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Archives for 08/03/2008 - 08/09/2008

Saturday, August 9, 2008

I Feel Your Pain, Hitler

posted by on August 9 at 8:26 PM

I wish I had as many followers as Hitler.

Grant Cogswell Alleges Gay Bashing in Belltown

posted by on August 9 at 4:22 PM

Local filmmaker and former city council candidate and monorail activist Grant Cogswell and a friend were attacked in Belltown last night in what appeared to be a gay-bashing that sent both men to the hospital.

At about 1:30 this morning, Cogswell says, he and a friend (who was in drag) were leaving a party at the Free Sheep Foundation in Belltown when a group of men in a late-model, red Dodge Magnum wagon began harassing them. One of the four men in the car shouted “you fucking faggots,” at Cogswell and his friend. (Cogswell says his friend is straight and he is “mostly straight”.) Cogswell yelled back “go back to Yakima if you don’t like seeing people in drag.”


The car stopped and as the four men piled out, Cogswell says he sat down on the sidewalk, hoping to avoid a physical confrontation. “I don’t know how we’d have outrun these four dudes and I didn’t want to square off in fisticuffs,” he says.

When the men approached Cogswell, he says, he asked them, “Guys, what’s up? There’s four of you [and] my friend’s in high heels.” Cogswell says he spoke briefly with one of the men before one of them attacked him, kneeing him in the face several times.

Cogswell ran out into the street, turned back and saw the men were attacking his friend. Bystanders approached the group of men, who then jumped back in the car and drove away.

Cogswell and his friend were taken to the hospital, where Cogswell received five stitches in his cheek, and doctors found that his right orbital bone—one of the bones around the eye socket—had been fractured and his front teeth badly chipped. Cogswell says there’s a possibility that his fractured orbital bone could pinch a nerve or a muscle and require surgery. Cogswell’s friend had with scrapes and bruises.

Cogswell was only able to give police a vague description of his attackers, but he says the man who kicked him was about 5’8 and Hispanic, wearing a white T-shirt. Cogswell says the attacker was accompanied by two tall black men—one of whom was wearing a blue jacket—and a tall white man with brown hair.

In the last year, there have been a number of recent violent attacks in Belltown, but Cogswell—who used to live in the neighborhood—says he’s never seen anything like this happen.

I’ll update with info about the SPD investigation when it becomes available.

The Stay Up Late Show!

posted by on August 9 at 3:08 PM

Due mostly to my long and celebrated history of totally attracting bat-shit crazy people to me like some sort of bat-shit-crazy people super-magnet, I am slightly afraid to announce that I will be appearing live as a guest on the chatty and very late Stay Up Late Show with Rebecca Davis tonight at the Balagan Theatre. What’s the damn Balagan Theatre? What’s the damn Stay Up Late Show? Who the hell is Rebecca Davis? Let’s find out together. The show begins tonight at 11:00 PM (Late! LATE!), and Balagan Theatre is at 12th and Pike, across from Satellite, by Boom Noodle.


Bottoms Up

posted by on August 9 at 3:03 PM

You heard about naked gay soccer. You wondered about naked gay soccer. But unless you went to the Rain City Soccer naked gay soccer game today—like my hung over ass—you missed shirtless tops versus unclad bottoms running across the playfield at Cal Anderson Park.


Slog comment anchor Jubilation T. Cornball, playing for team no-pants, was on the winning team (which included lots of hot guys in briefs). Here he is in victory pose, wearing a tutu.


Condolences to the hot shirtless tops, and cheers to the junk-flapping bottoms.

This Isn’t as Personally Upsetting as Grant Cogswell and His Straight Friend in a Dress Getting Bashed in Belltown…

posted by on August 9 at 1:57 PM


…but comedian/comic actor Bernie Mac has died.

His publicist is attributing the death to “natural causes,” but Mac was recently hospitalized with pneumonia, three years after he announced that the inflammatory disease sarcoidosis had taken root in his lungs.

RIP, Bernie Mac.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on August 9 at 11:00 AM


Son Ambulance

Joseph Knapp of Son Ambulance frequently finds himself in the shadow of that other Omaha singer-songwriter heartthrob, and he released his debut as a split with Bright Eyes. But he’s worth closer attention in his own right: His latest album, Someone Else’s Déjà Vu, is alternately sunny and somber, touched with swirling psychedelic pop flourishes, piano, and organ, and led by Knapp’s clear, able voice. With Weinland, the Hunting Club, and Portland’s soft-spoken acoustic ensemble A Weather. (Vera Project, Seattle Center, 956-8372. 7:30 pm, $7–$8, all ages.)



‘Eat Fight Fuck’

Last week, Implied Violence won a 2008 Stranger Genius Award: This is your chance to run down to an abandoned warehouse and see freshly minted genius at work. Eat Fight Fuck is the third part of a spectacular trilogy Implied Violence has been performing for the last three weeks with live orchestras, live baby chickens, unsettling sex scenes, Civil War–era costumes, fucked-up comedy where you least expect it, and buckets of blood. Part Wu-Tang Clan, part Gertrude Stein, Implied Violence makes an impossible thing: experimental theater you will enjoy watching. (A warehouse in South Lake Union, 801 Aloha St, 356-5948. 8 pm, $10–$20. Through Aug 16.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Reading Today

    posted by on August 9 at 10:00 AM


    Two open mics and a few mystery reading today.

    At Seattle Mystery Bookshop, Gabriella Herkert reads from Doggone, which is a mystery about a Seattle-based detective who solves pet-related crimes. The first book is called Catnapped. Here is the first bit of the Amazon description of the book:

    After accidentally treating her in-laws to a peep show upon their first meeting, and having a catfight with her husband’s vengeful ex, legal investigator Sara Townley hopes her next assignment is a simple one.

    Then a black lab starts following her around and they fight crime together, like Batman and Robin.

    Also at Seattle Mystery Bookshop, Matt Richtel signs Hooked, which is his new mystery. Here is what Rupert Holmes had to say: “If Michael Crichton and John Grisham decided to collaborate on a novel set in Silicon Valley,” it would read a lot like Hooked. This, I think, is meant as a compliment. Richtel also reads at Elliott Bay Book Company later in the day.

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

    The Morning News

    posted by on August 9 at 9:00 AM

    A new war: Russia invades Georgia; 1,500 civilians reported dead.

    An old war: South African president Mbeki travels to Zimbabwe to mediate power sharing deal.

    Olympics, day one: Opening ceremony viewership breaks records; Phelps off to quick start.

    Also in Beijing: Relative of U.S. volleyball coach killed.

    Hot spot: Hindu-Muslim tensions play out in clash over 98 acres of holy land in Kashmir.

    Bernie Mac: Dead at 50.

    Edwards affair: John Edwards admits to 2006 affair, denies fathering baby.

    Strange but true: Joseph Lieberman on the list to be McCain’s VP pick.

    Hypocrites: Washington Democrats accept large sums from BIAW.

    The sound of change: Pollution Control Hearings Board sets rules for development in Puget Sound area.

    Cougar hunting: State considers scaling back legal hunting.

    Friday, August 8, 2008

    This Weekend at the Movies, Addendum

    posted by on August 8 at 5:29 PM


    Uh. Apparently Snoop Dogg is making his Bollywood debut this weekend:

    Wearing a tradition Indian turban and a tunic, Dogg and Akshay Kumar were filmed for the song in Chicago.

    In the track, Dogg sings: “This is Snoop Dogg/Singh is the king/This is the thing.”

    The words in the song are a combination of English, Hindi and Punjabi language lyrics and rap.

    The rapper’s introduction to the song gives an indication.

    He says: “Yo, what up. This Big Snoop Dogg. Represent the Punjabi. Aye ya, hit em with this.”

    But don’t think you have to fly to Mumbai to catch these amazing lyrics. Singh Is Kinng (only 135 minutes!) is playing at Kirkland’s Totem Lake Cinemas tonight through Thursday. Fo’ shizzle. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

    This Week on Drugs

    posted by on August 8 at 5:13 PM

    The Surge at Home: McCain’s neighborhood plan.

    On Friday at the National Urban League, McCain suggested he’d fight crime using “tactics somewhat like we use in the military.”

    He went on to describe how it would work: “You go into neighborhoods, you clamp down, you provide a secure environment for the people that live there, and you make sure that the known criminals are kept under control,” he said. “And you provide them with a stable environment and then they cooperate with law enforcement.”

    One Life in Bangkok: Thailand to open high-security drug prison.

    Last Hurrah: Medical examiners office employee charged with stealing pills from the dead.

    Reuters Strike: Reuters columnist whacks the drug war.

    Sponsor Ship: Pot bill picks up supporters in the House.

    Oh, What a Night: Executive of National Night Out, a drug and crime awareness event, paid $322,000 a year.

    Above the Law: Police drop charges against mayor—whose house they raided for pot that wasn’t his and shot his Labradors—but they refuse to apologize.

    Prince George’s County Police Chief Melvin C. High … exonerated the mayor and his family and expressed regret that they were victimized by drug dealers and that their dogs had been killed, but he stopped short of apologizing for any action by law enforcement, police and [mayor Cheye] Calvo said. …

    “The chief called and told me that me and my family had been absolutely and completely cleared of any charges. He also said that he did not apologize for any action or wrongdoing by the police department, although he did express regret about what has happened to my family and me,” Calvo said.

    Heath Ledger OD Case Dropped: Federal prosecutors won’t pursue grand jury subpoena for Mary-Kate Olsen.

    Creepy: Scientists develop test for law enforcement to test fingerprints for presence of drugs and other substances; test could be mass produced for widespread use.

    Blown Away: Local police dismantling meth enforcement teams; now the labs are safely in Mexico.

    Herb in the Wine: Pot growers supplant Washington vineyards.

    These Little Games Make Me Laugh

    posted by on August 8 at 4:38 PM

    It was pretty clear 20th Century Fox did not have much confidence that Mirrors—set to be released next Friday—would impress critics.


    They had scheduled the press screening for Thursday at 8 pm, the kind of timing that effectively discourages reviews in weekly papers and puts daily critics under a no-thinking-allowed deadline. But it takes a very special kind of movie to get a studio to do this:

    Dear Member of the Press: The screening of Mirrors, to which you were invited, has been cancelled per 20th Century Fox directives. A letter confirming this will be mailed shortly. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Thank you.

    Damn! It’s really bad! Now I want to see it even more.

    747 to Hell in ’76 (1977)

    posted by on August 8 at 3:59 PM

    The Parallel Universe Film Guide is at once incredibly funny and dizzying in its depth and scope.

    There are film titles, descriptions, quotes and trivia about hundreds of movies that don’t exist, set up in a Wikipedia-style format. Most impressively, you can follow the fictional careers of the fictional actors and directors who made these fictional movies. Scott Salomon, for instance, directed three films in the late eighties/early nineties, including Commander in Chief…of Love.

    Here’s a list of movie titles randomly pulled from the Ns. Each of these titles links to a full movie page.

    Nazis, Schmazis (1961)

    Need Faded Actresses for Gothic Hijinks (1962)

    Needle Dick (1932)

    Needle Dick, You Motherfucking Fuck (1983)

    Negro ‘n’ Nuns…Awww (1963)

    Neurotic Sisters a’ Plenty (1986)

    News at Six, Ethical Dilemma at Eleven (1987) (updated!)

    New York Gritty (1971)

    Next of Mannequin (1929)

    And further down the list are my favorites:

    Nobody Doesn’t Like ESP (1976)

    No Ifs, Ands, or Robots (1973)

    No Legs, No Problem (1950)

    I can already tell that I’m going to spend hours on this fucking website.

    REACTIVATE!! Exhibit in Valencia

    posted by on August 8 at 3:35 PM

    Forget about local politics. Right now I’m incredibly intrigued by this exhibit of temporary and modular architecture in Spain, in which architects and artists adapt spaces and buildings and put them to entirely new uses.

    For example, in this project, FNP Architects took a 1768 pigsty and converted it, Russian doll-style, into a functioning house, adding a roof on the top.



    In this one, architects Ali Ganjavian, Key and Maki Portilla-Kawamuram and artist Tadanori Yamaguchi created a free call center to Latin America in the center of the Plaza de Colon in Madrid—a nod to the fact that the plaza commemorates Columbus’s journey to the Americas (Colon translates as Columbus).


    An LA-based firm called Electroland created the Urban Nomad Shelter pictured below. According to their web site, the shelters were conceived as both art project and “humanitarian act,” providing “a highly portable and inexpensive shelter to protect from cold, rain, and hard sidewalks.” Pretty, isn’t it?


    But it probably won’t surprise anyone to learn that my absolute favorite is this one, called Real Landscape/Real Mistake. By a German firm called Heri und Salli, it’s a four-kilometer-long crosswalk that zigzags through the urban areas of Salzburg and adjoining forest of Salzburg.


    In Seattle, the closest we’ve come to an event that repurposes car-oriented urban spaces for people is Park(ing) Day, a worldwide, one-day event in which people turn parking spaces into temporary installations. Although the original event in San Francisco turned a single parking space into a park to protest the city’s relative lack of public spaces (see below), Park(ing) exhibits now include sidewalk cafes, banks of massage tables, croquet lawns, and lending libraries. I’ll be out of town, which is a bummer, because I was really looking forward to setting up the People’s Republic of 4329 Rainier Ave. South. If you’re interested in participating, this handy guide will show you how.


    It’s “Fronkensteen”

    posted by on August 8 at 3:20 PM

    Eric Grandy proclaimed this week that copy editors are a violently uptight bunch. While this may or may not be true, this sign in the Value Village window is bothering me.


    1. Frankenstein is the DOCTOR, not the monster. I doubt this text is saying what they want it to.

    2. It is August! Let me enjoy the summer and not be thinking about Halloween already!

    That is all.

    A View From A Plate: The Great Grace Jones

    posted by on August 8 at 3:11 PM

    What’s most impressive about Grace Jones’ new video is it offers the viewer no access to enjoyment or thrills. The whole work is unpleasant to watch and hear—a grinding beat, a morphing monster. This is not a spectacle of corporate capital, corporate greed, corporate hunger. A spectacle seduces the thing it exploits and annihilates. With Jones as the corporate beast, there is no seduction, no sugar, no soft suffocation. Grace Jones makes every effort to fully represent the terrifying force of today’s global rich.

    Go back to 1985 and listen to “Slave to the Rhythm,” which with good reason is referenced in “Corporate Cannibal” (“Lost in this cell, in this hell/Slave to the rhythm of the corporate prison”). Produced by Trevor Horn, the older tune has several seductions: the then-new seduction of the go-go beat; the seduction of Grace’s appearance (at once elemental and futuristic), and the seduction of her lyrics, which expressed the sublime of world-historical labor.

    Axe to wood in ancient times. Man machine
    power line.
    Fires burn
    hearts beat strong.
    Sing out loud the chain gang song.
    Never stop the action - keep it up
    keep it up.

    We have in these words the same sublime that gave much of the Communist Manifesto its beauty and poetry.

    The bourgeoisie, during its rule of scarce one hundred years, has created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of nature’s forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents for cultivation, canalization or rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground — what earlier century had even a presentiment that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of social labor?

    We are amazed and seduced by the spectacle of production itself, the awesome power of social labor.

    With “Corporate Cannibal,” the moment of Debord is over. We no longer look at capital (or the history of productive forces) from a safe distance (“don’t cry, it’s only the rhythm”) but directly at its dark mouth, as if we were on a white plate, soon to be devoured. Nothing about this situation is pleasing or thrilling. All we want to do is find a way out of this place/plate; but the image of corporate hunger is fluid: it shifts its shape like some sort of digital snake (“…Digital criminal/Corporate cannibal/Eat you like an animal”). Writes Steven Shaviro:

    The modulations of “Corporate Cannibal” don’t give us the sense that anything can happen, but rather one that no matter what happens, it will be drawn into the same fatality, the same narrowing funnel, the same black hole

    And you can not shake the hand of this snake. You can’t even mistrust it, bribe it, distract it with talk about the importance of civility (verses barbarism), of re-investment of the surplus value, or saving for a rainy day. All of those possibilities are long gone. With this form of capital, neoliberal capital, every barrier to its desire, the negation/consumption of all value, has been removed. What’s left is for you to await the inevitable on a plate.

    Pleased to meet you/Pleased to have you on my plate”
    The decency is a cruel joke; it’s not needed.
    You won’t hear me laughing/As I terminate your day/You can’t trace my footsteps as I walk the other way.
    That’s Grace Jone’s stark conclusion of capital at this point, after 30 years of neoliberalism. The rich eat the poor with no compunction or preparation. The video is raw.

    For those who think we are living in the fairest of times, please read this article (sent to me by Comrade Erica C. Barnett).

    A taste:

    How much, we asked our group, would it take to put someone in the top 10% of earners? They put the figure at £162,000. In fact, in 2007 it was around £39,825, the point at which the top tax band began. Our group found it hard to believe that nine-tenths of the UK’s 32m taxpayers earned less than that. As for the poverty threshold, our lawyers and bankers fixed it at £22,000. But that sum was just under median earnings, which meant they regarded ordinary wages as poverty pay.

    “We work harder and aspire the most,” one said. The longer we talked, the more they turned to moral reasons for success and failure, moving away from the structural globalisation reasons given above. One banker said: “It’s a fact of modern life that there is disparity and ‘Is it fair or unfair?’ is not a valid question. It’s just the way it is, and you have to get on with it. People say it’s unfair when they don’t do anything to change their circumstances.” In other words, they see themselves as makers of their own fortune. Or, as another banker said, “Quite a lot of people have done well who want to achieve, and quite a lot of people haven’t done well because they don’t want to achieve.”

    Is Our Bloggers Learning?

    posted by on August 8 at 3:00 PM

    This website can determine what your blog’s reading level is. You can also test entire websites.

    Slog is high school reading level:

    blog readability test

    Also in the high school reading level: Defamer, Wonkette, Bookninja, Bookslut and the New York Times.

    But The Stranger as a whole website rates higher:

    blog readability test

    And we apparently have the smartest film section in town, because when you run the Stranger film page alone, you get this result:

    blog readability test

    Perez Hilton and Gawker are both junior high school reading level.

    The only elementary school level blog I could find? Ain’t it Cool News. Me no surprised.

    Two Small Terriblenesses

    posted by on August 8 at 2:57 PM

    1. Last year’s Stranger Genius Award winner for visual art, Alex Schweder, has decamped to Berlin for the time being. He’s still keeping his studio here, and he’ll be traveling back and forth for the next year, “mostly forth.” In an email, he wrote, “There are many like minded thinkers here and heaps of opportunities. Mostly, though, I like being incognito for a while. There was no frustration with Seattle at all, I just needed to expand the reach of my practice.”


    2. Cat Clifford, one of five recipients of the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards this year, is moving to Houston. Her husband is going to graduate school at Rice. They may be back when he’s finished: “We are hoping to come back to Seattle,” Clifford emailed. “The Pacific Northwest is really our home.”


    The truth is, an artist’s work can really only improve in the context of a new metropolis rich with art. Which doesn’t keep me from crossing my fingers in both cases.

    In Conclusion: Ed Skoog!

    posted by on August 8 at 2:07 PM

    The Hugo House has announced the names of their new writers-in-residence for the next year or two.

    Angela Jane Fountas is a writer of both short fiction and non-fiction. She has a story, titled “Queendom,” online at Pindelyboz. Here’s the opening:

    A bomb drops on Myrtle, Iowa. It was only a matter of time. Mothers make do with what’s left in their cupboards; they milk cows and collect eggs. Sorghum fields go to ruin and root cellars overflow. Winter is imminent.

    “We won’t go hungry,” Frances says. Her father is gone. All the men are gone. They are in the sky and on the ground. Some have fallen already.

    “Quiet, hush,” her mother says.

    It’s a good, disturbing story.

    And Ed Skoog, whose name I will say aloud many, many times over the next two years, is the other writer in residence. He’s a poet who has lived in Montana, California, and New Orleans. His lovely poem, Bela, is here. Here’s a stanza from that poem:

    Several years later, to the publicity dept.

    at Imperial Studio, in answer to a questionnaire,

    he became Bela Lugosi, twenty-eight,

    six-one and blue eyed as a Wichita quarterback.

    High spots of life? “It is no one’s business.”

    He was unwilling to share his beauty secrets.

    Congratulations to Fountas and Ed Skoog. These are both great choices. There will be an event to celebrate their arrival in October, and I can’t wait to see what they produce, along with the Hugo House’s Belltown writers in residence, Storme Webber and Cienna Madrid. It should be an exciting couple of years for the Hugo House.

    How We Learned To Start Worrying and Hate Authoritarianism

    posted by on August 8 at 2:07 PM

    The opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics reminded me most strongly of Blade Runner. Not in a good way.



    The filthy air made every light cast a shadow. It was difficult to make out the spectators on the far side of the stadium.

    So began the first modern Olympics in an authoritarian state, since the 1936 Olympics in Berlin (depending upon how you wish to count Moscow in 1980, or Sarajevo in 1984.)

    The United States—and our form of self-governing, divided power capitalism—is in decline. The Chinese new combination of authoritarian capitalism is on the ascent. Our time on top is dwindling. The Chinese, and despotic forms of government, will succeed us. So goes the dominant thought in our culture, one that should be thoroughly enforced by GE over the next few weeks of Olympics coverage. Authoritarian capitalism: it’s the future!


    Left or right, liberal or conservative—everyone cannot eat up enough of the notion that repressive, undemocratic, imperious governments are more successful than our, now quaint, notion of a government of the people, by the people in which the law is king and all is overseen by a vigorous judicial system.

    On the right, you have the Unitary Executive neo-con movement—epitomized by “I’m my own branch of government, beyond reach” Dick Cheney. Extra-judicial detentions, torture, denial of oversight and a private security force above the law—all the trappings of an authoritarian state. Most of the discussion of these horrors assumes a trade-off: Yes, it’s all horribly corrosive to underlying principles of the Constitution. But, such tools just work better than things like Habeus Corpus, warrants, proper trials, Judicial oversight and civilian police operating under strict rules and supervision.

    Truth is, all of these special powers have netted us no benefit. None. Nada. Zip. The new authoritarian system has performed far more poorly than the old civilian judicial system. Compare the results of the recent trial of Bin Laden’s driver—detained, tortured, tried and convicted under the despotic system—to the results of the trial of the shoe bomber—under constitutional civilian law, courts and oversight. The system of checks and balances, of laws and rules, of openness and transparency simply works better. It’s not a matter of style, but results. We are less safe when abandoning the principles laid down by the founding fathers.

    The left’s insidious embrace of authoritarianism might be more terrifying.

    Take Michael Pollen’s loving, vigorously anti-science, embrace of serfdom at the end of the Omnivore’s Dilemma that underlies his shallow, and ultimately hollow, stance against empiric discovery of nutrition and agricultural science. (I dislike Pollen’s analysis, but in retrospect think I’m being unfair here. So, away it goes!)

    Even more telling is Jared Diamond’s description of China in Collapse. After 19 pages of detailed accounting of the environmental horrors of present-day China, he ends on a strange hopeful note. Yes, China’s rapid development over the past two decades has ridden on an unsustainable wave of environmental degradation. But, with one wave of the authoritarian magic wand, the government of China could reverse this trend—like they did with the One Child Policy. This logic was already weakened by Diamond’s own accounting. Yes, population growth had been dramatically slowed—but not household growth, nor growth in resource consumption or pollution.

    In the months and weeks leading up to the Olympics, the Chinese government has done exactly what Diamond wanted. The wand has been waving, ever more vigorously as today approached—ordering drivers off the road, factories closed, pollution to halt, the rain to fall. The full peremptory force was activated and the skies over Beijing (just one city, for only a couple of weeks) could not be cleared.

    (The pollution of Beijing, as viewed from a satellite.)

    With all the bitching on the left and right about the EPA, and all the wrangling and compromising that goes into crafting environmental regulations under a democratic government, the United States has done a vastly better job of containing pollution than China (or any other authoritarian state.) Period. There is no magic wand, no way of forcing a desired outcome—only hard fought compromise by all.

    On the left, it’s assumed that the past decade has gone so poorly not because of the ever larger levers of power handed to the president, but the man wielding them. While watching these Olympics enfold, I suggest you consider the levers of power themselves are the problem, that no man or woman can be a success, for us all, with such power.

    KOMO Television Baits and Switches on Marijuana Infomercial

    posted by on August 8 at 1:26 PM

    Local televisions stations have refused to run an infomercial about marijuana laws because, according to one executive, the infomercial promotes the use of marijuana. But one of those stations, KOMO TV, made thousands of dollars without even airing the show.

    “Smoking marijuana is illegal and we don’t promote things that are illegal on our television station,” says Jim Clayton, KOMO’s vice president and general manager. “We don’t tell people to go rob banks, either.” He says he rejected the program because airing it would jeopardize the station’s license with the Federal Communications Commission.

    “It supported that people smoke marijuana,” Clayton says. But when repeatedly pressed for an example of how the show advocated marijuana use, Clayton told me, “I don’t know. I watched it a few weeks ago, and I don’t remember anything specific.”


    Producers of Marijuana: It’s Time for a Conversation, hosted by mild-mannered travel writer Rick Steves, say the program doesn’t advocate pot smoking, only talking about pot laws. Alison Holcomb, director of the ACLU of Washington’s Marijuana Education Project, which created the show, says, “There’s nothing in the show that advocates that anyone use marijuana.” The script never advises that anyone smoke marijuana, nor does the screen ever flash an image of pot. “In fact, there are specific statements addressing situations in which individuals shouldn’t use marijuana, and that young people should not use marijuana.” She adds: “Everything in the program is about the impact that marijuana laws have on communities.”

    In addition to KOMO (the ABC affiliate), KIRO (with CBS) rejected the 30-minute show outright, and KING (along with its sister station KONG, both with NBC) would only allow the program to air after 1 a.m. Neither of those stations returned calls to The Stranger.

    More than anything, KOMO’s decision seems more about the political conviction of the ad rather than its content. But that came as a shock to the ACLU.

    Holcomb says the ACLU provided copies of the script in advance on the condition it would be approved before renting KOMO’s studios and paying for KOMO’s crews at Fisher Plaza. She says she asked KOMO to “tell us if you will have objections to the content before we incur the expense of filming the audience portion in their studio, and we never heard any objection.” But, she says, “Once we filmed it and handed it to them, they wouldn’t sell us any time slots.”

    Clayton says he had initially supported airing the show because he thought it was about medical marijuana. “We looked at it differently because it would be for a specific medical service,” he says. But he changed his mind on Monday, August 4, after a meeting with ACLU of Washington director Kathleen Taylor.

    But if KOMO was actually afraid of losing its federal license, whether or not the show focuses on medical marijuana would be irrelevant; the federal government doesn’t distinguish between recreational and medical pot.

    Clayton says that if the ACLU wants his station to discuss marijuana laws, the group should run a ballot initiative. The problem, of course, is that only a minority of the electorate supports reforming marijuana laws, so, in order to win a ballot measure, the ACLU must first encourage a public conversation about pot.

    “We’re trying to provide information that’s not tainted by either the hysteria of reefer madness, nor by the giggle factor of Cheech and Chong,” says Holcomb. However, KOMO and the other stations can’t resist cashing in on commercials for the White House’s hysterical anti-drug campaign or ads for beer and Viagra during breaks in movies and sitcoms that depict pot smoking. But when presented with the bland truth of pot policy, local TV stations can’t afford it.

    The ACLU’s show is now only available on Comcast’s On Demand cable and at

    Not That I Endorse Movie-Watching While at Work…

    posted by on August 8 at 1:11 PM

    …but The Taking of Pelham One Two Three is available for viewing over at Hulu. I just saw it for the first time a few months ago, and it’s a really fine thriller that makes most of the heist movies made in the last few years—with their nanosecond-perfect timing and high-tech gadgetry—look stupid. Walter Matthau is great as the frumpy hand of the law, and the ending is one of my all-time favorite movie endings.


    Unfortunately, Pelham is currently being remade by Tony Scott (boo!) Denzel Washington (yay!) and John Travolta (boo! unless he’s inexplicably wearing the fat lady suit he wore in Hairspray, in which case double-yay!). I fully expect it to be one of those annoying modern heist movies described above. I do think that Denzel Washington is one of the few prettyboy mega-actors who could conceivably fill Matthau’s shoes, though.

    The Mercury on Scientology

    posted by on August 8 at 1:09 PM


    Our sister paper the Portland Mercury has a nice piece this week about the marketing of Scientology. The story is about an ex-Scientologist living in Portland who claims to be the man behind the rise of Dianetics in the 70s and to have been physically beaten by David Miscavige on several occasions. The Mercury got a 14-page letter from the church’s international spokesperson and even a phone call from that person’s boss denouncing this guy, so they must have touched a nerve.

    And they have a great map of the “Sea Org” headquarters with notes like “The lake is used to throw staff in as punishment.”

    I love this shit. Stupid Scientology.

    2008 Election Cheat Sheet!

    posted by on August 8 at 1:08 PM

    Too lazy to slog through 4,400 words of endorsements? We hear you. To simplify your decision-making in the August 19 primary election, we’ve put together a handy, printer-ready cheat sheet that tells you which candidates we support.

    The Stranger Election Control Board cheat sheet: Easier than thinking for yourself!

    Mayor’s Office Weighs In On Treegate

    posted by on August 8 at 1:07 PM

    Mayor Greg Nickels’ Office is getting in on the fight between North Seattle residents and the Seattle School District over the district’s plan to remove nearly 100 trees from Ingraham High School’s campus.

    The dispute has been tied up for months while the district waited for permits but yesterday, residents near Ingraham received letters from the school district, informing them that the district had pulled its permit applications, and would be moving ahead with the tree removal sometime next week.

    “The city is not happy with the school district,” says Mayor Nickels’ spokesman Alex Fryer.”To submit an application and withdraw it…is just not the way anyone should do business. It certainly looks like an act of bad faith.”

    Fryer says the city plans to “apply some political and moral pressure” on the district and look at whether the city has any legal authority in the matter.

    School District spokeswoman Patty Spencer was not available for comment.

    Pissed off tree lovers in North Seattle

    Re: John Edwards Admits to An Affair

    posted by on August 8 at 12:35 PM

    I’m off in feature-writing land, and as a result am a little late in learning about the Edwards affair. If I had more time, I’d have a lot more to say.

    But my guess is that the big question most Democrats are asking themselves right now is:

    Which am I more furious at Edwards about?

    A) Running for the Democratic party’s nomination while knowing that he was lying to the press about this affair, and not caring. Or, B) Releasing this information now and distracting from the pre-convention march toward Obama officially becoming the nominee?

    How about a poll:

    This Weekend at the Movies

    posted by on August 8 at 12:21 PM

    These movies have been open for days:

    Sorry, I neglected to do This Wednesday at the Movies, but here are the movies your cool friends have already seen:

    Pineapple Express

    Pineapple Express. Andrew Wright: “Aping the feel of ’80s action-comedies, Seth Rogen and Even Goldberg’s script follows an amiable process server (Rogen) and his pot dealer (James Franco), who are on the bleary-eyed run after witnessing a murder. Director David Gordon Green captures the appropriate air of bong ennui, but proves far less capable of accommodating the shifts to action.” I interviewed Green earlier this year for Snow Angels, which isn’t the best movie ever, though it does costar Olivia Thirlby. Have you guys seen George Washington, though? That is a fantastic film.

    Speaking of fantastic films (kidding!), Wednesday also saw the release of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2. Me: “The plot of this movie remains a fantasy whipped up for the sole and express pleasure of 16-year-old girls. If the audible weeping and gasps of the preview audience I watched it with are any indication, the filmmakers have their demographic down.”

    And then there’s Bottle Shock, the gagworthy closing night movie at SIFF this year. I still can’t stand it: “Never mind the ‘true story’ that inspired it: Bottle Shock is a jingoistic light drama, so crude and clueless it flirts with outright racism.”

    Opening tonight:

    Did you know that Zhang Yimou (Raise the Red Lantern, Hero) is directing the opening and closing night ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics? The New York Times has a front-page story about his transition from censor-ducking provocateur to state-endorsed director of nostalgic martial arts epics. The ceremony will be broadcast (delayed, obviously) on NBC starting at 7:30 pm tonight—or you can try to chase down one of the YouTube clips that are constantly being posted and taken down.

    Man on Wire

    If you’re looking for a slightly less ethically complicated emotional high, the best movie opening this week is Man on Wire, a riveting account of a tightrope walk between the Twin Towers. Me: “In August of 1974, a redheaded Frenchman with the perfectly precious nom de cirque Philippe Petit (along with a crew of coconspirators) sneaked into the newly erected World Trade Center, smuggled cables and equipment up to the unoccupied top floors, strung a tightrope from the roof of one tower to its twin in the dead of night, and then walked and knelt and saluted and lay supine between them for the better part of a morning hour. The feat sounds impressive on paper, but until you see this documentary, you won’t realize how hushed and beautiful the performance was, how completely it dazzled passersby and police.”

    Or is the best movie Boy A? Brendan and I will have to fight it out. Brendan Kiley: “Boy A has an exquisitely melancholy mood, a dark brooding and a bruised sweetness. If it sounds like a drag, that’s because it is—but it’s a pleasant, aching drag.”

    Also worth your time: Baghead, from Jay and Mark Duplass. Andrew Wright: “The combination of horror and emo-speak may sound precious, but it works like a champion here, with each element somehow diffusing and enriching the other: After the first few genuine scares, whenever the handheld camera drunkenly moves towards a window during the middle of a fumbling conversation it’s difficult not to shudder, on levels both ironic and otherwise. Those expecting a gorefest will most likely walk away perplexed, but viewers able to latch onto its wobbly wavelength will have a blast.”

    Probably not worth your time: Elegy, an adaptation of Philip Roth’s The Dying Animal. Me: “In contrast to the book, which is told in the first person and explicitly concerns the impact of the sexual revolution on an essentially conservative man born in 1930, the film does very little to get inside the head of its protagonist. We’re left to wonder, uncomfortably, whether Consuela is indeed as one-dimensional as she seems, or if the professor is pressing her flat with the iron of his enormous ego. There’s no point dwelling on the problem. Between the ugly digital photography, the repellent characters, and the free-floating misogyny, Elegy is an unpleasant film.” I have a lot more to say about it in this Slog post, below.

    And definitely not worth your time: Hell Ride. Paul Constant: “As Pistolero fights the villainous 666 motorcycle gang in an incomprehensible plot that involves—oh, God, no—a peyote trip, he and his gang drop wince-inducing puns and rhymes and alliteration with all the self-importance of a drunken poetry slam. It’s painful to watch the vanity and brain-dead ‘artistic’ flourishes.” Dennis Hopper is, if you haven’t noticed, in a frightening number of movies out in theaters this week: Swing Vote, Elegy, and this. Enough already.

    As if that weren’t enough to keep you busy, I’ve got a bunch of littler releases to tell you about, too. There’s the unoriginal but juicy body-image doc America the Beautiful at the Uptown; a clumsy but fascinating Full Battle Rattle, about training Iraq war soldiers in the Mojave Desert at Northwest Film Forum; a lovely documentary about Tintin at NWFF next Thursday; and the live-action RPG doc Monster Camp and the homeless soccer league doc Kicking It at Grand Illusion. In repertory options: A Jean Renoir series kicks off with Boudu Saved from Drowning at Seattle Art Museum; a Jean-Luc Godard series at SIFF Cinema begins with a week of Contempt; Orson Welles’s celebration of all plots Falstaff (with Falstaff played, naturally, by Welles himself), Chimes at Midnight, is at NWFF through Sunday; the lovely 1993 adapation The Secret Garden is the kid’s movie at SIFF Cinema tomorrow; and Akira Kurosawa’s Ikiru is the Metro Classic (category: Axis) next Wednesday. Plus: Last week’s Varsity calendar show Chris & Don is extending through this week.

    Use us for all your movie times needs.

    Negative Capability

    posted by on August 8 at 12:04 PM

    Over at the P.I., Marc Mazique (who is, full disclosure, an old friend of mine) has written an editorial about birthright citizenship and the close relationship between African Americans and the current battle over immigrant rights. Rather than running an excerpt of the article, I’m going to run some of the dissenting comments:

    …as for Mazique’s assertion that denying illegal immigrants’ rugrats citizenship is racist? he obviously has been drinking the La Raza Kool-Aid. the only people who think cracking down on illegal immigration is racist are those who know they’d get their butts kicked back across the border to taco-land if they got caught…


    Clearly, this author is an Afro-Marxist communicating the ideas of James Cone and Black Liberation Theology.

    If this anti-white racist Communist and his philosophies ever attained any power or influence, freedom of speech would be the first victim with opposing ideas being labeled as “hate speech.”

    The opinions of this man are frightening. His heart is full of hate against America and revenge against white people. I pity him and his ilk.

    Now, seriously, if the article is pissing off these sorts of morons, it has to be worth reading, right?

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on August 8 at 12:01 PM

    Happy Friday from you-know-who…

    John Edwards Admits to an Affair

    posted by on August 8 at 11:59 AM

    This is breaking: He had an affair and lied about it, he says.

    This Weekend: Naked Gay Soccer

    posted by on August 8 at 11:31 AM


    Well, not entirely naked (though the organizing group did supply me with a photo racy enough to require placement behind a jump). At tomorrow’s Shorts vs. Shirts game, Rain City Soccer players will either be topless or bottomless, but not—NEVER!—both.

    As Rain City says:

    “Shirts vs Shorts, what the hell is that?”…It’s a soccer game, in the heart of Capitol Hill, in the middle of summer, where you can either wear a shirt, or you can wear shorts, but you can’t wear both. Team Shirts team can wear normal underwear, jocks, thongs, whatever as long as it shows off some skin, likewise for Team Shorts. There will be festivities afterward at the Elite.

    If you wake up in the mood to watch a bunch of sporty gays run around and kick things in their underpants, show up at Cal Anderson Park at 10:00 am tomorrow.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on August 8 at 11:30 AM



    A trusted church member is accused of crossing the line with two young girls.

    The former youth minister at Ardmore’s First Baptist Church, Carl Thomas, was charged with two counts of solicitation of a minor after allegedly exchanging some racy text messages with underaged girls.

    “He had been sending text messages to two of the 14-year-old girls of a sexual content,” said Limestone County Lt. Joel Massey.


    News that a popular youth minister had been charged with predatory criminal sexual assault brought the pastor of the church where he worked to tears. Terrence Jenkins, 36, of 4318 Walnut Ave. in Alorton, was charged July 23 with predatory criminal sexual assault.

    The mother of the 8-year-old victim went to East St. Louis police and filed a complaint against Jenkins in December.


    New youth pastor has BMX skills, passion for children

    Greg Kucera Gallery, Ellen Pompeo, Justin Chambers, and Deborah Butterfield for Obama

    posted by on August 8 at 11:26 AM

    I just got an email announcing that for $250 a head, the LGBT community in Seattle is hosting an Obama fundraiser at Greg Kucera Gallery next Saturday night, August 16, starring Gray’s Anatomy celebs Ellen Pompeo and Justin Chambers (you know, the troubled Alex). Click here for more info. (The Deborah Butterfield horses currently on display at the gallery—some call them “cash horses”—will be the backdrop.)

    And in other Obama art news: No sooner than I’d written in this week’s paper about the current explosion of nervous Obama “art” did I hear that there will be an Obama-worshiping art show—in something called the Manifest Hope Gallery!—at the Democratic National Convention later this month. (More here.)

    Wait, There’s an East Side of Seattle?

    posted by on August 8 at 11:24 AM

    Slog tipper and superstar commenter PopTart writes:

    I know the majority of Slog readers would rather bite the heads off live rats than travel to the Eastside, but just in case they are lured to the dark side for any reason this weekend, I was wondering if it would be servicey to remind them that the Wilburton tunnel is getting destroyed this weekend and so south 405 in Bellevue will be closed between SE 8th and I-90.

    Here’s the link. I had no idea that a tunnel was going to be destroyed this weekend. It sounds like it’ll be awesome: Can I watch?

    Thanks to PopTart for being servicey so that we don’t have to, and woe betide anyone who dares to head east this weekend.

    The Eating Planet

    posted by on August 8 at 11:16 AM

    The subject of Peter Menzel’s photographs is the amount and types of food consumed by people in different parts of the world and class situations:

    Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
    Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23
    Favorite foods: soup with fresh sheep meat


    United States: The Revis family of North Carolina
    Food expenditure for one week: $341.98
    Favorite foods: spaghetti, potatoes, sesame chicken

    Bon appetit!

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on August 8 at 11:08 AM

    Jesse Burke’s Shame (2007), c-print, 14 by 11 inches

    It is one of my enduring regrets as a critic that I did not review Jesse Burke’s show at Platform Gallery last year.

    Burke’s visions of New England and its men—they really should be considered as a soft, hulking total body of work, as on Burke’s web site here—are like falsetto singing. A great and proper falsetto voice is a thick, proud thing, unlike its false brother, the lightly misogynistic wheeze used to mock wussery.

    The real falsetto—this is something I learned by listening to my father sing—is remarkable for its departure from stereotypical masculine noise. It’s a surprise when it comes out. An alternative. The same goes for Burke’s portraits of guys in landscapes, guys with beers, guys with bellies, guys being affectionate with each other, guys to whom the camera is being affectionate. Maybe I’m being dim, but I have no idea whether Burke is gay or straight from these, which is a sort of triumph in itself.

    Tonight at Platform from 5:30 to 8, there’s a party to celebrate the release of the first book of Burke’s photography, and the artist will be in attendance for you to ogle. The party is also in honor of two other new photography books by the gallery’s publishing arm, DECODE Books, devoted to the work of John Jenkins III and Doug Keyes. Former Seattle contemporary curator Sheryl Conkelton (recall her terrific show What It Meant to Be Modern at the Henry in 2000, and her equally refreshing Northwest School exhibition and catalog for Tacoma Art Museum in 2003) will also be there.

    Admission is free! Books, I believe, are $35.

    Mediocre McCain

    posted by on August 8 at 11:02 AM

    For one:

    The son and grandson of Navy admirals, he attended Annapolis where he did poorly. Nevertheless, he was commissioned as a pilot, where he performed poorly, crashing three planes before he failed to evade a North Vietnamese missile that destroyed his plane. McCain spent more than five years in a prison camp.
    After his release, McCain knew his weak military record meant he’d never make admiral, so he turned his sights to a career in politics. With the help of his new wife’s wealth, his new father-in-law’s business connections and some powerful friends had made as a lobbyist for the Navy, he was elected in 1982 to a Congress in a district that he didn’t reside in until the day the seat opened up. A few years later, he succeeded Barry Goldwater as a senator.

    For two:

    McCain hasn’t accomplished much in the Senate. Even his own campaign doesn’t trumpet his successes, probably because the few victories he’s had still rankle Republicans.
    His campaign finance law failed to significantly reduce the role of money in politics. He failed to get a big tobacco bill through the Senate. He’s failed to change the way Congress spends money; his bill to give the president a line-item veto was declared unconstitutional, and the system of pork and earmarks continues unabated. He failed to reform the immigration system.

    For three:

    McCain says he doesn’t understand the economy. He’s demonstrated that he doesn’t understand the workings of Social Security, or the political history of the Middle East. He doesn’t know who our enemies are. He says he wants to reduce global warming, but then proposes ideas that would stimulate — not reduce — demand for fossil fuels.

    And for four:

    McCain has done one thing well — self promotion. Instead of working on legislation or boning up on the issues, he’s been on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” more than any other guest. He’s been on the Sunday talk shows more than any other guest in the past 10 years. He’s hosted “Saturday Night Live” and even announced his candidacy in 2007 on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

    Isaac Layman on In/Visible: “Photography is the worst of all artistic mediums.”

    posted by on August 8 at 11:00 AM

    Isaac Layman’s Pool Table (2007), sculptural photograph: archival inkjet print mounted to Plex, painted wood plinth; 30 by 108 by 43 inches

    The man pictured above is not Isaac Layman, but in this audio, Isaac Layman is standing above this pool table photo-sculpture, talking about the ultimate luxury:

    (*To hear the entire In/Visible podcast with Isaac Layman, click here.)

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on August 8 at 11:00 AM

    Lady Jesus

    Dolly Parton

    “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap!” chirps Dolly, forever casting herself as Daisy Duke with a gee-tar. It’s a ruse—a genius one—masking this hayride hussie’s stature as one of America’s great singer-songwriters. Beyond the voice and eternal songbook, Parton is the rare great artist who is also a great celebrity—her sexy-Muppet-with-a-heart-of-gold shtick was inverting sexploitation when Madonna was still in diapers—and even the shortest list of true American originals (Bob Dylan, Muhammad Ali, Buster Keaton) simply must include Dolly Parton. (WaMu Theater, 1000 Occidental Ave S, 8 pm, $39.50–$85


    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on August 8 at 10:49 AM


    posted by jenerally speaking

    The Napster of Newspapers

    posted by on August 8 at 10:30 AM

    Slate has a bizarre article about a newspaper—the Montgomery County Bulletin, circulation 20,000—behaving like a blog. An ill-behaved blog that aggregates content without links and attribution.

    Over the course of three years, stories from Rolling Stone, Slate, the Boston Globe, USA Today, the Guardian, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune were all reprinted—slightly altered—in the Bulletin, sometimes under the byline “Mark Williams,” sometimes under no byline at all.

    The Bulletin lists just five employees—”Mark Williams,” a calendar editor, a sales person, and the publisher, who was reluctant to cooperate with Slate on the story.

    The publisher’s name? A fake-sounding “Mike Ladyman.”

    And the simulacrum is complete.

    Dino Rossi Likes His Problems Like He Likes His Men: Big & Hard

    posted by on August 8 at 10:06 AM

    I can’t take it anymore. This Dino Rossi commercial is on constant rotation on cable news and I’ve seen it seven or eight thousand times in the last two weeks:

    My reaction to this ad? I’m almost ashamed to say—almost.

    Dino Rossi is a huge fag. The hugest. My God, how could the same state Republican party that once nominated Ellen Craswell for governor—the party of god, guns, and anti-gays!—get away with nominating this deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavoured, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love?

    Here’s how: Because they know Democrats won’t employ gay-baiting as a campaign tactic.

    Gay-baiting and anti-gay smear campaigns are an old Republican standby. Karl Rove got George W. Bush’s ass elected governor of Texas—the first step on George’s very short walk to the White House—by conducting a whispering campaign against then-incumbent governor Ann Richards implying that she was a lesbian. Rush Limbaugh calls John Edwards “Breck Girl.” Ann Coulter calls John Edwards—currently embroiled in a love-child scandal—a faggot; she claims Bill Clinton—notorious womanizer—is secretly a gay man. Hillary Clinton is a dyke. Republicans run against “San Francisco values,”. The tactic dates back to Reagan’s attacks on hippies when he was governor of California. Says Digsby:

    For forty years the Republicans have been winning elections by calling liberals “faggots” (and “dykes”) in one way or another. It’s what they do…. The underlying premise of the modern conservative movement is that the entire Democratic party consists of a bunch of fags and dykes who are both too effeminate and too masculine to properly lead the nation.

    And they’re going to do it to Obama. Republicans are going to question his masculinity, feminize him, and insinuate that the man who married this woman is really a great big homo. Hell, they’re already doing it.

    Now go back and watch that Dino Rossi ad again. Could the guy be any swishier? Isn’t his face just a little too expressive? Isn’t his voice just a little too soft? Is it just me, or is the man actually mincing? I’ll bet you there are two campaign aides just out of camera range holding onto Dino’s arms so that his wrists don’t float up into the shot and start flapping around. I don’t look or sound that gay with my boyfriend’s cock in my mouth. Let’s apply the ultimate test of male heterosexuality: Can you picture this man performing cunnilingus? I sure as hell can’t.

    Another test: I asked the Stranger’s Kelly O to doctor this ad a bit—to add gay images and themes—to see if the ad still worked. I wanted to see if Dino was convincing as Washington state’s first openly-gay Republican nominee for governor. Does the ad still work? Hell, it’s seamless—or “theamless,” as Dino might put it. Check it out:

    Yes, yes: the pink dildo in Dino’s hands at the Crypt is a little gratuitous. But the point isn’t that Dino likes sex toys big & pink. The point is this: Rossi makes an entirely plausible openly-gay candidate. And if Rossi were a Democrat the Republican attack machine would be after his suspiciously trim ass. I suppose it’s an open question as to whether Dino really is this swishy in real life or if it’s an act. The same Dino who’s running from the Republican label—listing his party affiliation as “GOP” instead of “Republican” to confuse voters—may be adopting fey ways to further confuse voters (“No way is that sissy a Republican…”). Or, heck, maybe Dino’s hoping to scoop up some votes from suburban soccer moms and sad old fag hags who are still upset about the cancellation of Will & Grace.

    Whether Dino’s really swishy or he’s just playing gay on TV, Dino knows he can get away with it—and the state GOP knows they can get away with nominating this deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavoured, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love—because the state Democratic party would never stoop to gay-bait Dino because that would offend the gays and lesbians in the Democrat base.

    A note to the Democrats: Go ahead and gay bait Dino Rossi. We won’t mind. It’ll actually be nice to see one of them getting gay-baited for a change. Because so long as the right is exploiting homophobia to elect anti-gay politicians, I don’t see why we shouldn’t use it—carefully, surgically, rarely—to defeat anti-gay politicians. Let’s grease up their petard and hoist one of them by it.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on August 8 at 10:04 AM


    An open mic and two readings tonight.

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, there’s a tribute to Leadbelly, with music, to celebrate the release of a new book called Leadbelly: A Life in Pictures. I think this sounds like a good time, but maybe it’s just me; I really like Leadbelly, but I’m pretty much in favor of any blues music at all, as long as there are no goddamned electric guitars involved.

    And up at Third Place Books, Kate Veitch reads from Without a Backwards Glance, which is apparently already a bestseller in Germany. It’s about a mother’s secrets threatening to destroy a family and all that stuff. Booklist says that Veitch is “‘Similar to Anne Tyler in her wry affection for her characters and to Anita Shreve in her aptitude for crafting compulsively readable plotlines,” which ought to tell you the market the publishers are going for here. I’m willing to bet if you like either of those two authors, you’ll like this reading.

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

    For Your Weekend

    posted by on August 8 at 9:41 AM

    Toulouse-Lautrec’s drink of choice was a concoction of his own invention, called The Earthquake. It was equal parts absinthe and brandy. (What color would that turn out to be?)

    Granted, he did not live or die well, and one takes one’s health into one’s hands when one emulates his physical habits, but if you’re feeling … historical and slightly tragic, you know what to do.

    One of my favorites. I think this visited the Portland Art Museum a few years ago.

    The Morning News

    posted by on August 8 at 7:46 AM

    OMGOLYMPICS! Live blogging the opening ceremonies at the Bird’s Nest.

    Thou Doth Protest Too Much: Chinese officials arrest three Americans who planned to wave “Free Tibet” flags at the opening ceremonies, deport uppity foreigners, detain Chinese, close Tiananmen Square.

    Cause du Jour: Reporters Without Borders hack airwaves in China to broadcast a 20-minute program in Chinese, English, and French. Meanwhile, thousands protest Chinese policy in major Asian cities, where the governments aren’t quite so repugnant.

    Cancer in the Duwamish Valley: State’s Department of Health reports South Seattle residents face increased cancer risk, blame air pollution nearby industry and particularly within 200 yards of highways.

    Recession Watch: Fannie Mae reports $2.3 billion loss—three times more than expected—as bellwether of future economic tumult.

    Apple Kills App: The “I Am Rich” icon displayed a ruby. That’s it. Eight people paid the Apple Store $1000, until Apple yanked it last night.

    Monitoring: Christian Science Monitor creates pseudovoter email accounts around country to track email messaging by presidential campaigns. They find that Obama’s emails are steady nationwide and localize issues, but McCain fails to email voters in some battleground states and messages are more conservative than television ads.

    Smearing: Fellow Republican ousts incumbent in Tennessee primary by linking him to “big oil.”

    Pakistan: Government officials begin to shuffle positions in response to impending move to impeach President Musharraf. Proceedings could begin by next week unless Musharraf declares state of emergency.

    Texas: Thirteen people, all members of the Vietnamese Martyr Catholic Church, die in after bus blows a tire and careens off an overpass; bus found unfit for interstate travel last month.

    On the Left, Exhibit A: Prosecutors reassemble a Ford Mustang in King County courtroom to prove how suspect may have committed murder.

    Beleaguered Mayor: Detroit’s Kilpatrick will get out of jail for misconduct to face assault charges.

    Open the Floodgates: Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates wants to spend $20 billion bulking up Afghanistan’s army.

    We’re All Going to Die: European scientists endeavor to build a collider on 17-mile underground track to smash protons together and test the origins of the universe.

    Watching the Opening Ceremony: We can’t see it on US television until primetime. But you can watch it on the tubes right now.

    Thursday, August 7, 2008

    Chace Crawford Squelches Gay Rumors…

    posted by on August 7 at 6:30 PM


    …by letting seed roll off his back. Or in the end. Or something.

    Via Towleroad.

    Republican Pizza Party

    posted by on August 7 at 5:09 PM

    (With apologies to Josh Feit.)

    The Honorable Carlos Gutierrez—Cuban refugee, former CEO of Kellogg, current U.S. Secretary of Commerce—is currently in a back room at Piecora’s Pizza, stumping for John McCain to a group of Hispanic Republicans.

    Before that, he was in the front room at Piecora’s, stumping for John McCain to a group of small business owners, many of them immigrants from Asia and Latin America, most of them in suits. One of the honkies in the room growled something about Obama. His friend responded in a falsetto, damsel-in-distress voice: “Oh Barack! He’ll save us all!”

    Danny Piecora took the microphone and introduced Gutierrez as a Horatio Alger character, who started his working life by selling cereal from the back of a truck. (Gutierrez did, in fact, drive a delivery truck as a sales rep—his first job after studying business administration. He never earned a degree.)

    Danny Piecora, Republican pizza man, and some kid who’d obviously rather be at a Good Charlotte concert.

    Gutierrez reheated some heartfelt boilerplate—McCain is for immigration reform, free trade, an “all-of-the-above” energy policy, a balance of environmental stewardship and business support, he’s got a long and distinguished resume, and “since his days as a POW, has always made decisions based on what’s right for the country.”

    (I confess, I can’t get over the story about POW-era McCain refusing to be released as a Viet Cong publicity stunt, insisting he wouldn’t go unless every man captured before him was released first. You cannot deny it: That is hard core.)

    The Honorable U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

    The second-most interesting thing that happened at this not-very-interesting meeting: A little white-haired man, who looked like a short General Lee, said he’d driven hundreds of miles from Eastern Washington, where he owns an apple and pear orchard. He’d heard Gutierrez speak at the Discovery Institute two years ago, calling for education reform.

    “And two years later, nothing’s happened!” short General Lee piped. “When can we expect some reform?!” He was mollified with a few more spoonfuls of boilerplate.

    The most interesting thing that happened at this not-very-interesting meeting: Obama’s presence in the room. Gutierrez was careful to not say “Senator Obama,” only “Senator McCain’s opponent,” and was using Obama’s rhetoric, talking about “change” and the candidate who’s really for “change” is Senator McCain, etc., etc.

    It’s campaigning on the defensive, just like those “Is he ready to lead?” ads—they prove Obama’s point for him.

    Of course he’s ready to lead—he’s already leading. He’s ahead in the polls and dictating the terms of the debate, forcing McCain back on his heels.

    And now he’s taking a vacation.

    Because a leader knows when to go away.

    There Are No Words For This Picture

    posted by on August 7 at 5:07 PM

    Tor’s blog, which is still awesome, links to this guide on how to give yourself real elf ears. I really hope this is an internet hoax, but I think it might not be:


    Lots more pictures, including some gross ones with stitches, here.

    Is He Strong? Listen, Bub.

    posted by on August 7 at 5:00 PM

    New York magazine has a collection of head shots of actors who are trying out for the lead role in the (atrocious-sounding) upcoming Spider-Man musical. Is the new singing, dancing superhero to be found here?


    Those who don’t know about the upcoming Spider-Man musical, which will be directed by Julie Taymor with music by Bono and the Edge, can find more information here.

    Ding Ding Ding! We Have a Winner!

    posted by on August 7 at 4:50 PM

    It’s official: only three people have read The Stranger Election Control Board’s 2008 endorsements.

    Halfway through the endorsements, buried in the text for the oh-so-exciting Attorney General race, we wrote:

    McKenna’s Democratic opponent, Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg, is a funny, smart, savvy politician with a strong environmental record. As a county executive, he worked hard to clean up illegal dumps and junk cars, earning the endorsement of the überliberal Sierra Club despite his support for the controversial Cross-Base Highway across Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base. (To see if anyone actually read this far, The Stranger is proud to offer a $50 check and a minibottle of Jack Daniels to the first person that e-mails us at

    So far, we’ve only received three emails. The first one came from 33-year-old William Lee, who read through the SECB’s endorsements on his lunch break, mostly because he didn’t have anything better to do. “I [was] out of new reading material,” Lee says. “Usually if I’m reading at lunch time it’s novels.”

    Did Lee gain anything by reading the SECB’s endorsements? “I already knew I wasn’t going to be voting for Rossi,” he says. “That’s a given.”

    “Elegy” & the Female Film Critic

    posted by on August 7 at 4:17 PM

    It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are many, many more male film critics than there are female film critics. Pauline Kael aside, film criticism has always been dominated by men, perhaps in part because amateur film criticism—standing around after a movie and yakking about it—usually descends into a foolish exercise in oneupsmanship in which blowhards compete to see who’s committed how much trivia to memory. (Once, in an example of this behavior I find particularly ripe, I found myself arguing with three other critics and programmers about who loved Claire Denis the most. Gross.)

    Variety blogger Anne Thompson frequently expresses concern that the underrepresentation of women in film sections of major newspapers might translate into unsympathetic reviews of films aimed at women audiences. She cites 27 Dresses and Mamma Mia!—both reviewed, as it happens, by female critics here at The Stranger, though I’m not certain these reviews were any more sympathetic to what Thompson calls “the female POV” as they would have been otherwise. Actually, though, the fact that I assigned one to myself and another to Lindy West would seem to indicate otherwise.


    The movies that really demand a “female POV” are not, in my opinion, romantic comedies. They are movies like Isabel Coixet’s Elegy—an adaptation, by a male screenwriter and female (Catalan, as it happens) director, of a Philip Roth novella with a unrepentantly misogynistic narrator whose point of view is nonetheless thoroughly contextualized. I scanned the reviews of the film collected by GreenCine Daily yesterday (where it is, hilariously, paired with Woody Allen’s Vicky Cristina Barcelona, another movie that demands at least cursory discussion of gender, as well as national stereotypes), and I was dismayed to see that the critics—up to that point—were all men: David Edelstein, David Denby, Ed Gonzalez, Glenn Kelly, and Alonso Duralde. The reviews are largely positive, and none makes much effort to deal with the gender issues that pervade the film and its source material. I crossed my fingers that Manohla Dargis would be reviewing it for the New York Times. My wish was granted, and she did a bang-up job:

    The problem with “Elegy” has nothing to do with faithfulness and everything to do with interpretation. The film is an overly polite take on a spiky, claustrophobic, insistently impolite novel, but this wouldn’t be such an issue if [director Isabel] Coixet had the cinematic language that could withstand, equal, obliterate or transcend the book’s blunt force, its beautiful sentences, flashes of genius and spleen. Ms. Coixet has a fine eye and she has created a visual scheme — an attractively dark palette, discreetly hovering camera movements and smooth edits — that makes everything look very nice indeed (especially the radiant if miscast Ms. Cruz). There’s not a hair out of place here or an emotion. It’s as if Ms. Coixet had tried to quiet the howls of a dying animal.

    It’s a wonder that filmmakers continue to adapt Mr. Roth’s work to the screen, which is largely inhospitable to tough, prickly and unappetizing ideas and characters, especially in America. It seems instructive that no great director has tackled this great writer, whether out of fear or shrewdness. Certainly it’s understandable that a female filmmaker would have a go at Mr. Roth, though “The Dying Animal,” with its unloving encounters, maddening woman troubles and occasional gynecological descriptions, really cries out for a reckless voluptuary like Catherine Breillat, who wouldn’t go all soft. She could smack all that male contempt around, but also give it its honest due. She would keep the novel’s furious bite.

    Thank god. My review is here. I warn you: I complain about the absence of menstrual blood. This was my clumsy way of getting at exactly what Dargis describes above. Catherine Breillat, fuck yeah: She would do the menstrual blood. After all, she’s already made tampon tea.

    Other female film critics who have reviewed or will review Elegy include Ella Taylor and Moira McDonald.

    Update, Fri am: McDonald saw Elegy with me, but it looks like the review went to John Hartl instead. I wouldn’t say Hartl is the most myopic of male critics, but he doesn’t address the protagonist’s hostility toward women at all. Worse still is William Arnold at the PI, who breezes past the misogyny and then comes out with this wonder of a paragraph:

    As we watch this lothario spurned, transformed into a jealous stalker and put on the road to a personal epiphany, the miracle of the movie is Kingsley’s performance, which manages to find David’s humanity and actually makes us identify with and root for him. It’s quite a feat.

    I’m sorry, I just don’t think you’re supposed to “root for” David Kepesh. And that personal epiphany? (Minor spoiler.) It comes when David realizes he can really truly love a woman with only one boob. Another way of seeing it is that the perfect body he worships has to be damaged—infected, cut up, maimed—before he can relate to the person. It isn’t a pretty moment. (And it doesn’t exist as such in the novella, which is more open-ended.) I have a hard time endorsing this notion that Ben Kingsley deserves an Oscar for a performance in which he buries all the noxious things about his character and makes us “root for him.” That’s whitewashing, not a tour de force.

    Imported From the Planet Kashyyyk

    posted by on August 7 at 4:14 PM



    Free to a Good Home

    posted by on August 7 at 3:00 PM

    Slog tipper Keith writes:

    can you help me get rid of this? i’m an engineer and don’t know many readers. thanks.
    And included in the e-mail is a link to a Craigslist page that reads:


    n+1 issue six free to a good home (downtown/cap hill)

    I ordered some back issues and they threw in a copy of number six, which I already own. Check out for info.

    It’s a pretty good issue of a pretty good magazine. Someone should snag it.

    Gruesome Greyhound Bus Tragedy Given Dubious Honor…

    posted by on August 7 at 2:39 PM

    ..of being exploited by Fred Phelps and PETA on the same day.

    From the Edmonton Sun:

    A fundamentalist church group from the U.S. has announced it plans to picket the funeral of [Greyhound bus victim] Tim McLean Jr. in Winnipeg, declaring, “God is punishing Canada.” Led by pastor Fred Phelps, the Westboro Baptist Church from Kansas issued a release saying they would picket McLean’s funeral this weekend.

    Phelps’ daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper, said about seven church members are expected to come to Winnipeg. “What we’re doing is trying to connect dots,” Phelps-Roper told Sun Media last night. “We’re trying to get you to see that your rebellion against the standards of God, your disobedience to the commandments—your idols, your false gods, your filthy ways have brought wrath upon your head.”

    And from the CBC:

    An animal rights group has posted an ad on its website comparing the recent stabbing and decapitation of a young Winnipeg man to how humans kill animals for food. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the advertisement is meant to make people understand how animals suffer when they are killed in slaughterhouses. The group posted the imageless advertisement on its blog site Wednesday.

    “PETA’s ad…is meant to spur people to think about the terror and pain experienced by animals who are raised and killed for food. The group aims to demonstrate that animals — just like humans — are made of flesh, blood, and bone and deserve protection from needless killing,” said a statement on PETA’s website.

    Gotta love the tragedy vultures (though, it must be said, PETA is 800,000 times less repugnant than anything Phelps.)

    I See Your Free Books, Paul Constant, and I Raise You a Pair of Bumbershoot Tickets

    posted by on August 7 at 2:37 PM

    As announced earlier, the next Slog Happy is August 14 at the fantastic Hideout. Paul Constant sweetened the pot by promising free books for those in attendance who craved some new summer reading material.

    It gets even better! We don’t have trivia this time, but we will also be giving away one pair of Bumbershoot tickets for any one day of the festival (winner chooses which day). Visit to see the complete schedule where you can also pick only the acts your interested in and print our your own customized version.

    See you Thursday!

    What He Said

    posted by on August 7 at 2:27 PM

    Dan Bertolet at Hugeasscity, making some excellent points as usual:

    Bicycles have but the tiniest impact on most urbanites’ lives. But judging by the way some people spew the bile (google “slog” and “bikes”), you’d think bikes were holding the entire city hostage.

    The impact that bikes have on traffic flow is negligible. The damage that bicycles do to people and property is negligible. The objective reality is that pretty much the worst bicycles do is that they annoy people.[…]

    I mean really people, are bicycles riding on sidewalks really that big of a source of anxiety in your lives? Does my riding up to the front of a line of cars stopped at a red light have any significant consequence, other than annoyance?

    Meanwhile cars kill something like 40,000 people per year in the U.S. And maim who knows how many times more. And destroy a few bazillion dollars of property. […]

    I am baffled by those who express the same level of contempt for cyclists that break the rules of the road as they do for drivers that break the rules of the road. In the latter instance, someone might end up crushed on the pavement, while in the former, perhaps someone might get, well, really annoyed. It’s awfully curious how these folks (including many cyclists) suddenly become sticklers for the letter of the law when it comes to bikes. But you can be sure that all but the purest saints among them have either jaywalked, or smoked pot, or committed some other trivial victimless crime.

    Which brings us to the “we’ll only earn their respect if we set a good example” argument. Yes, there is some truth in that, but here again I find it remarkable how so many cyclists seem to believe it’s so important for all cyclists to strictly adhere to this saintly standard. Did cyclists in Europe have to prove they were all perfectly behaved at all times before their governments invested in serious cycling infrastructure? No, I think not. That’s because the Europeans are smart enough to focus on what matters: the support of cycling for the overall health of their cities — not trivialities such as a bike rolling through a stop sign.

    And what also repels me from the “respect” argument is that it is based on — and therefore helps to propagate — the twisted attitude that drivers are doing cyclists a huge favor by merely putting up with their presence on the roads. In other words, you cyclists best be kissing our asses, and maybe we’ll be good enough not to mow you down. First of all, as I already pointed out, bikes have a miniscule impact on cars and people in the city. But more importantly, the truth is that every person who opts to travel by bike instead of by car is doing a favor for everyone in the city, including drivers. Cue up the indignant cries that I am claiming cyclists are superior moral beings. Whatever. The fact that travel by bike is good for the planet is objective, verifiable, quantifiable truth.

    Wind in the Writing

    posted by on August 7 at 2:03 PM


    About the new play of Wind in the Willows, this is what Paul Constant has to say:

    The timing of this new adaptation of Wind in the Willows seems downright mischievous. This is an entire play about a man (or rather a “boastful and conceited” toad named Toad) who falls in love with automobiles the moment he first sees one, and continues to drive his beloved “motorcars” even though it’s costing every last penny he has and his joyrides endanger both himself and everyone around him. It’s a good thing that Toad is so loveable.

    About the book Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame, this is what I have to say: It’s filled with wonderful English turns and passages.

    A good example, the Badger to the Mole:

    “…I see you don’t understand, and I must explain it to you. Well, very long ago, on the spot where the Wild Wood waves now, before ever it had planted itself and grown up to what it now is, there was a city— a city of people, you know. Here, where we are standing, they lived, and walked, and talked, and slept, and carried on their business. Here they stabled their horses and feasted, from here they rode out to fight or drove out to trade. They were a powerful people, and rich, and great builders. They built to last, for they thought their city would last for ever.’

    And just listen to this music:

    He thought his happiness was complete when, as he meandered aimlessly along, suddenly he stood by the edge of a full-fed river. Never in his life had he seen a river before- this sleek, sinuous, full-bodied animal, chasing and chuckling, gripping things with a gurgle and leaving them with a laugh

    It’s a music that’s almost as beautiful as this music:

    His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

    And one more for my baby, one more for the road:

    A fire of sticks was burning near by, and over the fire hung an iron pot, and out of that pot came forth bubblings and gurglings, and a vague suggestive steaminess. Also smells - warm, rich, and varied smells - that twined and twisted and wreathed themselves at last into one complete, voluptuous, perfect smell that seemed like the very soul of Nature taking form and appearing to her children, a true Goddess, a mother of solace and comfort.

    All art aspires to the condition of music.

    What do Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and Brett Favre Have in Common?

    posted by on August 7 at 1:36 PM

    Sports fans, in case you spent your morning under a rock: Brett Favre is now a New York Jet.

    Favre’s also the Madden ‘09 cover boy, so a career-ending injury shouldn’t be too far off. Perhaps at the hands of a Jersey crime family.

    Hopefully Ol’ Man Favre will play long enough to rack up a few more highlights. I’m so fucking tired of seeing this clip every time ESPN talks about his “legacy.”

    A Couple Notes on Slog Happy

    posted by on August 7 at 1:14 PM

    I’m excited for Slog Happy. I also love the Hideout, and I don’t go there nearly enough.

    But I know that some of you have been complaining about the lack of sit-down meals, and I’d like to suggest that, before, during, or after Slog Happy, you stop by Thai Star, just next door to the Hideout. It’s really great, cheap Thai food, although the ambiance leaves something to be desired. I recommend all the soups and the curries. You won’t regret it.

    Also of note for some of you: In an effort to class up Slog happy with some old-fashioned book-learnin’, I’ll be bringing some advance reader’s copies for anyone who’s interested. They’re not for resale, but they’re perfectly good for reading. I’ll try to bring a mixture of genres and interests.

    Actually, now that I’ve written this, I can’t tell if the free books will bring new people out or inspire more people to stay home. I guess we’ll find out.

    Isaac Layman on In/Visible: “Photography’s not right or wrong, it’s just this thing.”

    posted by on August 7 at 1:00 PM

    Isaac Layman’s Medicine Cabinet (2008), 73 1/2 by 59 inches

    Standing in front of the above image of his and his wife’s medicine cabinet just the way he found it one day, Isaac Layman talks about photography as a form of gossip:

    (*To hear the entire podcast with Layman, click here.)

    Sorry About Killing Your Dogs

    posted by on August 7 at 12:52 PM

    Here at Slog, your all-drug-raids-all-the-time headquarters, we get your tips. And we love your tips. Even when they exacerbate our pot-induced paranoia.

    Today, we follow up on two panic-inducing emails about the mayor of Berwyn Heights, a D.C. burb, whose house was raided by a SWAT team last week. Officers burst through the door, forced the mayor to kneel in the corner, bound his mother-in-law in the kitchen, and shot his two black labs. Cops were there over a box of pot that was shipped to the mayor’s home, addressed to his wife. We posted about it last week over here, but new details emerge.

    The pot was delivered by a police officer dressed as a FedEx delivery man. The sheriff for the county, Prince George’s County, had applied for a warrant to search the house, but, as it turns out, the judge who granted the warrant hadn’t permitted a no-knock, guns-drawn, battering-ram entry. But after Mayor Cheye Calvo brought the package inside, a fleet of officers burst through the door with guns drawn anyway. As everyone knows, the only way to tame a pothead is not with milkshakes, but with weaponry. And, as everyone knows, the only way to handle two grinning black labs is not by petting them and tossing them a squirrel, but BLAM! BLAM!


    Neighbors hung a “We Support You” banner on the couple’s fence after the mayor and his wife claimed that they weren’t drug dealers—and it appears they were telling the truth. The Washington Post reports this morning that police “arrested a delivery man and another man, both of whom they say are involved in a scheme to smuggle marijuana by shipping packages addressed to unsuspecting recipients.” This should all be very embarrassing for the Prince George’s Sheriff’s Office, right?

    Unbelievably, no.

    Sheriff Michael A. Jackson won’t apologize for the raid, which he said was “conducted responsibly,” and Police Chief Melvin C. High (what a name) told the Washington Post his department still hadn’t cleared the couple of charges. He reportedly said, “From all the indications at the moment, they had an unlikely involvement, but we don’t want to draw that definite conclusion at the moment.” Jeezy Creezy on Cheezit, man, what else do you need?

    There’s more. The mayor just asked for an investigation by the Department of Justice, which marks the second time in as many days that drug raids are becoming a federal issue. So while Slog may seem overwrought with crazy-ass drug-raid shit, the issue is suddenly getting huge. We’ll smoke to that.

    Seattle School District Moves Forward With Controversial Tree Removal

    posted by on August 7 at 12:37 PM

    Neighbors in North Seattle have been locked in a heated battle with the Seattle School District over a plan to remove 92 trees on Ingraham High School’s campus, to make way for new classrooms. The project has been slowed by permitting and environmental studies but a recent move by the district to circumvent the city process has caught neighbors off guard, and perhaps without recourse.


    Neighbors protested the tree removal plan at several planning meetings this winter and had hoped the city’s Department of Planning and Development would refuse the district’s permit requests. But today, neighbors received certified letters from Seattle Schools, informing them that the district has rescinded its permit applications. The district now claims it doesn’t need permits to remove the trees and plans to send in construction equipment sometime next week.

    “They decided they can’t win the process and are cutting the public out of it,” says Steve Zemke, who lives two blocks from Ingraham. “They don’t care what the public thinks about this. They’re cutting down a park like area that’s been used by the community for years.”

    While Zemke and his neighbors are fuming over the district’s tactics, Seattle School District Spokesman David Tucker says the district provided adequate public process and are moving forward with the tree removal for the safety of students. “There’s been a public process all along.” he says. “We looked at all the best possible designs for the school. This design is the most academically and environmentally sound.” Tucker says the district will plant three trees for every one removed, which could add nearly 200 more trees to the school’s campus.

    It’s unclear whether the district can move forward with the tree removal without city approval—DPD’s spokesman was not available for comment—but Tucker says the district needs to move forward now so the process can be finished before the beginning of the school year. “The ideal for us it to have the trees removed when there aren’t students on campus and to avoid using heavy machinery during the wet weather,” Tucker says. “We’re doing this because we want to make sure we do this in the safest fashion possible.”

    Zemke and his neighbors are now scrambling to find a way to halt the impending tree removal, and are planning to protest at Ingraham next week. Zemke also says neighbors will fight any future plans for construction at the school.

    All This Senseless Death

    posted by on August 7 at 12:28 PM

    Apparently, newspapers are dead because they’re not cultural currency.


    Good thing we have blogs. Wait, apparently they’re dead, too.


    Now everybody should get excited about Lifestreaming.


    Thank God Tombstone image generators never go out of style.


    Gregoire “Racist” Comments Cause a Stir

    posted by on August 7 at 12:22 PM

    In the Stranger Election Control Board’s interview with Gov. Christine Gregoire (for a full list of our endorsements, check out our election cheat sheet
    ), she blasted a Building Industry Association of Washington-backed ad as “racist.” The ad implied Gregoire gave the tribes a sweetheart deal on a slot-machine gambling expansion compact in exchange for donations to the Democratic Party, which later made their way to her campaign. Gregoire told us:

    They made stuff up about the tribes – and the ad, by the way, I think is racist. I think this whole thing is racist, and I’m totally offended by it. But it just shows you how low they’ll go. It shows you that it doesn’t matter what the truth is, they’re going to trump stuff up. So I’m not afraid of making decisions independently and standing by them.

    Gregoire’s comments are making it all over the Northwest (and nation—last night the story was featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”) Here’s a sampling of the coverage.

    Spokane’s Spokesman Review: “Gregoire Calls Campaign Ad Untrue, Racist.”

    KOMO News: “Gregoire Calls Campaign Ad ‘Racist.’”

    The Seattle Times: “Gregoire decries ad by foes as ‘racist’”

    Tacoma’s News Tribune: “Gregoire charges racism by critics of gambling deals”

    KING 5 News: “Gregoire declares campaign ad ‘racist’”

    The Bellingham Herald: “Gregoire charges racism by critics of gambling deals”

    The Associated Press (printed all over the Northwest, and here in the Oregonian): “Campaign ad declared ‘racist’ by Wash. governor”

    The Everett Herald: “Campaign ad called ‘racist’”

    Here’s the original ad:

    And here’s the relevant snippet from the Stranger’s interview with Gregoire.

    What do you think, Slog readers? Is the governor right that attacks on her relationship with the tribes are “racist”? Or is she blowing the ads out of proportion?

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on August 7 at 12:01 PM

    And now a word (or two) with Sarah! Supreme Chavette, our unofficial Sponsor of Fun With Chavs WeekTM… If you can translate whit she sayin’, you can win THIS, THIS, THIS, and/or THESE*.

    * not really. unless ya bee me a plane tick ta goe steal ‘em, aye.

    Sneezing Panda Is So November 6, 2006

    posted by on August 7 at 11:35 AM

    Now, a tracker of Internet memes, so you can belly-laugh and reminisce with a snifter of brandy at your recent past. Or, if you are me, so you can see precisely how tragically outdated you are, because most of this is new to you.

    (Thanks for the tip, Patrick, via Metafilter!)

    Slog Happy Is One Week Away

    posted by on August 7 at 11:30 AM


    Have you been to the Hideout yet? It’s a great bar. There’s tons of pretty art on the walls and vending machines with little treasures and affordable art instead of snacks. And while the lack of candy would usually get me in a tizzy (I like candy), instead you can order yummy treats from the bar including cheese and spreads platters, chocolate, and nuts. And they also have free pretzels for you cheapskates.

    Join us, won’t you?

    Got a Question for Gregoire and/or Rossi?

    posted by on August 7 at 11:25 AM

    This week YouTube, through its YouChoose ‘08 feature, is soliciting questions for the candidates in the Washington State governor’s race.

    The top five YouTube questions will later be answered by Gregoire and Rossi. Come on Sloggers, I know at least one of you can crack the top five. Here’s a sampling of your competition:

    Deadline is August 12th.

    Why, KUOW?

    posted by on August 7 at 11:10 AM

    Since I must read text closely all day for my job, I can’t listen to talk radio. The only time I get to listen to KUOW is in the morning while I am getting ready and eating breakfast. I want to know why KUOW has discontinued the local news in the midmorning. This is my prime listening time.

    It used to be at the hour mark there was a break for national and local news, now… no local news! Instead I get to listen to Marketplace Morning Report?! Guess what? I don’t need to know the price of a barrel of oil every single fucking day. I don’t care about that or the stupid Dow Jones Industrial Average. I want local news!

    I am vexed.

    Road Food

    posted by on August 7 at 11:07 AM

    If you’re driving between Seattle and Portland, I recommend timing your trip so that you hit Kalama, Washington, roughly around lunch time. Right off I-5 in downtown Kalama you’ll find the Antique Deli & Pastry Shoppe.


    The sandwiches are huge, delicious, and cheap. And the cookies—one comes with your sandwich—are awesome. The frosted almond cookies are my favorite.

    That Cloned Pit Bull Story Gets 10,000 Times Weirder

    posted by on August 7 at 11:04 AM


    On Tuesday, Dan slogged about the kooky lady who spent $50,000 to clone her dead pit bull.

    Today the UK’s Daily Mail follows up, with a splashy story suggesting the kooky lady might be significantly kookier than we thought.

    The heart of the the story: The distinct possibility that the woman who recently cloned her dead pit bull is the same woman who once kidnapped, bound, and repeatedly raped a Mormon missionary, then attempted to avoid prosecution by fleeing the country disguised as a “deaf-mute mime artist.”

    Read the whole weird thing here.

    Letter of the Day

    posted by on August 7 at 11:04 AM

    Oh, we get letters. This is going to be a long one, so get your scrolling fingers ready and prepare your bitchy comments about why I didn’t put this after the jump. Everything below is (sic), but emphasis is mine:

    Thursday, August 7, 2008 Dear Ms Wagner/Mr. Savage:

    We read with great interest this recent film nutice in your aptly named publication The Stranger, insofar as The Stranger is a greater degree of The Strange. We define “nutice” as a message alerting us to any nuts possibly being involved in a given event, either by its content or its drafting:

    THE REFLECTING POOL A group of 9/11 conspiracy nuts presents this “investigative drama” about a reporter. It’ s heartening to see 9/11 “Truth” movement (sic) is finally giving up on the inconveniently truth-oriented documentary format. Screened with A Tribute to Fresh Kills, a seven-minute “poetry video” about 9/11. Trinity United Methodist Church Gymnasium, Fri. August 8 at 7 PM.

    Although we are not amused that you even posted this nutice, we are presently acting as hiring consultants for the Bush White House and Hannity & Combs, as well as The O’Reilly Report on Faux News.

    We are looking for hotshot twenty- and thirty-somethings with advanced degrees and/or experience in the new field of jeernalism, which reflects the new unprofessional standards which we in thecorporate community heartily applaud, and from which we manifestoly benefit. We define jeernalism as the current corporate media practice of substituting the reporting of boring information with ill-informed opinion repeatedly, crudely and incivilly expressed without proper investigation or proofreading, of which the above-cited nutice is a nutable example.

    We would therefore appreciate your providing us with contact information of the above-cited author and editor, so that we might cite them as well. We would like to thank you in advance for this unprofessional courtesy.

    We would also like to point out in a hopefully helpful way that, with the above-cited nutice, you have left yourself open not only to lawsuits for slander, but worse, to someone pointing out the obvious: that just as you have urged the 9/11 Truth movement to revert to just portraying fiction, you as an alleged alternative newspaper might be urged to revert to just reporting fact.

    Yours all too truly,

    Prisis Wright-CEO

    I don’t have much to offer by way of analysis except to say that I gave 9/11 Truth groups more of a chance to impress me than just about anybody in the mainstream media. After the piece came out (and was reprinted in the UTNE Reader), people bashed me left and right for being too easy on Truth groups, but I felt that the point in my article—that they developed a huge political organization out of virtually nothing in just a few years—was pertinent. They could have been a major force in the 2008 election, and instead they put all their money toward buying a fucking blimp for Ron Paul.

    I’m fucking done with 9/11 Truth groups and their stupid misspelled e-mails and their dumb “confrontation” videos. I’ve read your books and seen your movies and you have fuck-all. Hundreds of people have written rational, compassionate arguments against your stupid theories (hell, get Jonathan Golob drunk and ask him about Building 7 and he’ll go on a tear that’s alternately hilarious and enlightening) and you don’t buy any of it because you’re not about reason, you’re about being the heroes of the stupid fucking conspiracy movies in your fucking heads. Talk to me when you come back to reality and we can get some shit done. I won’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

    State School Superintendent Bergeson Fails WASL, Has Serial Killer Handwriting

    posted by on August 7 at 11:01 AM

    By now, most of you you have probably read and reread the Stranger Election Control Board’s mind-blowing primary endorsements a few thousand times. Which means you would’ve seen this:

    [Current State School Superintendent Terry] Bergeson has consistently defended the WASL as a high-stakes requirement for graduation. We decided it would be funny to present Bergeson and her challengers with a few sample questions from the WASL and she bombed the test. Bergeson only answered two out of the three questions we put to her and both her answers were wrong.

    It’s totally true. Here’s the evidence:


    As you already know, the SECB endorsed Bergeson’s opponent Randy Dorn. Mostly because Mr. Dorn’s tidy handwriting does not indicate a predilection for the taste of human flesh.

    The three sample questions—from grades 3, 7 and 10—are from the Port Angeles School District’s website.

    Answers after the break.

    Continue reading "State School Superintendent Bergeson Fails WASL, Has Serial Killer Handwriting" »

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on August 7 at 11:00 AM


    Museum of Bad Art

    Sometime in the ’90s, a Boston antique dealer bought a huge oil painting titled Lucy in the Field with Flowerssomething, everything, was terribly wrong with it. He showed it to friends, who started collecting their own awful paintings, and the Museum of Bad Art was born. Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks is its catalog. At this book signing, you can find out from whence these visions sprung and nominate new candidates for the collection. (Stir, 216 Alaskan Way S, 264-0260. 6–10 pm, free.)


    I Had A Dream

    posted by on August 7 at 11:00 AM

    Back in November, I had a simple dream, when I heard that Seattle Art Museum curator Michael Darling was putting together a survey of Northwest video to be shown at Art Basel Miami Beach: My dream was to see the show of Northwest artists in the Northwest.

    My first step in realizing this dream was to ask Darling whether he’d considered showing the art in its home. No, he hadn’t, but yes, he would. I rejoiced.

    Then, in April, I heard the glorious news that the survey would be shown at SAM itself, in that otherwise weird little space off the main lobby on the third floor. Sure, the lighting is not perfect. But walls can be built! And this is a FREE ZONE. No admission charged. Yes. You can imagine my happiness.

    Yesterday morning I received an email from SAM spokeswoman Cara Egan about my dream. It said that the show I’d been waiting for all this time had opened Tuesday. Nevermind that this meant that I couldn’t put the information in print because this week’s paper had already gone to bed. I was prepared to overlook such trifles. For the good of the dream.

    This morning I mounted my bike. I rode to Pioneer Square, where I saw several other shows. Then I hustled up to SAM for the big event.

    The screen was blank. The guitar part to “Stairway to Heaven” was playing in the speakers, but nothing showed. Crazy artists, I thought—giving me audio when I expect video. Those wild-eyed mind-bogglers!

    Except that this went on for at least 15 minutes, way past the end of “Stairway to Heaven.” I began calling SAM staffers. The first one I got on the phone told me the show wasn’t opening until next week. The next one told me the show had been working fine yesterday. The curator told me he’d noticed it hadn’t been working earlier in the day, but apparently, he hadn’t mentioned it to anyone. I was starting to feel like I should be on the SAM payroll: I’d asked for the show, I was scrambling to let people know about it because SAM didn’t, and now I was motivating the AV department?

    Two hours and 20 minutes after I arrived at the museum, the blown bulb in the projector was fixed, and I—and everyone else—could see the new show! (I did other things in the interim.)

    Everything went so well for about 80 minutes. Then, at 5, the projector, on a timer set to shut off when the museum closes, shut off. By the time someone was called and got it back on, the last segment of the penultimate video, Shannon Oksanen’s little boat (2007), and the entire final video, Terry Chatkupt’s First Snow (2006), were scrambled beyond comprehension, and finally, the DVD just gave up and froze.

    I’ve never had such a strong desire to look at paintings.

    No, neither I nor anybody else at SAM yesterday got to see the complete new video survey at SAM.

    But I have to say that what I saw is worth seeing. A few of the pieces are even instant classics.

    I can also report that I had a serendipitous interaction with a fellow named Kevin Schwarz during those golden 80 minutes when I was actually viewing video.

    Schwarz is an 18-year-old Marylander here on vacation, and he sat down right as one of the aforementioned instant classics was starting. The video was Kevin Schmidt’s Long Beach Led Zep (2002), which involves the artist on a beach at sunset with a Marshall stack hooked up to a generator on a cart—playing the entire guitar part of “Stairway to Heaven,” down to every note, to the last thrashing chords.


    Schwarz happened to be wearing a Led Zeppelin t-shirt with the lyrics of “Stairway to Heaven” on the back. He was very deadpan, and very moved. “I’m feeling quite special,” he announced, as someone else pointed out his shirt. “I was not expecting this.”

    When it was over, he said, “It was quite epic. The sunset, the beach—he brought the generator. I want an encore.”

    At which point Hadley + Maxwell’s video 1+1+1 (2007), including footage from the studio recording of the Rolling Stones’s “Sympathy for the Devil,” started up. “‘Sympathy for the Devil’ is my favorite song by them,” Schwarz said. “I’m having a good day.”

    The video after that one, Ron Tran’s The Peckers (2004), involved a recording and video of pigeons pecking at musical instruments set down on a pier. Schwarz said: “My dad hates pigeons. He got a super-soaker, because they always eat out of his bird feeder.” He reported that he did not like this video as well as the others. I had to agree that it went on a little long.

    As I said, more later. But for now: THERMOSTAT: VIDEO AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST IS UP, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD* (*except for about 7 minutes at the end). AND IT’S FREE. (I’m trying to help you out here, SAM.)


    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on August 7 at 10:54 AM


    posted by thinklab

    Black Man

    posted by on August 7 at 10:51 AM

    Another statistic:

    More black men in the United States are behind bars than are in higher education, according to a new study by a Washington DC thinktank.

    Following a boom in prison construction and an increase in the numbers of people being incarcerated for non-violent crimes, there were 791,600 black men in American prisons and county jails in 2000, and only 603,032 enrolled in colleges and universities, according to the Justice Policy Institute, which favours alternatives to imprisonment.

    Losing Her Religion

    posted by on August 7 at 10:20 AM


    From the LA Times:

    Opening arguments were set for Thursday in a civil lawsuit that accuses Victoria Osteen of assaulting Continental Airlines flight attendant Sharon Brown before the start of a 2005 flight from Houston to Vail, Colo.

    Victoria Osteen is co-pastor at Lakewood Church, where her husband, Joel Osteen, preaches and where about 42,000 people flock each week. Joel Osteen’s weekly television address is broadcast nationally and internationally.

    [Continental Airlines flight attendant Sharon Brown] alleges Victoria Osteen threw her against a bathroom door and elbowed her in the left breast during an outburst over a stain on her first-class seat. The Federal Aviation Administration fined Victoria Osteen $3,000 for interfering with a crew member.

    The best part?

    Brown claims that she suffers from anxiety and hemorrhoids because of the incident involving Victoria Osteen and said her faith was affected.

    Let’s hope Ms. Brown wins because her “faith was affected.” Then those of us who were raised Christian can start a class-action suit against all of the snake-oil theologians.


    posted by on August 7 at 10:16 AM

    American endurance:

    In the summer of 2002, the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment (ONA) published an 85-page monograph called “Military Advantage in History”. Unusual for an office that is headed by Andrew Marshall, the Pentagon’s “futurist in chief,” the study looks back to the past—way back. It examines four empires, or “pivotal hegemonic powers in history,” to draw lessons about how the United States “should think about maintaining military advantage in the 21st century.” Though unclassified, the study was held close to the vest; a stamp on the cover limits its dissemination without permission. Mother Jones obtained it only through a Freedom of Information Act request. Though the report is far from revelatory, it provides a window into a mindset that unselfconsciously envisions the United States as the successor to some of history’s most powerful empires.

    In the way the German intellectuals of the 19th century saw in their language and practices evidence of a continuation with ancient Greece, American military power has always imagined itself, and justified itself, as the true continuation of the Roman spirit.

    “The Roman model suggests that it is possible for the United States to maintain its military advantage for centuries if it remains capable of transforming its forces before an opponent can develop counter-capabilities. Transformation coupled with strong strategic institutions is a powerful combination for an adversary to overcome.”

    Who you think you are (and how you think you are who you are) has always to do with where you imagine yourself to come from.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on August 7 at 10:11 AM


    Three readings and an open mic tonight.

    At Elliott Bay Book Company, J. Edward Chamberlain, who is a breeder of horses, reads from his book about the horse in history. The book is titled Horse. Even if you’re not into horses, this looks like the best reading of the night, but that’s not an endorsement.

    First, at the University Book Store, Eldon Thompson reads from The Divine Talisman: Book Three of the Legend of Asahiel. I understand that it’s bad form to judge a book by its title, but you could not drag me to this reading, although I would attend it on a bet.

    Third Place Books has a reading that you could not pay me to attend. Vaishali, who is a “part stand-up comic and part spiritual teacher who makes Eastern mysticism accessible to Western minds,” will read from YOU ARE WHAT YOU LOVE®. Here is what Vaishali’s website says:

    Friends don’t let friends go into the light … without a spiritual road map to enlightenment.” – Vaishali

    Who do you know who can talk about the spirituality of Homer Simpson, Jimi Hendrix, James Dean, or Cheech and Chong with as much aplomb as she can talk about the world’s great mystical traditions or major religions?

    Join Vaishali, the author of You Are What You Love®, as she provides her uniquely Vaishali perspective to the big questions in life: Who am I?” “Why am I here?” “What is my purpose?”

    Oh my God.

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

    Laughing ‘Til It Hurts

    posted by on August 7 at 10:00 AM

    It’s funny because it’s hysterical!

    And, related: Humor: The International Journal of Humor Research: It’s funny because it doesn’t sound funny at all.

    Thanks to Slog tipper and erstwhile Stranger writer Thadius Van Landingham III.

    And They Shall Have Art in Windows

    posted by on August 7 at 10:00 AM

    From a work by Thom Heileson and Wyndel Hunt, seen last November at SOIL and headed to 4Culture’s windows.

    The latest at 4Culture is e4c—an “electronic storefront gallery.” This means four LCD monitors in a window facing Prefontaine Place South, with art playing on them from 7 am to 7 pm, starting as soon as September.

    The artists chosen for the first round are listed after the jump.

    More art is always good. I do not know why 4Culture’s is obsessed with numbers attached to letters in combinations impossible to remember, but these things do not particularly matter.

    What does matter is: What’s going on with the roof! Spill it, Jeppe and 4Culte4c2hhkhsj!

    Continue reading "And They Shall Have Art in Windows" »


    posted by on August 7 at 9:57 AM

    OK, with Steinbacher gone, time to slog more sports (and no, I don’t consider Fantasy Football a sport, I consider it a form of masturbation—not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    From the comments thread on my last Mariners post, from Eric F

    If the reward of fans who never stop packing the ballpark no matter how bad a team gets is 99 years (and counting) between MLB championships, I’d rather be the fair-weather variety.

    This assumes that the only reward for going to the game is winning it all, in which case every year all the fans of 29 teams are deluded. (And by the by, the Cubs only started selling out all the time after the 2003 NLCS run.) The game itself is the reward: I’m a Cubs fan, but a die-hard fan of the game of baseball, and will watch it anywhere I can, any time I can. In a five-day span between August 20 and 24, I will go to six games in five parks (the Cell for the M’s-Sox, then the Cubs that night and the next day, then A-league games in Appleton, Wisconsin, Clinton, Iowa and Peoria). Going to these games isn’t just about the win-loss record of the home team, it’s about the game itself.

    And at RonK who claims that the Cubs and White Sox cannot match the M’s average July attendance of 26,000+: what kind of crack are you smoking? Just follow the link provided by Jane, and you’ll see that the White Sox are about 500 “fans” per game ahead of your M’s, while the Cubs average 40,000. Try to bone up on the old math skills, buddy. Percentage-wise it’s even worse, as the Cubs sell 99% of their tickets, the White Sox 73% and the M’s 61%.

    Finally, I see no notice for a Slog Happy this month, when I’ll finally be in lovely Seattle for the Second Thursday. If one isn’t officially organized, let’s have an ad hoc one someplace with a ballgame on the tube.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on August 7 at 9:00 AM

    Jim Riswold’s Basquiat Gets Famous and Dies (2008), archival pigment print, big

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

    It’s time for me to bring the hammer down. I’ve posted Portland artist Jim Riswold’s images before, and I even appreciate one of them for its unintentional pathos and politics (Frida’s Owies, an anatomical map of her injuries, including her abortions and miscarriages).

    But other than Frida’s Owies, which I saw about a year ago at Tacoma Art Museum, and including a more recent show of Riswold’s work at Vermillion (which I hear has lovely food and drink), I have to disavow basically Riswold’s entire catalog. It’s grating, shallow, and self-satisfied. I’m sorry to be so rude, but I honestly never thought I’d actually have to come out and say it, because I didn’t think it would rise to the level of ubiquity. But why on earth is this stuff getting so much play? Because art flirting with advertising is risky and post-ironic and fun? No, it’s old, dull, and cynical. Bleh. It sort of hurts.

    I was doubly reminded of this when I noticed on TJ Norris’s blog (pointed out to me by Howard House’s Sara Callahan today) the list of artists that Tacoma Art Museum is considering for its next biennial, and Riswold is on it. Please, people of the art, please.

    (Jim, I’m sorry. You seem like a fine fellow on email, and I fear the email I know you’re about to send.)

    Maverick Moment of the Day

    posted by on August 7 at 8:52 AM

    This one is way outside the realm of my Seattle Jew expertise, but Ben Smith is reporting that some Christian Democrats have found clear signs, in a recent McCain ad called “The One,” that the maverick is trying to dog whistle to Evangelicals and fans of the Left Behind series, telling them in subtle apocalyptic code-words and images that Obama is the anti-Christ:

    The makers of the ad chose all of Obama’s quotes very carefully and the ad is rife with image after image equating Senator Obama to the anti-Christ, and especially to Nicolae Carpathia, the anti-Christ in the popular Left Behind series.

    From the title of the ad (that immediately reminds anyone familiar with the Left Behind series of the name of the false church set up by the anti-Christ) to the quotes (with no respect to context) and images that the McCain camp chose to use, which basically allude to every symbol of the anti-Christ possible short of flashing 666 on the screen, this ad is an attempt to stir up already circulating falsehoods about Obama and add more fuel to the fire.

    The McCain campaign clearly believes that Democrats and the press will not be attuned enough with the people who bought over 70 million copies of Left Behind to realize what is happening. But as with apocalyptic writing that can seem just plain odd until one really studies them and understands the symbolism and contextual language of the time, there are numerous parts of this ad that make no sense in a high-budget presidential ad unless they are understood for what they really are: attempts to scare people with contextually bankrupt scriptural and Obama quotes and imagery tied together to send messages of fear that Obama is somehow the anti-christ.

    Smith has questions about whether this is an over-reading of the ad’s intent. (And he also asks, “Isn’t the anti-Christ supposed to be Jewish?”) But here’s the ad again, for Slog readers who missed its earlier posting:

    The Morning News

    posted by on August 7 at 7:52 AM

    Micro-Protests: Chinese police scramble to sweep up decentralized demonstrations against human-rights abuses.

    The Great Firewall: China Internet police scan online activity; Olympics reporters bemoan hamstrung Web access.

    Impeachment: Pakistan’s ruling parties want to impeach Musharraf for unpopular economic policies and refusing to step down despite sketchy election, require two-thirds majority.

    Bad Grades: Audit finds Seattle Public Schools’ program for students learning English is one of the worst in the country.

    Bar Tab: Sims suggests that King County cities each build their own jails.

    Belltown Crash: Collision of pedicab, scooter and van leaves one dead and five injured.

    Crazy Junta: Mauritania’s new government promises free elections, but also fires teargas at citizens holding signs.

    500: Afghanistan death toll hits milestone.

    Maverick Moment of the Week: Obama picks up the maverick message in ads and speeches.

    Screwy: Malaysia charges opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim with sodomy as he runs for parliament. He faces 20 years in prison.

    The Surge at Home: Jobless rates hit a six-year high.

    “Dressed for Dinner”: Festival in Peru involves dressing up Guinea Pigs and then, well…

    The Audacity of Hope: Delusional Hillary backers plan to march through Denver during the Democratic national Convention to demand her delegates are counted and win the nomination!

    Olympic kick-off week: Nadia Comaneci’s perfect 10s in 1976.

    Wednesday, August 6, 2008

    Turn That Frown Upside Down

    posted by on August 6 at 5:00 PM


    Chekhov’s Mistress, which is a smart, funny litblog, is calling for a boycott of

    Dennis Loy Johnson, founder of Melville House Publishing first explained to me about the difficulties of dealing with the Amazonians several years ago, but it seems their dirty dealings never end. According to The Amazon is fighting with Hachette Livre to extract more discounts from the publisher and has REMOVED THE BUY BUTTON from their titles on the site (this is, I understand, on the UK Website). Can you imagine walking into your favorite bookstore, picking up a title and heading to the cash register and being told “No. We won’t sell you that book. The publisher hasn’t given us a big enough discount.” I would walk out and never come back.

    If It Wasn’t Official Before, It Is Now

    posted by on August 6 at 4:37 PM

    According to some bloggers in Oklahoma, a technical slip-up on the NBA’s team schedule homepage has revealed that the Team Formerly Known as The Supersonics has officially been rechristened as the Oklahoma Thunder.


    It was rumored before, now it appears to be official.

    And now, some real thunder!

    A Coney Island of the Mindfuck

    posted by on August 6 at 4:10 PM

    New on Coney Island, as reported in the New York Times:

    It looks at first like any other shuttered storefront near the boardwalk: some garish lettering and a cartoonish invitation to a delight or a scam — in this case there’s SpongeBob SquarePants saying, “It don’t Gitmo better!”


    Inside, artist Steve Powers has designed a “Waterboard Thrill Ride” where you stuff a dollar into a slot and watch animatronic figures torture each other.

    The whole recreational waterboarding thing is as old as the hills, whether for the purposes of kink (hello, ancient Japanese porn) or publicity (hello, Christopher Hitchens). Just a few weeks ago, Jen Graves wrote about Jon Haddock, an artist from Arizona who makes animatronic torture figures.

    But that’s the point—torture is nothing shocking.

    Remember the days—circa Halloween, 2004—when people got all worked up about this?


    Those days are done.

    Back to the Coney Island article:

    “I love it,” said Ricki Rosen, the mother of the family. “Hilarious!” Her daughter asked what it was all about, and Ms. Rosen responded: “Waterboarding, Sweetie, is a kind of torture where they pour water on people’s faces so they feel like they’re drowning. But then there was a big controversy because a lot of Americans are saying you shouldn’t torture people even if they are terrorists.” She paused. “The baby is hilarious!”

    “Waterboarding, Sweetie, is a kind of torture.”

    That phrase is now burned on my brain.

    Somebody Might be Offended, Somewhere

    posted by on August 6 at 4:05 PM

    Smart Bitches, Trashy Books brings news (along with Galleycat) that Random House is stopping publication of The Jewel of Medina, a book about one of Mohammed’s wives that was supposed to be released this week. Apparently, they’re frightened of Islammyfascists.

    The book by Sherry Jones is a work of historical fiction based on the life of Aisha, one of the wives of the prophet Mohammed. Random House paid a $100k advance for the work but when UT Professor Denise Spellberg read an ARC, she denounced the book as a “very ugly, stupid piece of work” (note to authors: Don’t ask her for a cover quote. Ever.) and said, “I don’t have a problem with historical fiction. I do have a problem with the deliberate misinterpretation of history. You can’t play with a sacred history and turn it into soft core pornography.”

    Wait, wait, before you pound your head on your desk, there’s more. Ms. Spellberg alerted Shahed Amunullah, a guest lecturer and editor of, who spread the word to a listserv of Muslim graduate students. From there that email appeared the website “Hussaini Youth,” and within three hours, a person published “a seven-point strategy to ensure ‘the writer withdraws this book from the stores and apologise all the muslims across the world.’”

    I wonder if The Satanic Verses would be published by any major New York publisher in this day and age? Somehow, I doubt it.

    (Thanks to Slog tipper Sweeney.)

    Best Back Cover Text of the Day

    posted by on August 6 at 2:42 PM

    Regarding this post, where I mocked a newspaper writer for referring to Kafka as “Kafkaesque,” I just got an advance copy of a new translation of Amerika in the mail. The first paragraph on the back cover reads:

    A brilliiant new translation of the great writer’s least Kafkaesque novel, based on a German-language text that was produced by a team of international scholars and that is more faithful to Kafka’s original manuscript than anything we have had before.

    So obviously we have to demarcate when Kafka is being Kafkaesque, because he’s also produced work that’s not very Kafkaesque at all. Maybe they consider Amerika to be Capraesque, instead?

    What He Said

    posted by on August 6 at 2:23 PM

    The Carpetbagger Report:

    Watching the Hilton video, a few questions came to mind. First, why is that Paris Hilton’s fake ad includes more substantive talk about energy policy than John McCain’s real ad? Second, if writers helped Hilton with her script, and writers helped McCain with his script, why is it that Hilton seems to have a better grasp on policy details than McCain does? Shouldn’t that be, you know, the other way around? And third, why is it that a 27-year-old heiress/reality-show star can read a teleprompter better than the presumptive Republican presidential nominee?

    Via Sullivan.

    Paging Joel Connelly

    posted by on August 6 at 2:07 PM

    Maybe physician-assisted suicide—or end-of-life pain management, as I prefer to call it—isn’t the real outrage. Maybe our obscene, for-profit “health care” system, which is profitable only so long as it successfully denies care to the sick, is the real problem. This just in from Oregon:

    The news from Barbara Wagner’s doctor was bad, but the rejection letter from her insurance company was crushing.

    The 64-year-old Oregon woman, whose lung cancer had been in remission, learned the disease had returned and would likely kill her. Her last hope was a $4,000-a-month drug that her doctor prescribed for her, but the insurance company refused to pay.

    What the Oregon Health Plan did agree to cover, however, were drugs for a physician-assisted death. Those drugs would cost about $50.

    “It was horrible,” Wagner told “I got a letter in the mail that basically said if you want to take the pills, we will help you get that from the doctor and we will stand there and watch you die. But we won’t give you the medication to live.”

    Bus Subsidies Are Not the Problem

    posted by on August 6 at 1:50 PM

    Over at Crosscut, Matt Rosenberg—senior fellow at the intelligent design-believing Discovery Institute’s Cascadia Center—argues that Metro should completely revamp its bus system, starting by raising bus fares to somewhere between $3.50 and $4.00—or, in reality, probably even higher, as rising fuel prices increase the cost of operating the system. There’s so much wrong with Rosenburg’s argument it’s hard to know where to start, so I’ll just take his points in the order he presents them in.

    First, Rosenberg argues that eliminating one-third of all bus routes would be a smart way for Metro to save money. Because on-time performance is low on routes, like his, that are heavily traveled, Rosenberg believes the obvious solution would be to eliminate routes that have fewer passengers.

    Cut the lowest-ridership routes, let’s say the lowest one-third, and re-deploy the buses and drivers to the busiest runs, where riders are most often bypassed. Where regulations require that regional sub-areas be apportioned a certain percentage of total Metro bus service, the King County Council should confront those mandates head-on. We could let politics undermine a common-sense re-deployment of limited resources. But let’s not.

    First of all, I’m not sure where riders are getting “bypassed”—my experience, in eight years of riding the Metro system all over the city, is that a more common problem is buses that arrive late or, in some cases, early. (Number 9 driver, scheduled departure from Rainier and Graham at 9:07, I’m talking to you!) Although I certainly agree that Metro doesn’t always use its resources efficiently, cutting routes at a time when transit ridership is spiking (and gaining riders who’ve never taken transit before!) nationwide is asinine.

    On a less market-driven note, let’s not forget that Metro is part of a government agency. Its mission is to provide transit service throughout King County, including to elderly, low-income, and handicapped riders who have no other way to get around. Eliminating routes in places like Blue Ridge, where ridership is sparse, would leave people without a way to get around—as the recent controversy over Metro’s Route 17 made abundantly clear. Rosenberg may not think those people matter—because they’re preventing him from getting service every five minutes from downtown to West Seattle on his route, Route 21, which already runs every ten minutes at rush hour—but transportation agencies exist to provide a service to everyone, not just selfish Republicans. Moreover, Metro already deploys fewer buses on routes that don’t get as much traffic; ever try catching the bus on Alki?

    Second, Rosenberg argues that Metro fares should go up—way up—to reflect the true cost of riding the bus.

    Currently, Metro fares pay for between a fifth and a quarter of the cost of running the system. Rosenberg would address this “problem” by raising one-zone fares (the fare you pay, for example, to ride from South Seattle to downtown) to $3.50 or higher, and raising the cost of bus passes by a third. (Rosenberg’s own bus pass, he mentions elsewhere, is provided for free by his employer.) This is foolish not only because it’s a sure recipe for depressing bus ridership, and thus reducing revenues (who’s going to pay $7 to commute to and from work when driving their car costs less?) but because it ignores the fact that fares (or tolls, or gas taxes) never pay for the true cost of any transportation mode. Hidden subsidies for driving are estimated to run between $3 and $7 per gallon of gas; yet raising gas prices to reflect the true cost of all those free roads, sprawling subdivisions, emergency service, highway patrol, and free parking spaces—or charging tolls, or congestion pricing, or any number of fees and taxes to end subsidies for cars—is anathema to conservatives like Rosenberg. They want transit to pay for itself; but they want roads for free.

    And those hidden subsidies I listed don’t even begin to get into externalities. For example, carbon emissions from cars in the US cost an estimated $20 billion a year; wasted fuel and lost productivity because of congestion cost an estimated $78 billion a year; and car accidents cost an estimated $220 billion a year, for a whopping total of more than $300 billion. To pay for those externalities, which drivers currently create for free, drivers would have to be taxed at least an additional 10 cents a mile.

    Taking transit instead of driving also creates a societal benefit that should be factored against its cost. Riding the bus instead of driving reduces the need for roads, highway patrol officers, and emergency service providers, and all the other subsidies and externalities I listed above. (Conversely, congestion pricing like the congestion charge implemented in London five years ago actually reduces driving.) Rosenberg’s premise that a trip is a trip is a trip (Hummer, bus, Blue Angels jet) simply sweeps all that aside.

    Finally, Rosenberg argues that Metro’s bus service should be turned over to more “efficient” private companies—a standard Republican canard that one look at our “efficient” private health-care system should put to rest.

    I do agree with Rosenberg that the 40-40-20 split (which allocates just 20 percent of all new bus service to Seattle) has got to be revamped, although probably not in the way he wants. Seattle has the highest transit ridership; it should get the largest share of new bus service. And I agree with him that pre-paid fares are a good idea—although, like everything government does, fare kiosks cost money, something conservatives like Rosenberg are hesitant to admit except when they’re advocating for spending cuts.

    Ultimately, unpredictable bus service is an argument for more government funding, not less. Improve the system, and riders will come; make it prohibitively expensive, and they’ll stay in their (far more heavily subsidized) cars. It’s also an argument for fixed rail like Sound Transit’s proposed light-rail expansion, which has the advantage of predictability—something buses can never achieve as long as they’re stuck on same roads as all those heavily subsidized cars

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on August 6 at 1:49 PM


    posted by Scarequotes

    Please, Kinksters…

    posted by on August 6 at 1:45 PM

    …don’t leave tied up people alone.

    A man died in a bondage session after his partner bound and gagged him at their Sunshine Coast home then left to take a shower, a court has been told.

    Jean Margaret Meiers, 58, today faced the Supreme Court in Brisbane and pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of Geoffrey Braunack, 47, on November 1, 2004.

    She is accused of failing in her duty of care after taping the mouth of her de facto husband and using rope, tape and a dog chain to tie him to a concrete post on their Beerburrum patio.

    Geoffrey died of asphyxia—and slapping his face and putting some “bulldog” clips on his nipples, Jean’s first reaction when she found her partner unconscious, didn’t revive him. Perhaps the most tragic aspect of this case is that Jean didn’t even want to tie up Geoffrey. According to reports, “he badgered her for hours to tie him ‘like she used to’ but that she had never liked playing her partner’s sex games.”

    If your sex games require you to leave someone alone when he’s tied up, invest in a pair of these.

    Is It Cockroach Porn?

    posted by on August 6 at 1:08 PM

    It’s time to study Kafka’s collection of pornography:

    Even today, the pornography would be “on the top shelf”, Dr Hawes said, noting that his American publisher did not want him to publish it at first. “These are not naughty postcards from the beach. They are undoubtedly porn, pure and simple. Some of it is quite dark, with animals committing fellatio and girl-on-girl action… It’s quite unpleasant.”

    “Academics have pretended it did not exist,” Dr Hawes said. “The Kafka industry doesn’t want to know such things about its idol.”

    I’m more surprised that Dr. Hawes equates “girl-on-girl action” with bestiality porn. I wonder what his porn collection looks like? Also amusing: the article refers to Kafka as the “literary Kafkaesque genius.” Kafka is, indeed, if nothing else, Kafkaesque.

    Currently Wheatpasted to a Building Across the Street From Our Offices

    posted by on August 6 at 12:56 PM


    We’ve fallen in love with this image—does anyone know created it? We’d like to use it in an upcoming issue.

    Q and A

    posted by on August 6 at 12:56 PM


    Honest question: Charles, do you own any other music besides Burial?

    Because all music leads up to Burial, everything (Debussy, “Transfigured Night,” Monk, Coltrane, “Enter Evening,” King Tubby, the Black Elegance movement, Joy Division, The Bomb Squad) to this one point, the rest of music is nothing but what will become Burial/Bevan.

    Tonight, Skream spins at Nectar.

    A Genius PSA

    posted by on August 6 at 12:55 PM

    That is, a PSA created by Stranger Genius Linas Phillips and the good people at Washington Bus:

    Remember, people: The Washington State primary is August 19th.

    Meet Your All-Slog 2008 Fantasy Football Thunderdome League of Champions™

    posted by on August 6 at 12:52 PM

    After sifting through about a zillion emails, the All-Slog 2008 Fantasy Football Thunderdome League of Champions™ is ready to go.

    We’ve got:

    vooodooo84’s Rightwing Feminists

    Wisepunk’s Spikers

    Whitney’s The Ahmadinejad Show

    Mikki’s Dingbats

    Hasselbecks Hairline

    Poptart’s Tight Ends

    Elswinger’s Evergreen Stoners

    Steve’s New Orleans Taints

    David’s Green Giants

    Hochuli’s Guns

    Murgen’s Slogaholics

    and Hass’s Thunderbolts

    There’ll be a postgame wrap-up every week for the three of you who care.

    Thanks to everyone who asked to participate. If this doesn’t go too badly, we’ll try again next year.

    Feel free to root for or against your team of choice in the comments.


    What happens to this…


    …when Favre goes to another team? I know this is a ridiculous question, but still.

    They Pissed Off the Wrong Grandmother

    posted by on August 6 at 12:29 PM

    Her grandson’s finger was shot off, and her unarmed daughter was fatally shot while cowering from police. The cop, conducting a drug raid, was acquitted of all charges in a local court. But now Darla Kaye Jennings has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court, challenging the use of no-knock drug raids altogether.

    Darla Kaye Jennings filed the lawsuit on behalf of Sincere Wilson, her 1-year-old grandson who was injured when his mother, Tarika Wilson, 26, was shot. The lawsuit asks for compensation for Sincere’s injuries as well as seeking an end to “police abuse by requiring that high risk search warrant executions be limited to situations where they are truly needed and where the least amount of force necessary to the situation is employed.”

    According to the lawsuit, the shooting that led to Wilson’s death and her son’s injuries was “excessive, unreasonable, and completely unnecessary.” The lawsuit further said that Sergeant Chavalia acted “negligently” when he used deadly force.

    Godspeed, Ms. Jennings.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on August 6 at 12:01 PM

    Fun With Chavs WeekTM continues with Wee Man. Wee’s a Ned, not a Chav, but he still counts, ya bawbags.

    Want to sing along but can’t? See also the karaoke version.

    Oh Greyhound

    posted by on August 6 at 11:58 AM

    The beleaguered bus company is forced to pull its new ad campaign in the aftermath of last week’s gruesome murder.

    Greyhound has scrapped an ad campaign that extolled the relaxing upside of bus travel after one of its passengers was accused of beheading and cannibalizing another traveler.

    The ad’s tag line was “There’s a reason you’ve never heard of ‘bus rage.’

    Greyhound spokeswoman Abby Wambaugh said Wednesday a billboard and some tunnel posters near a bus terminal in Toronto are still up and would be removed later in the day.

    You know… I never thought I’d ever feel sorry for Greyhound. I used to ride the bus back and forth to college, from Chicago to Urbana, Illinois. It was back when people were allowed to smoke. On the freakin’ bus—but, you know, only in the last ten or so rows, so it’s not like the whole bus filled with smoke or anything. I used to think smoking on the bus—particularly in the winter in the midwest, when the windows were all shut tight—was the worst possible thing one bus passenger could do to another.

    It’s Hot Out!

    posted by on August 6 at 11:29 AM


    And I couldn’t be happier about that. In anticipation of today’s predicted 91-degree high, please go read food nerd extraordinaire Harold McGee’s NYT treatise on/celebration of cold food, where you’ll learn how to make ice cream using nothing but sweetened cream and milk, ice cubes, salt, and a freezer bag.

    (Photo by Darren Hester, licensed under Creative Commons license).

    On The Surge

    posted by on August 6 at 11:25 AM

    All of the talk about “troop surge” working is empty. The surge itself is bad news for American power in the context of its primary conflict, which is not with terrorist networks, or disobedient Arab states, but with its global economic rival, China. With America’s industrial and financial strength weakening, and more and more of its wealth distributed to other capitals of the world, what’s left is its military power. And it’s not merely a matter of military strength but of military wizardry.

    As David Harvey has pointed out, one must connect Shock and Awe with Hiroshima, both were not necessary to win their respective wars but to demonstrate American military technology. So the failure of Shock and Awe (it failed to beat Iraq into a new submission) is the failure of this demonstration—the purpose of which was to put the main industrial and financial rival into its (proper) place (in the global order). The level of Chinese military technology may not match the US, but, more than any other country in the world, China has the ability to “troop surge” any difficult situation into an order that’s in its favor.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on August 6 at 11:00 AM


    La Medusa’s Market Menu

    Now in its 10th year, the Columbia City Farmers’ Market may not be the city’s biggest, but it is one of the most vibrant. If you make it past the food stalls—tamales, quesadillas, some of the biggest burgers you’ve ever seen—without emptying your pockets, stop by La Medusa, the delightful “Sicilian soul food” restaurant for its $25 prix fixe market menu, available every Wednesday during market season. (Columbia City Farmers’ Market, 4801 Rainier Ave S, 3–7 pm. La Medusa, 4857 Rainier Ave S, 723-2192, 5–10 pm.)


    First Thursday Simplified

    posted by on August 6 at 11:00 AM

    From the designers at Dumb Eyes, there’s now an official First Thursday Art Walk web site.

    It shows you the weather. It gives you make-your-own maps. It is searchable by art medium. It has space for you to leave comments about the art. There are links to everywhere (social networking sites, galleries, press reports on the art), and glow-in-the-dark maps will be distributed. There’s bus, train, ferry, bike, and parking info. The only hitch is that venues have to update their own information, so there are still a bunch of blanks.

    It’s the sort of thing you can’t believe didn’t already exist, and it looks good. Give the guys at Dumb Eyes your feedback about how it works this Thursday during Art Walk, at a booth at Art in the Park in Occidental Park.

    This Is the Way to Handle This Sort of Thing

    posted by on August 6 at 11:00 AM

    Over at this librarian’s blog, which is unfortunately titled “My Liblog,” he recounts the story of a woman who protested a book called Uncle Bobby’s Wedding. This is a children’s book about a child who is afraid that her favorite Uncle Bobby, who is marrying another man, won’t have any time to spend with her after he gets married.


    The librarian responded to her e-mail with a very long, very thoughtful e-mail that he then posted to his blog. I think that everyone who’s interested in fighting book censorship should read this letter. It’s exactly the way to confront people like this.

    You feel that a book about gay marriage is inappropriate for young children. But another book in our collection, “Daddy’s Roommate,” was requested by a mother whose husband left her, and their young son, for another man. She was looking for a way to begin talking about this with son. Another book, “Alfie’s Home,” was purchased at the request of another mother looking for a way to talk about the suspected homosexuality of her young son from a Christian perspective. There are gay parents in Douglas County, right now, who also pay taxes, and also look for materials to support their views. We don’t have very many books on this topic, but we do have a handful.

    In short, most of the books we have are designed not to interfere with parents’ notions of how to raise their children, but to support them. But not every parent is looking for the same thing.

    Seriously. Go read it.

    (And a big thank you to Slog tipper Davida, who will hopefully still find time to Slog tip from Librarian School in New York City this fall.)

    Interviewing the Gov

    posted by on August 6 at 10:50 AM

    The Stranger Election Control Board’s editorial endorsements for this month’s primary election will hit the streets (and go up online) later today. In the meantime, please enjoy this edited video of the SECB’s interview with Gov. Christine Gregoire, in which the Gov gives us what-for on Sound Transit, tells us what her priorities will be if she’s reelected, and rips into Republican Dino Rossi for criticizing her close relationship with the state’s Native American tribes.

    Part I:

    Part II:

    Madonna’s New Head Gets Its Own Think Piece

    posted by on August 6 at 10:42 AM


    The meat of the essay from New York magazine:

    Through some unholy marriage of extreme fitness and calorie restriction (and maybe a little lipo), women have figured out how to tame their aging bodies for longer than ever. You see them everywhere in New York City: forty- and fiftysomethings who look better than a 25-year-old in a fitted little dress or a tight pair of jeans. But this level of fitness has created a new problem to which the New New Face is the solution—gauntness. Past a certain age, to paraphrase Catherine Deneuve, it’s either your fanny or your face. In other words, if your body is fierce (from yoga, Pilates, and the treadmill), your face will have no fat on it either and it will be … unfierce. It was only a matter of time before a certain segment of the female population would figure out how to have it both ways, even if it means working out two hours a day and then paying someone to volumize their faces, as they say in the dermatology business. As a friend of mine recently pointed out, there is now a whole new class of women walking around with wiry little bodies and “big ol’ baby faces.” And they look, well, if not exactly young, then attractive in a different way. A yoga body plus the New New Face may not be a fountain of youth, but it’s a fountain of indeterminate age.

    Read the whole thing here.

    In other women-getting-weird-plastic surgery news: Lately I’ve been watching Melrose Place on DVD (it’s a stipulation of my parole, plus I missed it when it originally aired, and thus found myself severely lacking in sexy-blackmail skills) and was shocked when then-20-something Courtney Thorne-Smith smiled and showed cute little crinkly wrinkles around her eyes. This was back in the early ’90s, when such monstrosities were allowed on network television. Fifty bucks says Ms. Thorne-Smith has fewer wrinkles now as a 40-something TV actress than she did back then. RIP, crinkly eye wrinkles.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on August 6 at 10:10 AM

    Tonight we have a Poetry Slam. Here is Anis Mojgani at the 2006 Seattle Grand Slam:

    Rock out like you just got a book published.” There’s something in the voice of poetry slam poets—a kind of self-indulgent self-satisfaction—that just makes me want to run away screaming. The above three poems haven’t changed that opinion at all, especially the third one, which is painful.

    There’s also a Young Writer’s Workshop Reading down at the Elliott Bay Book Company, in which young writers read the work they’ve produced in their summer workshops. If I had to pick, I would definitely choose this over the Poetry Slam, because I’ve worked in a bookstore during a youth reading and it was actually a lot of fun; the kids were nervous and everybody was very supportive.

    Full readings calendar here.

    Savage Love Letter of the Day

    posted by on August 6 at 10:09 AM

    Written response to the first letter in this week’s column

    I really wish I had known about years ago. My husband came out after 18 months of marriage, and by “came out,” I mean cheated on me with a college kid he met on facebook the day after Christmas.

    Looking back at it all, I know that there were plenty of red flags along the way… from his passion for scrapbooking to the the gay porn on his computer to the fact that he never wanted to have sex with me, but we were both in complete denial. He even cheated on me with someone before we got married, but chalked it up to being curious. We swept everything under the rug because we were young and stupid and caught up in the wedding planning and completely terrified of being honest with our families and ourselves.

    Yes, ACK’s cousin’s fiance might be aware of everything and might be into gay porn, but there’s really a good chance that she’s just deluding herself because she’s scared of the alternative. And if the cousin has denied everything to her, or claimed that his homosexual relationships were just a phase, then he could very easily be deluding himself too.

    Incidentally, my husband and I got a divorce and we are still quite chummy. I am now engaged to a truly wonderful man and the husband is still dating that kid he met on facebook (who, by the way, is a complete douchebag, but that’s a different letter, I guess).

    Straight Ex-Spouse

    Photographer Isaac Layman on In/Visible: “I wanted to take ceramics, but ceramics was full, so I had to take photography, and I failed that class.”

    posted by on August 6 at 10:00 AM

    Isaac Layman’s Stereo (2008), 58 by 102 inches

    Standing in front of the above image, Layman talks about the anti-exotic photograph:

    (*This is a new feature I’m trying where I break up the art podcast In/Visible into little pieces for those of you who don’t have the time to deal with a 30-minute block. For those of you who love the 30-minute block, the interviews will still be available in that form on the In/Visible home page.)

    First Came Altoids, Then Red Bull, Now Pabst Blue Ribbon

    posted by on August 6 at 10:00 AM

    They all want to suckle at the credibility-teat of art. This is the new marketing-advertising, folks, made for people who distrust the old marketing-advertising.

    There’s even a clever, clever name! From the press release:

    We wanted to make sure you knew about Pabst Blue Ribbon’s third annual “PB-Arts Contest” and the upcoming submission dates.

    The contest invites PBR drinkers to create unique works of art inspired by the historic brew. Works will be accepted in four categories — photography, painting, sculpture and poetry (new this year) — from September 1 through December 31, 2008. PBR will select one grand prize winner and one runner-up in each category on January 15, 2009. As in past years, the winning artwork will be honored and displayed in cities across the United States in various ways — wallscapes, alternative weeklies, building projections, newspaper racks, bus benches, store displays and other visual outlets. You may have seen this year’s artwork up around your city.

    Grand prize winners will receive $1,893 in cash, symbolic to the year 1893 when PBR won their famous blue ribbon, and a one-year supply of the inspiring brew. The runners-up in each category will receive exactly 1/3 of the Grand Prize: $631 in cash and a four-month supply of Pabst. For further submission and contest details your readers can visit

    The masterwork of last year’s contest:


    First, I hated PBR for its newfound hipsterism. Now I hate it for its devious, devious scheme to get me not to hate it.

    O They Will Know We Are Christians…

    posted by on August 6 at 9:54 AM

    …by our biker gangs.

    Officers arrested eight members of an Anaheim biker gang and charged them with attempted murder this morning as part of an ongoing operation, authorities said.

    The charges stem from a fight last week at a Newport Beach bar between two biker gangs, said Anaheim police Sgt. Tim Schmidt. The group arrested this morning are members of a Christian biker gang named Set Free Soldiers, and the victims are members of the Hells Angels, Schmidt said.

    The operation, which included SWAT teams, began about 5 a.m. today, Schmidt said. No injuries were reported, Schmidt said, adding that officers served 11 warrants, all on attempted murder charges.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Brian.

    Cover Up That Truth!

    posted by on August 6 at 9:21 AM

    In a stunning move of unintentional PR irony, Silvio Berlusconi’s people re-veiled a nipple in the Tiepolo painting The Truth Unveiled by Time, therefore brazenly calling their own man a big fat liar and setting off an Italian Justin-Janet fiasco.

    For those craving the truth in the form of a Tiepolo nipple, look no further than the zoom-in function on SAM’s Tiepolo.

    This Is Going to be a Campaign Issue, Right?

    posted by on August 6 at 9:15 AM

    A pair of headlines:

    Iraq’s oil-fueled surplus could hit $80 billion, report says
    US deficit zooming to half-trillion as Bush leaves

    So… we’ve got a 500 billion-dollar deficit while Iraq, thanks to the price of oil, is approaching a $100 billion-dollar surplus. And this war, according to the Bush administration, was supposed to pay for itself.

    The Morning News

    posted by on August 6 at 7:50 AM

    Don’t Mex with Texas: State executes Mexican convicted of murder, but denies consul visit in violation of international law and despite Bush administration request for a new hearing.

    Mauritania: Army officers stage coup after four military officials were fired. Junta blacks out state media, deploys military through capital, detains president and PM.

    Vice Chimes: Obama to appear with Evan Bayh, current senator and former two-term governor of Indiana, stirring widespread speculation about Bayh as VP pick.

    Driven to It: Former driver for Bin Laden convicted of war crimes in closed military court, faces life term.

    Get Well, Councilmember: McIver in intensive care unit after suffering post-operation complications from colon surgery.

    Electric Slide: Kentucky governor approves three- and four-wheeled electric cars on some roads.

    Get a Room: McCain campaign loves Paris Hilton’s energy plan.

    It’s Finally Happening: Airlines planning to install Internet on planes. “If they charge for it, they are going to make millions and millions of dollars.”

    Apple Sauce: Jobs concedes launch of troubled MobileMe Internet service was poorly timed, hands over project to another executive.

    Red Alert: Freddie Mac posts quarterly loss of $821 million on housing and credit markets—far worse than expected.

    Green Light: Port and city strike deal to connect I-90 to waterfront.

    Golden Opportunity: China denies entry to former Olympic medalist for views on Darfur.

    Under Pressure: “Sen. Obama … said that we ought to all inflate our tires, and I don’t disagree with that,” says McCain.

    Under Processed: Sims wants to spend $84 million to update county’s computer systems.

    Under Staffed: Waiting time in emergency rooms now averages an hour (while vogue and money for docs is now in cosmetic surgery and dermatology).

    Maverick Ad of the Day: Obama campaign borrows page from the Eli Sanders handbook.

    15-Year-Old Fatally Shot in Hillman City

    posted by on August 6 at 12:06 AM

    Seattle Police are investigating the murder of a 15-year-old boy who was shot and killed late last night in South Seattle.

    At about 10:30 p.m., Seattle police received a call about a shooting on Rainier Ave S and S Graham Street. When officers arrived, they found a 15-year-old boy lying on the sidewalk, with a gunshot wound to the stomach.

    The boy was transported to Harborview, where he died sometime later.

    According to SPD Spokeswoman Renee Witt, the victim was walking south on Rainier with several friends when they heard a gunshot.

    The boy’s friends told police they don’t know where the shot came from and police say they have no suspects.

    SPD’s gang unit is investigating.

    Tuesday, August 5, 2008

    My Everything Is Sweating

    posted by on August 5 at 9:44 PM

    Crikey. Anyone else get home to find their house is like a furnace? It’s nice outside, but opening the windows barely helps. I want to leave to get a drink—preferably some place with air conditioning. Or just drink coolers in the yard.

    Headline of the Day

    posted by on August 5 at 5:49 PM

    Sydney Morning Herald:

    ‘Bus beheader’ had mouth, nose and ear in pocket


    posted by on August 5 at 5:17 PM

    Congratulations, Cynthia, you’re the millionth person to send me a link to this story about some dumbfuck who spent God only knows how much money getting her beloved pit bull terrier—a dead pit named “Booger”—cloned.

    Actually, we do know how much money she spent: $50,000 for a litter of five, or $10,000 per dog. I have nothing to say about this obscenity save this: When Booger’s clones turn on their new owner and go for her throat… well, it looks like they won’t have to go one at a time.


    And remember, kids: Your dead pet might have been nice, but his clone will be evil incarnate.

    City Auditor Releases Hate Crime Report

    posted by on August 5 at 4:25 PM

    Following a rash of high-profile hate crime attacks around Seattle last year—some of which drew complaints about the police department’s response to the incidents—council members Nick Licata, Sally Clark and Tom Rasmussen asked the City Auditor to assess the city’s handling of bias crimes.

    As we’ve reported on Slog, hate crimes appear to be on the rise in Seattle, but according to the Auditor’s report, the city’s doing a fair job of handling the unfortunately growing caseload.

    From 2006 to 2007, hate crimes in Seattle nearly doubled, jumping from 27 reported cases in ‘06 to 52 cases in ‘07. The majority of Seattle’s hate crimes occurred in Downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill, although there were also a number of incidents in the Ballard area. Only the Magnolia and Haller Lake neghborhoods had no reported incidents.

    While the city hasn’t yet found an effective way to prevent incidents from occurring, the report does commend Seattle and Washington State for having some of the most comprehensive hate crime laws in the nation. However, not every hate crime case is making it to court.

    According to the Auditor’s report, the city needs to better track data on hate crimes. For instance, several cases weren’t referred to prosecutors because they’d been misfiled at a police precinct and were not forwarded on to the department’s bias crimes liason. The Auditor’s report also cites SPD’s new computerized report system as a problematic, complicating factor in tracking cases and recommends officers receive additional training so they can more readily recognize bias crimes.

    City council members will be meeting with police department officials in the next few weeks to discuss the report.

    Salty’s—Nazi-Quoting Van Owners, Big Hanger-Uppers!

    posted by on August 5 at 4:22 PM

    Warning! Below you will find the word “eateries”. Forgive me.

    A long time ago I co-wrote a feature piece with Dan (yes, Savage) and Mary Martone (where have all the Mary Martones gone? I ask you.). It was a field piece, a big gay adventure! The three of us separately scoured Seattle, tops-to-bottoms (har-har), searching for Seattle’s best potential next “gay ghetto”. (That’s what Capitol Hill used to be, wee children.) I got West Seattle, among other places. Interested parties can find the entire piece here.

    Now you will pause to please to recall David’s post below. This one. It links a bizarre Nazi-quoting Republican propaganda van that’s been spotted in West Seattle to the apparently batshit crazazy owner of Salty’s. It’s seems that said owner of Salty’s (and the hate van) is a big conservative Hitler-appreciating doo-doo headed douchebag of sorts, which finally sort of explains, well, this (from the New Gay Ghetto piece I was talking about):

    Next I rang Salty’s, one of West Seattle’s most chi-chi and popular eateries, and asked how they would feel about sharing their digs with a disco or bathhouse. They put me on hold three times, and I eventually gave up. I can take a hint.

    Indeed, but apparently I can’t take a hint! For there is, in fact, even more to that story.

    I called Salty’s one more time. It’s true. I basically knew that whatever they said wouldn’t make it into the piece (it had been “put to bed” as they say), but they had really pissed me off. When they answered, I told them precisely again who I was and exactly why I was calling. I remind them that I had called three times before and had lingered on hold for at least forty minutes. I respectfully asked for an answer to my question.

    Well! Merciful heavens! The fussy voice on the other end said, “I don’t know how I’d feel about that, I’m sure I probably wouldn’t like it too much, now we are very busy, thanks…” aaannnddd….


    CLICK! They totally hung up on me! The turds!

    So there you have it, and there it is: Salty’s on Alki—an apparently Nazi-liking, Republican-ish, Gay-Ghetto-Not-Likers and big hanger-uppers on me.

    We’ve beheld thy true face, Salty’s. And it’s a great big asshole. With terrible phone manners. And I really hope someone hangs up on you someday. And on your fucking van, too.

    Tonight in Seattle: Blaxploitation and the Belltown Block Party

    posted by on August 5 at 4:22 PM


    Tonight brings two good options for open-air revelry.

    Option #1: Foxy Brown, the seminal ’70s blaxploitation flick starring an ass-kicking, awesomely outfitted Pam Grier, which will be projected onto that huge white wall in the parking lot of Havana as part of their ongoing Movie Night series. There will be lounge chairs, drink service, free popcorn, and pre- and post-show DJing by DV One. Gates at 8pm, admission is $3 (or free with a stamp from the Saint). Last summer I attended Havana’s parking lot screening of GoodFellas. It was glorious.

    Option #2: The Belltown ‘Night Out’ Block Party, described thusly:


    Please come! Join your neighbors on Tuesday, August 5th from 7-10PM for FREE food, fun, and friendship! A neighborhood gathering to foster community and build safety awareness will be held in front of the Beckoning Cistern at 81 Vine Street. Vine Street will be closed off from Post Alley to Western for the festivities. Part of the Seattle Police Department’s “Night Out” crime prevention event, public safety officials will be there welcoming attendees. Please come and join your neighbors there for an evening of fun, food, gifts, and friendship. This event is free and open to all.

    So, yes, go to Belltown….if you dare.

    Leathery Ol’ Drug Dealer

    posted by on August 5 at 4:06 PM

    Cindy McCain is chairwoman of Hensley & Co., one of the nation’s largest beer wholesalers. So a group in Denver is branding her a drug dealer and distributing “wanted” posters with her leathery ol’ face. And they’ve made this video:

    The commercial is a riff on the belching Bud-weis-er frogs—only these guys croak “Drug deal-er.” Behind the campaign is a pot-legalization group, Safer Alternatives For Enjoyable Recreation. It seems pretty incredible that folks who want to reduce the stigma of drugs would smear someone for selling drugs—legal or illegal—but they freely admit it’s a stunt. “Our purpose is to draw attention to the fact that our government steers citizens to choose alcohol over marijuana,” says Mason Tvert, executive director of SAFER, “despite the fact that marijuana is far less harmful.”

    The LA Times recently pointed out that if John McCain were elected president (Christ almighty, please don’t let it happen), the presence of his alcohol-industry-profiteering wife in the White House would constitute an unprecedented conflict of interest. Meanwhile, to point out SAFER’s frustration about the double standards, John McCain has vowed to maintain raids on medical marijuana patients. “The law is the law, and I do not believe it’s going to be changed,” he said last fall at a town hall meeting, “and it’s not going to be changed by me.”

    Now THAT’s Chutzpah

    posted by on August 5 at 4:04 PM

    In her column two days ago, Maureen Dowd not only blamed anonymous “feminists” for failing to defend Michelle Obama against sexists now painting her as a “harridan,” but stated as fact—without one shred of evidence—that “some” die-hard Hillary supporters now “mutter darkly” that they’ll “never vote for a man again.”

    Now, I know it’s not beyond MoDo to make crazy claims without substantiating them—hell, it isn’t beyond her to pretend to file columns from places she hasn’t even been—but these fictitious straw-PUMAs are just too much. And for Dowd—one of the biggest champions of the Hillary-as-heartless-harridan meme back when Clinton was still in the race—to blame feminists (again, without evidence—indeed, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary) for failing to defend Michelle Obama against similar charges is so hypocritical it makes me want to spit.

    On the other hand, this is the same woman who refers to Obama incessantly as “exotic”—which is barely even veiled—and wonders, based on a fabricated, debunked story in the Wall Street Journal whether Obama is too much of a “beanpole” to be President.

    If Your Tuesday is Dragging

    posted by on August 5 at 4:00 PM

    Two online games to occupy your time in a non-work-related manner:

    Duck, which has no directions but is simpler than you might originally think, and The Idiot Test, which gives you explicit directions, but is more difficult than you might originally think.

    We’ll get through this Tuesday together, dammit.

    Re: Re: The Cazy Old Man Card

    posted by on August 5 at 3:50 PM

    Paris Hilton responds to the “wrinkly white-haired guy” who just used her in a campaign ad:

    See more funny videos at Funny or Die

    Swingset Vote

    posted by on August 5 at 3:45 PM


    I just got this email from someone who hated Swing Vote because its fictional Child Protective Services didn’t do the right thing, and Dan Savage is on my case because he wants to rip Kevin Costner’s head off…

    So I’m curious. Sure, Roger Ebert and Manohla Dargis endorse it (I agree with Ebert on the sacrificed scoop thing; I strongly disagree with Dargis about the mom scene, assuming that was an objection), but did any of you Slog readers—political party cynics that you are—kinda sorta appreciate Swing Vote? Aren’t the New Mexico locations nice? Isn’t the acting surprisingly decent?

    Or am I just a total sucker for a movie about doing your civic duty?

    Swing Vote

    In other vague and possibly pointless questions, what was that ’30s movie that was at the Grand Illusion a few years ago where all the curmudgeonly frontiersmen sing “America the Beautiful”—or some other patriotic song?—in a… schoolhouse or something? (Josh Feit? Did you see that with me?) It’s been driving completely me nuts because I—clearly—can’t remember a thing about it.

    Re: Lost Dogs

    posted by on August 5 at 3:20 PM

    Dan, I called the Seattle Art Museum for you. It seems to be a case of underperforming dogs. They didn’t make enough money down there (I bet the people who protested the penis-sculpture fountain have something to say about why nobody wants to eat hot dogs in front of exposed penises), so the dogs had to take it on the road.

    The cart is called Dante’s Inferno Dogs. You can find it “around town.” It might return to the park when crowds are expected (ie, for Hempfest).

    This information is courtesy SAM spokeswoman Cara Egan.

    Naming Rights on Artworks

    posted by on August 5 at 3:09 PM


    Earlier today I posted about PDL’s installation this past weekend at the Olympic Sculpture Park. With a sign of proposed land use, the artists announced a coming Starbucks sculpture. There’s no such sculpture coming—they did it to see how people would respond.

    In the comments on that post, somebody named NG reminded me of this:

    Actually, OSP already has a sponsored sculpture—the Neukom Vivarium. That entire building is the sculpture itself, not just the nurse log. The artist was involved in the sponsorship-naming process, and is purportedly fine with it.

    Posted by NG | August 5, 2008 11:38 AM

    Here’s what I know about how that went down: The press was given a list of the artworks prior to the opening, and on that list, the piece was called Seattle Vivarium. Then, shortly before the park opened, the sculpture took the name of the Neukom family of donors. The artist made the decision.

    It’s not uncommon for artists to title works after the people who commission them or after collectors with whom they have some kind of ongoing or special relationship (see “Wright’s Triangle” by Richard Serra at WWU). I have a call into the museum to see whether Dion has any special relationship with the Neukoms. I have a vague memory of asking him about this amidst all the hubbub at the opening, and I don’t remember any special relationship coming up.

    Even if there isn’t one, there’s nothing wrong with Dion titling the piece this way—he can do whatever he wants. Maybe I’m reaching here, but I suppose it’s also possible that he adopted the title to make a subtle point. Because his work is always exploring the systems that underlie objects, he could have decided to use the name to remind viewers of the system of philanthropy that undergirds a project like the OSP. Or not.

    Either way, I’ve tried to think of other contemporary artworks that take donors’ names as their titles but are not inspired by the donors, and I’ve come up short. I even enlisted a couple curators. Anybody think of any?

    UPDATE from museum spokeswoman Cara Egan, of the museum’s point of view: “Because the Vivarium is a park infrastructure project (its own building, structure, permit, etc.) it was determined to be a recognition/naming opportunity and approved by Mark Dion.”

    Cyndi Lauper Tells It Like It Is

    posted by on August 5 at 3:03 PM


    Thank you, Towleroad, for directing me to this interview of Cyndi Lauper in the London Times.

    On her disgust with Dubya and love for gays:

    This community for me is my beloved community. I have been running with this community all my life, and when I hear people like George Bush talk about the gay community being anti-American it makes my blood boil. The guy who saved the White House, one of the heroes who crashed that plane on 9/11, was gay – the rugby player Mark Bingham, who died on United 93. And does Bush ever mention that? That gay guy saved his lousy ass. And this guy who says he prays to God, this guy who promotes hate and fear, this guy we call our President…This guy is the true anti-American.

    And on her insurmountable heterosexuality:

    My sister was gay, my best friends were gay, so I figured I had to be gay. So I did everything they did. I tried kissing girls. But it didn’t feel right for me and eventually I was forced to come out as a heterosexual.

    Team Mask, Part II

    posted by on August 5 at 3:02 PM

    And here’s a trailer from another kind of team (the “RNC Welcoming Committee”) wearing another kind of mask (black bandanas).

    It’s pretty cute, for a video predicting violent battles in the streets of St. Paul.

    (Any Slog readers from Minneapolis-St. Paul? I’ll be there for the convention and am looking for local contacts. If you know any, email me at:

    Team Mask

    posted by on August 5 at 2:40 PM

    Athletes have begun to arrive in Beijing for the Olympics, and they’re arriving in anti-pollution masks:


    … four track cyclists on the United States Olympic team stepped off their flight wearing masks over their mouths and noses.

    The masks were designed by Randy Wilber, a 53-year-old scientist for the U.S. Olympic Training Center, who has been fielding bizarre questions from athletes for months:

    Should I run behind a bus and breathe in the exhaust? Should I train on the highway during rush hour? Is there any way to acclimate myself to pollution?

    Wilber answers those questions with a steadfast, “No.”

    “We have to be extremely careful and steer them in the right direction because the mind-set of the elite athlete is to do anything it takes to get that advantage,” he said. “If they thought locking themselves in the garage with the car running would help them win a gold medal, I’m sure they would do it. Our job, obviously, is to prevent that.”

    The IHT has a great story the air and the Olympics, including boxers who jog in their hotel hallways instead of the street, runners from last year’s test Olympic events hawking up black phlegm, and one politic America athlete who said:

    If the Olympics were in Los Angeles, we would probably wear these masks, too.

    Give that cyclist a job in the embassy.


    West Seattle Blog on West Seattle Bonehead

    posted by on August 5 at 2:06 PM


    It began with a simple query on West Seattle Blog:

    Anyone see the Republican propoganda bus sponsored by Salty’s owner? It quotes Hitler as a positive thinker.

    The bus has been spotted all over West Seattle, and eventually WSB Key Master lowmanbeach provided photos, including the one above and this one highlighting the positive-thinking Hitler quote.

    lowmanbeach also provides some eyewitness details:

    The door of the truck says “The Kingen Family” followed by Wolfi’s and Patriots. Salty’s owner’s name is Gerry Kingen.

    ..and some valuable history:

    [Kingen] apparently does have a track record of [controversial] political involvement. This story came up from 2004.

    So, apparently, the owner of Salty’s (who’s also owner of the Red Robin chain) is a Native American-baiting, Hitler-quoting loon. Who knew? (Besides the entire P-I editorial board, I mean…)

    Thanks, West Seattle Blog! (And Slog tipper Explorer.)

    “I bet she’d give Sherman Alexie a blowjob.”

    posted by on August 5 at 2:06 PM

    Titual Journal (“A Journal of New Beginnings”) is an online literary magazine in which authors take titles from preexisting books, movies and television shows and write new short-short stories to go with them. It’s a great little website to while away some time.

    One such story is The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven, by Barry Graham, which, obviously, pilfered its title from a short story collection by Stranger Genius Sherman Alexie. It’s a fun little story, with appearances by Alexie and one or two other surprising celebrities.

    It’s a Shame About Ray

    posted by on August 5 at 1:54 PM


    Twenty years ago last weekend, Raymond Carver died of cancer at age 50. The Telegraph writes about his influence, which they determine is still growing.

    Lish once located Carver’s “value” in his “sense of a particular bleakness”. Most of his editing seems to have been an attempt to heighten this sense, by cutting introspection, description and anything he felt tended towards the sentimental or epiphanic.

    Lish added as well as subtracted - paragraph breaks between lines of dialogue, enigmatic titles and the limited, repetitive vocabulary of what became known as “K-Mart Realism”.

    I sure do like Raymond Carver a whole lot.

    (Via Bookninja.)

    Fleeting Inconvenience Threatens West Seattle

    posted by on August 5 at 1:37 PM

    West Seattle residents are in a tizzy over a developer’s proposal to temporarily block an alley near the West Seattle Junction (the intersection of California Avenue and Southwest Alaska Street).

    Conner Homes wants to use less than half of the alley for one year while it constructs two buildings that would share a parking garage underneath. During that year, drivers entering the alley would have to drive around the block, and deliveries for some businesses—gasp—would have to enter through the front door.

    Although the city is encouraging residents to submit comments, that’s not enough for the NIMBAs of West Seattle. They are discussing the alley, blogging about the alley, drafting a petition against blocking the alley, and gathering signatures to protect their alley! According to the petition, being circulated by the West Seattle Junction Association:

    The project will impact our ability to do business and will have severe negative economic effects on the businesses in the Junction area…. During this time we will not be able to access parking freely at the rear of the business along the alley way. There will be the impact of not having the ability for customers to load and unload in the alley way and access the businesses. This also will make it very difficult for deliveries to take place during the construction….

    The businesses in peril include Liberty Bell Printing, Curious Kidstuff, Elliott Bay Brewery, and Petco. Liz Schroeder, chair of the Junction Association’s beautification committee, is the manager of the Elliott Bay Brewery, where signature gatherers drop off petitions. She says they are campaigning to save the alley “so the merchants can survive.” She attributes the lethal threat to a loss of parking spaces, the potential for alley traffic jams, and a turnaround space offered by the developer that would be too small for 35-foot delivery trucks. But that defense is the same tired “If you do anything to inconvenience businesses then the entire industry will fail” argument. However, as of this morning, all of the businesses had front doors to accept deliveries. As of this morning, thousands of businesses in Seattle managed to get by without any alley at all. And as of this morning, businesses on MLK Way continued to survive despite the inconvenience of light-rail construction.

    “Everyone knows that when it is done, it will look a lot better,” says Schroeder. “That’s great, but what about all the businesses in meantime?”

    Lest you think Schroeder and others circulating the petition are a bunch of anti-development reactionaries, West Seattle Blog reports: “The group stressed they are not opposed to this development in general. They believe it could be built in phases, one tower at a time, without alley closure required at any point.” Talk about crippling businesses.

    Organizing to stop something inevitable and beneficial, simply because they dislike the inconvenience, is ridiculous. The city should accept those petitions with a smile, and insert them directly into the shredder. Losing part of an alley for a year is the sort of thing we have to put up with—we live in a growing city—in every neighborhood. West Seattle NIMBAs need to suck it up like everyone else.

    Re: The Crazy Old Man Card

    posted by on August 5 at 1:17 PM

    Miss Buffalo Chipgate

    posted by on August 5 at 1:02 PM

    We’re wasting our time beating up on John McCain for suggesting that his leathery ol’ wife should participate in a topless/bottomless beauty pageant.

    Yes, Obama couldn’t say it—but then Obama isn’t a notorious ladies man and adulterer that dumped his first wife when she went and got all ugly and shit.

    More to the point, and setting aside the issue of race, people think it’s cute when the elderly pretend that they’ve still got it and say mildly racy (not racist!) things about their leathery ol’ spouses. These comments would be interpreted very differently if Obama made them not because Obama is black (or a Democrat) but because Obama is young and virile and his wife is a total fucking fox. If Obama had suggested that Michelle enter a topless beauty pageant we would be forced to actually conjure up mental images of Michelle taking part because Michelle could. (And she could win.) When McCain says it about Cindy, we don’t picture Cindy entering the contest because she couldn’t and, on the off chance that she did, she certainly wouldn’t win it.

    People don’t perceive sexual heat, or sexual tension, in McCain’s marriage and therefore they don’t perceive any in his comments. The people in that crowd—and the people watching the clip on YouTube—interpret them like this: “Hey, the old dude still thinks his old wife is hot—awww, isn’t that cute?”

    Democrats and progressives straining to make an issue of this by playing “if Obama said it!” are making a mistake. We’re not the party of idiotic, knee-jerk prudery and we look ridiculous when we pretend that we are.

    The Crazy Old Man Card

    posted by on August 5 at 1:00 PM

    Dan is beating the drum for Obama and/or other Democrats to go on the attack against McCain using “the crazy old man card.”

    The logic: McCain seems to have been successful at hurting Obama by unfairly accusing Obama of playing “the race card,” so Obama should stop playing nice and start trying to hurt McCain—by highlighting McCain’s advanced age.

    Setting aside what I think is a somewhat subtle effort, already underway, to do just that through well-chosen visuals in contrast commercials such as this one…

    …I have to say I think Dan’s wrong about it being smart for Democrats to go directly at McCain on the age issue.

    I get the need for liberals to bare their teeth in the post-Kerry era, and I get the sense of moral equivalence (or, rather, amoral equivalence) that’s at play here. It’s the sense that if this is the way McCain’s team is going to operate, it’s the way Obama’s team should operate.

    But here’s the thing: There’s not an equivalence of electoral upside to the two attacks.

    Yes, McCain’s attempt to cast Obama as a race-card-player is sure to upset African Americans and sympathetic liberals. But, keeping an eye on the cold political math that undergirds all ploys of this kind, the reality is that there are far more white people in this country who can be riled up by McCain’s talk of race-card-playing than there are Africans Americans and sympathetic liberals who will see through the McCain camp’s disingenuousness and become offended.

    In addition, and more to the point of why it’s unwise for Obama to attack McCain’s age in response, there are way more old people in this country than there are, say, African Americans and sympathetic liberals. Thus, the pool of people who Obama could easily offend by resorting to attacks on McCain’s age is huge. Not only that, but Obama is already struggling with the over-65 demographic. Poll after poll shows his support is strongest among younger voters and weakest among the elderly.

    I have no doubt that Obama and his allies will try in subtle ways (as above) to remind voters of how old McCain is, but it would be incredibly stupid of team Obama to go straight at McCain’s age.

    It’s a tricky bind to be in—Obama has to absorb McCain’s attacks on his alleged race-card-playing, and at the same time he has to refrain from going right back at McCain with an easy, similarly-volatile charge.

    But elections aren’t fair, and if Obama were to start playing the “crazy old man card” in broad daylight, he’d immediately be seen as beating up on an old man, giving McCain yet another victim card to play.

    Obama’s been dealt the stronger hand in this election. He doesn’t need to start strengthening his opponent’s hand out of frustration or spite.

    Every Author Should Look This Happy

    posted by on August 5 at 12:39 PM

    Ernest Borgnine did a signing of his new autobiography, Ernie, at L.A.’s Book Soup. I have no reason to write about this at all except that this picture makes me tremendously happy:

    Holy shit, can you believe it? I wrote a fucking book!

    And also, I love Book Soup Blog’s tagline:

    “If you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ‘em!” - John Waters”

    Re: Paging ECB

    posted by on August 5 at 12:26 PM

    What he said:

    All I’m saying is that if Barack Obama had gone to an event with 20,000 people wasting gas to talk about energy and said that his wife should have simulated sucking a banana dick between another woman’s legs, this race would be fucking over.

    How the Mariners Suck

    posted by on August 5 at 12:12 PM

    At the request of Slog Commenter Doug, who wrote in the Critical Mass comment thread:

    If you want to lecture Seattle on how shitty our baseball team is, then fine.

    OK, Seattle, how shitty is your baseball team? Well, not the shittiest in Major League Baseball, what with one more win than the hapless Washington Nationals (think the W on their caps might make them all stupider, like the other W in DC?). But however shitty your team is, I am sad they won’t be playing at Safeco when I visit next week. Why?

    Because any time I have a chance to see Ichiro play, I do. I’ve gotten the impression from M’s season ticket holders that Mariners’ rooters tend to be fair-weather fans, abandoning the park in droves when the team is not in contention. This is a mistake, as the beauty of baseball is not just in team wins, it’s also in individual performances.

    A bold prediction: Ichiro will be the first Japanese- born player inducted into the Hall of Fame five years after his retirement. He recently compiled his 3,000th career hit (combining his Japanese and American records) and with his Rookie of the Year award, his multiple 200-hit seasons, and his record 262 hits in a season (breaking a record that lasted 84 years, far longer than Ruth’s 60 homer season record) make him a mortal lock for Cooperstown. He is one of the greatest players ever, and worth the ticket price alone.

    Maybe you just shouldn’t buy any concessions when the team sucks… then again, that’s when fans most need their beer, to cry in.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on August 5 at 12:01 PM

    whit? aye king chav gets owned in a 2 spec hit wid a glasgow boos? ouch!!!

    “Why Do We Put Collard Greens in Our Burritos at Villa Victoria?”

    posted by on August 5 at 11:27 AM

    …asks an email to The Stranger’s Chow Department. The short answer to this rhetorical question: “…because the collard greens are flavorful, irreproachable, and delicious!” The long answer may be found here. Stranger reader-reviewers are silent (so far) on the relative merits of Villa Victoria and its collard green–laden burritos; one Stranger staffer reports that Villa Victoria’s tamales can be “a little dry.”

    Here is some footage of a woman named Rosa chopping collard greens in the kitchen at Villa Victoria. If you like watching people chop, you’re gonna love this. If not, be warned: It is just footage of a woman named Rosa chopping collard greens.

    Screw You, Top Two

    posted by on August 5 at 11:04 AM

    On KUOW this morning, I’m pretty sure I heard Secretary of State Sam Reed hypothesizing that Washington’s new top-two primary might increase voter turnout (compared to last year) because voters would no longer be so incensed about being forced to pick a party that they refused to vote.

    Now, I know the Secretary of State office must have heard plenty last year from pouty, self-styled independents who couldn’t understand the art and fun of temporary, strategic partisan voting. But were there really that many of them? In our endorsement interview last week, Reed conceded that turnout might actually go down in this primary, because voters understand that there are few real choices being made. He thought this would only happen in places like Seattle, where it’s pretty clear that two candidates of the same party will make it through. But even in areas where party identification is more evenly split, there are tons of races where the two frontrunners are pretty evident before a single vote is cast.

    In plenty of races across Washington state, this primary is essentially a glorified, state-funded public opinion poll. Candidates will get talking points and potentially jumpstart their fundraising by winning the primary, but they still have to do the exact same thing all over again in the general. Among the few races where your vote is likely to have a real impact are those for Supreme Court positions, where any candidate who earns over 50% of the vote gets elected without going on to the general. If Sam Reed is right—that voter turnout will only be depressed in places like Seattle and might even increase elsewhere—then that could eventually have a frightening impact on the political slant of our high court.

    God, how I hate you, top-two primary.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on August 5 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Chris & Don’

    Impressively, Chris & Don opens up the romance between the English novelist Christopher Isherwood and the painter Don Bachardy without sensationalizing the particulars. Bachardy was 18 when he met Isherwood, almost 50, on a beach in Santa Monica in 1952. Bachardy was a fan of movie stars, a product of Los Angeles, thoroughly uninterested in books; Isherwood was the writer about whom Somerset Maugham said to Virginia Woolf, “That young man holds the future of the English novel in his hands.” (See movie times, www.thestranger .com, for details.)


    Currently Hanging

    posted by on August 5 at 11:00 AM

    Alec Soth’s Rainbow Inn (2005)

    The truth is, this is really only currently “hanging” on Alec Soth’s web site, but I really wanted to share it with you because I just found out that Soth, one of my favorite contemporary photographers, is receiving the Photographic Center Northwest’s PhotoVision Award this year. That means he’ll give a public talk Sunday, September 28, at 2 pm at Seattle Art Museum.

    One of the reasons I love this image is fairly personal: It’s from Soth’s NIAGARA series, and my parents, like so many, honeymooned at Niagara Falls in the late ’60s. Like the tight triangular composition of this image, my parents had a very structured life in mind ahead of them: marriage, home, children. And, of course, as the incongruent elements of the photograph depict (the rainbow sign, the gray sky; the intimacy a motel promises, the distance of the camera from the building), things didn’t work out. Like not even close. For the last 26 years, my parents haven’t spoken.

    If you think that’s cheesy, let’s just say this is also simply a terrific photograph, taken by someone who still believes in the power of an image to (relatively) unselfconsciously depict the world.

    UPDATE: I meant to add a link to Soth’s great, now-defunct blog, but according to a note on its home page, it has been attacked by hackers and is down for now.

    At Last! Your Chance to Support Tao Lin

    posted by on August 5 at 11:00 AM

    Author Tao Lin, who everybody on Slog absolutely loves, is selling shares in his next novel. The $2,000 shares will earn a 10% stake in whatever royalties, movie rights, and reprints the book earns for the rest of the investors’ lives.

    Tao admits that he hopes publicity generated by his innovative money-raising strategy will itself boost sales of the book, but he also says that being publicly owned – at least in a professional sense - would boost his motivation.

    “People who buy shares will actually help me focus more on the novel,” he wrote on his blog.

    (Thanks to Slog tipper Justin.)

    The Italians

    posted by on August 5 at 10:54 AM

    If a new report is to be believed, it seems a quarter of all Italian couples regularly take part in wife swapping.
    The revelation comes not from the seedier quarters of the country that gave the world Casanova, but from the usually po-faced pages of national broadsheet La Stampa. According to yesterday’s front page article, entitled “The Lunch Time Swingers”, an estimated 500,000 Italian couples are officially swapping partners at private sex clubs, with thousands more doing it in a more ad-hoc fashion in car parks, specially designated beaches or even cemeteries.

    Note One
    I wonder what the percentage is for American couples?

    Note Two
    Recall the best passage in the Communist Manifesto:

    Our bourgeois, not content with having the wives and daughters of their proletarians at their disposal, not to speak of common prostitutes, take the greatest pleasure in seducing each other’s wives.

    Paging ECB

    posted by on August 5 at 10:45 AM

    John McCain was at a big biker rally in Sturgis, South Dakota yesterday and, well

    McCain felt so comfortable at the event that he even volunteered his wife for the rally’s traditional beauty pageant, an infamously debauched event that’s been known to feature topless women.

    “I encouraged Cindy to compete,” McCain said to cheers. “I told her with a little luck she could be the only woman ever to serve as first lady and Miss Buffalo Chip.”

    Miss Buffalo Chip? That would be the winner of a contest that involves not just toplessness, but also, as Ben Smith notes, occasional bottomlessness.

    Lost Dogs

    posted by on August 5 at 10:33 AM

    Speaking of the Olympic Sculpture Park…


    …does anyone know what happened to the truly excellent little hot dog cart that used to sit to the right of that big orange thing? Did SAM toss it out after someone got a spot of mustard on the sidewalk or something? I miss those dogs.

    Wanks for the Memories

    posted by on August 5 at 10:23 AM

    Playgirl Magazine is closing its print edition and going online-only porn publication.

    In my freshman year of high school at a party at a cast party for my St. Jerome’s Teen Club Teen Show production of Oklahoma I found a copy Playgirl sitting on the buffet in the dining room. I stole it, snuck it home, and was crushed to discover that every single man in the issue was covered in chest-and-belly hair, smeared with baby oil, and sporting a mustache. They were all dudes that looked like this…


    Ugh. I found much better wank material pouring over the stacks of back issues of After Dark magazine in the junk store a block from St. Jerome’s. Ah, After Dark’s ballet dancers…


    Anyway, I’m often mocked on Slog for my taste in men. But I’m not ashamed that I’ve always had a thing for boyish men—not actual boys, mind you, and thank God for that. But what some don’t seem to realize is that, at the time and in the place where my tastes were being forged, developing a thing for boyish men was a rejection of prevailing standards of male beauty, not a capitulation to them. Can I help it that most everyone else’s tastes eventually caught up to mine?

    Tons more After Dark pictures here.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on August 5 at 10:08 AM


    Two events tonight.

    Author Kat Richardson is all up in the University Book Store tonight. Richardson reads from Underground, which is about zombies murdering Pioneer Square hobos. I’ve seen some hobos in Pioneer Square who look like they’ve been attacked by zombies.

    And speaking of which, he said by way of clever segue, Elliott Bay Book Company (in Pioneer Square, get it?) is hosting author Tana French. French wrote the lovely and mysterious In the Woods, and so The Likeness immediately raised a significant blip on my radar screen. The Likeness is a sequel to In the Woods, which makes me less inclined to like it—I’m not a series kind of guy—but I do recommend that you head to this reading, listen to French read, and, if you like it, pick up In the Woods, which is in paperback.

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

    Starbucks at the Olympic Sculpture Park

    posted by on August 5 at 10:00 AM

    This past weekend saw another performance by the group PDL (I Slogged about their last performance here.) Again, I missed it, but I have heard from some folks who were there.

    Did you have the opportunity to see the installation by PDL this Sunday at the Olympic Sculpture Park? It was fantastic. If you did not, I would be happy to tell you more about it. If you did, I’d love to hear your thoughts, and wondered whether you planned to blog about it? It was deliciously over the top and well-executed. Provoked a heated debate in our little walking party about whether the “forthcoming installation” was real or not.

    That was the first email I got. This was the second.

    I was at the Sculpture Park this weekend and I noticed a newly fenced off area with a large sign next to Calder’s Eagle. The sign was advertising the imenent arrival of the new “art” sponsored by Starbucks entitled Wake (up). It depicted a few huge Starbucks coffee cups which were kinda wavey and some bullshit copy talking about how the new “art” was inspired by Serra’s Wake. While obviously an attempt at pop art, this crass intrusion of of corporate advertising into a respectable art venue is shocking and contemptable.

    Well, here’s what happened. This time, the artists got permission from the museum (unlike in their This Is Not a Swingset installation, which was removed after a short time by security guards).

    And no, there will be no Starbucks-sponsored sculpture at the park. Here’s what Greg Lundgren, one of the artists, has to say after the fact.

    Thank you for joining us at the Olympic Sculpture Park yesterday for a beautiful, sun-filled afternoon of art appreciation. We set up our installation without a snag and had a wonderful breakfast at the Shanty. When we returned, our Wake(up)tm installation was in full effect with tourists and art enthusiasts alike all wondering and contemplating this new partnership between SAM and Starbucks Coffee. We sat with stretched ears and listened to the full range of responses, from “Isn’t anything sacred anymore?” to “This will be really nice for the tourists.” Some wondered how much Starbucks had to pay for such prime real estate while one fine lady exclaimed, “Finally sculpture is meaningful!” It was a little strange to hear an approval of WAKE (up)tm, and visitors explaining the idea to their family. …

    PDL would like to thank Michael Darling and the SAM staff for allowing PDL to punk them. It says a lot about a large arts organization that is willing to be misrepresented, misunderstood and the subject of potentially misdirected criticism and disapproval- all in the name of artistic exploration, social experimentation and fun. It is rare and refreshing. We hope that an espresso stand is never embedded into a sculpture at OSP without great conceptual intent. Hey- maybe that is where all this leads… I think we are onto something… Maybe corporate sponsorship and utility IS the future of contemporary art. It would be a wonderful world indeed if sculpture really did have a purpose. We can dream.

    Here’s what the installation looked like.


    And here’s the sculpture the poster promised was coming, “based” on Richard Serra’s Wake.


    Myself, I love these guys. They are truly public artists in that their medium is the public. They do it for nothing but experimentation—they have no gallery representation, they don’t get paid, they don’t even use their names. And the idea of a Starbucks-inspired sculpture isn’t so far off. Remember the Target-inspired opening of the sculpture park? How fine is the line between sponsoring a sculpture park and sponsoring a sculpture?

    Youth Pastor Watch: Brian Neiswender Update

    posted by on August 5 at 9:32 AM

    Brian Andrew Neiswender made his first appearance in YPW back at the beginning of June. That appearance wasn’t particularly noteworthy and the crimes he’s accused of committing don’t come anywhere near the worst ones we’ve seen here at YPW. No one was murdered, no videotapes were made, no sex was had in vans in church parking lots. What was interesting about Neiswender’s YPW appearance was the action in the comments. Supporters of Neiswender found their way to Slog and argued that their youth pastor couldn’t have done anything wrong because…

    Neiswender is too good

    He is a Godly man with a heart for Christ whose primary concern is teaching teens about God and His love. He has inspired me and many others at our church so much and I feel our youth ministry has grown and prospered because of his commitment to doing God’s will. Funny how Satan has to find some way to slip in when a person of God is furthering the kingdom at such a rapid pace.

    His accusers are liars

    I KNOW that he is completely innocent…no matter what anyone says about this story. These girls should come out with the truth!..which their story is far from it! These girls have admitted to lying about this kind of stuff before with him because they had a crush on him.

    His accusers are ugly liars, and Neiswender’s wife is hot

    have you seen these girls? not exactly the prettiest girls in the world. kinda gross. his wife is beautiful, and she was very involved with this youth group as well. it’s sad that people are so into ruining lives.

    And the fact that Neiswender called the girls and apologized to them, an alleged admission of guilt that the police got on tape? Why, that’s just more proof of Neiswender’s essential goodness and of his innocence

    Okay, i have been reading over and over that just because he called the girls and appoligised (dont correct my spelling) that he is guilty!!! That is not true. I know Brian if he thinks that he has upset you then he will call and say that he is sorry, even if he did not do anything.

    One of Neiswender’s supporters challenged us to follow this story closely…

    I hope (but my hope is in vain) that when he is proven innocent of all charges that you will run another story giving the facts. As I know the media and bloggers like to give opinons on issues, that facts are skiewed or false, so I unfortunatly realize that you will not run the true story…. I hope you will follow this through and report on the final outcome on his story and the story of the girls, who you just assume to be true and upstanding people.

    I promised Neiswender’s supporters that I would closely follow this case and bring regular updates to YPW readers. And, hey, if charges are dropped or if Neiswender is exonerated, we will run an update, just as we did in the case of Clayton Pruett. YPW is fair and balanced. But sadly—or satanically?—our first Neiswender update brings more bad news for Neiswender, Neiswender’s hot wife, and Neiswender’s spell-check-challenged supporters.

    Police file more charges against ex-youth pastor

    KINGSTON—A former youth pastor at a Kingston church, charged with taking advantange of teens he was mentoring, faces additional charges.

    Brian Andrew Neiswender, 26, was charged Friday with indecent assault and corruption of minors and arraigned Friday afternoon before District Judge Paul Roberts. He was released on $25,000 unsecured bail.

    Neiswender is still listed as pastor of student ministries at Heritage Baptist Church in Lakeland, Florida.

    Gregoire Leads Rossi by 16 Points

    posted by on August 5 at 9:18 AM

    Good news for the governor (and bad news for the sexual-harassment-stained Commissioner of Public Lands) in the latest Elway Poll.

    Quick! Glenn Beck! To the Batshitcrazymobile!

    posted by on August 5 at 9:16 AM

    OMFG! Glenn Beck isn’t going to be pleased with this

    Lynnwood man may become first Muslim presidential elector in U.S.

    First Seattle’s elected representatives impose a bag tax on our helpless citizenry, and now Washington state’s Democratic party does this? Can we trust that this guy isn’t going to cast his ballot for Osama bin Laden?!?

    Quick! Glenn Beck! To the Batshitcrazymobile!

    Maverick Moment of the Day

    posted by on August 5 at 9:15 AM

    John McCain’s “country first” slogan: Apparently for English speakers only.

    The Morning News

    posted by on August 5 at 7:45 AM

    Farewell, Public Health: King County announces budget shortfall—not of $60 million, as previously estimated—but of $85 million.

    Power Struggle: Obama and McCain spar over energy policies.

    Guns Don’t Kill People: Guns fired by teenagers aiming at hikers mistaken for bears kill people.

    Oregon Coast: Private plane crashes into vacation house on first day of two-week family reunion, killing three children inside, passenger and pilot.

    Not Out of the Woods Yet: Weyerhaeuser posts third consecutive loss.

    It’s Their Party: They can cry if they want to.

    Well before Senators Barack Obama and John McCain rose to the top of their parties, a partisan shift was under way at the local and state level. For more than three years starting in 2005, there has been a reduction in the number of voters who register with the Republican Party and a rise among voters who affiliate with Democrats and, almost as often, with no party at all.

    G n’ R: Gregiore and Rossi agree to four gubernatorial debates.

    Guns and Roses: Tumultuous young love ends in Issaquah stabbing death.

    Life and Death: Despite hopes that Mars could support life, soil tests reveal inhospitable toxin.

    Standard and Poor: McCain campaign pushes comedy to break through Olympics, distributes Obama’s energy plan to reporters: tire-pressure gauges.

    Machetes and Explosives: Chinese police shut off Internet in Kashgar after being attacked, 16 dead.

    Bullets and Ballots: Bracing for Democratic convention, police “expressed concern about low-level chatter on Web sites frequented by white separatists who spew hate about Mr. Obama’s race and what they perceive as his liberal agenda.”

    Barrel Chest: Crude oil prices drop after tropical storm bypasses offshore oil sites.

    Willful Negligence: Freddie Mac chief executive ignored report in 2004 that “Lending crisis determined to attack inside the U.S.

    Graphic Example: Intel endeavors to produce chip that advances graphics.

    Inside Report: Robert Novak is retiring to focus on his state-secret-leaking, vehicular-assaulting brain tumor.

    Olympic kick-off week: Watercube!

    Monday, August 4, 2008

    A Symbol For American Foreign Policy in the 21st Century

    posted by on August 4 at 5:14 PM

    Rich Johnston, in his weekly comic book gossip column Lying in the Gutters, points out this blog, where a comics creator named Bosch Fawstin is updating readers on his new comic book, Infidel. Infidel is about…well, I’ll let Fawstin explain it. From his blog:

    It’s a story about twin brothers whose Muslim background comes to the forefront of their lives on 9/11. One responds by creating a counter-jihad superhero comic book called PIGMAN, as the other surrenders to Islam and follows it to wherever it leads him.

    Here is a drawing of Pigman:


    He apparently fights Muslim extremists. It seems like Fawstin believes that all Muslims are extremists:


    There’s one picture on the blog of Pigman’s fist swinging a bloody Koran, supposedly as a weapon, and the caption reads “KILL BY THE BOOK DIE BY THE BOOK,” with the caption: “‘And I thought the Koran had no value.’ -PIGMAN.”

    For those of you who think that Fawstin is parodying right-wing extremists, here’s a text post from the same blog:

    My mind’s already thinking 2012 when Americans will be good and ready to vote for someone like Guliani with a John Bolton as his back up. Hope it’s them, but it will have to be someone like them; tough, principled men who understand it’s a dangerous world and who are willing to say and do the difficult things, and who don’t give a damn about being disliked by despicable people. In four years, things will get worse and more of us will be sicker of the status quo that the candidates that will be taken seriously will be the kind of men who get things done and who fully defend our lives with the enemy’s deaths.

    And his commenters are going, um, whole hog:

    Damien said…

    I like this much better than your last picture. Pig man looks like he’s ready to take out some Jihady scum!

    1:11 PM

    Damien said…

    Or maybe he already has. It took me a moment to notice the blood on his face. I think Pig Man is going to have to take a shower when he gets home.

    I love your work. I wish more artists would stand up to the Islam-o-Fascists like you do.

    1:14 PM

    Holy fatherfucking Christ.

    Faith New to The X-Files?

    posted by on August 4 at 5:10 PM

    I just want to attempt to shut down this half-baked theory right now. The X-Files has always highly concerned with faith, specifically Catholicism. The Irish-Catholic Scully wore a cross in the very first episode—just a little visual tweak to the formula of Mulder as believer and Scully as skeptic. (Which is itself a reversal of the formula of men as rational and women as intuitive.) Nearly every time thereafter that Scully believed some freakish thing and Mulder (presumably a secular Jew) held back, religion or the notion of life after death was involved. I’m thinking of Beyond the Sea, Revelations, Elegy, All Souls (just look at those titles!). Meanwhile, Pentecostal and evangelical Christianity (Miracle Man, Signs and Wonders) and pseudo-Mormonism (Roadrunners, which is set in Utah) are treated with extreme suspicion. Judaism got off OK, as I recall (Kaddish). But any time some random character was supposed to be religious but not fanatical, the writers made him or her Catholic.


    So it wasn’t exactly a surprise that the new movie puts Scully in a Catholic hospital or uses a scary priest as the source of dubious leads. The show did that sort of thing all the time.

    (Via Andrew Sullivan.)

    Discounts for Lawbreakers

    posted by on August 4 at 4:59 PM

    Recently busted for violating Washington’s new talkie-on-the-phone-while-driving law? The makers of the super-fancy Jawbone bluetooth headsets would like to give you a $20 discount.

    Just enter your violation number in their handy form and your $129 headset is now a mere $109.

    Also works for scofflaws of California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, and New York.

    via tuaw

    Re: Dear Airline Passengers: STFU

    posted by on August 4 at 4:56 PM

    Okay, we have a right to bitch about this if it gets to be a regular thing.

    A United Airlines flight bound for San Francisco from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport Sunday evening was forced to make an emergency landing after a row of seats gave way during takeoff and slid into the row behind it, injuring one passenger.

    Web Extra!

    posted by on August 4 at 4:47 PM

    The Seattle Times couldn’t fit a review of Angels in America: Perestroika into their arts section today, but a “WEB EXTRA” box directs readers to a review on the paper’s website. What was there room for in the Seattle Times arts section today? Besides a review of Aida at the Seattle Opera, a “Special to the Times” piece on crime fiction, and a concert review of Smokey Robinson at the Chateau St. Michelle, there’s…

    A piece reprinted from the New York Times about chick lit; a piece reprinted from the Washington Post about an HBO documentary; a piece reprinted from the Los Angeles Times about singer Katy Perry; a piece from the Associated Press about “Lolita” subculture in Japan; a piece reprinted from the Press-Register in Mobile, Alabama, about baby showers; a piece reprinted from the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, about an organization that encourages people to send cards, not emails, to the sick and dying; a piece reprinted from the Dallas Morning News about a 72-year-old tap dancer; a book review and a TV review reprinted from the New York Times; a bride column reprinted from the Chicago Tribune; two syndicated columns; Garfield, Family Circus, Wizard of Id, sodoku, crosswords, etc.

    But maybe they’ll be able to squeeze you into the print edition next time, Repertory Actors Theater.

    He’s Not a Youth Pastor…

    posted by on August 4 at 4:10 PM

    …but we’re going to make an exception. Pastor breaks into a woman’s home and steals “a sex toy.” Scott Murray is “under arrest, his congregation in disbelief.” According to this report, everyone is praying for everyone during this sad time.

    China Today

    posted by on August 4 at 3:57 PM

    Though old news, it still has value:

    In China… the government has introduced laws banning Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission.

    Starting next month, the State Administration for Religious Affairs will begin instituting stipulations regarding “the procedures by which one is to reincarnate.” It will be illegal “to identify the child reincarnation of the Dalai Lama” without the approval of Chinese authorities. Quite a shift, given Beijing’s official atheism. But is the move totalitarian mumbo-jumbo or could there political motivations?

    This news item moves us that much closer to an adequate understanding of the kind of government that’s about to host the most spectacular sporting event on the only life-thriving planet in our solar system.

    Bad Old Gas Prices

    posted by on August 4 at 3:45 PM

    More tomorrow on the idea that Obama should go on the attack against McCain and his advanced age, but for now check out the way team Obama subtly (or not so subtly) shows McCain’s age in this new campaign ad:

    The ad is about oil prices, but that’s quite a money-shot of the old man’s swollen, post-melanoma left cheek.

    That Cop who Killed the Unarmed Woman on Her Knees and Shot Her One-Year-Old Baby

    posted by on August 4 at 3:29 PM


    The inequity is sickening. When a cop shoots someone in a drug raid, that person was in the wrong for having a gun, or drugs, or not cooperating fast enough, or for being near a nefarious scene. The dead person never gets a say, of course, so we never hear his or her side of the story. But when a cop kills a woman and shoots off the finger of her baby as part of routine business—cops almost always shoot the dog, and the sound of a dog being shot is now apparently grounds to shoot at mothers holding their babies—the cop is acquitted. This one story, never mind all the others like it, is reason alone to stop drug raids.

    Savage Love Letter of the Day

    posted by on August 4 at 3:18 PM

    Alright, this steps outside the bounds of your usual questions, but I don’t quite know who else to ask. All my life I have wiped my ass the same way. I lean to my left, lifting my right cheek off the seat and with my right hand I reach under and sweep across my browneye front to back—from my taint towards my tailbone.

    Most of my life I assumed this was the way everyone else does it. But during a particularly candid drunken conversation with my college roommate he informed me that for him it’s lift both cheeks off the seat, reach between the legs and sweep forward from tailbone to taint. I never even considered this method and it seems awfully comical to me. He thought my method was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever heard. We both realized that there was no real way of knowing without asking more people who was the real weirdo, or if both ass-wiping methods were common. By the time we sobered up neither of us was much interested to broach the subject with anyone else, much less talk about the subject further with one another.

    Years passed, and recently I noticed my wife uses my former roommate’s method whenever she takes a leak (which kinda makes sense), but I haven’t had the courage to ask or desire to sneak a peak when she’s wiping her ass after taking shit. So what gives? Do most people wipe fore or aft? And is there a difference between girls and guys? Can we do a poll? Ever since discovering there is a different method than my own I just can’t let this go.


    Hm… we’ll get the tech guys to squeeze out a poll for us as soon as possible. And did anyone else read this letter and think, “I don’t know how I do it, actually.” Of course, I don’t have to do it for myself anymore—that’s what news interns are for.

    It’s the *@$#&% Economy

    posted by on August 4 at 3:02 PM

    A reader asks:

    In May of 2007 there was a splash of news … about a four-star hotel to be built on Ballard Ave. It was big talk back then, but nothing seems to have happened, and I wonder if developers thought better of it. But I can’t find any updates anywhere on the web. I’m curious whether Sloggers can sleuth out the latest. Thanks!


    Dearest Brooks, the Slog Bloodhound Gang is at your service. Malli Anderson, a land-use planner for the city, confirms that in 2006 the Olympic Athletic Club applied to build a shmancy five-story hotel on Ballard Avenue NW, across the street from Hattie’s Hat. But those applications have since stagnated. The permit, she says, “is not even close to being issued.” However, she didn’t know why.

    “I believe the owners are trying to find the best financing,” says project architect Gordon Lagerquist, who adds that the market for new construction is shitty right now. “We’re just trying to stretch the permitting process as far as we can,” he says. Rather than the original completion date of January 2009, he says the owners now don’t expect to break ground until later that year.

    So is dragging out a permit this long weird? “Not to me,” says Anderson. “Usually it’s hurry up and wait.” But she says things have been slower at the Department of Planning and Development lately. She says when she used to work in the application service center, where developers and architects go to file plans and ask questions, “We used to have 400 people a day.” But when she worked last Friday, she says, “We had one person all afternoon.”


    posted by on August 4 at 3:00 PM

    Holy Taco has a collection of “Church Signs That Won’t Make You Go To Church.” A few of them have been floating around the internet for a while now, but there are probably some you haven’t seen before.

    Some of them are unintentionally dirty:


    Some are unintentionally hilarious:


    And some are just frightening:


    You should check it out.

    Geometry Wars 2 Review

    posted by on August 4 at 2:49 PM

    Geometry Wars 2
    Bizarre Creations (Xbox Live Arcade)


    Lots of arcade-style games in recent years have aped Geometry Wars: Top-down, simplified design, emphasis on audio, shoot everything that moves. But in the case of GW, it’s not so much the gameplay as the rush that keeps it at the top of this arcade-blaster renaissance. Your little 2D ship is trapped in a wireframe, TRON-esque space, chased endlessly by neon shapes—each class of shape having its own movement pattern. Destroying these things turns the screen into a beautiful mess of broken neon lines and dots, and the waves of baddies ramp up perfectly, culminating in your inevitable death—and your slap of the “retry” button.

    But the original GW, the surprise hit that launched Microsoft’s nascent Xbox Arcade service, is broken at its very core. Once you learn the game’s chase dynamic, there’s only one way to play—pilot your ship in an oval around the rectangular space, and aim your shots forward and backward intermittently to blast following shapes. This isn’t a chase—it’s a well-lit NASCAR event. Geometry Wars 2 gets a thumbs-up from the get-go by tweaking the game to kill the Jeff Gordon approach. New rocket shapes move in static lines, and these often appear with a solid, parallel wave of their buddies. If you try the oval trick, you’re apt to crash into a bright mass of death. Combine that change with other tweaks—from AI to a reward system that requires retracing your steps—and the series’ gameplay reverts back to a chaotic, reactive state.

    And that’s just one of the six modes.

    GW tried branching out last Christmas on Wii and DS with “levels,” but that attempt to stretch the game’s length instead watered down the original thrill. Here, the basic experience is hard-modded to great effect. Best one’s probably “King,” in which shots will only fire when your ship’s in a safety bubble. Each bubble pops after two seconds, so you have to keep hopping to the next bubbles, unable to shoot while you’re en route. The feeling is something else; you’re stuck in a bubble, completely surrounded by creatures just waiting to get in. You have to blast your way out as if these things were zombies in a Romero flick, and then you can only hope they don’t tackle and eat you by the time you reach the next safe, abandoned house.

    “Pacifist” is a trip, as well, because your guns don’t work. Instead, you have to lure shapes behind you, then trip the level’s bomb lines that blow up everything in your vicinity. The original format—just move and kill as enemies grow crazier—returns in “Evolved” mode with the aforementioned tweaks, while “Deadline” is a three-minute version of this with unlimited lives (the rub being that your score won’t be as high if you lose precious seconds coming back to life). Less fun are the “Waves” mode (those new straight-line shapes bombard you) and “Sequence” (20 pre-determined waves of enemies meant for the hardest of hardcore players), but that’s just because those don’t change the core play so much. Still plenty blasty — and for the same $10 price as the first game, the price-to-fun ratio of these six modes is through the roof.

    Sadly, the multiplayer modes don’t transform this game so much. Keeping up with four spaceships on the busy screen at once is too much to ask of anybody with standard rods and cones (and lack of online play is sad, even if this game is too crazy-fast to work online). Still, the core mechanics, control, and (of course) rush of Geometry Wars 2 are enough. The tweaks work, and GW2 is now more about reaction speed and paddling through a bucket of technicolor vomit to make sense of the neon-loaded action. But that’s not even the best part. Nothing trumps this game’s high score tables. Every time you load a new game, your friends’ top scores in each mode taunt you in corner-arcade fashion. Most Xbox Arcade games have scoreboards, but few thrust your friends’ scores into your face so brazenly, and the effect is greater than I expected. I’ve spent the past four days in a back-and-forth battle with an old friend across the country, fighting for score supremacy. The learning curve is perfect for this kind of obsession—you gradually learn the ins and outs with each play, and your score ramps up accordingly, ensuring that you and your friends will progress pretty much in parallel. When I started writing this review, I was on top. By the time I got to the end, my friend had topped my every score. If this review seems to be petering out because I want so badly to return to the Xbox and put my friend in his place, then

    Who’d’ve Thunk It?

    posted by on August 4 at 2:13 PM

    This year’s biggest lawsuit-inspired-by-a-tell-all-memoir isn’t Madonna’s brother’s book, like everyone thought it was going to be. It looks like the nastiest book lawsuit of the year might be inspired by On Her Majesty’s Service, the memoir by one of Salman Rushdie’s fatwa-era bodyguards.

    The book depicts Rushdie as cheap to the extreme and claims that the guards were so annoyed at Rushdie that at one point they locked him in a cupboard and went to a pub to drink.

    Rushdie told the Guardian: “He is portraying me as mean, nasty, tight-fisted, arrogant and extremely unpleasant. In my humble opinion I am none of those things.”

    Full story here. Via Slunch.

    A Fantasy Football Follow Up

    posted by on August 4 at 1:51 PM

    I got about 30 email responses to my post about starting a Slog fantasy football league, but it appears a number of you have crapped out.

    I sent out an email to everyone that inquired about the league and so far, I’ve only gotten about eight replies.

    So, if you want to be a part of The Stranger’s All-Slog 2008 Fantasy Football Thunderdome League of Champions™, shoot me an email today and tell me:

    1) The name you post under on Slog (if you have one)

    2) Tell me whether you’ve ever played fantasy football before or know anything about the NFL. Who’s the number one player you’d like to draft?

    3) Send me a sentence or two to convince me you’re not going to crap out halfway through the season. I want people who’re going to see this through, be willing to trade players and actively manage their roster.

    Finally, if you’ve got a preference for which site you’d like to see us use—ESPN, CBS, Yahoo?—let me know.



    Photo of dirty, cheater Patriots via Brian.

    UPDATE: Thanks to everybody who emailed. We’ve got our 12. More soon.

    I.. Ummm… Wow.

    posted by on August 4 at 1:16 PM

    I want to post this every day. Not another one like this, just this one.


    Darcy Burner’s New Ad

    posted by on August 4 at 12:57 PM

    Am I the only one who thinks Darcy needs to work with a speech coach on dropping her voice an octave?

    What He Said

    posted by on August 4 at 12:47 PM

    Yes, yes, YES. In a post titled “If Rove Were a Democrat,” Andrew Sullivan writes…

    Can you imagine how [Rove would] run against McCain in a general election? He’d put together an ad simply clipping those moments—and they’re not rare—when McCain pauses, searches for words, blinks heavily and seems out of it. He’d play the age card as brutally as some Republicans play the race card. Then he’d put together a temper ad, throw in a little “bomb, bomb Iran” footage, and craft an LBJ daisy ad, raising fears about McCain’s eagerness to start a nother war in the Middle East. I don’t think Obama should go there, because I don’t think he needs to and it would violate his core appeal. But others will.

    Andrew ends with a link to this video, which we posted yesterday. And today.

    Andrew doesn’t think Obama should go there. I think he should. I think he must. Americans like to see a little ruthlessness from their leaders. That’s why Rove’s tactics work. As for Obama’s core appeal, well, liberal Democrats need to embrace ruthless politicking. Fuck his too-good-for-this-earth core supporters: Obama needs to worry about the same voters that took one look at Kerry’s inability to defend himself against the Swift Boat onslaught in 2004 and concluded that any man that didn’t have what it takes to defend himself couldn’t be trusted to defend the country.

    McCain is throwing punches—dirty punches—and he’s landing them. Obama has to throw harder punches back. Now.

    The Long, Sad Death of the Sci-fi Magazine

    posted by on August 4 at 12:43 PM


    Warren Ellis looks at the circulation numbers of all the major sci-fi magazines that publish short fiction and sees an impending death knell:

    As was stated over and over last year, any number of things could be done to help these magazines. But, naturally enough, the magazines’ various teams appear not to consider anything to be wrong. They’ll provide what their remaining audience would seem to want, until they all finally die of old age, and then they’ll turn out the lights. And that’ll be it for the short-fiction sf print magazine as we know it.

    When I was a kid, I used to read an uncle’s old copies of Asimov Science Fiction and I really liked it. In many ways, short stories are the best way to enjoy science fiction: get in, introduce an idea, get out. Too bad everything is all series of super-giant overpadded books now. Ellis points to Clarkesworld and Farrago’s Wainscot as good online examples of sci-fi magazines, if you’re interested in giving them a shot.

    No More Crocodile Tears!

    posted by on August 4 at 12:31 PM

    Nine months after the Crocodile Cafe’s unexpected closure, it appears the venue may have a new owner.

    Marcus Charles—current owner of the Juju Lounge, and formerly involved with Neumos and Spitfire, among other venues—has applied for a new liquor license for the Crocodile Cafe, which closed in December.

    More coming.

    Dear Airline Passengers: STFU

    posted by on August 4 at 12:28 PM

    US Air has announced that it will be charging for all beverages on their flights—all beverages including water. This news will prompt another round of moaning and groaning about the dismal state of air travel, how we airline passengers are treated like cattle these days, how no one serves in-flight meals anymore, how we’re we’re charged to check bags, wocka wocka wocka. Being charged for water will be held up as the last and final insult and an angry American populace will no doubt rise up and demand that the federal government begin seriously subsidizing our state-owned rail system—including high-speed rail links between major cities—the same way it subsidizes air travel and roads.

    Oh, and if you think a state-owned rail system has to be a perpetual money-loser, check out France’s national rail system. It turned a $1.7 billion profit—that’s $1.7 billion—last year. It’s going to make even more money this year.

    But after we build our national rail system—and I’m not exactly holding my breath here—guess what new rail passengers are going to discover when they board a train for the first time? You have to pay for beverages—including water. And meals too.

    Hey, Airlines Passengers… do you want free meals and beverages and the right to fly with ten checked bags and six carry-ons? Then we’re going to have to re-regulate the airlines, jack the prices back up—way the fuck up—and pay for the privilege(s). If we don’t want to pay four or five times as much for airline ticket as we’re paying now (and I’m pretty sure we don’t), then we’re going to have to stop whining about the free meals we’re not getting anymore (the food on airplanes was shit—can we please stop complaining about being deprived of it?) and the free beverages we’re not getting on US Air and soon won’t be getting on any other airline.

    Bring an empty water bottle to the airport and fill it at a fountain. Buy some half-way decent food at the airport—or bring some really great food with you to the airport (you can carry food through security)—and carry it on the plane with you. For the prices we’re paying all the airlines owe us is getting our asses from Point A to Point B reasonably close to the time promised. They don’t owe us dinner or drinks or a cargo hold of our very own.

    Gov. Gregoire Orders Hiring Freeze

    posted by on August 4 at 12:23 PM

    That state job you just interviewed for? Not happening.

    Gov. Chris Gregoire is telling state agencies to cut hiring, travel and fuel costs as the weak economy continues to take its toll.

    In a memo released Monday, Gregoire tells agency directors to cut gas consumption by five percent. She also orders freezes on hiring, out-of-state travel, service contracts and extra equipment. There’s some exceptions for emergencies.

    The freeze comes as Gregoire works on a new two-year state budget. The Democrat has been asking agencies to propose service cuts to balance the budget. She says tax increases are a last resort.

    Gregoire won’t say how big of a deficit the state is facing. But legislative budget experts say the gap could be about $2.7 billion.


    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on August 4 at 12:15 PM

    I hereby declare it Fun With Chavs WeekTM at Lunchtime Quickie. Oi!

    State Threatens King Cobra Over Wrestling Show

    posted by on August 4 at 11:52 AM

    The Washington State Department of Licensing (WSDOL) has threatened the owners of the King Cobra club on Capitol Hill with “administrative action” if they allow the Seattle Semi-Pro wrestling league to continue performing monthly shows at the venue.

    In June, the WSDOL told the SSP that it needed to obtain a sporting event license—the WSDOL believes SSP’s staged wrestling events still meet the state’s loose definition of a sporting event—insure all of the wrestlers and spend hundreds of dollars to hire medics for each show.

    SSP took issue with the state’s determination—members refer to their event as performance art or “fight cabaret,” rather than wrestling—held a protest show and hired an attorney.

    While SSP appears poised to fight the WSDOL, the state is now leaning on King Cobra to shut SSP down. In a letter sent by a WSDOL investigator on July 15th, the state told King Cobra they could be targeted for “aiding or abetting” the SSP by holding the unlicensed events.

    The WSDOL letter does not specifically state what kind of action could be taken against King Cobra or the SSP, but I’ve got a call in to the WSDOL to find out.

    Pasta: Rejoice

    posted by on August 4 at 11:33 AM

    Justin Neidermeyer’s new artisan pasta restaurant, Spinasse, will open in the former Globe Cafe space on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, August 13th. If you like noodles, this is reason for great rejoicing.


    Something New Everyday

    posted by on August 4 at 11:27 AM


    My surprise? Tornadoes happen in places outside of the US.

    LILLE, France (AP) — A fierce but short-lived tornado has left at least three people dead in northern France.

    Inhabitants of four regions are assessing the damage after the tornado collapsed some homes and uprooted trees along its path.

    The tornado swept through the Lille region’s town of Hautmont and three other communities shortly before midnight Sunday. Did you witness the tornado?

    The local prefecture said 13 people had been hospitalized for injuries and three others were dead as a result of the tornado. In addition, officials say a 76-year-old man whose house was among those destroyed in Hautmont has killed himself, but they could not yet comment on his motive.

    Are French tornadoes the same as American ones? Or can this meteorological event be classified with other instances of Americanization—Big Macs, cornrows, tornadoes?

    Up to this point in my life, I have been the citizen of four nations: Rhodesia (69-74), United Kingdom (74-83), Zimbabwe (83-2003), and the United States (2003-?). What next will I become?

    Driving Miss—Oh, I Can’t. I Just Can’t.

    posted by on August 4 at 11:17 AM

    Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman was in serious condition at a Memphis hospital after being involved in a car accident Sunday night, according to hospital officials.
    CNN affilliate WMC of Memphis reported that he was in a car accident in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, about 100 miles south of Memphis, late Sunday.

    According to The Associated Press, Freeman was “lucid” when the rescue team found his car.

    “They had to use the jaws of life to extract him from the vehicle,” Clay McFerrin, editor of Sun Sentinel in Charleston, Mississippi, said. “He was lucid, conscious. He was talking, joking with some of the rescue workers at one point.”


    Morgan Freeman, ladies and gentlemen: tough, classy, and 71 years old.

    “I Am Not a Racist”

    posted by on August 4 at 11:00 AM

    So says Bill Clinton.

    Is it overly cynical to think that the timing of this statement might be a subtle bit of Clinton revenge—a way of him helping out McCain by adding to current meme about Obama playing the race card? (And against respected old white people, no less!)

    Meanwhile, for a great analysis of why McCain is now trying to exploit white resentment for electoral gain, see this new piece in The American Prospect:

    The McCain campaign’s apparently race-neutral approach, and its subsequent accusation that the Obama campaign is playing the race card, is a well-thought-out strategy — it is pure Nixon. In his recent chronicle of conservative political history in The New Yorker, George Packer describes Pat Buchanan’s plan for exploiting political divisions, particularly ones of a racial nature. Buchanan’s assessment was that they could “cut the Democratic Party and country in half; my view is that we would have far the larger half.”

    In a dispute about race, the McCain campaign knows it will end up with the larger half. For the most part, most white people’s experience with race isn’t one of racial discrimination. They can only relate to racial discrimination in the abstract. What white people can relate to is the fear of being unjustly accused of racism. This is the larger half. This is why allegations of racism often provoke more outrage than actual racism, because most of the country can relate to one (the accusation of racism) easier than the other (actual racism). For this reason, in a political conflict over race, the McCain campaign has the advantage, because saying the race card has been played is actually the ultimate race card.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on August 4 at 11:00 AM

    African Modernism

    Hugh Masekela

    South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela is known in America for two things: the instrumental “Grazing in the Grass,” which reached number one on the Billboard chart in 1968, and his work with Paul Simon on Graceland. Masekela, however, is a god in black Africa. And only a god could capture the essence of the 20th-century black African experience in one song: “Stimela (Coal Train).” “This train carries young and old, African men/Who are conscripted to come and work on contract/In the golden mineral mines of Johannesburg…” There is no heart “Stimela” cannot break. (Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave, 441-9729. 7:30 pm, $32.50, all ages.)


    Addendum to Reading Tonight: There’s a Reading!

    posted by on August 4 at 10:59 AM


    The University Book Store politely informed me that there is, in fact, a reading in town tonight. Priscilla Wald is up at the U Book Store with her book Contagious. It’s apparently going to be a discussion about “superspreaders, hot zones, and tenacious microbes.” This one looks pretty interesting because it’s a science book written by an English professor whose previous book is about cultural anxiety. I think it’s always interesting to read books about scientific subjects by authors who don’t necessarily have a lot of scientific training. I frequently feel like I’m learning along with the author, which is kind of the way I prefer to learn.

    Apologies to the University Book Store, Priscilla Wald, and any offended superspreaders who might be reading this.

    Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church Catches Fire

    posted by on August 4 at 10:57 AM

    The Kansas City FOX affiliate has the basics:

    The home of Fred Phelps, the leader of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, caught fire [early Saturday morning].

    [F]irefighters put out the flames and began their investigation.

    No one got hurt in the fire.

    Firefighters have not said yet if it was arson. But, church members believe it was arson because of their controversial stances.

    The church is known for it’s anti-homosexual picketing at the funerals of soldiers.

    As Towleroad notes, “A neighbor of the church says she believes it was an elaborate attempt by the Church itself to scare her into selling her property, which she says they’ve been trying to do for years.”

    Leona McQueen is 91 years old. Her garage is about 30 feet away from the site of the fire. McQueen says she has been butting heads with church members for decades. She says the fire may have be an elaborate attempt to scare her into selling her house. McQueen said, “They keep claiming that this property is theirs, and it is not theirs. They keep wanting to buy me, but I don’t want to sell it. I don’t know if whether they are trying to push me out. I don’t know.”

    Westboro Baptist Church Member Shirley Phelps-Roper said, “It’s a ridiculous accusation. The fire was started by someone as we slept. Thankfully the lord our god keeps us in all our ways. The noise that they made the fire was so big and voluminous the popping and cracking woke people up.”

    Meanwhile, head loony Fred Phelps is blaming the fire on “judges,” those black-robed devils whose evil has necessitated the expansion of Hell:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: God should sue Fred Phelps.

    This Season in Macabre

    posted by on August 4 at 10:52 AM

    I: Davy Jones’s Foot Locker

    As Dominic linked on the Morning News, another (possible) foot has washed up on the West Coast, this one in Clallam County, 14 miles south of Canada:

    Clallam County Undersheriff Ron Peregrin said the Washington shoe is similar to three of those found in Canada: the remains appear to be from a human right foot and were inside a man’s low-cut athletic shoe, possibly used for hiking.

    “But this is a considerable distance to where the others were found in Canadian waters,” he said. “And one that was found was a hoax, so we want to be certain.”

    Police will begin their DNA extraction—boiling; drilling; concentrating really, really hard—which will take six to eight weeks.

    Rest of the story here.

    II: Head Gear

    Last week’s Greyhound Gothic (in which a Canadian man stabbed his seatmate, sawed off his head, and displayed it to the rest of the horrified passengers) has been reprised on a small Greek archipelago called Santorini (population 13,000):



    The trail of violence began when the man used a butcher’s knife to decapitate his girlfriend’s dog on the balcony of their home in the village of Vourvoulos, near Santorini’s main town Thira.

    Next, Mr Arvanitis allegedly killed his girlfriend, a 25-year-old teacher called Adamantia Karkali, by stabbing her in the armpit.

    He then cut her head off and began parading it around the streets.

    During a dramatic chase, Mr Arvanitis tried and failed to behead a policeman. He was then shot five times and arrested.

    He eventually threw the head into one police car, stole a police jeep, then hit two women riding on a scooter. Police shot him, then flew him to a hospital on the mainland.

    The Canadian beheader worked at a fast-food restaurant. The Greek beheader is a chef.

    Letter of the Weekend

    posted by on August 4 at 10:26 AM

    We are still at war. AT WAR. WE ARE A COUNTRY AT WAR. This fact is not bold faced in daily life. But it is true. We are living in a warring state. Me, you, every American, and many others around the world. And today is my least favorite day of the year: the day I remember it. This morning, I awoke warm in my bed, brushed my teeth and shat, walked with my lover to the cafe, ate a croissant and drank a coffee, walked home and began the day’s work, at my desk, by my window. The clouds that had been plaguing the summer started to break, and the sun shown. And then I heard the sound of death and became as mad and as scared as I had not been since this day a year ago.

    When I last heard it, for the first time, I thought the ground was breaking under me. I cannot remember ever being so physically scared, so confused, so reduced to instinct before in my life. I felt inhuman. I felt naked. I panicked. I was waiting for the bus, on the way to work, and this gripped me, in public, in the world where I am confident and intentional, and made me less than I am in my worst nightmare, in the darkness of night, tucked weeping under the covers of my bed. And I still did not know what had happened.

    I was telling my co-worker Stephan about the morning. How I had felt. How no one had reacted. They boarded the bus silently, listening to their ipods. What was it, this gripping, growling noise?

    It’s the Blue Angels. It’s the air show. Sea Fair. Happens every summer. He paused. Its the sound you hear right before you die.

    And I felt it was true. Part of me had died. I felt a force of anger as deep and startling as the jets’ roar. We thought it our right to have and use instruments of death and more than that, to celebrate them as if that was not their purpose at all.

    Stephan, who was usually quiet, continued. I remember a number of years ago, I was walking down E. John, on the steep part of the hill. An older woman was walking slowly in front of me. Old in the old-fashioned, old-world sense. She had a scarf over her head, tied neatly under her chin. I could see her going to market, on a cobblestone street, and coming home again with neat packages from the butcher and greengrocer. Her face was as wrinkled as a wet lunch bag and her thick hands curled around the small grocery sack she carried. And then the sound. Before the earth could fully split, this woman dropped with an instinct so urgent she didn’t brace herself, she didn’t clutch her bag, but she covered her head under her arm and laid on the sidewalk while the three blue planes looped in formation and the oranges in her sack tumbled down the hill and into the traffic at the intersection below.

    Stephan went to her, helped her up. She was bleeding in several places, she had dirt on her face and runs in her stockings and the only thing she said was “I remember.”


    Continue reading "Letter of the Weekend" »

    Headline of the Day

    posted by on August 4 at 10:17 AM

    Delaware Online:

    Cat burning ‘quite rare’ for children

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on August 4 at 10:12 AM

    There are two open mics tonight, one in Ravenna and one at the Hugo House. There are no actual readings about books.

    Instead, to mollify the commenters on this post, who seem to think that I wrote a short post about Aleksander Solzhenitsyn because I didn’t know anything about him rather than because it was a gorgeous Sunday and I didn’t want to spend my day off on the internet, here’s a short video for people who don’t know why it’s important to read Solzhenitsyn:

    For some reason, I thought that he died in the late nineties. I accept the fact that not everybody can read the Gulag Archipelago, but everyone should read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, and next year Harper is releasing, for the first time ever, a complete English translation of Full Circle, which is an important book. The man probably did more than just about anybody to bring down the Soviet Union, and he did it by writing books. And that’s why you should pay attention to Aleksander Solzhenitsyn.

    Full readings calendar is here.

    Jan Drago Trashes the Bag Fee…

    posted by on August 4 at 10:08 AM

    …on Glenn Beck!!

    (Glenn Beck, for those unfamiliar with his work, is a right-wing talk show host who doesn’t believe in global warming, referred to the Republican nominee as “Juan McCain,” called Hillary Clinton a “bitch” on the air, compared Al Gore to Hitler, and suggested that the first Muslim Congressman might be “working with our enemies.”)

    Anyway, here’s the partial transcript.

    BECK: Wow. So you stood up to the — you`re the lone voice of the Seattle city council that stood up against the bag tax. Why?

    DRAGO: Well, first of all, Seattle is a very environmentally conscious city, and people try to do the right thing. So I think we should have given them a chance through incentives versus through disincentives. And if that didn’t work, then I would have preferred a ban versus the program that the council had.

    BECK: I mean, here is the thing, Jan. And as I understand your position on this, you realize that there`s a lot of people ready to sharpen their pitchforks and torches and come after the government that just keeps baby-sitting them. I mean, I’m from Seattle. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. I understand the people of Seattle.

    And the people in Seattle are responsible, if they’re so darned environmentally conscious, they would do it on their own. It’s not as environmentally conscious as you think it is. It’s the — it’s the few that say, now I want to get rid of these bags, too. If everybody thought it was a good idea to get rid of bags, they wouldn’t use the bags.

    DRAGO: Well, I agree with you. And what we`re doing is we`re angering a lot of people that would probably have been cooperative if we had done a public education campaign.

    BECK: Tell me the thing with the plastic forks and spoons.

    DRAGO: Well, that doesn’t go into effect for 18 months. And…

    BECK: What are they going to replace it with?

    DRAGO: NO, they are going to take some time — well, I guess it’s the meat containers. They’re going to take some time to make sure that there are suitable alternatives for that.

    BECK: OK. Can I ask you, when an airplane lands and they have the plastic fork and knife on the plane, will it be legal to land the plane in Seattle?

    DRAGO: I’m sure it will.

    BECK: OK. Jan, thanks a lot. I’ve got to tell you. There`s two kinds of people in Seattle, that live in Seattle. There`s, you know, the people with their hemp bags and the polar bear stickers and the “save the salmon” stickers, and then those with plaid shirts and guns. When things go to hell in a hand-basket, my money is on the plaid shirts. They`ll be eating the hemp bag people within a week.

    Boy Goes Missing After Deciding to Split Up With Dad—Wait, WHAT?

    posted by on August 4 at 9:51 AM

    Dominic linked to this story in morning news:

    Crews are searching for an 11-year-old autistic boy who has been missing since Saturday in the rugged backcountry near Mount Saint Helens.

    The boy, Alex Irvin of Portland, and his father, Bruce, were hiking on the Siouxon (soo-shahn) trail near Amboy when they decided to split up and meet at Siouxon Falls.

    This brief report doesn’t say exactly when Alex and his father “decided to split up,” but it does say that Dad didn’t call the police to report Alex missing until 9:30 PM—you know, after nightfall. It also mentions that Alex was “only wearing shorts and a jacket,” and that temperatures have been down in the mid-40s the past two nights. So we can pretty safely to say that Alex—missing for 48 hours—is probably dead now.

    Which may have been the point. Eleven-year-old boys, autistic or not, don’t “decide” to go hiking by themselves in “rugged backcountry.”

    UPDATE: Boy found alive. Still, sheesh.

    Maverick Moment of the Day

    posted by on August 4 at 9:37 AM

    Jonathan Alter of Newsweek bitingly asks, “Where Have You Gone, John?

    In the middle of John McCain’s dopey Britney & Paris attack ad, the announcer gravely asks of Barack Obama: “Is He Ready to Lead?” An equally good question is whether McCain is ready to lead. For a man who will turn 72 this month, he’s a surprisingly immature politician—erratic, impulsive and subject to peer pressure from the last knucklehead who offers him advice. The youthful insouciance that for many years has helped McCain charm reporters like me is now channeled into an ad that one GOP strategist labeled “juvenile,” another termed “childish” and McCain’s own mother called “stupid.” The Obama campaign’s new mantra is that McCain is “an honorable man running a dishonorable campaign.” Lame is more like it. And out of sync with the real guy…

    I misread McCain. On the night of the 2000 South Carolina primary, I was in his hotel suite and watched Cindy weeping over what Rove and his goons did. Her husband was plenty mad, too. Now he’s got Rove’s protégé, Steve Schmidt, running his campaign. Eight years ago, McCain profusely apologized for playing racial politics in South Carolina by backing efforts to fly the Confederate flag at the state capital. Now he’s content to see race crowd out the economy in the battle for precious media oxygen. McCain argues that Obama opened himself up to attack by saying, “They’re gonna say he doesn’t look like those other presidents on the dollar bills.” But if his campaign hadn’t leaped on that Obama comment, it would have been another. Accusing the other guy of playing the race card is a not terribly subtle form of, well, playing the race card—and the victim.

    The real question is what all of this might mean for a McCain presidency. The list of troubling portents is growing long: repeated campaign staff upheavals reflecting poor management skills; abrupt reversals on big issues like tax cuts and relations with Russia (where he was superhawk one day and superdove the next); shameless pandering on a gas-tax holiday that even his own economic advisers think is a joke; confused handling of Social Security that annoys all sides of the debate; bogus charges (e.g., Obama is causing high gas prices, Obama didn’t visit wounded soldiers because he couldn’t take the press) that undermine his integrity; and an angry, bunker mentality among aides that one GOP operative, fearing excommunication from Team McCain if identified, describes as “lacking only a Luger and a cyanide pill.”

    Victory for McCain would hardly prove redemptive. “You can’t govern winning this way,” Weaver says. “We’ve seen that after the last two elections.” And defeat would leave John McCain feeling more than the usual depression, wondering why he mortgaged his precious personal honor just to trade up to the White House.

    Good Morning!

    posted by on August 4 at 9:28 AM

    Slog tipper Jackie took this picture at Maynard Avenue South, between S Dearborn and S Charles streets, on the southern edge of the ID…


    “About a dozen or so dismembered chicken feet strewn about the sidewalk and gutter,” says Jackie. “These are going to smell fantastic by lunchtime.”

    Be Afraid

    posted by on August 4 at 9:24 AM

    McCain’s sleazy attacks on Barack Obama—presumptuous/uppity! infecting race into the campaign by standing there and being so damn black!—are working.

    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows the race for the White House is tied with Barack Obama and John McCain each attracting 44% of the vote. However, when “leaners” are included, it’s McCain 47% and Obama 46%.

    Last week Obama had a three-point lead.

    With McCain playing racial politics, attacking Obama’s patriotism, lying about Obama’s visiting the troops, and on and on, can someone please tell me again why Democrats shouldn’t play the crazy-old-man card?

    The Morning News

    posted by on August 4 at 7:48 AM

    Just Do It: Evicted from homes near Tiananmen Square to make way for Nike store, twenty residents stage protest, get taken to unknown location.

    Stoking the Bradley Effect: WSJ provokes doubt over Obama’s electability.

    Right Foot: Another shoed foot—believed to be human—washes up in Clallam County, 14 miles south of Canada.

    Left Foot: Obama asks for full count of Michigan and Florida delegate votes.

    Lower Half: Poor favoring Obama—even hardworking, white voters prefer him by 10 percent.

    Upper Crust: Kathy Hilton thinks knocking Paris was a waste of McCain’s money.

    India: Stampede kills over 145, mostly women and children, after rumors of a landslide on trail to Hindu temple.

    Canada: Refugees use Facebook accounts to prove they are gay, receive asylum from batshitcrazy Muslim nations.

    Mount Saint Helens: Autistic boys lost in woods; search crews fear he may not respond when they call his name.

    Alexander Solzhenitsyn: Dissident author on Stalin’s gulag dies of heart failure at 89.

    Election Results: Ratings spike for cable news, but broadcast and network news slump.

    Convection Results: Hurricane warning for Edouard, currently a storm, to hit between Louisiana and Texas—offshore oil port closed.

    Blinded with Science: Firebombers target homes of scientists engaged in biomedical research using animals.

    Mellongate: Christina Applegate diagnosed with breast cancer, expected to recover fully.

    Short Flight: Loonie projected to dive.

    Spawn: The picture worth $14 million.

    Olympics kick-off week kicks off: Are the games a trap?

    Sunday, August 3, 2008

    Aleksander Solzhenitsyn

    posted by on August 3 at 8:26 PM

    Dead at 89. I have to admit, I had no idea he was still alive.


    posted by on August 3 at 6:47 PM

    Too bad it’s Reagan circa 1989…

    Anyone else here that “Why am I…” and think of this guy? And in other news

    A milder type of mental decline that often precedes Alzheimer’s disease is alarmingly more common than has been believed, and in men more than women, doctors reported Monday….

    Dr. Ralph Nixon, a New York University psychiatrist and scientific adviser to the Alzheimer’s Association, was blunt. “We’re facing a crisis,” he said.

    We certainly are.

    Video via Atrios.

    Mullet of the Day

    posted by on August 3 at 6:04 PM

    Safeco Field today…


    For the record: My very own boyfriend currently has a mullet.

    As Jets Roar Over Seattle

    posted by on August 3 at 1:58 PM

    Ten minutes ago, in an essay by Foucault, found is this wonderful statement at the end of a sentence about the method and aim of a genealogical approach to the study of history: “Plato, at Syracuse, did not become Muhammed.” Let’s quickly unpack it: East; west. Mecca as Athens; Medina as Syracuse. Philosophy as a story of failure; religion as a success story. And what is it that happens in Medina? Muhammed moves from a religious position to a political one. For Philosophy, this transition is attempted and immediately dropped. The handle on politics is too hot for the grasp of nous. As for irrational faith? No problem: it can hold, lift, and wait for the politics to cool into its own image. To this day, Islam and politics can not be separated.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on August 3 at 11:00 AM


    ‘The Trial’

    Filmed in the pre-museum, post-train station Gare d’Orsay in Paris, Orson Welles’s noir adaptation of the Kafka novel boasts fantastic sets and vertiginous cinematography. With Anthony Perkins (Psycho) in the lead role, the subtext is exceedingly gay. You must see this film, if only for the sight of the painter Tintorelli’s herd of girl groupies peering through the slats of his ramshackle apartment. In the book, they’re all hunchbacks, but here, being stalked by an able-bodied little girl is frightening enough. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 267-5380. 4:30, 7, and 9:15 pm, $8.50.)


    Reading Today

    posted by on August 3 at 10:00 AM

    Today, a bunch of poets are reading at Victor Steinbrueck Park at Pike Place Market. There will also be an open mic.


    I suggest that you buy the fiction issue of the Atlantic and have a ball with it, instead. And when you finish it, you can print and color in this, which I borrowed from this website:


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

    The Boy on the Bus

    posted by on August 3 at 9:19 AM

    Well, this reporter wasn’t actually on the bus, the “Straight Talk Express” or whateverthefuck, this member of the press was standing in an area reserved for the press. But if he was on the bus, maybe McCain’s people would’ve asked him to move to the back. Instead, they tossed him out, the only black reporter at the event.

    Oh, and they tossed out a white reporter too—but only after she objected to the removal of her black colleague.

    The McCain camp claims that this reporter, a local reporter, was standing in an area reserved for the national press. But other local reporters—white ones—weren’t asked to leave. Just the black local reporter.