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Archives for 07/29/2007 - 08/04/2007

Saturday, August 4, 2007

On Science And The English Language

posted by on August 4 at 9:55 PM

Last week, I found myself writing for the Stranger and my General Exam more or less at the same time; these are orthogonal forms of writing. It caused me to reflect upon science and the English language.

(Committee members, stop reading here.)

The first paragraph of my alternative proposal:

I. As it is now.

With an undisputed ability to differentiate into cells from all three germ lineages, embryonic stem cells may provide a replacement cell source for grafting into weakly regenerating tissues. This broad potency can result in the introduction of inappropriate contaminating cell types—including teratoma-generating undifferentiated cells—during grafting.

I hate this paragraph, and will change it a dozen times before turning in the exam.

II. Short, simple declarative sentences.

Embryonic stem cells become everything. That includes heart or brain cells. Sick people need new heart and brain cells. Great! They also become unwanted cells. We only want the right cells. Grafting undifferentiated cells causes tumors! Bummer.

I would write this in crayon.

III. Passive (more so) and (increasingly) awkward.

Tissues have the potential to fail in regeneration. Formation of cells from multiple lineages, all three germ lineages, can occur during differentiation of embryonic stem cells. There are desired and undesired cell types that can be made to exist. It has been observed that teratomas can form. This event occurs particularly when undifferentiated embryonic stem cells were grafted.

This version is depressingly close to what I actually have in the draft.

IV. Mudede(-like)

The embryonic stem cell desires to become everything; being the total of the body is the central purpose of its existence. Our purposes require the embryonic stem cell to go against its most fundamental nature; we must turn the cell that can become anything into a shadow of itself. Such crimes require powerful tools. acorn.jpg

I would love to turn in this version. Alas, I would promptly fail.

This Week’s Edition of KIRO’s Stranger Newshour: Live from YearlyKos

posted by on August 4 at 1:35 PM

Tune in to 710 KIRO for this week’s installment of the Stranger Newshour, when Eli Sanders reports live from Chicago at the YearlyKos convention.

7pm on KIRO with David Goldstein.

Clinton Charms the Kossaks

posted by on August 4 at 1:29 PM

Sorry, but The Stranger’s digital camera is no more (hopefully just because of dead batteries). So, sadly, no pictures of Clinton’s meeting with DailyKos users and bloggers this morning.

But I’ll tell you a little about it: There was some tension in the air because of Clinton’s back-and-forth over whether she would actually meet one-on-one with attendees at YearlyKos. She began by emphasizing that she’d rearranged her schedule to make it possible for her to meet with conference attendees (she ultimately met one-on-one with them this morning, while the other candidates will do the same this afternoon).

Then she pivoted to a self-deprecating acknowledgment of the fact that she’s not always the favored presidential candidate in the liberal blogosphere.

“I’m aware that not everyone says nice things about me,” Clinton told the crowd. “Let me start by saying something unexpected and that is: “Thank you. Thank you for being so involved in helping create a modern progressive movement in America.”

You could feel some of the tension beginning to drain out of the room, making space for the select crowd of about 300 to listen as she then answered their questions on health care, NAFTA, Welfare reform, DOMA, and telecommunications law. They were wonky questions, and Clinton gave wonky answers, obviously well aware that people who come to conferences of political bloggers tend to be… wonks.

Who knows how the appearance will ultimately play out. I’m sure DailyKos will run a poll on its blog soon after YearlyKos is over to see what people think of the candidates after their appearances today. But my sense was that Clinton charmed the Kossaks in much the same way she’s said to have charmed other smallish rooms of people over the last few years—with self-deprecation, an ingratiating manner, and a clear command of just about any policy issue that gets thrown at her.

I’m sitting in the larger candidate forum right now, listening to Gravel, Richardson, Dodd, Edwards, Clinton, Obama, and Kucinich duke it out in front of all 1,400 of the conference attendees. Then I’ll be trying to squeeze in to some of the one-on-one sessions with the other candidates afterward. Hope to be able to blog more later.

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 4 at 11:00 AM

Sounds Outside (MUSIC) Citizens, the end of summer is approaching and this is your last chance for live music in the great outdoors of Cal Anderson Park. If you’ve been to a previous Sounds Outside production, you know to expect the unexpected, like last month’s naked bike parade. The final installment of Sounds Outside stars Seattle’s out-jazz favorites: saxophonist Skerik (in his loose-grooving quartet McTuff) and keyboardist Wayne Horvitz (with his skronkadelic Trio KVH). (Cal Anderson Park, 1635 11th Ave, www.soundsoutside.com. 2—8 pm, free, all ages.) JONATHAN ZWICKEL
See what else is happening in Music on Saturday. Go!
The U.S.O.S.O.S.O.U.S.O.B. Tour (CABARET) Created and hosted by the world’s preeminent Latino Elvis impersonator (El Vez) and the world’s preeminent Swedish housewife (the Swedish Housewife), this USO extravaganza promises “irreverent political repartee” in a burlesquey setting. Among the evening’s stars: Princess Schmooquan, the Twinkie-regurgitating, rubber-chicken-wielding enchantress who stole so many hearts at last spring’s Stranger Gong Show. (The Pink Door, 1919 Post Alley, 443-3241. 11 pm, $12, 21+.) DAVID SCHMADER
See what else is happening in Theater on Saturday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

George and Robert

posted by on August 4 at 10:19 AM

Brother to brother; man to man; soul to soul.
Robert:

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has approved a new law allowing the security services to intercept postal, internet and telephone communications.

And George:
The Senate bowed to White House pressure last night and passed a Republican plan for overhauling the federal government’s terrorist surveillance laws, approving changes that would temporarily give U.S. spy agencies expanded power to eavesdrop on foreign suspects without a court order.

Great News for Gay & Lesbian Parents … I Think

posted by on August 4 at 9:23 AM

You can move to Oklahoma!

Seriously though, the 10th Circuit Court ruled yesterday that an Oklahoma law preventing the state from recognizing same sex adoptions from other states was unconstitutional.

Here’s the FU from the ruling to the Oklahoma State Dept. of Health (which had appealed an earlier district court ruling that, indeed, the OK law was unconstitutional:


We hold that final adoption orders by a state court of competent jurisdiction are judgments that must be given full faith and credit under the Constitution by every other state in the nation. Because the Oklahoma statute at issue categorically rejects a class of out-of-state adoption decrees, it violates the Full Faith and Credit Clause.

The analysis over at Decision of the Day is that 10th Circuit ruling will run into trouble at the Supreme Court level.

But for now, Oklahoma is gay friendly whether it wants to be or not. The Oklahoma Dept. of Health originally tried to cut off a court ruling by honoring a gay adoption in this case so that the plaintiffs would just go away.

Hendrik Hertzberg Has a New Blog

posted by on August 4 at 9:10 AM

I heard this at a forum at YearlyKos yesterday, in which one of the panelists welcomed the writer for The New Yorker into the world of instant publishing. He stood up and took a sort-of bow. Here’s the beginning of his first entry:

Wham.

August 02, 2007

Bam.

Here goes my blogging virginity. It isn’t so bad. The earth isn’t moving yet, but it seldom does the first time, does it?

Only on the Slog, Rick. Only on the Slog.

And then, about 200 words into the afterglow…

Jesus Christ. So that’s where the days go.

The Morning News

posted by on August 4 at 9:01 AM

by Rebecca Tapscott

Peeping Sam: Under pressure from the White House, Congress approved an extension of a GOP wireless surveillance program, with a vote of 60 to 28.

Conflict in the Congress: Democrats and Republicans clash on major issues before August recess. While Dems hope to make progress as the new majority, Republicans make accusations of heavy-handedness.

Bush visits bridge site: President Bush arrived in Minneapolis at the site of the bridge collapse. He will be accompanied by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters, who will discuss future inspection and precautions for similarly structured bridges.

Eek! : Gordon Brown called for a temporary halt of British exports of pigs, sheep and cows due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease.

War for Drugs: As elections approach in Guatemala, violent attacks on politicians and political activists are rampant. This year, the violence is attributed to drug traffickers, hoping to gain influence in the newly elected government.

Crash and burn: A helicopter crashed near Easton on Thursday starting a forest fire—three of four bodies have been recovered and identified, but the fire still burns.

Dangerous Chinese import of the week: The Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Raleigh bicycle company of Kent have recalled Chinese-made bike parts. Three injuries have been reported due to broken bike forks.

You are what you eat: 80 Seattleites sign onto the 100-mile-diet, which supports local industries, decreases the need to transport foods cross country and allows people to eat fresh—but no more chocolate?

Liar liar: Reggie Buddle, a man convicted of impersonating a decorated marine and marine chaplain, will request a new location for his community service due to perceived anger from the military community.

Washington State and Iraq: Three Fort Lewis soldiers on extended stay in Iraq were killed by an improvised explosive, bringing Washington State casualties of uniformed military units to 76.


Friday, August 3, 2007

Discover Dino Rossi

posted by on August 3 at 5:01 PM

If the Public Disclosure Commission isn’t convinced yet that Dino Rossi’s supposed non-partisan, non-profit, Forward Washington, is an insult to state ethics rules, here’s just a little more evidence:

Forward Washington’s policy committee member, Matt Manweller, Chairman of the Kittitas County Republicans and Assistant Professor of Political Science at Central Washington University (where he’s faculty adviser to the College Republicans), was in Seattle this afternoon speaking at the Discovery Institute’s third annual Slade Gorton Summer Lecture Series.

Anybody catch Manweller’s talk?

Cocktails and Cash

posted by on August 3 at 4:15 PM

I’m two hours ahead, so it’s cocktail hour here at YearlyKos in Chicago (as the man in the background of this photo clearly knows).

BurnerCocktails.JPG

Foreground: Darcy Burner, who wasn’t drinking (yet) when I ran into her. Why is she here? First answer: “This is a group of people who are working very hard to change the way politics works in this country.”

Really? Isn’t the potential for future netroots fund-raising a big draw?

“Certainly my presence isn’t hurting in that regard,” Burner told me.

Today on Line Out.

posted by on August 3 at 3:55 PM

l_3342b3c2b1ed6e56fc05fc436fee5240.jpg

Shameless Plug: My New Favorite Band, Plugs.

Sing To Me: There is a Better World—the Internet.

R&B & 501(c3): B David Stengel’s Non-Profit R&B Group’s Set List.

Indie Roots & You: Hee Haw, Y’all!

Who’s a Creep?: Megan Seling Gets Sexy with Radiohead.

Canadian, Man: Jonathan Zwickel on the Guess Who.

Greatly Exaggerated: Donte Parks on the Rumored Death of Oscillate.

Vote or Die: Who’s the Best NW MC?

Best Band Name of the Day: Ugly Baby.

Clinton to Meet the Bloggy Masses

posted by on August 3 at 3:38 PM

Yesterday Hillary Clinton received boos-in-absentia when YearlyKos organizers announced that yes, she would show up for tomorrow’s presidential candidate forum, but no, she would not attend a one-on-one session with Kos-types afterward.

Today, after being attacked by Obama over her reluctance to do what all the other candidates are doing, the buzz here at YearlyKos is that Clinton has changed her mind.

Suing the City Over Police Brutality

posted by on August 3 at 3:35 PM

This afternoon, the NAACP held a press conference to announce a tactical shift in dealing with police misconduct. On July 31st, NAACP president James Bible and the Law Office of Christopher Carney sent a letter to Seattle city attorney Tom Carr’s office, requesting assault charges be filed against officers David Blackmer and Marcos Ortiz.

As The Stranger reported in July, Blackmer and Ortiz were involved in the arrest of Carl Sandidge. In August, 2005 Sandidge, and his friend Derek Frazier, were headed to a bus stop downtown when they were stopped by several officers, who claimed Frazier was carrying a “gang flag.” Officer Blackmer Tasered Sandidge several times and, while Sandidge was handcuffed and being dragged to a police transport van, Ortiz struck him in the stomach. Sandidge, who had no criminal history, was charged with obstruction, assaulting an officer and resisting arrest. All of the charges against Sandidge were dismissed after officers gave conflicting testimony during trial.

At today’s press conference, James Bible —who was one of Sandidge’s trial attorneys-
stated that “this was not simply misconduct, this was assault. If the city fails to prosecute [the officers], the NACCP and the Law Office of Christopher Carney will file [assault charges].”

Bible has asked the city attorney’s office to respond by August 8th.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on August 3 at 3:34 PM

tobaccodeaths.jpg

Pot Is Five Times More Damaging than Cigarettes: So purports the big headline out of England.

While the study found that only those who smoked tobacco suffered from the crippling lung disease emphysema, cannabis use still stopped the lungs working properly.

“The extent of this damage was directly related to the number of joints smoked, with higher consumption linked to greater incapacity,” said the authors of the report published in the medical journal Thorax.

“The effect on the lungs of each joint was equivalent to smoking between 2.5 and five cigarettes in one go.”

The findings come less than a week after researchers said using marijuana increased the risk of developing a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia.

The government is currently considering whether cannabis should be reclassified as a more serious drug because of the dangers associated with stronger strains.

Never mind that packed between the lines of this report is Parliamentary conservatives’ agenda to ratchet up penalties for dopers. Never mind that the findings have little application because people who smoke pot—especially the stronger strains—take only a few hits and stop, while cigarette smokers just keep smoking, smoking, smoking. If you want to convince us pot is actually causing more harm than cigarettes, show us the bodies.

Speaking of Defending Legal Drugs: Nine days after Justice Department officials told a federal prosecutor to go easy on the makers of OxyContin for pushy advertisements and he refused, the prosecutor was slated to be fired.

Speaking of Strong-Arming Federal Officials to Appease Pharmaceutical Companies: GlaxoSmithKline persuaded the FDA to keep Avandia, the blood-sugar regulating and heart-attack-causing medication, on the market.

Speaking of Federal Corruption in Medicine: Feds jumped through a loophole to dodge a lawsuit that would require them to disclose marijuana’s medical benefits.

Move Over, Dr. Kevorkian: Dr. Hootan Roozrokh is catching heat for allegedly escorting a dying man to the Pearly Gates.

Speaking of the Bud of Christ
: Pastor accused of peddling pot.

“Inconceivable!” Wealthy cocaine cartels infiltrate Colombian government.

Speaking of Beating the Government at Its Own Game: The softball team for two drug-policy-reform nonprofits took the lead ranking in Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill softball league—beating out the DNC and RNC teams. The White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy team, We Czar the Champions, had refused to enjoy America’s favorite pastime with the drug-policy-reforming ball club, the One Hitters.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on August 3 at 3:18 PM

Ooh, baby. It’s Friday!

Since movies keep being released at a ridiculous and overwhelming pace, this week brings another extra-long On Screen.

But first, the final installment of The Bourne Whatchamacallit (for some reason I never remember the title of this damn movie… okay, Ultimatum!), reviewed by Andrew Wright. Verdict: awesome.

The Bourne Ultimatum

And in On Screen this week: The Ten (David Schmader says it’s bad, and I accept the word of Schmader, but isn’t the end of the trailer stupid and hilarious?), Becoming Jane (don’t give me Anne Hathaway as Jane Austen; girl has cow eyes, say I), Hot Rod (“disjointed, forced, shallow, screaming with wasted talent, and only kind of funny,” says Lindy West), Arctic Tale (March of the Penguins for liberals and gays and feminists and black people, say I. Also, cute polar bear cubs!), Flanders (me again: Bruno Dumont’s latest reminds us that Euro naturalism is not natural), Bratz (Charles is pro), Vitus (how many reviews did I write this week?! It’s about an evil baby genius. Not good.), and El Cantante (“about as artless and clichéd as musician biopics come,” says Eric Grandy).

In Limited Runs this week, I’d direct your attention to Angel and the Badman in 16mm at Central Cinema, The Beast at Grand Illusion, Hobo Film Festival in Georgetown, Aki Kaurismaki’s Lights in the Dusk at SIFF Cinema, and Jacques Tati’s Playtime at Northwest Film Forum.

Playtime

17 Isn’t Enough

posted by on August 3 at 2:43 PM

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Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar—fundamentalists Christians who live in Arkansas and started having babies when Michelle was 21—just added child number 17 (Jennifer, whose name, like all the other Duggar children, starts with a “J” for “Jesus”) to their family, and say they have no plans of stopping. Michelle has now been pregnant approximately 11 of her 40 years. As for why she wants to have still more babies—specifically, girl babies— Michelle told the Associated Press: “we love the ruffles and lace.”

Of course, the real reason Michelle and Jim Bob want more babies is that they’re devotees of Quiverfull, a fundamentalist Christian movement whose members believe in “letting God plan your family.” They believe, in other words, that women are merely empty vessels to be filled, and that compulsory pregnancy (in the words of one (male) Quiverfull member, “Who’s going to do that (go without sex)?”) is the duty of the woman toward her male master/husband. Not surprisingly, they also believe that birth control causes abortion; that women should stay at home and educate their children while the family patriarch provides; that corporal punishment is the only way to keep a large litter of kids in line; and that no matter how many children you have, “the Lord will provide” for them. Also not surprisingly, most of the members of this movement are middle- to upper-middle-class and white; the Quiverfull web site says not one word about what less well-to-do women should do with 12 kids and no job. In all cases, the Quiverfull believers believe, the Lord will provide.

The following passage is excerpted from a book called The Patriarch’s Path on the Quiverfull web site:


Sometimes I think about Susanna Wesley….they were in an incredible amount of debt, she had a very unhelpful husband and she was ill much of her life. I wonder, if she would have had the option to use birth control, would John and Charles Wesley have ever been born? (They were some of her younger children). I tend to think that she would have been quiver minded, but we’ll never know, because thankfully, she did not have the option or the same social pressure that so many ladies have today. Suzanna herself, was the 24th of 24 children! Who would have blamed her mother if she had said, “surely God knows we have enough children, one little simple surgery can cure this!”

Who, indeed. The more you read about the Quiverfull movement, the more you realize that it’s less about having kids (although blatantly racist talk about the “declining white European race” is certainly not uncommon) than about controlling women by taking away their choices. Once you’ve given up hopes for an education and career in favor of that sixth, or seventh, or 17th kid, it’s awfully hard to think about leaving the financial security of the husband/patriarch who “provides” for you.

Going to LA

posted by on August 3 at 2:26 PM

That’s where I’ll be this weekend: far from the Blue Angels, which, despite what anyone says, I still hate.

But! For the Erica C. Barnetts of this world, there will be not one but two ways to experience the Angels this weekend: outside, neck craned, sure — but also at Western Bridge, where the planes will become part of the ambient sound installation there today and tomorrow at 1:30 pm.

Should be intense. (My review of Bill Fontana’s installation here, and a vodcast with Fontana himself here.)

Oh, and this from WB director Eric Fredericksen:

After Saturday, Western Bridge will close until mid-September, when we open “Insubstantial Pageant Faded,” with work by Martin Creed, Trisha Donnelly, Neil Goldberg, Rachel Harrison, Jeppe Hein, Anthony McCall, Julia Schmidt, Alex Schweder, Dan Webb, Jordan Wolfson, and a few others.

Seafair Counterprogramming

posted by on August 3 at 1:22 PM

acwfest07logo_1.jpgSaturday and Sunday at Seattle Center’s Center House, starts at noon, free.

The Arab Festival gives visitors a chance to learn more about the arts and traditions of a fascinating, far-reaching culture that is one of the oldest in the world and comprises 22 countries ….Includes musical and traditional dance performances, children’s activities, authentic Arabic food and deliciously strong coffee, a traditional souk with local Arab vendors and organizations, and a fashion show.

I’m also excited about tomorrow’s first ever Chinatown/I.D. night market (6-11 pm).

“This One… With Its Overtones of BEST-iality”

posted by on August 3 at 1:13 PM

For your enjoyment:

It’s Friday, no one’s expecting you to get any work done anyway. (That’s to Colin S. for passing it along.)

Gunman Outside EMP?

posted by on August 3 at 1:02 PM

A caller reports that there’s a gunman at 6th and Harrison outside EMP.

Well, SPD tells us a victim called in at 12:24 pm to say he was at 6th and Thomas where a suspect tried to stab him with a screw driver. Earlier, the suspect had tried to break into the victim’s car. The suspect fled, but the victim reports: He “might have a gun in his cheeto bag.”

Five or six officers are searching the area for the suspect.

This Doesn’t Make Sense to Me

posted by on August 3 at 12:59 PM

Today, the PI endorsed Port Commission incumbent Bob Edwards in the primary. (We endorsed Gael Tarleton.)

The PI broke the story earlier this year about Port CEO Mic Dinsmore’s controversial retirement deal—a deal that resulted in an ethics investigation.

As a key ally of Dinsmore and Port Commissioner Pat Davis (the main scandalistas), Edwards was at the center of that scandal. He’s also at the center of a status quo Port Commission that is about as popular in Seattle these days as trans fats.

PI reporter Kristen Millares Bolt, who broke the Dinsmore scandal, reportedly sat in on the PI’s ed board meetings with the Port candidates.

I don’t know if the PI ed board also included her in their endorsement discussions, but if I were her, I’d be bummed about the decision.

Is the PI going out of its way to prove that there’s a separation between editorial opinion and straight-up news—and so, pshaw on Millares Bolt’s great reporting?

It’d be one thing if Edwards was an incredibly impressive Commissioner. But he’s not. He’s part of a status quo group that has excelled at secrecy, financial inadequacy, sweetheart deals, and embarrassing gaffes.

It’s one thing to stand by the split between the news page and the editorial page, but when your news page does a bang up job proving that a Commission is incompetent, you’d think the editors would recognize there’s also a valuable connection between the news page and the editorial page. That is: Editorial opinions oughta be supported by the facts. Well, news reporter Millares Bolt was armed with those.

Dumb endorsement guys.

Who Doesn’t Love Porn?

posted by on August 3 at 12:42 PM

grabbag-hump.jpg

More HUMP! info here.

The Synthesis

posted by on August 3 at 11:57 AM

In the dialectics of the Hollywood mind, the spectacle of New York’s 9/11 and Baghdad’s Shock and Awe combine to give us this final image.

Who Needs Parenting Skills When I Have This Chip?

posted by on August 3 at 11:56 AM

Pretty soon prying parents could be able to know exactly what their kids are looking at at every moment, thanks to a proposed “super V-chip” that Congress is urging the Federal Communications Commission to develop. The chip would allow parents to screen content on all their children’s devices, including cell phones, laptops, and home computers. Senator Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) said the new technology is necessary because kids these days can access “inappropriate” content on more than just television and (ha!) radio. “It’s an uphill battle for parents trying to protect their kids from viewing inappropriate programming,” he told MediaWeek. “I believe there is a whole new generation of technology that can provide an additional layer of help for these parents.”

The V-chip technology reminds me a lot of another privacy-invading technology touted as a panacea for worried parents: implantable microchips, which would enable parents to keep track of their kids at every moment. A recent abduction has resparked discussion of implantable chips in England; never mind that your child’s odds of getting abducted by a stranger are significantly lower than that they’ll be struck by lightning. Parents want technology to stand in for what parents used to do—talking to their kids, telling them to stay away from online predators, trusting that they’ll listen and learn lessons by experience. When you’re on an electronic leash, you can never get away with anything—and getting away with things is what adolescence, and growing up, is all about. By monitoring our precious children’s every movement (instead of, say, talking to them realistically about the risks of various behaviors and letting them know we trust them to behave reasonably responsibly), we make it impossible for them to learn their lessons the hard way, through experience.

A Handful of Love

posted by on August 3 at 11:55 AM

A postcard from the Ashton-Drake Galleries showed up in my house – I don’t know where it came from – and it is creeping me out. Bad. Here’s the picture on the front:

heavenly_handfuls.jpg

Is this a preemie doll? Is it a piece of anti-abortion propaganda designed to ascribe the qualities of a whole baby to a fetus-sized humanoid? Or is it just an innocent doll that happens to be terrifying? I start reading: “’A Handful of Love,’ the first Heavenly Handfuls issue, is a tiny masterpiece of sculpting, detailed down to the creases on the bottoms of this little baby’s feet. And she fits neatly in the palm of your hand…. Her soft body makes her easy to pose in a multitude of ways.”

“These dolls are not toys; they are fine collectibles to be enjoyed by adult collectors.”

A Place to Love: Art Space, Think Tank, Roman Forum

posted by on August 3 at 11:53 AM

In Miami last December, I met a guy handing out cards for a newish organization he’d just started. He was a refugee from a museum (the Denver Art Museum, I believe) who wanted to work somewhere more like a laboratory. So he opened the Belmar Lab just outside Denver.

The Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar (The Lab) is a unique institution that combines elements of a museum, think tank, and public forum. Focused on contemporary art and culture, The Lab offers international art exhibitions, lectures, performances, symposia, and publications. A small organization with a big cultural vision, The Lab offers all audiences the opportunity to engage in both personal reflection and public discussion on contemporary art.

Could be BS, right?

Except check out the swoony lineup this summer. (Instead of standard artist-and-curator lectures, the lab focuses on subjects (subjects like the sort the library means when it asks whether you want to search for a book based on author or subject). Passionate lovers of the subjects, people who know a ton, do presentations together, on the same bill.)

Swiss Typography & TV Theme Songs Thursday June 7, 2007 with Joel Swanson & Scott Kinnamon

Kurt Cobain & Solar Eclipses
Thursday June 14, 2007
with Patrick Brown & Jim Downing

Practical Democracy & Deadly Jellyfish
Thursday June 21, 2007
with David Hildebrand & Alyce Todd

Carnivorous Plants & Color-Field Painting
Thursday June 28, 2007
with John Bayard & Dean Sobel

Earth Art & Goat Cheese
Thursday July 5, 2007
with Elissa Auther & Michele Wells

Capoeira & Le Corbusier
Thursday July 12, 2007
with Canto de Galo & Bob Nauman

Chinese Opera & Alfred Hitchcock
Thursday July 19, 2007
with Joanna Lee & Thomas Delapa

Walt Whitman & Whole Hog Cooking
Thursday July 26, 2007
with Jake Adam York & Joe York

Tequila & Dark Energy in the Universe
Thursday August 2, 2007
with Matt Ortiz & Ka Chun Yu

Soul Food & Existentialism
Thursday, August 9, 2007
with Adrian Miller & Maria Talero

Prairie Dogs & Gertrude Stein
Thursday, August 16, 2007
with Jonathon Proctor & Julie Carr

Japanese Anime & Zora Neale Hurston
Thursday, August 23, 2007
with Alexandre O. Philippe & Philip Joseph

Marxism & Kittens, Kittens, Kittens
Thursday, August 30, 2007
with Gillian Silverman & The Denver Dumb Friends League

High as Shit

posted by on August 3 at 11:46 AM

posted by Jeff Kirby

Jenktotse.jpg

Oh the ways people find to get high. Can’t afford to buy drugs? Don’t worry; you can make them yourself from your own poop. Put some dook in a plastic bottle and cap it off, leaving enough room for methane to gather, let it stew for a couple hours, then huff the gas that formed in the bottle. The drug is called Jenkem, invented by street children in Namibia who were too poor to afford sanitary drugs. Supposedly, the high is massively strong and hallucinogenic. Here is an account of a Jenkem trip:

So I was on Wikipedia the other day checking out the stuff on hallucinogens when I discovered a popular chemical in Africa called ‘Jenkem.’ After reading up on the Internet about some popular recipes, a few friends of mine decided to go and produce some of this potent hallucinogen. The first part of our journey involved a trip to the local sewage treatment plant, where we filled some empty coke bottles half-full with the potent sludge we found in the cleaning tanks.

We hid the bottles behind a bush, letting them ferment for a few hours while we went to smoke some marijuana. After about 4 hours of fermentation, we went to retrieve our putrid creations.

One at a time, we all inhaled the jenkem we had created. The odor was viscious, but my god it was worth it. What came after I cannot describe. A euphoric high, not unlike coccaine, but with strong hallucinations of times past — I saw dead relatives during my trip. It was almost magical.

The onset of jenkem is probably 10 seconds after inhalation, with the most severe hallucinations happening probably 20 minutes into the trip. Beware that if you try this wonderful substance that you’re going to be “out of it” for several hours after inhaling, and really it will take several days for you to fully recover. One of the downsides of jenkem is that you constantly have that taste of sewage in your breathing for several days after the fact.

After subsequent trips, there were a few characteristics we felt made for better trips with Jenkem. First off, if you visited the sewage treatment plant at around mid-day on a sunny day we found we got the best highs. Secondly, make sure you have someone nearby who is not high on the substance (believe me, once you’ve been introduced to it, you don’t want to not be high on it… so find someone who isn’t big into drugs to do this).

Hooray for human innovation. Thanks to Shirley for the tip.

The Statement

posted by on August 3 at 11:35 AM

Ben Beres’s exquisitely detailed prints went on display last night at Davidson Gallery in Occidental Square. My favorite, Artist Statement, is impossible to read—like so many artist’s statements. This time, it’s not because of the density of the language or the blankness of the cliches, but because the letters are just too small to make out. (Although I did see a few “shit”s.)

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It reminded me of two other recent “Artist Statement” works in Seattle: Tony Weathers reading his artist statement on video, letter for letter, using NATO and aviation code words like “alpha” and “bravo,” and Wyndel Hunt’s installation including his art-world-weary, self-conscious artist statement.

From my review of Hunt’s show last summer:

The Sharpie drawings, the environment, and Hunt’s artist’s statement, which he considers a part of the work, are the basis of something fascinating. “Exhausted skepticism that statements of intent or explanations of creative process refer to actual theoretical entities or mental events has lead [sic] me to believe that for artists, these statements and explanations are themselves fictional objects,” he wrote in his statement. Artworks, then, are not lost limbs whose purposes remain but lost purposes whose limbs remain.

Seems a great moment in the city when its artists are asking themselves not only what they ought to be making and how, but what—and whether—they (and artists in general) have to say or to give in the first place. Big work can come from there.

Intel Pulls Controversial Ad

posted by on August 3 at 11:29 AM

The ad, which depicts a bunch of dark-skinned sprinter dudes bowing down before a smarmy-looking, paunchy white guy, could be interpreted as showing the massive power of Intel’s awesome processors or something. But please. First of all, if these “sprinters” actually took off, they’d run smack into each other. Second… Well, just LOOK at it.

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Via AdFreak.

The Future Is Now

posted by on August 3 at 11:27 AM

This is George Jetson and his family.

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This is the M200G Volantor.

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It takes off and lands vertically, hovers at three meters, has a top speed of 50 mph, and is currently in production by Moller International.

(On a semi-related note, while doing a Google image search for The Jetsons, I stumbled across this, which is just so, so wrong—not to mention completely NSFW.)

Update: In the comments, “Monkey” writes: “Moller’s other flying car is much much sexier.” Indeed it is:

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One More for the Bratz

posted by on August 3 at 11:27 AM

From my review of the Bratz movie:

The live-action movie is a celebration of what generates the cultural power of Bratz: imperfection. The movie begins with the four girls (one Asian, one black, one white, one Latino) entering their sophomore year in high school. They are friends to the end, and the other students (cheerleaders, jocks, geeks, goths) recognize the strength and beauty of their friendship. The other students also recognize the Bratz as the new order, the coming future that will confront the approaching past: a rich, blond, white girl named Meredith.

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The movie not only celebrates imperfection, it also has very little (and therefore denounces) boy talk—the killer of girl minds all over the world. The Bratz have other things to think about, other things to talk about, other things to do than endlessly chatter about this and that boy. And there’s no worse poison for a girl’s mental development than excessive boy talk. It turns their minds into mush. Keep them away from it, and they will become a master; let them indulge in it, and they will become a slave in a man’s world.

One more plus for the Bratz: The one boy that the main girl likes is deaf—a symbol of the silencing of boy chatter.

Uh, Have You Read This?

posted by on August 3 at 11:23 AM

Chas Bowie at Blogtown PDX has the strange story of Miranda July’s reported connection to the double suicide of Jeremy Blake and Theresa Duncan. Blake and Duncan—like some people on this very blog—were convinced July’s a Scientologist. Bowie links to this amazingly bizarre LA Times article.

OK, that’s it with Miranda July, I promise.

Political Merger

posted by on August 3 at 11:20 AM

Two local political consultants and their firms—both former young turks, but increasingly the local heavies—Christian Sinderman’s Northwest Passage and Lisa MacLean’s Moxie Media, have been talking about merging.

“One production shop is better than two,” says Moxie partner John Wyble.

Both shops do spin, mailing, and campaign strategy for local and statewide candidates. Sinderman, for example, is the message man for Democratic Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, and he’s currently running city council campaigns for David Della challenger Tim Burgess and city council hopeful Bruce Harrell.

Moxie is currently running city council candidate Venus Valazquez’s campaign against Harrell. Moxie also works with activist union Service Employees International Union, Planned Parenthood, and Emily’s List.

Both firms have also had their hands in national races. Moxie worked on Ned Lamont’s campaign against Joe Lieberman and Sinderman worked for Jon Tester in Montana. (Sinderman rose to prominence in 2000 by helping run Sen. Maria Cantwell’s successful campaign to oust longtime incumbent Sen. Slade Gorton.)

Sinderman is widely viewed as a savvy spin doctor and connected political insider, while Moxie is seen more as a purist production house that stays above the fray.

One thing that could scotch the deal: As a duo, they’d stand to lose thousands of dollars in independent expenditure business. Independent expenditures—political ads on behalf of candidates paid for by PACs and political committees that the candidates themselves aren’t allowed to have any part in—are divvied up by firms like Northwest Passage and Moxie.

If Sinderman, for example, is consulting for a candidate, he can’t simultaneously do an independent expenditure ad for a union that supports that candidate. Now, those ads go to another firm, like Moxie.

Last year, for example, Sinderman ran liberal state Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens’s campaign, while Moxie did the independent expenditures for Citizens to Uphold the Constitution—a group that was pushing for liberal Supreme Court candidates.

If the consultants combine forces, neither one could pick up the lucrative independent expenditure work that spins out of any candidate campaign they’d be working on.

Wyble says the merger, if it happens, wouldn’t happen until next year.

A Birthday Surprise!

posted by on August 3 at 11:15 AM

Or Father’s Day, or Veteran’s Day, or, you know, whatever….the perfect gift!

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Two very cute kitten heads with dehydrated and partially stuffed bodies. Very realistic. Very high quality. Very collectible. Great conversational pieces! Asking $20.00 for both of them.

Two adorable taxidermy kitten heads in a Kool Whip container?! Only $20!???

ACT NOW!!!

Things I Heard Outside My Window Last Night (In Order)

posted by on August 3 at 11:14 AM

My apartment looks out on a brick wall and an alley, so it’s unusual for me to see or hear anything, which is suprising because I live on a very noisy block and I definitely expected more noise when I moved in. Last night was an exception—there were lots of interesting noises to listen to while I was reading on my couch. I love noises and living on busy streets—they remind me that I live in my own little cove in a big city where people are constantly having fun, getting in fights, talking with their friends, making love, and just generally being alive and together.

In Order of Occurance (with chattering and footsteps and bangs throughout):

•A car honking followed by some women going, “Woooo!”

•Some people laughing and talking loudly in Spanish

•Some people smoking pot in the alley while on their break from work

•The people who were talking in Spanish asking the people smoking pot this question: “Is that a bench down there or a shelf?”

•”Today” by the Smashing Pumpkins

•A person playing the cello
•The same person playing an electric guitar with no amplification
•The same person playing bongos
•The same person playing an electric bass with a little amplication

•A loud shrieking scream, followed by many giggles

•A female orgasm

•A group of men saying “Whoa!” in sync

Then I decided to turn on my fan to drown them all out so I could go to sleep.

Comment of the Day

posted by on August 3 at 11:08 AM

In my fantasy life, Fnarf and Mr. Poe look like this.

Posted by ljg | August 3, 2007 10:55 AM

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 3 at 11:00 AM

‘Crime and Punishment’ (THEATER) It begins with a destitute student who kills two old women, one with the blunt end of an axe, the other with the sharp end, and the difference between the two ignites the world’s most famous existential crisis. This one-hour distillation of Dostoyevsky’s novel is dense and fierce as a fever dream. The three actors are great and the seating is intimate. You can see every bead of spittle and sweat, every tear. Wear loose clothing. Bring a cold drink. (Capitol Hill Arts Center, Lower Level, 1621 12th Ave, 800-838-3006. 7:30 pm, $20 adv/$25 DOS.) BRENDAN KILEY
See what else is happening in Theater on Friday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

And the Award Goes to…

posted by on August 3 at 10:13 AM

The 2007 Stranger Genius Award winners were notified yesterday. Seattle P-I’s art critic Regina Hackett was there.

The cake that comes with a $5,000 check and a compliment written in frosting—“You Are A Genius”—is a sugar high worth talking about.

The arts staff of the Stranger announces Genius Award winners via QFC flat cakes. Besides these confections, each year Seattle artists get cash and credit for being themselves in literature, visual art, film, and theater, with an additional award going to an arts organization.

This year’s winners are…

Hackett breaks the news here.

We’ll have a video of the geniuses getting their cakes up soon.

The Washington Contingent

posted by on August 3 at 9:30 AM

Who’s here at YearlyKos with me?

Well, like I said, there’s Burner.

Also: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Joel Connelly is on the schedule. He’s set to speak on a panel on Saturday titled, interestingly: “Time for a New Kind of News Organization.”

And Congressman Jay Inslee is also on the schedule. He’ll be talking about global warming politics on Saturday.

Oh, and it almost goes without saying, but: The ever-present Andrew Villeneuve is typing away at a table not far from me.

Slut’s Claws in Brokeback Butt Boy; Gays on Alert!

posted by on August 3 at 9:27 AM

Sources far too terrible to fathom have reported that some evil slut calling itself Reese Whitherspoon has risen from hell and is somehow forcing my future husband Jake Gyllenhaal to date her. Roofies? Hypnotism? Witchcraft? Yes.

First it was Ryan Phillipe, and now this. This agression against The Gays cannot stand.

Okay, gays. You know your duty. GET HER!

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Blogging the Blogger Convention

posted by on August 3 at 9:05 AM

I’m here at YearlyKos, which, in case you’re curious, is just as white and middle aged as last year.

Popular imagination has cast online networking as the province of the under-30 MySpace generation, but the median age of a Daily Kos reader is 45. Lefty online political organizing is, in fact, a middle-aged game.

I’m sitting in a forum called “Future Leaders” right now. If you follow the local and national netroots, you won’t be surprised that eastside Democrat Darcy Burner is here.

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And so is Nebraska hottie Scott Kleeb:

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(For one of the iconic Kleeb photos from the last election, click here.)

Both Kleeb and Burner are netroot darlings who made their first runs for Congress in 2006, generated a lot of excitement in the blogosphere, and then lost. Both are running again. (Burner is challenging Congressman Dave Reichert in Washington’s 8th Congressional district after coming within 7,500 votes of beating him last year.) The discussion is just beginning. I’ll let you know if anything interesting happens.

Gonna Have Ourselves a Ball. Or Two.

posted by on August 3 at 8:58 AM

Right now I’m waiting for Kelly O, who is picking up a rental car, to call. Then we hit the road for Montana and the Testicle Festival. Then we eat balls.

Whee!

The Morning News

posted by on August 3 at 7:00 AM

USA? USA? An emotional exchange between Mitt Romeny and a waitress over world health.

Boos for Clinton: At YearlyKos.

More criticism for Obama: From Clinton.

Hypocritical? John Edwards on Rupert Murdoch.

Dodd vs. O’Reilly: The blog debate continues.

Bridge collapse: Eight to 30 still unaccounted for.

Structurally deficient: Maybe a quarter of the nation’s bridges?

And in this state: More than 300 structurally deficient bridges.

Here’s the Romney video:


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Recipe for a Perfect Summer Evening

posted by on August 2 at 9:06 PM

Gather your loved ones, a blanket, beverages, and takeout from Saigon Deli, Baguette Box, or your neighborhood sandwich shop. Take your provisions to Myrtle Edwards Park (enter through the Sculpture Park if you feel like walking; park behind the Amgen campus at the north end if you don’t) and set up a picnic. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a lush lawn, a cool breeze off the water, an entertaining parade of ambulating humans and canines, and 100 or so sailboats racing the length of Elliott Bay.

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Turkey Legs or Testicles?

posted by on August 2 at 8:50 PM

Okay. One way or another, I’m going out-of-town tomorrow. Sorry Blue Angels. You hurt my feelings. Problem is, I can’t decide whether to go to THIS. Or THIS….

Hmm….

Art Vs. Skateparks

posted by on August 2 at 7:16 PM

Last week, there was an uproar over the city council’s parks committee’s recommendation to remove Seattle Center’s Du Pen fountain —located on the north side of Key Arena— and replace it with a skatepark. City council members were flooded with emails and phone calls from the arts community, neighbors and the Du Pen family, asking them to leave the fountain intact.

While the community outcry derailed yet another plan for the oft-delayed replacement of SeaSk8 —the skatepark formerly located just east of the center— members of the Skate Park Advisory Committee (SPAC), which was formed under the auspices of the Seattle Parks Department, weren’t upset about losing the Du Pen site. They didn’t really want it anyway.

SPAC has repeatedly cited Seattle Center’s Broad Street Green site—in the southeast corner of the Center— as the optimal location for a new skatepark. SPAC’s requests for the site have repeatedly been ignored, and Seattle Center heavies like the Experience Music Project and the Space Needle have made it known that they don’t want a skatepark at Broad Street.

According to Seattle Center spokesman Dave Hertel, if a new SeaSk8 had been built on the Du Pen site, the Du Pen fountain would have been reinstalled on Broad Street.

I called SPAC chair Ryan Barth earlier this afternoon to ask what he thought about the Center’s now-scrapped plans to install the fountain at Broad Street, rather than a new skatepark. “It doesn’t surprise me,” Barth said. “I think it just goes to show that people still think skateparks are not aesthetically pleasing places. They’re wrong. [Skateparks] can be designed as a pleasing piece of public art. It doesn’t have to be a concrete monstrosity.”

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1st Avenue & Yesler Way

posted by on August 2 at 6:26 PM

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The Seattle Underground Tour—the dark, dungeon-like tourist trap/field trip destination in Pioneer Square— has hired extra security after several employees were attacked by transients.

“Last year when, Occidental [Park} was closed, a lot of the transients came over [and] were sleeping and drinking in Pioneer Place Park,” says Underground Tour General Manager Chuck Russell-Coons. “We have had problems with people coming in to use our restrooms to use drugs or take food off of customers plates.”

Russell-Coons says most of the homeless people who inhabit Pioneer Place Park are harmless. However, he says, “there were three different occasions where employees were assaulted. We just decided, for our own safety, we needed to hire some security.” The cost of the extra security, Russell-Coons says, “is significant. We raised our ticket prices in part to cover the costs. [We’re spending] $16,000 to $18,000 for the summer alone.”

The Underground Tour plans to evaluate the success of their new security at the end of the summer but in the meantime, Russell-Coons says he’d like to see the police patrolling the area more often. “I want [the city] to do more. It’s bothersome to see the same people engaged in the same illegal activity several days in a row. [It’s those] kind of annoyances [that] grate and wear on you. It bothers me more than it has before.”


sk8er h8ers

posted by on August 2 at 5:13 PM

by Rebecca Tapscott

As summer news intern, my job description was largely focused on organizing the Stranger’s endorsement interviews. With those out of the way, my phone has stopped ringing, my checklist has diminished to a paltry few daily activities—and I am trying to suppress the fear that perhaps I am—shudder—no longer needed.

So today, Josh gave me a project. I went down to Seattle Center to check out a couple of the proposed sites for the skate park, and nose around for some local opinions.

The DuPen Fountain

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The City Council’s initial promise slated the DuPen Fountain as the future site for the new skate park—and it makes sense. The area is out of the way, a good size, and right next to the VERA project. (As I spread my Seattle Center map in front of a Seattle Fudge employee, and discussed the different locations, he immediately pointed to the star over the DuPen Fountain and promoted it as the perfect location, for above mentioned reasons, and also the “beautiful afternoon light.”)

When I went to see the fountain, there were about ten kids splashing around, their parents watching from the sidelines. These parents would definitely be a part of the anti-skate park coalition, referring to skate park users as “hooligans” and citing potential “liability issues” for the Center. Although the fountain seemed adequately populated on this most beautiful of Seattle summer days, I couldn’t help but realize, this was likely a high traffic day for the fountain. On the 350 days of clouds and rain, I doubt anyone will miss the DuPen swimming hole. No matter where the city builds a skate park, someone will be displaced. On the rare occasions of simultaneous sun and heat, these ten kids can walk another block and join everyone else at the International Fountain (the one shaped like a concrete bowl).

Aside from those present at the fountain, it does not seem particularly well known. Employees on the grounds of the Center couldn’t help me locate it on my handy map… and in fact, it is not marked on my handy map, which includes labels for obscure landmarks like the “Kreielsheimer Promenade,” “Drop off & Valet Parking” at the Space Needle and “Café Impromptu.”

My opinion: The City Council should keep its word and put the skate park here, if only to show that politicians aren’t all scummy liars. Although the fountain is nice, they should use the funds for something other than constructing a replica of this particular fountain in another area. Seattle Center already has enough fountains. If parents are still concerned, let Nickels implement an added activities license to ensure safety.

Status: The fountain will stay where it is, sans skate park.

Broad Street between 4th and 5th

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Currently, the Broad Street green belt welcomes visitors into the Seattle Center. A sort of neutral zone where all visitors—tourists, natives, immigrants, tourists, hooligan fearing parents, teens and toddlers and Stranger interns alike—should feel equally welcome. To give a particular population (in this case, skaters) ownership of a gateway to the Center is unfriendly.

Plus they’d have to cut down a lot of trees.

Status: Business interests block this site from becoming the future skate park location.

Dear Science

posted by on August 2 at 4:20 PM

This week in Dear Science, The Stranger’s science column, Science answers the age-old question:

Are fluorescent lightbulbs really better for the earth? Because they fucking suck.

Science agrees (“Right now, Science looks near death thanks to some lowest-bid buzzing tubes overhead”) and explains how traditional light bulbs work (lots of energy used in creating relatively little light) and goes on to say:

Fluorescent bulbs cheat, heating up a coil of wire only enough to start throwing off electrons, which in turn convert a low-pressure mercury vapor into plasma. The heavy-metal vapor throws off a bunch of ultraviolet light—excellent for tanning or destroying DNA, but not so great for looking. The white powder on the inside of the bulb converts the emitted ultraviolet light into visible light by fluorescence—hence the name. This convoluted pathway uses about a quarter of energy to make the same intensity light as a traditional bulb and also lasts longer than a regular bulb. Great! Fluorescents are a clear environmental winner, right?

Not so fast.

The “mercury vapor” that fluorescent bulbs require is quite toxic. While new compact fluorescent bulbs are voluntarily limited to five milligrams of mercury each, as little as a tenth of a milligram per square yard will make you seriously ill. Shaking hands, drooling, irritability, memory loss, depression, weakness—sounds like fun. And that’s what happens to adults; kids can be permanently injured by mercury exposure. If you break one of these bulbs in your house—and think of all the times a bulb breaks—the current advice is to open a window and run…

The verdict? It might surprise you. It has something to do with where in the country you live.

By the way, Science is happy to answer your burning questions—whether glass is really a liquid, why pears taste so good, why some men dribble and others shoot, whatever. Send queries here.

Today in Line Out

posted by on August 2 at 3:24 PM

What is Alt-Country?: Jonathan Zwickel investigates.

Mr. Destiny: Michael Caine’s chill-out music.

What’s Better Than the Fray?: Shopping.

Backbone, Beef, and Bang: Brought to you by compression.

Guitar Zero: Courtney Love puts Nirvana in video games.

Disappearing Star: Jennifer Gentle is a two-star release, not one.

Every Breath You Take: The Music that molded Christopher Frizzelle’s mind.

Flava Flav Roast: Not going to be as good as Dean Martin.

This Week’s Setlist: Pigtastic! I don’t know what that means either…

Here! Cuddly!

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(Thanks for the photo, Matt Hickey.)

Blue Angels: Bring ‘Em On!

posted by on August 2 at 2:55 PM

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Maybe it’s because I’m from Texas, where BIG + LOUD = AWESOME!!!, but I fucking love the Blue Angels. Unlike some of our readers and writers, I love watching (and hearing) their maneuvers, and I’d be really bummed if anti-Blue Angels whiners managed to push them out of SeaFair.

But wait—you say they’re militaristic? And wasteful? Well, fetch me my hanky, I think I have the vapors.

Criticism No. 1: They’re loud and annoying.

You know what? So are recycling trucks. And ferry horns. And, for that matter, normal planes. Get over it. If it bothers you so much that you can’t function, take your vacation during the week they’re in town—it’s not like SeaFair is a surprise, people.

Criticism No. 2: They’re an advertisement for the eeeeevil military-industrial complex! Or, as one really incisive forum commenter put it, “it’s tasteless to enjoy the ‘tradition’ of military fighter craft conducting maneuvers over the city for entertainment purposes during a time of actual war.”

For one thing, I don’t take it that seriously. As far as I’m concerned, the Blue Angels are cool trick pilots doing cool trick things that I would never be coordinated or brave enough to do myself. For another thing, militarism qua militarism (as opposed to pro-Iraq war sentiment, say) isn’t de facto bad; since World War II, our Navy, of which the Blue Angels are a part, has been pretty indispensible. Besides, maybe it’s a good thing to see our military doing something other than bombing the shit out of Middle Eastern countries every once in a while. I don’t think any well-meaning Seattle liberal is going to be fooled by cool flight maneuvers into thinking the war in Iraq is a good idea.

Criticism No. 3: But the whole point of the Blue Angels is to recruit people to the Navy and Marines! It says so right there on their mission statement!

How many times have the Blue Angels knocked on your door and offered to sign you up for the military? Never? Then calm down.

Criticism No. 4.: Eek! They’re totally going to crash right into a major commercial building! Maybe even the Stranger offices!

Yes, planes do crash—military and commercial planes. It happens rarely enough that haven’t banned commercial planes from flying, and most of them even make it to their destinations.

Criticism No. 5: They’re, like, a giant a waste of money. And fuel. And hey, don’t you care about the environment at ALL?

Yes, the Blue Angels cost money. But personally, I’m a lot more concerned about my Taxpayer! Dollars! when the federal government is wasting them on crap like abstinence-only education and subsidies to Big Coal (not to mention, you know, the war) than on an air show that gives an awful lot of people a lot of enjoyment at very little cost. As for fuel, the Blue Angels use about 3 million gallons of jet fuel annually. Compare that to the commercial airline industry, which uses around 20 billion gallons of fuel every year. If you’re really that concerned about wasting jet fuel, you’d do better to avoid traveling on planes than waste time complaining about the Blue Angels.

Yes, Yes, Yes, No

posted by on August 2 at 2:45 PM

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And to all those who say the Blue Angels are an inseparable part of Seattle’s identity, I say meow, meow, meow.

Bathroom reading recommendations

posted by on August 2 at 2:11 PM

The New Yorker has a long article out about the unsolved 2001 murder of Asst. US Attorney Tom Wales. Obviously, it rehashes a lot of ground covered over the past six years by local news outlets, but the article segues from the murder case to the 2006 sacking of Asst. US Attorney John McKay by Roberto Gonzales & Co.

It’s a loooong and recommended read, especially if you’ve decided to lock yourself in your office’s one communal bathroom and chat loudly with your friend via cellphone about “some kind of itchy vaginal rash or infection” and other highlights from the New Yorker, while I cross my legs outside and pray for strength (dear Jesus Prom King Christ, give me strength!).

The Death Penalty

posted by on August 2 at 2:08 PM

A commenter in the post about the KC Prosecutor race asks:

Anyone ask these guys about the death penaly? Satterberg says he’ll continue with Maleng’s approach, yes but rare. Do these dems have any guts?

We asked the Democratic contenders about the death penalty during our ed board endorsement interview.

Despite our Scully endorsement, Sherman’s answer—we hype it in our write up on the race—was actually better than Scully’s answer.

From the transcript of our interview:

Bill Sherman: I support a gubernatorial moratorium on the death penalty while we take a hard look at the disparity and due process issues. Wouldn’t rule it out as a rule. But KC hasn’t executed anyone in decades. It holds out false hope for families of victims. We need to be looking at it in terms of racial and economic disparity.

Keith Scully: I’m not philosophically Opposed to death penalty but there’s a huge disparity in crimes that get death. A better alternative to two strikes and you’re out is life sentence with the possibility to get out at some point. I would seek the death penalty only in Green River type cases. It’s not enough that victims want closure to seek death penalty.

I Have Nothing to Add…

posted by on August 2 at 1:42 PM

To Melissa McEwan’s brilliant post about why Reuter’s misogynistic* take on what constitutes “odd news” infuriates her, so just go read it. Here’s a snippet.

In recent months, I’ve read under the heading of “Odd News” stories about a man branding his wife with a hot iron, a man coercing his wife into having plastic surgery to look like his deceased first wife, wives/girlfriends/exes being held against their will in various “odd” places including a coffin, women being traded for “odd” objects or offered as reparations for “odd” transgressions, “odd” forms of abuse against women, and women doing notable things good and bad, that, while newsworthy, only seem to be “odd-worthy” because they were done by women, all reported alongside such frivolous fare as Chocoholic squirrel steals treats from shop.

This strikes me as one of those nuances of sexism that many men don’t notice or understand. To have women’s experiences like this trivialized as “Odd News” is just infuriating, and being obliged to think about someone chuckling over the hilarious oddity of a one of the most powerful women in the world being insulted by a cleavage article—and having the hilariously odd notion to make lemonade from the stinking lemons by raising awareness and funds with it—can make a gal angry as fuck, particularly as she recognizes that the constant positioning of humiliated women as the butt of jokes humiliates us all. This shit is important, and even as I say it, I know why it doesn’t seem like it is, or should be.

The thing is, the real cost of sexism to women is not in our paying a single emotional penny here for this insult and a single emotional penny there for that disgrace, but in the cumulative negative balance it leaves inside each of us. Even if we let this thing or that thing roll off of the thickened skins of our backs, we pay another penny each time; letting it roll off your back is just another way of saying keep your complaints to yourself, but it doesn’t change the reality that sexism takes its toll, whether one has the ill manners of mentioning the offense or not.


*Me: “You know what word is really hard to spell? “Misogynistic.”
Josh Feit: “The men made it that way so you couldn’t use it.”

The King County Prosecutor’s Race

posted by on August 2 at 1:24 PM

King County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Bill Sherman (one of the two Democratic candidates vying to take on well-known Republican Dan Satterberg in this Fall’s race to fill Norm Maleng’s position as King County Prosecutor) has released polling data showing he’s neck and neck with Satterberg.

This is encouraging news for Sherman’s campaign given that Satterberg, Maleng’s longtime chief of staff and now acting KC Prosecutor, is playing the role of heir apparent to the well-liked Maleng, who died suddenly on May 24.

From Sherman’s press release:

According to the poll of 603 King County residents conducted by local pollster Alison Peters, Satterberg leads Sherman by a nose, 36 to 34 percent – a result well within the poll’s four percent margin of error. In an indication that the race remains fluid and unformed, 31 percent of the electorate still remains undecided.

Hard to say how those other 31 percent will break. I fear (for Sherman and the Dems) that when people start paying attention, they may simply gravitate toward the better known Satterberg.

Similarly, Sherman has to spend most of his money now to get his name out and win the primary, which means he’ll have to start all over when it comes to taking on the well-financed Satterberg. Satterberg’s July finance reports had him around $87,000. Sherman was at around $28,000.

Adding up the money since those reports, Sherman has climbed to about $45,000 while Satterberg has climbed to about $105,000.

In the Democratic primary, Sherman has been endorsed by both the PI and the Seattle Times.

We liked both Democrats quite a bit, but felt that Sherman’s opponent, enviro group FutureWise attorney Keith Scully, was outstanding, and we gave him the nod in the primary. Scully actually had more money than Sherman as of the July reports—at $32,000. (Updated to about $33,000 now.)

The Sherman poll has Sherman well-ahead of Scully—23 percent to 5 percent (with the rest undecided.)

My Brownie? Oh, Baby!

posted by on August 2 at 12:52 PM

My dear friend Hollis is at this very moment pushing paper in some sad corner office of the courthouse downtown—-a temp job he’s held for two weeks. He tells me that he works in said sad office with a cadre of equally sad middle-years women and another gay man.

Well.

As they are so wont to do, office works chatter like chipmunks, and sometimes that chipmunky chatter canters unwittingly into the glorious minefield of uncontrollable hilarity. For some. This is his story:

So, one of the women in the office brought a pan of brownies to work, and another woman, completely unaware of what she was really saying casually remarked, “I like nuts in my brownie.”

Nuts? In her brownie? Oh? Really?

So of course, nobody else caught it except the other gay guy in the office, and we both EXPLODED trying not to let anyone see us laughing, because then everyone in the office would know how filthy we really were.

I know how filty you are, Hollis. I understand.

Bwahahahahahahahahaha fucking hahahahahahahaha! Nuts in her brownie, INDEED!

What do you like in YOUR brownie?


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An Open Letter to Mothman

posted by on August 2 at 12:08 PM

Dear Mothman:

You suck.

I bet you had something to do with the collapsing bridge in Minnesota. It’d make sense, we all know you were there in the 60s when that bridge in Point Pleasant collapsed, you freak of nature bastard. You seem to like wreaking havoc. I wonder, has anyone in Minnesota seen Mothman lately? He’s hard to miss with his fucking huge-ass moth wings, glowing red eyes, and razor-sharp teeth.

My friend Matt seems to think you’re a superhero, Mothman. He says you might be trying to warn people about inevitable tragic events, or perhaps even stop them from happening completely, but do you warn anyone about anything? Have you ever stopped anything terrible from happening? No you have not! You just scare the shit out of people, make them think they’re going crazy, and then leave when it’s over.

Fucking jerk.

I saw that movie with Richard Gere, so I know how you work. I know what signs to look for and it just so happens that I’ve noticed some weird shit lately. I mean, I’m not getting any phone calls from dead people or anything, but the other day my wireless connection cut out for no reason at all. That same afternoon, my cell phone stopped working for about an hour. Was that you, Mothman? Was it?! Are you here? Are you going to bring down the viaduct? What little tricks do you have up your sleeve/disgusting wing?

Whatever it is, Mothman, you should know that I hate you. You’re creepy and you’re ugly and you’re mean. You’re no superhero, you’re a giant evil bug. Stay the fuck out of Seattle. We’ve got those little insect-capturing cardboard tents on trees all over the place, and insect repellent is on sale at Walgreens (two for $7!). We’re prepared to take you down.

General Electric F404

posted by on August 2 at 11:51 AM

Engines_f404.jpg

Anyone know how much fuel these death machines use each day? Posted by marigold | August 2, 2007 11:36 AM

The General Electric F404 afterburning turbofan engine produces 11,000 lb-ft of thrust without and about 18,000 lb-ft with afterburners.

A pair of these engines consume approximately 18,000 pounds of aviation fuel per hour at maximum thrust without the afterburners. With the afterburners on, fuel consumption for a pair increases to about 62,000 pounds per hour.

Ask DearScience@thestranger.com and answers you shall receive.

For the Low, Low Price of $100 Million

posted by on August 2 at 11:03 AM

Today the Tacoma News Tribune reports:

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels reaffirmed his commitment on Wednesday to work toward a long-term solution to keep the Seattle SuperSonics in town.

But he expects the Sonics’ ownership group to make a significant contribution in return.

How about $100 million for a starting point?

If the Sonics were willing to put $100 million dollars into a new arena, or if they’d be willing to invest that in KeyArena, I think we could come up with some public resources to match that and to make it a long-term home for the Sonics,” Nickels said. “Those are the kind of general conversations I hope we get a chance to have.

“We have offered a number of different ideas to the past ownership and to the current ownership, and we’re looking forward to hearing their responses.”

UPDATE: Sonics owner Clay Bennett has responded to Nickels:

“In issuing our call to action last month, we were hopeful the Mayor would use his regional leadership platform to rally support for a solution. Instead he focused on old unworkable concepts that are not acceptable.”

“It is clear that if all we have to discuss is the renovation of KeyArena, then a meeting with the Mayor will not be productive or necessary.”

“We can only hope that business, civic and elected leadership can step up quickly and offer real solutions to help build a new building. We stand ready to engage in those discussions.”

(Via Enjoy the Enjoyment.)

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 2 at 11:00 AM

‘Resistance’ (ART) Donna Stack’s installation (shouldn’t throw stones) is a life-size stained-glass pup tent sitting on the gallery floor, beset by an advancing army of little red figurines. Inside the tent, a screen plays footage from the Twin Tower attacks, the Indian Ocean tsunami, an Iraqi man on all fours at Abu Ghraib, and other documentary footage from mass TV broadcasts. It’s part of Resistance, a current-events-minded show featuring Stack and her regular collaborator Andrew Kaufman. (Punch Gallery, 119 Prefontaine Place S, 621-1945. 5—8 pm, free.) JEN GRAVES
See what else is happening in Art on Thursday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

The Blue Angels

posted by on August 2 at 10:58 AM

In our November 1, 2001 election endorsement issue (we undressed the candidates that year—completely NSFW), city council candidate Michael Preston weighed in with one of my favorite quotes we’ve printed over the years:

Stranger: The Blue Angels. Totally cool or totally uncool?

Michael Preston: “The Blue Angels should not be able to fly over our city.”


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I Fall in Love About Three Times a Week

posted by on August 2 at 10:44 AM

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Today’s crush is Zack Scott, a sorta dorky but pretty adorable YouTube star who’s one part Jim Halpert and one part Dwight Schrute. Zack films himself talking about nothing important, being attacked by a chihuaua, and stalking giant spiders in his garage.

He also loves filming his cats. He’s made videos of them playing with piles of shredded paper or empty Coke boxes or wearing tank tops.

Clearly, it doesn’t take much to win me over. This is the clip that did it, though it’s a video of him bottle-feeding kittens. Also, I love a man who’s afraid of car washes.

My American Cousin

posted by on August 2 at 10:33 AM

I recently learned from a friend who returned from Zimbabwe, that a few clever chaps in Harare (the capitol of Zimbabwe) had not too long ago come up with a trick that could make a long line at a petrol station instantly vanish. They’d drive in a pickup truck to the front of the line and inform the station’s attendants that they were delivering a corpse to a funeral. The attendants would then look at the back of the pickup, see a casket, and permit the driver to proceed to a pump. The casket was, of course, empty.

Because the trick was so effective, everyone started using it. Because the attendants weren’t born yesterday, they became suspicious of the sudden high number of men and women jumping the line with the backing of a casket. To counter the trick, the attendants began demanding visual proof of the corpse—open the casket; no corpse; go to the back of the long, long line. As you can imagine, the next step for the clever was to produce an actual corpse in the casket.

This Zimbabwean corpse in the casket has an American cousin. It’s the dummy used by solo riders in the commuter lane.

Fed up with backups and endless brake lights, some drivers are zipping through the HOV lane with a secret: That person in their passenger seat isn’t actually breathing.

Last week Trooper Tony Brock pulled over a Black Diamond man for cruising in the Highway 167 carpool lane with a dolled-up mannequin as his fellow rider.

It wasn’t the first time Brock had seen drivers resorting to creative schemes to bypass rush-hour gridlock.

The dead and dumb are not always useless.

Crawl Space Living

posted by on August 2 at 10:30 AM

In this week’s edition, I write about Open Satellite, a new contemporary art project envisioned by Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo of Lead Pencil Studio (Stranger Geniuses) that will bring artists from all over the country to Bellevue to work and show for three months at a time.

The first artist, who arrives this weekend, is LA-based Olga Koumoundouros. Here are some examples of her work, which has been seen at the Hammer and the Studio Museum in Harlem, among other spots.

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Town Meeting; After Acconci (2003), top view

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Town Meeting; After Acconci (2003), side view

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Town Meeting; After Acconci (2003), interior views

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Huck and Jim’s Excellent Adventure, FL (2000)

Seattle doesn’t have many residency programs. CoCA used to do short-term residencies, but in its current incarnation, the space it’s in isn’t appropriate (Shilshole Bay Beach Club).

But Crawl Space, the little engine that could on Capitol Hill, is starting an annual short-residency project of its own. Here are the details:

In an effort to challenge early career artists in the power and scope of their art making, Crawl Space announces its new Studio Intensive Residency, during which the resident artist will be confined to Crawl Space grounds for one week to prepare an exhibition. The resident artist will commit to a full seven days and seven nights of working at Crawl Space. Arriving at the gallery with whatever art-making and survival supplies he or she brings along, the artist will establish a studio workspace and squatting quarters for the week. A hot plate, refrigerator, toilet, sink, and sleeping cot will be provided. During this week of confinement, the artist is expected to generate completely new works, either as a continuation of a body of work or as a special project or installation. No completed or in-progress works will be admitted. Crawl Space hopes that confining the artist to an unfamiliar and entirely un-recreational art making space where he/she cannot get away from his/her work will spur that artist to break away from characteristic approaches and methods of art making.

Crawl Space is just taking applications now, so no word yet on who’ll be first. Can’t wait to see.

Heading to YearlyKos

posted by on August 2 at 10:00 AM

I’m about to leave for YearlyKos, the big liberal blogger convention in Chicago.

This is the second time the Kos community and the national bloggeratti have met in person to talk about the future of liberal politics online. The first time was last year in Las Vegas. I went and wrote a Stranger feature about the experience, blogged some interesting comments I heard from the mouth of Kos himself, and also took a few moments to hate on the awful Riviera Hotel.

I’m thrilled not to be going back to the wretched Riviera, and I’m curious to see how this year’s convention is different, now that the blogosphere has gone all establishment. I’m also excited to see a bunch of the Democratic presidential candidates—Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Barack Obama, Bill Richardson, and Chris Dodd—all square off with each other, and with the lefty blogosphere, on Saturday.

I’ll blog more from the conference, but for now, if you’re interested in helping shape the discussion with the presidential candidates on Saturday, you can click here.

And, just like last year, I’ll be taking photo requests. Put them in the comments and maybe I’ll bring you something like this:

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Were They Right?

posted by on August 2 at 9:22 AM

In 1993, AT&T tried to predict/sell the future with its “You Will” ads.

I hated those commercials at the time, and I used to drive my friends crazy by announcing (every time one came one) things like: “Have you ever tried to end history by resolving into self consciousness? You will.”

Anyway, the commercials aren’t as annoying to watch today. Even kind of interesting:

courtesy Paleo-Future.com

Bridge Collapse Caught on Security Camera

posted by on August 2 at 9:12 AM

The Run For October

posted by on August 2 at 8:34 AM

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First the Mariners take two of three from the Angels, and now, at long last, here comes Adam Jones.

God Finally Welcome in Texas

posted by on August 2 at 7:40 AM

How did the Lone Star State survive this long without acknowledging God in its state pledge?

Texas students will have four more words to remember when they head back to class this month and begin reciting the state’s pledge of allegiance.

This year’s Legislature added the phrase “one state under God” to the pledge, which is part of a required morning ritual in Texas public schools along with the pledge to the U.S. flag and a moment of silence.

State Rep. Debbie Riddle, who sponsored the bill, said it had always bothered her that God was omitted in the state’s pledge.

“Personally, I felt like the Texas pledge had a big old hole in it, and it occurred to me, ‘You know what? We need to fix that,’ ” said Riddle, R-Tomball. “Our Texas pledge is perfectly OK like it is with the exception of acknowledging that just as we are one nation under God, we are one state under God as well.

The Morning News

posted by on August 2 at 7:00 AM

Minneapolis bridge collapse: At least 7 dead.

The return of Jennifer Dunn: As part of Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal deal.

The return of Rumsfeld: Back on Capitol Hill for Tillman testimony.

Can we pay Columbian death squads? And other questions to Michael Chertoff from the Chiquita banana company.

A war against empty shelves: Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

Obama vs. Musharraf: The presidential candidate makes a pointed speech outlining his views on combating Islamic terrorism.

Could you drink $100 worth of free booze? How about if it was on Amtrak?

And in honor of Rumsfeld’s return to the morning news:


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Sigh

posted by on August 1 at 7:49 PM

It’s been a really annoying day.

First, My HRC post gets chastised for failing to note that Obama was doing well in key states like New Hampshire, even though my Slog post actually bolded that point.

Then, Joel Connelly calls me a bigot.

Then there’s the screw up in our primary endorsement cheat sheet.

And finally, there’s this comment on Slog: “Oh, and you’re an asshole too.” Posted by Pot? Meet kettle. | August 1, 2007 7:00 PM.

Charlie Brown, me.

I am now having a drink.

Watching this gem:

And then going out with two friends who are cooler and smarter (GRE smart, even) than anyone in Seattle.

Stone Way Bike Protest

posted by on August 1 at 6:57 PM

Just got back from the bike protest against Mayor Nickels’s elimination of the long-plannned bike lane on Stone Way between 34th and 40th, where 300 to 400 bikers circled around Fremont two by two at rush hour to show that drivers aren’t the only ones who use the roads. The reception the bikers received was mostly friendly, with one ball-capped guy holding a “Biker Bullies” sign the lone exception. Cascade Bicycle Club’s David Hiller seized the opportunity to announce some great news: The Burke-Gilman Trail through Fremont, which was going to be closed for yet another year thanks to complaints by Fremont property owner Suzie Burke (who’s developing a project adjacent to the trail) will open later this month. Turns out the “easement” Burke said required the city to close the trail doesn’t do anything of the sort; according to Hiller, who contacted bike-friendly City Attorney Tom Carr about the trail closure, the easement only requires the city to figure out a way to make the trail safe for bikes and construction. If they can find a way to do that without closing the trail, that’s what they’re supposed to do. So the city will now follow the law, and open the trail. One down, one to go.

Children’s Toys, Now With 50% More Lead

posted by on August 1 at 5:41 PM

Toy-maker Fisher-Price is recalling 83 types of toys — including the popular Big Bird, Elmo, Dora and Diego characters — because their paint contains excessive amounts of lead.

Great. Now the crime rate is gonna skyrocket.

Our Aging Infrastructure

posted by on August 1 at 5:24 PM

In Minnesota tonight:

The Interstate Hwy. 35W bridge over the Mississippi River collapsed during the evening rush hour Wednesday, dumping at least eight cars and a truck into the water and onto the land below, creating a horrific scene of damage, fire, smoke, injuries, frantic rescuers and terrified motorists.

It was not clear how many people might be hurt or killed, but witnesses said at least 20 cars were involved.

So are we going to wait for this thing to fall down before we get around to taking it down?

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Kevin Smith Teaches You How To Disguise Man Tits

posted by on August 1 at 5:15 PM

And hilariously harshes a dude’s mellow at the 2007 Comic Con after said dude tries to take Smith down.

(Thanks to my friend Matt for sharing it with me.)

Today on Lineout

posted by on August 1 at 4:55 PM

All Y’all: Travis Morrison’s New Solo Album.

Cheese and Porn: Jonathan Zwickel Knows on 10cc.

You Know What They Say About…: Matthew Dear’s Big Hands.

Block Party Video, pt 2: Aesop Rock and Against Me!

Fog Head: Josh Feit’s Dad: Annoyed with the ’70s.

Bust ASCAP in Yo Ass: ASCAP Cracks Down on Local Clubs.

Best Song Ever, 1945 Anti-Fascist Edition: Woody Guthrie’s “Lindbergh.”

More Than One Way To Love: TJ Gorton on Voyage and Raydio.

Deathphonic: Trent Moorman on Hot August Metal Fest.

Band of the Week: The Maldives.

Presenting: Nikki Sixx’s New Clothing Line

posted by on August 1 at 4:28 PM

If it was anyone but Nikki Sixx, I’d guess this was a mockumentary:


Once In A Career

posted by on August 1 at 4:12 PM

Every artist burns to make a masterpiece. Every collector burns to own it. And every critic burns to discover it before anyone else does.

It has been discovered.

The first person to find it was a hungry writer, a man without money enough to buy shampoo. It had been abandoned in the apartment building where he lives, and when he came across it, he was—as you soon will be—stunned by its power.

He brought it to this office, where I caught sight of it.

Before I talk about this remarkable work of art, I’d like to stress its place in the canon. With a work like this, you have to begin with the Byzantine madonnas, like this one from 1325, by Paolo Veneziano.

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In addition to drawing from the divine geometries set forth in compositions like these, the contemporary artist in question—we do not know who this hero is!—has also mastered the skill of sfumato, or “smoky” drawing, that was such a specialty of Leonardo da Vinci. Here’s his drawing of an old man’s face. Our contemporary artist uses the technique on the female nude’s majestic head of hair.

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But it isn’t fair for me to make you wait any longer to see this masterpiece. Because she’s nude, I’ll mark it NSFW. But how could a work of this subtle, sensitive glory not be safe—nay, nourishing—for any environment?

Thank you for bringing this into the office to show me, Brad. You’ve done a service not just for yourself and for me, but for the whole of humanity.

View image.

Letter of the Day

posted by on August 1 at 3:50 PM

West Seattle Hates Magnolia

EDITOR: I felt it necessary to bring up something very near to my heart: West Seattle’s hatred for Magnolia. This has been kept on the back burner far too long. West Seattle has been holding its tongue for years now and I feel it the right time to stop all the happy-talk and get down to whats real.

Similar to the renowned beefs that New York’s five boroughs have with one another, the seven hills that Seattle was built on (now known as Capitol Hill, 1st Hill, Denny, Beacon, Queen Anne, West Seattle & Magnolia) don’t always get along so hot either!

Whenever I look out across Elliott Bay and I see wussy little Magnolia staring back at me, ruining my mountain view, it makes me want to kick the life out of everyone in Discovery Park.

They keep claiming the Bay, but we West Seattleites know the real truth: WE RUN THE BAY, BITCH!

A.C., straight outta the West Side


How Would You Do in a Bar Fight?

posted by on August 1 at 3:34 PM

Our endorsements for this summer’s Primary Election are out. (Vote for Venus Velazquez, not Al Runte, by the way.

The Stranger Election Control Board was very serious about security this year. We had professional bouncer (Josh “Whitey” Myrick) at all our interviews. Whitey carded all the candidates and frisked them.

We also gave the candidates a club security quiz: Have you ever been kicked out of a bar? When was the last time you gave alcohol to a minor? Etc. …

I’ve got nothing against John Manning, the former City Council member who had to resign amidst domestic violence charges in 1995. I think he’s earnest and smart about municipal policy, and I believe he’s dealt with his issues.

I also think he should stop running for City Council.

And I also think, given his controversial history, he really blew our club security quiz. Listen to how he answered the question: On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being Jackie Chan) how would you do in a bar fight?

Manning said:

If I get in a situation where I have to fight, I’m gonna hit them first and hard enough so that’s gonna be it. They’re going to hit the ground.

Yikes.

You Know What There Hasn’t Been Nearly Enough of on Slog of Late: A Post About MIRANDA JULY!

posted by on August 1 at 3:23 PM

For Charles Mudede’s special torture and your advance knowledge…

Miranda July’s visit to Bumbershoot will include a screening of her short films—or three of them, at least: The Amateurist (about captivity and control), Nest of Tens (about obsessive behavior), and Getting Stronger Everyday (which is mostly unremarkable, but stars Carrie Brownstein in a turtleneck). I don’t see that it would have hurt anyone to put the early and awesome Atlanta in the mix, but these three are an excellent introduction to July’s pre-Me and You and Everything We Know filmmaking. I’d especially recommend them to anyone who think Miranda July’s work is “quirky” or twee or cutesy. The cotton swabbing of a fat baby in Nest of Tens is not cute. It is, however, mesmerizing.

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On the Bumbershoot site, you will note that they’re calling it Nest of Teens. I don’t blame them for trying, but this title makes it sound a lot more exciting than it is. It’s “Tens.” Like binary numerals.

What’s the Name of the Game?

posted by on August 1 at 3:14 PM

About the next Resident Evil video game, which will be released in 2009 and is set in Haiti—the immediate source of the word “zombie”:
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Alexander Sliwinski argues:

The African issue aside, the Japanese developed Resident Evil series has been killing white people for its entire run so far — how did white people not catch on to this and get upset? Because it’s not white killing, it’s zombie killing. You’re killing them because they want to eat or infect you, not because of their skin color.
In a way, I agree with Sliwinski. If black and white kids have been shooting white people all of this time, then why shouldn’t black and white kids shoot black people for the time being. The problem is not color; the problem is the game itself.

Vote For Venus Velazquez. Don’t Vote for Al Runte.

posted by on August 1 at 3:06 PM

Due to an error by the Stranger’s production department, the Stranger Election Control Board’s Cheat Sheet incorrectly indicated that we endorsed Al Runte in the race for Seattle City Council Position 3. We actually endorsed Venus Velazquez. To find out why we chose Velazquez and not Runte (and to read our endorsements in this year’s City Council, Port of Seattle, County Prosecutor, and Seattle School Board races) go here. A corrected cheat sheet is below the jump.

Continue reading "Vote For Venus Velazquez. Don't Vote for Al Runte." »

A Note on Health

posted by on August 1 at 2:35 PM

Written elsewhere:

What exactly is joy? And what exactly is pain? Joy is the condition of being close to perfection, and pain is the condition of being at a distance from perfection. And what is perfection? It is the final state of feeling (and therefore being) infinite.
To continue this opening line of thought:
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We imagine God to be complete; meaning, He never gets sick, He never falls from the peak of perfection, from sound health, wellbeing, biological stability—the infinite. God is everything we want to be: always in working order, always seeing the expanse of the infinite. The attributes we give to Him are the feelings we have when we are in a state of happiness. What God and good health make clear is that there is an infinite. There is something that never ends, and the moments of seeing this endlessness are the moments that matter most of all. When sickness strikes, however, we descend from the mountain of this truth. And the more we descend, the more limited our reality becomes, the more pain we feel. Death is at the bottom of all this.


(Note: A graveyard with a view, such as the one in which my mother is buried, in Renton, is so puzzling. You see the city, the lake, airfield, forests, bridges—you command this view with an exhilarating sense of health. But immediately around you are the dead, the ones who fell from the positive infinite into the pit of the negative one. )

PI’s Joel Connelly Says I’m a Bigot

posted by on August 1 at 2:22 PM

In his column today, P-I columnist Joel Connelly attacks my Counter•Intel column from last week.

Connelly begins:

We have, especially in this “unchurched” corner of America, a faction that actively mocks religion and seeks to stigmatize people of faith.

Accurately and bluntly, it’s the last form of bigotry that is socially acceptable.

A case in point: Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., recently committed the secular sin of voting to deny federal dollars to Planned Parenthood. He also has supported federal funding for faith-based organizations.

On Seattle’s Capitol Hill, The Stranger set out to explain these votes in terms of Reichert’s religious affiliation: He is a member of the conservative Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod.

Connelly is referring to my column. Indeed, using Reichert’s recent (losing) vote to deny Planned Parenthood federal money, I wrote:

Reichert’s hardcore vote is noteworthy because it’s one in a series of Reichert votes—with the exception of his meaningless vote, practically speaking, with the Democrats on Terri Schiavo—that abandons facts on the ground apparently for the dictates of his religion. Other votes include his vote for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage; his vote allowing federal dollars to go to faith-based organizations even if those organizations have discriminatory practices; his vote for stricter abortion parental notification laws; and his vote against stem-cell research. Reichert did cast later votes for stem-cell research—thanks to his tough reelection campaign in an increasingly liberal district— but they seem meaningless and politically calculated given his previous vote and given the safe margin by which his party rejected the idea.

Until the Bush era, it might have been considered tacky to report on a politician’s religion. But Reichert’s GOP—which pushes moral values and and intelligent design and abstinence-only education and limits on abortion rights—has made religion a political issue. Reichert did not return my call to talk about his politics, but given his vote last week, the time for being polite about religion is over.

Sure, it makes us uncomfortable to bring up someone’s religious beliefs—this is traditionally a private matter. But when private matters start undermining public policy (women’s health) and when moral superiority is used to win elections (remember the moral values vote of 2004—the election that swept first-time GOP candidates like Reichert into office), it’s time to make things uncomfortable for those who would force their religious values on others.

Connelly also ends his column calling me a “bigot.” (Actually, he doesn’t name me, I’m simply “the author” at The Stranger.)

His main gripe seems to be that I didn’t confirm that Reichert’s votes were related to Reichert’s conservative religion. Connelly writes, “In reading The Stranger, it became evident that the author of the article about Reichert had not talked with Reichert.”

It probably “became evident” because I acknowledged as much in my column. I wrote: “Reichert did not return my call to talk about his politics.”

It’s also evident, reading Connelly’s column, that he didn’t talk to Reichert (or me, for that matter, before calling me a bigot.)

I called Reichert’s office for the story, and I told them exactly what I was calling about. I was told he would call me back. He did not. (In doing the reporting, by the way, I also found that Wikipedia had posted inaccurate quotes about Reichert’s supposed religious extremism. My reporting caused Wikipedia to take the comments down. Connelly makes no mention of that.)

I agree with Connelly that my article would have been better if Reichert had called back and talked about his votes and his religion. (The Seattle Times’ David Postman, who was also uncomfortable with my article, was fair enough to contact me and ask me directly about it. He did not follow up with an article.)

However, given the GOP’s exploitation of religion and values, I believe the onus is on Republicans who vote to dictate morals (and health care options) for others to prove they aren’t channeling their openly right-wing religions and those religious agendas. Connelly, having not spoken with Reichert himself, fails to make the case that Reichert isn’t voting his religious values.

(I had the courtesy to call Connelly for this Slog post, and Connelly acknowledges that he did not talk to Reichert for his column. He reports that he plans to talk to Reichert about it. I’d like that chance as well.)

The fact is, Reichert’s wing of the GOP has become an elitist Christian bloc, and they need to be called on it. Questioning whether Reichert takes his marching orders from the Christian Right doesn’t mean I’m a bigot, it means I’m paying attention.

Slate on Ichiro

posted by on August 1 at 1:58 PM

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Refusing the easy banalities embraced by other major leaguers, Ichiro approached the media with a Rumsfeldian mix of impatience and amateur epistemology.

On Sunday, I sat next to a Mariners employee who said he’s heard Ichiro speak perfect English. I’ve always assumed he spoke English—he’d have to be pretty stupid to have not learned it by now—and I have all the more respect for him because he never lets it show. If you’re a professional athlete, smart, and you have the opportunity to not speak directly to the press, you take it.

Article.

Seattle P-I MIA

posted by on August 1 at 1:53 PM

More than one reader reports not getting his or her P-I this morning:

I didn’t get my P-I this morning, and when I called to get re-delivery I was informed there was a production problem and delivery would be delayed until 8:30 a.m. As of 12:30 today, still no paper delivered. Circulation rep said that I would likely get no paper today at all. Do you know what’s going on? Times & P-I websites have nothing.
Roger

No (or limited) home delivery and box delivery of today’s Seattle Times and P-I. Howcum? [cute] Ron

Yeah, I Love Looking at Baby Animals. Get Over It.

posted by on August 1 at 1:40 PM

Cute Baby Sloth

Watch until the end. He yawns. HE YAWNS!

Edwards Leads In Iowa

posted by on August 1 at 1:16 PM

As long as we’re selectively citing statistics that favor our preferred Democratic contenders … According to a recent poll of likely caucus voters in Iowa, Edwards is now leading with 27 percent of the vote. Both Clinton (22 percent) and Obama (16 percent) have lost ground in Iowa, slipping six percent from a previous poll of likely voters.

Producing High-Quality Up-Skirt Videos Just Got Easier

posted by on August 1 at 12:03 PM

Meet the Panasonic HDC-SD7, the “World’s Smallest HD Camcorder.”

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Overheard in the Office

posted by on August 1 at 11:57 AM

“Neuroscience makes my Marxism look like a toy!” —Charles Mudede.

Map Quest

posted by on August 1 at 11:55 AM

If you’re a goof about maps, http:strangeMaps.wordpress.com, with things like “China’s World Map 1418,” is the place for you.

It’s also got handy dandy maps like—where all the single boys and girls are:

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Looks like the ladies have the better deal in Seattle. According to this map there are 40,000 more single men in Seattle than women.

News From Utopia

posted by on August 1 at 11:53 AM

The way it should be here:

The Swedish capital, Stockholm, has introduced a road tax on vehicles in an effort to cut traffic volumes and noise and air pollution.

City residents gave the go-ahead for the permanent toll of 10-20 Swedish kronor ($1.5-3; £0.7-1.4) after a trial period and a referendum last year.

Money earned from the scheme is to be used to improve the transport network.

George Patterson Arrested Again

posted by on August 1 at 11:50 AM

George Patterson, the wheelchair bound man who accused SPD officers Greg Neubert and Michael Tietjen of misconduct during an arrest last January, has been arrested again. On drug charges.

From the PI:

George Troy Patterson, 27, was arrested just after 11 p.m. Tuesday in the 200 block of Bell Street, according to a Seattle police report.

According to the report, Seattle police and agents with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service set up a joint buy-bust operation in Belltown as part of an effort to curb drug dealing to sailors visiting the area as part of the SeaFair Fleet Week.

Patterson allegedly sold undercover officers and NCIS agents several rocks of crack cocaine for $75 after being introduced to them as a dealer. He was immediately arrested by NCIS agents, who found the cash, the serial numbers pre-recorded, still in his hand.

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 1 at 11:00 AM

‘The Trials of Darryl Hunt’ (DOCUMENTARY) In 1984, a shy, smiling, 19-year-old black kid named Darryl Hunt was wrongly convicted of the rape and murder of a white woman and sent to jail for life. What followed was a 20-year legal nightmare, an unbelievable theater of disgust involving smug white lawyers, lots of Christian racists, ignored DNA evidence, intimidated witnesses, gullible TV news reporters, the North Carolina and United States Supreme Courts, and, at the end of it all, the actual killer. Every American should see this movie. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 267-5380. 7, 9:15 pm, $5—$8.50. Through Aug 2.) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
See what else is happening in Film on Wednesday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

These are a Few of My Favorite Things…

posted by on August 1 at 10:41 AM

Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, Hot Tamales cinnamon-flavored candies, and the ever-expanding oeuvre of Seattle Gay News Arts & Entertainment writer Rajkhet Dirzhud-Rashid.

Rajkhet first claimed a space in my literary consciousness with her amazing headline-writing skills, which are allowed to run free by the SGN’s proper-grammar-is-a-tool-of-the-patriarchy editorial policy. My early favorite Rajkhet headline, resting atop her review of 2001’s Stanley Kubrick/Steven Spielberg collaboration Artificial Intelligence: A.I.: More Kubrick Than Spielberg, But Still Good.

I doubt Rajkhet will ever top the loony succinctness of that dazzler, but the headline for her (rave) review of I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry comes close: Chuck and Larry: A very funny movie, timely, and a provocative shower scene.

The review that follows is also quite impressive, and features one of the more amazing parenthetical statements—”(Dan Aykroyd in his best role since Pearl Harbor)“—in recent memory.

Viva Rajkhet!

Furthermore

posted by on August 1 at 10:37 AM

The whole business of playing European classical music in public places that are troubled by black thugs is exposed as racist by the simple fact that American classical music was not selected for this purpose.
coltrane_john.jpg American classical music is jazz. Jazz is essentially black music. KPLU is a local radio station that’s dedicated to this music (the highest form of American music) with black roots. What’s wrong with playing Coltrane at bus stops? It’s just not white enough. That must have been the reasoning—no, that was the reasoning. For two reasons: The high possibility that the crime-hardened hiphop thug might recognize those distant jazz rhythms and rediscover the joys and pleasures of the forgotten black art form. European classical music shuts down that possibility. All of it (solos, quartets, symphonies), the black being rejects. And two: American classical music does not inspire a strong of sense of violation; European classic music does. There you have it!

Do The Dems Want Ralph Nader To Run?

posted by on August 1 at 10:21 AM

Headlines like this one in today’s NYT sure make it look like they want him to:

Democrats Scrambling to Expand Eavesdropping

New Willingness to Work With Bush

O They Will Know We Are Christians By Our…

posted by on August 1 at 9:58 AM

…pastor’s recent arrest.

A Baptist minister has been charged in Tennessee with indecent exposure and driving under the influence. Police said 58-year-old Tommy Tester of Bristol, Va., was wearing a skirt when he was arrested last week after allegedly relieving himself in front of children at a car wash.

A report also accuses Tester of offering police officers oral sex and says an open bottle of vodka and empty oxycodone prescription bottle was found in his car when Tester was arrested Friday.

An Obama Surge?

posted by on August 1 at 9:55 AM

National polls are interesting, but not that meaningful at this stage in the presidential race. What’s most meaningful are the polls in the early primary states. And in two highly influential primary states, South Carolina and New Hampshire, Obama may be surging:

American Research Group has Sen. Barack Obama moving into a tie with Sen. Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire and “surging” in South Carolina (up 12 since June).

Sullivan is excited.

Chocolate Rain

posted by on August 1 at 9:53 AM

Mornin’, Slog! It’s time for the sensation that is Tay Zonday…

Chocolate Rain, why so catchy? Chocolate Rain, why so popular? Chocolate Rain, why can’t I stop singing Chocolate Rain?

A Mother’s Love

posted by on August 1 at 9:49 AM

Nine teens and young adults adopted in New York were cruelly abused, starved and shackled like prisoners in their Florida home by a heartless scam-artist mom who lived off money meant for the kids, authorities said.

The hundreds of thousands of dollars came courtesy of New York taxpayers. The children were often bound together with plastic ties, allowed to soil themselves and bore scars and burns, Florida investigators said. None appeared to have more than a fourth-grade education.

All were starving.

HPV

posted by on August 1 at 9:44 AM

The sexually-transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer in thousands of women every year has been discovered hiding in a new place—under men’s fingernails.

The presence of HPV under fingernails, she said, at the very least suggests another possible route of transmission. It’s an additional route of infection, she said, that could explain some previous apparent anomalies such as HPV infection in infants and young girls who had not yet engaged in sexual activity.

Good thing we’ve got a vaccine. Too bad we’ve also got idiots that oppose the vaccine for religious reasons—hey, it says right there in the bible somewhere that if you get infected with HPV as an infant because your dad has the virus under his fingernails then you’re a slut who deserves to die.

HRC: Debate Captain

posted by on August 1 at 9:36 AM

Latest poll puts HRC far ahead of Obama.

However, Obama is tied with Clinton in all-important New Hampshire.

The pundits credit Clinton’s surge (she’s ahead by 21 points as opposed to 14 points in a June poll) to her performance in the Democratic debates.

Wallingford Update

posted by on August 1 at 8:25 AM

The standoff ended peacefully at about 12:30 this morning when the man surrendered to police.

The Morning News

posted by on August 1 at 7:00 AM

Freedom on the march? A fascinating story about the rise of the television in Afghanistan, complete with a hilarious statistic about T.V. ownership vs. electricity availability.

Fox on the march: Rupert Murdoch gets The Wall Street Journal.

The surge on the march: Is the new Iraq strategy leading to the deaths of fewer Americans and more Iraqis?

Government spying: Bigger than you knew. But you knew that.

Gonzales: The Washington Post on Inslee’s call for impeachment.

Stevens: Now with a new threat, and exquisite timing.

Cheney: The Larry King interview.

The cursing priest: On leave after this:


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Wallingford Update

posted by on July 31 at 11:29 PM

Jonah’s on the scene …. The house is at NE 52nd and Latona, just West of I-5.

He reports that there’s a 45-year-old armed male barricaded in a house, and there are no hostages.

The SWAT Team negotiators are there.

An 80-year-old woman was originally in the house, but she got out.

The suspect apparently robbed a house, posing as a cop, on Rainier Avenue earlier this year.

Neighbors say the suspect has a rifle with a laser scope.

UPDATE:
Back-up has arrived! Jonah reports (at about 11:50pm now) that the cops just brought in about 15 bags of burgers from Dick’s for the dozen cops on the scene.

“Seattle police SWAT officers are in a standoff with a man who has barricaded himself in a home in the 300 block of Northeast 52nd Street.”

posted by on July 31 at 10:58 PM

Seattle Times has the story.

Although the details the P-I has are better.

Breaking in Wallingford

posted by on July 31 at 10:54 PM

A Slog tipper writes:

Hiya!

My name is Mike and I live in the 50th/Latona area of Wallingford. There are cop cars all over the place, blocking off the 51st and 52nd ave’s, and apparently the report is that some guy is running around the neighborhood with a high-powered rifle. I haven’t confirmed this with an actual officer, but there is DEFINITELY something going on, as the presence of more than 10 cop cars in one spot with no doughnut stores close by is a sign of something big. Just wanted to give you a hot tip!!! :-D

-Mikey Shirts

Overheard Out My Window

posted by on July 31 at 8:33 PM

In the form of an enraged scream that sounded like it was in motion, either on a bike or in a passing car:

“Eat shit, designer dogs!”

RIP Tom Snyder

posted by on July 31 at 8:18 PM

I don’t know how I missed this, but Tom Snyder, the ghost in the machine of late night 70s TV (a weird universe) died on Sunday. He was 71. Here’s the NYT obit.

I couldn’t find his Spiro Agnew interview on YouTube (and I’m sure Dan is the only other one on staff who feels some kind of pang at the news), but Snyder deserves a shout out on Slog.

I mostly associate Snyder with cranky political interviews, but here’s what I could find: Snyder in 1980 interviewing John Lydon and also Kiss in 1979.

SeaSk8 Gets Shuffled Again

posted by on July 31 at 6:04 PM

The Du Pen fountain isn’t going anywhere. Tomorrow, the city council will announce its support for a skatepark site at Thomas Street, near the Seattle Center Pavillion. The Thomas skatepark is expected to be larger than the proposed Du Pen site, which was almost a third smaller than the now-demolished SeaSk8.

Best Country Ever

posted by on July 31 at 5:49 PM

DSCN2268.jpg

U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Re: Fire @ Manray

posted by on July 31 at 5:31 PM

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Everybody calm down. Your favorite Star Trek themed bar is intact.

A small electrical fire started near Manray’s fridge, and it took the fire department “seconds” to put out. Both Manray and Kincora were cleared out, but it doesn’t appear that any permanent damage was done.

Bush Coming to Town to Stump for Reichert.

posted by on July 31 at 5:28 PM

Burner responds:

Darcy Burner Statement on George Bush’s Upcoming Visit to Raise Big Money for Congressman Reichert Bellevue, WA (July 31) – Democratic challenger Darcy Burner today issued the following statement in response to a report on the Seattle Times web site that President Bush will hold a high dollar fundraiser for Iraq War backer Congressman Dave Reichert in late August: “That George Bush would come yet again to raise big money for Congressman Reichert is not a surprise, given the congressman’s unwavering support for the president’s disastrous Iraq policies. “When will it end? The American people know it is past time to end the war. But Congressman Reichert cares more about backing the president than about representing the views of the voters of the 8th District. “This seems like déjà vu all over again, except this time the voters of the 8th District have had enough of Congressman Reichert’s stubborn refusal to represent their views. They want the War and the failed presidency of George Bush to end. Given Congressman Reichert’s support for both, they will soon vote to end his time in office as well.”

Indeed, Bush will be at Reichert’s August 27 fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue.

See the invite below the jump.

Continue reading "Bush Coming to Town to Stump for Reichert." »

Fire on the Doomed Block

posted by on July 31 at 5:04 PM

Looks like there was just a fire somewhere in the doomed, soon-to-be-condos string of buildings that currently houses Kincora’s, Manray, and Pony. I snapped these cell phone photos after I called the fire department. The dispatcher wanted to know if I could see flames. Yes, I could see flames. The roof, as they say, was on fire.

Fire1.jpg

Fire2.jpg

Fire3.jpg

Manray on Fire?

posted by on July 31 at 5:02 PM

This just in, from a SlogTipper Paul:

Looks like Manray might be on fire…. At least… fire trucks are outside with hoses running inside, and firemen with axes. Or it might be some elaborate pre-Vancouver Pride costume party of course. Hopefully, if it *is* on fire, it hasn’t affected neighboring Pony.

The Bike Plan, Unravelled

posted by on July 31 at 4:50 PM

Seattle’s Bicycle Master Plan, touted by Mayor Greg Nickels as the centerpiece of his plan to make Seattle “the most bike-friendly city in America,” is being eroded piece by piece, with only two-thirds of the bike facilities planned for this year still in the works. A highly anticipated “sharrow” on California Avenue SW, which would have at least given bikers a bit of breathing room on the busy West Seattle thoroughfare, has been put off until at least next year so that city planners can “spend some quality time with the businesses on California before the sharrows show up,” according to an e-mail written by Seattle traffic director Wayne Wentz in response to questions by City Attorney (and West Seattle resident) Tom Carr.

The sharrows were supposed to be added as part of a project to repave California under the “Complete Streets” plan adopted by the City Council earlier this year; that policy was supposed to ensure that whenever streets get upgraded or repaired, the repairs would include facilities for pedestrians and bikers as well as cars. At
the time, Nickels had this to say about the goal of Complete Streets: “This legislation will ensure that we don’t just fix our streets, but we look at how to make them better for all users. It will make our streets safer for pedestrians and give cyclists, transit users and motorists more choices when traveling our roadways.”

So when the city’s transportation department went forward with the paving without including the sharrows, they did so in complete defiance of the Complete Streets policy. Moreover, they did it without any good reason. “The merchants have known that the city was going to be repaving California for about five years,” Carr says. “The merchants are going to say ‘no’ because they think for some reason that anything that helps bicycles hurts their business.” (See also: Suzie Burke, who got a bike lane killed in Fremont by raising concerns that it would hurt businesses along Stone Way.)

Currently, West Seattle does not have a single mile of bike lane. A planned bike lane along part of busy Fauntleroy is rumored to be the next on the chopping block; meanwhile, the rest of Fauntleroy and all of 35th Avenue SW are slated for “additional study,” often shorthand for “we don’t want to deal with it.” (See also: South Rainier.) The e-mail also reveals that the city plans to stripe just 20 miles of bike lanes and other facilities in 2007—a 33 percent reduction from the 30 miles included in the bike plan.

Moreover, the more closely I look at the bike plan, the more I wonder whether the people who plan bike facilities at the city have ever actually ridden a bike. The bike plan suggests bikers ride up some of the steepest hills in the city—in at least two cases, quite literally. Queen Anne Avenue N has an 18 percent grade; on SW Charlestown Street, it’s 20 percent. Both are among the city’s 20 steepest hills; both are slated for new bike facilities (sharrows and bike lanes) in the master plan. As Carr puts it, “Nobody in their right mind would go up that hill” on Charlestown. Other steep hills bike planners suggest you use include South Orcas Street in Seward Park (the “alternative route” for people trying to get to the Rainier Valley from the north); North 67th Street on Phinney Ridge; James Street from downtown to First Hill; and Florentia Street up Queen Anne Hill off Dexter.

As for Stone Way: Cascade Bicycle Club policy director David Hiller understandably questioned the city’s traffic projections for Stone Way, which predicted that traffic levels would double, quadruple, and in some cases even grow tenfold over 2001 levels at various points around the intersection of 35th and Stone by 2010. The mayor and transportation department have used those projections to justify eliminating the bike lane on Stone Way, arguing in essence that that pavement is needed to accommodate new traffic.

But that claim doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. For one thing, Hiller noticed, traffic on Stone Way just didn’t seem that bad. So, in addition to commissioning his own study by a reputable traffic consultant (which, not surprisingly, predicted much lower traffic levels), Hiller and a crew of Cascade activists went out and actually counted traffic moving through the intersection at the evening rush hour. Not surprisingly (if you’ve driven or biked down there) traffic at 35th and Stone was steady but not significantly higher than it was six years ago, the last time traffic figures were counted: 1,548 vehicles during the 5 to 6 p.m. peak, compared to 1,505 in 2001. The “growth” in traffic, in other words, didn’t happen. (Just 8 percent of those 1,500 vehicles, by the way, were trucks—and that included nearly a dozen “ducks,” those obnoxious amphibious vehicles that ferry kazoo-wielding tourists around the city.

Bikers will be protesting the removal of the bike lane tomorrow, August 1, starting at 4:30 at Gas Works Park; more information available here.

Infernal Spoilers of the Sunshine Kind

posted by on July 31 at 4:35 PM

So I got an angry e-mail from a reader today, complaining (rightly) that I gave too much away in my extremely enthusiastic review of Sunshine, specifically about a plot development in the third act (which has since been removed from the web version). To be honest, I don’t think having prior knowledge of said detail wrecks the experience — one of the best things about the flick (and the point at which I suspect my deadline-frenzied brain was trying to get at by unwisely spilling the beans) is how it takes a bunch of moldy old space clichés and makes them feel freshly minted — but to anyone who felt bummed out by it, I sincerely apologize.

Anyway, this got me thinking about spoilers, and the way that Harry Knowles and Co. seem to have blurred the lines about what it’s possible to know before entering the theater. (Skimming the reviews for Sunshine at Rotten Tomatoes, I found a bunch that gave away the whole damn thing.) Personally, I generally try to limit my plot descriptions to a sentence or two, which is probably too limited for some people (a pre-Stranger editor of mine used to routinely add gobs of synopsis to my stuff, claiming that the audience wanted to know what they were in for), but I’m curious. Mileage varies, of course — I know people who plug their ears and close their eyes at trailers, while others routinely go on the IMDB looking for explicit, beat by beat details – but any thoughts on what type of information you generally look for in a review? If a movie has a big, Shyamalan-type ending, for example, is it giving too much away to even mention a twist?

Thanks, and sorry, and thanks.

P.S. It’s made out of people! People!

You. Your friends. Northwest Film Forum. Tonight. Or tomorrow. Or Thursday.

posted by on July 31 at 4:22 PM

Deborah Sykes was a 26-year-old copyeditor at North Carolina’s Winston-Salem Sentinel in the summer of 1984, and one Monday morning she didn’t come to work. It wasn’t like her to be late. The editor of the Sentinel sent some staffers to look for her. They found her car just blocks away from the office and, later that afternoon, her body. She’d been raped and stabbed to death.

Earlier in the day, police had received a call from a pay phone. The caller identified himself as Sammy Mitchell and said that he’d seen a black man and a white woman together in the area where Sykes’s body was found. A shy, smiling, 19-year-old black kid named Darryl Hunt became a suspect because he was friends with a local minor convict named Sammy Mitchell, although, crucially, the person who made that pay phone call wasn’t Sammy Mitchell at all—it was some guy making up a name off the top of his head. When the saliva and pubic hair found on Sykes’s body didn’t match Hunt, police offered him $12,000 to say that his friend Sammy Mitchell committed the crime. Hunt refused. Authorities told Hunt that if he didn’t say what they wanted him to say, they were going to pursue the death penalty against him. Hunt—an honest guy, a man of principle—still refused.

So they went after him. There was no physical evidence linking Hunt to the crime. The only witnesses were an ex–Ku Klux Klansman and a white hotel employee who chose Hunt in a lineup months after another picture of Hunt appeared in newspapers. The jury—all but one of them white—convicted Hunt and sent him to jail for life for a crime he didn’t commit. What I’ve just summarized is only the first 20 minutes of The Trials of Darryl Hunt, and only the very beginning of Hunt’s 20-year legal nightmare, an unbelievable theater of disgust involving smug white lawyers, corrupt prison guards, Christian racists, ignored DNA evidence, witnesses who’d been intimidated out of coming forward, gullible TV news reporters, the North Carolina and United States Supreme Courts, and, at the end of it all, the actual killer. Every American should see this movie.

It plays at 7:00 pm and 9:15 pm tonight at Northwest Film Forum, 7:00 pm and 9:15 pm tomorrow night, and 7:00 pm and 9:15 pm on Thursday night. Then it’s gone. It will come up on Slog tomorrow as a Stranger Suggest, and Gillian already posted about it a couple days ago, but it can’t be recommended enough. I saw it—for a second time—on Saturday night, and there were less than a dozen people in the theater.

Allow me to grab you by the collar and shake you until you agree to go. You really won’t believe it.

Drunk (Third in a series)

posted by on July 31 at 4:08 PM

I’ve been stuck in the office (working on endorsements) and haven’t had much time to review any water fountains.

So, in order to keep this series alive here’s a review I could do without leaving the office (and one I’ve wanted to do for years.)

The water fountain in our office.

strangefountain.jpg

Temperature: Room temperature. Score: 2
Stream: Meek, but it exists. Score: 2
Hum: NA. Score: 1
Taste: Dusty. Score: 1
Style: A cute mini-basin hovering atop a twisting pipe, with a Tonka-toy- style four-spoked knob. Unfortunately, the basin is brown. 1
Brand: Eastman Speedflex
Comments: It’s scary.

Final Score: 1 out of possible 10.

Previously: The water fountain by the tennis courts at Volunteer Park & a water fountain on the 2nd floor of Seattle Central Community College by the gym.

Whose Thighs Are These?

posted by on July 31 at 3:55 PM

(after Frizzelle)

thighs1.jpg

Daughter of the Big Easy

Me, Myself, Die

posted by on July 31 at 3:54 PM

From the top of the article:

The parents of a Surrey man still grieving over the slaying of their 27-year-old son received the shocking news Monday that his identical twin brother has been charged with the second-degree murder of his twin.

“I feel for the parents,” RCMP Cpl. Dale Carr said after police announced that Jason Robert Weismiller was arrested over the weekend and has been charged with the second-degree murder of his brother Darryl James Weismiller, who was stabbed to death July 14.

From the bottom of the article:

The act of killing one’s brother is known as fratricide, an uncommon form of homicide, said Simon Fraser University criminologist Neil Boyd, a murder specialist. The murder of an identical twin by the other twin is even more rare, he said.

“Fraternal twins, in a general sense, are not much different than other siblings,” Boyd explained. “But I think there is a twin psychology between identical twins that is different.”

To kill the one who looks exactly like you? To stab him? To watch life leave him? That is as close as you will ever get to the impossible: watching yourself die.

Muni League Ratings

posted by on July 31 at 3:48 PM

The Seattle Municipal League (a longtime Seattle good-government group) has released its candidate ratings for this year’s Seattle City Council candidates. Of the 15 candidates running in the four contested council races (Tom Rasmussen is running unopposed), only one—David Della opponent Tim Burgess—got a rating of “outstanding.” Four others—incumbents Della and Sally Clark and open seat contenders Bruce Harrell and Venus Velazquez—were rated “very good,” while incumbent Jean Godden ranked just “good.” (Perennial candidate Stan Lippman, who opposes childhood vaccinations and told the Stranger editorial board we’d “lose all [our] credibility” if we didn’t endorse him, was the only candidate rated “not qualified.”) The Muni League may not be as influential as it once was, but a significant number of Seattle voters still take them very seriously. Full evaluation results below the jump.

Continue reading "Muni League Ratings" »

Ice Bar: Bullshit or What?

posted by on July 31 at 3:45 PM

Kurrent, with its backwards-“k” logo and much-anticipated “ice bar,” is now open on Pine Street. The ice bar proves to utilize the same technology as deployed at The Parlor, an upscale billiards hall on the second floor of Lincoln Square in Bellevue (reviewed, sort of, here)—it’s not a bar made of ice, nor a bar that is ice-topped, but a bar with a stripe of ice running its length.

But does resting your drink upon a stripe of ice produce the intended effect of optimal drink chill, or is it a bullshit gimmick? As part of The Stranger’s tireless effort to serve the drinkers of Seattle—nay, the Pacific Northwest and the entire world—Bar Exam asked Science. (The Stranger now has a science columnist, one Jonathan Golob, who is pursuing a M.D./Ph.D. at the U.W. that involves, to the best of Bar Exam’s primitive understanding, laboratory experimentation with stem cells, AIDS, and glowing things. Welcome, Science!)

Dear Science,

Stripe of ice down bar for resting drink on for optimal chill of drink: bullshit, on the main, yes? Also: What conducts cold better: glass or stainless steel? [Some glassware at Kurrent is actually stainless-steelware.]

Yours Truly,

Bar Exam

Dear Bar Exam,

On the main, yes, [it is indeed bullshit,] says Science. This is quite similar to a piece of lab equipment used to embed frozen tissues in gel, so that they might be cut. And steel conducts heat 16 times better than glass. [Per subsequent discussion, it is revealed that COLD IS JUST REMOVING HEAT. What will Science think of next?!?]

Combining the two questions, one would imagine a stainless steel drinking vessel would be ideal to transfer the cold—or take away the evil evil heat, as the physicists would say. My dreamiest future-drink technology: a Peltier effect–based chilling of metal drink vessels. Pass a current across two dissimilar metals, and one can cool one metal while heating another; welcome to the self-chilling drink.

At your service,

Science

Indeed. Thank you, Science!

metalmartini.jpg

By Underwhelming Demand: Why The Simpsons Is Not the Greatest Television Show of All Time

posted by on July 31 at 3:39 PM

This post has finally persuaded me to take my tirade public.

The Simpsons is in no way the greatest television show of all time. And my debate club skills and I can prove it.
simpsonssuck.jpg
Please, take your time to gasp now, before I get into the technicalities of language and performance.

The Simpsons was a great television show at one point in time. This amount of time is, of course, debatable in itself. I would say that the time in which the Simpsons was great are seasons 2-7. It has been getting worse and worse since then, turning completely unwatchable around the time I was a sophmore in high school (I believe that was Season 12…).

Now, during that time, the case could be made a little better that discounting the first, embryonic season, the Simpsons was the greatest show of all time. The episodes were uniformly brilliant. Therefore, it was the best. However, since then, the fact that the episodes have not been any good at all makes the Simpsons not the best show of all time. I would rather watch a dog shit on my foot than watch a new Simpsons episode. Is that how I would react to something that was the best TV show of all time?

I know what you are thinking: “Ari Spool, you ain’t got no sense in that there noggin! Get yer snout out of that there trash can!”

By the time the Simpsons ends, there will be more shit episodes, more shit marketing, and more shit endorsements than there are moments of brilliance. The heights will be overshadowed by the depths. It’s sad, really. But when the young people of today (I mean people who weren’t conscious when those aforementioned fabulous seasons were first aired—those kids are in high school now) look back on the Simpsons, they will see more crap than good, and will look at the whole picture as a show that produced momentary good times, like Monty Python or the Rolling Stones.

My candidate for the best show of all time? Arrested Development. When you watch the whole series the entire way through four or five times and still find new jokes that were embedded beneath other jokes that are still funny, you can feel confident in a show being the best show of all time, every time.

Today in Line Out

posted by on July 31 at 3:33 PM

Robots and Slaves: Jonthan Zwickel on Daft Punk and “one of man’s most potent and enduring symbols.”

Leak of the Week: Sam Machkovech on MIA’s Kala.

Leak of the Week Cont.: Eric Grandy’s got more to say about MIA.

Motherfucker!: A tribute to the best word through songs.

Mash-Up: Broken Social Scene vs. R. Kelly, mash-up style.

Crayolas!: See what the fuzzy trio of blobs did during Block Party (hint: it involves crowd-surfing and a big Honeybucket).

Daft Punk Lives: Donte Park posts one more time about the best show ever.

Seattle Times Goes Underground: And blows Camp Nowhere’s cover.

The Last Post About Daft Punk: Eric Grandy’s thoughts on the afterparty.

Three Nooses on a Tree in Louisiana

posted by on July 31 at 3:23 PM

Slog tipper Andrew Cole writes:

Have you guys been following the Jena 6 story? Six black students in Jena, Louisiana charged with attempted second degree murder for an assault on a white student; the white student was so little injured that he went to a “social event” that same evening. Also, did I mention the three nooses hung from a ‘whites only’ shade tree to warn black students away from sitting there that the school district dismissed as a prank?

Here’s the link to the NPR story.

And here’s the link to the Friends of Justice page.

This just in: White people suck.

Nothing Else

posted by on July 31 at 2:55 PM

Modernism in the state of completion.
Mies.jpg This is all they were trying to say. And it was said in 1951, in Illinois. For thousands of years, others searched the world for the word that would reveal everything, reveal the name of the purpose maker. In one of Borges’ poems, the fictional poet says that very word and the fictional palace of everything vanishes. But unlike the word that names the God in Borges’s majestic universe, the word (the home) that names modernism does not kill it. The word instead locates it in that delicate area once reserved for the temple. This, however, is not the displacement, objectification, and reification of human powers. Here it says what it is: human, all too human.

A Few Words About The Simpsons

posted by on July 31 at 2:40 PM

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We can all agree that The Simpsons is the greatest TV show of all time. No show has maximized all the potential of the medium as thouroughly or intelligently, appealing to an immensely broad audience while maintaining an astonishingly high standard of humor. True, after 18 seasons and over 400 episodes, it has recently waned in quality, no longer consistently delivering genius-level pop critique and Dickensian plotlines. As The Simpsons Movie explodes at the box office (last week grossing $71.8 million in the U.S.), it’s worth asking the question: Is it worth it?

Fortunately for all of us of the Simpsons Generation, the answer is a resounding yes.

Several highlights come through in the film, which I’m already planning on seeing again. One is a psychedelic escapade involving a large-breasted Inuit shaman, an evil-looking psychotropic potion, and throat singing. The TV show has sent Homer on several vision quests, most memorably after his ingestion of the Guatemalan Insanity Pepper (“Sun goes up, sun goes down…”, Johnny Cash as Homer’s coyote spirit guide) which led Homer back to the waiting arms of Marge as well as an offshore spill of a shipload of hot pants. This one finds Homer’s reality deconstructed—flashing back to an earlier scene in the movie involving a pet pig and the Spider-Man theme song—before deconstructing Homer himself.

Through his vision quest, Homer arrives at an epiphany: Other people are important because without them he’s nothing. Such a drastic realization is never allowed in the TV show, where every episode begins and ends with exactly the same circumstances (excepting the permanent removal of Ned Flanders’ wife Maude). Here Homer’s very character actually evolves; he understands his wrongdoing and sets about to change it.

Lisa Simpson, always unlucky in love, finds a lasting soulmate. Maggie utters her first word (stay through the credits to catch it). A snippet of Homer and Marge’s wedding video is shown with Burt Bacharach’s “Close to You” as its soundtrack. The entire family moves to Alaska. Seattle features prominently, if briefly—a cause for whoops to go up through the theater. And the entire massive cast of the show makes appearances throughout—you have to have a keen eye and a knowledge of the show to catch them all.

In typical meta-self-referential brilliance, the movie starts off with the Simpson family at the movies, watching Itchy & Scratchy on the big screen. “Why do we have to pay money for something we can get for free on TV at home?” Homer asks.

One complaint: I could’ve used a musical number, a la “Monorail,” “Maison Derriere,” or “Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart.”

Still, the movie is funnier than anything to hit the screen so far this year; it’s the writers—many of whom hail from the show’s Year 3-Year 10 heyday—that deliver. The script was in development since 2003, with creator Matt Groening maintaining a clause that if he or was in any way unsatisfied with the project’s direction, he could scrap it entirely. He, and the rest of the writers, knew they had a hit, though, and that’s what you’ll end up enjoying in the theater.

I’m amazed to read reviews that reference 1999’s South Park movie. There’s never been an apt comparison between South Park and The Simpsons; even the South Park creators know it. Where is South Park coming from? Somewhere cruel and snarky and occassionaly funny because of its spite. The Simpsons comes from somewhere far more empathetic and loving, proven year after year, episode after episode. After all these years, it’s almost unbelievable it was once castigated as anti-family. The Simpsons is about nothing more than the importance of family values, in all their guises.

Trader Madness

posted by on July 31 at 2:29 PM

The MLB trade deadline has come and gone and the Mariners made just one move: Shipping troublesome reliever Julio Mateo to the Philadelphia Phillies for minor league infielder Jesus Merchan.

As Dylan over at Metroblogging Seattle says:

[Mateo]’s not exactly the cute cuddly guy the Mariners like to run out there for all the children to look up to and the teenage girls to swoon over. Heck, he’s not even the cuddly sort of convict those women who write letters to prisoners swoon over. The fact the Mariners got a living, sentient lifeform (pending routine medical exam) is the shock of the day

In other trade news: The Boston Red Sox picked up Eric Gagne from Texas and shipped some magic beans Joel Pineiro to the Cardinals; the Yankees traded Wilson Betemit to the Dodgers for Scott Proctor; Atlanta picked up Mark Teixeira and Octavio Dotel; and San Diego landed Morgan Ensberg from Houston, Rob Mackowiak from the White Sox, and Wilfredo Ledezma from Atlanta.

Oh, and in the NBA, the Boston Celtics traded their entire team (or close to it) for Kevin Garnett.

FCC Rules to Make Billions, Change Nothing

posted by on July 31 at 2:29 PM

The FCC approved rules today for the sale of some juicy bandwidth, voting to require “open access” to at least some of the megahertz, but stopping short of the request from some consumer groups and Google that some of it be reserved to be sold wholesale.

The commission approved a much-debated ”open access” provision, pushed by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican, and supported by the two Democrats, that will allow customers to use whatever phone and software they want on about one-third of the network to be auctioned.

That rule seems to have some small tinge of consumer protection, but it’s not enough, and the big telcos and cable companies will probably buy it all up. Sadly, come 2011 or so, these waves will probably be penetrating your walls (and bodies) in no more of a free and open way than they are now.

”It’s a small benefit way off in the future that conceals a really blown opportunity to bring prices dramatically down and increase broadband speeds enormously through competition,” said Gene Kimmelman, vice president for federal affairs for Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine.

So—The news isn’t as bad as it could have been. Yay!

Mission Butterfly

posted by on July 31 at 2:23 PM

War tomorrow:

The Pentagon’s defence scientists want to create an army of cyber-insects that can be remotely controlled to check out explosives and send transmissions.

The idea is to insert micro-systems at the pupa stage, when the insects can integrate them into their body, so they can be remotely controlled later.

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And who is this?
Lolita_Nabokov.jpg The enemy, sir.

538 Days to Go

posted by on July 31 at 2:19 PM

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At last, something to thank Bush for:

It’s the middle of summer and months before the first vote is cast, yet polls confirm what the political cognoscenti suspect: most Americans are already tuning into the presidential election.

More than two-thirds of respondents in a New York Times/CBS News poll earlier this month said they were paying at least some attention to the 2008 presidential campaign. That is up substantially from this time four years ago, when 4 in 10 Americans were paying attention.

And it’s not just older people paying attention, either:

36 percent of those under age 30 were paying attention to the election at this point four years ago; 65 percent of them are now.

Speaking of Goat…

posted by on July 31 at 2:00 PM

This one’s for the traumatized kids.

I’m fortunate to have amazing friends who happen to make amazing food. Last night, in celebration of my friend Christina’s 30th birthday, a whole goat was roasted over a spit. The meat was fantastic—perfectly fired and charred on the outside, soft and moist and bloody on the inside. I don’t know why, but I expected this goat to taste a little gamier than it actually did. No matter, though—it reminded me of pork, which is the highest compliment I can give to a meat.

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Perhaps my favorite part of the evening was seeing folks, particularly the birthday girl’s father, walking around with a large leg of meat, casually chewing on it. (I also saw dad put a leg in a bag to take home). I love how a big, meaty goat leg bone will turn the most staid and handsome men into primal, ravenous beasts.

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I don’t know where you can get roasted goat (any tips?) at a restaurant in town, but there’s nice, serviceable and tasty goat curry at Casuelita’s. If you go and try it, I’d love to know what you think.

Whose Caliphs Are These?

posted by on July 31 at 1:47 PM

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Anybody?

Dino Rossi: Paranoid Socialist?

posted by on July 31 at 1:46 PM

In a July 25th article in the Gig Harbor Gateway about the controversy over Forward Washington, Dino Rossi’s “non-partisan” nonprofit group (a veiled campaign outfit according to some), the director of the group, Ted Dahlstrom said: “We have no plans to disclose our donors. We do not want them to face retribution.

“Retribution”??? If Forward Washington is non-partisan, why are they worried about “retribution”? (I thought retribution was only for Linda Averill and her Socialist comrades..)

Similarly, at a July 12 forum in Yakima sponsored by Forward Washington, Dino Rossi was asked if he would disclose the organization’s donors and donor amounts. (I’d link the video clip, but it’s in a weird format.)

Referring to the inquisitive audience member as a “Democratic shill”—sheesh, the poor guy asking the question is simply holding up an article in that day’s Yakima Herald about the controversy—Rossi says the question reminds him of some advice he once got from his dad about shooting pool: “Don’t take advice from your opponents.”

“Opponents?” If Dino’s organization is non-partisan … and if he’s not running for governor … who are these “opponents?”

“Opponents?” “Retribution?”

Man, these guys are paranoid freaks. (Or else, maybe Dino is running for governor.)

2,000-Year-Old Man Spotted at Victrola

posted by on July 31 at 1:44 PM

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This just in from Hot Tipper Sarah Jane:

I just spotted Mel Brooks lookin’ real cute at Victrola Pike Street. He drank cappucinos, ate a chocolate croissant, then waved goodbye to everyone in the coffeeshop. Too cute!

Clearly Mr. Brooks is in town to check in on this. Thanks to Sarah Jane for the report.

There’s Nothing Funny About Trauma

posted by on July 31 at 1:33 PM

Unless it’s trauma brought on by a goat.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Childhood Goat Trauma Foundation.

(Thank you, MetaFilter.)

Space Wars

posted by on July 31 at 1:12 PM

The whitest music as a weapon against the blackest Americans :

TACOMA, Wash. — City authorities, fed up with gang activity in public places, are taking Bach their bus stop.

Transit workers are installing speakers this week to pump classical music from Seattle’s KING-FM into the Tacoma Mall Transit Center. The tactic is designed to disperse young criminals who make drug deals at the bus stop or use public transportation to circulate between the mall and other trouble-prone places.

The attack by Bach, Brahms and Beethoven follows the theory that prompted the city to stage pinochle games on dangerous street corners: Jolting the routine in such spots throws criminals off balance.

This tactic was once employed on the corner of 3rd and Pine. A classical station used to stream out of a speaker at the top of McDonald’s and fill the tough streets with soft strings, sonatas, and glissandos. I don’t recall one black thug running away from the music or, with hands blocking ears, screaming in the pain of hearing the kryptonite of his being.


What is this about? Establishing space. What type of space plays classical music? White space. What kind of space is white? A space of power—financial power, police power, political power. What happens if you violate the space of white power? You best not stand around to find out.

Josiah McElheny Season: A Tour (Proposal for a Great Saturday)

posted by on July 31 at 1:11 PM

1. The artist talking at MoMA about Isamu Noguchi, Buckminster Fuller, and Landscape Model for Total Reflective Abstraction:

2. The artist spelunking in the Henry Art Gallery’s collection and emerging with a story about a team of glassblowers inspired by their fantasy of the boss’s wife (further inspiring a fashion show on Saturday):

mcelheny-inst-001.jpg

3. The artist in a summer romp of death, modernity, vanity, and decoration at the Tacoma Art Museum:

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4. The artist spinning another elusive tale: The Only Known Grave of a Glassblower at Seattle Art Museum.

(SAM doesn’t have an image, and I couldn’t find one anywhere online.)*

* I concur with Culturegrrl that SAM’s web site is in need of a serious overhaul. The Henry’s, thankfully, is under renovation as we speak.

Voicemail from Jen Graves

posted by on July 31 at 12:49 PM

A transcription of a voicemail on my cell phone from Graves this morning, transcribed exactly, since the inarticulateness kind of gets at the weirdness:

Hey, so I wanted to ask you, or tell you—it’s Jen—that there is something on the corner of James and Broadway. There’s this, like, there’s this building being built, and it’s scaffolding, it’s all scaffolding, really high, and then on the very top is the flag of the construction company, and also a tree, just a tree sitting there on top of the thing as though it were, like, planted in scaffolding. It’s way up in the middle of the sky. Sitting just up in the middle of the sky on scaffolding on the corner of James and Broadway. It’s really weird and totally worth Slogging and I’m seeing it as I drive…

I kinda want to see this but I’m slammed with work. If you’re reading this and can take a photo and send it to editor@thestranger.com, we’ll add it to this post.

UPDATE: Current man-about-the-office Ryan Packer snapped a photo, and Kelly O manipulated it a bit so you can see the tree; the flag; and the red, white, and blue beam.

tree.jpg

Inslee V. Gonzales

posted by on July 31 at 12:36 PM

Dear Rep. Jay Inslee,
Re: Yesterday’s news that you’re calling for an impeachment investigation into wayward AG Alberto Gonzales…

My dad thanks you.

Whose Labs Are These?

posted by on July 31 at 12:24 PM

This week: The Agency.

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Par 48

posted by on July 31 at 12:10 PM

I recently stood at 23rd and Union—waiting for the number 48 bus, scheduled to arrive every 15 minutes. I waited for 40. Finally, a bus bellied up to the curb; I boarded, grabbed a printed bus schedule, chose a seat away from the man who smelled of yesterday’s piss, and called my friend to inform him I would be 20 minutes late. I looked down at the schedule to see that King County Metro has a relatively new slogan:

We’ll Get You There

These four words tip my annoyance at being late to mild backseat road rage. Could the county’s slogan people have conceived a less ambitious promise for our vaunted bus system—to simply get us some place? That some time in one way or another us passengers will, in fact, get there? For most of us, our legs will get us there too, eventually.

On its Web site, Metro painstakingly dissects the phrase, asking tough questions, such as, “Who is it that gets the ‘you’ of the tagline ‘there’?” The humble motto also has a catchy theme song.

Whose Caves Are These?

posted by on July 31 at 11:53 AM

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Find out after the jump.

Continue reading "Whose Caves Are These?" »

Art on Archchitecture

posted by on July 31 at 11:50 AM

Whose woods these are?
image1ecbd23d8d1e.jpgThis on the north wall of a new building in Pioneer Square called (as far as I can tell) 401 Fifth Ave. What the image captures is the mood of northwest noir. In these woods is a corpse, and the man who brought the corpse here is, of course, a serial killer.

Seduced!
image2fc5dc6bd1b51.jpg I give in. This wall of tiles might very well turn out to be Seattle’s most surprising (and successful) architectural happening this year. The way it’s outrageous is the right way.

The wall of the downfall:
image3fef7297da761.jpg What kind of message is this work of art sending to the prisoners in the jail across the street? What does a man caged in King County Jail think when he sees this horrible series on the corner of the five-story parking building?

Whose Calves Are These?

posted by on July 31 at 11:34 AM

This one’s called The Bellydancer.

thebellydancer.jpg

Previously in Whose Calves Are These?:

The Drummer.

The Boss.

The Genius.

The Cripple.

The Biker and The Bather.

Meet Judith Giuliani

posted by on July 31 at 11:20 AM

Or, as Vanity Fair calls her in a withering profile, Judith Stish Ross Nathan Giuliani.

The piece paints Mrs. Giuliani as a classic type: The rich-husband-seeking climber, desperate to shake off her humble background but not exactly suited to the glamorous political life that her multiple marriages have brought her.

Who does Judith Stish Ross Nathan Giuliani think she is? These days, even with her husband, a freshly minted multi-millionaire, far ahead of the competition in the Republican presidential polls, no one, least of all Judith, 52, seems to have a clue. In a way, this is understandable. There have been so many different Judiths. As her second husband, Bruce Nathan, has told friends, “She is in an ever changing mode upward.”

Three decades ago, Judi Ann Stish, as she was known in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, left her parents’ home, a gray two-story house fronted by potted geraniums and a ribbon of flagstone. Fifteen years ago, while working for $1,200 a month as a part-time receptionist, she was living on borrowed money and the hospitality of friends—and threatening her estranged second husband with prosecution over a $3,500 rug. “Judi started from scratch, so of course she grabs every opportunity that comes into her life,” Manos Zacharioudakis, her onetime live-in companion, tells me. “Of course she was attracted to Giuliani.”

Nickels Is the Problem

posted by on July 31 at 11:15 AM

When Mayor Nickels first announced he was convening a big name task force to mull over police accountability, my skeptical reaction was: Been here, done that. In other words, Mayor Paul Schell, former city council member Jim Compton, and current city council member Nick Licata, have all dug deep into this turf before (butting up against things like police union rules) and they came up with the current system—the Office of Professional Accountability, the OPA auditor, and the OPA Review Board.

That system is in play. And that system works.

If only the mayor would enforce it by holding the chief accountable to it. In other words, Nickels is the problem. That can be dealt with in one of two ways: The council can take up Licata on his proposal to have the SPD chief come before them for approval and reconfirmation and/or the public (the NAACP, the Minority Executive Directors Coalition) can continue to pressure Nickels to hold the chief accountable.

As Jonah’s report on last night’s first meeting of the panel shows, indeed: the panel was butting up against the same old issues that have already been hashed out.

This panel is a diversion and a PR stunt, and it seems to me—again, as Jonah found last night when the panel was bitching about the SPD Union, they’re going to discover that for themselves.

From Jonah’s post (and from panel member Hubert Locke):

City lawyers spent most of the meeting giving the panel background on the Seattle Police Guild’s (SPOG) contract, which would have to be changed in order for any of the panel’s recommendations to take effect. Hubert Locke voiced his frustration with the red tape: “we risk having the integrity of our entire process muted [because] anything we do won’t happen until 2009. I don’t know if I’d have agreed to sit on this panel [If I’d known that].”

A year from now, or whenever the panel makes its recommendations—those recommendations will face the exact same obstacles that Schell, Compton, and Licata already faced.

This panel is a stalling tactic. Forget about it: And deal with the real issue: The chief needs to be accountable to the mayor. And if Mayor Nickels isn’t willing to do his job, the council should do it for him.

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on July 31 at 11:00 AM

Tao Lin (READING) Who is Tao Lin? According to Time Out: “a literary phenomenon—a DIY writer who’s making a name for himself without an MFA or a mainstream publisher.” Publishers Weekly: “a prolific blogger… for whom the web is an integral part of writing and life.” Matt Briggs, writing in this week’s Stranger: “He is an infuriating blend of ambition, immature talent, and beautifully aggressive drive.” His first two books of fiction are being released simultaneously: Bed and Eeeee Eee Eeee. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main St, 624-6600. 7:30 pm, free.) CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
See what else is happening in Books on Tuesday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

Rain 4 U

posted by on July 31 at 9:11 AM

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To reverse the experience you’d have outside right now, go to the Henry Art Gallery, march down the entry ramp, make your first left, your first right, and your first right again.

Sit in the dark room and take in Oliver Boberg’s Country Road (Landstrasse), one long rainstorm with the sound of a dog bark in the distance and the on and off of a light in the house behind the hedge. The fact that it’s a stage set makes it even more beautiful, not to mention service-oriented for the Summer-SAD Northwesterner. (A short loop plays here for the deskbound.)

Is the Surge Actually Working?

posted by on July 31 at 9:04 AM

Here’s a Q&A with Thomas Ricks, the author of Fiasco, the landmark 2006 book whose sharp criticisms (stop fighting a heavy handed conventional war and start fighting strategically against an insurgency) now seems to be the guiding principle for the US forces in Iraq.

Indeed, Gen. David Petraeus was the candid dissident in Ricks’s Fiasco, and he’s now leading the American mission.

From the Q&A (by Stranger freelancer Tom Nissley):

Amazon.com: One of the remarkable things over the past year for a reader of Fiasco has been how much of what your book recommends has, apparently, been taken to heart by the military and civilian leadership. As you write in your new postscript to the paperback edition, the war has been “turned over to the dissidents.” General David Petraeus, who was one of the first to put classic counterinsurgency tactics to use in Iraq, is now the top American commander there, and he has surrounded himself with others with similar views. What was that transformation like on the inside?

Ricks: I was really struck when I was out in Baghdad two months ago at how different the American military felt. I used to hate going into the Green Zone because of all the unreal happy talk I’d hear. It was a relief to leave the place, even if being outside it (and contrary to popular myth, most reporters do live outside it) was more dangerous.

There is a new realism in the U.S. military. In May, I was getting a briefing from one official in the Green Zone and I thought, “Wow, not only does this briefing strike me as accurate, it also is better said than I could do.” That feeling was a real change from the old days.

The other thing that struck me was the number of copies I saw of Fiasco as I knocked around Iraq. When I started writing it, the title was controversial. Now generals say things to me like, “Got it, understand it, agree with it.” I am told that the Army War College is making the book required reading this fall.

237 Reasons to Have Sex—Some Good, Some Not So Good

posted by on July 31 at 8:12 AM

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Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin—keepin’ it weird—asked 2,000 people why they’d had sex. Not how they had sex, not in what position, not for how long, not with whom, but simply why. They found that the reasons people gave fell into roughly 237 categories. The survey offered 237 possible reasons. First on the list? It was the heat of the moment. Here’s the rest of the top first ten…

It just happened.
I was bored.
It seemed like the thing to do.
Someone dared me.
I desired emotional closeness.
I wanted to feel closer to God.
I wanted to gain acceptance.
It’s exciting, adventurous.
I wanted to make up after a fight.

Some other possible reasons people mentioned according to the University of Texas’s survey: “I was under the influence of drugs or alcohol” (12); “My partner kept insisting” (22); “I was tired of being a virgin” (31); “I didn’t know how to say ‘no’” (47); “I was slumming” (69); “I wanted to be used or degraded” (128); “I wanted to get a raise” (155).

In news that will distress Catholic prelates and the sex-is-only-for-making-babies crowd, “I wanted to have a child” came in 27th was the 27th possible reason on the survey’s list—after “I felt I owed it to the person” (17), “I wanted to make up after a fight” (10), and “The person was famous and I wanted to be able to say I had sex with him/her” (23).

The list is fascinating and, at times, depressing reading. (“I was physically forced to” is 24th on the list.) You can download the entire list by clicking here. And if you think the UT researchers left anything off, feel free to add your reasons to the comments thread.

UPDATE: D’oh, I’m an idiot. I read this story wrong at first. The highest ranking answer for both men and women was: “I was attracted to the person.” But all those possible answers (“I was bored,” “Someone dared me,” “I wanted to be used or degraded”) weren’t just made up by researchers; they were answers given by the initial 400 people asked to give their reasons for having sex.

The best sentence in The Stranger this last week was brought to you by the letters E, C, and B.

posted by on July 31 at 8:05 AM

Said best sentence, written by one Erica C. Barnett, moonlighting—rare but not unheard of—over in the Chow section:

Traditionally, Frito pie was consumed straight out of the bag; however, as the bags got thinner, this preparation became too hot to handle, and today most Frito pie is served school-cafeteria style, in a cardboard nacho boat.

Note the semi-colon (always sexy); note the deployment of an otherwise dead cliche (“too hot to handle”) that here operates simultaneously in its purely literal sense; note the factual information conveyed (bags have gotten thinner); note the glorious three words “cardboard nacho boat.”

That is the first sentence of the second paragraph. But back up. Here’s the first paragraph:

The first Frito pie, according to legend, was assembled in Dallas, Texas, by one Daisy Dean Doolin, the mother of Fritos inventor C. E. Doolin. Asked to come up with recipes requiring her son’s corn-chip snack, the story goes, Daisy Dean got the idea of pouring a ladleful of Texas red (a fiery chili made without tomatoes or beans) into a bag of Fritos. And from these humble ingredients, Frito pie was born.

If you’d like to keep reading—or if you’d like to know how to make Frito pie—here you go.

Plus, can I get this image—below—on a t-shirt?

fritopie.jpg

The Morning News

posted by on July 31 at 7:00 AM

The corn that never came: A sad story from Africa that grows out of a footnote in the U.S. farm bill.

A federal warrant for Uncle Ted: The FBI raids a home of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

The new interstate commerce: Prisoners.

Bush and Brown BFFs? Quite a headline, CNN.

The Chief Justice: Roberts suffers a seizure.

Considering Chelsea: Because some people do get a second chance to be the first daughter.

Igmar Bergman: The New York Times obituary.

The Fatskin FS-Pro: A Speedo for the record books.

Diddy soliciting personal assistant applications: Via YouTube.

In honor of Sen. Stevens:

And in honor of Mr. Diddy’s assistant search:

A Bad Week for Movies

posted by on July 31 at 5:55 AM

Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, whose depiction of alienation made him a symbol of art-house cinema with movies such as ”Blow-Up” and ”L’Avventura,” has died, officials and news reports said Tuesday. He was 94.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Mayor’s Policing Panel Meets

posted by on July 30 at 10:03 PM

Tonight, the Mayor’s police accountability task force held their first meeting in the Bertha Knight Landes room at City Hall. The Mayor’s office didn’t do anything to promote the meeting, but there were still a handful of people in attendance, including Sheley Secrest and Peter Holmes from the Office of Professional Accountability Review Board and James Bible of the NAACP.

Nine members of the panel showed up, and committee vice chair Bob Boruchowitz awkwardly joined in on speakerphone. Mayor Nickels made a 5 minute appearance to glad hand the panel, before he was whisked off to tonight’s Mariners game.

The meeting started off on a grim note when Assistant City Attorney Jeff Slayton informed the panel that while they are subject to public disclosure requests, they are not obliged to hold open meetings. Although committee chair Judge Terry Carroll &mdash who conducted the Port scandal investigation&mdash later pledged to keep the meetings as public as possible. Phew.

Carroll was joined by:

Bob Boruchowitz, the vice chair, a former directer at the Defender Association.

Attorney Jenny Durkan, who has represented Governor Gregoire and Paul Allen.

Lorena Gonzalez, a local civil rights lawyer and pug enthusiast.

Pramila Jayapal, the founder and executive director of Hate Free Zone.

Judith Krebs, general counsel for the Service Employees International Union Local 775.

Former Governor Gary Locke, who was, um, governor and a former King County prosecutor.

Hubert Locke, a former professor at UW’s School of Public Affairs.

Mike McKay, a former US Attorney and member of a 1999 police accountability panel.

Former Mayor Norm Rice, best known for his appearance on the 1,000th episode of Frasier.

And Jennifer Shaw, the legislative director of the Washington ACLU.

City lawyers spent most of the meeting giving the panel background on the Seattle Police Guild’s (SPOG) contract, which would have to be changed in order for any of the panel’s recommendations to take effect. Hubert Locke voiced his frustration with the red tape: “we risk having the integrity of our entire process muted [because] anything we do won’t happen until 2009. I don’t know if I’d have agreed to sit on this panel [If I’d known that].” Locke then asked that SPOG be “put on notice” that whatever recommendations the panel made, should be taken seriously. The panel also asked if they would have access to unredacted OPA files through the Mayor’s office, but they weren’t given a firm answer.

To wrap things up, Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) director Kathryn Olson made an appearance to explain ,what she called, the “ludicrously complicated and involved” OPA investigation process, and showed the panel a bunch of slides, charts and graphs.

Going into the meeting, I was really skeptical about Nickels’s high profile all-star team. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see the group engaged and haranguing city employees about cutting through formalities and bureaucracy. Of course, we’ll have to see how they hold up after several months of meetings and a soon-to-come public comment period, which will &mdash as most public comments inevitably do &mdash involve lots of yelling.

The panel meets again on August 20th. Bring your megaphone.

Ponch!

posted by on July 30 at 9:33 PM

Erik Estrada signs autographs on a trash can. The wait was at least an hour.

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Re: It’s Merely a Trifle

posted by on July 30 at 6:19 PM

That photo of a trifle is okay, Christopher, but I prefer this illustration from THE BOOK OF HOUSEHOLD MANAGEMENT; Comprising Information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-Maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and Under House-Maids, Lady’s-Maid, Maid-of-All-Work, Laundry-Maid, Nurse and Nurse-Maid, Monthly, Wet, and Sick Nurses, Etc. Etc. Also, Sanitary, Medical, and Legal Memoranda with a History of the Origin, Properties, and Uses of All Things Connected with Home Life and Comfort by Mrs. Isabella Breeton:

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The book-with-the-really-fucking-long-title also contains this lil’ chestnut:

THE VORACITY OF THE MACKEREL.—The voracity of this fish is very great, and, from their immense numbers, they are bold in attacking objects of which they might, otherwise, be expected to have a wholesome dread. Pontoppidan relates an anecdote of a sailor belonging to a ship lying in one of the harbours on the coast of Norway, who, having gone into the sea to bathe, was suddenly missed by his companions; in the course of a few minutes, however, he was seen on the surface, with great numbers of mackerel clinging to him by their mouths. His comrades hastened in a boat to his assistance; but when they had struck the fishes from him and got him up, they found he was so severely bitten, that he shortly afterward expired.

Voracious!

It’s Merely a Trifle

posted by on July 30 at 6:06 PM

I am about to FedEx someone a cake. I fully expect it to arrive looking not much like a cake. Banged up, smeary, sad. But this person happens to be out of town right now, but needs this cake this week, and in an email I was just composing to her I wrote: “Perhaps you can make a parfait out of it. (Does parfait have cake in it? Layers of cake and yogurt/pudding? Wikipedia says that’s not parfait. What am I thinking of?)”

I know there is a dessert that is cake layered with yogurt or pudding or cream, usually served in a clear glass vessel so that you can see the pretty layers, because I once had a bad version of it at Septieme. It’s perfect thing to make if you’re in custody of an old cake, a busted cake, a FedExed cake.

What the hell is it called? Hard to look up something on the internet if I don’t know what it’s called. Type “cake and yogurt or pudding” in Google—although not in quotes, because if you put it in quotes you get nothing—and you get 698,000 hits: Yogurt Cake with Lemon Glaze, Lemon Pudding Cake, Banana Cake Yogurt, Chocolate Yogurt Creme Pudding, etc., etc.

So I called the Quick Information Line library: 206-386-4636. Lord knows I love the library. (Previous adventures with library geniuses here and here.)

The first lady asked me if I was thinking of tiramisu or Boston creme pie. I was not. (But good guesses!) She transferred me to a reference librarian who, she thought, would know more.

I explained the situation to the reference librarian—layers of cake with yogurt or pudding or cream, usually served in glass so you can see the layers, great recipe if you have an old cake that’s gone stale or is broken and you want to use it somehow—and she said: “Oooh kaaay.” There was a pause. “Let me see if I can find anything. Hold on.”

A minute later, she comes back and says, “I actually find exactly what you’re saying in Cooks.com. They just call it left-over cake.

Hilarious, but—but—

She interrupted, “Oh, and there’s something called trifle. It’s layering of cake and other things.” That’s it! That’s what I’d been sold at Septieme all those years ago. Trifle.

After hanging up, I announced the results of my two minutes on the phone with the library—it is always a good idea to just call the library, they are wonderful—and my inability to use the internet as well as librarians can. Why can they find things I can’t find?

Annie Wagner said, “My friend Caroline says, Google will never replace librarians.”

Next time I go to the library, I’m going to bring a tray full of these, for the staff:

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Wabash Avenue S & S Rose Street

posted by on July 30 at 5:16 PM

Rainier Valley

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Video store clerks often deal with pissy customers, seething over the self-inflicted sting of late-fees, but last night, a clerk at Rainier Video had an experience that makes me glad I retired from video retail.

A 27 year-old woman —who asked not to be named— was filling in for the store’s owner, watching The Hollow Man 2 and reading books in the store with her 9 year-old son. Around 7pm, a man —wearing nothing but red boxer shorts and socks— threw a firebomb through the front door of the store. It was the woman’s second day on the job.

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“We were reading a book and I just heard a bang. There were flames all over the ground and on the candy rack,” she said. The woman and her son escaped from the video store unharmed.

Police aren’t releasing the man’s motive, but he’s been booked into King County Jail and charged with arson.

“I don’t think I have any enemies,” the woman said. “I’ve only worked there for two days.”

Despite her brush with death, the woman says she’s ready to go back to work. “I don’t know if I’d bring my son there again,” she said.

Breaking: Shots Fired at 3rd and Pine

posted by on July 30 at 4:51 PM

These pics just came in from Slog tipster Paul:

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One person has been shot, two people have been arrested.

UPDATE:

Seattle Police were called to 3rd and Pine around 4:30 for a fist fight, which quickly turned into a shooting.

A 25 year-old man was shot multiple times but the his injuries do not appear to be life threatening.

Police took two men and two women into custody and two handguns were recovered from a suspect’s car.

Highway Lobbying

posted by on July 30 at 4:38 PM

The Washington State Department of Transportation is, like all state DOTs, a highway department. But it’s a highway department that pretends, at least, to be something more noble; according to its mission statement, WSDOT’s purpose is to “efficiently build, maintain, operate and promote safe and coordinated transportation systems to serve our public.” Read between the lines, and you might assume they mean that roads are only one of many “transportation systems,” and that WSDOT works to coordinate all those systems, not just those that serve the needs of single-occupancy car commuters.

I was a bit shocked, then, to drive down the freeway from Everett toward Seattle (in my convertible Mini Cooper Flexcar) and see a giant sign that read, “FREEWAY EXPANSION Improves Traffic! - Washington State Department of Transportation.” Not just because, well, it doesn’t (more on that in a minute)—but because it’s pro-freeway lobbying by an (allegedly non-political) organization that has been, if not exactly pro-transit, at least nominally concerned for the environment. Is this an early campaign ad for the joint roads and transit measure on the ballot in November? And if so, is it kosher?

Back to the contention that expanding roads makes traffic better. It may at first, but not for long, because traffic seeks an equilibrium. Thanks to a phenomenon known as induced demand (two-second version: Increasing supply unleashes latent demand; 20-minute version here), new miles of pavement create a greater demand to drive. Drivers who used to avoid rush hour because of congestion start driving at peak times again, and the new capacity is quickly eclipsed by new demand. The same theory, fortunately, holds for transit service, which is why people will use transit if they see it as plentiful (i.e. frequent). If it seems like taking the bus—or driving on the freeway at rush hour—will be a pain in the ass, people will avoid it. Supplying roads unleashes latent demand with negative results; supplying transit unleashes positive latent demand. It’s simple economics.

GangSTA WARS

posted by on July 30 at 4:12 PM

Yes, this came out a long time ago (back off, haterz) but it’s new to me so I’m sharing it with you. There are two versions with a YouTube battle raging over which is better. I’ll let you decide.

Charles…?

(thanks, Wilky)

Notes From The Prayer Warrior

posted by on July 30 at 4:10 PM

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Dear Prayer Warrior,

This last weekend, my daughter had a couple of friends over to spend the night. The next morning, every window of her car was busted. That, along with our mail getting stolen, indicates that someone is out to get us. Pray that we can find out who is doing this, and for resolution!

Praise, my blood numbers dropped! Pray that they will continue to go down.

Your Pastor,
Hutch

Today on Line Out.

posted by on July 30 at 4:05 PM

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Waxing Ecstatic: A Late Night Daft Punk Review.

Best Show Ever: And Another One.

Block Rockin’ Eats: Angela Garbes on Capitol Hill Block Party’s Grub.

The AC/DC of Techno: Matt Corwine on Daft Punk.

The Antidote to the Weekend: Jonathan Zwickel on Mason Williams’ “Classical Gas.”

The Other Antidote to the Weekend: TJ Gorton on Cerrone’s “Golden Touch.”

HUMAN/TOGETHER: Eric Grandy on Daft Punk.

Television Rules the Nation: Some Video Footage of Daft Punk.

“Crossroads”: This Song Will Become the Anthem of Megan Seling’s Underground.

Block Party Video #1: Kelly O on Capitol Hill Block Party.

Police Accountability Meeting @ City Hall

posted by on July 30 at 3:46 PM

At 5:30pm, Mayor Nickels’ police accountability task force will convene at City Hall. The Mayor’s office doesn’t appear to be advertising the meeting, but it’s open to the public.

See you there.

Re: Traveling with Pot

posted by on July 30 at 2:15 PM

Here’s a 45-minute video on knowing your rights vis-a-vis the fuzz, provided for free by Flex Your Rights.

I can’t vouch for all of the contents of this one—did I mention it’s 45 minutes long?—but it’s free. Free like your ass wants to stay. Free.

Paris Hilton Loses Inheritance

posted by on July 30 at 2:11 PM

In the immortal words of Nelson from the Simpsons…

“HA Ha!”

Family patriarch Barron Hilton was already embarrassed by his granddaughter’s wild behaviour - notably when her home sex video was leaked on the internet.

But the 79-year-old considered her 23-day sentence last month the last straw.

“He was, and is, extremely embarrassed by how the Hilton name has been sullied by Paris,” says Jerry Oppenheimer, who wrote a biography of the clan called House Of Hilton.

Full story at news.com.au.

I mean, I know this doesn’t make her totally broke or anything, but dude… that’s still a hell of a smack-down.

(Thanks to Matt Hickey for the tip. Props to his tech-blog Cruchgear.com too.)

This or That Cruelty

posted by on July 30 at 2:01 PM

From the comments to the Vick’s post below:

Not only was Vick involved in dog fighting, a felony, he tortured and killed the dogs in gruesome ways that didn’t perform well…dousing in water and electrocuting for example, drowning and hanging. This guy is a sick fuck.

But in essence, how is Vick’s form of animal cruelty different from the one practiced by the Vice President?
1165512347_0954.jpg Why is there no public outrage over this?

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Traveling with Pot (But Were Afraid to Ask)

posted by on July 30 at 1:42 PM

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My beloved Radar has a featured interview with Barry Cooper, the former narcotics cop turned anti-drug-war activist who shares a bunch of information about avoiding pot busts.

Among Cooper’s insider tips:

The best advice I can give you is this: Never carry more marijuana than you can eat. If the police turn on the red and blues, just eat it. It’s not illegal to smell like pot—it’s just illegal to possess it.

If you just have a joint on you and you get pulled over, put it in a straw, and throw the straw in a fast-food bag.

If you are driving with large quantities of narcotics, do so in the rain. Cops hate pulling people over when it’s wet out.

Read the whole thing here.

Inslee Calls for Gonzales Impeachment Investigation

posted by on July 30 at 1:23 PM

When we interviewed Rep. Jay Inslee in the heady run up to the 2006 elections, he promised investigations and subpoenas:

Well check him out today!

Thanks Think Progress for the scoop on Rep. Inslee’s call to go after disgraced AG Alberto Gonzales.

UPDATE Here’s the resolution.

DIVORCED!

posted by on July 30 at 1:07 PM

Attention! This is not a drill! Nor an excercise! Nor, as I said, a drill!

Sources somewhat official have reported that Britney Spears and Kev…uh…Fed-something-something (just call him “Sperm Donor”) have, as of this very moment, DIVORCED. Yes, divorced! This information will of course come as terrible shock to the zillions like me who thought they had already accomplished that shit about a hundred thousand years ago.

Please! Try to remain calm!

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Vick’s Downfall

posted by on July 30 at 12:13 PM

I have tried and failed to grasp the truth behind the Michael Vick story?
_40661341_vicks203.jpg What is happening here? Why is the public so outraged by a football player who likes to watch what dogs like to do at any opportunity—fight each other? Some politicians are even madder at Vick than they were at Donald Rumsfeld, when the secret about Abu Ghraib was exposed. What is the source of this big deal being made? Upset:yes. Unhappy: yes. Outraged: why? For those of us who don’t like violent dogs or violent football, the Vick’s story has about it a cloud of racial, sexual, cultural mystery.

Re: RIP Ingmar Bergman

posted by on July 30 at 12:05 PM

There was a misprint in the newspaper when I was an art house teenager, and so, when I went to see a revival of Bergman’s 1966 mind-fuck Persona, I thought it was called Person.

Courtney Kicked Me Out, Blogs Unchecked!

posted by on July 30 at 11:05 AM

Oh, it would have been so lovely! Magnificent, really! Grand! Alas…

Last week I reported the deeply disturbing encrypted messages that a certain Courtney Love was sending to…someone…via her newish Myspace blog thingy. Indeed, I had grandiose plans to update you on her mad and random and indecipherable bloggings as they occurred. But the clever, clever Courtney beast (damn her! Do you hear me? Damn her!) has thwarted my will completely. I tip my hat. Or I would if I wore one. Which I don’t.

Hats are gay.

Indeed, in a Machiavellian maneuver worthy of the woman who possibly one-upped even OJ, she has limited her blog access to, um, FRIENDS ONLY (ahem), and, well, let’s be frank, she’s not my friend. Indeed, no, not at all. So in effect, she’s locked me out. Utterly. And there’s nothing I can do about it. Except maybe exhort others who actually ARE her, excuse me, “friends”, to cut and paste her entries as they occur into an email and send them to me at adrian@thestranger.com, of course. But I’d never be so fucking crass.

Ahem.

Pretty please?

Touché, you dizzy bitch!

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Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on July 30 at 11:00 AM

‘I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone’ (FILM) This film, by Tsai Ming-Liang, has everything you’d expect from the Taiwanese auteur: long, stationary takes; convenient gaps between floorboards; and glorious preoccupations with water, male bodies, and fluorescent foodstuffs. Since it takes place in Tsai’s homeland of Malaysia and concerns exile in a foreign land, it’s also his most personal film yet. Come for the oblique homoeroticism, stay for the levitating mattress. (SIFF Cinema at McCaw Hall, 321 Mercer St, seattlefilm.org. 9 pm, $8—$10.) ANNIE WAGNER
See what else is happening in Film on Monday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

What I Ate at the Block Party

posted by on July 30 at 10:50 AM

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I saw some music, but really I just went to eat food outdoors. For a recap of the highs and lows, see Line Out.

Honest Abe

posted by on July 30 at 10:30 AM

Japanese politics are going a little crazy right now, since the country lost this guy:

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and these guys (including new prime minister Shinzo Abe, on the right) took over:

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Now everything kind of looks like this:

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You can read more about it here (the story includes Japan’s youngest leader since WWII, a Cabinet minister who hanged himself, and a day of voting that’s being called “the Revenge of the Middle Classes”).

But this is the detail that snagged my attention:

On the island of Shikoku, historically the conservative heartland, all four contested seats were wrested from the ruling party.

In Ehime, one of the longest-serving veterans of the Liberal Democratic Party was ousted by a 32-year-old professional footballer who was described by his own campaigners as “not necessarily the right man for the job.”

Man. That’s gotta hurt.

Two Things about Google

posted by on July 30 at 10:21 AM

1) Google was a well known word back in the 1920s: Barney Google was a popular comic strip. *

2) It works on my cell phone’s predictive text without any futzing and editing. It just comes right up.

* I am reading a great history book about the 1920s called Only Yesterday (recommended to me by my friend Martian Face Jenny.)

The book was written in 1931 by a sarcastic, casually intellectual Harvard grad named Frederick Lewis Allen. (He was a staffer at the Atlantic Monthly and editor in chief at Harper’s.)

President Warren G. Harding was the original G.W. Bush. Allen trashes the aww-gee-shucks Harding for his habit of butchering the English language (“Normalcy” is the most famous example, but there’s also “brigadier generalcy,” “non-involvment” in European affairs, “adhesion” to a treaty, and “betrothment” for betrothal).

More noteworthy are Harding’s endless, nearly incomprehensible string of corruption scandals: Secret, no-bid government oil contracts for pay offs to Harding’s GOP etc.

And my God, check this (eerily familiar) passage on Harding’s corrupt AG, Harry Daugherty:

Could there be more deliberate implication that Harding’s Attorney General could not tell the truth for fear of blackening the reputation of [the President.] Call Daugherty’s silence, if you wish, the silence of loyalty.

Allen’s sophisticated account (he knowingly condemns the plagues of racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, and the Red Scare’s attack on the First Amendment as if he were a 1990s grad student ), makes it clear that our modern world (mass culture; fashion as a commodity; aggressive advertising; chain stores; buying on credit; abstract Wall Street capitalism; tabloid sex scandals; prepared food; do-me feminism; teenagers; sexual liberation; movie stars; pop psychology; car culture; and reactionary moralism) emerged in the 1920s in an unprecedented jump cut from the previous, provincial and comparatively static decades of U.S. history.

I used to think contemporary culture began in the mid-1960s, but the radio is the Internet and the 1920s are the template where we still live like mice.

What Was the Block Party Like?

posted by on July 30 at 10:21 AM

Everything you need to know is contained in this clip:

Megan posted it here on Slog yesterday—with a recap of Line Out’s on-the-spot Block Party coverage this weekend—but it makes for such happy Monday morning viewing I just had to post it again.

Who is this guy? He should get some sort of prize.

Workers of the World…

posted by on July 30 at 10:18 AM

There’s an attack of teenage anarchy graffiti by the pool at Cal Anderson Park; stuff about the means of production and capitalist wolves and frisbee.

It was too bright to orchestrate a good shot, but here was my favorite announcement from this morning’s anarcho-syndicalysts:

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Three For Now

posted by on July 30 at 9:36 AM

aquafina.jpg “Private property has made us so stupid…” —Marx.

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Fiery the angels fell; deep thunder rolled around their shores, burning with the fires of Orc.” —Blade Runner.

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“The temple is only a menifestation of the value which man attaches to beautiful buildings. Temples in honor of religion are in truth temples in honor of architecture.” —Feuerbach.

Speaking of Seattle and The New Yorker

posted by on July 30 at 9:27 AM

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The saga of Seattle’s Thomas C. Wales—the federal prosecutor and gun-control advocate who was murdered in his Queen Anne home in October 2001, and whose botched murder investigation has been linked to Alberto Gonzales’s attorney-firing controversy—gets the full New Yorker treatment, in Jeffrey Toobin’s “Reporter at Large” story, An Unsolved Killing.

(Thanks for the heads-up, MetaFilter.)

Open Letter from Seattle to The New Yorker’s Nicholas Lemann

posted by on July 30 at 9:25 AM

Originally posted on Saturday, July 28

In the July 30 New Yorker, regular contributor and dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, Nicholas Lemann, writes the lead “Talk of the Town” item, blasting Bush’s legacy. “One wholesale change,” Lemann writes, “that will likely endure for a generation: the construction of a distinctly right-wing Supreme Court.”

Liberals will knowingly nod and savor their weekly dose of preacher to the choir pop journalism as Lemann lectures them (3,000 miles away from Seattle) with his Exhibit A, the recent Supreme Court decision: Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1.

Lemann condemns the decision, citing it as a central example from “the landscape of the [Bush] Administration’s wreckage.” (As I’m sure you all know, the decision rope-a-doped Seattle School’s racial tiebreaker for student placement, declaring it unconstitutional.)

Lemann argues that the 14th Amendment, the cornerstone of 1954’s monumental and precedent setting Brown v. Board of Education decision, was not a simple-minded endorsement for color-blind public policy (as Justice Clarence Thomas or Chief Justice John Roberts have it in their Seattle School District decision), but rather it was an effort to eliminate America’s cancer of racism.

Okay. Sounds good. And I nodded too. But I felt funny nodding.

Mr. Lemann, it’s endorsement season at local editorial boards here in Seattle, and as the news editor at Seattle’s alternative weekly paper, the Stranger, I’ve been meeting with Seattle school board candidates all week: people like the candid and righteous African-American incumbent Darlene Flynn, who is running on a platform of correcting the disparity between races in Seattle’s public schools; candidates like Sherry Carr, the former president of Seattle’s PTSA, a whip-smart pragmatic white liberal who told us the racist military recruitment in Seattle’s public schools is “criminal”); candidates like adamant identity politics lefty Maria Ramirez, who believes a predominantly black high school in Seattle’s south end is failing because it’s facing a conspiracy of racism and greed; and candidates like Steve Sundquist, an even-keeled white liberal who wants to funnel extra money and resources to Seattle’s minority schools.

A crew of liberal do-gooders one and all. (We’re having a tough time choosing between them—Flynn and Carr are opponents; Ramirez and Sundquist are opponents.)

Of course, in our interviews, we asked all the candidates to talk about the Supreme Court’s Seattle School District decision. Was the Court right? What were the implications? What are some potential policy responses to the decision?

And let me tell you, here on the ground in Seattle, while all of these thoughtful, passionate, progressive candidates cetainly bad mouthed the “awful historical symbolism” of the decision (Flynn’s words), none of them seemed particularly outraged or hung up on the reality of the decision.

The talk was about the misguided wisdom of manufacturing diversity by ripping kids out of their neighborhoods; the talk was of taking this opportunity to institute class as a more just tie breaker; the talk was of upending the nostrum of forced school integration and getting at the real problems—inequity in housing and jobs.

You can demagogue from the The New Yorker by using a decision that’s loaded with jarring and easy symbolism all you want, but here on the ground in Seattle, thoughtful school board candidates have moved beyond the easy platitudes and are talking about the real issues.

The Morning News

posted by on July 30 at 9:11 AM

Dead: Ingmar Bergman.

Arms for… What? A new American weapons package for Saudi Arabia.

Selling the public airways: The auction rules will be set tomorrow.

Buying the Wall Street Journal: Not so easy.

Obama’s Achilles heel: Explored.

More than a decade of misstatements: The career of Alberto Gonzales.

Easing out: Bill Gates, at Microsoft.

Going down again: The stock market.

The gray wolves: They’re back.

Married: Steve Martin.

There Are No Atheists In Foxholes

posted by on July 30 at 8:17 AM

Not true, as accounts of Pat Tillman’s final moments make clear.

As bullets flew above their heads, the young soldier at Pat Tillman’s side started praying. “I thought I was praying to myself, but I guess he heard me,” Sgt. Bryan O’Neal recalled in an interview Saturday with The Associated Press. “He said something like, ‘Hey, O’Neal, why are you praying? God can’t help us now.”’

Awkwardly for my side, O’Neal lived and non-believing Tillman died. Awkwardly for the Pentagon and the Bush White House, evidence continues to mount that Tillman may have been murdered.

Via Sullivan.

God, the devil, the nothingness?

posted by on July 30 at 7:46 AM

RIP Ingmar Bergman.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Konnichiwa, Moon!

posted by on July 29 at 8:13 PM

Tonight is the full moon. Lovely.

My Japanese friend Madoka assures me that in, well, Japan, they fail to see the jaunty, grinning Man in the Moon, as we relatively roundy-eyed freaks seem to do here in the so-called West. On that mysterious island where raw fish rules and businessmen sleep in sock drawers, they instead insist on seeing “Two Crows Making Rice Cake”. I know! Two Crows Making Rice Cake!

I don’t get it.

This probably has everything to do with the fact that my occidental imagination completely fails to grasp any remotely accurate idea of what the hell two crows making a rice cake would look like, or why two crows would choose to make a rice cake in the first place (crows diet?) and therefore I have absolutely zero idea what the hell she’s talking about. Maybe you can figure it out?

Look up, dammit! Look up!


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All Your Block Party Memories (and Then Some) Are Over in Line Out

posted by on July 29 at 6:27 PM

You’re probably still hung over, but Line Out is already overflowing with photos, videos, and reviews from this weekend’s Block Party.

Wanna see what you missed?

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(photo by Peter Kearns)

On Friday afternoon, the Saturday Knights started the weekend off by destroying Jason Lajuenesse’s bass drum.

Matt & Kim followed them up by being the happiest band on the planet despite the fact they are now stranded in Seattle.

Later that afternoon rumors started to spread that the Blood Brothers are calling it quits, but they still put on a killer show.

And at the end of the day, Girl Talk played to an excited, sweaty, and oversold crowd. They were turning hundreds of people away at the door, but Jeff Kirby was one of the lucky ones to get in. (BTW, I’m glad you didn’t drink that mystery beer, Jeff.)

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(Photo by Micah Barrett)

Saturday started out with some survival tips from Donte Parks, and Eric Grandy’s thoughts on Friday. And then PWRFL POWER charmed everyone (including Jonathan Zwicikel) with his songs about chopsticks and a funky tribute to Green Day.

Over in Neumo’s, a bong and a Big Mac battled in the mosh pit during Sunday Night Blackout’s set, and just 30 minutes later, the Whore Moans treated the crowd to a fashion show. What’s hip this summer? “Cool dad on vacay.” Ryan from the Whore Moans demonstrates.

To get full recaps of Saturday, check out what Eric Grandy and Jeff Kirby have to say about Mirah’s stretch-pants, Gabriel Teodros, the Fleet Foxes, Spoon, and so much more.

Plus, we have photos. Lots and lots and lots of photos.

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(Photo by Heather Cox)

And one thing I learned? One shouldn’t take this bag into this mosh pit. The record is now in seven pieces, but at least my Nintendo DS and sunglasses survived. Fuck, that was a lot of fun.

There’s a bunch more to come over the next couple days too—interviews with bands, more photos, the infamous Crayolas, and, as everyone stars to recover from their hangovers, sunburns and/or exhaustion, probably some more reviews and thoughts of the weekend. I’m too tired to do it now, but I still want to rave about how great Against Me! was, and tell you about how Ben Gibbard told me I don’t like music. Well, basically.

For now, there’s also this, my favorite 20 seconds of the whole weekend. This is what happens when a bunch of (drunk) people get bored in the beer garden while waiting for the after-party to start. I’m so glad I had my camera.

Accounting Iraq

posted by on July 29 at 6:14 PM

This morning I finally got around to reading AO Scott’s review of “No End in Sight.”

One line jumped out at me:

…nor does he spend a lot of time chronicling the violence that has so far taken the lives of more than 3,000 American soldiers and marines and tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of Iraqis.
(emphasis added)

There really is no need to equivocate about the number of Iraqi lives lost due to this invasion, thanks to a brave study done between May and July of 2006. While not flawless, this study is by far the most accurate estimate of the number of lives lost as a consequence of the 2003 invasion.

We estimate that between March 18, 2003, and June, 2006, an additional 654,965 (392,979–942,636) Iraqis have died above what would have been expected on the basis of the pre-invasion crude mortality rate as a consequence of the coalition invasion. Of these deaths, we estimate that 601,027 (426,369–793,663) were due to violence.
(emphasis added)

Why is this number so much higher than reported by surveillance measures (that report numbers more in the tens of thousands)?

Our estimate of excess deaths is far higher than those reported in Iraq through passive surveillance measures. This discrepancy is not unexpected. Data from passive surveillance are rarely complete, even in stable circumstances, and are even less complete during conflict, when access is restricted and fatal events could be intentionally hidden. Aside from Bosnia, we can find no conflict situation where passive surveillance recorded more than 20% of the deaths measured by population-based methods. In several outbreaks, disease and death recorded by facility-based methods underestimated events by a factor of ten or more when compared with population-based estimates.

The authors go on to show that the trends of the various studies match closely – a further validation of the approach.

This is an amazing study, given the enormous risk involved in sampling in an active war zone. For an Iraq spiraling into civil war, this was an ambitious undertaking.

A sample size of 12 000 was calculated to be adequate … and was chosen to balance the need for robust data with the level of risk acceptable to field teams… selection of survey sites was by random numbers applied to streets or blocks rather than with global positioning units (GPS), since surveyors felt that being seen with a GPS unit could put their lives at risk. The use of GPS units might be seen as targeting an area for air strikes, or that the unit was in reality a remote detonation control. By confining the survey to a cluster of houses close to one another it was felt the benign purpose of the survey would spread quickly by word of mouth among households, thus lessening risk to interviewers.

So, the next time you hear someone waffling on the human cost of this war—about equivalent to killing the entire population of Seattle—remind them of this study.

Student Counsel

posted by on July 29 at 1:51 PM

The Roosevelt Institution, a college student think tank, has released 25 public policy recommendations— “the 25 best ideas” from students all over the country.

Among the issues they tackle: payday lending and cap and trade systems for carbon emissions. One novel cap and trade proposal from Stanford student Adam Millard-Ball targets entire cities rather than targeting the traditional carbon villain, utilities.

Making cities trade carbon credits—giving them incentives to cut back so they can sell their credits to other cities—sounds a lot more effective than Nickels’s current Kyoto challenge.

Given that Nickels has prestige among American mayors as an environmental leader though, he should use his national political clout and take up this intriguing, better cap and trade idea from the Stanford student.

Maybe we wouldn’t scratch planned bike lanes, and maybe we’d actually build rapid mass transit systems if we could cash in on it.

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on July 29 at 11:00 AM

Daft Punk (MUSIC) I’ve been waiting my whole life to see Daft Punk, or at least since “Da Funk” wormed into my teenage brain over a decade ago and opened new synaptic connections between its “music,” “dance,” and “robot” regions. I’ve heard nothing but mind-blown reviews of their rare live performances, with the duo in their signature robot suits, an enormous laser pyramid, and clever reworkings of their club anthems. It’s delayed teenage wish fulfillment: Daft Punk are finally here. With the Rapture, SebastiAn, and Kavinsky. (WaMu Theater, 800 Occidental Ave S, 628-0888. 8 pm, $40, all ages.) ERIC GRANDY
See what else is happening in Music on Sunday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

Confused About What’s Happening and Wondering What Should Happen?

posted by on July 29 at 10:50 AM

This morning’s NYT makes it plain..

Here’s a hint, from today’s editorial page:

Americans have been waiting months for Mr. Bush to fire Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who long ago proved that he was incompetent and more recently has proved that he can’t tell the truth.

In case the link is firewalled, I’ve included most of this morning’s editorial below the jump.

Continue reading "Confused About What's Happening and Wondering What Should Happen?" »

The Morning News

posted by on July 29 at 9:17 AM

by Rebecca Tapscott

Other governments have problems too: Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe will not step down, despite the defeat of his party in the upper house of Parliament. Shinzo had used his majority power to pass nationalist legislation.

We have a winner!: Alberto Contador, a Spanish biker with a surprising medical history of brain surgery, won the 94th Tour de France yesterday by 23 seconds.

Scandal 1: Bush administration hides a report in favor of American involvement in international health issues, mainly because it did not support their international policy goals.

Scandal 2: Senate Intelligence Committee members describe Gonzales’ testimony on the National Security Agency’s 2004 surveillance program as deceptive.

Up close and personal: Personal correspondences from Hillary Clinton’s college days expose her transformation from Goldwater girl to a “liberal anti-war activist.”

Murder: “Happy Face” killer convicted convicted to another life sentence in California. He was known for drawing happy faces in letters boasting of his activities.

Fair fun: Seafair’s 58th annual torchlight parade kicked off the festival successfully, attracting over 300,000 observers, from near and far.

Local terrorist threats: Due to a bomb threat, 21 B.C. ferries were canceled yesterday, stranding thousands of summer travelers.