Forgive me for the late pass, but have you ever eaten a hamburger at Triple XXX Rootbeer Drive-In in Issaquah? The one that weighs over a pound?
I have such a stomachache.
Due to various dumb publishing-industry-related mishaps, Stacey Levine's latest story collection, The Girl with Brown Fur, has debuted three times in two years. But let's pretend it's gotten three debuts because it's such a fucking great book.
The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it.
Posted by news intern Peter Johnson.
Debt Ceiling: the Senate will vote on a new plan at 1 PM today. Talks are ongoing; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had to postpone the vote from its original time this evening to allow the parties more time to negotiate on the details of a deal.
Fugitive hijacker: the FBI has a very promising lead on D.B. Cooper, the man who pulled off the only unsolved commercial hijacking in US history. Cooper jumped out of the plane he commandeered, but may or may not have survived.
Syria's uprisings: Hama, the main center of dissent in Syria, was subjected to a large-scale attack by government forces. Government troops killed at least 45 Hama residents.
Anders Behring Brevik: is a huge creep—even more than you'd expect. The man who murdered 77 fellow Norwegians in a bombing and shooting last week apparently got plastic surgery in order to be ready for his post-massacre notoriety.
460,000 weed plants: snatched up by the Feds in Northern California. More than 100 people were arrested in the 50+ weed farms raided by law enforcement agencies.
Climate change researcher: canned by the Obama administration in a move that may be politically motivated, according to some environmental groups. The scientist, Charles Monnett, studies polar bears in areas that the administration might try to open to oil exploration.
We're killing our own jobs: a poll of Washingtonians indicated that residents of our fair state would favor taxing the rich to close the budget gap and oppose cutting Social Security and Medicare. Each preference had support near 75%.
Bicyclist killed in hit and run: Mike Wang, a Shoreline man, was biking home from work when he was hit by an SUV; he died of his injuries today. The driver of the vehicle remains at large. Wang is survived by his wife and two children.
European Neanderthals: got wiped out by an invasion of
homo sapiens African apes.
PB&J burgled: or, more accurately, left behind at the scene of a burglary in North Seattle—the robber smeared peanut butter and jelly all over the house he/she broke into.
Tunnel news of the day: in a surprise move, the Cascade Bicycle Club endorsed a "Yes" vote on the tunnel measure. Just kidding. They did the opposite.
Here's a new joint from the Physics, who just dropped a new album this week.
The Physics -These Moments (Video by Zac McConnell) from Zac McConnell on Vimeo.
Three people sent me this link today:
Constant water leaks into the Big Dig tunnels are causing safety problems and tens of millions of dollars in damage, including corroded electrical systems and flooded air vents, and have even begun to damage the enormous steel girders that support the Tip O’Neill Tunnel, according to an internal report by the Big Dig’s chief engineer obtained by the Globe. [...]
Concrete in the mile-long Interstate 90 connector tunnel was only designed to withstand a 50 degree swing in temperatures between summer and winter. But the actual temperature variation is 100 degrees, resulting in cracks that allow water to come into the tunnels.
Officials in Boston have reportedly downplayed this problem for years until, finally, acknowledging that the water leaks are widespread and "by no means under control."
Seattle's proposed deep-bore tunnel isn't an exact analog to Boston's Big Dig. But I assume folks keep sending me this article because in Boston folks were promised no cost overruns, a transparent process, state-of-the-art engineering, etc. Then the truth came out years into the project. So far, our state highway agency's officials have promised that the waterfront tunnel will get built without a hitch, obfuscated information, outright lied, and are now hiding the financing plan that will tell us how much the interest will cost (estimates in 2009 said financing would reach around $1.9 billion, but now officials won't release a final report or even estimates on the final bill until mid to late August—after Seattle's vote on the project). So our tunnel isn't exactly like the Big Dig; we just have red flags that it's, you know, similar.
Yes, yes I did. Check it out. Girls rock.
Posted by news intern Peter Johnson.
Are you a junkie? Do you need icy hot political news laced with opinion racing through your veins at all times? Don't worry. We have your fix. The News Calendar has all the political events you could ever want or need to go to in one place.
Fellow Unpaid Intern Megan Burbank and I have been keeping track of all the wonky events going on around these parts. Want to get drunk with Jim McDermott? We got you. Want to watch Weekday live and in person? We can tell you how.
Check it daily. Check it nightly. Check it ever so rightly.
Slog tipper Devin writes that when he searched for "cannabis near Ballard," Google delivered these most suitable listings:
"Now I finally understand," Devin writes, "why I keep going back for more: eat doughnuts --> get munchies --> eat doughnuts --> etc." And that Top Pot on Summit isn't even near Ballard.
Finally, someone who knows what they're talking about.
Comments from this post:
1) I'll be curious to see what you have to say when Amanda Knox walks. Because it's starting to look like she's going to. Or haven't you been following the appeal?So, something amazing must have happened in the new proceedings that I'm totally missing. What is this new thing that has come to light? That the DNA evidence against Amanda is shoddy, is weak, and the Italian forensic experts are nothing but a bunch of dodos. This is not new. These arguments have been around since the beginning of the case. This appeal is not about providing evidence for Amanda, but attacking evidence that is against her. The only thing new in all of this is Amanda's wardrobe.
2) Racism is bad, but misogyny is good. Is Amanda Knox guilty because she's a white woman, Chuckles? The evidence against her is garbage.
EDITOR'S NOTE: On October 3, 2011, Amanda Knox was acquitted of the murder of Meredith Kercher and released from prison.
What a fucking jerk.
Posted by news intern Peter Johnson.
Tropical Storm Don: not as bad as meteorologists thought it might be.
Criminal suspects: this one is still suspected of doing many stupid/crappy things. He may be arrested soon.
Grieving Norwegians: standing tall at a shooting victim's funeral.
Libya's rebels: divided on many important issues; this element of the Libyan conflict has become more prominent with a general realization on the part of the mainstream media that rebel leaders do not always represent a unified front.
Suspected Fort Hood bomber: arrested under suspicion of trying to bomb the military base that was attacked by a gunman within the last two years.
Car fuel efficiency standards: will now be stricter, says President Obama.
Syrian demonstrators: still seem to be the victims of violence perpetrated by the Syrian government. Four protesters were killed in Damascus yesterday.
Better medical marijuana regulations: were signed into law yesterday by Mayor Mike McGinn.
Immediately after writing that review, a friend e-mailed me. He had seen this British movie called Attack the Block at South by Southwest, he said, and he couldn’t wait for me to see it, because it was an alien invasion movie that fixed every problem I had with Super 8: It starred a cast of mostly minority actors, the alien design was highly original, the story was funny and clever, and everyone—even the aliens—had strong, meaningful motivations. My friend has good taste in movies, but I remained cautiously optimistic about Attack the Block, because it seems as though everyone leaves SXSW with stars in their eyes from all the social networking utopianism.
Turns out, I should’ve believed the hype...(Keep reading.)
The good news is that Speaker John Boehner finally squeezed enough teabags to get a debt ceiling bill through the US House—just barely—218 to 210. Zero Democrats voted for the bill, joined by 22 Republicans in opposition. The bad news is that this bill has no chance of getting through the Senate as-is.
Sovereign governments such as the United States can print new money. However, there's a statutory limit to the amount of paper currency that can be in circulation at any one time.
Ironically, there's no similar limit on the amount of coinage. A little-known statute gives the secretary of the Treasury the authority to issue platinum coins in any denomination. So some commentators have suggested that the Treasury create two $1 trillion coins, deposit them in its account in the Federal Reserve and write checks on the proceeds.
Problem solved, at least temporarily. Of course we can't just expand the money supply ad infinitum, but inflation is low at the moment, and it would give us the breathing room to survive this particularly psychotic congress without sacrificing the full faith and credit of the US government in the process.
UPDATE: It only took two hours for the Senate to reject the House bill.
A couple of news items caught my attention today, that made me wonder if Apple is fast becoming the Walmart of personal electronics? No, not in the sense that Apple is selling cheap crap, but rather in the way it's beginning to lock out the competition by exerting it's buying power over the supply chain.
For example, Apple has long had a reputation for selling premium products at a premium price, leveraging its cool factor to maintain oversized margins. But new reports suggest that Windows-based PC manufacturers are having a difficult time competing with Apple on price in the growing ultra-thin notebook category that Apple's MacBook Air currently dominates:
Asustek Computer and Hewlett-Packard will reportedly lead the charge with initial Ultrabook production but the former's 11.6-inch UX21 Ultrabook will reportedly retail for $1000 while the 13.3-inch UX31 will fetch $1600 — $300 more than Apple's new $1,299 13.3-inch MacBook Air.
[...] The matter underscores how Apple is slowly but successfully taking its proficiency in supply chain management, long-term component pre-payments, and cost effective designs originally conceived for its iOS device strategy, and transitioning them to its Mac platform, which has long struggled to compete with pricing from rival PC makers.
Barely a week goes by without some industry report of one competitor or another delaying a product due to a shortage of affordable touch-screens, flash RAM, and other crucial components, even as Apple ramps up production of its hot-selling iPhones and iPads. Meanwhile Apple continues to prop up its enviable margins by using its enormous buying power to demand ever lower prices from suppliers. As much as its great design and mind-control-like marketing, it is Apple's supply chain magic that has enabled the company to capture two-thirds of mobile phone industry profits while holding only a 5.6 percent share of unit sales.
In addition to a busy day of Tweeting, and some crowing about how "we’ve seen switchboards and websites overwhelmed by Americans urging members of Congress to compromise on the debt ceiling," the White House is now also pushing out evidence that "governors, mayors and other state elected officials are joining the growing chorus."
In among the evidence:
Chris Gregoire, Governor of Washington:
“President Obama was right to push Congress to act and act soon on a long-term solution to the debt ceiling. We can’t just kick the can down the road for another six months. The uncertainty of the debt negotiations has caused consumers to slow spending and businesses to slow hiring.” [Signed 7/26/2011]
Mike McGinn, Mayor of Seattle, WA:
“Congress’s failure to raise our nation’s debt ceiling undermines our hard work. Even worse, it threatens the fragile recovery we’re seeing in Seattle. People are coming off the sidelines to invest in our city and congressional irresponsibility threatens to dry up their credit. It’s time for Congress to stop grandstanding and start working to protect our country’s financial security.” [7/29/2011]
And, off the top rope, the Washington State Treasurer!
Christopher Ryan, co-author of Sex at Dawn, is stepping in for Dan Savage, who is on vacation. Chris will be writing the “Savage Love Letter of the Day” all this week. You can read more from Chris at his blog at Psychology Today, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. Sex at Dawn has just been released in paperback.
I just read your letter to the soccer mom who is oinking the dudes with unknowing wives, and I have to say, as a long time reader of your column I can't help but find myself, a naive monogamist, somewhat confused by your stance on sexual normalcy and deviance. You've never said it outright, but I get the impression that you think people like me just don't know what we're missing, while those engaged in less traditional modes of sexual engagement are somehow a bit more progressive, or enlightened. I personally am surrounded by such people, and have tried a couple of 'open' relationships myself- all ending in hurt feelings and/or lost love. I consider myself and the people I've tried this with great communicators, generally un-jealous people who seem ripe for the lush offerings of such an undertaking, and yet they never seem to work. I'm not saying that I doubt that they can work for somebody else, because it obviously does work for a lot of people, but shit, when I really like somebody the thought of them arfing some other oint is totally nauseating. The last open relationship I had was with one of the best, most sensitive and communicative dudes I've ever met, but as soon as we started oinking other people, the interest and particular focus on one another just sorta dissipated.
Read the rest of the question, and my response, after the jump...
"You Make the Sun Fry"
Read it here.
Brendan Kiley on the sad death of Amy Winehouse.
Read it here.
Some idiot on four Danish teens who comprise Iceage!
Read it here.
And, Willie Nelson's publicist won't talk to Brendan Kiley about weed!
And tons more after the jump!
This evening in Cal Anderson Park, Three Dollar Bill Cinema kicks off its summer screening series with Xanadu, the "romantic musical fantasy" of 1980 that, in addition to everything in the subject line, also features Olivia Newton-John, Electric Light Orchestra, and confusing appropriation of Greek myth.
Of course the ultimate success of any park screening is beyond the programmer's control and in the hands of the gods of weather, who are right now either smiling on us or setting us up for some horrible prank. Either way, tonight will be a perfect night to sit on a blanket in a park, perhaps with a surreptitious bottle of wine or thermos of margaritas, surrounded by lots of other people on blankets, all watching a ridiculously bad film. (Bonus: It's only 93 minutes long!)
It's out, but it's not extraordinarily progressive. So much love for so many school board incumbents? Yeesh.
What is the Nad's Natural Gel made from?
Seventeen of nature's most astringent and corrosive plant extracts are combined into a boiling vat of weasel urine, the product is cooked down to a thick paste while old Andrew Dice Clay albums are played at 400 decibels, ensuring every batch of the Nad's Natural Gel is infused with the utmost abrasiveness.
Where do I start?
Begin with the least hairy parts of your body (bottom of your foot, interior of your mouth, pyloric valve, etc.) These should prove relatively easy locations from which to remove hair.
What are the sticks for?
After you have applied the gel to your body, apply the gel to one of the sticks. When the stick has completely dissolved, it is time to apply more gel to your body. You’ll notice that all 64 of the sticks are different sizes; pick the size stick that you think best approximates your skin's durability.
You say you haven't read anything by George R. R. Martin? Lindy West has you covered.
Let's be honest, there's a reason why House Speaker John Boehner is finding it so difficult to secure enough votes within his own party to raise the debt ceiling, whatever the terms: a large chunk of congressional Republicans want the federal government to default.
I'm not being hyperbolic; that's just a fact. Many of the teabagger freshmen who gave Boehner his majority have come flat out and said it. They will not vote for a debt ceiling lift, no way, no how. Others would only do so only under the harshest, obviously unacceptable terms.
And I don't think they're being cynical. Most understand they could be provoking an economic catastrophe, but they feel they absolutely have no choice. This is the only way to tame the national debt, they believe, and shrink government towards the dystopian libertarian scope they are confident is they only path towards economic prosperity and freedom. Others truly believe that President Barack Obama is evil, and that if he's not defeated in 2012, our nation will surely slide into a socialism. Dramatically tanking the economy would virtually assure Obama's defeat, they believe, leaving conservative Republicans in control of all three branches of government. The end justifies the means, and all that.
As totally fucking crazy as they may be, at least these teabaggers are principled and patriotic, but Boehner... not so much. He's conservative all right, but he knows better. He knows exactly how irresponsible it would be to provoke a default. And yet he refuses to consider the one option that could quickly end this artificial crisis and allow the nation to move on to solving our real problems: leading the handful of non-crazy Republicans left in his caucus across the aisle to vote with the Democrats.
At the moment the Republicans hold a 240 to 193 advantage in the House. That means that if Nancy Pelosi can deliver her votes, it would take only Boehner and 23 other sane Republicans to vote with the Democrats to raise the debt ceiling. That is, assuming they love their country more than they love their own jobs. No doubt such a bold maneuver would cost Boehner the speakership. But sometimes, that's the kind of sacrifice a true patriot has to make.
On Saturday, July 30, "Rear Window" will be screened from a beautiful 35mm print in the our intimate, 70 seat jewel-box theater. Doors will open one hour before each show for guests to mingle with other film lovers, nibble on hors d'oeuvres and sip on drinks. We'll have a silent auction and raffle with great prizes from The Criterion Collection, Northwest Film Forum and neighborhood businesses.
It screens at 6:30 and 9:30 pm, and the $25 admission includes one drink. This is a good thing to do.
Here is the trailer for Rear Window, in case you're a clam or something:
(Also at the Grand Illusion this week: Trigun, which "ain't your typical anime," and concerns an unlikely outlaw ("a pacifist with a doughnut obsession") being chased by bounty hunters across a planet called Gunsmoke.)
The final night of the fundraiser is Saturday. It involves the artist who calls herself Flatchestedmama. Details here.
I don't know what will happen, or whether it will be great. I know I like the space, and I like the chance-taking.
Meanwhile, other birds are dying and journeying to the land of the dead. They encounter snakes and owls and existential dilemmas. You've never read anything quite like Big Questions—imagine if Peanuts suddenly turned into Lord of the Rings and you have a vague idea of the tone—but you'll be thankful you encountered it. This is probably going to be the best—and is definitely the most original—comic of 2011. Nilson reads and shows slides from Big Questions at the Fantagraphics Store tomorrow night at 6 pm. You should go.
2. Tomorrow is a big day for book sales on Capitol Hill. Pistil Books will be selling over a thousand books for $1 and $2 each—more information on that sale is here—and every book in Elliott Bay Book Company is on sale for 20% off on Saturday and Sunday. It's book-shopping central here in the two-block radius!