Christopher Frizzelle on
August 16 at
A letter sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org—and cc’ed to The Stranger:
Just in case the local Seattle news media did not know, there are about 100,000 people attending the Seattle HempFest this weekend…I have seen nothing on any of your newscasts about this…Once again, the local media fails to reflect the news that’s going on…
This is in addition to the complete lack of coverage of Gay Pride in June…
There seems to be a pattern of censorship with what stories get airtime…It’s not a matter of laziness, since this news story is taking place right next to your news stations….I think you all need to hire new news directors….I’m not a news director, but I can spot stories that get ratings and these fluff pieces your using as filler all the time are getting old…
Christopher Frizzelle on
August 16 at
some crazy bastard in the apartments next to apacolypse tattoo on olive was just throwing glass out of his/her 4th/ 5th floor window into the opening of the alley. upon impact this glass shattered like christmas in the sun and was amazing. and hit a girl several times. she wasn’t cut, luckily, but she was sure as shit freaked out. even the indians squatting in front of the building were irked. what the fuck is wrong with people? i’m moving to queen anne.
Across the Uni(ted States of America)verse
Christopher Frizzelle on
August 16 at
The writers (and sometime Stranger contributors) Davida Marion and Kurt B. Reighley (nothing romantic) just drove from Seattle to New York City. They took photos of things. And photos of them taking photos of things.
Just because I think Vanessa Ho should go check out Hempfest, that doesn’t mean I’m going to Hempfest. If I were getting stoned today—and I’m not saying that I am (or that I’m not)—I would be getting stoned in West Seattle, on Alki beach, where there’s some sort of beach volleyball tournament going on.
This picture doesn’t do the day, West Seattle, or the beach volleyball players justice, of course, but trust me: there are a lot of gorgeous, lean, sweaty men and women all up and down Alki playing volleyball.
So if you’re not getting stoned at Hempfest, where are you getting stoned today?
Local metal/hardcore stars Himsa are playing their last show ever tonight. Someone’s probably gonna get hurt. Their live performances are already screaming, boiling messes with nutso dudes going apeshit over shredding guitar and Johnny Pettibone’s demonic vocals. The band’s farewell performance is sure to be the craziest scene in Himsa history, so brutal some megafan is even flying in from Italy to see it! And to think you only have to walk down the street to get there. (El Corazón, 109 Eastlake Ave E, 381-3094. 9:30 pm, $10 adv/$12 DOS, all ages.)
At the Seattle Mystery Book Shop, Trevor Scott signs his two newest books, Burst of Sound and The Cold Edge. They are both mysteries, and they star different characters. They otherwise don’t sound interesting to me.
At the Elliott Bay Book Company, Kira Salak is doing a reading from a book called White Mary. This book is a case of a piece of publicity murdering my interest in a book. I get this book in the mail, I don’t remember what it’s about now, but I thought it looked interesting. Then I accidentally look at the publicist’s letter that promotes the reading, which I desperately try not to do at most times, and I read that Publisher’s Weekly announced that this book is “a blend of Heart of Darkness and Tomb Raider.” I am never going to read this book now, because that stupid blank-meets-blank thing is stuck in my head. So this might be a good book. But I will never know, because of an awful book review. And that’s the power of book reviews.
And! At the Seattle Public Library, David B. will be reading. B. is a French memoirist who wrote and drew a wonderful comic book called Epileptic. Two panels of Epileptic are above. You should go to this reading because I’m willing to bet that David B. won’t be here again any time soon, and Epileptic is awesome and so on and so forth.
The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.
Last night, just before 11 pm, I was walking past the police station at 12th and Pine. As I passed the entrance, a man in a head-to-toe Carmen Miranda costume (complete with towering fruit turban) came storming out.
He looked at me and shouted, “THEY WOULDN’T READ ME MY CARMEN MIRANDA RIGHTS!”
The Xbox 360 edition of Soul Calibur 4 adds Yoda to the fighting, and the marketing tie-in seems tacky at first. Even kinda cheap—uh, you can’t throw Yoda, and in Soul Calibur, that’s 1/4 of the 3D battle. But I’ve come to appreciate the grammatically challenged half-pint.
Tiny is he. Hops around all over the place. Is weaker. Can summon the force. Why, that sure seems different for Soul Calibur, doesn’t it? In a fighting game where many Euro-centric characters swing their oversized swords/hammers/axes the same way they did in 1999, Yoda forces a strategy reboot. Maybe a healthy dose of the supernatural could do this ancient series some good.
Sadly, that’s as far as Soul Calibur 4 gets in upgrading a core fight that was already phenomenal in the 1999 original. Back then, it was the first good 3D fighting game with weapons. The second and third versions lost that luster by adding mere tweaks; this one sees more tweaks, HD graphics, and online play.
To the surprise of nobody, the city auditor’s office announced this week that many construction projects are blocking sidewalks.
Under current rules, most developers only provide signs that say, “Sidewalk Closed,” which is another way of saying, “Jaywalk Here.” And some sites create perilous detour channels into the trajectory of oncoming traffic.
Requested by city councilmember Nick Licata, the report, titled “City Should Take Steps to Enhance Pedestrian and Cyclist Mobility Through and Around Construction Sites,” makes four no-brainer recommendations: “Making pedestrian and cyclist mobility a priority, coordinating multiple projects located in the same area, improving inspection and enforcement, and communicating with the public.”
“If New York is doing this, why cant we?” asks Licata. Good question—and good on ya, Nick, for getting this ball rolling. Almost every construction site in New York City either provides a walkway on the sidewalk that’s covered, or a walkway on the street protected by a wall of barricades. The report (.pdf) advises that we adopt those and other alternatives, using a model from Washington, D.C. If we do, Licata says, “Anyone who wants a permit [to block the sidewalk] has to give a written explanation on why they can’t do one of the alternatives.”
In my last e-mail to you, I asked you all to give me suggestions on creative ways to save money, cut fuels costs and help us meet our service obligations in these challenging economic times. I asked for ideas on how to avoid trips - even across town - and still get your very important jobs done. In fact, I asked you to be as creative in increasing savings as you are with your own family budgets. And if you came up with ideas that can be applied across state government, I wanted to hear from you.
I knew I could count on you and was pleased to receive over 300 responses. Some of the ideas included improving the state’s buying policies, encouraging more mass transit, vanpool use and teleconferencing, and eliminating cell phones and Blackberries. However, the most popular idea was implementing a ten-hour workday four days a week.
I have asked my senior staff and cabinet directors to investigate the feasibility and cost saving possibilities of each idea. Some of your ideas were very specific to your agency or division, and I have asked agency directors to look into those.
I also want to let you know that the suggestion box is still open. As I said in my earlier message, “when all is said and done, it is each of you making thousands of decisions every single day who will determine how effective these steps will be.”
You are a major part of one of the best state governments in our nation. I thank you for your service and look forward to more ideas for saving money and cutting fuel costs.
Since When Is Alan Colmes Allowed to Wear His Testicles to Work?
Dan Savage on
August 15 at
On Fox’s Hannity & Colmestoday earlier this week Sean Hannity asks the panel this question at about 2:12: “Explain to me, I’m just a regular guy, and I’m wondering uf you can’t keep your promise to your family, if you can’t keep your promise to your wife, you’re having an affair, you’re lying about the affair … why should the American people trust you when you say you’re not going to lie to them? Why should we trust you?”
They’re talking about John Edwards, who actually isn’t running for president.
Alan Colmes points out that John McCain, who is running for president, broke his promise to his first family, broke his promise to his wife, admits to having at least one affair, etc. So how can we trust John McCain?
It’s hilarious—and you gotta love Hannity’s response after the break: John McCain was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, so he gets a pass—oh, and anyway McCain’s adultery happened three decades ago. So adultery isn’t always wrong; in fact, it’s permissible under certain circumstances, and in special cases.
Remember when right-wingers condemned this kind of moral relativism?
And, hey, if refraining from committing adultery is a test for office, why isn’t Hannity supporting Barack Obama?
And for those of you keeping score at home: Adultery that end in divorce? (McCain, Gingrich, Reagan, et al.) That’s okay. Adultery that doesn’t end in divorce? (Clinton, Edwards.) That’s not okay.
Ah, Twitter. Because all your friends must know that you had Indian food, took a dump, and are ready for a nap. Ron Sims is in on the action. In the upper-right-hand corner of the King County Executive’s home page, a helpful box informs us of Sims’s fiber-rich breakfast of yogurt, berries, and chopped nuts.
Hacking Netflix reports that Netflix is back up and running. (My queue is still messed up, though.) Apparently, every Netflix customer who was affected is getting a 15% credit for the four days without service.
Customers are still outraged:
…I’m watching Star Trek Voyager, and I’m at the end of season 2. Season 2 disk 6 was supposed be shipped today as of last night, but it’s gone “poof” and they are shipping season 2 disk 7. I had to go back and add disk 6 back up at the top.
I’m just glad this didn’t happen when I was watching DS9.
I realize it’s only August—man, is it ever August—and there are lots of other pit bull fanciers out there. We won’t stop taking nominations for Pit Bull Fancier of the Year, of course, but I don’t see how any other pit bull fanciers could possibly hold a candle to these two.
A couple who received a $210,000 settlement from the city of Richmond after police shot and killed their pit bull are in custody after two of their other pit bulls—abducted from a Sacramento County animal shelter after attacking a utility worker—were shot and killed by a sheriff’s detective.
At about 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, Sacramento County sheriff’s detectives went to a motel on the 7800 block of College Town Drive to arrest the couple for allegedly robbing an 80-year-old woman of her purse on July 9. When Peters opened the door, two large pit bulls charged out of the room and “viciously attacked” a 57-year-old motel maintenance worker who was walking nearby, said sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Curran.
Fearing for the man’s life, a detective fired numerous shots, killing both dogs, Curran said. The maintenance worker was taken to a local hospital for severe dog bites to his arms and legs. Investigators learned that the two pit bulls had attacked a Sacramento Municipal Utility District worker in Carmichael on June 16. After that attack, the dogs were impounded by animal control officers.
The couple is suspected of breaking into the animal control facility at 4290 Bradshaw Road on July 8 and taking their dogs, Curran said. When investigators went to the couple’s Carmichael home, they learned that the two had been evicted, authorities said…. The investigation into the animal facility break-in and abduction of the dogs is ongoing.
What a heartwarming story of devotion! Breaking into an animal control facility to free your precious dogs after the animals had proven themselves to be vicious! I imagine that Dreamworks has probably snapped up the rights already.
And without a doubt the first cop, the second cop, the motel maintenance worker, and the utility worker all did something to provoke those dogs. We actually know what the maintenance worker was doing: He was “walking nearby,” which I shall add to the list of things one is not supposed to do when one leaves the house, lest one provoke some good-natured pit or other into mauling one nearly to death.
Oh, and I don’t doubt that that 80 year-old woman did something to provoke these pit bull fanciers into stealing her purse.
—I love freedom of expression so here is my opinion—
Aug. 9. 08
I was in Seattle 2 days ago & read some of your mostly fine articles in “the Stranger.” I am not even close to being a JOHN McCain fan. That being said, the former military man you are mocking with your “JOHN McCain’s Swollen Gland” column is in part a veteran of the American military’s responsibility for the freedoms you & your staff enjoy to write such pathetic rubbish. THAT being said: May any member/members of your staff that find this column amusing “vomit into their own mouth, fall to the ground, suffocate on the puke, & then have gasoline poured onto their now totally worthless lifeless bodies & be lit on fire” —Thank you for your time—
Lovely sentiment, Murray! And nice stamp. Let’s forget about the immolation wish and just focus on the stamp.
Yesterday I wrote about the Obama camp’s big ‘fuck you’ to Obama Nation author Jerome Corsi. One of their biggest arguments about Corsi is that he’s a 9/11 Truther.
Predictably, the Truthers are outraged. On We Are Change Seattle’s website, in a story titled Obama Fanatics Slam Author For Questioning 9/11, the opening paragraphs read:
An army of frenzied Barack Obama acolytes have been busy attempting to smear writer Jerome Corsi, author of Obama Nation, by citing his skepticism towards the official 9/11 story, seemingly ignorant of the fact that such doubts are shared by the majority of Americans.
The New York Times also got in on the act with a sneering attempt to validate the attack on Corsi, which is being supported by Obama’s own campaign staff.
The coordinated smear attempt is obviously born out of the concern that Corsi’s 2004 book, Unfit for Command, basically sank John Kerry’s presidential bid because it was the inspiration behind the Swift Boat Veteran’s For Truth campaign.
So it looks like Obama has officially lost the 9/11 Truth vote. They might even do for John McCain what they did for Ron Paul. I am cowering in fear at the possibility.
I don’t believe we’ve hit the very nadir of summer movie season—I think that’s next week, with The Rocker and Death Race and House Bunny in wide release and even Northwest Film Forum resorting to some movie about climbing mountains—but this week is pretty damn depressing.
So take this opportunity to remain immobile indoors with an electric fan and watch 2008 Stranger Genius Lynn Shelton’s My Effortless Brilliance on IFC’s hoity-toity new pay-per-view service, IFC Festival Direct.
(Highlight of the official trailer: “HIS EGO IS OUT OF CONTROL.”) And no, we did not give Shelton a Genius award because she cast a former Stranger film editor in the lead role. And, uh… I promise we didn’t give it to because her new movie was about HUMP, The Stranger’s porn festival. I hate HUMP. God, this is awkward.
Opening this week:
Andrew Wright reviews Tropic Thunder. It may mock retarded people, but Wright remains heroically tepid: “Tropic Thunder… may ultimately feel a bit toothless—it’s difficult to cut too deeply when your satirical take on studio blockbusters and crazy actors is produced by a major studio with Tom Cruise in a supporting role—but offers a number of genuine laughs between the self-congratulatory waves. It’s just good enough to make you wish it were better.” (Technically opened Wednesday.)
Lindy West watches Star Wars: The Clone Wars so you don’t have to: “‘AAAAHH! EE WONKO KOKA OO CHOBEE!’ says Jabba. ‘BABA LOOGAAH JEDI GLEE GLAAH JABBABABA! CHODA GLAH GLAH BABABABABABABA LOOGAH!’ And the Jedis are all, ‘Sure, Jabba, we’ll get your stinky baby back!’ Then there’s lots of sarcastic swordplay banter (‘I’m impressed.’ ‘Now you die.’ ‘Shall we continue?’ ‘My pleasure’), stuff blows up, we meet Jabba’s Southern gay uncle, Meshach Taylor the Hutt, and everything turns out just fine.”
Canceled press screening or no canceled press screening, Andrew Wright quite likes Mirrors: The movie “distinguishes itself from the glut via an unusually suggestive premise (reflecting goblins wreak havoc on haunted security guard Kiefer Sutherland), a genuinely creepy burned-out department store backdrop, and a number of hard-R, unreservedly gooshy shocks.”
Jen Graves writes up Frozen River: “Frozen River was shot in subzero weather on Lake Champlain in northern New York, and it renders starkly the cracking lives of two women, Ray (the mother, played by the truly great Melissa Leo, whose face you’ll recognize from a hundred nuanced supporting roles), and Lila (Misty Upham).”
I review the new Woody Allen movie, Vicky Cristina Barcelona: “I do hope that this is the last time Woody Allen will cast Scarlett Johansson in anything, because in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, she’s approaching pure trollop. As Cristina, an anything-goes sexpot who entertains artistic pretensions, Johansson could be Brigitte Bardot dubbed with a flat American accent. If you entertain the idea that she might be parodying herself, it’s almost an interesting performance.” The Spaniards don’t come off any better.
And I all but gag on Henry Poole Is Here: “Henry Poole Is Here is condescending toward believers, contemptuous toward disbelievers, and has the worst soundtrack in the entire history of cinema.”
Anybody ever tell you you look like She-Ra? Haw! Haw! Hey, come on back to my castle. I’m a real Beast-Man in the sack!
Kevin Church’s blog has news of what he considers to be pervasive sexism in the comic book convention-going community:
Overheard at San Diego Comic-Con while I was having lunch on the balcony of the Convention Center on Sunday July 27: a bunch of guys looking at the digital photos on the camera of another, while he narrated: “These were the Ghostbusters girls. That one, I grabbed her ass, ’cause I wanted to see what her reaction was.” This was only one example of several instance of harassment, stalking or assault that I saw at San Diego this time.
1. One of my friends was working at a con booth selling books. She was stalked by a man who came to her booth several times, pestering her to get together for a date that night. One of her co-workers chased him off the final time.
2. On Friday, just before the show closed, this same woman was closing up her tables when a group of four men came to her booth, started taking photographs of her, telling her she was the “prettiest girl at the con.” They they entered the booth, started hugging and kissing her and taking photographs of themselves doing so. She was confused and scared, but they left quickly after doing that.
I’m not exactly shocked at this news, but I think it’s an important conversation to have, especially since this year’s news coverage of SDCC seems to be all about how it’s the pop-culture event of the year. The fanboys might have to stop acting like douches when the whole world’s paying attention.
And you can read all about it Blatherwatch, Hominid Views, and HA. Now I wouldn’t go so far as to call Marshall a vain, effete, caterwauling pussy, per Goldy, but I will, in solidarity with Blatherwatch, a local blog that Marshall is attempting to bully into pulling down an entirely legit blog post, join in calling Marshall a pussy.
You can read the original Blatherwatch blog about Marshall after the jump.
Sloggers had some wonderful advice yesterday for the longwinded guy whose best friend’s bride-to-be lost her shit when her groom-to-be got shit-faced at his bachelor party. You can read it here. So we’ll stick with the wedding theme for today’s “Savage Love Letter of the Day.” Ladies and gentlemen, let’s help out this deeply conflicted maid-of-honor-to-be…
I’m a 26-year-old lesbian. “Amber” has been one of my closest friends for eight years now, since we met the first week of college. We’ve always been particularly close; she’s the first person I came out to, for example, back in my sophomore year of college. She’s also, supposedly, straight.
“… during the presale of the G1, T-mobile customers can pick up the phone for $150. This is where it gets interesting, we’re not seeing any prices for new activations during the presale, so this could mean that only current T-mobile customers can pick up the G1 during the presale. Other customers interested in the G1 may have to wait until beginning/mid October before a national public launch.”
This is clearly not going to be another iPhone. The device looks downright clunky next to Apple’s phone:
But it could be significantly cheaper. Will that be enough to make a difference? And should I get one?
Answers are not clear as this time. Try again later.
How you feel about riding the damn bus depends entirely upon your point of view. It’s all in how you look at it.
You can choose to see it as a grand service to the environment, for example—a brave move to, uh, curtail global warming or something. Then you can feel noble and wise and martyr-y about it, and really look down your nose on all those poor stupid stressed-out polluting idiots that you’re so jealous of because they can actually afford a God damn car.
Or you can, as millions of smart young office slaves and organic grocery store workers have before you, convince yourself that taking the bus is just a temporary thing, a segue, something you’ll do until…well, until you don’t anymore. Someday. And it’s okay: you can just turn up your IPod, plug your nose, whip out a battered old paperback, and suck it up. Or you can decide to visualize yourself as a responsible, egalitarian, um, citizen. If you’ll pardon the expression.
But really? You’re probably just broke. And that’s alright. It’s a sign of the fucking times.
And me? Well. I’ve been riding the damn bus with alarming frequency lately (you will forget that last statement—FORGET!) and I choose to see riding the bus as…well, it really isn’t anyone’s damn business what I see it as, which probably has some kinky thing to do with gay sex that I have absolutely no intention of explaining here anyway. But I’m having a little problem.
I’m pretty darn sure that I am allergic to public transportation. As in, the bus. It’s terrible. Humiliating! And I am in no way making this up. Allergic!
Do bums give off pollen? Are office dicks so very dusty and danderous? Do old women emit spoor? Please, tell me! I must know!
It takes 90-seconds—sometimes less. I get on the bus, pay my dollar fi’ty or what-the-fuck-ever, I accept the disgusting and infuriating little piece of paper from the driver (“transfer”, indeed! It’s pocket pollution!), and take a seat, if they all aren’t already full of winos and people trying to ignore them. Then, suddenly, with no warning or mercy, my sinuses swell and drain, and an evil little tickle, relentless, out to destroy me, causes my throat to spaz-out, my lungs to heave like a drowning dolphin, and I suffer an uncontrollable coughing fit worthy of an emphysematic spaniel. I gag, I wretch, I cough-cough-COUGH!
There is no hiding it or stopping it or relaxing into it, and my fellow bus riders, let’s face the sad truth, begin to look at me as if I were an oily plague rat. The damn bums scooch away from me. And that, ladies and gentleman, can devastate a man.
More than a few times, in fact, I have had to de-bus far from my actual stop out of sheer exasperation. And the moment I step off the bus? Nothing. My sinuses open like a clear blue sky and my cough evaporates. Silence descends. Just like that.
Please to note: I have never suffered an allergy before in my life. Not one! Drown me in penicillin! Dunk me in dairy! Stuff every orifice with peanuts! Powder me in pollen until the cows come cowing home! Nothing! I am, indeed, disgustingly healthy, knock wood. Hell, I might not even be human. But there’s just no denying it anymore. And I’m not really sure how to cope.
Go to Smoke Farm, that raw, 360-acre wonderland just an hour north of Seattle that is slowly becoming the place where I want to die—down by the river, on a late spring evening—and let the coyotes chew on my bones.
(Briefly: Smoke Farm is a former dairy farm run by a few well-intentioned people—Stuart Smithers, a UPS philosophy professor; Craig Hollow, a local architect; others—where good things happen. It has hosted theater and literary retreats, education programs, medieval cook-outs with the best chefs in Seattle, and so on. There’s a field where people camp, a river where people swim, a rustic kitchen where people congregate and meet and cook and drink: It’s pretty much paradise.)
Smoke Farm’s third annual performance festival begins tomorrow. It’s $25, including dinner and camping. (Cheap!) The acts will vary: some of last year’s performances were awful, one—by Implied Violence—was shattering, and the dinner was prompt, plentiful, and delicious.
The Last Bit of Slog Happy-Related Business From Me Today
Paul Constant on
August 15 at
Abby brought a whole bunch of these Choice Whole Leaf Organics teas to Slog Happy last night. Being a compulsive tea drinker, I’ve already had three different types.
They are motherfucking delicious teas. I started with the Darjeeling, which was nice, although a little too fruity for my morning tastes—I should’ve waited until after lunch for it. Next, I had the Earl Grey, which was really quite a fine Earl Grey, and I just had a cup of the Jasmine Green, which was my favorite of the bunch.
Apparently, there are also some decaf types of tea, too, but decaf is a crime against God and man, and so I haven’t tried those, although I’m feeling a wee bit jittery now. I think that these are probably about as close to buying loose-leaf tea as you can get in a package. Thank you, Abby, for bringing them along. They’re really good.
So… Russian tanks are within 15 miles of the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi, and Condi Rice is in Tibilisi right now hanging out with the clearly unstable president of Georgia. (As opposed to one unstable president George.) What happens if the Russians capture Condi Rice? Would it be a violation of any quaint Geneva Conventions for the Russians to use “enhanced-interrogation techniques” on an actual member of the Bush administration?
Oh, and Russia is absolutely furious that Poland has agreed to let the US build SDI missile-launching sites on Polish soil, and has let Poland know that US missiles makes ‘em a target for Russian nukes. George Bush is mad, John McCain is sending advisors to Georgia (isn’t that presumptuous of him?), and Barack Obama is still on vacation, where he’s having shaved ice and his ass handed to him.
Yet here I am, sitting at my desk, more concerned with whether or not Michael Phelps shaved off his pubic hair along with his pornstache before the Olympics. For this I blame Towleroad for directing me to pictures like this one over at the Chicago Tribune’s website…
There are more pictures of Phelps’s crotch at the Chicago Tribune. We’re all going to die and so go enjoy them while you can.
Just look what they did to this motorist in Florida:
Police recently arrested a woman they said deliberately hit a bike rider and crashed two separate cars, and then ran off naked.
Holly Highfield faces DUI and several other charges after witnesses said she intentionally struck a bicyclist, took off her clothes and ran around the crash scene, then drove off the road while attempting to leave the scene in someone else’s vehicle.
She probably saw one too many bikers roll through a stop sign—something drivers don’t do—and just snapped. Damn cyclists.
Fact number one: Times is tight. Fact number two: Tight times need not restrict your dining life to tap water and Top Ramen. The proof you hold in your hands—Cheap Eats, a less-than-attractive phrase that sums up a most attractive concept: availing yourself of the life-affirming pleasures of dining out without succumbing to a soul-crushing state of poverty.
For $2.50, you can buy yourself one of the most wonderful cheap-eats experiences in Seattle: eating elote, roasted sweet corn coated in butter, salty cheese, and chili powder while standing in the parking lot of MacPherson’s Food and Produce (4500 15th Ave S, 762-0115). Besides being able to re-create summer any time you choose (the elote stand is open year-round), you can also take advantage of the unbelievably low prices of produce at this sprawling Beacon Hill market. (On a recent trip, fresh parsley was selling for 79 cents a bunch, organic cherries were $2.99 a pound, and Brussels sprouts an incomprehensible 10 cents (WTF?) a pound.)
Got a thrifty-dining secret to share and/or dispel? Weigh in at The Stranger’s reader-review-powered restaurant guide.
I’ve never read a book in my life. There was that time in that grade at that school in that class where I was supposed to, but nobody told me how, and this chick I was always beating up already had her report done. It was pretty cool. I got an A+ and she had a straight face for a change. I decided to give reading an actual shot this morning when I realized it would grant me another chance to boost my already-inflated ego on Slog. Last night at The Stranger’s Slog party, which was totally off the hook, Paul tried to remind everyone that they’re stupid by giving out books. I didn’t want to appear stupid, so I grabbed three. I brought this one to work with me today because…I don’t know. Fuck you.
So, Chapter One: The cover.
Black Pearls: A Faerie Strand. Heh. They spelled fairy wrong. Morons. What’s this I see at the bottom…Advance Reading Copy. Advanced Reading? Shit. I don’t even know how to read and I’m already jumping into college material. My mother would be proud. She’s dead, but that isn’t important right now. OK—let me read in peace.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 12, 2008 BIGFOOT BODY FOUND. DNA evidence and photo evidence to be presented at a Press Conference to be held:
Date: Friday, August 15, 2008
Time: From 12 Noon-1:00 pm
Place: Cabana Hotel-Palo Alto (A Crown Plaza Resort) 4290 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, California 94306
I kinda wish I was there to listen to these yahoos try to convince everyone that their discovery of the Tooth Fairy, I mean Bigfoot is NOT a hoax…
What are you doing at lunch? What are you doing after lunch? Can you get off work a little early?
Christopher Frizzelle on
August 15 at
Susan Robb’s creepy, beautiful, black macro-follicles are back—they grow suddenly out of the grass at Volunteer Park rarely, on lucky sunny days, and they’re stunning. Today is one such day. They’ve been up since 11 am and they’re only going to be there until 5 pm. They look an awful lot like freakish, unasked-for accidents of nature, some sort of biological phenomena writ large—moving, sensing, aggressive, almost sexual. Or they look like an outgrowth of Earth’s hairs, blowing languidly in the atmosphere. They’re also kind of sausage-y, and it complicates everything to know they’re made out of trash-bag lining, filled with the breeze, tied off at the ends, and powered by the sun: the sun heats up the air inside, the heat expands, the toobs move.
They are called Warmth, Giant Black Toobs and have taken the artist—who makes conceptual art about the natural world—to several states in the last month. See them while you can. It’s free. Here’s a map of where you can find them in Volunteer Park, courtesy of Lawrimore Project.
Here’s a documentary video by the artist (taken at Volunteer Park):
Anti-Light Rail Group Won’t Take Down Deceptive Claim
Erica C. Barnett on
August 15 at
The “No on Prop. 1” campaign opposing this November’s Sound Transit expansion measure is continuing to list the Sierra Club prominently among supporters of the “No” campaign, despite agreeing, according to a story in the Seattle P-I, to take down the deceptive claim.
The Sierra Club opposed last year’s Prop. 1, because it was too roads-heavy and didn’t do enough to address global warming—as the 2007 No on Prop. 1 web site makes abundantly clear. This year’s Prop. 1, so (confusingly) named because it’s the only item on the ballot in King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties, consists entirely of transit and transit-supporting improvements, including 36 new miles of light rail and expanded bus service. So it’s a no-brainer that the Sierra Club—one of two or three prominent environmental groups that endorses in local elections—would support the new Prop. 1 after opposing the old one.
But you certainly wouldn’t think that after reading the campaign’s web site, which mentions the Sierra Club’s support twice on its front page and makes the measure sound as if it’s the same one that failed last year. Claiming that “not much has changed” about the measure, the site goes so far as to quote the 2007 voter guide statement opposing the measure (a statement the Sierra Club actually did not sign off on, because it was all about taxes, not transit). “This is not a balanced plan. Only 10% funds roads,” the voter statement complains. “That’s why leading Democrats, Republicans, and the Sierra Club all oppose Proposition 1. Don’t be fooled — AGAIN.
James Irwin, the Sierra Club’s local conservation program coordinator, calls the use of the group’s 2007 opposition to Prop. 1 “dodgy” and “disingenuous” but says there may not be much the group can do. “Technically, what they’re saying is accurate—we did oppose 2007’s Proposition 1—but they’re definitely trying to use our name and influence to get people to vote against this.” Irwin says the Sierra Club is “committed” to getting Prop. 1 passed this year.
So why won’t you read anything about Freeman’s involvement on No to Prop. 1’s web site? Because they lost last time based on support for transit, not a desire to build 182 new miles of roads. Polls after the election showed that voters opposed last year’s Prop. 1 because it had too many roads and not enough transit, not the other way around. Freeman and his road-loving friends at No to Prop. 1 know this. Now they’re trying to deceptively hang an anti-transit victory on the Sierra Club’s environmental coattails.
PBS’s affable man of travel, Rick Steves, will be speaking at Hempfest this weekend (Saturday and Sunday in Myrtle Edwards Park). His standard rap about reforming pot laws is pretty mind-blowing coming from such a strait-laced celebrity. I called Steves in Brussels last week to ask how his crusade is going, whether he’s pissed KOMO wouldn’t run his television show, and what’s up with the pot movement’s image problem. The full web-exclusive interview is over here.
On Hempfest and his pot-smokin’ church pals:
You can go to church with 300 people and think you are the only person who smokes pot because nobody will talk about it in that venue. I have friends at my church who smoke pot and it is so fun to have that sort of silent support group.
One great thing about Hempfest is getting 80,000 people together who believe that smoking a soft drug is a civil liberty. It encourages you to realize you are far from alone.
I’ve been in Holland for the past week, and just marveling at looking out over the square at breakfast. People were biking to work and biking their kids to daycare, and there’s a policeman standing there monitoring, keeping the peace. Everybody cares about neighborhoods and their security. And two blocks over, there are prostitutes trying to lure guys into their little rooms, and over at that coffee shop they have 10 different kinds joints out, all rolled up and laid out like little Pez dispensers. Everybody works together and lives together and… it can be a little more tolerant. People can have a few more individual liberties and still live in densely populated situations, they don’t have anywhere near the same amount of incarceration and violence we have in the United States.
On his business:
Well, if someone hears me talk about drug policy and then says he is not going to go to Europe with me, deep down in my heart I celebrate. Because I think Europe will be better off without him.
Curiously, people are most offended not by me taking a political stance, but by the fact that I would take a stance that could hurt my business. They find that really offensive to American profit-maximizing sensibilities.
You think of all my pot-smoking friends who don’t go to Hempfest because it’s not their culture. … I walked with my wife the length of Hempfest and it really scared her. It was a freak show to her. It shouldn’t be traumatizing for a person who is inclined to agree with the decriminalization movement to walk through Hempfest.
So remember, folks, if you have a tie dye, be sure to set it on fire before going to Hempfest. I’ll be speaking there, and I may even wear this shirt again.
Yesterday was some awesome Olympics, no? I especially liked Rebecca Soni stuffing the commentators’ feet way up their throats and Ryan Lochte winning something, finally.
But it’s a good thing for women’s gymnastics, I think, that Nastia Liukin’s balance, flexibility, and ability to actually listen to music won out over Shawn Johnson’s little bitty power acrobatics. The artistry gap really made the difference, because both Americans turned in close-to-flawless routines.
For those of you who are worked up about the age of the Chinese gymnasts, the results in the all-around competition are instructive: When the Chinese coaches couldn’t mix and match older and younger gymnasts, as in the team competition, the tiny size of the possibly underage Chinese all-around competitors became a liability. Jiang Yuyuan attempted Shawn Johnson’s 2.5 twisting Yurchenko, a very difficult vault—but she’s almost ten pounds lighter than Johnson, and she wasn’t able to punch the springboard as hard or achieve the air time necessary to complete the rotation. Her fall on that exercise pushed her out of medal contention. Bronze medalist Yang Yilin, whose age is also in dispute, also had much lower scores on the speed and power-oriented events of vault and floor exercise. Combine that with her indifference toward dance, and she came up short. But if she were a little older? Who knows what might have happened?
You could almost eliminate the (under)age advantage in the team competition, it seems, by requiring that all three gymnasts compete on every event. Of course, that would’ve pushed out the 33-year-old German vaulter, too, and everybody loves her. The other possibility would be to go back to a capped high score that doesn’t reward reckless escalation in difficulty—the open-ceiling start value being a misguided recent change that tends to benefit younger, more fearless gymnasts.
Phil Elverum is one of the most singular, stunning songwriters ever to emerge from the Pacific Northwest—a place that permeates his music. In Black Wooden Ceiling Opening, Elverum applies his “organic” black-metal treatments to old and new songs of Mount Eerie, transforming raw acoustic numbers into ragged rockers. Live, expect him to ramble and improvise and render his songs almost embarrassingly intimate. Joining him are fellow Anacortes native and D+ collaborator Karl Blau, as well as Your Heart Breaks and Madeline Adams. (Vera Project, Seattle Center, 956-8372. 7:30 pm, $8/$9, all ages.)
Like life itself, this new play by local writer/director Scotto Moore is silly, in both the ancient (spiritually touched) and modern (frivolous) senses of that word. It is also serious (history has not changed the sense of that word). Set in an infinitely tall building—one that might resemble a new tower in Dubai or a tower Frank Lloyd Wright once imagined in a moment of madness—interlace is a tireless narrative machine that generates comic nonsense and cosmic concepts. (Annex Theatre, 1100 E Pike St, 728-0933. 8 pm, $12.)
I had a great time at Slog Happy last night, even though I somehow didn’t find the time to talk to nearly everyone I wanted to. I was glad to see the 30 or so advanced reader copies wind up in good hands, and I especially enjoyed seeing which books people chose to take home. Exelizabeth even proposed a drunken, angry bookclub, with video to be posted online. This is an interesting idea.
And, as per Pop Tart’s suggestion, if anyone wants to send me short reviews of the books they took, I’ll be happy to post them on Slog for all to read. (It’s email@example.com, and I promise to try to post your reviews in a timely manner, but I thank you in advance for your patience with the matter.) After all the free-book-taking carnage finished up, there were only two books left on the table:
I was kind of surprised that Near Death in the Mountains was left behind. It’s an anthology of terrible mountaineering accidents. Frankly, that’s not my kind of thing—as a reader, I find it really hard to muster any sympathy for people who climb mountains and then get in trouble because they’re on a mountain—but most people eat this shit up, right? Plus, according to the book’s website, the book even had these two classics of mountaineering accident narratives:
• Joe Simpson’s Touching the Void—An inspiring story of a climber who topples into a icy crevasse and, though crippled, starving and frostbitten, still manages to crawl to rescue.
• Jon Krakauer’s Eiger Dreams—Reaching the limits of his own climbing skills, the author makes a crucial decision whether to brave the treacherous higher altitudes or return to base.
Inspiring! Treacherous! What’s wrong with you people?
I’m not surprised that Unpacking the Boxes: A Memoir of a Life in Poetry by former U.S. Poet Laureate Donald Hall was left behind, but it makes me kind of sad. Not that I’ve read the book, but I tend to enjoy narratives written by poets. They’re very considerate and they read really pleasantly, as though the poet is almost relieved to not be writing in poetry for once. One really good example of this is Thomas Lynch, whose essays are among my favorites.
These two books will be sent away to the Island of Misfit Books, where they will frolic with used-up scratch-and-sniff books and self-published memoirs by pool cleaners. You are to blame for their sad fate.
For the love of god, I’ve been meaning to post about this for a couple of days. Sorry! This week’s non-Slog work kept me from being diligent about reading comments, and it turns out that, as some people pointed out, the fireworks for the opening ceremonies did< happen, but they were substituted on the broadcast for ones not obscured by the foggy Chinese air. Fine. That’s just dubbing (and not dubbing that humiliates a little girl). No big deal.
What is weird, though, is that I could have sworn that MSNBC’s original story claimed just what I said when I linked to it: that the fireworks were completely nonexistent. (Anybody?) Now, the story looks quite different from what I remember it as. Is this just a case of online journalism being infinitely mutable? Wouldn’t it be nice if corrections were handled as corrections, or as a new story? At least that way, I’d feel less crazy.
I guess when digital media gets involved, something somewhere gets erased or covered over.
Manhunt Trying to Distance Itself from McCain; McCain Still Keeping Big Gay Wads of Cash
Dominic Holden on
August 15 at
Subscribers to Manhunt, the gay-hookup portal, have been canceling their accounts, Towleroad reports, after finding out that their big gay wads of cash were gushing into the bank account of John McCain. Manhunt chairman Jonathan Crutchely had sent McCain’s presidential campaign $2,300—the maximum individual donation allowed for a presidential candidate.
Manhunt has responded to the angry letters by writing, “The subject that you have brought to our attention is a personal matter and is not representative of MANHUNT.” But, in an attempt to wipe its hands of the sticky situation, the website’s founder last night sent a statement, which said…
It should be known that Jonathan Crutchley’s donation to McCain left the entire Board in disbelief. I am disappointed that we have lost some customers, and I understand the anger. It is too bad for the web site if we lose customers, but PLEASE never refer to me as a Republican. I consider it an offense.
Earlier today, at the request of the Board, Jonathan has stepped down as Chairman.
So the gays are distancing themselves from the toxic Republican brand, but McCain hasn’t weighed in. He’s apparently fine taking the big gay wad to keep his chest loaded.
Thanks for Making Last Night’s Slog Happy So Fun
Megan Seling on
August 15 at
Genuinely. The Hideout was hot and sticky with everyone crammed in there, but it was a great place to have the party, I’d say.
As promised, Chicago Fan was there along with Savage, Annie, Christopher, Bethany, Paul, Dominic… am I forgetting anyone? Books were flying everywhere, there were bags of tea and veggies, and lucky Abby won the Bumbershoot tickets!
I had a blast. I hope you did too. And now that it’s over, if you have any suggestions for next month’s Slog Happy, let’s hear ‘em. Location ideas? Up north, maybe? Ballard or Fremont? Want trivia? Bingo? Karaoke?
Slog Happy is your party, you tell us what you want.
Only one reading tonight, down at Elliott Bay Book Company. Sean Carswell reads from Train Wreck Girl. It’s a novel about a man who breaks up with his girlfriend and then finds her dead on some train tracks the next morning. There’s also a woman named Helen, “with a face that launched a dozen Greyhounds.” I knew a girl like that, once. Also at this reading, for reasons that are unclear, Carswell will be joined by Mickey Hess. Hess has written books about hip-hop, and he’s also written a 20-minute story that was published by McSweeney’s.
The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.
McCain on Abortion: “Just it’s a disagreement.”
Dan Savage on
August 15 at
Hm. I thought it was a moral scandal, an offense to God, the Great American Holocaust, and the bringer or fetus-shaped hurricanes. But John McCain, who is thinking about selecting a pro-choice running mate, describes the abortion debate not as the moral struggle of our age, but as “a disagreement.” Here’s Johnny:
…we [shouldn’t] exclude people from our party that are pro-choice. We just have a—albeit strong—but just it’s a disagreement.
Just it’s a disagreement? Just it’s? That hardly makes sense. I wonder if the Republican Party’s elderly and often-confused candidate misspoke. Again. I wonder if what McCain meant to say was this: “…it’s just a disagreement.”
Either way it won’t please the right-wing nuts in GOP base to learn that their candidate is thinking seriously about selecting a pro-choice running mate. Considering the odds that the scarred cancer-survivor won’t finish out his first term or run for a second, McCain—should he win—would be saddling the GOP with a pro-choice front-runner in 2012. How’s that going to play in the Bible Belt, I wonder?
A grand jury has indicted a youth pastor of an upper Kanawha Valley church for allegedly sexually abusing a former student of the church’s affiliated school…. The indictment does not give many specifics except that Timothy C. Edmonds “did engage in or attempt to engage in an act of sexual intercourse with … Angel Green … while [she] … was in the care, custody and control of [Edmonds].” …
In an interview conducted by Trooper L.G. O’Bryan of the West Virginia State Police, records show Green, now 18, said on several occasions she’d been alone with Edmonds for long periods of time…. During these times alone, Edmonds would ask her to wear pantyhose, and would take pictures with her “dress pulled up and wearing the pantyhose in a sexually explicit position.” On at least one occasion, Green alleged she and Edmonds were lying on the floor and he rubbed his penis against her while she was wearing pantyhose.
In addition to being an alleged student-abusing panty-hose fetishist, Mr. Edmonds is also, according to another report in the West Virginia Record, a deadbeat dad.
The Politico informs us that the Obama people have started punching back at Corsi’s Obama Nation, in the form of a free 41-page PDF file titled Unfit for Publication with this cover:
I’ve only just begun to read this free ebook (!), but I can tell you that it offers a page-by-page attack on the ‘facts’ in Obama Nation. It also declares that Corsi is a “bigoted fringe author” and one of their first reasons in the long list that he’s nuts is that he’s a 9/11 Truther. (Also, the book ends with pulled quotes that prove Corsi to be a Catholic-hater and racist.)
One can only hope that this PDF gets distributed as quickly and efficiently as news of Obama Nation’s publication has spread over the last few days. I can tell you that the introduction to the ebook is one of the most satisfying fuck yous I’ve ever read in politics. I was going to put this after the break, but then I remembered all the people who accused me of advertising for Obama Nation yesterday, and so I’m leaving it all above the fold. Please read it.
UNFIT FOR PUBLICATION: Setting the Record Straight on the Lies in Jerome Corsi’s “The Obama Nation”
Once again, bigoted fringe author Jerome Corsi is trying to make money off of an election, spinning garbage as journalism and relying on the right-wing echo chamber to pump up sales. Make no mistake: “The Obama Nation: is nothing but rehashed lies.
The allegations: rehashed lies
Corsi’s falsehoods about Barack Obama have been discredited by numerous news organizations, which have questioned his “scholarship,” his conclusions, and his ideological bent. This report will take you through the allegations point by point. Despite Corsi’s high opinion of his own scholarly abilities—he childishly touts the number of footnotes it contains, for example—he gets many of even the most basic facts wrong, like the year the Obamas got married.
As you might expect from the book’s shoddy foundation, many of its claims are also completely false. The Obama’s never gave a million dollars to a Kenyan politician. Obama has no secret plan to destroy the military. Obama has regularly shared many of the facts about his family that Corsi claims he has covered up.
The author: a discredited, fringe bigot
Of course, the lies in “The Obama Nation” almost pale in comparison to the bizarre, conspiratorial views that Jerome Corsi has advocated in his broader work. He believes that President Bush is trying to merge the United states with Mexico and Canada. He believes that there is a literally unending supply of oil beneath the ground. And in perhaps the gravest sign that his views can’t be trusted, he alleges government cover-up of the 9/11 attacks and denies that airplanes were to blame for the towers’ collapse. And it doesn’t stop there. Corsi has penned a litany of bigoted, hateful comments—crossing the line so thoroughly that even the right-wing operatives behind Swift Boat Veterans for Truth disavowed him. This is a man who smears the Catholic Church, calls the Pope “senile,” and regularly demeans public servants in vile sexual and racial terms.
In short, his record of attacks is disgusting and false, and so is this book.
Jonah Spangenthal-Lee on
August 14 at
Bellevue Ave has demanded that I do a football post, although I’m not really sure why.
It’s still the snoozeriffic preseason and the only update I’ve got on the All-Slog 2008 Fantasy Football Thunderdome League of Champions™ is that we’ve completed our draft. I’m not going to post a rundown of every damn team’s lineup because that would take too much time, but AS08FFTLC (!!!) members should feel free to list them in the comments.
I ended up with both Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery, who could end up doing amazing things this season, now that Brett Favre is with the Jets. Now, I’m a little worried about Old Man Favre. He’s 38, he’s been whining about his arm—although I think this is kinda being overblown—and he’s the Madden ‘09 cover boy, which can only mean bad things.
Still, Coles and Cotchery could end up being this year’s Moss and Welker, so I’m having a hard time trading either of them. That being said, if Favre get hurt, re-retires or just plain sucks this season, I’m fucked. I’ve got Santonio Holmes but my other backup receiver is, like, a third stringer for the Texans. Oh, and then there’s the whole bye week problem too.
I did get Adrian Peterson though, so if he can consistently score 14 or more touchdowns a game, I think I’ll be alright.
Dead at 83. You should read the entire New York Times obituary, but to get you interested, here’s the capsule: he was the fiction editor for Esquire, back when Esquire was continually in battle with one or two other big-name magazines for the title of most important publisher of short fiction in the world.
From the Times, here’s a short list of authors whose work Hills guided from the beginning:
Norman Mailer, John Cheever, William Styron, Bruce Jay Friedman, William Gaddis, James Salter, Don DeLillo, Ann Beattie, Richard Ford, Raymond Carver and E. Annie Proulx.
And here’s another bit of an idea of the history that we’ve lost with Hills’ passing:
Lawrence Rust Hills — Dorothy Parker once remarked to him that his name made her forget all the other New Jersey suburbs — was born on Nov. 9, 1924.
I’ve noted many times before that Barack Obama’s support is lightest among voters in the over-60 demographic. The campaign has clearly noticed this too, or it would not be sending me press releases (and handy photos) such as this:
SEATTLE, WA – Today, Obama supporters visited senior centers across Washington to celebrate the 73rd anniversary of the day when Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act. Volunteers delivered Social Security “birthday” cakes to local seniors and shared information with them about Senator Obama’s plan to protect social security.
Aw. And shhh, don’t tell the campaign how many people over 60 actually read The Stranger.
Bethany Jean Clement on
August 14 at
…it’s to the Stranger Election Control Board!
I just got your voter cheat sheet. I love it. I love you. And I love that I can vote for judges whom I’ve never met before (and hope to never meet) with the reasonable confidence that someone who’s probably a little cynical on the outside but fairly honest on the inside, someone who wants safety, fairness, and to be a champion for the non-mainstream has read at least three sentences about this judge (and maybe even met them… who knows) all so that I don’t have to.
thank you, stranger, my very own local free paper… thank you.
stephanie in seattle… who just voted in under 3 minutes.
Read the endorsements here (two out of three non-SECB Stranger writers agree: They’re actually funny). Download the Cheat Sheet here.
And Stephanie, I feel I may speak for us all: We love you too.
In this week’s Books section, I wrote about taking a media tour of the new Concept Borders at the Southcenter Mall with a reporter from Kent:
Unfortunately, the future for Borders is about five years ago for everyone else. The concept behind this Concept Borders? Computers, so customers can customize things: Anderson shows us kiosks where customers can burn mix CDs from an online database or buy music to download onto their (non-iPod or Zune) MP3 players. He shows us computers reserved for looking up and printing recipes, computers for making travel plans, and computers for composing photo albums on Shutterfly (although you can’t upload photos onto Borders’ computers). Basically, it’s a crappy version of the internet, only with a lot of annoying restrictions.
Borders seems to be banking on the continued computer illiteracy of its older consumers. As we tour the new electronics section, Anderson admits that these customizing options are “more appealing to the baby-boomer demographic” and other people who “need a friendly face” to help them with technology. At first, this seems like a doomed proposition, but over the course of the media tour, the reporter from Kent falls in love. As Anderson introduces the audio-book kiosk, where customers can download audio books onto their (again, due to licensing restrictions, non-iPod or Zune) MP3 players, the reporter from Kent loses her shit: “So, like, you can listen to a book when you’re driving in your car?”
Taking this tour was one of the most awkward things I’ve ever done in my time at The Stranger, and I’ve had to review plays where it was just me and the performers in attendance. It turns out, Borders has been cornering the awkward market this year: on Fimoculous, they’ve just run a Borders-official video from March of Wes Anderson and Jason Schwartzman wandering through a Borders and talking about what they’re interested in. If this video had been edited into a 4-minute commercial, it would be awkward; at its full 8 minute length, it’s just painfully boring.
You know, it’s not all glamor, this advice column gig.
A lot of my mail comes addressed to “Dan or the Assistant That Reads and Sorts His Mail.” But I read all my own mail, people, and that eats up an awful lot of my time. I can usually tell when a particular letter isn’t going to make the column—because the problem is too dull, too recently discussed, or the letter is way too long—and I’ll stop reading a line or two in, hit delete, and move on with my life. But some long letters suck me and I read them all the way through because I keep expecting that something interesting is about to happen.
Like this letter. Sucked me in, read it all the way through, and at the end I thought… man, if plowing a car into everyone involved would get me back the five minutes of my life that I wasted reading this letter, I would do it.
The letter is after the jump. You got some advice for this kid? Let him have it in comments. Because I got nothin’.
Enter the Octopus has posted a video in which a man with a plastic bag on his head reviews a book. Maybe the idea is that you have to make the review brief so that you don’t pass out from hyperventilation?
I have to admit, I still couldn’t tell you what book he reviewed because I was way too nervous about the possibility of watching him accidentally die. Still, tune in next week, when I begin my “Man Reviews Books With a Loaded Shotgun Shoved in His Mouth” series on Slog.
Donalydia Huertas was 17 when she gave her 16-year-old friend, Danielle McCarthy, ecstasy on December 31, 2006. Even though McCarthy began to show symptoms of an overdose—delirious, urinating, a seizure—her friends waited hours before taking her to a hospital in Edmonds, where she was pronounced dead. I wrote about the whole sordid story here, and here’s an excerpt about the penalties:
In Washington, when a person dies from taking an illegal drug, the individual who supplied the drug has committed “controlled-substances homicide,” according to a law passed in 1987. It’s the equivalent of holding a gun dealer liable if someone shoots himself.
“It was clear who gave her the drugs and who sold her the drugs,” said Deputy Prosecutor Coleen St. Clair of the Snohomish County Superior Court, who is handling the case….
The penalty for administering a lethal dose of a drug is usually 51 to 68 months in prison for adults. The penalty for juveniles is typically a month in jail.
The prosecutor charged Huertas with manslaughter as an adult after she turned 18, but a judge rejected the charge in June. And today, the Times’s (excellent reporter) Jennifer Sullivan reports on the sentencing decision.
On Wednesday, the case neared its end in Huertas’ favor. A Snohomish County judge ruled that Huertas will be sentenced in juvenile court, a decision that clears the way for the 19-year-old to receive a standard sentencing range of up to 30 days in a juvenile jail, instead of the nearly 5-1⁄2 years in an adult prison that she could have faced if sentenced in adult court.
[Judge Ellen] Fair said Huertas acted with “stupidity” by not coming to McCarthy’s aid when the girl was overdosing. But since then, Fair said, Huertas has “gained some maturity.”
Huertas should definitely be punished: She didn’t save her friend’s life when she had the chance. However, this lighter juvenile sentencing makes sense. Offenders who were kids at the time shouldn’t be given trumped up adult charges. And Heurtas, the only non-white person charged, wasn’t the only one to blame. David Morris, an adult who sold the ecstasy to the girls, accepted an offer to testify against Huertas in exchange for a shorter sentence. McCarthy paid for the drugs with her own money, court records show, and she asked her friend to make sure her parents didn’t find out. And about a half-dozen people were also with McCarthy when she died—and one of them even told the group not to call an ambulance. The negligence of all her friends, ecstasy, and strictly punitive drug policies all conspired to kill Danielle McCarthy. But only Donalydia Huertas was facing years in prison.
…made out of hair! (There is no indication whether the hair is human or animal.) The misspellings are especially charming: “Andrew Jankson” was our 7th president, and “James knox Palk” was our 11th, to say nothing of “Ponald Wilson Reagan.” There are also portraits of Marx, Lenin, Princess Diana, and “Einsetein.”
There are three basic facts to keep in mind about the smokin’ little war in Ossetia:
1. The Georgians started it.
2. They lost.
3. What a beautiful little war!
The American military’s response so far has been all talk, and pretty damn stupid talk at that. A Pentagon spokes-thingy called Russia’s response “disproportionate.” …
If you want a translation, luckily I speak fluent Pentagon. So what “disproportionate” means is—well, imagine that you’re watching some little hanger-on who tags along with you get his ass whipped by a bully, and you say, “That’s inappropriate!” I mean, instead of actually helping him. That’s what “disproportionate” means from the Pentagon: “We’re not going to lift a finger to help you, but hey, we’re with you in spirit, little buddy!”
The quickest way to see who’s winning in any war is to see who asks first for a ceasefire. And this time it was the Georgians. Once it was clear the Russians were going to back the South Ossetians, the war was over. Even Georgians were saying, “To fight Russia by ourselves is insane.” Which means they thought Russia wouldn’t back its allies. Not a bad bet; Russia has a long, unpredictable history of screwing its allies—but not all the time. The Georgians should know better than anybody that once in a while, the Russians actually come through, because it was Russian troops who saved Georgia from a Persian invasion in 1805, at the battle of Zagam. Of course the Russians had let the Persians sack Tbilisi just ten years earlier without helping. That’s the thing: the bastards are unpredictable. You can’t even count on them to betray their friends (though it’s the safer bet, most of the time, sort of like 6:5 odds).
This time, the Russians came through. For lots of reasons, starting with the fact that Bush is weak and they know it; that the US is all tied up in that crap Iraq war and can’t do shit; and most of all, because Kosovo just declared independence from Serbia, an old Russian ally. It’s tit for tat time, with Kosovo as the tit and South Ossetia as the tat. The way Putin sees it, if we can mess with his allies and let little ethnic enclaves like Kosovo declare independence, then the Russians can do the same with our allies, especially naïve idiotic allies like Georgia.
One cannot think of Russia today as being the same as the Russia of the Soviet Union or Cold War. Russia is little more than an oil company—a belligerent, preening and despotic oil company with thousands of nuclear warheads. A company driven almost entirely by greed and insecurity.
The neo-Liberal economic reforms foisted upon the country (thought up by the same DLC assholes who came up with welfare reform and the financial industry deregulation that directly lead to our own financial collapse, for those of you keeping track) in the 1990s have left the Russian population constantly bristling at any sense that they are being denigrated.
Georgia’s agitation to join NATO, and the growing sense that the US might also strongly encourage this, proved intolerable. Georgia is strategically located, near to some of the Russian oil deposits and pipelines. We didn’t like those nuclear missiles in Cuba. Why would Russia tolerate NATO right next door?
As Dan noted, subsequently we’re started sending some troops and humanitarian aid. I wouldn’t start digging your fallout shelters right now, but who knows. Just like during the blockade of Cuba—the biggest risk is of an “accident” occurring, in which American and Russian troops start shooting at one another without really intending to.
Here’s a story for the folks who are constantly bitching about the lack of arts funding and think the government should just, like, pay for our theaters:
The Japanese theater world is currently in crisis over the question of to whom public theaters belong, since the decision by the New National Theatre Tokyo (NNTT) to appoint new artistic directors for each of its three divisions.
The Japanese government lavishly finances the NNTT and, as a result, treats it like a government bureaucracy. Which is causing major fuckups:
Tadaaki Otaka, the new artistic director of opera, who is slated to succeed Hiroshi Wakasugi, first learned of his appointment when he read about it in a newspaper. Otaka himself had never officially accepted the job.
More perplexing is the replacement of Hitoshi Uyama, the current artistic director of theater, who was appointed only last autumn. Uyama’s productions of “Yakiniku Dragon” and “A Japanese Named Otto” (which he also directed), were both well received by critics and the public.
Granted: It’d be peachy for American artists to have more no-strings access to government money.
But that just isn’t going to happen.
Even if the American government sponsored theaters, it would try to control them more tightly—and fuck them up more badly—than the Japanese government does.
Why? Because we’re a big, diverse country with a reactionary conservative streak 2,000 miles wide. And nobody, elected or appointed, wants to risk his or her cushy government job on a visionary artistic director. Or playwright. Or director. Or anything.
So we’re stuck with foundations and individual patrons, whose donations will dry up as the economy gets worse.
Which leaves us with old-fashioned capitalism, of the DIY rock ‘n’ roll variety, where you just cobble it together and make it work.
All this “actors deserve get a living wage” rhetoric thrown around by actors’ unions and regional theaters—and, famously, Mike Daisey, in this essay for The Stranger—is, I’m sorry to say, totally unrealistic.
Sure, actors deserve living wages (everybody deserves living wages) but they ain’t gonna get them any more than most rock ‘n’ rollers will get living wages. The analogy isn’t as specious as you might think: regional theaters (as we know them) are going down, just like record labels (as we know them) are going down.
And when the theaters crumble, they’re taking the unions (especially Actor’s Equity) with them.
Then the only people left will be the cockroaches—the people with true grit who want to make theater because they want to make theater.
Theater, again, will become a deep calling with no promise of financial reward. (Which, I’m sorry to say, might even improve the form as a whole.)
We’ll never be like Europe. We’ll never be like Japan.
So all you theater artists are going to have to do it for yourselves: Produce burlesque shows to subsidize your experimental dramas; live in warehouses (like these guys); learn a goddamned trade (like this guy); seek out your own private Medicis—I know, that’s a tall order the West Coast, where the nouveau riche haven’t figured out how to be art patrons yet. But somebody’s got to teach them. Might as well be you.
(And please do not rack up debt by going to a grad school that will only teach you to navigate Hollywood and the doomed regional theaters. Unless you’re planning on being an LA star, it’s a waste of precious time and money. Just get out there and make work.)
You can mewl about “living wages” and “not enough arts funding” while your theaters burn, but that won’t put out the fire.
A pit bull that severely mauled a young girl inside her East Anchorage home Tuesday afternoon was shot by a neighbor who followed screams to the scene to find the girl’s baby sitter fighting the dog in the front yard.
The girl’s injuries were so severe that witnesses at first told police the 6-year-old was dead, killed in the attack by one of her family’s pets….
Officials were still working to determine what will happen to Dozer, who neighbors said has caused problems in the past. “That one’s been aggressive the last few days,” said Shawnee Hart, who lives nearby. “We’re trying to tell (the owner) the dog’s aggressive.”
But, Hart said, the owner told her, “‘No, no, no, they’re friendly dogs. They’re just security dogs.’ Well, you know, your security dog just tore up your child.”
You gotta love that this kid’s mom was defending her pit bull—that would be Dozer—after the dog mauled her own six year-old nearly to death.
The day has finally come; August’s Slog Happy is tonight at the Hideout.
Paul Constant is bringing free books, I’m bringing Bumbershoot tickets to win (well, I’m not really bringing the actual tickets, I’m just bringing the opportunity to win them, which means I’m bringing a hat in which to draw names from) and the Hideout’s supplying some drink specials ($1.50 Rainiers and $2.50 wells), good art, pretzles, and a neat-o vending machine filled with presents to buy.
It starts at 6 pm—get there early to get the first crack at Paul’s books. That sounds weirdly dirty…
Netflix is totallly fucked this week. Movies haven’t been shipped on Tuesday or Wednesday, and today looks a little iffy, too. Hacking Netflix has only a little bit of news on the matter. One commenter there claims to work for Netflix and says that the internal e-mail system is down along with the shipping system. Now, I’m not an expert on these sorts of things, but this looks like a crippling computer meltdown of some sort, and not the work of hackers.
On the actual Netflix site, Netflix has released an oblique statement (image-captured in part above) regarding these outages that you can see in full here. Apparently, credits will be issued to customers, but a nearly one-week shutdown of a national company can’t be good news for the ol’ bottom line.
Commenters on Hacking Netflix are resorting to poetry in the wake of the tragic loss of movies in the mail:
Tintin is more than a comic about a boy reporter who travels the world to fight dictators, criminals, and bullies. It is also satire, anthropology, reportage (The Blue Lotus is an excellent primer on the Japanese invasion of Manchuria), and a pop-art fountainhead that influenced Lichtenstein and Warhol. Tintin et Moi, a 2003 documentary based on 14 hours of interviews with Tintin creator Hergé, discusses the artist’s evolution from right-wing Catholic propagandist to secular humanist and defends Tintin as a definitive graphic record of the 20th century. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 267-5380. 7 and 9 pm, $8.50.)
I somewhat enjoyed my first interaction with Chris McMullen’s heavy-duty kinetic sculptures a few weeks ago. My favorite was an exercise bike that transforms the large-scale movements of a real person on one end into the baby turns of a miniature ballerina figurine on the other (you can’t see her in the photograph). Seemed a great reminder of the way energy can dissipate, and because the ballerina’s movement was so precise and so satisfying, I wondered about which end the dissipation was actually on.
But I didn’t love the bike sculpture until I saw the above man on it. Before he was on it, the woman behind him was on it. They were having a very good time. Meanwhile, I was sitting at a nearby table by the window, where McMullen’s black-ink (Sharpie?) blueprints on glass were steadily growing on me, too, as sun hitting them gave them shadowy dimension.
Here’s the Obama/Clinton joint statement on her name being placed in nomination at the Democratic convention two weeks from now:
Since June, Senators Obama and Clinton have been working together to ensure a Democratic victory this November. They are both committed to winning back the White House and to to ensuring that the voices of all 35 million people who participated in this historic primary election are respected and heard in Denver. To honor and celebrate these voices and votes, both Senator Obama’s and Senator Clinton’s names will be placed in nomination.
“I am convinced that honoring Senator Clinton’s historic campaign in this way will help us celebrate this defining moment in our history and bring the party together in a strong united fashion,” said Senator Barack Obama.
Senator Obama’s campaign encouraged Senator Clinton’s name to be placed in nomination as a show of unity and in recognition of the historic race she ran and the fact that she was the first woman to compete in all of our nation’s primary contests.
“With every voice heard and the Party strongly united, we will elect Senator Obama President of the United States and put our nation on the path to peace and prosperity once again,” said Senator Hillary Clinton.
Senator Obama and Senator Clinton are looking forward to a convention unified behind Barack Obama as the Party’s nominee and to victory this fall for America.
There is no bookstore-related reading tonight, although there is a poetry reading at the Ballard Library, featuring Ron Starr, who is an editor at Floating Bridge Press. There will be an open mic afterward.
September is loaded with great readings, and I can’t wait. In the meantime, here’s an oldie about a man who is very passionate about one particular book:
There’s something totally unnerving about finding out that Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency was seemingly run by people who didn’t have that firm a grasp on what they were doing.
But slogging through the much-hyped Clinton Memos recently released by The Atlantic, it’s hard not to feel that everybody in Team Clinton just kind of expected to win, and then go get a sandwich before cake-walking to the White House. The memos are a treasure trove of delusional overconfidence and directionless infighting, with no one wanting to confront the fact that Obama might be more than a charisma-filled speed bump until they had effectively already lost.
Oh, and when they finally did realize how dire things were, the chief strategist of the campaign pronounced that it was time to remind the electorate that their opponent was a Muslim interloper.
What’s even more astounding, in this massive body of evidence that suggests Team Clinton did almost as much to make Barack Obama the nominee as Barack Obama did, is that the main players in Clinton’s incredible deadspin are still claiming that this wasn’t really their fault: It was the media’s, for not aggressively pursuing John Edwards’ carousing.
What a perfect coda to a perfect disaster. Take it away, Choire Sicha:
The question, for the thousandth time, is: What is wrong with these people? Also, who are these squabbling, selfish children—and why do they not have a VH1 reality show?
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has repeatedly claimed that he can speak for the interests of U.S. troops and best represent what they want…. But a new analysis by Open Secrets finds that the U.S. military is increasingly rejecting McCain as its spokesman. Obama has received nearly six times as much money from soldiers deployed overseas. Even anti-war libertarian Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who has suspended his campaign, has received more than four times as much as McCain.
So, gee, it looks like the troops support the guy that McCain said would rather lose a war than lose a campaign. So do the troops hate America? Are they all secret Muslims too? Are they all traitors?
This has been a somewhat below-the-radar issue ever since Hillary Clinton dropped out of the Democratic nomination fight. The question, fueled by her die-hard supporters and encouraged by the candidate herself, was whether Clinton’s delegates would let go and gamely vote for Obama at the convention, or whether they would demand to be given a “catharsis” moment that allowed them to actually vote for Clinton at the convention.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s name will be placed into nomination at the Democratic National Convention, a symbolic move approved by the Obama campaign in an effort to soothe a lingering rift with Clinton supporters.
This is all going to happen on the third day of the convention, the day before Obama accepts the nomination, and it creates a moment of peril for Obama because it places a lot of power in Clinton’s hands and a lot of faith in the idea that her delegates (and his) will ultimately behave in the party’s best interests.
For Democrats inside the convention center in Denver, as well as the television audience at home, it could create some interesting moments. After the state-by-state roll is tallied, Mrs. Clinton is expected to turn over her cache of delegates to Senator Barack Obama.
Sounds like it could all work out smoothly. But I seem to recall a lot of statements from Clinton about it not being over until it’s really, really, really over…
Well, at least the swinging couple in Des Moines who opened their home to what sounds like some pretty raucous sex parties—fifteen mattresses, bondage crosses, sex swings, a mobile dungeon parked in the driveway—are being persecuted by their neighbors, city officials, and, judging from the photo in today’s Seattle Times, carbs. There’s comfort in all of that, I suppose. But I have a bone—heh, a bone—to pick with the Super Friends of the Super Sacred Institution of Marriage, Local Chapter (Archbishop Brunett, Rev. Hutcherson, Dino Rossi, John Carlson, the Washington State Supreme Court, et al).
Where is the outrage, gang?
I’m reading this story—which includes a picture that provides readers with a glimpse of hairy manass (look to the right and down)—and it’s the usual collapse-of-western-civilization stuff. Regan “Draco” Lane-Smith and “Naughty” Nonah Elliston are running a sex club in the suburbs, blah blah blah, and the neighbors are upset, blah blah blah, and—ZOMFG!—think of the children! (For the record: I wouldn’t want to live next door to a straight swinger’s club, or have to explain to my kid what goes on in one.) But it isn’t until paragraph nine—nine!—that we learn something that should concern the Super Friends of the Super Sacred Institution of Marriage.
Elliston, 40, and Lane-Smith, 39, met at a swingers party in Puyallup seven years ago and married three years later….
A few years into their marriage, they decided to find a house that would perfectly suit them and their hobby. They spent six months searching. They wanted to be clear of schools and churches.
Again, where’s the outrage? Marriage is, according to the Super Friends of the Super Sacred Institution of Marriage, all about children. Gay people, the SFSSIM argue, should not be allowed to marry because we don’t have children. (Except when we, you know, do.) And marriage, according to the SFSSIM, is all about monogamy, which gay men aren’t very good at.
Well, Elliston and Lane-Smith are childless and they’re clearly not monogamous—and they’re married! Legally married! Surely this legally married couple, willfully childless and cheerfully non-monogamous, represent a greater threat to the Super Sacred Sanctity of Marriage than gay couples do. For crying out loud, SFSSIM, Elliston and Lane-Smith recruit. They advertise! They encourage other straight married couples to adopt their non-monogamous lifestyle, to come to their parties, to ride on their sex swings and swim naked in their pool.
Where’s the organized movement to strip people like this—a real and present threat to the super sacred sanctity of marriage—of their right to marry?
Joe Klein has a few things to say about John McCain’s willingness to stand by and watch while a new book spreads lies about Obama for political gain:
Yknow, they say politics ain’t beanbag…and it’s all in the game to tell innocent, well-intentioned people that Barack Obama is a secret Muslim or that John Kerry wasn’t really a hero in Vietnam. Or, as George W. Bush, once told a rightly outraged John McCain—whose wife and daughter Bush’s minions had smeared—“It’s just politics.”
Back in the day, John McCain was the sort of politician who would stand first in line to call out this sort of swill. (As, I’m sure Barack Obama or John Kerry would do, if some hate-crazed, money-grubbing left-winger published a book claiming that McCain had been successfully brainwashed in Vietnam—as Kerry did indeed do when a group of spurious Bush-backing Vietnam vets tried to claim exactly that about McCain during the 2000 Republican primary in South Carolina.)
And about that “putting country first” motto:
There is no excuse for what the McCain campaign is doing on the “putting America first” front. There is no way to balance it, or explain it other than as evidence of a severe character defect on the part of the candidate who allows it to be used. There is a straight up argument to be had in this election: Mcain has a vastly different view from Obama about foreign policy, taxation, health care, government action…you name it. He has lots of experience; it is always shocking to remember that this time four years ago, Barack Obama was still in the Illinois State Legislature. Apparently, though, McCain isn’t confident that conservative policies and personal experience can win, given the ruinous state of the nation after eight years of Bush. So he has made a fateful decision: he has personally impugned Obama’s patriotism and allows his surrogates to continue to do that. By doing so, he has allied himself with those who smeared him, his wife, his daughter Bridget, in 2000.
I was wrong about Iraq so, hey, maybe I’m wrong about this too. But, uh, this seems like a really, really, really bad idea. NYT:
In response, Mr. Bush sent American troops to Georgia to oversee a “vigorous and ongoing” humanitarian mission, in a direct challenge to Russia’s display of military dominance over the region. Mr. Bush demanded that Russia abide by the cease-fire and withdraw its forces or risk its place in “the diplomatic, political, economic and security structures of the 21st century.” It was his strongest warning yet of potential retaliation against Russia over the conflict.
Is sending troops into Georgia really in our best interests? Do we really wanna go to war with Russia over a couple of break-away provinces there? Are we really that fucking nuts?
Portland is magical place where you can sit with your brother outside a cafe in public park and enjoy your beers—responsibly!—without a moat and two fences separating you and your filthy beer from the impressionable children—think of the children!—splashing around in a wading pool just yards away. In Washington state, of course, the Liquor Control Board is ever vigilant about keeping children far from adults enjoying their despicable alcoholic beverages.
We live in a bullshit state.
But, hey, you can still smoke in bars down here—for a few more months—which totally blows. And you can have dinner at Clyde Commons, which totally rocks. (Mmm… pork belly…) But, on the other hand, you can go to a strip club and ogle naked ladies with a drink in your hand to accompany/numb with the lump in your pants. (Just in theory—we’re not going to any strip clubs. Hi, Colleen!) So there are, you know, trade offs.
Okay—off to Powell’s to pick up a copy of Robert Fagles new translation of Virgil’s Aeneid. And how gay is that? “Pretty damn gay,” says my brother, but how would he know? Breeder!
Right now on Broadway, a petitioner is at a table gathering signatures. Whenever someone walks by, he says, “Sign the petition to get the 20-cent bag tax on the ballot.”
When I asked what the measure would do, he repeats that this is “just to get it on the ballot.” That’s a little misleading for people who support the idea—the city council already passed the bag tax. What he should say is, “This would give voters a chance to repeal it.”
Sponsored by the Coalition to Stop the Seattle Bag Tax, the petition needs 14,374 signatures to reach voters in 2009. “Signatures are pouring in,” we’re told. Hmm, perhaps “signatures are pouring in” because tactics like these—appealing to people who would oppose the initiative if they realized what it was—or they could be “pouring in” because the Seattle PI is providing blow-by-blow updates about how, when, and where people can sign the petition. When it makes the ballot, the grocers behind the measure (which happen to buy an awful lot of insert advertisements from the PI) are sure to spend a glut of cash to smear the bag-tax. If you see the petition, don’t sign it. We’ve already had this debate.
Haller Lake Residents Win Court Ruling In School District Tree Fight
Jonah Spangenthal-Lee on
August 13 at
A group of North Seattle residents have won an injunction against the Seattle Public Schools, halting the districts plan to remove a grove of 68 trees from Ingraham High School’s campus later this week.
Haller Lake residents claim the district has violated the city permitting process and have lobbied the school district to leave the trees. Last night, the school board held a emergency meeting to discuss the issue and decided to proceed with the plan. Now, school district must now go before a judge on August 25th and make the case for removing the trees, which were to be cleared to make room for a 12 classroom expansion at Ingraham.
Despite the temporary ruling, the district doesn’t believe it has done anything wrong.
“The restraining order doesn’t reflect on the merits of the case,” says Seattle Schools spokesman David Tucker.”We went through a complete environmental process. We have students that need new classrooms. Our priority is going to be first and foremost in meeting the needs of these students.”
The school district has signed a contract with a logging company to remove the trees on Friday, and the delay may force the district to pay $10,000 and $17,000 to the company.
A judge ordered the group Save Our Trees to put up a $7500 bond to cover costs if the school district prevails in the suit.
These days, an awful lot of people—the production builders, the realtors—are waiting for the “bottom” in the real-estate industry with hopes that the suburban house-building orgy will resume. They are waiting in vain. The project of suburbia is over. We will build no more of it. Now we’re stuck with what’s there. Sometimes whole societies make unfortunate decisions or go down tragic pathways. Suburbia was ours.
Kunstler’s predictions for the future of big cities—like Chicago and New York, Slog’s favorite big cities—are equally bleak, however:
We face an epochal demographic shift, but not the one that is commonly expected: from suburbs to big cities. Rather, we are in for a reversal of the 200-year-long trend of people moving from the farms and small towns to the big cities. People will be moving to the smaller towns and smaller cities because they are more appropriately scaled to the limited energy diet of the future. I believe our big cities will contract substantially — even if they densify back around their old cores and waterfronts. They are products, largely, of the 20th-century cheap energy fiesta and they will be starved in the decades ahead.
Kunstler is the author of The Geography of Nowhere, a fascinating book about how we got into this mess—how we saddled ourselves with all those identical suburbs, big-box stores, six lane “roads” lined with fast-food outlets—in the first place.
OK, in preparation for Slog Happy tomorrow, some contentious observations:
Biking in Seattle is fucking easy. I used to walk instead of riding due to my fear of the alien topography, but now have come to see the light and the method. These hills? Get in low gear and stand up and fucking pedal. OK, you end up at the top of the hill covered in sweat, but that’s just an excuse to drink some beer (ie, “carbo-load”) for the rest of your ride. And if it’s raining, as I hear it sometimes does here, well, then, you’re wet either way, so why worry?
I noted something interesting: every ride I have taken, all round trips from Capitol Hill to Sodo and the Pike Market area are…half down-hill. This was actually more frightening to this flatlander, as I was going way too fast for my own chicken-shittedness, and may actually have worn out the brake pads on this borrowed bike (sorry, Tim!).
And as for those hills: cross-step and you’re fine. I was scouting the Madison-Boren intersection for tomorrow, and noted that Madison runs, oh, straight up into the air like a drawbridge at one point, so I cut over a block to a gentler slope, then went east again. Ditto heading up to 15th—don’t head straight up Pike or Pine, cut over on 12th or Broadway for a few blocks, get that heart rate down under 120, breathe.
Also, the DH sucks, the American League is evil incarnate, the Monorail was a bad idea, pine trees contribute to global warming, tattoos are stupid, piercings are stupider, pan-fry pit bulls, Ichiro is over-rated, no cripples on the bus.
His quarrel is with the approach the Bush administration sold [the government backing of Fannie and Freddie debt] to Congress. “They should have wiped out the shareholders, nationalized the institutions with legislation that they are to be reconstituted — with necessary taxpayer support to make them financially viable — as five or 10 individual privately held units, and auctioned off,” he says in an interview this week.
Instead, Congress granted Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson temporary authority to use an unlimited amount of taxpayer money to lend to or invest in the companies…
Nearly three thousand blogs have written about Obama Nation hitting the number one slot on the New York Times bestseller list at this point, probably even more if you search for Obama Nation and “best seller” as two separate words. Even the Times is getting in on the business, with a story on the book today. A lot of the liberal blogs are going on about how the Swift Boating of Obama begins now, and oh, God, we’re fucked, and so on and so forth.
Listen: It’s not that bad.
Yes, there is a negative book about Obama out. I haven’t read it yet (I will), but I know that it has two major claims: that Obama’s tied in with radical Islam and that he used (or still uses) drugs. These are both claims that he’s dealt with and will continue to deal with until Election Day, but this book isn’t going to change anything.
Drugs are a non-issue: a few conservatives will get on their high horse about drug abuse, but consider the fact that our current President allegedly once danced naked on a bar whilst coked to the gills, and one or two of the current conservative radio hosts have had run-ins with narcotics themselves. These charges are just not going to take off. America can get huffy about drugs, but we’re not really good at stone-throwing about it nowadays.
The Islam thing is always going to be an issue, and it has since the beginning. I expect to see a lot of photo ops of Obama in white churches between now and November for just that reason, but I think that, in this election cycle, Islam is code for two words: “Black” and “Democrat.” There are people who will never vote for a black man for president, and there are people who will never vote for a Democrat because they think that Democrats want to hand over the nation to Al Qaeda.Thankfully, neither of those types of people come anywhere near the majority of the American public.
Lastly, trying to position this book as a second coming of Unfit to Command is categorically absurd. This is obviously a case of an author trying to capture his special brand of pervy conservative lightning in a bottle twice, and as someone who sees books come and go, I can tell you that it ain’t gonna work.
Just because they’ve sold 450,000 copies of the book is meaningless also. First, remember that that number includes people who intentionally buy huge bulk numbers of a book to inflate its sales figures and then quietly return those copies to the publisher or distrubutor months later. This is common practice, especially with non-fiction titles, because publishing is fucked in the head as an industry. Second, because there’s no way to determine how many of those superbuyers are actually doing their superbuying, let’s just for a moment incorrectly assume that each of those 450,000 copies have sold to actual readers. Now consider how many millions upon millions of people will watch the conventions later this month on TV. These Obama Nation numbers are drops in the bucket. Even Stephenie Meyer’s vampire romance book Breaking Dawn sold 1.3 million copies in three hours of one night two weeks ago, and has probably almost sold through its initial print run—which was three million copies—by now. The only way this book is going to be a big damn deal is if we let it become a big damn deal.
In conclusion: Everybody calm down, please. Thanks.
Got Some Streets You Wanna See Closed to Traffic Next Year for a Day or Two During the Summer?
Dan Savage on
August 13 at
Don’t just toss names around on Slog. Let the folks at the city with the power to actually close ‘em down know how you feel. This was in the comments thread attached to the post I wrote yesterday about the riots—excuse me, joy—that New Yorkers greeted the closure of certain city streets on Saturday mornings this summer. I wanted to move it up so folks would be sure to see it:
FYI - if you have a great idea for where [street closures] could be next year? Share it with the city by emailing: Dawn.Schellenberg@Seattle.gov.
This year is a pilot program and the City hopes to make next year bigger and better. Personally, I think it’s also a great idea to champion permanent closures of streets like Pike Place (the street by the market) and a couple of blocks of Ballard Ave NW (in old Ballard). Let them know what you think is worth trying/considering—don’t just bitch about it on the blogs.
For us to do the rough equivalent of the NYC did we could close down Madison from the waterfront to Lake Washington Blvd, Lake Washington Blvd to Montlake Blvd NE, Montlake to 25th Ave NE, 25th Ave NE to NE 55th. So from downtown, past Seattle U, through the Arboretum, across the Ship Canal, through the UW, and up to Ravenna Park. Not saying this is an ideal route but it could be a possibility. Or we could close down Lake Washington Blvd from 520 to Seward Park. There are lots and lots of possibilities! Share your ideas!
Towleroad is reporting that Jonathan Crutchley, chairman of the gay hookup portal Manhunt, gave $2,300 to John McCain’s presidential campaign. In the comments section of a 2007 Huffington Post interview, a commenter called Crutchley out.
I just read that Jonathan Crutchley is a liberal republican that has donated to John MCCain’s campaign, another gay republican donating to people who don’t believe in equal rights for gay men and women, in particular gay adoption, gay marriage or civil unions…I am so disappointed.
Someone’s obviously reading the comments section of their year-old interview.
Welcome to the age of the internet, where everyone’s private life becomes public. Yes, my contribution to John McCain’s campaign for president was listed on the Huffington Post. I believe McCain will be a better commander-in-chief than Obama, who also opposes gay marriage. If we have an experienced, seasoned person defending the country in this dangerous age, we will be able to argue about the gay agenda later. Yes, I am a Massachusetts Republican, which is about the same as being an Alabama Democrat. But don’t call me a “liberal.” That’s an insult.
That would be an insult, Crutchley—to liberals. But you aren’t liberal. You’re an opportunist who takes from gay men and gives to a candidate who voted to restrict marriage to one man and one woman. You know, so if any of these guys do hook up with their Prince Charming, they can’t marry him. But that’s not hypocritical of you or McCain. That’s called being a Republican, a party that’s fine with supporting hetero-only marriage while cruising for gay guys on the side.
Jonah Spangenthal-Lee on
August 13 at
Although Club Lagoon is no longer with us, its ghost still haunts Capitol Hill.
The Lamborghini that sits precariously perched above what was once a tacky Crockett-and-Tubbs-themed club could soon have a new owner.
According to a post on Craigslist, the club’s space is up for lease.
Prime Capitol Hill location!
Beautifully built out slab granite bar; private ADA compliant bathroom; kitchen equipment in place, elevator, parking on site.
4,000 Square Feet net rentable.
Asking $32.00 p.s.f. annual rent including CAM.
The ad does not indicate whether the new buyer will inherit Club Lagoon’s rooftop Lamborghini or fur-lined speedboat.
What else does Capitol Hill need these days? Another club?
Maybe the Castle Adult Megastore will expand upwards. Bethany Jean Clement reports that the bathrooms have great peep-show potential.
A former teacher at the North Coast Christian School in Hammond has been accused of having sex with a 15-year-old student.
Warrenton Police officers arrested Jeremiah Gunner Scott, 26, of Warrenton. He was also a youth pastor for Warrenton First Baptist Church.
Scott is charged with eight counts of third-degree rape, a felony, and one count each of third-degree sodomy, a felony, contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor and sexual misconduct.
I’m confused: The Supreme Court declared anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional—so how can sodomy be a felony? With at least three degrees? I mean, if the dude fucked the 15 year-old, then he’s guilty of statutory rape, for sure. But how can he be found convicted for sodomy when sodomy isn’t a crime anymore, per the Supreme Court. Any lawyers out there with all the answers?
And, again, parents that let their kids hang out in churches are fucking crazy. Might as well dip ‘em in fish guts and toss them into shark-infested waters.
Here’s an ad—of hot young people drinking and having a good time. But then they drink more and more, and things go downhill…
This is the sort of ad we should be running in the US: It admits that drinking alcohol can be really fun, in moderation. But it’s the sort of ad I’ve never see here. Even our “know your limits” ads cut right to freaky depictions of drunkenness. Never could the puritanical educators of youth gain some credibility with teenagers by divulging that, perhaps—just maybe—using a little bit of drugs or alcohol can make for good time. But using too much, that’s abuse.
At some point during the rope line an enthusiastic supporter shook Mrs. McCain’s hand and exacerbated an existing carpal tunnel condition for which she has had previous surgeries. Out of an abundance of caution, she decided to leave the event and visit the local hospital for x-rays where she was treated for a minor sprain.
By popular demand, the video of Hungarian weightlifter Janos Baranyai’s performance in Beijing.
Here it is, but don’t watch it. Someone (several people) sent it to me and made me watch it (literally), and encouraged me to post it, but I don’t recommend looking at it, not at all. I’m warning you. It’s gross.
The announcers are really pretty pissed that they were forced to watch it too—again and again, in slow motion.
I like to stay on top of the crazy propaganda promulgated by all branches of the Discovery Institute. (By the way, Chicago Fan, it’s a commonplace that propaganda is officially a product of governments, but that’s not really true. Here are the applicable OED definitions: “2) An organization, scheme, or movement for the propagation of a particular doctrine, practice, etc.; 3) The systematic dissemination of information, esp. in a biased or misleading way, in order to promote a political cause or point of view. Also: information disseminated in this way; the means or media by which such ideas are disseminated.” Surely Northwestern gives you free access to the OED?)
For those of you still convinced that the Discovery Institute only has a “Real Russia Project” as a means of injecting intelligent design into Russian schools, you need only look at the collective response of the Russia Blog to the conflict in Georgia. There are some impressive Putin apologetics going on there:
I’m not commenting on the conflict itself, since I am not even remotely qualified to evaluate the competing claims, but this post is clearly quite a bit outside the mainstream of American opinion. How did the Discovery Institute come to represent this bizarre mishmash of interests? I am flummoxed.
That’s Mark Siano—local theater and comedy guy of Soft-Rock fame—at the USA vs. China basketball game in Beijing yesterday.
That’s Mark Siano just a few minutes later. From his blog:
It is expressly forbidden to display political signs in Olympic venues, or on Olympic grounds, or anywhere in China for that matter. But I would not be deterred. (Damn it I blinked!)
He’d snuck down to the press-photography area to unfurl his sign, which was contraband. (Security, apparently, is insane and he couldn’t have snuck it in. So he made his protest sign after he entered the stadium, from a Beijing subway map and some markers from a kids’ souvenir shop.)
I let the sign out over the guardrail, and it took nearly 10 minutes for Chinese security to see it. In the meantime cameras from CCTV, CBC, and other organizations all took pictures of the sign. NBC refused as I kept yelling at them, “C’mon NBC, take a picture, it’s an election year!”
The best part was that as the American athletes were exiting a few of them looked up to see my sign and they loved it. Cappie Pondexter (#4), pointed at it, smiled and mouthed what I think was “hell yeah!”
When security finally caught up with Siano, he talked his way out of being ejected and convinced them to let him keep his sign—otherwise, he’d get lost on the Beijing subway.
“Yesterday, I heard Sen. McCain say, ‘We are all Georgians now,’” Saakashvili said on CNN’s American Morning. “Well, very nice, you know, very cheering for us to hear that, but OK, it’s time to pass from this. From words to deeds.”
Meanwhile, Susan Rice makes the case that McCain is causing problems by putting out tougher Russia statements than the president (or Obama).
Americans are so obsessed with this, I think it’s high time we paid more attention to the beauty of this. Me personally, when I finally scratch that winning lotto ticket in the 7-Eleven parking lot, I will, without one doubt, buy myself one of these:
Dark chocolate, caramel, almonds, and marshmallow… It’s basically my dream candy bar. The ratio of marshmallow to caramel is perfect (too little marshmallow and the much heavier caramel would destroy it). And using almonds instead of peanuts was a great choice.
Introducing this rocky road version is the best thing Snickers has done in awhile—the last two bars they released included that Snickers Charged thing with caffeine and taurine (???) and the Adventure Bar with the weirdo spices in it. Ew and yuck.
Best of all, it’s way better than that crappy S’mores bar that Hersheys makes. That shit’s a disaster. That’s not marshmallow they use, that’s sand-flavored goo.
Good job, Snickers. Way to not suck this time around.
A gunman entered the Arkansas Democratic Party headquarters Wednesday and shot the party chairman, who was hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said. The gunman asked to speak to the party chairman, Bill Gwatney, and fired three shots.
“He came in and went into this office and started shooting,” police Lt. Terry Hastings told reporters near the party headquarters.
Gwatney, a former legislator, was in critical condition, Hastings said.
A former senior civil servant who was responsible for coordinating the government’s anti-drugs policy now believes that legalisation would be less harmful than the current strategy. Julian Critchley, the former director of the Cabinet Office’s anti-drugs unit, also said that his views were shared by the “overwhelming majority” of professionals in the field, including police officers, health workers and members of the government…. In a contribution to the debate on the “war on drugs” on a BBC website, Critchley spelled out his reasons for now supporting legalisation and claimed the government’s position is hypocritical. Yesterday Critchley, who is now a teacher, confirmed that the blog posting accurately conveyed his views.
“I joined the unit more or less agnostic on drugs policy, being personally opposed to drug use, but open-minded about the best way to deal with the problem,” he wrote on the blog. “I was certainly not inclined to decriminalise. However, during my time in the unit, as I saw more and more evidence of ‘what works’, to quote New Labour’s mantra of the time, it became apparent to me that … enforcement and supply-side interventions were largely pointless. They have no significant, lasting impact on the availability, affordability or use of drugs.”
The Alliance Française de Seattle is a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading Frenchness throughout the region,
and those socialist cheese-eaters have finally discovered the way to our hearts: comic books. Fantagraphics Books cofounder Kim Thompson talks about 20 artists who’ve made French comics among the best in the world, and the slide show is followed by a free reception to kick off a week of French comics-related goodness, including multiple appearances by genius memoirist and comics revolutionary David B. (Alliance Française de Seattle, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, 632-5433. 7 pm, free.)
I know you usually get mail about the sex lives of your readers (what with being a “sex advice columnist” and all) but I have a problem that has nothing to do with mine and my wife’s sex life. I have a parenting problem, and given that you are a fellow parent and may have had to deal with these kinds of ethical issues, I’m hoping you have some insight.
My brother is a social conservative, something that makes holidays interesting given that I’m a liberal, and a politically involved liberal at that. I can’t change him, but I’m disturbed because his son, who we’ll call George, is thirteen years old and has taken on many of his dad’s more intolerant characteristics. For instance, whenever I suggest that my toddler age son could have a girlfriend or a boyfriend when he grows up, George says he can’t believe I’d let him have a boyfriend, because “being gay is just wrong.” He also uses the word “gay” as a pejorative, as in “that’s so gay.” George takes every possible opportunity to let us know he thinks homosexuality is wrong and dirty.
George loves my son, and my son clearly thinks the world of George. So I have two questions.
1) Do you have any suggestions as to how to convince a thirteen year old boy that homosexuality is ok, or at least that he shouldn’t go around talking about how wrong it is even if he holds that opinion? I have no parental authority over him here, and for obvious reasons my brother won’t exercise it on my behalf.
2) Is there an ethical problem with me trying to convince George to adopt my values, in spite of my brother’s clear intention to raise his son with “his values”? Or, put another way, does my trying to convince George without my brother’s permission give my brother license to use words like “fag” in front of my son without my permission?
Advancing Liberalism In Youth
My quickly dashed off response:
Don’t be such a liberal pussy—you’re getting smacked around by a 13 year-old boybigot, ALIY. For christ’s sake! It’s time to stop wringing your fucking hands and start wringing the little bastard’s neck.
Your nephew certainly feels free to share his opinions with you—great. kids have a right to express themselves. But you are an adult—HELLO—and you have a right to share your opinions with him too. And you can share them every bit as bluntly. “Being gay is just wrong,” says the nephew. “You’re just wrong, you little shit,” says the uncle. (That’s how my uncles addressed me.) Then tell his little punk ass to go read a book, learn something about the subject, and maybe talk to an actual real live gay person before he opens his fool mouth to you again on the subject.
Fathers, of course, are free—sadly—to teach their sons whatever ridiculous bullshit they care to. I’m teaching my son, for instance, that theory of gravity is just a theory and that invisible wads of magic chewing gum hold everything down. Your brother, however, can’t expect you to forever censor yourself around his misinformed, opinionated son to protect the kid from realization that there are other points of view and that maybe—just maybe—what he learned at home is wrong. So put your brother on notice: If his son is going to share his opinions—his father’s opinions, but whatever—with adults who disagree with him, then your nephew is going to get into arguments with adults, arguments that—with you, at least—he will lose.
And if your brother expects you to STFU about your views on homosexuality around his kid, you have a right to demand that he and his son both STFU about their POVs on homosexuality around YOUR kid, who might—the chance is small, but there’s a chance—grow up to be gay.
Your nephew, of course, might be gay himself. I’d add, “Here’s hoping the little shit is,” but odds are good that your nephew will grow up to be one very messy gay adult, considering the bullshit that his dad has pounded into his head. We’ve got enough messy gay men lurking in the shrubbery and don’t need anymore.
Sandy Allen, who used her height to inspire schoolchildren to accept those who are different, died at a nursing home in her hometown of Shelbyville, family friend Rita Rose said.
Although the poor woman—a mere 53 years old—suffered from about a zillion health troubles (diabetes, breathing problems, kidney trouble, and, of course, serious gland issues) the precise cause of her death has not yet been determined.
One sentence, written by Annie Wagner, has appeared in almost every issue of The Stranger for the last three years. That sentence is:
The real point is not the adult-catechism monologue, but the script’s gaps, in which Sister Aubrey Manning dispenses tissues to cover salacious displays of flesh and kitschy prizes to reward the dumbstruck targets of her improvisations.
That is from Wagner’s review of the long-long-long-running Late-Nite Catechism and has lived in the theater calendar since she wrote it in 2005.
It’s an elegant sentence. It explains a lot—the show, its tone, its themes, its audience—in a few well-chosen words. It is also unassailable. I’ve tried to edit it many times for space, never to my satisfaction. Like most Annie Wagner constructions, it has an underlying logic of interlocking parts hidden by a deceptively smooth surface. It’s both rigorous and pleasant.
The 11-year-old Late-Nite Catechism closes at the end of August—which is also when Annie Wagner leaves The Stranger, and Seattle, for Chicago.
(Chicago, incidentally, is the city where Late-Nite Catechism was conceived and originally produced.)
That is Seattle’s tribute to Ms. Wagner. Without her, the Catechism cannot go on.
We have an open mic, a poetry slam, and three other readings tonight.
First, up at Queen Anne Books, some of the authors of the anthology travel writing book How to Fit a Car Seat on a Camel and other Misadventures Traveling with Kids will read. Yesterday, I said that the audience should be disappointed if there was no car seat-on-camel tutorial, and one of the folks involved with the reading e-mailed me to let me know that they had the car seat, but there were licensing issues with the camel. Which means that it’s Greg Nickels’ fault that there will be no camel at tonight’s reading. Start your angry letter-writing campaign now.
Up at Third Place Books, Arleen Williams reads from The 39th Victim, which is a book about her sister, who was killed by the Green River Killer. It’s going to be years before we can really figure out the Green River case, if we ever can understand it at all, but books like this can be useful for people who are interested/trying to process the Green River case.
And at Elliott Bay Book Company, Adam Davies reads from his new paperback original, Mine All Mine. It’s about a super-specialized security guard who keeps losing the stuff he’s guarding to the clutches of a mysterious cat burglar named The Rat Burglar. It looks like fun, and it’s important to note that it’s not half the thriller that the above description makes it out to be. This could be a great reading.
Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, here.
Will We Ever Be Rid of This Meddlesome Priest?
Dan Savage on
August 13 at
Jeremiah Wright is a pastor, technically, and not a priest. But still:
The reigning cliché of this election year—that we are in uncharted waters here, without either map or compass—has never been more apt than when it comes to the question of race. In October, Obama’s former pastor, Wright, will publish a new book and hit the road to promote it, an occasion that might well place the topic of Obama’s blackness (along with his patriotism and his candor about what he heard in the pews in all those years at Trinity Church) squarely at the center of the national debate. How Obama handles that moment may determine whether he becomes the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
He was clearly a troubled young man. Thank goodness he had male and female role models in the home, a mother and a stepfather who could, by example, teach him all about traditional family values and appropriate gender roles. Because, like John McCain said when he came out against gay people adopting, “two parent families are best for America… because family values are important and when we have two parents families that are parents are that are the traditional family.” And two gay guys or two lesbians with kids may be a lot of things, but they’re not, you know, two parents. I mean, come on.
Anyway, it’s great that this troubled kid had a mom and a dad, a traditional family and was exposed to the kind of traditional family values that are so important to John McCain.
It’s awkward, of course, that kid plotted with his mother to murder his step-father, and it’s sad that he won’t be able to recreate the kind of traditional family structure that he was exposed to at home until he gets out of prison in twenty or thirty years. But, hey, at least he had a mother and a father—until, you know, he shot his father four times in the back of the head.
Finally, a strong comeback from the Obama campaign to John McCain’s “Country First” mantra:
This is exactly what Obama needs to do: Shut down the claim that he’s somehow putting America’s needs behind his own needs (his needs as a celebrity, his needs as a Muslim Manchurian candidate, whatever the insinuation ends up being) and move the conversation right back to the ground that McCain and the Republicans are weakest on: the economy, Iraq, the legacy of Bush, and the growing divide between rich and poor in this country.
It sometimes takes a while for campaigns to hit on the right comeback (see, esp.: all the things John McCain’s camp threw against the wall before the “celebrity” meme stuck). Looks to me like team Obama has finally settled in on the right one-two punch of a response.
Here’s a link to a more complete story, from the Northern Territory News. This man is an end-of-days hero, Mad Max incarnate, speeding through the Australian bush with a whole lot of pot and a whole lot of testosterone.
Sgt Edwards said Mr Erhardt was arrested and told officers he had “found” the drugs at a rest stop 100km north of Coober Pedy — and he intended to smoke all of it at his Noonamah home.
Mr Erhardt also told police he had used the rifle to shoot “kangaroos from the vehicle whilst driving north.”
Mr Erhardt applied twice for bail last week so he could get married before going to jail.
A Maryville church has closed it’s doors indefinitely after a married couple, who are youth ministers at the church, are charged with sex crimes.
Michael Salazar, 35, is charged with three counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, and three counts of statutory rape by an authority figure. Laura Lee Click Salazar, 35, is charged with one count of sexual battery by an authority figure, and one count of statutory rape by an authority figure.
Maryville Police Cheif Tony Crisp says this investigation began on Aug. 15 when three teen girls, their parents, and their youth pastor, accused the Salazar’s of sexual misconduct. That’s when officials conducted an official investigation interviewing 14 girls who say the Salazars took part in individual sex acts beginning in September 2007.
At the church, there is a note on the door saying they’re closed until further notice.
Jesus Christ. It astounds me that parents will let their children go to church at all. Seriously.
Those Wrestlers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln…
Dan Savage on
August 13 at
…that did a little solo jerk-off porn? They’ve been kicked off the team. The owner of the porn site blames a generational split for the trouble these boys are in:
I’m in my mid 40s, and my generation has a stigma about porn. The kids, the generation of the student-athletes, don’t have that stigma. They really don’t care. They’ve come from a Paris Hilton, Tommy Lee-Pamela Anderson sex tape generation, Myspace pages. The shame and stigma aren’t there for them.
A lot of folks are tempted to cast the owner of FratmenTV.com as the villain in this piece—he is a pornographer, after all—but it’s hard to argue with his statement. Every other young person with a camera phone is an amateur pornographer, and the exhibitionist streak comes standard with people under 30.
Jonah Spangenthal-Lee on
August 12 at
The ever-so-fascinating Ingraham High School tree saga continues:
Save the Trees, a group apparently comprised of a few neighbors in Haller Lake, has filed a lawsuit against the Seattle School District for its plan to remove a grove of 68 trees from Ingraham High School’s campus.
However, Save the Trees will not get the opportunity to go before a judge until September 2nd. By then, the trees will likely be gone as the district says it still plans on removing the trees later this week.
The school board is holding an emergency executive session tonight to discuss the litigation.
Oh, the wretched doubters of me! Rude infidels! Unbelievers! How silly they are. Behold the following, comment 26 from this post:
I think this is a crock of horse hockey. Fred Meyer coupons are very specific about the products they’re good for. And I’ve never seen a manufacturer’s coupon for “any dairy product.” Scan the coupon for us to see.
Posted by smells like a fish tale | August 11, 2008 9:19 PM
“Horse hockey”, indeed! Well, then, dear “smells like a fish tale”…because you insist:
Yes. There it is, the coupon: all fugly and scanned and coupon-ey, just for you. And as you can clearly see, it says, ahem, ANY FUCKING DAIRY PURCHASE, just I like I said it said—and just like you insisted it probably didn’t. There are no restrictions, and nowhere—front or back—does it say anything resembling, “Oh! And, uh, cheese doesn’t count for some unfathomable reason!” And so. I win of course. And I shall expect your sincere apology, in writing, double spaced, immediately. Notarized couldn’t hurt.
Nicole Brodeur—typically so mild-mannered, thoughtful, concerned, and reflective—wrote in a recent column that Seattle was “really getting on her nerves,” and that “some of us are red with rage,” after the mayor proposed closing Alki in West Seattle and Rainier Ave. in Columbia City for three consecutive Sunday mornings. Rage! If that’s how passive-aggressive Seattleites reacted to the mayor closing a few streets, you can only imagine the rage—the fury! the rioting!—that New Yorkers greeted the closure of seven miles of city streets on three consecutive Saturdays mornings.
Actually, you don’t have to imagine the rage of New Yorkers at the closure of their beloved streets. The first closure was last Saturday and you can watch furious, angry, pissed-off New Yorkers riot here:
Wait a minute! They’re not rioting. They’re dancing, biking, blading, strolling, and walking. Wow. It sure looks like they’re having fun, doesn’t it?
It might have helped if Greg Nickels had presented the street-closure plan as a way for Seattle residents—and suburbanites willing to abandon their cars for a few hours—to get out in the city and the enjoy themselves and not as another goo-goo green measure so hard on the heels of the UNJUST and TOTALLY TYRANNICAL bag-fee. But still: closing some streets to auto traffic in the summer is a nice idea and people really seem to enjoy it in cities where it’s already been tried.
And Nicole? Don’t you live in Bellevue anyway? Maybe you should STFU about what we wanna do with our streets here in Seattle.
UPDATE: Nicole Brodeur does not live in Bellevue, she apparently moved to Seattle sometime ago and I missed the news stories about it. Still, she should STFU—but only because she’s wrong (about this), not because she lives in Bellevue.
Now begins the iPodization of architecture:
The UNSstudio is its designer; Taiwan its location; and 2006, 2007, 2008 are the years of its construction. The iPod’s commercial existence began on October, 23, 2001.
Be the First to Ride the Crest of Polaroid Rage
Paul Constant on
August 12 at
Engadget reports that Polaroid is about to release the world’s first digital camera that prints photos on a built-in printer, along the same lines as the recently expired Polaroid film cameras. The camera should be out by Christmas.
Apparently, there’s a poll you can take to help decide what the camera will look like here. There’s probably no way to make it look like this:
1: I’m surprised that it took them this long to make this.
Bethany Jean Clement on
August 12 at
Jackie Roberts, the owner of The Pink Door, has created a cocktail in Barack’s honor. (My personal previous political experience related to The Pink Door took place at the 25th anniversary party, when a partygoer camped out in front of the king crab legs, eating away, prompted a certain city council member’s wife to observe, “It’s a buffet, not a trough.” That party was FUN.)
The Obama-rama: the drink and the reasoning!
2 oz. Crater Lake Vodka (hand-crafted American vodka from Oregon) WHY? Because he loves America
2 oz. freshly pressed grape juice WHY? Because he’s fresh!
1/2 oz. Cointreau WHY? Because he has a sweet side
1/2 oz. freshly pressed lemon juice WHY? Because he HAS to win Florida
Just a whisper of curacao to make the drink the color of green
WHY? because he is serious about the environment
Drink is served up in a sugared martini glass garnished with a frozen sugar-grape on an American flag hand-decorated by the owner with glitter bling
$10 (one dollar of every drink goes to the OBAMA campaign)
On the eleventh day of this month, around the sixth hour of the afternoon, somewhere near thirteenth and John, a new pleasure seizes my body. The pleasure is triggered by a sudden break in Jaylib’s track “The Red,” which is playing on my little music machine. Thirty seconds after the track’s first minute, the beat breaks down and there’s a split second of silence/emptiness. In that split second, the ghost of a beat appears. It is the phantom of the track. The phantom vanishes the moment the banging beat resumes. Realizing I’ve just heard the ghost of a beat—the sonic equivalent of a pretty face faintly reflected on a winter window—my throat expresses my pleasure with this sound: “uuuuummmmmm.”
A moment later, I notice someone is looking up at me. I look down at this person who is looking up at me. I see it is a young woman in booty shorts. Her back is turned to me. She is rising from her knees. I’m not sure if she was gardening or looking for something on the ground. I do, however, know what she’s thinking at that very moment: My expression of pleasure (my “uuuuummmmmm”) was triggered by the sight of her ass in short shorts. She gives me the look of accusation. I’ve done something bad. It’s totally rude and unacceptable. Because I do not feel like challenging and correcting her hard reading of the situation, and because men should not look spineless in moments like this, I proudly plead guilty and give her this smile: “Yes, I enjoyed the sight of your ass. It’s the blessing of the cosmos. Thank you, thank you, and have a good evening.”
Anyway, the incident recalled an old rap lyric:
the man- Can I get up all up in it?
the woman- Boy, you nasty.
the man- Girl, I’m talking about the track, now where you at?
Christopher Frizzelle on
August 12 at
The other day on the Burke-Gilman trail near Sandpoint, some jackass almost killed a man. The trail was scattered with people in the prime of their lives—giggling college students, joggers, etc. The lake, when you could see it, shimmered between houses. Several guys and a girl on bikes were whizzing down the flat trail, not holding their handlebars, arms raised parallel to the ground, shouting “Zombie on a bicycle!” whenever they passed someone. The jackass in front started it and his friends behind him got to catch the expressions on the passeds-by. (New word!) The first passeds-by looked perplexed—the delivery was too goofy. Then he tried roaring “ZOMBIE ON A BICYCLE!!!” loud enough to make a person jump, and people jumped back, terrified, but they didn’t laugh. On the fifth try, he nailed the delivery—a sly smile, an early roar so it could be appreciated, a big gale of laughter from the passeds-by.
That’s where the antics should have stopped. But when the ride got a little boring, and a tantalizing elderly couple materialized on the path, the jackass couldn’t help himself—he would pass them from behind, and as he entered their peripheral vision, his hands thrust forward, he would shout “Zombie on a bicycle!” The jackass readied his hands. He got closer. He hadn’t noticed that at this point in the trail, the asphalt path was rippled, veined with tree roots. He didn’t notice this until too late—suddenly, his front wheel, redirected by one of said bumps in the asphalt, veered cataclysmically toward the elderly man’s backside. The bike was traveling at such a speed, and carrying a rider of such a weight, that the man would surely be knocked forward on impact and likely shatter and/or die.
Then something happened—or descended, rather, some kind of divine forcefield. Although there was no physical reason the bike and the elderly man’s backside should not collide, the bike and the elderly man’s backside did not collide. The jackass didn’t utter “Zombie on a bicycle!” as he passed, and he did not hit the man, and minutes later, riding in a stunned silence, the jackass and his friends were still remarking on it. “I can’t believe you didn’t hit him,” one of the friends kept saying, as University Village came into view. “I can’t believe you didn’t hit him.”
Two years ago, John Updike reviewed Michel Houellebecq’s The Possibility of an Island in the New Yorker. Whereas most of Houellebecq’s novels are about men who simply can’t relate to women and instead just use them for lots of impersonal, demeaning sex, The Possibility of an Island is different: it’s a sci-fi novel about a clone of a man who simply can’t relate to women and instead just uses them for lots of impersonal, demeaning sex.
Updike had this to say:
Houellebecq’s solemnly blunt descriptions of sex acts are notorious, or as notorious as such things can be in a sex-saturated age; but it is one thing to propagandize for sex and another to integrate it, as more than “naughty bits,” into the conflict-ridden flow of incident and psychology that make up a novel. The reader has no trouble believing that Daniel1, over forty and physically no prize, sorely grieves when his pet slut Esther in her heedless youth tires of him; it is another thing for the reader to grieve along with him. This reader, actually, rejoiced when the breakup came, and wondered why Esther had been so slow about it.
Now, I like Houellebecq’s fiction, honestly. I think it’s interesting. Possibility of an Island isn’t my favorite of his—I prefer Platform. But the Literary Saloon brings news that Houellebecq has directed his own film version of Possibility of an Island, and while it does sound bad…
Most of the movie appears to have been filmed in a quarry (actually on location in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands). The costumes, characters and gadgets resemble those from a science fiction B movie from the 1950s or an early black and white episode of Doctor Who. The desultory action takes place against a sound-track mostly taken from Ravel’s “Bolero”.
…it also sounds as though I’m going to have to go see it the minute it comes out over here.
Conservative Christians are urging their followers to pray for rain—not for drought-ridden sections of the world, not for places people are starving as crops fail, or in parrts of the world where there isn’t enough fresh water to drink. Nope. They want it to rain in Denver, Colorado, during Obama’s acceptance speech.
I noticed he didn’t ask for “hail the size of canned hams.” Hmm… that would canned-ham-sized hail stones dropped from great heights. He must be a reader of mine.
Has anyone seen a Hempfest poster? An ad? An anything? I hope they didn’t forget. It’s this weekend, so to give the old dame of pot rallies a little ink—err, a few pixels—here’s the poster for Hempfest this weekend.
“I think of all my pot-smoking friends who don’t go to Hempfest because it’s not their culture,” says Rick Steves, travel writer and fearless pot-legalizing celebrity, who will be speaking each day at 4:20 p.m. “That seems like a real missed opportunity.” It is a huge missed opportunity. So if you have any tie dyes in your closet, be sure set them on fire before heading to Hempfest.
The theme, by the way, is industrial hemp. With all due respect to industrious hippies and a helpful crop, what an insipid theme. Industrial hemp? That’s like having the theme of gay pride be “Gay!” The theme should have been “Pot makes sex better.”
The subliminal theme is pretty crafty: “Hope.” The poster bears a striking resemblance to…
Be Reborn In the Waters of the Mighty Amazon
Paul Constant on
August 12 at
A Slog tipper who wishes to remain anonymous has forwarded this job description to me:
Kindle Book Evangelist (Req #31303)
Seattle, Washington, United States
Amazon is looking for an experienced professional to work with
authors, agents and publishers to facilitate and encourage title
selection on Kindle, Amazon’s portable reader. Kindle Evangelists will
be passionate advocates on behalf of customers educating, influencing
and bringing together all the interested parties who can make more
titles available on Kindle.
- Generate grassroots support for Amazon’s Kindle among the author
and agent community, educating through compelling presentations and
- Facilitating and encouraging positive discussions between authors,
agents and publishers for the purpose of driving the clearance of
digital rights and settling of terms.
…and further down:
- 5+ years’ experience; ideal candidate will have served that
experience within publishing or literary representation or a closely
related media industry, and/or have good contacts within the industry
- Proven track record of driving aggressive content acquisition
and/or negotiations for media or licensing company
- Ability to communicate effectively and act as both an influencer
and an ambassador on behalf of Amazon.com
- Open to travel
Two things: is an influencer somebody who helps deciders decide? And does anybody else find it creepy when giant corporations adopt religious terms? I suppose we should be glad Amazon’s not hiring Kindle Missionaries…yet.
Family Week, which just ended here, is causing a turf war between different local businesses: those who benefit from having several hundred children and their parents pushing strollers through town and those who most definitely do not.
And several business owners are up in arms that the Family Week producers have pushed the date of next year’s event back to the first week in August, saying the move will further hurt sales at local restaurants, stores, bars and guesthouses.
“That would definitely kill us,” said P.J. Layng, owner of Roots for the Home and Garden…. Layng estimated that business at Roots was off 10 percent during Family Week, largely because parents and their children are not interested in shopping for home furnishings on their vacation.
My family just spent a week in Provincetown. But we were there the week before Family Week, not the week of. And, yeah, it’s true that we didn’t shop for furniture—but does anyone? Is shopping for furniture a popular pursuit for the vacationing childless?
Hulk like little boys! Photo from an Adherents discussion about which superheroes are Catholic.
I went to Catholic church every week of my life up till the day I turned 18. Now I only go when I visit my parents back in Maine, although I try to arrange my visits so that they don’t fall on weekends because I hate mass so much. Still, I feel kind of a sentimental pang at this news:
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Aug. 4 released the official text of a new English-language translation to the Roman Catholic Mass. It’s the first time the Mass will change since the 1960s — though the changes will not take effect for a few years.
A couple of changes: The response to “The Lord be with you,” which used to be “And also with you,” is now “And with your spirit.” And instead of saying “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed,” Catholics will say “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” And “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again” has been removed from the ceremony altogether.
And also: “Let your Spirit come upon these gifts, to make them holy” has been replaced with “Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall.”
This is all very weird—leave it to the Catholic church to adopt more flowery and emotionally distant language when other religions are trying to become more accessible—but at the same time, I’m glad that in a few years I won’t be able to recite the proper responses to these calls. It makes me even less of a Catholic.
“They’re so fucking delicate, people,” one of Jack’s new friends muses after the two of them save a young girl from a car crash. You can’t help falling in love with Jack’s big brown eyes, eager face, and his sincere stammer. Jack grew up in an English prison after being party to a hideous crime as a boy. He’s been released but isn’t remotely free. The suspense telescopes into the past and the future as we learn what he did and whether he can live a normal life. The last three minutes of Boy A are mawkish crap, but everything else is perfect. (See movie times, www.thestranger.com, for details.)
In a comments thread a few days back about baseball, Fnarf argued that Cubs fans invariably support losing teams, citing the attendance for 1947, when the 6th place Cubs drew 1,364, 039. Apart from the fact that the Cubs were then not the “loveable losers”—a meme that doesn’t start till the 1970s—and were just a season removed from winning the pennant in 1945, that reasoning doesn’t stand up.
The problem with such arguments is that factors other than a team’s success will influence its attendance: like how big a city the team is located in, ie, how many people they can draw from. To spare you non-sports/urban demographics fans, the rest is after the jump… and can be continued live at Slog Happy on Thursday!
A note to other college athletes tempted to make a little online porn: Do it for the love the art and not for the money.
The owner of a Web site featuring gay pornography says the University of Nebraska athletic department has contacted him in an investigation into Internet photographs that allegedly show two Cornhusker wrestlers naked or partially clothed. John Marsh of Los Angeles is owner of Fratmentv.com.
The pictures appear to show, separately, Paul Donahoe and Kenny Jordan, but Marsh wouldn’t confirm their identity, citing his policy to protect models.
He says he’s working with the school to maintain the athletes’ eligibility. NCAA athletes aren’t allowed to use pictures of themselves for commercial purposes.
So Donahue (pictured above) and Jordon are only going to get kicked off the team if they cashed a paycheck, which they most likely did. College wrestlers that get off on showing off for gay men post videos to XTube for free, they don’t normally do professionally shot wank-sessions for pay-to-download gay porn sites.
We’ve got a couple of genreriffic readings tonight.
First, at the Richard Hugo House, there will be a group reading celebrating the release of How to Fit a Car Seat on a Camel, which is an anthology of true tales involving travel with children. I hope that there will be a car seat and a camel in attendance. Otherwise, they’re just teasing with no payoff.
Up at the University Book Store, Greg Bear reads from his newest book, City at the End of Time. It’s about a group of people who are “born with the ability to skip like stones across the surface of the fifth dimension.” They’ve all been dreaming of a city that exists, um, at the end of time. Bear writes solid sci-fi, and so if you’re in that late summer I-wanna-read-a-sci-fi-paperback mood, you should head up to the U District tonight.
At the Barnes and Noble in the University Village, John Saul is reading. John Saul, if you’re unfamiliar, is like an untalented tracing of Dean Koontz, who is like a poor man’s Stephen King. So you know you’re in for a good time. His newest novel, Faces of Fear, is about…wait for it…plastic surgery! (Mu-hu-hu-ha-ha-haaaa!) Publisher’s Weekly has this to say about it: “The motive for the killings and the eventual outcome will surprise few readers. The basic premise has a plot hole big enough to fit a truck, but Saul fans may not notice or care if they do.” I don’t know if you notice this, but Publisher’s Weekly is basically calling John Saul fans a bunch of morons.
The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.
Everything that was ever out of style with the mainstream narrative of history, art history, or art commerce eventually seems to finds its way to the humble little storefront at 721 East Pine Street in Seattle: Martin-Zambito Gallery. The gallery specializes in forgotten regionalists, overlooked women, and excluded artists of color, usually from the first half of the 20th century. These are the castoffs, but the ones worth looking at. The above painting—the twisty tree trunk makes it—is by Alexandria Muller, an artist I’d never heard of before. According to the gallery, she lived from 1899 to 1977.
Youth Pastor Watch: Brian Neiswender Update
Dan Savage on
August 12 at
Youth pastor and accused serial groper Brian Neiswender’s supporters—who argue that Neiswender must be innocent because he’s simply too good and his accusers are too ugly to molest—insisted that I keep everyone posted about the details of his case as it unfolded. Neiswender’s previous appearances in YPW are here, here, and here. Now for the latest on Neiswender’s case we go to Edward Lewis at the Times Leader…
The two women, and a third woman, now all 18 years old, testified during Neiswender’s preliminary hearing in Central Court on Monday on three counts of indecent assault and corruption of minors that were filed by Kingston police Capt. John Jorda.
After nearly two hours of testimony, District Judge Joseph Zola forwarded the charges to Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas….
The three women said Neiswender would place his hands on their chest during a game called “Crogs,” a hide-and-go-seek game that is played in the dark, or during guitar or piano lessons. “Brian would be walking by and put his hands on my chest. It happened quite a few times,” one of the women testified….
On questioning by Neiswender’s attorneys, Nanda Palissery and Nicole Bednarek, the women separately said they continued to attend church functions and music lessons with Neiswender. They all said they initially believed the inappropriate contacts were accidents, but as it continued, they learned about each other’s complaints….
Two of the three women said other youth pastors at the church were aware of the alleged improper contact involving Neiswender.
The last detail is important: Other youth pastors at Christ Community Church in Kingston, Pennsylvania, were aware of the “improper contact”—the criminal acts—of their fellow youth pastor and did not report it to police which, in most states, is required by law. So it seems that Neiswender isn’t the only problematic youth pastor at Christ Community Church—which might explain why someone in Kingston saw fit to commit a hateful act of “vandalism” against Christ Community Church, which we reported yesterday. A sign reading “We Welcome Child Mole Sters” was taped over the usual “message about Jesus” that appears on the sign outside Christ Community Church.
It seems odd that the Kingston police are searching for the person or persons who taped that note to the Christ Community Church’s sign—the note was quickly removed and caused no permanent damage—and not rounding up the other youth pastors at Christ Community Church that may have known of Neiswender’s actions and did not report him to the police.
I believe the community has a right to know if, indeed, child mole sters are welcome at Christ Community Church.
OK, so, on the way into town on the 194 bus this afternoon, I was lucky enough to witness both of the forms of urban assholery which most piss me off. It was a bit after 3 pm, and there was a large and diverse crowd boarding the long, articulated bus: lots of families, lots of luggage. As I lugged my bags back along the aisle, about one third of the way down the rows of seats facing forward, there sat in the aisle seat a young woman of color. Next to her in the window seat was a large pit-bull mutt of some kind. She coolly looked at each person walking down the aisle, making eye contact (with me at least), just waiting for someone to call her on her bullshit. This was no service dog, just her dog, taking up a seat that some human might have used. This kind of aggressive fuck-you-I-matter-and-you-don’t bullshit in a public place is urban assholery method #1: aggressively take more than is rightly yours.
I got a seat facing the back exit and didn’t look up from my book (more on this later) till we got to the International District. There I had to notice the clueless middle-aged white woman standing and blocking half of the exit doors. She was reading New York Magazine—yes, New York, not the New Yorker. She never deigned to look up as a dozen passengers laden down with baggage and children had to dance around her to disembark the damn bus. After that stop, there were a dozen empty seats within five feet of her: but she never looked up, just kept blocking the exit all the way downtown, slowing everyone down. Form of urban assholery #2: instead of aggressively fucking with people, passive-aggressively ignore the existence of the rest of the world.
The demographic distinctions between the young woman of color and the old white woman struck me, but there is unity in both forms of urban assholery: inconveniencing your fellow citizens by pretending that they don’t matter or that they don’t exist. A seat that a human could have had was occupied by a damn dog. Fast exits and a faster ride for everyone was prevented because some story in New York Magazine was so engrossing.
And urban assholery form #3: putting up with #1 and #2. Everyone on the bus went along with it. No one, including me, said “boo” to the woman blocking the exit, and when I got off at Pioneer Square, the dog still had a nice window view of the tunnel.
In regards to my post from earlier today, where I link to a video of real life superheroes, Slog Tipper Jonah directs my attention to this mildly amusing but highly satisfying Saturday Night Live internet video:
And in other nerd news, Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News had a highly negative review of this Friday’s animated Star Wars movie up on his blog, but he took it down after being pressured by Lucasfilm. Luckily, Valleywag saved the review and is running it. Although I wish they hadn’t excised Knowles’ cusswords, the film still sounds like a dog:
Then they introduced Baby Jabba aka Rotta the Huttlet aka Stinky. At the point of this character’s introduction – it officially became, the worst character in the history of STAR WARS. If you hate George Lucas cutsiepoo bull**** – oooooooh boy. You’re gonna have a field day of venting and hatred directed at this unbelievably ****ing awful little ****.
Oh – but wait… Little Stinky the Hutt isn’t the worst character in the history of STAR WARS… because Stinky got introduced earlier in the film. As much as I hated lil Stinky… I was weathering Stinky. I seriously was. But later there was a character of such immense **** – offensively bad. The character was so bad, so incredibly awful – that it was a slap to the face. It woke me out of my ****-accepting stupor and made me angry. SUDDENLY my “inner fanboy rage” was awoken.
Thanks to Jonah for sharing the video with me, and thanks to Valleywag for bravely sharing the Stinky the Hutt love.
As I damn well warned ya’ll earlier, I was a guest on The Stay Up Late Show with Rebecca Davis last Saturday night. What joy!
We chortled, we chatted, I managed to name all of the damn Golden Girls characters, first and last names (shut up), and I honestly answered more personal questions than I generally consider healthy.
We even discussed little things like Jean Enersen (and her pursuant rumors), the fucking Real World, Seattle (don’t ask me why), and whether or not I’ve ever seen Dan Savage naked (um, no). I was on with an opera singer/philanthropist called Jeffrey Henry, and a cute shaggy-headed comedian from Last Comic Standing called Jesse Case, and it was all just too freakishly delightful. And I heartily urge you to catch the next one. Which isn’t until next month, so you’ll have plenty of to get your outfit together. So. Start now.
Cheese: The Totally Other Food Group. Apparently. Maybe From Space!
Adrian Ryan on
August 11 at
I was grocery shopping at the Ballard Fred Meyer with a dear friend. (I don’t grocery shop personally; I just swoop down upon the screaming villagers.) And this friend? Well let’s get all in the open: she uses coupons. Coupons! By the fistful. She does it without blushing or regret, and I say God fucking bless her. The strength to use coupons is a courage I shall never possess.
Now, let us not quibble over facts: Cheese is a dairy product. Unless I have been grossly misinformed, it is pretty much THE dairy product. If we were playing Pictionary and the phrase was “dairy”, I’d draw a big triangular fucking piece of cheese (with some nice Swiss holes in it) and you’d scream “DAIRY!” and we’d win. That cheese is a dairy product and nothing else is the single universal governing principle upon which the entire universe revolves. Wee bitty children understand this. All else is madness.
But just you try telling that to Fred Meyer.
So my good friend had a coupon for, you guessed it, one dairy product. Simple! “Redeemable for one dairy purchase, retail value of $3” it said, and so she produced it to the checkout woman along with a perfectly reasonable package of cheese. Medium Cheddar, in lovely unwrapped slices, retail value $3.99. And the check-er-outer lady looked at it a while and said (without the slightest trace of irony),
“I don’t think cheese is a dairy product.”
Oh. Um. Well. Yes. Um. WHAT?
“No, they don’t consider cheese a dairy product.”
They? WHO precisely is this “they” that don’t “consider cheese a dairy product”!?
“Fred Meyer Corporation.”
Oh. Of course. Fred Meyer Corporation. Indeed. Who else?
You’re fucking joking, yes?
And so my friend paid $3.99 for her cheese, and saved the coupon for another day and a real dairy product. Like light bulbs, or deodorant.
“Russian aggression must not go unanswered,” says Dick Cheney. So… are we going to go to war with Russia? Over Georgia? And, gee, maybe this was a mistake:
The fighting raised tensions between Russia and its former cold-war foes to their highest level in decades. President Bush has promoted Georgia as a bastion of democracy, helped strengthen its military and urged that NATO grant the country to membership. Georgia serves as a major conduit for oil flowing from Russia and Central Asia to the West.
But Russia, emboldened by windfall profits from oil exports, is showing a resolve to reassert its dominance in a region it has always considered its “near abroad.”
And, um, that John McCain person seems pretty anxious for us to go to war with Russia. The good news? No war with Iran then. The bad news? Nuclear war, nuclear winter, the destruction of the planet, etc. But at least we won’t have to wait for the film version of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road to come out. We’ll all be living it.
What happens if you find out that you have an STD? How do you know who should be notified? Well some people, both male and female, keep track of whom they have slept with in either a little diary or notebook. However, this has always posed a security flaw: “What if someone finds it??”.
Well, MyBlackBook has solved that problem by creating The Internet’s First Secure and Confidential Online Sexual History Tracker!
By keeping your sexual encounters online in a SAFE and SECURE and CONFIDENTIAL place, you will never have to worry about someone finding your little black book.
Personally, I always get nervous when a website repeatedly uses words like “secure” and “confidential” in all caps, but I’m sure that some of you out there in the comments have been waiting your whole lives for something like this.
This morning at 11:30, I was invited to a performance I couldn’t attend, but am still thinking about. Good thing there will be more of these public performances: Seattle composer Byron Au Yong has created 64 mini-operas to be performed by four opera singer/water-drummer duos, in fountains, reservoirs, pools, and lakes around Seattle and in in Auburn, Bellevue, Des Moines, Issaquah, Lake Forest Park, Redmond, Renton, Sammamish, Shoreline, and Snoqualmie over the next few weeks.
The series is called Kidnapping Water: Bottled Operas, and more information about the specifics is here.
The idea reminds me of one of the classic works of contemporary Chinese art, from 1996: Song Dong’s majestic exercise in futility, the Stamping the water performance, seen documented here.
This post is by regular Slog commenter Mr. Poe. The opinions expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent the views of Index Newspapers, The Stranger, Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Cupcake Royale, or any of their subsidiaries.
Glory be to the Republican Father, to the Governor of the Holy…Florida. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end, Amen. Or something. But seriously, we need to talk. It just feels like there are so many things that haven’t been said that should, like “why are you praying to me” and “do I need to get a restraining order”. No, you do not need a restraining order. I spent two years of my “life” in Florida, and have vowed never to return. Since then I have returned, but that’s not important because it never happened. As for the prayer, you’ll soon notice that I’m not actually praying to you. This is more like a letter. A letter addressed as a prayer, if you will. Truth be told, I couldn’t think of a clever headline so I settled with the first thing that came to mind. Actually I didn’t even try to think of a new one. I figured it best to go with the only thing I thought of since I have a hard time finishing anything I st.
Let’s begin with something obvious. You are ridiculously hot. Your looks are so grand they managed to surpass all of your sexified competition: Anderson Cooper, Scooter Libby, (Mayor) Adam West. Anderson Cooper! How the fuck did you do that? You are officially more intriguing than Anderson Cooper. Congratulations. Don’t get me wrong, I obsessed about Coop as much as the next fatherfucker, but that obsession ended a long time ago (Tuesday). Even though you’re Republican, “straight”, part of a fraternity and kind of a gigantic douchebag, I love you. I love everything about you. I mean, just look at you:
Awww… I’m smiling too. You seem to be fighting yours, but why? Is it because you have a secret? A big, juicy, Grade A secret? Maybe you just need to poop. Whatever the reason, it’s adorable. We have so much in common. I don’t have any humble qualities either. You should know that although I’m retardedly liberal, I see your side and I totally dig it. Matter of fact, you seem to hold solid stances on everything save homosexuality. I can deal with that, and I’ll soon explain why. We’re both well aware that it’s possible for an openly gay Democrat to mingle with a closeted Republican.
…has some people noting the presence, at the end of ad, of young white women talking about how “dreamy” Obama is, what with with his “soft eyes” and all. (After which someone holds up a “Hot Chicks Dig Obama” button.) A subtle homage this infamous attack on Harold Ford?
Tina Brown’s attempt to unseat the Huffington Post (or Drudge, or possibly both at the same time) is going to be called The Daily Beast, which is a great name, adopted from Waugh’s Scoop. Unfortunately, there’s already a great magazine named The Beast, in Buffalo. I hope they don’t get buried by Brown’s latest venture.
Not often do you see a video game both thank Italo Calvino in the credits and pay tribute to the author’s time-toying books, but such is Braid. The chief twist in this Mario-esque side-scroller is time manipulation. At first, it’s simply a convenient button-press to reverse death or a missed jump; rewind time a bit, try again. Soon, you can’t get anywhere without bending time.
An example: You’ll see a critter in a later level that glows green. Even when you hit the “rewind” button, this thing keeps moving forward in a backwards world, and you have to use its immunity to finish a puzzle. Later, your footsteps will make time go forward or backward, or you’ll have a ghost that moves forwards while you go back in time. Stuff like that.
Each level’s time twist comes with a story about memory, perspective, and broken relationships. The writing can get away from the author at times—just because it’s confusing doesn’t make it brilliant—but the story’s mix with the gameplay has weight, adding a pleasant layer of “ohhhhhh”/closure to the puzzles’ conclusion.
Braid has that going for it, along with some brilliant puzzles and great turns in both art direction (watercolors that melt with the passing of time) and music (tasteful classical and Irish folk). It’s a fiercely independent game—coded almost entirely by one guy—and while that helps, the game’s stumbles seem to come from a lack of group review. There’s no instruction manual—seems at first like “learn by playing” design. But some of the challenge just comes from answering the question of how the game works. A basic instruction set would actually answer a few hard puzzles, and once you realize that, they’re less satisfying. This isn’t a dominant flaw, but since the game’s short (I’ll get to that), offenders stand out and feel cheap.
Also, for all this game does to blow away the Mario standard, it still adheres to it. Braid has lots—and I mean LOTS—of precise jump challenges. Personally, I think the “rewind” feature makes this okay. But if you’re not a fan of pixel-perfect jumps and pogo-hops off of enemies’ backs, like in super-hard NES games of old, then prepare to get needlessly pissed.
And, yeah, the price—$15 for roughly four hours of play. That’s about a week and a half of a game rental, but to be fair, it’s also five bucks cheaper and two hours less than the best game of 2007, Portal. Is Braid in the same league as Portal? Close. The aforementioned cheapo challenges are a drag, and the plot isn’t as magically crafted as fanboys have been saying. Portal’s better—more accessible, superior pacing, more emotional response with its dark humor.
But when Braid gets things right, its puzzle/plot combo delivers an intangible level of satisfaction that you don’t often find in the stimulus-response world of most boring video games. At the very least, get the demo. Think about it.
I’m sorry, but this is completely retarded. The Centers for Disease Control, desperate to slow the spread of HIV among young gay men, is going to hand $1.5 million worth of gift cards to “gay opinion leaders” in the hopes that they will “talk up safe sex” among their peers and, with any luck, bring down HIV infection rates. The CDC wants us to know that gift-card program—which originated in London and was attempted in North Carolina—really and truly works:
These opinion leaders [in North Carolina] were given four $25 gift cards, along with marketing materials, to talk up safe sex. A study of the effort, published in June in the American Journal of Public Health, indicated more men were practicing safe sex.
The research was based on repeated surveys over time of about 300 men. It found a 32 percent reduction in unprotected anal intercourse during 2005, and a 40 percent reduction in the average number of sexual partners.
I’d like to read that study. Who conducted the interviews? Who wrote up the results? If it was the same folks handing out the gift cards I wouldn’t put much stock in those reported reductions in rates of unsafe sex and reductions numbers of sexual partners. It’s possible that the 300 men enrolled in the program were telling the gift-card-givers what they wanted to hear in order to keep the gift cards coming. Or, if the gift-card-givers had a stake in the success of the program, it’s possible the gift-card-givers were inclined to read good results into inconclusive data. It’s also possible that the gift cards weren’t the catalyst for behavior change if, indeed, there was measurable behavior change. Knowing that they were going to be asked again and again about the sexual choices they were making—knowing that they were going to be called to account—might have inspired some of the men in the study to make better choices. Or claim that they did.
And the devil, as always, is in the details:
The funding ran out and the program ended. And the surveys weren’t backed up by HIV testing.
So… the enrollees weren’t tested for HIV, and the story doesn’t mention if there was any measurable drop in HIV-infection rates in North Carolina while gift cards were being passed out to opinion leaders. So… let’s roll the program out nationally!
The saddest thing about this story is this: It rests on the premise—and broadcasts it to straight people everywhere—that gay men, from our opinion leaders on down, care so little for ourselves and our sex partners that we will do the right thing only when bribed with piddling $25 gift cards. For $25 worth merch we’ll make better choices and encourage our friends to do the same. But if you don’t come through with the gift cards, well, looks like we’ll just keep spreadin’ that virus around.
The reality is that are tens of thousands—hundreds of thousands, millions—of gay men out there who regularly encourage their friends and lovers to do the right thing. For free. Hell, I’ve been doing just that in “Savage Love” for ever. If you’re going to start passing out gift cards for it, CDC, I figure you owe me a stack. I’ll take mine for Snowboard Connection, Cupcake Royale, and Mr. S. Thanks.
Meanwhile, prevention programs that target gays and bisexuals are scattershot. Even in progressive cities, these efforts sometimes amount to little more than offers of testing and free condoms, some experts said.
… but I agree with Bela Karolyi. There’s no way to verify gymnasts’ ages, so you might as well drop the age requirement altogether.
Chinese gymnast Yang Yilin in 2007—supposedly, she was 15 years old at the time.
Gymnastics damages girls’ bodies more the longer they train at an elite level. Since it’s impossible to require that young girls not train at the highest level they can manage—even if they’re not permitted to compete—you might as well make it easier for them to compete at the Olympics early and then retire. Besides, it sucks that the age window is so narrow now for Olympic gymnasts. If you happen to be 15 in 2008, you’ll probably be too old for the sport by the time the next Olympics rolls around.
The methane gas produced by sheep and cows through belching and flatulence is more potent than carbon dioxide in the damage it can cause to the environment.
But kangaroos produce virtually no methane because their digestive systems are different.
Dr George Wilson, of the Australian Wildlife Services, urges farming them.
He says they have a different set of micro-organisms in their guts to cows and sheep.
Sheep and cattle account for 11% of Australia’s carbon footprint and over the years, there have been various proposals to deal with the problem.
Now Dr Wilson believes kangaroos might hold the answer.
He said: “It tastes excellent, not unlike venison - only a different flavour.”
Green is the new ethic—an ethic that has a solid ground and direction. Eating right no longer means eating merely for your own benefit but for the benefit of the only system that can sustain a large number of present and future humans.
In this week’s paper, I wrote about all the Breaking Dawn midnight sales going on in bookstores in the area and around the country. I also reviewed the first three books in Stephenie Meyer’s vampire romance Twilight series:
Edward Cullen has “a face any male model in the world would trade his soul for.” He is an eternally 17-year-old vampire who lives in the eternally cloudy town of Forks, Washington. He doesn’t have fangs, he doesn’t kill humans, and he’s continually described as the most beautiful man on earth. Sunlight won’t burn him into a black powder; it only makes him prettier. “Edward in the sunlight was shocking,” his creator writes. “His skin… literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds were embedded in the surface. He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare.”
There’s an interesting postscript to this midnight sale madness: half the fans hateBreaking Dawn with a disturbing passion. I’m not talking about snarky people who are reading the books for a laugh, I’m talking about the serious fans of the first three books. The response to the book has been so bad that fans are organizing online to return copies of Breaking Dawn in protest. Fans on Amazon are announcing that they don’t consider Breaking Dawn canon, and that the Twilight series is a trilogy that ended with the last book. Some are calling for Meyer to rewrite the ending.
I hadn’t read Breaking Dawn in time for the piece on the midnight sales, but I’ve read it now, and I have to say that, though I didn’t think the books were ever well-written, Breaking Dawn is a different kind of bad. It’s a really terrible book, and this amazing reaction—I don’t think I’ve ever seen fans turn on an author of pop fiction this dramatically—should restore people’s faith in young adult readers. There’s nothing wrong with reading bad books if you can tell when the badness has completely gone off the rails. These fans aren’t blindly accepting everything with Meyer’s name on it, and that makes this story heartening, I think.
You can slap a controversial ad on the side of a public bus, even if the person driving that ad all over Olympia resents it.
An advertisement featuring a marijuana leaf that’s on the sides of some Intercity Transit buses has drawn complaints from two residents and one of IT’s own bus operators.
The complaints concern the content of the Olympia Hempfest ad, which includes the image of a marijuana leaf and the phrase “Equal Rights are for Everybody,” said Meg Kester, an agency spokeswoman….
In this case, the agency could forbid the advertisement if it were “an encouragement for people to get high,” said Tom Bjorgen, an attorney representing Intercity Transit. But Bjorgen said he assumes a reasonable reader would see it as a political statement advocating for the legalization of marijuana. “I don’t think this is an encouragement to engage in any illegal action,” he said. “I think it’s more of the nature of a political statement: ‘We think it should be legalized.’”
For the record, television shows hosted by mild-mannered travel writers and academics talking about drug policy: that’s encouraging drug use. But buses emblazoned with pot leaves, inviting people to smoke pot in a public park: that’s a political statement.
Jeremy Miller, director of the Olympia Hempfest, says the 12 ads are still tootling about the state capital. Is he upset that the driver and others have complained? Nope. “The controversy does seem to help get some more news coverage for the event,” he says. Very well, Jeremy, here’s the ad again:
I just got off a conference call with Barack Obama’s Washington State Director, Carol Albert, and his National Political Director, Patrick Gaspard.
The purpose was to tell us people in the Washington State media all the latest on Obama’s plans to win here in November. But there wasn’t that much new for anyone who’s been following the race closely.
Obama expects to win here. He will fight hard for Washington’s 11 electoral votes. The campaign was excited by the record turnout of 245,000 people at our caucuses in February and thinks that bodes well. There are 18 Obama offices now open around Washington, from Walla Walla to Stanwood. They will be using high tech and traditional methods to reach voters, and yes, they are aware that we vote by mail in this state.
I wanted to ask the Obama people about polling. There hasn’t been much of it in Washington State, at least compared to other states that are seen as real “battlegrounds,” and I wondered what polls team Obama is looking at these days to give them confidence about Washington. (Not that I think their confidence is misplace. I’m just always interested on the data the campaigns use to back up their big claims.) But, sigh, I didn’t get called on. Maybe it had something to do with the funny name of this publication, which sometimes spooks people… (Keep that guy from The Stranger, whatever that is, on mute!)
Or maybe it had something to do with the last question, in which a man from KOMO radio asked about Obama’s plans to announce his VP pick via text message and email. Specifically, the KOMO radio reporter wondered whether this would alienate older voters.
Which is, actually, a very interesting question. Obama has trouble with older voters. Older voters have trouble with the Internets and such. Does Obama need to be so careful with the old folks that he can’t speak to the young folks in the high-tech ways they like to be spoken to?
Patrick Gaspard did a heroic job of completely dodging the meat of the question, saying only that the campaign would be communicating its pick by traditional and non-traditional methods. And then the call ended.
Bethany Jean Clement on
August 11 at
According to an advertisement on the radio, Atlas Foods in University Village (which Stranger reader-reviewers hate on here) is having “a clam-eating event.” Chow Foods, owner of Atlas Foods (and this place, and this one, and this, and a couple more) is usually better with the verbiage than this. “A clam-eating event” does not sound fun—it sounds like something that’d land you in the hospital. How about “contest”? More details via their website:
Eat 100 Clams, Win 100 Clams
August 23rd at 3pm outside Atlas you can prove your clam eating prowess. To sign up email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or join as a spectator. There will a cooking demo and samples.
/ At Large
“Strike fear into the people that need fear into them.”
Paul Constant on
August 11 at
A few months ago, I alerted Slog readers to this article that I wrote for Salt Lake’s City Weekly about the Black Monday Society, which is a team of real life superheroes who patrol Salt Lake’s streets, looking for crime.
Well, MyFox Utah sent a photojournalist to report on the Black Monday Society. I can’t embed the player here, but the above link works just fine. It’s worth watching to hammer home the fact that these people are really doing this. It’s also worth watching because it’s probably been years since you’ve heard that “Hey Man, Nice Shot” song that was really a mid-‘90’s classic. Most notable about this video for me is that this superhero, Crawler:
says he got involved with the Black Monday Society because of my article. Which means that I kind of created a superhero. Which means, as Jonah Spangenthal-Lee pointed out, that I must be a super-villain.
I’m probably not supposed to be stodgy about truthiness in the year 2008 at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics in a totalitarian country. But this story, posted by MSNBC.com about an hour ago, still creeps me out.
Basically, the footprint fireworks—the ones that made it look like giant feet were walking across the city toward the Olympic Stadium, taped by someone in a helicopter—never happened. They existed only digitally, created in 3-D computer graphics.
Even the people inside the stadium thought they were real—because they watched the same fake footage that we did. Outside the stadium, people on the ground watching the broadcast and simultaneously looking into the sky might have wondered why they didn’t see any feet overhead, but they also might just as easily have thought they simply couldn’t see them.
It was a universal hoax.
There were some real fireworks going on outside the stadium. But the footprint display was “inserted into the coverage electronically at exactly the right moment,” the Daily Telegraph said.
“Meticulous efforts were made to ensure the sequence was as unnoticeable as possible,” the newspaper [Britain’s Sky News] reported Xiaolong [Gao Xiaolong, head of the visual effects team for the ceremony] as saying. “They sought advice from the Beijing meteorological office as to how to recreate the hazy effects of Beijing’s smog at night, and inserted a slight camera shake effect to simulate the idea that it was filmed from a helicopter.”
“Seeing how it worked out, it was still a bit too bright compared to the actual fireworks,” Xiaolong said in comments that appeared in the Daily Telegraph. “But most of the audience thought it was filmed live — so that was mission accomplished.”
The footprints and the boxes were my favorite parts, and now we know that both had trick reversals: The boxes looked digitally controlled, but were made by humans simply standing up and sitting down underneath them. (They revealed themselves at the end in a way that made my friends and I think of the soylent green reveal.) The footprints looked human—even going so far as to imitate a human body part moving across the land—but they were nothing but pixels.
This morning, booming from a police car: “You in the green Honda! Pay attention to what you are doing. If you’re going to make a right turn, make a right turn. Get your act together and stay focused.”
Through the PA system, the booming voice of the state. It filled the street below my window. The state called a subject out of the order of the ordinary morning. It made an exception of him/her. “You in the green Honda!” It was not me being called (I was in bed). The state did not say: “You in the big bed.” My place in the ordinary was undisturbed. The wanted (disrupted, ruptured) person was in the green Honda. He/she heard the state and said: “Wait! It’s really me the state is calling. Me! The state really, really wants me. And I happen to be me! I’m a me! I’m the me the state is hailing.”
This call of the state not only disrupts the subject but also reinforces their situation in the state formation. Not to recognize the call (Hey! You there!) is not to be a subject of the state. You must be from somewhere else; from another social assemblage that can call you out of itself, its order, its constitutive parts and rhythms, for the purpose of stating and reinforcing your place in that order.
When will people learn. Pit bulls are lovely, lovely dogs—so long as you don’t provoke them by going out in public if you’re elderly, anotherdog, or a child. Oh, and don’t clap your hands—unless you’re prepared to lose ‘em. And if you don’t have the sense to stay inside if you’re old, a dog, a a kid, or prone to breaking into applause—or if you’re not carrying a gun—you really have no one to blame but yourself for this sort of thing.
A vicious attack by a pit bull that badly injured a 79-year-old man in Notre Dame de Grâce has re-ignited the debate about what to do about aggressive dogs and their owners.
The Côte des Neiges/Notre Dame de Grâce borough needs to discuss the issue before doing anything, said Marcel Tremblay, city councillor for the N.D.G. ward. He said he has asked the borough to determine if it’s legal to adopt a bylaw banning certain breeds of dogs. In the meantime, Antonio Nitti, his bloodied arm in a sling, sat at the kitchen table of his son’s home on Oxford Ave., surrounded by family.
The elderly man’s left hand was heavily bandaged after a pit bull bit him several times and tore off a large amount of skin while Nitti was walking his son’s Lhasa Apso, named Gizmo, in a park across the street Thursday. The dog “came at me. It was going like 200 miles an hour,” Nitti said in Italian.
The dog that attacked Nitti, who also lives on Oxford Ave., has a history of violence, neighbourhood residents said. Jim Eden and his wife, Gail, live on Harvard Ave., one block west, and said the same pit bull attacked their dog, a Maltese, about six weeks ago. The pit bull “tore a big chunk of hair off its tail,” Eden said. A week later, Eden added, he was in the park and saw the dog knock down a young child. Luckily, the child was unharmed, Eden said.
Down the street from the Iturbes’ home, the owner of the 2-year-old pit bull and her boyfriend still hadn’t heard a word yesterday about their pet’s fate. The couple, who refused to reveal their names, said their dog, named Sugar, had never attacked humans before and “it wasn’t in her character.”
See? Sugar never attacked before—well, never attacked humans, anyway—until that old man left the house with his dog. Dumb old man.
It’s actually called The Forty Part Motet (A Re-working ofSpem in Alium Nunquam Habui 1573, by Thomas Tallis), and Canadian artist Janet Cardiff made it in 2001 by recording 40 amateur singers, both adults and kids, performing the 40-part composition. In the installation, one loudspeaker represents each singer. The 40 speakers stand in an oval in a soaring, 35-foot-tall gallery. Depending on where you stand, individual voices are buried in the group’s great wash of sound, or the single, closest voice becomes all you can hear. It’s sonic sociology. (Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Ave, 253-272-4258. 10 am–5 pm, $7.50.)
A thousand huzzahs for a comic artist who appeared on last year’s Stranger Genius Shortlist for Literature, David Lasky. He’s just signed a book deal with Abrams to co-write and illustrate a biography of the Carter Family.
I left home when I was thirteen and first started tattooing in 1963 at a place called Buddy’s in Atlanta; my friend’s dad owned the joint. Around that time I learned how to paint signs and that’s mainly what I did back then, painting signs and pin striping hotrods. I roadied with a lot of rock and roll bands back in that day too.
Did you practice tattooing on those guys?
Yeah, I tattooed some of them. It was just a wild life, I was a young kid running around and was attracted to the tattoos because back then only hoodlums had them. Not too many bikers, mainly hoodlums.
Do you still paint signs and have your own tattoo shop?
Yeah, I still paint a lot but the demand for hand-painted signs just isn’t what it used to be. Most people just order stickers or velum for signs now. I paint for fun these days but I sell my paintings at conventions and do shows. I have some paintings down at my shop Lucky Devil on Rainier Avenue South. I had a shop in New Orleans for years too, but now just here. The shop on Rainier has some really cool stuff, man. Come by sometime. I bet you will dig the place.
Two members of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s wrestling team—both nationally ranked wrestlers, one a national champ—have been caught with their pants, er, wrestling snigglets down. UNL’s Paul Donahoe and Kenny Jordan appeared in solo jerk-off porn for a gay website, Fratmen.tv. The school is “investigating.”
Out at Elliott Bay Book Company, Sadia Shepard reads from The Girl from Foreign, which is a book about Shepard’s discovery that her devout Muslim grandmother was originally a Jew.
Up at the University Book Store, Thomas Frank is reading. Frank wrote What’s the Matter With Kansas?, which is a book whose title always angered me. I was working in a bookstore when it came out, and I recall dozens of tourists from red states who would see the book and storm off in a huff. Granted, there is a certain pleasure in annoying tourists from square states, but the fact that that book became a bestseller in the wake of the 2004 election only added to the “those blue state liberals have their heads so far up their asses that they think there’s a problem with us” vibe. Anyway, Frank’s in town with his new book, The Wrecking Crew, which is a study of exactly how fucked up Washington D.C. is, and how the bloated government we have now is the antithesis of what the conservative revolution was supposed to be. Despite my problem with the earlier title cashing in on America’s divisiveness, this is obviously the reading of the night.
The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.
Youth Pastor Watch: Brian Neiswender Update
Dan Savage on
August 11 at
Brian Neiswender, whose supporters made a promise to keep YPW readers updated on their youth pastor’s case, was in the news again this weekend. Or I should say the church where Neiswender worked when he allegedly fondled girls during games of hide-and-seek in a darkened church basement is in the news.
A church in Kingston is the site of some hateful vandalism. Police are now searching for whoever posted a note at a house of worship.
It comes after a former youth pastor at the Christ Community Church in Kingston was charged with fondling girls. The pastor at Christ Community Church said he was shocked and hurt to find a note on his church sign Thursday morning.
The usual sign in front of the church in Kingston is a message about Jesus. Thursday morning there were more hateful words there. Hand-written papers were taped to the sign that read, “We welcome child molesters.”
“I thought it was terrible. There was no purpose for doing anything like that,” said Pastor John Butch.
Police said the note was no doubt in reference to Brian Neiswender, a former youth pastor at Christ Community Church. Neiswender was arrested and charged in June with inappropriately touching two girls at the church.
It seems that at least one person in Kingston refuses to take youth pastor criminality lying down—or take it stumbling around a dark church basement, for that matter.
Baggage claim: U.S.-Canada border entry at Blaine shut down after woman said her bag contained “something suspicious.”
Mad cabbies: Taxi drivers say they were coerced into signing form letters to the City Council.
Watching the water: Washington State struggles to find funds, short on staff members to monitor water pollution.
The sphere-o-sphere is going to hate this op-ed in today’s NYT:
But the results of several studies suggest that the very fact of a woman being obese during pregnancy may predispose her children to obesity. For example, one study found that children born to women who have lost weight after radical anti-obesity surgery are less likely to be obese than siblings born before their mother lost weight. Another study looked at women who gained weight between pregnancies; the results showed that babies born after their mothers put on weight tended to be heavier at birth than siblings born beforehand. Since the mother’s genes haven’t changed, the “fat” environment seems likely to be responsible for the effect.
If this is right, it raises the alarming possibility that the obesity epidemic has a built-in snowball effect. If children born to obese mothers are, owing to the environment in the womb, predisposed to obesity, they may find staying thin especially hard. Reversing the epidemic may thus rest on helping women to lose weight before they conceive and helping them to eat a balanced, non-junk-food diet while they are pregnant. The well-being of the next generation may depend on it.
This magnificent documentary is about Philippe Petit, the charming, crazy French person who, in August of 1974, strung a cable between the two towers of the World Trade Center and walked and knelt and lay supine on his tightrope for 45 breathtaking minutes. Told through new interviews (Petit: “These twin towers are trotting in my head!”), archival footage, and elegant black-and-white reenactments, Man on Wire is 80 minutes of white-knuckled suspense followed by a surprisingly emotional climax. (See movie times, www.thestranger.com, for details.)