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Archives for 05/18/2008 - 05/24/2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I Survived Folklife

posted by on May 24 at 9:51 PM

…someone get on making that as a T-Shirt, please. Complete with a bullet-grazed bongo.

Right before the gunshot at tonight’s Folklife, the girlfriend and I were approaching the Seattle Center fountain. I heard the pop, but it sounded like a little toy popper, not a booming gunshot, and I didn’t see any crowd ruckus (admittedly, I was distracted by wood-carved puzzles for kids). One minute later, a series of cops ran past me, yet even this didn’t register.

No, it took a particularly large woman running past me shouting, “Pick up your babies and run! Run! Protect your babies!” At that point, I lost conscious control and found myself running to hide behind a wall.

What? You see a fat person run, you run. It’s usually a solid sign that something’s wrong at Folklife—lady’s not bludgeoning those cankles to get in line to buy some hemp bracelets. Anyway, if anyone’s concerned, my babies are just fine.

Two Shot at Folklife Festival

posted by on May 24 at 7:11 PM

Reports coming in of shots fired at Seattle Center. More info coming.

Update: A man and a woman were shot near the Center fountain. Police have someone in custody.

My Anus Would End Up on Top of My Head

posted by on May 24 at 4:21 PM


The ??!! category, defined.

New Reviews for 5/24

posted by on May 24 at 11:30 AM

Since our guide came out Thursday, we’ve posted three new reviews.

Dream Boy. Ryan S. Jackson writes, “Clumsy and clichéd from start to finish, this is one to miss.”

The experimental film Loos Ornamental, which Jen Graves has endowed with the coveted “Don’t Miss!” tag:

Loos Ornamental

First come a few words in German, and then there are no words at all, only images of Adolf Loos’s architecture, arranged in a chronological slide show of long-held video stills inside and outside the buildings, mainly in Vienna. Loos famously eschewed ornament, reducing form to function by exposing beams, stacking grids, and letting materials express their own conditions. This makes for some genteel moments, but there’s also the return of the repressed, in perfectly flat and geometric surfaces that nonetheless roar like baroque sculpture because they are made of wildly mottled red or green marble. Drunk on the dream of modernism, you reach the end of the film, where there’s only a cube gravestone with the architect’s name on it. It’s right in the city, and a train passes close behind it. JEN GRAVES

And I review Marie Losier’s Portraits in Cinema, a program of biographical shorts about filmmakers and other eccentric personalities: “The first, about filmmaker/composer Tony Conrad, was made over a longer period than the others, and it shows. As he performs a little sped-up chicken dance or pickles curly garlands of film stock, Conrad narrates the story of his youth and influences, including early roommate and collaborator Jack Smith. It’s delightful.” I didn’t know it going in, but occasional Stranger contributor Brian L. Frye did camera for some of the films in the program.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 24 at 11:00 AM


‘Boy A’ at Uptown

You can’t help but fall in love with Jack’s wide brown eyes, eager face, and sincere stammer. But Jack grew up in prison after committing a horrible crime as a boy and is trying to ditch his old self and build a new identity. Based on a novel by British writer Jonathan Trigell, Boy A’s suspense telescopes into the past and the future as we learn what Jack did and whether he can handle his new life—first job, first girlfriend, first time on ecstasy, and so on. The final scene bludgeons us with bathos, but everything preceding teeters thrillingly between hope and disaster. (Uptown Cinema, 511 Queen Anne Ave N. 7 pm, ticket info at


SIFF 2008: Recommendations for Day 3

posted by on May 24 at 10:40 AM

I got up too late to make it to an 11 am movie, so I’ll assume you did too. I would have recommended you see Before the Rains, even though it’s opening next week, because if you listened to my advice yesterday you would’ve already seen Continental, a Film Without Guns, and All Will Be Well sounds way too depressing for a sunny Saturday morning.

The 1 o’clock slot is packed with sweet (if slight) movies without U.S. distribution. Try Mermaid, from Russia (1:15 pm at the Egyptian), or the French-Canadian The 3 Little Pigs (1:30 pm at Pacific Place).

Filmmaker Brillante Mendoza has a film at Cannes this year that I’m very curious about, so I think I’m going to head over to the Harvard Exit for double dose of his previous work: Foster Child at 1:30 pm and Slingshot at 4 pm.


Also worth seeing in that late afternoon slot: Ballast (has distribution, 4:30 pm at Pacific Place), The Red Awn (no distribution, 3:30 pm at SIFF Cinema), and Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson (has distribution, 3:45 pm at the Egyptian). The SIFF website doesn’t mention it, but I know Gonzo’s director Alex Gibney is in town, so he might be doing a Q&A. If so, I recommend hijacking the conversation and asking questions about his last movie, Taxi to the Dark Side.

The evening slot has two great films with distribution: Chris & Don: A Love Story (6:30 pm at Harvard Exit), about the relationship between writer Christopher Isherwood and his much younger lover Don Bachardy; and Boy A (7 pm at Uptown), about a juvenile deliquent trying to adjust to life on the outside. They’re both getting brief week-long runs at the Varsity in August, so you may want to catch one or both even though they’re coming back to Seattle. Eat, for This Is My Body (7 pm at Northwest Film Forum), an experimental film about colonialism in Haiti, looks totally crazy. I might try to catch that. I mean, check out this trailer:

And for the late evening slot, you should obviously come to My Effortless Brilliance (9:30 pm at the Egyptian), the new film by Lynn Shelton (We Go Way Back). Former Stranger film editor Sean Nelson plays the main character, so we’re obviously biased. I sent the screener all the way to New York for something resembling an objective review. Here’s Michael Atkinson’s (starred) verdict:

Mumblecore cries out in the wilderness in this personality-rich, bare-bones ultra-indie, which follows a flabby, narcissistic middle-tier young novelist (ex-Stranger scribe Sean Nelson) as he haplessly seeks to reconnect with a wary and embittered college friend (Basil Harris) in and around a cabin in the forests of Eastern Washington. Any pro-am awkwardness is wittily absorbed by the scenario, but while the performances are all savvy and convincing, Shelton (who splits screenplay credit with her improvving cast) steers entirely clear of drama. Think of it as Old Joy without the seasoning.

I believe there’s a party after My Effortless Brilliance, which is good, because the midnight slot tonight is Epitaph. Thumbs down.

Reading Today

posted by on May 24 at 10:00 AM


Only two readings today: at the Ballard Branch of the Seattle Public Library is Linda Sue Park, who is the author of books with such pleasant titles as Kite Fighters and Project Mulberry and Bee Bim Bop. They’re young adult novels. I really do like the titles, though.

And at Elliott Bay, Regina Hackett will be interviewing painter Joseph Goldberg, who has a book out from UW Press called Jeweled Earth.

And that is all.

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

The Morning News

posted by on May 24 at 7:34 AM

posted by news intern Chris Kissel

: 270 illegal immigrants sentenced to five months in prison.

Homecoming: Zimbabwean opposition leader flies home for elections.

Dying masses: Chinese government in a hurry to dispose of earthquake victims.

In case you hadn’t heard: Nomination battle gets even dirtier/dumber.

Wave of xenophobia: Anti-immigrant violence reaches Cape Town.

Cast out
: SUV sales plummeting.

Logo dispute: Starbucks takes issue with Rat City Rollergirls logo. P-I steals story from Slog.

: More incriminating e-mails emerge in Sonics case.

: County executive, County Council bicker over treatment of mentally ill in Snohomish County.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wanna See Some Hot, Sweaty Hulk on Abomination Action?

posted by on May 23 at 5:25 PM

Then click away.

It makes me a teensy bit more excited and it can’t be worse than that godawful Ang Lee turd.

A Few Notes on the Opening Night Gala

posted by on May 23 at 5:24 PM

I know it’s been covered a lot today, but I had a couple things to say about the movie, too. And it’s too late in the day to be linear, so…

I was surprised to see Mayor Nickels effectively applauding the WTO protesters during Michael Seiwerath’s wonderful acceptance speech.

This was a bad, bad movie. It was very, very bad. If it didn’t have local interest, I seriously doubt if it would even be considered for SIFF at all.

I was so happy when the crowd booed and hissed at the archival footage of Howard Schultz talking about how much money Starbucks was going to lose thanks to the protests. It was simply lovely.

Fake Gary Locke’s accent was completely inexcusable, much moreso than the shots of Safeco and Seahawks Stadium in the opening shots of the film.

The dialogue was worse-than-TV-movie bad. The actor who had to refer to motherhood as “The greatest adventure of all” should get an Oscar for keeping a straight face.

Also: He did a fine job with a shit part, but instead of Django, Andre 3000’s character should have been named Jar Jar.

I will watch Woody Harrelson in anything for ever and ever.

Similarly, I would like Ray Liotta to be Seattle’s for-real mayor right now, please. As an aside: Does anyone know if he wears eyeliner, or if he has the world’s thickest eyelashes?

Mayor Liotta’s first law as mayor should be a ban on Seattle Q&A’s. The beret-wearing woman who told the cast of this schlockfest that they accurately depicted “the heart of an activist” should be ashamed of herself.

The party was beyond lame, but the non-VIP party was better than the VIP party.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on May 23 at 5:10 PM

If, by some bizarre coincidence, you hate SIFF but love movies, aren’t going to Sasquatch, and are allergic to drum circles, you may find this post helpful. Perhaps.


Cannes coverage all over the place. Check out the New York Times, which has been very on top of things, and the nearly exhaustive GreenCine Daily. (I cannot wait for The Headless Woman. And SIFF AD Carl Spence was telling me yesterday he was impressed by Hunger, which just got picked up by IFC.)

Variety previews the musical theater version of Saved!.

This Week:

Bradley Steinbacher reviews the disappointing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (“When we’d last seen Indiana Jones he was riding off into the sunset after having discovered the Holy Grail. It was the perfect ending to the series: simple, iconic, and lasting. I’d have preferred to remember him that way”).

I review Meet Bill, which is downright awful.

Limited runs are thin this week, due to SIFF. But we do have Northwest Film Forum, with an extended run of Mister Lonely (here’s our interview with Harmony Korine), and Grand Illusion, with Young Yakuza, a documentary about the Japanese mafia. (We didn’t have a chance to review it, due to the SIFF behemoth, but here’s the Variety review.)

For all your movie times needs, go here. Looking for a SIFF movie? The only guidance you need is at

Starbucks Asks Rat City Rollergirls to Change Their Logo

posted by on May 23 at 5:01 PM

The Starbucks Coffee Company has asked the Rat City Rollergirls (RCR)—a Seattle based roller derby league—to modify their logo because of, according to Starbucks spokeswoman Stacey Krum, of concerns about a “very similar look and feel of the logo.”


Krum says Starbucks spoke with RCR reps two days ago, and Starbucks has asked for an extension on the trademark ruling. “Under trademark law, you need to be careful to protect your own trademark,” Krum says.


Starbucks previously sued a comic artist, a Chinese coffee company and a Texas bar owner over trademark issues.

RCR did not respond to requests for comment. Krum says she expects the dispute to be wrapped up sometime in July.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on May 23 at 5:00 PM


by shapefarm

Keith Gessen Reviews His Audience in Seattle

posted by on May 23 at 4:08 PM

Keith Gessen—a founding editor of n+1 (here’s a great piece about money and the writing life), author of a novel called All the Sad Young Literary Men, and a touch-football player—came through town a couple weeks ago. This week in The Stranger’s book section, he writes about his experience.

A paragraph of it:

The reading at Elliott Bay was, until I got to Cleveland, the friendliest I’ve done. I read a portion of the book that deals with New York, the bounty of New York, of what it’s like to finally get everything you thought you wanted but get it all too late—a part I had not read aloud since an audience in D.C. sat in stony silence through all the jokes and then asked, as their first collective question, “So these are problems specific to New York?” I had put that chapter away after that, but on the day of the reading decided the Seattleites could handle it. And I was right.

Also discussed: the Hotel Monaco (“sensible”), the price of hamburgers in Seattle (“it’s possible I was hallucinating”), Portland (“it struck me, this time, as just a little too self-satisfied”), airline travel (“airline travel, let’s face it, is immoral”), and the spirit of Old Seattle (“it was in Seattle that I finally went off the rails of my tour”).

It’s a pleasure.

Opening Night Postmortem

posted by on May 23 at 2:46 PM

Ah, opening night. The stress! The gaping! The radical once-a-year fashion statements! Personal favorite moment: Artistic Director Carl Spence’s adorable 7-month-old baby, posing on the red carpet. (Sorry, I didn’t have a camera.) Personal low point: Tromping down to the Very Important Tent after being sweet-talked by a publicist (“of course you’re invited to the dinner!”) and then being denied by another publicist at the entrance (“if [publicist’s name withheld] wants to come down here and argue with me, then sure!”). But let’s get to the important stuff:

The Movie.

Battle in Seattle is bad, but not quite as terrible as I thought it would be. As I see it, the problem is this. Stuart Townsend tried to tackle many of the lofty themes of Medium Cool (the problem of journalistic objectivity, the sacred inertia of women and motherhood in an era of political upheaval), but in the most embarrassing possible shorthand.

Medium Cool

In Medium Cool, a photojournalist continually confronts situations—a car crash, protests, poverty and despair—that invite his participation, and he resists. In Battle in Seattle, a dumb blond, status-quo news anchor witnesses a single act of police violence and promptly joins the protesters. Medium Cool has a fairly uncomplicated, late-’60s view of femininity: The main female character is a dirt-poor widow (her husband died in Vietnam) from West Virginia who’s just moved with her young son to the Chicago ghetto; she’s linked firmly to her native land through a green and gold-flushed flashback to a baptism in an Appalachian river. For this naive, almost earth-mother figure, Battle in Seattle substitutes Charlize Theron, makes her pregnant, and has a police officer club her in the stomach for no reason. I guess it’s tricky to reduce any character in 2008 to an icon of idealized womanhood, but I guess you can always resort to pregnancy. Ugh.

Medium Cool was filmed in part at the actual 1968 Democratic Convention protests. Director Haskell Wexler sent an actor, in character, to weave through the protesters, and stitched together his documentary footage with the rest of the fictional storyline. (Best meta line ever: “Watch out, Haskell, it’s real!”) Battle in Seattle didn’t have that option (foresight?), but despite some skillful editing, there’s an obvious break whenever archival video of the protests shifts to the glossy 35 mm reenactments. They should have used video in the protest scenes to make it blend better.

Also, the dialogue is ridiculous. And there are two apostrophes missing from the closing crawl text. (Got that, Jonas-the-marketing-guy? Take that to the top.)

All that said, this was one of SIFF’s better opening-night picks in recent memory. I’d rank it ahead of The Illusionist, and although it’s certainly a worse movie than Son of Rambow, the local angle gives it massive bonus points. Me and You and Everyone We Know remains the high-water mark.

The Party:

There was no free booze at the regular gala party, eliminating the reason for there to even be a gala party, and even in the VIP tent, one had to beg for extra drink tickets from passing SIFF employees or find a super-VIP to wield their magic wristband. It was a sad scene. Here’s one reader’s report from the regular gala:

Wtf was SIFF thinking charging seven bucks for a drink? I don’t know about everyone else, but as a single mom working two part-time jobs, seven bucks is a lot of cash to throw away on watered down booze. I had a mini-sturgeon on crostini thing (how were they planning on feeding 3,000 people with fish on crackers? I didn’t see Jesus around to multiply the fish, or make free Vitamin water into free wine.) I stayed for 15 minutes, realized my feet hurt in my shoes and wanted to go get some real food. I hope more people rip them apart for this lame and borderline embarrassing event. I don’t want to sound like a malcontent but I thought you should know how much (further) downhill SIFF has gone since last year.

What happened, SIFF? Why no free booze? Did you lose a liquor sponsorship or something?


Oh, rad. I didn’t realize Northwest Film Forum was screening Medium Cool again this summer. You’ll be able to see it Friday-Sunday, August 22-24. (Spectacular timing, NWFF, just before this year’s Democratic National Convention and the opening of Battle.)

Clinton Apologizes for Assassination Reference

posted by on May 23 at 2:40 PM

Woah. I go to lunch for an hour, come back, and find out that while I’ve been gone Hillary Clinton has been talking about one of the Kennedy assassinations—as a way of explaining why she’s still in the race. What???

Doesn’t she know that this touches on the murmured fears of a lot of Democrats who cannot understand why she’s still running? Doesn’t she know that, with Ted Kennedy just diagnosed with a brain tumor, this is perhaps the worst moment for a statement such as the one she made today during an editorial board meeting in South Dakota?

Clinton has since apologized, and if you take the most charitable view of her comment you can see what one hopes she was getting at: Democratic nomination fights have historically lasted until June, and one example of that phenomenon is Robert Kennedy, who was assassinated in June of 1968—while he was still in a nomination fight.

But man, if that was the intended meaning, what a dumb way to put it and what a dumb day to bring it up. This is a self-inflicted wound from which it will be hard for Clinton to recover. And if she was really trying to slyly suggest that she’s staying in the race on the off-chance that Obama, like Kennedy, will be assassinated this summer—well, here’s an example of what happens when someone believes that was her motivation.

Let’s go to the tape. Here’s Clinton’s assassination remark:

And here’s her apology:

Quite a day. It began with Clinton people leaning on Obama to give her the VP slot, and it appears to have ended with Clinton completely blowing any chance she had for the VP slot—much less anything else.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on May 23 at 2:21 PM

He Wasn’t Actually a DEA Agent: But he was raiding houses.

After Increasing Pot Penalties: UK considers downgrading ecstasy.

Webb of Truths: “The time has come to stop locking up people for mere possession and use of marijuana.”

Vancouver: Cops want a safe-injection site in BC to save lives, but Susan Martinuk thinks that would be morally wrong.

Washington: Border security increases and so does the domestic pot harvest.

Appealing: Doc accused of running pill mill.

Concealing: Department of Health delays medical-marijuana rules.

Healing: Massachusetts considers $5 million treatment plan.

Incense: Psychoactive.

Scandinavians: World’s leading coffee drinkers.

Smokers: Even quitting in packs.

So much for that “Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope” bullshit: Man busted using weed to buy snacks.

It Was Great, Except for the Burning Anus and the Bad Trip

posted by on May 23 at 2:00 PM

As we all know, the only thing more exciting than hearing someone talk about their dreams is hearing someone talk about their hallucinogenic trips. This lady took a lot of mushrooms anally and then put an eight minute description of the whole thing on YouTube.

Via The Best American Poetry Blog, oddly enough.

Ain’t Got 17 Days

posted by on May 23 at 1:53 PM

Amy Winehouse [insert your own sick-Amy image here; I don’t have the heart] is reportedly going to try rehab again (though she’s also reportedly denying it), this time under the care of detox-specialist Dr. Andre Waismann in Israel, who claims to reverse chemical dependency in a mere 36 hours. His anesthesia-assisted rapid detox, which he calls the ANR Method (Accelerated Neuroregulation), is fascinating. From an article from the Cyprus Review, posted on his treatment center’s website:

Waismann’s method, which has been successfully implemented since the mid-1995, relies on the skills of anaesthetists and ICU doctors to reverse the illness of addiction. Under the revolutionary treatment, an antinarcotic drug or narcotic antagonist called Naltrexone is administrated to the patient in a four-hour process, during which the patient is under anesthetic, suppressing the unbearable pain that would otherwise accompany the treatment. Naltrexon tablets are then taken for the following 10 months, by the end of which the body’s receptors will have changed and shrunk, thus reversing permanently the effects of narcotic craving….
Waismann’s treatment blocks the opioid receptors in the brain to which the active components to heroin - as well as naturally-produced endorphins - bind, so that regardless of how much heroin there is in the body, it can no longer reach the brain. The patient therefore becomes immediately “clean”, sleeping through an extremely powerful process of withdrawal.

The process is described in more detail here.

At $12,800 (the price Winehouse will pay, according to Starpulse, not including the plane tickets), it’s probably too pricey for non-celeb addicts.

Clinging to Their Guns and Steering Wheels

posted by on May 23 at 1:37 PM

First Brad’s post about Clinton staying in the race just in case Obama gets gunned down, and now this:

A US car dealer has seen his sales soar after he launched a promotion offering customers a free handgun with every car.

Max Motors, a small car dealer in Butler, Missouri in the US Midwest, has seen sales quadruple since the introduction this week of a scheme offering customers either a $250 voucher for a gun or the alternative of a gas card.

Mark Muller, the owner of the dealership, said that he had sold more than 30 cars and trucks in the past three days but only two customers had opted for the gas card.

We did it because of Barack Obama,” Mr Muller said, referring to the Democratic presidential hopeful. “He said all those people in the Midwest, you’ve got to have compassion for them because they’re clinging to their guns and their Bibles. I found that quite offensive.”

Good thing he’s got “the best protection in the world.”

Thanks to tipper NaFun.

Lunch Date: Serve The People!

posted by on May 23 at 1:00 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? Serve The People! by Yan Lianke.

Where’d you go? My birthday is on Saturday and my license is about to expire, so for lunch I went to the downtown office of the Washington State Department of Licensing, on Spring between 2nd and 3rd.

What’d you eat?

How was the food? Actually, with the prevalent ass smell of the DOL, I kind of lost my appetite, anyway.

What does your date say about itself?
The dust jacket says that this is a Chinese novel that has been banned in China. It found popularity on the internet and is now being published by the lovely paperback original Black Cat imprint. It’s about a love afffair in 1967 Mao Zedong’s Communist China. A blurb on the dust jacket reads:

“This novel slanders Mao Zedong, the army, and is overflowing with sex…do not distribute, pass around, comment on, excerpt from it, or report on it.” —Chinese Central Propaganda Bureau

Is there a representative quote?
“This, plainly, was the Division Commander’s workroom—like a novelist’s study, but a hundred thousand times more important. Wu Dawang blinked at the frenzies of blood-red arrows and multicolored lines swarming over maps punctuated by brightly scrawled circles, triangles and squares—as if an entire garden had burst into glorious bloom inside the house. He instinctively averted his gaze.”

Will you two end up in bed together? Yes. I only got about twelve pages in—more on this in a minute—but even though it’s based in 1960s China, it reads almost like dystopic science fiction. The dry, wry sense of humor is especially appreciated. It’s pretty rare that someone gets a chance to read a novel that is actually subversive. And as for the DOL: I actually got in and out in about fifteen minutes, which was pretty impressive, although I am now the owner of the Worst Driver’s License Picture In The World. Also, I left with absolutely no appetite because the stench was worse than riding the bus. But the experience was nowhere near as bad as it could’ve been.

Number One with a Bullet

posted by on May 23 at 12:59 PM

From the New York Post:

Hillary Clinton today brought up the assassination of Sen. Robert Kennedy while defending her decision to stay in the race against Barack Obama.

“My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don’t understand it,” she said, dismissing calls to drop out.

Clinton made her comments at a meeting with the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader’s editorial board while campaigning in South Dakota, where she complained that, “People have been trying to push me out of this ever since Iowa.”

Is that why you’re staying in the race Clinton? Just in case Obama is gunned down? How very noble of you.

Man, your campaign just keeps getting uglier and uglier.

Update: Via Politico:

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement that “Senator Clinton’s statement before the Argus Leader editorial board was unfortunate and has no place in this campaign.”

Another Update: In the comments, “Bison” writes:

Jesus but you (and this includes you, Steinbacher) are all a bunch of morons. That’s a completely uncharitable reading of what she said.

Regardless of your political alliances, if you aren’t already half-blinded by Hillary hate it seems pretty obvious that she’s just pointing out that it’s not abnormal for primary campaigns to still be fought well into June. In fact, you probably all remember that Bobby Kennedy was shot IN JUNE. What you may not remember is that on the night he was shot he had just declared victory in California’s primary in spite of being significantly behind Humphrey in overall pledged delegates.

Bison’s probably right about what she was trying to say, but that doesn’t make the comment any less stupid, insensitive, and campaign-combusting.

ABC News on McCain’s Potential Drug Problem

posted by on May 23 at 12:59 PM

McCain’s Ambien Use: a Security Threat?

(Frankly, I’m more worried about him going to sleep and never waking up than his accidental sleep-walking/-fucking/-driving/-nuclear-war-starting. But thanks for tackling it, ABC.)

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on May 23 at 12:45 PM

Floating Head!

From YouTube waverlyflams. Also, if anyone’s interested, there’s a big fat horror convention in Seatac this weekend. If I wasn’t going to Sasquatch, you can bet your sweet ass I’d be there getting an autograph from Rowdy Roddy Piper - ’80s WWF superstud, and star of one of my favorite movies of all time Hell Comes to Frog Town.

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

posted by on May 23 at 12:26 PM

Tonight in Music: Treasure Fingers, Holy Ghost Revival, the Presets, Thrice, Rainfest.

Trent Moorman Investigates: The Male Yoko, Yoko Erectus.

Pearlman’s in Prison: No longer will he poison the music industry.

BYOP’s “Violent” Songs See Light of Day: Three songs held from Be Your Own Pet’s most recent album (due to violent lyrics) will be released next month. Watch out for pizza-eating teenagers.

Sound Check: Trent Moorman interviews USE’s Jon E. Rock.

New Saturday Knights: Larry Mizell tells you where to find it for free.

Maps & Atlases: Jeff Kirby on their “unique blend of math rock and freak folk.”

Your Daily Dose of R. Kelly: An already weird trial takes a turn for the weirder.

The Anniversary: New collection of B-sides takes Eric back to the days of mix tapes.

New Weezer Video: It stars the stars of YouTube (including Chris Crocker and Tay Zonday).

Speaking of Mix Tapes: Brian Cook wants his duel tape deck back.

Folklife This Weekend: Sasquatch has better bands, but Folklife has elephant ears.

Something Else Sasquatch Might Have?: Rain.

They Didn’t Have Cell Phones in 1982: But I swear I hear one ringing in “Rock the Casbah.”

“Bit Cocky, Isn’t He?”: Griet Verlinde on Eurovision’s second semi-finals.

Your New Favorite Music Critic: The Matos Family.

Lords of the North at King Cobra, from the Stranger Flickr Pool:


by &y.

The Inspiration of Falling Nuns

posted by on May 23 at 12:24 PM

Samantha Morton plays a Marilyn Monroe impersonator in Harmony Korine’s wonderful Mister Lonely.

This is from an interview I had with the director and screenwriter Harmony Korine:

What is the source of Mister Lonely?

Early on I had started thinking of this idea of nuns jumping out of airplanes, nuns riding bicycles in the clouds and doing tricks in the sky. But that was pretty much it; that was the extent of it. I didn’t have a story or any kind of narrative. And I was working on a script before then, right before my houses burned down. It was a script about a pig named Trotsky and this kid who invented a special kind of adhesive that he would put on to ride outside of these walls. He would ride around and walk through the swampland in Florida and firebomb houses. A lot of that script burned down with my house.

To read more, go here; to see the movie, go here.

John McCain’s Health Steady, Ass Freckled

posted by on May 23 at 12:15 PM

Whatever his thousand-word diatribe yesterday against Barack Obama might have suggested about the downward trajectory of his mind, Senator John McCain’s body appears to be about as healthy as one would expect of a 72-year old.

From the pool report’s summary of the medical records, via Mark Halperin of Time:

The records document the following major issues that he has faced over the last eight years:

cancer (melanomas on his left face, his left arm and his nose); dizziness that was diagnosed as vertigo; blood in the urine, which was diagnosed as caused by an enlarge prostate and bladder/kidney stones; high cholesterol, which appears to be successfully treated with medicine; some pain in his shoulder, hand and knee joints diagnosed as degenerative arthritis; evidence of polyps and diverticulosis in th colon, and some other minor medical ailments along the way.

This should also reassure Americans:

From Dr. Suzanne Connolly, his oncologist:

“Buttocks unremarkable except for some very light tan freckling.”

The gist of the initial assessment seems to be that McCain’s battle with melanoma has been a successful one since his diagnosis and subsequent surgery in 2000, and will not likely be an issue should he become president.

There are still a lot of questions left unanswered by all this: the records were a massive 1,200 pages, and the hand-selected batch of reporters were not allowed to photocopy any of the material for later analysis. A time limit was placed on press access to the documents, and the New York Times is reporting that certain news organizations were given preferential treatment in their time alloted to view the medical records.

Barack Obama’s records will be released “early next week.”

SIFF 2008: Recommendations, Day 2

posted by on May 23 at 12:11 PM

This post begins a series of recommendations for every single slot in the Seattle International Film Festival. Wish me stamina! Here are some things I’m taking into consideration: 1) Did our critic like it?, 2) Does it have distribution and can we expect it to open in Seattle later this year?, and 3) If SIFF didn’t get us a screener for review, what are other critics saying? So, without further ado, Day 2:

I’m recommending a straight Pacific Place slate today: The Pope’s Toilet (from Uruguay, doesn’t have distribution, Eli Sanders loves it) at 4:30 pm, Ballast (American indie, has distribution but no firm Seattle opening date, Charles and Manohla Dargis love it) at 7 pm, and Continental, a Film Without Guns (from Quebec, no distribution, David Schmader loves it).


Also recommended and without large-scale U.S. distribution: Vexille at the Egyptian at 4 pm, The Red Awn at SIFF Cinema at 6:30 pm, and (we haven’t seen this one yet) Portraits in Cinema—short experimental films about George and Mike Kuchar et al., plus a narrative short about the birth of a pair of hands made in collaboration with Guy Maddin (Brand Upon the Brain!)—at Northwest Film Forum at 7 pm.

Also recommended for people with SIFF passes who don’t care whether a film is opening later in the year: Fatih Akin’s The Edge of Heaven (Strand Releasing is a smaller distributor, but I would be shocked if this superb film didn’t show up in Seattle theaters sometime this year) at the Egyptian at 6:30 pm, Before the Rains (opening next week) at Uptown at 7 pm, Catherine Breillat’s The Last Mistress (opening in Seattle July 18) at the Egyptian at 9:30 pm, Elite Squad (huge distributor—The Weinstein Company) at Uptown at 9:30 pm, and Jia Zhang-ke’s Still Life (this one has a distributor, but could still slip through the cracks in Seattle) at SIFF Cinema at 9:30 pm.

For all your SIFF scheduling needs, see And tell me what you’re seeing in the comments!

SIFF Opening Night: My Brain is Melting

posted by on May 23 at 12:10 PM


Like 14 billion other Seattleites, last night I ventured over to McCaw Hall to catch the opening night of the Seattle International Film Festival. As Lindy West reported, it was star-studded. (I saw the mayor!) It was also, for me at least, a completely surreal endeavor.

I showed up around 6:30 and got myself into the line that stretched impressively around McCaw Hall to the north entrance of Memorial Stadium. While in line, we were sporadically besieged by various factions, from patchouli-soaked pamphleteers to the pair of unfortunately adult men hired to promote Juno On Demand(TM) by dressing like Michael Cera’s character (high yellow shorts, tight yellow headband) and handing out orange Tic-Tacs. (As many of us in line were forced to learn, dressing like a sporty teen can make a perfectly healthy thirty-something look already dead.)

Once inside, Jake and I managed to snag a couple seats in the upper balcony while all other available seats in the area filled up quickly. Tragically, the seat directly next to us was taken by a well-dressed, elegant-seeming older man, who nevertheless managed to give off the stink of several dozen dead animals. Parsing the scent in retrospect, I can report it came on strong with a piercing rancid-mustard stink, underscored by the duller stench of sixteen Value Village sofas soaked with whole milk and left to dry in the sun. There was simply no ignoring this smell, and so we had to give up our precious seats and re-join the huddled masses desperately searching for others.

After 10 minutes and several disheartening dead ends, we gave up. Wading through freakishly huge crowds in search of seats for a film of negligible quality only drives home the fact that we have an apartment and a TV, and we soon retreated to both.

Once home, the surreality continued, as IFC was in the middle of a start-to-finish broadcast of R. Kelly’s monolithically bizarre serial hip-hopera Trapped in the Closet. I’ve seen TITC before, numerous times, but last night was the first time I’d encountered it since watching the entirety of The Wire on DVD, and I was stunned to learn what countless Wire/TITC fans already know: The security-guard husband of Trapped in the Closet’s Bridget is played by Omar from The Wire.

This weird fact dragged me back into the intoxicating horror of Trapped in the Closet all over again, and my evening-long brain-melt was complete.

Thanks, SIFF!

Actual Breaking Book News That Stranger Readers Will Care About

posted by on May 23 at 12:08 PM

Word on the street is that Stranger writer Cienna Madrid has just been offered a position as a Writer-In-Residence at the Richard Hugo House.

She’s one of my favorites here at the paper, and she’s been wanting to branch into fiction writing for some time now, so this should work out well, both for her and for the Hugo House. And those of you who have been (rightfully) complaining that she hasn’t been writing enough lately will soon be seeing lots of new work by Ms. Madrid.

This is really exciting.

When There Is A Party in Seattle, Everyone Goes Home with Fennel Salt

posted by on May 23 at 12:04 PM


The above was the party favor at last night’s movie premiere of “Battle in Seattle,” which, unfortunately for the very earnest-seeming Stuart Townsend, belongs on the list of movies never, never to watch. (Also, I do not like Michelle Rodriguez. In the Q&A after the screening, it was apparent that she is an infant. A sexy infant, which is awkward. Andre 3000, by contrast, behaved warmly and graciously, and showed kindness to a nervous, stuttering questioner who would otherwise have been left in a public lurch, meaning that I will henceforth buy every product that Andre 3000 would like me to buy, unless it means I have to watch him again in “Battle in Seattle,” cast as the racist, racist fun-lovin’ Negro Entertainer named Django.)

But back to the fennel salt. I took one of these home, and I suppose I will try it this weekend. According to this link, the stuff, made by Volterra restaurant, retails for $23.

Whoever thought riots would bring free fennel salt?

Penny Arcade Adventures: On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode One … The Review

posted by on May 23 at 11:43 AM


The best and worst thing about the first Penny Arcade video game is its humor. Not because it’s an “acquired taste,” though that’s a fair worry—PA, the web comic, prides itself on in-jokes and up-to-the-minute game satires. PA, the video game, eschews much of that, instead taking place in an alternate 1920s America where the Industrial Revolution has loosed an army of cultish mimes and fruit-raping robots. It’s bizarre, but it’s that sort of universal bizarre that’ll leave fans and outsiders cracking up in equal measure. You don’t need to be a fan of the comic to be both amused and confused by this; the first episode of Penny Arcade Adventures mines humorous juxtaposition to great effect, marrying a love for over-literate exposition (and satire of said love) with a rich, creamy gravy of stupid. You know, the kind of giddy stupid that thinks “shit poop!” is a good exclamation.

Trouble is, in game form, the funny tends to whiz by—especially in an “episodic” game that tops out at maybe five hours of play. After clicking through so many funny conversations (no speech, just text), I found myself wanting to rewind and savor the wit again and again. (Tough not to reprint so much oddball material, by the way, but rest assured that bums, mimes, piss-obsessed scientists, early 20th century novelists, and Zoltar all get theirs.)

So how do these Bellevue-based game critics translate as game makers? At first glance, PAA’s central gameplay suffers by bowing down to the dialogue rather than pushing for unique twists. Surely, PA’s hyper-critical leads would notice that, aside from the humor, they’ve played this traditional RPG before: run around towns, click random things on the screen to find items, deliver stuff to people for more items, get into turn-based battles. (Reminds me of a grown-up Earthbound.) If there is a twist, it’s that battles are a weird mix of simple (auto-healing, free items) and complex (no pausing to plan moves, surprisingly deep strategy); by splitting the difference, they wind up being pretty engaging. The devs could’ve made fight menus a lot easier to read, I guess; no deal-breaker. But the game only has three “towns” to run around in, so its already-brief length is padded with things like clicking on zillions of items on the ground and enduring a few too many fights.

PAA’s first episode could’ve distilled its five hours to two or three in terms of actual, hard content, making the $20 price point a bit of a stretch. Could’ve added an extra half-hour to the thing just by giving completists a bonus “read the dialogue again” mode; no such luck this time. Still, the comic’s creators win out by expanding their humorous reach beyond their usual niche (cuz if there’s ever a class of people who’ve been left out of gaming for too long, it’s the “shit poop” crowd). Combine that with solid fights, likeable music and equally funny art direction, and you’ve got a worthwhile first effort for these critical game-makers—along with obvious room for improvement for Episode Two.

Worth buying? You’re possibly overpaying at $20 for the full thing, but the free demo’s a no-brainer. Xbox 360 owners can download that demo by digging through the 360’s “new arrivals” list, and PC/Mac/Linux users can download their own demo here.

CA Same-Sex Marriage & the Ripple Effect

posted by on May 23 at 11:26 AM

If you’re interested in the legal implications of the California marriage decision—like, will other states follow California’s lead?—then I highly, highly recommend this series of Volokh Conspiracy posts (by University of Minnesota Law School prof Dale Carpenter). It’s dense reading, but not inaccessible to the lay person.

Slog Poll: The VP Dance

posted by on May 23 at 11:20 AM

With all the talk today about Hillary Clinton deserving / demanding / blackmailing-her-way-into the VP slot, a poll:

Obama picking Clinton as VP would be:

He’ll Be Myth-ed

posted by on May 23 at 11:13 AM


Robert Asprin, who was known primarily for the MythAdventure series of humorous fantasy novels, has died. I haven’t read one of his books, really, since I was twelve and discovered Terry Pratchett, but I must’ve read a half dozen of those Myth books when I was a kid and consumed a mass market paperback a day.

No One Hates Like a Poet Hates…

posted by on May 23 at 11:07 AM

… and no poet hated himself more than Philip Larkin. He’s the man who wrote:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.


In a new batch of letters acquired by the British Library, Larkin laments his pasty, oblong visage as resembling “the late Stan Laurel” and “CS Lewis on a drugs charge”—and, my favorite, “an egg sculpted in lard, with goggles on.”

I hate to say it, but I can see the resemblance.

It just goes to show—the worst you can think about yourself is probably true.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 23 at 11:00 AM


‘Continental: A Film Without Guns’ at Pacific Place

The subtitle speaks to this dark comedy’s complete rejection of aggressive action, including noticeable plot progression. But writer/director Stephane Lafleur digs deeply in this stylish stasis, tracking a half-dozen lonely French souls as they live out their quietly complicated lives, from a new widow paralyzed by liberation to a traveling salesmen so hungry for connection he’ll watch you have sex, if you ask nice. Lafleur’s appetite for pathos is matched by his eye for perversity, and the resulting film is a slow-burning charmer. (Pacific Place, 600 Pine St. 9:30 pm, ticket info at


A Hot Tip for the Ages

posted by on May 23 at 10:59 AM

From this week’s Last Days column, a harrowing, ultimately hopeful Hot Tip:

SUNDAY, MAY 18 The week ends with an extraordinary tale of “religion gone bad and valiant community spirit” from that inexhaustible forum for freakery known as King County Metro, reported by heroic Hot Tipper Oscar. “I was riding the 18 headed downtown, when out of the corner of my eye I saw some movement. When I turned to look, I saw a man repeatedly hitting a blind woman seated at the front of the bus. An older gentleman seated next to the woman jumped up and tried to intervene, but a quick punch to the head knocked him back down into his seat. Once I realized that what I was seeing was real, I rushed the assailant and grabbed him by the arms while he yelled at me to ‘keep out of this. You got no idea what’s really happening here’ and the woman cowered and covered her head. He kept screaming about ‘being filled with the power of God’ and threatening to kill me for stopping him from doing God’s work. Three other passengers helped me hold him while another rider called 911. Another passenger was assisting the assaulted woman, who’d been hit so hard she was bleeding. The police arrived and apprehended the attacker, then took all of our names. While one young lady was telling her story, I heard her say that when the assailant got on the bus he saw the blind woman and said, ‘God says all sick people must die,’ then started hitting her. [Confidential to the psychotic assailant: Blind people aren’t sick, and all people must die. Back to Oscar:] The assaulted woman was checked by paramedics and declared physically okay, except for scratches and bruising, then got a ride home from a fire marshal. Thanks to all my fellow Metro riders who pitched in and stood up for someone unable to defend herself.”

And thanks to you, Oscar.

re: The Cyberspace

posted by on May 23 at 10:58 AM

Charles, screw that clipart. This is beautiful:

From the Datamining blog’s Mapping the Blogosphere gallery.

One should waste an entire afternoon browsing swivel.

Dino Rossi’s BFF

posted by on May 23 at 10:35 AM

You know Andrew Franz? That Seattle University prof and former Army Ranger who was arrested when he showed up in Colorado to fuck what he thought was a 13 year-old girl? The charmer brought muscle relaxants and alcohol for the girl, along with lingerie, fishnets, and a “necklace with cherries on it.” Well, guess who endorsed Franz, a Republican, when he ran for the state legislature in the 47th District?


Rossi used to describe Franz as his BFF (“I’ve come to know him as a friend”). Now Rossi claims he never really knew this Franz person. There’s much, much more at HorsesAss.

What He Said

posted by on May 23 at 10:20 AM

Ryan Blethen marks the Supreme Court of California’s historic decision legalizing same-sex marriage in that state by slapping the Washington state Supreme Court for its idiotic ruling on same-sex marriage here two years ago. From his column in today’s Seattle Times:

California is the second state to allow marriage for same-sex couples. Massachusetts’ Supreme Court was first in 2004…. Marriage has not suffered in Massachusetts since marriage equality was affirmed in 2004. In fact, the commonwealth has the lowest divorce rate in the nation.

How does that factoid fit into the man/woman marriage crowd’s screeching proclamations that if a woman is allowed to marry a woman, the good old traditional American way of life is going to be ripped apart?

The California high court’s enlightened vote makes the Washington state Supreme Court’s affirmation of a ban on same-sex marriage two years ago feel more like a throwback ruling to a time of prehistoric social norms.

Reading Tonight

posted by on May 23 at 10:19 AM


We’re gearing up for a quiet Memorial Day weekend here in booksville.

Up at Third Place Books, we have Doug Thompson, reading from Whales: Touching the Mystery. Whale books are apparently all the rage now. I cannot endorse this book reading, though, because touching whales is, generally, a very bad idea. Do not try this at home. If there is a whale in your home, please contact the proper authorities, before touching it in an appropriate or inappropriate manner.

Author David Gilmour and his son Jessie are at Elliott Bay Book Company. When Jessie tried to drop out of high school, David told him that he could, but only if he would watch a movie a day with his father. Presumably the book deal that David got for writing The Film Club, about their experiences watching movies together, was not part of the initial deal.

The full readings calendar is over yonder.

Currently Hanging

posted by on May 23 at 10:00 AM

Katie Miller’s Fence (2008), watercolor, ink, and pen on paper, 11 3/4 by 12 inches

At Cornish College Terry Avenue studios. (Gallery site here.)

I’m In Love

posted by on May 23 at 10:00 AM

Who is this guy?

Oh, Lord, I’m swooning here.

The Cyberspace

posted by on May 23 at 9:58 AM

It’s an image that made me stop for a moment…
…It’s not original, and it’s from a page for an ordinary online merchant, but somehow it perfectly visualized something that Yuri Lotman, a Russian semiotician, once wrote: “Information is beautiful.”

I Can’t Even Watch the Commercials

posted by on May 23 at 9:50 AM

Salon on HBO’s Recount

“Recount,” director Jay Roach and screenwriter Danny Strong’s first-rate docudrama about the disputed 2000 presidential election, is almost too painful to watch.

I won’t watch it—I can’t watch the freakin’ commercials; whenever they come on I lunge for the remote and change the channel. Laura Dern’s creepy incarnation of Katherine Harris is spooky enough to keep me away from the teevee. Knowing how this tragedy ends, knowing that the Bush team would ultimately steal the election (with an assist from Joe Lieberman!), knowing that Bush would run the country off the rails, I couldn’t possibly curl up in front of the teevee and watch this flick. If I’m going to watch anything about Bush stealing the 2000 election, I’ll watch that egg hit Bush’s limo during his inaugural “parade.” I’ll watch that over and over and over again…

But Recount? No thanks. I’d rather watch Real World.

Clinton-Obama Talks Over the VP Spot?

posted by on May 23 at 9:37 AM

Here’s the CNN report:

And here’s the denial from both camps, along with a veiled (and somewhat contradictory) threat from one wing of the Clinton camp.

But Do President Bush and John McCain Know?

posted by on May 23 at 9:33 AM

1. Our ally in the war on terror, Pakistan, talked to the Taliban (and just signed a deal).

2. Israel (with Egypt as an intermediary) is talking to Hamas.

3. Israel is in direct talks with Hezbollah’s patron, Syria.


posted by on May 23 at 9:23 AM

The Christian dating website is owned and operated by Various, Inc., a “social networking giant,” which itself is owned and operated by Penthouse Media Group—which also owns and operates,, and Wired’s sex columnist, the terrific Regina Lynn, who writes…

It’s not like BigChurch isn’t about sex. It’s just more subtle than a site that’s explicitly aimed at swingers. BigChurch’s function is to connect people whose concepts of sex are tied so closely to faith and doctrine that it can be difficult to meet potential partners in more traditional settings.

Many people who identify as Christians have a fairly secular attitude toward premarital sex, while others believe in sexual pleasure within marriage. A handful still relegate sex to procreation, and God forbid that you (or at least, she) enjoy it.

With all this variation, it’s possible that Christians benefit more from online dating than even kinky people do, in that they don’t waste as much time chatting up people who don’t share their particular beliefs. After all, with an online matchmaker, it’s just a matter of checking the right boxes.

Thanks to Slog tipper Miss Poppy.

Super Dyke Versus The Bigot!

posted by on May 23 at 9:02 AM

If I loved Ellen DeGeneres any more than I already do, my labia would burst into flames. She’s getting so-called “lesbian married” to her so-called “lesbian lover” next summer you know, which is, of course, flagrantly illegal due to the tireless efforts of those delightful Republicans. Yesterday on her show, she shoved that tragic fact right in John McCain’s piggy little face. His response? Well. Just watch the vile worm squirm!

God bless Ellen DeGeneres. God bless her good.

The Morning News

posted by on May 23 at 8:18 AM

McCain: Denounces Nazi-lovin’ reverend, misses GI-bill vote, releases medical records, supports separate-but-equal gay unions.

Please, God, I Ask for so Little: Clinton as running mate.

Red Hot: The wildfire news cycle begins.

Red Planet: NASA Mars lander may touch down Sunday.

Red Car: SLUT averaging eight riders per one-way trip.

Red Rover, Red Rover: Subpoena sends Karl over.

In the Red: National real-estate index down, Seattle up.

Right on Red: Twister rips through God’s country.

Bad Form: Bush wants us to foot a bigger bill.

Good Form: California racing to develop new marriage applications.

Good View: Woman strips for hooting construction workers.

Good Lord: Bigots seek to delay implementing marriage ruling.

Like a Rocky Year: Ford backs off from truck production.

May Poll: Clinton fares well in swing states.

UPDATE: Due to uninteresting reasons, I couldn’t post the Christian marriage thing till now, so here is the week’s final installment of Sexual Happiness in Marriage: A Christian Interpretation of Sexual Adjustment in Marriage, by Herbert J. Miles, Ph.D. Copyright 1967. Enjoy!

Our research on sexual adjustment in marriage involving 151 couples grew out of teaching marriage and family classes in sociology. Every couple which was counseled agreed to cooperate in the research, and 98 percent filled in questionnaires. It is probably safe to generalize that 90 to 95 percent of the sample were active, consecrated Christian individuals. [Here are a few results from the survey.]

Did you see each other naked the first night of the honeymoon?
Yes: 79.2%, No: 20.8%

When conditions are favorable, do you recommend that other young couples see each other naked on the first night of their honeymoon?
Husband: Yes 92.5%, No 7.5%
Wife: 89.9%, No 10.1%

Do either of you have any feeling that your sexual intercourse as husband and wife may be sort of shameful or evil?
Husband: None 99.3%, Slightly (sometimes), .7%
Wife: None, 98.0%, Slightly (sometimes) 2.0%

Did you take a bath before attempting sex relations on your wedding night?
Yes 50.7% No 49.3%

Thursday, May 22, 2008

SIFF Opening Night Live Slog!

posted by on May 22 at 6:40 PM

Update! 9:50pm

Well, I did not particularly enjoy watching The Battle in Seattle. Maybe it was the vague sea turtle politics, or Movie Gary Locke’s craaaazy accent (because all Asians have English as their second language?), or every word anyone spoke at any point when there was a lull in the explosions: “I don’t want the cover of some brochure magazine to be the closest we ever come to adventure.” “You want adventure? You just signed up for the greatest adventure of all!”

There are about a million Stranger writers here, so I’m sure they’ll have more to say about the movie tomorrow. For now, here’s Angela Garbes on Charlize Theron: “She didn’t get to do much in this movie but lay in the fetal position and cry.”

After the movie, during the Q&A, Stuart Townsend announced “We’re as indie as it gets.” Really? As indie as it gets?

It is after 10pm and the fried snacks in the VIP tent are now cold. I’m skipping the press conference, but if it’s anything like the post-show Q&A it should yield many variations on the phrase, “I read the script and it was just so powerful, you know?” Now I’m going to go back and get some cake.

And finally, I give you Charlize Theron’s legs, Michelle Rodriguez’s posture, and Andre Benjamin’s adorable face:


Hey people!

You know what is fucking boring? Celebrities. Walking around. Celebrities walking around talking to John Curley about their characters from Battle in Seattle.

The first thing that happened to me when I got here was that I missed Andre 3000, the only celebrity I actually wanted to see/photograph. Luckily, the back of his outfit (which I witnessed while chasing him down a hallway, before being savagely denied entrance to the Very Important Tent) did not disappoint: mismatched double denim and a straw hat.

I don’t have much time, because I have to go, you know, watch that movie, but here are a few first impressions:

1. The Loneliest Curley

John Curley has stitches in his startlingly aged neck. Did someone knife our Curley?

2. Michelle Rodriguez is seriously wearing the worst outfit ever. I’ll leave the dressing while drunk jokes to y’alls peoples.

3. The Foot of Rodriguez

M-Rod says: “My character’s pretty complicated but, you know, she’s a cool chick.”

4. Were you wondering what Charlize Theron’s tiny nose looks like? You’re welcome!

5. According to my sources, Eddie Vedder and le Charlize just had a meet-cute on the red carpet. I would have photographed it but I was in here. Blogging. For you.

More to come after the movie!

Lunch Date: Bob Spitz

posted by on May 22 at 5:46 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? Today is a special Lunch Date. W.W. Norton took a few local booksellers, a couple of reporters, and a certain Stranger Book Editor out to the Dahlia Lounge for a lunch with Bob Spitz, the author of The Saucier’s Apprentice. Spitz wrote The Beatles, the biography of, um, The Beatles, and he’s reading from Apprentice at Third Place Books tonight at 7.

What’d you eat?
This amazing five-course meal that wasn’t on the menu.

How was the food? See the word “amazing,” above. The best items, though, were at the beginning and end of the meal. Spitz made the appetizer, which was a morel and oyster mushroom tatin. The recipe is from the book, Spitz claims that it only takes ten minutes of preparation, and it’s motherfucking delicious, possibly because Spitz claimed that it took “about a half pound of butter” to make. I’m going to try to make it at home, and I’ll tell you if it actually takes anywhere near ten minutes to make. The dessert, which was a Dahlia original, was a cornmeal and olive oil cake with white chocolate, strawberry, and rhubarb. It was unbelievably good, fluffy, and sweet. Spitz called it one of the best desserts he’d ever eaten, and just about everybody at the table agreed with him. People should protest the Dahlia Lounge until it becomes available every day.

What does your date say about itself?
Dust jacket: “The education of a barbarian in the temples of haute cuisine. In the blink of an eye, Bob Spitz turned fifty, finished an eight-year project and a fourteen-year marriage that left him nearly destitute, had his heart stolen and broken on the rebound, and sought salvation the only way he knew how. He fled to Europe, where he hopscotched among the finest cooking schools in the pursuit of his dream. The urge to cook like a virtuoso, to unravel the mysteries of the process, was too tantalizing to resist.”

Is there a representative quote?
“One day, dreaming of food orgies, I came across a recipe for pan-roasted cod in the New York Times Dining section and immediately grew flushed. There was something sensuous about the way it appeared on the page. What I couldn’t get over was its aching simplicity, nothing more than a tiny saddle-shaped fillet dressed with a thorny sprig of thyme, looking lost and forlorn in a copper saute pan. No sauce, no vegetables, just as buck-naked innocent and provocative as the girl next door.”

Will you two end up in bed together? Spitz and I will not end up in bed together, as we are both heterosexual men in committed relationships. The book and I might just end up in bed together; I’m not crazy about while male midlife change books as a rule, but I am interested in the subject matter. Spitz is more of an everyman than, say, Bill Buford, and so his food writing is a little more accessible. I know that the book and I will wind up in the kitchen together, as I’m going to try that friggin’ delicious mushroom tatin, and I’m interested to see what other easy-fancy recipes are inside.

Hands Off Washington

posted by on May 22 at 5:38 PM

Originally posted at 1:52 p.m.

This just in: Police can’t frisk people just for being high and freaky.

In another nod to the Washington Constitution’s broad privacy protections, the state Supreme Court has thrown out the drug conviction of a man who was searched by police solely because of his weird behavior.

Thursday’s unanimous decision reinforces the rules for simple pat-downs under state law, which offers stronger safeguards against police searches than the U.S. Constitution.

Without a search warrant or probable cause to make an arrest, police in Washington may frisk someone for weapons only if an officer has reason to believe the person is armed and dangerous.

In reaching their decision the judges noted, “At most, the record shows that Setterstrom was under the influence; this is not a crime in itself….”

UPDATE: So, what will this ruling change? Doug Klunder, an attorney and director of the ACLU of Washington’s Privacy Project, says, “I think this means that officers will go back to doing fewer frisks. Over the years a number of officers and courts… have said that if you have suspicion to do a stop, we’re not going to ask about cause for a frisk.”

Will we see fewer wild-eyed guys getting patted down for drugs on Second Avenue? “We might see that less often, but we may not,” says Klunder. Although believing someone has drugs on their person or has committed a crime could be probable cause for arrest (and search), simply being high is not in itself a crime in Washington (and thus not probable cause for arrest and search), amazingly. “Now [officers] will only do the frisk when there’s a fear of danger,” he says. However, an officer’s perceived danger could hinge on the location of the stop. Klunder notes that judges said the suspect in this case wasn’t considered a threat, in part, because he wasn’t in a dangerous dark alley. Instead, he was sitting in an office of the Department of Health and Human Services, where strange-acting people on drugs are ordinary.

“It comes down to whether Second Avenue is more like a dark alley or more like a DSHS office,” says Klunder. “I’m sure we’ll see those cases come up.”

The Next

posted by on May 22 at 5:22 PM


Because I made my comments quota for the month, I can dedicate my next posts to the only thing that really matters to me: philosophy. First, I will discuss Steven Shaviro’s recent essay on Alfred Whitehead’s God, and how that philosopher’s idea of God differs from Spinoza’s God. From the difference, Shaviro makes this astonishing claim: Whitehead wanted nothing less than the secularization of God. To grasp this claim, we must leave theology and travel to the realm of political philosophy. The end of that journey is an essay by Hannah Arendt: “Introduction to Politics.” In that essay we will find an excellent example of the secularization of God, and how this example is related to Alain Badiou’s leading concept: “the event.” To understand what an event is, we shall turn to Badiou’s most popular book in English, Ethics. The event, Arendt’s politics, and God in Spinoza and Whitehead will be the path. The target of the posts is to show how certain theological themes and concerns can have, without the loss of their aura (in the Benjaminian sense), a place (or substance) in a world that has no God (“the age of reality”) .

NSF(what are you still doing at)W(?)

posted by on May 22 at 5:04 PM

Totally nerdy thing to post, I know, but this was over at Darth Mojo, and I think it’s hilarious. And then it’s not hilarious anymore. And then it’s really hilarious again. Not safe for work, unless you’re wearing headphones:

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Pon Farr Edition) from Darth Mojo on Vimeo

(Make sure you read the ‘making of’ information at Darth Mojo, too.)

The subject line is: “Creeeeeeeeeepy slog tip.”

posted by on May 22 at 4:19 PM

The email (from Slog tipper Matt Hickey) reads: “Educational video or how-to for pedoophiles? You be the judge! I dare you to watch the whole thing without looking away. If you can, you’re a fucking pervert.”

See more funny videos at CollegeHumor

Rejecting and Denouncing

posted by on May 22 at 3:55 PM

John McCain rejects, after months of controversy, the endorsement of Rev. John Hagee. (Hey, everyone’s gotta reject a pastor this campaign season…)

McCain went on to point out that, unlike a certain Democratic rival, he hadn’t actually gone to Hagee’s church.

In the denouncing department, McCain is furious with Barack Obama for criticizing him today on the Senate floor over a vote on a bill that would expand veterans benefits. War-hero McCain found himself in the difficult position of voting against the bill while 25 of his Republican colleagues voted for it, helping it to pass. Said Obama:

I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country. But I can’t understand why he would line up behind the president in opposition to this G.I. Bill. I can’t believe why he believes it is too generous to our veterans.

What did McCain say in response? Sit down and get comfortable, this is a long one. (And perhaps a sign that he’s a wee bit touchy about this?)

It is typical, but no less offensive that Senator Obama uses the Senate floor to take cheap shots at an opponent and easy advantage of an issue he has less than zero understanding of. Let me say first in response to Senator Obama, running for President is different than serving as President. The office comes with responsibilities so serious that the occupant can’t always take the politically easy route without hurting the country he is sworn to defend. Unlike Senator Obama, my admiration, respect and deep gratitude for America’s veterans is something more than a convenient campaign pledge. I think I have earned the right to make that claim.

When I was five years old, a car pulled up in front of our house in New London, Connecticut, and a Navy officer rolled down the window, and shouted at my father that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. My father immediately left for the submarine base where he was stationed. I rarely saw him again for four years. My grandfather, who commanded the fast carrier task force under Admiral Halsey, came home from the war exhausted from the burdens he had borne, and died the next day. I grew up in the Navy; served for twenty-two years as a naval officer; and, like Senator Webb, personally experienced the terrible costs war imposes on the veteran. The friendships I formed in war remain among the closest relationships in my life. The Navy is still the world I know best and love most. In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home to the country they loved so well .

But I am running for the office of Commander-in-Chief. That is the highest privilege in this country, and it imposes the greatest responsibilities. It would be easier politically for me to have joined Senator Webb in offering his legislation. More importantly, I feel just as he does, that we owe veterans the respect and generosity of a great nation because no matter how generously we show our gratitude it will never compensate them fully for all the sacrifices they have borne on our behalf.

Senators Graham, Burr and I have offered legislation that would provide veterans with a substantial increase in educational benefits. The bill we have sponsored would increase monthly education benefits to $1500; eliminate the $1200 enrollment fee; and offer a $1000 annually for books and supplies. Importantly, we would allow veterans to transfer those benefits to their spouses or dependent children or use a part of them to pay down existing student loans. We also increase benefits to the Guard and Reserve, and even more generously to those who serve in the Selected Reserve.

I know that my friend and fellow veteran, Senator Jim Webb, an honorable man who takes his responsibility to veterans very seriously, has offered legislation with very generous benefits. I respect and admire his position, and I would never suggest that he has anything other than the best of intentions to honor the service of deserving veterans. Both Senator Webb and I are united in our deep appreciation for the men and women who risk their lives so that the rest of us may be secure in our freedom. And I take a backseat to no one in my affection, respect and devotion to veterans. And I will not accept from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regard for those who did.

The most important difference between our two approaches is that Senator Webb offers veterans who served one enlistment the same benefits as those offered veterans who have re-enlisted several times. Our bill has a sliding scale that offers generous benefits to all veterans, but increases those benefits according to the veteran’s length of service. I think it is important to do that because, otherwise, we will encourage more people to leave the military after they have completed one enlistment. At a time when the United States military is fighting in two wars, and as we finally are beginning the long overdue and very urgent necessity of increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps, one study estimates that Senator Webb’s bill will reduce retention rates by 16%.

Most worrying to me, is that by hurting retention we will reduce the numbers of men and women who we train to become the backbone of all the services, the noncommissioned officer. In my life, I have learned more from noncommissioned officers I have known and served with than anyone else outside my family. And in combat, no one is more important to their soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, and to the officers who command them, than the sergeant and petty officer. They are very hard to replace. Encouraging people not to choose to become noncommissioned officers would hurt the military and our country very badly. As I said, the office of President, which I am seeking, is a great honor, indeed, but it imposes serious responsibilities. How faithfully the President discharges those responsibilities will determine whether he or she deserves the honor. I can only tell you I intend to deserve the honor if I am fo rtunate to receive it, even if it means I must take politically unpopular positions at times and disagree with people for whom I have the highest respect and affection.

Perhaps, if Senator Obama would take the time and trouble to understand this issue he would learn to debate an honest disagreement respectfully. But, as he always does, he prefers impugning the motives of his opponent, and exploiting a thoughtful difference of opinion to advance his own ambitions. If that is how he would behave as President, the country would regret his election.

Seattle Police Arrest Suspected Groper

posted by on May 22 at 3:52 PM

Seattle Police have arrested a man they believe is responsible for 23 gropings in the Seattle area.

More info coming.

Just before noon, Police arrested 43-year-old Darran Bolar at a “location outside of the city.”

Bolar has been charged with assault and robbery for an attack last Saturday, where he groped a woman and stole a witnesses’ cellphone.

Police say Bolar—a level one sex offender, previously convicted of robbery, assault, obstruction, theft, drug charges and rape of a child—may be involved with several of the other groping attacks, but are still investigating. Police also say it’s possible other suspects are involved.


The Acidifying Ocean off the Pacific Coast

posted by on May 22 at 3:50 PM

Ok, just in case slog hasn’t been depressing enough today….

Since the beginning of the industrial era, the oceans have absorbed approximately 127 ± 18 billion metric tons of carbon as carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, or about one third of the anthropogenic [human produced] carbon emissions released….

However, the ocean’s daily uptake of 30 million metric tons of carbon dioxide is significantly impacting its chemistry and biology. Recent hydrographic surveys and modeling studies have confirmed that the uptake of anthropogenic CO2 by the oceans has resulted in a lowering of seawater pH by about 0.1 since the beginning of the industrial revolution….

The reaction of CO2 with seawater reduces the availability of carbonate ions that are necessary for calcium carbonate (CaCO3) skeleton and shell formation for a number of marine organisms such as corals, marine plankton, and shellfish…

In May and June of 2007, we conducted a North American Carbon Program (NACP) West Coast Cruise on the Research Ship Wecoma along the continental shelf of western North America, completing a series of 13 cross-shelf transects from Queen Charlotte Sound, Canada to San Gregorio Baja California Sur, Mexico.

(from Science, Richard A. Feely et al. AOP)

What did they find? When the normal seasonal upswelling of deep ocean water occurs, the CO2-laden (and therefore acidified) offshore water comes into the continental shelf. This water is now acidic enough to be corrosive to the shellfish that support the entire ocean ecosystem. So, we’re all just a bit closer to doomed. Sweet!

Where’s Aquaman when you need him?

Instinct Woman

posted by on May 22 at 3:46 PM

In 1964 Kaneto Shindo directs Onibaba:
ONIBABA_lg.jpg We must never forget this film. It is one of the ten defining works of silver-age Japanese cinema. Two women live in a grass swamp and survive by luring and killing samurai going to or coming from an everlasting war. The women and her daughter-in-law kill and rob men. The bodies of the men are then dumped into a deep hole. The raw power of this film is generated by this dynamic: life devours death. The women are life; the men are death. And the more death life devours, the less death there is in the world; and the more life devours death, the more life there is in the world. The women are the point at which death comes to an end and life thrives; the men are nothing but a cycle of death that has no end. To live is to live on nothing.

It Strikes Me…

posted by on May 22 at 2:14 PM

… that it’d be pretty easy to leak the Secret Festival films this year—just create a fake account on the SIFF site (they just want an email address) and “add your own review enormous hints. Not that I’m suggesting you break any enforceable oaths or anything.

I mean, all hell would rain down on your easily deleted email address. Wouldn’t want that.

Notes From the Prayer Warrior

posted by on May 22 at 2:00 PM

Several hours behind Charles, and several degrees more reverent, the Prayer Warrior sends out his take on the Chapman incident.


Thursday, 22 May 2008

Please pray for Steven Curtis Chapman and his family. If you have not heard, he lost his daughter in an accident produced by the actions of his son.

Please pray for strength, comfort and understanding.

Pastor Hutch

Bookselling is Sexy

posted by on May 22 at 2:00 PM

One of the more interesting bits of working in a used bookstore is the opportunity to make house calls to look at people’s entire collections. Generally, someone has died or there’s been a divorce or a major move, and people want to unload thousands of books at one time. It’s a great way for a bookstore to start a collection, or to drastically change the flavor of their bookstores.

Bookride, an antiquarian book blog, is currently running a series of posts with some of the weirder book buying house calls:

A pal of mine, now ennobled, was called to a house full of books in North London. When he arrived he realised there was a noisy afternoon party going on that had developed into an orgy and he swears he had to tread on the odd buttock as he made his way to the desirable book collection.

More, including chickens, over there.

Police Investigating Murder in View Ridge

posted by on May 22 at 1:14 PM

I’m a little late posting this, but I was out at the crime scene earlier:

Early this morning, just after 6am, Seattle Police responded to a call about a body in an alleyway on NE 68th St between 50th and 51st Ave.


Police say they found a Latino male in his late 20s to early 30s, who had been the victim of “homicidal violence.” Police have not yet identified the man and still don’t know whether the victim was stabbed or shot, or even if the man was killed at the scene.

Neighbors on 50th say they didn’t hear anything strange last night.

The view from View Ridge

I’ll update with more info as it becomes available.

The Best Sentence in The Stranger This Week

posted by on May 22 at 1:11 PM

It’s in Bar Exam. Can you find it?

(It’s in parentheses.)

Your One-Stop Shop for All Things Icelandic and Phallocentric

posted by on May 22 at 1:00 PM

The Icelandic Phallological Museum, which “contains a collection of over one hundred penises and penile parts belonging to almost all the land and sea mammals that can be found in Iceland. “


Via Bookshelves of Doom.

Suicide and Wood Chippers

posted by on May 22 at 12:50 PM

If you see someone dive head first into a huge wood chipper… is rushing to turn the thing off really the best course of action?

By the time the man dove arm-first into the massive tree chipper—meant to grind 21-inch-diameter trunks in a matter of seconds—Thompson had leapt to the ground. Frantically, he yanked on a safety lever, shutting the machine down.

But it was bad: The man—who had been wandering uncomfortably close to the industrial-grade tree chipper for about 15 to 20 minutes—had his arm and shoulder pulled into the teeth of the machine.

Heavy, block-shaped teeth — meant to grip and pull, rather than grind — were closing upon the man’s head with 13,000 pounds of pressure. His hand may have reached the spinning grinders 3 feet inside.

But he was alive.

Yes, alive. But, says a witness, with one “arm was dangling; his guts were hanging out; his head was cut up.” Maybe turning off the wood chipper, in this instance, was the less humane option.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on May 22 at 12:45 PM

It’s May 22nd! Not only is it the opening day of the Seattle International Film Festival, it’s the online premiere of Italian Spiderman! Remember HIM? The movie will play online only, versus theaters, in 10 weekly installments. Here is episodio número uno!

Every week, you can watch new episodes HERE or HERE. Hoo wee, I love a man in an eye patch.

Art for the Rest of Us

posted by on May 22 at 12:10 PM

On my way home last night, I stopped at 11th and East Pine Street to take this photo of a wheat-pasted booze poster when a lanky hipster yelled, “Free art show!” Which seemed like a strange thing to get exited about. Galleries don’t generally charge admission, so art shows are usually free. It’s the art that I can’t afford. But, as it turned out, this wasn’t a free art show. It was a free art show. And this guy was trying to wrangle folks over to take some free art. Here are a few.


A few of the pieces on display were simplistic, but other pieces were smart. Jen Graves, resident art critic, calls free art “very exciting.” One of them, Sharpie on Plexiglass, is above my desk now. The artist called it a buffalo. I call it a holy cow.


Pedestrians were sort of hustling past to get out of the rain, adopting pieces one by one. “Last time we put it up, we went over there for ten minutes,” said one of the guys pointing at Cal Anderson Park. “When we came back, every thing was gone.”

Seattle Street Art group on Flickr,” said another guy, Flickr name starheadboy, “that’s how we know each other.” He made me promise to check it out when I got home. So when I walked in the door, two pieces under my arm, I told my housemates that I had to check out this Seattle Street Art group. “I started that Flickr group,” says my housemate Kimberly. Sure enough, she did. And now there are 861 members, meeting each other, standing in the rain, and giving away free art. How awesome.

Is This the E-Book We’re Waiting For?

posted by on May 22 at 12:00 PM


Laptop Magazine has a first look, with video, of the next generation of the One Laptop Per Child project, which is possibly due in 2010. It would be composed of two touch screens, so you can use it as a keypad. But one of the major goals of the initial OLPC was to make it an energy-efficient and, most importantly, eye-friendly e-reader. Setting the thing up to look like a book is a major deal; I’m surprised that more laptop manufacturers haven’t done this.

I was intrigued by the OLPC, but I actually bought an Asus EEE as my low-budget, low-weight travel laptop instead. I have no regrets about the EEE, but it certainly isn’t an e-reader. This next-generation OLPC looks like maybe the first e-reader that I would actually use from time to time, especially when traveling.

Think $50 Is Too Much for a Ticket to Battle in Seattle?

posted by on May 22 at 11:30 AM

Battle in Seattle

Eh, you’re probably right. Here’s The Stranger’s unsparing review:

Written and directed rather ambitiously by actor Stuart Townsend and jammed with an all-star cast, Battle in Seattle tells a true story but gives us no reason to care about the people, their lives, or their political causes. The protests that occurred at the World Trade Organization meeting in 1999 may well have been historically significant—but you wouldn’t know it from this self-serious dud, which insists on TELLING us how important the issues are rather than SHOWING us. The laughably generic dialogue doesn’t help, either. (Director Stuart Townsend and actors Charlize Theron, Martin Henderson, Mary Aloe, Michelle Rodriguez, and Andre Benjamin scheduled to attend.) ERIC D. SNIDER

But that doesn’t mean you don’t secretly want to see it. And you’re in luck, because if you’re the first to email with the words “THE BATTLE’S IN DENVER, DOOFUS!” in the subject line, I’ll give you two free tickets. You have to be able to pick them up at the Stranger office on Capitol Hill before 5:30 today.


UPDATE: We have a winner! Congratulations to Steffany Powell and her quick trigger finger.

What Consumes Jet Fuel

posted by on May 22 at 11:00 AM

Here’s an arresting fact: The increase in jet fuel costs from a year ago that airlines are currently dealing with totals around $25 billion in additional costs for carriers, which is about five times more than the airline industry has ever earned in a single year (1999 was a record year for the industry, with profits topping out at about $5 billion).

What consumes jet fuel:





Breakfast Serial

posted by on May 22 at 11:00 AM

New local publisher Cryptic Bindings is a self-described “creepy little press.” Their current entire list is one photo book, but this fall they’re publishing On/Off, which is billed as “A Jekyll and Hyde story.”

In the last decade or so, Seattle has really lost a lot of ground to Portland by way of publishing companies. There’s not a lot of diversity or energy in our publishing scene, so we should keep our fingers crossed, because a boutique horror press could add a lot to our publishing diversity.

At the moment, on their website, Cryptic is unrolling a serial thriller novel. It’s untitled, and there’s a contest to name it. Now, I’ve always been a fan of the idea of serial novels—when I read Dickens I usually stop between chapters to sort of get the rhythm of how his books were initially published—and I’m a little disappointed that there’s not a whole lot of this going on on the internet. Sure, the New York Times always runs a serial novel, but it feels vaguely like a throwback, as though the publishers are amused with how quaint they are. So the first five chapters of this novel are up, with a promise to publish every Monday. There are a lot of cliches, but that kind of thing is a valuable tool in the telling of serial fiction. It’s hard to tell what’s going to happen, or if the story is going to eventually be worth anything, but I’ll gladly load the thing into my feed reader and find out.

Currently Hanging

posted by on May 22 at 10:46 AM

Utagawa Yoshifuji’s A shadow print of a beauty who would like to look and listen much more… (1867), ukiyo-e print, 14 by 10 inches

At Cullom Gallery. (Gallery web site here.)

“Greg’s dad passed away because Greg is a fucking faggot!”

posted by on May 22 at 10:20 AM

Wait—the Real World is still on the teevee? And people watch this shit for… pleasure? And does a person have to be mentally ill to get cast on this show now or what?

Why Doesn’t Clinton Reject and Denounce Her Racially-Motivated Supporters?

posted by on May 22 at 10:15 AM

The question has been posed by a number of people recently, and was last seen (by me) in Tim Egan’s online opinion column yesterday:

In Kentucky, over 25 percent of Clinton supporters said race was a factor in their vote – about five times the national average for such a question. Clinton, if she really wanted to do something lasting, could ask her supporters why the color of a fellow Democrat’s skin is so important to their vote.

Instead, Clinton has been claiming that this election has not been racist—but that it has been sexist.

Dylan McDermott Plays a Lawyer on TV, and in the Courtroom

posted by on May 22 at 10:15 AM


E! News has the scoop:

Nearly eight months after the duo announced they had separated, actor Dylan McDermott filed for divorce from wife Shiva Rose Friday, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split. According to the petition obtained by E! News, the actual date of separation is listed as March 5, 2007. Interestingly, McDermott, who spent seven years playing lawyer Bobby Donnell on The Practice, is tackling this case “in propria persona.” In other words, he’s acting as his own attorney.

I fully support this decision, and I know how McDermott feels: Like Lindy West, I’ve watched enough Law & Order that I’m almost a lawyer, and would love to try my absorbed skills in a courtroom (so long as I didn’t draw that butthole Judge Lisa Pongracic..)

Rancho Bravo Tacos CLOSED AGAIN!

posted by on May 22 at 10:14 AM

Seattle’s most overrated taco truck was closed again yesterday for another round of health code violations.

According to the King County Health Department’s website, Rancho Bravo was cited for “Failure to correct repeated violations, sewage leaking onto ground [and] failure to operate in compliance with mobile plan of operation.”

Hate away, Sloggers.


Reading Tonight

posted by on May 22 at 10:03 AM


Two open mics, a book about fishing, a mystery by a bestselling local author, and a few other events of note tonight.

Up at Third Place Books, Bob Spitz reads from The Saucier’s Apprentice, which is about a writer working his way through the great culinary schools of Europe. Plus, there’s a chicken on a leash on the cover. Bonus!

Nick Heil is at the Tacoma Public Library, with a book called Dark Summit, about 2006 on Mount Everest, which was the deadliest year ever for the mountain since western white folks first decided they were going to try climbing it.

And at Town Hall, Jerry White, who the press notes announce was “maimed by a landmine,” and then started an organization intended to disarm landmines, will read from his new self-help book I Will Not Be Broken: Five Steps to Overcoming a Life Crisis. If you’re going to attend a self-help book reading, I do suggest attending one hosted by a man who has overcome being maimed by a landmine. There’s probably a better sense of perspective than, say, at a reading for The Secret.

Upcoming readings will be found on our readings calendar.

Deborah Senn Takes It to the Stage

posted by on May 22 at 9:47 AM


I’m so excited about this I could poop:

In a year bursting with politics see the action from the inside! Come see the hilarious and poignant story of the successful effort of evil outside interests to capture and control Washington’s 2004 race for attorney general. Written and performed by former Insurance Commissioner and Democratic nominee for attorney general Deborah Senn. Not all ex-politicians are put out to pasture—come see it to believe it.

I’m not kidding about my excitement. I think all elected officials should be required to do one-person shows, and not just the ones who’ll probably be great at it, like Senn. (I’m looking at you, Cheryl Chow.)

Issuing Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples the Moral Equivalent of Gassing Jews

posted by on May 22 at 9:42 AM

So says Save California, an anti-gay group that is calling asking it supporters to call county clerks and demand that they refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. From their website:

Ask your county clerk if they were a Nazi officer during WWII and had been ordered to gas the Jews, would they? At the Nuremberg trials, they would have been convicted of murder for following this immoral order.


America’s Pisstime

posted by on May 22 at 9:40 AM

I want one! I want one!


From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

The St. Paul Saints, long known for offbeat, sometimes edgy, promotions, have come up with a real doozy for this Sunday’s game. While lots of sports franchises hand out bobblehead dolls, usually depicting their players, the Saints are handing out 2,500 “bobblefoot” knicknacks.

The keepsakes consist of a miniature bathroom stall with a couple of lower legs and feet. One of the feet is springloaded and “taps,” which, the Saints’ press release says, is in honor of National Tap Dance Day.


The team also takes pains to note: “It doesn’t matter if your tapping style is done with a ‘wide stance’ or is used as some sort of code.”

U.S. Sen. Larry “Wide Stance” Craig (R-Idablow), of course, was arrested after he tapped his foot at the wrong stallmate in a toilet at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Distributing “keepsakes” that invoke a disgraced senator, anonymous sex, and GOP hypocrisy… well, I guess I’m a Saints fan now.

Youth Pastor Watch

posted by on May 22 at 9:28 AM


Detectives of the Sarasota Police Department have arrested a youth minister of a local church for Lewd and Lascivious act on a teen boy. The church, Bethlehem Baptist Church, is located at 1680 18th Street in Sarasota.

It is alleged that on May15, the victim spent the night at the home of 24-year-old James Marcellus Knowlin.

The victim stated that he was playing video games at Knowlin‘s house after he had bought him and other youths some pizza. The victim fell asleep on the floor and was later told by Knowlin to sleep in a bed. While the victim was asleep in the bed he was awakened by Knowlin several times and that the defendant had his hand inside the victim’s shorts. The victim also stated that the Knowlin slept behind him and was grinding himself against the victim during the night.


Twenty years ago, the first of what would become several women and teenage girls said she was “groomed” and sexually assaulted by a youth pastor who served at various Colorado churches—including Longmont’s Central Presbyterian Church.

Today—after years of court hearings on sex-assault charges, multiple arrests for bond violations and a Boulder County trial that ended in a hung jury—Peter Kim was sentenced to one year in prison and a lifetime of probation….

Although prosecutors asked Boulder County District Court Judge D.D. Mallard to impose a 20-year probation sentence for Kim after prison, Mallard said his extensive criminal history warrants a lifetime of probation.


G. Lamar Roth, Hesston College vice president of Student Life, has announced that Todd Lehman has been appointed as the new campus pastor…. From October 2001 to July 2007, Lehman served jointly as youth pastor at First Mennonite Church, and at Trinity Mennonite Church, both in Hillsboro, Kan. Earlier experience as youth pastor included a one-year term at Zion Mennonite Church, Broadway, Va., from September 2000 to July 2001.

The Morning News

posted by on May 22 at 8:16 AM

Grand Slam: Landmark board unanimously approves Denny’s demolition.

Grand Total: Oil up to $135 a barrel.

Grand Plans: McCain interviewing VP candidates.

Small Numbers: Petraeus to recommend troop cuts.

Small Charge: To check luggage.

Small World: New York City shrunk.

Small Heart: Myanmar calls off rescue.

Small Problem: Chihuahua in therapy.

The Chosen People: Have chosen racism.

The Unemployed People: Jobless rate drops.

The Ninth Circuit: Officer allowed to challenge don’t ask don’t tell.

Screaming Seniors: Protesting health-care costs.

Lying Lipids: Fast food nutrition information.

Pilfering Picassos: Two drawings.

Driving Force: Nickels wants you to stay out of your car.

Driving in Circles: $289 billion farm bill requires revote after clerical error.

Driving Them Mad: Anti-immigration riots keep boiling in South Africa.

From Sexual Happiness in Marriage: A Christian Interpretation of Sexual Adjustment in Marriage, by Herbert J. Miles, Ph.D. Copyright 1967.


Let us begin the discussion of sexual adjustment in marriage with the illustration of a piano-violin duet. A piano and a violin are very different musical instruments, very different. Yet, when two musicions, playing the instruments, do the right thing at the right time, in the right attitude, beautiful music is the result…. A couple must do the right thing at the right time for full full arousal and love harmony. It is normal in the love play and arousal period for a couple to touch and handle each others sexual organs. This is a pleasant and meaningful part of love expression. It was planned this way by the Creator.

Did a New Yorker Cartoonist Plagiarize a Comic Book Artist?

posted by on May 22 at 6:23 AM

Kinda looks like that way.


Homage says the New Yorker; rip off says a University of Wisconsin prof/comic geek. More at the New York Post. Via Gawker.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Parking Privileges

posted by on May 21 at 6:05 PM

Someone who claims to speak for all residents of 16th Ave. E. left a note on the windshield of a car that someone had the nerve to park on 16th Avenue E. (Click on image for large version.)


Classy. The person that owns the offending car wrote a response and posted it—along with the original letter above—one a light pole near his or her usual parking spot. (Click on image for large version.)


I have to say that I disapprove. Now discuss.

Dept. of Surreptitious Fattening

posted by on May 21 at 5:25 PM


A former barista for the small coffee shop chain Starbucks has come forward and admitted to switching whole milk for skim when making caffeine cocktails for the Olsen twins… “The barista thought the Olsens were too thin, so whenever they ordered their usual drink, he would replace the skim milk with full-fat,” said a source. What a nefarious, strangely philanthropic plot.

Via Gawker.

Silence, Disappointment, and Improvement

posted by on May 21 at 4:12 PM

The design review boards will consider these proposals tonight.

Where’s the Outrage, Madrona?

When a developer announced plans for a three-story, mixed-use brick building on the site of a parking lot on 34th Avenue, neighbors in Madrona lost their shit. Fifty complaint letters were filed with the city, according to an article in the Madrona Community Council newsletter, which then printed names and email addresses for the city and architect to complain about the project. And the lead story in the newsletter had this to say about losing the parking lot:

Many of us in Madrona fear that this development will negatively impact the open spaces and vintage character of Madrona and set a precedent for future structures on 34th Avenue.

So—shit the bed—when the announcement came that an adorable vintage gas station pictured on the front page of the community council’s web site (a bonafide neighborhood landmark) would be demolished for a new building, the newsletter was sure to come out guns a blazin’. Right? Wrong. The newsletter this month is neutral, and folks from the neighborhood group haven’t returned my call or they declined to comment on the new building.



The building will contain seven units; six of them are live-work units. “There were a few [concerns] about parking because at the first meeting there was no parking,” says Susan Jones of ateliarjones, the architecture firm designing the project. “Now there are five spaces,” she says. But did Jones or the property owner, Tom Flood, receive any complaints from neighbors about losing the neighborhood’s vintage character when it lost a nice old building?

“We didn’t,” says Jones “I can’t totally explain it.”

A design recommendation meeting is tonight at 8p.m. in room 102 of the Seattle Vocational Institute, 2120 South Jackson Street.

Valley Low

Remember when the city bent over backwards to rezone land in South Lake Union to allow taller buildings for Amazon? Now we’re seeing the designs of those buildings. The current proposal, for phase four being developed by Vulcan, will stand 12 stories tall and contain 16,403 square feet of retail space. I’ve said it before, the buildings are fine: They relate well to the street, they reinforce some of the warehouse themes of the SLU neighborhood, and they provide open space. But considering we’re making special accommodations for one of the city’s economic powerhouses, it would be nice if Amazon made a special contribution to the city. The campus—which occupies nearly six blocks and will define the area—should be awesome. Instead, designs, rather than looking like a landmark, look like a hospital wing.


Callison Architecture

“They are asking for all the development candy and not much is going into public benefits,” says Lloyd Douglas, president of the Cascade Neighborhood Association and member of the SLUFAN board. “I don’t know if [only] Class A luxury office buildings are a public benefit,” he says. A design recommendation meeting is at 8:00 p.m. in room 1 of the Queen Anne Community Center, 1901 1st Avenue West.

Beside the Brownout

This is what’s on Bellevue Avenue now.


It looks like it could be flattened in a gale. Here’s a drawing for the proposed building that will replace it, including part of the design for the proposal next door.


Roger Newell Architects

The new building would stand six stories, contain 23 residential units, and about 1,300 square feet of retail at the sidewalk. The design-guidance meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in room 102 of the Seattle Vocational Institute, 2120 South Jackson Street. It’ll be fun.

Construction Worker Hit on Head with Sledgehammer

posted by on May 21 at 3:37 PM

Megan Seling is down at 8th and Virginia, and she says there are 8 Seattle Fire vehicles, 3 ambulances and a Harborview helicopter at the scene. Megan was told someone had fallen out of a crane.

Pictures and more info coming in a few.

UPDATE: Seattle Fire Department Spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick says a sledgehammer fell off of a ledge and hit a construction worker 15 feet below in an underground construction site. He was wearing a helmet!

The man has been transported to Harborview.


Book Club of the Damned: I Will Fear No Evil, Part 2

posted by on May 21 at 3:28 PM


Last week, I started reading I Will Fear No Evil, by Robert A. Heinlein. I am reading this book because Brad bet me fifty bucks that I couldn’t do it. Last week, I was 122 pages in. Now, I am on page 283. I hate this book so motherfucking much.

So far, the inordinately wealthy male businessman Johann Sebastian Bach Smith has had his brain implanted into the nubile young female body of his secretary, Eunice. Somehow, Eunice’s thoughts have survived the loss of her brain, and so the two are communicating mentally via dueling parentheses, like so:

(Eunice, would you still be willing to have a baby by me?) (What? Boss, don’t joke about it. Don’t mock me.) (I’m not joking, beloved.)

Eunice has started referring to Johann, who now answers to Joan Eunice, as “Twin.” In the last hundred and sixty pages, they have made out with a lot of men. That’s just about all that they have done.

The thing that nobody told me was how goddamned slow this book is. It’s never-ending. Conversations between Joan and, say, her lawyer, go on for dozens of pages, in part because Johann and Eunice also have their parenthetical commentary going on during the boring science-fiction legal talk. There’s a big lawsuit for the Smith fortune, you see, and our…hero?…has to prove that he or she is who he or she says he or she is. There were two virtually identical passages where Joan convinces people that she is Johann and then they kiss. These passages, together, made up about sixty pages. This is atrocious writing. I have never wanted to quit a book more, but I’ll continue because I am going to win this stupid, stupid bet.

Study questions:

1. Did Heinlein have an editor at this point in his career?

2. Is this really as nasty as it’s going to get? Everyone warned me that this was a horny, horny book, but all that Joan has done is kiss and make out with people, and then wake up after heavily-hinted actions had gone on. I know that this was heady stuff for 1970, but are genitals going to be more than talked around, at least?

3. What’s the point of all this? Is the climax going to be Joan’s affirmation of his/her identity? Or is it going to be the birth of his/her own child? And, either way, what conclusions could possibly be drawn from any of it?

4. Seriously: Where the hell was Heinlein’s editor?

I’ll be done with this Bookclub of the Damned—one way or the other—next Wednesday.

“It Didn’t Taste Expired”

posted by on May 21 at 2:38 PM

To the kind soul who sent us a case of Ensure which expired in 2006: Paul Constant’s guts thank you.


To see more of Mr. Constant drinking things he shouldn’t, click here.

Look Who’s Talking To Terror…

posted by on May 21 at 2:07 PM

A glimpse of the world after the age of Bush

JERUSALEM (CNN) — Israeli and Syrian officials confirmed Wednesday they are indirectly negotiating a possible peace deal under Turkish mediation.

At a speech in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday night, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the disclosure of the talks was the end of a phase that had been going on for over a year.

He also said that he has no illusions and that the negotiations will be difficult, lengthy and will require difficult concessions.

Earlier, Olmert’s office issued a statement saying: “The two sides stated their intention to conduct these talks in good faith and with an open mind.”

It was the first official confirmation of the indirect talks between Israel and Syria. Turkish and Syrian officials also confirmed the talks.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War, and the area has been a source of contention since.

The last round of peace negotiations between the two countries broke down in 2000, after Syria demanded a full return of the Golan.

For its part, Israel wants Syria to abandon its support of Palestinian and Lebanese militant groups as part of any peace agreement.

The United States has been informed about the indirect talks, according to Assistant Secretary of State David Welch, who praised Turkey for playing “a good and useful role.”

Welch noted that the United States is not playing any role in those talks,

The return of diplomacy and the art of statesmanship.

In/Visible Is Up: Hey Dario, I Just Got Your Woolly Mammoth Hairs In, Give Me A Call

posted by on May 21 at 2:00 PM

San Antonio-based artist Dario Robleto has two shows up currently at the Frye Art Museum, but that’s not why In/Visible decided to do two podcasts with him rather than only one. It’s because he’s too interesting to cover everything in one sitting.

In part one, recorded and posted in late April, Robleto talked about his personal history in and around hospice and honky tonks in Texas, and about his philosophy of “attainable magic.”

The wild materials he uses in his artworks are all real things in the world, as far-fetched as they sound—for example, there’s trinitite, glass produced during the first atomic test explosion from Trinity test site, when heat from the blast melted the desert sand.

In part two, recorded May 15, Robleto focuses on his materials, explaining how he gets them and what they mean to him. (Here are a few examples of what he uses: bones from every part of the body, ground seahorse, men’s wedding bands excavated from American battlefields, residue from female tears of mourning overlaid with residue from male tears of mourning, pain bullets, tracheal extractor, ground pituitary gland.)

His latest find? A multimillion-year-old blossom, perfectly preserved, and a multimillion-year-old raindrop, caught in amber. Those objects will be part of an upcoming group exhibition (called Human/Nature: Artists Respond to a Changing Planet) with Mark Dion, Ann Hamilton, Xu Bing, and four other artists at the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego. Robleto is also in a group show called Old, Weird America (the title comes from Greil Marcus’s take on Dylan’s basement recordings) at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston.

His 10-year survey, Alloy of Love, opened last weekend at the Frye in Seattle.

Click here for the new podcast.

Below are two of the many works in the show.

Sometimes Billie Is All That Holds Me Together (1998-99), hand-ground and melted vinyl records, various clothing, acrylic, spray paint. Several new buttons were crafted from melted Billie Holiday records to replace missing buttons on found, abandoned, or thrift-store clothing. After the discarded clothing was made whole again, it was re-donated to the thrift-stores or placed where it was originally found.

Detail from A Color God Never Made (2004-05), cast and carved de-carbonized bone dust, bone calcium, military-issued glass eyes for wounded soldiers coated with ground trinitite (glass produced during the first atomic test explosion from Trinity test site, c. 1945, when heat from blast melted surrounding sand), fragments of a soldier’s personal mirror salvaged from a battlefield, soldiers’ uniform fabric and thread from various wars, melted bullet lead and shrapnel from various wars, fragment of a soldier’s letter home, woven human hair of a war widow, bittersweet leaves, soldier-made clay marbles, battlefield dirt, cast bronze teeth, dried rosebuds, porcupine quill, excavated dog tags, rust, velvet, walnut

Salted Caramel Ice Cream: The Verdict

posted by on May 21 at 1:53 PM


Yesterday I slogged about my enslavement to the flavor combination of salt and caramel, which I first encountered via the miraculous Fran’s Gray and Smoked Salt Caramels (pictured above) and tracked last night to Wallingford’s Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream Boutique.

The verdict on Molly Moon’s Salted Caramel ice cream: During yesterday’s salted-caramel discussion, commenter squidoo wrote, “Some people are saying Molly Moon’s version is too salty,” and now, I am one of those people. Lingering questions: Did the softening of the ice cream on the drive home somehow accentuate the saltiness in a way hard-frozen ice cream would more harmoniously accommodate? Or is it a matter of portion size—maybe a single, Fran’s-sized cube of Molly Moon’s Salted Caramel ice cream would be perfect. But in even the smallest available portion—a single scoop—it comes off a bit too salty for my taste.

However: The two other Molly Moon flavors I tasted were amazing. The “Balsamic Strawberry” was a subtle explosion of deliciousness and the “Vivace Coffee” was the best coffee ice cream I’ve ever had.

P.S. For those folks hankering for gourmet homemade ice cream but lacking easy access to Wallingford, Half-Pint Ice Cream—which sounds exactly as delicious as Molly Moon’s even if it doesn’t come with a snazzy website—will be available at this Sunday’s Broadway Farmers Market (11 am-3pm, behind the Bank of America at Broadway and Thomas).

P.P.S. SPOILER ALERT: Apparently there’s some time-sensitive information about football/soccer in the comments. Proceed at your own risk.

Another “Stabbing” on Capitol Hill Last Night

posted by on May 21 at 1:50 PM

Slog-tipper Kerri writes:

Another stabbing took place on the Hill last night, right outside The Saint.

It was approximately 1:15 am when a truck pulled up and parked on Olive. You could see the man and woman from inside the bar.

Please note that last call had not yet been given. The streets were busy, there were a number of passersby, and I’m sure a lot of witnesses.

Attached is a photo I took of the crime scene. The multiple flashes did not slow the suspect down. In fact, he seemed to gain speed with his stabbing movements.

Kerri’s (NSFW) photographic evidence can be found after the jump…

Continue reading "Another "Stabbing" on Capitol Hill Last Night" »

Offered Without Comment, a Picture of a T-Shirt Currently Hanging in the Window of a Capitol Hill Smoke Shop

posted by on May 21 at 1:40 PM


(Thanks so tipster Jasen for the photo.)

In the Last 24 Hours on Line Out

posted by on May 21 at 1:37 PM

Ben Gibbard is Not a Creep: And other things I learned while interviewing him.

Herb Alpert is Also Not a Creep: And he’ll be performing tonight at the Triple Door.

I Wanna Be a Macho Man: Sexy disco music with a sexy disco cover.

Joose is Loose: The dangerous beverage causes Brian Cook to make some mistakes, have some epiphanies about Man is the Bastard, and pee fluorescent.

Eating Vegetables Makes You Hot: Some rockstar vegetarians have been nominated for Sexiest Vegetarian 2008, including local boys in Jaguar Love.

More On That Nirvana Reunion: Jimi Hendrix will be playing guitar.

Tonight in Music: ANTiSEEN and Blowfly.

Highlights of the Year: Thanks, Eurovision.

March For My Chem: Fans march together to save My Chemical Romance’s reputation.

Today’s Music News: Death Cab is number one! Lou Pearlman is going to jail! What an exciting day for music…

Charles Mudede Makes Another Post About Hiphop: Apparently, this video is the response to Gwen Guthrie’s “Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent.”

You’re Misinterpreting Debauchery as Fun: Ari Spool on Mike Edison.

This is what a #1 record looks like:


Congratulations, Death Cab.

Oil Speculator Speculates Oil To Go Ever Higher!

posted by on May 21 at 1:15 PM

Arjun N. Murti remembers the pain of the oil shocks of the 1970s. But he is bracing for something far worse now: He foresees a “super spike” — a price surge that will soon drive crude oil to $200 a barrel….

An analyst at Goldman Sachs, Mr. Murti has become the talk of the oil market by issuing one sensational forecast after another. A few years ago, rivals scoffed when he predicted oil would breach $100 a barrel. Few are laughing now. Oil shattered yet another record on Tuesday, touching $129.60 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gas at $4 a gallon is arriving just in time for those long summer drives.

Let me get this straight, an analyst at an investment bank, whose traders are profiting massively over the rise in oil prices, is bleating in the pages of the New York Times that oil is going to continue to rise, forever. This is the bubble that won’t pop. Buy now! BUY!

Don’t kid yourself. Indeed, there are legitimate pressures on the oil market, reasons why price should be way higher than before, mostly involving unprecedented demand. But, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, there are massive untapped reserves of oil-alternatives, like oil sands, oil shale, the probable massive arctic oil fields (revealing themselves thanks to the melting ice cap) and liquefied coal. All come at horrific environmental costs, but at prices in excess of $120 a barrel, it’ll happen. Likewise, if prices stay at this level the global economy will grind to an absolute halt, solving the demand problem in a tidy way that throws us all into misery.

A “super spike” eh? In every pump-and-dump scam, the noise first starts quietly. Only as the last round of suckers are to be recruited, does the flame fanner who “rarely grants interviews, citing concerns about privacy” go public to declare the rise will never end.

Wrap the whole thing in an astroturfed pro-green message:

But the grim calculus of Mr. Murti’s prediction, issued in March and reconfirmed two weeks ago, is enough to give anyone pause: in an America of $200 oil, gasoline could cost more than $6 a gallon.

That would be fine with Mr. Murti, who owns not one but two hybrid cars. “I’m actually fairly anti-oil,” says Mr. Murti, who grew up in New Jersey. “One of the biggest challenges our country faces is our addiction to oil.”

High prices, he says, “send a message to consumers that you should try your best to buy fuel-efficient cars or otherwise conserve on energy.” Washington should create tax incentives to encourage people to buy hybrid cars and develop more nuclear energy, he said.

He owns two hybrid cars. Well, mercy me! A real environmentalist, unlike someone who lives close enough to work and what he needs to live as to not need a car at all.

Don’t get me wrong. The era of $10 a barrel gas is probably never coming back. Honest analysts, foreseeing the end of this latest speculative game, predict $70 a barrel oil when this latest financial-market-produced bubble pops. That sounds about right.

Dotcoms, energy, housing, dotcoms (again), now energy (again)—one trader scheme after another, like we’ve returned to the 1920’s. Any shock, after we allowed these massive financial institutions to write their own rules again?

“See women as trouble.”

posted by on May 21 at 1:01 PM

L.A. Magazine has a feature by a former Jack Sparrow impersonator who worked at Disneyland. There’s not a lot here that’s surprising, but it’s entertaining enough. Women hit on Jack Sparrow and Tarzan—a buff guy wearing nothing but a loincloth—pretty continuously.

When I worked as a mall Easter Bunny many, many years ago, mothers would always be rubbing my crotch. I’m not sure why that is, but it was, for the most part, an acceptable extra bit of discomfort in a horrible, horrible job. But somebody who resembles Johnny Depp, rather unsurprisingly, gets a lot more than a little bunny rub:

Here’s a napkin someone wrote on for me: “I will give you a blow job on your break, so sexy! Kim—714-XXX-XXXX.”

Eventually, Jack gets fired for having a relationship with a mermaid. It’s all very risque.

Hitler Did God’s Work

posted by on May 21 at 1:00 PM

God sent Hitler to “hunt” European Jews so that the Jews would get with the whole Zionism program, move to Palestine, found Israel, and help bring about the Second Coming of Christ. So says John McCain’s pastor, John Hagee. It’s up at the Huffington Post.

The Zapper Always Zaps Twice!

posted by on May 21 at 12:53 PM

Brace yourself…More “just in” on the Denny Way Zapper!

Behold the following missive, culled by a Slog commentor known only as “Maty Yeswad” from a bulletin originally posted by noted homosexuals and progenitors of The Bus Stop (the popular once-and-future Capitol Hill gay bar, not the place where street people crap) Rodney and Gary:

“I am all too cavalier about walking home by myself. Please take this seriously, I’d hate to see anyone get hurt.

Gary and I were walking home at 2:30 AM on Saturday (late Friday) on 13th between Olive and Denny when a man jumped out from behind bushes and attempted to shoot some type of weapon at us. It clicked twice and I saw a silhouette of what looked like a gun but Gary said he saw two lights on the gun and must have been a tazer. Nothing happened, he told us not to run and we ran a block away and called the police.

We (surprisingly) hadn’t had much to drink but still couldn’t make a clear identification because it was so dark. BE CAREFUL. I’m 6’4”, 225 pounds and don’t look like I have any money at all. The Hill just isn’t as safe as it used to be.

When the police came they told us to take 12th or other well lit streets home which might be good advice to everyone. It makes me really sad it has come to this. I’ve never seen so much crime for such a prolonged period in this neighborhood.”

Yes, the Mad Zapper is real. He’s out there. Beware!

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on May 21 at 12:31 PM

34-FFF breasts, and/or more hard-hitting “health” news from the nice folks at FOX…


posted by on May 21 at 12:28 PM

From the twisted tradition of Katsushika Hokusai’s Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife

…emerges Toshio Saeki’s Octopus.
Saeki is “the godfather of Japanese erotica.”

Good Night, Sweet Joe

posted by on May 21 at 12:28 PM

Apparently, Joe Adcock (theater critic at the PI for a grazillion years) is retiring.

Emails to his address bounce back with the following:

I will be out of the office until Tuesday, May 27, which will be my last day of work. As of Wednesday, May 28, I will have retired.

Because of a hiring freeze at the PI, nobody will replace Mr. Adcock. “We’ll continue to cover theater vigorously,” said arts editor Chris Beringer, “with freelancers.” Which is to say, less vigorously than before.

It’s funny—just yesterday on Slog, I was admiring these two unmistakably Adcockean sentences, from a recent review: “The play often is labored and never subtle. But it is amusing at times.”

I’ll always remember—and admire—the man’s ardor for clipped sentences, understatement, and copular verbs.

Playwright Bret Fetzer discovered Adcock’s (typically understated) retirement announcement while sending mass emails about the June 6 edition of late-night cabaret Spin the Bottle. He offered this remembrance:

He was the only reviewer in town who made a serious effort to see damn near everything, particularly during the fringe theater boom in the 1990s. But seeing so much theater may have taken its toll; he’s the only human being I’ve ever met who was more lucid in person than in print.

Talking to him, he’s a gentle, thoughtful guy with a bemused sense of humor; reading him, it’s like he sat down to type and demons came out of his fingers, wreaking havoc on his ability to write a coherent paragraph.

This didn’t keep him from having insights — in some of his reviews of my plays, he definitely pointed out things, good and bad, that made me think about what I was doing — but it did lead to reviews like the one in which he compared a production, not once but twice in the same review, to an enema. And he meant it as a compliment.

Read Joe Adcock’s last theater review here.

Not Sure How I Feel About This

posted by on May 21 at 12:22 PM

Condoms are a famous buzz/boner kill for some. If you’re one of those people, and if seeing your own face smiling up at you when you pick up that condom packet would help, Condomania has “a new line of personalized protection” with your name—excuse me, face—on it.


You can order YouCondoms here.

Poor Folks and the Arts

posted by on May 21 at 12:08 PM

As everyone has gotten angrier and angrier about West Virginia and Kentucky, I’ve been thinking more and more about Joe Baegeant’s excellent book, Deer Hunting with Jesus, which I reviewed a few months back. Bageant lives in small-town red state America, and he writes compassionate pieces about what it’s like. He’s a liberal, but he really loves where he’s from, and he’s a compelling voice for the poor and why they continually vote against their own best interests. It’s not at all condescending or stupid, like so many of the liberal blogs and books have been when talking about poor conservatives. I found a lot of people I knew growing up in Bageant’s book.

Over on his blog, Bageant runs letters he gets from conservatives and liberals alike, and he got a good one today, about working class art:

I guess my fear is that the age of working class art is over. That there won’t be another Woody Guthrie comin’ down the pipe. Or Roger Miller, or Lee Hazelwood. All small town midwestern boys who went on to make some legendary American music. It’s been this way for awhile in the world of visual art. Even “folk art” is made by the well-heeled at this point. Music held out a little bit longer but it is going the same direction. If things continue at this rate, the only people making music are going to be the sons and daughters of the idle rich, squandering the family fortune. Soon enough finding a redneck who can strum a guitar will be as likely as finding one who does charcoal sketches in his spare time.

It’s something that has concerned me for a while—most of my favorite art comes from blue-collar roots—and the letter, while a little too long, is very much worth a read.

Well, Hello There!

posted by on May 21 at 12:07 PM

You get on a plane, find your seat, and there’s an empty seat next to you—but not for long, because planes don’t fly half-full anymore. So the person sitting next to you shows up, takes his seat, then turns to you, sticks out his hand, and says, “Well, hello there! Name’s Bob!” I don’t like to touch people, as a general rule, and I try to touch as little as possible on airplanes, which are generally filthy, so I’m even less interested in touching people on airplanes. But social niceties obliged to shake Bob’s hand and introduce myself in return.

A connection thus established, Bob settled in for what he assumed would be a nice, long, five and a half hour getting-to-know-you conversation with his new best friend. But as soon as we were off the ground—as soon as we got the okay to use our portable electronic devices, by which time I knew more about Bob’s nieces and nephews than I know about my own—I put in my earbuds and turned up my iPod. Then I pulled down my baseball hat and pulled up the hood up on my sweatshirt. Unable to hear Bob, and with Bob unable to catch my eye, I read my magazines and answered emails in peace and quiet.

I didn’t want to have my hoodie up—it was hot on that airplane—and I didn’t want to listen to my iPod particularly. But as there’s no nice way to say, “Leave me alone, Bob, I don’t want to chat with you, I want to read,” I didn’t have any other options.

More on Last Night’s Stabbing

posted by on May 21 at 12:07 PM

This just in from a bar employee who witnessed the aftermath of last night’s stabbing:

I was working the door at the War Room (for “High-5” the lesbian happy hour that just re-started up on the deck on Tuesdays) and saw what I thought at first was a drunk transient-looking guy staggering down Pike, coming from the direction of Neighbors alley or Tully’s.

He had a red hoodie up over his head, so I couldn’t see his face and he staggered across the street down by the corner then sort of bounced off the outside wall of the War Room and collapsed in a heap in front of a group of women that had just parked their car a couple feet away.

When we came up to see if he was okay it was obvious that the hoodie and front of his jeans were wet and soaked in blood. I called 911 while one of the good Samaritan women applied direct pressure to the stomach wound to try and stop the bleeding and another held his head to comfort him. (Although he was pretty out of it at that point, really) He’d been stabbed at least 3 times that I could see – twice in the abdomen and once on the side, in the back.

He was alive but unconscious when SPD/paramedics/SFD all arrived and took care of him. I heard someone say he had a Union Gospel Mission ID card in his wallet.

And FYI: There was no “freaking out and peeling off of clothes” as one slog commenter put it. The medics simply removed his bloody clothing and left it in a pile on the sidewalk. The SPD caution-taped off the scene and one waited for the Haz-Mat team to come pick up the clothing. No big whoop.

People do just love to embellish though, don’t they?

The Death of a Star

posted by on May 21 at 11:55 AM

It lived for a long time
…But no matter what the length of life be, the end is always one and the same.

Astronomers have been able to capture and record the first moments when a massive star blows itself apart.

After decades of searching, researchers have used the world’s top telescopes to observe the remarkable event.

Previously, scientists had only been able to study these “supernovas” several days after the event.

The results, published in the journal Nature, show that within two hours of the blast, a giant fireball scattered radioactive debris across space.

To be a living dog is better than a dead star.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 21 at 11:00 AM


‘Standard Operating Procedure’

Errol Morris’s documentary about Abu Ghraib is startling, not because of the now infamous images (though they have not lost their capacity to startle), but because Morris is sincerely interested in the people who took them. Framed by Sabrina Harman’s increasingly uneasy letters home to her lesbian partner, Standard Operating Procedure seeks answers to questions that are usually purely rhetorical: Who would do such a thing to another human being? And why would you want to photograph it? (See movie times..) ANNIE WAGNER


Another State Court Ruling on Gay Marriage

posted by on May 21 at 10:47 AM

The Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled against same-sex marriage, voting to uphold Measure 36, a 2004 ballot initiative that amended the Oregon Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Full text of the decision is here.

Oh, and in Portland, Oregon, yesterday an openly gay man was elected mayor.

UPDATE: My header was wrong—this is a decision from an appeals court, not the state’s supreme court.

Our SIFF Guide Is Live!

posted by on May 21 at 10:33 AM

From Seattle’s only newspaper, the most comprehensive guide to the Seattle International Film Festival: Over 150 real reviews and zero publicist bullshit. Each film is linked to its SIFF page so you can quickly purchase individual tickets. We also have dates for films that are supposed to open in Seattle later this summer and information about guests scheduled to attend the festival. Plus, all the posts from the Slog that are tagged “SIFF” land on that page, so you can easily review our previous coverage.

Stay tuned for Lindy West liveblogging Thursday’s opening-night festivities!

Ted Kennedy’s Brain Cancer: Good for the Gays?

posted by on May 21 at 10:32 AM

Uh… sorry about that headline. I’m also sorry about Ted Kennedy’s brain cancer. And Kennedy ain’t dead yet: the man just walked out of the hospital, smiling and waving to the cameras, and his doctors say that, while his cancer isn’t curable, it is treatable. That all by itself is good for the gays: Ted Kennedy is a passionate supporter of gay rights, one of our best advocates in the federal government, and the longer we’ve got him in the U.S. Senate, the better.

But when I heard the news—and when things looked a bit more dire than they do now—I recalled some stories written back in 2004 (here’s one) when John Kerry, the other U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, was running for president. If Kerry won the presidency—and it sure looked like he was going to for about ten minutes there—folks predicted that openly gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank would run for, and was likely to win, Kerry’s seat.

I’d like to see an openly gay man in the U.S. Senate. But not at this price.

“My Lady Parts Do Not Ache For Hillary Clinton”

posted by on May 21 at 10:30 AM

I believe a couple of commenters have been begging for a link to this:

Currently pregnant with the next generation, let me just say this: There is no greater wish that a mother can have for her daughter than that she will exploit poor people, obliterate Iran, and win rigged class president elections, Putin-style.

Reading Tonight

posted by on May 21 at 10:16 AM


A Poetry Slam, a book about hiking Snohomish County, a discussion about evangelicals and liberals, and a group reading sponsored by Jack Straw Productions, as well as other readings that I am going to show you about right now.

Up at Third Place Books, Rick Bragg, author of All Over but the Shoutin’, reads from the third book in his memoir trilogy, The Prince of Frogtown. Shoutin’ was pretty good, but I haven’t read the others. But I believe that Bragg is a good reader and should be entertaining.

At Parkplace Books out in Kirkland, John Straley, Alaska’s writer laureate, reads from his new mystery, The Big Both Ways, which is a mystery set in the Northwest in the 1930s and involves Wobblies. Wobblies!

At the Central Branch of the Library, Firoozeh Dumas discusses Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad. It is about the power of laughter.

And at the Sunset Tavern, Mike Edison performs, with a band, from I Have Fun Everywhere I Go: Savage Tales of Pot, Porn, Punk Rock, Pro Wrestling, Talking Apes, Evil Bosses, Dirty Blues, American Heroes, and the Most Notorious Magazines in the World. Ari Spool is reading this at the moment and she said that the book reads the way that a bar band sounds. I am right now, even as I type, listening to the audio version of the book, which was produced by Jon Spencer and features the Rocket Train Delta Science Arkestra. It sounds like a bar band. There’s even harmonica. In talking about working at Screw magazine, Edison even says that he wanted something “the way that Chief Wiggum wants a jelly donut.” If you’re into porn or wrestling or illicit drugs, this could be your thing, and it’s at a bar, and it’s free.

Look! It’s the full readings calendar!

Currently Hanging

posted by on May 21 at 10:00 AM

A print by SHAG, from SHAG: A to Z

At Fantagraphics. (Gallery web site here.)

Shit’s in the PI

posted by on May 21 at 10:00 AM

Yesterday the Seattle P-I ran an opinion piece about Supreme Court of California’s ruling on gay marriage. The piece was by David Benkof and it argued, amongst other things, that gays and lesbians “shouldn’t be celebrating” this historic victory in California. Why? Because the decision harms people of faith. Says Benkof:

Because there certainly are harms—to religious liberty, to give just one example. For the past two weeks, I have been contacting “marriage equality” leaders all over California to ask about the impact of redefining marriage on religious freedom. All, including several prominent lesbian and gay legislators and other leaders, have refused to disclose their opinions, some repeatedly.

Here’s the court on religious liberty:

Finally, affording same-sex couples the opportunity to obtain the designation of marriage will not impinge upon the religious freedom of any religious organization, official, or any other person; no religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs.

That seems pretty clear—religious organizations, officials, and people won’t be required to change their practices or bless same-sex marriages. Benkof worries, however, that this ruling denies religious individuals that own businesses the right to express their religious views by refusing their services to same-sex couples. Well, yes. But that was already the case in California, which had laws on the books banning discrimination against gays and lesbians—coupled or not—before this ruling came down last week. There’s literally no point to Benkof’s piece—besides, of course, stoking the persecution complex that characterizes conservative religious people in the United States.

Getting back to Benkof: There’s a reason “prominent” gay leaders and legislators don’t return his calls: he’s a religious bigot and a bit of a nut. Here’s a taste from Wiki:

In 2003, [Benkof] announced that he was going to stop having sex with men for religious reasons, and that he was shedding the label gay, preferring not to label his sexuality. He continued on to say “I believe that within a couple years I’m probably going to be married with a growing family.” He has always been a devout Jew, and says that one reason he changed was because “Gay sex is just inconsistent with traditional religious life.” … He has since become a strong opponent of same-sex marriage. In response to arguments for gay marriages, he wrote “This reasoning is not only flawed, it insults the millions of Americans whose traditional faiths call on us to defend marriage as a central institution in society defined as a union between a man and a woman.”

Benkof—who claims he is not gay—runs an anti-marriage-equality website called (“A website for LGBT folks who support marriage as the union of husband and wife.”) It’s more than a little dishonest for the editors of the PI to allow this self-hating douchebag to present himself to their readers as an openly gay opponent of same-sex marriage who, for uniquely gay reasons, does not support marriage equality. Benkof is not, according to Benkof, gay, openly or otherwise, and there’s nothing unique about his opposition to same-sex marriage. Benkof opposes same-sex marriage for the exact same reasons Pat Robertson and Pope Benedict and George W. Bush oppose marriage equality: G-d doesn’t like it. “I happen to believe that God has been clear to the Jewish people that we should be pursuing opposite-sex relationships,” Benkof told Gay City News, “and particularly not having intercourse between two males.”

Benkof wraps up his piece with this statement:

No lesbian ever died a painful death because the government called her relationship a domestic partnership instead of a marriage.


Four months ago, Lacey resident Janice Langbehn, her partner Lisa Pond and their children Katie, David and Danielle, ages 10 to 13, were set for a relaxing cruise from Miami to the Bahamas.

But Pond, Langbehn’s partner for nearly 18 years, was stricken in Miami with a brain aneurysm and died. The family says the way they were treated by hospital staff compounded their shock and grief.

Langbehn, a social worker, said officials at the University of Miami, Jackson Memorial Hospital did not recognize her or their jointly adopted children as part of Pond’s family. They were not allowed to be with her in the emergency room, and Langbehn’s authority to make decisions for Pond was not recognized….

Pond suffered the aneurysm just before the R Family Vacations cruise ship left Miami for the Bahamas in February, Langbehn said. After Pond was taken to the emergency room, Langbehn said she was informed by a social worker that they were in an “anti-gay state” and that they needed legal paperwork before Langbehn could see Pond.

Even after a friend in Olympia faxed the legal documents that showed that Pond had authorized Langbehn to make medical decisions for her, Langbehn said she wasn’t invited to be with her partner or told anything about her condition.

Beware The Denny Way Zapper!

posted by on May 21 at 9:56 AM

I have just received intelligence that an unidentified and rather rude 30-ish white man armed with a…well, a tazer…is terrorizing the peaceful Capitol Hill area.

Earlier this week, two fabulously appointed Jews (a brother and sister who shall remain anonymous) were homeward bound in the late hours of the evening when they were confronted by the Mad Tazer-er on the corner of Denny Way and 13th Avenue East. The tazer-er demanded undisclosed amounts of money from them (knowing full well that Jews always carry big money, probably), or else…Zzzzzzzzzzzzztttttttttttt!

Fortunately, the pair escaped un-tazed and with their money and precious Jewishness still intact. Unfortunately, the would-be zapper and his foul intentions escaped into the night.

Will the Seattle Police stop harassing the homeless and hard-assing our precious night clubs long enough to address this new and electrifying threat to the good freaks of Capitol Hill? And when–-oh, when?!–-will the Mad Tazer-er strike again?

The answers are Hell no and Only time will tell, respectively. Experts suggest that Capitol Hillions wear a lot more rubber than usual until the perp is safely apprehended. And, um, try not to seem too Jewish maybe. Couldn’t hurt.


Re: The Geography of Last Night’s Stabbing

posted by on May 21 at 9:26 AM

There’s a lot of speculation in the Morning News comments about where the stabbing happened. Here it is:

Around 9:30 last night, Seattle Police were called to the 1500 block of Harvard to investigate a stabbing.

According to police, a 30-40-year-old man was stabbed at least five times in the stomach near the Neighbors nightclub.

The man walked west on Pike towards the War Room, where he was found by medics, and transported to Harborview.

Police have no suspects and the incident does not appear to be gang related.

I’ll update with more info later today.

AT&T Gives Local Political Consultant $50K

posted by on May 21 at 9:24 AM

The latest lobbying disclosure reports show that AT&T spent $5.2 million on lobbying in the first quarter of 2008. Much of the money was spent on the telecom company’s efforts to persuade Congress to grant them immunity from lawsuits for their participation in helping the U.S. government violate your 4th Amendment rights by spying on you for the NSA.

According to, $50,000 of AT&T’s first quarter spending went to Mercury Strategies, a Seattle political shop, that has focused on another pet AT&T cause—one that is antithetical to the interests of Seattle net content providers like …

As a major Internet Service Provider, AT&T has been fighting against legislation to secure Net Neutrality—the concept that no matter what web address you type in to your browser— or … Boy Scouts of America or Teenage—it will show up on your monitor with equal speed and clarity.

ISPs like AT&T want to be able to deliver high-paying customers’ sites to your computer faster, while relegating indie sites to Internet back roads.

It’d be as if rich people who pay more for using more water also got faster, hotter water.

I’ve reported on Mercury’s anti-net neutrality work in the past, like when they set out to thwart U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee’s efforts to ensure net neutrality back in 2006.

Indeed, AT&T and its lobbyists have been successful in blocking net neutrality legislation for several years now.

However, there’s new pro-net neutrality legislation queued up in D.C., and as the NYT editorialized earlier this week, it’s time to pass it.

It’s always a gas when there’s a local angle on a prominent NYT editorial.

p.s. to the Mercury people I met last night: Sorry. Got home last night after teasing you about your past AT&T work and did my quick website gazing before going to bed, and this whole AT&T lobbying money story showed up. So, I had to see if Mercury was still on the list. And yep.

p.p.s. For those keeping score: Obama is for net neutrality legislation McCain is against.

The Morning News

posted by on May 21 at 8:17 AM

Primary Results: In Oregon, in Kentucky, on Slog.

Tests Results: Seattle judges rule DUI screenings faulty.

Search Results: Microsoft has to pay you to use its search engine.

No Results: FBI knew about torture but couldn’t stop it.

Stabbed: Man on Capitol Hill.

Sacked: Plastic bags in San Francisco.

Refused: Aid supplies in Myanmar.

Britain: Protects gay Iranian.

Portland: Elects gay mayor.

No Medicine Balls: Gregiore caves on medical marijuana.

No Landmark: City board doesn’t want to save Denny’s building.

Death with Secrecy: Anti-initiative group tries to hide donors.

Lost Bird: Tells vet his address.

Faster, Lighter, Smaller: New design for “$100 laptop.”

From Sexual Happiness in Marriage: A Christian Interpretation of Sexual Adjustment in Marriage, by Herbert J. Miles, Ph.D. Copyright 1967.

Couples should face the fact that complete sexual success on the wedding night is nearly impossible, but this is nothing to worry about. What usually happens in first intercourse is that nine times out of ten, the husband has an orgasm and the wife does not. In order to think it through, let us assume that this happens. Then what? The bride must not feel that there is something wrong with her, that she is undersexed. She is not. God is efficient. He does not make mistakes….

Suppose neither the husband nor wife knew how to swim and a teacher gave them oral instruction on how to swim. Does this mean they could jump in the water and and swim naturally in the first attempt? Naturally not! They would sink. They would sink many times before they learned how to swim well.

Thus, a couple should not be discouraged if first intercourse is not completely successful. But rather, they should laugh at their “goofs.” Each time they “goof” (and they will do this many times across the years) they can simply laugh and say, “Well, we goofed tonight, but we learned something and we will do better next time.”

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Clinton Wins Kentucky; Obama Wins Oregon and Claims a Majority of Delegates

posted by on May 20 at 7:50 PM

Thus sayeth the exit polls.

More from ABC:

Nearly half of Kentucky Democratic voters say they would not support him in a November election against John McCain, similar to the result in West Virginia.

And here are the clickable exits, courtesy of CNN. Read ‘em and weep/cheer.

Clinton is set to speak at 5:30 p.m. and results from Oregon are expected to come in at 8 p.m.

5:10 p.m. Clinton is speaking now in Louisville, and you can watch it here.

5:30 p.m. Well, the Clinton speech was very similar to the one she gave after her victory in West Virginia. She began, however, with some kind words about Senator Ted Kennedy:

He’s been with us for our fights, and we’re with him now in his.

And she gave no sign of dropping out any time soon. She even seemed to suggest that she might not drop out after the last primary on June 3 if the question of what to do about Florida and Michigan isn’t resolved by then.

“I’m more determined than ever to see that every vote is cast and every ballot is counted,” she said. “After all this country has been through these past seven years, we have to get this right. We have to select a nominee who is best positioned to win in November.”

She also promised to campaign for the Democratic nominee no matter what, and to help the party come together. But, in case anyone had missed it, she reiterated her plan to fight on:

This continues to be a tough fight, and I have fought it the only way I know how. With determination, and by never giving up and never giving in… I’m going to keep making our case until we have a nominee, whoever she may be.

5:40 Meanwhile, the Obama campaign just announced that it raised more than $31 million last month. The average contribution was $91 and more than 200,000 new donors were added.

6:00 Clinton’s lead in Kentucky, by the way, has her about 35 points ahead of Obama.

7:50 I left and went to Town Hall for a reception with Arianna Huffington, thinking that if I returned to my computer by 8 p.m. I wouldn’t miss anything. Looks like I missed Obama’s speech in Iowa—delivered before the polls were closed in Oregon?!?

In any case:

Many of you have been disappointed by politics and politicians more times than you can count. You’ve seen promises broken and good ideas drown in the sea of influence, and point-scoring, and petty bickering that has consumed Washington. And you’ve been told over and over and over again to be cynical, and doubtful, and even fearful about the possibility that things can ever be different.

And yet, in spite of all the doubt and disappointment – or perhaps because of it – you came out on a cold winter’s night in numbers that this country has never seen, and you stood for change. And because you did, a few more stood up. And then a few thousand stood up. And then a few million stood up. And tonight, in the fullness of spring, with the help of those who stood up from Portland to Louisville, we have returned to Iowa with a majority of delegates elected by the American people, and you have put us within reach of the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

The road here has been long, and that is partly because we’ve traveled it with one of the most formidable candidates to ever run for this office. In her thirty-five years of public service, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has never given up on her fight for the American people, and tonight I congratulate her on her victory in Kentucky. We have had our disagreements during this campaign, but we all admire her courage, her commitment and her perseverance. No matter how this primary ends, Senator Clinton has shattered myths and broken barriers and changed the America in which my daughters and yours will come of age.

Some may see the millions upon millions of votes cast for each of us as evidence that our party is divided, but I see it as proof that we have never been more energized and united in our desire to take this country in a new direction. More than anything, we need this unity and this energy in the months to come, because while our primary has been long and hard-fought, the hardest and most important part of our journey still lies ahead.

8:05 p.m. Oregon is called for Obama just after the polls close. While you’re waiting for the finally tally, read his speech from Iowa earlier this evening. It’s excerpted above, but read the whole thing—it provides another example of the power of his oratory (and of his mind-meld with his speech writers), and it also sets up his frame for the general election. Which is the same frame he’s used to great effect so far: change versus more of the same.

8:20 p.m. Or, watch the speech instead of reading it:

8:30 p.m. And, for the sake of fairness (and a point of contrast), here’s Clinton’s speech tonight in Kentucky:

More on All That Nightlife Craziness

posted by on May 20 at 5:27 PM

Last week, I posted an email from Neumos co-owner Steve Severin, which sparked a pretty lengthy debate in the comments over the safety of the club and the legitimacy of the city’s supposed crackdown on the venue.

In the last few weeks, the city has ordered Neumos to reduce their dance floor capacity, allowing only 223 people on the main floor. The club’s downstairs VIP room is also closed until Neumos’ owners and the city work something out.

It’s pretty clear that the city’s been amping up their presence on Capitol Hill—just as their last big nightlife operation goes kablooie—but it’s not clear exactly where the pressure on Neumos is coming from.

Department of Planning and Development spokesman Alan Justad says his agency was only brought after the fire department found overcrowding problems when they visited Neumos during the Tim and Eric show on May 2nd. “We haven’t changed the fire code or the building code, or how we enforce [it],” Justad says.

SFD spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick claims her department hasn’t been focusing on Neumos and only visited the club at the request of the police department. “In terms of their fire and life safety, [SFD is] completely satisfied with what [Neumos] is doing,” Fitzpatrick says. “They’re a model for nightclubs.”

SPD, meanwhile, has also dismissed claims that they’re giving Neumos any extra attention. So just where the hell is the increased pressure coming from? “I’ve got all my own conspiracy theories,” Severin says. “We were very active in fighting the music and nightlife license.” However, Severin adds that he’s not entirely convinced the sudden attention from the city is retaliatory.

Even if Neumos had misinterpreted the city’s capacity regulations, why is this happening now? The club’s been around for four years, so—despite any issues you may have with how packed Neumos shows are—the timing of the upped enforcement certainly is suspicious.

Neumos’ owners will meet with DPD sometime next week to figure out how to increase capacity. For now, expect to see plenty of half-filled shows until things get straightened out.

Winning the War on Drugs

posted by on May 20 at 5:20 PM

This just in.

A jury convicted an Atlanta police officer Tuesday of lying to investigators after a botched drug raid in which a 92-year-old woman was killed, but cleared him of two more serious charges.

After deliberating for parts of four days, the jury convicted Arthur Tesler of making false statements. He was acquitted of charges that he violated his oath of a public officer and false imprisonment under color of legal process. Tesler, who is on leave from the police force, faces up to five years in prison.

Plainclothes narcotics officers used a special “no-knock” warrant to raid Kathryn Johnston’s home on Nov. 21, 2006. Police fired 39 bullets, hitting Johnston five or six times, prosecutors said.

An informant had described buying drugs from a dealer there, police said. Since the raid, authorities have said the warrant was based on false information. When the officers burst in without warning, Johnston fired at them, and they fired back, killing her.

Hooray, briefly. The jury decided the cop had been a schmuck and he should do time. Good. But, surprisingly, the offense under consideration wasn’t bursting into an innocent 92-year-old woman’s house and shooting her five times. Which seems pretty offensive. We’re told that these strong-arm tactics are necessary to stamp out drugs. Of course, stopping drug use is impossible, and these raids are a cure worse than the disease. As long as cops are encouraged to break down people’s doors and charge in with guns for routine drug enforcement, homeowners will continue to pull guns and get shot in their hallways. How long until “no knock” raids go on trial?

Express Yourself With this League of Women Voters-Endorsed Outpatient Procedure!

posted by on May 20 at 5:15 PM

From Slog tipper Angie comes the bizarre story of an event at EMP called “Freedom of Expression Through Film,” billed as “dinner and a presentation featuring a keynote speech by an actress of note.” The event, sponsored by the respected League of Women Voters, seemed like a standard appetizers-booze-and-mingle affair. That is, until the main event, which turned out to be a promotion for Botox—the pharmaceutical injection best known for turning the once beautiful Nicole Kidman into an expressionless, bat-faced freak. (See Fig. 1, below)

And the “actress of note”? None other than Virginia Madsen, last seen expressing herself freely (well, except in the eyebrow region) alongside Matthew Broderick in the Alzheimer’s caper “Diminished Capacity.” According to tipper Angie, both Madsen and her mother spoke fondly about the wonders of Botox; afterward, “an increasingly thinning crowd” listened to a pitch by the League of Women Voters about its “Vote411” web site, billed by the League as “a ‘one-stop-shop’ for election information including a national polling place locator, general and state-specific information on voter registration, absentee ballot rules, early voting provisions and ID requirements.” Then they got a bunch of Botox schwag, including a rhinestone-encrusted Botox T-shirt.

Here’s the pitch, from the collagen-enhanced mouth of Madsen herself:

Today’s women have so many ways to express themselves. As an actress, I have the opportunity to convey my views through the projects I choose and the characters I play. But like many of you, I’m also a daughter, a mother and a professional. One thing we all have in common is that we have more choices available to us today than ever before – choices that the generations before us didn’t have.

Today, we dictate our career paths, how we raise our children and our role in the political arena. We’ve also changed our overall approach to managing our health, which today includes everything from eating right and exercising to new approaches to beauty and “aging gracefully.”

As you know, I have been very open about my treatment with BOTOX® Cosmetic (Botulinum Toxin Type A) to the astonishment of many in the industry. For me, the decision to share my experience and beauty insights was one I made for myself and not something I felt I should have to defend or hide. I approached it as I do all things in my life – I informed and educated myself, and made the right decision for me.

This is why I have chosen to support the Freedom of Expression through Film campaign in partnership with the League of Women Voters and Allergan, Inc. – the makers of BOTOX® Cosmetic. The campaign encourages women to express themselves openly and honestly – something I do in both my personal and professional life – and underscores the importance of making educated, informed choices about life and beauty.

So, basically, if you’re a liberated, modern woman, you should feel free to go right ahead and express yourself by using Botox. It’s basically the same thing as running for office! And elective cosmetic procedures? Why, those are right up there with volunteering and balancing work and family.

It’s unclear why, exactly, a venerable institution like the League of Women voters would participate in a campaign like this. To say that encouraging women to purchase an expensive cosmetic procedure promotes “women’s expression” is like saying that high heels promote women’s mobility. You want to lose the ability to make a range of facial expressions, be my guest—but don’t sell it to women as a transformative experience along the lines of, say, taking part in a political movement or choosing to work outside the home. That’s just condescending. And bizarre.

(Fig. 1)

The Greatest Flavor Combination Since Vanilla Ice Cream and Root Beer

posted by on May 20 at 3:30 PM


…is clearly salt and caramel.

I first encountered the combination via Fran’s Gray and Smoked Salt Caramels, pictured above and available at Fran’s University Village store. Fran’s pricey delights taught my taste buds a lesson they’ve been itching to replicate ever since, and while Riesens dusted with large-granule sea salt have their charms, they’re no Fran’s.

However, I was just adding Wallingford’s hot new gourmet handmade ice creamery Molly Moon’s to the Stranger Restaurant Guide and noticed some of the ice-cream flavors hyped on Molly Moon’s website, including “Scout” Mint, Vivace Coffee (!), and Salted Caramel (!!).

I shall report back soon.

James Yee Is a 9th CD Obama Delegate

posted by on May 20 at 2:10 PM

Further south on Saturday, Washington’s 9th congressional district selected James Yee (the former GITMO chaplain who was accused of spying for terrorists and later cleared) to be an Obama delegate to the national convention. According to the Olympian,

Yee now lives with his wife and daughter in Olympia, south of Fort Lewis, where he was assigned before and after his ordeal.

The experience left him as “living proof that civil liberties have been eroded since 9/11,” Yee told The Olympian newspaper on Monday.

He said that during the gathering Saturday, “I came out and basically reiterated that Sen. Obama is really the only candidate that consistently campaigns on rejecting torture without exception, on closing Guantanamo Bay, restoring habeas (corpus) and adhering to the Geneva Conventions.”

Via Avi Zenilman at Ben Smith’s blog.

America Has Spoken: “ugly face/nice body”

posted by on May 20 at 1:43 PM

Holy God Jesus on a pogo stick. Playboy is accepting auditions for their newest playmate on YouTube. 52 women have replied (so far.) This is one of the most depressing YouTube pages I think I’ve ever seen, not just for the videos—where women around the country are trying to make themselves into Playboy-style fantasies —but the comments on the videos are what make me sick:

your not going tow in because you like the cowboys. DALLAS SUCKS
Definatly not Playboy material….not even close…..maybe Black Tail magazine !!
DAMN HOT…..YOU GO GIRL!!! BYYYY FAR THE BEST! Alot of the contestants have good bodys, but their faces are ok….but she has an awesome face and bod. PUT ANOTHER HOT BLONDE IN THE MAG
yeah if i was you BF id tell ya you should try out for playboy to, but thats only so i could get some ha! incase you and all the other small titty’d chics didnt realize hef likes huge fake boobies and im sure holly dont want no IBTC (iddy biddy tiddy commiddy) either ,personally i dont mind and im sure you could do porn.

I don’t recommend going and taking a look. It’ll stick with you for days.

SIFF Hot Tip: Week One Rocks

posted by on May 20 at 1:27 PM

Our comprehensive guide to the Seattle International Film Festival should go live later this evening, but I’ve got a few early tips to whet your appetite. From my introduction to the guide:

If you’re thinking about a weeklong pass, the first week of the festival seems especially packed with gems, including this year’s low-key Sundance discovery Ballast; The Last Mistress, Catherine Breillat’s exciting venture into period filmmaking; The Edge of Heaven, Fatih Akin’s superb followup to Head-On; Jia Zhang-ke’s semi-recent feature Still Life; and Casting a Glance, a new landscape film by experimental filmmaker James Benning. We also adored the lower-profile entries The Pope’s Toilet; Continental, A Film Without Guns; Fantastic Parasuicides; Boy A; Chris & Don: A Love Story; and more.

To that list I’d also add The Fall (which opens in Seattle next week), The Red Awn, Before the Rains (which also opens in Seattle next week), Elite Squad, All Will Be Well, My Effortless Brilliance (which is a conflict of interest! Former Stranger film editor Sean Nelson is in it. But our East Coast freelance writer Michael Atkinson, who’s never met Sean, confirms it’s worth seeing), and… oh, that’s enough for now.

I’ve just been scouring Week 2 for Stranger Suggests possibilities, though, and that stretch is looking pretty dire. ShortsFest—an all-shorts weekend featuring one or two local films in almost every program (the better to fill seats with, my dear)—makes it pretty easy to skip SIFF Cinema entirely for a few days; and some of our least favorite movies in the festival (Ben X, One Hundred Nails, Young People Fucking, Magnus, Garden Party) are screening then. There are certainly worthwhile films scattered throughout the week, but individual tickets are probably a better choice.

“Fried and Gone to Heaven”

posted by on May 20 at 1:20 PM


That subject line is the work of former Stranger music editor/new Seattle Times music columnist Jonathan Zwickel, who created it for a Slog post announcing his transcendent first encounter with Ezell’s Famous Chicken, the Central District legend that’s inspired hordes of worshippers and one weird Slog post that last week grew into an all-encompassing fight about everything.

Which brings me to the latest addition to the Ezell’s dossier—a tender memory sent in by the one and only Kathleen Wilson:

I’m a little late with my Ezell’s two-cents, but what they hey: While walking to Ezell’s one afternoon, bullets whizzed by as I was narrowly missed by a drive-by shooting. After being detained by police for a statement, I still ordered a one-piece breast snack-pack to go. Just sayin’. Chicken is THAT good.

Which reminds me of one of my favorite Last Days Hot Tips of all time:

THURSDAY, JUNE 21, 2007 For decades, humanity has marveled at the power of Ezell’s, the Seattle fried-chickenry whose goods are so good that vegetarians curse their fates and Oprah has ‘em FedExed directly to her mouth. Today brings not only the most extravagant Ezell’s-related Hot Tip we’ve ever received, but also the most charming Metro-based Hot Tip in history. “I was in line at Ezell’s on 23rd early this afternoon,” reports Hot Tipper Jake. “Suddenly, a Metro bus pulls up in front of the store and the female driver runs in and yells, ‘Give me four drumsticks quick!’ Then she says, ‘No! Make it five!’ Of course, everyone in line is looking at her, so she hollers, ‘What? I’ve got five minutes!’ She gets her drumsticks and runs back to her waiting bus, which I now see is carrying a dozen or so passengers.” Thanks to Jake for noticing and sharing, and props to the Metro driver for her inspirational time management.

Dear Ezell’s: Feel free to use either Ezell’s: I’d Dodge a Bullet for a Bite! or Ezell’s: Bus-Fleeingly Delicious as your next ad slogan. You’re welcome.

CNN Got It Wrong

posted by on May 20 at 1:10 PM

Before our fearless leader grabbed the network by the horns in this excellent appearance, wouldja believe CNN wrongly reported the gay marriage decision in California? How wrong? Well, see for yourself…

In case you can’t see the video: A news feed read for a “just in” segment says that the court affirmed that gay marriage is illegal in California. Then a legal analyst calls in to discuss the ruling based on faulty information she gets from the anchor.

Three things:

1) Breaking news can be like that. Inaccurate, hazy, hasty. It was a 172-page decision from the court, and making a quick assessment of two-inches of bound legalese on live TV is hard if not impossible.

2) Fucking whatever about point #1. There’s no excuse for CNN to be caught off guard by a potentially groundbreaking ruling that—for the 90 days prior—the court had promised it would release by 10 a.m. that day. If this were a ruling on abortion, gun rights, or OJ Simpson, CNN and every major news network would have had a reporter at the courthouse and a fleet of paralegal stenographers shooting an RSS feed to the news desk.

3) That poor anchor. I feel terrible for him. He was just reading “the feed.” That mistaken, pathetic feed. And of course the legal counsel. Poor gal, she was running with the bullshit he was reading. What a mess. I feel bad for them. But I don’t feel bad for the news producers; I’m kinda pissed at them.

In Los Angeles, an entertainment executive named Scott Seomin—a friend of mine—had flipped on CNN just before 10 a.m. to hear the decision. Because he was sitting on the lot of studio with a satellite bigger than Jeff Stryker’s cock, he could watch every station at once. “We’re flipping channels, and all I see is CNN’s mistake,” say Seomin (who knows how funny his last name is for a big ‘mo). He wasn’t upset only about the coverage on CNN, which his partner who read the ruling said was incorrect, but the lack of coverage elsewhere. The networks were showing The Price Is Right, The View, and the fourth hour of The Today Show. So he called local stations and asked them to run a crawl—that little ticker feed at the bottom of the screen. “They run one every time there’s a little earthquake in Barstow,” he says. At least, he said, “Do a goddamn film at 11.”

Seomin missed Dan Savage on CNN later because he had to go to a Hollywood-y meeting, populated, of course, by a bunch of fags and dykes. Having only seen the CNN coverage, they were all dejected—until Seomin told them CNN was wrong. “The news media was totally unprepared,” he says. And he’s right. CNN should have had Savage on the set at 9:50 a.m., preparing to respond to whatever the news might be. Not calling him on as an afterhought.

Advice for Young Artists/Writers/Performers

posted by on May 20 at 12:59 PM

Local hotshot Craig Lucas (playwright, associate artistic director at Intiman) gave the commencement speech at Boston University College of Fine Arts this past weekend, and it wasn’t the standard commencement speech about, you know, how you’re walking across a bridge toward a path and that path has a fork in it, etc., etc. Lucas gave advice about how to handle success, criticism, and fame in a country whose current government is pretty hostile toward art.

One of his lessons of his speech: “Just remember: your success is only news once. After that, the only possible news flash is that you’re not what you’re cracked up to be or your new work isn’t as good as the old.” Another:

Clearly, many great and deserving writers have received the Nobel Prize in Literature. Nonetheless, here are some who never won, all of whom died after the Prize was instituted:

Virginia Woolf

James Joyce

Marcel Proust




Mark Twain

Wallace Stevens










D.H. Lawrence




F. Scott Fitzgerald

Ralph Ellison

Who are some of the greats who took their place?

Jaroslav Seifert

Carl Spitteler

Ivo Andric

Selma Lagerlof

Paul Heyse

Pearl S. Buck.

The Moral: only time will decide. Since you may already be dead then, make the art you want to make.

The whole text (riddled with grammatical weirdness, but still) is here.

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

posted by on May 20 at 12:54 PM

Semi-Finalists Announced in Radiohead’s Video Contest: Some entries are funny, some entries are scary. See all ten here.

“Friendly Fire”: Jawbreaker reminds Eric Grandy of the days when “selling out” meant signing a major label contract.

Speaking of Jawbreaker… Thank You, B-Sides “R” Us: For having Jawbreaker’s 1994 Old Fire House performance in your archives.

Beck Releases New Single: You can stream it from his website.

Dear God, Please Don’t Let This Be True: Nirvana reunion with Courtney on vocals?

Georgetown Music Festival: Line-up includes Helmet and about three dozen great local bands. And Godspeed. But not Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Rain, Rain, Go Away: Sasqatch might not be rained on after all.

Tonight in Music: Mudhoney and Daguerreotypes celebrate the release of their new records.

Zune Makes Changes: Terry Miller still thinks Microsoft is stupid.

Today’s Music News: Napster drops DRM, Death Cab for Cutie make the news twice, Nas drops controversial album title, and Coachella turn-out was disappointing.

New Hold Steady Song: Sounds like an old Hold Steady song, but still sounds good.

R Kelly’s Trial Begins: R&B artist finally goes to trial over child pornography charges.

Color Me Happy: Trent Moorman’s Q&A with Aye Jay, the creator of Gangsta Rap Coloring Book and Indie Rock Connect the Dots.

Neumo’s Cut Capacity Didn’t Ruin Last Night’s El-P Show: But Eric Grandy still thinks the recent change is bullshit.

New Music in Stores Today: Mudhoney, Scarlett Johansson, Islands, Mates of State.

Paul Constant’s New Favorite Blog: Cassette From My Ex.


Discs of Fury by soundonthesound.

Bush Goes for Tic-Tac-Toe? No, Just Options!

posted by on May 20 at 12:52 PM

[Israeli] Army Radio had quoted a top official in Jerusalem claiming that a senior member in the entourage of President Bush, who visited Israel last week, had said in a closed meeting here that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were of the opinion that military action against Iran was called for.

The official reportedly went on to say that, for the time being, “the hesitancy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice” was preventing the administration from deciding to launch such an attack on the Islamic Republic.

But don’t worry! “The White House on Tuesday flatly denied an [Israeli] Army Radio report that claimed US President George W. Bush intends to attack Iran before the end of his term.”

Bush just wants us all to know “All options are on the table.” Whew. I feel much better.

Not Appeasing McCain’s B.S., Anyway

posted by on May 20 at 12:48 PM

Obama’s rapid response to the “talk to Iran/talk to Hamas flap” was smart stuff. If you missed it, yesterday Obama asked what McCain was so scared of, given, for example, that Presidents Reagan and Nixon et al talked to the fully nuked up Soviets.

This is fine-tuned campaigning from a Democrat. Obama actually reframed the traditionally-doesn’t-read-well softy-lib position of talking to your enemies—as the macho position.

O is like: I’m not scared to talk to Iran or Hamas. (And by extension: I’ve got something to say to Iran and Hamas.)

Amazingly, the “sensitive male” position becomes bad ass in contrast to McCain’s ostensibly more macho “I’m not talking to them” pose. O reframed McCain’s tough act as a sissy cop out.

Well played.

And p.s. Pop quiz for McCain: Hamas. Sunni or Shiite?

Continue reading "Not Appeasing McCain's B.S., Anyway" »

Excuse Me, Guy at the Next Table…

posted by on May 20 at 12:33 PM

I couldn’t help but notice that your pendulous cotton nutsack is showing.

Heidi Schreck Won an OBIE Award Last Night

posted by on May 20 at 12:25 PM

The Village Voice awarded Schreck an OBIE for her performance in Drum Of The Waves Of Horikawa, confirming what Seattle has known for years: that Heidi Schreck (who left for NYC in 2003) is God’s gift to audience members everywhere.

From a review of her performance in Hedda Gabler, printed in the November 16, 2000 edition of Last Days:

In a smart new adaptation by Paul Willis and the cast, the Devils bring Ibsen’s Dynasty-in-Norway psycho-melodrama to life in a way that would have given ol’ Henrik himself a Norwegian woody. Extra credit must go to Tricia Rodley and Heidi Schreck, both of whom gave exemplary performances in a show packed with good actors. However, extra, extra credit must go to Ms. Schreck, who, it must be said, fucking rocked, nailing Ibsen’s entrancing sociopath brilliantly and perfectly; we can’t imagine anyone doing it any better. If you like good plays, go see Hedda Gabler (which closes this weekend, so hurry up).

(Also in that edition of Last Days: “The stupidest week in American history got off to a fitting start today at Pioneer Square’s OK Hotel, with a hard-rockin’, crowd-beguilin’, irony-free performance by Corey Feldman.” )

And here’s Ms. Schreck and her gang (the theater company Two-Headed Calf) in Horikawa, which the reviewers kept calling “punk-rock kabuki”:

Congratulations, Heidi.

(And thanks to Mike Daisey, who emailed the good news: “Heidi has been performing in groundbreaking downtown shows ever since she moved to NYC, and it’s fantastic to see her recognized like this, as only a few Obies are given out every year. It’s really quite a triumph.”)

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on May 20 at 12:15 PM

A Garry Kasparov press conference busted up by a flying… WHAT?

Finding Gregory

posted by on May 20 at 12:00 PM

Yesterday, I was in the University District and, as I frequently do, I stopped into Magus Books. I had no particular book in mind, so I sort of bumbled around the store, checking things out.

I found a couple of Doc Savage novels that I didn’t have—Hex and Brand of the Werewolf—and I checked out the comic book section and found a book that I’d read years ago and totally forgotten about: Marc Hempel’s Gregory.

Gregory is a little light bulb-shaped boy who lives in a mental institution with a talking rat named Herman that continually gets killed and is reincarnated as himself. The only things that Gregory can say are “Zub,” “Bim Bim Bim Bim Bim,” and “I Gregory.” His favorite pastime is running around his cell and screaming until he collapses. Here, from Flickr user Scott McW, is the part of the book when Gregory’s straitjacket breaks and so he subsequently learns that he has arms:


This was one of my favorite comic books when I was in high school. It’s so sweet, in a very wrong way. There’s another copy of it at Magus for five bucks; somebody should go buy it.

Hey, Kentucky! Despite What You Mighta Heard on the FOX Teevee, Obama’s Not a Muslim!

posted by on May 20 at 11:08 AM

Yay: To Barack Obama for at least TRYING to reach out to Kentucky voters (expected to vote overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton).

Boo: For doing so with such ham-fisted religious pandering (OOH, lookie! A BIG, ILLUMINATED CROSS to prove to the rural hicks that he’s NOT A MUSLIM!)


I’ve come around on Obama (though, yeah, I’m still pissed about the way Hillary was treated)… but fer fuck’s sake, if you want to get rural voters in your camp, you’ve gotta stop treating them like gullible yokels.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 20 at 11:00 AM


‘The True Story’ at Greg Kucera Gallery

Sherry Markovitz is known for her sculpture: totemic wall-trophy animals drowning in beads and shells and feathers. Some of those will be at Greg Kucera Gallery. But since 2006, she’s been making paintings on silk, and the medium brings out something wild in her. Marriage, the first of her silk paintings, portrays a doll-like white woman and a primitively styled Native American man; Two-Faced Cross-Eyed Baby is pretty much what it sounds like—and more disturbing. (Greg Kucera Gallery, 212 Third Ave S, 624-0770. 10:30 am–5:30 pm, free.)


The Light in the Pagoda

posted by on May 20 at 10:45 AM

And this (in this morning’s NYT) is just awesome:

Enter the director. Bartlett Sher, currently being feted for his work on “South Pacific,” has agreed to direct the previously announced new musical by David Henry Hwang and David Yazbeck, “Bruce Lee: Journey to the West.” The show, which follows Lee’s path to martial arts superstardom (and involves Chinese mythological figures like the Monkey King along the way), is aiming for a place in the 2010-11 Broadway season.

Reading Last Night: Dim Unshiny Evening

posted by on May 20 at 10:44 AM

Against my advice, Tori Centanni, the intrepid—and unpaid—Book Intern went to last night’s James Frey reading at Town Hall. Here’s what she had to say on the matter:

The turnout was sad. At 7:30 I counted 28 people, and though a few more trickled in, there were never more than 40 people in the room. This was sort of pathetic.

Frey, trying to cement his image as a rebel and a rule breaker, wore a baseball cap inside and refused to stand during his reading. He did not bring any materials and borrowed a copy of his book from a cute blonde in the front row to read from.

The whole thing was pretty subdued and uneventful. [Opening act] Josh Kilmer-Purcell read the first chapter of his novel [Candy Everybody Wants]. People laughed at the appropriate places. Frey then read a chapter from Bright Shiny Morning about a gun store and a rape victim. Then they asked for questions.

At first, people asked about Frey’s love of Los Angeles. Someone asked how he went about his research. Frey said he read a few L.A. history books and used the internet. When he couldn’t find information, he said “as I’m famous for doing, I just made it up.” He paused for laughter. “It’s a fiction book,” he added.

He talked about how The Los Angeles Times “savaged the book” and how he thought that “was awesome.” But the New York Times and Times Magazine loved it, which surprised him. There were more questions about Los Angeles. Frey really “wanted to do [it] justice.”

Finally some guy in a red shirt grew a pair and asked about The Controversy. The question was “How did you handle the controversy, how did it change your life, and are you still friends with Oprah?”

“I was never really friends with Oprah,” Frey replied. One of the things they told him the first time he was on her show was “don’t expect to be friends with her,” as though a lot of people walk onto her set and think they’re buddies.

As for the controversy regarding how true his “memoir” was, Frey said he just concentrated on his friends and family and tried to ignore the press. He admitted the debacle was “unbelievably unpleasant” but insisted he never meant for A Million Little Pieces to be taken as pure fact. “I could give a fuck about journalistic integrity,” he said, “I wanted to create literature.”

Someone asked if he thought it was unfair, since most memoirs are “fictionalized to some degree.”

Frey sort of dismissed the question by repeating it didn’t matter. “What matters to me is that people still read it… People come up to me and tell me [it] affected them…The word on the side of the book is completely, utterly meaningless to me.”

And then about a dozen people got in line to get their books signed. The whole thing only lasted an hour.

In conclusion, Tori Centanni is great and the James Frey reading was not. Less than 40 people at a Town Hall event—the upstairs, I think, seats 850 people and the downstairs seats anywhere from two to five hundred, depending on the configuration—translates to a waste of time for everyone involved.

The Unluckiest Show in Seattle

posted by on May 20 at 10:42 AM

Pity the poor Nebunele Theater company—not only does it have a name nobody can ever remember how to say, Nebu-whatever-you-call-it is currently running Medea Knows Best, the unluckiest show in Seattle.

But maybe that’s what you get for adapting Medea as a musical comedy.


A litany of the company’s woes, beginning with the first production—a workshop of their Greek-murder-musical-comedy—last winter:

• Freehold botched the theater rental1, making them cut the run short.

• The production designer stopped returning phone calls and vanished. He later explained he was having a midlife crisis. (He eventually returned.)

• The live musician/composer quit because he, according to co-author and actor Alissa Mortenson (she’s the blonde above), “didn’t like some people in the show.”

• “Then I got dumped by a boy I was in love with,” Mortenson said. “And the same thing happened to two other people in the show.”

• For the second Seattle production this month, Velocity botched the theater rental2 forcing Medea to relocate to CHAC. (That was after all the press releases with the original dates and times had already been sent.)

• The noise at CHAC: “Who knew that so many of CHAC’s events involve loud, live-dj thumpy-thumpy?,” Mortenson asked. (Hate to break it to you, Alissa, but that’s not exactly a secret. Still.) “Ever asked a master mixer to turn the music down just a tiny bit because there’s a quiet little play happening in the non-soundproofed room next door? Then you have seen the scornful face of death.”

Other problems with CHAC’s upstairs theater (which is run by a dance company called Walrus): its dimensions were smaller than reported, so the set wouldn’t fit; it lacked some of the equipment (curtains, etc.) that Mortenson thought it’d have.

Another designer, another midlife crisis.

• The critics haven’t been kind. (Joe Adcock, at his most Adcockian: “The play often is labored and never subtle. But it is amusing at times.” Now there’s a man who loves his copulas.)

• The actor playing Creon (Mortenson describes him as “older, somewhat infirm, and eccentric”) said that performing during the recent heat wave nearly killed him. “I don’t want to die in that theater,” Mortenson said he said. So he quit. The company found found a last-minute replacement, who …

• … promptly broke up with his girlfriend.

“They’re all more or less disasters averted,” Mortenson said gamely. “The show is still going on. But the next thing I want to do is one-woman show.”

1 Or maybe Nebulene botched. Anyway, botching happened.

2 Because Velocity lost its theaters when Ted Scroth bought Oddfellows and, in the confusion, neglected to tell Mortenson.

When is Talking to Enemies Not Appeasement?

posted by on May 20 at 10:40 AM

When Republican James Baker is talking, apparently:

Via The Trail.

Ted Kennedy’s Diagnosis

posted by on May 20 at 10:36 AM

A malignant brain tumor with an average survival rate of one to five years.

Reading Tonight

posted by on May 20 at 10:21 AM


Readings abound tonight, from the south to the north of Seattle. Things that I’m not going to discuss at length include a Nextbook-sponsored collection of stories about Jewish mothers; the paperback release of a supernatural thriller at the Seattle Public Library; Such a Pretty Fat,a new memoir “from the author of Bright Lights, Big Ass and Bitter is the New Black;” and Merle’s Door, which is another motherfucking book about a ‘freethinking’ dog.

At Third Place Books Ravenna, which is a really nice space that I don’t think I’ve written about before, Cory Doctorow is reading from his book Little Brother. I wrote about the book in this week’s Constant Reader, and I expounded a little bit on it yesterday, too.

At the University Book Store, Andrew Sean Greer reads from his new novel, The Story of a Marriage. Anna Roth reviewed it for us:

There’s a line in Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, a book I read about 10 times when I was 19 and 20, that’s been stuck in my head ever since. He writes that in books by Dostoyevsky, there were things “so true they changed you as you read them.” For a long time that phrase became my gold standard for judging novels.

Hemingway is dangerous for young idealists for all sorts of reasons, but his emphasis on literary Truth was particularly disastrous for me. The search for “one true sentence” became my blind spot; for a good turn of phrase, I was willing to forgive major plot holes and incredible character flaws. I overlooked the fact that things may be True, but that doesn’t automatically make the novel Good. A perfect example of this is The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer, a book sprinkled with profound prose that ultimately rings false.

And there are two readings at Town Hall. William H. Calvin reads from Global Fever: How to Treat Climate Change, which is fairly self-explanatory, and Arianna Huffington, of the much-linked blog The Huffington Post, will be reading from her new political book Right is Wrong. I read somewhere that The Huffington Post finally surpassed Drudge in terms of web traffic, and I think that that alone is a reason to go to this reading. There will be some self-satisfied liberal back-patting, but sometimes that’s the price you pay for living in Seattle, and the interesting political analysis will hopefully more than make up for it. It’s probably the best place to spend this particular primary night.

The full readings calendar will provide more information on the readings that I glossed over.

The Good South Africa

posted by on May 20 at 10:21 AM

South African architect Zenkaya designed these prefab homes.

Woza friday/
Friday my darling/
Woza friday/
Friday my sweetheart.

Currently Hanging

posted by on May 20 at 10:19 AM

This was in my back yard when I got home last night.


It can only mean one thing. The gremlins are coming.

Currently Hanging

posted by on May 20 at 10:00 AM

Michael Brophy’s What Did You See There No. 1 (2008), gouche on paper, 10 1/2 by 13 inches

At G. Gibson Gallery. (Gallery web site here.)

Tonight: Oregon and Kentucky

posted by on May 20 at 9:15 AM

Here we go again. Except this time, maybe the results will be definitive—or sort of definitive.

WASHINGTON — Senator Barack Obama would like to begin shutting down the nominating contest with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday night as two more states — Kentucky and Oregon — hold their primaries. But he wants to do it subtly.

Oregon, a state that’s likely to be in play in the general election, is expected to go for Obama. Kentucky, a state that’s not likely to be in play in the general election, is expected to go for Clinton. And after the polls close tonight—at 4 p.m. PST for Kentucky and 8 p.m. PST for Oregon—Obama is expected to have passed the milestone of having secured a majority of pledged delegates.

He’ll be in Iowa for a full-circle moment in which he declares… Well, no one’s sure exactly what he’s going to declare, but it’s expected to be something very close to a declaration of victory.

Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, seems to be staying in until the (bitter?) end of the primary season. That end will come early next month after Puerto Rico votes on June 1 and South Dakota and Montana vote on June 3. No one really knows what will happen at that point. Remember when this was supposed to end on Super Tuesday? And with Ohio and Texas? And in Pennsylvania? Now it’s supposed to really, truly end on June 3 but we’ll have to wait and see what Clinton decides. It’s all up to her.

Meanwhile, Clinton is starting to more directly address the sexism she’s experienced on the campaign trail:

In an interview after church services in Bowling Green on Sunday, Clinton for the first time addressed what women have been talking about for months, what she refers to as the “sexist” treatment she has endured at the hands of the pundits, media and others. The lewd T-shirts. The man who shouted “Iron my shirt” at a campaign event. The references to her cleavage and her cackle.

“It’s been deeply offensive to millions of women,” Clinton said. “I believe this campaign has been a groundbreaker in a lot of ways. But it certainly has been challenging given some of the attitudes in the press, and I regret that, because I think it’s been really not worthy of the seriousness of the campaign and the historical nature of the two candidacies we have here.”


Later, when asked if she thinks this campaign has been racist, she says she does not. And she circles back to the sexism. “The manifestation of some of the sexism that has gone on in this campaign is somehow more respectable, or at least more accepted, and … there should be equal rejection of the sexism and the racism when it raises its ugly head,” she said. “It does seem as though the press at least is not as bothered by the incredible vitriol that has been engendered by the comments by people who are nothing but misogynists.”

For its part, the Obama campaign is pushing out this video of its huge, record-breaking rally in Portland on Sunday:

And also is directing people to this Flickr slideshow of the rally, courtesy of The Oregonian.

The Morning News

posted by on May 20 at 8:18 AM

Primary: Obama expected to gain majority of pledged delegates.

Powder Keg: Iraqi troops occupy Sadr city.

Sorry State: Bush personally apologizes for shooting of Koran.

Senators: Strike deal to prevent 500,000 home foreclosures.

Maybe if the junta had allowed aid earlier this wouldn’t be a problem: Burma warns of food shortage.

My Tunes: Napster rolls out massive catalog for MP3 store to challenge Apple. But will this one carry Led Zeppelin?

Canary in the Coal Mine: Home Depot reports only one-third expected net income.

Erectile Problems: Linked to heart disease.

Launching: Google Health.

Deploying: 40,000 US troops notified of fall tours.

Surviving: Chinese in rubble.

Screening: McCain campaign reviews staff for lobbyist ties.

Rising: Barrel of oil reaches 129 bucks.

Ruling: Federal court finds SPD made wrongful arrest.

Disclosing: City of Seattle worst in state at responding to records requests.

A state audit found 30 public agencies, from King County to the city of Yakima, were mostly cooperative and timely in responding to requests for records they must disclose by law — with one notable exception.

The city of Seattle scored worse than any other government agency and was “nonresponsive” to 80 percent of the public-records requests received under the audit, released Monday.

Gone to His Head: Gov. Patterson hospitalized for migraine.

From Sexual Happiness in Marriage: A Christian Interpretation of Sexual Adjustment in Marriage, by Herbert J. Miles, Ph.D. Copyright 1967.

Sexually, man is timed quickly. He can become aroused through sexual stimulation with his wife and usually reach an orgasm in a very short time, two minutes, one, minute, or even less time. This is normal for him. He will gradually learn to control himself, but he will always tend to be “quick on the trigger.” His wife should never say to him, “You beast, why don’t you control yourself?” She should understand him in terms of his quick timing sexually, and that God created him this way.

On the other hand, woman is timed more slowly, sometimes very slowly, as compared with a man. Her husband should never say, “You iceberg, why don’t you hurry up?” He should realize that she is not responsible for being timed slowly. He should realize that all men’s wives are just like his, and that God created them this way.

Wii Fit: The Review

posted by on May 20 at 1:26 AM

One week into Wii Fit, I had gained nearly four pounds. Didn’t matter that I’d logged five-and-a-half hours on the game’s timer (average of 46 minutes per day); that I’d enjoyed walks, bike rides and a long basketball game through the week; that I’d even avoided eating out, snacking late and drinking much. Wii Fit, in spite of its encouragement and games, stresses weight above all, and by day seven, I found myself obsessing over its most glaring metric.

Ah, day seven. I woke up, stepped on the weight-sensitive Wii Balance Board, and found out I was nearly three pounds heavier than the day before, I waited a few hours, stripped down to my skivvies and re-measured. MUST. GET. HIGH. SCORE.

The girlfriend caught me, but she didn’t bust me for being naked. She went the other route: “Tell me you didn’t just go to the bathroom before weighing yourself.” I sheepishly turned my head away.

Wii Lunge, Meet Wii Big Ass

Wii Fit gets a few things right. I’ve become more sedentary since losing my last office job, so having a new source of cardiovascular activity a few steps from the desk has sent my daily average through the roof. The game’s exercise modes mostly push me in new ways—stretching the spine, holding yoga poses and pulling off smooth, controlled leg lifts, all of which tell me how balanced I am mid-exercise thanks to this Wii Board. Direct, immediate feedback without the cost or pushiness of a trainer? I’m all for it.

Clearly, the three fitness modes (yoga, strength training, aerobics) are not fun. Sweat- and soreness-inducing, sure. Fulfilling, probably. But let’s not confuse the tree pose or a 60-second plank ab flex with Call of Duty 4. I’m glad there’s a “game” mode, though—pretend the balance board is an analog joystick, then lean in every direction to aim a skier, a hamster ball, a rolling marble board, and so on. If you only have a few minutes or don’t want to break a sweat, these games can at least boost the heartrate for 10 or 15 minutes, and, yeah, they’re fun.

In many other respects, Wii Fit holds up. The virtual trainers have soothing voices and relatively helpful advice as you do each exercise. The interface is clean. Its exercise selection is pretty diverse. But too much contributed to my seventh day freak-out.

After a few days of play, you’ll unlock the full series of over 40 exercises. Do each of them at a high rep count, and you’ll rack up over an hour and a half of work, which is unfeasible for a daily workout. Begs questions: Would it be best to start my workout with yoga? Or aerobics? Should I just focus on one type of exercise or do a spread of all three? Maybe I should focus on separate body parts every day? How should I mix my routine up over time?

Wii Fit doesn’t answer any of these. You’re thrown in to work out however you see fit, which is weird for a game that logs your every action—not a single recommendation, huh? Wii Fit also doesn’t answer or advise much with a lot of yoga poses. When I first did the tree pose, my girlfriend saw me struggling and suggested I lower my raised foot closer to my knee. This worked perfectly, as did all of her other suggestions (none of which were given by the Wii’s virtual trainers). Too bad every copy of Wii Fit doesn’t come with a yoga-wise friend.

Worst of all is Wii Fit’s obsession with weight. It wasn’t until day seven that I cracked open my instruction booklet and saw that its BMI (body mass index) scores should actually scale for users with more muscle mass. This text is in fine print, as is a warning that users under the age of 20 shouldn’t rely on BMI readings. Would be nice, then, if the game didn’t declare my 16-year-old alter-ego “overweight” with absolutely no asterisk. (There’s also the legit tale of a 10-year-old whose Wii deemed her overweight. What fun.) And if your weight spikes on a given day, Wii Fit will demand an explanation. Seriously—jump two pounds or more, and you are forced to explain yourself with one of eight choices: “Ate too late,” “Indigestion,” etc. Sadly, the thing lacks choices such as, “I’m going through my period, you heartless piece of plastic.”

(Though I’m already running too long here, God, I have to point one little thing out, mostly cuz it drove Golob nuts during his test run. When you step on the Wii Balance Board, a little girl’s voice usually exclaims, “Oh!” I think it sounds like a little girl being stepped upon; someone else said it sounds like “a nine-year-old who’s just been fingered by an older man.” Either way, creeeeeeeeeepy.)

Wii Fit’s hype has resonated with plenty of weight-conscious folks—here’s a convenient, fun device that can finally motivate you to get to it, tubby! But if Nintendo wants to sell this as a complete training solution, education is crucial. Wii Fit offers no true fat measurement, little info about weight fluctuation (it’s there, buried under demanding weight-spike questions), and no smart recommendations based on the data it saves. If you know what you’re doing—been through the gym circuit, have a grasp on yoga, know that a scale is hardly indicative of true fitness—then Wii Fit is a solid tool to fill the gaps in your schedule and keep you active when you’re at home. I like its yoga poses, its dynamic measurements, and its easy access.

But I hate that it’s made me a slave to its scale. The little information that Wii Fit offers is drowned out by the fact that it turns your weight into a score, greeting you in the form of a glaring, daily chart. Welcome to disorder city; don’t forget to take a dump before you hit the power button.

Monday, May 19, 2008


posted by on May 19 at 8:11 PM

An elderly woman died Monday afternoon after her car crashed into a downtown Seattle utility pole and landed upside down.

This Year’s Local Races: By the Numbers

posted by on May 19 at 6:20 PM

The latest statewide political fundraising numbers are out, and they include a few surprises and an intriguing hint or two about the political future of some of the region’s political leaders.

Surprise One: Despite arguing vociferously for a spending cap at the (hotly contested) 46th District Democrats’ nominating convention, former anti-Hanford activist Gerry Pollet is actually outraising his “establishment” opponent, Scott White—so called because he used to chair the 46th District Dems and has the endorsement of most elected officials in the city. Last month, Pollet raised $8,000 to White’s $6,300, leaving Pollet (with around $11,000) less than $5,000 shy of the $15,800 White has on hand. (Less surprisingly, well-funded business candidate Reuven Carlyle continued to clobber his opponent, John Burbank, in the 36th, raising $25,000 in April to Burbank’s $6,600. Burbank, also not surprisingly, has also called for a spending cap)

King County Council member Larry Phillips, rumored to be mulling a challenge to King County Executive Ron Sims, has more than $135,000 on hand. If Phillips does run, the incumbent has a lot of catching up to do—Sims has just $16,000 in the bank, and he didn’t raise a single penny in April. Meanwhile, King County Council member Bob Ferguson, also rumored to be considering a run for County Exec, has just $8,000 on hand.

On the local front, neither of the Seattle City Council members who are reportedly planning to retire this year—Richard McIver or Jan Drago—have raised any money to speak of, and Nick Licata, about whose plans nobody is certain, has just over $11,000 in the bank. While Richard Conlin, rumored to be considering a run against Mayor Greg Nickels, has a paltry $14,800, Tom Rasmussen, another potential contender, has $109,000 on hand.

(Thanks to JR for crunching the data).

Meet the New Enemy, Same as the Old Enemy?

posted by on May 19 at 5:40 PM

First, one of the most memorable paragraphs from one of last year’s most important (and prescient) pieces about Barack Obama:

Consider this hypothetical. It’s November 2008. A young Pakistani Muslim is watching television and sees that this man—Barack Hussein Obama—is the new face of America. In one simple image, America’s soft power has been ratcheted up not a notch, but a logarithm. A brown-skinned man whose father was an African, who grew up in Indonesia and Hawaii, who attended a majority-Muslim school as a boy, is now the alleged enemy. If you wanted the crudest but most effective weapon against the demonization of America that fuels Islamist ideology, Obama’s face gets close. It proves them wrong about what America is in ways no words can.

Second, this piece, posted today by the Christian Science Monitor:

Osama bin Laden must be chuckling in his safe house. After all, the 2008 campaign could very well give Al Qaeda the ultimate propaganda tool: President Barack Hussein Obama, Muslim apostate.

The fact that Senator Obama – the son of a Muslim father – insists he was never a Muslim before becoming Christian is irrelevant to bin Laden. In bin Laden’s eyes, Obama is a murtad fitri, the worst type of apostate, because he was blessed by Allah to be born into the true faith of Islam.

Via, as ever.

Open Thread

posted by on May 19 at 5:34 PM

It’s muggy in the office and we’re scrambling to wrap up this week’s issue and our enormous SIFF guide… and I can’t come up with a better excuse as to why Slog is so slow this afternoon. Why don’t you tell us what we should be writing about in this space.

South End Groper Strikes Again

posted by on May 19 at 5:33 PM

The South Seattle Groper has claimed another victim. Around 10 AM on Saturday morning, a man—who police describe as a 40-year-old black male, driving a 1994 green Jeep Cherokee—approached an Asian woman and her two-year-old child on the 7500 block of Renton Ave S and grabbed the woman’s buttocks.

The woman began screaming and witnesses—who reported the incident to police—saw both the victim and the groper run from the scene. Police are still attempting to contact the woman.

Police believe the same man is responsible for at least 21 other gropings in the South Seattle area.

Jailhouse Talk

posted by on May 19 at 5:30 PM

There’s a meeting in West Seattle tonight to discuss the city’s potential plan to build a new jail in or near the Highland Park neighborhood.

The has city identified two different sites near the Highland Park—along with sites in Interbay and Haller Lake—as possible locations for the new city jail, which must be built by 2012.

The meeting will be held at the Highland Park Improvement Club, 1101 SW Holden St at 7pm.

Jumbo Berries

posted by on May 19 at 5:20 PM

Megan found these (Limited Edition!) gigantic strawberries at QFC today (excuse the terrible photo). They are uniformly delicious and no one who has consumed them has reported unusual hair growth or a deepening voice. They are, however, very, very messy.

Wait, Where’d My Beer Go?

posted by on May 19 at 3:00 PM


Miller and Anheuser-Busch are releasing beer in camouflage cans to attract the hunting demographic. The cans arrive in October, just in time for a fresh slew of beer-related hunting accidents.

(Via Adfreak.)

The Dream Ticket

posted by on May 19 at 1:54 PM


MightyGodKing has a list of potential running mates for Barack Obama. There are pros and cons for all of the potential vice presidents, including Jim Webb, Joe Lieberman, the entire state of Ohio, a giant ice cream sundae, and many others.

Rape-ity Balls Are So 0000

posted by on May 19 at 1:39 PM

I feel cheated.

I grew up Nazarene (ternt Babdist [Xtians LOVE an-/pro- nunciation!]) in North Central Texas—Texoma, if you will (I had to). Never ONCE did I get a ball or balls from my daddy or anyone else’s daddy. Are you there, God? It’s My Sense of Entitlement. In fact no dude I knew ever had any purity ball. No one ever takes groups of boys aside, making them vow to hold their load for marriage (or consent???). And that pisses me off.

Let me tell you what does happen. There are extra-curricular Sunday school classes and fellowships/pancake breakfasts for men young and old where they teach you how to own the fuck out of your household, own your women (sorry…Honor them!), and own all the riches you deserve because you prayed for them.

Now all of this (minus the pancakes) was totally useless to me because I was/am a homosexual, but you’d think someone would organize balls for us boys who “struggled” with our sexuality. Make us dress up in tails and patent leather slip-ons. Make us vow not to have our first sexual experience at a glory hole in a porn arcade (that experience was a total surprise; I never even knew about glory holes before!). Nope. Instead there were secret (even to the church body) bible studies for combatting, well… the innate (but sinful) desire to have dicks in our faces.


Until then, I’ll have to settle for this (And true story—I once kissed the fellow you see on the far right at 2:25; take that, GOD!):

EDIT: Oooooh, MARY. I totally forgot I had this photo. Here’s one of those MENZ FUNCTIONS at my old mini-mega-church, First Baptist Church of Wichita Falls. In this image you see a laying-on-of-hands for the former pastor—who once started a campaign to get Heather Has Two Mommies and Daddy’s Roommate banned from the public library and who, in a lot of people’s opinion, is a BIG OLE QUEEN. The name of this event, mind you, is STEAK AND PRAISE.


Reading Today

posted by on May 19 at 1:10 PM


Slog tipper Rob informs me that Cory Doctorow is reading from Little Brother at All For Kids today at 4 pm today. This is true. Rob is bringing his two kids, and if you have the afternoon off, you should go, too. You’ll have one more chance after today: Doctorow reads at Third Place Books tomorrow. I wrote about the book in this week’s Constant Reader:

Little Brother is the story of Marcus, a 17-year-old hacker who gets secretly arrested by Homeland Security. In true young-adult-novel fashion, Marcus and his friends fight back against the theft of their freedoms.

Doctorow’s prose is light and explanatory, and it’s the explanations that really make the book important: Hidden inside Little Brother is a manual for civil disobedience. It has useful advice for what to do when detained by authorities; information about methods the government employs to track its own citizens; and actual, working tips on how to modify technology to maintain your anonymity. With a copy of the book and Google, it’s possible for an inspired reader to scan his surroundings for miniature cameras, free his computer from spyware, and set up anonymous internet identities.

1000 Words

posted by on May 19 at 1:08 PM


Slog tipper Charlie writes…

My wife and I were walking by the ol’ Mars Hill this Sunday and came across this scene. The beauty and horribleness of this iPhone snapshot is beyond further description.

Re: Purity Balls Are So 2002

posted by on May 19 at 1:05 PM

The five creepiest things in Sunday’s Times article on “purity balls,” in no particular order:

1) The idea that girls are “waiting for” their fathers in the context of an event that tells girls to wait to have sex. “’Fathers, our daughters are waiting for us,’ Mr. Wilson, 49, told the men. ‘They are desperately waiting for us in a culture that lures them into the murky waters of exploitation. They need to be rescued by you, their dad.”’

2) 23275485.jpg

3) “Each father and his daughter walked under the arch and knelt before the cross. Synthesized hymns played. The fathers sometimes held their daughters and whispered a short prayer, and then the girls each placed a white rose, representing purity, at the foot of the cross. Mr. Lee and Rachel walked away holding hands.” Yep, A WHITE ROSE. Because little girls’ virginity is a delicate flower—and only their daddies can keep the eeevil boys from plucking (heh) all the petals away.

4) 23275631.jpg

5) The conclusion: “The fathers took their flushed and sometimes sleepy girls toward the exit. But one father took his two young daughters for a walk around the hotel’s dark, glassy lake.” Nah, nothing creepy about taking two “flushed, sleepy” young girls for a creepy walk around the creepy, glassy lake. Nothing creepy about that at all.

Re: Chain Your Bike to the Convention Center, Get the Boot

posted by on May 19 at 12:59 PM

Great post, Erica. And, hey, this makes a lot of sense:

…security [at the Convention Center] are instructed to lock bikes only when the bike is blocking access…

Because the last thing you want, when a bike is blocking access, is for the bike’s owner to remove that bike. Better it should stay put and impeded pedestrian access for as long as possible.

But I disagree with you on this, ECB:

Is it really better to have bikes clustered on trees and on heavily trafficked stairways than tethered safely to a bike rack tucked away from public view?

Bike racks shouldn’t be “tucked away,” out of “public view.” Bikes and bikers and bike racks aren’t unsightly. Racks belong right on sidewalks, right along curbs, right in front of entrances to offices and schools and convention centers (and ball parks). Like this bike rack.

Would that kind of bike rack placement impede pedestrians? Yes, but only people crossing in the middle of the street and—hey!—we’re not supposed to be jaywalking here in the Best of All Possible World-Class Cities anyway, right?

Oh, and I love the idea of “Lock Your Bike to the Convention Center Day,” and I have two crappy, old bikes that I’d be happy to lock to the Convention Center. But why limit it to just the Convention Center? We should target other locations that fail to provide adequate or convenient parking for bikes—like Safeco Field.

UPDATE: And here’s what bike racks look like when a city—when a society—gets serious about bike commuting….


This picture was taken in front of the central train station in Groningen, the Netherlands, by Slog tipper Eric F.

7th CD Caucus

posted by on May 19 at 12:49 PM

Saturday was the final Seattle-area caucus, charged with choosing pledged delegates for Obama and Clinton to send to the Democratic National Convention.

Notable things:

After The Stranger reported that the rowdy 43rd District Dems had voted to skip the pledge of allegiance in their legislative district caucus, the 7th CD organizers made sure to start the proceedings with the pledge—the possibility of voting for changes in the agenda was deemed impossible until that vital business had taken place.

A significant number of Obama delegates elected from their LD caucus (remember, these people had to show up and be elected at their precinct caucuses, then show up and get elected again at their legislative district caucuses two months later) failed to show up at this last and most vital round of elections. (It was, admittedly, a very sunny day; and the caucus lasted from about 9 am to 6 pm.) A few Clinton delegates ditched too, but all of their possible delegate slots were eventually filled by alternates. Obama, in contrast, was unable to seat a delegate in two available slots. But the margins weren’t big enough to cause a change in the final distribution of national delegates: seven for Obama (four women and three men) and two for Clinton (one woman and one man).

Despite the numbers being quite favorable for the Obama women (and the fact that lots more women than men who had submitted declarations of candidacy apparently decided at the last minute not to run), I failed to make it through to the second ballot. That’s what you get for putting together the most comprehensive guide to the Seattle International Film Festival when you’re supposed to be campaigning. Oh well.

Here are the 7th CD’s delegates to the Democratic National Convention (thanks, conscientious updater of the 36th District Dems page!):

Hillary Clinton Delegates
David Kunselman (43rd District)
Elizabeth Willmott (46th District)

Barack Obama Delegates
Majid Al-Bahadli (43rd District)
Nicolas Bordner (34th District)
Jayron Finan (46th District)
Jennifer Hauseman (43rd District)
Helen Howell (11th District)
Suzan Levine (36th District)
Chris Porter (34th District)

Barack Obama Alternate
David Valdez (43rd District)

I don’t know about the HRC delegates, but that Obama slate is pretty diverse. There are black people, gays, a 17-year-old high school senior, an Iraqi-American man, and an Iranian-American woman… no older people, though.

Also at the caucus, I had the chance to speak briefly with David McDonald, a member of that rapidly shrinking species of uncommitted superdelegates. He also sits on the DNC Rules and ByLaws Committee, which originally voted to deny Michigan and Florida their delegates, and which is meeting again at the end of this month. McDonald thinks that The New York Times has judged the situation correctly. Thirteen Rules Committee members have committed to supporting Clinton, and are likely to side with her in the dispute; only eight have committed to Obama. Seven more are officially uncommitted, though Donna Brazile’s public statements make her seem like a likely Obama vote, and three more may be inclined to support him. McDonald claims he’s one of the three really, truly uncommitted Rules Committee members. He may very well cast the deciding vote on whether to seat Florida and Michigan. Pretty fancy.

Chain Your Bike to the Convention Center, Get the Boot

posted by on May 19 at 12:24 PM

A bicycle-riding Slog tipper writes that last Thursday, he* was attending an energy conservation conference and discovered there were no bike racks available in front of the downtown Convention Center. Not wanting his bike to get stolen, he chained it to a railing—one he says seemed to be “out of the way [of] pedestrian movement in and out of the building.” But when he got ready to leave, the biker writes,

I went out to my bike, unlocked it, and as I pulled it away from the railing it gave a strong counter-pull. Confused, I looked at the bike and noticed that SOMEONE PUT A FREAKIN’ BIKE BOOT on my bike. No note, just a lock and cable around my frame. Assuming it was the convention center staff, I went inside and it took about 20 minutes for any staff person to know what was going on — to be able to say, “Oh yeah, security does that.”

After about half an hour, the bicyclist says, he managed to hunt down a security guard, who took the lock off his bike.


The two-wheeled menace

A minor inconvenience? Maybe. But completely out of step with Seattle’s supposedly bike-friendly ethos. “Here we are,” the cyclist notes,

in the city led by the mayor who has been preaching to all other cities in this country that we need to take the lead on global warming. And there I was, parking my bike at one of the locations most visited by people who don’t live in Seattle, attending an energy conservation conference. And here it is, bike to work month. So does the convention center call the city to request a bunch of free bike racks to be installed out front to show to the world that Seattle supports biking? No, they boot bikes.

A spokesman for the Convention Center says security are instructed to lock bikes only when the bike is blocking access, making it impossible to empty trash, or causing damage to the building. None of those circumstances seemed to be in play in our anonymous cyclist’s case, though, although of course I only have his photograph to go on. More important, the Convention Center could easily fix the problem, by simply increasing the number of bike racks. Given the choice between lugging a bike around, parking far away, or chaining it to a trash can, what cyclist wouldn’t choose the latter?

As it turns out, I’ve noticed this problem frequently myself. I often ride my bike to the gym at the convention center, and I’ve managed to identify exactly two piddly bike racks for the whole facility—a facility that attracts thousands of people every day. One is under the big glass awning (near the geometrical water sculpture) and one is in the underpass that leads to Union Street. (A spokesman for the Convention Center says he doesn’t know exactly how many bike racks there are, but points out one rack I was unaware of, in the Convention Center parking garage.) Used strategically, each rack could probably hold a total of four bikes. If you’re the unlucky fifth biker to arrive at a Convention Center bike rack on a busy day, you’ve either got to take your bike with you or risk getting the boot.

At no time is this problem more obvious than when the Convention Center hosts “green” events—like the Seattle Green Festival earlier this year, when bikers poured into the Convention Center by the hundreds. Although the Convention Center did provide a “bike check” service, plenty of bikers clearly weren’t aware of it (or weren’t comfortable leaving their bikes with an unknown Convention Center staffer. Here’s what the Convention Center looked like that Saturday afternoon:


Bikes on trees, bikes on garbage cans, bikes on every available railing.

What does the Convention Center have against cyclists? Nothing, the Center spokesman insists. “We really are aware that people do ride their bikes into town. There isn’t [a policy] that actually says we don’t want bikes here. We just want [riders] to chain them here, not here—that’s all we’re trying to say.”

So why not just install more bike racks? Money can’t be the issue. The city pays for all bike racks on public property (including sidewalks), so all the Convention Center has to do is ask.

Is it that bikes are unsightly? Maybe, but bikers have to park somewhere. Is it really better to have bikes clustered on trees and on heavily trafficked stairways than tethered safely to a bike rack tucked away from public view?

So in that spirit, Anonymous Biker has a suggestion. “Clearly, the solution is to have as many bicycles, preferably complete pieces of shit, locked to the convention center with whatever cables, locks, or other heavy-duty apparatus can be found. So what do you think, May 27th as “Lock Your Bike to the Convention Center Day”? June as “Lock Your Bike to the Convention Center Month”?

Think about it. At worst, the Convention Center will lock up your bike. And at best, a mass two-wheeled protest could convince Convention Center management to pick up the phone, call Seattle’s bike program, and get a dozen new bike racks installed all around the Center.

Are there other locations around town desperately in need of a bike-rack intervention?

* I’m assuming our anonymous tipper is a he because, well, his/her bike is mighty manly. I’ve sent him/her an email and I’ll correct if my guess was wrong.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on May 19 at 12:05 PM

In case you forgot, here’s how to make iced tea, that magical elixir of dreams…

From Steve “I still live with my mother” Sutton

Three on the Race Riots in South Africa

posted by on May 19 at 11:55 AM


Some 6,000 people have fled a wave of attacks on foreigners in South Africa, which has left at least 22 dead, aid workers say.

“This is a classic refugee situation,” Rachel Cohen from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) told the BBC.

Many of those who have sought refuge in police stations, churches and community halls are Zimbabweans, who have fled violence and poverty at home.

One: How is it that black South Africans are so racially distinct from black Zimbabweans? Not even a thousand miles separate them, yet there are such strong differences in tone of color, shape of eyes, nose, and cheek bones. Does the diversity of races within black Africa have anything to do with the diversity of languages?

Two: I wonder if the South African hooligans are also targeting Zimbabweans from Matabeleland, home of the descendants of Mzilikazi Khumalo, a general who in the 1830s split from Shaka and settled his massive army in what Europeans called, after purchasing it from Mzilikazi’s son, Lobengula, Rhodesia, and the black African nationalists renamed Zimbabwe after the success of the second chimurenga—the second rebellion and first proper war for national independence that was instigated by the decedents of Mzilikazi and completed by their former subjects, the descendants of the Rozwi Empire, the Shona speakers. In short, many Zimbabweans in South African are racially linked to the Zulus.

Three: Because of the content in the newspapers and news sites in cyberspace, I often feel I’m the only Zimbabwean in the world who is not having a hard life.

Obama: What’s Hanford?

posted by on May 19 at 11:55 AM

Campaigning in Oregon, Obama admits he’s not up to speed on an issue that looms pretty large in the Pacific Northwest:

Via Ben Smith, who also admits not knowing from Hanford.

Piss Test

posted by on May 19 at 11:48 AM


From Germany, a new way to remind drunks that they’re drunk:

So how to capture the attention of any potential drunk drivers? Well, where do most people go when they’re drunk? (Apart from the bar, that is. Or maybe a kebab.) They go to the toilet. As such, we thought the urinal would be the perfect medium to reach our target audience in a fresh, surprising way.

h/t Metafilter.

Footnote: The Piss Screen game was invented by British advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi, whose first p.r. coup was this billboard campaign, which helped Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative party take over in the UK general election of 1979:


Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on May 19 at 11:00 AM


El-P, Dizzee Rascal at Neumo’s

Few voices in hiphop, or all of pop music, are as distinct and divisive as Dizzee Rascal’s. Rising out of the critically praised (but commercially stillborn) East London grime scene, Rascal raps with a rubbery, harsh, heavily accented bark that evokes grim council estates, CCTV paranoia, and druggy urban smog. But Rascal’s England is also one of world-conquering ambition, as announced on his monumental, upwardly mobile anthem “Fix Up, Look Sharp.” With Brooklyn-born MC and producer El-P. (Neumo’s, 925 E Pike St, 709-9467. 8 pm, $17 adv, all ages.)


Serious Shit

Committee to Protect Journalists Forum at Kane Hall, Room 130

Earlier this year, Seattle filmmaker Sandy Cioffi and her crew were traveling in Nigeria in search of closing footage for Sweet Crude, her documentary about life in the dirt-poor-but-oil-rich Niger Delta. On April 12, they were apprehended by the Nigerian military and held for seven harrowing days. Tonight Cioffi joins an international panel of journalists and human-rights advocates to parse “the deeper story and larger issues” behind her detainment and the growing risks of international journalism. (University of Washington, Kane Hall Room 130, 7 pm, $10/$5.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Nightlife Crackdown Continues: City Forces Neumos to Reduce Capacity

    posted by on May 19 at 10:36 AM

    Originally posted Friday night.

    In recent weeks, the city has been cracking down on Capitol Hill’s nightlife. Club owners and bartenders say they’ve repeatedly been harassed by Seattle Police, the Fire Marshall’s office and other city agencies. Now, Neumos—Capitol Hill’s largest live music venue—is catching heat from the city over their crowd capacity.

    Neumos’ co-owner Steve Severin just sent an email explaining the problem:

    Neumos was recently and suddenly informed by the City of Seattle of a new interpretation of the capacity rules for our venue that is leading to some unwieldy restrictions during shows. It is not a change to our overall capacity, rather a limitation on allowing people to move freely throughout the venue, from the showroom floor, to the mezzanine, to Moe Bar, and reduces the number of tickets we can sell. Instead, the City is telling us that patrons have to stay in divided areas.

    We have been going through all the proper channels to correct this as quickly as possible and we have been receiving some assistance from certain departments within the city. The Fire department has been flexible and is working with us this weekend to help solve some of these problems connected with the restricted flow to these areas. The earliest we are able to have our initial meeting with the Department of Planning and Development will be May 28th. We have been pleading to get the appointment moved up, but have been unable to get that done. Unfortunately we are being expected to try to change our entire business model over night, without the time to train staff, adjust customers expectations, and re-design our business model.

    The building and its occupancy have been interpreted the same way for 15 years.

    We hope we can get this sorted out and put behind us so we can continue to do what we are designed to do, which is bring quality music to a thriving music city, in a responsible and professional manner.

    Indeed, the city’s newly imposed crowd regulations appear to be becoming a frequent problem for Neumos. A sign on the club’s front door reads:

    Due to an unexpected reinterpretation of the capacity limits at Neumos by the Seattle Fire Department, the audience at tonight’s show will have to be separated between the floor and the balcony.

    Once the venue is at capacity, patrons will be able to move from space to space on a one-in one-out basis.

    Seattle Fire Department Spokeswoman Helen Fitzpatrick says SFD has been working with Neumos, issuing permits allowing them to temporarily expand their newly limited capacity for one or two nights at a time.

    The city’s Department of Planning and Development—which enforces Fire Marshall violations—was not able to provide information on any occupancy changes for the building and SFD did not return a call for comment this afternoon.

    Oh Dear God

    posted by on May 19 at 10:32 AM

    Pit bulls kill 7-year-old on rural Texas road.

    To the folks who scream that “banning the breed” is fascism and claim that all bad dog behavior should be blamed on the owners: Let’s look at this from a materialistic point of view. If there were, say, a blender on the market that worked super-great most of the time, but had the capacity to rip off people’s faces if improperly operated, it would be taken off the shelves.

    Yes, comparing a dog to a blender is problematic, but still: If it requires fine-tuned magic training to keep pit bulls from accidentally becoming killing machines, perhaps the purchase of such dogs should be restricted.


    posted by on May 19 at 10:31 AM

    The Penguin Blog has images of their most recent British reissue of Ian Fleming’s James Bond series. The covers focus on the ladies, which is probably a wise choice; I’ve always found Fleming’s novels to be less about guns, booze, and tuxedoes (which have almost always wound up on the covers of Bond novels since the movies) and more about pitchin’ woo while fighting evil.


    Purity Balls Are So 2002

    posted by on May 19 at 10:27 AM


    Clearly “purity balls”—those creepy father/daughter dances at which Christian dads pledge to “cover” their daughters “in the area of purity”—are on their way out. I mean, if the organizers of a purity ball could only attract a scant 63 dads interested in covering their daughters’ purity areas in Colorado Springs, Colorado, then this movement doesn’t have (tightly closed) legs. You could probably attract that many men or more to a fetish ball in Colorado Springs.

    Bethany Jean Clement Raids Renee Erickson’s Refrigerator

    posted by on May 19 at 10:15 AM


    Seattle’s got a new food quarterly: Edible Seattle, devoted to “celebrating the seasonal bounty of Puget Sound.”

    The premiere issue is on stands now, and features the start of a new series by Stranger food writer/Bar Examiner Bethany Jean Clement: Icebox, in which BJC investigates the contents of a notable chef’s refrigerator.

    Subject of the first installment: Boat Street Cafe’s Renee Erickson, whose fridge is home to an array of fascinations, along with Best Foods mayonnaise, Heinz ketchup, and Diet Pepsi.

    You can find EdibleSeattle all over town.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on May 19 at 10:09 AM


    And a Happy Bright Shiny Morning to you. There are a ton of readings in town tonight, including an open mic, a talk by local doctor Emily Transue, and a book called Outright Barbarous: How the Violent Language of the Right Poisons American Democracy, which kind of has the thesis in the title.

    Let’s discuss the Bright Shiny Elephant in the room. James Frey reads at Town Hall tonight, from his new novel Bright Shiny Morning. He is joined by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, who reads from the reissue of his book Candy Everybody Wants. Kilmer-Purcell is doing kind of an opening act thing, I guess. We didn’t review Bright Shiny Morning in the paper this week—really, do you want to read another rehash of the stupid James Frey stupidness?—but Ari Spool reviewed Candy Everybody Wants, and here’s the beginning of that review:

    I’m going to come right out and admit this: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a gay man. Nor have I ever been a gay male teenager with a desperate hankering for fame, a trailer-trash bohemian for a mom, or a retard for a brother. Is that why I hated Candy Everybody Wants?

    Fuck, no. There’s so much more to hate than just the characters. There’s also the plot! And the setting! And, most of all, the writing!

    The rest of the review is here.

    I do not recommend you go to the Frey reading
    . Instead, you should check out Preeta Samarasan, reading from Evening is the Whole Day at Elliott Bay Book Company, if debut novels set in Malaysia are your thing. Or—perhaps most excitingly—Nancy Kress, the author of Beggars in Spain, is reading at the Hugo House. It’s a pretty great sci-fi novel, and she’s going to be reading new work.

    If fiction isn’t your thing, Stuart Kauffman is also at Town Hall reading from Reinventing the Sacred: A New View of Science, Reason and Religion, which seems to posit that there is room for religion in science. I remain skeptical.

    Those with questions are directed to the readings calendar.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on May 19 at 10:00 AM

    Robert Hardgrave’s Djorge, mixed media on paper collage, 18 by 24 inches

    At BLVD. (Gallery web site here.)

    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father

    posted by on May 19 at 9:48 AM

    Two toddlers have been placed in the care of Suffolk County Child Protective Services after police arrested their parents on drug and endangerment charges.

    Suffolk police responded to a Shell Road home around 3 pm May 9 after receiving a tip of possible animal abuse, according to police reports. They discovered a dog locked with its own filth in a small cage, without water, and entered the home.

    Inside, they found a 4-year-old boy naked and a 2-year-old boy wearing a dirty diaper. They also found Jeffrey Littlefield, 24, and Heather Littlefield, 23, the boys’ parents, apparently under the influence of drugs, along with more than 200 used and uncapped hypodermic needles and “at least one hypodermic needle loaded with drugs,” according to a police statement.

    Needles were in “virtually every room in the house,” the statement added. Also confiscated were two rifles with ammunition, several knives, used glassine bags and other drug paraphernalia, police said.

    When Jeffrey Littlefield approached officers, he stumbled to the floor; Heather Littlefield was found unconscious on the bathroom floor, police said.

    Via Pam’s House Blend.

    What He Said

    posted by on May 19 at 9:41 AM

    Paul Krugman writing from Berlin in today’s NYT:

    Any serious reduction in American driving will require more than this—it will mean changing how and where many of us live.

    To see what I’m talking about, consider where I am at the moment: in a pleasant, middle-class neighborhood consisting mainly of four- or five-story apartment buildings, with easy access to public transit and plenty of local shopping.

    It’s the kind of neighborhood in which people don’t have to drive a lot, but it’s also a kind of neighborhood that barely exists in America, even in big metropolitan areas. Greater Atlanta has roughly the same population as Greater Berlin—but Berlin is a city of trains, buses and bikes, while Atlanta is a city of cars, cars and cars.

    And in the face of rising oil prices, which have left many Americans stranded in suburbia—utterly dependent on their cars, yet having a hard time affording gas—it’s starting to look as if Berlin had the better idea.

    Starting to look? It’s been crystal clear to many of us, and for quite a long time, that Berlin had the better idea—and so did New York City, Chicago, Paris, London, Munich, etc., etc.

    And Krugman makes another great point:

    If Europe’s example is any guide, here are the two secrets of coping with expensive oil: own fuel-efficient cars, and don’t drive them too much.

    Notice that I said that cars should be fuel-efficient—not that people should do without cars altogether. In Germany, as in the United States, the vast majority of families own cars (although German households are less likely than their U.S. counterparts to be multiple-car owners).

    It’s possible to live in Berlin without owning a car, of course, and many people don’t. But all of Berlin’s trains, buses, and safe bike lanes make it possible to live in the city and use your car infrequently. Building a real rapid transit system in our region—rail, rail, rail—isn’t about forcing people out of their cars, which is how many anti-mass-transit activists like to frame it. It’s about giving people—including car owners—more options. That people here are forced to rely on cars isn’t proof that people prefer to drive everywhere they need to go.

    Obama in Portland: A Post-Mortem

    posted by on May 19 at 9:28 AM


    That photo, ripped from Wonkette, sums up Barack Obama’s visit to Portland yesterday.

    At the waterfront, he gave his standard stump speech. We need health care, we need to end the war in Iraq, McCain will carry on Bush’s policies, college should be affordable, McCain’s gas tax holiday idea is a gimmick, we want change, vote for change on Tuesday, etc. I’ve heard it before.

    The bigger news: Via the Wall Street Journal, “the Democratic frontrunner attracted a crowd of 75,000 according to Duane Bray, battalion chief with Portland Fire and Rescue.” Shit goddamn. That’s more than twice the size of Obama’s previous record crowd. Why are Portlanders so eager to risk heat stroke for a glimpse of Obama? Because—unlike you guys in Washington—our primary is so late it rarely means anything. This year we get a say, and we’re giddy.

    The Mercury’s Erik Henriksen summed up the speech—and the t-shirt vendors—here.

    Looking back from the press area, the field of infinitesimal people stretches back and back and back: John Kerry supposedly packed 50,000 people in here when he showed up with Bon Jovi (tangent: as Scott Moore noted earlier, the Decemberists are to Portland as Bon Jovi is to Jersey), and if this crowd isn’t 50,000, it’s damn close*. I can’t see where they could possibly fit anyone else in. The park is packed, people are still crossing over the Hawthorne Bridge, boats float in the water just offshore, people on their decks in swimsuits, lounging about and listening, and even the Portland Spirit is floating just N of the Hawthorne, people leaning against the railings to try and catch the words that echo over the park and bounce off of the bridge’s steel and concrete.

    And my colleague Matt Davis, stuck in the miles-long line to get into Waterfront Park, interviewed people swept up in Obama-mania (and a small cadre of Hillary Clinton supporters).

    Tim Frasier, 24, in the Obama t-shirt, had dragged his friends Sarah Stevenson, 24, and Aaron Martin, 25, along. Martin said he was drunk when he got Frasier’s email from Obama’s site on Thursday night, and just agreed to sign up. The next evening he got a call from Obama’s campaign asking him to volunteer. “I said yes again,” said Martin. “But I don’t think I can actually do it. I have a biology exam to sit, and if I don’t show, I won’t graduate.” Excuses, excuses. “We were saying wouldn’t it be great if there’s Obama water on sale when we get down there,” said Frasier. “For like $25 a bottle. It’s going to be elitist water…”

    Dwight Pelz Backs Obama

    posted by on May 19 at 9:25 AM

    Yet another undeclared Washington State superdelegate gets off the fence. Maybe that crowd of 75,000 people at the Obama rally in Portland yesterday played some part in getting our state’s Democratic Party Chairman to declare his support late last night?

    Thinking in the Age of Bush

    posted by on May 19 at 9:15 AM

    The McCain camp is trying to portray the likely Democratic candidate Barack Obama as soft on terrorism, as “Hamas’s favourite” and as a man who would not defend America’s security.

    The Hamas tag followed a comment by a Hamas spokesman Ahmed Yousef who told WABC Radio: “We like Mr Obama. We hope he will [win] the election and I do believe he is like John Kennedy, great man with great principle.”

    It is strange to think that a Hamas which respects an American president is much more dangerous to the ordinary American than a Hamas that hates an American president. This strange kind of thinking will end only with the end of the present age and continue only if the age is continued. McCain is that continuation.

    Kay Barnes Must be Stopped!

    posted by on May 19 at 9:05 AM

    If Kay Barnes gets elected to Congress from Missouri, black gay abortionists drunk on champagne will leave their illegal-immigrant boyfriends in San Francisco and travel to Missouri to engage in interracial three-way dancing in empty clubs.

    Kay Barnes is a threat to all things good and decent.

    Via JoeMyGod.

    Holy Hooters

    posted by on May 19 at 8:59 AM

    Enough of the heavy and sad stories from the Holy Land…
    …Let’s read something light and breezy:

    Ofer Ahiraz, a gray-haired 48-year-old… and his wife Ilana… opened [a] Hooters franchise last November, putting Israel on the list of over 40 nations that have imported the American icon.

    Ilana, also 48, is not a waitress, although her admiration for the Hooters girls is clear - especially since the Ahirazes’ daughter, Gal, works as head waitress and trainer. Like any good Jewish parents, the Ahirazes sent their eldest daughter to college - at Hooters University in Atlanta, Georgia, where Gal studied for three months to learn the principles behind the Hooters mystique.

    The Ahirazes have adapted the chain’s food and atmosphere to suit Israeli tastes and mentalities. They replaced Hooters’ crab, pork and oyster dishes with more salads and grilled meats, but they still serve up world-famous Hooters chicken wings, along with Philly steak and chicken burgers. Wings are made with the time-tested Hooters buttery-vinaigrette hot sauce and come in five levels of spiciness.

    Anonymous Female Blasts Anonymous Male Anonymously

    posted by on May 19 at 8:55 AM

    A couple weeks ago in I, Anonymous, a man implored his female friends to stop making him listen to conversations about their sex lives. This weekend brought a response:

    To the royal D-bag who wrote in two weeks ago to complain about his three gal pals who “can’t keep [their] mouths shut about opening [their] legs”: get over yourself and grow up. You’re a misogynist in the truest sense of the word. It seems the only mistake these women have made is thinking that you’re a friend, and as such, someone they can talk to about their lives, sex included. As for your alleged “guy friend” who claims that a woman who talks about her sex life “either wants to fuck you or piss you off,” tell “him” this Seattle 2008, not Podunk 1958; get over the virgin/whore dichotomy. Women are people, just like you (giving you the benefit of the doubt). We like to have sex and then we like to talk about it with our friends. You’re an immature, self-absorbed, fleck-of-fecal-matter frat boy. The reason you can’t get a “quality date” or a “quality fuck” in a town filled with awesome, sexually “liberated” women is that you don’t constitute either yourself.

    Zing and then some.

    (Still, who isn’t occasionally sick of women talking about their sex lives?)

    The Morning News

    posted by on May 19 at 8:16 AM

    Cash Cow: McCain relies on RNC dough.

    Piggy Bank: Obama and Clinton may combine their coffers.

    Horse Race: Clinton closing the gap in Oregon.

    Firing Offenses: US Soldier apologizes for using Quran for target practice.

    Coming to Senses: Myanmar allows international cyclone relief.

    Xenophobia: 22 dead in South Africa tumult.

    Homophobia: Chicago Tribune calls gay-marriage ruling “scary.”

    Italia: Tons of trash on fire in Naples.

    He’s Just not That Into You: Microsoft makes another pass at Yahoo.

    Facelift: New look for social networking.

    Googie Eyes: Who calls that a landmark?

    Mercury Rising: Eco-friendly lights a landfill hazard.

    Crowd Sizing: Obama draws 75,000 in PDX.

    High Priority: Click it or ticket.

    Low Priority: Execs swindling your dough.

    Last Drop: 59 die after drinking tainted liquor.

    From Sexual Happiness in Marriage: A Christian Interpretation of Sexual Adjustment in Marriage, by Herbert J. Miles, Ph. D. Copyright 1967.

    When materialistic theories are applied to marriage and sexuality, many weird ideas evolve. Since man is essentially an animal, love is said to be nothing more than sex desire. Sex is only an expression of the flesh. Health requires that the sex desire be satisfied immediately after puberty. When a man chooses a wife, he simply selects a good sex partner. Extra-marital sex relationships are normal. When sex attraction no longer exists between husband and wife, divorce is in order. There is no such thing as sexual delinquency, so long as one person does not force another. The way to solve the problem of children being born out of wedlock, is to give 13-year-old boys and girls full access to contraceptives and train them how to use them. In case there should be pre-marital pregnancy, abortion is advocated…. Sex is said to be a private matter. Private sexual behavior is said to be none of society’s business.

    It wold be rather difficult to collect a greater set of falsehoods into one system than is found in these ideas. This system advocates standard barnyard morality. Put into practice, it would take civilization back to the jungle.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on May 19 at 8:03 AM

    New York:

    A former Centereach private school teacher and youth pastor pleaded not guilty Friday to charges of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl.

    Rodney A. Jackson Jr., 29, of Patchogue, was arraigned before First District Court Judge John Iliou in Central Islip on charges of third-degree criminal sexual act and endangering the welfare of a minor, according to Suffolk prosecutors.

    Jackson began a relationship with the student in April 2006 while he was a teacher and youth pastor at the Our Savior New American School, prosecutors said…. School principal Dolores Reade said only that she was not aware of the court appearance. She declined to comment further, citing a “school policy that we do not discuss these things.”

    It must be a comfort for parents to know that sexual abuse by youth pastors is so common at Our Savior New American that the school has established a policy about handling media inquiries.

    Gold-Plated Paraplegic Pornographer/First-Amendment Warrior Spotted in Downtown Wine Bar

    posted by on May 19 at 7:36 AM

    This just in from Slog Tipper Marti’s Friend, represented by Slog tipper Marti, who writes:

    My friend spotted Larry Flynt (eew!) at Purple Cafe and Wine Bar this past Friday. Apparently he rolled in in golden wheelchair—gold wheels, gold spokes—I guess the whole thing was gold. But it wasn’t hopped up, electrically—some guy was just pushing it, old-style. Exciting shit.

    P.S. Minutes before I received this tip, Flynt had just come up in a conversation I was having about, uh, this, with my lawyer friend saying the First Amendment would likely protect the gross parodists of saintly Dolly just as it protected the gross parodists of that fucker Falwell. Stupid fairness.

    Sunday, May 18, 2008

    Eurovision 2008 Party! Let’s make it happen Seattle!

    posted by on May 18 at 8:54 PM

    For those of you just joining this conversation, our intrepid Stranger European Bureau reporter, Griet Verlinde, has just finished reviewing ALL 43 contestants in this years Eurovision Song Contest. You can read Griet’s great reviews with her years of insight and wit by going to this special Eurovision link.

    Who will win? Will it be the Russian with the mullet? Will it be the sassy Grecian goddess with her bevy of gay guys shaking their booties behind her? Will it be the Pirates? Will Serbia take the title for the second year in a row? Or will a puppet of a squawking turkey from Ireland take it all?!?!?!

    OMG! I can’t wait to find out!

    The final is on Friday the 24th on BBC 1. Is there a bar in town that can get that on satellite? Is there one willing to host this? Will we be able to watch Terry Wogan in his amazing wig being cunning as ever as he introduces each act?

    C’mon Seattle! Let’s party Eurovision-style!

    The winner of ESC 2007: Serbia - “Moitva”

    Obama’s Crowd

    posted by on May 18 at 2:18 PM

    Is this a crowd of 50,000?


    I can’t tell. To the left of that stage, there’s another group of several thousand, and in the river, dozens of boats are bobbing near the shoreline. We’re awaiting Obama.

    Obama’s Expected Record Breaking Portland Crowd

    posted by on May 18 at 12:46 PM

    The line to get in to see Barack Obama on the Portland Waterfront today, according to one cop I spoke with, stretched from the waterfront, on the east edge of downtown, to the South Park Blocks on the other side of downtown. The officer pegged the line at 20,000, and the doors hadn’t even opened yet. People who biked here have turned the railing along the waterfront’s bike and pedestrian path into the longest bike rack I’ve ever seen (every bike rack and parking meter for blocks in every direction is at capacity).

    Local and national reporters are grumbling that we’re three hours away from actually seeing Barack Obama. Portland’s indie-rock darlings the Decemberists are going on at 2:30, followed by the candidate.

    But it takes that long to shuffle tens of thousands of people through security. One of the communications staffers herding the press says they’re expecting 50,000 people at the waterfront today—Obama’s biggest crowd ever. (He pulled in a record 35,000 in Philadelphia, four days before Pennsylvania’s April 22 primary, and he’s had a 30,000 crowd when Oprah took the stage beside him. Take that, Oprah—the Decemberists can kick your ass!)

    Stay tuned for photos and updates.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on May 18 at 11:00 AM


    NW New Works at On the Boards

    Two weekends of performances by 16 companies from Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland—typically, one-third of the work is execrable, one-third is middling, and one-third is the best thing you’ve ever seen. Arguing about which shows fall into which category is half the fun. Performing this weekend: Hooliganship (music and animation with 3-D glasses), LAUNCH (dance with text by Rebecca Brown), “Awesome” (an instrumental about a forest fire), Waxie Moon (“boylesque”), an audio-guided walking tour of Queen Anne (a series of anonymous, site-specific confessions), and more. (On the Boards, 100 W Roy St, 217-9888. 5 and 8 pm, $14–$30. Also Sat May 17.)


    Currently Hanging

    posted by on May 18 at 10:00 AM

    Detail from Dario Robleto’s A Color God Never Made (2004-05), cast and carved de-carbonized bone dust, bone calcium, military-issued glass eyes for wounded soldiers coated with ground trinitite (glass produced during the first atomic test explosion from Trinity test site, c. 1945, when heat from blast melted surrounding sand), fragments of a soldier’s personal mirror salvaged from a battlefield, soldiers’ uniform fabric and thread from various wars, melted bullet lead and shrapnel from various wars, fragment of a soldier’s letter home, woven human hair of a war widow, bittersweet leaves, soldier-made clay marbles, battlefield dirt, cast bronze teeth, dried rosebuds, porcupine quill, excavated dog tags, rust, velvet, walnut; 51 by 48 by 21 inches

    At the Frye Art Museum. (Museum web site here.) The artist will talk about his work at the museum at 1 pm today.

    Reading Today

    posted by on May 18 at 10:00 AM

    There are absolutely no readings at all today. Instead, you should read a book.

    Actually, first, you should watch this video for inspiration. And then you should read.

    It’s fun-damental, kids.

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

    (Thanks to Slog tipper Clayton for the video.)

    The Morning News

    posted by on May 18 at 9:20 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    : China dedicates three days, suspends torch relay for earthquake victims.

    Taking sides: Hezbollah violence sparks Sunni-Shiite tensions in Lebanon.

    Joining sides: Clinton and Obama campaigns prepare to combine forces.

    Immigrant haters: At least 5 dead after anti-immigrant sentiment boils over in South Africa.

    Immigrant haters, Part 2: 389 undocumented immigrants arrested in Iowa.

    Apology: General in Iraq apologizes after U.S. soldier uses Quran for target practice.

    No, thanks: UW turns down record number of students.

    Ferries: Washington’s troubled ferry system still causing problems.

    River accidents: One dead, two missing after Saturday boating accidents.