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Archives for 03/30/2008 - 04/05/2008

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Report from Today’s 43rd Legislative District Caucus

posted by on April 5 at 5:10 PM

Lines and speeches and rules and questions (the explanation of next weekend’s KC Convention and the ability to still get planks added to the platform did not jibe with what the platform committee told me yesterday) … and a giant turnout at the 43rd Legislative District caucus I was at all day.

Quote of the day: “There’s a line for the men’s room?”

Obama locked up 53 delegates to Clinton’s 14.

Embarrassment of the Day: While State Sen. Ed Murray (D-43) gave the Obama speech, the Clinton campaign sent Sean Astin (Samwise Gangee from the Lord of the Rings trilogy movies…he was also Mikey Walsh in the Goonies.) He came up from L.A. to represent.

Really? Who the fuck is running the HRC campaign these days? Astin joked about “Obama Country,” told us he could “run through the bullet points” of why Hillary’s the better candidate (but didn’t) and meandered his way through a non sequitur speech that ended by congratulating us on democracy and explaining that he’ll be the biggest Obama fan if Obama gets the nomination.


Astin: Huh?

“That was weird,” several Hillary supporters sitting near me in the packed Lincoln H.S. auditorium in Wallingford said in disbelief and disappointment.

I’ll say. Where was a local HRC supporter like KC Exec Ron Sims? (Or perhaps just one of the 100 enthusiastic 43rd District precinct delegates, like the young UW student who was running to be a Hillary delegate, who said, “We all know why we’re here”? Cuz Hillary’s freaking awesome.”)

When Hillary’s surrogate didn’t show up for 20 minutes or so—another uncomfortable embarrassment for the Clinton supporters— I was thinking it was Ron (he’s been a bit off lately). But then they introduced the Lord of the Rings guy.

I guess no local politician wanted to show up in the 43rd chiming in for Clinton.


I was surprised at the number of young people who were running to be Hillary delegates, although I was bummed about the number of people whose top reason for supporting Hillary (at least in their speeches) seemed to be that they wanted a woman president.

Personal side note: Rivaling the Lord of the Rings for Hillary movement for totally embarrassing was Democratic State House Speaker Frank Choop (D-43) boasting to the hoodwinked crowd about the accomplishments of “the most progressive legislature in the country…that’s leading on global warming.”

This from the guy who tried to upend the climate change bill by weakening the regulatory power of the Dept. of Ecology; who snuffed the homeowners’ consumer rights bill; who promised to bring the payday loan issue back this session after killing it last session, but didn’t; who helped kill a bill to put global warming standards into the Growth Management Act; and who, along with the rest of the “most progressive legislature in the country,” dropped the ball on property tax reform by enacting Tim Eyman’s pseudo fix without real systemic reform.

Don’t have time to provide all the links, but just google “Oly Inaction” or “Chopp Misled” and you’ll get the idea.

Oh, Those 43rd District Democrats

posted by on April 5 at 3:50 PM

I sat through about four hours of today’s legislative district caucus in Seattle’s 43rd District. I wish I could bring you pictures—of the yawns, the shouts, and the American Idol style campaigning for those coveted spots as a state convention delegate—but the Stranger camera that I grabbed turned out to be suffering from some sort of paralysis. Sorry.

However, now that I’m home I can at least bring you an i-sight image of a small flier that was getting wide circulation at the caucus.


Watch out, Ron and Maria. The Obama campaign may be telling its supporters not to do things like this, but it doesn’t look like its supporters are listening.

But let’s begin at the beginning of this event, with the invocation by a well-regarded north end Buddhist; the laughs that drowned out any cheers when the few die-hard Kucinich supporters in attendance were recognized; and Rep. Frank Chopp’s observation (intended as a rallying cry?) that the crowd of well over 1,000 people was about ten times as large as Gov. Christine Gregoire’s margin of victory in 2004.

This legislative district caucus meeting was held at Lincoln High School in Wallingford, and when I showed up the gymnasium was overflowing with precinct delegates who had been elected at their precinct caucuses on Feb. 9—and with what seemed to be an even larger number of wannabe alternate delegates. So much for the idea that all those young, energized, newly-involved Democrats wouldn’t show up for the next step in this process.

After registration was done, the actual, non-alternate delegates listened to speeches delivered from a half-darkened stage in a nearby auditorium. (How many Democrats does it take to turn on a spotlight? Apparently more than the 1,000+ in the auditorium, because the spotlight never came on.)

There was a portion of the program devoted to surrogate speeches, and Obama’s surrogate, Sen. Ed Murray, stood at the rear of the stage (where the lights were actually on) and pronounced: “I have been coming to these meetings since the mid-1980s and I have never seen anything like today.” The numbers were a very good sign, he said.

Hillary Clinton’s surrogate? He was very, very late, causing a lot of grumbling from the crowd, which was overwhelmingly pro-Obama.

While everyone waited for the Clinton surrogate to appear and give his speech, Congressman Jim McDermott showed up and lumbered toward the stage. Before mounting the steps he turned back to take in the crowd and snap a digital picture for himself. In his remarks he too praised the turnout, saying: “It makes me think we’re going to win in November.” But then he added, ominously, that Republicans are determined to play the fear card. “They’re looking for ways to have bomber strikes on Iran,” he said. “They’re looking for some little excuse.” The audience loved every word of it, giving McDermott the lefty hero treatment even though he remained neutral on the issue of the day, the question of who the Democratic nominee should be. “Both of them are good candidates,” he said.

When Clinton’s surrogate finally showed up he was… Sean Astin??? Yes, the man who played Samwise Gangee in Lord of the Rings had flown up to rally the Hillary Clinton troops. Which made very little sense, given that the type of people who show up for legislative district caucuses on a Saturday don’t really need a celebrity (or semi-celebrity) to motivate them to take political action.

Astin’s speech was most memorable for this line: “Should Obama get the nomination I will become a massive Barack Hussein Obama supporter.

Hussein? Eyebrows shot up. Brows furrowed. Heads turned. A friend in the audience texted me: “Hussein!?” I’m not sure what Astin was up to with that line, but someone probably should have told him that Seattle’s 43rd District is the last place in the U.S. where subliminal messaging around Obama’s middle name is likely to move Democrats toward Clinton.

Further proof of this: There was some time to kill as multiple tallies of the delegates and alternates were done, and when the time-killer of taking audience questions had run its course and the idea of teling jokes had been nixed, someone suggested doing the Pledge of Allegiance to pass the time. (Are you listening, right-wing bloggers? This is going to get good.)

At the mere mention of doing the pledge there were groans and boos. Then, when the district chair put the idea of doing the Pledge of Allegiance up to a vote, it was overwhelmingly voted down. One might more accurately say the idea of pledging allegiance to the flag (of which there was only one in the room, by the way, on some delegate’s hat) was shouted down.

There were to be 67 delegates to the state convention apportioned at this legislative district caucus: 14 for Clinton and 53 for Obama. I didn’t stay until the bitter end to find out who among each of the candidates’ precinct delegates was voted on to the next level, but I will tell you that The Stranger’s Annie Wagner seemed to be a strong contender, based on the cheers of recognition she got from the (apparently Slog-reading) Obama crowd as she was giving her 30-second speech.

Legislative District Caucus Comment Party

posted by on April 5 at 2:18 PM

I’m still serving time at the 43rd caucus, but it appears some of you have been set free, so have at it.

A topic to get you started:

Oh. My. God.

Slog Happy Thursday at Moe Bar

posted by on April 5 at 12:17 PM


Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 5 at 11:00 AM


‘Zidane: A 21st-Century Portrait’ at Northwest Film Forum

You’ve already seen his career-ending head butt from the 2006 World Cup. But you haven’t seen French soccer deity Zinedine Zidane as captured during a single (pre–head butt) game by 17 high-resolution cameras. They ignore the other players and only track Zidane, revealing his monomaniacal aggression, stalking style of play, and occasional adventures in groundskeeping. This movie is beautiful, terrifying, and only tangentially about soccer. It is a vision of man at his most ferocious, hunting his prey without pity. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 329-2629. 7:15 and 9:15 pm, $5–$8.50. Fri–Sun April 4–6.)



Burlesque in the Round at ACT Theatre

Last year, the burlesque contingent of the Moisture Festival (the annual varietè revel) busted out of Fremont and sold out houses in ACT’s more intimate theater. Last year’s stars—the Aerialistas, Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey, Chica Boom—are back, joined by a dozen more of this town’s best showgirls and boys. The unpredictable mix is what every burlesque cabaret should aspire to: ribald humor, whimsical striptease, sexy surrealism, and clever physical theater delivered in delicious little bites. (ACT Theater, 700 Union St, 7:30 and 10:30 pm, $22, 18+. Through Sun April 6.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Currently Hanging

    posted by on April 5 at 10:30 AM

    A detail from Robert Campbell’s installation Yellow (2008), video, plaster, glass, projection

    At 911 Media Arts Center. (Here for more info.)

    The Bush Presidency, Defined

    posted by on April 5 at 9:20 AM


    Peevish, adj.

    1. Perverse, refractory; headstrong, obstinate; capricious, skittish; (also) coy. Obs.

    2. a. Silly, senseless, foolish. Obs.

    b. Beside oneself; out of one’s senses; mad. Obs.

    3. Spiteful, malignant, mischievous, harmful. Obs.

    4. Hateful, distasteful, horrid. Obs.
    Used to express a feeling of dislike, hostility, or contempt on the part of the speaker, not necessarily inspired by any quality of the object referred to.

    5. Irritable, querulous; childishly fretful; characterized by or exhibiting petty bad temper.

    (from the OED)

    The Morning News

    posted by on April 5 at 9:00 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Locked out: Zimbabwe opposition claims they won the election, desperate Mugabe regime blocks them from filing lawsuit. Sweet timeline included.

    Walked out: Dozens of girls removed from West Texas compound of polygamist Warren Jeffs.

    Worried: Putin discusses missile defense system with President Bush.

    Concerned: Democrats talk about proposing stimulus package after news of 80,000 March job cuts.

    Rolling in it: Breakdown of Clintons’ $109.2 million income.

    May soon be rolling in it: Couple wants $25,000 for “mental suffering” inflicted by Google Street View.

    Today in Iraq: Unease over Blackwater contract; U.S. military tests its authority over civilians in stabbing case; Christians targeted.

    Bad news all around: Home sales in King County fall as prices remain stubbornly high.

    Today in fashion: “I was raped” t-shirts.

    Cross purposes: Nursing assistant arrested in murder.

    Too cute: Baby gorilla!

    Reading Today

    posted by on April 5 at 8:25 AM


    An open mic, three authors reading work that celebrates the body alongside portions of a documentary titled Got Breast? and then some actually interesting-looking readings going on today.

    Grant Baille is reading at Elliott Bay Book Company at 2 pm. He’s reading from his second novel, Mortarville, which is about a test tube baby found in the wreckage of a mad scientist’s lab. When the government realizes that he’s just a normal human being born in a jar, they send him off to the Secret Government Home for the Products of Mad Science. Eventually, he gets a job as a mall security guard.

    At the University Presbyterian Church, C. Michael Mellor will be reading from his biography of Louis Braille, the famous inventor of…wait for it…braille. I think that braille is crazy interesting—what does such a different reading experience have do to one’s comprehension?—and there should be a good Q&A afterward.

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

    Also, if you haven’t already, you should check out the nifty, brand-new books page, which has a ton more reviews and a mini-blog revue of the last week’s books-themed Slog posts, over here.

    Friday, April 4, 2008

    Pre-Fab Opposition

    posted by on April 4 at 5:48 PM

    Once again, I’d like to riff off the story ECB wrote this week on a possible anti-light rail initiative.

    The Tacoma News Tribune has a story about the waning momentum for a 2008 light rail ballot measure.

    Part of the skepticism is that the big-money opposition is lined up against it (ha! I think that’s a reason to run an initiative: make conservatives waste money in 2008 fighting the progressive tide).

    However, in the TNT story, Pierce County Exec John Ladenberg, a kinda-supporter of going to the ballot in ‘08, has a funny observation about the opposition:

    He noted that the people who helped kill Roads and Transit are already gunning for the next one. One group sent out a press release Wednesday that said the new proposal was too expensive.

    “I just laughed,” Ladenburg said.

    “We don’t even know if we’re going to the ballot and we don’t know what our plan is. They already know what the plan is and they know it costs too much.

    “Maybe we should ask them what the plan is.”

    This Week on Drugs

    posted by on April 4 at 5:35 PM

    Holy Fucking Shit: Aerial drones to hunt pot growers.

    The federal government plans to escalate its eradication of marijuana plantations in the backwoods of national forests this year, beginning in California with the deployment of larger strike teams and the controversial launching of miniature, remote-controlled spy planes to outfox growers, a top Bush administration official said Thursday.

    The SkySeer runs quietly and its tiny video camera can resolve whether a person is armed with a handgun from 250 feet in the air – high enough for the 4-foot-long craft to become invisible from the ground, according to its inventor, Sam De La Torres.


    Detained: Red tape keeps prisoners with reduced sentences in jail.

    Distracted: Cops too busy busting drugs to stop gangs.

    Rejected: California kills bill to drug test welfare recipients.

    Arrested: Mom allegedly gives meth to her kid.

    Fair and Balanced: Are retroactive crack sentences a “gamble with our safety?

    Fairview Fanny: On drugs.

    Rick Steves: Remains awesome.

    Bobby Brown: Blames Whitney.

    Los Angeles: Supports medical pot dispensaries.

    Viet Nam: Considers shorter terms.

    The Official Word: Drugs killed Tasered man.

    Wacky Tobacky: Tom Cruise may sue over namesake weed.

    Tomorrow’s Legislative District Caucus

    posted by on April 4 at 5:13 PM

    A couple of us here at Slog have been trying to figure out how to get a plank onto the Washington State Democrats’ 2008 platform.

    Our idea was a plank that would make the caucus process more accessible next time around. I was actually angling for maximum reform, and calling for a changeover to a regular primary. But with the the top-two primary complicating that into oblivion, there’s always the idea of adding a mail-in component to the caucus process.

    Having been told (incorrectly it turns out) at our respective precincts that the precinct caucus was not the place to float platform ideas, we were shocked to learn that the platform is already queued up for a vote, and it’s too late to suggest new planks … sorta.

    Here’s the deal:

    You were supposed to bring platform ideas to your precinct caucus on Feb. 9. At that level—where the real priority was choosing delegates—some precincts voted, and some didn’t, and some figured out their own method of forwarding plank proposals to the legislative district. (At my precinct, we didn’t talk about planks, and in fact, were told that business would be handled at the County Convention.)

    All the ideas that came from the precinct level, were recently reviewed by legislative district committees. “We got a shopping cart full of envelopes,” reports a member of the 43rd District’s platform committee.

    Her committee, like every platform committee at the legislative district level, forwarded the ideas—which they winnowed down by reviewing them all, finding common themes, consolidating, voting down, voting up—to the County level. And that’s how the current platform, with about 10 “do pass” new planks (which will be online in the next week) came to be.

    The only change you can make now at the county level—that’s the next delegate meeting (April 13 at West Seattle HS for King County) after this weekend’s legislative district meeting where delegates will be winnowed down—is suggesting an amendment to existing language and proposals. You’ll need 25 hands up to support you. And I’m told there probably isn’t going to be time for amendments anyway.

    As for offering up a full-on plank: You can try to do it at this weekend’s Legislative District meeting, but that’ll go LD by LD, and really, the business this weekend is to elect Obama and Clinton delegates from among the delegates who were chosen back on February 9 to go forward to the county. So good luck if you want to offer up a plank tomorrow (10am!) at your LD caucus.

    Locations: Here.

    11th Aerospace Machinists Industrial District Lodge 751 IAM&AW
    9125 15th Place South – Seattle 98108
    Chair: Susan Kruller,

    34th West Seattle High School Gym
    3000 California Avenue SW – Seattle 98116
    Chair: Ivan Weiss,

    36th Ballard High School
    1418 NW 65th Street – Seattle 98117
    Chair: Peter House,

    37th Cleveland High School
    5511 15th Avenue – Seattle 98108
    Chair: Rob Holland,

    43rd Lincoln High School (Garfield currently using facility)
    4400 Interlake Avenue N – Seattle 98103
    Chair: Hillary Madsen,

    46th Ingraham High School
    1819 North 135th Street, Seattle, WA 98133
    Chair: Javier Valdez,

    Changes at PNB

    posted by on April 4 at 4:45 PM

    Noelani Pantastico, the Hawaiian-born PNB principal with perhaps the best name in the entire company (Lucien Postlewaite being the other contender), is leaving for Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo in June. Pantastico was pretty great in Roméo et Juliette this winter (my Slog review is here); you can see her as Hermia in Balanchine’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (to Felix Mendelssohn’s famous score) next Friday and Saturday.


    Here’s the complete listing.

    Notes From the Prayer Warrior

    posted by on April 4 at 4:40 PM


    Friday, 04 April 2008

    Please continue to pray for me as we deal with the Day of Silence scheduled for April 25 and for CoDE (Coalition to Defend Education) which is the parent group that is working on making sure the right policies are followed concerning the Day of Silence.

    Pastor Hutch

    In Conclusion, Absolut is Absolut-ly Delicious! (UPDATED With Right-wing E-mail Seizures)

    posted by on April 4 at 4:26 PM


    I think this Mexi-friendly Absolut ad is just a clever way to get all the political blogs to paste up an Absolut ad for the whole weekend.

    Mission accomplished!

    Of course, I have no qualms with advertising for Absolut, as long as they send me a case or two of their sweet, sweet Mexican vodka.


    It appears that Absolut Vodka is the new France, and Ketel One is the new Freedom Fries. The right-wing blogs, especially this lady, are up in arms.

    Here is the furious right-wing Interweb machine in action. Samples:

    I run a bar in Pt. Richmond, California - where the Kaiser Liberty Ships were built during WWII. After seeing your ad Campaign where you show a western map of the United States in which California is part of Mexico again, I’ve decided to do the following…

    1) Never carry Absolut. Ever.
    2) Lower the price of Ketel One vodka to $2 a shot indefinitely to build loyalty.
    3) Print a copy of your ad and put it above the Ketel One drink special.
    4) Tell all my friends and family what Absolut thinks of the United States of America and our right to enforce border laws.

    I am on the front line of illegal immigration and its effects. Where are you? Oh yes, Sweden.
    Good riddance.


    Matthew Rogers
    Pt. Richmond, Ca.


    I make the best Bloody Mary you will every drink, and from here on refuse to use Absolut.

    This is a despicable ad.

    and, from I-just-got-a-thesaurusville:

    Your company’s illustration of Mexico occupying a large part of the western United States is reprehensible for myriad reasons. Not only is it an anachronistic and ersatz view of geography, it also unnecessarily inflames American/Mexican tensions. I understand that marketing is to be provocative, but when it can be used as propaganda for certain people/nations it has crossed the line into the political realm and is, therefore, inappropriate.

    It is my hope that this sophomoricand insulting ad is suspended immediately.

    Most sincerely,
    Paul D. Hergert

    Sound Transit ‘08 Looking Less Likely

    posted by on April 4 at 3:46 PM

    According to Seattle City Council president and Sound Transit board member Richard Conlin, who says Snohomish and Pierce County board members are still not satisfied with any version of the proposal, making it less likely that Sound Transit will put anything on the ballot in 2008. As I reported this week, agency staff are now looking at a larger range of sales taxes than originally proposed (between 0.4 and 0.5 percent, instead of 0.3 to 0.4 percent), to extend light rail further south and create a fund for light rail to Lynnwood in the third phase of construction.

    But, Conlin says, that may not be enough. “Up until last few days, I thought it was quite likely. But enough questions have been raised [by board members from Pierce and Snohomish Counties] that I’m starting to have my doubts.” Some board members have said they won’t consider a tax increase higher than 0.4 percent, a priority that conflicts with other board members’ desire to get more projects in their counties. Even if some of those reluctant board members can be brought along, Conlin says a divided vote will look bad going into a tough campaign. “If we wind up going ahead without a really strong vote on the board,—if it’s, like, 12 to 6 on the board—I don’t think that’s a good position to be in going into a vote.”

    The Legs Were Messing With the Composition

    posted by on April 4 at 3:39 PM

    It’s been around for a while, but lately I’m really in love with Photoshop Disasters, a blog that points out grievous examples of tampering with photographs in ads and magazines. One of yesterday’s disasters is especially nice:


    Savage Love

    posted by on April 4 at 3:37 PM

    I’m sure you’ve noticed Dan’s absence from Slog this week. Next week’s Savage Love column, posted early here, explains why. He’ll be back soon.

    Get Crashed

    posted by on April 4 at 3:26 PM


    Last week’s Spring Break party in the Central District was great: a fridge full of jello shots, a fairly creepy Rip Torn clone who offered to make my friend Jason rancho burritos if he’d stay the night, strawberry blunts, and the line “American women are afraid of their tits,” followed by the flashing of tits. Who wants to get crashed this weekend? I can’t show up if you don’t tell me where to go:

    Don’t Make Me Ride a Bike to Work! Anything But That!

    posted by on April 4 at 3:12 PM

    In this State Farm commercial (via Grist), a well-heeled professional is forced by high gas prices to—the humiliation!—ride his bike to work. In BIKE SHORTS. Oh, the humanity!

    Fortunately, State Farm’s low, low prices can “get you back behind the wheel.” Thank GOD State Farm is there.

    Ellen Forney on Fighter Jets

    posted by on April 4 at 2:55 PM

    Artist and local treasure Ellen Forney attended last night’s design meeting on the Capitol Hill light-rail station, where artist Mike Ross has proposed a sculpture of chopped up fighter planes. Forney is also creating artwork for the station, in the tunnel through the west entrance, and in the comments of my post below, she thoughtfully weighed in with her perspective and insights. Here’s what she wrote.

    Lots of people are upset about Mike Ross’s deconstructed fighter planes, which makes sense: Capitol Hill = liberals and pacifists, history of peace marches, etc., and how do military planes fit in here? I frankly haven’t figured out my opinion of his proposal either, which means his piece is thought-provoking, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I went out for beers with him (and his girlfriend and a pack of Sound Transit people) after the meeting and we talked about the project, and what he was thinking in putting that sculpture together.

    FYI, there’s some precedent for deconstructed war machinery in Seattle - Magnuson Park has those half-buried nuclear submarines that are arranged to suggest orcas (though yeah, in a different neighborhood).

    His intention in breaking the planes into pieces, arranging them into a curvy shape, and painting them pink was described as “emasculating” and “transformative,” both by him and by David Hewitt, Sound Transit’s (also awesome) station architect. Mike hopes to suggest the fragility in strength, also an interesting concept. I asked him later about the color choice and he said it’s not new - he got the idea from a friend who paints military equipment in pink bubbles, and a group in London who painted a tank pink.

    Mike explained his thought process more eloquently over beers, I think. For his presentation at SCCC, he started with the organic and more touchy-feely aspects of the design (clouds, birds, brushstrokes) and so the finale - “They’ll be fighter planes!” – was kind of a shock. It probably would’ve gone over better (for me, at least) if he’d started out the other way around: “They’re fighter planes! Think Boeing and the Blue Angels. But I’m dismembering them and changing their form and meaning.”

    I think he did a great job with the limitations of the space – it’s so full of crossbeams and metal mesh that it’d be pretty impossible to see the whole sculpture regardless of what he came up with. That it is intended to be seen in pieces was an interesting solution (one that hopefully will work in real life).

    I haven’t come to a conclusion about what I think about his proposal, and I told him that and he was cool about it. I could go on about all we discussed (why there are two jets facing each other: aggression and non-aggression both entail more than one entity; how doing public art is a difficult task; about the documentary he saw recently about Eisenhower coining the term “military-industrial complex” in a speech in 1961, and how horrifying it is that that’s what our country has become; how awesome Capitol Hill is) but it’d take way more space than this lo-o-ong comment.

    So: fighter planes… dunno… but at the very least, he came up with something that’s not “safe” and totally public art-y, and it’s worth thinking about beyond a knee-jerk reaction. Plus he seems like a good guy, for the record.

    Also, thanks for the correction, Ellen: Ross is from Brooklyn, not San Francisco, as I mistakenly wrote in my post.

    I’m Picking Up Bad Vibrations

    posted by on April 4 at 2:46 PM

    This is kind of surreal:


    The press release, via Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic Monthly:

    I hope this note finds you well. You may have already received the attached invitation from L.E. and Ginny Simmons, but I personally wanted to invite you to a reunion with Mitt Romney and the Romney for President National Leadership Team featuring the Beach Boys on Friday, May 9th in Houston, Texas.

    The Governor is looking forward to seeing many of you again at the reunion and we hope that you can join us for this very special event.

    In addition to the reunion, Governor Romney will be hosting a breakfast to kickoff his fundraising efforts for Senator John McCain on Saturday, May 10th. The breakfast will begin at 9:00am and I’ll forward the details as soon as they are finalized.

    For those wondering, the Beach Boys now consist of 67-year-old Mike Love and a group of backup singers. If you’re in Houston on May 9th, this is probably the most productive thing you could be doing.

    Larry King Interrupts Child’s Baseball Game, Livens Up Friday SLOG

    posted by on April 4 at 2:35 PM

    This is one of the stories that only seems to get better with each paragraph: via the New York Observer, suspender-clad septuagenarian and CNN icon Larry King decides to intervene in the baseball game of his 9-year-old son, with less than successful results:

    According to this source, Mr. King was told by the umpire in question to “regroup” and calm himself, and he did not respond well to this. Rather, the informant said, he continued arguing and was then relegated to the bleachers, where he continued to make noise, and was finally forced to watch the game from the outfield’s periphery.

    On the scene witnesses dispute the severity of the charges, laud King for “spiciness!”:

    “He absolutely did question an ump’s call,” said this spy. “He was asked to cool it.” But there was no profanity used, nor was subsequent disciplinary action brought against the celebrity dad. “He’s one of the valued volunteer coaches; I’m pretty sure that he’s coaching today,” Mr. King’s champion said. “I like his Bronx spiciness!”

    But wait, there’s more!

    Chance is the son of Mr. King, 74, and his sixth wife, actress Shawn Southwick, 49. They were married on September 5, 1997, in a Jewish–Mormon interfaith ceremony.

    Happy Friday.


    posted by on April 4 at 2:16 PM


    Is the semicolon at an end? I generally try to avoid them, but mainly because I was at an impressionable age when I read Kurt Vonnegut’s take on the semicolon:

    If you really want to hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be a homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts. But do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites, standing for absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.

    I think that semicolons do have a use, but I don’t know if I can express exactly what that use is; maybe like a connected thought that veers off at ninety degrees? I don’t know if I’d miss them if they suddenly went extinct, though.

    $109 Million

    posted by on April 4 at 1:58 PM

    That’s how much Bill and Hillary Clinton have earned since 2000, according to just-released tax records.

    Also: Here’s a story from March on Obama’s tax returns—and his challenge to Hillary to release hers. No word on McCain’s yet.

    Austria Is Not Australia

    posted by on April 4 at 1:54 PM

    As you’re probably already aware, Austria is not Australia. One: waltzes, the start of WWI, Freud, sausages. The other: criminals, the Great Barrier Reef, kangaroos, shrimp/barbies. Which place would you go to find an especially delicious breed of pig?


    The new-to-us, super-extra-tasty pork known as Mangalitsa, or Wooly pig, comes from Austria, not Australia as I originally said in this week’s chow lead (my error lives on in print, though the online version has been corrected; the story is actually mostly about puppets). The gents who imported the Wooly pigs (with much difficulty, including lengthy quarantines on each side) are raising them out by Spokane.

    Our goal is to raise pigs that taste as good as those of the Austrians, the people who sold us the pigs and taught us about pig fattening. We are raising the Mangalitsa as they do, and working with them to maximize our meat quality.

    The pigs are raised in a humane manner.

    The climate out there in the Palouse isn’t so dissimilar to Austria’s, either, so that works well. (It is dissimilar to the climate in, say, Australia.) I knew that the Woolies came from Austria, but then I forgot. I talked separately with two different very smart, very food-oriented types about the pigs, saying, “Was it Austria or Australia?” which made them both laugh, then they BOTH said Australia. (Ha ha ha! It doesn’t even make sense!) Still, it’s completely my fault, and I am mortified.

    Re: Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

    posted by on April 4 at 1:23 PM

    Sorry, Ari, I gotta disagree here.

    The cops aren’t just showing up at Capitol Hill nightclubs for fun. We’ve asked SPD to make their presence known on the hill, and they’re responding to that.

    Sure, the large number of gay-bashings and random murders in the last year or so aren’t necessarily associated with nightclubs, but there has also been plenty of club related violence.

    In fact, the first two stories I wrote for The Stranger were about nightclub-related violence on Capitol Hill.

    Since then, there have been a number of shootings in or around nightclubs. That’s not to say the clubs were necessarily at fault, but having cops around might deter jackasses with guns from spraying up a dance floor. And not to be a total alarmist, but there’s also this to consider.

    Club owners have every right to complain if a heavy police presence is hurting their business. However, the cops are trying to be pro-active rather than reactive. The decibel meter thing is total bullshit, but since you and I both know that there are clubs up here that don’t have the greatest security and/or are regularly over-crowded, cops have good reason to keep checking up on these places. I’d rather our police force do something pro-active, rather than wait around for someone else to get shot.

    Benefit Bonanza

    posted by on April 4 at 12:46 PM

    Theaters are all poor and starving and stuff—little chimney sweeps and matchbox girls, wandering the landscape, begging for pennies—and this weekend, a bunch are throwing benefit parties.

    There’s Toast and Jam for Mirror Stage Company (a raffle and jazz) and Food as Art for the Central District Forum for Arts and Idea ($100 tickets to sample tasting stations by chefs from Campagne, Tavolata, and others).

    But I would like to draw your attention to two in particular.

    Saturday: Mad WET Tea Party, for Washington Ensemble Theatre. WET’s going through changes—for one, a logo redesign because of this dumb legal threat from a company in New York. (The column I’ve linked to ran in October, though not much has changed—the wheels of injustice turn slowly.) For two, the departure of Marya Sea Kaminksi, which I frame as dispiriting news in this column. But I shouldn’t be such a grump. The company has several younger members (Michael Place, Elise Hunt) who, I have every hope, will pick up the banner and run. Run like crazy.

    Also, a few weeks ago, someone stole WET’s cash box during a production of Mr. Marmalade, setting the company back a few hundred bucks. So go. Enjoy. Give them money. Consider it a civic investment in one of the city’s best companies.

    Friday: Song–Dance–Other, for On the Boards. Allegedly, there will be three karaoke machines, with artists and others going bonkers to their favorite songs, in ways no karaoke bar would allow. (The OtB crew is infamous at Ozzie’s, across the street from the theater, for reckless post-show karaoke parties with touring artists doing loud, bizarre, and sometimes obnoxious versions of their favorite karaoke songs. Apparently the bouncers sometimes get a little agitated.)

    There will be beer. And Vietnamese sandwiches. They will be cheap!


    Undercover Operative: Washington State’s Commissioner of Public Lands

    posted by on April 4 at 12:43 PM

    A public records request by Preserve our Islands, the community group that’s been fighting Glacier Northwest’s strip-mining on Maury Island, reveals that the Republican State Commissioner of Public Lands is doing opposition research for the mining industry.

    Email correspondence between land commissioner Doug Sutherland and Bruce Chattin, the executive director of Washington Aggregate & Concrete Association—the group that lobbies on behalf of mining companies like Glacier—shows that a week after Chattin hung out with Sutherland at a Glacier NW fundraiser for Sutherland that raised $18,000, Chattin sent a detailed outline of the Concrete Association’s agenda that he wanted Sutherland’s department to put into play.

    Of interest to me, however, is Sutherland’s brief response. He doesn’t pledge to enact Chattin’s agenda, but he does say this: “I understand there is some talk about legislative action regarding Maury Island. you may want to run your ground wires.”

    What we have here is the Commissioner of Public Lands doing a bit of intel for the business lobby—tipping them off to legislation they’re going to have to gear up for and fight against.

    Indeed, legislation to halt strip-mining on Maury was proposed (and killed) last session.

    The interesting question to me is this: Who tipped Sutherland off to legislation that was brewing in the House Democratic caucus? I mean, it couldn’t have been a Democrat, could it? And certainly, it couldn’t have been Democratic House leadership.

    Here’s my suggestion to Preserve Our Islands for their next public records request. Never mind emails between Sutherland and the Concrete Association. How about checking emails between Sutherland and House Speaker Rep. Frank Chopp?

    This Weekend at the Movies

    posted by on April 4 at 12:34 PM


    Professional print film critics are dinosaurs, explains the New York Times. David Poland’s analysis goes a little further.

    On the other hand, the wisdom of the internets is sometimes admirable. Check out IMDB’s keywords for the intelligent design agitdoc Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (described by its boosters at the Discovery Institute as “Ben Stein’s expose of Darwinist thought control in our institutions of higher learning”):


    Quite true. Expelled opens April 18th, but so far has no Seattle theaters booked. You might have to go to Bellevue.

    Meanwhile, Errol Morris has been doing some interesting advance publicity for his Abu Ghraib documentary, Standard Operating Procedure, out in Seattle on May 16. His movie distinguishes itself from previous films like The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib by giving us a much clearer view of the participants’ personalities, including the laconic Lynndie England (with her colorful Appalachian vocabulary), the charismatic but weak-willed Sabrina Harmon (who was in a committed, long-distance lesbian relationship during her time at Abu Ghraib), and the smart but totally unreadable Megan Ambuhl (who married ringleader Charles Graner after he impregnated England). Recommended: this scary New Yorker article, cowritten by Morris, featuring Sabrina Harmon’s letters home to her girlfriend; Morris’s NYT defensive blog post about his use of reenactments in documentaries (including the great The Thin Blue Line).

    Opening today:

    On Screen this week kicks off with Charles Mudede’s preview of the Seattle Jewish Film Festival, which opened last night—notable upcoming films include Sweet Mud, Orthodox Stance, and the Seattle premiere of Beaufort. I’m also curious about Arranged , written by an Orthodox woman from Brooklyn who was inspired to try her hand at a screenplay after seeing Ushpizin, and Children of the Sun, a doc about the first generation of kids raised in kibbutzim. Apparently, they were potty-trained in unison:

    Children of the Sun

    On Screen continues with the soccer doc/art film Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (Jen Graves: “Zidane comes across as a creature on the prowl. He has a loping gait, characterized by mindless toe tapping. He spits like he’s hissing, and he sweats profusely. When he breaks into a run, the camera struggles to follow his unpredictable motion. His stony expression changes only once the entire 95-minute film”); the Lebanese beauty salon-set film Caramel (Charles Mudede: “The women want to have sex without fear, sex in the open, sex with other women, but the society blocks the fulfillment of their hunger. And the blockage is all the crueler because the women dress to kill”)…


    …plus Martin Scorsese’s Stones concert film Shine a Light (Andrew Wright: “Save for a few frantic preshow moments, Scorsese tones down his onscreen persona familiar from previous docs, concentrating instead on putting the camera at absolutely the right place at any given moment. As for the band themselves, they’re tighter than even a truckload of Botox could account for”); the immigration heartstring-yanker Under the Same Moon (Paul Constant: “This manipulative mess, which markets itself as having ‘an ending so touching, it could make Lou Dobbs cry,’ is a blunted dart aimed at hearts that already bleed”); the casino mockumentary The Grand (Brendan Kiley: “Imagine Werner Herzog, stroking a bunny, staring into the camera, saying in his flat Herzogian accent: ‘Most people drink coffee, but I sink of sis as se beverage of se cowards,’ and explaining how, as a pick-me-up, he kills a small animal each day with his bare hands”), and The Singing Revolution, a documentary about Eastern Europeans who warble their way to freedom (me: “‘Can culture hold a people together?’ the voiceover (Linda Hunt) asks breathlessly, as if anything but culture could define ‘a people.’”).

    In Limited Runs this week, also accessible through our fancy, newly formatted Movie Times page: Boarding Gate has been extended through Tuesday at Northwest Film Forum, which is also playing the previously mentioned Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait through Sunday and the magical Build a Ship, Sail to Sadness starting Monday. The Varsity has a fascinating (if occasionally pretentious) enviro documentary about land use and community activism in 1990s Austin, TX: It’s called The Unforeseen, and it should do smashing business in Seattle. Grand Illusion has a pair of better-than you’d expect movies: the graffiti doc Bomb It and the security-camera POV film Look (with director Adam Rifkin in attendance both shows). And SIFF Cinema has a multipart miniseries that sounds horrific (it’s about a globetrotting filmmaker with a palatial Manhattan loft and a pair of annoying-sounding “lovers”), but is actually bizarrely absorbing: Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman (Part 1 and Part 2, director in attendance some shows). Plus Donnie Darko, Cave of the Yellow Dog, Cabaret, Brats: Our Journey Home, and more.

    And last but never least, Lindy West takes on Tyler Perry’s newest, Meet the Browns, in Concessions.

    Hot Air Hillary

    posted by on April 4 at 12:24 PM


    Hillary Clinton’s statement on the situation in Zimbabwe:

    The coming days will determine whether Zimbabwe moves toward a bright future, or sees its hopes turned back through violent repression. It is an anxious, uncertain moment, yet also potentially a historic opportunity for this long-suffering country. The very real, disturbing possibility exists of a coerced, fake electoral re-run and, alternatively, of martial law. Strong international pressure is needed now to reduce the possibility of these outcomes.

    How about military action against a cruel dictator? She has authorized the use of force against another dictator, why not this one?

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on April 4 at 12:03 PM

    I don’t know which I’ve always dreamed of doing more - peeing on a cat, or just plain peeing whilst standing up. Now I can do both! Thanks Super Pii Pii Brothers

    From YouTube thinkgeek and hat tip to The Pubs.

    The Worst Book Awards Ever

    posted by on April 4 at 11:54 AM

    I thought the Quills were the worst book awards ever, but I have been suitably chastened. Ladies and gentlemen, the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers will present the second annual Scribe Awards this summer. These awards will go to the best novelization of a movie, tv show or video game of the past year. Shouldn’t these be called the “Hackies?” Here’s an abridged list of nominees:

    Best General Fiction Original

    * CSI NY: Deluge by Stuart M. Kaminsky
    * Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants by Lee Goldberg
    * Murder She Wrote: Panning for Murder by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain
    * Criminal Minds: Jump Cut by Max Allan Collins

    Best Speculative Original

    * Last Days of Krypton by Kevin J. Anderson
    * Stargate Atlantis Casualties of War by Elizabeth Christiansen
    * Star Trek: Q&A by Keith R.A. DeCandido

    Best Game-Related Original (Special Scribe Award)

    * Hitman by William Dietz
    * Forge of the Mindslayers by Tim Waggoner
    * Night of the Long Shadows by Paul Crilley

    Best Speculative Adapted

    * Resident Evil: Extinction by Keith R.A. DeCandido
    * 52: The Novel by Greg Cox
    * 30 Days of Night by Tim Lebbon

    The association’s Grandmaster Award, which honors “a writer for his extensive and exceptional work in the tie-in field,” goes to Alan Dean Foster, author of novelizations for Star Wars, the animated Star Trek series, Alien, Black Hole, Starman, Outland, Pale Rider and Alien Nation.

    The Scribe Awards will be given at the Comic Con show in San Diego, Calif., in July, and the special gaming scribes will be awarded at Gen Con Indy in August.

    I really hope Jessica Fletcher finally wins her award. She’s been through so much, the poor dear.

    (Thanks to Slog tipper Steve.)

    Time for Irwin, Part III

    posted by on April 4 at 11:34 AM

    Back in the day, a handful of California artists were accused, often not so subtly by New Yorkers (a la Woody Allen’s depiction of skin-deep LA in “Annie Hall”), of being too finicky about their works. They had to be installed exactly the right way, exactly according to specifications, right down to the smallest details. They were accused of being “finish fetishists.”

    Robert Irwin was a major target for the criticism (which later became more of a benign descriptive term, “finish fetish”), and he was, in fact, extremely particular about the way his works were installed and the purity of their surfaces according to his intentions. But those critics largely missed the point that, for Irwin, the places where the art met the world were not surfaces, they were thresholds, and if they were misapplied, all was lost.

    I’ve written here and here about the social aspect of Irwin’s project, his determination to alter the visual weight of things in order to change the importance they’re assigned in the world. For instance, his discs are artworks whose edges seem to disappear into the room, sending the eye seamlessly from artwork to environment and back again.

    After the discs, Irwin made clear, thin columns. They were designed to do the same thing, but even more extremely. Irwin wanted the column to act as a centering device, something that centered a room, something that attention bounced off of to reflect the rest of the room.

    Instead, they were often presented like jewels, with ropes around them, and treated as centers of attention. (There’s still one shown this way in a Southern California mall, I believe.) Because of this, Irwin considered them failures.


    But in Irwin’s show at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (half of which is closed, half of which remains open through April 13), he forbade ropes—or any other marking devices around the column. And his column succeeded: It was knocked over and broken. Meaning: It disappeared enough for somebody to miss seeing it entirely and to walk right into it.

    When I was at the show in February, the room where the column had been was empty. It was a tribute.

    Coming up: The blatant but largely unobserved flaw in the show’s centerpiece, why the bad lighting on one of Irwin’s paintings is perfect, and what’s up with Irwin in Seattle right now.

    Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should

    posted by on April 4 at 11:34 AM

    The cops weren’t being very helpful when I called them for my story on nightlife-related noise this week. When I originally contacted their press office to ask for their police report about the noise complaint on Chop Suey on March 27th, the woman who answered the phone laughed at me. And she never called back with the report.

    So I enlisted Jonah to help me squeeze some info out of them about the recent reported uptick in cop visits to clubs on the Pike Street strip. All they sent back was this email, from Captain Paul McDonagh, which didn’t really explain anything.

    [Sic throughout]

    The issue of a vibrant nightlife is greater than just “noise’. Recently issues on Capital Hill have been crimes of violence and biased crimes. Although recent information indicates both are down, due to the activity I tasked East Precinct officers with pro-active police enforcement surrounding nightlife, and crimes of violence, on Capital Hill. Yes, noise complaints are part of that, but so are preventing assaults & thefts to parking complaints and pedestrian safety.

    You asked why officers are “regularly” seen in establishments serving liquor. The fact is SPD should be in the establishments checking with owners and looking for issues or violations. I expect my officers to be doing exactly that, at my request. Most establishments that serve liquor have incidents requiring police response and often police action. People celebrate where they feel safe. As neighbors within a small and diverse community our experience within SPD is most establishments work with the police to ensure a safe and therefore long-term profitable business. Capital Hill worked very hard over the years to ensure that everyone is safe when living or visiting the nightlife on Capital Hill. Recent events are not the norm for Capital Hill and should not be allowed to define the community. SPD is taking steps to prevent such action in the future.

    So Yes, officers can and will continue to check-in on liquor establishments on the hill. Smaller entertainment venues claim SPD only checks them, while larger venues claim we monitor only them and not the smaller venues. I can assure you SPD visits all types of venues, each work shift. These visits include checking for over occupancy, over service or under age service and may include noise level reading. SPD will continue to work with the Washington State Liquor Control Board to ensure liquor code compliance for all establishments.

    He spends the rest of the letter explaining how he already told everyone at “Moe’s” all of this months ago, at a meeting that I should have attended because it was very popular (75 attendees!). Sorry—that doesn’t eradicate my right to ask you questions without being treated like a child. What if I was a bar employee who was working that night? Do I no longer have the right to ask you what you’re up to in my place of employment?

    He has some points—yes, incidents of violence happened and are unusual and upsetting for Capitol Hill, especially hate crime stuff; yes, a pro-active police force is necessary to prevent crime.

    However, there are several things wrong with SPD’s response. First, let’s think hard about the newsworthy recent crimes on Capitol Hill, and their causes. The shooting at Sugar, which resulted in that out-of-place nightclub closing its doors (and therefore, no longer attracting that out-of-place crowd). The stabbing of Shannon Harps, which was committed by a man who had been failed by the social services he needed to help control his mental illness. The face-punching and subsequent coma of Joseph Skillings, probably committed by someone in the same situation as Harps’ murderer. What do these crimes have to do with nightclubs being too loud, or over-occupancy violations? Why is that a pressing issue of public safety?

    He seems to be saying: Why should you even care about cops being in your places of recreation? Do you have something to hide in there? We’re just poking our head in and watching you, no big deal!

    That’s not the kind of society we live in, thank you very much. Just because I’m not doing anything wrong in a bar doesn’t mean I want a cop watching me do it, which is why these business are so upset about the constant police presence. Neumo’s, Chop Suey, Havana, the Comet, and the Wildrose (all bars that have contacted me about their police presence getting out of hand) are working businesses owned by professionals who don’t want the cops on their back. Remember the Mayor’s “Operation Sobering Thought,” where police tried to catch bars breaking the rules? The only bar on Capitol Hill they focused on was Sugar, which of course no longer exists. (Not to mention that all of those arrests are being overturned.) This isn’t Pioneer Square, or Belltown—there aren’t brawls on Pike Street when the bars let out.

    And, honestly, go back and re-read Jonah’s story from last week. The cops are strapped. I’d rather have those two cops on bar tour duty (Hi, O’Neill and Gallagher!) out tracking down stolen cars and other real crime instead of shushing the vibrant nightlife of Pike Street.

    Sound Transit Station Design Meeting: Nothing Says “Capitol Hill” Like Fighter Jets

    posted by on April 4 at 11:25 AM

    The meeting last night started amicably enough. A band of Sound Transit representatives laid out the most recent plans for a light-rail line that will connect the University of Washington to downtown (and the other light rail lines) to about 150 people nodding their heads. Architect David Hewitt showed slides, taking the group down through the layers of the Capitol Hill station, beginning at the street and down to the mezzanine and on to the trains. But when an artist revealed plans for a central sculpture, the mood turned ugly.

    Before we get to that, some context about the light rail and station.

    The University link, as it’s called, will run just over three miles. Underground. Like a real subway! (Haven’t we always been told that the soil was too smooshy or something for underground transit in Seattle?) Trips from downtown to the Capitol Hill station will take 6 minutes, and from the Hill to the University of Washington, three more minutes. The design phase is 60 percent complete and reaches a 90 percent milestone this fall. The first trains will run in 2016, carry 70,000 people a day by 2030, with 14,000 of them using the Capitol Hill station, and cost approximately $1.6 billion. Demolition will begin in 2009.


    That’s Broadway running horizontally. In the lower-left is an entrance near Cal Anderson Park. A second entrance is a block north on the right, on East John Street, and the west entrance is across Broadway in the top-left.


    The west entrance. Sorry these pictures aren’t so hot.

    Razed will be the entire block on the east side of Broadway between Denny and John Streets, the two stately brick buildings on the southeast corner of Denny and Broadway, and the building that held the Mongolian grill. Although the entrances on the street level are fairly small, the blocks will be used for construction staging over those six years. After the station opens, Sound Transit will likely maintain ownership of the blocks, according to the agency’s Ron Endlich, and lease the lots for mixed-use development. Design review process accounted for, I wouldn’t expect the south end of Broadway (which will become coveted for it’s proximity to the station) to be redeveloped until 2019.

    Station architect David Hewitt, who also designed the Harbor Steps, is the most endearing presenter to ever hold a laser pointer. Bald and wearing chunky black framed glasses and dark coat, he is Capitol Hill. Hewitt’s essential design is standard for a underground rail station, with modern entrances and massive smoke and air vents at the street level, escalators leading down to a mezzanine, and then to train platform, which he called “the main event.” Unusually, the platform room of the station is braced with a network of thick steel beams to support the walls. This allows the space to vault upward (rather than the traditional semi-circular shape of many subway stations). “We created a shape we think is provocative,” he says.


    The platform

    But the steel beams also obstruct views inside the station, presenting a challenge for San Francisco Brooklyn-based artist Mike Ross, who was chosen from a pool of 120 applicants to design the station’s central sculpture. His presentation was rocky from the start.

    “The first time I came to Seattle was to work on this project,” Ross told the group.

    “I did a Google search on ‘I love Seattle because’ and found people mentioned clouds and rain,” he said, noting that many mentions of the weather were gripes. “It’s [an area] at the leading edge of technology,” he said, noting Boeing and Microsoft. “It is an area with an important relationship with the natural world,” he said, noting a picture a Blue Heron (Seattle’s official bird) on the screen.

    “This bird is here to represent the natural world.”

    Oh, artists.

    He said he wanted to “get at some of the qualities of strength and fragility of the natural world—of how fragile this world can be.” Not to be snarky, but in an underground enclosure with a huge fire vent and braces holding back tons of dirt, does anyone want to be remind us of the fragility of our natural world? Seriously?

    To capture the regional qualities, Ross wanted to build on themes of clouds and rain and planes. To capture the strength, he chose military fighter jets.


    Audience lynch mob after the jump.

    Continue reading "Sound Transit Station Design Meeting: Nothing Says “Capitol Hill” Like Fighter Jets" »

    If the Sonics Leave

    posted by on April 4 at 11:20 AM

    I’ve been following this forever, and in my head, I’d be happy if the sentiment of the legislature and the voters—no giant subsidies for the Sonics—sticks.

    But emotionally, I’d be bummed. I like having a basketball team here. I bought some $16 seats last week, and we had a great time at the game. (I go to about two games a year, always have a great time, and having a team in town makes following the NBA—which I love to do—less of a non sequitur.)

    So, there’s really only one thing that will tilt the scales and make it worthwhile for the mayor and the legislature to stick by their principles on this (which is going to get increasingly difficult for Mayor Nickels et al as the reality of losing the Sonics starts to create public heartache).

    The one thing is this: Nickels and Seattle get national press—The New York Times, Good Morning America, the cover of Sports Illustrated, Drudge—for challenging the NBA’s disgusting business model, which extracts hundreds of millions of dollars in public subsidies to pay exorbitant salaries and build yuppie entertainment centers that actually suck business out the community (duplicating business that already exists rather than creating new business).

    The model is backwards and someone needs to tell the emperor (the cocky NBA) that it has no clothes. (Or at least that their baggy shorts look moronic.) Seattle’s gambit will only be worthwhile if the logic of it—cities should not be bailing out a failing private entertainment industry—is duly noted. Nationally noted.

    Memo to Team Nickels: If and when the Sonics go to Oklahoma, do a proactive national media campaign to spin it as a major victory for good government. Seattle sets an example— the one American city that told a $3 billion industry to stop the blackmail.

    And emphasis on “American.” We are not socialists. We should not be giving hundreds of millions in handouts, while we have to maintain our schools, build transportation, fight crime, and maintain our infrastructure for the public. Spin that.

    It’s April 4 Day

    posted by on April 4 at 11:16 AM

    Rest in peace, Dr. King.


    Arabian Sands

    posted by on April 4 at 11:05 AM

    I leave Monday for an Egyptian tour with a dozen fellow dancers. We’re going to explore the Nile basin, North to South, by train and river cruise, and immerse ourselves in the ancient mysteries and antiquities.

    I’ve got modest clothing, Cipro, sunblock, and the SurvivalPhrases: Arabic podcast ready to go. Have You Been? Anything else I should pack or know?

    I’ll try to Slog from there but have no idea how prevalent internet access will be.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on April 4 at 11:00 AM


    Josiah McElheny at Kane Hall, Room 120

    Artist Josiah McElheny has gone and made a big deal of himself in the world, but his roots are in Seattle—and in conceptual art and studio glass. The Last Scattering Surface, his postmodernist Big Bang installation, will spend this spring at the Henry Art Gallery. To kick off its tenure, the notoriously shy but spectacularly eloquent artist (who’s also a writer) will give a talk. Afterward, he’ll get on a plane and fly away again. (Kane Hall, Room 120, University of Washington, 543-2280. 7:30 pm, $12 students/seniors, $15 general.)


    Currently Hanging

    posted by on April 4 at 10:57 AM

    Maysey Craddock’s Lines in the Sand (2008), gouache and silk thread on paper bags, 38 by 53 inches

    At Francine Seders Gallery. (Free reception Sunday at 2.)

    The Artist Responds

    posted by on April 4 at 10:52 AM


    Here is my review of Kader Attia’s show at the Henry Art Gallery.

    In a lengthy email I’ve posted below and in the jump, Attia takes me to task for it. The dialogue is a part of the work, he writes.

    He wrote a kinder, gentler response to Regina Hackett’s P-I review of the show, which she posted on her blog. Disappointingly, both emails end on the same patronizing note: “What you see is not what you get.”

    But that is a low point in his rhetoric. I really recommend reading the whole email. It is, in many ways, much more informative than anything else I’ve read about the show, and more informative than the artist talk Attia gave at the Henry. It is also far more personal—including Attia’s incredible narrative about being detained and questioned by Seattle authorities—and fills in certain gaps I found in the work.

    Attia attributes the gaps to my imagination. He accuses me of misunderstanding, wholesale, the nature of art, reality, and journalism. Hey, if you’re going to go for it—really go for it.

    Continue reading "The Artist Responds" »

    That Vladimir

    posted by on April 4 at 10:48 AM

    It’s hard to believe that the bespectacled man in this clip…

    …is the author of these lines:

    My pillow smelled of her hair. I moved toward my glimmering darling, stopping or retreating every time I thought she stirred or was about to stir. A breeze from wonderland had begun to affect my thoughts, and now they seemed couched in italics, as if the surface reflecting them were wrinkled by the phantasm of that breeze.

    The man on the clip (the one not smoking) is a massive bore. He is bloated, stuffy, awkward, and needs cards to say things he has said in an infinity of other interviews and books. What kind of person uses cards to repeat himself? A bore.

    All Apologies

    posted by on April 4 at 10:30 AM

    Big day for I’m sorries. John McCain apologizes for opposing a federal holiday for Martin Luther King…

    “I was wrong and eventually realized that, in time to give full support for a state holiday in Arizona,” he said. “We can all be a little late sometimes in doing the right thing, and Dr. King understood this about his fellow Americans.”

    And Mark Penn apologizes for letting his global PR work (once again) conflict with his work for Senator Clinton. This time Penn was having a high-level meeting to promote a free trade agreement with Columbia that Clinton opposes. He now says:

    The meeting was an error in judgment that will not be repeated and I am sorry for it. The senator’s well known opposition to this trade deal is clear and was not discussed.

    Riding with Singh

    posted by on April 4 at 10:20 AM

    Readers will recall the saga of Sukhvir Singh, the Seattle cab driver and observant Sikh who was beaten and subjected to racial slurs by an intoxicated passenger last September. Late last month, Singh’s attacker—21-year-old Luis Vazquez—pleaded guilty to the hate-crime attack, and faces sentencing on April 18.

    In the meantime, I received an email from Hot Tipper Lauren, who writes:

    Last evening I caught a cab at the 7-11 on 15th, and started chatting with my driver. He was friendly, warm and unobtrusive. Jolly, if you will. When I asked if he was just starting, or about to be off duty, he sighed with relief and said “I’m almost done.” I wondered aloud if cab drivers met more interesting people in the evening, or the daytime, and he offered that most people are nice, but in the wee hours you can get some real duds, like the one who beat him a few months ago. That’s when I realized my driver was none other than Sukhvir Singh! “OMG, it’s YOU! It’s HORRIBLE what happened to you! I read all about it, and I’m so sorry. I heard about the upcoming court date, and I think what your attacker is being charged with is so minimal, it’s a crime in and of itself.” He was so sweet and humble, saying that if I felt that way I could show up to the King County Superior Court on April 18, 3:30 pm, and show my support for him.

    It’s one thing for me to read about this tragic episode, but now that I’ve met the gentle man it happened to, it’s quite another to be quietly, privately outraged with the conduct of his attacker. Now, unlike a headline, this story has a face. I know I’ll be in attendance. I hope you will print the date and time for other sympathizers and likewise outraged, kind-hearted souls in Seattle so they can do the same.

    Lauren’s wish is my command. Speaking of Lauren, I responded to her Hot Tip with a question: What do you tip a sweet, efficient cabbie who you know to have been hideously victimized? Lauren’s response:

    On a $6.20 fare I gave him $4, and a promise to tell everyone about his court date. He then gave me a pamphlet about the Sikh religion, with his name, cell number, and home address written on the back, and said if I ever had any questions about his religion to please call him, as ignorance is what caused his attack in the first place.

    That’s some fine humanity right there.

    In other Sukhvir Singh-related developments: I just learned the man will be sharing his story at the Seattle premiere of the new documentary A Dream in Doubt, “dealing with hate crimes in a post-9/11 world,” screening at Northwest Film Forum on Saturday, April 19. Attendance is free with an RSVP to

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on April 4 at 9:45 AM


    A book about rapidly dying polar bears and three other readings going on tonight.

    First up, at University Temple United Methodist Church, Isabel Allende is taking part in a discussion and Q&A on her newest book, Sum of Our Days, about the death of her daughter. I haven’t read this one, but a few days ago on Slog, a discussion broke out about books on grief. This is probably a good book about grief. Allende can be a spotty writer, but she’s one of the few writers I know who actually gets better when she gets emotional.

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, R.V. Branham (and ‘friends’) will be reading from Curse and Berate in 69+ Languages. Note the clever use of the ‘69,’ which is both a number and a sexual position. Get it? It’s so naughty!

    And at Town Hall, Gayle Greene reads from Insomiac, which is all about insomniacs. This looks like a really interesting one, to me, and also it seems like a good place to meet fellow insomniacs. There could be sleepless, bleary-eyed, slightly grumpy romance a-bloomin’, if you play your cards right tonight.

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

    Hillary Clinton is Related to Madonna

    posted by on April 4 at 9:42 AM

    Who knew? Well, Ellen knew.

    “This is a MySpace House, Young Lady!”

    posted by on April 4 at 9:22 AM

    Saudi man beats daughter to death for using Facebook.

    (Apologies to those offended by the subject line, but ridiculous times call for ridiculous measures.)

    The Morning News

    posted by on April 4 at 7:49 AM

    Final Blow: Climate change hurt woolly mammoths, but humans finished them off.

    Through the Roof: Claims for unemployment insurance skyrocket.

    Embryonic”: McCain’s VP search.

    The Fact that She’s an “Ex-Stripper” Is Not Relevant: Woman sentenced in plot to murder fiance.

    Inexcusable: Another woman steps forward with horrific story of gang rape by employees of defense contractor KBR.

    Endorsed: NATO expresses support for Bush’s missile defense plan.

    Rejected: NATO declines US request to put Ukraine and Georgia on the path toward NATO membership.

    Pathetic: Government-funded reproductive health database blocks access to all information about abortion.

    On a Rampage: Naomi Campbell strikes again!

    Fucked: Iraqi attack on Basra thwarted because of al-Maliki’s shoddy planning.

    Oh, Shit: “George W. Bush sewage plant” proposed in San Francisco.

    Softening: Obama’s support weakens nationally, according to new NYT poll.

    Raided: Opposition party offices in Zimbabwe, as Mugabe grasps for power.

    Recipe of the Day: Jerusalem Artichoke Soup (Photo and recipe from La Tartine Gourmand)


    Continue reading "The Morning News" »

    Thursday, April 3, 2008

    Skatepark Fundraiser

    posted by on April 3 at 5:16 PM

    Like skateparks? Like drinking? Go to this:


    How Badly Do the Seahawks Need A Burly Wide Receiver?

    posted by on April 3 at 5:11 PM

    This morning, the Cincinnati Bengals cut wide receiver Chris Henry after his most recent run in with the law, this time for assault charges. He’ll probably be suspended but if he’s not, he could be a worthwhile pick up during the off-season.


    All afternoon, Brad Steinbacher and I have been arguing about whether the Seahawks should go after Henry or not. While Henry’s off-field shenanigans make him a risky acquisition, the ‘Hawks lost WR DJ Hackett to Carolina last month and we’re hurting for another big, talented—and hopefully less fragile—receiver.

    Still, there’s this to consider:

    From the AP:

    Henry was accused of punching an 18-year-old man in the face and breaking his car window with a beer bottle.

    [Henry] was in court last week after being ticketed for driving with expired Kentucky license plates. He paid $149 in fines and court costs, according to the Municipal Court records. He was ticketed a year ago for driving with a suspended license.

    Henry was arrested four times between December 2005 and June 2006. He was accused of possession of marijuana in northern Kentucky, carrying a concealed weapon in Florida, drunken driving in Ohio and providing alcohol to minors in northern Kentucky. In that case, he served two days in jail in 2006 after pleading guilty to a charge of letting minors drink alcohol in a hotel room he had rented.

    Municipal Court Judge Bernie Bouchard set bond at $51,000 on charges of misdemeanor assault and criminal damaging. Noting Henry’s previous arrests involving drugs, guns and alcohol, the judge called Henry “a one-man crime wave.

    Click away to compare Henry’s stats to Hackett’s.

    So, we put it to you, Sloggers. Is Henry worth the (potential) trouble?

    Games: Overdue Reviews

    posted by on April 3 at 5:11 PM

    How’s a guy supposed to review all of 2008’s big games when Super Smash Bros. Brawl is out? Nearly one month in, I’m still impressed with its party-fighting, four-people-at-once appeal, as I’ve found that newcomers I’ve forced the game upon have split 50/50 between wanting to learn and master the game, and absolutely hating the overcharged randomness of its fights. That’s actually better than I’d expected—the title is openly insular, paying service to fans who’ve learned the decade-old franchise’s quirks, though again, it was built from the ground up to be easier to get into than the old guard of Street Fighter II and the like. To its credit, SSBB has passed the girlfriend litmus test, if only because she likes to electrocute critters with Pikachu. I’ll take what I can get.

    Even with my Brawl addiction, I’ve cobbled together two other game reviews after the break, both for Xbox 360: the run-and-gun Army of Two, and the “this is almost exactly like Final Fantasy, but that’s not so bad” quest of Lost Odyssey.

    Continue reading "Games: Overdue Reviews" »

    An Inconvenient Update

    posted by on April 3 at 5:10 PM

    At my February 9 caucus, the big argument from Obama supporters was: “He beats McCain in the polls and Hillary doesn’t.”

    As I gear up to attend this Saturday’s LD caucus, I bring this news: Averaging the most prominent polling, Clinton is actually doing better nationally against McCain than Obama. Both Democrats win, but Clinton wins by slightly more.

    Meanwhile, as for the pivotal state of Ohio: McCain beats Obama by 5 points while Clinton beats McCain by 2.5 points. (Racists!)

    I quote Megan Seling, and all teenagers of the earth: “Just Sayin.”

    Design Meeting for Capitol Hill Sound Transit Station

    posted by on April 3 at 5:02 PM

    Okay, so I totally forgot to post this earlier and now hardly anyone will see it in time to attend, but here goes anyway. Sound Transit is holding an open house tonight on the progress of the Capitol Hill light rail station (around Broadway E and E John Street).


    This image is about a year old. Plans may have changed since then.

    They’ll have drawings to ogle and technical staff to answer your questions. The design is supposedly 60 percent complete—but I’m not sure if that means 60 percent of the design is a done deal and 40 percent of the design is up in the air, if 60 percent of an arbitrary timeline has passed, or something else entirely.

    If you want to find out, the event runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m., with a “brief” presentation at 6 p.m. It’s at Seattle Central Community College, Room BE-1110 (1701 E Broadway). The room is on the south end of the main building, the Web site says, so we should use door near the Broadway Performance Hall.

    I’m gonna check it out. If you go, that’s me in the tunic.

    For Slog’s Only Poetry Fan

    posted by on April 3 at 4:21 PM


    The University Bookstore has a contest on their blog, just in time for National Poetry Month. There are eight silhouettes of mystery poets, along with two representative lines of poetry. Whoever guesses all eight poets correctly gets entered into a drawing for “some fabulous, poetry-related prizes!” I have heard that at least one of the poems isn’t Google-able, but I find it hard to believe that anything, when done right, isn’t Google-able.

    I know that one of you out there is a closeted poetry fan, and I am telling you: Get to work. This is your chance to shine.

    Tits In the P-I

    posted by on April 3 at 4:12 PM

    The P-I’s Big Blog “Thanks Big Blog Readers!” today for voting (by text! we hear it’s what the kids are doing!) for Amber James (below), a “hometown girl” who won the Miss Playboy Mobile 2008 contest. According to the Big Blog, the “5’2”, 34-24-34 blonde blue-eyed bombshell found out she won during a VIP event in Las Vegas on April 2 at the Hugh Hefner Sky Villa at the Palms Casino Resort. Besides the adulation of red-blooded males everywhere, James receives the inaugural crown, a professional photo-shoot at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles and a $5,000 cash-prize.” Even edgier, the P-I even linked to the softcore Miss Playboy Mobile site. Way to keep up with the kids, Big Blog! (Extra bonus points for sticking it to the feminists! Apparently, prostitutes are nasty sluts, but competing in a porn contest is totes AWESOME!)

    Just one question, though… Do any “red-blooded males” still know what Playboy is?


    Another Earthwork Worth Testifying For

    posted by on April 3 at 4:05 PM


    It’s not just Robert Smithson’s world-famous Spiral Jetty in Utah that’s in need of public testimonials about its importance. South King County is a haven for incredibly little-known works of earth art, including, pictured above, Herbert Bayer’s Earthworks at Mill Creek Canyon in Kent.

    The art, made 25 years ago, is an entire landscape sculpted into geometric shapes at the base of a canyon with a creek running through it. The water of the creek flows down toward the artwork, and when it reaches the art, the art functions as a water detention dam.

    On Thursday, April 24 at 5 pm (at Kent City Hall Council Chambers, 220 4th Avenue South), there will be a public hearing on the historical significance of the piece. It has been nominated for City Landmark status by the Kent Arts Commission, and if the nomination is accepted, it will be the first historic property to be designated by the City of Kent.

    But most importantly, a landmark designation will help to protect the work from future interventions by bureaucrats—although there is one such intervention that’s in the works already. Construction will start this summer to alter the landscape enough to bring it up to new state flooding codes—something about preparedness for the sort of flood that happens once every 10,000 rather than once every 100 years.

    Cheryl dos Remedios, Kent’s visual art coordinator, has been working for more than a year on this. She’s been trying to see that the alterations to the piece’s formal aspects are as minimal as possible, while still maintaining the piece’s function, which was crucial to the artist, Bayer, who died in 1985.

    To try to offer city engineers as many options as possible, dos Remedios enlisted the help of professor Nancy Rottle and her students in the UW landscape architecture department. They made a proposal that involved leaving Bayer’s shapes relatively untouched, and providing another outlet for the water by lowering the parking lot that’s adjacent to the landscape.

    But recently, dos Remedios found out that this option—which she was pushing for—wouldn’t cut it, technically. She’s accepted the upcoming construction as a fair solution. “If you presume that you do (need to protect for a 10,000-year storm), this is a very responsible way to address the situation,” she said in a phone conversation.

    But if the artwork becomes a historic landmark—and it should—then things might work a little differently next time.

    “The decision-making process becomes consultative, meaning that—well, I don’t think I need to define that,” she said. “It would probably get me into trouble.”

    It’s a delicate situation she’s handled well since she took the job less than two years ago. Go and testify not only to support Bayer’s art, but also to support the people who fight for art behind the scenes.

    If you haven’t seen the piece, there’s a tour at 4 pm preceding the hearing. It’s at 742 E Titus in Kent, and it’s open year-round.

    So, I’m Reviewing…

    posted by on April 3 at 3:22 PM

    … this early 18th-century play this weekend and I don’t have it in my extensive collection of Restoration comedies (just kidding—my collection of Restoration comedies is basically limited to The Way of the World in an anthology). I want to read The Beaux Stratagem before I see it. Enter Google Books.



    What kind of jokers are they hiring to digitize these things? This is pathetic.

    Okay. Okay. I’m Voting for Barack Obama.

    posted by on April 3 at 2:39 PM

    God damn, this is the best organizing stunt ever. Sign me up.

    In order to qualify to play 3-on-3 with Barack, all registration forms must be turned in by April 6th at your local Obama office and you must register at least 20 high school students.

    P.s. Calbert Cheaney, who’s quoted at the end of the post, was the only good thing about the Washington Wizards in the 1990s.

    Shitty Taco Truck Update

    posted by on April 3 at 2:14 PM

    Rancho Bravo has returned.

    Why Do Certain Clerks At The Broadway Market QFC Hate Their Jobs So Much, And Who The Hell Gave Them Permission To Take It Out On Me All The Time?

    posted by on April 3 at 2:10 PM

    I demand an answer.


    Hath not a QFC advantage card holder feelings? Hath not a customer limited time for snotty B.S.?

    I’m waiting.

    From My Inbox

    posted by on April 3 at 2:08 PM

    From SPD:

    Please join Chief Kerlikowske and Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound as they unveil the new Text-a-Crime Tip program. This new option in sending crime tips via anonymous text messaging is the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.

    A Text-a-Crime tip billboard located at 4th Avenue S. and S. Walker Street will also be unveiled to publicize the campaign


    OMG Thrz a man w an ax @ my door!

    Also, how is text messaging anonymous?

    Lunch Date: Playing

    posted by on April 3 at 2:06 PM


    (A few times a week, I take a new book with me to lunch and give it a half an hour or so to grab my attention. Lunch Date is my judgment on that speed-dating experience.)

    Who’s your date today? Playing, by Melanie Abrams

    Where’d you go? The Aloha Kitchen

    What’d you eat?
    Sweet & Spicy Seasoned Deep Fried Chicken ($7.99)

    How was the food? Well, it’s funny. I wandered into the Aloha Kitchen hoping for Hawaiian food, but it seems to be strictly Korean. There’s lots of Kimchi and barbecue stuff. But I was the only one in the restaurant and I’d been greeted, so I decided to stay because I was raised Catholic and I feel extreme guilt for things that are not my fault. So I just ordered the most basic kind of Chinese-style food I could, expecting a bowl of candied chicken parts. Instead, I got a plate of seven miniature chicken legs, coated in a crunchy fried shell and covered with a spicy, sweet, and sour sauce. It was good, if really messy—eat a gooey, coated chicken leg with your fingers and see what happens to you—meal. I’d eat there again, if I was in the mood for Korean food.

    What does your date say about itself?
    Playing is an erotic paperback original novel about a nanny who steals her employer’s date and then enters into a S&M relationship with him. The man is an Indian who happens to have leather cuffs all over his house. The back cover informs us that the author, Ms. Abrams, is married to the genius novelist Vikram Chandra.

    Is there a representative quote?
    Yoon laga thha jaise gungunaata ek abshaar dekha thha.” His fingers massaged down her spine, each verebra vibrating under his touch, and he pushed gently at the small of her back.
    “What does it mean?” she asked.
    “Once I saw you through a downpour”—he paused—“And it was as if I had seen a humming waterfall.”

    Will you two end up in bed together? Yes, but I think I’m going to regret it in the morning. I always read books about S&M relationships—I’m fascinated by the S&M thing, in part because it seems so ridiculous to me, and I really want to read about what the thinking behind it is—and I always walk away unsatisfied. It’s not working for me as an erotic novel, but it is, at least, working to make the main character, Josie, three dimensional as a young novice entering a world that her older lover knows almost too well. It’s not as trashy as, say, a Harlequin romance, but it’s pretty goddamned trashy. But trashy, in this case, is pretty fun.

    A View Without A Room

    posted by on April 3 at 1:52 PM

    If you haven’t yet, go read Jen Graves’s fantastic feature this week on Seattle’s obsession with views. It touches on real estate, the mountain-vs.-water debate, and the value of views that aren’t really “views.” Here’s how it ends:

    An encounter with a view is visual, not participatory, like looking at landscape art. Beginning in the 18th century, there was a cottage industry of “view” painters—painters who made portraits purchased by gentlemen on their travels. At home, the paintings didn’t just show off the traveler’s sophistication; they also provided cold, damp, dim northern homes with false windows that “looked out onto” the warmth and light of southern climes. Seattle Art Museum has one of these paintings on display right now, in the European art exhibition on the fourth floor, by Luca Carlevariis, made around 1710. It depicts a storm brewing in dark clouds above the Grand Canal in Venice, but a balmy late afternoon hitting the side of the Doge’s Palace anyway, warming the people strolling there.[…]

    It’s not just spectacular views that count. Underdog views can turn out to mean so much. Take the view out the window in front of me right now, as I’m writing this. I’m in my house in the Central District, looking out the front picture window. What I see is the front yard of the house across the street, which, instead of a lawn, is a slab of concrete fenced in by chain link. It sounds like a sorry excuse for a landscape, but it has animals. Several of them. Woodland-creature types. I can make out a deer, a bear, a baby bear, two frogs, a seagull, a pig, and two turtles. They’re garden sculptures with no garden. An elderly black couple lives in the house. By contrast, I’ve planted a high-maintenance number of trees and flowers over here. Every time I look out the window I’m embarrassed by the old stereotype: Why are white people so obsessed with lawn care?

    Before the house in the Central District, we lived in a house in Tacoma that had what real-estate agents call a “peekaboo” view of Puget Sound (meaning we had to stand funny to see it). Before that, we lived in a loft in Tacoma, in a building obsessed with views of Mount Rainier, but we lived on the back side, so our big bank of windows had a “territorial” view of an old brick wall with a giant word spray-painted on it. The word was OPAL. That piece of graffiti figures prominently in family photographs from that time. One day we came home and it had been cleaned off. It had been the largest work of art we ever owned.

    Seattle PI Blames the Victim

    posted by on April 3 at 1:19 PM

    Brandon, 25—who asked we not use his last name—was stabbed three times after he left a party on Capitol Hill early Saturday morning. A woman approached Brandon on Belmont and Olive and stabbed him in the chest and stomach, missing his heart by an inch.

    The PI’s coverage of the March 30th incident insinuates that Brandon may have somehow been responsible for getting stabbed. Just check out the lede:

    Seattle police have arrested a woman who, early Saturday, is believed to have repeatedly stabbed an intoxicated man on Capitol Hill and then hitched a ride with some Good Samaritans to leave the scene for her motel room across town.

    Not only does the PI go out of its way to imply that Brandon was impaired, they even imply he was booted from the party.

    At first, {SPD Spokesman Mark] Jamieson said, the young man did not cooperate with officers. It soon became clear that he was drunk and had been asked to leave a party.

    According to another person who was at the party, Brandon wasn’t booted—he left the party around 4am to catch a cab to his girlfriend’s house in Wedgwood—and was “walking around and talking like normal, not slurring or stumbling.”

    Brandon is upset by the PI’s coverage. “They made it sound like if a woman stabs a guy, the guy probably did something. It was pretty messed up,” he says.

    After stabbing Brandon, the woman flagged down two people—which, again, the PI refers to as “Good Samaritans—and caught a ride to her motel on Aurora. “What was really hard, looking back on the night, is that the “Good Samaritans” saw what happened and gave her a ride and just left me,” Brandon says. The woman has since been arrested.

    Brandon says he didn’t know the woman who attacked him. “I’ve never met her before,” he says. “The only thing I know…[is]…she was living in a motel off of Aurora, if that says anything about who she was.”

    After being stabbed, Brandon walked around Capitol Hill—shirt soaked in blood—for at least another half-hour, he says, before he was able to collect himself and call 911.

    Brandon spent five days at Harborview and is now recuperating at home. Because of his injuries, Brandon’s band—the Heat Rays—wasn’t able to play a show at the Funhouse Tuesday night. They were on the bill with Sioux City Pete and the Beggars and the band Stabbings.

    No American Profits for Paranoid Park

    posted by on April 3 at 1:16 PM

    The best American film of the year, Paranoid Park, is doing bad business in America.
    In Europe, however, it’s doing excellent business. This must not be a surprise to Gus Van Sant. He knows what we all should know by now: Great art is homeless in the land of junkspace.

    On the much brighter side of things, there’s this being, this Lebanese, this wonder woman: Nadine Labaki.
    Her film, Caramel, opens today. I will say no more.

    John Lurie: A Fine Example of Art

    posted by on April 3 at 1:15 PM

    It’s a book that’s about to come out from powerHouse Books, featuring the funny and touching paintings by Lurie, a musician/actor/artist (remember him in Jim Jarmusch’s films?).

    Here’s a sneak preview of what’s in it.

    masTrees007.jpgMan Without Erection Selling Christmas Trees

    Jesus008.jpgThe Bible Doesn’t Mention It, But Jesus Loved to Sleep Twelve to Fourteen Hours a Day


    Pilgrims005.jpgThe Indians Didn’t Like the Looks of This

    The Cheese Stands Alone

    posted by on April 3 at 1:14 PM


    via @gruber

    A Convenient Truth

    posted by on April 3 at 1:05 PM

    The wood-paneled conference room in the Grand Hyatt was already filled with 170 developers, design professionals, and land-use officials eating eggs and asparagus when I arrived this morning. In their pantsuits and ties, they had come to save the planet.

    At center stage was a book just published by the international development-industry nonprofit Urban Land Institute (ULI), titled Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change. The gist: Compact urban development is good for the environment.

    Suburban sprawl, explained ULI’s Uwe Brandes, is the enemy. Longer commutes, errands, and business trips in vehicles there produce more carbon emissions. Dense urban centers, as we know, promote residents and employees to use public transit and walk, averaging fewer and shorter car trips. Brandes noted that even within cities, residents of dense, mixed-use neighborhoods produce, on average, 25 percent less carbon emissions than those who live in more sprawling neighborhoods. Secondarily, energy use in larger developments is 20 percent less than in single-family houses because units share walls, heating, etc.

    “We’d like to raise awareness about climate change and the role development has in mitigating climate change,” says Kelly Mann, Executive Director of ULI’s Seattle District Council. The goal, she says, “is changing the approach to development as a whole.”

    The message was falling on the right ears. Sitting among the developers was Diane Sigamura, Director of Seattle’s Department of Planning and Development. “We’ve got some big steps to take,” she tells me. “The public needs to examine how to travel and how to live. We can’t expect others to take care of global warming.”

    The book projects that within 40 years, 90 million new homes will be built in the U.S., including replacing existing homes. If 60 percent of those are compact developments (townhouse density or tighter), vehicle miles traveled could drop by 30 percent, resulting in a 10-14 percent overall reduction of carbon emissions nationwide.

    The benefits are more than environmental. The sort of urban design that reduces car trips also requires creating more walkable, more vibrant cities. But to do this, developers must commit to more than density—they must make a point to construct small retail spaces afforded by independent clothing shops, bars, and tiny restaurants (rather than large spaces afforded primarily by corporate franchise stores). Those are the local amenities that keep people from getting in their cars.

    Projected growth represents an economic boon for the housing industry, too—Mann expects 1.7 million additional residents in the Seattle region by 2040.

    Often, I think, developers are branded at strict profiteers. While some, no doubt, live up to that reputation, ULI, Seattle’s builders and local officials are taking commendable initiative toward better cities and ecologically responsibility. And ULI is already walking its talk: I wanted to keep my nifty press badge, but Mann asked me turn to it in—it will be reused at the next event.

    The Grand Is Mediocre

    posted by on April 3 at 12:51 PM

    This review didn’t fit in today’s print edition:

    The Grand

    dir. Zak Penn

    The word “mediocre” comes from Middle French and literally means “halfway up a jagged mountain.” Not just any mountain—a jagged one, implying that the mediocre have struggled and sweated and cursed to get where they are. But they’re sitting on a rock, panting, and can’t go any higher.

    The Grand, then, is mediocre. It wants to be an improvised mockumentary, in the style of Christopher Guest, about a Vegas poker tournament and the eccentrics who play in it. But it is too pat—too obviously the product of minds struggling to be funny—to pass as candid. Woody Harrelson stars as a drug addict who inherits a Vegas casino, loses it to a real-estate vulture, and enters a $10 million poker tournament to win it back. He plays against a procession of gambling clichés: the Asperger’s guy, the aggressive jerk, the goofball from Minnesota, the woman, and the old-timer who mourns for the Vegas of his youth, with its underage hookers, parking-lot violence, and racism.

    And then there’s “the German,” played by Werner Herzog, the best thing about The Grand. The German is as much a cliché as the rest: an inscrutable Teutonic aesthete and sadist who has traveled the world, gambled with yak bones in the African desert, and played Russian roulette with slave traders. But Herzog brings heat and effortlessness—a comical life—to his scenes. (Maybe because it’s not so hard to imagine Herzog actually gambling with actual yak bones.)

    Imagine Woody Harrelson with muttonchops talking about his life as a stoned ne’er-do-well. Yawn. Now imagine Herzog, stroking a bunny, staring into the camera, saying in his flat Herzogian accent: “Most people drink coffee, but I sink of sis as se beverage of se cowards,” and explaining how, as a pick-me-up, he kills a small animal each day with his bare hands. That moment stands up and grows wings. It soars above mediocrity, up the jagged mountain, all the way to its peak. BRENDAN KILEY

    You’ll find more movie reviews on our Film page.

    In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

    posted by on April 3 at 12:33 PM

    Meet Your New Underage Columnist: Seeing as how I’ve been able to legally attend bar shows for years, it’s about time The Stranger gets an all-ages writer who’s actually under 21!

    Disco and a Hot Lady in a Hot Dress: TJ Gorton on The Invisible Man’s 1980 classic.

    Rock and Roll and a Hot Lady in NO Dress: Ari Spool’s photos from Sioux City Pete & the Beggars’ striptease… I mean, rock show.

    Better Than Queens of the Stoneage: Brian Cook reviews Torche’s Meanderthal.

    Tonight in Music: Say Hi, Imaad Wasif, and Hemingway.

    No Idea Auctions Off Rare Test Pressings: Against Me!, Less Than Jake, Small Brown Bike records are being sold to benefit J. Robbins’ son Cal.

    Greatest Tour of 2008?: Will Radiohead hit Seattle with Grizzly Bear?

    Not-So-Greatest Tour of 2008: NKOTB are back together. And they have new material. And they’re going to tour.

    Today’s Music News: Local booking company merges, Mariah bests Elvis, Elvis (the living one) gets his own TV show, and Jay-Z follows U2 and signs a deal with LiveNation.

    Now They Want Your Credit Card #: MySpace unveils new music service that will compete with iTunes.

    Conflict of Interest: The Stranger’s Team Metal invades the Fun House tonight.



    posted by on April 3 at 12:14 PM

    Did you hear? Mayor Greg Nickels and City Council member Richard Conlin are proposing to DESTROY YOUR FAMILY by charging an MONSTROUS, BUDGET-BREAKING FEE on every disposable bag you HAVE to use at the grocery store.

    From the Times’ story, “Paper or Plastic? Either Way, You May Have to Pay”:

    Next time the cashier says “paper or plastic,” think outside the bags. Think about ocean pollution, giant landfills and global warming, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels says.

    Mayor Greg Nickels: INSIDE YOUR MIND, telling you WHAT TO THINK.

    Then think to next year, when you might have to either pull out a reusable tote or pay 20 cents a bag.

    Nickels and City Council President Richard Conlin proposed a 20-cent “green fee” Wednesday on all disposable bags to encourage customers to carry their milk and eggs home in their own bags.

    Forget the canvas sacks at home? Shoppers at grocery, convenience and drug stores will pay the price starting Jan. 1, if the City Council approves. A family buying six bags of groceries a week would spend $62.40 a year in bag fees.

    Actually, a family buying six bags of groceries a week and bringing their own canvas bags would spend exactly $0.00 a year in “bag fees.” But that’s obviously just crazy talk. People can’t CHANGE THEIR BEHAVIOR—it’s against human nature!

    In the Uwajimaya Village checkout line, reaction ranged from sticker shock to approval.

    Germaine Szewczyk, who makes regular trips from Bremerton to pick up Hawaiian food, called a fee “ludicrous.”

    “We don’t come to shop to spend more money on reusable bags,” she said as she carted out nine plastic bags.

    She tried using a reusable bag but didn’t like it. If the council approves the fee, she would pay the 20 cents.

    Because, again, people NEVER respond to changes in the market. It’s, like, against the law of economics!

    The mayor also hates the homeless:

    The fee could prove a struggle for low-income consumers, advocates say.

    “It is an undue burden,” said Mike Buchman, a spokesman for Solid Ground, a nonprofit that serves families dealing with hunger and homelessness. While he applauds the mayor’s environmental policy, “there are a lot of hungry people in our community, and every dime that can go to nutritional food is important,” he said.

    And cats:

    Though [council member Sally Clark] loves the mayor’s proposal, she is now wondering how she would clean up after her cat.

    “When I clean out the cat box, I use grocery bags,” she said. “I have to figure out something else.”

    Have mercy, Mayor Nickels! WILL NO ONE THINK OF THE KITTENS?!?!

    (Some context.)

    A Fresh Twist on “Man Bites Dog”

    posted by on April 3 at 12:08 PM

    This time, it’s a woman.

    And the dog she bit was a pit bull.

    Story here.

    Thank you, Slog tipper Michelle.


    posted by on April 3 at 12:03 PM

    John Edwards will not accept the VP spot, no matter who wins the Democratic nomination.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on April 3 at 12:02 PM


    From aaronbrethorst

    My Favorite Letter of Last Week

    posted by on April 3 at 12:00 PM


    Happily, even now that I work for The Stranger full time, there are still little moments of surprise when I read the paper on Wednesday night. One of the things that I have no hand in at all is the Letters Page; I never know which letters are going to wind up running in the paper. Most of the letters in this week’s paper are about Jonah’s great feature from last week, and rightfully so. It’s, well, a great feature.

    Unfortunately, this means that my favorite letter in response to the Norwescon books lead that I wrote last week didn’t get to run, so I’m going to share it here. The writer didn’t ask to be anonymous, but I’m going to pretend that he/she requested anonymity, anyway. The entire letter is (sic).

    You writer on Norwescon had no true clue as to what the con means to many people. I for one never found in one fucking in the bathrooms and so one. I notice he didn’t even discuss the writers panels or the costume panels. Your writer was very limited to his or her very of the con. You should have someone who has an opened mind attend the cons and not just one.

    This was not the only letter that I got—I received many well-written responses both positive and negative—and it’s not even the most unintelligible letter I received, but it’s clearly the best. From now on, I solemnly vow to try to write with a true clue.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on April 3 at 12:00 PM

    Oh, those wacky CPDRC inmates, you know, from the Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines. You remember. They’ve got a new number. Laura Branigan. I don’t fully understand how this is a “protest dance” but it’s nothing short of amazing, just the same.

    From YouTube byronfgarcia.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on April 3 at 11:00 AM


    James Harris Opening at James Harris Gallery

    For nine years, James Harris has run one of the best galleries in town in a dinky little space (albeit with great Old World ceiling tiles). Tonight is the grand opening of his new space that’s double the size, just a block away. For the inaugural show: the tried and true (video master Gary Hill, who lives in Seattle but is an international star) and the young and fresh (Seattle-based Margot Quan Knight). This is, undoubtedly, an event. (James Harris Gallery, 312 Second Ave S, 903-6220. 6–8 pm, free.)


    Time for Irwin, Part II

    posted by on April 3 at 10:30 AM

    Yesterday, I wrote about Robert Irwin’s almost 50 years of art as a social project devoted to rearranging the hierarchy of what we pay attention to in the world (and what we either thoughtlessly or willfully ignore).

    His breakthrough moment, his great contribution to the history of art, is this:

    Photograph by Philipp Scholz Rittermann

    Maybe it doesn’t look like much. But it’s a solid, convex disc attached to the wall by a thick arm and sticking out several feet into the room. And yet even when you’re right there seeing its heft, it can disappear.

    This installation is the best I’ve seen of a Robert Irwin disc. Irwin, who lives in San Diego, arranged it so that the museum would open up a skylight in its roof for the piece. The light is natural, and it falls down like a shower. (In the absence of natural light at many venues, Irwin was induced to devise a way of showing the discs that involves spotlights and a field of shadows on the wall behind the disc, which is how you often see the discs presented; the closest one to Seattle on public view, as far as I know, is at the Portland Art Museum.)

    This installation isn’t up anymore. It was at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, where I saw it, until the end of February; the other, newer half of the Irwin retrospective is still up at the museum’s second building until April 13. (The show is not traveling; it will soon exist only in a very nice hardback catalog.)

    Every time Irwin got bored, he moved on to something else, and he got bored early and often. For that reason, his career is defined by a constantly shifting, almost aggressive chronological narrative (gestural abstraction to line paintings to dot paintings to discs to scrims to installations to public works and gardens).

    These days, Irwin doesn’t make freestanding objects. Eleven years ago, he made a piece that was like a eulogy for the whole basic premise of art objects, like a tribute to the empty space they leave behind when they go. Asked to complete a commission for the La Jolla branch of the MCASD, which sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and may have the best view of any museum in the country (anybody care to differ?), Irwin selected the room with the panoramic view of the water.

    Instead of hanging art on the walls of the room, he cut three 24-by-26-inch holes out of its windows. He cut absences out of a material designed already not to be seen. It takes a few minutes to discover that there’s even art in the room at all, and then you smell the sea air.

    Photo by Pablo Mason

    (Like the discs, I consider this work to be one of Irwin’s best. But it wasn’t installed during the Irwin retrospective. The La Jolla branch had other, unrelated shows on display, and the “view” room was set up as a reading area. It was confounding.)

    Coming up: The blatant but largely unobserved flaw in the show’s centerpiece, why the bad lighting on one of Irwin’s paintings is perfect, why I’m glad the glass column in the show was knocked over and broken during the first weeks of the show, and what’s up with Irwin in Seattle right now.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on April 3 at 10:30 AM

    Justin Gibbens’s Bird of Paradise XII: Medusa Anhinga (2008), watercolor, graphite, gouache, colored pencil, and oolong on paper, 40 by 26 inches

    At G. Gibson Gallery. (More images here.)

    Over $40 Million

    posted by on April 3 at 10:25 AM

    Obama had another huge fundraising month in March—over 442,000 contributors, an average contribution of $96, and a total of over $40 million.

    Clinton? She isn’t releasing her fundraising totals just yet.

    Story of the Day

    posted by on April 3 at 10:17 AM

    Courtesy of NBC10 out of Philadelphia:

    Police said an Ohio man has been arrested for allegedly having sex with a picnic table.

    Now that’s a goddamn lede!

    Police arrested Arthur Price Jr. after an anonymous tipster dropped off three DVDs that reportedly showed Price in the act.

    Three DVD’s? Just how many times has this Price guy violated a picnic table?

    According to NBC Toledo, Ohio, affiliate WNWO-TV, the videos show Price tilting the metal round picnic table on its side and then laying up against it to have sexual intercourse with the table.

    Wait…what? How the hell did that work?

    Afterward, he can then be seen cleaning the table and the deck.

    Well at least he’s a courteous perv.

    During questioning, he reportedly admitted to having sex with the table. Police said he also admitted to bringing the table inside his home for sex.

    Sexy, sexy picnic table…


    (Via The Agitator.)

    Godspeed, Lady Goertzen

    posted by on April 3 at 10:16 AM


    Yesterday brought some damn sad news from beloved KOMO news queen Kathi Goertzen, who announced that she’ll be undergoing a third surgery for a (blessedly non-cancerous) brain tumor.

    The surgery was scheduled for this morning, and here’s hoping it all went as well as can be.

    To see Goertzen’s pre-surgery video message, check out the KOMO 4 website. (And for a good profile of Goertzen/explanation of her current situation, check out the Seattle P-I.)

    The Throat of Amanda’s Roommate

    posted by on April 3 at 10:04 AM

    The Italians have taken it to the next level. If you want to see the scene of the crime (the murder of Meredith Kercher), which is in this little house on the Perugian hill…
    feature-500.jpg…Go here. You will not only see the room and personal belongings but also Meredith Kercher’s bloody neck. Indeed, the televised images shocked Meredith’s family:

    The family of Meredith Kercher, the British student murdered in Italy, expressed their horror after a graphic video of her corpse was broadcast on Italian television. The images, which were recorded by forensic police as they gathered evidence, were shown during a documentary about unsolved crimes on Telenorba 7, a local television network in the southern state of Puglia. Raffaele Sollecito, 24, one of the three suspects in the case, is from Bari in Puglia.

    As for the Italian television programmers:

    Anna Maria Ferretti, the director of Antenna Sud, a leading Italian television programme in the south, said: “For five minutes of television, the ultimate taboo has been broken without any shame.”

    Enzo Magistà, the editor of the television programme, said: “When I decided to transmit the images of Meredith’s corpse, I did not have the least intention of violating anyone’s dignity, but merely to do my job with respect to an important event.”

    Maxim Mag Maestro Makes Muddled Murmurs Marking a Murderous Moment

    posted by on April 3 at 9:59 AM

    Via the Huffington Post:

    Felix Dennis, the publisher of Maxim magazine, drunkenly confessed to committing a murder in an otherwise run-of-the-mill interview with a Times of London reporter:

    He looks so intense that I ask him whether he’s ever fought with a man over a woman. “I’ve killed a man,” he says. What? “I’ve killed a man.” What do you mean, you’ve killed a man? “I killed him.” Does everyone know you’ve killed a man? “No, and they’ll never find out, either.” Are you kidding me? Are you winding me up? Where? In what country? “I killed him. That’s all you need to know. I killed him.”

    Oh Felix, you’re having me on. “No.” Promise me. Swear to God… “He hurt her and I told him to stop and he kept on.” What did it feel like, then? “He hurt her.” What did you do? “Pushed him over the edge of a cliff.”

    Are you sure you want to be telling me this? “Don’t care. Anybody harms one of mine… if they harm one of mine, they’d better know what they’re doing…”

    The billionaire publisher later blamed the confession on drinking three or four bottles of wine, which is never a good idea when someone is interviewing you. I always thought that every billionaire had murdered at least one person with his or her bare hands, frankly. I figured it was some kind of initiation rite.

    “Europe Through the Back Door is pretty much da bomb.”

    posted by on April 3 at 9:47 AM

    Over at his blog, further evidence of Rick Steves’ supreme coolness. Yeeeah, boy.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on April 3 at 9:46 AM


    Unless you’re interested in poetry, brains, open mics, or hiking Snohomish County, it looks like a good night to stay in and read a book.

    At the University Bookstore, Dr. Arthur Ginsberg reads from his new chapbook of poetry. Ginsberg is a neurologist who is also a poet, and he will read some poems and then talk about poetry’s effect on the human brain. Maybe he’ll explain why so many teenagers feel the need to write poetry, and maybe he’ll also explain why these people think that Jim Morrison is the greatest poet in the history of the world.

    Meanwhile, up at Third Place Books, Ken Wilcox reads from the second edition of Hiking Snohomish County: 90 Selected Hikes & Walks on the Coast, & in the Lowlands, Foothills & North Cascades. If you’re passionate about hiking Snohomish County, this is the event for you. Well, actually, hiking Snohomish County would probably be the event for you, but if you’re passionate about listening to people talk about hiking Snohomish County, this really is the event for you.

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

    Also, if you haven’t already, you should check out the nifty, brand-new books page, which has a ton more reviews and a mini-blog revue of the last week’s books-themed Slog posts, over here.

    Mariners 4, Rangers 1

    posted by on April 3 at 9:41 AM

    Welcome Carlos Silva: seven innings, three hits, and just one run (off a Ben Broussard home run in the sixth). Nice work.

    Vidro and Lopez (who seems to like the #2 slot) both homered, Sean Green pitched a perfect inning in the eighth, and #5 starter Miguel Batista stepped up in the closer role and finished things off. As for Richie Sexson, DMZ over at U.S.S. Mariner broke down his night at the plate and…well, it wasn’t pretty. Still, Mariners take the series — and would have swept if not for Tuesday’s rare combustion from J.J. Putz.

    Speaking of Putz: He’s on the 15-day DL with mild costochondritis, which Seth Kolloen at Enjoy the Enjoyment found is an “inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum). It causes sharp pain in the costosternal joint — where your ribs and breastbone are joined by rubbery cartilage. Pain caused by costochondritis may mimic that of a heart attack.” The closer role will be platooned his absence.

    Next up: A trip to lowly Baltimore on Friday. Game 1 is at 4:05 pm.

    How Does An Embattled Police Force Restore Public Confidence?

    posted by on April 3 at 9:32 AM

    Spending a week issuing traffic tickets to the city’s bicyclists should do it!

    From Slog tipper Kraskland (who also provided the photo):

    This morning in Fremont there were police writing tickets to bicyclists for running stop signs on 34th and Evanston near the PCC. This was around 8:20am. I spoke with a motorcycle messenger and he said the police were all over the city writing similar tickets and he was being especially careful this week.


    Alrighty then.

    The Morning News

    posted by on April 3 at 7:26 AM

    Recession?: Fed chairman admits the possibility.

    But: Silver Lining?: Hard economic times may strengthen willpower.

    Out: Mugabe’s party loses control of Parliament.

    In: Albania and Croatia, the newest members of NATO.

    Not Quite There Yet: Mayor, Conlin propose ban on foam containers… and a fee for plastic bags.

    Tentative Deal: Senate Dems and Republicans finalize assistance package for homeowners facing foreclosure.

    Stuck: Would-be transplants unable to sell their homes in faltering real-estate market.

    Another Day: Another prostitution scandal.

    Creepy: McCain welcomes endorsement of plastic Hills star Heidi Montag.

    Unsustainable: Heavy troop deployments put too much stress on ground forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    And That’s Why People Shouldn’t Buy Big Stupid Trucks: Streetcar clips parked truck protruding onto track.

    Recipe of the Day: Chicken With Salsa Verde (via New York Times)


    Continue reading "The Morning News" »

    McCain/Fiorina ‘08?

    posted by on April 3 at 7:15 AM

    Interesting, huh? A McCain adviser floated the idea.

    Wednesday, April 2, 2008

    Slow is Funny

    posted by on April 2 at 10:22 PM

    Some enterprising netizens took a 1999 Mac ad featuring Jeff Goldblum and slowed it down a little so he sounds drunk. Boy is it funny.

    Now I want to go find some stuff to slow down.

    via Blogtown, PDX

    OK, Gore/Obama Ain’t Happening

    posted by on April 2 at 7:16 PM

    So how do we feel about Obama/Gore? (That’s an AP/TPM link.)

    Where To Get The Morning After Pill

    posted by on April 2 at 6:00 PM

    Brad’s post below is making my head hurt.

    Attention anyone who suffered through abstinence-only sex education:
    A ton of excellent, easy to use, incredibly effective and relatively cheap birth control options exist.

    You should also know that condoms, while excellent for protecting you from disease, are a somewhat crappy form of birth control—at least with typical use of condoms. Use them, but if you’re planning on having sex regularly, you should add on a better method of birth control in addition to condoms.

    If your method of birth control fails—ripped condom, slipping when removing a condomed-up penis, no condom, forgot to take the pill, drunken assault and so on—a fantastic new drug exists that can stop you from becoming pregnant, if you use it soon enough. The morning after pill—otherwise known as Plan B or emergency contraception—reduces the chance of getting pregnant by at least 75%, provided it is taken within 48 hours after sex. The sooner after sex you take the pill, the better it works.

    It doesn’t work through abortion; rather it can prevent ovulation (the ovary releasing an egg to be fertilized) or implantation in the uterus of a fertilized egg. If you are already pregnant, it won’t hurt the embryo or fetus.

    The side effects are relatively mild for almost all women, at worst similar to a really bad period.

    And in a growing number of states, including Washington, you don’t even need to talk to a doctor first.

    In Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Washington, laws allow women to get Emergency Contraception directly from a pharmacy without first going to a doctor or clinic.

    The website can help you find which pharmacies will do just that.

    In King County, when in doubt, head for a Safeway.

    In Seattle, the Safeways at
    85th and 15th NW in Ballard,
    22nd Ave E and Madison on Capitol Hill,
    U-Village in the U-District,
    the corner of California and Admiral Way or 28th ave s and Roxbury in West Seattle,
    1st ave w and Republican st in Lower Queen Anne
    carry and will give out the emergency contraception.

    Expect to pay a little under $50.

    I guarantee it’ll work better than a douche of Sprite, or a shot of Mountain Dew.


    A friendly cartoon penis tells you how to use a condom properly:

    And a pair of cartoon genitals explain how pregancy happens:

    Update 2:
    Several readers have pointed out:

    On August 24, 2006, Plan B was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for nonprescription sale to women and men 18 and older in the United States.

    If you don’t live in one of the nine states listed above, per the FDA you should be able to buy Plan B over the counter from some pharmacists. I’m actually curious to hear if men and women in some of the more conservative states have had success doing just that.

    You can search for a provider near you that has committed to offering emergency contraception over-the-counter.

    If you live in a state resistant to over-the-counter sales, you (men and women) can buy the morning after pill before the morning after, and have it ready just in case…

    The New Proposed Building to Take the Place of the Rainier Cold Storage Building in Georgetown

    posted by on April 2 at 5:20 PM

    Sabey—the corporation that’s tearing down the Rainier Cold Storage Building and replacing it with something new—had a meeting with the neighborhood in October to show plans for the new building they proposed to build, and the neighborhood freaked out. Hated it. Couldn’t believe what they were seeing. Talked about Georgetown turning into Belltown. Or into Fremont. One horrified guy said that he could very easily see a Tully’s or a Kinko’s in the ground floor of the proposed building; of course, a Tully’s or a Kinko’s in Georgetown is anathema to what Georgetown—according to Georgetown residents—is.

    Last week, Sabey unveiled plans for a new proposed building that is, it must be said, a helluva lot better than their previous proposal. Here is the old Rainier Cold Storage Building:


    And here is the new proposed building (with, apparently, its attendant new name and marketing scheme):


    Much more info on Sabey’s website.

    In My Day, the Secret Was Douching With Sprite

    posted by on April 2 at 4:33 PM

    Abstinence-only education in action:

    A recent survey that found some Florida teens believe drinking a cap of bleach will prevent HIV and a shot of Mountain Dew will stop pregnancy has prompted lawmakers to push for an overhaul of sex education in the state.

    (Thanks to Slog tipper Chery.)

    Black and White and Red All Over

    posted by on April 2 at 4:25 PM


    Nick Garrison was born to play the emcee in Cabaret (now playing at the 5th Avenue). He is known for his preternatural ability to embody the feminine (the Glenn Close part in Fatal Attraction at Re-bar, the nurse in Loot at Intiman) and the not-quite-masculine (the mannish woman Randee Sparks in his self-written solo work and, most of all, Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch). He is a master of improvisation, which you’ve got to be to play the emcee, since the emcee interacts with the audience as if they (we) are sitting at tables in a late-Weimar-Republic-era cabaret in Berlin. He has enough in his repertoire, enough presence, to sustain being onstage almost constantly, even walking through scenes he has nothing to do with. And he can sing like a motherfucker.

    But you can’t help thinking that, with his bald head and skeleton-y pallor, Garrison would be more at home in the Sam Mendes revival of Cabaret of a decade ago, in which everything was black, bleak, stripped to a chilling bareness, right down to the cabaret girls and boys in their underwear, who squirmed around on the stage in the former Studio 54, their eyes sunken holes, their expressions all heroin-blank and depraved. There is nothing depraved about this production of Cabaret, to its detriment. The tables are red, the chairs are red, the banisters are red, the pants are red, the jackets are red, the ties are red, the suspenders are red, the feathers on women’s hats are red, their dresses are red (with red sequins), the gloves are red, the stripe on someone’s purple fedora is red, and the emcee’s pants, jacket, vest, and top hat are red. We are supposed to be in the dark heart of a distorting time, but the whole thing looks like a commercial for strawberries. Then, during the number “Money,” a bunch of dollar bills rain down on the audience, and it’s literally Monopoly money. This production gives Garrison nothing to work with and, in turn, his performance seems half-hearted. Tari Kelly, as Sally Bowles, is a zero. But Suzy Hunt (as Fräulein Schneider) and Angie Louise (as Fräulein Kost) are captivating.

    B & O Espresso Isn’t Going Anywhere

    posted by on April 2 at 4:22 PM


    Belmont & Olive

    No need to panic. B&O Espresso won’t be going anywhere any time soon. Our sucky economy has stepped in to save another beloved Seattle business.

    “We haven’t moved forward with any permanent plans because of the real estate climate,” says John Stoner, who owns the B&O property. “We’re in no hurry [to redevelop] unless the climate’s perfect.”

    Of course, the B&O was never really going away. Stoner had been working with B&O’s owners to keep the coffee shop on the bottom floor of the 72 unit building which would have been built on the site.

    For now, Stoner is focusing on developing other properties, and he doesn’t know when he’ll restart the B&O but, he says, “If we thought the [economy] was perfect today, it would [still] be two years until the store was demolished.”

    The Difference Between Conservatives and Liberals

    posted by on April 2 at 4:16 PM

    Progressives are wimps. At least when compared to conservatives.

    Case in point. Erica’s got a story in today’s paper about how anti-transit conservatives are putting together an initiative for “governance reform” (meaning: death) for Sound Transit. Conservatives tried to push the measure through the legislature this Winter, but it got shot down.

    So, what do conservatives like John Stanton do? They write up a spiffy initiative and get to work dismantling Sound Transit themselves by taking “governance reform” to the ballot.

    Meanwhile, the near-Super-Majority Democrats in Olympia cave to the BIAW and ice a consumer rights bill for home buyers, and what do progressives do? I don’t know. Smoke pot?

    I wrote a column a couple of weeks ago as the session came to a close calling on progressive activists (oxymoron nowadays?) to do exactly what Stanton and his conservative buddies are doing: Take matters into their own hands. (Added bonus of running the home buyers’ rights initiative: Not only would progressives get a good law on the books, but they’d force the BIAW to spend money trying to defeat it. Burn.)

    I know. I know: Tech billionaires like Stanton have the money to run initiatives while liberals supposedly don’t.

    That’s a big “supposedly.” And it’s not true. Rob Glaser. Nick Hanaeur. Bill Marler. George Heidorn. Matt Loschen. Peter Goldman. This is a region of big donor liberals.

    Why do conservatives attack on all fronts, pushing legislation and running ballot measures … while liberals twiddle their thumbs?

    Rock Bottom

    posted by on April 2 at 3:50 PM

    The image on the cover of today’s New York Times
    …brought to the surface of my awareness this painting:
    And that painting brought to the surface this other painting.

    But the first image, the image from rural Zimbabwe, is the true image of being stuck in life. Those young men have nowhere to go, particularly the one with the bust radio on his legs. The baked wall of the hut, the dead dust, the sole source of energy, the corn, that’s not growing fast and plentifully enough—this is the rock bottom of the world. I don’t think they are listening to the results of the election. Not news, but music. On the radio Oliver Mtukudzi’s sings “Ruki,” a sad but pretty song about how certain people are just lucky (“ruki”) and others are not.

    Improving Odds for Gregoire and Burner

    posted by on April 2 at 3:34 PM

    According to Congressional Quarterly:

    Democrats in the state of Washington are increasingly better positioned to keep the Governor’s mansion and to take over a key House district in the state’s most competitive contests this election cycle.

    Gov. Christine Gregoire and 8th District candidate Darcy Burner came within a razor‑thin edge of their opponents in their last contests. But analysts now say that the Democrats have upped their chancing of winning as the state GOP party faces structural problems and GOP efforts to appeal to the state’s large number of moderate voters has been hampered by their strong conservative base.

    CQ Politics is now changing its rating of the Washington state Governor’s race from No Clear Favorite to Leans Democrat and Washington’s 8th District rating from Leans Republican to No Clear Favorite.

    Crashes Cost More Than Congestion

    posted by on April 2 at 3:18 PM

    This week’s In the Hall column addresses the potential for conflicts of interest because of the close between a city council member (Nick Licata), his wife (Andrea Okomski), and Okomski’s fellow activist and close friend (Kate Martin). Okomski’s teenage son Joe is suing the city and county over injuries he suffered when a car hit him at a busy intersection in Greenwood; the suit says the city was negligent because it didn’t install a crosswalk at the intersection despite neighborhood residents’ repeated pleas.

    You can read about all that here. What I didn’t have much time to touch on much in my column were the the fundamental questions at the heart of Joe’s lawsuit (and Martin’s and Okomski’s pedestrian-safety activism): How many car-pedestrian accidents should a city be willing to put up with before it does something to make the streets safer for people on foot? Are “accidents” really accidents when the city assumes a certain number of them will happen and fails to put measures in place to reduce them? And who do city planners assume our transportation system is for—cars, or people?

    Right now, the primary goal of transportation planning in Seattle is to move cars as quickly as possible from one place to another. A few examples: Synchronized traffic lights that keep traffic speeds high and allow roads to move high volumes quickly; roads like Rainier Avenue South, where traffic lights (and intersections that allow pedestrians to cross safely) are few and far between, forcing pedestrians to either walk several blocks or dash across five lanes of traffic; streets with few or no crosswalks or where crosswalks are taken out; and Okomski’s pet issue, bus stops that don’t have a signal to allow pedestrians to access them safely. These are all decisions the city made, and they’re decisions that benefit cars at the expense of people on the street. Nearly 400 pedestrians are injured by cars in Seattle, and eight killed, every year.

    The city accepts this as part of the price of doing business, but it doesn’t have to. City planners could install more traffic lights; desynchronize lights on busy streets to slow traffic; install more crosswalks with pedestrian signals in front of bus stops; and take many other steps to improve pedestrian safety.

    Earlier today, a friend pointed me to a study that takes the wind out of one argument made by opponents of pedestrian improvements: That the increase in congestion resulting from safety improvements would cost cities more than we spend on preventable crashes. According to a recent study by the American Automobile Association, that’s just not true; in fact, crashes cost nearly two and a half times more than congestion.


    According to the study,

    Except for a very few places that manage snarled but not terribly deadly traffic, lowering crash costs is a much more promising strategy than striving for lower congestion costs. This is perhaps most striking in Seattle. Congestion dominates the traffic discussion in Seattle, even though congestion is not particularly bad. Conversely, Seattle’s streets are among the most dangerous, pushing overall traffic costs near the top in the US. If Seattle had crash costs as low as San Francisco, the city’s overall traffic costs would be the lowest of any major US city.

    The city is just starting work on a Pedestrian Master Plan. If bike activists’ experience with the Bicycle Master Plan is any indication, pedestrian safety advocates will have to shout loud and insistently to ensure that whatever the city finally adopts doesn’t get watered down by concerns over congestion and economic impacts. The AAA study could be one tool to help them make their case.

    Smart Kid

    posted by on April 2 at 3:17 PM

    Fifth-grader from Michigan goes to the Smithsonian, discovers it’s wrong.

    Helter Skelter

    posted by on April 2 at 3:03 PM

    As performed by Mike Gravel, who is out of the presidential (oops!) Democratic primary race but apparently not out of the music video business:

    Tonight’s Design Reviews: The Good, the Bland, and the Mystery

    posted by on April 2 at 2:45 PM

    Back to the Drawing Board, Amazon

    The proposed design for Amazon’s fifth office building in South Lake Union is fine—for a market-rate apartment building. But for part of a massive complex on five blocks that will define a neighborhood, the preliminary designs look boring, lifeless, typical, and cheap.


    Callison Architecture, Inc.

    For the record, I’ve also defended certain uses of unattractive and inexpensive buildings. And to the credit of Amazon and Vulcan (which is developing the property for Amazon), these buildings are at the cutting edge of environmentally responsible devlopment. That’s commendable. But as one of the city’s most influential institutions and a beneficiary of Seattle’s goodwill, Amazon should create a landmark that will be a gold standard to which other great buildings in Seattle are compared. Amazon should define the neighborhood with something inspirational. The limitation to 12 stories – as permitted by a generous zoning package recently passed by the city council – is no excuse not to think big. The VA building on Beacon Hill, where some of Amazon’s operations are currently run, is an example of a non-skyscraper with phenomenal design. The UW School of Law and the old Sears building, home of Starbucks, also prove that impressive design needn’t be part of the skyline.


    Callison Architecture, Inc.

    Now, mind you, these are only preliminary designs for the brick-colored building. “So don’t give more weight to what’s in the package than you’ve seen right now. We’ve got a long way to go,” says a staff member of Callison Architects who asked not to be named. However, the white and tan buildings are further along in the design process, he said, yet those, too, induce the same chasm-like yawning as the red building. It’s not too late to turn this run-of-the-mill pablum into a legacy. Godspeed, Amazon.

    The design review meeting is tonight at 6:30 p.m. in room 1 of the Queen Anne Community Center, 1901 1st Avenue West.

    Green Screen

    I used to cut through the parking lot on 34th Avenue between E Union Street and E Spring Street on my bike as a kid, and go tearing up the alley. Happy as those memories are, I’m happier to see the lot get developed into a three-story, mixed-use building, containing office space, ground-level retail, and a 3000-square-foot “artist/studio dwelling” that consumes the entire top floor.


    Johnson Architects

    Madrona’s hub has blossomed in the past decade, and this vine-veiled building will fill in an empty bed in the garden. Tonight’s meeting, for the design-review board to provide a recommendation based on previous designs, is open to the public at 8:00 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of the Yesler Community Center, 917 E Yesler Way.

    Dept. of Flying Pigs

    Anyone willing to develop either of the lots that have sat vacant for years on 23rd Avenue E and E Madison Street with something – anything – is good in my book. That part of town desperately cries out for eyes on the street and pedestrian activity that involves more than slinking down the street to buy crack.

    Sven Larsen of Larsen Architects is designing the building for Le Madison, LLC, and he was kind enough to send me this massing of the proposed design.


    Good on ya, Larsen. He says the building will contain retail on the ground floor and 29-31 apartments above. An early design guidance meeting is tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the multi-purpose room of the Yesler Community Center, 917 E Yesler Way.

    One more after the jump.

    Continue reading "Tonight’s Design Reviews: The Good, the Bland, and the Mystery" »

    In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

    posted by on April 2 at 1:34 PM

    See What The Stranger is Listening to: Via our new account.

    Rock Lottery 4: See whose names are goin’ in the hat.

    New Video: Goldfrapp’s “Happiness”

    Man vs Muppet: The epic drum off.

    The Final Four: It’s down to Slats, EYE, Barfly, and Jackie Hell. Who’s gonna take it?

    Today’s Music News: Jay-Z and Beyonce’s wedding news, Neil Young’s new album, and Yes’ tour buddies.

    Commercial Rock: Throw Me the Statue get prime airplay in Rhapsody commercial.

    Tonight in Music: Snuggle, Subhumans, and Little Wings.

    Weezer’s New Album: It’s gonna be another color one.

    The Turn-Ons Give Your Their New Record For Free: You can download it here.

    Dumped: Velvet Revolver gives Weiland the boot.

    More on X’s Billy Zoom: And what he does and doesn’t do while playing.

    Dexter Wansel: Bridging the gap between jazz, funk, soul, and disco.

    April Foolin’: Have you been Rickrolled?


    The Cute Lepers by Lauren Max.

    “It’s 3 a.m.,” Pennsylvania Edition

    posted by on April 2 at 1:05 PM

    Clearly, the Hillary Clinton campaign liked how its original “3 a.m.” ad worked last month when Texas and Ohio were voting. Now the campaign is unveiling a new “3 a.m.” ad in Pennsylvania.

    However. Notice how the ad this time is about economic security, not national security. Notice, also, how it explicitly names John McCain as the “other” that Clinton is opposing. Not a word about Obama. This seems to me a tacit concession by Clinton to the reality that many Democrats simply do not want to see any more harsh tearing down of Obama, overt or covert, especially on fundamental issues such as the economy and national security.

    Now, a thought experiment: What if Clinton had run an ad like this in the run-up to Texas and Ohio? What if she’d explicitly named John McCain in her famous/infamous “3 a.m.” ad on national security, thereby making it clear that she was going to try to elevate herself by tearing down McCain and not by tearing down Obama? Would it have worked? Would she have won?

    I don’t know. But I do know Clinton wouldn’t have been hit with all that Democratic fury about fear-mongering and even subtle race-baiting. She might also not have been hit with the “honesty gap” that showed up in polling after Ohio and Texas.

    Clinton says she’s going to fight until the end. With this ad, has she finally found a way to fight in a manner that doesn’t hurt her by being perceived as too dirty? And if she has finally found the right attack ad: Why did it take so long to hit upon this rather obvious formula?

    Comedy Has a New Enemy

    posted by on April 2 at 12:59 PM

    Please enjoy the preview for Mike Myers’ forthcoming film, The Love Guru.

    Oh my aching sides.

    Thank you, Defamer.

    Three Times Nope

    posted by on April 2 at 12:49 PM

    Back behind bars

    The Court of Cassation rejected a defense request for the release of University of Washington student Amanda Knox of Seattle; her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Ivory Coast national Rudy Hermann Guede.

    “All three requests have been rejected,” said Marco Brusco, a lawyer for Sollecito.

    The war in Italy is at the end of the day a PR war. Amanda has failed to win any sympathy in the country that has imprisoned her for a crime that is belted by a thick fog. Her PR there and here is not producing the desired results: outrage, fellow feeling, and freedom.

    Limbaugh: Women Support Hillary Because “They’ve Had Two or Three Abortions.” Also, Obama “Can’t Tell the Time of Day.”

    posted by on April 2 at 12:25 PM

    Right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh—you know, Hillary Clinton’s BFF—said on his show yesterday that women think Hillary’s “owed” a win because they’ve “had two or three abortions” and “cut men out of their lives.”

    From the April 1 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:

    Limbaugh: And if they — you know, if Hillary doesn’t get it — you have to understand the mindset of a lot of these feminists and women. They think they’re owed this — just like Obama supporters think they’re owed this. These women have paid their dues. They’ve been married two or three times; they’ve had two or three abortions; they’ve done everything that feminism asked them to do. They have cut men out of their lives; they have devoted themselves to causes and careers. And this — the candidacy of Hillary Clinton — is the culmination of all of these women’s efforts. And if it gets stolen from them, in their minds — not actually stolen, but if the country or if the Democrat [sic] Party rejects this wonderfully great, lying woman in exchange for a rookie, radical black guy who can’t tell the time of day, they are going to be so miffed. They are going to be so upset. These Democrats are absolutely right about the anger over all this, because they are — both sides of this equation think they are owed this nomination.

    On the Hillary side, always women, the feminists. You know, they made sure they followed the script. Paula Jones was trailer trash. Kathleen Willey was insane. Whatever Bill Clinton did, they looked the other way; they stood for it because Mrs. Clinton was waiting in the wings.

    Put This on Your Calendar

    posted by on April 2 at 12:08 PM


    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on April 2 at 12:00 PM


    From JTContinental

    Submitted For Your Peer Review

    posted by on April 2 at 11:55 AM

    MCAT Preparation Using The Stranger Enhances Verbal Reasoning Scores
    Jonathan Golob(1)
    (1) Institute for Advanced Pre-Medical Education

    Preparation for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) verbal reasoning section is a frequent source of frustration for prospective medical students. Practice passages are of hideous quality, leading to despair. In these experiments we applied a passage from a recent edition of The Stranger to a study system for the MCAT. The test scores on standard practice passages significantly improved (from 44.2% to 88.4%; p < 0.05) for a study subject subjected to Stranger writing. These findings provide hope for pre-medical students everywhere and are likely to have a major impact on medical admission practices and standards.

    Continue reading "Submitted For Your Peer Review" »

    Aspiring Pollock

    posted by on April 2 at 11:51 AM

    calandersonpaint.jpgThe fountain mound at Cal Anderson Park. Not the ugliest vandalism on the block, though it’s a bummer the water turned murky as a result.

    This Weekend, The Stranger Also (Improbably) Suggests: A Sketch Comedy Festival in Bellingham

    posted by on April 2 at 11:47 AM

    I wouldn’t normally flog a sketch comedy festival in Bellingham, or a sketch comedy festival anywhere. In fact, the words “sketch comedy festival” should send a little chill through the heart of any reasonable person. (Sorry, Seattle Sketchfest.)

    HOWEVER! This weekend is the first weekend of the poorly named, but well-curated, Sketchingham, which has been cobbled together by the Cody Rivers Show, who are comedy geniuses. (Seriously: They’ve been independently audited by myself and Lindy West, and we’re both picky. And we shortlisted them for a Genius Award.)

    The main attraction this weekend is the Pajama Men, formerly known as Sabotage back when they came to the Seattle fringe festival and got stiffed, along with most of the other performing artists, when the festival went down in flames. So they’ll probably never return to Seattle—they’ve cursed the place, shaken our dust from their feet, and moved on to performer for luckier people in happier cities—so YOU must go to THEM.


    A paean: I know, I’m not crazy about the name either—but The Pajama Men is one of only two comedy duos I’ve seen (the other is Cody Rivers) whose performances are as rigorous and hermetic as the best theater and dance. Most comedy just reflects and riffs on the world. The Pajama Men’s fast, tight fictions (one concerns a horse who wants to kill, but cannot bring himself to kill, his rider; another concerns variations on an old couple walking through a park, verbally abusing each other) imagine new possibilities—they rethink the world.

    They’ve got crazy discipline—they switch between characters as quickly as you’d blink—and understand precisely how long an audience’s attention will follow one idea.

    I still remember a sketch from years ago about a father and daughter in a haunted building, exactly what their faces, voices, and personalities were like. (He was patient, funny, the kind of dad everyone wants. She was squeaky-voiced and that painful combination of pushy and ashamed that you only find in adolescents and developmentally disabled adults.) It remains one of my favorite, most vivid memories of a live performance anywhere, ever, along with that one production of Platonov and Dorky Park.

    To their credit, the Pajama Men don’t have any YouTube videos that I could find (theater is always degraded by the camera—the most angelic performance, mediated by a screen, will turn to mud), but if you have any sense, you will travel to them. Two years ago, I followed them to Vancouver; this weekend, I’m taking the train to Bellingham.

    Sketchingham runs three weekends total, with comedians and sketch groups from Seattle (David Cope, Emmett Montgomery, Becky Poole) as well as New York, Los Angeles, and Mexico City.

    But I only ever care about the Pajama Men.

    Get your Sketchingham tickets here. And your train tickets here.

    Trophy Cupcakes on Tomorrow’s Martha Stewart Show

    posted by on April 2 at 11:40 AM


    Trophy Cupcakes, Seattle’s most delicious cupcakery (sorry, Cupcake Royale), will be featured on tomorrow’s Martha Stewart Show, when Trophy owner Jennifer Shea shares a new S’mores cupcake recipe and frosting-rosette tips with America’s most well-organized ex-con.

    The Seattle P-I has the full story on how Jennifer met Martha here. (And if you want to help Trophy celebrate their media triumph, the Wallingford shop will be replaying Shea’s segments on Martha and serving free mini-cupcakes and punch at 5 pm tomorrow.)

    Passover Disaster! Tam Tam Supply at Risk!

    posted by on April 2 at 11:21 AM


    But Manischewitz, the global kosher food producer, has temporarily stopped making Tam Tams because of production problems at its Newark, N.J., plant.

    A $15 million oven that was supposed to debut in October didn’t come on line until December, Manischewitz spokesman David Rossi said. That didn’t leave enough time to produce the company’s full line of matzo products for Passover.

    We wandered in the desert for forty years, only to have this unspeakable tragedy befall us? Repent now, lest the Jews be asked to suffer more!

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on April 2 at 11:00 AM


    Ocho at Ocho

    Named after how many lucky gold teeth its co-owner has, Ocho is a small neighborhood bar where ace chefs (one from Canlis, the other from Tilth) make excellent Spanish snacks: delicious deviled eggs with chorizo and pickled asparagus, garlicky prawns, and a dessert toast with chocolate and truffle oil that, in the words of food critic Bethany Jean Clement, “goes from sweet to salty to heat in a magical manner… you can feel the happiness happening.” (Ocho, 2325 NW Market St, 784-0699. 4 pm–2 am.)


    Time for Irwin, Part I

    posted by on April 2 at 10:31 AM

    Every morning, I think, “This should be the day. I should write about the Robert Irwin show today.”

    I’m talking about the Irwin show in San Diego through April 13, the one everyone’s been talking about and writing about, the one I flew down the West Coast specifically to see in February.

    So I’m going to do it a little bit at a time, starting now, and for however many days it takes.

    In the first place, it should be known that I’m a sucker for Irwin. I think I’m still in the place on the feedback loop where I like him because of what he’s done, not where I like what he’s done because I like him, but I can squarely be called a fan. I’m not sure whether that amounts to a caveat or not.

    Irwin is not only a terrific and important artist, he also, as Tyler Green pointed out, seems to inspire exceptional writing. Last year, I called Lawrence Wechsler’s classic 1982 book about Irwin, Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees, the best book about art I’ve ever read. Specifically, Irwin inspires clarity. I’ll do my best.

    First, the basics. If you had to boil down Irwin’s accomplishment into a single sentence, you could say he dissolved the border between the art object and its environment. It wasn’t an academic exercise. He did it to upset the hierarchy of which things in the world we pay attention to, and which things we ignore. His career can be considered a social project. But it never feels like a social project. Let me explain what I mean.

    Here’s where we start: In 1960, with Irwin piling paint on canvas, pushing it into the center of the picture. That was where the eye went. Not so different from any other painter. Things were about to seriously change.


    Coming up: The blatant but largely unobserved flaw in the show’s centerpiece, why the bad lighting on one of Irwin’s paintings is perfect, why I’m glad the glass column in the show was knocked over and broken during the first weeks of the show, and what’s up with Irwin in Seattle right now.

    Another Red-Faced Bill Moment

    posted by on April 2 at 10:30 AM

    Via the San Francisco Chroncile, he’s still furious about Richardson.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on April 2 at 10:30 AM

    Kristen Ramirez’s A City Makes Herself (2007), vinyl-mesh mural, 14 by 100 feet

    At Union Street Electric Gallery (“Gallery”).

    Life Imitates Art, Poorly

    posted by on April 2 at 10:26 AM

    From the German website, a photographic survey of food products, comparing packaging and promo shots with actual contents.


    (Thank you, Funtasticus, and Slog tipper Mike.)

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on April 2 at 10:06 AM

    Tonight, we have a poetry slam. Every time that I type “poetry slam,” I want to type “pottery slam,” which I think sounds like something that somebody should put on. How could a pottery slam not be a lot of fun?

    Firstly, Scott Simon, the NPR correspondent, reads from his new novel, Windy City, at the Moore Theatre. Windy City looks really good, but I haven’t read it yet—another victim of too many books, too little time here at The Stranger Book Corral—and you know that Simon will actually be able to read his own work, which makes this the readings equivalent of a sure thing.

    Up at Third Place Books in Ravenna, which is a nice, cozy bookstore with a bar in the basement, Nancy Leigh Harless reads from Womankind: Connection & Wisdom Around the World, which is about the worldwide “sisterhood of Womankind.”

    And up at the Third Place Books mothership store in Lake Forest Park, Jodi Picoult is reading from Change of Heart, which is another of her ‘ripped-from-the-headlines’-style novels. This one is about the death penalty and organ donation, and it involves a convict with Messianic powers, which sounds vaguely familiar. A lot of people feel really strongly about Jodi Picoult, and they buy her books every year when they’re released, like clockwork. I’ve tried to read two of her books, and I couldn’t get anywhere with them, because I felt, with the telegraphed plot twists, the egregious coincidences, and the forced dialogue, that I might as well be watching bad television. But then, telegraphed plot twists, egregious coincidences, forced dialogue, and ‘ripped-from-the-headlines’-style novels are what people criticized Dickens for writing, back in the day, so maybe, one day in the future, after I’m dead, the 10,000,000 Picoult fans will have the last laugh.

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

    SURGEON GENERAL’S WARNING: Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, Heart Disease, Emphysema, And May Make You Really, Really Stupid

    posted by on April 2 at 10:03 AM

    One byproduct of smoking bans appears to be a spike in drunk-driving:

    A ban on smoking in American bars has caused the number of accidents from drunken driving to surge, researchers have discovered.

    US jurisdictions with a smoking ban have seen, on average, a nearly 12-percent rise in the number of drink-related accidents at the wheel, they say in a study released on Wednesday.

    What’s the cause? Evidently…

    Instead of heading to their local bar for a drink and a smoke, smokers venture farther afield in search of a place where lighting up is still allowed, they say.

    The smokers may not be drinking more than before but they are certainly driving more — and this is what is increasing the risk of a smash.

    “Banning smoking in bars increases the fatal accident risk posed by drunk drivers,” the study says.

    “Our evidence is consistent with two mechanisms — smokers searching for alternative locations to drink within a locality and smokers driving to nearby jurisdictions that allow smoking in bars.”

    Christ. Is stepping outside really more inconvenient than a D.U.I.?

    Re: The Essence of Seattle

    posted by on April 2 at 10:01 AM

    For those who have never seen our future:


    See, Charles, the Space Needle survives.

    Thunderstruck Indeed

    posted by on April 2 at 9:36 AM

    Texas 5, Seattle 4 thanks, freakishly, to J.J. Putz who, after blowing just two saves all of last year, managed to hork it in just the second game of this year, when Rangers’ center fielder Josh Hamilton (who badly misplayed a fly ball from Ichiro early in the game) absolutely shellacked the first pitch Putz threw him into left center field—after Seattle had battled back in the 8th to a one run lead.

    Ichiro, by the way, had three hits. Felix didn’t look super sharp, but he only gave up one unearned run—and made up for it was some great fielding (5 assists to just 3 strikeouts: weird). Oh, and Richie Sexson managed to strike out swinging on a bad 3-2 pitch with the bases loaded. All told, he struck out three times. Sigh.

    Tonight Carlos Silva makes his Mariners debut. Hopefully he can help deliver the series.

    The Essence of Seattle

    posted by on April 2 at 9:14 AM

    For those who have never seen our future:

    It’s all about the Space Needle. This outrageous building is our city.

    One Way to Become a Convention Delegate

    posted by on April 2 at 9:10 AM

    Were you elected as a precinct delegate at your Democratic caucus site on Feb. 9? Do you have dreams of being voted by your peers all the way to the state convention, and then on to the national convention in Denver this fall? Via Ben Smith, the creator of Hillary4UandMe provides an interesting model for running a campaign to go to distance.

    That’s right. The person behind this:

    And don’t forget, precinct delegates: The Legislative District caucuses are this weekend, on April 5. Locations here. Info on Thursday’s meetup of Stranger-aligned delegates here.

    And Another Sign of the Times

    posted by on April 2 at 8:59 AM

    World views US ‘more positively’

    Attitudes to the United States are improving, an opinion poll carried out for the BBC World Service suggests.

    The average percentage of people saying that the US has a positive influence has risen to 35% from 31% a year ago, according to the survey.

    Those saying the US has a negative influence fell five percentage points to 47%.

    The future will certainly connect the current revival of American prestige with the arrival of Obama on the main stage of planetary politics. In fact, the crucial (and telling) difference between his presidency and Clinton’s is this: Clinton (like McCain) will be nothing more than another American president, whereas Obama will be a world president. In Obama’s presidency is the first big leap toward the real globalization of politics.

    Another Sign of the Times

    posted by on April 2 at 8:55 AM From the AFP:

    They’re angry at their demanding editors. They’re angry about the mushrooming workload in shrinking newsrooms. They’re even angry about other angry journalists.

    But these angry journalists are happy they can now vent their frustrations to the rest of the world, courtesy of, a sort of online complaint board allowing ink-stained wretches to gripe anonymously.

    Ironically, their anger is partly fueled by the Internet, which has forced newspapers and television networks to reinvent themselves with painful consequences for their staffs.

    I did a quick search for the word “Seattle” in the angry entries (now numbering near 3,000) and found only one that mentions this city—and then only as a reference point for someone who actually worked 70 miles away from here. Which means Seattle journalists are perfectly content? Or just being careful? Here’s angry journalist #1372:

    I’m unhappy because there are too many daily newspapers, such as my last about 70 miles from Seattle, that feel about reporters the same thing Hitchcock felt about actors — they’re cattle. The paper brings in young journalists, asks them to churn out three to four stories a day until they burn out, and then sends them on their disspirited way while awaiting the next victim. Money for training? Nope. Coaching while on-site? Nope, just rewrite and criticize. Good pay? You’ve got to be kidding! And you wonder why journalism is in a world of hurt.

    Sign of the Times

    posted by on April 2 at 8:36 AM

    This is encouraging news:

    In February, The Huffington Post drew 3.7 million unique visitors, according to Nielsen Online, for the first time beating out The Drudge Report, the conservative tip sheet with which The Post is often compared.

    The Morning News

    posted by on April 2 at 8:24 AM

    Sorry: Jay Leno apologizes, sort of, for asking Ryan Phillippe to give his “gayest look.” Context here.

    Soaring: Attacks on US forces in Iraq.

    Not Over Yet?: Zimbabwe’s state-run newspaper, after four days without results in presidential election, predicts a runoff.

    Relief?: Bipartisan coalition works toward mortgage foreclosure bill in Senate.

    Rationed?: Farmers to plant far less corn than needed to meet demand.

    Rationalizing?: Bush Won’t boycott Olympics opening in Beijing, because they’re “about athletes, not politics.”

    Badass: Gregoire signs nation’s toughest restrictions on toxic toys.

    Taxed: New York smokers, who may soon pay nine dollars for a pack of cigarettes.

    Approved: Tolls on 520 floating bridge.

    Recipe of the Day: Salsa Verde Carnitas, adapted from Simply Recipes by Sheldel Food Journal.


    Continue reading "The Morning News" »

    Tuesday, April 1, 2008

    Happy April Fool’s Day

    posted by on April 1 at 4:46 PM

    From someecards:


    Fired Officer Applies to Police Review Board

    posted by on April 1 at 4:29 PM

    Former Seattle Police Officer John Powers, who was fired from the department in 2005, has applied for a position on the City Council’s Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB). Powers was at the center of a major police internal investigation—conducted by the department’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) and the FBI—which found he had used cocaine on the job and used his patrol car to give girlfriends rides, among other infractions.

    Powers—who spent eight years at SPD—maintains his innocence and is suing the department for defamation and wrongful termination, and says he wants to join OPARB so other officers receive fair treatment during internal probes. “I would like to see this department held accountable [for] their OPA investigations,” he says.”I think [the OPA is] dirty.”

    Ironically, Councilmember Tim Burgess—who supervises OPARB—referenced Powers in a 2005 Seattle Times editorial about police misconduct. Burgess wrote:

    Misconduct of the type involved in [Powers’] cases works like water on rock, wearing away the foundation of trust until the rock — the police force — can no longer be seen as reliable.

    Powers says he’s qualified to be on the review board—whose standards require one member to have five or more years of law enforcement experience—but he doesn’t believe he has much chance of actually getting a position. “[I applied for] my own peace of mind,” he says.

    Burgess’s office has received more than 20 applications for OPARB and should begin selecting candidates sometime in the next month. Burgess’s office would not comment on Powers or any other OPARB candidates.

    Obama Says Gay Marriage Not “Politically Feasible”

    posted by on April 1 at 4:12 PM

    This according to an Advocate account of Obama’s talk at a recent high-dollar fundraiser in New York. And guess what? The gay, lesbian, and trans donors who were in attendance seem to have appreciated his candor.

    (Via Ben Smith)

    If You Think the Slog is Harsh on Hillary Clinton…

    posted by on April 1 at 4:00 PM

    …try Christopher Hitchens:

    The punishment visited on Sen. Hillary Clinton for her flagrant, hysterical, repetitive, pathological lying about her visit to Bosnia should be much heavier than it has yet been and should be exacted for much more than just the lying itself.

    Macy’s: Department Store of Doom

    posted by on April 1 at 3:44 PM

    First: A 32-year-old, 400-pound man expires after being detained by store security for trying to steal a hat from Macy’s.


    Second: A 22-year-old man was stabbed in the neck by a stranger while shopping at Macy’s: “The suspect turned around, grabbed him from behind and stabbed him in the neck with a knife. The victim turned around and said to the suspect, ‘What are you doing? I don’t even know you.’ The suspect replied by stabbing the victim in the shoulder three times.”

    Third: Macy’s CEO’s salary fell $2 million in 2007.

    Fourth: In honor of its new “eco-awareness campaign,” Macy’s has mailed out a bunch of swag bound for dumpsters across America.



    Radar’s Chick-Lit Makeovers

    posted by on April 1 at 3:15 PM


    The good folks at Radar do chick-lit makeovers on classic works. In addition to Styron, the roster of femmed-up writers includes Pynchon, Frank, and God. See the whole feature here.

    They Plot So Young These Days

    posted by on April 1 at 2:42 PM

    A group of third-graders plotted to attack their teacher, bringing a broken steak knife, handcuffs, duct tape and other items for the job and assigning children tasks including covering the windows and cleaning up afterward, police said Tuesday.

    The plot by as many as nine boys and girls at Center Elementary School in south Georgia was a serious threat, Waycross Police Chief Tony Tanner said Tuesday.

    “We did not hear anybody say they intended to kill her, but could they have accidentally killed her? Absolutely,” Tanner said. “We feel like if they weren’t interrupted, there would have been an attempt. Would they have been successful? We don’t know.”

    The children, ages 8 and 9, were apparently mad at the teacher because she had scolded one of them for standing on a chair, Tanner said.

    According to the story, the alleged target was a “veteran educator who teaches third-grade students with a range of learning disabilities, including attention deficit disorder, delayed development and hyperactivity.” The kids have been suspended, and under Georgia law they can’t be charged with a crime.

    How a Crusade to Save the Pike-Pine Neighborhood Is Turning an Active Block Into a Gravel Lot—For at Least a Year

    posted by on April 1 at 2:15 PM

    What seems worse than losing a strip of independent businesses in one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods and replacing it with a blasé apartment building? Losing a strip of independent businesses in one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods and replacing it with nothing.

    Last week my friend Kim directed me to a thread on Flickr where a rumor was flying that developers had withdrawn plans for the much-discussed building on E Pine Street between Belmont and Summit Avenues. Instead of a six-story, mixed-use building, gossipers say the property owners would replace the erstwhile Cha Cha and Bus Stop block with a parking lot.

    That rumor, it turns out, isn’t quite true. But it’s not quite false, either. Here’s what’s happening.

    After several meetings (the first in late 2006) among Capitol Hill’s design-review board, the developer, architects, and neighbors, the Department of Planning and Development issued a master use permit last fall to build the 108-unit apartment building with retail on the ground floor. It was to look like this.


    Weber & Thomson Architects. (This picture sucks because it’s a phone-camera photo of the hardcopy design proposal. The city doesn’t have digital renderings.)

    Enter Dennis Saxman, a 58-year-old who lives a few blocks away. He balked at the permitted design, saying it conflicts with neighborhood design guidelines intended to preserve the warehouse architectural themes of the Pike-Pine corridor. He appealed the permit to the city’s hearing examiner, Anne Watanabe, in mid-November, but she upheld the permit on January 16, stating, “The record does not show that the proposal’s design would be inconsistent with the design review guidelines.” So Saxman, who went to law school in California, pressed on.

    On February 5, he filed a petition with the King County Superior Court, naming the City of Seattle and developer Pine & Belmont, LLC, and requesting that “the Court reverse the land use decision.” A hearing of the case is now scheduled for July 7.

    What will happen to this block in the meantime?


    “At the moment, it’s just going to be graveled over and left as a vacant lot,” says Wade Metz, development manager of Murray Franklyn. He met with Saxman last Wednesday in an attempt to reach an out-of-court agreement, unsuccessfully.

    It could be a year or more,” says Metz.

    “The city was screaming at me to get the buildings torn down; there were vagrants in it,” Metz says. “All the tenants had left. I had no choice.”

    In fact, one year is a soonest-case scenario—if Saxman loses. “It will get built,” says Metz, “it’s just a matter of when.”

    If the court finds the design violates city law and Saxman wins—while an unlikely scenario because it would require overturning the Seattle hearing examiner’s decision—the proposal could literally get sent back to the drawing boards. “They would have to go back, and update their design … and most likely we would take it back to the [design review] board,” says Vince Lyons, head of the design review program for the city’s Department of Planning and Development. Chugging through the design review process could take a year or more, meaning the gravel lot would sit untouched for two or three years before construction crews break ground.

    But such a ruling would be a victory for Saxman and those fed up with Seattle’s cookie-cutter development: The design review board for Capitol Hill (and perhaps other neighborhoods) could be required to make developers strictly adhere to a classical interpretation of the neighborhood design guidelines.

    Nightlife and cornices after the jump.

    Continue reading "How a Crusade to Save the Pike-Pine Neighborhood Is Turning an Active Block Into a Gravel Lot—For at Least a Year" »

    Reichert’s Campaign Ace In the Hole: The Green River Killer

    posted by on April 1 at 2:07 PM

    I’ve filed a lot of copy lately documenting nervous Republican Rep. Dave Reichert’s election-season shuffle to the left—voting for a gay rights law, voting to override President Bush’s veto of children’s healthcare legislation—but one of the most recent bills he’s sponsoring comes from the right side of the political divide. It also seems to be an election-season reminder about his role in capturing the Green River Killer. (BTW, Reichert’s nervous because Democratic challenger Darcy burner has $144,000 more cash on hand than he does.)

    The bill would crack down on “murderabilia.” Specifically, trying to stop federal prisoners from profiting off their crimes, the law would regulate what federal prisoners can send in the mail (destination Ebay, I imagine.)

    A law along the same lines (the Son of Sam Law)—which prohibited criminals from profiting from book deals about their crimes—was ruled unconstitutional in 1987. (I wonder how much Rep. Reichert has profited off his book and movie deals about the Green River Killer?)

    Rep. Reichert’s effort seems well-intentioned but riddled with constitutional problems.

    A recent Time article on the murderabilia craze and Congress’s attempt to deal with it featured this quote from the ACLU:

    “The [new] bill does cause some concerns,” says Marv Johnson, legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, D.C. “It’s a bit too broad and does raise some First Amendment issues by affecting protected activity.”

    P.S. I closed the comments thread on my post yesterday about leaving the paper (it’s true, it’s true) because, feeling dramatic, I wanted a stand-alone announcement without some weird thread creating its own storyline. But, goddamn, thanks for all the wonderful e-mails that came in.

    Lunch Date: Love Is a Mixtape

    posted by on April 1 at 1:42 PM


    (A few times a week, I take a new book with me to lunch and give it a half an hour or so to grab my attention. Lunch Date is my judgment on that speed-dating experience.)

    Who’s your date today? Love is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time, by Rob Sheffield, released in paperback in January.

    Where’d you go? Mediterranean Express.

    What’d you eat?
    The Kafta Kabob ($8.79).

    How was the food? Mediterranean Express is pretty damn good. They’ve got that weird, delicious rice that’s so yellow it’s kind of glowing, and the Kabobs reminded me of salisbury steak TV dinners, but in a really good way. The hummus is not so very exciting, but everything else is just spicy enough for a lunch break where I have to talk to people for the rest of the day and not offend them with my breath.

    What does your date say about itself?
    It’s a memoir about the author, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone, and his romance with a woman who would eventually die in his arms. And also the mix tapes that they made. There’s a rave blurb on the back, from Sheffield’s employer, Rolling Stone, calling the book “the finest lines ever written about rock and roll.” Also, Entertainment Weekly calls it “heroic.”

    Is there a representative quote?
    “….For instance, I hated Pearl Jam at the time. I thought they were pompous blowhards. Now, whenever a Pearl Jam song comes on the car radio, I find myself pounding my fist on the dashboard, screaming, “Pearl JAM! Pearl JAM! Now this is rock and roll! Jeremy’s SPO-ken! But he’s still al-LIIIIIVE!”

    Will you two end up in bed together? Sadly, no. While I feel like a douchebag for abandoning a book about a dead woman who the author clearly loves a lot, the vapid writing about bad rock and roll, and the use of a mix tape as a metaphor for, well, everything, makes me not want to read any further. This really does come across as a very long Rolling Stone article about mortality, which isn’t anything that I have any desire to read. Abandoned at page 41.

    This Just In, Too…

    posted by on April 1 at 1:24 PM

    An elephant paints a picture! Of an elephant! Holding a flower in its trunk!

    Somebody contain me. I am apt to explode with amazement.

    Oh, and this is sort of real, as far as I know. I don’t do “April Fools”. And I have no idea how old it is, so if you’ve seen it before, hooray for you!

    Dilbert Would Be Into It

    posted by on April 1 at 1:20 PM

    The least funny April Fool’s Day joke I have encountered, courtesy of


    Quick, grab your Cathy mug! Scandal is afoot!

    This Just In

    posted by on April 1 at 1:10 PM


    We just received this mysterious envelope in the mail—you’ll note that there is no return address, that the stamp is upside down, and that addressee (“Assignment Editor”) is not a position anyone at The Stranger holds.

    The enclosed material is a white sheet of paper with a few words in the middle (I zoomed in):


    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on April 1 at 12:35 PM

    Hillary Proposes a Way to End the Race

    posted by on April 1 at 12:30 PM

    It involves ten pins:

    No More Dasein for Dassin.

    posted by on April 1 at 12:29 PM

    The man who created the greatest heist sequence in all of cinema (it’s in Rififi) is now dead to us and himself.

    American film director Jules Dassin has died in an Athens hospital after a short illness, at the age of 96.

    Blacklisted in Hollywood after WWII, he went to Europe where he married the late Greek actress and later culture minister Melina Mercouri…

    Mr Dassin was born in the US state of Connecticut on 18 December 1911.

    He worked as an actor and theatre producer before becoming an assistant to film director Alfred Hitchcock.

    He was active in leftist politics and in the early 1950s his promising Hollywood career was cut short when he was named as a communist and blacklisted.

    He met Ms Mercouri at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955 where he won the best director prize for his film Rififi. Its long heist sequence, without dialogue, became a template for many later crime capers

    And now for a special, special treat: the trailer for Rififi, a film that was made in 1955, in Paris, and described by one critic as having “enough raw sex to elevate every eyebrow.” (Erecting eyebrows was a big deal back then.)

    In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

    posted by on April 1 at 12:27 PM

    Today’s Music News: Injuries, side-projects, new records, and jailbird love.

    Tonight in Music: Le Loup, the Ruby Suns, and Beats for Obama.

    Last Night: Eric Grandy reviews the Cribs/Ra Ra Riot/Jeffrey Lewis show at Chop Suey.

    Jenny Bendel Leaves King Cobra: She’s now settled at Slim’s.

    An Interview with Jim Anderson: Soundguy superstar and… quilter?

    An Interview with Blush Photo: The local rock and party photographer has a new show hanging at Neumo’s.

    New Videos: Bjork’s “Wanderlust” and Kanye’s “Homecoming.” (Click here to read about how Bjorks 3-D video was made…)

    Hello, Everybody!: Nick Cave becomes Dr. Nick Cave.

    Art & Music: And tattoos and turbulent rock.

    U2 Crocs!: Ugly shoes coming to a music festival near you?

    Yesterday’s Comment of the Day: “Imagine” rewritten about breakfast.

    Elliott Smith is Still Dead: Yet, I managed to forget that yesterday morning.

    Joni Mitchell, However…: Is very much alive. Despite her suicide attempt decades ago.

    NIN is Coming to Seattle: For true.

    Funny Stuff: Sasquatch announces comedian line-up.

    Black and White: The rare occasion where a white artist takes a song by a black artist and makes it better.

    jimquilt.jpgJim Anderson’s Rock T-Shirt Quilt

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on April 1 at 12:22 PM


    From ERIK98122

    The Patriot

    posted by on April 1 at 11:53 AM

    I just returned from a few days in New York, where, among other things, I killed some time in Park Slope on Friday afternoon by getting my hair cut. You ask: Is he really about to build a Slog post out of getting a haircut on a Friday afternoon in Brooklyn?

    Yes, he is. (And now he’s also going to stop talking about himself in the third person.) Apologies in advance if you’re already searching for the Zzzzzz key, but really: What would the blogosphere be without people filling it up with accounts of their meaningless little highly consequential lives? Empty, I tell you. Empty!

    So there I was getting my hair cut in Park Slope, a neighborhood that is about as Seattle as you get in New York. Wider streets, mellower pace, bars that are about sitting and talking rather than standing and being seen. The man cutting my hair, it turned out, was an immigrant from Dagestan—a Sephardic Jew whose ancestors had been bounced out of Spain during the Inquisition, wandered through the Middle East, and eventually settled in an area of Russia near the Black Sea. Recent years have seen an upsurge of anti-Semitism in Russia, and that turn of events pushed this man, who looked to be about 30, to emigrate to the U.S.

    We began talking about the presidential election. He said he’s never voted before, but he has citizenship and plans to vote this year. It being Park Slope and all, I just assumed he’d be a Democrat, but when I asked how he felt about Hillary Clinton he told me, without any hint of fear about sounding sexist around me or his female coworkers, that he doesn’t trust a woman to lead a country of over 300 million people. I asked about Obama. He said: “I want change, but not that kind of change.” I figured it wasn’t wise to anger the man who was cutting my hair, so I just absorbed this and asked about McCain.

    “He’s a patriot,” the man replied quickly.

    That’s who he’s voting for. The patriot. End of story. Not the woman or the black guy.

    I don’t know how many other Americans have already made up their minds and coded the election this way—the patriot vs. the woman or the black guy—but I’d bet the man who cut my hair is not the only one. We get way down in the electoral weeds on this blog, and I love going there, but it’s sobering to remember how few Americans do the same and how many of them are likely to make decisions based on simple-minded coding grounded in sexism, racism, and knee-jerk nationalism.

    I asked the man what party he belongs to. “No party,” he said. “Independent immigrant.”

    Then he complained about how expensive it is to live in New York and put me through some extended braggadocio about his eye for beautiful women. I felt bad for the guy. He had a lot to prove. I tipped him well.

    The Death Rem

    posted by on April 1 at 11:48 AM

    For those who don’t know, Rem Koolhaas, the man behind our famous Central Library, wants build the Death Star in Dubai:



    …Rem Koolhaas, of the Office of Metropolitan Architecture, planning to build a a gargantuan 44-storey replica of the Death Star as a corner-piece for his planned city in Dubai. According to his office, the enormous sphere will be part of a masterplan for his concept of “the generic city”, which has been described by the New York Times as a “sprawling metropolis of repetitive buildings centered on an airport and inhabited by a tribe of global nomads with few local loyalties”.

    What is this strange power that the Death Star exerts on our imagination? Is it the death drive of architecture? Is this the building that stands at the end of all architectural visions and missions? A planet that destroys planets is transformed into a building that destroys other buildings.

    Hot Delegate Action

    posted by on April 1 at 11:39 AM

    ECB, Josh Feit, Eli, I, and Slog-reading delegates (of both C and O persuasions) are getting together sometime this week at an undisclosed location to, uh, fight amongst ourselves! And drink. And plot the overthrow of the Democratic party. It should be rad.


    If you’re a delegate or alternate for this Saturday’s legislative district caucuses and didn’t get an invitation, email me tout de suite and we’ll fix you up.

    New Fruit

    posted by on April 1 at 11:32 AM

    Who knew how sexy cashew trees are? Last week I had cashew fruit and wondered if it was a marketing ploy or a real fruit.
    Finally had time to investigate and turns out it’s pseudo-fruit… a swollen peduncle (a stalk bearing fruit) that grows behind the real fruit that yields the cashew nut (which is actually not a nut but a seed from within the true cashew fruit). The true cashew fruit isn’t edible; it contains a skin irritant similar to poison ivy. The pseudo-fruit is juicy and sweet but fragile and very perishable, so the fresh fruit isn’t exported outside South and Central America (where it’s known as marañón)).

    You can try a cashew fruit smoothy at that trippy little Acai Vida juice bar (upstairs in the Harvard Market at E Pike and Harvard). It’s a good match with rich acai berry pulp.

    Random Text Message, April 1, 11:17 am

    posted by on April 1 at 11:31 AM

    milkshake flaves at pike place mkt. ha! guess that’s what tourists are into…


    “That the Village Voice doesn’t want to pay for two staff film critics is a joke. There is so much to cover.”

    posted by on April 1 at 11:26 AM

    David Carr has a piece in today’s New York Times called Now on the Endangered Species List: Movie Critics in Print, which hangs on the news about what’s happening to film critics all over the country—Nathan Lee was just laid off by the Village Voice, David Ansen is taking a buyout from Newsweek, etc.

    Given that movie blogs are strewn about the Web like popcorn on a theater floor, there are those who say that movie criticism is not going away, it’s just appearing on a different platform… But for a certain kind of movie, critical accolades can mean the difference between relevance and obscurity, not to mention box office success or failure.

    “For those of us who are making work that requires a kind of intellectual conversation, we rely on that talk to do the work of getting people interested,” said Mr. Rudin, who produced “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood,” two Oscar-nominated and critically championed films last year. “All of the talk about ‘No Country,’ all of the argument about the ending, kept that film in the forefront of the conversation” and helped it win the best picture Oscar.

    (Not to put too fine a point on it but, uh, if you read Slog, you found out about the David Ansen news yesterday.)

    They Sent It to Us: “Color Me Bible” Part II

    posted by on April 1 at 11:22 AM

    And, because it deserves its own post, please enjoy this slideshow about heaven.

    (Courtesy of

    Why Sexism Also Hurts Obama

    posted by on April 1 at 11:12 AM

    Because nothing’s worse than being called a girl.

    Exhibit A; Chris Matthews talks to Howard Fineman:

    Matthews: You know, Michelle—and this gets very ethnic, but the fact that he’s good at basketball doesn’t surprise anybody, but the fact that he’s that terrible at bowling does make you wonder—

    Fineman: That doesn’t surprise anybody either.

    Bernard: Well, it certainly doesn’t surprise anybody black, I can tell you that.

    Matthews: [Watching video.] This is a killer. Look at this killer. Because it isn’t the most macho form there, I must say, but who knows?

    Exhibit B; Joe Scarborough talks to Mike Brzezinski and Willie Geist:

    SCARBOROUGH: You know, Willie, the thing is, Americans want their president, if it’s a man, to be a real man. They — 1984, I remember Ronald Reagan goes to South Boston. He holds up that beer mug —


    SCARBOROUGH: — in that South Boston pub, and everybody’s like, “He’s a real man,” and I guess Barack Obama’s trying to do the same thing, too.


    GEIST: He’s going to have to try a little harder than he did in Altoona, Pennsylvania, on Saturday night —

    SCARBOROUGH: Oh my God —

    BRZEZINSKI: Really?

    SCARBOROUGH: Oh, this is awful.

    GEIST: — at the Pleasant Valley Rec Center. He went bowling, and let’s just take a quick look at it here. I guess I’ll just give you the final numbers. Started out nicely, got the Velcro shoes.

    BRZEZINSKI: Looking good, looking good.

    GEIST: But then he started bowling. The score you’re really after in bowling is 300; that’s a perfect score.

    SCARBOROUGH: But, you know, if you get 200, you’re a good bowler.

    GEIST: Sure. You know what?

    BRZEZINSKI: Yeah. Two-fifty —

    SCARBOROUGH: You get 150, you’re a man —


    SCARBOROUGH: — or a good woman.[…]

    [video clip of Obama bowling]

    SCARBOROUGH: Oh, that’s so dainty. Ugh.


    FORD: He probably shouldn’t do that again, but I tell you, it showed a human side to him. I mean, it showed a very humble side to him.

    SCARBOROUGH: Well, yeah, yeah, yeah.

    BRZEZINSKI: He is a politician.

    SCARBOROUGH: A very human side? A prissy side.

    (Also, Maureen Dowd? Maybe calling Obama “exotic” with a “braided” ancestry wasn’t the best choice of words, mmm?)

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on April 1 at 11:00 AM


    Le Loup at Chop Suey

    Le Loup are an apocalyptic future-folk ensemble from the District of Columbia whose debut album—on Sub Pop spin-off Hardly Art—bears the unwieldy but evocative title The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly. Their songs reference Dante’s infernal cantos, noisy natural phenomena, and the rapture. The music sounds like what a band might play on your back porch while the sky swirled into a black vortex and your neighbors ascended to heaven—spare, tense, and atmospherically turbulent. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 8 pm, $8, 21+.)


    Happy Birthday, Bette Davis!

    posted by on April 1 at 10:58 AM

    Bette Davis would have turned 100 on Saturday, and there’s a whole rash of DVD releases and feature articles to prove it. For the latest round of DVDs, see Dennis Lim in the LA Times; for a wider overview, see Terrence Rafferty in the New York Times. Want more? GreenCine Daily has lots and lots of links.

    Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?

    Here in Seattle, Grand Illusion is doing a monthlong series to celebrate. Here’s the lineup:

    Friday April 11 - Thursday April 17 (Double features)
    ALL ABOUT EVE: Daily 6:30pm — plus 2:30pm Sat. & Sun.
    THE LETTER: DAILY 9pm — plus 5pm Sat. & Sun.

    Friday April 18 - Thursday April 24 (Double features)
    JEZEBEL: Daily 7pm — plus 3pm Sat. & Sun.
    THE VIRGIN QUEEN: Daily 9pm — plus 5pm Sat. & Sun.

    Friday April 25 – Thursday May 1
    WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE: Daily 6:00 & 8:30pm — plus 3:30pm Sat. & Sun.

    Plus, two late nights on 16 mm:
    Friday-Saturday April 18-19 & Friday-Saturday April 25-26
    THE NANNY: 11 pm

    Friday-Saturday May 2-3 & Friday-Sat May 9-10

    They Sent It to Us: “Color Me Bible”

    posted by on April 1 at 10:55 AM

    Date: April 1, 2008 9:35:07 AM PDT
    Subject: Kids’ Bible Arts Festival Offers Ranch Vacations

    Dear Ms. Kiley,

    I thought that readers of Stranger would be interested in learning how children can win dude ranch vacations for their families by answering and illustrating questions from the Gospel of John for an online book. Please let me know if I can answer any questions about the Children’s International Arts Festival.

    All His best,
    Carey Kinsolving


    South Padre Island, Texas, April 1, 2008 — Year after year the Bible remains the best selling book in America, yet pollster George Gallup has dubbed Americans “a nation of biblical illiterates” who revere the Bible, but don’t read it.

    Syndicated columnist Carey Kinsolving wants to change that.

    Children all over the world can write and draw to win one of a dozen dude ranch vacations offered as prizes in the Children’s International Arts Festival. Kids ages 5-12 can enter by answering and illustrating Bible-related questions for an online book the festival organizer plans to publish.

    The best children’s writing and art will be published in the “Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John.” This online storybook Bible will be patterned after Kinsolving’s popular “Kids Color Me Bible.”


    Each chapter features children’s writing and art. Children who print pages from the free, online book can add their writing and art making each chapter a personalized keepsake.

    Children who wish to enter the festival can get their parents to download an entry form at


    What do you say, “readers of Stranger”? Care to enter the contest and share your creations?

    How about an illustration of Malachi 2:2? (“Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces.”)

    Or II Kings 2:23? (“From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him: ‘Go on up, you baldhead!’ He turned around, looked at them, and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.”)

    Or Ezekiel 23:19? (“Yet she became more and more promiscuous as she recalled the days of her youth, when she was a prostitute in Egypt. There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.”)

    Mail your very bestest Bible renderings to or:

    Color Me Bible Contest
    1535 11th Ave, Third Floor
    Seattle, WA 98122

    Maybe you’ll win a pony! Or something!

    See more illustrated theology here. And remember…


    Currently Hanging

    posted by on April 1 at 10:30 AM

    Cordy Ryman’s Strap Slope (2005), acrylic and enamel on wood, 33 by 15 inches

    At William Traver Gallery Tacoma.

    Congestion Pricing Passes in NYC!

    posted by on April 1 at 10:23 AM

    And yes, like Clark, I am inordinately excited:

    Moments before 6 p.m., a City Council committee approved the measure, known as a home-rule request, which was needed before the State Legislature can act on the plan, whose fate in Albany is uncertain.

    The congestion pricing plan, as approved by a 17-member state commission that voted at the end of January, would charge drivers with an E-ZPass $8 a day to enter Manhattan below 60th Street on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Those drivers would also receive a credit for bridge or tunnel tolls they paid on the same day. Drivers without an E-ZPass would pay $9 and would not receive credit for tolls.

    The plan is similar to one proposed by Mayor Bloomberg last April — but that plan would have established a northern boundary at 86th Street and included a $4 charge for car trips within the congestion zone.

    The mayor has noted that the city will qualify for $354 million in federal grants for mass transit improvements if congestion pricing is approved.

    Congestion pricing isn‘t exactly what’s planned for this region. With commutes spread out all over the place (unlike New York, most commutes aren’t from the suburbs to downtown Seattle, so drawing a ring around downtown doesn’t make as much sense), the closest thing we can do is toll the two bridges over Lake Washington. However, I think that within ten years, we can expect to see tolls not just across the bridge, but throughout the whole regional highway system—and high time, too.

    April Fools Cruelty

    posted by on April 1 at 10:15 AM

    From Slog commenter Hernandez:

    I’ve already been the victim of an April Fool’s prank today—co-worker comes up to me all excited and says “Did you hear? Hillary Clinton dropped out of the race!” Took me a minute to put 2 and 2 together…

    …that was really cruel.

    Clinton as Rocky

    posted by on April 1 at 10:05 AM

    Today in Philadelphia:

    “Rocky,” anthem of the underdog, and a Philly favorite to boot, rose up on the sound system Monday night at a Clinton rally in nearby Fairless Hills, Pa. Today, Mrs. Clinton has grabbed on to Rocky’s story as her own, telling labor leaders here that like him, she’s not a quitter.

    “Let me tell you something,” she said in remarks prepared for delivery later this morning to the A.F.L.-C.I.O. “When it comes to finishing the fight, Rocky and I have a lot in common. I never quit. I never give up. And neither do the American people… Could you imagine if Rocky Balboa had gotten half way up those Art Museum steps and said, ‘Well, I guess that’s about far enough?’”

    But… Rocky lost. And then there’s the matter of this:

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on April 1 at 9:56 AM

    Three readings tonight, for fans of mysteries, horror-themed science fiction, and, um, hearts.

    At noon, Lisa Lutz is doing a signing at Seattle Mystery Bookshop with her new book, Curse of the Spellmans. This is apparently a series about a family of private detectives. I know some people who really like this book, and they’re people that I like and whose book tastes I generally trust. Go figure.

    At the University of Washington, Karen Matthews is reading from her book Getting to the Heart of the Matter: Psychobiological Origins of Cardiovascular Disease. In the calendar, I wrote that this book “is all about how you’re fucking your heart over years before your first heart attack,” and I will forever listen to Karen Matthews if she refers to her book in exactly those terms: I think more people would pay attention to public health warnings if they were cuss-filled. (C. Everett Koop says: “Don’t fucking smoke, you fucking stupid dumbasses!” And so on.)

    Finally, at the University Bookstore, Jim Butcher reads from his tenth (!) volume in the Harry Dresden Files, Small Favor. It’s a private investigator series set in a world where fantasy mixes with reality. Here is an excerpt, from the beginning of chapter three. Quite a bit more is here, at Jim Butcher’s website.

    And you’re sure they were faeries?” Bob the Skull asked.

    I scowled. “How many other things get their blood set on fire when it touches iron and steel, Bob? Yes, I think I know a faerie when I get my nose broken by one.”

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

    Tips for Trolls (and Those Who Want To Avoid Being Classified with Them)

    posted by on April 1 at 9:52 AM


    How To Disagree, by Paul Graham.

    (Thank you, MetaFilter.)

    “At the end of the season, if a team can only win when they play their best games, they’re not going to win very much.”

    posted by on April 1 at 9:49 AM

    So said Ichiro after yesterday’s opening day win over Texas. Bedard struggled to find the strike zone (106 pitches in five innings), but outside of coughing up a first-inning homer there was little damage. Even some boneheaded plays (might want to scale back on that aggressive base-running, McLaren) weren’t enough to sabotage the W. Beltre hustled to kill a double play, Lopez nailed a perfect hit-and-run, and in a truly weird sight (outside of snow falling), Sexson battled back from an 0-2 count to earn a walk.

    Tonight it’s Felix on the mound. Hopefully the M’s bats will shake off the chill and give him some help.

    Begin Pushing Hard and Fast

    posted by on April 1 at 9:19 AM

    There’s great news for the undertrained and germophobic among us. Folks can save a life without smooching on someone’s clammy blue lips. Ladies and gentlemen, hands-only CPR.

    Bystanders who see someone suddenly collapse should quickly give the person chest compressions even if they are not trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the American Heart Association said on Monday.

    The association urged people not to stand idly by because they do not think they know how to administer CPR while an adult stricken with sudden cardiac arrest is dying in front of them….

    [Dr. Michael Sayre of Ohio State University] said people not trained in CPR should do two things when they encounter an adult who has suddenly collapsed: first, call emergency services; and second, begin pushing “hard and fast” in the center of the person’s chest.

    Here’s the AHA’s guide to hands-only CPR. If you are willing to smack on someone’s tuna lips (or if you’re into that sort of thing), classes on how to do full-on CPR are here.

    In Which a Jewish Mother—Your Jewish Mother?—Emails Us Seeking Help.

    posted by on April 1 at 8:40 AM

    Oy. Being Jewish in Seattle is one thing. But being Jewish and newish in Seattle and having no place to go for Passover? It’s enough to make a mother write an email to The Stranger! Any of you comment mensches want to help?


    Sent: Monday, March 31, 2008 11:27pm


    Subject: Jewish Australian in Seattle

    To Whom It May Concern,

    I am a ‘Yiddishe Mother’ of a 33 year Jewish Australian girl working in Seattle. She has been there for a year now, working in the IT industry. Although not ‘frum,’ she did go to a Jewish co-educational school for 12 years, i.e. elementary and high school. We, as a non-kosher keeping family, have always celebrated Pesach and Rosh Hashanah and I’d like my daughter to have somewhere to go this Pesach. She lives in Capitol Hill.

    Is there a community Seder [she doesn’t keep Kosher] or some sort of social venue applicable for her? She hasn’t met any Jewish people in Seattle, except for one Israeli at work. Of course, she doesn’t know that I’m sending this email.

    Thanking you in anticipation and Chag Sameach for Pesach.

    The Fooliest of Days

    posted by on April 1 at 8:20 AM


    The Agence France Presse has a roundup of April Fool’s Day media hoaxes from around the globe, from flying penguins to stretched French presidents.

    Meanwhile, the video below is completely real. (Thank you, Auschglitz.)

    The Morning News

    posted by on April 1 at 8:18 AM

    In Your Yard-Waste Bin: Meat and dairy scraps OK’d.

    In Everett: Transit agency to buy 23 double-decker buses.

    In Stupidity: One in ten voters believes Obama is Muslim.

    In Irrelevancy: Reporters won’t stop asking Chelsea about Monica.

    In Nassau: 80-year-old kicked out of mall for wearing anti-war shirt.

    In Zimbabwe: Mugabe supporters declare victory; dissenters say vote was rigged.

    In Issaquah: Costco recalls listeria-contaminated frozen chicken entrees. Happy National Frozen Food Month!

    In Iraq
    : Women are more likely to be raped by fellow soldiers than killed by enemy fire.

    Under Attack: Clashes escalate in the Green Zone.

    When All Else Fails
    : Polar Bear Conservancy announces plan to relocate Arctic polar bears… to Antarctica.

    Food Stamps: At highest level since the program began.

    Recipe of the Day: Vegetarian Cassoulet, via Gourmet


    Continue reading "The Morning News" »

    Monday, March 31, 2008

    Police Review Board Veteran Steps Down in Protest

    posted by on March 31 at 5:52 PM

    Sheley Secrest, a key member of the City Council’s Office of Professional Accountability Review Board (OPARB)—the City Council’s police accountability panel—has decided not to reapply for her position on the board , and will step down when her term ends next month. “I did not want to reapply if [Councilmember] Tim Burgess wasn’t going to reappoint me,” she says.”Not seeing the importance of having a review board member continue on [is] disturbing.”

    Earlier this month, Burgess—who controls OPARB through his public safety committee—asked Secrest to reapply for her position, despite the fact that board members have not previously been required to undergo reappointment.

    Secrest would have been the only veteran left on the board—OPARB Chair Peter Holmes has maxed out his time on the board and Brad Moericke is leaving for personal reasons—and her departure has raised concerns a rookie review board will handle the constant pressure from the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild, which recently won a fight to keep OPARB from viewing unredacted police files.

    Secrest believes her removal from the board could also have a chilling effect on future OPARB members, who may have to worry about whether making controversial decisions will keep them from being reappointed.

    Now, Secrest plans to devote more time to her role as the Vice-President of the Seattle NAACP, where she will have more freedom. “The gag order [will] be off,” she says. “No more holding back.”

    I Would Live-Slog the Mariners Game, But…

    posted by on March 31 at 4:53 PM


    …I’m already about to fall asleep. Should lead TV commentator Dave Niehaus get any slack just because he’s covered Mariners games since opening season, just because he’s being inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, or even because he might’ve been tired from throwing today’s first pitch? If he’s going to continue slowly hemming, hawing and sighing like this all season, then no, I’m voiding the slack. Baseball’s already slow enough, Dave—why you gotta make it feel even more like I’m watching a public access TV fishing show at 8:30 a.m.? You were way better in the Ken Griffey Jr. game on N64.

    As of now, top of the fourth, Texas is up 1-0. Mariners pitcher Erik Bedard is already throwing way too many pitches, and Beltre just blew a double-play by bobbling a grounder that he picked up, but the team has otherwise been doing well against Texas’ powerful bats. Not so much against their porous defense, sadly.

    UPDATE: Niehaus just stepped out of the booth, replaced by a guy with a pulse. Do baseball commentators get tired the same way pitchers do? Weird. Whatever—thanks, FSN!

    They’ll Get You There—Eventually

    posted by on March 31 at 4:26 PM

    As ridership on Metro buses has grown, on-time performance has gotten worse. The result: buses are fuller—and later—than ever before.

    One thing I would like to know is whether Metro looked at on-time performance on urban vs. suburban routes. This is completely anecdotal, I know, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in the rain, waiting for a bus to Fremont or Wallingford or wherever, and watched a dozen buses bound for Kent or Auburn or Redmond fly by with almost empty cabins.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on March 31 at 4:25 PM


    From &y, of course.

    Questions, Questions, Questions

    posted by on March 31 at 4:15 PM

    1. How come in sports we say “DE-fense” and “DE-fensive,” but in every other context we say “de-FENSE” and “de-FENSE-ive”? What is the answer? This has been bothering me for weeks now.

    2. Here is a question my friend posed to me the other month: How come sometimes on an old-timey Looney Tunes, all of a sudden a character will show up with a GIANT fur coat and a TINY ukelele? That has to signify something to somebody (Grandma Winnie? Can you read blogs in heaven?), but it means nothing to me. WHAT does big-fur-coat-with-tiny-ukelele MEAN!?

    Case in point (minute 4:35):

    3. “Dessert”? Really? Oats & Beef?

    I thought you Sloggers might know the answers to these questions. Because I know you luuuuv knowing stuff. Thanks in advance!

    How to Get a Pete Townshend Blurb

    posted by on March 31 at 4:09 PM


    Over on Line Out, fantabulous music writer Trent Moorman talks with author Roland Kelts about his book Japanamerica, and how it wound up being praised by Pete Townshend.

    One More Down, A Couple Hundred to Go

    posted by on March 31 at 2:51 PM

    Another major film critic has been axed. Say bye-bye to David Ansen at Newsweek. Via Hollywood Elsewhere.

    Revolution #9

    posted by on March 31 at 2:44 PM

    Hey All You Protest Kids,

    After working for nine years as a politics reporter and news editor at The Stranger (and 3 years now at Slog where I filed the very first Slog post on April 26, 2005), I’ve decided it’s time for a change.

    I told my dear friend and publisher Tim Keck the news last Wednesday morning, and I told all my superstar colleagues the news over the next 24 hours.

    I’ve been planning this for a while (I wanted to get in one more legislative session), so I’ve saved enough money to cool out for a bit while looking for a new job.

    It’s ironic, after nine years making a living hating on Seattle (and always with a plan to get back to the East Coast), I actually love it here these days (it has something to do with buying a fancy bike), and I’m angling to stay. I want to see how the whole story (Seattle) turns out. Light Rail ‘08?

    We’ll see if I manage to stay. I’m looking at several opportunities here, but also in NYC and D.C.

    I’ll be working at The Stranger for another month and then, I’m off.

    Too many memories to recount here—although I do think my favorite day at The Stranger is the day Erica C. Barnett walked into my office and pitched me a story about someone named Cary Moon and some group called the People’s Waterfront Coalition and their plan to replace the Viaduct with nothing.

    Anyway, the Greyhound’s rocking out tonight to maximum rockabilly.

    If It Ain’t One Thing…

    posted by on March 31 at 2:14 PM

    A study by an award-winning cancer expert shows that cell phone use could kill more people than smoking, it is reported.

    According to the U.K.’s Independent newspaper, the study, headed by Dr. Vini Khurana, shows that there is a growing body of evidence that using handsets for 10 years or more can double the risk of brain cancer.

    Khurana — one of the world’s top neurosurgeons — based his assessment on the fact that three billion people now use the phones worldwide. That is three times higher than people who smoke. Smoking kills some five million globally each year.

    Yes, but what’s the risk of using a cell phone while smoking and driving?

    From WikiBook to LiveBook

    posted by on March 31 at 2:03 PM

    A year or so ago, Penguin tried to run a wikinovel; that is, a novel written by a community of people in the style of Wikipedia. That turned out as poorly as you could imagine.

    But here comes LiveBook, which is a book you join on friend networks like Facebook and Bebo. Users vote on every sentence of the book, and winning sentences get added and then other sentences are added to that. It will still be unreadable, but this is a much better idea than the wikinovel. The only good book ever written by committee is Naked Came The Stranger, which is a pretty great parody.

    Nonpartisan, My Ass

    posted by on March 31 at 1:53 PM

    Republican KC Council member Pete Von Reichbauer is pushing an initiative to the county charter that would make the positions of County Council members and County Executive nonpartisan.

    It’s no wonder a Republican would push an initiative to hide a candidate’s Republican status in heavily Democratic King County. That R next to GOP candidates’ name isn’t much of a plus—especially in this anti-George Bush era. (The County Council is currently 5-4 Democratic, and King County Executive Ron Sims is also a Democrat.)

    But the GOP just might get away with it. King County (and particularly Seattle) voters fancy themselves “independents” and may go for the initiative—which needs a little over 50,000 signatures to get on the ballot.

    Proof that the idea is a GOP ploy: Citizens for Independent Government (the group pushing the initiative) has collected $145,000 and, according to finance records, more than 90 percent of the money comes from three donors: George Rowley, John Stanton, and John Hennessy.

    Rowley, CEO of Rowley Properties, is one of the biggest supporters of Republican candidates and issues in this state. Dating back to 2002, his donations have included: $8,000 to Dino Rossi; $95,000 to the $172,250 to the Washington State Republican Party; $60,000 to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee; $28,000 to the King County Republican Central Committee, General; $125,850 to the King County Republican Central Committee; and $6,000 to John Carlson in 2000.

    Telecom mogul Stanton has an equally impressive list of contributions to conservative recipients: $5,300 to Rossi; $255,500 to the Washington State Republican Party; $100,000 to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee; $30,750 to the King County Republican Central Comm Non-exempt; $25,000 to the BIAW’s PAC, ChangePAC; and $4,800 to John Carlson in 2000.

    Nuprecon CEO Hennessy: $6,100 to Dino Rossi; $115,000 to ChangePAC (and ChangePAC 2004); $5,000 to the Washington State Republican Party; $10,000 to the King County Repub; and $3,400 to Carlson in 2000.

    Given all the money they’ve thrown away trying to elect Republicans (the Democrat-to-Republican spread in Olympia is 32-17 in the Senate and 63-34 in the House), this seems like a better use of their money.

    Health Department Shuts Down Mediocre Taco Truck

    posted by on March 31 at 1:30 PM

    The Seattle Department of Health has ordered Rancho Bravos Tacos truck—on 2nd Ave North and North 45th—to close after inspectors found several health violations, including improper food storage and inadequate hand washing facilities.


    The taco truck groupies I know have always raved about Rancho Bravo, but I’ve never been dazzled by their food. If you’re looking for a good burrito spot, check out the now-defunct Los Taco Trucks blog. I’d recommend heading up to the criminally underrated Taqueria La Pasadita near Northgate.

    Photo via Flickr.

    You Try to Do Something Nice…

    posted by on March 31 at 1:23 PM

    A man who died after falling in front of an oncoming train at JR Shinjuku Station over the weekend may have been startled by a warning blast its driver gave as it came up behind him, police said.

    From the Daily Mainichi.

    For Josh Feit

    posted by on March 31 at 1:15 PM

    Spotted today in New York at the new(ish) MoMA exhibition, Design and the Elastic Mind:


    It’s the Hulger P*Phone—a mid-twentieth century handset, “loosely based on the Henry Dreyfuss Bell 500,” that plugs into your cell phone.

    Also in beige. Available here.

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

    posted by on March 31 at 1:08 PM

    Today’s Music News: U2 signs a dead deal with Live Nation, a new Rolling Stones film is being released, and Richie Sambora is arrested for DUI.

    Who Owns Your Blog?: The web of Buzznet and its investors and the blogs Buzznet supposedly owns.

    X Has Still Got It: Larry Mizell, Jr. reviews last night’s show. And Ari Spool shot a few photos.

    A Few Thousand Words: Photos from Springsteen’s KeyArena performance. And the text message that the show inspired.

    John Lennon is Not Dead: He’s eating breakfast in Shoreline.

    Should You Care About Warped Tour: The pre-sale for tickets has started for the tour’s August 9th stop at the Gorge.

    Tonight in Music: X is back for more and Jeffrey Lewis returns to Seattle with the Cribs.

    Chop Suey’s new Speakers: They’re smaller, but the club promises they’ll sound the same.

    New Melvins Album on the Way: Get stoked.

    Another Magazine Dies: Resonance’s run has ended.

    IMG_0307.JPGPhoto of X by Ari Spool

    Two Men Charged For Racist Attack

    posted by on March 31 at 1:06 PM


    85th and Aurora Ave

    The King County Prosecutor’s Office has filed charges against two men for a brutal attack against a young African-American man.

    According to court documents, Jason Patrick Roan and Richard Earl Miles—who are both white—approached Terrell Johnson, 25—who is black—at a bus stop on 85th and Aurora on March 23rd, and asked Johnson if he knew where they could buy crack. Johnson took offense and told the men—who were standing close to Johnson—to “please get out of [his] face,” before he pushed Miles away. Miles started swinging at Johnson. He missed, and Johnson hit back.

    Documents says Roan attacked Johnson from behind with a beer bottle and shouted “come on nigger, I’m going to kill ya!” Johnson fell to the ground where the men grabbed his cell phone and continued to beat him and shout racial epithets. According to court records, Roan turned to a man watching the attack and said “It’s okay because I’m white and he is a nigger!”

    Roan and Miles fled, but police were able to track them down minutes later. The men were both covered in blood, and officers found a beer bottle in Roan’s jacket. Johnson suffered a concussion and was taken to Harborview, where doctors had to use staples to close a three inch gash in the back of his head.

    While being transported to the North Precinct, Roan told officers—after being advised he was being recorded on video—that he “hate[s] niggers.” Police found that Roan—who has a previous conviction for robbery—had an outstanding warrant for theft. Prosecutors also say Miller was previously convicted of assault, hit and run, DUI, reckless endangerment and violation of a domestic violence protection order.

    King County prosecutors have filed the case as a hate crime, and both men are being held on $250,000 bail.

    Confidential to the Woman at the US Airways Check In Counter at Sea-Tac Who Managed to Get Me on a Flight to Tucson Yesterday Even Though Every Flight Was Already Overbooked and Who Probably Bumped Someone Else to Get Me on That Plane

    posted by on March 31 at 12:54 PM

    Thank you.

    Also in Florida Billboards

    posted by on March 31 at 12:34 PM

    Apparently, it’s illegal to show nipples in public in Florida. This even goes for male wrestlers, as seen in this Orlando billboard for a WWE show.


    Chalk one up for equal opportunity censorship.

    Specifically, They’re Snow White

    posted by on March 31 at 12:25 PM

    A billboard in Florida is so controversial that it’s causing business to drop at a nearby restaurant. People are up in arms. The billboard in question?


    Hello Superstars! Sign Up for the Second-Annual Stranger Gong Show!

    posted by on March 31 at 12:15 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 online sign-up form online.

    In the meantime, here’s another taste of the late, great, original Gong Show:

    The Cooper Union Speech

    posted by on March 31 at 12:08 PM

    Have you heard Obama’s Cooper Union Speech? You should.

    The key excerpt:

    A free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it. That’s why we’ve put in place rules of the road: to make competition fair and open, and honest…

    I think that all of us here today would acknowledge that we’ve lost some of that sense of shared prosperity. Now, this loss has not happened by accident. It’s because of decisions made in board rooms, on trading floors and in Washington. Under Republican and Democratic administrations, we’ve failed to guard against practices that all too often rewarded financial manipulation instead of productivity and sound business practice. We let the special interests put their thumbs on the economic scales. The result has been a distorted market that creates bubbles instead of steady, sustainable growth; a market that favors Wall Street over Main Street, but ends up hurting both. Nor is this trend new. The concentrations of economic power and the failures of our political system to protect the American economy and American consumers from its worst excesses have been a staple of our past: most famously in the 1920s, when such excesses ultimately plunged the country into the Great Depression. That is when government stepped in to create a series of regulatory structures, from FDIC to the Glass-Steagall Act, to serve as a corrective, to protect the American people and American business.

    Ironically, it was in reaction to the high taxes and some of the outmoded structures of the New Deal that both individuals and institutions in the ’80s and ’90s began pushing for changes to this regulatory structure. But instead of sensible reform that rewarded success and freed the creative forces of the market, too often we’ve excused and even embraced an ethic of greed, corner cutting, insider dealing, things that have always threatened the long-term stability of our economic system

    Partial deregulation of the electricity sector enabled (inaudible). Companies like Enron and WorldCom took advantage of the new regulatory environment to push the envelope, pump up earnings, disguise losses and otherwise engage in accounting fraud to make their profits look better, a practice that led investors to question the balance sheets of all companies and severely damaged public trust in capital markets. This was not the invisible hand at work. Instead, it was the hand of industry lobbyists tilting the playing field in Washington as well as an accounting industry that had developed powerful conflicts of interest and a financial sector that had fueled over-investment. A decade later we have deregulated the financial sector and we face another crisis. A regulatory structure set up for banks in the 1930s needed to change, because the nature of business had changed. But by the time the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed in 1999, the $300 million lobbying effort that drove deregulation was more about facilitating mergers than creating an efficient regulatory framework. And since then we’ve overseen 21st century innovation, including the aggressive introduction of new and complex financial instruments like hedge funds and non-bank financial companies, with outdated 20th century regulatory tools. New conflicts of interest recalled the worst excesses of the past, like the outrageous news that we learned just yesterday of KPMG allowing a lender to report profits instead of losses so that both parties could make a quick buck. Not surprisingly, the regulatory environment failed to keep pace. When subprime mortgage lending took a reckless and unsustainable turn, a patchwork of regulators were unable or unwilling to protect the American people.

    For someone like me, a total wonk, this is enrapturing; it’s just so damn Keynesian, so compellingly capturing Minsky. It would be hard to write a clearer, more succinct or compelling dissection of our present financial fiasco.

    Any person willing to make the difficult historical connections, to appropriately share the blame for the present crisis’s origins, to see and relate the ugliest truths about our present economic crisis—in the midst of a vicious campaign no less—deserves some respect.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on March 31 at 12:00 PM

    First those pesky goths in Mexico, and now there’s frickin’ WITCHES in India…

    What’s next - more vampires from Florida? Video from YouTube dqnnayashi.

    Darth Vader Attacks Jedi Knight

    posted by on March 31 at 11:48 AM

    Someone in England who identifies as a Jedi Knight was giving a television interview when a man dressed as Darth Vader assaulted him.

    Jedi Master Jonba Hehol - known to family and friends as Barney Jones, 36, of Holyhead - was giving a TV interview in his back garden for a documentary when a man, dressed in a black bin-bag and wearing Darth Vader’s trademark shiny black helmet, leapt over his garden fence.

    Wielding a metal crutch - his lightsaber presumably being in for repairs - the Sith Lord proceeded to lay about his opponent, whose Jedi powers proved inadequate for the task of defending himself.

    This is one of my favorite news stories of all time
    . The photo accompanying the piece is priceless, too. Hopefully, within a week, it will be my favorite YouTube video of all time, too.

    Today in Campaign Promises

    posted by on March 31 at 11:19 AM

    Barack Obama says that, if elected, he will “seriously consider eliminating the penny.” While we’re at it, can we make a real commitment to a dollar coin?

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on March 31 at 11:00 AM


    The Cribs, Ra Ra Riot, Jeffrey Lewis at Chop Suey

    The Cribs are well-connected, sassy, and smart Brit pop boys who hit the States without the usual Brit press flurry. Ra Ra Riot are a jangly American indie-pop septet, whose elated and melancholic songs reference the Police (vocals) and Dexy’s Midnight Runners (fiddle) without sounding retro. But the most exciting act here may be Jeffrey Lewis—he of the antifolk Crass-covers album and the comic-strip “music videos.” Don’t be late. (Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000. 8 pm, $12, 21+.)


    Next Time, I’ll Start a Pool

    posted by on March 31 at 10:47 AM

    The winner of the Tournament of Books has been announced. The bracketed competition resulted in a faceoff between Tom McCarthy’s The Remainder, which was an amazing paperback original released last year that I read and loved and then promptly didn’t write a goddamn thing about for some weird reason, and Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

    The winner is The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which I predicted in this post here on Slog last month. I figured that the second place would’ve been Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris, but I’m pleased to see The Remainder beat Ferris’s book in the zombie round. Maybe there is something to the Tournament of Books, after all.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on March 31 at 10:30 AM


    Bill Jones’s Vertebrae Dancer with Old Brown Whalebone Face, whalebone and balleen, 15.5 inches high by 33 inches wide by 9.5 inches deep

    At Stonington Gallery.


    posted by on March 31 at 10:18 AM

    On Saturday, the P-I printed the following cartoon by David Horsey, titled “Hillary Under Fire”:


    Attached to Hillary’s jacket: peace sign and flower pins, a decal reading “First Lady,” a tiny blue dress with the word “Monica” on it (subtle!), a pin reading “White Water”… and this rather, um, peculiar pin:


    It says “Bimbos,” and yes, those are a pair of breasts. Way to keep that “family newspaper” classy, Horsey!

    (Thanks to Slog tipper Quimby.)

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on March 31 at 10:13 AM

    Two open mic nights tonight and only one reading, but it should be a pretty great one.

    New York Times reporter Jennifer 8. Lee is at the Elliott Bay Book Company, reading from her new book, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles, which is about Chinese food and American Chinese food and the elusive General Tso. The always-delightful Stranger Eat & Tell columnist Angela Garbes writes about Ms. Lee in this week’s column. An excerpt:

    Her writing for the Times—whether it’s about Chinatown in Flushing, Queens, or popular baby names—is smart and funny, and her book is an obsessive exploration of Chinese food in this country, how immigrants shaped the food culture, and the cuisine’s decidedly American characteristics. Then, there is the matter of the epic parties Lee was known for throwing in D.C. and the lawsuit her former landlady filed against her: “There was urinating and defecating on the property, vomiting on the stairways. The kitchen was destroyed, the floors were destroyed, my baby grand piano was used as a wet bar and taken apart.”

    Hopefully, there will be vomiting and urinating and defecating at the Elliott Bay Book Company tonight, but barring that, it should be an interesting reading, at least.

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

    Re: Today is a Good Day

    posted by on March 31 at 10:07 AM

    Yesterday, though, was kind of better, as President B**h was loudly booed at the Nationals’ home opener:

    Leroy Cooper on MLK and Madison

    posted by on March 31 at 9:50 AM


    Sunday, 12:27 PM

    Whew! It’s been a little nippy out here, not too nice of a spring kick-off if I do say so. I heard we are almost breaking records for coldest days during this time of the year.
    You’ve got to layer up in this weather, but if i had a clean white suit like that I could tough it out. Actually, I would probably only wear it inside though because I look absolutely ridiculous in a suit.

    You like the suit? Wait until you are about my age—you will have one. I just got back from church; now that warms the soul. I always look sharp for church! You go to church?

    Can’t say that I do, but i don’t worship the devil though, either. What church do you attend?

    Just right up the hill here, Madison Temple. Every Sunday and I never miss it.
    Get my coffee right over here at the cafe and have my smokes too. It’s my Sunday routine. You got to have routines to get through sometimes [chuckles].
    Life’s a bitch and then you die, and it’s fast, very fast. Seems I was your age not too long ago—life’s a trip, son!

    “Life’s a bitch and then you die.” That’s a NAS song, and despite the title, it’s a positive message. He’s a music artist and son of Olu Dara, the jazz musician. You heard of him?

    Olu Dara! Oh yeah, he’s an old-school cat. Did you know the actual translation of his name is “God Is Good”? I never knew his son followed in his steps.

    I didn’t know his name meant that. It’s true though, you have to find something positive to do and do it everyday, or else you are wasting time. I think that is important.

    True, very true, indeed. I was in a quartet years ago, but that’s all in the past now. Life is too fast. I need some new outlets, I guess. Well I do have plans with someone for brunch so I got to get a move on it. Hey, nice talking, see you around.

    “Fuck You and Slip on Urine!”

    posted by on March 31 at 9:31 AM

    An angry local environmentalist weighs in, via I, Anonymous:

    Dear Seattle: On Saturday, March 29, the U.S. of America has all across its land turned off electricity for the sake of this, our planet. Likewise, my roommates and myself, we as a house shut off the power for the entirety of ONE HOUR. This event is called, Earth Hour. In our spare time we decided to take a walk and see how the rest of the city has followed in this very logical and critical chance to make a difference and why were we not surprised that Sea-fucking-attle not only didn’t turn off their lights, but I think even more lights lit up across the city, like it was goddamn Christmas! So this is to all of you fuckers out there, so-called environmentalists of this fucking town who didn’t do shit to make even a lick of difference: You fuckers! Yeah, I’m talking to you, you Lady in the Red Dress talking on your fucking phone with a thousand volts worth of lamps igniting your apartment like the night skies of Mars! You bitch! I hope you all choke on bits of food, or fall down into a sewer and get devoured by an alligator, which I’m sure, being a sensible being, chewed through any wires he could find just to do his own part. Even the alligator did something! You all embarrass me! Fucking quacks! ONE HOUR! That’s it. One little hour. Even Starbucks and McDonald’s, the evil corporation that Satan himself pickets on Sundays, agreed to turn off their power for one hour. How does that make you feel? Huh? You are nothing but hypocrites. Fuck you and slip on urine!

    Supplementary question: Do all “passionate environmentalists” believe in magical alligators?

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on March 31 at 9:30 AM

    In other youth pastors…

    West Virginia:

    Last week, The West Virginia Record reported on the lawsuit filed by Hernshaw residents James and Debbie Green against Chesapeake Apostolic Church, Upper Kanawha Valley Christian School, P. D. Priddy and Timothy C. Edmonds. In their complaint and suit, the Greens alleged that Edmonds sexually abused their then 16-year-old daughter in 2006 while she attended UKVSC, which the church oversees.

    According to court records, the Greens allege that CAC, and its pastor, Priddy, were negligent in hiring Edmonds as an assistant youth pastor. Specifically, they allege CAC and Priddy, who is Edmonds’ father-in-law, knew of his “prior sexually deviant behavior … at a previous congregation” but did not investigate the claims.


    The associate [youth] minister at a local church and a former Toledo Public Schools board candidate was found guilty this morning on misdemeanor charges that he procured prostitution and disseminated pornographic materials to juveniles. He faces up to 1½ years of local incarceration when sentenced.

    According to Assistant County Prosecutor Tim Braun, a computer taken from Mr. Brown’s home during a search warrant last year showed several e-mails between Mr. Brown and male acquaintances. The e-mails [indicated] Mr. Brown was attempting to set up the men for sex with both men and women. Prices for specific sex acts were included in the e-mails, Mr. Braun said.

    Also found on the computer was an abundance of pornography and Mr. Brown was convicted of allowing minor boys to view it. Mr. Brown met the boys through his volunteer work at Friendship Baptist Church.

    New York:

    Loyd and Paula Ramsey of Lubbock, Texas, announce the engagement of their daughter, Rebecca Michelle Wolf of Red Bluff, to Gary Alan Croniser II of Lyons Falls, N.Y….

    The bride-elect is the assistant news editor of the Red Bluff Daily News. She graduated from Whittier College in 2002 with a bachelor’s in business administration. She is the daughter of Paula and the late Rev. George W. Wolf.

    The prospective groom is the assistant/youth pastor at Lowville Baptist Church in Lowville, N.Y.

    Today is a Good Day

    posted by on March 31 at 9:26 AM

    After a long, long winter, baseball is back.


    Texas vs. Seattle, 3:40 pm. Bedard takes the mound for the M’s, Millwood for the Rangers.

    The Morning News

    posted by on March 31 at 9:25 AM

    Dollars and Sense: US financial system getting a big face lift.

    The Old Man and the Fee:
    McCain wants to get cozy, get money from big time donors.

    Moving Day: HUD chief quits.

    It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a…Copyright Lawsuit:
    Time Warner no longer sole owner of Superman.

    No Money, Mo’ Problems:
    School Board says no it doesn’t have the cash for big projects.

    Backyard Baseball: Developer planning residential lofts near Seattle’s stadiums.

    Busted Ass Hoopty:
    NASA making last ditch effort to save the Hubble telescope.

    Real Change:
    With Castro gone, Cubans now allowed to…stay in tourist hotels.

    Bald Is Beautiful

    posted by on March 31 at 9:10 AM

    The mess in Zimbabwe has kept me up all night. I need this moment of South African clarity:
    0-1.44701200%201188712530.jpg The design is by Bongiwe Walaza.

    The Chicken or the Egg

    posted by on March 31 at 8:46 AM

    Which came first? The Crate & Barrel in the University Village…
    -tt3.jpg…or Zaha Hadid’s Cincinnati Art Museum?

    It Is what it Is

    posted by on March 31 at 8:16 AM

    Now that the rich have made their money…
    …it’s time to make the poor pay.

    California is facing the worst budget crisis, with a $16 billion shortfall, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has proposed a $4.8 billion cut in education services. About 20,000 teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses and other support staff members have received notice of potential layoffs, according to the state’s Education Department.

    Schwarzenegger has also proposed $650 million in cuts to the Healthy Families Program and Medi-Cal, which together provide health-care services to more than 7 million senior citizens, disabled people and children in the state. Adults under the Medi-Cal program would lose their dental benefits, as well as optometry and psychology services.

    Says Gindy: “It’s all about privatizing the profits and socializing the losses.”

    The Other Election

    posted by on March 31 at 7:53 AM

    Ancient is the problem with being the messenger:

    A senior Zanu-PF source has told a BBC contributor that security officials met on Sunday to decide who should tell Mr Mugabe he had lost, with some refusing to take the job.

    The ruling party of Zimbabwe desperately needs a messenger, but none close to the party’s leader, Mugabe, wants the role because good things never happen to the one who brings bad news to the king.

    Sunday, March 30, 2008

    The Other Election

    posted by on March 30 at 8:32 PM

    The most explosive election in Zimbabwe since 1980 and what’s showing on TV?
    piet_keizer_3.jpg Yes, this is on ZBC:

    HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s main opposition party said Sunday that it had won a landslide victory, insisting that unofficial election results showed that the Movement for Democratic Change had unseated President Robert G. Mugabe, the man who has led this nation for 28 years.

    Those results had been compiled by adding the vote counts posted at hundreds of individual polling stations, and were not formally released by the government. Indeed, the nation’s chief election officer warned that the opposition’s boasts were premature and asked people to wait for official totals.

    People did just that, anxiously watching the government television station on Sunday for announcements about the election the day before. But instead of news they were shown irrelevant fare like a program about biodegradable Chinese plastic and a documentary about the Netherlands’ 1974 soccer team.

    The Rescue Plan

    posted by on March 30 at 5:09 PM

    Have no fear…
    Picture%201.jpg…capitalism is here.

    NEW YORK - …Wall Street faces the biggest overhaul of its regulatory structure since the Great Depression… [The plan] to be announced by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on Monday would help prevent the kind of risky investments that led to the near-collapse of Bear Stearns Cos.

    But why are we nervous about this great news? What is it about the rescue that makes us so uneasy? Because we will never find a peace of mind in a plan like this: Wolves offering the sheep a solution to the problem of wolves.

    The Other Election

    posted by on March 30 at 12:56 PM

    Mugabe lost the election
    great_zimbabwe03.jpg… He not only lost, he lost so badly that rigging the vote was not enough to cover the fact of the loss. And now the chief of the elections and registration, Tobiawa Mudede (yes, we are related), needs time (every second he can get!) to come up with something (anything!) that will keep history at a standstill and his boss, The Most Honorable Robert Mugabe, in power.

    Monitors warn on Zimbabwe ‘delay’ MDC supporters celebrate after reports of an early polls lead in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe The MDC has been warned against declaring itself the winner

    Election observers in Zimbabwe have expressed concerns over “delays” in announcing official presidential poll results, amid fears of rigging.

    The head of one monitors’ group said he had “no doubt” officials now know most results. None have yet been released.

    If you don’t know how desperate Mugabe is, checkout this recent story:

    Zimbabwe: Mugabe Hands Out Cars

    Article Tools Sponsored By
    Published: March 28, 2008

    President Robert Mugabe gave out 450 cars to senior and midlevel doctors at government hospitals in what opponents say is a vote-buying campaign ahead of Saturday’s presidential election. Mr. Mugabe presented doctors with keys to the cars at a ceremony in which he blamed Western sanctions for harming health care in Zimbabwe, one of the countries worst affected by H.I.V./AIDS. He also promised the doctors houses within two years.

    The Point of it All

    posted by on March 30 at 12:40 PM

    My past obsession with Jorge Luis Borges (between 93 and 97)…
    img_borges.jpg…is matched, in quality/intensity, only by my current obsession with Spinoza, particularly his short book The Ethics, and more particularly, the chapter titled “On The Mind,” and even more particularly, the early passages on the memory and the body.

    It is to the genius of their creators that “The Aleph” and The Ethics owe their liberation from the low status of creations. Because the minds of the writers wanted to mirror the mind of creation, these works do not appear to be works, works that are mere fabrications, but, instead, works that shimmer in the amazing manner of the Buddhist infinite net of jewels, that is, in the manner of what the scholastics called substance, that is, in the manner of creation itself.

    And so today my life arrived at a new level of happiness (happiness being the sense of fulfillment or completion) when I discovered this poem by Borges:

    Baruch Spinoza

    Like golden mist, the west lights up
    The window. The diligent manuscript
    Awaits, already laden with infinity.
    Someone is building God in the twilight.
    A man engenders God. He is a Jew
    Of sad eyes and citrine skin.
    Time carries him as the river carries
    A leaf in the downstream water.
    No matter. The enchanted one insists
    And shapes God with delicate geometry.
    Since his illness, since his birth,
    He goes on constructing God with the word.
    The mighties love was granted him
    Love that does not expect to be loved.

    You must love it all and not expect to be loved at all. That is real love, that is Spinoza.

    Our NSFW Threads

    posted by on March 30 at 12:39 PM

    They aren’t all about edgy art. Underneath it all, Slog is just naturally risqué. But we wear it well. These sure are sexy…


    This picture of Sloggi brand undergarments was taken in France by my father, who is cavorting about, uh, photographing women’s panties.

    Via Seattlest.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on March 30 at 11:00 AM


    Vegfest at Exhibition Hall

    The annual meat-free, family-friendly weekend gorge-fest returns to Seattle Center, with the usual assortment of nutrition lectures, veggie-cooking demonstrations, and, of course, tons and tons of free food. “This annual celebration of vegetarian and vegan superiority is hippie heaven,” wrote Lindy West—an unrepentant carnivore—of the 2007 fest. “Five dollars gets you unlimited access to hundreds and thousands of samples. It’s totally wonderful.” (Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, March 29–30, 10 am–6 pm, $5 adults, kids 12 and under free.)


    Reading Today

    posted by on March 30 at 9:17 AM


    Not a whole lot going on today. Alan Katz, who also read at the Seattle Public Library yesterday, is reading at the University Village Barnes and Noble. His book Oops! is a collection of poems for children, and his press releases refer to him as being ‘silly-dilly.’ I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a silly-dilly author read, excluding John Updike, of course.

    And at Elliott Bay Book Company, Roland Kelts reads from Japanamerica, which is about anime and manga. Presumably, he’s in town because of SakuraCon. If you’ve been wandering around downtown wondering why all these people are dressed up like naughty Japanese schoolgirls, you might want to let Kelts explain it to you. I just noticed that the book is blurbed by Pete Townshend. I’m not sure that this is the same Pete Townshend from The Who blurbing a book on manga and anime, but if it is, that’s kind of creepy when you consider the kiddie porn charges from which he was recently cleared.

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