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Archives for 08/19/2007 - 08/25/2007

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Penny Arcade Expo: Saturday Coverage

posted by on August 25 at 11:38 PM

11:59 p.m.:

Nerdcore rapper MC Frontalot might as well have changed the first two letters in his alias to DM. At the evening’s concert, Frontalot threw dice and talked in D&D-anese before nearly every song (“you have earned enough experience points to level up to the status of nerdcore rapper”). Still, unlike many of the other acts, who used nerd cliches and game song covers as crutches for their otherwise so-so performances, tonight’s hip-hop act held his own with a relatively solid flow and a quality backing band. Still, you gotta love the crowd’s reaction to his “wave your hands in the air” request:


Er…Hear tha Yoda get wicked? His was far from the most impressive musical performance of the night, as that title goes to the guy who blazed through a hacked copy of Guitar Hero in the gaming lounges. Somehow, a nine-minute chunk of black metal found its way onto one of the PAX Playstations, and I watched in a state of semi-shock as a teenager nearly broke his wrist with his mastery of the plastic controller. Once I recovered, I snapped a shot of him as he was leaving the convention center:


If you look closely, you can see a bead of his sweat gleaming off of the guitar controller in his backpack. Godspeed, you Hero.

9:30 p.m.: Even hot ladies can’t always lure nerds. Across the street, PAX sponsor Vivendi Games threw a relatively barren “party” to promote new war game World In Conflict, though the many elaborate props on hand, including a friggin’ tank, just about outnumbered the patrons. Models in Soviet military garb stood around holding weapons, but the only person interested in their schtick was this douchebag:


What’s with douchebags and hand gestures, anyway?

8:30 p.m.: After being dragged into a Tetris tournament—kicking and screaming, I assure you—I found myself in a pretty interesting panel about the business side of games. Granted, if you’ve been reading this coverage (I’m lookin’ at you, Frank), you may very well question my version of “interesting,” but three long-time game industry buffs had plenty to say about the rapid, behind-the-scenes evolution of the industry. First off, did you know that a lot of game companies outsource grunt work to China?

‘Tis true, and much of the conversation veered toward the Asian gaming industry, from microtransaction-based games (“Games like Maple Story are huge overseas, and in a few years, you’ll see them overrun the States.”) to Starcraft (“[In Korea], they have two cable channels showing Starcraft tournaments all of the time. With the sequel, [Bilzzard] can’t change too much, because 22 minutes plus commercials equals Starcraft.”).

In fitting business fashion, the panel’s tone was doom and gloom. “The current multi-year game development cycle is not a sustainable business model,” says Wizard of the Coast’s Randy Bueller. Risk aversion was a big sticking point, as the guys had plenty of reason to believe that big-budget, Halo-level games may fall to the wayside in place of lighter, Wii-style titles. But when asked about the struggling state of old-style games stores, the panel agreed on a pretty bright suggestion: Turn the stores into gaming cafes, and reignite the concept of the arcade. Assuming the guy at GameStopBucks doesn’t try to sell one-year warranties with every cup of coffee, I’m in.

After the jump, the rest of Saturday’s coverage:

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Love Letter to Marcus Wilson

posted by on August 25 at 3:21 PM


I finally got a chance to check out Pony, the new-ish bar on Pine where the old Cha-Cha used to be.

I know this spot has already been written about tons on Slog and in the paper. Quick: Former Cha-Cha bartender Marcus Wilson (aka, comeback DJ, performance artist, sci-fi rock commander Ursula Android) opened Pony when the Cha-Cha moved east of Broadway and over a block to Pike.

Wilson’s place gives me hope for Seattle. Despite the condo invasion, the money pigs, Mayor Nickels, and the Grateful Dead/Doors/Jimi Hendrix on the Juke in Fremont, the weirdoes are alive and well. Pony is all Venus lipstick and Martian bracelets and air hockey and booze and dirty and dark.

I also caught Wilson’s band’s set (Ursula and the Ononos) which was great for a million reasons, starting with the fact that he’s the manager of the place. So, his 21st Century make-up face Andromeda Galaxy rock in the lower-level room, added to the sense that Pony is just Wilson’s cozy basement where we’re all invited to goof and flirt.

At a time when weirdo culture has been colonized out of existence, Wilson deserves sainthood for his tireless efforts to keep the witchcraft alive.

“War is Over if You Want!”

Cosmic Nothingness

posted by on August 25 at 12:51 PM

American astronomers discover an “enormous void in space that measures nearly a billion light-years across.”

It’s hard even for astronomers to picture how big these things are,” conceded Minnesota’s Professor Lawrence Rudnick.

“If you were to travel at the speed of light, it would take you several years to get to the nearest stars in our own Milky Way galaxy; but if you were to go to this hole and enter one side, you’d have to travel for a billion years before you would get to the other side,” he told BBC News.

This is Hegel’s point of total anger; the part of the universe that is absolutely mad at what ever is, at what is is in itself. To be is to be what it wants to end in a vacuum.

George Patterson Arrested Again

posted by on August 25 at 11:25 AM

Last night, George Patterson was arrested for another drug violation.

Details coming.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on August 25 at 11:00 AM

Implied Violence

‘Respect the Boss’

Past performances by theater company Implied Violence have involved cupcakes, hiphop, Gertrude Stein, boxing, vaudeville, dance, cotton candy, and cigars. Tonight, IV hosts what they call “the Daytona 500 of fundraisers,” with a dozen bands (Pleasureboaters, T. v. coahran, members of the Trashies and the Dead Science), a psychedelic dance party, and a chorus screaming out all 13 episodes of R. Kelly’s Trapped in the Closet. Piñatas will be smashed. Booze will be drunk. Cotton candy will be made. Doesn’t that sound great? (A building with no name, 2310 Western Ave, 340-2703. 10:30 pm, $5–$15.)


City Pages Film Editor Fired

posted by on August 25 at 10:37 AM

Rob Nelson is out.

What does the firing of a film editor at a paper halfway across the country have to do with Seattle? Oh yeah, his (edited and sometimes butchered) film reviews appeared frequently in fellow Village Voice Media paper Seattle Weekly. Long live the hegemony of New York and Los Angeles, I guess.

Via Greencine and Movie City News.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Penny Arcade Expo: Friday Coverage

posted by on August 24 at 11:58 PM

To those who saw babble about PAX and wondered what the hell was going on, my apologies. A quick primer: I’m a newcomer ‘round these parts by way of Line Out, a former music editor at New Times Village Voice Media’s Dallas Observer who moved here only a couple of months ago. My initial post about the Penny Arcade Expo , Seattle’s gaming expo with over 30,000 attendants, will explain more. My on-site coverage continues below, as well as on continuously updated posts tomorrow and Sunday.

11:59 p.m.: Shortly after 7 p.m., the main hall of the Expo, the one full of new demos and exclusive goodies, was closed off. Those who wanted to try out unreleased games like Metroid Prime 3 and Rock Band were out of luck. This is when the Penny Arcade Expo took on its most interesting shape.

Official events still took place, from a “girls in gaming” panel discussion to “nerdcore” music concerts to screenings of gaming-related movies like The Wizard, and on and on. But ultimately, with no large-draw events for the rest of the night, the mass of gamers was left to disperse as it pleased. And thus, they took to gaming…together. Multiplayer games popped up far and wide across the convention center, mostly involving laughing, shouting people huddled around Wiis and Xboxes. It felt like a dweeb’s dream summer camp come true—I couldn’t help but get sucked in while playing gun, soccer and driving games with a mass of chatty, friendly gamers, none of whom were like the freaks I saw earlier in the day.

Not that this was some social utopia; a few minutes in the Expo’s computer lab felt like something out of a bad mind-control sci-fi movie. Just look at this dark, dismal pit of all-but-silent LAN gaming addicts:


Thankfully, I didn’t dwell in the lab for long, and the experiences I had with interesting, social gamers reaffirmed the points that Wheaton went on about in his keynote earlier. The people I gamed with weren’t screaming racist slurs or discussing 12th level mages; they were talking about each other’s home towns, suggestions for good breakfast food around Seattle and even their families. Gaming gave me an excuse to meet and get to know new people, something I rarely do with my usual activities like concerts, sporting events or even playing around in local parks. Hell, how often do I spend 30 minutes talking to lacrosse-playing Navy recruits?

Tomorrow sees more in the way of interesting panel discussions; tune in for more reports on how those panels attempt to shake—or perhaps reaffirm—the conventions and stereotypes of gaming.

7 p.m.: Photo time!

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Weekend Plans

posted by on August 24 at 5:39 PM


It Has Come to My Attention…

posted by on August 24 at 4:49 PM

… that I misspelled the verb “cuckquean” in my review of The Nanny Diaries. Naturally, I am CRUSHED.

Here I am, trying to popularize a really fantastic word that has—for unknown but clearly specious (sexist?) reasons—fallen into disuse, and I misspell it. How are you going to look it up in the OED? Jesus, I’m an idiot.

Anyway, if you’re curious—and especially if you don’t give a flying fuck—here’s what the OED has to say about “cuckquean”:

cuckquean, n.


A female cuckold.
1562 J. HEYWOOD Prov. & Epigr. (1867) 62 Ye make hir a cookqueane. 1565 GOLDING Ovid’s Met. VI. (1593) 146 Queene Progne was a cutqueane made by meanes of her. 1614 Sco. Venus (1876) 39 That hast made her a quot-queane shamefully. 1615 HEYWOOD Foure Prentises Wks. 1874 II. 216 Hee’d make his wife a Cucke-queane. a1652 BROME City Wit IV. i, To bee made Cuckqueane by such a Cockscombe. 1922 JOYCE Ulysses 15 A wandering crone..their common cuckquean.

Hence cuckquean v. trans., to make a cuckquean of.
1592 WARNER Alb. Eng. VIII. xli. (1612) 199 Came I from be Cuckquean’d heere? a1652 BROME Mad Couple III. i, You can doe him no cuckold him, for assure your selfe hee cuckqueans you.

And, a reminder: the OED online is available to all Seattle residents (including, cough cough, our copy editors) via the Seattle Public Library. You must have a library card and know your PIN.

The King Is Dead! Long Live the King!

posted by on August 24 at 4:42 PM

Everyone who cares one bit about the human condition (and/or video games) should do themselves a big, fat favor and go see ” The King of Kong—A Fistful of Quarters” this weekend. A locally made documentary, KoK tells the story of underdog nice-quy (and local public-school science teacher) Steve Wiebe and his quest to finally (officially) earn recognition as the national champion of Donkey Kong.


Along the way you get to boo sleazy BBQ magnate Billy Mitchell (pictured above, and the recognized DK champ since 1982) and marvel at the cadre of yes-men/game-geeks he has surrounded himself with as they fawn over his every utterance and prop up the mythos he has created for himself.

Much more than a peek into a niche subculture (you don’t have to be a video gamer to enjoy this film, but it does add a dimension of recognition) King of Kong is a passion play about fame, honor, and obsession. And it’s fucking hilarious.

Sample dialogue: “I’m gonna have 10 pieces of well-done bacon, I’m gonna have four hard-boiled eggs, I’m gonna have three pancakes, and, uh, hopefully play some great games.”

“The King of Kong” is playing at the Varsity Theater in the U-District.
Director Seth Gordon (“New York Doll”) will be in attendance for a Q&A at Sunday’s 7:00 and 9:10 shows.

Ted Haggard and the Man Behind “Families With a Mission”

posted by on August 24 at 4:38 PM


Ted Haggard, as we learned today on Colorado Confidential, wants you to pay for his and his wife’s living expenses while they go to college—they’re destitute, you see. (Colorado Confidential reports that the Haggards currently own a house in Colorado Springs valued at close to a three quarters of a million dollars.) In an open letter sent to Haggard’s gullible “supporters,” the disgraced preacher gives two addresses where money can be sent. Checks can be sent to Haggard’s mailing address in Phoenix or, if a supporter needs a tax deduction, checks can be sent to Families With a Mission, a charity based in Colorado Springs. “[Write] their check to ‘Families With A Mission’ and put a separate note on it that it is for the Haggard family,” Haggard writes in the letter posted on Colorado Confidential, “then Families With a Mission will mail us 90% of the funds for support and use 10% for administrative costs.”

As posted earlier, local attorney and Slog reader Dave Coffman located documents on file with the Colorado Secretary of State that showed Families With a Mission “voluntarily dissolved” on February 23, 2007.

Hm. Weird—who knew you could get a tax deduction from dissolved charity?

And it gets weirder: There’s only one name on file with the Colorado Secretary of State in connection with Families With a Mission: Paul Huberty.

Huberty is the “registered agent” of Families With a Mission and the registered agent’s mailing address—POB 63125, Colorado Springs, CO 80962-3125—is the same address Haggard included in his letter to his supporters. Another address on file with the Colorado Secretary of State for Families With a Mission is 855 Pebble Creek Ct., Monument, CO 80132. That’s the charity’s “principal office mailing address.” According to the Assessor’s office in El Paso County, Colorado, 855 Pebble Creek Ct. is a private residence owned by Paul Huberty. (The only other address listed for Families With a Mission is a home that Huberty used to own.)

And here’s what Coffman learned when he started searching through public records: A man named Paul G. Huberty was convicted of having sex with his 17 year-old ward while he was in the military and stationed in Germany. Paul G. Huberty eventually moved to Hawaii, where he was on that state’s sex offender registry—you can download a PDF here. Hawaii’s sex offender registry mentions a conviction for a sex offense in 2004. Court records in Hawaii show that Paul G. Huberty was found guilty of attempted sexual assault in January of 2004 (download ‘em here, here, and here), and sentenced a year in jail with all but six months suspended. Huberty was also put on probation for five years, ordered to take polygraphs, not allowed to possess pornography, “not allowed on the property of Kona Christian Academy” and other schools, not allowed to posses firearms, forbidden from foster parenting or being the guardian of a minor, and ordered to pay restitution to a crime victims fund.

When Paul G. Huberty’s moved out of the state of Hawaii he was required to register his new address, which he did: 855 Pebble Creek Ct., Monument, CO 80132, the “principal mailing address” for the charity Families With a Mission, which also happens to be a home owned by Paul Huberty, the registered charity’s agent.

So the man who heads up the defunct charity Families With a Mission—the charity that’s going to take a 10% cut from all “tax deductible” donations to the Haggard family—would appear to be a registered sex offender. Well, in Hawaii at any rate. Paul Huberty has not, according to publicly available records, registered as a sex offender in Colorado, something he is required to do by state law. Coffman put in a call to officials in Colorado to see if Huberty has registered too recently to appear on the sex offenders website, and he’s waiting to hear back.

Nice friends you got there, Ted.

Letter of the Day: Young Frankenstein Edition

posted by on August 24 at 4:22 PM

So this morning I was in Marysville and I stopped for breakfast. There, above the fold, on the front page of The Seattle Times, was a color picture from Young Frankenstein, along with a short article. You may or may not know that critics were free to review the show as of last night, so I shelled out my fifty cents, CASH, to read the review.

First, I flip the whole newspaper package to remove and discard the advertising.

Then I turn to the entertainment section - Tickets or whatever the fuck they call it - and look for the review.

End of story: the fucking review is NOT IN THE PAPER. It’s FUCKING ONLINE ONLY in the edition I bought. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? I just PAID YOU MONEY for your FUCKING PRECIOUS CONTENT and it’s NOT THERE!?

The most disturbing thing is this has made me start to sound like you.

Why buy a paper if the articles are only online?

Sean B

What’s PAX?

posted by on August 24 at 4:03 PM

In case you’re wondering as well (it’s not a Catholic-teen-geek meetup): Penny Arcade Expo, Seattle, August 24-26

PAX is a three-day game festival for tabletop, videogame, and PC gamers. We call it a festival because in addition to dedicated tournaments and freeplay areas we’ve got nerdcore concerts, panel discussions, the weekend-long Omegathon event, and an exhibitor hall filled with booths displaying the latest from top game publishers and developers. Even with all this amazing content, the best part of PAX is hanging out with other people who know their shit when it comes to games.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on August 24 at 3:50 PM

First, let us admire this illustration, by Phillip Fivel Nessen, made to accompany Charles’s lead about the many hatreds and singular love of Stanley Kubrick.


Beautiful. Charles is writing about Kubrick because his films are showing at SIFF Cinema starting tonight (with 2001: A Space Odyssey), skipping next weekend (for Bumbershoot’s 1 Reel Festival, which looks pretty decent this year), and continuing through September 6.

In On Screen this week: The flabbergastingly good Leonardo DiCaprio global warming movie The 11th Hour (seriously, not even Al Gore could get away with the level of information and theory packed into this fast-paced doc); 2 Days in Paris, a lovely romantic comedy from Before Sunrise star Julie Delpy (who writes “dialogue that’s a delirious blend of bawdy French farce and Woody Allenish neurosis,” according to Jon Frosch); the boxing melodrama Resurrecting the Champ (“surprisingly effective,” says Bradley Steinbacher); September Dawn, a stupid anti-Mormon propaganda movie (the inimitable Lindy West: “It’s narrated by a BABY (a literal infant!) who, admittedly, doesn’t remember much: ‘But I remember feelings!’ Um, ‘kay.”); and The Nanny Diaries, in which Scarlett Johansson plays a nanny named Annie (the film “assumes, first, that you want to see how the upper sliver of society lives, and second, that you hunger to see its corrupt morals torn to shreds,” says me).

Plus, there’s lots of fun stuff in Limited Runs this week: Young Frankenstein is at the Egyptian in honor of the pre-Broadway show, You’re Gonna Miss Me (about the decline of 13th Floor Elevators singer Rory Erickson) at Northwest Film Forum, the Second Annual Bike-In organized by NWFF but at Cal Anderson Park, STIFF Nights’ Murder Party at Central Cinema, and lots more. See Get Out for all your Movie Times needs.

This Week on Drugs

posted by on August 24 at 2:29 PM

Hempfest: Throngs of knuckleheaded stoners and typical Seattle liberals jammed into the slightly damp Seattle Hempfest last weekend. Love it or hate it, Hempfest has become a historic phenomenon. It’s the largest pot-law reform event anywhere, essentially reversing the drug war within its confines for two days a year.


This was the hottest guy at Hempfest. I can’t remember his name because I was fixated on his six-week-old Pit Bull puppy. It was gray and cute and should be cooked before the flesh gets sinewy.


This Jesus freak took a different tack from the crazy old white men with the “Repent” signs. He just carried around this big-ass cross so you had to ask what the deal was. “I’m just here to glorify God,” he says. “I’m being a witness.”


10 U.S. Cities Get Piss Tested: “Wastewater facilities are wonderful places to understand what humans consume and excrete.”

At the HIV Vaccine Conference: “We desperately need new ideas. Even wacky ideas.”

Lindsay Lohan Strikes Plea: “She’s getting what everyone else would get.”

Denver Will Vote on Pot Initiative: “I want to issue a challenge to those pushing this initiative,” said council President Michael Hancock. “I hope you’ll go and spend time with the children abandoned and left behind by drug-addicted parents. I guarantee you’ll find marijuana is a gateway drug to harsher addictions.”

Walla Walla Cops Seize Medical Pot: “If he needs marijuana he’ll just have to grow some more.”

A County’s Humboldt Request: “The time has come to call upon our federal government to support the legalization and taxation of this billion dollar crop.”

Pot: “The stuff of today is like heroin.”

Don’t Be Bitter: Scientists studying how to make flavorless coffee.

Don’t Get Arrested: Texas law will allow cops to issue citations for marijuana instead of making arrests.

Don’t Get Sick: Romney reveals health care plan.

Far From Now

posted by on August 24 at 2:20 PM

Yes, Portland is feeling it
Portland.jpg…But it’s still a very long way from the day it can play with us (Seattle and Vancouver) the skyline game.

Re: No More Baggy

posted by on August 24 at 2:07 PM

The Volokh Conspiracy has the legal analysis of Atlanta’s proposed ordinance to outlaw baggy pants.

Photo Op Sunday/Protest Sunday

posted by on August 24 at 2:05 PM

Mayor Greg Nickels and King County Exec Ron Sims (along with Vulcan and light-rail consult Parsons Brinkerhoff) are hosting a photo shoot sponsored by International Sustainable Solutions this Sunday, August 26, at 11 am, to promote a new “commuter toolkit” aimed at “showing the benefits of moving people through our downtown on foot, bicycles, buses, or light rail, rather than in their cars.” While the commuter toolkit looks like it illustrates the problem effectively (showing how much space 200 commuters take moving through the city by car, bus, light rail, and bike), I’m hesitant to recommend participating in a photo op hosted by a mayor whose commitment to the city’s “Complete Streets” policy has been questionable at best. A group of bike-based protesters (last seen protesting the elimination of a bike lane from Stone Way at a Fremont business owner’s behest) plans to show up to remind the mayor of that very commitment; more information is available here.

No More Baggy

posted by on August 24 at 1:57 PM

A ban on this sort of thing?

Today, the trend that offends is wearing baggy, drooping pants that ride around the thighs, the better to show off a young man’s taste in boxer shorts. And the grown-up who wants to stop it is Atlanta City Councilman C.T. Martin.

“I don’t think women should have to see that. I don’t think young girls should have to see that. I don’t think children should have to see that,” Martin told TODAY’s Ann Curry during an interview Friday.

The big question is this: Why has the baggy look lasted for so long (at least two decades)? When will it go out of fashion?

(Rachel Steinberg is my tipper.)

Culture in a Borderless Planet

posted by on August 24 at 1:35 PM

Click and see Street Fighter II themed salsa.

Musicians Score Win in Webcasting Debate

posted by on August 24 at 1:12 PM

Indie musicians forced SoundExchange (the group that collects fees from Internet radio stations) to live up to its claim that it represents artists.

Here’s the deal: During negotiations yesterday between SoundExchange and webcasters over the fees that webcasters must pay labels and musicians, the musicians—who find themselves stuck between SoundExchange and the webcasters—secured a win.

At the meeting in New York, SoundExchange and DiMA (Digital Media Association, the lobbying group for webcasters) agreed that any final plan on payments will include a 24/7 census of all the songs played on the web, so that an accurate accounting exists. The list will be made available to a designee other than SoundExchange (although they’ll get it too.)

This will guarantee fair payment to indie musicians. Indeed, while SoundExchange had used indie musicians as a point of propaganda in their demands for bigger fees from webcasters, musicians often came out against SoundExchange, arguing that they weren’t getting paid. Yesterday, musicians forced SoundExchange to live up to its boasts.

Both SoundExchange and DiMa claim artists as a poster child. Webcasters say they give small artists needed publicity—and if SoundExchange fees get too high, indie webcasting will go away. SoundExchange says its fees direct deserved payment to musicians. Now, it seems, SoundExchange will be held accountable to that claim.

ars technica has a report on other aspects of the deal, including the status of DRM and streamripping.

Will There be a Protest?

posted by on August 24 at 1:10 PM

In the comments, a couple of people have asked where to go on Monday to protest President Bush’s fund-raiser for eastside Republican Congressman Dave Reichert.

Are any local groups organizing a protest against Dear Leader?

Posted by Original Andrew | August 24, 2007 11:51 AM

The answer is yes. From a NARAL Pro-Choice Washington press release.

This Monday, August 27th, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington will join pro-choice allies outside a fundraiser featuring President Bush, for anti-choice Congressman Dave Reichert.

One might assume further details would be posted on the group’s web site. But one would be wrong.

I Can’t Look—I Must Look

posted by on August 24 at 1:05 PM

I’m trying, and failing, to politely avert my eyes from the sinkhole known as Amy Winehouse. I want to be generous, just quietly hoping she’ll get her shit together and make more great, sneering soul records involving baritone saxophones.

But it’s hard to ignore photos like this and this.

They tend to grab one’s attention, make one wonder what the fuck is going on. (The ones of her shoes—all bloody, they suppose, from shooting smack between her toes—are difficult to bear.)

Amy Winehouse, the troubled ‘Rehab’ singer, whose frail arms were covered in scratches and bandages, ran screaming from London’s Sanderson Hotel early yesterday morning as husband Blake Fielder-Civil chased her down the street yelling her name.

And then she goes and texts to celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.

Amy told Perez: “Blake is the best man in the world. We would never ever harm each other… I was cutting myself after he found me in our room about to do drugs with a call girl and rightly said I wasn’t good enough for him. I lost it and he saved my life.”

It’s hard to listen to her records now; all those songs about drinking and fucking and damage seem too sinister. Enjoying them seems in poor taste.


posted by on August 24 at 12:56 PM

Mother Teresa’s big secret?
god-creator29g.jpg Not a thick rope but a thin thread held her faith above the abyss.

“What do I labor for?” she asked in one letter. “If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true.”
The fact that no feeling of surprise comes with the exposure of this secret tells us the truth about faith in the world of our day, a world Linton Kwesi Johnson named “the age of reality.” For a sharp feeling of surprise to strike us, then the very opposite would have been revealed: Mother Teresa really believed in God. Most Christians just believe; only a few really believe. And those who really believe are not only a public nuisance but also worry, concern, trouble those who just believe.

The Week in Geek

posted by on August 24 at 12:56 PM


Choosing a bunk bed is a lot like choosing any other kind of mattress, but there are some specific considerations to keep in mind. It’s very important to buy a mattress that fits your bunk bed frame, and comfort and style will definitely be factors in your decision as well.” Find out more (much more!) at Bunkbedspedia - You’re one-stop resource about bunk beds.

New Craze! - Witness Faceball, a new sport invented by those wacky geeks at Flickr, who are somehow both more productive and have more free time than I. The Stranger Faceball team is organizing now. I love crazes.

Cruel and Unusual! - Court orders convicted downloader to use Windows. Mercy!

Laser Car! - So, when I was a kid back in Baltimore (go O’s, Hon!), we played a game called “Laser Car” as we walked to and from school. Car headlights were lasers, see, and if they had a clean line-of-sight at you, you were dead. So we ran along the streets, diving behind parked cars and trees, and generally having a great time. You were allowed one shield per round, which involved whipping your backpack around to your chest and facing the car head-on, blocking the lasers. Modern-day children have more than imaginary lasers to worry about, or course—they’re constantly being gunned down by real guns, real lasers, RPGs, and god-knows-what. That’s why they have the Ballistic Backpack. It’s bulletproof. That’s right, a bulletproof backpack, for kids. Whew, went a long way for that one.

Easy Reading! - No time to read? Get the classics (and not-so-classics) delivered via email, in bite-sized, 5-minute chunks. I’m already 2/3 of a page into Crime and Punishment—should be finished sometime next fall. Easy!

Unlocked! - Smart nerds have offically unlocked an iPhone, and Engadget goes to great lengths to prove that it’s real. Not a hoax, not a hoax, not a hoax. Get it? It’s not a hoax.

Doing Lunch! - Want to have lunch and a “great conversation” with some complete strangers within a specified radius of your current location? wants to help you do that.

New Word! - Coined on Sunday, overused by Friday. Bacn - |’bãkɘn| - noun - E-mail you want, but not right now.

Big Disc! - “TeraDisc system uses light-sensitive molecules called chromophores to create hologram-like matrices that can be used to store a full terabyte of data on a single disc using a red laser,” which is so totally obvious.

Yikes! - Hackers take down Estonia (the country) using botnets. We’re in trouble—someone call Aquaman.

Voilà, le conversation dans le parc:

“I Make Coffee, I Don’t Sell My Body, You Know?”

posted by on August 24 at 12:48 PM

When the new boss at a Monroe coffee shop told his female employees that they’d have to show some T&A if they wanted to keep their jobs (part of the conversion of the shop into a Cowgirls Espresso franchise), they told him they’d rather lose their jobs than their dignity.

All of them.

Of course, the story has a happy ending—for the owner, if not his mortgage-paying employees. King 5 reports that he’s had no problem finding applicants willing to tart it up for theme days like Cowgirl Tuesday, Schoolgirl Thursday, and Fantasy Friday.

Remember those halcyon days—back in January—when it was news that this chain existed at all? Now the only news is when women actually refuse to dress up in sexy schoolgirl outfits for the privilege of serving coffee to pervy suburban dads.

Ted Haggard: Tax Cheat?

posted by on August 24 at 12:15 PM

Slog readers noticed something odd in Haggard’s letter to his supporters—besides, of course, Ted’s assumption that he still has supporters. Ted is too fucking lazy to get a real job and wants the same of idiots that bankrolled his church to bankroll his education. Because Ted’s going to be a counselor when he grows up. Anyway, check this out…

If any supporters need a tax deduction for their gift, they can mail it to Families With a Mission at P.O. Box 63125, Colorado Springs, CO 80962. The supporters would need to write their check to “Families With A Mission” and put a separate note on it that it is for the Haggard family, then Families With a Mission will mail us 90% of the funds for support and use 10% for administrative costs.

Says Julie in the comments thread…

This strikes me as borderline illegal from a tax perspective. Can you really make a tax-deductible donation to a nonprofit organization, only to have 90% of it be given directly to a specified individual? If the mission of “Families with a Mission” is to provide monetary assistance to Christians in need, maybe. Otherwise, it seems pretty fishy since directly giving money to Ted Haggard would not be tax deductible.

Slog regular Dave C., a lawyer, is now looking into it. Dave says that the rules at states forbid 501-C(3)s from handing money over to disgraced former pastors: “…none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual.”

Dave is also looking into the specific organization that Haggard is using to launder contributions. Dave says that so far the only “Families with a Mission” group registered with the Colorado Secretary of State was dissolved in Feb of 2007. Here’s the relevant screen-grab. “It has the same address for mailing purposes that Haggard lists on his letter,” writes Dave.

Dave is still digging—and here’s hoping Ted’s gotten himself into a little more hot water.

Wage Gap Persists, Women’s Share of Job Market Grows

posted by on August 24 at 12:00 PM

A new salary survey reveals that even as more women are taking on occupations traditionally dominated by men (and, to a certain extent, vice versa), the wage gap between men and women persists across every job classification, including professions dominated by women. For example, among software developers (a field that’s 13 percent female), full-time female workers make an average of $70,500 to men’s $72,600. Among registered nurses (86 percent female), women average $56,900; men, $64,200. Among attorneys (36 percent female, and growing), women make an average $89,800, while men average $99,100. Meanwhile, women continue to make gains in the job market, with the US Labor Department estimating that by 2014, 53.2 percent of jobs will be held by men, and 46.8 percent by women.

Re: Baird Op/Ed

posted by on August 24 at 11:32 AM

Here’s an interview on KUOW with Fiasco author Tom Ricks— who we’ve heard from a lot lately— on the U.S. military’s depressing options in Iraq.

Thanks for the heads up (KUOW listener?), Tom.

Inspired by Inspiration

posted by on August 24 at 11:25 AM

The best thing about these new sculptures standing next to the east wall of the Paramount Theater is…
Sculptures.jpg …they are fenced in. When the chain-link fence is removed, and there’s nothing between us and them, everything that makes them bad (bad idea, bad imagination, bad motives) will oppress us like the heated talk of a man, a poet, who is excited by the sun of his own inspiration.

The long road to equal treatment

posted by on August 24 at 11:03 AM

I, like some of my more vocal feminist colleagues, denounce sexism in all its many forms. This article has my ovaries shrieking fire.

From BBC news:

A troop of vervet monkeys is giving Kenyan villagers long days and sleepless nights, destroying crops and causing a food crisis.

They estimate there are close to 300 monkeys invading the farms at dawn. They eat the village’s maize, potatoes, beans and other crops.

And because women are primarily responsible for the farms, they have borne the brunt of the problem, as they try to guard their crops.


…the monkeys are more afraid of young men than women and children, and the bolder ones throw stones and chase the women from their farms.

Nachu’s women have tried wearing their husbands’ clothes in an attempt to trick the monkeys into thinking they are men - but this has failed, they say.

“When we come to chase the monkeys away, we are dressed in trousers and hats, so that we look like men,” resident Lucy Njeri told the BBC News website.

“But the monkeys can tell the difference and they don’t run away from us and point at our breasts. They just ignore us and continue to steal the crops.”

In addition to stealing their crops, the monkeys also make sexually explicit gestures at the women, they claim.

“The monkeys grab their breasts, and gesture at us while pointing at their private parts. We are afraid that they will sexually harass us,” said Mrs Njeri.

Fucking pigs. Women deserve respect. When will the monkeys realize that?

(Thanks, P. Billingsley, for the tip.)

Youth Pastor Watch

posted by on August 24 at 11:00 AM

Despite warnings from a denominational official as well as another church, a Southern Baptist congregation near Chicago allowed a convicted child molester to preach for years. In the end, it took media inquiries for Jeffrey Hannah, 42, to relinquish his leadership positions at, and resign as a member of, First Baptist Church of Romeoville, Ill….

Hannah, by all accounts a charming and charismatic man, joined the Romeoville congregation shortly after his release from Graham Correctional Center in Hillsboro, Ill., in January 2001. He began preaching that same year, not long after the church’s pastor resigned…. He had served his sentence for pleading guilty in September 1996 to four counts of criminal sexual assault involving teenage girls. His plea-bargain agreement involved dropping several other counts.

The incidents happened while Hannah was a youth pastor at Crossroads Church, then located in Libertyville, Ill.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on August 24 at 11:00 AM


Akimbo, the Assailant at Comet

Go to the music section to read about sludgecore band Akimbo, whose onstage antics are legendary. Tonight’s show is a release party for their new record, Navigating the Bronze. Get there in time to see the Assailant—if you like Akimbo’s heavy and dark sound, you’ll love the Assailant’s quicker blasts of fury. (Comet Tavern, 922 E Pike St, 323-9853. 9 pm, $6, 21+.)


A Long Love Story

posted by on August 24 at 10:59 AM

Everybody’s been talking about the artist departures at Howard House, a Pioneer Square gallery that’s at the center of the art scene in the city. I caught up with Billy Howard, founder and owner of the gallery, on Wednesday.

This will be in next week’s paper; here’s a preview:

Emerging artists are hot. Veteran artists are eminent. The ones in the middle, well, they dangle and suffer. The same goes for galleries.

Howard House, which opened 10 years ago in July, was once the pretty young thing of Seattle galleries. Billy Howard started it in his house, hence the name, and before long it became the hub for young Seattle artists, from Dan Webb, Mark Takamichi Miller, and Robert Yoder to Joseph Park, Leo Saul Berk, and Victoria Haven.

Fast forward to this summer. Lawrimore Project, the ambitious next-generation gallery that’s been giving Howard House a run for its money, finishes its first year. Howard’s almost 5-month-old daughter gets her first tooth; his nearly 2-year-old son develops an insane enthusiasm for climbing. And Howard House loses five of its core Seattle artists: Webb, Haven, Alex Schweder, Park, and Berk.

They left dissatisfied with Howard’s service, he said.

“I guess that I have inadequacies, but it’s not because I don’t try,” Howard told me. “For some of these artists, their work is getting out there, and I don’t know, I couldn’t do anything more. If what I was doing isn’t enough, then that’s a high bar. I’m also an emotional person. There might be someone cooler out there.”

The artists declined to comment on specifics, or were not immediately available for comment.

But if the bar of artists’ expectations has been raised, there can be little mystery as to why: Lawrimore Project and the start of Aqua Art Miami in 2005 (which Howard participates in). “I think Scott is really driving the dialogue in a very interesting way,” Howard said. “It’s great to be challenged. I mean, looking at what Scott’s doing and a few other galleries, I think that we’re a little more tame.”

Howard admits that starting a family has demanded that he pay more attention to the bottom line. He also says he loves the same kind of work as ever: often, stuff that’s hard to sell (he cites Sean Duffy’s recent CD-player-mobile installation as an example). He says some of the artists left prematurely.

“There are changes coming to the gallery that I can’t talk about,” he said.

Whatever the situations between Howard and his artists, a renewed fighting spirit on his part is good news for Seattle art. These past two years haven’t been easy, Howard says.

“It’s like a long love story,” he said. “There’s a natural maturation, and definite points where you get burnt out. I just said to somebody recently, ‘It could be the 7-year itch.’ It’s time to make adjustments, but by the same token, there’s the core strength of the gallery.”

As we were getting off the phone, his son, Ari, took a spill.

“See what happens? You fall,” Howard told him, sanguinely. “But you’re OK, aren’t you?”

What Do You Do If Your Predictions of “Nightmare” Traffic Prove Wrong?

posted by on August 24 at 10:56 AM

Just pretend there was a “traffic nightmare” on I-5 anyway.

He’s Back

posted by on August 24 at 10:50 AM


President Bush will be in town on Monday to raise money for eastside Republican Congressman Dave Reichert. A similar visit last year, in the run-up to the 2006 elections, ended up becoming a huge fund raising opportunity for Reichert’s Democratic opponent, Darcy Burner, who will be running against Reichert again in 2008.

With that in mind, the Burner campaign is trying to turn Monday’s visit from Bush into another chance to get local Democrats to rally around Burner.

To highlight Reichert’s staunch support of Bush and the Iraq war, the Burner campaign will be holding an online Town Hall Forum about Iraq. The pitch, from Ambassador Joseph Wilson:

Baird Op/Ed in Seattle Times

posted by on August 24 at 10:48 AM

I had hoped to run an op/ed against troop withdrawal by Washington U.S. Rep. Brian Baird (D-3, Vancouver) in the Stranger next week. I pitched the idea to his office shortly after the longtime anti-war liberal came out against withdrawal from Iraq last week. I wanted Stranger readers to hear Rep. Baird out.

Well, Baird published an editorial in The Seattle Times today. So, I’m not going to run it in our paper. However, I want to direct our readers to it. Baird makes the point that haunts every liberal who advocates withdrawal:

From a strategic perspective, if we leave now, Iraq is likely to break into even worse sectarian conflict. The extremist regime in Iran will expand its influence in Iraq and elsewhere in the region. Terrorist organizations, the people who cut off the heads of civilians, stone women to death, and preach hatred and intolerance, will be emboldened by our departure. In the ensuing chaos, the courageous Iraqi civilians, soldiers and political leaders who have counted on us will be left to the slaughter. No American who cares about human rights, security and our moral standing in the world can be comfortable letting these things happen.

I think Baird’s main point is suspect—he argues that the surge appears to be working—but even if he’s wrong about that, the paragraph above is still true.

I don’t know what to do about Iraq. I editorialized against the war repeatedly, and I think it’s the biggest foreign policy blunder in American history. However, I think Baird’s concerns have to be addressed before the U.S. leaves.


posted by on August 24 at 10:28 AM

The Penny Arcade Expo kicks off this afternoon, which means that Seattle’s downtown convention center will soon be overrun by video game addicts from around the world. (Seriously, people are flying in from…Estonia? Maybe the guy eats frogs.)

Question is, will today’s arrivals gate at Sea-Tac will look anything like this new Nintendo commercial?

Figures that Nintendo would choose the nearby airport for this ad; hell, have JJ Putz walk through for a cameo while you’re at it. But it’s an interesting scene illustrated here, at least in light of the three-day gamers’ expo that begins at 2 p.m. today. The crowd in this ad is decidedly older, dressed to look like average Joes and Janes fresh off the office job—much like the rest of Nintendo’s latest Wii ads. But it remains to be seen how the average cross-section of over 20,000 PAX entrants will look today.

America’s gaming demographic is growing in age, and 20- and 30-somethings are gaming with their children more than any decade before, but the industry’s public perception is still, largely, trapped in the same limited niche as D&D and sci-fi. Will PAX’s largest iteration yet have its fair share of grounded gamers—the ones who enjoy an occasional game and still have a life? Or am I in for cosplay-stricken nerddom?

I’ll post my findings live from PAX throughout the weekend. Come find me—I’ll be the guy with the Nintendo DS. (Thanks to gaming site Joystiq for the heads-up on the above ad.)

Hillary Channeling Rove?

posted by on August 24 at 10:15 AM

In New Hampshire yesterday, Hillary Clinton said that she would be the best Democratic candidate in the event that the U.S. suffers another terrorist attack before the next election.

It’s a horrible prospect to ask yourself, ‘What if? What if?’ But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world. So I think I’m the best of the Democrats to deal with that as well.

She’s getting some flak for what seems to be a Rove-like playing of “the terror card.” But if I read the quote right, she’s talking political strategy: She’s saying that she would be best-positioned to withstand the inevitable “soft on terrorism” charges that Republicans would probably throw at Democrats after another terrorist attack.

I don’t know if she’s right. Looking at the Democratic field, I guess Kucinich and Gravel could easily be cast by Republicans as “not the person you’d want in the White House” right after another terror attack. Dodd, Biden, and Richardson? I don’t see them being open to a “soft on terror” charge, unless wanting to pull out of Iraq could be twisted around to equal “soft on terror.” (Which has been tried already, and might certainly be tried again.) Obama? With his recent talk of unilaterally invading Pakistan to get at Osama bin Laden, I think he’s pretty well inoculated against “soft on terror” charges, although the experience question could definitely be turned against him in such an environment.

Maybe Clinton was talking about Edwards, and his contention that the so-called Global War on Terror is “just a bumper sticker slogan.” Whether you think he’s right or not, that quote could provide a lot of easy ammunition for Republicans in the wake of another terror attack.

The Weekly Wang News

posted by on August 24 at 9:35 AM


In Russia, a woman set fire to her ex-husband’s penis as he sat naked watching television and drinking vodka. Reports Reuters:

The attack climaxed three years of acrimonious enforced co-habitation. The couple divorced three years ago but continued to share a small flat, something common in Russia where property costs are very high.

Meanwhile in Scotland, a dwarf performer at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival had to be rushed to the hospital after he accidentally super-glued his penis to a vacuum cleaner during a performance. From the Associated Foreign Press:

Daniel Blackner, or “Captain Dan the Demon Dwarf”, was due to perform at the Circus of Horrors. The main part of his act saw him appear on stage with a vacuum cleaner attached to his member through a special attachment. The attachment broke before the performance and Blackner tried to fix it using extra-strong glue, but unfortunately only let it dry for 20 seconds instead of the 20 minutes required. He then joined it directly to his organ.

As for the victims, I’ll let them speak for themselves:

“It was monstrously painful,” said the burnt Russian ex-husband. “I was burning like a torch. I don’t know what I did to deserve this.”

“It was the most embarrassing moment of my life when I got wheeled into a packed [emergency room] with a vacuum attached to me,” said Captain Dan the Demon Dwarf. “I just wished the ground could swallow me up.”

Thanks to Hot Tipper Paul for the wang-news roundup.

The Scary Fairy Falwell!

posted by on August 24 at 9:33 AM

Forgive me, but another word on Ms. Ted Haggard.

When one gets all carried away with really, really despising him, as I certianly do, it is truely horrible, in hindsight, to recall just how obviously, clearly, screamingly light-in-the-loafers scarry Ted Haggard always was/is. Take, for example, these segments from Jesus Camp


Ted Haggard Needs Your Help!

posted by on August 24 at 8:56 AM


Ted Haggard would get a job and support his own family… but he’s in college, you see, getting a masters degree in counseling, and his wife has gone back to school, and his kids are going to a private Christian high school, and so he really, really needs your help. He’d like you to send him a check—preferably once a month—but there’s something in it for you: salvation!

If people want to support us directly, they can mail checks to Ted and Gayle Haggard, 9699 N. Hayden, Suite 108, PMB 180, Scottsdale, AZ 95259. This is a private mail box address that we have been using since we moved to the Phoenix area. If any supporters need a tax deduction for their gift, they can mail it to Families With a Mission at P.O. Box 63125, Colorado Springs, CO 80962. The supporters would need to write their check to “Families With A Mission” and put a separate note on it that it is for the Haggard family, then Families With a Mission will mail us 90% of the funds for support and use 10% for administrative costs.

Thank you so much. We feel our move into the Dream Center is the next step God would have us take. Any help we can get with this will be greatly appreciated and, I believe, rewarded in heaven.

And Ted promises not to spend any of your money on meth and man ass, he swears.

This Just In

posted by on August 24 at 8:27 AM

Slog tipper Jennie writes…

I don’t know if this counts as a real tip, but the blackberries are at their peak right now, and as good as I’ve ever seen them. Picking blackberries is a perfect Seattle activity, good for the environment (they’re invasive, non-native weeds, so mangle them to your heart’s content, tromp them underfoot!), good for your health (unless you turn them into cobbler like I do), and delicious. I think the summer rains helped them get really big and juicy this year.

Hmph. I hate blackberries. I hate ‘em plain, I hate ‘em with sugar, I hate in cobblers, and I hate ‘em when fancy restaurants use ‘em as garnish. And I think that blackberries, that hateful invasive species, should be banned—along with pit bulls, smoking in cars carrying kids, dogs in restaurants, comments from trolls, trolling for comments, and, of course, cripples on buses.


“Suck on my machine gun!”

posted by on August 24 at 8:20 AM

Uh… is Ted Nugent going to get in trouble for holding up two machine guns at a concert and… uh… threatening the lives of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton?

Morning News

posted by on August 24 at 8:12 AM

Vicious Cycle: Surge causes more Iraqis to flee their homes and neighborhoods which causes more sectarian violence.

Stuck: U.S. intelligence report says Iraqis can’t quell violence and U.S. can’t withdraw.

Separation of Temple and State: Is teaching the Hebrew language in public schools kosher?

More Sidewalks: Mayor Nickels lays out proposal for more sidewalks.

Fewer Fire Hydrants: Exurbs can be dangerous places to live.

This Summer sucks: Midwest slammed by more storms.

1.3 Million Names Stolen: ID thieves breach popular job search website, Monster Worldwide.

Up 2.8%: West sparks jump in new home sales.

List of the Day: Top Selling Drugs.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

re: “Don’t Hate Me For Obeying the Law.”

posted by on August 23 at 9:39 PM


Echinococcosis — or just one reason why dogs shouldn’t be in restaurants.

Dogs (as well as other carnivores) can carry the Echinococcus granulosus tapeworm. As the dog goes merrily about its life, the tapeworm dutifully releases eggs in the dog crap.

When humans eat the eggs, the larvae hatch, eat their way into the blood, and make homes all over the body — the liver, the lungs, the bone, the kidneys and the brain. Over time, the larvae divide, slowly producing massive hydatid cysts (pictured above), quivering to the brim with living tapeworm larvae.

Bon appétit!

(In other news: Medical school ruins everything.)

Re: Out of Body Experiences

posted by on August 23 at 6:31 PM

Uh… is that a stick in your study or are you just happy to see me?


I’ve had some out-of-body experiences under shockingly similar circumstances.

Menu of the Week

posted by on August 23 at 5:27 PM

Ordinarily, I try to confine my food-related Slogging to weeks when I’m in charge of Morning News, when I bring you all the Recipe of the Day. But with the farmers’ markets in full swing and so many incredible summer recipes in the papers and on the food blogs, I can’t resist throwing together an out-of-order summer menu. Most of these recipes are quick and require minimal (if any) oven time, and make use of produce that’s currently available in farmers’ markets. (Most are also vegetarian.) And yeah, it’s a big menu, but I’m not saying you should make all of it at once. But you should. And then invite me over. Thanks.

Appetizer 1, adapted from Well Fed

Green Goddess Dip with Crudite

(Photo credit)

For the Green Goddess Dip:
1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 cup packed watercress, washed
2 tablespoons tarragon leaves
3 tablespoons chives, minced
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 salt packed anchovies, rinsed and bones removed
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon champagne vinegar
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream (can be lite)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the crudite:
3 or four pounds assorted raw vegetables, such as jicama, cucumber, baby squash, cherry tomatoes, or interesting radishes like the ones pictured above)

Puree the parsley, watercress, tarragon, minced chives, garlic, anchovies, lemon zest and juice and 1/4 cup grapeseed oil in a blender or food processor until it resembles pesto. Meanwhile, combine the mayonnaise and sour cream in a large bowl. Stir in the herb puree, vinegar, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper into the mayonnaise and sour cream mixture. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Cut vegetables into similar-size pieces (slice cucumbers, halve baby squash, etc.) and serve with dip.

Menu continues below the jump.

Continue reading "Menu of the Week" »

Today in Line Out

posted by on August 23 at 4:50 PM

My New Hero: He doesn’t play music, yet he wrote this song.

Pop-Its: Freezepop at Club Pop!

The Decemberists: Coming to town with a complicated buying process and designer tickets.

Also Tonight: Kimya Dawson and Open Choir Fire, for starters.

Without it, Music Would Not Exist: Trent Moorman’s ode to duct tape.

Morrissey: Not a sell-out.

Sister, Sister: Sister Power’s “Love Potion” (and tight white pants).

DIY Dream Come True: Carousel Festival and Respect the Boss both this weekend.

MIA’s Kala: It’s funny when you say it really fast over and over again.

More Fests!: Gillian’s got love for the upcoming Geezerfest.

And More Fun Tonight!: Donte’s got love for Havana’s Back Door.

Iz cute!

(Thanks, Hickey)

Out of Body Experiences

posted by on August 23 at 3:56 PM

Mysterious and magical no more.

Ban Smoking In Cars With Kids

posted by on August 23 at 3:51 PM

It’s only rational:

Canada’s doctors are calling for a country-wide ban on smoking in all vehicles carrying children — including private cars — to protect young lungs from the dangers of second-hand smoke.

The recommendation won resounding support Wednesday at the Canadian Medical Association’s annual general meeting in Vancouver, where delegates also called for government efforts to reduce the amount of salt in processed food and regulate the contents of energy drinks.

After this step, the next one is to make the social conditioning of children completely secular.

Reservoir Slog

posted by on August 23 at 3:40 PM

I’m obsessed with the city’s reservoir cap program. When I first heard about the caps, I imagined giant bathtub plugs being lowered by a fleet of helicopters, hovering over the city’s reservoirs. Ride of the Valkyries would, of course, be blaring.

Unfortunately, the reality is far less glamorous.

The project came about after 9/11, when the city decided it would be a good idea to keep our precious water supply out of the reach of nefarious evil-doers. The solution: rebuild all of the city’s major reservoirs UNDERGROUND!!! After each reservoir is buried, the land on top of it will be sodded and turned over to the parks department. When everything is finished, the city should have an extra 76 acres of park space to play with.

So far, the $123 million dollar cap program has been a success. Lincoln reservoir was transformed from a big, wet hole in the ground, into Cal Anderson Park in 2005, and the next two reservoir projects—the Myrtle Reservoir in West Seattle and the Beacon Hill Reservoir—will, together, add 23 acres of park space. Construction at the West Seattle Reservoir would come next, followed by Maple Leaf. The Volunteer Park Reservoir and the Roosevelt Reservoir may be decommissioned.

Construction at the Beacon Reservoir.
Photo by David Johanson Vasquez

The only snag so far is the cost. Each park costs about a million dollars to build—addition to the massive cost of tearing down and rebuilding the reservoirs—and the Parks Department only has money in its budget for Myrtle and Beacon. The money for the two parks comes from the Pro Parks levy, which is set to expire next year.

It’s a neat project, but Wagner and helicopters would’ve made it even better.

Ken Vincent’s Departure From KUOW Is Hitting Some Listeners Harder Than Others

posted by on August 23 at 3:18 PM

From the mailbag…

For the love of all that is holy, chasing Ken Vincent out of KUOW with asinine management decisions and insane control-freak politics must at least be a venal sin, if not a mortal one. After spending two years in the Peace Corps and only getting the occasional stray wave of BBC’s Caribbean Service on the shortwave, I wept real tears when I heard Ken’s voice again upon returning to Seattle. To me he epitomized KUOW. He made the day move along faster, he cracked corny jokes, he told us what the weather was in Forks sometimes… I loved Ken. He was an integral part of my day for years on end.

This is a travesty, and I hope Jeff Hansen’s head gets served on a platter. And then I hope Steve Scher, Marcie Sillman, Dave Beck, Ross Reynolds, Derek Wang and Patricia Murphy all get raises. They deserve it if they have to put up with this shit.

Michelle Swanson

An Open Letter to Toothpaste

posted by on August 23 at 3:14 PM

Dear Toothpaste,

I think you’re swell. As a kid, I liked your fruity flavors and swirling colors. And now, I am fond of your mature varieties such as peppermint, wintergreen, and fennel. Always, I’ve rooted for “toothpaste” in your epic rivalry with orange juice. But one man in your pearl-whitening and breath-freshening cadre is an affront to all that makes you great. Baking soda.

It seems tubes on shelves everywhere these days bear a muscled arm that promises to hammer away at invasive plaque, prompting other brands to adulterate their flavors with a salty powder from the nether regions of my fridge. What gives, toothpaste? Are we harking to some hippie “back to hygiene basics” movement? Before DayGlo brushes fashioned like bristled spacecraft and fluoridated water? To the days of a toothless proletariat and dentured youth? You were already the studliest number in my medicine cabinet – your sodium fluoride and non-toxic cleansers making a nation of healthy smiles. But now half the time I buy you, I accidentally pick up contaminated trendy toothpaste and get a mouthful of salty suds. Most recently, I mistakenly bought generic baking-soda toothpaste from a certain vendor by the name Joe. His knock-off crap looked like chalk and tasted like Comet on a communion wafer. Frankly, toothpaste, baking soda is disgusting and you should lose it.

Yours twice daily,

Silly Legislation of the Day

posted by on August 23 at 3:01 PM

The Atlanta city council is considering banning baggy pants. No, really:

Baggy pants that show boxer shorts or thongs would be illegal under a proposed amendment to Atlanta’s indecency laws. The amendment, sponsored by city councilman C.T. Martin, states that sagging pants are an “epidemic” that is becoming a “major concern” around the country.

“Little children see it and want to adopt it, thinking it’s the in thing,” Martin said Wednesday. “I don’t want young people thinking that half-dressing is the way to go. I want them to think about their future.”

The proposed ordinance would also bar women from showing the strap of a thong beneath their pants. They would also be prohibited from wearing jogging bras in public or show a bra strap, said Debbie Seagraves, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia.

And surprisingly — or maybe not — Atlanta wouldn’t be the first:

Earlier this year, the town council in Delcambre, La., passed an ordinance that carries a fine of up to $500 or six months in jail for exposing underwear in public. Several other municipalities and parish governments in Louisiana have enacted similar laws in recent months.

O They Will Know We Are Christians By…

posted by on August 23 at 2:59 PM

the bruises on our wives.

Juanita Bynum, a televangelist with a national following for sermons about women’s empowerment, pressed charges against her estranged husband Thursday after she was bruised in a fight with him during a meeting to reconcile, police said.

Preacher Thomas W. Weeks III, founder of Global Destiny churches, will be charged with aggravated assault and terroristic threats, Officer Ronald Campbell said.

The fight happened early Wednesday in the parking lot of the Renaissance Concourse Hotel near Atlanta’s airport, Campbell said. “They were talking about a reconciliation. They got into an argument. In the process of the argument, her husband walked out to the parking lot area, turned back around and started to choke Miss Bynum,” Campbell said.

“As he choked her, he pushed her down to the ground and started to kick her and also stomp on her,” he said. “There was a bellman at the location who witnessed the whole assault, intervened and pulled Mr. Weeks off of Miss Bynum.”

Pastor Weeks wouldn’t be in this trouble if his wife Juanita had, you know, joyfully submitted to the authority of her husband like she’s supposed to.

Thanks to Slog tipper Corinne.

Hey, Housewives!

posted by on August 23 at 2:55 PM

Is your marriage sexless and dull? Drudgery of housework got you down? Don’t ask for sex or help around the house—buy a vibrator attachment for your vacuum cleaner, and you’ll moan for more, more, more carpet to clean!

According to The Sun:

WOMEN could turn dust into lust — with a sex toy that brings pleasure to HOUSEWORK. […]

The plastic tubular gadget fits on the end of a vacuum pipe.

Its makers say frustrated housewives can place it above their private parts — and orgasm in just TEN SECONDS.


I used to moan about housework—but now I moan while I do it!


posted by on August 23 at 2:05 PM

The following e-mail went out to KUOW staffers earlier this week as I was reporting this week’s story on now-former KUOW staffer Ken Vincent:

From: Arvid Hokanson Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2007 1:17 PM To: Programming Staff Subject: Media Inquiries Regarding Ken Vincent and/or Writer’s Almanac Importance: High

You may receive inquiries regarding Ken’s resignation and/or upcoming programming changes. Direct any inquiries to me. Do not comment directly.

Here is the text from our Ethics and Editorial Policy:

KUOW programming staff must get permission from the Program Director or the News Director to appear on TV or other media.



Despite the e-mail, I’ve been getting quite a response from KUOW staffers to the article.

It wouldn’t be kosher to share those. But I’m also getting a big response from KUOW listeners. I was just cc’d on this, for example:

Dear Jeff Hansen, Arvid Hokanson, Marcia Scholl, and others in management:

I’ve been a longtime NPR and KUOW listener. Do you know why I listen? Probably. You’ve done more than a little analysis of your audience. You know what we’re looking for and how to deliver it.

I’ve made a wild guess as to why you’re making the changes described in Josh Feit’s recent article in ‘The Stranger.’ You want a bigger slice of the pie. More listeners. More revenue. You want to be Fox, and the only way is to be more foxy, to jazz it up and dumb it down.

The problem is, the changes will become too painful for your existing audience long before you attract much of your new target audience. You will be forced to change even faster to offset the loss. You’ll be like the smart kid in school who suddenly shows up ineptly attired in new clothes, new interests, and new slang, and the result will be laughable to all.

Here’s an alternate strategy. Attract people to what you are, make them want to be KUOW listeners. It will be hard marketing work, not nearly as easy as going Fox, but it will be better than turning into a wannabe.

And pay your people better. I’m embarrassed that I never gave this any thought. I assumed fairness would be a trait of Public Radio management.


RC’s e-mail seems a bit harsh to me about the changes at KUOW. It’s not clear that the changes staffers described in my article hint at aspirations to be hyper commercial like Fox. As best I could tell, the changes afoot at KUOW are more cosmetic than editorial. At issue, it seems, is an attempt to downplay personality at the station for a more regimented feel. If anything, that seems less like Fox News and more like the AP.

“Don’t Hate Me For Obeying the Law.”

posted by on August 23 at 1:30 PM

When P-I food writer Leslie Kelly wrote a review blasting Opal (an expensive restaurant on Queen Anne) for allowing dogs in the dining room, dog-loving readers, predictably, piled on.

“Queen Anne is on the whole a dog community, and many of us celebrate that and live here because of it, wrote Donna Duggan in an e-mail. “… You probably could have walked down the street that night and seen another half dozen dogs having dinner with their owners. Queen Anne can be like that!”

Another reader suggested that he far preferred the company of dogs to kids at dinner.

[…]I know I’m opening a big can of night crawlers here, but I’m just wondering what people are thinking when they take their pets to a restaurant. Especially when it’s a violation of the health code. You wouldn’t take your kid to a bar. Why do some people think they can bend the rules when it comes to dogs?

And I would add: Kids are allowed in restaurants. Because they’re, you know, people. Unlike dogs. Anyway: Amen, sister.

Indie Webcasters React to Latest Proposal on Artist Fees

posted by on August 23 at 1:19 PM

SoundExchange, the group that collects fees from webcasters and distributes the money to labels and artists, offered a new deal on rates to independent webcasters earlier this week. The deal—which would allow small webcasters to pay a percentage of their revenues (10 to 12 percent) rather than a rate based on plays (which works out to a drastically smaller payout)—is similar to the deal I described in a recent CounterIntel column, in which I sided with SoundExchange. (Sue me, but I think artists should get paid.)

Not sure how I feel about SoundExchange deal at the moment, though. The webcasters make a pretty good case that the deal will hurt webcasters in the long run. (I do want webcasting to flourish.)

One thing the webcasters don’t like about the deal is that it throws big webcasters “under the bus.” That’s true. Big webcasters, like AOL, would get hit with a heavy rate increase for payments to labels and artists. Interestingly, the indies are using that fact to criticize the deal. I guess they’re all imagining themselves as AOLs one day.

Here’s a more even-keeled take on the offer.

Surely, one good thing about the deal is that SoundExchange backed off its earlier demand that webcasters accept DRM requirements to prevent listeners from downloading. From the content provider POV (like record companies), DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. For fans who like to download, DRM stands for Digital Restriction Management.

Help Bankrupt the AFA!

posted by on August 23 at 1:18 PM

Get a free Bible from the American Family Association! One per unsaved teenager, please.

Via Pam’s House Blend.

Having Guts

posted by on August 23 at 12:25 PM

In response to Ron Sims statement about this building:
2003309628.jpg (“The ugliest building in the world”), Councilman Bob Ferguson said, “[The argument that] ‘it’s an ugly building’ doesn’t move me.” It doesn’t move him because it may not make “financial sense.” In the emerging discourse on this particular stage of local architecture, Councilman Fergurson wants to play the blunt role of common sense. He is reasonable, he is looking at it practically, he is counting the beans. He is boring us to death. What Fergurson is really doing by claiming to be the reasonable one in this issue is poorly concealing the fact that no spine holds him up. Rom Sims not only has a spine in this issue but the guts to say what is in a sense true: the building is ugly. (I love concrete but that building is inhuman in a very bad way.) Sims does not like it. He wants another building. Good for him. Aesthetic problems should move you, should inform policy. The way something looks is important. I congratulate Sims for at least expressing an aesthetic opinion; I denounce Ferguson for being a mouse man pretending to be a man of moderation.

Don’t Call it a Nano

posted by on August 23 at 12:06 PM

Crunchgear has info and photos of the (rumored to be) new iPod Nano that probably won’t be called a Nano. It’s cute, I want.

Click to see.

(Thanks for the link, Hickey.)

Here Come the ID Drones

posted by on August 23 at 11:57 AM

An alert reader pointed out this website for a documentary projected for release in February 2008. I can’t find a distributor listed anywhere on the site, so hopefully Expelled will be “released” in a closet in the Discovery Institute, but it’s got big guns behind it: cash from Canadian software developer and evangelical Christian Walt Ruloff and the star power of actor Ben Stein.

The Discovery Institute is officially not involved, but check out these simultaneous blog posts (more like press releases): one from Discovery Institute’s Discovery Blog, another on Discovery Institute’s ID: The Future blog, a third on Discovery Institute’s Evolution News & Views blog.

The “academic freedom” argument has been percolating in the ID universe for some time, and it’s a pathetic bait-and-switch. This approach frees IDers from having to support any of their contentions: they merely have to claim that they’re being persecuted for their research. The producers hope you’ll go, “Yay freedom!” And then rapidly thereafter, “down with Darwin!” But the truth is, ID doesn’t belong in a science department. It requires metaphysical assumptions that don’t make sense in a material inquiry. It doesn’t lead to new hypotheses; it can’t direct new research. It’s useless. And if a professor, tenured or otherwise, is sitting around being completely useless, I would certainly hope she would be asked to defend her work.

Richardson’s One-Point Plan for Iraq

posted by on August 23 at 11:40 AM

I’ve been Slogging this week about the different ways the Democratic presidential candidates approach the problem of pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq, and I want to return for a moment to Bill Richardson and his “one-point” plan.

Something has been bugging me about the Richardson pitch on getting out of Iraq. On the campaign trail, he loves to tell audiences that he has a one-point plan for Iraq, and that is: “Get out.” He says he could have all the U.S. troops home by the end of this year. He says no U.S. forces would be left behind to stabilize the country, except those needed to guard the U.S. embassy. And of course, he has a TV ad about it:

But here’s what’s bugging me: Bill Richardson is the Governor of New Mexico. He doesn’t have a vote in Congress, and even if he were to win the presidency he wouldn’t have any control over what U.S. troops are doing until January of 2009. He can say all he wants that he has a plan to bring U.S. troops home by the end of this year, but he doesn’t have any power to make that happen—and, since he knows it’s not going to happen, he doesn’t have to worry too much about all the messy potential consequences (more civil war, the killing of Iraqis who worked with U.S. forces, a regional war) that could arise from a fast U.S. pullout. He also doesn’t have to worry too much about whether it’s even a practical possibility to get all U.S. troops and their equipment out of Iraq by the end of December (the other leading Democratic candidates say it’s not, and Joe Biden, head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been especially blunt about this in recent debates).

In other words, Richardson has crafted a plan that he has no power to implement over the time-line he would like it implemented, and which probably couldn’t be implemented even if he did have power to do so.

Why is he doing this? Because it’s a political freebie for him. He gets to throw red meat to the “out-of-Iraq-now” wing of the Democratic party for the next six months. When the end of this year comes and goes without all U.S. troops out of Iraq, he gets to say, “I had a plan that would have had us out by now…” And meanwhile, he doesn’t have to engage in the kind of reasoned consideration of the mechanics of an Iraq pullout that those in Congress have to engage in.

Maybe this is smart politics for Richardson. (Although I don’t see his poll numbers shooting up as a result of this plan.) But it’s not serious thinking.

Oh, My Aching Effie!

posted by on August 23 at 11:28 AM

Agents at the border or something have intercepted “chatter” or whatever containing the following disturbing video segment. It was sent in an email from known hillarrorist Grady West (code name: Dina Martina) and addressed to persons unknown. Behold, and for Christ’s sake, brace yourself:

And no, you weren’t just having a stroke, and yes, that really just happened, and yes, Marla Gibbs seems to be wearing the skin of a gutted space lizard. And for ruining/making the rest of my life, thank you, Mr. West. Thank you, indeed!

Today in Bizarre Myspace Advertising

posted by on August 23 at 11:18 AM


You can’t calculate a word, people! Goddammit, when will the inanity stop?

You Gotta Have a Gimmick

posted by on August 23 at 11:00 AM

Gay porn studio Falcon has signed its—porn’s first—totally monogamous couple: Aden and Jordan Jaric. The happy couple has only filmed one scene for one film… but they’re going to keep making porn, and only make it together, so that we can all watch as the frequency, duration, and passion of their lovemaking decreases over time, just like any couple in love…

No doubt ecce will approve.

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 23 at 11:00 AM


Pleasureboaters at S.S. Marie Antoinette

Pleasureboaters are about to fucking rocket to the moon. These jokers mix intense, jagged art-rock with aggressive theatrics, and are going to get big as soon as their debut album, Gross!, is released later this summer. So you better see them now, while they can still play small spaces like the S. S. Marie Antoinette without getting (too) out of hand. With the Whore Moans and the Ironclads. (S.S. Marie Antoinette, 1235 Westlake Ave N. 8 pm, by donation, all ages.)


Those Kinky Iranians

posted by on August 23 at 10:54 AM


A 25-year-old man found guilty of breaking Iran’s “morality laws” by abusing alcohol and engaging in premarital sex was held down in the Qazvin town center and lashed 80 fucking times with a cane. A bunch of other Iranians watched. Full story here.

A Note on this Year’s Primary

posted by on August 23 at 10:53 AM

Who knew? Seattle voters are smart! (At least the 24% of you who took the time to mark your ballots and vote.)

Check it out: In the Port race, rather than mindlessly reacting to all the scandals with a knee-jerk “Throw the Bums Out” backlash, voters went with the reformist challenger in one race by giving Gael Tarleton 32% and incumbent Bob Edwards 28% (an amazing feat for an unknown against an incumbent), but they stuck with the incumbent in the other race, giving Alec Fisken 44% to main challenger Bill Bryant’s 29%.

Incumbent Edwards, of course, was implicated in the recent Mic Dinsmore retirement package scandal and is associated with the status quo, getting bank from corporate Port customers. And so, it makes sense for voters to lean toward Tarleton.

The other incumbent, Fisken, is a noisy in-house refromer, while his opponent is a Republican with big business backing. And so, it made sense that voters stuck with Fisken—who was not implicated in the recent scandal.

I had been worried that Fisken would simply eat it in the uproar over the Port scandals, but it appears as if voters were able to parse the issues. We’ll see if that holds in the general between Fisken and Bryant. Given Bryant’s constituency he raised a lot more money for the primary (Fisken has a lot more donors, but a lot less cash)—and so Bryant may be able to make something out of the anti-incumbent mood just yet.

This trend didn’t play out, however, in the school board races, where a perfectly fit incumbent, Darlene Flynn (who’s actually good on the issues that plague the district like budgeting), had a tough time making it through the primary; meanwhile her main challenger, Sherry Carr, came out far ahead: 40 to 27.

Why weren’t voters as nuanced here? Probably because Carr is one of this year’s more impressive candidates in any of the races for any position. We stuck with Flynn in our endorsements because Carr, while impressive in her own right, didn’t make the case against Flynn—who we think is the best board member. We also want some continuity. (Find our school board endorsements, among others, here.)

I kinda wish Carr was running for something else like city council, where the candidates this year don’t match the intensity and urgency of the big issues currently confronting our city.

Mystery Bong Hobbles Washington Ferry System

posted by on August 23 at 10:37 AM


Yesterday morning, one of the Washington’s largest ferries—the Seattle-Bainbridge boat, which holds 2,500 passengers and 202 vehicles—was held at Colman Dock for over an hour, after a “suspicious package” was found in the men’s restroom.

Yesterday afternoon, KING 5 reported that “the Washington State Patrol refused to describe the object except to call it a ‘nonhazardous, nonexplosive item.’”

But an FBI official was more specific:

“Someone found a bong,” said David Gomez, FBI assistant special agent in charge. Less than an hour later Gomez said his information came from an FBI bomb technician who hadn’t actually seen the object.

Full, mysterious story here.

Obama on the Daily Show

posted by on August 23 at 10:15 AM

In case you missed it, he announced plans to invade Grenada last night…

The Artists Speak: No. 31 and No. 2

posted by on August 23 at 9:30 AM

OK, these two podcasts aren’t with artists, but I’m keeping this title anyway as my weekly recommendation to listen to other people’s words instead of mine.

If you’re new to this, I do a weekly podcast called In/Visible. (You simply click, and you can listen. I’ve done 31 of them now.)

New this week is a conversation with Ken Allan, an art historian relatively new to Seattle (and to Seattle University) from LA. Old this week—and recommended as accompaniment—is a conversation with Scott Lawrimore, Seattle’s newest art dealer, from last November. These are the people you won’t ever get to hear at an artist lecture or a curators’ talk.

Allan’s area of specialty is postwar Los Angeles—the birth of the city as an art destination, really. (He’s my latest find in the LA-comes-to-Seattle category, including curator Michael Darling of Seattle Art Museum [formerly of the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA] and Olga Koumoundouros [the artist inaugurating Open Satellite in Bellevue].)

How was LA built? Was LA then like Seattle now? Allan is a thoughtful guy (and a fan of Wallace Berman, seen below in a self-portrait).


Here is some of what he had to say:

(Walter) Hopps was about exposing people to the fact that great abstract painting was going on in San Fransisco, and some there in LA. So he created this—he was trying to find a venue for this show and ended up renting a merry-go-round space on the old Santa Monica pier. He installed the work in this merry-go-round building with jazz playing.
What’s so great about Scott Lawrimore and the Lawrimore Project is that he seems to be forging a path to both cultivate a community here, and to try to get in dialogue both nationally and internationally.

Listen here.

That last bit makes a nice segue into a rainy November morning with Lawrimore. If it is possibly that anyone hasn’t heard already, Lawrimore Project opened last summer and since then has done much to deserve attention. The gallery has hosted shows, talks, performances, and brunches.

What Allan says impresses him almost the most about Lawrimore’s project is the thinking and talking that goes on slightly under the radar with Lawrimore, and I’d have to agree. When Allan and I got together earlier this week, Allan had just come from a weekly Art Klatch hosted by Lawrimore at Cafe Presse (Tuesday mornings at 7 am, open to anyone). Topics range, baguettes are chewy.

Here is some of what Lawrimore says:

Me: Why do you mistrust the eye? Lawrimore: I don’t mistrust the eye. Me: You completely do! Lawrimore: Oh, well, I need an example of what it is I have shown at the gallery that does not have eye appeal. … I admit that, unfortunately, the visual arts are still quite visual … In reference to the Jupiter Art Fair (in Portland), 90 percent of the art there was visually driven and it ended there and there wasn’t much going on behind it.
The moment of a sale in a gallery, when you’re with a client and they’re looking at an object, that’s one thing. But I think beyond that the strength of placing work and building collections is in the dialogue that happens between those times where we’re sitting in the office chatting about what what we just saw somewhere else at another gallery or in a magazine or at auction, and I start to get an idea about what it is they’re collecting and why it is they’re collecting this and not that.

Listen here.

Colbert v. Branson

posted by on August 23 at 9:04 AM

Contrary to earlier reports, it looks like Colbert wasn’t all that ticked off when Branson tossed a cup full of water on him during the taping of an interview.

Pit Bulls Should be Boiled Alive like Lobsters and Fed to Their Idiot Owners

posted by on August 23 at 9:00 AM

Or if that’s too harsh we can just euthanize the dogs and put their owners in prison. From the Seattle Times:

The owner of two pit bulls that mauled a Pierce County woman in her home and killed another dog has been cited twice in the past three years for letting the dogs run loose in the neighborhood, according to district-court records.

Now the dogs likely will be euthanized, and their owner could face felony charges.

Record Industy Spin (or the Download Load)

posted by on August 23 at 8:51 AM

A new study about the at-large impact of music file sharing from the conservative Institute for Policy Innovation found that illegal downloads cost the U.S. economy $12.6 billion overall, kill 71,000 jobs, siphon $2.7 billion in workers’ earnings, and cost the government $422 million in tax revenue.

The study makes some basic mistakes, though.

1) It assumes that most downloads = a lost sale. I’d say most free downloads = somebody grabbing a song they wouldn’t have even considered adding to their music library if it hadn’t been free in the first place.

2) The study also misses the flip side: Illegal downloads lead to subsequent purchases. A recent recording industry study found that three out of four regular downloaders purchased music after tasting a sample.

3) The study also failed to adequately factor in the growing evidence that the music industry is stumbling in its own right—independently of file sharing.

The technology free love folks at ars technica are on the story.

Morning News

posted by on August 23 at 7:45 AM

Defiant Speech: Bush insists America must stay in Iraq.

Surprising (Sex) Survey: NIH finds that Old people are still into vaginal intercourse, masturbation, and oral sex.

Revealing Interview: National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell admits wiretapping program was ruled illegal, but adamantly defends it—giving frank details of program.

Inevitable Development: Google announces YouTube videos will now come with ads.

Impressive Results: A year on, Plan B manufacturer says emergency contraception pill is a giant commercial success.

Spotty Service: Militias taking control of Iraq’s electricity grid.

Clever Strategy: Giuliani’s GOP rivals turn his Mayoral record against him.

Pricey Punishment: NBA fines Sonics $250,000 for comments about moving to Oklahoma.

Alarming Report: World Health Organization issues warning about spread of infectious diseases.

And, Today’s List: America’s Top Selling Cars.

Get over it already—you will!

posted by on August 23 at 5:42 AM

Normally I wouldn’t tread on my brother’s bailiwick (ick) but when crack researchers at Northwestern come up with the news—based on actual research!—that breaking up isn’t actually all that bad, I felt the need to share.

Good thing, too, because otherwise how would broken-hearted senior citizens keep at it, what with their demographic prone to that most permanent of break-ups, death? The folks down the road at the University of Chicago have some news too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


posted by on August 22 at 9:20 PM

I am pleased to report that, after one long and torturous month, MADISON MARKET HAS LEMONS AGAIN. Finally! I can now end my personal lemon strike, which I went on in quiet solidarity with my co-op’s struggle to procure the fruit, and which has slowly been making me insane.


p.s. If anyone can shed light on why the Market has been without lemons, please do. I want to understand.

Peace Released

posted by on August 22 at 5:12 PM

Anwar Peace is out of jail.

Last Friday, Peace pled guilty to violating his no-contact order with Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske. Peace, who had been in King County Jail since July, was released for time served.

Now, Peace wants to set the record straight about why he left 17 angry, threatening messages on Kerlikowske’s phone. And, he wants to apologize.

Peace says he wants to go to City Council next month and give a public apology to the Chief and his family. “The beef that me and the Chief have had was between me and him. It wasn’t about his family,” he says. “I really crossed the line when I started commenting about them.”

On June 30th, Peace says he found out about radio talk show host Mike Webb’s death and became distraught. “[Webb] had me in the studio multiple times discussing police issues.[We] had struck up a friendship over the years. When I found out that he was murdered, in my grieving process, I drank about 4 bottles of wine that morning.”

That’s when Peace began making phone calls. Eventually, police were called to Peace’s house after a dispute with his girlfriend, and he was taken to jail.

Jail seems to have been a sobering experience for Peace and he says he plans to take a more laid back approach to activism. “I’m not going to be able to march in the streets as I used to,” he said.

Slog Poll Results: America is More Ready for a Woman President Than a Black President

posted by on August 22 at 5:04 PM

There was a lot of criticism of this poll in the comments.

Nevertheless, here are the results.

Slog readers believe, by a 12-point margin, that America is more ready to have a woman president than a black president.

The Birds

posted by on August 22 at 5:00 PM

There’s a new suspect in the bridge collapse in Minneapolis

Pounded and strained by heavy traffic and weakened by missing bolts and cracking steel, the failed interstate bridge over the Mississippi River also faced a less obvious enemy: pigeons.

Inspectors began documenting the buildup of pigeon dung on the span near downtown Minneapolis two decades ago. Experts say the corrosive guano deposited all over the Interstate 35W span’s framework helped the steel beams rust faster.

Although investigators have yet to identify the cause of the bridge’s Aug. 1 collapse, which killed at least 13 people and injured about 100, the pigeon problem is one of many factors that dogged the structure.

Media Mountain (for Charles)

posted by on August 22 at 4:30 PM

As a challenge to this:


Art builds this:


Cameron Martin’s painting Untitled (CM054) (1999). (Martin curated Neonoir, which I saw this afternoon at Howard House. More on that in next week’s print edition.)

Letter of the Day

posted by on August 22 at 4:29 PM

As I was taking a coffee break in the U-District this afternoon, I spotted a vehicle parked on The Ave (see attached photos). Immediately I thought to myself, what country am I living in? How can people be this ignorant? And of course the most important question: In what direction is American society headed? It really is a tragedy for the future of our nation that these mindsets exist at all.

Here’s that vehicle on the Ave…


And here’s a close-up of those stickers…


I’m thinkin’ the owner of this Hummer is hunting terrorists over here because he doesn’t have the balls to hunt them over there.

Ron Sims On Architecture

posted by on August 22 at 4:19 PM

According to Sims, this building is…
400px-KingCountyAdmin.jpg“The ugliest building in the world.”

I really want to know what he thinks is the most beautiful building in the world.

Our Team Coverage of Testicle Festival Continues

posted by on August 22 at 4:07 PM

The Stranger’s team coverage of Montana’s 25th Annual Testicle Festival continues. Last week Kelly O brought us revealing video of the Testicle Festival, and this week Stranger food critic Angela Garbes files her own report from the Testicle Festival and shares her frustrating attempts to whip up some balls for dad in her Seattle test kitchen.

I went down to Viet Wah Superfoods on MLK to look for balls for me and my dad; the ones I found were frozen, sold in pairs (each slightly larger than my fist), and cost $2.69 a pound. To be totally honest, they scared me a little. But I was determined. As they defrosted, their tough outer skins (called, horrifically, the “vaginal tunic”) softened to reveal a maze of blue and purple veins. I removed the vaginal tunics.

At this point, I must admit I was officially grossed out. I soaked the balls for two hours in salt water, hoping to draw out blood. As I sliced the testicles, I tried to imagine that I was cutting lobes of foie gras instead, but the orange color and veins running through their centers didn’t help keep this delusion going. I cooked my balls Ruhlman-style, panfried with brown butter, garlic, and napa cabbage. The smell was heavenly, but the meat was incredibly tough and oozed a weird gray substance (I hadn’t soaked them long enough to get rid of all the impurities, apparently). I was mortified; they were terrible. “Well,” said my dad, “it’s not tripe.”

You can read the rest of Garbes’ piece here.

And now we’d like to take you behind the scenes of our Team Testicle Festival coverage. At the last minute Stranger publisher Tim Keck stepped in and pulled the image Stranger editor David Schmader had chosen—after careful consideration—to illustrate Garbes’ story in this week’s paper. Here is the image that Mr. Keck imposed on Stranger editors…


And here is the image that Stranger editor David Schmader first selected to illustrate Garbes’ story:


Keck felt that this image was too disturbing, and not an appropriate photo the opening of this paper’s restaurant section.

Keck is the publisher, of course, and he can make these calls. But what do you say, Slog readers? Did Keck do the right thing?

Man Mountain

posted by on August 22 at 3:50 PM

As challenge to this:

Man wants to build this:

Inspired by Mount Fuji, Taisei Construction Corporation [in Japan] has completed designs for construction of the world’s tallest building. The X-Seed 4000 (no idea where that came from) would stand at approximately 13,123 feet (4 km), nearly 700 feet (213 m) taller than the real Mount Fuji. The next tallest buildings don’t even break 2,000 feet, how puny… the X-Seed would have up to 800 floors, and be capable of housing between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people.
It will never happen, but not to dream is not to be human.

David Della’s Misleading Campaign Ads

posted by on August 22 at 3:48 PM

You know that David Della
that’s been running, like, every five minutes on local TV? The one where he claims to have (single-handedly!) reduced your City Light bills and made the city safer and defeated the mayor’s icky, expensive Alaskan Way tunnel? If you’ve managed to avoid it so far, avoid no longer:

After watching the ad, you’re probably wondering: Is it fair to take credit for things the entire council did? How much money does this guy have? And are his claims even true?

The answers are: No; $177,000; and read this week’s In the Hall, where I do a little truth-squadding on Della’s ubiquitous (and deceptive) TV commercials.

Today on Line Out

posted by on August 22 at 3:45 PM

Via Redmond: Jonathan Zwickel on Wilco @ Marrymoor Park.

Laser Vision: Megan Seling on Laser Minus the Bear.

Turn You Loose: TJ Gorton on Anthony White.

Rowk: Eric Howk Will Play Bumbershoot with the Lashes.

Seeing Red: Block Partyer Socks Red Crayola.

Kittenshambles: Pete Doherty’s Crack-Addled Cats.

Staggering: Jeff Kirby on Nels Cline.

Cover Me: Hot Band on Band Action.

Best Local Hip Hop Show of the Year: Larry Mizell on Sportin’ Life’s 5 Year Anniversary.

Solid Gold: New Parts & Labor Video - “The Gold We’re Digging.”

Honor Pole

posted by on August 22 at 2:46 PM

As the editor of The Stranger’s kink calendar, I was much chagrined to find this in my inbox, too late to include in this week’s paper:

Press release attached regarding celebration for arrival of 24-foot honor pole being given to The Center for Wooden Boats this Saturday August 25th at 10 am.

Out, out brief honor pole. You have come too late.

Bad news for novelists (Dan Fucking Brown excluded)

posted by on August 22 at 2:41 PM

Not a surprise, I know, but still disheartening:

One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

I’ve always loved to read, perhaps because I was an ugly child. My nerdly leanings persist; one of the first conversational topics I steer strangers to is what they’re currently reading (right now I’m finishing up In Fact: The Best of Creative Nonfiction).

The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who hadn’t read any, the usual number read was seven.

The other day I was talking to this guy, and then he mentioned that he’s “not a reader”, but he was laughing and batting his eyelashes at me like it was a cute joke and I should be laughing, too. So I shat on his foot and stuck a daisy in it.

…book sales, which have been flat in recent years and are expected to stay that way indefinitely. Analysts attribute the listlessness to competition from the Internet and other media, the unsteady economy and a well-established industry with limited opportunities for expansion.

I hope novelists aren’t doomed to become the next poets.

Running With Dinosaurs

posted by on August 22 at 2:35 PM

Time travelers take note: you aren’t faster than a dinosaur.

The smallest dinosaur could reach speeds of nearly 40 mph (64 kph) and even the lumbering Tyrannosaurus rex would have been able to outrun most modern-day sportsmen, according to research published on Wednesday.

Science, what would we do without you?


Riding Bikes on Sidewalks

posted by on August 22 at 2:23 PM

It’s legal, folks—so long as the cyclist is goin’ slow and yields to pedestrians. And I’m always careful to go slow and yield when on those occasions when I ride on sidewalks. I’m a pedestrian first, a cyclist second, blah blah blah.

Anyway, this morning I went for a ride on Lake Washington Blvd., a street that’s mysteriously popular with cyclists. Frankly I don’t see its appeal—there’s no shoulder on LWB, and the street’s so narrow that cars have to drive slowly behind bikes or drive around us, which can be difficult to do when there are cars and bikes coming in both directions. Which there almost always are. I’d rather ride on Rainier.

Anyway, I was biking with a friend, and we were talking. Rather than bike side-by-side, which is an asshole thing to do on a street, we rode on the path that winds through the park along the water. We were going very slowly, and the path was pretty empty. When someone else appeared on the path, we rode even slower, rode single file, or rode off into the grass—you know, going slow and yielding, like were supposed to.

Anyway, to the woman that barked, “You’re supposed to be in the road!” at us—after we slowed down and got off the path and to ride around her little group on the grass—and attempted to knock me back into the street with a look that was intended to be both withering (“How dare you!”) and incredulous (“I simply can’t believe my eyes!”) all at once, I want to say… suck my dick, lady. If you can’t stand the cyclists don’t leave your freakin’ mansion.


posted by on August 22 at 1:35 PM

This guy, at 90, is possibly the world’s oldest father. His fourth wife (who used to be married to his eldest son, but he died (!!)) just gave birth to his (possibly) 21st child. He attributes his longevity to eating plenty of meat, and says he’d like to keep having children until he’s 100, “then maybe I will stop.” Magic sperm!!


Via DListed.

S Jackson St & 18th Ave S

posted by on August 22 at 1:25 PM


Last week, Eli Sanders wondered aloud about the fate of his beloved monument to white bread—the 80-year-old Wonder Bread sign which used to live on 18th and Jackson—and today, I have answers.

Sort of.


Plans haven’t been finalized, but Legacy Partners—who’s developing an apartment complex at the former Wonder Bread bakery site—is in talks with Interstate Bakeries Corporation, the owner of the Wonder Bread trademark, to see if they’ll grant them permission to restore and remount the sign when construction is finished.

If the deal falls through, the sign might be installed in nearby Pratt Park.

More info should be available in the next few weeks.

For now, the big red letters remain in storage.


Mama Africa

posted by on August 22 at 1:22 PM

Happening in the fashion of district of the Gold City, Jo’burg:

Soweto is in the place to be.
_44073533_fashion_thesis1_2.jpg This image deserves a heavy kwiato beat.

You! You are a lekker Boer!

Also coming coming out of Jo’burg’s dream machine is:

And what shall we call this new thing? We shall call it “hut chic.”
fashion2.jpg As the Jungle Brothers once said: “Girl, I’ll house you/you in my hut now.”

Lowbrow, Highbrow

posted by on August 22 at 1:20 PM

Barack Obama will be on The Daily Show tonight.

And John Edwards has a piece in the current issue of Foreign Affairs.

Della Opponent Offers “Apology”

posted by on August 22 at 1:12 PM

Seattle Times reporter David Postman reports on a press release from city council candidate Tim Burgess this morning. Burgess issued a press release today correcting his earlier statement that his opponent, incumbent David Della, had voted against Council Member Peter Steinbrueck’s proposal to increase the police force by 250 officers. The error: There was never a vote on Steinbrueck’s proposal.

But I think Postman makes an error as well. He writes:

It’s rare to see a politician issue such a clear-cut apology as Burgess did. The press release he issued this morning includes no shot at Della, doesn’t blame it on poor staff work or rely on any of the other usual tricks for a political apology.

Huh? Postman’s being a little naive, I think. Burgess’s “apology” is a total shot at Della. Burgess’s apology states:

“I apologize for the mistake,” Burgess said. “I had erroneously thought that Councilmember Peter Steinbrueck’s proposal to significantly increase police staffing due to the extreme shortfall had actually gone to a vote, but it had not. Peter’s colleagues did not support his proposal and it was not brought forward for a vote. I regret the error.”

Sounds like a shot at Della to me. Indeed, I just talked to Burgess and asked him if this was a critique of Della.

“It is a critique of Della,” he said. “I don’t believe he has provided the leadership we need.” Burgess said Della’s lack of support for Steinbrueck’s proposal was wrong-headed. “Other than Peter, there is no strong advocate on the council for more policing. David Della claims to have taken this vote and that vote for increasing police, but by the end of this year, we will have fewer officers than we did last year.”

Steinbrueck had proposed funding 250 more officers. Burgess tells me he wants about 220 new officers. Asked how he would fund that addition, Burgess didn’t offer specifics, but said we would have to make sacrifices in the budget.

Burgess points out that there were more officers on the force when he was an officer in 1970 than there are now: 1,300 vs. about 1,200 now.

As the general election campaign starts, Burgess is clearly staking out his issue. Given the recent run of shootings in Seattle, it seems like a wise political move.

I talked to both Steinbrueck’s office and Della’s office (amazing because Della’s office has refused to talk to us for four years) and it wasn’t clear where Della was on Steinbrueck’s proposal. Although, Steinbrueck’s office did say there was “no support” for it.

I’m Not Young, Cool, Nor Qualified, But I Pretend To Be On TV, Man!

posted by on August 22 at 1:08 PM

Do you know this man?


Well. I am sitting in my very clean apartment, in my underwear, and it is exactly 1:12PM. I make no excuses for this behavior and I refuse to justify myself; if I have a hankering to sit around my apartment in my underwear all day, godfuckingdammit, indeed I shall do so, and with relish and aplomb.

But forget all that. It isn’t what I want to talk about. There are far, far worse things in the universe than me sitting, merely underweared, until early afternoon, thank you, and, basically, all of those worse things are “GREG BEHRENDT”! And Greg Behrendt (that’s his picture up there) is exactly what I’d like to discuss.

O, SWEET JESUS! HOW I HATE HIM! Do you hear me, America? World? Cosmos? Cosmo? Words. Cannot. Express it. And I’m sure you understand.

Wait. What? You don’t? Who is this Greg Behrendt, you ask? Lordy, lordy. Well. Alright. Give me a moment to hack the last steaming chunks of hot vomit that thinking about him inspires from my epiglottis and I shall enlighten you. Ahem. Hem. Hem, hem hem.

Answering the question “who and/or what is Gregg fucking Beherednt”, my darlings, is complicated, and fraught with total ickyness. Let’s begin first by exploring who/what Greg Beherendt isn’t. It’s easiest that way. Trust me.

Greg Behrendt is NOT Bart fucking Simpson. He is not a twenty-year-old sk8er punk living with his band in his parent’s garage. He is not Eddie VanHalen. He is not Tommy Lee. He is not Dave Navarro. He is not hot. He is. Not. Cool. No sir, he is not, he is not, he is NOT.

But that’s far from all Greg Behrendt isn’t.

He is not a psychologist, a psychotherapist, a psychiatrist (much to Tom Cruise’s great relief), nor a counselor of any legitimate sort whatsoever. According to the best of my knowledge and a cursory Googling, his only degree is antiperspirant.

Got all that straight? Fabulous. Now, let’s explore what Greg Behrendt is. Hang in there. This part is much shorter.

Greg Beherendt is a horrid middle-aged (he “just turned 40”, my hairy red tomato!) spiky-haired jackass rockstar wannabe/desperate poseur. In real life he’s some sort of comedian or something, and legend has it he wrote for “Sex and the City”. (Did anyone else think Carrie was a whiney self-entitled bitch with unforgivable drama issues? Honestly?) Writing for that show somehow qualified him to author some self-help books that explain to fat chicks why guys never call back, and apparently THAT great achievement has conferred upon him the awesome powers of Dr. Phil, Oprah, Sigmund Freud and Jerry Springer, all rolled up in a studded belt and man-earrings. And broham, he’s here to straighten you out, work on those issues and save your marriage, dude!


Greg Beherednt is indeed the host of “The Greg Behrendt Show”, which lamentably airs fresh each day on a network I won’t admit to watching. And I won’t admit to watching it right now, in my underwear, as he attempts, with faux-sincerity oozing from his faux-young-and-hip-dude voice to actually and legitimately psychoanalyze some white trash couple’s dentally-challenged relationship back together or something. (And then maybe he’ll go hit the half pipe, bro’, or kick it at the gym and wail on those abs, man!) His horribleness is entrancing, almost hypnotic, like a murder. And yet, oh my God, how I despise him. And I just really needed the world to know. It makes it all more bearable, somehow. And I thank you.

God, I hate you Greg Behrendt! HATE YOU!

Day 4: Picketing Sprint

posted by on August 22 at 12:50 PM

On Tuesday I got an e-mail from a frustrated Sprint customer who hasn’t received a $30 rebate that was due four months ago. Sam promised the company that if it didn’t cough up the cash, he’d take to the streets. But Sam was way too busy teaching science at the Pacific Science Center to picket the downtown Sprint store. He needed someone to make a creative sign, yell, and air his grievance to all. He also needed a turkey club; light on the mayo, pickles on the side.

I bought Sam’s sandwich from a colorful looking hoagie place at Westlake Center and a Mrs. Fields cookie for dessert and delivered them to him at the Pacific Science Center.


Then I rode the monorail back and got to work crafting a sign. I couldn’t settle on one slogan so I wrote down two: “GIVE SAM HIS REBATE, SPRINT!” and “SPRINT OWES SAM $30.00!”


I stood outside the store and began chanting: “2, 4, 6, 8, Give Sam Goldberg His Rebate”

After about five minutes, a man who looked to be the manager came up to me and told me that I couldn’t hold the sign in front of the store because the sign had Sprint’s name on it. I thanked him and put my sign down. After he left I picked up the sign and continued to chant. Shoppers stared back at me with blank expressions.

A minute or two later another Sprint employee came out of the store and asked me how much money her company owed me. I pointed to my sign and told her Sprint owed my friend Sam $30. She giggled and took a picture of me with her camera phone.

According to Aaron Caplan at the ACLU, I had every right to be on that sidewalk and to carry a sign with Sprint’s name on it. “So long as you’re not preventing people from entering the business,” Caplan says, “you have a constitutional right to be on the sidewalk.” When I called the Seattle Police Department, they backed up the ACLU.

Today I called the Sprint store and asked to speak to the manager. I asked him why he tried to put a stop to my constitutionally protected protest and he told me that he did not wish to comment. I also asked him when Sam Goldberg would receive his rebate and he told Sam to go to the Sprint store where he bought his phone.

As of 11:45 this morning, Sam has still not received his rebate, nor has he been contacted by Sprint. If he does not receive his rebate in a week, I will picket the Sprint store again.

Steven Blum
Public Intern

Apartment Hunt

posted by on August 22 at 11:49 AM

An email from a friend…

Do you know anyone on the hill who might have a 1-BR space to rent to a stable but low-income couple who are losing their long-time Capitol Hill rental (condo conversion). They could pay about $775, maybe a little more. You may have seen this couple around the Hill on their bikes (no car)…he’s 77 yrs old and plays piano at the Victrola on Saturdays (as well as at nursing homes and such places; she’s French, (about 48 years old) also a musician, performs at various places around town (Cafe Campagne, Crepes de Paris, Maximilien’s, etc), does French tutoring, ran the French Cultural Center next to the Deluxe for several years. They are both very community-oriented and are kind of fixtures around the hill; they would very much like to stay here, where they have lived for decades… but you know how prices are here.

If you know of anyone with some rentable yet affordable space, could you please let me know?

If you have a lead on an apartment on Capitol Hill, let us know in comments.

Cleaned My Desk This Morning and Found…

posted by on August 22 at 11:40 AM

…an intern application from a couple months ago from this guy.


For bigger, easier-to-read version, click here.

(Confidential to Jeremy: Sorry I never got back to you. Best of luck.)

“Stop Feeding the Dog from the Table, from the Plate on Top of It!”

posted by on August 22 at 11:20 AM


As Scorsese obsessives are aware, my subject line is a quote from GoodFellas, the greatest of all Scorsese films, which is screening tonight in the tricked-out parking lot of Havana.

If the opportunity to watch one of the most entertaining Great Films of all time in the well-stocked parking lot of a bar isn’t enough to tempt you out on a Wednesday evening, consider this information released today by Havana’s Quentin:

Via Tribunali is setting up a portable pizza parlor in the Havana parking lot. Dino, Tribunali’s Pizzaiolo, is a master chef from the heart of Napoli, and he’ll be manning the wood-fired oven all night. This is a real treat, a gesture of profound generosity, and something that happens when a neighborhood comes together. It’s old school, and it’s the way things ought to be.

In addition to great cinema and freakishly accessible pizza, tonight features pre- and post-show music from DJs Cherry Canoe and Self-Administered Beatdown. Admission is $5, gates open at 7:30 PM, movie begins around 9:00, and the forecast calls for 75 degrees and sunny.

See you there. Until then, contemplate the brilliance of this painting. (“One dog goes this way, the other goes that way, and this guy says, ‘Whaddya want with me?’”)

It’s an Honor Just to be Nominated

posted by on August 22 at 11:17 AM

Two locals are finalists for the 2007 Erotic Awards: The Seattle Erotic Arts Festival and some asshole that does a skanky podcast version of his sex-advice column. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on Saturday, September 1, 2007.

I didn’t even know I’d been nominated until yesterday—hell, I’d never even heard of the Erotic Awards, now in their 14th year, before someone asked me if I was going to the big bash on September 1.

The awards are handed out by a sexual-freedom activist organization called the Leydig Trust in order to “honour talented people,” “promote pride and excellence in the sex world,” and raise funds for Outsiders, a self-help group that campaigns for the acceptance of disabled people as sexual partners and run a self-help club for people with physical and social disabilities that are looking to find love. Sounds righteous. The annual party at which the awards are handed out sounds like a balls-out bash. I wish I could be there.

And, hey, good luck to SEAF—you guys deserve an award!

Slog Poll: Black President or Woman President?

posted by on August 22 at 11:00 AM

Given the potentially history-making candidacies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, there’s a lot of talk in Democratic circles these days about what type of leader this country is “ready for.” Is it ready for a woman president? Is it ready for a black president?

I’ve been really amazed at how often, and how vehemently, Democrats disagree on which of these two types U.S. voters are more likely to elect. So I’m curious: What do you Slog readers think?

Setting aside the candidates themselves, and just thinking in the abstract, which type of person do you think this country is more ready to have as its leader: A black president or a woman president?

[Poll closes at 5 p.m. today]

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 22 at 11:00 AM

‘An-My Lê: Small Wars’ (ART)

An-My Lê was a refugee, but she never really escaped the Vietnam War. She stands by the sidelines and photographs men who reenact battles from Vietnam in the forests of Virginia. She haunts an American military base where soldiers prepare to set out for Iraq and Afghanistan. Only the lead-up and the look back are in the frame. The real wars are left to the imagination. (Henry Art Gallery, 4100 15th Ave NE, 543-2280. 11 am–5 pm, $6–$10, free for students.)

See what else is happening in Art on Wednesday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

Facts About Young Frankenstein

posted by on August 22 at 10:26 AM

Most expensive ticket to Young Frankenstein at the Paramount in Seattle: $100.

Most expensive ticket to Young Frankenstein at the Hilton Theater in New York, opening in November: $482.

Most expensive ticket to a midnight screening of Young Frankenstein at the Egyptian Theater this weekend: $9.25.

Number of preview performances of Young Frankenstein in Seattle: 16.

Number of reviewers allowed to see Young Frankenstein during previews: 0.

Number of times, during the purchase online purchase process, ticket buyers are informed they are buying tickets to a preview: 0.

Number of regular performances: 10.

Number of preview performances of The Producers at St. James Theatre on Broadway: 33.

Number of regular performances: 2,502.

Ticket sales to the musical adaptation of The Producers to date: Over $1 billion.

Percentage of the net profits of Young Frankenstein that belong to Mel Brooks, according to the New York Post: 24.

Percentage of the net profits of Phantom of the Opera that belong to Andrew Lloyd Webber, according to the same source: 12.

Cities with current productions of The Producers: Las Vegas, Budapest, Copenhagen, Milan, Seoul, Madrid, Mexico, Tel Aviv, and Prague.

Modifications to The Producers for the Tel Aviv production, according to Wikipedia: “Hitler is portrayed as morbidly obese, and whenever the actors mention his name it is followed by ‘Yimach shemo vezichro’ (may his name and memory be obliterated); then they spit.”

Run time of the musical, according to Brooks as quoted in the Seattle Times: “I can’t say yet. But it’s like a good kiss. It’s over before ya know it.”

Actual run time of the musical: About three hours.

Stated reason one young woman in the Paramount lobby came to see Young Frankenstein: “Because Megan Mullally is a bitch! And I’m a bitch! We have a connection!”

Stated reason the silver-haired couple from Olympia sitting next to me came to see Young Frankenstein: “We got a deal when we bought tickets to Spamalot.”

The review of one young woman on the sidewalk after the show: “Yeah, um, it’s good. But, you know, it’s definitely pre-Broadway.

Hillary’s First TV Ad, Graded

posted by on August 22 at 10:10 AM

Slate has a cool video up. It shows Republicans and Democrats grading the “believability” of Hillary Clinton’s first television ad in real time.

Adorable Kittens Face Terrible New Weapon

posted by on August 22 at 10:00 AM


Note to cat lovers: Think twice before taking snapshots of newborn kittens:

Sara Tarbor had just gotten a new Cannon digital camera after her cat Taz gave birth to 4 kittens. “I bought the camera so I could show the kittens to my family back in Atlanta. The kittens had just turned 4 weeks old and were getting really frisky. My biggest kitten named Spike was rolling and jumping all around so I had taken quite a few photos of him. I was laying on the floor when he jumped at me as I took a photo. The camera flashed right in his face and immediately Spike started flapping around on the floor like a fish. At first I thought he was just playing but I soon figured out it was a seizure”.

Tarbor grabbed a blanket to cover the kitten from light because she had heard it helped people with seizures but it didn’t help. “The kitten stopped moving after 30 seconds or so and died”, said Tarbor. “I had never heard of a cat having a seizure induced by a camera flash so I didn’t think I could hurt them by taking photos”.



posted by on August 22 at 9:30 AM

I walked by the other day, and there it was for the first time: Vermillion, a new art gallery in Capitol Hill, featuring as its first show Bad People Have to Eat Too, a series of photographs by Portland ad man Jim Riswold.

Riswold’s whole shtick—and his work—is hit or miss for me. He belittles dictators literally, by making photographs of them as dolls in toy settings. The titles are things like, Kim Jong Il Is a Big Sucker!, Chairman Mao Is a Big Yummy Yellow Cookie, and Adolf ‘n’ Eva’s Wedding Cake, and they’re accompanied by labels describing unpleasant and amusing relevant facts (about the appetites of Hitler’s deputies, for instance, or the origins of the Caesar salad).

(And according to a label on Riswold’s photograph of a skull made of colored sprinkles, titled Make Believe Damien Hirst For the Love of God, Riswold is working not only on dictators but also on artists in a forthcoming series called Make Believe Artist.)

I’d love to show you images of the photographs directly, but they aren’t movable from Riswold’s web site. But in shots from gallerist Diana Adams’s Flickr site of the opening, the gallery’s plentiful wall space is in full evidence. Some of Riswold’s installations—of photographs of chocolate-frosted cupcakes decorated with hammer-and-sickles (on the right in the image below)—climb all the way up the double-height space.



Adams e-mailed this about the gallery:

I’m going to focus on narrative and representational artists in all mediums. I have a soft spot for people who have worked in editorial, advertising, book illustration, comics and graphic design. I’ll touch on some urban contemporary, pop-surrealism, and contemporary figurative work.

Some of the artists she wants to show are Zohar Lazar, Hope Gangloff, 14, Joe Sorren, Lyle Motley, and Joel Dugan.

Pit Bulls Break Into Home, Maul 59-Year-Old Disabled Woman in Her Bed

posted by on August 22 at 9:11 AM

In Gig Harbor, WA, no less.

As police told KIRO News, the dogs entered the woman’s home through a pet door, found the 59-year-old disabled woman asleep in her bed, and viciously attacked her.

According to this Associated Press report, the mauled woman eventually broke free of the attacking dogs, locked herself in her car, and called 911. Cops arrived and found dogs so vicious police almost executed them on-site. (Instead, they were pepper-sprayed and captured.) Meanwhile, the victim was taken to a Tacoma hospital, where she remains listed in satisfactory condition.

The owner of one of the pit bulls told KIRO that it appeared the dogs broke free from their chains and broke through the backyard fence. He said neither one has been vicious until Tuesday.

How comforting.

Previous Slog debate has found the “owning a pit bull is like keeping a loaded shotgun in your living room” argument to be a contentious one. Now it seems too weak, as man has yet to invent a shotgun that independently breaks into homes and shoots disabled women in their beds.

Full stories here and here.

Morning News

posted by on August 22 at 7:53 AM

Convenient: Bush Administration distances itself from Maliki.

Incompetent: Report shows how CIA failed to prevent 9/11.

Oblivious: 1.7 million low-income children— 30% of those eligible for public health care—simply haven’t signed up for the program.

Depressing: 14 US soldiers die in Blackhawk crash in Iraq.

Stern: Seattle City Council may force Sonics to stay at Key Arena.

Expensive: Feds increasingly rely on no-bid contracts—leading to a tripling in spending since 2000.

Even more Convenient: Five million White House e-mails go missing and now the administration claimes the White House records about those missing e-mails are private.

Primary Election Results: in the Seattle Times, in the PI, on Slog and on the King County’s Web Site.

List of the Day: The Top 10 Military Rifles/Machine Guns of All Time

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Primary Election Results

posted by on August 21 at 11:29 PM

With 120,664 mail in votes counted so far (with about 65,000 more expected over the next week—a paltry 24% turn out) here are the results:

City Council
It looks like incumbent Jean Godden (50%) will face Green school teacher Joe Szwaja (19%) in the general. Although, young new comer Lauren Briel (15%) isn’t officially out yet.

In the other earnestly contested race (to fill Peter Steinbrueck’s seat) consultant Venus Velazequez scored a surprising 40%. She will face well-connected attorney Bruce Harrell in the general. Harrell got 26%. (Al Runte was coming in at 13%).

Incumbent Sally Clark was at 62% running against no-chancers Stan Lippmann (11%) and Judy Fenton ??? (14%).

There was no primary for City Council Positon #7 because incumbent David Della only had one challenger—former cop, former ethics board member, and current fundraising and marketing consultant, Tim Burgess. The pair will now face off in the general.

In the weirdly exciting Port contests, it looks like incumbent Bob Edwards will face off against defense industry Democrat Gael Tarleton in the general. Edwards was actually losing to Tarleton 28 to 31. The other challengers, Jack Block Jr. and Thom McCann were at 10% and 19% respectively.

In the other Port race, cranky reformist incumbent Alec Fisken emerged with 42% while his closest challenger Republican trade lobbyist Bill Bryant came through the primary with 29%.

In the School Board races: incumbent Darlene Flynn and challenger (former PTSA leader) Sherry Carr appear to be headed for a general election showdown, emerging from the primary pack with Carr actually ahead of Flynn 37 to 28. Although, another challenger, Lisa Steubing was still chasing Flynn with 23%.

In the other contested School Board contest: business guy turned mid-life crisis do-gooder Steven Sundquist emerged with 50%. He will face Maria Ramirez, co-executive director of Campaña Quetzal, a non-profit advocating for Latino children in Seattle’s schools. Ramirez was at 23%. There was no incumbent in that race.

In the Democratic Primary for KC Prosecutor, a deputy KC prosecutor, Bill Sherman, cleaned up 61 to 37 over environmental attorney Keith Scully. Sherman will face Republican Dan Satterberg in the general.

Both parks levies were passing.

For some background on the candidates here are our primary endorsements, which we published about three weeks ago.

See the results at King County’s election web site.

Big Boned Fat

posted by on August 21 at 7:36 PM


See if this makes sense to you:

Weight is an intrinsic trait, determined by our genes. Yet, globally the number of obese people has nearly doubled since 1980—faster than alleles can redistribute in the population.

The amount we eat is strictly controlled by regulatory systems. Each of us is endowed with an energy set-point; forced overeating makes people feel ill, until their weight drops back down. Unless you are obese; then the setpoint is somehow reset to much higher than it should be. Eating fewer calories to dip below the new setpoint results in a starvation response from the body, even for people who are massively overweight.

The more overweight you are, the higher your risk for heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and even some cancers. Unless you are active and obese; for at least some of these maladies, you’d statistically have a similar risk to sedentary skinny folk.

Confused yet? Mix in all the high emotions that come from questioning who or what is responsible for our increasingly zaftig culture, and it’s a real mess.

So, let’s add one more piece: Your bone and fat cells are talking to one another.

We’ve known for a while that being obese protects you from osteoporosis. A protein made by fat cells called leptin—also essential for regulating feeling full when you’ve had enough to eat—stimulates the bone making osteoblast cells.

The authors of a recent Cell study figured that if fat cells can stimulate bone-producing cells, the bone cells should signal back to the fat, creating a tidy negative feedback loop, where the fat cells stimulate bone producing cells (“We need stronger bones to carry around all this fat!”), and the bone cells inhibit fat formation (“Too. Much. To. Carry. Stop making fat!”)

So, what could be this signal? Bone producing cells create only a handful of distinct proteins, one of which deemed Osteocalcin. Mice lacking the Osteocalcin gene have fat bellies. Very interesting.

In this most recent study, the scientists followed this trail, and found that mice without Osteocalcin are not only fat, but are also glucose intolerant — just like people with type-II diabetes. So, less Osteocalcin, more diabetes-like symptoms.

(Those of you unwilling to take my word for it can continue reading a far more detailed post on my blog. The less punitively minded can continue here.)

So, who knows. Now some wild speculation: Perhaps stimulating your skeleton is key in preventing diabetes. Certainly bone producing cells in mice can pump out a powerful signal that blocks belly fat, and keeps the blood sugar regulating system humming along. Next time you spend the whole weekend on the couch, think about the conversation between your bone and fat cells.

Win at Life!

posted by on August 21 at 5:01 PM

No one knows for sure if the universe is designed to help us “win at life,” as Grant Trevithick, author of two Christian self-help books, claims on his website and in his books. But we all know for sure that child pornography is illegal, and Trevithick was sentenced to five years in prison for yesterday after pleading guilty to child porn charges. Says the Dallas News

Grant Trevithick, 47, was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty in September to one count of child pornography in interstate commerce.

According to his Web site, Mr. Trevithick has written several books, including ABC’s of Perfect Relationships and How to Win at Life.

Mr. Trevithick was also a guest teacher at area churches.

Today in Line Out

posted by on August 21 at 5:00 PM

M.I.A. vs. Spike Jonze: The interview.

Illegal Leak of the Week: Jay Electronica, Style Wars.

Byrd is the Word: Ollie Byrd flies back home.

RIP S.S. Marie: The venue officially closes September 7th.

Mashups for Nerds: Donte Parks gives some love to Nick Robins.

Can’t Sleep: And Mogwai, Juno, and Radiohead aren’t helping.

Gray Matter: Trent Moorman reviews last night’s Lymbic Systym show.

Bumbershoot: Better? Worse? The same? Eric Grandy examines.

Peace in the Park: By way of noisy music.

And now, a moment of cuteness worthy of many “Awwwe!”s (and thanks to ECB for the pic).


Letter of the Day

posted by on August 21 at 4:58 PM


DEAR STRANGER: I look forward to pooping because that’s where I get to read The Stranger. Up until recently, I usually am finished with the whole issue after five days, leaving two excruciating days of monotonous toilet time anxiously awaiting the next issue. God bless your big gay souls for including a crossword puzzle at the back. That seems to be doing the trick! I do hope that it remains as a regular occurrence in the best damn toilet read and really the only thing keeping me in Seattle [I’m not about to bring a laptop on the shitter to read y’all online].

Crappily yours,

Re: Dept. of Prosthetic Breakthroughs (Or, Blame the Victim)

posted by on August 21 at 3:30 PM

The mechanical arm can also be evil.

Meet “Arm Spirit”:


A Japanese arm wrestling game is being withdrawn from arcades across the country after three players broke their arms, company officials said.

“We think that maybe some players get over-excited and twist their arms in an unnatural way,” a spokesman said.
Arm Spirit gamers advance through 10 levels, pitting their strength against a French maid, a drunken martial arts master and a Chihuahua dog before reaching the final challenge - a professional wrestler.


It is not available outside Japan.

Dept. of Prosthetic Breakthroughs

posted by on August 21 at 3:18 PM



…is a mechanical arm developed at Vanderbilt University. An entry in DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics 2009 program, it uses space shuttle rocket technology to control movement. Says Engadget:

The arm… relies on a modified miniature version of the same rocket motors the space shuttle uses to reposition itself in space: hydrogen peroxide is burned in the presence of a catalyst to produce pure steam, which is then used to move the arm. Unlike the batteries in traditional arms, which die quickly, a small canister of hydrogen peroxide concealed in the arm can last up to 18 hours, and provides about the same power and functionality of a human arm. Cooler still is the method the arm deals with waste heat and steam: just like a regular arm, it’s allowed to filter up through a permeable skin, producing “sweat” — the same amount of perspiration you’d get on a warm summer day, according to the team.

(Via The Feed.)

The Best of her Beauty

posted by on August 21 at 3:12 PM

For this image:
90484979_494e4a8bcf-1.jpg The incredible writer for one of my favorite blogs, India Sexy Girl, has this to say:

This is one of the most gorgeous pictures shot for the calendar. It shows the gorgeous Feroze Gujral scantily covered by the bed sheet. She is just being herself in the bed and ends up posing like a beautiful sculpture. In the background is an artist who is possibly a voyeur trying to capture that beautiful moment. The picture plays around the belief which most people have that a woman looks at the best of her beauty when she wakes up in the morning.

The photographer has definitely managed to recreate that magical moment and cover it in his camera and the beautiful Feroze, with her sculpted body, has done full justice to the picture making it look a masterpiece. It also depicts that this super model’s beauty is worth appreciation whether she is just alone by herself or whether she is on ramp with the entire cameras focusing on her.

How will I ever stop laughing? Each sentence in these paragraphs has enough wood to keep the furnace of my laughter going for weeks.

Roads Vs. Transit

posted by on August 21 at 3:04 PM

A lot of the debate around whether the joint roads/transit package on the ballot in November is a good or bad thing for the environment has centered around whether the roads part of the package (known as the Regional Transportation Investment District, or RTID) consists mostly of “good” or “bad” roads. There are a lot of elements to this debate, the first of which is: What constitutes a “good” road? Are new HOV lanes “good” (because they serve people who are carpooling) or “bad” (because they constitute new road miles and could have been created by converting preexisting general-purpose lanes to HOV lanes)? Another issue is whether roads that are designated primarily for freight, but can be used by single-occupancy cars, count as “good” or “bad.” Further confusing matters is the question of whether already-clogged roads produce more or fewer greenhouse gases when they’re expanded to accommodate more traffic, because traffic moves more smoothly (at least for a little while.)

Given all those variables, it’s not surprising that the local environmental community is split on whether RTID/Sound Transit is a good or a bad thing.

On the pro side: Transportation Choices Coalition, which argues that most of the roads in RTID are “good,” because they include lots of new HOV lanes and freight capacity. According to TCC’s calculation, only 15 percent of the entire joint roads and transit package, or about $2.6 billion, is made up of “bad” roads; according to their analysis, “good” roads make up about 23 percent, or just over $4 billion.

On the other side is the Sierra Club, whose own analysis places the percentage of “good” roads (again, as part of the entire roads/transit package) at around 8 percent, or about $1.4 billion; “bad” roads, under their interpretation, make up around 30 percent of the total package, or $5.2 billion.

(For another analysis that finds a much closer split between “good” and “bad” roads, but isn’t directly comparable because it only includes RTID dollars, go here.)

The primary difference between the Sierra Club’s and TCC’s numbers is that TCC included two expensive road expansions—the extension of SR 167 between Puyallup and the Port of Tacoma, and the proposed new 520 bridge—among their “good” roads. The 520 proposal is controversial because, under the most likely scenario, it would remove 2.3 acres of the Arboretum (and include more columns and ramps through the nature preserve) and destroy much of Marsh Island. (In addition, it keeps the number of general-purpose lanes the same, which some argue is hardly an “green” alternative.) Extending 167 is controversial in some circles because there’s no guarantee it would only be used for freight; according to the Sierra Club’s Mike O’Brien, “our concern is, is this corridor going to fill up with new development?

The larger debate, of course, comes down to whether enviros should stomach a ton of new roads in exchange for transit. The argument for: Sound Transit is shackled to RTID, and if both fail, it’ll be at least 2009 before Sound Transit is on the ballot again. (Gov. Gregoire seems not to recognize that high Democratic turnout in 2008=high King County turnout for Gregoire and transit.) And since transit projects historically have not come back to the ballot a second time larger than the first, this is probably our only chance to get 50 miles of light rail. Given that, it’s worth it to bite the bullet and vote for roads.

The argument against: Building new road capacity cancels out the environmental and climate benefits of building new transit; given that our region’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gases 80% by 2050, roads expansion should not be a fiscal priority. Additionally, Sound Transit will be so politically popular in 2009, passing a large expansion will be a no-brainer. After all, the entire mainstream political establishment in Seattle said a new freeway on the waterfront was “inevitable”; they were wrong, and we’re now moving toward a surface/transit option to replace the Alaskan Way Viaduct instead. Conventional wisdom could be equally wrong here.

To be honest, I haven’t decided where I come down on this one. Ideologically, I side with the Sierra Club: We should not be spending a single penny, given what we know in 2007, expanding roads for single-occupancy drivers—especially not roads like I-405, which would get two new general-purpose lanes in each direction. The political will for transit will only grow as climate change becomes accepted as a reality.

Pragmatically, I side with TCC: I don’t want to see light rail sacrificed on the altar of ideological purity. If they’re right, and a 2009 light rail package would end up smaller and less region-wide than the current Sound Transit II proposal. And maybe some of those roads (like 405 and the controversial Cross Base Highway) won’t end up getting built anyway; if greens are right about climate change becoming orthodoxy, roads expansion will start to look much less appealing (and much more vulnerable to lawsuits.)

It’s a tough decision.

Nerd Alert

posted by on August 21 at 2:38 PM


Tonight, Bungie Studios will be “publicly unveiling” Halo 3 at the Seattle Center Imax.

No, you won’t get to play it.

Attendees need to be 18+ or clever enough to trick their parents into tagging along.



posted by on August 21 at 2:33 PM

I show you the heart of Jonathan Raban’s recent article about Seattle:

Seventeen years ago, Seattle was still, if only just, a regional city, connected with its hinterland by a complex skein of cultural and economic threads and tendons. Grunge rock - the music for which Seattle was becoming famous when I first arrived - provides a nice example. Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic, the founding members of Nirvana, both came, in Cobain’s words, “from the bowels of a redneck logger town called Aberdeen, WA,” but it took Seattle, the local metropolis, with its clubs, record producers, and studios (not to mention its ready supply of heroin) to broadcast to the world the band’s drum-heavy strain of back-country Weltschmerz and fury.

Like the wood-products industry, the rock scene depended on a close, symbiotic relationship between the outlying counties and their provincial hub. Since then, Seattle has become a post-regional city, paying far closer attention to the hourly fluctuations of the Nasdaq and Nikkei indices than it does to what’s happening in its immediate vicinity. Increasingly divorced from the hinterland, it now seems to float more in virtual space than in the regional space which - until surprisingly recently - used to define and sustain it. For both the hinterlanders and many old-guard Seattleites, this uprooting has been a painful and incomprehensible process, alienating them from the city they’d long regarded as theirs by right of birth.

Before presenting a few thoughts on the heart of Raban’s wonderful article, I present this image by Puja Parakh:

For many of us, Seattle’s break with its region is nothing but good news. The greater the distance between us and the rural folks, the greater our peace of mind and happiness. Besides, isn’t this the natural course of things? Like air that is heated, cities naturally rise to the sky, the moon, the stars. Cities not only long to rise but to be self-contained, self-generated, self-conscious. The final city is always the cloud city.

What Seattle must become if it is to complete itself:

Local Photographer Robbed

posted by on August 21 at 2:17 PM

Last night someone broke into the North Seattle home of Jenny Jimenez, a local freelance photographer (who also shoots for The Stranger) and all around sweetie pie, and made off with more than $20,000 worth of camera equipment. The thieves also stole a computer and her mothers wedding ring, which Jimenez was going to be married with this fall.

From King 5:

In addition to the $20,000 worth of cameras, lens and other accessories, the robbers took off with parts of photographer Jenny Jimenez’s computer that still contained hundreds of digital pictures from two recent weddings.

“I recently shot two weddings that I was in the process of working up, and they were on my computer. So all of those photographs are gone,” said Jimenez. “And those two couples unfortunately don’t have anything to remember their wedding by.”

Bastards. If you have any information, please contact the police immediately.

Spit It Out, Ladies

posted by on August 21 at 1:34 PM


Your lives and bowels depend upon it.

Reuters reports on the results of new study, which found that women who force themselves to stay quiet during marital arguments have a higher risk of death, depression, and irritable bowel syndrome.

[O]ver a 10-year period, the most striking finding was that women who self-silenced were four times more likely to die than women who expressed themselves freely during marital arguments.

No word yet on how expressive women fare in other arenas (are non-silenced women four times more likely to get punched, or remain single?), but today’s full story can be found here.

(Thank you, MetaFilter.)

The Clog That Wasn’t

posted by on August 21 at 1:17 PM

As noted previously here, the I-5 construction disaster (“nightmare” traffic! “killer” commutes!) failed to materialize. Still, the Seattle Times can’t give it up. Their I-5 traffic blog, The Clog (“your one-stop shop during the closure”) is going strong despite the near-absence of traffic, with extra-special see-we-told-you-so coverage during the occasional slowdown (Actual headline: “Pinch Point found”). And now Nicole Brodeur, the Times columnist who once boasted that she’d rather drive five blocks than walk—to her walking path, has weighed in on the “clog,” staying at a University of Washington dorm to document the experiences of UW staffers who’d rather “sleep at the office… than fight traffic.” (“Riding Out the I-5 Clog at UW Dorm”)

“While workers resurface a one-mile northbound stretch of I-5 between South Spokane Street and I-90, traffic is limited to two lanes — but wide open to disaster.

Disaster! That sounds scary! The only problem?: Brodeur couldn’t find anyone.

“When I checked in around 5 p.m. one day last week, there was no one around. The gothic building was as gloomy as Hogwarts.”

But then! Spanish professor Alberto Requejo stepped in to save the day—and the premise of Brodeur’s column.

“‘If I wasn’t here,” he said, ‘I would be stuck in traffic.’

“And there it was. No matter how shadows stretch across a dorm in summer, the real stuff of nightmares here is traffic. Highways choked as far as the eye can see.”

Except, of course, that they weren’t.

There Is No Morality Without Religion

posted by on August 21 at 1:04 PM

A Bloomington minister and substitute teacher charged with abusing four underage boys may be headed to federal court on pornography charges.

Assistant State’s Attorney Michelle Brooks said Tuesday morning that the U.S Attorney’s office is looking into allegations that James Love possessed child pornography on a computer seized from his home.

Love, 37, faces four counts of aggravated battery and four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He is accused of sedating and sexually abusing four teenage boys at his Bloomington home. Initial charges involving one boy were filed in early May and additional counts came a week later after police interviewed other boys who had attended an overnight stay at Love’s home….

Love was a minister at Mount Pisgah Baptist Church.

Thanks to Slog tipper Charles.

Audience Review Revue

posted by on August 21 at 12:48 PM


In the issue of The Stranger that disappears tomorrow, Tao Lin reviews his audience at a recent reading in Seattle. He doesn’t review the people in the crowd so much as defeat them.

Reading Lin’s audience review reminded me of all the other writers who’ve come through town on book tour and reviewed their audiences for The Stranger. Here, for your Tuesday-afternoon reading pleasure, are links to all the audience reviews we’ve ever run in the book section. Enjoy.

Jonathan Ames
“My mind, at times, was elsewhere. Where it was, exactly, I can’t tell you.”

Paul Collins
“I was asked a question of such penetrating impenetrability that, god help me, I could not have told you what it was even before the woman asking it was halfway through the aforesaid question. If it was indeed a question. Then again, I’m not sure she could have recalled it either, even as she was asking it.”

Charles D’Ambrosio
“I think I must turn into a character when I take to the podium, dumber than I am, stuttering and baffled, delivering a rough draft of myself. It’s like I go halfway back into the raw state of writing.”

Dave Eggers
“I’m sitting in some kind of cafe right now, on Pine Street (I think), watching Seattleians pass by, and I want to go out and grab each one and give them a very embarrassing sort of hug—the kind of hug that involves grunting and loud patting. Maybe I’m over-caffeinated. I have to be, since I didn’t sleep well last night, and woke up at 6:00 a.m., re-running the night in my head, again and again, like a teenager after a prom.”

James Frey
“From January to June of 1999, my residence was a hotel in Seattle. At the time, I was living and working in the film business in L.A., and I came to Seattle to produce a movie. I did not have a pleasant experience. It rained the first 86 days. I met a girl, fell quickly in love, and she immediately started cheating on me. My dog died. I cut my hand, my hand got infected, I got something called sausage finger, which, as you might guess, made my fingers look like sausages, and I ended up in the hospital for a week. I found out my closest friend was dying of AIDS. And the cherry on top of this big pile of shit was that the movie was an absolute disaster…”

John Hodgman
“Before our reading in Seattle, Jonathan Coulton and I were told to not expect too many laughs. ‘Seattle is an earnest city,’ our friends from Seattle told us as we all stood in the basement of Elliott Bay, a warm, windowless chamber lined with books, perfect for a reading or a bibliophilic ritual murder.

Gary Lutz
“I arrived at the Pittsburgh International Airport seven hours in advance of my flight. I don’t know why, except that the most traumatic episode of my life had taken place in that airport 997 days earlier, when I had dropped somebody off who was leaving my life for good, and I’d never achieved closure, just various, ever-widening forms of aperture or emotional orificing. So maybe I just wanted to haunt the place retributively for a while. But the automatic doors that led from the long-term parking lot to the terminal wouldn’t even open for me—I tried three sets of them. The sensors, I guess, failed to detect sufficient bodily or characterical presence.”

Heather McHugh
“I make a quick sartorial scan: sweats and parkas, leather vests and lumber jackets; the temperature outside is 24 degrees F, and these guys have apparently just come in from a long day’s log-rolling.

Ben Marcus
“Phrase used by most attractive person in attendance after having book signed: Rock on. What author failed to do for several days after the reading, and continues to fail to do: Rock on.”

Mattilda, AKA Matt Bernstein Sycamore
“In Seattle, at Bailey/Coy Books, there’s a sparrow trapped in the store and a baby crying, but the rest of the audience is quiet as snow.”

Neal Pollack
“Man, did I eat well on my book tour. The rest of it went something like this. Bookstore owner: ‘I think we’re in for a modest crowd tonight.’ Me: ‘What’s a modest crowd?’ Bookstore owner: ‘Single digits.’ Me: ‘Oh.’”

David Rakoff
“They all seemed very nice and receptive, except perhaps for one older fellow with silver hair and a sleek beard, who appeared to sit stone-faced throughout. ‘He hates me,’ I thought, which immediately led me to further think, ‘I love him.’ There is nothing like an open expression of contempt to blow right up my skirt.”

Vendela Vida
“The night before we drove up to Seattle, we read at Powell’s in Portland and went to see the Shins play afterwards. We are obsessed with the Shins. We listened to the Shins the entire drive from Portland to Seattle. But enough about the Shins. This is supposed to be a review of the audience…”

Sarah Vowell
“On the six-hour flight from LaGuardia to Sea-Tac, you would think I would be looking forward to my public radio interview, or dropping by the independent gem Elliott Bay Books to sign stock, or the aforementioned event on the University of Washington campus, where I would meet my readers. What I was actually wondering about was how much time I would have for lunch (12 whole minutes) and whether or not they still have those really good taco chips in the minibar of the Alexis Hotel I enjoyed on my previous book tour (yes, happily, they do).”

Sean Wilsey
“I told her I was a ‘memoirist,’ which is always a good way to assassinate a conversation.

Gawking at Ari Spool

posted by on August 21 at 12:40 PM

Ari Spool’s essay on women and pot got linked on Gawker and big feminist blog, Feministing.

Way to go Ari. Oh, and Ari is a girl.

U.S. Rep. Brian Baird

posted by on August 21 at 12:21 PM

Brian Baird voted against the war and has voted to withdraw US troops from what has become a civil war—but last Friday the Washington state Dem came out against pulling US troops out or Iraq. What changed his mind? A trip to Iraq.

Not every Democrat has come back from Iraq supporting a drawdown of U.S. forces in the coming months, as party leaders have advocated. Staking out positions that could complicate efforts to achieve party unity in September, a few Democratic lawmakers have returned expressing support for a continued troop presence. One of them, Rep. Brian Baird (Wash.), said yesterday that he will no longer vote for binding troop withdrawal timelines….

Last Friday, Baird told the Olympian, a newspaper in his district, that he now believes the United States should stay in the country as long as necessary to ensure stability.

And how long will that take? No one knows—but we don’t seem any closer to “stability” after four years and billions of dollars and thousands of deaths. Says Americablog:

As for Congressman Baird, I’m rather shocked that he is now supporting the permanent stationing of 171,000 US troops in Iraq. I can’t imagine that even HIS district supports that. But that’s what he said. So long as the troops are needed for stability, they should stay—period, no ifs ands or buts. Well, that would be forever, under the current estimates. Is the congressman okay with our troops fighting and dying forever in Iraq if stability is never within reach?

And who are the “few” Dems that have expressed support for staying in Iraq, for ever and ever and ever? Uh… just Brian Baird. Says Postman

…the Post has been hit with a common journalistic malady: Rampant pluralism. A careful reading shows that so far Baird stands alone with a substantive change of heart about Iraq.

The SeaTac Man

posted by on August 21 at 12:20 PM

If you care to know, the body of the man featured in my feature Killer Bodies, was found and named:

Authorities released the identity Wednesday of a 54-year-old SeaTac man who drowned in Lake Washington during the Seafair celebration. John Kleinz drowned at about 3 p.m. Aug. 5 after jumping into the water to help a swimmer, a police spokeswoman said. He dove from a boat into the water 400 yards from shore off Magnuson Park.
From nothing to nothing, that is the way of all things.

What’s the Most Scathing Insult the Left Can Come Up With Against Dick Cheney?

posted by on August 21 at 12:15 PM

Call him a girl, of course. (And Atrios and Kos will eat it right up.)


posted by on August 21 at 11:06 AM

The youth of today:

A train struck and injured a pedestrian who was sending a text message on his cell phone while crossing railroad tracks, a collision that hurled him about 50 feet, authorities and witnesses said Monday.

Zachariah Smith, 18, waited for a southbound train to pass Monday morning. He then walked around a gate and onto the tracks, apparently unaware that another train was coming from the other direction, said witness Mike Billups.

“The horn was blowing like mad and the kid was text messaging,” said Mayor Richard Ellison, who went to the scene and talked to several witnesses after hearing of the accident. “The kid apparently was just daydreaming.”

The young man must have been in a spell of love. Some wonderful someone wrote to him something he really wanted to read. The news was just too good to believe. Nothing, not even the horn of the speeding train, could penetrate the thick mist of his bliss.

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 21 at 11:00 AM

Wilco (MUSIC)

Even though Wilco’s latest, Sky Blue Sky, is as stuffed with ideas as the band’s best work, it sometimes meanders in an unflattering way. But those same songs will explode onstage, where Wilco shine as one of today’s best live bands. They improvise recklessly and sometimes crash spectacularly, which makes their performances a little riskier and a lot more exciting. (Marymoor Park, 6046 W Lake Sammamish Pkwy NE, Redmond, 628-0888. 7 pm, $38.50, all ages.)

See what else is happening in Music on Tuesday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

Down By the Bay

posted by on August 21 at 10:59 AM

For a $5 donation at the entrance to Hempfest, you got a green plastic necklace and a 32-page program with lots of words in it. Because of the way it was stapled, the program fell open to a two-page spread by Rick Steves, headlined “Why I Believe Marijuana Should Be Legal” and accompanied by a photo of Steves in a field in the Netherlands with some hilarious-looking cows.

Steves is Marco Polo, basically. His career: taking trips and reporting back on them in travel guidebooks and on his PBS series. One of his favorite things to report back about European exoticism is that lighting a joint there is equivalent to opening a beer. This was the first thing he said when he took the stage on Sunday, and it was the first point in his essay in the program, which went on: “Last year 800,000 Americans were arrested on marijuana charges—an 800% increase since 1980… While our nation is in a serious financial crisis, it spends literally billions of dollars annually chasing down responsible adults who are good, tax-paying citizens in all regards except for the occasional use of marijuana.”

Along with his essay—nothing you would call Literature, but certainly persuasive—was a chart with pot-related criminal offenses and their corresponding fines and jail times. (Possession of more than 40 grams? $10,000 fine and fives years in jail. Second offense? $20,000 fine and 10 years in jail.) There weren’t any other interesting articles in the program, glossy and colorful as it was, so for fun (and hoping to find something to write my column about) I started scanning it for typos. Fewer than you’d expect for a booklet by stoners.

Some friends interrupted to say that we needed to be at the far stage immediately. At this certain stage at 4:20 pm, thousands of joints were to be thrown onto the crowd. The idea of free joints raining down on us seemed far-fetched, but we got there, the clock struck 4:20 pm, and thousands of free joints rained down on us. I don’t exactly know how this happened, but it happened, and by 4:21 pm the entire field was smoking. It looked beautiful. Like mist. Here’s a microscopic photo my cell phone took (was on the wrong setting):


A big tanker inched by in the bay. I was going to take notes, but I couldn’t think of what to jot down. Sometimes language doesn’t cut it.

Getting Out of Iraq, the View From Iowa, Part 3

posted by on August 21 at 10:45 AM

Yesterday I posted two of Joe Biden’s new commercials, which present him as the only Democratic presidential candidate with a serious plan for getting U.S. troops out of Iraq without provoking a regional war in the Middle East or a worse Iraqi civil war.

Biden tried to hammer home this point at the Democratic debate on Sunday in Iowa, and that provoked a very revealing exchange between the candidates.

I’ve put most of the exchange in the jump. If you give it a read you’ll come away with a better sense of what the leading Democratic candidates would do about getting troops out of Iraq. You’ll also find out who’s in favor of partition, who’s worried about “overselling” how soon troops could reasonably come home, and who wants to dodge the question and downplay the divisions between Democrats on this issue.

Continue reading "Getting Out of Iraq, the View From Iowa, Part 3" »

Thank You Note from Ken Vincent

posted by on August 21 at 10:17 AM

I interviewed Ken Vincent yesterday for a story I’m writing for tomorrow’s paper. He sent me a follow-up e-mail this morning with a shout out to an anonymous fan:

Wanted to let you know that shortly after SLOG flashed the news yesterday, someone laid a small bouquet of flowers outside my home.

Just to let you and them know that I am not Princess Diana or a trapped coal miner; I am quite alive and breathing the oxygen of liberation from the coal mines!—Ken Vincent


posted by on August 21 at 10:12 AM

Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the Michael Vick Dog Chew Toy:


Is it different you ask? You bet it is! Vick’s Dog Chew Toy is made of state of the art “dog” material. The Vick’s Toy Doll is so strong and flexible, it will challenge every breed. Especially The Pit Bull.

Unlike other toys, our manufacturer is so sure of its durability they guarantee it against the most playful dog destruction. It Bends. It Bounces. It Flies. It Floats. And best of all, it lasts through the whole season and more!

Wondering what the National Review has to say about our pit-bull whisperer? Of course you are!

It would have been so much better if Michael Vick had risked — and lost — it all for just about anything else. There might have been a novel/movie/television series in it. Once upon a time, he would have done it for the love of a woman… But Vick threw it all away for dogfighting.

Coming Soon to Suyama Space

posted by on August 21 at 9:30 AM


I got a sneak preview last Friday of Portland-based sculptor Mike Rathbun’s giant, eye-popping installation Geographical Coordinates: N47°36.878’ W122°20.788’. It opens at Suyama Space September 10. [UPDATE: The artist has decided to drop “Geographical Coordinates” from the title. And while the show opens September 10, there is a public reception at the gallery September 7 at 5 pm and an artist talk at noon September 8.]

Since 1995, when Rathbun made a 70-mile solo voyage across Lake Superior in a handmade sailboat, he has been making objects titled by their geographical coordinates. (This one refers, for instance, to the precise location of Suyama Space.)

It’s a plane that rests (having crashed?) on a floor of waves, in a forest of nettles that extends all the way to the ceiling. The gallery is hoping to find a way to let people walk inside the installation despite its steep edges and the pointy black thorns, which would be ideal, because navigating the wavy floor with your flat feet is transporting.

It facilitates the effect Rathbun has said he’s going for, of creating an experience that’s specific to a place and time, but senseless and dislocated and larger, too, like a dream. Here’s a passage from his faculty page at Lewis & Clark College, where he teaches:

I am trying to find Epiphanies. These are moments when for reasons that I can not explain, I seem to be connected to something outside of myself. This happens when a set of circumstances arise and are triggered by something: a song, a view, an idea. I then feel an emotional swell that is so profound that it becomes physical. I experience a moment of clarity; clarity about what I don’t know. It is a glimpse of something that seems to be the most important thing! It is like something that is up and just to the right of my vision and when I turn in that direction it seems to move and keep pace with my turning. Then another set of circumstances cloud it and it is gone. The feeling lingers and leaves me with a hope and a feeling that it is something bigger than I am. It is like waking from a dream. The longer I am awake the less I remember, and the more I try to remember the less sense it makes. But, even after the specifics of the dream are gone, the way it made me feel can last for a very long time. What is that thing, that clarity?

Talk About Some Counter•Intel

posted by on August 21 at 9:19 AM

This law professor at U. Chicago argues that our civil liberties are intact.

Everybody Hates George

posted by on August 21 at 9:09 AM

Just how unpopular is George W. Bush? The GOP hasn’t gotten around to inviting Bush—who is, um, a sitting Republican president—to the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis next year.

While most departing presidents of modern times have attended their party’s convention and been lavishly saluted there, Matt Burns, a spokesman for the Republican Convention, said Bush’s involvement “has not been determined.”

What are the odds that Fox News will “mistakenly” label Bush a Democrat sometime during the convention?

Blowjobs for Everybody!

posted by on August 21 at 9:01 AM

Florida State Rep. Bob Allen—who claims to have offered an undercover police officer $20 and blowjob because the officer was black and, therefore, really intimidating—speaks tonight before a Florida branch of the NAACP. Someone needs to tell Allen, who is supposed to speak about property taxes and auto insurance, that it’s rude to speak with your mouth full.

Think About Hyperlinks

posted by on August 21 at 8:47 AM

First of all, this blog has a great name.

Second, of all, it’s reporting some important news about a court challenge to the recording industry’s war on file sharing.

The lawyer arguing against the record industry says the clampdown on file sharing has broader implications for your cyber rights:

Beckerman also argues that if making available is found to be the same as distributing, it could have broader implications than just sharing files over a P2P network. “Under such an elastic interpretation and ill-defined standards, almost all participants in the Internet would become vulnerable to accusations that they ‘make available’ a variety of content, including copyrighted materials, to users,” he argues in the reply. Think about hyperlinks, which make available other content on the Internet. Providing a hyperlink could be construed as distribution under the RIAA’s definition, argues Beckerman.

Arsonist at Work

posted by on August 21 at 8:47 AM

I posted to Slog yesterday about deliberately set fires in West Seattle and Interbay—Seattle lost a condo development and a portapotty to the flames—and a commenter called me out for “overreaction.” Now it looks like I might have been on to something.

An arsonist set several fires this weekend in Interbay, Magnolia and Queen Anne, damaging portable toilets, a vehicle and a trash container, Seattle police and fire officials said.

Four fires were reported Sunday night between 10 and 10:30, police said. Plainclothes Seattle officers were nearby but were unable to catch the arsonist, police spokeswoman Renee Witt said.

Police aren’t linking these smaller fires to the blaze in West Seattle last week—big cities can have more than one arsonist on the loose at any given time—but my finely tuned instincts of overreaction tell me all these fires might be linked.

Morning News

posted by on August 21 at 7:55 AM

Limiting Children’s Health Care: The Bush administration wants to ratchet back CHIP, so middle income kids can’t get coverage.

Vick Pleads Guilty: NFL star pleads guilty to dog fighting charges, could face a year in prison.

Courts Protect Violent Video Games: Succession of rulings says video games are protected by the Constitution.

You Earn Less than You Did in 2000: For the fifth year in a row Americans earned a smaller average income than they did before Bush was president.

Who Says Democrats aren’t Tuff?: Democratic Congressman charged with assaulting baggage attendant at airport.

The Worst is Over: Yucatan Peninsula hit by Hurricane Dean.

Time’s Up: Democratic Sen. Levin says Iraqis should depose Maliki government.

List of the Day: The Candidates You Should Vote for in Today’s Primary Election.

Voting Day

posted by on August 21 at 7:20 AM

Because the election is a month earlier than usual (to allow for mail-in ballot processing), the secretary of state predicts only a third of King County voters (34 percent) will participate in today’s primary. If you’re going to weigh in on the city council hopefuls, King County’s parks levy, or the port commissioners, get on it.

Here’s The Stranger Election Control Board’s print-n-go cheat sheet and our endorsements in depth.

Monday, August 20, 2007

We Live in a Banana Republic

posted by on August 20 at 6:30 PM

Officials in Minnesota knew that bridge was in danger of collapsing into the Mississippi River.

Internal MnDOT documents reviewed by the Star Tribune reveal that last year bridge officials talked openly about the possibility of the bridge collapsing—and worried that it might have to be condemned.

Work was underway to make needed repairs but it was stopped last January—to save money. Says Slog tipper Brad…

What’s it going to take for the viaduct to collapse? Will we be asking WSDOT officials what they knew and when they knew it, re: viaduct?

Today on Line Out.

posted by on August 20 at 4:40 PM

Cold Jams: A New Song from Siberian.

With Lasers: Minus the Bear In-Store, Laser Show.

Video: Team Gina’s “Butch/Femme.”

Tonight: Harvey Danger & Friends

The Euge’: Eugene, Oregon Scene Report.

Shroomy: New Band, Wild Orchid Children.

Talky: Art Brut & the Hold Steady Hit Seattle!

Hot Meat, Soggy Buns: Jonathan Zwickel on the KEXP BBQ.

Reis From the Dead: John Reis’ New Band, Speedo.

I’ve Been Waiting for This…

posted by on August 20 at 4:20 PM

Wonkette is on fire today. Not only does it bring me the YouTube clip of that fly crawling around on Chris Dodd’s hair that I’ve been waiting for…

It also brings me a YouTube clip that I didn’t know I’d been waiting for—Ron Paul yelling at a chubby guy about his need for a diet (from the Morton Downey Jr. show in 1988):

China Syndrome

posted by on August 20 at 4:10 PM

The safety problems affecting Chinese goods spread from toys to textiles on Monday as New Zealand said it would investigate allegations that imported children’s clothes contained dangerous levels of formaldehyde.

The government ordered the probe after scientists hired by a consumer watchdog programme discovered formaldehyde in Chinese clothes at levels of up to 900 times regarded as safe. Manufacturers sometimes apply formaldehyde to clothes to prevent mildew. It can cause skin rashes, irritation to the eyes and throat and allergic reactions.

The Warehouse, a New Zealand retailer, issued a recall at the weekend for children’s pyjamas made in China after two children were burned when their flannelette nightclothes caught fire.


posted by on August 20 at 3:57 PM

Maybe it’s Karl Rove’s parting gift to the nation: Gen. David Petraeus’ report on the surge—how’s that working out for us?—and his testimony before congress? Both are scheduled for the sixth anniversary of 9/11 attacks. But the timing of Petraeus’ testimony has nothing whatsoever to do with the anniversary of the attacks, says a Bush spokesman. Not a thing. The Bush administration would never, ever, ever use the attacks of 9/11 to score cheap political points. Never. Ever.

“Frozen Smoke”

posted by on August 20 at 3:41 PM

Some folks are all are excited about something they’re calling “frozen smoke”—and, no, it’s not pot-laced ice cubes.

A MIRACLE material for the 21st century could protect your home against bomb blasts, mop up oil spillages and even help man to fly to Mars.

Aerogel, one of the world’s lightest solids, can withstand a direct blast of 1kg of dynamite and protect against heat from a blowtorch at more than 1,300C.

Scientists are working to discover new applications for the substance, ranging from the next generation of tennis rackets to super-insulated space suits for a manned mission to Mars.

15th Ave W & W Dravus

posted by on August 20 at 3:25 PM



Seattle Police are investigating a series of fires set within a 2 mile radius in Magnolia over the weekend.

Just after midnight on Saturday morning, someone torched a port-o-potty at a construction site just south of the Ballard Bridge.

Sunday night, another port-o-potty fire was set on the 2100 block of W Gilman just before 10pm, and two minutes later, firefighters put out another small blaze a mile away, in the 2600 block of W Smith Street. Again, half an hour later, firefighters raced to the 3600 block of 24th Avenue W to put out a car fire.

Updates coming.

Obama Girl Gets Sister Souljahed

posted by on August 20 at 3:15 PM

Slapped down by the family-values side of the man she loves:

SALEM, N.H. (AP) — Obama girl has upset Obama’s girls.

The Web video of a scantily clad actress pledging her affection for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has been a hit online, but not in his own home. Obama says his 6-year-old daughter Sasha has noticed news coverage of the video.

”Sasha asked Mommy about it,” Obama said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press. ”She said, ‘Daddy already has a wife’ or something like that.”

”I Got A Crush On Obama” stars an aspiring model and actress named Amber Lee Ettinger, aka Obama Girl. Her song, which has lines like ”Universal health care reform, it makes me warm,” has gotten more than 3 million hits and nearly 10,000 comments since being posted two months ago on YouTube, the online video-sharing site.

Sen. Obama, D-Ill., said he knows the video was meant to be lighthearted, but he wasn’t smiling when asked about it in the interview.

”I guess it’s too much to ask, but you do wish people would think about what impact their actions have on kids and families,” Obama said during the interview.

Sorry Obama Girl…

A Quick Word About…

posted by on August 20 at 2:32 PM

The PACCAR Pavilion:
PACCAR-Pavilion.jpg The real jewel of the Olympic Sculpture Park is its headquarters. The architecture of the landscape finds its sense (or completion) in this building and not so much in any of the sculptures. I make this point now because so little praise or attention has been paid to the one thing that actually deserves it. We can say with certainty that the PACCAR Pavilion is the only piece of architecture in the design desert of Belltown.

Monday, Monday: Now 200% More Trustable

posted by on August 20 at 1:08 PM

A new favorite thing: Monday-evening concerts at the Crocodile Café. They aren’t too crowded, too bleary, or too exhausting. But they’re still, you know, a concert. Perfect for a prematurely old man like me.

A couple of weeks ago, it was Eux Autres, who were adorable. Tonight, it’s a revue of stripped-down Harvey Danger songs by Mssrs. Sean Nelson and Jeff Lin on piano and acoustic guitar, respectively. Quoth Sean:

The arrangements are quiet, but not mellow. Maybe it’s mature; I don’t know. It’s not that mature. I’ll still be telling dirty jokes in between songs. Sample punch line: “I got a better idea: let’s walk down there and fuck all those cows!”

The other Harveys Danger will play sets with their other bands, including Eastern Grip (with M. Welke on drums) and the Capillaries (with Aaron Huffman on the bass).

It starts at 8:30. It costs one thousand pennies. It should be, as we prematurely old men like to say, “a gas.”

“You’re Going to West Seattle.”

posted by on August 20 at 12:47 PM

Want to shit, pee, throw up, sell drugs, have sex, or carry bags of trash on a Metro bus? No problem.

Want to get off the bus?

Sorry, that’s against Metro regulations.

Last week, Josh and I were headed for the FlexCar spot in the Uwajimaya parking lot. We were riding the 11 Metro bus (bus no. 3625) and the driver was stopped in a long line of cars on Second and Columbia. I’m not familiar with the 11 route, and the driver’s announcement that this was the last stop downtown was inaudible in the back of the bus. Seeing that the bus was approaching the Alaskan Way Viaduct on-ramp, we asked to be let off the (stopped, right next to the curb) bus. The driver’s response? “No.”

We were incredulous. I mean, sure, if we were in the middle of the road, or in motion, or blocking other traffic—or if there had been another stop in the actual city of Seattle—I could understand the strict adherence to Metro rules. But at a dead stop, at a red light, at a curb, miles away from the next stop? Ridiculous. “Come on, we didn’t hear the announcement. The speaker’s broken. Please, just let us off.” “No. You’re going to West Seattle.” “Seriously. Please. Just open the door.” “No. You could get hit.” “You’re stopped and on the curb. What are we going to get hit by—a pedestrian?” Cue class-baiting: “Maybe you don’t need your job, but I like my job. I have a little baby at home. I’m not letting you off.”

Which is how we ended up in West Seattle, stuck under a freeway on-ramp, waiting half an hour for a bus back into the city—and, incidentally, missing the first part of the David Della-Tim Burgess debate.

Hey, Metro? Maybe you ought to focus a little more on the stuff that makes riding the bus really unpleasant before you encourage your drivers to robotically enforce inflexible rules that, too often, don’t benefit anybody.

Obama’s High School Basketball Days

posted by on August 20 at 12:22 PM

Vick to Plead Guilty

posted by on August 20 at 12:21 PM

Michael Vick’s lawyer said today the NFL star will plead guilty to federal dogfighting conspiracy charges, putting the Atlanta Falcons quarterback’s career in jeopardy and leaving him subject to a possible prison term.

The offense is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, although federal sentencing guidelines most likely would call for less.


Because Everybody Knows “Wife” is Synonymous With “Maid.”

posted by on August 20 at 12:19 PM

From today’s NYT (reprinted on the front page of the Seattle P-I):

Working women could use a wife
A lack of spousal support is an impediment to career success

Now that women have solidly earned their place in the work force, many find themselves still yearning for something men often have: wives.

“The thing I most want in life is a wife. I’m not kidding,” said Joyce Lustbader, a research scientist at Columbia University, who has been married for 29 years. “I work all day, sometimes seven days a week, and still have to go home and make dinner and have all those things to do around the house.”

“Spousal support,” huh? As long as we’re ignoring half of the spousal duo, why not just call it what these men (and women) obviously think it is—“wifely duty”? Because everybody knows that “wife” is just another word for “unpaid household domestic.”

Hammerfest Coming to Portland

posted by on August 20 at 12:16 PM

Hammerfest, of course, is the world’s premier white power conference. They will be celebrating 20 years of brotherhood.

From the website:

Portland, Oregon, the heart of Bob Mathews’ White Homeland, is the location of this once in a lifetime event. No detail or expense have been spared to make this a must-attend event and honor our Hammerskin Brothers & Sisters around the world.

And, of course, there will be music:


Bush is not a Failure

posted by on August 20 at 12:06 PM

The notion that George W. Bush is a failure has in reality only a very limited truth. It is limited to the area of the state. Bush failed as a statesman, he failed to properly manage the affairs of the state and as a result the state is presently in poor shape. But the state was nothing more than a space within which Bush could do what he was put in power to do: run a business. The money generated by the state has always been for him and Cheney no different from the money generated by private institutions. Nothing is sacred; wealth is wealth. No line exists between the state and civil society. All money is of one body, and that body is capital. Seen in this respect, Bush’s presidency is hardly a failure. He went into the government, set up shop, and lots of money was made. Mission accomplished. (Or at least almost accomplished—he did fail turn the public wealth of Social Security into private wealth.) As a businessman, and not as statesmen, you will find Bush’s very impressive record.

Day 3: Ghost Hunting

posted by on August 20 at 12:03 PM


Christina is a grad student at UC Santa Cruz who enjoys traveling to shuttered mental institutions and sites of massacres. She hopes to one day work for “Ghost Hunters” on the Sci Fi Channel. She was in town to make a short film about ghost hunting in Seattle, needed some help, and asked the Stranger if she could borrow the public intern.

She picked me up at 7:00 pm and we drove down to the International District to visit the site of the Wah Mee Massacre. Fourteen people were robbed, hogtied, and shot to death in the speakeasy in 1983. The club has been padlocked ever since and no one has been allowed inside.


The alley leading to the club was tucked between two Asian restaurants and smelled like rotting garbage. My job was to hold Christine’s digital camera while she explained the history of the site. Then I got to help Christine lower a camera on a string through a crack in the boarded up doors to the club. Christine hoped that if we put her camera on self-timer, it would take a picture of a ghost’s face.


It didn’t.

Ghost hunting was emotionally exhausting. Christina kept on seeing faces in the window of the Wah Mee club but when I looked in all I could see was a dark room. She made twilight zone noises. Christina pretended she saw something through the door and gasped. I bolted down the alley and didn’t stop until I heard her laughing.

Christina was good on camera; she enunciated in a slow, methodical way that reminded me of Lonelygirl15. She knew what she was doing. But I was not very cool, calm or collected. I had trouble looking at the door for too long and I would jump when I heard a chicken squawk or a car alarm start. I stuttered, said fuck a lot and made bad jokes about the graffiti being haunted. Christina chuckled politely. I think she felt belittled.

We didn’t see any ghosts on our hunt but Christina told me later in the car that ghosts often follow people after they leave haunted places. Then she laughed and told me she was just joking. Here’s the video we made…

Superbad: The Good, the Bad, and the Faggy?

posted by on August 20 at 11:44 AM


Like millions of Americans, this weekend I went to see Superbad, the sweetly raunchy teen comedy from the folks behind Knocked Up, starring the hilarious kid from Arrested Development. Like virtually everyone else who’s seen it, I thought it was terrific, and any niggling little problems I had with the movie (why did one of the few encounters with an actual vagina have to end with a bloody stain?) were disspelled by the film’s carefully maintained style. From the goofy cops who delight in blowing up their car to the pencil-drawing dicks that appear over the closing credits, Superbad is a total adolescent-male fantasia, and the most effective aspect of the movie, for me at least, is how it digs into the romance of straight-guy friendships (the guys’s awkward morning-after conversation killed me).

Then I stumbled upon Time magazine’s review of the film, in which Richard Corliss identifies a mysterious subliminal drive behind the straight-guy romances of Judd Apatow (writer/director of The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up) and Seth Rogen (writer of Superbad, star of Knocked Up):

Why don’t Apatow and Rogen just do the honorable thing and tell the world they’re gay? It would save them a lot of time wasted pretending their movies are about young men growing up and finding the right young woman.

In his (also negative) review of Knocked Up, Corliss points out that the best chemistry in the movie exists not between the parents-to-be, but between Seth Rogen’s character and his soon-to-be brother-in-law, played by Paul Rudd. Then, in regard to Superbad:

What I identified as guy-necology in my review of Knocked Up blossoms into gay-necology here…In Superbad, the quasi-gay subtext is so obvious, it’s the love that dares to shriek its name.

Juh? One of the cornerstones of the romance between the best friends of Superbad is their shared enslavement to Pussy, and I’m tempted to say the lives of both Superbad’s best friends and Knocked Up’s best brothers-in-law might’ve been easier if they had been legitimately homosexual. Instead, they’re trapped in the glorious tragedy of heterosexuality, where men need the very thing that confuses and frightens them the most—women.

This is, admittedly, a crassly adolescent view of male-female relationships, but adolescent isn’t the same as closet-queer…or is Corliss trying to tell us something?

Ken Vincent Quit KUOW

posted by on August 20 at 11:27 AM

Ken Vincent, a long-time KUOW staffer, quit abruptly last Friday afternoon. Vincent’s departure got a quick mention on Weekday this morning, but they didn’t give a reason for Vincent leaving after 23 years with the station. Vincent had this to say on his own website:

I told Program Director Jeff Hansen I would no longer work for him and resigned my position at KUOW Friday afternoon, Aug 17.

Hansen and I have irreconcilable disagreements about his handling of editorial, airsound, technical and compensation concerns. I am not the only KUOW programmer with these concerns, but I’m the first to decide not to take it any more. I am exploring other interim and long-term opportunities.

I have the greatest fondness and respect for KUOW. I am fortunate to be able to count among my best friends some of the nation’s most extraordinary radio talent. I hope and expect to work with the people at KUOW again someday. I started at KUOW 23 years ago, and I will miss serving the listeners to whom I’ve dedicated my work. I wish KUOW success with its upcoming pledge drive and it its further pursuits.

Elusive Competence

posted by on August 20 at 11:16 AM

This weekend I got around to watching No End in Sight, the interesting if flawed documentary on the unraveling of the Iraq war.

The pieces the documentary presents are nothing new: A rush to war, minimal plans for the aftermath, too few troops, no martial law, looting, imperial rule, de-Ba’athification, disbanding of the Iraqi military, the construction of the Green Zone, and the bombing of the UN compound.

I was never fond of this war. It’s one thing to engage in an imperial war for conquest — could you honestly expect something else from Bush and Co? — but to be grossly incompetent while doing so is shocking. As an American, it’s easy to take for granted the competence of our many (many MANY) civil servants implementing good and bad policies. Few other civilizations in history have been as competent as ours; organization is our real strength, far beyond our military power. Where were all the capable people during the Iraq war (and later in the aftermath of Katrina)?

No End in Sight is at its most insightful when showing that everyone — the soldiers, the American public, the Iraqi citizens and even the Iraqi military — were anticipating, expecting, and demanding American competence. The Iraqi public was initially exuberant, anticipating well developed plans for stabilizing and rebuilding their country; the Iraqi military could not wait to receive carefully crafted orders.

The US government took two years to plan the eventual occupation of Germany; the planning for Iraq started sixty days before the invasion. Even with terribly short time frame, little staff, few Arabic speakers and a next to impossible task, the plans came. Enact martial law to prevent looting. Quickly involve the former Iraqi military to help out the (too few) troops used for the invasion. Reach out to community groups to start some grass-roots democratization. Rehire the technocrat Ba’athists to keep the country running. And so on. As one of the leaders of this group stated, there are five hundred ways to do an occupation wrong, and only two or three to do it right

What happened was the tragedy. The competent people, the serious people, the interested people were ignored, overridden, replaced or fired. Fresh college graduates — with impeccable political credentials but little else — were put in charge. Ridiculous edicts were enforced from above. What followed was inevitable.

Four years after the UN compound was bombed, I was glad to think of all the brave, the smart, the hardworking and the ignored civil servants who attempted to save us.

“Louis Loved His Piercings, They Made Him Smile.”

posted by on August 20 at 11:09 AM

A revealing peek into the fascinating world of gay piercing parties, stainless-steel ball weights, and “the proud owner of Karl Rove’s father’s solid gold cock ring.” (Note to Seattle Times employees: NSFW).

Getting Out of Iraq: The View from Iowa, Part 2

posted by on August 20 at 11:00 AM

If you’re not a weekend Slog reader, here are some links to catch you up:

On Friday I dissed the incredibly early hour of the recent Democratic debate in Iowa. On Saturday I found myself on a plane (and then another plane), headed to said early debate. I landed in Des Moines, which turned out to be lovely and of course crawling with Democratic operatives (so much so that I had a somewhat interesting brush with Hillaryland in an even more interesting elevator). Then on Sunday, I woke up ridiculously early (but not as early as these people), went to the not-so-glamorous press room to watch the debate, and then walked over to the spin room, where I took a bunch of pictures and got spun by the likes of David Axelrod, Howard Dean, and Mike Gravel.

Yesterday on the way home, I said I thought that one of the most interesting aspects of the debate in Iowa this weekend was that it showed great disagreement among the Democratic candidates about how, exactly, the U.S. should get out of Iraq.

I’m working on a post about those differences of opinion now, but while I’m doing that, check out the new television ads from Joe Biden. He’s trying to use this question of how to get of Iraq to differentiate himself, and is suggesting that he’s the only candidate willing to tell the truth about Iraq (that it needs to be partitioned) and the only candidate with the experience (as the long-time head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee) to figure out a workable plan for getting U.S. troops out of Iraq without provoking ethnic cleansing or regional war.

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 20 at 11:00 AM

‘Belle de Jour’ (FILM)

In the last scene of Buñuel’s perverse 1967 classic, Belle de Jour, as tears roll down the husband’s face and the wife walks to the window and the city outside has transformed into her horse-drawn-carriage bondage fantasy, you have to wonder what the husband would say if the injuries he sustained from his wife’s gun-wielding john hadn’t turned him into a mute. (Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 329-2629. 7 and 9:15 pm, $5–$8.50.)

See what else is happening in Film on Monday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

Arson at Another Construction Site

posted by on August 20 at 10:20 AM

Last week a deliberately set fire in West Seattle destroys a condo development. Last night a fire in a portable toilet on a construction site in Interbay destroyed… well, it only destroyed the portable toilet. But the fire did significant damage to the “residential building” under construction on the site. What are the odds that the the development was the arsonist’s target and not the toilet?

What the Fuck?

posted by on August 20 at 10:11 AM


It’s the middle of fucking August and I’m feeling a touch of the seasonal affective disorder coming on. It’s fucking summer. Where the fuck is the fucking sun, for fuck’s sake?

Wild, Wild West

posted by on August 20 at 9:49 AM

“ Eventually managed to chew through the leather straps which bound him …”
“Armed with the leg as a blunt instrument …”
“ No Crow warrior was safe from his wrath …”

Behold the amazing tale of Liver-Eating Johnson, the toughest man to ever walk the earth.

The Web Vs. Local Dailies

posted by on August 20 at 9:41 AM

When Nicole Brodeur weighed in with a column on the infamous newsroom cheer late last week, it struck me as yet another “Blog Moment” … that is: By the time Brodeur got around to publishing in the print edition, the news had already been reported, discussed, debated, and become boring. It was another moment that seemed to flag the decline of traditional media.

Think I’m on crack? There’s a new Harvard study on “Internet News” that’s got some bad news for local dailies.

The study found:

1) Local news is alive and well on the Internet, but growth in the sector isn’t coming from local papers.

2) National brand newspapers like the NYT are doing well, while local newspapers are not.

3) The Internet favors innovative new startups and the biggest growth in the news sector comes from what the report calls “nontraditional news outlets.”

Courtesy of Ars Technica.

Gary Hill on a Rainy Monday: Escape into the Mind

posted by on August 20 at 9:33 AM


In the center of Seattle artist Gary Hill’s Glass Onion (seen above, at 911 Media Arts Center through Sept 15)—if it could be said to have a center—is a monitor on the floor.

It is surrounded by three concentric rectangles, two of speakers on the floor, and a third, the outermost layer, of upright monitors where images and text appear. The text, a complex sentence having to do with “the frame of reference within a rectangle,” is heard in a scrolling incantation that moves around the speakers and also crawls across the bottom of the monitors.

Although the installation seems designed to undermine the traditional notion of a kernel of pure meaning at the center of something, the monitor in the center of the room does feel like the center, or the epicenter, or the center of the episode of Glass Onion.

Mounted on the ceiling directly above the monitor is a camera with an automatic zoom. As it continually self-corrects in zooming in on the monitor, the rectangles that appear on the monitor keep growing smaller and smaller, and the camera approaches something like maximum self-consciousness. It freaks out, and basically pulls back out to screen size and starts over. The images this generates are beautiful and mind-blowing.”It’s as though, staring itself in the eye until all surfaces catastrophize, the image can no longer hold the information of its pure reflection,” the poet George Quasha wrote in a prose piece that goes along with the installation, which was first seen in Seattle at and/or, the predecessor of 911 Media Arts, in 1981. “In what sense can the mind monitor its own activity? Does it know itself only in bouncing back from an other? Can it think directly and what happens when it tries?”

You the visitor are a part of this whole thing, too, because the installation picks up your presence, too, and circulates your image around the room. It begins to feel like a closed system, this rectangle, like what is inside this rectangle is an endless task—figuring out the words, following the images, watching the camera frustrate itself, finding your place.

If you saw this piece in 1981, it’s worth revisiting. Hill entirely reworked the presentation to make it digital. Maybe he’ll do a podcast with me to explain how and talk more about Glass Onion (which seems to me superior to—and gloriously nerdier than—the piece of his on view at SAM, House of Cards).

Two other typically mind-mining pieces of Hill’s are on view at 911 Media Arts Center (open Monday through Friday noon to 6) in a show curated by new executive director Misha Neininger: Clover (1994, top image below), a quadrupling of a man walking in the forest; and Twofold (Goats and Sheep) (1995/2002), a doubling of a man signing language and speaking (so, a multiple multiplying). Three works of another artist would be a small number; with Hill, they’re an afternoon.



If these intrigue, go tomorrow to the Henry Art Gallery and descend the stairs into the lower floor, where Hill’s early two-channel video installation, Facing Faces (1996), continues the mindplay. It’s one man on two screens—one is always looking at the other.

Morning News

posted by on August 20 at 8:59 AM

Nineteen sickened : Students hit by carbon monoxide leak at Virginia Tech.

Six Dead?: Hope fades for trapped Utah miners.

One Deported: Illegal immigrant activist Elvira Arellano sent back to Mexico.

Over a Thousand Denied: Israel turns away Darfur Refugees.

One Dead: Shooting on Vashon Island.

Hurricane Dean: Hits Jamaica, headed toward Mexico.

In Iraq News: Now it’s Shiites vs. Shiites in Iraq.

More Iraq News: U.S. troops say surge isn’t working.

List of the Day:
Who Spends the most money lobbying Congress? The Top 20

Impossible Mating Behavior

posted by on August 20 at 8:43 AM

I just found the subject of Charles’ next movie. From the BBC

A woman in Australia has been killed by her pet camel after the animal may have tried to have sex with her. The woman was found dead at the family’s sheep and cattle ranch near the town of Mitchell in Queensland.

The woman had been given the camel as a 60th birthday present earlier this year because of her love of exotic pets.

The camel was just 10 months old but already weighed 152kg (336lbs) and had come close to suffocating the family’s pet goat on a number of occasions. On Saturday, the woman apparently became the object of the male camel’s desire.

It knocked her to the ground, lay on top of her and displayed what the police delicately described as possible mating behaviour.

O They Will Know We Are Christians By…

posted by on August 20 at 8:11 AM

…the pastor stealing $500,000 from our church.

A longtime Round Rock pastor was arrested after telling authorities he embezzled at least $500,000 from his church, according to court records.

Donald “Roddy” Clyde, 48, turned himself in to authorities Wednesday and was charged with felony theft of more than $200,000 from the Fellowship at Forest Creek Church. Clyde’s bail was set at $400,000, and he could face 99 years in prison if convicted.

Clyde told police that he used the church’s bank account and credit card to buy land, horses, vacations and other property, according to his arrest affidavit.

Via Americablog.

No Opinions, No Porn

posted by on August 20 at 7:21 AM

We learned last week that Seattle Times’ staffers aren’t allowed to have opinions. Today we learn that they’re not allowed to have erections either.

I’m officially suspended from the Seattle Times, and will be most likely fired later this afternoon. My boss gave me a ride home, this all came down from HR and he was sympathetic.

For looking at porn at work.

I could have gotten drunk at work, groped a coworker and peed in the corner of the building,and I would have gotten a warning, but a little ass & tickle gets you escorted out the door first thing. My boss, Jeff, told me that he thought it was a ridiculously applied policy as well and that he had seen people all the way up into management, who had been there for years get walked out.

The poor motherfucker got fired late yesterday afternoon. For looking at Fleshbot, says Seattlest. And Fleshbot isn’t really porn—well, not really, really porn. It’s a cheeky website that takes us behind the scenes of the porn industry, relays gossip about porn stars and studios, brings us the latest news about Japanese sex toys, and links to the best in (ahem) sex advice.

Man, it must suck to work in a place where you’re not allowed to have opinions or take the occasional refreshing porn break at your work computer. Sheesh.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


posted by on August 19 at 9:30 PM

The NYT weighs in on mumblecore in an arts feature today.

My favorite bit:

A favorite setting is the party that goes subtly but disastrously astray.

The Northwest Film Forum is doing a series on mumblecore in September.

Monday Morning’s Commute

posted by on August 19 at 9:16 PM

No, seriously. We told you last Monday that the sky was going to fall. And it didn’t. But trust us. This time the sky is really gonna fall—swear to God. No fooling.

Getting Out of Iraq: The View from Iowa

posted by on August 19 at 5:15 PM

I agree with Jeff Zeleny. One of the most interesting exchanges of this morning’s debate had to do with exactly how the different Democratic candidates propose to get U.S. troops out of Iraq—and exactly how long they think that will take.

I’m in Cincinnati now, about to get on a plane back to Seattle, so I’ll post more about this tomorrow. But for now, check out Zeleny’s report on the debate. It gives a pretty good sense of how divergent the viewpoints are on this issue. Getting out of Iraq is (obviously) a huge problem, and one where, no matter how much they all try to suggest otherwise, the Democratic disagreements are rather sharp.

Rain, Rain, Rain

posted by on August 19 at 11:01 AM

Feeling bad for Hempfest. Had planned to head down today but… ah, probably not now. Gotta love this pic on the PI’s website from yesterday’s big-assed, big-titted party at Myrtle Edwards.

The Underdogs

posted by on August 19 at 11:00 AM

During the debate, the ABC cameras cut to Kucinich’s wife at least three times. It seemed that whenever Kucinich spoke, someone in the ABC control room was thrilling at the opportunity to put his pretty partner on TV. (No other wives of candidates got air time, as far as I saw.) Kucinich knows his wife draws a lot of looks, which is no doubt one reason why he brought her with him to the spin room.


Clinton, Edwards, and Obama all send surrogates out to spin for them. People like Kucinich, Biden, Richardson, Dodd, and Gravel show up in person (with hot wife in tow if possible), hoping to snag some camera time.





Even if they’re not polling very high, most of these candidates like to cultivate an aura of importance in the spin room, cutting journalists off with a firm “thank you,” as if they are extremely pressed for time and need to move on to the next reporter. (Often true.) Except for Gravel. That guy won’t let a reporter or camera go. I made the mistake of walking up to him and asking what he hoped to accomplish, given his 0-percent support in the recent ABC News poll in Iowa. A very long while later, I found myself issuing a firm “thank you” to Mr. Gravel.

Today The Stranger Suggests…

posted by on August 19 at 11:00 AM


The best thing about Hempfest isn’t getting baked in the park—you can get baked in the park anytime you like. The best thing about Hempfest is that it turns getting baked in the park into a political statement. This weekend, the world’s largest pot rally features five stages, including lovable locals Rick Steves, Alan White, and DJ Riz. Go, and for the love of God, leave your tie-dye at home. (Myrtle Edwards Park, 10 am–8 pm, free.)

See what else is happening in Film on Sunday. Go!

More Stranger Suggests for this week. Go!

From The Border

posted by on August 19 at 10:52 AM

Still at the Surrey, BC/Blaine, WA border crossing, and have the time to share with you this startling passage from the book I’m currently reading—-Philosophy of the Future by Ludwig Feuerbach:

I do need air in order to breath, water to drink, light to see, vegetable and animal materials to eat; but nothing, at least directly, in order to think. I cannot conceive of breathing without air, seeing without light, but I can conceive of a thinking that is isolated in itself.

Feuerbach is here attempting show that the Reason of philosophy is none other than the God of theology. Reason, thought, like God, is not limited by biology, by nature, by the world of things and living beings. That is Feuerbach’s point. But there is also something else worth considering in the light of his insight: Spinoza’s description of the mind. For Spinoza, the mind is “the idea of the body.” It is for this reason his philosophy is not rational theology. Reason is never separated from life, from the passions, from feelings. I must now stop. The bus is moving again,

The Spin in Des Moines

posted by on August 19 at 10:30 AM

Ah, the spin room…


I wasn’t there long before a woman from the League of Conservation Voters approached me and pushed a press release into my hand. It decried Barack Obama’s decision yesterday to start turning down invitations to debates and forums not sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee. (The League wants Obama and all the other Democrats to say yes to a forum on energy and global warming that would be held in California later this fall.)

I asked top Obama strategist David Axelrod what was up.


He told me:

We’ve done eight debates and we’re going to do seven more. Once in a while you want to spend time with your fellow Americans, too.

But don’t televised debates have the potential to reach more Americans than one-on-one candidate interaction with likely voters? Axelrod replied:

It’s only one way to meet people. We’re not TV programming. This is not a traveling Vaudeville act. There are candidates who want to have interaction with regular people and you can’t do that if you’re running from television set to television set.

Then Axelrod added—”frankly,” he said—that at this early date, the debates are being watched mostly by “a lot of political junkies and a lot of score-keepers.”

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean was also in the spin room, and echoed Axelrod’s perception of who’s watching the debates.


Dean told me that at this early date, “the penetration of these debates is among political junkies and political journalists.”

He wouldn’t bite on the question of whether Obama was right to start fending off non-DNC-sanctioned debate requests. But there was some cheering of Obama’s move from apparently road-weary political journalists.

As far as political junkie voters go, however, Dean told me the number of debates probably isn’t a problem.

I don’t think it numbs voters at all. I don’t think there’s any fatigue factor, except among the candidates.

That last statement seemed very true this morning. All the candidates looked a bit tired. Perhaps a desire to crawl back in bed was responsible for the lack of fireworks? Clinton herself joked about the early hour in her first answer. As transcribed by ABC News’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos”:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Senator Biden… You told Newsweek magazine that Senator Obama is “not yet ready” to be president. Senator Clinton, is he right?


CLINTON: Well, George, I was going to say good morning…


… and, as soon as I wake up, I’ll answer your question.


The Debate in Iowa

posted by on August 19 at 10:00 AM

Well, the predicted attack-fest did not materialize.

But the debate this morning was still very interesting. There was a continuation of the Clinton-Obama-Edwards tussle over accepting money from lobbyists; more back-and-forth about the Iraq war and what to do now; an extended exploration of whether Obama has enough experience; a frank statement from John Edwards about the limited power of prayer; and, toward the end, a fly that landed on the hair of Chris Dodd as he was making his last remarks, prompting a brief debate in the press room: Did Dodd’s failure to swat at the fly show remarkable poise, or a remarkable amount of hairspray?

I’ll post more about the debate later, but first I want to fast-forward to the post-debate spin room, where I had some interesting conversations.

The Border Sucks

posted by on August 19 at 8:28 AM

For some reason there is free Wi-Fi at the Surrey, BC/Blaine, WA border crossing. That is the good news. The bad news is I’m stuck here for an estimated four hours. I’ve never seen anything like it. At around 8:30 am, the line of cars was already exceptionally long. The only sane way to travel by ground between Seattle and Vancouver is the train. No other option offers a clear path through this maddening mess of cars and border officers.

What the Debate Looks Like to Me

posted by on August 19 at 5:56 AM


Up Early and Already Shouting

posted by on August 19 at 5:46 AM

Outside the debate hall at about 7:30 a.m. in Iowa: