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Archives for 04/06/2008 - 04/12/2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What is on fire?

posted by on April 12 at 5:22 PM

Four fire trucks just drove by me and stopped at 15th and Mercer. What is burning? Does anyone know? I hope none of you are on fire.

Jen Graves!

posted by on April 12 at 1:49 PM

And this? What words in our fallen state can grasp this moment in (this concept of) eternity?

More Amanda

posted by on April 12 at 12:32 PM

The next chapter in the endless Amanda Knox case happens tonight on the TV show 48 Hours Mystery.
The program hired two private investigators to get to the bottom of things. And what did they find at the bottom? One investigator, Paolo Sfriso, found things are looking not so good for Amanda. There’s “damning evidence” everywhere. The other investigator, Paul Ciolino, found no piece evidence that adequately links Amanda to the moment of the crime. He thinks she has been railroaded by Italy’s legal machine. I would have seriously considered Ciolino’s conclusions if he had not made this statement:

Speaking on the program, Ciolino said he’s convinced that young women such as Knox — a Seattle Prep grad who made the UW honor roll — don’t commit murder.

“Jesuit-educated high school girls who are high honors students … don’t participate in orgies and homicides,” Ciolino said. “They don’t do it. And if you can tell me of one that does, I’d sure like to see her.”

I think Ciolino fell in love with Amanda. She put a spell on his heart.

Meredith’s death was not caused by a loss of blood but by a lack of air, suffocation. But the report does not say if the suffocation was caused by someone’s hands or her own blood.

Meredith was ‘cut with two knives - but death caused by suffocation’, post-mortem reveals.

British girl Meredith Kercher, murdered while studying in Italy, suffered wounds from two knives, according to a new post-mortem.

It also suggests that even though the 21-year-old had her throat slit, the cause of death was suffocation, according to leaked reports.

Police have said that Meredith, from Croydon, Surrey, whose body was found in her student house in Perugia in November, may have been killed after a sex game went wrong.

The latest post-mortem was ordered by Judge Claudia Matteini.

Its findings are to be made public next Saturday.

But, according to leaks, the report will say her neck wounds were from two different blades.

The Leeds University exchange student’s American flatmate Amanda Knox, 20, Knox’s boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, 24, and Rudy Hermann Guede, 20, are being held in custody.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 12 at 11:00 AM


Shellshag, Helms Alee, Akimbo at Comet

Shellshag are known for four things: a relentless tour schedule; a stalwart DIY attitude; jumping on people, throwing their drums, crowdsurfing, and other mischief; and making more fuzzed-out, Breeders-like noise than two people should be able to. Akimbo are known for two things: grinding, fast, melodic metal and the best drummer in Seattle. Helms Alee are known for one thing: stoned freak-outs of the heavy, slow variety. (Comet, 922 E Pike St, 322-9272. 9 pm, $6, 21+.)


Currently Hanging

posted by on April 12 at 10:30 AM

Su-Mei Tse’s L’Echo (2003), DVD video projection, 4-minute, 54-second loop

At Seattle Asian Art Museum. (Gallery info here.)

The Morning News

posted by on April 12 at 9:00 AM

posted by news intern Chris Kissel

Mbeki & Mugabe
: Have a chat, realize there is “no crisis” in Zimbabwe.

Student loans: Teetering economy doesn’t bode well for the college-bound.

Expelled: Some legal immigrants seeking citizenship.

Un-friended: Israel clamps down on Facebook.

Today in super-powerful surveillance satellites: Bush sics ‘em on us.

Google Earth
: U.N. to use Google’s mapping technology to track refugees.

Tell ‘em, IRNA: According to Iranian news agency, Iran denies picking on U.S. patrol craft.

Thurston County is PETA’s worst nightmare: Rats and snakes overrun one woman’s house, disturbing cockfighting ring uncovered in another.

Encampments: City decides to talk to homeless squatters before destroying their homes and throwing away all their possessions.

Amanda Knox: CBS-hired investigator raises doubts about Italian police.

Cash money: Gregoire and Rossi haul it in.

Dalai Lama: World’s highest-paid motivational speaker kicks off five-day “love fest.”

Reading Today

posted by on April 12 at 8:28 AM


An open mic and a bunch of other things going on today in readingsville.

First, at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center, Frances Moore Lappe, author of Diet for a Small Planet, will read as part of the Seattle Green Festival, which takes place all weekend long. It will have significantly fewer funny costumes than SakuraCon.

Pari Noskin Taichert reads from her mystery The Sorocco Blast at Elliott Bay Book Company. Earlier in the day, the Seattle Journal for Social Justice will also be reading at Elliott Bay. Social justice is very important, but both of these readings bore the hell out of me just reading about them.

Also, up in the U District, Ann Bannon, the author of The Beebo Brinker Chronicles, will be reading in conjunction with a performance by the Seattle Women’s Chorus. I write about Bannon and her wonderfulness in this week’s Constant Reader. She will also be reading tomorrow.

And, at the ungodly hour of 9 a.m. (on a Saturday!) at the Seattle Art Museum, Riane Eisler, author of The Chalice and the Blade, will be giving a talk. She’s here with her new book, The Real Wealth of Nations. This is a very smart lady, and this looks to be the most interesting reading going on today.

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.

From: Science To: Drunk of the Week

posted by on April 12 at 1:58 AM

Dear Kello O,

At this very moment, I am drunk off my ass—having consumed six shots of hard liquor plus a bottle of beer tonight. This is approximately six more shots than I ever have.

The perils of having a girlfriend who likes to go out dancing.

To combat a hangover tomorrow, in a vain attempt to be productive or at least conscious on what should be the very first really nice day of the year, I’m currently slugging down a pint (a half quart, a little less than half a liter) of my concoction. Specifically? 1 pint of water. 4 tsp of sugar. 1/2 tsp salt. A splash of lemon juice. It tastes salty—like the tears of the Irish starving from potato blight. I assembled this elixir while thoroughly smashed; for all I know it contains arsenic rather than salt.

Tomorrow, I will report back on my hangover status—none, slight, moderate, regrettable, unfortunate, epic, near death, death would be preferable.

I already regret this post.

Update! At 9:53am:

I awaken. No headache! Stomach fine. Ok, I do have a raspy voice—but that’s about it! Hangover status: None to slight!

I actually managed to drink a full liter of my homebrew pediolyte (double what I posted above), plus a half liter of water before going to bed. And as the comments note, duh, it’s all about keeping hydrated. Water alone won’t cut it. I needed electrolytes. Like Brawndo gots!

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Jong-Taibbi Kerfuffle

posted by on April 11 at 5:45 PM

There’s been a bit of a shitstorm between Matt Taibbi and Erica Jong over on the Huffington Post today.

The background: Jong suggested, in a much longer piece about the media’s misogynistic coverage of Hillary Clinton, that Rolling Stone writer Taibbi and several others are sexist because they writes about Clinton’s physical appearance while ignoring male candidates’. In her typically loopy fashion, Jong suggested that male journalists’ obsession with (and judgment of) Hillary’s appearance stems from “a kind of Oedipal obsession with the bad mother — to counter a boy’s attraction to his good mother.”

Predictably, Taibbi—a hot-shit young Rolling Stone reporter who peddles outrage for a living—lost his mind. In a bizarrely self-centered post titled “Erica Jong Thinks I Want to Do my Mother,” Taibbi argued, somewhat convincingly, that he’s also made fun of male politicians’ appearance. He also called Jong a “hack” and an “eight hundred year old sex novelist.” Jong responded, basically, by congratulating Taibbi for being an “equal-opportunity insulter,” and added, “insults are not arguments.” (If anything, Taibbi is relentlessly lookist and fattist—a point CJR writer Megan Garber makes here)

Things might have ended there, had Jong not ALSO gone on to compare Taibbi’s description of Hillary’s “flabby-armed wave” to the stereotypical depictions of Jews circulated by the Nazis—adding, “Similar caricatures were used against African-Americans. And against women.”

Which, again predictably, gave Taibbi an aneyurism. Calling Jong both “silly” and “hysterical” (way to prove you’re not a sexist!), Taibbi responded that Jong was calling him a Nazi and comparing him to the Ku Klux Klan.

Now, I’m not saying Jong wasn’t off the deep end with the Oedipal stuff; she was. And her use of the Nazi analogy was just retarded. Moreover, Taibbi is hardly the worst of the male reporters covering this presidential race. (Though he did run enthusiastically the myth of Hillary’s “manipulative” “tears” in New Hampshire.) But the fact remains: Had Jong been really trying (instead of just being inflammatory), she could have found plenty of examples of male writers covering Hillary in a way that’s both sexist and fundamentally different from the way they cover male politicians. Jong’s point was dead on; it’s unfortunate that she resorted to pop-psych mumbo-jumbo and Nazi references to do it.

Update: Meanwhile, Keith Olbermann made Clinton supporter Elton John his “Worst Person in the World” for suggesting that sexism might exist.

Lunch Date: Devil’s Cape

posted by on April 11 at 5:35 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? Devil’s Cape, by Rob Rogers

Where’d you go? Quinn’s

What’d you eat?
Sausage sandwich with sauerkraut ($9) and fries ($3)

How was the food? I’ve now eaten at Quinn’s three times. The first two times, I left feeling slightly nauseous—I think that Quinn’s meat-in-every-item-on-the-menu strategy may be too much for me. I went this time expecting it to be my last trip, that I’d be finished with Quinn’s for good. But this sausage sandwich, even with the sauerkraut that’s been condensed and riddled with essence of pork, is amazing. This may be the best sausage sandwich I’ve ever eaten. It’s not just the quality of the sandwich—the sausage is made onsite—but the whole goddamned thing was just so well put together that it was brilliant. I never thought I’d say it, but it’s actually worth the nine bucks. I will eat this sandwich again.

What does your date say about itself?
It’s a science fiction novel about a city in Louisiana that was founded by pirates. The city’s currently the home to a number of superheroes. It was given to me by a friend who, like me, has a weakness for reading books about superheroes—Soon I Will be Invincible, for example—but is always disappointed by them. He really liked the book, but was ultimately disappointed.

Is there a representative quote?
“That was the last time anyone ever saw the Omega, at least anyone who would admit to it. It was as though he had disappeared off the face of the earth, or as though Devil’s Cape had swallowed him whole. The site of his last speech is a regular stop on the city’s popular crime tours.”

Will you two end up in bed together? Yes, but just because it was recommended. The language is a little pedestrian—this is part of the Wizards of the Coast Discoveries Program, which is a contest put on by local publisher Wizards of the Coast in which amateur authors send in their sci-fi novels to WOTC and the best four are published, so that’s probably to be expected—but the darkness and the strong sense of place seem pretty strong. I think it may be a one-night lark, but it should be a fun one.

Belated Blogging, Part II

posted by on April 11 at 5:30 PM

There’s a bunch of crap on my desk, including the arts section from the April 2 issue of New York Times. On the cover of the section is the headline “Like the Candidates, TV’s Political Pundits Show Signs of Diversity,” and under that headline an arrangement of photos of Donna Brazile (on CNN), Michelle Bernard (on MSNBC), Alex Castellanos (on CNN), Rachel Maddow (on MSNBC), Amy Holmes (on CNN), and a panel of four male CNN political commentators (Paul Begala, Jamal Simmons, Roland S. Martin, and Bill Bennett).

This has been sitting on my desk for a week and a half because I keep meaning to blog about the article, but I can’t figure out what I think of it. It’s weird. It’s full of paragraphs like these:

Their counterparts at MSNBC include Michelle Bernard, a lawyer by training, who is black and conservative; Rachel Maddow, who is white and has a show on the liberal Air America Radio; Eugene H. Robinson, a black columnist for The Washington Post; and Joe Watkins, a Republican strategist who is also black. Last week Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman from Tennessee, made his MSNBC debut as a political analyst. Mr. Ford, a black Democrat, had been an analyst at Fox News.

Juan Williams, who is black and a National Public Radio correspondent, is a longtime regular on “Fox News Sunday,” which also uses minority female analysts like Angela McGlowan, a Republican strategist who is black; Michelle Malkin, a conservative Filipino-American journalist; and Linda Chavez, who is Hispanic and held positions in the Reagan administration. A recent addition is Laura Ingraham, a syndicated radio host who is white.

“It sounds like one of those Onion stories that goes, ‘Man Who Saves Family in Fire Is Gay,’” said Jen Graves when I read those paragraphs to her just now. Graves, who is white, was paraphrasing this. (First sentence: “Near-tragedy turned to joy Monday, as area residents Phillip and Karen Widman and their two children were saved from their burning house on Locust Street by Kevin Lassally, a homosexual man.”) That Onion parody is exactly to the point: all this obsessive labeling, while not bad or wrong or anything quite so strong as that, is just weird.

Then comes the weirdest word in the NYT piece:

A more saladlike pundit mix has been front and center in the last couple of weeks…

“Saladlike”? Really? The melting pot became stew became a salad? One can’t but help remember the introduction to Seattle Weekly’s Best of Seattle 2006, wherein “the editors” wrote:

In this 21st edition of Best of Seattle, we’re flavoring our annual review with the freshest of ingredients: immigrant Seattleites.

Immigrants as “ingredients.” Awesome. Mmm! These black and brown chunks are so peppery!

Weekend Agenda

posted by on April 11 at 5:23 PM








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

posted by on April 11 at 5:15 PM

Hilarious: Black Flag’s hair-line.

Moving: Everyday Music will move to Broadway and Pine in June.

Coldplay: Paul Constant loathes them, and he thinks of every reason why he will hate the new record.

Last Night: Talbot Tagora and Past Lives at Chop Suey.

I Dunno: Radiohead and the man who catches snapping turtles with his bare hands.

White Rappers: Eminem plays again, Vanilla Ice goes to jail, and Subtle mixes with lasers.

Today’s Music News: Radiohead gets a hit (without doing anything), Mötley Crüe releases a new song, and this copyright shit is getting out of hand.

Playlist: The songs you heard at last night’s Slog Happy.

Stolen: Karl Blau’s guitar gets taken from the bus.

Tonight in Music: Cat Power, Eels, Wolves in the Throne Room, the Avett Brothers, and about 800 other options.

Prince’s Payday
: He’s getting HOW MUCH to play Coachella?

There’s more! Click here to see it all!

Is he strong? Listen, bud! He’s got radioactive blood.

posted by on April 11 at 5:09 PM


Ain’t It Cool News has a link to Michael Chabon’s early draft of a screenplay for Spider-Man 2. It’s not bad—a little slow—but at least his Spider-Man tries to crack wise, which is something that the movies never really got a handle on.

This is also good inspiration for people who are doing Script Frenzy, the write-a-film-script-in-a-month exercise. If Chabon can write a rough script that weighs in at a super-unwieldy 250 pages, 100 pages in a month is no big damn deal at all.

(Thanks to Slog Tipper Brad Steinbacher, who I think just didn’t want to let the world know that he reads Ain’t It Cool News.)

This Week on Drugs

posted by on April 11 at 4:54 PM

Move It: Declining dollar shifts cocaine market to Europe.

Push It: McDonald’s free-latte Fridays.

Resist It: National D.A.R.E. day.

Always Worth It: Budweiser’s link to McCain.

“As Many Crack Offenders Are Freed Early, Will Crime Rise?” No.

Of Mice and Monkeys: Drug protects from radiation.

Rats: Marijuana linked to temporary lethargy and wimpy muscles.

Brats: Teen calls cops on mom for growing pot.

Stats: One-in-five scientists using mental performance-enhancing drugs.

In Unrelated News:

Three dead in suburban Vancouver house fire linked to marijuana grow-op

DELTA, B.C. — Police have identified three people killed in a house fire in the Vancouver suburb of Delta and now say a marijuana grow-op on the property didn’t start the blaze.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on April 11 at 4:16 PM


If you missed it Wednesday, the opening night film at SIFF this year is Battle in Seattle. I think it’s a good choice, even though the film itself is bound to be disappointing. We’re all so invested. The party will be full of people bitching about which direction the wind pushed the tear gas and whether it was a Starbucks or a Gap store that got its windows bashed. Fun times!

Pedro Almodóvar is starting a blog. Sample self-consciousness: “I get the impression that we’re skipping a stage in the natural process of ‘living to tell the tale.’” (If you don’t believe Almodóvar would say such-and-such a thing, blame the translator. The blog is also available in Spanish and French.)

A dish to whet your appetite for next week’s releases: Wong Kar Wai talks about his My Blueberry Nights. Apparently blueberry pie is not, in Wong’s judgment, cinematic. Good. I’m working on the review now and the word that keeps coming to mind is “rubbery.”

Odds & ends: Will The Incredible Hulk suck? Will Iron Man be a juggernaut? Is Gillian Anderson’s hair way too long in the new X-Files movie? Discuss.

Opening this week:

In On Screen this week: Smart People (me: “Smart People isn’t reliably smart (even the most preternaturally talented college students don’t get their first poems published in the New Yorker*), but it is extremely funny and sweet”), Chaos Theory (Bradley Steinbacher: “In this middling dramedy, Ryan Reynolds stars as Frank, an efficiency expert whose life is calculated down to the second. ‘List-making is your harbor in the storm of life,’ Frank’s motto goes, and to help live up to it he scribbles incessantly on note cards.”), Sex and Death 101 (Andrew Wright: “Daniel Waters’s reunion with former muse Winona Ryder offers only trace hints of the satirical magic that once was”), Blindsight (Paul Constant: “One of the kids says, ‘We are blind, but our hearts are not blind!’ and you can practically hear the director moan ecstatically offscreen”), Street Kings (Steinbacher says it’s “an unthinking man’s cop movie, complete with a laughably dense protagonist”), Muriel (Brendan Kiley: “This chilly, melancholy portrait of sex and its discontents—jazzed up with occasional bursts of disorienting new wave style—is a vintage pleasure”), and The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (me: “With its pretty cinematography and the novel milieu of a Sao Paulo Jewish quarter in the 1970s, The Year My Parents Went on Vacation is entertaining enough, but you won’t remember much of it a week later”).

You will remember this embroidered cutie, though:


Why are the most charismatic child actors always from other countries? It’s so alarming when you haven’t heard anything about them forever and then—remember that sweet child from Fucking Åmål? According to Wikipedia, she now has two kids.

Plus: Lindy West on The Ruins.

Limited runs are absolutely packed this week. The Seattle Jewish Film Festival is wrapping up this weekend with the Seattle premiere of Jellyfish and more. A Tibetan series kicks off at SIFF Cinema to coincide with the Dalai Lama visit. The Langston Hughes African American Film Festival starts tomorrow with two docs by St. Clair Bourne and continues through next week. Tron in 70 mm is returning to Cinerama for almost an entire week. If that’s not enough stoner movie for you, try Super High Me at the Admiral—it’s a spoof of Super Size Me (duh) with pot subbed for Big Macs. Three fairly obscure films (Irina Palm, starring Marianne Faithfull, and two special-interest docs) are playing at the Varsity; we didn’t love any of them. We do, however, love Bette Davis, who’s getting a retrospective at the Grand Illusion for the next month or so. There are plenty more opportunities to see Senator Obama Goes to Africa this week—pick the venue to suit your demographic. And for avant-gardists and microcinema fans, you have a bunch of intriguing options this week: Jon Behrens at Vermillion tonight, Janice Findley at Northwest Film Forum tomorrow, an LA magic lanternist/film restorer in a program called Keep Warm, Burn Britain! at the Rendezvous Sunday night, and a bunch of Apichatpong Weerasethakul shorts on Tues-Wed, also at NWFF.

* It has come to my attention that several talented college students have had their first poems published in the New Yorker, including Seattle’s own Heather McHugh, Caroline Kizer, and (sort of) Elizabeth Bishop. But the movie makes it sound like getting a gold star on your homework or something.

Light Rail ‘08. Version 2.0

posted by on April 11 at 3:57 PM

The Sound Transit board is currently debating between a 0.4 and 0.5 percent sales tax increase for Sound Transit 2—which they may or may not take to voters in ‘08.

The idea behind raising the tax is to get more transit into the package so that Pierce and Snohomish voters (and board members), who won’t exactly get much out of light rail to Northgate and across I-90 to (near) Microsoft, will have some tangible goodies to vote for—more bus rapid transit, more frequent Sounder service, and a streetcar in Everett.

Of course, this is a double-edged sword: The increase would bump the project from $6.3 billion to $7.5 billion, perhaps enough to turn off voters. And really, the extra goodies aren’t so noticeable.

However, a last-minute light bulb from Rob Johnson, the political director at the pro-transit Transportation Choices Coalition, is making the rounds at ST right now, and it may actually convince voters to get behind a bigger package (enthusiastically). It may also convince board members like Aaron Reardon and John Ladenberg, the Snohomish and Pierce County Executives, respectively, who are currently cold and lukewarm on an ‘08 measure, to go for it.

The idea would even be hard for KC Exec Ron Sims—who is suddenly the biggest obstacle to ST 2—to turn down.

The idea is this: Use all the money from the extra 10th of a percent ($1.2 billion) and give it directly to the Snohomish, Pierce, and King County transit agencies. If you divvy that up by population, that’d be about $650 million for King, and $300 to $400 million each for the smaller counties.

Johnson’s artful “Local Only” pitch is this: Let’s give voters something for today (buses) while also investing in tomorrow (rapid mass transit).

In my opinion, that simple sweet tweak seriously improves the potential for passing a transit measure in November. And equally important right now, it will get some of the reluctant board members in the Yes column.

Is it legal? Does ST have the right to tax on behalf of KC Metro, Pierce Transit, and Snohomish County’s Community Transit? Yes, according to ST—because they already have operating contracts with all three agencies, and it would just be a matter of updating the contracts.

Johnson has run the idea by Sound Transit and, so far, according to spokesperson Ric Ilgenfritz, the board hasn’t bitten.

They should.

P.S. (and I might start doing a lot of this in the next few weeks, so apologies in advance): I’ve been interviewing Johnson and reporting on his work for several years now. I met him 5 or 6 years ago when he was just starting out—I think he still lived in the suburbs…at his mom’s?—and he has turned into one of the true stars in the the political community. And I don’t mean a star in the Reagan Dunn way that some grating young politicians can be, I mean, he’s a true asset to the the public, and he’s a gem in a reporter’s Rolodex.

Whether we’re on the same side of an issue (light rail 2008) or the opposite (Prop 1), he answers questions with out a grain of b.s., does an outstanding, clear job advocating his side, and is upfront when he may be off-base. He seems to savor tough questions, and always does his best to let you know exactly where things stand. He’s courteous in an old-fashioned way, gets to know you personally without being a creep, and on the occasion when he loosens up a little, he’s a blast to be around. (Genius Awards ‘05?)

If I stop covering local politics, Johnson is one voice I’ll miss. And one you won’t be able to. Guaranteed.

I Guess This is How Bush Celebrates Sexual Assault Awareness Month

posted by on April 11 at 3:51 PM

Bush is proposing major cuts to programs that are funded through the Victims of Crime Act and the Violence Against Women Act. Bush’s 2009 budget slashes $120 million from the VAWA-funded domestic violence services and $2 million from the VOCA fund, which pays for counseling and other support for victims of crimes such as domestic violence, sexual assault and molestation.

Bush proposed cutting VAWA-funded programs in 2006 and 2007, too.

Via Bitch Ph.D.

Sims Decides Animal Shelters Need Improvement After All

posted by on April 11 at 3:24 PM

King County Executive Ron Sims (last seen ranting bizarrely that a consultant who did a report on the sorry state of King County’s animal shelters was a single-issue zealot who operated from an anti-euthanasia “playbook”) has apparently had a change of heart. (Among other things, the consultant found kennels covered in urine and feces; sick animals that were “not provided the rudiments of food or water for over 24 hours and possibly longer”; bowls of food and water that stayed empty for days; piles of dog waste all over the dogs’ exercise yard; and dogs “languishing in [their] own waste.”)

Yesterday, in what county staffers referred to as a “kumbaya press conference,” Sims agreed to release $965,000 to improve the deplorable conditions at the county-run shelter in Kent. The county’s animal control program had never spent more than $500,000 in donations it received to improve conditions in the program. The money will pay for improved shelter and medical care, new dog runs, and more staff. Yesterday’s announcement should cool the temperature at next Monday’s town hall meeting in Burien, which you can read all about here.

The Most Unintentionally Hilarious News Lede of 2008

posted by on April 11 at 3:00 PM

The story of a dog whose front legs were broken by boys with a baseball bat near Klamath Falls may have a happy ending.

The 5-year-old blonde long coat Chihuahua named Heather underwent surgery this week and is expected to walk again.

Kenya Davidson and her roommate spotted the dog when they stopped at a bank ATM last month.

They also saw three boys, about 10 to 12, standing by the dog. One had a baseball bat. They ran.

Davidson took the dog to the Klamath Humane Society shelter.

Efforts to find the dog’s owner failed. But she will be available for adoption. Donations to cover her surgery are encouraged.

What Happens When You Throw a Dinner For the Pope at the White House and He Refuses to Attend?

posted by on April 11 at 2:46 PM

The Bush administration is about to find out:

The White House has scheduled a dinner next week in honor of Pope Benedict XVI’s first visit to the United States, but one guest will be conspicuously absent from the proceedings: the pope himself.

There are no competing events listed on the pope’s schedule, and the White House was unable to explain Benedict’s absence from the dinner.

Für Dan, von Strauss

posted by on April 11 at 2:41 PM

These tickets are free. New Year’s Eve concert. It’s Berlin and 1992, but still.

Renée Fleming, Frederica von Stade, and Kathleen Battle in probably the most affecting and beautiful moment in 20th century opera—the final trio from Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier.

ECB Isn’t The Only Fucking Crybaby On The Bus

posted by on April 11 at 2:30 PM

From my inbox:

I have been using Metro since I moved to Seattle last year.I had a 3 months old baby, now she is 13 months.She travels with me. Many times I had very unpleasent experiences with bus drivers, but I did not complain.

This time, I decided I can’t take this kind of behaviour anymore…
On March 28 at 10.40 I took the bus from Fauntleroy and California to Bellevue. On the last minutes of the trip my baby started crying, and she cried few minutes.

Just before I got of the bus at Bellevue terminal bus driver stopped me and told me that he wanted to talk to me. He said, you know your baby made crying disturbing others. Luckily we did not have many. Otherwise I was going to ask you to leave the bus. I got very upset, and told him, she is a baby and what am I to do? He answered that I could have take two buses instead? By the way that day it was snowing and had a very heavy rain. I said, well, next time I will walk! I tried to get off and he said, u can not leave yet, I said why, he said I have more things to say! I said I dont want to listen. And left the bus crying, he yelled at me U are so kind!

Do I deserve this? Should I drug my baby so she would not cry? Besides, babies are not wellcome on the buses.

Many times while I was travelling alone bus drivers told me to fold the little light stroller , has not occupy any space.I said how am I to do it, I am holding the baby. One one bus driver told me to leave the bus.

There is no security for the babies on the buses.I always feel very nervous that I will drop her. Why do not you provide car seats on the buses? What is the difference of the babies than disabled persons? Nobody help getting on and off. Once me and baby fell down on the floor while driving.

I feel very upset about those incidents and I will report these incidents to all the news agengies in Seattle.

I believe it is time to secure the babies. Or do not accept the mothers with babies on the buses and let people know that babies are not welcome…

Sincerily Yours….

Deniz Oren


Photo via Flickr

Re: Ooops X 2

posted by on April 11 at 2:22 PM

Obviously, the main faux pas Obama made here (despite the fact that he’s totally right) is that he comes off as condescending to working-class voters.

But there’s another misstep. In Obama’s list of misguided blue-collar notions—clinging to religion, guns— he includes “anti-trade sentiment.”

But didn’t Obama just spend a whole lot of time in Ohio (despite what his campaign aides did or didn’t tell the Canadian government) saying that he’s against NAFTA? (He also voted against CAFTA.)

So, how does he explain his own false consciousness?

What Should I Read Next?

posted by on April 11 at 2:09 PM

There are a ton of bad book recommendation search engines out there, but this one seems pretty okay. First of all, I tried to enter a relatively obscure book that’s confounded a couple of other book recommendation search engines, Stanley Elkin’s The Magic Kingdom, which is an evil-but-hilarious novel about Make-A-Wish Kids visiting Disney World.

Some of the results ( Doctor Who: The Infinity Doctors by Lance Parkin, Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow) were insanely bad recommendations, but many of them were books that I’d loved (The Sot-weed Factor by John Barth, The Roaches Have No King by Daniel Evan Weiss). Of course, I didn’t get any actual recommendations out of the search, but other searches on the engine have proven more fruitful. It’s not perfect, but it looks like a good start.

Oops x 2

posted by on April 11 at 1:15 PM

At a San Francisco fundraiser, Obama gets maybe a little too honest for his own good while talking about the roots of rural behavior:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them…And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton brings up the Bosnia sniper fire mess all over again in an attempt to defend Hillary, apparently makes eight false statements in only 23 words while doing so, and gets politely told to keep quiet by Hillary in response.

“Hillary called me and said ‘You don’t remember this. You weren’t there, let me handle it.’ I said, ‘Yes ma’am,” Clinton said.

Is that all he said? Of course not:

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on April 11 at 1:11 PM


From evil robot 6

An Un-Ugly Cover Can Be Hard to Find

posted by on April 11 at 1:04 PM

It’s weird that I was talking just this morning about how authors don’t often get to pick their book covers. On his LiveJournal, Matt Ruff posted some fan-produced covers of his books. Ruff has had some poor book covers, including this one and this one.

Of the three covers that Ruff posted, I like this one best:


Munich 1997

posted by on April 11 at 1:00 PM


After I got my first book deal I took my mom to Europe.

Mom always loved the New Year’s Day Strauss concert broadcast every year from Vienna on PBS. We used to watch it together, and I was thrilled that I suddenly had the resources to take her, if not to the concert (tickets are impossible to get), then at least to Vienna.

We spent a few days in Zurich, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in Vienna, and then we took an overnight train to Munich. While in Munich my mother came down with what we thought was pneumonia. After a short visit to a hospital in Munich—which convinced mom that socialized medicine worked—she spent three days in bed in our hotel room, hoping she’d get better so we could enjoy the rest of our trip. She didn’t. She never really did, not completely. She later concluded that the “pneumonia” she came down with in Munich was actually the first signs of the pulmonary fibrosis that would eventually take her life.

Anyway, she took this picture from her bed in Munich. On the back she wrote, “Mom’s view of Munich, January 1997.”

The one story we liked to tell again and again about our trip to Europe was actually about something that happened before the trip: When I arrived at my mother’s house in McHenry, Illinois, the day before we were to leave I was shocked by the size of her bag. It was a rolling bag and it was… enormous. I could fit inside it. And it was heavy. I could barely lift it. Since I knew I would be carrying/rolling her bag through airports, train stations, hotel lobbies, and through tiny European towns, I felt I had a right to ask my mother to open her bag and show me what the hell all was taking to Europe. Inside her bag I found a two-pound bag of chocolate. My mother was taking chocolate—American chocolate—to Switzerland.

I assured mom that there was plenty of chocolate in Switzerland. She was unmoved. It was her bag and she was going to fill it with whatever she thought she might need—six pairs of shoes, three warm jackets, two rolls of toilet paper, two pounds of chocolate—and if I didn’t like it she could stay home. We carried that bag of chocolate across an ocean and through three countries and back home again. Unopened. Because there was chocolate in Switzerland—good chocolate, chocolate mom liked—and some pretty decent chocolate in Austria and Germany too.

Anyway, I’m off to mom’s wake. I’m bringing chocolate.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on April 11 at 12:45 PM

Local filmmaker and collector of all sorts of neato vintage television, sci-fi, and 1960’s toy commercial footage Jon Behrens will be screening a collection of short films tonight at the Vermillion Gallery at 8 pm.

Here’s one he made in 1987, using 180 rolls of Kodachrome 35mm slide film, set to a jolly little Throbbing Gristle jingle…

Complete details over at our Movie Times listings.

From YouTube cinema16


posted by on April 11 at 12:35 PM

This is some great news. New Yorkers Dorothy and Herbert Vogel are giving away their art collection not all at once, in a great big pile, to an already overstuffed New York institution, but to museums all over the country—including Seattle Art Museum.

Fifty works—mostly minimalist and conceptual works, where SAM could use a boost—are going to a selected institution in each of 50 states. (This is all possible with the help of the National Gallery of Art, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.)

Here’s what’s coming to SAM (the museum only knows specifically about four works and has a list of all the artist’s names, according to a spokeswoman):

— Stephen Antonakos’s Nov #2, 1986 (1986), colored pencil on vellum, 23 5/8 by 20 inches
— Tony Smith’s Untitled (1971), heavyweight paper, adhesive, and paint, 6 1/4 by 9 by 3 3/4 inches
— Sol LeWitt’s Untitled (1990), synthetic resin panels, adhesive, paint, and graphite, 12 by 8 3/8 by 5 1/2 inches
— Terry Winters’s Hand Line Reflection Method 15/100 (1995), ink on paper, 13 by 8 1/2 inches

And this is the artist list:

Stephen Antonakos
Will Barnet
Robert Barry
Lynda Benglis
Peggy Cyphers
Richard Francisco
Michael Goldberg
Don Hazlitt
Alain Kirili
Cheryl Laemmle
Ronnie Landfield
Sol LeWitt
Michael Lucero
Robert Mangold
Richard Nonas
Lucio Pozzi
Edda Renouf
Judy Rifka
Tony Smith
Daryl Trivieri
Richard Tuttle
Terry Winters

More From the Anti-Immigration Vodka Boycott Douchebags

posted by on April 11 at 12:35 PM

Here is the full story about why right-wing anti-immigration jackasses are boycotting Absolut Vodka. I’m working with one of my favorite bars right now to have a pro-immigration Absolut Happy Hour—more details soon—but the boycotters have sent out another goddamned press release. Bolds are mine, everything else (sic): Thanks American Vodka Brand SKYY for Criticism of Absolut!

April 11, 2008

Contact: ALIPAC,, (866) 703-0864

History was made today when American made SKYY Vodka sent out a press release proudly supporting the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and criticizing Absolut for their offensive advertising in Mexico.

“This is the first time we have ever seen an American brand stand up, recognize, and support US Sovereignty against an import that is pandering to illegal immigration supporters,” said William Gheen of ALIPAC. “We want to thank SKYY Vodka for showing themselves as a patriotic and top shelf alternative to Absolut.”

The National Illegal Immigration Boycott Coalition (NIIBC) plans to incorporate the news from SKYY Vodka into their boycott website at All coalition groups will be encouraged to share this historic news.

All boycott supporters will now be encouraged to try SKYY Vodka, as a show of thanks to the American brand for standing up for Americans!

“I like SKYY Vodka!”, said William Gheen. “It is great to be able to have an occasional martini without contributing to a Global corporation, like Absolut, that is encouraging the invasion of my nation.”

This is ridiculous. I was going to write, “This is getting ridiculous,” but it was already ridiculous before. It’s wonderful to know that SKYY supports the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, but how do they feel about the Monroe Doctrine? What’s Bacardi’s stance on the Magna Carta? Does Budweiser support habeas corpus? Still and all, those who think that these people are idiots should probably put SKYY on their list of stupid-ass companies that don’t deserve your hard-earned drunk-makin’ money, right next to Coors.

A Foster for Seattle

posted by on April 11 at 11:57 AM

Look closely at this skyline of the future and you find a tower designed by none other than Norman Robert Foster:
Picture%2011.jpg Yes, Seattle is on the way to possessing what must be Foster’s only tower on the West Coast. The local company heading the project is Triad Development, and the location of the tower will be across the street from the west face of the horrible City Hall—between third and fourth. Shooting for a gold LEED rating, the tower, 520 feet high, will be one with the underground, the light rail station—apparently one of the main reasons Foster took an interest in the project. Also in the works is the production of a public space that could be what Westlake Center never became, a civic core. I’ll write more about this project in next week’s paper.

The Source of the Black Room

posted by on April 11 at 11:45 AM

In a piece of writing I posted yesterday, I described an empty and black room. While walking home from work, the idea of this black room began bothering me. I knew it came from somewhere but could not determine its exact location.

At around dusk (King Street Station across the street; freight train rumbling under my feet), the location of the room was found. It’s in David Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, “Part Three.” There Cleanthes, who makes an argument for what we today call intelligent design—back then it was called natural religion—presents several fascinating examples to support his position, the most fascinating of which is this:

[W]hen we hear an articulate voice in the dark, and thence infer a man, it is only the resemblance of the effects which leads us to conclude that there is a like resemblance in the cause…
God as a voice in the dark. His creation, this world, as the words of a person we can not see. Cleanthes’ argument as a whole might be philosophically empty, but the example he use to illustrate his point overflows with poetry. Also, wasn’t Luther all about the voice of God? For the theologian who supplied the Protestant Reformation with idealogical weapons, and supplied Hegel and Nietzsche with the words “God is dead,” seeing God contained far less spiritual value than hearing His words in the dark of daily life.

An SPD Reality Check

posted by on April 11 at 11:39 AM

The Times and the PI have been following up on the piece I wrote a few weeks ago about SPD’s staffing problems.

The dailies have been trumpeting the department’s supposed success of SPD’s recent recruitment drive in New York, but things aren’t going as well as SPD would have you believe.

From the Times:

SPD officials say they’ve received 750 applicants, including 163 of New York’s finest, who will take the test April 19 at New York University.

The turnout is unprecedented — so much so that the department actually had to quit taking applications, said Officer Monique Avery, who said she had expected about 70 people to sign up for the test.

Seattle would like to hire 90 officers this year, and at least 65 each year through 2011, said police Deputy Chief Clark Kimerer.

From the PI:

About 200 applicants, including about 20 NYPD officers, have signed up to take Seattle’s written exam, offered April 19 at New York University

In 2006, it took 33 applicants for SPD to hire one officer, so there’s no reason the department should have stopped taking applications.

Two years ago, SPD received 2,173 recruit applications. Only 877 of those applicants actually took the department’s written test, and only 412 passed. After additional testing and background checks, only 65 recruits were eligible for jobs, and SPD only hired 32 new officers from the original pool of 2,173 applicants.

So while 750 applications may seem like a lot, that only boils down to about 22 new officers, not even close to the department’s goal of putting 90 more cops on the street.

Sonic Denial

posted by on April 11 at 11:34 AM

The e-mails that the city of Seattle got through discovery (and wisely/gleefully/foxily handed off to the Seattle Times!) in its federal case to prevent the Sonics from breaking their KeyArena lease, prove exactly what City Attorney Tom Carr has been saying all along: Oklahoma-based Sonics owner Clay Bennett had no intention of keeping the team in Seattle and has been bargaining in bad faith from day one.

The balance of power has just shifted and Carr should be able to extract some serious money out of Bennett if the warring parties decide on a payout settlement that lets the Sonics leave before 2010. (Bennett offered $26.5 million in February. Carr turned that down. And rightly so. As I’ve written ad nauseam, the city, which revamped KeyArena for the Sonics in 1995 for about $75 million, has ended up picking up the Sonics’ payments to the tune of $2 to $3 million a year. And we still owe more than $30 million.)

Here’s what I like about today’s follow-up story in the Seattle Times: Reporter Jim Brunner puts the spotlight on State Sen. Margarita Prentice (D-11, Renton). Longtime Olympia powerhouse Prentice—a moderate who’s actually facing an election challenge this top-two-primary year from energized progressive Juan Martinez—has been Bennett’s biggest apologist, sycophant, and booster in Olympia.

Last year, after the legislature scoffed at the idea of building a $500 million arena for the Sonics in Renton, Sen. Prentice told the Tacoma News Tribune:

“I know for a fact that [Bennett] wanted to stay.”

This week, Brunner got her inept response to the e-mails.

State Sen. Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, said she thinks Bennett gave Seattle plenty of chances, despite the latest reports about the e-mails.

The money Bennett’s group spent on lobbyists and consultants to promote a proposed $500 million arena in Renton, Prentice said, convinced her that Bennett genuinely wanted the Sonics to stay here.

“I’m not making excuses for anyone, I only know what I saw,” she said. “He was very disappointed when we didn’t even get a decent hearing on the Renton site.”

Asked about co-owner McClendon’s e-mail in July 2006 — just after buying the team — celebrating “the OKLAHOMA CITY SONIC BOOM,” Prentice dismissed it: “This just sounds like guy talk.”

Well, Gov. Gregoire (and the other 6,395,797 people who are alive in Washington state) think it sounds like Bennett and Co. were lying.

Prentice, who kept dragging the legislature through hearings, owes her colleagues and the public an apology.

Although, I won’t hold my breath. She still hasn’t apologized for uttering this bit of wisdom in 2006:

For those who complain that millionaires would end up the being recipients of public dollars:

“Poor people don’t buy teams,” she said.

Immigrant Tag

posted by on April 11 at 11:14 AM

File this under “people are horrible and dumb.” From an email sent by a student at the University of Washington:

I am emailing you all to alert you of an event that will take place on the UW-Seattle campus next Tuesday, April 15, 2008 from 10am-2pm. The event is called “Find an Illegal Immigrant Tag” and will be held on the HUB lawn. The UW College Republicans will be tabling from 10:00am to 2:00pm and the game itself will be held at 12:20. According to a message from the CR president, the event is intended to send a a “clear statement that we need to get serious and crack down on illegal immigration and secure our borders.”

This is eighty kinds of fucked up. (Not least because it’s obviously a juvenile provocation and it worked—I can’t not post about it.)

First, because vigilante border loons are already dangerously close to taking up hunting immigrants for sport. See this NYT story about Arizona’s “Sheriff Joe” who, under a federal program called 287(g), has deputized a 3,000-member “posse” to stage raids:

“By the way,” [the sheriff] said, “we do have a 3,000-person posse — and about 500 have guns. They have their own airplanes, jeeps, motorcycles, everything. They can only operate under the sheriff. I swear ’em in. I can put up 30 airplanes tomorrow if I wanted.”

Second, because scapegoating immigrants is idiotic. I don’t know how many times we have to say it: the only way to stop immigration—legal or otherwise—is to have a shittier economy. That has been true everywhere and always. (You’d think free marketeer Republicans would get that.)





I’m tempted to “get serious and crack down” on something else.

Anyway, the protest machine is already in the works. Interested parties may contact Fatima Morales at or Maru Villalpando at for more information.

(Thanks to Adrian for the tip.)

Feel the Rush, Eat a Snickers

posted by on April 11 at 11:07 AM


Snickers Adventure Bar. I know, right? It’s to coincide with the new Indiana Jones movie coming out next month. So to celebrate, they take a regular Snickers and put some coconut flavoring and “a cliffhanger kick of exotic spice” into it. I’m not exactly sure why.

You taste the coconut the instant you bite into it. It’s weird, but not horrible. Then the spices come as the chocolate starts to melt—they’re strongest as an after-taste. My boyfriend thinks I’m wrong, but I swear it’s curry.

I’m pretty sure I never need to eat it again.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 11 at 11:00 AM


Varla Jean Merman at Re-bar

I first fell for Varla Jean Merman in Girls Will Be Girls, the camp-cinema classic in which the voluptuous ingenue-for-life blows johns, eats lots, and lights up the screen like the illegitimate love child of Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman (which she claims to be). Tonight, performer Jeffery Roberson brings Varla’s one-woman show to Re-bar. What she can do with Cheez Whiz will astound you. (Re-bar, 1114 Howell St, 8 pm, $25, 21+. Also Sat April 12.)


Slog Happy Last Night

posted by on April 11 at 10:41 AM

It was nice to see many of you at last night’s Slog Happy. Sorry I didn’t get the chance to talk to everyone.

Some Topics Discussed: How to fist yourself on a statue, James Joyce, Alyson Hannigan’s hotness, e-mailing penis photos to a stranger on Craigslist, which authors are assholes in person, how to get involved in short pornographic film production, how many chins I appear to have in a certain digital photograph (popular consensus leaned toward 23 chins), the relative attractiveness of men in the 1980’s, and whether Chad Lowe looks like a hockey player.

I Saw You: Mr. Poe, heading outside and returning decidedly more, um, organic; Scary Tyler Moore, pointing at me and making the drinky-drunk motion with her hand; Original Monique, taking photos of everyone, no doubt with the nefarious intent of sticking faces onto pornographic photos with Photoshop; NaFun, wearing the greatest coat since Vin Diesel’s scene-stealing giant fur monstrosity in XXX; Will in Seattle, looking quite dapper (did you do something with your hair?); Aislinn, telling the story of her shattered foot, which was injured in a fit of exuberance. Pretty Much Everyone But Me: Heading to Saint after leaving Moe Bar.

This Hangover-Free Morning (and also chins 16 through 19) Brought to You By:


DiGiorno’s Ultimate Four-Cheese Oven Fresh Pizzeria Pizza. Motherfucking delicious.

Currently Hanging

posted by on April 11 at 10:30 AM

Elatia Pearl’s Sweet and Sour (2008), collage, 4 by 6 inches

At Faire Gallery/Cafe. (Gallery info here; the opening is tonight from 7-11 pm, including a DJ and live performance.)

It May Be More Environmentally Friendly…

posted by on April 11 at 10:20 AM

…but getting hit by a bike must suck almost as bad as getting hit by a car.

From Hot Tipper Jno (that is not a typo):

During yesterday’s downtown rush hour, I was traveling south on 5th when I came to a red light at Pike. Waiting for my light to change, I entertained myself by watching the people on the sidewalks, and my eye was caught by a bicycle quickly traveling east up Pike. It seemed like the rider was rushing to make the intersection before his light turned yellow, and the next thing I knew, I saw the rider sail 10 feet through the air, sans bike, and come to a gasp-inducing skid in the middle of the street. He jumped to his feet (unbelievably), and turned to look at what he had hit: a pedestrian, dressed in a suit, who was now spread-eagle half in the street, half on the sidewalk. People began running from all directions to help, and even though my car windows were rolled up, I could hear the anguished cries of what I imagined was either the rider or the hit pedestrian. My light changed, and I had to start driving with my hand still over my mouth in shock, which I noticed was the same pose most people in the vicinity were holding. I called 911, and much to my relief, the EMS had already been alerted.

Holy crap. Did anyone else see this go down?

Reading Tonight

posted by on April 11 at 10:06 AM


An open mic night and three readings for your entertainment if, like seemingly half the city, you’re too hungover to hit the clubs tonight.

Author Ridley Pearson is at the University Bookstore. He’s here with one of those young adult books written by an adult author. Besides the Chabon and the Alexie young adult novels, which are very good, most of these books scream “easy paycheck” to me. The facts that A) Person’s book is titled Steel Trap: The Challenge, obviously making it the first in a series; B) the book is published by Disney Press; and C) the main character is a named Steven “Steel” Trapp all point to this being a ginormous stinker.

Karen Joy Fowler is at Elliott Bay Book Company tonight. She’s the author of The Jane Austen Book Club, which I haven’t read, but which people have said is actually a pretty nice homage to Jane Austen. She’s in town with Wit’s End, which seems to be a novel about a bestselling mystery author’s relationship to the internet, specifically blogs, Wikipedia, and fanfic. I think this looks interesting, kind of, but then, I’m a book guy and this sort of thing is practically designed to interest me. Your level of interest may vary.

And at Town Hall, Darius Rejali, who is “one of the world’s leading experts on torture” according to press materials, reading from his new book Torture and Democracy. This is an important reading, and I highly recommend it because it should be thought-provoking. But, for just a moment, can we talk about the cover, which is up and to the left over there? It looks kind of like the cover you’d put on an anthology of erotic S&M stories, with its smooth back and weird sepia tones. And the font, too, seems oddly celebratory, or at least a lot…lighter…than the subject matter deserves. Or are they trying to attract general readers by toning down the content? Or is it just a poorly designed cover? If you go tonight, don’t ask Rejali; authors almost never have control over the covers of their books.

Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, can be found by clicking on the words at the end of this sentence.

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


posted by on April 11 at 10:02 AM

On the last Monday of every month, in the narrow, reddish, antique-looking theater of the Rendezvous, a performance happens that you aren’t supposed to see. On those Mondays, host Korby Sears, wearing a navy blue suit with a shimmery white scarf, invites that month’s performer into an enormous box on the small stage, leaves the theater, and hopes nobody shows up.

Strikethrough reverse-advertises itself each month with posters and print ads listing the date and location, who will perform, and a notice in bold: “NO ONE ADMITTED. No public. No press. No family. No friends.”

But last Monday at the Rendezvous, I followed Sears up a ladder to the light booth and asked if my friend and I could go inside the theater. “Um,” he paused. “Yes.” (“Nobody had asked to go in before,” Sears said the next day, sounding exasperated that somebody had pierced the veil. “When you asked, I gave you the wrong answer.”)

My friend and I were the only people there. The theater was dark, with one red light shining directly above the enormous box. Three electronic tones—one short like a piano note, the other two droning, like sitars—played over and over and over again. Inside the box, allegedly, was dk pan, a performance artist affiliated with Degenerate Art Ensemble, Infernal Noise Brigade, and the Motel Project, doing… something. Strikethrough demands secrecy: Performers are not allowed to talk about their performances, not even with Sears. (A week before his Strikethrough debut, pan confessed he felt nervous about performing for an audience of none, more nervous than he’d felt in a long time. “I don’t have to impress an audience,” he said. “I have to impress myself.”)

And that was it, for an hour and a half—the box, the red light, the electronic tones. “It’s Schrödinger’s Cat: the Musical,” my friend whispered. Four more people arrived about halfway through, then left, then returned with fresh drinks. Inside the box, dk (or whomever) jumped (it sounded like jumping) for a few seconds. Then more nothing.

Life’s too short for this kind of nonsense, I thought and then stayed for the whole thing. Watching the box, with the electronic tones playing, in a dark theater, was oddly relaxing. “It’s sad,” someone whispered, “but this is better than most theater I’ve seen lately.” There’s something admirably—and grotesquely—decadent about a performance that doesn’t want your attention, love, or money. (Sears pays $75 to rent the theater; the artists don’t get paid.) People won’t clamor (or pay) to watch Strikethrough, but people would clamor (or pay) to do it. Sears may have invented a new kind of therapy.

“This whole series is about the artists, not the audience,” Sears said the next day. “It’s for their own goddamned selves.” He insists there’s no irony to Strikethrough, no punch line. “It’s hard to talk about it without sounding cryptic, like I’m trying to play you. But I’m not. Really, I should just keep quiet.”

HPV Through the Back Door

posted by on April 11 at 9:56 AM

The MSNBC headline says it all, in language even fourth-graders will understand: “‘Eww’ factor aside, anal HPV infection is a risk”. Specifically:

Anal infections of human papillomavirus, known as HPV, appear to be as common as cervical infections, according to an article published in the April issue of the Journal of Infectious Diseases. Half of the women in the multi-year study acquired new anal HPV infections during the trial period. Counting women infected at the start of the study, roughly 70 percent of women tested positive for anal HPV during clinic visits.

Full story here. (And yes, anal sex figures sometimes into the equation, but not always…)

Dept. of Killjoys

posted by on April 11 at 9:55 AM

The multifold dangers posed to society by urban professionals drinking glasses of chardonnay while attending cooking classes have been averted. The good old Washington State Liquor Control Board is taking killing joy to a new level, according to this email from Culinary Communion:

We were visited yesterday by a representative of the Washington State Liquor Control Board who informed us that there has been a change in the interpretation of the state liquor law. As a result, our practice of offering wine with cooking classes (like that of every other cooking school in the Seattle area) is now considered out of compliance with the law.

This comes as quite a surprise given that we’ve been operating for six years exactly as we were instructed to by the Liquor Control Board…. we have been ordered to cease and desist serving any and all alcohol on our premises; this includes tasting or drinking wine with cooking classes, and it also includes BYOB liquor….

We are shocked by this ruling and are working furiously to change it and/or bring CC into compliance as quickly as possible.

According to the Liquor Control Board, “The law (RCW 66.12.140) does not allow drinking alcohol during culinary courses. If someone wants to cook with alcohol during a culinary course, you must have written approval from the Board.” If a culinary school wants people to be able to drink (or sautee mushrooms in vermouth without a note from Mom) during classes, they can either apply for a restaurant license and meet all the incumbent requirements, or they can apply for a beer/wine specialty shop license, which entails maintaining a $3000 wholesale beer and/or wine inventory.

Also: The Liquor Control Board visited Culinary Communion because of a complaint. What kind of a killjoy would complain about people drinking wine during a cooking class?

In possibly related news: The underground (and illegal) restaurant Gypsy has apparently been shut down.

Gay Republicans

posted by on April 11 at 9:41 AM

You would think after eight years of Rove/Bush—think of all those anti-gay marriage amendments—that there wouldn’t be any such thing as a gay Republican anymore. You’d be wrong. The Log Cabin Republicans held their annual convention in San Diego last weekend, and journalist Rex Wockner was there.

Diva Worship, Hillary, and the Gays

posted by on April 11 at 9:38 AM

This has been said before (even by me, in a mangled sort of way, on Jonathan Golob’s podcast last week), but here’s a nice recapitulation of the theory that the gays love the Hils because she’s Cher and Gloria Naylor and Margo Channing and hot tranny fierceness all rolled into one big irresistible pol:

The first example was at last night’s Elton John concert in which he basically said to all the haters out there: “to hell with them!” And then, this morning, I read what is perhaps the most perfect distillation of the Diva Theory: the post Hillary is My Revolution by Billy Glad.

There is something weird going here. Hillary is the diva, the fabulous woman who is fabulous just because she says so. She’s the woman who is abused (by her husband), ridiculed (by the press), hated (by Republican mouth-breathers), yet she’s still standing. She’s like from some exploitation film where the heroine is beaten and barely raped before pulling a knife out of her sock and slicing the mean guy’s balls off. Her supporters have stood by her and fought her battles with her - and sometimes for her - since the 1990s. The emotional connection runs too deep. R-e-s-p-e-c-t, she shakes her finger. Find out what it means to me. And the crowd eats it up.

Nevermind that Hillary Clinton hasn’t ever really ever done anything for the gay community. They just like her moxie. It’s the defensive/aggressive posturing of a member of an ostracized community, and they identify with that. I see it my friends who are gay who support Hillary. They say the same trite things over and over: she’s a fighter, she’s a strong woman, people hate strong women, people are jealous… Surprisingly, they like my Diva theory. To them, a diva is exactly what we need in the White House.

Via Sullivan.

The Morning News

posted by on April 11 at 8:00 AM

But It’s Such a Lovely Sculpture Park: Trolley line may be scrapped for lack of trolley barn. Feit had it first; the Times has more.

Lies: Gregoire calls foul over claims to keep Sonics in Seattle.

Wise: Senate passes housing measure.

Goodbyes: Randi Rhodes leaves Air America Radio.

Jam Tomorrow: Food prices harming food-aid efforts.

Jam Yesterday: Microsoft releases tool to avoid traffic.

Pane in the Ass: Analysts say Windows is “collapsing.”

Gold Hanky Award: US “seriously hurt the feelings” of the Chinese people by passing a resolution asking China to stop being shitheads.

Warning: Protesters vow Buenos Aires “surprise.”

Docking: Russian spacecraft on space station.

Filing: Frontier Airlines heads for bankruptcy.

Snubbing: Mugabe will skip summit.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: Elton John sings on Hillary campaign trail.

Killer Deals: Defense department wares for sale on Craigslist and eBay.

Killer Wheels: Pedestrian struck on I-5.

This Is Only a Text: New method for delivering emergency news.

From Growing Up Straight: What Every Thoughful Parent Should Know About Homosexuality, by Peter and Barbara Wyden. Copyright 1968.


It has been mentioned earlier that many homosexuals come out of a sexually repressive home atmosphere, and others come from homes where they were sexually overstimulated. What is the sensible middle course?

The exerts are unanimous in suggesting that parents should do their best to answer questions about sex without appearing embarrassed…. Most experts believe it is not desirable to volunteer information on homosexuality to children but to alert to opportunities to explain the subject briefly and naturally.

Dr. Gebhard’s son started tossing around the word “fag” when he was about eight years old. Dr. Gebhard asked, “Hey, do you know what that word means?” Then he explained homosexuals this way: “Some boys like to have sex with other boys. It isn’t a good idea. People in general don’t like it and you can get in trouble about it.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Waterfront Trolley Dead

posted by on April 10 at 8:17 PM

Developer Greg Smith’s plan to build a combo trolley maintenance barn/condo/commerical development in Occidental Park (off Pioneer Square) is dead, Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis told me. The 130-foot-tall building was intended to serve a rebuild of the ID to Waterfront-Trolley.

Cies told me tonight that the waterfront trolley idea “no longer fit into the city’s transportation plan.”

He also cited the fact that plans to revamp the viaduct had thrown the waterfront trolley plans into limbo. Also: too expensive.

“It’s not in our plans, and we’re moving ahead,” Ceis says, saying the new priorities were servicing the transportation grid around the viaduct and around light rail through Capitol Hill.

Joey Arias at The Triple Door

posted by on April 10 at 5:54 PM

Joey Arias channelling Billie Holiday in Strange Fruit in the warm and cozy theater of The Triple Door last night was nothing short of amazing. Klaus Nomi played between sets and The Swedish Housewife opened the night with stories of a Seattle past, when Joey had green hair, and The Vogue was still on First Avenue…



The show ended with two encores, and Joey sticking her tongue in the mouth of the house photographer. All I can say is wow.

Photos and video by Ari Spool.

UnRock the Vote

posted by on April 10 at 5:54 PM

In advance of their April 12 legislative district caucuses—the thing we had last weekend—the Kitsap County Democrats sent out a letter to all the delegates who were elected at the precinct level who still aren’t registered voters.

The letter stated:

“As you were not properly registered to represent your precinct as outlined in Washington State Democratic Party Delegate Selection Rules, you are ineligible to so serve, and will not be seated as a delegate or alternate at your legislative district caucus and county convention.”

The majority of people who received this intimidating letter were most likely 17-year-olds. You’re allowed to caucus (and be a delegate) as a 17-year-old if you’ll be 18 by the election.

In fact, the Democrats encourage 17-year-old to participate in caucuses as part of their guidelines to put together a diverse pool of delegates.

However, despite the Dems push to get young folks involved, the rules about whether or not people who fit this bill can run as delegates before they’re registered isn’t as clear. Obviously, if people got elected to the LD level without registering (which clearly happened, given that they got these letters) than it was permitted at the precinct level—or an exception was made … or it was an oversight.

Perhaps the exception won’t be made at the Kitsap County level. So, in one sense, this stern reminder to register could be helpful to keep young people in the process. However, it’s a little too stern, and may scare off young people trying to get involved.

I don’t sign off on the anti-Hillary conspiracy theory that came along with the tipster who sent us the letter, though.

They wrote: “When did the Democratic Party get in the business of excluding young people? Is it because they tend to support Obama?”

Puh-lease! 1) Obama cleaned up the caucuses in Washington (70 to 29 in Kitsap). If young people don’t show up, it’s not going siphon delegatess from Obama (at least not judging from the number of precinct dels at my LD caucus who tried to go to the next level.) And 2) Obama fans need to get over the “narrative” that Clinton’s still got the big powerful Democratic establishment backing.

However, props to the Kitsap tipster for looking out for potential young delegates. At my LD caucus I was proud to vote a straight youngster Hillary slate … and yes, there were a ton of young ones—even a 17-year-old—in the Hils camp.

Dear Metro

posted by on April 10 at 5:08 PM

Thank you for returning my wallet and credit cards, which were left on two different buses, in such a timely and professional fashion. I take back everything bad I ever said about you.

Dear assholes who stole my credit card and charged up hundreds of dollars at two convenience stores, Blockbuster, and Taco Time (?!?) and then ditched my wallet and cards on two different Metro buses: Fuck you very much.

That is all.

Another Restaurant to Open on 10th Avenue

posted by on April 10 at 5:05 PM

Erika Burke, of the Volunteer Park Cafe, and Linda Derschang, of a couple places you might have heard of, are partnering to open a cafe/restaurant/bar called Odd Fellows on the ground floor of Odd Fellows Hall. On the 10th Avenue side. The space where Freehold is now.



It will open 7 a.m.-ish and serve until around midnight. There will be a counter-service coffee (from Stumptown), free Wi-Fi, and lots of places to sit—from what I understand, it will be a little bigger than Cafe Presse. The menu will be basics—sandwiches, pastries, salads, a few entrees, not unlike what Volunteer Park Cafe does.

It’ll take a while to knock down the office walls of the Freehold space and, you know, bring in a restaurant; Burke and Derschang are talking about a late-October/early-November opening.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on April 10 at 4:32 PM


From Lauren Max

More Cartoonery

posted by on April 10 at 4:09 PM

I’ve talked about all the Internet molestation of Garfield. I just found the Nietzsche Family Circus, which randomly pairs a Family Circus cartoon with a Nietzsche quote.

Of course, people have been writing dirty captions for Family Circus cartoons for years, probably decades (My favorite altered Family Circus caption, made by an old roommate, involves the word “joe-bob,” and that’s all I’ll say about it, and once, when I was bored, I took the lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s song “Suzanne” and applied them to Family Circus cartoons in such a way to make it seem as though Dolly and Jeffy were star-crossed lovers), but this is notable for a brief click-by if just because the captions and the images sometimes mesh a little too well.

For instance, the caption to this cartoon:


Reads, “After the old god has been assassinated, I am ready to rule the world.”

And the caption to this:


Reads, “A subject for a great poet would be God’s boredom after the seventh day of creation.”

And as an added bonus, when you’re done with the random generator, your workday has been decreased by another fifteen minutes.

Go West, Seattle

posted by on April 10 at 3:05 PM

Three proposed developments are up for reviews today, and they’re all in West Seattle.

The first is up for an administrative design review – so there’s no public meeting – because the developer requested departures from zoning standards requiring a front yard setback. Here’s the plan for Beach Drive SW.


The proposal is for one single-family residence and one duplex townhouse with surface-level parking. More info is over here.

California Giants

Next on the docket is an early design guidance meeting for two mixed-use buildings that would contain 200 condos and retail on the ground floor. It’s smack dab in the Junction.


Preserving independent businesses historically has been an issue of concern for West Seattle neighbors. Currently on the site are one-story buildings that contain 24,000 square feet of small shops. James Miller of Conner Homes says the new buildings—one six stories and the other seven—will contain 30,000 square feet of commercial space.

“We have designed it so we can keep them small. We will have one larger anchor [retail space] in each building, and the others would be smaller. They could 1200-3000 square feet,” Miller says. He also noted some neighborhood concern about the larger size and scale of the new buildings.

West Seattle Blog has had its ear to the ground for a while.

The western building (with California and Alaska frontage) will be one story shorter than the eastern building (with 42nd and Alaska frontage); the western building will be wood frame, the eastern building concrete and steel. Neither is proposed at the maximum height allowed in the area by code — Miller said that’s a direct result of community concern expressed when their first development proposal for these sites came out several years ago. “We hope the shorter building will be more acceptable on California,” he said.

You can check out the designs from Weber Thomson Architects at tonight’s meeting, 6:30 p.m. at the library of Chief Sealth High School, 2600 S. W. Thistle Street.

Ease on Down the Road

A few blocks east, Harbor Properties will be burning a proverbial sage smudge to clear out the bad vibes at the former site of Huling Brothers used cars dealership—where employees were arrested for attempting to bilk a mentally disabled guy out his life savings. Alleged fuckers. Both that car lot and the neighboring space, used as a Montessori school, will be replaced with a six-story, mixed-use building contain 190 units. The school will move back into the building when it’s complete.


How does the shitty economy factor in for this ambitious proposal? “With gas prices the way they are, people are looking for alternative means of transit and living choices,” says Harbor Properties Marketing Director Emmi Baldwin. “The bus takes 15 minutes to get from the Junction to downtown.” She notes that the many parking lots in West Seattle can make the neighborhood seem unwelcoming. I couldn’t agree more; West Seattle seems to have a lot of asphalt. “We’re planning for the future,” she says.

You can check out the design proposals from Baylis Architects at a tonight’s early design guidance meeting. It’s at 8:00 p.m. at the library of Chief Sealth High School, 2600 S. W. Thistle Street.

Games: Import Games for Outsiders

posted by on April 10 at 3:01 PM

Further proof that I’m an aging geek: I call my DS a “Game Boy” from time to time. It wasn’t so long ago that I felt compelled by Lord Raiden to correct my mother’s every 16-bit slip (“Don’t call it ‘the Nintendo,’ it’s a SEGA GENESIS”), but I’ve got a soft spot for the old, green-and-black wonder. Yet in spite of my stunted adulthood, I somehow outpaced the Game Boy; its “Micro” redesign from 2004 didn’t take off, and its original heyday of fun pick-up-and-play games devolved when Pokemon and cartoon license games became top-sellers.

Japan’s a different story—the Game Boy was strong there until the very end, assuming you could wade through the other sea’s endless pachinko and horse-betting games. So when I caught myself saying “Game Boy” the other day, I got a hankering for some late-era GBA games that never came stateside. I don’t count myself as an import-gaming expert—not an anime fan, not into convoluted RPGs, not into androgynous dudes with names other than David Bowie—but these couple that came up on my radar a year or so ago were shockingly good, and all kinds of accessible to boot. With both the DS dominating and the “Wii Ware” downloadable game service launching in a few months, I’d like to think Nintendo can finally ship these gems overseas. Plus, they’re more interesting to talk about than the next game on my review queue, Devil May Cry 4 (see the androgynous dudes comment above). Hope you enjoy the detour after the jump.

Continue reading "Games: Import Games for Outsiders" »

You Only Give Me Books with the Word Death in the Title

posted by on April 10 at 2:26 PM


I’ve already written about Seattle artist Dawn Cerny’s installation We’re All Going to Die (Except for You) at the Henry Art Gallery—about its 150-year-old photographs of dead infants, its drawings of invented heavy-metal logos, its paper soldiers with string blood, its photograph of Ana Mendieta’s silhouette in the ground in Iowa, and its 19th-century landscape paintings.

The show closes April 27. Yesterday I visited it again, for the third time, and again found myself lingering in the waiting room. It’s a gallery turned into a waiting room. It looks like the waiting room of a funeral home. It has tissues, dark-wood coffee tables, and, in a totally unexpected detail, the most supportive, bouncy couch this side of paradise.

In a roped-off area of the waiting room, landscape paintings (and one photograph) taken from the Henry’s collection hang on the walls and Cerny’s own dead paper soldiers come streaming down from a corner of the ceiling onto the floor, where they constitute a big, gory old-fashioned battlefield scene.

Cerny’s own brother is in training for the military, but the people who sit in this waiting room—the dead-in-waiting, sitting in the grief-stricken survivor environment as if they were exempt—don’t know about Cerny’s brother. They do get the dark jokes—the cover story on a National Geographic Traveler magazine titled “Sudden Journeys: Adventures in Last-Minute Travel,” and the awful Costco brochures for coffins. I know that they get the jokes because that’s what some of them wrote about in the guest book sitting on the coffee table.

But several also wrote about real deaths, about dead relatives, some who died during the show. Their survivors came to this place because, after they passed through the funeral home and the church, they still needed another place to go. Reading the guest book, I was taken aback at how effective this place seems to have been as an actual grieving room.

Over on one wall of the room there’s a short bookshelf. I walked over to it and started picking up books randomly. The first thing I landed on was Joan Didion’s attempt to recount the clinical description of the bleeding in her daughter’s brain. Next I opened to John Berger telling the story of drawing his father after he died. I got James Ensor’s portrait of his dead mother in the catalog of a 1951 exhibition of his paintings at the Museum of Modern Art. In “The American Way of Death” (a 1963 paperback that sells for $4.95 unless you are a member of the clergy, in which case it is $1.95), I read what Jessica Mitford wrote: “A much newer concept, that embalming and restoring the deceased are necessary for the mental well-being of the survivors, is just now being developed by industry leaders.”

I’m not sure why this place has worked so well, but it has.

Have You Seen My Cat?

posted by on April 10 at 2:11 PM

My wonderful kitty, who goes by his stately first name, Antoine, or the lame nickname Twany, escaped from my apartment in North Capitol Hill a couple of days ago. I’m very worried about him and about cars and about the coyotes rumored to reside in Interlaken Park.

Here is a picture:


He’s a couple years older now & his left eye has become a bit discolored (brownish). If you’ve seen him, please email me at I miss him!

The One

posted by on April 10 at 1:52 PM

An Imperial Message, a story by Kafka, a writer I generally do not like (if not seen through the conceptual lens of Adorno’s negative mimesis, his major novels do not at all appear interesting to me), is a marvelous jewel. In it we see the alien power and shine of the infinite. In a black box must we keep this jewel, and that box must only be opened when we are in the blackness of a black room. Open and let its strange light illuminate the nothingness of space.

The Emperor, so a parable runs, has sent a message to you, the humble subject, the insignificant shadow cowering in the remotest distance before the imperial sun; the Emperor from his deathbed has sent a message to you alone. He has commanded the messenger to kneel down by the bed, and has whispered the message to him; so much store did he lay on it that he ordered the messenger to whisper it back into his ear again. Then by a nod of the head he has confirmed that it is right. Yes, before the assembled spectators of his death—all the obstructing walls have been broken down, and on the spacious and loftily mounting open staircases stand in a ring the great princes of the Empire—before all these he has delivered his message. The messenger immediately sets out on his journey; a powerful, an indefatigable man; now pushing with his right arm, now with his left, he cleaves a way for himself through the throng; if he encounters resistance he points to his breast, where the symbol of the sun glitters; the way is made easier for him than it would be for any other man. But the multitudes are so vast; their numbers have no end. If he could reach the open fields how fast he would fly, and soon doubtless you would hear the welcoming hammering of his fists on your door. But instead how vainly does he wear out his strength; still he is only making his way through the chambers of the innermost palace; never will he get to the end of them; and if he succeeded in that nothing would be gained; he must next fight his way down the stair; and if he succeeded in that nothing would be gained; the courts would still have to be crossed; and after the courts the second outer palace; and once more stairs and courts; and once more another palace; and so on for thousands of years; and if at last he should burst through the outermost gate—but never, never can that happen—the imperial capital would lie before him, the center of the world, crammed to bursting with its own sediment. Nobody could fight his way through here even with a message from a dead man. But you sit at your window when evening falls and dream it to yourself.

The True Cost of “Affordable” Suburban Housing

posted by on April 10 at 1:40 PM

People love to bitch about how Seattle is becoming unaffordable for the middle class. (For the most recent example of this, see KC council member Reagan Dunn’s rehash of the thoroughly debunked Theo Eicher study contending that land-use regulations are driving people out of the city in yesterday’s Seattle Times). This is the argument most commonly used for anti-growth management, pro-suburban land use policies—middle-class people have to live somewhere; the suburbs, and exurbs, just provide them an affordable place to do it.

One factor that often doesn’t get considered in discussions of Seattle’s rising prices is transportation costs. It makes sense that if you have to “drive until you qualify,” as one common justification of living in the suburbs puts it, the cost of that driving ought to be considered as part of the cost of living far outside the city. Generally, though, it isn’t—allowing pro-suburban, anti-regulation, anti-density pundits and politicians to claim that Seattle’s housing prices are “out of control” and that the suburbs are the only “affordable” alternative.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology wants to change that. Injecting a dose of badly needed sanity into the debate over housing costs, CNT has put together an “affordability index” that considers both housing prices and transportation costs in about 50 metropolitan areas. According to CNT’s analysis of the Seattle region, the most affordable parts of our region are actually inside city limits—once transportation costs are factored in.

Check out CNT’s map of central Seattle. Blue areas are those where housing and transportation together cost more than 48 percent of median household income ($50,733 for a family of 2.5); taupe areas are places where they cost less. As you can see, while there are certainly parts of the central city that are unaffordable to the median Seattle worker (North Capitol Hill; Madison Valley), most of the center city is well within reach—once transportation costs are factored in.


Now check out North Seattle.


Less affordability here, yes, but still, there are many, many areas where the total cost of housing and transportation put housing well within reach of the median Seattle household.

Now let’s take a look at some of Seattle’s suburbs. First up: Sammamish and Issaquah, two popular places for suburban commuters to settle down.


You’ll notice that the map is virtually all blue, with the exception of a tiny stretch around downtown Issaquah.

In Maple Valley and Black Diamond, the picture’s much the same:


I could go on, but the results are consistent: If you live in a dense area with good access to transit, you’ll drive less, and pay less overall.

Incidentally, this trend holds true in dense inner-ring suburbs with access to transit, too—as you can see from looking at a map of the entire Seattle region:


Time for Irwin, Part VI

posted by on April 10 at 12:43 PM

Yesterday afternoon, I put on my coat and mittens and spent some time at the newly finished Robert Irwin sculpture at the University of Washington. (I’m coming to the end of a nice, long Irwin season: see here, here, here, here, and here.)

Nine Spaces, Nine Trees by Robert Irwin (Photos by Kurt Kiefer)
An aerial view

The life story of this piece is the reverse of the story behind Alexander Calder’s Eagle at the Olympic Sculpture Park downtown. Eagle was born a nomad and, decades later, was finally completed when it found its perfect home; Irwin’s Nine Spaces, Nine Trees was made in response to a place, but that place was torn down, and the artwork’s original meanings went down with it.

I wrote the full story last June, when the new Nine Spaces, Nine Trees was under construction at UW. Here’s an excerpt:

They called it jail for trees. It was a grid of nine flowering plum trees, three to a side, each one enclosed in blue chain-link fencing, on the top of a parking garage at the Public Safety Building in downtown Seattle. It was a work of art, not well liked. … It was in 1982 that Irwin designed Nine Spaces, Nine Trees for the cold, dark, northern-facing courtyard at Seattle’s Public Safety Building, where the sun-starved trees stayed anemic and lonely. The nearby sheriff’s office had requested that the fencing be transparent enough not to shelter escapees. The chain-link fence was of the no-climb variety.

Today, instead of law enforcement officers and prisoners and a sketchy downtown, Nine Spaces, Nine Trees is surrounded by fresh-faced college students, green lawns, and pretty brick buildings. When I was there yesterday I got the distinct sense that most people don’t know what to do with it. They don’t know whether it’s art or a little mini-park. (This would please Irwin.)

A tour group stopped and admired the big bronze George Washington next to Nine Spaces, Nine Trees, but they didn’t cast a glance over at the purple chain-link construction. A lone man sat inside on one of Irwin’s benches, eating a sandwich, and he looked out at the people passing by almost jealously, as if he were in prison. That was the closest the piece got to summoning up a hint of its past.

I talked to the guy. He didn’t know he was in an artwork. He didn’t know what it was. He said he felt a little lonely in there. We decided that maybe it needed more paths leading into it. Then I noticed that one of the paths leading out of it runs into a short wall, a dead end. For those in the know, it’s an almost overt cue that this thing doesn’t belong here. For everybody else, it’s just weird and slightly creepy.

For those who already love Irwin, the piece has its pleasures. Like all of Irwin’s work, it acts as a screen, a frame, a lens—a device of perception—rather than an object of perception. Depending on where you stand, the walls appear to be different shades of purple: lightest when you’re looking through just one, darker when you stand so that two of them line up to create a visual layer, and darkest when you get three of them “stacked” in your vision. The appearance of an almost edgeless object that fades in and out of view is an old favorite effect for Irwin, not intended simply as optical fun but as a proposition about how to see the world.

(Irwin made another piece involving purple chain-link fencing and trees on a university campus: his Two Running Violet V Forms at the University of California San Diego, made in 1983, right around the same time as Nine Spaces, Nine Trees. Two Running Violet V Forms is weird, too—it’s like a zigzagging volleyball net hung way too high in the middle of a dark grove of eucalyptus trees on an otherwise sun-soaked campus. But there’s something audaciously open-ended in that act of pointless camouflage. It’s not a place you go to sit and think and look, it’s a place you pass through. The two pieces are very different.)

When the original Nine Spaces, Nine Trees was demolished, the University of Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission got together to “save” it, meaning to hire Irwin to reinvent it for another location. Irwin didn’t reinvent, he tweaked: he designed new planters, he substituted hawthorn trees, and he darkened the fencing. But it remains a response to an urban core transplanted to picturesque academe. Its strands of DNA have all been untwisted. Now it’s just waiting, for whatever meanings it will acquire over time in this new location.

The Fucking Bell In History

posted by on April 10 at 12:37 PM

While reading Hegel’s Lectures on the History of Philosophy, this passage, which concerns the rules Catholic missionaries established for the education and civilization of Indians, appears and makes me wonder:

I even recall one missionary used to ring a bell at midnight to remind the [Indians] to perform their marital duties. Because it would have never occurred to them to do so.
rr_Bell-1.jpg This is twisted in so many ways. What kind of mind imagines natives who are so disorderly that they even need this instruction, this command: Now is the time to fuck?

New Downtown Grocery Opening Soon

posted by on April 10 at 12:29 PM

The Kress Supermarket will open in June at Third and Pike downtown. According to a press release sent out today, the new grocery will be “unique in its commitment to green practice with its embrace and support of local vendors, low-impact product packaging, and mix of materials.” While it’s exciting to see a full-size (18,000-square-foot) grocery going in downtown, I wonder if it might be “greener”—not to mention better for the 18,000 people who actually live downtown, as opposed to the people who just work there—if the store focused less on prepared, ready-to-eat packaged foods (which will take up 40 percent of the floor space) and more on locally sourced, organic produce, meat, eggs, and dairy. Do we really need another M Street Grocery, with acres of packaged salads and sandwiches but little fresh produce and nary a butcher to be found? Or do downtown dwellers subsist entirely on products made and packaged for them by someone else?

(Thanks to Bethany for the tip!)

To Help Alleviate Any Discomfort From My Last Post About a Ballard Pervert

posted by on April 10 at 12:13 PM

I offer this:

That’s Some Heavy Shit

posted by on April 10 at 12:13 PM

A report today in the New England Journal of Medicine says that 29 people who sought medical attention in Germany were suffereing from lead poisoning. The source? Their stash.

Here’s yet another reason to “just say no” to drugs: Smoking marijuana could lead to lead poisoning. Doctors in Germany have linked a mysterious outbreak of lead intoxication to contaminated street supplies of marijuana.

In a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, Franziska Busse, M.D., of the University Hospital Leipzig and colleagues detail a puzzling occurrence of lead poisoning symptoms over a 3- to 4-month period among patients aged 16 to 33 years old. Twenty-nine patients at four different hospitals had abdominal cramps, nausea, fatigue, and anemia - classic signs and symptoms of lead intoxication.

Wheelchair weed, indeed. But despite the sensational lede – another reason to “just say no” to drugs – this doesn’t indicate a contamination crisis in the US. The only reason it’s news is because it’s an anomaly. In fact, docs say there are no known cases of lead-contaminated pot in the U.S. If we would regulate the marijuana market, of course, contamination like this wouldn’t be a risk. In their report (.pdf), researches concluded the asshole dealers did it to turn a quick, um, Euro.

The current working hypothesis of the police is that because of its high specific gravity and inconspicuous grayish color, lead was used to increase the weight of street marijuana sold by the gram and thereby maximize profits among dealers…. Lead particles smoked in a joint, which can have a core temperature of 1200°C,2 are very effectively absorbed in the respiratory tract.

Those dealers should go to jail for poisoning people. Seriously. And, marijuana smokers, should you happen come across pot mixed with chunks that look like this…


…don’t smoke it. Obviously.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on April 10 at 12:10 PM

Being a teenager f*cking sucks, and why I hate MySpace, Reason Number 387 :

THIS, of course, was Number 386.

To the Sick Motherfucker Who Was Masturbating/Trying to Expose Himself Through My Apartment Window Last Night

posted by on April 10 at 11:55 AM


To the rest of Ballard: I don’t have much of a description—white dude, about 5’10”-6’0, I’d guess (based on where his torso fell in the frame of my window). Late 30s, a little grungy lookin’, but I just saw his face for a second. He was wearing a black sweatshirt with a big Adidas logo on the front.

He was pressed up against the window in my basement apartment, his sweatshirt pulled up over his belly, pants pulled down far enough to where I couldn’t see them when I briefly saw his hips, and his hand was down by his crotch and out of sight (but obviously doing something dirty). Shudder. He moved a concrete block that’s outside for propping open the door to sit directly under my living room window. Before he ran away, it looked like he was trying to step up on it to get his dick up past the window sill, but he had a hard time balancing while playing with himself. Asshole.

Fuck you, dude. I called the cops. If anyone sees someone that fits that (admittedly vague) description snooping around your building/property near downtown Ballard, call the cops. Or kick him in the junk.

Try it again, motherfucker, and I’ll cut it off.

Eric Grandy, Stalker

posted by on April 10 at 11:48 AM


Here I am in Anacortes, finally, and there’s no moon. I was sure there’d be a moon. It was full a day or two ago, but tonight is cloudy and the sky is dark. “Why did we come here?” the Microphones are singing on my iPod as I wander around. “Someone made posters, and we called for directions.”

I’m here to see Mount Eerie—formerly the Microphones, also known as Phil Elverum—perform at the Department of Safety, a converted fire station in the middle of sleepy downtown Anacortes that can’t help but remind me of my old sleepy Eastside suburb and its own all-ages venue, also a decommissioned fire station.

But I’m really here for more convoluted, maybe embarrassing reasons. I’m here because the Microphones’ 2001 album, The Glow Pt. 2, is being reissued this April by K Records, and I’ve been kind of obsessed with the album for the better part of my adult life. I’m here to try to understand where The Glow Pt. 2 comes from. I’m here because the opening lyrics of the album’s third song, “The Moon”—“I drove up to the city at night/And found the place where you grew up”—have been stuck in my head for years, and I’ve decided to take the words as instructions: Anacortes is where Elverum grew up. I’m here because I hoped the moon over Anacortes might sing to me, might reveal some mystery. The moon, however, is not cooperating…

So begins Eric Grandy’s fascinating feature this week about the Microphones’ Phil Elverum, going to Anacortes to figure out where Elverum’s songs come from, the history and importance of K Records (which is re-releasing The Glow Pt. 2 this week), how Khaela Maricich influenced Elverum’s work, and the thriving scene in Olympia circa 2000, where Elverum was creating The Glow Pt. 2 while Grandy was in college at Evergreen. Possibly the best sentence in the piece:

I lived in a house, since burned to the ground, where Elverum played a Valentine’s Day show during which he poured a bottle of red-colored corn-syrup blood over his head and all over the living-room floor.

The whole thing’s here. (Oh, and: Here are three things Grandy forgot to mention.)


posted by on April 10 at 11:28 AM

Yesterday, there were some weird posts up here, “For Josh Feit,” … about me and Charlie Manson or something. I didn’t get it.

Charlie Manson?

Here’s where it’s at boys. Life-changing experience, man.

$12 Billion a Month

posted by on April 10 at 11:06 AM

Even though I’m with Annie on how blockheaded the “Troops Out NOW” rhetoric is … and no, I’m not Dan, I was against the war in March 2003

and even though I’m too old now, even to dig pinball …

I still get high off a good antiwar poster:


War costs, $145 billion in the 2008 budget, make up 5% of federal spending. Over five years, the war in Iraq has cost over $500 billion.

Another Case for Sloane Crosley

posted by on April 10 at 11:05 AM

Two posts about one author within a an hour of each other may be a bit excessive, but I just bumbled across the official website for Sloane Crosley’s book, I Was Told There’d Be Cake. Apparently, you can’t release a book from a major publisher anymore without having a website, and so Crosley had to figure out what to do for content. She wound up making a bunch of dioramas based on her essays, and then wrote an essay about creating the dioramas for the website. Here’s one diorama, illustrating a story about volunteering for a butterfly exhibit at a museum:


And here’s a (perhaps too-whimsical) video based on the opening story in Cake. The story is about having a drawer full of toy ponies because, early in relationships, men would ask Crosley what she wanted and she’d reply “A pony.” The men would invariably, thinking that they were incredibly original, give her a toy pony, which would wind up in a drawer with all the other incredibly original toy ponies. Finally, after imagining people discovering the drawer if she suddenly dropped dead, she decided to get rid of the ponies.

I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley from Book Videos on Vimeo.

In conclusion,
I think I’m in love with Sloane Crosley

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 10 at 11:00 AM


EMP Pop Conference at Experience Music Project

The EMP Pop Conference is for music nerds: four days of panels, presentations, and round-table discussions, featuring luminaries (Robert Christgau, Greil Marcus, and Ann Powers), Stranger hacks (Charles Mudede, Michaelangelo Matos), and a lunchtime performance by Blue Scholars. This year’s theme of “Shake, Rattle: Music, Conflict, and Change” explores the intersection between pop music and political struggle, including such topics as the all-ages movement, rave’s response to England’s Criminal Justice Act, and protest music. Get your geek on. (Experience Music Project, 325 Fifth Ave N, 770-2745, Times vary, free with registration, all ages. Through Sun April 13.)


Belated Slogging

posted by on April 10 at 10:57 AM

Things I’ve been meaning to Slog, but haven’t:

1) A while ago, I finished reading Matrimony, a well-executed but otherwise ordinary novel by Joshua Henkin. It reads like a first novel even though it isn’t: It’s about two friends in a creative writing course at a liberal arts college, and their respective girlfriends, and what happens after they all graduate. The most interesting thread has to do with the relationship between the two boys, but Henkin basically abandons that midway through, in favor of death, relationship drama, and Jewish breast cancer genes. Kind of a bummer.

2) Metro Classics screened Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes recently. Is that the best movie about ballet in the history of the universe, or what? The simple trick editing in the performance section is weirdly exhilarating. Of course, the story is wildly sexist, but oh well. The Red Shoes is on DVD from Criterion; I recommend.

The Red Shoes

5) This American Prospect article on Obama’s foreign policy starts off kind of dumb (oh, Obama wants to “end the mind-set that got us into war in the first place,” does he?), but read on. As Slog addicts know, I’m not terribly psyched about a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, and I not only approved of the surge (and the pause!), but also the counterinsurgency strategies that accompanied it. So I was interested to learn this:

Sarah Sewall, a Harvard professor and another of Obama’s closest advisers, also knows about stepping outside of her comfort zone. A longtime human-rights advocate with the disarmament organization, the Council for a Livable World, Sewall found herself in 2005 and 2006 with an unlikely partner: Gen. David Petraeus. He and two colleagues were rewriting the Army and Marine field manual for counterinsurgency and wanted Sewall’s input on how to create a more just, humane, and successful doctrine. For agreeing to help, she was attacked by some on the left. “Should a human-rights center at the nation’s most prestigious university be collaborating with the top U.S. general in Iraq in designing the counterinsurgency doctrine behind the current military surge?” Tom Hayden wrote online in The Huffington Post.

Sewall’s involvement may have lost her some influence within the academic left, but she has become a hero to the military’s growing circle of counterinsurgency theorist-practitioners. “Her impact on the thinking about the war and the conduct of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been significant and not without cost,” says Army Lt. Col. John Nagl, one of the counterinsurgency community’s luminaries. “She has shown, in my eyes, great moral courage. I think Senator Obama is listening to someone who has thought long and hard about the use of force and who understands the kinds of wars we’re fighting today.”

4) I just finished The Nine, a newish book about the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin. I checked it out of the library because of this review in the New York Times, but it’s perhaps only interesting if you are playing the game described by the reviewer: trying to figure out which justices Toobin talked to and which refused his advances. The discussion of trends on the Court is far more stunted than in the classic The Brethren. I agree with Toobin’s thesis that, in the end, important Supreme Court decisions are essentially political and therefore subjective, but that’s the least interesting way to approach the mechanics of the court. 5-4, Toobin writes: conservatives here and liberals there. 5-4: liberals here and conservatives there. I also want to know about the obscure cases where personality and even dealmaking may have had an outsize influence compared to ideology per se, but Toobin couldn’t care less. Still, if you want to get worked up about what a terrible mistake it would be to elect John McCain, this book will do it. Bush v. Gore, harrumph.

5) Finally, because most sane people avoid the comments on Erica’s posts, you may have missed the fact that Obama gave an interview to The Advocate just last week. More importantly, Obama wants to get rid of DOMA, while Clinton favors a partial repeal preserving (that horrible euphemism) “states’ rights.” Talking up LGBT issues with gay audiences isn’t particularly courageous; at this point, unfortunately, talking up LGBT issues in front of general audiences is.


posted by on April 10 at 10:55 AM

The Dalai Lama is probably a nice guy. He giggles a lot. Seems like a sweetheart. Hooray for the Dalai Lama.

But please remind all your liberal do-gooder friends, who are working themselves into a lather because His Holiness is coming to town next week for a five-day Lamapalooza, that the man is a pope for hippies: rosaries, robes, posh living, and all.


Talking jive about enlightenment and transcendence for liberal Americans who like their religion with a side of inscrutable Orientalism is fine. Nothing wrong with being the world’s most successful motivational speaker. (And he certainly is. Every ticketed event for the five-day Lamapalooza is sold out.)

And Tibetan national self-determination is a good thing in principle (and the Chinese Communist Party is nobody’s idea of a good overlord), but let’s not forget that the “free Tibet” the monks are agitating for might well be a theocracy living off the labor of a rural peasantry. Sort of like the Catholic church, circa 1100.


Yes, the Tibetan people-in-exile had their first democratic election ever in 2001, to elect a prime minister-in-exile. But it was a show election. In which they elected a religious leader. I’m not saying Tibet would be the East Asian Iran—but just because Tibetan Buddhism has spawned a bazillion-dollar industry that preys on gullible honkies does not mean a government, run by Tibetan Buddhists, would be paradise. Or even pleasant.

Plus, we have serious reason to doubt the sanity of the monks: One of the Lama’s high priests has anointed Steven Seagal as a reincarnated lama.

Speculation says Seagal bought the honor. For the Lama’s sake, I hope he did.

Because Steven Seagal, people. Really.


Currently Hanging

posted by on April 10 at 10:53 AM

Issei Watanabe’s Art Is Commodity (Shopping Bag) (2007), ceramic slip, luster glaze, pen, opaque stain, ceramic sealer, tubes, wire, Plexiglas, water, 26 1/2 by 18 by 16 inches

Issei Watanabe’s Commodity Is Art (French Fry Container) (2007), ceramic slip, luster glaze, pen, opaque stain, ceramic sealer, tubes, wire, Plexiglas, water, 12 by 10 by 10 inches

At SOIL. (Gallery info here.)

Where’d All the Floppy Discs Go?

posted by on April 10 at 10:45 AM

They ended up on this car in Ballard…


And they lined all the windows with old keys too…


Reading Tonight

posted by on April 10 at 10:23 AM


Aside from the Slog Happy Hour in the downstairs VIP Room at Moe Bar, there are a ton of things to do tonight.

First, and probably best, Sloane Crosley, who read last night at Third Place Books, is reading from her debut essay collection, I Was Told There’d Be Cake, at Elliott Bay Book Company. This is your last chance to see her on this publicity tour go-round. She’s one of the funniest essayists working today (What sold me on the book was the blurb on the back from Colson Whitehead, who makes me swoon). She manages to write about some pretty thoroughly trod ground (weddings, having a funny name, moving to a new apartment) in some really hilarious ways.

Before Sloane Crosley’s reading at Elliott Bay is Gary Moore, with Playing With the Enemy. This is about someone who could’ve been the greatest catcher of all time, but he fights in World War II and gets captured by the Germans and so he teaches the Nazis to play baseball. This could also be a hilarious reading, but in more of an unintentional sort of way.

Up at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, which our calendar lists as being “Out of Town,” Maureen Elegna is reading from Seattle Architecture, which is a book of architecture tours of Seattle, which is decidedly not out of town.

At the University Bookstore, Peter Hamilton will be reading from his new sci-fi novel The Dreaming Void, which is about a black hole, and whether or not it contains a miniature universe. Hopefully, there will be at least one reference to Sartre.

Up at Open Books, Rick Barot reads from his second collection of poems, Want, and at Town Hall, John Medina reads from Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, which is about brain-friendly ways to raise your children, which inspires me to remind you that Sloane Crosley is reading at 8 pm, and that would probably be a much better way to spend your time.

Check out the full readings calendar for more information about all of these readings and also literature events for the next week or so.

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

Slog Happy Tonight!

posted by on April 10 at 10:17 AM

We’ll have name tags and Stranger swag. We’d love to meet you. Don’t be shy.

Well, So Much for That “Economic Stimulus”

posted by on April 10 at 9:35 AM

More than a third of US citizens say they plan to use their tax refund to pay utility, credit card, or other bills—an 30 percent increase over the number who said they planned to do so one year ago.

“Thank God I Was Raped”

posted by on April 10 at 9:35 AM

Gratitude finds a new pimp in John Castagnini, whose book series/website Thank God I… will feature “[t]housands of writers’ gut-wrenching accounts of how they transformed perceived crisis into blessings.”

As Radar notes, “Its promotional video is seemingly ripped right out of the Patrick Swayze scenes in Donnie Darko.”

As viewers of the video will note, the roster of life-altering tragedies includes being raped, going blind, getting cancer, and, uh, being gay.


Barack Obama Dodges the Gay Press

posted by on April 10 at 8:55 AM

The Politico reports that Obama has been refusing to meet with the gay press. “With a decent story for Obama to tell, gay editors from Dallas to San Francisco to Boston have been left wondering why Obama doesn’t take it directly to their publications, as Clinton has done with increasing frequency since Super Tuesday.”

And (Obama supporter) Jeff Fecke is pissed:

I know, I know, you doubtless are trying to claim already that you just don’t have time to meet with every media outlet, and you met with the Advocate, and you’ve given some nice speeches and written a nice letter saying you support LGBT issues, so what’s the big deal?

The big deal, Senator, is that you started off this campaign hanging around with Donnie McClurkin. And you never did adequately explain or account for what was an incredibly insulting decision to anyone who believes in equal rights. You still aren’t willing to embrace full marriage equality. Quite bluntly, I know a number of LGBT voters and their allies who really don’t trust you on this issue, who really fear that you’re going to treat voters who support equal rights as a source of money and votes, but not a constituency that deserves much respect.

Quite bluntly, I don’t trust you to deliver on LGBT rights. The only thing that has allowed me to support you thus far is that I don’t fully trust your opponent on LGBT rights either.

But at least she had the grace to, like [Democratic Sen. Paul] Wellstone [who met with the LGBT caucus two days after he came out in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act], sit down and explain herself. She talked to the Philadelphia Gay News, and gave a strong, sincere, and ringing endorsement of equality for the LGBT community. And she didn’t need to — Hillary Clinton has done far less during this campaign to make me question her commitment to LGBT rights than you have.[…]

Senator Obama, I know I’m not going to get you to reconsider your stance on same-sex marriage, and I know that you can’t un-invite Donnie McClurkin from rallies that are already over. But it’s not asking too much to say that you need to demonstrate that you understand the LGBT community is not some annoying interest group that you need to minimally placate. You need to demonstrate that you know that you’re trying to become the person who is fighting for them, and women, and the downtrodden, and the poor, and the irreligious, and everyone else here in the progressive movement. I’m not asking that you agree with everything everyone in this movement believes — that’s impossible, as we don’t all agree on everything — but I am demanding that you respect people who have been a vital part of the progressive movement, people whose only request is that they be treated by their government the same as everyone else.

In the next few weeks, you have time to sit down with the Philadelphia Gay News. And you’ll have time to sit down with the LGBT press in Charlotte and Portland and Indianapolis and San Juan and Missoula and Pierre between now and June. And if you don’t have time, make time, because quite frankly, Senator, how much you’re willing to fight for the people I am allied with is going to determine how much I’m willing to fight for you. And right now, quite frankly, I’m inclined to let you fight your battles without me.

The Morning News

posted by on April 10 at 8:18 AM

Spiking: US trade deficit.

Surging: Black voter registration in North Carolina.

Briefing: Bush to call for shorter tours in Iraq.

Firing: US strikes Sadr City.

Evil Empire Indeed: Microsoft negotiating with Murdoch for Yahoo bid.

“Don’t Be Evil”: Yahoo partners with Google to fend off Microsoft.

Bad Weather: In the Bad Weather Belt.

Long Winter: In Eastern Washington.

Burning Issue: Torch hounded through San Francisco.

On the Olympics: Dalai Lama supports games but says nobody has the right to tell protesters to “shut up.”

On the Ground: More American Airlines planes.

On the Trail: : Liz Edwards plugs Clinton’s health care plan.

On the Heels of My Embarrassing Loss in the Legislature: Bloomberg to stump for McCain.

Something Fishy: $900 million for salmon-restoration plan.

Every Fern Is Sacred: Neighbors petitioning to block school-expansion plans.

Why’s It Always Gotta Be Like That? Most euthanized dogs are black.

From Growing Up Straight: What Every Thoughtful Parent Should Know About Homosexuality, by Peter and Barbara Wyden. Copyright 1968.


Usually, nobody is closer to a child in infancy and early childhood than his mother, and this is why, in all probability, it is neurotic behavior that plants the seeds of her son’s homosexuality. This is an exceedingly difficult charge for any mother to concede, particularly since the behavior that damages her son is quite unconscious.

No parent sets out deliberately to produce a delinquent—or a homosexual. Yet it is recognized today that both delinquency and homosexuality are rooted in the home.

Such a child is often the second or later one born to parents who live in an unhappy marriage. Perhaps the mother wished for a daughter. Often, too, by the time the second or later child arrives, the marriage has deteriorated and the mother turns her attentions toward her sons, especially when she cannot get love from her husband.

The child who becomes a homosexual is usually overprotected and preferred by his mother. In other cases he may be underprotected and rejected. In either case, Dr. Irving Bieber told us, the parents “interfere with the sexuality of the child. No matter what else they do , they seem to do that. They converge on one child and as a result of their own problems the child’s masculinity is damaged.”

Another GOP Sex Scandal

posted by on April 10 at 6:25 AM

This one involves a Republican country commissioner, scores of male prostitutes, dozens of hidden cameras, and hundreds of hours of secretly taped sex sessions.

According to court documents, Trooper Bryan R. Henneman said he “received information prior to the search warrant that Barclay had been involved in the hiring of prostitutes.” During a subsequent interview, Henneman said Barclay admitted to hiring prostitutes on a weekly basis at his residence in Monroe Twp.”

The affidavit describes several such encounters with an Internet escort service known as “” Court documents indicate Barclay twice flew a 19-year-old man referred to as “W.M.” to his West Palm Beach home. During a trip last month, “W.M” told investigators that Barclay flew a male prostitute from Binghamton, N.Y., and paid that man $1,500.

The affidavit describes a hidden camera network that included cameras hidden in a bathroom, bedrooms and “indoor recreational areas.” Cameras were hidden inside AM/FM radios, motion detectors and intercom speaker systems, court documents say.

During an interview with Barclay, Henneman said he “admitted to using the cameras to record sexual encounters.” Police say Barclay saved between 100 and 500 encounters on his computer system.

On the Cover of The Stranger This Week

posted by on April 10 at 1:53 AM


The painting on the cover this week is by Tram Bui, who has had a show up at Davidson Galleries until March 29 (but one piece, Battery, is still on view; follow the link to see it). This one on the cover is titled 2903. Jen Graves, in a profile of Bui from March 2006, explains: “Every one of her paintings is a portrait of a real building under construction around town. Seen in a group, this becomes rather obvious, since the titles are either numbers or street names.” Graves goes on to explain:

Bui’s early education was as a representational painter, and she focused on interior scenes. When she got to Seattle in 1999 to attend graduate school in painting at the UW, she had a tiny apartment with no pictorial potential, so she set about making a cityscape, only to realize she was more interested in the construction site in the foreground than the city behind it. Her paintings… strip away all the stray elements in the landscape, leaving only building and sky, mano a mano.

The last time Bui had a painting on the cover was July 20, 2006:


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

You Lost Me

posted by on April 9 at 10:29 PM

No one I know watches Lost anymore—or will admit to watching it, at any rate. But this is funny regardless…

15 Minutes at The Anne Bonny

posted by on April 9 at 5:41 PM

It’s not just that Spencer Moody sells great things formerly owned by now-dead people, or that he hosts an art gallery on the top floor of his store, The Anne Bonny, but this month he also is hosting free performances lasting 15 minutes or less every night, starting at 6 pm.

So if you’re going to be in the neighborhood, here’s what’s on the schedule this week, according to an email from Mr. Moody (the Anne Bonny is closed on Mondays, by the way):

Wed the 9th: Eric Ostrowski (you may know him from Noggin)

Thu the 10th: Standup from Derek Sheen

Fri the 11th: Performance by Ezra Dickenson

Sat the 12th: Seattle’s #1 funny lady Jen Seaman

Sun the 13th: The Portland-based arts journal YETI celebrates the release of YETI #5 with mirth and music and copies of the new issue which is only $11.95. (Okay, this event will last longer than 15 minutes.) YETI #5 is packed-to-the gills: An 80-minute CD with 25 rare tracks and 228 perfect-bound pages plus a gorgeous metallic 4-color cover by Saul Chernick.

Why I Love Being A Member of the International Bulb Society

posted by on April 9 at 5:06 PM


Yes, I am a member of the International Bulb Society. My membership was purchased for me by a friend who knows I planted 90 bulbs last fall in a frenzy. I also love non-bulb plants and flowers, but there is no society like the International Bulb Society (IBS).

It is run by a man named Herb Kelly, who goes to bed at 1 am every morning, but welcomes calls at any hour in order to be at your service around the clock for any bulb-related matter. He makes this clear when he calls personally to welcome you to the society. Evidently he promised the founder of the society, on the founder’s deathbed, that he would take care of the society after the founder was gone, and he intends to make good.

In addition to access to Herb Kelly, being a member of the International Bulb Society means that I get emails like this in my personal account all day long:

Hi folks, I’m … in La Place, La. which is about 30 miles upriver from New Orleans. I was active in the group years ago but due to some family issues, travel with work and Hurricanne Katrina I sort of got lost. I’ve got my act together along with 3 more adopted kids and I’m ready to start having fun again. I have a nice crinum collection and all my life I have collected bulbs along the River road and old homesteads in the area. Many places I collected are now large subdivisions and many would have been lost. My latest project is coming across an abandoned moonshine a couple of years ago while running rabbit dogs I came across old garden plots. It was overgrown and even in winter (it’s warm down here) I collected about 40 hippeastrum (we call them amaryllis) about the size of a nickel growing in the undergrowth and planted them in my garden. I did some research and the place was raided and no one has lived there since the 50’s. Some of the old timers remember the lady of the house having beautiful gardens. Well they started blooming this year and they are a bunch of beauties. I don’t know if they were seedlings or the original bulbs which had diminished in size due to lack of sunshine but they are beautiful smaller stature blooms. I also have collected some old narcissus and a few variations of crinum x herbertii from some old slave quarters. Much has been lost due to progress and many people don’t really enjoy their yards as in the past. Anyway just breaking the ice and thats what I like to do. PS: I’m also a Pre War Lionel train collector.

Might I also remind you: The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is underway.

Freeway Park Hit Hard By Taggers

posted by on April 9 at 4:47 PM


7th & Seneca

Since the beginning of the year, the Seattle Parks Department has seen a drastic increase in graffiti at Freeway Park.


Between April and December 2007, the Parks Department only received 15 complaints about graffiti in the park, but in the last four months, they’ve been called out 40 times do deal with tagging.

Parks Department Spokeswoman Dewey Potter says Freeway Park isn’t the only park to see an increase in graffiti and the city’s cleanup crews are having trouble keeping up. “In the last year or so, [there has] been about 100 percent overall increase [in graffiti], ” Potter says. “We asked for some extra staff to work on [graffiti] in this years budget and didn’t get it.”

While Parks didn’t get extra money to deal with graffiti cleanup, the city has, in typical Seattle fashion, formed a task force—staffed by Seattle Public Utilities, Seattle Department of Transportation, Parks, and Seattle City Light employees—to look at city-wide graffiti trends and talk to other cities about graffiti in the hopes of finding a way to remove tags within 24 hours. Right now, it takes Parks about a week to remove graffiti.

The first task force meeting is tomorrow.

When asked whether the city is planning to open any legal graffiti walls, Potter says she hasn’t heard anything specific, but thinks it’s unlikely. “I don’t know that there’s much warmth to the idea,” she says.

Photo via Flickr.

Rice Riots; Or, Why Michael Pollan Is Also Right

posted by on April 9 at 4:21 PM

OK, I’m not just picking a fight with ECB. I’m also linking to Paul Krugman, who for the first time in forever is not making up specious reasons why Hillary’s policies are kind of sort of better than Obama’s.

One reason why grain prices are skyrocketing, according to Krugman:

First, there’s the march of the meat-eating Chinese — that is, the growing number of people in emerging economies who are, for the first time, rich enough to start eating like Westerners. Since it takes about 700 calories’ worth of animal feed to produce a 100-calorie piece of beef, this change in diet increases the overall demand for grains.

Pollan’s mantra: Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants. Cut down on meat, and grain prices should respond.

The Egomaniac in His Element

posted by on April 9 at 4:20 PM

Lots of chatter today about the long Chris Matthews profile that’s coming out in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.

It’s a great piece, and well worth getting lost in while pretending to work. Perhaps of particular interest to Slog readers will be passages, such as this one, that touch on “the sexist thing”:

The conversation moved to what Matthews calls “the sexist thing,” or what Media Matters calls Matthews’s “history of degrading comments about women, in which he focuses on the physical appearances of his female guests and of other women discussed on his program.” This would include Matthews loudly admiring the conservative radio host Laura Ingraham (“You’re great looking, obviously — one of God’s gifts to men in this country”), Elizabeth Edwards (“You’ve got a great face”), Jane Fonda (“You also dazzle us with your beauty and all the good things”), CNBC’s Margaret Brennan (“You’re gorgeous”) and Erin Burnett (“You’re beautiful… . You’re a knockout”), among others. The Burnett episode was especially remarked upon. In the video Matthews instructed Burnett to “get a little closer to the camera.” As Burnett became confused, Matthews persisted: “Come on in closer. No, come in — come in further — come in closer. Really close.” It was, at the minimum, uncomfortable to watch.

Re: For Josh Feit

posted by on April 9 at 4:06 PM

Rice Riots; Or Why Michael Pollan is Wrong

posted by on April 9 at 4:04 PM

According to the UK Guardian, “A global rice shortage that has seen prices of one of the world’s most important staple foods increase by 50 per cent in the past two weeks alone is triggering an international crisis, with countries banning export and threatening serious punishment for hoarders.”

In Thailand, lower-quality rice has risen between $70 and $100 a ton this week alone. In the Phillipines, agricultural secretary Arthur Yap has ordered fast-food restaurants to halve the amount of rice they supply with each purchase. And in China, the government is paying subsidies to farmers who switch to rice production. Prices, already at record highs, are expected to soar even higher in the coming months, as rice production — a staple food for three billion of the world’s people — fails to keep up with population, a consequence, in part, of a worldwide shift from food to biofuel production.

All of which provides a chilling context for eat-simple guru Michael Pollan’s blithe statement in the New York Times that “higher food prices level the playing field for sustainable food that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels.” Grist’s Tom Philpott had a great post on Pollan’s pricier-is-better argument a few days ago, arguing that Pollan (and sustainable-food icon Alice Waters, who suggested in the same Times article that people who can’t afford their higher food bills “make a sacrifice on the cell phone or the third pair of Nike shoes”) are “grossly simplifying” the issue of rising food prices. He argues that, in fact,

Rising costs may end up increasing the allure of large entities with economies of scale, cutthroat buying practices, and experience in transforming low-quality ag inputs into stuff people like to eat. I’m talking about fast-food companies, which can likely absorb higher input prices and still churn out crap — and rake in profits. If that’s true, prices at the drive-thru won’t rise quite as steeply as those in the supermarket line, giving people yet more incentive to abandon their home kitchens and flock to the Golden Arches.

Fortunately, Philpott writes,

there’s another way. Just as public policy can be used to consolidate the grip of industrial agriculture, it can also be used to increase the accessibility of sustainable agriculture. Admittedly, the 2007 farm bill, still belatedly knocking around Washington waiting for agreement between the president and Congress, probably can’t be counted on for much relief.

Sustainable agriculture shouldn’t be something available only to elites; poor people don’t eat junk food because they don’t want good food, they eat it because our food system makes such foods affordable while making sustainable food expensive. What will change that is not an increase in prices (and I’m not talking about the optional 20-cent charge for plastic bags here; I’m talking about suddenly having to pay twice as much for food) but systemic shifts in the programs and policies that make bad food cheap and good food unaffordable.

West Wing Does Denver

posted by on April 9 at 3:59 PM

This speculative short play about the Democratic Convention is by a West Wing writer. The best part is the gay hooker, and that’s in the first scene, but you want to know who wins, don’t you?

Via Hollywood Elsewhere, but I’m not going to link, because Obama fan Jeffrey Wells has some embarrassing analysis about why the gays love Hillary that I can’t let anyone else read.

Shorter Camille Paglia

posted by on April 9 at 3:48 PM

That “manic, seductively vampiric” bitch Hillary has daddy issues that make her hate men, so and she surrounds herself with girly male “cream puffs” who don’t threaten her mannish desire to be “on top.”

(Also, a boy who got shot in the head by gay-bashers brought it on himself by wearing makeup, and Michelle Obama is “stylish” and “feisty”!)

Re: Low Production Value Theater

posted by on April 9 at 3:47 PM

Paul, I’m tempted to chastise you for linking to a years-old download site, but I suppose there’s nothing wrong with plugging the best of the old gaming era—the storied, dusty text adventure. Still, why stop there? This is the modern era, and just as any shlub can start a band, a blog, or a paid sex site on the Internet, so too can they become a bona fide author of interactive fiction.

The barrier to entry has kept modern IF pretty meaty—it’s not a profitable enterprise in the world of the Wii and 360, but annual contests at sites like and have kept hardcore followers sated for over a decade. The above links (along with the semi-newbie-friendly Baf’s Guide) have tons of reviews, recommendations and downloads for anybody eager to LOOK, TAKE, and USE an interactive fiction game of their own.

I’m compelled to point out a recent Games for Windows Magazine article about IF (which I got a few of those links from), as the mag shut down this week—proving that music mags aren’t the only ones falling by the wayside these days. Didn’t read the mag? Shame, because GFW was a rare breed of gaming mag that treated its readers—and outsiders—like adults, telling compelling stories that went beyond reviews and previews (Native American depictions in games, debate-style run-throughs of popular titles, how games and politics were beginning to sensibly meld, etc.). In an era when video games finally deserve long-form articles, it’s sad to see a mag fall apart right at its stride, when it was delivering on the goods and rising above the never-ending sea of nerdy blogs. RIP, GFW.

For Josh Feit

posted by on April 9 at 3:41 PM

When Tearing Down Public Housing Might Be a Bad Idea

posted by on April 9 at 3:26 PM

When you haven’t exactly nailed down how you’re going to replace it.

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) successfully (and controversially) pushed last year to tear down several thousand units of public housing in New Orleans after Katrina—even though much of the housing had not been damaged in the post-hurricane floods. The units, which housed more than 5,000 people, were supposed to be replaced with “mixed-income” housing by a private developer. In the meantime, tenants would have to make do with (toxic) FEMA trailers.

Except, whoops, the national housing credit crunch is making HUD’s plan, which relies heavily on private financing, look less likely:

The rapid decline in financial markets has upset plans developers made last year to remake the public housing developments with a mix of public and private money. Since the City Council voted to demolish the complexes late last year, a spiraling credit crisis has made banks uneasy about making new loans. Meanwhile, the value of low-income housing tax credits that will be used to finance the projects has declined.

In recent weeks, the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, the state entity handling the award of tax credits, has said that any affordable housing developers who have not yet closed on their financing plans may find themselves unable to do so. […]

In December, Mayor Ray Nagin required developers to submit copies of financing plans before the city would issue demolition permits, but those were not signed deals proving that the financing was actually in place.

The Times-Picayune filed a public records request for copies of the financing plans submitted by each developer, but the mayor’s office did not make them available within three days as required by law.

So impoverished former public-housing residents may find themselves SOL, thanks to the short-sighted actions of a disgraced former housing secretary (Alphonso Jackson, who resigned in March) and a controversial mayor who refused to help public-housing residents return to their homes after Katrina hit.

Via Facing South.

Runway Eats Woman Who Never Eats

posted by on April 9 at 2:52 PM

I hope crashing through the floor doesn’t give her an even bigger eating disorder.

Thank you, Towleroad via Gawker.

KeyArena Fined for Selling Booze to Minors

posted by on April 9 at 2:39 PM

After a terrible season and a bad breakup with the Sonics, the ever-so-sad KeyArena has taken another hit.

Last month, KeyArena was slapped with a $500 fine after the Washington State Liquor Control Board busted two beer vendors for selling to minors.

In other bad-things-happening-to-KeyArena news, George Michael plays July 2.

Lunch Date: The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg

posted by on April 9 at 2:15 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? The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, a paperback original debut novel by Geoff Herbach

Where’d you go? Mia’s Off-Broadway Cafe

What’d you eat?
The special, which was half a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and a big bowl of pea soup ($5.25).

How was the food? Half and half. The ham and cheese sandwich was barely hot—the cheese had been melted a little bit. The soup, though, was good, with chunks of apple-chicken sausage and actual, real pieces of apple garnishing the bowl. I will definitely go back, though, if just to try the Korean Cheesesteak sandwich, which looks really good, and is probably a decent representative sample of Mia’s sandwich counter/pan-Asian cuisine schizophrenia.

What does your date say about itself?
It’s a novel composed from letters, journals, and the transcribed answers—and only the answers—from a conversation between a therapist and the main character, T. Rimberg, who really wants to kill himself. The letters are suicide notes, written to Jesus, T.’s father, and various other people in his life. Heather McElhatton, who I’ve never heard of before, says on the back of the book that “It’s a tasty dark treat, inspiring the reader to suck on every last hilarious morsel.”

Is there a representative quote?

“Hello David,

I’m a Marxist! What do you think about that, you yuppie bullshitter? A naked Marxist!

Yes. What better way to celebrate the life and works of Karl Marx than to get totally naked at a staff meeting?”

Will you two end up in bed together? Yes, I think we will. The misanthropic humor, thus far, reminds me of Home Land, by Sam Lipsyte, which was one of the funniest novels I’ve ever read. There’s a good interpretation of the Herbie the Love Bug movies as being about loneliness that I really liked in the first few pages. But the book’s on probation, because it’s a 300-page novel told almost entirely in suicide notes and one-sided interviews, and that shit can get really old really fast.

Obama Combo

posted by on April 9 at 1:56 PM


The latest pundit meme on Barack Obama is that he’s Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic “Egghead” Presidential nominee in 1952 and 1956. Lost badly.

Obama’s actually more of an egghead than Stevenson, really. Obama graduated from Harvard Law School (and was President of the Harvard Law Review.) While Stevenson graduated from an Ivy League undergrad (Princeton), he actually failed out of Harvard Law.

Anyway, here’s one snippet from Slate:

Obama exhibits other elements of this Stevensonian style as well. It’s a style—an ideology, really—that links the quest for common ground with a language of enlightened reason.

The funny thing about the Stevenson comparison is this: Last February, when Obama-mania was at its height around here, I tried to irk some of my Obama zealot colleagues by wearing a “Stevenson ‘60” pin. (Stevenson tried for the Democratic nomination in ‘60 and lost.)

The point of my Stevenson pin: Back in February, the rap on Obama was that he was the charismatic JFK. JFK, obviously, got the nomination in 1960, beating—among others—Stevenson. It was Kennedy’s charisma vs. Stevenson’s brains. My Clinton as Stevenson message didn’t quite translate—Clinton’s no intellectual, and in fact, Stevenson was a sharp speaker like Obama—but I was trying to riff off the substance vs. hope thing.

Anyhow, now the meme is that Obama is, in fact, Stevenson.

So, he’s both Kennedy and Stevenson?

Shit. The Democrats are doing pretty good.

Makes Me Wanna Holler

posted by on April 9 at 1:55 PM

The people who pay me to work at The Stranger must now be informed of a problem. An accident that happened a few minutes ago left a small cut on my arm. But that is not the problem. The problem is in the first-aid box. I opened it, looked inside, and failed to find a band-aid that would protect and hide the wound on my black arm. All of the band-aids in the kit are colored to cover wounds on white flesh.
-3.jpg See! It’s so horrible. My black skin healed by a strip of white skin. What kind of message is this? It is a bad one. Please, for me, buy band-aids that match black skin and put them in the fucking kit.

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on April 9 at 1:16 PM

Instrumental: Celebrating the wordless bands in Seattle.

Music & Oxen: Barry Manilow and Manowar!? Srsly.

From Retarded to Guilty Pleasure: John Miles makes good.

Total Darkness: Donte Parks reviews Autechre’s precise performance at Neumo’s Monday night.

We Don’t Just Listen to Joy Divison: See?

They’re Buying Turtles!: Chuck Klosterman asks “Where’s all the money not being spent on music going?”

Boom Boom! Boom Boom!: George Michael makes me want to sing.

Ew: Overheard at last night’s secret Thurston Moore performance…

You Don’t Say: Moby’s inspired by the club life.

Bumbershoot!: The initial line-up is announced. See who else is playing besides Stone Temple Pilots.

Tonight in Music: Team Gina, Meat Beat Manifesto, Gabriel Mintz.

Die a Horrible Bloody Death: Dethklok is coming to Seattle.

Just Added to Coachella: Prince!

Goo Be Gone: Terry Miller shows how to get the stickers off your record covers.

Visions of Death…: Thurston Moore’s morbid stage banter.

Hot Chip’s New Video: “One Pure Thought.”

Beautifully Faded Beats: Specs One prepares to drop new album.

Old Mogwai Made New: Band will re-release debut full-length as a double disc in May.

The Round: Videos of last night’s performance featuring Eric Howk, Star Anna, and Shane Tutmarc.

Today’s Music News: Was Sonny murdered? And who’s in trouble for killing squirrels? Find out.

This is not cute…


No Secret Knock Necessary

posted by on April 9 at 1:15 PM


Everyone’s welcome.

“Look. I am not a fucking retahd like Michael Bay.”

posted by on April 9 at 1:04 PM

Maker of atrocious films Uwe Boll has a minute-long rant up at his newest film’s website about the anti-Uwe Boll petitions that are circling the Internet, and why he’s the only genius in the moviemaking business. I don’t want to contribute to the overuse of this word, but it’s totally, toe-curlingly sublime.

(Via Defamer.)

New Congressional Report Details How to Win a “Most Original Costume” Award from a Top U.S. Immigration Official

posted by on April 9 at 12:43 PM

Blackface. Prison blackface, to be precise.


The House Homeland Security Committee has been probing the circumstances of a Halloween party held last year for Department of Homeland Security Employees. [Julie] Myers, a DHS assistant secretary, was one of three judges who awarded “most original costume” to an employee who was dressed in skin-darkening makeup, a dreadlocks wig and prison stripes. The Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Immigration and Customs Enforcement was photographed with the employee at the party, although it was more than three months until those photos would become public.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on April 9 at 12:35 PM

It can happen anywhere, to anyone. Don’t try to argue with a car…

From YouTube airscrew1

Low Production Value Theater

posted by on April 9 at 12:34 PM


Kung Fu Rodeo has a link to a website where you can download the first three Zork games for free. Pretty much anybody under the age of…27?…28?…53?…has no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure.

Nature Abhors a Motherfucker

posted by on April 9 at 12:23 PM

You’ve always known that envisioning sex with your dad/mom/sister/brother makes you want to die, now ABC News tells you why:

[R]esearch suggests that the vast majority of us are hard-wired for revulsion when it comes to the idea of sex between a father and daughter or other family members…Evidence of such an inherent distaste for incest can be seen in studies on chimpanzees, our closest evolutionary relative. While chimps are known to be promiscuous—arguably even more so than humans—several studies have shown that they will also avoid having sex with other chimps with whom they can sense they are related.

At the heart of this tendency to avoid sibling incest is a principle known as the Westermarck effect. For reasons not yet completely understood, boys and girls involved in frequent rough-and-tumble play in childhood tend to not be sexually attracted to one another later in life. Though little research has been done that would suggest this effect also applies in father-daughter relationships, [researchers] believe that this is a distinct possibility—in other words, fathers who spend time raising their daughters from infancy are probably less likely to develop a sexual attraction toward them later.

All very interesting, but what about the recent case from Australia, where “John Deaves, 61, and his daughter Jenny, 39, have a 9-month-old daughter but have been banned from having sex after a court convicted the pair on two counts of incest”?

As sociology professor Jonathan Turner told ABC News, the Deaves’ aberrant behavior “could be linked to the fact that [the father] left the family home when his daughter was only an infant and that he did not see her for the next 30 years. Any Westermarck-like effect that could have existed between the father and daughter would therefore not have had the opportunity to develop.”

Yet another reason for fathers to avoid deserting their children: Not only might you saddle your offspring with paralyzing abandonment issues, you might end up boning them down the road.

Full story here.

P.S. The whole concept of inherent incest revulsion reminds me of an old Last Days item I wrote about a pair of teen brothers, one of whom raped their drunk-and-unconscious mother in front of the other, as some sort of punishment. Terrible, yes, but still I was surprised by the violent disgust the item inspired, particularly in straight male readers. Was mother-fucking really more disturbing that broiling a newborn or being surgically removed from a sofa? Apparently, for straight males, the answer was an unequivocal, visceral YES—and when I asked my fella Jake why straight guys were so disgusted by the idea of boning their moms, he offered some wisdom I’ll never forget: “Not everyone’s mom is as sexy as yours.” After I stopped vomiting, I asked him to marry me.

Breaking: SIFF Opening Night Film

posted by on April 9 at 12:23 PM

The opening night film for SIFF ‘08 is going to be—unsurprisingly—Battle in Seattle, a Medium Cool ripoff (sans documentary footage) about the WTO protests starring Charlize Theron, Andre Benjamin, Woody Harrelson, and Ray Liotta as Mayor Schell—I mean, Mayor Tobin.


Here’s the Variety review.

Maybe we can get some fancy turtle protesters down at the opera house? It’s the evening of May 22.

Time for Irwin, Part V

posted by on April 9 at 12:18 PM

Last Thursday, a show opened at Greg Kucera Gallery, of nine new paintings and a print by Seattle artist Jeffrey Simmons. It’s hard to see why when looking at the flattened JPEGs online, but Simmons’s paintings have historically caused disbelief. According to Kucera, viewers often think they’re lit from within. Sometimes, it’s hard convincing people otherwise, he says, and it’s easy to see why: they glow.

I’ve been writing about Robert Irwin’s work for the last week. Irwin, unlike Simmons, a painter’s painter, has been all over the place in his career, as his current show at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego—with architectural drawings and models, installation, sculpture, and painting—demonstrates. (The show closes April 13, and doesn’t travel.)

But Irwin has his roots in the “light and space” art of Southern California. Imagine the opposite of Tony Smith’s six-foot, black, minimalist cube, “Die,” and you have the work of the light and space artists. Their objects melted into the light around them, or their planes of colored light, as in James Turrell’s work, seemed to solidify.

The typical lighting schemes of art—light created in paint, from “within,” as Simmons’s work plays with (Simmons also plays with the conventions of photography, despite the fact that he only ever uses paint), or applied from without, in gallery spotlights—were either toyed with or thrown out entirely.

The “dot” paintings were the last paintings Irwin made, his last stop on the line of traditional depiction. They are white canvases marked by hundreds of tiny, hand-placed, almost indiscernible colored dots. The dots are like swarms of insects, gathering most tightly in the center of the canvas and dissipating out toward the edges. In them, you can see the coming of the curved discs, which did not depict disappearing edges but had disappearing edges.

The single dot painting in the San Diego show was dimly lit and hung just outside the elevator, so you saw it out of chronological order, as both an introduction and a farewell to his early period, which is laid out on the museum’s upper floor. The piece functioned less as itself than as a prop in the story about Irwin’s career. Considering that Irwin directed this museum’s installation, the way the works were installed functions the same way as the selection of words in an autobiography. In one sense, the artist was having his say about this work: Like the columns, Irwin considered the dots, ultimately, to be failures. But there’s another reason, too, why the fact that this one was hard to make out seems right, even if it looked wrong. Irwin has spent his career making objects that exhibit a marked ambivalence about being seen, about being the center of attention. Instead, they want to direct attention. The way the dot painting was displayed in uncertain shadow meant that this central crisis—shared by many artists, not just experienced by Irwin—had its moment in the show.*

Coming up: What’s happening with Irwin in Seattle right now.

* There’s no image with this post because the museum hasn’t provided one. The PR office, typically helpful, hasn’t responded at all to two requests for an image of the dot painting. Nobody, apparently, wants it spotlit.

UPDATE: The poor press agent is home sick, but they may not have an installation shot. I suppose I’ll post a slide of a dot from another collection (MOCA), findable here:


Winning the War on Drugs

posted by on April 9 at 12:10 PM

This is terrible…

Family members of a man fatally shot during a no-knock raid last week say he was schizophrenic, so reclusive and paranoid that he rarely spoke to other people and couldn’t have dealt drugs as police suggest.

Nathan Aguillard, a Hurricane Katrina refugee, was shot by Denver police Officers Ronald Fox and Thomas Mc Kibben on Friday morning when they broke through his apartment door at 4754 Peoria St. with a warrant to search for drugs.

Police say Aguillard confronted the SWAT officers with a gun and was shot to death. They say they found guns and drugs in the apartment. The two SWAT team officers each have 21 years of experience.

The warrant signed in support of the no-knock search was not available at the courthouse Tuesday, nor was a listing of items found in Aguillard’s apartment.

Denver attorney Craig Skinner said the Aguillard family has hired him to review the Police Department’s actions in the shooting. “We’re going to try and find out if the police did anything inappropriate,” Skinner said Tuesday. “I do see several red flags. It does seem curious (police) haven’t been more open about this shooting and the warrant.”

Whenever I post these Winning the War on Drugs pieces, there are mixed reactions of rage at the officers, rage at the drugs, and rage at me. The theme in most of the posts – that someone was shot and killed in a drug raid – is enraging. But I keep posting them to pose a question.

The question isn’t whether or not cops should shoot people who pull a gun on them. They must. The question also isn’t whether armed raids are ever appropriate. Sometimes they are. And it’s not whether drugs or guns should be outlawed. That’s a bigger ball of wax. It is this: Is raiding a private residence with guns drawn an acceptable way to enforce suspected nonviolent drug-law violations?

During no-knock drug raids, innocent bystanders are shot and killed, like this one-year-old baby and his mom; cops are killed, like this officer raiding a house for marijuana that turned out to be maple trees; and other times, as in this story, a suspect who could have been apprehended without gunfire is left dead.

Some might say that this armed raid was justified because Aguillard allegedly pulled a gun. But he pulled his gun because armed strangers were breaking down his door. Law-abiding people would do that, too. Each year police arrest hundreds of thousands of people—suspected of nonviolent and violent crimes—without resorting to armed raids. On the street, in cars, at the suspect’s place of employment, etc.

But emphasizing COPS-style raids for nonviolent drug offenses is theatrics, with deadly consequences. And police are in denial about the risk involved—like when officers in Florida last week brought their kids to see the show.

Two SWAT officers are being counseled after bringing their young children along with them on a drug raid.

The Orange County SWAT team searched a house on Napoleon Street Friday, arresting three people and recovering guns and drugs.

The two officers who brought their children on the raid will not be disciplined.

We need to wake up and smell the blood. Drug treatment reduces drug abuse. Even arrests followed by mandatory treatment is fairly effective. But no-knock drug raids are anything but winning the war on drugs.

Deborah Jacobs Is Leaving Seattle Public Library

posted by on April 9 at 12:02 PM

City Librarian Deborah Jacobs—who made the Seattle Public Library what it is, who has been written about a lot in the local dailies (“Whatever Deborah Jacobs wants, it sometimes seems, Deborah Jacobs gets through the sheer force of her will, drive and charisma”), who has been lauded as a genius in The Stranger, who has been praised by The New Yorker’s architecture critic in this review of the downtown library in 2004 (“Deborah Jacobs seems to have been about as close to an ideal client as could be imagined, and she protected the architects from some of their worst instincts”)—is leaving Seattle Public Library. She’s accepted a job at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation leading their Global Libraries initiative. Her last day at SPL will be July 2.

“While I intended to stay at The Seattle Public Library until my retirement, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given me an opportunity to take the passion and values that guide my life to places where information is not as accessible as in Seattle,” she says in the press release that went out today. I’ll put the whole thing, with quotes from the mayor and stuff, after the jump.

Continue reading "Deborah Jacobs Is Leaving Seattle Public Library" »

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on April 9 at 11:37 AM

The Pleasureboaters at HTFC


From tomika davis

South African Science Fiction

posted by on April 9 at 11:36 AM

Discovered this morning on this website is the current renovation of the tallest and strangest residential tower in Africa, Ponte City. Located in the Hillbrow neighborhood of Johannesburg, the core of the cylindrical building will leave its past…
(The cinema of Alien, Blade Runner, Robo Cop)

And enter its future…
800px-PonteCore.jpg (The cinema of Gattaca, Code 46, Sunshine)

The renovation has its cause in the 2010 World Cup, which will be hosted in Jozi, the most developed city in the most underdeveloped continent on the planet.

I Tried it So You Don’t Have To: The New A&W Float Soda

posted by on April 9 at 11:30 AM


Don’t do it. I should’ve know better. I know. Don’t tell me I’m stupid for thinking it could be good. I never thought it’d be good. I just… had to try it anyway.

The added vanilla flavor, which is far too strong, tastes like cheap vanilla extract. After one gulp I felt like I was drinking up the mixture of melted ice cream, flat soda, and backwash that’s left in the bottom of someone else’s old root beer float.

If you see it, stay away.

Giant Chewy Nerds, on the otherhand, are my new best friend.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 9 at 11:00 AM


‘The Unforeseen’

This enviro documentary has its pretensions (I could’ve done without Wendell Berry intoning poetry), but the 30-year drama it describes couldn’t be more timely. Developers want to build gigantic new communities in the hill country outside Austin, Texas; activists want to prevent the pollution of the local aquifer and, more to the point, the beloved community swimming hole. Meanwhile, deregulation of financial institutions is playing havoc with the economy, and George W. Bush is running against Ann Richards for the governorship of Texas. The echoes are deafening. (See for movie times.)


The Times’ Pro-Plastic Bag Crusade Continues

posted by on April 9 at 10:40 AM

Continuing the Seattle Times’ ongoing crusade against a 20-cent fee for disposable bags (shorter version: What is this, Soviet Russia? But what will I put my cat shit in? And what about the poor single moms whose minimum wage we opposed increasing?), columnist Danny Westneat weighs in today, writing that since plastic bags make up just a fragment of all the crap that’s in our oceans, they’re not really worth worrying about.

Maybe you’ve heard of Curt Ebbesmeyer. He’s considered one of the world’s leading oceanic garbologists (though, as he jokes, how many can there be?).From his basement in Ravenna, he uses beachcomber reports to track the comings and goings of floating sea trash. Like dozens of rat-poison canisters that washed onto Washington shores this spring. Or computer monitors, which “always float screen up, eyes peering out of the waves.”

An oceanographer, he also named the Earth’s most shameful man-made feature, the “great Eastern garbage patch.” That’s a Texas-sized soup of plastic junk, swirling in floating clouds across the Pacific between us and Hawaii.[…]

So when I asked him what he thought of Seattle’s plan to crack down on disposable grocery bags, I was surprised when he sort of shrugged.

“It’s OK, but plastic bags are not the real problem,” he said. “It’s one little battle out of a million. Go look at what the ocean carries in on a given day. You’ll see what I mean.”

Last month, Ebbesmeyer held a “Dash for Trash” in Ocean Shores. In two hours, 50 people collected an astonishing 2,000 pounds of junk from the beach. Almost all of it was plastic — from fishing floats to shotgun shells to dolls from Japan. Yet very little of it was the plastic bags targeted by Seattle.

See? Anecdotal evidence from a single source = irrefutable fact. Banning plastic bags—whoops, sorry, charging a nominal fee for people who refuse to bring their own canvas, cloth, paper, or plastic sacks—is totally pointless. Although there’s evidence that plastic bags do make up more than just a tiny fraction of the oceanic trash gyres (in fact, they’re the 12th most common form of debris washed up on shore), the thing that drives me nuts about arguments like this is that they’re selectively defeatest. Trading incandescent light bulbs is just “a drop in the ocean,” too. So is turning down the thermostat, driving less (hell, even giving up your car doesn’t do that much for the big picture), inflating your tires, or moving to a denser, more walkable community. Every individual step is a drop in the bucket. The reason the city is proposing a fee for plastic bags is that it may make some people decide it’s worth it to bring canvas bags instead. That won’t, on its own, fix global warming or un-pollute the oceans. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.

And while we’re on the subject of plastic bags and pollution, I should point out that Westneat ignores some much more significant problems with plastic bags: They do make up a huge portion of the trash in landfills, and even recycling them is riddled with problems, the first of which is that the recycling process itself pollutes the atmosphere. What’s more, the production of plastic bags for American consumption alone requires an estimated 12 million barrels of oil a year. According to the Worldwatch Institute, Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags a year—that’s throw away, not recycle. Most of those bags end up in landfills, where they take an estimated 1,000 years to dissolve. The rest end up in the air as lightweight, long-traveling litter that threatens wildlife (particularly sea life) and creates an eyesore; in South Africa, they bags are known as the “national flower.” ‘

So should we focus on other problems, as Westneat suggests—the ubiquitous plastic water bottles, perhaps? Absolutely. So will the Times, which cries “nanny state” every time the city proposes penalties behavior that’s bad for the environment, support a ban (or fee) on plastic bottles? I’m not holding my breath.

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

posted by on April 9 at 10:30 AM

A 2-year-old girl died after being beaten with a video game controller by her mother’s boyfriend, police said Tuesday. Darisabel Baez’s mother overheard the beating Sunday but did nothing until she realized the girl was unconscious, police said.

The girl was pronounced dead late Monday at Hershey Medical Center, police Lt. Ron Camacho said.

Currently Hanging

posted by on April 9 at 10:30 AM

Allison Manch’s The Producers (Rza) (2008), handkerchief, embroidery

At Gallery 4Culture. (Gallery info here.)

Reading Tonight

posted by on April 9 at 10:19 AM


Poetry Slam and three other events going on today, including a discussion about religion and politics, which is sure to end well.

First, at Elliott Bay Book Company, Jeff Gordiner is reading from his book X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft and Can Still Keep Everything from Sucking. I just got an e-mail from Stranger critic Travis Nichols assuring me that, even though this is a book about Generation X, it is “interesting and witty.” Travis has done some great work for us, and I hope that he’ll do more work for the books section in the very near future, so I will refrain from the public drubbing I was going to give this book based on its subject matter and its use of ‘Generation X.’

David Domke and Mark Smith are giving the aforementioned lecture at the UW about the intersection of religion and politics. My dream would be to have all the religious people on one side of the aisle and all the religious people on the other and have the whole thing turn into a brawl, but this will probably be an intelligent discussion about issues, which is almost as good.

And up at Third Place Books, Sloane Crosley is reading from her book I Was Told There’d Be Cake. This is my pick for the reading of the evening, because I just recently read Cake, and it was the funniest book of essays I’ve read in a very long time—perhaps I can even utter the name Sedaris in comparison and actually mean it. Crosley will be reading at Elliott Bay within the next week, too, so there’s no reason to miss her. She’s one of the few writers today who can actually write both funny and beautiful sentences, at the same time.

Any further questions about upcoming readings can be directed toward the complete readings calendar.

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.

Stupid Republican Awareness Week

posted by on April 9 at 10:15 AM

It’s Islamo-Fascism Awareness week … again.

You know, the real problem with this conservative organizing stunt isn’t so much the racist undertones (overtones)—it’s that the subject of their ire shouldn’t be softy liberals, it should be George Bush.

Bush (and now McCain, it seems) is the one who needs a primer on who the bad guys are.

The Islamo-Fascists, the ones who attacked us on 9/11, were in Afghanistan—and now Western Pakistan. George Bush and the GOP are the ones who royally messed up America’s mission by invading Iraq, which had zero to do with Islamo-Fascism.

Just saying … again.

Thanks, Talking Points.

Progress in the War on Terror

posted by on April 9 at 10:12 AM

The headline: US Official: Al-Qaida terrorist dead
The content:

Abu Obeida al-Masri, an Egyptian al-Qaida chief responsible for attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan and linked to international terrorist plots, is dead, a U.S. counterterrorism official said Wednesday.

Al-Masri died of either hepatitis or a blood disease, in late 2007 in Pakistan’s lawless tribal area bordering Afghanistan, a second counterterrorism official said.

The headline and the content are not saying the same thing. Without reading the content, the headline says: “Something is being done about terrorism. The billions being spent are not vanishing into hot air. Your money is killing terror.” But the content has this to say: “Even terrorist get sick and die.”

Nazi Fetish

posted by on April 9 at 10:01 AM

So… a lot of folks feel it’s not okay for the sixty-something son of the leader of the pre-WWII British fascists to host a “Nazi-style orgy.” I wonder how those people feel about Israeli Holocaust survivors that shared his passion for Nazi-style role playing games?

The Sign of All Times

posted by on April 9 at 9:52 AM

Who is paying for the WaMu mess? No need to guess:

The Florida employee said she’d like to leave the industry but “I’m 58, and I’ve got a house and car payments to make and parents who have Alzheimer’s, and I don’t know what else to do.”

A Seattle-area loan officer who is being laid off after a decade at WaMu said he and others are angry at upper management.

“On April 1, they told the big producers that we’re solid, we’re good, we want to keep you, and less than a week later, you’re gone,” he said.

“The loans we do did not cause their problem,” he added, saying that people in WaMu’s conventional-lending business are paying for missteps the company made with subprime loans, which were given to people with poor credit.

Dave Erickson, president of the Washington Association of Mortgage Brokers, said he is surprised that WaMu will no longer supply loans through mortgage brokers. He predicted borrowers will be affected.

Because history is nothing but this anger, betrayal, and struggle, why are these WaMu employees and contractors so surprised? Stop being surprised.

Karl Rove Interview

posted by on April 9 at 9:46 AM

How come only the hosts of comedy shows—even college comedy shows—have the nads to put tough questions to our scummy ruling elite? Karl Rove sits down with On Harvard Time. It’s required viewing…

Via Towleroad.

Dumb Lunt

posted by on April 9 at 9:41 AM

The Telegraph reports that a village in the UK is considering a name change—villagers, the paper asserts, are sick of local “yobs” defacing signs identifying the village. The name of the village? Lunt—which also so happens to be the name of the street in Chicago where my family lived for, oh, twenty years. (Old joke: There are three streets in Chicago that rhyme with vagina: Paulina, Carolina, and Lunt.)

But if you read the story it’s pretty clear that villagers, plural, aren’t pushing this name change. All the villagers the paper spoke to—save one—are against the name change. So who’s for it? One local politician, a conservative naturally, who can’t stand to see all those innocent Ls being transformed into dirty Cs. But Lunt has been Lunt—and jokes have been made (cunt has been around for ever)—for centuries. The village first appears in the records in 1215.

Taking Your Obsession Too Far

posted by on April 9 at 9:37 AM

There are Civil War nuts, and there are Civil War nuts:

Working in secret, federal archaeologists have dug up the remains of dozens of soldiers and children near a Civil War-era fort after an informant tipped them off about widespread grave-looting.

The exhumations, conducted from August to October, removed 67 skeletons from the parched desert soil around Fort Craig - 39 men, two women and 26 infants and children, according to two federal archaeologists who helped with the dig.

They also found scores of empty graves and determined 20 had been looted.

What tipped off the Feds?

The investigation began with a tip about an amateur historian who had displayed the mummified remains of a black soldier, draped in a Civil War-era uniform, in his house.

FBI: Lieberman’s Web Site Crashed Itself

posted by on April 9 at 9:30 AM

Let’s get in the way-back machine for a moment and recall all those loud cries of foul play that came from Sen. Joe Lieberman’s 2006 re-election campaign when its web site crashed in the days before Ned Lamont’s upset primary win.

And now, let’s look at the verdict from the FBI, which investigated the incident:

It appears the culprit was a badly configured site and too much e-mail traffic, according to an Oct. 25, 2006, F.B.I. e-mail message turned over to The Advocate in response to its freedom-of-information filing.

“The server that hosted the Web site failed because it was overutilized and misconfigured,” the e-mail memo said. “There was no evidence of (an) attack.” According to the memo, the site crashed because Lieberman officials continually exceeded a configured limit of 100 e-mails per hour the night before the primary.

First Chunk of Bumbershoot Line Up Announced

posted by on April 9 at 9:28 AM

Go to Line Out for the details.

The Morning News

posted by on April 9 at 8:28 AM

Predicted: IMF foresees recession.

Upstaged: Monks crash China’s dog and pony show.

Braced: San Francisco prepares for Olympic Torch protests.

Replanted: Preserved lands.

Concrete Junky: Nickels opposes new parks levy.

We Know Why You Wait: American Airlines grounds 850 planes for safety inspections.

Dreamliner: Boeing hits the snooze button.

Mutual Interest: WaMu cuts 3000 jobs.

Deadlock: Upshot of yesterday’s Petraeus hearing.

Since He’s Bailing Out the Banks: Bush makes vacuous proposal for homeowners.

GAO: Over $5 billion in federal employee spending violated procedure.

Teen Assaulted at School for Sign: “If you love our nation, stop illegal immigration.”

Cyber Attacks: Homeland is not secure.

Nepalling: Violence before Nepal vote.

Department of Justice: Puts off 50 corporate prosecutions. But remember when Bush said this?

“We will use the full weight of the law to expose and root out corruption,” Bush said. “My administration will do everything in our power to end the days of cooking the books, shading the truth and breaking our laws.”

There Is a God: Two-faced baby born in India.

From Growing Up Straight: What Every Thoughtful Parent Should Know About Homosexuality, by Peter and Barbara Wyden. Copyright 1968.


Is lesbianism really much less common than male homosexuality? The best evidence suggests that it is.

The reasons for this male-female disparity are probably largely physical. Sexual activity in boys generally starts earlier than in girls, and so does homosexual activity (in one study of lesbians, not a single girl had any homosexual experience until the age of 16). Moreover, since women participate in heterosexual intercourse without special physical qualifications (such as an erection for the male), many homosexually inclined women are overtly probably heterosexual or sexually inactive.

What, then, does set off the female homosexuality? If the parental background is very disturbed, the daughter’s homosexuality may emerge relatively early.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Digging Up Rothko

posted by on April 8 at 6:02 PM

Mark Rothko, Black on Maroon

The Rothko children want to move their dead parents, the New York Times reports. It brings back a painful episode from the history of 20th-century art, and it’s also just … weird.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on April 8 at 5:26 PM


From Blush Photo

Word of the Day

posted by on April 8 at 4:10 PM


Tell the City How You Feel About Parking In Your Neighborhood

posted by on April 8 at 4:02 PM

The Seattle Department of Transportation has a survey up on its website asking for input on our annoying—but necessary—parking permit system.

Last year, the city added parking zones in South Lake Union, and SDOT is considering zoning other areas around town, like on 11th and 12th Ave just south of East Pike Street.

So, do we need more restrictions on parking? More expensive parking passes? A chaotic, unenforced parking free-for-all?

Tell the city.

Can’t Haliburton Pony Up For His Protection?

posted by on April 8 at 3:45 PM

Not only will we be paying for Dick Cheney’s disastrous reign as VP after he’s gone, we’ll also be paying for his protection:

The Secret Service is preparing to provide Vice President Cheney with agents, transportation, advance work and other security-related trappings of executive power for six months after the Bush administration packs up and moves out in January, the agency’s director, Mark Sullivan, told Congress last week. The expected cost: $4 million.

Although presidents and their spouses are entitled to Secret Service protection long after they depart the White House, federal law authorizes protective services for the vice president and his immediate family only during his time in office. Extending Cheney’s detail would require a directive from the president or a joint resolution of Congress.

“We believe that it’s a pretty safe bet with the threat environment we face today that Vice President Cheney will be afforded Secret Service protection upon his departure,” Sullivan told the House Appropriations subcommittee on homeland security last week.

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

posted by on April 8 at 3:45 PM

“The sounds of the mom screaming. Just screaming and you knew,” said Delorme, her voice breaking…. Police were still on the scene yesterday in Merritt, B.C., with the bodies of the three children inside.

Their mother came home Sunday afternoon to find the bodies of Kaitlynne, 10, and her brothers Max, 7, and Cordon, 5, all dead, after leaving them in the care of their father, Allan Dwayne Schoenborn, 40.

Police are still searching for Schoenborn, who is the suspect in the fatal stabbings of the three children, and believe he may be hiding in the bush near Merritt, about 270 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

What’s the Matter With Me?

posted by on April 8 at 3:28 PM

The same thing that’s the matter with me, as it turns out. Andoni at Citizen Crain makes a good point

…I’m a Kansan, too. No, I don’t vote Republican for their social values, I vote Democratic for theirs. But voting Democratic for me also puts me in the same category of those Kansans we love to criticize. It goes against my economic self interest.

Let me explain. I’m retired and my entire income comes solely from capital gains. Thanks to George W. Bush’s tax cuts a few years ago, for the third year in a row, my final total federal tax rate is 15%—lower than Warren Buffet’s. The Democrats want to end this tax give away for the wealthy. McCain and the Republicans want to renew it. My economic interest would be to vote Republican to continue saving all this money in capital gains taxes—a very, very sweet deal.

However, social issues like gay rights are what more important to me than my own economic interests. As a result, I’ll be just like those Kansans I used to like to criticize so much. I’ll vote my “values” instead of my economic interest. Count me as irrational as those Kansans.

I’m certainly not retired, and I don’t live off capital gains as, er, I don’t really have any capital out there that doing any gaining. Me? I work hard for the money, so hard for it, honey. But… I have also benefited from the Bush tax cuts (not to the degree that Andoni here has), and yet I’m planning to vote against my economic interest and help—hopefully—to put a Democrat in the White House this coming January.

But I’m not voting Democratic despite my economic interests or, as I suspect is the case with many Kansans, in ignorance of my economic interest. Voting for the folks that want to raise my taxes is also in line with my “values.” I don’t just want to see a Democrat in the White House because I support Democratic social policies (choice, gay rights, health care for all—you know, freedom). I also hope to see a Democrat in the White House come November because I want to see the Bush tax cuts—which John McCain voted against and now says he supports making permanent—expire with along with the Bush administration.

Because people that benefit disproportionately in our society should pay higher taxes. Including me.

Tonight’s Design Reviews

posted by on April 8 at 3:15 PM

This morning, Boom suffered a technological tragedy when a sickly laptop buckled under the demands of another post. With fond memories it was sent out to pasture. But after a harried trip to the Apple store, we are back in the saddle riding a new young stallion, albeit behind schedule.

Small Time

Rarely a week passes on Slog that I’m not ranting about the need for inner-city apartments with smaller floor plans. We need affordable homes—near jobs—for working and low-income folks. Plymouth Housing Group is on the case.


The nonprofit has proposed a 7-story building smack in the middle of Belltown with 84 affordable apartments (with full bathrooms and kitchens)—averaging 250 square feet. Plymouth describes it as “studio apartments for currently homeless individuals.” I describe it as “awesome.”


SMR Architects

“It’s a more holistic approach to ending homelessness,” says Christona Bollo of SMR Architects. Caseworkers, a nurse, and other facilities will share the 1st floor with a 2000 square foot retail space, she says. At this design meeting, the second, SMR will show detailed plans for perspectives, elevations and building materials.

Another interesting aspect of the project: No parking is required and none is proposed.

The meeting is tonight at 5:30 p.m. in room L280 of Seattle City Hall, 600 4th Ave / 601 5th Ave. After-hours access info is here.

MLK, Jr. Way South and South Othello Street

Othello Partners wants to build a six-story structure containing 365 residential units and 25,500 square feet of retail space. Parking for 278 vehicles will be contained in the building. The existing building—a mini mall, I believe—would be demolished.


But before they get the thumbs up, the design review board wants to see some changes.

Overall, the Board felt that the proposed buildings mass along Othello was of particular concern with proximity of exterior wall at street level and on the upper level. Othello will become a prominent pedestrian street leading to and from the light rail station. Opportunities exists provide a vibrant space that is welcoming. The building’s scale is not that bad, however there appears to be a lack of graciousness to what is occurring in public spaces.

No designs to post, sorry. But you can see how the developer and architects Ruffcorn Mott Hinthorne Stine will address these and other concerns at a meeting 6:30 p.m. in the lower level of the Rainier Cultural Arts Center, 3515 South Alaska Street.

Rainier Avenue South and South Dearborn Street

The proposal is to build 15 units in two duplexes, a triplex and two fourplexes in the Rainier Valley. Sorry, no rendering for this project, either.


Here’s what the Web site says: “Market rate unit prices are projected to range from $165,000 for studio units to $287,000 for large 2 bedroom units.” Tonight the review board will give early design guidance at 8:00 p.m. in the lower level of the Rainier Cultural Arts Center, 3515 S Alaska Street.

Lunch Date Redux: Playing

posted by on April 8 at 2:55 PM


Last week, I reviewed the beginning of a novel called Playing, which is a debut novel by the wife of Vikram Chandra about a woman embarking on her first S&M relationship. Though I finished the book a couple days ago, it just occurred to me that I never actually wrote about how it was, in the end.

I said last week that “I think I’m going to regret (reading Playing) in the morning.” Boy, did I ever. The late nineties/early aughts were heavy with novels starring wealthy young white women who fled from loving relationships because they couldn’t deal with them. Frequently, the wealthy young white women would flee to their parents and resume a second childhood. Sometimes, they would go somewhere that wealthy young white women don’t ordinarily go (e.g. Africa).

Usually, at the end of these novels, the women would have an epiphany that they love the man they fled from and that the man loved them, and so they return triumphantly to the arms of the man, who is waiting for the woman like a spineless wretch. The most popular of these novels was Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, whose main character fled her fiancee because she suddenly realized that he would die one day, but many of the early Oprah books followed this plot, also. Playing is one of these novels. It is Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood in handcuffs, being beaten with a riding crop. Sadly, if that last sentence was put on the cover in a blurb, it would probably sell really well.

Game Plan

posted by on April 8 at 1:39 PM

Last Friday, I Slogged that there’s really only one thing that will make a Sonics exit worthwhile: If the city of Seattle gets props—like on-the-cover-of-Sports Illustrated props—for standing up to the NBA’s childish (and untenable) business model.

If we can’t spin this nationally as a precedent setting move, as a solid statement, than the city’s current court battle with the Sonics (trying to make the team honor its lease); our overwhelming vote against corporate sports subsidies; and our rejection of Bennett’s $400 million bailout request, will ultimately just be a bummer: No NBA team.

Seattle needs to get national attention for this.

I’m repeating all this today because Mayor Nickels announced this morning—a week in advance of an NBA board of governors meeting, where the NBA is surely going to give the green light to sycophantic Oklahoma CIty (voters there savored the blackmail and approved a $120 million tax subsidy last month), that we do not have the money to upgrade KeyArena. That money—we needed another $75 million—was part of plan to satisfy a group of local investors including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who had recently sparked hope by saying it might buy the team if Seattle could satisfy the NBA with a KeyArena upgrade.

I’m trying to read between the lines of Mayor Nickels statement to see if he’s positioning himself for a year down the line, when the Sonics may bolt, to give that New York Times, CNN, SI interview where he says, look man, we bargained in good faith, but the NBA is an extortion racket.

Unfortunately, I’m not finding it. (I’ve posted his statement in the jump).

He wastes his energy pointing fingers at the legislature, which undermines the case that we’re not going to stand for the NBA’s tactics. Yes, I agree that the Ballmer idea was encouraging—even Nick Licata liked it—but let’s not take our eyes of the issue: Even as the Sonics are asking us to cough up hundreds of millions for a new stadium, we’re still covering the Sonics losses to pay off their share of the loan on the $75 million arena we built them 13 years ago.

As good as the Ballmer idea was, the legislature—which got petitioned in the last week of the session—had every right (and it fits with the theme Nickels needs to be spinning) to say, we’ve got more important business to take care of.

Nickels needs to grasp the importance of that point. It’s the story.

Continue reading "Game Plan" »

The Garden fo’ Eatin’

posted by on April 8 at 12:40 PM


A wretched and overgrown quarter acre sliver of land called Longfellow Creek Garden lies fallow somewhere in West Seattle. But Zach Zink, a man rich with alliteration and vision, sees not an old vacant lot suitable for nothing but litter and discarded hookers, but a glorious, thriving example of sustainable inner-city organic farming.

Zach is a bright and industrious young chap who’s just mad about sustainable organic food production. He sits on the Board of Directors of Tilth Producers, a farming nonprofit devoted to educated and supporting organic and sustainable farms, and he works full time coordinating one of the biggest gosh darn farmer’s markets in the state. He says:

We all know that it is critical to start to make our cities sustainable. Like, with actual work. With every one of us sweating and problem-solving and actually physically changing the way our communities exist. Urban and Neighborhood gardening is without question one of the most critical ways to do this.

Indeed. And so Zach is spearheading the efforts to reclaim the disused and abused land. Growing Washington, a local farm support & management nonprofit, has joined his cause. But he is still in charge of rounding up volunteers, labor, and essential supplies. Hint, hint.

On April 19th the tilling will begin. If you have a hankering to get your volunteer-ish nails filthy, or have a spare hose or weed whacker not gathering dust, you can involve yourself here.

There are 10 volunteers already scheduled for the April 19th kick-off. Those interested in learning to grow their own sustainable, organic food (i.e. learning to not starve in our ever-warming future) are deeply encouraged.

Google on a Bicycle

posted by on April 8 at 12:28 PM

An online petition

To: Google, and the Google Maps team

We would like a ‘Bike There’ feature added to Google Maps — to go with the current ‘Drive There’ and ‘Take Public Transit’ options….

…30270 total signatures at the moment. Here’s the organizer’s blog.

In Praise of Older Journalists Taking Buyouts

posted by on April 8 at 12:25 PM

Jack Shafer:

The “retirement” of the buyout brigade has the added benefit of loosening the ugly stranglehold the boomers have over the press. I may be risking self-extermination by advocating wholesale boomer expulsion, but there are just too many of us—especially the older variety—in top slots for journalism’s good. The sheer weight of our presence blocks the promotion of the next generation of talented journalists to the most desirable beats.

We like our nice salaries, we enjoy our benefits and vacation time, we dig our place in the pecking order, and we expect to live forever. So why should we leave? Our intransigence not only gives our product a rancid boomer tang—who can blame nonboomers for being repulsed?—it tends to stifle innovation.

Meanwhile, over on the Web, where news staffs tend to be younger and less tradition-bound, the sort of experimentation newspapers and magazines should be engaging in is a part of the daily routine. If not for age-discrimination legislation and other statutes, our bosses would have cleared us out with sharp-bladed bulldozers long ago and replaced us with younger, more-adaptable, and less-expensive minds. Yes, you heard right. Newsrooms must cut their budgets to survive, and the high-salaried boomers (and pre-boomers) are liabilities.

Fortunately, the one thing boomers understand is money, and the offer of a couple of years’ salary in the form of a buyout has been too great a temptation for many of them to resist. Whenever a journalism vet boards the SS Buyout—no matter how good he is—his departure initiates a series of reassignments that help replenish a news organization’s juices by bringing down the median age of reporters and editors and making it possible for his publication to add a lower-paying entry-level slot.

Happiness Together

posted by on April 8 at 12:23 PM

She and the house…
carreco07.jpg…are in Portugal. The architects are Nuno Grande and Pedro Gadanho. The home’s defining feature is the suspended “baclony-terrace.” The complication of the primary volume is the next significant feature. At the front of house, a large surface with a small round window looms over the glass door.

As for the woman. She is not old. She has a ponytail. She wears a black skirt. Her hand is on the wall. And her mind is elsewhere.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on April 8 at 12:20 PM

La Pequeña Amy Winehouse! I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself…

See also Pequeña Hillary Clinton, and Pequeña Patricia Maldonado. From Chilean madman Felipe Avello.

Everybody Loves Bartlett

posted by on April 8 at 12:17 PM


Critics high and low are going all squishy and gushy about the new Broadway revival of South Pacific (which opened at the Lincoln Center on April 3).

And they’re giving special rose-petal-and-champagne showers to director Bartlett Sher, who will most certainly be nominated again for a directing Tony (to add to his previous nominations for Piazza and Awake and Sing).

John Lahr, practicing restrained enthusiasm in The New Yorker:

Under the elegant, astute direction of Bartlett Sher, Lincoln Center’s revival—the first on Broadway since the show’s début—is a majestic spectacle. Conjured by Michael Yeargan’s superb sets and Donald Holder’s evocative lighting, the romantic and rollicking nineteen-forties world comes to life. But there is nothing retro about the show’s debate. Now, as then, the nation is stuck on issues of race, war, and, as the musical puts it, a ‘thing called hope.’

Ben Brantley, losing his curmudgeonly mind in The New York Times:

I know we’re not supposed to expect perfection in this imperfect world, but I’m darned if I can find one serious flaw in this production… I think a lot of us had forgotten that’s what ‘South Pacific’ is really about. In making the past feel unconditionally present, this production restores a glorious gallery of genuine people who were only waiting to be resurrected.

And Terry Teachout, my perennial favorite, in the Wall Street Journal—he identifies flaws in the source material, but cannot stop himself from drooling over Sher:

Why did South Pacific vanish from the New York stage after so triumphant and profitable a run? Lincoln Center Theater’s awesomely fine revival, which opened last night, answers that question once and for all. Bartlett Sher, best known on Broadway for his work on The Light in the Piazza, has directed it as well as it can possibly be directed, and Kelli O’Hara is giving a full-fledged name-above-the-title performance in the starring role created six decades ago by Mary Martin. Nearly every aspect of this production — sets, costumes, lighting, even the sumptuous-sounding orchestra — is exemplary. Yet the show itself, in spite of its hit-laden score, left me tepid, and I suspect that most people seeing it for the first time will feel the same way.

South Pacific goes dead in the water every time the characters stop singing and start talking, which is way too often…. Will true love purge our poor benighted heroine of her racism? Will her middle-aged suitor be killed in a daredevil mission behind Japanese lines? Would that one could care, but Hammerstein preaches his sermon with head-thumping triteness.

Bonus round: South Pacific has given the swoony gays at Modern Fabulosity a new object d’amour in Paolo Szot, the Brazilian opera singer playing Emile De Bec:


We chatted, but all too soon he turned to go…but not before locking eyes with mine and thanking me, deeply, gratefully, soulfully, for coming to the show. I tried to yell out, ‘I Will Be Your Babymama,’ but he was already moving down the hall. And like that (poof)… he was gone. But he will be mine. Oh yes, he will be mine. I’m a Broadway stalker from way back, bitches… Bali H’ai is calling my name, and on some enchanted evening soon, Paolo will definitely see this stranger across a crowded room, if you know what I’m saying, and I think you do.

Congratulations, Mr. Sher.

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on April 8 at 12:15 PM

Stone Temple Pilots Announce Tour: And they’re playing Bumbershoot on August 31.

Today’s Music News: Replacement Reissues, Toni Braxton’s heart problems and Pig Destroyer’s Seattleless tour.

The Salsoul Explosion: TJ Gorton on the Salsoul Invention’s only LP.

Hey Music Nerds!: Have you registered for EMP’s Pop Conference? It’s this weekend.

Sweet & Friendly: Charles Mudede’s memory of a dead South African pop group.

In Shambles: Pete Doherty’s going back to jail.

The Root Connection: Josh Feit on minimalism, serialism experimenters, and layered guitars.

Tonight in Music: Scout Niblett, Bachelorette, and the Round with Eric Howk and Shane Tutmarc.

Bob Dylan Gets Pulitzer: And the commenters get cranky.

Half-FX: NOFX gets lazy at SXSW.

New M83: The video for “Graveyard Girl.”

2008’s Tay Zonday: Is Fergie spoof this year’s “Chocolate Rain.”

Rock the Cradle: Why I love the worst show on television.

They’re baaaack:


The Making of the HPV Vaccine

posted by on April 8 at 11:40 AM


Denise Galloway—one of the people most responsible for the successful HPV vaccine—will be speaking tomorrow, Wednesday April 9th, at 7:30 in Kane Hall on the UW campus.

Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common cause of cervical cancer, which in turn is one of the most common causes of death for women worldwide—particularly in places where women cannot or do not get regular pap smears. Charmingly, this virus also causes genital warts, penis cancer and a few other treats. The vaccine Dr. Galloway helped develop is incredibly effective against the four most serious variants of the virus.

Her talk—hosted by the Molecular Medicine program—should be interesting.

Confidential to Stranger Staffers

posted by on April 8 at 11:34 AM

Re: our earlier meeting declaring war on the Seattle Times.

Keep up the good work.

Speaking of the Pulitzers

posted by on April 8 at 11:28 AM

I heard an interesting anecdote the other night.

A former Stranger news intern—now a star reporter at a mid-size daily somewhere else on the planet—was in town last weekend and told me they’d applied for a job at the Seattle Times a few years ago. (Thank God the young reporter didn’t get that gig.)

Here’s maybe why the person didn’t land a job at the Seattle Times. During this person’s interview with David Boardman, Boardman reportedly pointed at their resume and said he’d advise dumping the Stranger.

Huh? the young reporter asked, explaining they’d had an excellent experience at our paper, and, in fact, it was where they got turned on to news reporting.

A little pissy, Boardman groused that the Stranger ruined The Seattle Times’s bid for a Pulitzer.


Apparently, Boardman was mad about this story (“Prize Fight, School Board Challenges Seattle Times’ Major Investigative Story”) by former Stranger star Sandeep Kaushik.

Did You Boo?

posted by on April 8 at 11:21 AM

Are you one of those vocal and opinionated 43rd District Democrats who booed the idea of saying the Pledge of Allegiance at the caucus meeting this past Saturday?

Well, no surprise: KVI radio and Fox radio would like to have a few words with you this afternoon.

Interested in sparring with conservatives over your decision to shout down (and/or vote down) the pledge? Shoot me an email with “Pledge booer” in the subject line.

Slog Happy Thursday at 6 pm

posted by on April 8 at 11:15 AM


Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 8 at 11:00 AM


Sophie Milman at Jazz Alley

Now and then this world of ours produces a jazz singer with a voice that can melt the coolest soul. Such a person is Sophie Milman, a young jazz singer based in Canada. She is the point at which the lines of three rich traditions meet: Russian spirit, Jewish intensity, and black American swing. If the goal of your evening is romance, there is no better place to go than this little jazz show. (Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave, 441-9729. 7:30 pm, $21.50, all ages. Also Wed April 9.)


The Seattle Times Discovers Poor People

posted by on April 8 at 10:43 AM

In between campaigning against the estate tax and opposing an increase in the minimum wage, the Seattle Times has suddenly discovered: Poor people exist! And they, like everyone else in the city, will have to pay 20 cents if they choose to use paper or plastic bags instead of bringing their own!

The Times is outraged:

Nickels says we need to recycle kitchen waste and stop using plastic and paper bags to help the environment. The rub is, citizens are not rewarded. A rate increase pinches an already strapped lower and middle class.[…]

Leadership should find a way to make the numbers work better. Seattle is becoming a very expensive place to live.

Sure is. But charging 20 cents for a plastic bag—that is, charging something approximating the real cost, in both pollution and monetary terms, of producing that bag, carting it to the recycling service or the landfill, and getting rid of it—isn’t going to have a noticeable impact on anybody’s budget. (Unlike, say, capping the minimum wage at the federal level.) And if you buy five cloth bags for a buck apiece, you’ll make your investment back in just a few trips to the store.

And if the Seattle Times showed a lick of interest in the “lower class” in any other context than a hysterical, poorly argued screed against environmentalism, I might have less trouble believing they give a shit.

Pulitzer Prizes Announced Yesterday

posted by on April 8 at 10:38 AM

Sorry this is late—I was on assignment and away from computers for most of yesterday—but the Pulitzer Prizes were announced. Tracy Letts won the Drama category for August: Osage County . The fiction winner was the unsurprising The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Diaz, which has won oodles of awards in the last six months. This is the second year in a row that the Pulitzers have gone totally safe with their fiction choice, after last year’s selection of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

There were two poetry winners, Time and Materials by Robert Hass and Failure by Philip Schultz. What Hath God Wrought, by Daniel Walker Howe, about a time of great religious and business growth in America, won for history. Eden’s Outcasts, by John Matteson, about Louisa May Alcott and her father, won for biography.

And, to show the kids that the Pulitzers are still radical and relevant, an obscure rock and roll artist named Bobby Dylan won a Special Citation Pulitzer Prize. See? They’re down with the devil’s music at Columbia University!

Currently Hanging

posted by on April 8 at 10:30 AM

Brian Tolle’s Stronghold (2007), cedar lumbar, 23 feet in diameter

On the University of Washington campus, on the east side of the William H. Foege building.

With a free artist lecture Thursday at 7 pm at the Henry Art Gallery.

The Other Election

posted by on April 8 at 10:21 AM

When Bob Marley sang these words

Every man gotta right to decide his own destiny,
And in this judgement there is no partiality.
So arm in arms, with arms, we’ll fight this little struggle,
‘Cause that’s the only way we can overcome our little trouble.

…He had this man in mind:

Today, Marley’s song brings the husband of this woman to mind.

The end of the revolution has finally arrived. We had no idea that hell would be its terminal point. Here, the dead fall on the dead and we see “destruction all around.” Sorrow, tears, and blood, “it’s them regular trademark.” We miss you Herbert Chitepo, “where are you?”

Reading Tonight

posted by on April 8 at 10:16 AM


If you’re into very specific things, like body image, nibbling, or quibbling with grammar, there might be something going on that would interest you in readings tonight. Otherwise, it could be a night to stay home.

Up at Third Place, Patrick Carman is reading from Saving Mr. Nibbles, which is a children’s book.

Bainbridge Island is hosting its second annual poetry slam.

Also, June Casagrand is at the University Bookstore with Mortal Syntax, which is a book whose subtitle reads: 101 Language Choices That Will Get You Clobbered by the Grammar Snobs—Even If You’re Right. This is an interesting choice. It seems to be a grammar snob book that’s trying to position itself as an anti-grammar snob book. Self-loathing grammar snobs will be turning out in droves this evening in the University District.

Then, there’s a touchy-feely night going on at the Elliott Bay Book Company. Three poets read poems along the theme of Life Lessons at 6 pm, and then at 8 pm, Rosanne Olson reads from her book This is Who I Am: Our Beauty in All Shapes and Sizes, which is a book of mostly nude photography of women who are, um, all shapes and sizes.

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.

You Can Never Have a Bad Show

posted by on April 8 at 10:15 AM


I found this picture of Leslie Hall’s recent Seattle show in my phone last night. My boyfriend dragged me to Hall’s show on his birthday last month and I loved it—and so did all the other fags in the room—bears and twinks, young and old. Just more proof that homosexuality has a genetic component, I think. But Hall didn’t inspire me to take this crap picture. I took it because I was mesmerized by all the cell phones and iPhones and digital video cameras being held up during her performance.

Does anyone else remember when “recording devices” were banned at live shows?

Hall played to the cameras—er, phones—a little too much, I thought. Playing to the cameras pulled Hall’s focus down to the front of the dance floor. Still, she gave a kick-ass show—she had to, what with all those people documenting her every move.

“This is a mighty indictment Mr. Scmader!”

posted by on April 8 at 10:10 AM

Yesterday brought the following email from one Dale Richard Huff. If it’s meant for April Fools, it’s a week late—which isn’t too bad for a Biblical literalist, who’ll typically trail reality by a couple thousand years or more.

Anyway, the “outlandinsh attacks on faith” Mr. Huff alleges come from the Tuesday and Saturday items of this week’s Last Days. Enjoy.

Dear Mr. Scmader

I am writing in regards to the recent outlandinsh attacks on Faith and people of Faith that you have sought to include in your “Weekly Roundup” feature. It is disgusting bias and while it is your right to publish your venom, it is my right to respond sir. Respond so I shall!

I want to make clear firstly that I do not peruse your scandal sheet. There are volunteers who read the Stranger and inform us when a campaign of anti-Christian slander has slithered from the sewer like a demon from Hell. I left Seattle with my family five years ago precisely to get away from crap like this, and other things which I’m sure you know ALL about, Mr. Scmader. So it is one damn thing when there is a parade up and down Broadway with nude gay men on floats and bicycles and “dykes” in full defiance of the Laws of Nature AND the LORD, like one never ending “middle finger” to Christians and families and anybody who doesn’t “toe the line” on your Secular Fascism. THAT is protected speech! But if a Christian family chooses FAITH to allow the LORD GOD to heal His child, and by that I mean a child of GOD, then you want to say “Faith” killed the child. This is a outrage, sir and one that will not go unresponded too!

Continue reading ""This is a mighty indictment Mr. Scmader!"" »

The Day in Bizarre/Unintentionally Hilarious Insults

posted by on April 8 at 10:09 AM

1) Christopher Hitchens to Andrew Sullivan: “Oh, well, don’t be such a lesbian. Get on with it.” Because lesbians are… slow?

2) John McCain to his wife Cindy, who teased him gently for his thinning hair in 1992: “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt.” Yeah, the C-word: Abusive, lame. But: Trollop? Way to prove you’re not too old to govern, Gramps!

Absolut Boycott

posted by on April 8 at 9:57 AM

Good morning! So, here I wrote about right-wing groups getting their undies in a bunch over this Absolut ad:


Today, I got a press release in my e-mail. Emphasis is mine, and I’m not going to put it under the cut because I think it’s important to read this:

100 American Organizations Launch Boycott of Absolut Vodka!

April 8, 2008


Over 100 American organizations dedicated to border security and the enforcement of existing immigration laws launched a nationwide boycott of Absolut Vodka today in response to their ad that ran in Mexico, which panders to a rising separatist movement inside the US, that is being fueled by illegal immigration.

The National Illegal Immigration Boycott Coalition (NIIBC) is known nationally for prior sustained boycotts against Miller Brewing and Bank of America for their support for illegal aliens in the US.

The NIIBC has launched a new website at to inform American consumers and provide resources for citizens to engage in the boycott.

“Absolut vodka is trying to sell liquor to Mexicans that aspire to control the Southwest United States,” says William Gheen of ALIPAC. “The warning signs are everywhere. Illegal immigration is creating a rising threat to our existing border lines and the very existence of the United States. The separatist sentiments and animus towards America are prevalent in the Mexican population and the ranks of illegal aliens inside the US creating a clear and present danger to our nation. Everywhere we look, Global corporations have a hand in this brewing disaster and Absolut just made the list.”

The 100 organizations supporting the boycott will be informing their collective hundreds of thousands of supporters using websites, e-mails, and talk radio shows.

The offensive Absolut ad was created by the Mexican advertising agency Teran/TBWA. The boycott website will also feature video, audio, and text evidence of the growing separatist movement in America to warn the public.

“Zogby polls tell us that most Mexicans feel they do not need American permission to enter the US and consider this land rightfully theirs. This invasion has leaders, groups, thousands of supporters on the streets, and global corporate support. It is time for Americans to fight back by boycotting businesses that support the separatist movement.” said William Gheen.

For more information, please visit , or


Post Office Box 30966, Raleigh, NC 27622-0966
Tel: (919) 787-6009 Toll Free: (866) 703-0864

Holy fucking shit. If any bar in the area would like to host an Absolut happy hour, I’d be thrilled to promote you on Slog. I’ve never paid any real attention to these anti-immigration people, but they are fucked up crazy-ass racist dickheads.

Time for Irwin, Part IV

posted by on April 8 at 9:41 AM

Last week I spent some time explaining why Robert Irwin was so particular about the way his objects looked, why they had to be just so—why he was dubbed one of the “finish fetish” artists.

And now, for an abrupt change, I want to talk about a big, fat flaw smack in the middle of his exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego through April 13.

It’s in the show’s largest installation, in a piece called Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue. (More about other parts of the show here and here.)

Photos by Philipp Scholz Rittermann

The piece, whose title references a Barnett Newman painting of the same name, was first installed, in 2007, in a spacious New York gallery. But the old refurbished train depot that would be its home in San Diego was even bigger.

So Irwin added to it.

First, the basic structure: All the panels are made of lightweight aircraft aluminum and painted with dozens of layers of super-shiny acrylic so that they end up looking like pools, not paintings. With like colors hung above and below one another, and with the succession of the three colors influencing each other in their reflections as you walk past and see them from different angles, the piece is a playground of perception. At certain points, because of the depth of the reflections bouncing off each other from top to bottom and back again, people in the gallery appear to be two stories below the surface of the floor panels, or two stories above the panels that are suspended from the ceiling. (You can’t make it out in this image, but this image gives you an idea.)


But the funny part, the part you can completely miss, is that Irwin allowed a mistake into his work: In adding two panels to each color in order to make the installation larger for San Diego, he let in two panels of a slightly darker blue than the other four blue panels. You don’t notice it at first. But once you do, you can’t stop. It’s a major gaffe for an artist as exacting as Irwin, but it’s sort of endearing, too, an admission of ease late in his career.

A guard in the gallery on the day I visited said an art historian who came to the exhibition asked about the darker color, then refused to believe it had been a mistake, knowing that Irwin plans everything.

The guard couldn’t convince the art historian, and they ended up in a deadlock. But the guard told me he was there when Irwin was overseeing the installation in the gallery, and he saw Irwin’s realization and response. The artist smiled, he said, and shrugged.

Does the flaw detract from the piece? Yeah, it sort of does. It compromises the uniformity of the blue pool—is this area deeper because it is darker?—and it takes away from the finessed perfection of the piece. It also is harder to see the reflection in darker panels. At the same time, it makes me smile and shrug, too. Finessed perfection has its limits.

Coming up: Why the bad lighting on one of Irwin’s paintings is perfect, and what’s up with Irwin in Seattle right now.

Ad Busted

posted by on April 8 at 9:15 AM

Someone that works at the Stranger—which smears ads all over our print edition and website—isn’t really in any position to bitch about someone else, in this case an airline, forcing folks to look at advertisements. Still, I was shocked when I folded down my tray table on a recent flight and saw this…


Just when thought they were running out of places to put ads, they discover a new way to make you stare at that dude in all those Verizon commercials. I discovered, however, that this Verizon isn’t that hard to peel off your tray table.

May I Ask You a Personal Question?

posted by on April 8 at 9:00 AM


Where would a discerning diner find Seattle’s best bacon?

Thank you for your input.

We Are Rome

posted by on April 8 at 8:51 AM

From the front page of this morning’s NYT:

Securing the nation’s borders is so important, Congress says, that Michael Chertoff, the homeland security secretary, must have the power to ignore any laws that stand in the way of building a border fence. Any laws at all.

Last week, Mr. Chertoff issued waivers suspending more than 30 laws he said could interfere with “the expeditious construction of barriers” in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. The list included laws protecting the environment, endangered species, migratory birds, the bald eagle, antiquities, farms, deserts, forests, Native American graves and religious freedom.

The secretary of homeland security was granted the power in 2005 to void any federal law that might interfere with fence building on the border. For good measure, Congress forbade the courts to second-guess the secretary’s determinations. So long as Mr. Chertoff is willing to say it is necessary to void a given law, his word is final.

Hey, didn’t we elect a new Congress in 2006? Can’t that new Congress—I believe it’s a Democratic Congress now—do something about this?

Dept. of Unintended Consequences

posted by on April 8 at 8:35 AM

The death penalty for child rape? Hm. I’m generally against the death penalty, but I’d pull the switch myself on—or stick the needle into—anyone that harmed raped my kid. The Supreme Court is about to hear a case out of Louisiana, which permits the death penalty for child rape. As with most death penalty cases, the emotional appeal of the death penalty is outweighed by the social costs—in this instance, the likelihood that fewer people would report child rape cases if they knew the penalty was death. From USA Today:

Several states, including Missouri, have signaled that if the court permits the death penalty for child rape in Louisiana, they may try to enact such laws. Five states already plainly allow capital punishment for raping young children. Social workers warn that if the court sanctions the penalty for child rape, it could further discourage reporting of the crime because in the majority of child sexual assaults, the attacker is a relative or friend of the victim.

The Morning News

posted by on April 8 at 8:17 AM

Petraeus Hearing: Blow by blow.

Fed Lending: Auctions off another $50 billion to bail out banks.

Iran Installing: 6,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium.

Anti-America Protest: Postponed indefinitely in Iraq.

Anti-China Protests: Could stop Olympic Torch tour.

“I’m Really Awfully Glad I’m a Beta”: Tibetans sent to classes for reeducation.

Fat and Sassy: How Bloomberg lost in the legislature.

Fat and Cranky: Sleep-deprived babies.

Reproducing: Teenage baby machines at Yearning for Zion Ranch.

Rerouting: Traffic from Viaduct.

Fleeting: Peace in Kenya.

Outsourcing: CBS news from CNN.

Paying: $3 million from Seattle School for ignoring sexual abuse.

Maddening: West Seattle neighbors sue to block school rebuild.

Why Was I Sad Again? Depression linked to Alzheimer’s.

From Growing Up Straight: What Every Thoughtful Parent Should Know About Homosexuality, by Peter and Barbara Wyden. Copyright 1968.


While it is impossible to predict with absolute certainty what kind of family climate is likely to produce a homosexual, some thought-provoking facts have come to light about the types of families that are least likely to raise homosexuals. And the backgrounds of enough adult homosexuals have been sufficiently investigated to yield a set of highly suggestive denominators common to their homes—conditions which alert mothers and fathers would do well to avoid.

Jewish families rank high among those who are most unlikely to produce homosexuals. This is sure to surprise people who are acquainted with the proverbially warm and loving but also close-binding, overconcerned Jewish mother. The evidence is hardly airtight, but some scientific studies suggest that either the “typical” Jewish mother does not carry her possessiveness to heterosexual-inhibiting extreme or perhaps other factors within her or within most Jewish fathers neutralizes the “babying” of her children.

We’re #5! We’re #5! We’re #5!

posted by on April 8 at 7:55 AM

Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct is #5 on Popular Mechanics list of “The 10 Pieces of U.S. Infrastructure We Must Fix Now.” Says the mag

After an earthquake in 2001 damaged the Alaskan Way Viaduct, a traffic artery in Seattle, inspectors found that some supports had subsided 5 in., weakening the structure. Options included fixing the elevated roadway and replacing it with a tunnel or improved surface roads. There’s still no decision. Meanwhile, as many as 110,000 vehicles travel on the compromised structure each day.

We won’t do anything, of course, until it actually falls down and dozens of people are killed and injured. Until then, we’ll shore up the damaged Alaskan Way Viaduct with Seattle-style process—i.e. hot air, non-binding votes, and dithering elected officials.

Thanks to Slog tipper Kendra.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Another Week, Another E-Books Post

posted by on April 7 at 5:33 PM

I think this e-book sounds kind of cool, maybe because it’s like a portable newspaper and magazine reader machine. If the rumors pan out, it’s a tabloid-newspaper-size sheet of plastic that has color e-ink and may be touch-sensitive.

Wooden O and Seattle Shakes Merge

posted by on April 7 at 4:50 PM

The city’s minor and major Shakespeare companies merged last Wednesday, which makes total sense—they’ve shared missions, audiences, and aesthetics since forever.

Wooden O (budget around $90,000, operating in the black) was the smaller, outdoor-Shakespeare company that served as a kind of farm team for Seattle Shakes. A few actors and directors (like Sheila Daniels, now at Intiman) did a few Wooden O productions before graduating to Shakes.

Seattle Shakespeare Company (budget around $900,000, also in the black) is the permanent company living in a theater on the bottom floor of Seattle Center.

Seattle Shakes managing director John Bradshaw says Wooden O will benefit by having more resources and infrastructure to cultivate its outdoor and touring programs. Seattle Shakes will benefit from Wooden O’s touring skills so they can bring Shakes-level productions “to every corner of the state.”

(Bringing Shakespeare to the hinterlands has been the NEA’s conservative and middlebrow mission since the combined effects of the NEA Four, Newt G’s Republican revolution, and the Bush administration have cowed the NEA into a frightened, small child, hiding in a corner of the US government. One could be forgive for thinking that Seattle Shakes merged with Wooden O to get some of the NEA’s “Shakespeare in American Communities” money—but they’ve already received that grant for three years running.)

Read Charles Mudede’s review of The Miser, currently on at Seattle Shakes, here. It contains perhaps my favorite closing sentences in the Mudede canon: “Everyone will see your gums in the dark.”

Emily White…

posted by on April 7 at 4:41 PM

…has quit her job at the PI. That’s all anyone knows at this point.

The Burner Plan to End the Iraq War

posted by on April 7 at 4:10 PM


Its particulars, and its supporters (now numbering 42 54 Congressional candidates), have been getting a good bit of media attention lately—including, recently, this editorial in The Nation:

The antiwar caucus doesn’t have enough votes to override a delusional President or enough members willing to bear the political risk of cutting off funding for the war. The solution to this impasse is, in the words of Congressional candidate Darcy Burner, to elect “more and better Democrats”—Democrats who have publicly committed to pursuing a legislative strategy to end the war.

So at Take Back America, Burner—a former Microsoft manager from the Seattle suburbs who narrowly missed unseating a GOP incumbent in 2006—with nine other Democratic Congressional challengers released A Responsible Plan to End the War. Developed in collaboration with retired military officers and national security professionals, the plan attracted the support of fifteen additional Democratic Senate and House challengers in the first week after it was unveiled (see Unlike the withdrawal plans offered by both Democratic presidential candidates, the Responsible Plan opposes any residual forces as well as permanent military bases. It flatly states, “We must stop counter-productive military operations by U.S. occupation forces, and end our military presence in Iraq.” It looks toward restoring “Constitutional checks and balances and fix[ing] the ways in which our governmental, military, and civil institutions have failed us.” It also addresses the need to take responsibility for a humanitarian crisis in which thousands of Iraqis who worked with US forces are in danger and millions are displaced across the region.

Cokie Roberts, however, is not impressed:

The Saint Opens Thursday

posted by on April 7 at 3:56 PM

Capitol Hill’s new, blue shrine to tequila opens to the public this Thursday at 9 p.m.


The Saint Social Club, 1416 E. Olive Way, 323-9922

Blame Angus

posted by on April 7 at 3:50 PM


Beacon Ave S & S Hanford

Two men and one woman were wounded in a shooting at the Beacon Pub Friday night. Witnesses say they never heard a fight or an argument, although the shooting happened right in the middle of karaoke.

What song was being performed when the gunman opened fire?

Was it rap music?

No. It was this:

Mariners 4, Baltimore 5

posted by on April 7 at 3:40 PM

Swept by the Orioles? Ugh. What an ugly weekend (and Monday). Still, Dave at U.S.S. Mariner points out:

…the team has been outscored by a whopping two runs in seven games. If you break an ankle jumping off the bandwagon now, it’s going to be harder to climb back on with a gimpy wheel when the breaks start going the M’s way.

Here’s hoping those breaks start going our way soon.

As Usual, It All Comes Back to Our Limp Legislature

posted by on April 7 at 3:30 PM

ECB started a shitstorm last week when she gave good Slog to Mayor Nickels for his grocery bag tax. The shitstorm? It’s apparently unfair to the working class.

Perfect, two progressive constituencies (environmentalists and The PEOPLE) pitted against each other while the system, the MAN!, has at us.

Here’s how to avoid the whole problem—after all, I’m not sure twenty cents (which probably will hurt struggling families)—is simultaneously enough of an incentive to make people get cloth bags or scale back on grocery store bags. I guess they could try buying fewer bags of Funyuns and cans of Manwich.

Anyway, here’s the way to go: Do what the legislature proposed doing, but then chickened out on, earlier this year: Outlaw the bags. That way, no one’s paying extra and no one’s using the bags.

Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

posted by on April 7 at 3:15 PM

Oh. My. God.

John and Jenny Deaves, 61 and 39, respectively, met each other later as adults, fell in love, and ended up making eight-month-old daughter/granddaughter named Celeste. Because that is illegal, they’re being watched by police, and decided to tell their story to Australian TV in a plea to just get everyone off their backs. But then it turned out that they were lying

Unfortunately the Deaves weren’t lying about being father and daughter and having one kid together. They had… two kids. You can read about the whole horrifying thing here.

Law & Order: SVU Is the Most Gratuitous Show on Television

posted by on April 7 at 3:12 PM

Here is a simple list of last night’s episode’s major plot points:

• A bee-yootiful woman is found in an elevator shaft in a ballgown. She has been strangled with her own pantyhose and her breasts have been cut off. She has not been raped. (“Why would he kill her and not rape her?” is the big question so far.)

• Said woman is covered in schist! Schist! This somehow leads to a tape of her climbing a wall in the ballgown with a bunch of other people dressed as dandies. The leader—maybe he killed her! He’s got a moustache!

Nope, he left her at the bar, where she was roofied.

• The bartender saw her leave with a very generic looking man. A man! He’s the criminal!

• They get hundreds of tips telling them it’s the local newsanchor. (“He’s got an alibi. He was on Teevee!” the detectives mutter, unhappily.)

• They connect the pattern of her murder with a Hannibal Lecter-like serial killer. He’s got an alibi, unfortch! He’s in jail! He leers at them when they talk to him.

• They catch the generic-looking man! He’s not guilty but he’s obsessed with the serial killer. What a coincidence.

• Hey, remember the (bee-yootiful) bartender? She got kidnapped. Dang! But, in an artistic vision, the kidnapper made her blood into the shape of the Venus deMilo! They showed us a side-by-side comparison on a high-tech screen.

• Race to find her. The serial killer’s pattern says that she’s got only twelve more hours to live!

• Someone pizza box-bombs the office, giving the sergeant the opportunity to say, “Benson, you’re off the case.

The serial killer has a comic book series! And there are four more murders in the comic series, and the ballgown woman (remember her?) looks just like the woman on the cover. And the Venus deMilo blood! That’s in there, too.

• Whew, found the bartender just in time, although she was strapped near-naked to a mattress, surrounded by rats. And she’s cut all up on her chest. But her titties are intact (thank god!).

• Oh wait! The bartender! She’s also an intern at a law firm and she’s been visiting the serial killer! She’s part of the cult of people obsessed with him.

• Oh wait! Benson (she’s off the case, you know), was going home and the guy who bombed the office is waiting for her there with a knife! Good thing she can kick his ass (in a sexy, sexy fight).

• Oh wait! The bartender’s dad was the serial killer’s best friend, and she visits him so she can sleep with him. And kill for him.

• Case closed! Good job, everyone.

I’m pretty sure that’s everything that has ever happened, on any police procedural television show, ever.

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

posted by on April 7 at 2:48 PM

Gossip: A few details about Sub Pop’s upcoming 20th birthday party.

Confirmed: Radiohead, August 20th, Whiteriver Amphitheater, with the Liars.

Bookish: Liz Phair writes a novel.

Delicious: Vegan poutine and hardcore in Georgetown.

For Sale: James Brown’s socks, underwear, and just about everything else left in his house.

Fact: Whitney Houston did not sing “Let’s Hear it For the Boy.”

Throwed: Larry Mizell reviews Bun B at Neumo’s.

Sticky: Brian Cook puts crazy glue on his earplugs.

Poutine: It looks so gross, but tastes so great.


Advice to Olmert & Abbas from… The Slog!

posted by on April 7 at 2:43 PM

Today’s headline: The Israelis and the Palestinians (at least those represented by Abbas and Fatah) have resumed peace talks.

If I was a betting man, I’d guess the headlines later this week will be about bombs going back and forth between Gaza and Israel.

Advice: Don’t halt the peace talks when the attacks start. The attacks highlight the very reason for the peace talks.

I know Abbas and Olmert think they look bad to their constituencies to be talking to each other while the other side is lobbing bombs, but actually, it will make them look like courageous heroes, it will highlight the point, and it will ultimately isolate the war pigs.

Vytorin (Ezetimibe/simvastatin) Doesn’t Work; You Wouldn’t Know

posted by on April 7 at 2:36 PM

In the past few months, I bet you’ve seen at least one ad like this:

When I first saw these ads, I was impressed.

Most direct-to-consumer drug advertising is loathsome, filled with moronic non sequiturs—what does kayaking have to do with a nucleoside analog used to treat herpes—or simply build up anxiety about a problem, offering no explanation as to how the drug helps.

These ads, for a combination pill meant to treat high cholesterol, are actually quite clever in explaining how the drug should work—a combination of blocking cholesterol production by your liver (a gift of your parent’s genes) and blocking the absorption of cholesterol you eat.

Memorable, clear, informative; too bad the drug doesn’t work.

The results of our study showed that the addition of ezetimibe to the highest recommended dose of simvastatin did not reduce the intima–media thickness of the carotid-artery wall in this cohort of patients with familial hypercholesterolemia, despite significant incremental reductions in levels of both LDL cholesterol and C-reactive protein. The primary outcome, the change in the mean intima–media thickness, did not differ significantly between the two study groups, nor did the secondary outcome measures.

In plain English, this combo pill was no better at stopping the arteries from getting clogged with cholesterol. In fact, the older statin drugs—available as much cheaper generics now—do a better job on what you, as a patient, would care about.

The vast majority of people exposed to these ads probably don’t know this, and will never know that the drugs didn’t work, that you’re better off with a vastly cheaper drug, that the companies making Vytorin sat on the negative results in this study while racking up billions of dollars in sales. My suspicion is that many people will continue to ‘ask your doctor about Vytorin,’ as the ad suggests. And this is why even exemplary direct-to-consumer drug advertising is so damn irritating.

Details on Times Cuts: 49 Newsroom Jobs to Go

posted by on April 7 at 2:25 PM

The Seattle Times has announced that it will be cutting 200 jobs through a combination of layoffs, buyouts, and the elimination of open positions.

I’m told by a Times writer that 45 of those jobs will be cut from the newsroom staff. But I’m told by an internal memo (see below) that the number of newsroom cuts is 49. A Times spokesperson declined to clarify, saying it was “premature” to discuss specific numbers.

According to the memo and the staffer I spoke to, in order to get to the proposed number of newsroom job cuts: Nineteen open newsroom positions will be eliminated. In addition, the Times’ bureaus on the east side and in Snohomish County will be shuttered (so one would presume that a good number of the layoffs will come from those bureaus). After eliminating open positions and shuttering the bureaus, the rest of the job cuts will come through employees accepting buyout offers.

Not on the chopping block: The paper’s Olympia and D.C. bureaus. (Although: The D.C. bureau has been vacant for some time, and I’m told that at today’s meeting the Times’ Executive Editor, Dave Boardman, was asked about this and replied that the D.C. bureau will likely remain open for the rest of the year.)

The approximate department-by-department breakdown of the job cuts, from the memo I obtained, is in the jump. The only department not experiencing a “reduction in force”? New media.

Continue reading "Details on Times Cuts: 49 Newsroom Jobs to Go" »

This Has Been the Solution All Along

posted by on April 7 at 2:21 PM

The Democrats and Republicans are both chagrined at the recent US Supreme Court decision that upheld I-872 (the top-two primary), approved by voters in 2004.

Quick history: We used to have a top-D/top-R primary—a blanket primary—where all the candidates were on the same ballot and voters didn’t have to declare a party and could vote any candidate they wanted to. The top Dem and the top Republican vote-getters advanced to the general election (even if two Dems, for example, got the most votes).

California had a similar system, which got tossed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000. So as a precaution, Washington changed to a closed primary in 2004—where voters have to choose a Democratic ballot or a GOP ballot. The two winners faced off in the general.

However, voters had a different idea. In 2004, they simultaneously approved a plan for a top-two primary regardless of party.

The Democrats and the GOP challenged the top-two setup, claiming it subverted their right to pick their own candidate. Two lower courts agreed (keeping our pick-a-party primary in play for the last three years), but last month, the US Supreme Court said the top-two system was constitutional.

There are lots of implications about this, and the parties are kind of refusing to acknowledge the decision. From a D press release I just got:

“The ‘Top-Two’ system is not a true primary,” said Dwight Pelz, Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party. “It is not an election at which Democrats will nominate a chosen candidate to represent the Democratic Party in the general election.”

“Voters want to know which candidate is the nominated candidate of the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, and of any minor parties, such as the Libertarian Party and the Green Party. Because I-872 eliminates the nominating primary in Washington, the Democratic Party will select our candidates through nominating conventions.”

That’s cool—and the Democratic party activists should do just that at their upcoming conventions, where they’ll pick Jim McDermott and Frank Chopp and Margarita Prentice etc. And really, this has been the solution all along and sort of proves I-872’s case. That is: parties can pick their own candidates, they just don’t get to hijack taxpayer-funded elections to do so.

The Secretary of State is still designing a ballot, but it will most certainly not say which candidate has the official endorsement of either party. It will be up to the parties and the candidates to get the word out on that.

Signs of the Times

posted by on April 7 at 2:05 PM

The series of unfortunate events:

The Times announces 200 layoffs, “due to the continued and increased loss of traditional newspaper revenue.”

They don’t post their announcement online. So we throw up some posts, which get linked at Romenesko, the Poynter institute’s media blog, driving web traffic about the story, which people want to read, to us.

In other words: They announce, we post, we get the traffic, they don’t.

It’s hard to write this without sounding like I’m kicking the corpse—for what it’s worth, as a prematurely old man, I’m deeply dismayed by the twilight of the print newspaper.

But that twilight cannot be denied.

UPDATE: You can read the story the Times posted online this afternoon here.

Obnoxious State Legislatures Are Everywhere

posted by on April 7 at 1:31 PM

Congestion pricing in lower Manhattan is dead. Sounds like the suburbs killed it.

Lucky in Lake City; Massive in Maple Leaf

posted by on April 7 at 1:15 PM

It’s a big week for design reviews. I’ll try to post them all on Slog with pictures and meeting information. Info about tonight’s reviews are below.

Also in Boom news, there’s now a way to reach us. Got a tip about a development that you love, hate, or think needs a little light? Send an email to

Lusty Lake City

The adult entertainment boutiques on Seattle’s northern stretch of Lake City Way can look forward to a tide of new singles in the neighborhood. Granted, they’ll be seniors living in affordable housing—sexy, sexy affordable senior housing.


Firstly, here’s to hoping this isn‘t the final color palate—it looks like Easter threw up on an accordion. Second, here’s to hoping everything goes well at tonight’s early design guidance meeting. Steve Smith Development, LLC has proposed an eight-story building containing 3500 square feet of ground level commercial space, 160 residential units above, and parking for 69 vehicles underground. What an improvement on this tundra of dispair…


Morgan Design Group

When I spoke to Morgan Design Group’s John Parsaie in February, he said this project was being built in conjunction with two other properties to be managed by Senior Housing Assistance Group (SHAG). Yay SHAG! One’s under construction on NE 130th Street and another on the corner of Lake City and 137th; I wrote about the latter over here.

Concerned citizens and senior lovers can head to tonight’s meeting at 6:30 p.m. in room 209 of the University Heights Community Center, 5031 University Way N.E.

An “A” for Effort

I understand the argument that townhouses of today are analogous to the lovely row houses of yesteryear. And I know density will save the world. But when I look at the cream-colored, vinyl-sided constituents of the housing Borg going up everywhere, it makes me want to pop out my eyes with a melon baller. So, I enthusiastically applaud the thoughtful design proposals for a housing complex in Maple Leaf.


Prescott Homes Inc plans to construct 24 townhouses and 15 single-family residences for a total of 39 units. 47 parking spaces would be included inside the buildings.


Runberg Architects

Some of the residences—packed in at 25 units per acre compared to the neighborhood average of 9 units per acre—fit the attempted goal of “Northwest Modern.”


Runberg Architects

Whereas some of the duplex designs fall flat, looking like earth-toned California splits (pop-up).

The project has already undergone numerous design reviews, costing nearly $27,000 in pre-building fees, but in its last review (.pdf), the design-review board requested further modifications. The developer and architect will use this meeting and the current proposal (.pdf) to address the board’s outstanding issues, including: fitting in periphery buildings with the surrounding single-family houses, breaking up monotonous roof lines, and screening trash.

Tonight’s meeting is at 8:00 p.m. in room 209 of the University Heights Community Center, 5031 University Way N.E.

Re: Pike Street Fish Fry

posted by on April 7 at 1:11 PM

Dept. of April Fools’ Day Leftovers: This is a joke.

Seattle Times to Cut Approximately 200 Employees

posted by on April 7 at 1:10 PM

This email was just sent to Seattle Times staffers by publisher Frank Blethen:

Date: April 7, 2008

To: Seattle Times Employees

From: Frank Blethen and Carolyn Kelly

Due to the continued and increased loss of traditional newspaper revenue for both The Seattle Times and the Seattle P-I, we will be making necessary expense reductions. Our circumstances are in line with the newspaper industry nationally, which continues to see steep declines particularly in areas of Classified ad revenue and also a slowing of online revenue growth.

We had hoped the expense reductions made at the beginning of the year would prevent the need for further downsizing, but that is not the case. The only responsible action to take is to better align our expenses to the reduced revenue we now anticipate.

The SOC team has identified approximately $15 million in budget reductions that will be implemented over the next two months. These include significant changes to the way we do business and involve realignment and centralization throughout our organization. You will hear more about the specific changes in departmental meetings.

The most difficult part of these changes involves a reduction of our workforce of approximately 200 positions through a combination of freezing open positions and a significant number of layoffs. This is not an action we take lightly—we recognize and regret that these decisions have a considerable impact on people’s lives.

Most affected employees are being notified today. In certain job categories, Expressions Of Interest (voluntary separations) are being considered, so there will be some continued uncertainty over the next two weeks until the EOI process has been completed. Alayne Fardella will send out a follow up communication with additional details.

While this is difficult news, it is important to note that the Seattle Times Company and the brands we represent remain market leaders. Our audience reach in print and online is deep and broad in the greater Puget Sound. Strategic and thoughtful changes to the way we do business will allow us to be positioned for the future.

Our success is based on our public service mission and our people. We are grateful for each individual’s contribution toward sustaining The Seattle Times as an independent and meaningful voice in our community far into the future.

Planning Ahead

posted by on April 7 at 12:56 PM

The city council is just starting the process of amending its comprehensive plan—the planning blueprint that guides the city’s land use policies. This year, 16 citizens, city departments, civic groups, and city council members submitted 21 possible amendments for the council’s consideration; of those, perhaps a dozen will make it into the Comp Plan itself. While participating in neighborhood planning efforts and testifying at public meetings give citizens a chance to offer their input on legislation, the comp plan process offers a rarer opportunity: The chance to have a real, direct impact on city planning. This year’s amendments range from intriguing to laudable to ludicrous.

The intriguing:

• A proposal by the city’s Department of Planning and Development to build a lid over I-5 linking downtown and Capitol Hill. The idea, according to a DPD spokesman, is “just a vision right now,” with no specific structure, location, or price tag, although the spokesman says it could include a park or housing.

• An amendment by pedestrian-safety advocate Kate Martin (a friend and ally of Andrea Okomski, whose son Josef Robinson was badly injured by a car) that would require a crosswalk at bus stops on streets with more than one lane of traffic in each direction. The idea, Martin says, is to enable pedestrians to cross the street safely without having to worry that cars in one lane won’t stop for them.

The laudable:

• A proposal by the Belltown Housing and Land Use Subcommittee to prohibit new surface parking lots in residential areas downtown.

• An amendment by long-winded gadfly Chris Leman to encourage Metro and the city’s solid-waste companies to buy buses and trucks no heavier than state law allows. Currently, buses and garbage trucks are exempted from state laws that would otherwise limit their weight; heavy buses and trucks take a huge toll on city streets, causing potholes that damage cars and endanger cyclists.

• Another Leman proposal that would make hard reductions in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) an official city goal, and encourage the city to only fund highway projects that don’t increase the number of miles driven in and through Seattle.

The ludicrous:

• A proposal by the North Seattle Industrial Association to prohibit bike trails “within 100 feet of an existing short line railroad franchise that is in or adjacent to the Ballard Interbay Northend Manufacturing Industrial Center.” The amendment is an effort to undo years of planning for the “missing link” of the Burke-Gilman Trail, which the council approved four years ago; neighbors of the trail, chiefly Ballard Oil, say completing the 1.5-mile segment would hurt “maritime businesses” and “encourage more … deadly accidents” as trucks collide with cyclists. BINMIC’s proposal cites two biker deaths in Seattle in the last six months; however, both of those deaths occurred on city streets, not bike trails.

• An amendment that would make it easier for the city and state to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct with the new, larger elevated viaduct voters rejected more than a year ago.

• A proposal by three citizens to create an “Element of Trees” as one of the items to be considered in land-use planning. The proposal would also create a position of “tree czar,” which “would be responsible for trees throughout the city.”

Youth Pastor Watch

posted by on April 7 at 12:35 PM


An Upshur County grand jury returned 30 indictments this past week, including one against Kevin O. Laferney, a former youth minister at a Gilmer church.

Laferney, 41, was arrested on charges of sexual assault of a child in 2006. He also was charged with indecency with a child in another investigation. Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd said Laferney faked his death in 2007 and was found working at a paint store in Montana.


Carlisle Police have arrested a former youth minister on sexual assault charges. Police say 37-year-old Stanley Eugeene Young was arrested on one count of Sexual Assault in the Second Degree after a juvenile victim told officers that Young had allegedly molested him.

Officers say Young, who has previously worked as a church youth minister, originally befriended the victim while assisting in the youth ministry at a Carlisle area church both attended.


A former St. Helena High school coach was arrested Wednesday on four felony charges of child sexual assault involving two teenage girls.

Herschel Sandler, 45, currently of Napa, is accused of having a sexual relationship with a girl under 16 from 1997-98 while he was a volleyball coach at St. Helena High School. He is also charged with sexual assault of a second girl under 18 between 1996 and 1999…. In addition to his post as volleyball coach, Sandler coached wrestling at St. Helena High until 2007, and served as a youth minister at his former St. Helena church, according to his wife



A pastor with a criminal past was arrested after police said he fired shots at a vehicle belonging to his ex-wife’s husband.

Edward Lavant, 30, a minister and youth pastor at Greater St. Marks Missionary Baptist Church, was charged with firing at a vehicle. Police said Lavant went to the victim’s home off Cherbourg Avenue South and shot three times at an SUV owned by a man married to Lavant’s ex-wife.

North Carolina:

A church is “foolish” not to conduct background checks on employees and children’s workers according to a Baptist investigator and former police officer. Roger Self, 53, has been in church for 30 years and in law enforcement for longer and has become aware of “more criminal activity in the church” than ever before.

With sex crimes surfacing almost weekly in North Carolina schools and churches not immune, Self, a member of Hardin Baptist Church in Dallas, N.C., said churches and schools must do everything they can to protect themselves…. “If you’re getting ready to hire a youth pastor and he has two breaking and entering charges and drug charges that were dismissed, do you want to know that?” Self said.

Pike Street Fish Fry

posted by on April 7 at 12:35 PM

That is what it will be called.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on April 7 at 12:35 PM

After a weekend-long Hest Fest mega-marathon, this is still old Charlie’s BEST film. I know, I know, he was Ben Hur, Moses, and super detective Robert Thorn in Soylent Green… I watched ‘em all. I did. Twice. None of his characters were as heroic as one Sir Robert Neville, Last Man on Earth…

Fear and Meeting at the Seattle Times

posted by on April 7 at 12:15 PM

On Friday, a member of the union that represents Seattle Times employees circulated an email intended to address “rumors” of looming 25-30 percent cuts in staffing at the newspaper.

Then, earlier today, Times management sent out an (ominous?) email telling all of its reporting staff to be at a meeting at 12:30—and to check in with supervisors for a “briefing” afterward if they couldn’t make the meeting. I’m sure I’ll hear more about the meeting after it wraps up. In the meantime, here’s the email from the union rep, Yoko Kuramoto-Eidsmoe:

Hey guys,

After I sent out this most recent e-mail about the International’s elections, a few of you pointed out that it was pretty insensitive of me to send it out while saying nothing about the rumors buzzing around at the Times.

I apologize for that, but I don’t know anything more than you do at this point. Believe me, the other unit officers and I (and many others of you) have been trying to chase down what we can find out all week, but it’s all still just speculation.

Just a weird journalist habit, I’m sure, but I try not to go to press without any facts.

What I know for sure is this:

1. I heard a rumor earlier this week that 25-30 percent layoffs were coming. Managers in high places have said that this is NOT true. They couldn’t say more than that, but that specific one isn’t true.

2. IF any layoffs happen, the company gives the Guild and employees at least four weeks’ notice. We’ve received no such notice.

3. When layoffs happened recently in other departments, the company offered those being laid off a package of pay/benefits exceeding what they were contractually obligated to offer. If (again IF) layoffs happen again, we would again go into talks with the company about what they’d be offering people.

4. If any of you hadn’t yet heard these rumors, I apologize for scaring you half to death by using the “l” word, but this e-mail really doesn’t make any sense without it.

5. The rumors seem to point to Monday for something: A meeting, an announcement, an announcement of a meeting … something. Again, I have no idea if this is true. If management wasn’t planning a meeting, I hope they at least take the opportunity to send us all an e-mail telling us to relax.

6. We’ll get you more information just as soon as we have it.

It’s OK with me if this e-mail goes to reporters (in house and out of house) doing stories about this, but I won’t have any additional comment until we know something for real.

I know it’s scary in this industry these days. Hang in there, OK? We don’t have much, but we have each other.


Seattle’s New MLS Team Will Be Named…

posted by on April 7 at 12:13 PM

Seattle Sounders FC. From Seattle MLS:

We’re not afraid to call it now - Seattle Sounders FC will enter MLS in 2009.

How do we know? Well, we’ve suspected it for around a month now, as we referenced in an earlier post. When the names to be voted upon were announced, we were confused - no mention of anything Sounders! At the time, the only available options to vote upon were Seattle Alliance, Seattle Republic and Seattle FC. They were registered trademarks and were also registered as websites by MLS Seattle. It seemed we were way off… but then the option to write in names was announced. And on March 31, last Monday, was registered by First and Goal (the operators of Qwest Field).

As of tonight,, and are all simply parked domain names. But gives us this message- “Coming Soon!

This site is under construction.” Bingo.

Update: Press conference here.

(Via Metroblogging Seattle.)

“This is Creepy”

posted by on April 7 at 12:05 PM

So says Slog tipper Matthew, rightly, about this story.

Headline: Man with Suicide Victim’s Heart Takes Own Life.

Sub-headline: He even married the donor’s widow after the transplant 12 years ago.

Full story here.

Rating My Grief on a Scale of 1-10

posted by on April 7 at 11:58 AM



posted by on April 7 at 11:49 AM

posted by news intern Chris Kissel

Last week, pigeons began appearing downtown with four-inch darts lodged in their heads. Befuddled onlookers snapped pictures of the gruesome sight—the pigeons, still alive and strutting, bobbing heads skewered on what appeared to be blow darts, shot from long, lung-powered tubes. Based on a few tips after Schmader first wrote about it, we decided to look into the gory story.


Although the darts appear to have been expertly aimed, the pigeons continue to live and breathe because, according to Dr. Conrad Kornman at the Broadway Veterinary Hospital, the darts “missed all of their vital organs,” and, additionally, “their brains are very small.” Small enough to evade the incoming darts, and small enough to allow the pigeons to continue stalking the Seattle waterfront like zombies. Still, the King County prosecutor’s office has filed no charges and SPD has been left with little clue as to the identity of the would-be pigeon assassin.

National, state and regional divisions of the Fish and Wildlife Service, along with the Parks Department and Animal Control, all of which are involved in various wildlife control efforts, denied involvement in the dartings. Sean Carrell, problem wildlife coordinator with Washington Fish and Wildlife, said government agencies often try to control the bird population, but that “folks within the trapping community would never do something like that.” The attacks on pigeons are more likely a case of disgruntled landowners “taking the law into their own hands,” Carrell says.

Dr. John Huckabee, a wildlife veterinarian with the Progressive Animal Welfare Society, agrees that the acts are probably the work of a lone gunman. He added that incidents such as this occur on an annual basis, with a usual spike in the spring and summer months. “As it gets sunnier and the days grow longer, we see an unfortunate number of birds people have been using for target practice,” he says.

Licenses are not required to exterminate the birds. Usually, businesses choose to implement humane, non-lethal methods of keeping them away, such as nets and spikes. Sometimes, says Carrell, emotions run high, and what starts as a matter of housekeeping becomes a personal vendetta, ending, in this case, in an untold number of pigeons meandering city streets with dart-pierced skulls.

Gore’s “We” Campaign: Not Far Enough

posted by on April 7 at 11:47 AM

The blog Smart Growth Around America has a smart post addressing one of the most glaring deficiencies in Al Gore’s $300 million Alliance for Climate Protection (AKA the “we” campaign): It focuses on small-scale, individual “solutions” (changing your light bulbs, inflating your tires, etc.) while ignoring changes that are harder to do but more effective—like driving less and moving to a dense, walkable community.

With one-third of our emissions generated by transportation, where we choose to live has quite possibly the largest ramifications on our own personal emissions. So it’s discouraging that the most well-known climate advocate running the most well-funded climate advocacy campaign doesn’t see encouraging more people to live in places where they have to drive less as an obvious — and simple — solution.

BeyondDC, while like us hopeful for the success of the campaign, also expressed their disappointment in the lack of mentions for smarter growth, walkable neighborhoods, public transit, or related options in an open letter to Al Gore:

You spend plenty of time talking about techno wizardry and new sources of energy, but we pored over your solutions page and find nary a mention of anything about changing our gluttonous driving-based lifestyle. You have a whole section titled Cutting fuel costs on the road, but in the entire piece the message “drive less” is nowhere to be found.

Tucked way down deep below whole chapters about minor subjects like light bulbs, properly inflated tires, and residential air filters, there’s a single sentence about public transportation and a passing reference to walking to work, but that’s the extent - a single sentence and a passing reference. Nowhere on the entire We Can Solve It site is there any mention about living in a walkable, urban community. Nothing about the damage caused by sprawl. Searches on your site for “transit“, “walkable“, “downtown” and “suburban” come up completely blank.

Perhaps Gore and the team are hesitant to be perceived as telling people where and how they should live. But they shouldn’t be. As Growing Cooler shows (and the recent NPR story highlights especially), making a big dent in our emissions is as simple as meeting the radically underserved demand for compact, walkable, connected places where driving may be one of only several options.

Having looked at the “we” web site, my own assessment isn’t quite so harsh—the site does mention commuting by bike, and it notes the need for “innovative leadership,” which could be read as support for smarter growth management policies, among other things—but for such an enormous effort, it would have been nice to see some bolder suggestions than “turn down the thermostat.” Riding the bus to work, moving to a denser community, and having fewer kids would be a start.

If you want Gore’s campaign to stand up for transit and smart growth, drop them a note here.

Big Boi + Ballet = Another Reason to Move to Atlanta

posted by on April 7 at 11:31 AM

This I want to see:


[This Thursday night], at the fittingly grandiose, neo-Moorish Fox Theater, Mr. Patton [Big Boi of OutKast] will perform with the Atlanta Ballet, the first major collaboration between a hip-hop luminary and a ballet company. The name of the production, of course, is “big.”

A few are grumbling with sublimated miscegenation (kind of like the shit Joni Mitchell and Mingus took when they started playing together), but most partisans for both art forms have restrained themselves from the easy criticisms, partly because neither Big Boi nor choreographer Lauri Stallings (her major influence is Israeli dance badass Ohad Naharin) are meek, cloying artists. They’re both stubborn, smart, sometimes baffling, and kind of fearless—going into the project, neither knew much about the other’s medium:

… before “big” Mr. Patton’s ballet experience began and ended with an elementary school outing to see “The Nutcracker,” and the new work’s choreographer, Lauri Stallings, had never listened to hip-hop.

But Stallings fans say her choreography has always been suited to hip hop, even if she didn’t know it.

… unlike some fusion ballets of the past, the dancers will not be performing half-baked hip-hop moves but Ms. Stallings’s earthy, syncopated choreography, which, as the company veteran Christine Winkler said, in some ways works better with hip-hop than with classical music.

For the hip hop scene’s part:

Professor Dyson, echoing several young Atlanta artists who weighed in on the project, sees in “big” an opportunity for hip-hop to re-examine some of its more self-destructive tendencies, including violence and “the blitzkrieg of misogyny that passes for commentary on gender.” If anyone could get hip-hop to open up, he said, it would be one of the adventurous stars of OutKast.

But maybe not open up too much:

So when John McFall, the ballet’s artistic director first approached Mr. Patton with the idea of a collaboration, the rapper said, “I’m down to try anything once.” (Except, he later added, wear tights; he may be a progressive, but he’s still got some street cred to maintain.)

The obligatory YouTube trailer of the project (sadly, the preview is all soft numbers like “Church.” I want to see what they’ll do with “The Rooster” or “Bombs Over Baghdad”):

Other Big Boi cuts will include: “Morris Brown” from the Idlewild soundtrack, “The Rooster” from Speakerboxxx, “Bombs Over Baghdad” from Stankonia, “Kryptonite” from Big Boi Presents…Got Purp? Vol. 2, and a few others.

We can only hope for a tour. The Moore and the Paramount usually present those kind of traveling shows, but this action should rightly go to Peter Boal, the young New York City Ballet dancer-cum-PNB director who’s turned on the voltage at his hallowed company in the last couple of years.

Anyway, here’s hoping. And here’s an email address for PNB, should you want to start stumping for the Big Boi/ballet in Seattle. Or at least some collaboration with Blue Scholars, Common Market, and the rest of the Seattle crew:

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 7 at 11:00 AM


Autechre at Neumo’s

Depending on who you ask, Autechre have spent nearly two decades either pushing relentlessly forward into unexplored frontiers of electronic music or camping out in the hinterlands between extant genres—industrial, hiphop, techno—adopting and adapting as they go. Their trajectory from one release to the next is often baffling, though their latest, Quaristice, is as easy an introduction to their music as they’ve ever recorded. Live, they re-create their deeply composed computer music using live drum machines and synths. With Massonix and Rob Hall. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $15, 21+.)


Anderson Cooper’s Glass Closet Workout

posted by on April 7 at 10:45 AM

I love living at a time in history where a public figure can be v. v. gay, not address it in any direct way, but let everyone join in on the joke. He has a good sense of humor about this Physique 57 workout, but it is sort of unnerving that he won’t commit to “the lasso” or “the power plié” or “the tricep can-can.” Whatever, Coops; I see you tugging on your t-shirt; I see you holding your arms in a triangle shape to broaden your upper body. STOP STR8 ACTIN’ and thrust, gurl.

What’s gayer(est)?

Currently Hanging

posted by on April 7 at 10:30 AM

Mickalene Thomas’s When Ends Meet (2007), two screenprints with hand-applied rhinestones on four-ply museum board

At James Harris Gallery. (Gallery website here.)

Like Rapid Transit and Taxes on Plastic Shopping Bags and Removing Elevated Downtown Freeways and Replacing them With Boulevards…

posted by on April 7 at 10:30 AM

this could never work here. Because, you know, our terrain is too hilly and our downtown would die and our poor people really, really need those plastic shopping bags and in general the very, very special uniqueness of absolutely everything about our very, very special region means, of course, that things that work elsewhere—even things that work everywhere else—could never, ever work here. But this seems like an idea worth discussing at least:

Pittsburghers complain about the failure to change with the times, but the release of a citizens report on the need for the city and Allegheny County to pursue a merger is a powerful impetus to get moving in the right direction. The long-awaited report, from a committee headed by University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, assessed the bureaucratic duplication, the administrative overlap and the economic roadblocks that stem from too many layers of local government. It is not exactly a new idea.

Once again, the people of Allegheny County are asked if they want to move to a form of government that is not only modern and streamlined, but also holds the promise of greater efficiency and even some savings…. The Nordenberg report advances three broad recommendations that allow citizens to fill in the details: the county executive and the mayor should intensify their efforts toward cooperation that enhances efficiency; the city and county should sign a formal cooperation compact to ensure that such partnership continues in the future; and the question of city-county consolidation should be placed before the voters as soon as possible.

Biking to Work

posted by on April 7 at 10:15 AM

Sent by Slog tipper Jen, the (Canadian, sigh) counterpoint to the State Farm ad that had me so riled up last week:

Update: Now with new headline that makes sense! (Our Slogging software likes to fill in headlines for us, and, well, it’s early.)

Yes I Did

posted by on April 7 at 10:07 AM

Too busy with the movie reviews I put off in favor of caucus shenanigans and Seattle-to-Portland training to write much at the moment, but for those who are wondering: Yes, I’m a 43rd district delegate to the CD caucus. Thanks to those who voted for me! Anyone else make it to the next level?

I sort of wanted to rip into Sean “Hussein” Astin, but then I perused his latest credits on IMBD and decided I couldn’t really be mean to a man who most recently played something called Twoflower in an adaptation of a Terry Pratchett novel for British TV.

Did We Mention That Mark Penn is Out?

posted by on April 7 at 10:05 AM

I don’t think this ever made it up on Slog:

Mark Penn, the architect of much of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign, has been replaced as the campaign’s chief strategist in the wake of revelations that he lobbied on behalf of a trade treaty with Colombia that Mrs. Clinton opposes.

Says Joe Trippi:

The only real question was, why did it not happen sooner?

Reading Tonight

posted by on April 7 at 10:04 AM


It’s a slow day for readings in Seattle, with two open mics going on tonight and only one reading.

Cindy and Craig Corrie are reading at Town Hall Seattle tonight from Let Me Stand Alone, which is the collected letters and journals of their daughter, Rachel Corrie. There’s been a lot of writing about Rachel Corrie in The Stranger, particularly Eli’s beautiful piece on her from exactly five years ago this week. A couple weeks before that, Dan wrote a similarly thoughtful story about the “Saint Rachel” phenomenon. And Brendan reviewed My Name is Rachel Corrie, the play based on her writing, when it opened here last year. I have to recuse myself from writing about Rachel because I knew her—she was a roommate of a friend—but I don’t think that it’s a conflict of interest to say that the reading should be interesting, and a lot of the controversy that surrounded her death is still very relevant today.

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.

Island of Stars

posted by on April 7 at 10:01 AM

According to this space article, we who happen to be in this time, and not in other times (which is the real mystery of life—why is one in this time and not, say, in a future or past time), we are in a position not only to know that our galaxy is not isolated but also it will be isolated in the future.
slide36high.jpg If something like human intelligence is around 100 billion years from now, and that intelligence has no record of our ideas and discoveries, it will have no idea of the big bang, the past, or the other galaxies, the future. All they will know and see is the super galaxy that’s coming together at this moment. The intelligence of the deep future will be in the eternal, the one, the all. All other galaxies will have gone beyond the event horizon; and all traces of the universe’s birth will have vanished.

# The quickening expansion will eventually pull galaxies apart faster than light, causing them to drop out of view. This process eliminates reference points for measuring expansion and dilutes the distinctive products of the big bang to nothingness. In short, it erases all the signs that a big bang ever occurred. # To our distant descendants, the universe will look like a small puddle of stars in an endless, changeless void.

We of the now know that there is more; they of tomorrow will think that this is all there is.

Judge Places Lien on Westboro Baptist Church

posted by on April 7 at 9:53 AM


Thanks to Towleroad for directing me to this morning-brightening news from the Baltimore Sun:

A federal judge in Baltimore has issued liens against a fundamentalist Kansas church and ordered two of its members to post cash bonds while they appeal a $5 million judgment resulting from the church’s protest at a military funeral.

The fundamentalist Kansas Church, of course, is Westboro Baptist, the fag-hating, God-insulting psycho brood of Fred Phelps. As for the specifics of the lien and what it means for the Church, the Sun reports:

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett placed a lien on the properties of the church and its founder, Fred W. Phelps Sr., and ordered two of Phelps’ daughters to post cash bonds of $125,000 and $100,000 within 30 days.

Bennett also placed a lien on a $232,900 office building owned by Phelps and his wife that the family law firm uses. The liens mean that no new mortgages can be taken out on the properties, and no money can be borrowed against the equity in them. Bennett noted that it would require “extraordinary circumstances” for the church to avoid posting a portion of the judgment.

Hurrah, and stay tuned.

Role Models

posted by on April 7 at 9:48 AM

Civil Rights historian Taylor Branch published an essay this weekend to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the King assassination.

As usual with Branch (overrated, check out David Garrow instead) the piece was unwieldy and imprecise. He does a mashup using the Rip Van Winkle story, one of King’s favorite parables about Lazarus, and a media critique of the “spin” age, failing to hone in on any point.

He also typed up this weird sentence:

Democratic balance has slept for 40 years, and we face a world like Rip Van Winkle run backward. We wake up blinking at Tiger Woods, Condoleezza Rice and Barack Obama, while our government demands arbitrary rule by secrecy, conquest and dungeons. King George III seems reborn.

I get that he’s saying we’ve made advancements—a serious chance for a black President—that are offset by grave signs of devolution: Bush’s suspect war on terror.

But Tiger Woods. Really?

Really. And it sort of proves that Horsey was on to something.

China’s PR Olympics Torched By Protesters

posted by on April 7 at 9:39 AM


Security officials snuffed out the Olympic torch and carried it through Paris in the safety of a bus at least five times Monday before canceling the final run of a relay repeatedly disrupted by chaotic protests against China’s human rights record.

Re: Re: Death By Blogging

posted by on April 7 at 9:35 AM

I too saw the death-by-blogging article over the weekend, but figured it would be better for my health to wait until Monday to post.

Here’s what jumped out at me:

Blogging has been lucrative for some, but those on the lower rungs of the business can earn as little as $10 a post, and in some cases are paid on a sliding bonus scale that rewards success with a demand for even more work.

Bloggers who work on commission are the new shoe salespeople.

Headline of the Day

posted by on April 7 at 9:23 AM

Also from the NYT:

Possible Nazi Theme of Grand Prix Boss’s Orgy Draws Calls to Quit

I wasn’t able to comment on this story when it broke last week because, uh, you know. And seeing as I’m a little late to the game—and the Internet is a race, after all, and to the death)—I won’t go on and on about it. But I would like to say this:

Having a Nazi fetish doesn’t make you a Nazi anymore than having a high heel fetish makes you shoe. Yes, it’s a disturbing fetish, as fetishes go, and it’s a particularly discomforting fetish for the son of the leader of the British fascists, feted by Hitler, imprisoned by Churchill, etc. But Max Mosely’s privacy was invaded, his actions were legal, and fetishes and fantasies are—when realized with consenting adults—nobody’s business save the participants.

Even when lashes are counted out in German.

Surging to Victory

posted by on April 7 at 8:53 AM

From the NYT:

Sharp fighting broke out in the Sadr City district of Baghdad on Sunday as American and Iraqi troops sought to control neighborhoods used by Shiite militias to fire rockets and mortars into the nearby Green Zone.

But the operation failed to stop the attacks on the heavily fortified zone, headquarters for Iraq’s central government and the American Embassy here. By day’s end, at least two American soldiers had been killed and 17 wounded in the zone, one of the worst daily tolls for the American military in the most heavily protected part of Baghdad.

US soldiers are being killed and wounded in the heavily fortified Green Zone. In the zone. Christ, it’s getting easier to picture a scene like this unfolding in Baghdad:


And just how many rockets can land in the Green Zone before newspapers and news programs stop referring to it as the “heavily fortified” Green Zone?

The Conservatives are Right. Sorta.

posted by on April 7 at 8:33 AM

An op/ed in Sunday’s NYT makes an obvious, but overlooked point:

Our current technologies cannot support both a decline in carbon dioxide emissions and an expanding global economy. If we try to restrain emissions without a fundamentally new set of technologies, we will end up stifling economic growth, including the development prospects for billions of people.

In other words, going cold turkey on emissions will in fact destroy our economy unless we figure out new ways of doing business.

Creating new technologies needs to become a loud and central part of the liberal agenda. Otherwise, when we scream for caps, the business lobby is going to correctly tell us hard caps are bad for the economy. And then it becomes our goody-goody righteousness vs. their practical reality (and their practical reality is compelling given that it fires up the economy.)

That debate distracts from where liberals should be putting their energy. The debate shouldn’t be framed by caps, it should be framed by liberals coming in with a pro-business pitch, pushing for massive investments in the transition to green technologies, like rapid mass transit for one.

Orphan Cyberspace

posted by on April 7 at 8:28 AM

This image…
…which I posted over here, has been reunited with its producer, Tina Roth Eisenberg. The creator of the image in Tina’s image can be found here.

The Morning News

posted by on April 7 at 8:22 AM

Killing Me Softly with Islam: Shiite militias fire rockets into Green Zone.

That’s All She Wrote: Clinton’s done with Penn.

Smoked: Protesters snuff Olympic torch in Paris.

Delayed: Zimbabwe ballot tally.

Pawned: Video shows woman forcing pot on toddler.

Stripped: Texas strikes down pole tax.

The Grass Is Greener: Victor Steinbrueck Park a dope haven.

No Fire this Time: Polygamy compound raided in Texas.

Firing Back: 14 killed by firebomb at Sri Lanka marathon, Sri Lanka kills 49 at Tamil Tiger base.

Exploding: Police officer injures self and friend playing with grenade.

Grilling: Candidates to question Petraeus.

Sputtering: Manhattan congestion plan.

Paid Leaving: New Jersey may allow six weeks for new parents.

Mom Beaming: Protester son arrested.

No Deal: Yahoo refuses Microsoft bid, again.

Big Deal: Yahoo unveils plans for ad sales.

You’ll Hear Them Now: EU allows plane passengers to gab on mobile phones.

Passenger Jets: Grumpier riding.

Military Jets: Boeing sliding.

Hot Action: Woman groped and kissed on hand by man responding to her Craigslist microwave ad.

From Growing Up Straight: What Every Parent Should Know About Homosexuality, by Peter and Barbara Wyden. Copyright 1968.

Chapter 1: Why Talk About It?

The questions that were on our minds when we set out to gather the facts on this report seemed elementary enough: what really is homosexuality? Why do most of us feel so acutely uncomfortable when we talk (or even think) about it? Is it, as so many people assume, on the increase? Is it recognizable? What causes it? Is it curable? Is it preventable?

The last question is, of course, the most crucial.

The proper time for parent to become aware of these problems, and counter act them, is between the ages of three and ten, long before children engage in activities that really deserve to be called homosexual at all…. This much is certain; it is just about impossible for a homosexual to be the product of warmly loving, sensible parent and a sexually well-adjusted home atmosphere.

This book needed to be written. For if it can help spare even a single person from the tragedy of homosexual life, it will have been well worth the effort.

Slog Happy Goes VIP

posted by on April 7 at 8:15 AM

The charming Paul Constant will be your host at this month’s Slog Happy; I am en route to Cairo today.

Olive 8 Oops

posted by on April 7 at 8:12 AM


They’re Having a Pledge Drive Over at KUOW…

posted by on April 7 at 7:52 AM

…and I just heard ‘em say that they need your pledge—now! right away! before it’s too late!—to stay on the air. Things sound pretty desperate over there on the Ave, huh? So now might be a good time to re-read this October 2007 piece in the Stranger by Michael Hood of Blatherwatch:

“When staff found out there was all this money—not only in the bank, but being generated [during pledge week]—they asked: Why are we duping the donors?” That’s how a former KUOW staffer characterized internal reaction to the station’s upcoming annual financial report. Last year, the station had a $1.3 million surplus. This year’s report, according to the former staffer, will show an even larger surplus.

So why do KUOW’s twice-yearly pledge drives—one started on October 8—make it sound like the wolves are at the door?

“Maybe they’re too good at raising money,” says one longtime supporter of the station.


As staffers beg for donations on-air this week, listeners will be told that their money is desperately needed for programming, programming, programming. Listeners will not be told about surpluses or the station’s expansion, its planned innovations, or new platforms being built with the money KUOW raises from its listeners. There’s nothing wrong—it’s commendable, even—that KUOW is using its surpluses to expand and innovate. But public radio listeners are famously well-informed and sophisticated. They can be trusted with the whole story.

Read the whole thing here.

Rough Week

posted by on April 7 at 7:25 AM


Before I jump back into Slogging I wanted to thank everyone who sent condolence notes. It’s been a rough seven days, to say the least, and the emails have truly been a comfort.

I also wanted to share this picture. It was taken in the living room of the apartment on Glenwood Avenue in Chicago where I grew up—the same apartment, as I wrote in The Commitment, where my mother and grandmother grew up. I’ve always loved how everyone in the picture is fully lit—my dad, my mom, my brothers, my sister. Everyone except for me. I’m the boy on the right, just behind my mother’s shoulder, the kid with the biggest mouth (although my blond brother Eddie is a close second). And I’m literally standing in my mother’s shadow.

I’ve been looking at this picture a lot this week, and not just for the heavy-handed, pink-tinted symbolism of it all (the gay son is in his mother’s shadow—what were the odds?). It’s just that after watching the light go out of my mother’s eyes last Monday morning I really needed to spend some with pictures taken of mom when her light was still blazing. And this is one of my favorites.

Anyway, I’m back—well, to intermittent blogging, at least. Then it’s off to Chicago and back to Glenwood Avenue for a wake at one end of the block (Maloney’s Funeral Home) and a funeral at the other (St. Ignatius). Mom asked us to scatter some of her ashes in the alley behind our old apartment building, the alley that was our playground when we were kids. Me and my siblings are going to do that for her—and then we’re going to go out and get lit, fully lit, all four us this time.

Re: Blogging, Harmful, etc. (Persian Version)

posted by on April 7 at 1:08 AM


Also in Sunday’s NYT, an article on how surprisingly diverse and kinetic Iran’s blogosphere is: Religious conservatives, liberal reformers, erotic poetry.

This interesting sentence caps off of the article:

Bloggers are not permitted to criticize the Islamic system itself, Ms. Kar said, but they are far freer than writers for newspapers or other news media.

Are the Iranian authorities oblivious to the fact that the Internet is displacing traditional media? …And so, is there a window of opportunity for reform in Iran?

Or: Is the government more permissive than they let on … because deep down, they’re actually attracted to the amazing world of the Internet too, and like everyone else, they can’t resist seeing what’s gonna happen?

Here’s an explanation of the Persian Blogosphere Map pictured above.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Woe Is Us; Or, How Blogging Might Be Harmful to One’s Health

posted by on April 6 at 8:41 PM

Maybe the reason so many people in editorial have been out sick this year is this. According to that piece—on the cover of today’s New York Timesblogging might be bad for you. Like, REALLY bad for you.

A growing work force of home-office laborers and entrepreneurs, armed with computers and smartphones and wired to the hilt, are toiling under great physical and emotional stress created by the around-the-clock Internet economy that demands a constant stream of news and comment.

Of course, the bloggers can work elsewhere, and they profess a love of the nonstop action and perhaps the chance to create a global media outlet without a major up-front investment. At the same time, some are starting to wonder if something has gone very wrong. In the last few months, two among their ranks have died suddenly.

Physical and emotional stress? Totally. But, uh, dying? Wow.

Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.

Huh. Not that convincing. Um, NYT? Sixty-year-olds have heart attacks all the time. And two deaths isn’t much of a trend, which is clearly why they threw in that third guy—if it happens three times, it’s a trend!—but still, a 41-year-old having a heart attack is a lot more common now that we live in a nation of obese people than it used to be. Sure, you could say, as the article does, that blogging can easily be done while eating, and eating leads to overeating, and overeating leads to obesity, but that’s a pretty attenuated argument. I sort of wasn’t buying it, this article, this “trend.” But then I got to this:

“I haven’t died yet,” said Michael Arrington, the founder and co-editor of TechCrunch, a popular technology blog. The site has brought in millions in advertising revenue, but there has been a hefty cost. Mr. Arrington says he has gained 30 pounds in the last three years, developed a severe sleeping disorder and turned his home into an office for him and four employees. “At some point, I’ll have a nervous breakdown and be admitted to the hospital, or something else will happen.”

“This is not sustainable,” he said.

Reminds me of certain people I could mention.

Are You Going to Make a Federal Case Out of It?

posted by on April 6 at 3:06 PM

The USDA sends me an email when they make a federal case out of, say, E. coli, Listeria (a popular one), botulism, “undeclared allergens” in food, food mislabeling (oops—those Frozen Chicken Products aren’t precooked!), and good old “adulterated” food.

You can subscribe to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Open Federal Cases Update here.

Yesterday’s update concerns Federal Case FSIS-RC-012-2008:


…a Class II Recall of Frozen Cattle Heads That Contain Prohibited Materials. Take it away, Federal Casemaker:

April 4, 2008 - Elkhorn Valley Packing LLC, a Harper, Kan., establishment, is voluntarily recalling approximately 406,000 pounds of frozen cattle heads with tonsils not completely removed….

Tonsils are considered a specified risk material (SRM) and must be removed from cattle of all ages in accordance with FSIS regulations. SRMs are tissues that are known to contain the infective agent in cattle infected with BSE…. Therefore, FSIS prohibits SRMs from use as human food to minimize potential human exposure to the BSE agent.

The products subject to recall include:
* Various weight bulk boxes of “BEEF WHOLE HEADS, KEEP REFRIGERATED.”

BSE is Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, or mad cow disease. A Class II recall is “HEALTH RISK: LOW.” The classes go a little something like this:

Class I: Bad! You could die.
Class II: Medium-ish (?): “A health hazard situation where there is a remote probability of adverse health consequences from the use of the product.” Wait, sorry: LOW.
Class III: Also “a situation,” but “a situation where the use of the product will not cause adverse health consequences.” No big deal! (For a federal case.)

Questions? This (kind of hot!) automated drawing of a lady named Karen is here for you “24/7.”


Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on April 6 at 11:00 AM


‘Orthodox Stance’ at Cinerama

Born in the Ukraine and raised in Brooklyn, Dmitriy Salita is a practicing Orthodox Jew and professional boxer. This documentary catches him at the moment he is about to reach the peak of his career. He has not lost a fight and is determined to get to the top. He has support from his Jewish community, black American friends, and Latino trainers. Although Orthodox, Dmitriy does not live in a closed world. Indeed, Orthodox Stance overflows with the boxer’s humanity. (Cinerama, 2100 Fourth Ave, 441-3080. 7:30 pm, $7–$10.)


Reading Today

posted by on April 6 at 10:03 AM


Only one reading today. Eileen Delehanty Pearkes is reading from her book The Glass Seed, about watching her mother slowly succumb to Alzheimer’s Disease. She’s a good writer. I haven’t read the book. It has a very pretty cover.

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.

The Morning News

posted by on April 6 at 9:00 AM

posted by news intern Chris Kissel

Recycling: Military leaders concerned about soldiers repeatedly sent into combat.

Relaying: Pro-Tibet protesters disrupt Olympic torch run.

Refusing: Philadelphia Gay News calls out Obama for avoiding gay media.

Persuading: Bush fails to convince Putin on missile defense plans.

Violence returns: Twenty-two dead in Baghdad.

Save the children: Texas police enter radical Mormon temple.

Charlton Heston: Gun lover/Moses portrayer dead at 84.

: Those exposed to Hanford radiation may have their day in court.

Whassup, Oregon?: Clinton chats about the environment in Hillsboro, Ore.

Hesitation: Microsoft presses Yahoo on acquisition deal.

That Rifle

posted by on April 6 at 8:03 AM

Delegates on Parade

posted by on April 6 at 8:02 AM

Since a handful of delegates names had been left off the ballot, and it was nearly impossible to keep track of roughly 200 people’s names while they gave 30 second speeches (woe to those who didn’t bring a pen), the 43rd came up with this idea after all the speeches were done yesterday: March all the delegates around the gym with their signs.


Have you ever seen leaf-cutter ants?

Still, this was a far better idea than the (thankfully) rejected idea someone floated of having four speeches at a time, one in each corner of the gym.

Charlton Heston…

posted by on April 6 at 5:06 AM

…is dead.