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Archives for 03/23/2008 - 03/29/2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Currently Hanging

posted by on March 29 at 8:16 PM


Alden Mason’s The Farmer’s Wife (1997), acrylic on canvas, 60 by 50 inches

At Foster/White Gallery.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on March 29 at 4:07 PM


What’s opening this week? Besides Asia Argento’s thighs, that is. Aren’t I nice? I put the naughty picture in the popup for you fine folks at work. Here’s the tame alternative:


In On Screen this week: Brendan Kiley on Olivier Assayas’s Boarding Gate (“The film lurches between low-level action sequences and bleak eroticism, all for the sake of admiring, and pitying, Argento’s sad beauty”), me on Flawless (“Giving the thieves social grievances serves only to undermine their greed—the one motive we can all understand”), Bradley Steinbacher on Run Fatboy Run (“With pedestrian direction by David Schwimmer [yes, that David Schwimmer], Run Fatboy Run works best when all focus is on Simon Pegg, whose inspired twitchings and dashes of exasperated mania are responsible for the bulk of the movie’s highs”), Charles Mudede on Stop-Loss (It’s “an obituary of America’s leftist spirit”), and Steinbacher again on 21 (“a headache of a movie where every camera movement is overbaked and every turn of a card is accompanied by an unnecessary sound edit”).

And Lindy West on the mysteriously enduring appeal of High School Musical.

Limited-run films tucked away in the calendar include the remaining National Film Festival for Talented Youth events at SIFF Cinema, the nicely shot soap operetta Lost in Beijing and the annual anniversary screenings of Rubin & Ed at the Grand Illusion, the deeply fascinating Opera Jawa and other Global Lens films at SIFF Cinema, and Live and Become at the Varsity.

For all your movie times needs, check out the redesigned calendar. I think it’s even more helpful than before, but we’re still tweaking things, so feed the back and back the feed.

Feathery Guerilla Terrorism at Pike Place Market!

posted by on March 29 at 4:03 PM

I was there. I saw it all, man. Shit like that can change you. Change you forever.

They gathered. They acted all casual. Like nothing was going to happen. They carried backpacks and bags and oddly bulging bellies. Then, at precisely 3:15 PM, Saturday afternoon, CHAOS! FEATHERS! CLEVER PILLOW CASES! “VIOLENCE”! FUSS!


And this is what it looked like…

Before the event


And of course (for your protection)…


Sneaky, sneaky pillow warriors




Then, a whistle blew, and suddenly…PILLOW FIGHT!!!


Feathers…feathers…oh, Jesus! The feathers!


And then, WHAM! It was all completely over…



…just like that.

The End.


Some serious video journalism…

My favorite part is the absoutely frickin’ traumatized old Asian women in the lower left hand corner, minute 1:29-1:25…”Da pirrows! DA PIRROWS!”

(Thanks be to lovely Ruby Aquino for the pictures & video, and to lovely Natalie L’erin and lovely friends, for modeling for us.)

Sunset Bowl

posted by on March 29 at 12:50 PM

The Sunset Bowl in Ballard is closing on April 13. On April 22 everything on the premises—from the vending machines to the bowling pins—is going to be auctioned off. More details at MyBallard.


At least one industrial-strength ball polisher is going to be auctioned off. So if, um, you’ve got industrial-strength balls and they’re in need of regular polishing, you’re not going to want to miss this auction.

Tomorrow People

posted by on March 29 at 12:15 PM


More strife in Iraq. U.S. financial system in crisis. Rice prices soar.

None of these headlines will matter a bit, though, if two men pursuing a lawsuit in a court in Hawaii turn out to be right. They think a giant particle accelerator that will begin smashing protons together outside Geneva this summer might produce a black hole that will spell the end of the Earth - and maybe the universe.

Scientists say that is very unlikely - though they have done some checking just to make sure.

The world’s physicists have spent 14 years and $8 billion building the Large Hadron Collider, in which the colliding protons will recreate energies and conditions last seen a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang. Researchers will sift the debris from these primordial recreations for clues to the nature of mass and new forces and symmetries of nature.

But Walter Wagner and Luis Sancho contend that scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN, have played down the chances that the collider could produce, among other horrors, a tiny black hole, which, they say, could eat the Earth. Or it could spit out something called a “strangelet” that would convert our planet to a shrunken dense dead lump of something called “strange matter.” Their suit also says CERN has failed to provide an environmental impact statement as required under the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act.

We in the future that has been here since the end of the space age have so much to worry about.

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on March 29 at 11:00 AM


Tod Wodicka at Elliott Bay Book Company

Most accomplished debut novels nowadays smack the reader about the head with precociousness. The only precocious thing about Wodicka’s debut is the title: All Shall Be Well; and All Shall Be Well; and All Manner of Things Shall Be Well. It concerns a 63-year-old medieval-reenactor with a giant, freakishly misshapen nose, in search of his prodigal son. Well is a near-perfect debut, written with a big heart and the rare ability to magically sidestep cliché. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 101 S Main St, 624-6600. 7:30 pm, free.)



Magma Festival’s Volcano Explosion at Ballard Warehouse

Hollow Earth Radio, Seattle’s best free-form broadcaster (meaning: DJs improvising without restrictive playlists), is holding a month-long fundraiser disguised as a festival. They’ve been putting on shows in DIY venues all over Seattle. Tonight—in a warehouse in Ballard—is the final night, with the best lineup: Calvin Johnson, Bow + Arrow, Beep Family Orchestra, Your Heart Breaks (with a full band), and more. (5113 Russell Ave NW, 7 pm, $8, all ages.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Store Policy

    posted by on March 29 at 10:02 AM


    Reading Today

    posted by on March 29 at 10:00 AM


    A children’s book author, an open mic, and two readings today, including a pretty exciting one, by a debut author.

    At the Douglass-Truth Branch of the Seattle Public Library, two poets are reading. Lynne Thompson reads from her most recent collection of poems, Beg No Pardon. Carletta Carrington Wilson is working on a book-length poem, and I believe she’ll be taking it out for a test-drive today, which should be interesting.

    And at the Elliott Bay Book Company, Todd Wodicka reads from his debut novel, All Shall Be Well; and All Shall Be Well; and All Manner of Things Shall Be Well. The title comes from a quote by Julian of Norwich, who was roundly chastised hundreds of years ago because she believed that God was loving. The novel is about a medieval reenactor with a gigantic, deformed nose who’s trying to reconnect with his son, and it’s full of those little bursts of beautiful writing that are simply stunning, the kind of stuff that most authors can’t maintain for hundreds of pages. Wodicka maintains the ingenuity all the way through the book. We’ll be seeing a lot more from him, I’m sure, so this is a good opportunity to catch him on the way up.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, here.

    Friday, March 28, 2008

    Hillary Deathwatch

    posted by on March 28 at 6:08 PM

    When Slate rolled out the Hillary Deathwatch this morning—a daily feature tracking Clinton’s fortunes and assigning a percentage to her chances of gaining the nomination—they put Hillary’s chances at 12%. Well, Hillary had a rough day: Slate has dropped Hillary’s chances down to 10.3%. Says Slate….

    Friday was not kind to Hillary Clinton. Based on Deathwatch’s top-secret morbidity formula, Hillary tanked on four metrics today, reducing her chances of winning the nomination by 1.7 points to 10.3 percent. The nastiest news for Clinton is in the polls. She has drifted eight points behind Obama in a national Gallup survey—the first time that she has trailed Obama by a statistically significant margin since the Rev. Wright imbroglio.

    Here’s that Gallup daily tracking poll…


    Hm. Looks bad.

    There was also the Casey endorsement today, Leahy’s call for Hillary to drop out, and Howard Dean’s call for the nominee to be selected by July 1—which would require, of course, the superdelegates to make up their damn minds well before the convention.

    But… um… after taking a late-afternoon look at the Hillary Deathwatch… it occurs to me that if Barack Obama were behind in delegates, states won, and the popular vote, Slate probably wouldn’t use the term deathwatch, would they? And using terms like morbidity?

    It’s Sunny Here

    posted by on March 28 at 5:36 PM


    I understand it snowed in Seattle today. I’m in Los Angeles where it’s 70 degrees. I walked past The Ivy a few mintes ago where I saw no one famous dining on its famed patio. Earlier in the day I stood outside the Price Is Right’s bungalow and marveled at that program’s longevity. Entertaining America for 36 years—we should all be so lucky.

    I’m here to do Real Time with Bill Maher tonight at 11 PM. (Real Time’s bungalow is next door.) Feel free to watch the show tonight and critique my clothing here.

    I Didn’t Know 20/20 Was Still On the Air

    posted by on March 28 at 4:56 PM

    Two weeks ago, 20/20 did a story on local artist Ariana Page Russell. Russell has a skin condition called Dermatographia. She uses her own skin in her art, but not in a yicky Goth kind of way. The reporter for the segment asks the most annoying questions in the universe, but it’s an interesting subject. Ariana (who once posed for a salacious Party Crasher photo for me, years ago) is terrific, as is her work.

    (Thanks to Slog tipper Maggie.)

    Dept. of Customer Appreciation: “And of Course, Cake”

    posted by on March 28 at 4:22 PM

    The Wine Outlet celebrates its third anniversary with a pig roast on Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    There will be three pigs this year, one at the SoDo store and two at the larger Interbay store. There will also be cheeses, breads, and of course, cake. There will also be lots of specially priced wines for the event.

    The owner, Richard, is the wine columnist for the P-I. I’ve never been to the Wine Outlet, but this all sounds pretty great.


    posted by on March 28 at 4:08 PM

    Rock n’ Roller Rikki Rockett (Real Name Richard Ream) Arrested for Rape


    Rocker Rockett (entering Roxy): Rapist?

    Ron Sims Defends KC Shelters, Accuses Consultant of Operating from “Playbook”

    posted by on March 28 at 3:48 PM


    Last week, as was widely reported, a consultant hired by the King County Council released a report on the deplorable conditions at King County’s two animal shelters. The findings were pretty shocking: kennels covered in urine and feces; sick animals kept in a room with no cooling, heating, ventilation, or running water; sick cats that were “not provided the rudiments of food or water for over 24 hours and possibly longer”; bowls of food and water that stayed empty for days; filthy litter boxes; fabricated records; piles of dog waste all over the dogs’ exercise yard; dogs “languishing in [their] own waste”; and more. The report specifically calls out King County Executive Ron Sims for failing to make the shelter service “a priority. The Executive has not asked for any significant new funding for [the shelter program] for the past several years, has not spent the funds that it has (more than $500,000 now sits in a [shelter] donation fund that has not been used to improve operations as intended) and… has made a calculated decision that the current physical facility at Kent is not worth fixing.”

    Pretty damning stuff. If you were the county executive, you might do damage control, right? Vow to spend that money improving the shelter and minimizing the number of animals that die due to unsafe or unsanitary conditions? Not Sims. Instead, he’s gone into offensive denial mode—attacking the county council, making paranoid statements about the consultant’s alleged bias, and using county staff to do a competing report (the results of which Sims has not released).

    From the P-I:

    “That did not happen,” Sims said. “No animals were without water, and animals were not without the food they needed.”

    Spotting empty dishes in a cage does not mean they are never filled, Sims said. As another example, he said, “If you find feces on the floor, you can’t say that’s a constant issue.”


    Sims’ staff also has sought to paint [consultant Nathan] Winograd, a California consultant and a national leader in the anti-euthanasia movement, as a single-issue zealot.

    From the Times:

    Like her boss two days earlier, Sims spokeswoman Carolyn Duncan blasted Winograd, who is a nationally prominent advocate of “no-kill” shelters. “He isn’t a neutral consultant taking an objective look at our animal-control facilities,” Duncan said. “He has a playbook that’s on his Web site. We’re in Steps 3 and 4 where you escalate it. It’s a revolution where there are good guys and bad guys.”


    “I don’t agree we’ve allowed animals to starve or be without water,” Sims said in response to Nathan Winograd’s report Monday to the Metropolitan King County Council.

    Sims said he is committed to improving procedures at the shelters and replacing the primary 32-year-old shelter building in Kent. He rejected the consultant’s claim that the executive branch has failed to respond to 10 years of complaints by volunteers and employees about conditions. Sims said he never heard those complaints.

    “He’s not going to say that we were in denial or we’ve ignored it,” Sims said. “He hasn’t talked to me, he’s never met me, he doesn’t know what my feelings are.”

    And here he is on KUOW this Wednesday morning:

    This consultant never talked to me. It’s interesting—the consultant has a website, and he has a playbook, and he’s following his playbook … really religiously …

    We have videos too; we have photos too; and we have logs detailing it. The same way a trial lawyer would look at accusations, we’ve gone through and said here’s what we found and here’s what we know.

    We know this party, we know this consultant and this is not the first time he’s done it. And we’re saying fine, if [they’re going to] portray a facility and how we operate it inaccurately, then we’re going to challenge that.

    What he said he saw and the photographs that are taken leaves much to dispute. He has made accusations that are completely unfounded. …

    We’ve seen the playbook. He’s following his playbook. He does this everywhere. …

    The person wrote a book and said basically we should never euthanize an animal …
    We’re not going to arrive at what the consultant wishes to have, which is no kill.

    Hmm, paranoid much, Ron? That nefarious-sounding “playbook” he and his staff are referring to is a list of suggestions on Winograd’s web site for people who want their local animal shelters to adopt a no-kill policy. Moreover, the county does strive for “no-kill.” That doesn’t literally mean that no animals are euthanized—rather, it means that no healthy, adoptable animals should be. Interestingly, the definition onf “adoptable” generally excludes pit bulls—a breed that makes up the vast majority of the dogs at the shelter.

    Sims has been a bit of a loose cannon lately—railing against light rail, endorsing Republican Port of Seattle commissioner Bob Edwards (who was defeated by Gael Tarlton), advocating that the county sell off Boeing Field to the Port in exchange for a rail corridor with lower value—so it’s not exactly surprising to hear him making statements that are a little off the wall. But defending conditions that, at the very least, may be unsafe for animals by sticking your head in the sand and pointing fingers at the consultant—well, that’s just cuckoo. Not to mention bad politics.

    (King County council member Dow Constantine is hosting a town hall meeting on the shelter issue in Burien April 14).

    Teachers Unions Vs. The State

    posted by on March 28 at 3:48 PM

    Teachers’ unions across the state—fed up with the WASL, growing class sizes and funding problems—may be moving towards issuing votes of no confidence in Terry Bergeson, Washington’s Superintendent of Public Instruction.

    Over the next two months, teachers unions in Seattle, Edmonds, Bremerton, Issaquah, Bellevue, Lake Stevens, and Shoreline—among others—will vote on Bergeson, who has held the superintendent position for the last 12 years.

    According to Seattle Education Association President Wendy Kimball, the union has repeatedly pushed to reshape the WASL and hiring problems, which Bergeson—one of the architects of the dreaded WASL—has ignored. “{T]he vast majority of [teachers] have very negative positions about the WASL,” Kimball says. “Teachers recognize the need to be accountable [but] this particular test has implications attached to it. It’s high stakes.”

    Kimball says SEA—the biggest union in the state—could vote on a motion in May.

    Bergeson was unavailable for comment.


    posted by on March 28 at 3:36 PM

    Via Americablog.

    Get Crashed

    posted by on March 28 at 3:26 PM


    Throwing a sweet party this weekend? Get it in the paper! Email the specifics to and give your party the attention it deserves.

    Chop Suey, Neumo’s Get Told to Turn it Down

    posted by on March 28 at 3:23 PM

    Around 10:30 pm last night, the cops showed up to Chop Suey and told Club Pop, a bi-weekly 18+ electronic and rock music dance night, that they were being too loud. They turned it down a bit, but it creeped back up, and at around 12:30, 15 minutes into the set of their headliner Tim Sweeney, the cops showed up again and demanded that they turn it down. When they complied, many patrons left.

    Read more on Line Out.

    Headline of the Day

    posted by on March 28 at 3:05 PM

    “Man Shooting Hole Through Wall Kills Wife.”

    This Week on Drugs

    posted by on March 28 at 2:55 PM

    Charged and Seized: As you may recall, a police officer in Lima, Ohio shot and killed Tarika Wilson in January while she was holding her baby during a drug raid. The cop has been charged. Also in Lima, police have confiscated a couple’s life savings of $400,000—for possessing a small amount of marijuana. The couple had called the cops after fending off two burglars from their home.

    Nixed: No plea agreement for Canadian seed trafficker.

    Pardoned: Bush releases non-violent drug offender.

    Halfway There: New Hampshire pot decriminalization bill stalls in state senate.

    Gov. Patterson: Used pot and cocaine.

    Guilty: Oakland pot candy maker pleads.

    Not Guilty: Texas jury dismisses marijuana charges.

    Jurors deliberated less than 15 minutes Tuesday before reaching a not guilty verdict for Tim Stevens, 53, whose attorney used the defense that marijuana use was a necessity to treat nausea and vomiting. County attorney Scott Brumley called the verdict “unfortunate.”

    Stevens, who was diagnosed with HIV in 1986, suffers from nausea and cyclical vomiting syndrome, a condition so severe that it has required hospitalization and blood transfusions in the past.

    Rick Steves: Smart on drugs.

    Superskunk Me: 30 days on reefer.

    More Stable than the US: That drug haven called the Netherlands.

    Supreme Court: To consider search and consent.

    In Sports News:

    A 24-year-old South Kitsap man — and self-proclaimed Seattle Seahawks fan — was arrested Sunday for allegedly spitting on the hamburger he prepared for a man wearing Pittsburgh Steelers attire, according to Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office reports.

    He was booked into the Kitsap County jail for fourth-degree assault and possession of marijuana and released.

    Lindsay Lohan says Death to the Pigs

    posted by on March 28 at 2:28 PM

    I must admit, I’m pretty psyched about this.

    The Manson Girls were h.o.t.


    There Will be Feathers

    posted by on March 28 at 2:15 PM


    From the Internet:

    DATE: Saturday March 29th RAIN OR SHINE. Don’t be a wimp ;-) TIME: 3:15pm PLACE: Pike Place Market, corner of Pike and Pine. In the street, in front of the place that throws the fish.

    A car will be blocking traffic so that we can safely fight in the street. Because we’ll be stopping traffic the fight will be pretty short. (I’ve choreographed this so no one will get stuck behind the fight. Don’t worry.)


    - TELL EVERYONE ABOUT THE FIGHT. Bring as many people as you possibly can. A big fight is a GREAT fight!
    - CONCEAL YOUR PILLOW! Hide it in a backpack, a shopping bag, under your coat, etc. DO NOT go to the fight location and hang out with a pillow in your hand. Look busy: Pretend to shop, chat on the phone or with a friend, whatever, just don’t be obvious. (If you see someone hanging out, with pillow in hand, discreetly suggest that they look busy and try to hide the pillow)
    - LISTEN FOR THE WHISTLE. I’ll have to create a diversion in the street to allow the car to stop for us and give the cars that were in front of it time to move down the street to give us enough room to have the fight. Don’t just start fighting because you see me in the street.
    - After 3 minutes, I’ll blow the whistle again to stop the fight. STOP FIGHTING IMMEDIATELY AND WALK AWAY. Just like nothing ever happened ;-)

    **AFTERMATH GATHERING at The Whiskey Bar (just in time for happy hour!) 2000 Second Ave. Bring cash if you want to drink, because they don’t accept credit cards.

    Bring Friends, Tell people
    Conceal Your Pillow
    Don’t Hit Anyone Without a Pillow (Very important!!! )
    Watch Out for Cameras

    —If you come with a group, it’s helpful to spread out before the fight and come running from different directions—

    Many of you in the comments suggested that you wish you could tell off the pillow-fighters after the last time, when a cleanup was necessary due to all the feathers. Now’s your chance.

    When was There “Normalcy” in Iraq?

    posted by on March 28 at 2:11 PM

    So, I don’t get it. Was Bush trying to reclaim President Warren G. Harding’s infamous dunce cap oratory as a slap at us cosmopolitan anti-war elitists when he hauled out the “normalcy” is returning to Iraq quote yesterday.

    And when exactly were things normal in Iraq in George Bush’s world view?

    When the U.S. had to enforce a no-fly zone and sanctions in the 90s?

    When Saddam was stalking us with WMDs? [sic]

    When Saddam was working with Al Qaeda? [sic]

    When Jay Garner was in control? [sic]

    When Halliburton was getting sweetheart deals?

    When there was no electricity?

    When Paul Bremer was in control? [sic]

    When U.S. contractors were burned and hung in Fallujah?


    When Ahmed Chalabi was our main ally?

    In Abu Ghraib?

    When Zarqawi and al Qaeda in Iraq were running suicide bombings in places like Qahtaniya?

    When U.S. military freelnacer Blackwater was shooting up civilians?

    When the U.S. military killed civilians in Haditha?

    When Turkey attacked the Kurds in northern Iraq?

    Or is it today’s total blow-up which comes one day after Bush’s pronouncement?

    Footnote 1: It’s fitting for Bush to hook up with Harding. From his DOJ scandals to his oil industry giveaways (Teapot Dome), Harding’s string of doofus scandals have unfortunate similarities to Bush’s reign of error.

    Footnote 2: After Harding delivered his “normalcy” speech in 1920, critics agreed on a definition: A return to a time that never was.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on March 28 at 2:07 PM


    From LookatLao

    King County Prosecutors Drop Charges in Gay-Bashing Case

    posted by on March 28 at 2:01 PM

    The King County Prosecutor’s Office has dropped charges against Matthew Oly and Bryan Krieger, who were accused of harassing and threatening Marcus Wilson—the former manager of the Pony nightclub—on Capitol Hill last September.

    According to King County Deputy Prosecutor Mike Hogan, Krieger’s attorney presented prosecutors with another potential suspect. Wilson was unable to positively identify whether or not the third suspect was involved in the incident, and prosecutors decided they’d have trouble making their case. Additionally, Krieger passed a polygraph test about his involvement in the gay-bashing.

    According to Hogan, the prosecutors have apologized to Oly and Krieger. “[The] fear as a prosecutor, of falsely charging somebody, is always in the back of your mind,” he says. “We told [Oly and Krieger] that if that’s what happened, we apologize. We’re not interested in convicting people that didn’t do it.” Hogan also says he dropped a related drug charge against Oly because “[the case] was never about drugs.”

    There Is No Morality Without Religion

    posted by on March 28 at 1:45 PM

    A pastor whose disappearance from a small town in upstate New York triggered a search by police and the FBI was found earlier today inside an Ohio strip club. Police said that when the Rev. Craig S. Rhodenizer, 46, was confronted by an officer, he began crying and said he couldn’t remember anything about the 36 hours he was missing.

    But dancers at the club remembered Rhodenizer. They told investigators that Rhodenizer spent two hours drinking, soliciting dances and making threatening comments. He also said he wanted to take the dancers back to his motel, according to the police report. In his car was a bottle of Bacardi rum.

    Internal Monologue on Where to Eat Lunch

    posted by on March 28 at 1:33 PM

    Boom Noodle sounds tempting, but I’m always a little disappointed when I eat the food and a little mad when I get the check.

    I wish we had a Samurai Ramen up here.

    I guess I could go to Ballet again. But I don’t know if I can face another goddamned chicken curry. Maybe I should dine and dash, just so I get 86’d and never have to argue with myself about whether to eat lunch there ever again.

    [Eats a stale almond from desk drawer. Fade to black.]

    Where’s That Nail Gun When You Need It?

    posted by on March 28 at 1:22 PM

    A 70-year-old woman’s dog was killed by a pitbull in Inver Grove Heights. Margaret Johnston was walking her miniature Schnauzer along with her 2-year-old grandson when the white pit bull mix came up from behind them and attacked her dog.

    The Schnauzer was killed in the attack and once the pit bull was separated from the Schnauzer, it went after Johnston. Johnston got bitten and her and the pit bull rolled down a hill. Johnston was able to punch the dog several times and the dog ran away.

    No Fun Home

    posted by on March 28 at 1:14 PM

    Here’s a news story about a group trying to get Alison Bechdel’s comic book memoir Fun Home banned from their school:

    The issue is with Fun Home, a book assigned for reading in a mid-level English class at the University of Utah. The class introduces students to different literary genres. In the case of Fun Home, it’s told in the style of a comic book. The story centers around the author as she comes to terms with her own and her father’s homosexuality.

    Drawings depicting sex acts are included in the 230 page novel. A student in the class was offended and approached the group “No More Pornography,” which made headlines earlier this year when it staged a successful protest of music videos shown a gym in Provo. The group has started an online petition in protest of the book.

    Here is No More Pornography’s home page, with links to a petition with 111 signatures, demanding that the University pulls Fun Home.

    Now, I’ve read Fun Home. I liked Fun Home a lot. And there is no way that anybody without an Alison Bechdel fetish would be able to masturbate successfully to Fun Home. The sexual content is mostly on the subject of repression and self-loathing. If you look at the news story’s comments, it becomes pretty clear that the real issue isn’t with the sex, but the fact that the book portrays homosexuals as humans. Some comments:

    Beware of the pornification and homosexualization of our culture!


    You are a pathetic excuse for a complex organism. If “growing up” is accepting immoral behavior and same-sex attraction and the like, then you and I are living in different worlds and it’s time for you to wake up, grab the next bus out, [of Utah] and never turn back.

    Let me tell you what my version of “growing up” is. It is facing the statistics and facts that homo’s, lesbi’s, and “sexually diverse” people cannot help perpetuate the cycle of human life. In fact, that way of life is contrary to what is “natural” and, since you are so religious, contrary to what God intended. Nuts and bolts my friend; male and female. NOT bolts and bolts or nuts and nuts. Very unproductive, unnatural, and useless. You don’t have to be LDS to figure that one out genius.

    Second, do I want my children to be as open-minded as you? Do I want my children growing up thinking pornography is ok, and valueing virtue and staying moral is a thing of the past and unacceptable? Do I want my children to grow up becoming rapists or child molestors or hermits watching playboy because they can’t get enough? Not in a million years. Look at the studies; look at the numbers. You are living in a dream-world and are deceiving yourself.

    The Mormons prove to be just as classy as I’ve always known them to be.

    The Weather Outside Is Frightful

    posted by on March 28 at 12:20 PM

    It’s snowing.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on March 28 at 12:15 PM

    First rule of Cougar Camp is you DO NOT talk about Cougar Camp…

    From YouTube csudduth

    Return to Sweet Valley

    posted by on March 28 at 12:06 PM

    I read this young adult bookblog more because I like the writer and she’s from my home state of Maine than because I’m interested in young adult books. But today she has a brief review of the upcoming relaunch of the Sweet Valley High series that piqued my interest. Important bit:

    the Wakefield twins are no longer “a perfect size six”, now they’re (get ready…) “a perfect size four

    Plasma from Grapes

    posted by on March 28 at 11:43 AM

    Plasma: Matter’s favorite form since the big bang.

    Please don’t do this unless you are prepared for death, injury or massive financial loss.

    Starbucks CEO to Cheated Baristas: Drop Dead

    posted by on March 28 at 11:26 AM

    The PI reports

    Starbucks won’t pay back barista tips

    Thousands of Starbucks employees got a personal message from their upset boss, who said the company was being “grossly mischaracterized” in the media over a recent tip pool controversy that could cost the company more than $100 million.

    So, Charles Manson Called Me Last Night

    posted by on March 28 at 11:12 AM

    This was left on my voicemail, re: my cop feature

    This is how we reduce the police murder rate in Seattle. You know, where the cops kill people? Yeah. We reduce the numbers of the police down to the point where al they could focus on were major crime and leave the homeless alone. Now what else we’ve got in Seattle that’s now de-funded under the Nazis—you know Bush is a Nazi? I don’t know if you white boys with the glasses know that or not, worshiping Bill Gates, but anyways—we got a harm reduction system in the public health system that is right now de-funded. Look up street outreach services and remember this: as soon as we had the damn thing going, they took all the resources into the prison system and left the homeless out there swinging in the breeze again so that you could sit there and, you know, flay their corpses a little bit. See you now, motherfucker.

    “See you now, motherfucker,” is my new email signature.

    Today in Sally Kern

    posted by on March 28 at 11:08 AM

    The now-infamous Oklahoma state rep Sally Kern spoke at a meeting of the University of Central Oklahoma’s College Republicans last night. Despite the College Republicans best efforts to keep homos and protesters out of their little hatefest (“This event is open to College Republicans and those with a conservative ideology only. Protesters will not be tolerated.”), homos and protesters showed up anyway—including gay blogger and Oklahoma City resident Michael Heaton.

    She did not mention the “homosexual agenda” or even say the word “gay” during her speech, and instead focused on how, in her words, our system of government is founded on Christianity and a biblical world view, thus we need leaders and laws that reflect this reality. It was an oblique way of arriving at her previous conclusions, though in a far less incendiary manner….

    The best stuff was during the Q&A when she called those who did not believe in Christianity “infidels,” and [said] that Islam is a real danger to America because Christianity is the only path to salvation, and that if we doubted the “Homosexual lifestyle” was bad for people’s health, all we had to do was look at the CDC website. Likewise, If we doubted that gays are indoctrinating kids in school, just Google search “homosexual agenda” and behold the proof that pops up. Additionally, she really did seem to lay it on Islam rather hard tonight, even though she couldn’t even pronounce the word “Sharia.” I had to help her out with that one from the audience.

    It seems to me that Kern’s comments from the start have been just as anti-Islam as they have been anti-gay. But besides one small mention on CAIR’s website, I can’t find much push back from the America’s Muslim community. Where, as they say, is the outrage?

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on March 28 at 11:00 AM

    Conflict of Interest

    ‘Answered Prayers and Other Tragedies’ at Richard Hugo House

    You’d think I could tell you what’s going to happen at tonight’s Hugo Literary Series event, considering that Sherman Alexie, Michelle Tea, and David Schmader all have close ties to The Stranger (Alexie and Schmader have weekly columns, Tea is a sometime contributor), but Alexie’s being very quiet about what he’s going to read and Tea and Schmader refused to answer the question on Hugo House’s website. Mysterious. There will also be a reading by Hugo House New Works Competition winner Ben Blum and music by Stranger Associate Editor Emeritus Sean Nelson. (Town Hall Seattle, 1119 Eighth Ave, 322-7030, 7:30 pm, $15 students/seniors, $25 general.)


    Context, Context

    posted by on March 28 at 10:56 AM

    You’d think more of the current round of articles about the violence in Basra would pause to mention that the British largely withdrew from the city in August and have so far refused to reassert themselves.

    It’s never so easy as “troops out now,” eh?

    The World’s Easiest News Quiz

    posted by on March 28 at 10:54 AM


    Who said what about the shit going down in Iraq? (It’s sad how easy this will be.)

    a) “Normalcy is returning back to Iraq.”

    b) “Knowing that exports will continue as normal would bring some relief to people’s minds. We might see further downside when the U.S. is trading later today.”

    c) “[I want] everyone to pursue political solutions and peaceful protests and a stop to the shedding of Iraqi blood.”

    Click on the names to find the quotes.

    1. Muqtada al-Sadr.

    2. George W. “Positive Moment” Bush.

    3. Veronica Smart, British energy analyst.


    posted by on March 28 at 10:42 AM

    A deeper look into Guede’s recent claim about Amanda Knox being at home at the time of the murder makes him more guilty of the crime than Knox. For one, it’s the most foolish statement he could have made. It contains no sense, and it sounds as if he is purely making up things. Now, if Amanda had actually been in the room when Meredith was murdered, why does Guede need to make shit up? If he wants to incriminate Amanda, why not say exactly what happened that night? If she was there, this would be an easy thing to do. But instead Guede is saying fantastic things like: “I heard Amanda at the doorway.” Such a claim is made from the stuff of air.

    That said, Amanda’s family has hired the worst publicity agent, David Marriott, to improve Amanda’s public image. He writes rough letters to the press, calls everyone who is not on Amanda’s side wrong or stupid or unprofessional. (Does he communicate with European journalists in this way? If so, I feel sorry for Amanda’s parents. They have no idea of the kind of damage he is doing overseas.)

    David Marriott, it’s not a matter of bullying reporters to take your side on an issue that is as convoluted Meredith’s murder; it’s a matter of being there when the press needs real information, and keeping Amanda’s family in a friendly light. At present, you sound desperate and like an ugly American.

    Checkout this terrible press release:

    Information being attributed to Rudy Guede regarding the investigation into the murder of Meredith Kercher is impossible to believe. There is no evidence to support his suggestion that Amanda and Raffaele Sollecito were present when Meredith was murdered. Guede lacks credibility just as his current statement lacks credibility.

    We find it quite interesting that this information comes forward just a few days before a Supreme Court hearing in Rome to determine whether or not Amanda should continue to be held in the Le Capanne jail in Perugia.

    Guede said before that he did not see Amanda and Rafaelle that night, and is now telling a different story.

    We know that Amanda is innocent. There is no evidence against her, and we await her release.

    What’s wrong with this letter? For one, Amanda changed her story several times, too. Which changes are we now supposed to believe? Why should we believe Amanda’s changes instead of Guede’s? Because the statement is written as if Amanda did not change her story, it has about it a ring of arrogance: it accuses another person of doing precisely what has been done by the accuser. (This kind of arrogance characterizes American foreign policy.) More sensitivity to the past (and more sensitivity in general) would help rather than harm Amanda’s case.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on March 28 at 10:36 AM


    Three readings going on around town tonight, including a whopping conflict of interest.

    First, downstairs at Town Hall, there’s Eric Alterman, with his book Why We’re Liberals. In general, I find Alterman to be insufferably pandering, but Christ on a pogo stick, look at this book cover! Erica Barnett pointed it out to me last week: Alterman standing in the middle of a swarm of people including Martin Luther King Jr, JFK and RFK, Abraham Lincoln, Jesus Christ (sans pogo stick,) and a surprisingly vertical and strong-looking FDR (I guess there’s no Polio in Liberal Heaven.) I’m totally judging this book by its cover, I know, but did anyone at the publisher suggest that maybe this was a bad idea?

    Up at Open Books, Sebastian Matthews is reading from his new and lovely book of poems, titled We Generous. One poem from the book begins with the line: “Bears have been following me around again.” If you’re strapped for cash, this one is free and looks like a good time.

    Finally comes the complete and utter conflict of interest: At the larger upstairs room in Town Hall, the Hugo House is presenting “Answered Prayers and Other Tragedies,” in which three authors read new work. The authors are Stranger employee and Last Days columnist David Schmader, who is even funnier in real life than he is on paper, which is really saying something; current Stranger Sonics Death Watch columnist Sherman Alexie, who is one of the best readers of his own work that I’ve ever seen; and Stranger contributor Michelle Tea, who is a good and adventurous writer and also a very good performer. All three will be performing original work based around the theme, which is “Answered Prayers and Other Tragedies.” There will also be original music by Stranger writer Sean Nelson, but I’ll leave that conflict of interest to the music folks over at Line Out.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is here.

    The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

    posted by on March 28 at 10:30 AM

    Remember the man whose girlfriend sat on the toilet of their mobile home so long her skin grafted to the seat and required surgical removal? The man charged last week with misdemeanor mistreatment of a dependent adult for allowing his girlfriend to sit on the toilet of their mobile home so long her skin grafted to the seat and required surgical removal?

    He’s been arrested again—this time for allegedly exposing his junk to a neighbor’s teenage daughter and her friends.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on March 28 at 10:30 AM


    Rashid Johnson’s The New Negro Escapist Social and Athletic Club (Thurgood) (2008), lambda print, 69 by 55.5 inches

    At Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery in New York, where Carrie E.A. Scott, director of James Harris Gallery in Seattle for the last two years, will become director soon, therefore leaving Seattle. Congratulations, Ms. E Period, A Period. For the rest of us, regrets all around.

    Casey Endorses Obama

    posted by on March 28 at 10:25 AM

    Sen. Bob Casey beat Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum by nearly 20 points in Pennsylvania—and today Casey endorsed Barack Obama.

    In Other Tick, Tick, Ticks

    posted by on March 28 at 10:21 AM

    From the New York Times

    The anti-Islam Dutch politician Geert Wilders on Thursday released on the Internet his highly charged and much-anticipated anti-Koran film, which matches graphic images of terrorist attacks and death threats against Jews by Muslim extremists with verses of the Muslim holy book.

    The English-language version of Fitna here.

    A.I.: Asshole Intelligence

    posted by on March 28 at 10:13 AM

    In the future, robots will be crawling up your ass. Seriously.

    As if the idea of colonoscopies didn’t sound uncomfortable enough, now researchers are developing self-propelling probes that crawl inside the colon and grip its sides with the aid of sticky films.

    Still, these slithery devices could lead to better, safer, more comfortable colonoscopies to help uncover cancerous polyps.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on March 28 at 10:00 AM

    We’ve got a three-fer, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to Marquette Manor Baptist Church in Illinois:

    A former Downers Grove church youth minister was sentenced to 4 years in prison Thursday for sexually assaulting an underage female student. Edward E. Greene, 38, of Asheboro, N.C., pleaded guilty Thursday in DuPage County Circuit Court to criminal sexual assault while in a position of trust with the girl, who was 13 to 17 years old when she attended Marquette Manor Baptist Church and its school in Downers Grove….

    Similar charges are still pending against John Puga, 36, of Aurora, a former youth basketball coach at the school charged with sexually assaulting an underage female church member…. A third man, Frank Stima, 64, a former church deacon who now lives in Washington state, pleaded guilty in 2006 to criminal sexual abuse of an underage female and was sentenced to 2 years’ probation.

    So at one church—Marquette Manor Baptist in Downers Grove—three different men were sexually assaulting underage girls. One church. And unlike a restaurant that accidentally poisoned a handful of diners, Marquette Manor Baptist is still open for business. According to the church’s website, members of Marquette Manor Baptist seek “to exalt the name of Jesus Christ in everything we do”—really? everything? even child rape?—and visitors are encouraged to “get a feel for what goes on at Marquette.” Thanks but no thanks, Marquette.

    End Games

    posted by on March 28 at 9:50 AM

    My column this week:


    Hillary Clinton may be on track to win the Pennsylvania primary on April 22, but along the way to that contest she is losing something essential: the willingness of Democrats, political journalists, and opinion leaders to continue suspending their disbelief about the possibilities of her campaign.

    More and more people are saying the obvious: It takes a kind of departure from reality usually reserved for movie theaters in order to imagine that this adventure really ends with Clinton winning the Democratic nomination.

    She is behind in fundraising. She is behind in the popular vote. She is behind in the delegate count. She would need an extraordinarily large—and therefore extraordinarily unlikely—margin of victory in Pennsylvania in order to make any significant progress in closing any of those gaps.

    The math is simply not on her side, and winning the Democratic nomination is not about a series of those now-familiar “Clinton comeback” moments interspersed with repeated stretches of Clinton defeat. It is, in the end, about math: adding up enough delegates to win.

    Which Obama is in the process of doing. Not Clinton.

    Comments from a local precinct delegate who is switching (in despair and disgust) from Clinton to Obama, plus some push-back from a local Clinton fan and some news from Sen. Maria Cantwell, when the column continues.

    Only Serial Adulterers Need Apply

    posted by on March 28 at 9:24 AM

    Rudy Giuliani is contemplating a run for governor of New York. I’m thinking he may be overqualified—but only on the adultery front.

    Will the Right-Wing Attack Machine Attack…

    posted by on March 28 at 9:21 AM

    Condoleezza Rice for getting Barack Obama’s back?

    Condoleezza Rice today entered the race debate that has been a simmering undercurrent of the presidential campaign when she said it had been “important” for Barack Obama to give his landmark speech on race and defended the patriotism of African Americans.

    The US secretary of state also decried the “birth defect” of slavery that she said has left Americans struggling to confront racism. “Africans and Europeans came here and founded this country together - Europeans by choice and Africans in chains,” Rice told the Washington Times. “That’s not a very pretty reality of our founding.”

    She declined to comment directly on the presidential campaign in the Times interview, but strongly defended the patriotism of African Americans. Video clips of Barack Obama’s former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, shouting, “God damn America,” ignited the race row that has been dominating the Democratic presidential race. Conservatives have also accused Obama and his wife, Michelle, of displaying insufficient love for the country.

    “What I would like understood as a black American is that black Americans loved and had faith in this country even when this country didn’t love and have faith in them - and that’s our legacy,” Rice said.

    And I hadn’t heard this…

    Rice’s success drew heated criticism in 2003 from Reverend Wright, who dubbed her “Condoskeeza” in a sermon.

    “For every one Colin Powell, a millionaire, you’ve got 10m blacks who cannot read,” Wright said at the time. “For every one Condoskeeza Rice, you’ve got 1m in prison.”

    Dumb Enforcement Administration

    posted by on March 28 at 9:14 AM

    Well, I guess you could call this progress:

    The Drug Enforcement Administration is losing more guns but fewer laptops than it was about five years ago, the Justice Department’s inspector general said Friday.

    Morning News

    posted by on March 28 at 8:55 AM

    Iraq: Stepping in to aid Iraqi forces, U.S. bombs Basra in attempt to take city from Shiite forces.

    Pennsylvania: Sen. Casey endorses Obama in run up to April 22 primary.

    The Economy: Despite all the other lousy economic indicators, inflation ticks down and income rose slightly.

    A Bad Sign: North Korea test fires missiles during disarmament talks.

    Tibet: Dalai Lama says he is not a separatist, chastises Chinese media.

    Withdrawing from Iraq: The Media.

    Pliers, Nipple Rings, Civil Rights: TSA forces woman to remove nipple rings before boarding flight.

    Tick, Tick, Tick

    posted by on March 28 at 8:41 AM

    Slate launches the Hillary Clinton Deathwatch.

    Hillary Clinton is as good as dead. This became the consensus over the past week, when the media awoke en masse to the dual reality that 1) Clinton can’t close the pledged-delegate gap and 2) Obama has her beat in the popular vote. But the Clinton campaign shows no signs of slowing—she said herself she’s prepared to compete for at least three more months. So the question now is not just “How dead is she?” but “When will she realize it?”

    In the tradition of Slate’s Saddameter (gauging the likelihood of invading Iraq), the Clintometer (measuring the chances of a Lewinsky-related ousting), and the Gonzo-meter (charting the attorney general’s demise), we bring you the Hillary Deathwatch, a daily update on Hillary Clinton’s dwindling chances of winning the Democratic nomination.

    Slate puts Hillary’s chances of winning the nomination at 12%—unfair? Those odds are better than the odds given by a Clinton campaign staffer last week. But Clinton is threatening to stay in the race for another three months—because, hey, if this mehadist can’t have the White House, no one can.

    Well, no other Democrat can.

    Now That’s a Lede

    posted by on March 28 at 7:20 AM

    Some ledes write themselves:

    A New Zealand man who claimed he was raped by a wombat and that the experience left him speaking with an Australian accent has been found guilty of wasting police time.

    Dead and Deader

    posted by on March 28 at 6:29 AM

    A very proper BBC news presenter gets an uncontrollable case of the giggles—while reading an obituary.

    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    No, In Fact, They Wouldn’t.

    posted by on March 27 at 10:28 PM

    The Eiffel Tower goes untouched.

    Eugenics and You

    posted by on March 27 at 6:16 PM

    In unrelated news, the new Dear Science podcast, on eugenics, is up.

    Just Let the Terrorists Try to Steal Our Dreams!

    posted by on March 27 at 5:19 PM

    Via Warren Ellis: The Quantum Sleeper, The world’s first terrorist-proof bed! It’s bulletproof, comes with a rebreather and toilet system, and is perfect for sleeping off biological warfare. It’s apparently not available yet, but they estimate that it’ll cost about $135,000. Says the website:

    It can also be fitted to provide protection from destructive forces of nature such as tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods.

    The Quantum Sleeper is the ultimate in protection, entertainment and communications, “ ALL ROLLED UP IN ONE”.

    With this unit you don’t have to run to a “Safe Room”, you’re already in it.

    I was thinking that this might be a hoax, and I guess it might still be, but here’s the Google Patent Page.

    But What Will The Children Play With If We Take All Their Lead Toys Away?

    posted by on March 27 at 5:17 PM


    So apparently, Governor Christine Gregoire may veto a law restricting the amount of lead, cadmium, and softening chemicals called pthalates in children’s toys. The new law would make Washington State’s toy standards the strictest in the country.

    According to the Seattle P-I’s (insanely pro-industry) story:

    Gregoire said that she met with Mattel and Hasbro officials and took their concerns to heart. She said she had been unaware of some restrictions established with the legislation.

    As to whether she’d sign the bill, she said Wednesday morning: “I don’t know yet.” […]

    “A lot of things in the law are very ill-defined,” Wahl said. “It doesn’t really define very clearly what a toy is or what a child is, which seem to be important, and a lot of the things that we sell might fall under the category of the law.”

    The Sigmund Freud action figure, for example, likely wouldn’t appeal to an 8-year-old. The store does sell kid-friendly jars of bubbles, sewn-finger puppets and winking plastic rings.

    “We are extremely active in making sure everything we have meets the federal product safety standard, but we think it’s a well intentioned law that’s going to have unintended consequences,” Wahl said.

    “Washington state accounts for less than 2 percent of all toys sold in the United States. What will happen is a lot of the small- and medium-sized companies will just decide it’s cheaper to not sell to Washington state,” he said. “A lot of the companies will choose not to sell to us and if we decide to do the testing ourselves, we have 10,000 items in our store, it would cost about $5 million a year do that. It’s about $500 per test.”

    Huh? Seriously, it’s like the P-I’s reporter didn’t even bother reading the bill—I really don’t know how you could and still think the language is somehow vague. From the bill itself:

    “Toy” means a product designed or intended by the manufacturer to be used by a child at play.

    There are also several lengthy definitions of children’s products, but all of them include the following phrase:

    made for, marketed for use by, or marketed to children under the age of twelve

    Moreover, the legislation applies only to companies that produce toys. They’re the ones who have to test them, not the seller. Most of the toys sold by Archie McPhee—including the Sigmund Freud figure cited by the reporter (see below)—are made by other companies. Really, the only people that might be hurt by this legislation are toy manufacturers that market toxic products to children.

    And you know what? Fuck them. The P-I story doesn’t manage, in more than 1200 words, to explain any of the specific problems caused by the chemicals the legislation would restrict, so allow me. Phthalates can disrupt kids’ metabolisms, damage their endocrine systems, and lead to sexual malformations such as decreased testicle size and “feminization” in boys. They can also damage children’s developing nervous systems. Cadmium, meanwhile, is a known carcinogen that’s associated with developmental problems, including delayed sensory-motor development, hormonal effects, and behavioral changes. And lead exposure causes learning and developmental problems and damages children’s nervous systems. Right now, the state regulates none of these toxins.

    As for the argument that banning toxic chemicals in children’s toys will put manufacturers and sellers out of business: The European Union actually banned phthalates outright eight years ago, and toy manufacturers—most of them based in China—adapted. Now they produce phthalate-free toys for the European market, and phthalate-laced toys for us.

    Come on, Gregoire. A Republican governor signed a total, statewide ban on phthalates last year. Surely the Democratic governor of Washington State should have the political backbone to do the same.

    (Commenters have pointed out that the Freud action figure is made by Archie McPhee’s parent company. Fair enough. I still don’t think kids should be playing with it if it’s full of lead.)

    Justice is Served

    posted by on March 27 at 4:20 PM

    Bear Stearns CEO sells his shares of Bear Stearns for $61.3 million. I love it when a plan comes together.

    The Very Thin Blue Line

    posted by on March 27 at 3:50 PM

    I’ve got a feature in this week’s paper about the Seattle Police Department’s recruiting troubles.

    I’ve already gotten a few emails from officers, who seem to appreciate what I wrote. One of them even takes some of the statistical breakdowns a bit further, and describes a sort of “nightmare” scenario, which shows how overtaxed the department is in certain parts of town.

    I am a SPD officer and I must say, “Well done!” My colleagues and I are delighted to see you have brought this issue to light. With all the negative press lately, a less than desirable administration and a City Council that doesn’t support us, the moral of the patrol officers is low. No wonder departments like Lakewood PD and Renton PD can so easily lure officers away!

    As a police officer, all we want the citizens of Seattle to know is that we try our best to work hard and keep them safe. We, too, would like to see certain “problem areas” be cleaned up. But how can we better serve the public when there aren’t even enough of us to even keep each other safe?

    Your article mentions that there are 1,307 sworn officer positions. Almost half of which are detectives or officers working in specialty units. Those officers, though they are sworn and carry guns, do not answer 911 calls. Which means there are even LESS police on the streets at any given time.

    It is not rare for there to only be 9 or 10 officers working between the hours of 3am-noon in the West Precinct….which covers Magnolia, Queen Anne, South Lake Union, Belltown, Pine/Pike, International District, Pioneer Square and SoDo.

    Here’s what happens when only 10 officers cover all these neighborhoods:

    - A simple 2-car accident may tie up three officers (one to investigate, two for traffic). Now you have only 7 officers.
    - A fight breaks out somewhere around the bus stops on 3rd Ave. Two officers respond and investigate. Now you have 5 officers.
    - A suspect receiving medical care at Haborview needs to be guarded by one officer. Now you have 4 officers.
    - It starts to rain and there’s an accident on the Viaduct. Two officers respond. Now you have 2 officers.
    - Those two officers just wait for the next high-priority/life-or-death call to come out.

    And that’s why it takes 45+ minutes for officers to respond to a low-priority (but important, none the less) call about underage kids smoking and drinking.

    SPD is in a sad state. And it’s only getting worse with 40-50 officers currently in the hiring process to make lateral moves to other departments. The people who suffer are the citizens. They get sub-par police services and have to live and deal with life among cracked out zombies and gang-bangers. Now you know why only 15% of SPD officers actually live in the city!

    So, cops and councilmembers seem to appreciate what I wrote, but the only feedback we’ve gotten directly from the department came from SPD Chief Gil Kerlikowske, who called our office this afternoon to contest a stat in my piece.

    I wrote:

    As the city continues to pump money into the department’s budget to hire more officers, experienced cops are walking out the door. Last year, SPD lost 46 officers to other departments.

    Due to an editing snafu, that stat is a bit misleading. The department did indeed lose 46 officers total last year, but it should have more clearly stated that only about 10 of those were transfers.

    We asked Kerlikowske what he’d thought of the rest of the article. He “never made it all the way through it.”

    Top-Two Primary

    posted by on March 27 at 3:21 PM

    Yesterday I posted this, arguing that the new top-two primary could make life difficult for U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-7), particularly now that he’s looking a little silly.

    I should add to the list of now-uncomfortable, formerly invulnerable Democrats, KC Executive Ron Sims whose “maverick” views on light rail among other recent flights may set him up as a target too.

    Fucking Towers in the Goddamned Park

    posted by on March 27 at 3:15 PM

    When will this idea die?

    In the comments thread of almost every Boom post I write, regardless of the development at hand, Will in Seattle remarks that what Seattle really needs are 100-story residential towers to provide affordable housing. He’s also suggested they should be surrounded by green space.

    Sorry, Will, nothing personal, but towers surrounded by green space is one of the worst urban planning concepts ever conceived. Buildings 100 stories tall – parks or no parks – cost a ton of money. When subsidized to make low-income housing, towers have resulted in slums in the sky and urban decay on the ground—because people will choose to live in isolation when packed into dense artificial “communities.” Slog comment hero Fnarf, thankfully, has rebuked the notion again and again. I agree with Fnarf’s indictment over here, and I really love this one (even though it’s kinda mean) over here. The old idea, pushed by French architect Le Corbusier, is now widely discredited.

    But that doesn’t mean developers have stopped pushing towers in the park. New York’s MTA chose Tishman Speyer to develop the West Side railyards. The buildings aren’t quite 100 stories, but here’s the towers-in-the-park proposal.


    The NYT doesn’t mince words about the project today, in an article titled Profit and Public Good Clash in Grand Plans.

    Like the ground zero and Atlantic Yards fiascos, its overblown scale and reliance on tired urban planning formulas should force a serious reappraisal of the public-private partnerships that shape development in the city today. And in many ways the West Side railyards is the most disturbing of the three. Because of its size and location — 12.4 million square feet on 26 acres in Midtown — it will have the most impact on the city’s identity. Yet unlike the other two developments, it lacks even the pretense of architectural ambition….

    Rising on a vast platform to be built over the train tracks, the project is conceived as a series of soaring corporate and residential towers flanking the northern and southern ends of a narrow park running from 10th Avenue to the West Side Highway, between 30th and 33rd Streets….

    Designed by Murphy/Jahn, the buildings are a throwback to the days when corporate Modernism was taking its dying breaths. Towering glass blocks, their most original features are a series of deep cantilevers that allow the developer to suspend buildings over the High Line, the public park being built on a stretch of abandoned elevated tracks in Chelsea….

    The full article is over here.

    Also Reading Tonight

    posted by on March 27 at 3:03 PM


    Drew Friedman will be at the Fantagraphics Store in Georgetown tonight, for the opening reception of his The Fun Never Stops! show. Friedman has been doing comics for…lord, decades, now…and his strange, pointillism-ish/photorealistic-ish illustrations are always funny in a really unsettling kind of way, which is my favorite way to be amused. The reception is free.

    The reception and show is a celebration of Friedman’s newest Fantagraphics release, also titled The Fun Never Stops!, which is a much-deserved career retrospective. Even more importantly, last year, Friedman released the wonderful book Old Jewish Comedians, and this year saw the release of More Old Jewish Comedians. Both books are magical.


    A Nature Film About Zinedine Zidane

    posted by on March 27 at 2:58 PM


    Adam Sekuler, the programming director at Northwest Film Forum, introduced the 2006 documentary about Zinedine Zidane last week by describing it as a nature film about a footballer in his native habitat. He’s absolutely right. Zidane comes across as a creature on the prowl. He has a loping gait, characterized by mindless toe-tapping. He spits like he’s hissing, and he sweats profusely. When he breaks into a run, the camera struggles to follow his unpredictable motion. His stony expression changes only once the entire 95-minute film, into a smile directed at fellow player Ronaldo. Instead of following the ball, the film sets all cameras—17 of them—on Zidane, for the duration of a match that took place in Madrid on April 23, 2005. The cameras’ devotion to Zidane is total; it’s hard to figure out what’s going on in the game.

    The makers of “Zidane: A 21st-Century Portrait” are conceptual artists Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno. (Gordon’s earlier work includes “24-Hour Psycho,” in which he stretched the Hitchcock movie so it takes a full day to screen.) They weren’t the first to have the idea: In the 1970 movie “Football As Never Before,” which Northwest Film Forum is also screening this week, German director Hellmuth Costard trained eight cameras on the Northern Irish player George Best for a whole match.

    Best disappeared into alcoholic obscurity after the film about him was made. Zidane, on the other hand, a highly decorated French player of Algerian descent, exploded into worldwide infamy. In the 2006 World Cup final against Italy, seemingly out of the blue, Zidane headbutted Marco Materazzi in the chest, throwing the Italian player to the ground and provoking cries of “Why?” from French commentators. (Materazzi later admitted to insulting Zidane.) Zidane was kicked out of the game. He had already announced his retirement; this was his last act on the field. The French lost, 5-3, in a penalty shootout.

    In retrospect, “Zidane” becomes unintentionally loaded, like the mundane details of a school shooter’s life. It adds another dimension to an already complex portrayal—in which the halftime show is a montage of what else happened on the day of the filmed game on April 23, 2005, from the director’s son coming down with a fever to an Iraqi bombing at which a survivor is wearing a Zidane jersey—of Zidane as philosophical as well as animal. The few words that scroll silently across the screen are from interviews with him.

    “The game is not experienced or remembered in real time,” he says. Neither is the film, with its range of visual depth and its mesmerizing manipulations of the sounds in the stadium, its sonic zooms. It breaks through its only restriction—real time—and flows.

    The movie plays next weekend (April 4-6) at NWFF.

    Umm… I Don’t Get It

    posted by on March 27 at 2:50 PM

    I saw this in Ballard this week…


    (The text, if you can’t read it due to the crappy cell phone camera quality, says “Never ForgetTM.”)

    Can anyone enlighten me?

    Not Looking Good for Amanda

    posted by on March 27 at 2:48 PM

    For those keeping up with the story (or education) of Amanda Knox…
    …the big news is this:

    Rudy Guede, the Ivory Coast immigrant suspected of involvement in the murder of the British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia last November, has incriminated the two other suspects, Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, by telling police that they were also at the scene of the crime.

    Mr Guede is the only one of the three to have admitted he was at the whitewashed cottage on the evening of the murder, while insisting that he did not commit the murder. Ms Knox, an American student from Seattle who shared the cottage with Ms Kercher and two female Italian students, and Mr Sollecito, her Italian boyfriend, maintain they spent the evening and the night of the killing at his flat in Perugia.

    However Mr Guede, who was questioned for three hours yesterday, said he had seen both Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito at the cotttage. He told investigators that he had seen Ms Knox “at the door of the house” and that he had seen Mr Sollecito inside it brandishing a knife. He is reported to have given police a description of the clothes Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito were wearing.

    It was bound to happen. Now maybe some truth can come out of this mess, this maze, the haze of youth and madness.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on March 27 at 2:45 PM


    From ERIK98122

    Boy Scouts Evicted From City Owned Building…

    posted by on March 27 at 2:42 PM

    …In Philadelphia.

    For three years the Philadelphia council of the Boy Scouts of America held its ground. It resisted the city’s request to change its discriminatory policy toward gay people despite threats that if it did not do so, the city would evict the group from a municipal building where the Scouts have resided practically rent free since 1928.

    [T]alks ended this week when the deadline passed for the local chapter to change its policy; on June 1 the group will be evicted.

    “Since we were founded, we believe that open homosexuality would be inconsistent with the values that we want to communicate with our leaders,” said Gregg Shields, national spokesman for the Boy Scouts. “A belief in God is also mentioned in the Scout oath. We believe that those values are important. Tradition is important. Our mission is to instill those values in scouts and help them make good choices over their lifetimes.”

    What’s Happening

    posted by on March 27 at 2:32 PM

    As part of our site upgrade this week, we tuned up our events searches. now has what I think is the most comprehensive and easiest to use movie times search, arts calendars, and dining/drinking guides Seattle’s ever seen.

    You’ll notice several new paths to these listings—under the “listings” heading on the home page, on the azure “Find” bar in every section, and under their respective categories in the navigation bar at the top of every page.

    If you can spare a few minutes, take a look at the guide that suits your fancy…

    Movie Times
    Music Listings
    Visual Art Listings
    Performance Listings
    Books Listings

    …and then come back and tell us what you think.

    Keeping Us Safe From Tit Rings

    posted by on March 27 at 2:05 PM

    Goths, emos, women with nipple piercings—is it open season on everybody?

    A woman who was forced by TSA security to remove two rings in her pierced nipples in order to pass security to board a flight will hold a news conference with her attorney, Gloria Allred, today…. The woman was given a pair of pliers in order to remove the rings in her nipples. The rings had been in her nipples for many years.

    Gore/Obama ‘08

    posted by on March 27 at 1:41 PM

    Joe Klein in Time

    Let’s say the elders of the Democratic Party decide, when the primaries end, that neither Obama nor Clinton is viable. Let’s also assume—and this may be a real stretch—that such elders are strong and smart enough to act. All they’d have to do would be to convince a significant fraction of their superdelegate friends, maybe fewer than 100, to announce that they were taking a pass on the first ballot at the Denver convention, which would deny the 2,025 votes necessary to Obama or Clinton. What if they then approached Gore and asked him to be the nominee, for the good of the party—and suggested that he take Obama as his running mate? Of course, Obama would have to be a party to the deal and bring his 1,900 or so delegates along.

    I played out that scenario with about a dozen prominent Democrats recently, from various sectors of the party, including both Obama and Clinton partisans. Most said it was extremely unlikely … and a pretty interesting idea. A prominent fund raiser told me, “Gore-Obama is the ticket a lot of people wanted in the first place.”

    Emo Hunts

    posted by on March 27 at 1:25 PM

    Some random punks beat a goth girl to death in the UK… but organized mobs are going on “emo hunts” all over Mexico.

    According to Daniel Hernandez, who’s been covering the anti-emo riots on his blog Intersections, the violence began March 7, when an estimated 800 young people poured into the Mexican city of Queretaro’s main plaza “hunting” for emo kids to pummel. Then the following weekend similar violence occurred in Mexico City at the Glorieta de Insurgents, a central gathering space for emos. Hernandez also reports that several anti-emo riots have now also spread to various other Mexican cities. Via the Austin American Statesmen, several postings on Mexican social-networking sites, primarily organising spot for these “emo hunts,” have been dug up and translated. One states: “I HATE EMOS!!! They are not even people, they are so stupid, they cry over meaningless things… My school is infested with them, I want to kill them all!”

    Video here….

    Thanks to Slog tipper Bill.

    Bad Economy Is Good For Business

    posted by on March 27 at 12:35 PM


    90th and Roosevelt Way

    Our sad, sagging economy may have actually helped one local business. For the last year, Math ‘n’ Stuff has been looking for a new home. The small white storefront on Roosevelt Way they’ve occupied for the last 12 years was scheduled to be bulldozed and redeveloped as an office-retail-apartment property.

    While the building’s owner applied for construction permits and selected building designs, Math ‘n’ Stuff pleaded with the neighborhood—via the store’s reader board—to help them find a new location. They weren’t having much luck.


    But neither were the building’s owners, who were struggling to get a loan, due to the failing economy.

    “When I started the process, all the banks were very friendly,” says Ruth Williams, whose family has owned the property for 12 years.”By the time we got our permit, they weren’t so friendly. With the economy being what it is, we don’t have the confidence we could proceed.”

    Because Williams wasn’t able to secure the funding for the her new development, she says she’s decided to sell it to her tenant for $900,000. “It takes a load off of our mind to sell,” she says, “a huge load off of their mind [too]. We wanted [their] business to live.”

    A Fatal Goth Bashing

    posted by on March 27 at 12:28 PM

    From the Guardian

    A boy aged 15 has been found guilty of murdering 20-year-old Sophie Lancaster, who was kicked to death in a park because she was dressed as a goth. Brendan Harris attacked Lancaster when she begged him and a gang of four other youths to stop beating her boyfriend, 21-year-old Robert Maltby.

    Preston crown court heard the assaults were unprovoked and the couple from Bacup, Lancashire were set upon because of their appearance.

    Lancaster, a gap-year student, died from serious head injuries two weeks after the attack in Stubbylee Park, Bacup last August. Her injuries were so severe that when paramedics arrived they could not tell whether she was male or female.

    Before anyone makes any disparaging comments about goths, please read the whole story. Christ.

    The Other Election

    posted by on March 27 at 12:19 PM

    We call this…
    front_page.jpga taste of democracy:

    Amnesty International cited a case on March 7, when three members of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were ordered by intelligence officers to take down election posters.

    According to Amnesty, the officials forced the opposition supporters to chew the posters and swallow them.

    Zimbabwe, when will this long night come to an end?

    Bleak Future for Furniture

    posted by on March 27 at 12:03 PM

    After the housing crash…
    batti-placentero-chair-upside-down.jpg …the furniture crash. After the furniture crash, the human crash. After the human crash, the…

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on March 27 at 11:59 AM

    “Today, I’m going to pick up a bowling ball, using just one breast.”

    Call me crazy, but I think I love her. From YouTube W0WTF

    The Ghoul of Gray’s Harbor

    posted by on March 27 at 11:50 AM


    Over here, there’s an ongoing webcomic by Portland comic artist Elijah Brubaker about a sociopath in early twentieth century Washington state, partially based on a true story. It’s kind of a slow-burner—only one human being eaten in the first three pages?—but I have faith that it’ll pay off. Brubaker does really fine comics.

    Naptime of the Living Dead

    posted by on March 27 at 11:35 AM

    Seattle Children’s Theater just announced its next season, which includes productions of The Wizard of Oz, A Tale of Two Cities, and Night of the Living Dead.



    posted by on March 27 at 11:34 AM

    Hm. I am a bad, bad man.

    Free Hot Dogs

    posted by on March 27 at 11:14 AM

    I went to the Sonics game last night at the “not-up-to-NBA-standards” (according to NBA commissioner David Stern and Sonics owner Clay Bennett) KeyArena.

    I’m not sure what they mean, though.

    It’s pretty roomy.



    And the seats are affordable. We paid $16 for perfectly good seats. And the hot dogs are free.


    When I went to get a hot dog at half time, the guy behind the counter put my dog in the bun and placed it in the little red paper tray and slid the tray across the counter to me. And that was it. He didn’t ring me up. (He cares about as much as the Sonics do, I guess.) I smiled, walked it to the condiments stand, doused it in mustard and onions and catsup and headed back to my seats.

    Although, I guess nothing is truly for free. The city is still paying out about $2 million a year to cover the 1995 deal for the short-on-funds Sonics.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on March 27 at 11:00 AM


    Kelly Mark at Platform Gallery

    The last time Kelly Mark was in Seattle—at the Henry Art Gallery in 2006—she performed a protest to accompany her exhibition, shouting: “What do we want?” “Nothing!” “When do we want it?” “Whenever!” If it wasn’t meaningful, it wasn’t meaningless. The Toronto artist has returned for a solo show of sculptures, photographs, and the installation REM, featuring a video mashup of 170 TV clips. If her past work is any indication, the occasion should be a contemplative riot. (Platform Gallery, 114 Third Ave S, 323-2808. 11 am–7 pm, free.)


    Urban Dictionary Has Failed Me

    posted by on March 27 at 10:59 AM

    I occasionally check in with Waiter Rant, because I’m fascinated with food service stories from the servers’ side of things. But yesterday’s posting has confused the hell out of me. Here’s the pertinent excerpt:

    “Ha!” Chimo says in the teasing sing song voice of a grade-schooler who knows the meaning of a sexual term before his playmates do. “You don’t know what a deluxe blowjob is.”

    …[T]o humor him, I ask. “Okay, explain it.”

    Chimo gives me his descriptive explanation. I won’t get into it here. Suffice to say it’s sophomoric – and sort of disgusting.

    Sophomoric? Disgusting? Those are my middle names! Sadly, there’s nothing on Urban Dictionary to explain the act, and Googling “deluxe blowjob” is interesting, but unhelpful. I have the creeping feeling that I will never find out what a deluxe blowjob is, and that saddens me in a very real, very pathetic way.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on March 27 at 10:30 AM


    John Currin’s Rachel and Butterflies (1999), oil on canvas, 68 by 38 inches

    At Wright Exhibition Space.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on March 27 at 10:07 AM


    Two open mic nights, a group youth reading, a book about green homes in the Pacific Northwest, and a bunch of other stuff going on tonight.

    At the University Bookstore are Caitlin Kittredge and Mark Henry. Henry is reading in support of his first novel, Happy Hour of the Damned, and Kittredge reads from werewolf/police procedural Night Life. That makes this the second werewolf/police procedural I’ve heard of this year. I met both these authors at Norwescon; Henry at a party where people were drinking some sort of toxic waste-themed beverage, and Kittredge at a panel about writing a short story in an hour. They were both charming and approachable. I have not read their books.

    The Montlake Branch of the SPL is hosting a discussion about East Africa. Three experts on East African history and culture will speak. There was an SPL-hosted panel on the entire history of Africa a few weeks back, which seemed kind of unbelievable—can you imagine a History of North America in an Hour and a Half panel?—so it’s good that they’re breaking the country down into regions.

    And Jonathan Steele is reading at Elliott Bay Book Company, from Defeat: Why the Americans and the British Lost Iraq. Maybe he can offer some insight as to why things have gone balls-crazy there again in recent days.

    Full readings calendar, in lovely shades of blue and green, here.

    “From Start to Finish, the Most Inexplicably Joy-Inducing 9 Seconds the Internet Has to Offer”

    posted by on March 27 at 9:08 AM

    So writes MetaFilter, accurately, of the video below.

    Pretty much everywhere, it’s gonna be hot.

    Good Shit’s In the P-I, Too

    posted by on March 27 at 9:00 AM

    The Seattle Post-Intelligencer comes in for a lot of criticism on this blog (Google “Shit’s in the P-I” if you were unaware). A brief bit of Thursday morning praise:

    This story, by the P-I’s Carol Smith, is an absolutely fantastic piece of crime reporting. It deserves notice and—hope you’re listening, P-I bosses—reward.

    It’s a gritty, detailed, compelling article that’s not really about the crime in question (in this case, the seemingly random and horrifically brutal murder of Shannon Harps on Jan. 1). Instead, it’s about the social problem that produced James A. Williams, the man now accused of killing Harps.

    Read every word. This is what crime reporting should be (and rarely is). Seemingly random violence like the Harps murder is hardly ever, in fact, random. Smith knows—and attempts to show—this.

    To explain James A. Williams, she begins where one must: The invention of Thorazine; the Community Mental Health Centers Act of 1963; a suspicious death in Camden, Arkansas. If you thought Harps’s murder was just some arbitrary occurrence with no rational response except increased fear and vigilance, you will come away from this story instead fearing the unintended consequences of sweeping government actions and the limitations of our legal and medical systems.

    This is the proper direction in which to focus one’s fear; channeled this way fear can be transformed into productive action. As Smith shows, there are actually changes that could be made for the better that might prevent another person from beginning the new year the way James A. Williams began his. And these changes might well begin with voters coming to understand (through a story like Smith’s) that change needs to be made in the first place.

    I tried to do a story somewhat like this a few years ago. It involved a crime that took place in Seattle in 2004 but the story began in the 1740s and connected to communism in the former Soviet Union, Greg Louganis, and a religious radio station in Sacramento. It also involved a lot of words and I don’t think achieved what Smith’s piece achieves. Which is impact, economy, clarity, and an implicit call to action.

    The P-I, with its new, more tabloid-y presentation, has been getting a rep lately as the more salacious and less thoughtful daily. As a result, I’ve been reading it less. Smith provides a reason to read it more.

    The Sound of Nothing

    posted by on March 27 at 8:51 AM

    George Packer on the political-news vacuum we’re in, Hillary/Obama-wise, until April 22nd:

    What we are witnessing is a controlled experiment in modern campaigning: eliminate policy differences between two candidates; space out the primary schedule so that it remains empty for seven weeks, thereby creating a political-news vacuum in which the candidates and their supporters continue to give speeches, hold press conferences, or blog nonstop; and subject every word to the scrutiny and amplification of the twenty-four-hour news machine. The predictable result is that two appealing politicians will quickly start to lose their lustre, until, by the time Pennsylvania gets to vote, on April 22nd, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton will seem like the smallest, meanest, dirtiest, lowest, most dishonest candidates ever to run for office in the United States.

    Rest of it’s here; that’s just the middle. And here, by the way, is Hendrik Hertzberg’s blog, also fantastic.

    Morning News

    posted by on March 27 at 8:34 AM

    Whoops: U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott’s 2002 trip to Iraq said to have been set up an paid for by Iraqi Intelligence.

    Whoops, Pt. 2: LA Times duped by forged documents in its P. Diddy Tupac murder story.

    Whoops, Pt. 3: Shady U.S. military contractor selling shoddy weapons to fight Taliban and Qaeda in Afghanistan.

    Public Corruption Unit Disbanded: DOJ stalls investigation of suspect GOP California congressman.

    Economic Downward Spiral Continues: Banks are calling in home equity loans. Yikes.

    U.S. Ratchets Up Attacks in Western Pakistan: Anticipating diminished support from post-Musharraf government, U.S. hits targets hard.

    Shiite Militants Ratchet Up Attacks on Green Zone: The supposedly invulnerable U.S. -protected Green Zone comes under heavy mortar fire for fourth day in a row.

    Enron II: DOJ investigation finds accounting firm shenanigans may have sparked subprime lending crisis.

    Saving the Kids?: Gov. agrees to kill math portion of 10th grade WASL.

    Hurting the Kids?: Gov. meets with toy industry, considers vetoing legislation banning toxic toys.

    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

    posted by on March 27 at 8:30 AM

    An 11-year-old girl died after her parents prayed for healing rather than seek medical help for a treatable form of diabetes, police said Tuesday.

    Everest Metro Police Chief Dan Vergin said Madeline Neumann died Sunday…. Vergin said an autopsy determined the girl died from diabetic ketoacidosis, an ailment that left her with too little insulin in her body, and she had probably been ill for about 30 days, suffering symptoms like nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, loss of appetite and weakness.

    The girl’s parents, Dale and Leilani Neumann, attributed the death to “apparently they didn’t have enough faith,” the police chief said. They believed the key to healing “was it was better to keep praying. Call more people to help pray,” he said.

    The mother believes the girl could still be resurrected, the police chief said.

    Wednesday, March 26, 2008

    My Gayest Look

    posted by on March 26 at 9:10 PM


    Deeply annoyed Americans—gay and straight—are giving Jay Leno their “gayest look” at Our own Erica C. Barnett is at the top of the site right now.


    I’m in there somewhere too—and taking Armistead Maupin’s picture under that billboard advertising closets? Totally my idea. Check out here.

    Snow in Spring

    posted by on March 26 at 8:31 PM

    I’m waxing my snowboard just in case it sticks.

    On the 10-minute walk home from work just now…

    posted by on March 26 at 7:37 PM

    …the rain turned into snow.

    Downtown Hotel Gives Away Gas

    posted by on March 26 at 4:59 PM

    Let me repeat that: DOWNTOWN hotel gives away gas.

    From: “Mayflower Park Hotel”

    To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;

    Subject: Guests Gas It Up

    Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2008 08:27:59 -0700

    SEATTLE - “No relief in sight for soaring gas prices,” says the American Automobile Association. With no way to push back prices at the pump, the Mayflower Park Hotel has created a Guests Gas It Up Package for guests who have traveled the distance to stay at the historic hotel. “We want to take the sting out of high gas prices,” says General Manager, Paul Ishii. “With record costs to travel this spring, we feel the need to pitch in and let our guests know we appreciate the time and money they spend in order to stay with us. The Guests Gas It Up Package offers a classic or deluxe guestroom
    at the Mayflower Park Hotel, complimentary valet parking, and a $20 Shell gift card for each night of stay.

    Okay, A) Who the fuck stays in downtown Seattle and drives enough to use up $20 a day? And B) Why the fuck would you want stay at a hotel in Seattle with such shitty environmental values?

    The Fay Wray Non-Controversy

    posted by on March 26 at 4:55 PM


    The LeBron James Vogue Cover Controversy

    posted by on March 26 at 4:19 PM

    There’s been a lot of talk on the blogs the past few days about whether this Vogue cover photo of Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James and model Gisele Bundchen is racist.


    Some are saying it looks a little too much like this:


    Personally, my first thought when I saw the cover was “Wow, Gisele looks really healthy and happy - what a great departure from the corpselike makeup and rail-thin models you usually see in Vogue.” But an awful lot of people seem to think otherwise.

    So, Slog readers, what do you think? Is this photo of LeBron James and Gisele racist or not? (LeBron, for the record, likes the cover.)

    And Now for the Real Bad News for Baghdad Jim…

    posted by on March 26 at 4:09 PM

    The top-two primary.

    Think about it: No Democrat could step up in our closed primary and break ranks with the party by challenging long-term incumbent Rep. Jim McDermott. And even if they tried, they wouldn’t be likely to beat him in a Democrat-only primary … where the turn out is mostly dedicated party voters. And so, Jim goes forward to face a sacrificial Republican.

    But voila, take someone like moderate State Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-37, South Seattle). With his built-in base, he easily makes it through the primary, and now you’ve got two Democrats in the general, with a much bigger general election audience—and I’d say McDermott’s in trouble.


    posted by on March 26 at 3:59 PM

    If the tragedy of the Alaska Ranger has renewed your interest in disaster at sea, I recommend this March 13 blog post by Portland filmmaker Matt McCormick. It’s about a recently unearthed shipwreck on the Oregon coast. And delicious pie.


    Milkshakes, G.I. Joe, and Plastic Passion Flowers

    posted by on March 26 at 3:58 PM

    I’ve been awfully fond of Mighty God King, lately. In the last two days, for instance, there have been posts about the death of the “I drink your milkshake” line, an incisive explanation of why he’s over Hillary Clinton, a way-too-thoughtful dissection of the casting of the upcoming G.I. Joe movie, and the following wonderfully weird excerpt of an old Archie comic:


    Bad News for Baghdad Jim

    posted by on March 26 at 3:50 PM

    Via Postman:

    WASHINGTON (AP)- Federal prosecutors say Saddam Hussein’s intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion.

    An indictment in Detroit accuses Muthanna Al-Hanooti of arranging for three members of Congress to travel to Iraq in October 2002 at the behest of Saddam’s regime. Prosecutors say Iraqi intelligence officials paid for the trip through an intermediary.

    In exchange, Al-Hanooti allegedly received 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil.

    The lawmakers are not mentioned but the dates correspond to a trip by Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, David Bonior of Michigan and Mike Thompson of California. There was no indication the three lawmakers knew the trip was underwritten by Saddam.

    Jabbar on Obama

    posted by on March 26 at 3:48 PM

    Don’t worry, I’m not gonna start filing lovey-dovey Obama posts, but Kareem’s getting to me.

    Over on Abdul Jabbar’s blog (!)—which is a little too on-message about everything— “Big Lew” (Google it, kids) has been posting some interesting stuff on Obama. (Jabbar has endorsed Obama and made a subtle appearance in the Black Eyed Peas promo video.)

    In his post on the Rev. Wright controversy, Jabbar expands Obama’s controversial point about understanding the context of Wright’s anger. Of course, Obama used that as a savvy pivot to serve his campaign and talk about turning the page.

    Jabbar—who talks about Rodney King … and DNA testing … and Emmett Till!—uses it to get all like uppity.

    The vitriol in the Rev. Wright’s words is a direct result of what he sees when he reviews … the history of this country. This is not to say that there has been no progress made in those situations, but sadly that progress has been too often slow and grudgingly acquired. Because of the nature of the problems, which in many cases were started in the 19th century, Americans in this day and age have to pay for issues that they didn’t cause and shouldn’t have to fix. But nonetheless we are stuck with the tab.

    Re: On message. Here’s Jabbar’s e-mail Q&A with Obama, which does end with this great tidbit:

    Finally, I mentioned to him that I’ve seen several pictures of him playing basketball. He told me that basketball was a passion for him throughout his lifetime and should he get to reside in the White House there would absolutely be a hoop on the White House grounds.

    Cat Shit Cake! Yum!

    posted by on March 26 at 3:41 PM




    * 1 (18.25 ounce) package German chocolate cake mix
    * 1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
    * 2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
    * 1 (12 ounce) package vanilla sandwich cookies
    * 3 drops green food coloring
    * 1 (12 ounce) package tootsie rolls


    1. Prepare cake mixes and bake according to package directions (any size pan).
    2. Prepare pudding according to package directions and chill until ready to assemble.
    3. Crumble sandwich cookies in small batches in a food processor, scraping often. Set aside all but 1/4 cup. To the 1/4 cup add a few drops of green food coloring and mix.
    4. When cakes are cooled to room temperature, crumble them into a large bowl. Toss with 1/2 of the remaining cookie crumbs, and the chilled pudding. You probably won’t need all of the pudding, you want the cake to be just moist, not soggy.
    5. Line kitty litter box with the kitty litter liner. Put cake mixture into box.
    6. Put half of the unwrapped tootsie rolls in a microwave safe dish and heat until softened. Shape the ends so that they are no longer blunt, and curve the tootsie rolls slightly. Bury tootsie rolls randomly in the cake and sprinkle with half of the remaining cookie crumbs. Sprinkle a small amount of the green colored cookie crumbs lightly over the top.
    7. Heat 3 or 4 of the tootsie rolls in the microwave until almost melted. Scrape them on top of the cake and sprinkle lightly with some of the green cookie crumbs. Heat the remaining tootsie rolls until pliable and shape as before. Spread all but one randomly over top of cake mixture. Sprinkle with any remaining cookie crumbs. Hang the remaining tootsie roll over side of litter box and sprinkle with a few green cookie crumbs. Serve with the pooper scooper for a gross Halloween dessert.

    So Long, Mike

    posted by on March 26 at 3:30 PM

    Take that, Democratic Party: Mike Gravel, former Senator from Alaska and long-shot candidate for President, announced that he’s leaving the party… and joining the Libertarians. (Via).

    Gravel, a former Democratic senator from Alaska, said in an e-mail that the Democratic Party “no longer represents my vision for our great country.”

    “It is a party that continues to sustain war, the military-industrial complex and imperialism - all of which I find anathema to my views,” he said in the e-mail in which he also asked supporters for campaign donations.

    Of course, I’m mainly posting this as an excuse to put up this photo of two campaign posters for Ron Paul and Gravel. The Gravel poster, which says “MIKE GRAVEL PRESIDENT GAY MARRIAGE,” went up first; the Paul poster in the foreground, which says “RON PAUL PRESIDENT END WAR,” seems to be a response.


    And, just for old times’ sake, here’s the wack-a-doodle-doo ad that put Gravel on the political map:

    Ron Sims Wavers, Wanders, and Wonders About His Superdelegate Responsibilities

    posted by on March 26 at 3:00 PM

    Yesterday it was Maria Cantwell. Today it’s Ron Sims, King County Executive and committed Clinton superdelegate, who was on KUOW’s Weekday this morning telling host Steve Scher that he is, at the very least, unhappy with the destructive potential of the Democratic nomination contest. He also said he’s listening very closely to the debate among superdelegates about how they should get Obama and Clinton to, in his words, “Stop it.”

    The discussion starts at 49:50, and I’ve transcribed it below. There’s quite a bit of rambling and hedging, but the take-away, for me, is that Sims may be open to the idea of using his superdelegate power to help end the contest before it harms the party’s chances in November (although, classic Sims, he also seemed to suggest he’d be fine with the Democratic nominee not being decided until the convention in late August).

    Bottom line: He’s wavering.

    Steve Scher: Are you still committed to Hillary Clinton as a superdelegate?

    Ron Sims: Oh yeah, I am.

    Scher: Nothing’s going to change that?

    Sims: I didn’t say that. You asked me, ‘Was I committed to Hillary Clinton…’

    Scher: As a superdelegate.

    Sims: As a superdelegate. There’s a lot of superdelegate discussion going on right now. The emails are hot and heavy over what we should do and when we should do it. And, again, it goes back to the fact that we’re Democrats and we want to make sure that we come out of the convention with the strongest candidate or combinations of candidates. So, I don’t think anybody’s made a decision to bolt in large numbers now. But, obviously, everyday I have about seven or eight emails because people across the country are on the same list. So they are comparing notes. So, it’s going to be fascinating…

    I’ve watched this campaign. I’ve seen two people who I really like. And it just seems, if you look at the polls now, [they] are inflicting great damage on each other and that’s really gotta stop. To have people who support Senator Obama say, ‘I’m not going to support Senator Clinton,’ and to have people who support Senator Clinton say, ‘I’m not going to support Senator Obama’—my issue is, that should not be the national debate. I think we have an opportunity to head in a different direction, and we need to do that, but obviously this campaign is not doing that. And I think more of the superdelegates are beginning to say, “Stop it.” And that’s being heard by the campaigns and the candidates, because they’ve got to stop this madness.

    Scher: It seems like I’m just going to have to take 30 seconds to read between the lines there—that you are wavering and considering that your candidate maybe should withdraw in the interest of unity in the party.

    Sims: Oh, I didn’t say that.

    Scher: I know you didn’t, that’s why I’m reading between the lines and putting words in your mouth to get you to be a little more specific. You’re not changing your vote yet, is what you said.

    Sims: Yeah, I’m not changing it yet.

    Scher: But you may because of the interest of unity for the party?

    Sims: Because I want a, uh—and there’s issues about when that takes place. I think the delegates are going to be talking to each other, especially when the convention comes, and saying, ‘What outcomes do we want?’ Because both candidates are going to come into the convention without enough delegates to put them over the top.

    Scher: Unless the superdelegates move sooner. You’re going to wait till the convention?

    Sims: There’s issues to me. I want Michigan seated, and I want Florida seated, before the convention and not at the convention.

    Scher: Allright, we’ll debate this one again. You superdelegates are just going to dangle it in front of us for a while. Ron Sims is King County Executive. This is KUOW Seattle…

    Is Jesus Growing on Us?

    posted by on March 26 at 2:55 PM

    One of the most bloated churches in our famously under-churched city may be near the bursting point. The City Church – which simulcasts sermons to its four campuses in greater Seattle – has filed an application to expand its building in Belltown. A new wing would cover the parking lot with a two-story expansion, adding 12,210 more square feet.


    I left several messages with City Church asking how it plans to use the space. But, alas, nobody returned my calls. (Not even after Erica’s excellent review?) Anyway, an acquaintance of mine and member of the congregation told me last night that they need the space for additional seating. He said the place is becoming more popular and would I like to join him on Sunday for a service? God, help me.

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on March 26 at 2:40 PM


    From mraaronmorris

    Critics Behaving Badly

    posted by on March 26 at 2:15 PM


    A story from LA Weekly critic Steven Mikulan about jackass reviewers on opening night: they drink too much, steal boxes of food, double-dip crudites, pitch their own projects (“give a critic and inch, he’ll write a play”), and abuse the talent:

    “She goes up to the playwright,” the producer-publicist continues, “and in front of his cast and director, says, ‘Your play is awful and you don’t know how to write, but at least you’re cute.’ She ripped his heart out. He was devastated.”

    It’s Not Just Me

    posted by on March 26 at 1:46 PM


    Even the New York Times is obsessed with dissecting Britney’s every move.

    (For the fascinating true story of how Britney’s VMA outfit—pictured above—came to be, check out Vanessa Grigoriadis’ legendary Rolling Stone story. And don’t miss the Britney-specific cover story in this month’s Atlantic…)

    Gasp! It’s a Pro-Pit-Bull Post

    posted by on March 26 at 1:14 PM


    Helen Keller with her pit bull terrier, Phiz

    I know some minds around here are locked tight, but in case you have time to look beneath the sensational headlines and learn something about the pit bull breed, here’s one opportunity: After the jump, you’ll find a thorough and reasoned article by a local pit bull rescue director who has insight on where pit bulls came from, why there is currently such a problem with the breed in the U.S., and what can be done about it (beyond Dan’s boil-and-feed solution).

    Continue reading "Gasp! It's a Pro-Pit-Bull Post" »

    Theater Off Jackson Abandons—or Maybe Postpones?—Georgetown Project

    posted by on March 26 at 1:10 PM

    Back in October, I got all excited because Theater Off Jackson announced they’d be opening a second location in Georgetown, called Exit 162, in the fusty caverns of Eagles Aerie #1.

    This was good news for Georgetown (Exit 162 was to open on Corson, just a postprandial stroll away from Matt Dillon’s new restaurant, The Corson Building) and great news for theater—stage space is hard to come by these days and TOJ has demonstrated good judgement, presenting Sgt. Rigsby and His Amazing Silhouettes, Mike Daisey, a weirdly amusing Dracula musical, The Cody Rivers Show, an annual Solo Performance Festival (which might be the kernel for a new, improved fringe festival) and other theater worth watching.

    It was also good p.r. for the Sabey Corporation, the real-estate titan that owns lots of Georgetown (including the old Rainier Brewery) and has a fractious relationship with its Keep-Georgetown-Quaint neighbors. Sabey was giving TOJ everything but money—lawyers, consultants, designers, etc.—to help it buy and renovate the Eagles building.

    Anyway, deal’s off. TOJ couldn’t find the money.

    From an email they just sent:

    We are very sorry to announce that TOJ has not been able to secure the necessary funding to move forward with the purchase of the Eagles property. Despite our best efforts, this particular project proved to be too ambitious for an organization of our size.

    They’re trying to sound hopeful:

    We are still committed to owning a home in Georgetown, and will regroup to build support before seeking out another property.

    But it sounds like doom.

    “It’s Just A Blank Check”

    posted by on March 26 at 12:32 PM

    Yet another “kiss the Sonics goodbye/I hate NBA commish David Stern” article, this one courtesy of the Associated Press. Sonics owner Clay Bennett put on the dog-and-pony show in OKC yesterday, wooing NBA owners and reps with a show of OKC’s support for an NBA franchise. The usual tripe gets trotted out—dismissive comments about Steve Ballmer’s plans to renovate Key Arena, dismissive comments about the vastly lower marketshare of OKC compared to Seattle, and so on.

    But the bludgeoning of misinformation turned from the usual hokey stuff to downright insulting. Take it away, New Jersey Nets owner Lewis Katz (part of an NBA subcommittee mulling the whole OKC deal):

    “My hope is that we’ll find a settlement with Seattle that will give them the opportunity to have a replacement team. Seattle should have an NBA team, and I think David [Stern] expressed that in the meetings. We all feel that way. My guess is you haven’t heard the end of the Seattle story.”

    Reeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally. Mr. Stern, didn’t you say something about this in November of last year?

    “I’d love to find a way to keep the team there,” he said, “because if the team moves, there’s not going to be another team there, not in any conceivable future plan that I could envision, and that would be too bad.”

    Let’s not sugarcoat this, guys. We’ve seen the commish and the owner in cahoots all along to get out of town at any price, to solidify the league’s demands for bigger arenas, more suites, more ways to charge fans and fewer costs for the league and its owners. They’ll do whatever it takes—in this case, alienating a top-tier American sports market—to scare other cities into succumbing to Stern’s will when renovation plans come up in the next decade or two. But the notion that Stern needed to be wooed by his Okie-pal Clay Bennett, on top of everything else, is really testing the gag reflex. Thankfully, there appears to be someone in Oklahoma who is noticing the Bennett/NBA tactics that turned our city off, though this bit is strangely buried at the bottom of the AP report:

    Former Oklahoma state Rep. Wanda Jo Stapleton voiced concerns to the council that the lease leaves the city in position to pay for any cost overruns on the Ford Center renovations and the construction of an approximately $24 million practice facility funded by the sales tax extension.

    “It’s in black and white there that the city will pay for the cost overruns, and there could be tens of millions of dollars in cost overruns because they’ve given the team owners free rein to make any changes, whatever they want, during the entire construction period,” Stapleton said. “It’s just a blank check, that’s all it is.”

    The city’s response? They’ll keep their eyes on it. I can’t wait to see how that turns out for OKC.

    What the Fuck is Going on in Iraq?

    posted by on March 26 at 12:23 PM

    There’s an informative overview—why this violence, why now—up at Talking Points Memo.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on March 26 at 12:00 PM

    And now some real News You Can Use…

    From YouTube TheOnion. That’s right, That Onion.

    Season’s End

    posted by on March 26 at 11:53 AM


    It may be spring, but there is still plenty of snow on Northwest hills. Stevens was fantastic last week—no lines, sun, nicely groomed runs and dreamy powder patches in between. It’s not too late to partake in this year’s fantastic snow season: Crystal and Stevens are both open daily through Sunday, April 13. Summit Central and Alpental are planning to remain open at least through April 6. Mt. Baker is your best bet for this weekend with more than two feet of new in the last three days, with more snow and unusually low temperatures in the forecast. (Operations switch to Friday-Sunday after March 31.)

    Another Clinton Claim Gets a Second Look

    posted by on March 26 at 11:45 AM

    Did you know that Hillary Clinton tried to join the Marines in 1975?

    She says she did.

    For Jen Graves

    posted by on March 26 at 11:44 AM

    Jones Soda to Make LOL Cat Labels

    posted by on March 26 at 11:21 AM


    Click here to enter your LOL cat creation.

    Bear Celebrity

    posted by on March 26 at 11:15 AM

    The polar bear…
    …and the problem with that polar bear:

    Knut the polar bear has turned from a cuddly cub into a publicity-addicted psycho, one of his keepers claimed yesterday.

    Markus Roebke said Berlin Zoo’s celebrity animal was obsessed with the limelight and howled with rage when denied an audience.

    “Knut must go and the sooner the better,” he said, insisting that the bear should be sent to an animal park where he received less attention.

    “He is addicted to the whole show, the human adulation. It is not healthy.

    “He actually cries out or whimpers if he sees that there is not a spectator outside his enclosure ready to ooh and aah at him.

    “When the zoo had to shut because of black ice everywhere he howled until staff members stood before him and calmed him down.”

    Knut was rejected by his mother after he was born in December 2006, prompting some animal activists to say it would be better for him to die than to be weaned by man.

    The zoo let him live however and he has become a major attraction, pulling in £6million in revenue so far.

    Again: What is it that separates the human animal from all other animals? Today I want to add another crucial difference: A human animal’s talents are not trapped in its body. For the most part, if an animal has a talent, that talent is locked in its body; its talent is its own wholly. Animals cannot socialize their individual gifts in any significant way. With humans, gifts can be transmitted across a Tardian network of repetition. If someone is good with, say, medicine, that good is not trapped in the person’s body. All other human bodies can benefit from that one person’s particular good. Not to share, then, is to be less human and more an animal.

    We’ve Redecorated

    posted by on March 26 at 11:09 AM

    Something’s different, you’ve no doubt noticed. Last night we moved our main navigation bar to the top of the site. As a result, our pages are wider, with more room for content, and we’ve spiffed a few other things up, too: We improved our movie times, music listings, arts events, and restaurants and bars search. Links to these are now located below their respective categories in the navigation bar.

    If you haven’t already, please tell us what you think. We’re continually trying to improve this thing. (And yes, registered commenting is coming very soon!)

    The Web Team

    I’m a Cadillac-Driving Welfare Queen

    posted by on March 26 at 11:05 AM

    You probably already knew about this:

    At midnight on February 17, 2009, all full-power television stations in the United States will stop broadcasting in analog and switch to 100% digital broadcasting.

    This of course means that the old-fashioned television sets aren’t going to work anymore for picking up non-cable broadcast TV. But did you know that, as of January, the government has been doling out up to 80 dollars for anyone who asks, so that they can buy TV Converter Boxes for their analog TV sets? It’s true!

    Congress created the TV Converter Box Coupon Program for households wishing to keep using their analog TV sets after February 17, 2009. The Program allows U.S. households to obtain up to two coupons, each worth $40, that can be applied toward the cost of eligible converter boxes.

    I don’t have any television reception anyway, but I figured that if the government was handing out coupons for free, I was going to get in on that action. I applied for my coupons here, and I just got them in them mail on Saturday. I guess I’m going to go get one of the damned converter boxes, now that I have the coupons, but I’m not excited about that. I was incredibly excited about getting coupons from the government in the mail; I recommend it highly.

    Da Truf!

    posted by on March 26 at 10:59 AM

    Marcus Trufant is sticking with the Seahawks.

    The Pro Bowl cornerback and the Seahawks have agreed to a $50.2 million, six-year deal that will keep Trufant under contract with Seattle beyond 2008.

    Carry on.

    Nathan Lee Dumped

    posted by on March 26 at 10:54 AM

    The ever-shrinking pool of staff film critics at the Village Voice (and thus the Seattle Weekly, which gets nearly all of its film content from its sister papers in New York and LA) just got more parched: Nathan Lee has been laid off “for economic reasons.” Here’s The House Next Door and The Reeler (featuring some fratboy snark in the comments from one of Lee’s colleagues).

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on March 26 at 10:30 AM

    Susan Burnstine’s Immerse (2007), digital pigment print with varnish overlay, 16 by 16 inches

    At Wall Space.

    It’s a Photoshop Miracle!

    posted by on March 26 at 10:16 AM


    Reading Tonight

    posted by on March 26 at 10:12 AM


    One open mic, one poetry slam, and a total non-fiction-a-rama going on today all over town.

    Up at Third Place Books, Gene Baur is reading from Farm Sanctuary, which is against corporate agribusiness. I don’t know if he’s bringing his cow or not, but I hope so.

    Chris Hedges is at Town Hall with I Don’t Believe In Atheists, which is a response to Hitchens’ God Is Not Great. He lost me with the title, which I think is too cute by half, but it’s nice to see someone contending with Hitchens who isn’t a totally right-wing holy-rolling freaknut. If you’re an atheist spoiling for an intellectual fight tonight, this could be the reading for you.

    Michio Kaku is reading from Physics of the Impossible at the Pacific Science Center. This is one of those books that looks at science fiction ideas—teleporters and death rays and so on—and tries to reverse-engineer whether they’d be possible, and how. There were a whole bunch of these books a while ago—The Science of Star Trek, The Science of Superheroes, titles like that—and they really started scraping the bottom of the barrel. Kako, though, looks like he might know what he’s talking about, and he’s a good writer on the topic of physics, which is very hard to do. Mad scientists are encouraged to attend.

    Lastly, at Elliott Bay Book Company, Loretta Napoleoni reads from Rogue Economics, which is about what happens when economic systems take precedence over governments in unstable nations. It could be a depressing reading, but it should be a good one.

    Full (and shiny-new) readings calendar, including the next week or so, here.

    Would You Pay $35 to See a Movie?

    posted by on March 26 at 10:12 AM

    How about if the theater offered reclining seats, valet parking, a cocktail lounge, and concierge service?

    Some investors think it’s a good idea, and they’re opening one of their first luxury theaters in Redmond. No word on how the investors plan on dealing with the biggest problem of the exhibition business — inconsiderate assholes who talk/show up late/check text messages on their phones/generally treat the theater like it’s their own goddamn living room. “Upscale and affluent” moviegoers can be douchebags too.

    In/Visible Is Up: Support Responsible Abstraction

    posted by on March 26 at 10:07 AM

    Because I’m a semiotics nerd, one of my favorite pieces by LA-based artist Geoff McFetridge is a drawing of concentric rectangles with the slogan, “Support Responsible Abstraction.” When you think about it, there is a lot of irresponsible abstraction going around—you know, the kind determined to mystify some original meaning or impulse that A) may or may not really even be known to the artist, and B) may or may not be worth memorializing in paint anyway. Either way, it pushes the viewer away. What would responsible abstraction look like? McFetridge says it’s not the kind that broadcasts that it’s hoarding a secret. It gives instead of takes.

    McFetridge’s background is graphic design. He studied it straight-up as an undergrad in Alberta, Canada, and then moved on to “conceptual graphics” (graphics that are well-considered but often look like crap) as a grad student at CalArts. Now, he has his own studio in Southern California, where he works both as a fine artist, making public murals, gallery pieces, and artist books, and as a commercial designer for various companies (especially skateboard and snowboard), and movies and TV (he did the titles for “The Virgin Suicides” and “Freaks and Geeks”).

    His new installation in Seattle will be up at the Olympic Sculpture Pavilion for a whole year. It’s about where graphics and sculpture meet—about the imaginative transition from two dimensions to three, from flat to real, from general and iconic to specific and personal.

    He hung sheets of thin plywood that he bent to look like posters with the ends curled up. They’re nailed to the wall, but swaths of blue tape and giant sculptures of tacks pretend to hold them up. One of the giant tacks has the round head of a pin, but casts the painted shadow of a mighty pushpin. It has bigger ideas for itself.

    Don’t take my word for any of this; listen to the artist talk. I caught up with him while he was working at the pavilion, and we talked about responsible abstraction, pre-op transgeometrism (not a fancy word, but a condition we invented), and why he wouldn’t mind designing a cigarette commercial in Japan.

    BLVD owner Damian Hayes put up some great photos of the installation in progress on Flickr, and here’s one of them:


    Want more? Here are two of McFetridge’s moving animations: his video of the Whitest Boy Alive song “Golden Cage”…

    And an illustration he did for the New York Times Magazine’s Year in Ideas 2007…

    The installation opens today.

    Can We Call This What It Is?

    posted by on March 26 at 10:00 AM

    The New York Times has a piece today—front page of the national section—about how more Muslim parents are opting for home schooling. But only for their girls.

    Like dozens of other Pakistani-American girls here, Hajra Bibi stopped attending the local public school when she reached puberty, and began studying at home.

    Her family wanted her to clean and cook for her male relatives, and had also worried that other American children would mock both her Muslim religion and her traditional clothes….

    “Their families want them to retain their culture and not become Americanized,” said Roberta Wall, the principal of the district-run Independent School, which supervises home schooling in Lodi and where home-schooled students attend weekly hourlong tutorials.

    Of more than 90 Pakistani or other Southeast Asian girls of high school age who are enrolled in the Lodi district, 38 are being home-schooled. By contrast, just 7 of the 107 boys are being home-schooled, and usually the reason is that they were falling behind academically.

    As soon as they finish their schooling, the girls are married off, often to cousins brought in from their families’ old villages.

    Joe Francis Orders You to Hate Him

    posted by on March 26 at 9:51 AM


    After a year behind bars in Florida and Nevada, Girls Gone Wild! founder Joe Francis is again a free man (though still facing charges of tax evasion in Nevada).

    While in jail, Francis tried to soften his public profile via, featuring baby pictures, tasteful fonts, and lists of Francis-sponsored charities.

    Just prior to his release, Francis was profiled by GQ, and—surprise!—his time behind bars only made him a more flagrant asshole. From “The Prisoner in Cell Block Double D”:

    Francis says jail is totally different from what he’d expected from movies. He’s seen only one fight and hasn’t heard of any sexual assaults. “Nothing will ever happen to me in jail. I’m a god. I’m the cool Girls Gone Wild guy. I’m revered. I’m a rock star,” he says. Still, he avoids the other inmates, often going a week without talking to one. “The one thing I fear is one of these fucking people showing up at my house. I’m a different class. They’re dumb. They’re the people you see on Cops. Those are the people you see in jail.”
    His enemies list has grown as he sits in jail, and it was recently expanded to include Access Hollywood reporter Maria Menounos, who did an interview Francis didn’t like. “She called me the ‘ever defiant Joe Francis,’” he howls. “Fuck yeah, I’m defiant! It’s like that defiant Rosa Parks won’t give up her seat. Fuck you, Maria. The ever defiant Nelson Mandela just can’t stand apartheid. The ever defiant Martin Luther King. The ever defiant Jesus Christ. You fucking stupid whore. If I saw Maria Menounos, I’d punch her in the face.”

    Read the whole thing here. (And don’t overlook the charms of

    Mars Hill’s 800 Pound Guerilla Marketing?

    posted by on March 26 at 9:45 AM

    A Stranger reader writes…

    A couple of times in recent months, I have been riding the bus home to Ballard after work. It could be a 15, 17 or an 18. Somewhere along the route a couple of nicely-dressed, usually white males climb on board. They find seats across the aisle from each other and proceed to converse. I catch random snippets of dialog, but for the most part the conversation is at a polite bus level. As we draw closer to the Ballard Bridge, I find myself paying more attention to the conversation and less to my book. Perhaps I am weary of reading. Perhaps their conversation has grown a tad louder? They seem to be going somewhere. But they’re not sure of the exact location. They know their stop is coming up. Is it the next one, or the one after that? They talk more about the great speaker they heard last week. How successful he’s been in getting the others engaged. The program tonight should be excellent. More excited jabbering about how to get folks involved. Then as we pass the mid-point on the bridge, the one who’s been here before gestures eastward and says, “Oh yeah. This is going to be it. See. Look out there. You can see it…right …. Now. Yep. That’s it.” The bus pulls into the stop at Leary and 15th. They get off the bus and proceed to Mars Hill Chuch.

    Is this some sort of recruiting technique? I’ve heard this skit on more than one occasion. It’s becoming annoying.

    A Ballard Mom

    Anyone else caught this act?

    Wanna Sell Hundreds of Pounds of Pot, Get Caught, Do No Jail Time, and Receive a Presidential Pardon?

    posted by on March 26 at 9:45 AM

    Then be sure to get ordained first.

    “Hell to Pay”

    posted by on March 26 at 9:45 AM

    A Southern governor is warning about “hell to pay” if there’s a certain outcome in the Democratic nomination fight. You might think that this worrisome outcome would be an Obama nomination that further erodes the Democrats’ standing among working class Southern whites.

    No. The Southern governor, Democrat Phil Bredesen, is talking about “hell to pay” if superdelegates overturn the decisions of a majority of pledged delegates (who currently favor Obama). He’s talking, in other words, about infuriating the large number of Democratic-leaning African-American voters in the south. And he has a plan:

    If Obama were denied the nomination by Democratic insiders after winning the party’s popular vote, Bredesen said, “There would be hell to pay in the party for a long time to come.”

    Bredesen is doing something about his concerns. He was in Washington this week to promote his idea for holding a “superdelegate primary” in June, in which the 795 party bigwigs would gather to hear one last time from Clinton and Obama before casting a final vote.

    Rather than allow the horse-trading and bloodletting go on all summer, he’d get it over with during a two-day business meeting in a neutral, easily reached city like Dallas.

    “Invite the candidates to come and talk if they want, and then literally call the roll,” he explained. “We should not go through the summer and have a divided and exhausted Democratic Party. The inescapable conclusion is: OK, you’ve got to find some way to bookend and bring it to closure earlier. How do you do that? Do it in June rather than August.”

    Oh, Right—That Movie Really Pissed Me Off and I Forgot to Blow My Stack About It on Slog

    posted by on March 26 at 9:15 AM


    I forgot how thoroughly Enchanted—a Disney pic now out on DVD—pissed me off until I saw the DVD for sale last night. I saw Enchanted in a theater with my kid when it was released. The kid wanted to see it because James Marsden stabbed a bus with a sword in the preview; I wanted to see because James Marsden could stab my grandmother and I’d still wanna—well, this is a post about a Disney film, so I won’t get too specific about what I’d like to do to/with/on James Marsden.


    Anyway, the movie is fine. Amy Adams was terrific, Disney did a good job parodying Disney, there were some great numbers—a live-action recreation of one of those impossibly complicated Beauty and the Beast animated dance sequences was particularly good. Great stuff. And Enchanted is one of those movies that makes Manhattan—where I’m writing this blog post—look magical. Every bit as magical as a Disney cartoon kingdoms under the sea or whatever. And it’s summer in Manhattan in Enchanted and absolutely everyone in falling in love—old folks, young folks, black folks, white folks, animated folks, live-action folks. But not gay folks. Amy Adams sings her way up and down Manhattan—from Central Park to the Upper East Side to Times Square—and never encounters a single faggot. In Manhattan—not even in Central Park during an inspired sequence that takes Adams through every corner of the park (save the Brambles) and involves hundreds of New York “types.” Except homos.


    And I didn’t have a problem with it. Really. “It’s a Disney movie, it’s for kids,” I thought, watching the Central Park sequence. “They don’t want the American Family Association picketing at multiplexes, so they’re leaving the homos out of Manhattan. Fine. Whatever. Gee, I hope James Marsden has a shower scene too.” And then…

    Amy Adams, a magical-kingdom-princess-to-be, is cast into present-day Manhattan by her prince’s wicked stepmother. Her prince charming (Marsden, duh) comes after her. He runs around in tights, bursts into song, searches upper and lower Manhattan, stabs buses, etc. Marsden learns that Adams is living in a certain enormous pre-war building near Central Park—but he doesn’t know which apartment. So he runs through the building knocking on doors. Various Manhattan types answer—mostly individuals implied to be part of couples, if I recall correctly (one person answers the door but you hear a wife or husband’s voice in the background). At one door a woman with a child on her hip and two or three others around her ankles takes one look at Marsden in his Prince Charming getup and says, “You’re too late.” Funny stuff.

    Marsden knocks on one last door: It opens and we see fussy/shimmery black wallpaper, an expensive mirror, a crystal chandelier. And an overweight, unattractive, middle-aged gay man with scraggly facial hair. He’s wearing a wifebeater and a leather armband (or a cap—I don’t recall from my single viewing, but he was wearing some hinting-at-kink black leather item or items.) The creepy fag leans out of his apartment and leers at Marsden (which is exactly what I came to do). Marsden looks momentarily panicked, smiles apologetically, and hurries off before the creepy gay dude can… well, drag him into his fussy SM lair and rapes his ass.

    Oh, Disney. If you were going to leave us out of Enchanted—if you were going to sexually cleanse Manhattan to make your movie safe for Middle America’s multiplexes—then have the decency to leave us out of Enchanted entirely. Don’t drop in one fag, near the end, as a fucking sight gag.

    Yes, yes: there are creepy gay men in Manhattan with fussy apartments and complicated sexual interests. But he’s not the only fag in Manhattan, you dumb assholes. He wouldn’t even be the only fag in any given apartment building in Manhattan. And if you’re going to sweep us out of Central Park, out of Midtown, and out of Times Square, if you’re going to leave us out of Manhattan’s restaurants (?) and fashion design studios (!), then leave us out of Manhattan entirely. Don’t trot just one of us out, at the end, to mock-threaten James Marsden’s Prince Charming with a gay SM rape. Unless, of course, you actually filmed a big gay SM rape scene with James Marsden and it’s included among the deleted scenes on the DVD.


    In which case all is forgiven.

    Morning News

    posted by on March 26 at 8:32 AM

    The War: Second straight day of deadly fighting in Basra and Baghdad.

    The War, Pt. 2: Iraqi PM Maliki issues threatening deadline to Shiite militia in Basra to lay down arms.

    The Economy: Fourth straight month of declining sales in housing market equals a 13-year low.

    The Economy, Pt. 2: Second straight month of declining manufacturing orders.

    The Economy, Pt. 3: Wall Street finance companies hit with $460 billion in losses.

    The Environment: 1,500-year-old, 160-square-mile ice chunk collapses in Antarctica; global warming blamed.

    Faulty Study: Cigarette company funds major cancer study.

    Faulty Wiring: American Airlines cancels 200 flights.

    Affirmative Action Reaction: Citing Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, ballot measures in five states challenge affirmative action rules.

    Sonics: Key Arena not an option, NBA commissioner says.

    Another Tax Levy: Nickels proposes $75 million Pike Place Market renovation.

    Local Lawsuit: South Seattle residents sue Seattle Housing Authority.

    The American Failure in Afghanistan, Part 480: The US Government Gives Money to Afghanistan in Order to Pay American Private Contractors Inflated Rates

    posted by on March 26 at 8:30 AM


    Change It Back!

    posted by on March 26 at 2:59 AM


    Just to keep things on-topic around here, please enjoy this late-night We Hate It thread.

    Go nuts.

    UPDATE - Note: it may take a couple refreshes and/or a clearing of your browser’s cache to get all the changes to show up properly. Thanks for all the feedback.

    Is Jeff Kirby Sexist?

    posted by on March 26 at 12:45 AM

    That’s what commenters on Line Out say about this.

    (Kirby, I got your back. No way.)

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    Death of a Tales, Man!

    posted by on March 25 at 7:55 PM

    I walked into Twice Sold Tales on John St., off Broadway, just now, for the very last time. The building it inhabits will be a pile of dust, very, very soon. Right now, it looks like this…

    (photo by Miss Barbara Pomer)

    …and soon it will be gone entirely.

    Let us pause for a moment to remember Twice Sold Tales the way it was, and by “the way it was” I do not mean “they way it has been lately”, which is retarded.

    And by retarded I mean that they did not quite ever recover from the square footage they sacrificed when The Bush Years crashed down on the economy’s head like a lead boot and they were forced to dry-wall the poor old bookstore in half. All the aisles were smooshed together and it was impossible, by God, to browse comfortably.

    Someone’s ass was always in your face, or rubbing up against your ass, and as delightful as this sounds on paper, it was never (oh, never!) the ass you wanted in your face. It was always that other guy’s ass. The guy whose ass you wouldn’t even want to rub with somebody else’s ass. And to expand upon this assy theme, the place began to smell like ass, too—cat ass. Big cat ass. The biggest. Lots of them. You know what I’m talking about.

    Now, please to not misunderstand: I adore them damn cats; they’re what made the place so darling. So quaint. The cats always kept out those “allergy” types completely, and aren’t they always just so fucking annoying? Of course they are. So. But when the place shrank, the cats’ butts did not, and apparently they all exist upon a diet of road kill, and, well…disaster.

    What I’m trying to say is that it got all too cat-assy and small. Thank you.

    ANY-hoozits, there once was a day when Twice Sold Tales was big and roomy and only moderately assy and it was the most wonderful place to browse books and scratch cats in the universe. It was enchanting when mixed with a latte and a Sunday afternoon, and it was a respectable place to meet cute boys. (Twice Sold Tales had an enormous Gay Interests section when gay was still interesting, and a huge Theater Section when theater still mattered, and all this was when Capitol Hill was still gayer than the Easter egg that Charles Nelson Riley laid, so, the place was cruisier than an MX missile. That goes without saying of course.)

    And that is the day I beg you to remember. That big, roomy, only moderately assy, gay, cruisy Sunday day.

    It’s all over now.

    Sure, Twice Sold Tales isn’t vanishing completely, only skittering down Denny a few blocks, and the move really can’t result in anything but an improvement….but still. I can’t help but feel just a little bit sad…


    They Wouldn’t. Would They?

    posted by on March 25 at 7:34 PM

    The Guardian Monday reported plans to redesign the slenderizing top of the Eiffel Tower.

    Instead of this:


    It will (horribly, horribly, and by next year) look like this:


    Here’s the info site on the web site of the architectural firm, Serero Architects.

    It’s all too much to take in. As Slog tipper Billy Howard wondered, “It’s not quite April Fool’s Day, is it?”

    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

    posted by on March 25 at 4:56 PM

    A former bank executive facing trial for embezzlement beat to death his wife and the couple’s four adopted children before killing himself by ramming his car into a highway sign post, police said on Tuesday.

    Investigators in Iowa City provided details of the tragedy which came to light on Monday when the bodies of Sheryl Sueppel, 42, and the couple’s children ranging in age from 3 to 10 were found in their house on a quiet suburban street.

    Police Chief Samuel Hargadine said Sueppel left a written note and other messages behind which indicated that he killed his wife first and then the children. A baseball bat may have been used in the beatings….

    The children had been adopted from Asia, with one of them only recently joining the family.

    Another One Bites The Dust Mold Bucket of Brown Fetid Water

    posted by on March 25 at 3:57 PM


    125th and Aurora

    The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has shut down another Aurora motel because of “systematic” sanitation, construction, electric, fire and air quality violations.

    Investigators found garbage, old tires, broken TVs and pieces of furniture strewn around the Seattle Motor Inn, as well as bedframes propped up on phone books and a “five gallon bucket filled with brown fetid water” stashed in one bathroom.

    Last week, the DOH also shut down the Orion Motel, just two blocks away from the Motor Inn. According to a DOH spokeswoman, the Seattle Police Department tipped off the health department about conditions at the motels.

    All the guests have been cleared out from the properties, and the DOH is working out a settlement agreement with the building owners. So far, the Motor Inn’s owners have agreed to a license revocation, although they will likely apply to reopen if they are able to get the building back up to code.

    Random Text Message, March 25, 3:37 pm

    posted by on March 25 at 3:42 PM

    just saw kathi goertzen downtown by bed bath & beyond wearing a neck brace
    neck brace?!
    I wonder if she stole it

    Gentlemen, Take Note:

    posted by on March 25 at 3:36 PM

    CNN wants pictures of your man cave.


    Now’s the time to clear out all those Goatse jokes you’ve been saving for a rainy day.

    So What Will Carville Call Cantwell?

    posted by on March 25 at 3:25 PM

    After Bill Richardson endorsed Obama he was memorably tagged as a “Judas” by Clinton associate James Carville.

    Now that Sen. Maria Cantwell has offered this extremely large caveat to her Clinton endorsement—basically creating an Obama vote wrapped in a Clinton endorsement wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a mystery offered by an enigma—what will Carville call her?

    The man is rarely at a loss for words, but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind your suggestions.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on March 25 at 3:24 PM

    Okay, so he’s not the youth pastor—but he is an ordained minister and was the director of his church’s youth choir, which is where he found his victim. So we’re going to make an exception:


    An ordained minister has been arrested on charges of sex offense and child abuse of a female church choir member in Gaithersburg who was 14 at the time Montgomery County detectives had Timothy Chun-Chock Mann, 47, arrested in Hoover, Ala., where he was director of the choir with a Birmingham, Ala. congregation….

    Montgomery County police said Mann joined the First Baptist Church in Gaithersburg, as an ordained minister in December, 1991. He worked as the Minister of Music and directed the church’s youth choir.

    Between December 1992 and the summer of 1996, Mann engaged in inappropriate sexual acts with a female youth choir member, according to police. The abuse started when the victim was 14 years old and most of the incidents occurred in Mann’s office at the church.

    So. Just another example of this kind of evil behavior taking place in a holy setting—not some secular venue, where child rape is to be expected, but God’s house. Again. Someone alert Pastor Spink at Berea Baptist Church in Ohio.

    Thanks to Slog tipper Art.

    Sexy, Sexy… Six-Year-Olds?

    posted by on March 25 at 3:04 PM


    Oh, God help us: There’s a new online video game aimed at seven-to-16-year-old girls called “Miss Bimbo.” The goal: To win “bimbo points” by getting skinny, slutty, and popular, with the ultimate aim of becoming the “hottest, coolest, most famous bimbo ever!” Step one: Get a cool but not-too-taxing job or find a “sugar daddy” to keep you in “bimbo bucks,” which you can use to buy sexy clothes, lingerie, breast implants, or diet pills to keep you at your “target weight”—“waif thin.” Players are told to “stop at nothing,” even “meds or plastic surgery,” to win the game. Along the way, they encounter challenges—like level 7 (“After you broke up with your boyfriend you went on an eating binge! Now it’s time to diet”), level 9 (“Have a nip and tuck operation for a brand new face”), and level 11 (“Bigger is better! Have a breast operation.”) The game’s creator (a dude) told the Times of London that the game is “tongue in cheek” (because nine-year-olds really get that whole irony thing) and that it teaches girls “morally sound” principles about “the real world.” And lest you think this is just an obscure, silly lark by a to get feminists all riled up, consider this: As of this post, Miss Bimbo had more than 225,000 registered players.

    Meanwhile, in totally unrelated news, the Tacoma News Tribune reports that parents are finding it hard to find non-“sexy” clothing for their little girls. That means velour pants advertising girls’ six-year-old asses as “Juicy”; low-rise jeans for girls too young to have hips to hold them up; shirts in little-girl sizes with slogans like “Knockin’ Boots”; and platform heels more appropriate for strippers than elementary students. ““The pants rise on little girl pants are too low to be practical,” one mom is quoted as saying. “Kids run, jump and hang on monkey bars. With these fashions, their bottom is hanging out at recess.”

    Hey, Mom? If you’re reading this, just be grateful that when I was a preteen, the worst thing you had to worry about was me wanting to wear all black all the time.

    Towering Building; Empowering Building

    posted by on March 25 at 3:00 PM

    Two proposed developments are up for design recommendations tonight. The meetings are open to the public.

    Filling in Fifth Avenue

    For the first time in decades, the College Club didn’t hold its Easter brunch in the brown 1960s building on 5th and Madison. Both the club building (at the end of the block) and the adjacent offices are slated for demolition.


    This is Schnitzer Northwest’s vision for the site.


    NBBJ Architects; here’s a different view, from the other side (pop-up).

    This rendering – the result of design guidance from the city and revisions by the architects – is neither awesome nor offensive. At 40-stories, the tower would almost disappear into the downtown skyline of taller buildings (zoning there allows buildings to reach from 450’ to unlimited height). The slight variations in the roofline, gentle curves, and palate of gray crosshatching are typical of the current development wave.

    No question, however, this proposal makes a better use of the space than the squat buildings there now. The rooftop deck (pop-up) begs for a Manhattan and a cigar, and the ground floor relates well to the street.


    But why not something bolder, unique? According to a Department of Planning and Development report on a presentation last year, the developer and architect said the design would, “Not over manipulate the façade design and tower shape but have a ‘simplicity and Clarity’ that will confuse the surrounding architectural context.” What does that mean?

    The architects, developers, and their PR firm have declined to comment. So, if you want to find out more, head to the second design-recommendation meeting tonight and ask questions. It’s at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall—600 4th Ave, room L280. More about the proposal and after-hours access to City Hall here.

    Bakhita Gardens

    A proposed development at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Bell Street could bring the watchful eyes of up to 90 full-time residents to a historically sketchy intersection. The Archdiocesan Housing Authority – with city, county, state, and federal assistance – is backing a proposed development to provide low-income housing for women.


    But since the Archdiocesan Housing Authority funds it, I wondered, would residents be required to partake in mass or consume the body of Christ to qualify? What if they’re allergic to wafers?

    “There’s absolutely no requirement related to faith, worship, or anything like that,” says Brian Lloyd of Beacon Development Group, the contracted devlopment firm. “Part of the church’s mission is to create affordable housing and services.” According to its Web site, the AHA currently provides 1880 housing units at 42 properties. Sweet Jesus.


    Environmental Works; also, here’s the perspective from Bell Street (pop-up)

    The lower floors would provide “congregate housing” (like a shelter, except the residents can stay all day) for up to 40 women, and the upper floors would provide 50 single-occupancy housing units (like studios with half-kitchens). “The idea is to transition women from the streets to permanent housing,” says Lloyd. “There will be case management on site to help women take the next step, which is the upper level of the project.” The ground-floor facing 2nd Avenue would contain 2500 square feet of retail.

    The site is currently home to the Recovery Café, which provides shelter at night. “One big difference is this entire building will be a 24/7 facility,” says Lloyd.

    At tonight’s meeting, architects and developers will respond to previous design guidance. It’s at 7:00 p.m. in City Hall.

    Cantwell Caveat: She’s Backing Clinton, But She’ll Vote Based on Pledged Delegates at the Convention

    posted by on March 25 at 2:50 PM

    Via The Columbian by way of The Politico:

    U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, one of Washington’s 17 Democratic superdelegates, isn’t ready to shift her allegiance from Sen. Hillary Clinton to Sen. Barack Obama — yet.

    But in an interview with The Columbian’s editorial board Monday, she said the candidate with the most pledged delegates at the end of the primary season in late June will have the strongest claim to the party’s presidential nomination.

    “I definitely don’t want the superdelegates to be the deciding factor,” she said.

    “If we have a candidate who has the most delegates and the most states,” the Democratic party should come together around that candidate, Cantwell said. The pledged delegate count will be the most important factor, she said, because that is the basis of the nominating process.

    UPDATE: I just traded emails with Cantwell spokesperson Ciaran Clayton, who confirms the accuracy The Columbian’s account.

    The Rise and Decline of…

    posted by on March 25 at 2:50 PM

    …the suburbs:

    [DuPage] county [has] hit its own high-water mark and that without clear-eyed re-evaluation, it’s poised, as Chicago had been in the mid-1950s, for decline.

    DuPage is not alone, of course. In Nassau and Suffolk Counties in New York, in Montgomery and Baltimore Counties in Maryland, in Bergen and Essex and Middlesex Counties in New Jersey, in almost every mature suburb in the northeast and Midwest and mid south, families face these same conditions. A Roman Catholic pastor I met in Nassau County described it as suburbia’s midlife crisis. It may be part of America’s midlife crisis as well.

    No longer young, no longer trendy, no longer the place to be, no longer without apparent limitations or constraints, these places, like people, have developed ways of avoiding reality.

    What comes after the suburbs?

    Black Magic Entertains

    posted by on March 25 at 2:42 PM

    Three weeks old but funny none the less: New Dehli-based Sanal Edamaruku, an anti-superstition crusader, recently challenged one of India’s powerful shamans (a “tantrik”) to kill him using magic on national TV. (You can guess how well that went.)

    India TV invited Sanal Edamaruku for a discussion on “Tantrik power versus Science.” Pandit Surinder Sharma, who claims to be the tantrik of top politicians and is well known from his TV shows, represented the other side. During the discussion, the tantrik showed a small human shape of wheat flour dough, laid a thread around it like a noose and tightened it. He claimed that he was able to kill any person he wanted within three minutes by using black magic. Sanal challenged him to try and kill him.

    The tantrik tried. He chanted his mantras: “Om lingalingalinalinga, kilikili….” But his efforts did not show any impact on Sanal—not after three minutes, and not after five. The time was extended and extended again. The original discussion program should have ended here, but the “breaking news” of the ongoing great tantra challenge was overrunning all program schedules.

    Now the tantrik changed his technique. He started sprinkling water on Sanal and brandishing a knife in front of him. Sometimes he moved the blade all over his body. Sanal did not flinch. Then he touched Sanal’s head with his hand, rubbing and rumpling up his hair, pressing his forehead, laying his hand over his eyes, pressing his fingers against his temples. When he pressed harder and harder, Sanal reminded him that he was supposed to use black magic only, not forceful attacks to bring him down. The tantrik took a new run: water, knife, fingers, mantras. But Sanal kept looking very healthy and even amused.

    Finally, the disgraced tantrik tried to save his face by claiming that there was a never-failing special black magic for ultimate destruction, which could, however, only been done at night. He was challenged to prove his claim this very night in another “breaking news” live program….

    Full account on The Rationalist International website.

    Completely Unsurprising Endorsement of the Day

    posted by on March 25 at 2:31 PM

    Nancy Reagan will give her nod to John McCain.

    Boring, I know. To make up for it, here’s test footage of an airbag suit:

    (Via Gizmodo.)

    “Whassa Happening, Hot Stuff?”

    posted by on March 25 at 1:55 PM

    Adrian Tomine has a comic up at NPR about his troubled relationship with a certain Asian-American stereotype from Sixteen Candles. Due to bad lettering, I can’t tell if the strip is from 2001 or 2007 (I think the former), but I still think it’s great and he should do more like it, rather than writing the ambiguously-ending Raymond Carver pastiches he’s been hung up on for the last few years.

    The Grimace

    posted by on March 25 at 12:53 PM

    This image has been at the top of the Godforsaken Drudge Report all day.


    I kind of love it.

    Tomorrow People

    posted by on March 25 at 12:48 PM

    Padded lampposts?
    texting_injuries_0319.jpg What street in Seattle is most in need of this kind of padding? Somewhere in downtown’s Pike and Pine area? Broadway? The Ave?

    Building Barriers

    posted by on March 25 at 12:45 PM


    Dexter & Highway 99

    It will still be a few years until a suicide barrier is constructed on the Aurora Bridge. But after much grumbling, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), the City Council and neighbors from Queen Anne and Fremont have finally gotten a start on the design process.

    Neighbors are concerned about a possible view-obstructing eye-sore, and have been pushing for everything from under-bridge walkways to nets, and many of the ideas just aren’t cost effective.

    Right now, WSDOT has $1.3 million to study and design a suicide barrier for the bridge, which has the second highest number of bridge-suicides, behind the Golden Gate.

    If everything goes according to plan, WSDOT will receive another $6.2 million from the state to complete the barrier project by 2010. Half of the project’s budget will go towards installing a new lighting system on the half-mile bridge, which has slimmed down the number of available options for the barrier.

    Last month, WSDOT held a community design meeting, where artists worked with neighbors to come up with an agreeable design. WSDOT is clearly leaning towards a fence or enclosure, which is relatively inexpensive, compared to some of the other wild ideas being tossed around.

    Check out the designs after the break:

    Continue reading "Building Barriers" »

    Tomorrow Night: A Very Weepy, Breast-Beaty Laff Hole

    posted by on March 25 at 12:42 PM

    Tomorrow, a little bit of Seattle comedy will die.

    Scott Moran—one of the four founders of the People’s Republic of Komedy—will perform his final Laff Hole before moving to New York.

    Meaning this’ll be the last time you’ll see Scott and Emmett and Dan and Kevin on the same stage for a long time. Maybe forever.

    It’s the end of an era. Other promising young comedians have fled Seattle (godspeed, Hari Kondabolu), but PROK has been the center of gravity for the Seattle alternative comedy scene, which has given us Laff Hole and a bunch of other crap we like: Lo Ball, the Entertainment Show, Dartmondo, the Week of Fun, Get Lowded, and Blood Squad—which has the unprecedented distinction of being favorably reviewed by Lindy West, Cienna Madrid, Annie Wagner, and me. And we’re all bitches.

    Anyway: Scott. He’s a charming, funny guy who looks good in a suit jacket and wears his age better than anybody else in the Seattle comedy scene—maybe anybody else in Seattle:

    See? You can also admire Scott talking about Dave Matthews here and Transformers here.

    Laff Hole. Tomorrow night. Chop Suey. 8 pm. The end of an era.

    And, finally, please enjoy this picture of the original “laff hole”:


    Games: Overdue Reviews

    posted by on March 25 at 12:33 PM

    Not sure what I’m more torn up by as of late—the lack of the Games column in recent print editions of the Stranger, or the lack of the neighboring Porns column. (“These are a few of my favorite things…”) Either way, we’re coming up on three months of uncovered games since the last piece printed, and I figure today’s as good a day as any to start catching up—PC gamers got a World of Warcraft update today, while 360 nuts get a free Halo 3 update of their own. Those games don’t need the pub, though, so here goes.


    Burnout Paradise (360, PS3) - The latest in the “smash into other cars to drive faster” racing series came out back in January. This is much more my speed than an ultra-realistic Gran Turismo-style racer; you’re dropped into a single, mega-sized city and given the freedom to do as you wish (along with cars that heal themselves after every crash). It’s a Hot Wheels dream—find street races at stop lights that unlock new cars, look for hidden ramps to do unrealistic jumps through billboards, seek out the city’s hidden roads and stunt pits. There are plenty of races and objectives for completists, along with smooth online modes, both competitive and co-op. But I’m more impressed with the freedom to potz around if you’re not into the whole competition/goals thing—the game is so huge and plays so smoothly, you can lose hours just cruising, jumping and wrecking for the helluvit. Only problem is, the game’s city has a boring stretch of boonies on its west side, so if you take on a race that leads you that way, there’s no easy warping out; you have to drive every mile back to the bustling, busy, shortcut-filled downtown. Virtual boonies? Isn’t that what Big Buck Hunter’s for? Other than that, this game has had surprising legs—I’m loading it up two months later and still enjoying the aimless, high-speed wreckin’. Recommendation: Best arcade racer I’ve played in a while. Buy if you’re into that sorta thing. (Bonus - EA’s adding more to the city map in a few weeks with a free download.)


    Professor Layton and the Curious Village (DS) - Brainteasers on the go, but unlike DS edu-games like Brain Age, the teasers are slipped into a cartoony adventure/mystery. The presentation comes off like an Anime take on The Triplets of Belleville, meaning there’s great art style depicting a little European village and its bizarre shopkeeps who, for whatever reason, cannot think for themselves. The puzzles range from cookie-cutter to hair-pulling, and a few have nonsensical solutions that must’ve been translated terribly from a Japanese version, but most of them average out to keep an adult challenged at a reasonable level (bonus—jot down brainstorming notes on the touch-screen while you’re thinking them over). Recommendation: Though the game’s not worth playing after you beat it, you’ll get a few good weeks of really nice on-the-bus play, which is probably worth the $30 for the typical adult DS owner. However, DO NOT PLAY if you hate math or trick questions.

    Next time: Xbox 360 RPG Lost Odyssey, along with Army of Two if Jonah and I can get through some of its co-op gunplay. Poor Jonah’s Xbox 360 melted down nearly 30 days ago, and he still hasn’t gotten his warranty replacement. Last I heard, the thing was stuck in McAllen, TX, due to flooding in the area. That’s what I call Vista speed!

    For All You Fairies

    posted by on March 25 at 12:29 PM

    Need something to do this weekend? Why not go to the Spring Fairy Festival, down in Tacoma? It’s on Saturday, March 29th, from noon to ten pm, it costs 20 bucks for adults, and 12 bucks for kids five and over. It’s a place for fairies and fairy-friendly people to celebrate spring. (It’s unclear whether the organizers actively disdain the spelling ‘faerie,’ or if they just prefer the traditional spelling.)

    After paying the cover, all events—including music, dancers, a costume contest, face painting, “fairyokee,” and a “Fairy Ball with DJ“—are totally free. As ‘Otter’ says, in the comments to the Spring Fairy Festival announcement:

    I and mine have been attending FaerieWorlds festival since they came to the great NW. And these past few years I, and many others, have been wanting something along those lines near to home. You have made many wishes come true. I hope you all are ready for the true strength and numbers of the local Fey.

    And if you’re not ready, I suggest you get ready.

    Keeping Wright Alive

    posted by on March 25 at 12:05 PM

    Via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in a wide-ranging interview today with Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporters and editors, said she would have left her church if her pastor made the sort of inflammatory remarks Sen. Barack Obama’s former pastor made.

    “He would not have been my pastor,” Clinton said. “You don’t choose your family, but you choose what church you want to attend.”

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on March 25 at 12:00 PM

    Um, if this isn’t another sure sign of the apocalypse, I don’t know what is…

    From YouTube itn

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on March 25 at 11:56 AM


    From tae.rhee

    From the People Who Brought You Popcorn Lung…

    posted by on March 25 at 11:56 AM

    baby milk powder wheeze!


    She Makes Good on Her Line of Questioning

    posted by on March 25 at 11:21 AM

    I’m still on vacation, so I haven’t been paying much attention, but I gather everything is the same: Hillary simply must drop out, and all the white people who voted for her in Ohio are racist while all the white people who voted for Obama in North Dakota are enlightened.

    With the exception of yelling at Joni Balter on C.R. Douglas’s Seattle Channel show last Friday, it’s been a mellow vacation. I saw a movie; Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park. Charles Mudede reviews it here and The NYT’s Manohla Dargis reviews it here. (Both raves.)

    Although, I think Dargis is mistaken about this movie when she writes, “Mr. Van Sant has rarely been as patient with his female characters as he is with his male ones.”

    Macy, the girl character who plays the Existential detective opposite the Portland PD’s homicide detective, delivers this movie by being the only active person on the screen—which means she makes good on her Existential line of questioning by also playing a teenage super hero. You know: Human being = Super Hero! Super Hero = Teenager! Teenager = Human Being!

    And she reminded me of Jodie Foster’s genius moment in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.

    I’ve also read some good articles on the lovely futurama issues of the day—one on muni wi-fi and one on proprietary mp3 rights.

    Oh, and this one on how both Obama and Clinton exaggerate their records in the U.S. Senate.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on March 25 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Paranoid Park’

    This is one of the most important movies you will see this year. Paranoid Park’s importance lies not in its story (a murder mystery) or its location (Portland), but in its commitment to the beautiful. As Plato tells us, the beautiful, only found in the most unexpected places, gives us a glimpse of the eternal. There is more eternity in the sudden wrinkle of a dress or pair of jeans than in all the Renaissance paintings of the saints. Gus Van Sant has returned to the peak. (See Movie Times for details.)


    Something to Do With Your April

    posted by on March 25 at 10:56 AM


    Of course I love Nanowrimo, in which participants write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. I’ve written about it before. I’ve done four Nanowrimos in four years and written four (increasingly bad) novels. It’s been great, and it’s taught me a lot about writing.

    Last year, I did something called Script Frenzy, in which participants write a movie script in a month. It was weird, because the screenplay was much more enjoyable to write than any of the novels. I like my screenplay more than any of the novels I wrote, and there’s a weird sense of endless possibility, that you can do anything in a month-long screenplay, that doesn’t seem to exist for me when writing a month-long novel.

    Anyway, Script Frenzy starts on April Fool’s Day this year, and runs through the thirtieth. They’ve expanded their range to include television and graphic novel scripts.

    There are a ton of free screenwriting programs on the web to make the process easy, including Celtx, which is a download, Scriptbuddy, which is a free online service for your first screenplay and a pay site after that, and Scripped, which is like Google Docs for screenplays.

    I’m going to do it, and you should, too.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on March 25 at 10:30 AM

    Tram Bui’s 2903 (2008), oil on panel, 30 by 48 inches

    At Davidson Contemporary.

    Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania

    posted by on March 25 at 10:30 AM

    Clinton is still ahead in the polls (she’s been up by as much as 26 points in PA recently), and is now on the air with this ad:

    The primary in PA is April 22.

    What Does My Shirt Say?

    posted by on March 25 at 10:28 AM

    Kelly O gave me this shirt a while back, but I’m wearing it for the first time today because I found it at the bottom of my drawer. We’re really curious as to what it says. Does anyone in SLogLand read cursive Hebrew/Arabic/Aramaic or whatever it is?

    And yes, I changed shirts to take the picture. I’m modest.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on March 25 at 10:01 AM


    Only one reading today, at the University Bookstore. Terry Brooks, author of such books as The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara Trilogy and The Elfstones of Shannara. I hate these doorstopper fantasy novel Tolkien rip-off bullshit trilogy things. I’m going to stay home and read something good, instead.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, here.

    The Audacity of Hopelessness

    posted by on March 25 at 9:45 AM

    David Brooks on Hillary Clinton:

    When you step back and think about it, she is amazing. She possesses the audacity of hopelessness.

    Why does she go on like this? Does Clinton privately believe that Obama is so incompetent that only she can deliver the policies they both support? Is she simply selfish, and willing to put her party through agony for the sake of her slender chance?

    Today at the Olympic Sculpture Park

    posted by on March 25 at 9:37 AM


    Geoff McFetridge, artist and graphic designer extraordinaire from LA, will be finishing his installation at the Olympic Sculpture Park today from noon to 3.

    From what I hear, making the installation includes acrobatic-style drawing with tape. He’s almost finished, so if you really want to see him work, I’d show up closer to noon than to 3.

    Gay Chicken

    posted by on March 25 at 9:35 AM

    It’s like playing chicken, except you don’t run the other guy off the road…you kiss him.

    Or else you get slapped.

    No Sniper Fire, After All

    posted by on March 25 at 9:26 AM

    Hillary Clinton’s claim that she once tangled with sniper fire in Bosnia has been the subject of much online debunking for the past week or so, but now that the story has migrated onto the network news Clinton is saying she “misspoke.”

    The United States is the Best and Greatest Country in the Whole History of Absolutely Everything and We’re #1 and God Bless—Hey, Wait a Minute!

    posted by on March 25 at 9:00 AM

    There are other countries that are more stable and prosperous?!? How’d that happen?!?!

    A one-year investigation and analysis of 235 countries and dependent territories has put the UK joint seventh in the premier league of nations. The top ten comprise also the Vatican, Sweden, Luxembourg, Monaco, Gibraltar, San Marino, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands and the Irish Republic.

    The US lies 22nd…. [The] US had fallen down the scale, partly because of the proliferation of small arms owned by Americans and the threat to the population posed by the flow of drugs from across the Mexican border.

    The Morning News

    posted by on March 25 at 8:30 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    New plans
    : Petraeus and Crocker present plans that would keep troop level steady through 2008.

    Meanwhile: Fighting breaks out in Baghdad and Basra.

    Holiday in Bosnia
    : Hillary admits account of Bosnia trip may have been a little overdramatic.

    Consumer unease: Confidence in economy hits five-year low due to recession fears, according to Conference Board report. Meanwhile, home prices fall dramatically.

    Party animal: Brand-new New York Governor Patterson admits to past cocaine use.

    Too good to be true
    : Florida congressman says there may be a possibility of Gore-led Democratic ticket.

    Today in sweet maps: The world according to the mainstream media.

    Goodbye, crazy futuristic toilets: $4.3 million down the pot.

    Whaling case: Makah tribe members frustrated over government actions in gray whale hunting trial.

    John Doe: Federal agents identify mystery man.

    Serial groper
    : Yet another woman assaulted on Beacon Hill.

    What He Said

    posted by on March 25 at 8:24 AM

    I think Clinton’s political interests clearly militate toward a harsh campaign against Obama. Her only chance of winning is to disqualify him as a general election candidate, giving the superdelegates no chance but to contravene the elected delegates, which they are otherwise reluctant to do. This also serves her interests because if Obama loses, she would be the front-runner in 2012…

    Now, is Clinton actively thinking along these lines? Like I said, you can’t know. Even if she’s thinking in selfless terms, I’m not certain she would regard a John McCain victory over Obama as a total disaster. Senators tend to be very clubby and place enormous weight on paying dues. Clinton is said to consider Obama unworthy of the presidency, and indeed has said that McCain is ready to be commander-in-chief and he is not. She may not think a McCain presidency would be much worse for the country than an Obama presidency. I definitely suspect her chief strategist, Mark Penn, would prefer a McCain presidency. Penn is right-of-center on foreign policy and economics. His loyalty to liberalism is extremely tenuous.

    But this is speculation. An easier question to answer is, How much does Clinton value her own interests versus those of the Democratic Party? And here the answer is very clear: Clinton is acting as if she doesn’t care about the Democratic Party’s interests at all, except insofar as they coincide with her own. Her continued campaign is significantly damaging Obama’s general election prospects, and this would perhaps be defensible if she had a strong chance at the nomination, but she doesn’t.

    Monday, March 24, 2008

    They’re Unbelievable

    posted by on March 24 at 10:47 PM

    In case you’re thinking to yourself, “Self? You suppose Hillary Clinton adviser James Carville regrets comparing Gov. Bill Richardson to Judas the day before Easter in the New York Times?” Well, he doesn’t regret it. At all. What Carville said today: “I wanted to use a very strong metaphor to make my point. I doubt if Governor Richardson and I will be particularly close in the future.”

    The Clinton campaign is unbelievable. Nah, I don’t regret comparing Gov. Richardson—a Hispanic American who was so moved by Barack Obama’s landmark address on race in American politics that he went ahead and decided to endorse the first non-caucasian ever to have a serious shot at it—to Judas, the man who, according to Christian tradition, betrayed the savior of humanity itself. Just unbelievable.

    But, hey—guess what? While Clinton’s adviser did indeed unapologetically compare Richardson to the man who betrayed the savior of humanity itself, Clinton’s press guy Howard Wolfson “told reporters Monday that he didn’t agree with Carville’s comment.” Phew! Okay. Then everything’s fine. We’re all good. Because Howard didn’t agree with what James said. Go ahead, news media people, broadcast and publish as many stories as you want with Gov. Bill Richardson being equated to Judas in them, because that’s what James said and he’s not taking it back, but also by the way I, as the spokesperson for the campaign, personally don’t agree and wouldn’t have said it. Cf., Geraldine Ferraro.

    They’re just gonna take everyone down with them, aren’t they?

    The original quote, just in case you want to read it again:

    “An act of betrayal,” said James Carville, an adviser to Mrs. Clinton and a friend of Mr. Clinton.

    “Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic,” Mr. Carville said, referring to Holy Week.

    Seattle Tuk-tuk!

    posted by on March 24 at 5:30 PM

    It made me quite happy to see this little guy out delivering pizza dough to Via Tribunali on Pike St. this afternoon.


    More! Get yours here.

    One Person, One Vote…and One Hell of a Trek

    posted by on March 24 at 4:16 PM

    The nation of Bhutan held its first ever national elections today, and one woman wasn’t going to let a few hundred miles stop her from participating:

    The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan may lay claim to having the world’s most enthusiastic voter — a 65-year-old woman who walked 600 kilometres (380 miles) to cast her ballot.

    The woman responded to an appeal from the country’s king to embrace democracy as Bhutan shifts from absolute royal rule to becoming a constitutional democracy in Monday’s election, the Bhutan Times reported.

    People were allowed to vote only in the place of their birth and thousands headed to remote villages to take part in the country’s first parliamentary elections ending absolute rule by the Wangchuck dynasty.

    Tshewang Dema said she preferred to walk because she suffered motion sickness after her first and only car journey four years ago, said the newspaper on the eve of the election.

    “I didn’t want to lose my vote just because I couldn’t travel in a car,” Dema said.

    The journey took her 14 days.

    It Refuses To Go Awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay

    posted by on March 24 at 4:13 PM


    The shame, the insult.

    It’s Baaaaaaaack

    posted by on March 24 at 4:12 PM

    Seattle, get to work.


    Just remember to be fair. You probably earned that speeding ticket.

    Remember: You Can’t Spell “Recession” Without “Recess”

    posted by on March 24 at 4:02 PM


    HAVE YOU, IN recent months, found yourself drinking less and exercising more? If you smoke, have you cut back? Have you been spending more time with your kids, or stopping in more frequently on your aging parents or grandparents? Have you lost weight? Does the air seem cleaner, the roads less crowded?

    If so, you may be feeling the effects of the recession. A slowing economy, some economists suggest, can actually help you live longer - just one of a few payoffs that might surprise those of us who see recessions as unmitigated disasters.

    From those sunny optimists at the Boston Globe.

    Your Best Gay Face

    posted by on March 24 at 2:35 PM

    Jeff Whitty makes his best gay face for Jay Leno.


    Whitty has a history with Leno. And if you caught Leno gay-baiting Ryan Phillippe on the Tonight Show—Phillippe, to his everlasting credit, just wasn’t having it—you’ll want to read Whitty’s entire response here.

    “It’s going to make us look like a rinky-dink university.”

    posted by on March 24 at 2:27 PM


    In other Ayn Rand news, someone donated a million dollars to the University of North Carolina, with the caveat that they had to include Atlas Shrugged as required reading in a course. Some people are not amused. The school now has to construct an Ayn Rand reading room, too, which one angry professor said “Would be exactly like having a Karl Marx room.”

    (Thanks to Slog tipper Matt.)

    Dear Slog Readers

    posted by on March 24 at 2:24 PM

    Anyone know where I can get a straight razor shave in this town?

    Meanwhile, in Further Signs the Campaign’s Gone On Way Too Long

    posted by on March 24 at 2:18 PM

    Maureen Dowd is running out of names to call Hillary (“little girl” and “Mommie Dearest” are just so overplayed), and she’s starting to crack. This week, Dowd compares Clinton to the Terminator: “Unless every circuit is out, she’ll regenerate enough to claw her way out of the grave, crawl through the Rezko Memorial Lawn and up Obama’s wall, hurl her torso into the house and brutally haunt his dreams.”

    Seriously, MoDo? That’s all you’ve got?

    Meanwhile, Erica Jong might want to rethink her choice of words in calling Clinton a “beaver” and Obama a “stallion.”

    Does This Man Set Off Your Gaydar?

    posted by on March 24 at 2:06 PM

    Meet the governor of Florida, Charlie Crist…

    John McCain is allegedly vetting the very single, very tan, and very natty Crist as a possible VP choice. Which may have something to do with all the stories popping up in the news lately about how very thoroughly Crist—single, tan, natty—digs the ladies. Crist loves ‘em, can’t get enough of ‘em. Never married one, not seen out with any. But… women love him. And women wouldn’t dig Crist if he were gay, right? I mean, come on—since when do straight women and gay men get along?

    Or… gee… maybe John McCain is a Democratic operative after all.

    Obama on Gay Marriage

    posted by on March 24 at 1:59 PM

    Speaking at a rally in Medford, Oregon:

    Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), speaking to rally attendees in Medford, Oregon on Saturday, took issue with how recent political campaigns have used wedge issues to divide the electorate, but have ultimately done little to make a real difference, especially when there are more important things to worry about.

    “I mean, think about what these last few election cycles have been about,” the Senator said. “We argue about immigration, but we don’t try to solve the immigration problem. It’s an argument that is all about people’s passions instead of trying to figure it out.

    We argue about gay marriage. You know, in the meantime the planet is, you know, potentially being destroyed. We’ve got a war that is bankrupting us. And we’re going to argue about gay marriage? I mean, that doesn’t make any sense.

    Video here. (And no, Obamaphiles, I’m not saying Clinton would be any better for the gays. So, preemptively: Calm down.)

    Gardening for Good

    posted by on March 24 at 1:32 PM

    Anna Ullrich, an eco-conscious artist and web developer who brings her own plate to lunch at the Microsoft cafeteria, bought the “Stranger Distro Team Fixes Up Your Park” item at Strangercrombie 2007. She sicced the distribution crew on St. Mark’s Greenbelt, where they pulled out invasive holly, blackberry, and ivy on a sunny Saturday. (The $355 Anna paid went straight to job-training program FareStart.)

    If this looks like fun, check out the list of ongoing green-space restoration projects at

    Building for a Better Taco

    posted by on March 24 at 1:29 PM

    Salvador Sahagun may be the most endearing developer ever. Happy to hear from a stranger who found his number on the city’s Web site, it turns out he is the primary owner of Tacos Guaymas, the taqueria and cantina chain serving delicious authentic-ish Mexican food around Seattle. Tonight he meets with a design-review board to discuss the redevelopment of his Fremont property at 100 N 36th Street.


    Sahagun wants to demolish the existing (cantina-less) Tacos Guaymas and its one-story building, which was previously used as a church. It was later covered in stucco “to give it the look of Mexican restaurant,” he says. He has proposed a three-story building on the site, with about 5000 square feet of retail for a new restaurant (and possibly a cantina) on the ground floor and residential units above. The outdoor seating would remain.

    “We’re intending to put in six condos,” says Sahagun. “One of those I intend to use for myself, one for my in-laws, and maybe rent the other ones.” He’s building condos for his in-laws from a taco empire. I love him.

    Tonight a design-review board will review his current proposal—which responds to design guidance (.pdf) provided last fall, such as maximizing the height of the retail level—at 6:30 p.m. in the library at Ballard High School, 1418 NW 65th Street. Go. Vote cantina!

    This Week In Ignoring Dead Authors’ Wishes

    posted by on March 24 at 1:00 PM

    Before Charles Dickens died, he proclaimed in his will that he wanted “no monument, memorial or testimonial whatever.” Now the Dickens family wants to overturn their great-great-grandfather’s dying wishes for no memorials. Because after 200 years with no official statues in the U.K., nobody in the world remembers who Charles Dickens was.

    The Era of Fraud

    posted by on March 24 at 12:55 PM

    The deadly, fraudulent, heparin sold by a Chinese manufacturer to Baxter shares much with the deadly, fraudulent, wheat gluten and gluttonous, fraudulent, financial crisis.

    These frauds are not accidents, slips of care, but rather deliberate attempts to game tests of quality, to turn garbage into gold.

    The toxic wheat gluten was doped with melamine, in a brilliant gambit to fix the protein content tests and make filler look like high quality protein. Overcompensated financial wizards, thanks to deregulation, managed to sell aggregates of dubious mortgages as high quality investments, cleverly bypassing all of the financial tests.

    In the case of the fake Heparin, the actual drug was replaced with cheaper Chondroitin sulfate, aggressively modified chemically to fake quality control tests. At least nineteen people have died from this clever gambit, thousands made ill.

    Such trickery requires canny chemistry or shrewed accounting—deft minds deriving novel solutions to their problems, rather than the actual, deeper and more pervasive problems leading to shortages of protein, of drug or worthy investments.

    In a world that can sustain, at most, about two billion people in the voracious Western lifestyle—in a world of nearly eight seven billion, all of whom promised the Western middle class lifestyle—a thin veneer of success, of false protein and medicine, of false wealth and material growth, must obligately coat a massive, deep and dark well of exaggerations, lies and despairing intelligence.

    Today and This Weekend on Line Out

    posted by on March 24 at 12:47 PM

    Hollow Earth Needs a New Home: The local internet radio stars are being kicked out May 1st.

    See Seattle with Boredoms: After killing it at Neumo’s, Boredoms go on adventures through the city with Trent Moorman.

    Tonight in Music: Justice and Diplo, Black Horse.

    Today’s Music News: A new Billy Bragg record, the Mountain Goats cancel tour, a Cuban musician dies, and more.

    Video: Why’s “Song of the Sad Assassin.”

    Relex: Collective Soul are still a band; Collective Soul was in Seattle this weekend.

    Two Takes: Both Eric Grandy and Trent Moorman review the Boredoms’ show at Neumo’s.

    Another Video: This time it’s Boris’ “My Neighbor Satan.”

    Dear Mr. President: Eels invite George W. to one of their rock and roll shows.

    Yet Another Video: Rivers Cuomo’s “Lover in the Snow” is all about soccer?

    Ari Spool is So Happy: Free Kitten is recording.

    The Blakes, by puddletownphoto.


    Lunchtime Quickie, Sandwich Edition

    posted by on March 24 at 12:45 PM

    Easter Sandwich

    Make your favorite egg salad. (H.B. egg, mayo, Dijon mustard, a little chopped fresh herb of choice, and salt/pepper is good.) Prepare an egg salad sandwich. Add a layer of ham. Say it: “Ham layer!” Celebrate life!


    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on March 24 at 12:45 PM


    From sea kay

    We Tell Ourselves Google Maps In Order to Live

    posted by on March 24 at 12:16 PM

    This We Tell Stories website has been up for a few weeks now. It’s supposed to be Penguin Books’ new attempt to attract web traffic and get with the very late twentieth century.

    I tried reading The 21 Steps last week and my interest quickly waned: basically, it’s a super-short story told on Google Maps. I don’t understand what the maps bring to the story, except for a sad little bid at ‘interactivity’ by clicking on the mouse every time you finish another sentence. I don’t believe that this is the future for anybody but a couple of marketers in Penguin’s British Online Promotions Bureau.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on March 24 at 12:13 PM

    From YouTube ymmud

    Dem Match = Death March?

    posted by on March 24 at 12:00 PM

    I haven’t finished reading this New Republic piece yet, but the gist is clear: The longer the Democratic nomination race drags on, the worse the party’s chances of winning the White House in November.

    With this in mind, and with Hillary Clinton having only a very long (and some would say mythical) shot at winning the nomination anyway, I’m searching for local Clinton supporters—preferably local Hillary Clinton delegates—who feel like it’s time to end this and are now switching their support to Obama.

    If you fit this description, please shoot me an email with SWITCHER in the subject line and a brief account of your rationale for switching and/or a brief description of the straw that broke the camel’s back.


    Skillet Update #187

    posted by on March 24 at 11:53 AM

    The person who suggested in the comments of Skillet Update #186 (last week) that Skillet ought to put down the bong may have been onto something. Today’s news from the Skilleteers:

    the story behind the truck caper is unfortunately a little embarrassing…basically, long story short, josh left the truck in a no parking area/towing area…came back to get the truck in the morning…and thought it had been stolen…called the cops, they said…ummmmmmm…it was impounded…josh felt dumb…end of story…

    In other Skillet news: Coming soon, Skillet on Capitol Hill on Mondays. (Not today.)

    we do have the capital hill location…it will be on 12th ave, in the fine folks of the photographic center nw parking lot on mondays

    And, in the Dept. of Un-Skillet-Related Slight Corrections: The little bird that told me that Jerry Traunfeld’s new restaurant would be in the Jade Pagoda space on Broadway was a little off: Poppy will be a few doors north, where the Elite used to be. Before anyone freaks out about restaurants with overpriced food for yuppie d.-bags displacing venerable gay bars and ruining life as we know it, note that Traunfeld is the chef-genius of Herbfarm fame, that the Herbfarm is widely recognized as the region’s only premiere fine-dining experience, that Poppy will be moderately priced, that we will be damn lucky to have it, and that the Elite has been successfully transplanted just a few blocks away on Olive, where gentlemen who love gentlemen seem to be enjoying its charms now more than ever.

    The City Finally Figures Out What the Rest of Us Already Know:

    posted by on March 24 at 11:45 AM

    Automatic Public Toilets (APT) are gross and should go away.


    Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has released their study on the problems with the City’s five APT’s—in the Victor Steinbrueck, Hing Hay, Occidental and Waterfront parks, and on Broadway—and are recommending the City remove them to save $4.5 million over the next five years.

    Businesses and neighbors hated the dingy, silver toilets, as they were frequently used for drug dealing and prostitution. SPU has recommended the City provide bathroom attendants to businesses who agree to open their facilities to the public.

    Now, please enjoy this incredibly educational history of public toilets in Seattle, provided by SPU.

    A Brief History of Public Toilets in Seattle
    Seattle Public Utilities, March 2008

    1895 — City constructs public toilets “to abate existing nuisances” in Capitol Hill.

    1907 — City constructs toilets for Pike Place Market.

    1909 — City opens what is “believed to be the world’s most luxurious underground toilets” below the pergola in Pioneer Square. The toilets and urinals numbered 47 and after opening were reportedly flushed “5,000 times a day”. Some were pay toilets.

    1919 — City declares an “emergency” at the Pike Place Market toilets authorizing additional maintenance and facility renewal.

    1920 through at least 1943 — City contracts for “lockdown” of certain toilets to deal with crime and related issues.

    after 1945 — City closes the Pioneer Square toilets under the pergola allegedly due to years of abuse and misuse.

    1948 — City authorizes bids to install new pay toilets in Belltown and Pike Place Market.

    late 1980’s — City faces growing complaints about defecation in the streets and criminal and non-customer use of private restrooms culminating in an outcry for more public toilets in Seattle’s Downtown and urban centers. In response, the City installs 10 portable public toilets (Port-a-Potty) (a total of 14 at the peak).

    1994 — City authorizes improvements to the facades of its portable public toilets and to its permanent toilets at the Pioneer Square Fire Station.

    2004 — City installs five automated public toilets (APTs) including ones near Pike Place Market, Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square to address public toilet needs.

    2004-2005 — City closes its toilets in the Pioneer Square Fire Station and the Aquarium due to misuse and abuse and Freeway Park due to a homicide.

    2005-2006 — Seattle’s APTs became a focal point of concern as local merchants to homeless advocacy groups raise issues about illicit activities associated with them and their cost. In response, the City posts a code of conduct, improves lighting, reduces user times and begins a program to “lockdown” its APTs at night and on weekends.

    Terlet Photo via Flickr

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on March 24 at 11:00 AM


    A local youth pastor is accused of having an ongoing sexual relationship with a teenager that investigators said started when the girl was 15…. Jeremy Workman is charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. He is being held on a $250,000 bond awaiting his next court appearance.

    Workman served as the youth pastor at Berea Baptist Church for eight years. He recently resigned after the church discovered he was involved in an adulterous relationship. Later, the church learned that the relationship allegedly started when the girl was 15.

    This kind of evil behavior takes place frequently in secular venues, but when it occurs in a holy setting like God’s house, it is especially grievous,” said Pastor Kenneth Spink.

    Welcome to Youth Pastor Watch, Pastor Spink. As regular Slog readers are aware, this kind evil behavior—youth pastors gone wild—happens with alarming motherfuckingfrequency in non-secular venues just like yours. You can find recent examples of this kind of evil behavior happening in venues like yours, Pastor Spink, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here. Those are just our Youth Pastor Watch posts since the first of the year, Pastor Spink, and many of those posts feature multiple examples of youth pastors behaving badly in churches and other non-secular venues. There are lots more examples in our archives—feel free to poke around, Pastor Spink.

    Once again: If children got raped at Denny’s as often as they get raped in churches, angry mobs would burn every damn Denny’s in the country to the ground. But stick a cross on the roof and it doesn’t seem to matter how many kids get raped. A million youth pastors, pastors, priests, bishops, elders, etc., can get caught raping their parishioners’ kids and the whole world pretends (or feels obligated to pretend) that the latest child rape is a shocking and isolated incident. So each and every time it happens the exact same story gets written: “How could this have happened in a church, of all places, and how could the accused be a man of the God, of all people? But let’s not think about those questions too hard, ladies and gentleman, as that might hamper healing process. Instead our brand new youth pastor shall now lead us in prayer.”

    Christ. Wouldn’t it be great if the media covered youth pastor attacks the same way they covered shark attacks?

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on March 24 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Snow Angels’

    David Gordon Green’s first movie to take place north of the Mason-Dixon is split right down the middle: One story, familiar from All the Real Girls, is about the unbearable sweetness of post-puppy love. The other is about what happens when your high-school beau grows up, starts drinking, finds Jesus, and can’t hold down a job. What the two stories have in common is Green’s uncommon dialogue, aching with cross-purposes and shimmering with flirty jokes. (See Movie Times for details.)


    Man, How Did I Miss This?

    posted by on March 24 at 10:39 AM

    Speaking of bullies, was this on Slog last week? Hell, even if it was, here it is again.

    State Sen. Pam Roach has been banned from contact with any employee of the Senate Republican caucus after Senate party leaders say she forced employees to work excessively long days and demanded they pledge their loyalty to her.

    The News Tribune obtained the two-page reprimand from Senate Republican leadership through a public records request Wednesday. That came after Roach e-mailed the media, accusing other senators of plotting her demise.

    In addition to the loyalty pledge, the Auburn Republican asked staff members to spend an “inordinate amount of time” with her, complained about other senators and created an “intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment,” according to the document, signed by the four members of the Senate GOP leadership….

    In 2003, Roach was reprimanded and asked to seek counseling after more than five years of staff complaints. During that time, staffers said she a brandished a handgun at a staffer, illegally obtained employees’ e-mails and drove some to quit. One former employee later received $2,500 from the Senate for counseling.

    Despite the gun-brandishing and call-for-counseling incidents named above, whenever I think of Roach’s demeanor, one thing comes to mind: her “flowers” speech on the state Senate floor. Someone moved the senator’s flowers, you see. If you haven’t heard it before, you really must listen to it over here at HorsesAss, complete with audio embellishment.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on March 24 at 10:30 AM

    Robert Burden’s LJN’s Hulk Hogan and Big John Studd (WWF Thumb-Wrestler’s, 1985), oil on canvas, 90 by 48 inches

    At Roq la Rue Gallery.

    Left Coast

    posted by on March 24 at 10:18 AM


    According to, the future is the Pacific Seaboard.
    Sadly, there’s a very long way to go to get to where we need to be now.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on March 24 at 10:11 AM


    There are two open mics tonight and also two exciting readings and then one other reading I don’t know anything about.

    Let’s start with the unknown quantity: Mavis Hara is reading at the Beacon Hill branch of the Seattle Public Library, with her book An Offering of Rice, which is a collection of short stories and some poetry. There is a blurb on the publishers’ website, from Sylvia Watanabe that reads, in part:

    This long awaited book of stories from Mavis Hara is everything we hoped for—and more. Gritty and tough-minded, lyrical by turns, this is no mere nostalgic feel-good journey to the plantation past.

    This is a very bad blurb; I would go so far as to say that it is how not to write a blurb. The phrase by turns is a horrible phrase overused in blurbs and reviews. What does it mean? At the same time, this book does both x and y. But it just sounds stupid and pretentious. Likewise, calling a book gritty doesn’t do a whole lot, either: Is it realistic? Is it full of sand? Who can say? But you shouldn’t hold a blurb against the author: More information on the book is here.

    Also tonight, Parag Khanna is reading at the University Bookstore from The Second World, which is about how “America’s dominant moment has been displaced by a geopolitical marketplace.” This is important stuff, about empires and globalization and all that, and it would be grand to have a discussion about it.

    If you’re more into fiction, Joshua Ferris is at the Elliott Bay Book Company, reading from Then We Came To the End. …End is a great debut novel, just out in paperback, about life in an office. And it’s told in the first-person plural: “We” is the narrator of the book, and, weirdly, it is not at all annoying. The book does have its faults—it’s one hundred pages too long, for instance, and a couple subplots could have been trimmed—but no fault is so great as the paperback cover, as seen above. The hardcover cover was so much better and can be seen here. It wasn’t the best cover in the world, but the paperback makes it look like a Chip Kidd classic. In any case, this should be a good reading, and funny, and at some point in the future, you’ll have to buy a ticket to see Ferris read at a large venue, so you should enjoy the free readings while you can.

    Full readings listings, including the next week or so, here.

    The Hot Dog is Horny for the Mustard

    posted by on March 24 at 9:56 AM

    The hot dog is also a lady.

    Not only does this commercial fail to make me want a hot dog, it makes me never want to eat anything ever again.

    Montana on Second and Bell

    posted by on March 24 at 9:45 AM


    Holy shi** is that the ferret guy? It’s a opossum! Hey excuse me…

    I have raised all sorts of animals, my pops gave me a bear cub when I was real young back in Montana; we got into all sorts of trouble! One time we got into it inside the bar—don’t ever take a beer away from a bear! The bartender learned that one the hard way.

    Where did you get this guy?

    It’s a she, and I rescued her about two years ago. She has been with me ever since. They are very loyal to just one person. Never ran away or nothin’.

    She ever bitten you? Those teeth are sharp and gnarly!

    Oh no, opossums would never bite a human; they will play dead before they bite you. Just like the saying, “playin’ opossum.” They are more scared of us!

    Is that a real opossum hat? What’s the story?

    This here was road kill I found. I didn’t want it to just go to waste, got it right off the highway just a few months back.

    You from Seattle? I have never seen you two before.

    I am around, I take groups back to Montana and we camp out in the mountains and build camping sites every year. We build dugouts here in Seattle, too, and there is nothing like it, you gotta see it, electricity and all… but the city destroys ’em. Even when the neighbors let us run power down there and are okay with it, the city just don’t want us around.

    One time I thought I was being arrested and people were protesting: “Montana didn’t do nothing!” they were shouting. Ended up the [police] needed my help and knew were to find me. They had a wild opossum they were trying to catch. She had just bitten right through an animal-catcher device! They said I was crazy for thinking I could get the thing, but I just stayed calm and talked to her. I get along with critters much better than humans.

    Montana, thanks for talking to us! Let’s do a full story sometime soon?

    Oh yeah! Lets do it, look me up! See ya!

    The Hero as a Boozer

    posted by on March 24 at 9:32 AM


    In the last decades of his life, [Kingsley Amis] became a stickler for routine, finishing work at twelve noon, when the first Scotch was promptly downed, then to his club (the Garrick) for lunch, where he stayed drinking until five thirty, before leaving to be somewhere else for drinks at six. Every Thursday (or was it Saturday?), he went to dinner with his son, Martin, and daughter-in-law, Antonia, at Chesterton Road, and every Thursday (or was it Saturday?), he expected to be served the same meal—tinned potato salad and pressed tongue. He had no interest in food (“irrelevant rubbish,” he called it), but the kitchen cupboard at Antonia’s house (Martin now lives in Regent’s Park with his second wife) is bursting to this day with old bottles of strong sticky drink that were brought for him to have on his weekly visits, before, during, and after dinner.

    At the end of Plato’s Symposium, after a night of drinking wine and talking about love with male friends, Socrates leaves not to go home and bed but into the day to do his business. His stamina amazes everyone. Booze means nothing to this man of ideas, this hero of the city.

    This Story Made Me Furious

    posted by on March 24 at 9:20 AM

    Want to share in my Monday morning fury? Click here.

    Every Child Deserves a Mother and a Father…

    posted by on March 24 at 9:15 AM

    Amanda Kay can paint you a picture of your child with Christ, if you like. Or you can cut out the middleman (but not the benign cyst) and arrange for your child to meet Jesus personally.

    Prosecutors are reviewing the death of a 15-month-old girl a medical examiner says could have been saved if she had been treated with antibiotics. The Oregonian quoted Dr. Christopher Young, a deputy state medical examiner, as saying that Ava Worthington died March 2 at home from bacterial bronchial pneumonia and infection.

    He said both conditions could have been prevented or treated with antibiotics, and the child’s breathing was further compromised by a benign cyst that had never been medically addressed and could have been removed from her neck, The Oregonian reported Saturday….

    If prosecuted, the paper said, Ava Worthington’s parents would be the first members of Oregon City’s Followers of Christ, a fundamentalist Christian denomination, to face charges for failing to seek medical treatment for a gravely ill child…. According to church tradition, when [Followers of Christ] become ill, fellow worshippers pray and anoint them with oil. Former members say those who seek modern medical remedies are ostracized.

    The Morning News

    posted by on March 24 at 8:30 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    : Death toll for American troops in Iraq reaches 4,000 after roadside bomb.

    Down to business
    : New Pakistani prime minister releases judges detained by Musharraf back in November.

    Olympic ordeal
    : Protesters disrupt Olympic torch ceremony.

    Fund flow
    : U.S. struggles to disrupt al-Qaeda’s money flow despite fractures in international coalition.

    Bear trade: JP Morgan raises asking price for Bear Stearns in an effort to appease shareholders.

    Identity crisis: John McCain considered joining the Democratic Party twice in the last six years.

    Fishing disaster: Seattle-based fishing ship sinks in the Bering Sea, killing at least four.

    Recruiting on the mainland
    : Wealthy, high-achieving Mercer Island School District desperate for enrollment.

    : Since 2007, 23 officers in Washington and Idaho have had their badges taken away.

    Faith healing
    : Fundamentalist Christians who shun modern medicine could have saved their 15-month-old daughter.

    Sunday, March 23, 2008

    Norwescon Wrap-Up

    posted by on March 23 at 7:53 PM

    Holy God, am I exhausted. And at least I can say, from the looks of the other convention-goers here, that I am not alone. By the end, the only people left standing were the ones who did not party.

    The Norwescon Poetry panel, I believe, didn’t actually happen. Or at least, at five past the hour, the only person sitting in the room where people were supposed to compose an epic Norwescon Poem was the panel moderator, all by himself. It just goes to show that poetry gets no respect in the science-fiction world, either. Are there poetry conventions? Are they only attended by one person at a time?

    I attended a seminar on Fanfic. Fanfic, for those of you who don’t know, is fan-written fiction about preexisting worlds and characters. Some people stick to just one kind of fanfic: there were a few people in the panel who were Harry-Potter-Fanfic only. Others write about different tv shows and books and movies. Slash fiction, or erotica starring fictional characters, is very popular, and ship fiction—writing romances about the relationship between two characters—is also a big deal. One woman in the room—the panel was entirely women—wrote Back to the Future fanfic and also Kim Possible slash fic.

    They asked, probably hypothetically, why they wrote fan fiction, and most of the women decided that it was to fix what they perceive as mistakes in the primary text, or “To make things end better,” as one teenager in attendance said. Veronica Mars, for instance, was cancelled before dealing with the main character’s romantic situation in a satisfying way, and so fanfic is a way for the writer to get some closure, or to further enjoy the character.

    It was an interesting look at a subculture full of its own language and terminology (some of the writers write mpreg fiction, or fiction where male characters like Harry Potter or Captain Kirk become pregnant, for instance, and fans who are online can often break out into ugly ‘shipping wars,’ where they argue vehemently about why this character would wind up with this or that character: to maintain the Star Trek analogy, why Kirk would wind up with Uhura rather than Spock) and in that way it was a good lens through which to view fandom as a whole. It’s a rarified atmosphere at Norwescon, and hard for an outsider to completely understand. The coded language tends to work as both a shield, keeping outsiders out, but also as a latticework to keep fans feeling connected and safe.

    Fans at Norwescon do seem to feel safe, be it if they’re in costume or getting their motherfucking freak on at a party, or tearing up while talking about Arthur C. Clarke’s death last month. Being able to watch that is kind of sweet. Sure, at times, I was ready to scream and flee—the threat of Hobbit filking is almost too sphincter-tighteningly horrifying to relay to someone not in attendance—but I also feel kind of grateful for the opportunity to see them feeling so safe, in the open, without a care in the world, for one weekend.


    posted by on March 23 at 7:47 PM

    The U.S. military says a roadside bomb has killed four U.S. soldiers in Baghdad. That raises the overall American death toll to at least 4,000, a grim milestone as the war enters its sixth year.

    Norwescon Sunday: Report One

    posted by on March 23 at 11:31 AM

    Why, yes, that is a blow-up alien with a mouth-hole for fucking, thanks for asking!

    I overheard someone talking about the parties here at Norwescon. He was explaining that he doesn’t party all year and so this is his time to cut loose. I think that’s a pretty common thing: I was in the bar yesterday and someone lit somebody else’s hair on fire. Like, for a joke. And it worked: Everyone laughed. The poor waitress had to come over and spray Febreze to try to cover up the perm smell.

    I went to the I.B.T. party last night—I.B.T. stands for Intergalactic Bank of Timbuktu. They go from convention to convention, auctioning off slaves. I arrived after the auction, so I only met one slave: a hot young Mormon boy who could do standing back flips. Standing back flips seemed to be his only trick, but he was really good at it, doing three or four in a row, on demand.

    The costumes got a little crazier at the parties as the night went on. One well-built African-American man was wearing a leather vest and basically a leather cock-sack. His ass was free in the breeze. A man and women locked themselves in the bathroom to fuck. There were giant troughs filled with super-sweet Midori punch and Long Island Iced Teas and some sort of alcoholic grape drink.

    People were hopping from party to party, including the so-called Party at the End of the Universe, across the street at a hotel with less-stringent party standards. One befanged young man was leading four female slaves across the street so that they could take part in the wet t-shirt contest. Now I understand why the convention booklet has rules for leashes: They weren’t talking about dogs.

    Today is kind of an abbreviated session, which is good because my Midori hangover is threatening to melt my brain. I am about to attend a session wherein people compose an epic poem to describe this year’s Norwescon. I may not survive.

    Cheese Is Risen

    posted by on March 23 at 11:15 AM

    Jesus appears to a Texas youth minister in the form of a… a Cheeto.


    The video is here.

    Via dlisted.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on March 23 at 11:00 AM


    ‘The Sweetest Swing in Baseball’ at Seattle Public Theater

    Thankfully, The Sweetest Swing doesn’t have a goddamned thing to do with baseball. Instead, it’s about an artist who desperately wants to stay in a mental institution because she’s doing the best work of her life. Rebecca Gilman’s script is impeccable, from its first artsy complaint to its final, triumphant cussword. And Heather Hawkins, onstage for the entire show, is incredible as the aforementioned scam-artist artist pretending to be baseball’s baddest bad boy, Darryl Strawberry. (Seattle Public Theater, 7312 W Green Lake Drive N, 524-1300. 2 pm, $15–$24.)


    Reading Today

    posted by on March 23 at 10:00 AM

    (Zombie Jesus image from New World Odour.)

    Apparently, Christ has risen again, for like the three billionth time—I owe you fifty bucks, Pastor Mike, but I’ll get you next year!—and so a lot of bookstores are taking the day off from readings, though many are still open for the modern heathen’s browsing pleasure.

    Norwescon, the science-fiction convention, is still going on in SeaTac today, though, with a number of readers like Leah Cutler and Caitlin Kittredge and the ever-delightful Roberta Gregory, who does Bitchy Bitch comics for Fantagraphics, which are some of my all-time favorite comic books. I will be liveblogging from Norwescon today, the final day of the convention, from 10 to 6.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, here.

    The Morning News

    posted by on March 23 at 9:00 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Violence in Iraq: Sixteen civilians, 13 Iraqi soldiers dead one day after bomb in Iraq kills three U.S. soldiers. Twelve militants suspected of plotting suicide attack also killed.

    Cheney in Palestine: U.S. works to broker peace between skeptical Israel and Palestine.

    Easter Sunday
    : Pope baptizes prominent Muslim, calls for peace in Iraq and Tibet.

    : Cocaine on the upswing in Peru.

    Haiti reminisces: As poverty and discontent grow, some Haitians look back to historical dictatorship with hope for stability.

    The Regulators
    : Congress, administration disagree over how to deal with Wall Street.

    Making up lost ground: According to Gallup poll, Obama back in lead.

    : Raw sewage overtakes North Bend Youth Activity Center.

    Ferries on top: Ferry system passes audit for first time in 21 years.

    Peace march: Residents rally against violence in Rainier Valley.

    WET Gets Robbed

    posted by on March 23 at 1:26 AM

    During (after?) this evening’s performance of Mr. Marmalade (Mr. Kiley’s review is here) at Washington Ensemble Theatre up on 19th Avenue, the guy who was watching the cash box went into Fuel to get some coffee and while he was in there someone walked in, took all the money, and left. WET actor Michael Place, who was standing outside the theater after the show, estimated they lost a couple hundred dollars. If you know anything, spill it here.