This post has been bumped up because the deadline's today.
Hey, fiction writers! Whatcha been working on? The Stranger is looking for a short story, no longer than 1,200 words, to be published in the winter issue of our arts quarterly A&P. The only requirement is that it be set in Seattle in wintertime. The winning piece will be selected by our judges Sherman Alexie and Rebecca Brown, both Stranger Genius Award-winning fiction writers, and the winning entry will be rewarded with publication and $500. The deadline is fast approaching: November 15 at 5:00 pm, PST. Get on it!
RULES, FORMATTING, AND ADVICE
(1) There is no entry fee, but only one story may be submitted per writer. Only send your best work. The story may not be longer than 1,200 words.
(2) Entries must be submitted electronically. They should be written in Microsoft Word or Google Docs and sent as an attachment to email@example.com. The subject line of the email should read "winter fiction." Entries sent by mail will be converted into confetti and thrown about the office.
(3) The title of the piece and the author's name and contact information should appear in the body of the email that contains the attachment. The title of the piece should also appear in the attachment, at the top of the story itself, but not the author's name or contact information, because the contest will be judged blindly. That means that judges will not know the author of the winning piece until after they have made their selection. Authors' publishing history will not be taken into consideration: The winner may be someone who has been published extensively, or it may be someone who has never been published before. The only consideration will be the quality of the work. If you would like to know more about the judges, read their books.
(4) Authors may reside anywhere, although, again, the story must take place in Seattle in wintertime.
(5) Entries will be received and processed by Stranger books intern Cate McGehee. She will notify you that your submission has been received, and she can answer any administrative questions you may have, but please don't annoy her. We will not provide feedback to individual writers about their work. Again, the email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Callers will be shot.
(6) "Fiction" is a loose term. If you send in an essay, or a piece of memoir, that functions as a story, how would the judges ever know?
(7) The winning author will be announced on Slog on November 28. Their story will appear in the winter issue of A&P, which comes out December 5. (Look for the magazine with a glossy cover conveniently tucked into the December 5 issue of The Stranger. A&P is also distributed independently to newsstands, bookstores, museums, galleries, coffee shops, etc.)
(8) We reserve the right not to publish anything if the judges don't find anything they like.
Good luck! Get cracking!
If you've donated to Washington United for Marriage or phone banked for Referendum 74 and you're wondering what else you can do before Tuesday to help push same-sex marriage into the winning column, I recommend signing up for a canvassing shift. Basically, you're going out and talking to voters who are probably supportive of Referendum 74 but whose ballots have not been received by the state yet, and encouraging them to find their ballot, fill it out, and send it in. I got randomly assigned to Wallingford. I got randomly assigned another volunteer to go with who turned out to be awesome. (Hi, Jen!) We made fun of ourselves for dressing up as "adults" (her word) or "dorks" (my word) on Halloween. We talked about the last time she'd gone out with a guy (high school) and the last time I'd gone out with a girl (also high school). We tried to pass as a straight couple. (I think we nailed it!) We talked about how crazy it is to put a civil right up for popular vote. We ate an awful lot of candy. And we met a bunch of people with cool dogs, excellent costumes, good dance moves, nice porches, cozy houses, comfortable chairs, and babies. So many babies out there. As I was high-fiving one lady for voting to approve Referendum 74, she whispered, "And I'm a Christian!"
As I pointed out to the only undecided voter we met all night, Referendum 74 protects religious liberties, so churches etc. can't be sued for not performing/recognizing gay marriages. (An untrue TV commercial had told her otherwise.)
Anyway! They need canvassers in all Seattle neighborhoods, plus Tacoma, Shoreline, Bellevue, TriCities, Ellensburg, Yakima, Pullman, Spokane, Cheney, etc, etc. Do it! I went into tonight thinking that this would be my last hurrah for Referendum 74 but after tonight... I agreed to do a Monday shift. Last minute, yes. But every little bit helps! As organizers reminded volunteers as we set off tonight, Chris Gregoire won the governorship in 2004 by 129 votes. Judging from the polling, Referendum 74 could be closer. It will come down to which side is better at getting out the vote. And there are a lot of people in this city/county/state on the right side of this issue who just are not on top of their ballot. Thank you for restoring my faith in humanity, Wallingford.
It's the secretary of state's last turnout prediction before leaving office, and he didn't do so well with his primary forecast. Here's what he says is going to happen in the general election:
Secretary of State Sam Reed on Thursday predicted a robust voter turnout of 81 percent in the General Election that is currently underway. He said Washington voters will be attracted by highly competitive races for president and governor, hot races for Legislature and Congress, and some of the most compelling ballot measures in the country.
Here's video of Jeb Bush, complaining about the way that awful President Obama has been brutalizing George W. Bush. The money shot: "His entire strategy is to blame others – starting with my brother, of course."
You know, Jeb's right. That's why I'm glad the Republicans embarked on a full-throated defense of George W. Bush during their convention in August. They really took a stand and defended Bush as the craftsman of a great number of forward-thinking, all-inclusive policies. The fact that George W. Bush was given such a prominent speaking slot during the convention—in prime-time, no less!—proved that Republicans stand behind Bush and everything he stood for. Obama should be ashamed of his hurtful attacks.
PRO TIP: If Someone cuts you with "a 10" chef knife" after you tell them they can't smoke your medical marijuana, they are not your friend.
On Monday, October 29, police responded to a 911 call in Lower Queen Anne. According to the police report, a woman and her friend met up with another friend at his place at 3:30 a.m. Monday morning. As the police report states, "they talked for a little while and then [the future witness to the crime] fell asleep on the couch."
When the suspect asked if she could smoke some of the victim's medical pot and he said no, "she became upset." The "[woman] said that she was going to punch [the sleeping friend] to wake him up and they would leave," according to the police report. The guy told police "he stopped her from punching [the sleeping friend] and she ended up punching [the man] instead." When he told her to get out of his apartment, they tangled and "in the struggle they both fell to the ground."
According to the report, the suspect then got up, ran to the kitchen, grabbed a 10" chef knife and allegedly gashed the victim's arm. During the commotion, the witness woke up, "grabbed her from behind and said he attempted to 'choke her out.'" While the witness restrained her, the "[victim] grabbed all of the knives out of the kitchen and hid them behind his bed," after which he called 911.
Police went to the suspect's address to look for her, but she was gone. According the police, report the male victim had been "friends" with the female suspect for over three years. But attacking a friend with a knife over medical pot is usually enough to sever a friendship.
Because I am an impatient motherfucker, I filled out and mailed my ballot the night it arrived in my mailbox. Using the King County ballot tracker, I could tell that they received my ballot within 48 hours, but for the last couple weeks, it's been stuck at the signature verification part of the process. I was a little concerned, because I never sign the same signature twice, so I've checked the ballot tracker every day. If there were any problems with the verification process, I wanted to deal with them as quickly as possible. Finally, today: SUCCESS!
I can't even really describe how good this makes me feel. Has your ballot been confirmed yet?
As Cienna just reported, the Seattle City Council has decided to delay spending $1.35 million for studying a likely rail line from downtown to the University District, because, well, rail's not their priority. There's a case to be made, of course, that it is a priority: Ben over at Seattle Transit Blog explains why the council should fund it immediately.
It would carry 25,000 riders a day, downtown is growing, South Lake Union is a ballooning jobs hub, and the UW is the city's largest employer. Of all the corridors in the city's Transit Master Plan—some of which the council is funding studies for, per the mayor's budget—this streetcar route has the greatest promise for high ridership.
But the council's decision to withhold money makes perfect sense if you believe that designing and building rail isn't the city's greatest, unmet transportation need. If you think we need to spend more for bus-corridor improvements (like coordinating lights and building curb bulbs), which is what they'll use the money for instead, this is totally logical. The council has said, in essence, "We have other priorities so we're putting rail on the back burner."
But that's the problem with this city. Generations of city councils in Seattle have made this calculation to defer for decades, and look where it's gotten us: We still don't have a real rail system. The suburbs are sprawling, the city's neighborhoods are bisected from one another because traffic is jammed, and the bus system is jammed along with them—our transit system sucks. The light rail being built by Sound Transit is so glacially slow, it will take 100 years to build a complete urban system, and the city's leaders have been too craven to take any initiative on their own. My entire life in this town, the city council has stood idly by—while the metropolitan population booms—while gunning for freeways and leaving the one big transportation need of every big city leaderless: a fucking rail system.
Council transportation chair Tom Rasmussen was the deciding council member. Reached by phone, his office wants to deflect blow-back by saying they'll fund this stuff next year. Just not this year. Just like we've always heard. Here's video of Rasmussn explaining his logic in the council chamber.
Sure, people can make an academic case for investing in other transportation modes—and council apologists do—but all that's done is kick the city's biggest can down the road indefinitely.
Fogón means, roughly, "stove." Google translates an entry from a Spanish dictionary like this: "Stove: Formerly, in the kitchen room where the fire had to cook. In the boilers of steam engines, fuel destined place: have to take coal in the stove to operate the locomotive."
As the name of a restaurant, Fogón connotes warmth and hearth and family—even when the word is in the context of a train, it's an old-timey steam engine. It does not have any brainstorm-betraying, questionable edge, as with naming a restaurant Barrio; nor does it have the Americanized-sounding, diminutive quality of a name like Poquitos. Capitol Hill's Barrio was created by the Heavy Restaurant Group, which also runs the various Purple Cafe and Wine Bars, plus Lot No. 3 in Bellevue; the owners of Poquitos also run Bastille and Macleod's Scottish Pub in Ballard, are opening a beer hall called Von Trapp not far from Poquitos, and are planning another Ballard restaurant called Stoneburner. Barrio is the one with the massive wooden doors and wall of candles; a plate of three tacos there costs $12 to $16. Poquitos is the one with the filigreed metalwork and 14,000 handmade tiles; tacos there are $9.95 to $11.95 and up (the Baja fish tacos are market price).
The owners of Capitol Hill's new Fogón Cocina Mexicana own other restaurants, too: two more Mexican places...
Over on my number #1 news source, Facebook, a new group of residents are lobbying the city to turn every traffic light signal in Seattle into All Way Walk signals to promote pedestrian safety.
The campaign, which has 32 "likes" on Facebook, says that turning every signaled intersection into "all walk" zones would promote safety and result in fewer pedestrians being pancaked by careless drivers. The group wants to start their walker's revolution with the Boren Avenue and Madison Street, and 23rd Avenue and E Yesler Way intersections.
The city already has a few of these all-walk intersections, most notably, on First Avenue and Pike Street and at the West Seattle Junction. But as Walking in Seattle points out, the Seattle Department of Transportation says that all-way walk signals would slow down every mode of traffic significantly, because walkers would basically have to wait through two traffic signals for their chance to cross:
In fact, SDOT studied 70 signals in the downtown retail core and found that pedestrians and motorists would experience a significant delay at these intersections and at other nearby intersections—and that the delay for buses would be even worse.
Then again, who gives a fuck what SDOT thinks? I'm sure you know better than them, wise Hall Monitors of Slog!
Nearly eight in 10 likely voters say the president has done an “excellent” or “good” job dealing with what’s been labeled a “super storm.” Almost as many give positive reviews to the federal government’s response generally. Even two-thirds of those who support Republican Mitt Romney in next week’s presidential election say Obama is doing well in this area.What am I feeling right now? What are my senses telling me? Another picking-at-a-vegetarian-breakfast-burrito moment is in the making.
The results for the hurricane response question are from interviews Tuesday evening, one of the four “waves” of interviews in the current release from the Post-ABC tracking poll. The one-night margin of sampling error is plus or minus six percentage points. As was the case Tuesday, responses in the Northeast across a range of demographic and political variables were on par with those throughout the tracking poll, which started Oct. 18.
After both men doles out hugs and handshakes at the shelter, Christie said it's "really important to have the president of the United States" in New Jersey. To the chagrin of some Republicans, Christie has lavished praise on Obama for his efforts in helping states deal with the storm.
Obama was equally effusive about Christie, telling residents that "your governor is working overtime" to repair the damage from the storm.
I already said it this morning, but it's kind of shocking that when two politicians from opposing parties praise each other, the media jumps on it like it's the biggest breaking news of the day.
Here's plenty of ideas, from "Seattle's Sexiest Halloween Party!" Have yourself a looky-loo! Photos may be NSFW.
Here's David Axelrod vowing to "shave off my mustache of 40 years*" live on MSNBC if the Obama campaign loses Minnesota, Michigan, or Pennsylvania:
Here's a video of a girl who has had too much of this election:
* I wish I had a mustache to bet on things, but we long ago established that I'm not much of a man at all. Also, Mustache of Forty Years is a good band name.
Maybe I'm a pessimist, or maybe it's the rain, or maybe it's the searing lesson from when gay marriage was on the ballot in California, or maybe it's because I was raised by people who would never vote for gay marriage, or maybe it's all of the above, but I keep thinking: Referendum 74 is not going to pass. That's my opinion, if anyone asks. The polls are just too close. The opposition's message (you can vote against gay marriage and not be anti-gay) is too clever. The probability of people lying to pollsters because they don't want to fess up to wanting to deny people rights is too great. Plus, history must be taken into account: every single goddamn time it's been put up for a popular vote somewhere, it's failed.
But man—opening the New York Times today to this gigantic image of two Referendum 74 canvassers in Seattle brightened my day. Lifted my pessimism a little. Gave me some hope! This excellent photo is by Matthew Ryan Williams and everything about it is happy-making. And not just because one of the canvassers is dressed as Max from Where the Wild Things Are and the other has a clown nose on. The late-fall light, all the different yellows, the Seattle architecture in perspective, the composition overall, the subjects marching together down a path (into the future!), the ground beneath the one guy's foot... Plus, the article points out that Referendum 74 may very well be approved here, if narrowly—in spite of my pessimism! (It's not like I've given up; in fact, I'm going canvassing tonight.) The article also points out that gay marriage is faring even better in polls in Maine than it is here, and that even a single victory at the ballot, whether here or in Maine, "will be a turning point," so says the Human Rights Campaign.
According to the caption, the two volunteers in the photo are David Wieland and Chase Nordengrem. According to a little light Googling, Wieland is a senior fellow at Washington Bus. God bless Washington Bus. And God bless everyone else who's volunteering for Referendum 74—canvassing, phone banking, donating money, all of it. Even if this thing doesn't pass, it's been amazing to see the city rally behind it. And nice costumes, guys.
That's the header of an email I received from the We Like Women Political Party. Here's the text:
This is a free speech opinion!
Democrats do not like white people! Whites are facing a lot of reverse discrimination in areas where there are lots of Democrats! In communities which are overwhelmingly Democrat, whites are getting insults like, "Get out of my neighborhood, you're white," "why don't you move to a whiter neighborhood and get out my neighborhood," "I don't like white people in my neighborhood," "F-you, you are white," etc., etcetra.....In areas which are overwhelmingly Democrat, this is what is happening to white people! (Also, in areas which are overwhelmingly Democrat, whites are a minority and are becoming a superminority!) In many areas which are Democratically controlled, whites, which use to be a majority, are less than 30% of the population now! So if you are white and if you do not want to be insulted for being white (F-You, you are white, I don't like you because you are white) or or do not want to become a minority or even a superminority, do not vote Democrat, vote Republican or vote for any other political party besides the Democratic Party. This is a free speech opinion and only an opinion and we have the right to express our free speech political opinion!
For more hilarity, check out the We Like Women Political Party website.
Instead of killing a popular plan to extend high-capacity transit from downtown to the University District along the Eastlake Avenue corridor, three city council members are delaying the plans for a year to fund other transit projects.
Seattle Transit Blog has an excellent piece today explaining exactly why the Eastlake planning should move forward, the sooner the better. Meanwhile, yesterday the council's transportation chair, Tom Rasmussen, joined council members Sally Bagshaw and Sally Clark in proposing reducing Mayor Mike McGinn's 2013-2014 transit budget plan by $1.35 million by:
· Deferring the start of the Eastlake High Capacity Transit (HCT) corridor planning until 2014.
· Delaying a study of HCT over the Ship Canal, as part of the Ballard HCT corridor.
In exchange, the council members propose shuffling transit money around:
· Adding $150,000 to speed up planning for HCT on Madison Street.
· Putting $2 million in 2013 towards improving various bus corridors identified in the Transit Master Plan.
The council will formally vote on their budget changes after next week's general election. Although the mayor's plan to study and build an HCT line along Eastlake Avenue has the popular support of South Lake Union businesses, various neighborhood chambers of commerce, and the University of Washington, "there isn't the council support for doing it sooner," says Bill LaBorde, a transportation expert working in Rasmussen's office. Part of this foot-dragging is insider politics—council members can't kill the funding as planned, due to its popularity with a wide swath of Seattleites. Still, those who have their eye on the mayoral throne aren't going to give McGinn any more victories than they absolutely have to before next year.
But it won't keep the mayor's office from gloating a little: "The council is going to delay rail along Eastlake but at the end of the day, they are affirming the mayor's efforts to expand rail in the city and invest in the Transit Master Plan," says Aaron Pickus, a spokesman for the mayor.
At an Everett fundraiser with Congressman Tom Price (R-Georgia) over the weekend, 1st Congressional District Republican candidate John Koster was caught on audio frankly chatting about rape, incest, abortion.
Koster says that when a woman's life is in danger, "I'm not going to make that decision." But rape and incest are different, he says. "Incest is so rare, I mean, it's so rare," Koster emphasizes, that it's apparently not worth an exemption from the abortion ban he supports. And rape?
"But on the rape thing, it's like, how does putting more violence onto a woman's body and taking the life of an innocent child that's the consequence of this crime, how does that make it better? You know what I mean?"
Yeah, I think I know what you mean, John. You even said "the rape thing" twice. Rape... it's just a thing.
(Yup... this is the guy who the Seattle Times enthusiastically endorsed. Go figure.)
"Here's why you need to care about our next guests," says Ellen. "No other artists in hiphop history have ever taken a stand defending marriage equality they way they have. Here to perform their anthem 'Same Love,' please welcome my new heroes Macklemore and Ryan Lewis."
"Same Love"'s lyrics have never sounded sharper than they do coming out of a mainstream daytime TV show. Also, Mary Lambert rules.
So the Romney campaign allegedly bought $5,000 worth of food and supplies at Walmart to give to Romney supporters to "donate" to the campaign for a photo op:
Empty-handed supporters pled for entrance, with one woman asking, “What if we dropped off our donations up front?”
The volunteer gestured toward a pile of groceries conveniently stacked near the candidate. “Just grab something,” he said.
Two teenage boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each, and got in line. When it was their turn, they handed their “donations” to Romney. He took them, smiled, and offered an earnest “Thank you.”
The Red Cross accepted the Romney campaign's donation, but they politely pointed out that donating goods is not the best way to help with disaster relief; they prefer donations of money or blood.
In Hudson, the packing was proceeding too quickly, and the supporters wearing red "Team Wisconsin" t-shirts were given the order to slow down and then to stop to be sure there were still goods to be packed when Ryan entered.
One by one the boxes were filled and loaded into a waiting U-Haul, and then they stopped to wait for the candidate.
Who cares if people are in need? The important thing is that we need some pictures of Paul Ryan putting boxes on a truck!
John Langs is one of my favorite working directors. As I wrote in this week's Suggests for Antony and Cleopatra, his imagination simultaneously sharpens and embellishes whatever play he directs. He is both smart and visceral and has a talent for trimming away fat while teasing out and adding to themes—visual, textual—that most directors would let sit in the background.
Some directors overladen their plays with concepts and crap. Some directors bring too little to the text, leaving everyone unsatisfied. John Langs usually gets it just right. (A few reviews from our archives, of classic works and world premieres: Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet at Seattle Shakespeare Company, The Adding Machine by New Century Theater Company, Crumbs Are Also Bread at WET, The Dumb Waiter and Celebration as part of ACT's Pinter festival, Paul Mullin's Louis Slotin Sonata at Empty Space.)
Langs has had a heavy presence in Seattle, but he hasn't lived here—until now. This morning, ACT Theater announced it had coaxed him out of Los Angeles and hired him on as a full-time associate artistic director (a position that has been vacant since Kurt Beattie left it to become full artistic director). According to the announcement, Langs will direct one mainstage play a year, help curate their Central Heating Lab program, assist in new play development, etc.
ACT says Langs will continue to direct at other theaters and in other cities—his talent is in demand—but hiring him full-time is a smart move, both for the present and Langs's promising future.
It's no secret that the Washington Restaurant Association is conservative. The WRA's "pro-business" lobbying arm proudly "defended the hospitality industry" from paid sick leave and extended unemployment insurance benefits. In the Washington Restaurant Magazine's October issue, the WRA endorsed 67 Republican candidates to 40 Democrats in 25 state races (and those Democrats are overwhelmingly running in races where there's no GOP challenger).
But the WRA's public relations manager, Heather Donahoe, still told me, “We are not a partisan organization.” That's PR speak for "Nothing to see here."
However, a quick look at their political action committee’s donations only reinforces the perception of WRA's right-wing alignment. This election cycle, their PAC raised $323,781 from over 1,700 donors, many of them member restaurants that use the proceeds from your meals to fund their association's right-wing agenda.
Where does your money go?
It goes to forward an overwhelmingly conservative, pro-business agenda. Of the roughly $286,000 expenditures labeled "Political Contributions" on the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission website, the WRA fed Republican candidates and PACs a heaping $237,000 while Democratic candidates were left to nibble on a paltry $49,000. Although the WRA PAC donated to Brad Owen (technically a Democrat) and Frank Chopp (certainly a Democrat and House Speaker), it’s their disproportionately massive contributions to other conservative PACs and candidates that make their spokeswoman's claim of non-partisanship a laughable sham.
The power goes out right around the one minute mark:
Matika Wilbur—the Seattle photographer who's from the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribe and whose work was recently at Seattle Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and Pun(c)tuation—has less than $4,000 to raise in order to reach her $30,000 Kickstarter goal for a project called 562: Documenting all 562 tribes in the United States. It's a project that would make Edward Curtis blush (for multiple reasons).
She has until tomorrow to gather supporters, she's really close, and what a project.
It's official. I am preparing to launch myself into Native America—I leave in December for an epic photographic journey visiting all 562 Tribes in the United States; my goal is to unveil the true essence of contemporary Native issues, the beauty of Native culture, the magnitude of tradition, and expose her vitality. My goal is to create a publication and exhibition representing Native people from every tribe. But really, the ultimate goal is education—I want people to know that we survived.
Real estate mogul and ardent birther Donald Trump has been asked to stump for Mitt Romney in the final week before Election Day. Trump will be doing robo-calls in Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Florida — crucial battleground states.
I think the Republican party is very much overestimating Donald Trump's political appeal with independents.
The best costume idea I heard this year came from a 7-year-old, who conceived the Basset Witch, which is, of course, a witch crossed with a Basset hound.
Unfortunately, this idea remained only an idea, so there are no photos to show. Instead, here's a picture of my dog dressed as a pickle. (Costume by my husband-if-R-74-is-approved Jake.)
Raw broccoli? Raw liver? Tampax? Beer? Read more (and add yours) here. Happy Halloween! Hell is for children!
There are at least three states to Dawn Cerny's screenprint Honorable Mention.
1: As a pile of copies lying on a pedestal on the floor at SU's Hedreen Gallery. (Label says take one.)
2 and 3. As a copy in your hand. But the paper is as large as a torso and it's raining out and you're walking. No problem—the gallery manager overheard the artist say she likes the idea of people folding it. So: folded safely in dry pocket for the wet walk, then voilà.
The discarded floral wrapping paper that's printed on the poster is itself all folded up and crinkled. So folding the poster achieves that same image-and-paper-it's-printed-on symmetry as in Oscar Tuazon and Eli Hansen's folded photographs of the geodesic dome homes on the Kitsap Peninsula.*
Cerny's pretty, dusky red is the color of an antiquey colonial plate, but this would be a cheap, late-model reproduction rather than a hand-done valuable; the printing shows its dots. Refined printing of a picture of trash would make no kind of sense. This art is a poster printed with floral wrapper that's printed with flowers—but any actual flowers themselves are conspicuously absent. The title is Honorable Mention: sad non-honor.
But the sweet, smart art operation itself rescues whatever blurry, sorry situation it alludes to, and pulls everything into some more fragile but better realm. "Say It With Flowers," the wrapping paper reads, but Cerny's saying "it" without flowers and with extra folds.
*Raise your hand if you miss those two.
Last week, Newsweek editor in chief Tina Brown argued, in this very space, that The Stranger should cease print publication and become digital-only. With all due deference to Tina, I would argue that the exact opposite is necessary. On Monday, Penguin and Random House announced that we are going to merge our publishing companies. We urge The Stranger to join us.
The new company would be called Penguin Random Stranger House and would comprise all the English, Spanish, and Portuguese language interests of the Penguin Group, The Stranger, and Random House. I will be the chairman of the new company, and Markus Dohle, the CEO of Random House, will be the chief executive. Perhaps Stranger publisher Tim Keck could be a junior executive? Or we could use a nice bathroom attendant, someone who speaks the language. Whatever the technicalities, it will be a formidable alliance.
We don't have to do this right now, of course. We could wait. But in any industry, it's always right to lead the process of consolidation rather than to follow. That way you get to pick the most attractive partners and steal a march on everyone else. I have always thought that Random House and The Stranger would be far and away the best partners for Penguin, not just because of our obvious complementarity, but because of the outstanding quality of our respective publishing ventures. We are different businesses with distinct cultures, but we have a similar heritage and a shared commitment to intellectual independence and publishing excellence.
In the first inventory of minerals on another planet, NASA's Mars rover Curiosity found soil that bears a striking resemblance to weathered, volcanic sand in Hawaii, scientists say.
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