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Archives for 12/09/2007 - 12/15/2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tomorrow’s I Heart Rummage—Cancelled

posted by on December 15 at 2:01 PM

According to IHR’s website—and Slog tipper PJP—tomorrow’s I Heart Rummage at the Crocodile has been cancelled. Says PJP…

Looks like this just happened, and there’s an attempt to find a new location, but I would be surprised if it somehow all comes together at the last minute.

Any news? Any ideas what’s going on?

Tomorrow was supposed to the big pre-xmas show. A lot of vendors were counting on this show in order to pay the bills. Pretty screwed up if you ask me.

It’s Come To This

posted by on December 15 at 1:44 PM

Burger King launches a line of French-fry and burger-flavored “snacks”:


The endlessly awesome blog Not Eating Out In New York has the scoop.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on December 15 at 1:43 PM

The Inevitable: Supreme Court judges restore sentencing discretion for other judges.

The Coincidental? US Sentencing Commission retroactively commutes sentences.

Her Husband’s Wife: Hillary not that into sentencing reforms.

High Road: Clinton apologizes for staffer’s comment on Obama’s drug use.

Gaza’s Trip: Hamas Islamists burn sacks of marijuana and cocaine.

Losing Its Appeal: Retail marijuana stores still illegal.

Protecting and Serving: Ohio cop sold drugs.

Not High but Tight: “Ask the White House” lobs softballs for the Drug Czar.

Fag Love: 13 of 20 top Brit brands are cigarettes.

Neuromancer: Parkinson’s drugs made man a homosexual gambler.

The Stranger News Hour. Tonight on KIRO. 710 AM.

posted by on December 15 at 12:35 PM

It’s time for our weekly session with David Goldstein.

I’m dragging Jonah along this week to talk about his coverage of the Seattle Police.

And I’ve got a list of suggestions for the 2008 state legislature and some news from the latest Sound Transit board meeting where 2008 light rail came out swinging.

There’s also a closely-watched City Council meeting coming up on Monday where both the controversial Vulcan deal and a proposal to protect industrial zoning are queued up for a vote.

All of this action explodes into conspiracy theories and stars outgoing council member Peter Steinbrueck—highlighting a question we’ve been asking lately: Who will take on Nickels when Steinbrueck leaves at the end of the year?

And another question: Is the local GOP dead? And how does Goldy’s ex-wife fit in?

Finally, I will bring this to Goldy’s attention: Tomorrow is the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.


Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 15 at 11:00 AM


‘A bell is a cup until
it is struck’
at Punch Gallery

This is what happens when two neighboring artist-run spaces work together: “a focused assemblage of photography, video, sculpture, ink on paper, and cough drop labels” with themes that include “spills, spots, piles, trash, smoke, mirrors, bread, sunsets, Jesus, trees, motor homes, and a poodle.” It’s an international juried show—chosen by Eric Fredericksen—with work by local artists (Gretchen Bennett, Lisa Liedgren, Brett Walker, and Jamey Braden, a former Stranger intern) as well as artists from Berlin, Las Vegas, and DeLand, Florida. (Punch, 119 Prefontaine Pl S, 621-1945; SOIL, 112 Third Ave S, 264-8061. Noon–5 pm, free.)


Blackwater on Steroids

posted by on December 15 at 10:15 AM

Ever since I read Noah Shachtman’s nicely done article about Iraq earlier this week, I’ve been checking out his blog, Danger Room (three cheers for the Uncanny X-Men.)

He’s got some interesting posts up.

1) He checks the numbers on the specifics of the U.S. counterinsurgency effort—the plan to sign up and use Iraqi police … or “Alligators” as they’re called (because of their Izod shirts). I could use a little more context on the numbers, but here’s a summary:

The Concerned Local Citizens, volunteer auxiliary police forces established to secure local communities, have sprung up over much of Iraq since the onset of the surge. Concerned Local Citizens groups are currently active in 12 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. Over 72,000 members are active in the ranks, with over 60,000 on paid contract and 12,000 volunteers.
A link he posts has more in-depth details.

2) And then there’s this: Pro baseball players aren’t the only ones with steroid problems. Controversial military contractor, Blackwater, may operate under the influence too:

It seems that 2007 will go down in history as the year of artificial performance enhancers. In the world of sports, you’ve got guys like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. In the military realm, you’ve got Blackwater. That’s right, just when it seemed the questions that surround private military contracting couldn’t get more simultaneously odd and disturbing, Blackwater (the company involved in the September shootings in Baghdad, which left 17 Iraqi civilians dead) has been sued by the victims’ families for, among other things, sending heavily-armed “shooters” into the streets of Baghdad with the knowledge that some of these “shooters” are chemically influenced by steroids and other “judgment-altering substances.”

The lawsuit, aided by the non-profit Center for Constitutional Rights based in Washington, claims not just that the civilians were killed by Blackwater employees, but that the company was responsible as it “created and fostered a culture of lawlessness amongst its employees, encouraging them to act in the company’s financial interests at the expense of innocent human life.” Most recently, the plaintiffs asserted that “Blackwater knew that 25% or more of its “shooters were injecting steroids or other judgment altering substances, yet failed to take effective steps to stop the drug use.”

Morning News

posted by on December 15 at 8:59 AM

posted by news lackey Brian Slodysko

Pakistan: Musharraf lifts emergency rule—well, kinda.

Non-binding Climate Resolution: 190 Countries sign a piece of paper that doesn’t really do anything.

So, About Those Tapes: Justice Department tells Congress to postpone investigation into CIA tape destruction.

Through the Cracks: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation focuses on AIDS and Malaria prevention at the expense of basic healthcare.

Check and Balances: Bush attempts politicizing military judiciary.

Guilty: Nickels’ son sentenced to three months for role in casino scam. Meanwhile, an African-American man who was the recipient of a 10 second taser blast from police, sentenced to 240 hours of community service, already having served two days in jail.

The Wind

posted by on December 15 at 2:54 AM

It’s back.

Friday, December 14, 2007


posted by on December 14 at 5:07 PM

We raised over $60,000.

That’s $20,000 more than last year, all for the homeless and hungry people helped by FareStart.

Thank you so, so much. I can’t tell you how grateful we are.

If you won your auction, congratulations!

If you didn’t, consider giving a little something of what you would’ve bid:

Thank you all—donors, bidders, the people who worked to make this happen—a thousand times over.

Happy holidays, everybody.


All About Hedda

posted by on December 14 at 4:56 PM


As has been discussed before, every time Washington Ensemble Theatre does anything, all of us—Brendan, Annie, and I, at least—fight about who gets to go see it/review it. But since Hedda Gabler only plays for one weekend, there’s not really much sense reviewing it in next week’s paper, so Kiley went to some rehearsals and wrote a big preview of it in the issue that’s out now.

Hedda Tesman, née Hedda Gabler, is a frustrated prize bride, recently wedded to—and, to her horror, pregnant by—a dorky academic named George. She used to be the belle of every ball but, she explains, “I had danced myself tired; my day was done.” She is a distillation of disgust—bored by her husband, revolted by his doting aunt, both repelled by and attracted to the randy neighbor, enthralled with her husband’s professional rival, and contemptuous of the rival’s sweet and innocent mistress. (Naturally, Hedda also despises the play’s only other character, a serving girl.) A mess of resentment, Hedda is a woman with brains and balls—her favorite pastime is shooting her pistols—trapped in a Victorian cage. She’s a victim and she’s in charge. She wants to be an artist, a writer, a creator. Instead she destroys.

So, how was it? I am probably not the person to ask because, embarrassingly, I haven’t seen the play before, whereas on the way out of the theater Kiley and Wagner were talking about what was cut and what wasn’t, about what these decisions said about director Jennifer Zeyl’s interpretation, about whether Hedda Gabler is a feminist work—and I was thinking about Radiohead and David Bowie and the Beatles. The show is saturated with music. Lots of Radiohead’s Amnesiac, some of Radiohead’s In Rainbows, a little of Bowie’s Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, all of Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” all of Radiohead’s “Exit Music for a Film,” a certain song by the Beatles about happiness and warm guns…

The set Zeyl designed is a thing to behold—this is a lady who won a Stranger Genius Award for her set designs—consisting of a room with two chandeliers and slanted walls (so the characters can literally climb the walls) and abstract bric-a-brac (garish blue, frames on the walls without things in them, said chandeliers carved from wood with energy-saving corkscrew fluorescent bulbs). This is a brightly painted, chopped up, subtext-exploding re-imagining of a play in which what we know about plays is fed back into the work to create a kind of maniacally knowing, self-aware spectacle. This is psychology turned into furniture. The set is where Zeyl puts all of her ideas. She is a master at conveying what she means in visual terms.

Conveying what she means through actors, not so much.

Specifically, the relationships between the characters seem indistinct, which is a problem, because the play’s tension is built around what they think of each other. Mannerisms are specific to each character but in a lot of cases seem to come from nowhere. All of the actors (except one) have their moment, or lots of moments, that startle you into believing them, but the most successful moments in the show aren’t the fine, sharp psychological entanglements but the overstated gestures—the moment when Marya Sea Kaminski (as Hedda) tears all the fluffy white frills off her blouse, or when Colin Byrne (as Lovbourg) does aerial acrobatics on red tissu in the sequence where Hedda is imagining his death. But these are so constructed they’re essentially set pieces, these scenes.

In any case, using Radiohead throughout the show is brilliant, because Radiohead’s songs—the Amnesiac and In Rainbows ones, anyway—are melodies made of moans, feedback, bleeps, hissing, static, in other words, the sounds of the digital age, and are about what the digital age is doing to people. It is music that’s a critique of the digital age and yet, as the writer Mark Greif has pointed out, you need the tools of the digital age (the speakers in your iPod) to hear Radiohead’s music. And Hedda Gabler is built on such paradoxes of dependence.

That said, I have no idea what “Space Oddity” had to do with anything.

Ten Minutes!

posted by on December 14 at 4:50 PM

The bidding will close in ten minutes.

So far, you’ve raised over $53,000.

Get in there!

No This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on December 14 at 4:46 PM

If you’re waiting for This Weekend at the Movies, I’m sorry. My browser ate my lengthy post. I am so depressed.


Here’s On Screen. It’s really long, and includes reviews of the following movies: Juno (good), The Kite Runner (bad), I Am Legend (good), Starting Out in the Evening (good), Goodbye Bafana (bad), The Walker (bad), The Amateurs (sexist and bad), The Perfect Holiday (kind of gross), Romance & Cigarettes (bad). Over here is Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Party 1, Party 2, and tonight: Robert Horton’s Critics Wrap 2007, featuring our very own Andrew Wright.

Laura Penn Leaves Intiman

posted by on December 14 at 4:44 PM

She has been Intiman’s managing director for 14 years. She’s leaving to run the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, a directors’ and choreographers’ union.

All the Broke Young Literary Magazines

posted by on December 14 at 4:21 PM

I followed Christopher’s advice in last week’s Suggests:

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.

I’m glad I did—the three editors (managing editor Alexandra Heifetz read, too) were smart and funny in a sad-sack way. They’d been on the road for a few weeks and announced, as soon as they got on stage, that the magazine was broke.

(Not least because they threw a too-expensive, poorly attended fundraising party in San Francisco. The irony: n+1 has, in the past, smacked around McSweeney’s, which started in San Francisco. “We overestimated how many people loved us in San Francisco,” one of the editors said.)

Frizzelle wrote a good story about it in this week’s paper—about n+1 publications (“Caleb Crain compares reading Henry James to smoking crack”), about the audience (“one of them was a guy more or less the size of New Hampshire”), and about the pathos (“a lot of the audience left without buying stuff”).

Read all about it.

“Dirty Fat Person Sits on President’s Face” a.k.a. My Childhood

posted by on December 14 at 4:05 PM

Dan’s latest handful of ’70s Playboy cartoons, specifically the first one about the cops and the rapin’, totally just blew my mind up. When I was a kid, my parents always had a bunch of B. Kliban books lying around our house. Not that corny shit with the cats, but the weirder, cleverer ones: full of boobs and swear words and totally freakish surreal nonsense. I didn’t get most of the jokes, but I read them over and over again anyway. You can look at clearer versions of these, and others, here.

I haven’t thought about those books in forever. But looking at that cop cartoon today, I’m realizing that B. Kliban has a lot to do with the state of my adult brain (i.e. filled with feces and boobs and puns and nonsense). I can’t believe I never made that connection before. Thanks, B. Kliban!

And one more, because I can’t help it:

Today in Line Out

posted by on December 14 at 4:00 PM

Strangercrombie Music Items of the Day: Queens of the Stone Age tickets, an album review, the Vera Project/Barsuk gift pack, and more!

Tonight in Music: USE, the Cops, Guards of Metropolis, Strong Killings, and Broken Disco.

Ari Spool Loves Sparks: Not the alcoholic drink, the band with the crazy pants and crazier mustache.

Best Joni Mitchell Song Ever: Ron Rosenbaum says it’s “Amelia.”

This Week’s Setlist: Hiphop takes over and Ari and I play artists from The Program.

Fuck That Sick Fucker: Michael Jackson scores Vegas residency, Trent Moorman goes off on Michael Jackson.

Bullshit List: Jeff Kirby dissects Rolling Stone’s Best Of 2007 list.

Music News: More labels downsize, the Police make a lot of money, and Tori Amos gets really mad at her fans.

Happy Weekend: TJ Gorton gifts you with a Gino Soccio song for your Friday.

Innersounds Star: Line Out contributor Terry Miller gets interviewed about his music blog.

Ike Turner: Still dead, but being remembered in next week’s paper.

Whoops: The Knight Riders party featured in this week’s Bug in the Bassbin gets moved to next month.


(Thanks to both Bethany and David for sending me the link for this adorable little guy.)

Manufactured Crisis

posted by on December 14 at 3:54 PM

The email alert arrived this morning: “Our Mayor and the City Council are about to downzone our neighborhood (Georgetown) into an industrial wasteland (no kidding),” wrote Joel Ancowitz, a 42-year-old yoga teacher who owns a house in the neighborhood with his partner. Seemingly fast tracked, a bill introduced in the Urban Planning and Development Committee only three weeks ago goes for a vote before the city council on Monday. If it passes, the legislation will limit new commercial and residential developments to 25,000 square feet in Seattle’s 5000 acres of industrial-zoned land.

However, the rezoning wouldn’t exactly apply to Georgetown – a pocket of single-story bungalows, artist warehouses, and quirky shops zoned for mixed use, with roughly 1200 residents – but rather the swath of industrial land that surrounds it. Here’s a map.


Georgetown is that multi-colored blob in the blue industrial-zoned ocean.

Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck, who introduced the bill, says it’s not a downzone but a means to prevent encroaching commercial and residential conversions from displacing manufacturing businesses in an area intended to accommodate them. “We are trying to resist some of that [conversion] to protect our industrial job base, which is in excess of 100,000 jobs,” he says.

The issue for neighbors is whether further limiting commercial devlopment near Georgetown will adversely affect the burgeoning community there.

“Art co-ops would be prevented from using that space. The creativity happening down here could very well be stifled,” says Ancowitz, who urges people to contact councilmembers and ask them to stall the legislation or exempt the land near Georgetown. “I’d like to see studies done first.”

The mayor’s office and some members of the council think the city needs to pass binding legislation now. “We’re in the biggest building boom in this city’s history,” says Steinbrueck, who also introduced a companion resolution to study industrial zoning. “We’ve put some interim controls in to prevent a rush to vest while we take a little more time.”

But Kathy Nyland, who owns a small retail shop in the neighborhood, thinks the urgency is artificial. She cites six vacant warehouses in the area as an example that industrial businesses aren’t wanting for space. “This decision can’t be rushed, because you’re making a decision based on a color-coded map,” she says.

Continue reading "Manufactured Crisis" »

Santa: Drunk and at Liberty

posted by on December 14 at 3:52 PM

Santa was at Liberty on 15th last night, enjoying the hell out of himself. The barman said Santa had killed the keg of Liberty Ale and moved on to pints of Stella. (“I don’t know what the reindeer are drinking,” the barman said.) The flask lodged between Santa’s substantial belly and for-decorative-purposes-only belt was empty. “I drank it already,” he said. About the belly: “That’s real,” he said with pride. “That’s a lot of beer.” Santa doesn’t like gin. “When Santa drinks gin,” he said, “he tastes it for three days.” Santa was unconcerned that his suit made him look fat.

Santa put the crowd drinking at Liberty at a 50/50 naughty-to-nice ratio. He was given to promising women brand-new canary yellow cars. Santa likes the ladies, it was clear, and he’s seeking to address the wage gap as best he can.

One woman posed for a photo with Santa and her martini. Regarding her photograph afterward, she said, “I look kind of guilty.” What did she ask for? “To please make him fall into the ocean and float far, far away.” Who? “Santa knows.”

Santa and the owner of Liberty (which also serves sushi) discussed fishing; Santa’s an avid fisherman and will be getting back to it in Cancun in January. (In an aside, the owner of Liberty reported that both of Santa’s hands were visible in the majority of the evening’s photographs, “so that’s good.”)

Mrs. Claus was present, too, wearing silky dark red and a jingle-bell bracelet. She interrupted an extended conversation with Santa.

“Are you getting in trouble?” she said.

“I’m not telling lies!” he said.

“You’re going back to the North Pole in about five minutes,” she said.

Someone told Santa that they hadn’t seen him in a long time, that they’d missed him. “I’ve always been here, and I’ll always be here, forever and ever and ever,” he said. “You just have to believe in your heart.”

Tonight, Santa’s at the Tasting Room; tomorrow night, at BalMar.


DV-One Sentenced

posted by on December 14 at 3:34 PM

Toby Campbell—aka DV-One—has been sentenced to 240 hours of community service. Campbell was also given a 32 day jail sentence—which was suspended—and fined $500.

At the sentencing, Matt Roach, a juror, spoke on Campbell’s behalf and told news intern Brian Slodysko that the jury had issues with the definition they were given for assault.
“Legally they were obligated to convict [Campbell] based on the conditions they gave us,” Roach said. “But I did not feel justice has been served.”

Campbell says he’s just happy for his case to be over “It’s like having to pay for something you didn’t actually get,” he said.

Campbell’s attorney says they still plan to appeal the case.

Re: 1971 Playboy Funnies…

posted by on December 14 at 3:22 PM

particularly that one about the cops.

You’ve come along way boys.

Here’s some cop funnies courtesy of the December 2007 Seattle Police Guild paper, The Guardian.






re: “On the first day of Christmas the liberals gave to me…”

posted by on December 14 at 3:19 PM

Just to prove that conservatives aren’t the only ones inept at singing, please enjoy this Stem Cell Pagent, presented at the lab’s Christmas talent show.

Three warnings:
1. This is nerdiest thing I’ve ever written, by far.

2. It was written by a Jew and performed by two Jews, a Mormon, a Hindu and two practitioners of Shintoism—all secular humanist stem cell researchers. You will go to hell for reading it.

3. The creationist are apparently killing people over stuff like this.

Merry Christmas y’all!

Continue reading "re: “On the first day of Christmas the liberals gave to me…”" »

Nickels Sentenced

posted by on December 14 at 3:11 PM

From the Seattle Times:

Jacob Nickels, the son of Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, was sentenced to three months in prison this morning for his role in a multistate casino-cheating ring that authorities say stole millions of dollars by bribing casino employees to falsely shuffle decks.

Nickels, 26, was also sentenced to three months of home confinement and ordered to pay $90,510 in restitution to the Nooksack River Tribal Casino, where he worked.

How Was Hedda?

posted by on December 14 at 2:32 PM

WET’s blahblahblahBANG (a pistol fit in one act), an adaptation of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, opened last night. Kiley’s preview anticipated an exciting production. Anyone go last night? How was it? Should I take my parents?

Live Blogging Cafe Presse’s Velouté de champignons

posted by on December 14 at 2:30 PM

2:15: Ordered the soup.

2:19: Soup’s on.

2:22: It’s delicious, truly a galaxy of crème fraîche or whatever it was Christopher said.

2:25: Mmmmm.

2:30: And it’s done.

Creationist Manslaughter!

posted by on December 14 at 2:07 PM

First came Huxley and Wilberforce.

Then Darrow and Bryan.

Recently, Kitzmiller and Dover, or their proxies.

Never have these impassioned proponents of science and adherents to Biblical literalism come to blows.

Until now.

A fruit-picking expedition to New South Wales climaxed in a debate between creationist Alexander Christian York and scientist Rudi Boa. It ended with Boa dead.

Watch your back, people. Creationists lurk even in the most bucolic vacation destinations. And they have kitchen knives.

(Via HorsesAss.)

Playboy Funnies

posted by on December 14 at 1:59 PM

Three more cartoons from my April 1971 issue of Playboy

Law and order…


Environmental awareness…


The battle of the sexes…


Direct Donation

posted by on December 14 at 1:50 PM

A reminder: if you don’t feel like messing around with bidding (or if you lose your auction—perish the thought!), you can push some pennies towards FareStart with our handy direct donation button.

Look for it on the right side of the Strangercrombie home page. Or just press it now:

(Current total: $46,500.65. Go! Bid! Buy!)

UPDATES: Blake is still 2.6% ahead of Joshua Roman and Fnarf has again taken the lead on the “gift of family planning.”

Loser of the Year: Wright Runstad

posted by on December 14 at 1:40 PM

As we speak, Amazon and Vulcan lobbyists are calling city council members and squashing a rumor that’s intended to derail their South Lake Union deal.

The rumor? Development company Wright Runstad has an alternative property deal for Amazon.

Here’s the story: Wright Runstad got a sweet deal from the city back in the late 90s to redevelop the PacMed building on Beacon Hill and voila, score their high-dollar tenant, Amazon.

However, with Amazon looking to expand (that is: move to Vulcan’s South Lake Union property), Wright Runstad is losing a major tenant.

To add insult to injury, Wright Runstad is about to lose big when the Council votes on Monday to protect industrial zoning in SoDo and Georgetown. Indeed, Judy Runstad has been e-mailing and lobbying council to allow commercial developments there.

Here’s an e-mail she sent to council member Richard Conlin after he tried, unsuccessfully so far, to amend the industrial zoning legislation to make room for more commercial development:

“Judith Runstad” 12/13/2007 12:06 PM >>> Thank you for trying to bring some rational thought to the discussion yesterday. In my almost 35 years of land use, I have never seen anything so sweeping or potentially damaging with so little thought and data. I hope you will continue to press on this in the new year. Judy

Why is Judy Runstad hot on rezoning to allow commercial? Because Wright Runstad is trying to derail Vulcan’s deal in South Lake Union by putting together a competing deal with Amazon, using land owned by Runstad’s client, SoDo property owner Henry Liebman. Liebman owns a 22,609 square foot piece of property in SoDo.

At least Wright Runstad wants the council to believe they’ve got a deal in the works.

Amazon went on the offensive today to save their deal with Vulcan. Their lobbyist (and Vulcan’s) is calling council members right now to tell them: “You know this Wright Runstad deal you’re hearing about… It’s not true!”

This is a serious burn on Wright Runstad. They’re on the losing end of a sweetheart deal for Vulcan after benefitting for years off their own sweetheart deal at PacMed.

What goes around comes around. Here’s a suggestion for Wright Runstad: Turn PacMed into condos. Killer views.

Footnote: Of course, Vulcan is the big winner. If no industrial land is rezoned to allow commercial, then Vulcan’s remaining properties in South Lake Union—which is being rezoned—become that much more valuable.

The British Empire Strikes Back

posted by on December 14 at 12:49 PM


We are not dead yet!

BERLIN — Overcoming earlier misgivings about its direction and leadership, the World Bank said Friday it had raised $25.1 billion in aid for the world’s poorest countries, a record sum that includes donations by China and Egypt, nations that were once recipients of such aid.

For the first time, Britain overtook the United States as the biggest donor, a highly symbolic change given Washington’s traditional influence in choosing the bank’s president and charting its policies.

America, recall these proud words:

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands, -
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

(The lion looks a little like me.)

Buy Drunk of the Week

posted by on December 14 at 12:48 PM

Don’t you want to get rip-roarin’ drunk for charity? Buy someone the gift of inebriation infamy? You, or a special loved one could join the ranks of this guy…


THESE guys, THIS guy, um, THESE girls, and THIS pretty little lady. Make your Momma proud.


4 more hours to bid!

The Final Countdown

posted by on December 14 at 12:34 PM

The grand total, as of this moment: $44,062 and rising.


You’ve got until 5 pm today—just four and a half more hours—to bid. And still, everything is goin’ cheap.

The bicycle + messenger bag + bike fitting with track racing champ Kenny Williams? $405.

The Neumo’s booking agent 101 package is a paltry $152.51. (Who knows? It might be your ticket to a job at the Crocodile… )

The dinner cooked for you and seven guests in your home by Renee Erickson of the Boat Street Cafe is just $530. (And check out these private dinners cooked by Ethan Stowell, Laurie Carter, and this champagne brunch by Robin Leventhal of Crave.)

The private performance by the deeply hilarious (and lewd) Sgt. Rigsby and His Amazing Silhouettes is just $102.50.

The Pizza Glutton? Undervalued.

Party crasher? Just $50.

The cover of The Stranger? Just over $1,000.

The VIP parties at Nectar, Neumo’s, the Sunset, etc. are still a collective steal.

There’s just too much—peruse the bargains here.

And the dramas:

Since the auction began, the private cello concert with Joshua Roman has been bid higher than the karaoke session with American Idol star Blake Lewis. Which was pleasantly surprising. (No offense, Blake.) As of this morning, Lewis (at $1,026) finally pulled ahead of Roman ($1,000), but their proxy war—pop versus haute—is still raging.

Slog commentors Fnarf and Mr. Poe, who were competing for the “gift of family planning,” have both been bid out of the running.

After the initial freak-out about the Chris Crocker package (his fans swamping our site, a specious $10,000 bid, and a bunch of commentors getting all peevish), the price for a private phone call with Chris has been bid to a respectable, but not insane, $255.

And some generous soul has bid this titillating tote bag, estimated to be worth $39, up to $50.

And, in the time it has taken to write this post, the total has jumped to $45,512. You all are saints. Saints!


Strangercrombie: Once a year, we do something good.

Today in Everything, Ever

posted by on December 14 at 12:16 PM

Wear Palettes collects photos from street fashion blogger The Sartorialist and extracts color palettes from them.

Someone should do this with Strangers with Candy. It would be a veritable “carnival of colors: grays and browns and grays…”

Graham Payn, boy soprano aged 13 here in 1932, singing “I Hear You”:

Payn would later become the longtime partner of gay English composer and playwright Noel Coward, who was thirty-two years old when this film was made. More on Payn in his 2005 obituary in the Guardian.


Kim Sing Man remembered Bechal as a classy woman who “always enjoyed her Chinese pickled leeks and bean sprouts.”

“A cutaneous horn is firm to hard to the touch.”

Gomboc: the self-righting object.

They have noticed that the Gomboc closely resembles the shell of a tortoise or a beetle, creatures whose round-shelled backs help them right themselves when flipped over. “We discovered it with mathematics,” Domokos notes, “but evolution got there first.”


SCREAM ON MY FACE, by Patrick Dyer and Margareth Haines, 2007.

ARE Y’ALL READY TO pRAyVE??? Click the HTML-entity Golgotha!

Continue reading " Today in Everything, Ever" »

Headline of the Day

posted by on December 14 at 12:11 PM

From the LA Times:

Colorado Church Sees Shooting as Test of Faith

Well they would, wouldn’t they? And you gotta love the subhead:

Young worshipers say they have laid down their anger and fear, even their questions, to focus on God. They say Satan is to blame.

JoeMyGod thinks homicidal blow-back from New Life’s anti-gay bigotry might be to blame. Back to the story…

Youth pastor Brent Parsley expected to be challenged: Why did the Lord let this happen? How could this be? Where was God when a troubled young man stormed New Life Church on Sunday, killing two devout teenage sisters?

“All the questions are out there,” Parsley said.

Except, they weren’t.

Teenagers swarmed Parsley with hugs and high-fives at an evening service this week. But they expressed no despair or doubt. Instead, they said the attack had left them with a sense of pride—and a quiet joy.


Dead Men

posted by on December 14 at 12:01 PM

(This week’s Games column got cut in the print edition, along with the rest of the small-screeners, so I’m posting my column for all of the gamers I met at Moe last night.)

Happy Trails

For the first two weeks of December, gaming writers were consumed by the firing of one of their own. I can’t exactly blame ‘em for reacting to Jeff Gerstmann’s canning at Whether coincidental or not, Gerstmann got the pink slip the same day that a huge ad campaign for Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, a game he’d soundly trashed, was stripped from Gamespot. Within the same day, Gerstmann’s negative video review of the game was pulled (and its text version was severely edited).

Our hometown gaming pariahs at Penny Arcade (makers of the above comic) fueled the rumor fire by claiming a trail of dirty moneyKane & Lynch’s makers got pissed at Gerstmann’s game review and pulled ads to the tune of $100,000s, they said. Anonymous tipsters sided with the claim, and it took a full week for Gamespot’s parent company, CNet, to release a robust response. Too late—by then, corporate’s story (upholding editorial standards) couldn’t keep pace with Digg’s (money, money, money). The hell kind of Web company waits a week to respond to Internet panic, anyway?

But the surprising thing isn’t that advertising money can control editorial content. Ad salesmen and writers not getting along? Flaky five-star reviews coming outta nowhere? These things are sad realities in pretty much any review landscape, yet in this case as in any other, it’s more the exception than the rule. What’s surprising is that when the money talks in gamesland, the results might actually be better. Follow me here—the latest issue of Vice Magazine has a well-written pull-out set of articles attached to an ad campaign for K&L. In the same vein as recent Wii TV ads, this advertorial chunk about buddy stories has an open-arms, mainstream stance. It’s a unique, compelling take on interacting with friends. And it’s a fucking ad.

Game publications generally don’t treat their baby the same way. You ever tried making sense of a game review site, let alone a games blog? They’re obsessed with sneak peeks, as-soon-as-possible reviews and more, faster, newer. No conversation, no questions about why adults choose to make these 3D toys a significant part of their lives. When these people say the only story is that some guy got fired because of his review score, that narrow-minded scope becomes the story. You don’t see music or movies writers flipping out about a bought-out score because, even if it happens, it’s such a small percentage of the stories and opinions that their subject matter generally garner in print.

In Jeff’s case, maybe he’s better off writing for the game ad firms instead.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on December 14 at 12:00 PM

My new favorite graffiti, from photo pooler gaijinrunner.


The Lord Is My…

posted by on December 14 at 11:09 AM

…smoking-hot, deliciously-cruel, totally-pedo spanking top.


Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on December 14 at 11:00 AM


United State of Electronica at Vera Project

No band makes audiences happy like U.S.E does. The seven-member army of joy has more positive vibes than the Polyphonic Spree on Ecstasy. They take the stage in a flurry of lights, confetti, and giant flashing letters; the dizzying visuals perfectly frame the band’s synth-heavy, harmonized, and infectious electronica. This is the first all-ages show they’ve played in years; they won’t skimp on the awesome. (Vera Project, Seattle Center, 956-8372. 7:30 pm, $10 with club card/$11 without, all ages.)



The Cops’ Holiday Circus at Sunset Tavern

The Cops are thoughtful punk rockers and they know that nothing says Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan, and Solstice all at once like two nights of rad local rock ‘n’ roll. On this, the first night, the Cops are joined by pantsless provocateurs Partman Parthorse, pop weirdos Katharine Hepburn’s Voice, and the Pranks. Tomorrow night features Hart and the Hurricane, Motorik, and I’m a Gun. It will be a circus. (Sunset, 5433 Ballard Ave NW, 784-4880. 9 pm, $8, 21+.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • If I Had Wi-Fi (And Wasn’t On Vacation)

    posted by on December 14 at 10:57 AM

    I’m still on vacation in Barcelona, and unfortunately, very few places have wifi, so I haven’t been able to Slog compulsively or keep up with the news the way I’d like to. (Did you know they still don’t have iPhones in Spain? It’s literally the only thing I’ve been able to do to impress the Spanish. Butchering their language just hasn’t made them love me the way I thought it would). Anyway! A few things, briefly, from afar:

    1. Right fucking on, Gov. Gregoire. (And, OK, Mayor Nickels, too—although his main viaduct web page still says the city is “committed to replacing the ailing Alaskan Way Viaduct and Seawall.”) But do you think you might give your former gubernatorial opponent Ron Sims a little credit for pushing for a surface/transit alternative for replacing the viaduct? Sims was speaking up in support of surface/transit nearly a year before Gregoire got on the bandwagon—and everyone, including Mayor Greg Nickels and Gregoire, treated him like he was crazy. Props or none, I’m glad to see the city, state and county are finally moving toward a solution that’s environmentally sustainable—and that we can actually pay for.

    2. Jonah noted in an email a few days ago that the family of Bryce Lewis, the 19-year-old cyclist who was struck by a dump truck and killed in September, along with Caleb Hall, a cyclist who survived the accident, are suing the driver and his company, Nelson & Sons Construction Co. According to their attorney, as quoted in the P-I, “The primary duty is on the vehicle turning right to make sure there aren’t people in the bike lane or in the crosswalk.” The truck turned right into the cyclists’ path, striking both of them. I haven’t seen anything on Slog about it; my apologies if I overlooked a post.

    3. To Jonathan’s taxonomy of Slog commenters, I would like to add:

    Assholus Sexistis

    Distinguishing Characteristics:
    Has nothing relevant to contribute. Attempts to make author feel bad specifically because she is a woman, usually by commenting on her appearance and/or speculating about her sex life.

    Sample Comment

    Dumbass, I can’t wait to see you when you are 40, still single and hanging around other lonely women at a stitch and bitch complaining about how there aren’t “Any good men out there”

    Posted by ecce homo | December 11, 2007 12:52 PM.

    Cautions:Best deleted or ignored entirely. May overlap with Compulsivaris Insightfulian Crankus.

    3. This is the art in my new hotel room (less blurry in real life). They knew I was coming!:


    That is all.

    The Big Idea

    posted by on December 14 at 10:49 AM


    The point made in the conclusion of this short essay, which was posted two years ago by Andrey Summers (Dan Paulus sent me a link to it yesterday), can be applied to all of life, the entire universe, to everything there ever was and will be.

    To be a Star Wars fan, one must possess the ability to see a million different failures and downfalls, and then somehow assemble them into a greater picture of perfection. Every true Star Wars fan is a Luke Skywalker, looking at his twisted, evil father, and somehow seeing good.

    …We hate everything about Star Wars.

    But the idea of Star Wars…the idea we love.

    The idea of existence is great, but everything that makes existence possible is wrong. Without an idea, a counter thought, a concept of how things ought to be, you can not love this world we live and die in.

    Feeling Feisty, Foster?

    posted by on December 14 at 10:44 AM

    Seems the wave of hysteria unleashed after Jodie Foster confirmed a certain open secret has loosened the woman’s tongue. I’ve been getting this ridiculous cascade of “reaction” quotes from all the Golden Globe nominees via their respective studios. They’re studiously boring, even the one from Saoirse Ronan in which she gives us the Irish translation for “thank you very much.” (It’s “Go raibh mile maith agaibh,” apparently.)

    And then comes Ms. Foster: “The nomination is so exciting and surprising at the same time.  Never saw it coming… I can’t wait to have some rubber chicken and listen to the unscripted banter with all of those fine actresses.”

    No, tell us how you really feel.

    Two New Iowa Polls

    posted by on December 14 at 10:30 AM

    One finds Clinton tied with Obama, the other finds Obama ahead of Clinton:

    Lee poll: Obama 33, Clinton 24, Edwards 24

    Diageo/Hotline poll: Clinton 27, Obama 27, Edwards 22

    But both show Huckabee ahead of Romney:

    Lee: Huckabee 31, Romney 22

    Diageo/Hotline: Huckabee 36, Romney 23


    posted by on December 14 at 10:26 AM


    The American Taliban—they’re not just nuts, they’re dangerous.

    They recently decided that U.S. Interstate 35 is mentioned in the Bible somewhere, and they’ve launched a “purity siege”. They’re staging protests outside porn shops, women’s health centers, and gay bars up and down I-35 in hopes that Jesus will return sooner. Or something. At one purity siege an openly gay man, James Stabile, was supposedly cured of his gayness. A preacher laid hands on Stabile and—poof!—he wasn’t a gay no more. It was a miracle, and Pat Robertson gushed about it on the teevee.

    Well guess what? James Stabile is still gay—he’s also bi-polar and his parents are pissed off about what happened to him in the wake of his “conversion.” From the Dallas Voice:

    Joseph Stabile said James left home to go out that Friday night and never returned.

    Joseph said James, or ‘B.J.’ as his parents affectionately refer to him, is bipolar and had stopped taking his medication. James called a few days later and told his parents he was moving out, and that he’d be back to get his stuff. James apparently had moved in with some folks from Heartland. After that, it would be some time before James’ parents heard from him, as his church friends reportedly advised him not to contact them.

    Joseph Stabile said the Heartland folks also may have advised James to throw away his medication, telling him that God would cure his bipolar disorder, too. Joseph’s parents said James has a tendency to be less than truthful, especially when he’s off his medication, and that he loves attention. They said they don’t believe he’s ever questioned his sexuality, but that the folks from Heartland manipulated and exploited him for publicity.

    From (and all of this is via) Towleroad:

    So the Fundies basically emotionally kidnapped Stabile, took away medication that helps him act rationally, and that’s not all. Apparently it cost James $2100 to get into the “ex-gay” program and another $150 a week while he was there. The people at Pure Life constantly told him he was going to Hell, he had to be clothed from the neck down even while sleeping. James is now home with his parents, describes his experience at “straight camp” as being “horrible” and is seeing a therapist.

    Best detail in this story? Joseph Stabile, James’ dad, is the pastor of Cochran Chapel United Methodist Church, the oldest church in Dallas, and he’s completely accepting of his son’s sexuality. Why is accepting homosexuality so hard for so many other Christians?

    Clinton’s New Ad

    posted by on December 14 at 10:10 AM

    It’s running in Iowa and New Hampshire, and it looks like it was filmed last weekend when Clinton, her mother, and her daughter all visited Iowa on the same day as the Oprah-Obama event that I attended for this feature.

    In fact, it looks like the commercial was filmed, in part, at that firehouse that I tried so mightily (and failed so spectacularly) to get to during a very cold blast of freezing rain.

    Tasers are the New Tupperware

    posted by on December 14 at 9:45 AM

    The Arizona Republic reports:

    She has had parties in Phoenix and Scottsdale by invitation. Guests have the opportunity to shoot the Taser for the first time at a cardboard cutout during the parties. For safety reasons, no alcohol is served and no one is actually Tasered.

    After her first Taser party in Scottsdale recently, Shafman said, “I think the party was spectacular. It opened up opportunities for people to ask questions and get informed about the Tasers.”

    Debi McMahon was excited to get her Taser activated.

    “I feel like I’m 6 feet tall and 250 pounds. I’m going to buy one for my mom. It’s going to be her 81st birthday present.”

    The Tasers come in color choices of pink, blue, silver or black, which caused the women at the Scottsdale party to worry that their small children might see the colored Tasers as a toy.

    Courtesy of Danger Room

    Alex Schweder’s Four-Ton Ice Sculpture, Snow Storm

    posted by on December 14 at 9:30 AM

    Alex Schweder, the Stranger’s Visual Art Genius this year and someone with whom you can tour a moldy building for charity, is now doing this:

    What: Seattle artist Alex Schweder will create an ice sculpture on the steps and plaza of Tacoma Art Museum. Using 7,800 pounds—nearly four tons—of ice, a team of art installers will carve and shape blocks with a chainsaw to create the temporary installation, which is only on view until it melts. This is the first sculptural installation on view on Tacoma Art Museum’s front plaza. Inside the museum, a video will be projected onto snow falling in the center of the lobby. The two installations are called Melting Instructions and are being created for Snowbound, Tacoma Art Museum’s new winter festival.

    When: Sunday, December 16, Snowbound Community Festival, 12 – 5 pm (Snow in the lobby with video projection: 3–4:45 pm)

    Headline of the Year

    posted by on December 14 at 9:11 AM

    From the New York Post.

    Thank you, Defamer.

    Also, what the fuck?

    Brits: Drunker Than Previously Thought

    posted by on December 14 at 8:00 AM

    I’ve spent a lot of time in the UK—lived there for two years—and I didn’t think it was possible, but….

    Britons are typically drinking a third more than earlier surveys suggested, it was revealed yesterday, as the government took the unusual step of revising the way it calculates alcohol consumption to reflect stronger wine and the trend towards drinking from bigger glasses….

    But the drinks industry reacted angrily, saying the government was sending out a confusing message about sensible alcohol consumption.

    The “drinks industry”? I love that expression. The drinks industry. Sounds like they’re building cars or fridges or something. The drinks industry. That’s one kind of industrialization we can all get behind.

    Thursday’s Gail Collins

    posted by on December 14 at 7:51 AM

    I’m glad she’s writing a column again for the NYT. I’m sad that I didn’t get around to reading her column in yesterday’s paper until just now.

    And then there’s the matter of Giftgate. It turns out the guitar-strumming, good-humored populist has never met a present he didn’t want. [Mike] Huckabee managed to pile up $112,000 in freebies in a single year as governor. I can see how he would feel constrained to politely accept a picture of a duck or a cowboy hat, but $48,000 in clothing? A discount card for Wendy’s? A chainsaw?

    Wedding gifts are exempt from ethics restrictions in Arkansas, and when Mike left office, the Huckabees—who have been married for more than 30 years—were signed up on the Target wedding registry so fans could help furnish their new 7,000-square-foot home. “Message from the couple: Target GiftCards are welcome,” added the registry helpfully.

    Shorter Collins: Mike Huckabee is a scumbag.

    The Morning News

    posted by on December 14 at 7:33 AM

    The Opium Wars:
    British Army loses a battalion of soldiers every year to drugs.

    I Guess I’ll Have to Go Windsurfing Instead:
    House votes to outlaw waterboarding.

    0 For 7: Prosecutors stumble in “Liberty City Seven” case.

    Finally, The Garden State Gets Something Right:
    New Jersey kills the death penalty. Bon Jovi no longer able to perform “Wanted Dead or Alive.”

    Diamond Dogs: The Mitchell report finally proves the Yankees (and everyone else) are a pack of cheaters.

    Coked Out:
    Clinton aide quits over Obama drug attack.

    Sea Lice Aren’t Nice: Fish farms are bad, mmmkay?

    Ferry Tale: Gregoire pledges $100 million for three new ferries.

    Also, the best party ever happened last night and, if you missed it, you can catch a beer tinged recap here.

    This is still my favorite clip of the year:

    Thursday, December 13, 2007

    Y’all Are So Cute

    posted by on December 13 at 8:38 PM

    Seriously. Thank you to everyone who came down to Moe Bar… RTM, Fnarf and Mrs. Fnarf, Dan, Monique, Comte, Will, Catalina, Andrew, Dave, Wise Punk, Monkey Fist, Scary Tyler Moore, Rhett, Mr. Poe, all the rest whose names have already sunken into the murk of my memory… THAT was fun. We had more than 40 people show up and truly, everyone was nice and articulate and interesting. Thank you so much for making Slog Seattle’s best blog (by far). I will see you at the next Slog Happy—Thursday, January 10, 6 pm.

    The Fourth Wall Is Fucked

    posted by on December 13 at 6:09 PM

    “On the first day of Christmas the liberals gave to me…”

    posted by on December 13 at 5:52 PM

    Conservatives: They can’t govern, they can’t sing. Click on this, if you dare:

    Good God. My ears, my eyes. I may never recover. At first I thought it was the Westboro Baptist Church choir. But those delusional haters can at least sing. These delusional douchebags can’t even keep the tempo—never mind the melody—of a well-known Christmas carol.

    And an end to secret ballots? Huh? What? Would someone put these assboogers out of our misery? And how can this crass and political appropriation not be seen as an attack on Christianity and Christmas? Blarph.

    Via Wonkette.

    Republican Evolution

    posted by on December 13 at 5:52 PM

    Fred Jarrett is the new Rodney Tom. Here’s Rep. Fred Jarrett’s (D-41, Mercer Is., Bellevue, Issaquah, Newcastle, Renton) statement on his decision to switch parties today from Republican to Democrat.

    After many months of careful consideration and many conversations with my family and supporters I have decided to run for the 41st District Senate seat as a Democrat in the 2008 election. This is not a decision I make lightly.

    Forty years ago, I volunteered on my first Republican campaign. Later, I worked on Dan Evan’s first gubernatorial campaign and came of age during his time as governor. In the decades since, I’ve served as a Republican precinct committee officer, legislative district chair and legislator.

    It has been a difficult journey from the party I volunteered for in the 1960s, to the Republican Party of today. I have, I think, remained true to Republican values of investment in education and transportation, civil rights, environmental protection, and well managed and effective government. And, I’ve felt an obligation to work within the party to maintain or restore those traditions.

    Yet over the years, while those values have remained important to the 41st District and to me, the Republican Party has evolved in different directions.

    I have always held the belief that a legislative body functions best with a diversity of political and opinion – and that open and honest debate is essential to the development of good legislation. The two-party system has been central to this.

    Yet, it has become clear to me over the years that my philosophy of government and my approach to problem-solving is increasingly at odds with my colleagues in the Republican caucus.

    I retain a great respect for my Republican legislative colleagues. They represent their districts well. But, individually and regionally we see the legislative process in different ways.

    My goal as a member of the state legislature has always been to accomplish results for my district and state. I try to approach issues with an open mind and seek solutions that are in the best interests of my constituents - not what is best for any political party or re-election campaign. This has meant working to craft legislation that can win support from both sides of the aisle rather than trying to create campaign issues for the next election.

    I am proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish by working across the aisle in Olympia.

    We face very difficult problems in this state – problems that cry-out for thoughtful, bi-partisan solutions: Creating Twenty-First Century education and transportation systems, protecting our environment and assuring that state government accomplishes its mission effectively and efficiently.

    I have concluded I can work best for the interests of the 41st District as a Senate Democrat. I think I can accomplish more for transportation, education and other important issues confronting our state as a Senate Democrat.

    Many have told me that this is a politically risky move – that I should be content to stay in my current position where my re-election is more certain. But I don’t want to be a state legislator simply for the sake of being in office – I want to make a difference.

    I have also been told that this move will cause some to say that I am abandoning the Republican Party. Yet I am the same person today that I was when first elected to public office in 1979.

    There is no perfect political party, neither Republican nor Democratic. But those who wish to serve the public must choose regardless.

    I have concluded that my vision for the state and our government has a better fit with the Democratic Party. I could have waited until after the upcoming legislative session to announce this decision but that would have not been the fair thing to do. I wanted my constituents and house colleagues to know of my decision.

    It has been my honor over the last seven years to represent the 41st District in the state House of Representatives. I hope to continue representing the 41st District in the future.

    Letter of the Day

    posted by on December 13 at 5:30 PM

    90% of the letters we get in the news department are from angry people, telling us what assholes we are for whatever.

    But, every once in a while, we’ll get a coherent, friendly letter, which reminds us that not everyone is as hateful as the commentors on Slog. (personal to Sloggers: see you guys in about 15)

    Dear Stranger Staff:

    I would like to express my most sincere gratitude for your fearless (and completely accurate) expose of my brutal arrest on 11/27. Jonah Spangenthal-Lee deserves a lot of respect for daring to bring this injustice to the public’s attention. My most heartfelt thanks go to all the passers-by who offered their testimonials, as well.
    I have been unable to raise the $10,000 bail and feeling really lousy in here. The envelope with the article arrived yesterday and has renewed my spirit and restored my faith in humanity.
    Thank you for caring Seattle! How marvelous to live in a city where all don’t turn a blind eye to injustices they see.
    I am determined to pursue justice in this case and am humbly in your debt for the city’s unified act of conscience. Hopefully we partially reduce the threat of police brutality by removing these psychopathic officers from duty for a while.

    Very Gratefully Yours,

    Mark Hays,
    Currently at King Co. Jail
    500 5th Ave.
    Seattle, WA 98104

    ST Board Meeting: Nickels is the New Chair. Light Rail 2008 in Play.

    posted by on December 13 at 4:41 PM

    Today’s Sound Transit Board meeting immediately jumped into a discussion about when and why Sound Transit should go back the voters in ‘08.

    Staff, along with its consultant Anne Fennessy of Cocker Fennessy, made a presentation to the board, based on a three-county survey they did. Over 2100 people filled out an on-line survey—the majority coming in from King County.

    The findings sure seemed lined up to make the case that Sound Transit should go back to voters in ‘08.

    Some findings they hyped:

    Asked when a transportation measure should be presented to voters— 2008 was the huge winner. 64% said a transit only measure should go before voters in 2008. (43% said a roads only measure should go before voters in ‘08.)

    Asked what made Prop. 1 lose—47% of those surveyed said roads and transit should have been separate measures. (The largest block, 48% said it cost too much.)

    I should add: 31% said a joint measure should go before voters in 2008. However, 27%—the second biggest percentage on that idea—said no joint measure.

    The theme from staff: Prop 1’s loss was not a rejection of transit, but rejection of the package.

    A couple of footnotes on the meeting:

    1) Board member and King County Executive Ron Sims warned the board to make sure they kept the governor and legislative leaders in the loop. “There shouldn’t be an appearance of moving forward without engaging government leaders.” This was pretty funny given that Sims totally left people like Governor Gregoire out of the loop earlier this year before he came out against Prop. 1.

    2) Greg Nickels was elected the new chair.

    Sweeney Todd’s London

    posted by on December 13 at 4:30 PM


    Tim Burton’s new film has few minor problems in the historical accuracy department. Londoners have noted that Big Ben, pictured in the above publicity still, wasn’t constructed until 1856. Which would be roughly fifty years after Tim Burton’s new film is set. But Big Ben isn’t in the film, just this one publicity image, which was pulled after the the inaccuracy was brought to the attention of the filmmakers.

    But the film opens with a shot of a ship sailing up (or down?) the River Thames—right under a “not fully finished” Tower Bridge, according to the book about the film. Construction didn’t begin on Tower Bridge until 1886, and it wasn’t finished in 1894, which would be somewhere between eighty or ninety years after the Sweeney Todd is set.

    The ship moves past Tower Bridge and toward St. Paul’s cathedral—anyone know if that’s the direction a ship sailing into London would take on its way into town?

    Lost in Translation 2

    posted by on December 13 at 4:08 PM

    Wait, what?

    Rep. Jim McDermott says he’s no Grinch, even though he voted against Christmas.

    The veteran Seattle Democrat voted against a House resolution recognizing the importance of Christmas, but called it a protest against President Bush’s veto of a children’s health care bill.

    “While the Republicans are passing a resolution celebrating Christmas, the president was vetoing health care for children. There’s a little bit of irony going on around here,” McDermott said today.

    Earlier this year, McDermott voted in favor of resolutions honoring Ramadan and Diwali. Ramadan is an Islamic holiday, while Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and others.

    Lost in Translation, Found in Digital Processing

    posted by on December 13 at 3:41 PM

    I always wondered about the last, lost line Bill Murray whispered to Scarlet Johansson at the end of Lost in Translation.

    Those of you who loved the movie and thought it was perfect should probably savor the mystery. For the rest of us:

    Today in Line Out

    posted by on December 13 at 3:30 PM

    Nightlife Unlimited: TJ Gorton on “Love is in You”

    Tonight in Music: Panther, Waves of the Mind

    Strangercrombie Music Items of the Day: Parties, Parties, Parties

    Today in Music News: Harry Potter, Bow Wow, Tiffany and more…

    Musical Advent Calendar, Day 13: The Waitresses - “Christmas Wrapping”

    Masters of the Universe: Indie Labels Take on Camel, Rolling Stone’s “Indie Universe” Ad

    RIAA Sells Kirby a Beer: Not thatRIAA

    Gunshots, Explosions, & Such: Trent Moorman on Truckasauras

    Flickr Pool Photo of the Day: Heavy Trash at Chop Suey

    Changes at the Chop: Pete Greenberg to Take Over for Kris K

    O They Will Know We Are Christians By…

    posted by on December 13 at 3:27 PM

    …the children we murder.

    Almost everyone goes to church here. Driving through the town of Esit Eket, the rust-streaked signs, tarpaulins hung between trees and posters on boulders, advertise a church for every third or fourth house along the road. Such names as New Testament Assembly, Church of God Mission, Mount Zion Gospel, Glory of God, Brotherhood of the Cross, Redeemed, Apostalistic. Behind the smartly painted doors pastors make a living by ‘deliverances’—exorcisms—for people beset by witchcraft, something seen to cause anything from divorce, disease, accidents or job losses. With so many churches it’s a competitive market, but by local standards a lucrative one.

    But an exploitative situation has now grown into something much more sinister as preachers are turning their attentions to children—naming them as witches. In a maddened state of terror, parents and whole villages turn on the child. They are burnt, poisoned, slashed, chained to trees, buried alive or simply beaten and chased off into the bush.

    Some parents scrape together sums needed to pay for a deliverance—sometimes as much as three or four months’ salary for the average working man—although the pastor will explain that the witch might return and a second deliverance will be needed. Even if the parent wants to keep the child, their neighbours may attack it in the street.

    Christ almighty.

    You’ve Responded!

    posted by on December 13 at 3:02 PM

    Thank you to everyone that sent in assignments. These are all the assignments I’ve received so far:

    Teasing someone’s cat with yarn, helping behind the scenes at the Northwest Film Forum holiday party, helping behind the scenes at the Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Show, installing an ice sculpture designed by Alex Schweder, babysitting a six-year-old who likes to go to Petco and stare at animals, babysitting for someone who told me I could watch their porno after the baby fell asleep, painting a hallway at a gay law firm, slathering wax on some women’s dread locks, gold farming with a World of Warcraft addict, raking the leaves in front of City Hall, building a sex fort in someone’s bedroom, painting an overwhelmed mother’s master bedroom, expressing someone’s anal glands (not feasible), raising 250,000 dollars for the Seattle LGBT Center (also not feasible), opening presents with someone else’s family on Christmas day…..

    The couple that sent Dan’s favorite email (which involved driving drunk folks from holiday party to holiday party) just cancelled on me.

    Charlie Crist: Fair Game

    posted by on December 13 at 2:54 PM

    Anti-gay bigots have gathered enough signatures to put a state anti-gay marriage amendment on the ballot in Florida next November. One of the signatures they managed to gather was that of Florida’s Republican governor, Charlie Crist. “Why is this significant?” asks Towleroad rhetorically.

    Well, besides telling the Miami Herald earlier this year that the GOP should stop pouring money into anti-gay initiatives, there’s the little matter of persistent rumors that Crist, like Foley, Haggard, Craig, Curtis, Allen, et al, is a big, fat, fucking faggot.

    For a complete rundown of the Crist rumors, go to Towleroad.

    And to any male escorts, toilet cruisers, or conscience-stricken homos out there reading this, it this silver fox has ever wrapped his lips around your cock…


    …now’s the time to speak up, boys.

    Abridged Field Guide to Slog Commenters

    posted by on December 13 at 2:52 PM

    (In honor of the inaugural SLOG happy hour…)

    Chameleon Framiliaris
    Distinguishing Characteristics:
    A clever and fantastic one-off name relevant to the original post.
    Sample Comment:

    it was totally a bicyclist.

    Posted by critical masshole | December 13, 2007 1:04 PM

    With provocation, Chameleon Framiliaris can convert into any of a variety of trollis forms.
    Scientists hypothesize this is due to the increased anonynimity of the commenter, an application of the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theorem thesis.

    Compulsivaris Insightfulian
    Distinguishing Characteristics:
    Consistent commenting, on nearly every post, but with something interesting, enlightening or entertaining to say
    Sample Comment:

    I’m still waiting for someone to tell me what the actual effects of steroid use on a BASEBALL player are — how many home runs, exactly, how many strikeouts, and how that’s different than the drugs that Babe Ruth or Mickey Mantle took; or how trying to win with steroids is worse than trying to win with biomechanical research, high-tech composites in your shoes, and so forth; and what it says about the era immediately PRECEDING this one, when steroids were much more prevalent — and more primitive — but no one ever got caught.

    And of course the coming era, which has probably already started, when players take substances that work ten times better than steroids but can’t be traced or tested for. There’s no test for HGH, even, and that’s old school already.

    Posted by Fnarf | December 13, 2007 9:12 AM

    Can be provoked to extreme fits of anger by imbecilic comments.

    Compulsivaris Framiliaris
    Distinguishing Characteristics:
    Consistent commenting, on nearly every post, generally entertaining and obnoxious
    Sample Comment:

    I honestly don’t believe in addiction, Judah. Sorry. Not me. And I’ve had this argument 3,000,000 times already, so let’s just agree that you’re right and I’m wrong.
    Posted by Mr. Poe | December 4, 2007 1:38 PM

    May lack self-awareness. (See comment above as well as the definition of addictive behavior.)

    Compulsivaris Insightfulian Crankus
    Distinguishing Characteristics:
    Persistent commenting on many posts, but with a contrarian’s bent. Frequently viciously obnoxious, but also interesting to read.
    Sample Comment:

    So because you don’t wear proper attire and are scared of making a claim on your insurance and hence refuse neccesary medical care, we need to avoid building mass/rapid transit?

    Sorry dude, you’re the dumbass. Stay out of the ruts, duh…

    Posted by ecce homo | December 7, 2007 1:35 PM

    The voice of this group is remarkably similar to A Birch Steen. Some have hypothesized that these “many” commenters are in fact Mr. Steen under various guises.

    Trollis Framiliaris
    Distinguishing Characteristics:
    Obnoxious off-topic comments designed to provoke. Often repetitive, noise-like.
    Sample Comment:

    Jews can be athiests and still believe that g-d gave us Israel. Judaism is a much more sophisticated religion. If Bill Nye had said G-d didn’t give Israel to the Jews, that would be something to worry about.

    The idiot Christians must be forced to give up their g-d, but the Jews will always have Israel because g-d gave it to us. This cognitive dissonance is beyond the intellectual capabilities of most goi, and especially shiksa.

    Posted by Issur | August 27, 2007 6:12 PM

    Do not feed the trolls.

    Compulsivaris Transitus
    Distinguishing Characteristics:
    Obsessive commenting on transit related posts.
    Sample Comment:


    Posted by Bellevue Ave | December 12, 2007 4:53 PM

    May be in other groups, but driven to new levels of rage by minor disagreements on transit policy.

    Seattle in Miami 2007

    posted by on December 13 at 2:50 PM

    It used to be that the story of Seattle galleries and artists at Art Basel Miami Beach was simple: Underdog prevails.

    Now, the plot has twisted.

    It all began three Decembers ago. Frustrated that the Northwest was invisible at the major annual art fair in Miami—the biggest fair in the country—Seattle artists Jaq Chartier and Dirk Park decided to start their own. They found an open-air motel called Aqua across the street from the beach, and turned it into Aqua Art Miami during the run of the main fair at the nearby convention center.

    The first year, 2005, was an innocent thrill: We’re here! There were only a handful of satellite fairs like Aqua.

    By the second year, Miami was a cash cow for some Seattle galleries as well as the fuel behind a new sense of national and international ambition for Seattle artists. (The connections artists and dealers make in Miami can be as important as the sales.) Here’s my report from the front.

    But there was a dark side: The number of satellite fairs had risen to more than 12 and it was next to impossible to see everything, let alone for everybody to come away with sales.

    And then, the franchise exploded.

    More Seattle galleries than ever went to Miami to sell art last week: 10.

    Aqua itself doubled, spinning off another satellite from its original hotel satellite, this one called Aqua Wynwood and held in a high-ceilinged warehouse where booths with permanent walls could house art better than a series of hotel rooms.

    And the number of satellite fairs rose to a totally unmanageable 21.

    Not everybody came away satisfied this time around.

    The greatest discrepancy between this year and last happened at Lawrimore Project. Last year, LP sold more than $100,000 of art in a matter of hours and, over the four days, placed seven pieces by four artists in museum collections.

    This year, “it was dramatically different,” dealer Lawrimore said.

    It was supposed to be dramatic: Lawrimore moved from the hotel to the large loading dock area in the Aqua warehouse fair, and hauled several of his artists down to Miami in order to make large new installations for the occasion.

    At the Lawrimore Project booth: LED screen by Sabrina Raaf, wire sculpture in mid-air by Lead Pencil Studio, floor sculptures by Cris Bruch, blinking neon sign by Anne Mathern, photographs by Liz Cohen (left) and Susan Robb (right), “black box” area at back right with work by Tivon Rice, Susie Lee, and Charles LaBelle.

    At the Lawrimore Project booth: Alex Schweder’s “snowball” doorway with horse cops.

    The gamble didn’t pay off. Technical difficulties riddled the most prominent of the new works, by Alex Schweder, and another piece, a gravitron by Sami Ben Larbi, was very loud and required loads of electricity. “I just didn’t make any friends whatsoever,” Lawrimore said of the Aqua organizers and the other dealers in the warehouse.

    Lawrimore Project made a few sales, including Lead Pencil Studio’s 4 Corners and Susan Robb’s Toobs (and an Isaac Layman photograph to SF dealer Rena Bransten), but he lost money and made a fraction as many connections as he’d hoped for.

    He blames it on a lack of traffic at the new Aqua Wynwood, and says he won’t be working with Aqua organizers Chartier and Dirk again: “Next year I feel like we either have to get into the big fair, Pulse, or NADA, or nothing.”

    Chartier said she’s aware that Aqua Wynwood didn’t get enough foot traffic, but that next year will be better. There were other problems, too, said Carrie E.A. Scott of James Harris Gallery, another Seattle venue that showed at Aqua Wynwood this year—the warehouse was hard to find and a lack of signs made things worse. Plus, the fair didn’t have a swanky opening party to announce itself.

    But James Harris Gallery fared better than last year, selling artists across the board and placing work internationally, Scott said.

    At the James Harris Gallery booth: works by (clockwise starting at lower left) Tania Kitchell, Marcelino Goncalves, Scott Foldesi, Mary Ann Peters, Steve Davis, Claude Zervas, and Rashid Johsnon.

    “We sold more than last year, and we loved the fair, and we thought it was a huge success,” she said. “If I’m perfectly honest, it was quiet. There were moments where we needed critical mass, and it wasn’t there. Aqua knows that and they know what they need to do to fix that. But I think that they will next year. The buzz that was built by that program—it was a kickass building. It really was a clever buildout.”

    James Harris wants to return to Aqua Wynwood next year, Scott said.

    Portland’s Elizabeth Leach Gallery was also at Aqua Wynwood. Gallery director Daniel Peabody said sales were parallel to last year, when the gallery was at the Aqua hotel fair. He echoed the concerns of the other dealers about the lack of foot traffic (“there was not much parking, and not much signage”), but said, “Our experience was good this year; we anticipate it being great next year.” Elizabeth Leach wants to return to Aqua Wynwood.

    Where Seattle galleries were once housed exclusively at Aqua, now they’ve become scattered. The Aqua hotel still hosted four Seattle galleries this year: Howard House and Platform, returning, and Roq La Rue and G. Gibson, first-timers to Miami.

    It was an unmitigated success for Howard House, said dealer Billy Howard. “It was better than last year. I can not tell you how happy I am. It felt good, and people were really happy, and everybody we took we did really well with,” he said.

    Aside from sales of work by Gretchen Bennett, Mark Miller, Robert Yoder, and John Haddock, a trustee of the New Museum of Contemporary Art bought a Cat Clifford piece.

    Outside the Howard House room at Aqua: work by Lauren Grossman and Oscar Tuazon and Eli Hansen.

    “The hotel fair at Aqua is a true Miami fair—it’s about art and about being in Miami,” Howard said. “After the first, like, three hours, I went down and told Jaq that I wanted to come back next year because things had been flying off the walls.”

    Platform sold a Scott Fife sculpture within five minutes of opening, and also sold several works by almost all of the gallery’s other artists, a lineup that included Jesse Burke, Carlee Fernandez, Matt Sellars, Marc Dombrosky, and William Powhida.

    But “I just think that the saturation point was reached with so many fairs,” said Platform co-director Stephen Lyons. “In terms of overall sales, it was less than last year.”

    Platform is not sure yet whether it will return to the hotel next year. “We’d like to check in with other dealers,” Lyons said. “See how Pulse did, how (Aqua) Wynwood did.”

    Greg Kucera Gallery and Winston Wächter Fine Art found themselves at Art Miami, a fair formerly held in January but moved to coincide with Basel, and targeting blue-chip dealers.

    At the Greg Kucera Gallery booth: Greg Kucera standing, with works by (l-r) Margie Livingston, Dan Webb, Chris Engman (photograph), Jack Daws (penny), Peter Millett (sculpture above).

    Kucera said this year was a total success. The gallery sold works by Deborah Butterworth, Margie Livingston, Marie Watt, Whiting Tennis, and others. The floor was a little lumpy because the fair was built on an empty lot, but it didn’t bother Kucera much, he said. For next year, he plans to stick with Art Miami. “That’s the fair that has the most to gain, because there’s a lot of dealers who want to find a venue that will really compete head-to-head with Art Basel,” Kucera said.

    Winston Wächter, which has locations in New York and Seattle, was in both Art Miami and a fair called Flow, and “we were very pleased,” said Seattle director Stacey Winston-Levitan. “We made money plus a lot of contacts.” Susan Dory and Betsy Eby were the only artists from Seattle that the gallery represented in Miami.

    Roq La Rue and G. Gibson, also at the Aqua hotel, both want to return to Miami for a second time next year. Both made profits and connections, just as they’d hoped. “They say if you break even, it’s a good fair; if you make money, it’s a great fair; and we made money, so it was a great fair,” said Gail Gibson. “It’s like paying for a great big advertisement.”

    Two more Seattle galleries—Miami first-timers—could be found at the new hotel fair Art Now, another spinoff of a spinoff.

    There, Viveza Art Experience made only one sale but hopes to do it again next year. “It’s freeing not having to worry about making local sales or focusing on the first-time buyer market as we have,” Viveza director Michael Rivera-Dirks wrote in an email. “It’s really exciting to be developing our aesthetic and receiving confirmation from national perspectives that we are on the right track.”

    Patricia Cameron Fine Art also plans to return to Miami. “All my artists received incredible attention,” Cameron said. “We met some very important curators, so that was exciting to me.”

    Ironically, all four of the Seattle galleries new to Miami this year—in addition to the veterans—complained that the fair was far too crowded. Several people said they thought this was the breaking point.

    Nobody said they were staying away next year.

    Cute Baby Elephant Death

    posted by on December 13 at 2:44 PM

    This story about whether to artificially inseminate one of the elephants at Woodland Park Zoo is days old, but I’m just catching up. Briefly, there is a lady elephant, named Chai, whose daughter Hansa died in June from elephant herpes.

    Here’s a photo of the cute little Hansa:


    And here’s a photo of a cute little kid crying over Hansa’s death (courtesy of KOMO):


    Now the zoo wants Chai knocked up again (they say because breeding is good for the worldwide elephant population; cynics say because baby animals are good for ticket sales). The zoo wants to import semen from a Toronto stud named Rex but animal rights groups want the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to seize the semen at the border.

    Nobody knows much about elephant herpes except that it’s gross: it causes lesions and excessive internal bleeding, especially in the elephants’ hearts. Nobody knows how it’s passed, how Hansa got it, if Chai or Rex has it—but the animal-rights people would rather not risk another cute baby elephant death.

    The story is inspiring colorful headlines—”Elephant’s semen stirs controversy,” courtesy of the Victoria Times Colonist— but it’s deeply unsatisfying.

    Are the animal-rights people kooks? Are the zoo people being greedy? How important is it to keep breeding elephants in captivity? What’s up with this elephant herpes? Why can’t they just test Rex and Chai for it?

    And more importantly—the mechanics. How do people masturbate elephants? What kind of container do you ship elephant semen in? If the U.S. Fish and Wildlife people seized the semen, what would they do with it? And if they don’t, how are the people at Woodland Park going to get it inside Chai? With some dirty Animal Kingdom videos1 and an elephant-sized turkey baster?

    The public demands to know!

    1 Here’s a candidate.

    Playboy Funnies

    posted by on December 13 at 1:52 PM

    From my April 1971 issue of Playboy


    Super Supermajority Democrats

    posted by on December 13 at 1:34 PM

    Postman has the scoop: Eastside Republican state Rep. Fred Jarrett is changing parties.

    And so, now that there are more of you, please check out the To Do list I published in this week’s paper.

    Elect Greg Nickels

    posted by on December 13 at 1:31 PM

    This is a first … (at least since enthusiastically supporting his candidacy in 2001 … but then becoming disenchanted) … I enthusiastically support his candidacy again.

    There’s some unscripted business going on at today’s Sound Transit board meeting. They’re electing a new board chair. And Mayor Greg Nickels wants it.

    Given that Nickels has called for a 2008 vote on light rail and could wield some bully pulpit Seattle power to that end—I want him. Technically, it’s Snohomish County’s turn to field the chair. Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon might go after the spot. (The outgoing chair is Pierce County’s John Ladenburg.)

    They just started the meeting (where they’re talking about their Oly agenda.) I’ll let you know how it all goes.

    SLUT Sabotage?

    posted by on December 13 at 1:29 PM

    Somebody really hates the SLUT.

    Yesterday evening, the King County Sherrif’s office was called in after a trolley conductor spotted a “handball” sized ball bearing on trolley track at Westlake Avenue and Thomas St.

    “We checked the rest of the tracks and we didn’t find any others,” says Sergeant John Urquhart, spokesman for the King County Sheriff’s office. “[But] We are treating it seriously. There could have been serious damage to the street car, but it’s unlikely it could have derailed it.”

    Urquhart says anyone caught tampering with the tracks could be charged with reckless endangerment and/or vandalism and malicious mischief. According to Urquhart, the King County Sheriff’s office and Metro Transit are discussing ways to prevent a similar incident in the future.

    Someone Hates The SLUT

    posted by on December 13 at 12:57 PM

    The King County Sheriff’s Office is trying to find out who put ball bearings into the new South Lake Union streetcar tracks on Wednesday afternoon, causing a brief train delay.

    The incident is being investigated as reckless endangerment, a gross misdemeanor, sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart said Thursday.

    One of the bearings, shown to The Seattle Times by a transit supervisor Wednesday night, was a bit larger than a golf ball and weighed more than 1 pound.

    Evel’s Funeral Frenzy: A Post Mortem Addendum, Plus! Matthew McConaughey is a Big Douche!

    posted by on December 13 at 12:54 PM

    Matthew McConaughey, televangelist Robert H. Schuller, old people, fireworks, 3,000 mourning mourners and “children’s letters to Evel” sent heavenward tied to balloons (for a fee)…DAMMIT! Aren’t you so depressed that you didn’t get to attend Evel Knievel’s funeral? Couldn’t you just blow your brains out, if only those douchebag liberals would allow you easier access to a nice handgun? Me too! But fret no more: Random YouTube searches and clever cullings culled from something called The Montana Standard have come to our collective rescue!

    And it begins with a touch of atmosphere:

    Light snow fell as mourners began lining up before 7 a.m. waiting for the Civic Center to open. During the nearly three-hour viewing, a steady flow of mourners passed the open casket, which was surrounded by red poinsettias and American flags. Ushers clad in white suits seated people as strains of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” could be heard throughout the Civic Center.

    Yes, he actually lay there, really quite dead and rather Irishly open-casketed, as 3,000 weeping Butte-icians or whatever crept by and gaped at him, a la Eva Peron. (Evel-ita! Evel-ita!)

    Then we get a little of the MSNBC perspective (beware hidden propaganda!):

    Next, we dive head first into frantic celebrity sightings of Matthew McConaughey, who eats his burgers pickely and hot, thanks, dude:

    Bill DePell, a server and bartender at the sports bar, told The Montana Standard (that) the actor ordered a Grand Slam, a large hamburger, and added jalapeños and extra pickles. “He said we should make a burger named after him that’s like the one he had.” But McConaughey made his own Atkins diet-friendly modifications to the sandwich…He took off the top bun and pulled all the bread out of (it),” and then returned the hollowed-out slice to the burger. He kept saying ‘No worries’ a lot….he called me dude a couple of times.”

    Dude, indeed. And now we finally come to the shakey bootleg of Matthew’s speech (keep your shirt on!) which was very…er…uh…yeah. And please to note: He’s speaking from the same stage from which I got my high school diploma:

    He’s forever in flah-yat nah-yuh…he dudn’t have to come back daay-yown, he dudn’t have to lay-und”, indeed. Matthew McConaughey is, of course, an enormous dork. And sounds an awful lot like Carol Channing, come to think of it.

    And then of course, nothing in Butte—and especially no funeral—could ever possibly be complete without exploding things and a ton of honking:

    Larry King was rumored to have attended too, but I can’t find any proof. And I didn’t look very hard. But that is the last we’ll probably hear from Evel Knievel. For now. Over.

    Touch the sky, you glorious bastard!

    The Unusual Stuff

    posted by on December 13 at 12:49 PM

    For the person who has everything…

    Pins and Needles. Current bid: $43.

    Ten free games of bowling at Imperial Lanes and a seven-foot-tall artificial Christmas tree from Champion Party Supply. A $200 value.


    Laff Hole Roast. Current bid: $107.

    It’s like a night with Shriners, but everyone’s 80 years younger. It begins with a private party for 20 guests at Chop Suey catered by Soy Cowboy, then drink tickets and free admission to Laff Hole, by the ever-funnier comedians of the People’s Republic of Komedy, and a roast of the person of your choice (must be a willing participant). You will never stop laughing. Ever.

    Your Band’s Big Break. Current bid: $567.99

    This seven-part package has everything you need to leap from your bedroom to the big stage—studio time, gigs, a guitar, legal consultation, a photo shoot, styling, and a promise from Barsuk to listen to your demo. Behold: It starts with a beautiful white Epiphone G-310 guitar; eight hours in the studio at Electrokitty Recording (previous clients include Maktub, Mastodon, and U2); mastering by Sound Media (12 songs or up 74 minutes of music); a photo shoot with Stranger and Rolling Stone photographer Justin Renney; styling for the shoot by Christine Cherbonnier of VAIN; an hour of legal consultation with entertainment lawyer Wade Neal, esquire; four gigs at Sunset Tavern; and, of course, the star-makers at Barsuk will listen to your demo.

    Get Smart. Current bid: $330.

    One free SAT, LSAT, GRE, or GMAT preparation course, courtesy of the Princeton Review. Plus a $50 gift certificate to Elliott Bay Book Company to get you started on your textbooks. Plus-plus a $25 gift certificate to the Crypt, in the hopes you find a less expensive way to express your masochism than higher education. A $2,200 value.

    A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Opera. Current bid: $173.50.

    Two tickets to the Sunday, January 20, matinee performance of Pagliacci—the tragedy of a fatal love triangle in a commedia dell’arte troupe—at Seattle Opera. Plus, for the purposes of staging your own fatal love triangle, a paperback copy of The Threesome Handbook: A Practical Guide to Sleeping with Three by Vicki Vantoch. And, speaking of threes, you also get a $100 gift certificate to the Triple Door, the perfect setting for jazz shows or chamber-music concerts or adulterous assignations. A $340 value.

    View a complete list of the actions here.


    Strangercrombie: Once a year, we do something good.

    On Ought

    posted by on December 13 at 12:08 PM

    We already know that economic power or intercourse structures and restructures the entire body of the English language. For example, when French was the prestige language in England (1066-1200), English was reshaped by the force of French economic power, by the way it operated, which was through juridical or law institutions: courts, policing, documents, and so on. To this day, we speak in French when we speak in our legal language. But here is a curious and not irrelevant development. Around the 17th century, the meaning of the word “ought” changed in the English language. “Ought” used to designate ownership. To ought a debt, or a house, or a horse, meant to “own” it. That was the case until the 17th century, the beginning of the modern period, the moment when Europe departs from feudal society and travels to a capitalist one. At this point, the word “ought” makes a telling transition; and I believe there is a connection between the shift in the word and the shift in the economy. That shift injects “ought” with a new moral connotation, a new moral substance. After the 17th century, in the area of history between the fully medieval/Aristotelian order and the fully capitalist/Galilean one, “ought” begins to mean: “This is something you must do”; or: “This is the right thing to do.” You ought not do this or that because it is wrong and you owe to yourself to do the right thing. The shift in the word calls into being a subject that sees ownership in moral/legal terms. The word change establishes and reinforces the subject of capitalist economics and interpellation.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on December 13 at 12:00 PM

    And then there’s this, from photo pooler The Real Mike Wilkes.


    There Is No Morality Without Religion

    posted by on December 13 at 11:38 AM

    Police in southern India are hunting for two men who attacked a Hindu holy man, cut off his right leg and then made off with it. The 80-year-old holy man, Yanadi Kondaiah, claimed to have healing powers in the leg.

    He is now recovering from his ordeal in hospital in the city of Tirupati in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

    Mitchell Report: Who From Seattle?

    posted by on December 13 at 11:30 AM

    A straight list of the players in today’s steroids- and HDH-loaded Mitchell Report tied to the Seattle Mariners:

    Ryan Franklin
    Ismael Valdez
    Jose Guillen
    Jim Parque (AAA league)
    Fernando Vina
    Todd Williams
    Ron Villone
    Glenallen Hill
    Josias Manzanillo
    David Segui

    Not much in the way of huge revelations here, as more than a few of these names have already been publicly outed, while the others didn’t deliver any, uh, Roger Clemens-level contributions to the Mariners. The full PDF, along with a quick-and-dirty summary (Barry Bonds—SHOCKER) is up at The Smoking Gun.

    Tonight Is the Night

    posted by on December 13 at 11:04 AM


    The Slog community is gathering at Moe Bar tonight for the first go at a new monthly party (provided we get through tonight with no fist fights). You’ll find name tags, Stranger swag, happy-hour drink specials, and Sloggers near the back of the bar.

    LiveBlogging the Democratic Debate

    posted by on December 13 at 11:00 AM

    Here we go. Y’all should know the drill by now… Mute button for the typing sound is on the bottom of the widget, and so is the portal for sending me comments/bitchy remarks/astounding insights that I can drop into the liveblog.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on December 13 at 11:00 AM


    (a pistol fit in one act)’
    at On the Boards

    This is the production I’ve been waiting for all year: an adaptation of Hedda Gabler, directed by Genius Award–winner Jennifer Zeyl at the Genius Award–winning On the Boards, performed by Marya Sea Kaminski, Lathrop Walker, and other genius actors of Washington Ensemble Theatre. The title demonstrates these guys know precisely what they’re doing—you’ll never hear a better summary of Hedda’s plot. Expect this to be smart, fast, physical (actors will literally climb the walls), and maybe a little lewd. (On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. 8 pm, $18, through Dec 17.)


    The Future of Affordable Housing

    posted by on December 13 at 10:59 AM

    I have piece in this week’s issue about the proposed citywide expansion of a downtown program that allows developers to exceed height limits in certain zones if they build affordable housing, or pay into the city-managed housing fund. But no matter how this zoning incentive program debate settles, Seattle still won’t have enough affordable housing.

    Carla Okigwe, Executive Director of the Housing Developing Consortium of Seattle-King County, estimates Seattle must build 155,000 units for low-to-moderate wage earners in the next ten years. But non-profits can only construct one-third of those units, she says. Market incentive must drive construction of the other two-thirds. So how do we do that?

    1) Expand the height-bonus area to mixed-use zones around entire city and bump up the affordable housing fee from $19 per-square-foot to at least $25—as a penalty for developers who choose to omit affordable housing from new buildings. We need housing now, not years after developers pay into a fund.

    2) Rezone arterials in the Central District: Between downtown and MLK Way, on Jackson St, Yesler St, Cherry St, and Union St (plus MLK Way and 23rd Ave) units that face the street and their adjacent lots should all be zoned for 40’ mixed-use development. Property values are soaring in the CD and this would create more affordable units there. Owners whose houses are rezoned may bitch and moan, but their property values would increase overnight, and these are the primary arterials between the closest residential neighborhoods to the downtown core. As an incentive to build apartments there, provide developers a height bonus to reach 65’, waive the ground-level retail requirement, and dismiss the affordable housing penalty if they construct rental units.

    3) Provide an incentive to develop small-unit and family condos: Any residential building that averages fewer than 550 square feet per unit or builds three-bedrooms units less than 1000 square feet should be allowed to use the height bonus without paying into the affordable housing fund—because that is creating affordable housing.

    We can’t rely on a city-managed fund as the end-all solution to the affordable housing shortage; it pushes money around City Hall and the Office of Housing, and people will still be in committee meetings deliberating over proposals when cockroaches rule the earth. Developers are always lobbying the council for a laundry list of zoning changes, but these should be made in 2008.

    Horrifying New Twist in Colorado Shootings

    posted by on December 13 at 10:58 AM

    Claims that Colorado killer Matthew Murray may have been driven to his crimes by “ex-gay” Christian conversion therapy.

    Thanks for the tip, Towleroad.

    Nordstrom’s Racks

    posted by on December 13 at 10:43 AM

    Coming down the escalator at Nordstrom last night we encountered…


    …hordes of glossy nude-but-nippleless female torsos. I didn’t have a problem with it, Nordstrom, although my ten year-old was thoroughly scandalized. But you must be getting complaints from more conservative parents. Your store is crawling with kids, Santa has taken up residence on the corner, and you fill the first floor with unclothed, headless torsos? Again, I don’t have a problem with it. But your typical customer must, right?

    Democratic Debate in… One Hour?!?

    posted by on December 13 at 10:00 AM

    Usually these debates take place in something much closer to prime time, but things are different over there in Iowa. Today at 11 a.m. PST all the Democratic presidential contenders will be squaring off in what could be a hugely important debate, given the power of the upcoming Iowa caucuses. It’s sponsored by the Des Moines Register.

    Will Clinton beat back the Obama surge? Will there be a question about the political use (and abuse) of Obama’s past cocaine use? Will Edwards pull the spotlight off of his two rivals and onto himself for a few moments?

    You can watch the debate online here, or join in my liveblogging right here on Slog.

    See you in an hour.

    Golden Globe Nominations Are Out

    posted by on December 13 at 10:00 AM

    Full press release here. There are seven nominees for best motion picture drama (there were a couple of ties), so with all the siphoning, the winner will be even less predictive of the Oscar winner than usual.

    The movie with the most nominations is Atonement. The awards ceremony will be broadcast on January 13, probably sans any funny jokes.

    In Defense of (and in Love with) Crowned

    posted by on December 13 at 9:49 AM

    As Eli noted yesterday, last night brought the premiere episode of Crowned, the new CW reality show in which teams of mother-daughter pageant queens live in a house together and compete for…something.

    Crowned is the first in an onslaught of nonscripted programs to hit the networks’ schedule since the Hollywood writers’ strike began,” notes the Washington Post. “If Crowned is any indicator of what to expect, viewers are in for a thoroughly depressing 2008.”

    That’s one way to look at it. Another is: holy crap! Despite it’s complete immersion in/obsession with/exploitation of grotesque meaningless bullshit, Crowned scores major points as a collection of uniquely awful human behavior.

    Among the premiere’s key delights:

    *The mandatory, introductory mini-performances given by each mother-daughter team, which ranged from bite-size raps to messily choreographed pose-dances to what looked like simultaneous acid flashbacks.

    *The team names chosen by the mother-daughter competitors, most of which deployed the word “bombshell” (the Blonde Bombshells, the Redheaded Bombshells). Leading the surreal team-name pack: Silent But Deadly, chosen by the mother-daughter pair that “may not say much, but when it comes time to deliver, we’re winners.” Neither mother nor daughter displayed any awareness of their moniker’s gassy connotation. (Such linguistic klutziness is also at play in the show’s title, which obviously refers to the crowning of pageant queens, but given the mother-daughter set-up, also serves to remind viewers that, once upon a time, the placenta-smeared skulls of half the contestants emerged from the other half of the contestants’ vaginas.)

    Needless to say, the whole thing’s terrible, but it’s terrible in some fascinating new ways, especially for those of us infected by Shari Cookson’s miraculous Living Dolls with a lifelong morbid obsession with all things beauty pageant.

    Crowned continues at 8pm Wednesday on the CW.

    A Blart for You

    posted by on December 13 at 9:30 AM


    What it is:
    Christ Town, Quincy, FL (2006, ultra-chrome ink jet print, by M. Laine Wyatt)
    Where it is:
    Punch Gallery

    This is a sneaky, sneaky photograph. At first it looks like a randomly disheveled scene. But is it? In the folksy mural of John the Baptist and Christ, the reflection of light on the ripple of the water around Christ’s waist is painted on. But there’s also a lamp set up in front of it that confuses things visually and symbolically. The lamp appears to be clamped to an aluminum tub that may or may not hold a little body of water itself. Four levels of greenery are visible, maybe five: real plants outdoors, fake plants indoors (real plants indoors?), painted trees, and the shadows of trees cast by light coming from the window at left and from an invisible source seen obliquely in a ray on the right wall. The ray points to the hands of the two men, which point at two different versions of the lamp—John’s hand toward the real lamp and Christ’s hand toward the shadow lamp. The shadow lamp points to the pew, which zigzags in a gesture unmistakably directed right at you.

    I recommend.

    Light Rail is Dead. Long Live Light Rail.

    posted by on December 13 at 9:07 AM

    During this year’s Prop 1 debate, I was repeatedly told that this was our last chance to get light rail: If we voted against expanding light rail now, we’d upend Sound Transit and the agency’s planners, engineers, and bureaucracy would simply vanish.

    The rejoinder ran in our endorsement issue earlier this year when we rejected the $17.8 billion package (which came with 182 miles of new roads):

    Supporters of the roads and transit package love to talk about all the light rail we’ll be giving away if we don’t vote for the $17.8 billion package. The SECB sees it differently. If we turn roads and transit down, the invaluable transit side of the package can come back next year (which would be great given that Democratic Party turnout will be huge), or else in 2009, when the light rail track from Sea-Tac Airport to downtown will be rolling out and making the on-the-ground case for expansion. True: Voters turned down a rail package in 1968. But this isn’t 1968. This is 2007. Global warming is an international crisis, Al Gore just won the Nobel Peace Prize, and Sound Transit is already building a $5.7 billion line that will demand expansion in its own right.

    The Sound Transit board is meeting today to decide on its course of action in Olympia for the upcoming session.

    Here’s the question the board will take up today: Should they push for a light rail vote in 2008 or 2010? (They don’t want to be on the ballot in 2009 because it’s an off-year election, and they want the big Democratic turnout that’ll will come in 2008 or 2010.)

    Sound Transit obediently went along with the moronic marriage Gov. Gregoire and the legislature forced on them—going to the ballot with roads this year. Olympia’s harebrained idea was supposed to neutralize anti-transit and anti-roads opposition, but instead it compounded that opposition.

    Sound Transit believes the legislature owes them. They’re right.

    Bad Day For Baseball

    posted by on December 13 at 8:55 AM

    The Mitchell Report—the long investigation of steroids and baseball—is set to be released in about an hour. ESPN is in full MAJOR STORY mode, and already the appearance of one big name in the report has been leaked:

    Some folks on the union side have been hinting that the Mitchell investigators requested the company of big-time stars as they looked into allegations of performance-enhancing drugs. “Landscape-changing names,” said one agent. “Names that will change the way we look at the sport.”

    It is unclear whether these players were merely asked as a formality or if, in fact, the investigators had some evidence that they wanted to present to the players for a response. The reason for the intrigue is not just to satisfy our gossipy curiosity: As we have seen with Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds, legacies — and Hall of Fame candidacies — can be devastated when a player is tied to the steroids mess. Based on early reports by ESPN, at least Roger Clemens’ name will appear in the report.

    It’s going to be a long day for America’s pastime.

    Update: ESPN is now reporting Andy Pettitte’s name is also listed in the report. Pettitte just signed a one year, $16 million contract with the Yankees.

    Missing Jack?

    posted by on December 13 at 8:34 AM

    He’s off Project Runway… but Jack’s Flashdance parody is all over YouTube:

    Via Towleroad.

    Advertisers Get Inside Your Head

    posted by on December 13 at 8:12 AM

    Uh… this seems creepy. And it seems like an invasion of privacy. And it seems like a bad idea in a city crawling with street lunatics that are already hearing voices in their heads.

    New Yorker Alison Wilson was walking down Prince Street in SoHo last week when she heard a woman’s voice right in her ear asking, “Who’s there? Who’s there?” She looked around to find no one in her immediate surroundings. Then the voice said, “It’s not your imagination.”

    Indeed it isn’t. It’s an ad for “Paranormal State,” a ghost-themed series premiering on A&E this week. The billboard uses technology manufactured by Holosonic that transmits an “audio spotlight” from a rooftop speaker so that the sound is contained within your cranium. The technology, ideal for museums and libraries or environments that require a quiet atmosphere for isolated audio slideshows, has rarely been used on such a scale before. For random passersby and residents who have to walk unwittingly through the area where the voice will penetrate their inner peace, it’s another story.

    Have You “Seen” this Dog?

    posted by on December 13 at 8:04 AM

    It was the misuse of quotation marks that caught my eye—the dog’s really missing, right?—and perhaps I should send this pic along to the “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks. But as the father of a kid who loves his itty bitty dog, I took this picture because I wanted to help get the word out.


    These posters are up on Capitol Hill… and here’s hoping the coyote that’s been leaving little bits of cats scattered up and down my block didn’t pick off this adorable little maltese. So if you’ve seen this dog, or you’ve got this dog at home, give ‘em a call.

    The Morning News

    posted by on December 13 at 7:39 AM

    Sick: Bush vetoes another child health care bill.

    Hey, Big Spender: Will congress really approve $70 Billion more for the war?

    Checkmate: Kasparov says Putin forced him out of Russian presidential race.

    Collateral Damage:
    Families pushing Army to track veteran suicide rate.

    Baseball Is Finally About to Get Interesting: MLB doping report to be released Thursday.

    Vulcan Death Grip: The City gives Vulcan a sweet deal in South Lake Union.

    Is There Life On Mars? Nope, but the Red Planet used to be habitable.

    A Sad Day On Discworld: Terry Pratchett announces he has Alzheimer’s.

    And now, the wonderful train wreck that is the Super Bowl Shuffle:

    Red Light District: The SLUT’s Virgin Journey

    posted by on December 13 at 7:30 AM

    Originally posted last night.

    The most striking thing about public transit is the smell. When I boarded the South Lake Union Streetcar this afternoon for its inaugural day, it smelled like a new car. The windows were big. The inside was clean. I liked it.

    Inside, there was transitmania—passengers jockeyed for a window view and delighted at recognizing insignificant landmarks. Sue and Lavern, wearing long purple coats, came downtown just for it. “We’re two little old ladies from the north end,” said Lavern, who only makes it downtown two or three times a year.

    After the car left the Westlake Center station, though, I wondered: How long can the SLUT keep this new-car smell? And more importantly, will this 1.3-mile ride from the shopping district to the SLU office parks prove to be a tourist novelty for folks like Lavern and Sue, a commuter line, or simply an amenity for Vulcan?


    School groups make me want to die.

    The answer to the first question came within minutes, about a block before the second stop, when a rank fart gusted through the cabin. About a dozen passengers clamored for the doors in front of Paul Allen’s 2200 Westlake towers, but—a veteran of Metro buses—I remained committed to the trip.


    Streetcars totally get stuck in traffic.

    John Fox, Coordinator of the Seattle Displacement Coalition, is quick to speculate about the second question: It’s a corporate amenity. “For Paul Allen it enhances value of properties along the route,” he says. “It’s expensive tinsel and a waste of city resources.”

    “Not one buck of the general fund [was used],” according to Michael Mann, Executive Manager of Infrastructure for the Mayor’s Office, who then disclaimed that the city paid $1 million out of obligation for property it owns near the tracks. The project cost $52.1 million to build, he says, and $25.7 was raised from property owners within four blocks of the line. But Mann says the remaining 26.4 million came from federal, state, and county grants. “The most important part is that it provides another transit option without getting into a car,” he says.

    Fox isn’t buying it. “This is a misuse of finite resources earmarked for transit. We should have been applying for those funds for other transit needs,” he says. “It’s not acceptable in a region that needs real solutions, such buses, vanpools, carpools, and bikes to move people at far less cost.” He points out 19 bus routes already serve South Lake Union at a cost 30-40 percent less than street cars.

    Mann says maintaining the streetcar will cost about $2 million a year, including a contract for King County Metro to staff the cars with drivers. Rides are currently free but increase to $1.50 for adults beginning in January.

    Rush-hour traffic and sexual innuendos after the jump.

    Continue reading "Red Light District: The SLUT’s Virgin Journey" »

    Wanna Buy The Lock Vista? Got $32 Million?

    posted by on December 13 at 12:01 AM

    It appears that residents of the Lock Vista Apartments may have gotten a reprieve from a planned condo conversion. At least for now. According to a post on Craigslist, the 192 unit apartment complex is up for sale again.

    The contact info listed on the post indicates the sale is being handled by the Northlake Group, who had originally intended to buy and convert the building. However, Northlake is not listed as the property owner in King County’s online property records.

    The Seattle Housing Authority had discussed purchasing the complex, or at least a few of the buildings, but they had been struggling to come up with money for the site.

    I’ll update with more info in the morning and find out what happened with the sale.


    Wednesday, December 12, 2007

    Live Blogging Project Runway

    posted by on December 12 at 10:00 PM

    Cody Castagna Charged

    posted by on December 12 at 9:53 PM


    From the Spokesman Review

    Spokane County prosecutors charged a 26-year-old waiter and part-time porn model with extortion Wednesday in connection with a sexual encounter in October that ended the career of a Washington State representative.

    Cody Michael Castagna, of Medical Lake, faces four felony charges after he received money from then-Rep. Richard Curtis, R-La Center. According to police records, Curtis dressed in women’s lingerie and met Castagna Oct. 26 at an adult book store on East Sprague during a taxpayer-sponsored trip to Spokane. He resigned Oct. 31, due to fallout from the scandal….

    Castagna’s attorney, David Partovi, said he now will start the process of researching all of Curtis’ past votes, acquaintances and other encounters. Curtis was “a state employee. It’s the state versus this kid,” Partovi said. “Are we going to drag Curtis through the mud for a year? I’m going to make this one hurt.”

    Uh… that sounds like a threat, doesn’t it? I mean, another one?

    “Momma Really Likes Her Hamburger Meat”

    posted by on December 12 at 9:42 PM

    Help! I was sitting here with friends, minding my own business, waiting for Project Runway to come on, and all of a sudden this happened (on some show called Crowned):

    A Man After Charles’ Own Heart

    posted by on December 12 at 8:27 PM

    A man nearly died from alcohol poisoning after quaffing a liter (two pints) of vodka at an airport security check instead of handing it over to comply with new carry-on rules, police said Wednesday.


    posted by on December 12 at 7:36 PM

    Jodie Foster is a great big huge dyke. And she’s finally come, as it were, “out”. As in “publically”. As in “finally”.

    After guarding her private life fiercely for 15 years, Hollywood actress Jodie Foster has publicly acknowledged her lesbian partner.The Oscar-winning actress thanked “my beautiful Cydney” after winning an award at the Women in Entertainment Power 100 breakfast in Los Angeles. She went on to praise Cydney Bernard, saying the film producer “sticks with me through all the rotten and the bliss”.

    Rosie is, understandably, furious.

    Read the dykey dykey full of it here.


    Um….Oprah? Are you listening?

    Liveblogging War and Peace

    posted by on December 12 at 7:06 PM

    Why It Matters That Jeanne Assam Is a Dyke Even if She Isn’t

    posted by on December 12 at 5:22 PM

    “I bet she’s a dyke,” said my mom the day after Jeanne Assam shot Matthew Murray at New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

    “Probably an ex-dyke, but yeah,” I said confidently.

    Gay families like ours who’ve lived in Colorado Springs since long before Focus on the Family and New Life came here in the 90s give a shit about details like that because evangelicals who moved into the cul-de-sac hives in the northeastern half of our city in have made our lives miserable with their endless anti-gay rhetoric and politics. On top of that, they’re really boring. Needless to say, we quaffed deeply from the goblet of schadenfreude with which Ted Haggard had filled our cups only a year earlier.

    Later that day I went to the press conference at the Colorado Springs Department where Jeanne Assam stood proudly next to the new New Life Pastor Brady Body (shiny loafers!) and recounted how God had blah blah blahed her as she shot Murray. I can’t remember what she said exactly because I was too busy noticing what a complete dyke she was.

    Gruff voice, broad shoulders, muscular face, narrow hips resting upon strong thighs, terrible Farrah Fawcett hairstyle and bad makeup! On top of that, she turned out to be 42, had no husband, no children and had been a cop in Minneapolis! Then, and this was the kicker, she said. “God’s gonna fine me a man!” I loved that moment and wrote about it here. (Dan Savage thought I was implying she was a tranny, which hadn’t crossed my mind till he mentioned it, but yeah, it’s also possible).

    Later that evening at a high school hockey game, a bunch of my mom’s fellow dyke mom friends were cackling in the stands about what a total dyke Jeanne Assam appeared to be.

    “Did you see her at that press conference!? Oh. My. God. Total dyke!” Needless to say, they felt sad for the victims, but they also felt very proud that one of them had shot Matthew Murray had probably saved many people. Most of them and their children live much closer to New Life Church and have to put with the endless homophobia and proselytizing.

    Right about now you’re probably saying: a). “She’s a hero, Noel, you ultra-douche. Why can’t you just stop using her for your own little pet political lap dog?” Or, b) “Geez, Noel, what are you the gender cops, you goddamn dyke jockey?” Or, c) “She’s not a dyke because I’ve know her for her whole entire life, trannysack.” Or d) You’re such and angry, spiteful infinity douche, Noel!”

    All fine points and well taken. Now:

    a) Yes, she’s a hero and that’s great, but New Life Pastor Brady Boyd immediately trotted her out on a Christian leash as his own little lapdog despite the fact that, as a woman, she and her heroism are the direct result of everything that New Life and Huckabee cum socks despise about the women’s movement and lesbian feminism: She’s a strong, independent-minded, single non-mother in her late 40s working in a field that, only a couple generations ago, was the exclusive province of men. Obviously, a big part of the press conference was also damage control. New Life has already seen at least a 20 percent drop in attendance and a significant drop in giving. But if God is protecting them, they shouldn’t have much to fear. However, if it’s a lesbian that’s protecting them, well … And for me and my people, it’s only fair to point out the obvious at the same time: she’s one of us, too—directly or indirectly. New Life is an incredibly power political force, albeit somewhat diminished by Ted Haggard’s hunk fetish, and it would be naive to think that the press conference wasn’t also a political face-saver.

    b) Why yes, I do consider myself part of the gender police here in Colorado Springs. Thank you! Though I will admit I’m self-deputized, I took it upon myself personally to point out to the entire world what a completely gay place New Life Church was and turned out to be! Perhaps you read my article, “The Crystal Cathedral” in this very publication. Of course, New Life Church chose to make Ted Haggard a scapegoat and did nothing to address the inherent homosexual culture in their church culture. Their new pastor, Brady Body, refused to even meet with Mike Jones and did nothing to address the pain Ted Haggard’s hypocrisy caused the queer community. So, basically, it’s still a place safe for misinformation, repressed sexuality and homophobia. And it’s still got people like Jeanne Assam running around the halls making it safe for them to do all that shit. Go fucking figure.

    c) Whether or not she licks labia, she’s got the look, the swagger, the authority and the career path of a totally badass butch dyke. In my book, as I’ve said, that makes her a dyke, culturally at the very least. Whether she’s practicing is her business, but the goods are on the table.

    d) Why yes, I am angry and spiteful. I’m absolutely fucking furious that I and my family still have to live with the homophobia and condescension of superstitious sheep who eat the fruits of queer culture one day then shit it out the next and call it God. But you don’t see me with a handgun and a backpack full of ammo rushing to the slaughter. So save your rage for the home-schooled Christian Matthew Murray and thank all the dykes like Jeanne Assam who made the world a safer place for more disaffected home-schooled Christians like Matthew Murray.

    We’d Love to Stop Writing This Story.

    posted by on December 12 at 5:22 PM

    Jonah Spangenthal-Lee has a story in today’s paper about alleged police misconduct against young African American men in North Seattle.

    I’d like to say it’s an alarming story, but unfortunately, you’ve heard the basics before: Cop sees black man; black man gets “uppity;” cops beat the shit out of black man; black man turns out not to have committed a crime. (In this week’s installment, cops chase black man into his house and taser him).

    Again, I’d like to say it’s an alarming story, but Jonah has already filed several similar stories this year.

    Here. Here. Here. Here. And here.

    Mike Carter at The Seattle Times has also written stories like this. Here. Here. And here.

    Indeed, when it comes to police accountability, it’s been a bummer year.

    But the public outcry and resulting attention that the issue got last June quickly fell away after Mayor Nickels announced he supported the chief and was putting together a panel to look at the problem.

    (Coincidentally, the next time the cops showed up in the news was in September after they raided clubs and shocked city council members by possibly, and sloppily, violating the civil rights of those arrested.)

    It is inexcusable that there isn’t more urgency in this city, on the council, in the press, in the public, to get to the bottom of the problem with police misconduct.

    Personally, I don’t think it’s about forcing Chief Gil Kerlikowske to resign. I think it’s about finding a real way to hold officers accountable. Certainly, an aspect of holding officers accountable is by holding a hammer over the cheif, but firing Kerlikowske won’t accomplish long term accountability.

    There will be two new city council members in January—Tim Burgess (a former cop) and Bruce Harrell (an attorney who says he’s about public accountability). I interviewed both men during our endorsement process and came away discouraged with how both men fielded the police accountability question. Burgess was certainly more engaged in the issue and promised to tackle it, but he was reluctant to get behind legislation that would strengthen council oversight on the chief. Harrell was vague on policy and seemed like a blue ribbon panel type guy.

    This issue is a big deal. : ) And if I may step away from the trendy Seattle liberal point of view (which, apologizing for raising its voice, goes out of its way to say police are good people and this is just a few bad apples), I’m starting to think it’s not just about “bad apples.”

    Evidence is mounting that there is a problem with the system and the culture that apparently allows police to get away with off-the-charts behavior (again, read Jonah’s story). As a result, more and more officers are getting caught—or at least sued.

    Cops work hard and have uniquely demanding jobs. So, I understand why they get their backs up when they are criticized.

    But it’s time to stop with the “few bad apples” rap. That point of view pretends their isn’t a larger problem. Problem: We have a system that doesn’t allow the public—or our representatives on the council—to play a role in holding public servants accountable. That set up doesn’t simply empower and protect bad apples, it also creates a culture at large that can breed delinquent behavior.

    Anyone heard from Nickels panel lately?

    Unexpected Metaphor of the Day

    posted by on December 12 at 5:15 PM

    Regarding the international banking crisis precipitated by the US mortgage crisis:

    In an unprecedented move, which the City [of London] said revealed how serious the problems in financial markets had become, central banks offered huge sums of money to commercial banks in an attempt to get them to start lending to each other again.
    “The [central banks] have gone out and constructed a great big turbo-charged plunger to flush out the clogged credit markets,” said Stephen Stanley, analyst at Royal Bank of Scotland Greenwich Capital.

    (Footnote: The Bank of England is in the City of London, on Threadneedle Street, on top of a Roman temple. It is known as The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street or The Old Lady.)

    Slog Happy Tomorrow

    posted by on December 12 at 5:06 PM

    You might want to spend a little extra time on your hair in the morning.

    The Slut Was Made for Me

    posted by on December 12 at 4:20 PM

    The slut was made for me. As a young life-sciences researcher in South Lake Union, it is my tastes that are to be tempted—at least according to the soaring rhetoric. I skipped the late-morning pontification session. The last thing I needed was the mayor patting himself on the back the month the Green Line would have opened.
    The trolley and I aren’t in it for a one-and-done; we’re together for the duration. The lab I work in (at the UW) was one of the first moved to Lake Union from the U-District. I’ve paid for the train—my scientific grants taxed, my skin, blood and bones literally ground into the tracks. I tried her late in the day, after most of the in-city tourists had dispersed, clutching their streetcar bumper stickers.
    I want this to work, for South Lake Union to succeed viable biotech hub. My future as a scientist in Seattle depends, at least in part, upon success. I even want the streetcar to work. At this point, I’m so starved for mass transit I’d probably support oxen on a raised platform—anything beyond more lanes for cars. The slowly forming biotech incubator space—just now being constructed after the expensive condos, the Whole Foods, the barren park, the overpriced apartments, and the slut herself—is nowhere near the trolley line. The building is awkwardly wedged in an unattractive lot adjacent to the freeway onramp—perfect to vibrate animals, cells, and microscopes. A walk to the core of the neighborhood from the token building nurturing new biotech in South Lake Union is long and awkward—with not-timed-for-pedestrians intersections one must ford like moats.
    What the neighborhood needs, still needs and doesn’t have plans for, is a library, a quiet space to think, read and write. When I hop on the SLUT (the purple one), I bring some journal articles to peruse—including those covering the new reprogramming technique. The trip is free—presumably to get the trolleys the homeless-live-here smell that is a trademark of Metro. No one bothers me as I read and as the SLUT slowly putters toward Westlake center—slower than I could walk, much slower than I could ride my bike. A gent slumbers peacefully across the way. About a quarter of the way to downtown, the train halts. We must wait five minutes for the red train. First day jitters, like the comically inaccurate “xx minutes until the next train” signs that reminded me of the Windows 98 installation progress meter. I hop off. A better experience than the 17, at least. The walk back to my desk takes less than five minutes.

    More on the Seattle Obamarama

    posted by on December 12 at 4:05 PM

    I’m running out of time (and steam) after a long… I don’t know how many days. So I’m going to go back on my promise to post more about last night’s Obama event this afternoon. I’ll probably do it tomorrow. But in the meantime, check out this take on Obama’s Showbox event that’s been posted over at General Bonkers—in which the General gets in the face of some annoying Ron Paul supporters, talks back to some Stranger shit talking, and floats a second-hand report that Obama, for all his charisma and magnetism, has notably small hands.

    O They Will Know We Are Christians Nudists By…

    posted by on December 12 at 3:56 PM

    …our child molestation charges.

    The U.S. couple suspected of sexually abusing minors in a nudist colony in southern Brazil ran an organization that gave free English lessons to local children, authorities said Wednesday….

    Police said they arrested Frederick Calvin Louderback, 63, and his girlfriend Barbara Anner, 54. Louderback is suspected of sexually abusing at least 10 boys between the ages of 6 and 14, all from poor neighborhoods near the colony, police said. Anner was accused of luring the boys with promises of gifts, food and trips.

    More On That Showbox Sale

    posted by on December 12 at 3:32 PM

    What does this:


    Have to do with this?


    I’m glad you asked.

    Believe it or not, the just-announced, previously-speculated sale of the Showbox to AEG Live has a connection to the creationist kooks at the Discovery Institute.

    One of the Discovery Institutes’s biggest financial backers is Philip Anschutz, the “A” in AEG Live. Anschutz has also thrown money at a number of republicans, including Mitt Romney, Ted Stevens, Rick Santorum, Orrin Hatch, George Bush and Larry Craig.

    Anschutz probably isn’t going to be taking over the booking at the Showbox anytime soon, but who knows, maybe Discovery Institute will get to use the venue to host their the glamorous
    Shoe Awards

    Live Blogging Project Runway Tonight

    posted by on December 12 at 3:15 PM


    So, I’ve volunteered to live blog Project Runway tonight. “But wait,” I can hear you saying, thanks to the awesome power of the internet, “Is Eric Grandy straight? Doesn’t he wear the same pair of jeans and rotating band T-shirts every day? How the hell is he qualified to live blog a faggy fashion show?!”

    Yes, I am (forget what you heard), and, yes, I do…But! Tonight, I’ll be joined by no less than two SCCC apparel design students and two “actual queers!”, so everything should be perfectly faggy fine. Live blogging starts here at 10:00 p.m., do tune in.

    Today in Line Out

    posted by on December 12 at 3:15 PM

    Ike Turner: Dead at 76.

    Strangercrombie Music Item of the Day: Book a Sunday at the High Dive.

    Tonight in Music: Little Party and the Bad Business at Vera and Christmas in Havana at Havana.

    Stairway to Something: Trent Moorman gives you the Zeppelin update you’ve been waiting for.

    Today in Music News: RIAA goes crazy (surprise), Eddie Vedder does another soundtrack, Green Day gets a side-project, and more.

    Video: PWRFL Power performs live in The Stranger offices.

    Obama in Pictures: Shots from the Stranger Flickr Pool from last night’s Generation Obama event.

    Sigur Rós Comes to Seattle: Sorta. Their documentary comes to Seattle.

    It’s Not About the Music: Eric Grandy goes to last night’s Obama event and finds a story where a story doesn’t exist.

    “Last Christmas”: All about the time when Wham! saved my life.

    New Mars Volta Video: The band does what they feel like (and they feel like never coming to Seattle ever again thanks to an anonymous pee-tosser).

    Blake Lewis’ Homecoming Show: At the Showbox, Thursday Dec 20.


    (By flckrd1.)

    Savage Love Letter of the Day

    posted by on December 12 at 3:05 PM

    Hi Dan,

    I’m a 25 year-old straight female. I’ve been dating this amazing, wonderful guy for close to a year. The problem is that I can’t stand living here in Seattle. I’ve only been here a year and a half. The clouds and rain make me depressed and the people here are cold and isolated, so I’ve decided I have to move next summer. He’s considering leaving with me, but I’m not sure how seriously. He hasn’t even told his friends or family about the possibility of leaving.

    What I’m trying to decide is if I should end this now or stick it out and see what he decides to do. I can’t imagine being without him, and that’s the problem. If I stay with him and then he decides last minute that he just can’t leave his hometown, there I am starting a new life in a new city with a broken heart. Should I just call this one quits or take the gamble? I should add that my staying is not a possibility. I’ll go crazy.

    Not a Risk Taker


    Playboy Funnies

    posted by on December 12 at 2:27 PM

    From my April 1971 issue of Playboy


    Eliminating Left-Hand Turns Saves UPS Three Million Gallons of Gas

    posted by on December 12 at 2:10 PM

    True. (Via NYT.)

    The company employs what it calls a “package flow” software program, which among other hyperefficient practices involving the packing and sorting of its cargo, maps out routes for every one of its drivers, drastically reducing the number of left-hand turns they make (taking into consideration, of course, those instances where not to make the left-hand turn would result in a ridiculously circuitous route).

    Last year, according to Heather Robinson, a U.P.S. spokeswoman, the software helped the company shave 28.5 million miles off its delivery routes, which has resulted in savings of roughly three million gallons of gas and has reduced CO2 emissions by 31,000 metric tons. So what can Brown do for you? We can’t speak to how good or bad they are in the parcel-delivery world, but they won’t be clogging up the left-hand lane while they do their business.

    (Click here for full story, thanks to Matt Hickey for the link.)

    Disappointing SLUT

    posted by on December 12 at 2:00 PM

    Reader “Kinkos” writes:

    Just got back from “riding the SLUT.” Useless. We got off after two stops and took the 8 back up the hill. Aside from the four traffic lights we had to wait for between the first and second stops on the line, the SLUT also crawled along at maybe 2mph. Many others mutteringly abandoned the worthless voyage as we did. The most telling thing of all, though, was the stuff they were giving away—Seattle Streetcar bumper stickers. The greatest moment of marketing irony or something more sinister? Yes, a lot of people will indeed be sticking those bumper stickers on the back of their cars—to remind them of the first and last time they ever took useless public transportation in Seattle. Someday we will have real, rapid, mass transit in Seattle. It just won’t be any time soon after this disaster. I predict that the SLUT experience will torpedo public perception of rail for a long, long time to come. Good luck on Transit in ’08.

    On the Cover

    posted by on December 12 at 2:00 PM

    Our cover illustration, inspired by the coverage of Northwest hiphop in this week’s music section, comes to us from the inimitable Dan James. I’ve posted it here sans logo and text so you can appreciate it in its full glory…


    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

    posted by on December 12 at 1:47 PM

    A father is behind bars, accused of drugging his own baby.

    Marysville police say 31-year-old Victor Edenso gave his 2-month-old daughter oxycontin and physically abused his other kids.

    Investigators say the alleged abuse began Wednesday, but police didn’t learn about the reported overdose until doctors from Seattle’s Children’s Hospital called. The young girl had nearly stopped breathing while doctors treated her for a bruised eye.

    Police say further tests showed high amounts of oxycontin and marijuana in the girl’s system…. Doctors also found signs of abuse, such as bruises and broken bones, on the young girl and her twin brother.

    No Tippling, No Tipping

    posted by on December 12 at 1:37 PM

    Apparently pregnant women don’t tip over. Who knew?

    I Don’t Hate the Homeless

    posted by on December 12 at 1:30 PM

    Really, I don’t. I have empathy. I give ‘em money—and I give it to them, not to some patronizing charity that tries to make me feel guilty about a homeless person deciding to blow my change on booze and not sock it away in his IRA or whatever. But whenever I post something about the homeless on Slog I get called out for my lack of compassion. So I’m just wondering…

    I’ve been sitting in a cafe downtown working for a couple of hours and just now a few homeless guys came in, bought some drip, and gathered around the table right next to mine. And, hey, they have as much right to be in here as I do—they had the cash, they bought some coffee, and they need to get out of the cold. It’s all good.

    But I have a question for the armies of compassion that lurk in Slog comments: How long do empathy and compassion require me to sit here and breathe their booze-cigs-piss vapors? Is it bigoted of me even to notice? Is the woman that just got up and moved to a table on the other side of the cafe a bourgeois bitch? And am I going to hell for packing up my shit and moving to another cafe?

    Dear Citizens of Seattle,

    posted by on December 12 at 1:08 PM


    Your intern is on winter break and has loads of free time to help you with…anything.

    Babysitting? Car repair? Painting? Roofing? Foot massage?

    Global Warning

    posted by on December 12 at 1:04 PM

    Greenland’s ice sheet is melting fast and there might not be summer ice in the Arctic by the summer of 2012, not 2040 as researchers previously feared.

    “The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate warming,” said Zwally, who as a teenager hauled coal. “Now as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coal mines.”

    Hm… I don’t know how I’ll break this to my pal that just bought a condo in lower Manhattan. How long until Canal Street is actual a canal?

    Reviewing Generation Obama

    posted by on December 12 at 12:55 PM


    Eric Grandy looks at the music behind the man, over on LineOut:

    I was all ready to bust out with the “Dusty 45s? Why that describes just about the whole darn crowd!” but then the crowd had to go and actually be kind of diverse in terms of age—college kids and a couple adolescents all the way up through kindly looking seniors… And the Dusty 45s weren’t the worst band you could book for your campaign rally. Yes, they were by-the-book rockabilly—stand up bass, check; polyester cowboy shirts, check—but they were also tight and energetic…

    Lawyer of the Year

    posted by on December 12 at 12:54 PM



    I Loved This Stuff; I Miss This Stuff

    posted by on December 12 at 12:43 PM

    Of course, the last time I had Jell-O 1-2-3 I was probably seven-years-old and easily impressed by almost anything scientific (including baking soda and vinegar) but do you remember this? The one-mix Jell-O that magically turned into three different layers?


    That shit was awesome.


    posted by on December 12 at 12:35 PM

    I agree with Kerri Harrop:

    These comment threads are almost always so disheartening. Today is no exception to that rule.

    Yes. What is up with our commenters lately? So many of you seem so… unhappy. Are these drinks going to make it all better? I really hope so.

    The Gay American Novel

    posted by on December 12 at 12:30 PM


    California passed a law that protects gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans students from discrimination—and straight students too, since these laws protect people from discrimination based on sexual orientation, period, they don’t provide queer students with special rights or a force field to call their own. The American Taliban is crapping itself about this law and since they can’t argue for discrimination against queer students they’re screaming and yelling about the law’s terrifying implicit mandates.

    The potential effects of the new law could be staggering.

    “If the children read a novel, for example, like Gone with the Wind where you have a heterosexual romance, then they also have to, based on this language, read a homosexual novel,” Dacus said.

    The law wouldn’t require that, of course, but that’s not going to stop the American Taliban from claiming it does. When it comes to gays and lesbians, the commandment against false witness doesn’t apply. But rest assured, Mr. Dacus, your kids won’t be required to read a gay novel after they’ve read Gone With the Wind. Because a gayer novel hasn’t been written. Any student that reads Gone with the Wind has met both his slavery apologia novel and gay novel requirements.

    Item of Last Year

    posted by on December 12 at 12:21 PM

    Every year, The Stranger sells off chunks of itself—the cover, a guest-expert slot in Savage Love, reviews, feature stories, etc.

    My favorite thing about last year’s Strangercrombie was the bunch of comedians who got together, pooled their money, and bought Suggests so they could publicize The Week of Fun, their big push to publicize the new comedy scene in Seattle. They collectively paid $610 for the Suggests and were terrified their gambit would fail and they’d all lose their money (which they couldn’t afford to spend in the first place).

    They didn’t. The Week of Fun was a huge success with performances by the People’s Republic of Komedy, David Schmader, Charles Mudede, Sabzi from Blue Scholars, and a bunch of other funny fucks.

    It was a coming-out party for Seattle’s comedy scene. It was a coup.

    You know how much Suggests is going for right now? Forty-six threadbare dollars.

    Even the theater review is going for more money than Suggests. I’m the theater editor, and even I have to admit that’s pathetic. Nothing in this paper should be less valuable to the city of Seattle than a theater review.

    How about this: You bid on Suggests, and the winner will get a dozen cupcakes from Cupcake Royale. Deal?

    (In good news: As of this very second, you all have raised $36,672. Which is fantastic. Three cheers for FareStart, three cheers for you.)

    O They Will Know We Are Christians By…

    posted by on December 12 at 12:18 PM

    …our inability to keep our hands off kids.

    A 71-year-old Catholic Church deacon from Silver Spring has been charged with incest for allegedly abusing an underage female relative during the 1960s and 1970s, Montgomery County police said today.

    Dan Paul Stallings, who has served as deacon at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Silver Spring since 1986, was arrested yesterday and charged with 10 counts of incest, police said.

    Police said the abuse took place outside the church. However, investigators are concerned that Stallings may have abused other children he met through the ministry, police said. He has been actively involved in the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) at St. John the Evangelist Parish, police said.

    But, hey, he’s only accused of incest, and incest—heterosexual incest, at least—doesn’t negatively impact world peace. Unlike gay marriage, which was specifically sited as roadblock to a settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians during the recent peace conference in Maryland. So, hey, nothing to see here. Just another Catholic pedo.

    For the Urban Cyclist on Your List

    posted by on December 12 at 12:03 PM

    Bike Snob NYC has a great list of suggested gifts for the dedicated cyclists on your list.

    For the roadies…

    [As] all roadies know, the more brightly colored the kit the more pro you look. Unfortunately, though, some of these colors can also be translucent, and even the most dedicated roadies stop shaving at the upper thigh. If your team happens to wear light colors you can easily fall victim to VBS, or “Visible Bush Syndrome”… Fortunately, pubic hair dye is easily available.

    For the recumbent riders…

    [For] that rider in your life who hasn’t given up lying on his back with his feet flailing in the air, give the gift of on-the-bike entertainment with a mobile. It’s easy to install, it will amuse and delight him as he rides, and it will even make him more visible to motorists…

    But favorite suggested gift is for commuters…

    Commuting by bicycle is all about two things: smugness and safety. And while your favorite bicycle commuter probably already has all the “One Less Car” stickers and t-shirts he needs, he can always be safer. Now he can burn with the brightness of a thousand suns—or at least three million candlepower units—with a hand-held spotlight! There won’t just be One Less Car—there’ll be like fifty less cars when he blinds oncoming drivers with an output equivalent to roughly thirty automotive headlights and runs them clear off the road.

    Well, now I know what I’m getting ECB for Christmas…


    To read Bike Snob NYC’s suggested gifts for fixed-great freestylers, cyclocrossers, tourers, randonneuers, and gravity riders, click here.

    Overheard in the Office

    posted by on December 12 at 11:59 AM

    Charles Mudede, looking at his bookcase: “Hey! I have a spider crawling up to my commentary on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. What could it mean?”

    Obama Photos

    posted by on December 12 at 11:38 AM

    We do what we can with The Stranger’s digital cameras. But Strangr Flickr Pool contributor joshc did much better at the Obama event last night, and has a whole set up on his Flickr page if you’re interested.


    Prom Dress Down

    posted by on December 12 at 11:15 AM

    A high school principal in Gary, Indiana, allowed a female student to attend prom wearing a tux. But when a male student—a male student that identifies as female, and wore female clothes to school for the past two years—showed up in a prom dress, the principal refused to let him in, physically blocking his entrance.

    Lambda Legal is now suing the school on behalf of the student.

    Two details: Kevin Logan’s classmates rallied to his defense, arguing with their principal and asking that she let Logan in, to no avail. So clearly it wasn’t Logan’s classmates that had a problem with his gender expression. To justify her actions the principal pointed to a school policy that forbids “clothing/accessories that advertise sexual orientation, sex, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, profanity, negative social or negative educational statements.” Says Lambda Legal staff attorney James P. Madigan:

    “The fact that sexual orientation is lumped in with drugs and profanity in the school’s dress code is just plain offensive, but even more troublesome is that the whole policy is in violation of students’ First Amendment rights.”

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on December 12 at 11:00 AM


    ‘I’m Not There’

    Having six actors playing six versions of Bob Dylan (none of whom are named Bob Dylan) is a masterstroke, allowing director Todd Haynes to concurrently poke fun at and pay homage to Dylan’s megalomania. The first Dylan is an 11-year-old, train-hopping black kid named Woody Guthrie—precisely the character Dylan wished he were back in 1961. Subsequent Dylans include Arthur Rimbaud, Billy the Kid, a jackass movie star, a gospel preacher, and Cate Blanchett as the snarling, stoned Dylan of Don’t Look Back. The film has flaws—you will, at the two-hour mark, want your life back—but it’s the best biography the world has seen in ages. (See Movie Times for details.) BRENDAN KILEY


    Barack Obama’s Stop in Seattle (w/ Audio)

    posted by on December 12 at 10:15 AM

    Posted late last night and moved up to this morning.


    More on this tomorrow later today, on Slog and Lineout, but for now: Barack Obama’s stop at Showbox SoDo tonight last night was an impressive show of Seattle strength for a candidate who’s been surging in a number of states this month.

    The place was packed, and organizers said 1,000 tickets had been sold, with adults paying $100 and students paying $35. Add in two fundraisers earlier in the evening that were closed to the press and that’s probably a pretty good haul for a man who’s already raised far more money than any other presidential candidate in Washington State this year.

    Since I was just in Iowa watching Obama work a crowd there, I was interested to see whether his approach, and the crowd reaction, would be any different here in Seattle. More on that tomorrow later today, but I’ll say one thing right now that Seattleites may not like to hear: The crowd in Des Moines, Iowa—Des Moines, Iowa—was way, way more diverse than the crowd at the Showbox.


    Don’t believe me? Think that zoomed-in picture is lying? How about this:


    If you’d like to hear audio of last night’s speech, click here. Warning: If you’ve heard Obama’s stump speech in the last few months it will sound very familiar. But if you haven’t, or if you just like hearing him say the word “Seattle” a lot, then check it out.

    Sweeney Todd at Harvard Exit Last Night

    posted by on December 12 at 10:06 AM


    I’m not allowed to have an opinion—or publish one, at any rate—until a week from Friday. But there were tons of civilians at the press preview of Tim Burton’s new film version of Sweeney Todd. You folks aren’t similarly constrained. So… were you there? What did you think? Who would have thought that Burton could make the actual slitting of throats seem less violent than drop down the chute into the basement of Mrs. Lovett’s cookhouse? Sheesh.

    Kasparov Quits Presidential Race

    posted by on December 12 at 10:05 AM

    Now it’s all Putin (or Putin proxies), all the time.

    (See the home page for Kasparov’s former coalition, the Other Russia, for an up-to-date catalogue of presidential abuses—papers shut down, activists beaten to death, judges murdered, etc.)

    Strangercrombie Item of My Dreams

    posted by on December 12 at 9:38 AM

    Dina Martina Covers the Song of Your Choice.

    Currently at $280, this priceless item allows the winner to request the song of his or her choice to be sung (and recorded) by the one and only Dina Martina.

    This year’s Strangercrombie boasts a number of great custom-cover-song packages, starring Visqueen, the Presidents of the United States of America, the Posies, Erin Jorgensen, and more, but it’s the Dina package that haunts my dreams.

    If God were kind enough to let me win the Dina pack, I fear that I would be paralyzed by the privilege. There are so many songs I would be ecstatic to hear Dina Martina perform that choosing one is painful.

    On one side are the Dina Martina classics, songs she’s covered in her shows over the years that I’d love to have recordings of: “Bette Davis Eyes,” “Year of the Cat,” “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “In the Ghetto.”

    On the other side are all the songs I’d love to hear Dina attack, including but not limited to: “Wind Beneath My Wings” (Dina could make great hay of the lovingly insulting lyrics), Tori Amos’s “Me and a Gun,” and “Loving You Is Easy ‘Cause You’re Beautiful” (just to see what happens when Dina confronts that note). (And, of course, “Smell Yo Dick.”)

    Strangercrombie 2007: You have two days and seven hours left to bid.

    Merry Christmas From the Huckabees

    posted by on December 12 at 9:30 AM

    The more folks dig into Mike Huckabee’s tenure as governor of Arkansas, the worse this “Christian Leader” looks. Take this family photo taken back when Mike Huckabee was still digging his grave—and his kids’ graves—with a knife and a fork.


    Via Wonkette—and folks that felt my comments about weight were literally worse than anything Hitler ever said might want to stay the hell out of the comments thread on the Wonkette post. Just sayin’.

    In/Visible Is Up: Dandelion in America

    posted by on December 12 at 9:30 AM

    Webb01.jpgSeattle-based sculptor Dan Webb’s problem is that he can make anything with his hands. He could build a perfect monument, but he doesn’t believe in perfect monuments. So he builds things that warp and disintegrate, that survive with compromises.

    Twice he’s been on the Stranger Genius Award shortlist (2003 and 2007) and his new installation Little Cuts immediately became a part of the regional canon when it was first shown last December. It’s up now—just until December 21—at Western Bridge, in a terrific group show with work by Martin Creed, Jordan Wolfson, Anthony McCall, Jeppe Hein, Rachel Harrison, Alex Schweder, Neil Goldberg, Julia Schmidt, and Roger Hiorns. (Northwest readers: Miss it at risk of serious regret.)

    Little Cuts (pictured above, at right) is the process of Webb carving a man’s head out of a block of wood. In a series of 40 photographs, the man’s face emerges from the wood and then grows old; his flesh decomposes leaving only his skull, and then even his bones wither to dust. The dust—all the sawdust from the carving—is encased in a Plexiglas box, set on a pedestal in the center of the room, with the 40 photographs hung on the walls around it.

    Next month, Webb has a solo show at Acuna Hansen Gallery in LA. I caught up with Webb in his unheated studio for a peek at the work that will be in that show.

    web-1.jpgThe show is titled Dandelion, in a play on the artist’s name (though the down-to-earth sculptor is neither really dandy nor lion), and on his most common theme through the years, survival in sculpture. At left is his floor installation, Dandelion in America. In it, a weed made from the pages of old issues of art magazines like Art in America sprouts up from a pile of the magazines, as if in homage to all the now-forgotten names inside the periodicals.

    web.jpgAt right, Rubber Dandelion is a cast-rubber dandelion held up by a bronze wire armature. It will be set on the floor on a platform with springs. Whenever anyone walks near it, the rubber will wobble, invoking the tough malleability of weeds but also, thanks to the wire maze, the appearance of limbs gone slack and on life support.

    Listen to the artist talk about these and other dandelions, made of bronze, paper, and Sculpy—and about the chopped-off finger of Galileo, on this week’s In/Visible.

    Re: Governor Thinking Broadly

    posted by on December 12 at 9:13 AM

    The same thing goes for building light rail without roads—and letting this “international city” vote on it (like Nickels has suggested).

    Last month, she told me this:

    I asked the governor what she thought about Mayor Nickels’s statement that Seattle should push for a light rail vote in 2008. (Gregoire has made it clear in the past that she did not want light rail to be on the ballot in ‘08—or so I was told repeatedly by the Prop. 1 campaign.)

    She said: “I need a better understanding of the vote. Was it ‘No’ to roads? Was it ‘No’ to transit? Was it ‘No’ to the price tag? Should we vote on light rail without roads?”
    Does that mean you’re open to a vote on light rail in ‘08? I repeated. “It’s all in play,” she said.

    Most people, myself included, think she was bullshitting me. Well, Sound Transit should call her on her bullshit.

    2008 is going to be a big year for Democratic voters. Putting light rail on the ballot makes sense.

    Good Thing We Didn’t Rebuild the Damn Thing Before the Governor Got Around to “Thinking Broadly”

    posted by on December 12 at 8:54 AM

    From the Seattle Times

    Gregoire now open to options besides viaduct replacement

    Over the past few months, Gov. Christine Gregoire has become more open to considering a surface-and-transit future for the Seattle waterfront, instead of replacing the old Alaskan Way Viaduct with another highway.

    Gregoire said she has begun to think broadly about mobility and about Seattle’s future as an “international city”—marked by population growth, a leading seaport and increased tourism—that needs a hospitable waterfront.

    “If this is to be an international city, we’ll have to look at the entire system. Once you do that, the surface option becomes an open question,” she said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

    Mike Huckabee’s Latest Campaign Commercial

    posted by on December 12 at 8:45 AM

    Via TPM.

    Letter of the Day

    posted by on December 12 at 8:35 AM

    Dear Editor,

    I’m sure you have gotten this question a thousand times, but I was curious if The Stranger ever considered a small local sports section. Nothing big, but just enough to let the great city of Seattle know what’s going on with their sports teams. I am a huge Seattle sports fan, born and raised. I feel I have a great insight on our teams. And truly feel there is a need for such section in your great paper. You paper covers basically everything one would want to know about in a great manner, save sports. And I would love to be the person to give them that last bit of information about our city. I thank you for your time, and look forward to hear back with your response.

    Seattle area citizen,

    J.D. Jackson III

    Hm… with just the sports sections of Seattle’s dailies to rely on—along with all our local television news programs, Seattle’s sports radio stations, ESPN, Fox Sports Northwest, and local sports blogs—I imagine it’s difficult for Seattle residents to find out what’s going on with their teams.


    posted by on December 12 at 8:25 AM

    Toward a file sharing solution.

    The Wall Street Journal (quietly) has the story:

    In the latest development to highlight the shifting economics of the music industry, social-networking service Imeem Inc. announced today a licensing agreement allowing its users to listen free to the music of Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group.

    Closely held Imeem, which claims around 19 million monthly users, allows its members to embed songs and music videos on personal pages and playlists. The songs can’t be downloaded or stored on computers or iPods; for users who want to do that, Imeem supplies links to Apple Inc.’s iTunes store and to …

    Courtesy Technology Liberation Front.

    Every Time a Dude Marries a Dude an Angel Gets Run Over by a Tank

    posted by on December 12 at 8:20 AM

    Gay marriage an impediment to world peace, says the Pope.

    The Morning News

    posted by on December 12 at 7:47 AM

    Spy Vs. Spy: CIA chief blames predecessor for torture tape destruction.

    Jihad: Algiers bombing kills dozens, wounds hundreds.

    Making His List, Checking It Twice: Bush’s list of pardons doesn’t include Libby.

    The Downward Spiral:
    Stocks fall as feds trims interest rates.

    Hates Gays, Loves Saddam:
    Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Huckabee, but were afraid to ask.

    No Sushi, No Alcohol, No C-Sections: Danish study claims cesareans harm infant lung development.

    The High Cost of Smoked Salmon and Windsocks:
    Pike Place Market wants $80 million for renovations. No word on whether they’ll sell crack in Victor Steinbrueck park to raise funds.

    He’s No Geoff Tate, But: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has a blog.

    Oh, and Obama was in town.

    Now, watch Will Ferrell pass rush a Twinkie.

    Tuesday, December 11, 2007

    Meet and Greet Thursday

    posted by on December 11 at 7:49 PM


    Islam Means Peace

    posted by on December 11 at 6:13 PM

    Friends and classmates of a 16-year-old girl who police say was murdered by her devout Muslim father in a Toronto suburb told local media Tuesday she was killed for not wearing a hijab. Police said in a statement they received an emergency call at 7:55 am local time Monday from “a man who indicated that he had just killed his daughter.”

    The victim, Aqsa Parvez, was “rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries, but tragically passed away late last night.”

    Her father, Muhammad Parvez, 57, was arrested at the scene and will be formally charged with murder when he appears in court Wednesday, said police.

    The girl’s friends, meanwhile, told local media she was having trouble at home because she did not conform to the family’s religious beliefs and refused to wear a traditional Islamic head scarf, or hijab.

    School District Takes Out Restraining Order Against Omari Tahir-Garrett

    posted by on December 11 at 5:53 PM

    Seattle School District Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and School Board President Cheryl Chow have filed protection orders against James “Omari-Tahir” Garrett. Garrett is perhaps most famous for attacking Mayor Paul Schell with a megaphone in 2001, but he’s also thrown his name into the 2008 presidential race. Really.

    According to Seattle Schools attorney Shannon McMinimee—who appeared in court last Friday on behalf of Chow and Goodloe-Johnson—Garrett has repeatedly been “abusive” to members of the school board during public meetings, and was provided with written warnings about his behavior. At a November 14th school board meeting, McMinimee says Garrett cautioned Chow to “remember the Wah-Mee massacre,” and warned her that “it could happen again,” and told Goodloe-Johnson that “there are two kinds of black women: Aunt Jemima and Harriet Tubman, which one are you?” before he directed Chow to “go back to where [she] came from.” McMinimee says Garrett was removed from the meeting by law enforcement.

    Then, at a December 5th meeting, McMinimee says Garrett got into a physical altercation with a district security guard and was arrested for trespassing. Now, the King County District Court has issued a temporary restraining order that bars Garrett
    from coming within 1,000 yards of Chow of Goodloe-Johnson’s homes and workplaces.

    McMinimee says all of Garrett’s alleged outbursts were submitted to the court on DVD.
    “When Mr. Tahir makes threats of violence, it would be very understandable for other public officials to believe it,” McMinimee says.

    On December 18th, another hearing will be held to determine whether Garrett’s restraining order will be extended.

    We are trying to contact Garrett to get his reaction to the restraining order.

    Coffee and Cream

    posted by on December 11 at 5:51 PM

    The “coffee bukkake man” has been arrested.


    “A man has been arrested in Numazu, Shizuoka Prefecture for assaulting 5 schoolgirls with coffee via drive-by spitting attacks.”

    (Spit-take to Boing Boing.)

    Three Days Left to Bid

    posted by on December 11 at 4:09 PM

    Strangercrombie is rolling right along. With three days remaining, we’ve already raised a respectable $35,000 for FareStart.

    Slogging privileges are currently going for $605. We know nothing about the current high bidder, but our fingers are crossed that she or he can string a coherent sentence and has something to say.

    There are still quite a few undervalued packages awaiting your bid, including these:

    Spend an evening at Moe Bar with 10 friends and food and drinks courtesy of your very own bartender. This would make a fabulous birthday or graduation party, no? Current high bid: $102.50

    Have you seen Sgt. Rigsby and His Amazing Silhouettes? They are truly mesmerizing and lovely and silly; they would delight your mother and blow your kid’s mind. A private shadow-puppet performance is currently at $36.

    Retail Therapy donated a way generous 60-second shopping spree. Have you been there? The tiny store is chock full of wearable and fabulous indie-designer clothes for men and women, Miz Mooz shoes and boots, an entire wall of lingerie, jewelry, fragrance, handbags, high-end bath and body goodies, and more. The bidding has stalled at a ridiculously low $202.50.

    Watch all the auctions here.

    Today on Line Out

    posted by on December 11 at 3:35 PM

    Sold-Out: AEG Live Buys Showbox

    Shut Up: Trent Moorman on Concert Etiquette

    Tonight in Music: Eyedea & Abilities, Moutin Reunion Quartet, and Obama

    Like Dylan in the Movies: Stuart Murdoch’s God Help the Girl

    Strangercrombie Music Item of the Day: Your Band’s Big Break

    Musical Advent Calendar, Day 11: Run DMC - “Christmas in Hollis”

    New Music: Beach House - “Gila”

    Like Waking Life But Not Fucking Awful: Girl Talk - “Bounce That”

    Tune Machine: Charles Mudede on T2

    “As Seen on Youtube”: Seriously? That’s the Best You Can Do?

    New to Line Out: Flickr Photo of the Day

    British Folk Also Ran: Terry Miller on Ian Matthews

    Black-Magic Venus: Josh Feit on Shostakovich’s Tacked-On Tracks

    Can Zwickel Kike It?: Yes, He Can

    For the Person Who Has Everything

    posted by on December 11 at 3:33 PM

    Give the gift of self-esteem and sparkly poop for a mere $425.

    Thank you, Slog tipper Sophie.

    Is Raw Milk Healthier?

    posted by on December 11 at 3:05 PM


    Nipper came in a little while ago and gave us a demonstration of his new baby’s “milk drunk” face. It reminded me of this week’s Dear Science column about the benefits and drawbacks of drinking raw milk.

    Some people say that drinking raw milk is better for you, but Science claims that humans don’t really benefit from drinking the milk of other species raw.

    There are no health benefits in drinking raw milk—the nutrients easily survive the heating. Only breast milk for a baby is better raw, health-wise, so the white blood cells are allowed to live and do their job.

    He also lays out some of the dangers, which don’t sound fun at all.

    In this week’s Dear Science podcast he discusses the matter at more length and experimentally drinks some raw goat milk.

    Send your science-related questions to

    Goat picture courtesy of Jme.

    A Judgment Call

    posted by on December 11 at 2:44 PM

    If you were at a conference and you “used profanity, made an obscene gesture in response to a request to lower [your] voice, and referred to Clark County’s group facilitator as “the black gay guy,’” and then after the meeting’s facilitator said, “Clark County gets a star,” you quipped, “I don’t need a star. I’m not a Jew,” wouldn’t you insist that you were shit-face drunk at the time?

    Not Clark County Superior Court Judge John Wulle. He did all that and more at a training conference, and he insists that he wasn’t drunk at the time—despite witnesses stating that they smelled alcohol on his breath.

    Wulle has been censored by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct and must undergo seven whole hours of racial, religious, sexual-orientation and diversity training. And he wants us all to know—particularly any racial, religious, or sexual minorities that may come before him—that he’s very, very sorry…

    Wulle said Friday he will use the incident as a learning experience. “It was never my intent to offend anyone, and I apologize to anyone who was offended,” he said.


    Bill Donohue Call Your Office!

    posted by on December 11 at 2:32 PM

    An art gallery in Los Angeles is hosting an offensive Christmas art show—they’re calling it “Merry Titmas”—and just check out this piece.


    Wow. That’s the Holy Mother in a Hooter’s t-shirt and the Holy Infant has been replaced with a pile of hot wings. Surely this is just as offensive as that Folsom Street Fair poster, right? I mean, look at those eyebrows—we all know the Holy Mother did not pluck her eyebrows or use blue eye shadow. LAist has an interview with the show’s curator, Lenora Claire, and it seems pretty clear that she intended to provoke good Catholics everywhere…

    The painting of the Holy Mother wearing a Hooters tank top will clearly offend a lot of people. Especially because instead of the Messiah in the manger, it’ s a couple dozen hot wings. When exactly did you sell your soul to the Devil?

    Lenora Claire: I’ve always said art much like breasts should be in your face. Since this is a show about art and breasts I started thinking of taking something as classic as a typical nativity scene and giving it a pop twist. I really feel that is the Virgin Mary found herself knocked up today that she would have to go work at Hooters to support the baby Jesus. Like everything I do there are high brow and low brow elements. It’s all about subversion.

    Sure on one level people are going to be shocked but that is what gets them talking. You can either get off on the humor of it or the bold feminist statement. Or you can be offended. My goal with this show is to stimulate and titillate and I know I’ve accomplished that. I’m just lucky I was able to wrangle my friend Ed Mironiuk in to drawing it as it would be less impressive if I was left to expressing myself with my finger painting skills.

    Titmas? Really? Why do you hate Christmas? Don’t you know that makes the baby Jesus cry?

    Lenora Claire: As a Jew I have a pretty warped fascination with Christmas probably stemming from the Pee Wee Herman Christmas special I was obsessed with as a child and Divine going apescat over not getting her cha cha heels.

    So when does the shitstorm already begin? Who will be first to point out that Ms. Clair didn’t dare put blue eye shadow on Mohammed? Or this sort of crap only truly offensive when gay people do it?

    The Moore: Perfectly Imperfect at 100

    posted by on December 11 at 2:30 PM

    Moore100_121007_8263.jpgPhotos by Justin Renney

    The cold air stopped at the front door of the Moore Theater last night. Beatboxing carolers provided a warm welcome, and, once inside, the place was a churning, humid flush of Vaudevillian action. There was a charge of untethered activity, what behind-the-scenes at a behind-the-scenes Bob Fosse production might feel like. It was as if the crowd—swarming with families and couples and rockers and nine-to-fivers—was roped into the performance. Which seemed willy-nilly in terms of talent: an opera singer, a burlesque teaser, a pair of acrobats, a classical violinist, a sax player hanging out in the balcony blowing between acts.

    The theater itself is truly majestic, a century-old piece of Seattle history still fit to honor the tradition it established. Brendan Kiley recently wrote about the Moore’s decaying elegance; I’d never been inside the place before, so I had no idea. He’s right. The Moore is the best room I’ve been inside of in the city: unfussy, solid, grand and beautiful in its practicality. Nothing is built like that anymore.

    The backstage, Vaudevillian atmosphere fit it keenly. Not to say the Moore’s centennial celebration was poorly planned. On the countrary, I bet whoever put the event together knew how perfectly chaotic the night would feel. That person also knew that the room itself demanded an old-fashioned free-for-all pace on this occasion. Watching adults and children maintain proper behavior in an unstructured environment can be very heartening.


    A “secret bar” onstage allowed the intrepid to either ascend onstage past the MC in between acts (to gentle heckling) or find the out-of-the-way side door that led to stage right. Some younger kids tapdanced, some older kids tapdanced really well, the opera singer sang “Happy Birthday”, and hundreds and hundreds of people lined up for cake—a plastic-looking cake shaped like the Moore. Many of them stayed on-stage while someone played “Age of Aquarius” over the PA and the more boozed-up boomers pranced around waving their arms and the rest of us looked on perplexed.


    Eventually, an ad-hoc rock band played cover songs at the back of the stage. Projections detailed all the performers that played the Moore in the last 100 years and all the videos made there. (“Evenflow”—I had no idea.) The cover songs kept coming—“Comfortably Numb,” “Crazy On You”—and some people left and others stayed for cake and beer while semi-chaos reigned and the old theater withstood it all.

    Liveblogging War and Peace

    posted by on December 11 at 2:22 PM

    The seven-hour Soviet War and Peace is in residence at SIFF Cinema for two whole weeks.


    This film is long (seven hours long) not because the book on which it is based is long, but because the subject of its story is the state. And any story the state has to tell is going to be a very, very long one. War and Peace was not made by a director, a mere individual, but by the state itself: the USSR. The state made it in 1968, paid a fortune for its production (the critic Michael Atkinson claims that in today’s terms the movie would cost about $1 billion), called up hundreds of thousands of extras, and spent over a half a decade constructing a narrative of its power. Not glory, but state power. The cinema of glory is something like the Triumph of the Will, which is all pornography and no story. State power is not simply a matter of glory; it must be about years of suffering, about all levels of society, about its movement across the high and low terrain of history. In War and Peace, state power flows through society with a fluid camera. It flows into bedrooms, ballrooms, death chambers, battlefields, city streets at dusk, over the Neva, above the country and into the clouds. In this film, more than any other film in history, the power of the state is translated into the power of cinema. CHARLES MUDEDE

    Jim Demetre has a good, concise post on War and Peace up on Artdish right now. (The discussion of Pride and Prejudice adaptations also ties into my Slog post from last week—guys, Austen is social satire: it’s OK to laugh.) But here at The Stranger, we believe excess should be met with excess.

    So tomorrow, starting at 1 pm and going on for hours and hours, Charles Mudede will utilize the software formerly dedicated to trifles like politics and Project Runway to liveblog War and Peace. Be here or mock Tolstoy. At your peril.


    posted by on December 11 at 2:20 PM

    Gov. Christine Gregoire appointed an Eastern Washington judge, Spokane Court of Appeals Judge Debra Stephens, to Washington’s Supreme Court last week.

    Gregoire touted Stephens’s Eastern Washington status, arguing that the nine-member Court needed more geographic diversity. (There hasn’t been an Eastern Washington judge on the Court since 2000.)

    In a statement hyping the appointment, Gregoire said: “It is very important that the Washington State Supreme Court have the diversity of viewpoint that a justice from Eastern Washington brings to the bench.”

    But Gregoire also told the AP that another main reason she picked Stephens is because the Spokane judge is a moderate and a consensus builder. “The court has been sharply divided, with numerous 5-4 decisions, Gregoire noted,” the AP reported.

    So which is it? Does Gregoire want diversity? Or does Gregoire want consensus?

    If Gregoire wants fewer 5-4 decsions, maybe she should use the power of her office and to appoint some liberals who will nudge the court left for some 6-3s.

    To me Gregoire’s “diversity” seems like reverse double back flip code for her kiss up to conservatives. It’s a sort of cute FU to liberals; Gregoire’s trading in the progressive meaning of diversity— minority representation by gays and people of color—for a reactionary “diversity” that actually means status quo consensus.

    Again: In one breath Gregoire says she wants less split decisions and more diversity. Those two things don’t jibe. And for Gregoire’s liberal base in Western Washington, neither do her appeasement appointments.

    From the AP report:

    The governor said she asked Stephens to offer the court her skills as a consensus-builder. The court has been sharply divided, with numerous 5-4 decisions, Gregoire noted.

    She said she didn’t ask Stephens about her politics. The post is nonpartisan, but some jurists come to the bench with extensive political backgrounds, including serving in the Legislature. Stephens said her father, civic leader Jim Williams, ran for the Legislature as a Republican and has ties to the building industry, but that she has no political affiliation herself.

    She said it’s possible that two clashing interest groups, the trial lawyers and the homebuilders, might end up endorsing her. Property-rights activists “have nothing to fear from me,” she said

    A Drug That Turns Homosexuality On and Off

    posted by on December 11 at 2:13 PM

    No, not beer—although rivers of beer have been spilt in successful efforts to induce a little situational homosexuality. No, neurobiologists have successfully turned homosexuality on and off in fruit flies using a drug that alters the way the brains of said fruit flies react to fruit fly pheromones.

    And they weren’t just making little gay fruit flies ex-gay. From the NYT:

    Within hours of the treatment, previously heterosexual male fruit flies would be courting other males, and treatment could also cause flies who had been engaging in homosexual behavior to become exclusively heterosexual, the neurobiologists report in Nature Neuroscience. You can read a summary of it here from the University of Illinois at Chicago, the home of one of the researchers, David Firestone.

    The NYT asks the obvious follow-up: could you use similar approach to alter a human being’s sexual orientation?

    Although I am not sure my research is a big step in this direction, I think that ultimately the answer will be: Yes….The question of whether or not homosexuality should be turned on and off is not a scientific question. It is an ethical/societal dilemma. I am glad my work is stimulating the discussion earlier rather than later. History is replete with poorly thought out attempts to “cure” societal/behavioral ‘illnesses’ that turned out, with proper perspective, to not be “illnesses” at all.

    John Teirney then takes the discussion in a much more interesting direction. Instead of the usual hand-wringing about Christian fundies slipping anti-gay fluoride into the water supply and turning us all straight, Teirney wonders if straight and gay people alike will want to use these drugs to manipulate their sexual orientations. So long as you can flip the switch back and forth, he suggests, wouldn’t some people think, hell, why not?

    I don’t think of homosexuality or heterosexuality as an “illness” to be “cured,” but I wonder how people would use the ability to control sexual orientation—to have a designer libido. Would some people, gay or straight, who weren’t having luck attracting one gender decide to switch to the other? Would some people casually switch back and forth?

    So if there was a drug out there that could temporarily flip your switch and take you from hetero to homo, or homo to hetero, and back again… would you be tempted? I don’t think I would, seeing as how set in my ways I am, but I imagine younger, more sexually adventurous types might be tempted.

    Of course, social conservatives would do all they can to block the recreational use of a drug like this, just as liberals would do all they could to block the exterminational use of a drug like this. But… man… if you could, would you? Should you?

    Finally, there’s this creepy note…

    Would parents, gay or straight, want to regulate their children’s sexual orientation—and should they or their children be allowed to do so?

    Now that’s an interesting twist. When we talk about parents attempting to “regulate” their children’s sexual orientations, we’re almost always talking about straight parents wanting to make sure their kids turn out straight. But what about the growing numbers of gay parents out there? Would we be within our rights as parents to chemically alter our children’s sexual orientations? I don’t know a gay parent that would do such a thing, of course. But if this drug becomes available we may have to threaten to give it to our straight kids to prevent bigoted straight parents doing it to their gay kids.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on December 11 at 2:00 PM


    Thanks to photo pool contributor - B -.

    What About Edwards?

    posted by on December 11 at 1:55 PM

    Jenny Durkan, the head of the John Edwards campaign here in Washington, has been on my case to stop suggesting it’s just a two-way race in Iowa (and around the country) between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Which means she’s going to have some issues with my new Obama feature in this week’s Stranger.

    But today Durkan hit my in-box with a CNN poll that’s worth considering. The headline for the poll is that it found Republican Mike Huckabee going down to double-digit defeat nationally against all three of the top Democratic contenders. But the headline Durkan wishes you could see—her fantasy headline—would include something about another finding from the poll:

    Edwards performs best against each of the leading Republicans. In addition to beating Huckabee by 25 percent and McCain by 8 percent, the North Carolina Democrat beats Romney by 22 percentage points (59 percent to 37 percent) and Giuliani by 9 percentage points (53 percent to 44 percent).

    Durkan writes:

    If Democrats want to win — Edwards is their best chance… And on Russert this morning a GOP operative admitted — they would be happy with either Hillary or Obama, but that Edwards really is the one who scares them.

    Naturally, the Edwards campaign has already posted the Russert clip on YouTube:

    O They Will Know We Are Christians By Our…

    posted by on December 11 at 1:11 PM

    sex assault charges involving dead pigeons.

    A Toronto minister is charged with two counts of sexual assault linked to alleged incidents at his small north-end Toronto church.

    Two women allege they were forced to have sex against their will and had babies fathered by 59-year-old Frank Lawrence, pastor at Toronto Mount Zion Revival Church of the Apostles.

    One woman told police that under the guise of spiritual healing, she had the blood of a sacrificed pigeon poured over her head and ointment rubbed over her body after a ritual bath in 1995.

    ‘Tis the Season for Candy That Tastes Like Mouthwash

    posted by on December 11 at 12:57 PM


    I like Jesus just fine (especially in Stephen Mitchell’s hands) but I remain indifferent to Jesus-centric holidays. His Christmas-season “birthday” is an arbitrary crush of commerce, and his Easter “resurrection” is, in its own quiet way, the root of all evil.

    Still, both Christmas and Easter are seasons of joy for me, if only because both bring avalanches of candy that tastes like medicine.

    At Easter, it’s Spicy and Tangy Jelly Bird Eggs, those multi-colored jelly beans incorporating a variety of old-pharmacy flavors, including mint, cinnamon, licorice, and, my favorite, clove. (Those are the yellow ones.)

    At Christmas, it’s holiday Spicettes (the classic wintergreen-and-cinnamon mix) and, as pictured above, Holiday Nougats, available in wintergreen, spearmint, and, my favorite, cinnamon.

    Cinnamon Holiday Nougat is nature’s most perfect food. Eating Cinnamon Holiday Nougat is like eating a bunch of Big Red gum, and when you’re done, your breath is wonderfully fresh.

    I don’t know where my love of spicy medicinal candy comes from, but it’s deep and true and occasionally feels like pica. Thank you, Jesus, for making it possible.

    English and Arabic

    posted by on December 11 at 12:55 PM

    I. Abu Dhabi.


    According to a 2003 United Nations report into human development in the Arab world, more books are translated into Spanish each year - 10,000 - than have been translated into Arabic in the previous 10 centuries. Now this situation is being rectified by the sheikhdom of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven Muslim United Arab Emirates, which last month officially revealed its plans to translate 100 epochal foreign-language texts into Arabic by the end of next year.

    Among the first to be translated: Stephen Hawking, Jurgan Habermas, Umberto Eco, and Murakami. Right now, translators are hunched over desks, working on volumes by Milton, Galileo, and co-decipherer of DNA, James D. Watson.

    II. England.

    Over the last three years, it has been possible to catch the “Chewing Gum Man” at work somewhere in London, crouched on a pavement. From a distance, he could be homeless or a drunk - his coat is spattered with paint - but as you near, you see that he is painting in enamels, with great delicacy, a picture on the discarded gum that litters urban pavements.


    Arrested and charged with criminal damage in front of a crowd of horrified tourists, he ended up being punched and dragged across a police cell.

    England’s got issues:

    Absurd recent examples of how far these [policing] powers stretch include a drunken Oxford student who said a police horse was gay and ended up with an £80 fixed-penalty fine. And the penalty fines handed to wearers of a “Bollocks to Blair” T-shirt. The most egregious instance of this new civic conformity was Tony Blair’s measure to ban political protests within a mile of Westminster.

    Back to the artist:

    Once at the station, he was told they wanted a DNA sample, which under a 2004 amendment, the police are entitled to take from everyone accused of a recordable offence. Even if the person is never convicted, or even charged, the DNA sits in a national database until they die, or their hundredth birthday. Wilson balked at this invasion of his privacy; he tried to reason with the police, and ended up on the floor being punched, as six or so hairs were taken for the DNA sample. Charges of obstructing police in the course of their duty, and criminal damage, were brought against him and then dropped.

    Smart & Stupid

    posted by on December 11 at 12:55 PM

    Exhibit A: Mathlete Breaks Own Record:

    The world’s fastest human calculator on Tuesday broke his own record for working out a 200-digit number using nothing but brain power to produce the answer in just over 70 seconds.

    Alexis Lemaire, a 27-year-old Frenchman, correctly calculated the 13th root of a random 200-digit number from a possible 393 trillion answers.

    The so-called ‘mathlete’ produced the answer of 2,407,899,893,032,210 in 70.2 seconds, beating his previous record of 72.4 seconds, at London’s Science Museum.

    A computer was used to produce a random 200-digit number before he sat down to calculate the answer in his head.

    The museum’s curator of mathematics, Jane Wess, said: “He sat down and it was all very quiet — and all of a sudden he amazingly just cracked it.

    “I believe that it is the highest sum calculated mentally.”

    Exhibit B: John Singleton to direct movie version of The A-Team.

    The Anxiety of Hope

    posted by on December 11 at 12:49 PM


    The Stranger sent Eli Sanders to Iowa on Friday to see the first event in the Barack Obama/Oprah Winfrey tour. Hours before Obama’s event tonight at Showbox Sodo, Sanders’s full report on Obama’s rise in Iowa and beyond is up on our website.

    Representative paragraph:

    Presidential campaigns are about the issues of the day, certainly, and these days there is no shortage of issues for the candidates to debate, chief among them the war in Iraq and its consequences. But for better or for worse, presidential campaigns are also, to a very large extent, about the stage presence and personal narrative of a given candidate—about the emotional bond these attributes create, or fail to create, with voters. Oprah knows she’s here not for a policy conference, but to up the wattage on Obama’s already electrifying stage presence, and to offer her voice—thick, dexterous, able to swing through more emotions in a minute than any political charmer I’ve ever seen—in the service of explaining Obama’s personal narrative as political destiny. Oprah is here to connect—and over two days she will connect Obama to voters in a bigger, more public way than has occurred for any other candidate this year: More than 29,000 people will attend the two Oprah-Obama events in Iowa; more than 8,500 will turn out in New Hampshire; and the next day in South Carolina, more than 29,000 people will show up at a football stadium to hear the two of them speak. At the event in Des Moines, standing in the center of the cheering crowd, I thought to myself: This doesn’t feel like presidential politics. It feels like a movement.

    Later in the piece:

    Being on the presidential campaign trail, even for just 32 hours as I was, is a bit like living in a fever dream. You’re landing, small plane shaking, passing over a snowy field in which someone’s done a few doughnuts, and you wonder if the circles, Os within Os, are some gift of an Oprah-Obama metaphor.

    It’s a fantastic essay. The whole thing’s here.

    The Feminist Case Against Hillary Clinton

    posted by on December 11 at 12:06 PM

    Ever since ECB’s smart feature about women voters & Hillary Clinton, I’ve been stuck on this heretical thought.

    Maybe there’s a feminist reason for not supporting Hillary Clinton—and it doesn’t have a thing to do with the issues. It’s HRC herself. Do we really want the first female president of the United States to have been invited to the national stage not because of her individual achievements but because of the person she’s married to? The difference between a female senator being appointed after the death of her elected husband and HRC’s situation is slight. How many people plan to vote for Hillary just because Bill can’t be president anymore, and this is the next best thing? And how depressing is that?

    I didn’t have any concrete notion of the answer to this question until I read the most recent New York Times/CBS poll, which found that “nearly as many of Mrs. Clinton’s backers say they are supporting her because of her husband as say they are supporting her because of her own experience”.

    The hard numbers are even more distressing. Likely Democratic primary voters were asked why they support the candidate they support: “married to Bill Clinton” is the second most popular reason.

    22. What specifically is it about CANDIDATE NAME that makes you want to support him/her?

    I like him/her 4
    Best candidate for the job 1
    Agree on the issues 9
    Represents change 8
    Good experience 16
    Vision for the country 3
    Honesty/integrity/trustworthy 5
    Shares values 1
    Not typical politician 1
    Cares about people like me 2
    Smart/intelligent 6
    New person/fresh face 10
    Washington outsider –-
    Electability –-
    Married to Bill Clinton 13
    Stance on Iraq War 3
    Will bring troops home from Iraq -–
    Stance on terrorism -–
    Stance on health care 2
    She’s a woman/time for a woman 4
    He’s African American/Time for that 2
    Strong leader -–
    Other 3
    DK/NA 5

    It’s worth noting that the first most popular reason for supporting a given candidate (experience) often undoubtedly translates into HRC’s time in the White House as First Lady—an occupation that, should a girl actively aspire to it, is no more productive a career goal than marrying rich.

    As a candidate, I like Hillary Clinton fine, though I prefer Barack Obama. But the idea of supporting a candidate whom most people like primarily because she’s married to someone they love—the whole thing just makes me queasy.

    It’s Over on Line Out. Showbox Sold.

    posted by on December 11 at 11:43 AM

    Here’s the news.


    Do not question my radioactive powers again.

    Maya Angelou: Clinton’s “My Girl”

    posted by on December 11 at 11:35 AM

    In South Carolina, the Clinton campaign has launched a radio ad that seems a direct response to Obama’s appearance on Sunday with Oprah Winfrey—before nearly 30,000 people, many of them black—at a South Carolina football stadium.

    The transcript, via Ben Smith:

    Maya Angelou:

    Hello South Carolina, this is Maya Angelou. Let me tell you about my girl… Hillary Clinton. As a child, Hillary Clinton was taught that all God’s children are equal, so as a mother she understood that her child wasn’t safe unless all children were safe.

    I know what kind of president Hillary Clinton will be because I know who she is. Hillary Clinton has always been a strong woman and a passionate protector of families. For 35 years, that’s exactly what she has been doing.

    Each generation of African Americans stands on the shoulders of those who came before. Today, the challenges facing us threaten the dreams we have had for our children. We need a president with the experience and strength to meet those challenges. I am inspired by Hillary Clinton’s commitment and courage … a daughter, a wife, a mother… my girl.

    American Woman Alleges She Was Drugged and Gang-Raped in Baghdad

    posted by on December 11 at 11:28 AM


    By fellow Americans. Several of her male coworkers at Halliburton’s then-subsidiary KBR. That’s her above, in the photo that accompanies yesterday’s story on ABC News’s website.

    Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.

    Read the whole thing. This story’s awful.

    Over two years later, the Justice Department has brought no criminal charges in the matter. In fact, ABC News could not confirm any federal agency was investigating the case.

    Legal experts say Jones’ alleged assailants will likely never face a judge and jury, due to an enormous loophole that has effectively left contractors in Iraq beyond the reach of United States law.

    (Thanks—I guess—for the tip, Paul.)

    Clinton’s Seattle Pushback

    posted by on December 11 at 11:15 AM

    Like Postman, I recently received two notable political emails, one yesterday and one today, both of them timed to take some air out of Barack Obama’s appearance at Showbox SoDo tonight.

    The first came yesterday from the Clinton Campaign, announcing a Who’s Who list of Washington supporters for her “Washington Steering Committee.” (Full list in the jump.) Among those on the list was “Democratic Activist” (and professional political consultant) Christian Sinderman, who this morning sent out the second email, this one more of a direct jab at Obama:

    Here’s a little item from last week on Obama dissing Microsoft on the east coast while now he returns to Seattle to continue raising money from MSFT employees (and others who benefit from the Microsoft presence in our region)… Open Secrets indicates that Microsoft employees have given Obama over $37,000 in contributions.

    The link is to an account of an interview Obama gave to the Boston Globe editorial board. It was described on a Globe blog thusly:

    Obama also dismissed doubts that he lacks experience as a chief executive, saying launching his candidacy was akin to launching a $100 million start-up against the “Microsoft of Democratic politics” — the Clinton campaign — and raising more money than his main rival and creating a better on-the-ground organization.

    Ok. So Obama dissed one of Washington’s major employers. A little bit. Maybe. (Though probably not in a way many Microsoft employees would find that disagreeable, or wrong.)

    But this seems a little… Petty. It has echoes for me of that whole attack by the Clinton campaign on Obama’s alleged kindergarten writings. When that attack played badly, the campaign had to backtrack and claim it was only a joke.

    I don’t know if this rises to quite that level of embarassment, but it does remind me of a joke Obama made at the Oprah-Obama event I attended in Des Moines over the weekend. Pushing his theme that the Clinton people are running a “textbook” campaign and are trapped in old tactics that he’s trying to rise above, Obama recounted the kindergarten papers incident. And then, flipping into a funny poke at Clinton’s unreleased White House records, Obama said something like:

    You know, I’m going to be releasing my kindergarten papers tomorrow.

    He promised detractors would find only that he’d written something innocent, something like “MOM.”

    Continue reading "Clinton's Seattle Pushback" »

    Article du Jour

    posted by on December 11 at 11:08 AM

    Erin Jorgensen Covers the Song of Your Choice


    One of the founding geniuses behind the French Project will sing your song of choice en français and play it on her mellifluous marimba. Priceless!

    (Listen to her dreamy cover of Thin Lizzy’s “The Cowboy Song” here.)

    Strangercrombie: Once a year, we do something good.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on December 11 at 11:00 AM



    An adaptation of the Ian McEwan novel about the catastrophic fallout from a child’s rebuffed crush, Atonement should confirm Joe Wright—along with most of his production team from Pride & Prejudice—as a master of period film. Impeccable design, perfect casting, sound that takes the clack of a typewriter and embeds it into all sorts of furious onscreen rhythms… I was swooning even before the love story kicked in. Admittedly, Keira Knightley and James McAvoy are pretty dreamy, too. (See Movie Times for details.)


    Pioneer Square Gets “Fired Up!” For Obama. Kind of.

    posted by on December 11 at 10:50 AM

    Posted by Ryan S. Jackson

    He was an older gentleman in a slighty-tattered windbreaker and a USS Missouri ball cap, and he left precious little doubt over whether he would be caucusing for Senator Barack Obama next year.

    The tirade opened with a vivid recounting of the 9/11 terrorist attacks (“I saw them jump from the towers!”) before devolving into a spirited, “Fuck your Obama! I said fuck your Obama… your Osama!” He then proceeded to take Obama’s supporters gathered in Pioneer Square on a guided tour of the America-at-War greatest hits: Germany, Japan, the Cold War, Iraq War 1. He also didn’t want anyone to forget Pearl Harbor.

    It was the single real moment of conflict in the Washington State For Barack Obama rally that kicked off at the corner of 1st and Yesler at noon yesterday. Obama is set to swing through Seattle tonight for an event at the Showbox in SoDo, and the press release listed the Pioneer Square event as a “Welcome to Washington, Barack” celebration.

    Eighteen very cold people had shown up by 12:30 and were engaged in a vigorous sort of sign waving and cheering, often in competition with a nearby man in the tattered Santa-outfit singing “Frosty the Snowman” at the top of his lungs. This seemed in no way to dent the spirits of the volunteers, and for the most part the passing city residents responded well. A sign that said, “Honk For Obama!” soon added car horns to the chants of the supporters and the increasingly hoarse Santa of Yesler Avenue.

    I had found myself with Taylor Montgomery, an Obama volunteer who had come to Seattle from Denver with some of the Obama staff. Sporting a pierced eyebrow and wire-rim glasses, he turned into something of a camera magnet among the media who had shown up.

    I asked him what had drawn him to Obama rather than the other candidates. “Well I really do think it’s his message. Edwards and Hillary have known factors, like everyone knows who they are and kind of know what they’ve done. I think there’s not a feeling that they can change, and make things change.”

    A couple of the people I talked to said they had their political awakening during Howard Dean’s 2004 campaign, and you could sense some easy parallels in their hopes for change in the Democratic party. The most interesting aspect, however, seemed to be the enthusiasm with which the supporters claimed Obama could bridge partisan issues without compromising his core ideals. If Dean’s candidacy was in part powered by people who respected the fact that he wouldn’t compromise to the then-electorally-rampaging conservative majority, it appears that many who came out yesterday seemed to respect the fact that Obama would try to effectively work with an electorally-tarnished conservative minority.

    Chabad Seattle: You’re Slacking

    posted by on December 11 at 10:42 AM


    Photo of the Chabad Seattle hanukkia (aka “menorah”) in Westlake Park taken last night, the seventh night of Hanukkah.

    Dept. of Very Important Things

    posted by on December 11 at 10:12 AM

    Here’s the text of HR 847, which will be taken to the House floor today by Rep. Steve King [R-IA]:

    Recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.

    Whereas Christmas, a holiday of great significance to Americans and many other cultures and nationalities, is celebrated annually by Christians throughout the United States and the world;

    Whereas there are approximately 225,000,000 Christians in the United States, making Christianity the religion of over three-fourths of the American population;

    Whereas there are approximately 2,000,000,000 Christians throughout the world, making Christianity the largest religion in the world and the religion of about one-third of the world population;

    Whereas Christians identify themselves as those who believe in the salvation from sin offered to them through the sacrifice of their savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and who, out of gratitude for the gift of salvation, commit themselves to living their lives in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Bible;

    Whereas Christians and Christianity have contributed greatly to the development of western civilization;

    Whereas the United States, being founded as a constitutional republic in the traditions of western civilization, finds much in its history that points observers back to its roots in Christianity;

    Whereas on December 25 of each calendar year, American Christians observe Christmas, the holiday celebrating the birth of their savior, Jesus Christ;

    Whereas for Christians, Christmas is celebrated as a recognition of God’s redemption, mercy, and Grace; and

    Whereas many Christians and non-Christians throughout the United States and the rest of the world, celebrate Christmas as a time to serve others: Now, therefore be it

    Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

    (1) recognizes the Christian faith as one of the great religions of the world;

    (2) expresses continued support for Christians in the United States and worldwide;

    (3) acknowledges the international religious and historical importance of Christmas and the Christian faith;

    (4) acknowledges and supports the role played by Christians and Christianity in the founding of the United States and in the formation of the western civilization;

    (5) rejects bigotry and persecution directed against Christians, both in the United States and worldwide; and

    (6) expresses its deepest respect to American Christians and Christians throughout the world.

    (Via Think Progress.)

    Right About Now

    posted by on December 11 at 10:11 AM

    Is that what time it is?
    300px-War_of_wealth_bank_run_poster-1.jpg The time for a good old-fashioned bank run?

    Into the Lion’s Den

    posted by on December 11 at 10:06 AM

    Last Thursday, news intern Brian Slodysko attended a police accountability forum, hosted by SPD’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) and the Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB).

    One complaint that was repeatedly echoed on slog—other than the lack of publicity for the meeting—was the fact that the meeting, on police accountability, was held inside a police precinct.

    From reading the comments on Slog, it appears a number of people may not have attended the meeting because it would have been like walking into the lion’s den. Well, I called up the OPA to ask what they were thinking.

    “The west precinct meeting room was available,” says OPA Director Kathryn Olson.
    “We have done community forums in a variety of public facilities [but] we’ve also done meetings in the precinct.” Olson says the OPA didn’t intend to alienate anyone when they signed up to use the West Precinct conference room. Besides, Olson says, visiting a precinct is a great opportunity! “I’d encourage people to go inside the precinct if they’ve never been inside a precinct,” she says.

    The problem with that, as I told Olson, is that some people have been in a precinct—on the business end of things—and they’re probably not going to want to come back and visit. When I pointed out that only 4 people—not including media or city employees—attended the meeting, Olson attributed the low turnout to “huge traffic problems that evening.”

    Olson says she wants to hear from people about where they’d like to see the meetings held. So, if you’ve got a recommendation or want to address anything else, you can email Olson here.

    Fun Forest RIP

    posted by on December 11 at 10:05 AM

    The city council voted yesterday to burn Seattle Center’s Fun Forest to the ground in 2009. Goldy’s pissed.

    Assignment : Jump into Puget Sound, Stop Global Warming

    posted by on December 11 at 10:00 AM


    Kristin Wheeler, a community organizer for Greenpeace, contacted me because she wanted me to jump, in my underwear, into Puget Sound with a polar bear as part of a global-warming awareness campaign called “Keep Winter Cold.”

    I drove to Alki Beach on Saturday and looked for Kristin and her activist friends who would be jumping into Puget Sound with me. I found them across the street from Tully’s, near the statue of liberty, huddled in groups and shivering. The icy cold wind was blowing hard, whipping people’s hoods into their faces, causing tears to stream down their cheeks, and snot to pour out of their noses.

    Kristin stood on a picnic table and announced to the crowd, “I’m so glad you all are here! Welcome to the polar bear run!” There was silence except for the low howl of the wind. “Again, Greenpeace is not responsible…” Kristin stammered a bit, apparently forgetting the next line, “…if you have a heart condition or other medical conditions, please jump into the water at your own risk,” she finished.

    What was most notable about Kristin’s speech was what she didn’t tell us: the reason why jumping into a body of water in December would advance the case for stricter laws against polluters, better gas mileage for cars, and less reliance on foreign oil. A polar bear falling through melted ice would make for a more coherent visual, I thought to myself.

    “Where’s the bear?” I asked Kristin. “He couldn’t come today,” she said to me, rushing to grab a Greenpeace banner. She didn’t recognize me.

    “Are you from Cornish?” a young woman with braided hair asked me. “You look familiar. Were you at the Gilead bomb drop?”

    Gilead who-see, what-so? I was flattered this woman thought me an activist. Was it my expensive jacket and cashmere scarf that gave it away? I told her no, I had no idea what she was talking about, and I asked her why she was jumping into Puget Sound in the middle of the winter. “I don’t know, because it’ll be fun.” Fun? Staging a public musical against global warming would be fun. Dying of hypothermia, less so. I asked her if she was concerned about her immune system. No no, of course not. “This is our Everest,” her friend said.

    People started taking their clothes off. It was really a sight to see, all of them undressing. The crowd all had onesies, Speedos, and swimming trunks underneath their clothes. I was wearing teal American Apparel briefs I’d bought with my friends on a dare. I undid my jeans a bit as the wind forced tears down my cheek. I was crying and undressing at the same time, which was fitting because I really didn’t want anyone to see me in my inappropriately sexy underwear.

    I went back to the picnic table with my undone jeans and looked for someone as terrified of pneumonia as I was. I instantly bonded with the Greenpeace intern. She didn’t want to jump into the water either but felt pressure to do it from her boss. She looked miserable and cold. I asked her to join me in my new plan: sabotaging the assignment, pissing off Kristin, and watching from the sidelines. The young woman laughed uncomfortably and looked at me with awe and just a bit of jealousy. I felt like a real rebel.

    Before I knew it, some men started yelling “aAHHAhh!” and everyone ran down the stairs, onto the beach, and into Puget Sound. I watched from the picnic table as they screamed and held on to each other in the water, shivering in rapid spasms. I felt a bit left out, and wondered if I had missed an opportunity to make new (weird) friends. Mostly, though, I felt relieved no one could see my body hair.

    Afterward, I pushed my way into a picture with a particularly attractive activist. “Wow, we did it!” I said to him. “Yeah man,” he responded, apparently failing to see all the clothes I was wearing.


    This was when Kristin finally recognized me, just as I was unfairly sharing the limelight with a real activist. “Steven! You didn’t jump in!” she yelled. “I know,” I said to her, “I thought everyone would be wearing underwear… and…” I really had no excuse.

    “This is what you get,” Kristin said to me in a mock-angry tone and hugged me with her wet swimsuit. I was surprised she was not more upset; I had completely ignored the assignment and I hadn’t helped her at all. Actually, I had been working against her, preying on weak activists and instilling them with self-doubt .


    But Kristin was too busy to really care. She left me to look at all the pictures her friend had taken, and I stood alone for a moment, lightly coated in her sweaty fishy water, and looked out at the beautiful Olympic Mountains and the blue waters of Puget Sound. And that’s when I realized something: it was really fucking cold and I wanted to go home.

    Steven Blum
    Public Intern

    Got an assignment for the public intern?


    posted by on December 11 at 9:48 AM

    “Crucial Car Ferry Likely Out for a Year or More”!! screamed a headline in this morning’s Seattle Times. “Drivers face a long detour to other routes,” a caption under the accompanying map added. The story explained:

    It’s likely to be a year or more before car-ferry service returns to the Port Townsend-Keystone route after state officials on Monday recommended four aging ferries, sidelined since Nov. 20, should be scrapped, not fixed. […] The Port Townsend-Keystone route carries 778,000 passengers and 370,000 vehicles each year, according to Washington State Ferries. With the Steel Electrics out of service, the route is served by the passenger ferry Snohomish.

    Three-hundred seventy thousand vehicles a year? Why, that’s… about a thousand vehicles a day! (By way of comparison, up to 320,000 cars use I-5 through Seattle every day.) The Times story also fails to mention that the Port Townsend/Keystone route is already served by passenger-only ferry, and that the ferry schedule was changed two weeks ago to link up to transit. There are free park-and-ride lots for cars on either side of the ferry run. Buses run every hour on the Whidbey Island side, and every 20 minutes on the Port Townsend side—more frequently, in other words, than lots of bus routes in Seattle. And for those who simply have to drive, the ferry system has added a third boat on the Edmonds-Kingston route.

    I’m sorry if I sound unsympathetic—and I’m sure some people will be genuinely inconvenienced—but is it really the end of the world if a few suburban residents have to reorganize their schedules to get around by some means other than driving from home to work and back?

    Where Have You Gone, Bob and Rod Jackson-Paris?

    posted by on December 11 at 9:43 AM

    Good looking guys in long-term relationships are apparently so scarce that Genre had to invent ‘em.


    The New York-based monthly recently released an issue examining long-term relations. The cover, as you can see, shows two hunky men who are presented as a couple. An astute reader, however, informs us that one of the models, Julian Fantechi, once appeared in Playgirl and, in fact, likes ladies. Writes the reader: “Inside the magazine, they are stripped down, appear to be into each other, and are allegedly, discussing their physical relationship, emotional, sexual and spiritual relationship. This is not reality, here! The guy on the left is Playgirl’s Man of the Year. The link is to his website and his Inside Hollywood interviews. He even puts Genre on his resume.”

    And here’s one of those Hollywood interviews with Julian Fantechi—just for, you know, the record and shit.

    UPDATE: Genre didn’t just imply the guys on the cover were a couple, the editors stated that as fact in emails sent out to bloggers and journalists. Andy at Towleroad quotes from Genre the press release he received…

    On the cover this month, Genre bravely put forth a reality couple, and not the typical models who hold perfection over our heads. Our message is simple. Reach for forever. Genre can help you get there.

    Hm… Genre bravely put forth a “reality couple,” whatever that means. Says Andy…

    I’m a former editor of Genre, and as a side note, when we did our “relationships” issue there was no shortage of hot, interesting real-life couples dying to tell their stories to the magazine.

    Of Burn Bans and Leaf Blowers

    posted by on December 11 at 9:35 AM

    If the air quality is so bad that we can’t use our fireplaces, should the city really be sending out folks with leaf blowers to—no shit—blow the leaves off the bushes in Cal Anderson park for this third time in a week? If we can’t muster up the nerve to do the little things—get rid of leaf blowers, ban or require deposits on plastic grocery bags—let’s stop pretending that we’re going to do anything about the big things like, oh, seriously reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    Slog Happy This Thursday

    posted by on December 11 at 9:04 AM

    SlogHH.jpgWe’re throwing a party for you, Slog readers—a monthly happy hour at Moe where we can kvetch and gossip and laugh in person. You are going to be tired of looking at this ad by Thursday; for that I apologize. I just want to make sure everyone is in the loop. See you Thursday?

    Mitt Goes After Mike

    posted by on December 11 at 8:38 AM

    Hey, we both hate the gays, and we both think women’s bodies are the property of the state. The question is, “Which one of us hates them damn illegals more?”

    Playboy Funnies

    posted by on December 11 at 8:31 AM

    From my April 1971 issue of Playboy magazine…


    I know this cartoon is hilarious… but I can’t quite put my finger on why. Golly, I wish ECB were here to unpack its multiple layers of meaning and irony for me. (The caption, in case you’re having trouble reading it: “I screamed for help, officer. But I’ve changed my mind.”)

    Mars Hill Financial Woes

    posted by on December 11 at 7:52 AM

    West Seattle Blog spotted this under “Pastor Prayers” on a Mars Hill blog…

    Multiple pastors request prayers for our financial state. With the deep deficit, it is a test for all the staff to choose Jesus over anxiety when ministry funds are cut short and the possibility of lay-offs and additional budget cuts is on the horizon. Please pray for repentance by those who are disobeying God in their giving …

    Yes, let’s pray for all of those that are “disobeying God in their giving.” Christ, that sounds dark, huh? It makes it sound like Mark “Go Old Testament On Their Asses” Driscoll is going to start kneecapping people. West Seattle Blog points out that the “disobeying God” line was later dropped from the post and new language substituted, but WSB found it again through the miracle of Google caching. Here’s the new, slightly less mobbed-up language…

    Please pray for those who are struggling with their financial stewardship, and pray for Jesus to make generous and thankful hearts of our body. Please join us in thanking Jesus for our faithful members who continually give and serve with their time, talent and treasure.

    Yeah, that’s nicer. The original language was more revealing, however. More here.

    UPDATE: There’s a call for prayers for the Mars Hill’s new downtown location.

    Pastor Tim Gaydos requests prayers for the leaders, families and servants who will be part of the launch team for the Downtown Campus—that Jesus would bind all their hearts together in unity for the sake of the Gospel and that they would be protected from attacks of the evil one as they march into the heart of the city.

    On behalf of the evil one, Mars Hill, welcome to the neighborhood. Please, no marching about after 9 PM. Folks live in Belltown for the peace and quiet and wide selection of houses of worship. Those interested in worshipping Mark Driscoll will quickly find their way to your video arcade.

    And, finally, there’s a call for prayers for one of the family of one of the Mars Hill pastors. His wife is dying of cancer. If you’re the praying kind, pray for ‘em.

    The Morning News

    posted by on December 11 at 7:14 AM

    Pardon Me: Scooter Libby drops his appeal, waits for Bush to clear his record.

    Revenge: Police link Colorado shootings to man booted from church.

    First the CIA Torture Tapes, Now This:
    Dems accuse White House of suppressing global warming data.

    A Fate Worse Than Death: New Jersey may halt inmate executions, forcing felons to live out the rest of their lives in the Garden State.

    Smut Suit: Shitty porn company sues shitty porn site.

    The Final Solution to Teenage Hooliganism: Baggy pants become verboten in Atlanta schools.

    Baby Steps: Office of Professional Accountability finally moves out of SPD headquarters.

    Runs Some Guns and Open Your Neighbor’s Mail: Because federal judges in Seattle go easy on offenders.

    And now: Ocho Cinco races a horse:

    Monday, December 10, 2007

    Plan B Plan B

    posted by on December 10 at 5:21 PM

    I’ve linked the press release below, but here’s the basic news: The Northwest Women’s Law Center, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU are appealing last month’s District Court injunction which prevents patients from getting Plan B if a pharmacist or pharmacy doesn’t feel like filling the prescription.

    The legal logistics are a little confusing, but in short: State rules passed earlier this year mandated that if a pharmacist felt they couldn’t fill a Plan B prescription for religious reasons, the pharmacy had to figure out another way to accommodate the patient—have another pharmacist fill the prescription, for example.

    Stormen’s Inc. and two individual pharmacists sued in July and the District Judge said last month that the rules were void until his official decision came down (after a trial). With that, the judge also offered a preliminary analysis indicating he would ultimately throw the rules out altogether after the trial.

    Today’s appeal from the Northwest Women’s Law Center does two things. 1. It says: We don’t want to wait for the official decision. We want to take the issue to the U.S. Court of Appeals (the 9th Circuit in San Francisco.) now. And 2. In the mean time, toss the injunction.

    As it stands right now, if a pharmacist doesn’t want to fill your Plan B prescription, you’re SOL.

    So, today’s appeal is cool. But something has come to my attention in all this. Previous rules—also (inadvertently) upended by District judge—mandate that pharmacies (not pharmaicsts), pharmacies must stock Plan B, or any drug that the community demands.

    That seems weird to me. Should the state be able to tell a private business that it must sell a certain item. I agree that the state should be able to tell certain manufacturers how to build products so they’re safe and the state should be able to mandate safety and non-discrimination rules in the workplace, but dictating what products go on shelves?

    Yes, if a pharmacy carries Plan B, I believe a dissident pharmacist shouldn’t be able to prevent a patient from getting her prescription filled. But I don’t think a pharmacy should have to carry Plan B if the owner doesn’t want to.

    Continue reading "Plan B Plan B" »

    What’s the Opposite of “Light in the Loafers”?

    posted by on December 10 at 4:32 PM


    Ballast in the backside? Low in the vocal tones? Ferron in the iPod? Whatever it is, NewSpeakBlog detects a little of it in Jeanne Assam. She’s the security guard at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs that took out a heavily armed shooter yesterday as he pushed his way into the sanctuary. NSB attended Assam’s press conference today and reports…

    Uh, let’s see … her shoulders were definitely broader than her hips … uh, she had very prominent and well-defined, if not muscular facial features … uh, she’s obviously good with a gun and her prior experience is with law enforcement … she’s NOT married and DOESN’T have children!

    “I’m not married. I don’t have any kids. I’m not married YET [audience laughter, especially from me!]. God’s gonna find me the perfect man. [even more laughter, especially from me again!]”

    She also said lots of things about the spirit guiding her and yadayada. Seems like a new convert. Anyway, I thought the discerning observers of human nature would want to know that New Lifers should probably be thanking human nature for their safety. As for Jeanne’s future husband … I’ll be praying for him.

    Colossal Youth

    posted by on December 10 at 4:27 PM

    The title may put you in mind of a reality TV show about obese teens (I think the translation is a little off), but maybe that’s OK—this difficult Portuguese movie is about the trauma of modern urban existence, thousands of miles and multiple chemicals away from traditional lifestyles.


    Colossal Youth

    The final entry in Pedro Costa’s Vanda series finds Ventura, a statuesque older man from the Fountaínhas slum, scouting a unit in a new government housing project for his disparate “children,” including the methadone-dependent Vanda from the previous films. The shots are studiously static and the narrative is hard to follow, but the characters—all played by nonprofessional actors from the community—are obstinate and fascinating. Ultimately, the string that binds the sprawling, 155-minute film is not the ennobling lighting and pretty digital cinematography, but an evocative letter home to Cape Verde that one resident has committed to heart, like a poem or a prayer. (ANNIE WAGNER)

    Colossal Youth, which just this weekend won the Los Angeles Film Critics award for 2007’s best independent/experimental film, gets two screenings in Seattle on Wednesday at Northwest Film Forum. (Tonight there are two screenings of In Vanda’s Room, the second film in the series, which I haven’t seen yet.)

    You Want the Presidency? Let’s Talk Some Science.

    posted by on December 10 at 4:25 PM

    Climate change. Dwindling fresh water. Mass extinctions. Tightening energy supplies. Strangling NIH budget. Stem cell research.

    All sound pretty important, right? How about an entire presidential candidate debate devoted to science? A group of prominent scientists and citizens are demanding just that:

    Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges facing America and the rest of the world, the increasing need for accurate scientific information in political decision making, and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth and competitiveness, we call for a public debate in which the U.S. presidential candidates share their views on the issues of The Environment, Health and Medicine, and Science and Technology Policy.

    I’m in. You should be too. Voice your support.

    I’m sure the Republican party—the “intellectual” party fresh off the brown people are scary youtube debate—will be all too willing to participate.

    (Thanks to Arstechnica.)

    Huckabee on Heteros

    posted by on December 10 at 4:12 PM

    The Glorious Christian Leader’s position on AIDS is indefensible (but he defends it here), he’s soft on rape-and-murder (so long as you have the good sense to rape a relative of Bill Clinton’s), and he’s against gay marriage. Why would anyone think his position on straight marriage would be any more enlightened? From Daily Kos:

    Huckabee’s opinion on gay marriage is out there, but we should also be publicizing Huckabee’s opinions on heterosexual marriage. Specifically, what he believes about a women’s role in a marriage.

    In August of 1998, Huckabee was one of 131 signatories to a full page USA Today Ad which declared: “I affirm the statement on the family issued by the 1998 Southern Baptist Convention.” What was in the family statement from the SBC? “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.”

    The ad wasn’t just a blanket, “we support the SBC statement,” but rather highlighted details. The ad Huckabee signed specifically said of the SBC family statement: “You are right because you called wives to graciously submit to their husband’s sacrificial leadership.”

    That’s a nice new frontrunner you’ve got there, Republicans.

    Let’s Push Cigarettes Broadway Style!

    posted by on December 10 at 3:48 PM

    From my April 1971 issue of Playboy


    Hm… perhaps if cigarette manufacturers hadn’t have dropped their Broadway-themed ad campaigns—or if they had placed them in a publications read by folks susceptible to Broadway-themed ad campaigns (think After Dark, not Playboy)—I might have succumbed to their entreaties and adopted this nasty, filthy habit.

    The WaMu Job Cuts

    posted by on December 10 at 3:47 PM

    We just got a Slog tip that read, in its entirety:

    Talk about the WaMu job cuts on slog.

    Here’s Bill Virgin in the PI, two hours ago:

    Washington Mutual Inc. said Monday that it is slashing its dividend and cutting more than 3,000 jobs in an effort to cope with the continuing deterioration of the national housing and mortgage market.

    The Seattle Times has a slightly bigger story, including more details (the exact number is 3,150) and some employee reaction:

    “We’ve heard some of the people in higher positions are losing their jobs, managers who that never would have happened to in the past,” he said. “That has us scared.”

    Anyone else?

    Today in Line Out

    posted by on December 10 at 3:38 PM

    Disgruntled: A fan takes the mic after Sly Stone leaves the stage mid-show in NY this weekend.

    Why Do Metal Videos Always Suck?: Jeff Kirby wants to know.

    Strangercrombie Music Item of the Day: Be the King of Clubs!

    Tonight in Music: A Wilhelm Scream, more than a famous sound effect.

    The NY Philharmonic: Going to North Korea.

    This Week’s Setlist: Doesn’t star a dancing pickle with a mustache, it stars PWRFL Power!

    Music Advent Calendar Plays Catch-Up: With the Chipmunks, Nightmare Before Christmas, and the Grinch.

    Lil’ Brudder: The Strongbad legend.

    Master P: A video that’s probably NSFW.

    Today in Music News: Single mom gets fined for downloading music, Catpower goes to Africa, and more.

    New Portishead: The MP3s get posted online.

    Jake One: Check ‘em out on Crossfader, check ‘em out at the Program.


    Undervalued Items of the Day

    posted by on December 10 at 3:35 PM

    Slouching along at a mere $61:

    An Afternoon on the Green with the Stranger Golf Squad


    Eighteen holes of putting and puffing at the Home Course near Fort Lewis, with our slightly dazed in-house golf team (captained by Bradley Steinbacher).

    Not pulling its weight at a shamefully low $71:

    Dapper and Depilated


    The good folks at Salon Dewi call it “manscaping,” but it sounds more like a clear cut—one Brazilian wax for a fellow. Cover up your deforestation with seven new pairs of sleek underthings from Red Drawers. Plus an ensemble from American Apparel—slim slacks, a T-shirt, and a cardigan. And a dashing cap from Bouncing Wall.

    (Photos of the ensemble’s constituent parts here, here, and here.)


    I forgot to mention—so far, you generous people have raised $31,177 for the noble folks at FareStart. Thank you. So, so much.

    But don’t stop now—every little cent goes to help the homeless.

    Best Buried Detail in Yesterday’s NYT

    posted by on December 10 at 3:19 PM

    For the last couple days I’ve been saying “President Huckabee” under my breath, just trying to get used to the sound of it. “President Huckabee. President Huckabee. President Huckabee.”

    Since I’ve been so busy getting used to the sound of his name I really haven’t been following the rapist-pardoning, AIDS-quarantining stuff. But yesterday I read the front-page story on Huckabee in the New York Times, and, as did everyone who read that story in the print edition, came to the most startling little detail buried on the jump-to page. The rapist whom Huckabee either did or did not have a hand in getting released (and who later went on to murder a woman after getting out of prison) was named Wayne DuMond.

    Mr. DuMond was convicted in the 1984 rape of a teenager who was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas. While he was out on bail awaiting trial, Mr. DuMond said men forced his way into his home and castrated him, but the authorities said they thought he might have castrated himself in a play for sympathy. He was sentenced to life in prison.

    That’s pretty startling already. Then comes this:

    [S]oon after taking office, Mr. Huckabee met in October 1996 with members of the parole board, all of whom had been appointed by his Democratic predecessors. Mr. DuMond’s case, with its twists and turns—including a $110,000 judgment against a sheriff who kept Mr. DuMond’s testicles in a jar on his desk—had become something of a celebrated cause among conservative activists, who charged that Mr. Clinton’s relation to the victim had led to Mr. DuMond’s being railroaded.

    Testicles. In a jar. On a sheriff’s desk.

    As you were.

    Entertainment For Men

    posted by on December 10 at 2:21 PM

    My boyfriend picked up a Playboy for me at a big disco party at Nectar on Saturday night—for the articles, of course. He noticed that the April 1971 edition featured a “Playboy Panel on Homosexuality,” and he thought I might find it interesting. I might—I haven’t had a chance to read it yet—but after flipping through the magazine I’m thinking the ads might be more interesting than anything Judd Marmor, Phyllis Lyon, Kenneth Tynan, or any of the eight other people on Playboy’s sprawling panel had to say about the gays in 1971. Page after page after page of Surgeon-General-warning-free cigarette ads, ads for malt liquor, crazy-ass shoes, stereos, and on and on. But my favorite is this ad for… well, it’s clothing, I guess.


    Man. Look at those duds. Ever been to a ’70s disco party and felt that the folks in their bellbottoms and pimp outfits and ugly shirts were overdoing it a bit? It looks like they weren’t.

    And it’s hard not to feel awful for the black dude. Four hundred years of slavery, a century of Jim Crow, and then… a double-knit zip-up purple jump suit with a matching purple hat. Man. If you weren’t for reparations before, you better be for ‘em now.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on December 10 at 2:00 PM

    I, too, love giant squids. This one and three others are currently at the McLeod Residence. You might get in trouble if you try to hug it, though.


    Thanks to photo pool contributor &y.

    About Those Slogging Rights We’re Auctioning Off

    posted by on December 10 at 1:49 PM

    The Slogging rights we’re currently auctioning off are the same rights all editorial staffers and a few freelancers enjoy and the same editing rules apply to the winning bidder. All Slog posts are subject to editing, we reserve the right to edit or yank posts. So while we’re auctioning off this item in good faith—and to raise money for charity (because once a year we do something nice)—we’re not going to allow the winner to hijack Slog anymore than we would allow one staffer to hijack Slog.

    The winner doesn’t have to like us—it would be more interesting if someone that didn’t got the item—but you won’t be able to blow in here and make Slog unreadable or unbearable for others by swamping it with idiotic posts or screaming indictments of everyone on the masthead and everyone we’ve ever slept with.


    The Langston Hughes Affair Slowly Ascending to “Shitstorm” Status

    posted by on December 10 at 1:25 PM

    Back in mid-October, Jacqueline Moscou, the artistic director of Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center (and perennial director of Black Nativity at Intiman) was removed from her post at Langston Hughes and placed under investigation by the city. Nobody would say why—not city officials, not Langston Hughes employees, not Ms. Moscou, nobody.

    Reporters weren’t the only people frustrated by the silence—this week’s theater section has a story about 80 irritated Central District residents who hijacked a city parks meeting, demanding answers.

    The climax of the meeting was an announcement by Vonda Sargent, Moscou’s attorney, that her African-American client is being investigated for charges of racism.

    “She’s been accused of being too pro-black,” Sargent said. Then her microphone went dead.

    The crowd started shouting.

    “Let her speak! We need to hear this!” yelled Pastor Carl Livingston.

    Sargent’s microphone came back to life.

    (The rest of the story is here.)

    The city still isn’t saying much (officials argue, rightly, that it would be a violation of Ms. Moscou’s privacy to say anything before the have finished their investigation), but the community is still pissed. Prized from this morning’s bale of email:

    Communities Unite for Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center
    Candelight Vigil and Peaceful Protest
    Tuesday, Dec. 11, 5:00 p.m.
    Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center, 104 17th Ave. S, 98144

    In recent weeks, the community voiced its concern surrounding the mission, management and artistic direction of the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.

    …it is important for supporters to continue to make their voices heard in support of the vision of Langston as a space to celebrate and showcase Black arts in Seattle and to provide opportunities for Black artists the thrive…

    It is time for the voices of the community to speak truth to power and demand that Langston remain true to its vision as an African American artist-centered space!

    The city maintains that its investigation of Ms. Moscou has nothing to do with “de-blacking” Langston Hughes. The attorneys and activists disagree.

    Nobody will persist in knowing anything until the city releases the results of the investigation.

    Nobody knows when that will happen.

    Ads Running and Not Running

    posted by on December 10 at 1:21 PM

    Via Raw Story:

    NBC reversed course Saturday and decided to air a conservative group’s television ad thanking U.S. troops.

    The ad, by the group Freedom’s Watch, asks viewers to remember the troops during the holiday season. NBC had refused to air the ad because it guides viewers to the Freedom’s Watch Web site, which NBC said was too political.

    From Freedom’s Watch’s website:

    For too long, conservatives have lacked a permanent political presence to do battle with the radical special interest groups and their left-wing allies in government. Freedom’s Watch was formed to be the conservative voice fighting for mainstream conservative principles – today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.

    Meanwhile, via Think Progress:

    The Center for Constitutional Rights recently produced an ad called “Rescue the Constitution” that criticizes the Bush administration for “destroying the Constitution” through the use of tactics like renditions and torture. Fox News refused to air the ad, claiming that it needed “documentation” that the Constitution “is indeed being destroyed.”

    In the ad, actor Danny Glover states, “Trials. Renditions. Torture. The Bush administration is destroying the Constitution. They can be stopped. Rescue the Constitution.”

    Yesterday, while discussing NBC’s recent refusal to run an ad from the White House front group Freedom’s Watch, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly explained why Fox News turns down ads:

    Yeah, but I understand why. Fox News turns down blatantly anti-American ads. We just turned one down recently. I understand that.

    After all, there’s nothing more anti-American than the Constitution.

    You Are Invited

    posted by on December 10 at 1:17 PM


    Please join us at Moe’s on Thursday at 6 pm for the inaugural Slog Happy. Set your keyboard aside, put some pants on, and come share a drink or two with your favorite (and least favorite) Sloggers, Slog commenters, and Slog readers. Name tags provided. Drink specials in effect. Hope you can make it.

    Call Me Cinderella

    posted by on December 10 at 1:12 PM

    My housemate Kyle is a practical joker. He once paid me $230 for a gas bill—in pennies. And for the past month he’s been talking about how we need a fireplace for our stockings… Well, I got home from New Orleans last night (after the most terrifying landing of my life), and lo and behold, in front of my bedroom door, there was a fireplace.


    Blethen’s Porsche

    posted by on December 10 at 1:10 PM

    Employee parking space rates over at the Seattle Times are going up from $50 a month to $62.50 starting next year. That’s a 25 percent increase.

    On a reporter’s salary. Ouch.

    And what makes it hurt even more is this: Publisher Frank Blethen’s 2008 Porsche Cayenne AWD 4-door Turbo has started showing up in the parking lot.

    Listed base price: $81,859.
    Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $93,700.


    Photo courtesy of news intern Brian Slodysko before he was chased off the lot by security.

    Dennis’ Solution to Rising Local Rent Costs

    posted by on December 10 at 12:21 PM

    A seattle.craigslist housing ad that was spotlighted by Fark:

    if you are looking for a room there is a house in bothell loser landlady and crazy too she will move in all the loser i rented the house last year when manager gary was in there he soon move out loser guy with dog move in and new manager dennis move in gang up with guy with dog and try to control the house i didnot do anything the manager say the will kill me the guy with dog sell drugs out of the window and in the front door the house is located at 198th and 200place in bothell the house runs to a deadend street landlord lady is crazy she break the law she cannot rent the house like that she look like a loser she sell drugs too i thing beware off this house you can get hert or rob.

    Assuming this isn’t deleted in the next ten minutes, the reply-to address can be found here.

    Seeking Snow Report

    posted by on December 10 at 11:53 AM

    Looks like Stevens Pass and Mt. Baker are back in full operation (Crystal is partially open and Snoqualmie is still hoping to open Dec 15). Anyone go up this weekend?

    Ranch House BBQ RIP

    posted by on December 10 at 11:33 AM


    If you’ve ever driven out to the Washington coast or the Long Beach area, or camped out at Kalaloch, then you’ve no doubt taken Highway 8.

    Highway 8 is the route that takes you from Olympia and connects you to Highway 12, the main highway between the coast and the rest of the state. Highway 8 proper is only about 20 miles long.

    Near the 14 mile marker, just a few miles out of suburban Olympia, stands—sorry, “stood”—one of Washington State’s culinary wonders: The Ranch House BBQ. With nothing for miles in either direction, you had to wonder, why way out here, why not closer to town, why not in Seattle for chrissake?

    Last night the evening news had a special report on the devastation caused by the recent rain, wind, and flooding in Southwestern Washington. It was easy at first to blithely keep doing the Sunday Times crossword while watching, thinking to myself, “I’m glad I don’t live there!” Then they showed this picture.


    Even more pictures of the devastation are on the Ranch House website.

    I am not an emotional guy, but I instantly teared up at the news that this, one of the finest BBQ joints in the state, much less the country, is gone forever. The financial loss is so great that the owners may never be able to open a business again.

    According to The Olympian, the owners started the restaurant four years ago, borrowing $20,000 off their credit cards. The business instantly took off, and they started to build a mini-BBQ empire including a catering business and a little lunch hut in Olympia they called The Ranch House BBQ Xpress. But the gem was the restaurant itself, which in summer had a beautiful outdoor seating area with picnic tables, gardens, and even a little creek running past the tables.

    The interior was decorated with the hundreds of national awards the two owners/pit-masters, Amy Anderson and Melanie Tapia, have garnered, including major awards at national competitions.


    The food, well, you know it was outstanding. The highway stop had quickly become an institution in my family. No matter the occasion for the road trip—sightseeing, camping, family visits—we always stopped at the Ranch House.

    My son always got his own little plate of ribs with fries:


    And I always got the pulled pork and beef combo with sides of homemade coleslaw, (the kind made with only vinegar, not mayo and sugar), potato salad, and fresh cornbread:


    Everything arrived on little pig-shaped plates.

    FEMA has just authorized government support to victims of the flood in Grays and Lewis Counties, but judging from local maps, it looks like the Ranch House sits just inside Thurston county, so the owners will not be eligible for any help from FEMA, and if the news report last night was correct, the restaurant’s insurance company did not insure them for “land movement,” so it looks like the mudslide that took out the restaurant will be the end of the business all together.

    To those in the flooded areas, it may seem that Seattle, basically untouched, stands by gawking with equal parts horror and “saw it coming” on our faces. But to the owners of the former Ranch House: I want to extend my heartfelt grief at the tragedy that hit you, and I sincerely hope you can somehow, someday, somewhere manage to re-open. I will be waiting eagerly, with fork in hand.

    (A Ranch House BBQ relief fund has been set up at West Coast Bank. Donate by calling any West Coast Bank branch [Vancouver: 360-695-3439, Tukwila: 425-251-6525, Olympia: 360-753-2400].)

    MAJOR UPDATE: Through the amazing generousity of the owners of the Governor Hotel in Olympia, The Ranch House will have a new (and free) lease on life starting immediately. The hotel just had a vacancy in their on-site restaurant and offered it, immediately to the lady pit masters at The Ranch House.

    Sandra Miller, vice president and general manager of the hotel, confirmed the offer Sunday night.

    “We’re very excited,” Miller said. “Hopefully they will want to stay.”

    She said Southern Kitchen out of Tacoma had just left the hotel at the end of November to concentrate on its catering business.

    “By chance, we had an open kitchen and restaurant,” she said.

    “I never thought someone could offer something on such a grand scale,” Tapia said, adding that all 22 Ranch House employees will return to work.

    Long live The Ranch House BBQ!

    (Hat tip Matt Hickey via Ari Spool)

    Opening Sentence of the Year (Or, Speaking of Fat Spouses…)

    posted by on December 10 at 11:24 AM

    From the New York Post:

    Slain Staten Island fire marshal Douglas Mercereau’s full-figured wife—who some believe was driven to murder by humiliating fat jokes he made at her expense—was the elephant in the room at his funeral yesterday as detectives spent the day trying to build a case against her.

    Bravo! Full story here.

    Thank you, Slog tipper Jake.

    Slog for Sale

    posted by on December 10 at 11:12 AM

    In case you missed the announcement late Friday, we added a bonus item to the Strangercrombie auction: Slogging privileges for seven days in January. The current high bid is $405, and it’s likely either Mr. Poe or someone trying to make sure Mr. Poe doesn’t get his hands on Slog. All proceeds go to FareStart. Bid now, why don’t you? Strangercrombie 2007 ends on Friday at 5 pm.

    American Intelligence

    posted by on December 10 at 11:08 AM

    I finally got around to the I.Q. debate ignited by William Saletan’s three-part article in Slate, “Created Equal.” Here is the skinny: With almost no effort, Saletan organizes human intelligence into this racial order: Asians are very smart; Europeans are smart; Africans are not so smart. His confidence in this order, in the research that confirms it, is itself impressive. He is confident that the matter of the human mind, its development, and constantly changing relationship with this or that environment is crystal clear to science. The mind is no longer a mystery but something whose workings are apparent to those who have the nerve to break out of the limits of culture and see it with no medium, see it immediately, see it as it is. The workings of the Asian mind is better and bigger than the workings of a European one, and the workings of A European are better and bigger than the workings of an African one: that is the final reality. And it is a reality that demands a new morality, one that goes beyond egalitarianism.

    Actually, I have no problem with any scientific conclusion that proves once and for all that whites are smarter than blacks—the core and historical issue of this I.Q. debate (Asians have been dragged into it for no other reason than to neutralize the most powerful line of criticism—that it is cultural and not scientific—against this form of thinking).One can only laugh at those (usually conservatives) who support this theory, this belief that whites are smarter than blacks. Why? Because intelligence (real intelligence) is not prized in this society and, particularly, by those on the Christian right. In fact, intellectuals are mocked, treated like aliens, regarded with suspicion. Watch any major political debate: Politicians bend over backwards to look stupid. They know the American game: If you are intelligent, express intelligence, you will have little or no access to real political power. So what does it matter that blacks have less intelligence when the society they live in doesn’t give shit about it? When most of its cultural (literary, cinematic, musical) products are simple and intellectually weak? There is even a powerful, cultural war against scientific intelligence in this society. So, the whole effort to prove which race is smart and which is dumb is laughable in the American context.

    Indeed, to be the ideal consumer, the ideal subject of capitalist exploitation and consumption, intelligence is the very last thing you need. Desire, envy, an insatiable appetite—these are the prime states for life in a consumerist society.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on December 10 at 11:00 AM


    The Moore’s
    at Moore Theatre

    It pains me to think that someday someone will renovate the Moore. They’ll strip its peeling paint, wash its filthy molding, scrub the scum out of its water fountains, and blast away its elegant, decaying grandeur. But tonight, for its hundredth birthday party, the Moore will indulge in dusty, vaudevillian nostalgia, with dozens of variety performers—a 30-member Sousa band, Russian jugglers, Tamara the Trapeze Lady, a Spanish opera singer, tap dancers, and so on. (The Moore, 1932 Second Ave, 467-5510. 5–8 pm, free.)


    My Fat Spouse

    posted by on December 10 at 10:41 AM

    Those folks upset by my recent comments concerning a partner’s weight gain are going to blow their stacks when they get a load of this website. From My Fat Spouse:

    If you have been watching the news lately, I am sure that you have heard of the “Obesity Epidemic.” Marriages are not immune to the effects of this issue. This site will focus on the situation where one partner becomes, or remains obese and the other spouse maintains a thinner physique, or succeeds in becoming thinner.

    It is unrealistic to expect this situation to not annoy the less fat partner. The effects of this on a marriage are subtle and not so subtle. If you hold the notion that love should be blind, and that romance should be judged by the “person on the inside,” then go to the thousands of other forums and websites that believe the same way. Excuse making for not exercising and not eating correctly is not acceptable here. Politically Correct guilt trips should be left at the door.

    The site’s tagline—“it is disrespectful to become unattractive to your life partner”—echoes my advice for HARD.


    posted by on December 10 at 10:36 AM

    After looking at Seattle artist Claude Zervas’s Miamiblog, I have the distinct feeling that if he were narrating my life, it would be much more fun.

    Risky Business

    posted by on December 10 at 10:28 AM

    All that premature “Sodo Mojo” crap back in September pretty much sank the Mariners. Jinxy. Stupid. And, ultimately, completely humiliating. Well, I’m glad to see that we’ve learned our lesson and that we’re not going to invite the same jinx down on the heads of our beloved Seahawks. No hubris this time, just quiet restraint.

    That feeling … is it a Super Bowl?

    Aw, fuck.

    The Supremes Relax on Crack

    posted by on December 10 at 10:10 AM

    The Supreme Court ruled today that it’s OK for judges to take the disparity between sentences for crack and powder cocaine into consideration when assigining prison terms—in defiance of federal sentencing guidelines, which are much stiffer for crack.


    In [another] case, the court, also by a 7-2 vote, upheld a sentence of probation for Brian Gall for his role in a conspiracy to sell 10,000 pills of ecstasy. U.S. District Judge Robert Pratt of Des Moines, Iowa, determined that Gall had voluntarily quit selling drugs several years before he was implicated, stopped drinking, graduated from college and built a successful business. The guidelines said Gall should have been sent to prison for 30 to 37 months.

    What He Said

    posted by on December 10 at 10:09 AM

    Goldy over at HorsesAss

    Folks down in Lewis County were already struggling to cope with the aftermath of last week’s devastating floods, when President Bush added insult to injury yesterday by signing an emergency declaration making renters, homeowners and businesses eligible for up to $28,800 in cash grants… this in a county whose residents reliably approve anti-tax/anti-government ballot measures by 20-plus-percent margins. Can’t we just git gov’ment off our backs?

    God knows the flood victims could use the help, if only to find temporary shelter and give them the breathing space they need to get their lives back on track, but it’s hard to imagine folks who just voted 63.2% in favor of I-960’s government crippling provisions looking kindly on any sort of government handout. After all, these are the kind of upstanding citizens who voted 61.4% in favor of I-912’s fuel tax repeal, 68.7% and 72.9% respectively in favor of I-776 and I-695’s $30 car tab provisions, 73.6% in favor of I-747’s one-percent cap on growth in regular local levies, and a whopping 79.1% against R-51’s transportation improvement package… so it seems unlikely that they would ever accept the food stamps and emergency unemployment compensation the disaster declaration makes available. I mean, this is a county that voted 60.5% in favor of I-933 at the same time the “takings” initiative went down to defeat by a healthy 17-point margin statewide, so one would think that voters so adamantly opposed to government regulations that might, say, prevent a land owner from building a Walmart in a flood plain, would also be adamantly willing to take full personal responsibility for the inevitable consequences of doing so. I’m just sayin’.

    Ovulate Your Way to the Top

    posted by on December 10 at 9:21 AM

    From this weekend’s The New York Times Magazine:

    Miller, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of New Mexico, and Jordan, his recent undergraduate research assistant, did conduct a study examining the impact ovulation has on lap dancers’ tip earnings. But they gathered data via a Web site, where strippers logged in anonymously to provide information about their earnings, productivity and menstrual cycles during 296 work shifts (about 5,300 lap dances). The results: While ovulating—and therefore the most fertile—strippers made an average of $30 per hour more than menstruating women and $15 per hour more than women elsewhere in their cycles. Women on the pill—who typically don’t ovulate—made significantly less than naturally cycling women overall and had no “estrus earning peak.”

    Conventional scientific wisdom says that almost all mammals except humans go into estrus (a k a “heat”). Cats yowl and raise their hind ends in the air; female primates get visibly engorged in relevant areas. But humans, scientists have long believed, do no such things. Miller and Jordan’s research indicates otherwise. “It’s highly controversial because it’s science blurring the line between humans and other primates,” Miller says, “but our results give clear economic evidence that human estrus actually does exist.”

    The findings that estrus impacts earnings could have implications for women selling cars or giving big presentations as C.E.O.’s,” Miller says. “Should women schedule big job interviews during certain weeks of the month? We don’t know. But maybe.”

    I Appreciate Those Cups

    posted by on December 10 at 9:18 AM


    Homeless Santa was performing outside Pacific Place on Sunday. He could really play that sax, and his sign was funny, so we made a donation. I have to say, though, that i appreciate the cups that other homeless folks shake. I’m about 10,000,000 times more likely to give some random homeless person change if—and I know this sounds awful—I don’t have to touch ‘em. It’s not that I think homeless people are dirty or diseased—no, wait. That’s exactly what I think.

    They’re not dirty by choice, of course, but by circumstance. I mean, they’re homeless, they don’t have any place to wash up, grubbiness can’t be avoided. So I want to give ‘em change, but I don’t want their very-likely-to-be-dirty hands to touch my very-likely-to-touch-my-next meal hands. Anyway, blah blah blah.

    The Most Important Networks Aren’t Electronic

    posted by on December 10 at 8:57 AM

    With apologies to Anthony Hecht. Wired is still writing good articles.

    It’s the “You guys should’ve watched The Battle of Algiers” critique all over again, but Noah Shactman’s thoughtful article in this month’s Wired magazine takes it further with a direct hit on the root of the problem: Our 21st Century Technology.

    Featuring poignant interviews with Gen. Petraeus and “Network-Centric Warfare” guru John Garstka, it’s one article I’ve read in 2007 where (finally) the aphorism “The more things change, the more they stay the same” successfully calls the bluff on 2007.

    About time. Be it hype about “the end of books” or “the end of newspapers” or “the end of the record industry” or “the end of traditional political campaigns,” we’ve all been believing our own press releases about the new digital age. I always tried to come at the new gospel with some “The more things change…” cynicism. But I could never make it stick.

    Leave it to the Iraq War to bring us down a peg. From the Wired article:

    The US military could use battlefield sensors to swiftly identify targets and bomb them. Tens of thousands of warfighters would act as a single, self-aware, coordinated organism. Better communications would let troops act swiftly and with accurate intelligence, skirting creaky hierarchies. It’d be “a revolution in military affairs unlike any seen since the Napoleonic Age,” they wrote. And it wouldn’t take hundreds of thousands of troops to get a job done — that kind of “massing of forces” would be replaced by information management. “For nearly 200 years, the tools and tactics of how we fight have evolved,” the pair wrote. “Now, fundamental changes are affecting the very character of war.”

    Network-centric wars would be more moral, too. Cebrowski later argued that network-enabled armies kill more of the right people quicker. With fewer civilian casualties, warfare would be more ethical. And as a result, the US could use military might to create free societies without being accused of imperialist arrogance. It had a certain geek appeal, to which Wired was not immune. Futurist Alvin Toffler talked up similar ideas — before they even had a name — in the magazine’s fifth issue, in 1993. And during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, my colleague Joshua Davis welcomed in a “new age of fighting that combined precision weapons, unprecedented surveillance of the enemy, agile ground forces, and — above all — a real-time communications network that kept the far-flung operation connected minute by minute.”

    As a presidential candidate in 1999, George W. Bush embraced the philosophy, as did his eventual choice for defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. At the Pentagon, Rumsfeld instituted a massive program to “transform” the armed services. Cebrowski was installed as the head of the newly created Office of Force Transformation. When the US went to war in Afghanistan, and then in Iraq, its forces achieved apparent victory with lightning speed. Analysts inside and outside the Pentagon credited the network-centric approach for that success. “The successful campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq took far fewer troops and were executed quicker,” Rumsfeld proclaimed, because of “advanced technology and skills.” The Army committed more than $230 billion to a network-centric makeover, on top of the billions the military had already spent on surveillance, drone aircraft, spy satellites, and thousands of GPS transceivers. General Tommy Franks, leader of both invasions, was even more effusive than Rumsfeld. All the new tech, he wrote in his 2004 memoir, American Soldier, promised “today’s commanders the kind of Olympian perspective that Homer had given his gods.”

    And yet, here we are. The American military is still mired in Iraq. It’s still stuck in Afghanistan, battling a resurgent Taliban. Rumsfeld has been forced out of the Pentagon. Dan Halutz, the Israeli Defense Forces chief of general staff and net-centric advocate who led the largely unsuccessful war in Lebanon in 2006, has been fired, too. In the past six years, the world’s most technologically sophisticated militaries have gone up against three seemingly primitive foes — and haven’t won once.

    Conversations About Presidential Politics I’ve Had Recently

    posted by on December 10 at 8:40 AM

    The guy I lift weights with has been an Obama guy since the beginning but ever since Gore failed to do what my imagination had in mind I’ve been a Hillary guy. “Hillary—I just feel like—I dunno—she wants it too badly,” the guy I lift weights with said a couple weeks ago, and I said, “But don’t you want someone who wants it?” And he would say, “She just so establishment, she’s by the book, she’s too aggressive, she’s annoying.” And I would say, “Don’t you want someone who’s aggressive and annoying and who know knows the book inside and out—isn’t that the person you want leading your team, your country?” Yesterday, we were lifting weights and scratching our heads over whether it was going to be Clinton or Obama, over what the Oprah Effect was going to be, over who would be more beatable in a general election. We were doing the bench press. He was struggling with some weight and I said, “If you can do five of these Obama wins in Iowa and New Hampshire.”

    The two guys who run an arts organization in the wilderness are Edwards guys, they said a couple weeks ago over dinner—but, failing Edwards, they’re Obama guys, and the fourth person at the table, a Stranger colleague who doesn’t write about politics, said he was an Obama guy too, citing race as the fundamental unaddressed issue of inequality in America, more fundamental and unaddressed than gender inequality.

    The English novelist I saw at a party over the weekend said, when I asked him who was going to win the Democratic nomination, “Who do I want to win?” I said, “No, who is it going to be?” and he said, “Well, that’s a very different question,” and after a pause: “Obama.” And then I asked him who he wanted it to be and he said: “Obama.” This is someone who was rightly and diametrically opposed to the Iraq War from the very beginning. Then he mentioned Maureen Dowd, and he allowed that Maureen Dowd is/can be annoying, but that she had a great line in the paper the other day, something to the effect that we usually look for father figures in presidents but with Obama this is reversed: it is more like he’s seen as an intensely gifted child whom we are rooting for and hoping doesn’t fuck up. Said novelist acknowledged that Obama is terrible in the debates—actually, in any situation where he isn’t the only person onstage—and it was pointed out that George W. Bush had been terrible in debates too. Then we talked about the fact that Giuliani’s foreign policy adviors include Norman Podhoretz, who wants to go nuclear on Iran, and the way that everyone who isn’t Clinton or Obama seems to be auditioning for Vice President, and the Wolfowitz-like simplicity/fatuousness of Biden’s ideas about partioning Iraq.

    Also at this party was another writer of books, a woman, who writes books about historical figures of the Middle East, who brought up, the moment we started talking, Erica C. Barnett’s piece “about whether having a vagina means voting for Hillary—that’s exactly the way to put it,” she said. And then she said she likes Hillary and lamented how people talk about her. “Especially other women. The nastiest things I hear said are said by women.”

    My little brother—20 years old, lives in California—is a Clinton guy. I asked him why and he said, “Because she’s a Democrat.” I said Obama’s a Democrat too, and he said, “Because I feel like Hillary has some of her husband in her. I think Bill Clinton’s the best president we ever had.” While this statement is certifiably insane—Lincoln’s grim face floats up over these words as I type them—I did beam with pride at someone biologically related to me earnestly pronouncing Clinton the best president we ever had. (Everyone else in my family—literally: both parents, my stepmother, my other two brothers, all three grandparents, all four uncles, both aunts, all the countless cousins—is a vigorous waver of the Bush flag.) Then my brother changed the subject to invite me to a rave in downtown Los Angeles over New Year’s, which I declined.

    A friend who lives in New York and was in town on business last night and said that he’s a Clinton guy every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and an Obama guy on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays. This seemed like the most articulate distillation of my current position. I forgot to ask what he is on Sundays.

    The Morning News

    posted by on December 10 at 7:30 AM

    The Case of the Vanishing Videos: CIA and DOJ investigate MIA torture tapes. Meanwhile, fox put in charge of hen house.

    God’s House Isn’t Bulletproof: 3 killed, 6 wounded in Colorado church shootings.

    So, Mr. President, What Are You Wearing? Icelandic boy dials Bush’s private line.

    Only You Can Prevent Forest Any Fires: Burn ban in effect, yo!

    Global Warming Is a Myth:
    But just in case it’s not, a bunch of states got together to figure out how to share their water.

    The New England Patriots: Still assholes.

    My Dreams Explode In Midair: Nerds, heroes, spend $7,000 to build a full-size X-Wing, which goes all Challenger on takeoff.

    Now, in honor of Baltimore’s crippling loss to Indianapolis, here’s a clip of, well, Willis McGahee’s near-crippling college injury.

    Sunday, December 9, 2007

    That’s Haggard’s Old Place, Right?

    posted by on December 9 at 3:05 PM

    Another fucked up shooting Colorado today…

    A gunman opened fire in the parking lot of a Colorado Springs church today, hitting four people, the church’s pastor said.

    The conditions of the people shot outside the New Life Church were not known, El Paso County Sheriff’s Lt. Lari Sevene said.

    Lance Coles, a pastor at New Life Church, told The Associated Press he received a report that a man was shooting at people in the church parking lot and that the gunman may have entered the church shortly after 1 p.m. Police believe the shooter may be “down” inside the church’s main sanctuary….

    Why yes it is…

    It was not immediately known whether the shootings were related to an earlier shooting about 70 miles away in Arvada. There, two people died and two were wounded early today when a gunman opened fire in a dormitory at a missionary training center on the campus of Faith Bible Chapel.

    New Life was founded by the Rev. Ted Haggard, who was fired last year after a former male prostitute alleged he had a three-year cash-for-sex relationship with him.

    I wonder if New Life will ever make the news without Haggard’s fall from grace earning a mention. Here’s hoping there were no fatalities and the gunman, if he’s “down,” only succeeded in offing himself.

    Vancouver’s Green River Killer

    posted by on December 9 at 2:37 PM

    The pig farmer is guilty.


    posted by on December 9 at 11:31 AM

    In today’s NYT story about Radiohead’s online thing and 2007 as a tipping point for the music industry, the band’s singer, Thom Yorke, is talking about how the band turned down a multimillion-dollar major label deal (after their previous EMI contract expired), and he says this:

    “It’s tempting to have someone say to you, ‘You will never have to worry about money again,’ but no matter how much money someone gives you—what, you’re not going to spend it? You’re not going to find stupid ways to get rid of it. Of course you are. It’s like building roads and expecting there to be less traffic.

    OK Groovy.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on December 9 at 11:00 AM

    Winter Food

    Pho Viet at Pho Viet

    Located 50 feet west of the legendarily grubby and delicious soup shack Pho Bac, Pho Viet offers all the vegetarian pho options (in addition to meat dishes) its sister establishment refuses to, in a setting that doesn’t make you consider a tetanus shot. It’s the little things that make Pho Viet’s pho stand out—most notably, the singed and crushed garlic cloves lacing the broth, which give this classic rainy-season fare an addictive new kick. (Pho Viet, 1240 S Jackson St, 568-0882.)


    Listen to Barack Obama’s Iowa Speech

    posted by on December 9 at 10:25 AM

    Like I said yesterday, Oprah Winfrey gave a better speech than Barack Obama at their joint appearance in Des Moines, Iowa—which is saying something, since Obama is by far the best orator in the Democratic field this year.

    But to his credit, Obama did have one of the best spontaneous jokes of the event. While he was talking, someone in the audience called out: “Oprah for Vice President!”

    To which Obama replied:

    You want Oprah as Vice President? But that would be a demotion, you realize that.

    (Those keeping track of America’s various cultural hierarchies, please note that Michelle Obama also introduced Oprah yesterday as “the First Lady of Television”—a position apparently higher than almost any elected office in the land.)

    It seems like Slog readers enjoyed the audio I posted yesterday of Oprah’s Des Moines speech, so today I’m going to post audio of Obama’s speech. If you’ve heard his stump speech before, this one will sound very similar but with a lot of Oprah references added. If you haven’t heard Obama speak this year, it’s definitely worth a listen.

    Due to long-distance technical challenges, for the moment the place to go to hear my recording of Obama’s Des Moines speech is my personal blog. But in short order the Stranger tech wizards should be able to grab the audio file, just like last time, and host it on this site.

    [Tech Rescue! Listen here for a blisteringly high-fidelity mp3 of Obama’s Iowa speech.]

    Obama’s speech is longer than Oprah’s (about 30 minutes) and, like I said, not quite as good. But if you’re an Obama fanatic, or just someone who’s wondering what all the fuss is about, it’s really something you should check out.

    Morning News

    posted by on December 9 at 9:13 AM

    posted by news intern Brian Slodysko

    The Great Flood: Clear-cutting and development may be the causes of last weeks washout.

    Oil Crisis: Low prices and inefficient consumption in oil exporting countries will likely turn them into oil importing countries.

    Oil Crisis II: Kurds run Arab-Iraqis out of oil-rich Kirkuk as a referendum vote for control of the city approaches.

    Lost Snowboarders: Search called off.

    Waterboarding: Congressional members, including Nancy Pelosi, knew of CIA torture practices in 2002.

    Horserace: Oprah/Obama hijack the weekend campaign narrative in Iowa.

    The Oprah of India: U.S. educated, transgendered late-night talk show host plans on pushing the boundaries of India’s social taboos (I mean, like, more than her mere presence already does).

    Won’t Back Down: Republican crack-pot presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee stands by 1992 comments on the health risks of homosexuality and quarantining AIDS patients.

    Christian Death: A Colorado gunman opened fire in a dormitory for Christian missionaries early this morning, killing two.

    Fade to Black: Following Friday’s breakdown in talks between writers and studios, Hollywood’s klieg lights are switching off.