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Archives for 09/23/2007 - 09/29/2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Going Sort Of Fast on Soapbox Derby Racers in Fremont

posted by on September 29 at 10:29 PM

Two Men Ride The Pickle

I’m not exactly sure why today’s Red Bull Soap Box Derby didn’t get a single mention in the print or online versions of the rag this week—perhaps Dan Savage prefers his energy sipping in the form of Bawls?

In spite of annoying announcers who made Jamie Kennedy seem like James Bond, the show wasn’t half-bad. Watching adults crash soap box carts down Fremont Avenue was better than sitting at a parade, at least. And how many parades has Sir Mix-A-Lot served as a judge? (The closest he got to a rhyme was while giving the Alaska Airlines cart the lowest score of the day—“Just like Alaska. Always leaving late and leaving my luggage at the gate.” He didn’t get to use the mic much more after that sponsor slam…shame.)

Trollin' Down

The Seattle-inspired cart designs happened to be the most amusing of the bunch, such as the product-whoring troll (above) and the freakish ferry-meets-Space-Needle (below).

Red Bull-evators

When the latter vehicle crashed, the driver hopped out in his tighty-whities…I snapped a shot, only to notice one crowd member’s look of glee/horror just as I was writing this. Enjoy the zoom below.

Hey Now!

Darren D. Misklashuvacis Responds (And Then Some)

posted by on September 29 at 5:53 PM

Yesterday, Seattle’s Darren D. Misklashuvacis entered the Psychotic Homophobe Hall of Fame by sending a gay-bashing rant par excellence to Last Days.

Today Darren responds to the hubbub in Slog comments:

Hey to you pricks above- BITE ME ASSHOLES.

My name is not in the records because I don’t want to be bothered by queers and other jagoffs.I assure you MFs I am REAL and you can all get AIDS and die!!!

Misklashuvacis is a traditional Ukrainian-Lithuanian name spelled in a Latvian style. My family is well known in that part of the world before some guy came over here never knowing it was overrun with faggots. You lay the fuck off my name and I DARE YOU to say anything about Latvians! You jackasses are fucking with the wrong dude, so keep your stupid pathetic GAY comments to your GAY selves. It’s Friday- shouldn’t you fucks be all trying to get laid in the alley behind my condo? Fucking perverts.

Fascinating. But, uh, what should one make of this?

(Thanks to CL-cruising Slog tipper Ron.)

Going Fast on Bikes in Snow

posted by on September 29 at 12:12 PM


A 33-year-old Austrian dude got on his mountain bike in the Andes, in the snow, and then his crazy ass went 130.7 MPH down the mountain, breaking the world speed record.

No one knows how, but apparently he did eventually stop. Here’s some video of this lunatic:

Thank God he was wearing a helmet.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on September 29 at 11:00 AM


‘Tantrums’ at Crawl Space Gallery

Pittsburgh artist Michelle Fried has been locked inside Crawl Space for a week making art, and tonight she opens the doors. Her video, sculpture, and sound work reinvents her own biography from ages 8 to 18, using such cultural landmarks as DJ Tanner, Kurt Cobain, Marshall Applewhite, and Igrid Bayer (Escambia High School’s Homecoming Queen). It’s the first-ever “Studio Intensive Residency Exhibition” at the gallery. (Crawl Space Gallery, 504 E Denny Way #1, 201-2441. 6–9 pm, free.)



Numbers, Intelligence, Partman Parthorse, Flexions at Sunset Tavern

Four bands, zero filler. The highlight is Numbers, from San Francisco, who play slow-churning, sun-soaked synthedelic pop and have a new album, Now You Are This, on Kill Rock Stars. But the local support is just as impressive, from the sneering postpunk spite of Partman Parthorse to the lo-fi fuzz assault of the Intelligence to the no-wave death dub of Flexions, featuring the outré guitar skills of Devin Welch (of Blood Brothers/Chromatics/Shoplifting renown). All killer. (Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave NW, 784-4880. 9 pm, $8, 21+.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »

  • Friday, September 28, 2007

    Rumor: Business PAC Will Spend Tens of Thousands to Promote Velazquez

    posted by on September 28 at 6:15 PM

    Rumor is that Forward Seattle, a PAC that formed earlier this year to advocate for lower taxes and an improved climate for business in Seattle, plans to pour most or all of its substantial war chest (currently more than $100,000) into the campaign of City Council candidate Venus Velazquez. The group formed after the mayor’s transportation tax package passed last year.

    Public-affairs consultant Don Stark, who co-founded Forward Seattle with another consultant, Joe Quintana, wouldn’t say what the group’s plans were for its money. He suggested calling Quintana, adding, “but I doubt he’ll tell you either.” (I left a message for Quintana). However, given that the Velazquez-Harrell race is pretty much the only game in town this year (all the incumbents running for reelection are expected to win), a big expenditure on Velazquez’s behalf seems almost certain. That’s got to be good news to Velazquez, who was $30,000 in the red at the end of August, the last time campaigns were required to report their financial info.

    There’s another reason to suspect Forward Seattle is about to bail out the Velazquez campaign: Both she and her consultant, Moxie Media’s Lisa MacLean, both say they haven’t heard from any of Forward Seattle’s members in weeks. Election rules stipulate that PACs can make unlimited expenditures to promote or pan a candidate or cause, as long as they don’t do so in collusion or collaboration with the candidate.(If they do, they’re limited to the $700 contribution cap that applies to other contributors). In other words, it would be illegal for Forward Seattle to talk to Velazquez about their plans. “I don’t know what they’re doing; they haven’t talked to me, and they’re not telling me anything,” Velazquez says. “All of a sudden Joe Quintana won’t return my calls. Is that a sign they’re going to do something? Maybe.” MacLean laughed when I asked if she knew what Forward Seattle had planned, saying bluntly: “No. That would be illegal.” PACs are relatively uncommon at the city level; a staffer for the Ethics and Elections Commission said that the only two she could remember were Sidran Truth Squad, which opposed Mark Sidran; and BRIBE, the Stranger’s anti-Jean Godden PAC. (Hey, we were young.)

    Harrell says he suspects Velazquez and Forward Seattle have communicated, noting that many of Forward Seattle’s contributors —Stark, Clise Properties, Mark Barbieri—also contributed to Velazquez. Harrell says the group’s support for his opponent shows who the real corporate candidate is. And Forward Seattle’s list of contributors—who also include Martin Selig, Vulcan, and two builders’ PACs—does read like a who’s-who of the local business establishment. “Yes, I have a business background, but they can’t buy me, and that’s why they’re launching this” campaign, Harrell says. (Harrell is a lawyer; Velazquez is a public-affairs consultant.) “The voters need to know if she has completely sold her soul.” Velazquez doesn’t shy away from her pro-business reputation (and Harrell was endorsed by the Alki Foundation, the Seattle Chamber’s political arm); she says if Forward Seattle does want to throw money her way, she’ll gladly take it. “They want to spend money in a Seattle race,” Velazquez says. “If you find out what they’re planning to do with it, let me know.”

    The Fight Over Casa Latina: Now in Legalese!

    posted by on September 28 at 6:09 PM

    Who wants to read the bitchy letter Judicial Watch sent the city over Casa Latina?

    Well, here it is anyway, abridged with emphasis added:

    We understand the City of Seattle has financially supported the operations of a non-profit organization involved in subsidizing and promoting criminal activity and has expended approximately $250,000 in citizen taxpayer funds in an award to the same non-profit organization for the purchase of the property at 17th Avenue South and South Jackson Street.

    It cannot be reasonably disputed that users of day laborer facilities include undocumented workers. Studies conducted around the nation have confirmed that day laborers are predominantly persons not legally present or authorized to work in the United States. For example, a UCLA/University of Illinois nationwide survey of 2,260 day laborers, conducted in 2004 and published in January 2006, concluded that 75 percent of day laborers are undocumented.

    We are aware of no reason to believe that day laborers in Seattle would be dissimilar from those in these other jurisdictions or different from the statistics cited in these studies. Thus it appears very likely the facility in Belltown is used by undocumented workers and employers of undocumented workers for illegal activities, namely the employment of undocumented workers. Likewise, the proposed Central District facility appears to be established, organized and funded for the express purpose of undocumented workers and employers of undocumented workers to engage in illegal activities, namely the employment of undocumented workers.

    Federal law expressly prohibits the recruiting or hiring of an alien if it is known that the alien is not authorized to work in the United States. In addition, it is unlawful to hire any individual for employment in the United States without complying with federal employment eligibility verification requirements.

    Certainly, facilitating the illegal employment of undocumented aliens, as is currently conducted under the auspices of the City and is further contemplated by the proposed Central District plan, may be deemed as encouraging or inducing an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, or at a minimum, aiding and abetting such conduct.

    It is our understanding that the City does not require screening of day laborers to determine, whether, in fact, they are eligible to work in the United States. We are concerned that [this is] a direct violation of federal law, as they assist…and encourage violation of federal law.

    For the City to use taxpayer resources in this manner is akin to a city operating its own “red light” district or illegal drug market. While the intentions behind the proposed facility may be well meaning, the establishment and operation of the proposed facility is not a proper use of taxpayer resources.

    Kindly confirm that you will cease immediately expending citizen taxpayer dollars and resources for day labor sites and non profit organizations that promote criminal activity in violation of federal immigration law.

    Up your nose with a rubber hose, says the City. (Also abridged with emphasis added)

    The City rejects your demand. Your allegations are based neither in fact nor in law.

    The Facts: Casa Latina is a non-profit, community organization that provides essential services to lower income Seattleites without regard to their race or national origin. Those services include finding permanent housing for homeless individuals, facilitating access to social and health services, offering English as a Second Language classes for all ages offering citizenship and work skills classes, partnering with the King County Bar Association to assist temporary workers to claim unpaid wages, and providing a clearing house for day laborers.

    Judicial Watch charges Seattle, and by implication all other governments and corporations that fund Casa Latina, with violating federal immigration law based on nothing more than your unsubstantiated presumption that Casa Latina’s Latino clients are illegal aliens. If you had bothered to inquire, you would have discovered that Casa Latina requires identification documents from its clients in the day laborer program.

    Your references to unnamed surveys conducted elsewhere purporting to document that a high percentage of day laborers are illegal only serves to prove that Judicial Watch’ thinly-veiled campaign of press releases, scare tactics, and threats of frivolous lawsuits are based neither on accurate facts nor applicable law.

    Your efforts to bully the City into withdrawing financial support…will not work. Your asserted case is merit less.

    We expect you to cease immediately your threats of frivolous litigation and any furter attempts to interfere with Casa Latinas provision of services to needy Seattleites.

    The City will vigorously defend any lawsuit and wil consider all its legal options, including seeking sanctions against you for filing such a demonstrably frivolous lawsuit.

    Them’s fightin’ words.

    I emailed Judicial Watch to get a response to the city’s tough stance.

    “The Seattle City Attorney’s office is misstating our legal position and is not being forthright concerning ‘identification documents’ supposedly ‘required’ by Casa Latina.”

    I’ve got a call out to Casa Latina’s director to find out what their policy is.


    posted by on September 28 at 5:25 PM

    In case the post I just did on Dino Rossi—right below Dan’s post on Gay Porn Jesus— makes you think I’m a lap dog for the Democratic Party, please turn your attention to this recent Slog-loving press release from the GOP below the jump ….

    Continue reading "SLOGOP" »

    Gay Porn Jesus Chows Down at Gay Porn Last Supper

    posted by on September 28 at 5:18 PM

    Why should the Folsom Street Fair’s kinksters have all the fun—and all the free publicity? Dark Alley Media released some pics today from its upcoming big & dirty & gay reinterpretation of Christ’s life. Guess what?Passio includes a last supper scene!


    The Concerned Women for America are up in arms about the sex toys spread out on the table of Folsom’s last supper. Wait until they get a load of Passio’s apostles goin’ at it on Dark Alley Media’s rather sparsely attended last supper. Pics up at Fleshbot.

    Click this link and go directly to hell.

    Bad Question

    posted by on September 28 at 5:12 PM

    Maybe Dino Rossi really isn’t running for governor.

    The resigned-in-disgrace President of Forward Washington, gave a speech this morning in front of the Marysville Tualip Chamber of Commerce titled: “What Businesses Should Look for Before Casting Their Vote.”

    I didn’t hear his speech, but I gotta say, the answer to “What Businesses Should Look for Before Casting Their Vote” seems to point to Rossi’s rival: Gov. Gregoire. Under Gregoire, Washington state jumped from the 12th best state to do business in to the 5th best. Probably has something to do with our lowest-in-history unemployment rate and the whopping job growth.

    Wanna Help Make Sure My Son is Straight When He Grows Up?

    posted by on September 28 at 4:44 PM

    My son DJ, who has two gay dads, wants to go to Qwest Field to watch the Seahawks play the Chicago Bears later this fall. Neither of his gay dads are remotely interested in going to Qwest Field. I figure DJ wouldn’t sit through Beauty and the Beast with me at the Paramount so I’m not obligated to freeze my ass off at a football game.

    My son’s Uncle Billy, however, wants to take his nephew to the game. Uncle Billy is willing to fly to Seattle from Chicago to take his nephew to see the Bears play the Seahawks. Because he wants to help make sure DJ is straight when he grows up.

    All they need are tickets.

    Uh… does anyone know how you get tickets to a Seahawks game? From what I understand, every Seahawks game from now until musical theater finally triumphs over organized sports is sold out. From what I’ve been lead to believe, it’s impossible to get tickets to see the Seahawks. Is that true? Does anyone know how to get tickets? Does anyone have tickets they wanna sell?

    And, yes, I realize that this is an abuse of Slog. Please direct all complaints to the Stranger’s editorial director.

    The End of the White Pages

    posted by on September 28 at 4:27 PM

    This just in:

    AT&T wants to scrap white pages

    AT&T wants to stop delivering white pages directories to customers’ homes, ending a decades-long practice as it shifts information online…. AT&T said in its filing that the move reflects a decline in the use of white pages directories and shows its commitment to helping the environment.

    Slog tipper Allie gives credit to the Stranger’s Public Intern.

    And… Bill as Jackie O

    posted by on September 28 at 4:22 PM

    Move over Mr. Giuliani: New York magazine’s story on the Clintons — not out until Sunday — includes a cover photo illustration (meaning fictional) of Mr. Clinton dressed in drag as, we’re told, Jackie Kennedy.

    Drinking Rots Your Brain: The Evidence

    posted by on September 28 at 4:12 PM

    Exhibit A: Kiefer Sutherland, just charged with drunk driving (and violating his probation from another DUI in 2004).

    [That photo of a heart-shaped diamond ring I posted earlier? That wasn’t Kiefer Sutherland. This is Kiefer Sutherland. If you miss the diamond ring, it’s right over here.]


    Exhibit B: Sutherland again, this time at a Christmas party (video and photo from Shakespeare’s Sister):


    Voice Off-Camera: Hey, Kiefer. You’re a pirate, man.

    Kiefer: That would explain everything. [jumps into tree]

    Exhibit C: A friend who was just on a flight from Amsterdam witnessed a “super-drunk Marine” start yelling at a nice Eastern European couple because they weren’t speaking English. Or, as the Marine put it, “Stop speaking Russian and talk goddamn American!”

    Bill on Barack

    posted by on September 28 at 4:11 PM

    Via The Caucus:

    Former President Bill Clinton showed his singular ability to diminish his wife’s presidential rivals when, in a television interview, he said that Senator Barack Obama had about as much experience as Mr. Clinton did in 1988 — the year Mr. Clinton decided not to run for the presidency.

    “I was, in terms of experience, was closer to Senator Obama, I suppose, in 1988 when I came within a day of announcing,” Mr. Clinton said in a interview on “Political Capital with Al Hunt” that was scheduled to be broadcast tonight on Bloomberg television and again this weekend.

    Mr. Clinton did not run that year, he added, because “I really didn’t think I knew enough, and had served enough and done enough to run.”

    The former president quickly noted that he did not mean Mr. Obama should not be pursuing the nomination. But he said that compared to Mr. Obama, who went from the Illinois Legislature to the United States Senate in 2005, Mr. Clinton had far more experience when he finally did run in 1992, as governor of Arkansas for nearly 12 years and as a leader of national policy initiatives.

    This Weekend at the Movies

    posted by on September 28 at 4:11 PM

    I’ve been out of the country for a couple of weeks, most recently in Paris, where I saw two astounding things. One:


    That rat display case? In Ratatouille? It’s real. I had no idea.

    Two: Persepolis, which is awesome, at least in (the original) French. From this New York Film Festival review, I gather that the English version won’t mess with the wobbly-accented wonder that is the “Eye of the Tiger” scene.

    But back to Seattle. I’ve been bitching for what seems like years about the Seattle-produced and filmed Brand Upon the Brain! not being presented in Seattle as it was originally conceived: a “live spectacle,” with an orchestra and live foley artists and a “castrato” and a narrator. But I can bitch no longer, as Brand Upon the Brain! is coming to the Cinerama October 10 and 11, as part of Northwest Film Forum’s Local Sightings festival. I’m thrilled. Mark your calendars and by your tickets now.

    Brand Upon the Brain!

    Opening this Friday:

    In an extra-long On Screen this week: the Jon Krakauer adaptation Into the Wild (“A simplistic, dewy-eyed paean to a conflicted young man whom [director Sean] Penn would rather canonize than investigate,” says Brendan Kiley)…


    The Kingdom (“feels much more successful when it downshifts into a rock ‘em, sock ‘em action flick,” says Andrew Wright), Trade (“tries to avoid the stench of sexual exploitation, but lands in a mess of sentimentality—red roses, pink bikes—which is far more revolting,” say I), King of California (it may romanticize manic depression, but it’s charming, concludes Kiley), The Jane Austen Book Club (great actors, a painfully pseudointellectual script—why the hell is Emily Blunt costumed like Miranda July?, I ask), Feast of Love (“The worst thing about Feast of Love,” Charles Mudede observes, “is that the sex scenes are not sexy.”), December Boys (“an episodic coming-of-age drama,” according to David Schmader, featuring an orphan named Harry Potter—err, Daniel Radcliffe), and the mumblecore standard-bearer Hannah Takes the Stairs (“seems like an empty parody of the form,” says mumblecore admirer Josh Feit).

    And on an island of its own: Lindy West’s much-admired but hardly admiring review of The Game Plan.

    And in limited runs this week, available via Get Out: Angels in the Dust, Apart from That, events in the Independent South Asian Film Festival (which is totally free this year), the last of the Paramount’s Charlie Chaplin series, an advance screening of Ang Lee’s Lust, Caution, and Vanaja. Enjoy.

    Tom Cruise is Acting EXACTLY Like Tom Cruise!

    posted by on September 28 at 4:09 PM

    It has just been reported by a source so sourcey that I barely dare source it that one certain Mr. Tom Cruise, Alien Queen of Scientological Fembot Brides, is at this very moment building a completely sane ALIEN PROOF BUNKER somewhere in Colorado to protect his brood from the apparently very, very likely alien attack. Or thinks he is.

    According to American magazine Star, a source said: “Tom is planning to build a US$10 million bunker under his Telluride estate.” “It’s a self-contained underground shelter with a high tech air purifying shelter.” The facility is said to have enough room for ten people - including wife Katie Holmes, 17-month-old daughter Suri and his adopted children Isabella, 14, and Connor, 12.
    When asked about the project, and if he really feared impending alien invasion, Mr. Cruise responded, “Eeeep, oooop, BIRDS! BIRDS! Can’t you seem them? In my soup!”

    There actually was no soup to speak of, so the soup was logically unable to comment on the invisable soup birds.

    Bring it ON, alien bitches!



    (Thank you for pointing this out, POE.)

    Today on Line Out

    posted by on September 28 at 3:40 PM

    Are You Cosmic?, pt 4: Terry Miller on Daniele Baldelli

    Instantly Timeless: Jonathan Zwickel on Devendra Banhart’s “Seahorse.”

    Ballin’, pt 1: Trent Moorman on AC/DC.

    Fall Heads Roll: Seven Hours of Mark E Smith

    Ballin’, pt 2: Les Savy Fav’s Let’s Stay Friends

    Hold Me: A Hold Music DJ Saved Jonah Spangenthal-Lee’s Afternoon.

    Ballin’, pt 3: The Jimmy Castor Bunch’s “Troglodyte.”

    Sex Survey Results

    posted by on September 28 at 3:20 PM

    A sloppy, wet thank you to all 3,565 of you who took our online sex survey this week. We’re tabulating the results right now.

    Which Seattle neighborhood is most into bestiality? Who’s kinkier, couples who meet on MySpace or couples who meet in church? Why do so many Capitol Hill women say they are repulsed by testicles? Look for these and other titillating totals and trends in our October 4 Hump! issue.

    Also: There are literally just a handful of Hump! 3 tickets left (only for the October 6 Noon screening). We cannot add any more screenings. Get yours before they’re gone for good.

    Grand Old Pratfall

    posted by on September 28 at 3:09 PM

    A much-discussed GOP plan to swipe up to 20 electoral votes in California in ‘08—and potentially the White House (again)—collapsed today. Rudy is involved somehow.

    But what caused the initiative’s creator, Tom Hiltachk, and its spokesman, Kevin Eckery, to resign, was their dispute with the effort’s largest donor, an organization called “Take Initiative America.” The group was created by Charles A. Hurth III, a Missouri lawyer and a Giuliani donor, just one day before Mr. Hiltachk received a $175,000 check from the group to help finance the cause.

    But when Mr. Hiltachk could not learn the names of the individual donors to the organization, he declared the effort more or less undermined, and quit.

    Not About That Roads and Transit Proposal

    posted by on September 28 at 3:08 PM

    In other news, the Germans have invented a dildo … made of candy! According to the web site, it’s “18 cm/285 grams of pure enjoyment.” Full ingredient list: “Fruchtgummi in Penisform.” As we learn from this blog post, Fruchtgummi ist fur ein blowjob. Better than a real dick, because when you’re done, it’s still made of delicious candy!

    Trans Awareness Weak

    posted by on September 28 at 3:01 PM

    The federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act—a.k.a. ENDA—is making its way through the Dem-controlled U.S. House and Senate. The original language would have protected gays, straights, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans folks from discrimination. Now the MTFs, FTMS, and genderqueers are out. The SF Chronicle is on it:

    Even as the Senate passed a hate crimes bill sought for a decade by gays and lesbians, House Democratic leaders decided Thursday to strip transgender people from another long-languishing civil rights bill, generating dismay in the gay community and furious but fruitless lobbying for more time.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Reps. George Miller, D-Martinez, Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., believe that they lack the votes in the Democrat-controlled House to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act if it includes gender identity along with sexual orientation as a prohibited ground for firing an employee.

    Says Barney Frank:

    We are on the verge of an historic victory that supporters of civil rights have been working on for more than thirty years: the passage for the first time in American history by either house of Congress of legislation declaring it illegal to discriminate against people in employment based on their sexual orientation. Detracting from the sense of celebration many of us feel about that is regret that under the current political situation, we do not have sufficient support in the House to include in that bill explicit protection for people who are transgender.

    The question facing us—the LGBT community and the tens of millions of others who are active supporters of our fight against prejudice—is whether we should pass up the chance to adopt a very good bill because it has one major gap. I believe that it would be a grave error to let this opportunity to pass a sexual orientation nondiscrimination bill go forward, not simply because it is one of the most important advances we’ll have made in securing civil rights for Americans in decades, but because moving forward on this bill now will also better serve the ultimate goal of including people who are transgender than simply accepting total defeat today.

    About That Roads and Transit Proposal

    posted by on September 28 at 2:56 PM

    Josh and I met a couple of days ago with two opponents of the roads and transit package (Mike O’Brien and Tim Gould of the Sierra Club) and although I am, as I’ve said a zillion times before, still ambivalent about the package (intuitively, passing up 50 miles of light rail seems like it must be a bad idea) I have to say that they made some really convincing arguments against the package.

    First, a bit of background: Residents of King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties are being asked to vote up or down in November on a huge package of new roads and transit—about $18 billion in all. Of that total, about $10 billion will pay for 50 miles of new light rail north and to the Eastside; the rest will pay for roads projects, including 152 new miles of general-purpose highways and freeways. (There will also be 74 miles of high-occupancy vehicle—HOV—and high-occupancy toll—HOT—lanes). Because the state legislature, in its infinite wisdom, tied the two unrelated proposals together, rejecting roads means rejecting transit, and vice versa.

    Pro-transit supporters of the package pretty much stop there. How, they argue, could we turn down the first opportunity we’ve had in a generation to more than double the region’s light rail system? Yes, there are roads in the package—including bad roads, like the four-lane widening of I-405—but a lot of those will actually help transit. Expanding 520, for example, will create two new HOV lanes. And look at all that light rail! Shiny, shiny light rail. How could you say no to all that light rail?

    The Sierra Club’s rebuttal is compelling.

    First of all, O’Brien and Gould noted, let’s look at what happens if we DO pass the joint roads and transit package. That will be our last chance to make a truly ambitious investment in transportation for a generation. It is, in other words, our last chance to do it right. As O’Brien puts it, “It’s not like we have pools of $18 billion just sitting around.” If we pass this package, we’ll have light rail, but we’ll also be stuck paying for, and building, all those new roads—roads that will just fill up, as roads do; roads that will contribute more to global warming than light rail takes away; roads that certainly won’t be much help in easing congestion without a much larger investment in transit than the one in this package.

    One thing almost no one is talking about is the climate impact of a massive new investment in road expansion. Sure, boosters of the proposal pay lip service to reducing greenhouse gases (the official goal adopted by the county is an 80 percent reduction by 2050), but when it comes to taking real action on climate change, they’re still in thrall to the pavement lobby. Yes, the plan includes a “study” of the climate impact of the package. Simultaneously, however, strict “accountability” requirements elsewhere in the proposal lock regional leaders into building every single mile of road in the package. So it doesn’t matter what the study says; if we pass this, we’re getting new roads, melting ice cap and dying polar bears be damned.

    What might the actual climate impact of RTID be? Because no official study will be done until after the election, it’s hard to say; however, the Sierra Club cites a study by the Puget Sound Regional Council, which concluded that building both the roads and the transit components of the plan will lead to a net increase in vehicle-miles traveled of 43 percent. Because vehicle-miles traveled translate, roughly, to carbon produced (a mile traveled works out roughly to a pound of carbon in the air), that’s approximately a 43 percent increase in carbon emissions—at a time when we’re supposed to be reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent. Doing nothing at all, of course, would likely lead to even higher net emissions, but opponents of the plan aren’t saying “do nothing.” They’re saying, do something better.

    Proponents of the ballot measure say if we reject it now, it’ll be years before we have another chance to vote again on light rail. They say the governor “won’t allow it” on the ballot in an election year and predict the following year will be too soon. Feh. First of all, the governor would be wise not to alienate transit-loving King County voters, who provided her slim margin of victory last time. Moreover, the last time Sound Transit was rejected, in 1995, it came back the very next year—and won. Light rail is popular now, and will be even more popular once it opens in mid-2009. We should be willing to wait two years to get it right.

    Incidentally, the voters agree with this point of view: A recent Elway poll found that four out of five respondents believe light rail will come back on its own.

    There are other problems with this specific light-rail plan. It’s paid for with regressive sales tax instead of user fees like car-tab taxes and congestion pricing, either of which would be a fairer way to fund a transit program that will be used mostly by the middle class and the working poor. Because its financing is structured over a very long time (50 years) it takes a very long time to build; light rail won’t reach Microsoft, for example, for 20 years.

    Meanwhile, the roads in the package are mostly what the Sierra Club (and Transportation Choices) would call “bad” roads: four new general-purpose lanes on I-405 (no HOV!); the widening and extension of SR-167 to the Port of Tacoma, which started as a two-lane freight-only road that bypassed I-5, but has since become a sprawl-serving four-lane highway with an I-5 interchange; the extension of SR-509 to I-5, which will put thousands more cars onto I-5 in South King County; and, potentially, the Cross Base Highway, which will connect sprawl and pave over some of the last remaining oak prairie in Western Washington.

    Two days ago, King County Executive Ron Sims came out against the joint roads/transit proposal. In an editorial in yesterday’s Seattle Times, Sims wrote that the plan “doesn’t solve traffic congestion in the short term, nor does it provide enough long-term relief to justify the financial and environmental costs. … We must not make transportation decisions without considering the impact on global warming.

    I agree. The roads package we’re being asked to vote on represents the solutions of the past—regressive sales taxes, toll-free general-purpose lanes, and pavement, pavement, pavement—and, in doing so, sells out future generations.

    Savage Love Letter of the Day

    posted by on September 28 at 2:33 PM

    I was recently released from prison after completing a three year sentence. I am a professional male, and have been married for a decade. My wife and I have children. She stood by me while I completed the sentence I served for a financial crime. Since my release I have been reunited with my family. My issue is as follows. While incarcerated I had a consensual sexual relationship with my cellmate. The details of the relationship are unimportant; I have been tested for STDs since my release and I have tested negative. So, there are no health concerns for my wife. I am trying to decide whether to tell my wife about the relationship. Though the cellmate has attempted to contact me by mail, I have not responded. That part of my life is now. My relationship with my wife and family have normalized in the months since my return. While I want to be honest and make amends, I also don’t want to cause her any more pain than I already have.

    My advice: What happens in prison stays in prison; there are some things a spouse has a right not to know; and it’s bad form to be rude to your ex-cellmate. (At least respond with a “I’ll always cherish the memories” letter.) But what say you, Slog readers?

    A Christian Notion

    posted by on September 28 at 1:58 PM

    John “Agents of Intolerance” McCain has had his tongue firmly lodged up the butts of religious conservatives for a while now. And today he gave it a little wiggle:

    A recent poll found that 55 percent of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation. What do you think?

    I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation.

    Yes, John, you “probably” would have to say yes—because you’ll pretty much say anything the religious right wants to hear. And they never tire of hearing that the U.S. Constitution—drawn up by nominally Christian deists—established the U.S. as a Christian nation. It’s bullshit, of course, and McCain knows it. Pathetic.

    Via Atrios.

    Follow-Up: Satterberg’s Sins of Omission

    posted by on September 28 at 1:25 PM

    A lot of people who are in the know about the inside workings of the King County Prosecutor’s office, but are demanding anonymity, are contacting me about an article I wrote in this week’s news section.

    The article was about the fact that the KC Prosecutor’s office, under Norm Maleng and his then-chief of staff Dan Satterberg (who’s now running as the Republican candidate for the job), did not use its unique subpoena authority to shake loose sealed personnel files from the Seattle Archdiocese and seek criminal charges against accused pedophile priests.

    Given that the Church was agreeing to millions of dollars in settlements after civil cases were filed by 153 people about 49 priests, there definitely seemed to be cause.

    One attorney, Timothy Kosnoff, who won some of those settlements and is quoted at length in my article, saw the horror stories in the files (obtained through civil discovery) and urged the KC Prosecutor’s office to do what other district attorneys’ offices around the country were doing and subpoena the files.

    The office chose not to. Adding insult to injury: Satterberg simultaneously sat on a special Archdiocese panel helping the Church with its child abuse reporting protocol. Kosnoff sees a major conflict of interest in this setup: A public law enforcement official helping a potential lawbreaker (that his office could conceivably have to prosecute later on). Kosnoff likened the setup to a shady company having an IRS attorney help them file their taxes.

    As for the reaction I’m getting from people familiar with how the prosecutor’s office works, the most stunning e-mail I got explained that the KC Prosecutor’s office had a “Special Operations” team as part of its Fraud Division. This unit of deputy prosecuting attorneys worked with informants and snitches and police agency investigators to crack tough cases, including sexual abuse cases. This unit was headed by Pat Sainsbury. The division was dissolved shortly after Satterburg took over as prosecutor this year.

    The Special Operations team and the Fraud Division had a tool, which they used regularly in complex and hard-to-get-at investigations, called the Inquiry Judge system. It worked like this: The court issued subpoenas for documents or to compel sworn testimony from witnesses. And contrary to what Satterberg said in my article (that he needed evidence to go after files), the prosecutors don’t need probable cause, as they would when asking for a search warrant. The inquiry judge reviews a written request submitted by the prosecutors and then says yea or nay, and also reviews what is returned to the court under the subpoena to make sure it’s germane and not just a fishing expedition. Those providing the documents or testimony are protected from disclosing to anyone that they have done so; all of this happens in a closed court.

    In short, the KC Prosecutor’s office was well equipped to get files from the Church.

    Says someone who as part of an investigation that used the the Inquiry Judge system:
    “Dan Satterberg’s explanation for not looking into allegations of serial sexual abuse … especially knowing that the Archdiocese paid up, are just a little absurd. There may be reasons not to look into it, but let’s be honest. As a public servant he had the means and the power to get to at least basic info to show either they did or didn’t know—i.e. they were part of a conspiracy or more likely had failed to report abuse. It is his job to do this. Sure he has a lot of discretion. He should exercise it or have a credible reason why he didn’t.”

    Required Viewing

    posted by on September 28 at 1:07 PM

    Ladies and gentleman, The Midwest Teen Sex Show. Watch the episodes about gym class, birth control, the older boyfriend, and abstinence. Then buy the t-shirt:


    Some terrific advice from “The Older Boyfriend”:

    I know. You met on the Internet and he understands you. And everyone else your age is so immature. The good news is, girls mature a lot faster than boys. So you should start dating girls.

    You may think you’re pretty cool for having an older boyfriend. But what you have to remember is, he’s not cool for dating you. He’s a loser.

    Questions to ask your older boyfriend: Why aren’t you dating someone closer to your own age? Have you ever been arrested? Why do you still live with your mom? How much do you pay in child support? And why do you smell like my grandpa?

    The New Criticism

    posted by on September 28 at 12:53 PM

    The problem with criticism in all of its forms (art, film, literature) has been its susceptibility to the charge that, ultimately, it is nothing more than the product of someone’s opinion. Criticism is not truth; it is an opinion—or what the Greeks called doxa. We can all agree that opinions are no good.

    Kant tried to solve this problem by universalizing subjectivity. He failed miserably. Marxist criticism tried solve this problem by politicizing the function art. The art object, according to this school of thought, was like any other consumer object and so could be analyzed as such. As Marx removed the fetish magic from consumer products in Das Capital, the Marxist critic attempted to remove the aura from the art object. Also, the Marxist critic tried to expose the art object’s idealogical function—to show that the art object was made to reinforce certain beliefs, ideas that supported the reproduction of a given society’s means of production.

    But the problem with the Marxist approach is this: it cannot make sense of the fact that some art objects made in societies dominated by the capitalist mode of production are great (Blade Runner) and critical of the system from which they arise; and some art objects made in former socialist societies are very weak (Cement) and support the anti-capitalist system from which they arise.

    Though the best of all modes of criticism, Marxism is still too loose, too vulnerable, too inconsistent. If art criticism is to become invulnerable it must be grounded not in economics but in the body, the head, the physical brain itself. The critic must argue that this or that thing is good because the biological processes that made it happen are good processes. But how does one do this? Neurology offers the critic a solution.

    To become valid, art criticism must turn to the biological processes of memory retention and retrieval. What we know about this process is that not single or individual neurons react to single or individual complex images, faces, experiences, but instead a network of them. Memory is associational. Memory patterns are formed from short and long term storage potential. Those who suffer from Alzheimer’s are unable to make connections between these short and long term memory patterns. They suffer from weak or broken associational powers.

    The French sociologist Gabriel Tarde had the right idea at the end of the 19th century when he called all things, all ideas, inventions, a matter of associations. Everything is a society. The brain is a society of cells. And the way the cells work, and the way memory works, and the way art works, is by associations. As there is bad food and good food, there are strong associations and weak ones. Here are some examples of weak associations.

    The new criticism is not emotional or personal but associational. We can say that a bad work of art is much like Alzheimer’s: it is the artist’s failure or inability to make good or new associations. Here is our ground! A work of art is an association. An idea is an association. All is made from associations. We critics can judge every art object on this biological basis and no longer be vulnerable to our enemy’s sole weapon: “this is just an opinion.” From now until the end of all time, this is bad and that is that.

    Re: Nickels Veto

    posted by on September 28 at 12:05 PM


    I did a flip post yesterday making fun of Mayor Nickels’s veto. He vetoed the tortured nightclub license legislation because council amended it to the point that it didn’t include a nightclub license.

    The council legislation, passed 6-3, essentially defeated Nickels’s year-long push for a nightclub license. Nickels is mad about that, but his veto doesn’t do anything to restore the license. And so I was ribbing the mayor for the pffffttt ending to his lame effort. He vetoed a veto of his license idea. Whoopdeee doo. There’s still no license.

    The mayor’s office didn’t seem to get the sarcasm in my flip post, though. Shortly after posting it on Slog, I got this e-mail from the mayor’s spokesperson: “BTW, the mayor vetoed the non-license. The council did not pass the mayor’s, or anyone else’s license proposal.”

    Um, yep. I got that memo. Reported on it at length last week.

    So, I guess: Big props to Team Nickels for “vetoing the non-license” (what does that even mean?). Congrats, Mayor Nickels, on your symbolic gesture—or more accurately, on your mini-temper tantrum about not getting your way. We’re all terribly impressed.

    This Week on Drugs

    posted by on September 28 at 12:00 PM


    High Priority: A Department of Justice report shows marijuana arrests in 2006 hit record at 829,627.

    Tripped: Amsterdam supports three-day waiting period for mushroom buyers after too many tourists wig out in the Van Gogh Museum.

    Dogged: Vick on home detention after testing positive for pot.

    Measured Progress: Four marijuana initiatives on the ballot in Idaho town.

    “We made brownies and I think we’re dead”: Pot-brownie eating cop charged with misdemeanor.

    Does this Cigarette Make Me Look Fat? Youtube criticized for tobacco clips.

    Score Bar: Feds charge maker of laced candy.

    Termination: After 15 years, Portland cuts drug-free zones.

    Tribulation: FDA drug trials.

    Rotation: Afghanistan opium farmers switch to ganja.

    Incarceration: Prison population leveling as crack offenders serving mandatory-minimum sentences finish terms.

    Meth-Awareness Month is Coming: Are you sufficiently aware? This gem from the ONDCP will have you singing its praises.

    The Next Next President of the U.S.?

    posted by on September 28 at 11:50 AM


    Former Florida governor Jeb Bush was in town last night, speaking at a dinner for the Washington Policy Center (“Improving lives through market solutions”). There was a press availability with Bush beforehand, so I went down to the Seattle Westin to check it out. A very flustered woman ushered me into a small room filled with men in suits, one of them the president’s brother. We waited. The woman left. A moment later she returned, and addressed Jeb Bush by the wrong name, mistaking him for a reporter or event organizer or some such.

    Ouch. The woman began apologizing profusely, and kept repeating the apology over and over again. “Why don’t you say it again?” Bush asked with a smirk. She clammed up quickly and Bush, perhaps realizing he’d shown a little too much of the mocking good-old-boy, said something like: “Bless her heart.”

    Time for questions. I asked him about the presidential race, and what he thinks of the current Republican field. “It’s wide open,” he said. He wouldn’t name a favored contender, but he did say that he really admires Mike Huckabee for his accomplishments as governor of Arkansas.

    I asked whether he’d want the vice presidential slot once Republicans have settled on a nominee.

    “I’m in self-imposed exile for a year,” he said. “I had a pretty intense job… I’m really taking a year off from being involved in politics… In all honesty, my dream came true when I got to be elected governor.”

    I noted that his brother would soon have some time off from politics, and wondered if he had any advice for him. He laughed.

    “No,” he said. “He’s going to be in a different realm than I am.” (Then he joked about how he can go through airports and not get recognized, an experience his brother will never have.) “I’m not worried about him,” Bush continued. “He’s got a compass that points north. He’ll spend some time in Crawford…”

    Ok. What about all this dynasty talk? Bush-Clinton-Bush, and now maybe Clinton again. Good for the country?

    “I think that’s a legitimate question, to be honest with you,” he said. “I’m not casting aspersions on Hillary at all. But this a big country. There’s 300 million people. I could see why people would think it a little off that there’s been a Bush or Clinton in office since 1988.”

    So does he believe Clinton is a shoo-in to be the Democratic nominee?

    “I think that she’s going to be tough to beat in the primary,” he said.

    I asked: What about all the criticism that your brother gets these days? Your father has been vocal about how it hurts him. What about you? Does it hurt you?

    “I hate it,” he told me. “I hate it because I know it hurts my dad, and I hate it because he’s my brother.”

    But, he added, he doesn’t worry too much about his brother in the end. “He’s got a tranquility that’s pretty amazing and he’s accepted the fact that some of his decisions are pretty controversial. I don’t think he’s angry. He doesn’t personalize any of this—and that gives me some comfort, because I take it personally.”

    Someone in the room asks: Any presidential plans of your own?

    His response: “I don’t have that blind ambition that you need to have to be running for president.”

    In One Fell Swoop, All the Dreams of Steinbacher, Spangenthal-Lee, and Myself Come True

    posted by on September 28 at 11:32 AM


    Yes, he’s smoking out of a Nintendo 64 controller.

    From Aeropause via Boing Boing.

    The Potty’s Over

    posted by on September 28 at 11:31 AM

    Big news out of Minneapolis…

    New dividers aimed at stopping Minneapolis airport liaisons

    The crowded airport bathroom where Sen. Larry Craig was arrested is about to become an even less-inviting place for a rendezvous. Airport officials plan to put in new stall dividers just 2 to 3 inches above the floor, instead of as much as a foot now. The new dividers will go in two bathrooms where the airport has had complaints about sex, including the one where Craig was arrested.

    So the potty’s over—or is it?

    I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it seems to me that lower dividers are going to make stalls in this particular bathroom more attractive, not less, to toilet cruisers. Larry Craig will still be able to peer through cracks in doors, still be able to tap his foot, and still be able to run his dirty, dirty hands under the stall to signal his interest in a “rendezvous.” And after the object of Larry Craig’s affections signals his mutual interest, the senator can wait for a lull and slip into one of these new, more private stalls, and enjoy the company of his new friend with less fear of discovery than before.

    Don’t bother with new stall dividers, Minneapolis. The steady stream of tourists that have been visiting the toilet that Larry Craig made famous are much a better—and much cheaper—deterrent.

    John Edwards Accepts Public Financing

    posted by on September 28 at 11:15 AM

    His campaign is portraying the move as a principled stand, and a way of challenging Hillary Clinton to walk her talk on public financing of presidential campaigns.

    Today, Sen. Edwards announced that he will accept public financing and matching funds for his presidential campaign. Edwards is taking a principled stand on this issue – leading the way because he believes elections should be about ideas, not about money. And no one has better ideas for how to change America than John Edwards. Just this weekend, Sen. Hillary Clinton voiced her support for public financing… John Edwards is challenging her to prove that she means what she says.

    But most political observers are taking away a different message, that Edwards is in trouble:

    John Edwards’ decision to accept public matching funds to finance his campaign is a political blow but it’s probably also the only lifeline he has to stay in the race.

    The simple fact is that Edwards was never going to keep pace with the Democratic front-runner, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, or the upstart campaign of Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on September 28 at 11:00 AM

    Music Benefit

    The Whore Moans at Blue Moon

    What do you mean you haven’t seen the Whore Moans yet? Motherfucker, don’t you listen to anything I say? They’re fantastic—tight, soulful, danceable punk rock played with fervor and swagger. Plus tonight’s show is free! But it’s also a benefit to raise some cash for a new PA at the Blue Moon, so bring a few bucks to donate. With A Gun That Shoots Knives, the Hopscotch Boys, and Red Rapture. (Blue Moon Tavern, 712 NE 45th St, 675-9116. 9 pm, free, 21+.)


    More Last Suppers

    posted by on September 28 at 10:56 AM

    The Catholic League is boycotting Miller Beer over the now-infamous poster for the Folsom Street Fair. I wonder if they’re planning to go after The Tonight Show, John Travolta, Paris Hilton, Carrie Fisher, Pam Dawber, the estate of the “late great John Ritter,” and other celebs over their support and for “juxtaposition artist” Nelson De La Nuez. He’s the artist responsible for this little bit of sacrilege…

    Yo Moma’s Last Supper:


    More examples of Nelson De La Nuez sacrilegious art can be found here and here.

    More last suppers…

    A fury fetish last supper:


    Bunuel’s “Tramps’ Supper” from Viridiana:


    George Carlin’s last supper:


    The Flying Spaghetti Monster’s last supper:


    A pizza parlor’s last supper:


    Donkey Kong’s last supper:


    Uh, some guy’s last supper:


    A last supper sandcastle:


    I await the announcement of the Catholic League’s boycotts of pasta, pizza, Donkey Kong, George Carlin, fury fetishism, etc.


    Dianna in comments directs us to Renee Cox’s “Yo Mama’s Last Supper”:

    LSyomamasmall.jpg Click for the larger version.

    Full collection of last suppers here.

    Never Let Anyone Outside the Family Know What You’re Thinking.

    posted by on September 28 at 10:29 AM


    All Hail Darren D. Misklashuvacis

    posted by on September 28 at 9:55 AM

    Dear Slog readers: I’m on vacation for the next couple weeks and won’t be doing much slogging. Nevertheless, last night I received an email that’s impossible not to share immediately.

    Some context: The item that inspired Darren D. Misklashuvacis to write the following rant is the Monday item of this week’s Last Days. As long-time Slog readers will notice, this guy is clearly gunning for the “Homophobic Psycho of the Year” title previously held by Daniel “Go live in France pussy you faggots!” Freykis. Enjoy.

    Smahder you motherfucker I cannot BELIEVE some of the shit you write in your goddamn worthless paper. I mean seriously ASSHOLE seriously FUCK YOU!!!!!!!

    I don’t read this shit that often don’t let it go to your head or anything. But sometimes you know you need to go take a dump and I will say the Stanger comes in handy because at least it is SHIT while you shit! Now let me get this stright, you got a faggot in charge of the paper and then hey here’s a co-in-key-dink another faggot edits the news. Gee I wonder if there will be a pro fag agenda in the slant of the news or anything huh? So when I read your post in “Last Days” about the fed. prosecutor that wnated to rape the little girl I thought “who is this cocksucker kidding? you motherfuckers INVENTED child rape practicly and then you disingenuously get all huffy about a guy who at least was straight!

    Look this is how things are getting so why are you so wet behind the ears, other than the fact you probably got pissed on by your “boy toy” at the toilet in public or something. Don’t deny it “pissy missy”- like that congreesman in Idaho you all go to where you can dump out your lover as soon as he drops a man bomb in your asshole. You fucking sick faggot motherfuckers I hope you all get AIDS!

    Now back to my point. Why is it that when you guys try to legalize gay marriage and make every church deny God you wonder why there are a ton of people trying to rape children? It’s all over with morality and “open season” once you open the door even a crack. So now faggot run wild in the streets shitting and pissing on each other in your little parade here in Seattle and then all the other perverts say “hey I’m letting my freak flag fly too!” Where’s the underage boys, huh Scmhahder??????????

    God knows how many kids end up in white slavery to serve you perverted needs. Oh I’m a homophobe huh? Fuck you you cocksucker! I’m not AFRAID of ANYTHING bitch, so don’t go running your mouths. Facts are facts: NAMBLA are a pack of FAGGOTS and they popularized the idea of fucking little kids. Nobody had ever even heard of that shit till your buddies came running with their coke bottle glasses and vats of lube! And then YOU have the BALLS to complain and get all morality, like you give a shit about someone who is just “another color on the rainbow of Diversity” right Davey Boy Faggot Ass?????

    Goddamn you all to hell when I moved here and paid GOOD MONEY for my condo I had no idea this city was so overun with pervert faggots. Now every night I come home from the “scene” (trying to meet WOMEN thank you very much the most of whom are fucking DYKES!) and there’s guys licking each others tonsils on my street. Somebody needs to throw cold water on the whole of Capitol hill and get you mohterfuckers to stop fucking in the streets like it was a big fucking carnival or something! And this is all YOUR fault in the “gay estabishment”. Fucking faggots!

    In conclusion: there is no doubt that child rape is the “in thing” thanks to the gays who have ruined all morality with their fucking and mariage proposals. So keep that in mind Mr Numb Nuts the next time you write some shit about pedophiles who are YOUR best buddies and the reason is because of faggot outrages!

    Now go get fucked in the ass by a horse why don’t you you fucking piece of slime! You guys make me SICK and from now on if anybody tries any shit with me in the bathroom I’m going to club them like a baby seal with my blackjack! Warn all your friends this DUDE is STRAIGHT!

    Fuck you asshole! - DD

    Wow. I don’t know where to begin. But it’s nice that he spelled “disingenuously” correctly.

    Asssignment: Yell at the Ducks

    posted by on September 28 at 9:35 AM

    Jessica, a young Seattle woman, can’t stand the Ducks.

    Jessica spent this summer cursing the Ducks under her breath as she waited for her bus near Westlake Center. It’s not just the passengers’ quacking that pisses her off, but also the way the Ducks’ tour guides casually comment on the Seattleites they pass, noting how they dress, what they’re eating, which bus they’re waiting for. Jessica wanted someone with a louder and more obnoxious voice to shout back at the Ducks.

    I met Jessica on the corner of 4th and Pike on a sunny Sunday afternoon. She’d bought me a foot-long yellow bull horn at Daiso, the Japanese superstore in the basement of Westlake Center. She handed it to me, and we scanned the street for the next Duck. We waited about five minutes before the first one appeared. As the Duck began to approach us, something snapped. Well, someone. Jessica went batshit.


    “Your families don’t look like they’re having very much fun!” she yelled at the tourists. Then she looked at me and said, “Aren’t you going to yell!? That’s why you’re here! To help me yell!”

    I did not share Jessica’s anger. To me, the Ducks are a minor annoyance; a kitschy Seattle tourist attraction I’ve never recommended to guests. They don’t make my blood boil. Jessica tried to make me angry. She sang the “Low Rider” song that blasts from every passing Duck. I had to agree with her; the song was irritating. Then she started to feed me some lines. She recommended, “Stop looking at us! You’re not in Disneyland!”, which I shouted. I followed up with, “Show us your boobs!”


    Yelling into the Daiso bull horn made me look a bit like a raving downtown schizophrenic.


    As I began to practice my yell, people across the street stared at me with anxiety. Fifteen minutes later two Ducks appeared simultaneously. They were driving fast! I yelled “stop looking at us!” and the crowd on the bus cheered. I don’t think they understood I was trying to be a jerk. Jessica bristled. We waited for more Ducks. Finally another one came and I yelled the same command. The tour guide on the bus called back to me and said “You don’t need to salute me sir, I’m just a boat captain…at ease.”

    I thought it was a pretty good quip for such short notice and I wondered if he’d been tipped off by other Ducks’ drivers. Of course, Jessica didn’t appreciate it.

    We took a couple pictures of the passengers. One lady looked shocked.

    Here’s an embarrassingly unfunny video we made:

    Seattle’s eleven Ducks, which travel the Space Needle, Pioneer Square, and Fremont, have been in operation since 1998. The ducks operate all year long, although the company cuts back on days in the Winter. Right now ducks depart from the Space Needle six to eight times a day, seven days a week.

    After the assignment I did some research on the company. According to the P-I, a Seattle duck sank in Lake Union in 2001 after passengers were evacuated. This was just two years after a duck owned by another company sank in Hot Springs Arkansas, killing 13 of the 20 on board. The U.S. Coast Guard wrote in a report that the boat took just 30 SECONDS to sink after the captain realized it was in distress. Just like that. Plop.

    I called the company to see whether they had anything to say about either sinking. Ten minutes later, I was talking to Brian Tracey, the owner of the Seattle Ride the Ducks.

    Tracey told me the Seattle boats share little mechanically with the duck that sank in Arkansas. He was also quick to insist that the Seattle boats have been modified since the Lake Union sinking. “They’re even bullet proof!” he told me.

    I told him about my assignment. Tracey laughed. He offered to meet with Jessica and told me he was surprised that she—and by extension, all the citizens of Seattle—didn’t enjoy interacting with the ducks.

    “Most people in Seattle love the ducks,” he told me. “Some people even dance on the street when they go by.” His cluelessness was adorable.

    Tracey told me he thought a ride on the ducks would make Jessica a convert (uhhh no). When I told him I wasn’t sure if she’d be interested, Tracey told me, “some women are just pissed off at everything and can’t stand people having fun.”

    Steven Blum
    Public Intern

    I Secretly Love the Fascist Future …

    posted by on September 28 at 8:39 AM

    because it’s so damn poetic.

    All the new wave lyrics of my youth are coming true.

    Check out this beautiful blurb over at ars technica to describe an article about urban surveillance systems:

    IBM has sold Chicago on a mass surveillance system that will place a set of tireless software eyes behind the city’s camera network.

    Software Eyes is the name of my new band. City Camera Network is our first album.


    Environmentalism + Capitalism = Obviously

    posted by on September 28 at 8:24 AM

    The conventional thinking that pits big business against environmentalism is officially dead.

    This short, simple, no-brainer article from this week’s NYT business section, “Banks Urging U.S. to Adopt the Trading of Emissions,” shows why a cap and trade system for carbon emissions (a local version was scuttled by the Democratic majority in Olympia earlier this year) would fuel the national economy.

    A cap and trade system works like this: The government sets a hard limit on carbon emissions then it divvies up the allowable emissions and makes companies buy up credits to collectively hit that limit. The credits that companies buy from the state for the right to pollute take on financial value because the companies then buy and sell the credits from one another. Companies that concentrate on reducing emissions can sell their increasingly valuable extra credits to companies that are maxing out on emissions limits.

    Meanwhile, and this is why the big banks think it’s a grand idea, a speculative commodities market will develop on Wall Street around carbon credits. The NYT reports:

    The banking companies, which include Citigroup, Lehman Brothers Holdings and Morgan Stanley, are giving strong signs that Wall Street wants Washington to open the way to reduced emissions using a trading system based on the Kyoto Protocol … Carbon traders say emissions permits could become the world’s largest commodities market if developed economies agree to take part in second-phase Kyoto negotiations, to be held in Bali, Indonesia, in December.

    The European Union already has a cap and trade system and—in what appears to be a bad sign—the price of the carbon credits tanked. But if you actually look at what happened, I think it’s a good and instructive sign. The European system is based on exceeding limits—that is, the credits are for any emissions over the cap. And the EU overallocated those credits, or more simply: They allowed too much pollution.

    If the U.S. adopted a model, like the one I described above, where there was a hard cap and credits were only for emissions up to the limit (rather than a market for excess emissions), there’d be no deflationary spiral like there was in Europe. In fact, the opposite would happen. The credits would become valuable and, more important, companies would start figuring out how to lower emissions.

    The Morning News

    posted by on September 28 at 7:18 AM

    Private Security: The investigation into the firm Blackwater USA reveals guards firing on civilians, turning guns on each other.

    Military State: Pakistan’s high court declares Gen. Pervez Musharraf can run for re-election as president.

    Myanmar Madness: The government’s crackdown has reached bloggers.

    Lost & Found: After being missing for eight days, Tanya Rider of Maple Valley was found trapped inside her car yesterday. She remains in critical condition at Harborview.

    Health Care Hustle: A bill expanding child health coverage, which president Bush vowed to veto even before reading the final language, passed the Senate with a veto-proof majority yesterday. It remains two dozen votes short of being veto-proof in the House.

    Name Dropping: Nicholas Rajula, running for parliament in Kenya, is claiming to be a distant cousin of Barack Obama.

    Clearing the Clusterfuck: President Bush is pressuring airline executives to reduce delays at the nation’s airports.

    Race and the White House: Giuliani, McCain, Romney and Thompson all skipped yesterday’s debate at Morgan State University.

    Puppet Masters: Creepy, super-secret conservative group to meet with creepy, super-secretive vice president in Utah.

    brickPhone: Apple wages losing war, updates tries to stick it to hackers and modders with an update to its iPhone software.

    Sims’s Surprise: King County executive Ron Sim came out against the $17.8 billion Transit/Roads package yesterday.

    Nickels’s Nimcompoopery: The mayor vetoed the City Council’s neutered club ordinance yesterday, calling it “meanlingless” and a “waste of time and city resources.”

    Pet Issue: King County’s animal shelters are a mess, in need of serious overhaul.

    Enxo04 brings teh Halo 3 ownage:

    Thursday, September 27, 2007

    Lindy West Is the Funniest Human Alive

    posted by on September 27 at 6:02 PM

    Don’t believe me? Read her review of The Game Plan, available only on the web. I swear to god, you will die laughing as I just did ten minutes ago when I was putting it up on the site.


    Lindy, I’ve been looking for a sensei lately…


    posted by on September 27 at 4:34 PM

    Don’t tell anyone I posted something to Slog about the cast for Project Runway 4. No one as cute as Daniel V., sadly, and I’m guessing that Chris is the first off the show based on that shirt/tie combo alone.

    More impressions based solely on cast photos: Simone is wearing too much lipstick, Christian’s hair makes my head hurt; and Marion looks like he’s in a touring production of Oliver; Ricky’s hate is tragic; and is Kit seriously wearing a beret?

    Oh, and I’m betting that Victorya is the villain—they haven’t had an Asian villain yet. It’s about time, don’t you think?

    Still No Nightclub License

    posted by on September 27 at 4:01 PM

    So, it used to be that the council was the butt of every competency joke.

    Now it’s the mayor. He vetoed his own nightlife legislation today.

    That’s cool. That’s what we’ve been recommending all along.

    Looks like the he’s given up on the issue.

    Today in Line Out

    posted by on September 27 at 3:20 PM

    Old World Vs. New World: Camille Saint Saëns vs. Arcade Fire.

    Tonight @ Pony: Circus and Tequila!

    Tonight @ Club Pop: Ari Spool’s high school reunion.

    Sound Check: Hi-hats how to.

    Kinski: Playing tonight with wolves in the throne room.

    Danced Music for Depressed People: Also playing tonight with Tennis Pro, We Wrote the Book on Connectors, Partman Parthorse, and more!

    Moved: The Arctic Monkeys show goes to the Paramount.

    And because Jonah liked it so much when I posted it yesterday


    An aye-aye!

    Meanwhile in Burma

    posted by on September 27 at 2:37 PM

    Watching this video makes me a bit embarrassed about obsessing over the Folsom Street Fair poster—here’s hoping Bill Donohue feels the same way. Andrew Sullivan is following the events in Burma pretty closely, and tossing up lots of links.

    The junta will accept the UN envoy. Perino reads Bush’s statement. The Internet ban is not succeeding too well. The guy in the photo I posted earlier today is the Japanese journalist shot dead by the military. At least one other journalist has been killed…. Bono is stirring, which may help get more international attention. Havel adds his voice. BBC video is available here. Some gripping YouTubes (including the one above) can be found here. There are some reports that the crowds are growing, despite reports of over 700 arrests last night and attacks on three more monasteries.

    Re: Motel #2: It’s Happening

    posted by on September 27 at 2:24 PM

    As Brendan says, the second installment of the Motel performance/art series is on.

    Last Sunday I caught Thike Thin’s (Mike Min’s) performance Herding Cats, which was coincidental, since I was fresh from my first-ever visit to the Woodland Zoo, with its smashing jaguar and ocelot, when I drove up 99 to the secret location (call 206-782-8872 to find out where it is). (The name of the location is another animal reference, oddly.)

    What I saw when I got there was the detritus of a meeting of cats plotting world domination. Evidently, according to videos from the performance, this meeting at one point was chaired by the artist. He presided over the group of cats as they plotted and ate snacks.

    When I got there, the meeting appeared to be on break. Sheets of paper describing goals and strategies were taped to the walls. It looked like a very productive time.

    Under the conference table smack in the center of the room, a fuzzy, petite black cat sat in the upright position. Judging from the Humane Society placards in the window, her name was Ginger. There were other placards describing other cats, but I didn’t see any of them. (I imagined, hopefully, that they’d been adopted right out from under the performance.)

    The window was open slightly, so I tried talking to Ginger. She did not respond.

    The Gay 60s

    posted by on September 27 at 2:20 PM

    What are gay retirees to do? An estimated 10,000 LGBT Americans reach retirement age each week. They live alone at twice the rate of their hetero counterparts, most don’t have social support from children, and few mainstream retirement centers are gay friendly. Although many queer seniors want to live on their own or already have well-established social circles, others are looking for a likeminded community.

    In Seattle, some gay seniors have found Washington Terrace, owned by the behemoth nonprofit developer SHAG—the Senior Housing Assistance Group.

    69-year-old Hugh Charest is one of them. A former nurse for the US Army and Group Health, Hugh is part of an emerging generation of gay retirees who refuse to go back in the closet—historically the norm for gays and lesbians who want to make friends in an elder community. His ex-lover is dying with brain cancer at Bailey-Boushay House. His nephew wants Hugh to move in with his wife and 11-month daughter in Lake Stevens. But Hugh’s not having it: “I wouldn’t live that far away from this city for nobody.”


    Still, he is lonely. “I get home around 7 p.m. and sit here,” he says in his one-bedroom apartment on First Hill. “That never was normal for me. I think I’d be a lot more active if I had people do things with.”

    To accommodate folks like Hugh, retirement centers for gays and lesbians are proliferating around the country – in Arizona, California, Florida, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, and Washington, D.C – but there are none in Washington State.

    Instead, Hugh has found a retirement community in the International District that welcomes gays and lesbians. The first time Hugh visited Washington Terrace he met a couple other gay men. Later, a tenant’s son told him that one of the floors had 13 gay men living on it. Last Thursday, he signed the paperwork to lease his new apartment.


    “There’s a gay population nearby and we’re affordable,” explains SHAG’s Executive Director Bill Fenner. Washington Terrace perches over Elliott Bay on the steep hill at 7th Ave and Yesler St. The building was finished less than a year ago and Hugh got one of the last 10 available apartments. 136 units, all guaranteed to never become condos, are rented to persons with limited income, who are disabled and over 55 or fully abled and over 65. It is one of two most recent additions to SHAG’s growing empire.

    Since 1988 SHAG has constructed 34 buildings comprising 3300 units in Western Washington, all designated for retirees, making it the state’s largest provider of affordable senior housing. Lately, Fenner says, “We’ve been concentrating in the Seattle area.” Another construction, set for Highland Park, is slated to have three buildings with 449 apartments. And an illustration of another massive SHAG development in Lake City is shown after the jump. In lieu of gay retirement centers, these communities in the city, with their progressively minded straight residents, could be the future of gay retirement in Seattle.

    Continue reading "The Gay 60s" »

    Re: The Ron Sims News

    posted by on September 27 at 1:52 PM

    In the death by 1,000 cuts syndrome, environmentalists, Ron Sims, and road warriors like Kemper Freeman aren’t the only ones lining up against the $17.8 billion transit/roads package.

    A new campaign group, Neighbors Against Proposition 1, registered with the Public Disclosure Commission earlier this week.

    So far They’ve got three contributions totaling $2,025.

    Small potatoes right now. But those contributions come from some pretty fancy addresses in the Roanoke neighborhood. And according to member Fran Conely, their support stretches from Laurelhurst to Eastlake to Madison Park to Broadmoor to Wallingford. And that highlights the significance here: It’s a coalition of disparate neighborhood groups who were previously at odds over the plan for 520. But now, members from all those community councils have found some common ground and formed a splinter group that’s united against the roads portion of the package because the plan doesn’t satisfy their priorities for improving the corridor.

    If you think the zealous environmentalists at the local Sierra Club are willing to set aside some liberal goals to oppose 50 miles of light rail, wait until you see how riled up otherwise pro-transit Seattle neighborhood groups can get.

    The roads package was wedded to transit by the politicians in Olympia so that roads expansion could count on Seattle’s massive bloc of liberal voters. Ironically, those liberal voters may be the reason the package fails.


    posted by on September 27 at 1:43 PM

    Skillet, Seattle’s newest best thing ever (extolled here), isn’t away this week because they got shut down.

    (Although they did. I spoke with Danny, one of the Skilleteers, this morning, and he said they ran out of water on site that day, but that they sorted it out and everything’s cool. He sounded relaxed; maybe you can’t not sound relaxed when you have the accent of Kentucky? The health department was apparently all over them instantaneously. Which, unlike some people, I kind of think is a good thing, especially after reading a recent piece by Calvin Trillin in the world’s best magazine, in which he journeys to Singapore and, thanks to their insane level of food-safety vigilance, partakes freely and without fear of internal repercussions of millions of delicious foods from millions of delicious street carts. If you’re going to be eating hot food from a cart or an Airstream or what have you, don’t you kind of want them to have a multicompartment sink with hot and cold running water? And refrigeration? That’s what Seattle’s regulations require.)

    Skillet’s away because they’re catering a photo shoot for Harley Davidson in Los Angeles. Skillet got its start doing this, which Danny termed “combat catering.” Combat? He laughed. It’s just what they call it. He said it’s unlikely they’ll be serving food to actual bikers or even actors playing bikers; these shoots usually involve “a pretty picture of the bike sittin’ in the sunset,” and Skillet feeds the crew.

    They’ll be back next week, down in South Lake Union on Wednesday and Thursday, Ballard on Friday (check here). On the menu, per Danny:

    • “Something with mushrooms”
    • “Definitely the burger and the poutine”
    • Probably the Thai coconut soup (“Oh god, it’s so good”)
    • Crispy artichoke hearts with chipotle aioli
    • And other delicious stuff


    All hail Skillet!

    Republicans vs. Tavis Smiley

    posted by on September 27 at 1:20 PM

    Do Republicans care about black people? That’s sure to be at least one of the subtexts to tonight’s All-American Presidential Forum on PBS, which will be attended by some of the Republican presidential candidates (but not Romney, Giuliani, or McCain, who all blew it off). The event will be moderated by Tavis Smiley, begins at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST), and, according to PBS:

    The All-American Presidential Forums on PBS marks the first time that a panel comprised of journalists of color is represented in primetime.

    Double Feature: The New In/Visibles Are Up

    posted by on September 27 at 1:19 PM

    For one time only, this week’s installment of my art podcast In/Visible is two installments: British-born, New York-based artist Anthony McCall, and Australian artist Patricia Piccinini.

    McCall, the Comeback Kid, began his career with fire performances and then moved into filmic sculptures made of air, one of which is on marvelous display at Western Bridge.


    Piccinini’s first American survey, amazingly, is at the little old Frye Art Museum (which, of course, curator Robin Held has spent the last few years making neither little in stature nor old in attitude). Her sculpture, drawing, video, and photography is at the intersection of art, nature, and technology. For instance, she invented a species of frightful bodyguards for endangered species, one of which is seen below. Its assigned animal is the Golden Helmeted Honeyeater, a little yellow bird. Hear her talk here.


    The Democratic Front-Runner

    posted by on September 27 at 12:45 PM

    The press corps in Washington, D.C., says it’s Hillary Clinton. And they make a good argument. But in my column in this week’s Stranger I point out that, at least in this Washington, it’s Barack Obama.


    The Shitty-Tasting Soda Craze Has Gone Too Far

    posted by on September 27 at 12:15 PM

    The madness must stop.


    Robert Jamieson: Seattle’s Andy Rooney

    posted by on September 27 at 11:59 AM

    Seattle P-I columnist Robert Jamieson wants to start a movement to shame Seattle drivers, who he calls “the worst in the nation.” Um, Robert? Have you ever driven in another city? Says Jamieson:

    I’ve watched motorists pull up to a four-stop intersection and become paralyzed by politeness. Each driver wants the other to go first. No one ends up going anywhere until one of them shatters the veneer of decorum and wrenching indecision by honking like a crazed chimp.

    If people are not brazenly cutting folks off in traffic, they are flipping the bird as they ride your bumper merging onto I-5.

    They are oblivious to strange white markings in the street — you know, crosswalks.

    Har! See what he did there? He called crosswalks “strange white markings in the street”—because THEY’RE NOT ACTUALLY STRANGE!

    Jamieson continues:

    Seattle could use a champion of road rules, an Emily Post-like crusader for driving etiquette, someone to keep folks honest [ECB: Yeah, THAT’s what we need]…

    When the light is green, Seattle, go. Red — doh! — means brake. Turn signals aren’t Christmas lights — for use just once a year.

    Don’t get stuck in the middle of an intersection trying to beat a red. Don’t haul unsecured cargo that might fly away. And don’t do as some Seattleites — you know who you are — who approach driving like a three-ring circus: They wolf down a burger as they apply mascara or text message the wife while doing 50 in a 35mph zone.

    Here’s a phrase that fits: DWD — Driving While Dumb.

    Uh, no, Robert; the phrase that actually fits is WWN— — Writing While Ninety.

    The New Hampshire Debate, Part 2

    posted by on September 27 at 11:45 AM

    Another exchange from last night that people are dissecting today:

    MS. KING: The issues surrounding gay rights have been hotly debated here in New England. For example, last year some parents of second graders in Lexington, Massachusetts, were outraged to learn their children’s teacher had read a story about same-sex marriage, about a prince who marries another prince.

    Same-sex marriage is legal in Massachusetts, but most of you oppose it. Would you be comfortable having this story read to your children as part of their school curriculum? …

    MR. EDWARDS: Yes, absolutely…

    SENATOR OBAMA: You know, I feel very similar to John…

    SENATOR CLINTON: Well, I — I really respect what both John and Barack said. I think that we’ve seen differences used for divisive purposes, for political purposes in the last several elections, and I think every one of us on this stage are really personally opposed to that and will do everything we can to prevent it.

    With respect to your individual children, that is such a matter of parental discretion…

    Clinton, with her hedging answer, was obviously anticipating this:

    Mitt Romney issued a statement this morning condemning the Democratic candidates for their refusal at last night’s debate to rule out teaching about gay issues to second-graders.

    One I’d Never Heard Before

    posted by on September 27 at 11:43 AM


    Jewish Bankroll: a wad of one-dollar bills, or a wad of ones wrapped in a single 20- or 100-dollar bill.

    Motel #2: It’s Happening

    posted by on September 27 at 11:36 AM

    Remember Motel #1?


    Remember the camera obscura, the roomful of sand, the indoor campfire?


    Motel #2 is a different affair—a week of single performances in a single room in a working motel, not a defunct one.

    You can peer through the motel room window from the outside looking in to view the performances at any time during this week. This is a working motel – do NOT bother other occupants. Too many people chit-chattin outside the room and they may decide to kick us out. No more than 5 viewers at any one time. As MOTEL #1 was a whirring maelstrom, MOTEL #2 is a workhorse. Performance artists have committed to working shifts of no less than 8 hours, 24/7, during which they will clock in their intense and sometimes grueling pieces.

    It’s happening right now. You can see the performances happening on a webcam on the Seattle School site. (Right now the group Curry/Dillon is in there, and it wants stories—call 851-9462 or email

    The schedule is here.

    The New Hampshire Debate

    posted by on September 27 at 11:27 AM

    I blogged a bit about it last night, but one moment that stuck with me (and a lot of other people) was Hillary Clinton’s response on torture. Here’s the question:

    RUSSERT: I want to move to another subject, and this involves a comment that a guest on Meet the Press made, and I want to read it, as follows: Imagine the following scenario. We get lucky. We get the number three guy in Al Qaida. We know there’s a big bomb going off in America in three days and we know this guy knows where it is.

    RUSSERT: Don’t we have the right and responsibility to beat it out of him? You could set up a law where the president could make a finding or could guarantee a pardon.

    Obama was asked to answer first:

    OBAMA: America cannot sanction torture. It’s a very straightforward principle, and one that we should abide by. Now, I will do whatever it takes to keep America safe. And there are going to be all sorts of hypotheticals and emergency situations and I will make that judgment at that time. But what we cannot do is have the president of the United States state, as a matter of policy, that there is a loophole or an exception where we would sanction torture. I think that diminishes us and it sends the wrong message to the world.

    Then came Biden, who basically agreed with Obama. And then came Clinton:

    RUSSERT: Senator Clinton, this is the number three man in Al Qaida. We know there’s a bomb about to go off, and we have three days, and we know this guy knows where it is. Should there be a presidential exception to allow torture in that kind of situation?

    CLINTON: You know, Tim, I agree with what Joe and Barack have said. As a matter of policy it cannot be American policy period… These hypotheticals are very dangerous because they open a great big hole in what should be an attitude that our country and our president takes toward the appropriate treatment of everyone. And I think it’s dangerous to go down this path.

    This set up one of the most interesting moments of the debate:

    RUSSERT: The guest who laid out this scenario for me with that proposed solution was William Jefferson Clinton last year. So he disagrees with you.

    CLINTON: Well, he’s not standing here right now.


    RUSSERT: So there is a disagreement?

    CLINTON: Well, I’ll talk to him later.


    The exchange is fascinating because it highlights, again, how fine a line Clinton has to walk on two meta-issues: Being a woman running for president, and being the wife of Bill Clinton running for president.

    Hillary Clinton generally does everything she can to allay the reptilian-brain fears that a woman can’t be as good a defender of the nation as a man. But last night she passed over a huge opportunity to appear tougher than most of the men on stage. She could very easily have embraced the “beat it out of him” idea in limited scenarios such as the one Russert presented, and in the process scored some points with people who doubt her toughness. Instead, Clinton reached for a higher principle—not a bad move, either, although it’s been pointed out that she hasn’t always been against torture in such instances.

    But then, as a result of reaching for a higher principle, she got caught looking less tough then her husband, who actually was president and, according to Russert, favored the right to get tough on people in such circumstances. But: Then she joked about planning to straighten her husband out later—suggesting that she easily could.

    What’s a reptilian brain to think? Hillary Clinton doesn’t support torture in the “ticking time bomb” scenario, even though her husband apparently does, and she believes she’s in the superior position (politically, philosophically, decision-making-wise) in their relationship.

    For people thinking with their higher brains, Clinton probably came out of this exchange looking pretty good. But for people—especially men—who are thinking with their lower reptilian brains, I’m not so sure.

    And since there’s now presumably video of both torture answers (the Hillary answer and the Bill answer) I expect this all to show up in a Republican him vs. her commercial if she wins the nomination.

    Ron Sims Comes Out Against the Transit/Roads Package

    posted by on September 27 at 11:25 AM

    In an editorial in this morning’s Seattle Times, KC Executive—and Sound Transit board member—Ron Sims came out against the $17.8 billion transit/roads package.

    Sims argues that the package fails to really increase transit ridership and ease congestion. He also objects to the sales tax financing (“regressive taxes on the working poor”—which is a little ironic given that his $50-million-a-year Transit Now package just raised the sales tax by one tenth last year). And he beats the Sierra Club drum, arguing that the proposal—which includes just over $1 billion for I-405 expansion—contradicts the fight against global warming.

    Sims, who previously released a congestion pricing (tolling) plan, thinks that implementing tolls, plus making a less expensive investment in bus rapid transit, will generate and free up money to invest in a smarter light rail package.

    This may appear politically kooky, but remember: Sims is the guy who came out against both the tunnel and the viaduct rebuild earlier this year, helping to move the “kooky” surface/transit option forward.

    Ultimately, Sims surprise editorial echoes exactly what’s going on in Seattle—as ECB’s timely story in this week’s news section reports: pro-transit folks, who evidently now include longtime Sound Transit board member and light rail advocate Sims, aren’t supporting Sound Transit’s current bid for a 50-mile extension north and east.

    The big question for Sims is whether he also supports the Sierra Club’s push to bring a light rail vote back next year.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on September 27 at 11:00 AM


    Naomi Klein at Town Hall

    The author of No Logo has a new book that names the latest stage of capital—The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. Her point is this: In recent years, capital has absorbed major disasters into its profit-making logic. The tsunami of 2004, Hurricane Katrina, Iraq, 9/11—all have offered fresh (and spectacular) opportunities for the extraction of surplus value. With this turn in her thinking, the Marxism of Klein meets the Marxism of Mike Davis. (Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 652-4255. 7:30 pm, $5.)


    Talkin ‘Bout Evolution

    posted by on September 27 at 10:55 AM

    The first time I read the following phrase in the New York Times, it warmed my little intelligent design-despising heart:

    There is no credible scientific challenge to the idea that all living things evolved from common ancestors, that evolution on earth has been going on for billions of years and that evolution can be and has been tested and confirmed by the methods of science. [Cornelia Dean, “Evolution takes a back seat in US classes,” Feb 2, 2005.]

    It was a landmark. Journalists had been trapped in the scientists-say/but-whackjobs-assert lockbox since intelligent design first reared its stupid head, so this adamancy was incredibly refreshing. The phrase didn’t seem quite so fresh, however, the next time it appeared:

    ”We were invited to debate one supposed theory against another,” Dr. Leshner said, when in fact there was no credible scientific challenge to the theory of evolution. [Cornelia Dean, “Opting Out in the Debate on Evolution,” June 21, 2005.]

    Or the next:

    “Darwinian evolution is the foundation of modern biology. While researchers may debate details of how the mechanism of evolution plays out, there is no credible scientific challenge to the underlying theory.” [Cornelia Dean and Laurie Goodstein, “Leading Cardinal Redefines Church’s View on Evolution,” July 9, 2005.]

    Or the next:

    There is no credible scientific challenge to the idea that evolution explains the diversity of life on earth, but advocates for intelligent design posit that biological life is so complex that it must have been designed by an intelligent source. [Ian Fisher and Cornelia Dean, “In ‘Design’ vs. Darwinism, Darwin Wins Point in Rome ,” Jan 19, 2006.]

    Cornelia Dean! It’s good to be emphatic, but you start to sound like a robot—one of those Darwin-believin’ automatons whom the Discovery Institute takes great pleasure in deriding. Recently the statement of fact has hardened into a single immutable sentence, as in Dean’s “Science of the Soul? ‘I Think, Therefore I Am’ Is Losing Force” [June 26, 2007] and her article on the deceptive practices of the producers of that ID agitprop with Ben Stein that Dan linked to below [“Scientists Feel Miscast in Film on Life’s Origin,” today]:

    There is no credible scientific challenge to the theory of evolution as an explanation for the complexity and diversity of life on earth.

    It’s getting tired. Mix it up sometimes, NYT.

    Cascade People’s Center to Close

    posted by on September 27 at 10:51 AM


    Thomas St & Pontius Ave N

    South Lake Union

    The Cascade People’s Center (CPC), at 309 Pontius Ave N, will close in December unless they are able to appeal a recent decision by the city to cut their funding.

    According to CPC’s Director, Myla Becker, about 65%—or $211,000—of the CPC’s annual budget comes from the city’s human services dept. This year, their funding proposal was denied and Becker says she’s not sure why. “Our use is so high,” she says. “Fiscally we are sound. [The city said] that it wasn’t because of performance.” The CPC has requested an explanation from the city—which they’ll receive in a month—but the center on has 10 days to appeal the city’s decision.

    The center—which runs a free after school program, support groups and language classes—rents their site from the Seattle Parks Department. “This was a vacant building…10 years ago,” Becker says. “There are 6500 people that come through the center every year [and] we’re the only community gathering place in this neighborhood.”

    On Friday, the CPC will hold an open-mic night and asking families to sign petitions in support of the center.

    On the Cover

    posted by on September 27 at 10:16 AM


    This week’s cover image, Red Bomb X, by William Hundley, comes to us from Ballard’s OKOK Gallery. If you’ve followed OKOK’s evolution from toy store (sort of) to full-on art gallery, you already know that it’s one of the most consistently interesting art spaces in town.

    For more of Mr. Hundley’s photos, take a look here and here.

    Catholic League Announces Miller Beer Boycott

    posted by on September 27 at 10:10 AM

    It’s on.

    Catholic League president Bill Donohue announced a national boycott of Miller Beer on this morning’s “Fox and Friends.” …

    “This all started when we learned that Miller was sponsoring an event that featured an obscene ad thrashing the Last Supper. After being pressured, Miller offered a lame statement of regret and said it was pulling its logo from the ad. Not only has it not done so—it is still posted on the website of the street fair—Miller refuses to withdraw its sponsorship…. Accordingly, Miller leaves us with no options: we are calling on more than 200 Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu organizations to join with us in a nationwide boycott of Miller beer. We feel confident that once our religious allies kick in, and once the public sees the photos of an event Miller is proudly supporting, the Milwaukee brewery will come to its senses and pull its sponsorship altogether.”

    To ensure that the public sees the photos of the event, the Catholic League has thoughtfully posted dozens of pics from last year’s Folsom Street Fair on their website. Some of my favorites after the jump.

    Continue reading "Catholic League Announces Miller Beer Boycott" »

    Michelle Obama on Iowa

    posted by on September 27 at 10:10 AM

    Via Ben Smith and the Quad City Times:

    She said Barack needs Iowa to win.

    “Iowa will make the difference,” Obama said. “If Barack doesn’t win Iowa it is over.”

    UPDATE: This was apparently a misquote.

    MoMA Gets Kathy Halbreich

    posted by on September 27 at 10:10 AM

    I’m sure this has the art blogosphere on fire already this morning, but for those few poor souls who get their only art news from Slog, the latest is that the Museum of Modern Art has created a new position—associate director in charge of contemporary art—for museum-director superstar Kathy Halbreich, who has spent the last 16 years making the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis an up-to-the-minute spot in terms of art, architecture, technology, and curation.

    Halbreich represents everything MoMA’s contemporary program needs to be: nimble, experimental, quick on the uptake. I can not wait to see what she’ll do there.

    As for us here in Seattle, our pipe dreams for the Henry Art Gallery are dashed. An unusually high number of museums are looking for directors right now, including the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle’s contemporary museum. When the Henry’s blog posted a poll of dream candidates online, Halbreich was the frontrunner by a mile. What was she thinking choosing the Museum of Modern Art over the Henry?

    (Thanks go to Slog tipper and fellow art chronicler Steven Vroom.)

    Anyone Else Up at 4 AM?

    posted by on September 27 at 9:33 AM

    As fate would have it—or was a miracle?—I was awake at 4 AM this morning. So I could have gone Fox News to calmly discuss Folsom Street Fair’s loving homage to Da Vinci’s “Last Supper” with Bill Donohue after all. Oh, well.

    Did anyone catch Donohue this AM? I was tempted to turn on the teevee and watch Bill put trot his outrage ‘round the track. But I knew that would send my blood pressure through the roof and I was kinda, sorta hoping I go back asleep.

    And in case you missed it on Slog last night, check out Chicago Fan’s take on the FSF’s kinky last supper.

    Colby Underwood’s Bad Analogy

    posted by on September 27 at 9:30 AM

    A substantial 8 percent (estimated) of Democratic candidate Darcy Burner’s cash comes from Microsoft employees. And (estimated) a substantial 11-15 percent of Port candidate Gael Tarleton’s cash comes from employees of Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a port security company. Why is this interesting?

    Stick with me.

    I was interviewing local fundraiser extraordinaire Colby Underwood yesterday, and I asked him why a guy like him, who told me he works for “good Democrats,” —he works for Burner, for example, who’s challenging GOP incumbent Rep. Dave Reichert— was also working for status quo corporate candidate Port incumbent Bob Edwards against hard-nosed Democrat Tarleton.

    Defending his work for Bob Edwards, Underwood said he was troubled by all the money Tarleton’s gotten from her former employer SAIC. “All that money from one company doesn’t feel right,” Underwood said. “It reminds me of Halliburton.”

    But then Underwood tried to make a point by bringing up his other candidate, Burner. Underwood said it makes sense for Burner—a former Microsoft exec—to have raised a lot of money from Microsoft employees because it stands to reason her former colleagues would want to kick in. They know her work, and so those contributions speak well of the candidate.

    But that’s exactly—exactly––what Tarleton says about her SAIC money. She worked for SAIC for 12 years.

    When I interviewed Tarleton last summer about the controversy over her SAIC contributions (opponents had raised concerns that taking contributions from a port security company, particularly one she used to work for, might constitute a conflict of interest), she said: “When I made my list to start raising money for this Port race, a lot of my friends from SAIC— who know what I do and how well I do it—went on my list.”

    So, there you have it.

    I hate to play gotcha, but Underwood’s anti-Tarleton spin directly contradicts his pro-Burner spin. (And by the way, Microsoft probably has more issues in front of Congress these days than SAIC has in front of the Port of Seattle.)

    As for Burner’s Microsoft money: Burner has raised $33,625 from Microsoft so far in 2007. The latest reports aren’t out yet, but with her $125,000 take last month from a major anti-Bush fundraiser, I think Burner’s hitting about $400,000. So, $33,000 is somewhere around 8 percent from Microsoft employees.

    I don’t know exactly where Tarleton’s SAIC money stands now, but given that she’s raised about $150,000, I’d say her SAIC money, which was at about $16,000 when the issue blew up last summer, is probably somewhere around 15 percent now.

    Underwood backed off his Burner example when I pointed out the similarities to Tarleton’s explanation of her SAIC contributions, and simply said Bob Edwards had more experience at the Port than Tarleton … which is exactly what the GOP says about Reichert over Burner.

    The Good War

    posted by on September 27 at 9:18 AM

    The point of Ken Burns’ The War?
    burnswar.jpg A writer at Metro Times put it this way:

    America is smack-dab in the middle of The War, both literally and televisionally. However, in this age when our brave young men and women are dying overseas every day for a cause both ill-defined and seemingly without resolution, it’s almost inspiring to immerse oneself in a time when America was compelled to engage in “a necessary war.”
    That there is the idealogical function of the The War documentary. Its goal is to remind us that not all wars are like the one in Iraq. There are wars (World War Two, for example) that are necessary, noble, stand on sound moral foundations. But is this reminder good or bad? It is…bad. If there is one great thing about the war in Iraq it is it failed to hide the truth about war: war is a waste of money, time, lives. This has always been and will always be the case: war is a waste of everything that is human. Iraq tells this truth; Iraq is a butt nekkid war.

    Because World War Two is considered to be “a just war,” a war that was necessary, it hides the truth about the state of war (a waste of lives, money, and time). World War Two is a war that wore the clothes of an emperor. But some, like Burns, quickly point to German and Japanese aggression, to the extermination of humans, and other evils as good reasons for the war. All wars are preventable. Indeed, prevention is the first victim of a war. Before it can murder people, a war must first murder all of the reasons that are preventing it from happening and replace them with reasons that will expand its state of violence.

    Right On Mom

    posted by on September 27 at 9:00 AM

    Remember the mom in Portland that came out swinging in defense of her high-school age daughter after she was kicked off a bus for kissing another girl? Well, she’s not the only right-on mom out there. From today’s Ithaca Journal:

    Heathyre Farnham said Principal Ann Sincock approached her in the lunchroom and asked to see her T-shirt. It read, according to Farnham, “Gay? Fine By Me.” The principal said the shirt was not acceptable and directed her to the dean of students, who concurred. Farnham went to the nurse’s office to call her mother but couldn’t reach her at work. She spoke again with the principal, who told her she would have to change or alter the shirt or go home. She went home. At home, Farnham did reach her mother, Brynda Beeman, who suggested she contact the news media.

    Which is just what the teen—the straight-identified teen—did. Good for her.

    Some Thoughts Flipping Through the NYT This Morning

    posted by on September 27 at 8:20 AM


    The U.S. Navy’s huge swastika wasn’t a problem when only God could see it.

    People suck.

    Ben Stein is a fuckstick.

    There is no morality without religion.

    I’m glad Gail Collins is writing columns for the op-ed pages again.

    Required Viewing

    posted by on September 27 at 8:10 AM

    Bill Clinton on Move On’s “General Betray Us” ad:

    The Morning News

    posted by on September 27 at 7:20 AM

    Trigger Happy: Security contractor Blackwater USA, currently under investigation in Baghdad and Washington D.C., is #1 in shooting incidents in Iraq.

    Meanwhile in Myanmar: Tear gas, beatings, and at least half-a-dozen dead as government security continues to crack down on protesters.

    Keep Throwing Money At It: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates wants another $42.3 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If approved, the increase would boost the 2008 war budget to $190 billion.

    Idiots in Charge: Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, doesn’t hate gay people, he just thinks they’re immoral and go against God’s law.

    Hot Air: President Bush is having a meeting with “delegates from the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters” so they can hammer out some “aspirational goals” to deal with this whole global warming thing.

    More Hot Air: Another goddamn presidential debate for the Democrats.

    High-Tech Low-Jack: Washington now has a new tool to help keep track of registered sex offenders.

    The Will of the People: Challengers of Washington’s “top two” primary system are headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    All Gas Must Go: Puget Sound Energy is slashing the price of natural gas by 13%.

    Please Accept Apologies in Advance:

    Unconstitutional Amendments

    posted by on September 27 at 2:38 AM

    In a decision that gets righteous about the Fourth Amendment and cites the Federalist Papers and the Bill of Rights, a Federal District Court Judge in Oregon reined in the PATRIOT Act yesterday.

    U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken said that the PATRIOT Act —which amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)—violated the Constitution because it, “permits the executive branch of government to conduct surveillance and searches of American citizens without satisfying the probable cause requirement of the Fourth Amendment.”

    The ruling went in favor of plaintiff Brandon Mayfield, a Muslim attorney in Portland who was wrongly arrested and held by the FBI in 2004 in connection with the Madrid bombings.

    From the decision:

    Moreover, the constitutionally required interplay between Executive action, Judicial decision, and Congressional enactment, has been eliminated by the FISA amendments. Prior to the amendments, the three branches of government operated with thoughtful and deliberate checks and balances - a principle upon which our Nation was founded. These constitutional checks and balances effectively curtail overzealous executive, legislative, or judicial activity regardless of the catalyst for overzealousness. The Constitution contains bedrock principles that the framers believed essential. Those principles should not be easily altered by the expediencies of the moment.

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a succinct break down of the District Court’s ruling here.

    Political Texts

    posted by on September 27 at 12:13 AM

    This seems like one of those “First they came for the Jews…” moments.

    The New York Times reports on Verizon’s decision not to carry text messages from Naral Pro-Choice America.

    The dispute over the Naral messages is a skirmish in the larger battle over the question of “net neutrality” — whether carriers or Internet service providers should have a voice in the content they provide to customers.

    “This is right at the heart of the problem,” said Susan Crawford, a visiting professor at the University of Michigan law school, referring to the treatment of text messages. “The fact that wireless companies can choose to discriminate is very troubling.”

    In turning down the program, Verizon, one of the nation’s two largest wireless carriers, told Naral that it does not accept programs from any group “that seeks to promote an agenda or distribute content that, in its discretion, may be seen as controversial or unsavory to any of our users.” Naral provided copies of its communications with Verizon to The New York Times.

    Nancy Keenan, Naral’s president, said Verizon’s decision interfered with political speech and activism.

    “No company should be allowed to censor the message we want to send to people who have asked us to send it to them,” Ms. Keenan said. “Regardless of people’s political views, Verizon customers should decide what action to take on their phones. Why does Verizon get to make that choice for them?”

    I know. I know. No one’s forcing customers to use Verizon. Problem is. What’s your alternative? AT&T?

    In the 7 hours since I originally posted this, Verizon reversed its decision. Ahhh, behold the power of Slog! The NYT reports this morning:

    Saying it had the right to block “controversial or unsavory” text messages, Verizon Wireless last week rejected a request from Naral Pro-Choice America, the abortion rights group, to make Verizon’s mobile network available for a text-message program.

    But the company reversed course this morning, saying it had made a mistake.

    “The decision to not allow text messaging on an important, though sensitive, public policy issue was incorrect, and we have fixed the process that led to this isolated incident,” Jeffrey Nelson, a company spokesman, said in a statement.

    “It was an incorrect interpretation of a dusty internal policy,” Mr. Nelson said. “That policy, developed before text messaging protections such as spam filters adequately protected customers from unwanted messages, was designed to ward against communications such as anonymous hate messaging and adult materials sent to children.”

    Wednesday, September 26, 2007

    Blasphemy v. Graven Images

    posted by on September 26 at 7:31 PM

    I could not give a shit about the Right-Wing panties-in-a-knot reaction to the Folsom Street Fair’s poster parodying da Vinci’s The Last Supper. But as the product of not just Catholic education, but Jesuit higher education, I have to ask Bill Donohue and his ilk: do you understand the difference between blasphemy and the worship of graven images?

    To make sure that my theological education (four years in high school, nearly as much at Loyola University Chicago) hadn’t totally been overwritten by the Communist Manifesto and Origin of Species, I checked some online definitions of blasphemy: they’re here, and they’re all about denying or disrespecting God.

    But this poster doesn’t do or say anything about God: it’s about a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, who rumor has it was a big fag anyway.

    For any true believer in the Roman Catholic faith to worry about a poster parodying a painting suggests the worship of graven images, which, last time I looked, was contra Commandment #1 or #2, depending on your religious tradition. We mere mortals are not supposed to confuse God’s creation with God Himself, so we shouldn’t be worshiping images made by man. This is the root of the Islamic tradition against representations the prophet, and once again the Religious Right in America is allied with the Taliban.

    So, the Right-Wing Religious Conniption about this poster is itself sinful, I’d argue. The poster is not blasphemous: Da Vinci’s painting is not God, so disrespecting that painting is not about God unless the viewer of the parody equates the painting with the Divine, which is itself the sin.

    Donohue will be kneeling in the confessional ASAP, I am sure. Now, can we all get back to baseball and celebrity worship?

    Watching the Dem Debate

    posted by on September 26 at 6:02 PM

    If you want to watch it with me, it’s on MSNBC and streaming live at I’ll have a few thoughts during the debate, I’m sure, and then more tomorrow morning.

    I’m guessing you might have a few thoughts during the debate, too—put em in the comments, I’d love to see them.

    Here we go…

    On getting troops out of Iraq: Tim Russert asked all the candidates whether they would commit to having all American troops out of Iraq by the end of their first terms. Nothing new: No one except Kucinich (and, I think, Gravel) would unequivocally commit to doing so. (Kucinich actually committed to having all troops out by April of 2007—an impossibility that everyone laughed at—before he corrected himself and said April of 2009. “I’m ready to be president right now,” Kucinich explained.)

    Return of the hypotheticals: This happens every time. The moderator (in this case, Russert) asks Hillary Clinton a hypothetical (in this case, whether she’d support Israel if it decided to attack nuclear facilities in Iran) and Clinton refuses to answer, saying it’s a hypothetical. Inevitably, the moderator protests, trying to get Clinton to answer the question anyway, and Clinton engages, sticking to her guns, talking over the moderator, telling him, basically, to shove it—and, however you feel about her not answering the question on the excuse that it’s a hypothetical, Clinton comes out looking tough. Or, at least tough enough to talk over and nearly shout down a big-ego Washington pundit.

    The Bush endorsement: Russert mentions the recent reports that Bush believes Clinton will be the Democratic nominee, and asks Dodd about his campaign’s response. (Dodd had said: “I can understand why the President would want Senator Clinton to be the nominee.”) What, exactly, did that mean? Dodd dodged, but did say: “If I was Senator Clinton I’d be very worried. This is the same guy that said, ‘Way to go, Brownie’ … He doesn’t have a good record as a prognosticator of events.”

    Some tough questions: Russert asks Clinton whether, given her failures of judgment on Iraq and healthcare, she really has the judgment it takes to be president. (She dodges but defends her record.) Then he asks Obama whether, given his very light record in the Senate, he has the experience to run. (He also dodges but defends his record.) The answers weren’t very illuminating, obviously, but it was nice to see such forceful questions. (Kucinich, Richardson, and Gravel then got the same rough treatment, with Gravel getting a doozy about having run his condo building into bankruptcy and having declared bankruptcy himself—if I understood Gravel’s answer correctly, he compared himself favorably to Donald Trump and bragged that, in the end, he’d stuck credit card companies with his debt.)

    Obama v. Clinton: Everyone’s been waiting for Obama to take on Clinton. He isn’t, much, although he did take one swipe at her over healthcare. After Clinton talked about her “lonely” fight for healthcare improvements in the 1990s, Obama said: “Part of the reason it was lonely, Hillary, was because you closed the door to a lot of potential allies in the process.” Message: Hillary is like Bush. She’s a go-it-alone believer in her own judgment who shoots herself in the foot by refusing to consult others.

    Smoking bans: Clinton likes them, based on the experience of New York City. Obama likes them too—and, inevitably, gets the question of whether he’s been successful quitting smoking. He says yes, and says: “The best cure is my wife.”

    Lower the drinking age?: Sorry, Stranger readers. No one’s for it—except Gravel, who says: “Anybody who can fight and die for our country should be able to drink.” Kucinich agrees. That puts the two of them in favor of lowering the drinking age to 18.

    Lightning round: Can the candidates answer questions in 30 seconds? No, they can’t.

    Beat it out of them: If we catch the No. 3 person in Al Qaeda, and there’s a danger of a terrorist plot unfolding imminently in America, and this person has information about it, would the candidates give the order to “beat it out of him”? No one is in favor of official American policy allowing torture, but Obama leaves the door open for making case-by-case judgments depending on the circumstances.

    Beat it out of them, 2: Russert points out that the scenario above was presented on his show last year by none other than Bill Clinton, who apparently said that yes, the president should give the order to “beat it out of him.” When Russert, in a grave voice, points this fact out to Hillary Clinton, she shoots him a death gaze and says: “Well, he’s not standing here right now.” Russert then asks: So you disagree with your husband? “I’ll talk to him later,” she says, now smiling.

    And… Red Sox or Yankees: Richardson: Red Sox. Kucinich: Cleveland Indians. Clinton: Yankees. (Although if it ends up being Cubs v. Yankees, she said she’d have to alternate. “Spoken like a true sports fan,” Russert interjects, almost mockingly.) Gravel: “Do you have to ask?” Edwards: Red Sox. Obama: White Sox. Dodd: Red Sox. Biden: Yankees.

    Ron Paul for the Long Haul?

    posted by on September 26 at 5:19 PM

    A Line Out reader just sent me the link for this video for a song called “Ron Paul for the Long Haul” by a Windsor, Connecticut artist called King Solomon.

    I’m surprised that we’re not seeing more songs about the 2008 presidential race—this is the first song I’ve heard that talks about it. Are there others and I’m just missing them? Musicians have a history of being opinionated politically (duh), and a couple years ago there was a lot of passion—a lot of artists had something to say about the war, our government, and our president.

    Now not so much despite the fact that in 2008 Bush will be gone and a woman or a black man could very well be the president of the United States of America for the fucking first time ever.

    It’s a hot topic and there are no songs about it. No musicians are strongly rallying on one side or the other. Or is it all in my head? Are there other current and overtly political songs out there? Has anyone rapped or sung about Obama or Clinton lately? Or is everyone with a microphone, a guitar, or a turntable over it?

    Head over to Line Out to get in on the discussion.

    Seattle Art Museum, You Thrill Me

    posted by on September 26 at 4:42 PM

    This year, Seattle Art Museum’s Betty Bowen Award will go to a wild-card artist: Oscar Tuazon. Tuazon is based in Tacoma. He hasn’t shown in Seattle. He’s young. He’s promising. He’s getting the $11,000 prize.

    I’m thrilled. I’m thrilled to be surprised by an announcement that in past years has often been predictable and staid. I’m thrilled that this is a Tacoma-based artist (and that he also appears to be Paris-based: Tacoma and Paris, sitting in a tree …). And I’m thrilled insofar as I feel the way I feel during a thriller: I’m not entirely sure what’s going to happen.

    I’ve never seen Tuazon’s work in person. (It will be on display at SAM soon, and for the entire year, thanks to the award.) Earlier this year, a show of works by Tuazon and Eli Hanson titled VOluntary Non vUlnerable (VONU) was curated by Eric Fredericksen (Eric, how did you come to find these two again?) at Bodgers and Kludgers Cooperative Art Parlor in Vancouver. I seem to remember the emailed images from the show having something to do with meth, and tiny architecture. Then, this spring, Tuazon had a solo show, I’d Rather Be Gone, at Standard in Oslo, Norway.

    Since Tuazon is an unknown, I’ll attach the entire press release from the Standard show:

    STANDARD (OSLO) is proud to present its first exhibition of objects and photographic works by Paris-based artist Oscar Tuazon. “I’d Rather Be Gone” continues the artist’s yearlong examination on how personal liberty can be embodied in architecture. Drawing on the early building experiments of the hippy commune Drop City as well as current practices in ‘dwelling portably,’ Tuazon’s work questions the conditions for sustainability and self-suffiency.

    “When I attended Deep Springs College in the mid-90s, the Greyhound would stop at an intersection in the middle of the desert, 50 miles from the college. You had to wait there until someone drove out to get you, which sometimes took a few hours. The only other thing at that intersection was a whorehouse in a doublewide. (In Nevada, prostitution is legal.) On hot days, the Madame of the house would sometimes invite us inside and offer us a cold drink. The only way in and out of the college is through the whorehouse.” Tuazon’s works and writings continuously return to the ideal of the bare minimum [think of Documenta’s question this year, taken from a philosopher whose name I’m forgetting now: “What is bare life?”]—put forward by the writer Henry David Thoreau in the novel “Walden” (1854)—and thus also return to the question of whether isolation from civil society may gain a more objective understanding of it.

    Since graduating from Whitney ISP Tuazon has produced a series of sculptures composed of urban debris: cardboard boxes, wooden pallets, printing plates, OSB boards from building sites, or melanin boards from defunct kitchens—materials gathered from the area of his Paris studio or near the various venues of his exhibitions. In an initial phase these sculptural works would take forms of geodesic domes and draw on such typologies as indigenous building techniques, DIY architecture, as well as a more determined dedication to structural clarity, advocated by the engineer R. Buckminster Fuller. More recently the works have taken on the character of full-scale building prototypes, such as the work “1:1” at the center of the show.

    This assemblage of melanin boards and wooden pallets is constructed to serve as a corner of the house Tuazon planning to erect near Portland, Oregon. Approaching the building project through a series of trial products rather than drawings, the exhibition context becomes a chance to test rather than portray this situation. At the same time Tuazon exposes the shortcomings of the works as prototypes, which continuously seem to be balancing between actual functionality and a possible transcendent materiality as sculptures. Tuazon draws attention to the disjuncture of forcing one space (the un-built house) onto another space (the gallery), and underscores the impossibility of really modelling something accurately in the context of an exhibition. Adding to these sculptures are four folded and framed photographs, rendering tableaux of temporary architecture from the woods of Portland. The photographs become a surface for exploring another kind of space, while being folded also modulating the distances within the image, between one space and another.

    Oscar Tuazon (b. 1976 in Seattle, Washington) received his education from Cooper Union and the Whitney ISP in New York. His works were earlier this year shown in solo exhibitions at Bodgers and Kludgers, Vancouver and at castillo/corrales, Paris. His recent group exhibitions include “Down By Law”, The Wrong Gallery for the Whitney Biennial, New York; “The Elementary Particles (Paperback Edition)”, STANDARD (OSLO); and “Minotaur Blood” at Jonathan Viner / Fortesque Avenue, London. “Metronome no. 10”, which Tuazon co-edited with Clementine Deliss, will also be included in the Documenta 12 Magazines project.

    Here are a few installation views from the Standard show:




    Tuazon isn’t the Betty Bowen’s only news, though.

    Two PONCHO Special Recognition Awards in the amount of $1,500 each will go to two deserving artists: Seattle painter Joseph Park (here’s a series of his paintings from a 2004 show at Rena Bransten in San Francisco; you might remember him from his terrific survey, Moonbeam Caress, curated by Robin Held at the Frye in 2005), and Portland artist Vanessa Renwick, a filmmaker and video and installation artist.

    Rounding out the five finalists—selected from the 462 applicants from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho—were Bradley Biancardi, a painter and member of Crawl Space, and Maki Tamura, an artist whose watercolor constructions were seen at SAAM in 2003.

    There will be an awards ceremony Oct. 23 from 5:30 to 8 pm at SAM, including a brief slide presentation of each winner’s work, followed by a reception. All is free and open to the public.

    UPDATE: From Slog tipper Adam:

    A side note about Portland artist Vanessa Renwick. She’ll be in town presenting work and serving as a juror at Northwest Film Forum’s Local Sightings Film Festival.

    Come out to her program on October 6th. here’s the details:

    Saturday, Oct. 6, 7pm
    Spotlight on Portland

    A lot of trees were cut down to make Portland, but the sap still glistens fresh with new creations. Tonight, visiting filmmaker Vanessa Renwick presents a sampling of great short films by Portland artists. The program features the first two films in Renwick’s ongoing CASCADIA series of Northwest portraits, Gus Van Sant’s new short FIRST KISS, made for the Cannes Film Festival’s 60th Anniversary, and work by Jon Raymond (writer of OLD JOY), animator Karl Lind, Marc Moscato, Gretchen Hogue and many others. Don’t miss this impressive survey of Portland’s cinematic lifeblood.

    Names in the News this Afternoon

    posted by on September 26 at 4:33 PM

    Larry Craig: Gonna stick it out in the U.S. Senate.

    Peter Pace: Still a bigot.

    Phil Spector: May get away with murder.

    Rudy Guiliani: It’s okay for me to answer my cell phone, not okay for you to answer yours.

    Bushra Binhasa: She’s no Madeleine McCann.

    New Fall Programming

    posted by on September 26 at 3:45 PM

    The number of qualifiers needed in order to turn tonight’s Democratic debate into a “first” makes me laugh:

    While there have been at least seven debates already on the Democratic side of the race – and countless other joint appearances – tonight’s two-hour forum is the first official debate of the post-Labor Day march to the election.

    Got that? A first! Still, Jeff Zeleny makes a good case for tuning in to watch the Democrats go at it tonight in New Hampshire:

    Most campaigns are approaching [tonight’s debate] as though it was the political equivalent to a television fall season premiere, a fresh opportunity to capture a curious audience.

    In a string of debates throughout the spring and summer, the Democratic candidates have frequently tangled over the Iraq war, the influence of special interests and the nuances of their health care plans. But tonight’s setting offers candidates a new opportunity to challenge their leading rival, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    Indeed, nine months into the race, Senator Clinton enters the debate wearing a larger bull’s eye than normal. Not only because her performances at previous debates have consistently been strong, but a new poll today by WMUR/CNN found she has a 23-point lead over Senator Barack Obama and a 31-point lead over John Edwards in this state.

    I’ll be watching.

    Today on Line Out.

    posted by on September 26 at 3:40 PM

    Tonight in Music: Bondo De Role, Beat the Devil, & Def Leppard.

    Hardcore Revival: Megan Seling’s Happy to Have Blues.

    Inviting: Cave Singer’s CD Release Party, Tour Diary.

    My Loon, My Man: Charles Mudede on Miranda July, Feist.

    Smashed: Smashing Pumpkins Fan Moshed To Death.

    Gay Ass Disco, pt 1: James Murphy & Pat Mahoney’s Fabriclive 36

    The Future, Circa ‘82: Neil Young’s Trans

    Better than “Jump”?: Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billy Joe.”

    Gay Ass Disco, pt 2: Are You Cosmic?

    In Circles: Megan Seling on Jeremy Enigk

    Setlist: Win Tickets to Sea Wolf, Fleet Foxes, and BOAT.

    Gay Ass Disco, pt 3: Black Ivory’s “Mainline.”

    No. No. No.

    posted by on September 26 at 3:29 PM

    David Cox has written a textbook example of rape apologia over at the Guardian’s Comment Is Free, and damn, is it a doozy. Cox manages to address most of the favorite myths of the rape apologists, including my two personal favorites:

    1) If she didn’t want jurors to question whether she was really raped, she shouldn’t have had sex/been promiscuous/enjoyed it in the past. “If evidence about an accuser’s lifestyle is ruled impermissible, jurors are left wondering. Might a supposed victim’s behaviour indeed have seemed to imply consent?” No, no, NO, it could not have “implied” consent. Consent is consent. If she says no, her “lifestyle” cannot say “yes.” A person’s decision to be sexually prior to a rapist’s decision to rape her does not “imply” that she wanted to be raped.

    2) She should’ve known that going out at that time of night/getting drunk/dressing that way was asking for it. After all, you don’t keep the valuables in plain sight; women who don’t protect their bodies the way dudes like Cox protect their property get what they deserve. “When our houses are burgled, we’re hardly more likely than rape victims to see the intruder end up behind bars. So what do we do? We fit locks to our doors and windows. We keep our valuables out of sight.” Sorry, David, but women’s genitals are not uncovered meat “valuables” that should be kept “out of sight” if we don’t want men taking their share of them. Getting raped is not remotely comparable to being robbed. And, as Melissa notes eloquently over here, these all-too-common rape-as-robbery analogies “illustrate how far removed men are from the real threat of rape. Invoking property theft is evidently the closest thing many men can imagine to being forcibly subjected to an assault on one’s sex organs, which has got to be a lovely world in which to live.”

    Yes, some women (and men) make false accusations, including false accusations of rape. Yes, some men are wrongly convicted. But that doesn’t change the fact that when a rape occurs, it’s because of the rapist. Not the victim. Period.

    It’s Wednesday’s Extra Super Celebrity Junk!

    posted by on September 26 at 3:18 PM

    Capriciousness is my perdition, it’s true, and goodness knows that I’ve waxed (hard) and on and on about my silly little schoolgirl crushes on, say, Hal Sparks, Seth Green, blah-blah-blah for centuries. And you’ve all been so very patient with me, and I thank you. But you can scrap all that retarded crap.

    Today, indeed, is a fresh new day, and I am a fresh new Adrian, and it pleases fresh new parts of me unspeakably to introduce to you my newest and onlyest one true love, the poster boy of everything I want to put in my mouth, my Knight in Shining Please Fuck Me, Bret Harrison, as he appears in some new CW show that I won’t quite admit to watching yet:


    Please make a note of it.

    Then: Just in time for Thanksgiving, landmass Kirstie Allie has been diagnosed with “Amerexia”. Amerexia is a gastronomic malady singular to Americans that causes its victims to eat and eat and eat compulsively no matter WHAT the fuck they say about “Jenny Craig”, until they finally just blow apart like a busted meat balloon. According to Wikkipeedia, Amerexics are prone to a whole nightmare list of inevitable fatty-fatty-two-by-four type health troubles, including, but not limited to, cardiac arrest, type 3 diabetes, arteriosclerosis, liver implosion, full-body hernia, acute and irreversible spinal compaction, spontaneous pulverization of the knees and hips, permanent neck displasia, acres and acres of exploded 501s, and a distinct inability to get through the kitchen door. Delicious food everywhere is encouraged to stay indoors, and not go out alone after November 20th.


    Elsewhile: Ann Coulter, The Most Vile Bitch Ever ™, wants to die, and only an exploding Muslim will do.

    “I want a fatwa,” Annie said in some snooty sounding thing called British Esquire. “I used to see Salman Rushdie in the Sky Bar in L.A. He wasn’t in hiding; he became world-renowned for his fatwa. So why can’t I get a fatwa? Don’t they read my stuff?”

    Osama bin Laden, the ball’s in your court.

    In completely unrelated news: A sudden and unprecedented surge in worldwide conversions to radical Islamism or whatever in the last twenty seconds has officials at The Center for the Study and Tracking of Religious Conversions alarmed (“At this rate, we’ll all be ragheads by the end of the week”), and a bunch of Chicano kids is reporting a 3,000% spike in sales of “Celebrity Homes” tourist maps featuring the home address of Ann Coulter.

    Lastly: Britney Spears’ bodyguard’s bodyguard accused him of watching Britney take drugs in front of the kids this week in court. “It was disgusting they way he’d watch her take drugs in court, and right on front of the kids!” The custody battle is expected to rage as long as the ratings hold up.

    Randy Quaid AWOL?

    posted by on September 26 at 2:50 PM

    Now that Lone Star Love’s Broadway run has been canned, it seems that Mssr. Quaid has been ditching shows and letting his understudy do the acting.

    Allegedly, last night and the night before, Quaid bagged out. (The 5th Ave hasn’t returned my calls—did anybody out there see the show those nights? Can we find out where Mr. Quaid was during the shows? Any help, Adrian Ryan?)

    The rumor is that star Randy Quaid and his wife/manager Evi have been waging war with the NYC producers—and that the latter were so desperate to get Quaid’s star power, they foolishly wrote some kind of “creative control” into his contract. “They kinda rushed into the Randy thing,” a source said.

    Evi Quiad seems to want to sex things up in LSL (a western remake of The Merry Wives of Windsor) in which Quaid already wears a big codpiece. Her (Evi’s, not the codpiece’s) quote in yesterday’s New York Post:

    “Quite frankly, we did want to take it in a more surreal direction,” Evi Quaid told The Post yesterday. “This is Shakespeare. It’s not supposed to be whitewashed. It’s not supposed to be ‘The Little Mermaid,’ which is where Broadway seems to be going.”


    “I don’t understand why they would object to what we’ve done when audiences and critics are clearly responding to it,” Evi says.

    Um, they’re responding all right. They’re saying it’s crap.

    (That last link, a Mukilteo Beacon review, is confused—”the dance numbers are well done, but the choreography leaves a lot to be desired”—but you can feel old Pat Ratliff trying to work his criticism muscles, so I’m counting it in the Against category. See this week’s issue for Eli Sanders’s pan.)

    So what gives, Evi? Why are the producers mad, the critics railing, and the cast and crew gossiping? Again from the Post article:

    “Having a competent person on this show is very disturbing to them, I guess.”

    Hoo momma. Sounds like a peach, doesn’t she?

    AND she and Quaid are apparently all lawyered up and threatening legal action against everyone from the producers to the writers (with whom they’ve allegedly been wrestling for “creative control”). It sounds of a piece—remember when Quaid tried to sue Brokeback Mountain because he retroactively regretted the fee he agreed to in the original contract?

    Anyway: Rampant jackassery.

    (The ones who are really getting screwed? The Red Clay Ramblers, a band nobody hates, who play the music and whose leader Jack Herrick wrote the songs. This trip to Broadway was going to be a good break for them… )

    Darcy Burner on Petraeus. Kind of.

    posted by on September 26 at 2:31 PM

    The GOP sent out a press release today pressuring Democratic congressional candidate Darcy Burner to say how she would have voted on the resolutions that have come before Congress condemning’s “Betray Us” ad in the NYT about General Petraeus.

    I’ve linked the whole release below, but here’s state GOP chair Luke Esser’s quote:

    “Darcy Burner has a responsibility to condemn her allies for bringing the politics of personal destruction to our military personnel,” said Washington State Republican Party Chairman Luke Esser. “Voters deserve to know whether she’d stand with the majority of her party or extremists like Jim McDermott. Darcy Burner would rather avoid offending her far-left allies than keep her promise to respect the men and women of our military.”

    Given that most of our delegation has voted on this (Sen. Murray ‘Nay,’ Sen. Cantwell didn’t vote, Reps. Inslee and McDermott ‘Nay’ and everyone else, including Rep. Dave Reichert, whom Burner is challenging, in favor), I think it’s a fair question to throw Burner’s way. How would she have voted? Gotta take votes if you’re in Congress.

    I put the question to her campaign spokesman, Sandeep Kaushik, and here’s what he said:

    “Look, her dad is a veteran. Her husband is a veteran. And her brother just got back from Iraq. No one has more respect for the military than Darcy does. Obviously she has a lot of respect for General Petraeus. But there are two things going on here. The Bush Administration has put him in an untenable situation, asking him to find a military solution to a situation that doesn’t have a military solution. And second, the GOP is manufacturing a kind of situational outrage over what really is just an ad in a newspaper to distract people from the question at hand: How do we end this war?”

    I asked again: How would Burner have voted?

    Kaushik said: “Darcy has a lot of respect for General Petraeus and the difficult job he’s trying to do. And she’s not a fan of name-calling on either side.”

    Not an answer. So I asked if I could ask Burner directly. Kaushik said Burner is out of town and “I think we’ll just leave it at that.”

    I also talked to GOP spokesperson Josh Kahn about the issue. He said the left shouldn’t politicize military personnel like Gen. Petraeus. That seems hypocritical to me, given that Bush politicized Petraeus all summer—dodging anti-war criticism by hiding behind the pending Petraeus report.

    Continue reading "Darcy Burner on Petraeus. Kind of." »

    That Folsom Street Fair Poster

    posted by on September 26 at 1:38 PM

    Some folks in our comment threads think the Folsom Street Fair poster isn’t a story.

    But Fox News—part of the media company responsible for this sacrilegious outrage—just invited me to come on the air and debate that raving bigot Bill Donohue tomorrow morning. Donohue is the head of the Catholic League and was last seen in public screaming about Kathy Griffin.

    Donohue can detect anti-Catholic bigotry under every rock and is constantly invited on teevee to fume about it. And no one on the teevee ever calls Donohue on his own bigotry. Here’s some classic Bill Donohue: “Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular … Hollywood likes anal sex.” Teenage boys raped by Catholic priests? They wanted it, says Donohue.

    As much as I’d love to debate Bill—I was raised Catholic, I went to seminary for high school, I thought about being a priest, I would love to have a few words with Bill Donohue—I’m going to have to pass. The interview would take place at 7:45 EST, so 4:45 our time. Uh… that’s awfully early in the morning to be screaming at a Catholic I’m not related to. Which is too bad… because I’d love to ask Bill what he thinks of all the profane last suppers we’ve managed to dig up on Slog.

    But what I’d really like to tell Bill is this: A lot of folks are kinky not to annoy Catholics, but because they’re Catholics. We worship a man that was tortured to death two thousand years ago. And what do we call that grisly execution again? Oh, right: The Passion. Catholic children are herded into Churches where we kneel in front of life-sized representations—some more realistic than others—of a hot dude in a diaper nailed to a cross. Catholic teachings are full of stories about gruesomely martyred saints. I was told as a child that suffering was noble, that it brought you closer to God. Nuns told me that Jesus hung on the cross for three hours, that he suffered and died for my sins (the sins of a seven year-old!), and that I should “offer up to the Lord” whatever momentary discomfort I was experiencing.

    Catholic children are also told over and over again that our Father in Heaven loves us—but that he’s also designed this place called Hell where we’ll be sent if we’re naughty and where we’ll be subjected to unspeakable physical torments for all eternity. If we’re only sorta bad our loving Father will send us to purgatory where we’ll be subjected to somewhat milder physical torments for a few dozen centuries—just long enough to cleanse us of our sins. Because pain and suffering can do that—it can make things right, it can purify you.

    Oh, and what are the biggest sins? They all seem to be sexual ones. Pre-marital sex. Homosexuality. Adultery. Masturbation. God created us horny but God hates sex. Really hates it. Gee, it’s almost like God was setting us up for failure… it’s almost like God was looking for an excuse to punish us…

    Confession, contrition, pain, torture, torment, sexual hang-ups—hello, Bill? BDSM perverts aren’t born, they’re made. And your church pumps them out by the hundreds of thousands.

    Not everyone exposed to Catholicism during their formative years is going to be into BDSM when they grow up, of course. Not all Catholics are kinksters, just as not all kinksters are Catholic. But a significant number of Catholic children will subconsciously incorporate Catholic religious imagery and Catholic dogma into their erotic imaginations. It can’t be avoided. So if Bill Donohue is looking for someone to blame for this…


    …he might want to start with the church that encouraged parents to take their children to see this:


    Good News for Younger Voters

    posted by on September 26 at 1:12 PM

    The Democrats think you helped them win back Congress, and now they want to keep you happy:

    Convinced that increased turnout among young voters in 2006 helped them regain control of Congress in 2006, Democratic congressional leaders have launched a major charm offensive aimed at college students and recent graduates.

    Burgess Raises A Lot, But Less Than Della

    posted by on September 26 at 1:09 PM

    According to a press release I received from Tim Burgess’s campaign this morning, Burgess’s fundraising “has surged past that of his opponent, David Della. Through last Friday, Tim had raised $204,588, compared to Della’s $199,728. […] Tim has raised more money than any candidate running for City Council this year, another indication of the strong, broad-based support he has generated across Seattle.”

    The press release invited me to “click here to see the election commission’s reports.” So I did, and the numbers are less impressive than Burgess makes them sound. Of that $200,000-plus, $22,600 came from Burgess himself—making the true donation total closer to $182,000—still impressive for a first-time candidate, but less than incumbent Della has raised.

    Burgess’s notable individual contributors include Sonics and Storm VP Terry McLaughlin; Capitol Hill developer Bob Burkheimer; downtown developer Greg Smith; and Argosy Cruises partner Mary Blackmun. Notable employers of Burgess contributors include the PR firm he co-founded, Merkle/Domain ($4,050); Seattle Pacific University ($2,000); the City of Seattle ($1,750); and REI ($1,050). Della’s notable contributors include developer and monorail opponent Martin Selig; state Rep. Eric Pettigrew; the PAC for the Nucor Steel Corporation; and gravel-mine company Glacier Northwest. Notable employers of Della contributors include the Port of Seattle ($1,750); Vulcan ($950); Money Tree ($800); and Suzie Burke-owned Fremont Dock Co. ($800).

    Cascade Bike Club Says NO on Roads/Transit

    posted by on September 26 at 12:29 PM

    As we’ve written before, we’re ambivalent about the joint roads/transit ballot measure that will be on the ballot this November. In the plus column: 50 miles of light rail, including rail down to Tacoma and over to the Eastside. In the minus column: Hundreds of miles of new pavement, including a massive expansion of I-405 and a larger 520 bridge that will take out acres of the Arboretum and destroy much of Marsh Island. The measure has split the Seattle-area environmental community. We met last month with a group of folks from the pro-roads and transit camp, including Rob Johnson of the Transportation Choices Coalition; today, we’ll meet with folks from the anti camp, including representatives of the Sierra Club.

    Today, one more environmental group, the Cascade Bicycle Club, announced it was joining the anti-roads and transit camp. In a letter to members, Cascade director Chuck Ayers wrote:

    RTID has some really bad projects for cyclists; it allocates only 0.3% (not 3%) to biking and walking infrastructure; and on and on. Yet, it also has some great projects for cyclists – particularly the transit portions that would increase multi-modal commuting.

    In the end, the Cascade Board vote came down to that one question, “Does RTID support our mission?”

    Their answer? “No.”

    Cascade’s web site has more details on how and why the board reached a “No” endorsement:

    Through a large, regressive sales tax increase, RTID will raise billions for new highways, which will increase the number of cars on existing roads. Consequently residents would find it more difficult to ride their bicycles for transportation in the region’s fastest-growing areas, due to increased local traffic. It also neglects the need for system preservation and safety – two principles that should be our top priorities for any new transportation spending.

    Our decision was complicated by the legislature’s forced marriage of the Sound Transit 2 light rail expansion to the roads package. The Cascade Bicycle Club generally supports investments in transit – as they extend the range and ease of bicycling trips. However, we cannot justify a “yes” position given the unacceptable consequences of the highway portion of this package. Fortunately light rail enjoys strong public support, and the legislature has empowered Sound Transit to propose an independent package to the voters should RTID fail in November. Cascade Bicycle Club will hold the Washington State Legislature accountable to its promise to offer voters a new chance to vote on ST2 in 2008.

    Many, including the TCC, believe that prediction is optimistic. However, if the roads and transit package failed, pressure from groups like the Cascade Bicycle Club could make a re-vote on Sound Transit in 2008 a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    All-Beef Patty Slathered with Happiness

    posted by on September 26 at 11:58 AM

    I cut animal products out of my diet two years ago (for digestive and ethical reasons; not really your business) but every once in a while I crave a juicy, salty hamburger. Usually the burger disappoints, but on Sunday night that beef urge lead me to heaven on a bun at King’s Hardware.

    The too-loud-for-conversation rock and hunting-lodge-chic decor were turnoffs, but when the food arrived, the surroundings nearly ceased to exist. The After-School Special burger, topped with bacon, smeared with peanut butter, and personalized with a slab of cheddar, was perfection. Have you had this pile of delight yet? The peanut butter melts and melds with the beef in each salty, sweet, thick, juicy mouthful. The white bun is pliant enough to get out of the way but sturdy enough keep your hands clean. The bacon is utterly unnecessary, as are the pickle, onion, and the rest of the plants. Sweet-potato fries complement the intense burger, and are tasty dipped in the excess peanut butter.

    Not one of our reader reviews of King’s admits to falling for this beautiful pile of fats and salt. Maybe veganism has warped my tastes.

    Democratic Debate Tonight

    posted by on September 26 at 11:45 AM

    This one will take place in New Hampshire, will be moderated by Tim Russert, and is being put on by MSNBC. It airs at 9 p.m. EST (6 p.m. PST), and will also be streamed live at

    Also: Tomorrow John Edwards will become the first presidential candidate to do an online town-hall forum put together by MTV and MySpace. The idea:

    MTV viewers and and MySpace users will be able to submit questions for the events through MySpaceIM, mobile devices and e-mail while they watch the live webcast. At the same time, online viewer reaction will be monitored through live polling on both and

    All of the candidates, Republican and Democrat, will do one of these online town-hall meetings—at least, that’s what MTV and MySpace hope. So far, Edwards is the only one to have set a date.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on September 26 at 11:00 AM


    Steven Pinker at Town Hall

    In 2007, Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker was asked, on The Colbert Report, to explain how the brain works in five words. He answered: “Brain cells fire in patterns.” That’s perfect Pinker—clever, concise, and correct. His most famous book, The Language Instinct, is about apes, anatomy, semantics, anthropology, and why deaf babies babble with their hands the same way hearing children do with their voices. His new book, The Stuff of Thought, concerns cognitive evolution and cussing. Whatever he talks about, it’s going to be fascinating. (Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 652-4255. 7:30 pm, $5.)


    Vice Presidential Speculation of the Day

    posted by on September 26 at 10:40 AM

    Why Hillary will never pick Obama as her running mate, from The Politico’s Roger Simon:

    If Hillary Clinton gets the Democratic nomination — and she certainly may not — her first and most important decision will be her choice of a running mate.

    While the choice will be hers alone, there will be enormous pressure on her within the Democratic Party to choose Barack Obama

    After ticking off a long list of reasons why Hillary-Obama could be a powerful ticket, Simon then explains why it won’t happen:

    There are two unbreakable rules for picking a running mate: Never pick anybody who might overshadow the top of the ticket, and never pick anybody you cannot completely control.

    So Obama might be eliminated on both counts.

    Then there is the Rule of Firsts. The Clinton campaign does not want to force too many “firsts” on the American electorate.

    Electing the first woman president will be challenge enough. Electing the first woman president and first African-American vice president at the same time? Forget it; they don’t need that kind of problem. (The same reasoning might prevent New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who is Hispanic, from getting the vice presidential nod.)

    Does this mean that only white males need apply to become Hillary’s running mate? Probably.

    Which is why Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana, former Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa, Gov. Ted Strickland of Ohio, Sen. James Webb of Virginia, and even former Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri are all having their names tossed around.

    Obama has a solution to this problem: He could win the nomination.

    And then he could tell Hillary why it might be too risky to have a woman on the ticket.

    The Future of Male Contraception

    posted by on September 26 at 10:20 AM

    As some of you may remember, the leveling of the reproductive playing field between the sexes is of acute interest to me.

    So when Dave Schmader forwarded to me an announcement for a conference tomorrow and Friday at the Edgewater Hotel titled “The Future of Male Contraception,” I paid attention. “MALE CONTRACEPTION BREAKTHROUGHS TO BE PRESENTED, SEATTLE SEPT. 27-28,” the release yelled. ALL EARS!

    But it seems we’re still at the phase of wondering whether men want to control their own babymaking skills at all. Among the BREAKTHROUGHS to be presented:

    a new compound that can be taken orally (Columbia University, Retinoic acid alpha receptor inhibitor); 3-month and 6-month results in men for the Intra Vas Device, a vasectomy alternative (Shepherd Medical Company); Gamendazole: how it works in animals, and finding the right dose (University of Kansas and University of Minnesota); and clinical proof-of-concept studies on testosterone alternatives for use in a “male pill” (GTx, Inc., SARMs)

    there is also: “evidence of public demand, including survey results (International Male Contraception Coalition).”

    It’s a scientific conference that still has to justify itself with a poll. I don’t want to take anything away from the strides in research, but are we really still asking ourselves whether men want contraceptives that function on a more sophisticated level than plastic bags and decapitations?

    These are the saddest of possible words

    posted by on September 26 at 10:09 AM

    No, not “Tinker to Evers to Chance”: it’s “mathematically eliminated from the post-season,” a fate the Mariners met last night. Anyone going to the game at Safeco tonight is proving that they’re no band-wagon jumper, but a real fan of baseball, or Ichiro, or really expensive beer.

    But it could have been worse: the Mariners choked well and truly, but they did so early enough to avoid really making Ms fans suffer right down to the end. It’s more painful to lose from ahead than fade from behind—and the Mariners spared you all this pain.

    As for Chicago, don’t ask about the Cubs: a two-game lead with five games to go, and truckloads of anti-depressants and antacids are being delivered to pharmacies all over the North Side. Suicide prevention hotlines are adding staff. As owners of one of the most famed baseball pennant race collapses of all time (#6 on this list), the Cubs and their fans never feel safe. I mean, at least the Mariners were overtaken for the Wild Card by the Yankees, a franchise you gotta respect: we’re being chased by the Brewers, and if we blow this one, we’ll never live it down. Even when we have beer to drown our sorrows, we’ll have to think “Beer… brewed by a … brewer somewhere—fuck it, gimme a whiskey.”

    So enjoy the spectacle at Safeco tonight. At least you’ve got nothing to worry about…

    Our Debt To Arabic

    posted by on September 26 at 9:00 AM

    The most that we owe to the language of Arabs is for the word “zero”:

    zero 1604, from It. zero, from M.L. zephirum, from Arabic sifr “cipher,” translation of Skt. sunya-m “empty place, desert, naught” (see cipher). A brief history of the invention of “zero” can be found here. Meaning “worthless person” is recorded from 1813. The verb zero in is 1944, from the noun, on the notion of instrument adjustments. Zero tolerance first recorded 1972, originally U.S. political language.

    Where’s the Outrage: That ’70s Show’s Last Supper

    posted by on September 26 at 9:00 AM

    The whole stoned gang on Fox’s That 70s Show gather together to mock Jesus Christ.




    Click here for last suppers featuring the Sopranos, the Simpsons, serial killer, Muppets, zombies, gay bears, cute dogs, wooden kittens, depraved knitters, and more.

    UPDATE: Miller Beer asks that its logo be removed from controversial—well, controversial everywhere but on Slog—Folsom Street Fair posters. JoeMyGod has the story, the statement, and contact info for Miller Beer. Says Queerty: “[We] think the poster’s great. Fuck Miller, who drinks that piss anyway?”

    Tsk, tsk, Queerty. Piss drinkers have always been welcome at the Folsom Street Fair—hell, the piss drinking community probably saves FSF thousands of dollars every year. Think of all the port-a-potties FSF organizers don’t have to rent.

    Rossi Resigns from Non-Profit

    posted by on September 26 at 7:58 AM

    Yesterday, The Spokesman-Review blog broke the story that Dino Rossi resigned as president of his controversial non-profit, Forward Washington.

    FW was controversial because it appeared to be nothing more than a front group for Rossi’s pending run for Governor. “Nothing more than a front group” because FW raised money in undisclosed amounts from undisclosed donors to pay Rossi to go around the state delivering the same message he delivered during his 2004 campaign. The Democrats filed a complaint about FW with the Public Disclosure Commission. The PDC is currently conducting an investigation.

    I didn’t see the story until late yesterday because I was busy getting today’s paper out, but Postman has already done some great reporting on it at his blog—getting some quotes from Rossi that add fuel to the fire over FW’s status.

    Some Stranger and Slog coverage of Rossi and FW: here, here, here, and here.

    And here’s the Democrats’ complaint.

    The Democrats’ spokesman Kelly Steele issued this aggro statement on the news yesterday afternoon:

    Once again, Dino Rossi believes the rules don’t apply to him. He has spent months illegally campaigning with his sleazy front group, and now he’s blaming others because he got caught.

    The Morning News

    posted by on September 26 at 7:45 AM

    Back to Work: The G.M. strike is over. A “VEBA”—voluntary employee benefit association—was key to the settlement.

    Ahmadinejad in America: Iranian President declares the dispute over his country’s nuclear program “closed,” says he’ll ignore U.N. measures.

    Crushing of Dissent: Myanmar security forces have started to crack down on protesters, killing at least five.

    Dept. of Lou Dobbs Having a Hissy: The so-called “virtual fence” along the U.S.-Mexico border is behind schedule.

    Dept. of Lou Dobbs Having a Hissy Part Dos: The town of Riverside, N.J. has rolled back its strict immigrant laws after business plummeted and lawsuits piled up.

    Boys of Bummer: After a vote, Barry Bonds’s historic 756th home run will be branded with an asterix, donated to the Hall of Fame.

    Fly the Disney Skies: Two congressmen from North Carolina have introduced legislation that would force airlines to create “kid friendly” zones on flights. In-flight movies are to blame.

    The Cost of Trash: Seattle’s garbage and sewer rates may be going up.

    What He Really Wants to Do Is Run For Governor: Dino Rossi steps aside as head of his campaign front nonprofit, claims he hasn’t decided yet whether or not he’ll run against Gregoire.

    Cold Case: The bodies of a woman and child discovered twenty years ago have finally been identified.

    Look, Don’t Touch: Seattle strip club owner Frank Colacurcio found guilty yesterday of misdemeanor assault upon a waitress.

    There’s an Enormous Change Taking Place in this Country

    posted by on September 26 at 7:13 AM

    In a recent Q&A, superstar investigative reporter Seymour Hersh had this to say about daily newspapers:

    There is an enormous change taking place in this country in journalism. And it is online. We are eventually — and I hate to tell this to The New York Times or the Washington Post — we are going to have online newspapers, and they are going to be spectacular. And they are really going to cut into daily journalism.

    I’ve been working for The New Yorker recently since ‘93. In the beginning, not that long ago, when I had a big story you made a good effort to get the Associated Press and UPI and The New York Times to write little stories about what you are writing about. Couldn’t care less now. It doesn’t matter, because I’ll write a story, and The New Yorker will get hundreds of thousands, if not many more, of hits in the next day. Once it’s online, we just get flooded.

    So, we have a vibrant, new way of communicating in America. We haven’t come to terms with it. I don’t think much of a lot of the stuff that is out there. But there are a lot of people doing very, very good stuff.

    Thanks for the heads up, Tom.

    Tuesday, September 25, 2007

    For Sale

    posted by on September 25 at 6:32 PM

    I was surprised to hear the only copy of the Magna Carta in the United States—the only copy in private hands—is headed for the auction block. I thought George W. Bush had it shredded ages ago.

    Other Last Suppers: Where’s the Outrage?

    posted by on September 25 at 4:35 PM

    The Simpson’s last supper:


    The Sopranos’ last supper:


    A supermodel’s last supper:


    A Lego last supper:


    A fast food last supper:


    A Boston Red Sox last supper:


    A knitters’ last supper:


    A zombie last supper:


    A Star War’s last supper:


    A cats’ last supper:


    A dogs’ last supper:


    Parodies of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper”: Okay for the Simpsons, the Red Sox, HBO’s mobsters, supermodels, dogs, knitters, Lego, and on and on. Not okay for the kinksters and queers. (If anyone runs across more parodies of the “Last Supper,” send ‘em my way, please.)

    UPDATE: Jesus, I spent an hour looking around Google images. I guess I should have been searching blogs, not images. Anyway, Some more from readers:

    A better—read, “more sacereligious”—Simpsons’ last supper:


    Marilyn Monroe’s last supper:


    Phish’s last supper:


    Big Bird’s last supper:


    Popeye’s last supper:


    Robert Altman’s last supper (from the film MASH):


    Mel Brooks’ last supper:

    More to come…

    UPDATE 2: Four more before I walk out the door…

    A slasher flick last supper:


    Chairman Mao’s last supper:


    An anime (sp?) last supper:


    Actor Peter Weller’s last supper:


    UPDATE 3: In comments someone asks me what the big deal is—who’s bitching about the Folsom Street Fair poster? Well, go here, here, here, here, and here for the bitching. And remember: the right-wing religious whiners are just getting started. We’ll be hearing more about this.

    My good friend Andrew Sullivan calls the poster “a provocation… utterly unnecessary” in a post titled “Culture War Gasoline.” So not all gays agree on this issue. Andrew is also big supporter of the bear movement in gay culture—and often makes fun of me for my taste in men—so it pains me to point out to Andrew that when it comes to “cheap blasphemy,” his beloved bears got there first.


    UPDATE 4:

    New Testament wine coolers served at last supper:

    UPDATE 5:

    That 70s Show’s last supper:




    UPDATE 5:

    The Catholic League is boycotting Miller Beer over the now-infamous poster for the Folsom Street Fair. (Read my thoughts for the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue here.) I wonder if the Catholic League is planning to go after The Tonight Show, John Travolta, Paris Hilton, Carrie Fisher, Pam Dawber, the estate of the “late great John Ritter,” and other celebs over their support and for “juxtaposition artist” Nelson De La Nuez. He’s the artist responsible for this little bit of sacrilege…

    Yo Moma’s Last Supper:


    More examples of Nelson De La Nuez sacrilegious art can be found here and here.

    More last suppers…

    A fury fetish last supper:


    Bunuel’s “Tramps’ Supper” from Viridiana:


    George Carlin’s last supper:


    The Flying Spaghetti Monster’s last supper:


    A pizza parlor’s last supper:


    Donkey Kong’s last supper:


    Uh, some guy’s last supper:


    A last supper sandcastle:


    I await the announcement of the Catholic League’s boycotts of pasta, pizza, Donkey Kong, George Carlin, fury fetishism, etc.

    UPDATE 6:

    Dianna in comments directs us to Renee Cox’s “Yo Mama’s Last Supper”:

    LSyomamasmall.jpg Click for the larger version.

    The Best Art Show. Ever. (Part VI)

    posted by on September 25 at 3:53 PM

    This is the end of it. The last of the great rooms. For those just tuning in, check out the first four parts of the terrific Venetian exhibition Artempo here, here, here, here, and here. This final segment may as well be called The Apotheosis.

    This is the top floor of Palazzo Fortuny, a place flooded with light where the frescoes are peeling off the walls. After the proliferation of bodies and faces from all eras and styles on the first two floors, and after being drawn inside a cabinet of curiosities only to be deposited into chapel-like white-cube rooms on the third level, you’ve climbed the stairs and arrived at a synthesis of it all, filtered through the undeniable feelings of destruction and loss that pervade this living exhibition set inside an eccentric, aged palazzo whose most famous tenant is long dead. His library is even open to the viewer, visible through glass, at a titillating and theatrical distance. (It’s “as if the master just got up from his worktable,” Frye curator Robin Held says.)


    Pictured above is an area near the entrance, where Peter Buggenhout’s raw, ruin-like table sculpture The Blind Leading the Blind #11 (2007) sits near a video projected (slyly) on a closed door. (Or was it merely the contour of a once-present door left on the wall? In these rooms, it was often difficult to discern the faded shapes and shadows on the walls


    from present art or architectural moments.) In the video (again, above the above photo), the only motion is the sun streaming in an open window, riding the dust. The piece is called Here Comes the Sun (2000), by Sabrina Mezzaqui.

    On one end of the long room is another “curiosity cabinet,” this time of televisions. Several TVs pushed together show various black and white videos at the same time, including Fischli & Weiss’s 1987 extreme-dominoes classic The Way Things Go, Richard Serra’s Hands Scraping from 1968, Gordon Matta-Clark’s Conical Intersect, and various Gutai painting performances (including, if I’m remembering correctly, Kazuo Shiraga’s seminal 1955 Challenge to the Mud, in which the artist rolled around half naked in mud). (Gutai painting is a Japanese relative of American abstract-expressionist action painting, but in Gutai painting, the process of making is more important than the product.)

    Paired with these throughout the room are collapsed ceramic pots by Shiro Tsujimura, slashed canvases by Lucio Fontana, Guenther Uecker’s chair with a seat covered in nails, Gotthard Graubner’s now-dirty 1970 “pillow” paintings, a little wall box imprisoning a drawing of signatures by Robert Rauschenberg and Uecker, Cai Guo-Qiang’s fireworks drawings,


    a spare 18th-century visual poem for a tea ceremony,


    cracked and burned paintings by Alberto Burri and Yves Klein, and even an accidentally burned painting by a 16th-century disciple of Tintoretto (seen below).


    It’s hard to leave.

    This building feels like one of the few places in the world where time is invited to run at all of its various speeds at once. Loss is contained, accepted, present: presence. I told you it was magic.

    Headline of the Day

    posted by on September 25 at 3:36 PM

    It’s over at Talking Points Memo:

    Report: GOP “Broke,” Expecting To Lose More House Seats

    Last week we brought you word that GOP House leader John Boehner and NRCC chief Tom Cole were locked in a power struggle for control of the NRCC amid increasing signs that NRCC strategists are in denial about just how bad the 2008 map looks for them.

    Now there’s more. Top Republicans are conceding that the NRCC is all but broke and that another bloodletting is all but certain. As GOP Rep. Ray LaHood puts it with startling candor: “When you look at what’s going on in the House, the prospects for getting back on track are pretty dim at the moment.”

    Today in Line Out

    posted by on September 25 at 3:33 PM

    #1: Terry Miller went to the Arcade Fire/LCD/Gossip show.

    #2: Eric Grandy went to the Arcade Fire/LCD/Gossip show.

    But Sam Machkovech Didn’t: He went to Pink Nasty instead.

    Zwickel Didn’t Go Either: He was recovering from dancing onstage with the Flaming Lips.

    Back to Arcade Fire: Morgan Keuler went and took awesome photos.

    Forgotten Disco: Grandy forgot to tell you about Broken Disco.

    Rock Docs: Trent Moorman’s list of favorite music documentaries.

    Tonight in Music: The Cave Singers and the Magnificents.

    Love or Hate: Fiest’s new video?

    Finally: I listened to Writer’s Block, I’m no longer clueless.

    Animal Noises and Laser Guns: Terry Miller asks, “Are you cosmic?”

    Birth School Work Death: Still alive. For now.

    There’s No Winehouse: But we’ve got Sharon Jones!

    The Magnificents Aren’t Playing After All
    : Sad but true.


    Giuliani Coming to Seattle

    posted by on September 25 at 3:32 PM

    Via Postman: His schedule shows him here on Saturday.

    FLDS Leader Warren Jeffs Found Guilty

    posted by on September 25 at 3:12 PM

    ..of being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old girl he coerced into marrying her 19-year-old cousin. ABC News report here.

    Jesus & Hitler

    posted by on September 25 at 3:09 PM

    Surely this is more offensive than this year’s poster for the Folsom Street Fair.

    I think Jesus Christ and Hitler had a lot in common, and that was they could both look you in the eye and say, “I’ve got an answer for you, follow me.”

    So says CNN’s conservative talk-show host, Glenn Beck. Then Beck added…

    One was evil; one was good. But they both could look you in the eye and have an answer for you. There are very few politicians right now that can look you in the eye and you believe it.

    But which one was evil, Glenn, and which one was good?

    And is that really the trouble with today’s politicians? They’re neither Christlike nor Hitlerlike enough?

    Four-Legged Farm Boys

    posted by on September 25 at 3:02 PM

    This report should fill boytaur fetishists with hope…


    This undated handout image from the University of Colorado shows a leopard frog with two extra deformed hind legs caused by infection by a type of parasitic worm. Nitrogen and phosphorus stemming from farming and ranching activities seeps into lakes and ponds, triggering a cascade of events that causes horrific deformities….

    So guys into four-legged dudes should move to rural areas with a lot of farming and ranching activities and bide their time.

    He’s a Magic Man (Oh Mama…)

    posted by on September 25 at 2:49 PM


    This just in from Hot Tipper Coffee Roaster:

    So here’s a Hot Tip for you! Today I was working at a local coffee shop here in Seattle on 5th Ave, when Penn from Penn and Teller walks in stands in line and orders two coffees, one regular and one decaf. When I present him the coffee I instruct him which one is decaf and which is regular. Then he says, “Are you sure this is decaf?” I say yes and he proceeds to tell me that if there is any caffeine in his coffee he will “cut my dick off and shove it down my throat.” Then he turns and walks away. WTF?! I could not believe he had just said that to me in front of a line of customers and employees. Where does this guy get off treating people this way? He is total scum. Sincerely, Your coffee roaster

    Nader’s Craigslist Ads

    posted by on September 25 at 2:07 PM

    For his fans in the comments: Here’s Iowa, and here’s New Hampshire.

    An Earful from the Inner City

    posted by on September 25 at 12:54 PM

    Last night the King County Council held a Town Hall at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church on Capitol Hill to hear how locals think the County should lower the crime rate, reduce recidivism, and help victims and offenders. The church was packed, with a line from the mic to the back of the room.

    Speaker after speaker called on Councilmembers to temper the racial disparity of law enforcement and support programs to divert offenders from jails. “Ten percent of African Americans in King County are incarcerated,” lamented Le Roi Brashears, “but only half of one percent of white people are incarcerated.” Eleanor Owen, of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Greater Seattle, urged the County to support a crisis-stabilization center for the mentally ill.

    “The Council doesn’t come to the Central Area very often,” said Council Chair, Larry Gossett, whose Second District blankets the Rainier Valley, Central District, and other historically African-American neighborhoods. Most County districts are predominantly suburban or rural—two reach the Cascade Mountains.

    “I think the Council will be more sensitive and more thoughtful and hopefully responsive to the need to change policy, and put more money into areas of intervention, prevention and reentry assistance,” Gossett said.

    Currently, about 70 percent of all the general fund tax revenue coming to County government goes to support criminal justice agencies. But only four percent of tax dollars are used to fund alternatives to incarceration, such as drug and mental health courts, and employment assistance programs.

    James Bible, head of the local NAACP, spoke in favor of two alternatives: “Programs like Clean Dreams and Village of Hope are essential to reduce crime in our communities.” Village of Hope helps jailed men and women transfer back into society, and Clean Dreams helps potential drug-law violators get off the streets before they are arrested. The County cut funding for Clean Dreams in July.

    Pushing Out Daisies

    posted by on September 25 at 12:35 PM

    I’m pushing Ari’s kitten down with this picture of a porn star with a bouquet of flowers stuffed up his butt. You can’t really see anything so I’m thinking it’s very nearly safe enough for work:


    Which brings this whoary old joke to mind…

    Two women are in the kitchen preparing dinner on a Friday night when one of them looks out the window. She sees her husband coming up the walkway with a bouquet of flowers. The woman turns to her friend and says, “Oh, darn! He’s bringing flowers. That means another weekend on my back with my legs up in the air.”

    Her friend says, “What’s the matter? Don’t you have a vase?”

    Hee haw.

    I Almost Went To A Halo 3 Launch Party

    posted by on September 25 at 12:32 PM

    And I’m so glad that I didn’t. Microsoft has done its damnedest to get the masses riled up for Halo 3, but even more so, they’re trying to give the game cultural weight. You may have seen those weird History Channel-styled commercials with old men waxing nostalgic about Master Chief and alien technology, and such an attempt at mature treatment is interesting. No game footage, no amped-up announcer, no lasers. It’s almost as if Microsoft wants you to consider the agony and regret of a soldier’s life before pressing the Start button.

    But their PR attack hasn’t been unilateral in its maturity, lest you haven’t seen the “Game Fuel” version of Mountain Dew that has been caffeinating nerds for the past month or so. Which brings us to last night. Like most other nerd-friendly events, a Halo 3 midnight launch was inevitable, so Microsoft announced four late night launch parties around the country for the game’s official release early this morning. Since Bungie and Microsoft are from these here parts, one of those was in Bellevue. The announced draw for such an event? “Pre-launch playtime against celebrities, professional athletes and Bungie staff members.” So which side of Halo 3 would show up at this event—the one that wanted to elevate gaming culture into something worth celebrating? Or the one that assumes gamers will wait in line for just about anything?

    According to this fan’s report, celebrities and athletes were nowhere near the Bellevue Best Buy last night (not even Dustin Diamond?). Just tables covered in pizza boxes and dudes shilling Mountain Dew. [EDIT: The blogger in question points us to this article, which reports that Bill Gates handed off the first copy, while ex-Husky quarterback Warren Moon was also on hand…but, shit, New York’s launch got Ludacris. Does he still Disturb Tha Peace?] Considering you can walk into most any electronics store and grab the game with little hassle today, it seems the “agony and regret” that Microsoft was aiming for might’ve been experienced by anxious geeks waiting for hours in the cold last night. But hey—at least there were a lot of anxious geeks.

    I’m Pushing the Anorexic Picture Down With a Picture of a Kitten

    posted by on September 25 at 12:28 PM


    You can thank me later.

    Anorexic Ad Causes a Stir

    posted by on September 25 at 11:08 AM

    Italian fashion company Nolita is plastering this image of 27-year-old, 64-pound anorexic Isabelle Caro all over Milan during Fashion Week (NSFW image available here):


    … to illustrate the dangers of anorexia, “caused in most cases by the stereotypes imposed by the world of fashion,” the company said in a statement.

    Giorgio Armani responded to the ad, stating that anorexia has nothing to do with fashion. “Even people who take no notice of fashion get anorexic.”

    Via DListed.

    A Little Race Notes

    posted by on September 25 at 11:03 AM

    I’m sure this happened:

    While brushing my teeth in my mother’s bathroom, I spot an artificial breast on the shelf above the sink.

    That really happened. Where there is some confusion is the color of the artificial breast: was it pink or brown? My memory sees pink, but there’s enough resistance to this image to make it murky. If, however, my memory is picturing the truth, then it is a very sad truth. The picture of my mother fitting a pink breast against her brown flesh is not a happy one.


    No long ago, my daughter while watching a comic anime for children:

    Can you fix the language on this DVD? I’m tired of watching white people speaking Chinese.

    I corrected her her about the language (“There’s a big difference between Japanese and Chinese”); later, however, it struck me that my daughter’s problem was not watching a film in a language she did not understand but the watching a mismatch between the language and the people speaking it. What is her problem? What caused to have this problem?

    A white American person to me:

    It’s weird that I feel this way, but while I was in Africa I couldn’t help think that some of the Africans looked like apes. Particularly because of their flat noses.

    Me to the white American person:

    It’s so strange you say that. Africans tend to think Europeans are very much like apes because of the amount of hair they have of their bodies. Africans distinguish themselves from animals by their lack of human hair. European men, on the other hand, have all this hair on their legs and chest and so Africans think they are closer to the apes.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on September 25 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Mala Noche’ at Northwest Film Forum

    Originally released in 1985, Gus Van Sant’s directorial debut features the least conflicted homosexual protagonist in cinema history. Based on Walt Curtis’s autobiographical novel of the same name, Mala Noche follows a young Portland man’s sweetly obsessive love for a teenage Mexican immigrant. Shot in tough black and white, it’s ravishingly amoral, bracingly original, and back on the screen in a new 35 mm print. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 329-2629. 7 and 9:15 pm, $8.50.)


    This Should Take the Heat Off Kathy Griffin

    posted by on September 25 at 10:53 AM

    First the gay Jesus porno and now this:

    Click image for larger version.

    The American Taliban, rumor has it, is already up in arms about the poster for this year’s Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco’s annual, pan-sexual, family-friendly (really) celebration of leather, bondage, fetish, and S&M. The American Taliban will scream and yell about how no one would dare to mock Islam like this because Christians, being Christians, stupidly put up with these sorts of insults. (Well, now they do—a century or two ago the Pope could have anyone he liked burned at the stake.)

    The mistake the Christians keep making, of course, is all that turning the other cheek crap. (Where did the hell did they get that retarded idea anway?) Outraged Muslims, on the other hand, famously riot, murder, bomb, kill, etc., when they’re provoked, and this murderousness protects their faith from similar outrages.

    Well, not so much—not in USA, anyway, Glenn Greenwald pointed out at Salon. Theo Van Gough might take exception to Greenwald if he hadn’t been butchered on an Amsterdam street corner for insulting Islam. Still, most people that insult Islam—including this paper—seem get away with it.

    I’m not sure what the American Taliban is driving at when they insist that a Griffin or a Folsom Street Fair wouldn’t insult Islam the way they insult Christianity. Do they admire the murderousness of radical Muslims? Or do they want to be treated with the deference granted batshit crazy murderers without actually having to go to all the trouble of murdering someone?

    Of course Kathy Griffin is Catholic, so she was insulting her own religion, her own savior, and not someone else’s imaginary super friend. And Christian art and artists have created scads of iconic images over the last, oh, thousand or so years—including many overtly homoerotic images. The organizers of Folsom probably couldn’t insult Islam like this if they wanted to—Islam forbids representations of human form in art. What’s Folsom gonna do? Arrange riding crops in abstract geometric patterns?

    And as the American Taliban are so fond of pointing out, most people in the United States are Christians; we’re not a Christian nation, but we’re certainly a nation overrun by Christians, steeped in Christian imagery, lousy with Christian metaphors. And it’s Christians in the United States that are aggressively seeking to regulate and control the sex lives of other Americans, Christian or not. When powerless people are attacked by powerful people—when conservative Christians go after gay people and kinky straight people—the powerless will respond the way the powerless always have: with insults, with mockery, and with humor.

    And, come on, aren’t you conservative Christians always insisting that your faith is superior to Islam in every possible way? Haven’t conservative Christian leaders argued that Islam is incompatible with democracy and other western values? And isn’t shrugging off piddling little insults—do your worst, cartoonists, comediennes, and kinksters!—one of the ways Christianity proves that it’s a great, big, all-grown-up World Religion with a reformation and everything? Unlike, say, Islam?

    So you don’t like Folsom’s posters, American Taliban. What are you going to do about it? I have an idea: Suck it, Jesus freaks.

    Bloggers for Richardson (Or, At Least, His Iraq Plan)

    posted by on September 25 at 10:43 AM

    This really surprises me, because Richardson is going nowhere and the bloggers involved have pretty strong reps in the liberal netroots. I’m not sure what Stoller, Bowers, and O’Connell are up to here—maybe trying to pressure the other candidates to be more forceful about an Iraq pullout? If so, do they really think this is the right vehicle?

    $9.11 for Giuliani

    posted by on September 25 at 10:29 AM

    The Giuliani campaign is now distancing itself from this fundraiser, which you would have expected to be a joke circulated by a rival campaign as a way of stoking the perception that Giuliani is always trying to cash in on 9/11.

    Amazingly, it wasn’t a joke, but a gift from an “old friend.”

    No One Tells Lindsay Lohan What to Do

    posted by on September 25 at 9:56 AM

    …but it’s nice of the Canterbury Institute to try, I guess.

    From today’s New York Sun, where it appears as a full page ad:


    The fine print:

    While the rest of the world is going in and out of rehab, Canterbury Institute is changing the rules of addiction treatment. We’re offering innovative medical approaches to drug and alcohol addiction. It’s outpatient and administered by an ASAM-certified physician. All you need is 3-5 days to get back on track.

    Having recently watched I Know Who Killed Me, Georgia Rule, AND Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, I’m not sure I support any campaign to keep Lindsay Lohan alive, but, again, it’s nice of Canterbury to try.

    Re: What’s Your Cause?

    posted by on September 25 at 9:55 AM

    Last week, we asked you all about your favorite local causes and where we should donate the proceeds from this year’s Strangercrombie auction.

    (Briefly: Strangercrombie is our annual holiday gift auction; all the money goes to a worthy local cause. In the past, that cause has been Northwest Harvest. This year, we’re thinking about spreading the generosity—your generosity—around.)

    So: we’ve winnowed your suggestions down to five, including Northwest Harvest. Before we return to our regularly scheduled programming (Ahmadinejad mocking, Larry Craig stalking, pet goats), take a look and let us know if you have a favorite:

    1. Treehouse: An organization for improving the lives of abused and neglected children in foster care.

    2. FareStart: “FareStart was started as a regular soup kitchen, but its founders then realized that if they trained their clients to help prepare the food, it would give them the job skills they would need to find employment and stable housing.”

    3. A medical-assistance organization: Maybe something like the Ada Jenkins Center (a North Carolina clinic that provides medical care to the uninsured), but in Seattle.

    4. Urban Rest Stop: Showers, laundry, and other hygiene services for the homeless.

    5. And, of course, Northwest Harvest: “We supply food free, without dues or fees of any kind, to a network of nearly 300 independent food banks and meal programs throughout the state.”

    If you had tens of thousands of dollars to give to one of these organizations, which would you choose?

    Update: Now with a poll!


    posted by on September 25 at 9:51 AM

    Vice presidential speculation of the day.

    Suburban Archipelago

    posted by on September 25 at 9:47 AM

    An otherwise inspiring post over at Grist that busts a Cato Institute report for criticizing Portland’s green public policy agenda, has some disturbing, but not surprising news about Seattle.

    Between 1980 and 2000, Portland grew as fast as its suburbs — about 43%. In Seattle during the same period, the city grew by 14% while suburbs grew by 46%.

    Cue the Tirades

    posted by on September 25 at 9:38 AM

    Ralph Nader is contemplating entering the presidential race, again.

    (Worth noting, however: The link to the original story that everyone is blogging about this morning seems to be broken, or perhaps overwhelmed by a deluge of clicks from furious Democrats.)

    Get Your Anti-Semitism Straight

    posted by on September 25 at 9:37 AM

    The Holocaust has been downgraded by the French press to a “pogrom.”

    Unless the article is quoting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which it doesn’t appear to be, the AFP (Agence France-Press) label the Nazi genocide a pogrom.

    That’s like calling the Green River Killer a mugger. A pogrom is a racist riot—historically directed at Jews in Russia at the turn of the 19th Century. It’s not the organized mass murder of six million people.

    The AFP writes: “Ahmadinejad said he was open to meeting survivors of the devastating Nazi pogrom.”

    Yeah and the Nazi invasion and occupation of France was a border dispute.

    What a bunch of ignoramuses at the AFP.

    Assignment: Northwest Afternoon

    posted by on September 25 at 9:15 AM


    Last week the director of Teen Link, an anonymous crisis line for teens, asked me to accompany him to a taping of Northwest Afternoon and stand in the background while he delivered a short public-service announcement. Northwest Afternoon is a daytime television show that has the same acronym as Niggaz With Attitude. Although the show has been entertaining area housewives and the unemployed for over 23 years, it still has trouble filling an audience and thus requires anyone making a public-service announcement to bring at least 15 people. Thankfully, I was available.

    On the day of the taping, I woke up at 8:30 a.m. and found my way to Fisher Plaza East. The entire audience (25 strong) were sitting on chairs in the lobby watching “Regis and Kelly” on a plasma TV and eating muffins. I looked for Kathy Goertzen and asked everyone if they’d seen her. They shrugged. After about five minutes, a short blond girl in a pink sweater vest appeared.

    “Hi, I’m Sam. I’m an intern here at Northwest Afternoon. How is everyone today? Are y’all eating the muffins?”

    Sam straightened her shirt and motioned us toward the metal detectors, where a security guard patted us down.

    “You can’t bring guns to Northwest Afternoon. No guns allowed. Lock ‘em up at home,” the security guard said to us. It wasn’t until the taping began that I appreciated the seriousness of this request: If someone were to suddenly become homicidal, it would most likely be a member of the studio audience at a Northwest Afternoon taping.

    Sam the intern followed the group nervously, and introduced us to Jessica, another intern who had the thankless task of warming up the Northwest Afternoon studio audience. Jessica played us a short reel of the show’s highlights over the years, which ended with a clip of something called an “ambush makeover.” A woman nominated by her friend for a makeover is pulled over by a cop hired by Northwest Afternoon. He pretends to arrest the woman. She looks scared as shit. Suddenly, someone lets off a confetti firework in the woman’s face.

    “AMBUSH makeover!” someone yells from behind the camera.

    Like most human beings, the woman had never seen Northwest Afternoon. She looked shaken and angry, not happily surprised with her makeover.

    Jessica stopped the video and asked us which highlight was our favorite. I raised my hand and told Jessica I really liked the ambush makeover. “That’s everyone’s favorite.” Jessica said. Then Jessica told us about the three segments of today’s show. She told us that each segment would air in a different episode. We were not watching an episode of Northwest Afternoon but a compilation of three.

    The first segment was about where to find clothing for under 60 dollars. Jessica asked us if we knew who Sarah Jessica Parker was. We nodded. “Good.” Jessica said. The second segment was about a man who lost his job, ended up working at Starbucks and wrote a book about it called How Starbucks Saved My Life. “He was homeless. You, know. Sad.” Jessica said, looking down. The third segment was about dog etiquette. Jessica asked if any of us were dog owners. A couple of people said yes. “What’s something your dog does that embarrasses you?” Jessica asked. A middle-aged woman dressed in pastels and flowers raised her had.

    “Mine puts his slimy balls in people’s laps,” she said.

    The boy sitting next to me whispered, “I can’t believe I skipped school for this.”

    Finally, it was time for those of us doing the service announcement to go upstairs for a run-through. We went into another studio and stood in front of a brightly lit picture of a dining room. The director of Teen Link read his spiel into the camera and I strained to not look irritated.

    The rest of the show was a blur: an overweight woman showed off her cocker spaniel and taught the audience how to Febreze pillows, Kent Phillips made a lot of jokes (the underlying theme being “I’m not a gay!”), and a dozen anorexic high-school girls paraded the newest fall fashions from Gottschalk’s (or god knows where) on a carpeted runway. Cindy Rinehart, the show’s soap expert, failed to appear. Throughout the entire hour, I had a camera in my face. I was expected to ooh and ahh. I didn’t ooh or ahh. I tried to look constipated so that the cameraman would pan away from my face. It didn’t work.

    At least I got a free Sarah Jessica Parker purse.

    Steven Blum
    Public Intern

    Get Yer Goats

    posted by on September 25 at 8:59 AM

    The city granted pet status to miniature goats yesterday. How long until the first “pet goat” is spotted in a bar?

    Craig Prosecutor Isn’t Havin’ It

    posted by on September 25 at 8:30 AM

    Allowing Larry Craig to withdraw his guilty plea will lead to a “deluge” of similar cases, warns Christopher Renz, who the A.P. identifies as an “airport prosecutor.” (Airports have prosecutors?)

    Craig clearly “had hoped that he could plead guilty and that the plea would not be discovered by the media or public,” Renz wrote. “The defendant chose to plead guilty and consciously took that risk. The defendant’s current pursuit of withdrawal of his guilty plea is reactionary, calculated and political.”

    Renz warned of a “deluge” of defendants who would ask to withdraw guilty pleas if Craig succeeds. The prosecutor said his office was contacted by a defendant trying to withdraw his plea after Craig announced that he regretted pleading guilty.

    The court papers detail several phone calls between Craig and Renz as the case proceeded. On one call on July 17, Renz wrote that he told Craig he should seek an attorney’s advice. Craig never appeared “to have a tone or sense of urgency, panic or overt emotion,” Renz wrote in an affidavit.

    Craig, of course, has argued that he pleaded guilt in a white-hot panic. He had been unjustly accused in the past of having sex with men and cruising airport toilets, and the Idaho Statesman had the nerve to ask him about those charges. Worried that his arrest for playing footsie in a Minneapolis toilet would fuel all those baseless gay-and-cruises-toilets rumors, Craig did what any other true-blue, red-blooded, never-been-gay American would do: He pleaded guilty to cruising toilets looking for gay sex.

    Every Child Needs a Female Role Model

    posted by on September 25 at 8:17 AM

    That’s some damn fine social work, DSHS:

    A Federal Way woman who punished her foster daughter by jabbing hypodermic needles into the girl’s eyes and smashing her feet with 10-pound weights pleaded guilty Monday to assault charges and could face up to 14 years imprisonment.

    Chornice Y. Kabbelliyaa, 34, a licensed foster care provider who tortured the girl for years, is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 16 at the Regional Justice Center in Kent. Kabbelliyaa took in the victim, now 16, and her brother, when the girl was 5, according to court records….

    For years, Kabbelliyaa, who also goes by Lewis, was the focus of complaints from teachers, counselors and others about the girl’s well-being, giving social workers several chances to remove her from the home…. Doctors examined the victim and found she had no vision in her right eye and puncture wounds to her left eye, caused by needles used to treat Kabbelliyaa’s mother’s diabetes. The girl’s tongue was burned because the defendant had heated forks on a stovetop to stick into the girl’s mouth, court documents say.

    The Morning News

    posted by on September 25 at 7:31 AM

    Ahmadinejad in America: Iran has no homosexuals. The Holocaust shouldn’t be treated as fact. “We are friends of the Jews.”

    Meanwhile, President Bush had this to say about Ahmadinejad’s speaking gig at Columbia:

    “When you really think about it, he’s the head of a state sponsor of terror, he’s—and yet an institution in our country gives him a chance to express his point of view, which really speaks to the freedoms of the country. I’m not sure I’d have offered the same invitation.”

    From Marching Monks to economic sanctions in Myanmar.

    The Trials of Guantanamo: A newly formed military appeals court has declared the U.S. government can prosecute some of the detainees being held at Guantanamo Bay.

    Dept. of Classy Campaigning: Support the candidacy of Rudy Giuliani. All it will cost you is $9.11 per person to attend.

    Home Prices: Dropping in a big way—in places other than Seattle, that is.

    New Rule: Seattle City Council orders Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske to pick up a pen the next time he overturns a discipline finding.

    See You in Court: The City of Seattle of Seattle is suing Sonic owner Clay Bennett.

    New Downloader: Amazon has joined the army of companies trying to take down Apple’s iTunes.

    Ugh: The opening to this P.I. story will ruin your day:

    A Federal Way woman who punished her foster daughter by jabbing hypodermic needles into the girl’s eyes and smashing her feet with 10-pound weights pleaded guilty Monday to assault charges and could face up to 14 years imprisonment.

    .24: Jack Bauer possibly drugged by evil terrorists, detained by police while precious seconds are lost.

    Monday, September 24, 2007

    Mi Casa es Su Casa

    posted by on September 24 at 10:36 PM

    The Douglass-Truth library on 23rd and Yesler was packed earlier tonight, as Central District neighbors came out to hear the argument for and against Casa Latina’s planned move to 17th and Yesler.

    Judicial Watch, a conservative “public interest group,” was recently brought in to a neighborhood debate over Casa Latina’s relocation. Some neighborhood residents are concerned that Casa Latina will draw crime to the area, and called Judicial Watch for assistance. Judicial Watch successfully shut down another immigrant labor center in Virginia in 2005.

    Tonight’s meeting, overseen by several police officers, went off without any punches being thrown, but there’s clearly a growing rift in the community over how to deal with Casa Latina. Reps for Sen. Maria Cantwell and King County Councilmember Larry Gossett were in attendance, along with neighborhood residents and several Casa Latina staff members, who must not have gotten the memo about the supposed boycott of the meeting. Sen. Adam Kline was also there, and he kept wandering over to me to snark at the presenter from Judicial Watch, Christopher Farrell.

    Farrell gave a presentation to the 14-member committee, formed to address neighborhood concerns about safety and security associated with Casa Latina’s relocation.

    Continue reading "Mi Casa es Su Casa" »

    George W. Bush is Offering Advice to WHO about WHAT?

    posted by on September 24 at 5:20 PM

    President Bush is quietly providing back-channel advice to Hillary Rodham Clinton, urging her to modulate her rhetoric so she can effectively prosecute the war in Iraq if elected president. In an interview for the new book The Evangelical President, White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten said Bush has “been urging candidates: ‘Don’t get yourself too locked in where you stand right now. If you end up sitting where I sit, things could change dramatically.’”

    Where to start?

    We’re Making Progress in Iraq

    posted by on September 24 at 5:12 PM

    By bringing together Shiite and Sunni tribal leaders we’re making it, um, easier for insurgents to kill them.

    A suicide bomber struck a U.S.-promoted reconciliation meeting of Shiite and Sunni tribal sheiks as they were washing their hands or sipping tea today, killing at least 15 people, including the city’s police chief, and wounding about 30 others.

    Two U.S. soldiers were also wounded in the 8:30 p.m. blast at a Shiite mosque in Baqouba, a former al-Qaida in Iraq stronghold about 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials, who gave the overall casualty toll.

    The brazen attack, which bore the hallmarks of al-Qaida in Iraq, represented a major challenge to U.S. efforts to bring together Shiites and Sunnis here in Diyala province, scene of some of the bitterest fighting in Iraq.

    Holy Shit

    posted by on September 24 at 5:03 PM

    This little ditty—“Why Should God Bless America?”—was performed at the “Values Voters” debate last week. Please note the GOP candidates for president standing silently by:

    So who hates America again? The left or the right?

    Via Sullivan.

    Disgust and Martin Creed

    posted by on September 24 at 4:46 PM

    In 2001, when Martin Creed won the Turner Prize and exhibited a work that was nothing but a light going on and off in a room, a great public groan was heard throughout the land. I didn’t have to write about the event, and I didn’t see the show, so I didn’t form an opinion about it.

    Since then, I’ve seen two Creed light pieces in Seattle, or rather, two different editions of the same piece on display in two locations. The two displays overlapped for two days this past weekend.

    One was the tasseled, somewhat ornate lamp in the Henry Art Gallery’s Mouth Open, Teeth Showing exhibition. The show, which closed yesterday, was a selection of works from the Bill and Ruth True Collection, and the Creed lamp sat in the miniature rotunda on the southwest side of the Henry’s ground-floor gallery, flicking yellow light on and off.

    The other was a quiet little bluish-tinged nightlight plugged into an outlet near the floor in the front room of Western Bridge. It’s part of the new show Insubstantial Pageant Faded (well, well worth seeing), which opened to the public Friday, and which also is a selection from the True collection. (The Trues are major donors to the Henry, and own Western Bridge.)

    Both pieces, the lamp and the nightlight, are the same work: Creed’s Work No. 312 (A lamp going on and off), not to be confused with Work No. 227 (The lights going on and off)—the work that made headlines back in 2001. The Trues own the piece, and they checked with Creed’s gallery to make sure they could borrow “another edition” for the short overlapping days, WB director Eric Fredericksen said.

    Neither of the works moved me much, or sent my head spinning. I suppose I could have interpreted plenty into those little lamps, and into their themed-group-show and architectural contexts, but in the end, they didn’t stand out; they didn’t produce any commitment in me.

    Whereas I can imagine that if a Creed light work is alone in a gallery, it is much more confrontational, and also suffers more from the pressure to bring something fresh to the conversation about the nature and history of art.

    (This, ultimately, must be the difference between the “light” and the “lamp” works. And certainly there is a meaningful difference between a light and its lamp—maybe somewhere there’s a good interview with Creed on this. For the record, the lamp pieces were different because Creed doesn’t specify which type of lamp must be used. The recent Seattle pairing makes a nice display of this principle.)

    Boston Globe short-timer Ken Johnson (who’s returning to the New York Times soon) recently had that very experience, of facing one of Creed’s lights alone in a gallery. For him, the work was a rebel without a cause. Or at least without the expected, revolutionary cause.

    When Yves Klein did an exhibition in Paris in 1958 called “Le Vide” (“The Void”) that consisted only of a completely empty gallery, it was shocking for most people but an inspirational sign of artistic and social freedom for a few. If an art exhibition could be nothing but an empty gallery, then anything was possible. The cultural revolutions of the ’60s were soon to come. Half a century later, an exhibition consisting of nothing but the gallery lights going on and off excites no such utopian euphoria. It’s more like high-brow business as usual. Is this what Creed means us to take from his work? The thought that art’s cutting edge is no longer moving forward but going in circles, producing only more or less amusing variations on established precedents? If so, is “The Lights Going On and Off” a critique of contemporary culture, a gesture of despair, or a wake-up call?

    I’m not sure what Johnson means about “a critique of contemporary culture” (which culture: pop, high, low?), but there is a good case to be made for “The Lights Going On and Off” as a gesture of despair as well as a wakeup call. A wakeup call for who or what? Art and its initiates, Johnson seems to be saying. (Interestingly, Johnson distinguishes between “most people” and “a few” in his telling of the Klein story; in the Creed version, he seems to be saying that even the “few”—with him as the representative member—find Creed’s light weary.)

    The idea is a reversal. It’s not that the work is so radical that it’s upsetting, but that it’s a conservative agent for mocking the radical in order to mobilize disgust toward it. (Or to mobilize disgust for art insiders unwilling to see the cliches of radicalism for what they are.) (Note: Creed is a specialist in disgust. The last piece I saw by him before the lamp pieces was his video of people shitting and vomiting.)

    Is even that critical project new? I’m not convinced.

    But I am, as ever, convinced by Ken Johnson’s writing, which always, elegantly, provides momentum in any discussion. Here’s the whole review.

    Students’ Rights Update

    posted by on September 24 at 4:19 PM

    A big decision in the 9th Circuit. The (typically liberal) court upholds a strip search of two Arizona middle school girls.

    Colorado State University student paper causes free speech debate with “Fuck Bush” editorial.

    About that Bike Accident

    posted by on September 24 at 4:18 PM

    I’ve gotten a lot of reaction to my story last week about Bryce Lewis, the cyclist who was struck by a dump truck and killed while riding downhill on a fixed-gear bike equipped with a front brake. Most have accused me of “blaming” Lewis for being hit because he was riding a bike I think is dangerous, and suggested I know nothing about biking in the city. To wit:

    in your article on the death of bryce lewis, you put a lot of emphasis on the fact that he was riding a fixed gear bicycle. that is absurd and offensive - he got run over by a truck. if he was coasting, he still would have been run over. he would still be dead. to say that he wasn’t paying appropriate attention, when it is obvious that you have little to no information on the circumstances of his death, is terrible journalism and disrespectful to the dead.

    in your article, you say that he was “riding a dangerous bike” simply because you don’t know how to ride one.


    Trying to the blame this kids death on him riding a fixed gear bike is infuriating. I ride a fixed gear bike very safely. This is not a new phenomenon. I know friends who have been riding fixed gears instead of road bikes for years. They are simple, silent machines that give the rider full control of the bike. Coasting down a steep hill makes me feel unsafe and out of control and my speed is much greater that when I ride my fixed gear down a steep hill. A fixed gear rider must focus more on riding which can make them much safer riders.


    Your recent article regarding bicycles had several distinct errors regarding the fundamental mechanics of cycling equipment and their functional capacities.

    If you’d like I can recommend several volumes for your perusal, their knowledge applied would allow you to write comprehensive articles without error. They may not be fun to read, but most persons find calculus boring too, yet don’t deny it’s necessary applications. I’m certain you’d find fault with anyone whose written an article about carrots to consistently refer to them as “fruit”, would you not?

    If you’d like to be able to write articles of merit regarding cyclists, I’d gladly provide you a short reading list or even a contact for a course you can take locally to learn the basics of cycling on city streets.

    So, to clear a few things up:

    1) I didn’t “blame the victim” for being hit, nor did I exonerate the truck driver. As I said in my original Slog post:

    Coming down the hill off Harvard, it’s easy to reach speeds topping 30 miles an hour, and even if you’re going slowly, drivers still pay way too little attention—as I learned when I was hit in the exact same spot a year and a half ago, by a left-turning driver who pulled into my path (also known as the bike lane) too quickly for me to stop. …

    Technically, the dump truck driver appears to have been at fault, but as every cyclist knows, it’s up to us to look out for them, because we’re the ones who always lose in bike/vehicle collisions. Fair? No Drivers should be more aware of cyclists too—much more aware. (In addition to my three accidents, I’ve had countless near-misses with drivers who broke the law and nearly smashed into me.) But looking out for cars—hell, assuming they don’t see you and don’t care if they hit you—is how you avoid being hit.

    This isn’t blaming the victim; it’s accepting the reality that drivers are careless, and that cyclists are the ones who have the most to lose.

    2) I said explicitly in my story and elsewhere that fixed-gear bikes in and of themselves are not the problem, but that problems can arise when you’re new to riding one, as are many, many of the people I see tearing around on these bikes, usually helmetless, all over the city. Longtime fixie riders may think that because they’re experienced and safe, every single fixed-gear rider out there must be, too, but the safety of the machine depends on the experience of its rider. And bombing down a hill is dangerous no matter how experienced you are.

    3) Yes, there are some things I got wrong about the mechanics of fixed gear bike—specifically, I said they go faster than freewheel bikes downhill when in fact they’re just harder to stop going downhill—and no, I don’t want to read “volumes” to understand exactly how every cog and screw on fixed-gear bikes work. The basic point—that riding fast downhill on a fixed gear is not a good idea if you’re unfamiliar with riding on hills or inexperienced with fixed-gear bikes—still stands, as does my larger conclusion: If a driver hits you, it may be their fault, but that doesn’t matter if you’re dead. I would much rather see cycling folks lobbying for more punitive laws against hitting cyclists—say, automatic license revocation if the driver is at fault—than sniping about who knows more about bicycles and whether this accident was avoidable or not.

    Notes From The Prayer Warrior

    posted by on September 24 at 3:49 PM

    The Prayer Warrior works in mysterious ways…



    Dear Prayer Warrior,

    Please pray for expedience in the development of the website to handle the strategy for corporations.

    Pastor Hutch

    Erica Walks Her Talk

    posted by on September 24 at 3:38 PM


    You know how Erica C. Barnett is always posting boasting here about food recipes like she’s some big fancy food sophisticate.

    Well, now I believe her.

    Barnett had a small (although crowded for her small apartment) dinner party on Saturday and damn, feminist girl belongs in the kitchen! In fact, that’s where she stayed all night, serving up the best 10 (?) course meal (Southern theme) I’ve had in as long as I can remember.


    Here’s what she rolled out. It just kept coming:

    Mint Juleps
    Sweet Tea
    Cheddar Cheese Straws
    Deviled Eggs with Bacon Bits
    Pickled Okra
    Chowchow Relish
    Crab Dip and Crackers
    Homemade Pepper Jelly on Melba Toasts with Cream Cheese
    Spiced Pecans
    Corn and Okra Pudding
    Baked Cheddar Cheese Grits
    Savory Green Tomato and Apple Tart
    Mini Biscuits with Butter and Country Ham
    Fried Okra
    Fried Green Tomatoes
    Fried Catfish with Red Pepper Sauce
    Fried Chicken
    Pecan Pie
    Fudge Pie

    Today on Line Out

    posted by on September 24 at 3:32 PM

    Bittersweet 16: Molly Hamilton on Endfest 16

    Tonight: Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, The Gossip @ the UW; Circle at Chop Suey; DJ Night School at Pony.

    “Yeah the President Sucks, He’s a Warpig Fuck”: Clever Anarchists Topple Multinational Corporation, Or Not.

    Disco Romance, pt 1: Terry Miller on Cloetta Paris

    Fake, pt 1: Stereogum Posts Bogus Meg White Sex Tape.

    Fake, pt 2: Division Uncovers Bogus Peter Hook DJ Tape.

    Disco Romance, pt 2: Terry Miller Gets Cosmic.

    Rabbit Trancing: Bunny Wins the Les Savy Fav Video Contest.

    The Fall: Megan Seling’s Autumn Mix

    Re: Ahmadinejad

    posted by on September 24 at 3:23 PM

    One year ago in Slog.

    City Taking Sonics to Court

    posted by on September 24 at 3:11 PM

    In response to Sonics/Storm owner Clay Bennett’s announcement last week that he was taking the city to arbitration in KC so he could get out of the team’s Key Arena lease, the Seattle City Attorney filed a complaint in King County Superior Court today accusing Bennett of reneging on the terms of the contract.

    I’d link City Attorney Tom Carr’s complaint—it’s bitchy in a good way—but it’s an 86-page PDF without a URL.

    Here’s the “in a good way” part:

    If the Sonics were to breach the Lease by failing to play the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons at KeyArena, the City would lose the entire benefit of its Lease bargain, as its agreement to construct a new professional basketball arena at public expense was premised on the condition that the Sonics would be the principal tenant of the new arena through the 2009-10 season. The City would be responsible for paying the debt service on the KeyArena without the promised income stream from the Sonics, a promise the City relied on when it decided to fund it…

    On or about September 21, 2007, [the Sonics] filed a Demand for Arbitration. Although certain disputes under the Lease are subject to arbitration, this [continuing to play at KeyArena through the term of the Lease] is not one of them.

    When Mascots Attack

    posted by on September 24 at 3:06 PM

    During yesterday’s Seahawks game, some drunken idiot sprinted out onto the field. Security quickly nabbed him and escorted him away. It was all handled in a very professional manner.

    Meanwhile, in Kansas City, Arrowhead Stadium security found themselves in a similar situation. Thankfully, Chiefs mascot K.C. Wolf was there to lend a hand.

    OPA Oversight to Increase

    posted by on September 24 at 3:05 PM

    Legislation sponsored by Nick Licata increasing police-oversight reporting requirements passed unanimously at today’s meeting of the city council. The legislation will require both the police chief and the director of the Office of Professional Accountability, which investigates civilian complaints about officers, to explain in writing when they disagree about recommendations for officer discipline. It will also require the OPA director to report any disciplinary measures that were not taken because the 180-day window for officer discipline (written into the police union’s contract) expired. Both changes have been opposed by the police guild and by Mayor Greg Nickels.

    Continue reading "OPA Oversight to Increase" »

    In Seattle We Can Ride the SLUT…

    posted by on September 24 at 1:47 PM

    …but residents of Florida can take Space Coast Area Transit—or SCAT.

    Bush’s Pick: Clinton

    posted by on September 24 at 1:34 PM

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush, breaking his rule not to talk about presidential politics, says he believes Hillary Rodham Clinton will defeat Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primaries.

    UPDATE: Candidate Chris Dodd’s somewhat cryptic response:

    I can understand why the President would want Senator Clinton to be the nominee.

    Hershey Highway

    posted by on September 24 at 1:32 PM

    As David Schmader notes in this week’s Back to School primer on drugs, “college is when you’re practically required to try them.” So tonight Science on Tap kicks off preseason drug education – two days before classes – with the substance that hooked us first: chocolate. (Only later did we realize Hershey bars taste like crap.)

    Botany of Chocolate,” presented by Alfredo Gomez-Beloz of the University of Washington’s Department of Epidemiology, will presumably touch on humans’ role in the evolution of cacao and its molecular treasures—caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline. There are even rumors of samples. Science on Tap, which strives to make sciencey stuff less boring, is held in a pub atmosphere, so I presume you can chug beer for extra credit. (7 p.m., Ravenna Third Place Books, 6504 20th Ave. NE, (206) 525-2347, all ages, free.)

    Celebrate the Colon

    posted by on September 24 at 1:20 PM

    Not THAT colon; this one: (<-)!

    Today is National Punctuation Day (the fourth annual). You might celebrate by reading a newspaper in search of comma errors, introducing your kid to semicolons, buying a new style guide, or taking a Sharpie on a walk in search of shop-sign errors.

    More info at (motto: “A semicolon is not a surgical procedure”).

    Free lesson: Punctuation with Quotation Marks
    In American English, periods and commas ALWAYS go inside closing quotation marks. Colons, semicolons, question marks, and exclamation points can go in or out, depending on whether they’re part of the quote or not.

    Romney’s Ahmadinejad Ad

    posted by on September 24 at 1:15 PM

    Mitt Romney is running this radio ad in early primary states to coincide with Ahmadinejad’s visit. It talks about how Romney once refused to grant a police escort for a former Iranian president, and now doesn’t want American taxpayers paying for any niceties the current Iranian president might enjoy while visiting the United States.

    The ad begins…

    On the eve of the fifth anniversary of 9/11, Harvard University invited former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami to Boston. The same Mohammad Khatami who has supported the terrorist group Hezbollah, advocates destruction of Israel and stood by while Jews and Christians were persecuted. The Iranian wanted VIP treatment at taxpayer expense.

    But Governor Mitt Romney said, ‘No.’ Governor Romney called the invitation a ‘disgrace’ and refused to grant Khatami a police escort.

    Now another Iranian President is visiting America, coming to New York, and Governor Mitt Romney is leading the opposition…

    Dept. of Hilarious Acronyms

    posted by on September 24 at 1:01 PM

    By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard about the South Lake Union Trolley—or SLUT—which has gained a bizarre following and spawned a line of “Ride the SLUT” t-shirts. But wait, there’s more:

    To offset all the new construction and growing number of residents in the area, King County is sponsoring a program to help the now heavily traveled South Lake Union area mesh with Seattle’s green-hippie-whatever image.

    The South Lake Union in Motion program, or SLUM, provides incentives for South Lake Union residents to walk, bike or take the SLUT to work.

    Keep Seattle green.

    SLUM it on the SLUT.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Andrew.

    Casa Latina Boycotts Tonight’s Community Meeting

    posted by on September 24 at 12:59 PM

    Immigrant services agency Casa Latina is pulling out of a community meeting tonight in the Central District. The meeting is part of an ongoing mediation process with neighbors (pro and con) about Casa Latina’s intention to move its day laborer center to 17th and Jackson.

    Casa Latina is refusing to participate in the meeting, which is at 5:00 tonight at the Douglas Truth Library 23rd and Jackson, because neighbors opposed to the relocation, organized as Save the Central District, are bringing in Judicial Watch—a conservative DC-based group famous for suing Bill Clinton—to speak against the day laborer center.

    Judicial Watch has already threatened to sue the city for its financial support of Casa Latina, so Casa believes Judicial Watch’s participation compromises the integrity of the mediation process.

    Here’s the deal:

    Judicial Watch, which Casa Latina director Hilary Stern has called “nativist” and “racist,” is making the presentation to a community group that was convened to work through the controversial issue of siting a day laborer service center in the neighborhood, which is heated with racial overtones.

    Judicial Watch, which successfully shut down a day laborer center in Herndon, Virginia by suing the city for financially supporting it, sent a letter to the city on September 13 demanding that Seattle stop funding Casa Latina.

    The city allocated $250,000 to help Casa Latina relocate to the Central District, and the city also provides the immigrant services agency about $141,000 a year.

    Judicial Watch compared the city’s support to funding prostitution. Judicial Watch president Thomas Fitton wrote, “For the city to use taxpayer resources in this manner is akin to a city operating its own ‘red light district’ or illegal drug market.”

    Should be a testy meeting.

    I’ve linked an e-mail exchange below (start at the bottom) between Alfred Shiga, a neighbor who’s against the day laborer center, and John Howell, who’s leading the mediation, discussing Casa Latina’s decision to boycott tonight’s meeting.

    Continue reading "Casa Latina Boycotts Tonight's Community Meeting" »

    Lone Star Love Not Going to Broadway

    posted by on September 24 at 11:59 AM

    From the 5th Avenue Theatre, as of a few minutes ago:

    The production of LONE STAR LOVE, currently playing an engagement at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, has canceled its Broadway engagement this fall.

    Lone Star Love is a musical adaptation of The Merry Wives of Windsor starring Randy “Hubba-Hubba” Quaid as Colonel John Falstaff.

    Why isn’t the production going to Broadway?

    “I can’t go into it,” says 5th Ave p.r. person Molly Fortin. And she really, really wouldn’t go into it, not even a little bit. Financial problems? Fighting? Rehab? “I can’t go into it.”

    But speculates:

    … recent news reports portrayed Quaid’s wife and manager, Evie, as being at odds with the show’s producers, which include Avenue A Productions, Roger Berlind, Robert Boyett Theatricals, Edmund and Eleanor Burke, Rusty and Susan Carter, Daisy Theatricals and Michael Speyer/Berard Abrams.

    If Eli Sanders’s review, which will run in next week’s paper, is any indication, LSL isn’t going to Broadway because it stinks.

    Ahmadinejad on the Gays

    posted by on September 24 at 11:53 AM

    From the NYT liveblog:

    In response to a question about homosexuality, Mr. Ahmadinejad was initially evasive, instead talking about the death penalty, which, he pointed out, exists in the United States: “People who violate the laws by using guns, creating insecurity selling guns, distributing guns at a high level are sentenced to execution in Iran. Very few of these punishments are carried out in the public eye.”

    Pressed by Dean Coatsworth on the original question about homosexuality, Mr. Ahmadinejad said: “In Iran, we don’t have homosexuals like in your country. We don’t have that in our country.”

    The audience booed and hissed loudly.

    “In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon,” Mr. Ahmadinejad continued, undeterred. “I do not know who has told you that we have it. But as for women, maybe you think that maybe being a woman is a crime. It’s not a crime to be a woman. Women are the best creatures created by God. They represent the kindness, the beauty that God instills in them. Women are respected in Iran.”

    Huh? What? Excuse Me?

    posted by on September 24 at 11:41 AM

    Can anyone decipher this Seattle Times editorial? Lawsuits, Ward Cleaver, porn stars, beaver getting pounded—I read it three times and I still can’t quite figure out what the fuck it’s supposed to be about.

    LiveBlogging Ahmadinejad

    posted by on September 24 at 11:19 AM

    The New York Times has constant updates and a live video feed.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on September 24 at 11:00 AM


    Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Gossip at Bank of America Arena

    Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, and Gossip all put on spectacular live shows with overwrought theatrics, muscular disco grooves, and a punk-blues explosion, respectively. James Murphy and Beth Ditto are especially powerful, the former leading his band like a post-punk James Brown and the latter belting out songs with overwhelming soul. This should be one of the best shows of the fall. (Bank of America Arena, 3870 Montlake Blvd NE, 7:30 pm, $39.50, all ages.) ERIC GRANDY



    Junot Díaz at Elliott Bay Book Company

    His first book, 1996’s awesome story collection Drown, was written in a hybrid of English and Spanish, set in the Dominican Republic and New Jersey, and began with two guys kicking the shit out of a boy whose face had been eaten off by a pig. Now, at last, years late, Díaz’s second book has been published. Michiko Kakutani calls The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao “so original it can only be described as Mario Vargas Llosa meets Star Trek meets David Foster Wallace meets Kanye West.” (Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main St, 624-6600. 7:30 pm, free.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • “Everybody Needs to Spew Sometimes”

    posted by on September 24 at 10:45 AM

    All hail Eva Nazemson, the Swedish television personality whose hosting of a call-in game show was briefly interrupted while she puked.

    sick on air
    Uploaded by krs601

    According to The Local (“Sweden’s News in English”), that burst of Swedish that comes out after the vomit is Nazemson blaming her impromptu blet on lady troubles:

    “Wooh…OK, I just have to explain something here: I’m having period pains. Absolutely anything can happen during a live broadcast. I have to say I’m sorry about that but I really do have period pains and they can make you feel really sick.”

    The Swedish badass finished out her on-air stint without incident.

    Ahmadinejad at Columbia University

    posted by on September 24 at 10:40 AM

    His appearance there today has been denounced by presidential candidates (including, on Sunday, Hillary Clinton); by New York politicians (“I call on New Yorkers to make the life of Ahmadinejad as he is in New York miserable,” a state assemblyman told The New York Times); and by a number of Jewish groups (Yad Vashem, the holocaust memorial and museum in Israel, said the university is giving Ahmadinejad “a platform to spout his venomous ideology”).

    I went to Columbia, so I can’t help but wonder what I would be doing if I were an undergraduate there now. Protesting? Supporting the university’s decision?

    In truth, I’d probably be trying to write about it for the school newspaper, hoping I’d get inside the event as a result. That’s the kind of undergraduate I was. But on the question of whether Ahmadinejad should have been invited to participate in a forum at Columbia in the first place, I think the university president, Lee C. Bollinger, has put it well:

    “It’s extremely important to know who the leaders are of countries that are your adversaries, to watch them to see how they think, to see how they reason or do not reason, to see whether they’re fanatical, or to see whether they are sly,” Mr. Bollinger told ABC’s “Good Morning America” today.

    This is not just a photo-op and speech by Ahmadinejad. The Iranian president will face questions from Bollinger and the audience at Columbia. I hope they’re tough, and I hope his answers help Americans see Ahmadinejad more clearly.


    posted by on September 24 at 9:22 AM

    I caught hell for Slogging about a few computer monitors left in the traffic circle at 14th & Howell a year or so ago. A few additional monitors appeared at the intersection after I wrote about it, and I soon stood accused of leading an assault on the pristine natural wilderness that had been the traffic circle at the intersection of 14th & Howell.

    But I can’t be blamed for this…


    Someone has scattered clothes—mostly panties—all over this long-suffering intersection.

    A Moment of Noisiness

    posted by on September 24 at 8:58 AM


    …for Marcel Marceau, who delighted millions of mime fans and terrified millions of others before passing away this weekend at age 84.

    The Morning News

    posted by on September 24 at 8:05 AM

    Ahmadinejad in America: Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has arrived in New York. Today he will speak at Columbia University, tomorrow he’ll address the United Nations General Assembly. Protesters will follow him wherever he goes.

    Juiced: Over four dozen illegal labs raided, 124 arrested in sweeping steroid investigation.

    Picket Lines: The United Auto Workers sets to walk out on GM any minute now. Update: Make that NOW.

    Marches: As 100,000 joined protesting Monks in Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma is in danger of exploding.

    Lost in the Ass of Nowhere Badge: Eight boy Boy Scouts missing in the North Carolina mountains are alive and well.

    No Slapping MoveOn: Senator Patty Murray was one of the 25 senators who didn’t vote to condemn the lefty organization’s “Betray Us” ad in the New York Times.

    Open For Business: After two years, the downtown tunnel has buses moving again.

    Kids These Days: University faculty struggling to keep up with the Wooderson Effect.

    Seahawks: A late touchdown and a recovered kickoff fumble nab the Hawks a win against the Bengals.

    $200 Million the Quick Way: A little game called Halo 3 comes out this week, is expected to shatter records, destroy relationships, and generally bring productivity to a halt. (Note: Video below is NSFW.)

    Good Mourning America

    posted by on September 24 at 7:23 AM

    The PI reports that a non-profit called Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors conducted a “Good Grief Camp” this Saturday at Fort Lewis. Each camp attendee had lost a parent or sibling in the vast War on Terror. The camp offered games and activities that helped attendees “come to terms with their feelings.” The whole business was embarrassing.

    FORT LEWIS — Kaylee Sharp-Henderson had been silent much of the morning, and now she was avoiding, with all her 8-year-old might, directions to write down what made her feel sad. Or angry. Or scared.

    Around the table, the other children in her group bent their heads over their construction paper and made furtive lists with colored markers.

    When they were finished, Tina Saari, the group leader, handed each child a small tin of Play-Doh.

    Kaylee wadded the clay into a ball.

    “This is the Iraqi that killed my dad,” she said, her voice rising as her fists pummeled the clay into a flat pancake. “I hate you, I hate you. I hate you.”

    The other children hammered at their own piles of clay, and in a flurry of pounding, they smashed out feelings of grief only the smallest casualties of war could know.

    First of all, the poor girl should have pounded a putty ball of the president or the vice president. Pounding an Iraqi person is a complete misdirection of her anger (the group leader should have told her that). Second of all, was there no thought put in to the name of this camp, “Good Grief Camp”? Or was the double meaning intended? One says something positive: “good grief”; the other says something negative: “good grief.”

    Third of all, isn’t the report on the camp exploitive? Because it gives no explanation for the war, says nothing about why or how it happened, it empties the feelings of loss of any real content. The feelings are simply an empty fact of life, something that must dealt with, come to terms with, expressed with Silly Putty or some other silly substance. The lack of a political reality means the report supports the war. (To state the truth about the war—it has nothing to do with the War on Terror, 9/11, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, WMD, and so on—is the same as not supporting it.) Because the report supports the war in Iraqi, and because the war in Iraqi desperately wants the fiction that made it possible (War on Terror) to receive public support, it is in effect exploiting the grief expressed at the camp.

    Sunday, September 23, 2007

    A Day at the Races

    posted by on September 23 at 7:15 PM


    Fremont Oktoberfest

    posted by on September 23 at 4:49 PM

    The weather cooperated—I was worried. But it was a beautiful few nights for drinking outdoors, and everyone seemed to be having fun. And the Stranger’s special brew was a hit again this year, which is always a relief. Those of us that worked the Stranger’s tent three years ago—when we served a bizarre lemongrass beer that I would say tasted like piss but some friends that have actually tasted piss assured me that piss actually tastes better—were pretty scarred by the experience. So it’s always nice to be serving up the good stuff.

    But, hey, Fremont Oktoberfest? It’s time to do away with the kids’ area. Kids can’t get into the main drinking pen where—the horror, the horror—adults are drinking beer. Because everyone knows that kids and adults drinking beer just don’t mix—except in our homes, in restaurants, at Safeco Field, Key Arena, QWest Field, on Washington State Ferries, etc., etc. The worry, I guess, is that one very tall teenager might fool a server and get his hands one very small beer. If that’s the case, perhaps the authorities could be persuaded to allow children too young to wanna have a beer—the under twelves?—into the main drinking pen with their parents.

    If nothing can be done to lift the absurd ban on kids at Fremont Oktoberfest, then we gotta stop pretending that a zucchini race track a tiny “root beer garden” tucked around the corner and down the street from the main entrance somehow makes Fremont Oktoberfest a family-friendly event. Until kids are actually welcome we should drop the family-friendly pretense. It’s simply not a family-friendly event—not unless your kids enjoys watching people line up to enter a festival that their family is barred from entering.

    And Direct TV: You seriously didn’t attempt to market your product by bringing a Hummer to Fremont, did you?


    You did.

    Gatz at On the Boards: If You Think You Want To See It, You Do, and Today’s Your Last Chance

    posted by on September 23 at 11:39 AM


    Yesterday I went to see the NYC performance collective Elevator Repair Service perform the show Gatz at On the Boards. As some of you may have read, Gatz features every single word of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, and thus runs somewhere around six and a half hours, plus an hour-long dinner break.

    In advance of the show, the running time was all I could think about. Same goes for my friends who attended. We placed bets on whether we’d really be up for the whole fucking thing. We made jokes about artistic masochism. We brought fidget-inhibiting booze.

    Some light but important background: I love The Great Gatsby. I know this is as revelatory as praising the deliciousness of pizza, but it’s true. I’ve read it probably twenty times. In an effort to understand what made the book tick, I once copied down every verb used in the text (excluding “said”). I still have the list.

    Why this matters: I walked into Gatz a quivering mass of expectation, fear, and dread. I walked out—six and a half hours later—slightly dazed and excessively grateful.

    Those who bet on an intermission escape lost. (In your face, Kathryn!) The fidget-inihibiting booze was unnecessary, but still nice. The show was fucking amazing, and, after seeing it, I can tell you that the running time is the least interesting thing about it.

    The basics: Gatz does indeed include every word on the novel, starting with a quiet, cold reading by a nebulous office clerk. Slowly, surely, and magically, this reading grows into a performance involving a full cast, in a way that couldn’t help reminding me of Stop Making Sense, with its intoxicating accumulation of players and effects.

    The key: Everything the Elevator Repair Service chooses to do (and not do) with the text is pitch-perfect. Building their show from the blank slate of the office reader, ERS add careful bits of theatricality that, miraculously, only go to serve the text. All of Fitzgerald’s brilliance is preserved, literally, but expanded with great care and intelligence into a six-and-a-half hour spectacle.

    The final Seattle performance of Gatz starts today at 4:00 pm at On the Boards. If you’re tempted to go, follow that temptation.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on September 23 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Gatz’ at On the Boards

    Elevator Repair Service, an experimental theater group from New York City, reads the entirety of The Great Gatsby—start to finish, the whole book, every sentence. It’s an anaerobic endurance sport and an inspired idea. The Great Gatsby is a perfect prose performance, which is why staging always ruins it. The Great Gatsby starring actors? They’ll just be in the way. The Great Gatsby starring the sentences in The Great Gatsby? Hell yeah. It’s long, but the end is great.See Review (On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. 4 pm, $24.)


    Who’s What Now?

    posted by on September 23 at 9:54 AM

    This has been driving me crazy for months, but since the Mariner’s Mariners [<— Ha!] imploded and I stopped going to games (too depressing), I thought I would be spared the mental anguish of coming across these until next spring. Fremont Oktoberfest stepped in though, to remind me of the utter lunacy of the ShishkaBerry.


    Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the concept of $8 worth of chocolate-dipped strawberries on a stick—in fact, it sounds fairly delicious. I’ve never had one. No, the problem is with the name, and it comes down to this:

    Who is this ShishkaBerry, and what is he/she selling, if not !@*&!*@#%&$ shishkaberries?

    ShishkaBerry’s WHAT?!?!? If they’re going to use the possessive here, couldn’t they at least have a cute little character, Mr. Berry P. ShishkaBerry, who goes around selling… umm… shishkaberries? Something—anything—so the literates in the crowd can have some peace, and some shishkaberries.

    Show yourself, ShishkaBerry.

    P.S. - A quick Google search for shishkaberry reveals that this word is primarily associated with a “quite potent strain of marijuana,” possibly revealing the root cause of this company’s ungrammatical signage.