Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

Archives for 07/13/2008 - 07/19/2008

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Power Is Out in North Seattle

posted by on July 19 at 3:33 PM

Which is lame. I had tickets to Batman.

Update @ 7:23

What the shit, Seattle City Light? My power’s still off, and I can’t even open my fridge to get a beer.

Ps- does anyone know how long food in an unpowered fridge keeps?

Update 2 @ 11:05 p.m. Seriously?! What the fuck? First city light said power would be back on at 4. Then it was 8. Now it’s 2-fucking-am! You assholes owe me some groceries.

Pps: I saw Batman. i’m a huge comic nerd and I’ve never thought of the Joker ad scary before. But Heath Ledger’s Joker is a motherfucking terrifying fake anarchist. The rest of the movie is meh, but go see that shit, America.

Update 3: OK, power’s back. How do I know? My building’s brain piercing fire alarm just went off for about 15 minutes.

Nothing appears to actually be on fire.

Dr. Actually-pretty-good.

posted by on July 19 at 11:38 AM

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, which I wrote about here, is up in its entirety for free viewing today and tomorrow, and then after that, you’ll have to pay to watch it, either on DVD or as a download.

It’s actually surprisingly touching for a half-hour-long musical internet serial about a super-villain, and some of the jokes are hilarious.

Find it here.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on July 19 at 11:00 AM


‘The Violet Hour’ at Henry Art Gallery

For being so grim, this three-person show is remarkably entertaining: Jen Liu’s videos feature Pink Floyd standards sung in Latin plainchant, Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” performed by a community brass band, cannibalism, brutalist architecture, and pretty young men. In David Maljkovic’s videos, young people in a postcommunist daze linger under burdensome modernist architecture, loitering around immobilized cars. Matthew Day Jackson has actually immobilized a Corvette, which sits in the middle of the gallery, bringing to mind stoners and bombed-out cathedrals. (Henry Art Gallery, 4100 15th Ave NE, 543-2280. 11 am–5 pm, $10.)



14/48 at Center House Theatre

The world’s quickest theater festival (where a pack of artists creates 14 new short plays in 48 hours) rides again. Each 14/48 is equal parts good, bad, and marvelously awful. This year’s list of artists is a who’s who of the Seattle fringe scene: playwrights such as Elizabeth Heffron (Mitzi’s Abortion) and Scot Augustson (master of loopy, perverse comedies), actors Charles Smith (of Greek Active fame) and Ray Tagavilla (criminally underutilized), directors Gillian Jorgensen (artistic director emeritus of Annex Theatre) and Brian Faker (actor, director, and all-around old salt). Bring a flask. (Center House Theater, Seattle Center, 800-838-3006. 8 and 10:30 pm, $15. Through July 27.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 19 at 10:00 AM

    Kim Rugg’s She Did What She Had to Do* (*The Seattle Times, Main Story, Hillary Clinton canvassing for the primaries) (2008), newsprint, 23.6 by 12.6 inches

    At OKOK Gallery. (Gallery site here.)

    Reading Today

    posted by on July 19 at 10:00 AM


    It’s ten o’clock, and if you’re reading this, you’re too late to get to the big reading of the day. Eoin Colfer, who I wrote about yesterday in Reading Tonight, and David “The Goot” Guterson will be interviewed at a taping of a weekly radio show. There are also musical guests. Don’t you feel bad for sleeping in now?

    Up in Port Townsend, Kim Addonizio, who used to be a poet but now writes novels, and Gary Lilley, who is a poet, will try to figure out which of them works in the art form that is dying faster. Not really. They’ll talk about writing and stuff.

    And at Elliott Bay Book Company, Kate Braestrup, who is a “search and rescue chaplain” will talk about her book, Here If You Need Me, which is about her life in Maine. I hate to devalue the work of a fellow Mainer, but if you’re looking for something about emergency work in small-towns and other ruminations on rural life, Michael Perry’s Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time is the way to go. That was such a great book.

    The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.

    Friday, July 18, 2008

    Barack Obama

    posted by on July 18 at 6:04 PM

    Feminist, according to his sister.

    Barack Obama is a dedicated feminist who “lives surrounded by women,” his half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, told a mostly female crowd at a Women For Obama event in downtown Tampa on Thursday.

    Soetoro-Ng told the crowd that Obama helped rear her and now is rearing two daughters. “Those girls are what make him a feminist,” she said. […]

    Her older brother “really was the man in our lives” after their parents divorced, when the two were growing up in Hawaii and Indonesia, she said.

    She said he taught her to ride a bicycle, made her practice harder math problems and start an exercise program, took her on college visits and even gave her her first women’s health book - “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” a 1973 guide that came out of the women’s movement and focused on female sexuality, health and hygiene.

    And that, ladies and gentlemen, is pretty fucking cool.

    This Week on Drugs

    posted by on July 18 at 6:00 PM

    Mess in Texas: Prosecutors used seized money to rent a margarita machine.

    Blow Up in Oklahoma: Publisher sues sports fan for fabricating story about quarterbacks caught with cocaine.

    Ayahuasca: Peruvian government approve tripping for “entering the secrets of the spiritual world.”

    California: Prison reform and sentencing measure makes ballot.

    Ciao: Point one, Italian Rastas exist. Point two, one had pot charges dropped for religious accommodations.

    Auf Wiedersehen: Ketamine comas help cure pain in Germany.

    Aloha: State of Hawaii accidentally emails medical-marijuana registry to newspaper.

    Loco: McCain spokeswoman babbles incoherently about Obama, drugs, and nuclear facilities.

    Obama in his book about his father talked about his use of drugs. And I think it’s disingenuous of people to vote for somebody for President when you won’t allow a drug user in any secure or nuclear facility. Yet we as a nation, are willing to consider making somebody President of the United States I think that speaks very poorly…Bill Clinton said he smoked but he didn’t inhale…But he didn’t come out and flagrantly say he used drugs…and if that’s going to be our standard God helps us in nuclear facilities and secure facilities who have this kind of history … and this nation must be very careful when it lowers the bar on who and what it will accept.

    Executive Director of PONCHO Fired

    posted by on July 18 at 5:35 PM

    Gordon Hamilton, executive director of arts-funding organization PONCHO, was relieved of his duties yesterday at a board meeting.

    The news has been a shock for members of the arts community—Hamilton, in the words of one local development director, is “very well thought of.”

    This is stunning news,” says Jim Kelly, director of 4Culture. “I always thought of Hamilton as a guy who was shaking PONCHO up in a really positive way.”

    Hamilton was a vice president at Safeco before applying to PONCHO four and a half years ago. Kelly recalls Hamilton telling the story of his job interview: “During the interview, they asked him ‘How do you perceive PONCHO?’ And he said ‘I perceive it as a party for rich white people.’ And they gave him the job.”

    In broad strokes: PONCHO is generally regarded as a deep donor to large arts institutions (a lobby in ACT Theatre is named after PONCHO) while 4Culture is generally regarded as a broad donor to organizations large and small, as well as individual artists.

    “The strategic direction of PONCHO is changing,” says Janet True, president of the PONCHO board, regarding Hamilton’s dismissal. “PONCHO was always an events-based organization, with our annual wine and art auctions and gala event, but events aren’t the most philanthropic way to raise money anymore. And auctions have changed—it’s a lot harder than before to raise money with them.”

    True says PONCHO will continue its wine auction (projected income this year: $1 million) and art auction (projected income: $500,000—funny that the arts organization gets twice as much money from wine as art), but will discontinue its gala event.

    Instead, True says, PONCHO wants to institute a city-wide awards ceremony—“like the Tonys”—at which artists will perform and press the flesh with local donors.”We want the donors to connect more with arts and artists than with an event,” True says.

    PONCHO seems, in fact, to be drifting more towards 4Culture’s profile—the philanthropic organization for artists, rather than arts institutions.

    “That’s fine,” says Jim Kelly. “The more money for artists the better. But if you’re an institution, the last thing you want to hear is ‘You’re too big for us to fund,’ because every dollar counts. While it might be more fun to be more connected to individual artists, it’s important to keep funding big institutions. Every dollar counts.”

    Hamilton has not (yet) been reached for comment.

    Burbank Lists Appointment by Pelz as “Elected” Experience

    posted by on July 18 at 5:29 PM

    John Burbank, one of two Democrats running for state legislature from the 36th District (Ballard, Magnolia, and Queen Anne), is listing his status as the official Democratic Party nominee on his voter guide statement and boy, is his opponent, Reuven Carlyle, pissed.

    Burbank was appointed as the district’s “official” nominee by state Democratic Party chair Dwight Pelz, a longtime friend of his, after the 36th District Democrats declined to nominate either Burbank or Carlyle, citing their objection to the Democrats’ sanctioned nominating process for this year’s top-two primary, which only allowed precinct committee officers to vote.

    In an email, Carlyle fumed that Burbank “was APPOINTED by his official beer drinking buddy, Dwight Pelz, as the nominee, not elected by voters, the district organization or any other entity of any sort.”

    Asked how his appointment by Pelz constituted elected experience, Burbank seemed a bit flummoxed, eventually responding, “That is the position of the Washington State Democratic Central Committee. If you go to their web site, you will see that their nominee for this position, Position One, is John Burbank. That’s me. ...[The voter guide statement] was approved by the Secretary of State, so if someone has an issue with it they should take it up with the Secretary of State.”

    Burbank added: “It’s an odd thing that this is what it’s come down to”—debates over party process, rather than discussions of the issues. That’s a fair point, but in this case, the story isn’t so much about the particulars of any internecine battle (if you really want to see interparty warfare, check out what’s going on in the 46th) as it is about the top-two primary, which has pitted Democrat against Democrat in general-election battles in races that used to be decided in September.

    Ever Wonder What It’s Like to Be a News Intern?

    posted by on July 18 at 5:13 PM

    Do you enjoy trolling through mind-numbing court filings? Do you like taking long walks down to city hall to pick up always-exciting legislative action agendas? Do you wish you spent more time interviewing crazy people about everything from the fascinating world of mass transit to gay robot conspiracies?

    Then have we got a job for you!

    The Stranger’s news department is looking for a few good interns.

    If you have any aspirations to be a journalist, can string together a sentence, and don’t mind acting as a drug mule every once in awhile, then send a resume and clips (if you have them) to

    Stranger internships: You can’t say you hate it if you haven’t tried it.

    Re: Submitted for Jen’s Approval, the Final

    posted by on July 18 at 5:06 PM

    Dan! I can’t wait until you get back, not only so that we don’t have to do this to distant sculptures anymore (I’m considering doing it to the local ones, in fact), but also so that I can show you my Renoir holograph postcard. It is a sculpture in itself! When you put your finger on it, because it tricks your eye into thinking it has depth, you think that you are right here in the Stranger newsroom while your finger is on an 1870s Parisian boulevard, waiting for its top hat. It really is something.

    But back to what you tell me is a sculpture in Saugatuck, Michigan, called Family of Man IV by Cynthia McKean from 2005. (To see more of these, not only by me and Dan but including an interlude by Erica C. Barnett involving truck-flap ladies, click here.)


    I have to be honest. What I’m seeing here (and, to be honest, I can’t be quite sure what I’m seeing here, depth-wise) looks like a fire-engine Miro version of a nuclear family. It even seems to have 1.5 kids, or at least some sort of fractional person there in the lower right.

    But my mind is telling me to like this thing, and it’s strictly because of the title, which reminds me of a great photography exhibition that Edward Steichen organized at the Museum of Modern Art in 1955. When my grandparents died, I inherited their hardback catalog from this exhibition, with its slightly torn cover, and I still cherish it. The cover of the catalog, paradoxically, is decorated with a sort of abstract design. That’s paradoxical because the images couldn’t be more grounded in things actual and real, and in the belief that photographs give you something actual and real. The show didn’t really make distinctions between photojournalism, sports photography, and fine-art photography. And from the catalog, it looks as though there were hundreds of images in that show. I’ve tried many times to imagine what it must have looked like.

    I wish I could have been there, or that I’d asked my grandparents whether they were. Before they died, I never even knew they had it. So you see, when I look at this sculpture, I just feel like I’m holding that catalog.

    Safe trip home, Dan!

    Coverage of the Traffic Circle Murder

    posted by on July 18 at 4:40 PM

    The most comprehensive coverage of the Rainier Beach traffic circle murder is over at The Sable Verity, where a Seattle-based blogger who writes under that name has been following the story obsessively (and passionately). Her posts range from opinionated (she thinks not just the suspect but the two girls who taunted the victim, James Paroline, should face criminal charges) to factual (a recounting of comments and emails from the community about the murder). Even if you don’t agree with her POV, it’s well worth a read.

    Not OK

    posted by on July 18 at 4:31 PM

    As part of his reelection campaign, Oklahoma County Commissioner Brent Rinehart is sending out a comic book to his constituents.

    The 16-page comic book makes fun of homosexuals and criticizes Rinehart’s political opponents. It features a man and woman admiring Rinehart’s often-controversial political career.

    Other prominent characters are an angel, who supports Rinehart, and Satan, who supports Rinehart’s critics.

    “It’s more or less a story of my experiences of the last four years of being the county commissioner of District 2,” Rinehart said.

    The story is here, you can download the comic here, and here’s page 4:


    (Thanks to Slog tipper Davida.)

    Dept. of Making-Me-Feel-Lazy

    posted by on July 18 at 4:00 PM

    Slog commenter Ivan is biking across country with his wife, Mary. They’re going from Seattle to Virginia Beach, a total of 3,300 miles. They’re blogging about the experience.

    I’m really fond of the conceit they’ve set up for the blog: he’s blogging, and she’s blogging, and the two blogs are running on their webpage side-by-side, and neither one is allowed to read the other one’s blog until they’re done with the ride. They’re already disagreeing on something: Ivan says it’s day 1 of the trip, Mary says it’s day 2.

    This Weekend at the Movies

    posted by on July 18 at 3:06 PM

    If you haven’t noticed (you probably didn’t), I have failed to post This Weekend at the Movies for the past two weeks. I’m sorry—vacation, then a day off to recover from riding to Portland on my bicycle, got in the way.

    Here, briefly, are links to reviews of notable recent movies: WALL•E, The Wackness, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Monsieur Verdoux (damn, you missed it), Tell No One, Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson, and Brick Lane (only at the Crest this week).


    indieWIRE has been sold to SnagFilms, an online documentary hub. More at GreenCine Daily.

    After reading reviews of WALL•E (I thought no one did that anymore?), Barack Obama offers his own assessment.

    Is the Weinstein Co. in trouble?

    And Mara Manus is the new executive director of the rapidly expanding Film Society of Lincoln Center.

    Opening this week (we like everything!):

    Charles Mudede adores Alexandra (“Because the acting plays a very small role in Alexandra, the cinema is free to flourish”).

    Paul Constant reviews The Dark Knight (“Heath Ledger seems as though he’s alternating roles in a dark love scene between Daffy Duck, Marlon Brando, and Hannibal Lecter. It’s a riveting performance, and terrifying”).

    Jon Frosch writes about The Last Mistress (“If The Last Mistress hits harder than Catherine Breillat’s previous, more sexually explicit work, it’s in large part thanks to Asia Argento. The actress stalks, gnarls, gnashes, and vamps her way through the movie, yet it never seems like she’s hamming it up; hers is one of the most vivid portrayals of lust that I’ve seen”).

    Lindy West actually likes Mamma Mia! (“Sparkling and earnest, hammy beyond all acceptable boundaries of ham, full of slow-motion leaping and young love—it’s the movie equivalent of, well, ABBA. The cast rules: Meryl Streep is adorable; Pierce Brosnan sings (TERRIBLY) and stands on a cliff looking windswept in front of an Aegean sunset. Mamma Mia! entertained the shit out of me”).

    And Charles Mudede defends Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts (“You do not think of Philip Glass and see a human being, but, instead, you hear a type of sound, a tone, a tune, a movement that is beautiful, repetitive, and architectural. And so the first thing any film about Glass’s music must do is reduce it to a human being”).

    For other limited run films and one-time events, including Last Year at Marienbad, Seattle Bike-In, and Planet of the Apes, see our movie times search. There’s also a review of Space Chimps, if you must.

    “What is that? That’s like spinning Tarzan jujitsu?”

    posted by on July 18 at 3:00 PM

    I know that I totally maligned Hulu when it launched. I called it “the Internet’s version of a hideous, six-story primary-colored condo with retail space on the ground floor.” Well, the egg’s on my face because you can watch The Rundown on Hulu for free anytime you want now.

    I’d call The Rundown a guilty pleasure, but there’s nothing guilty about it. It’s one of my favorite movies of the last ten years. The Rock is hired muscle sent into the jungle to pick up that douchebag Sean William Scott, who, in the casting move of the century, plays a douchebag. Christopher Walken gets all up in their respective faces.

    Don’t get me wrong; I was skeptical, too. And the movie shouldn’t be as good as it is, but it all works, somehow. These disparate elements all came together into one of the most enjoyable action movies I think I’ve ever seen.

    I was camping with friends a few weeks ago, and we were all drinking up a storm and somebody started talking about what movie we’d pick if we could only choose one movie to watch for the rest of our lives. I picked To Have and Have Not, but one of my friends paused, and said “I know this sounds stupid, but I think that I’d pick The Rundown, because I could watch it forever.” And she was right. It is stupid, but it’s also the perfect choice. I’ve seen this movie like seven times now, because it’s perfect for everyone. It’s funny and dumb and clever, too.

    And its working title was Welcome to the Jungle, which is clearly a better title for the movie. The fact that The Rundown is titled The Rundown is the only flaw that can be found in this movie. Seriously. Go watch it.

    Sean Nelson on Mary McCarthy on J.D. Salinger

    posted by on July 18 at 2:32 PM


    The brouhaha earlier in the week about A Streetcar Named Desirehere, here, here, here—which devolved into an accusation (here) that I was “hiding behind” Mary McCarthy (which is sorta true), reminded me of the time, back in 2003 or 2004, I photocopied McCarthy’s review of Franny and Zooey (reprinted in this book) for Sean Nelson, who is a Salinger fan and something of a Salinger expert. Nelson scribbled comments and counter-arguments all over the photocopy (like “No” and “Wrong” and “This is a means of indicting/indicating the protag., you stupid bitch”) and handed it back to me. It has been hanging on my office wall ever since.

    [Click on the image to make it bigger.]

    Theater, Cinema, Art

    posted by on July 18 at 2:00 PM

    In this week’s paper, Charles Mudede writes about a film that succeeds by eschewing cinema’s “fruity old aunt” (those words by Tilda Swinton), theater, Alexander Sokurov’s Alexandra.

    In the department of crossover artists, I’d also like to point to Implied Violence, a performance company that this weekend begins its triptych, Our Summary in Sequence. (Details and more on IV by Brendan Kiley here.)

    I got a sneak-preview image of the setting they’ve constructed for this weekend’s performances, inside a South Lake Union warehouse, and it looks like an art installation in itself.


    It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times (Gimme $5)

    posted by on July 18 at 2:00 PM

    I think that this is kind of a joke, but kind of serious, too:

    Writing is hard. Stringing letters together to make words? Hard. Grouping those into meaningful sentences? Harder. But the hardest part? Ask any successful novelist: the hardest part is writing the opening paragraph. And the first paragraph is crucial: without it, by definition there can be no second paragraph.

    They’re selling first paragraphs to aspiring writers.

    Here’s Item #PGH48555878:

    The President was in a pensive mood as he wondered what sort of arc his second term would follow, and idly surveyed what he believed to be the Washington Monument (but which was, in fact, the Capitol) through the tinted, bullet-proof windows. It had been a tough day, but as his motorcade sped along the edge of the Mall some minutes later, his body tensed as he thought about how lucky he was to have a Secretary of Defense who was so good at sucking cock.

    If you want to buy it, it’s $152.25, and I’d like a finder’s fee, please.

    Kiss Today Goodbye

    posted by on July 18 at 1:36 PM


    Oh Anderson, with you to juggle the talking heads through November, I know we’re in good hands. And that little rat smile you have, like when you told Donna Brazile you wanted to be her ‘boo’, well it melts my heart and helps me forgive you for having complete ass-chancres like Tony Perkins on your show. Je t’aime, my sly little friend.


    Here’s my imaginary mother-in-law, glamorous descendant of the original 19th-century robber baron, whose book on collage is in a word, riveting. I picked it up at the Goodwill earlier today, and the photographs of her Southhampton house aswirl in pink gingham were worth the $2.99! I picture Andy and I lolling on the veranda, sipping lemonade from the family crystal and molesting each other through our clothes.

    Photo by Kelly O

    It’s my last day as a guest Slogger. I found I had much less to say than I thought I would. I’ve also been unusually busy, so that’s kept my postings to a minimum. But it has been grand to post my little things for your amusement. I’ll see you in comments.

    See if you can stay in your seat while you enjoy my final video offering!

    Tonight in Cal Anderson Park: Itsy-Bitsy Feminism and Candy-Colored Anti-Consumerism

    posted by on July 18 at 1:29 PM


    …courtesy of The Incredible Shrinking Woman, the beloved Lily Tomlin comedy of 1981, which will be screened for free tonight in Cal Anderson Park, as part of Three Dollar Bill Cinema’s Features from the Black Lagoon.

    See you there. (I’ll be the one sniffing Galaxy Glue.)

    Remember, Country First

    posted by on July 18 at 1:07 PM

    The new McCain ad:

    A Note from Ron Sims

    posted by on July 18 at 1:06 PM

    I’ve got an article in this week’s paper on how the county needle-exchange program could be threatened by massive cuts to the health-department budget. It quotes county council budget chair Larry Phillips, who appears to be mounting a campaign against Ron Sims for the county executive seat, as supporting the program. But in an apparent who-can-out-progressive-whom response, Sims sent me this note:

    Bud Nicola, a former Director Public Health, recommended to the County Board of Health (BOH) the use of needle exchanges to lower the transmission of HIV/AIDS. County Councilwoman Cynthia Sullivan, Executive Tim Hill, and I were the BOH members who voted to establish the County’s needle exchange program. It was a very controversial vote. We were widely criticized for enabling drug use. We defended our decision by referring people to the successes found in Denmark. I am attempting to save this program and other essential public health programs in my discussions with the legislature and the the Governor’s office.

    May the best man win. Considering we’ve seen some very, very backward drug enforcement ‘round these parts this week, it’s good to see electeds vow to fight for common-sense drug programs. Who knows? Maybe county officials will soon show the same compassion for sick and dying pot smokers that we show for injections drug users…

    I’d Go East

    posted by on July 18 at 1:00 PM


    It is entirely our luck that the artist Jim Hodges was born in Spokane (in 1957). It means that his work keeps finding its way back here to Washington. Last summer, he was the anchor of the Tacoma Art Museum group show Sparkle Then Fade. That exhibition included his intense, simple Coming Through (seen above), which I wrote about at the time.

    Jim Hodges’s 1999 Coming Through is the beating heart of the show. It’s a grid of naked lightbulbs of all types, struggling not to burn out as the exhibition wears on. They generate a cloud of heat along with the various colors of light—golden, cold marble, orange coil. Coming Through might refer to something otherworldly, or maybe it’s simply the longing sensation of hoping not to be disappointed.

    So it was with great joy that I got a press release today announcing a Hodges-Storm Tharp show this summer in Spokane, of all places. Seems that last fall, a new nonprofit contemporary art gallery opened in Spokane called Saranac Art Projects. It’s run by Megan Murphy, an accomplished abstractionist whose work has grabbed me every time I’ve seen it (I think the last time was at Maryhill Museum!).

    Here’s the skinny:

    Abandon: The Work of Jim Hodges and Storm Tharp

    Saranac Art Projects is pleased to announce the opening of Abandon: The Work of Jim Hodges and Storm Tharp on Wednesday, July 16th. The exhibition will run from July 16th through September 6th, 2008. The exhibition highlights the relationship between two artists who have abandoned traditional means of making art to find their own process in the loss of tradition.

    Tharp isn’t a connection I would have made with Hodges, but the more I think of it, the more interesting I think it might be. Also, as an adjunct to this main exhibition is a series of works by
    Heidi Arbogast, an art educator at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane who studied with Felix Gonzalez-Torres. (FG-T and Hodges were close friends.) It all sounds worthwhile to me. I leave you with a Tharp (The Dalles, ink on paper from 2006).


    Saranac Art Projects is at 25 West Main Street in Spokane, and it’s open 11 am to 5:30 pm Wednesdays through Saturdays.

    Am I Missing Something?

    posted by on July 18 at 1:00 PM

    I’ve just recently watched the first two discs of the first season of Mad Men. That’s six episodes. I know that a lot of people are very excited about Mad Men, and critics that I generally trust are really into it, too. I think the show just got nominated for a bunch of Emmys. I really enjoyed the pilot, and especially the opening credits:

    I really enjoyed the whole 1960-sure-was-different-from-2008 thing at first. Women are treated like children! The obviously gay guy keeps talking about how much he wants to bang chicks! They hit the kids! It was kind of funny.

    But now I’m six episodes into a thirteen-episode run and I feel as though the entire series is all about how different 1960 is from 2008, and it’s kind of boring. I get that there’s infidelity, and some of the women are disappointed with their servile roles and all that, but so far, it’s just a soap opera, and not really an interesting one at that.

    Some of the writing is great, but I’ve been waiting for something to happen for five hours now and I feel as though maybe twenty minutes of those five hours has actually advanced the plot. I can’t figure out whether to get the third disc or not; I’m just about ready to abandon the whole thing. So far, Mad Men has done nothing but disappointed me. I still like the credits, though.

    Obama and the Return of the State Department

    posted by on July 18 at 12:19 PM

    We can reduce the struggle for power in American politics to one between the State Department and the Pentagon.

    Every day around 8 a.m., foreign policy aides at Senator Barack Obama’s Chicago campaign headquarters send him two e-mails: a briefing on major world developments over the previous 24 hours and a set of questions, accompanied by suggested answers, that the candidate is likely to be asked about international relations during the day.

    One recent Q. & A. asked, for example, whether Obama supported the decision by Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, to include a timetable for American troop withdrawal in any new security agreements with the United States. The answer, provided to Obama with bullet points, was yes — or “a genuine opportunity,” as he put it in a speech on Iraq this week.

    Behind the e-mail messages is a tight-knit group of aides supported by a huge 300-person foreign policy campaign bureaucracy, organized like a mini State Department, to assist a candidate whose limited national security experience remains a concern to many voters.

    It’s not because Obama is inexperienced that his campaign has established a mini State Department (300 experts) to advise him on foreign policy—no, get that notion out of your head. Stabilizing international relations for segments of American capital that were neglected by the almost decade-long energy/military regime—this is the whole meaning of his rise to power. The Pentagon has one way of dealing with the world, the State Department a completely different one. For its own survival, America is trying to transition from the former to the latter.

    Every Visit to the Seattle Central Library Reminds Me of the Cheese Shop Sketch

    posted by on July 18 at 12:17 PM

    Customer: It’s not much of a cheese shop, is it?

    Owner: Finest in the district!

    Customer: (annoyed) Explain the logic underlying that conclusion, please.

    Owner: Well, it’s so clean, sir!

    Customer: It’s certainly uncontaminated by cheese….”

    Lunch Date: The Lemur

    posted by on July 18 at 12:13 PM


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

    Who’s your date today? The Lemur, by Benjamin Black, who is the pen name for John Banville.

    Where’d you go? Ali Baba.

    What’d you eat? Falafel gyro, fries, and a soda ($7.10).

    How was the food? I’m a little disappointed, honestly. The fries were great, they were cooked just right and spiced perfectly, too. And I ate at Ali Baba a long time ago and was blown away by the falafel. But the Gyro was covered in this beige, pasty, mayonnaisey glop. It wasn’t the usual tzatziki; it was closer to McDonald’s special sauce. The reviews on our page for Ali Baba are roundly thrilled by the place, and my memory of it is much better than my experience this time. I’ll try it again sometime, but it’s down to last-chance status.

    What does your date say about itself? Banville, who has been much more successful writing crime novels as Benjamin Black than he has writing literary fiction as John Banville, wrote The Lemur as a serial thriller in the New York Times’ Sunday Funny Pages. It’s about a researcher who’s dug up some nasty truths about a biographer’s subject. The researcher turns up dead, and the biographer has to figure out what’s going on.

    Is there a representative quote? “They walked east along Forty-fourth Street and Glass at last got to smoke a cigarette. The fine rain drifted down absent-mindedly, like ectoplasm. The trouble with smoking was that the desire to smoke was so much greater than the satisfaction afforded by actually smoking. Sometimes when he had a cigarette going he would forget and reach for the pack and start to light another. Maybe that was the thing to do, smoke six at a time, three in the gaps between the fingers of each hand, achieve a Gatling-gun effect.”

    Will you two end up in bed together? Yes. I hadn’t realized until I started writing this Lunch Date that the novel was written serially, and that definitely changes the way that I’ll read it—serially-written books, like Dickens, do better if you read a chapter and set the book aside for a while—but it seems like a taut little noir novel and it’s well-written. It should take a couple hours, all told, and it seems enjoyably dark.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on July 18 at 12:01 PM

    My eternal fascination with Russia continues with The Tunnel of Death, aka The Lefortovo Tunnel, and/or the Mad Max Expressway:

    The 2.2 km (1.4 miles) long Lefortovo Tunnel in Russia is the fifth longest ‘in-city’ tunnel in all of Europe. There is a river running over it and water leaks at some points. When the temperature reaches minus 38 degrees, like it did last winter, the road freezes and the result is this video taken during a single day with the tunnel camera.

    Where Will the Wizards and Unicorns Go Now?

    posted by on July 18 at 11:42 AM

    A scrap between the Washington Renaissance and Fantasy Faire (WRFF) and the Mason County Commissioner (MCC) over some illegally removed trees has forced the WRFF to cancel their annual event.

    Last March, WRFF spokeswoman Tracy Nietupski says her group, at the request of the fire department, removed “20 or 30” trees—along with dead fall—to clear emergency access roads along a 50 acre plot of land in Belfair,Wa. Nietupski also says some trees were removed to create space for a parking lot.


    The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) found out that WRFF had uprooted trees without a permit, and put a freeze on their event license until the case could be reviewed. “It was a bit of a misunderstanding,” Nietupski says. “We had not at that point applied for a permit to remove the trees. We didn’t know we needed one.”

    This would’ve been WRFF’s eleventh year, and Nietupski says nearly 80,000 people were expected to attend the three-weekend event, and Nietupski estimates the fair’s merchants and performers, will lose close to $250,000 because of the cancellation.

    While WRFF could appeal the DNR’s decision to withhold their event permit, the process would take three to six months and the fair was scheduled to begin the first weekend of August.

    This is what Paul Constant will miss this year:

    Do Tattoo Shops Have Copy Editors?

    posted by on July 18 at 11:26 AM


    They should.

    For more wonderfully permanent misspellings, see The L Magazine’s comprehensive gallery of tattoo typos.

    (And thanks for the heads-up, MetaFilter.)

    Guns Don’t Shoot People: Anti-Gun Campaigns Shoot People

    posted by on July 18 at 11:15 AM


    From the BBC:

    Three Chinese reporters attending a police briefing on the success of an anti-gun campaign were accidentally shot, media reports say. An officer picked up one of the weapons on show—a confiscated home-made gun—but it went off in his hand.

    Another irony: Historians think gunpowder—lethal, lethal gunpowder—was accidentally discovered by Chinese alchemists searching for an immortality drug.

    According to Wikipedia, the first reference to gunpowder is probably in the Zhenyuan miaodao yaolüe, an old Taoist text:

    Some have heated together sulfur, realgar and saltpeter with honey; smoke and flames result, so that their hands and faces have been burnt, and even the whole house where they were working burned down.

    Then, last year, Chinese artist Cai Guoqiang flipped the equation again, turning lethal, lethal gunpowder into a 59-foot-by-30-foot banyan tree:



    Three Things

    posted by on July 18 at 11:04 AM


    In simple circulation, C-M-C [Commodity-Money-Commodity], the value of commodities attained at the most a form independent of their use-values [satisfying a need—hunger, shelter, warmth, and so on], i.e., the form of money; but that same value now in the circulation M-C-M [Money-Commodity-Money], or the circulation of capital, suddenly presents itself as an independent substance, endowed with a motion of its own, passing through a life-process of its own, in which money and commodities are mere forms which it assumes and casts off in turn. Nay, more: instead of simply representing the relations of commodities, it enters now, so to say, into private relations with itself. It differentiates itself as original value from itself as surplus-value; as God differentiates himself as God and Son, yet both are one and of one age: for only by the surplus-value of £10 does the £100 originally advanced become capital, and so soon as this takes place, so soon as the Son, and by the Son, the Father, is created, so soon does their difference vanish, and they again become one, £110.

    In all honesty, I’m more amazed (enchanted) by the manner rather than the matter of Marx’s writing.

    Marx must be updated by Manuel De Landa, in the way that Bruno Latour is updating Gabriel Tarde, and António Rosa Damásio is updating Spinoza. Through Damásio, for example, we learn that the mind is in fact “the idea of the body.” The mind is a Spinozistic representation of the whole body. What De Landa can do for Marx, and what Latour is doing for Tarde’s theory of society (which is governed by the laws of imitation), and Damásio is doing for Spinoza’s theory of the body and emotions (the affects), is to connect the best points in Marx’s theory (labor-power, social metabolism, the realization of the world market) to discoveries made in the biological sciences and the growing presence of cyberspace.

    Three things I recently learned from Bruno Latour. One, the public as a phantom rather than a body. He got the idea from a book by Walter Lippmann, Phantom Public. The idea works like this: The public is a kind of passing through, a monstrous movement, an uneasy feeling that is not clear or singular. The feeling, the movement, the mood is confused and drifting.

    According to Lippmann and to the philosopher John Dewey in response to his book, [83] most of European political philosophy has been obsessed by the body and the state. They have tried to assemble an impossible parliament that represented really the contradictory wills of the multitude into one General Will. But this enterprise suffered from a cruel lack of realism. Representation, conceived in that total, complete and transparent fashion, cannot possibly be faithful. By asking from politics something it could not deliver, Europeans kept generating aborted monsters and ended up discouraging people to think politically. For politics to be able to absorb more diversity (“the Great Society” in Dewey’s time and what we now call “Globalization”), it has to devise a very specific and new type of representation. Lippmann calls it a Phantom because it’s disappointing for those who dream of unity and totality. Yet strangely enough, it is a good ghost, the only spirit that could protect us against the dangers of fundamentalism.

    Another idea is the separation of object from thing. The philosophical tools that make this distinction possible are Heideggerian—Gegenstand/Ding. An object is simply an object—Gegenstand; a thing is something that interests humans—Ding. The ancient world once had many objects—rocks, bones, sand, earwax—that had no value, no human interest. Our world has no such objects. Everything is a thing; everything is interesting. Even things we do not know about are interesting. We want to find them at the bottom of the sea or in deep space and open them and make human sense of them.

    Lastly, Latour points out this series in a lab: a rat, the brain of that rat, a neuron in the brain of that rat. Each step or part in this series has no resemblance to the other parts, though they are parts of the same thing, a rat. There seems to be no continuity from the rat to its brain, and from the brain to the cells or a single cell in that brain. Because each part is radically different, Latour proposes to see the transition from one part to the next as a complete transformation. A single thing is in reality a series of complete transformations. The implications of this way of thinking about unity are magical, particularly in the curious light of Ilya Prigogine’s emergence theory.

    Submitted for Jen’s Approval

    posted by on July 18 at 11:00 AM


    “Family of Man IV,” Cynthia McKean, 2005.


    Subway-Breeze-Powered Balloon Animals

    posted by on July 18 at 11:00 AM

    I sort of love these things that rise and shake and fall down and die, and then do it all over again, all over the streets of New York.

    My first, and greatest, black-trash-bag love, however, remains Susan Robb’s Toobs, which have gone on tour. This is them in New Jersey not a month ago.

    (Thank you, BJC!)


    posted by on July 18 at 10:45 AM

    Newsweek has an on-scener about the recently opened, weird, official art show of the Beijing Olympics.

    Knights In Satan’s Service

    posted by on July 18 at 10:31 AM


    Confiscating Medical Records: It All Makes Sense Now, Or Does It?

    posted by on July 18 at 10:29 AM

    [This was originally posted last night]

    Last night, I got a copy of the warrant used to search and seize patient records from a medical-marijuana group’s office on Tuesday. (Previous coverage is here and here. The full affidavit and warrant are in a .pdf here.)

    In a sworn statement used to get the warrant, Officer Brian Rees, an SPD bicycle patrol officer assigned to the University District, said he responded to complaint that a storefront on The Ave emanated the smell of marijuana. A neighbor said the odor gave her headaches, and directed the officer next door. When Rees knocked at the door, he looked in the front window and saw Martin Martinez, the shop’s proprietor, walk up to let him in. Inside, the officer saw lighting supplies, packaged soil, books about growing, and filing cabinets labeled “patient” files. He observed three people at a small table labeling envelopes, one of whom said she was a volunteer doing “secretarial work.” Beyond the main room, the officer observed a desk with an electronic scale that appeared to have marijuana residue, labels that the officer says were for “medicinal marijuana,” and a computer and a printer that Martinez said he used to make identification cards. Martinez explained this was an organization to help medical-marijuana patients (hence all the stuff). Rees also observed a tub containing what would turn out to be 12 ounces of pot leaves, which Martinez is authorized to use under state law. But the officer also said there was unaccounted space in the walls that he believed may have been used for growing or storing pot. Based on these and other observations, plus some “supporting evidence” (a blanket description of narcotics-traffickers’ behavior, which we’ll come back to), the warrant was supported by Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ellen O’Neill-Stephens, and signed by county district Judge Douglas J. Smith.

    After getting the warrant, police searched the premises, and removed a wall looking for plants. They didn’t find any plants. But they did find 500 patients’ medical records, which the officers confiscated.

    To cast this in the best light possible, let’s say that these statements provided probable cause to justify a warrant—that Martinez was overstepping the medical marijuana law by growing marijuana out of his storefront and providing it to more than one person.

    So what?

    We all know the intent of the Medical Use of Marijuana Act, passed by 59 percent of voters in 1998, is to protect seriously sick and dying people from being jailed for using marijuana. The medical files observed by police showed that, if this was dispensary—which Martinez says it wasn’t—all of the patients were authorized under state law. That still doesn’t explain taking private records.

    And the officer’s statement doesn’t even indicate Martinez was running a dispensary or growing. A portion of the affidavit describes behavior typical of narcotics traffickers and pot growers. Martinez doesn’t fit those criteria.

    Drug traffickers typically “conceal weapon on their person… utilize electronic equipment such as computers, telex machines, facsimile machines… keep evidence of their crimes at their place of residence.” At marijuana growing operation, certain indicators include “a private individual, suspicious of persons who might be interested of his/her activities… individuals [who] … use telephonic pagers… …large amounts of cash… a location that is remote or go to a great deal of trouble to disguise a marijuana grow…use filtering systems to mask the strong odor of growing marijuana… [and] lighting equipment [that] … generate tremendous heat…”

    To address those points: No weapons were observed. Everyone has a computer and cell phone these days, not just drug traffickers, and nobody uses a goddamned telex machine anymore. There was no specific evidence of distribution, such as price lists, cash register, cash box, etc. No cash was reportedly observed. Martinez let them in; he wasn’t suspicious of them because he believed he was complying with the law. Okay, this one kills me—a great deal of trouble to disguise the marijuana? His store is on The Ave… with glass windows… that the officer looked right into when he walked up. Some disguise. Obviously no filtering was used to mask the smell of marijuana, as the officers were there because it smelled like marijuana. No report of lighting equipment in use, just the unused legal type on the shelves, and no “tremendous heat,” except for the heat from the sun Tuesday. If this were actually a grow operation, there would have been dirt or water on the ground, but nothing like that was reported. In fact, by the officers description, the place had volunteers labeling envelopes, a computer, and filing cabinets of medical records that made it look like… an office.

    So is it any surprise that after Martinez told the officer he wasn’t growing marijuana, dispensing marijuana, or stashing marijuana behind the wall (which officers ripped out after they got the warrant), that the cops found… an office?

    More after the jump.

    Continue reading "Confiscating Medical Records: It All Makes Sense Now, Or Does It?" »

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on July 18 at 10:15 AM

    A former Mansfield youth pastor was arrested Thursday on 10 sex-related felonies reportedly involving a teenage parishioner.

    John Picard
    , 40, of Springboro, was charged with 10 counts of sexual battery, all third-degree felonies. He is accused of having sexual relations with a girl starting in 1992 when she was 13 and continuing until she reached adulthood. Picard was a youth pastor at Grace Brethren Church on Marion Avenue at the time.

    Police said they think there are other victims.

    “He’s probably one of the most despicable pedophiles that there can be,” Mansfield police Lt. Allen Vandayburg said. “It’s a sad, sad state of affairs when somebody of trust can’t be trusted.”

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on July 18 at 10:15 AM


    Four readings tonight.

    Up at Port Townsend, Kathleen Alcala and Chris Abani will be reading as part of the Port Townsend Writer’s Conference. Abani wrote the great GraceLand, about a young man named Elvis growing up in Nigeria, and Alcala wrote Mrs. Vargas and the Dead Naturalist, which is a collection of stories set in California and Mexico.

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, Adrián Arancibia reads from a collection of poems called Atacama Poems. I don’t know anything else about the man, except he founded a group of poets called Taco Shop Poets in Chicago, back in the mid-nineties.

    At the Shorewood High School Auditorium, Eoin Colfer reads from his newest in the young adult series, Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox. Apparently, the series is about a teenage boy who’s a real dick, and several people I know who read young adult books say that it’s impressive how dickish the boy remains throughout the series. In this one, he goes back in time to confront his earlier dick of a self.

    Lastly, up at Third Place Books, Thor Hansen reads from The Impenetrable Forest: My Gorilla Years in Uganda, which is a book about living with gorillas in Uganda. Which is awesome, and entirely reading of the night material.

    The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 18 at 10:00 AM

    Sarah Sudhoff’s Senior Portrait (2006), digital C-print

    At Photographic Center Northwest. (Gallery site here.)

    Watchmen Trailer

    posted by on July 18 at 9:55 AM

    I think that a Watchmen movie is a terrible idea. It’s a wonderful comic book that was planned to be just that: a wonderful comic book. For it to become a movie, it would take a director who could somehow make it as dependent on the medium of film as the original was on the medium of comic books. And I just don’t have that kind of trust in Zack Snyder.

    That said, Dr. Manhattan looks fucking awesome, and I will be there on opening weekend. Even if it was as bad as it could possibly be, it wouldn’t ruin the comic book for me.

    (Thanks to Slog Tipper Levi.)

    Re: Submitted for Jen’s Approval—Insomniac Edition

    posted by on July 18 at 9:47 AM

    Dan, you realize this Sunning Bear is now a Mooning Bear, right?

    And is it possible that, with that, I am released from the fun that has been Mid-Sized Sculpture Park Sculpture With Dan Savage this week? I cry a yogafied bear tear, and leave you with this apparently majestically bad piece of public art.


    posted by on July 18 at 9:39 AM

    Minutes after closing my eyes last night, a city and a television tower appeared.

    The television tower had babies crawling up and down it.

    The babies were naked.

    Th babies had holes for faces.
    Just before my finger entered a hole, I awoke. A long and loaded train was rattling on the tracks.

    My dream has a debt. That debt is owed to Christin Clatterbuck.

    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father

    posted by on July 18 at 9:10 AM

    Violence broke out Sunday in Anderson when an 18-year-old man returned home from a gay pride parade and was assaulted by his father…. The teen told deputies that his father “has a problem with him being gay and that is why he hit him with the baseball bat Sunday,” Weymouth said in his report.

    Via Towleroad.

    Good Point

    posted by on July 18 at 8:40 AM

    Postman talks a bit about the Seattle Times’ handling of the Doug Sutherland “inappropriate touching” story, and then gets into the not-so-way-back machine to point out a bit of Democratic hypocrisy on this issue:

    The documents were provided to The Times, the PI, horsesass and apparently others, by backers of Peter Goldmark, the Democrat running against Sutherland. The reason is obvious: They hope that the story will stain Sutherland’s reputation enough that Goldmark can unseat him after two terms as lands commissioner.

    Democrats were quick to try to leverage the horsesass post to help Goldmark. Party spokesman Kelly Steele said in a press release:

    These documents speak for themselves, and the facts as presented strongly suggest Republican Doug Sutherland has compromised the public trust, and owes Washingtonians an explanation for his abhorrent behavior.

    There’s no doubt the Sutherland story deserved a place in the newspaper. But the Democrats have established a double standard for this behavior that rises above run of the mill campaign hypocrisy.

    This is the same Democratic Party that in 2000 financed former Gov. Mike Lowry’s run against Sutherland. Lowry served one term as governor and left without running for re-election after a sexual harassment scandal.

    Lowry agreed to pay $97,500 to a former press aide, who left her job after what she said was inappropriate touching and comments from Lowry. Two former Lowry aides from his years in Congress also came forward and talked to an investigator about their own experiences. The scandal began after a female State Patrol employee said Lowry inappropriately touched her…

    I’ll be interested to see how the party, Goldmark and his backers continue to use this new Sutherland case as a disqualifier for high office. If this is to be a part of the campaign for lands commissioner, Democrats should explain to voters the sliding scale of abhorrent behavior.

    To be clear, I don’t think that “Hey, Mike Lowry did it, too!” is going to be a winning rejoinder for Republicans in this whole debacle. But Postman makes a good point in saying that the burden is on Democrats to explain whether there’s some sort of difference between the two cases, and why one case should be a disqualifier for holding the Lands Commissioner post and the other… not so much.

    On the Radio

    posted by on July 18 at 8:00 AM

    I’ll be on KUOW’s Weekday this morning, starting at 10 a.m., to talk about the news of the week with other local journalist types.

    Topics may very well include: That controversial New Yorker cover, inappropriate touching at the Department of Natural Resources, attacks on the presidential candidates’ wives, Seattle’s toilet auction, and whatever else you call in to demand we discuss.

    That’s 94.9 FM if you want to listen in. Oh, and if you want to get inside my head early, the comments, as always, are open.

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 18 at 7:30 AM

    Court Is In Session: First Guantanamo war trials begin Monday.

    Terror Watch 2008: Chertoff says Europe is the latest terror threat, suggests taking off and nuking France from space. It’s the only way to be sure.

    Tossed: Convictions overturned for men accused of Madrid train bombing.

    Movin’ On Up: Indian politician crosses caste lines.

    Canned: Major HIV vaccine trial canceled due to doubts about effectiveness.

    A Fool’s Wager: Al Gore totally double-dog-dares you not to use oil.

    You and What Army? Bush threatened to send troops to Darfur if that whole genocide thing wasn’t cleared up.

    Red Menace No More: FDA says tomatoes now a-ok!

    And now, the only man that ever defeated Batman: Wesley Willis.

    Submitted for Jen’s Approval—Insomniac Edition

    posted by on July 18 at 3:15 AM

    Saugatuck’s sexy, sexy bear looks even sexier at 3:00 AM.


    “Sunning Bear,” Gert Olsen, 2002.

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    When Nerds Run for Office

    posted by on July 17 at 10:52 PM

    Sean Tevis for Kansas State Representative.



    Obama Campaign Calls the Washington Republican Party “Beyond Sad”

    posted by on July 17 at 6:10 PM

    Joining the chorus of anger at the Washington State Republicans’ attack on Michelle Obama’s patriotism, Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton says:

    With our economy in shambles, our nation at war and our challenges mounting by the day, it is beyond sad that the Republican Party of Washington would spend its time launching shameful attacks on the wife of a candidate–attacks our current First Lady Laura Bush has decried. Michelle Obama has lived the American Dream, and it’s love of country that leads Michelle and Barack to make this race. But how does it strengthen our country to pollute our politics with false and mean-spirited attacks? John McCain promised us better. It’s up to him to curb these tactics, or take responsibility for them.

    Meanwhile, Ben Smith sees, in the RNC’s non-condemnation of the ad (which was modeled after a Tennessee Republican Party ad that the RNC did condemn), a signal that “attacks on Michelle’s patriotism are now fair game.”

    Not Bad

    posted by on July 17 at 5:10 PM

    Hey, Kay Ryan is the new poet laureate. Not a bad choice at all. Christopher wrote a nice column about her when she came to Seattle Arts & Lectures in 2005:

    The idea most people have of poets is that their job is to identify and distill the meaning of human experience or the heaviness of being alive or whatever. “I loathe the idea of the poet,” Ryan said. Which is why it’s hard to find heavy poetic intent in Ryan’s poems. “I hate significance and I really hate added significance,” she said, talking about “Home to Roost,” a poem she’d submitted to a magazine before 9/11 that, after 9/11, seemed stupidly rich with importance: “The chickens / are circling and / blotting out the / day. The sun is / bright, but the / chickens are in / the way. Yes, / the sky is dark / with chickens, / dense with them. / They turn and / then they turn / again. These / are the chickens / you let loose / one at a time / and small—/ various breeds. / Now they have / come home / to roost—all / the same kind / at the same speed.” She pulled the poem from consideration for publication because, at the time, you couldn’t publish a poem about chickens in the clear sky coming back to get you without everyone thinking you were obviously aiming at a Big Point.

    Here is another poem of hers Christopher mentioned in passing, via The New York Times.


    If it please God,
    let less happen.
    Even out Earth’s
    rondure, flatten
    Eiger, blanden
    the Grand Canyon.
    Make valleys
    slightly higher,
    widen fissures
    to arable land,
    remand your
    terrible glaciers
    and silence
    their calving,
    halving or doubling
    all geographical features
    toward the mean.
    Unlean against our hearts.
    Withdraw your grandeur
    from these parts.

    That’s a great poem.

    I Found It: Urban Horror Edition

    posted by on July 17 at 4:48 PM

    This just in from Slog tipper Scott:

    Ok, so about an hour ago I’m at the corner where Madison, 16th and Pine all come together. I’m on my bicycle waiting for the light to change when I look down and see a huge, machete-esque KNIFE COVERED WITH BLOOD lying in the crosswalk. Whether this implement was last used to carve up some tasty steaks or to brutally murder someone, the butcher/murderer was careful enough to put it back in it’s protective vinyl sleeve before depositing it in the busy intersection. File under macabre.


    Sound Transit: On the Ballot This Year

    posted by on July 17 at 4:40 PM

    That’s sure what it looks like, anyway, as Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon, a longtime holdout on going forward with light-rail expansion in 2008 , has endorsed a new 15-year plan that would extend light rail to Lynnwood, Federal Way, and Redmond. Although the plan only needed 12 “yea” votes to pass, Reardon’s support was considered crucial because without him, none of the board’s Snohomish County members would be on board with the plan, a bad political situation for Sound Transit if it wants to win votes in Snohomish County. Now that Reardon has signed on, his fellow Snohomish County ST board member Deanna Dawson—who works for Reardon in her day job—will undoubtedly support the package, as will Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg, who told me recently that he was just waiting for Reardon to say he backed the proposal before throwing his own support behind it. That gives the new, $9 billion 2008 ballot measure at least 14 and probably 15 votes, with only King County Executive Ron Sims, Everett City Council Member Paul Roberts, and state transportation secretary Paula Hammond expected to vote “no.”

    The board is expected to vote on July 24.

    Always Be Closing

    posted by on July 17 at 4:34 PM

    All the Starbucks that will be closing as part of the new, layoff-tastic money-saving plan are listed here.

    This is the portion of the list related to Seattle Starbucks closures:


    I’m kind of surprised that that one on 15th survived as long as it did.

    (Via Starbucks Gossip.)

    UPDATE: I forgot one:


    For David Schmader

    posted by on July 17 at 4:32 PM

    Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful:

    “Anal-Sex Week” Landlord Maxes Out

    posted by on July 17 at 4:29 PM

    Remember Lou Novak, the landlord who had to resign his post as VP of the Rental Housing Association after he made a bigoted comment about the Lifelong AIDS Alliance?

    In case you don’t, I’ll refresh your memory:

    In case you hadn’t realized, last week was anal sex week in Olympia.

    That, at least, was the publicly proclaimed assessment of Lou Novak, a prominent apartment-building owner. Novak’s eagerness to express his views within earshot of HIV-positive citizens, including two children, who traveled to the state capital last week to lobby for greater AIDS prevention and care funding not only provoked a confrontation that led to an investigation by Capitol security, but has also provoked a minor firestorm among legislators.

    A handful of advocates were exiting the main legislative building when they say they passed a man who loudly offered his troglodytic opinion of their activities. The leader of the contingent, Susie Saxton, executive director of CareBearers, a hospice organization in Yakima, was wearing a red “AIDS Awareness Day” T-shirt. She was accompanied by two other adults, as well as a 13-year-old girl and a 16-year-old who had contracted HIV from his mother, who had herself become infected through a blood transfusion during kidney surgery in the late 1980s.

    “Looks like its anal sex week,”
    the man said as they passed him, according to Saxton.

    Guess which politician he’s maxed out to?

    Dino Rossi.

    Since December 2007, Novak has donated $3,200 to Rossi’s gubernatorial campaign.

    However, the donation shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with Rossi’s record on gay rights.

    In 2003, he voted against legislation that would have banned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

    In 2004 1996, he attacked an opponent, Kathleen Drew, by saying she had “sponsored a gay and lesbian art exhibit in the state capitol.” The exhibit was meant to honor the late Sen. Cal Anderson.

    He voted for the Defense of Marriage Act as a state legislator and supporting George W. Bush in his call for a US constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

    Bad News

    posted by on July 17 at 4:18 PM

    Yukiko Shirahara is leaving the Seattle Art Museum. And just when I began to appreciate her. Here’s my column introducing her from a few months ago, and my review of her culture-mashup show Japan Envisions the West: 16th–19th Century Japanese Art from Kobe City Museum. Here’s my conversation with her about Hokusai’s Great Wave.

    According to a press release from SAM, Shirahara is becoming chief curator at the Nezu Institute of Fine Arts in Tokyo. She starts there October 1.

    “This is a marvelous promotion for Yukiko Shirahara,” said SAM director Mimi Gates, “and no one deserves it more. A scholar-curator who maintains high standards, Yukiko is totally dedicated to advancing knowledge about Japanese and Korean art. She will be sorely missed.”

    Shirahara, a specialist in Buddhist and Shinto painting, joined the SAM curatorial staff in January 2002. Most recently she organized the groundbreaking exhibition Japan Envisions the West… She served as curator for many other outstanding exhibitions such as: Five Masterpieces of Asian Art: The Story of their Conservation (2007), Elegant Earth: Photographs by Johsel Namkung (2006); Mountain Dreams: Contemporary Ceramics by Yoon Kwang-cho (2004); Beyond the Paper Plane: Japanese Prints from the 1950s to 1970s (2004); Discovering Buddhist Art: Seeking the Sublime (2003); and Rabbit, Cat and Horse: Endearing Creatures in Japanese Art (2002). SAM’s Asian Art collection, long a cornerstone of the museum, was greatly expanded during Shirahara’s tenure. Among her most notable acquisitions include a Japanese modern woodblock print Mount Rainier by Yoshida Hiroshi, an early Edo period hanging scroll Portrait of Zen Monk, a late Edo period Japanese Noh theatrical robe, Korean contemporary ceramics by Yoon Kwang-cho, Moon Jar by Park Young-sook and 21 prints by Seattle-based Korean photographer Johsel Namkung. She also acquired for SAM more than 800 reference books, exhibition catalogues and journals on Asian Art from the late Japanese scholar Taka Yanagisawa for SAAM’s McCaw Foundation Library (2006).

    Congratulations. Boo.

    Smell of Marijuana Is Insufficient Cause for Search and Arrest

    posted by on July 17 at 4:07 PM

    It’s quite a week for news about cops smelling pot. The Washington State Supreme Court ruled this morning that an officer was unjustified when he arrested a car passenger after smelling marijuana. On behalf of the unanimous court, Justice Charles W. Johnson wrote:

    On April 6, 2006, state trooper Brent Hanger passed a vehicle with very dark, tinted windows…. Hanger detected the “moderate[]” smell of marijuana coming from the car. … He informed both Hurley and Grande they were under arrest based on the odor of marijuana. Hurley and Grande were both handcuffed and searched. The search of Grande revealed a marijuana pipe containing a small amount of marijuana….

    Each individual possesses the right to privacy, meaning that person has the right to be left alone by police unless there is probable cause based on objective facts that the person is committing a crime. This probable cause requirement is derived from the language of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provides, “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause … .” Our state constitution similarly protects our right to privacy in article I, section 7, stating, “[n]o person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law.” …

    We hold that the smell of marijuana in the general area where an individual is located is insufficient, without more, to support probable cause for arrest.

    Shorter: “Police have to have evidence of who has marijuana,” says Alison Holcomb, director of the Marijuana Education Project for the ACLU of Washington. “They cannot just arrest everybody and sort it out later.”

    Every Child Deserves a Mother and Father

    posted by on July 17 at 4:05 PM

    Since Savage is on vacation, I’m throwing this up.

    An Illinois woman faces at least 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to doping her 6-year-old twin girls with cough syrup and taking nude pictures of them with her boyfriend.

    (Thanks, Julia.)

    Roundly Chastised

    posted by on July 17 at 4:00 PM

    I’m fascinated by this fight between a customer and a coffee shop owner. It started out as a long blog post complaining about a snooty coffee shop policy:

    I just ordered my usual summertime pick-me-up: a triple shot of espresso dumped over ice. And the guy at the counter looked me in the eye with a straight face and said “I’m sorry, we can’t serve iced espresso here. It’s against our policy.”

    The whole world turned brown and chunky for a second. Flecks of corn floated past my pupils, and it took me a second to blink it all away.

    “Okay,” I said, “I’ll have a triple espresso and a cup of ice, please.”

    He rolled his eyes and rang it up, took my money, gave me change. I stood there and waited. Then the barista called me over to the bar. I reached for it, and he leaned over and locked his eyes with mine, saying “Hey man. What you’re about to do … that’s really, really Not Okay…This is our store policy, to preserve the integrity of the coffee. It’s about the quality of the drink, and diluting the espresso is really not cool with us. So I mean, you’re going to do what you’re going to do, and I can’t stop you, but”

    I interrupted. “You’re goddamned right you can’t stop me,” I said. “I happen to have a personal policy that prohibits me from indulging stupid bullshit like this — and another personal policy of doing what I want with the products I pay for.” Then I looked him right in his big wide eyes and poured the espresso onto the ice.

    And it goes on from there and it concludes, as all coffee shop visits should, with a tip:


    And so it ended. Until it didn’t. The original post bounced around the Internet enough that the coffee shop owner responded on his blog:

    To Mr. Simmermon, you overplayed your hand with your vulgar tip-schtick. While I certainly won’t bemoan you your right to free-speech, I have to respond to you in your own dialect: F*@k you, Jeff Simmermon. Considering your public threat of arson, you’ll understand when I say that if you ever show your face at my shop, I’ll punch you in your dick.

    And now it’s on BoingBoing and on the Washington Post and everywhere. I can’t look away, but I also dread future online customer complaints that will no doubt go to Defcon 5 as this one did. Soon we’ll need a blog just to track customer/retail employee relations. Oh, wait.

    Help the Helm

    posted by on July 17 at 3:45 PM

    It seems the Helm Gallery, which has been open and running on the steam and finances of a couple of dedicated artists alone, is now in need of some external support. Every single time a true contemporary art gallery opens in Tacoma, this happens: some very well-intentioned people become rapidly exhausted and have to abandon ship—unless somebody steps in.

    So how about several dozen somebodies? The Helm doesn’t want money for nothing. It’s created a poster and is selling that poster for $50. The price is steep, sure, but supporting contemporary art in Tacoma costs money, and Seattleites should consider doing it for a couple of reasons: One, the poster is lovely, like an old-fashioned tourist brochure from a time long before the Tacoma Dome was built, or like some sort of Moroccan-ish textile. Two, Seattle artists show at the Helm, and can stretch there, can do things that feel like working while no one’s watching. Three, you’d be paying a tribute to Tacoma’s excellent, excellent poster culture, led by these guys.

    Here’s the poster the Helm guys want you to buy:


    And below is the best poster ever to come out of Tacoma. (I don’t know who designed it, and you can’t buy these—you had to pick one up inside a publication, I can’t remember which one but hence the fold, back in the day. I still have mine hanging at my desk, looking back at me pleadingly every day as I work.)


    You will like Tacoma. It’s true. You could even drive down there and check out the Helm Gallery yourself. (If you do go, don’t miss Janet Cardiff’s exquisite experiment in collective versus individual expression, The Forty Part Motet at Tacoma Art Museum. Also at TAM, go into the bookstore and look for the holographic Renoir postcards. Thus you will discover the medium in which Renoir would have truly excelled. I’m not kidding. Mine has been blowing my mind all day.)

    Police Report on the Pot Bust

    posted by on July 17 at 3:42 PM

    I just got a hold of the police report for Tuesday’s University District pot search, where police seized hundreds of patients’ medical records.

    At about 3:30 p.m., police entered an office on the Ave, claiming they were responding to the smell of marijuana. According to Martin Martinez, who runs the office, police—apparently looking for a pot garden—removed a wall, seized some dried pot, a computer, and took hundreds of patients’ medical records on file at the office for a medical-marijuana ID card registry.

    Here’s the police report. Click the image for a larger version.



    This highly redacted report makes a brief mention that, prior to obtaining a warrant, officers saw parts of the marijuana plant that are not ordinarily smoked. Without the full report, one can only speculate whether officers believed the “leaves and stems” indicated marijuana was growing (which would be legal for Martinez, an authorized patient under state law), but it should also be mentioned that the typically un-smoked parts of the plant may have been present because he didn’t smoke them. Martinez says the storefront was not used to grow or dispense marijuana. No plants were found in the search. “It’s crazy,” says Douglas Hiatt, Martinez’s attorney. “There’s obviously no legal reasoning whatsoever.”

    So far, law enforcement officials have been mum on the raid, but yesterday King County prosecutor’s office spokesman Dan Donahoe says police were responding to a complaint about the smell of marijuana coming from the office. However, prosecutors still haven’t explained whether they believe Martinez was violating the medical-marijuana law, or why they supported a warrant to seize medical records.

    The county has not yet made public the warrant, the affidavit of probable cause, or the list of items seized. Stay tuned.

    Gov. Gregoire Defends Michelle Obama

    posted by on July 17 at 3:15 PM

    In response to all of this, Gov. Gregoire just released a statement saying:

    I was proud to welcome Michelle Obama, who clearly loves our country deeply, here to Washington state this morning. These shameless attacks by the state Republican Party have no place in our politics. If John McCain is serious about running a “respectful” campaign on the issues, he and Republican leaders like Dino Rossi will denounce this tasteless attack ad and tell the state Republican Party to pull the plug on it immediately. After eight years of the most divisive, fear-driven politics this country has ever seen, I agree with Senator Obama that it’s time to turn the page and bring Americans together.

    And for those who’ve missed what’s gone on below, the governor is talking about this new video from the Washington State Republican Party:

    A Time To Vote

    posted by on July 17 at 2:49 PM

    My vote: I don’t know, statistics can be used to argue anything.
    What’s yours?

    This Week in The Stranger

    posted by on July 17 at 2:40 PM


    Brendan Kiley on Greg Lundgren’s Monumental Undertaking
    “Lundgren Monuments will succeed or fail depending on how many people seek alternatives to the defaults and clichés of the death-care business. Lundgren’s cast-glass monuments adorn cemeteries in five countries and 20 states, but he’s had to fight, cemetery by cemetery, to get them in. Most cemeteries only allow monuments made of granite or bronze, which don’t erode like marble and sandstone. Glass, Lundgren tells reluctant cemetery directors, is as durable as granite. Lundgren argues that because the technology required to cast thick glass is only 30 years old, people don’t understand how tough it is. In his studio, he heats glass to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit—incidentally, the same temperature at which bodies are cremated—and cools it in computer-controlled ovens, over a period of weeks, so it congeals into a strong, flawless mass. ‘Slice granite as thin as a piece of window glass and throw a rock at it,’ he says. ‘It’ll shatter.’”

    Dominic Holden on Qwest Field’s Problem with Queers
    “The staff at Qwest Field had every clue that gay couples would be attending the WaMu Theater on July 1. After all, that night’s concert was the Seattle stop on the True Colors tour. It starred Rosie O’Donnell and Cyndi Lauper, the stage was decorated with a rainbow and a pink triangle, and the event was billed as a fundraiser for organizations to ‘raise awareness about the discrimination the GLBT community still faces.’ But while the B-52s played a slow song, two lesbians who were sitting in the third row say a security guard approached them, shined his flashlight in their faces, and then lowered the beam onto their joined hands. He then gestured with his finger across his throat to ‘cut it out’ and told them to ‘stop it,’ the women say.”

    Jen Graves on Adam Satushek’s Photographs, Eric Elliott’s Paintings, and the Most Influential Radical Idea of the 20th Century
    “On the surface—in fact, especially on the surface—two young Seattle artists, Adam Satushek and Eric Elliott, have nothing in common. Satushek makes big, bright, smooth, ultraclear photographs. Elliott makes thick little gray oil paintings. But it’s even truer in art than in life that looks aren’t everything. These artworks think similarly, in sculptural terms, about the relationship between innards and skin.”

    Bethany Jean Clement on the Scene at Seattle’s Longest-Running Speakeasy (Location Undisclosed)
    “The bartender is hands-down the slowest in town. Protocol dictates that, after a near-eternal wait, when he asks you what you’d like, you ask him what he thinks you ought to have. The featured cocktails this evening are the bloody Caesar, the redoubtable Pimm’s cup, and variations on Jim Beam (ginger ale is a favorite addition). After brief scrutiny—his solemn gaze through owlish glasses is an apparent assessment of the state of your soul—a prescription is issued, and your cocktail is undertaken. Subjects to raise: his recent trip to London, his sartorial splendor (top hat, bow tie, striped trousers, tails). He doesn’t say much, and, as noted, he’s not quick with the mixing, but at his bar, all the drinks are free.

    Steven Blum Questions David Sedaris
    “As he walks out of the elevator at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel, David Sedaris looks up, over his shoulder, down at his shoes, and then sort of spins around. He’s looking for me, but I’d rather watch him futz around than introduce myself.”

    Lindy West Watches Heathers Outdoors
    “Hey! Young people! I just thought of the best idea for you. Why don’t you move to South Lake Union? Seriously. Move to South Lake Union. Do it. Do it. Come on. Do it! Aren’t you having fun? Don’t you like it here? Look at all these condos we’re building! Aren’t they cool and tall? God, it’s so great hanging out here in South Lake Union and doing stuff like watching totally cool cinema on a lawn with other young people. Hey, look—the Big Dipper! The stars really are brighter over South Lake Union. Except when the outdoor movie is playing (Paul Allen has the stars dimmed for the outdoor movies). Listen. I’ll tell you what. If you move to South Lake Union, Paul Allen will personally guarantee you ONE free hug. Wait, what? Okay, if you’d prefer, Paul Allen will personally guarantee never to hug you. Ever. No hugs. Dooo it.

    ALSO DISCUSSED IN THIS ISSUE: Heath Ledger’s Joker; Lil Wayne’s lil problem; Dan Savage’s insomnia; what Mark Arm thinks of the music community (“Fuck the music community”); the Janus-faced marvel that is Strawberry Theatre Workshop’s Leni; what Matt Dillon did to two goats over the weekend (sewed them together, stuffed the cavity with more meat, roasted it all over an open fire); why King Cobra’s owners are selling after just six months; the ongoing looniness of the 46th District state legislature race; censorship on Craigslist; Michelle Obama; fireworks; anaphylactic shock; and more.

    It’s No Record Store Day

    posted by on July 17 at 2:33 PM

    This bookstore in New Hampshire is trying to kick off a nationwide independent bookstore event this October:


    Independent bookstores across the country are invited to take part in a unique reading experience this coming October. Booksellers will host 24-hour reading marathons in their stores, designed to highlight the importance of reading to our culture, as well as create an opportunity for booklovers to tackle the next book on their to-read pile.

    Hm. At first, when I read this, I thought they meant “Booksellers will host 24-hour readingS marathons,” as in, “a group of authors will read aloud from their work for an entire day.” I was thinking, “NO OH MY GOD NO.” But, you know, if they want to have people sit on their floors (most Seattle bookstores don’t have a whole lot of seating) and read for a day, why not? I think something like Record Store Day for bookstores would be a great idea, but this 24-hour read-a-thon might get some press, too.

    Of course, at the moment, the only participating stores are two bookstores in New Hampshire (owned by the same person) and one in Utah. If other bookstores in other, less-spazzy states get involved, it might turn into something.

    Dear God

    posted by on July 17 at 2:11 PM

    Why couldn’t the Blue Angels have been sent away with the Sonics?

    I await Your reply,

    David Schmader

    Robin Williams Crashes Laff Hole

    posted by on July 17 at 2:10 PM

    Last night, at approximately 10 pm, approximately 100 people simultaneously texted me the precise location of Robin Williams: Laff Hole, Re-bar, sitting in the back. So I went. There he was.

    Photos by Christopher Frizzelle.

    Old Man Williams sat through the show, laughed a little at some things and laughed a lot at others, including Face Off, the Laff Hole version of a staring contest: Two comics stand toe to toe and try to make each other laugh with short phrases. The first one to laugh or break eye contact loses. From last night’s Face Off, between a man and a woman whose names I didn’t catch:

    Man: “Gestapo casual Friday sweater.”
    Woman: “Short bus orgy.”

    Old Man Williams loved “short bus orgy.” Loved it. Clapped, shouted, quoted it later in the evening.


    Man: [Makes the cunnilingus, tongue-between-fingers gesture]
    Woman: In your dreams.
    Man: I’ve had nightmares.

    The woman broke. The man won.

    The last comic of the evening was Ross Parson, a sad-sack comedian whose best joke is: “Stuttering only helps beat-boxers.” It was his 21st birthday and, just before his set, Old Man Williams jumped on stage to sing him happy birthday and talk for awhile.


    It was precisely what you’d expect: manic riffing, jumping between characters (the Angry Scotsman, the Sibilant Gay Man), jokes about anal sex and Seattle (“it’s like San Francisco, but without as much money”). He showed off his calves. He grabbed his tail.


    “Comedy is born—and aborted—in rooms like this!” Old Man Williams shouted. People went bananas. He went bananas.


    The People’s Republic of Komedy sent a dictate this morning saying Old Man Williams might return to do a longer set in the coming weeks but didn’t explain why he showed up in the first place. Just passing through? Scouting for talent? Or scouting for jokes?

    He does have a reputation as a joke rustler. (Radar wrote about it last year.) So if you hear “short bus orgy” in Patch Adams II, you’ll know where it came from.

    More photos after the jump.

    Continue reading "Robin Williams Crashes Laff Hole" »

    Re: Re: Submitted for Jen’s Approval 3&4

    posted by on July 17 at 1:53 PM




    If not, indeed


    That is all.

    Reggae For Nancy Reagan

    posted by on July 17 at 1:42 PM

    The cover of this week’s paper reminded me of an old reggae tune by Blue Riddim…

    Re: Submitted for Jen’s Approval 3&4

    posted by on July 17 at 1:33 PM

    Every day this week, Dan Savage has graciously sent an image of a sculpture found on his vacation in artsy Saugatuck, Michigan, for me to critique. It has been so! much! fun!

    But I wanted to give myself an additional challenge over and above critiquing JPEGs of things I’ve never seen, so I decided I’d look at Wednesday’s Sculpture and Thursday’s Sculpture strictly in relation to one another, whatever they turned out to be.

    I am told that this Sunning Bear was made by a person named Gert Olsen in 2002.


    I am told that this Empty (Revisited) was made by a person named Shawn Phillip Morin in 2003.


    As for that last one, Mr. Savage didn’t give me the breakdown of the materials, so I’m left to wonder whether the pedestal is a pedestal or a part of the sculpture. I would rather it be part of the sculpture, and people probably can’t help but remember it that way after they walk away from it, so I’m considering it fair game.

    Which is good for the sculpture, because frankly, Empty does not really need to be Revisited, does it? (Here’s a great Eastern-influenced example of empty revisited from 1969, by Isamu Noguchi, sitting right out there every day in Seattle’s Volunteer Park.) It’s much more fun to think of Morin’s sculpture as an empty-headed hipster in tapered pants walking disdainfully by a bank.

    OK, but then we have to return to the emptiness, yes we do. Because that bear is as full as full gets. It’s way, way too full, by the way. Also, I’m as guilty as the commenters of seeing sex on that thing. I, too, thought it was thrusting its butt in the air and turning around to see just who was coming for it. It makes me feel…not good. I declare this sculpture the most painful of all this week. But it is also the only one that’s made any kind of impression on me. You can’t call it colorless, even if it’s made in white marble. It’s a sort of accident, too—I’m sure the artist didn’t mean to make a randy bear with its ass in the air, but, well, here we are.

    If you want to get all academic on yourselves, consider that the history of sculpture is conflicted when it comes to interiors versus exteriors. Henry Moore’s figures (here’s Vertebrae across from the Central Library in Seattle) are animated by a soul within them; in Donald Judd’s empty boxes, every last thing is on the surface (and in Eva Hesse’s great feminist reversal of Judd’s boxes, every last surface is visible, but hairy and internal and vaginal, an update on this.) So, I suppose, put all this in your pipe and smoke it. I’m with the bear, who accidentally implies that he wants penetration, and then blocks it with his smooth, unbroken surface and intended, asexual childishness.

    One Response to the Washington State Republicans’ Attack on Michelle Obama

    posted by on July 17 at 1:30 PM

    I expect we’ll be hearing a lot more about this, but the first reaction I’ve received comes from a Democratic operative who’s here at the Michelle Obama fundraiser (which just finished up). I sat the operative down with my computer and played the video for him. His response:

    What a pathetic, utter piece of shit.


    posted by on July 17 at 1:22 PM

    You guys realize that Mulder and Scully are totally going to make out in the new X-Files movie, right? OK, just checking.

    Murray and Clinton Respond to Bush’s “Contraception as Abortion” Bill

    posted by on July 17 at 1:07 PM

    Senators Patty Murray and Hillary Clinton wrote the following joint letter today to Michael Leavitt, head of Bush’s Health and Human Services Department, which just proposed new regulations that would deny federal aid to groups that refuse to hire people, including nurses, who object to abortion or birth control. The proposal’s insanely broad definition of “abortion” includes many common types of birth control.

    Dear Mr. Secretary:

    It has come to our attention that the Department of Health and Human Services may be preparing draft regulations that would create new obstacles for women seeking contraceptive services.

    One of the most troubling aspects of the proposed rules is the overly-broad definition of “abortion.” This definition would allow health-care corporations or individuals to classify many common forms of contraception – including the birth control pill, emergency contraception and IUDs – “abortions” and therefore to refuse to provide contraception to women who need it.

    As a consequence, these draft regulations could disrupt state laws securing women’s access to birth control. They could jeopardize federal programs like Medicaid and Title X that provide family-planning services to millions of women. They could even undermine state laws that ensure survivors of sexual assault and rape receive emergency contraception in hospital emergency rooms.

    We strongly urge you to reconsider these regulations before they are released. We are extremely concerned by this proposal’s potential to affect millions of women’s reproductive health.

    Thank you for your attention to this matter.

    Sincerely yours,

    Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
    Senator Patty Murray

    Clinton and Murray have been tireless advocates for women’s rights, including reproductive rights, most recently fighting to make emergency contraception (Plan B) available over the counter. Senator Barack Obama has not issued a response to the Bush Administration’s proposal.

    The Supremes

    posted by on July 17 at 12:57 PM

    I’m a big fan of outgoing NYT Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, so I was kind of disappointed by her lackluster retrospective piece for last weekend’s Week in Review.

    But her ongoing Q&A with readers this week is definitely worth checking out. For instance, Obama has been indicating he wants “people who have life experience and [who] understand what it means to be on the outside, what it means to have the system not work for them” on the Supreme Court—making it rather hard for federal court-watchers to guess who he’d nominate. Here’s Greenhouse on the subject:

    Q. Do you think that the justices of the Supreme Court are becoming further removed from the everyday world of the average U.S. citizen and lawyer when so many of them have spent most, if not all of their careers, as judges or academics or both? If so, what does this portend for the future of the court, its decisions and respect for the court? —Charles L. Riter, South Dakota

    A. I think I’m on safe ground in saying that the current court is the first in United States history on which every member’s immediate past job was as a judge on a federal appeals court. In the not-too-distant past, it was common to select justices from among leading figures in American public life—Earl Warren was a three-term governor of California who had run for vice president on the Republican ticket. Other members of the Warren Court had been senators, cabinet members, and presidential intimates.

    There is general agreement that a greater diversity of background would be useful today. Some fine justices had never been judges at all (Powell, Rehnquist). Justice O’Connor had served only an intermediate state court. Being on the Supreme Court is an inherently isolating experience, so the life experiences that justices bring with them matter perhaps more than in other venues. The experience of advising clients, helping real people solve problems, or working in a different branch or level of government could perhaps help a justice insist less on doctrinal purity and more on real solutions to our legal problems. The early justices lived in boarding houses and “rode circuit,”: sitting as federal trial judges in distant cities, often at great inconvenience and sometimes peril. Clearly the framers of the Constitution didn’t expect justices of the Supreme Court to lead remote, isolated lives. (For a fascinating historical novel based on the lives of the early justices and their wives, see “A More Obedient Wife” by Natalie Wexler.)

    Burning Beast

    posted by on July 17 at 12:56 PM

    Last weekend up at Smoke Farm—a 360-acre jewel on the Stillaguamish River— Seattle’s more intrepid chefs gathered to cook whole animals over open fires.

    PETA didn’t show. But about 250 other people did, including Bethany Jean Clement, who wrote about Burning Beast in this week’s paper:

    These were people profoundly comfortable with their relationship with meat. These were people who joke about vegans, people who wear T-shirts reading “MEAT IS MURDER/tasty, tasty murder,” people who respond to a whole pig slowly spinning on a spit (its skin bulging and browning and glistening, its ears wrapped in protective tinfoil) by wondering who’s going to get the tongue.
    Everyone milled, ate, drank, and reveled in glamorized savagery, with a set of attendees ostentatiously carrying around bottles of BYOB Veuve Clicquot lending a decadent, end-of-days frisson. People swam in the cold Stillaguamish River and/or camped under the rural multiplicity of stars (but probably not the Veuve Clicquot party). There was a bonfire. Charlie Hertz of Zoe’s Meats brought a great deal of the world’s best bacon for those smart enough to stay for the next day’s breakfast; he said his friends routinely let themselves into his house and just start making bacon, and then refused to say where he lived.

    And Kelly O, who just finished editing this very special, very carnivorous video of Tamara Murphy (of Brasa), Matt Dillion (of Sitka and Spruce and the Corson Building), Tyson Danielson (of Le Pichet), and the rest of the gang, sitting in the sun and drinking beer at what was, undoubtedly, this summer’s best barbecue:

    The Washington State Republicans’ Backhanded Welcome to Michelle Obama

    posted by on July 17 at 12:35 PM

    I’m at the Michelle Obama fundraiser right now, listening to Gov. Christine Gregoire speak, so I can’t fully listen to this video that just landed in my in-box from the Washington State Republican Party. But it looks (and sounds, after a quick listen on headphones) as if Republicans in this state are taking a cue from their counterparts in South Carolina Tennessee, who I believe made a similar video earlier this year:

    UPDATE: Back in May, the chairman of the Republican National Committee repudiated the Tennessee Republican Party for making the video that the Washington State Republican Party just copied. Will he do the same now?

    Coming Soon to a Screen Near You…

    posted by on July 17 at 12:26 PM

    … are the following locally produced films.

    The much maligned, much defended, much debated, much misspelled Cthulhu is opening in theaters August 22! No word on the actual Seattle venue yet, but we should be in the August 22 rollout.

    And Lynn Shelton’s My Effortless Brilliance has been acquired by IFC and will be available on its Festival Direct video-on-demand service in August. A DVD is also forthcoming.

    And Charles has already informed you as to the progress of his and Robinson Devor’s Seattle greenbelt fantasy, North American.


    posted by on July 17 at 12:20 PM

    So a couple days ago, I put out a call for macaroni and cheese recipes. I received, via comments and e-mail, 12 recipes. I will make them all, I promise, even if it takes me a year.

    But for various reasons I tried Bethany’s recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook first. One of my primary reasons had to do with the fact that it looked the cheesiest and involved a roux, which is something that I like in my macaroni and cheese. The other important reason is that I was making it for a going-away party, and the bread initials on Bethany’s recipe seemed like a cheap and easy way to pay tribute. She’s right when she says that “The bread-monogram may seem overly Martha, but people will fucking love it, including you:” it was easy and was a big hit at the dinner.

    And it was, as they say, motherfucking delicious. It didn’t take a whole lot of work—anything that takes less than twenty minutes to prepare isn’t a labor-intensive meal, in my book—and it was quite possibly the cheesiest mac and cheese I’ve ever had, without just being a bunch of cheese dumped on macaroni, if you catch my drift. (I didn’t take a picture because I’ve never been able to make food look photo-worthy.)

    The only thing I’d change, if I had it all to do over again, would be to add just a touch of dill or something like that to make it a little more complex. But I will definitely make this recipe again, and you should give it a shot, too. Cheers to you, Ms. Clement, on your excellent recipe. Thanks.

    Waterless World

    posted by on July 17 at 12:12 PM

    The more we explore Mars, the closer we get to a clear but disturbing picture of our future.

    Water was once widespread on Mars, data from a Nasa spacecraft shows, raising the prospect that the Red Planet could have supported life.

    Researchers found evidence of vast lakes, flowing rivers and deltas on early Mars, all of which were potential habitats for microbes.

    They also discovered that wet conditions probably persisted for a long time on the Red Planet.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on July 17 at 12:01 PM

    Someone just sent me this video of Lauren Hutton wearing her drunky pants at the Bravo’s A-List awards. I know it’s about a month old, but if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s worthy. I think “Guacamole Smasher” might be the name of my next band…

    Sutherland Responds; Times Edits

    posted by on July 17 at 11:52 AM

    State lands commissioner Douglas Sutherland—the state official who sexually harassed a young female employee several years ago, a story the two Seattle daily papers knew about for four months but ignored—has issued a statement in response to the story, which David Goldstein broke on Horse’s Ass two days ago. The statement essentially blames Sutherland’s opponent in his race for reelection, Peter Goldmark, for allowing the story to come to light.

    Ultimately people will judge for themselves, but it provides a clear contrast between Doug and the opponent’s campaign. The documents show that even though he knew the political difficulty such allegations could cause, Doug’s first concern was for the woman who was made uncomfortable. The woman was asked what steps would help resolve the issue and Doug and DNR agreed to do all of those things.

    In contrast, Doug’s opponent, his supporters and a liberal blog sent the information out without speaking with the woman or expressing concern that this might put her in a position she did not ask to be in – using a private matter as a political weapon in a campaign. Indeed, the Seattle Times noted that “She has not responded to interview requests.” Additionally, Goldmark’s supporters even went so far as to try and hide their involvement by arranging a deal that they not be identified by the media outlets to whom they leaked the documents.

    The contrast between Doug’s efforts to address the mistake he made by being too informal and apologize and the unauthorized use of a personal matter by Doug’s opponent without considering the position it put the woman in, says a lot about why so many have expressed their support for Doug prior to this story and why so many have called to reiterate that support today.

    Just to reiterate: The two incidents Sutherland glibly describes as “being too informal” involved, according to multiple eyewitnesses quoted in the documents Sutherland refers to, the lands commissioner running his hands all over the woman’s back and waist, commenting that she had “great parts,” and saying something to the effect that he was “just looking.” “Informal” is one word for that.

    In other Sutherland-related news, the Seattle Times has changed the headline on its Sutherland story, which managed to mention not one but five times in the story, headline, and subhead that Sutherland apologized for sexually harassing the woman. The old headline: “Washington public-lands commissioner apologized after complaint by employee.” The new one: “WA official was subject of harassment complaint.”

    They took out four of the five references to Sutherland’s apology, too—including the reference to the woman’s decision to resign “despite [Sutherland’s] formal apology.”

    Not Quite the Rubber Chicken Circuit

    posted by on July 17 at 11:45 AM

    But close. The chow at today’s Michelle Obama fundraiser for Gov. Christine Gregoire, as seen from the press riser:



    How much for the fancy salad, semi-elegant strawberry schortcake, big roll ‘o bread, and high-powered speechifying? $200 a person.

    What Bush Got Wrong on Stem Cells

    posted by on July 17 at 11:24 AM

    W’s August of 2001 speech on the evils of embryonic stem cells was an early classic of his presidency, one of the first indications of his deciderish, rather than uniter-not-a-divider, tendencies. All his favorite hobbies were covered—simpleminded and peevish sanctimony, rigid adherence to a bizarre and inconsistently absolutist moral code, and disinterest in any sort of logical, thoughtful or informed critique. In short, it was a delightful preview of the following eight years.

    Bush’s policy was to deny federal funding for any research on new embryonic stem cell lines created after August of 2001. This wasn’t a ban. Nor was it a system of regulations, well thought out or idiotic. Research involving any embryonic stem cell line created before August of 2001, all requiring the destruction of an embryo? Fine. Dandy. Not murder. Moral, according to Bush. On a line after August 2001? Murder, as it involves the destruction of an embryo—a murder good decent American taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to participate in, even indirectly.

    Put another way: Under the Bush policy, if you have money you can do whatever you damn well please. Commission embryos for the sole purpose of destroying them? No problem. Pay women for their eggs? Sure. Create a jello-mold out of human embryo? If you have the cash, you can do it.

    Federal funding of contentious research buys you, the public, the right to set rules and demand oversight. Ask the animal rights activists. Instead of banning federal funding for animal research, they focused on demanding massive regulation and oversight. Killing a mouse in a research lab involves a prodigious amount of paperwork, hours of training and going in front of a panel of vets to explain yourself. Even if your research is privately funded, most non-federal grants require you to follow the federal grant rules. Bush’s innovative policy of “do what you want, just not with our dollars” successfully shoved the most ethically contentious work out of the public’s eye and into the shadows.

    Well, weren’t some embryos saved? Hundreds of thousands of fertilized embryos are sitting in cryogenic storage at in-vitro fertilization clinics around the country, largely because it is much more difficult to freeze unfertilized human eggs. Therefore, eggs collected for fertility treatment are typically fertilized with sperm, allowed to develop for a few days into a very young embryo and then frozen. The overwhelming majority of these embryos will eventually be destroyed, after the couple has decided they want no more children and the insurance stops paying for storage.

    If you really believe that human life begins when the egg fuses with the sperm—as Bush’s new family planning policy assertsthis is the worst imaginable outcome. At least with federally funded embryonic stem cell research, a few of these embryos destined for destruction could be used to generate new embryonic stem cell lines, advancing medical science and potentially improving human health.

    (If you want more, please continue on to a longer post at

    Last Night on Television

    posted by on July 17 at 11:20 AM


    It has been brought to my attention that a new season of Project Runway began last night. I am housesitting for a friend who has a huge and glorious backyard garden but no cable TV, and so I didn’t see it myself. (It’s waiting at home on TiVo.) But I’ve been informed (in the comments to my Mamma Mia! post) that our West Seattle homeboy contestant is laboring underneath a garish spray tan (how I love ya how I love ya, my dear ol’ Yammy!) and is angling to lodge the term “girlicious” in the nation’s vocabulary. Please continue spoiler-free discussion of these and any other topics relating to last night’s PR in the comments.

    (Speaking of television, did anyone see last night’s Wife Swap? (The things you watch when denied cable…) I tuned in a little late, and the first thing I saw was one of the swapped moms—a busty Botoxed blonde—telling the camera that she wasn’t nervous about taking over the other wife’s job as a businesswoman. “I’ve got experience in public speaking!’ she said with a proud smile. Minutes later I learned her “public-speaking experience” came from her job with a motorcycle dealership, for whom she puts on a miniskirt and heels and stands by the side of the road, holding a sign that says “HOT BIKES!” while she hollers, “Hot bikes!” Basic television is amazing.)

    It’s Almost Too Good to Be True

    posted by on July 17 at 11:04 AM

    I got this postcard in the mail, obviously thanks to the miracle of laser-guided pinpoint marketing:

    Contest Seeks Christian Poets from Seattle

    SEATTLE—A $1,000 grand prize is being offered in a special poetry contest sponsored by the Christian Fine Arts Society, free to everyone. There are 50 prizes in all, including a $1,000 Grand Prize, totalling $4,000,000.

    To enter, send one poem of 21 lines or less to Free Poetry Contest, 7308 Heritage Dr, Mt Vernon, Indiana 47620. Or enter online at The deadline for entering is Aug. 18, 2008.

    We think great religious poems can inspire achievement,” says Lavender Aurora, the organization’s Contest Director. Poems may be written on any subject, using any style, as long as there is a spiritual inference. A typical poem might be a love poem, or poem of praise, one that inspires the reader.

    Be sure your name and address appears on the page with your poem. If you wish a winner’s list please enclose a return envelope.

    The bad news is, I entered already—things like this are why Bill Gates invented spam-magnet Hotmail addresses—so you’ll have to settle for second place. In case you’re hungry for inspiration, here’s my masterpiece:



    posted by on July 17 at 10:55 AM

    Something for her:

    Something for him:

    Something for the kid:

    Something for everyone:

    Something for every morning:

    Something for America:

    Lindy West Does the Impossible…

    posted by on July 17 at 10:41 AM


    ….and makes me not only willing but hungry to see the goddamned ABBA-movie-musical-starring-Meryl-fucking-Streep Mamma Mia!.

    My expectations for the ABBA musical Mamma Mia! were low. Very low. My expectations were so low that they dug a hole all the way to China and were walking around upside down asking for a fork (my expectations never learned how to use chopsticks). But oh, how young and wrong I was then! Mamma Mia! is pure entertainment. Sparkling and earnest, hammy beyond all acceptable boundaries of ham, full of slow-motion leaping and young love—it’s the movie equivalent of, well, ABBA. The cast rules: Meryl Streep is adorable; Pierce Brosnan sings (TERRIBLY) and stands on a cliff looking windswept in front of an Aegean sunset. Mamma Mia! entertained the shit out of me.

    Read the whole thing here. (And see you at Mamma Mia! this weekend! I’ll be the one cowering in shame!)

    Submitted for Jen’s Approval

    posted by on July 17 at 10:29 AM


    “Sunning Bear,” Gert Olsen, 2002.

    Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?

    posted by on July 17 at 10:26 AM

    The economy seems to be collapsing around us, which makes me a tad nostalgic. Are we going to be seeing former titans of Wall Street wearing barrels and selling apples? I’d like to be there to see the bankers and other money launderers flying out the windows of their offices when the crash takes place. Despair in dark suits, plummeting to the street below!


    But the rain of suicides probably won’t happen. I mean, does any self-respecting financial predator keep their money in the U.S.? I suppose that depends on whether you think Ken Lay is alive or dead.


    The stimulus doesn’t seem to have stimulated much yet, but stick around for the Pig Latin!

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on July 17 at 10:03 AM


    We have an open mic and three other readings tonight.

    Up in Port Townsend, as part of the Port Townsend Writer’s Conference, Brian Evenson will be in conversation with Rebecca Brown. Brown is a Stranger Genius, and Evenson is an amazing writer of all sorts of things, including some books that are science fiction-y and horror-y and he also wrote a very good book about Robert Coover, who is one of the greatest writers of the last century. Even though it’s nowhere near town, it’s the reading of the night.

    Some of you might be interested in the Barbara Ehrenreich reading at the Seattle Public Library. I’m not. She’s reading from her new book, This Land is Their Land. I know that everyone went nuts over Nickel and Dimed, one of her previous books, but I found it to be condescending and stupid, particularly in its description of retail workers. I thought that more could be learned about class in that book from observing the way that Ehrenreich unconsciously treats the lower classes: she behaves like Jane Goodall, investigating a different species. It was one of the most maddening books I’ve ever read…

    …but the author of the book that’s made me angry most recently is also reading tonight, at Elliott Bay Book Company. Her name is Noelle Oxenhandler, and she’s reading from The Wishing Year, which is a memoir about a year in which she wishes for stuff. This week’s Constant Reader is all about how much I hate this book, in particular this one passage:

    …Oxenhandler really embarrasses herself when thinking about race. During her year, along with a house and “spiritual healing,” Oxenhandler wishes for a man. The house practically drops into her lap, and she begins dating a man named Nicholas. Unfortunately, Nicholas, who Oxenhandler portrays as a kind of retarded middle-aged man-child, is racked with guilt: It seems his great-great-great-great-grandfather owned slaves and treated them cruelly. In a form of yuppie penitence, Nicholas works an unfulfilling, low-paying job and writes apologetic letters to the slaves’ descendants.

    One day, as Oxenhandler is making pancakes for her poor, beleaguered man, she imagines that Aunt Jemima appears before her and says, “He has to stop punishing himself.” Oxenhandler is exceedingly relieved that the African-American syrup advertisement has absolved Nicholas of generations of slave-owning guilt, and she goes about the happy work of intervening in his life. Aunt Jemima reappears at several points to bless her journey.

    The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 17 at 10:00 AM

    Jim Riswold’s Damien Hirst Makes a Rug (2008), unique rug

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

    Wait a Minute, Are You Even Going To Vote?

    posted by on July 17 at 9:25 AM

    A couple of us were talking here in the Stranger offices yesterday, and the topic of non-voters came up, along with the perennial question: Who are these people?

    But first, a different question: How many of these people are there among the Slog mob?

    I have a guess at the answer, but I’m preparing to be surprised, shocked, slack-jawed, etc. (And yes, I know that by putting up a Slog poll on this subject I am delivering nothing except the percentage of people who will vote in an online Slog poll but won’t vote in an actual, consequential election. Still, I kinda want to know—and I also kinda want to meet and/or slap everyone who tells this blog poll that they won’t participate in what the politicians like to call “the only poll that counts.”)

    So, forgetting any influencing or guilt-tripping that may have occurred during the above, tell me, honest to blog:

    Will you be voting on November 4?

    AND THEN, if you’re one of the people who says “No,” please explain yourself in the comments. Seriously, I’d love to hear why.

    The Full (or Fuller) Jesse

    posted by on July 17 at 9:13 AM

    Jesse Jackson said something else in his famous “cut his nuts out” rant against Barack Obama, according to TVNewser:

    Barack…he’s talking down to black people…telling n—s how to behave.

    Maverick Moment of the Day

    posted by on July 17 at 8:30 AM

    In this week of comedic concern about Barack Obama’s sense of humor, Politico takes a look at John McCain’s joke repertoire:

    Ever hear that joke about waterboarding? How about the one about killing Iranians? And why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?

    If you aren’t familiar with those witty japes, then you’ve missed out on John McCain’s lighter side.

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 17 at 7:22 AM

    Playing Nice: US may greatly increase diplomatic presence in Iran, add Ahmadinejad on Facebook.

    The Surge Part 2: US may send more troops to Afghanistan.

    Downward Spiral: Oil prices slump over economic fears.

    The Taxman Cometh: Senate committee to investigate secret European bank accounts held by the super-rich.

    Double Crossed: Red Cross symbol used in Colombia hostage rescue, in violation of Geneva Conventions.

    Socialize It: US healthcare system still sucks, report says.

    Pwn3d: Former San Francisco tech employee holds city’s computers hostage.

    CheeseheadGate: Green Bay Packers accuse Minnesota Vikings of tampering with Old Man Favre.

    And now, the dangers of Batman:

    Wednesday, July 16, 2008

    Random Text Message, July 16, 9:20 pm

    posted by on July 16 at 9:22 PM

    robin williams is at laff hole at the rebar!!!


    The HIV Travel Ban

    posted by on July 16 at 8:24 PM


    Update on Police Seizing Patient Medical Records

    posted by on July 16 at 6:26 PM

    As I Slogged earlier, SPD officers searched a medical-marijuana organization’s office yesterday and seized a computer, 12 ounces of pot, and the medical files of about 500 patients, says Martin Martinez, who runs the office. There were no plants, and the office wasn’t a pot dispensary. So why did police search it, and who gave them permission?

    Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County Prosecutors Office, says his office was consulted and recommended the search. He says police told Senior Deputy Prosecutor Ellen O’Neill-Stephens that they responded to the storefront on The Ave after a neighbor complained about the “smell or presence of marijuana.” A county district judge in Shoreline signed the warrant. But Donohoe says, as of yet, SPD hasn’t reported which items were seized, no arrests have been made, and no charges have been filed.

    The unanswered questions: Did the prosecutor’s office recommended the search warrant based on suspected illegal activity or a violation of the state’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act? And why did police seize patients’ medical records? Possessing or cultivating marijuana is allowed for authorized patients, but the law only provides a defense in court—cops can still technically arrest suspects and search a premises, even if the case would lose. Police seized 12 ounces of marijuana, which would be legal if it belongs to Martinez. So if the prosecutor’s office had only heard that police smelled marijuana and didn’t suspect it could win a case, why would it recommend a search? Donohoe says he’s looking it.

    Say Goodbye to These Zipcars

    posted by on July 16 at 5:55 PM

    South and North Seattle residents just lost three Zipcars, along with some residents of View Ridge/Wedgwood. According to Zipcar communications manager Kristina Kennedy, the cars that Zipcar will be removing permanently include these locations:

    • 35th Ave NE/81st Wedgewood/View Ridge
    • S. Holly St/Rainier Ave / Sr Center/ Brighton in Rainier Valley
    • New Holly Community Center in Rainier Valley

    In an email, Kennedy told me, “Cars are frequently moved around based on usage, types of cars needed in certain areas, member requests, etc. These cars have been unable to consistently support car sharing. It is always a very difficult decision to end service at any location or community, but all three of these locations have been utilized by fewer than 25 members in the last month.”

    I also asked whether any cars were being added; Kennedy did not respond to that part of my question.

    Another Bike Accident on Eastlake and Fuhrman

    posted by on July 16 at 5:48 PM

    According to a source in the area, another bicyclist was hit at the intersection of Eastlake and Fuhrman this morning—the same intersection where 19-year-old Bryce Lewis was struck by a truck and killed last year. Seattle Fire Department 911 logs show an emergency response at that location at 9:37 this morning.

    The source says the cyclist was heading northwest on Furhman Ave. East when a driver heading toward the University Bridge on Eastlake turned right in front of him, striking him with her car. An ambulance came and drove away with the cyclist, who was wearing a neck brace and appeared to be injured.

    For The Last Fucking Time

    posted by on July 16 at 5:10 PM

    To my critics: I do not smoke pot. If you want to connect my writing with a substance, make it wine…

    All I ever do is this:
    Thank You!
    (Also, I have marked many—too many—freshman papers. I know what they look like. Enough said.)

    This Book is Going to Suck. And Sell a Billion Copies.

    posted by on July 16 at 5:00 PM

    This blog has been getting a whole lot of attention lately:

    I am performing an experiment: for one year, I will live as Oprah advises on her television show, on her website, and in the pages of her magazines. The tagline to her website is “Live Your Best Life” and I wonder, will I truly find bliss if I commit wholeheartedly to her lifestyle suggestions?

    This is probably the most blatant attempt for a memoir book deal that I’ve ever seen, and the premise is stupid. But I guarantee that the book will be bought and it’ll sell like crazy. The only hope that I have for this not working out is if her media blitz works too well and everybody’s sick of her and her stupid gimmick before she signs a deal with a publisher.

    And that is why I am promoting her website.

    “A Small Inconvenience to Ensure Their Safe Arrival”

    posted by on July 16 at 4:54 PM

    Nothing would make me feel more secure when I fly than wearing a remotely-activated taser bracelet from check-in to landing. And, lookee here, that’s exactly what an official at the Department of Homeland Security is considering. According to the Washington Times, the Electro-Muscular Disruption bracelet worn by airline passengers would:

    • Take the place of an airline boarding pass

    • Contain personal information about the traveler

    • Be able to monitor the whereabouts of each passenger and his/her luggage

    Shock the wearer on command, completely immobilizing him/her for several minutes;The Electronic ID Bracelet, as it’s referred to, would be worn by every traveler “until they disembark the flight at their destination.” Yes, you read that correctly. Every airline passenger would be tracked by a government-funded GPS, containing personal, private and confidential information, and would shock the customer worse than an electronic dog collar if the passenger got out of line….

    According to [a] letter from DHS official, Paul S. Ruwaldt of the Science and Technology Directorate, office of Research and Development, which was written to the inventor whom he had previously met with, Ruwaldt wrote, “To make it clear, we [the federal government] are interested in … the immobilizing security bracelet, and look forward to receiving a written proposal.”

    Shocking, yes, but as the promotional video by Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. explains, it’s “a small inconvenience to ensure their safe arrival.”

    Enjoy the flight!

    The Future of Criticism

    posted by on July 16 at 4:44 PM

    Let’s think about this for a moment. Mirror neurons in the brain fire when, for example, your finger caresses the tip of someone’s nipple. Mirror neurons also fire in the same way if you happen to see another person’s finger caressing the tip of someone’s nipple. This means the inside is no different from the outside. How you experience your own body is also how you see another human experience their own body. This dazzling discovery increases the value of Spinoza’s philosophy (“no one knows what a body can do”) and Tarde’s sociology (imitation is everything, and everything is social). Mirror neurons not only dissolve the line between external and internal (or at least force us to rethink that line), they also offer art criticism or philosophy of aesthetics an opportunity to dissolve or reformulate the line between the organic and inorganic. Representation is as real as reality.

    Waiting for Sluggo

    posted by on July 16 at 3:55 PM


    Editor and Publisher brings news that Samuel Beckett had a correspondence with Nancy creater Ernie Bushmiller wherein he suggested some Nancy comic strip ideas. Apparently, Beckett was a big Nancy fan and he thought that his existentialism would be perfect for the comic strip. Bushmiller did not agree.

    “One letter includes the following: Your gag and strip ideas for Nancy are much appreciated, and I have to say interesting, too. Many readers send me ideas for the strip, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any quite like yours….

    “I don’t know how well they’re going to work. I think the problem you’re having, Sam, is the same problem any literary man might have. You’re not setting up the gags visually and you’re rushing to the snapper. It seems to me you’ve got the zingers right there at the beginning, in panel No. 1, and although I have to admit you got Nancy and Sluggo in some crackerjack predicaments, I don’t see how they got there.

    “For instance, putting Nancy and Sluggo in the garbage cans is a good gag, but in my opinion, you can’t have them in there for all three panels. How did they get there? Same thing when you had them buried in the sand. I like to do beach gags, but I don’t think that having Nancy buried up to her waist in the first two panels and then up to her neck in the third one is adequately explained, and I’ve been at this game for a while now. Also, why would Sluggo be facing in the opposite direction when he’s talking to her?”

    I wish that a couple of Beckett Nancy cartoons actually did come out. A lot of Bushmiller’s gag ideas (like the one above) are so stupid that they’re almost smart, or at least they’re profoundly weird. A Beckett Nancy wouldn’t have been that much of a stretch.

    UPDATE: I am the stupid credulous fucking hack of the day for taking Editor and Publisher at their word. But I still appreciate any opportunity I might have to put a Nancy cartoon on Slog.


    posted by on July 16 at 3:50 PM


    This short news piece has everything—pit bulls, mauled infants, brawling ladies of size, bad parenting, coin slots, and lots of really bad hair. Enjoy.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Jennifer.

    How About a Little Respect for the Dead?

    posted by on July 16 at 2:45 PM

    Senator Elizabeth Dole has proposed naming an HIV/AIDS relief bill after… Jesse Helms.

    Summertime Lunch Rave

    posted by on July 16 at 2:19 PM

    Honey Hole’s Summertime Salad ($6) is perfection. You could make it at home:

    Top a bed of fresh baby spinach leaves with sliced strawberries, toasted walnut halves, crumbled feta, chopped cucumber, and thin slices of red onion. Toss with a raspberry-mint vinaigrette.

    Speaking of T-Shirt Slogans…

    posted by on July 16 at 1:49 PM

    …I’d like to say something to the person I walked past last night: If you were the guy who was crouched on the sidewalk with your laptop on your knee, stealing wifi from the closed cafe around the corner while wearing a t-shirt with this message:


    You, sir, are all class.

    If This is the World’s Greatest Dad, the World’s in Bigger Trouble Than I Ever Feared

    posted by on July 16 at 1:35 PM


    ABC News introduces the world to Daniel Allen Everett, the 33-year-old Michigan man charged with child sexual abuse and using the Internet to attempt child sexual abuse after allegedly arranging a sex date with what he thought was a 14-year-old girl.

    Even worse (or better, depending on how you view things), Everett showed up for the alleged sex date sporting his “World’s Greatest Dad” t-shirt, as seen in the mug shot above.

    (Fifty bucks says he’s saving his “That’s not a bald spot—it’s a solar panel for a sex machine!” t-shirt for the trial.)

    Suspect in Rainier Beach Traffic Circle Death Arrested

    posted by on July 16 at 1:26 PM

    Seattle Police have arrested 28-year-old Brian Keith Brown for his alleged involvement in a fight last week, which led to the death of a 60-year-old South Seattle man.

    Brian Keith Brown’s family contacted the Seattle branch of the NAACP, which helped coordinate his arrest, said Seattle police Director John Hayes. Officials with the NAACP and the Seattle Medium newspaper called police this morning and said Brown wanted to turn himself in; he was arrested around noon at Mount Zion Baptist Church, Hayes said.

    Brown, 28, is accused of knocking James Paroline, 60, to the ground with a single punch last Wednesday night after he intervened in a dispute Paroline was having with the girls, authorities said. Paroline, a retiree who was tending the flowers inside the traffic circle, died the next day. Brown, who has a criminal history that includes two convictions for third-degree assault, was charged Monday with second-degree murder in Paroline’s death..

    Bush Administration Says Contraception=Abortion

    posted by on July 16 at 1:13 PM

    The Bush administration wants to require all health programs, including women’s clinics, that receive federal funding to certify that they won’t refuse to hire nurses and other employees who object to abortion or birth control.

    In other words, if Planned Parenthood wants to keep its federal funding, it has to agree to hire people who object to its core mission of family planning.

    Even worse: The proposal, citing a 2001 Zogby poll (!!), defines “abortion” as any drug, procedure or action that “results in the termination of the life of a human being in utero between conception and natural birth, whether before or after implantation.” Because hormonal contraception (emergency and otherwise) can, in theory, prevent implantation of a fertilized egg (as, by the way, can menstruation), the proposal effectively defines birth control as abortion.

    How much more can this man fuck up in his remaining 187 days in office?

    Ageless Hotness

    posted by on July 16 at 1:07 PM


    Helen Mirren is 63, and looks 500 times better in a bikini than Paris Hilton, not to mention the rest of humanity.

    Thank you, Daily Mail, and you’re welcome, Charles.

    Submitted for Jen’s Approval

    posted by on July 16 at 1:00 PM

    Today’s piece sits on the sidewalk outside Common Grounds, the coffee shop in Saugatuck that got WiFi three years ago at my suggestion/insistence. I’ll be filing a column from Common Grounds later today. In the meantime…


    “Empty (Revisited),” Shawn Phillip Morin, 2003. Detail.


    No Guarantees

    posted by on July 16 at 12:52 PM

    A sign outside a Bait ‘n Peaches store in Ruston, Louisiana.


    I have no idea what this means. It’s inscrutable on so many levels.

    Via Tech Master Brian G., who reports that the peaches were delicious.

    SPD Officers Search Medical Marijuana Group’s Office

    posted by on July 16 at 12:46 PM

    Medical marijuana is legal in Washington State. And marijuana possession for adult personal use is the lowest law-enforcement priority in Seattle. So why did Seattle Police Department officers seek and execute a search warrant last night on a medical-marijuana assistance organization?

    That’s the question vexing Martin Martinez, who suffers from debilitating, intractable pain caused by cranial nerve damage in a motorcycle accident. In a small storefront on The Ave, he runs Lifevine Clinical Resources, which issues identification cards for medical-marijuana patients and finds legal defense for patients who are busted. “We are a very small handful of dying people. This is not a dispensary or buyers’ club,” he says. “We’re just trying to stay alive.”

    At about 4 p.m. yesterday, two Seattle Police Department bicycle patrol officers went to the Lifevine office near NE 50th Street and University Way NE, Martinez says, claiming that one of them smelled marijuana. “[One officer] was certain there were live plants, so there I let him look because there were no plants,” says Martinez. “I was sure that he would go away.”

    But the two cops then called in several more officers, and told Martinez that they were seeking a search warrant. The officers used tools in the office to take apart a wall to search for plants behind it, Martinez says.

    After officers got the warrant and completed the search without making an arrest, Martinez returned to his office late last night. Police had seized his computer, 12 ounces of dried marijuana, and the medical records of 500 patients who had been issued ID cards. Lifevine issues the ID cards to patients who have authorization from physicians to use medical marijuana under the state’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act, passed in 1998.

    “We have people’s entire medical records on file,” says Martinez. “They have no business being in the hands of the police department.”

    Even though it appears SPD officers violated the medical-marijuana act, officers were technically abiding by the law. The statute only provides an affirmative defense after a defendant reaches a judge. However, officers also violated the voters’ intent of I-75, which makes investigating adult marijuana possession the city’s lowest law enforcement priority, by spending considerable resources investigating marijuana for personal use (the Department of Health recently proposed each patient could possess 24 ounces of marijuana, double the amount seized by police).

    “Both law enforcement and Seattle residents would benefit from the Department publishing written guidelines on how its officers are to implement I-75’s mandate,” says Alison Holcomb, director of the Marijuana Education Project for the ACLU of Washington.

    But neither the state nor city law prevents officers from searching medical marijuana patients, or seizing their property—even if the case would lose in court. So the search and seizure appears to be an opportunity seized by the SPD.

    The Seattle Police Department and the King County Prosecutor’s Office haven’t yet return calls to comment. Stay tuned.

    Cave Fear

    posted by on July 16 at 12:45 PM

    More horror:

    The World Health Organization has warned [white] people not to go into Ugandan caves with bats, after a Dutch tourist contracted the deadly Marburg virus.

    The woman, aged 40, died after being taken to hospital following her return to the Netherlands, health authorities there said.

    They said she probably contracted the disease while visiting a Ugandan cave inhabited by fruit bats.

    Marburg is a contagious disease that causes sudden bleeding and high fever.

    There is no treatment or vaccine.

    The cave, the bats, the bite, the fever, the blood, the death.

    All I Ever Needed! Was the Music! And the Mirror! And the Chaaaaance! To Daaaaance! For yooooou!

    posted by on July 16 at 12:45 PM

    Were you in the original production of A Chorus Line that played at the Shubert Theatre in New York in the ’70s and ’80s (and forever changed the course of Dan Savage’s life)? An email just went out to local media from the publicist at the Paramount…

    I am hoping you can help us with a unique endeavor… As you may recall, the National touring engagement of A CHORUS LINE, the longest-running American musical in Broadway history, is set to take the stage at The Paramount Theatre August 5 – 10, 2008. The most recent national touring production of A CHORUS LINE, was in Seattle last during 1987!

    Since the show was on Broadway for 15 years - from 1975 – 1990 - we are fairly confident that there may be a cast member or two from that original production who may now reside in the Greater Puget Sound area and we want to find them and we are hoping you can help us do that!!

    See the notice below and if you could post this in the paper once or twice between now and August 1 – we are hopeful we can find some of these Broadway cast members.

    No word on what they’re going to do with these formerly lithe ’70s sybarites who must now be all pruney and broken. Bring them up on stage? Ask them their feelings? Electrocute them? The whole notice—and the email address to use if you know anyone—is after the jump.

    Continue reading "All I Ever Needed! Was the Music! And the Mirror! And the Chaaaaance! To Daaaaance! For yooooou!" »

    Obama’s Got a (Foreign Policy) Posse

    posted by on July 16 at 12:15 PM

    Last week was spent trying to find a new conventional wisdom on where Obama and McCain actually stand on Iraq and Afghanistan—with surrogates for both sides engaging in questions of whether Obama will weep under his desk as Iraq falls to Iranian troops and conjuring visions of a wild-eyed John McCain dropping from a B-52, whooping it up on a nuclear bomb bound for Tehran. Perhaps now some sanity is in order.

    Way back in March, Spencer Ackerman wrote a piece in The American Prospect assessing what an Obama foreign policy would actually look like. After rolling out the brightest minds—an odd mix of creaking Mandarins (Lee Hamilton), an activist-turned-counterinsurgency-expert (Sarah Sewall), and a mix of dogooder-leftwing-policy-types (Susan Rice)—he gets to the core of the ‘new’ philosophy:

    This ability to see the world from different perspectives informs what the Obama team hopes will replace the Iraq War mind-set: something they call dignity promotion. “I don’t think anyone in the foreign-policy community has as much an appreciation of the value of dignity as Obama does,” says Samantha Power, a former key aide and author of the groundbreaking study of U.S. foreign policy and genocide, A Problem From Hell. “Dignity is a way to unite a lot of different strands [of foreign-policy thinking],” she says. “If you start with that, it explains why it’s not enough to spend $3 billion on refugee camps in Darfur, because the way those people are living is not the way they want to live. It’s not a human way to live. It’s graceless—an affront to your sense of dignity.” …

    What’s typically neglected in these arguments is the simple insight that democracy does not fill stomachs, alleviate malaria, or protect neighborhoods from marauding bands of militiamen. Democracy, in other words, is valuable to people insofar as it allows them first to meet their basic needs. It is much harder to provide that sense of dignity than to hold an election in Baghdad or Gaza and declare oneself shocked when illiberal forces triumph. “Look at why the baddies win these elections,” Power says. “It’s because [populations are] living in climates of fear.” U.S. policy, she continues, should be “about meeting people where they’re at. Their fears of going hungry, or of the thug on the street. That’s the swamp that needs draining. If we’re to compete with extremism, we have to be able to provide these things that we’re not [providing].”

    This is why, Obama’s advisers argue, national security depends in large part on dignity promotion. Without it, the U.S. will never be able to destroy al-Qaeda. Extremists will forever be able to demagogue conditions of misery, making continued U.S. involvement in asymmetric warfare an increasingly counterproductive exercise — because killing one terrorist creates five more in his place. “It’s about attacking pools of potential terrorism around the globe,” Gration says. “Look at Africa, with 900 million people, half of whom are under 18. I’m concerned that unless you start creating jobs and livelihoods we will have real big problems on our hands in ten to fifteen years.”

    Or, in other words: If you have a home, a job, and enough to feed your family, the chances that you’ll be swayed by a man who would like you to blow up both yourself and a bus full of strangers diminish greatly. If this sounds like familiar territory, it should—it was at the core of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program to end the social problems caused by poverty, and has been the foreign policy solution urged by the Chomsky-spectrum of the left for the better part of three decades. Isolated from their recruitment pool, extremists depend more and more on their own hardened ideologues, and become both less relevant to their home populations and easier to capture.

    This is an insanely simplified version of Ackerman’s essay, and it’s a best case scenario that may never happen: Even since the writing of the piece, Obama has been forced into rhetoric that is far to the right of what it previously was in order to assuage fears that he’s a secret Muslim terrorist. But what the piece does offer is a clear look at where Obama wants to take the world, and certainly the contrast to what a President McCain might propose.

    Park Land

    posted by on July 16 at 12:04 PM

    Thinking of Canada, this news story:

    OTTAWA - Air Canada has launched an informal investigation in the emergency diversion of a London-bound flight after the co-pilot fell ill somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, with one passenger saying the pilot was having a breakdown and calling for God.

    Sean Finucane said the co-pilot was bound by restraints and carried into the cabin.

    “He was very, very distraught. He was yelling loudly,” he told CBC.

    “His voice was clear, he didn’t sound like he was drunk or anything, but he was swearing and asking for God,” he said in an interview from England. “He specifically said he wants to talk to God.”

    Is the inspiration of a new film, North American:
    DSC_0165.jpg (For Tim Appelo: the image is by Matt Daniels)

    [I]t’s the story of an airline pilot having a mental breakdown mid-flight. Put up in a Seattle hotel, the pilot sneaks across the street to “an incredibly dense and seemingly endless terrain” fused “of the major Olmsted parks into one diverse geography located in the middle of downtown Seattle.”
    The reason why Devor and I decided to make this film, which is almost completed and photographed by Sean Kirby? Seattle has a stunning park system. It’s one of the four reasons I settled here—the near end of North America.

    The Land of Canada

    posted by on July 16 at 12:03 PM

    Canada in the age of Bush:

    A U.S. soldier who fled to Canada because he refused to serve in Iraq has been deported, and now faces a possible court martial.

    Robin Long crossed the border into Canada in 2005. Last October, he was arrested in Nelson, B.C., on a Canada-wide warrant.

    He called military operations in Iraq “an illegal war of aggression.”

    This is sad, so sad.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on July 16 at 12:01 PM

    Norman Johnson and The PT Loser… I mean, PT Cruiser:

    Audio from pranksters Earles and Jensen!

    How The Times Chose to Frame the Sutherland Harassment Story

    posted by on July 16 at 11:30 AM

    So after sitting on information that Republican state lands commissioner Douglas Sutherland had repeatedly sexually harassed a young Department of Natural Resources employee—an allegation corroborated in official state documents by several eyewitnesses—for FOUR MONTHS, the Seattle Times finally ran with the story today, after David Goldstein at Horse’s Ass wrote about it yesterday. Their take? Well, at least he apologized.

    Washington public-lands commissioner apologized after complaint by employee

    Washington’s public-lands commissioner, Doug Sutherland, inappropriately touched and made remarks to a young female employee who soon quit the Department of Natural Resources despite his formal apology, according to public documents on the incident from his own department.

    During a workplace meeting in 2005, Sutherland touched the woman’s back and waist and made suggestive comments that made her uncomfortable, according to written accounts from the woman and a witness.

    After an internal investigation, Sutherland met with the woman at her request and apologized to her. He agreed that he had violated departmental policy on appropriate behavior, according to the documents.

    Sutherland has maintained that his contact with the woman was simply meant to be a friendly gesture.

    So, basically just a he-said, she-said, right? Except that: 1) That’s not what the eyewitness accounts in the documents say, and 2) The Times story has exactly two sources (not counting a two-word quote from Sutherland’s opponent Peter Goldmark): Sutherland… and Sutherland’s campaign manager. Gee, I can’t imagine why they would maintain that repeatedly rubbing a young female employee’s back and waist was just a “friendly gesture.”

    For the record, here’s how Sutherland’s own aide recalled the incident at the time (notes appear to be from an oral interview):

    Shook Jesse’s hand, then got to [the woman], instead of shaking hand he turned her slightly and ran his hand all over back.

    I was uncomfortable, & made joke: “And she’s quite strong too.”

    Doug turned her to front: “And she has some other great parts also.”

    [The woman] was very embarrassed. Taken aback.

    That account matches closely with the woman’s own notes, which recall Sutherland turning her around and running his hand over her back and waist, saying something about “just looking,” then adding something like “could’ve felt the other side.”

    At least the Times (sort of) covered the story. The P-I chose to ignore it entirely—a decision political assignment editor Chris Grygiel told me he made because the case didn’t involve disciplinary action or a payout of state money. During a podcast I participated in at Drinking Liberally last night, P-I columnist Joel Connelly noted that the P-I has just one reporter in Olympia, and there’s a lot going on down there. Guess how many reporters Horse’s Ass has in Olympia?

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on July 16 at 11:30 AM


    rosayouthpastor.jpgJury selection begins Monday morning the trial of a youth minister charged with beating a teenager to death. Joshua Rosa is accused of murdering 13-year-old Stephen Tomlinson more than two years ago. Tomlinson’s body was found at Logan Gate Park, just a few blocks away from his home.

    Rosa, 22, worked as a youth minister at the Zion Pentecostal Church. Tomlinson’s father, Ron Tomlinson, has filed a civil lawsuit against the church claiming it failed to properly supervise Rosa with his son.


    An Oklahoma baptist church has insisted it will proceed with its controversial plan to give away an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle during a youth conference—a move described as “a way of trying to encourage young people to attend the event,” according to local Koko 5 news.

    Windsor Hills Baptist apparently has a history of worshipping God through firepower, and last year ran a shooting competition as part of its annual shindig. This year, it reportedly shelled out $800 for said trophy semi, but the church’s youth pastor, Bob Ross, claimed the main thrust of the conference wasn’t about guns but rather “teens finding faith.”


    A former youth pastor accused of secretly taping Bible study students changing clothes in his Ellenton home has pleaded no contest to nine counts of voyeurism. Matthew C. Porter, 31, of Ellenton, is scheduled be sentenced on the misdemeanor charges at the Manatee County Judicial Center on Aug. 21.

    More details on Matthew C. Porter’s case can be found in this earlier report:

    One hidden camera in the pastor’s bathroom was disguised as an air freshener, authorities say. Another camera in a bedroom was concealed by a radio.

    Matthew C. Porter, a former youth pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Bradenton, reportedly told Manatee County sheriff’s detectives he secretly taped Bible study students in his home in Ellenton. The victims range in age from 12 to 16.

    New York:

    Ryan Drumsta, then 16, spent nearly two months recovering from the stomach wound caused by a deer slug his brother fired from a shotgun after they wrestled in the family’s kitchen Nov. 24.

    Meanwhile, Nick, 19, was locked away in the Erie County Holding Center on an attempted murder charge….[Ryan] is slowly regaining his health, though he faces “at least one more surgery,” said his mother, Linda. Ryan felt well enough to go for a dirt-bike ride with his youth pastor over the weekend, his mother said.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on July 16 at 11:00 AM


    Studio at Havana

    “Gay disco” is about as redundant as “delicious pizza,” but Havana’s weekly Wednesday affair, Studio, has recently come out as “gay-ass.” Not that this will change anything—the night’s mix of classic, rare, and Italo disco consistently draws a cool, friendly crowd blessedly free of bridge-and-tunnelers. Conflict of interest: DJs TJ Gorton and HMA are regular Line Out contributors. Further conflict: Stranger music critic Michealangelo Matos DJs the happy hour immediately preceding. Can you stand one more? One of the DJs is sleeping with one of our editors. But one of the DJs always is. (Havana, 1010 E Pike St, 323-2822. Happy hour at 7 pm, free. Studio at 9 pm, $3, 21+.)


    Drunk of the Week: Andy Dick

    posted by on July 16 at 10:45 AM


    MURRIETA, Calif. (AP) - Comedian Andy Dick has been arrested in Riverside County for investigation of drug use and sexual battery. The Sheriff’s Department says Dick, 42, was arrested shortly before 2 a.m., Wednesday July 16th, in the parking lot near the Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar in Murrieta. Details were not released. The former co-star of the TV sitcom “NewsRadio” is being held on $5,000 bail.

    Swap the Living for the Dead

    posted by on July 16 at 10:41 AM

    From the IHT:

    Hezbollah guerrillas from Lebanon handed over to Israel coffins containing the bodies of two Israeli soldiers. In return, Israel released five Lebanese prisoners, including a notorious militant, Samir Kuntar.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on July 16 at 10:27 AM


    Lots of events tonight including a poetry slam, a book about gorillas, a book about wishing, and a book about birdwatching.

    Also, at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop at noon, Craig Johnson will sign his thriller about a crime-fighting Vietnam veteran and Stella Rimington will sign her book about a counterspy trying to protetct Vladimir Putin.

    At the University Book Store, Molly Blaisdell will sign her new children’s book Rembrandt and the Boy Who Drew Dogs. It is about the painter. And a boy. Who likes to draw dogs. And that is all I have to say about the matter.

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, David Young signs from his new collection of poetry, Black Lab,the cover of which is just up and to the left, here. Let’s take a moment to admire the cover. It’s impressive that the book jacket designer was given a book titled Black Lab and didn’t make the whole book black, or prominently feature a photograph of a dog. Instead, the cover is yellow, and it’s a photograph taken from the ground looking up at a man with a dog on a leash. I don’t know Young’s poetry, but I’m really fond of how this cover has avoided both the black-in-the-title cliché and the dog-in-the-title cliché. Good work, anonymous cover-making person!

    Natan Sharansky is at Town Hall, reading from Defending Identity. The presser says that this is book “argues that it is better to have hostile identities framed by democracy than democrats indifferent to identity.” Touché, sir, touché.

    The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is on our books page.

    Make It Work Again

    posted by on July 16 at 10:09 AM

    The new season of Project Runway starts tonight (as anyone who so much as glanced at Bravo in the past few days is certainly aware). I just can’t get excited. Our late-evening weather’s been so great that the TV can’t compete.

    One cool note is that a former member of the the Stranger family is competing: Leanne Marshall used to do graphic design at The Portland Mercury. Blogtown, The Mercury’s blog, has details and an interview.

    This Week’s Cover

    posted by on July 16 at 10:09 AM


    Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 16 at 10:00 AM

    Deuce 7’s Grandpa Russ, enamel on panel, 24 by 36 inches

    At BLVD Gallery. (Gallery site here.)

    Look for more art by the Minneapolis-based freight train hopper’s hidden in plain sight around town

    ‘My Little Grandmother Loved a White Man Flying Through the Air’

    posted by on July 16 at 9:25 AM


    William Pope.L, “the friendliest black artist in America”!, talks on Studio 360 about crawling the streets of New York in the role of Superman. (Click on “Men in Tights” on the right-hand side.)

    (Thank you, Chris!)

    Time For Some Campaignin’

    posted by on July 16 at 9:18 AM

    There’s been lots of talk lately about how hard it is to make fun of Barack Obama. Really? JibJab takes a decent shot at him—and everyone else involved in Campaign 2008—with its new video:

    Violence Riles Rainier Beach Community

    posted by on July 16 at 9:00 AM

    Last night, I attended the community forum held at the Rainier Beach Presbyterian Church to discuss the murder of Rainier Beach resident James Paroline, who was attacked last week while tending a traffic circle in front of his house. Before the frustrated residents sat a handful of elected officials—including Richard McIver, fresh from his court date—as well as Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske and a sergeant with the South Precinct (didn’t catch his name). City Councilmember Bruce Harrell even took a minute to vent in front of the crowd. “I am so angry,” he said. “What causes that kind of disregard for life? This is not our city.”

    Early in the meeting, residents focused on the role the victim’s race might have played in the crime and emphasized the diversity of the neighborhood (Brian Keith Brown, the suspect in the crime, is a 28-year-old black male; Paroline was a 60-year-old white male). Jim Dermody, who heads Seattle’s homocide unit, said that race “will be a focus throughout the investigation.”

    The meeting was an opportunity for some Rainier Beach residents to explain to their elected officials just how frustrated they are with the crime that plagues their neighborhood, and the new direction gave Chief Kerlikowske and the Councilmembers a chance to talk up their new contract with the Seattle Police Officer’s Guild. When one resident claimed that the neighborhood has “essentially been de-policed,” the officers said the South Precinct expected to see a jump from a total of 80 officers to 105 officers within the next year. For now, however, several residents made clear the point that, for the time being, there simply aren’t enough officers around to make them feel safe.

    Still, what seemed to bother residents who came to the meeting most was the way different demographics interact in Rainier Valley, and cited Paroline’s murder as an extreme example of a growing tension in the neighborhood. One neighbor pointed out—and it was clear to me just by looking around the room—that the distinguishing line between older group of neighbors, who’ve lived in the area for decades, and the younger generation is drawn thick. Another noted the tension created by stark economic diversity, and, most of all, residents seemed to fear that the death of Paroline is a sign of some kind of racial rift in the neighborhood.

    Another woman, Amanda Williams, stood up to speak on behalf of Brown and the women who initiated the altercation with Paroline. “He’s not a hateful person,” she said. “He’s not a racist.”

    Others at the meeting focused on getting kids off the streets and into other programs, which is getting harder to do, they say, as city money is siphoned elsewhere. A couple of neighbors asserted that new community centers and better oversight at schools could make a big difference in deterring juvenile crime.

    Paroline’s sister, Kathleen Paroline Vernon, spoke at the end of the gathering, saying that, while it was unfortunate that the emotions expressed at the meeting were triggered by her brother’s death, it was the kind of community spirit he had always wanted to see. “James would have wanted to be a catalyst for something like this,” she said.

    No One

    posted by on July 16 at 8:57 AM

    Why jungle life is even more idiotic than rural life:

    ScienceDaily (July 15, 2008) — An Amazonian language with only 300 speakers has no word to express the concept of “one” or any other specific number, according to a new study from an MIT-led team.

    The team, led by MIT professor of brain and cognitive sciences Edward Gibson, found that members of the Piraha tribe in remote northwestern Brazil use language to express relative quantities such as “some” and “more,” but not precise numbers.

    A farmer can at least count his pigs.

    Maverick Moment of the Day

    posted by on July 16 at 8:55 AM

    How does John McCain feel about the fact that many health insurance companies will cover Viagra but not birth control? Well, uh, he’ll get back to you on that… Even though one of his top female campaign aides recently said she’s hearing a lot of complaints from women on this very issue.

    Planned Parenthood launched a television ad about McCain’s stammering awkwardness on this topic today. And here’s the original moment, a few days ago, when CNN cornered McCain on the “Straight Talk Express” about Viagra and birth control—and received a meandering, uncomfortable, non-responsive response:

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 16 at 7:57 AM

    Good News: Massachusetts may allow gay marriages for non-residents.

    Bad News: Global warming may cause kidney stones.

    Helter Skelter News: California parole board denies tumor-ridden Manson family member early release.

    Political Asspirations: Malaysian opposition leader arrested for sodomy.

    Under the Sea: British fishing ban brings the ocean back to life.

    We’re Fucked: Says Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

    Obama Calls Bullshit: Big O claims New Yorker cover was offensive to Muslim Americans. USDA now posting bad meat warnings on website.

    And now, the best worst moment in Bat-history:

    Tuesday, July 15, 2008

    Obama’s Response to the New Yorker Cover, as Told to Larry King

    posted by on July 15 at 11:23 PM

    It’s a gracious, unpretentious, imaginative response:

    Well, I know it was The New Yorker’s attempt at satire. I don’t think they were entirely successful with it. But you know what? It’s a cartoon, Larry, and that’s why we’ve got the First Amendment … You know, we’ve—one of the things when you’re running for president for almost two years is, you get a pretty thick skin. And, you know, I’ve seen and heard worse.

    And then all the requisite details about being a Christian, etc., etc., and then this, beautifully done:

    One last point I want to—I do want to make about these e-mails, though. And I think this has an impact on this New Yorker cover. You know, this is actually an insult against Muslim-Americans, something that we don’t spend a lot of time talking about. And sometimes I’ve been derelict in pointing that out. You know, there are wonderful Muslim-Americans all across the country who are doing wonderful things. And for this to be used as sort of an insult, or to raise suspicions about me, I think is unfortunate. And it’s not what America’s all about.

    McCain on Gay Parents

    posted by on July 15 at 8:23 PM

    Gay parents are better than no parents at all—but just barely.

    McCain’s expressed his personal preference for children to be raised by a mother and a father wherever possible. However, as an adoptive father himself, McCain believes children deserve loving and caring home environments, and he recognizes that there are many abandoned children who have yet to find homes. McCain believes that in those situations that caring parental figures are better for the child than the alternative.”—Jill Hazelbaker, Director of Communications

    John McCain, however, is cool with states banning adoptions by same-sex couples, even if it means that many abandoned children will never find homes or caring parental figures to look after them. Oh, and speaking of abandoned children: McCain divorced his first wife in 1980 when their daughter, the youngest of their three children, was just 14 years old. So John McCain—who personally prefers for children to be raised by a mother and a father—abandoned three of his own children, depriving them of the kind of mother-and-father home that he believes children deserve. Except, you know, his own.

    Anyone Left on the Science Beat in Seattle?

    posted by on July 15 at 7:40 PM

    After all the buyouts and staff cuts, is there anyone left reporting on science in Seattle?

    I’m not asking about a business reporter who covers biotech. Nor someone who reads press releases and RSS feeds of published scientific articles. I’m definitely not asking about wire reports, or reruns of New York Times articles. Is there anyone, at any of the local papers, who actually covers the scientific community in Seattle, who knows the lab managers, the budget officers, the department chairs, the graduate students and fellows? Anyone who is connected enough to know the science that isn’t being done, what crucial questions are going unanswered?

    I’m not gloating here. I’m horrified. Seattle is a world class scientific city, right up there with Paris, Boston, San Francisco, Tokyo and Baltimore. The University of Washington is consistently one of the largest federal grant recipients—many years second only to Johns Hopkins in total dollars, typically hovering around a billion dollars—largely due to the high quality of work being done. With all we need right now from science, to have no real press coverage, in one of the primary centers of global scientific research, is terrifying.

    I don’t count. I’m far to conflicted to honestly report on the state of science in Seattle. I can say there are fantastic stories to be had. Anyone out there?

    If You Thought That New Yorker Cover Was Bad…

    posted by on July 15 at 6:12 PM

    …then you should really check out this e-mail that’s circulating across the Internet. A friend forwarded it to me, and she got it as part of an e-mail chain, so God only knows where it came from, but it’s called “The Jihad Candidate” and it’s gotten around—a Google search shows 9,050 hits for “jihad candidate” alone. The piece is about Barack Obama, and its 100% racist, xenophobic goodness makes that cartoon on the cover of the New Yorker look like it could be on… well.. the cover of the New Yorker.

    A choice bit (sic throughout):

    Find a candidate who changes his American name of Barry to the Muslim name of Barak Hussein Obama, and dares anyone to question his true ties under the banner of ‘racism’. Nurture this candidate in an atmosphere of anti-white American teaching and surround him with Islamic teachers. Provide him with a bitter, racist, anti-white, anti-American wife, and supply him with Muslim middle east connections and Islamic monies. Allow him to be clever enough to get away with his anti-white rhetoric and proclaim he will give $834 billion taxpayer dollars to the Muslim controlled United Nations for use in Africa.

    Aw, snap! But there’s more…

    Why has the American main stream media clammed-up on any negative reporting on Barak Hussein Obama? Why will they print Hillary Rodham Clinton’s name but never write his middle name? Is it not his name? Why, suddenly, is ANY information about this candidate not coming from main stream media, but from the blogosphere by citizens seeking facts and the truth? Why isn’t our media connecting the dots with Islam? Why do they focus on ‘those bad American soldiers’ while Islam slaughters non Muslims daily in 44 countries around the globe?

    They say “the truth” is more false than it is true. So if a Barack Obama conspiracy and the idea that all Muslims are evil is already the “truth”, there’s no point in letting a few “facts” get in the way. Anyway, for your reading pleasure, here’s a link to author Rich Carroll’s awesome website I sent Carroll an e-mail the other day asking if he’d like to chat, but I haven’t heard back yet. Although Amazon is all sold out of “Terrorists’ Crossing,” Carroll’s novel about Muslims who dress up as Mexicans and sneak over the border to steal our freedom, you can read the rest of his ridiculous work on the website. And try not to spiral into a bout of depression afterward, if you can help it.

    Re: Family Values

    posted by on July 15 at 6:09 PM

    As I mentioned below, several media outlets had documents outlining a sexual harassment complaint against Republican state lands commissioner Doug Sutherland before David Goldstein of Horse’s Ass received the documents this week. In the documents, a female employee of the state Department of Natural Resources alleged that Sutherland had repeatedly stroked her back and waist and made inappropriate comments about her breasts in the presence of others—a story several of the young woman’s colleagues corroborated in the documents. Again, as Goldy reported,

    Meetings were held, testimony taken, statements given, memos written, supervisors reassigned, counseling given, and reminders on appropriate workplace behavior sent department wide. According to notes from a January 24 meeting, it was determined that the incident was a violation of DNR policy, that disciplinary action was warranted, and that it was in fact sexual harassment… but that due to the fact that it was “isolated,” “not hostile,” and involved no “quid pro quo,” it did not rise to the level of “illegal” sexual harassment.

    OK, so not “illegal” harassment… just harassment. And, assuming the several eyewitnesses’ statements in the documents are true, some completely inappropriate behavior on the part of the lands commissioner, a statewide elected official. Despite all this, the local media, including the Seattle Times and the P-I, passed on the story. Earlier this afternoon, I wrote to both the Times and P-I to find out why they didn’t think it was worth printing. When I got back to my desk this evening, the P-I’s political assignments editor, Chris Grygiel, had responded.

    The P-I got the documents in the spring. Sutherland and the woman had different accounts of what happened. A reporter interviewed female associates and political foes of Sutherland to look for a pattern of misconduct but found neither a pattern nor another complaint. The Human Resources Dept. the woman complained to, according to the documentation we received, determined the behavior wasn’t sexual harassment but was inappropriate. The woman who complained wasn’t identified and we were unable to contact her. According to the documents, Sutherland met with the woman at her request and followed through on other anti-harassment protocols she had suggested. When the matter was resolved no disciplinary action was taken and there was no payment of state funds in any settlement.

    We decided to pass on the story. People can certainly second guess our decision but that was the reasoning at the time.

    Of course, any public official—any person, period—charged with sexual harassment is going to have a different story than the purported victim. That’s the nature of harassment allegations, true or false. However, the fact that several of the woman’s colleagues backed up her statements about what happened—and the fact that a statewide elected official was found to have behaved “inappropriately” toward a recent college graduate in her first-ever job—makes this story seem pretty newsworthy to me.

    Chalk It Up to Graffiti

    posted by on July 15 at 6:03 PM

    After Jobdango advertised on the streets of Portland using—the horror—sidewalk chalk, the city had to clean it up because sidewalk chalk, see, is apparently graffiti. Portland is now suing Jobdango.

    The city is suing the online job classifieds company for $5,446, claiming that’s what it cost to remove hundreds of chalk advertisements drawn on city streets one night last September….

    Though one might expect the rain to wash the chalk away in this soggy city, the graffiti was applied in September, one of the few months in which Portland enjoys steady sunshine.

    The cleanup crew spent several hours removing hundreds of chalk advertisements, which were 2 to 4 feet long. They had to be power washed, then scrubbed by hand.

    “Chalk is not as easy to dispose of as people think,” said Marsha Dennis, who directs the city’s graffiti abatement department. “While you’re waiting for it to rain, it looks messier and messier and messier.”

    Oh, it’s so much messier. Just think of the ROSES!

    Meanwhile in Seattle, the county public health department appears to be spray-painting excellent go-get-tested-for-HIV ads on the sidewalk. I just tested one with water and rubbed it with my shoe, and the chalk didn’t fade or run. But James Apa, spokesman for the county’s health department, says, “The material they use is regular chalk and on top of it they use an organic hairspray to make it last longer.” He says that the “Sidewalk Division” has given permission to spray the ads given that the “store owner is okay with it and it’s not permanent.”


    But under city law, chalk and paint are both equally illegal on Seattle streets. So the moral of the story: if you want draw on the street, make it a good campaign and don’t use plain chalk; use spray paint.

    “Some Joke Involving a Rape and Ape Was Said.”

    posted by on July 15 at 4:48 PM


    That John McCain! What a kidder!

    In an appearance before the National League of Cities and Towns in Washington D.C., McCain supposedly asked the crowd if they had heard “the one about the woman who is attacked on the street by a gorilla, beaten senseless, raped repeatedly and left to die?”

    The punch line: “When she finally regains consciousness and tries to speak, her doctor leans over to hear her sigh contently and to feebly ask, “Where is that marvelous ape?”

    Not that you expect much more from the man who once told his wife, in front of reporters, “At least I don’t plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt”—and just the other day joked that exporting cigarettes to Iran might be “a way of killing them.”

    Incidentally, I was living in Texas when Republican—and John McCain supporter—Clayton Williams had his own rape-joke scandal, one that helped Democrat Ann Richards win her first race for governor. The “joke”: “Bad weather is like rape. As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

    Rape: Cracking Republicans up since 1990!

    It’s Fucking Broken!

    posted by on July 15 at 4:25 PM

    The Presurfer has a link to a website called The Blog Cuss-O-Meter. It’s supposed to tell you how many cusswords are on your blog.

    Unfortunately, the site seems to be broken:


    See? If the shitsucker says that Slog’s got abso-fucking-lutely no swears on it, the cocksucker’s obviously gone tits-up. I wonder if all the motherfucking swears on Slog somehow shoved a stick up the Cuss-O-Meter’s goddamned ass and broke it off?

    It’s Games Time

    posted by on July 15 at 4:19 PM

    Today, the official Beijing Olympics web site entered “Games-time status.” I don’t know what that means, but I know we’re getting close. Mark your calendars! August 20 and August 23 are the synchronized swimming finals.

    And this, my fellow synchro fans, I think we can agree is a creepy, creepy building.


    The Games start August 8.

    One Fewer Nazi In Bellevue?

    posted by on July 15 at 4:04 PM

    The Department of Justice is asking a Washington State federal court to revoke the citizenship of a Bellevue man they believe was a member of a Nazi death squad during World War II.

    The DOJ says Peter Egner, now 86, did not disclose his Nazi service when applying for citizenship, and claims he was involved in the mass murder of more than 17,000 Serbian civilians, most of whom were Jewish men, women and children.

    Egner was investigated by the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), which has been involved in prosecuting former Nazis since 1979. Since then, the OSI has prosecuted 107 people for Nazi war crimes and barred 180 from entering the country.

    In Case It’s Something That You Might Like…

    posted by on July 15 at 4:00 PM

    …and in case you haven’t heard it, like, all over the internet today, the first thirteen-minute chapter of Joss Whedon’s weeklong musical superhero comedy experiment, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, has gone live today.

    It stars Neil Patrick Harris, who really should change his name to Neil Doogie Harris, as an evil super-criminal who’s trying to get up the courage to talk to a girl. Nathan Fillion (who I have a semi-enormous man-crush on, though not enough of one to make me want to watch him on Desperate Housewives) stars as a superhero. Turns out, Fillion’s singing voice leaves something to be desired, although it has a certain rough charm. Harris is enjoyable and witty and he has a lovely voice, even if the songs leave something to be desired.

    Not much happens in this first bit, really, although it’s pleasant enough and, importantly, free. The next two segments will go live on July 17th and July 19th, and then the whole thing will disappear on July 20th, whereupon you will be charged for the privilege of watching Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. I’m not convinced that it’s going to be worth any amount of money, but it’s certainly fun to watch at work.

    The New McCain Headquarters Here in Washington, and Some New Electoral Math

    posted by on July 15 at 3:45 PM

    I went. I saw. I took pictures.

    On the outside, this state’s brand new John McCain outpost looks very much like a low-slung Bellevue office park:


    Which it is. And on the inside, it looks very much like the campaign office for eastside Republican Congressman Dave Reichert:


    Which it also is. (The space is being shared by the Reichert and McCain campaigns.)

    A white board reminds that McCain is opening up shop in Washington State with only a relatively short time left before the election:


    Barack Obama, by contrast, has been here since the beginning of the year. He had a contested Democratic caucus to deal with here in February, of course, while McCain basically had the nomination sewn up by that time, but still, the Obama campaign’s earlier arrival can only be an advantage.

    Here’s Rick Gorka, the Western Region Communications Director for the McCain campaign.


    He covers Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii as part of a McCain strategy that has the country divided up into regions, with regional directors being given a certain amount of autonomy from the mothership. (But not too much autonomy now that there’s a new McCain campaign manager in town.)

    I asked Gorka what he thinks of McCain’s chances in Washington State.

    I think McCain’s chances in Washington State are excellent. He has an independent record, works on bipartisan solutions, puts those types of solutions and solving America’s problems before party politics, and I think that resonates well with Washingtonians.

    Really? Do you know of any polls that show McCain leading in this state?

    Not that I know of. It’s obviously very early in the race… But I really think that when we get the message out, that Senator McCain’s history, and his past, and his experience, and leadership on these issues are really going to carry the day here.

    So you really think Washington will be a red state come November?

    I really hope so. We’re going to work very hard. We have a great team in place. There’s a lot of energy and a lot of volunteers that want to get involved.

    Michelle Obama is going to be in Seattle on Thursday. When’s the next time McCain is going to be here?

    That I don’t know… I just don’t want get anybody’s hopes up, but we’re going to compete very heavily here in Washington State.

    So what’s the next step?

    We’re going to be opening offices state-wide… We’re going to have seven I believe. We’re even opening an office in Tacoma. The last time there was an office [for a Republican Presidential candidate] in Tacoma, Washington was a red state. The next step is a lot of phone banking, voter registration, voter ID, door-to-door—you know, things that the Republican Party does really well.

    Looking at the electoral math, does McCain even need Washington State to win the election?

    I think when we win Washington, it creates an incredible amount of problems for Senator Obama. He can’t afford to lose any states like Washington or Oregon, where we expect to compete very well.


    Re: Mac and Me

    posted by on July 15 at 3:40 PM

    Mr. Constant, do not despair, and do not make the recipe you think looks good because it is simple. Macaroni and cheese is simple conceptually, but it does require time and stirring. Shoving ingredients together and baking will not give you the macaroni of which you dream. This recipe will. It represents a coupling of the mac and cheese from The Grit Restaurant in Athens, Georgia, and the Macaroni With Quattro Formaggi from The Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook. (The Grit recipe goes the egg-inclusion route, which I consider too custardy.) The bread-monogram may seem overly Martha, but people will fucking love it, including you. Spell out a word! You may also make bread-symbols if you’re feeling more representational.

    I am not going to put this after a jump because macaroni is important.

    Monogrammed Macaroni and Cheese

    1 pound large elbow macaroni (penne if you’re feeling fancy)
    5 tablespoons butter
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    2 1/2 cups organic whole milk
    ~5 ounces cheddar, sliced: sharp is good, I like Irish cheddar*
    ~4 ounces Gruyère, sliced
    ~2 ounces Parmesan, sliced
    pinch ground nutmeg
    dash of Tabasco or Tapatio
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
    ~4 ounces mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
    ~2 ounces Parmesan, grated
    bread crumbs, preferably homemade, but whatever
    a couple slices of better-quality pre-sliced white bread

    *You can use pretty much any cheeses, just the same overall amount. Organic is better; organic Monterey Jack sounds boring but is delicious (and could be used in place of the mozzarella). Reggiano parm is nice, but really, this is just mac and cheese, people.

    Preheat oven to 350˚. Lightly butter a rectangular baking dish (you might have enough for a little round casserole dish, too).

    Cook the pasta until just al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.

    Get yourself a beverage. The roux/whisking-in-cheese takes a while and can get hot.

    Melt the butter in a large/deep skillet or saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

    Slowly whisk in milk, then cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until lightly thickened to the consistency of cream. (Look, you made a roux!)

    Drop in the slices of cheddar, Gruyère, and sliced Parm one or two at a time, whisking constantly, letting them mostly melt before adding more. Season with nutmeg, dash of hot sauce, and salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

    In a large bowl, combine cheese sauce and ziti. Stir in the mozzarella. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with grated Parm, paprika to your liking, bread crumbs ditto.

    Cut pertinent initials or symbols out of slices of white bread with a sharp knife. Position artfully on top of macaroni, then brush liberally with melted butter.

    Bake until bubbling and top is browned, 25 to 35 minutes.

    Makes 8-ish servings. Hi!

    Re: Submitted for Jen’s Approval 2

    posted by on July 15 at 3:25 PM

    It is Day 2 (here is Day 1) of Medium-Sized Sculpture-Park Sculpture With Dan Savage, wherein he, while on vacation, torments his art critic by posting photographs of medium-sized sculpture park sculpture found all over the town where he’s vacationing, Saugatuck, Michigan. Apparently, this panoply of art is all part of a program Saugatuck’s calling Art ‘round Town. Aw, shucks!

    Today’s specimen is Zack Wallerius’s Not Sevens, made in 2003.


    Because the artist was a junior at Saugatuck High School when he made this sculpture for the school grounds (with the help of shop teacher Mr. Rehkopf), and because in an interview about it he is reported to have said that “Having a sculpture on display is a great experience,” I would not like to ruin that experience with my meddling critique.

    I will say, however, that this was my favorite of the commenters’ comments:

    Amputated robot tentacles?

    Posted by Kalakalot | July 15, 2008 2:48 PM

    I will also say that Wallerius has neither given up on art nor on seven shapes.


    posted by on July 15 at 3:20 PM

    So I did STP this weekend, and I have one thing to say about that: SR 520 Bridge Replacement and HOV Project brand chapstick. Spearmint, SPF 15. Taxpayers, how do you feel about this propaganda? My feelings are mixed. On the one hand, my lips were chapped. On the other hand…

    Second, I’m sorry about posting my Barack Obama apologetics at 5 pm on a Friday with messed up links. The post has been tidied, and my points still stand. Also, if you want to stew about Obama’s recent statements on Iraq, may I recommend this “grassroots” (i.e., not campaign-authorized) panel at Hugo House tonight: Two Iraq war vets are going to talk about Obama’s Iraq war promises. Sounds like it could get rowdy—Hugo House has vino.

    And finally, my official Scrabble beta tester status was extremely shortlived: Now anyone can sign up for the Scrabble application on Facebook. But really, you don’t want to. For comparison, here’s a screenshot of good old Scrabulous:


    And here is evil new Scrabble:


    The new Scrabble doesn’t have Challenge mode yet. (This is crazy, as it is the mode in which competitive Hasbro-endorsed Scrabble is played.) It is also full of unnecessary animation that slows down the game—and it takes a truly unforgivable amount of time to load initially. It doesn’t have the game replay function that Scrabulous recently added, and there is no promise that this will be delivered. I also see no promise that you will eventually be able to play a computer. Playing a computer is the best way to learn new words.

    Honestly, out of all the Scrabble knockoffs I’ve ever played, the one I liked best was the old-school Networdz, a tiny little player-to-player (plus player-vs-computer) .exe application with a word list you modified yourself. The only bad thing about it was the creators never bothered to create a version for the Mac. But it was tiny and fast and ideal. Animation—seriously, who needs it? Remember, this is an imitation board game. It does not test your reflexes or hand-eye coordination. Scrap the bubbles and the jumpy 3-D tiles, and this game would be infinitely better.

    Family Values

    posted by on July 15 at 3:13 PM

    I’ve got my hands full putting out this week’s news section, but I wanted to call Slog readers’ attention to a blockbuster story by David Goldstein on Horse’s Ass about Republican state Commissioner of Public Lands Doug Sutherland. According to Goldy, a young woman who worked for the Department of Natural Resources resigned in 2005 after Sutherland repeatedly sexually harassed her. From HA:

    On January 15, 2005, a young, female employee, recently hired by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), was introduced to Commissioner Sutherland at a state meeting in Pacific, WA. Following is a description of the initial encounter, as transcribed from the woman’s handwritten notes:

    Jon introduces me to the commissioner. “Doug, this is [REDACTED], the new public use forester.”

    I shake his hand. [REDACTED] great to meet you.”

    We resume to positions in tight circle.

    Commissioner reaches across circle (& Doug M.) w/ his hand & grabs my left shoulder. Feels it, then twists me around so that my back is facing him & he holds me w/ one hand & feels my back (open palmed) from my neck down to my waist, shoulders, etc. Says something about “just looking.”

    I am incredulous & half-smiling w/lack of reaction & blush v. red.

    Doug Mc[Clelland, a division head at DNR and Sutherland aide]. (I made eye contact wi/ him @ some point during the inappropriate touching) & he made a comment like “We hire them strong.” or “Strong back.”

    When commissioner returned to his position in the circle he said “Could have felt… up front” or “could have felt the other side”

    “Wouldn’t be right.”

    No, it wouldn’t have been right for the then 68-year-old Sutherland to feel this young woman’s breasts, but then, in the unanimous opinion of those who witnessed his actions, it clearly wasn’t right for him to rub her neck, shoulder, back and waist either. And for those who might question the recall of a young woman who at times appears teetering on the edge of shock, her contemporaneous notes are not only corroborated by various eyewitnesses, but at times elaborated on in ways that make Sutherland’s behavior appear all the more more inexcusable.

    According to the young woman’s notes, she was then told by her supervisor that Sutherland was “just being a regular guy,” and asked not to get so upset. Subsequently, according to McClelland’s account, the supervisor used the incident as a “teachable moment” to tell her she should button her shirt up.

    After another similar incident involving the commissioner (according to the woman’s notes, he “placed his right hand on the right side of my lower waist & ran his hand across my waist”), the woman resigned, filing a sexual harassment complaint against Sutherland. Goldy writes:

    This was no minor incident, the victim’s complaint throwing DNR into a frenzy of damage control. Meetings were held, testimony taken, statements given, memos written, supervisors reassigned, counseling given, and reminders on appropriate workplace behavior sent department wide. According to notes from a January 24 meeting, it was determined that the incident was a violation of DNR policy, that disciplinary action was warranted, and that it was in fact sexual harassment… but that due to the fact that it was “isolated,” “not hostile,” and involved no “quid pro quo,” it did not rise to the level of “illegal” sexual harassment.

    Well, maybe. I discussed the case with a former county prosecutor who insisted that had their executive been involved in an incident like this, they would have settled in a heartbeat rather than risk going to trial. Whatever. The victim never filed suit, so we’ll never know.

    What we do know is that the shockingly inappropriate behavior of Commissioner Sutherland led directly to the resignation of a young female employee, and the disruption and distraction of a number of managers who otherwise might have carried out the actual business of DNR… you know, trivial things like preventing timber companies from clearcutting unstable slopes.

    According to Goldstein, four major media outlets have been sitting on this information, including the woman’s notes and corroborating testimony, for at least four months, but chose to do nothing with it. Why are news outlets protecting Sutherland from these explosive charges? They certainly had no problem bringing up former Democratic Gov. Mike Lowry’s sexual-harassment case when he ran against Sutherland in 2000. Goldstein wouldn’t tell me which news sources they were, but I’m guessing the Times (which has repeatedly endorsed Sutherland) and P-I are among them.

    E3 Lite, Day Two

    posted by on July 15 at 3:08 PM

    Nintendo didn’t trot out any tired, rehash games at their Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference today. That should be good news — enough of the old Mario/Zelda/Donkey Kong guard. Let’s try something new with the Wii already. But then this happened:

    Thanks to for the video, titled on their site “The Worst Moment in Nintendo History.” And sure enough, Wii Music’s public debut landed this morning with a poopy squish. Wii Music is described as a music game designed for people who don’t like challenge. Sounds like a decent idea in theory, compared to the sometimes-intimidating play of Guitar Hero. But from the look of this game, people are tapping a single button and moving their arms to the rhythm to play dinky-sounding MIDI tracks. If you’re under five, this could somehow be awesome. Then again, if you’re under five, you like The Wiggles and climbing into boxes.

    Seriously, look at those dorks swaying in the video! And Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto’s on the right, too, hopping around and reinforcing all stereotypes about Asians and their rhythm. Damned shame.

    The little bit of good news: There’s another Wii Sports game coming next year, this time with a “summer resort” theme. It’ll be powered with that WiiMotion dongle announced yesterday, meaning the game will recognize many more realistic gestures—wasn’t that the point of the Wii in the first place?—but Nintendo was mum on most of the game’s content (though it will have sword fights, so if this Christmas’ Star Wars light saber game sucks, there’s still hope for nerds). Grand Theft Auto will come out on the DS “this winter” (read: probably March 2009) with a “Chinatown Wars” theme. And Rayman Raving Rabbids TV Party is a rare high point for the Wii, mixing the Wii Fit balance board with a bunch of silly mini-games.

    Otherwise, there’s a ton of crappy family games coming, just like last Christmas. The “new” Animal Crossing game (think The Sims gone cute) doesn’t look any more interesting than the DS version from a few years ago. Unless Nintendo’s hiding a whopper of an announcement, they’re putting all their chips on Wii Music until the end of this year. Considering that the music game genre is already flooded with fare for both adults and kids, Nintendo better hope their brand name is enough to sell this mess of a title.

    Sony coasted through their conference with few big surprises (but nothing as bad as Nintendo, either). This fall’s Resistance 2 looks like a fine first-person shooter, and it’ll probably sell well, but that doesn’t make it seem like a worthwhile break from decades of the same kind of shooting game. And other than Little Big Planet, which has been showcased for nearly two years now, I wasn’t thrilled by any of their showcased stuff—even their media center announcements paled compared to the Xbox/Netflix deal from yesterday. A lot of the titles announced won’t be out for at least a year, so it’s hard to get stoked for those (though Infamous looks like an even crazier version of the Xbox 360’s Crackdown, and that kind of open-world game always catches my eye). Price drop coming in a few months, though. Those are always fun.

    “George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation”

    posted by on July 15 at 2:50 PM

    Found in a coffee shop this morning: a 30-page book, allegedly written by the alleged father of this alleged country—when he was allegedly 14 years old!—on how not to be a total jackass.



    “2nd: Put not your hands to any part of the body not usually discovered.”

    “13th: Kill no vermin as fleas, lice, ticks &c in the sight of others; if you see any filth or thick spittle, put your foot dexteriously upon it; if it be upon the clothes of your companions, put it off privately; and if it be upon your own clothes, return thanks to him who puts it off.”

    “38th: In visiting the sick, do not presently play the physician if you be not knowing therein.”



    Mac and Me

    posted by on July 15 at 2:34 PM

    With all this talk about IndyMac and FreddieMac and, hell, even Bernie Mac, I suddenly have a craving for cheesy mac. I’m always looking for new macaroni and cheese recipes, because I’ve never found a great one. This recipe looks good, because it’s simple:

    4 cups cooked elbow macaroni, drained 2 cups grated Cheddar 3 eggs, beaten 1/2 cup sour cream 4 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    Once you have the macaroni cooked and drained, place in a large bowl and while still hot and add the cheddar. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and add to the macaroni mixture. Pour macaroni mixture into a casserole dish and bake for 30 to 45 minutes. Top with additional cheese if desired.

    But I would kill—not literally, maybe, but I would certainly spiritually kill someone—for a knockout mac and cheese recipe. Yet it looks like the intranet is failing me yet again.

    (Also, semi-related: Why do all these housing lenders have such dumb names? Freddie Mac sounds like a suicidal used car salesman from Tulsa, and Frannie Fannie Mae sounds like it should be a line of pastel cosmetics.)

    And Another Cover…

    posted by on July 15 at 2:15 PM

    This one via Ben Smith, and created by these guys under the heading, “Rejected New Yorker Cover Art”:


    The Future of Policing

    posted by on July 15 at 2:05 PM

    The Seattle Police Department—perhaps taking a cue from Wall-E—is preparing its officers for a world without walking.

    SPD’s parking enforcement team is testing a new, three-wheeled Segway-like scooter, which could be deployed for patrol use.

    It looks like this.


    And this.


    And this.


    In March, the city purchased six Segways for parking enforcement, for $5,000 each. These new three-wheeled scooters, made by T3 Motion, have a max speed of 18mph—the Segway only goes about 12.5mph—and cost $11,500.

    SPD Spokesman Mark Jamieson says the department is only testing the units, but they could end up in the hands of patrol units on Broadway or the bomb/arson squads, who often lug around heavy equipment in the field. “It’s a case where we have an opportunity to demo them and see what the pros and the cons are,” Jamieson says. “And if that is something we’ll want to explore later, we’ll tailor it to our needs.”

    Jamieson says the department trials of the T3 units will end the second week of August. Soon after, SPD’s bike patrols are also expected to begin testing new equipment.


    Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 15 at 1:40 PM

    Marcelino Gonçalves’s Untitled (Pat Tillman High School) (2006), oil and graphite on panel, 33 by 24 inches

    At James Harris Gallery.

    Submitted for Jen’s Approval

    posted by on July 15 at 1:30 PM

    Today’s piece sits on a grassy knoll—always a lucky spot—on the grounds of Saugatuck’s only high school.


    “Not Sevens,” Zack Wallerius 2003.


    La Defense

    posted by on July 15 at 12:55 PM

    We see that the best buildings have in their design no humans in mind. All the better if the work is alien, monstrous, indifferent—anything more other than what we are already. A work that strives for the inhuman strives to be closer to the truth, which consistently turns out to be inhuman.

    La Defense is an office-building that lies in a small business-park and is partly surrounded by houses. The outline of the building follows the capricious borders of the parcel. The ground-plan of La Defense contains two volumes which are different in length and height.

    Shopping in the Nether Land

    posted by on July 15 at 12:47 PM

    The image, just the image:

    Using A Building

    posted by on July 15 at 12:32 PM

    Jeanne Dekkers, a Dutch architect, is the designer of what is pictured…
    …the Department of Geotechnology, Delft University of Technology. It’s a sexual and muscular coupling of two buildings—raw concrete mounting scintillating glass—two periods of time, two very distinct modes and languages. What the work reveals is the contradiction at that core of any sexual unification: the whole is realized by a rupture, a crack, a break.

    To see more of Dekker’s work (which for the most part is not erotic but almost always powerful), go here. As for the heart of her design philosophy, it is this:

    The quality of the end result as a whole intends to be greater than the sum of its parts; the design expresses the nature of the commission and simultaneously anticipates, as a cultural manifestation, the future. Using a building brings life to its emptiness.

    And Another Cover…

    posted by on July 15 at 12:20 PM

    This one from The Nation:


    Someone’s Got a Bat in Their Belfry

    posted by on July 15 at 12:03 PM


    New York magazine’s David Edelstein has a review of The Dark Knight up. The review is negative—awestruck, but ultimately negative—but the review is not why I’m linking to the page.

    I’m linking to the review because the comments are fascinating. Most of the commenters haven’t seen the movie yet, but they’re violently attacking Edelstein for his negative review…without having seen the movie themselves.

    It’s quite obvious that the reviewer clearly wants attention by writing such an article on one of the most anticipated movies of this summer. I’ve been hearing of universal acclaim from almost every critic, yet the one review with such attitude and bravado is the one with no meaning at all, least to forget reasoning.
    Hes pretty confused throughout the review. maybe this movie is actually that great to have someone this twisted after they see it. he thinks hes the joker now trying to “crash the party” thats going to start on july 18th. what a scrub.

    Much more, including an old-school put-down of fanboys, after the jump.

    Continue reading "Someone's Got a Bat in Their Belfry" »

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on July 15 at 12:00 PM

    Man, two years in a row? Will the rest of the world EVER respect the United States again?

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on July 15 at 11:00 AM


    ‘The Last Detail’

    A young and superhot Jack Nicholson, at the height of his acting powers, is maverick sailor Billy “Bad Ass” Budduski; a very young Randy Quaid, at the apex of his spazziness, is the virginal young sailor Budduski has to deliver to navy prison. The plot takes the sailors on a road trip to seedy 1970s diners, whorehouses, and bars to show the cracked-up Quaid one last good time before the brig, and the result is one of the best American films ever made. Darryl Ponicsan, who wrote the novel Detail is based on, will introduce the film. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 329-2629. 7:30 pm, $8.50.)


    Reading Comprehension

    posted by on July 15 at 10:57 AM

    Yesterday I Slogged about David Benkof, the anti-gay-marriage homosexual who recently wrote an op-ed in the PI about how the California marriage ruling caused “real harm” to hetero couples. Sniffles. Anyway, he said he’s no longer supporting man-woman marriage in the US. I wrote that Benkof “announced he’s pulling out of anti-gay marriage movement. In fact, it looks like he’s opposing marriage altogether.” Then, in the comments, someone identifying himself as Benkof wrote this response:

    You might want to work on your reading comprehension skills. Between blogs and E-mails I have noticed at least 75 people who read my post, none of whom except you think I’m against marriage altogether. I think marriage is great. I want to get married someday. I have just stopped blogging and writing op-eds (Tuesday’s San Jose Mercury-News is the last one) in response to the “marriage equality” movement.

    In the interest of reading comprehension, here’s what Benkof wrote on his blog:

    It is with great sadness that I announce that I feel I must withdraw from openly supporting man-woman marriage in the United States. I recently learned quite a bit of disturbing information that makes it impossible for me to continue supporting a movement I no longer respect. I have not yet decided when or even if I will write about why I’m ending my participation in this debate.

    Visitors to Benkof’s blog will now find a blank page.

    So Long, and Thanks for All the SUVs

    posted by on July 15 at 10:50 AM

    Via Sightline, check out NASA’s new ClimateTimeMachine.


    This screen grab shows parts of the southeastern US that would be underwater if worldwide sea levels rose by 6 meters—the amount of rise predicted if the Greenland ice sheet were to melt completely.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on July 15 at 10:38 AM


    A book about a con artist mom and three other events tonight.

    Up in Port Townsend, Anne Waldman, who is one of the last surviving Beat poets (well, depending on who you ask—I’ve talked to quite a few old men who think that women can’t be Beats), will read work from one of her 40 books. This is part of the Writer’s Conference that’s going on up in Port Townsend all week.

    Over at Elliott Bay Book Company, Rachel Kushner reads from her novel Telex from Cuba, which is a debut novel set in Cuba just before Castro. I hear that Colonel Sanders is a character in the book, which is an automatic plus.

    And then, up at the University Book Store, Connie Willis, the author of To Say Nothing of the Dog, reads from her newest work, All Seated on the Ground. Willis is an amazing sci-fi author, and she’s been around for a while now. This is the reading of the night, and you should obviously go.

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

    Horsey’s Latest

    posted by on July 15 at 10:32 AM


    The Constitution burning in the fireplace is a nice touch.


    Obama’s Big Foreign Policy Speech

    posted by on July 15 at 10:30 AM

    I’m running out the door to the opening of McCain’s Washington State office so I don’t have time to say much about this, but here’s the video of the “major foreign policy address” that Barack Obama gave today at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in D.C.

    Please have a report on my desk—or at least in the commnets—by the time I get back.

    Your Printer? Well, It’s Watching You. And I Told You So.

    posted by on July 15 at 10:18 AM

    Precisely one year ago today I warned you that your printer was spying on you. I warned you! (Dammit! Why wouldn’t you listen? WHY?) I wrote a great big Slog about it.


    But you didn’t really pay attention, did you? You didn’t feel so inclined to believe me. There was scoffing. And eye-rolling. And a copious amount of “Oh, that crazazy Adrian!”-ing, I’ll just bet. (Admit it!) But if you haven’t learned it yet, get on the ball bitches: Adrian is always right about EVERYTHING. Everything! Every little thing ever. Always. Period. Thank you and good night.

    I know. It’s my curse.

    Look (from yesterday’s so-called “headlines”):

    More manufacturers are outfitting greater numbers of laser printers with technology that leaves microscopic yellow dots on each printed page to identify the printer’s serial number - and ultimately, you, says the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of the leading watchdogs of electronic privacy.

    The technology has been around for years, but the declining price of laser printers and the increasing number of models with this feature is causing renewed concerns.

    Yes, that was from yesterday: as in 364 days after I initially reported it. And you know what that means? Right. The world is moving a little faster than usual. I’m usually at least two years ahead.

    And next time you’ll listen. WON’T YOU?


    Maverick Moment of the Day

    posted by on July 15 at 9:45 AM

    John McCain will be opening a Washington State Campaign Headquarters today.

    In Bellevue.

    End the HIV Travel Ban

    posted by on July 15 at 9:30 AM

    Republicans are moving to retain the HIV travel ban—did you know that Jesse Helms got this passed in the first place?—so I’m reposting this call to action. If you haven’t written to your senator yet, please do so now.

    Having HIV is the “only medical condition that renders people inadmissible to the United States,” John Kerry and Gordan Smith wrote in an op-ed published in yesterday’s Washington Times.

    In fact, we are just one of 12 countries that prohibit, almost without exception, HIV-positive non-citizens from entering the country (China has recently overturned its ban). This policy places the United States in the same company as Sudan, Russia, Libya and Saudi Arabia.

    Sudan, Russia, Libya, Saudi Arabia—that’s some mighty fine company we’re keeping. But there’s an effort underway in the U.S. Senate to repeal our cruel, regressive, and unnecessary ban on HIV-positive tourists and immigrants. And you’ll never guess who’s leading the charge against this long-overdo repeal? Sen. David Vitter—yes, Vitter the Shitter, the hooker-banging, diaper-wearing “family values” douchebag from Louisiana.

    You can help end discrimination against HIV-positive tourists and immigrants by contacting your senators now—before you leave work today—and telling them to support the bipartisan Smith-Kerry HIV Nondiscrimination in Travel and Immigration Act. Contact info for your senators can be found here. And some good background on this issue can be found here, here, here, and here. Andrew Sullivan—who is HIV-positive and an immigrant—is tracking developments at the Daily Dish.

    Letter to the Editor of the Day

    posted by on July 15 at 9:03 AM

    In response to this…


    A reader writes:

    You know, i’d really not want to be hopping on the assuredly large number of letters responding to your “what’s more offensive…” feature, but fuck it, why not? I figured it was bad enough that the walls of random neighborhoods have been bogged down by the obama-beret-hussein stencils, but now my regular mirth-reveling last days viewing has to be ruined by this shitty bigoted display. Oh, you had a little POW McCain so it balances out. You all pushing for a white history month too? It doesn’t weight in the same way at all.

    Irony seems to run rampant nowadays, its trumped that retro-90s flannel cynicism and phased out passe early-00s popped collar disinterest as the perfect fashion accessory. Me, i’m as jaded as the ming dynasty, I buy into youth disenfranchaisement as any other hip go-getter. However this ironic racism just makes me think we’re a couple a hairs away from the “handlebar” being replaced by the “chaplin” as the moustache du jour.

    Knowing that you all still love irony, here’s some hot tips on recent faves. Most of our own “Peace Park” has been sacrificed for a piece of parking, echoing are obviously shitty involvement in Iraq on the behalf of our cars. The other being the good-riddance attitude towards the disappearance of big fast food on the hill. Yes, indeed, we’ve finally ended our support of these evil faceless corporations. This calls for a celebration, how bout a smoke?

    The point is in there somewhere, but you’ll have to pick through the rambling.

    a kid

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 15 at 7:35 AM

    Genocide: International Court files charges against Sudanese president.

    He Thought They Said “Drinking”: Bush lifts off-shore drilling ban.

    Plane and Simple: Former Justice Dept. head says US should fix terrorist watch list.

    Strained Peas and Matlock: Can a 72-year-old man be president? Some retarded Americans think so.

    Tapped Out: Jesse “The Body” Ventura decides not to try to take on Al “Stuart Smalley” Franken in Senate race.

    Georgia governor wants guns in airports.

    Blinded By the Light:
    Hordes of Russian ravers blasted by lasers!

    Slugger: Josh Hamilton hits record 28 homers in first round of derby, still loses.

    Since SOMEBODY crushed my hopes for a new, kick ass Batman movie, here’s some fucking Aquaman bullshit.

    Monday, July 14, 2008

    Congratulations, Taxpayer, On Eating That Shit Sandwich For Us.

    posted by on July 14 at 6:18 PM

    Ever since the start of the mortgage crisis—whose origins and effects can be revisited at this post, or on this podcast—I’ve been waiting for the great taxpayer-fueled bailout to begin.

    The bailout of Bear Stearns was a mere appetizer to the cliff we’re falling over now:

    Government efforts to support mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac drew a restrained response from investors today, with the stock prices of the two companies rising only modestly after last week’s steep collapse, but by midday investors turned to a new target of the credit crisis: banks.

    To recap briefly:
    1. The investment banks and mortgage markets were effectively deregulated through the 1990’s and 2000’s…

    2. …allowing the creation of mortgage backed securities…

    3. …that were increasingly backed by shoddier and shoddier mortgages…

    4. …making what was once one of the most stable and socially productive investments both incredibly risky and socially catastrophic, with no way for investors really know if and when the transition happened…

    5. …leaving the investment banks, mortgage companies, regular banks and even the government sponsored enterprises on the precipice of catastrophic failure in a way not seen since the Depression, when these institutions were last similarly deregulated.

    Market theory would tell us the government should not intervene—these institutions should be allowed to fail, the unwise investments allowed to collapse and the money to be lost. At the last height of Laissez-faire economic policy, in the 1920’s, that was the plan. The institutions were allowed to collapse one-by-one, causing the Great Depression.

    That didn’t work out so well. In the 1930’s, sifting through the rubble of the US economy, the next plan was regulation. If we think of modern financials as being like junk food—made of many ingredients, intrinsically difficult to discern—knowing the providence of the starting materials really matters. Many of the New Deal regulations did just that—demanding that companies report honestly and completely on their health, that mortgages be attached to information about the borrower indicating an ability to pay and so on.

    By making information about investments as honest, comprehensive and accessible, through laws and oversight, investors could avoid the most questionable of financial junk food and thus get fat on the rest. If they did pour money into something obviously dubious, it was far easier to allow the market to do its job, and make the investments as valueless as they had appeared to be. You could easily tell it was crap before you put your money in. You lose it, it’s your loss.

    These were the regulations written out of existence, or circumvented, in the years leading up to the present crisis.

    Like with junk food, the companies and people doing the processing make most of the profit—making the producers (the investors) and the consumers (the borrowers) pay dearly for participation in the market—all while whining they cannot afford things like complete and honest information about what they are selling. Loan agents eventually stopped checking income, employment, the value of the property or the credit history of the borrower, because the mortgage companies stopped asking the loan agents to collect this information, because the investment banks buying up these loans stopped asking as well. The investors buying from the banks didn’t really care, as the bond agencies gave the blended investments the highest ratings. The rating agencies, increasingly deregulated, didn’t bother asking for this information either. Without it, it was impossible to predict how the loans would perform. They guessed. They were wrong.

    Even though only a small percentage of the borrowers failed to make their payments, without information to tell bad from the good investors became spooked. If the rating agencies couldn’t tell the value, how could an investor? The lenders rapidly pulled out of the market. First to fail were the investment banks, stuck with loans they could no longer sell to investors—even if the loans were good. Bear Stearns, such a bank, quickly grabbed a handout from you and I, the taxpayers. Next, the mortgage companies and their related banks start to wobble. Indymac just collapsed, and again the taxpayers are asked to reach into their wallets and pay off the FDIC guarantees.

    Which brings us to the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. These are Government Sponsored Enterprises that were created to perform a basic and seemingly unavoidably safe and profitable task: Buy up high quality mortgage loans from banks and package them as securities that can be sold to investors at a profit. In essence, this is the honest version of what all the crooked private companies were doing—in which each loan is carefully vetted and matched to the borrowers ability to pay and the honest valuation of the property. These companies are of vast importance to the entire housing market, allowing banks to make far more mortgages than would be possible if each loan had to stay at the originating bank and not be resold. In the wake of the crooked mortgage-backed securities, investors have stopped buying the Freddie Mac and Fannie May mortgage-backed securities. With no investor money coming in, they can no longer buy up loans. In steps us again, the taxpayers. We’ve now committed our tax dollars to buy up mortgages—money we are ultimately borrowing from the Chinese.

    These bailouts aren’t helping homeowners. The dishonest crooks—the loan agents, the investment banks, the rating agencies—are having their asses saved with our tax dollars. And, this is happening without any serious re-regulation, without a strong requirement for honesty and clarity on the financial industry’s part. From any perspective, this is the worst outcome, virtually guaranteeing another huge bailout in a few years. With no concequences, and so many of those well positioned getting filthy rich off the fiasco, why not do it again, and again, and again?

    If we force those who demanded deregulation in the financial industry, who took advantage of the deregulation to dupe others, into an honest position, we’d let them all fail, dragging them out of their windows to the hard streets below, to live under overpasses and eat pet food like their parents and grandparents were forced to do during the last time they ran us all off the cliff. We’re too cowardly to do it and will likely pay an even harsher collective price thanks to this cowardice. We’re too frightened to let them fail, and suffer as well. I’m frightened of what the collapse will bring. Our political leadership, long greased with Wall Street money, won’t even demand rules that will truly complicate such thievery in the future. You should be furious.

    Is That Frizzelle Over There Behind Mary McCarthy?

    posted by on July 14 at 6:05 PM

    When one knows deeply that he is wrong, as Mr. Frizzelle does, there is nothing to be done but to insult the enemy and hide behind an older writer.

    Not being wrong myself, I don’t mind elaborating. Mr. Kiley writes this:

    Angela Pierce as Blanche gives a slick, orthodox performance, and sails through Blanche’s late-play mad scenes without succumbing to the crazy-person caricature that has wrecked so many Blanches, Ophelias, and Lears.

    This is exactly right for the first nine words. Then it veers into Frizzelle Territory: Wrongton. Pierce breaks into caricature several times in her late-play mad scenes, what with the squawking and the squalling. This is what ruins Blanche at Intiman.

    Stanley’s fine, if you don’t mind him grunting while he picks up his women as though he can’t handle them. Kiley sees this as a nod to his humor and vulnerability; I see it as the equivalent of farting onstage and trying to hide it. If he’s doing it for effect, I’d really like to see other signs of vulnerability in the interpretation, and there are none.

    Stella: She’s a rock. Stella has never seemed so solid and so desperate at once. I loved her. Wanted to be her friend. Wanted to take her away from all this. Wanted to be a new kind of Stanley for her. Do with that what you will.

    As for the sound design: Mr. Frizzelle, they played the horrible, horrible music every five secs. Aren’t you going a little easy on the hometown heroes? And, while we’re at it: Should we trust your take on Streetcar when your take is essentially that it’s great because it doesn’t suck the way you expected it to?

    Suspect Identified in Rainier Beach Attack

    posted by on July 14 at 5:57 PM

    Seattle Police have identified Brian Keith Brown, 28, as the suspect in the murder of James Paroline, who was killed while gardening near his South Seattle home last week.

    Neighbors and police said that Paroline was gardening in the traffic circle at 61st Avenue South and South Cooper Street around 8 p.m. and had set up traffic cones to keep cars from driving over a garden hose. Three teenage girls in a car stopped and told him to remove the traffic cones, but Paroline refused, neighbors said.

    A video of the attack, shot by a neighbor, showed Paroline attempting to ignore the girls until they threw water on him from water jug, according to charging papers. Police said the teenagers then removed the cones and Paroline sprayed them with water from the hose.

    Several minutes later Brown pulled up in a car and punched Paroline.

    Brown has previously been convicted of assault, drug possession, theft and obstruction of an officer. Prosecutors have issued a $500,000 warrant for his arrest.

    A Streetcar Named Criticism

    posted by on July 14 at 5:30 PM

    Mary McCarthy practiced criticism, unlike Jen Graves, who practices criticism when she writes about art but merely deploys synonyms for “I don’t like it” when she writes about plays on Slog that she thinks I have thought too highly of. Cornered just now about her uncharacteristically undefended critique (Blanche, we are told, is “bad”—how laconic!), Ms. Graves said that she did not want to go into it—the practice of defending her assertions with particulars—because Mr. Kiley, our man in the theater department, had not yet published his review of the show. Naturally, I encouraged Mr. Kiley to share his not-yet-published review of A Streetcar Named Desire, which he did, which means, I think, that now we will hear from Ms. Graves her thoughts in full regarding the “bad” Blanche and the “not quite good” Stanley and the “better than she had any right to be” Stella. (Right, Ms. Graves?) “Bad” how? “Better” how?

    Let us dive back into the Mary McCarthy essay, from which we can all learn lessons, even Ms. Graves, about asserting things and then defending them. (Hi, Jen!) This will be a long quote, just to provoke a bunch of comments about how long quotes are, like, really difficult to scroll past or whatever.

    This variation on the mother-in-law theme [instead of a mother in law who comes and gets in the way, it’s a sister-in-law] is the one solid piece of theatrical furniture that A Streetcar Named Desire can show; the rest is antimacassars. Acrimony and umbrage, tears, door-slamming, broken dishes, jeers, cold silences, whispers, raised eyebrows, the determination to take no notice, the whole classic paraphernalia of insult and injury is Tennessee Williams’s hope chest. That the domestic dirty linen it contains is generally associated with the comic strip and the radio sketch should not invalidate it for him as subject matter; it has nobler antecedents. The cook, one may recall, is leaving on the opening page of Anna Karenina, and Hamlet at the court of Denmark is really playing the part of the wife’s unwelcome relation. Dickens, Dostoevsky, Farrell rattle the skeleton of family life; there is no limit, apparently, to what people will do to each other in the family; nothing is too grotesque or shameful; all laws are suspended, including the law of probability. Mr. Williams, at his best, is an outrageous writer in this category; at his worst, he is outrageous in another.

    Had he been content in A Streetcar Named Desire with the exasperating trivia of the in-law story, he might have produced a wonderful little comic epic, The Struggle for the Bathroom, an epic ribald and poignant, a comedie larmoyante which would not have been deficient either in those larger implications to which his talent presumes, for the bathroom might have figured as the last fortress of the individual, the poor man’s club, the working girl’s temple of beauty; and the bathtub and the toilet, symbol of illusion and symbol of fact, the prone and the upright, the female and the male, might have faced each other eternally in blank, porcelain contradiction as the area for self-expression contracted to the limits of this windowless cell. Mr. Williams, however, like the Southern women he writes about, appears to have been mortified by the literary poverty of such material, by the pettiness of the arena which is in fact its grandeur. Like Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire and the mother in The Glass Menagerie, he is addicted to the embroidering lie, and though his taste in fancywork differs from these ladies’, inclining more to the modernistic, the stark contrast, the jagged scene, the jungle motifs (“Then they come together with low, animal moans”), the tourist Mexican (“Flores para los muertos, corones para los muertos”), to clarinet music, suicide, homosexuality, rape, and insanity, his work creates in the end that very effect of painful falsity which is imparted to the Kowalski household by Blanche’s pink lampshades and couch covers.

    All right, Ms. Graves. Out with it. (And, it must be admitted: your opinion of the sound design is not wrong.)

    Meanwhile, Up in the 46th

    posted by on July 14 at 5:25 PM

    Scott White, one of two Democratic candidates for state legislature in the 46th district (North Seattle) told the Stranger Election Control Board during an interview last week that upon receiving a $500 contribution from Glacier Northwest lobbyist M.J. Durkan, he had “turned right around” and written a check for the same amount to an unspecified environmental group. (Glacier Northwest has a strip-mining operation on Maury Island and is generally considered an environmental bad guy.) The only trouble—as revealed by White’s Democratic opponent, Gerry Pollet—was that there was no record of the donation in the state Public Disclosure Commission’s records.

    Now, granted, Pollet is obsessed about this stuff. (He sued to get White kicked out of the race after the county elections office claimed it didn’t find White’s withdrawal form until after the deadline for pulling out, conveniently annulling White’s attempted withdrawal after he decided he wanted to stay in the race.) And granted, it’s $500—a tiny, tiny percentage of what’s shaping up to be one of the most expensive legislative races in state history. But there’s already been so much weirdness around this race—from the botched withdrawal to the fact that White sent the form from his county office to the question of whether he paid the county $1.50 before or after he sent the fax—that at this point nothing really seems out of the question.

    As it turns out, White did make the donation—at least according to Washington Conservation Voters executive director Kurt Fritts, who sent White an email today acknowledging that he gave the group $500 on May 15.

    On the other hand, that’s hardly “turning right around”: Durkan made the contribution back in February, something Pollet is sure to seize on as the battle for the 46th drags on into August, then November. And the fact that White took the money in the first place has given Pollet political fodder. “The right thing, of course, would have been to refuse” the money, Pollet says. “Taking it and making a contribution to an environmental group is like allowing a polluter to make a contribution as part of the penalty for polluting.”

    Pollet says he will not take money from “special interests” such as insurance companies, timber companies, drug companies, and fireworks manufacturers. White says he has a similar policy that extends to companies like payday lenders, Wal-Mart, and tobacco companies, but adds that he is “not going to categorically say I won’t take money from business, because people work for businesses. Businesses provide jobs.”

    White has taken contributions from Weyerhauser ($800), Eli Lilly ($700) Qwest ($700), and the Consumer Fireworks Safety Association ($500), a fireworks industry PAC, among several hundred other individuals and organizations. Pollet’s contributors are mostly individuals, with a few notable exceptions including the Amalgamated Transit Union ($500), the American Federation of Teachers union ($150) and Babcock Services, Inc., a Hanford cleanup consultant ($800).

    Frame of Reference

    posted by on July 14 at 5:08 PM

    A Streetcar Named I-Wish-Mommy-and-Daddy-Would-Stop-Fighting

    posted by on July 14 at 4:38 PM

    While Christopher and Jen shout at each other about StreetcarChristopher: “You’re just gonna say Blanche was bad and not support it?” Jen: “I just couldn’t let your review stand!”—I’m putting up my goddamned review because I’m the goddamned theater editor and what I say (about theater) goes.


    A Streetcar Named Desire
    Intiman Theatre
    Through Aug 2.

    “I want to find the humor in Stanley,” director Sheila Daniels told me in an interview a few weeks before Streetcar opened. “Brando didn’t find it.”

    Daniels—and actor Jonno Roberts—did. Those able to tear themselves from the image of Saint Brando will see new dimensions in Tennessee Williams’s icon of masculine inadequacy and rage. He’s funny and loutish, still a sexual tiger but more vulnerable. This Streetcar inspires thoughts of a prequel, when we find out how Stanley became Stanley.

    Daniels’s production also shines a light on Mitch, mostly thanks to Tim True, who plays the victim of Blanche’s dishonesty and Stanley’s cruelty with a sad, mumbling grace. Angela Pierce as Blanche, gives a slick, orthodox performance, and sails through Blanche’s late-play mad scenes without succumbing to the crazy-person caricature that has wrecked so many Blanches, Ophelias, and Lears. Chelsea Rives is a quiet triumph, keeping Stella simple and doomed.

    The wound in this Streetcar —and it’s a gaping, festering one—is the “Blue Piano,” the occasional music Williams describes in his stage notes as “tinny piano being played with the infatuated fluency of brown fingers.” Daniels and sound designer Joseph Swartz apparently read this as “portentous chords laden with heavy reverb that bludgeon—and occasionally make a mockery of—the play’s pathos.” The ominous notes that followed Blanche’s revelation that her first husband was gay are egregiously goofy.

    But Daniels has coaxed quality, multihued performances out of her actors. We will begin to remember them once we have forced ourselves to forget that goddamned piano. BRENDAN KILEY

    Wanna Buy a Giant Silver Turd?

    posted by on July 14 at 4:30 PM

    Tomorrow morning, the city’s five automated public toilets—which will be decommissioned in August—go on sale on Ebay.

    Bids start at $89,000 per toilet.

    Please plan accordingly.


    Photo by FireEye’dBoy via flickr.

    A Streetcar Named Eh

    posted by on July 14 at 4:02 PM

    Christopher Frizzelle calls Intiman Theatre’s current production of A Streetcar Named Desire “really something.” I can agree insofar as everything, even that which is not much, is something.

    For me, this Streetcar was flat. It had a sort of acceptable forgettableness. This play is supposed to be a curvaceous beast!

    And that was in the sections that went smoothly.

    This production is also endowed with extraordinarily embarrassing moments—moments typically reserved for community theater, moments that are the result of fatal, big-picture design decisions—largely revolving around the sound design.

    The interpretations of the three main characters struck me this way: bad (Blanche), not quite good (Stanley), better than she had any right to be (Stella).

    When the main attraction is Stella, your Streetcar’s off the rails.

    (Brendan’s real review is coming in this week’s paper; I just had to offer the counterpoint to Frizzelle today.)

    Bag Fee to Pass; World to Go On Turning

    posted by on July 14 at 3:59 PM

    The city council’s environment, emergency management, and utilities committee is expected to pass the much-discussed, much-reviled legislation imposing a 20-cent fee on disposable bags next Tuesday, July 22, and the full council is expected to pass the fee the following Monday. The legislation also includes a ban on Styrofoam food containers and meat trays. In a nod to the grocery industry, which opposed the ban and fee, the council will give grocery stores longer—between six months and a year—to find affordable replacements for Styrofoam meat trays; currently, recycled paper packaging and trays made from corn cost about ten times as much as foam.

    The fee will go into effect January 1, 2009.

    It’s A Rich Man’s World

    posted by on July 14 at 3:56 PM

    Where I’m from:

    David Benkof’s Last Hypocritical Post

    posted by on July 14 at 3:52 PM

    Right-wing zealots everywhere adored David Benkof as their leading (if not only) rabidly anti-gay-marriage attack queer. In a P-I op-ed published in May, he pontificated that California’s court ruling upholding gay-marriage rights “does next to nothing for California gays and lesbians and causes real harm to people who believe in the ‘old’ definition of marriage.” His blog, Gays Defend Marriage, bills itelf “A website for LGBT folks who support marriage as the union of husband and wife…” But in a post yesterday, Benkof announced he’s pulling out of anti-gay marriage movement. In fact, it looks like he’s opposing marriage altogether.

    It is with great sadness that I announce that I feel I must withdraw from openly supporting man-woman marriage in the United States. I recently learned quite a bit of disturbing information that makes it impossible for me to continue supporting a movement I no longer respect. I have not yet decided when or even if I will write about why I’m ending my participation in this debate.

    Now that’s really weird. He doesn’t say what the “disturbing information” is—could be cancer, a funding scandal, a realization that he is the gay analog of Alan Keyes—only that he stopped supporting marriage of men and women. And as I was writing this post, his entire blog went offline. Poof, he’s gone.

    Via Andrew Sullivan.

    Yay (Really), Zipcar!

    posted by on July 14 at 3:41 PM

    Even as some pundits predict doom for carsharing due to ever-increasing oil prices, the biggest carsharing company in the nation, Zipcar, is taking a smart series of steps to help it stay solvent. First and (to me) most important: Lowering prices on hybrids, which have until now been more expensive than regular sedans. Hybrids will now cost the same as regular cars, and some will be just $7 an hour. As I’ve said before: Charging more for hybrids (a step the company made, a company spokesman told me, to reflect the higher cost of the cars themselves) makes no sense if you’re trying to get people to give up their cars (part of Zipcar’s official mission); and may not even make financial sense as oil prices head higher.

    Second, they’re retooling their pricing structure, making some cars more expensive and some less. The change is about a dollar an hour in either direction, and appears to only impact cars downtown; but assuming the company’s optimism “that we get some relief at the pump” proves unfounded, I’m guessing this isn’t the last price hike we’ll see this year. Which is a drag, but hardly the company’s fault.

    Finally, the company is giving away free memberships, transit passes, drive time credit, and other amenities to people who agree to give up one vehicle for 30 days. Personally, I did prefer the old (if ungrammatical!) One Less Car Challenge, which provides big incentives to participants who agree to ditch their cars altogether. But the 30-day “low-car diet” (and, OK, why does everything with Zipcar have to be so goddamned cutesy?) is a step in a good direction.

    Re: Submitted for Jen’s Approval

    posted by on July 14 at 3:19 PM

    Why hello, Dan Savage. I couldn’t be more excited about your latest assignment. Discussing dreck daily from afar is the cherished dream of every critic. And with that, I begin.

    You ask me to mull over “Big Temptation,” one of the “medium-sized-sculpture-garden sculptures” you are encountering on your family vacation in Saugatuck, Michigan. You tell me it is made in enamel on aluminum and by someone named Romero Britto.


    I believe that what we have here is a serious case of whimsy. Whimsy is a disease whose major symptom is Lilliputianization. Original sin? No! A segmented princess earthworm pointing with eye and tail to her own perky cherry.

    It has now become impossible to say any more.

    Looking forward to tomorrow, Dan!

    Submitted for Jen’s Approval

    posted by on July 14 at 2:44 PM

    I’m at gay family week in Saugatuck, Michigan, a little resort town on Lake Michigan about two and half hours from Chicago. Saugatuck has cultivated an artsy image—check out the sign at the entrance to town—and there’s lots of, um, medium-sized-sculpture-garden sculpture everywhere you go in this town. Since I don’t feel qualified to judge the art I’m seeing I’ve decided to post a picture a day and challenge our own Jen Graves—who doesn’t have nearly enough to do, you see—to offer her critical judgment. First up…


    “Big Temptation,” enamel on aluminum, by Romero Britto.


    Who Would Jesus Flog? (Himself.)

    posted by on July 14 at 2:05 PM

    I’d love to be a fly on the wall at the meetings where evangelicals try to figure out how they’re going to condemn BDSM. Not just to watch prudish ideologues squirm while they contemplate The Horror of Sexual Deviance, but also to watch their intellectual contortions as they leaf through their Bibles, trying to figure out what it has to say about kink. There just aren’t any theological grounds against people tying each other up, calling each other names, and pissing on each other’s heads.

    They know it doesn’t seem very Christian, but they don’t know why.

    So when British evangelicals (of Christian Action Research and Education) try to make hay out of Max Mosley’s “sadomasochism party” and say they condemn BDSM because it creates “unconstructive” relationships based on “the dominion of one person over another”—well, that’s just comedy.

    Because Christians, with all their Biblical injunctions about wives being submissive to husbands—I’m looking at you, Mars Hill—can’t stand the idea of a relationship based on domination.

    Nor can they stomach people fetishizing protracted scenes of suffering and humiliation.


    Nope. They don’t like that stuff one bit.

    (See the full story—in which the BBC tries to explain BDSM to the grannies of Great Britain—here).

    There Will Be Beer

    posted by on July 14 at 2:00 PM

    Community councils take note: if you want people to show up to your meetings, make sure there’s beer.

    As the Stranger’s neighborhoods reporter, I’ve been to my share of community council meetings in the last year or so, and they’re about as much fun as a poke in the eye. However, there’s one upcoming meeting I’m actually looking forward to.

    I’ve just been informed that the Georgetown Community Council holds their monthly forum at a restaurant—rather than a community center or city office—which means: beer!

    Georgetown’s next meeting is at 7pm next Monday at the Coliman Restaurant.

    I’ll report back on whether or not beer actually makes agonizing and interminable debates about graffiti and “kids these days” tolerable.


    posted by on July 14 at 1:45 PM

    Michelle Obama, undoubtedly not looking like this, will be in Seattle this Thursday to headline a fundraiser for Gov. Christine Gregoire.

    Why? Well, you may remember that during the primary campaign, way back when we were tallying up superdelegates and prominent state surrogates, Gov. Gregoire broke with the two other top female elected officials in this state—Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell—and announced, ahead of our Democratic caucuses on Feb. 9, that she was endorsing Barack Obama.

    It was a coup for Obama and smart politics for Gregoire. If her current rematch against Dino Rossi is going to be anywhere near as close as Gregoire vs. Rossi Round 1, then Gregoire will need to up her take of votes in liberal Seattle, and what better way to do that than by throwing her arms around the candidate Seattle was swooning for long before the rest of the country?

    The huge Obama rally at Key Arena on the eve of our caucuses featured Gregoire prominently, it was undoubtedly the biggest political crowd our governor has ever spoken to in this city, she gave one of the best speeches I’ve seen her deliver, and the audience ate it up.

    It also established an IOU with the Obama campaign, one they’re paying back—or beginning to pay back—this week. It may be too cynical to cast this as a purely financial transaction, but if you’re wondering how much Gregoire’s endorsement was worth to the Obama campaign the answer, so far, seems to be about $320,000.

    That’s how much Michelle Obama will raise for Gregoire if the 1,600-person venue the campaign has reserved for Thursday is filled to capacity with people paying the required $200/head.

    E3 Lite, Day One

    posted by on July 14 at 1:40 PM

    Microsoft has tried for decades to take over the living room, starting with the turd known as WebTV. Result? Four thousand grandmas are still using the thing to forward Christian redemption chain e-mails. Nice work, MS. They’ve done better as video game makers, at least in the States, but their secondary goal of hawking movies and TV shows—a huge part of the Xbox 360—has been somewhat muted. TV episodes at $2 a pop? No thanks, and movie rentals, while comparably priced with PPV, are difficult to navigate with the 360’s clumsy interface.

    If Microsoft wants to outdo the Wii, it shouldn’t try with weird games with add-ons (like You’re In The Movies [requires a camera] and Lips [requires a microphone], both announced today at their Electronic Entertainment Expo press conference). The novelty of gizmo-games like Wii Sports and Guitar Hero must wane at some point, so it’s good to see Microsoft try a parallel route—make the Xbox a dominant digital media center before anybody else gets there. Say hello to the first great blows in that direction: Starting this fall, NetFlix users will stream movies off their Xboxes, done with a new interface that will make navigating long lists of TV shows and movies much simpler. Seems fair to expect a neutered NetFlix film selection on the game console—much like the selection you can currently stream to a laptop—but it’s a huge step in the right direction, and it’s Xbox-exclusive. Sony can tout Blu-ray high-def movies on its systems, but if digital distribution is the future, Microsoft has just taken the lead.

    Other announcements: Xbox 360 is gonna get the next Final Fantasy game, an announcement nobody predicted—and I could care less. Look at the title of the game: Final Fantasy 13. Thirteen? What else can the game do that it hasn’t done 12 times before? I know, people in Japan go ape for anything with an “FF” attached, and Microsoft could use a sales boost there (Sony’s had the lock on that series for years), but Final Fantasy games represent everything I get tired of as a grown-ass gamer: long grinds of quests, dialogue that is “good enough,” melodrama, birds that are ridden as horses, etc etc. Every time fanboys go on about how games are maturing and becoming art, I point at this series’ human characters with cat-ears and make a fart noise.

    Speaking of gizmo-games, Nintendo’s announced a Wii add-on for motion control. Say what? This Wii MotionPlus add-on will apparently improve the motion sensing—or, I should say, make the Wii Remote actually work for anything other than Wii Bowling. You ever play a game other than Wii Sports and been asked to “turn a key” or something? The key will never turn. Nintendo will announce tomorrow what new games this gizmo will support. I’m crossing my fingers for Punch-Out Wii, but it’ll probably just be Brain Training Wii with support for scratching your forehead.

    Oh, and let’s earn that “Nerd” tag:

    (PS: Xbox players might’ve heard that a demo for the long-awaited Too Human is now online. I played two minutes of it and turned it off. Talk about an ugly, hard-to-control, harder-to-see game. Should’ve held off on releasing that demo, MS.)

    City Optimistic About Police Hiring

    posted by on July 14 at 1:19 PM

    It looks like the city’s new contract with the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild (SPOG) is making an impact on recruiting.

    According to new data from the city, Seattle’s managed to pick up about 50 recruits and new officers since the city came to an agreement with SPOG in May 2007. Prior to that, SPD’s staffing had become, according to SPOG President Rich O’Neil, “very dangerous.”


    It looks like the city has only hired about 30 recruits/officers since the beginning of the year, so who knows if SPD will be able to make its recruitment goals for the year—I believe it’s 80 officers—but it looks like the city’s optimistic about the current hiring trends.

    The Next Penelope Ashe or Richard Bachman?

    posted by on July 14 at 1:00 PM

    Over at Enter the Octopus, there’s some speculation about sci-fi author John Twelve Hawks. I first heard about Hawks when I was a bookseller. I was told that he was signed by the same editor who signed Dan (Da Vinci Code) Brown, that his book The Traveler was supposed to be the next big thing, and that he lived totally off the grid. Off the grid was repeated many, many times, the way that everyone was so crazy about the fact that Jackie Chan did his own stunts many years ago.

    Lately, a few book bloggers have been getting letters from Hawks, and some people think this is a big promotion for Hawks’ next book, The Dark River. Matt at Octopus thinks that Hawks is a pen name for a group of authors. I think that he might be a pen name for one, already-established sci-fi author who figured that the romantic backstory of someone who lives in the woods and only communicates, Unabomer-style, with letters and handwritten manuscripts, would sell some books.

    Whatever. I read the first seventy-five pages of The Traveler and I couldn’t give a good goddamn about any of it.

    What’s More Offensive?: The Answer(s)

    posted by on July 14 at 12:38 PM


    Last week, readers of The Stranger and Slog were asked to compare the offensiveness of a Barack Obama lawn jockey with a John McCain POW pinata.

    In the official poll, 31 percent of respondents said a Barack Obama lawn jockey is more offensive than a John McCain POW pinata, 8 percent said a John McCain POW pinata is more offensive than a Barack Obama lawn jockey, and a whopping 62 percent said Fuck you for asking.

    In the comments to the poll, I did the math to prove that a John McCain POW pinata is more offensive than a Barack Obama lawn jockey:

    For those of the “show your work” school of mathematics, here it is:

    The Obama lawn jockey carries the weight of however many centuries of general American racism, but it’s applied, somewhat arbitrarily, to a man who is half-white. That’s 100 percent offensive racism applied to 50 percent of a man.

    But the McCain pinata is 100 percent offensive and 100 percent personal (it was McCain and only McCain hung up in that POW camp).

    Still, the correct answer to the quiz is Fuck you for asking.

    Today brought an even more strenuous over-thinking of the joke, courtesy of Hot Tipper Noel, which you can read in its entirety after the jump.

    Continue reading "What's More Offensive?: The Answer(s)" »

    Americans Are Too Stupid for Satire: The Proof

    posted by on July 14 at 12:07 PM

    Over at WorldNetDaily, a conservative web site, a poll on the Obama New Yorker cover reveals the breathtaking idiocy of right-wing America. As of this morning, the most popular option, with 60 percent of votes, was “the image isn’t too far from the dangerous truth about the Obama family.” The second most popular option? “Funny, because there’s some truth in it.” Only five percent chose “hilarious, it’s perfect satire.” The scary thing is that these people vote.

    Call Me Annotated

    posted by on July 14 at 12:00 PM

    Maud links to Power Moby Dick, which has extensive annotations for the novel and is really quite attractively designed.

    I don’t know about reading the entire thing from a website, but I do think that online annotations can be useful tour guides to a complex book. The above site looks much more straightforward than this batshitcrazy, but kind of fun when you get used to it, Gravity’s Rainbow companion website.

    Re: The Battle Over Animated Fatness

    posted by on July 14 at 11:37 AM

    Point One:
    In WALL•E, human evolution from normal weight to overweight is concomitant with their evolution from animal…

    …to animation.
    The transformation, which is pictured on the commander’s wall, has this as its meaning: the infantilization of humanity is the final result of the capitalist mode of economic production and parliamentary politics. It is not without meaning that the last organic things are infantile humans (Neitzche’s last man, the absolute couch potato) and cockroaches. The superman—that rare and wonderful thing—has been reduced to a weed in a boot.

    Point Two:
    The appearance of robots in the movie is more real than the appearance of people. Reality, then, is not about being on Earth but doing hard work. The return to Earth is a return to work (the real reality), which is the metabolic interaction between labor and nature.

    Point Three:
    Wall-e is the subject of universal history, a slave. A slave is in history because of his/her work marks the temporality of his labor. The temporality is the trace between the body and world. The trace is the subject. Wall-e builds pyramids out of blocks of garbage. He is continuous with the slaves pulling blocks of stone in the cradle of civilisation.

    Point Four:
    Wall-e’s form of consumption—productive consumption—is the opposite of the consumption taking place on the space/cruise ship—unproductive consumption. Unproductive consumption ends with a mere (fat) individual; productive consumption ends with an object, and from the object we see history in the making, and from this making of history arises self-consciousness, and this form of recognition is the foundation of class consciousness. On the space/cruise ship, Wall-e is the hero of a slave/class revolt.

    Point Five:
    The revolt in the movie corresponds with Hardt and Negri ideas and not with Marx’s. The rebel robots are disorderly, heterogeneous, monstrous—they are the multitude. Marx’s revolt was to be organized and orchestrated by a single class—the proletariat. If Wall-e’s revolt was a Marxist one, then the other Wall-e robots compacting the garbage at the very bottom of the space/cruise ship would have recognized him as a revolutionary subject. Instead, they only weakly wave at him as he departs to the struggle. That struggle is a love movement.

    Point Six:
    It is not surprising that the thing that Wall-e most loves is itself in a state of perfection, an absolute robot, a most excellent machine, Eva.

    Point Seven:
    Work on its own can not revolutionize the subject (this is why the other Wall-e robots are doomed to the bottom of the space/cruise ship). The revolutionary moment must be activated by love. This love, however, is the love of work. This worship of work is the Marxist core of WALL•E. This core is the troubling one of capitalism and Marxism. This oneness presents, in the 20th century, a dead end for the Marxist project and open road for parliamentary capitalism. It is here that things stand in our moment of history.

    A Streetcar Called Success

    posted by on July 14 at 11:34 AM

    The production of A Streetcar Named Desire at Intiman right now is really something—amazingly, for such a wax museum of a play, the principal actors burn through the material at a temperature that melts away the wax, that feels organic and unpredictable. They are all, believably, blind to one another, these people. I’d always thought of Streetcar (which I’d only ever read) as a cheesy, mid-century melodrama, a scenery-as-food piece, but I was totally carried along by the performances that Sheila Daniels (profiled by Brendan Kiley last week) got out of these actors.

    Last night I was flipping through the Mary McCarthy collection of essays A Bolt from the Blue, which includes theater reviews she wrote for Partisan Review and elsewhere, and I came to her piece “A Streetcar Called Success,” in which she savages Tennessee Williams’ play (she gave me all my ideas about it, it turns out) and, while she’s at it, his entire career. An excerpt from the end, when she goes off about his career:

    If art, as Mr. Williams appears to believe, is a lie, then anything goes, but Mr. Williams’s lies, like Blanche’s, are so old and shopworn that the very truth upon which he rests them becomes as garish and ugly, just as the Kowalski’s apartment becomes the more squalid for Blanche’s attempts at decoration. His work reeks of literary ambition as the apartment reeks of cheap perfume; it is impossible to witness one of Mr. Williams’s plays without being aware of the pervading smell of careerism. Over and above their subject matter, the plays seem to emanate an ever-growing confidence in their author’s success. It is this perhaps which is responsible for Mr. Williams’s box-office draw: there is a curious elation in this work which its subject matter could not engender. Whatever happens to the characters, Mr. Williams will come out rich and famous, and the play is merely an episode in Mr. Williams’s career. And this career in itself has the tinny quality of a musical romance, from movie usher to Broadway lights… Pacing up and down a Murray Hill apartment, he tells of his early struggles to a sympathetic reporter. He remembers “his first break.” He writes his life story for a Sunday supplement. He takes his work seriously; he does not want success to spoil him; he recognizes the dangers; he would be glad to have advice. His definition of his literary approach is a triumph of boyish simplicity: “I have always had a deep feeling for the mystery of life.” This “Hello Mom” note in Mr. Williams’s personality is the real, indigenous thing… The cant of the intelligentsia (the jargon, that is, of failure) comes from his lips like an ill-earned recitation: he became, at one point, so he says, “the most common American phenomenon, the rootless, wandering writer”—is this a wholly fitting description of a talent which is rooted in the American pay dirt as a stout and tenacious carrot?

    Three thoughts: one, that’s a fucking long paragraph (I even skipped some sentences); two, though this is a pretty convincing, embarrassing portrait of Tennessee Williams’s work, that very work continues to be produced in leading theaters in the country (like the Tony-laden Intiman) while A Bolt from the Blue was most recently seen sitting on bookstore remainder tables; three, God love Mary McCarthy. That bitch could write.

    Given That McCain Doesn’t Use a Computer Much…

    posted by on July 14 at 11:30 AM

    A conservative talk show host has a question:

    “Where does he get his porn?”


    posted by on July 14 at 11:20 AM

    Um… Maybe not the way to build a bridge with women who worry you’re not the most enlightened guy on gender issues?

    ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports that at a Chicago fundraiser last night, comedian Bernie Mac said his “little nephew came to me and he said, ‘Uncle, what’s the difference between a hypothetical question and a realistic question?’ “I said, ‘I don’t know,’ but I said, ‘I’ll tell you what you do. Go upstairs and ask your mother if she’d make love to the mailman for $50,000.’”

    Mac’s wife, in the joke, said she [would] sleep “with anyone” for $50,000, and Mac’s daughter said the same.

    Explained Mac: “Hypothetically speaking, we should have $100,000. But realistically speaking we live with two hos.

    Obama attempted to smooth things over a few minutes later, saying the comedian needed “to clean up [his] act next time. This is a family affair.” But then he explained that he was only joking: “By the way, I’m just messing with you, man.”

    In fairness, Obama’s campaign did later issue a statement that Obama did not condone Mac’s use of the word “hos” to describe his wife and daughter. Still, compared to the campaign’s outraged, instantaneous condemnation of that New Yorker cover, Obama’s reaction was both mild and late.

    The Obama Op-Ed

    posted by on July 14 at 11:15 AM

    There is, of course, a ton of predictable back-and-forth between the campaigns today about Barack Obama’s New York Times Op-Ed on Iraq.

    To me, it doesn’t read as anything all that new—except that Obama clarifies his timeline for withdrawal from Iraq, saying it would be completed in 2010. And, naturally, there’s wiggle room:

    In carrying out this strategy, we would inevitably need to make tactical adjustments.

    But if you’re looking to catch up on where Obama is on Iraq, the surge, and a timeline for ending the war, his piece is definitely worth a read. Key section:

    The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president. I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown.

    In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda — greatly weakening its effectiveness.

    But the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true. The strain on our military has grown, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and we’ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted. Iraq’s leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country, and they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.

    The good news is that Iraq’s leaders want to take responsibility for their country by negotiating a timetable for the removal of American troops. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. James Dubik, the American officer in charge of training Iraq’s security forces, estimates that the Iraqi Army and police will be ready to assume responsibility for security in 2009.

    Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government.

    But this is not a strategy for success — it is a strategy for staying that runs contrary to the will of the Iraqi people, the American people and the security interests of the United States. That is why, on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on July 14 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Encounters at the End of the World’

    Werner Herzog’s latest documentary explores the desolate and unforgiving terrain of Antarctica, but the film itself is full of life. Having set out to avoid making another penguin movie, Herzog focuses on the patchwork of interesting souls living among the ice—from the banker-turned-driver of “Ivan the Terra Bus” to the linguist living and working on a continent with no native languages. The stories are fascinating, the images startling, and the overall prognosis for the continent bleak. (See movie times,, for details.)


    Jesus on the Kindle

    posted by on July 14 at 11:00 AM

    It’s time for the 21st century’s currently-most-popular ebook reader to go backward a couple thousand years:, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), today announced that Christian book publishers Augsburg Fortress, Crossway Books & Bibles, David C. Cook, Gospel Light, Group Publishing, NavPress, Strang Communications, Thomas Nelson, Tyndale, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. and Zondervan have committed to making the majority of their catalogs of books available to Kindle owners by the end of 2008. Anywhere they happen to be, and in less than 60 seconds, Kindle customers will be able to download and start reading favorite Christian titles such as “Boundaries,” “Walking With God,” and “When the Game Is Over.”

    Tyndale does the atrocious Left Behind series, the first of which is one of the most hateful books I’ve ever read. Amazon is doing it wrong: everybody knows that the first application of a new technology is porn. Christianity comes way later.

    International Mr. Legislator

    posted by on July 14 at 10:33 AM


    Currently Hanging

    posted by on July 14 at 10:00 AM

    Mark Meyer’s Good Feeling (vF) (2007), mixed media on paper, 8 by 8 inches

    At Davidson Contemporary. (Gallery site here.)

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on July 14 at 9:53 AM


    A book about utopia, an open mic, and a whole lot more going on tonight.

    Up in Port Townsend, it’s the Port Townsend Writer’s Conference, a weeklong festival packed with readings. Today, Chris Abani, who wrote Graceland and now seems to put out a book every week or so, will be reading. He’s always fun live. Also in Port Townsend, Joan Larkin, who has edited many, many excellent gay and feminist anthologies, will be speaking.

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, Susanna Sonnenberg reads from Her Last Death, which is a memoir about Sonnenberg’s mother, who was a con artist. There seem to be a whole lot of memoirs about con artist parents. This of course means that con artists frequently beget writers, which says something about writers, I think.

    Lastly, up at Third Place Books, Marten Troost reads from Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man’s Attempt to Understand the World’s Most Mystifying Nation, or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid. Sometimes I wish that I could Google-cache search books that are in my hand, because I’d love to know if the word ‘inscrutable’ shows up in this book and I’m too lazy to scour. The fact that there’s a fortune-cookie fortune on the cover seems to imply things about this book that I’m simply not ready to consider this early in the morning.

    The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.

    Maverick Moment of the Day

    posted by on July 14 at 9:20 AM

    The New York Times, reporting yesterday on part of a long interview it had with John McCain, dropped this stunning bit of information:

    Mr. McCain, who with his wife, Cindy, has an adopted daughter, said flatly that he opposed allowing gay couples to adopt. “I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don’t believe in gay adoption,” he said.

    The full exchange—which does little to explain why a man in his second marriage, this one to a former drug addict, has come to believe that hetero couples are ipso facto better for adopted kids—in the jump.

    Continue reading "Maverick Moment of the Day" »

    Beat the Claw

    posted by on July 14 at 8:20 AM

    Thanks to the ingenuity of a child, we all finally know how to get that lobster harmonica.

    Can anyone tell if she had a prize when she came out? The speed with which her mom gets her out of there leads me to think she was in on the scam.

    Letter to the Editor of the Day

    posted by on July 14 at 7:46 AM

    It’s been a few weeks since you guys at the Stranger have given me any good ammunition to fire back at you. I mean I could have gone off on the queer issue for rolling years of fighting for equal rights into a giant rainbow colored cliche henceforth marginalizing and degrading a serious issue into the journalistic equivalent of a plastic feather boa, but why bother? This week’s issue, however gave me everything I needed to write you a truly heartfelt and hateful letter.

    Michaelangelo Matos’ review of Modern Guilt, Beck’s latest release, is indicative of everything I hate about the Stranger. I just got and listened to Modern Guilt the night before I read the review. The album not only is fantastic, but it’s easily the best release of 2008 so far (yes, it’s better than LP3 by Ratatat which is really good.) Modern Guilt is the best thing Beck’s done since Midnight Vultures, and that’s saying a lot since the three albums between them are all damn good. But Mikey didn’t see it that way. Nope, he’s still comparing Beck’s efforts to Mellow Gold and has written Beck off because he’s moved on. Dude, Mellow Gold was released 14 years ago. In case you haven’t noticed the world is a different fucking place than it was then. But that’s pretty much the thing about the Stranger, isn’t it? You guys all really love reveling in the early ’90s when Seattle was the hottest thing around. You might as well rename your paper “I Wish Kurt Cobain Was Still Alive”, or “Wasn’t Grunge Great?”

    The part that really bothers me is that the reason Modern Guilt got panned has nothing to do with the album itself. It’s obvious by the review that Mike already wrote it off before even listening to it. Then when he got around to the chore of it he didn’t hear the music at all, all he heard was minuscule shit like the compression on the drums. Mike didn’t like Modern Guilt because it was Beck and he doesn’t like Beck because he’s a big name. I’d bet a thousand dollars that if the same album had been released by some 22-year old Ritalin babies with bad beards and a stupid band name like “Arms Made of Legs” Mike and all the rest of you would be drooling all over it.

    But the true irony doesn’t lie in the obvious notion that the Stranger’s basis for what makes good music isn’t the music at all, but whether or not the band’s aesthetic jives with the current scene. No, it’s that while Mike Matos is dissing Beck for not doing the same thing he did in 1994 the whole rest of the staff is cumming in their ugly hipster pants over Sub-we-haven’t-released-a-good-record-in-15-years-Pop’s 20th (25th? 22nd? Some random ass number?) anniversary party. Wow. You guys are so quick to tear down anything truly and legitimately successful while at the same time hoisting the banner of mediocrity so high that it’s all the kids who don’t know any better can see.

    Between Eric Grandy waving his dick around town while (I’m assuming) riding the “it’s hip to be gay!” bandwagon, Megan Seling virtually begging to be gang-fucked by all the worst bands in Seattle, and William Steven Humpfrey (or whateverthefuck his name is) masturbating to his own reflection it’s a wonder your staff has any time at all to maintain all the lowest common denominator bullshit that keeps Seattle from ever actually being a world-class city. You’re all a bunch of no-talent yuppie hacks.

    Finneas Maxwell

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 14 at 7:14 AM

    Supply Problems: As oil hits records highs, Brazilian oil workers go on strike.

    KIA: Nine American soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

    Presumed Guilty: Guantanamo court not doing much to help “high-value” prisoners on trial.

    Counter Offensive: Marble sales keeping the Taliban in business.

    Beer-opoly: Anheuser-Busch agrees to buyout with Belgian brewer, now the world’s #1 producer of crappy beer.

    Outbreak: Seattle PI’s website spreads computer viruses, herpes.

    Science FTW: Scientists find ebola’s weakness, find potential malaria treatment.

    Now, in anticipation of that new Batman movie, here’s a decent fan film:

    Sunday, July 13, 2008

    “Black People Toothpaste…”

    posted by on July 13 at 10:00 PM

    “… because black people have the whitest teeth.”

    (From a Shanghai grocery store.)

    This is going to be the best Olympics ever!

    Last Days

    posted by on July 13 at 9:04 PM

    Several businesses on Broadway are vacating their spaces tonight to make way for construction of the light-rail station. As psyched as I am for real mass transit in Seattle, I’m really sad these gorgeous old buildings will be demolished. Most are two-story brick gents—the sort with details and materials too expensive for new construction. The most nostalgic of these losses, by far, is the space occupied by Vivace Rosteria.



    So long, Vivace. And so long former site of Pizza Haven and that nail salon and the piroshky place… I don’t think I’m just being sentimental about Capitol Hill, either. On Eighth Avenue and Seneca Street, the wrecking ball is halfway done leveling this old brick building, which is three blocks from this recently demolished brick building on First Hill. I know I do a lot of the cheerleading for new development here on the Slog, but it’s one thing when a ’50s duplex is razed or a parking lot is transformed into something more useful, but it’s pretty mournful when solid old buildings with local businesses are taken out. Even if losing these few spaces on Broadway was inevitable—I’m really excited for light rail—or if they could have been spared is a moot point. Seattle needs a better mechanism in the future for preserving these old buildings—the ones that wouldn’t qualify as historic landmarks but have the sort of character and quality new construction always lacks. Maybe disincentive to redevelop those sites through some sort of zoning penalty, a bonus for developers who renovate old buildings, or maybe zoning incentive to build somewhere else… Any ideas?

    Quite a Cover

    posted by on July 13 at 4:45 PM

    The New Yorker puts all of the worst paranoid right-wing fears about Barack and Michelle Obama into one image, calls it satire, and in doing so assures the magazine’s new issue will receive a ton of attention:


    What really should be getting attention is Ryan Lizza’s 15,000-word exploration, in the same New Yorker, of Obama’s rise in Chicago. It’s a fascinating read. But, naturally, the startling image trumps the thoughtful written word—and generates an immediate response:

    Responds Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton: “The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”

    From McCain:

    McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds quickly e-mailed: “We completely agree with the Obama campaign, it’s tasteless and offensive.”

    Saying No to Crack

    posted by on July 13 at 3:32 PM

    Flint, Michigan was declared one of America’s most dangerous cities last year, a distinction resented by the police chief. He said it’s a safe town. And to make sure it stays that way, interim Chief David Dicks is cracking down on Flint’s leading menace: Butts.

    Sagging pants, popularized by prison inmates, are now deemed illegal in Flint, punishable by 93 days to a year in jail and a $500 fine. But where do loose trousers end and criminal activity begin? The Flint Police Department has drafted this useful diagram to help.


    “Some people call it a fad,” Dicks told the Free Press this week while patrolling the streets of Flint. “But I believe it’s a national nuisance. It is indecent and thus it is indecent exposure, which has been on the books for years.”

    On June 27, the chief issued a departmental memorandum telling officers: “This immoral self expression goes beyond freedom of expression.”

    Chief Dicks is an asscrack, clearly. It would be legal to walk around in boxer shorts—they’re shorts, and shorts are legal—but if you partly wear pants over the shorts then it’s disorderly? If Seattle also had its head up its ass and were to legislate fashion for public safety, we would require looser pants. Hipsters’ pants are too tight. They’re losing circulation to their feet, and, unless we act, it’s just a matter of time until Seattle becomes a city of camel-toe and moose-knuckle amputees.

    Via the Chronicle Blog.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on July 13 at 11:00 AM


    Burning Beast at Smoke Farm

    Smoke Farm, about an hour’s drive north of Seattle, is 360 acres of trees, fields, and streams and a few weathered buildings made of wood. Weird things happen up there: performance festivals, science seminars, late-night bonfires. This weekend is the inaugural “Burning Beast” festival wherein eight teams of excellent chefs—including Tamara Murphy of Brasa and Matt Dillon of Sitka and Spruce and the Corson Building—will cook beasts over wood fires: lambs, pigs, rabbits, goats, eels. You get to wander from fire to fire, eating and drinking, then fall asleep under the stars. (Smoke Farm, 12731 Smokes Road, Arlington, 800-838-3006. All day, $65. Camping is encouraged.)


    Reading Today

    posted by on July 13 at 10:00 AM

    Only one reading today, up at Third Place Books. It’s a reading to celebrate the release of the second issue of Drash, which is a literary magazine with some emphasis on Northwest and/or Jewish, you know, stuff.

    Here is a bonus book review I found on YouTube:

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

    The Morning News

    posted by on July 13 at 9:07 AM

    Seal of approval: Report says Bush would approve Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

    Pulling out: The Bush administration considers withdrawing more troops from Iraq as violence continues in Afghanistan.

    Slipping out: The story of Ahmad Batebi’s escape from Iran.

    Stepping up: Sarkozy brings together optimistic Israeli and Palestinian leadership ahead of EU summit.

    Tied up: Rasmussan Poll shows dead heat in presidential race.

    War criminal: Protesters rally to support Sudanese president after reports that he could be indicted for war crimes carried out in Darfur.

    Rough Rider: John McCain says he’s a conservative “in the Theodore Roosevelt” mold.

    Railing on the jail: North Seattle residents gather at a forum, tell the City they don’t want a jail in their neighborhood.

    Logjam: State should have stopped company that logged on unstable ground, caused major landslides in Lewis County.

    Bridge club
    : Politicians, transit reps on hand as inspection finds no new damage to the 520 bridge.

    Not getting the message: Yahoo rebuffs yet another proposal from Microsoft.