion to prevail that the outside world is the straightforward continuation of that presented on the screen. This purpose has been furthered by mechanical reproduction since the lightning takeover by the sound film.

Real life is becoming indistinguishable from the movies. The sound film, far surpassing the theater of illusion, leaves no room for imagination or reflection on the part of the audience, who is unable to respond within the structure of the film, yet deviate from its precise detail without losing the thread of the story; hence the film forces its victims to equate it directly with reality. The stunting of the mass-media consumer’s powers of imagination and spontaneity does not have to be traced back to any psychological mechanisms; he must ascribe the loss of those attributes to the objective nature of the products themselves, especially to the most characteristic of them, the sound film. They are so designed that quickness, powers of observation, and experience are undeniably needed to apprehend them at all; yet sustained thought is out of the question if the spectator is not to miss the relentless rush of facts. Even though the effort required for his response is semi-automatic, no scope is left for the imagination.

Al Gore at Town Hall

posted by on June 4 at 7:38 PM


The place is packed—sold out, SRO… except, of course, for the press seats, which are roomy. Seattle’s blog elite is here: David Postman from the Seattle Times, Dan Gonsiorowski from Seattlest, Goldy from HorsesAss, Northwest Progressive (also live-blogging), and others.

Gore is going to speak for a half an hour, and take a few questions, and then sign copies of his new book, The Assault on Reason. He won’t be signing any memorabilia, we’re told, just his new book. As soon as Gore is on I’ll start typing like mad. Hopefully he’ll announce that he’s running for president—and hopefully someone will ask him to if he doesn’t announce it during his speech.

Okay, Gore’s on. Standing ovation—naturally. After his opening remarks, thanks to Town Hall, Karen from Elliott Bay Books… Gore opens with…

“I’m a recovering politician, on about step nine. You win some, you lose some, and then there’s that little known third category.”

The big question: How thin does he look? Everyone seems to think that Gore’s weight is the chief indicator of his intentions—if he’s taking off the pounds, he’s running. If he’s still packing ‘em on, he’s not. Well, he looking thinner—much thinner, actually, than he has been recently. So he’s running, right? Well, maybe. He could be losing weight to keep his options open—he has to lose weight to keep his options open. Because Americans, as fat as we are, would sooner vote for an idiot anorexic than a beefy genius. Or something. Anyway, for all you Gore Weight Watchers, the former VP is lookin’ thin. Make of that what you will.

Al seems a little low on energy, and he’s hoarse—perhaps he’s book-tour hoarse. But the crowd is eating him up, laughing at jokes they no doubt heard in An Inconvenient Truth, and on Letterman, and SNL. We’re getting the enviro chunk of Gore stump speech, for openers, all about climate change. But it’s well-rehearsed and, shit, in front of this crowd? Al Gore could lose control of his bowels and crap his pants and the place would go wild.

Okay, we’re on Iraq now.

“What do the climate crisis and the invasion of Iraq have in common? … We shouldn’t have invaded Iraq, we should respond to the climate crisis. We did the exact opposite, despite the evidence. Do the facts matter? Is the truth irrelevant? …. The idea that one can create one’s own reality—I understand the philosophy but it’s just wrong….

George Orwell [said] when leaders create their own realities they eventually have a collosion with reality, usually on the battle field.”

Six LaRouchies, everyone immediately presumes, dressed like Christmas elves or something just interrupted. No, wait. Their supposed to be those chanting monks from Monty Python and the Holy Grail—they’re chanting something and hitting themselves on their empty heads with their idiotic tracts.

“That’s the LaRouche cult,” says Gore, as Town Hall ushers rush them out of the auditorium, to applause. “For some reason they’ve taken a liking to me.”

Here’s a terrible picture of Gore…


We’ve got a photographer here, so we’ll have some decent pics later.

Okay, I love Al Gore… I want him to run for president… I’ve been a Gore/Obama man longer than just about anyone else out there. But I have to say: Gore seems exhausted. He’s on a book tour, and I know from personal experience that book tours can be exhausting. But anyone that came here tonight expecting a slashing, barn-burning, raise-the-roof, motherfucking speech is going to leave disappointed.

We’re on to the invention of human speech, the earliest attempts at communication, the flooding of the Nile, the invention of the printing press, the Protestant revolution, Copernicus, the movement of the planets…. Gore is walking us through the “evolution of communication systems” on his way to a no-doubt salient point about the how badly we need to evolve a “new information ecosystem.” It’s esoteric stuff… hard to tell how it’s going over… and I can’t keep up. And while the crowd is listening politely I can’t help but think they’re secretly hoping for another LaRouchie interruption.

“The migrants that came to North American brought the seeds of the Enlightenment to North Amiercan and planted them here…. Our founders designed a system that enabled individuals without wealth, without power, to use ideas and knowledge as a source of power to mediate between privledge and wealth.”

You can hear the LaRouchies singing outside the building.

“Before the Iraq war, 70% of people believed that we were attacked by Saddam Hussein.”

Saddam was getting uranium from Africa, making nuclear weapons, threatening to share them with his good friends in Al Qauda, mushroom clouds over American cities…

“None of that was true. But none of it was challenged to the point where it could no longer be used as the point for an invasion of Iraq. 150,000 American troops are still trapped in a civil war in Iraq. That was a big mistake. What this book is about is how we can avoid making more mistakes like that.”

We are in a bad state. Locking up American citizens without charges, torturing people, ignoring the climate crisis….

“Candidates gather on a stage and express their support for torture, and the audience applauds…. Who we are, as citizens of this country, depends not just on what we learn in school or what our parents teach us. It depends on how we communicate with one another. Whether we trust one another…. Whether we believe we have a shared obligation to seek out with each other, as best we can, the truth.”

Man, it’s hot in here. I’m sweating like a pig and I’m wearing a t-shirt. Gore must be dying up there.

“We have to dis-enthrall ourselves and shed the illusions that people urge upon us because [they] feel the truth is our enemy…. We have to tend to the cracks in the foundation of our democracy.”

The press has been corrupted by the profit motive, our leaders are corrupt, radio was exploited by fascists, and television is just fucking toxic—but the Internet, man, the Internet! So long as we keep it free, and we simply must fight corporate and political efforts to constrain the Internet or seize control of the Internet. We have to fight it as passionately as our founders fought to protect the freedom of the press.

I’m not being snarky in the above graph—I agree with everything Gore is saying.

“The survival of American democracy depends on protecting the freedom of the Internet.”

Agreed, Al, agreed.

Gore is wrapping up his remarks—having gone on a bit longer than his promised half hour. And he ends with a compliment, sucking up to the crowd…

“What a great city this is. You read, you think, you talk, you communicate. The rebellion lives… and one of the centers is right here.”

Okay, it’s question time!

First question: How do you argue with people who don’t believe in global warming?

Buy them my book, says Gore, buy them my movie.

Second question: Rupert Murdoch buying the Wall Street Journal, pro or con?

Kinda pro, kinda con. Hate the WSJ op-ed pages, love WSJ reporting.

Third question: Why so little movement on global warming during the Clinton administration?

I was vice-president, not president, and we lost control of Congress. And scientific consensus was far short of what it is today.

Fourth question: How do you change people’s actions and not just their minds?

Great question, says Gore. Uh… not really. Kind of a suck-ass question, actually, and not the question everyone wants to hear someone ask Gore. For fuck’s sake, someone just shout it out!

My god, is he wrapping up? Is no one going to ask him if he’s fucking run for president? Gore thanks us, waves, and strides from the stage! Fuck! No one asked! Christ! It’s all anyone cares about, it’s all anyone can talk about, and no one in this thinking, talking, communicating Seattle audience thought to ask Gore to communicate with us about the only thing anyone really wants to talk about? Jesus!God, I hate bullshit Seattle audience questions about chit-chatting with people who disagree with us about their feelings and changing hearts and minds and blah blah fuckin’ blah.

Sigh. What a waste—because I’m sure if someone had asked him, Gore would have announced his candidacy. Gore/Obama ‘08!

Okay, here’s two final craptastic pictures…

Al Gore brings it home at Town Hall tonight…


Al Gore signs some books…


Hopefully someone in the book-signing line thought to ask the man if he’s running for fucking president.

And that concludes our live-Slogging for this evening. Thank you and goodnight.

UPDATE: So after cleaning up this post and going downstairs… I saw that Gore was finishing up the signing line. He looked exhausted—the book tours, the heat, the wool suit. A couple of people told me excitedly that Gore is definitely dieting, and we all know what that means. Town Hall’s Susie Tennant handed me a book and Frizzelle and I joined the line at the end. Gore signed our books and when we asked him if he was going to run, Gore said…

I’m not going to reveal what Al Gore said. You can read about it in Frizzelle’s column this week. I can reveal, however, that while Al Gore was answering our question his eyes drifted down to my t-shirt…


…and Gore gave me a very queer look. Before I could say, “I voted for you and Bill in ‘96, Mr. Vice President,” Gore was up, out the door, whisked into a car, and quickly driven past a clump of die-hard LaDouchies.

Margit Rankin Is Stepping Down as Executive Director of Seattle Arts & Lectures

posted by on June 4 at 5:24 PM

The press release hasn’t gone out yet, but here’s what it will say: Margit Rankin, the executive director of Seattle Arts & Lectures, is stepping down. We just spoke on the phone. She’s stepping down for personal reasons and doesn’t have any particular next career move planned. She’s looking forward to some time off.

After four years of her leadership, the organization appears to be more stable than ever. She is an excellent administrator. The lecture series hasn’t changed much under Rankin’s leadership, but SAL’s several educational programs have grown. (Rankin’s background is in academia.)

A representative from the search committee that will find her replacement couldn’t immediately be reached. I’ll post the press release here as soon as I get it.

Al Gore

posted by on June 4 at 4:32 PM


Apparently Al Gore is speaking at Town Hall in about three hours—who knew?

Today in Line Out

posted by on June 4 at 3:39 PM

Pela Plays Tonight: At Chop Suey.

New Nightlife Proposal: Being discussed tonight, 5:30 pm, 600 Fourth Ave, 2nd floor.

In the Future: Ariel Pink will play the Crocodile.

Mob Law and Sorority Girls: Massively mediocre, even with an appearance by an American Idol.

Blake Lewis Also Crashed Trent’s Night: Is there anywhere in Seattle that beatboxer wasn’t?

Block Party Update: More bands, more bands, and yes, even more bands have been announced.


The (Not So) Lonely Life of the Second-Tier Candidate

posted by on June 4 at 2:55 PM

Last night I posted some photos I took in the spin room after the Democratic debate in New Hampshire. I thought my shot of the nearly-empty and completely ignored Kucinich “spin stand” said something about the loneliness of the second-tier candidate.

But I should also show you what happened next. It may make you feel a little less sorry for Kucinich.

About ten minutes later, the Congressman walked in with his bombshell 29-year-old wife, Elizabeth. (It’s been reported, with some glee, that Elizabeth has a tongue piercing and a familiarity with the kama sutra.) Suddenly, the Kucinich stand wasn’t so lonely anymore…



A crush of media surrounded the couple, and pushed little old me to the outer edge of their scrum. This morning, a sharp-eyed friend spotted photographic evidence, via the AP, of my lack of sharp enough elbows. I’m not saying which one is me, but suffice to say I’m not in the inner circle.


Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on June 4 at 2:27 PM

I guess I haven’t been keeping close enough tabs on the Prayer Warrior lately, because I have no idea what he’s talking about with item number one in this, his latest missive. Item number two seems self-explanatory. And item number three… well, we all know what that’s about.


June 4, 2007

Dear Prayer Warrior,

I have 3 specific prayer requests for you for this week!

1. Pray for Israel…Benjamin Netanyahu is unable to leave Israel to attend the meeting tomorrow, so it will be a teleconference meeting. Pray for wisdom on whether or not I should continue to go.

2. I am working with Bishop Harry Jackson in trying to get a full page ad with USA TODAY regarding the Hate Crimes Bill.

3. Pray for my attempt to get a meeting with President Bush and Condaleeza Rice to discuss issues with the American Embassy in Latvia.

Pray for wisdom in priorities and time management on all these issues.

Pastor Hutch

Want Nightlife in Seattle?

posted by on June 4 at 2:25 PM

Then head down to City Council chambers (400 5th Avenue, second floor) at 5:30 pm today, June 4 to let the council know what you think of Sally Clark’s proposed amendments to the mayor’s nightlife ordinance. Don’t know what you think? A briefing paper on Clark’s proposal (the specific details of which have not been released, despite the fact that the final public hearing is tonight) can be found here (pdf).

Among other changes, the proposal increases fines for noise violations ($2,000 for the first offense, $6,000 for the third), replaces license suspension with as-yet-unspecified fines for minor violations, and gives the city the authority to yank a club’s nightlife license for violent incidents in or within 50 feet of a club. As the ordinance is currently proposed, violating the city’s nuisance code could also be grounds for license suspension. Read more about it here.

Sign up to comment before the council (note: All comments limited to two minutes, less if a lot of people show up to speak) outside council chambers at 5.

If you can’t make it tonight, the council’s neighborhoods committee will discuss the proposal at least two more times, on June 7 (in council chambers at 9:30 am) and June 21 (in University Heights, at 5031 University Way NE at 6 pm).

The Stranger De-Suggests:

posted by on June 4 at 1:44 PM

I’m soooo very sorry that I suggested:

Moscow Cats Theatre

(Feline Acrobatics) Most hotels won’t accommodate 35 cats, so everywhere this awesome traveling company goes, its animals stay in their own apartment. They wear bow ties and hats. They walk on tightropes, dance, and leap—little kitty gymnasts for a group of weirdo Russian clowns. There is also one dog, which is somehow depressing. (Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St, 443-2222. 1 and 5 pm, $49—$57.) ARI SPOOL

I was prompted by a comment on this post to investigate the performances lack of bowties and possible suckage. While sucking is relative, I can confirm that there were no bowties or hats on the cats this weekend. This is a vile disappointment, leaving me with no choice but to consider suicide and de-suggest the event.

I am so upset right now.

What Density Looks Like

posted by on June 4 at 1:22 PM

You all know I love me some density.

Via Sightline, this web site has an incredible collection of images representing all types of density…




…and its opposite, sprawl:



The site makes a compelling case that while density is an important step in the right direction, good design (variation in building styles, easy access to services, streets that put bikes and pedestrians first) is also necessary to make density work.

Two neighborhoods with the exact same density can look as different as night and day. Although they measure out at the same density they are not necessarily perceived to be equally dense. What really matters is how the streets are laid out, how the land is subdivided, how the buildings are arranged and detailed, whether trees are planted, where the sidewalks lead. These are all functions of design. […]

If there is little variation-an even wash of development from one corner of town to the other, or the same block shape or building type repeated relentlessly, it will feel crowded, even if it has a low density. Contrast and diversity, at the neighborhood as well as the regional level are vital components of successful density.

I couldn’t agree more: Large multi-family developments with street-facing parking and no ground-floor amenities are not a good way to build density—one reason I feel a bit lost in the suburbs when I walk through Rainier Vista. Still, it’s pretty clear that good density shares the same basic characteristics everywhere: Build vertical, make room for green space, choose a style that works in its context, deemphasize cars, include easy access to services, and reject monotony. It’s that simple.

Um, Okay, I Feel Bad for the Bitch Now!

posted by on June 4 at 1:19 PM

Mr. (Ms?) Wm. Steven Humphrey™ earlier queried quite a query. Basically, it was something like this: Do you feel sorry for Paris fucking Hilton, now that she’s slammered away? DO YOU? Can you muster a drip of compassion for the bleach-blond bag of money-dipped-in-sperm? And if you didn’t feel the tinniest twinge of sad for her before, do you NOW—-after watching that horrible video that he posted of Sarah Silverman at the MTV VMAs or whatever? Do you? DO YOU???

Well I fucking do. Now.

Some perspective: When I was thirteen like Paris is or whatever, goodness knows, I certainly snorted my share of coke from the huge hard cocks of many anonymous black men and various relatively interested bystanders. I wasn’t even a billionaire yet. So it’s not like I can’t empathize. (Hey, we’ve all been there.) Of course I never, EVER, drink (or lie), and I didn’t learn to drive until just last Tuesday. And I’ve forgotten that gain already. So luckily Paris and I don’t have the DUI thing in common. Thank God. Knock wood.

But, see, I simply can’t abide rudeness. Cannot. Fucking. Abide. It. Sure, she’s going to jail, it will probably (forgive me) do her some good (lesbian sex is expansive for the soul), but really I’m very British about the situation. As is the tradition of all good Brittishers or whatever (I AM half British, you understand. The other half is Irish, and that’s the half that doesn’t drink or lie) I’d sledgehammer your children to death in their beds, but I’d never be rude to your face. Ergo, I feel sorry for Paris. The entire VMA or whatever audience applauded and cheered her pending incarceration—-Jack Nicholson practically shat himself ——and she was SITTING RIGHT THERE. My God. RIGHT THERE!

And now…well. Et tu, Madame Taussauds?



So. Now I feel sorry for Paris Hilton. I never wanted to feel sorry for God damn Paris Hilton. I don’t WANT to feel sorry for God damn Paris fucking-slut-bag-coke-whore-money-up-the-greasy-twat-evil-stuck- up-biznatch Hilton. But now I do. I blame Sarah Silverman.

Fuck the fuck you,

Public Art

posted by on June 4 at 1:04 PM

I went to SAM’s sculpture garden/glorified pedestrian overpass twice this weekend. It was, uh, nice enough. But the best piece of public art I saw on my visit wasn’t in the park at all. It was along the waterfront in Myrtle Edwards Park…


I loves me some driftwood art. Nice work, whoever pulled that piece together. SAM should write you a check, cast the thing in bronze, and put one of their “don’t you FUCKING touch this thing” signs on it.

The worst piece of public art I saw on my trip wasn’t in the sculpture garden/glorified overpass… or in Myrtle Edwards Park… or in downtown at all. It was in Fremont… and I spotted it on my ride home… and it’s monstrous and something ought to be done…


Have any drunken frat boys died trying to climb this thing? Any apartments been broken into because of it? Any way we can get it declared a public menace and hauled away?

The Stranger Hour

posted by on June 4 at 12:59 PM

This Saturday at 7 p.m., David Goldstein of Horse’s Ass and I kicked off a new feature called the Stranger Hour on “The David Goldstein Show” (7-10 pm Saturdays and Sundays on Newsradio 710-KIRO). Every Saturday, Goldstein will sit down with a Stranger writer (or, as Goldy likes to refer to us, “victim”) to recap last week’s news and talk about what’s coming up in the paper. Feel free to suggest topics in the comments.

The Missing Soldiers

posted by on June 4 at 12:56 PM

A group affiliated with al-Qaeda released a video today claiming that it killed the three American soldiers abducted after an attack last month. One of the missing soldiers was found floating in the Euphrates river, the other two are still missing. We’ve had 4,000 soldiers out looking for the missing soldiers, and at least a half a dozen have died during the search for the missing soldiers.

What’s to stop insurgents from plucking dead American soldiers from the wreckage of the next military vehicle they explode, or the next helicopter they bring down, or the next foot patrol they ambush, prompting a massive search that will lead to the deaths of more US soldiers?

Interoffice Email of the Day

posted by on June 4 at 12:40 PM

From the hobbled fingers of Brendan Kiley:

Subject: Questions Answered

Where you been?
Sorry, I forgot to send a note before I left: I flew out last week to southern Virginia for the consecutive funerals of my granddad and great-aunt, who died on the same day. Highlights: Heat, humidity, lukewarm fried chicken at every meal, Baptist church services, and listening to my uncle and another preacher talk out their “game plan” for the exorcism they were going to perform later that night.
What’s with the crutches?
The night before I flew out, I was with my brother, horsing around, and jumped out my apartment window, trying to land on a (parked) school bus.
Were you drunk?
I am embarrassed by how not-drunk I was.
So what happened?
I jumped, landed on the bus, bounced off, and landed on my side in a gravel parking lot.
Are you injured?
On my right side—my ankle and feet are purple and enormous but just sprained. My heel bone is shattered and will require a little surgery. I cracked a few ribs on my right side.
Oh my God. You’re an idiot.
I prefer “swashbuckler.”

Condolences, Brendan. I hope that buckled swash isn’t giving you too much pain.

Josh Is Out Today…

posted by on June 4 at 12:28 PM

…which is why no one at Slog is screaming and yelling about this.

Light-rail debt a 50-year ride

If Sound Transit wins voter approval to extend light rail far beyond Seattle at a cost of more than $23 billion by 2027, taxpayers would still owe an additional $14 billion in construction debt afterward.

Financing costs mean that voters in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties will be looking at a half-century commitment when they decide on a regional-transportation measure in November. The last bonds for the 50-mile rail plan, and other transit projects, would be paid off in 2057.

By then, Sound Transit’s spending would exceed $37 billion, counting inflation and interest charges. Agency leaders say a more accurate number is $10.8 billion, representing the cost of construction and trains in 2006 dollars.

Sound Transit assures area voters that their desire to have their debt always viewed today’s dollars, regardless of the year we’re paying it off, is nothing like the defunct monorail agency’s desire for us to do the same. Because, Sound Transit assure us, light rail is nothing like monorail. And they’re right! It’s bigger, slower, more expensive…

Fremont Oktoberfest Is Moving

posted by on June 4 at 12:18 PM


A press release just arrrived about the 2007 Fremont Oktoberfest… and it’s bad news, I’m afraid. There’s a big hole in the ground where Fremont’s Oktoberfest was held… so we won’t be drinking under the Aurora Bridge this year. The Fest is moving to Canal Street between Phinney Ave N. and 1st Ave NW. It’s a nice spot… and we’ll be drinking along the canal, with less traffic noise. It’s also along the bike path, so Joel Connelly and I can ride down together.

Love is Strange

posted by on June 4 at 12:13 PM

Jon-Benet Ramsey’s dad and Natalee Holloway’s mom are dating.

Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on June 4 at 12:00 PM


‘For the Bible Tells Me So’
The gulf between Biblical literalists and real-life homosexuals is packed with irreconcilable differences, and Daniel Karslake’s brilliant documentary goes where those differences matter most: within families, where fundamentalist parents and queer kids can remain locked in battle unto eternity. As infuriating and heartbreaking as you’d fear and more inspiring than you’d imagine, Bible is the best gay doc since The Celluloid Closet. (SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer St, 324-9996. 6:45 pm, $10.) DAVID SCHMADER

SIFF 2007: Monday Highlights

posted by on June 4 at 11:03 AM


There are two good options in every slot today, save the early afternoon matinee. Skip Vinicius (Pacific Place at 2 pm) unless you’re a huge fan of the titular musician and start your movies off at…

Pacific Place, 4:30 pm. Kathy Fennessy says the cutesy-sounding German film Grave Decisions is actually “sweet, funny, and occasionally tasteless—much like your favorite pre-teen nephew.” If you haven’t seen it yet, Running on Empty (SIFF Cinema, 4 pm) is even better.

SIFF Cinema, 6:45 pm. David Schmader adores For the Bible Tells Me So, a great doc from Sundance that hasn’t been picked up for distribution.


See it now or see it never. If you saw it over the weekend, go with the Belgian comedy Congorama (Neptune, 6:45 pm), which Brendan Kiley thoroughly enjoyed.

9:30 pm, Harvard Exit. Pay homage to the late Charles Nelson Reilly with this film about his one-man stage show (here’s the New York Times review, performed in 2001. Plus, the South Korean schoolgirl fantasia/sociopolitical commentary Dasepo Naughty Girls, which Bradley Steinbacher couldn’t help but love.


War Bulletin

posted by on June 4 at 10:55 AM

Depressing news on the surge from the New York Times:

Three months after the start of the Baghdad security plan that has added thousands of American and Iraqi troops to the capital, they control fewer than one-third of the city’s neighborhoods, far short of the initial goal for the operation, according to some commanders and an internal military assessment.

The surge has had some success, but—according to the article—American and Iraqis have been able to secure “only 146 of the 457 Baghdad neighborhoods.” And it’s not going to get any easier anytime soon, especially since:

Iraqi police and army units, which were expected to handle basic security tasks, like manning checkpoints and conducting patrols, have not provided all the forces promised, and in some cases have performed poorly.

That is forcing American commanders to conduct operations to remove insurgents from some areas multiple times. The heavily Shiite security forces have also repeatedly failed to intervene in some areas when fighters, who fled or laid low when the American troops arrived, resumed sectarian killings.

Meanwhile, retired Army Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, who commanded U.S. forces in the Iraq War’s first year, offers a bleak assessment of the situation:

“I think if we do the right things politically and economically with the right Iraqi leadership we could still salvage at least a stalemate, if you will—not a stalemate but at least stave off defeat.

Eighteen Wheeler

posted by on June 4 at 10:42 AM

At the Big Rig showing last Saturday, the filmmakers parked a semi in front of the Egyptian Theater. Anyone who wanted to could climb inside the cab and sit in the driver’s seat or check out the setup. The film was great, with interesting people—individualists not fitting into the regular 9-to-5 life. I love seeing documentaries that show you a subculture that you didn’t know anything about before.

Keep your rubber down and your metal up!


posted by on June 4 at 10:15 AM

White House Prepares for Possible Vacancy as [Supreme] Court Nears Summer Break

HorsesAss Reads Joel Connelly…

posted by on June 4 at 9:59 AM

…so you don’t have to.

Joel Connelly is fuming again about those damn kids on their damn bikes—out there riding their 10 speeds when they should be at home fucking their brains out and getting themselves pregnant when they’re not watching the interminable NBA playoffs or writing letters to their representatives complaining about high taxes. Yes, it’s another Connelly column about Seattle’s politically powerful cyclists and their conspiracy to do away with the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Says Joel

[This] week, council members allocated $8.1 million to study the “surface-transit option” in replacing the Alaskan Way Viaduct.

Surface transit is a pet idea of those who seem to be forming Seattle’s agenda these days and pushing for a gentrified, politically correct, largely childless, heavily taxed city, a place that embraces bicycles and exiles NBA basketball.

Over at HorsesAss, Will describes Connelly’s latest jab at the cyclofascists as Falwell-esque.

I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians, 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.”

Says Will

Jesus, we embrace bicycles? And stopped having kids? We have gone too far.

To the hyper-sensitive, sports-hating, condom-using, tax-and-spend, Capitol Hill enviro-fascists, Joel points his finger at you.

Joel? I live in the city, I have a kid, and I’m happy to pay my damn taxes. Where do you live again? How many children do you have?

Not For Me

posted by on June 4 at 9:58 AM

This is an instant message conversation I just had with a friend who lives glamorously in Manhattan:

her:oh i saw Knocked Up last weekend, bc i wanted to see the best reviewed film of ‘07.

me: how was it?

her: you would die! they have a sex scene in there with a pregnant woman and a man. it was pretty gross and lasted about five mintues. it was also the most real sex scene i’ve ever seen bc they showed them trying out all these different positions. but you would vomit if you saw it.

me: thanks for the warning. i will not watch that movie.

My friends are good to me.

Do You Feel Sorry For Paris? Not Even After THIS?!

posted by on June 4 at 9:50 AM

As we know, Paris Hilton has started her 23-ish day jail sentence to pay for her crimes against humanity. But I’m not sure being coddled in the celebrity wing of a minimum security prison is going to right all the wrongs she’s committed against the universe. That’s why it’s a good thing we have sexy potty-mouth SARAH SILVERMAN on the planet to keep the world in balance. Check out the KER-SLAM Sarah puts on Paris at the MTV Movie Awards—and oh, my god—check out the look on Paris’ face.

Dog’s Butthole Drives Woman Insane

posted by on June 4 at 9:39 AM

I dislike exposed dog anus as much as the next neat freak. Still, this ad is confusing.

About midway through, I’m wondering if it’s an ad for anti-anxiety medication, or a public service announcement about not beating your children, no matter what fucked up shit they do. But no, it’s for carpet cleaners, and the dog’s dragged asshole is the point.

Ick, but props to that actress for going there truthfully.

(Thanks to Jake.)

No Fisticuffs—Just Handcuffs

posted by on June 4 at 9:27 AM

There were no fisticuffs at last night’s Dem debate, per Eli’s post. But one pair of handcuffs were used. Eric Alterman, a columnist for The Nation, was arrested for apparently stealing a glass of white wine in a VIP room. Or something. Some are saying that Alterman’s arrest hurts his credibility. I say it ups his street cred, yo.

Good Clams, Bad Gumbo

posted by on June 4 at 8:40 AM


Sometimes a restaurant surprises you—in a good way. Take this plate of steamed clams at the Red Door in Fremont. I’ve had plenty of burgers at the Red Door… and a few dozen beers… but I never ordered anything off the menu at the Red Door ‘cept their burgers. I love steamers—a big bowl of clams, steamed in butter and wine—but there’s nothing worse than a bad bowl of steamed clams (well, maybe leukemia), and since Red Door didn’t seem like a good bet for clams, I stuck with the burgers.

But a coupled of Friday’s ago I was at the Red Door and I wasn’t in the mood for a burger so I decided to take a chance on the steamers. And, goddamnit, they were the best damned steamed clams I’d ever had. Here’s hoping it wasn’t a fluke because I’m going back for more.

Sometimes, though, a place surprises you in a bad way. I’m a big fan of the Virginia Inn on 1st Avenue. The place was non-smoking before non-smoking was cool (sorry, I mean “legally mandated”), and it’s a great place to have a beer and some good, cheap, fast bar chow. I’m a fan of the quiche—yeah, yeah—but I particularly love the gumbo at the Virginia Inn. Over the last decade I’ve probably eaten enough gumbo at the Virginia Inn to fill a couple of fifty gallon drums.

The Virginia Inn’s menu promises a bowl “chock-full of sausage and chicken,” and it lists the gumbo, which is just $9, as an entree. So, like, it’s supposed to be dinner, you know? And it’s usually pretty filling—dump some Tabasco sauce in, scoop it on to the delicious bread they serve with it, and you’re set. But, man, last Friday I stopped by the Virginia Inn and my not-quite-full bowl of gumbo came with just two lonely, paper-thin slices of sausage and not one recognizable bit of chicken. By the time I rode my bike home I was starving again. But here’s this weekend’s gumbo was a fluke, because I’ll be back for more.

Anyway… I just wanted to share. Because when you’ve had a surprising experience in a restaurant—good surprise or bad—you wanna let people know, you know?

Have we mentioned that the Stranger’s restaurant listing now have reader reviews? We have, and they do. Did you have a good experience? A bad one? Let people know.

The Morning News

posted by on June 4 at 7:23 AM

Throwdown: Who won last night’s democratic debate? America

3,493: Fourteen US troops killed over the weekend

We Suck Young Blood: Army prosecuting 15 year old combatant

“Capability low, intent very high” Was JFK plot all talk?

I Can’t Drive 65: Speeding tickets getting more expensive

Blood Diamonds: War crimes trial begins for former Liberian president

Economy vs. Environment: China says economic growth trumps global warming

Star Wars Fact of the Day:


John Ratzenberger (Cliff, from Cheers) was in Empire Strikes Back. He’s the guy who closes Echo Base’s shield doors, trapping Han and Luke out in the frozen wastes of Hoth. Asshole.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Photoblogging the Spin Room

posted by on June 3 at 6:54 PM

Sorry, no fisticuffs in the spin room after the Democratic debate tonight in New Hampshire. Instead, I offer this series of photos. They were taken just after the debate ended, when the assembled media rushed in to get “spun” on the candidates they were most interested in.

Oh, the loneliness of the “second tier” candidate…









Fearless Leader

posted by on June 3 at 5:45 PM


If he wasn’t already, Dan is now an honorary Jew. I mean, look at that ‘fro!

High school is hard on all of us.

Via Seattle Times

Clinton at Dem Debate

posted by on June 3 at 5:28 PM

I’m fucking sick of politicians who represent New York—city or state—saying this in interviews, on TV, at debates, in their sleep, etc.:

“I have seen first hand the terrible damage that can be inflicted on our country by a small band of terrorists.”

Hillary Clinton said that tonight in response to John Edwards calling Bush’s War on Terror “a political slogan, a bumper sticker.”

Hillary disagrees with Edwards. The War on Terror is real, and it’s made us safer. how does she know this? Because she saw—first hand!—the damage the terrorists did to NYC. End of discussion!

Apparently anyone who saw—first hand!—the damage terrorists did in New York, Washington DC, or to that field in Pennsylvania has a clearer understanding of… well, the damage terrorists can do to cities, office buildings, fields, etc. No point arguing with them about our post-9/11 policy or approaches, shortcomings or successes—hey, they saw.

This is total bullshit. We all saw what happened on 9/11—wherever we happened to be at the time of the attacks, we saw it. We saw it on television, we read about it in the newspapers, we heard about it on the radio. (George W. Bush wasn’t exactly having breakfast at Windows on the World, and neither was Hillary Clinton.) For weeks we saw, read, and heard about little besides the attacks. I think it’s safe to say that every American under the age of 12 is painfully aware of “the terrible damage that can be afflicted on our country by small band of terrorists.” And I very much doubt that John Edwards was unaware that terrorists brought down two 110-story office buildings in New York City, killing thousands in the process, before Hillary clued him in tonight.

Would someone please pry this idiotic, insulting, and supposedly argument-ending trump card—I’m from New York! I saw what can happen!—from the cold, calculating hands of Hillary Clinton and Rudy Guiliani? They’ve abused it enough already. It’s gotta stop.

We all lived through it, we all saw, we all know.

At the Dem Debate in New Hampshire

posted by on June 3 at 4:30 PM

I’m on a freelance assignment at tonight’s Democratic debate in New Hampshire. Glamorous? Not exactly. I’m in the cavernous press filing room, watching the debate on TV, just… like… you?


(One improvement over watching it at home: I get to go to the “Spin Room” afterward. The candidates seem a bit testy tonight, and are confronting each other in this debate much more than in the previous one — if there are fisticuffs in the spin room I’ll be sure to snap a pic for Slog.)

True or False: Ron Paul is a Republican?

posted by on June 3 at 3:52 PM


I was riding my bike through Pike Place Market today—which I don’t recommend as the market is packed—when I spotted a clump of scruffy, sign-wavers roasting in the sun. I love me some scruffy sign-wavers, so I rolled over. There were about ten of ‘em, most looked under 30, and they were holding signs that said “Ron Paul / President / End War.”

Hm. Whoever made the signs, I thought to myself, left off one important word: Republican.

Ron Paul is a Republican congressman from Texas—albeit an pro-civil-liberties, anti-Patriot Act, anti-Bush Republican congressman who had the good sense to oppose the Iraq War from the start. (Unlike some, ahem, left-leaning sex-advice columnists I could name.) Paul kicked up a shit storm at the last Republican debate by suggesting that our involvement in the Middle East prior to September 11, 2001, might have had something to do with motivating the attacks on September 11, 2001.

I asked the guy on the left in the photo above if he really thought a Republican could really end this war—even Ron Paul.

“He’s not really a Republican,” he said. “More of an independent.”

“He’s a Republican congressman from Texas,” I said, “and has been for decades.”

The guy with Ron Paul sign looked left, then right, then at me.

“I’m just holding the sign,” he said, “okay?”

“They paying you?” I asked.

“What do you think?” he answered.

I took a flyer—which also didn’t mention the “R” word—and rode home.

He Should Have Been a Son

posted by on June 3 at 1:00 PM


The local music community was in full effect for last night’s Seattle premiere of AJ Schnack’s unique documentary, Kurt Cobain: About a Son. I spotted Mark Pickerel, Dave Meinert, and DJs from KEXP and KCMU (I was KCMU music director from 1989-1991).

Although we certainly didn’t plan it, my friends and I—Gillian G. Gaar, author of the 33-1/3 book Nirvana’s In Utero, and former Stranger scribe Tom Kipp—ended up sitting next to photographer Charles Peterson, musician/producer Steve Fisk, and author Michael Azerrad (Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana). A few seats away, I noticed Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard (who’s been performing “All Apologies” as part of his recent solo repertoire).

What I didn’t realize until after the screening was how many of these individuals were involved with the making of this impressionistic portrait. I knew that Cobain’s narration was taken from Azerrad’s early-1990s interviews with the Nirvana front man, but I didn’t know that Peterson provided the still photography (not just archival images, but according to the director, new images at a four-to-one ratio to the old) or that Fisk and Gibbard composed the minimalistic score. Schnack’s wife, producer Shirley Moyers [below], drowsy daughter, and key crew members were also in attendance.

Continue reading "He Should Have Been a Son" »

Students Stage Protest at Macy’s, Melt My Cold Black Heart

posted by on June 3 at 12:08 PM

Everyone knows how much I love protests, so when I headed downtown for a student-run, pro-union rally at Macy’s on Saturday, I prepared myself for the worst.

Forty or fifty student activists from the University of Washington’s Student Labor Action Project and UW Guatemala Project gathered in front of Macy’s to protest labor abuses and union-busting in the Guatemalan garment industry.


There was, of course, one of these:


The student group crammed themselves onto the sidewalk at 4th and Pine, waving signs, chanting, and handing out fliers under the watchful, yet casual, eye of the law.

An older woman - Macy’s bag in hand - waved off a young activist with informational pamphlets, telling him “there’s no point in me taking that.”


A group of about 10 students slipped inside Macy’s for an in-store protest, lying on the floor of the department store in a show of solidarity with Guatemalan laborers who are forced to sleep in their factories. Macy’s security broke things up pretty quickly and a herd of activists came running back out onto 4th Ave. SLAP and UWGP’s ring-leaders - Rod Palmquist and April Nishimura - were, of course, immediately snatched up by security, causing a major disruption in the already loosely-knit group’s leadership. I asked one student why she hadn’t stayed with her compatriots inside of Macy’s. She shrugged and said “everyone else got up.”

Several activists ventured back into Macy’s, along with their two legal observers, to find out the fate of their comrades. Moments later, they came running back out of the store and told the group that their legal observers were now being held by store security. Two large men wearing earpieces and Macy’s vests came out and advised the group not to re-enter the store.


Nishimura sent a text message saying she was being transported to a police station. I advised the dwindling group of student activists that she was most likely being taken to the West Precinct at 8th and Virginia and they began to march off in the wrong direction. At this point, I became absolutely smitten with their goofiness. While most Seattle activists take themselves way too seriously, these kids stumbled through the day with a sense of well-intentioned reckless abandon that you don’t often see at local rallies. These kids were willing to get arrested (in fact, a voice mail I’d received from Palmquist earlier in the day promised me that someone would be), which is more than I can say for any of the local war rallies. I appreciate that kind of dedication.

When we arrived at the police station, the desk officer told the group that their friends had been released by Macy’s security. The police sergeant who had overseen the protest, advised the group that they had “the worst legal observer [he’d] ever seen” but that their friends were free to go.


Today the Stranger Suggests

posted by on June 3 at 12:01 PM


Georgetown Music Fest
(A Lot of Local Bands in Just Two Days)
Now that Capitol Hill Block Party is huge, maybe you want summer fun that’s smaller, still neighborhoody—not about the big names but more about good bands, good folks, and beer. Go to Georgetown, friend, for this weekend’s Georgetown Music Fest featuring locals like Patient Patient, the Lonely Forest, the Young Sportsmen, For Year’s Blue, Idiot Pilot, and the Supersuckers. You’re welcome. (Georgetown Music Fest, 1200 S Vale St, Noon—6 pm, $12.50 per day adv/$15 DOS, $25 weekend pass, all ages.) MEGAN SELING
Moscow Cats Theatre
(Feline Acrobatics)
Most hotels won’t accommodate 35 cats, so everywhere this awesome traveling company goes, its animals stay in their own apartment. They wear bow ties and hats. They walk on tightropes, dance, and leap—little kitty gymnasts for a group of weirdo Russian clowns. There is also one dog, which is somehow depressing. (Seattle Repertory Theatre, 155 Mercer St, 443-2222. 1 and 5 pm, $49—$57.) ARI SPOOL

King of the Nerds

posted by on June 3 at 9:58 AM

Did you know The Stranger has a science column? It’s called King of the Nerds and it’s online every week. Columnist Jonathan Golob describes himself as “a liberal, agnostic, Jewish, pro-homo human embryonic-stem-cell researcher, with two engineering degrees (biomedical engineering and computer science) and on my way to both an MD and PhD.”
His current column explains the challenges that have hampered HIV-vaccine efforts.