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Archives for 03/16/2008 - 03/22/2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Norwescon Saturday: Report Four

posted by on March 22 at 8:00 PM

Things are not all peaches and cream at Norwescon. There are a few rumbles of dischord here at the convention. The main issue has to do with the DoubleTree hotel employees, who have been working without a contract for a few months. The union has the hotel on their boycott list, and many of the convention-goers are wearing buttons and putting pro-union stickers in the weirdest places—there was one on the underside of my bar table, which maybe wasn’t the most effective placement for pro-labor propaganda—to protest the hotel management.

Secondly, and more importantly to the general convention-goer: The hotel is cracking down on parties. People have been informed that security has been increased, and that the hotel will be cracking down on loud parties. A lot of parties have moved to other hotels in protest, including a gnome-sponsored party and The Party at the End of the Universe.

Likewise, people are complaining about the turgidness of the programming: This is the first year that Lovecraft-themed panels have been allowed, for instance, and the horror fans feel seriously underrepresented. There is talk of a shadow convention, running alongside the convention, in future years. Even in sci-fi future, it seems, there is difficulty.

Norwescon Saturday: Report Three

posted by on March 22 at 7:15 PM

I saw love a-blooming today, in the dealer room. The dealer room is the place where you buy shit. There are some books, of course, but plenty more weapons and paintings of half-naked men and women riding dragons and weird statues of half-wolf, half-men creatures with six packs and disturbingly erotic stares. A young boy, not even sixteen, was looking at some action figures. A girl was standing next to him, and she said, very thoughtfully, “I never felt the need to collect figurines.” The boy nodded, and then the girl said, “But they’re so cool to look at!” The boy’s voice filled with love for the girl: “You think?” Then they held hands. I think they’ll have cute little nerd babies one day.

Also heard in the dealer’s room, from an older man as he hefted a double-headed mace: “All I need now are some nunchucks and I’ll be set.”

And then, someone in the bar where I am now, someone loudly announced: “We are Vulcans. Give us beer!

It’s the most stereotypical thing I’ve heard all weekend.

Norwescon Saturday: Report Two

posted by on March 22 at 5:48 PM

Today’s the day of the big masquerade ball here at Norwescon, and so there are costumes everywhere you turn: Superhero and geisha attendance is up by 250% since yesterday.

I attended a writing panel hosted by Jay Lake, a prominent writer of the New Weird. On the panel was writer Dan Simmons, this year’s writer guest of honor and author of Hugo Award-winning Hyperion and twenty-four other books. The best part, for me, was when Simmons came out against publishers posthumously running any author’s extra materials. “Some of those authors would have literally killed to not have that material read, and it’s a violation of their trust by their families that causes it to be published,” he said. Someone in the audience took offense, saying that reading Tolkien’s extra materials have brought him pleasure. Simmons said, curtly, “He didn’t want them published.”

And that was that.

I’ve never read Simmons’ work before, but I’m incredibly excited to read his next, nearly thousand page, novel that he just turned into his publisher. It’s about Charles Dickens and, specifically, the five year period where Dickens turned evil after an illness, becoming interested in drugs and morgues and death. It’s based on a true story.

Tonight are a number of sex-and-fandom-themed panels, as well as a science-fiction burlesque, and the aforementioned masquerade. Sexy times in SeaTac.

More soon.

Your Child With Christ

posted by on March 22 at 5:10 PM


You could wait for the rapture to see your child with Christ. But your faith, however strong, doesn’t guarantee that your child is going to wind up in heaven with you. Let’s face facts: your kid could go wrong—he could go gay, or vote Democratic, or wind up working for Planned Parenthood. So don’t wait. Let Amanda Kay put your child in Christ’s arms today. Says Amanda…

I love creating unique fine artwork for families to enjoy for years to come. I especially love to see the faces of the children when they first see themselves with Christ. With my husband’s support, we created Kay Paintings and Photography, a way for virtually everyone to be able to see themselves with The Savior. I want everyone to feel the joy of seeing their family with Christ.

Ordering info here.

Thanks to Slog tipper David.

Pope Attempts to Smooth Things Over With Osama bin Laden…

posted by on March 22 at 4:55 PM

…by, um, baptizing a Muslim convert to Catholicism.

Italy’s most prominent Muslim commentator, a journalist with iconoclastic views such as support for Israel, converted to Roman Catholicism Saturday when the pope baptized him at an Easter service….

Vatican television zoomed in on Allam, who sat in the front row of the basilica along with six other candidates for baptism. Allam later received his first Communion.

Well, that should put a stop to talk of a “new crusade” and death threats made against the pope. Via Drudge.

Norwescon Saturday: Report One

posted by on March 22 at 12:03 PM

Science fiction afterparties are pretty goddamned awesome. I spent last night flitting from one party to another, although the Intergalactic Slave Traders wouldn’t let me in without an invitation. Apparently, they auction slaves off. “I was auctioned off last year,” said a woman dressed as a pirate, “It was a blast!” Instead, I went to another party and drank some punch called toxic waste—it was made of kiwis and grapefruits and a whole bunch of liquor and dry ice, so it smoked—and found myself pretty loaded after the first glass.

I talked with a small press publisher who was complaining about his distributors: “I finally told them they had to take 7,000 copies of my book because my warehouse—my garage—was totally full and they’d sell out of the copies and they know it and so they really ought to sack up.”

I also talked with a man who used to work in a book warehouse and was nearly slain when a giant palette of Danielle Steele books nearly killed him. “Anything but Danielle Steele,” he said, “would’ve been a perfectly acceptable way to go.”

This afternoon will be a busy one for me, with lots of interviews and panels, so posts will be occasional for the early part of the day. It’s just as well, really, because the convention is sort of subdued at the moment—lots of people are still hung over from the parties that riddled the hotel last night, and a lot of local families have arrived, bringing lots of little kids, which changes the mood considerably.

But not entirely: A swarm of about a dozen Japanese stewardesses were huddled in a corner of the lobby, probably wondering what kind of hell their airline booked them into this time, in the middle of all the Princess Leias and goths and evil elves, and a very old man walked up to them and introduced himself. “This is a science fiction and fantasy convention,” he explained, and after they politely nodded, he asked them: “Do you know what a fantasy is? Do you know that you’re my fantasy?” And then they all walked off together.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 22 at 11:00 AM


The Blow at Triple Door

Remember when the Blow—gorgeous melodies sung by Khaela Maricich over recorded beats and bleeps—performed at the Genius Awards party at the library in September, and all those people in suits and ties and evening gowns were dancing and sweating and screaming for more, and some poor guy had to come out and tell everyone the show was over, and the crowd revolted, and someone said he was going to go home and put on “Fists Up,” because the Blow hadn’t performed it, and everyone cheered? Dear Khaela, can you do “Fists Up” this time? Please? (The Triple Door, 216 Union St, 838-4333. 8 pm, $12, 21+.)



Thee Oh Sees at Wildrose

If Coachwhips, John Dwyer’s earlier band, were Mars, and his solo project OCS was Venus, Thee Oh Sees are definitely the moons of Saturn. The San Francisco garage rocker’s vocals are slowly disappearing behind the dark side of the planet as the drums and bass orbit toward us, with fuzzed-out guitar surfing between them. Plus, the Wildrose is the best place to see a punk show on the Hill—no piss-rot in the bathrooms, the mac ‘n’ cheese is tasty, and those lesbians love to dance. (Wildrose, 1021 E Pike St, 324-9210. 9 pm, $5, 21+.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Currently Hanging

    posted by on March 22 at 10:30 AM

    Chester Arnold’s Extenuating Circumstances (2006), oil and graphite on panel, 10 by 12 by 2 inches

    At Linda Hodges Gallery.

    Reading Today

    posted by on March 22 at 10:00 AM


    An open mic and three readings going on tonight.

    First, we’ve got Kathleen O’Brien and Kathleen Smith at Elliott Bay Book Company reading from their book The Northwest Green Home Primer. If you own—or are planning to own—a green home in the northwest and you can’t make it out tonight, don’t worry: the authors are reading or have read at almost every single bookstore in Seattle, except possibly the Seattle Mystery Bookshop.

    Richard Price is reading today after a free screening of Clockers, which is a film adapted from Price’s most famous novel. It might be too late to get onto the list for this, but if you want to try, the e-mail address to RSVP is

    And Sumie Kawakami is reading from Goodbye Madame Butterfly, which is a book created from a number of interviews with Japanese women about the modern state of Japanese womanhood.

    Also, Norwescon is going on all day today in SeaTac from nine in the morning until two in the morning and I will be continuing my three day liveblog of the science fiction festival.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, here .

    War Without End

    posted by on March 22 at 9:47 AM

    When I wrote this in the summer of 2005, fewer than 2000 US troops had died in Iraq.

    Like all liberals who supported this thing because they believed in combating tyranny in the Middle East, and the terrorism our support for tyranny earned us, I’m more angry about George Bush’s handling of this war than any liberal who opposed it. Liberal hawks wanted to win this more desperately than anyone else. But it’s time to bring down the curtain. Why? Not because I hate Bush so much that I want to see my country lose this war. I love my country. And not because I don’t care about the Iraqi people. I’m one of those liberals who backed the war for humanitarian reasons, among others.

    No, we should get out now because, with the Bushies in power for the next three years, we’re simply not going to win. It’s just going to drag on and on. This war, as any idiot can see now (including this idiot), is either going to be nasty, brutal, and short—or nasty, brutal, and long. I prefer nasty, brutal, and short, if only because it will mean fewer Americans will die. And fewer Iraqis, too.

    To paraphrase a war hero: How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for an incompetent?

    Today three soldiers died in a bombing in Iraq, bringing total US fatalities to 3,996.

    Lies and Lying Liars

    posted by on March 22 at 9:39 AM

    Hillary Clinton edition.

    She claimed that there was no welcoming ceremony [on her arrival in Bosnia in 1996] because it was too dangerous, sniper fire was everywhere, she had to run for cover.

    Not so much.

    In the photo below, Hillary heroically strangles a Bosnian sniper who was about to play checkers with Chelsea. Seriously, read the caption, which quotes Hillary’s description of the scene, then check out the photo of the actual scene.


    Hm. I suppose that little girl’s face could be booby trapped.

    UPDATE: Here’s the video, via Sullivan

    And, I’m sorry, if dodging bullets is a major qualification for being president, there are lots of folks in the ‘hood more qualified to be president than Hillary.

    It’s Raining McCain

    posted by on March 22 at 9:33 AM

    This is so… gay.

    I don’t know what hurt the most. The, er, “singing,” the floating head of John McCain, or the inexcusable appropriation of an early gay disco anthem in the service an anti-gay GOP candidate.

    Via Sullivan.

    The Obesity Epidemic Claims Another Victim

    posted by on March 22 at 9:29 AM


    Police: Obese relative may have crushed boy

    A 2-year-old boy who died with a fractured skull might have been accidentally crushed by a morbidly obese relative, authorities say.

    Investigators believe that the woman fell on the child, who was pronounced dead Tuesday, said Bobby Contreras, Hidalgo County justice of the peace.

    “It didn’t look like there was any foul play from what I saw,” he said.

    The Morning News

    posted by on March 22 at 9:00 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Taiwanese democracy: Taiwan elects president with a promise of closer ties to China.

    Crackdown continues
    : China issues wanted list, exiles and Chinese government argue over death toll.

    New PPP PM for Pakistan: The political party of Benazir Bhutto prepares to name new prime minister.

    Waiting in vain: One-third of patients on national organ transplant list aren’t even eligible.

    Today in politics: State Department admits to looking into all of the candidates’ passport files. Meanwhile, candidates keep on bickering.

    : Woman claims she was pushed down a flight of stairs by an angry mob of middle-aged women clamoring for Oprah seats.

    Exam examined
    : Teachers take state Superintendent of Public Instruction to task over WASL.

    International universities: Applications from abroad jump 40 percent at UW.

    Salmon suit: Judge rules in favor of Puget Sound Chinook fishermen.

    Hospital shuffle: Local hospitals turning away patients due to overcrowding.

    Friday, March 21, 2008

    Philip K. Dick Award Winners Announced

    posted by on March 21 at 9:15 PM

    I just left the big awards dinner for the Philip K. Dick awards. The Special Citation, or runner-up, went to From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain, by Minister Faust. I read this one, and I’ve got to say, I’m pretty disappointed. It’s not a very good book, an unoriginal satire on superheroes and power and blah blah blah.

    And the winner of the Philip K. Dick Award this year is Nova Swing, by M. John Harrison, a kind of noir-y alternate universe story. Harrison’s previous serial-killer novel, Light, was excellent. Harrison’s speech was read by a surrogate, since he couldn’t be here, but it was a good speech, mainly about how he’s all about growing beyond the idea of personality being a consistent thing, that we are a bunch of actions who are consistently retroactively explaining our actions, and that justification is what we think makes us us. It was a good speech, and people read from all seven books on the short list before the prizes was announced and there is, thankfully, no actual statuette of a prize (a Dick prize could be banned in certain states, I’m sure) because they decide to give the winners the money instead. How civilized.

    Now it’s time for the afterparties. I hear there are two dragon-themed parties to choose from. I might report later tonight or, if I pass out, early tomorrow morning. SeaTac loves you.

    Norwescon Report Four

    posted by on March 21 at 8:57 PM

    I attended something called the Flower Fantasy Fashion SmackDown. I can’t say that I’m exactly sure what the Flower Fantasy Fashion SmackDown is, except it involves having a host dressed as Liberace and a bunch of women dressed in flower dresses. There seems to be no actual smacking of things, down or otherwise.

    I skipped out of the Flower Fantasy Fashion SmackDown to attend a seminar on The Creepy Doll in fiction and movies. It was an intense conversation, with many speakers having to shake out the fear or disgust before actually talking. The discussion actually turned, as it often does, to clowns. People hate clowns. One panelist swore that he had a neighbor who was a clown because he hated children, saying “I can be as sarcastic to them as I want and they never notice, the little fuckers.”

    I was talking with someone when a very large woman walked by in a schoolgirl outfit. It was great that she felt empowered enough to wear this very revealing outfit in public and all, but the person I was talking to turned to me and said: “That just put me off every single schoolgirl fantasy I’ve ever had in my life.”

    I can’t tell if that’s a good or a bad thing, really.

    The Post-Prop. 1 Debate

    posted by on March 21 at 5:42 PM

    Last night, Friends of Seattle hosted a transportation panel at Spitfire in Belltown featuring Mayor Greg Nickels (who spoke but didn’t stay), City Council member Jan Drago, Sound Transit planner Greg Walker, Transportation Choices Coalition regional policy director Rob Johnson, and Sierra Club Cascade chapter chairman Mike O’Brien.

    What struck me most during the discussion is how much everyone in Seattle’s environmental and political establishment has moved toward the once-radical Sierra Club’s transit-without-roads position. From Nickels—“We are moving ahead for [a light rail vote in] 2008”—to TCC’s Johnson—last seen making an extremely, um, animated argument for the roads and transit ballot measure at the Stranger Election Control Board’s endorsement interview—everyone agreed that roads are not the answer; transit is. “State roads are the state’s responsibility,” Johnson said. Light rail “is what my three-person organization is going to be devoting all our resources to.” On 520, Johnson added, “we want lanes five and six to be transit only.” Now, it’s not as if TCC was rabidly pro-roads during the Prop. 1 debate; but they certainly have moved toward the Sierra Club’s position compared to when their executive director was saying things like, “‘fine, we’re not going to fight anymore [on funding for I-405 expansion], because we fought and we lost.’”

    The Sierra Club’s O’Brien made many of the same arguments at last night’s forum as he did when Josh interviewed him a couple of weeks ago: Sound Transit needs to make sure that whatever it builds reduces the level of greenhouse gases in the region, and the number of new parking garages in the proposal is cause for concern. (Some transit activists don’t like parking garages because they encourage people to drive for the majority of their commute and take a short train ride into the city; that money would be better spent, they argue, creating transit that reduces the 75 percent of car trips that don’t involve a commute in the first place.) O’Brien urged Sound Transit to create “station access funds” that would create a range of ways for people to access far-flung stations, instead of focusing on garages for cars; but he conceded that “there’s not enough time to get light rail on 520” before a November ballot. Despite all that, I don’t agree with Will at Horse’s Ass when he says O’Brien’s answers were “aggravating.” There’s plenty of time for the Sierra Club to get on board with whatever light rail plan Sound Transit proposes, and I’d bet real money, if I had any, that they will; the time to agitate for changes, including a greenhouse-gas analysis of the proposal, is before the board adopts a plan in mid-April. Some kind of greenhouse-gas analysis will soon be de riguer for developments all over the country; why should Sound Transit’s buses, light rail, and parking garages be exempt?

    So Long, Lady

    posted by on March 21 at 5:00 PM


    Here, at last, is the announcement you’re all waiting for, the collective opinion of the judges in the “Why This Portrait [of Ayn Rand] Is Rightfully Mine and No One Else’s” essay contest. Sorry it’s an hour late.

    Ahem [I’m reading this aloud]:

    We the judges of this contest believe Ayn Rand serves a critical purpose. She’s the ideal author for a teenager to read and be captivated by because she enshrines the primary value of teenagerdom—the idea that the self is the unquestionable center of the universe—as a kind of moral imperative. By the time you begin to outgrow that sense of self-enshrinement and recognize yourself as connected to a larger world, the stiff, fascistic humorlessness masquerading as heroism of Rand’s writing should become one of those things (maybe the first one) you realize you thought was brilliant, but only because you were young, and selfish, and WRONG. She’s a skin you shed. And essay number one is the best evidence of someone prepared to use this portrait to help future generations shed that skin. So, Bill, the portrait is hereby yours and no one else’s.

    Overachieving judge and Stranger Associate Editor Emeritus Sean Nelson basically wrote that himself, although the rest of us are in full agreement. Nevertheless, there was lively discussion of other entries, in particular these two sentences from entry #46…

    Naked Ayn Mole Rand held dear the concepts of cold bloodedness, rationality, and narrow poorly developed eyes. Her teeth are outside her lips, even when she closes her mouth.

    As well as the beginning and end of entry #31…

    This portrait is rightfully mine and no one else’s because I am the most important person in the world… I do not understand why you are even considering the thoughts and emotions of others in this process…

    To say nothing of the wildly celebrated entirety of entry #2…

    Fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into 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cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking cuntberries chopped into fucking 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    Not to mention entry #6—the one concerning an ex-husband, a new boyfriend, and a pre-coital dinner at Red Lobster—or the Willie Stark impersonator of entry #36.

    Thank you, everyone, for contributing (even those of you who clearly have never read Ayn Rand), and congratulations to Bill, whose entry, reproduced below, clocks in at exactly 256 words.

    The Ayn Rand portrait currently hanging in the offices of the Stranger is rightfully mine and no one else’s because I can use it to educate—that is, destroy—some of Ayn Rand’s youngest and most misguided followers.

    Teaching American literature at Northwestern, about twice a year I run into some otherwise smart and sensible student who has an Ayn Rand infection, that insidious intellectual disorder that substitutes egotism for empathy and selfishness for human sympathy. Her philosophy attracts them because they are the John Galts of their own little universes, as demonstrated by their admission to NU. They are unable to see past the end of their own noses to the grim reality that if writers were countries and bullshit were crude oil, Ayn Rand would be Saudi Arabia.

    When this portrait arrives at Northwestern, I will place it over a dart board in my office, behind my meeting table. Any time a student brings up Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead in class or a paper or casual conversation, I will invite them to my office, where they will see this portrait skewered with several darts, one throwing knife, and a novelty scimitar letter-opener.

    With this symbolic rejection of Rand behind me I will rip their intellectual pretensions into tiny little shreds. I will teach them that any philosophy which cannot differentiate between Hitler or Stalin and Mother Theresa or Jane Addams is not just a system of thought in need of tweaking and elaboration, it’s objectively in need of ridicule, rejection and righteous anger.

    Send photos.

    Norwescon Report Three

    posted by on March 21 at 5:00 PM

    The guys above are part of Vader’s Fist, also known as the 501st Legion. They appear at charity events for causes like the Ronald McDonald House and the Make-A-Wish Foundation and “spread the magic of Star Wars.”

    I’ve learned that it’s possible to have fangs installed for $50. I’m considering doing it, just for a little camoflage. I wonder if I can put them on my expense account.

    I’ve also learned about the existence of Scott Bakula parties. Apparently, there’s a Scott Bakula fan organization here at Norwescon that promotes the work of the Quantum Leap and Star Trek: Enterprise star. They’ve become known here at the convention for their wild and crazy parties, which get nuttier every year. Apparently, this year, they’re trying to make sure that people know that, yes, they do throw crazy, raucous parties, but they’re also really serious Scott Bakula fans. I’m going to try to track down this organization and get the skinny on both Bakula and the parties.

    Last hour, I attended a discussion about the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and why they sustain themselves over so many genres and decades. One of the kind of unspoken elephants in the room was the fact that Lovecraft was a horrible writer, although one of the panelists hinted at that when he suggested that people read his books and say “Maybe I can do that!” It was an hour-long talk about a writer and his weird spiritual resonance, and it was a lovely time, exactly what I’ve been looking for here today.

    I talked with a panelist just now in the hallway about how Norwescon has fewer actual walking-around points of interest. “It’s all about the costumes now,” he said. A slutty pirate girl walked by him, as if in an act of human punctuation. He seemed exasperated. I felt sorry for him.

    Someone Who Studies Insects

    posted by on March 21 at 4:40 PM

    What are those people called again? Those bug scientists? I need one. Anyone out there know one? Anyone out there a bug scientist?

    How Was It? Bingo, Texas Style

    posted by on March 21 at 4:11 PM

    Did I really stand in a hot, crowded bar in Austin Texas, for forty-plus minutes, staring at a chicken’s ass? You know I did.

    The Last 24 Hours on Line Out: Free Gravy Train!!! Tickets

    posted by on March 21 at 3:38 PM

    Win Tickets to Tuesday’s Gravy Train!!! show: Click here!


    A Night With No Words: What I liked about last night’s Red Sparowes/Russian Circles show at Neumo’s.

    Video Stars: Bun B. and Fleet Foxes.

    Kimya Dawson’s On Tour: But she’s not coming to Seattle. Click here to see where she will go.

    The Raconteurs Had a Good Plan for Their New Album: And Apple totally fucked it up.

    Cowboys and Titties: An interview with Brent Amaker.

    The Boredoms: Eric Grandy can’t tell you enough—you need to go to this show.

    TJ Gorton’s Weekly Recommendation: DJ Raahan.

    Today’s Music News: Velvet Revolver announce break-up; the Beach Boys settle legal issues; Elvis Costello continues to be awesome.

    Tonight in Music: Kaki King, Boredoms, Mad Professor, Hadley Caliman, Jason Collett.

    I’m Not Perfect: That’s with Christopher Frizzelle thinks.

    Circuits Are Complete: An interview with former Croc-soundguy Jim Anderson.

    Entertainment Weekly Gets It Right: Surprisingly, the mag’s “Indie 25” list is pretty right on.

    Obama in Portland

    posted by on March 21 at 3:05 PM

    Barack Obama is in Portland today (the Oregon primary is May 20), and our sister-blog, Blogtown PDX, has audio of his appearance… right here.

    Listen and you can catch a noteworthy introduction of Obama by his brand-new endorser, Bill Richardson.

    The Last Two Weeks on Drugs

    posted by on March 21 at 3:04 PM

    Turning Over a New Leaf: Florida wants to smoke Salvia.

    Green Light: New Hampshire house passes bill to decriminalize marijuana possession.

    Magic Dragon: Peter Yarrow says Puff wasn’t about drugs.

    Seven Days a Week and Twice on Sunday: Colorado repeals blue law.

    Bust a Move: Cops nab alleged crack ring.

    Big Time: Moms don’t say sober after giving birth.

    Big House: Man gets 51 years for killing over fake cocaine.

    Big Money: Judge orders Starbucks to return $100 million in tips.

    You’re Next: UN Drug Czar targets Amy Winehouse for being one of the “coke-snorting fashionistas.”

    The Border: Fucked.

    The Drug Control Budget: Criticized by Congress.

    Good Work: Drug Czar vaunts fewer positive tests for meth at workplace.

    Need a Coloscope? “We’ve found a grenade launcher; we had to return that to the police department.”

    Tea Time: The ACLU wants to chat about the weed.

    The Last Tea Time: Suicide assistance and a bicky.

    Central Intelligence: Former CIA head Jim Woosley wants to legalize industrial hemp.

    Go Terps! U Maryland student edged off student senate for possessing half-gram of pot.

    Please Bring Down Your Concertina: Arkansas names “drug czarina.”

    The question the UN Drug Czar won’t answer.

    A Tay Zondaystravaganza

    posted by on March 21 at 3:02 PM

    If you’re now as fascinated by Intarweb sensation Tay Zonday as I am, then check this shit out.

    From his bio:

    I am a singer-songwriter-vocalist. I might do anything. No style is off-limits. No two videos are alike. From Bach to Tupac, Expect the Unexpected!

    and, of course


    Norwescon Report Two

    posted by on March 21 at 3:00 PM

    The thing about Norwescon is that it’s crazy about dragons. There are dragon mascots and dragon henna tattoo booths and people with dragons on their clothing and dragons on my press pass. An artist here at the convention is “known for his drawings of dragons.” There’s a large metallic dragon in the front lobby, and other dragons spread throughout the hotel. I don’t know exactly why this is, except for the fact that dragons are awesome.

    So it turns out that filk does not, in fact, stand for Fiction I’d Like To Keep. It’s science fiction and fantasy fan music. I learned this at the Filk 101 seminar I just attended. People who sing filk are officially known as filkers. When you sing filk, you are filking. I couldn’t stop thinking of felching through the meeting, but I held my attention long enough to learn what to do when one of your fellow filkers fumbles a falsetto, or otherwise sings poorly. If you filk with someone who sings off-key and you can’t stand it—“I’m a classically trained singer and I have absolute pitch, so it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard to me,” one attendee said—here’s what you do: go to the bathroom when the bad filker is filking.

    It turns out, though, that some bad filkers are good filk songwriters! One of the “cornerstones of the East Coast filking community” has a grating pitch to her voice, but she’s a great filk songwriter.

    That settled, I headed down to a discussion about Second Life.

    I have nothing to say about Second Life.

    That is all for now.

    And The Winners Are…

    posted by on March 21 at 2:45 PM

    The 2007 YouTube awards were announced today. To the many Chris Crocker haters who frequent our comments: You will be pleased to know that Crocker’s Leave Britney Alone video lost in the “commentary” category to… this.

    Meanwhile, here’s the winner of the “music” category. Ladies and gentlemen, “Chocolate Rain.”

    Remember the Little Girl Whose Intestines Were Sucked Out by a Pool Filter?

    posted by on March 21 at 2:09 PM

    She died.


    Norwescon Report One

    posted by on March 21 at 1:35 PM

    I arrived at Norwescon 31, SeaTac’s biggest science fiction convention, this morning with no real idea of what to expect. Actually, wait. That’s not entirely true: I expected people in costumes, and I’ve seen tons of those: Storm Troopers, pirates, super heroes, and lots of women dessed in what I think is best described as gypsy slut. It’s hard to begrudge them the costumes, though, because they’re all so damned excited: seeing friends they haven’t seen in a year or a few years.

    After I took about an hour to get used to the layout of the convention—rather than being spread across a convention center, it’s all through the DoubleTree Hotel next to the airport—I went to a panel whose title was “Where Will All the Young Men Go?” I thought that it would be about the shrinking male demographic in sci-fi fandom, and so I went. Turns out, that’s not what the panel was about. Instead, the three-man panel—author Mike Shephed Moscoe, Timothy Armstrong, and Chis Vancil—was there to talk about where they thing the young men will eventually go: space.

    There are lots of issues with outer space, so much so that it has to be discussed one gender at a time: Vancil started talking by saying that “For the purposes of this panel, women don’t exist.” As one non-panelist pointed out: “To paraphrase John Wayne: Space is tough. It’s tougher if you’re stupid.” Tell me about it: Issues with space travel include prostitution, marriage, and, even more important, as one woman asked: “Who will be the law out there?” Moscoe replied: “Sean Connery.” Sounds good to me.

    Then I met the lovely ladies posted above, who are part of a Tacoma group called IKV T’Mar. They like to dress up as Klingons and do community service. They’ve supported a number of charities, including raising money for MS and cancer research. I bought a button from them that reads “nuqdaq yuch Dapol,” which means, roughly: “Where is the chocolate?” Now I’m going to go to panels about Second Life and something called “Filk.”

    This Weekend at the Movies

    posted by on March 21 at 1:33 PM

    Opening this week, and concerning a number of topics that tend to excite Slog commenters—Portland, skate parks, sexuality—is Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park.


    Charles Mudede writes this loving review:

    Van Sant hired Wong Kar Wai’s leading cinematographer, Christopher Doyle, and his protégé, Rain Kathy Li (Van Sant worked with Doyle a decade ago on a bad Hollywood project). In Paranoid Park, the photography, music, and editing (rather than the acting and writing) are mostly responsible for capturing the fleeting and timeless moments. The camera relentlessly searches for them, and when it finds them, the editing sacrifices the movement of the plot and the dialogue for a moment with someone’s soft lips, golden hair, knowing eyes, stride down the hall, drive through the rain, run across a bridge, ride on the side of a train, glide down a concrete wall, and walk toward a beach, toward the Pacific Ocean, toward the end of the world. We are imperfect but we have our shining moments.

    In On Screen this week: David Gordon Green’s Snow Angels (me: “Every time this dismal story threatens to suffocate the movie, Green shifts back to one of the freshest, most adorable teenage seductions ever put to film”; I also have a Q&A with Green—only on the web), a fictionalized life story of Adam Carolla entitled The Hammer (Brendan Kiley: “It’s boilerplate—but it’s sweet, knowing boilerplate. The Hammer, like Carolla, stoops to conquer”), and Ira Sach’s Married Life (me: It’s a “sometimes amusing but more often wooden film about postwar adultery”). Last but not to be overlooked is the batshit crazy Water (me: “As far as I can tell, Water is being used to sell bottled ‘water with intention’ under the brand H2Om”), from one of the producers of What the Bleep Do We Know.

    For further reading: my classic review of the “director’s cut” of What the Bleep Do We Know, “Dance, Ramtha, Dance!” And a Q&A with the one legit scientist who was featured in that film. There are none, as far as I can tell, in Water.

    Also in the film section this week: Sean Nelson reports from SXSW Film Festival, where Seattle filmmaker Lynn Shelton premiered her new film, My Effortless Brilliance, starring and co-written by Sean, Basil Harris, Calvin Reeder, and Jeanette Maus.

    And in Concessions, Lindy West wanders down to Pike Place Market during a Hollywood invasion.

    There are a whole bunch of reviews hidden away in Limited Runs this week. Check out the Global Lens Series at SIFF Cinema (we’ve got reviews of Bunny Chow, The Bet Collector, and The Fish Fall in Love); Funky Forest: The First Contact at Grand Illusion; The Killing of John Lennon, The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival, King Corn, and Senator Obama Goes to Africa at Northwest Film Forum; the relatively nuanced coming-out tale Shelter at the Varsity; and Vajra Sky Over Tibet at Seattle Asian Art Museum. Next week, Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes shows at the Metro and the politico vampire doc Impaler returns to STIFF Nights at Central Cinema.

    Savage Love Letter of the Day

    posted by on March 21 at 1:30 PM

    The letter below was written in response to a letter that appears in this week’s Savage Love, which you can read here.

    As a breast cancer survivor who did the breast reconstruction and now wishes she didn’t, I have to speak up for for the wife of IMHB. Implants are painful to get (the expansion process is hell) and need to be replaced every 10 years or less, are uncomfortable, expensive, and don’t even look so great naked (at least mine don’t). Aside from all that, there is no sexual sensation in the implants for the woman. What is gone is gone and for IMHB to resent his wife (and yes I think he does, a tiny bit) for not going through a painful and surgical (and therefor potentially dangerous process) for his visual sexual stimulation is, well, rude. I think you nailed it, Dan, when you wrote, “how would I feel if [my boyfriend’s] body changed as he aged and after a few decades together he wasn’t the exact same 23-year-old club kid I picked up in that gay bar?”

    IMHB needs to be GGG and either close his eyes, turn her over, or duh, realize that he loves this woman and get over his homophobic fears that no boobs = boy. If he doesn’t there is always the possibility that his wife will find someone who recognizes her for the strong, courageous woman that she is, finds that a tremendous turn on, and rocks her world.

    With Implants But Regrets It

    Coming Soon: The Second Annual Stranger Gong Show

    posted by on March 21 at 1:19 PM

    Last spring at the Crocodile, a whole bunch of people came together to make the first-ever Stranger Gong Show a mind-blowing success.

    This spring at Chop Suey, we’re doing it again.

    The date: Saturday, April 26.
    The cost: Free.
    The line-up: God only knows. We’re looking for any and all human-based entertainments, including but not limited to jugglers, magicians, jug bands, tap dancers, strongmen, yodelers, stand-up comics, sword swallowers, contortionists, slam poets, marching bands, mimes, guys who shove quarters up their noses, bird callers, puppeteers, tuba players, hula hoopers, comedy skits, chanteuses, ventriloquists, clog dancers, celebrity impersonators, butoh dancers, vaudeville acts, accordianists, and air bands.

    The rules: All acts must run between 45 seconds and four minutes, and require a minimum of set-up. (We’ll provide a mic and amp.) Due to “laws,” no acts can feature fire or kids (it’s a bar).

    Acts can get on the bill just by showing up at Chop Suey the night of the show, or by signing up in advance in our forthcoming online form. (Coming soon, stay tuned.)

    In the meantime, please enjoy this taste of the late, great, and fuh-reaky original Gong Show.

    Obama’s Bracket

    posted by on March 21 at 12:32 PM

    Obama officially became my candidate back in January when I saw this ABC News bit asking the (then much larger field of) presidential hopefuls about his/her “guilty pleasure.” The answers were pretty lame and predictable (Fred Thomspon—cigars; Hillary Clinton—chocolate; Joe Biden—ice cream), but then came this gem from Obama:

    “Well, now that I have stopped sneaking the occasional cigarette, which made me feel tremendously guilty and my wife was constantly on me about it, I suppose it’s SportsCenter. I know I should go to sleep. But somehow I find myself being able to watch highlights over and over again.”

    This is guy is so real, I remember thinking.

    My respect and affection for the Senator from Illinois swelled even more when I read his first book, Dreams from My Father, which was originally published in 1995. If you thought his recent speech on race was nuanced and complex, it’s nothing compared to what he does in this book, a satisfying and dense unpacking of his own racial identity and views. (Also, the section on the years Obama spent working his ass off and questioning his ability to change things as a community organizer in Chicago is powerful.)

    So, imagine my dismay when I discovered Obama’s NCAA bracket, in which he picks UNC to be the champion. UNC?! Sure, they’re a great team, but it’s a such a predictable choice. Further examination of the bracket reveals that Obama’s vision of this tournament cherished for its upsets, limitless possibilities, and, dare I say it, audacious hope, is safe and uninspiring. Out of the 32 games in the first round, he predicts only 5 upsets. (And Washington voters, it should be noted that two of these upsets are against Gonzaga and WASU, the only two Washington teams in the tournament.)

    Am I left to believe his NCAA picks are just political pandering? Barack and I will just have to agree to disagree on the Final Four.

    I turn my attention now to the Georgetown v. UMBC game. Hoyas all the way!

    Praise for 10,000 B.C.

    posted by on March 21 at 12:20 PM

    The historical inaccuracies in 10,000 B.C. are only to be found in the particulars…
    bfbc.jpg…But the movie is not about the accuracy of the particulars but the accuracy of the universal. The universal history of the world is that of a struggle between slaves and masters. This is correct. This the movie gets absolutely right. And this right thing about the movie is its climax: a slave revolt. It is by far the most spectacular slave revolt I’ve ever seen on a movie screen. And like all slave revolts, it gave me immense (and intense) pleasure. Slave drivers getting trampled by hairy, prehistoric elephants; evil masters losing their lily-livered lives to truth-driven slave warriors. WONDERFUL. More power to the (cave) people.

    The Clinton Myth

    posted by on March 21 at 12:02 PM

    From The Politico:

    One big fact has largely been lost in the recent coverage of the Democratic presidential race: Hillary Rodham Clinton has virtually no chance of winning.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on March 21 at 12:00 PM

    A very wise man just turned me on to Julie and Jackie! Oh, today is a glorious day!

    Mommy Time, from YouTube jak201

    Have You Ever Clicked on a Web Ad By Accident?

    posted by on March 21 at 11:58 AM

    Ever accidentally clicked on an Internet ad by, you know, accident? When you were, say, trying to click on something else? Or have you accidentally clicked on a hyperlink? Or a link in an email? I certainly have. And that makes this story utterly terrifying.

    The FBI has recently adopted a novel investigative technique: posting hyperlinks that purport to be illegal videos of minors having sex, and then raiding the homes of anyone willing to click on them.

    Undercover FBI agents used this hyperlink-enticement technique, which directed Internet users to a clandestine government server, to stage armed raids of homes in Pennsylvania, New York, and Nevada last year. The supposed video files actually were gibberish and contained no illegal images….

    The implications of the FBI’s hyperlink-enticement technique are sweeping. Using the same logic and legal arguments, federal agents could send unsolicited e-mail messages to millions of Americans advertising illegal narcotics or child pornography—and raid people who click on the links embedded in the spam messages. The bureau could register the “” domain name and prosecute intentional visitors. And so on.

    You could get in trouble if a stranger sitting in a car outside your house clicked on one of these links while using your home WiFi account. Or if your kid, surfing around, clicked on one of these links. Or if you clicked on it accidentally. Scary shit—and folks are really going to jail for this.

    Roderick Vosburgh, a doctoral student at Temple University who also taught history at La Salle University, was raided at home in February 2007 after he allegedly clicked on the FBI’s hyperlink. Federal agents knocked on the door around 7 a.m., falsely claiming they wanted to talk to Vosburgh about his car. Once he opened the door, they threw him to the ground outside his house and handcuffed him.

    Vosburgh was charged with violating federal law, which criminalizes “attempts” to download child pornography with up to 10 years in prison. Last November, a jury found Vosburgh guilty on that count, and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 22, at which point Vosburgh could face three to four years in prison.

    Vosburgh may not be wholly innocent—read the whole piece—but that he was found guilty of clicking that link, and may go to prison for that crime, should freak out anyone with a computer and Internet access. Again: the FBI maintains that just clicking a link is ground to burst into your house, seize your computers, “‘computer-related’ equipment, utility bills, telephone bills, any ‘addressed correspondence’ sent through the U.S. mail, video gear, camera equipment, checkbooks, bank statements, and credit card statements,” arrest you, and send you to prison.

    But, hey, I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free.

    Read the whole thing here.

    The Library of Congress Flickr Stream Is Mighty Fine

    posted by on March 21 at 11:05 AM

    The Library of Congress is putting all of its public domain photographs on Flickr.

    The Prints & Photographs Division takes care of 14 million of the Library’s pictures and features more than 1 million through online catalogs. Offering historical photo collections through Flickr is a welcome opportunity to share some of our most popular images more widely.

    As of right now, their account features 3,215 photographs. They want people to go in and tag things, provide historical information, and just participate in a historical group/think. There’s tons of cool ones, like:

    German Scientist with a Detective Camera

    View Near Baden Baden from a Zeppelin Airship

    Woman aircraft worker, Vega Aircraft Corporation, Burbank, Calif. Shown checking electrical assemblies

    The best thing about it is because they are public domain, I am completely free (nay, encouraged!) to do things like this:


    Cheetah on a Leash

    posted by on March 21 at 11:03 AM

    Animal rights people are flipping out over the use of wild animals in a South African production of Aida:

    The animals are transported daily from an animal park through the streets of Johannesburg to take part in the evening production.

    And where do they keep these wild animals while they’re on stage?

    A Civic Theatre insider said the cheetah was held on a leash and the lions kept in a cage.

    And now, ladies and gentlemen, a (mild) cheetah attack:

    Jay Leno Is Such a Tool

    posted by on March 21 at 11:00 AM

    And, apparently, hasn’t progressed past 1974. (I bet he tells a mean Liberace joke.)

    Ryan Phillipe, however, is a superstar.

    Thank you, Towleroad (which is also hosting footage of the young Phillipe on One Life to Live.)

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on March 21 at 11:00 AM

    Future Music

    Boredoms at Neumo’s

    It’s been 13 years since the Japanese band Boredoms hit Seattle. Back then, they were a spastic noise act deconstructing punk rock by way of John Zorn. They’ve since transformed into sun-worshipping futurist hippies alternately known as V∞redoms. Recent works, such as the 77-drummer performance piece BOADRUM and a new live recording, tip their precarious balance of percussive jams and space noise further into the dangerous drum-circle hole. Still, Boredoms are a comet that passes only so many times in one’s life. You can’t afford to miss it. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $18, 21+.)


    I’m on Vacation, but

    posted by on March 21 at 10:55 AM

    three things:

    1) I’ll be on C.R. Douglas’s Seattle Channel show tonight talking about the legislative session in Olympia, light rail, the parks levy, 520, the Viaduct, the Sonics and other local issues.

    2) I ran into Mayor Nickels at a transportation forum last night, and I asked him about a rumor/theory I’d heard. Rumor: Although, he’s been publicly opposed to a new $270 million parks levy, the buzz is that on Tuesday he’s going to send a levy proposal to the council (that will include the $80 million Pike Place Market levy—which he’s been for all along—but will also include a request for parks funding.) Here’s the theory: The reason Nickels is now hip to going for parks is because his push to have light rail on the ballot this fall is reportedly losing traction, and so, where he was once against having parks compete with light rail, now he’s ok with parks being on the ballot.

    Assessing my mouthful, the mayor simply said: “Interesting.” Then his Aide-de-camp, told me: “That’s a good one. It’s wrong, but that’s a good one.”

    Which part is wrong? I asked. No answer.

    My theory now (I also talked to KC Council Member & Sound Transit Board Member Dow Constantine, who assured me that light rail was going to the ballot in ‘08): The mayor’s proposal will include a call for parks land acquisition, but it’s not because of any dynamic with light rail (which is still up in the air).

    3) So, why did the above-petty-politics Barack Obama campaign drop that Bill Clinton/Rev. Wright picture on the the NYT exactly?

    The Displacement

    posted by on March 21 at 10:41 AM

    Cheney visits the troops, Bush defends an illegal war that has claimed 4000 American lives and currently costs well over half a trillion dollars. As expected, Bush calls the world a safer place. As expected, Bush wants more of the same war. As expected, McCain wants more of the war that Bush wants. Unexpectedly, what Bush and his crew had to say about the war they are winning/wanting forever was sidelined by an even bigger story: Obama’s race speech.


    On, an article about Obama’s speech attracted 7,502 comments by 2:30 a.m. ET today, the most for a single story. The previous high for comments on a single story (5,517) was an article about Obama defeating Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Feb. 19 Wisconsin and Hawaii nominating contests, according to USA TODAY research.

    By late Tuesday, Obama’s speech was the most-viewed video on, the second-most viewed story on websites for ABC, CBS and CNN.

    Bush’s defense of the war the was on the margins, and a story with greater reality/substance/truth was at the center of attention. Now that’s something amazing. We are living in times that have about them the fullness of history.

    Another Biker Down

    posted by on March 21 at 10:36 AM

    I recently moved to an office by a window, which I discovered isn’t all happiness and flowers. I just saw a biker get hit by a car on the street right outside; she had to be hauled off in an ambulance.


    And the car driver just took off and left her lying in the street. Hey, Silver Subaru, do the right thing and take responsibility for this!

    Drug Culture

    posted by on March 21 at 10:32 AM

    Ladies and gentleman, the 420 Kit from Burton.


    This is Burton’s most glorious invention. A perfect carry pouch for every icognito smoker. It’s got slots and pouches for all on-the-go needs: plastic zip pouch(removable), a metal poker, and two custom slots. Exciting isn’t it?

    Yes, it is. But what kind of message does it send to kids?

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on March 21 at 10:30 AM

    Saul Chernick’s Repose After Collision (2006), ink on paper, 13.25 by 19 inches

    At Howard House.

    Gay Hockey Fans Angry About Homophobic Slurs

    posted by on March 21 at 10:27 AM

    Gay fans of the Rangers are upset about—wait a minute. There are gay hockey fans? Apparently there are. And they’re upset. More here.

    Meanwhile, In Pennsylvania…

    posted by on March 21 at 10:07 AM

    Clinton leads Obama by 16 points. But a substantial number of both Clinton supporters (19 percent) and Obama supporters (20 percent) say they’ll vote for McCain if their candidate doesn’t get the nomination.

    Hillary’s Passport Breached

    posted by on March 21 at 10:02 AM


    Reading Tonight

    posted by on March 21 at 10:00 AM


    Three readings tonight, including a couple of doozies.

    Ted Pederson is at the University Bookstore, reading from Seattle’s Greenwood-Phinney Neighborhood. Did you know that the Greenwood-Phinney neighborhood was founded by pirates who were later laid low by sexually-transmitted diseases? It’s true!*

    Richard Price, author of Clockers, reads at Elliott Bay Book Company from his newest book, Lush Life. Price is one of the best writers of crime/thriller/mystery/whatever-you-want-to-call-it novels today.

    And Samantha Powers, the former Obama aide now famous for likening Hillary Clinton to a monster, reads at Town Hall tonight. She’s reading from her new book Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World, which sounds interesting, but you really have to wonder if she’s going to field questions about the monstrous elephant in the room.

    Also going on today is Norwescon, the annual SeaTac-based science fiction convention, and I’ll be providing live updates all day long. Festivities go from 9 to 2 am, and tonight is the big Philip K. Dick Awards presentation. Should be fun.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, here .

    Continue reading "Reading Tonight" »

    “If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what about something morally offensive?”

    posted by on March 21 at 9:53 AM

    Originally posted late yesterday but I love it so much I’m re-posting it for folks that may have missed it.

    Young mother morally offended by… fun straws.

    Young mother looks at “fun straws” and sees cock. Young mother “can’t see any other thing,” she says. I know the feeling. Young mother convinced that this is a plot—on the part of WalMart—to make oral sex seem like just another lifestyle choice. The product, like the thing it resembles, has been pulled. But young mother concerned that other children may be exposed to WalMart fun straws.

    A follow-up question for the young mother from viewers with moral objections to premarital sex, out-of-wedlock births, and single motherhood: Where’s that little girl’s young father?

    My Big Blue Profanity

    posted by on March 21 at 9:32 AM

    In today’s mail…

    Mr. Savage: Having just Google-search Garrison Keillor to find out how to spell his name, I see that a link broadcasting—in big, blue, capital letters—a profane epithet against Keillor leads to a column you wrote.

    I read the column, and I don’t care about it.

    But please contact Google and get your profanity out of the public view.


    Andy Haraldson
    Lake Worth, FL

    I’ll get right on that, Andy.

    Major Scandal Engulfs Leader of Opposition Party in UK

    posted by on March 21 at 9:06 AM

    A prominent British politician was caught—on tape!—breaking a series of… hymens? Ah, no. Traffic laws. While riding his bike to work. Who does he think he is? ECB?

    Here’s the Telegraph on the scandal…

    David Cameron has apologised after he was filmed apparently breaking a series of traffic rules while cycling to Westminster.

    The Tory leader was photographed by the Daily Mirror, riding the wrong way up a one-way street, going the wrong way round a “Keep left” bollard, and crossing the white line at a red traffic light.

    He was also seen riding across a toucan crossing for cyclists and pedestrians while the signal was red.

    According to the paper, the incursions all occurred during Mr Cameron’s 30-minute bike ride from his home in Notting Hill, west London, to the House of Commons.

    The pictures are an embarrassment for the Conservative leader, who has made much of his enthusiasm for cycling to underscore his “green” credentials.

    The story is totally dominating today’s news cycle—get it?—in the UK. The BBC has the video.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Karlheinz Arschbomber.

    On the Radio

    posted by on March 21 at 8:50 AM

    I’ll be on KUOW’s Weekday tomorrow morning this morning to talk about the news of the week with a couple of other news-following types.

    Show begins at 10 a.m. on 94.9 FM. What should we discuss?

    Bill Richardson Endorses Obama

    posted by on March 21 at 8:45 AM

    This one’s gotta hurt for Clinton. I mean, Bill and Bill watched the Super Bowl together!

    Mr. Obama’s address on race in Philadelphia on Tuesday appeared to sway Mr. Richardson, who sent word to the senator that he was inspired and impressed by the speech, in which Mr. Obama called for an end to the “racial stalemate” that has divided Americans for decades. Aides said the endorsement was locked down over the following two days.

    In a statement, Mr. Richardson hailed Mr. Obama’s judgment and ability to be commander-in-chief — qualities that Mrs. Clinton has called into question in recent weeks on the campaign trail.

    “I believe he is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime leader that can bring our nation together and restore America’s moral leadership in the world,” Mr. Richardson said in the statement, provided by the Obama campaign early Friday morning.

    The Morning News

    posted by on March 21 at 8:30 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Talks in Cyprus: Leaders on the divided island agree to sit down with each other for the first time in more than a year.

    Spying on Spitzer: Justice Department admits to following and eavesdropping on Eliot Spitzer during investigation.

    Spying on Obama: State Department admits contractors peeked at Barack Obama’s passport file on three separate occasions.

    Pelosi in Tibet: Speaker of the House speaks out against Chinese oppression during visit.

    Richardson to endorse Obama: Calls him a “one-in-a-lifetime leader.”

    Poll-mania: According to Franklin & Marshall College Poll, one in five Democratic supporters would vote for McCain if their candidate fails to win the party nomination.

    Convention woes: Denver low on money, mayor points to protracted nomination battle.

    Mystery men
    : Investigators can’t figure out the identity of a man charged with stealing the Social Security numbers.

    MRSA men: Sixty-five superbug cases at the King County Jail.

    : White Center businessman charged with swindling $600,000 out of 96-year-old Alzheimer’s patient.

    Nuclear mess
    : Shoddy Hanford cleanup puts state government on the brink of suing the Feds.

    Lies and the Lying Liars, Etc.

    posted by on March 21 at 8:24 AM

    I’m about to head out to Norwescon to start my liveblogging, but this seems to be popping up everywhere this morning: Did Malcolm Gladwell lie in the media about lying in the media?

    I think this is kind of a tempest in a teacup, frankly. There’s a difference between telling a tall tale or embellishing a story and, say, creating a fictional character to write a memoir passed-off as true. If we start holding all writers to everything they say, all we’re going to be left with Dean Koontz. There are plenty of frameworks, of course, where lying is not acceptable: Newspapers should be held to telling the truth, as should magazines that deal in fact. But fact-checking Gladwell’s anecdotes seems a little above and beyond to me. He writes dopey little books about sociological tricks and sleight-of-hand: It’s not as if Slate is toppling a Murrow or anything, here.

    Starbucks Has Another Fight to the Death on its Hands

    posted by on March 21 at 8:21 AM

    This one is over managers dipping into the tip jar—which is, um, illegal in California.

    A San Diego judge ordered Starbucks to pour more than $100 million into the accounts of its low-wage coffee-servers in California on Thursday after ruling that the company had improperly required the workers to share tips with their bosses.

    Superior Court Judge Patricia Cowett ruled Feb. 28 that Starbucks’ shift supervisors were managers in the company, and therefore ineligible to be paid out of the tip jar. On Thursday, she assessed the damages: $86.7 million, plus 7 percent annual interest, for all servers—known as baristas—who have worked at any of the chain’s 1,400 California stores since Oct. 8, 2000.

    Have a nice day, Howard.

    You’ve Got $1.5 Billion and this Dope is the Best Spokesperson You Could Get?

    posted by on March 21 at 7:59 AM

    Researchers at the UW hammer another nail into what would be, if we weren’t ruled by morons, abstinence-only education’s coffin. Examining 1,719 teenagers, researchers discovered that teenagers who received comprehensive sex education—that is, sex ed that includes information about condoms, birth-control and abstinence—were “no more likely to engage in intercourse than peers who were taught just to say no to sex before marriage,” writes the Seattle Times. More importantly, teenagers that received comprehensive sex education were half as likely to wind up pregnant than teenagers subjected to abstinence-only education. HALF AS LIKELY.

    After quoting the researchers—who are presumably impartial but, as a wise man once observed, reality has a liberal bias—the Seattle Times moves on the partisans: Carole Miller from Planned Parenthood of Western Washington and LeAnna Benn, national director of something called Teen-Aid, “a Spokane-based group that supports abstinence.” Here’s Miller:

    Carole Miller, vice president of education for Planned Parenthood of Western Washington, argues that abstinence supporters are putting their cultural values above the health of young people.

    Compared with other developed nations, Americans have higher rates of teen pregnancy, abortion rates and prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases. The evidence is compelling, Miller believes, that more and accurate information about sex for teens is the most effective approach.

    Abstinence messages are “not working and we’ve got to stop it,” Miller said. “There are kids getting hurt by this.”

    Well said, Ms. Miller. I wonder what Ms. Benn—hurter of children—has to say for herself?

    LeAnna Benn, national director of Teen-Aid… questioned the study’s conclusions. Benn contends that comprehensive abstinence programs can work, but that even abstinence students are exposed to implicit messages that premarital sex is acceptable as long as they do it safely.

    “If you take kids to McDonald’s, what’s the likelihood that they’ll have a Big Mac?” she asked.

    Excuse me? What? McDonald’s? Big Macs? Huh? We’ve sunk $1.5 billion into abstinence education, and we have nothing to show for it but knocked up teenagers and idiots like Ms. Benn here who insist, despite the evidence, that in some alternate reality abstinence education can work. Here on Earth, however, in the United States, and in the hands of morons like Ms. Benn, abstinence education doesn’t work. Many teenagers choose to have sex—even if their parents and churches think premarital sex is unacceptable, even if it makes Jesus weep. Teenagers need information about disease prevention and birth control. And, yes, abstinence. Teenagers need comprehensive sex education. They don’t get it from groups like Teen-Aid—so can we please stop funding them already?


    posted by on March 21 at 12:35 AM

    You know that stupid movie Expelled, the Ben Stein-related intelligent design thing that’s so full of truth they’re paying Christian schools to screen it and making damn sure that the only people who get to see it or write about it are people who already agree with its nonsensical premise?

    Yeah, that’s the one.

    Anyway, in or near the Mall of America (which is basically in Canada), they’re at it again.

    I went to attend a screening of the creationist propaganda movie, Expelled, a few minutes ago. Well, I tried … but I was Expelled! It was kind of weird — I was standing in line, hadn’t even gotten to the point where I had to sign in and show ID, and a policeman pulled me out of line and told me I could not go in. I asked why, of course, and he said that a producer of the film had specifically instructed him that I was not to be allowed to attend. The officer also told me that if I tried to go in, I would be arrested. I assured him that I wasn’t going to cause any trouble.

    So now they have policemen keeping scientists out of their screenings under threat of arrest. Good stuff.

    But that’s not the best part. The best part is this part:

    They singled me out and evicted me, but they didn’t notice my guest. They let him go in escorted by my wife and daughter. I guess they didn’t recognize him. My guest was…

    Richard Dawkins.

    He’s in the theater right now, watching their movie.

    Ha. In their stupid faces.

    via Gruber

    Thursday, March 20, 2008

    You have two and a half hours…

    posted by on March 20 at 9:30 PM

    …to write get your essay “Why This Portrait [of Ayn Rand] Is Rightfully Mine and No One Else’s” posted to this comments thread. Further instructions are there. Annie Wagner has dashed off to New York City or something, so Stranger Associate Editor Emeritus Sean Nelson has graciously agreed to join the panel. The winner will be announced tomorrow at 4 pm.

    March Madness Madness

    posted by on March 20 at 8:06 PM

    One thing I should’ve learned from my years of being single: Never put your trust in a Trojan. Christ!

    “If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, what about something morally offensive?”

    posted by on March 20 at 6:40 PM

    Young mother morally offended by… fun straws.

    Young mother looks at “fun straws” and sees cock. Young mother “can’t see any other thing,” she says. I know the feeling. Young mother convinced that this is a plot—on the part of WalMart—to make oral sex seem like just another lifestyle choice. The product, like the thing it resembles, has been pulled. But young mother concerned that other children may be exposed to WalMart fun straws.

    A follow-up question for the young mother from viewers with moral objections to premarital sex, out-of-wedlock births, and single motherhood: Where’s that little girl’s young father?

    Obama’s Passport File Breached

    posted by on March 20 at 6:06 PM

    By State Department contract workers (two of whom have now been fired).

    From the Obama campaign, via Ben Smith:

    This is an outrageous breach of security and privacy, even from an Administration that has shown little regard for either over the last eight years. Our government’s duty is to protect the private information of the American people, not use it for political purposes. This is a serious matter that merits a complete investigation, and we demand to know who looked at Senator Obama’s passport file, for what purpose, and why it took so long for them to reveal this security breach.

    “I was raised organically. Feathers go back into the soil.”

    posted by on March 20 at 5:55 PM

    Brooke Fulton, the “mastermind” behind last weekend’s pillow fight, called this afternoon to talk about the mess her group left at a park in Ballard.

    Three pillows burst during Saturday’s event, scattering feathers all over the Bergen Place in Downtown Ballard. Three Parks Department employees spent six hours cleaning up the feathers, which cost the city $540.

    Fulton, a self-described vegan “burner,” says she never intended for her pillow fights to be a nuisance, and never considered that stray feathers would cause problems. “I’m from Humboldt county,” she says. “The issue of feathers causing a problem is foreign to me. I was raised organically. Feathers go back into the soil.”

    Fulton says she’ll try to keep future pillow fights feather-free but she’ll have a broom and dustpan on hand, just in case. “I’m personally a vegan,” she says. “So I try to get everyone to fight with a foam pillow.”

    Fulton says she has apologized to the Parks Department and the Mayor’s Office, and volunteered to do six hours of community service. However, Fulton says she would not be willing to assemble a flash mob to clean up a city park.

    Another pillow fight is scheduled for this weekend at the University of Washington’s Red Square. UW police weren’t aware of the event, but UWPD’s Assistant Chief Ray Wittmier says he “would hope that the mere presence [of officers] would preclude it from happening” and would rather the pillow fighters “go somewhere else.”

    Seattle’s New MLS Team Will Be Named Either…

    posted by on March 20 at 4:52 PM

    …Seattle Alliance, Seattle Republic, or Seattle FC. So reports the Seattle P.I.’s Big Blog by way of MLS Rumors (brought to my attention by way of Slog-tipper Will.)

    My choice is Seattle FC. People can vote March 27-31 at

    Today is the Jewish Fat Tuesday

    posted by on March 20 at 4:42 PM

    Today is Purim, a.k.a. the Jewish Drinking Holiday!

    Lots of people don’t even know that Jews have a drinking holiday ala St. Patty’s Day (fucking amateur night, if you ask me).

    Here’s what it’s all about:

    Jewish exiles from the Kingdom of Judah who had been living in the Babylonian captivity (6th Century BCE) found themselves under Persian rule after Babylonia was in turn conquered by the Persian Empire. According to the Book of Esther, Haman, royal vizier to King Ahasuerus / Xerxes, planned to kill the Jews, but his plans were foiled by Esther, who was made queen after Xerxes kicked out his previous queen, Vashti, and Mordechai, the palace gatekeeper for Xerxes who raised Esther when her parents died, though he was her cousin. This was evidence of divine intervention on behalf of the Jews. The Jews were delivered from being the victims of an evil decree against them and were instead allowed by the King to destroy their enemies, and the day after the battle was designated as a day of feasting and rejoicing.

    Translation: Fuck Haman and GO ESTHER!

    Things Jews do on Purim:

    Drink this:

    Eat these:


    And make tons of noise with these:


    If you want to participate (of course you do! It’s fucking fun!), some Jews are holding a party at the Capitol Hill Arts Center Lower Level. There will be Klezmer. Also, there will be dancing to non-Klezmer, which you will prefer to the Klezmer.

    A Pastor Problem for Clinton, Too?

    posted by on March 20 at 4:25 PM

    Barbara Ehrenreich says yes:

    There’s a reason Hillary Clinton has remained relatively silent during the flap over intemperate remarks by Barack Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright. When it comes to unsavory religious affiliations, she’s a lot more vulnerable than Obama.

    You can find all about it in a widely under-read article in the September 2007 issue of Mother Jones, in which Kathryn Joyce and Jeff Sharlet reported that “through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as “The “Fellowship,” also known as The Family. But it won’t be a secret much longer. Jeff Sharlet’s shocking exposé The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power will be published in May.

    Funky Fresh

    posted by on March 20 at 4:23 PM

    If you happen to watch Funky Forest: The First Contact this weekend at the Grand Illusion, you will not miss this face:
    6813845984.w416-h312-1.jpg Her name is Mariko Takahashi. You will not miss her. She is the Funky Forest.

    City Council Member Burgess to Ubiquitous Gadfly: STFU

    posted by on March 20 at 4:02 PM

    The City Council recently passed legislation requiring paid lobbyists for private interests to file quarterly reports stating who they work for, how much they got paid, what they lobbied about, and how much they spent, including campaign contributions. The legislation applies only to people who lobby the council or mayor at least four times a quarter—a group of about 20 that includes Vulcan lobbyist Dan McGrady, Seattle-King County Association of Realtors lobbyist Randy Bannecker, and zoo/Waste Management lobbyist Lynn Claudon. Citizen activist Chris Leman, who shows up for nearly every council meeting and whose list of gripes against the city is nearly endless, complained that the legislation wouldn’t apply to so-called interdepartmental lobbying within the city itself and to meetings with staff of other government agencies. In other words, if Jan Drago’s assistant talked to Richard Conlin’s assistant about a piece of Drago legislation, Leman would want Drago’s assistant to have to register as a lobbyist. If a staffer for the transportation department showed up at Bruce Harrell’s office to talk about funding options for pothole repairs, he’d want them to register as a lobbyist, too. And so on.

    Sounds pretty ridiculous, right? The council thought so, and declined to include essentially all government employees in their lobbying legislation. Leman, predictably, pitched a fit, arguing in an op/ed for the Seattle P-I that the legislation “studiously ignores paid lobbying by employees and consultants of the city and of state and local entities” like Metro, and called the (public) committee meeting on the ordinance (which he attended) “an echo chamber of council members, their staff and agency staff — a cozy relationship that the ordinance would keep largely behind closed doors.”

    Um, really? Take it away, Tim:

    [O]ver the past few weeks, opponents of the new regulations have flooded Councilmembers’ emails with ludicrous arguments, most triggered by one sole city activist. The arguments being advanced in opposition are so misguided you’d think they were coming from those who are against any regulation of lobbyists at all. […]

    The new law is designed to shine light on the lobbying activities of private-sector paid lobbyists, not public employees who work for the Council or in other city departments. My goodness, we hired our city employees, pay their salaries, and give them their assignments. They work for the public! Of course they talk with Council members; we seek them out all the time and value their opinions and perspective. Including Council staff members or other city employees in the new regulations would reduce communication between Council members and city employees and would create bureaucratic havoc.

    While it’s true that government employees, including elected officials, are exempt from registration, the exemption does not apply to public employees “specifically employed or retained by a government agency to lobby.” So, if the Port or King County hire individuals as lobbyists, they must register and disclose their activities. […]

    The lobbyist registration law the Council will consider Monday is long overdue and establishes very clear public policy that the work of private-sector paid lobbyists, along with government agency lobbyists, should be open to public scrutiny.

    Incidentally, in addition to city and other government staffers (excluding government lobbyists), the council specifically exempted from the new requirements unpaid citizen activists—like Leman.

    Surprise! You’ve Got a New Anus!

    posted by on March 20 at 3:53 PM

    The Fox News headline says it all: Woman Goes for Leg Operation, Gets New Anus Instead.

    (But the UK Sun’s is funnier.)

    (Thank you, Slog tippers Jake and Patrick.)

    Don’t Expect Any Mercy During the Great Robot Wars

    posted by on March 20 at 3:46 PM

    An elderly man has killed himself by programming a robot to shoot him in the head after building the machine from plans downloaded from the internet.

    Francis Tovey, 81, who lived alone in Burleigh Heads on the Australian Gold Coast, was found dead in his driveway.

    Notes left by Mr Tovey — who was born in England — revealed that he had scoured the internet for plans before constructing his complex machine, which involved a jigsaw power tool and was connected to a .22 semi-automatic pistol loaded with four bullets. It could fire multiple shots once triggered remotely.

    At 7am on Tuesday he set the robot up in the driveway of his £450,000 house and activated it.

    His notes suggested that Mr Tovey chose to kill himself in the driveway because he knew there were workmen building a new house next door who would find his body.

    Is duct-taping a bunch of shit together really the same as building a robot?

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on March 20 at 3:42 PM


    From evil robot 6

    By the Way

    posted by on March 20 at 3:25 PM

    The new five-dollar bill is bullshit.

    Tales of Spine-Tingling Terror

    posted by on March 20 at 3:14 PM

    I don’t know what’s more chilling to me:

    Woman in boat slain by flying eagle ray…


    Playgirl offers Eliot Spitzer 1,000,000 dollars to pose nude.

    Updated: Eagle ray, not stingray. Thanks, Eric F.

    Savage Love Letter of the Day

    posted by on March 20 at 2:45 PM

    Religion poisons everything—including the occasional friendship.

    I know this isn’t the type of question you usually deal with, but it’s been bothering me and I like your column, so here it is: My friend of 8 years (I’m 25) recently became religious. Since her conversion, she has become the Chief of the Morality Police. I find myself frequently criticized or corrected for my jokes, astute and pithy comments regarding things which are obviously hilarious, and use of the F word while driving. I was recently “shushed,” and called “inappropriate.”

    She has also mentioned that my boyfriend and I, instead of joshing around and teasing each other, should “focus on building each other up.” That shit drives me around the bend. I want to be understanding and respect her, and I want our old comfort level back. But it’s insulting to be scolded like a child. Plus, I come from a family of Christians who don’t have giant sticks up their asses, so I know it’s possible.—Dirty Oversexed Heathen

    I wrote to DOH and advised her to tell her friend to fuck the hell off. But I’m also going to write DOH and let her know I posted her email on the blog, Sloggers, so you’re invited to offer DOH more constructive advice than I’m capable of giving.

    Amazon: America’s Gone Kindle-Krazy!

    posted by on March 20 at 2:42 PM

    The Amazon home page has a letter from Jeff Bezos that reads, in part:

    “We had high hopes for Kindle before its launch but we didn’t expect the demand that actually materialized. We sold out in the first 5 1/2 hours and have been scrambling to increase our manufacturing capacity ever since…customers have had to wait as long as six weeks after ordering.”

    And so on. There’s also a picture of a Kindle Kake. Of course this is a press-release-style manufactured bit of hoopla (I notice Jeff’s still not mentioning actual numbers of Kindles sold, for example) but as I was reading it, I was thinking, “Oh, Christ, what if this actually works?” So I guess it’s effective propaganda.

    In other technology news
    : I saw a girl today who I thought was really cute until I noticed that she was listening to a Zune, and then I felt weird and had to look away.

    Emigration Equality

    posted by on March 20 at 2:07 PM

    The Uniting American Families Act would create—if I may borrow a phrase—a “path to citizenship” for the partners of American citizens who happen to be gay or lesbian. Asked about the act, Peter Sprigg, the vice president of the Family Research Council had this to say…

    “I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.”

    Hey Sprigg… put your money where your big, fat mouth is, you saggy old scrote. There are probably tons of gays and lesbians in the United States who might like to emigrate—who might like to be “exported”—to saner countries. To places like, oh, Canada, Spain, Holland, etc., basically anywhere in the EU with the possible exception of Poland. You know, places with decent economies, strong currencies, marriage equality, and far, far fewer right-wing religious douchebags running around ruining everything for everyone else. Places where torture is a sexual fetish and not a government policy.

    But emigrating to Europe or Canada is a long and expensive process. But I’m confidant that with your organization’s resources, and its proven ability to raise money, you could more than cover emigration expenses for hundreds if not thousands of gays and lesbians that might like to watch the coming financial collapse of the United States from Paris, London, Rome, or Madrid.

    Via Chris Crain.

    Department of Health Shuts Down Aurora Motel

    posted by on March 20 at 1:24 PM


    120th and Aurora

    The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) shut down the Orion Motel on the 17th because building conditions posed “an immediate threat to guests.”


    According to the DOH:

    Conditions in the motel rooms include non-working smoke detectors; mold; unsanitary mattresses; unsafe exposed electrical wiring; unsanitary floors, walls, and fixtures; and other unsanitary conditions.

    Just how unsanitary was the Orion Motel?

    From the Puget Sound Business Journal:

    “[one] unit was filthy, the entire bathroom was cluttered, (unkempt), grimy and covered in crud and food splash. The shower basin was coated with a thick layer of dark-colored crud, grime and soap scum.”

    In another unit, the inspector found “mold was growing on the walls in the bathroom next to the toilet and along the vanity cabinet.” And in another unit, the inspector found “the mattress and box spring was stained badly with what appeared to be body fluids.”

    The Orion Motel’s owners have 20 days to appeal the closure.

    Photo via Flickr.

    The Media Keep It Classy

    posted by on March 20 at 1:19 PM

    So now we know why the media were so hot to get Hillary’s schedule:


    Upon reading the story by panty-sniffing reporter Brian Ross and his “investigative team,” we learn that Hillary “may have actually been in the White House” when Bill got a BJ from Monica, but maybe not, and WHY are we still talking about this again? I don’t understand on what planet this qualifies as “news.” Apparently, however, I’m in the minority on this.

    The LA Times, as Shakesville notes, takes a different tack with its Hillary-bashing, arguing that Clinton’s schedule as First Lady offers “little to support her assertion that her White House experience left her best prepared to become president.” The evidence? She was “deeply involved in healthcare policy” but “spent a lot of time … focusing on women’s and children’s issues.”

    Because what could be more trivial or unimportant than women’s and children’s issues? I mean, they’re hardly even people!

    (A less salacious story on the Clinton schedule can be found here.)

    Today in Fights to the Death

    posted by on March 20 at 1:13 PM

    In Seattle Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz vows that company will “fight to the death” to hold onto its position as world’s most loathed-but-patronized coffee company.

    In Maple Valley fight to the death between driver and elk ends in tie.

    “Typical White Person”

    posted by on March 20 at 12:20 PM

    From the Dept. of Recorded Utterances That Can And Likely Will Be Used Against Obama Later:

    He was asked [on Philadelphia radio] about his grandmother’s reaction to his potentially being president.

    “She’s extremely proud,” he said. “The point I was making [in this speech] was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn’t. But she’s a typical white person who — if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know — there’s a reaction that’s been bred into our experiences that don’t go away, and that sometimes come out in the wrong way, and that’s just the nature of race in our society. We have to break through it. And what makes me optimistic is you see each generation feeling a little less like that.”

    Obama campaign explanation/response here.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on March 20 at 12:05 PM

    Um… Stallbelly, Glape, or Raspbelly?! Did this really run on American TV in 1960?

    From YouTube calbff

    City’s Tenant Assistance Plan Misses the Target

    posted by on March 20 at 12:02 PM

    A small pool of money set aside by the city to assist displaced tenants remains untapped, because the nonprofit agency tasked with distributing the funds can’t find anyone to give money to.

    Nonprofit Solid Ground has contacted the owners of 12 of the 15 buildings scheduled for conversion since September 2007, but they have been unable to find any eligible tenants. While some of the tenants contacted by Solid Ground make too much money to receive relocation assistance—like the folks in a $1500-a-month building on Alki—the real problem is that the city’s outreach efforts took too long, and most tenants of the 166 units lost to conversion moved out months ago after receiving notices of conversion.

    According to Solid Ground’s Housing Program Director Donna Dziak, Solid Ground won’t be able to track down tenants who have already moved out. “We don’t have staffing to go out and hunt these people and buildings down,” she says. “The city really has to take responsibility for it.”

    In the 2008 budget, the City Council initially set aside $350,000 to assist low-income tenants displaced by condo conversions. The funding was intended as a stop-gap solution until the legislature took action. Mayor Greg Nickels’ office froze the fund—due to an unexpected budget shortfall in the city’s human services department—without notifying the council, and only released $25,000 of the fund, two months after the money was originally supposed to be available.

    The Mayor’s office seemed confident that the $25,000 would be enough to assist tenants—although Solid Ground says the money would have only been available to about 20 families—and it appears that by stalling the release of the funds, tenants who may have been eligible to receive assistance are long gone.

    Ironically, some of the conversion projects have been called off due to a glut of condos on the market. “Four of the 15 [buildings] have called off projects,” Dziak says. Two of the buildings are already undergoing conversion, and the rest are vacant.

    While some of the empty buildings had fewer than a dozen units, it seems improbable that Solid Ground wouldn’t have been able to find at least a few eligible tenants in the 11 now-vacant buildings.

    If your apartment was converted to condos in the last seven months and you make less than $41,000 a year, you could be eligible for assistance. Call the Solid Ground Tenant Services Hotline at 206-694-6767.

    Re: A Tale of Two YouTube Videos

    posted by on March 20 at 11:55 AM

    But… this video, posted two days ago, has been viewed over 2 million times:

    Games: Off-Road Velociraptor Safari

    posted by on March 20 at 11:46 AM

    Sorry to sully the streak of books- and essay-related posts today, but geez, this cracks me up. Hat tip to Games for Windows Magazine, who highlighted this free 3D web game in its April issue’s “Free Play” section (and already made the prerequisite “Snakes on a Plane” joke). I’m proud to encourage the Slog nation to get fired from work for driving a jeep through mountains and crashing into velociraptors on your web browser. Give it a whirl; the game requires a quick install of a little free program that (from my research) doesn’t do anything fishy, though if you’re at work, that could be a funny permissions request to the IT department. (“You say you need to run this .exe to enable… ‘spreadsheet backwards compatibility,’ huh?”)

    Suggestion for a sequel: Sewer Tunnel Hovercraft Chimp Jamboree. Get on it, Flashbang Studios.

    Polls. Relax, Dan

    posted by on March 20 at 11:39 AM

    There are lots of polls and Obama is beating McCain in 5 out of 9 of them. Clinton is beating McCain in 5 out of 9 of them.

    A Tale of Two YouTube Videos

    posted by on March 20 at 11:26 AM

    This video, posted to YouTube this week, has been viewed 10,000 times.

    This video, also posted to YouTube this week, has been viewed nearly a million times.

    Winning the War on Drugs

    posted by on March 20 at 11:23 AM

    Lincoln, Nebraska.

    Ten-year-old Jayci Yaeger is dying of brain cancer, and has one final wish — to have her father spend some time at her bedside before she dies.

    She’s in a Lincoln, Neb. hospice.

    However, her father, Jason Yaeger, is in a federal minimum security prison in South Dakota, serving five-and-a-half years for a drug conviction. He has less than a year left in his sentence, and is set to be released to a halfway house in four months.

    Jason and the Yaeger family have appealed many times to the warden for a 30-day supervised release, which could be allowed under “extraordinary circumstances.” However, the family says these appeals have been denied, and the prison tells them the circumstances are not “extraordinary.”

    “She’s very scared,” Jayci’s mother, Vonda Yaeger says, “and I think she’s holding on for her father. She didn’t do anything wrong. He was there for her when she was born. He should be there for her when she goes.”

    We’ve been told repeatedly that we need uncompromising drug laws to send the “right message to our children.” But what message does this send to Jayci Yaeger? The government won’t let your daddy come see you on your deathbed because it would send you the wrong message. Sorry, dying little girl. Don’t do drugs.

    When Pigeon Meets Syringe

    posted by on March 20 at 11:12 AM

    This just in from Hot Tipper Melyssa:

    Today on 3rd and Union, right in front of Wild Ginger, a pigeon was running around with a drug needle completely stuck through its head like an arrow, trying to get it out. It was stuck right under the chin and about 3 inches out the other side. How the fuck does that even happen?! I stood and stared and tried to share the disgusting sight with passersby but no one even looked. It tops the crow I saw two years ago in almost the same spot feasting on a dead rat’s eyeball. What a clean city!

    Here We Go

    posted by on March 20 at 11:04 AM

    Anti-Obama video plays Obama as Jeremiah Wright as Malcolm X as Public Enemy as the Black Power ‘68 Olympic guys.

    Which makes me just head for this, Malcolm X himself—sweet, funny, angry, smart. (And even kinda losing a debate to James Farmer, one of the main organizers of the 1961 Freedom Rides. I didn’t know Malcolm lost debates.)

    Food Fight!

    posted by on March 20 at 11:04 AM

    Praise be to Stefan Nadelman, for creating this history of American warfare, and to Sasha Anawalt on ARTicles for letting me know about it.

    UPDATE: This has already been posted and is “so last weekend.” I am sorry! Last weekend I was flu-ing it up. If you missed it too, check it out.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on March 20 at 11:00 AM


    Russian Circles at Neumo’s

    Their new record won’t be out until May, so to get their fix, Russian Circles fans must listen to the 2006 debut, Enter, for the thousandth time. Enter is a spooky collection of dynamic instrumentals—haunting guitars, explosive drumming, and moments of brightness fighting their way through otherwise solemn structures. It’s great, but I long for the new record. Tonight will whet the appetite: Their live show is more epic than a studio could ever capture. With Red Sparowes. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 7 pm, $10, all ages.)


    All Writing Is Fiction

    posted by on March 20 at 10:57 AM

    (Christ, how many books posts can we have in one morning?)

    Another misery-memoir about a horrible childhood—this one by Ishmael Beah, about child soldiering in Sierra Leone, the one endorsed by Starbucks—was maybe kinda made up in some parts.

    The Australian claimed the bust months ago, but the publicity is snowballing, with articles in Slate, the Village Voice, MediaBistro, etc.

    Sounds like Beah embellished his actually sad story to get out of Sierra Leone and into the U.S. (who wouldn’t?), then stuck with it (ditto), then got a book deal.

    … Wilson, the Australian reporter, believes that Beah “beefed up” his story to get to the United States and then got locked into it.

    In other (old) literary news, David Mamet has come out as a conservative.

    As a child of the ’60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart.

    Whatever, David. We’ve got American Buffalo. Nobody cares what you think about Milton Friedman.

    Essay Contest It Is!

    posted by on March 20 at 10:56 AM


    There was so much angling for the poster portrait of Ayn Rand in yesterday’s thread—70 comments as of this morning—that it only seems right to give you readers a chance to have the thing. As has been explained, it is no longer wanted here in the office. And while it would be sweet justice to sell it off and see the proceeds go to charity, Mr. Constant and Mr. Kiley and Ms. Graves and Ms. Wagner and I would rather read a bunch of essays by commenters titled “Why This Portrait Is Rightfully Mine and No One Else’s.”

    Essay contest rules:

    (1) Your essay has to be submitted as a comment to this post.

    (2) It has to meet an exact word limit. It has to be either 1,192 words (number of pages in the centennial edition of Atlas Shrugged), 752 words (number of pages in the centennial edition of The Fountainhead), or 256 words (number of pages in the centennial edition of Anthem). You are advised to write your essay in Word, so you can do a word count, and then paste it into the comments field. There is no preference on behalf of the judges about which word count you choose, but if your essay is 1,194 words, or 783, or 257, or whatever—if it isn’t the exact number of words specified above—it will be disqualified.

    (3) The email address corresponding to your comment has to actually work. This is how we’ll get your name and address so we can roll up Ayn Rand, put her in a tube, and send her to you in the mail.

    (4) The deadline is tonight at midnight.

    Stephanie Pure, former candidate for state representative for the 43rd district, saw yesterday’s post and wrote this morning to say:

    Dear Christopher,

    If you still have that Ayn Rand poster hanging around, let me know. My Dad is a big fan and might like it. Please don’t tell Paul Constant.

    Dear Stephanie — get writing.

    He’s Having Our Baby

    posted by on March 20 at 10:52 AM

    Male pregnancy strikes again.

    Trouble in “Paradise”

    posted by on March 20 at 10:42 AM

    In addition to facing more books out, it looks like Borders is in pretty serious financial trouble. I can’t tell if this is good news or not—if I’m in a place with no actual, independent bookstores, I’ve always preferred Borders for browsing over Barnes and Noble, and Borders has a better shelving system, too. Does this mean that more independent booksellers will sprout up? Doubtful. If Borders was to go under, or close a number of stores, I think their former customers will either go to B&N or online for their books, which means that this could be a lose-lose proposition.

    Skillet: Robbed!

    posted by on March 20 at 10:37 AM

    Skillet, Seattle’s sporadic purveyor of gourmet meals-on-wheels, has hit another bump: The Skillet support truck, with all Skillet’s skillets and so forth, was stolen from the U District last night. The Ballard Skillet stop today has been cancelled; they will be back in action at Magnuson Park for the Rat City Rollergirls this weekend.

    Skilleteer Danny sounded philosophical about the latest bit of bad luck—so far in Skillet’s relatively short history, they’ve been shut down by the health department, their vintage Airstream trailer has broken, and now this. Danny laughed at the idea that they should do some sort of anti-evil-eye spell. But they really should. This one is brought to you by the grandmother of a random Slog commenter from almost exactly a year ago (spooky). If a random Slog commenter’s grandma can’t remove the evil eye, who can?

    Quick ‘n’ Easy Anti-Evil-Eye

    1. After dark, roll a raw egg (still in its shell) back and forth over your forehead.
    2. Break the egg into a bowl part full of water. Discard shell.
    2. Put it in the refrigerator overnight.
    3. In the a.m., take it out and look at it portentously.
    4. Throw away the egg-in-water. (Flinging it out a window or off a deck feels best.)

    Voila! Instant better luck. Thanks, Random Slog Commenter’s Gramma!

    Also Reading Tonight

    posted by on March 20 at 10:32 AM

    In addition to the eleven readings going on today, there’s Norwescon, in SeaTac. I wrote about Norwescon for this week’s Constant Reader. There are seven readings taking place at Norwescon today, including comics legend Donna Barr and the intriguingly named David Boop. There are also dozens of seminars taking place all day on various topics including writer’s workshops, a screening of the great old movie Pete’s Dragon, and others, including some titled “Goth on a Budget!” and “Growing Artistically Through Crisis” and “Genre Busting” and “We Have Met the Borg and They Will be Us” and “FanFic Faves.”

    Norwescon will go on all day tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday, from 9 am to 2 am. I will be liveblogging from Norwescon all day tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday, including the prestigious Philip K. Dick Awards and several science-fiction-themed dances and afterparties. It should be the most interesting thing going on in SeaTac all weekend.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on March 20 at 10:30 AM

    Laura McPhee’s Fourth of July Creek Ranch, Custer County, Idaho, July 15 (2004), chromogenic print, 50 by 60 inches

    At G. Gibson Gallery.

    More Movies, Fewer Column Inches

    posted by on March 20 at 10:27 AM

    Via Reuters and the Hollywood Reporter:

    Alex Gibney’s “Taxi to The Dark Side” won the best documentary Oscar in February. But when it opened in New York on January 18, it didn’t get even a one-paragraph review in the New York Post or New York Daily News.

    It wasn’t alone. An increasing number of films aren’t getting reviewed in key U.S. outlets, damaging their slim chances at the box office. If the trend continues, it could make it even more difficult for smaller independent films to secure a release.

    Reviews from established media outlets are the only reason many low-budget films make it to theaters today, because they trigger word-of-mouth, feature articles and DVD-ready quotes vital to the indies’ true profit source: home video.

    But as more and more indie films have flooded the market (up from 501 in 2006 to 530 last year), they are overwhelming critics.

    I can’t say I’m surprised, but if anyone needed to see Taxi to the Dark Side, it’s readers of the New York Post.

    Though Seattle gets fewer movies overall than New York, I’m sure our numbers have gone up too: The new SIFF Cinema is showing almost as many films as, say, the Grand Illusion; calendar programming at Landmark and the GI has held steady; and the number of films shown by Northwest Film Forum over the period it transitioned to its new space must have jumped significantly. Meanwhile, the number of wide releases—not to mention films shown at SIFF and Seattle’s many specialty festivals—has been climbing.

    As it happens, The Stranger reviewed (actually, I reviewed) all the films mentioned in the article—4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and The Ghosts of Cité Soleil got 300-word reviews; Taxi to the Dark Side and Lake of Fire were reviewed only in Film Shorts and, in our web site’s current configuration, can’t be surfaced anymore. Still, we’re in the same boat as everyone else. It’s hard to find the space—and time—to write about all the movies that deserve to be written about.

    No solution seems forthcoming. I certainly don’t want fewer movies to be seen in Seattle—and if we were somehow forced to sacrifice a few, it isn’t the 4 Weeks and Taxis that I’d choose to lose.

    A Monster?

    posted by on March 20 at 10:20 AM

    Was it just me? Was it a dream? What was that monstrous sound I heard last night?
    panamapalm2.jpg I rose up from the depths of sleep—or dreamt that I rose up from the depths of sleep—and heard it four more times: a sound that was as huge as a mythical bull. Before the creature crushed the city with its horrible horns, the sound stopped. Silence across the bay. And I returned to the twin (dream/not dream) twilight of sleep.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on March 20 at 10:19 AM

    (Girl with a road salt earring image from Mocoloco.)

    Sweet lord a’mercy, we’ve got eleven events today, including an open mic, two children’s books events, a book about birthin’ babies up at Ravenna Third Place, and a book about Seattle’s architecture up at the University Book Store.

    First, I want to address an error on my part: in the print edition of The Stranger this week, I said that Susan Vreeland, reading at Third Place Books, was the author of Girl With a Pearl Earring. That is a mistake. She is the author of The Girl in Hyacinth Blue. I received a very nice e-mail from Karla pointing out my boneheaded mistake that read, in part, as follows:

    Just thought I’d mention that Susan Vreeland didn’t write Girl With a Pearl Earring. That would be Tracy Chevalier. Vreeland had The Girl in Hyacinth Blue, Chevalier had The Virgin Blue, they both like medieval arts and crafts…plenty of room for confusion.

    Vreeland’s Passion of Artemisia, while a bit of a chick-lit potboiler, was at the least a decent read, and inspired me to research Artemisia Gentileschi for myself. Which I always consider a job well done on any author’s part. I also own a personalized haiku written by Chevalier, but that really doesn’t contribute to the issue at hand either way.

    The delightful Karla is, of course, correct and I am wrong—this was a mistake I made dozens of times when I was a bookseller, too—and I apologize to the author and to Third Place Books.

    That said, there are better readings more worth your time tonight.

    Mary Doria Russell is at the Seattle Public Library tonight. Russell wrote The Sparrow, which was an interesting mix of religion and science fiction (but not in a Scientology sort of way). Her new book is called Dreamers of the Day. It is about the creation of the modern Middle East, in the 1920s. I was really interested to read this—it’s a great subject for a novel—until I read that it was narrated posthumously, that is to say, by a narrator after he or she is already dead. That made me think of The Lovely Bones, which was narrated from heaven, and that made me not want to read it. But she seems like a thoughtful author and, as I said, it’s a really interesting subject, and the reading is free, so it looks like a good time.

    Scott Heim is at Elliott Bay Book Company. Heim wrote Mysterious Skin, which is a book so great that even Mr. Poe read it. But then he’s written a couple of books that seem like retreads of Mysterious Skin, including We Disappear, his newest. This should still be an eventful reading, though.

    Robert Mittenthal and Nico Vassilakis are reading at Open Books tonight for you poetry lovers, and also Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer are reading from their guidebook to political action, The True Patriot, at Town Hall. For those interested in political action of a slightly more collectivist sort, there’s also a discussion at the Ethnic Cultural Center in the U District about “the power of collective action and its changing role in the 21st Century.”

    Full readings calendar including the next week or so, with corrected Vreeland text, is here.

    This Just In: Crucifixion Carries “Health Risk”

    posted by on March 20 at 10:15 AM

    Christ, Who knew?

    Health officials in the Philippines have issued a warning to people taking part in Easter crucifixion rituals. They have urged them to get tetanus vaccinations before they flagellate themselves and are nailed to crosses, and to practise good hygiene.

    Health officials also advised that nails be disinfected before use.

    Good Work, Hillary!

    posted by on March 20 at 10:08 AM

    This is up on Drudge now…


    I’m not sure how reliable Rasmussen is, but I blame Hillary Clinton for giving me heartburn this morning.

    Still More from Geraldine Ferraro

    posted by on March 20 at 10:05 AM

    She didn’t appreciate the reference to her in Obama’s big speech on race and Jeremiah Wright:

    “To equate what I said with what this racist bigot has said from the pulpit is unbelievable,” Ferraro said today. “[Obama] gave a very good speech on race relations, but he did not address the fact that this man is up there spewing hatred.”

    Via Ben Smith.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on March 20 at 10:00 AM


    After more than two years of hiding from police, former Apache Junction teacher and youth pastor Bobby Kennedy was arrested by U.S. Marshals Tuesday in Oklahoma. Kennedy, 29, was a teacher at Morningstar Academy, a small charter school, in early 2005, when he was accused of molesting several teenage students….

    According to police and court records, Bobby Kennedy was accused of inappropriately touching one 15-year-old student…. Several months later, two other girls told police similar stories. One of them, a 14-year-old girl, accused him of telling her and another student that he would fail them if they didn’t take pictures of themselves naked in the school bathroom with his cell phone….

    Kennedy denied molesting the girls, claiming they had initiated contact with him.


    A church youth minister, charged in the strangling of a 13-year-old boy, asked a judge Wednesday to throw out some of the evidence against him. A set of nail clippers with the victim’s DNA evidence were seized illegally from Joshua Rosa, his defense attorney, Brian Gonzalez, argued….

    On Dec. 8, 2005, [Stephen] Tomlinson was found dead in the woods of Logan Gate Park. A month later, deputies arrested Rosa, saying genetic testing had linked him to Tomlinson. DNA was found on the nail clippers and on a bloody pair of gloves Rosa was seen wearing.


    Malak only started wrestling in his freshman year. Growing up with an older brother (Chuck) who wrestled, Malak was around the sport all his life. He called the decision to try out for wrestling “one of the best I’ve ever made,” and that’s saying a lot, because Malak aspires to be great off the mat as well. In addition to his wrestling accomplishments, Malak is the Serra High student body President and a youth minister at St. Timothy Elementary School.

    Remember Lewis Libby?

    posted by on March 20 at 9:59 AM


    Queer Abby

    posted by on March 20 at 9:23 AM

    Hm. When I read “Dear Abby” on Monday my first reaction—as a fellow advice professional—wasn’t, “My God! That man’s wife was raped! And Abby just pissed all over her face!” It was, “That letter was total bullshit.”

    Here’s the first part of the letter:

    I am 27, and my wife, “Marybeth,” is 26. We recently went to my folks’ house for supper. That evening a heavy snowstorm was starting and, because the trip home is 30 miles, we decided to stay overnight.

    My old bedroom is upstairs, as are the rooms of my brothers, ages 25, 24 and 22. The guest room is downstairs. Because the room is quite small, and Marybeth said she felt a cold coming on, we decided I’d sleep in my old room.

    The next day, while we were driving home, Marybeth told me she was glad I had come to her room after all and made love to her. Abby, it wasn’t me! She had mistaken one of my brothers for me in the darkness. We are all about the same size and build.

    Okaaaay, Savage Love readers, how do we know this is a fake? Well, for starters, there are the ages of the protagonists: 27 and 25. Not 37 and 35, not 47 and 45, but 27 and 25—which just so happen to be, for most folks, the years of maximum hotness. Fake letters to advice columnists about sexual issues always involve the young and hot, never the old and average. Because the author of the letter wants readers to find the scene he’s describing just as titillating as he does. Next there’s a cascading set of circumstances beyond the control of the letter’s author: the sudden snowstorm, the long drive, the wife’s cold forces them into separate bedrooms, the husband’s old bedroom is upstairs but his brothers’ old bedrooms—all three of them—are in the basement with the guest room. Oh, and all his brothers came home for dinner too—all three of them. Oh, and those three brothers? All also in their twenties, all presumably home for dinner—at mom and dad—what? Six bedroom house? (Let’s not even address the odds against a woman not being able to tell her husband from his brothers—even in the dark, even with a cold “coming on.”)

    Here’s the ask:

    I have talked to each of my brothers (they all know about this), but they won’t say who it was for fear of causing a rift between the guilty party and me. I told them that unless I find out who it was, there will be a permanent rift between all of us. (Marybeth still doesn’t know it wasn’t me.) How do I handle this?

    This is the kind of letter you handle with the delete key, Abby.

    What ultimately gives this away as a fake is the fact that a huge number of straight men—those sickos—fantasize about being cuckolded by male friends, coworkers, or siblings. When a reader spins improbable/impossible set of circumstances—the whole family gathering for dinner at mom and dads, a snowstorm, everyone spends the night, wife doesn’t realize that she’s fucking one of husband’s brothers, etc.—and the payoff/problem amounts to a common heterosexual male fantasy scenario (in this case cuckolding), well, that should set an advice professional’s bullshit sensors flashing.

    So, good ladies of Jezebel, you needn’t be overly concerned for this man’s wife. I can assure you that this man’s wife wasn’t raped because this woman doesn’t exist. That letter was the work of a lonely cuckold fetishist—a man without a spouse to cuckold him—with an overactive imagination. (A man that spent Monday furiously beating off over Abby’s column.) Yes, yes: Abby took the letter seriously, and accepted its premise, and her answer was clueless. But let’s not get too worked up over this.

    Because it didn’t happen.

    The Morning Ooze

    posted by on March 20 at 9:02 AM


    Craving a Carrot-Top Sandwich: California couple uses Craigslist to solicit the unthinkable. (And may be the most ironic couple in the western hemisphere—I’m glad they found each other, and pray they don’t find Carrot Top.)

    Speaking of Craigslist: A man in Kenmore, WA is selling his convection oven to help fund his son’s circumcision. (Fifty bucks says the kid would prefer cupcakes to a wang-trim.)

    And Finally, Let This Be a Lesson to Us All: The boyfriend of the lady whose infected skin grew over the toilet seat she didn’t vacate for two years has been charged with mistreatment of a dependent adult.

    Thank you, Defamer, Slog tipper Matthew, and ABC News, respectively.


    posted by on March 20 at 8:54 AM

    While the GOP is banking on dismantling Obama’s strength (symbol of unity) by turning Obama into Rev. Jeremiah Wright (a symbol of the divisive, angry black demagogue), the GOP’s own candidate is having some image problems. McCain’s supposed strength (sonorous, foreign policy expertise) is a bit shaky.

    It turns out, the guy is a foreign policy dunderhead. Has everybody been following this?

    CNN’s Jack Cafferty bashes McCain for getting “the Shia confused with the Sunni confused with al Qaeda confused with Iran … I mean, what kind of leadership is that? He’s over there talking to foreign dignitaries, and he has no idea who the players are.”

    Gay Student Group = KKK

    posted by on March 20 at 8:51 AM

    So say school administrators in Osseo, Minnesota, which has banned a gay/straight student alliance on the grounds that the groups isn’t “curricular.” Unlike the school’s synchronized swimming and cheerleading groups.

    “We need to control who can talk to students and how they can talk to them because we could have groups like the KKK come in then and if we no longer have any right to decide if that is an appropriate curricular or not, that is where we run into trouble,” Osseo District spokesman Pat Brink said.

    One federal judge has already sided with the gay group—Straights and Gays for Equality (SAGE)—but the school district is appealing that decision. And, hey, someone needs to let the kids behind SAGE know that that acronym is already taken.

    The Morning News

    posted by on March 20 at 8:30 AM

    Posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Riot on: Turmoil in Tibet grows as Chinese step up force against rioters.

    : UN report charges Sudanese army with atrocities against civilians.

    Bin Laden takes on the Pope: Vatican denies having anything to do with Muhammad cartoons.

    Long shot: Hillary Clinton trudges onward down the narrowing path to victory. Poll data, however, suggests a new lead over Obama.

    Subprime nightmare
    : Homeowners try to recover from damage done by misleading mortgage brokers. One CEO responds by saying the f-word 73 times.

    She was just 17: Spitzer escort shows up in old Girls Gone Wild footage.

    : Paul Allen gives $5 million to TB research.

    Death with Dignity: Number of Oregonians using state-assisted suicide slowly rising.

    Report on homelessness: UW prof says part of the problem is excluding those with drug problems or mental-health issues from housing programs.

    International city
    : Census numbers released Wednesday note higher immigrant population in Seattle.

    It Was Fun While It Lasted

    posted by on March 20 at 8:00 AM


    Photo courtesy of Slog tipper Will.

    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    The Root of All Evil

    posted by on March 19 at 10:57 PM

    It blows. Totally blows. Gave it a second chance. Shouldn’t have. Lewis Black deserves better. I deserve better.

    And what’s with the awful canned laugh track?

    Chris Crocker Blinks

    posted by on March 19 at 10:19 PM

    Chris Crocker does

    Chris Crocker says…

    “The point of this video is to show that all I have to do is blink to get the video views I do.”

    800K views and counting—and what the fuck happened to Crocker’s lips? Wait, don’t answer that.

    Via Gawker.

    Lindy West’s Motion Picture Column

    posted by on March 19 at 7:46 PM

    It’s set at Pike Place Market. It involves the mayor, Jennifer Aniston, and a sullen man in a headset. It begins thusly:

    You know those people who start every sentence with, “Well, when I used to live in NEW YORK…” and what they really mean is, “Prepare to be amazed, ye foolish bumpkins”? Yeah, those people are awful. And I apologize in advance. So, I used to live in LOS ANGELES (am I blowing your mind up, country mouse?), which is where entertainment comes from. In Los Angeles, everyone is David Arquette’s assistant, and works for Tony Hawk’s production company, and does Pilates with Jennie Garth, and their other car is George Clooney, and they’re all orange and peekin’ at each other at the Pinkberry and beep-boop-boop-thank-Xenu I-have-my-iPhone so-I-can-tell-you-about-how-I-saw-Kato-Kaelin buying-deli-meat-at-Gelson’s. (Oh, and there are some poor people, too. But sshhhhhhhh.)

    Seattle is not like Los Angeles. We’re not as orange, and we’re not as over it. So it was unsettling when, one day last week, I wandered into Pike Place Market and—between the fishes and the flowers and the novelty nylon frog beanbags and the hand-painted dog-breed aprons—Los Angeles had set up shop.

    And what about the mayor? And Jennifer? And the man in the headset? Click here.

    The Parks Department Is Not Your Mom

    posted by on March 19 at 4:39 PM

    The Seattle Parks Department is piiiiiiissed about a pillow fight which took place in Ballard over the weekend:

    On Saturday a flash mob left Ballard’s Bergen Place covered with feathers after a pillow fight and on Sunday night vandals scrawled graffiti across several structures in Discovery Park. These two weekend incidents took 10 hours of staff time to clean up.

    On Saturday afternoon, about 50 people converged on downtown Ballard’s Bergen Place for a spirited pillow fight. After about five minutes, feathers covered the entire park. Participants left soon after that without picking up after themselves. Parks maintenance crews spent six hours cleaning up the mess and a Parks security officer is trying to track down the organizer and other participants.

    The Parks Department has reported the pillow fight to the Seattle Police Department and are urging witnesses to contact police.

    SPD’s Pillow Fight Investigation Unit did not return calls for comment.

    Two Weeks Left to Apply

    posted by on March 19 at 4:05 PM

    TASK.jpgAt the Seattle Public Library on Saturday, June 28, 35 people will perform mundane tasks from 10 am to 5:30 pm. It’s a performance called “Task” by German-born, New York-based artist Oliver Herring, and it works like this: The artist, working with an institution (here it’s the Frye Art Museum, On the Boards, the library, and Tacoma Art Museum), recruits performers.

    On the day of the performance, things begin with the artist providing a pool of tasks from which each participant selects a task and performs it. After that, the performer writes down another task and adds it to the pool, and the performances just keep going. The tasks can range from reading to singing to building using simple props, but the specifics will depend on the interests of the participants.

    Says the artist of past “Task” performances in Paris, London, Washington, D.C., and Palm Beach, Florida:

    It’s usually hard to convince people to commit themselves to this. But once the performances start, it’s hard to keep the audience from wanting to participate and for the performers to stop.

    The deadline to apply to be a performer is April 1, and all the information is here.

    The Road to GOP Victory

    posted by on March 19 at 4:03 PM

    Paved with the videos of Jeremiah Wright? Via The Politico:

    With the emergence of the notorious video showing the Rev. Jeremiah Wright damning the country, criticizing Israel, faulting U.S. policy for the Sept. 11 attacks and generally lashing out against white America, GOP strategists believe they’ve finally found an antidote to Obamamania.

    In their view, the inflammatory sermons by Obama’s pastor offer the party a pathway to victory if Obama emerges as the Democratic nominee. Not only will the video clips enable some elements of the party to define him as unpatriotic, they will also serve as a powerful motivating force for the conservative base.

    In fact, the video trove has convinced some that, after months of praying for Hillary Clinton and the automatic enmity which she arouses, that they may actually have easier prey.

    “For the first time, some Republicans are rethinking Hillary as their first choice,” said Alex Castellanos, a veteran media consultant who recently worked for Mitt Romney’s campaign.

    Even Obama’s much-lauded Tuesday speech, which detailed his relationship with his church and focused on the issue of racial reconciliation, failed to shake the notion that Republicans had been given a rare political gift.

    “It was a speech written to mau-mau the New York Times editorial board, the network production people and the media into submission. Beautifully calibrated but deeply dishonest,” said GOP media consultant Rick Wilson, who crafted the 2002 ad tying then-Sen. Max Cleland to Osama bin Laden. “Not good enough.

    “She also loves fish.”

    posted by on March 19 at 3:53 PM

    10 Things You Don’t Know About My Mom” by Meghan McCain.

    On the Cover

    posted by on March 19 at 3:20 PM

    This weeks cover image comes to us from former Tacoma-ite Josh Keyes, whose work addresses environmental issues—specifically the relationship between humans and animals—with a surreal sense of humor. You can check out more of it here.


    Spare Some Change?

    posted by on March 19 at 3:15 PM

    The Onion on Obama:

    CHICAGO—According to witnesses, a loud black man approached a crowd of some 4,000 strangers in downtown Chicago Tuesday and made repeated demands for change.

    “The time for change is now,” said the black guy, yelling at everyone within earshot for 20 straight minutes, practically begging America for change. “The need for change is stronger and more urgent than ever before. And only you—the people standing here today, and indeed all the people of this great nation—only you can deliver this change.”

    It is estimated that, to date, the black man has asked every single person in the United States for change.

    We Are All ‘Idea Partners’

    posted by on March 19 at 3:14 PM

    One of the startling innovations to come from Starbucks’ shareholder’s meeting today—besides the new Pike Place Roast and “a new automated model [of espresso machine] that will allow less margin for error in pulling shots and steaming milk”—is My Starbucks Idea. Because everybody is just getting in on this Web 2.0 thing, MSI is a way for customers to share their exciting ideas of ways to improve the Starbucks. The recent ideas page is a fountain of brilliance:

    Rent space to barbers, hairstylists, manicurists, in Starbucks locations, people can wait for the haircut and grab a drink and sit on their laptops with the free wi-fi while they wait. I am always bored in hair salons, would be nice to get a coffee drink and sit on my laptop. Second source of revenue by selling beauty products branded with starbucks logo. Buy a certain amount of drinks and get a free haircut or something. Would fit in with the health and wellness campaign they are going for. For the larger elite locations put in a spa and offer coffee and/or espresso facials. Hair cuts could be based on short, tall, or grande styles.


    Put back the egg sandwich! My wife and I when we travel always locate a Starbucks that is open 24 hours or open early. We get up early to travel so a Latte and sandwich is a great start. What do you want me to do, stop at a McDonalds to get a ham and cheese biscuit?? Come on this is no big deal. Put back the sandwiches.


    I love the smell of coffee and always thought that it would make a great potpourri or maybe a Starbucks flavored air fresheners for your car.

    Smell the following…

    You stopped in the drive thru on the way to work, for your morning cup of ahhhh. You worked through the day and now the day is done. It’s five o’clock, you find your car in the parking lot, open the door, and then it hits you, the aroma of your favorite Starbucks drink. Somebody loves you and bought you a Starbucks car-spresso air freshener. That’s when you say to yourself, “I wonder if Starbucks is still open?

    We are a nation of marketers, willing to work for free.

    Brown Outs, Yellow Jackets, and Growth Spurts

    posted by on March 19 at 2:40 PM

    Here are the design proposals going before the city’s review boards tonight for guidance and evaluations.

    Brown Out

    It would be difficult to intentionally design something as ugly or unhealthy for sidewalk activity as “The Marion” apartments on Bellevue Avenue and East Pine Street. The shit-colored building is, in essence, a homage to the carport. The units turn their back on an interesting intersection, stacked three stories above a windy, foreboding parking lot. So, it is without remorse or nostalgia that we bid the fair maiden Marion farewell.

    The Stratford Company, developers and owner of the site, wants to build a six-story residential building. “The plan is to ‘condominiumize’ the development,” says Stratford’s director of asset management Mark Isner. The proposed building would contain 103 condos and use the ground floor for retail and office space. Parking for 123 cars would, thankfully, be underground.


    Ankrom Moisan Architects

    The firm recently hung a banner from the Marion’s façade asking would-be tenants and neighbors to complete an online survey about what sorts of qualities they seek in the new building. “We’re trying to make them affordable as we can possible make them,” Isner says. Stratford hopes to break ground this summer.

    At tonight’s meeting, open to the public, architects and developers will respond to design guidance provided by the city’s volunteer design-review board in October. If you want to go, it’s at 8 p.m. in room of 3211 of Seattle Central Community College, 1701 Broadway.

    Meaning Well

    Good intentions can get in the way of good design. For example, an impressive proposal for condos at E Thomas Street and Melrose Avenue E may not mesh the city’s milquetoast plans for the site. Developer Masto Properties has proposed replacing a squat apartment building with a six-story building, containing 30 condominiums and parking for 32 vehicles below grade. One point of friction: It’s bright yellow.


    Copyright 2008, Group Architect Inc.

    “They said it might be too bold,” Steve Gawronski of Group Architect Inc. says about the design-review board’s take on the design at a previous meeting. But the color works with the building and is spectacularly refreshing. Thousands of cans of taupe paint already threw up all over pre-fab boxes around the city—we don’t need another one.

    In addition to maintaining a 15-foot clearance from the building to the north, the building’s other spatial challenge is related to I-5. Melrose abuts the freeway, parallel. Seattle’s Department of Transportation maintains a right-of-way 20 feet back from the street on Melrose and asks developers to keep that space level with the sidewalk. The problem: complying at this site, on a steep grade, would require transitioning from the sidewalk-level to the bottom floor of the building with this hideous concrete wall.

    Copyright 2008, Group Architect Inc.

    Group Architect’s proposal to terrace the sidewalk (as shown in the first rendering) is a vast improvement and should be permitted. If SDoT needs the space in 50 years, which it may, then it can ask the building’s owners to tear out the terrace. At tonight’s meeting, architects address will those issues and respond to previous design guidance. It’s at 6:30 p.m.
in room 3211 of Seattle Central Community College, 1701 Broadway.

    More about this gargantuan devlopment on Westlake…


    MulvannyG2 Architecture

    …after the jump.

    Continue reading "Brown Outs, Yellow Jackets, and Growth Spurts" »

    Everybody Go Shop

    posted by on March 19 at 1:26 PM

    Barring 50% off days at Value Village, it’s not very often that I get excited for sales but, according to their blog, the University Bookstore is having a 50 to 60% off sale on selected Dalkey Archive titles, starting tomorrow.

    I’ve written a lot about Dalkey Archive, and I will continue to do so. They’re a non-profit dedicated to keeping old books in print. They’ve got some of the (no-shit) greatest writers in the world on their roster, including Harry Mathews, Stanley Elkin, Robert Coover, Gertrude Stein, William Gass, Flann O’Brien, David Markson, Carlos Fuentes, Rikki Ducornet, and Raymond Queneau. This is exciting stuff, people.

    I Think I’m Traumatized

    posted by on March 19 at 1:02 PM

    Last week, I annoyed some people by not marking a video as “graphic or not for the squeamish or something.” I am not sorry for posting that video.

    That said, I feel compelled to warn you that the following commercial is really fucking creepy, and not for the squeamish:

    I just had to share, in part because I’m still really creeped out. Via


    posted by on March 19 at 12:50 PM

    While everyone is talking about race in the wake of Obama’s stirring speech two days ago, a new CBS poll finds that gender, not race, may be the bigger obstacle for American voters.

    Thirty-nine percent of those who responded to the poll believe a female candidate “faces more obstacles in presidential politics today,” compared to 33 percent who believed a black candidate did. Meanwhile, 42 percent of voters believed Clinton has been “judged more harshly” because of her gender (compared to 27 percent who said the same thing about Obama and race). And 45 percent of those surveyed believed that most people they knew would refuse to vote for a woman candidate (compared to 33 percent who believed most people they know would refuse to vote for a black candidate).

    Perhaps most interesting: Nearly one in five of those surveyed (including 16 percent of women) said they would “prefer to vote for a man” than a woman, compared to just five percent who said they’d prefer to vote for a white candidate. Despite all that, just ten percent believed that sexism was “a bigger problem” than racism in America.

    What Should We Do with this Portrait of Ayn Rand?

    posted by on March 19 at 12:45 PM


    This drawing of Ayn Rand—sorry about the blurry pic—was created for the first Genius Awards party in 2003, by the artist Kathryn Rathke, and has been hanging in the office ever since—along with portraits of Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Samuel Beckett, Brian Wilson, and Jenny Holzer. All geniuses in their way. For a long time I’ve been sitting under Dorothy and Robert and Brian, and the copyeditors have been sitting under Ayn, but today I’m moving to the office where the copyeditors used to sit and the copyeditors are moving to an office with a view of the park. Here’s my problem: I sorta don’t want Ayn Rand hanging above me.

    Because this is clearly worth something—it’s by Kathryn Rathke!—and because a lot of people do like Ayn Rand, it seemed right to ask Slog readers for some advice. What should we do with Ayn Rand? (She’s approximately two-and-a-half feet by three-and-a-half feet.)

    The options:

    (A) We auction her off in next year’s Strangercrombie and give the proceeds to a worthy charitable cause, which would make Rand (who despised altruism) roll over in her grave.

    (B) We hang it over Paul Constant’s desk, after all he’s the one who wrote in The Stranger: “If you’re over 25 and you still think her books are great, you’re (a) white and (b) an asshole.”

    (C) Cut holes where her eyes are and put it over a urinal. (Paul’s idea—which really kinda makes you want to tack her up on his wall, doesn’t it?)

    (D) We hold an essay contest in Slog comments under the subject: “Why This Portrait Is Rightfully Mine and No One Else’s.” No word limit.

    Please, help me decide how to get rid of Ayn Rand. Dorothy, Samuel, Jenny, Brian, and Robert are not available.

    No He Didn’t

    posted by on March 19 at 12:31 PM

    Lots and lots to say about the Obama speech. What a gas! I cannot believe a normal person finally has the national microphone to talk about this stuff.

    But one specific thing I haven’t seen in the coverage that I thought was a de facto highlight—was when Obama clocked Hillary. What? You didn’t notice that?

    Oh, yes he did.

    Coming off his loss to Clinton in Ohio—which many attributed to the Archie Bunker vote (white working class anger played out as racism), and now facing a similar voter profile in Pennsylvania, Obama censured cynical politicians for exploiting that convoluted racism.

    He appeared to direct the criticism at the “Reagan Coalition,” or at Rush Limbaugh’s double-reverse-backflip demagoguery, but it’s been clear in all the post-Ohio analysis that Hillary’s big victory there has been chalked up to her version of the same formula.

    So, bam!, Obama basically couched Hillary’s victory in Ohio (and her momentum in Pennsylvania) as symptomatic of this country’s failure to extract racism from honest political discussions. Ohio was a victory for Hillary, Obama seemed to be saying, that represents the past; a dying politician’s last stand using an old and destructive formula.

    Interestingly enough, at the same time, Obama spoke sympathetically to this coveted voting bloc, making his own pitch to their anger. But, by using good old John Edwards speak— Obama urged the lunch-pail crowd to direct their resentments at “the real culprits,” corporate power—he was saying, “It’s class not race, stupid.”

    In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

    Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

    Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

    P.s. For somebody who so desperately wants us to forget about the 60s (and its 30-year aftermath of polarized politics), Obama sure has a sophisticated, thorough, nuanced, and obsessive understanding of the whole 1964-2000 political chemistry equation.

    P.p.s. I know it’s a lot to ask, but one disappointment I had with his speech (in addition to the awkward and weird part when he pulled out a copy of his own book and quoted it) was this: Given that he wants us to move on to modern issues, I wish he had acknowledged one. In fact, I wish he had acknowledged one in specific that would have fit perfectly in a speech about prejudice and hatred. Yes, a shout out to the gays would have been nice, appropriate, and … timely…showing us that there are new battles to help bring about the More Perfect Union, rather than just talking about how the old ones are distracting.

    Authorial Intrusions

    posted by on March 19 at 12:15 PM


    It’s Wednesday, which means that last week’s print edition is slowly setting in the west and a brand-spanking new edition is rising in the east, spreading all across town like a rash, or a venereal disease. But before we say goodbye to last week’s paper, I’d like to direct your attention to Ed Lin’s piece on crazy people at author readings:

    I had a sudden flashback to being accosted by a man after reading a section from my first novel, which featured a horny 12-year-old kid as the narrator…He wore glasses and was sweating. “Ed,” he gently admonished me, “you have to be careful about Asian teens and sex. There are laws.” He gave me a knowing look, as if he had some tips to intimate to me.

    Laws are great,” I said. “They prove we live in a good society.”

    In all the years I’ve attended author readings, I’ve always wondered what authors felt about the freaks who ask crazy questions. Now, thanks to Ed Lin, I know: the authors are uncomfortable, too, but they’re even more afraid they’ll wind up out of context on YouTube looking like a dick to a fan.

    Seattle, it seems, is especially thick with weird readings questions: At virtually any political reading, someone asks a question that is basically there to just say: “A lot of people are stupid, but I”m not: Please praise me!” And other people ask long, rambling questions that display a freakish knowledge of the author’s body of work that wind up with a fizzling non-question, as if to say: “Big fan!” And then there are the people Ed Lin writes about: the people who read poems they wrote for the author, the ones who are obsessed with the author’s sex life, the ones who wonder about the author’s relationship with Pop Tarts. It’s a good peek into the uglier, more uncomfortable parts of being a novelist.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on March 19 at 12:15 PM


    From JTContinental

    The End of Silence

    posted by on March 19 at 12:03 PM

    This is Esther Lafa. She is a model. She appeared on the music video for a rap song by DMC. The video and the song are bad.

    I would have passed this image in silence if it were not for the fact that my wandering eyes were stopped by the beauty of Lafa’s brown skin. And just as I was admiring her skin—its tone, its type of brown, its uniformity—I realized that I was admiring a skin color and suddenly felt guilty. Isn’t it racist to admire the color of a person’s skin? To admire something means something else is not admirable. What is that something else? What is bad skin? It’s best not to think about such things.

    On the 5th Anniversary of the War in Iraq

    posted by on March 19 at 12:00 PM

    Bush defends his decision.

    Obama assails it (attacking Clinton and McCain in the process).

    Clinton sends out an attack video and touts her support among military generals.

    Protesters march in D.C.

    Cheney says: “So?”

    And McCain sees American “on the precipice of winning a major victory.”

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on March 19 at 12:00 PM

    I just got back from Texas, where I ate some BBQ ribs that almost made me cry, tacos are only 85 cents, and monkeys, well, even the monkeys are wearing cowboy hats…

    From YouTube Blueiscoool

    We Must Pass Over in Silence

    posted by on March 19 at 11:56 AM


    We Must Pass Over in Silence

    posted by on March 19 at 11:49 AM


    Remember This Guy?

    posted by on March 19 at 11:43 AM


    He still wins first prize in the Hard-to-Be-a-Fugitive-with-a-Face-Like-That Pageant, but the Bebees, a father-son duo from Florida (arrested separately), get runner-up:


    The elder Bebee’s forehead reads “Get R Dun” and, apparently, a tattoo on the back of his head reads “Get R Did.”

    Bebee, who does odd jobs like home remodeling and demolition, said that his wife had a succinct response to his forehead ink: “You crazy,” she said. Bebee noted that since his son’s eyes are open in his mug shot, the photo does not reveal a hidden surprise: Justin has the words “Fuck” and “You” tattooed on his eyelids.

    (Via the Smoking Gun.)

    How Many “Ss” are there in “Top Chef”?

    posted by on March 19 at 11:31 AM

    Below, if you dare, you will discover the gayest thing that ever happened. It is an “interview” (or “hissing snake fight”, it’s impossible to be sure) with that jaunty Christian Siriano fellow who won Project Runway last season.

    Now, I know you’ve heard this claim before. “The gayest thing ever.” But this really is the gayest thing…ever. EVER! And, girl, not necessarily in a good way. In fact, I’m swearing off penis from this moment forward, just to balance the universe again. It’s apt to implode or something if I don’t. And that would suck. Ironically.

    Ready, then?


    (Thanks Dan and Slog tipper “Casey”…um…I think…)

    Newspapers for Sale

    posted by on March 19 at 11:27 AM

    The Blethen family dumps its Maine holdings, won’t get much for ‘em:

    The sale price for the papers will not likely be robust - Blethen reportedly paid about $200 million for the papers in 1998 and would be fortunate to get half of that according to an analyst quoted in the Portland Press Herald.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on March 19 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Chicago 10’

    Director Brett Morgen hasn’t made a fuzzy nostalgia trip for people who went to the Democratic convention in 1968—he’s made a rousing primer for people who might go to Denver (or perhaps Minneapolis) this summer. The documentary part covers logistics, media management, and fuck-the-man speeches by Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Rennie Davis, et al. The animated part, a re-creation of the infamous trial, resembles a video game. And the soundtrack (Rage Against the Machine, Eminem, Black Sabbath) completes the message: Rockers, rappers, and metal heads can protest, too. (See movie times for details.)


    So, How Was Your Flight?

    posted by on March 19 at 11:00 AM

    Awful, right? They all are. But, man, it could’ve been worse. At least no one blew a load on your hair while you slept.

    The woman slept most of the flight, but awoke about 20 minutes before landing when the pilot announced the plane was on descent into Los Angeles. When the woman opened her eyes, she saw that an unknown man had moved into the seat next to her and was staring at her as he masturbated, the suit states.

    The woman turned toward the window in embarrassment and in an act of nervousness began to run her fingers through her hair where she noticed “a substantial amount of an extremely sticky substance in her hair,” the suit states.

    The woman began to cry and tried to get the attention of a flight attendant, but was unsuccessful, the suit states. Finally a passenger in the row in front of the woman comforted her and verified the semen in her hair, the suit states.

    Uh… I don’t want to know what that verification process entailed. The wronged woman is suing American Airline for 200K for “failing to protect” her from this seat-changing air wanker.

    Via Fleshbot

    There Are No Wigs in a Drama Free Zone! Or…Tribute Must Be Paid! Mom Finley Clears Things Up!

    posted by on March 19 at 10:33 AM

    You didn’t read this. But a few little details demand clarification anyway, dammit. Or so saith Mark “Mom” Finley, et al. Listen!

    Seconds after the current issue of The Stranger was dropped onto the street, I received several fun and peculiar things. First among these were about fifty thousand emails of this variety:

    Adrian- Just read your article and thanks for the warning…I knew (Boy Mike) personally…a friend of mine shared an apartment with him….he ran out of the fat fuck’s apartment after a couple of weeks. I will never forget the sight of Fat Fuck Mike weeping hysterically and crying, “Don’t leave me!” I’m sure of course Fat Fuck will never remember the incident….he always seems to conveniently forget those types of things…
    Well. Charming.

    Another fun and peculiar thing was a 17,000 word, double-spaced, cross-referenced, footnoted and indexed missive from “Mom” Finley. (Okay, it was like 700 words. I kid because I love. Or something.) It begins…

    Hello Darling - Just thought I’d get a few of the facts straight for you.

    Well, then. Of course. Ouch.

    Boy Mike did indeed start Retrovenge on Tuesdays at Neighbours, but Rock Lobster was my baby. Andrew Tasakos (aka Bitsy Bates) had “Ask Bitsy” on Mondays, while Nicole rounded out the week with the Lip Synch Contest on Wednesdays.

    Wow. A drag queen for every night of the week. Thems was the days. (Remember when people used to stand in line and give them MONEY? And “assistants” like Maggie Bloodstone would scramble around on the floor like crabs and pick up the bills that had dropped? Jesus.)

    It is true: In the piece I stated precisely what Boy Mike told me in interview—-that he conceived of and hosted Rock Lobster. This turned out to be a big poopy pile of cow pucky. I suspected as much from the beginning, mind you. (But some people never seem to return their messages…ahem.) So. Rock Lobster was Mark’s, and Mark’s alone. Learn it. Love it. Live it. Thank you.

    There were all kinds of other “factual clarifications” in Ms. Finley’s email, of course, stuff like The Candle Throwing Incident Happened on Monday, Not Wednesday and so forth. But the most shocking thing came at the very bottom of the email…

    I try, as best I can, to live me life as a “Drama Free Zone”…Besides - I’m too busy with my newest endeavor. In case you haven’t heard, I’ve returned to my original night and show every Thursday at Neighbours hosting Rock Lobster. Come check it out - I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    Yes. After lo these many centuries, Mark Finley is hosting a brand new Rock Lobster every Thursday at some place called “Neighbours”. (Never heard of it.) Between us, I didn’t know she’d ever stopped hosting it. But I can’t say my curiosity isn’t whetted. I might just have to put on some big sunglasses and a fake moustache and peek in some foggy Thursday…you know, for posterity’s sake. Don’t you agree?

    (And, um, there are no wigs in a “Drama Free Zone”. Who does this painted bimbo think she’s kidding? I ask you.)


    Currently Hanging

    posted by on March 19 at 10:30 AM

    Adam Mackinnon’s Luxury No Compromise, medium unknown

    At Gallery 63 Eleven.
    “Luxury No Compromise”

    Tops for Hillary

    posted by on March 19 at 10:15 AM

    Whenever Hillary Clinton wins a primary, a submissive husband gets some action. From the blog Her househusband’s life.

    As some of Y/you may know, my Wife has done a lot of fundraising for Senator Clinton (Her “Hillraisers”) and so She has not been in the best of moods lately given the results of the campaign. Until last night [March 4]. She went to a “election returns watching party” last night as i took care of the home front. Or i should say, i “tried” to take care of it. For me, nothing seemed to go right. The Girls were having trouble in school. i burnt the steaks. The dishwasher broke so i had to wash the dishes by hand. The printer jammed. i had misplaced some bills. By the time the Girls went to bed, i just wanted to go upstairs and hide under the covers!

    Of course, i knew that was out of the question as i am expected to greet Her when She comes home, no matter when She arrives. She was out so late in fact that i fell asleep in my bathrobe waiting up for Her. i struggled to wake up when i heard the car pull up the driveway and i was still dazed as i threw off my bathrobe and greeted Her on my knees at the door.

    She was still on Cloud 9 from the election results and grabbed my hand and took me upstairs. i must have been in a very deep sleep when She arrived because i felt very tired and wished that i could just crawl into bed and resume my sleep. Fat chance!

    “What are You going to do, Mistress?” i asked as She quickly undressed. “I’m going to mount you,” She said very matter-of-factly and motioned me to remove my thong panties.

    Want to find out what happens next? The rest is here.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on March 19 at 10:00 AM


    We’ve got the Poetry Slam and a wide range of interesting subjects tonight, to counter yesterday’s suck.

    Up at Third Place Books, the picturesquely named Clay Eals reads from his biography of Steve Goodman, who wrote many songs, including “City of New Orleans,” which for some reason I attributed to Willie Nelson all these years.

    The University Bookstore is having a pre-Norwescon signing and Q&A session with an panel of science fiction authors. Norwescon is a huge science fiction convention that’s taking place in SeaTac this weekend. Here’s the convention’s website. You’ll be reading much more about Norwescon later this week.

    Fred Krupp, who is smarter than you and I will ever be, combined, is at Town Hall to talk about global warming and new sources of energy and all that. It’s always good to hear someone talk about this stuff who isn’t, you know, a pop singer or other celebrity.

    And at Elliott Bay Book Company, Elisa Albert is reading from her novel The Book of Dahlia, which is a comedy about one woman’s terminal illness. This should be a good one.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, here.

    The Michigan Do-Over Idea

    posted by on March 19 at 9:54 AM


    Ellen Forney Commissioned to Art Up Capitol Hill’s Sound Transit Station

    posted by on March 19 at 9:46 AM

    This just in from Seattle treasure and Stranger columnist Ellen Forney:

    I’ll be doing the public art for the Sound Transit tunnel from the west entrance by SCCC under Broadway, to the station. Yay! I’m not sure what art I’m going to do yet (Big Fuckin’ Hands or naked ladies might not pass through the committee processes) but I’ll come up with something with my signature feel-good flair. (Here is a “sample of my public work,” courtesy of Photoshop.)


    Congrats, Ellen! (And congrats as well to the city planner(s) smart enough to hire her for the job.)

    Lunacy on the Ballot

    posted by on March 19 at 9:32 AM

    Larry Craig’s vacant seat is bringing out the crazies:

    A 66-year-old Idaho strawberry farmer, formerly known after a previous name change as Marvin Pro-Life Richardson, is now, simply, “Pro-Life.

    “I think it’s just and I think it’s proper to have Pro-Life on the ballot,” Pro-Life told the Idaho Press-Tribune. “If I save one baby’s life, it’s worth it.”

    Pro-Life made the change after an unsuccessful run for governor under the Constitution Party in 2006, hoping this time to skirt the state policy that prevented him from using what was then his middle name as his name on the ballot, as the state considered it not a name, but a slogan.

    Officials must now recognize Pro-Life’s legal name.

    Wow. You can’t say Richardson isn’t committed to his cause. Whether he should be committed outright is another matter.

    The Morning News

    posted by on March 19 at 8:30 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Six civilians dead
    : U.S.-led coalition kills several Afghan civilians during a raid in the Khost province.

    Oversight in Beijing: Chinese government caught by surprise in Tibet.

    D.C. gun ban
    : Supreme Court appears ready to rule in favor of private handgun ownership.

    Bush speaks: Defends war, asserts that “the costs are necessary” for a strategic victory in the Middle East.

    Sky leaks: Storms sweep across Central U.S.

    “So?”: Cheney admits he doesn’t care what the American public thinks about Iraq.

    Whoa: U.S. government builds cybernetic insects.

    Final odyssey
    : Arthur C. Clarke dead at 90.

    : New Jersey prosecutors subpoena records of college gossip site.

    Gimme shelter
    : Ron Sims disputes reports of mistreatment and unsanitary conditions at county-run animal shelters.

    Gimme segways: Parking enforcement officers zip around on their new scooters.

    Bottoms for Obama

    posted by on March 19 at 8:00 AM


    The website—clearly still under development—is here. The merch is here. But why is the Obama campaign discriminating against tops? Hm. I’m thinking Obama may have to give another one of those speeches of his.

    Tuesday, March 18, 2008


    posted by on March 18 at 5:02 PM

    Via VVork: a clock, by artist Bertrand Planes, that’s been slowed down 61320 times, so that each line represents a year in the average human life. It’s set to 84 years.

    Dig your mortality:


    Seattle’s Preeminent Editorial Cartoonist

    posted by on March 18 at 4:55 PM

    You may wonder to yourself, “What does the City Market Sandwich Board Artist think of the whole Spitzer scandal?

    Well, the answer is here.

    Making Sense of Craig Smith

    posted by on March 18 at 4:40 PM

    I gotta hand it to sports writers. They create compelling narratives out of what is essentially the same story repeating again and again. They give meaning to the utterances of the inarticulate. They must be brilliant. Most of them.

    Craig Smith over at the Seattle Times proclaims that last week’s unanimous ruling by the state Supreme Court, banning random student drug testing, “lacks sense” and is a “defeat for common sense.” The Justices decided that searching a student’s bodily fluids was at least as invasive as searching their luggage, which requires reasonable suspicion.

    Justice Sanders wrote:

    “The urinalysis test is by itself relatively unobtrusive. Nevertheless, a student is still required to provide his or her bodily fluids. Even if done in an enclosed stall, this is a significant intrusion on a student’s fundamental right of privacy. …

    “In sum, no argument has been presented that would bring the random drug testing within any reasonable interpretation of the constitutionally required ‘authority of law.’”

    That’s what the judges ruled, and it makes sense. What lacks sense is Smith’s knee-jerk reasoning.

    I’m angry. It’s a bad decision. Random testing, even though it was only in a handful of schools, provides one more reason a kid can say “no” when tempted by peers.

    “Sorry, guys, it’s my senior season and with my luck I’ll get caught in drug-testing if I even get near marijuana. Let’s find something else to do.”

    That seems compelling. But the only peer-reviewed scientific study ever conducted on random drug testing, by the University of Michigan, showed it has no impact—it’s not a deterrent to drug use. It’s more likely that a students who face random piss tests are actually saying, “Sure, guys, let’s go smoke pot. Since the tests are random, I probably won’t get tested anyway. But if I do, I’ll only get kicked off the swim team…”

    Is that what Smith really wants: for students to game the system and, if they lose, get expelled from the very extracurricular activities that would keep them from using more drugs? Because that sure would make sense.

    There Was More Than One

    posted by on March 18 at 4:08 PM

    Man, that blind guy’s got game. More dirt from New York

    The day after he was sworn in to replace a governor who left office in disgrace because of a prostitution scandal, Gov. David A. Paterson admitted that he had had relationships with women other than his wife, including one who is on the state payroll.

    Mr. Paterson made the disclosure at a news conference at the State Capitol, accompanied by his wife, Michelle, who held his hand as they entered the Red Room.

    “I betrayed a commitment to my wife several years ago,” Mr. Paterson said with his wife at his side. “And I do not feel I’ve betrayed my commitment to the citizens of New York State. I haven’t broken any laws. I don’t think I’ve violated my oath of office. I saw this as a private matter. But both of us committed acts of infidelity.”

    It was yet another surreal scene in Albany, a city still reeling from revelations last week that Gov. Eliot Spitzer had become ensnared in a federal investigation into a high-priced prostitution ring and his resignation. That another governor could have questions raised about his sex life, so soon after being sworn in, seemed agonizing to many here.

    God Is Working His Way Through the A’s

    posted by on March 18 at 4:03 PM

    Arthur C. Clarke, a writer whose seamless blend of scientific expertise and poetic imagination helped usher in the space age, died early Wednesday in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he had lived since 1956. He was 90.

    Darcy’s Plan of Attack

    posted by on March 18 at 4:00 PM

    Darcy Burner’s contract-with-America-esque plan for getting us out of Iraq—the Responsible Plan for Ending the War in Iraq—is picking up supporters. Says Goldy

    It hasn’t been 24 hours since Darcy Burner and nine other Democratic challengers introduced their Responsible Plan for ending the war in Iraq, and we’re already seeing a surge of new challengers signing on. Blue Jersey reports both Dennis Shulman (NJ-05) and Tom Wyka (NJ-11) have endorsed the plan, while Darius Shahinfar (NY-21) announced his support in a post to The Albany Project. Closer to home, Larry Grant (ID-01) marks the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion by signing on to the plan, while Left in the West reports that Lt. Col. Jim Hunt (MT-At Large) is on board too.

    What’s Dave Reichart got to say about his challengers plan?

    A spokesman for Reichert said the congressman believes military leaders on the ground—not candidates for political office—should make decisions about when and how to end the war.

    Says Goldy…

    Last time I checked, civilian control of the military was a cornerstone of our democracy, and a sacred principle that has guided our officer corps for better than two centuries. But, you know, if an independent military works so well in Pakistan, I suppose it would work here too.

    This is something that drives me nuts about all the high-fiving the GOP is doing about the success of the surge. For four disastrous years, George Bush insisted that we didn’t need more troops in Iraq because his generals—his military leaders on the ground—were telling him that they didn’t need more troops. While Bush ostensibly allowed his generals to make decisions about how to conduct this war, the situation in Iraq went from bad to worse to holyfuckingmotherofgod. Then… the surge. And the surge worked—sort of. We’ve secured something of a stalemate in a civil war that didn’t have to happen, and we can’t send in more troops (don’t got ‘em to send) or pull out the troops that are in Iraq now (lest we return to holyfuckingmotherofgod). So we’re stuck.

    But it should be obvious now that IF Bush was listening to his generals—if they were telling him that they didn’t need more troops in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006—his generals were wrong. And if they were wrong back then, it’s possible that… they’re wrong now.

    You Know What’s Wrong with Poland?

    posted by on March 18 at 3:39 PM

    They’ve got an asshole president too.

    The president of Poland—the very creepy Lech Kaczynski—decried the European Union’s proposed charter of rights during a prime-time televised speech on Monday. What horrors will the proposed EU charter of rights unleash on defenseless lil’ Poland if adopted? GAY MARRIAGE! But words alone couldn’t communicate the imminent threat gay marriage poses to Poland. So President Kaczynski had to take extreme measures: WEDDING VIDEOS!

    A gay man from the United States on Tuesday voiced outrage against Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski for publicly using a video of his marriage to bash the EU’s proposed charter of rights…. A video of the couple’s marriage in Toronto, Canada was broadcast nationwide to illustrate Kaczynski’s presidential address.

    Poland’s prime minister, Donald Tusk, wasn’t pleased.

    “To scare Poles by saying that homosexuals… pose a threat to the EU is stupid, indecent, contrary to our fundamental interests and very damaging to Poland’s image abroad,” Tusk said.

    You think?

    Oh, and the gay man whose wedding video was shown? Mr. Brendan Fey.

    You Know What’s Wrong with Airports? Not Enough Modern Dance.

    posted by on March 18 at 2:52 PM

    This morning, Alice Gosti, an honors student at the University of Washington, invited us to Sea-Tac tomorrow to see her off on her “airport dance” project, in which she will fly to Germany and Iceland, dance a solo in their airports, and then fly back.

    From her email:

    I have been working for two years on an Airport Performance project, with significant funding from a Mary Gates Research Award and Venture Scholarship. “Airport Dance” is a solo performance piece that will travel from airport to airport all around the world within the brief time span of 10 days. The work/performer will interact with a characteristic shared by all airports—the power to alter one’s perception of space and time. I am interested in juxtaposing the airport—a place where space and time are warped or even suspended with dance—an art form completely dependent on how we perceive the body moving in space and time.

    I corresponded with numerous national and international airports. Most did not respond. But there were some willing and adventuresome respondents from Seattle, Germany and Iceland.

    Hmm… Flying around Europe, with some nominal art-ing on the way there and back, paid for by an arts grant?

    Come to think of it, I’ve got this interview-people-waiting-in-airports-in-tropical-climates project I’ve always wanted to do…

    What Is Wrong With This Man’s Legs?

    posted by on March 18 at 2:45 PM

    Seen outside the Stranger office this afternoon:


    Today, the Seattle Police Department announced that it had the largest fleet of Segways—AKA automated people movers, AKA “What you ride when you’re too lazy to walk down the street on the legs God gave you”—of any police department in the country.

    “But Ironhead! What’s with this thingy!?”

    posted by on March 18 at 2:27 PM

    I think about this probably twice a day:




    Meagan: i heard that guy is deceased.

    Oh. Bummer.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on March 18 at 2:16 PM


    From doppioriccio

    There Goes the Neighborhood

    posted by on March 18 at 1:54 PM

    As of yesterday, Kincora’s gone, four to go.


    A discussion

    posted by on March 18 at 1:41 PM

    Aaah, memories


    Anthony Minghella, RIP

    posted by on March 18 at 1:39 PM

    The director of The Talented Mr. Ripley, which was interesting, and The English Patient, which was not, has died at 54 of complications from surgery for tonsil cancer. Here’s the New York Times.

    (Via Poe.)

    Early Returns

    posted by on March 18 at 1:39 PM

    Thanks to today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, we might know the results of the Gregoire vs. Rossi rematch 3 months early this time (instead of two months late.) We could also know the final score on Rep. Dave Reichert (R-8) versus Democratic challenger Darcy Burner early on.

    August 19 is the date for our statewide local and federal primaries. Thanks to today’s big court victory for I-872 (a top-two primary scheme passed by voters, but voided until today by the local courts), Burner and Reichert will be on the same ballot in the primary, as will Gregoire and Rossi.

    Previous to today’s ruling, voters had to choose either a GOP or Democratic ballot in the primary; the top D and top R moved forward to the November showdown. That’s how we’ve been doing it for the last three years anyway. (Prior to that there was only one ballot with all the candidates; the top D and top R went through even if two Ds finished first and second.)

    I guess: think of the August 19th results as really really really accurate polling data.

    My Liquid Lunch

    posted by on March 18 at 1:00 PM


    Yesterday Bethany let everyone know that Quinn’s is open for lunch. Today I dropped by for lunch—it’s only their second day in the lunch biz and they’ve got some kinks to work out. For instance, I think the plastic water glasses (that’s mine, above) are a bit tacky, particularly when paired with Quinn’s heavy plates and bowls. And the “no table service” thing is annoying—there are enough servers milling around to wait on the handful of tables (upstairs is closed for now during lunch). But you place your order at the bar, then sit and wait for one of those not-waiting-tables servers to bring out your food.

    In theory, anyway. The biggest kink at Quinn’s? My lunch never arrived. I waited and waited, watched my dining companion finish his lunch, then let the bartender know that, wherever my burger ($12) was, um, I didn’t have time to eat it.

    I will be back, of course, because the food is great (my God, the pretzels!), I loves me the beers they have on tap, and the place is literally around the corner from my office. Hell, I may go back after work tonight. I still have a taste for a burger.

    In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

    posted by on March 18 at 12:20 PM

    PotUSA: Words and photos from this weekend’s President’s show.

    Elton John Playing Pullman: And gay bashing is sure to follow.

    Travis Morrison Take Over: Here he is with a fish, here he is in video, here is a review of last night’s show.

    Never Forget: Juno reunion show is remembered in YouTube.

    Comin’ on Slow: Floorman remixes “Coming on Strong.”

    First They Gave You Their Music for Free: Now they want to give you $10,000 for making their video.

    Coachella Additions: Goldfrapp and Aphex Twin are added to the festival.

    Tonight in Music: Beach House and Buckethead.

    RIP: Harp.

    Final SXSW Wrap-Up: Eric Grandy recalls his blurry Saturday night.

    The Raconteurs: Coming to Seattle, releasing new album, and sticking it to the press.

    Damn, It Feels Good: Trent Moorman wonders what it takes to truly be a gangster.

    Today’s Music News: Akimbo tours with Turbonegro, Puffy says he didn’t kill Tupac, Keith Richards reaches out to Amy Winehouse, and more!

    File Under “Pizza is Delicious”

    posted by on March 18 at 12:15 PM


    Oh my God, you guys, there’s this show on HBO called The Wire, and it’s totally fucking awesome. Why don’t more people know about this?!?

    Just kidding, clearly I’m an idiot for waiting this long to expose myself to David Simon’s immaculate conception of a cop show, but better late than never, plus now I get to watch the entire series as fast as I want to on DVD.

    Right now I’m up to episode six of season one, and I’m obsessed. Netflix can’t come fast enough.

    In addition to being incredibly intricate and humane and fascinating, the show features not one but two men upon whom I’m very happy to rest my eyes. One is Dominic West, pictured above. The other is the big lug who plays the perpetually baseball-capped Herc. Hubba hubba.

    Face Front, True Believer!

    posted by on March 18 at 12:06 PM


    The Millions has a good analysis of a Wall Street Journal story about Borders’ recent announcement that they’re going to face out many more books.

    The rationale behind this maneuver is pretty obvious—any author or anyone who’s worked in a bookstore can tell you that books facing cover-out sell more copies faster than books that are spine-out. But the flipside is that too many face outs make a bookstore look like it’s going out of business. Even if the shelves are packed, the eye registers the high number of face outs and perceives the shelves as lacking in selection.

    The other thing pointed out in the post, though, is that Borders is probably going to get a lot of co-op money for facing books out. A lot of customers don’t realize that every display in a chain bookstore, except for maybe a few employee recommend shelves in an out-of-the-way place, is paid for by the publisher, like the cereal aisle in a supermarket (hence The Millions’ name for the face out plan: The Froot Loop Gambit.)

    This means, though, that the quality of books on display will be questionable: They’ll either be extremely popular books that you’ve heard of already thanks to overaggressive publishers’ publicity departments, or they’ll be struggling titles that the publisher is pumping money into so they don’t lose their shirts on them. Neither one is really an ideal face out. If Borders follows this policy and doesn’t diverge from it if sales turn out to suffer because it needs the cash influx from publishers paying for co-ops, it could be dooming itself in the long run.

    House of Hate

    posted by on March 18 at 11:36 AM

    The current negative response to Sterling Residence—which is on Queen Anne Avenue, and also at the center of this article—is apparently not as bad as the response another modernist house received when it was completed back in the early 90s:


    The designer of the house, Larry Rouch, writes:

    The back story on my Queen Anne House was much more dramatic than pB’s [Sterling Residence]. I was accused of causing the death of a neighbor by building the house, and this by a Seattle cop in person, in uniform, son of the deceased! Also the neighborhood took up a petition against the house and a big stink was made about it in the QA community newspaper. Another neighbor physically accosted me and Steve Holl, who was along for a drive by, because the house had no fireplace and asked: “What’s the matter with you, don’t you believe in Santa Claus?!!” We literally had to drive away with her hanging on my car. Another neighbor, a realtor, asked to review the plans before construction started, then politely informed me that she wouldn’t oppose the house if we would kindly remove the living room/study on the upper floor (the view side of the house). Yet another neighbor demanded that I review the house pans with his architect else he sue. The architect demanded a meeting and a copy of the plans. I told him to fuck himself.

    The architectural hatred on Queen Anne is hardcore.

    The Saint

    posted by on March 18 at 11:11 AM

    Inquiring minds want to know: What will happen in the newly blue triangular building on Olive, former home of the Wingdome?


    Answer: The Saint, a tequila bar with Mexican food, brought to you by the Havana people. They’re aiming to open at the end of the month or early in April.

    We’re doing hand-pressed tortillas, hand-chopped salsas, pozole verde, ceviche, carne asada, puerco pibil, etc. Smaller plates, reasonably priced. Very traditional all around. The bar side of things will focus on tequila, although we’ll have other offerings (vodkas, gins, bourbons….) The specialty list will feature seven or eight tequila-based cocktails, all hand-measured and made with fresh juices. We’ll be using the kitchen to cook up our own syrups for use in the drink menu.

    Elsewhere, now open for your enjoyment:

    Ocho in Ballard: delicious, unpretentious Spanish snacks and $10 margaritas that are arguably actually worth it ($5 tumblersful of Spanish wine: definitely worth it)

    Loretta’s in South Park: a place to drink with steaks and burgers, brought to you by the owner of the 9 Lb. Hammer in Georgetown—people seem to love it

    And in the Dept. of New(-ish) Chefs on Capitol Hill: Tyler Palagi (from Ferrara on Vashon Island) is now in charge of the kitchen at Smith, while Nick Castleberry (from Sitka & Spruce) has taken over at Artemis (where they say they’ve discontinued live music for the time being).

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on March 18 at 11:00 AM


    Crumb at the Frye at Frye Art Museum

    Procrastinators: You’ve only got one month to see R. Crumb’s Underground at the Frye. If you’ve never seen Crumb’s original comics art up close and in person, you’ve never really seen it: The obsessive line work and fastidious inking give it psychotic dimensions that no mass-produced comic book could ever relay. Plus, the life-sized Devil Girl sculpture—contorted into a bizarre sexual position—inspires a weirdly religious awe. (Frye Art Museum, 704 Terry Ave, 622-9250. 10 am–5 pm, free.) PAUL CONSTANT


    Controversial Pastors

    posted by on March 18 at 10:59 AM

    While it remains to be seen if Barack Obama can transcend the reputation of his controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright (as of 10:00 this morning, every major half a daily in the country was leading with Obama’s speech responding to the controversy), it’s interesting that John McCain is getting a pass from the major papers on his close association with anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic pastor John Hagee. Hagee, whom McCain proudly introduced as an ally and endorser two weeks ago, is the guy who called the Catholic Church “the great Whore,” said the only “difference between a woman with PMS and a snarling Doberman Pinscher” is “lipstick”; said Jews have been persecuted throughout history because of their “disobedience and rebellion … to their covenantal responsibility to serve only the one true God, Jehovah,” and blamed Katrina on New Orleanians’ “sins.”

    All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are — were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades. So I believe that the judgment of God is a very real thing. I know that there are people who demur from that, but I believe that the Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the day of judgment. And I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans.

    Last week, Hagee appeared as a guest at a Reform Jewish temple in LA, where he revealed that he believed only a “remnant” of the Jews would be left after the Apocalypse to “weep at the sight of the one whose side they had pierced.” (He did acknowledge that while “remnant” sounds bad, “we don’t actually know how big a remnant is”). Hagee is also assoicated with a right-wing evangelical group called Christians United For Israel, which seeks to convert Jews to Christianity and which sent out an anti-Muslim DVD called “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War on the West” to Jews.

    Much more on Hagee’s anti-Semitism, Islamophobic, anti-Catholic, homophobic views here, here, and here.

    Thoughts on Obama’s Speech

    posted by on March 18 at 10:50 AM

    I guess the Slog’s Clinton chorus has gotten inside my head, because I feel like I have to start off this post by anticipating, and dealing with, the predictable complaint: “You would never do a post analyzing a Clinton speech like this!”

    There’s a reason. The simple fact is, Clinton does not give speeches like this. That’s one of the recurring thoughts I had while reading, listening to, and watching Obama’s 40-minute discourse on race and his candidacy this morning.

    Clinton would never do this. That is not a pejorative statement. That is just an observation borne out by her campaign so far. You can spin it all kinds of ways: Clinton doesn’t have any more skeletons to come tumbling out of her closet, ala Obama’s Wright videos, so she’ll never be forced to give speeches like this. Or, Clinton is way too cynical about the media and the intelligence of the American voter to ever offer up something as lengthy and nuanced as this. Or, Clinton is shrewdly realistic about the media and the intelligence of the American voter, and would never waste her time with something like this.

    In any case, the fact is, Clinton doesn’t wax polysyllabic about complexities the way Obama does throughout this speech. One representative passage:

    Race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

    The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we’ve never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect.

    This is a higher level of discourse than Clinton ever offers on the campaign trail. But it begs the question: Who is Obama talking to?

    I’m someone who sought out a job in which I get paid to deal in words and arguments and abstract notions all day long, so the kind of speech Obama just gave—and it’s a speech you really need to experience in full in order to appreciate its subtlety and complexity—excites me. It excites the part of my brain that likes a complicated, multi-layered, well-reasoned-yet-subtle argument that is also able to wrap itself in a compelling personal story. The part of my brain that likes intellectual and narrative force over brute rhetorical force.

    But I am not the average American voter, or even the average white Democratic voter in Pennsylvania. Obama talked this morning about some of those average white Democratic voters in Pennsylvania (and elsewhere), and it’s worth reading what he said at length for a sense of the way in which he talked about them.

    The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright’s sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

    In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they’re concerned, no one’s handed them anything, they’ve built it from scratch. They’ve worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they’re told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

    Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren’t always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

    Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

    This is where we are right now.

    Well argued. Elegantly put. Smart. But I wonder: Is this really an effective way of talking to those working- and middle-class white voters? Call me elitist or a Clinton-style cynic, but I don’t think so. Just as the language and fervor of the Black church is foreign to many working class whites, so is the language of the academy and of high-end liberalism. That’s the language Obama was speaking today.

    Which reminds: Obama’s campaign is not just a bet on the ability of a black candidate to inspire voters across the lines that demarcate traditional racial, ethnic, and class divisions. It is a bet on the ability of the average American voter to rise to the level of his rhetoric.

    The latter may be a far bigger bet than the former.

    You Want Bowling?

    posted by on March 18 at 10:42 AM

    Roll up your sleeves and grab a checkbook. Via the Ballard News-Tribune.

    A citizen-led effort to save another longtime community gathering place got a boost last week when the new owners of the Sunset Bowl property agreed to consider incorporating a bowling alley into its development plans, which would demolish the 30-year-old local landmark.

    “We are definitely open to considering a bowling operation in our development,” said [AvalonBay Communities’ Brian] Fritz. Avalon will also evaluate whether the bowling alley could remain open for business until they are ready to break ground, which is scheduled for summer 2009. But Fritz said the day-to-day operations would have to be managed by the community.

    Jim Bristow, a local independent contractor, and yes, a bowler, has championed the effort, circulating dozens of petitions. More than 2,500 Ballard residents have signed their support.

    But Fritz said there’s a “delicate balance” between residential and commercial aspects of mixed-use buildings. For instance, it would be difficult to manage a 24-hour commercial operation on the ground floor of a residential building.

    Now, Bristow is working out a plan to secure a working staff and buy the bowling equipment from the previous owner before it’s auctioned off. That would run several thousand dollars and he’s not sure where those funds would come from yet.

    Do it for the children at

    Thanks to tipper Sara of the Hinterland.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on March 18 at 10:30 AM

    Suzanne Walters’s Self Portrait with Stalking Cougar (2007), gouache on paper, 15 by 22 inches

    At Howard House.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on March 18 at 10:15 AM






    Wow. Just, wow. We’re looking at a lot of fallow ground to cover here tonight.

    Candace Sandy, Dawn Marie Daniels, who read at Elliott Bay Book Company last night, are at the University Bookstore tonight with Souls Revealed: A Souls of My Sisters Book of Revelations and Tools for Healing Your Spirit, Soul, and Life. Mary J. Blige will still not be in attendance.

    Kathleen O’Brien and Kathleen Smith will also be in attendance at the University Bookstore with The Northwest Green Home Primer, about building a greener home.

    Laura Flynn is at Elliott Bay Book Company tonight with Swallow the Ocean, a memoir about growing up with a schizophrenic mother.

    Warren Hammond reads at Queen Anne Bookstore with his sci-fi noir novel KOP. Its first sentence is “The place was almost empty.”

    And lastly, there are two mystery authors in town at multiple venues today. Laura Lippman is in town with Another Thing to Fall, about a killer on a film set. She’s at Seattle Mystery Bookshop and Secret Garden Bookshop, also. And then Joanne Fluke is here with her ninety-billionth book about a crime-solving bakery owner, The Carrot Cake Murder, which is a mystery book that includes recipes. She’s also at Seattle Mystery Bookshop and then she’ll be up at Third Place Books. Personally, I think things got a little derivative after the Key Lime Pie Murder, but the series really ran out of steam and lost a lot of its initial Vollmanesque urgency with the Candy Cane Murder.

    Full readings calendar, including upcoming days that don’t suck, is here.

    Seattle, 1912

    posted by on March 18 at 10:14 AM

    City Hall’s internal news letter, The Legis-Letter, has a column called “Who Knew!” where they dig up a City Hall controversy from the past. (Here’s a great one from 1957 when the City, fearing a teenage riot, shut down an Elvis Presley concert.)

    This month’s installment, from 1912, is interesting. The mayor tried to shut down the Seattle Daily Times after anti-Socialist riots rocked the downtown core. Mayor Cotteril blamed the Times in part because he felt their “false” and “perverted” coverage of the Socialists had helped spark the drunken, thuggish right wing riots.

    Cotteril told the police to prevent distribution of the paper for two days unless he approved the copy. However, Times publisher Alden Blethen quickly took the City to court and prevailed, maintaining the right to put out his family paper.


    This is My Rifle, This is My Gun…

    posted by on March 18 at 9:51 AM

    Here’s a novel approach to population control:

    A bandit-infested region of India is trying to persuade men to undergo sterilisation by offering to fast-track their gun licence applications, an official said on Tuesday.

    Officials in central Madhya Pradesh state’s Shivpuri district decided to adopt the policy — already tried out by some neighbouring states — to increase the low vascectomy rate.

    “I came to know that it had to do with their perceived notion of manliness,” said Manish Shrivastav, administrative chief of Shivpuri district, part of the Indian Chambal region, which is famed for its lawlessness and bandits.

    “I then decided to match it with a bigger symbol of manliness — a gun licence,” he said. “And the ploy worked.”

    Last year only 8 men in the Shivpuri district went under the knife. This year so far, over 150 have—with another 100 expected by month’s end.

    The Full Obama

    posted by on March 18 at 9:45 AM

    Here you go. It’s about 40 minutes long:

    For Crying Out Loud

    posted by on March 18 at 9:27 AM

    New York Gov. David Paterson, who took over the state’s top job Monday after Eliot Spitzer resigned amid a prostitution scandal, has admitted he and his wife Michelle had affairs during a rough patch in their marriage several years ago, a newspaper reported.

    Paterson told the Daily News that he maintained a relationship with another woman from 1999 until 2001. He and his wife eventually sought counseling and repaired their relationship.

    The couple agreed to speak publicly about their marriage in response to rumors about Paterson’s personal life that have been swirling in Albany, New York, since Spitzer resigned, the Daily News reported Monday on its Web site.

    Obama’s Speech, in Part

    posted by on March 18 at 9:23 AM

    Still looking for video or audio of the whole thing. For now, here’s video of a central passage, via MSNBC:

    Audio or Video of Obama’s Speech?

    posted by on March 18 at 9:05 AM

    I assume it will be everywhere shortly, but for now I can’t find audio or video of the speech, in its entirety, anywhere on the Interenets.

    Have you seen it online? If so, throw me a link please.

    Damage Control

    posted by on March 18 at 8:39 AM

    The prepared text of Obama’s speech on race is posted at the NYT.

    I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

    But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

    As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

    Says TPM:

    It is remarkable for its nuance, for its long view of history, and for its decency…. [But the] text is one thing. Delivery is another. And Obama doesn’t seem to have his A game today.

    The Morning News

    posted by on March 18 at 8:30 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Peace out: The Dalai Lama threatens to resign over violence in Tibet.

    Catholics in Saudi Arabia: Vatican talking to Saudi government about erecting first-ever Catholic church in the country.

    Naked in Ghana: Government to deport Liberian refugees who protested by taking off their clothes.

    Obama speech: Candidate addresses race in Philadelphia.

    Alright for now: Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers report small earnings despite wavering economy.

    Minghella mourned
    : Man behind The English Patient and Cold Mountain was “a writer who happened to direct.”

    52 dead: Violence in Iraq distracts the world from paying attention to Dick Cheney.

    520 plans: Seattle won’t build light rail over the 520 bridge any time soon.

    Supreme courtship: Highest law court in the land rules in favor of letting Washingtonians choose from the top two vote-earners in the general election.

    Campus construction: UW plans to construct housing in order to alleviate overcrowding as part $850 million proposal.

    ELF hiding out
    : Radical environmental group staying in the shadows.

    Monday, March 17, 2008

    Happy (Secular) St. Patrick’s Day!

    posted by on March 17 at 5:50 PM

    Holidays in America, even those that originated somewhere else, fall into three basic categories: meat holidays, candy holidays, and liquor holidays. We will call the last category—which includes New Year’s Eve, Cinco De Mayo, and St. Patrick’s Day—the “alcoholidays.” Most Americans associate these wonderful times primarily with drunkenness.

    Other holidays may be associated with drinking, too. But the drinking is secondary. For instance, Independence Day is a drink-liquor-and-eat-hot-dogs holiday; Valentine’s Day is a drink-liquor-and-cry-into-your-pillow holiday. Memorial and Labor Days are foremost about working, dying, and barbequing.

    But the true alcoholidays are all about getting wasted. And drinking on St. Patrick’s Day, usually on March 17th, is even accommodated by the church. The Catholic Church, which has a say on all holidays with the word “Saint” in it, cares so much for our privilege to feast on green beer and whiskey that, to avoid conflict with the Holy Week this year (Easter is this Sunday), they changed the date of St. Patrick’s Day to before the holy week began. That’s right… it already happened. On Saturday.

    But you’re not Catholic, are you? And you don’t conform to arbitrary edicts from way over there in the Vatican City, do you? Us Yankees had us a parade in New York today. And we got booze here in Seattle tonight, so you can drink like you’re Irish. Cheers!


    Yellow Cab: (206) 622-6500
    Orange Cab: (206) 522-8800


    posted by on March 17 at 5:29 PM


    Via JoeMyGod.

    The Biggest Food-News Story In The History of Time

    posted by on March 17 at 5:17 PM

    The Kentucky Fried Chicken on 10th and Pine is closing, and will be replaced by a brand new JACK IN THE BOX!!!

    According to Bradley Steinbacher, the Broadway Jack in the Box is closed—although I drove past it this morning and didn’t notice—but when it returns, it will be moving right next door to our offices.

    According to a KFC employee, staff were recently notified that the property was sold to Jack in the Box. However, that fried chicken smell won’t be going away any time soon.
    The employee says KFC’s lease extends through next year, and JITB will also need time to acquire the necessary permits.

    Howto: Green Urine

    posted by on March 17 at 5:07 PM


    Methylene blue is a water-soluble dye that can be used to assess whether a fistula is present or used as a medication. It is filtered by the kidneys and has no pathologic effects but may cause the urine to have a bluish or greenish hue. Once the dye has been passed (after 2 days, in this patient), the color of the urine returns to normal.

    Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

    This is a Test

    posted by on March 17 at 5:03 PM

    For the record, I failed the test. You can also take the test here.

    SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read the comments thread until after you watch the video.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Jess.

    The Seattle Connection

    posted by on March 17 at 5:00 PM

    Online Videos by

    First posted by stinkbug.

    “A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq”

    posted by on March 17 at 4:55 PM

    Yes, it’s a mouthful. But it’s worth a hearing. Here’s the ad…

    and the whole plan is here.

    Requiem for a Block: In Pictures

    posted by on March 17 at 4:41 PM

    This afternoon, hungry claws ate Kincora for lunch (that’s the Belmont, the mayfly gallery and art project, in the background).


    Bus Stop, Cha Cha-cum-Pony, and the rest are next…


    The bulldozer pas de deux below reminds me of an industrial dance project I heard about in Berlin, back when high-rise construction cranes were everywhere.

    Some enterprising soul choreographed the cranes and, during a weekday lunch hour, everybody in Berlin could tune into the same radio station, which played an original score while the cranes across the city danced to the music.

    I’ve looked for the video in vain, but could somebody get on that in Seattle? On the Boards? Donald Byrd? Somebody?


    And here is Lady Krishna (she of the Peppermint Lounge), paying her respects, with construction worker Christina Moullet.


    We were just talking about greed,” the Lady said. “And how it would be nice if these buildings would be replaced with a public park.”

    There’s One Big Flaw

    posted by on March 17 at 4:34 PM

    …in the friendly Slog I gave Darcy Burner earlier today.

    Basically, I spun her press conference today —where she and 7 other Democratic challengers unveiled their “Responsible to Plan to End the War in Iraq”—as a sexy stunt to tie a slate of candidates to a big agenda. Very “Contract with America” of them.

    So, here’s the problem. The Contract with America candidates (GOPers who came forward in September ‘94) were running against the failed majority party, the Democrats.

    Burner and gang represent the party that’s already in control of Congress, who have already tried and failed to do most of the things on Burner’s list: reinstate habeas corpus, end torture, stop warrantless wiretaps.

    So, who are these insurgent Democrats running against?

    Reading Tonight, Not Reading Tomorrow

    posted by on March 17 at 3:39 PM


    David Sheff and Nic Sheff were supposed to appear at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park tomorrow. Nic wrote a book about being addicted to meth called Tweak. David wrote Beautiful Boy, a book about his son, Nic, having a meth problem. They cancelled the Third Place reading, citing “scheduling difficulties.” They “might” reschedule for next month, though.

    However, David Sheff will be reading tonight at the Starbucks in the University Village (4634 26th Avenue NE, 522-5228). Beautiful Boy is the current title-holder of the Starbucks Book Club, or whatever it’s called. Thomas Pynchon could read at the Starbucks in University Village and I’d have a hard time dragging myself to it, but this will be your only chance to see the author in the near future. So now you know.

    No Re-Vote in Florida

    posted by on March 17 at 3:12 PM

    Not gonna happen. Michigan, meanwhile, is still in flux.

    Re: It’s a Generational Thing, Stupid

    posted by on March 17 at 3:12 PM

    I’m glad Obama is responding to the Rev. Wright flap by using the controversy to point out that this is another example of the stalled debates of the 60s.

    That’s exactly how Obama already played it on TV this weekend, and he’s smart to do an official statement formalizing his response.

    As I slogged about Obama’s appearance on Olbermann this weekend:

    Obama’s explanation about Rev. Wright is perfect. Obama subtly tells mainstream America to fuck off (!) by paying respect to Wright’s ’60s POV, but at the exact same time, Obama uses Wright’s outdated and silly POV to bring this whole thing back to his central campaign theme: It’s time to move on from the old polarizing battles of the baby boom years and so, vote Obama.

    Well done. Even genius. Obama uses a bad story coming out of his campaign corner as more evidence that you should vote for him.

    He’s even smarter now to include Ferarro in his rap.

    SPD Sticking To Its Guns On Officer Discipline

    posted by on March 17 at 2:59 PM

    The Seattle Police Department is (surprisingly) standing by the Office of Professional Accountability on officer discipline. SPD has asked for a Superior Court judge to review a determination by a city disciplinary panel, which reduced Seattle Police Officer Richard Roberson’s suspension from 30 days to only 10.

    Roberson was suspended without pay after an Office of Professional Accountability investigation found he had destroyed evidence from a 2005 incident at the Seattle Public Library, where he cited a man for trespassing, but did not arrest him for possession of cocaine and a crack pipe. Roberson destroyed the drugs, but did not reference them in his report.

    Roberson appealed his punishment to the City’s Civil Service Commission—a three member quasi-judicial panel appointed by the Mayor and City Council to hear disciplinary appeals—who agreed SPD was too harsh and reduced his suspension. SPD has caught plenty of heat for not disciplining officers, but it appears SPD believes the suspension was warranted and wants a judge to have the final word.

    What Will Be America’s Next Top Religion?

    posted by on March 17 at 2:44 PM

    Is there a way to determine once and for all which religion—Islam? Mormanism? Christopherhitchensism?—is America’s fastest-growing religion?

    It’s the Jehovah’s Witnesses, says the Dallas Morning News…

    Still, the National Council of Churches reports that Mormons are the second-fastest-growing faith group in the United States, adding new members at a rate of 1.56 percent per year. The fastest-growing faith group in the country, the council reports, is the Jehovah’s Witnesses denomination, adding new members at a rate of 2.25 percent per year

    Nuh-uh. It’s Wicca, says the the Post, in Athens, Ohio…

    Although largely misunderstood by many, Wicca is the fastest growing religion in the country, according to the 2001 American Religion Identification Survey. The study found that Wicca’s number of adherents is doubling about every 30 months, from 8,000 in 1990 to 134,000 in 2001.

    Nope, it’s Islam—says Bill Clinton.

    “I had no objection to Muslims throughout the world demonstrating their convictions in a peaceful way. But I thought it was also a great opportunity, which I fear has been squandered, to build bridges, because I can tell you that most people in the United States deeply respect Islam - it is the fastest growing religion in America - as do most people in Europe, and most people in Denmark.”

    Actually, it’s “unaffiliated,” says Reason Magazine….

    The Fastest Growing Religion in America Is “Unaffiliated.”

    The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released a new survey that finds that Americans switch religious affiliations a lot, and that more and more can’t be bothered to join a church, synagogue, mosque or temple.

    So which is it?

    It’s the Generational Issue, Stupid

    posted by on March 17 at 2:41 PM

    Obama, in a preview of his big speech on race tomorrow, starts to work up a generational explanation for the heated race and gender rhetoric that’s been coming from oldsters like his former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and Clinton-supporter Geraldine Ferraro. It’s a smart move. His message: He can’t help the way that old people like Wright and Ferraro are so quick to get exercised over identity politics—in fact, he understands it, and even sounds like he sort of respects it in as far as it’s a kind of post-traumatic-stress symptom related to the times in which their identities were forged.

    But, it’s not him. He doesn’t see the world that way. Which, of course, dovetails quite nicely with his theme of wanting to “turn the page” on an “old’ politics that is tiresome in its shrillness, counterproductive, and polarizing.

    Here he is previewing the speech with PBS’s Gwen Ifill:

    MS. IFILL: Anybody watching this campaign for the last week to 10 days would think it was all about gender and race between what Geraldine Ferraro said and what your former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, said. Do you look at this and think that maybe with a woman and a black man running against each other that this was going to be an inevitable conversation?

    SEN. OBAMA: You know, I’m not sure if it was inevitable. I think that there’s no doubt that race and gender are powerful forces in our society. They always have been. And I think it would have been naïve for me to think that I could run and end up with quasi-frontrunner status in a presidential election as potentially the first African-American president that issues, race wouldn’t come up any more than Senator Clinton could expect that gender issues might not come up.

    But, ultimately, I don’t think it’s useful. I think we’ve got to talk about it. I think we’ve got to process it. But we’ve got to remind ourselves that what we have in common is far more important than what’s different and that if we’re going to solve any of these problems, we’ve got to come together and bridge our differences in ways that we just have not bridged them before.

    MS. IFILL: Is that the speech you’ll be giving tomorrow in Philadelphia?

    SEN. OBAMA: That will be a major focus of it.

    MS. IFILL: You have also cast this as a generational distinction of the sort of things that Reverend Wright said being the baggage of a fiercely intelligent African-American man of his generation and Geraldine Ferraro’s as well. When does one person’s baggage become another person’s memory/history?

    SEN. OBAMA: Well, you know, look, there’s a continuum. But I think that, you know, when you look at somebody like a Reverend Wright who grew up in the ’50s or ’60s, his experience of race in this country is very different than mine in the same way that Geraldine’s experience being an intelligent, ambitious woman, you know, is very different than a young woman who’s coming up today and potentially has a different set of opportunities.

    Now, we benefit from that past. We benefit from the difficult battles that were taken place. But I’m not sure that we benefit from continuing to perpetuate the anger and the bitterness that I think, at this point, serves to divide rather than bring us together. And that’s part of what this campaign has been about, is to say, let’s acknowledge a difficult history, but let’s move forward in a practical way to get things done.

    MS. IFILL: Has this been damaging to your campaign?

    SEN. OBAMA: You know, the – I would say that it has been a distraction from the core message of our campaign. I think part of what has always been the essence of my politics, not just this campaign, but my life is the idea that we’ve got to bring people together. Now, part of that is biographical as somebody who comes from a diverse background with a white mother and an African-American father growing up in Hawaii and Asia. You know, it’s in my DNA to believe that all of us have something fundamental in common.

    And that’s part of what makes America so special. And so, to the extent that, you know, the conversation over the last couple of days has been dominated by some stupid statements that were made by Reverend Wright, but also caricatures of Reverend Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ – which, by the way, is part of a denomination that is overwhelmingly white – you know, I think that that has distracted us from the possibilities of moving beyond some of these arguments.

    Drunk (Seventh in a series)

    posted by on March 17 at 2:29 PM

    This is the water fountain at the gym at the Magnuson Park Community Center.


    It scores a 10. It is cold, heavy, powerful, and crisp. I was too dizzy to take notes, so I didn’t get the brand name. But this a one of the better fountains in the city.

    Previously in Drunk (for those following along.)

    Mass Market Food and Architecture

    posted by on March 17 at 2:25 PM

    Tonight brings us design meetings for two north Seattle developments.

    New Pinehurst Safeway

    Dykeman Architects, designers of the Capitol Hill Safeway and the Redmond PCC, has submitted plans to demolish an old Safeway and replace it with a shiny new Safeway. Jonah has a great piece on the controversy around it over here. The proposal is for a 50,000 square feet, one-story commercial building with a parking lot for 200 vehicles. The developer is also asking the city to rezone a portion of the site. Here’s the old guy.


    Here’s how the new babe would sit on the lot.


    In the “pro” column of the preferred design, says the proposal: “The building is located adjacent to the sidewalk at 15th Ave NE at the SW corner of the site and provides the strongest opportunity to develop a pedestrian link to the apartments/condos to the south.” In the “con” column: “Building location does not reinforce the urban character of the ‘gateway’ corner at 15th Ave NE and NE 125th Street.” Hmm, more useful sidewalk or more charming gateway? If you’ve got an opinion, pour your Jameson into a flask and head to the design-guidance meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. in room 209 of the University Height Community Center, 5031 University Way NE.

    Mixed Use Development on Lake City Way

    Driscoll Architects pumps out mixed-use developments faster than just about any other developer in Seattle. As a result, those developments, while providing urban density we appreciate, are usually very ordinary. Driscoll hasn’t provided digital renderings of the proposed building on NE 85th St and Lake City Way NE, but they will undoubtedly build on the themes of Driscoll’s other buildings.



    The building would contain 145 apartments up top, 167 underground parking spots underground, and a coffee shop and other retail spaces on the ground floor, says Driscoll’s Brian Kim. Driscoll went before the design review board for an early guidance meeting in November 2005, and their reps will return to the board with a fleshed out proposal tonight at 8:00 p.m.—also in room 209 of the University Height Community Center, 5031 University Way NE.

    I Get So Excited Sometimes

    posted by on March 17 at 2:23 PM

    So apparently, there’s a twice-yearly magazine called The New Haven Review that “was founded to resuscitate the art of the book review.” This already makes me swoon, but there’s even better news: Their website is going to be devoted to reviews of “unfairly neglected books,” no matter when the books were originally released. They even define “unfairly neglected:”

    …that doesn’t mean Walter Kirn dissed the book in the Times and nobody else reviewed it. It means the book was missed by the Times, The New York Review, Washington Post Book World, etc., etc. As in, nobody’s heard of the book.

    And! On the first page is a review of David Markson’s splendid Reader’s Block, just so you know that these motherfuckers mean business.

    McGreevey vs. McGreevey

    posted by on March 17 at 2:18 PM

    One confirms, the other denies

    Jim McGreevey, the former governor of New Jersey, has confirmed reports that he and his wife had sexual encounters with a male aide while he was serving as a local official and running for governor, according to the Associated Press.

    “This happened, this happened in the past, and now we need to move on with our lives,” McGreevey tells the wire service.

    His ex-wife, Dina Matos McGreevey, tells the wire service that the published claims are “completely false.”

    The McGreevey saga leaves me with a new appreciation for the dignified manner in which other elected officials—Bill Clinton, Newt Gingrich, Larry Craig—have conducted their sex lives.

    UPDATE: Here’s the full text of Dina Matos McGreevey’s statement. Ah, the drama…

    Theodore Pedersen’s claims, as reported in the Newark Star Ledger on March 16, are completely false and were prompted by Jim McGreevey. This all has to do with the publicity I have received since Governor Spitzer resigned. Jim has enlisted one of his cronies in trying to distinguish that situation from his own, and to discredit me in the media. He cannot stand it when I am receiving attention in the media rather than him.

    This is not the first time. Jim started with a false claim, made shortly before my book was published, that I knew he was gay when we were married. The falsity of that claim is made clear on the very first page of Jim’s book, just as his description of our relationship in his book stands in stark contrast to Pedersen’s false allegations.

    Jim again became the focus of the media’s attention, just one day after my book was released by announcing his intention to become an Episcopalian priest.

    Howto: Financial Meltdown!

    posted by on March 17 at 2:18 PM

    Kenneth Rogoff, the former chief economist at the IMF and now a professor at Harvard University, said the greenback may drop another 12 percent on a trade-weighted basis.“This recession will be long and deep and when we get out of it, we’ll have inflation,”

    How did this happen? This stick-figure cartoons sorts it out for you. The short of it? “Really smart guys” at financial services companies figured out a legal (but ethically dubious) means of recycling crappy mortgages into something resembling actual investments. How did they get it past the audits, the financial controls, the rating agencies? Well, it’s easier when they’re all the same few companies, each profiting from the bigger lie.

    Why is this legal? It didn’t use to be. In the aftermath of the Great Depression, regulations were written into law specifically to prevent this sort of Ponzi scheme from occurring again, like the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. It worked, until the laws were written out of existence in the late 90’s. In a great triumph of conservative economic theory, the laws, protections and regulations were evaporated, leading to an orgy of mergers resulting in the flailing financial service monsters of today.

    Not every economist was happy about this turn of events.

    Twenty-five years ago, when most economists were extolling the virtues of financial deregulation and innovation, a maverick named Hyman P. Minsky maintained a more negative view of Wall Street; in fact, he noted that bankers, traders, and other financiers periodically played the role of arsonists, setting the entire economy ablaze. Wall Street encouraged businesses and individuals to take on too much risk, he believed, generating ruinous boom-and-bust cycles. The only way to break this pattern was for the government to step in and regulate the moneymen.

    You might think that the best solution is to prevent manias from developing at all, but that requires vigilance. Since the nineteen-eighties, Congress and the executive branch have been conspiring to weaken federal supervision of Wall Street. Perhaps the most fateful step came when, during the Clinton Administration, Greenspan and Robert Rubin, then the Treasury Secretary, championed the abolition of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which was meant to prevent a recurrence of the rampant speculation that preceded the Depression.

    As pleasant as it would be to lay the current financial crisis entirely at Bush’s feet, a significant amount of the blame should go to Rubin and Clinton. Signing the (now clearly disastrous) Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act in November of 1999—dismantling most of the Depression-era protections—was a classic bit of Clintonian triangularization, a gigantic sop to Wall street firms at the expense of Bill’s base of liberal and working class supporters. What could they do? Who could the people hurt by this act vote for? Nader? Let the checks from the financial services industry roll in!

    Some might call this experience that matters.

    The It

    posted by on March 17 at 1:57 PM

    Seattle in its most cinematic minutes:

    Big Dog Coming to Get You

    posted by on March 17 at 1:44 PM

    Afraid of pit bulls? Check this shit out.

    Watch as this thing moves over ice, snow, gravel, and regains its balance after being kicked in the ribs.

    Plan 1: Kick it in the ribs.
    Plan 2: Run like hell.

    In the Last 24 Hours (or More) on Line Out

    posted by on March 17 at 12:57 PM

    Plenty of SXSW Coverage: See Sunday here, see the after-parties here, see the photos of locals here, read about Blue Scholars here, read about Diplo, Pissed Jeans, Old Tim Relijun, and more here.

    RIP: Mikey Dread is dead. So is the drummer for ABBA.

    Did I Do That?: Urkle sings about abstinence.

    Fist Pumps and Pick Slides: Tragedy rocks C.H.A.C.’s basement.

    Danny Boy: The song is both banned and celebrated for St. Patrick’s Day. Paul Constant shares his favorite version.

    More Evidence: Ticketmaster continues to be a bummer.

    Tonight in Music: Travis Morrison Hellfighters at the Sunset. And dozens of St. Patty’s Day parties all over the city.

    Rumours: Cocaine’s greatest achievement?

    diplo.jpgDiplo Photo by Kelly O

    A Scout is Brave, Loyal, and True

    posted by on March 17 at 12:32 PM

    And some are bi-curious, and most are into drugs and booze—at least in Europe.

    Scouts and Girl Guides are open to pre-marital sex, drugs and gay experiences, according to a new survey. More than 2,500 Scouts from across Europe, aged between 16 and 22, were questioned by researchers as they attended a convention in Italy.

    The results might have surprised Lord Baden-Powell, who founded the Scouting and Guiding movement more than a century ago.

    One quarter of the girls and 12 per cent of the boys said they would consider a same-sex experience. Some Scout associations around the world bar homosexuals from their ranks although this is not the case in Britain. More than 80 per cent of those questioned said they were happy to get drunk and almost half said they would smoke marijuana if offered.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on March 17 at 12:25 PM

    The Curious Mystery at the Mars Bar…


    From jaycoxfilm

    For Your Stomach’s Consideration

    posted by on March 17 at 12:24 PM

    Quinn’s now has lunch, every day except for Sunday. (They said they need an afternoon off.)


    From the lunch menu:

    • grilled romaine bread salad, fennel, tomatoes, radishes & olives 8. - add poached chicken 3.

    • roasted beet salad, greens, ricotta salata 5.

    • cumin scented black lentil, roasted cauliflower, raw mango 9. - add poached chicken 3.

    • grilled ham & gruyere cheese sandwich 7.

    • wild boar sloppy joe & crispy onions 10.

    • B.L.T…pork belly confit, tomatoes, greens and special sauce. 9.

    • spiced tuna sandwich, tabouleh 9.

    • house-made pork sausage sandwich, choucroute, dijon 9.

    • grilled, smoked hanger-steak sandwich, onions, peppers & blue cheese 9.

    • 8oz. “snake river farms” wagyu beef burger, cheddar, bacon, mayo & fries 12.

    *add fries to any item 3.

    And dessert, listed on a blackboard. If there’s goat-cheese panna cotta, get it.

    Welcome to Iraq…

    posted by on March 17 at 12:22 PM

    Mr. Vice-President!

    A female suicide bomber penetrated one of the most secure perimeters in Iraq Monday evening and killed at least 42 people near the Imam Hussein shrine in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, according to the Iraqi authorities.

    The explosion, the deadliest attack in Karbala in nearly a year, overshadowed a Baghdad visit by Vice President Dick Cheney, who met with Iraqi and American leaders and extolled what he described as “phenomenal” security improvements in the country.

    Addicted to Intervention

    posted by on March 17 at 12:13 PM


    I know I’m not the only one who loves A&E’s is-it-art-or-is-it-entertainment documentary series tracking addicts through the depths of their addiction-fueled degradation before dousing them with the cold shower promised by the title; a not-insignificant friendship of mine is predicated almost entirely on text messages sent during Intervention broadcasts, typically involving direct quotes (“No more vodka for Brad!”) or simple observations (a quick “OMG” as that pretty-girl morphine addict does a slow-motion face plant into a plate of Taco Bell.)

    Still, it’s definitely a guilty pleasure, partly because I typically watch the show under the influence of marijuana (is this hypocritical or just postmodern?), and partly because the freakier the behavior of the addicts, the better the episode of Intervention. Even referring to the show as a pleasure, guilty or otherwise, seems wrong—but would I really devote an hour every week to something I didn’t enjoy?

    These are the questions brought up by every episode of Intervention, which, as I mentioned, follows addicts—one or two each week—as these addicts do the most fucked-up shit you’ve ever seen, then face an intervention from their loved ones and, hopefully, accept the show’s offer of inpatient treatment.

    Before you judge me as a roadside-wreck gawker too lazy to get off the couch for his requisite gore fix, let me tell you why Intervention isn’t necessarily a signpost of the apocalypse.

    1. In addition to the classic drunks and meth heads and junkies, Intervention’s addicts include such wild cards as gambleholics and anorexic/bulimics. This breadth of subject matter allows the show to capture an unusually rich and varied collection of real-life human behavior, most of it fueled by hideous desperation, and the majority of it shockingly fascinating. (I wasn’t kidding about the most fucked-up shit you’ve ever seen—Hollywood stars earn Oscars for acting like Intervention subjects.) Still, it’s all drawn from real-life, and thus messier and uglier and more mundane than anything from Hollywood, and it’s as documentary footage that the show finds its greatest value. Watching Intervention’s subjects chug mouthwash and have meth-based math freakouts (“I have to find the formula for evil!”) and store vomit in plastic bags in their closets has truly expanded my understanding of the human condition. (It’s also made clear the hideously direct line that frequently exists between rape/sexual abuse and hardcore addiction/eating disorders.)

    2. Featured interventionist Candy Finnegan is obviously the greatest person on earth.

    Intervention airs at 9pm tonight on A&E.

    “Religion sucks.”

    posted by on March 17 at 12:09 PM

    My, my. So much religious intolerance on display in Belltown—someone alert Joel Connelly!

    “We’re all about Jesus,” said [Pastor Tim] Gaydos, a 33-year-old Seattle native. “We’re not about religion. Religion sucks. … And this is not your mom’s or grandma’s church.”

    What’s wrong with my mom and grandma’s church? Besides, of course, all the same stuff that’s wrong with Mars Hill? Anti-gay, sex-phobic, intolerant of other faiths, no female clergy, etc. Electric guitars, wireless mics, “goatees, jeans and hoodies” will obviously fool some of the people some of the time—and Seattle’s credulous daily papers all of the time—but sooner or later a big, fat sex scandal is going to catch up with sex-hatin’ Mars Hill. We’ve seen it time and time again: people that seek to dictate to others about their sex—from private sexual conduct to the sex of their chosen ministers—are invariably at war with their own sexual urges and desires.

    Mars Hill, like Ken Hutcherson’s Antoich, is a sex scandal time bomb waiting to go off. Tick, tick, tick.

    Slut-Shaming’s In the P-I

    posted by on March 17 at 11:59 AM

    All weekend, the top post on the P-I’s Big Blog has been a post by Monica Guzman on Ashley Alexandra Dupre, the prostitute at the center of the Eliot Spitzer scandal. It’s… well, there’s just so much wrong with it, I’m going to re-post most of it here and let you read for yourself.

    Let’s start wth the headline:

    Ashley Alexandre Dupre: His fall is her rise

    Um, Monica? Getting two million people to listen to your crappy song online is not a “rise” of the same magnitude as Spitzer’s “fall.” Realistically, she’ll write a tell-all, go on the talk shows, pose for Penthouse, and disappear from history. End of story.

    But sure, whatever, go with it.

    It’s been very amusing, watching the talking heads discuss Ashley Alexandra Dupre’s future. Barely restraining an eyeroll, they said with disgust the last couple nights what seems shameful to accept: The prostitute who brought New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer down is most likely on her way up.

    Shameful? No, what’s shameful is that sentence. What’s shameful is talking about a prostitute as if she’s less than human, as if her profession is somehow inherently… well, take it away, Monica:

    Just two days after the New York Times revealed her identity, several Facebook groups have sprouted from Dupre’s sudden infamy.

    You might think most of them would point out the shame in her profession…


    or call her out for her part, however unwitting, in destroying a popular politician. But you’d be wrong.

    What I love about this particular framing device—and Guzman is hardly the only writer who’s latched onto it, by any means—is that it completely reverses the usual prostitute-as-faceless-victim narrative. (See, for example, any story ever about crimes committed against prostitutes—the women in those stories never have agency or the ability to take actions on their own; they’re “prostituted” victims of forces beyond their control.) “Destroy” a politician, however, and you’re suddenly the most powerful woman in the world. And the former governor of New York? Why, he has no agency whatsoever.

    But oh, does it get better from here.

    There are obvious parallels here with Amanda Knox. The instant online reaction to that Seattle student’s alleged involvement in a racy Italian murder last year was voracious, viral and cruel. She was a good girl gone bad. The thrill was in her downfall. Dupre, on the other hand, is a high-priced prostitute. She’s bad already. For the people following her drama, the thrill will be in her rise.

    Read that again and you’ll see that—apart from being aggressively moronic—it almost literally makes no sense. Prostitute who gets entwined in a federal investigation=alleged murderer and accomplice to rape. No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

    Apparently, Dupre knows it — and she’s OK with it. Knox took down her Facebook profile and made her MySpace page private in the days after her story broke. But yesterday — yes, yesterday — Dupre created her own Facebook fan page to promote her music (note: As of 1 p.m., the page could no longer be reached on Facebook). Today at 12:30 p.m., Dupre’s page had well over 600 fans.

    That dirty slut! Doesn’t she know that what she’s supposed to do is issue an apologetic statement, then go hide under a rock somewhere until everybody forgets about how she single-handedly brought down the governor? For SHAME!

    Maybe Dupre will break out of obscurity. Maybe she will get a recording contract, or a book deal, because she was in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the right man — and the right audience. Maybe we’ll make her not just infamous, but famous. The real question is, what does that say about us?

    Well, nothing very profound: People get famous for dumb reasons all the time. But thanks for playing.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on March 17 at 11:56 AM

    North Carolina:

    An Episcopal priest found guilty Thursday of soliciting sex from undercover Waynesville police officers is the last of seven men to make guilty pleas after being charged in a sting operation last summer in park restrooms…. Penland resigned from his position as a youth minister at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Boca Raton, Fla., in September, following his arrest, according to church meeting records.


    A 39-year-old Greensburg man pleaded not guilty Friday in U.S. District Court to using a computer to entice a 14-year-old Madison County girl to engage in sexual activity. [The] victim met Richerson on one of his MySpace pages where he represented himself as a 16-year-old male.

    Richerson, a former youth minister at Freedom Baptist Church in Campbellsville, allegedly communicated with the victim via computer and telephone during the summer of 2007, and in September, he traveled to the victim’s residence in Madison County.


    A former Winslow youth minister is behind bars for allegedly fondling a 14-year-old girl multiple times in public parking lots. Keith Daniel Kiger, 31, faces a felony charge of first-degree sexual assault.

    According to a preliminary arrest report, Kiger admitted to engaging in sexual contact with the victim as many as six times. Most of the contact occurred in the back of his van…. Kiger told police that his relationship with the girl began as part of his ministry.


    Ex-youth minister gets plea deal

    Peter Kim, 40, pleaded guilty to violating bail bond conditions, sexual exploitation of a child and attempted sexual assault of a child by a person in a position of trust. In exchange, prosecutors dropped two other bond-violation charges….

    The disposition concludes a case with many twists and turns, including multiple suspected bond violations, the involvement of a Christian music star and a defense attorney who quit the case citing a personal conflict of interest.

    Hey, does anyone know if Mars Hill has youth pastors?

    Re: Russian-Speaking Immigrants: The New Vanguard of the Anti-Gay Religious Right?

    posted by on March 17 at 11:50 AM

    The LA Times curtain-raises a hate-crimes trial that has flowed out of an attack last year on a gay man in Sacramento by evangelical, Russian-speaking immigrants. The victim of the attack, Satender Singh, died as a result of his injuries.

    I Slogged about the crime last October, but now seems a good time to revisit the issue with two links: One to my post from last October and one to a feature I wrote about a somewhat similar gay-bashing that occurred in Seattle in 2004.

    The Real Perspective

    posted by on March 17 at 11:45 AM

    Erica Barnett, let me show you the source of public hysteria and various forms/versions of millennium madness:


    On June 9, 2005, as part of its ongoing series of “Security Updates,” CNN airs a special report titled “Keeping Milk Safe.” Over shots of adorable first-graders sipping from their pint cartons, CNN tells viewers that the farm-to-shelf supply chain is vulnerable at every point, beginning with the cow; with great drama, the report emphasizes the terrifying consequences such tampering could have. Nowhere does CNN mention that in the history of the milk industry, no incident of supply-chain tampering has ever been confirmed, due to terrorism or anything else.


    Similarly, after the Asian tsunamis struck over Christmas 2004, Dateline wasted no time casting about for an alarmist who could bring the tragedy closer to home: the familiar Could It Happen Here? motif. The show’s producers found Stephen Ward, Ph.D., of the University of California at Santa Cruz. In January, Dateline’s East Coast viewers heard Ward foretell a geological anomaly in their very own ocean that could generate the equivalent of “all the bombs on earth” detonating at once. The event Ward prophesied would unleash on New York City a wave containing “15 or 20 times the energy” of the Asian tsunamis. As a helpful backdrop, Dateline treated its viewers to spectacular visuals from The Day After Tomorrow, showing Manhattan’s heralded landmarks disappearing beneath an onrushing, foamy sea.

    And three:

    To hear the media tell it, we’re under perpetual siege from some Terrifying New Disease That Threatens to End Life as We Know It. It’s too soon to render verdicts on the ultimate impact of avian flu, but that pathogen would have to wipe out many millions in order to justify the hype. Lyme Disease? The Cleveland Clinic has this to say: “Although rarely fatal and seldom a serious illness, Lyme Disease has been widely publicized, frequently overdramatized, and sometimes linked to unproven conditions.” Is it coincidence that visits to national parks began tracking downward in 1999, amid media coverage that made it sound as if deer ticks and the rest of Mother Nature’s foot-soldiers had declared war on humankind? Maybe. Maybe not.

    Reality and the news are rarely married.

    Gay Oil Wrestling = Hope for the Future

    posted by on March 17 at 11:40 AM


    Oklahoma city resident Michael Heaton writes an excellent blog—The United States of Michael Heaton—and he’s got something to say about Oklahoma state’s most famous anti-gay state representative, Sally Kern. Here’s Michael

    As depressing and disheartening as her comments were for someone like me—a gay, secular, progressive, living in Oklahoma—I remind myself that her perspective is far, far from the mainstream point of view. Even those outside our community who disagree with us on any given point of gay equality—marriage, health benefits, military service, and the like—don’t view us as a threat to society, worst than terrorists, or somehow destructive to “family values.”

    How can I say this with confidence?

    Because she is losing the argument even here in Oklahoma. Look at the picture I posted above—this was a gay oil wrestling competition just this last Saturday, in Oklahoma City, exactly 3.3 miles from the Baptist Church Kern attends. Though Kern was mentioned by the MC as the butt of jokes, she wasn’t on our minds…. It was just another great night out on the strip in Oklahoma City—where I have never personally felt unsafe and can walk hand-in-hand with my boyfriend there, and anywhere else in town I frequent….

    At best, Sally Kern and those of her ilk can ensure that Oklahoma is one of the last places in the country to move forward on issues of gay equality. That’s the very best she can achieve—we will get there eventually, rest assured. Even in a small state such as ours, the gay community is too large and too embedded to be ignored—and every one of us will put up a good fight.

    More from Michael—and tons more pics from that oil-wrestling competition—at his blog.

    Superdelegate Watch

    posted by on March 17 at 11:30 AM

    I love the superdelegate counter the New York Times published this weekend to go with this story testing the superdel winds.

    According to the New York Times, Washington’s superdelegate situation is this: 5 for Clinton (oddly, they’re all electeds: Cantwell, Dicks, Inslee, Murray, Sims), 4 for Obama (Baird, Gregoire, Smith, and DNC hotshot Pam Notter), and 8 so far uncommitted. Here’s where the tea leaves come in:

    Ed Cote, Party official, Wash.
    “I am still firmly uncommitted and I am going to stay uncommitted. I do not have to vote until the week of Aug. 25. This is only Feb. 11.”

    Thomas Foley, Party official, Wash.

    Rick Larsen, Representative, Wash.
    “If I need to exercise my vote as a superdelegate in order to have a nominee this fall, then I will. I believe the grass roots of the party should select the candidate. The grass-roots process is not done. We should let it finish.”

    Eileen Macoll, Party official, Wash.
    “They have so much to offer. It’s an amazing experience to be a superdelegate and in this position. I truly am undecided.” “I’m going to watch the traffic and watch the flow and see which way it’s going. I’ll especially be watching how the vote goes in the large states that remain, like Pennsylvania, Texas and Ohio. That will perhaps lead me to a decision.”

    Sharon Mast, Party official, Wash.

    Jim McDermott, Representative, Wash.

    David T. McDonald, Party official, Wash.
    “Delegate-by-delegate fights are very emotionally intense. There is a great risk to all of us that the support base of the two candidates will not be able to work for the other. The single best way for a Republican to win is for us to have a fight that gets out of hand. Whoever we support, the overriding concern is to not have a Republican in the White House next year.”

    Dwight Pelz, Party official, Wash.

    I feel like we should all be betting on where are supers are going to fall-it’s more rational than the Oscars, after all.

    If you want to set up an office pool, here are some pointers. Rick Larsen sounds like he’s sympathetic toward the Obama line (defer to the pledged delegates), Eileen Macoll is obviously leaning Clinton (that telltale “big state” argument), and my hunch is that David McDonald (who supported Dean last go round, and who sits on the Rules committee that stripped Florida and Michigan of its delegates; he’s been quoted saying that if Clinton “makes the motion to allocate ‘beauty contest’ delegates, she will not get support from me”) will go for Obama. Jim McDermott (whose 7th Congressional District went wildly for Obama in the caucuses) and Dwight Pelz also seem likely to vote for Obama, though who really knows. That leaves three more party people.

    My wild guess? It’ll be 2 more for Clinton and 6 more for Obama, making Washington’s final split 7 C/10 O.

    William Kristol Regrets the Error

    posted by on March 17 at 11:22 AM

    And the NYT, one hopes, regrets the hire. This is squatting on the top of Kristol’s op-ed in today’s paper:

    In this column, I cite a report that Sen. Obama had attended services at Trinity Church on July 22, 2007. The Obama camapaign has provided information showing that Senator Obama did not attend Trinity that day. I regret the error.

    In his column today Kristol claimed that Obama was sitting in the pews when his pastor, Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., went off on the God-damn-America tirade that got Wright bounced from the campaign. But Obama was in Florida, not Chicago, when Wright gave that sermon. So who wrote that erroneous report that made it onto the op-ed pages of NYT? A right-wing faux news organization. Says Sullivan

    Kristol’s facts depend on Newsmax, a far-right Internet propaganda vehicle. Which means to say: thanks to Kristol, the NYT’s fact-checking is now dependent on far right smear artists.

    Kristol’s first column in the NYT also contained an “error.” In a January 13 column, the NYT’s public editor described the hiring of Kristol—who had recently called for the criminal prosecution of the NYT’s editors and publisher— as a “mistake.” I wonder what they’re calling Kristol at the NYT offices now?

    Kos on His (“Silly Little”) Strikers

    posted by on March 17 at 11:15 AM

    He’s not impressed:

    Clinton and her shrinking band of paranoid holdouts wail and scream about all those evil people who have “turned” on Clinton and are no longer “honest power brokers” or “respectable voices” or whatnot, wearing blinders to reality, talking about silly little “strikes” when in reality, Clinton is planning a far more drastic, destructive and dehabilitating civil war.

    People like me have two choices — look the other way while Clinton attempts to ignite her civil war, or fight back now, before we cross that dangerous line. Honestly, it wasn’t a difficult choice. And it’s clear, looking at where the super delegates, most bloggers, and people like Olbermann are lining up, that the mainstream of the progressive movement is making the same choice.

    A Responsible Plan to Zzzzzz…..

    posted by on March 17 at 11:08 AM

    Ok, this is a pretty hot campaign strategy from Darcy Burner—the suburban Seattle Democrat who’s trying to unseat Rep. Dave Reichert (R-8).

    She’s rounded up a slate of Democratic challengers around the country, and she’s heading up a press conference with them today in D.C. to unveil their collective legislative agenda concerning Iraq. And by “Iraq,” she means it in the broadest terms to frame an agenda that’s a rejoinder to President Bush’s whole “War on Terror.”

    So, putting a lasso around the ugly signposts of Bush’s transgressions—in addition to unveiling a responsible withdrawal plan—Burner is also going to lay out her ideas for Congressional plans to: restore habeas corpus, put limits on Presidential signing statements; stop warrantless wiretaps; stop torture; and stop outsourcing to private military contractors.

    Burner and her crew of Democratic hopefuls will release their 20-page plan today at 5:30 in DC.

    The agenda isn’t new, but I think she’s smart to repackage it in one document being advocated by a slate of Democratic challengers.

    I do think, though, that she needs to give it a better name. Right now, she’s got: “A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq.”

    Large Pillow Fight Rocks Ballard

    posted by on March 17 at 11:03 AM

    The neighborhood news blog My Ballard chronicles the flash-mob pillow fight that got Ballard all feathery yesterday afternoon.


    Find eyewitness reports, photos (like the one above), and video at My Ballard.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on March 17 at 11:00 AM


    Travis Morrison Hellfighters at Sunset Tavern

    As the frontman of the dearly departed Dismemberment Plan, Travis Morrison supplied the keyboard and the dance moves for the band’s stellar, funked-up anthems. Their shows always morphed from indie rock to sweaty dance party due in no small part to Morrison’s ass-shaking encouragements. Morrison still has a knack for engaging his audience, and his work with backing band Hellfighters is just as groovy and danceable as it was back in the D-Plan days. (Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave NW, 784-4880. 9 pm, $8, 21+.) MEGAN SELING


    Prostitution Scandals Left and Right

    posted by on March 17 at 10:53 AM

    This man is no longer the governor of New York


    …so how come this man is still a U.S. Senator from Louisiana?


    Mills Cheaper than Dupre

    posted by on March 17 at 10:49 AM

    Heather Mills graciously accepts $50 million divorce settlement from Paul “No Fool Like an Old Fool” McCartney. She was married to McCartney a little under four years, which works out to roughly $1500 an hour.

    How Much Are You Getting?

    posted by on March 17 at 10:46 AM

    It’s a grim, grim economic environment out there today. Markets are tumbling. Inflation in Seattle is rising faster (4.73 percent!) than in the rest of the nation.

    But never fear! As a letter from the IRS reminded me this weekend, come May we’re all getting stimulus checks courtesy of President Bush.

    Who knows if it will help the broader economy. But I know it will help my own personal economy a little bit, and my guess is it will help yours, too. Here’s the fine print. The big question is: How much are you getting?

    My quick attempt to help you figure it out:

    If you’re super low income, and as a result paid no taxes for 2007, then you’re probably getting $300. If you’re the average American worker making less than $75,000, and you paid taxes in 2007, then you’re probably getting $600. If you’re making more than $75,000 then your stimulus check will be adjusted downward by 5-percent of the amount you make above $75,000. Which means you’ll receive something less than $600.

    If you’re filing jointly and/or have kids, well, it’s slightly more complicated. If a couple filing jointly makes below $150,000 together, then the couple gets $1,200. If the same couple makes more than $150,000 together, then they get something less than $1,200. And every couple gets an additional $300 for each child they have.

    Still confused? More confused than before? IRS calculator here.

    So, how much are you (meaning your household) getting? And, for the comments: What are you going to spend it on?

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on March 17 at 10:30 AM

    Ted Pushinsky’s Portland Rose Festival (1975), silver gelatin print, 16 by 20 inches

    At OKOK Gallery.

    Memo To The Person Who Owns The Car I Walk Past Nearly Every Day

    posted by on March 17 at 10:25 AM

    Dear Person Who Etc.,

    You have a bumper sticker that reads:


    I just wanted you to know that owning a car is not Living Simply So Others May Simply Live. It is in fact the exact opposite.

    Thank you for your kind attention,
    Paul Bobby

    Where’s the Outrage?!?!

    posted by on March 17 at 10:22 AM


    Defensive Struggle

    posted by on March 17 at 10:10 AM

    How bad are the Sonics? Last night they lost to the Denver Nuggets — by 52 points.

    Denver scored 168 points—a new franchise record, and the third-most points scored in regulation in NBA history—while Seattle mustered 116 points of their own. It was like a Harlem Globetrotters game.

    Thankfully, baseball Opening Day is just two weeks away. Rangers vs. Mariners, March 31, 3:30 pm. About friggin’ time.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on March 17 at 10:03 AM


    It’s St. Patrick’s Day—I, for one, am already drunk—and there are two open mics and two readings to attend if bars packed to the gills with faux-Irish Fratface McAssholes aren’t your thing.

    First, at Town Hall, Daniel Schorr is being interviewed by Eric Liu. Schorr is, of course, an old-school journalist who’s been around through two Gulf Wars and more media circuses than you can imagine. This should be a thoughtful, inspiring event, with plenty of good questions and answers, and no green beer in sight.

    Then, at Elliott Bay Book Company, Tracie Frank, Dawn Marie Daniels, and Candace Sandy are reading. They are the editors of two books with mouthfuls of titles: Souls of My Sisters: Black Women Break Their Silence, Tell Their Stories, and Heal Their Spirits and Souls Revealed: A Souls of My Sisters Book of Revelations and Tools for Healing Your Life, Soul, and Spirit. The former anthology features stories from Patti LaBelle and Mary J. Blige. Patti LaBelle and Mary J. Blige will not be in attendance. If they were, I’d be in the front row, throwing my panties. But they won’t be there, so consider your attendance accordingly.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, here.

    Another One

    posted by on March 17 at 10:02 AM

    Gays and lesbians aren’t going to stop fleeing from murderously anti-gay regimes in the Middle East. So Western governments are going to have to come to grips the fact that this issue isn’t going to go away.

    His only crime was to be gay. For that he was half-drowned, brutally beaten and then fell into a coma. He survived, escaped from jail, fled his country and eventually arrived, exhausted and bedraggled, here in Scotland. And now the Government wants to send him back.

    Syrian Jojo Jako Yakob last night pleaded with the Home Office to reverse a deportation order and spare him the certain death he believes he will face if he returns to his country. “I wish to claim asylum and I wish to stay here in Scotland,” he said.

    Gay rights activists demanded that homosexuals, such as Yakob, who were facing clear persecution in their homeland, should be granted asylum. But a spokesman for the Syrian Embassy responded by describing homosexuality as a “disease”, which the country sought to “treat.”

    Last week the British Home Office reversed itself and said it would reconsider deporting a gay Iranian teenager—a teenager whose boyfriend, under torture, implicated him before being executed. Mehdi Kazemi had applied for asylum in the UK, been denied, and then fled to Holland, where his application for asylum was also denied—oh Holland, how could you?—and now all that stands between Kazemi and death at the hands of Iranian authorities is a British court.

    Never Thought I’d Feel Sorry for a Pit Bull…

    posted by on March 17 at 9:46 AM

    …and then I saw this:


    Says Slog tipper Rhett…

    A pit bull decided he would battle a porcupine in back of his house. Being both brave and stupid, he ultimately learned the hard way that you can’t always win no matter how vicious you are. A vet sedated the dog and then removed a total of 1,347 quills. The dog survived.

    In other sympathetic pit bull news: pit bull dies in Portland, Oregon, house fire; pit bull run over in Colorado; Florida is considering a ban on pit bulls; 41 malnourished, abused pit bulls may be put to death in Texas; California man pleads guilty to abusing pit bull puppy.

    Thomas on 45th and Roosevelt

    posted by on March 17 at 9:45 AM


    Thomas asked me for the time and then started talking about sailboats and sailing, so I went along:

    Hey son, I’ve been around the world twice! What’s your name?
    I’m Brayden.

    What kind of name is that? [Laughs] Do you take lots of photos?
    Well I think it’s from an 80s baby-name book my mom bought, and yeah I have my camera most the time.

    If you were smart, you would take one of me! [Laughs again]
    It’s actually film, but I could mail you a copy if you would like.

    Oh it’s okay, and yes, I am a sailor. Like I said, I have sailed the world twice and hand built three boats. Let me tell you, there is nothing like taking out a boat you built for the first time.
    Not many people do something like that. That’s pretty crazy.

    Yeah, well they say we will all meet our mermaid someday.

    Paint the White House Black

    posted by on March 17 at 9:28 AM

    A minor premise of our Obama endorsement in February was that it would be powerful for the United States to elect a black President.

    We don’t underestimate the symbolism—to the rest of the world—of electing a black man after eight years of John Wayne diplomacy)

    Indeed, it’d be kind of giant “Fuck You” to al Qaeda, whose shallow (yet potent) rhetoric against the U.S. would totally have egg on its face.

    Well, as we inch closer to really electing a black man, it’s starting to dawn on me that it’s a much bigger (and cooler) deal than we initially imagined. So much so, that it’s also going to be tougher to do than we initially imagined; witness the Rev. Wright smear. Since Obama isn’t exactly scaring whites (Minnesota, Idaho, Iowa, Virginia, Montana), Wright has been subbed in as a “real” black man—a scary black man, to show us what Obama’s “really” about; who he “really” represents.

    Personally, I think it’s fine that Obama has a “Black!” minister who spouts off trite old-school rhetoric. Sheesh. Of course he does. Obama’s from the South Side of Chicago. It makes Obama normal. About time.

    And it also makes the fact that Obama hasn’t emerged as a “race” politician himself, but as a spokesman for unity—all the more unique, interesting, and impressive.

    But, sigh, as long as they keep hauling out 1975, it just might not be.

    Don’t be surprised if Ali is in the White House
    Reverend Ike Turner, Secretary of the Treasure
    Richard Pryor, Minister of Education
    Stevie Wonder, Secretary of FINE arts
    And Miss Aretha Franklin, the First Lady
    A chocolate city is no dream
    God bless Chocolate City and its (gainin’ on ya!) vanilla suburbs
    Can y’all get to that?

    Sordid Affairs

    posted by on March 17 at 9:26 AM

    More news from the very bestest divorce ever

    A former aide to James E. McGreevey said today that he had three-way sexual trysts with the former governor and his wife before he took office, challenging Dina Matos McGreevey’s assertion that she was naive about her husband’s sexual exploits.

    The aide, Theodore Pedersen, said he and the couple even had a nickname for the weekly romps, from 1999 to 2001, that typically began with dinner at T.G.I. Friday’s and ended with a threesome at McGreevey’s condo in Woodbridge.

    They called them “Friday Night Specials,” according to Pedersen.

    I don’t believe that threeways are sordid—goodness knows—but, man, what kind of low-class, cut-rate skeezeballs take their third out to dinner at a T.G.I. Friday’s before the action commences? A third—particularly one that looks like this (he’s in the, er, middle there)—deserves better than T.G.I. Friday’s. What? There aren’t any Tony Roma’s or Chili’s in New Jersey?

    The Morning News

    posted by on March 17 at 7:30 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Bear Stearns fallout: J.P. Morgan purchases the firm on the cheap with the help of $30 billion from the Fed. Markets react by taking a nosedive.

    Clashing in Kosovo: Stepped up Serb demonstrations force UN to pull out of Mitrovica.

    Crackdown in Tibet: Chinese police conduct house-to-house searches in Lhasa, promise harsh action against Tibetans suspected of anti-Chinese violence. YouTube blocked by the Chinese government to prevent users from watching scenes from the Tibetan protests.

    War zone: Atlanta residents told to avoid going into the city

    Mamma Mia: Ola Brukert, ABBA drummer, dies in Mallorca.

    : McCartney forced to pay ex-wife upwards of $50 million.

    Overkill: “Treaty warriors” argue for their right to hunt giant whales.

    Extreme Makeover
    : Mars Hill moves into former home of Tabella in Belltown.

    Lobby liability: City law expected to pass today would have lobbyists report on their interactions with Seattle politicians.

    Gang website:
    Northwest Gangs
    keeps residents updated on “outlaw street life.”

    Sunday, March 16, 2008

    As in Zen

    posted by on March 16 at 3:16 PM

    On this slow Slog day, a moment of Zen.

    When being questioned about the passage of a law which will penalize drivers who endanger cyclists, Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago was questioned about the perhaps-not-so-considerate behavior of various and sundry bike messengers, who are (mostly falsely) used as an argument against any laws making motorists acknowledge that the road is everyone’s. Daley came up with a line that is almost the equal of some of his father’s famous dicta, which include:

    “Together, we will reach new platitudes of success.”

    “I deny the allegations and the allegators.”

    “The police are not there to create disorder, the police are there to preserve disorder.”

    Mayor Richard M. Daley, about cyclists who take chances:

    “You have to be careful if you are reckless.”

    A pure Zen koan, the sound of one politician clapping.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on March 16 at 11:00 AM


    ‘White White Black Stork’ at ACT Theatre

    Thirty-two years ago, Mark Weil founded Ilkhom Theatre in Tashkent, Uzbekistan—one of the first in the USSR to run without state money. Three years ago, ACT artistic director Kurt Beattie went to Tashkent and resolved to bring the company to Seattle. Six months ago, Weil was murdered in front of his home, perhaps for political reasons, but the company came anyway. White White Black Stork, a U.S. premiere, concerns young Sufi Muslims: a boy who loves another boy, but submits to an arranged marriage to a girl, who also has another lover. It is a tragedy. (ACT Theatre, 700 Union St, 292-7676. 7:30 pm, $10–$55.) BRENDAN KILEY


    Currently Hanging

    posted by on March 16 at 10:30 AM

    Chuck Close’s Lorna Simpson (2006), digital pigment print, 35 5/8 by 47 1/8 inches

    At Tacoma Art Museum.

    Reading Today

    posted by on March 16 at 10:00 AM


    Only one reading today, at Elliott Bay Book Company. Marjorie Manwaring, a local poet, reads from her collection of poetry, Magic Word.

    Here is a segment of a prose poem by Manwaring, called “Disappearing.”

    When the magician made me disappear, I felt a lurch in my stomach, a zap in my skull. He hadn’t explained fully— something to do with condensing matter and forcing a square peg into the sphere of fourth dimension. I imploded into a brooding mass, feeling liquid, dispersed, unaware of a center.

    The rest of the poem is here, as well as other poems by Manwaring.

    The entire readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.

    Iowa: Obama +9, Clinton -1

    posted by on March 16 at 10:00 AM

    Remember the Des Moines Register? The final tally from the second round of the Iowa caucuses is in, and Obama delegates will now be the majority at the state convention, electing nine more national delegates than had been estimated at the precinct level. (Clinton lost one, Edwards lost seven—about half of his supporters defected to Obama—and Obama must have picked up some uncommitted support as well.)

    Here in Washington, we caucused after Edwards was out, and so we have only about 1% non-Clinton, non-Obama delegates going on to the LD caucuses. But it’s a good reminder: If you were elected a precinct delegate and you don’t show up for the next round, your candidate could lose delegates.

    The legislative district caucuses take place Saturday, April 5 at 10 am. You can find your legislative district on your voter registration card or the little certificate of election you got from your precinct chair. A bunch of locations are posted here, and more will be forthcoming.

    The Morning News

    posted by on March 16 at 9:00 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Dalai Lama: Calls Chinese action “cultural genocide,” demands inquiry from international community.

    Hijacked funds: At least one-third of the oil from Iraq’s largest refinery is diverted to the black market, used to fund insurgency.

    Kids with guns: Disgreements over use of force persist as Pakistani state television reports 16 killed on Afghani border.

    Spitzer downfall a Wall Street conspiracy?: The Times in the UK seems to think so. Either way, I think the fifth and sixth paragraphs of this article might be the best thing ever written.

    Super-uncertainty: Peeved about the potentiality of a drawn-out nomination battle, superdelegates lean toward Obama.

    Super-passivity: UN envoy tells Iraqi government to take advantage of stability, criticizes lack of progress.

    Crane collapses in Manhattan
    : Accident on the East Side, called “one of the worst the city has had,” kills four.

    Homophobia in Oregon: State lawmakers plan initiative to repeal anti-discrimination law protecting sexual orientation.

    Protest in Tacoma: 150 protesters supporting and opposing Iraq War yell at each other in front of the Tacoma Mall office building.

    Chill out: Mayor Nickels reassures antsy U-district residents that he cares about their safety.