Modern enough for the times, but old-fashioned enough to last forever.
Seventeen years ago, Gary Smith responded to a personal ad Joseph Givins posted in this very publication. The headline was "Two Peas Out of the Pod." On May 5, 2013, the anniversary of the day they met, they were married on the deck of the Skansonia, a historic ferryboat moored on Lake Union near Gas Works Park. The boat was crowded with friends and family sipping gin and tonics and getting their first sunburns of the season.
Two little girls marched solemnly down the aisle with the grooms' rings (Gary's was set with the diamond from Joseph's mother's engagement ring), followed by a crowd of kids who ran all over the deck of the boat waving streamers to Brian Eno's "Needle in the Camel's Eye." Joseph told me the parade of children was inspired by the opening scene of Velvet Goldmine.
The grooms appeared, accompanied by two mysterious figures in black spandex bodysuits and multicolored cummerbunds, who were twirling paper parasols. Under an arbor of white paper flowers, Joseph and Gary unwrapped one of the spandex-wearers to reveal Ed Haymaker, who was ordained just to officiate their wedding.
This passage is in a chapter about how rules can be exercises in futility—improvisation, experimentation, stumbling, and mistakes are how people actually behave, from the time they learn to walk and talk to the time they're in the bloom of their lives. We get stuff done, he argues, precisely because we break the rules on a regular basis.
Workers have seized on the inadequacy of the rules to explain how things actually run and have exploited it to their advantage. Thus, the taxi drivers of Paris have, when they were frustrated with the municipal authorities over fees or new regulations, resorted to what is known as a greve de zele. They would all, by agreement and on cue, suddenly begin to follow all the regulations in the code routier, and, as intended, this would bring traffic in Paris to a grinding halt. Knowing that traffic circulated in Paris only by a practiced and judicious disregard of many regulations, they could, merely by following the rules meticulously, bring it to a standstill.
I love the idea of a protest based on the principle of scrupulously following rules to show how unnecessary and counterproductive they can be. Since May Day, I've also been talking with people about the idea of "Black Bloc community service."
For example: a pack of masked demonstrators amassing at Westlake, attracting a thicket of police in SWAT gear and nervous TV anchors, then calmly and efficiently conducting a free medical clinic. (Perhaps they could pull some support from the folks at Country Doctor.) Or leading a march that splits—one to a smashup downtown, the other to an underserved neighborhood, where the demonstrators do the heavy lifting to help built a community garden. Balaclavas, bandanas, furious weeding and tilling, wheelbarrows full of manure. (It would be hot as hell, but it would look good on the evening news.) Or a Black Bloc protest in which the windows of malfeasant banks were smashed while residential windows are lovingly washed.
Those might be impractical ideas. But something along those lines could be attractive to people who equate anarchism with nothing more than petulance and the kicking over of trash cans, and would merrily upend the usual public narrative about what anarchist demonstrators—particularly those in Black Bloc clothes—really stand for.
I just read about the passenger who refused to stop loudly singing an off-key rendition of "I Will Always Love You" during an American Airlines flight. She apparently worried the flight staff enough that they hand-cuffed her and had to make an emergency landing. Another passenger caught a secret cellphone video of her continuing to belt the song out as she was lead to the front of the aircraft in cuffs. The woman was not charged, and she claims that the incident was a caused by a bizarre diabetic episode, but American refused to fly the woman on to her destination and she had to make other arrangements.
I saw you steal money out of that wallet. I did. I should have punched you right in the mouth and returned the money to the rightful owner as soon as I saw it happen, but I did not. I saw a lone wallet on the ground when I walked by the heavily grinding couple in the hallway on my way to a good piss, and while I was washing my hands, I saw you, girl, pick up that wallet. I thought you were looking for an ID, but you really just jacked all of the big bills in that other girl's wallet. You left the ones but took the big bills. I approached you and asked how much you scored from the wallet....
Read the whole thing (and berate/defend various parties) here.
I had no idea what to expect at Jason Sachs and Erika Kriegsheim's metal wedding on 4/20. I was greeted at the door of Porchlight Coffee by a corgi wearing a tuxedo. Most of the human guests were in leather jackets and band T-shirts and looked metal as hell, though the music playing was an excellent love-song mix that included the Smiths and the Crystals. One guy had studded gauntlets and a black velour cape that billowed dramatically behind him when he walked. Copious amounts of Jim Beam and Rainier were served. I admired the candy altar: sparkling dishes of gummy worms and Skittles beneath a ram's skull surrounded by candles and flowers. I selected a worm reverently. A paper banner on the wall read "Ad Majorem Sathanas Gloriam."
"Originally, we were going to do some ritual bloodletting," joked the groom, who seemed charmingly overwhelmed with excitement. "I hope this ceremony doesn't bore you." It was actually adorable, officiated by the couple's friend Scarlett, who told the assembly how she'd known Jason and Erika for a long time and that it was obvious when they started dating that they were perfect for each other.
As a straight-boy jock, I have been showering with large groups of naked men for decades. And these showers have not taken place in bathrooms where we straight men yell at one another from modest private stalls. No, we athletes clean ourselves in large, communal Roman gladiator bathhouses. My high-school locker room's showerheads were placed so that we boys soaped up while facing one another. And we did this soaping while standing two feet apart.
In other words, I, Sherman, a heterosexual lifelong basketball player, have seen a lot more cock and man-ass than many gay men.
As I age, my cock is essentially the same one I owned in 1983. But my balls and ass are loosening and threatening to avalanche down my body. I think I'm an attractive man wearing clothes, but when I'm naked... well, let's just say that I'm grateful I have a pleasant face. And, grading on a curve, I'm actually a relatively fit middle-aged man. All around me in the health clubs, I encounter mountainous guts that make my chubby belly look like a foothill. I see butt cheeks that look like two Sasquatches playing tennis. I recoil from feet so gnarled, hirsute, and abused that a hobbit would suggest a pedicure.
So why do certain homely straight men worry that gay men are even remotely interested in sexually harassing their concave asses? If strange women don't amass in large numbers to jump your bones, then why would packs of gay men hunger for you?
And, hey, I don't mean to punish those folks who are not hot, hot, hot. The plain and the lovely deserve equal amounts of love. I am only talking about sexual objectification.
Fourteen or 15 usually. We sleep on mats, the men on the floor of the gym and me on the floor of the storage room off the little kitchen by the gym. Before the men arrive, the other winter shelter host and I put the mattresses out on the gym floor and a chair beside each one so the men can put whatever they have somewhere. We get out juice and cheese and crackers and instant soup and peanut butter and jelly so they can make themselves a snack. Some of the men, as soon as they arrive, go straight to sleep, but some of them want to stay up and read the paper, if one of us remembers to bring it, or watch a video on the TV in the kitchen, though mostly we just hang around together.
Over the first 16 years of your life, I had four jobs and was fired from all of them. My evaluations would say things like "The poorest work habits I've ever seen." I felt entitled to cheat, lie, use people, and hurt people (ask your mom) out of what I called anger. But it wasn't anger. It was self-pity. And its fuel was alcohol. Sound familiar? Dude, it runs in families. Your mother and your sister and I all wish we could force you to get sober, but all of us know it doesn't work that way. All I can say is that when I finally dumped alcohol, everything fell into place for me. And you're like me. I only hope it doesn't take until you're fifty-fucking-five years old to snap to the fact, because this show is getting hard to watch.
How nice for you that you got sober AFTER your children were grown. Ruin their lives with your alcohol-fueled abusiveness, then find sobriety in time for you to be able to enjoy the rest of your life. You deserve the pain of watching your son be the train wreck you created. Choke on it.
Get in on the context-free judgment of anonymous people's lives here.
FRIDAY, APRIL 12 In worse news, the week continues in Seattle, where today KING 5 News obtained surveillance video capturing the final moments of Mauriceo Bell, the 42-year-old Seattle man who died last Sunday morning in the downtown Metro bus tunnel, where he'd fallen on a moving escalator and was strangled by his clothes. "Surveillance shows him staggering, leaning on the rail for support, and towards the bottom, falling backwards," reports KING 5. "Bell died at the bottom of the escalator, strangled by his own clothing." Important fact #1: "KING 5 has found that particular escalator was not up-to-date on repairs and maintenance... Checking inspection reports on the state Labor & Industries website, it appears Metro owns and operates 78 escalators and elevators. In almost every case, the reports show required repairs not completed and boxes that would signify the work has been done not checked off. Some are weeks overdue, some months overdue. Some go back to 2011. KING 5 found only four out of 78 appeared to be up to date." Important fact #2: "Bell was a father of four and 'a good standup father,' his younger brother says, despite having a long record of run-ins with the law, mostly drug related," reports KING 5, acknowledging that police found a half-empty brandy bottle in Bell's back pocket. "But [Bell's brother] has a message to anybody jumping to conclusions about Bell's character or the circumstances of his death. 'No matter what you say about him, he paid taxes, too. He should have been able to trust his transit system,' he said. 'And isn't that what we're supposed to do if we're inebriated? Take the bus home? Take transit?'"
Condolences to the family of Mauriceo Bell, who will likely end up very sad gazillionaires.
Thinnings from my second sowing of radishes alongside an early harvest from my first.
I like radishes just fine and all that, but their real attraction is how fast they grow. While it's not exactly instant gratification, few vegetables go from seed to table quite as fast as radishes. Even faster if you eat the thinnings.
And that's what I had with my dinner last night: A spicy salad of radish starts and baby arugula (also a fast grower—that's why the French call it "roquette").
Mr. Constant said later that he meant his "civil liberties." Either way, a ruling seemed necessary.
So, I took the case of Slog drone vs. Paul Constant to an expert on robotics and the law, the Seattle City Attorney's Office, and the local ACLU. None of them could come up with a specific law that I'd broken by using this off-the-shelf Parrot AR.Drone to read over Mr. Constant's shoulder in a public park.
If you're concerned about where personal drone technology is going, you should take a moment to hear why.
I began with the expert on robotics and the law, Ryan Calo, who used to be with the Stanford Center for Internet and Society and is now at the University of Washington.
UUUUUUUGGGGGHHHHHH. On Wednesday I have to get my wisdom teeth pulled and I am NOT excited about it. I've never had a tooth pulled before. I hate going to the dentist. I'm terrified.
Thankfully I have a very radical husband who'll help take care of me by making sure the house is stocked with frozen yogurt and pain meds, and I suppose I could look at the bright side and be stoked about the fact that I can catch up on my Netflix queue (it's excusable, ney, preferable to watch shit like Bridalplasty when high on percocet, right?), but until it's time for naps and drugs, I'm filled with anxiety. What if my teeth don't come out? What if ALL my teeth come out?* What if my whole jaw comes off? What if I wake up during the surgery? WHAT IF I DON'T WAKE UP AT ALL!?
Jeff DiFranco and Ben Smith were married on a spring day so perfect, the Mount Baker Community Club's parking lot looked habitable to Disney forest creatures. Watching the guests take pictures of each other under the flowering trees that surround the building, I couldn't believe that until recently this would not have been a legally recognized marriage. Inside, guests drank wine under the season's first lazily spinning ceiling fans. "So, are you with the bride's family or the groom's?" someone asked me. "I mean—ha, I can't believe I said that." There was a general atmosphere of stunned joy. Everyone in attendance seemed on the verge of tears.
The ceremony was officiated by the elegant David Schraer, a local architect. Friends read from the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling on Goodridge v. Department of Public Health and The Mirror of Clarity by Saint Aelred of Rievaulx. After the ring exchange, Abba's "I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do" was drowned out by applause.
I tried Ben's "Cali Cooler" and Jeff's "Fruti Fizz" at the bar, and ate delicious beans from Madres Kitchen catering, which I was disappointed to learn were unusually large, well-seasoned limas, not some rare miracle bean. I met a mycologist who had been in a marching band with Ben and who told me about a fungus that causes people to hoard cats.
A formerly church-loving college kid writes "an open letter to the Church," invoking Macklemore, marriage equality, and the need to embrace change.
My point in writing this isn’t to protect gay people. Things are changing—the world is becoming a safer place for my gay friends. They’re going to get equal rights. I’m writing this because I’m worried about the safety of the Church. The Church keeps scratching its head, wondering why 70% of 23-30 year-olds who were brought up in church leave.......[M]y generation, the generation that can smell bullshit, especially holy bullshit, from a mile away, will not stick around to see the church fight gay marriage against our better judgment.
As mentioned, the Slog drone recently spotted Stranger books editor Paul Constant as he was reading in the park.
Some have been wondering what recreational uses this drone might be put to aside from going up and coming back down, and here is one: It can hover on over to Paul, flip from its nose camera to its bottom-mounted camera, and then peer down at Paul's filthy, filthy reading material.
by Dan Savage
on Thu, Apr 4, 2013 at 2:48 PM
I'm writing a column, finishing a review, and doing a podcast today—so not on Slog. Sorry about that, Slog. But I didn't think Sloggers should have to wait until tomorrow to see this. Why do crunches when you get get a hot shirtless Russian dude to punch you in the stomach over and over and over?
The Slog drone may have stared down a Seattle Police Department waterfront spy camera last Friday, but commenter Greycat is unimpressed with video of the encounter:
It's a very good point. (And one that I tried to make here.) The abilities of today's personal drones are actually quite calming when you see them displayed, in the sense that they're so far from our worst fears.
The Parrot AR.Drone, for example, is easily pushed around by light breezes. That's one reason I kept the Slog drone—a Parrot—well away from the SPD waterfront camera and nearby power lines, and instead just sent the thing up above an empty patch of grass, turned it to look at the SPD camera from a distance, and then set it back down. (It's also a reason that the promise of newspaper delivery via Parrot is a joke, for now.)
Specs from the SPD's cancelled drone program. (Click to enlarge.)
The Draganflyer X6 drones that the SPD wanted to use had similar limitations, by the way.
Documents made public during the controversy over the now-cancelled police drone program show that the SPD's Draganflyers wouldn't have been able to handle winds over 18 miles per hour. I was also told they couldn't be flown in strong rain. Which means a lot of Seattle days would have been no-fly days for those much-feared SPD drones.
If these machines can't even handle regular Seattle weather, and have to wait for a windless and sunny day in order to be in top form, why worry about them?
Because of their potential. These weather-related problems and many others—including the drones' short battery life—are likely to be solved relatively quickly. When that happens, if we haven't thought seriously about where we do and don't want to encounter personal drones, and what they should and should not be allowed to do, then we'll be unhappy people.
As it already stands, even with its limitations the Slog drone is capable of creeping up on Paul Constant. (Video proof coming on Monday morning.) Plus, this:
Ever since we privatized liquor sales in Washington State, people have been slowly figuring out new liquor-buying routines. And I haven't figured it out yet at all. I don't tend to go to the former state stores that have now become liquor marts because the now-higher prices are still so jarring and I rarely see sales like I can find at a grocery store. But the selection at most grocery stores is totally abysmal and frustrating. Surely I am not alone in this? (I am admittedly kind of a doofus, but still.) This weekend, a reader wrote in to ask if we'd considered reviewing liquor stores, and it's a fucking great idea. But where to start? I, for one, would appreciate a little crowdsourced knowledge of the new boozescape. Where do you buy your liquor? Who has the best selection? Who has the best prices? Are there any tricks? (Other than setting up your own still, please.) Or is everyone just going on massive liquor runs to California every few months?
Introducing Wedding Crasher: in which a writer from The Stranger comes to your wedding, drinks (only their fair share) of your booze, dances to your music (whatever it may be), and celebrates your love (ditto)! Would you like us to crash your wedding? Send your wedding invitation to email@example.com!
Upon my arrival at Adam Swan and Karam Yousef's wedding, I handed the groom—who happens to be the keyboardist of Truckasauras—a wicker basket of wedding gifts, including a bottle of lavender liqueur and a book of Dale Chihuly postcards. He was so excited to show me the majestic three-foot-high wedding cake that he didn't even look in the basket. The cake was covered in purple and gold swirls of frosting and topped with plastic bobbleheads of Adam and Karam...