Slog

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Music, Nightlife,
and Drinks

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

10, 9, 8...

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 11:59 PM

Lysisplosion

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 10:28 PM

Boom or boom-boom? It's the eternal question.

New Year's Eve could prove to be something of a damp squib for some men in the Italian city of Naples.

Hundreds of Neapolitan women have pledged to go without sex unless their men promise to refrain from setting off dangerous illegal fireworks.

Local authorities are backing the women and have sent out text messages urging the men to "make love, not explosions".

God bless America—where we can blow shit up and make sweet, sweet love afterward.

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Obligatory Drinking

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 8:10 PM

champers.jpg

It's New Year's Eve—but you know that, right?—and I'm at Whistler with the family. And some loyal retainers. We were supposed to be in Whitefish, Montana, for the New Year holiday but... well, that's a long story. There's a Led Zeppelin cover band playing on a stage just outside our hotel. ("Aaah-aa-aaaaaaaaaah-ah! Aaah-aa-aaaaaaaaaah-ah") They're very loud. Presumably this band, or the band or bands that follow, will be playing until sometime after midnight. Without a doubt the band or bands that follow will be equally loud or louder. Because it's not really music if it isn't doing lasting structural damage to nearby buildings.

Anyway, we brought something like six bottles of champagne with us. Because it's New Year's Eve, of course, we feel obligated to start downing all this booze. But if we stay up until sometime past midnight (another obligation), and the four adults in our party drink all of this champagne, we will all have hangovers in the morning and that will make it impossible to bound out of bed at 7 AM and go snowboarding. Which is why we're here—the snowboarding, not the drinking. (Speaking of which: five people have died here this season so far—not much snow, a lot of exposed rocks and trees, so many, many ways to bash your brains out.) But New Year's Eve is one of those drinking days of obligation, nights when adults must drink. So drink we must, and drink we shall—and with all the aaah-aa-aaaaaaaaaah-ah-ing, I don't see as I have any other choice.

And now, to quote Monica Guzman, what are your plans for New Year's Eve, Seattle? Besides reading Slog, of course. Are you drinking? Not drinking?

Aaah-aa-aaaaaaaaaah-ah!

"Change" Into Something More Comfortable

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 5:57 PM

Just days before the inauguration:

Next January 16th, 17th and 18th brings the 25th annual Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend to Washington, D.C. Hosted by the city's Centaur Motorcycle Club, "a group of men with an enthusiastic interest in motorcycles, leather and other men," the event is expected to draw between 2,000 and 3,000 attendees.

Will one of those thousands be Obama? Let's see. Enthusiasm for leather?

obama4-730369.jpg

Check. Enthusiasm for sweet wheels?

20070822obama.jpg

Check. Enthusiasm for other men?

obama-and-rick-warren1.jpg

Checkity-check-check! See ya on the 16th, Big O.

This Year on Drugs

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 5:24 PM

Drugs had a rough year. Amy Winehouse alone makes them nervous about coming back at all in 2009. From Obama's cigarettes to Ron Paul's dopes, here's your magic carpet ride through the last annum. And, each year in this post, we make a few predictions for the next. Last December, for instance, we predicted a victory for marijuana decriminalization in Massachusetts—cradle of the revolution and gay marriage. Indeed, voters made possession of an ounce of pot punishable by a mere $100 fine—giving pot smokers a sense of impunity. In darker news, last year we foresaw a bloodbath across Mexico as cartels scrambled for the upper hand over paramilitary forces funded by the United States. As of December 5, it was Mexico’s most murderous year on record, with 4,300 assassinations—including many decapitations—at the hands of cartel goons. What else can we see in the rear-view mirror before we get hammered on New Year’s Eve?

salvia-divinorum-leaves.jpgThe Epidemic That Wasn’t: Lawmakers and reporters were convinced that salvia divinorum—an herb that, when smoked, packs the equivalent of being donkey-kicked in the face—was the next teen scourge. "I've seen the argument to legalize marijuana. It is a gateway drug, like salvia could be a gateway drug," said Illinois State Rep. Dennis Reboletti said. "We decided to move forward rather than waiting for someone to be killed because of it." A bill banning salvia passed in Illinois this year, and media outlets speculated that smoking the herb—again, about as fun as tossing your arm into a wood chipper—would become as popular as pot. But alas, the impending eruption of salvia deaths proved unfounded and the fear that gripped state capitols seems to have waned with few bills actually passing. It's still legal to have a bad salvia trip in most states.

Ron Paul’s Dopes: A bunch of liberal suckers, many of them techies, were taken for a ride on Republican Ron Paul’s absurd blimp. When confronted with his racist ramblings of past and right-wing assholery, the Borg-for-Paul crowd sputtered about their prophet’s sensible drug policy. True, a sensible drug policy would be nice—but get a grip, people, it’s not worth having a douche-nozzle for a president. Not that he ever had a chance.

Heath Ledger: He pulled the ultimate I’m-an-idiot maneuver by taking too many downers and dying in a Manhattan flat. That’s so gay, cowboy.

winehouse.jpgAmy Winehouse: Lived 366 consecutive days of disaster. It was a Leap Year.

Swiss Bliss: Every junkie’s dream: free heroin from the government. Conservatives in Switzerland abhorred the idea and pushed the experimental program to provide heroin to addicts to a popular vote. Voters thusly ratified the program, with 68 percent of voters supporting the measure. However, it’s not all high in the sky—in the peaceable nation’s 23 heroin-injection sites, users are given only enough dope to cut the cravings but not enough for a rise. Meanwhile, by an almost identical margin of votes, the Swiss slapped down a proposition to legalize marijuana. Bummer.

Pot Busts in Seattle: Free at last? Not yet. In January, the city’s Marijuana Policy Review Panel—on which I served with our City Attorney Tom Carr and nine others—released a report finding that Seattle Police were arresting more black people for marijuana possession than white people. But black people, according to 2005 Census Bureau data, only make up 8.2 percent of the city’s population. And drug-use rates are almost identical between black and white people. This suggests that 1) SPD officers are targeting black people for drug crimes, or 2) black people are engaging in higher priority marijuana possession, such as smoking it in plain view. The report was a product of the city’s Initiative 75, which made marijuana possession the city’s lowest law-enforcement priority in 2003. Overall, arrests for marijuana possession declined for all races after I-75 passed.

Barack Obama Is no Quitter: He tried to quit smoking but failed. He has at least four years of ducking out for puffs in the Rose Garden.

Goodman.jpgThe Obama Suburbs: The suburbs weren't a tide of progress solely in presidential politics. Over in Washington’s 45th District—around Kirkland—State Rep. Roger Goodman ran for reelection and faced a surprise. His Republican challenger, Toby Nixon, used the traditionally more liberal platform of reforming drug policy. However, before Goodman was first elected in 2006, he had run the King County Bar Association’s Drug Policy Project, and his opponent at the time, Jeffrey Possinger, used Goodman’s drug-loving position against him. But as of this year, the GOP had dropped that tack—Dems and Republicans alike pushed for better drug laws on a supportive suburban public. Goodman took home another term.

A Few Predictions: Obama is not going to legalize marijuana. Can we please shut up about this? States will decriminalize marijuana. Now that Massachusetts did it—and we have a chance to watch the sky remain screwed firmly up there—prepare to see similar measures run in Washington state, and the liberal bastions of New England. Booze will become more popular as America tries to submerge its poverty—whiskey will be the favored spirit. Meth will continue to die out and more people popping OxyContin will die off. By the time the numbers are in, pot busts will have hit another record high. Obama will appoint a new Drug Czar, who will have little power, virtually no advocacy influence, and will be strong-armed into dropping the silly anti-drugs ads that proliferated under the Bush Administration. Here in Washington, State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles will introduce a long-overdue bill to protect legal medical marijuana patients from arrest. An overdose prevention bill will be introduced by someone in the state legislature (hopefully someone other than Adam Kline, who has introduced it repeatedly and failed to get traction). In great news, no more shitty pens, Lipitor mugs and Zoloft hats from the pharmaceutical companies.

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My Last Post for 2008

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 5:11 PM

New Year's Eve could prove to be something of a damp squib for some men in the Italian city of Naples.

Hundreds of Neapolitan women have pledged to go without sex unless their men promise to refrain from setting off dangerous illegal fireworks.

Local authorities are backing the women and have sent out text messages urging the men to "make love, not explosions".

And that is that.

Re: Speaking of Tasty Toast

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 5:10 PM

That is not toast art, Megan.

This is toast art:

voaster.jpg

Feminism Conquers All

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 4:46 PM

Congratulations to vooodooo84's Rightwing Feminists, the first ever All-Slog 2008 Fantasy Football Thunderdome League of Champions™, erm, champion.

The AS08FFTLoC turned out to be a bit of a disaster (see my regret here) but I learned a few things:

Yahoo's fantasy football site can eat a bag of dicks: It's terrible, ugly and doesn't give you live scoring updates unless you shell out $10. Feh.

Know your enemy: I never managed to set up an AS08FFTLoC meetup. I know, I'm an asshole. It probably would've been more fun know to who I was playing each week.

Auto drafting can also eat a bag of dicks: I never, ever, ever should've gone with an auto draft. It made everything unbalanced and allowed at least one team to have a ridiculously overloaded roster (it wasn't vooodooo's team). Also, I came in seventh, which is horseshit.

And finally,

Thou shalt not attempt to manage teams in three different leagues: It's maddening. Don't ever do this.

Perhaps I'll try again next year. Maybe I can get Dan involved since he's paying attention to the NFL now.

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Speaking of Tasty Toast...

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 4:42 PM

Toast isn't just delicious. For some, it's an artform:

toastart.jpg

More toast art is available via ggat's shop at etsy.

(Thanks to the lovely Madeline for the tip!)

"N•••a, please"

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 3:50 PM

Ta-Nehisi Coates on... well, if you're following this whole Burris-Blagojevich-Rush mess, you'll know exactly what he's talking about:

Nigga, please!!

I don't know if I've shifted politically or what. But after watching a black man named Barack Obama—who couldn't get into the Democratic convention eight years ago—win Virginia, North Carolina, New Mexico and Colorado, my tolerance for Negroes claiming that we need an appointment like this—in this kind of situation—is zilch.

Look, I say this as a black dude obviously concerned about race in this country. If you want a black senator go out and do the work to get yourself one. Build the organizations, build the fund-raising, do a black version of Emily's List, if need be. At some point, you have to stop bitching about the track. You have to stop bitching about your hand-me-down spikes. At some point, you just have to go out and run. I have little tolerance for the racial grievances of upper-middle class blacks. Do for your damn self, and speak for your damn self. Keep my name out your mouth.

Via Ben Smith.

What if We Give It Away?

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 3:50 PM

Taproot is doing what many other theaters should be doing—selling its entire season for $20.

SEATTLE — December 30, 2008 — Taproot Theatre Company is kicking off its 33rd season with a 2-day walk-up sale this January 2 and 3, when its entire available inventory of Wednesday and Thursday night performances during the 2009 season are available for the special sale price of $20 (excludes preview and pay-what-you-can performances). Tickets are available in person at Taproot Theatre’s box office at 204 N. 85th St. in Seattle from noon to 5 p.m. on January 2 and 3; phone orders will not be accepted. All sales are final and any future exchanges include a $5 fee per ticket. This offer is not valid with any other discounts.

Taproot Theatre’s 2009 season features Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder’s critically-acclaimed Gee’s Bend; Tuesdays With Morrie, a play by Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom, based on Albom’s bestselling book; Around the World in 80 Days by Mark Brown, based on Jules Verne’s classic novel; Smoke on the Mountain Homecoming, written by Connie Ray and conceived by Alan Bailey with musical arrangements by Mike Craver; and Enchanted April, Matthew Barber’s adaptation of Elizabeth von Arnim’s 1922 novel. More details, including dates, are available online at www.taproottheatre.org.

It's standard curtain-speech boilerplate: "The price of your seat only covers a small fraction of the production." The big money comes from grants and donations, just the way advertising, not subscriptions, pay for newspapers.

And, like newspapers, theaters everywhere should be lowering the barrier to entry, since traditional ticket sales are grinding down to a nub.

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The Sacrifice

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 3:39 PM

Citigroup Inc.'s chairman and chief executive won't receive bonuses for 2008, as part of a series of moves the company announced Wednesday as it formalized its bailout agreement with the U.S. government.

Citigroup Chairman Win Bischoff and CEO Vikram Pandit, along with director and senior counselor Robert Rubin, are foregoing their annual bonuses. Bonuses for other top executives will be "reduced substantially," Mr. Pandit said in a memo to Citigroup employees Wednesday.

Are we supposed to be impressed by this? Amazed to the point of clapping hands? Nigga, please!!!

This Is What Excessive Force Looks Like

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 2:40 PM

Remember this?

The Office of Professional Accountability—the Seattle Police Department's internal investigation unit—has determined that excessive force was used during the Mark Hays' arrest in November 2007.

Hays and a friend got into a confrontation with officers after, police say, the men jaywalked in front of an unmarked SPD vehicle. There was a verbal altercation and, police say, Hays tackled one of the plainclothes officers. Hays was found guilty of assault and obstruction in February 2007.

The OPA issued the finding on the case in October, and the incident was mentioned in the OPA auditor's semi-annual report, released earlier this month:

The officer had been jumped on from the rear as he took control of the subject’s jay-walking friend. When the attacking young man was down and under control, the officer continued to use punches and knee strikes, which he claimed were necessary to control resistance. In the majority of cases, the in-car videos I have seen support the officers. In this case, however, the video was at 180-degree variance with the officer’s perceptions or recollections and a Sustained finding was recommended by OPA and confirmed by the Chief.

I was troubled by a case with very similar circumstances three months later, involving the same officer, same kind of strikes delivered, same justification claimed, and same words spoken; but where no in-car recording was available. In that case a person with a felony warrant fled from the officers, was tackled, and was delivered knee strikes in the mid-section during handcuffing.

Since the officers’ testimony was consistent and supportive of each other, the result was a finding of Exonerated. The Director and I agreed that, despite some similarities, there was no evidence available to sustain an allegation of excessive force against the employee.

I'm trying to find out how the officer was disciplined.

In other misconduct news, the OPA also issued a sustained misconduct finding in the case of a civilian dispatcher who was charged with molesting his girlfriend's 5-year-old daughter.

Pierce County prosecutors filed charges against the man last year and was told he would be terminated from the department. However, he appealed his termination before eventually pleading guilty to lesser charges. He was let go from the department this summer.

Earlier this year, the OPA also sustained a complaint against another dispatcher for taking 16-year-old home, providing him with alcohol and having sex with him.

Help a Minor Out

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 2:38 PM

Just got a call from a friend who is (wisely) spending the first part of her New Year's Eve seeing Dina Martina's show at Re-bar.

The problem: My friend's visiting 20-year-old cousin, who is a year too young to be allowed into Dina Martina's show at Re-bar, and needs something "fun" and "cool" to do for a couple hours while the old folks laugh at their drag queen.

I'm trying to think back to what I liked to do when I was 20, but I can't really advise my friend to leave her cousin alone with a jumbo bottle of Gallo and a bunch of Smiths records.

Please share your (non-pornographic) ideas for this visiting 20-year-old in the comments.

A Post About Toast (And How I Love Thee)

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 2:37 PM

I'm meeting a friend for coffee tomorrow. I live in Ballard, so I suggested Cupcake Royale/Verite. He suggested that place with toast.

"THERE'S A PLACE IN BALLARD THAT SERVES ONLY TOAST???" I screamed in all caps via text messaging.

"Yeah, how awesome is that?" he calmly responded.

Then we both began praising toast and wondered how glorious a place that serves only toast must be and then he wondered who invented toast. I didn't know, he didn't know, so I looked it up. Turns out, we have the Romans to thank (the Egyptians apparently had something to do with it as well):

Via about.com:

Toasting bread began as a method of prolonging the life of bread. It was very common activity in Roman times, 'tostum' is the latin word for scorching or burning. The first electric toaster was invented in 1893 in Great Britain by Crompton and Co (UK) and re-invented in 1909 in the United States. It only toasted one side of the bread at a time and it required a person to stand by and turn it off manually when the toast looked done. Charles Strite invented the modern timer, pop-up toaster in 1919.

Charles Strite, you're a good man and I thank you for making a delicious and versitile treat so accessible.

As for the place in Ballard, it's called Nervous Nellie's Coffee and Toast. If you've been, let the world know what you think and leave a reader review! I'm dying to hear if it's as awesome as it sounds. Because I really do love toast—dry, with butter, with jam, with butter and jam, with cheese and eggs, with ketchup and mayonnaise, with peanut butter, with peanut butter and marshmallow fluff, with peanut butter and sliced bananas, with peanut butter and honey, with honey and butter, with cinnamon and sugar, with cream cheese and fake ham... (insert Homer Simpson drooling noise)...

CNN

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 2:28 PM

So cute (and retrograde!) when they try to dispense relationship advice.

"Horrific."

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 2:05 PM

That's the Seattle Transit Blog's assessment of Gov. Christine Gregoire's no-new-taxes transportation budget, which reduces or delays funding for projects from the Puget Sound to Yelm. That's usually, but not always, a bad thing from the perspective of transit advocates, as STB found:

The Yelm loop and the new SR 167 freeway will be delayed indefinitely.

The Regional Mobility Grant program, which funds things like park-and-rides and rush-hour transit service, will be cut by 43 percent, or $30 million.

Gregoire's budget includes no new funding for the Alaskan Way Viaduct, beyond the $2.4 billion already allocated.

HOV improvement projects in Tacoma and at the intersection of SR167 and I-405 will be delayed two years.

Amtrak's operating budget will be cut by 5.7 percent, or $2.1 million.

Fares on Washington State Ferries will increase by 2.5 percent—the maximum annual increase allowed by law.

Delaying transit-related improvements to the state's transportation system is shortsighted for obvious reasons, but delaying capital improvements like HOV lane upgrades will only lead to higher expenditures in the future, as the cost of labor and materials inevitably increase.

Lunch Date: The American Dream

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 1:10 PM

american-dream.jpg(Every so often, I take a new book with me to lunch and give it a half an hour or so to grab my attention. Lunch Date is my judgment on that speed-dating experience.)

Who's your date today? The American Dream: Walking in the Shoes of Carnies, Arms Dealers, Immigrant Dreamers, Pot Farmers, and Christian Believers, by Harmon Leon.

Where'd you go? The brand-new-ish Elliott Bay Cafe.

What'd you eat? The tomatillo green chili ($8.75).

How was the food? Awesome. This is obviously the best thing I've ever eaten in the basement of Elliott Bay, and by far the best bookstore food I've ever eaten. I can't believe how bright and vibrant it is down there, and though the service is still a little slow, it's professional and friendly, which covers a multitude of timeliness issues. The chili was thick with giant chunks of juicy pork, and the tomatillos tasted fresh.

What does your date say about itself? "Journalist and social chameleon Harmon Leon is known for infiltrating and exposing the weird and wonderful subcultures of America."

Is there a representative quote? "What is the American Dream? Every proud citizen has their own unique, different idea on what it might entail. The definition is broader than Rosie O'Donnell's hips. Does the American Dream truly exist? Or is the whole myth a shame? Can the American Dream be achieved, or is it a pimp-slapped whore?"

Will you two end up in bed together? Nope. As the above quote illustrates, I think Leon is a terrible writer. He's so magazine-y and light, he might as well not be there at all. I skipped ahead to the carny bit, and it was pretty funny, but I would not advise reading the whole goddamned thing. I'll definitely be eating at Elliott Bay again, but I won't be bringing Harman Leon with me next time.

My Thesis Or Radiohead Cover Art?

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 12:48 PM

ThesisOrRadioheadCoverArt.png

Related? The little game we played.

(Bonus fact: Creating this figure required ice blocks and a laptop.)

An Tiny Island of Stink in an Ocean of Accomplishment

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 12:45 PM

Like all sane people, we here at The Stranger love The Godfather and The Godfather Part 2.

However, buried within Part 2's several hours of glory is a tiny cluster of some of the worst acting and writing ever to appear in an otherwise great film.

Here's the scene that contains the horrors, which proceed from the mouth of the otherwise-great-in-the-'70s Diane Keaton.

From her klutzy repetition of the A-word to her impassioned denunciation of "this Sicilian thing!", she totally deserved that slap. (The screenwriter and editor both deserve hearty slugs as well.)

The Godfather and The Godfather Part 2 continue through tomorrow at SIFF Cinema.

Salt! It's Magical!

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 12:35 PM

I'm of two minds about the mayor's decision to promise the city will use salt to clear snow- and ice-bound roads in the future. On one hand, whatevs. Unless global warming rapidly accelerates and produces much icier, snowier winters right away, we aren't likely to have another storm like this month's in a good long while; the last time we had this much snow that hung around as long as it did this time was more than 20 years ago. So in that sense, pandering to the pro-salt voices in the city may make sense. (The mayor practically acknowledged that was what he was doing this morning, noting that the city was "open[ing] up the toolbox just a little bit wider than it has in the past" but acknowledging that the city didn't know which circumstances would warrant using salt; "When we get there, we're just going to use our best professional judgment," he said.)

On the other hand, pandering to a bunch of hysterics who think salt is a magical fairy dust that makes snow disappear seems unnecessary. Salt is not a panacea, as people who've lived in the Northeast and Midwest will readily tell you. It can stick to surfaces (just like sand) and it doesn't work well in conditions like the recent storm, when the ice melted and froze and melted again. And, yes, it gets into creeks, streams and rivers, harming aquatic life and killing plants. Those concerns are why the city ended the use of salt in 1998. Changing that policy because of one weather event is shortsighted public policy.

In other snow-related news, Nickels announced that the city will hire private contractors to clean up the sand and gravel still littering city streets. The city probably won't buy new snow plows—"having snow plows sitting there idle for 10 years or more may not make sense," Nickels said—but they will be talking to King County Metro about how to better coordinate snow service on city streets in the future. The City Council, which was somewhat blindsided by the mayor's announcement (he didn't tell them he was changing the salt policy in advance) still plans to hold a series of public meetings on the city's snow response; full schedule is available here.

Free Milk

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 12:30 PM

At Schmader's suggestion, I made it my year-end mission to see Rob Epstein's 1984 documentary, The Times of Harvey Milk (which I'd never even heard about until all the Milk-related happenings this fall). But it wasn't easy. Last month, I put the documentary at the top of my Netflix cue and... waited. And waited. Apparently a lot of people had the same idea, and Netflix didn't have enough copies.

Yesterday it arrived—finally!—and when I mentioned this fact here, a helpful commenter told me:

Silly Eli, you could have just gone here.

D'oh! If, like the former me, you're out there right now waiting in some virtual line to get a copy of The Times of Harvey Milk—which you should be, because it's amazing and affecting and a necessary companion to Gus Van Sant's Milk—well, Hulu's got it for free.

Goodnight, Sweet Pinter

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 12:15 PM

His funeral was yesterday.

Leading figures from the worlds of theatre and the arts offered their own tributes to Harold Pinter yesterday, describing him as "the last great playwright", an inspirational hero and a dear friend who had inspired successive generations of dramatists and producers.

"Yesterday when you talked about Britain's greatest living playwright, everyone knew who you meant," the playwright David Hare told the Guardian. "Today they don't. That's all I can say."

His fellow playwright Joe Penhall called Pinter "my alpha and my beta". "Shakespeare and Chekhov had their moments, but for me The Caretaker is the greatest play of all time. He was the most inspirational playwright of the twentieth century. For young playwrights, discovering his plays for the first time was explosively exciting - you immediately wanted to copy him, be him, be like him, anything ... Nobody wrote better lines for actors: clean, hard, intoxicating. Projected in a theatre they expand with elegant, violent effectiveness, like a grenade going off in a Rolls. He was the last great playwright and I will miss him and mourn him like there's no tomorrow."

HaroldPinterKrappsLastTape.jpg

(Pinter in Krapp's Last Tape in 2006.)

And, according to the Telegraph, directed his own funeral, with a reading from one of his own plays:

Addressing the mourners, Sir Michael recited the passage from No Man's Land, which includes the lines: "Allow the love of the good ghost. They possess all that emotion trapped. Bow to it. It will assuredly never release them, but who knows what relief it may give to them, who knows how they may quicken in their chains, in their glass jars?"

There were no eulogies to Pinter, just a brief invitation at the end by Lady Antonia to join her for a drink.

Slowly departing, the mourners said goodbye to a man who had risen from his lowly East End origins to be regarded as one of the most important playwrights of the post-war era, a man who turned down a knighthood and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005.

As the last one left, a team of grave diggers piled earth on to his coffin, soon leaving it icy and silent.

The Last "Cute Animal" Video I Will Post in 2008

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 12:06 PM

This kitten loves his broccoli...

It's not quite as extraordinary as Steve Martin and his cat, but it's still kinda cute. In a slightly disturbing way.

(Thanks to Mark for the tip.)

Book Club of the Damned: Isolation, part 1

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 12:00 PM

Travis_Thrasher_-_Isolation-resized200.jpg

Why has it been so long since your last Book Club of the Damned?

Late-stage Heinlein
really damaged me.

What's your pick this time?
Isolation, a novel by Travis Thrasher.

What's it about?
It's a Christian horror novel that rips off The Shining.

Seriously?
Here's the back cover:

"James Miller is a burned-out missionary whose time on the mission field in Papua New Guinea left him exhausted and disillusioned. His wife, Stephanie, feels like she's losing her mind. After moving to North Carolina, Stephanie begins seeing strange and frightening things: blood dripping down the walls, one of her children suffocating...
...Nine-year-old Zachary sees his family's move as an adventure, and as he explores the new house, he discovers every young boy's dream: secret passageways and hidden rooms. But what seems exciting at first quickly becomes horrifying.
When a snowstorm traps the Millers, the supernatural dangers of their new home will test everything they thought they knew about each other, and about their faith.

Wow. How far in are you?
I'm about halfway done.

What's happened so far?
Well, the family has moved into a big scary house. And there's an intimation of something evil going on in the household. And the mother has just remembered that her parents were Satanists.

How Satanic were they?

They were so Satanic that they bathed their daughter in a bathtub full of blood!

That's pretty Satanic. Are there really heavy Christian overtones?
Is the Pope Catholic? When I heard about a Christian version of The Shining, I thought it was going to be like this:

But really, it's just a crappy horror novel: "This wasn't a dream or a nightmare. It was a real memory, and she was replaying it like a scene selection from a DVD. It was the movie ofher life, and she hadn't selected this scene or even thought of it for some time." with occasional Christianisms thrown in: "If God is interested in me, then He knows I'm angry and why I'm angry, and if He doesn't want to talk with me, then don't want to talk to Him."

What's the Christianiest part of it all?

Well, the building where the family is staying has a north wing that's locked up. And the father is tempted to go inside of the locked up north wing, even though he isn't supposed to. And then he goes into a locked room in the locked wing and he finds...eeeevilness:

"He entered the library and locked the door behind him. Inside were a leather couch and love seat surrounded by bookshelves. The collection of books had been the first thign he noticed. Bizarre books and titles of all sorts. Books on religions and symbols and hunting and languages and art and photography and everything in between. There were books on sex, how-to guides and art books that might as well have been pornography. And then there was a large selection of hardbound books—Playboy and Penthouse and other magazine collections displayed like literature.
This was where Jim had come the other night, first flipping through the books on the occult and Eastern religions and then coming across these magazines.
He had glanced. That was all.
But the images and content stuck with him. It bothered him. It tugged at him and offered temptation."

And so what does he do? He goes in with a garbage bag and throws all the books that don't belong to him (and which, I'll remind you, are behind at least two locked doors in a forbidden place) away. That's a good Christian.

Are you going to read the rest of it?
Yes. I'm curious to see how the ending of the book goes. Does God come down and beat the devil up? I hope so. We'll have to see.

When will you finish this Book Club of the Damned?
Next Monday, the 5th.

I Never—Ever—Thought I Would Say This

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 11:54 AM

But for reasons involving gay bars and last call, this weekend I wound up at the 13 Coins—near Boren Avenue North and Denny Way—twice. Two nights in a row, even. It’s not just that nothing else nearby was open: I went back the second time because the food was amazing at the 13 Coins. And no, I can’t believe I just wrote that.

The topper—seems risky to order this—was the best calamari I’ve ever tasted. I wasn't just buzzed. Eating most calamari is like masticating thick rubber bands crusted with saltines. But at the 13 Coins, they cut strips from a hefty squid steak, which, when battered and fried, turned into crispy blond corkscrews that steamed from the center. The Caesar salad was umami-rich with anchovy.

How can this be? The interior looks like the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, upholstered in grandpa-brown leather, and is notorious for serving overpriced pablum from a food replicator.

The 13 Coins had gone downhill and lost customers for several years, says 13 Coins manager Spencer Fairbanks. “Customers said it wasn’t worth it.” But about a year ago, he says, Kassandra McGregor—formerly the executive chef at the Broadway Grill and the Red Lion—took over as the head chef.

“Now customers say that the flavor is back and the taste is back. It is kind of how they remember this place,” he says. “Everything is prepped here and made here. Nothing comes in a bag or a box or anything.”

And while many items on the menu are still exorbitantly priced ($50 New York steak, anyone?), some stuff is reasonable ($13 ham and cheese three-egg omelets with hash brown and toast, or a $20 chicken parmigiana that feeds two). The portions are massive, and it's impressive for American food when the birds are sleeping. Who knew?

Did You Know?

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 11:48 AM

Queen Anne has a park officially dedicated to selling crack?

(Thanks to Slog tipper Matt.)

Today in Cats

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 11:45 AM

Cats with their famous people! These are tied for the best:

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6a010534da2fec970c010535b8ce90970b-800wi.jpg

Yes, the original posts are from October—thanks very much anyway to Slog tipper kid icarus.

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac...

Posted by on Wed, Dec 31, 2008 at 11:24 AM

... today is a good day to:

Castrate animals.

Again. Is that all farmers did before New Year's? Lop, lop, lop—en Español!

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Packing Teachers

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Chaste Celebrities

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Reading Tonight

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Always Be Closing

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Hegel's Children

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The Morning News

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Headline of the Decade

Posted by at 6:39 AM in

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

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