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Archives for 08/17/2008 - 08/23/2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Springfield Speeches

posted by on August 23 at 3:25 PM

Wasn’t able to watch the Obama-Biden event in Springfield because I was on the plane. But I’m now here in Denver, where police seem to be on every corner downtown, where the New York Clinton delegate who rode the airport shuttle with me is staying tight-lipped about how he’s going to vote during roll call, where everyone is on the make for party tickets and hotel room floor space, and where MSNBC can still find me via email with it’s very handy offers of uninterrupted web videos such as this, the complete Obama-Biden:

Continue reading "The Springfield Speeches" »

Biden’s Cred

posted by on August 23 at 2:00 PM

You have to hand it to the Obama camp, and to Joe Biden himself, whose comment to reporters earlier this week—“I’m not the guy”—seemed to take him safely out of the running. Every newspaper in the world has been sitting on drafts of stories about the potential VPs (a draft of an Evan Bayh story, a draft of a Tim Kaine story, a draft of a Chet Edwards story, a draft of a snowballs-in-hell Clinton story) but there isn’t anyone at The Stranger who thought it was gong to be Biden. Yesterday a couple of us had settled on Chet Edwards—a Texan, a white guy, an Army guy, had “authored the largest increase in veterans funding in the 77-year history of the Veterans Administration”—and Brendan Kiley was walking around the office talking about the glorious little turn of the knife in the fact that Edwards represents the district that includes Bush’s home in Crawford. That was a beautiful little detail. It was decided, we all decided.

Continue reading "Biden's Cred" »

Headline of the Day

posted by on August 23 at 12:44 PM

N. Korea Develops a Noodle Which Can Delay Feelings of Hunger


The headline is funny, but the story is extremely sad: The people of North Korea are starving, and the government won’t allow adequate foreign aid. The magic noodle—made of corn and soybean—leaves one feeling fuller for longer. It’s got twice as much protein and five times the fat of an average noodle (making it probably five times as delicious).

Photo by Annie Mole/Creative Commons

Meet Joe Biden

posted by on August 23 at 11:50 AM

Eli Sanders introduces you to Obama’s running mate in a just-posted web exclusive story. An excerpt:

National polls have shown the race between Obama and John McCain tightening to a virtual dead heat in recent weeks. Something clearly needs to change for team Obama, and the selection of Biden definitely has the potential to help. On many of the issues where Obama has proven most vulnerable to attack, Biden offers either a strong additional defense or a direct refutation to charges that McCain has been lobbing lately.

Take the question of Obama’s relative inexperience. Biden, who has served six terms in the Senate and is currently chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, offers not only a strong boost to the ticket’s experience quotient but an object lesson is the flimsiness of the current attack on Obama’s experience. Biden was first elected to his post at age 30. Before that, his only previous experience had been a stint as a county councilman in Delaware. His political biography, then, is a near-perfect antidote to all the McCain campaign talk about how Obama can’t be president because he’s just too young and anyway was a state legislator in Illinois just four years ago.

Read the entire article here.

Letter of the Day

posted by on August 23 at 11:19 AM


I’m moving up to Seattle in a few weeks, and neglected to get a friend in the city to save a copy of the “Best of Seattle” issue. You surely did one, as mid-late summer seems to be when all weekly entertainment/liberal papers publish such things.

A search yielded the best of The Stranger and the a “Best of SeaTac” issue, but neither is quite what I’m looking for. Can you provide the correct link?


Here you go, Jenni.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on August 23 at 11:00 AM


Indian Jewelry, Eats Tapes

Indian Jewelry’s Free Gold! combines gauzy, desert-rock drones with warped vocals that sometimes loop and melt as if playing from a record left too long in the hot sun. But beneath the heatstroke and haze, Indian Jewelry’s songs are simply catchy, slightly sinister pop. From the far opposite end of the experimental spectrum come Eats Tapes, whose all-analog, acid-touched hyper-rave workouts should leave you adequately parched for the headliners. (Vera Project, Seattle Center, 956-8372. 7:30 pm, $5/$6, all ages.)


The Competition

posted by on August 23 at 10:55 AM

Turns out my plane to Denver is full of political types.


From left to right, Goldy and Darryl from Horsesass, and former state Democratic party chair (and current Hillary Clinton delegate whip) Paul Berendt.

The journalists reporting on journalists has already begun. But here’s an interesting tidbit: Berendt, who as I’ve noted before is a die-hard Hillary supporter, expressed surprise and disappointment that Clinton wasn’t picked as VP. He also bragged that he’s having dinner with the Ambassador of New Zealand tomorrow night.

Reading Today

posted by on August 23 at 10:00 AM


We have an open mic and a bunch of events going on today.

At Elliott Bay Book Company, Marti Kheel reads from Nature Ethics: An Ecofeminist Perspective. That’s ethics, feminism, and environmentalism in one book. Is there such a thing as book karma? You’ll totally clean up here.

On the other end of the book karma scale: Chris Grabenstein reads at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop from Hell Hole, a mystery about a cop investigating a murder in Jersey that leads to Iraq. This is the best author last name of the day, and the best book title of the day.

Later at Seattle Mystery Bookshop will be Sarah Katherine Lewis, reading from Sex and Bacon: Why I Love Things That Are Very, Very Bad For Me. It’s not a mystery, but the author is local. This may be the last reading she’ll do for this book, if you’re so inclined.

And then back to Elliott Bay Book Company for a later reading of a book that also has ‘sex’ in the title but is very, very different: Carly Milne reads from Sexography, which is about becoming a sexual being again after being sexually abused.

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

Overheard at the UW

posted by on August 23 at 9:51 AM

“I overheard this in a UW dorm common room and got really, really, worried,” writes Slog tipper Amrita. Here’s the worrisome quote:

“Is it just me, or does Obama-Biden sound way too much like Osama Bin Laden for the common American to stomach?”

Hey, Old Man

posted by on August 23 at 8:40 AM

Again, I ask…

Presuming Obama gets elected, gets reelected, and lives to serve out his second term, Biden will be older than McCain is now in 2016, when it’s his “turn” to run for president.

Is Biden going to take the Cheney Pledge, i.e. swear that he’s not going to run for the presidency himself? Or will all the folks on the left making fun of McCain’s age—myself among them—have to eat our words when Biden runs in 2016 when he’s 73?

The Morning News

posted by on August 23 at 8:30 AM

Iiiiit’s Biden!: You can stop checking every ten minutes for the text message now. Obama picks Delaware Senator Joe Biden as his VP nominee.

Georgia: Even as the majority of their troops leave the country, Russian leaders eagerly plan a new status quo with their neighbor.

Energetic: Puget Sound Energy customers expected to see their rates raise 8.25 percent for electricity and 5 percent for natural gas.

White Lines: Colorado convict found to be source of ‘mysterious white powder’ emailed to John McCain’s Colorado campaign office.

Rescue 911: Two teenagers rescued from ice cave collapse on Snoqualmie Pass.

Pakistan: US frantically searches for a new ally against the Taliban amongst the post-Musharraf political candidates.

Go Away, Fay: Tropical Storm Fay makes landfall in Florida for the fourth time, sets its sights on New Orleans.

Big Brother Wants You To Go To Class: Texas court authorizes the placement of GPS devices on the ankles of consistently truant students.

Better Late Than Never: Mariners snap 7 game losing streak with solid 7-5 victory over Oakland.

Is It Just Me…

posted by on August 23 at 8:26 AM

…or does Biden call to mind the guy on the left in this photo?


A long-serving senator, a Washington player, tons of foreign-policy experience, brought gravitas to the ticket, good with a devastating quip

Joe Biden on Barack Obama

posted by on August 23 at 7:40 AM

As predicted:

I’m off for Denver! More later.

Barack Finally Texted Me

posted by on August 23 at 1:53 AM

So much for being the first to know. Text says:

Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee. Watch the first Obama-Biden rally live at 3 pm ET on Spread the word.

Synchro Smackdown

posted by on August 23 at 12:12 AM

So, Jen Graves and I are very stupid and our laptops are not equipped to handle Cover It Live. This will be old-school liveslog. Comment in the regular comments.

Annie: Whew. I am exhausted. I have been watching teenage Jen Graves point her toes and spin around upside down for a half hour, and I now feel prepared to handle the NBC broadcast of the team technical event. So what is the techical event, Jen?

Jen: Technical event is, you know, technical. Less free than the free routine. Which is happening right this second. So if you’re watching on a computer that has an Intel processor, for the love of god, then you can see that. We here have an incredibly complex setup that involves one Intel-enabled live feed, one television, and two computers, neither of which can handle, you know, simple live-blogging programs. But we digress.


Annie: I was pretty excited by that fireball the news had on just now. I have no idea what was on fire. Oh well. So, the NBC broadcast starts at 12:30 and it will be some stuff that happened, like, 24 hours ago. If you don’t have an Intel processor and want to see the free routine (after which the medals will be awarded), then you have to wait until tomorrow between 9 and 5. Very helpful. If you do have an Intel processor, you can click here and be 24 hours ahead of us.

What I want to know is, does the technical event involve people being thrown around the pool? Obviously, the only cool thing about synchro is people being flung willy-nilly across the pool.

Continue reading "Synchro Smackdown" »

Friday, August 22, 2008

On Joe Biden

posted by on August 22 at 10:20 PM

Originally posted on Wednesday, but moved up because of the news that Biden is, in fact, the VP nominee.

I’ve been doing a bit of reading up on Sen. Joe Biden, now that everyone in politico-land seems to think he’s going to be Obama’s VP pick.

A few thoughts on up-sides and down-sides: I only just realized that Biden, who has served six terms in the Senate, was first elected to his current post at age 30 with his only previous experience being his stint as a county councilman in Delaware. If Biden becomes the VP, that story will be a great antidote to the talk about how Obama can’t be president because he is too young and anyway was a state legislator in Illinois just four years ago.

Continue reading "On Joe Biden" »

It’s Biden

posted by on August 22 at 10:01 PM

Well, that was fun.

Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware is Barack Obama’s pick as vice presidential running mate, The Associated Press has learned.

Biden, 65, is a veteran of more than three decades in the Senate, and one of his party’s leading experts on foreign policy, an area in which polls indicate Obama needs help in his race against Republican rival John McCain.

And, yeah, I was wrong.

And… so… Biden is 65, right?

Continue reading "It's Biden" »

The Last Two Weeks on Drugs

posted by on August 22 at 6:47 PM

Be Afraid: Digital drugs are coming to ravage your children.

Websites are targeting your children with so-called digital drugs. These are audio files designed to induce drug-like effects.

Binaural beats create a beating sound. Other noises may be included with binaural beats. This is intended to mask their unpleasant sound.

If binaural beats work as promised, they are not safe. They could also create a placebo effect. The expectation elicits the response. Again, this is unsafe. At the very least, digital drugs promote drug use.

Big Gulp: Starbucks to ban pot smoking in its Amsterdam coffee shops.

Big Island: Hawaii will vote on deprioritizing pot possession.

Big Hand: American law enforcement praises success of US-funded Plan Mexico, which has left 7,000 dead and cartels thriving.

Big Decision: Federal court rules states can set their own medical marijuana laws despite federal prohibition. Says the ACLU of Washington’s Alison Holcomb: “This ruling is good news for Washington’s medical marijuana patients. It means that the federal government cannot interfere with a state’s ability to implement its own medical marijuana law. And it affirms the importance of the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, which guarantees every state the right to make and repeal its own laws.”

Drink and Be Merry: College presidents want to lower drinking age.

Drink and Be Scary: The federal government reminds us that the solution to underage drinking problems is always, always, always harsher penalties and less freedom.

Stranger Writers Are a Superstitious and Cowardly Lot

posted by on August 22 at 6:02 PM

This monstrous thing just terrorized our offices for the last half hour.


I know it doesn’t look like it from the picture, but it was as big as a goddamned bat.

Continue reading "Stranger Writers Are a Superstitious and Cowardly Lot" »

Election Update

posted by on August 22 at 5:50 PM

In the latest election-results update, Gov. Christine Gregoire lost some ground (and two counties) in her race for reelection against Republican challenger Dino Rossi; Republican attorney general Rob McKenna gained a bit over his challenger, Democratic Pierce County executive John Ladenburg; Democratic challenger Peter Goldmark slipped a little in his campaign against Republican lands commissioner Doug Sutherland; Congressional challenger Darcy Burner slipped a bit in her bid to unseat Republican US Rep. Dave Reichert; education superintendent Terry Bergeson slipped below 40 percent in her race for reelection against Randy Dorn, who gained three percentage points; and Reuven Carlyle’s lead grew against John Burbank in the 36th legislative district (on election night, Burbank was winning).

Rossi is now within 35,000 votes of Gregoire, which means it’s likely to be a close race in November—though not close enough to write the governor off, as the boys at Ye Olde Crosscutte Web Blog did today. However, Darcy Burner’s lackluster showing in the Eighth Congressional District against incumbent Dave Reichert may be somewhat misleading. Burner faced two other Democrats, in addition to Republican Reichert and two “no preference” candidates, in the primary; taken together, the Democratic vote in that race outnumbers the Republican vote. That could bode well for Burner on election day in November, when Democratic turnout will be much higher than it was for this week’s primary.

One weird thing is that unlike the Secretary of State’s office, King County Elections lists the number of ballots cast for a write-in, which slightly skews the percentage totals. The only possible reason this could matter is in a close race, or a judicial race in which one candidate was close to winning more than 50 percent—the cutoff for winning a judicial election in the primary. Judicial candidates who get more than half the vote, in other words, don’t have to go on to the general; judicial candidates with a plurality of the vote, but less than half, do. One race where that hasn’t been decided yet is King County Superior Court, Position 10, where Regina Cahan currently has 50.33 percent of the vote (according to the Secretary of State), or 50.23 percent (according to KC Elections.) Both sites list the same total number of votes for each candidate; on the Secretary of State’s tally, though, the write-ins simply disappear. I’ve used the Secretary of State’s numbers for consistency between statewide and King County-only races, but if you’re curious how many write-in votes there were in a specific race, check out KC’s elections web site here.

Here’s a complete list of election results in all contested races.

Continue reading "Election Update" »

Re: Do We Have a Winner?

posted by on August 22 at 5:28 PM

Or maybe not Bayh after all. Drudge, for what it’s worth, now says MSNBC is reporting that Bayh and Kaine have been told it’s not them.

And, for those of you obsessively checking your cell phones, the AP says that the text message from the Obama campaign is coming early Saturday.

Does anyone else think it might have been wiser for Obama to have announced this earlier in the week, so the VP pick could potentially enjoy days and days of prime time media attention, rather than announcing it on a Saturday?

Also Today In Author’s Birthdays

posted by on August 22 at 5:22 PM

I contend that, while Brendan Gill was a better writer than Dorothy Parker, Dorothy Parker is an incredibly important (and markedly more famous) figure for a reason. Sometimes it doesn’t come down to a contest about how good your writing is. Her contributions to civil rights and feminism are vitally important to this very day, in all sorts of unquantifiable ways. She totally deserves to have a birthday party. So nyah.

And in other news, today is also Ray Bradbury’s birthday! He is almost 115, give or take a decade or three. SF Signal celebrated by posting a video with a look into the far-away world of 2001:

Happy birthday to Bradbury and Parker, and apologies to Mr. Gill for suggesting that a lesser writer should be better known.

Re: Do We Have a Winner?

posted by on August 22 at 5:10 PM

Another clue!

Marc Ambinder reads the flight records and concludes that it’s Biden. Of course it’s Biden. I’ve been saying that since earlier this afternoon.


A flight from Midway to New Castle, DE… to pick someone up? Who knows? No other flights from anywhere in and around Chicago to anywhere in and around Delaware… or vice versa. Just this charter.

The flight arrived 36 minutes ago.

Letter of the Day

posted by on August 22 at 5:08 PM

I live in a pretty conservative city, and I enjoy reading Slog every day. I have found your posts on the drug war and the way it is reported to be very enlightening. Recently, I talked to my boyfriend about it; he’s a news producer for one of the local tv stations here. I asked if he would be “allowed” to produce a story which questioned the effictiveness of drug raids. (All of his stories have to be approved by the news director.) Without pause, he said no. Apparently, one of the major considerations in what is considered newsworthy is whether something could be considered “offensive,” and to suggest that drugs are not evil and that the DEA is not doing God’s Work would definitely be offensive. (Murder and child rape, however, are not offensive; they’re usually the lead stories.)

Not to lose focus of what this e-mail is about, but he’s also rarely allowed to run stories about gay rights issues. My boyfriend said that anytime he has included such a story in his newscast, the station receives “record numbers” of angry phone calls.

“Isn’t that a good thing?” I asked. “Doesn’t that mean you’re provoking discussion?”

My boyfriend agrees. His news director does not.

So, unfortunately, real journalism ain’t easy, especially in a conservative city. After a lot of prodding from me every time I read one of your “stupid fucking credulous hack” posts, my boyfriend finally agreed to pitch a story about the (lack of) effectiveness of the drug war to run during sweeps; apparently sweeps months are the only time that it may be okay to be controversial. Who knows? Maybe it’ll get on the air.

Oh, and by the way: more than half of the people working in the newsroom regularly smoke pot. At the station, even.

Thanks for the thought-provoking blogging, Dan. Have a great weekend.

Re: Allow Me to Ruin Your Day

posted by on August 22 at 4:59 PM

No, Megan, this is the story that’ll ruin your day if you read it.

Road Trip!

posted by on August 22 at 4:49 PM


Nebraska’s new “safe-haven” law allowing parents to abandon unwanted children at hospitals with no questions asked is unique in a significant way: It goes beyond babies and potentially permits the abandonment of anyone under 19.

While lawmakers may not have intended it, the month-old law raises the possibility that frustrated parents could drop off misbehaving teens or even severely disabled older children with impunity.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on August 22 at 4:37 PM

Hello, friends and foes!

Opening this week:


I, for some reason, fail to hate sweaty Rainn Wilson vehicle The Rocker: “Like most films devoted to the absurd kickassedness of rock, it’s hopelessly derivative, but I’ve sat through worse moviegoing experiences than a secondhand Spinal Tap.”

Andrew Wright mega-hearts Steve Coogan, but only kind of hearts Hamlet 2: “Even if the film’s level of invention sputters here and there, its star is really something to see, creating a gurning, fearless portrayal of Americanus idiotus that even Chris Elliott might envy. (I can think of no higher praise.)”

The love lives of Mongolian shepherds in Tuya’s Marriage delight Annie Wagner to no end: “For Tuya (Yu Nan), the difficulty of eking out a living in Inner Mongolia is a given; it’s the institution of marriage that has to be stretched and massaged until it conforms to the circumstances of her life. Politics hum in the background, in the forces that are pushing her family away from a nomadic lifestyle and in a squabble over water rights, but the central conflicts of the plot are on a human scale.”

Continue reading "This Weekend at the Movies" »

Do We Have a Winner?

posted by on August 22 at 4:28 PM


After weeks of speculation and days of intense rumors, the answer to who Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama would name as his running mate may have come down to a bumper sticker printed in Lenexa.

KMBC’s Micheal Mahoney reported that the company, which specializes in political literature, has been printing Obama-Bayh material. That’s Bayh as in U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana. Word leaked out about the material as it was being printed up by Gill Studios of Lenexa….

Gill Studios would not confirm information about the material. They would not deny it either.

More here.

Georgia on My Mind

posted by on August 22 at 4:09 PM


As you’ve probably heard, the country of Georgia has been going through some rough shit in the South Ossetian War.

I cover some basic facts of the war in this week’s Last Days (see Monday) but none of that gets at why I’m semi-personally concerned about the citizens of Georgia, which is this: Georgia is the only non-North American locale I’ve ever spent time in.

I went to Georgia for the same reason most people go to Georgia: To perform in a production of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Here’s a photo, and before you get too dazzled, you should know that this was a student production from the North Carolina School of the Arts, and the entire cast consisted of people in their early 20s (yes, even the elderly Big Daddy and Big Mama.) I played the role of Gooper (that’s me to the left of the bed) and in Georgia, each cast member was handed over to a Georgian host family in the city of Tbilisi. (We flew into the Tbilisi airport, which was recently hit by a Russian air strike.)

This was in early 1991, right after Georgia had achieved its independence from the Soviet Union, and the people of Georgia were all lit up with national pride. They’d reclaimed Georgian as the official language (making the handful of Russian phrases we’d learned not only useless but insulting) and they were thrilled to have Americans around to show off their reclaimed country to.

For the week and a half of our visit, I stayed with the family of a Georgian drama student named Uri. Living in a small-ish apartment were Uri, his fiance, his mother, and his sister, all of whom were so incredibly sweet I could hardly stand it. After dinner, they’d sing at the table. Russia had somehow cut off Georgia’s access to hot water, so when I needed to bathe, the mother would fill the bathtub with water heated in pots on the stove. I’d offer to help, and she’d never let me: I was their guest, and behind every bit of generous fussing was the hope that we’d be friends forever. “We’re brothers now!” Uri exclaimed on at least three (drunken) occasions, and when I had to leave they cried and insisted I come back again before long.

Which brings me to the great underlying problem of my trip to Georgia: The country’s deep and proud homophobia. “Blue boys” was the term used for male gays, who were treated with unapologetic scorn. “If someone is gay, they are banished from society and their families,” said the cousin to the left of Uri in this picture, as translated for me by the cousin on the right. Violence against blue boys was presented as comedy, or an act of valor.

Of course, they had no idea I was gay (happily involved in a relationship with the guy playing Brick) but of course I never forgot it. Through all of the Georgians’ proclamations of love and gestures of kindness, I could only think, “If you only knew…”

During the teary goodbye at the airport, the family made me promise to stay in touch, come back soon, write when I could, and they’d do the same. I never called, I never wrote, and I disposed of the family’s contact info soon after I got back to the states. I have no idea how Uri and his family are doing with the recent troubles. I hope they’re okay.

Behold the Power of “Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day!”

posted by on August 22 at 4:04 PM

This piece got the PI’s Vanessa Ho tagged “Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day” last Saturday. And now when you Google “Vanessa Ho”…


Lordy! “Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack” is the top hit for the PI’s Vanessa Ho. Her appearance in SFCH ranks higher on Google than her own archives! (I’m not sure who that other Vanessa Ho is, the one whose photo sites come in first and third on the search.)

Journalists! Don’t let this happen to you! Staying out of “Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day” is easy! Just make sure your next piece about a grow-op bust includes a quote from someone other than a DEA agent, a federal prosecutor, or a local law enforcement official. Bury at least one brief quote from a critic of the war on pot, someone who can comment on the efficacy of drug interdiction efforts—rarely is the question asked, is our grow-op busts working?—and you won’t be named “Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day” on Slog! It’s that easy!

Typo Fixers on Probation

posted by on August 22 at 3:30 PM

jimas-fixed-20080522-212246.jpgjimas-diner-20080522-212205.jpgI wrote about the Typo Eradication Advancement League, and its pursuit to fix bad grammar and punctuation on public signage, when it came through the Northwest last spring.

Now, the members of TEAL are in the doghouse for defacing a more than 60-year-old, hand-painted sign at Grand Canyon National Park.

From the Associated Press:

An affidavit by National Park Service agent Christopher A. Smith said investigators learned of the vandalism from an Internet site operated by [Jeff] Deck on behalf of the Typo Eradication Advancement League, or TEAL.

Authorities said a diary written by Deck reported that while visiting the watchtower, he and [Benjamin] Herson “discovered a hand-rendered sign inside that, I regret to report, contained a few errors.”

The fiberboard sign has yellow lettering with a black background. Deck wrote that they used a marker to cover an erroneous apostrophe, put the apostrophe in its proper place with white-out and added a comma.

The misspelled word “emense” was not fixed, Deck wrote, because “I was reluctant to disfigure the sign any further. … Still, I think I shall be haunted by that perversity, emense, in my train-whistle-blighted dreams tonight.”

Deck, of Somerville, Mass., and Herson, of Virginia Beach, Va., pleaded guilty to conspiracy to vandalize government property.

They were sentenced to a year’s probation, during which they cannot enter any national park or modify any public signs. They were also ordered to pay $3,035 to repair the watchtower sign.

What to Expect When You’re Aborting

posted by on August 22 at 3:25 PM

This woman—a 23-year-old who writes, “I’m 23. I’m knocked up. And I don’t want to keep it. You can fuck yourself, Judd Apatow“—has started a blog to document the process of getting an abortion. It’s smart, funny, and surprisingly informative.

I’m trying to get some advice and info that isn’t off a bulletin board style fact sheet. When I google “abortion blog” —because we all know blogs are a great repository for facts and rationality— i get these terrifying pro-life, abortion regret websites. One is called ” silent rain”. UGHHHHH.


Read it.

Lazy Nerds Can Register To Vote On Xbox Live!

posted by on August 22 at 3:24 PM

Microsoft and Rock the Vote (???!!!) have apparently formed an unholy alliance to bring the democratic process to the lazy and the terminally nerdy.

Starting Monday, August 25th, Xbox Live will allow users to register to vote, participate in polls and probably call the candidates all kinds of horrible names.

This just makes me miss the Vote or Die campaign even more.

Dept. of Excellent Press Releases

posted by on August 22 at 3:09 PM

Ms Graves, I am a former grave digger, prom king and sergeant of Marines. I discovered truly hot by falling into the campfire at age 4 and have been to Winlock, Wa. to see the world’s largest egg. Currently I’m an eastside parks maintenance worker and Artist’s Trust Edge graduate who is pasting 20 photographs from a new body of work to the wall in Post Alley below the pig. I am pleased to invite you to view them on 1st Thursday, August 7 or whenever you’re at the market. Thank you, Daniel Kencke

These photographs “of the daily commute,” together titled Pedestrian will be on the poster wall on Post Alley below the Pike Place Market pig “until all images are torn/weathered off, posted over or otherwise assimilated.”

A tiny book of them the artist sent me includes several alluringly blurry prints shot from down low, with these poignant and to-the-point explanations in the front of the book:

Tech: 2-5 second exposure, a loosely aimed camera at waist level, inspired by John Waters movie “Pecker”
Impression: personal interactions mostly with cellphone and ipod, very little eye contact, no spontaneous conversation, determined movement and agenda; sad, lonely

I say go.

I’m Not Sure I’m Allowed to Read This Story

posted by on August 22 at 2:34 PM

Much less link to it, but…

Meet Mayra Lizbeth Rosales. She’s so fat that she’s immobile. Actually, strike that—the woman was just mobile enough to beat her two year-old nephew to death. Now prosecutors are trying to figure out how to bring Rosales to trial. And that’s not going to be easy since she can’t “fit through a door to leave her home,” according to Time Magazine, which should be ashamed of itself for reporting this story at all.

Another Reason to Watch ‘Frozen River’ This Weekend

posted by on August 22 at 2:29 PM

Besides the movie’s goodness: You may remember Misty Upham from stages in Seattle, where she grew up.


(Thanks, Jim!)

Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on August 22 at 2:20 PM

I am a 38 year old straight male in a long-term relationship. We have had two children together, and they are still quite young. I am not sure what killed the physicality and intimacy of our relationship (many things, likely), but as it stand, my spouse and I have been physically disconnected for years. This led to rather sleazy adulterate behaviour on my part. We recently discussed the topic at length (at which time I informed her of my indiscretions), and have decided to remain together for our children (we work well together as parents, and actually make pretty good friends). We have also decided to “open” our relationship, complete with rules of conduct.

We both seem to want the same thing: a companion of the opposite sex, one that will be a friend and lover. My spouse has found one. It is someone I am acquainted with, and this is fine, as I know him to be a fine, responsible human being. I have been looking for someone, but have had no luck yet. I feel like I don’t really know what I am doing, or if I can even find what I am looking for, or even if there are women in the world interested in a relationship of the sort in question. One night stands are not an option for me: I find them pleasant but ultimately unsatisfying. I posted an ad on Craigslist, but only managed to attract a Russian woman living in Russia, whom I strongly suspect to be a scammer. Some clear, logical and humourous direction would be greatly appreciated!

By the way, I should mention that I am 38, very good-looking, in superb physical condition, charismatic, and highly educated.

All Too Human

You’re seeking a companion of the opposite sex, someone with whom you’re on good, friendly terms, someone who understands you’re committed to your marriage for your kids’ sake, someone you know to be responsible and trustworthy…

How about the wife?

Continue reading "Savage Love Letter of the Day" »

Convention Prep

posted by on August 22 at 1:52 PM

As you’ve heard, Eli Sanders, Charles Mudede and I will be flying to Denver this weekend to cover the Democratic National Convention. Part of Charles’s beat will be to cover the protests, organized by the hilariously self-monikered Recreate ‘68 group. But why would you bother to recreate ‘68 when you can experience the real thing on film? (Kidding. Sort of.)

One of my favorite movies ever, despite its hokey Appalachian flashbacks and low-grade, persistent sexism, is Medium Cool, cinematographer Haskell Wexler’s enormously enjoyable treatise on the difficulty of journalistic objectivity. There’s a sun-bathed baptism in green mountains. There’s a Chicago slum. There are rock doves. There’s a deeply sympathetic child.


But more excitingly for our purposes, there’s actual footage of the protests at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which resulted in some famous police riots. The fictional narrative is woven into the documentary footage, sometimes literally, as when a fictional character in a bright yellow shirtdress passes in and out of a stream of actual protesters and police, searching for her son.

You should come. Eli and I are going to be at the 7 o’clock show tonight, but it plays at 7 and 9:15 through Sunday. (A contemporary documentary about the crazy summer leading up to the convention plays Sat-Sun only.)

Look out, Haskell, it’s real!

American Prayer

posted by on August 22 at 1:15 PM

It’s the video for the older set!

Featuring Forest Whitaker, Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, Cyndi Lauper, Barry Manilow, Joan Baez, Macy Gray and Joss Stone, and produced by Dave Stewart.

Oh, Annie, You’re Going Down

posted by on August 22 at 1:13 PM

Girl, if your precious gymnasts even looked like they heard the music while they were doing their floor routines, then your point would stand. As it is, your deafsters are about as “synchronized” to their music as baseball players to their at-bat theme songs.

And here is hilarious musical warmup to tonight.

Can You Believe They’re Growing Pot in the __________?

posted by on August 22 at 1:07 PM

Can you believe they’re growing pot in fucking vineyards? Can you? We can’t. And our colleagues at the Seattle Times, they can’t either. They were shocked by this news two weeks ago, a week later, a day after that, and today, the shock has consumed nearly the entire front page. Isn’t it amazing how the same story can shock over and over and over again?


Vineyards are, as of today, the most shocking place to find pot growing. But it doesn’t matter where pot is found next—even if it’s an expanse of tilled irrigated soil made for growing plants—the next place pot is found growing is always the most shocking place it’s ever been found growing. The lengths pot growers will go to in order to grow pot! It’s amazing! So the Seattle Times breathlessly reports that pot has been found in such unlikely places as a house, a neighborhood, a suburb, King County, Lewis County, British Columbia, inside, online, and underground. The Times is in a tizzy about marijuana in the mountains, the woods, the wood shavings, the reservation, and a plantation.

Where will pot growers grow pot NEXT? Let’s help the Seattle Times out, Sloggers, so that the next big discovery—or the next news release from the federal government’s press desks—doesn’t catch the Seattle Times by surprise again.

Where will the presence of pot plants scandalize us next?

Interview With a Vampire Lady

posted by on August 22 at 1:00 PM

All hail Paul Constant, who wrote a fantastic exploration of Stephanie Meyer and her best-selling vampire books for The Stranger, and also helped prep me when I got asked to interview Meyer for TIME Magazine’s “10 Questions” series.

The product of his vampire tutelage is here.

Headlines of Articles in Science Journals I Wish I’d Never Read

posted by on August 22 at 12:50 PM

Forgive me.

Spiers AS. Attempted suicide or hitting the nail on the head. Case report. J Fla Med Assoc. 1994 Dec;81(12):822-3.

Ropohl D, Scheithauer R, Pollak S. Postmortem injuries inflicted by domestic golden hamster: morphological aspects and evidence by DNA typing. Forensic Sci Int. 1995 Mar 31;72(2):81-90.

Schievink WI, Ebersold MJ, Atkinson JL. Roller-coaster headache due to spinal cerebrospinal fluid leak. Lancet. 1996 May 18;347(9012):1409. No abstract available.

Kunz J, Gross A. Victim’s scalp on the killer’s head. An unusual case of criminal postmortem mutilation. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2001 Sep;22(3):327-31.

Get Ready for LiveSlogged Synchro!

posted by on August 22 at 12:33 PM

Yes, tonight brings us to our first and no doubt last ever liveblog of Olympic synchronized swimming. We have an expert, Jen Graves, who spent 15 years in the sport and is personally acquainted with several ex-Olympians. We also have an inexpert, me, who spent 9 years in the infinitely more dangerous, difficult, and taxing sport of artistic gymnastics and is not personally acquainted with a single ex-Olympian of any sort. Graves will provide intelligent commentary. I will mock ceaselessly. Be here at 12:30 am to witness the carnage.

And because she’s a sweet, sweet, woman, Ms. Graves has given me some pointers on how to mock without looking like an idiot, in the form of a Newsweek guide to spectating synchro. Dumb questions, according to Graves, include:

2. Why is there a solo event if it’s “synchronized” swimming?

Ah, yes. You feel clever, right? Please consider that a person can be synchronized with a piece of music before you speak of this commonly posed “mind bender.”

I beg to differ. The floor exercise, in gymnastics, is performed to a piece of music. But we do not call it “synchronized floor exercise.” Conversely, imagine if synchro diving was one person diving in time to a piece of music instead of two people diving simultaneously. Stupid! Solo synchro should be called water dancing, to correspond to ice dancing in the winter Olympics.

Smart questions, according to Graves, might include:

3. Why isn’t that American girl wearing noseclips like everybody else?

I know! Christina Jones, one half of the American duet that finished fifth this week in Beijing, does not wear anything to keep the water from going up her nose while she’s upside-down underwater. She’s one of only a few swimmers known to do this, but it’s not unheard of.

This is a smart question? My god, Graves, we are going to be giving each other black eyes by the end of the night!

“There are writers who die to the world long before they are dead, and if this is sometimes by choice, more often it is a fate imposed on them by others and not easily dealt with.”

posted by on August 22 at 12:25 PM

Yeah, yeah, it’s Dorothy Parker’s birthday—hats off. But can we talk about her death day for a second? Heretical as this is to type, Dorothy Parker wrote very little that was better (in my opinion!) than Brendan Gill’s introduction to Penguin Books’ The Portable Dorothy Parker (wish I had this edition of it). The first sentence is committed to memory; it’s fun to come out with it at a party full of people who think of themselves as writers. The whole first paragraph is a coiling, chilly rumination on the vicissitudes of literary fame, written by a writer who absolutely deserved literary fame and never got it, not like Parker did.

For your reading pleasure, I just had an intern, Julia Mullen Gordon, type it up the first two paragraphs. Pour yourself a tumbler.

There are writers who die to the world long before they are dead, and if this is sometimes by choice, more often it is a fate imposed on them by others and not easily dealt with. A writer enjoys a vogue, and, the vogue having passed, either he consents to endure the obscurity into which he has been thrust or he struggles against it in vain, with a bitterness that tends to increase as his powers diminish. No matter how well or badly he behaves, the result is the same. If the work is of a certain quality, it survives the passing of the vogue, but the maker of the work no longer effectually exists. Even though he goes on writing, he dwells in the limbo of the half-forgotten, and his obituary notices are read with a flippant, unthinking incredulity: who would have guessed that the tattered old teller of tales had had it in him to hang on so fiercely? What on earth had he been waiting for? Hoping for? Dreading?

A protracted life-in-death is all the more striking in the case of writers who make a reputation in youth and then live on into age. It is most striking of all in the case of young writers whose theme is the pleasingness of death, and for whom it amounts in the world’s eyes to a betrayal of their theme when they are observed to cling far more tenaciously to life than their happier contemporaries have managed to do. Dorothy Parker’s career was of this nature. She enjoyed an early vogue, which passed, leaving her work to be judged on its merits, and because the subject of so large a portion of her verses was the seductiveness of a neat, brisk doing away with herself, many people were astonished to read of her death, in 1967, from natural causes, as an old lady of seventy-three. Under the circumstances, it seemed to them a tardy end, and by an irony that had been one of Mrs. Parker’s chief stocks in trade she would have been the first to agree with them. She had indeed taken an unconscionably long time to leave a world of which she had always claimed to hold a low opinion. Her husbands, her lovers, and most of her friends had preceded her; for a person who boasted of wooing death, she had proved the worst of teases—an elderly flirt of the sort that she herself at thirty would have savaged in a paragraph.

Hats off to Brendan Gill and all the other forgottens.

Stupid Fucking Credulous Hacks of the Day: Tom Banse and Erik Lacitis

posted by on August 22 at 12:13 PM

I was sitting in bed and listening to KUOW and scratching my balls—Derek Wong’s voice always makes my sack itch—when I caught a short report from crack local public radio reporter Tom Banse. It was all about Our Glorious War on Drugs! Here’s Banse:

An Oregon drug task force director says 2008 is shaping up to be a “banner year” for busting outdoor marijuana farms. In Washington State, marijuana plant seizures are running “way ahead” of last year. Lt. Rich Wiley heads the Washington State Patrol narcotics section. He credits the help of low-flying helicopters on loan from the National Guard and federal DEA.

Continue reading "Stupid Fucking Credulous Hacks of the Day: Tom Banse and Erik Lacitis" »

Currently Hanging

posted by on August 22 at 12:03 PM

The Adam and Eve page from the St. John’s Bible project

At Tacoma Art Museum. (Museum web site here.)

Several things make me uncomfortable about the traveling show of a contemporary hand-written and illustrated bible that’s now at the Tacoma Art Museum.

First, almost all of the illustrations are terribly, terribly ugly, like this one of Adam and Eve. They are in the style of religious craft-fair materials, or mass-produced religious posters, the kind you saw hanging in the offices of progressive churches in the ’80s. It is painful.

Second, and keeping that in mind, why is this show at an art museum in one of the least religious states in the union? When the Minneapolis Institute of Arts announced it was organizing a national tour for the show on behalf of Saint John’s University, it boasted that the show was looking for audiences in major cities, including New York, LA, Chicago, Seattle, and Detroit. Instead, according to that same web page, the exhibition only found exhibition venues in Collegeville, Minnesota; Mobile, Alabama; and Tacoma.

The presentation at TAM is unquestioning. In sweeping script on the walls and in labels that came straight from the organizers and were not allowed to be altered, the TAM presentation supports the project’s own elevated claims of importance.

But does this bible really matter to average Christians, or is this tour just a way to drum up money for the project? Is this bible really engaging any debates about the rapidly growing differences between fundamentalist and progressive Christian practice? If it has no art value—and believe me, it doesn’t—then does it even have any religious value?

And on a more general note, why does the Tacoma Art Museum lately feel like a red state inside? The history of that museum is one of innovation, progress, and underdog successes. Recent shows of children’s illustrators and quilters seem to send the message that the museum thinks Tacoma doesn’t know from art and might be intimidated if the museum put some up. As a former Tacoman myself, I take umbrage.

The one thing TAM still has going for it is curator Rock Hushka. He’s responsible for fighting to bring Janet Cardiff’s “Forty Part Motet” to TAM simultaneously with this bible show, and because of his determination, a trip there this summer isn’t a total loss. The spirit of Cardiff’s show is to experience and question the gaps between individual and collective experience, and between hearing something and knowing its full meaning. Now those are subjects that give religious people of all types something to relate to and consider.

Where the Hell’s Eat & Tell?

posted by on August 22 at 11:54 AM

Sad news: Due to stupid space restrictions, this week brings the final installment of Angela Garbes’ beloved column Eat & Tell. Due to even stupider space restrictions, the final installment of Eat & Tell was bumped from this week’s print edition. As usual, it’s a goodie, and here it is:

Pork & Grief

Two weeks ago, a beloved family friend passed away. Feeling a little sad all the time is, well, sad. And, in moments, crippling and overwhelming. At the funeral last week, easels holding photos collages celebrating our friend Rudy’s life were set up in the church lobby. I looked at the collages—“Friends,” “Church Activities,” “Family,” “Travels,” “Knights of Columbus”—and had to laugh when I noticed that, in every single display, there was at least one photo of Rudy hovering over a lechon, a Filipino whole roasted pig. “Oh yeah,” my dad smiled when I pointed this out to him, “Rudy loved lechon. There’s going to be one at the reception afterwards.”

Indeed, after the funeral, a whole pig served in the church social hall fed the hundreds of people who came to say goodbye. “It’s perfect,” Rudy’s daughter said to me, “that guy just loved to eat.” Last week, on the ninth night of mourning his death, before and after saying the rosary, friends and family devoured yet another whole pig, chopped impressively (with a cleaver and rubber mallet) by his daughter. I like to think that Rudy is quite pleased by all of this.

Of course, roasted pig is appropriate for all celebrations. It can even be the cause of one, as it will be this Saturday at Ballard’s Old Pequliar, when they roast two 120-pound pigs. Go and eat in honor of someone you love.

Pig and Pipes, with music by the Seattle Firefighters Pipes and Drums Corps, Saturday, August 23, 12:00 pm, the Old Pequliar, 1722 NW Market Street. Tickets $15; 782-8886.

If it’s any consolation, and it is, the divine Ms. Garbes will continue to share her eloquent, one-of-a-kind food lust with Stranger readers in reviews and profiles and what-have-you for The Stranger’s Chow section.

But for now, a moment’s silence for Eat & Tell.

And the Hits Keep Coming

posted by on August 22 at 11:50 AM

Obama and his allies are still hammering McCain for not remembering how many houses he owns. Here’s the latest from the Obama campaign, which ties the house issue right back to that image of McCain in a golf cart with George H.W. Bush:

Ouch. And here’s the latest from the Florida Democratic party. It’s called “Priceless.”

Via Ben Smith.

Overheard in the Office

posted by on August 22 at 11:43 AM

Tim Keck: “Remember, you can pick your vice president, but you can’t pick your vice president’s nose. On camera.”

Allow Me to Ruin Your Day

posted by on August 22 at 11:32 AM

One of the saddest stories of the week (but not as traumatizing as Allison’s):

BERLIN - A gorilla at a zoo in the German city of Muenster is refusing to let go of her dead baby’s body several days after it died of unknown causes.

Allwetter Zoo spokeswoman Ilona Zuehlke says the 3-month-old male baby died on Saturday but its 11-year-old mother continues to carry its body around. Zuehlke says such behavior is not uncommon to gorillas.

Zuehlke says the mother “is mourning and must say goodbye.” The mother gorilla is named Gana.

I had no idea gorillas did that. The rest of the story, and a photo, are here.

Thanks to tipster Gurldoggie.

Clock Still Ticking for Seatle’s Last Newsstand

posted by on August 22 at 11:11 AM

In five days, Seattle’s last freestanding newsstand could be gone. The stand’s owner, Ben Gant, turned in permit applications to the city on Tuesday, but later received a letter from the Seattle Department of Transportation saying it will not accept them forms as some of them are incomplete.

After receiving your application and submittals on August 20th, I identified the following items were not included. These items are required in order for the application to be considered complete. • Letter from adjacent property owner for permission to have the newsstand and to vend the approved items. • Insurance showing the City of Seattle as an additional insured. See enclosed Client Assistance Memo 2102 for insurance requirements. • Health Department Vending Permit or proof of exemption to vend food and beverages. • Missing items from site and elevation plan: o Electrical specifications with a description of electrical hookup to adjacent property. o Stamp from a Professional Engineer. o Windload calculations. • Fire Marshall propane permit, if using for proposed food preparation.

The complete permit application needs to be submitted by August 27th

Gant—who just launched a new website for his newsstand to raise money for construction—says he has in fact turned in some of the “missing” items, including “a letter from [the Woolworth’s building] agreeing to supply the newsstand with electricity, as well as letters of support from Ross, Walgreen’s, Bruno’s, and Samuel’s jewelers.”

Gant also says he’s gotten an exemption permit from the health department, is waiting on on some documents from his structural engineer and will contact the Fire Marshall later today.

SDOT spokesman Rick Sheridan says it will take the city about 10 days to review Gant’s application once it’s complete, although Gant may also have to go through permitting process with DPD if any electrical work needs to be done.

Material Seduction

posted by on August 22 at 11:00 AM

Leo Berk’s River Full of Blood (2008), drawing in sparkly pen [photographed by Mark Woods]

Here’s the third and final view of the three-kilometer-long Mayan cave Naj Tunich at the Hedreen Gallery of Seattle University. In glittery ink drawings of tunnels that look like X-rays of fishnet-stockinged legs, and with sinuous, hand-sanded limbs of painted resin, Seattle artist Leo Berk has re-dreamt his wanderings in in the cave seven years ago, and leads you on a similar way-losing journey. Berk, it turns out, was inspired by Claude Zervas and a dinosaur:

To listen to the entire In/Visible podcast with Berk, click here.

FOR MORE INFO!: The artist will be at the Hedreen Gallery (901 12th Avenue, between Marion and Madison) to talk about this work tomorrow at 1:30 pm!

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on August 22 at 11:00 AM


‘Medium Cool’

On the eve of the conventions, watch the best movie ever made about the people living, working, and agitating on the margins of America’s grandest political theater tradition. Set during and filmed amid the chaos of Chicago 1968, Haskell Wexler’s film is a heady mix of protest chic, Appalachian romanticism, and agony over journalistic objectivity. The phrase “medium cool” refers to Marshall McLuhan’s theory that TV is a “cool” medium—one that invites viewer participation—in contrast to the “hot” quality of film, which sucks up all your attention and energy. Medium Cool may be hot, but it wants you to holler back. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 267-5380. 7 and 9:15 pm, $8.50.)


You Thought Libraries Were Dull

posted by on August 22 at 11:00 AM


Gawker has two interesting bits of library-based news this morning. First, the Wisconsin lady whose mugshot is to the left of this writing was arrested on August 6th for having two overdue library books. The late fees totaled almost 38 dollars. It’s true that the books were Oprah pick White Oleander and Dan Brown awfulness Angels & Demons, but I still think she’s cute. She’s got the crazy eyes.

Second, a Michigan librarian got fired for publishing a tell-all book about being a librarian. Gawker has the publisher’s description of the book:

“Open this book and you’ll meet the naked patron, the greedy, unenlightened patrons, destination hell, the masturbator, horny old men, Mr. Three Hats, and a menagerie of other characters you never dreamt were housed at your public library.”

I can’t fucking wait to read this book.

Hacker Provokes a New Investigation Into the Age of Chinese Gymnasts

posted by on August 22 at 10:55 AM

This guy (Stryde, aka Mike Walker) dug through some Google and Baidu (a Chinese search engine) caches to figure out the actual ages of the Chinese gymnasts. [His explanation, by the way, is slightly off—it’s OK to be 15 at the Olympics as long as you will turn 16 in 2008. But that’s not the scenario China has been asserting for He Kexin.] He concluded that He Kexin, the uneven bars gold medalist, is currently 14. After The Times (of London) reported it—the story had already made Slashdot; and the original, un-cached documents may have been first accessed by the New York Times—the IOC launched an investigation.

The Brits are psyched because disqualifications of either He Kexin or Yang Yilin on the uneven bars would push Beth Tweddle into medaling position.

It’s been pretty clear for a while that some of the Chinese gymnasts are underage, so there’s no guarantee that FIG and the IOC will take this evidence seriously.

I have mixed feelings about the issue. On the one hand, I don’t think there should be an age minimum—it’s a public relations thing, mainly, because junior-level gymnasts are still doing all these incredibly dangerous skills and pushing their bodies just as hard. I also think it’s unfair to the Chinese gymnasts, because they had no real choice about whether to compete. On the other hand, it obviously puts the United States and other countries at a disadvantage, not being able to use their entire pool of talent, including 14-year-old juniors. (Nastia Liukin was 14 during the Athens Olympics, for example; her junior scores—determined by the same code of points—would have qualified her to compete were it not for her age.)

The gymnasts whose ages are in dispute are He Kexin, Jiang Yuyuan, Li Shanshan, Deng Linlin, and Yang Yilin.

The First-Ever Seattle Art Museum Book Sale

posted by on August 22 at 10:32 AM

An ancestor of Stephen Colbert (see the resemblance?): a bust of Jean-Baptiste Colbert by Antoine Coysevox, 1677

Most people don’t even know that museums have libraries, and they contain treasures. Seattle Art Museum is no exception, and this Saturday from noon to 5, it’s hosting its first-ever book sale—on the lower level of the Seattle Asian Art Museum.

I was curious about what’s going to be for sale, so I called SAM librarian Traci Timmons, and she gave me the scoop.

Among the gems:
• The three-volume set “French Sculptors of the 17th and 18th Centuries,” by Francois Souchal, published in 1987. Retails for $400; SAM price: $200.
• The rare “New Works by Claes Oldenburg” catalog from a show at the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York in 1970. SAM price: $10.
• A Sam Durant catalog with an essay by SAM curator Michael Darling from 2002. SAM price: $15.
• Asian material galore, including “The Book of Snuff and Snuff Boxes” by Matton Curtis, a rare book from 1935. SAM price: $10.

In addition to art books from every period and style that SAM collects, exhibition posters and K-12 art education materials will be for sale.

SAM will take cash, check, and credit cards. Full details here.

I’ll fight you for some of this stuff.

Mmm… snuff boxes.

Just a Gigolo

posted by on August 22 at 10:26 AM

This one goes out to John McCain

Depressing Photo Collection of the Day

posted by on August 22 at 10:22 AM

…starring the 24 Alabama men busted during a week-long undercover sting in a scenic area known for sexual activity.

See the full, sad gallery here. (And don’t neglect to appreciate the hee-lariously unfortunate ad on the left.)

(Also, as Slog Tipper Jubilation T. Cornball noted, the majority of these men look like Mr. Poe’s dream dates. Get thee to Alabammy, Poe!)

Youth Pastor Watch: Silver Lining Edition

posted by on August 22 at 10:14 AM


YPWmatthewporter.jpgA former youth minister was sentenced this afternoon to 120 days in the Manatee County jail and two years of probation for secretly videotaping girls as they undressed in his homes in Bradenton and Ellenton over a two-year period.

Matthew Porter, 31, was found guilty of nine counts of voyeurism, a misdemeanor. He had admitted to hiding video cameras in his bathroom and bedroom and taping girls between the ages of 12 and 16 changing clothes. Porter was a pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Bradenton….

“It has hurt her very bad,” said the mother of one girl. “I saw that she posted on her MySpace page she would never trust a pastor again.”

I maintain, of course, that if the media covered youth pastor attacks with the same vigilance that the media covers shark attacks, those girls and their parents wouldn’t have been so foolish as to trust that youth pastor—or any pastor—in the first place.

Reading Tonight

posted by on August 22 at 9:54 AM


There’s a lot going on tonight, and some of it looks really interesting.

Up at Third Place Books, Alison Wright reads from Learning to Breathe : One Woman’s Journey of Spirit and Survival. In the press release for the reading, Richard Gere says that Wright is “a wonder,” “a true pilgrim and a seeker of truth,” and “the real deal.” If Richard Gere calls you “the real deal,” that seems like a bad sign to me. Just based on the few interviews I’ve seen, I expect that Richard Gere would not know “the real deal” if it crawled up his pant leg and bit him on the nads.

At Seattle Mystery Bookshop, Kelli Stanley reads from Nox Dormienda: A Long Night for Sleeping, which is a mystery/noir novel set in ancient Rome, which seems pretty interesting to me.

At Elliott Bay Book Company, Todd Komarnicki reads from his new novel War, which is about an unnamed soldier surveying an anonymous landscape in the aftermath of an unexplained war. All you The Road junkies might want to check it out.

And at the University Book Store, employees and some local authors will be reading short stories, poems, and essays by Dorothy Parker. This is because it is Dorothy Parker’s birthday. Dorothy Parker’s birthday should be a national holiday. She would have been 115 years old today, and the University Book Store is having a party to celebrate that fact, which makes the University Book Store my heroes today. Good job, you guys.

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

Grand Old Party

posted by on August 22 at 9:51 AM

St. Paul is preparing for the GOP convention by encouraging bars to stay open until 4 am and converting parking garages into mass detention centers.

Oh boy!

12th Copper Corner Safe!

posted by on August 22 at 9:48 AM

Remember the Carl Andre sculpture I posted about a couple of months ago that was, according to the artist, “RESCUED FROM MUTILATION AT THE WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART”?

Well, now this victim of institutional abuse has come to rest at the Seattle Art Museum (thanks to rescuers Virginia and Bagley Wright). 12th Copper Corner is one of many artworks in SAM’s latest round of acquisitions, which the museum made public this week. Other highlights include works by Marcel Broodthaers, Victor Vasarely, Man Ray, Walter Oltmann, and Seattle artists Gretchen Bennett, Eli Hansen and Oscar Tuazon.

The full list is on the jump.

Continue reading "12th Copper Corner Safe!" »

Really, Truly Disgusting

posted by on August 22 at 9:33 AM

rsz_salmon1.jpgLocal (and national) seafood-hero Jon Rowley writes on about the dangers of eating raw salmon—namely, the possibility of ending up with a 9-foot tapeworm.

Salmon for sushi, as Rowley notes, is almost always frozen first, which kills the tapeworm larvae.

More on the fish tapeworm here, including a neat life-cycle diagram from the CDC.

Photo by evil robot 6 from The Stranger’s Flickr pool

Also, Hillary Clinton: Never Vetted.

posted by on August 22 at 9:30 AM

Which does not surprise me, but seems to be surprising some people.

“She was never vetted,” a Democratic official reported. “She was not asked for a single piece of paper. She and Senator Obama have never had a single conversation about it. How would he know if she’d take it?”

Oil Slavery

posted by on August 22 at 9:29 AM

For you, for now, the peak point of this short but stuffed article on the shadowy business of oil speculation:

It is in every oil supplier’s best interest for prices to go up. Oil is a finite commodity. The world will eventually become more efficient and develop alternative energy sources. In the meantime, suppliers want to squeeze out as much profit as possible from their limited resources. Even if they know that the price of oil is too high (to the point of reducing demand) it is not in their interest to correct it. By setting prices in the smaller but more “trusted” futures market, oil producers realize multiplied gains on their physical oil sales.

Prices in the futures market — and, indeed, any real-life market on a standardized good — do not form where actual supply meets actual demand; they form where perceived supply meets perceived demand. Participants in the futures market merely represent the world around them. A veil has been placed over the public’s eyes, and they accept this illusion of a fair price.

Unfortunately, the price set by the all-too-small futures market transcends oil to influence the entire American economy. Our oil-dependent economy is shaped by oil’s arbitrarily determined price. In many ways, oil has become a pseudo-currency. Similarly, with oil traded internationally in U.S. dollars, the dollar is pegged against oil. While squeezing American industry, high oil prices also devalue the dollar. With the state of our economy reflected in the price of oil, it has become a new standard for valuing America. We are slaves to this black gold standard.

Pagliacci Gets Pranked

posted by on August 22 at 9:16 AM


Monica Guzman has the story at the Seattle P-I’s Big Blog:

Pizzerias all over Seattle got some unusual—and somewhat offensive—postcards in the mail this week.

Addressed to “stupid competitor,” the postcards appear to be from Pagliacci Pizza.

But they’re not, said Pagliacci co-owner Matt Galvin. At least, the familiar Seattle pizza chain didn’t send them. They’re apparently part of some anonymous joke. And Pagliacci is left to do damage control.

Full story here. (And anyone with guesses re: the identity/motive of the postcard prankster, feel free to share ‘em in the comments. I smell a disgruntled employee, but there’s also a light performance-art scent wafting through…)

Postcard scan from the P-I/Suzuki + Chou Communimedia.

And the Obama VP Pick is… Chet Edwards?

posted by on August 22 at 9:05 AM

Via the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Presidential candidate Barack Obama is hours away from naming his running mate, as little-known Texas congressman Chet Edwards is emerging as a finalist. Democratic officials say that Edwards was one of the few Democrats whose background was checked by Obama’s campaign, and he was a finalist for the job.

I’m on the run and will be away from my computer until about 11, so help me out, Sloggers. What do you know about this guy?

Maverick Moment of the Day

posted by on August 22 at 9:00 AM

How did John McCain make his money? By marrying well. Meanwhile, it’s still all about those seven or eight houses. Here’s an offer of help for McCain’s memory:

On the Radio

posted by on August 22 at 8:58 AM

I’ll be on KUOW’s Weekday this morning talking with other journalists about the news of the week, including the recent primary in Washington State, the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and that endless Seattle public toilet saga.

That’s 94.9 FM, beginning at 10 a.m., if you want to listen. Any other news we should discuss?

The Morning News

posted by on August 22 at 8:30 AM

Deadline: According to the ceasefire agreement, today is the deadline for Russian troops to leave Georgia.

Romney Mania: Political writers gone wild over leaks that Romney may be McCain’s pick.

Disappointment: Obama said to have made the call to the candidates who won’t be joining him on the stage in Illinois on Saturday.

Tree Killer: Seven trees along the Burke-Gilman Trail injected with herbicide.

2011: Draft agreement sets last day for United States troops to leave Iraq.

Hateful: Seattle City Auditor’s Office declares hate crimes to be more common, widespread than previously thought.

Bolt-ing: Usain Bolt and the Jamaican relay team shatter the world record for the 4x100-meter relay.

Grin and Bear It: Chinese man attacked by bear has successful face transplant. No, really.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Obama’s Made His Choice

posted by on August 21 at 7:13 PM

And he’s fucking with us now, drawing out the announcement, and that—as evidenced by the top story on Drudge right now—is a wise move.


More wise moves, Obama, and more attacks. The housing stuff was good today. Drawing out the VP announcement is good. Keep it up.

Green Bike Lanes

posted by on August 21 at 5:17 PM

Traveling south through downtown this afternoon, I was surprised (and a little confused) to see what looked like a golf putting lane in the middle of the bike lane on Second Avenue. I didn’t get a shot, but this is more or less what it looked like:


That photo was taken in Portland (and licensed, like all the photos in this post, under a Creative Commons license), and Seattle officials cite that city’s success with green lanes to support their decision to install green lanes here. “The idea behind the green bike lanes is they’re at intersections where we expect there to be conflict between motorists who are turning and cyclists who are going straight,” says Rick Sheridan, spokesman for the Seattle Department of Transportation. “”It’s a visual cue to motorists to expect to see a bicycle.”

Biking through downtown, I could perceive absolutely no difference between riding on Second before the green lanes were installed and riding with them in place: Drivers still cut me off, turned left into my path, honked when I tried to move forward with the flow of traffic, and generally failed to acknowledge my existence. If they thought anything of the new lanes, they certainly didn’t indicate it by acting differently; more likely, those drivers who even noticed them just thought they were a weird art installation.

But they work in Portland!, fans of green lanes insist. That may be true, but Portland has a whole network of cool, colorful bike facilities that work together to get drivers accustomed to watching out for bikes; so far, we just have a few small green strips of pavement. To make small steps like the green strips downtown effective, we’d need to install lots of new bike infrastructure everywhere. Infrastructure such as:

Bike boxes:

Continue reading "Green Bike Lanes" »

King of Kings

posted by on August 21 at 5:09 PM

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the palace and gathered the whole troop around him. They took off his clothes and put a bright red cape on him. They twisted some thorns into a crown, placed it on his head, and put a stick in his right hand. They knelt in front of him and made fun of him by saying, “Long live the king of the Jews!” After they had spit on him, they took the stick and kept hitting him on the head with it. After the soldiers finished making fun of Jesus, they took off the cape and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

It is only here I can see the glory (truth) of Jesus, the moment he is mocked, the moment he is the subject of derision and fun. The soldiers are right to laugh at him. They are not crazy; Jesus is crazy. Like the narrator of Gogol’s short story “Diary of a Madman,” he is the king of nothing. He rode into town on a fucking donkey, and his parents are of the lowest birth. The Messiah was supposed to be a great warrior, not a carpenter. This is a complete joke. Mock him we must.

And for those who believe he is the One, the “King of Kings,” every time you read this passage, do not wish the worst (hell fire, eternal damnation) for (or cast curses on) his mockers. They have every right and reason to humiliate this mouse of a man. Instead see that this is really your king; this is who he really is and nothing more. The contempt and laughter he rightly deserves is also the source of his greatness. You want to renounce real kings—with their palaces, rings, wives, and hounds—and raise and praise this penniless fool who claims to be the creator of the world.

McCain’s Corruption Already Cost You Over 200 Billion Dollars, Taxpayer

posted by on August 21 at 5:00 PM

Here are the minimal facts you should know about McCain’s shady history with the financial services:

1. As early as 1985 the Federal Home Loan Lending Board (FHLLB) became concerned that shoddy lending practices at private Saving & Loans were putting the governmental insurance funds (like FDIC), and in turn the US taxpayers, at tremendous financial risk.

2. Edwin Gray, the head of the FHLLB, tried to curtail this reckless lending by putting in very modest restrictions.

3. The Lincoln Savings and Loan Association was under investigation in 1986 for being one of most reckless federally insured lenders, blatantly ignoring the new restrictions and hiding the loss of hundreds of millions of federally insured dollars.

Continue reading "McCain’s Corruption Already Cost You Over 200 Billion Dollars, Taxpayer" »

City Council Sets New Policy On Council Blogs

posted by on August 21 at 3:53 PM

In a dramatic about-face, the city council has issued a series of rules and regulations governing council member blogging, which is strikingly different from the proposed rules I posted yesterday.

For months, the city’s legal, administrative and IT departments have been discussing implementing blogging and web rules for council members. A rules proposal released last month “discouraged [council members] from establishing and maintaining additional or alternate sites” and would have required council members to take down campaign websites after elections.

“We wanted to start off restrictive, see how this thing works and see how people are able to work with it,” says city council administrative director Denise Williams. “We wanted it to be clear to citizens that when [a council member is communicating] with you [online] it is in an official capacity.”

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McCain Hits Back With “Housing Problem”

posted by on August 21 at 3:50 PM

The McCain response ad starts out with a bang. (Literally. The sound effect sounds to me far more explosive than the usual sinister bass beat that accompanies attack commercials.)

But from there on out it feels pretty weak:

The genesis of the controversy—McCain’s seven or eight houses—is so politically combustible that the ad can’t mention it, so that attack on Obama’s “housing problem” seems pretty disconnected. (And old, for anyone who was following the Democratic primaries.) The McCain campaign says it will be airing in “key states.”

Frost/Nixon Right Now

posted by on August 21 at 3:28 PM

There is a trailer for this winter’s film adaptation of the play Frost/Nixon over here. (It’ll probably get pulled soon, so hurry if you’re interested.) It looks like Christian Bale’s gravel-gargling Batman won’t win the Stupidest Voice Oscar this year: Frank Langella’s Nixon sounds kind of like a cross between Sam the Eagle and a bear getting a root canal. We’ll see how all this pans out in December, when the movie is released.

I Don’t Know if I Agree…

posted by on August 21 at 3:00 PM

…but I admire the gusto of the folks over at This Recording. After watching a 24-hour marathon of recent summer movies, they’ve written a kind of manifesto against actors like Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, and Johnny Depp.

Bale and Ledger are part of a tradition of polite actors. They may trash a hotel room or brawl with their moms or model girlfriends; but at worst they’ll destroy their metabolisms with reckless Method-y dieting.

The aggression and contradictions never make it onscreen, even when their parts are supposed to be disruptive. If these guys are guilty of the prototypical movie star flaw—if every role is a version of himself—their filmographies are a testament to blandness.

I’ve said it before, but those guys at This Recording sure do know how to put a blog together.

Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on August 21 at 2:59 PM

A response to something in last week’s column:

A writer asked you about her boyfriend and his interest in seeing her with other men, calling in cuckolding.

I share a similar fantasy about my wife of 10 years. We role play it all the time; it makes for great sex. I’ve chatted with a lot of guys about this fantasy, and it seems to fall into three general categories, label them how you want. 1) Men that want to be humiliated by a cheating wife, 2) Men that want to see their wives used, and 3) Men that just get turned on by watching their wife enjoy themselves with another guy.

I fall into that last category. I don’t want to be humiliated, I don’t want her used; I just get off on the fantasy of seeing her have a good time with another dude while I watch. The letter writer should probably see what about the fantasy turns on her BF, as she may not like the response. She should also have him point out men he would like to see her with. I have yet to see one, which tells me mine is best left a fantasy.

Can’t Think Of A Cute Acronym

Sex in the Olympic Village

posted by on August 21 at 2:53 PM

Sounds a lot like sex everywhere else:

The chaps who win gold medals—even those as geeky as Michael Phelps—are the principal objects of desire for many female athletes. There is something about sporting success that makes a certain type of woman go crazy—smiling, flirting and sometimes even grabbing at the chaps who have done the business in the pool or on the track. An Olympic gold medal is not merely a route to fame and fortune; it is also a surefire ticket to writhe.

But—and this is the thing—success does not work both ways. Gold-medal winning female athletes are not looked upon by male athletes with any more desire than those who flunked out in the first round. It is sometimes even considered a defect, as if there is something downright unfeminine about all that striving, fist pumping and incontinent sweating. Sport, in this respect, is a reflection of wider society, where male success is a universal desirable whereas female success is sexually ambiguous.

I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me

posted by on August 21 at 2:15 PM

Currently hanging above Pike…


Spotted by our magical bookkeeper Renee.

Also, are there any other words in the English language that have three consecutive pairs of letters like the word bookkeeper does? I can’t think of any. Then again, I suck at Scrabble.

Tree Murder!!!!!!!

posted by on August 21 at 2:14 PM

The Seattle Parks Department and Seattle Police are on the hunt for a tree murderer after maintenance crews discovered seven poisoned trees near the Burke Gilman Trail in North Seattle

This week, Parks crews found that someone had drilled a series of holes into the trunks of seven 70-foot silver poplars and Douglas firs along the Burke Gilman near NE 77th St in the Sand Point neighborhood, and pumped the trees full of herbicide.

The damage is estimated between $40,000 to $60,000 and Seattle Parks spokeswoman Dewey Potter says the all seven trees will have to be removed.

Seattle Parks has asked SPD to investigate. If someone is caught, they could be charged with malicious mischief or for a “timber trespass,” the illegal cutting or damaging of trees.

The trees will have their revenge.

Allison, I Know This World Is Killing You

posted by on August 21 at 2:01 PM

I’ve noted my obsession with A&E’s Intervention before, but the episode from Monday, August 11 is haunting my dreams.

You only need to watch the first minute or so to get the gist, but if you’re like me, you won’t be able to stop watching it ever.

Also, minutes before posting this, I heard Charles Mudede dust his computer keyboard. It was terrifying.

UPDATE: For those who need to follow Allison’s episode to the end, here are parts 2, 3, 4, and 5. (The last chunk features not one but two hunky cops, who Allison of course tries to kick in the face. Having survived Hurricane Allison, I propose these two cops celebrate by making a porno together.)

Here Goes the Rest of Jonah’s Life

posted by on August 21 at 2:00 PM

Annie, I know that you’re probably still upset over Scrabulous, but perhaps you should expand your horizons: has announced that Dungeons and Dragons has just issued a Facebook application.

Welcome to Dungeons & Dragons: Tiny Adventures! Choose a hero to send on epic adventures. Be your hero’s guide through encounters with menacing monsters and dangerous traps. Equip your hero with magical weapons and armor. Get an RPG experience on Facebook without having to play for hours at a time!

This Week in The Stranger

posted by on August 21 at 1:50 PM

Save the Parking Lots!
Dominic Holden tours Seattle’s most endangered open spaces.
It’s thanks to attitudes like developer Martin Tobias’s that photographs are all that remain of most of Ballard’s beloved parking lots and Belltown’s historic parking lots; they may be all that remain of the parking lots in your neighborhood one day, too. Unless we take action now, your future grandchildren may point to a photograph in a book and ask, ‘Grandma, what’s that a picture of?’ And you will have to answer, ‘That’s a parking lot, sweetheart. The city used to be covered with them. But they’re all gone now.’

No, Not Here, That’s Not Possible
Jen Graves sends an intern—undercover—to Seattle Art Museum.
SAM is the only stop on the Inspiring Impressionism exhibition’s national tour, which also stops in Denver and Atlanta, that universally forbids painting in its galleries. The Stranger sent an intern, John Borges, to the museum posing as a great-artist-in-training, with paints, a palette, a drop cloth, and a traditional French easel, and he was escorted straight up to the administration offices and told what he wanted to do was impossible. ‘It seemed like the guard was rooting for me,’ Borges said afterward. But no dice.

NEWS: Erica C. Barnett on the campaign against this November’s light-rail expansion measure; Dominic Holden on an ex-criminal success story; Jonah Spangenthal-Lee on the SPD and hate crimes; an accusation of election-related dirty tricks; our comprehensive, party-crashing primary election night coverage; and more.

MUSIC: Sam Mickens interrogates GZA; Ryan Adams and Oasis, the charticle; Charles Mudede on Library Science; plus all the usual show previews and columns.

FILM: Lindy West goes to Mock Up on Mu at Northwest Film Forum with a friend who gets up and leaves 15 minutes into it. Plus, lots of new reviews and our searchable and lovingly updated Movie Times.

BOOKS: Eli Sanders on McCain, Obama, and the men who made them. Plus, the readings calendar.

THEATER: Brendan Kiley on a mini fringe festival at Hugo House and a review of last weekend at Smoke Farm. Plus, the theater calendar.

CHOW: Joan Hiller eats a ton of chicken-fried steak and Bethany Jean Clement pays a visit to the Elite.

AND THAT’S NOT EVEN MENTIONING Last Days; I Love Television; Savage Love; Drunk of the Week; Control Tower; and A. Birch Steen’s critical overview of this issue. Anything I’ve forgotten? If so, it’d be here.

Breaking: The Government Did Not Blow Up 7 WTC

posted by on August 21 at 1:33 PM

According to a new report by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, fire ignited by falling debris—and unimpeded by the sprinkler system, which failed to sprinkle because the city water main was broken—was the cause of the collapse of 7 World Trade Center.

The New York Times explains:

The investigators determined that debris from the falling twin towers ignited fires on at least 10 floors at 7 World Trade Center, which was about 400 feet north of where the city’s two tallest buildings once stood. The blazes burned out of control for six hours, as the city fire department, devastated by the collapse of the twin towers, abandoned its efforts to extinguish the fire, and the sprinkler system was incapacitated.

The heat from these fires, the investigators said, caused the beams on the lower floors of the east side of the tower to expand, ultimately causing a girder on the 13th floor to disconnect from a critical interior column that supported the building’s long floor spans. Once the 13th floor gave way, a cascade of floor failures started down to the fifth floor, leading to the overall collapse of the tower.

Continue reading "Breaking: The Government Did Not Blow Up 7 WTC" »

Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day: Gary Chittim

posted by on August 21 at 1:12 PM

KING 5 Television’s Gary Chittim wants you to know that federal agents destroyed a field of marijuana in Eastern Washington. That crop was “bad news for public land and public safety,” he says. But, it turns out, the bust was reported earlier this month there’s no actual “news” here. Chittim’s “news” is exhumed and rehashed from his old story to inform you that pot is scary, pot growers are scary, and the feds are doing a better job than ever before at rounding up this scary, scary menace.

Pray tell, Gary, where have we heard this before? The White House Drug Czar John Walters.

“And these aren’t your peaceful, old school growers,” writes Chittim to express his completely original idea. Really, how does he know?

“This is not the old hippy growing a few pot plants for personal use. These guys are in the business to make a lot of money,” says Mike Cenci, deputy chief of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Well, case closed—law enforcement says the criminals are dangerous. Does Chittim talk to someone who doesn’t represent the government?

No. But Chittim does continue with his independently minded report…

Millions of dollars worth of pot are produced in single operations and the growers are willing to protect it from the unsuspecting hiker or fisherman who stumbles upon it.

Did he get any type of confirmation from locals that there is some danger in them hills? Any botanists to confirm the “dangers to the environment” or someone who might explain why this is happening, respond to what the law-enforcement mouthpiece is saying, or if the busts are having any effect? Nope, because Gary Chittim is a stupid fucking credulous hack.

Continue reading "Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day: Gary Chittim" »

This Unstable Earth

posted by on August 21 at 1:03 PM

We learn geology the morning after the earthquake, on ghastly diagrams of cloven mountains, upheaved plains, and the dry bed of the sea.

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

The largest earthquakes of the last week (count: 181).


The largest earthquakes of the last week in North America (count: 131).


The largest earthquakes of the last week in the Pacific Northwest (count: 27).


From the always-fun-to-refresh USGS earthquake charts.

(Thanks to Slog tipper Kevin S.)

Last Night’s Project Runway (SPOILER ALERT!)

posted by on August 21 at 1:00 PM

runwaydrag.jpgFirst off: Last night’s episode was awesome, not least because the divine Varla Jean Merman—star of the classic Girls Will Be Girls—triumphed in the above outfit by the typically drippy contestant Joe. (But mostly because the divine Varla Jean Merman—star of the classic Girls Will Be Girls—triumphed in the above outfit by the typically drippy contestant Joe.)

Getting away with sartorial murder for another week (spoiler alert!): cute-but-stupid rag-ripper Keith and local-boy-turned-national-embarassment Blayne.

No longer getting away with murder, despite his “impeccable taste”: Daniel, who’s happily shacked up with another Runway reject.

Why Not Here?

posted by on August 21 at 1:00 PM

The United Kingdom arm of giant publisher Penguin has opened up a dating website. I don’t know why American publishers haven’t picked up on this one yet, but it strikes me as a great idea.


What better way to define a potential mate than by the books he or she reads? When I worked at a bookstore, I would sometimes have my breath taken away by a beautiful woman, and then instantly be repulsed by her as she bought a few books from the Left Behind series from me.

The Home McCain Would Rather Talk About

posted by on August 21 at 12:35 PM

Not any of his current seven homes, but a home from way back when. Here’s McCain spokesman Brian Rogers, defending McCain from today’s attacks on his current real estate portfolio:

This is a guy who lived in one house for five and a half years — in prison.

If that sounds familiar, it should. The response earlier this week to questions about whether John McCain cheated at the Saddleback forum: “How dare you, he was a POW.” The response today to questions about his seven houses: “How dare you, he was a POW.”

Now who’s playing cards?

The Pug Stays in the Picture

posted by on August 21 at 12:27 PM

A boy and his dog… and his dick, too, the boy’s dick in there somewhere.


I must confess that, as the frequently mortified co-owner of a yappy lap dog, well, never you mind. Let’s just say that all couples that own small dogs eventually have to make a choice about what’s more distracting: the dog outside the bedroom scratching at the door and whining its head off or the dog in the room and sleeping and creeping you out. Still, if we were going to make a film, we’d probably exile the dog to the basement. Or something. Because animals are scene stealers, right? One might think with what’s in the foreground that no one would even notice the dog in the background. But one would be wrong. That dog is totally upstaging that kid’s dick.

Via Fleshbot. And does it even need to be said? NSFW. Well, not NSFYW, JFFM. (Not Safe For Your Work, Just Fine For Mine.)

Leafy Green Blind Item!

posted by on August 21 at 12:18 PM

This just in from Slog tipper Mollie:

Smells like someone just toked up in the back room of Cafe [REDACTED]. Everyone that walks in says “it smells like something’s burning.” Maybe the building’s on fire?

I love that Cafe Redacted.

I Just Saved Your Relationship, Boys

posted by on August 21 at 11:55 AM

mammastill.jpgLast night, I went to The Big Picture for the first time. I was there to see Mamma Mia! As much as I enjoy Lindy West’s review of Mamma Mia!:

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

I do have to say that she neglected to mention something: If you are a heterosexual man, you will find the movie embarrassing to watch. And I say this as a heterosexual man who unabashedly loves movie musicals. Luckily, here’s where the Big Picture, with its lush bar lined with bottles of welcoming booze, comes in to save the day.

At the beginning of the movie, I was wincing every half-minute or so, as every single character, regardless of age or gender, seemed to be channeling a 13-year-old Japanese girl on speed. The middle-aged women in the audience ate it up, a-hootin’ and a-hollerin’ every time somebody’s hips swiveled—the movie might as well have been directed by a pint of pure estrogen.

But by the time I got to my second beer, I had stopped wincing. It was enjoyable. And the third beer made the whole thing a hee-larious laugh riot. For a moment, when I drank too much too fast, I actually thought that Pierce Brosnan was a decent singer. I expect that if I was drinking a comparable amount of whiskey instead of beer, I probably would have wept at the sheer glory of love and life and song. People who are allergic to this kind of giddy overacting, but who have significant others who desperately want to see the movie, should totally see Mamma Mia! at the Big Picture, preferably under the influence of a liter of some sort of brown liquid, possibly on ice.

15-Year-Old Charged in Judkins Park Shooting

posted by on August 21 at 11:36 AM

King County Prosecutors have filed charges against a 15-year-old boy for allegedly shooting a 20-year-old man in the Central District last week.

According to court records, the 15-year-old approached the man as he was getting in to his car on 26th and Dearborn and fired several shots, striking the man in the head. The man was able to flee from the scene.

Court documents say the 20-year-old man had an “ongoing conflict” with the boy, who lives two blocks away from where the shooting took place.

The boy is being charged with assault and unlawful possession of a firearm and records indicate he has previously been convicted on drug and auto theft charges.

Prosecutors will hold a hearing on August 29th to discuss whether to charge the 15-year-old as an adult

Fundy Boycott of Hallmark to Be Announced in Three, Two, One…

posted by on August 21 at 11:27 AM

The greeting card company is rolling out a line of cards for same-sex weddings and civil unions.

Most states don’t recognize gay marriage—but now Hallmark does.

The nation’s largest greeting card company is rolling out same-sex wedding cards—featuring two tuxedos, overlapping hearts or intertwined flowers, with best wishes inside. “Two hearts. One promise,” one says.

Hallmark added the cards after California joined Massachusetts as the only U.S. states with legal gay marriage. A handful of other states have recognized same-sex civil unions. The language inside the cards is neutral, with no mention of wedding or marriage, making them also suitable for a commitment ceremony.

Hallmark says the move is a response to consumer demand, not any political pressure.

The cards are, of course, ugly and banal, which is as it should be. We wanted equal treatment, after all, not special rights. But while Hallmark may not have brought these cards out in response to political pressure, it should brace itself for some political pressure. The haters aren’t going to be happy. No doubt the American Family Association, which is currently boycotting McDonalds (fundy families could do with a little less junk food), will go after Hallmark too.

Oh, and you gotta love this: at the AFA’s Boycott McDonalds site you’ll find this…

WARNING: The images below contain male full-frontal nudity. Please be aware and exercise caution before viewing these images. If you are under 18, please leave this page!

Then some standard-issue images of naked folks at a pride parade, which the AFA accuses McDonalds of co-sponsoring. (Some of the folks at this particular pride parade could do with a little less junk food too.) What will their AFA’s Boycott Hallmark site show? Pictures of fully-clothed gays and lesbians getting married? “Warning: Women in matching wedding dresses! If you are under 18, please go leave this page and go to Burger King!”

What Must Not Be Done

posted by on August 21 at 11:20 AM

archschool.jpgThis Wednesday, Aug. 20, the Sundance Channel will begin airing Architecture School, a six-part reality TV series about students who are helping rebuild post-Katrina New Orleans. The show focuses on 12 students in Tulane University’s design-build program, URBANbuild, as they conceptualize and construct a 1,200-square-foot house for a low-income family.
Always do the very best you can to maintain a good distance between any kind of architecture and any kind of reality.

Dept. of Substantiated Restaurant Rumors

posted by on August 21 at 11:15 AM

andysdiner.jpgFrom Slog tipper Dan (who heard it from “literally some guy” behind the construction fence): Andy’s Diner—the beloved train-car restaurant in SODO that closed in January—is reopening as an “Asian-and-railroad-themed restaurant sometime next month.”

Over at the Liquor Control Board website, we find a new application for the address under the name “Orient Express Restaurant & Lounge.” The Orient Express! This is a beautiful idea. Let us all wish really hard that it will be beautifully (and deliciously) realized.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on August 21 at 11:00 AM

Conflict of Interest

David Carr

Stranger books editor Paul Constant is interviewing this dude onstage, but I would have suggested this reading anyway. The Night of the Gun is an obsessively fact-checked memoir in which the compulsion to fact-check becomes part of the story, a signal of the anxiety with which David Carr—now a reporter for the New York Times—revisits his escalating addictions to alcohol and cocaine, his rocky journalism career, and his habit of hitting his girlfriends. The truths hurt. (Douglass-Truth Library, 2300 E Yesler Way, 684-4704. 6:30 pm, free.)


Ice Cube & Dyme Def

Ensconced in an astronomical tax bracket thanks to savvy decisions made in Hollywood, Ice Cube occasionally steps off movie sets to rap his gritty, witty lyrics on stages and in studios. It’s magnanimous of the ex-NWA member to spit his socially conscious brickbats and guffaw-worthy sexual tales for the masses. While the new Raw Footage pales compared to Cube’s peak work (AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, Death Certificate), the man is sure to entertain with scowling panache. Local lexicon tricksters Dyme Def undoubtedly will bring their A-plus game. (Showbox at the Market, 1426 First Ave, 628-3151. 8 pm, $35 adv/$40 DOS, 21+.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Obama and McCain Have Daddy Issues

    posted by on August 21 at 11:00 AM


    I’d like to direct your attention to this week’s books lead, by Eli Sanders. It’s called “Who’s Your Daddy,” and it’s at once a great review of two similarly themed books and a fascinating analysis of the men who would be president and the men who made the men who would be president.

    …If you thought you had issues with the man who brought you into this world, try being the man who grows up to believe he has what it takes to be leader of the free world.

    Over the next two weeks, we will be introduced—at the Democratic and Republican nominating conventions—to two men who have come to believe just this and who, naturally, have had plenty of issues with their fathers. They’ve even put out similarly titled books on the subject: Dreams from My Father, in the case of Barack Obama, and Faith of My Fathers, in the case of John McCain.

    I haven’t seen any other reviews of the two books done in quite this way, and Eli really finds some new insight into Obama:

    Generally speaking, politically minded people lack the freedom (or the ability) to convey the subtleties and paradoxes of life as it is actually lived, which tends to make them terrible writers. Barack Obama, in Dreams from My Father, turns out to be all about the subtleties and paradoxes and weird private moments of life, and on top of that he is a talented writer, naturally skilled at constructing the interlocking narratives and interesting characters (many of them composites) that he relies on to tell his story.

    and McCain:

    If McCain had his father to thank for his somewhat above-average [prison] conditions, he also had him to thank for the B-52s that were sent late in the war to “rain destruction on the city where I was held a prisoner.” The lesson, evocative of Abraham’s Old Testament willingness to sacrifice his son for God’s will, was that McCain’s father would risk killing him to win a war.

    McCain admired that devotion to duty.

    It’s a great piece that I’m proud to have in the books section. You should read it.

    The Housing Boom

    posted by on August 21 at 10:40 AM

    Meaning, the sound of both the Obama and McCain campaigns going nuclear over the issue of how many homes the Republican candidate owns and whether he can even remember them all. (He can’t.)

    This has the potential to be a big—maybe devastating—moment for McCain. And it’s a huge opportunity for Obama. Team Obama knows this, which is why they’ve followed up their tough new commercial with a series of attempts to escalate the issue. There was this from the candidate himself this morning:

    And then the Obama campaign announced it would be holding press conferences in front of homes around the country to amplify the message that while Americans are hurting because of the housing crunch and the economy in general, McCain can’t even remember how many homes he owns. After which I promptly received an email from the Washington State Obama campaign calling my attention to the issue.

    This is how you deliberately whip up a media shit-storm, and the Obama campaign is making no effort to hide the fact that that’s exactly what it’s trying to do. No surprise, then, that the McCain camp is hitting back so hard:

    Does a guy who made more than $4 million last year, just got back from vacation on a private beach in Hawaii and bought his own million-dollar mansion with the help of a convicted felon really want to get into a debate about houses? Does a guy who worries about the price of arugula and thinks regular people ‘cling’ to guns and religion in the face of economic hardship really want to have a debate about who’s in touch with regular Americans?

    But, um, wasn’t it John McCain who said at the recent Saddleback forum that you’re not rich unless you make $5 million? By that standard, Obama (who made only $4 million last year) is not the guy the McCain camp wants you to think he is.

    Look, in reality, both of these guys are rich. But in a fight over who’s wealthier, and who made his money the easy way (McCain, by marrying into it) as opposed to the hard way (Obama, by writing a great memoir), I think it’s pretty clear that Obama wins. And on the more basic issue of not being able to remember how many homes you own—that’s just bad in so many ways for McCain (highlighting his age, his admitted lack of interest in economics, and his actual lifestyle) that Obama, who only owns one home, albeit a very fancy one, has little to worry about in escalating this further.

    Dept. of Proving What You’ve Suspected for Years

    posted by on August 21 at 10:34 AM

    “Multitasking” is bad for you:

    Multitasking messes with the brain in several ways. At the most basic level, the mental balancing acts that it requires—the constant switching and pivoting—energize regions of the brain that specialize in visual processing and physical coordination and simultaneously appear to shortchange some of the higher areas related to memory and learning. We concentrate on the act of concentration at the expense of whatever it is that we’re supposed to be concentrating on.

    “Multitasking” is bad for the world:

    the end of the decade we may call the Roaring Zeros—these years of overleveraged, overextended, technology-driven, and finally unsustainable investment of our limited human energies in the dream of infinite connectivity. The overdoses, freak-outs, and collapses that converged in the late ’60s to wipe out the gains of the wide-eyed optimists who set out to “Be Here Now” but ended up making posters that read “Speed Kills” are finally coming for the wired utopians who strove to “Be Everywhere at Once” but lost a measure of innocence, or should have, when their manic credo convinced us we could fight two wars at the same time.

    UPDATE: As commentor w7ngman notes, that last sentence isn’t just a diagnosis of the multitasking disease—it’s a symptom.

    From the Atlantic.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on August 21 at 10:33 AM


    Unknown artist’s untitled work (2008), newsprint on concrete, 5 feet by 5 feet

    Photo by Slog tipper Ronald

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on August 21 at 10:21 AM


    After the famine, the feast: we have an open mic and a whole bunch of events today.

    Up at Queen Anne Books, Roseanne Olson reads from This Is Who I Am, which is a book of nude portraits of non-model-type women talking about their relationships to their bodies. If you’re looking for photography books by and about women, there’s also Alison Wright at Elliott Bay Book Company, with slides and reading from Learning to Breathe: One Woman’s Journey of Spirit & Survival. Also on the ladycentric front are Claudia Smith and Kathy Fish reading at the University Book Store, from A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women.

    At Third Place Books, Brian Coleman reads from The Intimate Garden, which sounds like a sex book but is really a gardening book. Out at Park Place Books in Kirkland, Jay Inslee (yes, that Jay Inslee) reads from his book on clean energy, Apollo’s Fire. Also on the local author front, the brilliant Matt Ruff reads from the paperback release of his book Bad Monkeys at the Ballard Branch of the Seattle Public Library.

    And then, over in conflict-of-interestville, which at 6:30 tonight will also be known as the Douglass-Truth Library, David Carr will be reading from his new memoir, Night of the Gun. It’s a really interesting memoir—and this is from someone who once declared that “all memoirs are bullshit.” Carr is a reporter for the New York Times who was a drug addict for decades. In Night of the Gun, he interviews his friends and family about what he was like back then. Turns out, his memories of the events are much more flattering than the reality. It’s a riveting read—Annie Wagner liked it a lot, too—and it’s the most original take on the form since Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Also, I will be interviewing Carr onstage, about the mechanics of how the book was written, what Carr thinks of the recovery memoir in general, and any other thing that crosses my mind. Also also, if you have any questions for Carr that you’d like me to ask, please put them in the comments.

    Here endeth the shameless self promotion. The full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.

    The Fastest Route from a Cloud to a Cave

    posted by on August 21 at 10:00 AM

    A detail of Leo Berk’s Rattling House (2008) [photographed by Mark Woods]

    And one more view of this seemingly bemuscled, hand-sanded, surrealist object:


    Yesterday I posted the story of how Seattle artist Leo Berk ended up in a Mayan cave on the morning of September 12, 2001. Now here’s the short story (interrupted by a siren, so told in two audio files—sorry!) of how the cave made it out of his brain and into the gallery.

    To listen to the entire In/Visible podcast with Berk, click here.

    The Whip

    posted by on August 21 at 9:40 AM

    One of the best new story-lines ahead of the Democratic convention is how Hillary Clinton’s people are deploying a “whip” team to keep her disgruntled delegates from doing anything too crazy (like playing kazoos for example—seriously).

    Well, it just so happens that, to prepare myself for Denver, I had a long talk yesterday afternoon with the whip for the Washington State Clinton delegation. That would be former state Democratic party chair Paul Berendt, and he sounded genuinely nervous about being able to keep at least one of Washington’s 25 Clinton delegates in line. (Naturally, this particular delegate is first on the list of people I want to interview in Denver.)

    Berendt also gave me a very interesting breakdown of where the Washington delegation stands, vote-wise. We have a total of 97 delegates headed to the Democratic National convention. Of those, 17 are superdelegates who will presumably vote for Obama, 55 are Obama delegates, and, as mentioned above, 25 are Clinton delegates.

    Now, you’ve probably heard about how Clinton’s name is going to be placed in nomination so that her supporters can vote for her and have a moment of “catharsis.” Of course, the more catharsis they have, the worse it looks for Obama. So are any of this state’s Clinton delegates going to give up the ghost and vote for Obama instead?

    Not very likely. Berendt says he’s personally waiting to hear directly from Clinton at the convention. And he describes Washington’s Clinton delegates this way:

    This Hillary group is very dedicated to her. They’ve kind of gotten over the fact that she wasn’t nominated, but there’s still a deep-seated loyalty to her, and for a number of these people they’re still watching her and trying to read between the lines… They just want to make sure she’s fully respected and acknowledged at the convention… It’s real. It’s very hard core.

    Who so hard core?

    This was a time for a dynamic woman to be elected president. There’s still some bitterness about that… It shocked a lot of people that Obama seemed to have this cult-like following. It kind of surprises me, honestly.

    Thus sayeth the Clinton whip from Washington. It’ll be fascinating to see how all this plays out in Denver—and me, Annie Wagner, and Charles Mudede will be there watching closely.

    Barista in Bikini Thows Boiling Water on Flasher in Bra and Panties

    posted by on August 21 at 9:25 AM

    At Parkland, Washington’s drive-thru espresso stand Java Girls, a lady in a bikini will serve you up the specialty coffee beverage of your choice—unless you’re a man wearing a bra and panties and exposing yourself, in which case a Java Girl will douse you with boiling water.

    KIRO has the story:

    Jamae Feddock, a bikini clad barista at Java Girls, said she first thought the man dressed in women’s underwear and exposing himself was a sick joke, until the man came back several times. “He has underwear over his face, he’s wearing hot pink panties now and the underwear that he was wearing is over his face and there’s a little peephole so he can see,” Feddock said.

    Feddock and another barista were working around 5 a.m. last Thursday when the incident happened. They tried to get a look at the man’s license plate, but that too was covered up with women’s underwear.

    When the man came back a third time one of the baristas took a cup of scalding hot water and doused him with it.

    First, the fact that the sick-fuck underwear man concealed his license plate with panties is inspired.

    Second, it sounds like he might have enjoyed the scalding. As Jamae Feddock told KIRO:

    “[We] opened the door and threw boiling hot water on his face and his chest and he said oooh yeah.”

    And as Jamae Feddock’s sister told KIRO in a follow-up report, the flashing wasn’t an isolated incident:

    “At the Auburn stand of Java Girls, some guy came through doing something similar,” said Sharia Feddock.

    Sharia said things like this don’t just happen to bikini baristas. She was flashed when she was working in jeans and a T-shirt.

    Sharia said she doesn’t think the flashing incidents have anything to do with being a bikini barista.

    Pierce County police are investigating.

    Re: That’s It

    posted by on August 21 at 9:11 AM

    Annie says: “Let’s all declare war on Joe Lieberman.” Some of us declared war on Lieberman back in 2006:


    The money I sent to Lamont was, in my booze- and Catholicism-addled brain, penance for my support for the invasion of Iraq. I couldn’t take back my cheerleading but I could help take out—out of the Senate, at least—one of the biggest backers of the war. But I was also motivated by a loathing of Joe “No Morality Without Religion” Lieberman that predated Iraq. And here’s an interesting detail that I didn’t write about in 2006: When I was raising money for Lamont—selling ITMFA buttons, encouraging “Savage Love” readers to send checks to Lamont—I got a call from a cousin. My cousin is a Democratic activist and campaign consultant, and we had recently met up in DC for drinks. Six months later my cousin was working for Lieberman and my cousin—I’m working to avoid gendered pronouns here—was upset with me. My cousin emailed me again and again to upbraid me for supporting Lamont. Lieberman was a good Democrat, my cousin insisted, and my cousin was annoyed by the raw deal Lieberman was getting from lefty activists, liberal bloggers, and—cruelest blow of all—sex-advice columnists with whom my cousin shared a set of great-grandparents.

    Now my cousin—like voters in Connecticut—regrets not supporting Lamont and would like nothing more than to wring Lieberman’s wrinkly neck.

    Praying At The Pump?

    posted by on August 21 at 9:06 AM

    God ain’t hearing it.

    Tensions with Russia about a deal between Washington and Poland to install a missile defense system in Eastern Europe — seen as a threat by Moscow — and the continued presence of Russia in Georgia contributed greatly to the bullish mood.

    Light, sweet crude for October delivery jumped $6 to $121.56 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was crude’s highest trading level since Aug. 7.

    Lawd today!

    Maverick Moment of the Day

    posted by on August 21 at 8:50 AM

    In an interview with Politico yesterday, John McCain said he couldn’t remember how many houses he owns:

    Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said in an interview Wednesday that he was uncertain how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own.

    “I think — I’ll have my staff get to you,” McCain told Politico in Las Cruces, N.M. “It’s condominiums where — I’ll have them get to you.”

    The correct answer is at least four, located in Arizona, California and Virginia, according to his staff.

    Actually, based on this new Obama attack commercial (turned around rather quickly I might ad), it sounds like the correct answer is seven:

    High Horses!

    posted by on August 21 at 8:50 AM

    dumbhorse.jpgHorses are the devil’s creatures. They lie, they whore, they talk trash behind your back. They snack on the innocence of young girls and shit where they please. Horses are the very soul of corruption. This is a fact.

    But horses are also drug addicts and filthy Olympics cheaters. Look:

    Four horses have been banned from competing in Thursday’s Olympic Games jumping competition for doping, the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) announced here Thursday.

    That’s from a story you can find here. It goes on to explain:

    The horses - representing Brazil, Germany, Ireland and Norway - had been suspended after testing positive for a prohibited substance, the FEI, which controls the sport, said in a statement.

    Oh, horses! Will they ever learn? Dope is for dopes!

    Tall Tales of the Saints

    posted by on August 21 at 8:28 AM

    Is there anything John McCain won’t lie about?

    The Morning News

    posted by on August 21 at 8:21 AM

    Pulling Out Doesn’t Work: Despite pledging to remove troops from Georgia by Friday, Russian forces show no signs of leaving.

    Ironically Enough…: United States and Iraqi negotiators draft agreement regarding how long American troops will stay in Iraq.

    Understandable: John McCain admits uncertainty over just how many houses he and his wife own.

    The Getaway: Highline resident witnesses crime, escapes gunfire of criminals via high-speed unicycle ride.

    Inquiry Begins: 153 dead in disastrous accident during takeoff of SpanAir flight from Madrid airport.

    Energetic Planning: Seattle City Light rolls out plan to double the city’s energy conservation over the next five years.

    RIP: Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio dies at age 58.

    Baseball Town: Despite having a team that’s not particularly good at it, Seattle fans make the Mariners the sixth best attended club in baseball.

    And because you’ll almost certainly be bombarded today with news of a Vice Presidential nature, we will skip that part of the morning news and instead focus on this gentleman, who is walking on his hands in a competitive setting:


    For Those of Us Who Are…

    posted by on August 21 at 7:44 AM

    …losing our minds watching Obama’s lame response to John McCain’s attacks, a bracing rant from Theda Skocpol at TMPCafe.

    For weeks, Obama has ignored or wheedled when McCain and Lieberman attacked his patriotism and judgement. He has repeatedly begged them to stop because, supposedly, they are more honorable than that. He has asked them to discuss the issues dispassionately. What an insipid approach! McCain has NOT been honorable or honest, and Obama and his surrogates need to hammer on that incessantly. Use words like “lying” and “losing himself” or ” (better) “forgetting what he is supposed to stand for.” Stop focusing on decades ago in the POW camp. Talk about now, about the last years and months. Make the really obvious point that no candidate for President at this time can really be putting country first if he runs a dirty, lying campaign of false smears. That betrays the public trust. Tell it like it is, Obama!

    Politics is not just about issues, it is a metaphorical test of strength. If a man will not get immediately—if quietly—angry and fight back when his patriotism is attacked, why should we trust him to defend the country? And if he won’t punch back by explaining clearly why his approach to foreign policy is actually tougher and smarter, why McCain’s is thoughtless and reckless, why would we think he is better to be Commander in Chief?

    Listening to Obama “attack” McCain for attacking him—but only after going out of his way to “honor” McCain’s service—is making me nuts. Just attack John McCain. Not for his attacks on you, which require you to repeat McCain’s attacks, but attack John McCain on issues, on character, on substance. Knock him back on his fucking heels and force him to respond to your attacks, don’t just stand there with your arms folded over your face whining about the punches he’s landed, Obama. Land some fucking punches of your own.

    How about hammering away at this: John McCain doesn’t know how many houses he owns. Neither does Cindy McCain. Average Americans are losing their homes in record numbers thanks to the Republican mania for deregulation—and the Democratic mania for acquiescing to Republican manias, but you can skip that for now—and here comes John “$500 Italian Loafers” McCain who can’t keep track of how many houses he owns—or how many houses have been purchased for him by the rich heiress McCain dumped his crippled first wife for. Because, McCain says, some of their properties are condos, not houses, and you know how hard it is to keep track of condos.

    And you’re letting this guy get away with painting you as the elitist?

    Back to Skocpol:

    And pick a FIGHTER for VP, please. Do it yesterday. Obama, you need someone who will push hard at your side and make you better, too. And you never should have gone on vacation (shades of Kerry) without a VP to carry on. Biden will work, I think, but—and I never expected to believe this—it might be time to turn to Hillary. She is at least a fighter, and this election really matters to a lot more than you and her.

    Hillary? She’s not the only fighter out there. How about this guy? He could teach you to land a fucking punch.

    UPDATE: Well, this is some comfort…

    But we were heartened by the tough ad that Anthony posted yesterday. And today we learned that it’s only running in Atlanta. So great ad, although some folks think McCain owns at least 10 homes, not seven. But where is it running? And how often?

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    We Are Not Alone

    posted by on August 20 at 9:37 PM


    Britain could be heading for it wettest August for a century as forecasters predicted more heavy rain today, but held out the hope of a drier bank holiday.

    Homes were flooded and cricket and horse racing events cancelled yesterday as heavy rain lashed the country, causing rivers to burst their banks.

    City Hall Cracking Down on Council Members’ Blogs

    posted by on August 20 at 5:49 PM

    It appears City Hall is trying to crack down on council members’ personal blogs and campaign web pages because of concerns about possible confusion with official, city-endorsed websites.

    This week, the city’s legislative department sent out a proposed policy change, which was approved by Conlin, to council members late last month. The memo is excerpted below.

    It is very important for the City to maintain one identity on the Internet, so that citizens know that the information they are receiving is official information from the City of Seattle.

    To this end, councilmembers shall utilize the provided City web address as their primary web site. Redirection, cross-linking, or otherwise orienting visitors to an alternate site is contrary to the policy and purpose of the City Council web site and is not allowed.

    Councilmembers are discouraged from establishing and maintaining additional or alternate sites. Steps should be taken to clearly identify personal sites as non-government sites.

    Election sites should be taken offline at the conclusion of your campaign.

    Several city council members maintain blogs, but the rule-change appears to be directed at council members Tim Burgess and Bruce Harrell, who regularly post to blogs on personal websites.

    Continue reading "City Hall Cracking Down on Council Members' Blogs" »

    Anti-Sound Transit Group Has Not Filed With PDC

    posted by on August 20 at 5:38 PM

    No to Proposition 1, the group that’s opposed to this year’s light rail expansion measure, has not yet filed as a political campaign with the Public Disclosure Commission despite the fact that they’ve begun campaigning against this year’s ballot measure.

    Mark Baerwaldt, spokesman for the No to Prop. 1 campaign, says the campaign hasn’t filed any public-disclosure forms yet because it doesn’t have to. “The minute there’s a penny raised, the minute there’s a penny spent, it’ll be reported,” Baerwaldt says. “Are we going to be out there in full force with a massive campaign? Absolutely. … [But] we are still in the process of planning” what that campaign will look like.

    Lori Anderson, a spokeswoman for the PDC, says whether the campaign has spent money isn’t the issue; the law says that what matters is whether they intend to do so. “They don’t have to actually do it; they just have to have the expectation,” Anderson says.

    “They’ve been told that they need to file.”

    Although Baerwaldt responds the campaign has no expectation yet of raising or spending money, Anderson says their web site suggests otherwise. The site—originally put up in opposition to last year’s Prop. 1, the roads and transit ballot measure that was defeated in November—refers repeatedly to the 2008 ballot measure, includes the text of a radio ad clearly aimed at this year’s measure, not last year’s, and includes news stories from as recently as late July 2008—eight months after the 2007 ballot measure was defeated. The site also includes a form, left over from last year but still apparently active, for visitors to contribute to the campaign. “That says to me that they have the expectation of receiving contributions or making expenditures,” Anderson says.

    Nonetheless, Baerwaldt insists that “everything we’re doing is completely in compliance with the law.” He says that the campaign has been in contact with the PDC about filing as a political committee, which they plan to do in the next couple of weeks.
    Here we go again with all the piddly little nonsense,” says Baerwaldt, who calls Sound Transit a “rogue agency.”

    “This is trivia. It’s not really important,” he adds.

    The PDC, naturally, does not agree.

    Intiman Finds a Managing Director

    posted by on August 20 at 5:30 PM

    Intiman has been looking around to replace the steely, capable Laura Penn for months now. The search ended a few days ago, when Intiman found Brian Colburn, the 35-year-old managing director of Pasadena Playhouse for the last four years.

    He seems like a good hire for a bunch of reasons:

    One. Colburn is young, and all regional theaters want to do these days is youth themselves up.

    Two. Pasadena Playhouse is a quality establishment, a lovely little Spanish mission-style building with a courtyard a nice fountain.


    It lives in a smart community—Caltech people, NASA people, the Jet Propulsion Lab people—that also supports the Norton Simon Museum. The only play I’ve seen there, Orson’s Shadow back in February, was quality. Nothing revolutionary, but quality.

    (The play dramatizes real-life rehearsals where Orson Welles directed Laurence Olivier in a production of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, with New Yorker theater critic Kenneth Tynan working as a kind of dramaturge. It’s a fucking disaster.)

    Three. The Playhouse is in good financial shape. It brought in $9 million in revenue in 2006—the most recent year for which tax forms are publicly available—and ended the year with a $2.7 million surplus. (Intiman, by contrast, brought in $6 million in 2007 and spent about as much.)

    Four. The Playhouse also hosts a fringe company—the Furious Theater1—something Intiman, and every regional theater in America, should do. Big theaters lending their resources to nimbler, more adventurous organizations can only help them.

    ACT is already leaning in that direction with Central Heating Lab, which presents fringe theater, dance, burlesque, comedy, and other stuff you wouldn’t normally expect to see in a regional theater. ACT wisely hired the Lab’s founder, Carlo Scandiuzzi, as managing director a few weeks ago. (You can read the Theater News column about that here.)

    So that’s two promising managing directors in just two weeks—a bizarrely good streak for Seattle theater.

    1Furious Theater, incidentally, produced the Los Angeles premiere of Back of the Throat, by local playwright Yussef El Guindi. That play had its world premiere at Theater Schmeater and went on good reception and reviews in NYC and LA.

    Let There Be Concrete

    posted by on August 20 at 5:09 PM

    The worship of the absolute substance:

    The desire for the absolute substance:

    Velazquez Seeks to Further Delay DUI Trial

    posted by on August 20 at 4:59 PM

    City Attorney Tom Carr and several members of his staff are seeking to avoid a deposition by lawyers for Venus Velazquez, a onetime city council candidate who was arrested and charged with DUI just weeks before the 2007 election.

    In court documents, Velazquez claims Carr failed to recuse himself adequately from her case—a promise he made when Velazquez was arrested in late October 2007 because he had endorsed Velazquez’s opponent, Bruce Harrell. (Harrell won the race). However, Velazquez points out that Carr’s assistant Ruth Bowman sent an email from Carr’s account responding to a Seattle P-I records request about the case three days after Carr said he would recuse himself; and that Carr sent an email to two assistant city attorneys on October 25 in response to an email about the Velazquez case. Velazquez is seeking to have the entire city attorney’s office barred from prosecuting the DUI case against her—a move that would require a total change of venue.

    It’s defies belief that, eight months after being arrested for DUI, Velazquez is still trying to dodge the charge. Does she really believe Carr’s employees won’t give her a fair shake because their boss endorsed her opponent nearly a year ago? (Carr himself can make the case pretty convincingly that he actually did recuse himself; the October 23 email was sent by his assistant, and the October 25 email consists, in its entirety, of the statement, “I have asked to be walled off from the Velzaquez [sic] matter. Thanks for the info, but I really should not be involved.”) Does Carr’s alleged bias against her really justify a change of venue, after three continuations and eight months’ delay?

    If Velazquez has a case (and it sure doesn’t sound like it—she was going 50 mph in a 30 mph zone, crossed the center line, and was drifting back and forth in the lane), she should make it. Instead, she’s resorting to obfuscation and delay.

    How to Win an Oil War

    posted by on August 20 at 4:48 PM

    The surge has worked like shaken baby syndrome works: Things have quieted down, but nobody in their right minds would consider the situation likely to end up well in the long term.

    When I hear McCain, channeling Bush, prattling on about winning the war in Iraq, I have to wonder: What does he mean by win? A stable, free and democratic Iraq? Not going to happen. We all know it, I’d hope even McCain knows it.

    When we leave, the oil-bearing parts of the country will become the effective property of Iran. In turn, Iran will be embroiled in an insurgency of its own. Eventually, when the country is hollowed out enough, it’ll become at best a petty oil-dictatorship.

    Can we be honest with ourselves, even if just for a moment? This war was about oil. In any candid sense, ‘victory in Iraq’ means we have access, perhaps exclusive access, to the vast oil resources contained within its borders. Everything else is gingerbread.

    Continue reading "How to Win an Oil War" »

    Gertrude Stein Could Take Them All

    posted by on August 20 at 4:45 PM

    Guy’s Lit Wire has a list of the 5 Most Hardcore Writers of All Time.

    #2 is Thoreau:

    But wait, you say. Thoreau was a pacifist. He wouldn’t hurt a potato beetle. (Literally. When gardening, he picked the pests off his plants by hand and carried them out to the woods.) He’s not hardcore!

    But there are many roads to hardcore-dom, my friends. Thoreau took a rather meandering path, but he got there.

    Think about it: You go to prison, it’s your first night, and you’re curious about what your new cell-mates did to wind up there. The first guy says he’s in for armed robbery, another says double homicide. Then, one guy looks up at you with a serene smile and says, “Oh, I’m here voluntarily.”

    Now seriously, which one of them are you never turning your back on?

    HARD MOTHERFUCKIN’ CORE! (Not really.) I’m a little shocked that they didn’t include Hunter Thompson (He did, like, tons of drugs!) or William S. Burroughs (Bro, he totally shot his own wife in the fuckin’ head!), or Rimbaud (Arms dealer!), or Emma Goldman (Totally fucked shit up!), or etc. But the internet does love its lists.

    What She Said

    posted by on August 20 at 4:34 PM

    Dana Goldstein:

    Sebelius, of course, would be the bold, unconventional choice—very Obama. But by choosing a female running mate, Obama would, unfortunately, thrust the Hillary die-hards and their ever-more marginal discontentment back into the spotlight. That said, anyone who believes that only Hillary Clinton deserves to be the first female president or vice president doesn’t deserve the designation “feminist.” So I’d relish watching the reactions to a Sebelius nod, not only because such a choice would double down on Obama’s most effective message—”change”—but because it would reveal exactly which Clinton boosters are ready to widen the lens and enthusiastically support women’s leadership as such.

    Via Sullivan.

    “Bank of Opportunities” to Be Demolished

    posted by on August 20 at 4:26 PM

    The Bank of America building, on the corner of Broadway East and East Thomas Street, was, no doubt, quite fresh in the 1960s—the slate on the exterior walls, the little moat of rocks, the windy plaza facing a blank wall. It is, needless to say, all quite stale now.


    A chipper receptionist answered the phone today, “Thank you for calling Bank of America, the bank of opportunities.”

    But the next opportunity will be a wrecking ball. SRM Development filed plans with the city this month to demolish the bank and rip up the adjoining parking lot, replacing them with two buildings. The first phase will be a four-story building on 10th Avenue; the second will be a six-story building over the bank site on Broadway. Combined, they will contain 13,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and 113 apartments above.

    Continue reading "“Bank of Opportunities” to Be Demolished" »

    Re: More Like This, Please

    posted by on August 20 at 4:19 PM

    That ad is okay, Anthony. This one’s much better:

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on August 20 at 4:11 PM


    Baptist Pastor David Slone dreamed of leading a church where people could expose and heal any sin or dark secret without fear of judgment or rejection.

    But a decades-old secret Slone kept from his Lafayette congregation surfaced last month, not through his testimony, but through anonymous letters mailed to church deacons, to newspapers and to a local chamber of commerce.

    In 1986, Slone had been convicted, after pleading guilty, to two counts of child molestation in Oklahoma. He was 22 and served a year in prison. Slone, now 45, knows in many ways it was a life sentence. Some sins are not easily forgotten or forgiven.

    He resigned as senior pastor July 18…. Slone has been a member of the church since about 1998, when he, Stacey and their two children moved to Colorado from Oklahoma so he could take a job in software sales. By the time the senior pastor position opened up, Slone had been serving as a youth minister for several years.

    Slone has admitted he groped five boys ages 12 and under, including two from a school where he worked and three from his Baptist church in Norman, Okla., where he taught Sunday school. He was convicted of only two counts. A Cleveland County district attorney claimed but never proved there were others.

    Gee, maybe the Southern Baptist Convention should revisit its decision not to maintain a sexual-offender database. In June the Baptists decided against creating that database—which would help Baptists protect their children from child molestin’ pastors and youth pastors—because they were concerned about the “autonomy of each local church.” So sexually assaulting children is bad, according to the Baptists, but assaulting church autonomy? Much worse.

    Remember, kids, there is no morality without religion!

    More Like This, Please

    posted by on August 20 at 3:07 PM

    It’s important for Obama to talk about what he’ll do himself, and keep on about the hope and all that mess, but it’s also important for him to tell people that McCain is a jerk, because he is.

    The Wondrous Stuff

    posted by on August 20 at 2:49 PM


    It’s wondrous stuff, - concrete infused with glass fibre. Truly beautiful. Imagine a building made of this?! The strength and exterior texture of concrete, but a lightness imbued by, well, light itself. At night, with lights on inside, shadowy projections of the inhabitants would be visible moving across the exterior of the building … Sexy.

    Continue reading "The Wondrous Stuff" »

    Mating Call

    posted by on August 20 at 2:39 PM

    Wasn’t Obama supposed to announce his running mate, like, today? This morning? What’s up?

    Savage Love Letter of the Day

    posted by on August 20 at 2:31 PM

    I met my boyfriend on a dating site and it was suppose to only be a mistress/slave thing but when we met it turned into more. This is where the problem starts. We rarely have sex and when we do he NEVER wants “normal” sex. He has to be tied up or I’m the one fucking him (anally) and I have to do all the work. Ok, so whats the problem right? I’m a mistress and I’m the one who’s suppose to do all the work. Ok, fine yeah, but sometimes, I wanna good lay and not have my partner tied up! I’ve mention this to him and he says that sex isnt an important part of a relationship! And that I’m some nympho with a crazy sex drive (he’s the only man i’ve ever met who didn’t like lots sex), but it’s honestly becoming a problem. I’m starting to lose interest which I don’t want to happen but this lack of sex is driving me nuts! Any advice? Other than self pleasure?

    Sexless Mistress


    And I’m sorry, Mistress, you’re totally being scammed here. You are having sex, and a lot of it—and don’t let your boyfriend/slave tell you otherwise—but you’re only having the kind of sex he wants. For him, getting tied up and/or fucked in the ass is sex. La duh. What you’re not having is the kind of sex that appeals to you. Which is hilarious since you’re ostensibly the dominant one in this relationship. Stop tying him up and stop fucking his ass and you’ll quickly see just how important a part of a relationship he thinks sex is.

    And where did you get the impression that the Mistress in a D/s relationship “does all the work”? Oh, right: from your selfish, inconsiderate, spoiled, topping-from-below boyfriend. He either starts meeting your needs, you DTMFA, or you tie him up and invite someone else over to give you the sex you’re not getting from him.

    Daddy’s Boy

    posted by on August 20 at 2:13 PM

    I was wondering if Michael Phelps had a father.

    Zoo II: The Eatening

    posted by on August 20 at 2:00 PM

    Adfreak believes that this ad…

    …is about a cow who is mad for not being eaten. I’m not so sure that that’s the case. Maybe because of my innate Catholic carnivorous guilt, I initially assumed that the cow is mad because he’s eating an animal. But whatever the case, one thing is absolutely clear: That guy has fucked that cow on more than one occasion. And this is a really creepy ad.

    Fred Phelps Who, Exactly?

    posted by on August 20 at 1:47 PM

    I have not watched one moment of the fucking Olympics. I hate the fucking Olympics. I have always hated the fucking Olympics. I always will.

    Thank you.

    Sometimes Olympic Triumph….

    posted by on August 20 at 1:24 PM


    ….looks like an ugly halter top.

    Carry on.

    SECB Polident-arazzi ®

    posted by on August 20 at 1:11 PM

    The election-night party for Terry Bergeson—running for reelection as the Superintendent of Public Instruction—was scheduled to rollick until 11 p.m. last night in the downtown Red Lion. Early results showed Bergeson with a significant lead over her opponents so we were ready to party. But a moment after Lindy West and I stepped into a fluorescently-lit, music-less San Juan room—which, at 9:30 p.m., was filled with silver-haired revelers—we were promptly shown the door. Was it because I’m a high-school drop out, Terry?

    Even though we were expelled from the class, nothing could keep us from keeping tabs on Bergeson’s clique. From across the street, Lindy snapped this shot of the celebration wake, which, by 10:15 p.m., had atrophied to only Bergeson (on the left) and her press-bouncing goon, Alex Hays.


    Hays told the SECB—in the hallway, because we weren’t allowed to quaff the Ensure smoothies inside—that Bergeson “leads by about 20-points” over opponent Randy Dorn. “This result is a crushing defeat for Randy Dorn and his out-of-state war chest,” said Hays. He added that “Dorn had $200,000 of out of state money.” But PDC records show that Dorn actually had a smaller war chest: $122,000 compared to Bergeson’s “war chest” of $157,000. In fact, Dorn received fewer out-of-state dollars than Bergeson: $3,181 to her $7,575. But, you know, the Bergeson camp isn’t known for its math skills.

    Asked why Bergeson was leading despite pushing the controversial WASL tests—a high-stakes graduation requirement—Hays said, “A less vocal population is satisfied with the high standards and accountability.”

    Nice spin, Hays, but you haven’t convinced us. Bergeson had only 41 percent of the vote as of this morning. Earning less than 50 percent support in the primary is a bad sign for an incumbent. But it’s a great omen for Dorn. He took 30 percent of the vote and continues on to the general election.

    We look forward to Bergeson’s party in November.

    That’s It.

    posted by on August 20 at 1:02 PM

    Let’s all declare war on Joe Lieberman.

    Whatever the Price Was, It Was Wrong

    posted by on August 20 at 1:00 PM

    The first thing I thought when I saw this tattoo on Weird Universe was: Why would somebody get a tattoo of Charlie Crist? Is that Mr. Poe’s arm?


    I eventually figured it out, but man-oh-man was that an uncomfortable minute-and-a-half.

    Press Release of the Day

    posted by on August 20 at 12:52 PM

    Apparently Hustler’s going after the “I read it for the articles” audience:

    HUSTLER Magazine November 2008

    The Winter Soldiers Speak Out

    In arguably the most shocking piece of the year, HUSTLER Magazine reports on the truth about what’s going on in Iraq. The “Winter Soldier” veterans, as they are called, speak out about the war and the thousands of innocent Iraqi civilian casualties. One of the brave soldiers brought back a video of his sergeant declaring, “The difference between an insurgent and an Iraqi civilian is whether they are dead or alive.” The soldier explains: “If you kill a civilian, he becomes an insurgent because you retroactively make him a threat.” Gruesome photos accompany the article.

    (More from the release after the jump.)

    I didn’t know Hustler had words.

    A vaguely related anecdote: I once interviewed for a job in editorial at Penthouse in New York. The offices were quite posh, with spreads of Penthouses on the coffee table in the lobby. I perused one while waiting, which was the first time I’d ever looked at the magazine. Everyone was extremely nice, and the editorial staff was approximately 80% women (of average appearance). They offered me the job. They weren’t paying particularly well, especially for New York. I declined.

    Continue reading "Press Release of the Day" »

    How We Got This Week’s Issue to the Printer

    posted by on August 20 at 12:46 PM

    Tuesday is the busiest day in The Stranger’s production cycle—the day the paper goes to the printer. Yesterday afternoon, in the middle of the usual stress, our phones went blank and some of the lights in our offices went out. A second later, Dan Savage looked up from his computer and said, “Why can’t I get on Slog?”

    A transformer across the street had just blown. In addition to the power we’d lost—some departments had it, some didn’t (the phone system had lost power)—we’d lost internet and email access. This posed a special problem: Without the internet, we couldn’t get pages to the printer. Our solution? Senior ad designer Mary Traverse took a computer to Grey Gallery & Lounge across the street from our offices, because they have free wi-fi, and uploaded one page (the one that was ready at that moment) to the printer’s FTP site from there. Meanwhile, we were still finishing up and proofreading pages on the few computers in the production department that still had power.

    Eventually, big orange trucks from Seattle City Light showed up.


    There was a white truck too—according to our tech support guy Brian Geoghagan, the white truck is always the supervisor’s truck—and Geoghagan took it upon himself to march up to the white truck and ask the man inside when the power was going to come back. The man in the white truck informed him that, actually, the power was about to go out. All of it. The whole block. More than the whole block. The City Light guys needed all the power out in the area to solve whatever the problem was.

    Continue reading "How We Got This Week's Issue to the Printer" »

    Gymnastics Wrap-Up

    posted by on August 20 at 12:42 PM

    Coming soon: Jen Graves and I liveslog some synchronized swimming. It’s on at midnight or thereabouts Friday night. If you read us, you have no life. But it will be awesome. I had no idea synchro teams, like, did little ’80s dances on the deck of the pool before jumping in. Ha.

    I had a special request from a reader asking me to discuss the tiebreaking procedure on the uneven parallel bars, which NBC broadcast Monday night—I wrote a very long, technical post yesterday and then that transformer explosion happened, wiping out all my hard work. (I refuse to compose in another program. The reason is complicated.)

    Continue reading "Gymnastics Wrap-Up" »

    Reality TV: An Exercise in Gender Confusion!

    posted by on August 20 at 12:35 PM

    Jesus Christ! If anyone ever accused me of watching “reality TV”, I’d murder them with a salad fork. (And yes, I always seem to have one handy—beware!) There is no greater evil on this earth.

    I know, I know! Most of you poor suckers—despite your express wishes and best intentions— have accidentally been sucked in by some soul-sucking reality turd or other. (Blah, blah, blah, Project Runway! Wah, wah wah, American Idol! I don’t want to fucking hear about it!) Some of you are probably suckling, even as we speak, at the poison teat of the wretched reality TV god.

    For shame! You people disgust me!

    That being completely understood, let me tell you about this reality show.

    Continue reading "Reality TV: An Exercise in Gender Confusion!" »

    Cycling Community Meets With the City to Talk About the Future of Critical Mass

    posted by on August 20 at 12:30 PM

    Three weeks after a violent clash between cyclists and a motorist during a Critical Mass ride on Capitol Hill, the fractured cycling community finally sat down with the city to talk about how to move forward.

    Yesterday, council member Tim Burgess met with Critical Mass riders, the Seattle Bicycle Advisory Board, members of the Cascade Bicycle Club (CBC), City Attorney Tom Carr and Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske to talk about the future of the Critical Mass and, Burgess says, “public policy related to cyclists and drivers and how to prevent these incidents from happening in the future.”

    In the days following the Critical Mass melee, police were quick to fault riders for escalating the altercation. However, it appears the department isn’t planning to crack down on the monthly rides, and will instead be reaching out to riders through cycling message boards. According to council member Burgess, Chief Kerlikowske “spoke rather eloquently about the fact that the police dept has no desire at all to stop the Critical Mass rides or be heavy handed.”

    Although SPD made it fairly clear they believed cyclists were at fault for last month’s altercation, no one has yet been charged.

    At yesterday’s meeting, Chief Kerlikowske said that SPD had submitted their case file on the incident to the King County Prosecutor’s office for review. However, KC spokesman Dan Donahoe says SPD has not in fact handed anything over.

    Cascade Bicycle Club Advocacy Director David Hiller—who has derided Critical Mass in the past—says CBC has been digging into the July 27th melee and says CBC is now convinced that the driver “made a deliberate decision to strike…one person with a two ton object and then accelerated into a group of folks. That makes him a criminal before he was a victim,” Hiller says.

    SPD will be on hand at the next Critical Mass ride on August 29th to distribute fliers. Although Burgess is an avid cyclist and was happy to facilitate yesterday’s meeting, he says he won’t be at the ride because he’s “an old guy that operates within the lines.”

    Plastic Ethics

    posted by on August 20 at 12:14 PM

    My new tent came with one of these:


    It’s a “PLASTIC ETHICS REFERENCE CARD”—so sayeth the Leave No Trace website—a 3x5 plastic card explaining the seven Leave No Trace principles. These principles (and their 36 subprinciples) include:

    -Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.

    -Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.

    -Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.

    -Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.

    I had a problem with this last one on hikes as a child; my father was given to say, “You’re shattering the tranquility.”

    The principles also include leaving animals alone while they are mating, which is considerate.

    The PLASTIC ETHICS REFERENCE CARD has the recycling symbol on it, but it’s my understanding that 99 and 44/100% of plastic—recyclable or not—ends up in landfills or the Great Pacific Garbage Miasma. Truly, how many recycled polarfleece garments and how much recycled fake lumber does the world need?

    Dear Leave No Trace: Your PLASTIC ETHICS REFERENCE CARD is unwanted by me, and others, I’m sure. How about living up to your name and putting it on paper?

    Oldest House in South Lake Union Successfully Anthropomorphized

    posted by on August 20 at 12:00 PM

    But can it be saved?

    rsz_sluoldhouse1.jpgI was built in 1890 and, along with my wood siding, have stuck around all these years. There’s not many of us left from the old times here in the SLU. But being the oldest house in the neighborhood, you’d think I’d be turned into a small museum or a showpiece for the “roots of Cascade” to be polished up by Vulcan. But I’m going to be demolished sometime this week.

    More at Vintage Seattle.

    I Don’t Know Why He’s Doing This

    posted by on August 20 at 12:00 PM

    Here is a screencap from a video:


    It is of a man who is lighting exploding bananas that are mounted on a mask on his face. I have absolutely nothing to say about this.

    (Via The Inferior 4+1.)

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on August 20 at 12:00 PM

    “I have an incomplete album that I want to finish. I have been thinking about the plan during my days in jail, I have sung rock ‘n’ roll for 40 years. After jail, I will continue to rock ‘n’ roll.” - Gary Glitter

    While You Were At Hempfest….

    posted by on August 20 at 11:59 AM

    …a 24-year-old Seattle woman was living a nightmare at the Pike Place Market.

    From Q13:

    A North Seattle woman is recovering after being knocked unconscious and raped near a popular Seattle tourist attraction. Police say the 24-year-old was sexually assaulted in an alley near the Pike Place Market.

    According to friends of the victim, she was on her way to job interview on a Saturday afternoon when she was savagely attacked.

    “The guy knocked her out cold. Hit her in the temple, she was there for hours, knocked out while he raped her repeatedly.”

    After being beaten and sexually assaulted by the stranger, friends say the badly injured 24-year-old victim struggled to make it back to her North Seattle apartment.

    Downtown neighbors like Paige McGehee are concerned about the sexually motivated attack, because, it happened in broad daylight with hundreds of people nearby.

    “That surprises me actually, I think we have a very aware city,” said McGehee.

    Friends say the victim is doing better physically, but, it still very emotionally fragile from the attack. The victim was only able to provide a vague description of her attacker to police. Officers say he is an African American man.

    Holy shit. Full story here.

    The Drinking Age

    posted by on August 20 at 11:51 AM

    The folks that have to deal with the consequences of underage drinking on a daily basis—the men and women that run US colleges and universities—are calling on legislators to return the drinking age to 18:

    Scores of college presidents, including the head of Maryland’s public university system and the president of Johns Hopkins University, have an unexpected request for legislators: Please, lower the drinking age.

    The Amethyst Initiative, launched in July, is a coalition of college presidents who say that the legal drinking age of 21 encourages binge drinking on campuses. William Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, William Brody, president of Johns Hopkins, C.D. Mote Jr. of the University of Maryland and the presidents of Washington and Lee, Sweet Briar, Towson, Randolph-Macon, Duke, Tufts, Dartmouth and others have signed on to the effort.

    Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) isn’t having it:

    Mothers Against Drunk Driving, though, quickly denounced the idea as irresponsible and dangerous.

    MADD’s national president, Laura Dean-Mooney, even suggested, “Parents should think twice before sending their teens to these colleges or any others that have waved the white flag on underage and binge drinking policies.”

    Atrios makes an excellent suggestion:

    …let 18 year olds have a drinking license or a driver’s license but not both.

    Teenagers are notoriously terrible drivers. So whatever we can do to encourage teenagers to refrain from driving is, I think, all for the good. And I can’t think of a better incentive than a drinking license. But a teenager’s drinking license should only allow him or her to purchase booze in a bar, club, or restaurant, and not cases or kegs in liquor stores, grocery stores, or gas stations. Otherwise one kid in a group will give up his driver’s license in exchange for a drinking license and become the designated buyer for a large number of teenagers who’re still out there driving.

    Atrios also wonders why MADD doesn’t do more mass transit advocacy. If more people could take fast and efficient mass transit to the places where they like to drink—baseball stadiums, nightlife districts, the friends’ parents’ basements—fewer people would drink and drive.

    Future Concrete

    posted by on August 20 at 11:37 AM

    The future of the greatest of all man-made stuff, concrete, is this:

    Experts from the University of Twente developed and tested the concrete paving stones which contain a titanium dioxide-based additive.

    In laboratory conditions, the additive — under the influence of sunlight — binds the nitrogen oxide particles emitted by car exhausts and turns them into harmless nitrates.

    “With one rain shower everything is washed clean,” the institution said in a statement.

    Nitrogen oxides, produced by industry and motor vehicles, are among the main air pollutants that lead to acid rain and smog.

    Apart for their ability to clean the air and repel dirt from the road surface, there was no other difference between these new bricks and the old ones, the university said.

    Concrete must save the day.

    As for the incredible image, an image of the only possible paradise:

    This is a ho(s?)tel in Austria, designed by art college graduate Andreas Strauss. Organized into clusters of threes, they nestle in green fields beside the Danube River. Facilities like shower, bar and cafeteria are in a central location. The hotel currently works on an honor system - you leave behind however much you think is fair for the duration of your stay.
    These concrete shelters would complete Freeway Park.

    America’s ABCs: “Always Be Chewing”

    posted by on August 20 at 11:28 AM

    The fact that we Americans have constructed our lives around the near-constant consumption of garbage food—every move we make through a given day takes us past fast food outlets, vending machines, donut shops, etc.; we eat during our commutes, we eat at work, we eat while we watch TV—has nothing whatsoever to do with the obesity epidemic and anyone who suggests that there just might be a connection between the near-constant consumption of empty calories and weight gain is a fatphobic bigot.

    With that out of the way: United Airlines has announced that it will no longer be providing free snacks in coach.

    Beginning Sept. 2, United Airlines will no longer hand out complimentary pretzels and cookies to economy class fliers across North America.

    The airline is also dropping complimentary meals in domestic business class, effective Oct. 1, except for premium transcontinental flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles to New York. And it’s expanding the BOB, or buy-on-board, food offerings.

    Oh, and the BOB prices are going up, also Oct. 1.

    There will be much screaming and yelling, of course, but all this development means is that United passengers may have to go two, three, or four hours without mindlessly stuffing junk food into their mouths. United passengers who want to eat crap during their flight will actually have to consider whether or not they want the crap being offered badly enough to pay for it.

    If the do, they can purchase it and go right on chewing. If not, they can struggle through a few snackless hours.

    Stephanie Tubbs Jones is Dead in Critical Condition

    posted by on August 20 at 11:15 AM

    She was the first African-American congresswoman from Ohio, and a huge Clinton supporter, and she died today of a brain aneurysm, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. She was 58.

    UPDATE: Conflicting reports. MSNBC says she’s still in critical condition and that news of her death is incorrect, so I’ve changed the headline.

    You Don’t Love The Dark Knight as Much as This Guy Loves The Dark Knight

    posted by on August 20 at 11:12 AM

    Big Dumb Object links to this website where a guy reports on his progress in building a Batmobile from scratch in his garage:

    homemobile.jpgI did this alone, no help. I have found with other things in the past that if you have help, the help often does not get it(parts) right, and you have to do it over 95% of the time, plus I like to work alone. All parts are scratch built, cept’ tires, rims, brakes, engine, etc.. meaning all bodyparts, brackets, just about everything external on the car. Yes, I will do a batpod, and TDK suit for myself. I love building this stuff.


    posted by on August 20 at 11:10 AM

    Lieberman to speak at the Republican National Convention—on the same night as Bush and Cheney. Rudy “Noun, Verb, 9/11” Guiliani to give RNC keynote address.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on August 20 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Ask a Banana, Baby’

    Sweden is freaked out. By what exactly, it’s hard to say. But a show of three Swedish artists at Howard House explores threat: the threat of filthy little pygmies and sadistic lower-class families ruining the neighborhood (Nathalie Djurberg’s In Our Own Neighbourhood), the threat of burka-style wraps covering entire couples (Annika von Hausswolff’s The 21st Century Transitional Object), and the dueling threats of boredom and escape (Johanna Billing’s Look Out!). It’s live-action video, animation, and photography. (Howard House, 604 Second Ave, 256-6399. 10:30 am–5 pm, free.)


    Leo Berk’s Bribe

    posted by on August 20 at 11:00 AM

    Leo Berk’s Dark House (2008), drawing in sparkly pen [photographed by Mark Woods]

    On the morning of September 12, 2001, as the United States descended into a pit of disbelief, Seattle artist Leo Saul Berk happened to be in Guatemala, descending into an ancient Mayan cave. Tourists aren’t allowed in, but Berk and some others bribed the guards, who then conducted the tour of the dark, totally disorienting place—a place Berk was unable to get out of his head afterward.

    Now it’s finally come out of his head, and into the Hedreen Gallery at Seattle University. The above drawing is one of three complex perspectives of the cave that Berk created this year, two drawn and one sculpted. He describes what it was like down there:

    To listen to the entire In/Visible podcast with Berk, click here.

    Sally Clark

    posted by on August 20 at 10:58 AM


    Why is Sally Clark filling my “Savage Love” inbox with spam? If the city councilmember has got a question about, say, vaginal fisting, or if she’s just discovered that her girlfriend’s a furry and she has concerns (I knew Sally would be the last to know), then she should email me at “Savage Love.” Otherwise, Sally Clark should leave my box alone.

    UPDATE: Sally Clark—we think—responds in comments:

    Hey! That newsletter has important information for YOU the Seattle resident. Sure, I don’t have the readership of Savage Love and never will (probably due to the fact that no public policy issues have arisen regarding vaginal fisting), but admit it—you care about plastic bags, property tax levies, ugly townhomes, and cops. We just unsubscribed you, but you’ll be back. Oh, yes, you’ll beg to come back.

    Yes We Can Hitch Ourselves to the Bandwagon

    posted by on August 20 at 10:20 AM

    I mentioned this yesterday during the primary night Slog-fest, but it seems worth floating on the day side, too. It appears that Obama’s mantra of “Yes we can” is taking off as a down-ticket campaign slogan, popping up in spontaneous cheers at the primary night party for Gov. Gregoire and stamped across the cover of a new glossy handout that I received at the primary night party held by eastside Congressional candidate Darcy Burner:


    There’s been a lot of talk in political circles about whether (and how) Obama’s candidacy will provide the promised lift in down-ballot races, and yesterday’s double shot of non-Obama “Yes we can”-ing here in Washington made me wonder if there’s some sort of coordinated roll-out of “Yes we can” as the official Democratic rallying cry this year.

    Burner told me that’s not the case. “It’s not coordinated,” she said. “It’s just resonant.”

    Post-Primary Flashback

    posted by on August 20 at 10:10 AM

    Third in a series.

    A lot has been written about this election, in our pages and on our blog, since Obama (finally) wrapped up the nomination. While we hurtle toward the convention, we’re recapping what’s been said since the last moment when everyone was paying attention.

    Here is Erica C. Barnett writing in the May 7 Stranger on why it was time for Hillary Clinton to give up. (Clinton didn’t for another month.)


    It’s time for Hillary to concede. I’m the biggest—sometimes, it feels like, the only—Hillary supporter at this paper. I don’t agree that she’s guilty of “dividing the party,” or that this protracted Democratic nomination battle turned the country against the Democrats. My desire for her to concede is both political and personal. First, there’s now no scenario in which Hillary can overtake Barack Obama and win the nomination. And second, I don’t want to see her embarrass herself and diminish her legacy as a First Lady and a senator.


    posted by on August 20 at 10:00 AM


    Back in 1962, the show [of the original 32 Campbell’s Soup Cans] met with such derision that a rival gallery across the street stacked some actual soup cans in their window and printed a sign: “We Have the Real Thing for 29 Cents.”

    From Richard Polsky’s book I Bought Andy Warhol.

    P.S. I learned while watching the documentary “The Birth of the Cool” “The Cool School” earlier this year that those first soup cans were not hung but displayed on shelves, theatrically, as if they were framed, but still in a grocery-store. I think it was the idea of Irving Blum. When I was at the Museum of Modern Art a few months ago, I noticed that they’re displayed that way there. It’s sort of like an early music performance on period instruments.

    Be Afraid

    posted by on August 20 at 9:53 AM

    McCain up, Obama down.

    In a sharp turnaround, Republican John McCain has opened a 5-point lead on Democrat Barack Obama in the U.S. presidential race and is seen as a stronger manager of the economy, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

    When exactly did Barack Obama morph into John Kerry in skinnier ties?

    Richardson It Is

    posted by on August 20 at 9:45 AM

    At least according to you Slog readers, who on Monday and Tuesday spent four rounds of runoff voting narrowing down a big list of potential VP picks. You all believe, by a pretty strong margin, that Barack Obama should choose Bill Richardson as his running mate.

    If you think that’s the dumbest choice in the world, well, take it up with your fellow citizens of the Slog.

    But if you were among the masses pushing Richardson and want to explain yourself in the comments, I’d love to hear why he’s your man. Also: if you think the Richardson people are stupid as shit and want to tell the world who the nominee should really be, put that in the comments too—it’ll be date and time stamped and everything, so when Obama makes his announcement you’ll have proof that you were right all along.

    [Originally posted late yesterday afternoon, but re-posted this morning because there’s still no official VP pick from Obama and while we wait, I’d really like to understand why the Slog mob thinks it should Richardson.]

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on August 20 at 9:43 AM


    We have a poetry slam and one reading tonight, at Elliott Bay Book Company. Linda Hogan reads from People of the Whale, which is (according to Publishers Weekly) an “engrossing tale” that “employs just the right touch of spiritualism.” It’s about a fictional Native American tribe and a young man who might have “mystical whaling powers.” Hogan was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize for a previous novel, Mean Spirit. I haven’t read her, but it’s a safe bet that if you’re interested in Native American fiction, this will probably make you happy.

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

    Democracy Inaction

    posted by on August 20 at 9:42 AM

    This isn’t very comforting.

    Ohio is an election battleground state with perennial problems at the polls. So what have election officials in some precincts of the state been doing to keep their voting machines safe from tampering?

    Taking the machines home with them and stashing them in their garages in the days before a big election.

    If it sounds like something pulled straight out of an episode of Saturday Night Live, or Borat for that matter, it’s not. The practice has become so widespread that it even has a nickname, “sleepovers.”

    Maverick Moment of the Day

    posted by on August 20 at 9:00 AM

    Back in May of 1973, John McCain penned what is believed to be his first written account of his time as a POW in Vietnam. In a long piece for US News & World Report, McCain failed to mention the newly re-examined cross story, but did take time to point out that he believed a lot of the guards at the POW camp were gay:

    Now I don’t hate them any more—not these particular guys. I hate and detest the leaders. Some guards would just come in and do their job. When they were told to beat you they would come in and do it. Some seemed to get a big bang out of it. A lot of them were homosexual, although never toward us. Some, who were pretty damned sadistic, seemed to get a big thrill out of the beatings.

    As Gawker asks:

    What?? How did POW McCain know they were gay if they weren’t gay “toward him”? Were the homosexuals the ones who enjoyed the beatings or were the sadists a separate category? We have lots of unanswered questions here. Like—how come he mentions how gay the North Vietnamese were but leaves out that inspiring tale of the cross on the floor he mentioned last weekend?

    Formerly Hanging

    posted by on August 20 at 9:00 AM

    A production still from Kathy Slade’s 16mm color film Tugboat (2007)

    (Formerly at Or Gallery in Vancouver, B.C. Artist web site here.)

    I saw this looped projection a few months ago in a show called Hold On. In the silent film, a tugboat slowly chugs into view (the film was shot in Burrard Inlet in Vancouver) and begins to turn.

    Before long you realize: It’s doing donuts. This burly, practical thing has sort of, somehow, lost its shit.

    The boat continues spinning, sending water radiating out from it in concentric circles. The mind is swallowed into turning along with it. Is this the way a tugboat plays? Or is this sorry boat languishing? Is this a mind that has gone haywire, an absent mind? Or are we seeing the effects of steely determination and singular focus? It’s a sad, slow slapstick routine. Maybe it has something to do with the state of shipping, of the stuckness of the economy. Maybe not.

    Finally, when the boat rights itself and chugs out of view, you miss it, and wish it would come back.

    To me it’s a reminder of how simple and easy art can be. I doubt it was simple or easy to commission a tugboat to do circles, but the result isn’t afraid to appear that way.

    “The Best Press Possible for the ‘No on Prop. 8’ Campaign”

    posted by on August 20 at 8:52 AM


    That’s how popular gay blogger Joe.My.God. characterizes the cover of the upcoming People:

    To my mind, the upcoming cover story about Ellen’s wedding in People is the best of possible PR for the No On 8 campaign. Ellen DeGeneres is the most beloved person on TV, bigger than Oprah, and this joyous shot will go miles to convince those undecideds. Brilliant timing, truly.

    Agreed, and for those not fluent in out-of-state proposition lingo: Proposition 8 is the ballot initiative that seeks to reverse California’s just-established marriage equality. “No on 8” is the campaign to get people to shoot down this would-be reversal. Thank you, JMG.

    The Morning News

    posted by on August 20 at 8:37 AM

    Disaster: With the Afghani government divided, the Taliban are on the rise… again.

    Further Disaster: SpanAir jet crashes on takeoff at Madrid airport, killing “dozens.”

    Further-er Disaster: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac teeter on the edge of a federal bailout.

    Round Two… Fight!: Primary wins lead to rematches in the congressional race between Burner and Reichert and the fight for the governor’s mansion between Gregoire and Rossi.

    All That Glitters: Rocker-turned-child-porno-enthusiast Gary Glitter to be expelled from Thailand.

    EP-Nay: Environmental Protection Agency thwarted by federal appeals court in attempts to change the Clean Air Act.

    West Nile: The first case of the West Nile Virus this year strikes a woman in King County.

    Cejudo!: American Henry Cejudo rises from poverty to win upset Olympic gold in wrestling.

    And, a moment of political geek-dom:

    Joe Biden for President, 1988: Because Experience Means Hairplugs

    Standing Till the End….and Beyond

    posted by on August 20 at 8:34 AM

    The Associated Press has the story:

    prcorpse.jpg A Puerto Rican man has been granted his wish to remain standing—even in death. A funeral home used a special embalming treatment to keep the corpse of 24-year-old Angel Pantoja Medina standing upright for his three-day wake. Dressed in a Yankees baseball cap and sunglasses, Pantoja was mourned by relatives while propped upright in his mother’s living room.

    His brother Carlos told the El Nuevo Dia newspaper the victim had long said he wanted to be upright for his own wake: “He wanted to be happy, standing.”

    The owner of the Marin Funeral Home, Damaris Marin, told The Associated Press the mother asked him to fulfill her dead son’s last wish.

    Pantoja was found dead Friday underneath a bridge in San Juan and buried Monday. Police are investigating.

    More AP photos here and here. (I hope someone loves me enough to kiss my corpse when I’m gone.)

    Tuesday, August 19, 2008

    Election Results in Contested Races

    posted by on August 19 at 11:39 PM

    Here’s the night’s last election-result update. Election results are included for statewide offices, King County ballot measures, and districted offices that contain any part of King County. Incumbents are bolded where applicable; judicial candidates that received more than 50 percent won their races and will not go on to the general election. In all other races, the top two candidates move forward to November regardless of their party preference.

    P.S. There is no such thing as a Grand Old Party Party.

    P.P.S. I cannot stop laughing at the name “Boleslaw (John) Olinski”

    Initiative 26 and Council-Proposed Alternative

    Yes 65.09%
    No 34.91%

    Initiative 26 53.32%
    Council-Proposed Alternative 46.68%

    United States Representative Congressional District No. 1
    Jay Inslee (Prefers Democratic Party) 67.63
    Larry Ishmael (Prefers G.O.P. Party) 32.37 %

    United States Representative Congressional District No. 2
    Rick Bart (Prefers Republican Party) 36.45 %
    Rick Larsen (Prefers Democratic Party) 55.59 %
    Doug Schaffer (Prefers Democratic Party) 4.88 %
    Glen S. Johnson (Prefers Democratic Party) 3.07 %

    United States Representative Congressional District No. 7
    Goodspaceguy Nelson (Prefers Democratic Party) 2.82 %
    Mark A. Goldman (States No Party Preference) 3.02 %
    Donovan Rivers (Prefers Democratic Party) 5.58 %
    Al Schaefer (States No Party Preference) 1.07 %
    Steve Beren (Prefers Republican Party) 15.55 %
    Jim McDermott (Prefers Democratic Party) 71.96%

    United States Representative Congressional District No. 8
    Boleslaw (John) Orlinski (States No Party Preference) 1.08 %
    Richard Todd (States No Party Preference) 1.61 %
    James E. Vaughn (Prefers Democratic Party) 4.16 %
    Dave Reichert (Prefers Republican Party) 47.38 %
    Keith Arnold (Prefers Democratic Party) 1.59 %
    Darcy Burner (Prefers Democratic Party) 44.18 %

    United States Representative Congressional District No. 9
    Adam Smith (Prefers Democratic Party) 66.90 %
    James Postma (Prefers Republican Party) 33.10 %

    Dino Rossi (Prefers G.O.P. Party) 45.64%
    Will Baker (Prefers Reform Party) 0.39 %
    Christine Gregoire (Prefers Democratic Party) 48.43 %
    Duff Badgley (Prefers Green Party) 0.63 %
    John W. Aiken, Jr. (Prefers Republican Party) 1.85 %
    Christian Pierre Joubert (Prefers Democratic Party) 1.26 %
    Christopher A. Tudor (States No Party Preference) 0.38 %
    Javier O. Lopez (Prefers Republican Party) 0.38 %
    Mohammad Hasan Said (States No Party Preference) 0.21 %
    James White (Prefers Independent Party) 0.82 %

    Continue reading "Election Results in Contested Races" »

    Breaking: Scott White Says You’re All Invited To His Secret Party!

    posted by on August 19 at 11:01 PM

    The SECB just got back from Scott White’s party at a secret, undisclosed location (White’s North Seattle home).


    When the SECB arrived, White—who’s in a hot race for a state house seat in the 46th district—immediately told us he wanted to set the record straight, and made it clear that the location of his party “wasn’t a secret”—as we’d said earlier—and that you’re all invited over. They’re almost out of beer, but they’ve got tiny little sandwiches!

    White’s party was astonishingly low-key, and only about 15 or 20 volunteers and friends milled around White’s spacious home, while a herd of children—one of them apparently named “Bubba”—stomped through the house. No one seemed to be paying much attention to the election results, perhaps because it’s White’s wife’s 36th birthday, or something. White, however, did not offer the SECB any cake.

    When asked about the numbers so far, White seemed pleased and said something about how much he loved grassroots campaigning. Then he told the SECB he had to get up early to sign-wave in the rain, and asked us to come by at some ungodly hour.

    The SECB politely declined.

    BREAKING: SECB Kicked Out of Bergeson Victory Wake!

    posted by on August 19 at 10:16 PM

    Terry Bergeson is the Superintendent of Public Instruction and she’s running for reelection and we didn’t endorse her but we showed up at her primary night party at the Red Lion at 5th & Pike in downtown Seattle anyway because we’re good sports. The first thing the SECB noticed when we walked into the San Juan Room were all the old, old, old people. It’s total Gray Dawn up there. Not that we mind the elderly but… you know… we doubted that anyone at Bergeson’s party actually has a kid in school. Great-grandkids maybe, but no kids.

    Before the SECB could secure a Metamucil-tini, the SECB was approached by Alex Hays, Terry Bergeson’s campaign consultant. Mr. Hays was hostile and visibly upset and asked the SECB to please step into the hall.

    “This is a place for a party and not for anything else,” Hays warned the SECB. We’re not sure what Mr. Hays was so worried about—another pop quiz, perhaps?—but we assured him that we came in peace.

    Mr. Hays proceeded to inform the SECB that Terry Bergeson was very upset about the “serial killer handwriting post” on Slog (which you can read here), and that he didn’t think that it was the least bit funny either. Which just goes to show you how subjective humor can be. Because, like, we thought it was hilarious that our Superintendent of Public Instruction—the woman behind the hated WASL—can’t pass the same damn test she’s shoved down the throats of Washington state schoolchildren.

    But we’re in the minority, as Mr. Hays makes clear. Bergerson enjoys a 20 point lead over her opponent Randy Dorn.

    “This result is a crushing defeat for Randy Dorn and his out-of-state war chest,” says Mr. Hays.

    The SECB then asked if Terry Bergeson was in the room, and that’s when we were told that we wouldn’t be able to speak to the candidate—or reenter the room, despite offers to turn our pockets inside out.

    “You should be pleased that I’m talking to you,” Mr. Hays told the SECB.

    Which just goes to show you that pleasure, like humor, is also subjective.

    Yes We Can Hitch Ourselves to the Bandwagon

    posted by on August 19 at 9:51 PM

    Gregoire’s supporters aren’t the only ones who’ve figured out that “Yes we can!” has a nice ring to it. Here’s a little something the SECB picked up at the Burner party tonight:


    Gregoire Speaks

    posted by on August 19 at 9:47 PM

    Governor Gregoire just finished speaking. State Rep. Eric Pettigrew introduced her; other political bigwigs here include House Speaker Frank Chopp; State Rep. Joe McDermott; the aforementioned Jim McDermott; state party chair Dwight Pelz; State Rep. Ross Hunter; and State Sen. Karen Keiser.

    Gregoire’s brief speech here, unlike the one earlier tonight at Spitfire, has been mostly about her record as governor: Making the state the third-best in the country for business, prioritizing climate change, and taking care of men and women in Iraq. “We’ve got momentum, it’s on to November, the president of the United States is going to be Barack Obama!”

    Obama came up so much, in fact, you’d think Gregoire was Obama’s running mate; people are wearing buttons showing Gregoire’s image juxtaposed against the Democratic presidential nominee; and the room keeps breaking into chants of “Yes We Can!” Then, inexplicably, they played “Louie Louie” and everybody started milling around again.

    Gregoire’s in a good mood tonight. And she should be. She’s sweeping in counties, like Pierce, that she lost last time, returns from King County (where she’ll clean up) haven’t come in yet, and Dino Rossi just made a lackluster statement about this election not mattering because Republicans didn’t turn out. (And they’re going to turn out in November?) She entered the room to thunderous chants of “Four more years!,” hugging dozens of supporters on her way from the back of the room to the stage.

    Burner Claims a Mandate for Change in the 8th District

    posted by on August 19 at 9:35 PM


    Speaking to a mass of cheering (and noticeably young) supporters here at the Mustard Seed in Newport Hills, eastside Democrat Darcy Burner said that the primary vote count shows a demand for change in the 8th District. “More than 50-percent of the voters are voting for change,” Burner told the SECB after addressing the crowd.

    As the SECB stood scratching its head trying to figure out how Burner’s current 44-percent of the vote equals “more than 50-percent,” a supporter filled us in on the new math: Burner and four no-chance challengers collectively have just under 53-percent of the vote, while Reichert has 47-percent. If you’re talking about individual totals, Reichert is in the lead. No one else has more than his 47-percent. But if you group all the other candidates together under a “change” mantle, then yes, a majority of the 8th District appears to be voting for change.

    But, to be clear, in the head-to-head Burner is trailing Reichert, 44-percent to 47-percent. Still, Burner told us, the result “puts us in a tremendously strong position going into November.”

    And, new math aside, it’s generally not a good sign for a two-term incumbent like Reichert to be getting less than 50-percent in his district.


    Carlyle Promises to Burn Down Private Schools

    posted by on August 19 at 9:30 PM

    The SECB checks in on another hotly contested state house race…


    Reuven Carlyle—seen in the photo above—is running against John “Please Shut Up About the Latte Tax” Burbank for a state house seat from the 36th. Carlyle swears to God that his kids are in public schools, godfuckingdamnit. In fact, Carlyle hates private schools so much that he promises, if elected, to set fire to one private school a month until they’re all DESTROYED!

    Carlyle’s primary night party is at a house—his house—in a part of Queen Anne that overlooks Puget Sound. It’s so beautiful up here that the SECB just might weep. All of the houses on the block are beautiful, and there’s a Reuven Carlyle lawn sign in front of each and every one of them. Inside the house about 40-50 Carlyle supporters are eating and drinking and quietly counting their money in their heads. Carlyle mailers sit on a table. “Once in a generation a politician comes along who inspires hope and change,” reads one. Carlyle is shown in a photo standing to the left of Barack Obama. “And one on the right is pretty good too.”

    Har har.

    “The Obama movement is not just a cliche, it is not just a fad,” Carlyle tells the SECB in a moment of completely uncalled for candor.

    Seattle City councilmember Tim Burgess is here. He says he encouraged Carlyle to run and that he endorsed him because, “He’s the perfect candidate.” By now we’re wondering if Obama will pick Carlyle to be his VP. Or maybe Carlyle is “the one,” a.k.a. the “anti-Christ,” and not Obama.

    Speaking of perfection: The SECB strongly feels that Carlyle’s campaign manager, Matthew Gasparich, is a total fucking fox. When Gasparich asked the SECB if whether we have, “a refined taquito palate,” the SECB swooned. The SECB will sample Carlyle’s campaign manager’s taquito anytime, anyplace.

    Right now Burbank is ahead by a few points, but Carlyle will be going through to the general election.

    Election Results in Key Statewide Races

    posted by on August 19 at 9:22 PM

    Gregoire’s speaking at 9:30. Meanwhile, here are some more election results.

    US Congress, District 8

    Boleslaw (John) Orlinski (States No Party Preference) 1.08 %
    Richard Todd (States No Party Preference) 1.61 %
    James E. Vaughn (Prefers Democratic Party) 4.17 %
    Dave Reichert (Prefers Republican Party) 47.27 %
    Keith Arnold (Prefers Democratic Party) 1.59 %
    Darcy Burner (Prefers Democratic Party) 44.27 %


    Dino Rossi (Prefers G.O.P. Party) 45.76 %
    Will Baker (Prefers Reform Party) 0.40 %
    Christine Gregoire (Prefers Democratic Party) 48.31 %
    Duff Badgley (Prefers Green Party) 0.62 %
    John W. Aiken, Jr. (Prefers Republican Party) 1.86 %
    Christian Pierre Joubert (Prefers Democratic Party) 1.27 %
    Christopher A. Tudor (States No Party Preference) 0.38 %
    Javier O. Lopez (Prefers Republican Party) 0.38 %
    Mohammad Hasan Said (States No Party Preference) 0.21 %
    James White (Prefers Independent Party) 0.83 %

    Commissioner of Public Lands

    Peter J. Goldmark (Prefers Democratic Party) 48.89 %
    Doug Sutherland (Prefers Republican Party) 51.11 %

    Superintendent of Public Instruction

    John Patterson Blair 8.27 %
    Don Hansler 9.47 %
    Randy Dorn 29.99 %
    David Blomstrom 4.01 %
    Enid Duncan 6.59 %
    Teresa (Terry) Bergeson 41.66 %

    Supreme Court
    Justice Position 3 (Statewide)

    Mary Fairhurst 61.30 % (Note: This means Fairhurst wins another term).
    Michael J. Bond 38.7%

    Justice Position 4
    Charles W. Johnson 58.16 % (Note: This means Johnson wins another term.)
    C. F. (Frank) Vulliet 10.75 %
    James M. Beecher 31.10 %

    For complete election results in statewide races, visit the Secretary of State’s web site.

    Why Can’t We Be Friends?

    posted by on August 19 at 9:10 PM

    The SECB ran into Jason Osgood, the barcode-obsessed Democratic candidate for WA Secretary of State, at Gerry Pollet’s party at Mr. Villa’s in Lake City.

    Right now Sam Reed, the Stranger-endorsed Republican candidate for Secretary of State (the only Stranger-endorsed Republican candidate), is thumping Osgood. Reed’s got 54% of the vote so far, Osgood’s got 39%.

    Asked about the numbers, Osgood replied: “I’ll get back to you.”

    Then Osgood informed the SECB that he wasn’t pleased about the Stranger endorsement interview process. He felt it was set up in such a way to ensure the interviews turned into a “cockfights.” Then Osgood informed the SECB that he was on the debate team. He didn’t specify if he was on a college debate team or a high school debate team. Then he told the SECB that we could be friends and proceeded to share his recipe for couscous salad with the SECB.

    We are not making this up.

    Live at the Gregoire Event

    posted by on August 19 at 9:06 PM

    The SECB is at the Northwest African American History Museum at the former Colman School in South Seattle, and we’re waiting for Gov. Christine Gregoire to show up for her third event of the night. She’s running late from her last event—a hoity-toity “high-donor” private fundraiser at an undisclosed location—and the crowd is milling around in an increasingly hot room, drinking (mostly wine) and talking (mostly about Darcy Burner). “We Are Family” is blasting from the speakers.

    The SECB spent some of the dead time since this event supposedly started (at 7:30) talking with US Congressman Jim McDermott and a couple of political consultants. McDermott was eager to see how his five opponents were stacking up against him, but results—due at eight—didn’t come in until just now. McDermott blamed King County’s invariably molasses-slow vote count. “Ron Sims isn’t going to get reelected based on the swiftness with which he counts the vote,” he cracked. McDermott also remarked on the sometimes monotonous work lives of campaign consultants, noting that on some days, their job consists primarily of things like what hors d’œuvre to order. “I mean, will it be the square crackers or the oblong crackers?”

    Apparently, Gregoire’s event planner has a sweet tooth, because the food at this event consists entirely of candy, pastries, paper bowls of what looks like ice cream, and fruit. (We took pictures, but they keep crashing the SECB’s computer, so you’ll have to imagine it for yourself.)

    McDermott, it will surprise no one to learn, is winning, with 71 percent of the vote. Goodspaceguy Nelson, despite his quirky name, is flailing at second to last, with less than three percent.

    More results to come in a separate post.

    Bags for Burner

    posted by on August 19 at 9:05 PM

    Eagle-eyed Stephanie Pure, accompanied to the Burner victory party by the equally eagle-eyed Josh Feit, is remarking on the notable number of young people at this event. (Um, is anyone carding in this bar?)

    It’s definitely the young-in-Bellevue set:


    So How’s Gregoire Doing?

    posted by on August 19 at 9:00 PM

    In 2004, in King County, Christine Gregoire beat Dino Rossi in the general election by only about 100,000 votes.

    Gregoire needs to do much better than that this year to avoid another mess of a tight statewide race—or even a loss. And with just 12 percent of the votes counted in King County, it looks like Gregoire will indeed get a much bigger margin of victory in this year’s primary than she did in last cycle’s general. Which bodes well for her.

    Right now, Gregoire is leading Rossi in King County by about 30,000 votes. Extrapolating from that, and assuming the trend holds, Gregoire should beat Rossi in King County by well over 300,000 votes. Or to put it another way: by more than three times her margin of victory in 2004.

    Pity Party

    posted by on August 19 at 8:46 PM


    Mr. Villa’s in Lake City is the site of Gerry Pollet’s primary night party. Pollet is running for a state house seat in the 46th district against Scott White. This race has been the source of much drama over the last few weeks. There are 40 or 50 people inside the tiny restaurant, and Pollet was not optimistic about his chances when he spoke to the SECB.

    “I know we’ve been outspent three-to-one,” says Pollet, “but if we’re competitive, that’s a huge victory.”

    Pollet points out that he’s doing better than Republican Keith Ljunghammer, who has a silly name and an even more ridiculous party affiliation. Saying you’re going to do better than a Republican in the 46th district race isn’t saying much. As of 8:30, Pollet hadn’t announced the numbers—because online results show that Pollet is getting his ass kicked. White right now has 47% of the total votes cast, and Pollet is somewhere in the low 30s.

    Thanks to the top-two primary, of course, White will have another chance to kick Pollet’s ass in November when the two Dems face each other again.

    Talking to his supporters tonight Pollet somehow worked this into his speech: “The fight against global warming starts with each of us.”

    “This is my district,” says one member of the SECB, “and that no one in the room laughed illustrates why I hate my district.”

    UPDATE: No one was talking about the returns that have come in so far—which show Pollet down by 12 points—so the SECB showed Pollet the numbers on our iPhone. Pollet was delighted with the numbers. “That’s good news to us,” he told the SECB, and then he predicted that he would win the general election.

    At the Mustard Seed Waiting for Burner

    posted by on August 19 at 8:25 PM

    We are someplace called Newport Hills, which is about a 20-minute drive east from Seattle, sitting in what the SECB guesses you would call a blue-collar strip-mall bar. It’s called the Mustard Seed and the back looks like this:


    While the front looks like this:


    We’re still waiting for Burner to arrive, so the SECB checked out the spread, which is not promising:


    Memo to the Burner campaign: American flags are great and all, but they’re even better with food on them.

    The SECB spotted Blaire Butterworth, doing his second tour as a top Burner campaign consultant:


    That’s him on the left. Butterworth told us that tonight the campaign is hoping for Burner to, in the worst case, come in close to her opponent, Republican Congressman Dave Reichert. He has an advantage in terms of name recognition, and an additional advantage because turnout is likely to include a lot of older voters. Butterworth also told me the campaign will be looking closely at the numbers to see how Burner does in her district relative to Gregoire—which may tell them something about Burner’s relative strengths and weakness, and may also suggest what kind of impact (if any) the governer’s race will have on Burner’s fortunes.

    UPDATE: Cheers as the television reports that with 13 percent of the vote counted, Burner is tied with Reichert, 46 percent to 46 percent.

    The Top-Two Primaries Ruined EVERYTHING!

    posted by on August 19 at 8:10 PM

    “People were calling me today asking where the big parties were at,” says James Bush, legislative aide to King County Councilmember Dow Constantine. “The big parties are ‘at’ November.”

    Bush was enjoying a beer as the Kids for Gregoire Party at Spitfire slowly dissolved.

    The top-two primary has ruined primary night parties, Bush asserts (and the SECB strongly suspected as it prepared to head out tonight), since very little is actually be decided on primary night anymore. Maybe a judicial race or two, but otherwise… pffft.

    Back before the top-two primaries ruined everything, lots of local Dem races wrapped on primary night. The winner of the Dem primary in King County would face some sacrificial Republican in November—the indignity of it all—but the election was essentially over. Now, with the top-two primary, two Dems will move on to face each other in November. Theoretically it should make for a more exciting night in November… because, hey, we’ll find out who won in all these local Dem vs. Dem races in addition to state-wide and national races. But is anyone really going to care about the outcome of the White/Pollet race in the 46th when were waiting for results of the Obama/McCain and Burner/Reichert races? Anyone besides White and Pollet?


    We’re Not the Only Dopes

    posted by on August 19 at 7:43 PM

    A writer for another publication just asked the SECB why everyone left Spitfire already—and when is the governor going to get here anyway? We had to break it to him that the governor was here and gone.

    Gregoire’s Speech

    posted by on August 19 at 7:08 PM

    As noted below, we missed the governor’s speech; fortunately, a source in the audience was taking good notes. This super-secret mystery source told us that he found Gregoire’s speech “overly defensive”; it focused almost entirely on her Republican opponent Dino Rossi (whom she referred to consistently as “my opponent”), accusing Rossi of handing her a massive budget deficit; passing a bed tax on senior citizens in nursing homes (which he later called a “fee”); and voting against funding for education.

    The fundraiser was aimed at young professionals, who paid $50 a pop. We’re heading down to the Northwest African American Museum to see her reprise her Spitfire speech there in a few minutes.

    I-26: The Republican Cloaking Measure

    posted by on August 19 at 6:58 PM

    King County Council Member Larry Gossett—an opponent of Initiative 26, which would make all county elected positions nonpartisan—says he thinks “it will probably pass.”

    “People think it supports good government, and voters don’t want people to be partisan,” Gossett says. The measure would make countywide races, including the council and executive, nonpartisan. But I-26 is an elephant in sheep’s clothing. The only chance Republicans have of winning countywide races is if voters don’t know that the schmuck they’re voting for is a Republican.

    An alternative measure introduced by the council would allow candidates to state their party preference. The primary election will decide, which, if either version, will go on the general election ballot.

    Gossett likens the campaign to statewide Initiative 200, which passed in 1998 using language that promised to remove preference based on race in student admissions, employment, or contract awards. Lots of progressives thought that sounded swell, until they found out they’d passed a law that prohibit benefits for minorities students. Removing the party preference from ballots, Gossett says, “does not necessarily mean you get better candidates or better government.” But “better candidates” and “more choices” is the campaign’s mantra.

    “Instead of having a candidate’s party affiliation, which tells you the candidate’s policy positions, voters have to rely instead on slick advertising, pretty pictures, and name familiarity,” says King County Council Member Dow Constantine, a democrat. Passing the measure he says, would mean elected officials would have “positions not shared by the majority of the people in their district.”

    How does the campaign respond? Emails and calls went unanswered. “You thought it was a real campaign?” Gossett asks, chuckling. “Three rich guys gave 97 percent of the money to underwrite it. They just think that … they are going to win.”

    We’ll see if he’s right, and I-26 gets a pass to the general election. King County Elections says it will post the results here at 8:15 p.m. And we’ll call Gossett to get his reaction.

    If You Want to Rub Shoulders With the Governor…

    posted by on August 19 at 6:18 PM

    …don’t head down to Spitfire. The governor just left, a bright blue blur, trailing campaign aides and beefy security guards and one equally blurry husband.


    It seems she spoke at 5:30ish—before any results came in—and is “off to another event,” she tells the SECB. It’s a private event, we hear, and then the governor will be putting in an appearance at an event at the Northwest African American Museum at nine. Or 7:30. Nobody knows for sure. But we’ll catch up with her there.

    UPDATE: Well, the governor’s election-night party here at Spitfire—which is so totally off the hook, as the young people were recently saying—started at five, not seven, as you may have read on Slog. And it ended at six. Our bad. But the SECB weren’t the only ones that missed the show. The SECB was talking with one local elected official who, like us, showed up at six and was shocked to discover that Gregoire had already spoken and was on her way out the door.

    “Who ever heard of an election night party that starts at five and ends at six?” he said.

    Another politico—who, like our first politico, did not wish to be identified lest he destroy his future political prospects—said that the Spitfire party was Gregoire’s hip Belltown party for young folks. The party later tonight at the Northwest African American Museum “is Gregoire’s party for old folks.”

    The SECB just ordered it’s first drink of the evening: a shot of Maker’s Mark, neat. We’re buying, since there’s not an open bar at Gregoire’s party.

    We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties. Please Stand By.

    posted by on August 19 at 5:12 PM

    A transformer blew up outside our office a moment or two ago. Our phones are down, our internet is down, our email is down. If you’ve been trying to reach someone at our office via phone or email without luck, now you know what’s up.

    This post was filed from the Stranger’s command and control bunker.

    How Soon Until This One Goes Under?

    posted by on August 19 at 5:00 PM

    Mygazines is a website that allows people to upload and share magazines for free. They apparently don’t have any sort of agreement with magazine publishers, which means that it’s like a Napster for magazines, which is kind of weird. They list the important points of the website:

    Why Sign Up?

    * read magazine articles from virtually any magazine
    * collaborate articles into personal “mygazines”
    * archive your favorite magazines in one place you can always come back to!
    * rate & comment on articles and collaborated mygazines
    * contribute your own magazines to the community
    * all this and more - absolutely free!

    But signup is down right now. This doesn’t sound like that bad of an idea, really; if Conde Nast didn’t sue them out of existence, they’d be able to use this format to actually make money from advertisers. But I’m positive that Conde Nast will sue them out of existence as soon as they find out about Mygazines, which should be any minute now.

    (Via Kottke.)

    Election Boogaloo

    posted by on August 19 at 4:46 PM

    Wanna know where all the hep, happening primary election parties are? We’ve got you covered.

    UPDATE: Governor Christine Gregoire: The Northwest African American Museum (2300 S. Massachusetts Street) 7:30pm.

    Darcy Burner: The Mustard Seed Grill (5608 119th Ave SE, Bellevue) 8pm.

    Gerry Pollet: Mr. Villa (8064 Lake City Way NE) 8pm.

    John Burbank: Barta Photo Studio (2821 NW Market Street) 7:30pm

    Reuven Carlyle and Scott White are both having private parties at secret undisclosed locations.

    Dino Rossi’s party is in some place called Redmond.

    The Stranger Election Control Board will post updates all night long.

    Obama Will Tear Booksellers Apart

    posted by on August 19 at 3:51 PM

    The Associated Press is reporting that for two weeks, Amazon will exclusively carry a book called Obama’s Challenge. Barnes and Noble is reportedly so pissed about this exclusive deal that they’re refusing to carry Obama’s Challenge. They will do special orders for the book and sell it through their website, however.

    Frankly, all this amounts to is great publicity for Chelsea Green Publishing, the tiny little publisher of Obama’s Challenge. The book looks like nothing but a pie-in-the-sky economic challenge to Obama, with no real grounding in political reality. But it’ll probably sell five times as many copies now.

    Too Human Review

    posted by on August 19 at 3:43 PM


    Too Human
    (Xbox 360)

    Two of gaming’s oldest archetypes collide in Too Human: the stupidity of the Van Damme genre and the timesuck of amassing RPG crap like experience points and treasure. Not my dream blueprint for a game, but I did reserve a little hope, as TH’s designers were responsible for 2002’s Eternal Darkness, the first really good 3D scare game by a Western studio. (That game would throw up fake Blue Screens of Death. The hell is scarier than that?)

    Sadly, the creative folks at Silicon Knights didn’t know when to pull the plug on TH, finally released today after a decade of development. This game would’ve been a dandy on its original destination, the Playstation 1, and that’s a good way to put it, because the game feels dated—as if a lost PS1 game by some forward-thinking developer was unearthed 10 years later.

    Credit’s due here. For starters, in the world of clichéd gaming themes, there’s something, er, unique about this one: Norse mythology colliding with plasma rifles and rocket-launching robots. (Steam-narök, maybe?) Might sound cheesy, but the art team here sure ran with the idea. If the game feels old, it sure doesn’t look it—while rough around the edges, TH’s set designs and architecture rank up there with the immaculate God of War.

    That mythology core takes its toll on the plot. TH is too full of stereotypes and one-liners to be taken as seriously as Silicon Knights so desperately wants us to (and geez, are there a lot of cut-scenes and town-crawls). At the same time, there are too many shades of gray to determine who’s worth liking in this tedious story. Worst of both worlds.

    The core battling has its moments. In earlier stages, your gun-n-slash hero can whip through a chain of 30 baddies at once, and maneuvering these kill-combos has a certain Viking grace. You’ll slash one dude, throw another one in the air, hold that mid-air guy up with a cloud of gunfire, then “slide” with your sword in a bee-line to the next foe, only to slam your fists to the ground and fell a mass of six critters simultaneously.

    Like in Diablo, this mindless baddy-genocide is fun with a friend. Loot sharing and co-op moves are well done here; certainly better than last year’s Army of Two. But that mode is online-only, and without a friend to talk to and kill with, the game’s shortcomings are more oppressive. Missions run in a straight line; all killing, no puzzles. Since all enemies look pretty much the same, monotony sets in quickly. The game tries to hook players with Diablo-style treasure (all the swords you could want, nerds!), but Diablo beefed up its virtual treasure hunts with winding, crazy dungeons and a ridiculous variety of creepy crawlies. Not so much here.

    I could describe other issues in detail: awkward controls, wonky cameras, clumsy item management, wonky fricking cameras. Those are all annoying, if not deal breakers. But more than any of that, Silicon Knights has no clue what the word “difficulty” means. In TH, you will die. Often. Over and over. Holy crap, are you going to die. Not that it matters, though—your character comes back to life after every death in the same spot with barely any penalty for it.

    I’m fine with the free revival concept, but not the execution. It’s only there because TH gives players no other solid way to stay alive. New weapons and armor don’t help; the enemies scale up automatically, so you rarely feel like a total badass. And healing and dodging are nerfed. Once the difficulty very suddenly ramps up, you will spend more time dying and waiting for revivals than playing the damned thing.

    Again, muffle the criticisms if you’ve got a pal to tear through this with. Co-op doesn’t so much save the game as flatten out the complaints (for one, you’ll die a lot less). But that’s not a ringing endorsement. Fanboys who love virtual treasure have too many hurdles between them and their gold, while if you were hoping for a great story, quality acting, or a new echelon of action gaming, better luck next time.

    Want to see TV on the Radio at Showbox Sodo?

    posted by on August 19 at 3:15 PM

    Yes? Go to Line Out right now and enter to win free tickets to their September 6th show.

    Good Point

    posted by on August 19 at 2:54 PM

    Andrew Sullivan points out that while John McCain was a prisoner of war, he was subjected to sleep deprivation and stress positions, he was forced to stand for long periods of time and he was beaten. Which means he wasn’t tortured—at least according to the Bush administration’s definition of torture.

    Now who will ask the president if John McCain was tortured or not?

    Meanwhile, the Latest National Poll…

    posted by on August 19 at 2:54 PM

    …shows Obama and McCain in a statistical dead heat.

    These national polls are not nearly as important as the state polls—especially the polls in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Colorado, and other battlegrounds that could be key to any winning electoral math.

    Still, this is not good news for Obama, and it presents a very good occasion to change the subject by announcing his VP pick.

    City of Cranes

    posted by on August 19 at 2:47 PM


    Went for a bike ride, stopped at Gasworks to take a look at the city. There are cranes everywhere. I counted thirty of them before I gave up, took a picture, and rode off.

    The Horse That Keeps On Giving

    posted by on August 19 at 2:32 PM

    Dear Mister Charles Mudede,

    As an editor of NEON, Germany’s monthly, award winning spin-off from STERN magazine for young readers, I am currently working on a feature article on zoophile people… I would like to travel to Enumclaw in September or October.

    Do you think it is possible to see the horse…

    And then there’s this.

    Regarding Obama’s VP Pick

    posted by on August 19 at 2:21 PM

    I don’t know who it’s going to be but isn’t going to be Joe “Neil Kinnock” Biden. That’s a smokescreen, and Biden is letting himself be used to distract people from whoever Obama is really talking to in exchange for, oh, Secretary of State or something he’s qualified to do and interested in doing.

    And it isn’t going to be Bill “Pro Ball” Richardson either. Or Hillary.

    Slog Poll: Obama’s VP Pick (Final Round)

    posted by on August 19 at 2:20 PM

    With the lightning round finished, here comes the final round of Slog mob voting on Obama’s VP choice. First, auf Wiedersehen to: Michael Bloomberg, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Hagel, and Sam Nunn.

    Now, the final round: Joe Biden vs. Bill Richardson.

    This round lasts until 5 p.m., at which point we’ll know who you all believe Obama should choose as VP. Vote wisely. And remember, we’re talking here about who you think Obama should pick, not not who he will pick. There’s been a lot of chatter today about Obama’s choice being announced first thing tomorrow morning, so with any luck we won’t have long to wait before we find out how closely the Slog mind overlaps with the Obama mind.

    Who should Obama pick as Vice President?

    Two Bits of Unrelated Comic-book Business

    posted by on August 19 at 2:00 PM


    First, The Beat reports that some idiot publisher is reprinting every single Stan’s Soapbox column that was published between 1967 and 1980. If you don’t know what Stan’s Soapbox is, it’s a monthly column by Stan Lee extolling the greatness of Marvel Comics. They were written in an exasperatingly breathless and alliterative style, like this sample below, taken from Matt Shepherd’s blog:


    So basically, for $14.95, fanboys will be able to purchase a book of advertisements for books that were published forty years ago. This is kind of genius, even moreso since the cover is so atrocious.

    Second, the Watchmen movie might not come out on time next year, because Warner Brothers maybe didn’t have the right to make a Watchmen movie at all:

    Earlier this year, Twentieth Century Fox filed a lawsuit against Warner Bros. seeking to stop Watchmen’s release (scheduled for March 6, 2009), claiming that it, not Warner Bros., held the distribution rights to any motion picture made from the material. Today, a judge declined Warner Bros.’ request to dismiss the lawsuit, setting the stage for a possibly ugly legal tussle.

    For comics nerds, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

    The Spooky Wisdom of Spam!

    posted by on August 19 at 1:49 PM

    crybabybrit.jpgJust now! Seconds ago! I got four spams, right in a row. Spam emails, please to note, not Spam “pig in a can”. (Rats! Love me some pig in a can!) In their “subject” lines, these spam emails read:

    Britney Spears Plans to Auction off Her Children on Ebay!


    Britney Sues Vagina for Divorce!


    Britney Spears Ditches Singing Career, Enters Car Racing!


    Britney Spears Recording New Album, Forgets How to Sing!

    Creepy! I know!

    Clearly, there is some message here.

    Is the universe trying to warn us? Does Britney need my help? Is she (and her vagina, and her kids, and her race car maybe) trapped in a burning barn, down by old Mystery Creek?

    Please! Adepts in the mystic art of spamomancy (the ancient science of divining cosmic messages via junk email—or pig in a can, whatever)…what does it all mean?

    Wait. No. Don’t tell me. I don’t give a shit.

    Britney Spears. Only the spam still cares.

    By Any Means Necessary

    posted by on August 19 at 1:36 PM


    Who’s got Obama’s back?

    Kirsten Dunst has got his back:

    Actress Kirsten Dunst has vowed to do “whatever is necessary” to ensure U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama is elected into office.

    The 26-year-old is endorsing the Democrat and insists she is prepared to go to great lengths to help him win the White House race.

    She says, “I absolutely adore him and I’ll do whatever is necessary to help him become the next president.

    Who’s the man with the master plan?

    Who’s Eating Your Lunch?

    posted by on August 19 at 1:00 PM

    bbqmeatball.jpgHoly Taco has actual photos of actual school lunches that were posted onto the website of a Harrisonburg, VA school system. These photos are supposed to be advertisements in favor of the lunches.

    This reminded me of one of my most disgusting freelance assignments for this paper, when I reviewed Seattle-area school lunches. It turns out, the most disgusting thing that I ate for the assignment was something that the students would bring to school in lieu of eating the school lunches:

    Jane wisely didn’t eat the school lunch. Ordinarily, she’d eat a sandwich that her mom made, but, due to a late start this morning, she’d brought a meal that’s de rigueur with today’s students: an Oscar Mayer Lunchables Mess With Your Mouth Tacos dinner with Free Sour Tongue Teasing Fizz ($3.19 at most QFCs). The distinguishing feature of the Mess With Your Mouth line of Lunchables is that the entrée (in this case, three small tortillas that the consumer fills with room-temperature ground beef in taco sauce that’s squeezed from a toothpaste-like tube) is supposed to be covered with crushed Pop Rocks, which are sour and explode in your mouth as you eat the lukewarm mini-taco. Also, you get a bag of Capri Sun Fruit Punch and, in case the sugar you sprinkled on your taco wasn’t enough, a box of cherry Nerds.

    In conclusion: I’m so glad I’m not a kid.

    He Must Have Provoked That Dog Somehow

    posted by on August 19 at 12:58 PM

    That 90 year-old mauled by pit bulls—or “eaten alive,” according to witnesses—who wound up having three limbs amputated after the attack? He’s dead.

    News From The Animal Kingdom

    posted by on August 19 at 12:40 PM

    A consequence of cultural pollution:

    A wild dolphin is apparently teaching other members of her group to walk on their tails, a behaviour usually seen only after training in captivity.

    The tail-walking group lives along the south Australian coast near Adelaide.

    One of them spent a short time after illness in a dolphinarium 20 years ago and may have picked up the trick there.

    What’s sadder than a dolphin walking on water? You guessed it:

    Slog Poll: Obama’s VP Pick (Lightning Round)

    posted by on August 19 at 12:30 PM

    Ok, Slog mob, round two is over. We now say auf Wiedersehen to everyone who drew less than 10 percent of the vote: Bill Bradley, Wesley Clark, Tom Daschle, and John Kerry.

    We’re hurrying things up because the word is that Obama could announce his VP pick tomorrow morning. So this round lasts until 2 p.m., and after that we’ll have a top-two duel that will determine the Slog’s official choice for VP. Vote wisely. And remember, we’re talking here about who you think Obama should pick, not not who he will pick.

    Who should Obama pick as Vice President?

    Savage Love Letter of the Day

    posted by on August 19 at 12:09 PM

    Another letter that’s way, way too long for the column. It’s all below, after the jump.

    But my advice? This frustrated after-the-jump straight girl needs to play to her strengths—the tomboy thing—and stop regarding/presenting her lack of experience as some sort of millstone that she will one day hang around the neck of some unlucky guy. There are guys out there that are actually into tomboys; and inexperience, when it’s properly presented (think “a sexy opportunity for a more experienced partner to blow someone’s mind and mold someone sexually,” not “a horrible, horrible burden for the more experienced partner”), can be a major turn-on.

    Also, people who rule out bars and internet personals and rebuff the assistance of their friends can’t complain about how little action they’re getting. Don’t like bars? A large percentage of the people in them feel the same way; they’re there looking for someone they can never go to the bars with again. Internet personals make you feel gross? Yeah, well, being single is making you feel worse. And if your friends offer to drag you places, let ‘em.

    Continue reading "Savage Love Letter of the Day" »

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on August 19 at 12:01 PM

    Because no woman likes a seat belt all up in her tiddys…

    Ok, Cupid!

    posted by on August 19 at 12:00 PM

    This lady lists a few introductory e-mails she’s received from guys on OK Cupid. I can’t believe that any guy would think that this introduction, received out of the blue…


    …would actually work. I don’t know whether the emoticon makes it worse or better, or what, exactly, ‘worse’ and ‘better’ mean in this context.

    Grumpy Old Man Pissed That Everyone Else is Such a Pussy

    posted by on August 19 at 11:44 AM

    It’s the civic saga that won’t quit: The random attack of a blind passenger aboard a Metro bus, first reported in a May Last Days:

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

    Next came news that the assailant was facing hate-crime charges, followed by input from the victim herself on June 27:

    I was the blind woman assaulted aboard a Metro bus on Sunday morning, May 18. I want to add my thanks to the people who intervened on my behalf and looked after me when it was over. At first, I didn’t even realize someone had deliberately struck me. After three blows I finally wised up enough to duck, but he managed to hit me a few more times anyway. Although I was dazed and amazed that someone would do such a thing, people were wonderful. It’s one heck of a way to make friends, but WOW! What friends in need! The reaction of the other passengers on the bus this May has restored my faith in the decency of Seattleites and in the power of teamwork. God bless them all—especially those who also sustained injuries. All I can offer you is a song if we ever meet in Pike Place Market. (And in case you’re interested, I’ve received concerned apologies from the King County Sheriff’s Department [responsible for Metro security] and from Metro, along with an annual pass.)

    Which brings us to the latest update: an email sent by one Tom Eisenhauer, AKA the old man who first stepped in to stop the attack, who calls bullshit on everything:

    I am the “good Samaritan” AKA the “H” word. I heard this rag actually published a couple articles about the assault on that Sunday morning, May 18, 08. A friend showed me the articles from your website. I am happy Mr. Hughes is getting the mental help he should get, I hope. I think the victim should get a service dog. Is anyone volunteering with that good deed? Are you all just crediting yourselves with your own fantasies you know did not happen. Usually people keep their fantasies to themselves. Otherwise a bus full of good citizens AKA cowards did not lift a finger until this “good Samaritan” yelled out for help to keep Mr. Hughes subdued. I have medical issues and should not get involved in violent situations. When no one else in a bus full of people gets involved, and a healthy man is trying to beat a blind woman to death, I guess it takes another disabled man to defend her. I am just pleased I was there to help.

    Me too, grumpy cripple. Everyone else: Stay tuned.

    The African Thinking

    posted by on August 19 at 11:08 AM

    Reading this report made my eyebrows go up:

    LUSAKA, Zambia — Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, who broke the African tradition of silence and solidarity among leaders to denounce neighboring Zimbabwe’s economic ruin, died in a French military hospital Tuesday. He was 59.

    Mwanawasa had suffered a stroke and collapsed at an African Union summit in Egypt in June, which cost Zimbabweans the voice of one of their few champions on the continent.

    The mind that is African can see no accident in the sudden stroke and death of an open opponent of Robert Mugabe. The whole strange business points to one understanding: Mwanawasa’s muti (medicine) is not as powerful as Mugabe’s.

    At the Delicious Milk Chocolate Mountains of Madness

    posted by on August 19 at 11:02 AM


    McSweeney’s has a list of Selections from H.P. Lovecraft’s Brief Tenure as a Whitman’s Sampler Copywriter. Here’s one:

    Coconut Creme Swirl

    They say that the Coconut Creme Swirl sleeps. But if the dread Coconut Creme Swirl slumbers, surely it must also dream. It is certain that while it dozes the Coconut Creme Swirl is absorbed by terrifying visions of exacting its creamy tropical vengeance upon mankind! Consume the Coconut Creme Swirl before it awakens to consume you!

    Stuffed Cthulhu image from

    Post-Primary Flashback

    posted by on August 19 at 11:01 AM

    Second in a series.

    A lot has been written about this election, in our pages and on our blog, since Obama (finally) wrapped up the nomination. While we hurtle toward the next big plot point, the convention, we’re recapping what’s been said since the last moment when everyone was paying attention.

    Here is Jen Graves writing in the Aug. 6 Stranger on the explosion of Obama art.


    Barack Obama is visual culture’s number-one subject right now. Combining fine art, street art, and folk art— YouTube seems as good a folk medium as any—the output is unprecedented: There has never been this much art made about a presidential candidate.

    And here is Dominic Holden foreshadowing, just before the end of the primaries, the coming debate (or, just as likely, non-debate) on real drug policy reform:

    Early in the donkey race, Obama and Clinton bickered via their spokespeople about the crack-cocaine sentencing reforms, they took wimpy positions opposing medical-marijuana raids, and presses slipped pages about Obama’s support for marijuana decriminalization (he later recanted). But both Democratic candidates fell short of any bold position to strong-arm the DEA or legalize pot—or directly debate the issue—lest they give the GOP ammunition in the general election. I mean, imagine the GOP attack ads: “Barack Obama said we need to decriminalize marijuana, but do you want more drug addicts in the hallways of our schools?” But now the Democratic primary is essentially over. And drug-law reform is an issue in presidential politics—starting today.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on August 19 at 11:00 AM


    Dirk Wittenborn

    Wittenborn’s Pharmakon begins: “I was born because a man came to kill my father.” It’s a novel about a doctor in the burgeoning field of mood-altering pharmaceuticals. You’ll want to read it because it recalls the best of John Irving, but you’ll want to go to the reading to hear Wittenborn tell Pharmakon’s secret story: The book is semiautobiographical. Wittenborn’s father was an innovator in the field that would eventually create Prozac, and he was marked for death by a crazy student. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main St, 624-6600. 7:30 pm, free.)


    Currently Hanging

    posted by on August 19 at 10:59 AM


    While I wait my turn for the library to lend me the new book, “Spiral Jetta”—a travelogue of the earth art of the American West—I ask you: why don’t any art pilgrims go to Mount Rushmore? Where’s the love?

    Not just that, but Rushmore is the very prototype of a contemporary art project, conceived and designed by a big personality, then executed by a horde of assistants while the artist is off doing other things. I’ve never seen it, but would love to.

    At Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum was the big artist personality.

    To give some more thought to the unloved Rushmore, go to Matthew Buckingham’s current show at the Henry Art Gallery, where you’ll find this 1923 declaration by South Dakota state historian Doane Robinson, who conceived the Rushmore project:

    “God only makes a Michelangelo or a Gutzon Borglum once in a thousand years.”

    My Effortless Prescience

    posted by on August 19 at 10:50 AM


    This week, in my profile of burlesque/”boylesque” dancer Waxie Moon (aka Marc Kenison: Juilliard graduate, dancer for the prestigious José Limón Company, co-founder of Washington Ensemble Theatre), I wrote:

    Waxie introduced something new to burlesque: pathos.

    I was talking about a little pathos in her character, her peculiar combination of diva and busted ho.

    Little did I know she was about to release this, which kicks pathos-in-burlesque to a whole new plateau.

    Now that’s what I didn’t know I was talking about.

    Read the rest of the story—which features a leather daddy, Waxie stripping for Cyndi Lauper and Fred Schneider, and Diana Ross acting like a total bitchhere.

    You Know What?

    posted by on August 19 at 10:41 AM

    Fuck Bill Clinton.

    My Opinion of Christopher Hitchens…

    posted by on August 19 at 10:36 AM

    …just dropped a little bit. Hitchens and a bunch of other writers, including Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon, Y the Last Man writer Brian K. Vaughan, and Year of Living Biblically jackass A.J. Jacobs all star in a book trailer for a new mystery thriller called The Book of Lies, by Brad Meltzer. They’re all pretending that the titular book, which is somehow connected to Cain and Abel and the creation of Superman, is real. The trailer is really embarrassing to watch:

    This is why writers are not actors. Also, Brad Meltzer is a huge-ass hack. He started out as a Grisham rip-off, but then he started writing superhero comic books (of course the superhero comics community embraced him as a real literary talent because the superhero comics community swoons whenever they get any positive attention from anyone who’s not a member of the superhero comics community). Now he’s combining his two areas of hackspertise into one, with a conspiracy novel about a superhero comic book.

    I actually read Meltzer’s last book, The Book of Truth, when it came out a couple years back, and it was one of the worst thrillers I’ve ever read: cardboard characters, a ‘conspiracy’ that doesn’t work, and the vexing ability to somehow construct every sentence in the book around a cliche. His comic book popularity explains Whedon and Vaughan’s participation, and Galleycat seems to think that Hitchens was pushed into it by his literary agency, which—here’s your conspiracy—is also Meltzer’s literary agency. I’m going to go try to unwatch this thing now.

    A Modest (Marriage) Proposal

    posted by on August 19 at 10:35 AM

    Let’s pretend that it’s November and Barack Obama is 20 points ahead—thanks, in part, to a collective decision on the part of the traditional media to stop eating John McCain’s ass and actually hold the McCain camp accountable for its crude race-baiting, anti-Christ-baiting, accusations of treason, and lies.

    Hey, we’re fantasizing, right?

    So let’s say Obama is on the verge of getting his ass elected. That’ll mean he’s also on the verge of having to make good on a campaign promise he made to us queers: He’s going to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which bars any federal recognition of same-sex marriages. Obama’s pledge to repeal DOMA—or work with Congress to repeal it—recalls Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign promise to end the military’s ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military—and we all know how that worked out.

    Repealing DOMA would make the splashiest benefits of marriage—social security, joint tax filings, the ability of a foreign partner to obtain citizenship, etc.—available to legally married same-sex couples. Of course same-sex couples can only be legally married in California or Massachusetts at the moment (fuck you again, Washington State Supreme Court, and fuck you hard), while New York State, on the orders of it governor, will recognize their marriages (hello? Christine?). Which means that there are only three states where, if DOMA were repealed during the first Obama administration, same-sex couples would enjoy all the rights, responsibilities, and protections of legal marriage, the big ones granted by the federal government and the more numerous-but-less-crucial ones granted by the states.

    Now pro-gay legislators would sign on for a DOMA repeal, of course. We’re not going to have any trouble lining up the votes of Barbara Boxer or Jim McDermott and Barney Frank and, um… those guys. But just as there weren’t enough “thinking Americans” to put Adlai Stevenson in the White House (look him up, kids), there aren’t enough pro-gay legislators in Congress to repeal DOMA.


    We need to come up with an argument for repealing DOMA that would play well in anti-gay states, places represented by anti-gay Republicans and anti-gay Democrats. So how about this:

    If DOMA is repealed then gay and lesbian couples that wish to marry, and gay and lesbian singles that would like to marry one day, will have a huge incentive to leave anti-gay states like Mississippi, Alabama, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, etc., for states where we can enjoy our full marriage rights, states like California and New York and Massachusetts. So a Congressman from Dumbfuck, West Virginia, could vote to repeal DOMA and then go home and spin his vote to his hateful constituents not as a pro-gay vote—heavens no!—but as an anti-gay vote. He voted to repeal DOMA so that those those sinful gays and lesbians would quit West Virginia for Massachusetts. And then the congressman from Dumbfuck could remind his constituents that God sent a hurricane in the shape of a giant wrathful fetus to destroy New Orleans because the gays were about to host a big street party and God is all powerful and so He could so totally send one to West Virginia if he felt like it. And so anything the congressman from Dumfuck could do to encourage native-born gays and lesbians to leave the state, and discourage gays and lesbians from moving into the state, was really in their best interests of his God- and fetus-shaped-hurricane-fearing constituents.

    It sounds crazy, I realize, but Christian bigots are already fantasizing about mass gay migrations. When discussing a bill that would make it possible for American gays and lesbians to sponsor their foreign partners for US citizenship, Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council said that his organization would “prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States.” Driving gays and lesbians out of the country may be a bit unrealistic, as even Mr. Sprigg might admit, seeing as we homosexuals reproduce ourselves out of the bodies of heterosexuals. By the time Sprigg finished rounding up all the gays and lesbians in the country and exporting us to, say, the EU (pick me! pick me!), he’d have a fresh generation of homos on his hands.

    So it seems plausible that Mr. Sprigg, the Family Research Council, and the good people of Jesusland, USA, would embrace policies—the repeal of DOMA at the federal level, a halt to all efforts to amend state constitutions in California and Massachusetts to ban gay marriage—that resulted in American homosexuals exporting ourselves (in greater numbers than we already do) from states where we’re not wanted (Virginia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Michigan, etc.), to states where we are wanted (California, New York, Massachusetts).

    Unfortunately Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry thinks my “trail of queers” idea is a bad one.

    “I don’t think we win by buying into messages or arguments that adopt our opponents’ invidious premises, i.e., the suggestion that gays are bad and should be driven from the state,” Evan wrote in an email. “The opposition will not be mollified, and we lose a chance to move the middle through authentic engagement.”

    Blah blah blah—authentic engagement and all that. But I honestly think my approach is more pragmatic, and will result in DOMA being repealed sooner rather than later.

    UPDATE: In comments elswinger writes: “Not once have I ever heard him say [he was going to repeal DOMA]. If he had we would be seeing commercials from the McCain camp about it.”

    From Obama’s Open Letter to Gay Americans: “I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)—a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether.”

    And Google “obama doma” if you want to see how exercised the religious right is about Obama’s “threat” to repeal DOMA.


    posted by on August 19 at 10:27 AM

    Do not watch this. Unlike you’d like to enjoy your morning.

    (Thanks, Melissa!)

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on August 19 at 10:18 AM


    Three readings tonight, including another signing for that I Brake For Meltdowns book from yesterday.

    At Queen Anne Bookstore, which is a very nice bookstore on top of Queen Anne, Matt Ruff will be reading from the brand-new paperback release of Bad Monkeys. Ruff is a local author who is smart and funny and capable of changing genre with disturbing ease. I recommend this reading tonight.

    But I also recommend another reading tonight: Dirk Wittenborn reads from his novel Pharmakon at Elliott Bay Book Company. There will be a Suggests post popping up around here somewhere about this reading, but it’s an interesting, semiautobiographical novel. Basically, your decision about where to go tonight should be based on your interest: it’s either Wittenborn, with a novel about a family and the beginnings of the modern pharmaceuticals industry or Ruff, with a novel about a possibly crazy woman with a ray gun who thinks she works for a super-secret spy agency. Your answer will announce to the world exactly what kind of person you are.

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

    Slog Poll: Obama’s VP Pick (Round 2)

    posted by on August 19 at 10:00 AM

    Yesterday we started our Obama VP runoff voting with a super long list of possible picks.

    More than 2,500 votes were cast and today, with talk of an imminent Obama decision still churning, I’m kicking out all the contenders who received less than 5 percent of the previous Slog vote. Mwa! Mwa! and auf Wiedersehen to: Evan Bayh, Chris Dodd, Chet Edwards, Al Gore, Tim Kaine, Janet Napolitano, Claire McCaskill, John Podesta, Jack Reed, Kathleen Sebelius, and Mark Warner. Best of luck to you all.

    Below is the narrowed-down, but still pretty long, list for Round 2. Vote wisely. And remember, we’re talking here about who you think Obama should pick, not not who he will pick.

    Who should Obama pick as Vice President?

    Poll closes at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday NOON TODAY. Then, because of all the chatter about an Obama pick first thing Wednesday morning, we’ll commence a series of lightning rounds this afternoon and settle on a Slog VP pick by end of day today.

    Women With Guns

    posted by on August 19 at 10:00 AM

    news-graphics-2008-_656788a.jpgAt the start of this year, I discovered Niki the Shooter. Now there’s Dorothy.

    Have you ever heard of Warhol’s Shot Red Marilyn? I can’t believe I hadn’t. I discovered it reading Richard Polsky’s book I Bought Andy Warhol last week. (An earlier post about the book, in which I do not recommend the full read, is here.)

    Turns out a stack of Warhol Marilyns were, well, shot in the head as they leaned innocently against a wall. The woman reponsible was Dorothy Podber, an artist in her own right and all-around bad girl (pictured above, slumping and scowling in her animal prints). She died earlier this year. From her obituary:

    Certainly the most outrageous [trick] was her unsolicited contribution to a few of Warhol’s “Marilyn” silk-screen paintings. In the fall of 1964 Ms. Podber, a friend of the photographer and Warhol regular Billy Name, visited Warhol’s Factory on East 47th Street in Manhattan with her Great Dane (named Carmen Miranda or Yvonne De Carlo, depending on the account). Ms. Podber asked Warhol if she could shoot a stack of the “Marilyn” paintings; he apparently thought that she wanted to take pictures of them and consented.

    But she produced a pistol and fired at them, penetrating three or four. One of them, “Shot Red Marilyn,” with a repaired bullet hole over the left eyebrow, sold for $4 million in 1989, at the time setting a record at auction for a Warhol work.

    “After she left,” Mr. Name told Ms. Bergmann, “Andy came over to me and said: ‘Please make sure Dorothy doesn’t come over here anymore. She’s too scary.’ ”

    Warhol made the Marilyns shortly after Monroe died, based on a press image from the filming of Niagara, featuring her face in all its gobsmackingly constructed glory. In the name of cosmetic realignment, even the Shot Red Marilyn has been repaired, and, why, you can buy a print of that unblemished face here, with a frame to match the sofa.

    My Stupid Reptile Brain

    posted by on August 19 at 9:14 AM

    That mentally ill anti-Semitic kid from New Jersey who stalked and briefly detained/kidnapped Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel in an effort to force Wiesel to admit that the Holocaust was a hoax? He’s kind of cute.

    I wish that wasn’t the first thing I noticed when I read the story about his sentencing this morning—to time served and mental health treatment—but there it is.

    Oh, and Eric Hunt is also sorry and getting help and taking his meds and no longer an anti-Semite.

    Maverick Moment of the Day

    posted by on August 19 at 9:05 AM

    Here’s a long, interesting story from a writer for the Phoenix New Times who is decidedly not part of the McCain fan club. She’s been on the McCain beat forever:

    I’ve been a writer and editor at New Times for 15 years. For much of that time, I wrote about Arizona politics, which is to say that I wrote about John McCain. It’s still odd to see the guy in the spotlight, because for quite a while, I was pretty much the only one covering him.

    I never did fall for him in the way reporters fall for politicians, probably because he wasn’t much to fall for back in the early 1990s. In those days, McCain was still rehabilitating the image he’d later sell to the national media. He was known then for cavorting in the Bahamas with Charlie Keating, rather than for fighting for campaign finance reform and limited government spending…

    Wanna Attract More Sex Partners?

    posted by on August 19 at 9:02 AM

    Don’t get six-pack abs. Get, uh, symmetrical.

    The research backs up previous findings that symmetrically proportioned faces are more attractive and suggests that our brains are hard-wired to find symmetry sexy in a potential partner. In our evolutionary past, symmetry may have been an honest signal of flawless development and health. …

    The theory is that disturbances in the womb, infections, poor nutrition and genetic flaws all increase your degree of asymmetry and so good proportions are an honest indication of healthy development and hence a partner’s ability to produce healthy children.

    My boyfriend is pretty darn symmetrical, but so far he hasn’t produced any healthy children for me. We’ll keep plugging away at it, though.

    The Morning News

    posted by on August 19 at 8:28 AM

    Pakistani Problems: With Musharraf gone, America evaluates its options.

    Florida Meets Fay: Tropical Storm Fay brings rain, wind, loss of power, but fails to reach hurricane strength.

    Georgia On Their Minds: Russian troops reported to be digging into positions throughout Georgia, despite ceasefire agreement.

    iPod Immolation: Japan warns consumers as three accounts of iPod nanos bursting into flames are reported.

    Walk Hard: Nickels wants you walking this summer.

    Basketball Battle: Sonics season ticket holders demanding that they get two free seasons of seats in OKC.

    BBK: Obama appears to have picked either Biden, Bayh or Kaine to be his VP nominee. The suspense builds!

    Watchmen Lawsuit: Who will watch the Watchmen after everyone gets done suing one another?


    Find your poll location in King County.
    Or call 206-296-VOTE.
    Polls are open 7AM to 8PM.

    Monday, August 18, 2008

    Not a Good Start

    posted by on August 18 at 7:54 PM

    I has planned to write a deep, in-depth slog post analyzing the Mariners-White Sox game tonight, but, frankly, it comes down to this reverse paraphrase of Yogi Berra: bad pitching loses to good hitting, and vice-versa. The M’s had bad pitching, and bad hitting, and so… 13-5.

    Will try to have something deeper to say about the game Wednesday afternoon, which I will attend live and in person. But will not live-slog, due to the fact that lugging my laptop all over town just ain’t gonna happen.

    And on another topic, let me just point out that the brother’s idea of satellite hempfests mirrors my cogent advice for Critical Mass. Perhaps combine the two? Let everyone get high as shit all over town, then ride downtown to Pike Market, while eating handfuls of Doritos handed out by the homeless.


    posted by on August 18 at 6:40 PM

    Attention iPhone-enabled Slog & Line Out readers!

    Your slow-page-loading days are over. Some time ago, because I have an iPhone and very little patience, I created an iPhone-optimized interface for Slog. Some time later, Nick improved it and then the other day New Nick made one for Line Out. Now, in a fit of selflessness and doing-my-job, I’m sharing it with the world. I hope that it makes you as happy as it has me.

    I’m very happy, ask anyone.

    slog.jpg lineout.jpg

    Don’t have an iPhone? Well, this might work just fine in your mobile “browser,” but I can’t promise anything. Please let us know how it goes if you try it. I attempted to test it in Windows Mobile, but I don’t associate with Windows Mobile users, and attempts to get Microsoft’s emulators working proved predictably annoying, and then I got hungry. YMMV!

    Bayh, Biden, or Kaine

    posted by on August 18 at 6:15 PM

    The Slog has only just begun its VP runoff voting, but it sounds like Obama is closing in a his pick—with or without our help. Via the New York Times:

    Mr. Obama had not notified his choice — or any of those not selected — of his decision as of late Monday, advisers said. Going into the final days, Mr. Obama was said to be focused mainly on three candidates: Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana, Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia and Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.

    Aides said the announcement would come at the earliest on Wednesday morning.

    Out of those three, Biden is the only one the Slog mob seems to feel good about. (As of 6:15 p.m., that is.)

    The Knox Alliance

    posted by on August 18 at 5:32 PM

    What’s remarkable in this image that ornaments a very pro Knox story in the Seattle Times?
    2008116669.jpg The T-shirt worn by Amanda’s sister, Deanne Knox, says: “Free Amanda and Raffaefle.” What’s remarkable is not the absence of Rudy, but the very presence of Raffaele’s name on the shirt. (Raffaele Sollecito is Amanda’s ex.) Why is it there? While in Italy, I heard with my own living ears Raffaele’s father dismiss Amanda. He wanted to separate his son from her (“a strange woman”). Why all of sudden this show solidarity? Pure PR. It’s not for us to see this T-shirt; it’s for the Italians. The Knox family wants the Italians to link Amanda’s fate with one of their own.

    When will the mist clear from this case?

    Obama’s Party

    posted by on August 18 at 5:10 PM

    Dana Goldstein and Ezra Klein are out with an interesting examination of what Barack Obama is doing with the Democratic party now that he’s in control. The answer: a lot more than you might think, but with fewer answers about long-term intentions than you might want.

    What Obama wants is, in some ways, the key question. If Bill Clinton’s project for the Democratic Party was mostly ideological, Obama’s is mostly organizational. Clinton sought to change the party’s ideas; Obama is more interested in building its infrastructure. But for what? Obama’s health-care plan was the least ambitious of the three major candidates, and his recent gestures toward the center on government wiretapping, choice, and gun control have some of his supporters concerned. At times, Obama can seem so focused on building that it’s unclear if he’s really thought through the blueprints.

    You’re Doing it Wrong

    posted by on August 18 at 5:10 PM

    xkcd, as usual, is right on the money.

    click for larger version

    Someone needs to figure out how to make this a real issue while not sounding like a conspiracy theorist, BEFORE an election. The validity of the vote is really the only political issue that matters, no? How many software glitches have you experienced today? Me? Probably about 30. Be very afraid.

    Winning the War on Drugs

    posted by on August 18 at 4:44 PM

    In Buffalo:

    Armed with a battering ram and shotguns, Buffalo police looking for heroin broke down the door and stormed the lower apartment of a West Side family of eight. The problem is that the Wednesday evening raid should have occurred at an apartment upstairs.

    And, that’s only the tip of the iceberg, according to Schavon Pennyamon, who lives at the mistakenly raided apartment on Sherwood Street with her husband, Terrell, and six children.

    Pennyamon alleges that after wrongly breaking into her apartment, police proceeded to strike her epileptic husband in the head with the butt end of a shotgun and point shotguns at her young children before admitting their mistake and then raiding the right apartment….

    “We wouldn’t be comfortable discussing the internal investigation,” [detective Dennis] Richards said. “We can say comfortably that over 1,100 search warrants were executed last year and 580 to date this year and that, with such a high volume and such a fast-paced environment, it is understandable that mistakes could happen.”

    She says she’s left with a broken door, an injured husband, jittery children and — what bothers her most — still no apology from police….

    “My 12-year-old and 6-year-old don’t want to be home at all,” she said, adding that her younger children cower or run to the back of the house when they hear anyone approaching. Police said no arrests were made in the subsequent raid at the upstairs apartment.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on August 18 at 4:36 PM

    Diem Chau’s Boy and Girl, carved crayons and wood, 3 inches high

    This, or actually some just like it by the Seattle artist, are currently “hanging” in the September issue of Harper’s, where they illustrate a story called “Tyranny of the test: One year as a Kaplan coach in the public schools.” You can kind of see them here, but if you want to get a close look you have to pick up a copy or become a subscriber.

    Judging from this web mini-view, though, which is appropriately Lilliputian, I especially like the use of the sculpture perched on the tip of a pencil, like some post-“Sesame Street” Giacometti.

    And now, please enjoy a “Sesame Street” clip from 1972 involving Stevie Wonder, a vocoder, a vest, and a classic song that is marginally about counting.

    (Thanks for the tip, Steven.)

    Who Will Wolverine Endorse?

    posted by on August 18 at 4:35 PM

    SavageDragonObama1.jpgI just got a press release from Image Comics announcing that Erik Larsen’s superhero character Savage Dragon is endorsing Barack Obama in the September 2008 issue of his comic book.

    “Four years ago the Dragon was a reluctant presidential candidate,” SAVAGE DRAGON creator Erik Larsen said. “Fans have asked if he’ll be running again, but given the importance of the upcoming election it seemed appropriate that he would back Barack Obama, the candidate whose politics most reflect his own. Savage Dragon will be giving Barack Obama his full support.”

    Apparently, back in the 2004 election, Savage Dragon punched out George W. Bush in his comic book.

    This is undoubtedly the first of many fictional characters to choose a side in the 2008 election; The Stranger has calls out to Marmaduke and Balki Bartokomous to see which candidate they prefer.

    The Art of Beautiful Arguments

    posted by on August 18 at 4:25 PM

    To end a conversation I had yesterday with a close friend in Vancouver BC:

    In the way consciousness is no longer a matter for philosophy but for neural science, aesthetics (a discipline established by philosophy and continued by criticism) must be turned over to relevant inquiries in the brain sciences. And this tendency or direction is general. Linguistics is being replaced by evolutionary linguistics (Noam Chomsky is now exposed as nothing more than a philosopher, and the only area philosophy has any value left is in politics), literary criticism (from the Russian formalists to reception theory) must turn over its academic power to literary Darwinism and other emerging forms of theory that are grounded in the testing and retesting of material processes (Marxism can survive this cultural transition if it fully replaces Hegel with Darwin—and not the vulgar Darwin, the Darwin molded by his moment and class situation, but the Darwin elaborated and de-industrialized by Mendel). The end of this movement from speculation to science will be the end of doxa, the noise of opinions. And the future of philosophy will be to do what it has always done: ask good questions (that can be verified by science—for example, the questions raised by Spinoza are resolved by Damásio) and entertain us with beautiful arguments. The Republic is one beautiful argument.

    Gone Fishing

    posted by on August 18 at 3:29 PM


    Remember Strangercrombie? That winter charity auction of ours that, last year, raised over $50,000 for FareStart?

    Back in December, a Strangercrombie high-bidder named Sam paid at $523.26 for the privilege of going salmon fishing with our publisher, Tim Keck.

    Last Saturday, Sam and Tim and boat captain (and friend of the paper) Josh Gurnee puttered into Elliot Bay at 4:45 am to catch some king salmon. A report from Tim:

    Sam caught his limit that morning with two beautiful fish, the biggest around 20 pounds. Most boats on the water got zilch that morning. Way to go Sam and special thanks to Josh for donating his time and boat and being the best captain on the water.

    Stay tuned for next year’s Strangercrombie. We’ll be picking the charity—with you help—next month. Last year, people were stumping for Treehouse, 826 Seattle, and Urban Rest Stop along with FareStart.

    Which good causes do people like this year?

    We’re Firmly in “Pop” Country

    posted by on August 18 at 2:54 PM


    Strange Maps has a map of the United States divided up by the name people commonly use as a generic term for soda.

    I was born in soda country, but Seattle’s definitely pop-centric. Alaska has counties in all three camps, including the Southern tendency to refer to any soda as coke. When I lived in Colorado, I got used to people calling soda “pop,” but I never, ever got used to people who call lollipops “suckers” or bags “sacks.” Those two are just wrong.

    City Sets Deadline for Seattle’s Last Newsstand

    posted by on August 18 at 2:53 PM

    The Seattle Department of Transportation has set a firm deadline for the man working to save Seattle’s last newsstand. SDOT has given Ben Gent until August 27th to apply for permits so he can continue operating his newsstand at 3rd and Pike.

    Gant’s been battling with the city for over a year now.In November 2007, SDOT cited Gant for failing the maintain and regularly operate the newsstand. Gant filed an appeal with the city’s hearing examiner, and was told he’d need to get the stand re-permitted before he could renovate it and officially reopen.

    I wrote about Gant’s fight to save the nearly-90-year-old newsstand, and last week the LA Times picked up the story.

    If the city does not receive an application from Gant in the next nine days, SDOT spokesman Rick Sheridan says the city will refer the matter to the city attorney’s office, which would likely get a court order to remove the stand. “At this juncture, it’s been several months since the hearing examiner ruled against Mr Gant,” Sheridan says. “We feel we’ve been patient with him.”

    Gant says he’s nearly ready to move forward with his permit applications—he’s waiting to hear back from a few architects and engineer.

    Continue reading "City Sets Deadline for Seattle's Last Newsstand" »

    Convention Bound

    posted by on August 18 at 2:45 PM

    At this moment next week, The Stranger will have three writers at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, bringing you all the drama, delegate intrigue, and free-booze-fueled pontificating that we can fit on the internets.

    That, I believe, will be more writers than any other Seattle publication will have in Denver—but hey, it’s a heavy burden being Seattle’s Only Newspaper™ and we’re happy to do our part.

    So who’s going? Yours truly, along with Charles Mudede (who will be keeping a close Marxist eye on all the bourgeoise attempts to trick the common man) and Annie Wagner (who will be keeping a close almost-an-Obama-delegate eye on the Washington State delegation and its coterie of die-hard Hillary supporters).

    For the moment, however, we’re still reveling in having been granted entry to the convention by the esteemed Executive Committee of Correspondents of the Congressional Periodical Press Galleries, which controls convention access for alt-weeklies such as this one. We’re also conducting a three-day crash course on meeting the requirements that we “dress in professional attire” and adhere to a strict set of rules and regulations.

    While we prepare ourselves, please enjoy the first installment in a Slog series I’m going to call Post-Primary Flashback. A lot has been written about this election, in our pages and on our blog, since Obama (finally) wrapped up the nomination in June. While we hurtle toward the next big plot point, the convention, it seems worth recapping what’s been said since the last moment when everyone was paying attention.

    Here, then, is Mr. Mudede considering the coming of “The First Hiphop President” and how hiphop, oddly, missed the boat.


    The fact is, hiphop, at a mainstream level, did not see Obama coming, and this might be a sign of its age or its loss of relevance. From 50 Cent to RZA, support famously went to Hillary Clinton’s run at the office. Hiphop missed the future. This is strange because the reputation hiphop has enjoyed for three decades is being the art that’s ahead of the rest, that’s breaking down the old and building the new.

    Re: Last Weekend on Drugs

    posted by on August 18 at 2:43 PM

    I totally agree with Dom: Hempfest is a good—no, great—thing. We should be proud that every year 100,000 people gather in the middle of this city, right under the windows of a newspaper overseen by the DEA’s useful idiots, to openly smoke pot, and that thousands of joints are distributed—free—to the crowd while the police look on. It is a giant challenge—an enormous fuck you, actually—to our idiotic drug laws and, again, to the useful idiots that do so much to preserve the status quo. The folks openly smoking pot at Hempfest call to mind the folks that marched for gay rights way back when gay people could still be arrested for declaring their homosexuality publicly. The pot smokers at Hempfest are brave and necessary and sometimes a little embarrassing, yes, just like some of the folks at the gay rights marches were (and are) embarrassing. But they’re gonna change things—hell, they already have.

    But I also agree with Brendan, in as much as I go out of my way to avoid Hempfest. But it’s not the dirty hippies that bother me—and you do realize, hippy-bashers, that the hippies were right about pretty much everything?—it’s the… smoke. Being at Hempfest means moving through a cloud of second-hand pot smoke all day long. And guess what? Pot smoke isn’t pleasant. It stinks. It’s nasty. Inhaling other people’s pot smoke may be a little less unpleasant, I suppose, than inhaling other people’s cigarette smoke. But not by a lot. So I prefer to smoke pot in places that immediately revert to a smoke-free environments just as soon as I’m high. I’d rather not get high in a crowd of folks creating a constant cloud of second-hand pot smoke (and cigarette smoke too), thanks.

    Another Hempfest disconnect: I’ve always gotten the feeling—induced or enhanced by the pot perhaps—that Hempfest isn’t an entirely safe place for a gay person to let down his guard. There’s are just too many punchy, stoned, agro teenage boys from Bremerburibotheltan in the crowd for me to relax. Oh, and the music is too loud, I don’t enjoy being in big crowds, and I hate having to stand in line for food, water, and toilets.

    But as a pot smoker who supports Hempfest’s goals while pretty much loathing the Hempfest experience, I have to say that I absolutely love Brendan’s idea about a little Hempfest counter-programming—but instead of thinking of counter-programming as anti-Hempfest, we should view it—and promote it—as way for those of us who believe in Hempfest’s goals but don’t enjoy the Hempfest experience to show our support. I love the idea of a bunch of people gathering at SAM—or Alki or the Pacific Science Center or Pike Place Market or the Downtown Library or all of the above—and, at a prearranged time, smoking up in solidarity with the throngs at Hempfest. Then, once everyone is good and baked we can put away the pot, the air will quickly clear, and we can proceed to enjoy the art—or the beach or the laser light show or the food stalls or the stacks—in our stoned states, making our pro-stoner statement.

    We could think of this counter-programming as Hempfest satellites, mini Hempfest actions taking place all over town, and create them specifically to target the folks turned off by sun- and pot-baked teenagers, marijuana-leaf leis, tie-dye, and reggae.

    It’s a great idea, Brendan, let’s do it.

    McCain’s Cross

    posted by on August 18 at 2:07 PM

    The unraveling of John McCain’s prison camp cross tale continues, and Andrew Sullivan is now suggesting three question that journalists should be asking:

    Here are the perfectly legitimate questions reporters should now, in my opinion, ask McCain:

    why did you not mention this transcendent story in 1973? Why, in discussing three Christmases in captivity in Vietnam, was this story - far more powerful than any of the other anecdotes - omitted? How was it possible for the gun guard of May 1969 to be present at Christmas that year when McCain had been transferred to another camp? Is it possible that McCain’s memory has faded with time and that he has simply fused his own memories with other stories - as Clinton did with Bosnia sniper fire and as Kerry did in remembering another Christmas he could not have actually witnessed where he said he did?

    And why are we not allowed to ask these questions, when they relate to one of the most important questions anyone can ask about a president: the question of integrity? If McCain has fabricated a religious epiphany for political purposes, it is about as deep a betrayal of core integrity as one can imagine, and the latest example of how pernicious the religious domination of political life in America has become.

    If Only They had This at Hempfest

    posted by on August 18 at 2:00 PM

    This internet kaleidoscope turns this:


    Into this:


    Only it’s a lot more fun than that. You should try it.

    (Via The Dizzies.)

    Don’t Forget to Vote!

    posted by on August 18 at 1:55 PM

    Tomorrow, August 19, is the last day to send in your absentee ballots and the day for poll voters to go to the polls. For the Stranger Election Control Board’s endorsements (and to find out why this primary election matters), go here; for a shorter, printer-friendly cheat sheet, go here. You can find your polling place here. Happy voting!

    Jars, Darling, Jars.

    posted by on August 18 at 1:36 PM

    This weekend, I finished reading Richard Polsky’s 2003 book I Bought Andy Warhol, which is ostensibly about the second-tier art dealer’s quest to purchase a great Warhol painting on a budget of $100,000—but which is actually just an excuse for Polsky to tell all the stories he knows about fellow art dealers behaving badly. Because Polsky himself is a few shades darker than schmuck—something like Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm, if that show weren’t a comedy—the book is a little bit of an uncomfortable read, and feels a little bit like a waste of time. There are good bits, but overall, I don’t recommend it.

    But the view Polsky provides of the crassness of the upper-end art market is amusing, and put me in the mood to watch a little Ab Fab (“those frozen blood heads filled with blood”).

    Slog Poll: Obama’s VP Pick

    posted by on August 18 at 1:10 PM

    The announcement is coming at the end of this week. Maybe. Probably. Unless it’s not.

    But Obama definitely has to decide on a VP by next Wednesday, when the mystery man or woman is scheduled to be formally introduced at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. So with that deadline looming let’s see what the Slog mob thinks should happen.

    Remember, we’re talking here about what should happen, in your humble opinions, not what will happen.

    I’ve tried to give you the most inclusive list possible below (minus people who have already taken themselves out of the running). Vote wisely. And be advised: I’m going to make this into a sort of runoff voting experience, wherein each day until Obama makes his choice I knock a few of the least popular candidates out of contention. There will be fewer choices tomorrow, even fewer on Wednesday, fewer still on Thursday, and so on.

    Ready? Let’s see how much of a mind-meld you all really have with the Democratic nominee…

    Who should Obama pick as Vice President?

    Poll closes at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday. Next round of voting begins at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

    Burlesque Meltdown?

    posted by on August 18 at 12:59 PM

    The following submissions were sent to I, Anonymous within minutes of each other, just minutes ago, from separate authors.

    Submission 1:

    You left our Burlesque Troupe because you knew we were getting rid of you. To save face you announced that you were instead leaving us behind. What you don’t realize is that nobody cares. You treat everyone like shit, and no one likes you. Your breathe stinks, your teeth are nasty, and you can’t dance. You are a diva with nothing to back it up. Keep living in poverty and chasing your dream of modeling (which is a joke). We are all laughing at you!

    Submission 2:

    You produce a local Burlesque Show, which although has been around for a while, lacks any form of growth. You think so highly of yourself but you are a joke and your shows aren’t selling like they used to. Performers don’t want to work with you because you have such a bad reputation. Karma is biting you in the ass, and we are all laughing at you!

    Identical closing lines and weird capitalizations? I smell a sexy, saucy I, Anonymous letter-writing campaign…

    Re: Last Weekend on Drugs

    posted by on August 18 at 12:56 PM

    Last weekend at Smoke Farm, several people smoked marijuana and sat around talking about why they weren’t at Hempfest—they were for exactly the reasons you’ve enumerated, Dominic.

    Hempfest does pot smokers a goddamned disservice. It makes us look like idiots. (And reminds me of this classic from the Onion: “Gay-Pride Parade Sets Mainstream Acceptance Of Gays Back 50 Years.”)

    So let’s quit the bitching and get right to it: What kind of counter-programming should we plan for next year?

    Someone at Smoke Farm suggested assembling 100 people to get high on the sidewalk in front of SAM and then wander around the museum. Someone else suggested we rent a bunch of hotel rooms downtown for a variety of highfalutin, not-dumb entertainments: movies, history and science lectures, string quartets. (Or at least cellist Paul Rucker, who’s a kind of one-man quartet.)

    Maybe we should hold a “math-in”—get stoned in the park and take refresher courses in geometry and algebra.

    Anything would be better than what Hempfest is now.

    In Case You Didn’t See This Over the Weekend

    posted by on August 18 at 12:48 PM

    The trailer for An American Carol has been all over the Internet, but I don’t believe that it’s officially made Slog yet, so I thought I’d give you all something to help settle your lunch-heavy stomachs. It’s a conservative-leaning spoof movie about a Michael Moore-type left-wing documentarian named Michael Malone (Chris Farley’s little brother) who is visited by three right-wing spirits (including Kelsey Grammer as General Patton). Apparently, the movie is about how war can be useful and America is THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD MOTHERFUCKERS.

    This is the money shot “joke” that’s already being discussed (and is not in the trailer) from The Weekly Standard:

    Zucker is plainly not worried about offending anyone. David Alan Grier plays a slave in a scene designed to show Malone what might have happened if the United States had not fought the Civil War. As Patton explains to a dumbfounded Malone that the plantation they are visiting is his own, Grier thanks the documentarian for being such a humane owner. As they leave, another slave, played by Gary Coleman, finishes polishing a car and yells “Hey, Barack!” before tossing the sponge to someone off-camera.

    The movie will be out in October.

    It’s the Question That’s Been Haunting Me…

    posted by on August 18 at 12:34 PM


    Does one report on the fascinating wealth of craptastic anti-Obama propaganda floating around the web, or does one ignore it, to avoid helping disseminate the garbage?

    The question presented itself most recently when I was alerted to the existence of, which not to be confused with (The latter is the celebrity-obsessed supermarket tabloid, the former is a clearinghouse for theories that Barack Obama is the new 9/11.)

    This week my beloved Radar jumped into the fray, publishing “What the Well-Dressed Racist is Wearing,” a survey of Obama-bashing product found for sale on the web.

    This anti-Obama tote bag features both side and bottom gussets!

    See the whole Radar survey here.

    Last Weekend on Drugs

    posted by on August 18 at 12:33 PM


    Just when it seems like the novelty of Hempfest has worn off—we do it every year, it’s always pretty much the same, perhaps a bit bigger than the year before—I was struck yesterday afternoon that, damn, 100,000 people are openly smoking pot in the middle of a huge American city. They’re pretty much saying, “Come bust us,” in the country that’s been pushing the most draconian, over-funded, violent drug war in history. But they don’t get busted. Pot rallies of this size have never happened before. This is a revolution. It would seem more poignant if it weren’t stigmatized by a bunch of dirty hippies, of course. But the interesting thing is, the crowd at Hempfest this year wasn’t all that hippied out. Mostly it was mainstream folks, freakishly hot guys without shirts, and perky little emo kids. But the folks putting on the event still hang tie dyes from the stage. Jesus, cut it out, guys. Hanging tie dyes from the stage (and all the honky Reggae and Jam Rock) makes folks who support the cause want to avoid Hempfest, or, if they do attend, pummel the hippies senseless with their new glass bongs.

    Can We Send Flowers to California’s Supreme Court?

    posted by on August 18 at 12:24 PM


    Doctors in California must treat gays and lesbians the same as any other patient, regardless of religious objections, the state Supreme Court ruled today.

    In a unanimous decision, the court rejected a San Diego County fertility clinic’s attempt to use its physicians’ religious beliefs as a justification for their refusal to provide artificial insemination for a lesbian couple.

    Today’s ruling, three months after overturning California’s ban on same-sex marriage, strengthened the state’s law that prohibits businesses, including medical clinics, from discriminating against customers because of their sexual orientation, as well as their race, sex or religion. The court said religious beliefs do not excuse discrimination…. In today’s ruling, the court also rejected the doctors’ claim that their freedom of speech was being violated, saying they remain free to criticize the anti-discrimination law as long as they comply with it.

    Savage Love Letter of the Day

    posted by on August 18 at 12:01 PM

    Do you have any tips on ending a relationship without being angry? I’ve been in a loving, GGG relationship with an older guy for over a year and a half. I’m only 22 however, and he’s very dependent. I’m not ready and don’t want to support him for the rest of my life. This is my first real relationship and I am afraid to leave, but know it’s best. It’s very difficult to make an inventory of what is wrong with the relationship to justify ending it without becoming angry.

    Omitting Violent Emotions Reasonably

    You don’t have to talk him into allowing you to leave, OVER, or win a debate before you can leave him, or convince a three-judge panel that you’re in the right. All you have to do is calmly tell him it’s over, inform him that you’re leaving, and… leave. If he insists on knowing why you’re ending it, OVER, you can share your reasons—right then and there if you can, or later in a letter or an email if you’re afraid the exchange will devolve into an angry scene.

    But you’re under no obligation to “make an inventory” of everything wrong with this relationship in order to get out of it.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on August 18 at 12:01 PM

    First Bigfoot, now these guys? What a month!

    Rossi: Women’s Reproductive Health Just Like Cereal, Socket Wrenches

    posted by on August 18 at 11:42 AM

    In an open letter seeking votes from Ron Paul supporters (!!), Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi compared letting pharmacists refuse to dispense emergency contraception (and actually, by extension, any drug including regular old contraception) to letting hardware store and grocery owners decide what kind of goods to stock.

    “Just as government shouldn’t tell grocery store owners that they have to sell certain types of groceries, or hardware store owners that they have to sell certain types of tools, it shouldn’t tell pharmacists which drugs to sell,” Rossi wrote.

    You know why that’s a shitty analogy? Because no one’s health—no one’s right to choose not to get pregnant and have an abortion (which wouldn’t be necessary if they got Plan B) or raise a unwanted child (gee, now that’s a pro-life stance)—depends on their ability to buy a certain fucking brand of eggs. If you were ever looking for evidence that the forced-pregnancy brigades don’t give a shit about women’s health or lives, look no further than Dino Rossi.

    Spraying It

    posted by on August 18 at 11:20 AM

    The spray-on condom:

    spraycondom.jpg…The prototype, which began testing last year, consists of a hard plastic tube with nozzles that spray liquid latex from all directions, much like the water jets in the tunnel of a car wash. According to Krause, there are numerous advantages to his spray-on condom. “The condom fits 100% perfectly, so the safety is much higher than a standard condom’s, and it feels more natural.”

    But there are some stumbling blocks. The men who tested the spray-on condom had a few hesitations, Krause says. Some were “a little bit afraid to use the tube” and would only try it on their fingers. Others worried that the mechanism, which hisses as it sprays, might ruin the mood.

    For those of us who grew up (or still live) with the incessant problem of indoor insects (a problem that does not exist in Seattle), and a problem that was temporarily solved with some poison blasted from an aerosol can, it will be hard to dissociate the spraying of pests from this spraying of the penis—all the more so if the one who is spraying is the one you are about to do it with.

    World Records

    posted by on August 18 at 11:13 AM

    OK, this is my last (or second-to-last) post about gymnastics, I swear.

    But after the event finals in vault (go North Korea! what?) and floor last night, I went on a YouTube bender, calling up famous routines from the ’70s and ’80s to demonstrate to my friends how much the sport has mutated in the last thirty years. If there were world records in gymnastics, the current crop of athletes would be smashing them on every event, even without corset swimsuits and deeper pools or whatever they’re blaming the speedy swim times on. It’s insane how much more difficult it is to be an Olympic gymnast in 2008 than it was in 1976.

    The most hilarious changes are on the uneven parallel bars. Check out Olga Korbut in 1972. Standing on the bar? GOOFY.

    Here’s He Kixin earlier this year (click here for English commentary; I can’t embed it):

    Or try Nadia Comaneci in 1976 (14-year-old gymnasts at the Olympics were A-OK then):

    And Nastia Liukin now:

    It’s almost a different sport.

    Finally, because you know you want to see someone dislocate their hip on purpose in an Olympic sport (check out the girl at 2:14), here’s a disgusting rhythmic gymnastics montage:

    The American team failed to qualify in rhythmic gymnastics, so don’t expect much from NBC. But other channels should show a few routines later this week.

    UPDATE: OK, it is simply a bizarre coincidence that Savage was scoping the rhythmic gymnasts on YouTube while I was composing this post. My opinion is that rhythmic gymnastics is circus performance with an extra helping of eating disorder, that athletes should not attempt to attain this level of flexibility without developing the muscles to support their joints, and that the group routines are fucking amazing. How do they get all the equipment to fall in different places at the right time? Crazy.

    If Square States Had Oceans, They’d Do This

    posted by on August 18 at 11:00 AM


    This weekend, after a previously planned out-of-town trip for a story fell through, I decided to take a road trip to Ocean Shores.

    (And here, within the snug confines of these parentheses, I will go a little bit LiveJournal on your ass. The topic of conversation will continue after this self-indulgent break: Having grown up in Maine, I’m fond of cheesy, touristy beach communities, because they remind me of home. The trip itself was kind of difficult. After four hours in traffic, I finally arrived: it was 50 degrees and foggy with light rain. The next morning, it was so foggy that you couldn’t see further than thirty feet in any direction, which made for a pleasant, though weirdly apocalyptic, walk on the beach. The fog did not stop me from getting a very bad sunburn. The end.)

    My question is this: How the fuck is it still legal to drive cars on beaches in Washington state? Or, to be more specific: why are beaches considered part of the highway system, with a 25-mile-an-hour speed limit? This is just a bad idea. Besides the fact that people drink at the beach, and that people tend to, you know, take naps on blankets at the beach, cars also leak all kinds of horrible fluids. Is there a powerful beach-driving lobby in Washington? Will people get pissed if they can’t drive on beaches anymore?

    There are lots of states where you can’t drive on beaches—I’m from one—and never have I heard any variation of “You know, this beach experience would be so much better if I could park my fucking Hummer right next to me while I tan and drink beer out of a cooler in back.” It seems like banning cars from public beaches is a really simple, really non-controversial environmental law that should’ve been passed ages ago.

    John McCain vs. the Supremes

    posted by on August 18 at 10:28 AM

    As Eli noted, John McCain’s fire breathing performance at this weekend’s Forum on Faith is starting to raise all sorts of questions about his attempts to reform his image from ‘ye of little faith’ to darling of the religious right.

    Aside from possibility that he cribbed a transformational life experience from a seminal work by Solzhenitsyn, McCain also wandered into hot water with his answer on who he wouldn’t have appointed to the Supreme Court: Ginsburg, Souter, Breyer, and Stevens. That’s every member to the left of Samuel Alito, sans Justice Kennedy.

    The implication? John McCain’s going to have one hell of a litmus test for who he would nominate for the court.

    The problem? John McCain voted for the confirmation of Justices Ginsburg, Souter, and Breyer.

    You can almost deal with the mendaciousness on Souter—who was foisted on McCain by closet pinko George HW Bush—but it would seem hard to explain how McCain could have had any ideological doubts about which way Breyer and Ginsburg would be voting if confirmed.

    Found in a Front Yard in Fairbanks, Alaska

    posted by on August 18 at 10:21 AM


    Well, he’s got the bear-hunting vote. Pretty butch for a lawyer.

    Thanks to the Slog-tipping, globe-trotting Nevdon J.

    Straight Men Are Not Allowed to Watch This

    posted by on August 18 at 10:17 AM

    Because they are likely to have impure thoughts about the young women in this video and that would be wrong.

    My reaction? Something that’s not worth doing isn’t worth doing well. But I’m more interested in hearing Annie and Jen’s reactions.

    Thanks to Slog tipper T.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on August 18 at 10:08 AM


    Two readings today.

    At the Ballard Branch of the Seattle Public Library, we have Michelle Nicholasen and Barbara O’Neal, who are the authors of I Brake for Meltdowns: How to Handle the Most Exasperating Behavior of Your 2-to-5-Year Old. I always wonder what the audiences are like at these events. Do people bring their children? Someone go and let me know, please.

    And at Elliott Bay Book Company, Jim Hightower reads from Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go with the Flow. Honestly, if I had to pick one reading to go to tonight, I’d probably go to the Meltdowns book in Ballard. The audiences at Hightower readings always seem as though they are about to collectively choke on their own immense sense of self-satisfaction for being at a Jim Hightower event. It’s awful.

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

    Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day: Vanessa Ho

    posted by on August 18 at 9:53 AM

    This was originally posted Saturday, August 16, but it’s been moved up for the reading pleasure of those that were outside enjoying the sun and the pot this weekend.

    A grow-op gets busted and the usual shit’s in the PI. Here’s Vanessa Ho’s lead in this morning’s paper:

    A park service pilot on a routine flight over the North Cascades National Park service area helped discover a large marijuana farm worth nearly $48 million—the first such grow operation found in a national park site in the state.

    Officials said the farm, which law enforcement officials raided this week, contained more than 16,700 plants. It was well established and resembled the elaborate grow sites run by Mexican drug traffickers plaguing national parks in California, authorities said.

    In addition to suggesting that dangerous and dirty foreigners are somehow involved—no one has been arrested, so we don’t know if those damn Mexicans are to blame—a truly stupid fucking credulous hack would suggest that this grow-op endangers our children somehow. Vanessa doesn’t disappoint. Here’s her third paragraph:

    Continue reading "Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day: Vanessa Ho" »

    Hutch’s Church Flirts with Homelessness

    posted by on August 18 at 9:38 AM

    Slog tipper Russ alerts us to the ongoing call for help—be it money, real estate, or prayer—from Ken Hutcherson’s Antioch Bible Church:

    Dear Church,

    1. The Elder Board decided not to move forward on the Canyon Park location.

    2. We are continuing to explore all our options for a 24/7 long-term facility which includes the Kirkland location that has been mentioned the last two Sundays.

    3. We also are looking for a short term location to allow us to carry on our present services and programs.

    4. The Our Home campaign is ongoing, with funds received and pledges designated toward a new facility.

    5. On Sunday, August 24 at 9:00 am, we will have one large service, and then gather the congregation for an update and Q&A on where we are in the process. Please take this opportunity to participate in the Q & A which will commence shortly after the 9:00 AM service.

    6. On August 31 we will have ONE SERVICE at 11:00 AM, followed by our famous Bro-B-Q at the SDA facility.

    We seek your prayers and support as we move forward to accomplish all the goals above.

    Stay abreast of Hutch’s hunt for a home here. (And see you at the Bro-B-Q on August 31!)

    (Out-of-towners/under-rockers craving context can find some good Hutch history here, here, and here.)

    Thoughts on Saddleback

    posted by on August 18 at 9:25 AM

    If you didn’t catch the McCain-Obama appearance at Rick Warren’s California megachurch over the weekend, head for YouTube. It was a really fascinating event, not least because it marked the first time that Obama and McCain have been seen together on the same stage since they became the nominees for their respective parties.

    The sharing of the stage lasted just a moment, but it delivered the contrast that liberals have been waiting for: young, virile, tall Obama vs. old, stiff, short McCain.

    As for the substance, this was a really interesting discussion—as many people (including the normally wrong Bill Kristol) have already noted. I think most of the credit goes to the format: The two candidates sitting down, one after the other, with the same thoughtful interviewer asking each of them the same mostly open-ended questions.

    This kind of format gets rid of all the interrupting and one-upsmanship that normally goes on at a debate, but still provides viewers a way to contrast the responses of the candidates on key political questions. (There is, of course, the possibility that the person who goes second will cheat and listen to the first person’s interview rather than staying in his “cone of silence”—which it sounds like McCain probably did—but never mind that. The format was still refreshing.)

    Obama, I thought, came off well. He’s clearly very comfortable talking about his faith and the role of religion in public life, and I think this is a big part of what’s helping him make inroads among Evangelicals. He has a very smooth way of disagreeing on issues such as abortion while not making a religious audience feel condescended to or treated as some alien species. No matter what you think of Evangelicals (and I know Slog readers have many thoughts on the subject) this can only be good for Obama, electorally speaking.

    McCain also came off well. Maybe it was because, as mentioned above, he probably cheated and was ready for Rick Warren’s questions. Or maybe he was helped by low expectations. But in any case, he was forceful, on top of all the issues, and even sort of funny in moments. If you’re liberal and you paid close attention to the substance of what McCain was saying, you were probably shouting at your television for much of the interview. But sorry, you’re not McCain’s intended audience. A lot of the rest of America really likes it when a white guy talks about destroying evil, lowering taxes, and doing bad things to the still-missing Osama bin Laden if he’s ever caught.

    The most amazing moment, to me, was when McCain told Rick Warren that he doesn’t consider a person rich until he or she makes over $5 million annually. (Obama put the rich line at $250,00—which is still a figure that most working Americans probably can’t get their minds around, but at least is only a few multiples of their current salary rather than the fantasy-land sum of $5 million.) For McCain, who is already getting knocked for wearing $500 loafers and owning six houses, the $5 million remark seemed like a sloppy self-inflicted wound. (And he knew it the moment that figure left his mouth.)

    Second-most amazing moment: When a friend, reminded by McCain’s stone-faced Saddleback promise to chase Osama bin Laden to the “gates of Hell,” showed me an earlier version of the same promise, this one followed by an eerie smile:

    Maverick Moment of the Day

    posted by on August 18 at 9:05 AM

    There’s an anecdote that John McCain likes to tell about a guard at his POW camp in North Vietnam drawing a cross in the dirt to communicate their common faith. And, well, it sounds a bit familiar.

    Here’s a commercial in which McCain uses the story:

    And here’s a story recounted by Solzhenitsyn about his experience in the Soviet gulag:

    Leaving his shovel on the ground, he slowly walked to a crude bench and sat down. He knew that at any moment a guard would order him to stand up, and when he failed to respond, the guard would beat him to death, probably with his own shovel. He had seen it happen to other prisoners.

    As he waited, head down, he felt a presence. Slowly he looked up and saw a skinny old prisoner squat down beside him. The man said nothing. Instead, he used a stick to trace in the dirt the sign of the Cross. The man then got back up and returned to his work.

    As Solzhenitsyn stared at the Cross drawn in the dirt his entire perspective changed.

    The Morning News

    posted by on August 18 at 8:45 AM

    In Fay’s Way:Tropical Storm Fay wreaks havoc in the Caribbean, is expected to be upgraded to hurricane before hitting Florida.

    The Dam Bursts: Evacuations continue as heavy rains collapse a dam near the Grand Canyon.

    Commuted Sentence: I-405 remains open next week as the Willburton tunnel demolition proceeds ahead of schedule.

    Pakistan: Musharraf resigns rather than face impeachment.

    Pineapple Express: Hawaiian sovereignty leader’s plot to seize power fails.

    High Times: And that was the Seattle Hempfest that was.

    Meet Your New Veep: Obama likely to name Vice-Presidential nominee this week as Dem convention approaches.

    Ellen Luvs Portia: Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi get hitched, Hollywood swoons.

    Going Our Own Way: We may dominate Olympic swimming, but who will challenge China’s hold on badminton?

    Also, our country may someday be ruled by enthusiastic fans of The Olive Garden:

    The traveling band of U.S senators that is the McCain campaign must have just wanted unlimited breadsticks for their straight talk.

    Along with his wife and some top aides, John McCain and his campaign road pals, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, ate dinner at the Olive Garden here last night, a day before McCain was to speak to at the conference of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Mel Martinez, the home state senator who had appeared at an event with the trio earlier in the day, also stopped by.

    The pool of reporters that follows the candidate around everywhere was not allowed to join the McCain team, instead heading to the Bahama Breeze across the street where our waitress wondered why McCain would pick the Olive Garden of all the places in Orlando to eat.

    According to McCain’s aides, it’s not the Arizona senator, but Graham who is a devoted Olive Garden fan.

    He Cannot Tell a Lie

    posted by on August 18 at 8:28 AM


    “The insinuation from the Obama campaign that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous,” Ms. Wallace said.

    So John McCain is constitutionally incapable of cheating or telling a lie because he was a POW—see how that works? Or maybe it’s that you’re not allowed to call him on his lies—or bring up his history of adultery—because McCain was a POW. I suppose we can expect a clarification from the McCain POW campaign soon.

    And who knows? Maybe soon we’ll be told that we’re not allowed to vote against John McCain because he was a POW.

    Just Asking For It

    posted by on August 18 at 8:18 AM


    Sunday, August 17, 2008

    The Stranger’s Official Sunday Morning ColumnTM (Apologies for the Delay)

    posted by on August 17 at 1:18 PM

    He—for there could be no doubt of his sex, though certain of his proclivities did something (in the mind of the military wing of his family) to complicate it—was in the act of watching a slackliner on a slackline strung from opposing trees. It was hard not to think of Man on Wire (if you haven’t seen it, go, go, go). The branches above the slackline, heavy with leaves, which the slackliner walked in and out of and occasionally ripped out of his way, made the whole sight kind of circus-y. Passersby stopped to watch. The stoner watched the slackliner (this guy) and then watched the sky, on his back, next to a girl he’d just met (bottle-orange hair, candy-striped top, also stoned). The leaves and the sky. A small airplane shot out of the leaves.

    The stoner thought about all the people who’d given him a hard time about going to Hempfest: the friends going to Smoke Farm who blinked in disbelief when the stoner chose Hempfest (close to home, by the water) over the possibility of bad outdoor theater in a remote location; the actress/singer/Joni Mitchell fan who, when the stoner intimated that he was going to Hempfest by texting that he was “was being a hippie” today, texted back “the first step is admitting u have a problem”; Dan Savage, who declaimed over after-work drinks on Friday that every other weekend of the year is more ideal for getting stoned in Myrtle Edwards Park because there’s no one else there; the stoner’s young friend from New Orleans, another stoner, who nonetheless texted, “Hempfest is just a celebration of everything that’s not fun about pot”; and so on and so forth). You get a lot of heat for going to Hempfest. It’s easy to be intimidated by the disdain. By the unfashionable-ness of it. Dan Savage, of all people, is giving his friends a hard time for going to Hempfest?

    Whatever with those people. Hempfest is fantastic. It helps to show up in the afternoon, around 2 or 3, and to go with friends, and to sit in the shade with a view the water and the sky and the barely clothed people in the ripeness of their youth walking by. It’s true that you hear the stupidest shit from the people who are given microphones and access to a stage, but (satisfyingly) the people you are sitting with aren’t falling for it either. “We are here and now!” an officially sanctioned Hempfest speaker was shouting into a microphone in the distance. The girl with the bottle-orange hair smiled and said, “Man, that’s some motivational speaker. No wonder we can’t band together. These are our motivational speakers.”

    Nevertheless, from those very unmotivational stages, or at least from the northernmost one, comes the most amazing sort of rain when the clock strikes 4:20 pm: free joints. Raining down. Hundreds (thousands?) of them. Onto the crowd. This year there was such a crush of people on the path in the minutes before 4:20 pm struck—perhaps the joints-raining-down-from-the-sky thing has been too well publicized—that the stoner and the slackliner and the girl with the bottle-orange hair couldn’t get to the northernmost stage (does it happen at all the stages?) until about 4:22 pm, by which point the sea of bodies was already obscured in a haze, battlefield-like. The stoner asked a random girl for a hit of hers and she reached in her bag and gave him a fresh one, adding, “They handed them out.”

    This will happen again today, by the way.

    If nothing else, the stoner thought, Hempfest is an answer to the dominant American culture—the suburban, generic, corporate-controlled mainstream. It’s the embodiment of an alternative. That this alternative seems so drastic, that it causes so many of your friends to bristle, is only evidence of how well the conservative line has been sold to us. This alternative isn’t drastic. It is not some lawless primal orgy. Hempfest is crawling with police officers and security personnel, watching everything: 100,000 people smoking pot outdoors on a nice day, laughing, relaxing, reading, buying stuff, listening to music, eating noodles, eating ice cream, walking on slacklines between trees, sitting on the rocks, watching the trains groan by, etc., etc.

    The only hippie-riffic conversation the stoner got into occurred in one of the VIP areas, behind one of the stages, where a man in what looked like a utilikilt, except it was made out of black lace, sat down and smiled. This man in lace and leggings and some serious facial hair was walking with the assistance of a light-wood cane topped with a brass knob. The rest of the man’s ensemble was more than dubious, but it was a handsome cane. The stoner complimented it. The man in lace replied, “It used to be Jefferson Airplane’s manager’s.”

    The stoner replied with an expression that must have looked like awe.

    “Yeah, Jefferson Airplane’s manager’s cane. His son gave it to me.”

    The stoner was trying to think of a Jefferson Airplane song. He said, “What was one of their big songs?”

    The man in lace shook his head and said he had no idea. Then he added, “If you ask me about psychedelic trance or something, I can probably tell you.” Then there was a long silence.

    The stoner went and got his bike and rode out to Elliott Avenue, and then up the west side of Queen Anne Hill to watch firemen march uphill into brush fire. He took a photo of the fire engines with his cell phone. Then he rode back down to Elliott Avenue and, hungry for ice cream, stopped into a Baskin Robbins. For there one was. He ate it outside on the sidewalk, next to his bike, staring into cars waiting at the light.


    posted by on August 17 at 1:16 PM


    Right now there are several, totally hot, bikini-clad women standing in the middle of Pike Street (between 10th & 11th Ave). Seems they’re holding a benefit carwash for Lifelong Aids Alliance. The thing goes only until 3 p.m., or maybe later if the sponges and soap see enough action. (Sorry for the crappy pic. I took it with my crappy phone.)

    Do not let these efforts be wasted!

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on August 17 at 11:00 AM

    Pot Bash


    Seattle’s annual celebration of all things pot—from hemp sandals to octo-carb bongs—returns to Myrtle Edwards Park this Saturday and Sunday with live music, featured speakers (Rick Steves both days!), stoned strolling, and, if tradition holds, wonderfully laissez-faire law enforcement. Go, wander, inhale. And should it get too hot or rainy, the newly minted stoner classic The Pineapple Express is playing at the not-too-distant Pacific Place cinema. (Myrtle Edwards Park, 3130 Alaskan Way W, 10 am–8 pm, free.)


    Reading Today

    posted by on August 17 at 10:00 AM


    One open mic and one funnybook event today.

    David B., who spoke yesterday at the Seattle Public Library, is at the Henry today talking about comics. Today, he’s joined by Jim Woodring and Peter Bagge, and the three men will talk about the international language of comic books. If persuaded, perhaps the three men will come also discuss the other international language, which is love. This looks like a good one.

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

    Another Satisfied Customer

    posted by on August 17 at 9:13 AM

    This just in…

    After reading your political endorsements in a recent edition, I can say I will never touch another Stranger as long as I live. The totally one-sided, childish, demeaning comments have no place in my life and in no way make the author or your rag credible in any way. It only makes you look like kids. Please cancel my subscription. (Oh, it’s free. No wonder.)


    The Stranger Election Control Board’s one-sided, childish, demeaning endorsements are here. Our election cheat sheet is here.

    The Morning News

    posted by on August 17 at 8:20 AM

    Withdrawal: Russia says it will begin pulling troops from Georgia on Monday.

    Tiger army: Sri Lankan authorities uncover intricate Tamil Tiger training grounds.

    Police state
    : Authorities roll into Kabul after violence in Afghanistan claims 88 lives.

    Warhawk: A look at McCain’s response to the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Warren piece: For the first time, Obama and McCain discuss issues on-on-one.

    8: Phelps captures historic medal after relay victory.

    Hurricane Fay: Vacationers in Florida Keys pressed to pack up and go home.

    Air show: Boeing and Machinist union lock themselves in hotel to negotiate contract.

    : Community members gather to mourn high school student slain in South Seattle.

    Ferry Elwha
    : San Juan ferry pulled out of service yet again.