At different parts of the year we are on the verge of departing, three brilliant people (a scientist, a filmmaker, a rapper) gave me a peek of their projects, two of which will certainly be completed in 2011. The scientist is Gerald Pollack, the filmmaker is Mark Jackson, the rapper is Michael Martinez.
Pollack is working on a book that radically expands the role of water in our world of things and beings. It's no longer just in the background (water as a passive medium of life) but is weird and very active. He also believes that the complexity of the world can be reduced to basic and elegant chemical, physical, and biological processes. The book is at once clear and cosmic.
Mark Jackson's debut Without, which will premier at Slamdance 2011 (the film really should be in competition at Sundance—they really dropped the ball on that one), was shot on Whidbey Island and will be recognized as an erotic and philosophical masterpiece of our moment—sex advice apps, sextexting, internet dating. What Josh Feit at Publicola recently said about Joslyn Jensen's performance in the film (a young, lonely, bored, and pretty woman who is stuck in the woods with an old and ill man) is as much as I could ever say: "Ms. Jensen can turn watching the fishing channel, changing an old man’s Depends, and staring out the window at a deer into sexy powerful cinema."
As for Michael Martinez, he is soon to drop Hold On For Dear Life, a dark and minimalist work of gothic hiphop. After Zavala's gorgeous and impressionistic beats for Dark Time Sunshine, Onry Ozzborn returns to the grey area, the city of thorns on which much of his solo work (and his work with Oldominion) is built. This is his world.
So, those my three for 2011.
The most impressive part of this book is the way Ware channels the "voice" of his character through his art. As a baby, Lint sees things in expressionistic blocks. His mother's face is huge, her body is tiny. Language slowly forms inside word bubbles, evolving from swirls of messy scribbles into language. As the narrative moves through Lint's life, we start to get a broader, more adult understanding of his life. And as he ages, the colors start to dim and the story becomes more and more bitter. I won't go quite so far as to say it's Ware's best work ever, but it's goddamned close.
There's not much I can really say about this book. If I kept at it, I would just be throwing adjectives at it. If you like comics, you should absolutely read this book. Now. Do it.
I know, I know: Articles about parks are normally about as fun to read (or write) as a LiveSlog of childbirth. But in 2011, park news (hopefully) won't be centered on wading pool hours and the benefits of planting native grasseszzzzz.
Don't like the city trading out public space to private partners (at least temporarily) like the Chihuly museum? Too bad. That's going to be the way parks shape up. The question is—what will the city get out of it? The answer is some pretty neat stuff! Maybe!
Because in case you hadn't heard the news, the city is broke and pantsless. The parks department took a $10 million cut to its budget in 2011-2012, and cut hours (and positions) affecting nearly 200 employees—basically reducing the department to a can of paint and half a gardening sheer. Despite that, at least three major parks projects will make headway next year, which means they won't succeed without these public-private partnerships. And aside from rent payments, those partnerships can either draw people to the area, as KEXP and a Chihuly museum will do for the Seattle Center, or do not a goddamn thing for the public, like plunking office space will do for Magnuson Park.
A few projects that the city will wrestle with in 2011 after the jump.
As Cienna's grandma says, "When God closes a door, he opens a bottle." And in the restaurant world, when good places (Avila, I'm still hung up on you!) close, new good places open, and 2010—despite the crummy economy—was a great year for new restaurants in Seattle. Let us dispense with any drawn-out retrospective; I would just like to say that if I had more stomachs and unlimited time and money, well, La Bête, the Book Bindery, the Berliner, Bisato, El Mestizo, Nettletown, Primo, Re:Public, and Sushi Kappo Tamura—among others—would be seeing a lot more of me. I love my job. Thanks, Tim Keck!
I'll skip the "year in review" staple this year. You remember it well enough, if you don't have amnesia. If you do have amnesia, the past year has been neatly archived over here.
Instead, here are a few predictions about the headlines (and some stories that will fly mostly below the radar) for 2011:
What to Do About the Seattle Police: It doesn’t matter what discipline is imposed—or not imposed—in several high-profile cases of alleged police misconduct this last year; the rash of incidents beg further scrutiny of the department. If, for instance, an inquest finds Seattle Police Department Officer Ian Birk in the wrong for killing for Native American woodcarver John T. Williams, it demonstrates that officers need more training, more restraint (so cops don’t willy-nilly cap disheveled old guys shuffling across the street). If he’s exonerated, well holy shit. Let’s just give Ted Kaczynski a Nobel Peace Prize. Likewise, if SPD’s internal accountability investigation of Detective Shandy “Beat the fucking Mexican piss out of you” Cobane and knee-stomping colleague Officer Mary Woollum are found guilty of wrongdoing, that further demonstrates a problem. But since this is an internal investigation, an administrative remedy—simply suspended for three days?—will seem out of scale with the racially charged threat of assault. If they're absolved of wrongdoing like the vast majority of misconduct cases, Seattle could rightfully riot. Regardless, the whole ordeal will likely to leave more unrest than closure.
The Tunnel Fracas Continues: Not sick of the tunnel yet? You will be. Despite tunnel proponents' chant that “the debate is over” and claims that the decision is made, this sucker will simmer on front burner before nearly a year—and it still may never boil...
Are you as sad as I am that Avila closed? Do you miss the ice bar at Kurrent? the Orgasm at Madame K's? Angie's Tavern? Zao Noodle Bar? Okay, no one misses Zao Noodle Bar. But there's a completely bananas Zao rant—plus lots more about Dead Restaurants 2010—over here. Happy new year!
What to make of this?
North Beacon Hill/Fri Dec 17/10:43 am: Officer Scott Hatzenbeuhler reports: “At approximately 1043 the victim, the Loss Prevention Supervisor, observed suspect enter the store and walk towards the shoe department. Victim noticed suspect was wearing black Nikes with a white Nike symbol on them. He watched suspect select a pair of white Nikes with a gold symbol on the side ($12.99 value). Then suspect removed the Nikes he was wearing and put on the ones he selected. Victim watched suspect walk around the men's department carrying his old shoes in his hands. Suspect eventually placed his old shoes on the rack and walked towards the front of the store. Suspect bypassed all points of purchase and left the store without paying for the shoes.
“Victim said that suspect’s stride was pretty long and it took him some time to catch up to him. Suspect is approx. 6-7/195. Victim caught up to suspect in the southwest corner of the parking lot near the drop-off bins. Victim said he verbally identified himself as security and by a badge he wore around his neck, but suspect refused to stop. Victim attempted to detain suspect by taking hold of his upper left arm. Suspect turned around and punched him with a closed right fist, striking victim on the left temple/cheek. Victim said during the ensuing fight/struggle, suspect punched him four more times. Victim said he eventually was able to take suspect to the ground with a leg sweep. Once on the ground, victim said suspect continued to struggle and kept trying to get up. Eventually, other employees ran over and one assisted him in taking suspect into custody.
“Suspect was already in handcuffs. I asked him what was going on, and he said, ‘It’s a crack thing.’ Suspect went on to explain that he had been on a crack binge for the past four days. He said he was facing a third strike and that he had nothing to lose.”
And here we are! It's the final installment of the fuckiest retrospective ever, "The Fuckiest Things of 2010!" And while we may be tempted to go ahead and preemptively write off 2011 as "fucky" as well—I would ask you to hold your goddamn horses, and remember the words of fucky nominee Chad Goldwasser who told us all back in November to MAKE... THINGS... HAPPEN! Here he is again, and whenever he mentions the word "sales," I want you to substitute it with "2011"—the year all of us are gonna... MAKE... THINGS... HAPPEN!! YEAH!! TNT!! DYN-O-MITE!
(Or at least don't kill yourself, okay? Have a great and safe New Year.)
Nielsen, a research firm, reports that the amount of time mobile subscribers talk has dropped to 700 minutes per month in 2010. That includes incoming calls. A survey by CTIA, a trade group, shows that the average length of a mobile call has dropped from just over three minutes to one minute and 40 seconds since mid-2007.
But just look at the chart in the article! Americans are talking way too much—800 minutes a month! The Japanese, the masters of posthumanism, have clearly gone beyond this embarrassing insistence on the vocal presence of being. We must follow their example. We must keep live communications to a minimum. We must keep it unreal.
Paul Krugman on today's GOP—it's required reading.
Muppets with People Eyes is a terrifying new Tumblr. The weird thing is that Miss Piggy almost looks normal.
Down Under Under Water: Australia flood strands 200,000.
Seattle Manhunt: Police seek man who sexually assaulted and robbed a 63-year-old woman on a South Seattle street.
Ballard Blaze: Six people rescued from roof of burning building in Ballard, one of whom is in critical condition.
Here, Chicky Chicky: Pilgrim's Pride recalls 180,000 pounds of breaded chicken wings.
Here, Cowy Cowy: First Class Foods recalls 34,373 pounds of organic ground beef.
Admittance Is the First Step to Recovery: Lewis-McChord identified as most troubled base in military.
WTF?!: Florida woman fatally strangled by neck massager.
Add 'No More Boner Juice' to Your New Year's Resolutions: FDA urges consumers to avoid sexual-enhancement drinks.
Calling Dr. Nugent: Cat scratch fever is real and dangerous to humans, reports KING 5 Healthlink.
Finally, please enjoy the glorious collision of Tengobaila and the Scissor Sisters.
In 2010, Washington State voters did two things they're going to regret all through the next year (and beyond).
1. By a 64-36 margin they passed Tim Eyman's Initiative 1053, which puts the state legislature in a fiscal vise by imposing an impossible two-thirds majority requirement for raising new revenue at a time when the state is facing a $4.6 billion budget shortfall. The result will be extreme cuts to basic state services, and a wide ripple effect that will be felt by many of the same people who, in voting for Eyman's 1053, thought they were protecting themselves from more Great Recession hurt. They weren't, and here's the problem with the idea that state government can simply cut its way out of a $4.6 billion hole: Our state's budget has already been slashed by more than $5 billion over the last five years, leaving few extraneous services to be cut. Which means that the same people who are channeling their financial hurt into demands that the government cease collecting any new revenue—full stop, without even allowing legislators to easily close tax loopholes for, say, big out of state banks—well, those same people, as already mentioned, will be among the first to be hurt by an all cuts budget that shreds the social safety net.
2. By the same margin, 64-36, those same Washington State voters defeated Bill Gates Sr.'s effort to begin fixing our state's dysfunctional and regressive tax structure through Initiative 1098, which would have imposed an income tax on Washington's wealthiest citizens—people making over $200,000 per year as individuals or over $400,000 per year as couples—in order to raise about $2 billion per year to help fund education and health care. Misled by income tax opponents, many voters who earn far less than $200,000 per year came to believe that this new income tax would apply to them, too. So they voted against it, doing nothing to change a tax structure that benefits the rich far more than themselves and assuring deep cuts to the very education and health care programs that make their lives easier.
As a result of these two votes, in 2011 Washington State will continue to look like this:
Today the Seattle Times warns readers, yet again, about the city's plan (previously reported ad nauseam) to raise parking rates next year. Part of the city's goal in higher and varied pricing is to promote parking turnover, leaving more spaces available. That's good; people need to park. But here's the ominous opening:
Until now, Seattle drivers have known that, if they could wriggle their way to an open curb, parking fees would be relatively inexpensive and straightforward. But one of city government's New Year's resolutions is to embark on a new age of market-based pricing, ultimately charging more on the busiest blocks at the busiest times, and less at times when extra spaces tend to be available.
So... parking will transform from cheap and comprehensible to expensive and puzzling? Actually, variable pricing around the city (such as the range from 75 cents an hour for long-term parking in neighborhoods like Roosevelt to $2.50 an hour downtown) is nothing new. Varying the cost a bit more—considering that parking meters tell you what to pay and spit out a receipt for you—will not catapult all drivers into a vexing new whirlpool of confusion. We just stick in the debit card these days, plug in the minutes we need, and pay; no fumbling for change required. Second, our parking at $4 an hour (the highest rate) will still be "relatively inexpensive," especially where we see the highest demand, downtown. Acres of private lots charge $10 an hour—more than double the $4.
...but gay guys? Not so much:
If men and women are profoundly different—and both science and common sense tell us they are—then an all-female couple is even more different from an all-male couple than either homosexual bond differs from a heterosexual union. This distinction helps explain the oft-noted quirk in public attitudes that sees stronger opposition and denunciation, in the Old Testament and elsewhere, to a physical relationship between two males and intimacy between two females. A physical connection between a female couple, like a physical connection between man and woman, is based primarily on acts of affection. The most common sexual practice between two men involves an act of aggression—inflicting more pain than pleasure for at least one of the parties. Even decisions by Congress, equating homosexual and heterosexual relationships, or erasing distinctions between the interaction between lesbians on the one hand and gay males on the other, cannot repeal politically incorrect realities.
So lesbian sex is okay—with Michael and with G-d—because lesbians don't have anuses, as I've pointed out, which means they can't do any of that aggressive assfucking that Michael finds so squickily fascinating. But gay men? All we do is assfuck and G-d hates assfucking because it's an act of aggression, you see, which is why G-d condemns gay assfuckers in the Old Testament—aggressive assfuckers and weeping assfuckees alike—and calls for gay assfuckers to be put to death (nothing aggressive about that!).
Um, gee. I don't mean to toss sand into Michael's lube, but... straight people have anal sex too. Lots of anal sex. And they like it.
And anyone who's "inflicting more pain than pleasure" during sex—anally, orally, vaginally—is doing it wrong.
Thank you, ABC News, as reformatted in Apple Mail's plain text.
(And of course this would be funnier if option two came third but real life is messy.)
So I have been dating a girl for the past five months and things became pretty serious pretty fast. She is 29-years-old with a professional career, and I am a 22-year-old graduating from college in May and heading into the Army as an officer. Things have been going very well, the sex was great, conversation was awesome, we seemed very compatible. I had just visited her family for three days out of state and then she met mine again for the second half of Christmas day. We spent the rest of the weekend together and had dinner together monday night. I slept over and woke up on Tuesday and could tell she was distant, possible in a bad mood, I didn't know, so I just gave her her space.
Six hours later she text messages me saying, "Sorry for acting the way I did this morning, I'm just freaking out." I asked what about and she responded saying, "I'm scared of our future and how serious we have become." She now says she doesn't want to waste her time in a relationship with an expiration date as she feels that she will not be able to handle long distance. I told her that I don't leave for a long time and as time progresses we can figure out what to do. We had talked very briefly about her moving out to wherever I get stationed, but I kind of figured that it's too early to make that decision.
I love this woman more then anyone I have ever been with and she makes me very happy. I don't want to lose her but I don't want to fuck with her head. She said she was going to see a therapist about her relationship issues after the New Year, something she had just mentioned to me. I told her that's a great idea, and I'll be here to help her through anything she's going through and we can figure out our long-term situation as time progresses.
Should I let her go? Or do I try and stick around so we can work it out together?
Older Women Problems
My response after the jump...
Smith has already announced that he plans to wrap up the film's first Sundance screening by auctioning it off to a distributor while the audience is still in the theater, but now the jorts-clad auteur — who recently decided to dispense with press screenings altogether after Cop Out's critical lambasting — has declared that he'll be refusing print interviews to promote the movie.
(You can find a copy of Smith's rant here.) Movie blogs everywhere went up in arms. Then Smith announced that he would hold one press screening at his house in LA, and he would give 48 Red State tickets to media outlets that approached him. The same blogs that jumped all over him for not doing a tour tried to cozy up to Smith for their tickets. Between the faux-outrage and the whiplash-tastic turn to ass-kissing, it's a breathtaking public show of movie-promotion hackery. (For more about the awful, depressing world of press promotion, please see my story about the most boring Michael Cera interview in the world in this week's film section.)
And then? Smith Twittered weight-loss tips to a depressed fan:
So no more of this suicide bullshit: how the fuck do you know you’re not the one who’s supposed to cure cancer. Or change shit. Or inspire the one who WILL change shit. The flick has three acts, sir; stay above ground — or you’ll never know what was possible; just what wasn’t… So today, eat only HALF that Ho-Ho. All this week, eat only half the Ho-Ho. Next week, it’s Anti-Claus time: meaning NO Ho-Ho. Ho-Ho’s won’t vanish in our absence: there will ALWAYS be Ho-Ho’s. Months from next week, maybe years even? You can have another Ho-Ho — after which, you may mutter to yourself “Wasn’t worth it…” because that Ho-Ho becomes an hour walk to even make a dent in the caloric burning department.
The internet is a weird place.
(Thanks, Slog tipper Brad.)
First, the headline:
Greensburg Middle Schooler Fondled Girl, 12
Yikes, that sounds terrible, doesn't it? People shouldn't run around fondling 12-year-old girls, for crying out loud, and I sure hope they caught the middle schooler who fondled that poor girl and—wait a minute. A 12-year-old girl is a middle schooler. So... what we're talking about here is one middle schooler fondling another middle schooler?
Yes, that's exactly what we're talking about. The fondler—who's made to sound like sexual predator in that headline—was a 13-year-old middle schooler. He's a classmate of the "victim," in fact, and the fondling was consensual. And you'll never guess what happened next:
Police have charged a 13-year-old Greensburg Salem Middle School student with fondling a 12-year-old student when they sneaked away to a band equipment room during school hours. Greensburg police aren't identifying the suspect charged in Westmoreland County Juvenile Court. They said his actions are criminal even though the younger female student consented to the fondling because, under the law, she is deemed too young to consent. Police said the incident happened Dec. 16 after the students met in a hallway and walked together to the band room at the school.
So now it's a crime for a couple of middle-school students to make out in a band equipment room. It's not just ill-advised, it's not just worryingly precocious sexual behavior or appropriate sexual exploration (depending on your POV), and it's not a matter for parents and school administrators to address. It's a crime.
We've lost our minds.
I am in India and hallucinating because of a stomach infection. Which I attribute to the servants' putting curses on one another lately. And the dwarf one who did the good tailoring has disappeared!
Now everything is cookies and cakes and hundred dollar bills and the fair follies of the little folk. Thanks, text message!
Sometimes it seems like conservatives are afraid of everything. But don't blame them—they're born that way, poor things:
A study to be published next year at University College London suggests that conservative brains are structured differently than the brains of other people.... Specifically, the research shows that people with conservative tendencies have a larger amygdala and a smaller anterior cingulate than other people. The amygdala—typically thought of as the "primitive brain"—is responsible for reflexive impulses, like fear. The anterior cingulate is thought to be responsible for courage and optimism. This one-two punch could be responsible for many of the anecdotal claims that conservatives "think differently" from others.
It looks like Borders had a rough Christmas. They just announced they won't be able to make their December 31st payments to vendors:
Borders spokeswoman Mary Davis said Thursday that the company will work with vendors to restructure their payment arrangements while it continues to work to refinance senior credit facilities. But Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Borders warns that there is no assurance that it will be able to refinance that debt. Without financing, it could violate terms of its debt in the first quarter of 2011 and "experience a liquidity shortfall."
Someone just forwarded me an e-mail from an author suggesting that if you got a Borders gift card for Christmas, you might want to use it quickly. According to Reuters, "Borders shares fell to $1.03 after hours, from a close of $1.16." UPDATE: Now it's down to 98 cents.
The weirdest part of this AP story, headlined "Cops: Man playing real-life 'Frogger' hit by SUV," is this paragraph:
In the "Frogger" arcade game, players move frogs through traffic on a busy road and through a hazard-filled river. Before he was hit, police say the man had been discussing the game with his friends.
I think if you didn't already know what Frogger was before you read this story, the explanation would probably have confused you even more.
Medina, the 20-year old female sloth bear that arrived in Seattle in 2008, died Wednesday morning, according to a press release from the Woodland Park Zoo.
The zoo says the sloth died during a health examination after keepers noticed symptoms of decreased appetite and lethargy. Soon after the bear was immobilized by anesthesia for the exam, the bear’s heart stopped and could not be revived. A postmortem examination at the zoo revealed liver cancer that had spread to nearby tissue.
Sad, sad. RIP Medina, the adorable sloth bear.
Co-workers mailed this to my room in the psych ward. I will return to the workforce in 7-10 business days.
When it was announced in October that local online "newspaper" Crosscut had received another $400,000 in grants from the Gates Foundation, bringing their total up to a cool half million, some celebrated the news as the future of journalism, while others fretted over the ethical and free speech implications of journalists relying on wealthy patrons for their livelihood. But recently, a more troubling concern has weighed heavily on my mind, namely: how many children must die to give the likes of Ted van Dyk a media platform?
Recently scanning the Gates Foundation's own overview of its malaria prevention and eradication initiatives, I was shocked to learn that more than one million people a year still die from malaria worldwide, 85 percent of them under the age of five. That's over 850,000 young children dying each year, all due to a tiny insect most folks here in the US consider a mere itchy nuisance.
Yet according to the United Nations, most of these deaths could be avoided, if only the malarial regions of the world weren't short about 250 million insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. Nets that only cost about $10 each to manufacture and deliver.
And so while I don't really begrudge giving David Brewster and Skip Berger and Chris Vance a public platform (well, maybe Vance), I can't help but wonder: how many more children could the Gates Foundation have saved had they put that $500,000 into mosquito nets rather than into propping up a forum for old Seattle white guys to tell not-quite-so-old Seattle white guys what they're doing wrong?
Um, 50,000 actually. That's how many children will die to keep Crosscut going for another year or two. Not that I'm counting or anything.
Man, that must be quite a heavy burden for Brewster and his gang to bear. Here's hoping they live up to it.