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Archives for 12/02/2007 - 12/08/2007

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Those Missing Snowboarders

posted by on December 8 at 9:19 PM

They’re calling off the search—after a week. If they’re up there, “they’re under the snow,” as a spokesman for the Pierce County Sheriff’s office told the Seattle Times yesterday. So unless the three missing snowboarders hiked out on their own and didn’t bother to call anyone—which seems highly unlikely—or have somehow managed to survive more than a week out there without food and without leaving a trace—even less likely—Kevin Carter, 26, Devlin Williams, 29, and Phillip Hollins, 41, are all dead. Their bodies aren’t likely to be discovered until spring, when the snow melts.

Which means, unfortunately, other snowboarders are going to be riding over their bodies for the next four months.

And, please, no asshole comments about how they were asking for it. People take calculated risks all the time in pursuit of pleasures—people die skiing into trees on clear, safe days; people are murdered walking home from nightclubs; people on bikes get hit by cars; that proverbial bus could run your ass over tomorrow.

In fact, I think I’ll just shut off the comments on this post.

I Been Drinkin’ 12 Packs Since You Been on My Case, Or: Liveblogging Larry the Cable Guy

posted by on December 8 at 7:13 PM

I’ll be logging the high points of his early show at The Paramount tonight.

Here we go!!

“Git ‘er done”

“I always did want to get a piece of that Florence Henderson.”


Audio of Oprah Winfrey’s Iowa Speech

posted by on December 8 at 5:30 PM

Remember those plans I had to drive to a Hillary Clinton event in eastern Iowa in what turned out to be darkness and snow and freezing rain? Well, they didn’t work out so well. Details in my feature for The Stranger next week, but for now let’s just say I’m very happy to be back in my warm hotel room in Des Moines.

Which gives me chance to say: I was extremely impressed by the Oprah-Obama event earlier this afternoon in Des Moines. Again, more details in next week’s paper, but for now I’ll just tell you that I’d never seen anything quite like it—and it seems like a lot of Iowans hadn’t either, until today. (Also: All that chatter about Oprah being a good candidate for political office… If she ever runs, watch out. She gave a better speech than anyone I’ve seen on the campaign trail this year, and I’ve seen all of the top three Democrats in person—Edwards, Obama, and Clinton.)

I don’t think the speech will be quite as impressive when you listen to it as an audio file. The big thing about Oprah’s performance was her delivery and her presence. But I do want to share the audio I made of Oprah’s speech this afternoon, in case any of you are interested in hearing what I saw.

Problem is, I can’t upload it to the Slog from afar because the file is too big. So for now I’m putting it on my personal blog. Click here if you’re interested.

(And confidential to Stranger tech people: If you guys want to grab the audio off my site and push it around the Slog’s upload limit, feel free. This is just my temporary solution.)

[Eli: Audio grabbed, converted, and uploaded. xoxo,Stranger tech people.]

Listen to the Oprah speech here. You’ll hear Michelle Obama first, giving a brief introduction for Oprah. Then you’ll hear (very briefly) some reporters jockeying for the best view spot. And then you’ll hear Oprah’s speech. It’s about 20 minutes long.

BONUS: Want to get inside my head while I’m writing an Obama feature that will certainly contain a section about this Oprah speech? Give the speech a listen, and then tell me what it all means in the comments.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on December 8 at 2:00 PM

From photo pool contributor lorilovesyouu, and empty stage just before a show. Another thing I have a weakness for…


Someone Help Me Out Here

posted by on December 8 at 1:39 PM

Can someone please direct me to the column or blog post where I wrote, “But wait, fat people? Suck!”

Perhaps this is the wrong image to use… but irrational fat activists are stuffing words in my mouth. But, hey, if imagining that I’ve persecuted you is enough to float your boats, ladies, feel free. I didn’t realize I was that buoyant.

Waiting for Winfrey

posted by on December 8 at 12:55 PM

I’m in Iowa this weekend working on a piece about Barack Obama, and at the moment I’m in a large convention center in Des Moines waiting for the first of Obama’s four appearances over the next two days with Oprah Winfrey.

The hall is packed and Obama’s supporters are, as they like to say, “Fired Up.” I’m a bit frantic, running around trying to do interviews here, fretting about whether snow will prevent me from getting to eastern Iowa later today for a Hillary Clinton event, and stressing about my deadline.

But! I have time to dump an interesting interview out of my notebook and onto Slog. I was in a bar in Des Moines this morning (eating, not drinking) and talking to the bartender, Joe Jacobson, 22. Of the Oprah event, he says:

I really could care less what Oprah thinks. I just think it’s a big deal about something that really shouldn’t be a big deal.

His opinion is obviously not shared by the thousands of people here at the convention center. Nor do they seem to share Jacobson’s skepticism about an Obama candidacy, which is as revealing as it is (in part) wrong. Jacobson told me:

To think that the rest of the country is going to elect someone who’s in the minority in religion and in race just doesn’t seem realistic to me.

The man’s entitled to his opinion, of course, but can you spot the erroneous information in that statement?

UPDATE: For you commenters with trust issues: Yes, of course, I followed up and asked the bartender why he believed that Obama is a member of a religious minority group. He told me he’d heard that Obama is Muslim. (I now await that very rarest of all things on this blog, a commenter apology.)

Attention Fat Activists

posted by on December 8 at 11:29 AM

The great “Dan Savage is an asshole—but just how big an asshole?” debate on fat-acceptance blogs appears to be winding down. (I am an asshole, you see, for suggesting that weight has any relationship to diet or lifestyle.) And not a moment too soon—because the fat-acceptance crowd has a new arch enemy: New York Times television critic Ginia Bellafante.

Bellafante wrote up a BBC documentary about obesity in today’s NYT. It would appear that Ms. Bellafante is ignorant of “natural setpoint weight ranges,” and labors under the mistaken belief that a given person’s diet—that’s diet, not dieting—somehow correlates with the size of a given person’s ass.

The film to be shown this weekend, “476-Lb. Teenager,” illustrates life on the other extreme of the scale. A portrait of a young woman named Bethany, it depicts her fight to lose what is, in essence, her title as Britain’s fattest teenager. “Every day is a struggle,” she says. “Every day you wish you could just stay in bed and press the pause button.”

Bethany started her descent into obesity at about 8, when she began overeating to squelch psychological discomfort—discomfort the film does a subtle job of attributing to a mother who appears as removed and unfeeling as any imagined by the Brothers Grimm.

The documentary accords Bethany, who ultimately loses about 100 pounds with the help of stomach-reducing surgery, a dignity that is commendable but vaguely obstructionist. It rises above the one question the viewer most wants answered: How does anyone wind up at 476 pounds? Literally, how—in numbers of pizzas and Snickers bars and shell steaks and pints of pistachio ice cream. Deeply invested in the emotional repercussions of Bethany’s condition, the filmmakers show little interest in her complicity in developing it.

Oooooo… surgery and Snickers bars and complicity. Complicity! As if being fat is a crime! Those are fighting words! Go get her, fat activists.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 8 at 11:00 AM


KEXP YuleBenefit at Showbox at the Market

It’s always nice when the benevolent indie-radio overlords at KEXP throw a fundraising party. You get to help out the station, and a rock show is a lot more fun than sitting through a pledge drive. This year’s Yule Benefit features buzzing Brooklyn band Yeasayer, whose spaced-out ritual rock rises from folky roots to atmospheric prog. Openers Feral Children combine drunk, tribal drumming with depressed rural lament, and the Valley reverently resurrect ’70s garage fuzz and protogrunge. (Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-0301. 8 pm, $20–$25, 21+.)


Kike Rock

The Eight at Crocodile

Hanukkah is the Cinco de Mayo of the Hebrew calendar: a historical footnote fluffed up into an excuse for debauchery. Halfway through the eight-day holiday, JDub Records (discoverers of Yid sensation Matisyahu) and some weird Zionist youth organization present Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, a mom-and-pop-and-daughter indie-rock outfit that plays viciously clever songs set to slides salvaged from thrift stores and yard sales. You’ll feel nostalgic for vacations you never took and embarrassed for relatives that aren’t yours. With nü-klezmer punks Golem. (Crocodile, 2200 Second Ave, 441-5611. 8:30 pm, $10 adv/$15 DOS, 21+.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Mike Huckabee’s Compassionate Conservatism

    posted by on December 8 at 10:46 AM

    Mike Huckabee once advocated isolating AIDS patients from the general public, opposed increased federal funding in the search for a cure and said homosexuality could “pose a dangerous public health risk.”

    As a candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in 1992, Huckabee answered 229 questions submitted to him by The Associated Press. Besides a quarantine, Huckabee suggested that Hollywood celebrities fund AIDS research from their own pockets, rather than federal health agencies.

    “If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague,” Huckabee wrote.

    UPDATE: A reader asks, “what’s the big deal?” After all, didn’t a lot of people advocate quarantine for AIDS patients early in the epidemic? Yeah, early in the epidemic some did advocate just that—and not just bigots salivating at the prospect of rounding up all gay people, diseased or not. But that was early in the epidemic, very early, 1984-86. By 1992 only raving bigots were still talking about quarantining people with AIDS or HIV. People like, you know, Mike Huckabee.

    Chris O’Donnell Gets Pegged

    posted by on December 8 at 10:23 AM

    The actor Chris O’Donnell tells the Independent that he gets pegged as a choirboy—hey, whatever works for you, Chris. We just wanna see the video.

    O They Will Know We Are Christians By…

    posted by on December 8 at 9:26 AM

    …the 14 year-old boys we put in diapers.

    A skit at a local Christian youth group meeting had teenage boys taking off some of their clothes, wearing adult diapers, bibs and bonnets and being spoon-fed by girls as they sat in their laps.

    Some say it’s just crazy, goofy teenage fun. But others, including one boy’s mother and the Mt. Lebanon School District, aren’t comfortable with it.

    The skit took place during the Nov. 29 meeting of the Mt. Lebanon Young Life club, a nondenominational Christian youth group directed by youth minister O.J. Wandrisco.

    Laurie Metz, whose 14-year-old son was one of the boys who took part in the skit, said she found it inappropriate, demeaning and sexually perverse.

    Mr. Wandrisco and a national spokesman for Young Life say the skits are all in fun and meant to be used as “icebreakers” at the youth group meetings. “The skits are designed for one reason and one reason only—for kids to have fun. It’s not a dirty joke. The skits are to break down the walls and let them have fun,” Mr. Wandrisco said….

    Ms. Metz said at the Nov. 29 Young Life meeting, after her son and two other boys were selected to take part in the skit, they were taken to a rest room by an older teen and given adult diapers, bibs and bonnets and directed to take their clothes off and put the diapers, bibs and bonnets on…. The boys returned to the group, where they were asked to sit in the laps of three girls. The girls spoon-fed baby food to the boys and then gave them baby bottles filled with soda pop. The first boy to finish was the winner.

    “The whole premise of the skit is questionable,” Ms. Metz said. “I see no purpose that it would serve, especially not in a Christian youth group setting. It’s perverse.”

    Putting horny 14 year-old boys in diapers and then plopping them on the laps of teenage girls for a little spoon- and bottle-feeding… thus are life-long fetishes born. Not that I have anything against fetishes or the kind of formative life experiences that create ‘em. Far from it. I live in the house that fetishes bought.

    But still. Could you imagine the uproar from Christian groups if, say, a gay youth group did something similar? Or a gay-straight student alliance?

    A spokesman for the Christian youth group says they’ve done this for years—they also do a “skit” where girls eat chocolate pudding out of adult diapers—and that Ms. Metz’ son “had fun” in that diaper. I’ll bet he did—and odds are good that he’ll be having fun in diapers for the rest of his life.

    Morning News

    posted by on December 8 at 9:11 AM

    posted by news intern Brian Slodysko

    Destroyed CIA Tapes: Even the White House says it was unwise to dispose of them.

    The Great Flood: FEMA waiting for Bush to declare Washington a disaster area before opening the flood gates of federal funding. Gregoire says “I can’t tell you how long it will take.”

    Every Child Needs A… Federal Way woman sentenced to 14 years for sticking hypodermic needles in her foster daughter’s eyes.

    Nuclear Fallout: Secretary of Defense maintains Iranian threat, while Iran sees U.S. nuclear program acquiescence as a major victory.

    Pork Barrel: With hovering veto threat, House Democrats drop Iraq War timelines, pack funding bill with domestic spending and earmarks.

    In the Closet: Huckabee’s skeletons keep falling out, this time over comments made in 1992 about quarantining AIDS patients and the “public health risk” of homosexuality.

    Coalition of the Willing: Foreign countries in Iraq reducing troop levels, dropping like flies.

    Audit in Progress: Millions of dollars of U.S. purchased equipment for Iraqi security forces unaccounted for.

    On With the Show: Talks between writers and studios meltdown, while impending re-runs force Americans to watch Project Runway.

    Re: Seattle, Pg. 138

    posted by on December 8 at 8:37 AM



    On the other hand: A resident I met last night told me that after one of the Metro lines broke down a few months ago, city transit officials shut down the whole system, causing total chaos. Half-hour train rides turned into three-hour trips by bus or car, and some commuters even stayed with friends in the city rather than go through the commute. This lasted two weeks. Yikes!

    Friday, December 7, 2007

    Happy Friday! Don’t get raped!

    posted by on December 7 at 8:27 PM

    Do you always find yourself tongue-tied when rapists are around? Me too! Annoying. Luckily, while waiting for a friend to finish urinating at a scenic I-90 rest stop, I overheard a vanload of pre-teen girls chant the following ditty:

    No! Don’t touch me there!
    That is my no-no square!
    I ain’t got no action there!
    R - A - P - E
    Get away from me!

    Because nothing deters a rapist like a darling mnemonic device. Keep this one handy, ladies! Your no-no square will thank you!

    (Seriously. That really fucking happened to me.)

    Police Brutality: Only four people care Slog Readers Somewhat-to-Moderately Care

    posted by on December 7 at 5:21 PM

    posted by news intern Brian Slodysko

    Last night the Seattle Police Department Office of Professional Accountability met for their roughly once-annual citizen input panel at the SPD’s west precinct. The purpose of the meeting? To take citizen complaints.

    It was attended by four people.

    The OPA is an independent wing of city government in charge of hearing citizen complaints about police misconduct. OPARB, the board that oversees OPA’s work, was also there.

    Aside from three reporters and a community activist lawyer, the only other folks at last night’s meeting were Harry Gilchrest—a Seattleite who unsuccessfully pursued a complaint with the OPA recently—and his entourage: his wife and two friends. Unsatisfied with the results of the OPA complaint, Gilchrest and friends were there to bitch.

    According to a written account distributed at the forum, Gilchrest was weeding his front yard in 2003, talking to one of his son’s friends, after which they shook hands. A police officer driving through the neighborhood saw the handshake and believed drugs were traded off. An ensuing verbal exchange between Gilchrest and the officer turned into a scuffle, back up was called, all of which culminated in Gilchrest getting punched in the testicles and arrested. Gilchrest was later convicted of felony assault.

    One of the officers Gilchrest filed a complaint about was later named Officer of the Year.

    “They could start by putting a black spot in place of a name for that year,” Gilchrest told the OPA.

    One of Gilchrest’s friends at the meeting last night, Ronald Forrest, got ornery with the OPA and its board members. “His big fault was being in his front yard weeding his yard, when all this shit really blew up,” he said. “Why is the Police Officer’s Guild not involved in the oversight panel?” he asked, clearly unimpressed with a citizen-style panel that has no authority over the department. (Ironically, the very point of keeping cops off the OPA is to minimize the defensive power of the union.)

    Gilchrest summed up his feeling about police accountability more succinctly: “If you hire a turd, you get a turd in uniform.”

    The OPA board was mostly sympathetic to Gilchrest’s story, though they said Gilchrest might better spend his time appealing his conviction to the King County Prosecutor’s office which is under new leadership.

    The OPA makes recommendations (discipline the officer, exonerate the officer) to Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske based on the results of its investigations

    But Kerlikowske has the ultimate say in whether the recommendations are implemented and citizens are unable to appeal the findings of OPA investigations. The board can review findings—as it famously did earlier this year in the George Patterson case.

    “The chief has the last word. He can choose to listen or ignore,” OPA Director Kathryn Olson said during the meeting. (Kerlikowske, for example, ignored the findings in Maikoiyo Alley- Barnes.)

    Even when recommendations are implemented, board member Sheley Secrest said police are known to drag their feet because of the extra work load created.

    At the end of the meeting I asked Gilchrest how he thought it went. “It was a waste of fucking time,” he said.

    Buy Your Way onto Slog

    posted by on December 7 at 5:04 PM

    We’ve just added a bonus item to the Strangercrombie auction, especially for you Slog fiends. Place the winning bid and you will be granted Slogging privileges for seven days. All proceeds go to FareStart, of course. (Thanks for the idea, Big Sven.)

    Happy Holidays!

    posted by on December 7 at 5:02 PM

    From comment #15 on this Strangercrombie post:

    You wanna do this, Fnarf? You wanna try to outbid me? Try harder. That abortion is mine.

    Posted by Mr. Poe | December 7, 2007 2:00 PM

    Strangercrombie: Once a year we do something, uh, good.

    Good Question

    posted by on December 7 at 4:54 PM

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali has an op-ed in today’s New York Times about the case of the Saudi rape victim sentenced to 200 lashes, the British school teacher prosecuted for blasphemy in Sudan after her students named a teddy bear “Muhammad,” and a feminist Bangladeshi writer being persecuted by Islamic extremists.

    It is often said that Islam has been “hijacked” by a small extremist group of radical fundamentalists. The vast majority of Muslims are said to be moderates.

    But where are the moderates? Where are the Muslim voices raised over the terrible injustice of incidents like these? How many Muslims are willing to stand up and say, in the case of the girl from Qatif, that this manner of justice is appalling, brutal and bigoted—and that no matter who said it was the right thing to do, and how long ago it was said, this should no longer be done?

    I wish Hirsi Ali had mentioned that the Saudi woman sentenced to 200 lashes for the crime of sitting in a car with a male non-relative wasn’t the only victim of Islamic justice in that case. She was abducted with her ex-boyfriend, and they were both raped—and both were sentenced to imprisonment and a public lashings.

    But, yeah, once again—where are all the Muslim moderates we’re reminded to think no ill of when this kind of idiocy erupts? Perhaps the Seattle Times could go ask the moderate local Muslims that were upset about the Stranger printing those Danish Muhammad cartoons how they’re feeling about that Saudi rape victim.

    And someone help me out: When we published the Danish cartoons a Muslim religious leader, one of the authors of the Seattle Times’ rotating religion column (which runs on, I think, Saturdays), wrote a column about how disappointed he was in the Stranger. I can’t find that column on the Seattle Times’ website—or any of the paper’s religion columnists. Don’t they put ‘em online?

    Holy War

    posted by on December 7 at 4:48 PM

    Mitt Romney’s big “I’m Okay, You’re Okay” speech—but you’re only okay so long as you’re religious—doesn’t seem to be helping. Mike “Pardons for Rapists” Huckabee has opened a double digit lead in Iowa. From Newseek:

    Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee has vaulted over his major GOP challengers to take a commanding lead in the race to win the Iowa caucuses…. The most dramatic result to come out of the poll, which is based on telephone interviews with 1,408 registered Iowa voters on Dec. 5 and 6, is Huckabee’s emergence from the shadows of the GOP race into the front runner’s spot in just two months. The ordained Southern Baptist minister now leads Romney by a two-to-one margin, 39 percent to 17 percent, among likely GOP caucus-goers. In the last NEWSWEEK survey, conducted Sept. 26-27, Huckabee polled a mere 6 percent to Romney’s 25 percent, which then led the field.

    Today on Line Out

    posted by on December 7 at 4:15 PM

    Tonight in Music: Fishboy, Don Cab, Immaculate Machine

    Musical Advent Calendar, Day 7: Fishboy - “A Surprise Return”

    Strangercrombie Music Item(s) of the Day: : A Shitload of Jeff Kleinsmith Posters!

    American Ninja 1: Ninja Burlar Strikes Shaolin Island

    Shameless Disco Plug: TJ Gorton on Club Cabana, Studio

    RIP: Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007)

    Poppin Them Bottles: Ari Spool Wants to Know About Your New Year’s Eve Party

    “You Want it All, But You Can’t Have It”: Mike Patton vs Will Smith

    Nerd Lords: Man Factory’s Street Fighter II Rock Opera

    Today in Music News: Fall Out Boy, John Lennon, and more…

    American Ninja 2: Ninja Burglars Strike Capitol Hill

    Hello, Tiny Snake: Tiny Vipers Live on La Blogotheque

    Teenage Fan Club

    posted by on December 7 at 3:56 PM


    In this morning’s installment of Morning News, Eli posted an interview with Hillary Clinton. The interview focused on her formative years.

    Hillary said when she was a teenager she was the president of the Fabian Fan Club.

    Teenager=Super hero. Super hero=Human being. Human being=Teenager.

    This Week on Drugs

    posted by on December 7 at 3:55 PM

    New Orleans: I’m drinking a Manhattan on Bourbon St at the international drug policy conference. One of the topics that repeatedly comes up at these things is whether it’s disingenuous to talk about the racial disparity in drug enforcement as the impetus for major overhaul—when the folks delivering that message are overwhelmingly white. But this year, maybe because we’re in NOLA, the event is more multi-racial than any I’ve attended before. After yesterday’s super-Jewish kick-off, I stopped in at a grassroots organizing networking meeting, where I ate sausage and beans and met about two-dozen people wearing these shirts.


    Based in Alabama, the New Bottom Line Campaign works to replace punitive penalties for drugs with drug treatment programs and to restore voting rights to felons who have done their time. Black people make up 26 percent of Alabama’s general population but 60 percent of prison population, according to their handbill. The group is predominantly African American – one white woman who looks like a young Ellen Degeneres was among their ranks – and is lead by Pastor Kenny Glasgow. They wanted to talk a lot and they were really fired up, high on Jesus I suppose, making their group by far the most exciting thing going on here.

    Some insight into why African-American communities are reluctant to embrace drug law reform was explained Doug McVay, of Common Sense for Drug Policy, who tried to drive through people’s thick heads that they aren’t listening enough: “For a lot of people in poor and African American communities, the drug war is the only way to get police into their neighborhoods.”

    Seven Dogs Per Student: That’s what you need to make a pot bust in Connecticut schools. But all my money says the random searches will get tossed out in court.

    Packing in Pakistan: 87,565 kilos of heroin.

    Drug Users: Owe everyone an apology.

    $10,000 Bribe: Still not enough to get the GOP talking pot.

    Dangerous Paraphernalia: Starbucks mugs could kill you.

    New World Order: Yes, I’ll have a Big Mac, Large Fries, and a Double-Tall, Split-Shot Americano, with extra room, please.

    No Vacancy: Mexican prisons full of drug offenders.

    Gimmee a Brake: National Institute on Drug Abuse wants you to park the car before you smoke dope.

    This Weekend at the Movies

    posted by on December 7 at 3:54 PM

    News: Editor turns on writer in this fascinating case study of the tyranny of the pissy commenter: Read this entire thread at and behold the future of film criticism. (Via The House Next Door.) Meanwhile, nobler blogs busted the door open for the trades to review Sweeney Todd early—and the buzz remains ecstatic. (Via Thompson on Hollywood.)

    Opening this week:

    I review Atonement: “For the first hour, set in a prewar English country house, it’s faultless: a pungent stew of pleasure and dread, shrill suspicions and pouting revenge.” I love so many things about this imperfect movie—including the typewriter sound motif that certain critics dismiss as “literal-minded.” I couldn’t disagree more. The clanging sounds at first like the racket a typewriter makes, but soon enough it slides into the rhythms of fury, mania, obsession. Especially if you’ve read the novel and know its narrative tricks, being reminded throughout the film of the act of writing—an act that pretends to be generous but serves a passionately selfish purpose—is beautiful. Further, I have to say that I expected to love Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, and they’re pretty good, but Saoirse Ronan is sublime. If anyone from this film deserves an Oscar nomination, it is she.

    Briony Learns a New Word

    Meanwhile—in movies intended for children’s eyes—Lindy West reviews The Golden Compass: “When some people look at a novel, they just see an obese screenplay. Cut a few characters, speed up the action, add some pat narration and rampaging CGI war bears, and there you go: The Golden Compass. Kindly direct the money truck to the back gate of my grand and imposing Hollywood manse!”

    And in On Screen this week: the Guy Ritchie debacle Revolver (Charles Mudede: “Revolver attempts to resolve the ancient philosophical puzzle of the source and meaning of human consciousness. This is no joke”) and the surprisingly worthwhile Jimmy Carter Man from Plains (Eli Sanders: “What’s most fascinating is watching Carter’s combination of strength, smarts, religiosity, and deep humility as they work in concert to disarm some of his most antagonistic audiences”). Honey and Clover has been delayed because of roof repairs; it’s now opening January 11th at the Grand Illusion. I’m leaving the review up because we may not have room to run it in the print edition in January, but I’ll push it into the web edition that week for sure.


    There are a couple of number of once-in-a-lifetime events in Limited Runs this week, so read closely. The seven-hour Soviet adaptation of War and Peace is screening at SIFF Cinema for two weeks. This is a gutsy and exciting move for SIFF—it’s exactly the sort of film other Seattle theaters can’t risk committing to for a solid two-week run—so make it worth their while, OK? Charles Mudede promises you won’t regret it: “In this film, more than any other film in history, the power of the state is translated into the power of cinema.” You have multiple options for both Part I and Part II; both parts continue through next week.

    War and Peace

    For Warhol fanatics and anyone who was affected by the story of his onetime lover, filmmaker and lighting designer Danny Williams, in the SIFF 2007 film A Walk into the Sea, Northwest Film Forum is screening it again alongside two showcases of Williams’s 16mm films—documents of Factory existence, but films in their own right as well.

    Also from SIFF 2007: The Life of Reilly, playing at the Varsity. It’s an excellent doc about the recently deceased Charles Nelson Reilly (Jen Graves: “In an acclaimed one-man stage performance, he hits as many bittersweet notes as one-liners”).

    And finally: Rawstock: Aural Fixation 2007 and the conclusion of NWFF’s Pedro Costa series, with In Vanda’s Room, Where Lies Your Hidden Smile?, and Colossal Youth.

    A Verdict on Bus Beating

    posted by on December 7 at 3:48 PM

    King County Metro was negligent when a bus driver took no action while two teenage riders were attacked and beaten aboard a bus by a group of youths, a jury ruled Thursday.

    The Superior Court jury voted to award plaintiffs Carmen Rollins and Will Hendershott $125,000 each in damages in a 10-2 verdict in the civil case brought against the transit company.

    The Stranger News Hour. This Saturday 710 KIRO

    posted by on December 7 at 2:33 PM

    I’ll be on David Goldstein’s radio show tomorrow at 7pm.

    We had a fatso news section this week: Sweetheart deals for Vulcan; North Seattle neighbors who hate everything; Dave Reichert meets with SEIU; and a progressive candidate steps up to challenge Democratic State Senate incumbent Margarita Prentice. So, I’ll want to yack about all that.


    Plus I wanna get Goldy’s goat and talk about this story: The Democrats complaint against Dino Rossi gets tossed.

    Judging from his blog, Goldy will want to talk about Tim Eyman getting tossed from the Yakima City Council meeting.

    I do not want to talk about Tim Eyman.

    Today Two Years Ago in Crazy

    posted by on December 7 at 2:22 PM

    From USA Today:

    An Idaho weatherman says Japan’s Yakuza mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina in a bid to avenge itself for the Hiroshima atom bomb attack — and that this technology will soon be wielded again to hit another U.S. city.


    Meteorologist Scott Stevens, a nine-year veteran of KPVI-TV in Pocatello, said he was struggling to forecast weather patterns starting in 1998 when he discovered the theory on the Internet. It’s now detailed on Stevens’ website,, the Idaho Falls Post Register reported.

    Stevens, who is among several people to offer alternative and generally discounted theories for the storm that flooded New Orleans, says a little-known oversight in physical laws makes it possible to create and control storms — especially if you’re armed with the Cold War-era weapon said to have been made by the Russians in 1976. Stevens became convinced of the existence of the Russian device when he observed an unusual Montana cold front in 2004.

    Makes perfect sense to me.

    (Note: Title changed because the story is actually from 2005, which pretty much makes this whole post pointless. But since it’s up and has comments already, I’ll just leave it.)

    The Terror of (Being) a Little Girl

    posted by on December 7 at 2:18 PM

    Little girls are crawling all over the film section this week—there’s Lyra in The Golden Compass and Briony in Atonement and Japanese teenagers in Honey and Clover (the last is, unfortunately, not opening this week after all; Grand Illusion is still closed for roof repairs). I’m working on This Weekend at the Movies now, but first I wanted to mention the entire population of little girls in my DVD column, about Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s beautiful Innocence.


    Innocence, the astounding feature film debut from French director Lucile Hadzihalilovic, feels as though it should begin as stories do—with “once upon a time,” like the click of a latch in the door to the imaginary. Instead, it starts with a menacing rumble. There’s the rush of a waterfall and then the subterranean roar of a train, the universal sign for a European boarding school.

    But this school, surrounded by woods and a wide brick wall, is located in a parallel world. A little girl named Iris (Zoé Auclair) is delivered, in a coffin, to one of five houses. An older girl unlocks her and she is dressed and given colored velvet ribbons for her hair. The other girls, who are wearing different colors in their pigtails, from red for the youngest to violet for the oldest, all untie their ribbons and trade them up for the next color of the rainbow. Iris is introduced to the school (ballet classes, rhythmic gymnastics, natural history) and its baroque customs (every year, the most appealing of the blue ribbons is selected by the headmistress to leave the school early). Nothing is explained.

    Critics have complained that Hadzihalilovic’s vision of a little sensualist convent will draw pedophiles like flies, but the film is clearly told from the point of view of the girls themselves: It’s suffused with an unmistakable dread. The most alert students make desperate escape attempts. Others retreat into familiar forms of little-girl psychological revolt: Selma (Alisson Lalieux) is sullen and staring, feeding off some unseen internal fury; pudgy Rose (Astrid Homme) undulates with her hula hoop, her eyes giving away a cunning awareness of her own budding appeal. Hadzihalilovic anticipates the pedophilia question in more complex ways as well: Her movie plays up the creepiness of quasi-legitimate cultural hang-ups, like the smoothness of little girl legs. (I’m reminded of Lewis Carroll’s inscription on one of his infamous photographs: “Pretty little legs/Paddling in the waters/Knees as smooth as eggs/Belonging to my daughters.”) The source material, a novella by Frank Wedekind, has been called prescriptive, a protofascist recipe for how girls should actually be taught. In Hadzihalilovic’s hands, it’s a horror story of the subtlest kind.

    Here’s the Lewis Carroll picture in question. Talk about little-girl psychological revolt.


    If you’re as intrigued by this movie as I am, you’ll want to read occasional Stranger contributor Michael Atkinson’s great review of the DVD over at Also noteworthy: One of the teachers in the film is played by Marion Cotillard, who’s an Oscar contender this year for La Vie en Rose (aka La Môme). She’s gorgeous, and it’s great to see her playing someone slightly sinister.

    Marion Cotillard in INNOCENCE

    Kind Waters

    posted by on December 7 at 2:18 PM

    Open the December issue for ArtForum and will find these kind words by John Waters:


    “Zoo is a jaw-dropping, sympathetic documentary of the so-called Enumclaw Horse Incident.” On his top ten films for the year, he gave Zoo the high position of number 4. Thank you, John.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on December 7 at 2:00 PM

    I’m not sure what Woody Guthrie would think about this one…



    Thanks to photo pool contributor pdgibson.

    Court Strikes a Blow for Marriage

    posted by on December 7 at 1:57 PM

    A court in Rhode Island is refusing to let a couple legally divorce, saving one precious American marriage from the culture of no-fault divorce. Praise the Lord.

    A lesbian couple who married in Massachusetts cannot get divorced in their home state of Rhode Island, the state’s highest court ruled Friday in a setback to gay rights advocates who sought greater recognition for same-sex relationships.

    The Rhode Island Supreme Court, in a 3-2 decision, said the family court lacks the authority to grant a divorce because state lawmakers have not defined marriage as anything other than between a man and a woman.

    The Perfect Gift for the Finicky Pit Bull on Your List

    posted by on December 7 at 1:38 PM


    A suit of armor from the Pit Bull Armory!

    Also available: Squirrel armor.

    Thank you, MetaFilter.

    The Dead

    posted by on December 7 at 1:36 PM


    The first paragraph of Adrian Ryan’s full-page obituary of Evel Knievel in this week’s issue:

    Evel Knievel was a man few really knew, a man even fewer really wanted to know. He was an uncompromising man, a man of many contusions, a Jesus-y man. He was an alive man. Most of him. But not anymore.

    If you’ve never read an obituary by Adrian Ryan before—well, lucky you. His obituary for Ronald Reagan in 2004 was a work of genius.

    Marijuana Kills

    posted by on December 7 at 1:15 PM


    Is George from Black Diamond’s page – – a joke? (Sic throughout.)

    My main interest in life right now is saving America from the scourge known as marijuana…. Most mothers who smoke marijuana can’t even remeber when they last fed their baby or changed its daiper. These dopers should not have kids in a drug den. I also believe that the sentance for distributing marijuana should be life with no possibilty of parale, and 5 years minimum for first time possesion. Marijuana is a sick, degenerate plant and I will stop at nothing to rid the nations of its existance.

    Because it’s pretty funny.

    I especially enjoy shooting bears. They are evil animals who should be hunted to extinction. I have shot many deer, elk, game birds, and once when I was on safari in Africa I shot two lions. My favorite country to visit outside the U.S. is Thailand. They have the nicest young gals there, I highly recommend visiting there. I am also a memeber of the Washington State Metal Detectors Association.

    If you want to blow a gasket, or you have a really fucked up sense of humor, read the blog entry Illegal aliens are stealing American jobs.

    Kudos to Keegan for the tip.

    re: Am I Wrong About the SLUT Tracks?

    posted by on December 7 at 1:14 PM

    Yes. The slut hurt me the worst. And I’ve been hit by cars.

    It was September 2006. I was riding into work after tutoring—barreling down Harrison after being held at one of the painfully long lights on Fairview Avenue North. The hill is steep; I typically reach between twenty-five and thirty miles per hour. New grooves in the pavement, for the streetcar’s eminent birth, grabbed my front tire.

    I hit the ground, left thigh first. The handlebars from my rapidly disintegrating bicycle jabbed powerfully into my ribcage, near to my heart. I heard a pop. I was only wearing a t-shirt, so my bare flesh met the pavement. I finally came to halt, having slid the length of a city block.

    My rib was broken; my arms were shredded. My left thigh swelled to fill my normally baggy pants. You can bleed a fifth of your blood into the thigh—creating a trapped lake that slowly crushes into oblivion the nerves and eventually the muscles of the leg. It’s what almost happened to me; only aggressive icing and elevation saved me from needing emergency surgery.

    I should have gone to the hospital. I knew I should go. I didn’t. My insurance, run by a for-profit company based in Texas, successfully weaseled out of paying for all of my cycling injuries in the past, treatments they are under contract to provide. A trip to the emergency room costs thousands; my total annual salary, as a graduate student, is about twenty-four thousand, before tax.

    It took me months to heal. So, yeah, as a bicyclist in Lake Union I say fuck the Slut.

    The red one is pretty, however.

    Am I Wrong About the SLUT Tracks?

    posted by on December 7 at 12:25 PM

    I said on KUOW this morning that I don’t tend to have much sympathy for bike riders who haven’t figured out how to navigate railroad tracks, even if they’re the dreaded SLUT tracks. But looks like I may not have understood just how oddly configured the SLUT tracks are. I don’t know… should I change my SLUT tracks position?

    Here’s the commenter debate:

    Pretty smooth job of handling the bikes vs. SLUT debate. You’re right of course - it’s actually a very positive development to be debating the merits of alternative means of transportation. But the fact remains - the bike riders, in this case, sound like a bunch of solipsistic whiners.

    Posted by Gurldoggie | December 7, 2007 11:25 AM


    Ridiculous comments, Eli, on the SLUT tracks. “Oh, isn’t it GREAT that we’re having an argument about bikes vs. streetcar?!” There’s nothing GREAT about the dangerous design of this toy choo-choo.

    Oh, and when were you a bike messenger, Eli? Back when you were 22? The point is to make Seattle a bike-friendly city for ALL, not an obstacle course for 20-something bike couriers.

    I’m glad Naomi Ishisaka was there to voice some sanity on this issue.

    Posted by DOUG. | December 7, 2007 11:35 AM

    A Blimp. A Blimp? A Blimp! The Return of the Ron Paul Zeppelin…

    posted by on December 7 at 12:15 PM

    Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

    When last we left off on the exciting adventures of The Ron Paul Blimp, the anti-government airship was just a surprisingly well-funded twinkle in the eye of a group of people with a horribly designed website and a penchant for comically unhinged YouTube videos.

    That was then. This is now (via The Politico):

    The Ron Paul blimp is set to fly from North Carolina, over Washington, New York and Boston, before heading to New Hampshire, where the Jan. 8 primary offers the iconic libertarian perhaps his best chance of translating his zealous Internet support into votes.

    And what would the exciting culmination of Ron Paul and the World of Tomorrow! be without this all ending in Paul’s supporters finding a new and innovative way to essentially gut campaign finance laws?

    They shunned traditional mechanisms such as creating an independent non-profit group under section 527 of the IRS code — like Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and the other groups that spent millions on ads in 2004 — or a political action committee — like EMILY’s List. Instead, they went an almost unheard of route, establishing a for-profit company: Liberty Political Advertising.

    The name is a nod to Paul’s ideology and the website boasts the “legal arrangement offers the best of both worlds: no limits and virtually no regulations.” In other words, very libertarian.

    As The Politico goes on to note, the blimp project is retaining Mitt Romney adviser Ben Smith as their legal counsel. Smith is willing to lend a helping hand because, strangely enough, he’s rather fond of this new strategy for funneling huge amounts of unregulated money into the campaign. What’s hilarious now may be a little less funny when the Romney campaign rolls out a competing (and almost certainly blimp-less) advertising campaign using the same methods.

    But until that dark day comes, look to the skies!

    Our Friend the Iowa Voter

    posted by on December 7 at 12:05 PM

    Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

    One of the big commenter complaints about the system for choosing our presidential nominees is that the votes of the larger states often don’t matter.

    The narrative of the race will be so established by Super Tuesday (Feb. 5, 2008) that a candidate can all but live in rural Iowa for months at a time, only rarely visit the massive urban areas that will actually carry him or her to the presidency (and then only for quick fundraisers), and still be on-track to win the nomination.

    And while this may have a large degree of truth to it, it might be a good idea to really look at Iowa. For under the camouflage of picturesque farms and sprawling Vilsacks, we might have a lot more in common with Middle America than we thought. Maybe Iowa is more representative of America at large—or, at least, more similar to Washington State—than we generally think. A snapshot of some of the census data research I’m doing for Eli right now:

    - Washington has just over 3 million more people than Iowa.

    - The elderly population of our two states is nearly equal: 11% in Washington vs. 14% in Iowa.

    -Iowa is only slightly whiter than Washington, at 94% for Iowa vs. 85% for this state.

    -Washingtonians make only a bit more on median income than Iowans, 48k a year for us vs. 42k a year for them.

    - More people in Washington have bachelors degrees, 27% for us vs. 21% for Iowans, but that’s only 6-percentage points more.

    - People graduate high school at roughly the same percentage in both states.

    -We have only slightly higher unemployment than Iowa, 4.8% for us vs. 3.9% for them.

    None of this is to imply that a system that continues to let the same states choose the candidates over and over again is the right way to do things, or that somehow Iowa has become a representative sample of all Americans. I’d personally much rather see Mitt Romney attempting to hustle votes in Harlem, or have Bill Richardson proposing a sleep-over at 22nd and Union.

    But I do find it surprising how many things Washington and Iowa have in common—our states are more similar than most people seem to think.

    Re: Pearl Harbor Day

    posted by on December 7 at 11:57 AM

    And tomorrow, Dec. 8, is RIP John Lennon day, which gives me the opportunity to Slog a pet peeve 24 hours in advance.

    John Lennon was already dead on Dec. 8, 1980. Reagan had just been elected. The times they were a changin’ … back. I was a precocious kid on that day, and even I understood the grating irony of America’s fawning coverage of all those yuppies (a brand new word that year) who had voted for Reagan and were holding candles and shit for Lennon—as if a world leader had just died.

    Lennon was not a world leader in 1980. He was nothing in 1980.

    And the best song on that album he put out in 1980 was “Kiss Kiss Kiss” by Yoko.

    Pearl Harbor Day

    posted by on December 7 at 11:23 AM

    66 years ago today, Japanese Navy pilots attacked the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. More than 3,000 Americans were killed or injured. Then a few other significant things happened. Pearl Harbor Day. Today. Carry on.

    Seattle, Pg. 138.

    posted by on December 7 at 11:11 AM


    There’s a new coffee table book out, Transit Maps of the World. From Berlin to Tokyo to Madrid to Seoul to Bilboa to Nagoya to Prague to Philadelphia to Libson to Mexico City to Kharkiv, it’s got every rapid mass transit map in the world

    Lovely book. My great pal Tom surprised me with the book as a Chanukah present last night. (Thanks Tom.)

    There are no metaphors. Only results:

    Seattle has a limp entry in this book of cities and their transit systems. On page 138 (the book is 144 pages), there’s a map of the Seattle Monorail Project’s failed green line—which was supposed to come on line this month. The little blurb says:

    “An ambitious plan, with a promising diagram, to build a new monorail network has recently collapsed, and light rail is proposed.”

    I give you trogs Lisbon:


    Reminder: Get Your New Year’s Events in Our Listings!

    posted by on December 7 at 11:08 AM

    Are you throwing a New Year’s party or event that’s open to the public? Wanna advertise it for free in our popular New Year’s listings?

    All you need to do is send it in an email to Make sure to write “New Year’s” in the subject line somewhere so I can pick it out of the crowd of “MegaDik” spams.

    All events qualify, not just concerts or dance parties. Having a seance? Submit. Wine tasting? Submit. Bong-decorating gathering? Submit. (No NAMBLA gatherings, please.)

    Your deadline is approaching fast—It’s TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18TH. Hurry hurry hurry!

    So smooth, so delicious.

    Things That Cost $1.99

    posted by on December 7 at 11:07 AM

    Three paintings of Jesus H. Christ.

    A chow review—either you tell us what to write about or you write it yourself.

    A Turbonegro poster by Jeff Kleinsmith.


    A donated abortion.

    And on the high end…

    The cineaste’s dream package (42-inch plasma screen, region-free DVD player, lots of stuff from Scarecrow Video) is going for $750.

    The Italian leather sofa is going for $405.

    And my favorite item—the miniature football signed by Daryl Tapp, defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, plus a gift certificate to the online lingerie shop (we’re not implying anything)—is still at a measly $15.50.

    Those Missing Snowboarders

    posted by on December 7 at 11:03 AM

    It doesn’t look good

    Pierce County sheriff’s searchers continue this morning looking for three snowboarders who have been out a full week now in the back country near the Crystal Mountain ski area.

    Searchers found a makeshift camp Thursday but no sign of the three Seattle men.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on December 7 at 11:00 AM


    ‘A Walk into the Sea’ and Danny Williams’s Factory Films at Northwest Film Forum

    This lovely, melancholy documentary is about Danny Williams, a filmmaker and lighting designer at Andy Warhol’s Factory who—sometime after being discarded by his shock-haired impresario of a lover—drove his mother’s car to the shore, walked into the water, and never came back. Tonight, Northwest Film Forum will also screen four of Williams’s 16mm films and host a question-and-answer session with Esther Robinson, a documentarian and Williams’s niece. (NWFF, 1515 12th Ave, 267-5380. Documentary 7 and 9:15 pm, $8.50; Factory films 8 pm, $15.)


    It’s Actually Kinda Catchy

    posted by on December 7 at 10:53 AM

    On Adaptation

    posted by on December 7 at 10:42 AM

    There is this idea out there, commonly espoused by precocious high school students and other irritating people, that a movie can ruin a book. Ruin it! Suck the joy out of it! Forevermore block the successful transmission of text from the page to your mind.


    I’m newly annoyed because I just read Ella Taylor in the LA Weekly using her review of Atonement as an opportunity to bash Joe Wright’s 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice all over again. (Here’s her review of Pride & Prejudice, in which she disses Jane Austen, of all people. By the way, Ms. Taylor, Austen’s greatest achievement was in narrative technique—flexible focalization freeing characters’ thoughts from the inconvenience of direct report—not genre. Anyway. Here’s my review for comparison.) Look. Pride and Prejudice is invincible. Its place in the literary canon is assured; its place in cultural history is undisputed. It’s been adapted into plenty of fine and terrible films, and for the theater many times over. A new film version cannot touch it. What a new film version can do is interpret—offer a new reading that sends you scurrying to see if its assertions are justified. It’s fun to see films struggle against their source material, not horrifying.

    No matter how bad Joe Wright’s Atonement might have been (and it isn’t bad at all—here’s my review), Ian McEwan’s novel can take it. The book may not be as famous—or as good—as Pride and Prejudice, but its words still stick to the printed page. Who cares if a bad film is made of a good book?

    Is Gabriel García Márquez forever tarnished by the new Love in the Time of Cholera?

    I just don’t believe it. People who complain about movies ruining books have only their own weak imaginations to blame.

    Someone is Going to Get Drummed Out of the Fat Acceptance Movement…

    posted by on December 7 at 9:59 AM

    I’m getting torn up out there on the Fatosphere for my advice to HARD—or my readers’ advice to hard; it’s kind of hard to keep it all straight at this point—but one member-in-good-standing of the fat acceptance movement has my back:

    Let’s get one thing out of the way: I sympathise with the FA movement (obviously, as evidenced by my list of links to the right), and I strongly believe in HAES—health at every size. You can’t help your body type, and if you take good care of your body, you shouldn’t be penalized by society for looking a certain way. Makes sense.

    But here’s the thing: HARD’s wife is not healthy. She started out healthy (presumably), but has gained a bunch of weight, her skin is terrible, etc. His description makes it clear that she is no longer the picture of health. And he finds her repulsive. You know what? I would too…. Now, the minister says “through sickness and through health.” You’re supposed to stick with your partner even as they get old and saggy and beer-gutted and grey or bald. But if your partner suddenly turns into a total slob, you can’t force yourself to find them attractive…. So this is a pretty important tenant of Savage Love—you have a duty to your partner, and they have a duty to you. You both work together to ensure that everyone’s needs are met, and thus you keep your relationship happy and healthy. It doesn’t sound like a foreign concept to me…

    So yes, this guy could be being a total douche and his poor wife has, in actuality, gained a measly twenty pounds and he’s exaggerating the rest. Or his wife could have a serious problem which is turning her into a gross slob, and in my opinion he’s well within his rights not to find her attractive anymore. So what was Dan’s actual advice to HARD?

    Your wife—the weight gain, the hair growth, the moodiness, the drugs—may be clinically depressed or have some undiagnosed medical condition, both subjects you could broach without touching on the boner-killing fatso stuff. But, yeah, at 10 years together you have a right to expect that your partner will maintain some base level of attractiveness. That’s not about sexism—I expect the same from my boyfriend—it’s about respect.

    Wow. How terrible.

    Gay, Gayer, Gayest

    posted by on December 7 at 9:56 AM

    So which is the gayer? Posting those fucking lions? Or posting the trailer for the Sex and the City movie?

    Or is it a draw?

    This Was Handed to Me on Broadway

    posted by on December 7 at 9:45 AM

    The hander was a twenty-something “burner”-styled female standing in front of American Apparel. She had a large stack of copies and handed one to each person that passed.


    First, the list contains a few entries not visible on the above scan. Films 31-36 are Capturing the Friedman’s (sic), Shattered Glass, The New World, A Civil Action, Capote, and The Bourne Identity, respectively. Films 68-70 are The Last King of Scotland, Seraphim Falls, and High Heels and Low Lives, respectively.

    Second, what the fuck? Every attempt to make sense of this list makes my brain hurt, and I’m beginning to think that’s the intended effect.

    Is it an art project exposing the arbitrary nature of such year-ending lists? Or is it just the new project of the Broadway flyer-hander-outers who spent the ’90s trying to convince me all dentists were murderers?

    Who knows, but I’m impressed.

    Also, it’s true: The Holiday is the third best movie. Not fourth, not second. Third.

    Balls Out

    posted by on December 7 at 9:42 AM

    The children’s book The Higher Power of Lucky, winner of the prestigious Newberry Prize, includes a scene in which one child utters the word “scrotum” to another child. The context:

    The book’s heroine, a scrappy 10-year-old orphan named Lucky Trimble, hears the word through a hole in a wall when another character says he saw a rattlesnake bite his dog, Roy, on the scrotum.

    “Scrotum sounded to Lucky like something green that comes up when you have the flu and cough too much,” the book continues. “It sounded medical and secret, but also important.”

    The controversy:

    The book has already been banned from school libraries in a handful of states in the South, the West and the Northeast, and librarians in other schools have indicated in the online debate that they may well follow suit. Indeed, the topic has dominated the discussion among librarians since the book was shipped to schools….

    Reached at her home in Los Angeles, Ms. Patron said she was stunned by the objections. The story of the rattlesnake bite, she said, was based on a true incident involving a friend’s dog. And one of the themes of the book is that Lucky is preparing herself to be a grown-up, Ms. Patron said. Learning about language and body parts, then, is very important to her.

    The word is just so delicious,” Ms. Patron said. “The sound of the word to Lucky is so evocative. It’s one of those words that’s so interesting because of the sound of the word.”

    I don’t think running around describing the word scrotum as delicious is going to help Ms. Patron make her case here. But I’m not going to argue with her.

    A Story for a Movie

    posted by on December 7 at 9:35 AM

    The best medium for the type of sadness at the core of this autumn story is the big screen.

    The high court today upheld the final will of a millionaire property magnate who bequeathed £10m to the owners of her favourite Chinese restaurant.

    Judge Sir Donald Rattee QC dismissed a challenge to Golda “Goldie” Bechal’s will brought by her surviving relatives, five nephews and nieces, who claimed they were entitled to inherit her fortune.

    When Bechal died in 2004, aged 88, she left a property fortune based on commercial premises to her long-standing “best friends”, Kim Sing Man and his wife, Bee Lian Man, the owners of the Lian restaurant in Witham, Essex.

    The judge held that Bechal, despite her failing memory, appreciated the effect of her will, made in August 1994, in which she left almost her entire fortune to the couple.

    …The court heard that the Man family established a restaurant in premises rented from Bechal and her late husband, Simon. A friendship blossomed over several decades, in which the two families enjoyed Christmas Day celebrations and foreign holidays together.

    The judge accepted their evidence that Bechal, sad and lonely after the death of her husband and the death of her son Peter at the age of 28, became almost part of their family.

    They went on foreign holidays with her and there were regular get-togethers at their restaurant and at her flat in Mayfair, central London.

    Kim Sing Man would even deliver Bechal’s favourite Cantonese dish of pickled leeks to her home in Grosvenor Square, London, whenever he was in the capital to buy restaurant supplies.

    The judge heard from counsel for the Mans that Bechal’s relationship with her family was strained. She once described them as a “bunch of hooligans”, said Man, 53, under cross-examination. He said she believed they were after her money.

    The court heard that by the time she died, Bechal had become close friends with the Mans…

    This story breaks my heart into fine pieces.

    Oh, Simba!

    posted by on December 7 at 9:25 AM

    Situational homosexuality? Or gay male lions?

    I love the way the one lion taps the other when he’s through, as if to say, “Your turn, buddy.”

    Back when evidence of homosexual activity by other animals was suppressed, ignored, or covered up, anti-gay bigots said that gay sex was so low and filthy that not even animals engaged in it. Now that evidence of gay sex and gay orientation among other animals has been documented—from penguins to rams to lions—anti-gay bigots say that gay sex is so low and filthy that only an animal would engage in it. We can’t win.

    Cool video though?

    Thanks to Slog tipper Tom.

    On the Radio

    posted by on December 7 at 8:21 AM

    I’ll be on KUOW’s Weekday this morning, talking about the rain storm, the presidential election, the SLUT, and other news of the week. Show starts at 10 a.m. Got something you think we should talk about? Put it in the comments and maybe I’ll hear you.

    The Morning News

    posted by on December 7 at 8:15 AM

    South Korea Oil Spill: The nation’s largest ever.

    Destroyed: CIA tapes showing harsh interrogation tactics.

    Anger: Among financially prudent Americans who are pissed at the government bail-out other Americans are getting for accepting mortgages they couldn’t afford.

    Economy: Some positive signs.

    The Oprah effect: Will it help Obama?

    Slumping: Seattle house prices.

    Metro must pay: Jury finds in favor of beating victim.

    Ryan Air: Super cheap, but then this happens.

    Here’s Obama’s new and “powerful” ad in Iowa:

    And here’s an interesting Clinton interview from yesterday:

    Thursday, December 6, 2007

    The Pope? The Navy? The Air Force? Felony Ass-Rape? Hail Mary! What’s the Connection?!

    posted by on December 6 at 11:41 PM

    Hold on to your shower soap. In the confessional.

    An HIV-positive Navy chaplain was sentenced to two years in prison Thursday after admitting he had sex with an Air Force officer without disclosing he had the virus and that he forced himself on a Naval Academy midshipman. Lt. Cmdr. John Thomas Lee, 42, of Burke, Va., pleaded guilty to forcible sodomy with the midshipman, aggravated assault on the officer and other crimes after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors at a court-martial at Quantico Marine Corps Base, south of Washington.

    But WAIT. It gets…uh…ugh.

    Lee, a Catholic priest, was assigned to the academy from 2003 to 2006 and later to Quantico. He was relieved of his duties in June.

    Now Navy “authorities”, in the grand old “punish the victim” tradition of, oh, say, fucking Dubai, are considering…well, this:

    Navy spokeswoman Lt. Candice Tresch said it would be up to the ensign’s local command authorities to decide whether to pursue consensual sodomy charges against the ensign.

    Please to bear in mind that there are still no homosexuals in the military. Or the church. Thank you.


    Finally Liveslogging Football

    posted by on December 6 at 6:03 PM

    No One Could Have Predicted…

    posted by on December 6 at 5:25 PM

    …that housing a bunch of teenagers in one big dorm could lead to oral sex. The Washington Post wets itself:

    So much for reform of the House page program in the wake of the Mark Foley scandal. House teenage pages are so wild and unsupervised that two GOP members of Congress have resigned from the House Page Board, protesting that they were not informed of two pages caught shoplifting and two others busted for engaging in public oral sex….

    One of the incidents that bothered Brown-Waite involved what she called “inappropriate sexual indiscretions” between two teenaged pages. She would not elaborate, though she said other pages served as “enablers.” A source familiar with the incident—which resulted in the expulsions of two pages—said one female page performed oral sex on a male page in the page dorm room as the other teenagers watched. “The enablers provided cover for them, the other pages were watching,” the source said.

    According to Brown-Waite, the alleged public sexual indiscretions were “not an isolated incident.”

    Uh… gee. Can I jump in here? The Mark Foley scandal was about an adult member of Congress preying on teenage pages. Why are we scandalized by the news that horny teenagers are getting it on in their dorms? You have to be 16 to be a congressional page and guess what? The age of consent in Washington D.C. is 16. So these teenagers are old enough to blow each other if they like—with or without “enablers.”

    Or do congressional pages take a vow of chastity when they arrive in Washington?

    I wouldn’t expect teenage sexual indiscretions to be an “isolated incident” at the congressional page dorm for the same reason I wouldn’t expect them to be “isolated incidents” anywhere else teenagers gather—hell, you would hard-pressed to find a American mall that isn’t the site of teenage “sexual indiscretions.”

    Teenagers are horny. Teenagers experiment. Teenagers have sex—oral, manual, vaginal, anal—and have always had sex. Again, the Mark Foley scandal wasn’t about the horror of sexually active teenagers, it was about powerful adults preying on teenagers. It was about the abuse of power. Speaking as a parent, I would expect members of Congress to keep their filthy hands off my teenager if he were a congressional page. I wouldn’t expect other teenagers to keep their filthy hands—or mouths—off of him. Please.

    Today in Everything, Ever

    posted by on December 6 at 5:14 PM


    Asian riff

    Asian riff sheet music!
    Xaxaxaxaxaxa! Moderato!

    Ching chong

    In Mandarin alone, there are more than 27 different characters (or words) that are pronounced as qing/ching. These include: 清, 靜, 請, 慶, 情, 青, 輕, 晴, 卿, 傾, 氫, 擎, 氰, 箐, 頃, 磬, 罄, 苘, 鯖, 蜻, 勍, 圊, 廎, 檠, 綮, 謦, and 黥.

    Good! Now accusations of Rosie O’Donnell’s racism are completely without merit!

    Ask Khia, especially about “gay ass” [sic] thuggery, and Lord knows—she will tell you what’s really hood:

    Boy look here, my mouth is still hanging dropped down to the floor because I see this all the time hip hop. All these gay ass thugs that, want to be rappers, when they really soft as cotton taking more dick than me.


    Houston, 1968:


    I wish there were more about her, but…

    Pullin’ hair / poppin’ nails.” Bitch, you don’t know Michelle, from a magical Kingdom.

    Music: Yuzo Toyama: Etenraku. Text: Poetically arranged from an interview with Remy Ma, XXL Magazine, December 2007, p. 90:

    Da’ Bears

    posted by on December 6 at 4:55 PM

    The liveslog of tonight’s Bears/Redskins…er, First Peoples game will begin shortly. Until then, I leave you with this wonderful piece on Sexy Rexy Grossman.

    Deals, Donations, and the Flesh Parade

    posted by on December 6 at 4:52 PM

    As of right now:

    There have been 989 bids.

    We—er, you—have raised $12,601.

    The private concert with Joshua Roman is going for $306.

    Karaoke with Blake Lewis is going for $217.

    The giant motherfucking television is going for $401.

    The yearlong pass to Town Hall is going for $202.

    The tea dance at the High Dive is going for a mere $1.99.

    There have been zero direct donations (if you wanna be the first—it’s the blue button on the right side of the Strangercrombie home page).

    And the slide show of our comely models is ready for viewing. Just go to the Strangercrombie page, scroll down and look for the slide show link.



    Julian Schnabel

    posted by on December 6 at 4:24 PM

    Julian Schnabel is here in Seattle tonight. Yeah, that Julian. Painter of Plates. Director who Paints. I mean The Painter Who Directs. The one who directed Basquiat, Before Night Falls, and now The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.


    Tonight, 7:30 pm, $20. SIFF Cinema, 321 Mercer Street, McCaw Hall.

    Today on Line Out

    posted by on December 6 at 4:06 PM

    It Was On: United State of Electronica, Siberian, Kay Kay & His Weathered Underground at Neumo’s

    Love On My Mind: Jackie Moore’s “This Time Baby”

    It’s Only a Grammy: Grammy Award Announces Nominees

    Strangercrombie Music Item of the Day: The Presidents of the United States of America Cover a Song of Your Choice

    Today in Music News: Mexican Murders, Grammy Awards, Radiohead, and more…

    Mixed Up: DJ Mixes From Prefuse 73, Hollywood Holt, Rich Korach, Mr Romo, and a Preview of the Program

    These is No Simpsons Joke About the PLUG Awards: But That Doesn’t Mean They Don’t Matter

    Musical Advent Calendar #6: The Kinks’s “Father Christmas”

    Descendents: Kim Hayden on Hank Williams I-III

    Tonight in Music: Prefuse 73, Doomhawk, Modest Mouse

    “Eat My Shorts”: Dan Deacon vs Greyhound

    American Eyesore: Blake Lewis’ New Music Video

    When It Rains, It Pours

    posted by on December 6 at 4:03 PM

    Earlier this morning, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) released a map comparing last year’s Hanukkah eve storm with Monday’s biblical downpour.

    In 2006, Seattle got about an inch of rain in a one hour period, but by comparison last years storm wasn’t as bad.


    If you look at a 24 hour comparison of the storms, you can see Monday’s rain-a-thon dumped nearly five times as much rain on the city as the 2006 storm.


    SPU says they’ll use the maps to look at the city’s rain patterns to help them plan for flood control in the future.

    “Different types of storms can cause very different flooding problems,” says SPU Manager Gary Schimek. “The December 2006 event was a localized event [and] Madison Valley had almost an inch of rain in about an hour. This Monday, you had half of that.”

    Meanwhile, Chehalis is still underwater.

    UPDATE: Now with PDF links and fewer unfinished sentences.

    South Park Senses an Opportunity

    posted by on December 6 at 3:35 PM

    In my email in-box this afternoon, from one of Comedy Central’s PR people:

    Hey Eli,

    I caught your posts today about the Romney speech — and the posts of your fellow writers — it was all very insightful and, basically, I agree with everything you said. But… something seems missing…. I know that lots of people are still sort of scratching their heads wondering what Mormonism actually is and what Mormons actually believe…

    So the folks over at Comedy Central’s Indecision 2008 blog thought they’d give a little help to those who are still confused about what Mormonism actually is. Check out these (historically accurate, I swear) vintage South Park clips…

    What’s more uniquely American than Mormonism? The kind of shrewd, unabashed hucksterism exhibited by this enterprising Comedy Central flak. As a blogger and a patriot, I find it hard to say no.

    Here’s the first clip. The rest are here.

    Greenpeace Does Customized Reichert Press Release

    posted by on December 6 at 3:12 PM

    Add it to his ENDA vote, his vote to override Bush, and his speech against media consolidation—U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert is running (scared) left. (Challenger Darcy Burner is kicking some ass on fundraising—$370,000 on hand to Reichert’s $339,000.)

    Today Reichert voted with the Democrats (one of only 14 Republicans to do so) on the energy alternatives act. The act sets new fuel standards for cars, 35 mpg by 2020 (which seems pretty easy given that 30 plus mpg was the progressive standard in the 70s!). However, this was the Dems bill, so don’t blame Reichert.

    Reichert’s voting record has been conservative (particularly on the war and social issues) … and I’ve documented some of it here.

    but I’m definitely noticing a left turn lately.

    Anyway, Greenpeace sent out this press release just now exclusively about Reichert, which got my spider senses tingling.

    Why would Greenpeace do a customized Reihcert press release? Did he promise them his vote so they’d do a solo Reichert release singing his praises. A Greenpeace release on Reichert cannot hurt in the 8th.

    So, I called Greenpeace to ask them if Reichert was playing ball with them for gems like this. (Read the press release below the jump.)

    They told me they’d been unhappy with his record in the past and so have been focusing on him this year and, quote: “He’s emerging as a real champion on global warming.”

    Oh, Greenpeace. How soon we forget.

    Reichert sided with American Wilderness Coalition just 33 percent of the time in 2005; supported the interests of the League of Conservation Voters a limp 28 percent of the time in 2005; and got the nod from—bonjour oxymoron— Republicans for Environmental Protection a hardy 75 percent of the time in 2006.

    Continue reading "Greenpeace Does Customized Reichert Press Release" »

    C.I.A Destroys Tapes

    posted by on December 6 at 2:16 PM

    I wish, like in Venezuela, we got to vote on our government’s expansion of its powers.

    Anyway, the latest from the Bush era.

    The C.I.A. said today that the decision to destroy the tapes had been made “within the C.I.A. itself” and were destroyed to protect the safety of undercover officers and because they no longer had intelligence value. The agency was headed at the time by Porter J. Goss. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Goss refused to comment this afternoon on the destruction of the tapes.

    The existence and subsequent destruction of the tapes is likely to reignite the debate over the use of severe interrogation techniques on terror suspects, and raises questions about whether C.I.A. officials withheld information from the courts and from the presidentially-appointed Sept. 11 commission about aspects of the program.

    “Seattle’s Premier Couple”

    posted by on December 6 at 2:11 PM

    Who knew we even had one?

    Meet local bloggers-about-town Barbi & Nathaniel Hollywood, a.k.a. NATHARBI:

    Serendipity reigns when a dandy meets a quantrelle and a nouveau celebrity couple takes over Seattle.

    Likes: cravats, Pigs on Parade, selves.

    Dislikes: dead fourteen-year-old hikers, not being dandy.

    Drug Czar of the World

    posted by on December 6 at 2:10 PM

    Environmentalists are tree-scaling shrill seekers; the drug reform movement is run by a bunch of Jewish men. Thus far, the international drug policy reform conference in New Orleans has dispelled neither myth.

    Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, kicked off the opening reception last night by announcing it was the second day of Hannukah, and like the eight days of the miracle, this conference was our four-day miracle of the struggle against oppression—an awkward analogy for everyone. This morning Jewish turned to Jewisher as we listened to opening plenary remarks from former head of the ACLU, Ira Glasser, and munched on standard-issue bagels. I fully expected a luncheon address from Woody Allen.

    But instead we got an earful from the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Maria Costa—the drug czar of the world.


    Once folks deciphered his Italian accent, he earned a few boos from the crowd—like when he compared the unruly black market for drugs with human trafficking. “It is hard to stop human trafficking, a multi-billion dollar business next to drugs,” he said. “So would you legalize human trafficking?” Um, where to even begin responding to that…

    He later won over the ballroom of academics and shrill radicals, however, partly by being an absolutely adorable little man in huge glasses, and partly by his conclusion:

    Join me as an extremist of the center. If you want to break the vicious cycle, then not only fight disease associated with drug use. Be more radical…. Reach out. Our people need more treatment. Promote alternatives to prison for drug addicts and treat all forms of addiction.

    As if the US Drug Czar had cued a disruption, a fire alarm drowned out Mr. Costa and strobes began flashing like the paparazzi. After an uncomfortable pause, a loudspeaker piped in with the voice of God: “This is not an emergency. Please resume your activities.”

    Hellelujah, err, Halleluyah.

    All We Are Saying…

    posted by on December 6 at 2:01 PM

    Via Glenn Greenwald at Salon comes word of an exciting event being held at the University of Massachusetts:

    Join the UMass Republican Club for yet another lively and edifying political discussion on the costs, necessities, consequences, and benefits of war. A question and answer session will be administered after the initial lecture.

    The title of the event: “All I Am Saying Is Give War a Chance.” Noted veteran* and editor-at-large of the National Review Jonah Goldberg is the keynote speaker.

    (*Goldberg is not really a veteran—unless you count the Culture Wars.)

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on December 6 at 2:00 PM

    I feel the pain of this Vitamaster. I’m doing my best save my new exercise bike (which I got for free on craigslist because it, too, was headed for the dump) from a similar fate…


    Thanks to photo pool contributor danielspills.

    Snacks for Hanukkah

    posted by on December 6 at 1:45 PM

    Last weekend, the Balducci’s store in Greenwich Village was offering this delicacy for Hanukkah:



    Via NancyKay Shapiro

    David Frum on Romney’s Speech

    posted by on December 6 at 1:35 PM

    Sorry to dissent from my colleagues on the Corner, but once the murmurs over the oratory subside, people are going to realize: that speech did not work. Here’s why:
    “There is one fundamental question about which I often am asked. What do I believe about Jesus Christ? I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. My church’s beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths. Each religion has its own unique doctrines and history. These are not bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance.”

    To be blunt, Romney is saying:

    It is legitimate to ask a candidate, “Is Jesus the son of God?”

    But it is illegitimate to ask a candidate, “Is Jesus the brother of Lucifer?”

    It is hard for me to see a principled difference between these two questions, and I think on reflection that the audiences to whom Romney is trying to appeal will also fail to see such a difference. Once Romney answered any question about the content of his religious faith, he opened the door to every question about the content of his religious faith. This speech for all its eloquence will not stanch the flow of such questions.

    Via Sullivan.

    Music for Obama, Reviewed in Advance

    posted by on December 6 at 1:25 PM

    Looks like the lineup has been announced for Barack Obama’s $100-a-ticket “Generation Obama” fundraiser at Showbox SoDo on Dec. 11. The “Special Musical Guests” are: Brad and The Dusty 45s

    To which Stranger music editor Jonathan Zwickel replies:

    That is so lame. That’s a blown opportunity. You can quote this. (Gives a thumbs-down).

    Stranger music writer Megan Seling says:

    Isn’t he trying to go for youths? Because of this I’m voting for Hillary.

    Fucking in the Streets columnist Eric Grandy says:

    Yech. That’s some bad shit. It’s very middling, non-energetic. Which I thought is not supposed to be the tempo of his campaign.

    But film editor Annie Wagner has her own theories:

    This is coming after the Oprah appearances. Who has $100 to go see some band? It’s older women, and they’re gonna love it.

    Re: The Romney Speech

    posted by on December 6 at 12:42 PM

    I found this part of Romney’s LDS testimonial revealing:

    I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God. And in every faith I have come to know, there are features I wish were in my own: I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass, the approachability of God in the prayers of the Evangelicals, the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals, the confident independence of the Lutherans, the ancient traditions of the Jews, unchanged through the ages, and the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims.

    Talk about damning with faint praise. I’m not sure what you heathens are doing, says Romney, but gee whiz, you sure do it a lot!

    Madness and Capitalism

    posted by on December 6 at 12:26 PM

    This is one of the comments in Dan’s post on the man who is charged with raping his eight-day-old daughter to death:

    I am looking at my 10 day old son as I read this, and it truly sickens me that people like this asshole exist. I hope every kind of horror fills his life, for the rest of his pathetic life if he’s guilty of this.
    All of the commentators expressed disgust at the act but none recognized it as one of madness. If the man is guilty of this crime, clearly the man is mentally ill. My question then is this: Why were none of the commentators able to connect this crime with the condition of mental illness? Why did they connect it with a normal person? A grown man rapes a baby and no one sees him as mentally ill? What is this telling us? And if they can not identify the person who committed this act as mad, then they may not recognize mad people in other terrible or extreme acts. What caused this type of blindness—one that can not see mad people? Yes, capitalism.

    Two aspects of capitalism have conditioned the responses to this crime: one, the worship of the individual; two, the fact that the most dangerous (or violent) form of madness, the extreme accumulation of wealth, regulates society. As for the first: The individual is the backbone of the tireless ideology of private property. Remove this individual, and the whole system is in trouble. As for the second: The madness of amassing great wealth would be exposed as such, a mental illness, if we took mental problems seriously. When Reagan closed mental hospitals in the 80s, it was not simply a matter of cutting a welfare program, but mostly a matter of the mad banishing the mad. The mad must go, and the individual must stay. That is the American capitalist order.

    So, one, we can’t see mad people because we are only trained to see individuals and, two, mad people have been removed from the cultural/visual field by a dominate madness, the amassing of wealth, that has regulated itself into a social order.

    The Hidden Dangers of the Tramp Stamp

    posted by on December 6 at 12:21 PM

    Hey ladies: Apparently, getting your lower back tattooed can put you at risk for more than an insulting nickname. Jean Enersen says so.

    Ride to Olympia

    posted by on December 6 at 12:12 PM

    Thanks for all the e-mails. It looks like I’ve got my ride to Olympia for the session. The deciding factor: We like the same kind of music.


    Speaking of Sikhs

    posted by on December 6 at 12:12 PM


    In this week’s Last Days column, Tuesday’s item concerns Sukhvir Singh, the 48-year-old Seattle cab driver and observant Sikh brutally beaten in what prosecutors are deeming a hate crime.

    Today the item inspired this report from Hot Tipper Portia:

    I read the column for November 27, and I had to share my Sikh bashing story with you. I am a student teacher at a Seattle middle school, and last week the regular teacher was taking a sick day so we had a substitute. (Student teachers often substitute for classes, but I am not experienced enough to take the lead yet.) There is a student in one of my classes who is an observant Sikh, and he wears a turban. The substitute started the class by demanding that the student take off his “hat” as hats are not allowed in school. The student told her it was a turban, and the substitute angrily retorted “I don’t care what you call it, there are no hats allowed in school”. The student refused to take off his turban—rightly, for he should not have to—and the teacher was about to send him to the office until I stepped in. It was horrible, and I still can’t believe that in the 21st century—and in liberal, multi-cultural Seattle no less—that someone would have no idea what a turban is, and that it is not the same thing as a hat!

    In other news: The man accused of attacking Sukhvir Singh has pleaded not guilty.

    Ethics Commission to Investigate Godden

    posted by on December 6 at 11:50 AM

    Recent city council candidate Joe Szwaja—a progressive who we endorsed in the primary—scored a post-election victory of sorts last night.

    Szwaja had filed an ethics complaint against his opponent (and incumbent) Jean Godden during the election alleging she was using city resources to help facilitate her campaign. (Godden’s staff scheduler was evidently booking campaign business on city time.)

    The Ethics commission dismissed the complaint at the time, but last night the Ethics board overruled the director, voting 4-2 to investigate.

    I’ve linked a copy of Szwaja’s press release—prior to last night’s vote—below the jump.

    Continue reading "Ethics Commission to Investigate Godden" »

    Police Accountability Meeting Tonight

    posted by on December 6 at 11:31 AM

    Tonight, the Office of Professional Accountability and the Office of Professional Accountability Review Board are holding a public forum at the West Precinct.

    The meeting goes from 6-7:30.

    The West Precinct is located at 810 Virginia St.

    Public Intern

    posted by on December 6 at 11:28 AM

    If you missed Slog yesterday you missed the best installment of Public Intern yet.


    To find out what the hell is going on in this picture, click here.

    Amy Sedaris in Metropolitan Home

    posted by on December 6 at 11:25 AM

    Metropolitan Home has an amusing interview with Amy Sedaris, where she gives her opinions on holiday entertaining.

    What makes a good guest?

    People who also entertain make great guests. A good guest shows up on time. A good guest doesn’t show up with cheap booze or something that is going to take the hostess out of circulation when guests arrive. A good guest doesn’t overdo it—he/she knows better than to crash on your couch, especially when people are on it. Good guests bring party enhancers—they don’t leave with them. A good guest does not bring uninvited escorts, especially not cops, or priests.

    I love it that a magazine that is usually full of über-expensive furniture and hip modern houses has a photo of Sedaris in front of her fake fireplace with all her weird decorations and some sort of meat product.

    Photo: Michael Inguli

    You can read the whole interview here.

    The Romney Speech

    posted by on December 6 at 11:15 AM

    I’ve listened to it. I’ve read it. I’ve watched a little bit of it, just to see if Mitt Romney looked better on television than John F. Kennedy did when delivering a similar address in 1960.

    What do I think? Well, Romney is no JFK. He’s nice to look at, his elocution is decent, but to me his tone lacks… conviction. Subjective, sure, but watch the JFK speech and then watch the Romney speech. One man is defending himself and his faith in front of a hostile audience. The other man is defending his presidential bid in front of a sympathetic audience (and not taking any questions afterward).

    Granted, Kennedy made his speech during a general election campaign and not before the first primaries. But still, one is hoping for the same things: Personal conviction over pandering, the elevation of good government above religious passions, and an absolutely un-hedged explanation of the candidate’s view on the separation of church and state.

    Romney didn’t deliver those things today, or at least he didn’t deliver them in an unqualified manner. His agenda was to mollify religious conservatives and so he used the word “Jesus” more than he used the word “Mormon”; he offered a fuzzy boundary between church and state; and he suggested that “freedom requires religion” (a point on which many American atheists would disagree).

    Why now? Well, look at the polls. Republican Mike Huckabee, a more typical Christian conservative, is surging. If today’s speech was supposed to be about “Religion in America,” and not about such earthly pursuits as winning elections at all costs, it sure didn’t come off that way.

    Don’t Let This Happen to You

    posted by on December 6 at 11:13 AM

    Cockrings are great sex toys, but

    Firefighters helped operate on a man who was rushed to hospital after getting a metal ring stuck on the end of his penis. Doctors at Royal Wigan Infirmary in Greater Manchester put out the alert after fearing the man faced amputation as the ring cut off his blood supply.

    Two firefighters used a mini hand grinder to cut through the ring during a 20-minute procedure. It is understood the man, aged in his 40s, was given an anaesthetic.

    rubber, silicone, or leather-with-snaps cockrings are a better choice for cockring novices than metal ones.

    In NBA News…

    posted by on December 6 at 11:11 AM

    I was sure that last Sunday’s Sonics-Warriors game at KeyArena was going to be a great one. Golden State is never not fun to watch, plus they were on a five-game winning streak, AND all three captains got T’d up in a recent game. Exciting! Combined with the fact that Kevin Durant had dropped 35 points on the Pacers at the Key two nights before, it was easy to convince some friends to spend money for tickets. Little did we know that the Sonics would turn in what was quite possibly their worst performance of the season, playing as if they had no hands, and that Durant would be good for only 6 points before Carlesimo benched him for most of the second half. Totally disappointing.

    The most exciting part of the game? When the Jumbotron caught on fire during the first quarter and sparks started falling onto the court. I snapped a photo of the massive smoking scoreboard as they lowered it onto a seemingly flammable plastic tarp. The whole scene was ridiculous and somehow so fitting:


    Things are looking up at the Key, though: The Sonics grabbed their second home win against the Clippers last night, improving to 4-15.

    In other basketball news, Allen Iverson dropped 51 points on the Lakers last night. It was a sick performance—49 points in just three quarters. Unfortunately, he cooled way down in the fourth and the Lakers won, but it was awesome to see The Answer in classic form.

    Bad Trip

    posted by on December 6 at 10:46 AM

    Shrooms, the movie. The slasher movie, to be exact. Looks so painfully awful that it must be seen.

    Or not. Shades of Reefer Madness’s mindless anti-drug hysteria plus Friday the 13th’s mindless teenage-hormonal hysteria equals a whole lot of hysteria for one film. Its tagline: “Get ready to get wasted.”

    Who wants to eat some meatballs and go see a flick?

    Re: Pot-Laced Meatballs

    posted by on December 6 at 10:41 AM

    A Slog reader wants our recipe for pot butter from last Thanksgiving’s “I Can’t Believe It’s Pot Butter: Holiday Recipes with a Special Magic Ingredient.” You can use the butter in just about any recipe calling for butter or vegetable oil.


    You will need…

    • Double boiler or heat-safe bowl that fits inside a saucepan

    • Storage container

    • Rubber gloves

    • Cheesecloth

    • Rubber band

    • 1/8 oz. bud or 1/4 oz. shake

    • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

    • Grind or crumble weed until fine.

    Fill bottom pot halfway with water, place butter and weed in top pot (or heat-safe bowl). Set double boiler on stove over medium heat for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

    Meanwhile, prepare storage container by rubber-banding a double layer of cheesecloth over top.

    Wearing rubber gloves, pour butter mixture through cheesecloth into container. Remove cheesecloth and squeeze remaining pot butter from it. The butter is hot and will burn—wear the rubber gloves.

    Cover butter and place in fridge to solidify. Pot butter will keep in fridge for one month or freezer for one year. Recipe makes enough to get two people very high or four people moderately high.

    More Obscene Baseball News

    posted by on December 6 at 10:36 AM

    The story about the recently discovered baseball memo from 1898, warning players in the National League to lay off the fucking filthy language (which I slogged about the other day) has hit the online MSM, with a story in today’s Salon. Salon writer King Kaufman is a bit more skeptical about the provenance of the memo than either the auctioneers or I am. A linguistics prof at Berkeley insists that this couldn’t be legit, since no one would use such language in the formal setting of an office or business memo. And it would put the earliest printed uses of the terms “go fuck yourself” and “cocksucker”(though it was still hyphenated then) back by many years.

    My response: it might indeed be a hoax, but if it is one, it would be from the 1898 period nonetheless. The punctuation and the quirks of the non-obscene language strikes me as authentically of that era. Some secretary who sat in on the meetings among owners might’ve cooked it up as a joke.

    But it also could be legit. The memo ends “[UNMAILABLE: Must be forwarded by Express](bold caps sic).” This strikes me as a period detail that wouldn’t occur to most people today. If the League had mailed this, it would have been a federal offense: sending obscene materials through the mails. But they could send it by private courier (then known as “Express” services) and hand-deliver it to its audience, keeping it in-house.

    Continue reading "More Obscene Baseball News" »

    Party at Gary Hill’s House

    posted by on December 6 at 10:33 AM

    Check out the unMiami get-together over on Modern Art Notes, where I’ve been writing in addition to Slog this week. (I also spent a little time there yesterday loving up the Nelson Rockefeller collection in my hometown of Albany, New York.)


    And—do you know about the multitudinous, multidimensional genius of this Seattle man?


    It goes way beyond the fact of his relation to this guy.


    Big Lies

    posted by on December 6 at 10:20 AM

    Suggesting that diet—what you choose to eat, how much you choose to eat, making choices about what and how much you eat based on your awareness of your own metabolism—has any connection whatsoever with obesity is rank bigotry. There’s no connection between diet and obesity. Period. Only an anti-fat bigot would suggest otherwise.

    People are born fat just like people are born gay. People can’t become “ex-fat” for the same reason people can’t become “ex-gay.” Please make a note of it.

    And pass the Twinkies.

    Shit’s In the PI

    posted by on December 6 at 10:17 AM

    Our shit, to be precise.

    This morning’s PI ran (off) with Josh’s story about the Mayor’s $5 million giveaway to Vulcan. Josh slogged the story last week, pointing out Deputy Mayor Tim Cies’ flip flop, and Ceis refused to call us back for Josh’s print version of the story, which we published early yesterday.

    On the upside, the PI was able to get our chicken-shit Deputy Mayor to answer questions about the Mayor’s $5 million Christmas gift to local billionaire Paul Allen. On the downside, the PI swallowed for Ceis’s bullshit about how the Vulcan deal is comparable to last year’s downtown zoning guidelines. As Josh pointed out in his story, the facts demonstrate that the Vulcan deal is not comparable to the Mayor’s new incentive zoning legislation for developers citywide.

    Romney’s Speech on Mormonism

    posted by on December 6 at 9:45 AM

    I’m still listening to the big speech Mitt Romney gave this morning in Texas in an effort to allay people’s concerns about his Mormon faith. (You can watch video here.)

    But there’s already some interesting analysis up on the east coast blogs. In his speech, Romney pronounced that he believes in Jesus (“I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind”) and had a lot to say about the role of religion in politics, including this:

    The founders proscribed the establishment of a state religion, but they did not countenance the elimination of religion from the public square. We are a nation ‘Under God’ and in God, we do indeed trust.

    “We should acknowledge the Creator as did the Founders – in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places. Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our Constitution rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from ‘the God who gave us liberty.’

    Jonathan Martin hears that as a “War on Christmas” shout-out.

    Joe Klein parses Romney’s statements on the relationship between religion and freedom:

    I do, however, have a substantive problem with statements like this:

    Freedom requires religion, just as religion requires freedom.

    And this:

    Liberty is a gift from God, not an indulgence of government.

    Certainly, freedom of religion requires freedom…although I’m not sure that the Church (or the Mosque) has been a bastion of freedom over the centuries. And freedom would, presumably, be available to a nation of secular humanists who didn’t much like religion (as the vibrant state of democracy and comatose state of religion in western Europe, which Romney referenced, will attest).

    And as for liberty being a gift from God—why didn’t God give it to everyone? He didn’t like the Chinese? In fact, liberty is no indulgence, but the hard work of government.

    And Sullivan strikes a similar note in his take on the speech:

    It has two deep flaws. The first is the absence of any notion that religious freedom includes the freedom to have no religion whatever. A president of the United States does not just represent people of all faiths, he also represents those who have none…

    The second flaw is that he simply cannot elide the profound theological differences between the LDS church and mainstream Christianity. Since I’m a secularist - a Christian secularist - this doesn’t make a difference to me. But if you are appealing to religious people, especially fundamentalists, on the basis of faith, you cannot logically then ask them to ignore the content of the faith…

    I think it’s a tragedy that a man of Romney’s obvious gifts should be reduced to this. But he asked for it; and the petard he has been hoist on is his own. If you want a religious politics, you’ll end up with one. That’s why Huckabee is the natural heir to the Rove project. And why Romney is falling behind.

    Local GOP Chairman Amends Gaffe

    posted by on December 6 at 9:33 AM

    Yesterday, I posted an item about how the Chairman of the Kittitas County GOP broke campaign finance rules by trying to “bundle” checks for Dino Rossi. (It’s illegal for the head of an organization, like the Kittitas County Republicans, to have donations run through them on their way to a candidate. The donations have to go directly to the candidate from individuals.)

    I asked Manweller what was up.

    He let me know that he did correct the situation—sending out this e-mail to his list a few days later:

    Hi Folks,

    Ooops on my part. I recently sent out an email requesting that everyone donate a few bucks to Dino and send those checks to me. Turns out, I’m not allowed to do that because only individuals can collect contribution checks and forward them to a candidate. As county chairman, I am an agent of a “political committee,” and not permitted to gather and send on checks from other folks. Gotta love the PDC huh?

    So…please donate to Dino’s campaign….just DON’T send those checks to me.

    Thanks, Mr. Manweller.

    Some overzealous hater in the comments to yesterday’s post called me an “idiot” and said “clearly” the context showed that I was wrong. To which I say: Bah! I’m a Sagittarius, THE ARCHER!

    Meanwhile in Pierce County…

    posted by on December 6 at 9:32 AM

    Washington state has another openly-gay legislator. From the Tacoma News Tribune:

    Tuesday night’s Pierce County Council debate on whether to extend health benefits to the domestic partners of county employees ended with a bang. Make that two bangs.

    First, Republican Councilman Shawn Bunney announced he would support the measure. His support proved decisive—the council’s three other Republicans voted against the measure, which passed 4-3. Bunney’s support drew cheers from an audience overwhelmingly in favor of extending benefits.

    After Bunney’s comments came another twist: Councilman Tim Farrell announced he is gay.

    Farrell’s remarks followed comments from several county employees who testified they couldn’t get insurance for their partners or get sick leave to care for them…. “I figured if they were going to do that I had to do that, too,” he said at the meeting.

    “Art and the Average American”

    posted by on December 6 at 9:30 AM

    In a comment on yesterday’s Seattle at Sotheby’s post, Will in Seattle complained of “art that is worth maybe 40 to 50 dollars to the average American, but is sold at auctions for ridiculous sums …”

    It’s a throwaway line, like most of the art-related comments on Slog, but it points to a popular misconception that the economics of art are the same as the economics of just about everything else.

    Unlike just about everything else, art often ends up owned essentially by everybody and nobody, by museums and galleries that hold the art but put it on free or cheap public view. It’s disingenuous to imply that art that’s expensive is inaccessible “to the average American.”

    In fact, if those paintings are worth $40 or $50 to the average American, then they’d be a cut-rate bargain at the Seattle Art Museum, where they’d go on view for a suggested donation—suggested donation—of $15.

    For cheap, righteous classism, almost any target will do better than art.

    Reichert & SEIU

    posted by on December 6 at 9:19 AM

    Originally posted late yesterday afternoon.

    In my column this week, I report the news that Rep. Dave Reichert met with David Rolf, President of Washington state’s service employees union, SEIU 775, last week.

    It’s the first time since taking office in 2004 that Reichert felt the need to meet with the local lefty powerhouse. (Reichert suggested the meeting.)

    Is it a sign that Reichert’s running scared? Well, while I found that Reichert does seem anxious about challenger Darcy Burner—which might push him to meet with a get-out-the-vote powerhouse like SEIU—he did have a legitimate gripe with the union, and his staff made a compelling case that he sincerely wanted to set them straight.

    I didn’t have the room in my column to go into all the details, but basically, SEIU did a robo call last August trashing Reichert for voting wrong on the House’s first vote on children’s health care, S-CHIP. Reichert supported a different version of the bill—one that included a subsidy for private health insurers to take over a portion of Medicare. Reichert’s office told me they, “don’t care about the iedeology” of private insurers vs. government insurance and simply wanted to “make sure 14,400 seniors in the 8th district didn’t lose health insurance.”

    The Senate version put the Medicare portion back in the bill, and Reichert voted for that version when it came up in the House. That’s the version President Bush vetoed (because he didn’t like expanding eligibility to children from middle-income families). Reichert voted with the Democrats to override Bush’s veto.

    Reichert sent a letter to SEIU (before the meeting) demanding an apology for the robo-calls, saying SEIU mischaracterized Reichert’s position on SCHIP.

    Here’s a copy of the letter Reichert sent to the union demanding the apology.

    Reichert also reiterated his demand for an apology in his meeting with Rolf.

    Rolf told Reichert during the meeting that SEIU would not apologize, but the union would be happy to respond to Reichert’s letter.

    SEIU hasn’t sent off a letter yet, but Rolf tells me SEIU stands by their objection to Rep. Reichert’s first Nay vote on SCHIP—that bill didn’t include the subsidy to private insurers.

    But they also applaud Reichert’s follow-up votes—sending the President a strong message about children’s health care.

    Seattle LGBT Community Center’s Financial Troubles

    posted by on December 6 at 9:15 AM

    The Seattle Times has the scoop on the financial problems threatening to hobble the Seattle LGBT Community Center:

    The Seattle LGBT Community Center, which last year stepped forward to keep a gay Pride march and festival on Capitol Hill after the traditional sponsors moved the annual event downtown, is struggling to pay its suppliers.

    The Times reports the Center “likely will close by year’s end at its current location.”

    “It’s tough all around for nonprofits, particularly gay and lesbian nonprofits,” said Breanna Anderson, co-president of the LGBT center’s board of directors. With rents as high as they are on Capitol Hill, finding a new home is the “fiscally responsible thing to do,” she said. “So we’re looking at a few options right now, including sharing space with other community organizations.”

    Read the whole thing here.

    Why Is This So Hard to Understand?

    posted by on December 6 at 9:05 AM

    The PI interviewed a few folks about the SLUT. And—surprise!—even though the SLUT isn’t going to go any faster than the bus, even though it’s going to be stuck in traffic like a bus, people that say they never ride the bus are actually looking forward to riding the SLUT—all 1.3 miles of it.

    Once more: People like trains. People hate buses.

    Take it away, Mari:

    Mari Stobbe, a manager at the nearby Autism Spectrum Treatment and Research Center who came in for coffee a short time later, also said she’d ride the streetcar. “I’d never take a bus. I’ve never been on a bus. I’ve never had any desire to be on a bus,” she said. “(But) the streetcar seems like it would have a different feel.”

    Datsa Spacy Meatball!

    posted by on December 6 at 8:49 AM

    I hate it when my boyfriend does this to me…

    A US counter-terrorism police officer who says he failed a drugs test because his wife spiked his meatballs with marijuana is suing to get his job back. Anthony Chiofalo, of New York Police Department (NYPD), has asked Manhattan Supreme Court to challenge his firing.

    He was suspended in 2005 after 22 years of service, for failing a random test….

    Mrs Chiofalo told investigators she had put enough marijuana for six cigarettes in her meatball recipe in July 2005, according to court papers.

    She testified at a hearing that she just wanted her husband “not to die of a heart attack or get killed” while still in service, the Associated Press news agency quotes the court papers as saying. “I wanted him to be around to help raise my son,” she said. She had reportedly expected him to retire in 2004 after 20 years in the force.

    Judicial Watch Wins One In Arizona

    posted by on December 6 at 8:30 AM

    A week after getting smacked down by a California judge, Judicial Watch—the right-wing group that’s hinted at legal action over the City’s funding of Casa Latina—Casa Latina—is claiming victory in Arizona.

    Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon has dropped his support of an immigration policy which would have prevented police from contacting immigration agencies to report suspects they believe to be illegal immigrants.

    Gordon, who was re-elected in September, switched his position after Judicial Watch came to town and started pushing for an election recall.

    Still no definite word on whether Judicial Watch will file suit against the City of Seattle.

    The Morning News

    posted by on December 6 at 7:00 AM

    Omaha mall shooting:Now he’ll be famous.”

    Iran intelligence reversal: The questions continue.

    Hollywood writers: Still striking over pay for online work.

    Got to be a metaphor in here somewhere: Bus carrying Dr. Phil guests crashes into church.

    Resigning: The Clinton volunteer who passed on that false Obama-is-Muslim email.

    Mac attack: Apple computers an increasingly popular target for hackers.

    I-5: Still closed through Chehalis.

    Missing snowboarders: The search continues at Crystal.

    Mitt Romney is giving a big speech about his Mormon faith today. It’s designed to echo this JFK speech from 1960:

    Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    Project Runway Live Blogging

    posted by on December 5 at 9:45 PM

    Project Runway Live Blogging

    posted by on December 5 at 8:41 PM


    I will be live blogging Project Runway tonight using that snazzy live blogging software that Eli’s been wasting on trifles like presidential debates. So take your laptop to bed and join us for a spirited, as-it-happens discussion of the most important TV show in the history of the world starting at 9:45 PM. And remember…

    Asians are fierce.

    Hooked on Paper: In/Visible Is Up and There’s a Performance TONIGHT!

    posted by on December 5 at 4:52 PM

    Alison Knowles, performing tonight (December 5 at 7:30 pm at Good Sheperd Chapel in Wallingford—thanks to the inspired programming of Steve Peters’ series Nonsequitur and Robert Mittenthal’s Subtext Reading Series), is a pioneering sound/visual/performance artist. She made prints with Marcel Duchamp. She was pivotal in early Fluxus. She turns making a salad into a work of art.

    And this is the first time she has ever performed in Seattle. Do not miss it. But if you do, at least you can hear her talk, and hear her playing some of her “instruments” from the performance, on In/Visible, the Stranger’s weekly conversation with people in art.

    For more information on Knowles, the artist’s web site is here.

    (My sincere apologies for the late notice—Knowles just got into town yesterday for our interview, and the Slog blackout earlier today kept me from doing this sooner!)


    posted by on December 5 at 4:27 PM

    Three snowboarders are missing near Crystal Mountain.

    The missing men have been identified as Kevin Carter 26; Devlin Williams, 29; and Phillip Hollins, 41.

    Hollins and Carter work for Seattle’s Fleetfoot Messenger Service, said their boss, Gary Brose. The pair failed to show up for work Monday, said Brose. Williams was a former Fleetfoot employee, Brose said.

    “It’s not like them to be off their schedules,” Brose said. “It’s a lot of worry for us.”

    Meanwhile in Omaha

    posted by on December 5 at 4:09 PM

    OMAHA, Neb. - A man opened fire with a rifle at a busy department store Wednesday, killing eight people before taking his own life, in an attack that made holiday shoppers run screaming through a mall and barricade themselves in dressing rooms.

    More here.

    Today on Line Out

    posted by on December 5 at 3:56 PM

    Advent Calendar Day Five: The Leevee’s wonder how to spell Hanukkah.

    Rock and Roll Strangercrombie Item of the Day: Hang out at a show with famous photographer Charles Peterson!

    Stupid and Fun: U.S.E. play a free show tonight. And Eric Grandy likes them and he still hates Van Halen.

    Circle Jerks: Seattle kids prove they still can’t do a good circle pit.

    Learning to Love It: Grandy likes the Hot Chip single after all.

    Meow: A kitty cat mosh pit.

    Sound Check: Trent Moorman interviews Kay Kay guitarist Kirk Huffman about performing on late-night TV.

    RIP: Chet Baker and Sam Cooke.

    “It’s Sentimental Tacky Crap.”: A Seattle record store clerk is nice to a woman hoping to buy the new Hannah Montana.

    Today in Music News: Radiohead downloading stops Dec 10, Blue Eyes gets a postage stamp, and more.

    Proper Otters Laugh?: Botch gets the misheard lyric treatment on YouTube.

    Last Night: Christopher Frizzelle misses Math & Physics Club’s set.

    Stunning Stuff: Charles Mudede on Can-U.

    Fuck You: Says Morrissey to NME.

    With Open Arms: Journey welcomes a new lead singer.

    Pretty as a Picture: Photos from last night’s Tegan and Sara show.

    The Belmont: Last weekend’s party is captured on video.


    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

    posted by on December 5 at 3:44 PM

    Is this the face of a man that would fuck his eight-day-old daughter to death?


    Prosecutors think so. Folks upset by these posts shouldn’t click this link.

    One More Thing About Strangercrombie…

    posted by on December 5 at 3:43 PM

    … and then I’ll shut the fuck up about it. For today.

    If you want to give a little something to FareStart but you don’t want to mess with the auction, here’s what you do:

    Go here. Look for the little blue button on the right side of the page. Click it and make a regular old donation, for however much you want.

    It’s all about making it easy for you to help FareStart—it’s all about helping.

    Now back to your regularly scheduled bitching about fundies, mustaches, and the anal glands of lower mammals.

    Re: Surrender, Savage!

    posted by on December 5 at 3:27 PM

    Sorry, Brad & Jonah, but High School Musical going up against a professional football game does not pit the straights against the gays. It pits straight teenage girls against straight adult males. While a few gay men find that Zac kid attractive (I do not; his teeth are small and stumpy and he has a rodent face), the overwhelming majority of his fans are straight teenage girls.

    High School Musical vs. pro-football? That’s an internecine conflict, boys, not a battle between the forces of light (the homos) and the forces of darkness (the heteros). Better luck next time.

    Reality Show Incest

    posted by on December 5 at 3:18 PM


    Jack from Project Runway 4 is dating Dale from Top Chef 3. That’s just wrong. Details here.

    Terry Teachout on Sweeney Todd: Better Than Fosse’s Cabaret, Better Than Sir Carol Reed’s Oliver!, Better Than Sex with God

    posted by on December 5 at 3:12 PM

    Reviews of Sweeney Todd are embargoed until the movie opens on December 21, but critics are leaking their enthusiasm all over the internet.


    Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal (and one of my favorite theater critics) says it’s the best thing in the history of ever.

    Stephen Sondheim came to the theater to introduce the film, looking like a cat who’d just dined on canary under glass. “For those of you who know the show… forget it,” he said. “This is not a film of a musical, it’s a movie based on a musical.” Then the lights went down and the blood began to flow—or, rather, spurt.
    What I can say is that it is—without exception, and by a considerable margin—the best film ever to have been made from a Broadway musical. The only other one to which it can possibly be compared is Bob Fosse’s 1972 screen version of Cabaret, and Sweeney is, aside from everything else, a better show. (It is, in my opinion, the best musical to have opened on Broadway since the end of World War II.) I also think it might actually do well at the box office, not to mention the next Oscar night.

    Read the rest of his tease here.

    We are all anticipation.

    Surrender, Savage!

    posted by on December 5 at 3:10 PM

    Yesterday Savage was crowing about Desperate Housewives beating Sunday Night Football in the ratings. “The homos won!” he declared.

    But what’s this? Monday night’s game between the Patriots and the Ravens was the highest rated cable program ever, beating the record previously held by High School Musical 2. Advantage, once again, heteros!


    posted by on December 5 at 2:58 PM

    That’s how much we’ve spent on abstinence education since 1998. We’re gearing up to spend another $200,000,000 next year. And where’s that money gotten us?

    Teen births tilt up, unmarried rate hits record

    The birth rate for teenagers increased in 2006 in the United States for the first time since 1991, while childbearing among unmarried women surged to the highest level on record, health officials said on Wednesday.

    Local GOP Chairman Flouts Fundraising Rules

    posted by on December 5 at 2:51 PM

    Kittitas County Republican Party Chairman Matt Manweller sent out an e-mail to supporters asking them to send in checks so he could “bundle them” and give the money to the Rossi campaign—along with the $7300 max donation from the Kittitas GOP itself.

    How brazen can you get? “Bundling” money that way—that is collecting money from individuals and then giving them to a candidate in one lump sum—is illegal.

    “The Party cannot bundle,” Public Disclosure spokeswoman Lori Anderson just told me.

    Check out Manweller’s e-mail:

    The primary reason for this email is to rally help for Dino. As some of you may know, while Dino was a private citizen—but not a candidate, he was not allowed to raise money for his campaign. In contrast, using the Governor’s office, Christine Gregoire was able to raise about $3,000,000 for her campaign. Obviously, Dino needs to catch up. At our last Kittitas GOP meeting in Cle Elum, we voted to give Dino the maximum amount of money the law will allow. That check has been written for $7,300—the single largest donation our party has ever made. I think we can, and need to do more. Although the party is limited to $7,300, indivduals can give up to $1,400. We plan to deliver our check to Dino in early January. But, I think it would be FANTASTIC if we could ALSO deliver a envelope full of other checks from the citizens of Kittias County. That is the purpose of this email. I am asking everyone to write one check to “Dino Rossi for Governor” for whatever amount they can and send it to me (KCRP, 2405 N. Lilac Way, Ellensburg, WA, 98926). Any amount is worth it. We need to show a bredth and depth of support for Dino. The party is going to bundle them all together and make one HUGE donation to Dino. Thanks for all your help, Matt Manweller Kittitas County Republican Party, Chairman

    And check out state rules. The law says: “A person, other than an individual, may not be an intermediary or an agent for a contribution.”

    And the PDC’s Anderson pointed me to this explanation on the PDC website:

    Bundling Only an individual is permitted to collect contributions from others and transmit them to the intended recipient. Political committees, businesses, unions, and organizations (or people representing them) are prohibited from collecting contributions from various sources (commonly known as bundling) and delivering or transmitting those bundled contributions to a candidate or political committee.

    Anderson told me the PDC contacted Manweller about his e-mail and told him he was flouting the rules.

    I’ve got an e-mail into Manweller to find out how he’s dealing with this.

    Assignment : Help a Vet Squeeze Anal Glands

    posted by on December 5 at 2:45 PM


    Dana, a vet on Vashon Island, needed help “expressing dog’s anal glands.” This is a procedure performed on dogs who have too much fluid in the glands surrounding their butt hole.

    “What I need is for you to hold a cloth over the dog’s anus while I am doing the expression,” Dana said in an email, “Last week I made a terrible mess during the procedure. As a result, there were anal sac contents on my watch, my coat, the floor, the wall and the dog’s medical chart. As the medical chart is a legal document, I’m sure you can appreciate the gravity of this situation.”

    I drove to Vashon and met Dana at the Fair Isle Animal Clinic. She led me into the employees-only area in the back of the clinic, where most of the medical procedures take place. In the center of the room was a big hollow steel table with a drain in it. There was also a large metal cage containing four dogs, including Dana’s dog.

    Dana warned me for the fourth time about the smell. She seemed to get a thrill out of describing it to me. She told me the anal sac’s contents produced the kind of smell that stays with you. “You’ll remember it, and if you get it on your shirt you’ll smell that way for at least a day,” she said and grinned. A middle-aged woman wearing a t-shirt and sweat pants emerged from behind the kennel wall. “Pet owners hate the smell so much,” she said, “that they pay for vets to squeeze their dog’s anal sacs. They could do it themselves, but the smell is just so pungent.” Then she sat down next to the table. I was confused; did this woman work here? I felt like she’d just been brought in for dramatic effect.

    “And we’re ready!” Dana emerged from another room and laid out my supplies on the steel table. There was a pair of small gloves for me to wear, a bottle of dog perfume to spray on the dog’s butt after the procedure, a washcloth, and a wet disinfectant pad. I asked Dana if she had a mask I could wear. She seemed reluctant to give it to me. After performing anal sac procedures all day, I think she wanted someone else to experience the smell.

    Oh well, too bad for her, I thought and put on the mask.

    The mask smelled terrible. It was like breathing through a cloth drenched in vinegar. I kept it on though, thinking even vinegar would be a more pleasant smell than an expressed anal sac.

    Dana walked to the cage and lifted her dog on to the steel table. She held up the dog’s tale and showed me her anus. It looked like a small prune. “Some doggies have hidden butt holes, don’t they?” she asked. I assumed the question wasn’t aimed at me.


    Dana squirted some petroleum jelly on her gloved finger and slowly stuck it up the dog’s butt. The dog whimpered and shook her legs. I held my washcloth over her anus. “Watch how I do it,” Dana said to me. I didn’t. I knew if I moved the washcloth and took a peek, the sac could expell all over Dana’s lab coat and my sleeve.

    Dana squeezed hard and the sac squirted out into the washcloth and dripped on to the table. It was a brownish liquid that smelled like anchovies. The nurses smiled at me, glad someone of such importance was bearing witness to a routinely icky part of their day.

    After she was done with her dog, Dana grabbed another dog, and we repeated the procedure. “See, this one’s contents look more like a paste,” she said to me, holding up a glove with brown tread marks.

    Then Dana went to assist other dogs and one of the other nurses let me wear a dog collar.


    By the third dog, I took off my mask. I figured no smell could be worse then the mask. This is when Dana messed up and a few droplets of anal juice dropped on my sleeve. “Uh-oh,” Dana said “that smell is going to stay with you for a while.”

    After I was done with the assignment, I went out to lunch. True to Dana’s word, the smell remained in my nose. Everything I ate tasted just a little bit like anchovies.

    Steven Blum
    Public Intern


    Aurora Business Owners Worried About Their Backdoors

    posted by on December 5 at 2:33 PM

    Aurora Avenue North businesses between North 110th Street and North 145th Street are having a huge problem with backdoor access. “Out of 145 businesses in the area, 117 [would] have no backdoor access,” says Aurora Avenue Merchants Association Executive Director Faye Garneau.

    The city is planning to expand the sidewalks along Aurora Avenue North and add 24-hour bus-only lanes, which would make on-street parking and freight access more difficult. “We find that quite upsetting,” Garneau says.

    The plan would also take portions of properties currently occupied by thrift stores, motels, and social security offices.

    Garneau says the city has been unresponsive to negotiations and that a lawsuit may become necessary to protect Aurora businesses. “We may have to get to that point,” she says. “We’re hoping not to.”

    Ellen and The Bush

    posted by on December 5 at 2:07 PM

    First, let it be noted that Ellen DeGeneres is the awesomest person on the planet. (WAY better than Oprah and twice as out of the closet.) Secondly please to note, I hate her.

    Ellen had Jenna Bush on the show today. (I know.) I suspected something really, really weird was going to happen when I heard that she planned to have her on, and…


    And I was there, man, for the whole thing. In front of my TV. And I saw it all go down. Ellen (that wiley dyke!) poked and pestered Jenna to do what she wanted her to do, and what she wanted her to do was get George and Laura on the damn phone. Just call up mom and dad. Say howdy. Live. On, um, Ellen.

    And Jenna did it.

    Before proceeding, kindly watch the whole damn thing here.

    You see? Why Ellen is, like, SO totally awesome, and exactly why I despise her? Of course you do.

    Jenna fucking Bush, why, she was cute as a pickle! “They’re going to kill me! ” she kept cutely saying. “I’m going to be in so much trouble!” Darling as a tea cozy! Sweeter n’ pineapple poundcake pie! There’s just no getting around it.

    And Laura? CHARMING! “I’m just sitting here with daddy!” And even George? CHARMING! “How’s my little girl doing?”

    Did you hear me? CHARMING!

    Kill me now.

    And Ellen…Jesus fucking Crackers! What a wasted opportunity! She didn’t scream at him, or vilify him, or call him a filthy lying bastard; she didn’t make a peep about Iraq or Iran or scream, “Hey, you fucking professional bigot fascist turd! Your daughter’s sitting here with a big old LESBO, whatcha think about that, daddy? And I think I’ll just reach over here and give her booby a nice squeeze” and start making lewd gestures with her tongue and two fingers or ANYTHING. She just sat there, all nice and smiley and Ellen, completely ignoring the fact that the retard on the other end of the phone RUINED THE WORLD.

    Today Ellen DeGeneres brought me the only encounter of any kind with George W. Bush (I stopped calling him “president” ages ago, even in quotes) that did not make every nerve in my body scream “somebody kill it!” and my face snarl up. And I hate her for it.

    Indeed, you’re awesome Ellen. But I hate you.

    Is Our Site Moving Slowly? Blame Chris Crocker.

    posted by on December 5 at 2:00 PM

    Young Mr. Crocker, apparently dissatisfied that his item was only going for $1.99 in our Strangercrombie auction, just sent the following MySpace bulletin to his fans:


    You may love to hate on Chris Crocker, but you gotta at least respect the size of his online army. Just 12 words from him to them (“You want to talk to me on the phone? Click here to bid.”) and our web site gets so flooded with hits that it has a near-death experience.

    Seattle at Sotheby’s

    posted by on December 5 at 1:47 PM

    A week ago today, I went to an auction of American drawing, painting, and sculpture at Sotheby’s in New York. It was my first Sotheby’s auction. Quite what you’d expect: Bidding wars across the room, phone bidders jumping in at the last second, Norman Rockwell selling for a lot of money, and a handful of older men whose baseball caps and sneakers could not disguise the hale good looks of their wealthy lives. It was great.

    I eyed the room for Seattle buyers, since Seattle Art Museum is known to be beefing up its American collection, and since Tom Barwick, a leading American collector, lives in Seattle. I didn’t see anybody, but that’s because I had to stand in the back, not in among the seated bidders up front.

    But they were there. SAM confirmed that American curator Patti Junker was at the sale, and that other Seattle collectors were there, too. SAM wouldn’t say whether Junker bought anything.

    The sale was not a roaring success for Sotheby’s, but it came in within estimates.

    I have no idea what Junker et al might have been on the hunt for (she was also at a Christie’s American sale last week—a record-breaking sale there), and these are not meant as guesses, just playful imaginings.

    Here are a few of the things sold at Sotheby’s last week that could conceivably come to SAM someday:

    Milton Avery’s The Reader and the Listener, which sold for $2.505 million, breaking the artist’s record of $992,000.

    John Singer Sargent’s 1901 portrait of John Ridgely Carter, sold for $1.833 million.

    Charles Burchfield, another record, for $1.329 million.

    Thomas Hart Benton, $575,000

    Albert Bierstadt, $103,000

    Well, maybe not this one for the museum, but it went for the most money that day so I figured I’d picture it: Norman Rockwell’s Gary Cooper as ‘The Texan’, $5.921 million.

    Full auction list, with results, here.

    (Sadly, the lone Morris Graves in the sale, Ecstatic Gander from 1952, was passed by at a bid of $65,000, $15,000 shy of the low estimate.)

    My Boyfriend’s Premature and Avoidable Physical Deterioration

    posted by on December 5 at 1:15 PM


    This week’s “Savage Love” revisits a subject—an extremely touchy subject—that any intelligent advice professional know well enough to leave alone: “a partner’s premature and avoidable physical deterioration,” as I delicately put it in this week’s column. The debate is over what can or can’t be said when you find you’re no longer attracted to your partner due to weight gain. (Short answer: Be honest and open and communicate—but only when the fatso is a man).

    Now I find myself facing a similar issue at home. My partner has radically, suddenly, and unnecessarily altered his appearance, and I am no longer attracted to him. The situation is dire and I, the advice guy, don’t know what to do.

    My boyfriend has grown a mustache.

    I didn’t think anything of it when Terry went a few days without shaving. He’s just being lazy, I thought, and things will soon return to normal. But yesterday he returned from the gym having shaved most of his face—his cheeks, his chin, his neck—but not his upper lip. The sight of him with a mustache has left me traumatized. I am no longer sexually attracted to him—he’s gone from looking like a steaming hot sex object to looking like one of my uncles. That hairy thing on his lip trips some weird trigger for me; my reaction to it is visceral and violent. I can barely stand to look at my boyfriend, much less kiss him…. or anything else him. And I am at a loss for what to do.

    Brutal honesty? I tried that. (“What the fuck are you doing?” “Shave that thing off.” “Don’t kiss me—gross—get away from me.”) But he is undeterred. He told me at first that it was just for a week—he wants to wear it to some cosmic disco thing—but that was no comfort, I told him. I want it gone this instant. But now Terry is upset. He’s accusing me of being controlling. He’s telling me that he should be free to grow a mustache if he wants to grow a mustache because he’s an adult and he’s not my property and blah blah blah. (His Visa bills, however, are my property.) I’m telling him that if I wanted to start a family with Joseph Stalin or Adolph Hitler or Burt Reynolds or Salvador Dali or Josh Bolton I would’ve proposed to one of them.

    My angry reaction to the appearance of this interloper on my beloved’s upper lip has in turn angered Terry. He now says that now he may not shave that thing off after the party this Saturday. Maybe he’ll keep it through the holidays—or until his birthday in March. MARCH! I am now threatening to retaliate. My retaliation could take two possible forms: I dyed my hair blond once (everyone should do it once) and Terry absolutely haaaaaaaaaated it. So I’m thinking of dying my hair blond again. Or I could come to bed ever night with a photo of a vagina taped to my forehead. The second option comes closer, I think, to the effect that Terry’s mustache has on me.

    Since we’re hopelessly deadlocked on both these issues—Terry’s alleged “right” to grow a mustache and my insistence that he doesn’t have a right to spring a mustache on me after 13 clean-shaven years; and what form my retaliation should take—we’ve decided to seek counseling. Not from a couples’ counselor, Slog readers, but from you. I’ve reported—at great length—and now it’s time for you to decide:

    The Mustache Issue

    The Retaliation Issue

    Polls close at 5 PM today. Results are binding.

    For the Fundie Who Has Everything

    posted by on December 5 at 1:02 PM

    Turn your CHRISTmas tree into a festive pro-life statement!!


    Protect our troops—from the womb to the war. What if the fetus you were going to abort would grow up to be a soldier bringing democracy to a godless dictatorship?

    Plastic replica of an 11-12 week old fetus, 3” long, holding a firearm in its precious little hand, with an assortment of other military paraphernalia, encased in a translucent plastic ornament, with a patriotic yellow ribbon on top. Includes a metal ornament hanger. If only a womb were this safe, attractive and reasonably priced!

    (The description is an inspired fake; the ornament itself, sadly, is not.)

    The Undeniable Attractiveness of Plush Novelty Meat

    posted by on December 5 at 12:53 PM


    Earlier today, I illustrated a Slog post—about the phrase “pork chop“‘s status as a racial slur—with a photo of an adorable stuffed chop.

    Since then, a couple people have asked where such a thing came from and how might they get one?

    The answer: Sweet Meats, creator and supplier of the stuffed pork chop and hambone above. They also traffic in plush hot links, beef heart, and rack o’ ribs. Check ‘em out here.


    posted by on December 5 at 12:51 PM

    I’ve never in my whole life been without a subscription to the local daily. But today, I canceled my subscriptions to the PI and Seattle Times. It wasn’t a protest. It’s that I read both papers on-line, and the print editions were just piling up in my living room.

    2007 is the year everything has changed. And really, this was on my To Do list months ago.

    After hanging up the phone, I suddenly felt I’d made a mistake.

    But that’s just the human brain playing its tricks to save a comfortable routine.

    Angry Like A Fox

    posted by on December 5 at 12:48 PM

    City Council Member Tom Rasmussen—chair of the council’s housing committee—is drawing fire from one of his most frequent allies, John Fox. The Seattle Displacement Coalition leader has worked with Rasmussen on several pieces of housing and condo-conversion legislation, but now he’s criticizing Rasmussen for a proposal, which would give tax breaks to developers.

    Rasmussen’s proposal is designed to create more affordable housing, but Fox—who has a history of holding his allies’ feet to the fire—says the proposal will serve a population that’s already being taken care of. The proposal would give tax breaks to developers who build multifamily housing for residents who make 70 to 80 percent of the median income. Fox says there are already 100,000 surplus units in King County, which are affordable for that group.

    Although Fox thinks Rasmussen’s proposal doesn’t go far enough, it’s still better than a proposal by Mayor Greg Nickels that would have given tax breaks to developers who priced units around 100 percent of median income. Still, Fox says he’s ready to challenge Rasmussen’s proposal if it’s enacted. “If they implement this, [we’ll have to] sit down with an attorney and look at litigation,” Fox says.

    “That’s his style,” Rasmussen says. “John is an advocate. While he and I have worked most everything together effectively, this is just one area where there’s a disagreement. We never all agree 100 percent on city issues.”

    Overheard in the Office (I Know, I Know)

    posted by on December 5 at 12:45 PM

    “I didn’t want to fuck Burt Reynolds when I was 13, and I don’t want to fuck him now!”
    -Dan Savage


    Seattle Team Wins All at 48 Hour Film Project

    posted by on December 5 at 12:30 PM

    The quick-turn filmmaking competition 48 Hour Film Project (sort of like SIFF’s Fly Films, except younger and hungrier and coordinated on a national scale) has anointed its Fall Shootout winner: Seattle’s own Team Juicebox.

    Lethal Cotillion

    Team Juicebox gets to have its winning entry, Lethal Cotillion, screened at Cannes. You can watch the movie here. (Love the “bad guy sisters,” Scot, but I’m afraid that’s not a monkey. Steve is an ape.) Congratulations anyway to director Cory Kelley and writer Scot Augustson.

    Who Is Johnny Miller?

    posted by on December 5 at 12:19 PM


    As far as I’m concerned Johnny Miller is the future of snowboarding. His style is singular. He’s laid back, yet on target every time he sets board to snow.

    While you’ll see Shaun White clones (young kids with bandanas tucked up under their goggles) all over the slopes, you won’t see many like Johnny. The last few years he’s been the “hippie” on the slopes with tie-dye multicolored hair tucked under a rainbow-colored pompom hat. This year I’ve seen him sporting a feather in his cap. No, really. He’s been wearing a green cap with a white feather sticking out the side, like some sort of shredding Tyrolean madman.

    He deserves to wear a feather in his cap, as you can see in the video below. Not only is this 20 year old an ace rider (check out the 40 yard long rail he rides and the circular wall he grinds), he’s a master of tricks performed while not buckled into a snowboard. Johnny is progressing the sport faster than anyone else.

    From local production company Think Thank’s new vid, Thanks Brain!:

    Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Shaun White.

    P.S. It’s cooling down in the mountains with snow likely by the end of the weekend. And Stevens opens tomorrow!

    The First Skeleton Tumbles Out of Huckabee’s Closet

    posted by on December 5 at 12:15 PM

    Everyone who’s been watching the rise of Mike Huckabee has been wondering when some of the more politically damaging parts of his record in Arkansas were going to come back to haunt him—particularly the story about the convicted Arkansas rapist, Wayne Dumond, who was released at Huckabee’s urging and then went on to rape and murder another woman.

    Huckabee has been saying on the campaign trail that no one could have predicted that Dumond would rape again. Well, it turns out victims of the rapist predicted precisely that outcome in letters made available to Huckabee as the decision to release the rapist was being made.

    As Murray Waas reports at The Huffington Post:

    Confidential files obtained by the Huffington Post show that Huckabee was provided letters from several women who had been sexually assaulted by Dumond and who indeed predicted that he would rape again - and perhaps murder - if released.

    In a letter that has never before been made public, one of Dumond’s victims warned: “I feel that if he is released it is only a matter of time before he commits another crime and fear that he will not leave a witness to testify against him the next time.” Before Dumond was granted parole at Huckabee’s urging, records show that Huckabee’s office received a copy of this letter from Arkansas’ parole board.

    The woman later wrote directly to Huckabee about having been raped by Dumond. In a letter obtained by the Huffington Post, she said that Dumond had raped her while holding a butcher knife to her throat, and while her then-3-year-old daughter lay in bed next to her. Also included in the files sent to Huckabee’s office was a police report in which Dumond confessed to the rape. Dumond was not charged in that particular case because he later refused to sign the confession and because the woman was afraid to press charges.

    Huckabee kept these and other documents secret because they were politically damaging, according to a former aide who worked for him in Arkansas. The aide has made the records available to the Huffington Post, deeply troubled by Huckabee’s repeated claims that he had no reason to believe Dumond would commit other violent crimes upon his release from prison. The aide also believes that Huckabee, for political reasons, has deliberately attempted to cover up his knowledge of Dumond’s other sexual assaults.

    “There were no letters sent to the governor’s office from any rape victims,” Huckabee campaign spokesperson Alice Stewart said on Tuesday when contacted by the Huffington Post.

    Subsequently, however, the campaign provided a former senior aide of Huckabee’s who did remember reading at least one of the letters.

    Just a little online contretemps? Nope. This story’s also getting attention on ABC and CBS.

    It’s Happening

    posted by on December 5 at 12:05 PM

    It’s finally begun—Strangercrombie, our annual auction for charity.

    In case you need catching up, there are two important components of Strangercrombie: good gifts and good causes. (Oh, and attractive models.)

    This year’s good cause is FareStart, which trains homeless folks to work in the culinary industry.

    As for the good gifts—well, people are already bidding.

    There’s the guitar, signed by Cat Power:

    This acoustic guitar, signed by the legendarily shy Cat Power is Seattle’s Red Violin. It was purchased by James Keblas (director of the Mayor’s Office of Film & Music) and given to King County Council Member Dow Constantine, who hung it in his office. This October, a man who witnesses say “looked like Kurt Cobain” tried to steal it, but was thwarted by a pair of council aides. If you buy this guitar, the ghost of Kurt Cobain will come haunt you, too.

    It’s going for $1.99.

    Almost a grand’s worth of bicycle, messenger bag, and gear? Going for $2.49.

    The Posies covering a song of your choice, just for you? Going for $20.50.


    A miniature football signed by Darryl Tapp, defensive end for the Seattle Seahawks, plus, a gift certificate to online lingerie shop (we’re not implying anything)?

    Going for $1.99.

    Go. Bid. Buy.

    Remember, every single cent goes to the virtuous folks at FareStart. All they have to do is cash the check.


    Strangercrombie: Once a year, we do something good.

    I Capital I

    posted by on December 5 at 11:56 AM

    This image is from an advertisement currently running on the website for The New York Times.
    Picture%204.jpg The advertisement represents the Janus Capital Group, an investment company that provides “institutional and intermediary clients and individual investors complementary asset management disciplines including growth and risk-managed strategies.” Fine. But what is this image showing us? It is showing us how transnational capital sees its self: it is, for one, flexible. Its kind of money is not static or dedicated to one mode, but will use any vehicle, any means to get to a good investment opportunity. Also, transnational capital, is youthful, on the move, and adventurous. But at the same time it’s safe and reasonable. Meaning, transnational capital is not about theory but reality: What is the investment opportunity like in the real world? Capital has the guts to go out and see with its own eyes the business or company that’s offering a stake in its future.

    Of course, because all of this has to do with how capital sees itself, and not with how it actually works (or exploits), the image is false. This is what capital makes itself see when it looks into the mirror of its own mind.

    Hey, Seattle Exceptionalists

    posted by on December 5 at 11:47 AM

    So you know how Seattle is totally different than any other city anywhere ever, and nothing that works in any city other than Seattle can ever work here, because of weather/hills/culture? (See: Mass transit, sidewalks, free bikes, etc.) Surely none of you would have an objection to street escalators, right?


    Because they have them in Barcelona (which does, despite what some commenters believe, have hills), and they work great. So there.

    Remember Vijay Boyapati?

    posted by on December 5 at 11:40 AM

    He’s the local Google engineer who made a big appearance in my Ron Paul feature back in August.

    Since then Boyapati has quit his Google gig in order to relocate to New Hampshire on Paul’s behalf. And today he’s the subject of an online profile over at The Huffington Post.

    Saving It?

    posted by on December 5 at 11:20 AM


    Those who lose their virginity at a later age—around 21 to 23 years of age—tend to be more likely to experience sexual dysfunction problems later, say researchers at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute’s HIV Center for Clinical Behavioral Studies….

    Men who lose their virginity in their 20s, in particular, seemed to be more likely to experience sexual problems that include difficulty becoming sexually aroused and reaching orgasm.

    Clinton Backer Pushed False Obama-is-Muslim Story

    posted by on December 5 at 11:15 AM

    Via The Nation:

    The infamous Obama-is-a-secret Muslim smear (repeatedly shown to be false) has been winging around the internet via an email forward since late December last year. As I documented for the Nation, it’s a permutation of a charge first leveled by a fringe figure in Illinois, but has since been forwarded around by ordinary people either out of ignorance, credulousness or malice. We now have the first example of the smear being forwarded by a someone tied to a rival campaign. Yesterday, Gary Hart, the Jones County Chair of the Democratic party in Iowa (and a Dodd supporter) wrote a diary on DailyKos saying he’d been forwarded the infamous email by an unnamed “Clinton county chair.”

    In a comment posted in response, the Clinton campaign’s Internet Director Peter Daou, posted a statement from the campaign confirming that the email had indeed been forwarded by a “volunteer county coordinator,” but said it was “wholly unauthorized” and that the campaign was “unaware of it.”

    “We are asking this volunteer county coordinator to step down,” the statement continued “and are making it clear to every person involved in our campaign that this will not be tolerated.”

    Happy Repeal Day

    posted by on December 5 at 11:08 AM

    74 years ago today, our great nation finally came to its senses—then promptly got blotto.

    On December 5th, 1933, Utah, the final state needed for a three quarters majority, ratified the 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition and restoring the American right to a celebratory drink. While the amendment still allowed for state and local levels of Prohibition, by 1966 there were no state laws banning alcohol.


    Elizabeth Hardwick…

    posted by on December 5 at 11:03 AM

    is dead. Here’s the New York Times obituary. Here’s an excellent profile of her by Hilton Als from 10 years ago.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on December 5 at 11:00 AM


    ‘n+1’ at Elliott Bay Book Company

    It’s a little hard to describe n+1 because n+1 belongs in another time. If Mary McCarthy were alive today, it is the journal she would write for. Its four editors met at Harvard, live in New York City, and like ideas. All they really want to do is go around the corner and get a beer and talk/fight about Isaac Babel or Radiohead or McSweeney’s or the state of American fiction or how much exercise sucks. Tonight, two of the editorial brass, Keith Gessen and Chad Harbach, read from issue number six. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main St, 624-6600. 7:30 pm, free.)



    posted by on December 5 at 10:34 AM

    You know when you’re driving to work, and everything’s normal, and then all of a sudden you find yourself playing air piano to Crocodile Rock?

    How am I supposed to go on with my day now? I don’t even know who I am anymore.

    Question of the Day

    posted by on December 5 at 10:09 AM

    Have you always longed to see a transgendered woman dressed entirely in taxidermied rats?

    If so, go here.

    If not, don’t go there.

    Thank you, MetaFilter.

    Now It All Makes Sense

    posted by on December 5 at 10:00 AM

    When the city of Berkeley, California, stopped allowing the anti-gay Boy Scouts to berth a ship at a city-owned dock without paying rent, Eugene Austin Evans sued the city. Evans was the skipper of the Farallon, a ship owned by Berkeley’s scouting organization. Well guess what? Evans was upset about losing that dock because he was using the Farallon as his own personal brothel.

    A longtime Berkeley Sea Scouts leader arrested on suspicion of child molestation was the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the city of Berkeley’s decision to end the group’s rent-free berthing because of the parent Boy Scouts’ bans on gays and atheists.

    Eugene Austin Evans, 64, of Kensington was arrested Tuesday for allegedly abusing four current or former Sea Scout members on his boat, the SSS Farallon, over the past several years, said Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss.

    Evans, who has been the Farallon’s skipper for 35 years, is being held in lieu of $1 million on six felony counts of sexual assault, including allegations of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor, oral copulation with a minor, penetration with a foreign object of a minor and showing harmful material to minors, police said.

    You Learn Something New Every Day

    posted by on December 5 at 9:52 AM


    Apparently, the phrase “pork chop” is a racial slur.

    (According to the Racial Slur Database, the phrase “represents Portugese” (??) because it “sounds simliar” (?!?). But in the above story, the offended are identified as generally Hispanic and specifically older Puerto Ricans. I’m confused.)

    The State Department

    posted by on December 5 at 9:40 AM

    Did you know that the State Department will pay travel expenses for the pets of career diplomats—and evacuate those pets in an emergency—but won’t do the same for their same-sex partners? Well we do now, thanks to Michael E. Guest, former ambassador to Romania, resigned from the State Department yesterday.

    But last month, after 26 years in the Foreign Service, [Guest] did something uncharacteristically undiplomatic.

    Guest resigned from the State Department, giving up a career he loved, in order to protest rules and regulations that he believes are unfair to the same-sex partners of Foreign Service officers, giving them fewer benefits than family pets. He had spent the years since his return from Bucharest trying to win changes in policies, appealing directly to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but said his proposals were met with indifference and inertia.

    “I’ve felt compelled to choose between obligations to my partner, who is my family, and service to my country,” Guest told a crowd of 75 senior State Department officials, a few steps from Rice’s office, at his retirement ceremony on Nov. 20, according to a transcript of his remarks. “That anyone should have to make that choice is a stain on the secretary’s leadership, and a shame for this institution and our country.”

    The same-sex partners of gay or lesbian diplomats are denied security training, foreign-language training, travel benefits, access to embassy medical facilities—all benefits granted to the spouses of heterosexual diplomats. And, again, there’s that hugely insulting thing about pets. If your same-sex partner pays his own way to Bucharest, where you’ve been posted, and then there’s a little revolution and armed insurgents are marching on the American embassy, the State Department will evacuate your pet parakeet and your standard poodle. But not your boyfriend. He’s on his own.

    Bad Santa

    posted by on December 5 at 9:26 AM

    Meet Microsoft’s Santa

    An artificial-intelligence Santa bot operated by Microsoft to talk to children wavered off topic saying: “It’s fun to talk about oral sex, but I want to chat about something else….”

    Users were able to steer Santa into admitting he was gay or that he was a pedophile.

    One person said “…..come on you like big hairy men — don’t hide it!” To which Santa responded, “I know, I know. I just hope you won’t get mad at me.”

    The references to sex acts, first reported by British news outlet The Register, came when the bot was answering questions about eating pizza. At the time, the bot was chatting with two girls age 11 and 13.

    Microsoft has since disabled their foul-mothed, dirty-minded Santa.

    Winter Beatings

    posted by on December 5 at 9:06 AM

    Spring training is still months away, but Dave at U.S.S. Mariner is already trying to break my heart:

    [T]he Tigers just launched themselves right back into the discussion in terms of AL Contenders with their trade yesterday. While the Mariners won’t think this way (after all, jobs are on the line), it’s really quite clear that the 2008 Mariners just have no chance of being in the top tier of American League clubs.

    The Red Sox, Yankees, Indians, and Tigers have essentially locked themselves into fighting over position as the four best teams in baseball. The dropoff between those clubs and the fifth best team in the game is pretty staggering. They have, for all intents and purposes, taken any chance the AL West had of winning the wild card and thrown it in a wood chipper. The only way for the Mariners to make the playoffs next year is to win the division, and even if they can do that, they’re looking at having to beat two beheamoths just to even get to the World Series.

    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

    posted by on December 5 at 8:46 AM

    Deputies said a man left his three-month-old baby home alone for six hours while he robbed a grocery store. Police said Tony Doden and his accomplice, James Schmidt, were arrested after their getaway car was spotted by a witness…. Deputies said Doden had left his three-month-old son at home to fend for himself while he and Schmidt robbed the store.

    The child’s mother was arrested in October.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Janel.

    The Morning News

    posted by on December 5 at 7:00 AM

    How they got it wrong (again): A look at how U.S. spy agencies botched the Iran intelligence.

    For real: Al Franken for Senate.

    Seasonal affected virus: The flu.

    Polls, polls, polls: A clear Republican front-runner in New Hampshire.

    Changes at the Sanctuary Mansion: Romney’s gardeners fired after the Boston Globe breaks a juicy story.

    Breaking up: Hillary Clinton and Celine Dion, who is being dropped for… Big Head Todd and the Monsters?

    The NPR debate: Some liveblogging.

    State Supreme Court: Gregoire appoints a female judge from eastern Washington.

    Baby Jesus: Stolen.

    Some people say the Iowa caucuses are crazy complicated. Others say they’re easier than exercise!

    Taming the S.L.U.T.

    posted by on December 5 at 1:23 AM

    Seattle Likes Bikes, which campaigns for better riding conditions for cyclists in Seattle, will hold a ride on Wednesday, December 12, to protest the danger that streetcar tracks for the South Lake Union Trolley pose for cyclists. According to their e-mail, the tracks—which are more than wide enough to catch a road bike tire—were installed “in a way that is hostile to cyclists with the tracks on the right hand side of this convenient and popular cycling corridor. Installation of these tracks has led to a large increase in track-related accidents involving cyclists, whose wheels are easily caught in the tracks, as well as conflict with motorists, who do not expect or are angered by cyclists present in the left hand lane.”

    I haven’t seen any stats on the number of cycling accidents in this corridor, but I can say from experience that laying tracks where cyclists ride is undeniably dangerous. It’s a major reason cycling groups fought to fill in the “missing link” of the Burke-Gilman Trail through an industrial part of Ballard, where cyclists are currently forced to cross tracks repeatedly, a situation that has led to many accidents.

    The group is asking the city to add an alternate route in 2008; to install caution signs for cyclists and drivers; to put sharrow markings on the left side of the road to indicate that the left side is safer for riding; to adopt guidelines that consider cyclists when the city installs streetcar tracks in the future; and to do a feasibility study of rubber track filler that could compress under streetcars but not trap cyclists’ wheels.

    Details about the ride are available here.

    Re: Seattle as a Walkable City

    posted by on December 5 at 12:52 AM

    Like Dan, I was surprised that Seattle ranked so high on the Brookings Institution’s “walkability” scale. However, as some commenters pointed out, it appears that a huge flaw in the study is that it doesn’t factor in the size of cities directly, relying on a per-capita accounting of how many “regional-serving, walkable” places each city has. Places that were considered regional-serving (i.e., serving people who don’t actually live in the area) and walkable, under this model, included the wholly prefabricated “Town Square” in Sugar Land, Texas, where my parents live; having been there, I can tell you it’s certainly not walkable, unless you don’t mind dodging cars on their way to Starbucks and Panera Bread. Additionally, the study doesn’t factor in many other things that make cities walkable: Safety, weather conditions, availability of sidewalks, the relative number of pedestrians vs. cars, etc.

    Tuesday, December 4, 2007

    Happy Hannukah

    posted by on December 4 at 8:25 PM



    Here We Go Again

    posted by on December 4 at 6:39 PM

    Another Brit is in trouble in another Muslim country. This time it’s the United Arab Emirates, and this week’s victim is prominent DJ and BBC presenter.

    Grooverider, a Radio 1 DJ, is facing the possibility of a four-year prison term in Dubai after police arrested him for allegedly carrying cannabis and pornographic DVDs into the country.

    Grooverider—whose real name is Raymond Bingham—was arrested at Dubai airport on November 23, hours before he was due to play a sold-out show at The Lodge, one of the Gulf state’s hottest clubs. A small amount of cannabis was reported to have been found in his record collection.

    The UAE police also found trace amounts of THC in Grooverider’s urine. So apparently it’s against the law to take a leak in the UAE if you smoked a bowl at home before you boarded that plane.

    Re: Seattle as Walkable City

    posted by on December 4 at 4:45 PM

    Similarly surprising stats came out earlier this summer in a study by the census bureau: Seattle ranks high in using public transit (higher than Portland) and in walking to work (higher than Chicago.)

    I will say this: I was visiting my family in DC two weeks ago and it is a strangely walkable city. Don’t know exactly what it is, but I walked from downtown (Pennsylvania Ave. and 12th St. NW) to Adams Morgan (18th and Columbia NW) without blinking—happily taking in the sights and the gloaming as I strolled.

    As a straight shot, that’s not that far a walk, 2.5 miles, but I shambled roundabout up 12 to K to Connecticut to Florida to 18th to Columbia … and eventually back over the Duke Ellington Bridge to Connecticut again.

    It’s not so much the Metro that makes DC walkable, I think, as it is the wide streets and the beautiful architecture.

    Ford at Fox

    posted by on December 4 at 4:36 PM

    I decided not to review the gigantic new John Ford collection for this week’s forthcoming DVD column—partly because it’s hard to justify requesting an entire box set when you only have space to write about one or two films, partly because I like the way the little girls in the recent DVD release Innocence compare to Briony in this week’s big theatrical release, Atonement—but there’s no question it’s today’s (and possibly this year’s) most important DVD. Dave Kehr at the New York Times:

    Film culture in this country has long been in need of a paradigm shift, a way of saving old films from the swamp of nostalgia and seeing them as vital cultural products rather than quaint artifacts of another age. People don’t read Faulkner’s “Light in August” to be reminded of their lost youth, but most studios continue to market their library titles (when they bother to market them at all) as so many trips down memory lane.

    That approach might have worked at the dawn of home video in the late 1970s, but for obvious reasons the nostalgia audience for prewar films is not a growing market segment. What the home video industry needs is something that book publishers have had for a century: a sense of the backlist as a living body of work that merits and rewards the attention of each new generation.

    “Ford at Fox,” a gargantuan set that assembles 24 of the 50-some films John Ford made for the studio that was his most consistent home, may be just the nudge the old paradigm needs.

    If you can’t afford a $300 box set, I feel you. TMC is playing a bunch of the films next week. If you don’t even have cable, you are me.

    Scarecrow has ‘em, though.

    O They Will Know We Are Christians By Our…

    posted by on December 4 at 4:00 PM

    …pastor’s conviction for sexual assault.

    A former minister at the Livingston Church of God was convicted Tuesday of rape and three counts of sexual assault against two sisters.

    Terrence R. Passmore, 49, was convicted of raping and sexually assaulting an 11-year-old church member in 1998. A District Court jury also found him guilty of two counts of sexually assaulting her older sister, who was 14 at the time.

    Prosecutors said the abuse occurred on church property and on church swimming trips.

    Today on Line Out

    posted by on December 4 at 3:45 PM

    “I Heard Ya Missed Us”: Van Halen’s at KeyArena, pt. 1

    The Spice Must Flow: Dean Fawkes on the Spice Girls

    11 Things Zwickel Wants You to Know: Line Out has 11 Reviews Posted Since Thursday

    This Week in Safar Bekheir: Trent Moorman on Iran’s Ban on Devil Music

    The New 7”: Sam Machkovech on Metallica and Rock Band

    The City Never Sleeps: Charles Mudede on Glenn Frey

    “Fuck Van Halen”: Van Halen at KeyArena, pt 2

    Make that 12 Things: Megan Seling on Russian Circles

    Tonight in Music: Voxtrot, Flogging Molly, As Blood Runs Black

    Unlimited Breadsticks: Van Halen at KeyArena, pt 3

    Your Musical Advent Calendar #4: Twisted Sister’s “Heavy Metal Christmas”

    Today in Music News: Obama, Morrissey, Mozart, and More

    Best Song Ever (This Week): Jeff Kirby on Voxtrot’s “The Start of Something”

    That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore: David Schmader Sheds a Tear for Amy Winehouse

    New Videos: Les Savy Fav’s “Brace Yourself,” Hot Chip’s “Ready for the Floor,” and Tay Zondai’s “Cherry Chocolate Rain”

    Everybody Wants Some: Van Halen at KeyArena, pt 4

    The Barney Fife Police Academy…

    posted by on December 4 at 3:45 PM

    …is located in Wichita, Kansas:

    Donnell Williams had just gotten out of the bath tub, wearing only a towel around his waist, when he turned the corner to see guns pointing right at him.

    “I ain’t never been so scared,” says Williams.

    Police forced entry into Williams home while responding to a shooting, but it turned out to be a false call. They had no idea at the time the call wasn’t real and that Williams is hearing impaired. Without his hearing aid he is basically deaf.

    “I kept going to my ear yelling that I was scared. I can’t hear! I can’t hear!”

    Officers were worried about their own safety because at the time it appeared Williams was refusing to obey their commands to show his hands. That’s when they shot him with a Taser.


    The Domain of Dancers

    posted by on December 4 at 3:29 PM

    What does this short video make abundantly clear? Men should entirely give up on dancing. We are naturally bad it. We look ridiculous when we move our bodies to a beat. Men, even beautiful men, should never go beyond the nodding of the head or the clapping of the hands. That is the best we can do.

    Study Ranks America’s “Walkable” Cities

    posted by on December 4 at 3:15 PM

    ECB is out of town so I’ll have to handle this one: A new study from the Brookings Institute ranks the most “walkable” cities in the USA. Washington D.C. comes in first. And what makes a city walkable? From MSNBC:

    Leinberger attributes Washington’s success with walkability to several factors, including a large population of 20- and 30-somethings and recent strong economic growth. But the chief factor, he said, is the success of the Metro. The 31-year-old rail system has transformed the region, shaping development and making the walkable urban model more viable.

    Leinberger calls rail transit a key factor in the success of walkable places . Roughly two-thirds of the 157 places he counted are served by rail, he said.

    Local supporters of rail might want to go read the whole story before they start crowing about this report. While the report supports the arguments of light rail proponents—rail makes cities walkable, dense, and desirable—there’s one little detail in the report that’s going to come as a shock.

    Seattle ranks high on the list of walkable cities.

    There must be other factors that play into making a city walkable since Seattle—without much rail to speak of (SLUT does not count)—somehow managed to rank sixth, coming in above Chicago (#7), which has shitloads of commuter rail and the rapid elevated transit. Seattle also beat out New York Fucking City (#10)… which makes me wonder about the validity of the study and the sanity of its author. Unless talking about rail—monorail, light rail, trollies—has the same effect that building rail does, it seems incredible that Seattle could make the cut at all.

    Our local anti-rail activists—from smarmy Bellevue businessmen to shitty daily newspapers—are going to point this study and claim victory. “If we came in sixth without rail,” they’ll argue, “we don’t need to invest in rail at all.”

    I sent an email to the author of the study asking how we placed so high.

    Mocking Muslims with Pink Plush Novelty Toys

    posted by on December 4 at 3:11 PM

    In response to the fiasco that flared up around Gillian Gibbons—she’s the British schoolteacher jailed for allowing her class of Sudanese schoolchildren name a teddy bear “Muhammad”—the American evangelist Bill Keller produced the above video, in which a stuffed pig named Muhammed realizes the evil of his Allah-loving ways.

    Crazy fundamentalists making fun of other crazy fundamentalists is my new favorite art form.

    In more important news, that British schoolteacher is now safe at home in the UK.

    Roly-Poly Broken Little Hedgehog

    posted by on December 4 at 2:30 PM


    Complete story (and more pictures!) here.

    Get better, lil’ brudder!

    (And thanks to Matt Hickey for the link.)

    That Striped Stripper

    posted by on December 4 at 2:27 PM

    Your read about him this morning in a post about a dead hedge fund manager. He may or may not have been used as bait to lure that allegedly drug-addled, possibly bisexual hedge fund manager into a pool. Ladies and gentleman… via Towlelroad… via Fleshbot… via Guys4Rent… Slog is proud to present… TIGER!


    Uh… gee. This other tiger is way hotter.

    Seasonal Affective Disorder

    posted by on December 4 at 2:22 PM

    Jordan Wolfson’s Nostalgia Is Fear and Rodney Graham’s Rheinmetall/Victoria 8 both combine two old technologies to make a new work.

    Wolfson01smaller-793025.jpgIn Wolfson’s piece from 2004, which is here in Seattle through December 21, the technologies are radio and pre-computerized car.

    Graham%2038282.jpgIn Graham’s piece from 2003, the technologies are the noisy old Victoria 8 film projector in the room combined with the 35-mm film appearing on the screen, and the 1930s typewriter that’s the subject of the film.

    But what they really have in common, the thing that fuels the engine of recollection, is snow. It’s pouring out, patently falsely and fantastically, and all I can think about, when I’m not Shop-Vac-ing my flooded basement today, is that the rain just doesn’t have the same a(e)ffect.

    Tay Zonday (the “Chocolate Rain” Guy) is Back

    posted by on December 4 at 2:20 PM

    And now he has a paycheck. Check out his new video over on Line Out.


    I Need a Ride to Olympia.

    posted by on December 4 at 2:19 PM

    I don’t have a car, but I do have a parking spot during the session. You can have my spot, if I can hitch a ride with you.

    Save money on parking tickets and get two-plus hours a couple of days a week to A) tell me what my column should be about that week and B) how my coverage of Frank Chopp and his supermajority Democrats sucks.

    e-mail Subject line: Parking Spot.

    You Slog Commenters Are Lucky

    posted by on December 4 at 2:08 PM

    Over in Wisconsin, if you make a comment on a blog that someone objects to, the blog administrator will give your IP address to the police and the police will arrest you. Yes, the comment was hateful and stupid. But there are hateful, stupid comments on Slog all day long, and you don’t see us arresting you. Yet!

    (Thanks, Travis.)

    Those Fucked Up Canadian PSAs

    posted by on December 4 at 2:07 PM

    Adrian posted a good one this weekend—and guess what? There are plenty more where that came from…

    Actually the service is so bad at Cafe Minnie’s that you probably could get away with that. But the only place I ever wanted to do that was at Harvest Table.

    And here’s another—this one, amazingly, isn’t set in a restaurant.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Gitai.

    I Knew This Already, but…

    posted by on December 4 at 12:53 PM

    …sometimes you write something in a sentence, see it as if for the first time, and it makes you laugh all over again. The title of Mike Huckabee’s book just did that for me. Forget everything you already know and let me tell it to you again: “Quit Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork.”

    On Beauty

    posted by on December 4 at 12:43 PM

    Not everyone in Buenos Aires is beautiful. Gonzalo Otalora, for instance, is downright ugly, and he is not embarrassed to admit it.


    But Gonzalo Otalora does not much care what he looks like. He planted himself in front of the presidential palace, the Casa Rosada or Pink House, to harangue President Nestor Kirchner to change the law… Beauty is a natural advantage and he wants the good-lookers to be taxed to finance compensation for the ugly people.

    Thanks, BBC.

    Drugs Are Bad, Mmmmkay?

    posted by on December 4 at 12:18 PM

    Thanks Brian.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on December 4 at 11:47 AM

    Who knew?


    Thanks to photo pool contributor shapefarm.

    The New Nature

    posted by on December 4 at 11:43 AM

    It will happen:

    Thinking of this Nabokovian insect, how in the world did our ancestors pull the word “butterfly” out of the Old English word “flutterbye”? The original word for the insect makes sense; the current one, butterfly, makes no sense. I suspect dyslexia is behind this terrible change, this terrible loss of a great word, “flutterbye.”

    John Edwards Wanted to be Superman

    posted by on December 4 at 11:15 AM

    Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

    In what’s already being all but conceded by Camp Hillary as one of the most mind-bendingly dumb campaign attacks of the presidential campaign so far, Hillary Clinton’s campaign went after Barack Obama yesterday for having written an essay in kindergarten stating he wanted to be president. You see, this exposed Obama as a hypocrite for his attacks on Hillary’s perceived life-long ambition of being the first woman president.

    Or something.

    And while Hillary’s campaign is now referring to the attack as “a joke,” this misstep has allowed John Edwards to make a folksy, rhetorical charge into the breech:

    Edwards grinned as he recounted the Clinton campaign’s allegation.

    “I want to confess to all of you right now,” he told his audience, “in third grade, I wanted to be two things: I wanted to be a cowboy, and I wanted to be Superman.”

    In the name of humanity, stop before someone asks Joe Biden what he wanted to be when he grew up.

    “You cunt-lapping dog!”

    posted by on December 4 at 11:12 AM

    Ah, our national pastime. Baseball, that is, not cunnilingus.

    The quotation headlining this story comes from a memo written in 1898 for circulation among players in the National League. The issue: obscene language used by ballplayers within earshot of women and children, damaging the image of purity and cleanliness the game tried to promote. The memo recently showed up among stray items in a late baseball historian’s estate, and will be up for auction next year. Go here and click on the images for blow-ups.

    Two things make this document remarkable: first, it actually quotes the objectionable language. Nowadays, any such official memorandum would use euphemisms or other double talk. But our forebears in the last Gilded Age knew better.

    That such brutal language as “You cock-sucking son of a bitch!” “You prick-eating bastard!” “You cunt-lapping dog!” “Kiss my ass you son of a bitch!” “A dog must have fucked your mother when she made you!” “I fucked your mother, your sister, your wife!” “I’ll make you suck my ass!” “You cock-sucker!” and many other revolting terms are used by a limited number of players to intimidate umpires and opposing players is vouched for by the almost unanimous assertion of those invited to speak and who are competent to speak from personal knowledge.

    Second, this memo reminds us that the Good Old Days were just like nowadays. The cultural myth that America in the past was a more polite, less conflicted place, is right-wing bullshit of the first order, and items like this that bring us back to the fulsome filthiness of the past are invaluable. Maybe copies should be printed up and handed out to the Politeness Police at Safeco when they eject hapless Mariners’ fans for the tame chant of “Yankees suck!” Which they do, the ass-sucking sons of bitches. And don’t get me started on the cock-sucking Red Sox either.

    Item(s) of the Day

    posted by on December 4 at 11:03 AM

    Two days and counting

    Chris Crocker Bitches You Out
    A telephone consultation with Chris Crocker, during which the YouTube celebrity, homo icon, and passionate defender of Britney will tell you what, exactly, the fuck is wrong with you. Plus: Chris sends you a pair of his underpants! Priceless! Opening bid: $1.99.


    Giant Motherfucking Television
    A 50-inch, Samsung plasma-screen television! Why would you want such a thing? You ought to be ashamed of yourself! Why don’t you pick up a book for once in your life? A $2,900 value. Opening bid: $1.99.


    And I still can’t believe Pacific Northwest Ballet is letting us do this:

    Ballet Fetishist
    Pacific Northwest Ballet has been sexing up its ad campaigns for a few years—pictures of its hotter dancers, all close-up and perspiring. Now you’ll be able to smell the sweat, with a pair of used pointe shoes, a used dance belt, (it’s basically a jock strap), and an invitation for you and a guest to watch Roméo et Juliette from backstage—the West Coast premiere, with choreography by Jean-Christophe Maillot and music by Prokofiev. Swoon! Opening bid: $1.99.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on December 4 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Casa de Lava’

    A striking movie about a nurse who brings a comatose man back to the volcanic islands of Cape Verde, Casa de Lava is a perfect entry point to the films of Pedro Costa. Its glossy, pungent colors indicate a director attuned to the possibilities of film (though he would soon switch to digital), and its themes of emigration and desire betray his restlessness (though he would soon confine his films to a single Lisbon slum). Costa’s is a cinema of abnegation, and it’s with Casa de Lava that the comparisons to Robert Bresson start to seem apt. (See Movie Times for details.)


    Democratic Presidential Debate

    posted by on December 4 at 10:59 AM

    NPR’s debate is on now.


    posted by on December 4 at 10:50 AM

    Another sign that the new NIE on Iran is not going to play well for Clinton. This one comes from Senator Chris Dodd:

    As was the case with Iraq, the latest NIE makes it clear that this President is offering another false bill of goods to Congress and the American people in an attempt to build the case for war with Iran.

    The only difference this time is that we didn’t start a disastrous war before we found out that the intelligence didn’t hold up.

    Our experience should have shown us the danger in trusting this Administration as it marched to war. That is why I and many of my colleagues - at least many of those who bothered to vote - opposed the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment. Unfortunately, Senator Clinton instead chose to lend credence to the Administration’s position.

    It’s easy to say ‘fool me once, shame on George Bush,’ but when she’s been fooled twice, shame on her.

    Prescient Picture?

    posted by on December 4 at 10:42 AM

    The image that accompanied my Nov. 21 column, by Stranger illustrator Kyle T. Webster:



    posted by on December 4 at 10:41 AM

    Did anyone else laugh when they saw this headline in a PI box this morning? I did, and then a bum looked at me.


    It’s so marvelously unspecific! LIQUID MISERY!! could be anything that makes you sad (as long as it is viscous).

    Here’s a list of things I think of when I think of LIQUID MISERY!!!!

    • Melted ice cream
    • Bush seed
    • The runs
    • Concrete, as it is being poured over my head
    • Fluid Hatred
    • Runny boogers that you have to wipe every five seconds and then your nose gets all irritated
    • Anything Megan Seling cooks
    • GHB
    • Mad Dog 20/20

    Surrender, Jonah!

    posted by on December 4 at 10:28 AM

    Give it up, dude, it’s over. The homos won, the heteros lost.

    ‘Desperate Housewives’ Outscores Football

    Drawing 20.6 million viewers on Sunday, “Desperate Housewives” lifted ABC into first place for the night’s ratings, according to Nielsen’s estimates. The 9 p.m. drama delivered the largest audience of the night, easily outperforming NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” which averaged 13 million viewers.

    Re: The Morning News

    posted by on December 4 at 10:01 AM

    Any idiot with eyeballs could tell you the APP program is mostly white. But it takes a very special sort of researcher to list that finding under “Commendations”:

    Nearly all stakeholders identified the lack of racial and socio-economic diversity in the APP (and other ALP) programs. The administrators in the district are committed to seeking ways to address the issues of diversity, recognize the limitations of a definition that translates into a strictly test-based process of making identification and placement decisions, and have been actively seeking and implementing alternatives for increasing ethnic and racial diversity in the program.

    Good job, guys. Keep it up.

    I was in Seattle Public Schools’ APP—or rather, IPP, as it was then called—for first grade and then APP in eighth grade. I believe full-time gifted programs are absolutely essential to any elementary education system. But god—can we please stop paying fancy University of Virginia researchers to compliment us on our failures?

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on December 4 at 10:00 AM


    Richard Brown III, whose address is listed on court documents as 1146 Hamilton St., will go to trial Jan. 28. He is charged with four counts of endangering children and two counts of disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. If convicted, he could face a combined maximum punishment of 28 years in prison.

    Mr. Brown, 34, is accused of abusing two brothers, now ages 16 and 18, whom he met as a youth pastor at Friendship Baptist Church, 5301 Nebraska Ave. According to the prosecutor’s office, two of the counts of child endangering involve coercing the boys into posing for inappropriate photographs and two of the counts involve corporal punishment.

    Mr. Brown, who at one point in 2007 was the endorsed Democrat for the school board, withdrew his candidacy prior to the election.

    Lofty Visions of the Future

    posted by on December 4 at 9:30 AM

    I assumed that everyone capable of designing and constructing a multi-story, multi-million dollar development in Seattle was also capable of saving their design proposal as a .pdf document. I was wrong, apparently.

    Since the Department of Planning and Development began requesting digital versions of the design proposals for upcoming developments to post online, many developers haven’t provided them. Maybe they don’t want their shitty designs made public for asswipes like me to share with asswipes like you. But they should. We’re good asswipes, and we like pictures. And many of the designs are pretty nice. So, to celebrate and honor the developers and architects who have mastered the “export” and “save as” functions, enjoy this preview of buildings coming up around town.

    Most of the designs after the jump are not yet final. So, don’t get your hopes up. Or, alternatively, don’t give up hope.

    Continue reading "Lofty Visions of the Future" »

    Department of Unsubstantiated Rumors

    posted by on December 4 at 9:10 AM

    Slog tipper Mat writes…

    I’m at the Twilight Exit, and thses two guys are talking about where “Sugar’s used to be” (sic). From what they’re saying, contingent on getting a liquor license, it will be occupied by a bar centered around—really—the wing dome. Yah. Rad.

    Grain of salt, I’m just emailing as I hear it. But they sound pretty confident. I’m shrugging my shoulders.

    Wanna Save the Planet?

    posted by on December 4 at 8:42 AM

    Don’t divorce the bastard.

    Forget about staying together for the sake of the kids. Researchers have a new reason: Do it for the planet.

    An analysis of data on domestic relations and resource use in the U.S. and 11 other countries shows that divorce leads to more households—so more land gets built up and more building materials are used. They concluded that in the U.S. circa 2000, there were about 6 million “extra” households due to divorce.

    Worse yet, the households have fewer people in them. So on a per capita basis, divorced residents consume more goods, use more electricity and water, and thus contribute to the emission of more greenhouse gases than those whose marriages are intact.

    The Business Section

    posted by on December 4 at 7:20 AM

    Most people don’t read the business sections of their morning newspapers. Too dry, too dull. Me? I make time for the business section—because every once in a while you’re rewarded with a story like this one.

    But now an unfolding drama over Mr. Tobias’s estate is providing a lurid account of fast money and faster living in the volatile world of hedge funds. Mr. Tobias’s four brothers and Mrs. Tobias are locked in a legal battle over the estate, which is worth at least $25 million. And, in a civil complaint, they have gone so far as to accuse [Mrs. Tobias] of murder.

    The brothers, Samuel, Spence, Scott and Joshua, claim Mrs. Tobias drugged her husband and lured him into the pool. Bill Ash, a former assistant to Mr. Tobias, said he had told the police that Mrs. Tobias confessed to him that she had cajoled her husband into the water while he was on a cocaine binge with a promise of sex with a male go-go dancer known as Tiger….

    Even after the couple reconciled, they fought constantly, mostly over money, according to several friends…. They also secretly frequented a gay bar called Cupids in West Palm Beach, in a strip mall along a main thoroughfare. It was there, according to Mr. Ash, that Mr. Tobias first met Tiger.

    “Seth used to come in here back when it was crazy,” said Adiel Hemingway, the longtime manager of Cupids. As a flat-screen television blared hard-core gay pornography, he said that Mr. Tobias often came to the club with his wife. Mr. Hemingway took out a picture of Tiger in his office. Tiger is blond and covered with tattoos that look like stripes.

    The Morning News

    posted by on December 4 at 7:00 AM

    The new NIE: All part of the strategy, says the Bush administration.

    State of emergency: And other storm fallout.

    Sex sting: Cantwell aide nabbed, fired.

    Conservative economics: A government bailout for people who can’t afford their mortgages, courtesy of the Bush administration.

    Oprah mania: Iowa rally with Obama all sold out.

    Mostly white: Seattle Public Schools’ gifted students program.

    Obama v. Clinton: A round-up.

    Romney v. Huckabee: A round-up.

    A new Edwards ad:

    Monday, December 3, 2007

    Make It Work, Eh?

    posted by on December 3 at 5:19 PM

    Apparently there’s a Project Runway Canada—who knew? It’s hosted by Iman—supermodel emeritus, Mrs. David Bowie—and it’s as good or better than the original Project Runway, according to our Project Runway Canada Slog tipper…

    Have you see Project Runway Canada yet? It’s AMAZING. It reminds me of Season 1, when everybody was younger and less polished. Also, they have Canadian accents!

    More here.

    Any Lesbian Couples After Your Sperm?

    posted by on December 3 at 4:53 PM

    Did they tell you they needed a donor because they wanna be moms? And did they tell you that you wouldn’t be expected to pay child support or provide in any way for the kid? Well, you might wanna get that in writing—and you might wanna skip sending the kid birthday cards.

    In the US:

    A Nassau County man who said he donated sperm to a female co-worker as a friendly gesture—and then sent presents and cards to the child over the years—is legally considered the father and may have to pay child support for the college-bound teenager, according to a judge’s ruling.

    According to the man’s testimony, in the late 1980s he was a physician at the same Nassau County hospital where the child’s mother was a resident. After learning the woman and her female partner wanted to have a baby, the man donated his sperm and the woman gave birth on July 26, 1989. Married at the time, the man agreed that he would not have any rights or benefits in raising the child, but the verbal agreement was never put in writing…. In the murky legalities of artificial insemination by a known donor, the best protections are to have everything in writing and “do your homework,” said reproductive lawyer Melissa Brisman of Park Ridge, N.J.

    In the UK:

    A firefighter who donated sperm to a lesbian couple said yesterday that he was being made to pay child support for their son and daughter, in a case believed to be the first of its kind in Britain. Andy Bathie, 37, said the women, who approached him five years ago after other male friends declined to become donors, assured him he would have no personal or financial involvement in the children’s upbringing. But he said the Child Support Agency contacted him last November and made him take a £400 paternity test, then demanded support payments because the couple had split up….

    “These women wanted to be parents and take on the responsibilities that brings. I would never have agreed to this unless they had been a committed family. And now I can’t afford to have children with my own wife—it’s crippling me financially,” he told the Evening Standard.

    Today in Line Out

    posted by on December 3 at 4:40 PM

    How Will You Answer?: The Clash can determine your political position.

    Tonight in Music: Tegan and Sara and Mike Doughty. Oh, and Van Halen too.

    Audio Advent: Today’s song, “Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas (Sometimes)” by Harvey Danger.

    Setlist: Have you listened yet?

    Today’s Music New: Tom Petty to play halftime, rap becomes illegal in Iran, and some indie rockstars sing about presidents.

    Booze’ll Do That: Eric Grandy remembers everything he forgot about the weekend’s shows.

    Dumped: Stolen Transmission gets dropped from Island/Def Jam. Now it really is an indie label.

    Last Night: Jeff Kirby reviews Get Dressed and Beestings at Nectar.

    Devil’s Gun: TJ Gorton gives a little love to the “classic disco album.”


    The Pushback Against the Pushback

    posted by on December 3 at 4:35 PM

    Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

    As the race to come out on top in the Iowa caucuses gets more intense, so does the web design crew from Barack Obama’s campaign team:


    Hillary Attacks, the newest Obama web venture, attempts to paint Clinton as a hypocrite for her past pronouncements that she would not be involved in criticizing other Democrats; and just to be sure that you understood how bad those attacks are, the site is rendered in fonts that let you know that Camp Obama Means Business.

    Association: Part Four

    posted by on December 3 at 4:21 PM

    This image by James Casebere, “Asylum”…


    …inspired the dark and ghostly mood of Burial’s dub.


    “…i made music with [Casebere’s] pictures next to me. i go into solitary empty spaces and dream of a kind of emptiness that he has in his photos. in my dreams my music would be echoing in those rooms.”

    burial.jpg To adequately express the way I feel about Burial’s dub, I must borrow the words of The Everly Brothers: “I die each time I hear the sound.”

    From Russia With Clubs

    posted by on December 3 at 4:10 PM

    Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

    How badly has the situation in Russia deteriorated? The Exile, the Moscow ex-pat bi-weekly, sent editor Yasha Levine to cover a pre-election demonstration by the anti-Putin “Other Russia” coalition in St. Petersburg. Russian troops responded to the protest with a violent wave of mass-arrests, and Levine was amongst those who found himself in custody.

    This is what its like to be part of the diminishing number of unfriendly journalists in Putin’s Russia:

    They frog-marched me toward an ordinary Soviet delivery truck, the kind you’d see unloading kolbasa and pelmeni at your local produktovy magazin. But instead of a freezer box, the truck was equipped with a 5x5 ft. steel holding cell with a tiny door, no lights, and no holes for ventilation. It was packed so tightly with protesters that the cop had trouble stuffing me inside. Finally I was able to wedge myself in between two people; immediately the door locked behind me.

    Inside, the darkness was total. The air was acidic, reeking of metal, body odor, and blood.

    “I’m scared, I’m really scared,” a guy to my right started whimpering. “I have claustrophobia.”

    No one responded. People were too busy trying to get into a comfortable position.

    Someone flicked on a lighter. Someone else shouted at him to quit wasting valuable air, so I didn’t have time to get a good count. But there seemed to be 10 to 15 people in there.

    “Air! Air!” a male voice yelled from the far corner. “We don’t have anything to breathe in here! Open the door, open the door!” The steel box amplified his voice. The soundproofing killed all outside noise. I twisted around to take out my phone and call the friend I was staying with. But a male voice next to me cautioned: “Be careful! They’ll take it away!” It was no use. My friend wasn’t picking up.

    I was a little freaked, too. Yabloko’s office was located less than a block away from Rodilny Dom #6, the drab Soviet maternity hospital where I was born 26 years ago. Would this also be the place where it would end for me?

    Here’s The Exile’s video from the event, up to the moment where Russian troops arrested Levine:

    What This Deluge Means for the Mountains

    posted by on December 3 at 3:57 PM

    I’ve been afraid to look, since though it’s been raining buckets since before dawn, it’s not very cold out. Here’s the current-conditions report at our four local snow parks—it’s not good news.

    Snoqualmie: Not yet open, 9 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours, currently 35 degrees and raining.
    Stevens: Not yet open, 31 inches of new in 24 hours, but currently raining and 31 degrees. Still planning to open on Thursday.
    Crystal: Raining and closed due to warm weather. Planning to reopen Thursday.
    Baker: Currently closed due to severe wind, 20 inches of new in 24 hours, mixed snow and rain falling now. Planning to reopen Wednesday.

    Supreme Court Rejects McDermott Appeal

    posted by on December 3 at 3:52 PM

    Via the AP:

    WASHINGTON — The long legal fight between two members of Congress over an illegally taped telephone call ended Monday when the Supreme Court refused to review the case.

    The court left in place a federal appeals court ruling that Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., acted improperly in giving reporters access to a recording of a 1996 telephone call of Republican leaders discussing the House ethics case against former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga…

    The decision upholds a previous court ruling ordering McDermott to pay House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, more than $800,000 for leaking the taped conversation. The figure includes $60,000 in damages and more than $800,000 in legal costs for Boehner, who filed suit against McDermott nearly a decade ago.

    My long 2006 look at the case is here. Toward the end of the piece McDermott talks about how a Supreme Court hearing might embarrass Republicans during the run-up to the 2008 elections.

    The Republicans and Boehner thought they were avenging Gingrich when they started this lawsuit, McDermott says, but a sword cuts both ways.

    “You gotta be careful when you try to take vengeance. Because what goes around comes around.”

    Looks like things didn’t quite come around the way he’d hoped.

    Maybe Democrats Like Underage Sex Too

    posted by on December 3 at 3:33 PM

    The Smoking Gun is reporting this:

    Senate Aide In Kiddie Sex Bust

    FBI: Staffer for Sen. Maria Cantwell sought tryst with boy

    DECEMBER 3—A U.S. Senate aide was arrested Friday after allegedly arranging a lunchtime sexual encounter with a teenage boy, according to federal court records. James McHaney, 28, was nabbed by FBI agents after he arranged the afternoon liaison via a “cooperating witness” working with investigators. According to the below felony complaint and an accompanying statement of facts filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., the CW and McHaney were conversing online Friday afternoon when the CW asked whether McHaney was interested in engaging in anal sex with a 13-year-old boy. “I’ll be there,” McHaney allegedly replied. He later asked for a photo of the child with whom he and the CW would have sex and whether the boy had “any pubes.” When told no, McHaney allegedly replied, “That’s hot.” McHaney was nabbed in the lobby of an unnamed “predetermined location,” where he had arranged to meet CW. Until his arrest Friday, McHaney had worked as the D.C. scheduler for Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell. A caller to Cantwell’s office was told late today that, as of last Friday, McHaney no longer worked for the Washington state politician.

    Bloody Hell

    posted by on December 3 at 3:30 PM

    Clicking this link will take you to a story about, and a very disturbing picture of, a man with a “face-eating tumor.”

    Jose Mestre aged 14, when his tumour was still small (left), and as he is now Now 15 inches long and weighing 12 pounds, it has blinded him in one eye and made eating a daily ordeal. As it begins to block his airways, doctors fear his life could be in danger.

    The tumor can be treated but Mestre has refused treatment. He’s a Jehovah’s Witness, you see, and operating on his tumor would require a blood transfusion, which is prohibited by his idjit faith. But medical science is riding to the rescue….

    But now one of Britain’s leading facial surgeons has proposed treating Jose, 51, by employing ultrasound waves to coagulate the blood before the operation.

    This should allow his growths to be removed without risk of heavy bleeding – satisfying his religious prohibition on blood transfusions that has so far hampered his search for treatment.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Reggie.

    They Tell Me I’m in Charge of Modern Art Notes This Week

    posted by on December 3 at 3:19 PM

    Here’s my first (quick) post there, which will explain why I haven’t been around for a week.

    bild.jpgAnd in the name of double-blogging, I’ll be on Slog this week for all you UnMiamis, too. To start off, let me recommend something I meant to write about before I left for New York: Joan Jonas’s classic Vertical Roll, hiding in plain sight in the breezeway at the Frye here in Seattle. I was reminded of it when I saw it in another entryway: MoMA’s.

    Look, you can just about miss it at the Frye: The breezeway is small and unheated, so you just go right through it to the door. But this is where Robin Held has squeezed regular video displays into the programming at the Frye (kind of like the regular-ish videos in the Henry’s elevator).

    Held has titled her under-the-radar breezeway video series—based on task-based performances for the camera—It is not a question of knowing whether this interests you but rather of whether you yourself could become more interesting under new conditions of cultural creation.

    The title is taken from the manifesto of the avant-garde movement that essentially represents the last gasp of manifesto-based avant-garde movements, the Situationist International, based in Paris in the 1960s and led by Guy Debord, who wrote those words. Remake thyself at will.

    Baby, It’s Bad Out There

    posted by on December 3 at 3:03 PM

    No cabs to be had out there…

    Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire declared a state of emergency today and mobilized the National Guard as heavy rain, high winds and massive flooding cut off coastal communities, killed at least two people, closed roads and schools, and flooded homes and businesses all over Western Washington.

    Rep. Jamie Pedersen on Domestic Partnerships 2.0

    posted by on December 3 at 3:02 PM

    After passing legislation last year that allows gays and lesbians to get domestic partnership licenses—that come with only a handful of the nearly 500 rights straight married couples can get (like inherit property, hospital visitation, make medical decisions for your partner, and file wrongful death suits)—gay leaders in Olympia have decided to come back this year with the same bite-size approach, adding to the list of DP rights rather than going for full equality.

    They had considered going for marriage this year or going for full DP rights—which would amount to civil unions. And actually, they had also considered doing nothing this year—”which amounted to the same thing [as going for marriage this year]” quips gay Rep. Jamie Pedersen (D-43, Capitol Hill).

    Pedersen said this year’s strategy echoes last year’s approach of using the laborious bite-size quest for rights to educate lawmakers about how many rights straight couples actually have—that gays don’t.

    Pedersen mentioned a few of the married couple rights that gays and lesbians might go after this year for their next “chunk”: Giving domestic partners the right to share a nursing home room; allowing one partner to continue living in the other partner’s house when the property owning partner is in a medicaid-funded facility; and the ability to transfer property between partners without paying real estate excise taxes.

    Straight rights are so pervasive that one straight privilege actually came up during this week’s special session. The deferral property tax bill the legislature passed on Thursday allows low-income home owners to defer property tax payments until they sell the property. Well, the law specifies that spouses can continue to defer the payments after the property owner—perhaps just the husband—has died. Pedersen said he raised the idea of giving domestic partners that same right. The nerve.

    The Tractor Lady

    posted by on December 3 at 3:02 PM

    I’m not sure I agree that it’s “art,” but this still sounds neat:

    A Dutch woman who is travelling across Africa by herself on a tractor has said she has been like a lone rescue service for broken-down vehicles along the way.

    “I once towed a bus 140km through the desert to Sudan’s capital,” Manon Ossevoort said in Tanzania, 30 months and 20,000km into her epic trip.

    Ms Ossevort says her trip from Holland to the South Pole is “performance art”.

    At the end of her journey she plans to encase in ice the messages and pictures of children she entertains on the way.


    Her web site is here.

    Teddy “Muhammad” Teacher Pardoned

    posted by on December 3 at 2:43 PM

    The British schoolteacher jailed in Sudan for allowing her 7-year-old pupils to name a class teddy bear Muhammad was pardoned today by the Sudanese president and left for England later in the evening.

    President Omar al-Bashir made the decision after meeting with two Muslim members of Britain’s House of Lords, the upper house of Parliament.

    The British prime minister, Gordon Brown, said he was “delighted and relieved” at the news and that “common sense has prevailed.”

    Re: Letter of the Day

    posted by on December 3 at 2:08 PM

    Talk about “elicit[ing] the same narrow-mindedness.” What the fuck do you people have against drugs?!

    Back At You, BigHeadDC

    posted by on December 3 at 1:55 PM


    In response to my post calling on him to put up for shut up on the Trent Lott / Benjamin Nicholas non-scandal, BigHeadDC attempts to call me out today—and only succeeds in making an even bigger ass of himself in the process.

    Perhaps you don’t want to believe the Benjamin Nicholas/Trent Lott story because you played a role in once hiring Nicholas, an alleged plagiarist, to write a few articles for your newspaper, The Stranger? Have you had communications with Nicholas since this story broke? If so, what has he told you? Have you not been honest in explaining your relationship with him? Most importantly, why did he risk his negatively affecting escort business by not flat-out denying a Lott relationship in his original e-mails?

    Taking your questions one at a time…

    1. I did hire Nicholas to write for the Stranger—two pieces—after running across his blog. He wrote one piece for us in June of 2005 and another November of 2006. Nicholas wasn’t busted for plagiarism until March of 2007. And he admits to having posted the work of other writes on his blog, BigHeadDC, so there’s nothing “alleged” about his plagiarism. And I wasn’t aware of it before asking Nicholas to contribute to the Stranger.

    2. Have I been in communication with Nicholas since this non-story broke? Um… yes. The dead giveaway might be the first line of this post: “I’ve been emailing back and forth with Benjamin Nicholas, gay escort and past Stranger contributor.” Can you read, BigHeadDC?

    3. What has Nicholas told me? The exact same thing he’s told everyone else: He denies having had any contact with Lott, which I posted to Slog, along with his answer to the “why me?” question:

    At the moment I’m inclined to believe Nicholas when he denies any involvement with Lott—even though, of course, Nicholas’ commitment to client confidentiality pretty much requires him to deny ever having seen Lott. But one thing gives me pause—one aspect of this makes me think that there might be something to this.

    Why Benjamin Nicholas?

    Of all the escorts in all the world—many of whom are based in DC—why would some random DC blogger pluck Benjamin Nicholas out of the ether? Nicholas is based in San Antonio, not DC. If BigHeadDC is making this shit up, wouldn’t he be likelier to make this shit up about a DC-based escort?

    “Why me?” Nicholas responded via email. “Well, I think it’s mainly because in the escort world, I’m pretty face-front and known…”

    4. Have I been “honest in explaining [my] relationship” with Nicholas? Goodness gracious, BigHeadDC, whatever do you mean to imply? I’ve never been a client of Nicholas’, if that’s what you’re driving at. Not that I think there’s anything wrong with hiring sex workers, mind you. I think prostitution should be safe, legal, and commonplace. But I’ve never met Nicholas in the flesh. All our contacts have been via email.

    5. I don’t know why Nicholas wasn’t more emphatic in his original denials, BigHeadDC, when you first contacted him. Like I wrote on Slog after emailing with Nicholas, I’m merely inclined to believe him:

    There’s other stuff in [Nicholas’] email exchange [with BigHeadDC]—assuming it’s complete and accurate—that would seem to call Nicholas’ denials into question. But there’s nothing definitive, no smoking gun, no blue dress. Still, there’s a lot of smoke here.

    And given Nicholas’ stance on client confidentiality, I am of course aware that he would have to deny ever having met Lott even if he was sitting on Lott’s face while he was tapping out his emails to me. But you can rest assured, BigHeadDC, that Nicholas isn’t telling me one thing off-the-record and another thing on-the-record. He denies it, period.

    Finally, BigHeadDC, you seem to think that your having made this allegation somehow obligates Nicholas to disprove it. The onus, in fact, is on you. In your first email to Nicholas you wrote:

    I’m an editor with Big Head DC in Washington. A commenter on the site recently said that you and Sen. Trent Lott happened to be vacationing together at the same place on a couple of separate occasions. Could you clarify whether you know Sen. Lott in any way?

    Maybe you should stop badgering me, Nicholas, Larry Flynt, and John Aravosis about your dubious “scoop,” BigHeadDC, and go ask your commenter for more information.

    And, hey, thanks for using that very old, very flattering pic of me on your post.

    “God Hates the World”

    posted by on December 3 at 1:43 PM

    A delightful Christmas carol from the Westboro Baptist Church. - Watch more free videos

    (Via Towleroad, Shakespeare’s Sister, and others.)

    Association: Part Three

    posted by on December 3 at 1:37 PM

    This enchanting image was produced by Lorna Simpson:

    This ghostly image was produced by James Casebere:

    King Metro: We’ll Get You There

    posted by on December 3 at 1:26 PM

    posted by news intern Brian Slodysko

    King County Metro buses are running on delay on account of the torrential downpour we’re experiencing.

    The operator at the Metro information line wasn’t particularly helpful, but he did say to expect up to an hour delay on bus routes.

    Currently the 49 bus from Capitol Hill to the U District is taking a detour route up John/Olive along the 43 bus’s usual line, along the backside of Capitol Hill. All stops for the 49 bus on Eastlake, or anywhere north of John/Olive on Broadway are closed for the time being

    Further queries should be directed to the King Metro information line: 553-3000.

    …And if you’re thinking about traveling to Duval on the 311, think again, that route is cancelled.

    “I’m So Excited!…I’m So Scared!

    posted by on December 3 at 1:01 PM


    Thank you to the handful of Slog tippers who wrote over the weekend to make sure that I heard about this—Bravo’s forthcoming dance-competition reality show, hosted by the one and only Elizabeth Berkley.

    The subject line expresses my feelings perfectly, and was inspired, of course, by this classic Berkley moment.

    Strangercrombie Item of the Day

    posted by on December 3 at 12:53 PM

    Strangercrombie, our annual holiday charity auction, begins this week.

    We’ll be auctioning off dinner parties, furniture, a fancy bicycle, bands offering to cover the songs of your choice (ever wanted to hear the Presidents of the United States of America cover “The Lonely Goatherd”?), and stuff like this:

    Vodka and Sticks: The Banya 5 and Venik Lounge Adventure

    A Russian afternoon of steam, vodka, food, and light beatings with sticks for you and three friends. Start with a healthful shot of garlic-and-hot-pepper vodka at Venik in South Lake Union. Proceed next door for steaming and soaking at Banya 5, the Russian-Turkish spa. Then back to Venik to revivify with caviar, pierogi, borsch, a sampling of house vodkas, and other neo-Russian delights. A whopping $1,500 value. Opening bid: $1.99.

    Who knows? Maybe this guy’ll be there:


    Strangercrombie: Once a year, we do something nice.

    What Happened to 1200 Bistro?

    posted by on December 3 at 12:45 PM

    I’ve heard from at least two people today—both asked not to be quoted—that 1200 Bistro unexpectedly closed for business over the weekend. Employees who had shifts got calls telling them that not only did they not have to come in to work during the snowstorm, but that they no longer had jobs.

    Here’s what we do know. The ownership of 1200 Bistro recently changed hands. When Barry Rogel, who also owns the Deluxe, bought it in August told the Seattle Times he planned to revamp the wine list and make the menu cheaper.

    The new menu wasn’t a hit. The most recent review of the 1200 Bistro in The Stranger’s reader reviews—posted a couple weeks ago—reads:

    Went to check out the new 1200 and was very disappointed. Bad service, even bad host service. The waiter said the soup of the day was a “terrific beet borscht.” What arrived was hamburger stew, no beets with an oniony beef broth. The waiter put it down on the table and with out even a hint of apology declared the soup was the way “peasants made borscht” and turned on his heel and left before I could even say “Where’s the beets?.” I am sure he thought he had pulled a fast one on some rubes. Things went down hill from then on. The waiter’s smugness was amusing.

    I just called the restaurant to find out what happened and got an outgoing voicemail message saying: “Thank you for calling the 1200 Bistro and Lounge. We regret to inform you that the restaurant is now closed. We would like to thank our loyal customers for their loyal support while we were open, and we wish you happy holidays. Thank you, again.”

    Clinton on the Attack

    posted by on December 3 at 12:14 PM

    In Iowa today, Hillary Clinton rolled out her new lines of attack against Barack Obama and John Edwards (and her campaign quickly shot her remarks out to the press). Be sure to check out the ratcheted-up attack on Obama for not voting on the Iran resolution and the new attack on Obama’s “present” votes in the Illinois state senate.

    A couple of my leading opponents, directly and through surrogates, have spent months criticizing me without having to answer any of their own questions. They’ve been attacking my character. As I have said repeatedly, I really would prefer to attack the problems of the country and let my opponents run their own campaigns.

    But I have to set the record straight.

    Continue reading "Clinton on the Attack" »

    New Year’s Parties, Comin’ Atcha!

    posted by on December 3 at 12:02 PM

    Are you hosting a New Year’s Eve event that’s open to the public? Do you want to be in our special listing section?

    All events qualify, whether they be concerts, raves, readings, or whatever else you could possibly think of. (No circle-jerks, please.)

    The deadline for the listings is TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18TH. Please email your listings to, and put something about New Year’s in the subject so I can pick it out from Spam Mountain.

    2008 is gonna rock!

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on December 3 at 11:40 AM

    I’m suspect that I’m going to feel like this guy by the end of the day…


    Thanks to photo pool contributor mrpoe.

    Association: Part Two

    posted by on December 3 at 11:39 AM

    The first American project by the London-based architect David Adjaye is this studio in Fort Greene, Brooklyn:


    The handsome couple below commissioned and own the four-story studio:
    2001261002199242047_rs-1.jpg James Casebere and Lorna Simpson are famous photographers.

    Martinez to Run Against Prentice

    posted by on December 3 at 11:35 AM

    Last Friday, I reported that reliable sources in Olympia said Washington Tax Fairness Coalition co-Director Jaun Martinez, 37, was going to run for state Senator from the 11th District (which includes parts of South and West Seattle as well as Renton, Tukwila, Kent, Burien, and Skyway.) The incumbent is the powerful chair of the Senate ways and means committee, Democratic Sen. Margarita Prentice.

    Martinez, also a former legislative aide to U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-7), confirmed his pending candidacy to me this morning. He says he’s putting his campaign plan together and will file by the end of the week.

    He cited Sen. Margarita Prentice’s heavy-handed approach to pushing millions in subsidies for the Sonics and her refusal to look at reforming the payday loan industry as “causing a lot of unhappiness” in the district.

    Martinez also said their were environmental concerns in South Park and Georgetown that needed more attention.

    New Column!: Notes from the Prayer Warrior

    posted by on December 3 at 11:13 AM

    For those whose lives don’t naturally intersect with The Stranger print edition: After several seasons of tracking his Prayer Warrioring from afar, we finally got Reverend Ken Hutcherson to write a “New Column!” just for us.

    (For a larger, more readable version, click here.)

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on December 3 at 11:00 AM



    Because no improvement can be made on the words written by Stephanie Zacharek, a critic at, I shall repeat them for you, my brothers and sisters: “Of all the war-themed pictures that have been released so far this fall, it stands apart, and it stands alone: Redacted is confrontational, rough, immediate and confounding.” This is the truth: Brian De Palma’s Redacted is the first important fictional film about the war that refuses to end and kills too many by the day. (See Movie Times for details.)


    Letter of the Day

    posted by on December 3 at 10:43 AM

    A reader writes:

    I really found the article, “The Death of East Pine”, very interesting. Learning about the history of that neighborhood, its growth, and the many changes was entertaining and informational. What I did not find interesting, or even respectful, was the following statement:

    “Through three decades, this block was a hub for Seattle music, nightlife, art, fashion, and small business. Also, prostitution, homosexuality, and drug use.”

    Why is homosexuality referred to in the same sentence as prostitution and drug use? How does that have any relation to those subjects? I find it degrading and bigoted for Eric Grandy to imply that those three items are in the same category, and that The Stranger was willing to print that statement.

    While I understand that The Stranger is a cutting edge newspaper that provides opinionated editorials on many different issues, and that it is difficult to please every reader, but I had to speak out that I found this statement highly offensive and derogatory. I can only hope that future articles do not elicit the same narrow-mindedness.

    Darcy Burner 2.0

    posted by on December 3 at 10:33 AM


    What makes important people think that Eastside Democrat Darcy Burner can win in November 2008 the same congressional race that she lost last year?

    Maryland congressman Chris Van Hollen, the current chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was in town on November 27 to answer just that question—and to help raise more money for Burner’s second go at unseating Eastside Republican congressman Dave Reichert, now in his second term.

    “I’m here in Seattle to demonstrate the strong support of the House Congressional Democrats for Darcy Burner and her campaign,” Van Hollen told local reporters during a conference call held just after he touched down. “This race is a top priority for us.”

    Fair enough. But why Burner? Why again? Yes, she came from out of nowhere to within 2 percentage points of beating Reichert last year, but the district she’s running in has been narrowly divided for some time, and the Democrats have yet to field a candidate for Congress there who’s been able to get over that 50 percent threshold. Why is 2008 to be the year that the results change even as the candidate stays the same?

    For the answer according to Van Hollen, click here.

    It’s in the PI … 3 Weeks Later

    posted by on December 3 at 10:32 AM

    Dan’s right, the PI does have an interesting front-page story about the condos at 8th & Virginia.

    As usual: Jonah Spangenthal-Lee had the story up on Slog several weeks ago.

    Polls, Polls, Polls

    posted by on December 3 at 10:05 AM

    The Clinton campaign seems desperate to push back against the new “Obama rising” story-line that came out of the big Iowa poll this weekend.

    So this morning the Clinton press people are calling reporters’ attention to two other new polls that show her in the lead in Iowa: This one (Clinton 31, Obama 26) and this one (Clinton 31, Obama 20).

    Uh, About That Iranian Nuclear Threat…

    posted by on December 3 at 9:54 AM

    Looks like American intelligence agencies don’t agree with Dick Cheney and George Bush:

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 — A new assessment by American intelligence agencies concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains on hold, contradicting an assessment two years ago that Tehran was working inexorably toward building a bomb.

    Association: Part One

    posted by on December 3 at 9:49 AM

    Let’s begin our day-long journey of linked images here:
    815_normal.jpg This remarkable building, Whitechapel Idea Store, is in London and has its origin in the mind of this gentleman:
    adjaye070723_1_560-1.jpgDavid Adjaye.

    A Human Tragedy

    posted by on December 3 at 8:48 AM

    When a new condo tower goes up, odds are good that it blocked someone’s view of something. When another new condo tower goes up, this time blocking the views from a previously constructed condo tower, how bad should we feel for folks who are going to lose their views? The PI has a front-page story today about the plight of condo owners losing their views as new condo towers go up around them. I’m thinking that details like this one aren’t going to generate a lot of sympathy:

    Michael Harris, who bought a condo on the west side of the 17th floor of Cosmopolitan, found out [about the new tower] about six months ago, thanks to Tatum and a search of condo blogs.

    “I could almost touch the building,” said Harris, who was so upset about the Cosmopolitan situation that he rented out his condo there and bought a new one for himself in Capitol Hill.

    In lieu of flowers, Mr. Harris asks that mourners make a donation to his I.R.A.

    The Morning News

    posted by on December 3 at 7:00 AM

    A loss for Chavez: Proposal to give him more power goes down.

    A win for Putin: His party wins parliamentary elections in a (predictable) landslide.

    Rising: Mike Huckabee, who came in first in a big Iowa poll released over the weekend.

    Swinging: Hillary Clinton, at Barack Obama.

    Memo: To Obama from Karl Rove.

    Addressing the nation: Mitt Romney, in re: His Mormon faith.

    Fever: An autism blocker.

    Striking writers: Leno to pay his out of his own pocket, for now.

    New reality show: Who wants to marry a U.S. citizen?

    Chuck Norris on the man with “the big package”…

    Bicing in Barcelona

    posted by on December 3 at 12:34 AM

    It’s nine in the morning in Barcelona. I’ve been here for four days, and while I’m definitely bummed to be missing some of the week’s big events (the snow; Josh busting Tim Ceis on the Vulcan giveaway), it’s always great to be reminded that there are still places in the world where density, public transit, and awesome public spaces peacefully coexist. Plus, there’s cool architecture, like this:


    And weird graffiti everywhere:


    But what I really want to talk about is this:


    These people are riding bicycles provided by Bicing, a nine-month-old service that bills itself as “your new public transport in Barcelona!” (I’m sure it sounds better in Spanish or Catalan; I’m reading the translated web site). Here’s how it works: Once you register with the service (you have to be a resident of Barcelona, and it costs 24 euros) and get your swipe card, you can use any one of 1,500 Bicing bikes around the city. The first 30 minutes of every trip are free, and you can return your bike to any Bicing location around the city (there are at least 100). Every half-hour over the initial free half-hour is 30 eurocents. You can keep any one bike for up to two hours, and you can always return a bike, run your errand, and grab another for no charge. The bikes seem to be very well-maintained, and everyone uses them—old people, little kids, hipsters on cell phones, everyone.

    According to the web site, “Bicing has to be understood as a way of public transport , so that you move from one place to another.”

    Don’t you love that? How cool would it be to have 1,500 free bikes around the city, to be used by citizens, as intensively or minimally as you wanted? Even if some people rode the bikes downhill only (from Capitol Hill to the U District, say) and took the bus or a cab back, that would be a huge improvement over driving both ways, right? And even if the company (or city, or county) had to pick up some bikes every day and drive them back uphill, wouldn’t that one trip be vastly better than all those downhill bikers getting in their cars and driving instead?

    Yes, Seattle isn’t in Europe, and no, we don’t have the same culture of cycling that cities like Barcelona cultivate. But you’ve got to start somewhere. Why not a free bike program?

    As a side note: I sat in on a bit of this conference on urbanism two days ago at the city’s Center for Contemporary Culture, and one woman asked the panel I was watching (on cities and environmentalism), exasperatedly, how she was supposed to use the free bike service when the bikes were all the same size. Which just goes to show you that no matter how awesome a city has it, someone, somewhere, will find something to complain about.

    Sunday, December 2, 2007

    That Was Easy

    posted by on December 2 at 11:55 PM

    Putin’s “crushing victory.”

    Why Do They Hate Us?

    posted by on December 2 at 2:11 PM

    Just in time for the Holidays

    posted by on December 2 at 1:50 PM

    This slog news really needs a new category: Booze (why isn’t that a Slog category, by the way?).

    Some audacious motherfucker in Dublin stole a truckload of Guinness, Budweiser and Carlsberg from the Guinness Brewery at St. James Gate. At this is one of my spiritual homes, I feel slightly violated, but also in awe of the sheer nerve of this guy. He made off with 450 kegs, destined for the black market, which makes it like Drugs, I guess. His criminal mastermind method? Drive into the parking lot with a semi-trailer cab, hook it up to a loaded trailer, and leave. Brilliant.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on December 2 at 11:29 AM

    Not exactly groundbreaking, but hey, it’s Sunday. And I’m a sucker for a great shot for the city. Nice colors, shitbrain.


    Check out the photo pool for more…

    Larry Craig’s Not Gay

    posted by on December 2 at 11:21 AM

    But all the men he’s slept with are. When news of his toilet-cruising arrest broke, Craig accused the Idaho Statesman of persecuting him. Why, if it hadn’t been for the Statesman asking all those impertinent questions about Craig’s secret gay sex life, he wouldn’t have panicked and pleaded guilty to seeking anonymous gay sex in an airport toilet. I suppose the editors of the Statesman figured that, shit, if they’re going to accused of a witch hunt the might as well conduct one. Hence today’s front-page story.

    David Phillips. Mike Jones. Greg Ruth. Tom Russell.

    Four gay men, willing to put their names in print and whose allegations can’t be disproved, have come forward since news of U.S. Sen. Larry Craig’s guilty plea. They say they had sex with Craig or that he made a sexual advance or that he paid them unusual attention.

    They are telling their stories now because they are offended by Craig’s denials, including his famous statement, “I am not gay, I never have been gay.” Those words, spoken on live national TV on Aug. 28, are now memorialized on a just-released-for-Christmas Talking Senator Larry Craig Action Figure.

    Just to twist the knife—and, no doubt, make it harder for Craig to deny the allegations—the Statesman also posted audio tapes of its interviews with all four men. Gotta love this note from the editors:

    Audio clip disclaimer: Some of the audio interview excerpts contain explicit descriptions of sex not appropriate for children and listeners who find such content offensive. The Statesman provides the excerpts so Idahoans can hear these accounts and decide for themselves about accusations against Sen. Craig.

    So if you’re under 18 or listening to detailed descriptions of the sex life of a wrinkled old self-hating bigot is illegal where you live, don’t click here.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on December 2 at 11:00 AM

    Controlled Chaos

    Winterfest Ice
    at Fisher Pavillion

    Have your ankles had it too easy this year? Is your tailbone annoyingly free of bruises? Put on your cushioniest underpants and head down to Seattle Center, where the indoor Winterfest Ice Rink is back for another year. Skating is cheap—$5 for adults, $3 for kids 12 and under, $2 skate rental—and the slapstick comedy (humans plus ice equals hilarious) is free. (Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St. 11 am–8 pm, $3–$5 entry, $2 skate rental, cash only, through Jan 6.)


    Morning News

    posted by on December 2 at 8:00 AM

    posted by news intern Brian Slodysko

    Final Days: Worry of a Democratic White House has business lobbyists scrambling to get environmental, labor and healthcare laws rolled back.

    D.C. Property Tax Scandal: Total of fraudulent tax returns tops $44 Million.

    Speaking of Tax Returns: Dawdling Congress will delay return checks for early filers if tax bill isn’t passed.

    Angry Young Men: Four arrested after two seemingly random assaults near Queen Anne.

    Nation Building: Iraq ranked third most corrupt country in the world, U.S. estimates one-third of the money spent on contracts and grants has been stolen.

    Firing Squad or Lethal Injection? Trial of Tacoma man charged with murder, kidnap and rape of Idaho family to enter penalty phase.

    Writer’s Strike Spares Hillary: Clinton leads the pack as the butt of the most jokes.

    Russia Takes To the Polls: Putin expected to crush opposition of “foreign-fed jackels” under questionable new election rules.