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Archives for 06/01/2008 - 06/07/2008

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Put This on Your Calendar

posted by on June 7 at 2:14 PM


Nuclear Power

posted by on June 7 at 2:10 PM


With oil prices spiking again—I say from both real increases in global demand and speculation piggybacking on the market conditions, you may disagree—and global energy supplies at some of the tightest margins ever, is it any surprise that…

Nuclear power, long reviled as a dangerous source of energy, is on the verge of a comeback. That’s because a growing body of scientists, politicians and environmental activists see atomic energy as part of the solution for global warming and our ever-growing dependence on foreign oil, much of it from nations that, if not downright hostile toward us, certainly don’t share our values.

Well, what of nuclear power? On the Dear Science blog, I’ve just completed a six post series on nuclear power, covering…

…the physics behind nuclear power:

Every nuclear power plant in operation today works by capturing the energy release when a really unhappy large nucleus breaks up into two smaller and more successful get-togethers–atomic fissioning. When these cranky huge parties break up, a few neutrons typically get flung out at high speeds–think of these as a few type-B’s from the party screaming away in tears. If these neutrons hit another large nucleus, teetering towards breaking up already, they can smash the party to pieces, sending yet more neutrons out.

So, you can imagine a game where you place enough of these large nuclei next to one another, such that the neutrons from one breaking up shortly cause a neighboring large nucleus to break up, sending more neutrons out to break up more nuclei… creating a chain reaction.

… how almost all current nuclear power reactors work

The goal? A controlled fissioning of large nuclei. You’ll need fuel, moderation, coolant, and some control

Hey, something nifty! Water is both a good coolant and moderator! No moderator, no chain reaction, right? So, if you use water as your coolant and moderator, your reactor has an intrinsic safety feature. If you lose coolant, you lose moderation and the chain reaction stops. We all live! Thus, almost all nuclear reactors in operation today use water as a coolant and moderator.


Alpha particles, the cannon balls, can be stopped by a single sheet of paper. Smash! Likewise, the dead outer layer of skin does a damn good job of protecting your living cells from alpha particles. Beta particles, the bullets, go right through paper. A thin sheet of aluminum, or something of similar density and substance, will gobble these up.

Gamma radiation is trickier. Gamma radiation is just a freakishly high energy version of light, with almost no substance. Just like light can pass right through your hand, gamma radiation can pass through all but the heaviest and densest of metals, wreaking havoc deep into the body.

nuclear waste

When we loaded our reactor, the fuel was chemically fairly pure. Recall, however, that nuclear decay typically results in new chemicals being created–whether by alpha or beta decay or by fissioning. As our reactor operates, these new atoms build up. Most are radioactive themselves, also undergoing various decays. Most of these atoms are neutron hoarders–gleefully absorbing our precious neutrons, while offering up few when they themselves decay. So, as these new atoms build up, we lose more and more neutrons. Eventually there are too few free neutrons left to keep the chain reaction going, even if we completely remove the control rods. Such fuel, still containing a bunch of Uranium but now contaminated various highly radioactive but non-chain reacting atoms, is called spent. It’s hideously radioactive, more radioactive than when we put the fuel in the reactor, but useless as fuel.

Welcome to the trickiest problem of nuclear power, the waste. What can we do?

… the two most famous disasters at nuclear power plants

I’d like to imagine the following exchange, between a middle manager in the Soviet Union and us, some plucky nuclear engineers, when planning these plants:

Middle manager: “You have my plant design?”
Us: “Yes, but it is incredibly dangerous!”
MM: “But it will work without any Plutonium, enriched Uranium or heavy water?”
Us: “Yes. In fact, it produces Plutonium as a waste product!”
MM: (Claps hands) “Excellent. We shall have such nice dachas when I tell everyone of this plan.”
Us: “It is far to dangerous to build. I refuse to do it!”
MM: (Laughs. Then pauses.) “Oh. You’re serious.”
MM: (Considers his boss, probably some one-eyed, one-armed veteran of Zhukov’s Berlin campaign in the Great Patriotic War, who won’t be sympathetic to concerns about hoards of irradiated civilians after asking why his reactor isn’t operating yet.)
MM: (Points to us.) “Guards, shoot this man.”
Us: (Shot in the head)
MM: (Turns to our assistant) “So, ready to build the reactors?”
Assistant: “Let’s just pick some places in Ukraine, Romania and other shitholes to build ‘em, yes?”

… and finally what future reactor designs will be like.

The designs are, individually, brilliant. The lead-cooled variant is designed to be modular. The reactor is small, easily installed and removed and works for about fifteen to twenty years without having to be opened or refueled. Perfect for countries or remote areas with no interest in or infrastructure for refining nuclear fuels. The gas-cooled variant can operate safely at huge temperatures and is incredibly efficient at minimizing waste products in a relatively simple manner. The sodium-cooled design is the dreamiest to me. Such a reactor complex could not only operate at tremendous efficiencies, but also eat up the waste of the older pressurized water reactors. Keen!

2030 is too far away. If we were smart, we would throw resources at these fourth generation technologies, pushing to have the pilot reactors and designs finalized within ten years. None of these are perfect. No source of power is without risk or environmental injury. None. Our planet hosts nearly seven billion people. Fossil fuel reserves are dwindling. The atmosphere and oceans are buckling under the carbon strain. Nuclear power, particularly responsibly applied with standardized plant designs and a real plan for dealing with the waste, remains our best hope. The physics and technology is available. We just need to do it. Now.

It’s time we talked about nukes. For most, the opinions run deeper than knowledge. Read my series, or pick up a good book on the subject. Educate yourself. Get an informed opinion and then go out and win some arguments.

The Clinton Speech

posted by on June 7 at 11:15 AM

I’m hoping to get video of the whole thing soon, because in many ways the clip below was the least interesting part of Clinton’s speech. (The most interesting parts, in my opinion? See here.) I’ll update with video of the full speech when it comes… UPDATE: And lo, the full speech comes. I’ve swapped it in to replace the earlier excerpt:

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on June 7 at 11:00 AM


Good Medicine at Vera Project

Good Medicine is Geologic, Gabriel Teodros, Khingz, and Macklemore. Geologic is the rapper for Blue Scholars; Teodros and Khingz were Abyssinian Creole; and Macklemore is Macklemore. Geologic is about Marxism; Teodros is about feminism; Khingz is about South Seattle; Macklemore is about the new postracial society. All four make very good medicine for the current state of Seattle’s hiphop mind. Hosted by RA Scion of Common Market. (Vera Project, Seattle Center, 956-8372. 7:30 pm, $8, all ages.)


Jar City

posted by on June 7 at 10:59 AM

Saw Jar City last night: two thumbs up! An entertaining, chilling, slightly magical police procedural. Made me want to move to Iceland.

But what I want to talk about is the poorly punctuated subtitles. There’s nothing more distracting in a film. I was repeatedly ripped out of the thriller’s grip by ellipses with two dots rather than three and misplaced quotation marks. Maybe it’s an affliction of a former copyeditor; maybe it didn’t bother any one else.

What was most galling was the akward typo in the final frame’s giant caption: “English sub—titles by [Name Withheld].” Jeeezus. Awful proud of mediocrity. Proofreaders aren’t that expensive.

(“Subtitles” should be closed up or hyphenated, not interrupted by an emdash. That was obvious, right?)

Quick, Ken Hutcherson! To the Batshitcrazymobile! Latvia Needs You!

posted by on June 7 at 10:27 AM

You saved Latvia from the wicked forces of International Sodomy once before, Rev. Hutcherson, and it looks like Latvia needs your help again! This time its not the U.S. Embassy that’s advancing the Homosexual Agenda but the British Embassy. Via Slog tipper Tiffany comes this shocking story

British Embassy Flies the Rainbow Flag

The British embassy in Riga, Latvia made history over the weekend when it flew the rainbow flag to mark the city’s Pride and Friendship days.

It’s thought that ambassador Richard Moon’s decision makes it the first time a rainbow flag has been officially flown at a British embassy anywhere in the world.

Moon professed the government’s devotion to LGBT rights as he raised the flag, saying: “The British Government totally supports LGBT rights in Europe and throughout the world. And this support is 24/7, 365 days a year—and not just for Pride.”

To the Batshitcrazymobile, Rev. Hutcherson! Latvia needs you! There’s not a moment to lose!

The Past Isn’t Even Past

posted by on June 7 at 10:13 AM

From the NYT:

Military engineers defused a giant bomb from World War II that was discovered in East London during construction for the 2012 Summer Olympics, a military spokesman said. The 2,200-pound bombstarted to tick at one point while being defused by a team of Royal Engineers from the British Army. Thousands of bombs fell on East London during World War II.

It strikes me as odd that this necessarily short “World Briefing” item avoids mentioning just who it was that dropped all those bombs on East London during WWII. Those bombs decide on their own to fall all over East London.

This Is Unexpected

posted by on June 7 at 10:12 AM

I just read Eli’s post about Hillary’s concession speech this morning. I knew it was coming, and I’ve never felt like a Hillary loyalist.

And yet, I’ve got a lump in my throat. A lump. When is the next woman coming up? What have we lost here?

Currently Hanging

posted by on June 7 at 10:00 AM

Sherry Markovitz’s Gone (2007), gouache on silk, 44 1/2 by 47 1/2 inches

At Greg Kucera Gallery. (Gallery site here.)

Reading Today

posted by on June 7 at 10:00 AM


We have an open mic, a book about a painter, and a thriller about fighting terrorists today, as well as a few other readings of interest.

There are two readings at Elliott Bay Book Company: Jenny Block, who the press notes describes as a “a suburban wife and mother,” reads from her new book Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage. We might be running a review of this one in upcoming weeks. Here’s a question: Do people still have key parties? I never found one in two and a half years of Party Crashing, so perhaps the time has come and gone.

Seth Kantner reads later that evening at Elliott Bay. Kantner wrote a novel called Ordinary Wolves that was really very popular in the Northwest. I didn’t read it, because I have a job and can’t read everything. But Kantner is back with Shopping for Porcupine, which is a collection of essays and photographs. The buzz for this one was pretty high at Book Expo America; people were excited to read it, and I am, too.

Also, at Neumo’s from 9 am to 5 pm, Wizards of the Coast will be celebrating Worldwide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day, marking the release of the new fourth edition with sample D&D games. I’m going to go at some point today (most definitely not in the morning), and if you’re not going, I’ll let you know how it went. I wrote about the new edition of D&D in this week’s Constant Reader:

…this month, D&D is releasing a brand-new fourth edition intended to fight the online competitors by cleaning up a lot of the rules—it now takes a matter of minutes to create a new character, rather than a few hours—and D&D itself now has an online component.

Lastly, up at 826 Seattle, a class on comics by young people is having a release party for their book, titled Happiness? I know that David Lasky, who was on The Stranger’s Genius shortlist last year, is a teacher of the class, and I know that comics by young people are almost always fascinating. The art above is from one of the stories from the book. The publicist at 826 also says that there will be cupcakes, and “milk in fancy glasses.” You won’t be getting that at the open marriage reading.

Check the full readings calendar for more information.

SIFF 2008: Day 17 Recommendations

posted by on June 7 at 9:43 AM

It’s the penultimate weekend at SIFF, and boy are my typing fingers tired.

In the morning slot: We haven’t had a chance to review either of them, but the Phillipe Petit doc Man on Wire (11 am at the Egyptian) and and the melancholy Irish drama Garage (11 am at the Uptown) both seem promising.

Next is your last chance to see Be Like Others (1:30 pm at the Egyptian), a fascinating documentary about the contrast between the ways Iran treats its gay and trangendered citizens—and whether that differential treatment might push some young men to make rather hasty decisions. Seriously, don’t miss it—it doesn’t have distribution and may not be back.

Then, we like two more docs: Derek (4:30 pm at the Harvard Exit), about the experimental filmmaker Derek Jarman, and About Water (4:30 pm at Pacific Place).

The evening slot gives you another shot at Otto, or, Up With Dead People, which has to be the best titled film at the festival. And Charles Mudede liked the movie about “four grannies who decide to sell lingerie in a small Swiss town”! It’s called Late Bloomers (6:30 pm at Uptown).

Late Bloomers

Also somewhat unexpected: In the late evening slot, the time-travel movie is actually pretty good: We recommend both Timecrimes (9:30 pm at Pacific Place) and Lars von Trier’s semiautobiographical Erik Nietzsche: The Early Years (9 pm at Uptown).

The midnight movie tonight is Takashi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django (12 am at the Egyptian). It’s okay.

The Last Goodbye: Blogging Clinton’s Withdrawal and (Presumably) Endorsement Speech

posted by on June 7 at 9:02 AM

Good morning. Anyone awake out there in Slogland? I wish I wasn’t, but here we are, a few minutes away from Clinton’s speech…

8:55 a.m. My preferred livestream is here, and while we wait I’m reading about how, “Now that a would-be first female president is ending her quest for the White House, the race is more about women than ever before.”

9:12 a.m. Why hello, all of you. Looks like we have a crowd. Clinton was supposed to speak at 9 a.m. PST but these things never start on time. I’ve now moved on to reading, while I wait, about why her loss was her own damn fault.

9:29 a.m. Still waiting… Predictions on who will introduce her? Terry McAuliffe again? (He introduced her at her last valedictory speech as “the next president of the United States.”) Or maybe Bill Clinton? Or Chelsea? Or—and this would be a huge surprise—Obama?

9:35 a.m. As someone in the comments just noted, Clinton’s web site is now asking visitors to “support Senator Obama today.”

9:38 a.m. Commenter Kathryn Rathke writes:

I am picturing her clinging to the door jambs with her fingernails. Where are they anyway, somewhere in Italy?

Yes, it is very Roman colosseum in there, isn’t it? The event is at the National Building Museum in D.C.

9:40 a.m. And here we go. Bill, Chelsea, Hillary, and Hillary’s mother, Dorothy Rodham, have just been introduced by an announcer and are headed toward the stage.

9:43 a.m. The four of them take the stage and join hands, but instead of raising their joined hands together in the traditional victory salute, they keep them at their sides. Then Bill, Chelsea, and Dorothy leave the stage.


Well, this isn’t exactly the party I’d planned but I still like the company.

9:47 a.m. Clinton begins by praising her supporters and promising: “I will continue to stand strong with you, every way and every place that I can.” She also notes, again, that there are 18 million of them.

9:50 a.m. “The way to continue our fight now… is to do all we can to help elect Barack Obama the next president of the United States.” She is suspending her campaign, endorsing Obama, and throwing her full support behind him.

9:53 a.m. She doesn’t look happy about it, but she is praising Obama at some length here, repeating his name and reminding her crowd that the Democratic party is a family that needs to come together now.

9:55 a.m. As she ticks off the list of issues that are important to her, the first is healthcare—and she again mentions her hope for universal healthcare, which she had tried to make a point of contrast with Obama during the primaries.

9:58 a.m. Echoing Obama’s speech on Tuesday—in which he said something like, “America, this is our moment”—Clinton says: “We cannot let this moment slip away.”

And then, the most quotable line so far: “Today I am standing with Senator Obama to say, ‘Yes we can.’”

10:00 a.m. It’s really striking: Clinton only has an easy smile when she’s talking about her campaign and what it accomplished (at the moment she’s saying that she proved a woman could be elected Commander in Chief). When she talks about Obama, it’s far from all smiles. Her mouth is saying one thing, her face is saying another.

10:05 a.m. Clinton talks about running as a woman. This is, to me, the most interesting and most powerful part of her speech. She never talked about this on the campaign trail, saying only that she wasn’t running as a woman, but as a candidate for president who happened to be a woman.

But now it’s very clear just how strongly she felt about her barrier-breaking candidacy. She talks for a long time about this—maybe the longest amount of time she devoted to any subject in this speech—concluding with:

Although we weren’t able to shatter that highest and hardest glass ceiling this time, thanks to you it’s got about 18 million cracks in it and the light is shining through like never before.

10:15 a.m. Also:

It would break my heart if in falling short of my goal I in any discouraged any of you from pursuing your goals.


Every moment wasted looking back keeps us from moving forward. Life is too short, time is too precious and the stakes are too high to dwell on what might have been.

10:16 a.m. It ends with Clinton on the stage, briefly, giving a double thumbs up and waving, standing with Bill and Chelsea, and then exiting and reaching out to shake the hands—overwhelmingly female from what I can see on the livestream—that are waiting to bid her farewell and good luck.

10:24 a.m. Final thoughts: A long, gracious, and ultimately quite moving speech, obviously very difficult for her to give but probably as helpful to her battered image as to Obama’s campaign. Clinton needed to connect, without equivocation, with the electoral reality that most Democrats now perceive. She did that, repeatedly throwing her support behind Obama and setting herself up to move toward the Ted Kennedy model—lose a nomination fight but move on, get back to work, and win the undying loyalty of several core Democratic constituencies (the ones she plugged repeatedly were women, gays, and lower income voters from what I remember) by proving that you’re ultimately in it for them and not for yourself.

I was also struck by how powerful it was to see Clinton finally speak honestly of her feelings about running as a woman. She couldn’t—or felt she couldn’t—do this on the campaign trail. I was glad to see her do it today. It’s a paradox that requires a little more digesting, at least for me, but Clinton seemed so much more free to speak passionately as a woman, and talk forcefully about the barriers women still face, now that she isn’t running to be the first woman president.

I don’t know who freed up this side of her—her consultants? herself?—but it was great to watch this part of Clinton come out into the open. This is obviously such a huge part of who she is, such a central aspect of her passion for politics, and it’s a shame it couldn’t be seen more clearly before today.

If she can’t be president, Clinton seemed to be saying, she will still be one of the loudest voices speaking on behalf of gender equality. It was good to hear. It’s a voice that, as she knows, America still needs.

The Morning News

posted by on June 7 at 9:00 AM

posted by news intern Chris Kissel

Bad day: News of unemployment, oil prices sends stock market reeling.

Peacing out: Hillary prepares to leave the race.

Chipping in: Parties reap money candidates don’t want.

Talking shit
: Medvedev blames ‘economic egoism’ for American troubles.

Talking shit, Part 2: Israel would attack Iran if they have nukes, deputy prime minister says.

Car bombing
: Six dead in Iraq.

Sonics case: Pechman will rule on motions on Monday.

Weapons ban: Nickels possibly planning ban at festivals after Folklife shooting.

Friday, June 6, 2008

This Week on Drugs

posted by on June 6 at 5:41 PM

Flavored Cigarettes Are Hillary and Menthols Are Obama: Officials irked that menthols get a pass.

Jacked Up: Fifty dollar cups of coffee.

Set Up: Sexy Teacher framed in pot bust.

Let Up: Teachers miffed about drug searches.

Fed Up: Pot potency claims unfounded.

Winning the War on Drugs: In Los Angeles.

Winning the War on Drugs: In Gaza.

County Line: Mendocino restricts pot growing.

Last Meal: Jail guard accused of smuggling drugs in tacos and chili.

Last Trip: Rock poster icon Alton Kelly is gratefully dead.


McCain: Executive Authority Is SO AMBIGUOUS!

posted by on June 6 at 5:10 PM

This is a bit of a “don’t know much about economics” moment for John McCain, and I can’t believe no one has Slogged it yet.

This morning, the New York Times reported on a curious contradiction in McCain’s and his advisor’s statements regarding the legality of warrantless wiretapping.

In a letter posted online by National Review this week, the adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, said Mr. McCain believed that the Constitution gave Mr. Bush the power to authorize the National Security Agency to monitor Americans’ international phone calls and e-mail without warrants, despite a 1978 federal statute that required court oversight of surveillance.

Mr. McCain believes that “neither the administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the A.C.L.U. and trial lawyers, understand were constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001,” Mr. Holtz-Eakin wrote.

And if Mr. McCain is elected president, Mr. Holtz-Eakin added, he would do everything he could to prevent terrorist attacks, “including asking the telecoms for appropriate assistance to collect intelligence against foreign threats to the United States as authorized by Article II of the Constitution.”

McCain: pro warrantless wiretaps! and telecom immunity!

But wait a minute…

In an interview about his views on the limits of executive power with The Boston Globe six months ago, Mr. McCain strongly suggested that if he became the next commander in chief, he would consider himself obligated to obey a statute restricting what he did in national security matters.

Mr. McCain was asked whether he believed that the president had constitutional power to conduct surveillance on American soil for national security purposes without a warrant, regardless of federal statutes.

He replied: “There are some areas where the statutes don’t apply, such as in the surveillance of overseas communications. Where they do apply, however, I think that presidents have the obligation to obey and enforce laws that are passed by Congress and signed into law by the president, no matter what the situation is.”

Following up, the interviewer asked whether Mr. McCain was saying a statute trumped a president’s powers as commander in chief when it came to a surveillance law. “I don’t think the president has the right to disobey any law,” Mr. McCain replied.

Confusing! McCain has now weighed in on the matter, and his statement is—I am not kidding—“It’s ambiguous as to whether the president acted within his authority or not.” Way to show leadership, dude. And way to scare the pants off anyone who cares about civil liberties and the separation of powers.

Saturday With Clinton

posted by on June 6 at 4:50 PM

The last event of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign will take place tomorrow in Washington, D.C., and I’ll be here on Slog to watch it with you.

The event begins at 9 a.m. PST and will be livestreamed on Clinton’s web site. When she gets up to speak to her supporters, she’s expected to announce that she’s ending—or suspending—her candidacy. She’s also expected to endorse Barack Obama.

But you never know. So if you’re awake at 9 a.m. tomorrow, pull your laptop into bed with you and watch the Clinton speech with me. And then we can all go get brunch.

Why WiFi?

posted by on June 6 at 4:47 PM

Posted by news intern Chris Kissel

The Central District News blog (one of the newer and definitely one of the better neighborhood blogs around) reports today that the CD’s free WiFi service is going to be decommissioned by the end of the month. Matt Towers, who uses his own technology to beam his internet service across the neighborhood, is going to be moving out of town.

Towers says on his website that he set up the service because “my inner idealist thought this was a worthy cause.”

Free wireless not only has a unifying effect on low-income communities, which Towers said he’s seen, but it also allows users to have access to vital information. Kids don’t have to walk to the library to do their homework, residents have better access to job opportunities, and all it takes is one person with the means to broadcast their signal.

Cities like San Francisco and Philadelphia have taken shots at providing free wireless for their residents, all of which have ended in resounding failure. The City of Seattle is working on laying down cable and services to smaller enclaves, like the Columbia City neighborhood, but doesn’t have any plans to provide more widespread service. The best option, analysts have decided, is to let private individuals or companies take care of the providing the service.

Which is why somebody should step in soon to take Towers’ place. A few dollars spent on securing a network for the neighborhood would be a good idea on the part of a small company, and doesn’t seem like it would take much.

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on June 6 at 4:34 PM

In regular movie openings this week…

OMG. Remember Windshield Wanda? Here’s her first appearance in Last Days, under her nom-de-real-life Chante Mallard. Now there’s a movie based on this mind-blowingly awful story, and it’s a horror-comedy. Starring Mena Suvari. You must see Stuck as soon as possible. Here’s my review.


We also have reviews of SIFF alum Kung Fu Panda (Andrew Wright: “The story’s cookie-cutter predictability may keep things from ever quite reaching Pixar’s rarified air, but there’s the gratifying sense throughout that the makers have finally stumbled across an amiable formula that might actually be worth cultivating. Until, that is, a gawdawful hiphop remix of ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ blares out over the end credits) and the Adam Sandler vehicle You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (Lindy West: “Negligible, mediocre, unrepentantly ordinary”).

Lindy also previews the Seattle True Independent Film Festival in Concessions this week. Movie times for the first week of the festival can be found at our Movie Times page.

And Charles Mudede profiles local filmmaker Zia Mohajerjasbi, who has a short film in STIFF.

Limited runs to look out for include the entire Dennis Nyback series at the Grand Illusion, repeat tribute screenings to Yves Saint Laurent tonight at Northwest Film Forum (on his life and atelier), and Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story, also at Northwest Film Forum.

Dept. of Schadenfreude

posted by on June 6 at 4:33 PM

From time to time, some of our dear commentors crawl up my nose for hating on Young Frankenstein.

Like you, Mr. Poe, and you, adam_on_alki, who once wrote:

OK, Brendan, seriously, you are a major cunt. I usually like you and your writing and opinions, but you never gave “Young Frankenstein” a chance and you are now totally shitting all over it. Fuck you douche-bag. That was one of if not THE greatest performances I have ever seen live.

It is in a spirit of unfettered gloating and nastiness that I post about Young Frankenstein’s serious financial difficulty.

From the NY Post:

LIKE CEOs in the troubled airline industry, “Young Frankenstein” creator Mel Brooks and producer Robert F. X. Sillerman have embarked on a cost-cutting rampage in a desperate effort to keep their Spruce Goose of a show aloft.
Sutton Foster (Inga) and Megan Mullally (Elizabeth) are both leaving the show in July. They’ll likely be replaced by nonentities who, if they’re lucky, will get paid slightly more than the kid who mans the infrared hearing stand at the Hilton. Producers not involved in “Young Frankenstein” call the drastic salary cuts unprecedented.

“I’ve never heard of trying to get your stars to renew their contract by offering them half their salary,” one says. “It’s innovative. But everything they’ve done on this show is innovative.”

Yeah. Like the $450 ticket.

Not Rossi’s Town

posted by on June 6 at 4:02 PM

The Seattle King County Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) is hosting banquets in June and October featuring each major-party gubernatorial candidate.

Dino Rossi, the Republican candidate, will be speaking in June at the Washington Athletic Club

Christine Gregoire, the Democratic governor, will be speaking in October… at the Washington State Convention Center.

Gee, I wonder which candidate BOMA thinks is a bigger draw?

Recent Additions to SIFF Notes

posted by on June 6 at 3:59 PM

We’ve recently added reviews of…

The Great Buck Howard (me: “The film is as inoffensive and even-keeled as its protagonist, and the only thing you’re likely to remember a week later is the single character indulgence John Malkovich allows himself: a wild handshake that rolls like an earthquake and lasts so long you’d think aftershocks were involved”).

Hidden Face (Charles Mudede: “The movie is in fact a propaganda film for Alcoholic Anonymous”).

Choke (Paul Constant: “It’s certainly no Fight Club”).

Chrysalis (Bradley Steinbacher: “Director Julien Leclercq (Transit) has obviously spent a lot of time watching Hollywood thrillers—and he has the clichés to prove it—but outside of some pounding action and a handful of interesting ideas, the result is an over-stylized and noisy mess”).

Letting Go of God (Jen Graves: “The stage monologue is filmed and performed so smoothly that the live and movie audiences feel united by the end, but more importantly, some of Julia Sweeney’s insights reach the heights of the paragon of the form, the great, questing, poetic, one-woman vehicle written by Jane Wagner and performed by Lily Tomlin, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe”).

Summer Heat (Bradley Steinbacher: “This overbaked “erotically charged” thriller—in which an oft-shirtless National Geographic photographer finds himself embroiled in a drug deal gone wrong—offers skin to spare, but very little else”).

Here’s my Suggests for The Secret of the Grain in this week’s issue.

And star intern Roxanne Emadi has an interview with Island Etude director (and Hou Hsiao-hsien cinematographer) Chen Huai-en over in the film section.

More to come!

Please Don’t Make Me Go

posted by on June 6 at 3:26 PM

Strange Maps has a map of heaven up. It’s too big to post here, but can be found here.

Apparently, Michael Jordan is already in heaven somehow. And there’s America Land, where “every day is Memorial or Veteran’s Day.” Be sure to check out the Marital-Coitus Castle, which is over by the Catholic Section.

I would be so pissed if I died and woke up here.

Dino Rossi Violates Navy Policy

posted by on June 6 at 3:25 PM

According to the Whidbey [Island] News Times, Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi held a campaign appearance at the Whidbey Naval Air Station’s CPO Club, in violation of US Navy policy. A naval spokeswoman quoted in the story says the appearance, sponsored by the North Puget Sound Association of Realtors, violated the “restriction on holding political events on government property.”

This is hardly the first time Rossi has engaged in questionable campaign activities. Last year, the Washington State Democrats filed a complaint against Rossi for funneling campaign contributions through his “nonpartisan think tank,” Forward Washington, calling it a shadow campaign organization. (In a divided opinion, the state Public Disclosure Commission voted 3-2 to dismiss the complaint.) And just last month, Rossi held a campaign luncheon with the Christian Men’s Business coalition—a nonprofit religious group prohibited by law from engaging in political activities.


posted by on June 6 at 3:18 PM

I see from the SIFF website that tonight’s showing of Be Like Others is not sold out. Unacceptable!

Be Like Others

This is the best documentary at SIFF (I’m pretty sure—though I haven’t seen Stranded, and Accelerating America was a very pleasant surprise).

Here’s my capsule review:

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, you can be put to death for being a homosexual. But according to a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Khomenei over 20 years ago, the Qu’ran says nothing about transsexuals, and so sex changes are permissible—even gently condoned. Without pressing the case, Iranian-American director Tanaz Eshaghian leaves open the delicate, chilling possibility that some young men may be getting their junk chopped off because their parents, doctors, and society are telling them it’s at once okay to become a woman and an abomination to remain a gay man. It’s a riveting study of the way gender and sexuality intersect in a 21st-century theocracy. ANNIE WAGNER

So, take the film still, above. The young trannie in a hijab is dating the young man to the left. They’ve been dating for a long time, probably since before the hijabi started dressing a a woman. The sexuality of the young man is not what you would call “in question.” Not that I want to put anyone’s life in danger, but he seems pretty damn gay. Unsurprisingly, when his partner gets a sex change (in part to please mom, who’s dying for a normal kid, son or daughter, but also so they can finally get married), he loses interest. It is both hard to watch and utterly fascinating. The concepts of gender and sexuality are tangled together a way that would horrify Judith Butler, but which is so ingrained in the culture that I think you’d have a very time convincing any of the individuals involved that God doesn’t necessarily intend for them to be women just because they like cooking and don’t want to marry a girl.

According to the Guardian, Iran carries out more sex-change operations than any country except Thailand. The government funds the operations with grants of thousands of dollars.

It’s a great topic, and an exceptional film.

Hot Beef Carcasses

posted by on June 6 at 3:14 PM

Finding out about the new federal cases regarding food contamination is so much fun—remember the Class II Recall of Frozen Cattle Heads That Contain Prohibited Materials?—that I signed up for more USDA email news. I recently received my first USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service New Technologies Update, and while certainly applying technology to food is generally a good idea, a lot of this sounds depraved. Vegetarians, get your gloat all shined up; now is truly the time.

The New Technologies Update contains “new, or new applications of, equipment, substances, methods, processes, or procedures affecting the slaughter of livestock and poultry or processing of meat, poultry, or egg products” that have been “received and reviewed, and for which FSIS has had ‘no objection’ to use in FSIS establishments.”

Highlights from the newest in New Technologies:

Meyn America LLC: Meyn evisceration system can operate at 140 birds per minute on eight inch shackle spacing with four Federal inspectors

Tasker Products*: Use of pHarlo Blue as an antimicrobial processing aid applied in poultry scalders, as a spray on poultry picker rails, and post-picker spray or dip

Olsson, Frank and Weeda, P.C.: Use of up to 5% lactic acids on hot beef carcasses

Cargill Meat Solutions: Hide-On Beef Carcass Washing System using sodium hydroxide applied at the post-exsanguination stage of slaughter

Braswell Foods, Inc.: The In-package Pasteurization of Liquid Egg and Egg Products

Ecolab, Inc.: Reuse of Inspexx 100 ™ poultry wash and chill process water to reduce microbial contamination on raw edible poultry products and/or to wash poultry processing equipment and environmental surfaces

Ashland Specialty Chemical: Reuse of Chlorine Dioxide as an antimicrobial agent in poultry processing water (locations-application cabinets, feather rinses and pickers/scalders)

The list goes on.

Elsewhere, the FSIS is no longer allowing Tyson Foods to use the “Raised Without Antibiotics That Impact Human Antibiotic Resistance” label, having discovered that contrary to information that Tyson itself provided in December, they are in fact using questionable antibiotics in chicks. Peep!

Beware the mass-market meats, birds, and fish.

Killing the “Whitey” Rumor

posted by on June 6 at 3:05 PM

Heard the one about that secret tape of Michelle Obama railing against “whitey”? You know, the tape that Republican operatives are going to bring out a few months down the road in an Obama-destroying October surprise…

I’ve heard about it, repeatedly, but I didn’t want to post about it until I could say something definitive—otherwise I’m just becoming a part of this depressing phenomenon by which people believe crazy rumors to be true just because they’ve heard about them from a couple of different sources.

But now it seems the facts have stacked up hard against the “whitey” rumor. First of all, Obama has denied it—after expressing annoyance at even being asked about it. But perhaps more convincingly for those inclined to believe that Michelle Obama went on a wild rant about “whitey” and his evils: The rumor is strikingly similar to a rumor about candidates’ spouses that pops up almost every election cycle. It’s also extremely similar to the plot of a 2006 political novel. And finally, the guy who’s pushing the rumor? Well, he’s can’t keep his story straight, can’t stand up to Reason, and isn’t very polite.

Be Proud, Gays!

posted by on June 6 at 2:59 PM

Your votes require political pandering. Governor Christine Gregoire has agreed to be the honorary Grand Marshal of this year’s gay pride parade on June 29. According to parade sponsor Seattle Out and Proud, she’ll be marching behind the Dykes on Bikes.

Although this is her first time marching as governor, this isn’t her first time in the parade. According to campaign spokesman Aaron Toso, last time she marched was in 2004—as attorney general—when she was running for governor. Now she’s back at it, apparently hoping to drum up support from her Democratic base in time for this November’s election.

“I think the common wisdom is that it is a political risk,” says Ed Murray, 43rd District state senator and co-sponsor of successful domestic partnership bills. However, he says, “The governor marching in the parade is not dangerous because history goes against common political wisdom.”

Former governors Gary Locke and Mike Lowry marched in pride parades during their terms, according to Murray and others. However, a lot has changed on the gay marriage front since then. “We can celebrate how far we’ve gone in very short time—how close we are to where we want to be,” says Murray, noting the recent California decision to allow same-sex marriage. “Nationally, we’re moving faster than any of us had ever imagined.”

“For all the balloons and the boas, this is a march, and having our political support is really important,” says SOaP spokesman Troy Campbell.

Other Grand Marshals this year include Anne Levinson, co-owner of Seattle’s dyketastic Seattle Storm, and the Safe Schools Coalition, which tells those bullies to fuck off.

Watcha Doing Tonight?

posted by on June 6 at 2:58 PM

Here’s what we’re doing, in case you need some ideas. Pot and film seem to be our top cravings tonight.

• Smoking weed and playing Madden.

• Making ice-cream sandwiches from scratch.

• Seeing Be Like Others at the Harvard Exit.

• Traipsing through the purple forest and then seeing Otto (gay zombies!) at the Egyptian at midnight.

• Eating pot cookies, then seeing Stranded: I’ve Come From a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains.

• Eating green vegetables.

• Going to my kid’s school carnival. (Cake walk!)

• Seeing Cave Singers at the Gregoire event at Neumo’s.

• Previewing the new Kress IGA supermarket downtown (1423 Third Ave), then to a bourbon tasting.

• Going to a bourbon tasting, then to some sort of Gayla. (Gayla-la?)

• Going to the Grand Illusion for the first screening in the Dennis Nyback series.

• Sneaking out of work early to catch Jar City at the Egyptian.

• Going to Balagan Theater’s Road Movie.

Sims Responds to Criminal Justice Dept; Phillips Responds to Sims

posted by on June 6 at 2:30 PM

Posted by news intern Chris Kissel

As Erica noted, I went downtown yesterday to catch Ron Sims’ press conference, held in response to announcements by County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg and Sheriff Sue Rahr detailing their own responses to $68 million in King County budget cuts.

After spending half of his prepared comments giving props to Satterberg, Sims acknowledged the budget hole, which will see cuts of up to one-third of the county’s budgets for public health and human services - Sims voiced particular concern for domestic protection orders - and blamed the deficit on “a structural gap.” He said his office is working with the prosecutor’s office and state government to find a way out that won’t include an increase in the property tax levy, adding that “solving this problem is my top priority.”

He added that $130 million in cuts made a few years have left county agencies lean as it is. “We’ve cut away the easy stuff. Now we’re talking about the heart and soul of government,” he said.

After the meeting, King County Budget Committee Chair Larry Phillips stood outside in the rain with reporters and berated Sims for not dealing with the problem when he had the chance. “This should have been headed off years ago. It could have been avoided, unfortunately it wasn’t,” he said.

Sims and Phillips agreed that the public needs to be made aware of the severity of the crisis and that these budget problems are likely to cause problems the next few years.

Now Hanging, Pre-Pubescent Edition!

posted by on June 6 at 2:22 PM

You can keep your “Art Walks”, and your “First Thursdays” big and small. I’ve walked them all, baby, and so have you: Each of us in search of the answer to that ever-elusive question, who is this “Art”, and why does he walk on Thursday? But as everyone who knows anything knows damn good and well, the grandest of them all is the occasional and terribly exclusive Lafayette Elementary School Thursday Night Art Walk in West Seattle. And I was there.

Mrs. Miller’s First Graders startled and enchanted art lovers and the PTA in general at this season’s event, with a moody and reflective Self Portraits in Water Color and Pencil series, the highlights of which follow:



And the thrill of the exhibition, this raw and brooding piece from 7-and-a-half-year-old Simon Dawson:


And my personal Pick of the Walk, this mythic, stark, and engaging offering in acrylic on canvas from the reclusive and eccentric 7-year-old painter, Bianca:


The exhibit will be hanging for a few more days, and then will begin its indefinite tour of refrigerators everywhere—-but if you try to see it, you’ll be detained by security and considered something of a pervert.

And of course, it’s totally worth it.

Camp-In Against City’s Camping Crackdown

posted by on June 6 at 2:14 PM

Even as shelters are turning away homeless Seattle residents with no more than a blanket, and even as people are sleeping outdoors, without shelter, in record numbers, the city of Seattle is continuing its crackdown on homeless “encampments” — semi-permanent campsites at which homeless people set up makeshift shelters. Last week, parks officials cleared four and a half tons of “debris” (including tarps and mattresses) from an encampment in a greenbelt on Queen Anne —a cleanup recounted in this Seattle Times story, which goes on at great length on the “hard,” “demanding” work being done by the noble city employees.

The sweeps are part of a larger strategy aimed at eliminating encampments entirely, which in turn is part of the city’s “ten-year plan to end homelessness” (currently nearing the halfway mark in its fourth year). Under a policy recently adopted by the city’s human services department, city workers may now ban people from all city-owned property, including but not limited to parks, for “rule violations,” including sleeping outdoors, or “camping.” The new rules also enable the city to confiscate personal property and to destroy any property deemed “hazardous”—a definition that could mean almost anything, as it “may include blankets, clothing, sleeping bags, tents, or other soft goods that may be contaminated by unknown substances.” Personal items like glasses or wallets are stored at the city’s Westbridge storage facility in West Seattle. The city provides directions to the facility on HSD’s web site—but only by car (“Follow I-5 or Highway 99 to West Seattle Bridge)… which isn’t much help to someone so poor they’re forced to sleep outside.

The controversy over the sweeps, which the Times story breezes past in five short sentences consisting of an obligatory quote from a single homeless advocate, isn’t just about the fact that there aren’t enough shelter beds to meet demand, or the fact that wealthy neighbors don’t like their greenbelts being trashed by homeless people. The raids on encampments represent a violation of homeless people’s most fundamental human rights—the right to have a place to sleep, to not be subject to unjustified search and seizure of your property, to not be told to “move along” when you have no place else to go. Interestingly, a federal judge in California ruled last month that the city of Fresno’s policy of sending city workers to raid homeless camps and confiscate people’s property violated constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure; the city and state just settled with the homeless plaintiffs for $2.3 million.

Real Change, the homeless newspaper, will be sponsoring an overnight camp-in at City Hall (600 4th Avenue) starting at 6:00 this Sunday evening. The camp-in will be followed in the morning by an interfaith memorial service for those who’ve died while living outdoors.

You Have Less Than One Week to Live

posted by on June 6 at 1:46 PM

At least according to a “prophet” from Texas:

Nuclear war will begin next Thursday, June 12, or sooner, according to the latest prediction of self-proclaimed prophet Yisrayl “Buffalo Bill” Hawkins, the founder of a religious sect in Abilene, Texas.

“It could be turned loose before then,” Hawkins told 20/20 for a report to be broadcast tonight. “You’re going to see this very soon, really soon,” he said.

Hundreds of truck trailers have been loaded with food and water on the group’s 44-acre compound, in preparation for the coming war.

Hawkins last declared the end times were upon us in in 2006:

As for people thinking he’s crazy:

Hawkins says he does not care if people consider him a laughing stock.

You know, the savior himself, told me not to worry about that. He said, ‘They’re going to hate you above all people on the face of the earth,’” Hawkins explained.

Here’s Hawkins’s latest prediction:

This is Terrible

posted by on June 6 at 1:39 PM

Variety reports that Keira Knightley is in talks to star in the remake of My Fair Lady.

Also, Variety reports that Guy Ritchie, whose Revolver is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen even though it stars both Jason Statham and Ray Liotta, is about to direct a Sherlock Holmes movie. “(T)he new Holmes [will] be more adventuresome and take advantage of his skills as a boxer and swordsman.” Unless Holmes is played by either Statham or Liotta (in which case it will be entirely awesome in an entirely awful way), this looks like bad news.

Many More Leaves

posted by on June 6 at 1:33 PM

Keith of Green Housing Collaborative recently sent me a link to this post on hugeasscity:
Dan Bertolet writes:

How unfortunate that we all don’t have a stash of whatever it was that Charles Mudede was smoking when he wrote this Stranger piece on the new Four Seasons building on 1st Ave between Union and University. How fun it would be to look up at a stark, rectilinear glass and concrete tower that forms a massive barrier to sun, mountains, and water, and interpret it as profound connection to the natural world, a form that casts shadows like those from pristine alpine peaks because it is painted the color of mud.

First: I’m not a pot smoker. If you have to know, wine is my prime (and almost only) poison. Second: The poster’s leading criticism does not connect with what I attempted to explain in the article. Dan is concerned with pedestrian matters:

Back here on earth, on the ground, what I see is a building that fails to embrace the street. As you can see in the photo above, roughly half of what the passing pedestrian encounters at eye level while walking along the building on 1st Ave is concrete wall.

I couldn’t care less about the street and what the building is doing to it. My leading concern was (and still is) the coding of the work. To my eyes, the Four Seasons is less a building and more of a book. And here I’m referring, of course, to the second chapter of Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, “This Will Kill That.” Because everyone has read this novel, everyone knows that the chapter is about architecture as a form of writing:

Architecture began like all writing. It was first an alphabet. Men planted a stone upright, it was a letter, and each letter was a hieroglyph, and upon each hieroglyph rested a group of ideas, like the capital on the column. This is what the earliest races did everywhere, at the same moment, on the surface of the entire world.”
What everyone might not know is that this chapter inspired Frank Lloyd Wright to become an architect—verification of this claim can be found in Edward R. Ford’s The Details of Modern Architecture: 1928 to 1988.

This is what I read in the Four Seasons: It tells the story of Seattle’s self-imagined relationship with its natural surroundings. For this reason, its story/coding is less related to the international green movement in architecture and more related (if not totally related) to the mural of the orca whales on Seattle Steam, a building that the Four Season faces and echoes. Indeed, to walk down Western Ave is to walk in a forest of correspondences.

This (the coding, the language, the correspondences) is the utter matter of my article.

Lunchtime Quickie

posted by on June 6 at 1:15 PM

Bruce LaBruce vs. Punks!

LaBruce will be in attendance at his big gay zombie movie tonight! I can’t wait to see yet another one of my forever heroes, live in person. Thank you SIFF, you’re the best.

Donate to Get Beaten in Guitar Hero

posted by on June 6 at 1:12 PM

Ever wanted to get obliterated by Guitar Hero addicts for a good cause? 826 Seattle hosts an all-ages charity GH tournament this Sunday afternoon at its Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co location. [Address is 8414 Greenwood Ave N; go here for directions.] Show up around 1 p.m. to register, hang out, and maybe practice before the competition starts at 2. (There might be a Rock Band setup as well, Jonah.) Entry fee is $5 for under 13, $10 for over, and the proceeds all go toward 826’s zillions of free programs for helping Seattle students. Prizes will be given to winners and runners-up from folks like VAIN, The Sneakery, The Vera Project, Archie McPhee, and Everyday Music.

Unlike GH nights at bars, this one should be all about the insane talent of young people who wield plastic guitars. I’ve already resigned myself to not winning this, but if I have any shot, it’ll only be because the competition is separated into under-13 and over-13 camps:

See you there.


posted by on June 6 at 1:03 PM

Today’s bust of a drug ring should once and for all put a stop to the distribution and consumption of illegal substances in our area.

$8 a Gallon Gas, Here We Come!

posted by on June 6 at 12:54 PM

Oil hit a new record high—$139 a barrel—after jumping more than $11 in a single day.

So you might want to think twice before you take the Wall Street Journal’s advice (reproduced today on the front page of the Seattle Times) about all the money you’ll save buying an SUV despite rising gas prices. Rebates and discounts are one-time savings. Rising gas prices would appear to be here for good.

Any Sex Toy You Own May Be Used Against You in a Court of Law

posted by on June 6 at 12:39 PM

Mark Patrick O’Donnell is on trial in Pennsylvania for the rape and murder of his girlfriend’s 14 year-old daughter. In attempt to undermine the credibility of the girl’s mother, Danielle Cattie, O’Donnell’s defense team entered the woman’s sex toys—dildos, vibrators, anal beads—into evidence yesterday.

Judge William J. Furber, who is presiding over the nonjury trial, nodded stoically as the detective displayed a vibrator, purple anal beads, a bottle of “pleasure-enhancing lubricant,” a videotape titled “Big Bad Biker Bitches” and a mysterious sex device with wires coming out of it.

O’Donnell and Cattie had been smoking crack together on the night of the murder. The dead girl—amazingly enough—was an honor student.

The Mariners and Gay Daze

posted by on June 6 at 12:21 PM

Michael Coleman lived in Atlanta and San Francisco before moving to Seattle two years ago. Coleman is a 42 year-old “sports nut and baseball fan,” and in both of the previous cities in which he lived—at Braves and Giants games—Coleman attended official gay nights at their teams respective ballparks.

“In Atlanta, first time we had gone to one, they had three or four thousand people show up for their gay night and sit in one section,” says Coleman. “It was a great time.”

Coleman and his partner were shocked when they discovered that the Seattle Mariners didn’t have a gay night.

“Seattle is such a liberal city,” says Coleman. “I thought when I got here that the Mariners were really missing the boat here.”

Coleman didn’t wait for the Ms to launch an official gay night. He and his partner have hosted two DIY gay nights at Safeco. This year’s “Unofficial Gay Night at Safeco Field” took place in mid-May, on J.J. Putz Bobble Head Night, when the Ms played—and lost to—the San Diego Padres. (The Padres do an official gay night every year in July.) Coleman didn’t put up a website or work too hard to spread the word; he says he just emailed friends, who emailed friends. This years he attracted roughly 40 folks to his Unofficial Gay Night at Safeco Field, qualifying for a group-sales discount.

“We didn’t have a name when I placed our order with the ticket agent,” Coleman told me. “When she asked, ‘What’s the name of your group?’ I just decided to call us the Seattle Gay Adventure Club.”

When the lesbian-kiss-at-Safeco scandal broke last week, Rebecca Hale, public information director for the Seattle Mariners, told me that she wasn’t aware that all other MLB teams on the West Coast—and numerous others across the country, including the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs—host gay nights at their ballparks. She promised to discuss the idea with her marketing and promotions department and get back to me today. (I’ve got a call in to Hale.)

Okay, back to Coleman’s unofficial gay night at Safeco…

During home games the Mariners flash the names of groups at the park that night and “Seattle Gay Adventure Club” appeared on the screen—along with Little League clubs and corporate workplaces—on Coleman’s Unofficial Gay Night at Safeco Field.

“We cheered, and nobody booed or raised an eyebrow. I honestly don’t think anyone really thought anything about it,” says Coleman. “Which makes it that much odder that the Ms don’t just do this themselves.

“Basically, there’s a large group of gay folks out there that enjoy sports,” says Coleman, “and the Ms are missing an opportunity to fill the stands. The Ms aren’t doing well this year, I’m sure they could use more people at the games.”

About Water: People and Yellow Jugs

posted by on June 6 at 12:03 PM

The Austrian documentary About Water (Über Wasser: Menschen und gelbe Kanister), deftly mimics global travel as it documents three societies whose survival is tightly bound to water. The camera acts as impartial witness; the film refrains from narration or obvious directorial nudges. Even the soundtrack is minimal and stays out of the way, respecting the drumming of a rainstorm, the gurgle of a river lapping its bank, the soft splash of a woman washing her children.
We watch as farmers in Bangladesh survive monsoon season on the banks of an unpredictably rising river; as residents of Aralsk, Kazakhstan, a former port town from which the sea has receded, grapple with livelihoods in the absence of industry; and as a restaurateur in a Nairobi slum relies completely on water from a few unreliable spigots owned by others. The themes are evident and poignant.

About Water plays again on Saturday at 4 pm at Pacific Place.

Capital Idea

posted by on June 6 at 11:52 AM

Going Home, 1946

Rep. Jim McDermott has introduced legislation to name the University District post office after the late artist Jacob Lawrence. Lawrence lived near UW, where he taught, for nearly 30 years before his death in 2000.

It makes me wonder: There are oodles of donor names all over this city, but what about spaces named after artists? I can’t think of one.

Lawrence nearly ended up a postal worker, it turns out, according to Sharon Fitzgerald, writing for American Visions.

Jacob Lawrence often describes Augusta Savage—a leader both among artists and within the community—as the person who stepped in and made his later success possible. The occasional sales of his paintings to friends, local teachers and librarians were not sustaining him, and his mother had started urging him to take a job in the post office, one of the few secure positions available to blacks. When Savage learned of these difficulties, she took him to the WPA Federal Art Project and had him signed on for the easel project. With the standard weekly salary of $23.80, he was at last a professional artist.

“If Augusta Savage hadn’t insisted on getting me onto the project, I don’t think I ever would have become an artist,” Lawrence has stated. “I’d be doing a menial job somewhere. It was a real turning point for me.”

The legislation has been filed, but no date has been set yet for consideration in the House of Representatives. Co-sponsors include every member of the House from Washington.

Inquiring Drunks Want to Know

posted by on June 6 at 11:49 AM

This email was just sent to us this morning:

I’ve noticed that Jack in the Box, Taco Bell and KFC have all closed up on the hill. I definitely have no problem with this, I’ve seen the images of chemical burned chickens, read the nutritional info for their food, and get nauseous even thinking about eating at any of these places. But is this the reason these places have closed? Are there that many others like me? Or have the lots just been bought out from rich developers?

Don’t worry late-night drunks: fast food isn’t completely gone from the hill! While the Taco Bell on Broadway and Republican may be gone for good, Jack in the Box will return to the hill, replacing the KFC on 10th and Pine.

But why eat a greasy late-night turdburger to head off that hangover when you can have greasy, delicious Fish Fry, Tacos Gringos or a hot dog from the wonderful little cart in front of the Comet?

UPDATE: DUH! I linked but did not clearly explain that Taco Bell’s old space is being absorbed into a development by Driscoll Architects and Jack in the Box is becoming a Sound Transit station.

What Do You Do If You’re the Last of the Hitlers?

posted by on June 6 at 11:42 AM

Apparently, you never marry and vow to let your family die with you.

In honor of D-Day, Metafilter dredges up a 2002 book, by David Gardner, about Hitler’s American descendants.

Here’s a link to Hitler’s family tree, where you’ll find four grandnephews of Herr Hitler, all born in America: Brian, Howard, Louis, and, um, Alex Adolf.


From a 2002 article by Gardener in the Telegraph:

The faint lilt of German folk music [Christ, Gardener—laying it on a bit thick, aren’t you?] floated through the open window of the dark-wood alpine bungalow as I walked down the short path to the front door. The property straddled two small roads on a forested private estate nestling into one of the bays tucked behind slivers of land protecting the New York coastline from the full impact of the Atlantic Ocean.

This was the place where Liverpool-born William Patrick Hitler had chosen to escape from the world.

I was to discover that the Hitler bloodline was carried on through William Patrick’s four sons - one of whom died in a road accident in 1989 - and that the brothers had decided in a remarkable pact not to have children themselves in order that Adolf Hitler’s genes would die with them.

That’s noble of you guys and all, but giving up on the idea of genetic destiny might be an even better way to dishonor your great uncle.

Update: Mandy Greer Talk Postponed

posted by on June 6 at 11:07 AM

She’s ill and will talk next Friday, June 13, same time and same place, instead.

Welcome to the Jungle (Gym)

posted by on June 6 at 11:00 AM

I need to borrow somebody’s kid, stat.
This new playground was recently installed at the small park on 15th and Spring. They’re still doing the finish work, and I am chomping at the bit to get in there and tear it up. I’ve always been curious about rock climbing; however, as I am terrified of heights, exploring that world has never been an option. But look! That rock wall is barely taller than I am. I think I can handle it. Now I just need a pint-sized companion so I don’t look like a creepazoid. Volunteers?

One thing that bothers me, though, are those little plastic bongos. Do we really need to encourage children toward a future of drum-circle participation?

Today The Stranger Suggests

posted by on June 6 at 11:00 AM


‘Otto; or, Up with Dead People’ at Egyptian

Bruce LaBruce may not have made the first gay zombie film, but he’s certainly made the most substantial one. Built around the life and memories of the titular alterna-zombie, Otto; or, Up with Dead People is a compelling mishmash of zombie drama, art-house pretension, queer theory, AIDS allegory, vegetarian treatise, hardcore porn, faux documentary, and a good, old-fashioned homosexual blood feast. It’s insanely inventive and, for the most part, it works. (Director scheduled to attend.) (Egyptian Theatre, 801 E Pine St, Midnight, $8.)



‘MetaphorM’ at Suyama Space

You never know what you’re going to find in the Belltown gallery Suyama Space, which hosts site-specific commissions all year round. That’s what makes opening night so great. This time, Philadelphia-based artists Carolyn Healy and John Phillips have made an installation using cables, ropes, and pulleys along with video and sound, all of which interact with the light—both natural and projected—in the unusually gorgeous room. One other plus at this opening: Because of gallery hours and the summer season, it’s the only time you can see art at sunset. (Suyama Space, 2324 Second Ave, 256-0809. 5–8 pm, free.)

  • More Stranger Suggests for this week »
  • Now This is a Woman Who Can Think and Blog at the Same Time

    posted by on June 6 at 11:00 AM

    My favorite art blog right now is being typed right here in Seattle. If you’re not reading it, your brain is missing out.

    Thanks so much, Erin.

    Think About the Dehydrated Children!

    posted by on June 6 at 10:33 AM

    And their need for bottled hot water? One of the weirder lines from McCain’s speech on Tuesday:

    Which was apparently supposed to be a slightly different line.

    The Hula Chair

    posted by on June 6 at 10:07 AM

    Full disclosure: The woman in this video happens to be my best friend, Linda Dahlstrom.

    But I’m pretty sure that the greatness of the video—a testing of the Hula Chair, which retails for $129.95 (and builds muscle, blasts fat away, and even relieves hemorrhoids, according to the manufacturers)—goes beyond my bias.

    (If you want more, this is part of a series Dahlstrom edits where she and other MSNBC writers test outlandish products, like naked yoga. No. There is no video of her doing naked yoga.)

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on June 6 at 10:06 AM


    We have a student reading, a tough-guy mystery, and a book about utopia today, as well as some other things.

    Up at Third Place Books, Jennie Shortridge reads from The Coffee Shop at the Center of the Universe, which is about a woman who finds a new life as a barista. I found a new life as a barista once. The pay and the hours sucked, but having a little tax-free pocket money at the end of the day was really nice. Tip your barista, folks!

    At the Seattle Public Library, we have David Guterson, the author of Snow Falling on Cedars, with his new novel The Other. It appears to be about two friends and a web of lies. And it’s local, for those of you who enjoy reading about the area of the country in which you live.

    At University Village Barnes and Noble, Dale Brown, author of military-type action-fests, reads from his new one, Shadow Command. This one isn’t well-received, even from big Brown fans. From Amazon, where the book is receiving a one-star review from readers like odyssey “odyssey,” which shows the hope that springs eternal in thriller fans:

    Silly characters aside, you can always count on Dale Brown to put you in the cockpit. Until now. Gone are intense and lengthy action sequences of flight. Instead we receive mundane politics set in a predictable mideast upheaval. I can’t wait for his next novel. He must be rested and ready to get us all back into flightworthy action. There wasn’t any here.

    And at Elliott Bay Book Company, James W. Douglas reads from JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters. This isn’t a nutso conspiracy book, by the way, and I’ve heard JFK’s name being bounced around so many times in comparison with a certain Democratic presidential nominee whose name rhymes with Tarack Bobama that people who are interested should come and check this reading out. Being compared with JFK has its good points and its bad points.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is up and running.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on June 6 at 10:00 AM

    Installation view of Mandy Greer’s Dare Alla Luce (2008), various media*

    At Bellevue Arts Museum. (Museum web site here.)

    *Yes, this is a repeat Currently Hanging, for two reasons. One, there’s a great new Flickr pool of images from this show here; and two, Greer is giving an artist talk tonight next Friday, June 13, from 6:30 to 7:30 pm at the museum.

    Rupture Ready

    posted by on June 6 at 9:47 AM

    The only upside of the Rapture—the opening moments Armageddon during which fundamentalist Christians believe they will float bodily up to heaven before the real ugliness begins for those of us “left behind” on earth—will be the few brief moments (days, weeks) between the disappearance of all the Fundamentalist Christians and the appearance of the Anti-Christ, the mass-slaughter of Jews and the unsaved, the boiling of our blood in our veins, etc.

    Imagine it—all the fundies gone, all at once. A few weeks of peace. No televangelists hectoring us about our sins, no Pat Robertson interviews on cable news, no mobs waving placards outside of abortion clinics. We’ll be left at peace, if only for a few moments, before all the Revelations shit hits the prophesy fan. (Please note: I’m not longing for an earth free of Christians; not all Christians believe in the Rapture—Catholics, Orthodox, and most Protestants don’t buy of on this Rapture nonsense.)

    Well, it looks like the fundies are planning to nag us from the great beyond.

    If millions of Christians suddenly disappear from the face of the Earth as the opening act for Armageddon, Threat Level thinks most nonbelievers will be too busy freaking the hell out to check their e-mail. But if they do log in, now they can be treated to some post-Rapture needling from their missing friends and loved ones, courtesy of web startup

    For just $40 a year, believers can arrange for up to 62 people to get a final message exactly six days after the Rapture.

    Copying Art, Part I

    posted by on June 6 at 9:38 AM


    Remember when I wrote about the Cai Guo-Qiang tumble of cars at the Seattle Art Museum that was also, somewhat mysteriously, at the Guggenheim in New York at the same time?

    It turned out that the one in New York was an “exhibition copy” made by the artist.

    It delivered the same experience as the original, was created painstakingly by the artist, and was made of basically the same readymade parts.

    So why wasn’t it an original again?

    I answer that question and raise lots of others in a new story in Newsweek.

    This was one of those stories that was really fun to report. Curators responded with great tales of their own experiences with copies. I couldn’t fit them all in the piece. Here’s one that got cut but that I love:

    For an exhibition including Allan Kaprow’s “activity books” at the Getty, curator Glenn Phillips wanted visitors to be able to handle the books, to read them—not just to look at them as sculptural objects.

    So, he set about having copies made.

    But the technology was almost too good. When he got the facsimiles, they felt to him like ethical hot potatoes.

    “They were so shockingly good that my first inclination was that we had to ensure that they would be destroyed” after the show, Phillips said.

    He also decided to have the word “COPY” stamped right on their covers.

    One of the best parts of my research for this story was a symposium the Tate conducted last year, called “Inherent Vice: The Replica and its Implications in Modern Sculpture,” and you can read all the papers presented there, along with a thoughtful series of after-commentaries, here.

    I’ll be back soon with more great copying stories, including a tantrum thrown by Carl Andre and a pair of curators who made shows entirely of copies…

    SIFF 2008: Day 16 Recommendations

    posted by on June 6 at 9:16 AM

    Lots of repeats in the early slot. Check out the Icelandic policier Jar City (4 pm at the Egyptian), the gorgeous Monica Ali adaptation Brick Lane (4 pm at Uptown), the somber variety show You, the Living (4 pm at Pacific Place), or the not at all mocking documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil (4 pm at SIFF Cinema).

    Next is a bunch of stuff we (reluctantly) didn’t love. Try The Wave (6:30 pm at Pacific Place), if only for too hear from a real-life participant in the infamous but ill-documented Wave experiment that turned a bunch of innocent American high school students against democracy. (Ron Jones and Phillip Neel should be in attendance.) You could also opt to see Tom Hanks’s spitting image (but for the upturned little nose), his son Colin, in attendance at the lackluster but not unenjoyable The Great Buck Howard (7 pm at the Egyptian). I would avoid Ramchand Pakistani (7 pm at SIFF Cinema). Depressing topics should never be addressed with such colorful cheer.

    in the late slot, two Don’t Miss! documentaries battle it out: Stranded: I’ve Come From a Plane that Crashed on the Mountains (9:15 pm at the Egyptian) is about the survivors of the incident that inspired the narrative film Alive!.


    And Be Like Others (9:15 pm at the Harvard Exit) is the sex-change-operations-in-Iran doc I’ve been talking up since the festival began. It’s fantastic.

    We also love the midnight show: Otto, or, Up With Dead People (12 am at the Egyptian). David Schamder describes it as “a compelling mishmash of zombie drama, art-house pretension, queer theory, AIDS allegory, vegetarian treatise, hardcore porn, faux documentary, and a good, old-fashioned homosexual blood feast.”

    Complete guide and collected SIFF Slog posts at

    “I have had it with these motherfucking [fat people] on this motherfucking plane!”

    posted by on June 6 at 8:52 AM


    No playing:

    An Indian court has ruled that state-owned airline Air India has the right to prevent its air hostesses from flying for being overweight.

    The Delhi high court was responding to a case filed by five air hostesses who had been grounded by the airline for being too fat to fly.

    The air hostesses are expected to appeal against the decision.

    The reason for the hard judgment has nothing to with aesthetics but with “safety and health” issues.

    The Morning News

    posted by on June 6 at 7:27 AM

    A Sexy, Sexy Rendezvous: Obama and Clinton meet in private.

    Cut Off: Zimbabwe government halts aid work.

    Hosed Homeowners: Mortgage foreclosures hit record mark.

    For the Six of You Who Still Weren’t Sure: Two Senate reports conclude the Executive Branch, Pentagon are fucked.

    Hunger Struck: UN plans to double global food supplies by 2030.

    The Harvest: NYC considers creating “organ removal” ambulance.

    He Was Worried People Might Think He’s Jewish: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed complains his nose looks too big in courtroom sketch.

    If It’s Murder, There’s Gonna Be a Lot of Suspects: NFL steroid informant found dead.

    BOOOOOOOOOOO: Celtics take first game of NBA Finals.

    Thursday, June 5, 2008

    Jen Graves Is Very Worked Up About This

    posted by on June 5 at 4:57 PM

    Back in April, Jen read a book called My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy that pissed her right off.

    So she wrote this review, which didn’t run for a few weeks. It finally came out last week and she’s still coming by my desk, saying “I’m very worked up about this.”

    Behold! The worked-upédness of Jen Graves!

    In response to Andrea Askowitz’s 237-page complaint memoir called My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy, I’d like to propose another book called I’ll Give You Something to Be Miserable About.

    In that book, the female protagonist would be forced—no!—to work a paying job. She’d spend her pregnancy worrying about saving money to pay the rent during her maternity leave. She’d spend maternity leave rushing around researching day-care centers.

    Instead, as the book begins, Askowitz has been working an all-volunteer job for some five years. Working while pregnant gets rather inconvenient, so she quits the job shortly before the birth. After the birth, she hires a helpful nanny (whose existence is acknowledged only in the thank-you section after the end of the book, along with her bicoastal writing groups).

    Somewhere in there, she writes the book, in which she complains about how hard it was to get inseminated (sperm bank, two tries) and have a baby alone and as a lesbian, although all this solitude and alienation turns out to rest on one hell of a support network of family, friends, and, apparently, if you read between the whines, independent wealth.

    It is unfortunate that none of Askowitz’s supportive compatriots was supportive enough to tell her to shut the hell up—or to wrestle with the elephant of economics lounging in the middle of her book. What promises to be a warts-and-all account of one woman’s struggle, instead makes mock of the real, class-based travails of single parenthood. The fact she thought she could write around money makes the book feel deceitful. For the purposes of today’s lesson in Suffering 101, suffice it to say that you can’t have your baby, your struggle memoir, and your nanny, too.

    See what happens when you whine in print, Askowitz? You’ve pissed off the wrong lady.


    In/Visible is Up: Sandra Jackson-Dumont’s Black Art Show

    posted by on June 5 at 4:52 PM

    Laylah Ali’s Untitled (from the Greenhead series) (1999), gouache on paper, 10 by 11 1/4 inches

    A few months ago, I wondered what Seattle Art Museum planned to do with its gallery devoted to artists of African descent. There was talk of residencies? Group shows?

    The new group show, Black Art, is not only the first broadly themed effort in the small gallery, it’s also a self-reflexive exhibition about the function of the gallery itself. It asks, how useful is the term “black art”? What if blackness were looked at as broadly as possible?

    The show is a harvesting of SAM’s permanent collection for “black art,” plus a handful of loans. The results are sometimes surprising.

    Listen to Jackson-Dumont tell it by clicking here.

    Here are more of the images in the show:

    Randy Hayes’s Victor/Victim (1982), pastel on paper, 83 1/4 by 50 7/8 inches

    Halford Lembke’s Crouching Negress (1932), wood, 6 3/8 by 3 1/16 by 2 7/8 inches

    Max Beckmann’s Jahrmarkt (Annual Fair): Der Neger (The Negro) (1921), drypoint, 29 by 26 cm

    Mark Tobey’s Broadway Girl, Head (1957), sumi ink on paper, 23 1/2 by 15 1/2 inches

    Mariners Investigation Clears Mariners of Wrongdoing

    posted by on June 5 at 4:32 PM

    The PI got the email, but I’m apparently not on the Mariners’ email list. I’m hurt, Rebecca Hale, I’m hurt.

    The End of an Era on Madison

    posted by on June 5 at 4:22 PM

    Andrew Taylor has detested the nefarious activity along a sordid length of East Madison Street through the Central District—a few blocks from his home of 25 years—until recently. “The greatest impact was the day that Chocolate City closed,” he says. In February 2007, the bar, formerly named Deano’s, shut its doors and the loiterers scattered. “With respect to street drug dealing and prostitution, the neighborhood has been remarkably quiet,” he says. Last Friday, a chain-link fence appeared around the bar and about two-thirds of the block.


    A tax affidavit filed with the state last Thursday shows the land’s owner, Dean Falls, sold the parcel to a development company for $7.5 million. The buyer, Jim Mueller, says he plans to construct a six-story building that contains retail on the street level and around 200 apartments above.



    Model and graphic by Slater Partners. Photo by Andrew Taylor.

    Demolishing several vacant buildings and acquiring a permit to build a massive development would ordinarily take several years, but this location is different. Falls had already received a master use permit to develop the site (which has been transfered to Mueller), so Mueller says that his company, JC Mueller, LLC, need only create detailed drawings and apply for a construction permit before breaking ground. “That could take 9-12 months,” he says.

    But will the crackheads return when the buildings go up and the fences come down?

    Mueller thinks not. “We own the site across the street—The Twilight Exit.” On that property, Mueller says he’s planning a similar project that will begin construction in the same timeframe. “The fact that we own the two pieces of property across from each other allows us to really change the feel of the location,” he says.

    Taylor concurs: “I suspect that the owner of the building will be careful… and will choose businesses that fit in with his idea how the neighborhood should be,” he says. In lieu of their old haunts, he says, “More gang-related groups are outside Thomson’s [Point of View], but a lot of the older Deano’s crowd moved downtown.”

    Dean Falls did not return calls before this story was posted.

    Insert Choke Pun Here

    posted by on June 5 at 3:50 PM


    In last week’s Constant Reader, I wrote an open letter to Chuck Palahniuk, including a little bit about his fourth novel, Choke:

    I liked your first three novels quite a bit—Survivor, Fight Club, and Invisible Monsters, I thought, made kind of a trilogy of ridiculous, and somehow bighearted, American nihilism—and while your next novel, Choke, was a misfire akin to other novelists’ sophomore slump, you were clearly trying to struggle free from the cynicism that had enveloped your work. You were trying to grow.

    I saw the film adaptation of Choke yesterday, and my review is here. The movie is such a studious adaptation of the novel that people who loved the book are sure to at least find the movie inoffensive, if not great. The weirdest part of the whole thing is the casting: Anjelica Huston seems too young to be a woman suffering from dementia in the present-day bits, but she seems too old to be a mother of a young boy in the flashbacks. And Sam Rockwell looks too old to be a passive young man working at a Colonial Williamsburg-type park.

    The person I really feel the worst for in all this is Rockwell; he’s finally turned out a bland performance. I’ve absolutely loved him in everything he’s ever done—even Charlie’s Angels, for crying out loud—but this role, which should be perfect for him, is a flop.

    There are great scenes that will please fans of the book by how closely they hew to the novel. Lascivious male viewers will find all the breasts and sex scenes they could ever want in a mainstream American movie. But it doesn’t work, put all together. and the soundtrack—so generic that I can’t even describe it, really, it just sounds like every generic independent film of the last ten years—doesn’t work at all.

    Choke screens tonight and on Saturday afternoon.

    Obama, Rezko, McCain

    posted by on June 5 at 3:40 PM

    As the the Presidential campaign begins—how long till November? Fuck… —I’ll endeavor to provide updates from Chicago on issues involving our sorta native son Barack Obama.

    Yesterday, political fixer Tony Rezko was convicted of 16 of 24 counts against him, and some Obama-haters see this as a way to get at Obama. He arranged a house deal through Rezko, and had taken campaign contributions from him (since donated to charity). While some have dismissed this as Obama’s Whitewater—a manufactured scandal, ginned up by political foes, but ultimately empty—it will still be a factor in the race. But a factor in ways that are complicated by the details of local politics.

    To wit: John Kass of the Chicago Tribune points out that McCain and the Rs cannot make too much of a stink about Rezko, since Rezko had such close ties to two Illinois R power-brokers, Bill Cellini and Bob Kjellander. All Obama has to do is point this connection out, and the attack bounces back on McCain and Co, since their boys are (currently) un-indicted co-conspirators.

    But it might get more complicated, in that inimitable Chicago Way. In a very rare move, Rezko decided to begin serving his sentence immediately, rather than going free on bond while awaiting sentencing. Mark Brown of the Chicago Sun-Times speculates as to why this is: perhaps Rezko will feel safer inside of prison, since there are a lot of people who really really want him to keep his mouth shut, people who might know people who know how to shut mouths permanently. Brown never quite comes out and says that someone might put Rezko in the River or a landfill, but it’s happened in the past. With his immediate surrender to the Feds, Rezko could either be sending the message that his lips are sealed, he’s going to do his time quietly (like John “Quarters” Boyle did) or he’s going inside now to begin cooperating with the G.

    Either way, this is going to be part of the general election campaign, and I’ll keep Slogfans informed of the latest, leaving the best-in-baseball Cubs for Brad to weep over as the M’s suck in so many ways.

    Tim Eyman: Oversharer

    posted by on June 5 at 3:36 PM

    Looks like anti-tax, pro-roads crusader Tim Eyman finally got his hands on that $250,000 home-equity loan he was begging supporters to help him pay off last month. (To find out why Eyman needs so much cash, read this post I wrote in May).

    From my inbox (and the inboxes of countless Eyman supporters, opponents, and reporters all over the state):

    From: Tim Eyman To: Subject: RE: You’ve been approved for $250,000

    Please prepare a $50,000 cashiers check tomorrow morning — I’ll pick it up around 11 am Friday.

    Make it payable to: Reduce Traffic Congestion

    I’ll be needing subsequent disbursements throughout the month of June and early July — I’ll try to give you at least a one-day notice for each one.


    Regards, Tim Eyman, ph: 425-493-9127, email:


    From: []
    Sent: Thursday, June 05, 2008 11:07 AM
    To: Tim Eyman
    Subject: You’ve been approved for $250,000

    Hi Tim,

    The Home Equity Line is ready to sign. The $250,000 amount was approved based on the equity in your home and your excellent credit. Sorry it took so long for the appraisal and processing, but US Bank’s 5.0% (prime+/-0) variable rate is extremely popular so there’s been some unfortunate delays. Thanks for being so patient. You can access all or part of the $250,000 this Friday. To answer your question, borrowing the full $250,000 will result in a minimum monthly estimated payment of $1030.00. Please let me know how much you would like to advance and the easiest way for you to pick up.

    Thank you,
    Susanna Treibel
    Branch Manager
    Mukilteo Branch
    (425) 514-0192

    Thanks for sharing!

    Final Seask8 Design Meeting Tonight!

    posted by on June 5 at 3:00 PM

    Reposted from a few days ago.

    The third and final design meeting for Seattle Center’s long-delayed Seask8 skatepark is this Thursday TONIGHT at 6:30 in Shaw Hall. Go, debate, gripe, etc or forever hold your peace.

    Also, the Lower Woodland Skatepark FINALLY opens this weekend. There will be pie.

    Disclaimer: I don’t really know if there will be pie, but the poster does cryptically promise “sugar,” so maybe.

    Here Come More Book Awards

    posted by on June 5 at 3:00 PM

    It just occurred to me that I should start some sort of a book awards awards. We could call them the Wardies. They would go to the most and least important book awards of the year.

    A frontrunner for Most Important Wardie would go to The Believer Book Awards, which just named Tom McCarthy’s amazing The Remainder the best book of last year. It wasn’t the best book of the year but, it came pretty goddamned close. You can read a sample over at The Believer’s website. And if you’re interested in buying The Remainder, it’ll be relatively painless, too, because it was a paperback original.

    And a frontrunner for Least Exciting Wardie has to be The Rose Tremain winning the Orange Broadband Prize. Since my new motto is “is it true, is it kind, is it helpful”, I will say that I have no further comment on the Orange Broadband Prize or Rose Tremain.

    Comment of the Day

    posted by on June 5 at 2:48 PM

    For the most part I try to be sunshine and light on Slog and even when I try to piss people off it usually goes horribly wrong and I end up getting agreed with. So, obviously I’m a rank amateur among all you seasoned pros.

    But, Will [in Seattle], for once I have to say, please stuff it. The fact that I have to constantly hear about the FUN! ACTION PACKED! EVENT FILLED! life you have makes me contemplate my own DULL! BORING! SUCKY! life and makes me wonder where the fuck I went wrong. Which in turn makes me contemplate driving a screwdriver through my brain.

    AND, you still owe me a piece of pie.

    Posted by PopTart | June 5, 2008 2:18 PM

    Good to Know

    posted by on June 5 at 2:46 PM

    Clinton says Obama gets to choose his own running mate:

    WASHINGTON — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday disavowed a campaign by some of her supporters to press Senator Barack Obama into selecting her as the Democratic party’s vice presidential candidate. Mrs. Clinton said the supporters were acting on their own, and that the choice of a running mate was “Senator Obama’s, and his alone.”

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on June 5 at 2:12 PM


    posted by P’toxy

    Man Candy

    posted by on June 5 at 2:09 PM

    By request.


    I am stupidly slobbering over Orange County Chopper’s Paul Teutul Jr. this week.

    Voolay Voo Cooshay Avec Mwah?

    posted by on June 5 at 2:00 PM

    I’m not sure why, exactly—though my ancestors are from there, I don’t speak the language, and I’ve never had much desire to travel there—but sometimes I go on huge French novel-reading jags. French writers have a sort of sensibility that I really, really admire. It’s impossible for me to articulate exactly what that sensibility is, though. I enjoy Michel Houellebecq’s antagonizing just as much as Raymond Queneau’s playfulness, and though the two don’t seem at all similar, I think that there’s a thread that connects them. Could it be their Frenchness? Who can say?

    But if you’ve never read French fiction before, the Seattle Public Library’s blog has a lovely post up right now describing some of the greats and why you should read them. I’ve read most of the authors and books listed, although I’m excited to learn about the existence of a French mystery series by an author who goes by Fred Vargas. The prospect of a French policeman hunting down a French serial killer in a novel seems right up my alley.

    Tim Burgess Asks: What Shouldn’t We Cut?

    posted by on June 5 at 1:48 PM

    City Council member Tim Burgess is running a survey on his web site (it’s in the lefthand column) asking the public to choose their top priority for this year’s city budget. (A staffer says the survey’s mostly a tool for raising public awareness of the choices council members face, and says Burgess doesn’t plan to put it to any official use). After I clicked the button for “Transportation, walking and bicycle trails, etc.,” I took a look at the results: Nearly 28 percent gave top ranking to human services, with transportation and police/criminal justice tied for a distant second with 18.5 percent each. Although I’m assuming only a few people have actually voted, those numbers track pretty closely with what people have been saying at the council’s budget town halls: Human services, usually the first area to face cuts in lean budget times (see, for example, below), are also the thing the public cherishes most dearly. Somewhat sadly, the spending category that’s currently getting the least survey love is libraries, with fewer than one percent ranking them at the top of their lists. The city’s library system is reportedly one of the most vulnerable city departments going into this year’s round of budget cuts.

    Taggers Ruining It For Everyone Else

    posted by on June 5 at 1:24 PM

    A South End “art wall”—frequently used by local graffiti artists—has come under fire recently from neighboring businesses, who claim they’re being hit hard by taggers.

    The art wall, across the train tracks from the Seattle School District’s administrative building on 4th and Lander, “opened” four years ago after the owner of the building—William Bloxom of FC Bloxom, an organic produce distributor—let a friend’s son practice painting on his building.

    Since then, the wall has opened up to everyone and graffiti artists from up and down the West Coast occasionally stop and slap some paint on the back of Bloxom’s building. But, as the wall has grown more popular, neighbors say it has brought litter, noise, and problems with parking and tagging to the area.


    “[So far] the city’s been pretty passive,” Bloxom says, “but there are other issues with people down here…creating a leverage point [for] the city.” Bloxom says he’s been hearing complaints from neighbors about his”European-style…monolithic sketchpad” and he’s worried his wall may end up disappearing like the long-gone art walls at the Comet or the Vogue, two bars on Capitol Hill. “Every single wall that’s come alive like this has gone away,” he says.

    Jesse Edwards, a local artist who frequently uses the wall, says it’s unfortunate that taggers are “shitting in their own bathwater.” Edwards says it’s “not the real artists that go down [to the wall]” and that the site keeps legitimate graffiti artists from painting on other buildings around town. “I’m not going to tear it up all over town if there’s somewhere I can go peacefully paint,” he says.


    One of Bloxom’s biggest neighbors is the Burlington Northern Sante Fe (BNSF) railroad company. Their state headquarters and train yards are just down the street from Bloxom’s warehouse, and BNSF spokesman Gus Melonas says his company is tightening security to ward off taggers. “We’re investigating who this was,” Melonas says.”But if it was indeed taggers working on the art wall…[our] agents can actually make arrests. We don’t any injuries and we don’t want graffiti on our equipment.”
    Melonas says BNSF internal security recently issued citations, but would not give further details.

    While Melonas says it’s not BNSF’s goal to shut down the art wall, Bloxom says he might have to close it down if he keeps getting pressure from neighbors. “I think what it’s going to take is people who use the wall…self-[policing] it,” he says.’

    County Ponders $68 Million in Cuts

    posted by on June 5 at 12:59 PM

    King County executive Ron Sims is meeting now with reporters to discuss what impacts the county’s estimated $68 million budget deficit will have on public safety and other services. (Stranger news intern Chris Kissel is on the scene). KC Sheriff Sue Rahr has been told to cut $7.5 million from her department’s budget—a reduction she says could force her to cut 100 officers next year. At a press conference this morning, Rahr told reporters she was facing some of the most dramatic cuts at the county.

    As bad as the situation at the sheriff’s department is, though, it’s hardly the hardest-hit department in the county. The $7.5 million reduction amounts to 8.65 percent of the department’s $139 million budget—the minimum percentage Sims has asked departments to cut from their budgets. The departments that could actually be the hardest hit are those with significant “discretionary” funding (which pays for services the county isn’t required by law to provide), which Sims is telling departments to cut by one-third across the board. The more a department relies on discretionary funding, the more it’s impacted by the budget cuts.

    For departments whose entire budget is “discretionary,” that means getting by with one-third less. Two county departments—human services and public health—fit that bill. Both could end up losing one-third of their budgets (with $5.9 million and $9.4 million in cuts, respectively).

    None of which is to disparage the magnitude of the cuts to the sheriff’s department; it’s just that when you’re dealing with $68 million in cuts (and more to come in 2010, if current projections are accurate), there’s an awful lot of pain to go around.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on June 5 at 12:59 PM

    If memory serves me correctly, Werner Herzog once said, at a Seattle Art Museum screening a couple years ago, “The only actual objective documentary, is one made by a security camera - the cameras you find in most gas stations or convenience stores.”

    I think he meant also include the ones in office spaces, offices with lots and lots of cubicle walls and various blunt objects lying around, like the one in this silent movie gem…

    On a Happier Note…

    posted by on June 5 at 12:56 PM


    War Is Bad

    posted by on June 5 at 12:44 PM

    Attention, Mr. “I know Dan has changed his mind and no longer supports the war—but, gee this shit keeps happening”:

    You’re not affecting Dan or the peace effort or politics in any way; you’re only annoying our readers and keeping me from a productive day. I’ve spent three hours so far removing your off-topic posts from Slog.

    We all agree that the Iraq war is an ill-conceived travesty and a colossal tragedy. You’re preaching to the choir. Stop wasting your and my time with obsessive rants.

    The rest of you, please continue to ignore the troll.

    Lunch Date: Personal Days

    posted by on June 5 at 12:34 PM


    (A few times a week, I take a new book with me to lunch and give it a half an hour or so to grab my attention. Lunch Date is my judgment on that speed-dating experience.)

    Who’s your date today? Personal Days, Ed Park’s debut novel.

    Where’d you go? Peso’s, on lower Queen Anne.

    What’d you eat?
    The crab and avocado melt on open-faced English muffins ($11.75.)

    How was the food? The reviewers on our review page are less than kind to Peso’s, and I can understand why. It’s kind of a young urban professionals meat-market. I’ve gone there twice at night—I had a friend who liked the staff—and it was a miserable experience, unless your ideal bar experience calls for endless shots. But the food, when I go for breakfast or lunch or happy hour, is usually good. And the crab melt was terrific. Though the motherfucker sure was rich: whole pieces of real crab and just-right avocado with cheese and a mound of fries, along with a mayo-chipotle dipping sauce. I’m just about set for the day, food-wise, I reckon. The server was polite and quick. I could’ve done without the classic rock soundtrack—for me, eating to the dulcet tones of Boston is slightly more appealing than eating a four-course meal in a bathroom—but I’d definitely come back for a fancy lunch.

    What does your date say about itself?
    Park was a founding member of The Believer. It’s about workers in an office who are starting to get fired with a terrifying frequency. There is a blurb from Helen DeWitt, the brilliant author who wrote The Last Samurai (no relation to the awful Tom Cruise movie), which was one of the best debuts of the last ten years: “With Personal Days, Ed Park joins Andy Warhol and Don DeLillo as a master of the deadpan vernacular.” I’ve never seen a blurb by DeWitt before. People in the book business refer to Park writing a lot of Nabokovian wordplay, also.

    Is there a representative quote?
    “Laars looks gaunt these days, his floppy hair hanging limp around his temples…He confesses to spending his evenings nursing Scotch before his computer at home, Googling himself until the wee hours. There’s a person out there who shares the same name, incredibly enough. Person or persons. He’s found himself in Appalachian hiking e-gazettes, antique typewriter societies, and University of Alaska alumni newsletters. I must destroy him, he says…No doubt he’s Googled everyone in the office, uncovering secrets nestled in the thirty-fifth screen of results. Jack II says that when you feel a tingling in your fingers, it means someone’s Googling you. We take to this bit of instant folklore immediately.”

    Will you two end up in bed together? Yes. If you told me two weeks ago that I’d love a second book set in an office written in the first person plural this year, after Then We Came To the End, by Joshua Ferris, I would have slapped you in the face and called you Sally. But I do love it. (It helps that I’ve heard that it doesn’t keep up with the “we” narrator all the way through.) Park is coming to town on the 16th, and this is very exciting. I can’t wait to leave here tonight so I can finish the book.

    Obama “Bashert” (That’s Yiddish. For Destiny.)

    posted by on June 5 at 12:33 PM

    Some political observers may think it’s ironic that, thanks to the scheduling Gods, Sen. Barack Obama’s victory lap ended up taking place, of all places, at a speech in front of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the powerful pro-Israel lobby.

    I happen to think it was appropriate. Destiny even.

    Certainly, there is cause to see irony in the fact that immediately after clinching the Democratic nomination on June 3, Obama’s first big speech on June 4, would take place at an AIPAC conference. Indeed, while Obama grabbed the nomination by firing up the traditional liberal coalition— minorities, youth, post-college grads, upscale urban voters, and, in this cycle, anti-war voters—he’s actually had a highly-publicized problem with another standby bloc in the Democratic equation: Jewish voters.

    CBS exit polling of 30 primaries confirmed Obama’s “Jewish Problem” —showing that Obama trailed Clinton 45 to 53 among Jewish voters. [Note, every time I try to link the CBS poll, my computer crashes. You will find a link to the poll on this page.]

    There were obvious reasons, fair or not, for Obama’s troubles with the Jews: Obama’s camera-happy, longtime minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, liked to channel trite anti-Semite, Louis Farrakhan; Obama’s mixed messaging on Iran (he’s willing to hold talks of some kind with loopy hater Mamoud Ahmadinejad) raised questions about Obama’s commitment to Israel; as did that unsolicited endorsement from Hamas. And there was also his “suspect” Muslim name.

    Additionally, Obama has had to contend with some bad history. American Jews and American blacks have had a chilly relationship (think Jesse Jackson, Crown Heights, and Louis Farrakhan again) ever since the Black-Jewish alliance of the Civil Rights era came unglued in the late 1960s. The logic of Black nationalism connected African Americans with Third World Liberation movements starring revolutionaries like Yasser Arafat’s PLO. It also emphasized Black self reliance, which shattered a long standing, relationship where Jews had been at the forefront of desegregation. Resentment replaced camaraderie.

    Obama is keenly aware of his problem with Jews. Last January, he went out of his way to speak out against “the scourge of anti-Semitism” in the black community in front of a black audience during an MLK celebration at MLK’s own Ebenezer Baptist.

    So, is it ironic that Obama would wind up speaking at AIPAC’s annual conference on the very day his campaign—despite lukewarm support from Jews—triumphed? Or did the scheduling Gods know exactly what they were up to?

    I think the scheduling Gods knew exactly what they were up to. It was bashert, (Yiddish for destiny): On this, Obama’s first day as the Democratic nominee-in-waiting (with the cameras of the world rolling,) Obama landed in a roomful of Jews where he got to set the record straight and set the stage for his campaign agenda.

    Obama told the initially cordial, but ultimately cheering crowd, that he would “take an active role … from the start of [his] administration” (a nice dig a Bush) and “make a personal commitment” to “a Jewish state of Israel and a Palestinian state, living side by side in peace and security.”

    It was a bit of destiny because I think it’s going to happen. Despite the mess that President Bush has made in the Middle East (or perhaps because of it), fate has set the table for a change agent like Obama.

    While I’ve been a bitter Clinton fan, I recognized how awesome an Obama presidency would be. The one thing that’s genuinely excited me about Obama all along is my belief that he’ll be a miracle worker in the Middle East.

    Here’s why.

    1) Obama is a PR disaster for Osama. If America elects a black man (and not a former Joint Chiefs of Staff black man, but a liberal Democrat who worked as a community organizer in the South Side of Chicago), Bin Laden’s rhetoric about America’s “imperialist and racist” policies is going to fall flat in the Arab world. Electing Obama would be a shocker to the haters. And a conundrum for their despots.

    2) Obama himself, as the symbol for this revolution of equality (and of America’s true values), is going to have rock star status around the world. He will be greeted in the Middle East with cheering crowds. This good will on the ground is going to allow him to press adversaries for change.

    (Check it, even as the Islamic world postures about Obama’s AIPAC speech, the Iranians shelved their usual bombast. According to Al Jazeera today:

    “Iranians responded cautiously, but optimisticly, with officials expressing hope he can bring about change in Iran-US relations.Hamidreza Hajibabaee, member of Iranian parliament, said: ‘We hope that Obama turns his words into actions, helps the Islamic Republic of Iran believe that the US has given up enmity and paves the way for fair negotiations.’”

    3) Obama is a peacemaker. I’m not sure what the appropriate comparison is. It’s not at the level of MLK or Ghandi, (maybe it’s Andy Griffith’s Sheriff character from the Andy Griffith Show?), but I’m curious to see how Obama’s political foes— domestic and internationally—will navigate this dude. He challenges belligerence with that Jay-Z “Dirt off Your Shoulder” thing. Unlike Bush, who played into Ahmadinejad (and infamously now) bin Laden’s hands, Obama lowers the temperature, inspiring conversation rather than shouting.

    He’s not a wimp or an “appeaser” though. I finally recognized that Obama’s got game when McCain tried to frame Obama as a dangerous Commie symp for suggesting that the U.S. shoud talk to Iran or Hamas. (President Bush seconded McCain’s trap by hinting to the Israeli Knesset that Obama was Neville Chamberlain.) Obama spun out of the full-court-press trap by expertly reframing the whole issue— with the liberals as the bad asses.

    “What are George Bush and John McCain afraid of?” Obama countered, “the Soviet Union had thousands of nuclear weapons, and Iran doesn’t have a single one. When the world was on the brink of nuclear holocaust, Kennedy talked to Khrushchev and he got those missiles out of Cuba. Why shouldn’t we have the same courage and the confidence to talk to our enemies? That’s what strong countries do, that’s what strong presidents do, that’s what I’ll do when I’m president of the United States of America.”

    He added:

    “If George Bush and John McCain have a problem with direct diplomacy, led by the president of the United States, then they can explain why they have a problem with Ronald Reagan, ‘cause that’s what he did with [Soviet leader Mikhail] Gorbachev, or Richard Nixon ‘cause that’s what they did with [Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung]. That’s exactly the kind of diplomacy we need to keep us safe.”

    Suddenly, the softy liberal position—talk instead of testosterone—became the macho one (with a macho subtext: We’ve got something to say to Iran.) It was an unprecedented move for a liberal, and Obama did it flawlessly.

    Probably said all this much better—this idea that the stars have aligned and now’s the time for Obama—in the Stranger’s Obama endorsement in February with this quick line: “And no, it’s not about race (although we don’t underestimate the symbolism—to the rest of the world—of electing a black man after eight years of John Wayne diplomacy).”

    Water Colors

    posted by on June 5 at 12:26 PM

    Did you ever eat a bunch of beets, forgot you ate a bunch of beets, then took a piss and thought, “Oh my God, I’m dying—or having my first period! Or something else that’s really, really bad!” It’s happened to me. It just happened to me. It happens to me almost every time I eat beets. Must stop eating beets.

    I’ll Say One Thing for Hillary Clinton…

    posted by on June 5 at 12:10 PM

    She succeeded, with her quasi-victory rally in New York on Tuesday, in getting Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” completely stuck in my head.


    Clinton introduced her new valedictory theme song after her speech ended Tuesday night, it rattled around in my brain all day on Wednesday, and then this morning I woke up with it playing on repeat in the soundtrack of my mind. So naturally I bought it off I-Tunes and listened to it a little more in an attempt to satiate whatever unmet Tina Turner desire Clinton had managed to trigger.

    Which reminds me of one of the best lines—perhaps simply the best line—that I heard on CNN during the primary night coverage on Tuesday.

    ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: The Clintons are the Ike and Tina Turner of politics. They don’t do things nice and easy, they do them nice and rough. That’s what we saw tonight.

    Sandra Day O’Connor Caulks Her Wagon To Float Over a River of Civic Indifference

    posted by on June 5 at 12:02 PM


    Will a video game co-created by a Supreme Court Justice win over the kids? You might think edutainment died with the Oregon Trail, but even if next year’s Our Courts bombs, there’s something to be said about an influential person giving games the benefit of the doubt—and passively-aggressively bashing Bush’s educational policies in the process.

    O’Connor said that the No Child Left Behind act of 2001 has “effectively squeezed out civics education” from public schools. “We can’t forget that the primary purpose of public schools in America is to produce citizens who have the skills and knowledge to sustain our form of government,” she said. “Public education is the only longterm solution to preserving an independent judiciary and constitutional democracy.”

    A good place to start is to let kids digitally re-enact court cases… which sounds LAME (wha, no shotguns to pwn n00b judge5?), until you see that the game’s cases revolve around teens and their rights as students. If the Wired story is correct, Our Courts will take on the “Bong Hits For Jesus” case, which should make computer lab class a little more awesome for every tie-dyed T-shirt wearing pre-teen in suburbia.

    I’m all for games with a social conscience, though they’re a tough sell in a GTA world. From this writeup, it looks like O’Connor is at least smart enough to market this one directly to schools and classrooms—kids will play anything as long as it gets them out of doing real classwork—but wake me up when Gears of War sets up camp in, say, northern Uganda.

    About a (Slightly) Younger John McCain

    posted by on June 5 at 12:00 PM


    In 2000, Rolling Stone ran an essay by David Foster Wallace, in which the author rode on John McCain’s Straight Talk Express for a few weeks. Wallace, of course, is one of the smartest human beings on earth—I generally prefer his essays to his fiction, incidentally—and the essay is pretty great. Wallace kind of falls under McCain’s spell, though not so much that he’d actually vote for him.

    Back Bay Books is repackaging the essay, which can also be found in Wallace’s last book of essays, Consider the Lobster, as a standalone, $10 book called McCain’s Promise: Aboard the Straight Talk Express with John McCain and a Whole Bunch of Actual Reporters, Thinking About Hope. I would suggest buying Consider the Lobster instead, because for four bucks more, you get about six extra essays, including the title essay which considers whether lobsters actually feel pain when you boil them.

    Thing is, and hopefully the foreword to the book will acknowledge this, 2000 John McCain and 2008 John McCain are entirely different beasts. The Wall Street Journal talked with Wallace about this last week:

    The essay quite specifically concerns a couple weeks in February, 2000, and the situation of both McCain [and] national politics in those couple weeks. It is heavily context-dependent. And that context now seems a long, long, long time ago. McCain himself has obviously changed; his flipperoos and weaselings on Roe v. Wade, campaign finance, the toxicity of lobbyists, Iraq timetables, etc. are just some of what make him a less interesting, more depressing political figure now—for me, at least. It’s all understandable, of course—he’s the GOP nominee now, not an insurgent maverick. Understandable, but depressing.

    I (heart) David Foster Wallace.

    (UPDATE: I forgot to say “via Galleycat.” Sorry Galleycat.)

    Meanwhile in Iraq

    posted by on June 5 at 11:52 AM

    A secret deal being negotiated in Baghdad would perpetuate the American military occupation of Iraq indefinitely, regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November.

    The terms of the impending deal, details of which have been leaked to The Independent, are likely to have an explosive political effect in Iraq. Iraqi officials fear that the accord, under which US troops would occupy permanent bases, conduct military operations, arrest Iraqis and enjoy immunity from Iraqi law, will destabilise Iraq’s position in the Middle East and lay the basis for unending conflict in their country.

    But the accord also threatens to provoke a political crisis in the US. President Bush wants to push it through by the end of next month so he can declare a military victory and claim his 2003 invasion has been vindicated.

    This One’s for You, Sue!

    posted by on June 5 at 11:51 AM


    Hot on the heels of this comes the following delight from the current Last Days:

    FRIDAY, MAY 30 “Hi, Last Days,” writes Hot Tipper Amelia, casually commencing the greatest Hot Tip since last week’s Value Village soggy-denim nightmare. “In an effort to stay out of the bars tonight, my friends and I decided to attend the 12:30 showing of the Sex and the City movie at Meridian 16, along with about a million high-school girls in uncomfortably fancy outfits. Carrie and friends appeared onscreen to squeals of delight—but about 10 minutes into the movie, a nondescript, non-bummy-looking girl across the aisle from me started vomiting, loudly and continuously for what seemed like eight minutes. It sounded like she was bailing out a sinking rowboat onto the concrete theater floor. The weirdest part was that in an incredible example of mob apathy, no one alerted the rent-a-cop or any other movie authorities. We were all punished for our silence 20 minutes later, when the puking girl’s friend (who’d been calmly watching the movie) suddenly dropped trou and started pissing on the floor. She steadied herself with one hand on the seat in front of her and took a seriously long drunk pee. The whole time she was doing it, she was defiantly staring at the people across the aisle from her. Then she went to sleep and started snoring like a lumberjack. It was the weirdest thing I have ever seen. When I finally told the usher what happened, he looked to his partner, a good-looking African-American SPD officer, and said, “Washington, it’s fun time.” The two reappeared from the theater with two incoherent, vaguely Asian-looking young ladies, both wearing summery white dresses covered in vomit and urine. The movie was pretty good.”

    On the Hot Tip That Would Not Die

    posted by on June 5 at 11:50 AM

    This just in from Stranger reader Sue:

    Hello, Mr. Schmader:

    In last week’s issue of The Stranger (5/29/08) your column “Last Days” described a disgusting incident at a Seattle Value Village in which a female found a urine-soaked pair of denim pants. I don’t believe it happened; I think you were duped with a bogus report so this woman could either fulfill a bet, get her 15 minutes of fame, or trash the reputation of the store. I’ll tell you why I think this.

    When a woman goes shopping for apparel, and especially when the apparel is hanging on a rack, the first action she performs is to hold the garment fully opened at arms length. Any urine-soaked crotch in a pair of pants would be obvious at this point. The woman usually also holds the pants against her body to estimate if the waist will be big enough and the legs long enough. Any odor or wetness would be discernible immediately, not after the woman had walked around the store with the garment draped over her arm.

    Perhaps you should abandon the practice of publishing the disgusting reports if you can’t substantiate the claims of the reporter. They really don’t add value to the quality of anyone’s life. Here’s something I picked up in my readings long ago: ask yourself, “is it true, is it kind, is it helpful” and if not, don’t pass it along in any form.


    Thanks for writing, Sue, even though your letter is fifty kinds of stupid.

    First, full disclosure: Hot Tipper Caroline—she who encountered the soiled jeans and reported the event to Last Days—is a Stranger coworker and good friend, and the story is true.

    Second, as Caroline mentioned in the comments to last week’s Slog discussion of Moistgate, the jeans were very dark denim, making visible recognition of wetness difficult.

    Finally, as Caroline herself put it after I showed her your letter, “I’ve been a woman my entire life, and I don’t hold pants up to my body to judge the length. I just don’t. She’s totally blaming the victim here.”

    Agreed. (I’m also delighted by Sue’s imagining of a world where people conspire to trash the reputation of Value Village.)

    Pinball Weekend

    posted by on June 5 at 11:38 AM

    My buddy has a theory that there are two kinds of people in this world: those who play pinball by hitting both flippers at a time, and those who only hit the one their ball is actually headed for. I offered that there is a third kind of person who doesn’t play pinball at all, but she poo-pooed me, saying that she would rather not acknowledge that possibility.
    This weekend the NW Pinball and Gameroom Show hits town (Seattle Center, June 6-8). Entry buys you free play on a hundred games. There is also a tournament taking place, and several speakers, including the dude from King of Kong.

    Oh, and you might want to bring some ear plugs. I’ve never heard 100 pinball machines going at once, but I imagine it’s pretty intense.

    Dept. of Addenda

    posted by on June 5 at 11:32 AM

    Dear Aryne Chacon:

    Finally heard back from the printing press. They print The Stranger on pulp that is sixty percent recycled, forty percent white and red fir.


    In other fir news:

    Man cuts down 37 fir trees to make light for his pot garden.

    A knife, which one man allegedly used to kill his brother in 1998, found under a fir tree.

    A famous fir tree at the Chambers Bay golf course will survive its attack by an axe-wielding vandal.

    Dear Science Pot Cast

    posted by on June 5 at 11:21 AM

    You’ve seen Jonathan Golob get all smart here on Slog, and you’ve seen me ramble about pot—but now you can listen to him being smart and me ramble on a podcast all about drugs. We talk about such sophisticated topics as: how opiates can stop the shits, pharmaceutical pot sprays, and pot-brownie overdoses that make you wish you could die. You can listen to the Dear Science podcast—drug edition—over here.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on June 5 at 11:00 AM


    ‘Deep Space Punctuated by Planets’ at SOIL

    Last month, women artists invented their own biologies at Punch Gallery. This month, four men ride the time-space-object continuum at SOIL in a group show about the invention not of bodies but of environments. The lineup is unexpected, pairing Jonathan Hudak’s scattered scenes with Eric Elliott’s exaggeratedly condensed paintings and Matt Browning’s loose installation “drawings” (that incorporate bricks, metal, quilted fabric, fur, tea strainers, and keyboard key sensors) with Whiting Tennis’s solid, personified plywood sculptures. (SOIL, 112 Third Ave S, 264-8061. 6–9 pm, free.)


    That Lesbian Kiss at Safeco…

    posted by on June 5 at 10:44 AM

    …makes the AP, I’m quoted, and the email pours in:

    Why are we protesting again? The M’s management did and does everything right. The usher was responding to a complaint that may have been valid… we weren’t there. There’s nothing more obnoxious than a couple making out over the top… especially if I’m single at the time.

    Maybe we should pinpoint the problem maker… the person that complained… and find out just what offended them. The Mariners are not to blame for this fiasco. We’re overreacting like the princess’ we are.

    Savage, you arrogant, ignorant asshole!!!

    I don’t give a flying fuck what your sexual preference is……just don’t flaunt it at PUBLIC events.

    I have been to many Seattle Men’s Choruses and enjoyed most of them…that is until two dumb fucks,(both male) sitting in front of me and MY KIDS, start trying to swallow each others tongue and tonsils. There is a time and place for that kind of shit…not at a public event.

    Same thing with the two dumb fuck dykes at the Mariner’s game. They could have given a shit less about the game. They were all over each other…fucking disgusting.
    It seems that FAGGOT’s think now that the “world” has to accept them, they can exploit that and do what ever they fucking well please. Guess what???? NOT in front of me or my family…especially at a public event with kids.

    If you don’t agree with that then you are worthless!!!!!

    Gay or straight, I think sucking face in front of everyone is not cool. These chicks just went to a Mariner’s game NOT because they like baseball, but wished to make spectacles of themselves and crusade for their cause. If you can’t keep your mouth off of your partner, stay home and do whatever you want! I don’t care to watch a live porn movie whether the parties involved are gay or straight. Here’s one for ya: I was on a college campus once when I saw a mixed race couple sucking each others’ fillings out. I mentioned to another student “those two should get a room”. The ignoramus took that as a “racist” comment and broadcasted to every one he could, that I was a racist. CR Charlotte, NC

    I wrote back to CR…

    Dear CR,

    I tend to agree with you: I’m generally against PDA. My boyfriend and I almost never kiss in public, and we’re season ticket holders to the Ms, and we’ve certainly never kissed at the ballpark. The issue, though, is that straight couples engaged in the exact same behavior were not asked to stop kissing, or told to get a room, or threatened with expulsion from the ballpark. And that’s discriminatory, and that’s why this is an issue.

    But, yeah—folks should get a room, gay and straight, if they really want to go at it. But if straight folks are allowed to go at it in public—or just kiss—then gay folks should be free to do the same.

    All the best,


    And I was pleased to learn, from the first note, that the Ms management is infallible. That’s certainly news to anyone who’s glanced at the standings. And how much are we paying Richie Sexson again?

    Youth Pastor Watch II

    posted by on June 5 at 10:36 AM


    We’ve already had an installment of Youth Pastor Watch today, and I don’t want to spoil you kids—I know how much you enjoy these posts but they’ll rot your teeth. Still, I can’t resist tossing up a link to another youth-pastor-gone-schlong story. We’ve got another YPW-worthy story out of the great state of Pennsylvania, and it demonstrates something I’ve been complaining about:

    Ex-youth pastor faces sex charges

    Worked as youth minister at Christ Community Church, Kingston.

    KINGSTON—A former youth pastor at a Kingston church was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting two teen girls he was mentoring, police said.

    Brian Andrew Neiswender, 26, surrendered with his attorney Jair Novajosky at the office of District Judge Paul J. Roberts Jr., where he was charged with two counts each of indecent assault and corruption of minors. He was released on $50,000 unsecured bail.

    Police said Neiswender assaulted the two teens, now 18 and 17 years old, from September 2003 through February 2006 while he was a youth pastor at Christ Community Church on West Dorrance Street.

    Neiswender was placed on a leave of absence from Heritage Baptist Church, Lakeland, Fla., on Tuesday, the Rev. Bill Boulet said.

    Now wait just a minute there, Pennsylvania Times Leader: Brian Neiswender is not an “ex-youth pastor,” as your headline would have us believe, nor is a “former youth pastor,” as reporter Edward Lewis’s lead would have us believe. He’s not a “former” or an “ex” youth pastor today, even after his arrest. Back to your story:

    “We were totally unaware of any of this and his history,” Boulet said. “As a result of the charges, as a precaution, he’s now on a leave of absence upon further review.”

    Neiswender is listed on the Heritage Baptist Church Web site as pastor of youth ministries.

    Not “ex,” not “former.” Brian Neiswender is merely a youth pastor on leave. So why do you describe him as “ex” and “former” in your headline and the story’s lead?

    I’ll tell you why: Because the Times Leader, like the rest of the mainstream media, has a distinct and pronounced pro-youth-pastor, anti-shark bias. A shark that attacks a swimmer is never described as a “former shark,” even if the shark has pulled from the water and killed. It’s just a shark. Period. But a youth pastor that attacks—or is alleged to have attacked—two teenage girls is described as a “former youth pastor” even thought he is still employed as a youth pastor.

    Now why is that? Why confuse readers by describing Neiswender as a “former” youth pastor even though Heritage Baptist Lake makes it clear that he hasn’t been fired, merely suspended. Neiswender is not a “former” anything. Former to Kingston, perhaps, but you don’t describe him as a former Kingstonite, but as a former youth pastor. Again, he’s not—he was a youth pastor in Kingston and he’s a youth pastor today—albeit at another franchise location of Jesus Christ Inc.

    Here’s what I think is going on here: Your reporter, Edward Lewis, labors under the pro-youth-pastor/anti-shark bias that infects so much of the mainstream media. And Mr. Lewis—consciously or subconsciously—sought to exonerate the sort of religious institutions that employ youth pastors. Most readers don’t get past the headline, sub-head, and lead, as a journalism professional like Mr. Lewis surely knows, and that stray “former” gives casual readers the impression that the churches that employed Mr. Neiswender as a youth pastor sensed something was wrong and got rid of him before these alleged crimes were committed or came to light. Or that Mr. Neiswender lost the faith and abandoned his calling to be a youth pastor and only then did the unchurched and unemployed Mr. Neiswender (allegedly) go bad.

    Again, if a shark had committed this crime—if a shark, as Mr. Neiswender is alleged to have done, had initiated games of hide and seek in a darkened church and subjected teenage girls to “inappropriate touch” (or had eaten them)—the Times Leader would not do the shark community the favor of describing the accused shark as a “former shark” or an “ex shark,” particularly if the shark were still in the swim-and-eat-and-swim business.

    The Poynter Institute has been notified of your misconduct, Times Leader.

    You Can’t Smoke There

    posted by on June 5 at 10:28 AM

    At Seattle Central Community College, signs says no smoking is allowed within 50 feet of doorways that open directly to the sidewalk. What’s that to mean?


    “Any door or window, you’ve got to be 50 feet away to smoke,” said Richard, a passerby who read one of the signs last night. He couldn’t remember which, he said, but the 50-foot rule is either a city or a state law. Of course, it’s neither.

    Since I-901 went into effect in late 2005, Washington’s indoor smoking ban has prohibited people from smoking within 25 feet of a workplace’s door or window. But if people are within 50 feet of the Seattle Central building shown above (next to a large parking lot that provides a 26-to-50 foot range for legal smoking), college spokeswoman Laura Mansfield says, “We ask them to back up.”

    The college implemented the rule, Mansfield says, because 25 feet didn’t provide faculty “enough room to enter a building without encountering smoke.”

    Dan Sytman from the State Attorney General’s Office says the 25-foot rule is only a presumptive limit. However, he notes, that although the statute explicitly allows business owners to make more lenient rules, “the law makes no mention of a longer distance.”

    “Any business can create their own policy that is far and away more than the state law,” clarifies Scott Neal of the county health department’s Tobacco Prevention Program, which penalizes establishments that violate the smoking rules. “Can I come in there and enforce it?” he says. “No.” That’s up to the Seattle Police Department, he says.

    So will the SPD enforce Seattle Central’s sign? “I don’t believe that they can dictate or say you have to be beyond this point to smoke when the law says 25 feet,” says police spokeswoman Renée Witt. “We could only enforce the 25-feet rule.”

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on June 5 at 10:26 AM


    Criminy, there’s a lot going on tonight, including an open mic; two poets on power, sexuality and mortality; a book about adopting a child from another country; and a book about two women in conversation that was originally inspired by a painting.

    At the Ballard Branch of the SPL, Dan White reads from The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind and Almost Found Myself on the Pacific Crest Trail. There are bears in the book. Otherwise, it looks like another one of those books about someone who does something outdoorsy and possibly stupid and barely lives to tell the tale.

    David Guterson, who I wish answered to the nickname The Goot, reads from his new novel, The Other, at Barnes and Noble in University Village. I do not know anyone who’s read the book as of yet, so I can’t tell you if it’s good or bad. I can tell you, however, that Guterson is local and will read at virtually every venue in the next few days, so you don’t need to go to University Village tonight if you want to see him.

    Up at Third Place, Lee Child reads from Nothing to Lose, which is about “two lonely towns in Colorado: Hope and Despair.” I think that might be what the kids call ‘symbolism.’

    Thomas J. Campanella, who is the “associate professor of urban planning at the University of North Carolina” discusses The Concrete Dragon: China’s Urban Revolution and What It Means for the World at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Expect wonk, but expect very important wonk.

    And at Elliott Bay Book Company, Tony Horwitz, the author of that Confederates in the Attic book that was all the rage (and for good reason) a while back, reads from A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World. Booklist says that his new one is “what could be described as a guide for those who are historically ignorant of the “lost century” between the first voyage of Columbus and the establishment of Jamestown in 1607.” I think this looks like the reading of the night.

    Or, if Artwalk-style whimsy is your thing, over at Arundel Books on 1st Ave, which is a nice bookstore for bargain hunters of art books that I don’t get to write about too often, Michael C. Ford will conduct the world’s shortest poetry reading promptly at 7 pm. I am told that if you are even one minute late, or if you in fact blink at the wrong time, you will miss the poetry. If you want to make a night of it, you can attend this reading and then still have time to get to the Horwitz reading down the street.

    Upcoming readings, including a couple with The Goot, are on our readings calendar.

    When Does the NFL Return?

    posted by on June 5 at 10:05 AM

    Before the season began, I think it was Fnarf who predicted the Mariners wouldn’t win 78 games this year. At the time I thought he was wrong — now I wonder if he was being too optimistic.

    But hey, at least the draft’s today — small comfort when your team’s already 15.5 games back the first week of June. Ugh.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on June 5 at 10:00 AM

    Jon Haddock’s Andrew Meyer (Don’t Tase Me Bro) (2008); wood, papier-maché, casein paint; 20 by 24 by 12 inches

    At Howard House, opening tonight during Artwalk. (Gallery web site here.)

    Fate Should Have Made You A Gentleman’s Wife

    posted by on June 5 at 9:50 AM

    It’s everywhere. This new love for Amanda.
    Amanda_web_900w.jpg You can find it here:
    n10728311_38333576_3703.jpg And here.

    Amanda’s costly PR machine is finally working. It has reversed her initial course. Now she is fast becoming the most wronged woman of our time.

    Dept. of Stupid Fucking Democrats

    posted by on June 5 at 9:47 AM

    The D primary has revealed clown cars of crazy on both sides — but only one side has this bumper sticker.


    Update: Slog reader “Unpaid Blogger” decided the bumper sticker wasn’t flashy enough:


    SIFF 2008: Day 15 Recommendations

    posted by on June 5 at 9:25 AM

    I have to run to a screening, so I’m going to try to make this snappy. There are a lot of good movies today—check out our full recommendations at

    In the 4 pm slot, we recommend Call Me Troy (4 pm at the Egyptian) or Mr. Big (4:30 pm at SIFF Cinema).

    Next, both Alexandra (7 pm at SIFF Cinema) and Brick Lane (7 pm at Uptown) are wonderful, but they’re opening in Seattle later this year. As an alternative, try Derek (7 pm at the Harvard Exit), about the experimental filmmaker Derek Jarman.

    In the late slot, we’ve revised our opinion on Choke (9:15 pm at the Egyptian)—our in-house reviewer Paul Constant was not enthusiastic—so we’re sending you to Anvil! The Story of Anvil! (9:15 pm at SIFF Cinema) instead.

    Sounds like you could spend all day at Seattle Center. Not the worst thing that could happen—that new Metropolitan Market has tasty sandwiches.

    Drive-By Shooting Near 9th and Madison

    posted by on June 5 at 9:20 AM

    At 12:45 this morning, police responded to a call about shots fired near 9th and Madison.

    Shots were fired from an SUV, hitting a Mercedes parked on the street. The intended victim was not injured.

    The suspects fled, but police say the victim “knows who did it.”

    SPD’s gang unit is heading up the investigation.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on June 5 at 9:17 AM


    A suspended United Methodist minister from Conneautville faces a possible 28 years in prison and $60,000 in fines after pleading guilty Monday to four counts involving Internet pornography charges.

    Charges stemmed from incidents earlier this year when the Rev. Steven Richard McGuigan exposed himself via a Web camera to an undercover agent with the state’s attorney general. McGuigan believed the agent was a teenage girl….

    McGuigan was pastor of both Valley United Methodist Church in Conneautville and Hickernell United Methodist Church since November 2004. He also served as district youth leader for the Erie-Meadville district of the United Methodist Church. He was suspended from his ministerial duties following his arrest.


    A man accused of being a part of the serial bank robbing group dubbed the “Scarecrow Bandits” used to be a minister at a North Texas church, NBC 5 reported.

    Tony Hewitt’s family said although he did time in prison for drug charges, he was on the right path as a youth minister at Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Oak Cliff. Hewitt is the pastor’s son and one of seven suspects arrested Monday by police and federal agents.


    A spiritual counselor for a youth rehabilitation center in New Orleans was arrested on charges that he tried to solicit sex over the Internet from a Kenner policeman posing as an underage girl. Kenner Police arrested Brett Lochmann after raiding the Greater New Orleans Teen Challenge where they say Lochmann lived and worked as a Pentecostal youth minister….

    Kenner Police Chief Steve Caraway said Lochmann used a computer in his room and office to try to solicit sex from young girls. “(He was) chatting on the Internet, soliciting sex from this person he believed to be a young girl, sending lewd pictures of himself, a nude photo of himself.”

    South Carolina/North Carolina:

    Missing youth pastor found ‘dazed’

    Several hours after he was reported missing from a Surfside Beach church, a 32-year-old Horry County man was found “dazed and confused” inside his van on the side of a road in Manteo, N.C., the church’s pastor said.

    David Martin “Marty” Parker is an associate pastor at Glenns Bay Baptist Church [in South Carolina] and was reported missing Wednesday morning after church employees saw signs of a struggle inside Parker’s office, said pastor Benjy Simmons.

    “He’s fine,” Simmons said. “He does not know how he got to North Carolina.”

    This Week in The Stranger

    posted by on June 5 at 8:00 AM


    Grant Cogswell on Drugs, Satanists, Tori Spelling, and the Making of Cthulhu
    “I was the screenwriter, fundraiser, second-biggest investor, PR hack, extras coordinator, and a sometime producer of the largest, most expensive locally produced film ever made in Seattle. It took five years, it cost $1 million, and its extremely slow projected return may have broken the bank for local distribution-quality films for the foreseeable future. It ruined my health, driving me to the brink of suicide twice, and from sobriety back down into a drinking life (and, briefly, the cocaine life below that), and aggravating a chronic muscle condition that addicted me to painkillers. I started with $250,000 in assets and am now thousands of dollars in debt, making $15 an hour repainting a house near Sacramento. I own no more than what fills a backpack and am not homeless thanks only to the kindness of friends.”

    Jonah Spangenthal-Lee Reports on Seattle’s Crackdown on Meals for Homeless
    “In an April 23 letter to Food Not Bombs volunteers, the parks department claims FNB’s weekly dinner at Occidental Park is a health and safety hazard and says the city expects ‘all organizations’ to serve their meals at ‘the only approved city site,’ at Sixth and Columbia.”

    Lindy West Braves the Buffet at Déjà Vu
    “I wasn’t nervous at all about going to the lunch buffet at Lake City’s Déjà Vu Showgirls, until it was time to actually go to the lunch buffet at Lake City’s Déjà Vu Showgirls. Jokes about ‘fried clams’ and ‘thousands of beautiful tater tots and three ugly ones’ (thank you, thank you) are all well and good until the moment when you must physically leave the car, face the vaginas, and munch the tots.”

    Casey Catherwood, The Stranger’s Underage Music Columnist, Turns 20
    “This Japanther show just felt tired. I ended up leaving before they finished, dejected and disappointed with the whole experience. Was the band simply having an off night? Was my enthusiasm for life already fading just an hour after bidding farewell to my teenage years?”

    Jen Graves on Dario Robleto: Part Artist, Part Innovator, Part Anthropologist
    “He is an artist, but half his time is spent researching history and collecting its detritus. (A network of nerds helps him.) Once he gets the precious material, he changes it. He grinds bones to dust, pulverizes love letters, melts vinyl records and cassette tapes, makes casts of bitten bullets and DIY prosthetic limbs, and brews homemade remedies from plants and powders.”

    ALSO DISCUSSED IN THIS ISSUE: Jerome Robbins was a dick; Truckasauras’s debut album; Darcy Burner’s Iraq miracle plan; the downward slide of Dungeons & Dragons’s popularity; Sherman Alexie’s foul mouth; a local hiphop music video maker branches out; how to build a nuclear reactor in your back yard; and much more.

    The Morning News

    posted by on June 5 at 7:04 AM

    Hug It Out: Clinton drops out, will endorse Obama.

    Oil Is So 2007: Speculators betting on food shortages.

    Hug It Out Part 2: Palestinian President kisses, makes up with Hamas. Meanwhile, al-Zawahri calls for jihad against Israel.

    On Trial: Five alleged 9/11 plotters in court today.

    Drug Bust: Walgreens pays $35 million to settle medicaid fraud suit.

    Mistrial: For Jewish Federation shooter.

    Ciao: Former King County Councilmember Ruby Chow dies.

    Drink Up: Study says alcohol cuts risk of arthritis.

    Aging Star Trek Cast Reunites: For Sulu’s wedding! Shatner’s not invited.

    The Wheels of Justice: Woman sues Segway after spill.

    In Space, No One Can Hear You Poop: Astronauts finally fix space station’s toilet.

    And now, this is what happens when you damn kids smoke pot:

    Wednesday, June 4, 2008

    From the Archives

    posted by on June 4 at 5:30 PM


    (Originally published in the October 26, 2006 issue of The Stranger, after Obama had visited town for a book signing.)

    Typo of the Day

    posted by on June 4 at 4:17 PM

    For all you prospective interns who have responded to this ad I posted yesterday:

    Wanted: Intern for The Stranger’s Theater Section—the old one has lost consciousness. Must be reliable (seriously, no flakes), available on Monday and/or Tuesday afternoons, and believe mindless data entry is a means to getting head.

    Send inquiries to: or 323-7101.

    That should read: “means to getting ahead.”

    We regret the error.


    posted by on June 4 at 4:10 PM

    From the P-I:

    The long trial of a mentally ill man who opened fire at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle ended Wednesday with a deadlocked jury, leaving victims without finality and Naveed Haq facing the likelihood of a second trial.
    After more than seven days of deliberations, jurors could not agree whether the 32-year-old Tri Cities man was guilty in the July 2006 rampage or insane at the time.

    They could agree only that Haq was not guilty of attempted first-degree murder for wounding Carol Goldman, the first victim to be shot as she tried to dial 911, but could not decide whether he was guilty of attempted second-degree murder.

    They couldn’t decide whether he was guilty in the shootings of the other five victims, deadlocking on the rest of the 14 other charges.


    posted by on June 4 at 4:01 PM

    That’s the day Hillary Clinton will officially drop out, according to ABC News.

    Finley = No Pride!

    posted by on June 4 at 3:31 PM

    According to, the always delightful Peggy Platt, Sylvia O’Stayformore and some straw-haired milquetoast-ish looking news anchor from NWCN called Erik will be sharing the announcer’s seat at Seattle’s Pride Parade this year, and one Miss Mark Finley, Seattle’s dizzy gay Aunt Clara and the long-time embarrassment of all things gay and pride-ish, is conspicuously out, out, OUT! And not in the proud way.

    There was no comment from Seattle Pride on this year’s notable exclusion of Finley because I didn’t ask for one, but one thing is for damn sure: There is doubtless to be a conspicuous absence of incomprehensible slurring, dizzy confusion, or vulgar reaches at humor that end in tragedy (like rummaging through one’s purse for one’s cocktail—-protease inhibiting or otherwise—-on live television for instance, or claiming that all gay people refer to members of our naval forces as “mattresses”) at this year’s event—-at least as far as the official announcers go.

    Quake with relief, ye lucky ‘mos. This year, pride may actually be achieved!

    (Thanks AKH for the tip!)

    Rock on, Mr. Liebowitz

    posted by on June 4 at 3:10 PM

    Before we get started with today’s design meetings, let us all bid a farewell to a tired sight on Broadway.


    Good riddance. The blank wall that extended for nearly a block down the city’s best pedestrian thoroughfare was, by far, more offensive than any new building that will replace it. The QFC is dead. Rejoice.

    MLK, Jr. Way and East Union Street

    Man, I can’t wait for this vacant lot to get developed.


    Marty Liebowitz, of the Madrona Company, says he’s planning a four-story building that will contain up to 30 rental units in the top floors (several for low-income tenants), office space on the second floor, eight storefronts on the street level, and eight music-practice spaces in the basement.


    “The rock-and-roll kids only make 10 to 20 thousand dollars a year,” says Liebowitz. “So we’re trying to create a scenario where they can live, a place to practice their music, and maybe a venue where they can perform.” He says the musicians can’t afford to live on Capitol Hill, so he’s building affordable rentals and spaces for inexpensive restaurants in the Central District.

    What’s driving the 62-year old Brooklyn native? “I have three kids who love music and have a lot of friends in bands. The existing building [a five-plex next to the vacant lot that will be demolished] is filled with friends of my kids. They are nice people, they may dress a little weird and have purple hair—a lot of adults don’t understand. I’m an adult, but I do understand.”

    I’d like to nominate Mr. Liebowitz as the coolest developer in Seattle. The design meeting, where he says he’ll have a model of the building, is at 8:00 p.m. in Miller Community Center, 330 19th Avenue East.

    At the Foot of Her Majesty

    On the base of Queen Anne, Avalon Bay Communities is planning a six-story, 196-unit residential building with about 5000 square feet of retail on the corner. It will also contain 8 live-work units and 245 parking spaces. The Mountaineers Club building will be demolished for this…



    GGLO Architecture

    Block-long developments are generally sucky, but designs for the ground floor here do a good job of breaking up the bulk to look less like that damn wall at the QFC. The recommendation meeting is tonight at 8:00 p.m. in the Queen Anne Community Center, 1901 1st Avenue West.

    Valley Girl

    In other nudes, a five-story office building in SLU, which I expose over here, has a design-recommendation meeting tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Miller Community Center, 330 19th Avenue East. Sorry for the shameless sexification of an ordinary building.

    The Real Danger of Drugs and Alcohol: Tiger Maulings

    posted by on June 4 at 2:56 PM

    The teenager killed during the Christmas Day tiger mauling at the San Francisco Zoo had alcohol and marijuana in his bloodstream, according to a toxicology report released Tuesday.

    Besides suffering many punctures and scratches to his head, neck, and chest, the boy had a fractured skull and spine. The report says his jugular vein had been cut.

    Sousa was with Paul and Kulbir Dhaliwal at the San Francisco Zoo on Dec. 25 when a Siberian tiger escaped from an enclosure and attacked the three of them. The two brothers were also injured during the mauling.

    We all owe a debt to those intrepid journalists at CBS news who’ve finally exposed marijuana as the dangerous drug that it is. If I hadn’t known I was at risk of being mauled by a tiger, I might’ve spent another weekend in my living room getting high and watching Mama’s Family reruns on TV, completely unaware that a tiger might be lurking somewhere nearby, ready to pounce.

    I think it’s time to get serious about the war on drugs. America needs to hire itself a few good tigers.



    posted by on June 4 at 2:45 PM

    Via Slate, an amazing collection of media attempts at describing the primetime fist bumping that Barack and Michelle Obama did before his big speech last night:

    “Taking a fist-pound from wife Michelle, Obama stepped to the podium Tuesday”—

    “Michelle Obama (L) gives her husband, Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Barack Obama, a knuckle-bump as a sign of support before he speaks to supporters.”—Monsters and Critics

    “At 09:09:27 Central Time, Michelle Obama gave Barack Obama a pound in St. Paul, Minnesota.”—Lola New York

    “I never realized how romantic and respectful and mutually appreciative and loving a frat-tastic fist bump could be. Could it be the new peck-on-the-cheek?”—The Frisky

    “… Obama, who was joined on stage by his wife Michelle, with whom he shared a celebratory fist-bump.”—Reuters

    “Obama, began with a loving fist to fist thumbs up with Michelle.”—Capitol Hill Blue

    “Michelle is not as ‘refined’ as Obama at hiding her TRUE feelings about America—etc. Her ‘Hezbollah’ style fist-jabbing …”—Human Events

    A Kink is Born

    posted by on June 4 at 2:45 PM


    From the AP:

    A teacher in the Oakridge School District has been placed on paid administrative leave after allegedly taping a student to a chair because he wouldn’t sit down.

    Superintendent Don Kordosky declined to identify the teacher Tuesday, but confirmed she was removed from her Oakridge Elementary School classroom last week after the mother of a 9-year-old boy reported the May 28 incident.

    The boy’s mother, Becky Faile, does not have a listed phone number and could not be reached for comment Tuesday night. In interviews with local television stations, she said the teacher taped her son from his knees to his chest after he refused requests to sit down.

    Faile said her son’s poor behavior was not a strong enough reason for him to be humiliated in front of his peers.

    On the Cover

    posted by on June 4 at 2:04 PM

    This week’s cover image comes to us from local artist Stacey Rozich. Check out her skecthbook to see more…


    The Best New Yorker Cover in a While

    posted by on June 4 at 2:00 PM

    This summer’s Adrian Tomine New Yorker Fiction Issue cover is great.


    In case you can’t make it out on your browser: It’s a woman receiving a package from looking guiltily at an independent bookseller who happens to be arriving at his bookstore at the same time. When Tomine’s hot, he’s hot.

    Town Housed

    posted by on June 4 at 1:58 PM

    Seattle city council member Sally Clark has an opinion piece in today’s Seattle Times about town houses. Apparently many Seattle residents are dissatisfied with town house design in general, and with thousands of new town houses already constructed in particular. With a housing bust all but certain to grind new town house construction to a halt, now is probably a good time to launch a little Seattle process at the problem. So Clark is convening a panel of “developers, neighborhoods activists, architects and planners” to hammer out some new design guidelines. Now that, you know, the damage is mostly done.

    In politics, as in comedy, timing is everything.

    Hey, want to make the design of town houses a little bit better? Eliminate parking requirements and we’ll see fewer skinny little little townhouses awkwardly perched atop garages. I’d tell the panel myself but there are other brick walls that I need to go bash my forehead against.

    Anyway, reading Clark’s opinion piece reminded of a very lovely—and very empty—town house on Capitol Hill.


    This place is on Thomas, I think, between 13th and 14th. It’s behind a large brick apartment-gone-condo building that faces 14th, and it’s built over—and moodily looms over—the parking garages for, I believe, the lovely brick apartment buildings that face 13th. And there’s a really interesting, overgrown garden that runs out the back.


    I’ve always found this brick town house to be really intriguing, really interesting—especially with the garden out the back and the lower floors below sidewalk level but still way up in the air. This place has been boarded up for years—does anyone know why? Most folks I’ve asked assume there was some sort of structural damage during the Nisqually Earthquake in 2001, but I seem to recall this place being boarded up long before that. Anyhow, it’s a mystery—well, to me at least. Someone out there knows what’s up with this place. Care to share?

    Flickr Photo of the Day

    posted by on June 4 at 1:52 PM

    Building the viaduct, 1952


    posted by Seattle Municipal Archives

    Rebranding Intelligent Design

    posted by on June 4 at 1:42 PM

    The New York Times has a good story today about the newest rebranding efforts of the intelligent design proponents at Seattle’s very own Discovery Institute.

    Laura Beil goes over a few of the good old catchphrases—creationism to creation science to intelligent design—but it’s useful to remember that there are also nitty-gritty PR tactics under those larger umbrella strategies. As newly favored phrases like “strengths and weaknesses” [of the theory of evolution] and “academic freedom” are being phased in (with the help of mass culture and new media propaganda in movie theaters and on YouTube), many others have been or are being phased out: “equal time for creation science” (this was dropped after the Supreme Court called bullshit on it in Edwards v. Aguillard; “intelligent design” appeared soon thereafter), “abrupt appearance theory,” “critical analysis of evolution,” “teach the controversy,” etc. Others are being retracted so you’ll only hear them in creation-friendly audiences: “Evolution is a theory in crisis,” “evolution is just or only a theory,” “evolutionist,” etc.

    Intelligent design is a legal strategy wrapped in a robustly funded public relations campaign. (In terms of content, it’s still dependent on the tired old God-of-the-gaps reasoning of 18th-century philosopher William Paley, who died before Charles Darwin had been born.) Sound, innovative ideas don’t need that kind of arsenal to succeed in the public sphere.

    Meanwhile, On Our Web Site…

    posted by on June 4 at 1:18 PM

    Apropos of Dan’s post below, a few of our lovely commenters on Clinton and her supporters in the wake of last night’s Obama victory.

    Crazy bitches.
    Racist cunts.
    Yup ladies, show your displeasure with that uppity negro by voting McCain or convincing Hills to run independent… and don’t forget to bring the coat hangers when you celebrate.
    does this mean democrats don’t need to cater to crazy feminists anymore?
    Hell hath no fury…
    that fucking bitch….
    *sigh* Leave it to the bitch to have no class and stay in.
    WHY… WON’T IT… DIE!!!!!!?!??!

    And yes, I could find more, but I don’t think (reasonable) Slog readers need convincing that this campaign has unearthed a shocking breed of vicious misogyny against Clinton, her supporters (who are, if certain Obama fans are to be believe, ALL racist, old, bitter white women) and Obama supporters who had the gall to defend Clinton supporters from off-point, sexist, threatening attacks. (For unreasonable Slog readers, see above.) Although this campaign has shown that many American are willing, ready, and eager to see the barriers of racism and sexism broken, it has also revealed that open, unabashed sexism is alive, acceptable, and even welcomed within the Democratic Party. For everything else it did, Hillary Clinton’s campaign made it acceptable to openly hate someone—a candidate, or a supporter of that candidate—simply because she is a woman.*

    As usual, Melissa of Shakespeare’s Sister** said it best:

    [Women, Clinton and Obama supporters alike] have witnessed this despicable but spectacular marriage of aggressive misogyny and their long-presumed allies’ casual indifference to it, and wondered what fucking planet they were on that dehumanizing eliminationist rhetoric, to which lefty bloggers used to object once upon a time, was now considered a legitimate campaign strategy, as long as it was aimed at a candidate those lefty bloggers didn’t like.

    And these women felt personally abandoned. By people they had considered allies.

    And while they struggled to understand just what was happening, while they were losing their way along well-traveled paths that no longer felt familiar or welcoming, they were admonished like children to stop taking things personally. They were sneered at for playing identity politics. They were demeaned as ridiculous, overwrought, hysterics. They were called bitches and cunts. They were bullied off blogs they’d called home for years.

    (But don’t take that personally.)

    […] And I’m sad because I know there are women who are hurting. Not because their candidate lost. Clinton may not have even been their candidate. They’re hurting because misogyny hurts all women, and because they have fewer allies than they once thought.

    And unlike the people (including many of these women) who are feeling the same way with regard to racism in this campaign, who are licking wounds of racist attacks even as preparations begin for the breathtakingly awesome celebration of the first ever presumptive nominee of color, ZOMG, these women do not have an equivalent wonder to celebrate. They don’t have a “despite it all.” They don’t have a step forward to point to, to say the pain was worth it.

    They just have the pain.

    And I’m sad because I see so little evidence of people who are willing to understand that.

    So while I’m thrilled to see the Obama campaign moving into its next phase, and I wholeheartedly congratulate his supporters and look forward to backing him in his campaign against McCain, I think it would be a pity not to take a moment to look at what some of those supporters have wrought over the course of their campaign to defeat Hillary Clinton—and encourage them to rise above it.

    * I’m not saying you can’t dislike Hillary for her positions, her personality, or her refusal to drop out of the race when it became clear she couldn’t win. I’m talking about attacks that address none of those things, or ostensibly address them but are really about calling Clinton a bitch or a cunt or a monster, like the ones above.

    ** Who, by the way, gets far more stab-worthy comments than Slog’s worst trolls have ever dreamed of.

    Mr. Demented and Mr. Big

    posted by on June 4 at 1:03 PM

    Saw my first John Waters film on a big screen yesterday thanks to SIFF. The director gave a charming pre-film interview, dancing gracefully with a somewhat befuddled interviewer, and made me wish I hadn’t turned down a ticket to his appearance at Benaroya last night. Cecil B. Demented is silly fun, as I’m sure you all know. The costumes and vampy makeup (especially on Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Satanist) were my highlight.

    Then a well-timed Metro 49 whisked me through the downpour to Harvard Exit for Mr. Big, a look at the confession-coercion techniques employed by Canadian Mounties and how they lead Sebastian Burns and Atif Rafay to life sentences for the 1994 murders of the Rafay family in Bellevue. The documentary is chilling and aesthetically stark. It plays again tomorrow at 4:30 at McCaw Hall.

    Harvard Exit tip: Theater employees will let you carry coffee in, and Joe Bar across the street makes fantastic foil-wrapped carry-out crepes that slip easily into a purse or pocket.

    Corporate Employees Without Borders

    posted by on June 4 at 1:00 PM

    Borders lays off 245 corporate employees.

    Borders said Tuesday the cuts represent about 20 percent of its corporate jobs, but less than 1 percent of its total work force.

    When I worked there, almost a decade ago now, I was positive that if Borders cut their corporate staff by half, it would kick Barnes & Noble’s ass because the employees would presumably have more of a say in the store’s selection of books and each Borders would be more of a local bookshop. I’m willing to be that that’s not what’s going to happen now.


    posted by on June 4 at 12:45 PM


    I just got back from Olympia, and in case you were wondering, there is no whipped topping on the Greyhound bus, non-dairy or otherwise. There are, however, still people who insist on interrupting your reading. On the ride down to Olympia, I had my headphones on, my hood up, and was reading last week’s New Yorker article about the architecture of the upcoming Beijing Olympics, “Out of the Blocks,” when there was a tap on my shoulder. I ignored it. There was another tap, so I pulled back my hood a bit and pointed to my headphones. Still, the tapper, seated behind me and across the aisle, asked, “What blocks is they talking about?” Rather than explain to him that the title seemed to be a pun referring both to the Beijing Olympics’ “outside-the-box” architecture and the starting blocks of a foot race, I turned to him, headphones still on, and said, “I’m sorry. I’m reading, and I’m not interested in talking to you about it.” He got riled and snapped back, “Don’t give me no attitude, I’ll whip your ass…” before trailing off into some threats I couldn’t quite make out over my music. The leg room was merely adequate.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on June 4 at 12:35 PM

    It might be rainy outside, but remember, we are ALL juicy inside…

    City Tries to Lock Down Jail Site

    posted by on June 4 at 12:33 PM

    Next month, the city will hold a series of meetings to discuss their plan for a new city jail. Right now, the city is looking at four sites in West Seattle, Interbay and Haller Lake, and neighbors are already organizing to keep the jail—which would only be used to hold people for misdemeanor crimes—out of their backyards.

    Due to overcrowding at the King County Jail, Seattle needs needs to build its own facility by 2012. Last month, the city announced four sites—at 11762 Aurora Avenue N, 1600 W. Armory Way, Highland Park Way Southwest and West Marginal Way, and
    9501 Myers Way S—which could end up being the home to a seven acre jail.

    Neighborhood groups in West Seattle—who’ve received support from King County Councilmember Dow Constantine and State Rep, Sharon Nelson—and Haller Lake have already sent out fliers or held meetings to rally the troops. Strangely, Magnolia residents have been surprisingly quiet about the Interbay site.

    As I’ve said, the Aurora site seems like a good bet. SPD’s North Precinct needs to be rebuilt—it’s slowly sinking into the bog it was built on—and jail sites in Interbay or West Seattle just don’t seem to have the transportation infrastructure in place to deal with the number of people who will be dumped out of jail on to the street every morning.

    The meeting schedule is as follows:

    Thursday, June 26, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Aerospace Machinists Union Hall A, located at 9125 15th Place S. – focus: West Marginal Way and Myers Way sites

    Saturday, July 12, from 9 a.m. to noon, in the Wellness Center at North Seattle Community College, located at 9600 College Way N. – focus: Aurora site

    Saturday, July 26, from 9 a.m. to noon, in the Brockey Conference Center at South Seattle Community College, located at 6000 16th Ave. S.W. – focus: West Marginal Way and Myers Way sites

    Wednesday, July 30, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, located at 225 Mercer Street – focus: Interbay site.

    Finally, I’ve gotten a few emails pointing out the irony of the city’s search for a sprawling 7-acre site when we’ve also been pushing a pro-density message. Yeah, it’s kind of funny, but the reason the city’s doing it is because single-floor jails are supposedly cheaper and safer to operate. That’s it.

    Goodbye, Cruel Slog

    posted by on June 4 at 12:20 PM

    So this is how it ends.

    I began helping Eli Sanders cover the presidential election about two months before the Iowa caucus—back when Bidens and Dodds still roamed the Earth. My job was to keep a close eye on the no-chance candidates, to act convinced that by some ugly stroke of luck the country would reject making history and instead put their bet on the competent shoulders and ridiculous hairdo of some old white guy.

    And now all the old white guys (save for McCain) are back doing whatever it is they do. And I mean that in a very literal way. I have no idea what Tom Tancredo is up to now. It probably involves outlandish bondage gear, but that’s mere supposition.

    I got to cover a couple of the no-chancers first hand: Mike Huckabee, who gave one of the most humane and well written speeches to be delivered by anyone running in a Republican primary, and Ron Paul, who gave one of the finest speeches to ever be delivered near a cafeteria at the University of Washington to a bunch of people who spend the majority of their days on Second Life.

    Both men, in their own weird and valid way, were total historical throwbacks, and they were fascinating.

    And then there was Mitt Romney, who wasn’t fascinating to listen to or a historical throwback, but is very, very tall.

    Regardless, whatever cynicism you may hear about reporting on this race, you’re getting a chance to cover history, and there are incredible stories in every angle of it.

    Which is why, despite the looming notion of the worthlessness of a journalism degree, you should be scratching and clawing desperately to get this internship. Journalism may be a collapsing industry where even the job you do get won’t pay you particularly well, but it’s a fun job. And this internship was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, a lot of fun.

    Thank you to all at the Stranger staff, and to the commenters. Despite the panic attacks and weeping inspired by some of our first meetings, you’re a cruel but fair mob. Except when you’re not, in which cases you should all be dumped into the ocean.

    That’s all. To paraphrase one of my favorite crazed rightwing fanatics:

    “Old interns never die, they simply write query letters to Cat Fancy.”

    It’s For Your Own Good

    posted by on June 4 at 12:00 PM

    Something’s rotten in Nampa, Idaho:

    The Nampa Public Library Board has voted to permanently remove two sex education books from library shelves, storing them instead in the library director’s office and making them available only on request.

    The board voted 3-2 Monday to have The New Joy of Sex and The Joy of Gay Sex kept off shelves for good, following up on a March meeting when the board voted to temporarily move the books to the director’s office.

    The books, which contain drawings and photos of sexual activity, first drew criticism in 2005 from Randy Jackson, director of a Christian activist group called “Youth 4 Revolution,” based in Nampa.

    Board members in 2006 unanimously rejected Jackson’s request to remove the books from the shelves. But three new board members had since been appointed by Nampa Mayor Tom Dale. All three, Bruce Skaug, Kim Keller and Sandy Levi, voted to remove the books.

    (Via Bookshelves of Doom.)

    Assassination Interrogation

    posted by on June 4 at 11:50 AM


    New York police and the Secret Service have shut down an art installation that recently popped up in a storefront across from the New York Times building in Manhattan and titled: “The Assassination of Hillary Clinton/The Assassination of Barack Obama.

    You can see images from the exhibit—which was apparently intended to be about “character assassination” and appears to contain a giant black penis that wraps around a room and a comment on the sex life of Hillary and Bill Clintonhere and here.

    Via the City Room:

    By 9:30 a.m., New York City police detectives and Secret Service agents had shut down the exhibition, and building workers quickly covered over the inflammatory title with large sheets of brown paper and blue masking tape…

    The police officers declined to answer any questions, and at first would not permit reporters to speak with Mr. [Yazmani] Arboleda, who was wearing a black T-shirt and making cellphone calls from inside the makeshift gallery.

    Later, Mr. Arboleda, who is 27, said in an interview: “It’s art. It’s not supposed to be harmful. It’s about character assassination — about how Obama and Hillary have been portrayed by the media.” He added, “It’s about the media.”

    Mr. Arboleda said the exhibition was to open on Thursday and run all day.

    The interview was abruptly ended as Mr. Arboleda was led off to the Midtown South police precinct for what he called an interrogation.

    Spend Cheap, Feel Fancy

    posted by on June 4 at 11:42 AM

    I’m kind of glad that I only recently found out about La Buona Tavola (1524 Pike Pl). If I’d known this little gem of a wine (and truffle) shop existed when I worked near its Pike Place Market location, it would have been very difficult to resist spending my lunch hours there. Fortunately, I am now at enough of a remove that I am only likely to dally there when it is appropriate to do so, i.e. not during a work day. Check it out, boozers. Five dollars will buy you a personalized wine tasting, tailored to your preferences. Also, they do monthly sit-down dinners, but the shop is tiny, so you have to sign up pretty far in advance. For now, though, try their potato leek soup. It is fucking delicious. Go, live high on the hog for like, 40 minutes, and try to forget your shitty office job.

    [Chelsea Alvarez-Bell is June’s guest Slogger. Her permanent home on the web is Who Did What To Who.]

    The Secret History of the Secret Service

    posted by on June 4 at 11:33 AM

    When a Marxist reads this

    The Secret Service wasn’t always in the business of protection. It was created in 1865 as part of the Treasury Department, and it had one mission — to prevent counterfeiting of U.S. currency. Then, in 1901, President William McKinley was shot and killed by an anarchist in Buffalo, N.Y., and Congress changed the agency’s mandate.
    …the ears of that Marxist go up!

    What does this change in mission mean? A change at the dawn of the 20th century. What connects the protection of the authenticity of American money with the protection of the life of an American president? Yes, there is something here we must decipher.

    John Waters is Still The King

    posted by on June 4 at 11:29 AM


    The John Waters Lecture last night at Benaroya Hall was absolutely inspiring. I can’t really find the words to describe it, so here instead, is a list of topics he covered, in chronological order:

    Jugglers with hard-ons, vaudeville, junkie strippers, Johnny Cash, Zorro, butch girls, Catholic schools, pig latin, Pootie Tang, auto-erotic stimulation, negative influences, filthy elders, The Tingler, Kroger Babb, Hell, nuns in prison, birth as masturbation, niche filmmaking, Father Bingo, nude ushers, whack stacks, Lysol, Warhol, Larry Clark, mullets, libraries, Freud, parental love, shrinks, blowjobs for school teachers, ebonics, Kenneth Anger, Dogma 95, roman candles, politically correct shoplifting, eating your makeup, Jacqueline Kennedy, Sotheby’s, suicide, LSD, seances, instant movies, Micheal Jackson, burn units, Joan Crawford, flaccid penises, Anna Nicole Smith, necrophilia…

    Continue reading "John Waters is Still The King" »

    Remember Naveed Haq?

    posted by on June 4 at 11:05 AM

    The guy who wounded five and killed one when he opened fire at the Jewish Federation in Seattle?


    The jury can’t decide whether Haq is guilty or insane. They’ve been deliberating for eight days and are deadlocked on 14 out of 15 counts, which include aggravated murder, attempted murder, and hate crimes.

    I imagine them having the same debates Josh Feit and I had, sitting in his apartment, writing this feature about Haq just after the shootings.

    We’d visited Wick Renner, a melancholy guy who lived in this Everett apartment building with Haq:


    Even Renner, Haq’s roommate, couldn’t decide whether Haq was crazy.

    Haq did a lot of grousing about Israel, but he had also left Islam, converted to Christianity, left Christianity, kept getting fired from jobs, had anger management problems, behaved bizarrely (shouting at people, bringing hookers back to his and Renner’s one-bedroom apartment to screw in the bathroom), and was arrested for lewd conduct after allegedly exposing himself to ladies at a mall while high on meth.

    After a few hours of deliberation on a deadline, Feit and I decided Haq was more crazy than jihadi:

    While Haq’s violence exploded inside a political context—the Jewish Federation, Israel’s war in Lebanon—his motivations were those of a frustrated man, who, according to Renner, didn’t fit in anywhere and felt persecuted and embarrassed by his parents’ Pakistani background. Haq is not a jihadi, nor a radical Islamist; his anti-Semitic rhetoric seems more like a veneer of politics on a man disturbed by feelings of inadequacy and rejection.

    I wonder whether the jury—after a six-week trial, piles of evidence, and days of deliberation—will come to the same conclusion.

    The Human Habit

    posted by on June 4 at 11:03 AM

    The world is big; our world is so small:

    The whereabouts of more than 100,000 mobile phone users have been tracked in an attempt to build a comprehensive picture of human movements.

    The study concludes that humans are creatures of habit, mostly visiting the same few spots time and time again.

    Most people also move less than 10km on a regular basis, according to the study published in the journal Nature.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on June 4 at 11:00 AM


    Radio Slave, Quiet Village at Nectar

    Radio Slave is the higher-profile alias of British DJ/producer Matt Edwards, who is also one-half of Quiet Village. The shrewd double-booking means lower overhead for Nectar, but should also make for a stellar show, contrasting Radio Slave’s minimalist remixes and populist reedits against Quiet Village’s hazy disco-touched ambiences, which sound like club music as heard from outside the club, muffled and floating on some warm breeze. With Nordic Soul. (Nectar, 412 N 36th St, 632-2020. 9 pm, $10, 21+.)


    Hello? Is it Me You’re Looking For?

    posted by on June 4 at 10:30 AM

    I love this epic game of post-primary phone tag that Obama and Clinton have been playing. Halperin went as far as to chronicle the missed connections, which have now been upgraded to brief chats and even a “brief encounter”—with the possibility of an actual conversation in the coming weeks.

    Is it really to be believed that two of the most powerful people in America, and their attendant schedulers and aides, cannot make a real conversation happen immediately? Of course not. But it’s nonetheless fun to watch the Clinton-Obama game of “I really want to talk to you but things are crazy right now.”

    In other communication news, John McCain all but sent a messenger on horseback to Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago, which this morning received a hand-delivered invitation (embossed? on parchment? written in calligraphy?) to a series of Goldwater-Kennedy-style debates.

    Which led an Obama aide to say to McCain’s messenger: “You could have just e-mailed.

    However, Obama likes the idea of a running series of debates before the Democratic convention—and wants them to be even longer and more free-form than the McCain camp is proposing.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on June 4 at 10:14 AM


    There is a gigantic slate of readings tonight including a couple of mysteries and a Poetry Slam.

    First, at the Seattle Public Library, we have C.D. Wright reading from Rising, Falling, Hovering. Angela Garbes tells you why you should go:

    There is no one like Wright. Her voice—crackling and edgy, corporeal and erotic—carries with it the sound and feeling of her birthplace, the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas, though she’s lived the last 20 years outside of Providence, where she teaches at Brown University. She has an uncanny and characteristic reverence for both the vernacular and the esoteric, which leads to riveting and rare depictions of American culture.

    If you’re more into fiction, Nam Le reads from The Boat, a collection of seven stories, at Elliott Bay Book Company tonight. I have not read Nam Le, but he is a young author under 30 who has already won the Pushcart Prize, so that pretty much certifies that he is a specific kind of good, at the very least.

    Up at the University Book Store, Steven Wax reads from Kafka Comes to America: Fighting For Justice in the War on Terror. It’s about civil rights. And down at Town Hall, Michael Kinsley reads from a collection of essays. Kinsley can be very wrong, but he is also frequently right-on.

    And at the Chapel Performance space, Doug Nufer is reading with Janet Sarbanes as part of the Subtext reading series. Doug Nufer is a kick. Andrew Bleeker reviews Nufer’s latest, We Were Werewolves, also in the paper this week:

    You can tell a Doug Nufer reading by the kind of laughter it inspires. Nufer won’t ask his audience for those wan chuckles chuckled by initiates in the presence of a flattering joke. That’s too easy for the author of Poem Noir, an increasingly elaborate series of poems that bends a sparse, hardboiled lexicon until it turns white-hot and creaks with genius. Nufer’s audiences laugh from pure surprise, and Nufer’s books remain surprising after multiple reads.

    Full readings calendar, including the next week or so, is up for your perusal.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on June 4 at 10:03 AM

    Kara Walker’s I’ll Be a Monkey’s Uncle (1995-96), lithograph, 39 1/2 by 35 inches

    At Seattle Art Museum. (Museum web site here.)

    A Waste of Cake

    posted by on June 4 at 10:03 AM

    Did she lose a bet or something? Dunno. But I imagine Charles will want to be this woman’s birthday cake in his next life. Oh, NSFW—particularly if you work in a bakery.

    Wombs to Let

    posted by on June 4 at 9:53 AM

    A state constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in California—and forcibly divorce thousands of gay and lesbian couples that will have married between June 17 and November—isn’t the only problematic constitutional amendment being placed before voters this fall. Colorado voters are being asked to approve a constitutional amendment that will make a fertilized egg—not an implanted egg, just a fertilized egg—a “person” under the law. From the Denver Post:

    A proposed amendment to the Colorado state constitution that would define a human egg as a “person” from the moment of fertilization would go far beyond its intended purpose of outlawing practically all abortions.

    Philosophers may debate when human life begins, but scientists are unanimous on the subject of when pregnancy begins: it’s when a fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus. But the proposed Amendment 48 specifies that the egg be considered a “person” in the eyes of the law even before it is implanted in the uterus. That means, effectively, that those forms of birth control that prevent such implantation would be classified as homicide under the proposal.

    Even without the use of drugs, many eggs just naturally fail to implant in the uterus. Likewise, many eggs are implanted only to result in a miscarriage in the early days or weeks of pregnancy — often before the woman is even aware she is pregnant. Should a woman who suffers a miscarriage be charged with negligent homicide because she failed to protect a fertilized egg she may not have even known she carried? Should a man who fertilized an egg be entitled to file a civil lawsuit against a woman who miscarries, charging her with the wrongful death of his week-old fertilized egg?

    Hm. If a fertilized egg—even one that hasn’t gotten around to implanting itself yet (negligence!)—is a person, with all the legal rights and, presumably, responsibilities of personhood, perhaps our response to the latest effort by the religious right to seize control of women’s reproductive organs should be this: A fertilized egg is a person? Great, then women who don’t want their uteruses inhabited by these microscopic fertilized egg persons should be able to have them evicted. If eviction isn’t possible—because these microscopic fertilized egg persons would presumably perish in the process (just like some fully grown evictees, but whatever)—then women should be able to at the very least charge these egg persons rent.

    So let the state of Colorado declare fertilized eggs to be persons—but let’s be fair, folks. A woman’s a person too, with certain legal rights. And just like I couldn’t squat in some woman’s apartment rent-free, a microscopic fertilized egg person shouldn’t be allowed to squat in a woman’s uterus for free either. So it seems to me that any woman whose uterus is being occupied by an egg person should, at the very least, qualify for federal Section 8 Housing Subsidies.

    Don’t Look Outside, Look Here

    posted by on June 4 at 9:53 AM

    The current weather condition in the Pacific Northwest is unspeakable. Therefore, divert your eyes to other landscapes.


    This painting is Tropical Landscape with Ten Hummingbirds by Martin Johnson Heade, and it’s up now at Seattle Art Museum (on extended loan from the Roy Nutt Family Trust).

    There are three magical things about it. First of all, it hangs above this marvelously overheated piece of furniture from around the same period, and the pairing is terrific.

    Second, according to the wall label, the Heade painting includes 10 hummingbirds of various species, each one painted at life size. They look pretty small to me, but perhaps hummingbirds, like humans, used to be just a little littler. In any case, it’s cool to identify hummingbirds, but it’s even cooler that a native of rural Lumberville, Pennsylvania (born in 1819), made a far-out tropical painting that also strains at being factual.

    This gives me an excuse to share one of my favorite Hudson River School paintings, also by Heade.


    It’s called Gremlin in the Studio II, and Heade painted it sometime in the 1860s. It looks very much like dozens of his other marshland paintings, but with a major difference: See how the picturesque view of the Massachusetts marshland is set on sawhorses? And how there is a gremlin dancing underneath there? (He’s hard to make out in this reproduction, but not in the flesh.) And how the gremlin and the sawhorses are draining water off the marsh onto the studio floor below?

    This painting made me laugh out loud when I saw it in the Wadsworth Atheneum traveling show that visited Tacoma Art Museum in 2004, and made me fall in love with Heade. None of his other paintings will ever look the same again after you see this one. The life-sized hummingbirds even seem like they incorporate a sly joke on painting while at the same time doing the work of a straight-up naturalist.

    The third and final thing I love about Heade’s hummingbirds painting at SAM is that it features passionflowers. They’re those pink, slightly obscene-looking things.

    Also in 2004, I wrote an essay about the passionflower, because I saw it on the street one day and found it so strange. I discovered that when Spanish missionaries found it in the Amazon jungle, they saw it as God in flower form. (I’d send you a link to the essay, but The News Tribune, where it was printed, makes you pay to read it.)

    Here’s an excerpt:

    Under [the] gaze [of the misssionaries], encrypted symbolism melted into a botanical Passion play. The 10 splayed petals became the unwavering apostles of Christ. The fiery halo of multicolored filaments was his flaring crown of thorns, his imagined body bound by the flower’s tightly coiled climbing tendrils. Five stamens jutted out from the bloom, one for each of Christ’s wounds, and green leaves with five lobes were the interfering hands of the prosecutors.

    To them, it was a divine sign as plain as a lightning bolt. They named it passiflora, or passionflower.

    The flowers inspire awe even in novices who know nothing of the religious associations. They’re electrifying, elaborate little sculptures with more than a hundred tiny parts on a single blossom.

    Passionflower is a vine traced to South America - Peru or southern Brazil, depending on whom you ask. In the Amazon, where it grows best, they call it by another name: maracuja.

    It has about 500 species with purple, blue, white, red or pink flowers and orange, yellow or purple fruits roughly the size of lemons with black seeds inside.

    According to the Marshall Cavendish Illustrated Encyclopedia of Plants and Earth Sciences, the passiflora edulis var flaviocarpa, of Hawaii, forms the basis of the passion fruit juice industry. That includes Hawaiian Punch.

    Passiflora’s flowers and fruits have been used for centuries as calming sedatives, a practice the Spanish learned from South American natives. Some say it’s an aphrodisiac.

    The vines are fast-growing and climb up to 20 or 30 feet. They’re also hardy - they can stay evergreen through a Northwest winter - and aggressive. One species threatened to smother a forest in Hawaii in 1987 and had to be eradicated from there.

    It’s best to buy common blue passionflower, passiflora caerulea, at a nursery in gallon or 5-gallon pots or on a trellis. Starts can be hard to get going. And other colors are generally not hardy enough to thrive here, said Watson’s nursery manager Bev McFarlane…

    Passionflower is not well-known, but its startling beauty casts a spell that results in a rush of impulse buying.

    A lot of people who buy them have never seen them before,” McFarlane said.


    A Dream From VC Night

    posted by on June 4 at 9:20 AM

    Sleeping fitfully last night, the following raced through my mind:

    I want to start tonight by congratulating Senator Obama and his supporters on the extraordinary race that we have run.

    Senator Obama has inspired so many Americans to care about politics and empowered so many more to get involved. And our party and our democracy is stronger and more vibrant as a result. We are grateful.


    Now, as the last of your votes have been counted, we should think back to the remarkable thing we have accomplished. No other primary race has been so contested, so full of vigorous debate, so full of ideas. In these many months


    In these many months, we have debated the future of our country, at the time we need to chart out a new course. For that, our party and our country are stronger. You are all patriots for contributing to this historic race.


    I know so many of you wished to tell your daughters, to tell your mothers, to tell your grandmothers that you helped elect the first woman president. Even though I cannot be your next president, our tough campaign together assures that no one will ever be able to question if a woman could be president, that there will be a woman president. Even


    Even though my journey to be your next president ends tonight, as the last of your votes are counted, as the last pledged delegates allotted, your voices, you will not be ignored.

    A woman’s right to control her own body, to decide if and when she will have children, if and when she will get married, her right to a life outside of the home, a right to a life filled with equal opportunity and equal access, equal pay and equal respect will be respected. I know


    I know President Obama will defend these rights. He will defend them through his judicial appointments. He will defend them with his administration. And I will too. I will help


    I will help strengthen our majority in the Senate and House. I will continue to be your senator, to be your leader and continue to make your voice heard. We will work together to restore hope to our country, hope for our future together. We will together bring fair and just healthcare to all. We will together restore the American worker’s place in the world. We will together restore America’s standing in the eyes of the world.


    Together we will elect the next Democratic president. Together we will elect the next Democratic congress. Together we will succeed. God bless and keep you all.



    Of course it wasn’t so. What Matt Taibbi said:

    Ultimately, that might be the Clintons’ real legacy. Their decision to stay in the game and press on when there was no hope of winning through good old-fashioned voting may have finally institutionalized what is becoming a habit in American politics: the fight for power through lawyers and backroom maneuvering instead of votes, and the reflexive, automatic impugning of the legitimacy of the process when the process leaves you a few bits short.

    When all’s said and done, what may end up being most interesting about this race is that we all knew it wasn’t really over, even when the voters said it was over. We’ve advanced to a stage of our politics where the transfer of power is no longer simply a matter of counting votes: Now we have to wait for the dust to settle, to make sure the secondary, post-election political battle reaffirms the status of the “elected” winner, and the only way we know for sure how things have turned out is to see who’s actually sitting in the Oval Office at the end of the fight.

    SIFF 2008: Day 14 Recommendations

    posted by on June 4 at 9:01 AM

    It’s a weird day—the best movies are all in the matinee slot, and then the evening shows are all strictly for people who have a special interest in the subject matter. It’s a good time to catch up on stuff in theaters if you don’t see anything that immediately catches your eye.

    In the matinee slot, we recommend both Werner Herzog’s Encounters at the End of the World (which is opening in theaters soon, 4:30 pm at the Egyptian) and the doc Stalags: Holocaust and Pornography (which is not, 4:30 pm at SIFF Cinema).

    Stalags: Holocaust and Pornography

    Next, get your Indy or SATC fix or just take your chances on whatever interests you. We didn’t love anything, but we didn’t get to see all of it either. There’s a mediocre but somewhat interesting local food doc called Good Food (7 pm at the Egyptian), a short called Hamdi and Maria and a featurette about living in the Occupied Territories called This Way Up (7 pm at the Harvard Exit), a four-part drama about women’s lives in the Indian state of Kerala called Four Women (7 pm at the Uptown), etc.

    Next, make sure to avoid Magnus (9:30 pm at SIFF Cinema). The Evangelion remake is playing again, if you’re into the TV series (9:30 pm at the Harvard Exit). We weren’t able to see the quiet Irish drama Garage (9:30 pm at Pacific Place) ahead of time, but it was very well received at Cannes 2007. And there’s always the Johnnie To film Sparrow (9:30 pm at Uptown).

    There’s plenty of good stuff tomorrow, don’t despair.

    For complete SIFF coverage and guide, see

    Call Me a Naturalist

    posted by on June 4 at 9:00 AM

    It’s rare to come out of a movie feeling both good about the world and that you’ve been told the truth.

    Yesterday I had this experience, with Julia Sweeney’s Letting Go of God, the red-headed actress’s one-woman show about turning from Catholic to atheist, though she prefers to call herself a “naturalist” (since it’s a word tied to the factual life of the world, not to religion).

    What Letting Go of God is really about, though, is the awakening of a critical consciousness. Sweeney uses the simple tools of every great thinker—curiosity and books—and the results are revelatory.

    Here’s a snippet from an early version of the piece, parts of which also aired on This American Life:

    For the movie, the stage monologue, which premiered in 2004 in LA, is filmed and performed so smoothly that the live and movie audiences feel united by the end.

    But more importantly, some of Sweeney’s insights reach the heights of the paragon of the form, the great, questing, poetic, one-woman vehicle written by Jane Wagner and performed by Lily Tomlin, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. That title could apply here, too.

    To find out when and where the movie screens at SIFF, click here.

    And here is your daily Pat.


    How Bad Is the Mortgage Crisis?

    posted by on June 4 at 8:57 AM

    This bad.

    Ed McMahon, the longtime sidekick to Johnny Carson on “The Tonight Show,” is fighting to avoid foreclosure on his multimillion-dollar Beverly Hills estate.

    McMahon defaulted on $4.8 million in mortgage loans with a unit of Countrywide Financial Corp., which filed a notice of default in March, according to ForeclosureRadar, a company that sells default data pulled from public records.

    The 85-year-old pitchman for various products, including American Family Publishers, is the highest-profile person to be caught up in the nationwide real estate downturn and mortgage crunch.

    Meanwhile on Hillary Clinton’s Website…

    posted by on June 4 at 8:46 AM

    Last night Hillary Clinton invited her supporters to come to her website to discuss what her next move should be. And guess what? Many supporters of the woman that can’t bring herself to concede—she’s still trying to make up her mind what to do about the race she lost?—are declaring war on their party’s nominee, encouraging Hillary to run as a third-party candidate (“…like Ralph Nader.”), and slamming the media. Reggie sent over a sampling…

    Sonya D

    Good to know! I want to write Hillary in, but I’m afraid if I don’t vote for McCain, Obama could possibly take GA based on the large turnout in the primary. She’s not going to win our state, so I feel better voting against BO by voting for McCain. Just my thoughts on this. I live in Acworth, by the way!

    by ExDem4Hill at 6/3/2008 6:47:56 PM


    I just went to vote (California,Primaries) and I asked the same question about write in Hillary’s name in the ballots and they didn’t know but said it was a very interesting question. But now that I got home reading the voter instructions. In the first page, said that yes, we can write the qualified candidate and the office title.
    However, I am calling tomorrow to confirm.

    by ElyLos Angeles at 6/3/2008 7:37:00 PM

    Sonya, I’m in GA, too

    and won’t vote for Obama even with Hillary as VP. I’ve decided I must vote for McCain to do all I can to prevent Obama from winning. I’ve waited all my life to vote for a woman for President, and this woman in incredibe! But, I just can’t write her in because my vote for McCain may be needed to defeat Obama. I say all this with a heavy heart.

    by T in GA at 6/3/2008 8:01:06 PM

    There are 1400 more comments up at Enjoy.

    The Morning News

    posted by on June 4 at 7:09 AM

    Victory: Hillary Clinton wins democratic nomination! Oh, wait. Never mind.

    Countdown: Gay marriage ban on California ballot.

    Wedding Gift:
    Texas will have to pay $7 million for FLDS fiasco.

    Don’t Act So Surprised. He Already Voted for Torture: McCain endorses warrantless wiretaps.

    Explosive Court Case:
    Pentagon charges another Guantanamo prisoner in dirty bomb plot.

    Sick Pay: 97,000 Massachusetts residents fined for failing to acquire health insurance.

    The End is Nigh: Chickens in UK test positive for bird flu.

    Keep Out: US to tighten visa restrictions for Japanese and European visitors.

    Meet the Newest Member of the Axis of Evil: Army blames the sun for global warming.

    Reviving the Classics:
    Blackface returns to Hollywood.

    Seeing Red: The New York Times breaks down the problems with red light cameras.

    And now, an anti-drug message from fucking Robocop!

    Tuesday, June 3, 2008

    I Know We’re Not Allowed to Think These Thoughts…

    posted by on June 3 at 9:12 PM


    …but, um, are we allowed, in the middle of the night, to wake up and worry about just how enormous the riots will be if Barack Obama should be assassinated sometime between now and November?

    I’m a worrier—got it from mom—and the general/genetic rule of thumb in our family is this: If you worry about and stress out about something enough, sincerely and thoroughly and obsessively, it won’t happen. If you don’t worry about something, if you don’t stress out about it, then it will happen. So I intend to worry about Barack Obama every minute of every day between now and the last day of his second term, if you don’t mind. I’ll try not to worry about it out loud too much, since other folks regard that as jinxy, and if my mother were still alive—and she, despite being a white woman in her late 60s, was a big Obama supporter—I’d call her up and we’d stress out about it together on the phone. But since she’s not alive, I’m going to have to worry about it and stress out about it a bit on Slog. Because I don’t want it to happen. And this is the only way I know to make sure it doesn’t.


    Quick Thoughts on the Speeches

    posted by on June 3 at 8:14 PM

    I didn’t hear McCain, since I was still signing off on my section. He obviously doesn’t respect hard-working white West Coast residents. (Just kidding.)

    I don’t at all take offense at Hillary Clinton’s decision to defer rather than concede—and note, it wasn’t a defiant refusal to concede, just a deferral. Her audience was obviously not ready to cheer for Obama, and I think it would have been more damaging to the presumptive nominee (aside: yesssss!) to hear her supporters booing him than it was to watch her try to soothe their hurt and ask them to sit pretty for a few days. It was graceful, and it was distinct enough from her normal stump speech that no one should be confused about her intentions. I don’t believe she’s taking this to the convention.

    Obama is an electrifying speaker. I liked the references to science and education, the robust patriotism, the smart McCain takedowns (he didn’t directly accuse McCain of wanting to keep troops in Iraq for 100 years, he just demolished the idea). And I loved this paragraph:

    The other side will come here in September and offer a very different set of policies and positions, and that is a debate I look forward to. It is a debate the American people deserve. But what you don’t deserve is another election that’s governed by fear, and innuendo, and division. What you won’t hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge, and patriotism as a bludgeon – that sees our opponents not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize. Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first.

    This election is all about defining the majority ahead of time, not measuring it after the chips have fallen. I’m not positive it will work, but I think it can, and it will position Obama on a moral high ground that McCain can’t afford to seize.

    It’s Over: Blogging the Last Primary Night as Barack Obama Becomes the Democratic Nominee, John McCain Speaks, and Hillary Clinton Says… ?

    posted by on June 3 at 7:24 PM

    The order of business, as far as I can tell: McCain speaks in a few minutes in Louisiana, then Clinton speaks in New York, and finally Obama speaks in St. Paul. And during all of that, the polls will close in South Dakota (6 p.m. PST) and Montana (7 p.m. PST).

    5:40 p.m. McCain is up, and begins with a brief recognition that “party elders” and voters have given the Democratic nomination to Obama. (So now superdelegates are the ones stealing the nomination from Hillary Clinton?) He follows that with a long paean to Clinton, whom he calls his friends and credits with giving his daughters hope for a better tomorrow.

    5:45 p.m. This is not what anyone would call a rousing speech. McCain seems to be straining to appear cheerful and optimistic—hopeful, even—but he has the unenviable task of having to explain that he’s not George Bush, that he too was alarmed at the failures in New Orleans after Hurrican Katrina, that he may be a lot older than his opponent but he’s a lot wiser. The crowd cheers and boos on cue, but it’s pretty sedate compared to what I’ve seen on the Democratic side this year. And McCain does not look very convinced that he’s the true change candidate.

    5:55 p.m. The McCain mantra: “That’s not change you can believe in.” (Said in soft tones and with a wide smile.) Now where have we heard that before? Off the top of my head: Clinton’s famous attack line in a Democratic debate that referred to Obama borrowing lines for his speeches and went something like, “That’s not change you can believe in, that’s change you can Xerox.”

    6 p.m. CNN calls the nomination for Obama. (Joining the AP and others.) By the way, for Seattleites looking for an Obama celebration party:

    Seattle, WA- Grassroots supporters of presidential candidate Barack Obama (D-IL) announced today that they will be holding an “End of Primary Campaign Season Celebration”… Tuesday, June 3, starting at 5:00 pm at the World Sports Grille (in Gameworks), located at 1511 7th Ave in downtown Seattle.

    6:05 p.m. McCain’s speech is now over—CNN didn’t even carry it in its entirety—but I find myself wondering if this was a smart line of attack/defense:

    You will hear from my opponent’s campaign in every speech, every interview, every press release that I’m running for President Bush’s third term. You will hear every policy of the President described as the Bush-McCain policy. Why does Senator Obama believe it’s so important to repeat that idea over and over again? Because he knows it’s very difficult to get Americans to believe something they know is false. So he tries to drum it into your minds by constantly repeating it rather than debate honestly

    Who do you think of when you hear someone talk about the use of rhetorical repetition to convince Americans of something that’s false? Is it Obama? Or is Bush and his administration, with their repeated talk of “mushroom clouds” and a link between Al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein before the Iraq war? I’d venture that for a good number of Americans it’s the latter and that, at least subliminally, this somewhat undercuts McCain’s attempt to use this line of argument to separate himself from Bush.

    6:15 p.m. Next up, Hillary Clinton speaking soon(ish) in New York.

    6:20 p.m. MSNBC calls South Dakota for Hillary Clinton. Safe bet you’ll hear about that in her speech.

    6:30 p.m. Clinton is about to speak. She arrives on stage in New York with Bill and Chelsea, all of them all smiles and clapping hands.

    Clinton begins with a half-truth: That South Dakota, which went for her, had “the last word” in the primary season. Uh, I believe the last word belongs to Montana, which still hasn’t delivered its results yet.

    Then she praises Obama as her “friend” and asks the crowd to show a moment of appreciation for Obama and his supporters. Everyone politely cheers. But she doesn’t acknowledge that he is the Democratic nominee—or, at least, she doesn’t do that yet.

    6:40 p.m. I almost missed it, but I believe I just heard Clinton say, as the logical conclusion to her praise for her campaign and its many victories in swing states, that she is now committed to uniting the Democratic party. That’s pretty close to saying she recognizes that her job now is to bring her supporters into the fold behind Obama.

    6:42 p.m. Clinton says: “A lot of people are asking, ‘What does Hillary want?’” Yes, they are. Clinton then answers by saying that she wants what she’s “always” wanted—to end the war in Iraq, get universal healthcare, improve the economy. And, the key line and bargaining chip: “And I want the nearly 18 million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard, and to no longer be invisible.”

    This speech is in large part about Clinton convincing her supporters that they are a bloc that can only be represented by her. She is encouraging them to continue their emotional investment in her campaign so that she can… What? Well, we’re going to find out.

    6:45 p.m. Key line: “Now the question is, ‘Where do we go from here?’” Clinton says. “This has been a long campaign and I will be making no decisions tonight.”

    6:50 p.m. Clinton closes with a story about a woman in South Dakota who came to her on a rope line weeping about her lack of health care. It’s “shameful,” Clinton says, that anyone in this country should have to have such a worry. Whatever she does in her future, Clinton says, she will be focused on solving that problem.

    The speech ends and the music comes up: “Simply the Best” by Tina Turner.

    The crowd, by the way, was chanting “Denver! Denver!” at times.

    6:57 p.m. CNN calls the last primary state of the season, Montana, for Obama.

    7:07 p.m. Obama is up, standing before some 20,000 people in a St. Paul arena after entering to U2’s “Beautiful Day.” He can’t get the crowd to stop cheering.

    7:11 p.m. Full text of the speech is here.

    Tonight, I can stand before you and say that because of you I will be the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.

    7:15 p.m. Quite a contrast to the crowd at the Clinton speech. There are loud, sustained cheers for this:

    Tonight I also want to thank the men and woman who took this journey with me as fellow candidates for president.

    At this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for this office. I have not just competed with them as rivals, I have learned from them as friends, as public servants, and as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better. They are leaders of this party, and leaders that America will turn to for years to come.

    That is particularly true for the candidate who has traveled further on this journey than anyone else. Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign not just because she’s a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she’s a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.

    7:22 p.m. It’s as if the Obama campaign knew McCain was going to try to claim the “change” mantle in his speech earlier tonight. Here’s Obama’s response:

    While John McCain can legitimately tout moments of independence from his party in the past, such independence has not been the hallmark of his presidential campaign.

    It’s not change when John McCain decided to stand with George Bush 95 percent of the time, as he did in the Senate last year.

    It’s not change when he offers four more years of Bush economic policies that have failed to create well-paying jobs, or insure our workers, or help Americans afford the skyrocketing cost of college—policies that have lowered the real incomes of the average American family, widened the gap between Wall Street and Main Street, and left our children with a mountain of debt.

    And it’s not change when he promises to continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians—a policy where all we look for are reasons to stay in Iraq, while we spend billions of dollars a month on a war that isn’t making the American people any safer.

    So I’ll say this—there are many words to describe John McCain’s attempt to pass off his embrace of George Bush’s policies as bipartisan and new. But change is not one of them.

    7:25 p.m. King County Executive Ron Sims, a superdelegate and former co-chair of Clinton’s campaign here, switches his support to Obama while Obama is speaking:

    As a superdelegate and President of the National Democratic County Officials, I supported Senator Hillary Clinton early on and am truly honored to have been co-chair of her Washington State campaign. She is an extraordinary leader, and I have maintained my support for Senator Clinton through the grueling national primary and caucus process. Through it all I have been impressed by the wealth of riches we have had with two exceptional candidates. Now it is time for me to join other Democrats to unite behind Senator Obama. Senator Obama will bring much needed change and excitement to this country when he is elected President of the United States.

    7:37 p.m. Obama is very much on his game tonight. The contrast, in the quality of the delivery, between him and all of his competitors is so stark, so striking, and so greatly to his advantage.

    He closes having to shout over the screams and cheers of the audience…

    America, this is our moment. This is our time. Our time to turn the page on the policies of the past. Our time to bring new energy and new ideas to the challenges we face. Our time to offer a new direction for the country we love.

    The journey will be difficult. The road will be long. I face this challenge with profound humility, and knowledge of my own limitations. But I also face it with limitless faith in the capacity of the American people. Because if we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth. This was the moment—this was the time—when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

    …and he exits to Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising,” followed by his usual closing song, Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”

    The talking heads on CNN are saying there were 17,000 people in the hall where Obama was speaking and 15,000 people outside listening to his address.

    7:56 p.m. Before I sign off, it’s worth repeating something that everyone’s saying incessantly now—but that is still news, and still quite remarkable, when you stop listening to the repetition and think about the sweep of history:

    Tonight the Democrats nominated the first African American candidate ever to head a major party in a presidential contest.

    Summer in the City

    posted by on June 3 at 7:19 PM


    The Day in SUVs

    posted by on June 3 at 7:01 PM

    Demand for gasoline falls 5.5 percent—in a single week.

    Hummer sales down by 60 percent.

    Light-truck sales, meanwhile, drop 24 percent.

    And GM closes four North American truck and SUV factories.

    Used SUV sales fall, too.

    Hybrid SUVs aren’t doing so great, either.

    And Jaguar and Land Rover are bought by Tata Motors—the same company that’s marketing $2,000 cars at droves of upwardly mobile Indian consumers.

    Handjobs and Strippers: Your Tax Dollars At Work

    posted by on June 3 at 6:24 PM

    Earlier today, the US Attorney’s office released an affidavit detailing the long, lurid list of crimes allegedly which allegedly occurred at four strips clubs in Seattle, Shoreline, Everett and Tacoma—all owned and operated by the Frank Colacurcio family.

    According to the affidavit, a three-year operation found that prostitution is “rampant” at the clubs. Just how rampant was described in detail by undercover SPD officers who received numerous lapdances and sometimes haggled with strippers over the cost of a handjob.

    One detailed account describes how one Seattle police officer negotiated with a stripper, getting the price of a handjob down from $100 to $75 to $50. There are also numerous descriptions from officers who watched strippers provide oral, vaginal and anal sex to customers in VIP rooms.

    SPD says officers didn’t participate in any sexual activity during the operation—which was apparently spearheaded by SPD as a response to Strippergate—but that’s not exactly how the filing reads.

    Some descriptions of encounters between officers and strippers—mostly at clubs outside Seattle—explicitly state that after officers were offered sex, they paid for their dance, got up and left. In several reports, though, there is no description of officers turning down sex and/or leaving clubs.

    US Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Emily Langlie says the omissions were likely due to boredom. “It just got boring writing the same thing over and over again,” she says. SPD reaffirms that officers did not pay for sex during the operation.

    Even if SPD officers didn’t pay for extra services during their lap dances, the city certainly put a hefty chunk of change in the Colacurcio family’s pocket. Lap dances ranged from $40 to $100 and the affidavit spends 11 pages describing conversations between officers and strippers, and lists dozens of lap dances, with officers sometimes getting two or three at a time.

    The US attorney also provides a look at the financial schemes used by the Colacurcio family to get extra money from dancers—by making them pay to cash in poker chip-style tokens that customers used to pay for dances, on top of the daily $130 fee dancers pay to work at some of the family’s clubs—and details the underreporting of clubs’ income, which may lead to federal mail tampering charges.

    The US Attorney hasn’t actually charged anyone involved in the Colacurcio operation. However, the members of the family—and several employees—are barred from entering or selling the businesses until the government finishes its investigation. If and when this thing goes to court, the government could end up seizing the Colacurcio’s properties, including Rick’s on Lake City Way.

    Seattle could soon be out yet another strip club—that is, unless Uncle Sam decides to open up a titty bar.

    Maybe This Will Shut Up Those “My View!” NIMBYs

    posted by on June 3 at 5:59 PM

    Or maybe it will make them scream louder.

    The South Lake Union Friends and Neighbors Community Council (SLUFAN) board is meeting right now to ratify recommendations for taller buildings throughout the South Lake Union neighborhood. According a draft letter from SLUFAN to Mayor Greg Nickels dated on the 5th of June—two days from now—the proposal sets forth three zoning proposals. (Lest it go unsaid, SLUFAN is a racket, really, because it’s mostly a symphony of business interests that amplify the mayor’s goals to blanket SLU with new devlopment. For instance, SLUFAN’s Web site is sponsored by Vulcan, and the board’s appointed members include representatives of PEMCO, Sellen Construction, Vulcan, and the Seattle Times Company. But there are only two elected positions on the board from the SLU community.) SLUFAN, naturally, seems to be pushing the tallest upzone on the table.

    Some neighbors at a meeting to discuss those proposals last month, which I wrote about over here, were upset they could lose their views from Capitol Hill. The upzone has also ruffled feathers at the Buck Law Group, which organized neighbors afraid of losing their view, and generated an image that ran in the Capitol Hill Times of an unbroken wall of buildings blocking everything west of Capitol Hill. However, the actual designs aren’t quite so imposing.


    To provide some context for this diagram, the majority of the buildings in the SLU valley close to I-5 (and Capitol Hill) are 125-165 feet tall. In comparison, the grey-and-black-striped Metropolitan Park towers, the undeniable view-blocking eyesores that they are, stand 279 feet tall. The few locations where the buildings shown above approach that height are few and far between, and the tallest buildings, the handful at 400 feet, are narrow enough to preserve most view corridors.

    Like what you see? Hate it? SLUFAN will likely hand off these recommendations to the mayor’s office in two days, but the changes would have to be approved by the city council. They would modify the neighborhood plan. You can find out more and rant at the city over here.

    A block-by-block description of the proposed rezone in the diagram above—for the most intrepid land-use enthusiast among you—is after the jump.

    Continue reading "Maybe This Will Shut Up Those “My View!” NIMBYs" »

    Headline of the Day

    posted by on June 3 at 5:41 PM

    Whidbey News Times:

    Child porn on a stick left at park

    Child porn on a stick—what will they think of next?

    Wait Until the Fatosphere Gets a Load of This

    posted by on June 3 at 4:53 PM

    Those wacky size-acceptance bloggers—a.k.a. the fatosphere (it’s what they call themselves!)—will never forgive Southwest Airlines for having the gall to make fat passengers who need two seats… pay for two seats. Now some some airlines are contemplating treating passengers as freight. I know, I know: it feels like we’re freight now. But with fuel prices soaring airlines are thinking outside the box

    Imagine two scales at the airline ticket counter, one for your bags and one for you. The price of a ticket depends upon the weight of both.

    After U.S. airlines reported combined first-quarter losses of $1.7 billion and crude oil jumped to a record $133.17 a barrel on May 21, almost double from a year earlier, fares based on a passenger’s weight may be a logical step, said Robert Mann, head of R.W. Mann & Co., an aviation consultant based in Port Washington, New York.

    “If you look at the air-freight business, that’s the way they’ve always done it,” he said.

    The Leaked Speeches

    posted by on June 3 at 4:40 PM

    McCain is also giving a speech tonight, and both his campaign and the Obama campaign have now leaked their planned speeches to Drudge. (The full speech for Obama, just an excerpt for McCain.)

    McCain will make a play for Clinton’s supporters, praising her for her “tenacity and courage,” while also hitting back at Obama for linking him to Bush:

    You will hear from my opponent’s campaign in every speech, every interview, every press release that I’m running for President Bush’s third term. You will hear every policy of the President described as the Bush-McCain policy. Why does Senator Obama believe it’s so important to repeat that idea over and over again? Because he knows it’s very difficult to get Americans to believe something they know is false. So he tries to drum it into your minds by constantly repeating it rather than debate honestly the very different directions he and I would take the country. But the American people didn’t get to know me yesterday, as they are just getting to know Senator Obama. They know I have a long record of bipartisan problem solving. They’ve seen me put our country before any President — before any party — before any special interest — before my own interest. They might think me an imperfect servant of our country, which I surely am. But I am her servant first, last and always.

    Obama will declare himself the nominee…

    Tonight, after fifty-four hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end.

    Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Thousands of miles have been traveled. Millions of voices have been heard. And because of what you said — because you decided that change must come to Washington; because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest; because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another — a journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

    …and will also have some kind words for Hillary Clinton:

    We’ve certainly had our differences over the last sixteen months. But as someone who’s shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning — even in the face of tough odds — is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago; what sent her to work at the Children’s Defense Fund and made her fight for health care as First Lady; what led her to the United States Senate and fueled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency — an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be. And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory. When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen. Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    Full Obama speech in the jump.

    Continue reading "The Leaked Speeches" »

    Gary Locke Drops Clinton for Obama

    posted by on June 3 at 4:25 PM

    He’s not a superdelegate, but he was one of Clinton’s co-chairs in this state. Until today. (Via Postman)

    Re: That Nightlife Isn’t Gonna Crack Down On Itself

    posted by on June 3 at 4:20 PM

    Instead of complaining about the city hiring someone to coordinate what has been, up to this point, its comically inept efforts to crack down on nightclubs (fuck you, Tom Carr), perhaps we could view this new hire as an opportunity?

    A highly-placed operative of the Seattle nightlife-industrial complex should apply for this job. And the first order of business for our double agent once he’s hired: Working closely with the state liquor control board on a new set of regulations that would allow adults in our state to—finally—enjoy strippers and alcoholic beverages at the same time, just like adults are permitted to do in Portland, Oregon, Vancouver, BC, and other civilized locations.

    And, hey, maybe the owners of strip clubs wouldn’t have to resort to criminal activities if they could sell something with a better profit margin than lapdances and $5 Cokes.

    Worth Remembering

    posted by on June 3 at 3:54 PM

    For those of us who grew up in the decades after Roe v. Wade, the right to a safe, legal abortion is as easy to take for granted as our right to buy condoms or get treated for STDs. But for decades, the only recourse for pregnant women and girls was to carry the baby to term—often a ruinous decision, for obvious reasons—or to seek (or give oneself) an illegal abortion.

    In today’s NYT, Dr. Waldo Fielding—a gynecologist from the time before Roe v. Wade gave women the right to choose—writes about his experience caring for women who had illegal abortions. It’s worth remembering, 35 years after Roe v. Wade, what those days were like.

    The familiar symbol of illegal abortion is the infamous “coat hanger” — which may be the symbol, but is in no way a myth. In my years in New York, several women arrived with a hanger still in place. Whoever put it in — perhaps the patient herself — found it trapped in the cervix and could not remove it.

    […] However, not simply coat hangers were used.

    Almost any implement you can imagine had been and was used to start an abortion — darning needles, crochet hooks, cut-glass salt shakers, soda bottles, sometimes intact, sometimes with the top broken off.

    […]The worst case I saw, and one I hope no one else will ever have to face, was that of a nurse who was admitted with what looked like a partly delivered umbilical cord. Yet as soon as we examined her, we realized that what we thought was the cord was in fact part of her intestine, which had been hooked and torn by whatever implement had been used in the abortion. It took six hours of surgery to remove the infected uterus and ovaries and repair the part of the bowel that was still functional.

    It is important to remember that Roe v. Wade did not mean that abortions could be performed. They have always been done, dating from ancient Greek days.

    What Roe said was that ending a pregnancy could be carried out by medical personnel
    , in a medically accepted setting, thus conferring on women, finally, the full rights of first-class citizens — and freeing their doctors to treat them as such.

    This is what things were like for women in the days before Roe v. Wade assured a woman’s right to a safe, legal abortion. It’s those halcyon days to which John “Immediately Overturn Roe v. Wade” McCain would like to see us return.

    “Why Politicise It?”

    posted by on June 3 at 3:49 PM

    The locally elusive “‘Midget’ Promotional Liquor Branding Event” has resurfaced in Australia, where partying is the national pastime. At a bar called the Saint in St. Kilda, Melbourne, a shirtless/top-hatted/bar-top dwarf has been decanting Jägermeister directly into bargoers’ gaping maws.



    Photos by the Port Phillip Leader; thanks to Slog tipper Apocalypse Tom

    Jägermeister, understandably, “has distanced itself from the promotion,” according to the Port Phillip Leader; they’ve promised to investigate. Australian authorities are bent, having only recently caught on to the whole binge-drinking thing. (The government’s been planning a 70% tax increase on pre-mixed “alcopops”; meanwhile, young members of Australia’s Labor party indulge in “scenes of drunken carnage” at a conference.) The Port Phillip Leader quotes a representative patron at the Saint: “It’s just a bit of fun. Why politicise it?”

    It’s unclear whether Jägermeister was the brand behind a Cinco de Mayo multi-city/multi-dwarf U.S. liquor promotion event, and it’s unclear whether it happened. Ads on Craigslist sought dwarf talent in Seattle, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Miami for paid barhopping in sombreros and ponchos “for a 4 (four) hour ‘shift’ meeting & greeting, mix and mingling, handing out liquor premiums & souvenirs, taking photos with customers and patrons.” I’ve contacted the director of corporate communications at Jäger’s U.S. importer seeking clarification/comment. The website only deals with the Jägerette/Jägerdude promo spokespeople. Though maybe some of them are dwarfs.

    This whole dwarf liquor-promotion thing is responsible for the single most depressing Bar Exam experience in (OH MY GOD) nearly 150 examinations of bars for The Stranger over more than (I’M SORRY, LIVER) three years: the Cinco de Mayo girl-on-girl Jell-O wrestling at Tiki Bob’s. I didn’t write about the Jell-O wrestling at the time due to P.T.S.D. and space limitations.

    Continue reading ""Why Politicise It?"" »

    Rezoning South Downtown

    posted by on June 3 at 3:45 PM

    Under a plan from Mayor Greg Nickels’s office called Liveable South Downtown, an advisory group has drafted recommendations to increase density—residential and commercial—in areas around Pioneer Square, the International District, and the stadiums. Tonight the city will hold an open house to exhibit the proposals and answer questions. Here’s a sneak peek at the presentation.

    Existing zoning in the area:


    Proposed zoning:


    This how it could affect Little Saigon (I always feel weird calling it Little Saigon for some reason):


    “The problem is that this administration is treating everything the same: high rises everywhere,” says Art Skolnik, an architecture preservationist in Washington for the past 40 years. “It destroys the character of micro-neighborhoods by encroaching on them,” he says. “You have to have a buffer zone.” Skolnik argues that the developers will give “sweetheart deals to incubator businesses” in new buildings. For example, “There are women-owned businesses that just started,” he says. “It sucks them out of the historic district, with no compensation [for older buildings], no guarantee that they will find other tenants and they will have to drop rents,” he says. “We are creating sprawl by pushing low income folks to suburbs because that’s what they can afford.”

    “We’re not increasing heights across the board,” counters Susan McLain, the project’s senior planner for the Department of Planning and Development. She says the goal is to preserve the historic districts but add residents around those neighborhoods to “create more of a 24-hour presence of people who live and work in neighborhoods, and put more eyes on the street.”

    Despite Skolnik’s desire to preserve historic neighborhoods—which I think everyone wants—increasing the number of available units won’t drive people out of town. That would defy laws of supply and demand. New spaces will cost more, not less, than offices in old buildings. And if additional vacancy does force renters to compete, that will drive rents down and create more affordable spaces in the city. Excellent. However, do share Skolnik’s concern about the potential impact of rezoning areas that don’t have historic status, such as South Jackson Street in Little Saigon, where a number of small one-story businesses could be displaced by incentive to build large developments. There should be a provision to protect the mom-and pop, one-story retail that provides basic neighborhood amenities while allowing infill density in the parking lots that surround those blocks.

    The open house tonight runs from 5 p.m. to 7p.m. in the Bertha Landes Room of City Hall. A short presentation will be given at 6 p.m. The city will accept written comments until June 30th, and the City Council will likely vote to modify or codify the proposal later this year.

    That Nightlife Isn’t Gonna Crack Down On Itself

    posted by on June 3 at 3:15 PM

    The city’s looking to fill the new position of “Nightlife Regulatory Coordinator,” answering to the mayor. According to the job description, the regulatory coordinator would “Design and implement a comprehensive regulatory program regarding nightlife establishments in the City of Seattle … recommend and defend a structure and processes that will improve/enhance regulatory efforts across the City… Coordinate the activities of the Joint Enforcement Team [more about those bad boys here]” and “Monitor liquor license applications and renewals … recommend non-renewal when circumstances exist that suggest that the establishment does not operate in a safe manner or comply with City and State laws.”

    Among other things.

    Oh, and apparently the city hasn’t heard about the recession (see also: Mak, Robert): The position pays between $67,400 and $101,150.

    (Thanks to Slog tipper Lara.)

    Pain in the Ass

    posted by on June 3 at 3:01 PM

    Netherlands — Utrecht police say a 21-year-old Dutch man is recovering after a “mooning” that went horribly wrong.

    A police statement says the man and two others had run down a street in Utrecht with their pants pulled down in the back “for a joke.”

    It says that at one point the 21-year-old “pushed his behind against the window of a restaurant” that broke and resulted in “deep wounds to his derriere.”

    Less Sexy Than the Swedish, but Sexy Nontheless

    posted by on June 3 at 3:00 PM

    Since you’re all crazy about sexy librarians, Slog tipper Davida directs me to this photo:


    From the Law Librarian blog. Myself, I’m not crazy about the shoes. This whole pointy-shoe thing drives me crazy in a anti-boner kind of way.

    Wait, That Was Fun?

    posted by on June 3 at 2:48 PM

    Slog tipper Tim caught this on the NYT’s website…


    Says Tim…

    Right after I “printed” it to PDF, they fixed it. The RSS headline still says Fun-Raisers instead of fund-raisers.

    Good thing we never have any typos around here.

    When the Clouds Roll By…

    posted by on June 3 at 2:48 PM

    So the first movie in the Douglas Fairbanks series at Silent Movie Mondays was pretty great—late ‘teens bohemian fashion and a spacious Greenwich Village “studio” festooned with Vassar flags, a nightmare sequence in which the dreamer hops about on the ceiling while menacing foodstuffs (spring onions, mincemeat pie) cavort below, a gigantic flood in which a miniature church detaches from its moorings and floats away… Dennis James, accompanying on the Paramount’s organ, was excellent, as usual, though his playful “sound effects” were tempered in favor of a tribute score by a midcentury silent film pianist and composer. Not so great, however, was the introduction by one Jennifer Bean, of the Comp Lit department at the UW. I spent her entire bubbly, contentless discussion feeling sorry for her students. Then I googled her. Wow, Rate My has gotten vicious since I was in school:

    Jennifer Bean does not know how to shut-up. She will talk and talk and will not get to the point for about 3-5 minutes. I feel bad for our guest speakers.It seemed fine in the beginning but two weeks later and I do not want to be there. You can tell that she enjoys what she does but she is annoying with how she talks, and plays with her hair.
    She has no business lecturing. She rambled on and on nonstop in nearly every lecture I attended. I was not once able to fully commit myself to listening to her rants. I have never been in a class with more people sleeping. Sign up if you have insomnia and wanna watch some movies in between naps.
    She is crazy. She rambles for the full two hours – and you learn nothing. She is constantly yanking her hair. And loves sitting on tables giving the class a prime crotch shot. Her lectures are useless and infuriating, though it is an easy A.

    Damn. Now I feel sorry for Jennifer Bean. Sort of.

    Luckily, the next Silent Movie Monday (it skips a week—next up is Robin Hood on June 16) will be introduced by Michelle Liu, also of the UW. Her students “are so in love with Michelle.” She is also “great” and “awesome.” Hooray for Robin Hood!

    The Future of Urban Farming

    posted by on June 3 at 2:26 PM


    Got your goat:

    PORTLAND — Authorities in Portland are trying to figure out how a goat came to be on the bus.

    The vehicle was on a layover Monday night in southeast Portland when the pygmy goat wandered aboard.

    The operator was outside the bus, and the doors were open.

    The operator shut the doors, penning the animal, and called for help.

    The 35-pound goat, which was wearing a nylon collar, was sent to an animal shelter, and workers there say they couldn’t find information about the goat’s owner.

    End Times

    posted by on June 3 at 2:10 PM

    Here I am, heading into my 21st primary night here on Slog, with over 20 Democratic debates behind me, five states visited (including Iowa x 3), and just two small-population states (South Dakota and Montana) and two big-audience speeches (Obama’s victory rally in Minneapolis and Clinton’s not-quite-concession speech in New York) to go before the end of the primary season.

    (Stifles cheer.)

    I’m hardly the busiest person covering this campaign, but I’m still worn out and eager for a genuine climactic moment after what has been six months of false climaxes. Remember when it was going to be over in January? And then on Super Tuesday? And then in Texas and Ohio on March 4? And then, without a doubt, in Pennsylvania on April 22? And then, and then, and then… And finally, here we are, with no more primary road left, at an actual, incontrovertible, end point. I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling a sense of relief.

    What time will this all go down? Polls close in South Dakota at 6 p.m. PST and in Montana at 7 p.m. PST. There’s no time set for the Clinton and Obama speeches, but they could come as early 4 p.m. PST, though I’d guess they’ll happen later than that.

    As always, I’ll be here on Slog to watch it with you.

    And while I’m waiting, a quick thank you to all the commenters who have been on this journey with me and an extra special thank you to the generous souls who have lent this cable-lacking Stranger writer their couches and cable connections along the way—Amy, Jen, Patrick, Aric, Sydney, Dave, Jake, and tonight, Oslo and Andy.

    Dept. of the Freakin’ Obvious

    posted by on June 3 at 2:02 PM

    There’s a lot of demand out there for sex—hell, the demand is built-in, it’s right there in our biology and everything. But some people can’t find willing sex partners and some people are too lazy to do the hard work of talking other people into having sex and some people have sexual interests that their sex partners can’t or won’t indulge. Conveniently enough, there are people out there that will meet all this pent-up demand for sex, i.e. people willing to supply sex in exchange for money. Some people sell sex because they’re desperate and they’re being exploited and some sell sex because the money’s so good they’ll put up with the work and—now hold on to your hats, people—some people sell sex because they actually enjoy the work. And this is why prostitution has been with us for all of recorded human history.

    And so long as selling sex is illegal, then only criminals will sell sex.

    The End.

    Oh My God

    posted by on June 3 at 2:00 PM


    Canned bacon. Ready to eat right out of the can, pre-wrapped in towels before canning.


    Just open the can, unroll, and eat. There is nothing that I can say to add to this.

    (Via Cynical-C blog.)

    She’s Dazzling, She’s Exciting, and She’s Very, Very Sexy…

    posted by on June 3 at 2:00 PM


    …and, as Vanity Fair reports, she may be in a long-term fuck-buddy relationship with Bill Clinton.

    Thanks for the heads-up, LA Times Dish Rag.

    (Full Vanity Fair story, previously addressed on Slog by Eli Sanders, can be found here.)

    Moby-Dick Fanfic

    posted by on June 3 at 12:44 PM

    Being a certifiable Moby-Dick freak (custom embroidered throw blankets are involved), I went to see Captain Ahab last Friday night at the Uptown. I was disappointed.

    Brendan’s review—“the deadly sea pulling Ahab like the moon pulls the tides”—is so much more interesting and lovely than the actual movie, which, in my opinion, is just psychologically shallow, mostly humorless, not-even-pretty-to-look-at Moby-Dick fanfic. Ahab’s development moves forward in leaps and lurches, without explanation beyond the vague notion that Nobody Puts Ahab in a Corner. Well, we already knew that. What else’ve you got? Grown Ahab is too powerful, young Ahab too uncertain, to justify one another. And neither of them comes anywhere close to Melville’s Ahab. So why bother?

    My friend and I did laugh, painfully and uncontrollably, at the “What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor” fast-motion whaling sequence (seriously, France, y’all are bonkers).

    Also, dude, YOUR PEG LEG LOOKS LIKE AN ALBINO WIFFLEBALL BAT. You should take that shit back.

    Before the movie, in the middle of Andy Spletzer’s “Blah blah blah, you don’t have to have read the book, blaaaaaah…” introduction, the man to our right (who, apparently, has sat through one too many blah blah blah SIFF speeches) muttered, with unrestrained malice, “I wish you would just shut your fucking mouth.” That was the most interesting part of the whole night.

    It’s playing again today at SIFF Cinema, 4:30 pm. It’s not terrible. But it’s not Melville.

    Sounding the Alarm

    posted by on June 3 at 12:35 PM



    Story here.

    Jimmy Carter for Obama

    posted by on June 3 at 12:30 PM

    The all-day series of Obama endorsements keeps rolling right along, with Jimmy Carter the latest to announce.

    (Full list with updates here.)

    Obama is, as of this moment, about 30 delegates away from the 2,118 he needs to win the nomination.

    June 12 Slog Happy at…

    posted by on June 3 at 12:22 PM

    Despite the popularity of Smith, and Jonah lobbying hard for the Ram at Northgate Mall, Slog Happy is heading to Belltown next Thursday. Shorty’s Coney Island has happy-hour specials, arcade games, hot dogs, a private room, and the place is completely wheelchair accessible. Hope you can join us.


    Rendezvous fans, rest assured that we will party at the lovely Rendezvous at some point this year; it’s perfectly suited to the next Slog Trivia Challenge.

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on June 3 at 12:15 PM

    Released today on DVD!

    But Does It Support Emoticons?

    posted by on June 3 at 12:10 PM


    Image from Vice magazine’s photo spread of Swedish librarians, which is the greatest thing that Vice magazine has ever done.

    Just got a press release announcing that the Seattle Public Library’s ask-a-librarian program, which Christopher enthusiastically wrote up almost two years ago on Slog, is now available on IM.

    To IM a librarian, you just have to go to SPL’s main page and, as the presser says:

    …click the “Find” button without typing any text into the catalog keyword search box. The chat box will be on the right side of the screen. Type in your question or message where it says “Your question/message” and click “Send.” The staff member’s response will appear and the user can respond by writing another message and clicking “Send” again.

    I hate using phones. This is good news.

    Great Speeches from a Dying World

    posted by on June 3 at 12:09 PM

    Great Speeches from a Dying World (a documentary about nine homeless or near-homeless people, punctuated by their recitations of speeches by Sojourner Truth, Bobby Kennedy, Hamlet, et al.) is better than Frizzelle’s review says it is.


    Filmmaker Linas Phillips (in his Genius Award portrait) and Tomey (one of the subjects of Great Speeches).

    I know, the conceit sounds a little gimmicky and in grave danger of bring-your-liberal-guilt-and-a-hanky patness.

    But Phillips keeps a steady hand, steers clear of didacticism, and portrays his subjects as they are: partly victims of circumstance (child abuse, mental illness), partly victims of themselves (they’re all addicted to drink or crack or both), but mostly just folks trying to get it together.

    And, deep down, Great Speeches is less a movie about homelessness than a movie about language—its subjects’ hard-luck stories aren’t just an end in themselves, but a means to understanding the speeches.

    A homeless Native American, who spun into alcoholism after the death of his infant, recites Chief Sealth’s 1854 speech, with Puget Sound in the background: “when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe.”


    A guy who has attempted suicide (and failed) seven times, recites Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” speech, from his hospital bed: “The dread of something after death/The undiscover’d country from whose bourn/No traveller returns, puzzles the will/And makes us rather bear those ills we have/Than fly to others that we know not of.”


    This lady, a crack addict who sleeps in a wheelchair in a parking garage, where she’s been severely assaulted several times, recites Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?”: “That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place!

    And so on.

    Great Speeches can be tough to watch—some of its hard-luck stories are pretty hard. But it’s a bracing reminder that these speeches articulate, in an immediate, visceral way, the experiences of living people in desperate circumstances.

    It strips the crust of history and sterility away from the speeches, making them unsettling—and, sometimes, dangerous—again.

    It plays once more, at the Harvard Exit, tonight.

    I Couldn’t Help But Wonder

    posted by on June 3 at 11:41 AM

    I never watched Sex and the City while it was on the air. When I did watch it on DVD it was because my best friend made me. It is, to me, little more than a bunch of rich white ladies running around, which has nothing to do with my life. But.

    The clothes. I fucking love the clothes.

    So I saw the movie for the fashion, and it didn’t disappoint. However, I was persistently distracted by a few nagging questions:

    1. Don’t these bitches have parents? They go through all kinds of whatnot, up to and including planning a huge wedding, and as far as I can tell have no blood relations involved at any point. That, to me, is more absurd than the whole “how does a sex columnist afford all those shoes?” thing. (Predatory credit cards with absurdly high interest rates. Happens every day.)

    2. Four people who all get along at the same time? Really? Really??? I’m not trying to dog on anyone’s ya-ya sister pants, but I have never seen that arrangement work, male or female. Three buddies, I’ll buy that. But four? Really?

    *Spoiler Alert!* (but seriously, who gives a fuck?)

    3. I find it more than a little pat to couple up the only two gay men in the entire SATC universe (excluding Andre Leon Talley, or as I prefer to call him, geriatric Jay-Z).

    Chelsea Alvarez-Bell is June’s guest Slogger. Her permanent home on the web is Who Did What To Who.

    Anonymous Clinching

    posted by on June 3 at 11:32 AM

    Just to clarify, and continue the “suspense” for a few more hours: That AP story about Obama clinching the nomination hinges on more than a dozen anonymous superdelegates.

    Which is not how you count superdelegates, says Mr. Smith:

    Not to be a stickler here, but that’s not how this has been working, either in our count or in in the Obama campaign’s. The commitments that matter are the ones that are public. So the story is trivial: I think you could probably get virtually all of the superdelegates at this point to privately acknowledge that they’ll vote for Obama at the convention.

    So as far as the (academic) matter of deciding when exactly Obama gets the majority, I’m going to stick with named supporters. Our count, and the Obama campaign’s, leave him about 30 shy.

    The moment of non-anonymous clinching will probably happen after the polls close in Montana and South Dakota this evening.

    The Absolute City

    posted by on June 3 at 11:26 AM


    From the PI:

    …Heim wants to lobby for a change in city policy — part of a burgeoning neighborhood “sustainability” movement. With the cost of groceries — and driving to the supermarket — on the rise, more Seattleites are colonizing overlooked urban nooks and crannies to grow food.

    Employees of a busy Ballard bank are planting a garden next to the drive-through. Homeowners with yards are hooking up with apartment or condo dwellers looking to grow tomatoes. Others dream of creating an “archipelago” of tiny urban farms that could sell items to restaurants or consumers.

    Some Seattle officials are pushing for a citywide inventory of public land that could be used to grow food, potentially including parks, land under power lines or even future reservoir caps. A similar effort in Portland — called “The Diggable City” — started four years ago.

    In Aristotle’s Politics, the recommended solution for strife between the rich and the poor is that the poor be given land at a great distance from the city, the polis, the agora. If the poor are busy farming, they wont have time and means to participate in politics. Even then it was understood that the country makes you stupid. This is Marx’s “idiocy of rural life.” Politics is in the city, idiocy is outside of the city. And politics will never leave the agora. This is its home, the stage of its drama. The fact there is any politics in the rural areas is an aberration, and in recent years we have paid dearly for this aberration. The solution? Move farm work into the city. Move it to the center. The urban must become total, must be and do all. Farm work that receives the weakest waves of light from the center of civic power will only produce socially stunted types. Activate orphaned spaces (under freeways and power lines), concentrate as much production as possible in the center. Decrease the rural; increase the urban.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on June 3 at 11:00 AM


    William Gibson at University Book Store

    In the 1980s, William Gibson allegedly coined the term “cyberspace,” which nobody besides your parents has used in conversation for at least five years. But, as Stranger critic Steven Shaviro pointed out in a March 2003 review of Pattern Recognition, Gibson is probably the first writer to use “Google” as a verb. In his newest thriller, Spook Country, he’s one of the first to realistically capture the antigovernment techno-paranoia of the first decade of the new millennium. Most sci-fi authors are still trying to catch up to Gibson, and after 30 years, none of them has come close. (University Book Store, 4326 University Way NE, 634-3400. 7 pm, free.)


    Currently Hanging

    posted by on June 3 at 10:53 AM

    Jamey Braden’s Optimism (2008), watercolor and ink on paper, 11 by 14 inches

    At McLeod Residence. (Gallery web site here.)

    Obama Clinches the Nomination

    posted by on June 3 at 10:52 AM

    So says the AP.

    Hey, the Democrats just nominated a black dude for president. For the first time in my adult life I’m proud to be an Ameri—oh, wait. Scratch that. It’s pretty cool, though, huh? Now here’s hoping we haven’t screwed the pooch with this historic move.

    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on June 3 at 10:48 AM


    Ex-youth director to serve 4 to 20

    His lower lip began to quiver and Troy Deal wiped away tears as a judge told him what his prison sentence meant.

    “If you commit a crime and get convicted of it, you have to pay the price,” Calhoun County Circuit Judge Stephen Miller said Monday. “And it’s sad for you and your wife and your children.” … But, Miller said, because Deal was convicted he must spend between four and 20 years in prison.

    Deal, 35, was sentenced Monday on 11 counts of using a computer to solicit a child for sexually abusive material, distributing sexually abusive material and communicating with a child for immoral purposes.

    He was convicted in April by a jury after he was arrested by the Michigan Attorney General’s office, which alleged he engaged in explicit chats over the Internet with agents of the AG’s office posing as 13 and 14-year-old girls. The agents testified they conducted Internet chats with Deal for more than 20 months before he was arrested in 2007.

    Okay, um… gee.

    I don’t want to be accused of being soft on adults communicating over the Inernets with children for immoral purposes. I take a hard line on that sort of stuff—particularly when the adult communicating a child for immoral purposes is a youth pastor, like Mr. Deal here. But investigators spent 20 months—nearly two years—chatting up this guy. He never once attempted to arrange a meeting with any of the “children” with whom he was chatting, he’s never been convicted of a crime, and there’s no evidence that he ever chatter with anyone other than an investigator.

    There’s not a lot of sympathy out there for folks that are attracted to minors, but entrapment is entrapment even when we’re talking about creepy youth pastors. And I can’t help but wonder if this poor motherfucker wouldn’t be facing 4-20 if the police hadn’t invested so much time—and so much of the taxpayer’s money—in 20 months of online chats. I mean, who was grooming who here?

    The judge in this case signaled from the bench that he too was uncomfortable with the investigation—and the stiff sentence that he was required to hand down:

    Miller acknowledged a range of thought about adults posing as children and then arresting suspects who propose having sex with them.

    “You can see the laws are harsh,” he said. “But there is a legitimate concern that people use the Internet to entice children to do strange things.”

    He said the law and the sentencing guidelines, which are binding for judges, are passed by the Legislature, but no matter what people think about them, they are the law in Michigan.

    Again, there’s also no evidence that Deal ever chatted with any other child, or anyone that he thought was a child, and I assume that the police ripped apart every computer that the man had ever touched. But the absence of this evidence, according to Michigan Assistant Attorney General Kelly Carter, isn’t evidence of absence.

    “He was a youth pastor and was guiding the development of young people. It is disturbing that it was the same class he was chosen to mentor and guide,” Carter said, noting Deal suggested group sex and acts of sexual submission by children in his chats.

    Yes, that youth pastor does have disturbing fantasies—but lots of adults have disturbing fantasies that they do no act on. Including, presumably, Mrs. Carter.

    And Carter said while Deal was corresponding with adult agents, “his luck couldn’t be so bad that the only ones he was talking to were undercover agents.”

    No I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that the prosecutor here is arguing that there’s no such thing as entrapment. If an undercover police officer tempts you into committing a crime, she basically states, a jury can infer that you have committed the same crime at other times, and in other places, even if there’s nothing to indicate that you ever committed this crime without the police laying out the welcome mat. No further proof required, no more evidence need be presented.

    Dust Off Your Company Manners

    posted by on June 3 at 10:29 AM

    [Starting today, we’re inviting guest bloggers to join Slog for a month at a time.]

    Hi, Slog! I’m Chelsea. I’m gonna be guest blogging here for the month of June. Crashing on your digital couch, if you will. Because, after all, the internet is not a dump truck, it is a series of couches. Made of zeros and ones.


    So! Like most of you, I am a Seattleite. I am not a news writer. They have professionals for that, I’m told, and I will leave the news to them. Not that I don’t think the news is, um, newsworthy. I just feel that my enthusiasms lie elsewhere. Being that I am of the “Write what you’re stoked about” school of thought, that is what I will do. Mainly that means food, entertainment, and design. Let’s have fun, dudes!

    Chelsea Alvarez-Bell is June’s guest Slogger. Her permanent home on the web is Who Did What To Who.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on June 3 at 10:21 AM


    Tonight we have a class on how to write. At the same time in a different place, two classes about how to write will be reading their work (one on memoir, one on fiction), and then there’s a total sausage-fest in the literary community tonight.

    At the Faire Gallery and Cafe, which is always a lovely place to spend some time, David Shields will be reading from his new (well, not-so-new at this point) memoir, The Thing About Life is That One Day You’ll be Dead. Charles reviewed this one back in February and he liked it.

    Up at Third Place, Eric Liu reads from The True Patriot, which is a skinny little book on how to be patriotic. The publisher says “the principles of true patriotism — country above self, responsible stewardship, equality, shared sacrifice and service — are inherently progressive.”

    At Town Hall, Carl Zimmer reads from Microcosm, which is about E. coli. This doesn’t look like one of those “We’re all gonna die!” books, so if you’re interested in the science of disease but you’re not interested in hypochondriacs, this might be the talk for you.

    Also at Town Hall, Richard Florida reads from Who’s Your City?: How the Creative Economy is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life. which seems to be making a bad play on “Who’s your daddy?” in the title. Florida wrote a book a few years ago where he insisted that America is home to a new class of worker, the Creative Class. I say, if you consider being a copywriter that much different from a factory worker—aside from the pay and the quality of life differences, of course—you’re not observing things as closely as you should be.

    And at Elliott Bay Book Company, Tim Winton, the Australian who wrote the lovely novel Dirt Music, is reading from his new one, Breath.

    Questions can be aimed at the full readings calendar.

    The End Is In Sight

    posted by on June 3 at 9:58 AM

    Yes, yes, Dan has already posted about this great piece of news.

    General Motors is closing four truck and sports utility vehicle (SUV) plants in the US, Canada and Mexico as it looks to environmentally-friendly cars.

    Recent strikes at some GM factories have dented production of SUVs.

    And surging fuel prices have heralded a shift to smaller vehicles, with GM also considering scrapping its Hummer brand.

    Greed is getting better everyday!

    We saw the birth of the little monster:

    Now we hope to see its death for good!

    Dept. of Sad Things

    posted by on June 3 at 9:57 AM

    Drunk driver slams into bike race, killing one and injuring ten:


    Juan Campos, an American citizen living in Brownsville, TX, was charged with killing Alejandro Alvarez, 37, of Monterrey, Mexico.

    Thanks—I guess—to Slog tipper Chris.

    SIFF 2008: Day 13 Recommendations

    posted by on June 3 at 9:37 AM

    If you’re a John Waters groupie, you’ve already taken off work to see him introduce the matinee of Cecil B. DeMented (4:30 pm at the Egyptian) and have tickets lined up to see him speechify at Benaroya Hall tonight. (Who cares about Hillary Clinton, anyway?)

    If not so much, here’s what’s on:

    In the matinee slot, we reommend the gloomy and wonderful Moby Dick prequel Captain Ahab (4:30 pm at SIFF Cinema), starring Denis Lavant of Beau Travail and Tuvalu.

    Next, you might like to stick around for a meditation on Christopher Columbus by the 98-year-old filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira: Christopher Columbus, the Enigma (7 pm at SIFF Cinema). It looks pretty:

    Christopher Columbus, the Enigma

    But we also liked Mr. Big (7 pm at the Harvard Exit), about the shady doings of the Mounties.

    Next, the “delicious” midnighter Mirageman (9:15 pm at the Egyptian) gets a slightly earlier showing for sleepy genre fans. And Brendan was telling me that he disagrees with Christopher’s assessment of Linas Phillips’s Great Speeches from a Dying World (9:30 pm at the Harvard Exit). I’ll let him fill you in.

    We’re over halfway there! Just 12 more days to go. For complete listings and a convenient collection of all SIFF Slog posts, see

    Cross Your Fingers

    posted by on June 3 at 9:19 AM

    I’m surprised this didn’t make the morning news…

    General Motors is closing four truck and SUV plants in the U.S., Canada and Mexico as surging fuel prices hasten a dramatic shift to smaller vehicles.

    CEO Rick Wagoner said Tuesday before the automaker’s annual meeting the plants to be closed are in Oshawa, Ontario; Moraine, Ohio; Janesville, Wis.; and Toluca, Mexico. He also said the Hummer brand may be discontinued.

    Please, please, please….

    Meanwhile in California

    posted by on June 3 at 9:16 AM

    It’s on: The proposed constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in California—which would overturn the recent court ruling there legalizing same sex marriage—has qualified for the ballot. The signatures checked out. So get out your checkbooks, kids.

    Speaking of checkbooks: A researcher at the UCLA estimates that gay marriage could inject $370 million into the state’s economy over the next three years—provided, of course, that California voters don’t decide to ban gay marriage in November of this year.

    And… uh… can I just say that I’m pretty much in love with Ellen Degeneres right now?

    I think it’s great that Ellen is going to marry her girlfriend, Portia de Rossi, and that Ellen shared the happy news with her audience in a non-hectoring, non-victimy way, and, of course, that Ellen is putting people like John McCain and Laura Bush—who come on her show with their own agendas—on the spot about their bigotry. Still… I can’t help but recall Ellen’s track record with love and romance. There was the whole Anne Heche mess, of course, but Ellen had a girlfriend between Anne and Portia for four years, a girlfriend she claimed to crazy in love with right until the bitter end

    Four years after Ellen DeGeneres began dating photographer Alexandra Hedison, sources confirmed on Friday that the couple has decided to separate. According to The New York Post’s Page Six column, the split was prompted by DeGeneres’s new romance with Portia de Rossi, the 31-year-old Australian-born actress of Fox’s Arrested Development, who has been dating singer Francesca Gregorini since 2001.

    According to, DeGeneres and Hedison have been living apart since last month, which would place their separation shortly after Ellen’s interview with Stone Phillips on Dateline NBC. When Phillips asked if Hedison was the love of her life, DeGeneres responded, “Yes. Yeah. I’ve never felt this way before. Ever.” The Advocate reports that DeGeneres echoed these statements in her most recent interview, which will hit newsstands December 21st, accompanied by exclusive photos of DeGeneres taken by Hedison at the end of November.

    If I remember correctly—I don’t have time to dig through the Ellen archives—Hedison returned one day to the home she shared with Degeneres to find that Degeneres had moved out. Pretty cold.

    All Over but the Speechifying: Hillary Clinton to Concede Tonight (UPDATE: Or Not)

    posted by on June 3 at 8:15 AM

    WASHINGTON - Hillary Rodham Clinton will concede Tuesday night that Barack Obama has the delegates to secure the Democratic nomination, campaign officials said, effectively ending her bid to be the nation’s first female president.

    That only took 17 months. By comparison, the indispensable Ben Smith points out, the general election is only going to last a breezy five months.

    UPDATE: Or not? This just landed in my in-box from the Clinton campaign:

    The AP story is incorrect. Senator Clinton will not concede the nomination this evening.

    If I can try to parse and translate here, I think what this means is that Clinton is going to admit tonight that Barack Obama has the delegates to win the nomination. That is, by most normal definitions, a concession.

    However, “concede” has a more particular and final ring in the language of politics and so the Clinton campaign is pushing back against the idea that she is formally “conceding”:

    The former first lady will stop short of formally suspending or ending her race in her speech in New York City.

    She will pledge to continue to speak out on issues like health care. But for all intents and purposes, the two senior officials said, the campaign is over.

    The Morning News

    posted by on June 3 at 7:35 AM

    The Hospital: Ted Kennedy gets out, Robert Byrd goes in.

    Open Borders: Syria agrees to nuclear inspection.

    Beefin’: South Koreans riot over fear of dangerous US beef exports.

    Sectual Healing:
    FLDSers get their kids back, promise not to get married so much.

    Imagine There’s a Flying Spaghetti Monster: Yoko Ono loses bid to block use of Lennon’s “Imagine” in intelligent design film.

    Half a Million Dollar Hunk of Junk:
    Mothballed Washington ferries could be sold for $450,000.

    A Fate Worse Than Death: Teens who broke in, partied in Robert Frost’s home are forced to take poetry class as punishment.

    And now, spiders on drugs:

    Monday, June 2, 2008

    While it’s Still Technically a Race

    posted by on June 2 at 5:55 PM

    The Clinton-obsessed will want to be sure to check out the new Vanity Fair article on Bill Clinton.

    It provoked a nearly 2,500-word response from the Clinton camp yesterday, and today on the trail Bill Clinton “unleashed a salty stream of epithets” in order to describe his opinion of the article’s author, Todd S. Purdum.

    What’s in the piece? Here’s the teaser:

    Old friends and longtime aides are wringing their hands over Bill Clinton’s post–White House escapades, from the dubious (and secretive) business associations to the media blowups that have bruised his wife’s campaign, to the private-jetting around with a skirt-chasing, scandal-tinged posse. Some point to Clinton’s medical traumas; others blame sheer selfishness, and the absence of anyone who can say “no.” Exploring Clintonworld, the author asks if the former president will be consumed by his own worst self.

    There’s no actual allegation that Clinton has indeed been chasing skirts or doing anything illegal—although the same can’t be said for every member of his “scandal-tinged posse.” And the article is, in the end, built upon a lot of anonymous quotes and conjecture. But everyone’s is talking about the piece. Including Bill.

    David McDonald for Obama

    posted by on June 2 at 4:47 PM

    Another WA super for Obama. (Via Postman.) I bet Marcie Sillman is steaming that she couldn’t get him to break this on Weekday this morning. (And what a score it would’ve been! When Steve Scher was on vacation and everything!)

    And I know you guys hate it when I do this, but I just have to. Told you so!

    Hardcore Stoners Still Faring Better than Hardcore Alcoholics

    posted by on June 2 at 4:47 PM

    That’s not exactly how the researchers in Australia couched their findings, but that’s what their study shows…

    Long-term heavy use of marijuana may cause two important brain structures to shrink, Australian researchers said on Monday.

    Brain scans showed the hippocampus and amygdala were smaller in men who were heavy marijuana users compared to nonusers, the researchers said. The men had smoked at least five marijuana cigarettes daily for on average 20 years.

    The study, published in the American Medical Association’s journal Archives of General Psychiatry, also found the heavy cannabis users earned lower scores than the nonusers in a verbal learning task — trying to recall a list of 15 words.

    For the 15 pot smokers involved in the study, smoking pot all day for 20 years straight shrunk their brains. Of course, if they’d been drinking alcohol all day for 20 years straight, that too would have shrunk their brains, but after only 15 years, the alcohol would have also melted their livers.

    Mystery Book

    posted by on June 2 at 3:58 PM

    GalleyCat brings news that Simon and Schuster will be publishing a secret, pop-culture-themed memoir on July 15th, with a first print run of 350,000 copies. This was always one of my favorite things about working in a bookstore. Our buyers would get word that there was a very important book coming out and they’d be forced to order them without knowing what they are. The secret books would arrive in boxes promising everything but the death penalty—legal threats, heavy fines and boycotts of the store—if the books were sold before their release date.

    GalleyCat suspects that this is Madonna’s ex-nanny’s book. Usually, these mystery books are disappointing—one that everybody was speculating would be a Bush administration whistle-blower a few years back turned out to be Princess Di’s butler’s memoir—but sometimes they’re exciting. I have to admit, though, that I can’t think of any other celebrity memoir that would warrant nearly a half a million copies in its first printing—Mary Kate and Ashley’s nutritionist speaks? Something about Heath Ledger?—but it’s nice to have some sense of immediacy in an industry that normally moves at a glacial pace.

    The Gates

    posted by on June 2 at 3:54 PM

    Bill Gates, are you listening? Does this really have to stay at St. Peter’s if you say it doesn’t?

    Mimi Gates, the single most powerful person in art in Seattle, announced today that she’s retiring at the end of June 2009. By then, she will have been director of Seattle Art Museum for 15 years.

    This is no surprise. Last year was the mother of all SAM years, and directors habitually depart on a high, usually after a building project. SAM had two: the opening of its brand-new sculpture park and the expansion of its downtown hub. At the same time, the museum announced what it called a billion dollars’ worth of gifts of art from private collectors. And then it followed its opening exhibition—of those gifts—with two blockbuster displays, of Lorenzo Ghiberti’s restored Renaissance Gates of Paradise panels, and of Roman art from the Louvre.

    Her headlining accomplishments—buttressed by her fundraising—are plain to see. There are subtler components, too. Gates quietly inaugurated the only on-site conservation studio in the region at the museum in 2001. And while SAM has made the most of limited collections through creative installations that integrate art from around the world, Gates has worked behind the scenes to update the board of trustees from what chairman Jon Shirley says was once “a bunch of elderly white people.”

    Gates’s regime has specialized in leverage. Under Gates, SAM has partnered with museums in China, Japan, India, and across Europe and the U.S.—and with Bill and Melinda Gates, Mimi’s stepfamily, too. (From them, SAM borrowed Leonardo’s Codex Leicester before they sold it to the Hammer Museum after they bought it from the Hammer Museum [duh]. As for India, there’s a historical show of large Indian paintings that sounds interesting coming to SAM next year.) Before coming to SAM, Gates was director of Yale University Art Gallery; now she’s on the boards of the university and its museum. Yale’s vaunted American collection will visit SAM next spring.

    To replace Gates, SAM’s trustees will search internationally. Gates will become director emeritus, and Shirley hopes she’ll stay involved in the field of Asian art, which is her passion and her background.

    When I asked Gates why now, she said, “It’s just a good moment; it just feels right.” It does feel right. After a certain amount of time, every museum needs to press refresh.

    There’s one quality from the Gates years that must be preserved: Gates may be able to woo the wealthy, but she also is a serious scholar, even a nerd. No museum can afford to lose that root of substance. It helps to explain the sense of intellectual freedom you see in some of her curators’ choices as well. (The first time I saw Gates speak, I gasped at her almost total lack of conventional, hucksterish charisma.)

    There’s also one deficit that must be eliminated: Gates doesn’t get the web. During an interview a few months ago, I found myself introducing her to Wikipedia. In Seattle? (In the Gates family? OMG! WTF?)

    What will Bill and Melinda give the museum in honor of Mimi’s distinguished tenure? They’ve never given a work of art to SAM from their personal collection, and it’s time to pony up—with a thoroughbred. Is, say, Michelangelo’s Pieta out of the question for such a couple on such an occasion? We’d settle for a simple Vermeer, Rembrandt, or Caravaggio in a pinch.

    Letter of the Day

    posted by on June 2 at 3:45 PM

    From Aryne Chacon of Santa Fe, New Mexico:


    The Stranger Editor:

    I absolutely love Seattle’s only newspaper. Your restaurant, music, art, and social happening reviews are what keeps me from living under a rock. And the comfortable writing styles of your journalists is what I look forward to every Wednesday morning.

    Though I do have some environment related questions I am curious about. First of all, where are your paper supplies coming from to make each copy? What sort of chemicals are used in the ink? How are the copies delivered throughout the city? What sort of resources and how much is used by the printing machine in your company? How often is your building being operated? What is done with the copies that are sent back?

    I would like to continue to enjoy your newspaper and that may be even more possible if you take this letter and respond.

    Thank you.

    Thank you, Aryne Chacon. We’re glad you’re not living under a rock.

    A few answers to your questions:

    First of all, where are your paper supplies coming from to make each copy?

    The Stranger is printed in a secret, underground print shop in Yakima, Washington. Sixty percent of the pulp used to make the paper is recycled. The rest comes from trees in Canada. Mike, the friendly guy at the Yakima print shop who has worked in print shops since 1978, says he doesn’t know what kind of trees. He’ll ask around.

    What sort of chemicals are used for the ink?

    Soy, mostly, plus some waxes, pigments, and resins. It is not edible.

    How are the copies delivered throughout the city?

    By fifteen drivers in vans, who go from Bellingham to Olympia and Issaquah to the Kitsap Peninsula. Our distribution czar, Kevin Shurtluff, says they drive about 2,000 miles per paper cycle: “I’ve, personally, been to the moon (one way) once over the course of my total tenure. The distro team goes halfway there each year. Distance to the moon = 238857 miles. Doesn’t really stack up for squat against what semi drivers do; a typical semi engine is designed to last for one million miles.”

    What sort of resources and how much is used by the printing machine in your company?

    I don’t know what you mean, exactly, but I’m going to say electricity. And broken dreams.

    How often is your building being operated?

    Most of us in editorial work from noon until three pm, when we knock off for drinks. Dominic Holden, the new news writer, is often here on weekends, working diligently. I bet he’ll grow out of that pretty soon.

    What is done with the copies that are sent back?

    Again, from Mr. Shurtluff: “We have a contract recycling service. From what I hear from them, demand pulls recycled Northwest newsprint to Asia.”

    Where, presumably, it is sold to pet food factories in China.

    Ninja Gaiden 2: First Impressions

    posted by on June 2 at 2:45 PM

    Last week, MTV’s Multiplayer blog posted a game reviewer’s bill of rights. It coincided with some recent, “exclusive” game reviews that had gone up days before the competition, which were either rushed reviews or done with early, unfinished product. Movie critics don’t review partial edits, and music critics don’t tackle unmastered records, so I agree that it’s dumb for games sites to get stoked about claiming first dibs. Other than that, do readers really need to be hit over the head with the fact that some reviews aren’t up to snuff? Have these people never picked up SPIN or seen a movie review on Good Morning America?


    But if I’d gotten the idea to write a game review bill of rights, it’d have one rule: Games that are frustratingly, yell-at-your-TV difficult on the “easiest” setting should go straight into the toilet. That rule is brought to you by Ninja Gaiden 2, which hits stores tomorrow; I’m only six or seven hours into the game on its easiest difficulty, so don’t call this a review. I’d be further in the game, but I got sick of playing it.

    This is not the Contra-meets-throwing-stars of Ninja Gaiden from the ‘80s. The series came back years ago in 3D as a Devil May Cry-style slasher; run around and kill beasties with swords. Unlike many button-mashers, you’ll die if you don’t block, but otherwise, you’re still pretty much slapping buttons as you tear through dozens of creatures at a time. NG2 is more expansion than sequel, because it plays almost exactly the same as the last one. More weapons, that’s about it. Still, if you’re a glutton for silly violence, NG2 works harder than its bloody precursor. Since each of the eight weapons has its own huge (and impressive-looking) set of kill moves, you have to wonder what sick sonuvabitch was hired to motion-capture zillions of death shots. And there’s no question whether or not your enemies are actually dead: cut limbs off of aliens Black Knight-style, then finish them by crushing your foot on one half of their body and your sword on the other. Also, in the so-stupid-it’s-awesome category, I’ve already had to fight a dog with knives attached to its legs and a sword gripped between its teeth. Man is no longer the deadliest game.

    But I can’t see what’s happening half of the time. If the game tore buildings’ roofs off and held the camera birds-eye style (like God of War), I might know what’s attacking me from all directions. As it stands, NG2 has a thing for tight corridors, which means this game’s difficulty often comes from manually adjusting the camera and wondering who’s hitting me from where. Stupid. You’re asking us to not question why we’re playing a barely updated sequel; obscuring my view with bad camera angles doesn’t help your cause.

    On the easiest difficulty, most of the fights are tolerably challenging—an improvement over the last one’s punishment (now you auto-heal between fights, for example, which is welcome). But this morning, I spent nearly an hour fighting a boss over and over and over; not because figuring out how to kill the thing was hard, but because it would mow me down with instant-kill moves all of the time, which I might’ve avoided if, again, I could see what was going on. This kind of “challenge” is not worth $60. To be fair, there’s a gaming core that loves this sort of violent, difficult, done-to-death material, and I don’t think camera issues will kill it for them. Me, I still prefer God of War’s mix of shameless violence, high production values, well-scaled challenge, and decent attempts at plot. I’ll soldier on and post updated NG2 impressions next week—does the challenge eventually even out? Does the dumbass plot, complete with an androgynous Edward Scissorhands who likes to stroke the Statue of Liberty, become less dumbass? My guesses so far: No, no.

    Life Is Suffering

    posted by on June 2 at 2:31 PM

    Are you marked?

    A respected campaigner [Pat Regan] against guns and knives who had the ear of young gang members as well as the Home Office has been found stabbed to death.

    Pat Regan’s grandson, Rakeim Regan, 20, has been arrested in connection with the killing, and the unrelated stabbing of a railway worker.

    The body of Regan, who campaigned in schools and youth groups after two of her six sons were shot, one fatally, was discovered last night at her flat in Leeds.

    Hillary’s Choice

    posted by on June 2 at 2:30 PM

    Barack Obama has offered to meet Hillary Clinton “at a time and place of her choosing” to talk about the way forward for Democrats.

    So where will Clinton choose? The mind spins with possibilities: Appalachia? Puerto Rico? Perhaps a dive bar where the two of them can have a shot and a beer?

    I assume our commenters will have several other suggestions…

    The Village and the District

    posted by on June 2 at 2:29 PM

    New Village

    Ah, University Village… a bounty of Apple products, flavored coffee, and family apparel. If only there were more of it. Pray tell, what is this: Plans for four more emporiums built in three phases over coming years? Yes, it’s all true.


    One of the buildings by Perkowitz+Ruth Architects

    In the design proposal, developer Blumen Consulting Group says the new plans are geared to “create an urban densification.” (Here’s a big diagram of the U-Village layout.) Some day, if U-Village keeps building, U-Village may feel less like a Potemkin Mall and just a teensy bit more like part of the city. Calls to Blumen with pressing questions like, “How big will Abercrombie Baby be?” have not been returned. Ask them tonight at an early-design guidance meeting at 6:30 p.m. in room 209 of the University Heights Community Center, 5031 University Way Northeast.

    New District

    Just look that these houses—rentals off the freeway in the University District.


    They hold the ghosts of a million killed kegs. Base Capital plans to build warehouse-style apartments on the grave site, zoned for mid-rise development, using architectural precedent from the Agnes Loft on Capitol Hill. It will stand 6 stories and contain 24 units.


    Shugart Bates

    The decision to build the 47th and 7th Flats “was more opportunistic than anything else,” says Kevin Nagai of Base Capital, which notices the parcel was for sale while developing condos across the street. Most of the developer’s properties up to now have been built in suburbs and exurbs, he says. “We were actually looking for places to develop infill in the city,” says Nagai. “The land was just getting so expensive even in outskirts to build apartments.”

    An early design guidance meeting is tonight at 8:00 p.m. in room 209 of the University Heights Community Center, 5031 University Way Northeast.

    YSL Sendoff

    posted by on June 2 at 2:22 PM

    Yves Saint Laurent

    Northwest Film Forum just happened to be playing a pair of films about Yves Saint Laurent the weekend he died.

    If you’d still like to pay tribute to the inventor of the pantsuit, you still have time.


    NWFF is playing the biographical documentary Yves Saint Laurent: His Life and Times again this Friday at 7:15 and 9:15 pm, and Yves Saint Laurent: 5 Avenue Marceau 75116 Paris, a doc about the designer’s old-school, labor-intensive atelier in the year before it closed, on Friday at 7 and 9 pm.

    …And Boy, Are My Arms Tired

    posted by on June 2 at 2:14 PM


    One of the best things about leaving BEA is that I have a ton of good books for the plane ride home. This is usually more meaningful when BEA is on the east coast and eight hours away, but the two-and-a-half-hour flight still makes for some good reading time. Rather than reading bestsellers, I can actually read some of the stuff that I’m most excited to read.

    I stopped by the Continuum booth at the show, and one of their number shoved a book in my hand and completely sold it to me. It came out in November of last year and was completely off my radar. Like most of the 33 1/3 books published by Continuum, it’s about one record’s creation and impact. Unlike most of the series, this isn’t written by someone with a positive slant on the record: it’s by Carl Wilson and it’s called Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste. Wilson worked as a music critic for a very long time and in this book he studies exactly why he loathes Celine Dion. Apparently, later in the book, he gets into Marxism and the politics of personal taste. Wilson did a lot of research into Dion, tracing her history as a young music sensation and her history with the Quebec separatist movement. He marks a seminal moment at the Oscars when Elliott Smith and Dion were in direct competition—apparently, Dion was so sweet to Smith that he spent the rest of his life defending her in interviews. And it kind of chronologically studies the ascent of Dion-hate.

    IamDeath.jpgI was loving the book, but I had to get up at four this morning to take the subway to the airport, and so, sitting uncomfortably in my compact window seat, I had to close my eyes for a little nap. I woke up about five minutes later, when the book fell off my lap into the netherworld between plane seat and plane wall. I scratched at the space below my seat, but Celine Dion was lost to me for the duration of the flight.

    Instead, I pulled out I am Death, by Gary Amdahl. It’s a new paperback original comprised of two novellas by the lovely little nonprofit Milkweek Press, which has been producing more and more interesting stuff lately. The title novella, subtitled “or Bartleby the Mobster,” was responsible for my atrocious, painful sunburn that I picked up by the pool yesterday. It was a collection of interviews and excerpts of pieces about a journalist who is interviewing an old mobster who wants to publish a memoir titled A Boy’s First Book of Mobsters. It was pretty great.

    But the rest of my trip was spent reading the other novella, called Peasants, which is about the interoffice politics of a publisher of books about a publisher of guides for geographic information systems. It’s funny and embarrassing and painful and great. There’s a lot of wordplay and characters doing things that should seem completely out-of-character, yet they work in a really entertaining way. I was reminded of Stanley Elkin, who is one of the best authors in the world to be reminded of. If novellas are your thing, you should really check it out.

    And the nice lady in the seat behind me returned the Celine Dion book to me when we were deplaning, so I’ll finish that one tonight.

    This is Not How It’s Supposed to Be

    posted by on June 2 at 2:05 PM


    I’m on vacation and won’t be slogging much this week. Still: What kind of world makes Oscar-winners buy their crack on the street?

    What’s next? Dianne Wiest busted for public urination?

    More Leaves

    posted by on June 2 at 2:05 PM

    From an email that concerned Leaves of Glass:

    In reading your “Leaves of Glass” article on the new Four Seasons, I found myself somewhat perplexed. I read Alexandros Washburn’s quote about contemporary virtue “being a concern for nature” as referring not only to the aesthetic aspects of a building, which you celebrated, but also to the functional aspects of the building, which you omitted. I looked around online and found no mention of any “sustainable” features of the building and, assuming this is indeed the case, I would have to conclude that the building’s cladding merely projects the image of being concerned with nature.

    Before responding to this email, let’s look at an image of Freeway Park by Leff:


    This is the mistake I made in the article: I failed to clearly separate two discourses—one, The New Virtue, is which international; the other, Natural Seattle, which is local. The first has real environmental issues at its core; the other has no reality at its core—as from crust to core, it’s all about coding, naming, saying something. In this instance, we must not confuse the discourses. They sound similar but are in fact not. NBBJ’s Seattle Justice Center is not the same as NBBJ’s Four Seasons Hotel. The Justice Center turns the artificial into the natural: The New Virtue (a real effect); the Four Seasons reiterates a feeling, a meaning, a local ideal: Natural Seattle (a sign effect). As of yet, there is not a single building or architectural work that is at once The New Virtue and Natural Seattle. The one is the one, and the other is the other.

    Dave Reichert, Sexist

    posted by on June 2 at 1:54 PM

    As Eli noted last week, Sen. Dave Reichert seized the occasion of the statewide Republican convention to make a hi-LAR-ious joke about Hillary Clinton falling to her death from a plane.

    While I shouldn’t have to point out why joking about the death of a fellow politician is outrageous and offensive, I think it’s important to add that for a male politician to joke about the death of a female member of the rival party is really, extra not OK.* Especially when that female member of the rival party has been the subject of increasingly violent “jokes,” many of them using her actual death as a metaphor for the “death” of her campaign.

    Don’t believe me? See here (“take her into the closet and only he comes out”), here, here (“run her over with a flat-bed truck”), here (“the only filly in the crowded field… who was euthanized”; “put her out of her misery”), here (“death with dignity”), here (“Clinton is as good as dead”), and here. (“Die Hillary Die!”).

    By the way, this isn’t the first time Reichert has joked about how funny it would be if Clinton died. As Niki Sullivan at the Tacoma News Tribune points out, he’s been telling the “fall from a plane” joke since at least February, when Clinton’s campaign at least still stood a fighting chance. To make such a belittling (and violent) joke about Clinton now, when her campaign is coming to an end, is tone-deaf and totally inappropriate.

    It’ll be interesting to see whether Reichert uses similarly condescending rhetoric against his challenger, Darcy Burner. Last time, Reichert wound down his campaign with an ad that mocked Burner’s resume, and was roundly criticized as sexist; the ad paints Burner as a know-nothing bubblehead who titters her way through a “job interview,” telling Reichert on her way out, “You won’t believe it — they’re looking for experience!” The smirk on his face at the end is priceless.

    (Further context, including why violence against female politicians shouldn’t be a punchline, here.)

    City Seeks Mulligan in Wrongful Arrest Case

    posted by on June 2 at 1:21 PM

    Two weeks after a jury awarded 22-year-old Romelle Bradford $268,000 for his wrongful arrest, the city—apparently hoping to avoid making a hefty payout—has filed for a new trial.

    Bradford was arrested outside of the Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club in 2006 after police were called to the facility after a dance. As Bradford—wearing a staff shirt and badge—approached police outside the dance, one officer ordered him to halt. Bradford didn’t and was arrested for obstruction and thrown in jail overnight.

    Prior to Bradford’s suit, it had been about a decade since the city lost a jury trial. However, the city has spent a significant amount of money to settle cases out of court.

    Since January 2007, the city paid over $400,000 to settle other police misconduct cases. Most recently, the city settled with Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes for $185,000—after he was beaten by officers on Capitol Hill—and paid $20,000 to Aaron Claxton who was repeatedly tasered in his North Seattle home.

    The city will likely have a hearing on their request for a do-over sometime in the next month. The city attorney’s office could not be reached for comment.

    Mimi Gates Retires

    posted by on June 2 at 12:09 PM

    It’s official. Mimi Gates, director since 1994, is leaving the Seattle Art Museum July 1, 2009. More to come…

    Lunchtime Quickie

    posted by on June 2 at 12:01 PM

    My Friend

    posted by on June 2 at 11:41 AM

    Writes Col. John “Hannibal” Smith:

    There was once a very lovely, very frightened girl. She lived alone except for a nameless cat.

    Writes Ludwig Wittgenstein:

    What we call “understanding a sentence” has, in many cases, a much greater similarity to understanding a musical theme than we might be inclined to think.

    What’s on Second?

    posted by on June 2 at 11:39 AM

    The most mind-boggling thing about the parking lot on 2nd Avenue and Pike Street is that there even is a parking lot on 2nd Avenue and Pike Street. This ideal downtown crossroads has been underused—and budding with potential—practically forever.

    Greg Smith, developer and Principal of Urban Visions, had plans for the site a couple years ago, before downtown was rezoned to allow taller buildings. But last week, Smith was back before the city’s downtown design-review board to present a bolder vision for a geometric, two-tone tower that will stand 440 feet tall. It’s called the Candela Hotel and Residences.



    Olsen Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects

    “We recognize the intersection as one of the most important in the city,” Smith said. Bravely, the architects disregarded a design guideline that requests new buildings relate to the immediate architectural context—because, really, even one Newmark building is too many—in favor of adding something unique to the skyline. Portions of the pearly tower cantilever out over the rest of the building’s frame, and an arm of the hotel juts unexpectedly away from the body. However, the building encounters its greatest obstacles at the street level.

    More after the jump.

    Continue reading "What’s on Second?" »

    Seattle Police and FBI Raid Strip Club Offices

    posted by on June 2 at 11:23 AM

    The Seattle Police and FBI are conducting raids on multiple locations, which appear to be linked to the Colacurcio family.

    Members of the Colacurcio family, who own and operate Rick’s strip club in Lake City and the nearby Talents West, plead guilty earlier this year to conspiracy charges related strippergate.

    The FBI will hold a press conference at the US Attorney’s office later today.

    More info as this develops.

    Hendrik Hertzberg Loves Bart Sher’s South Pacific, Too (“I’m no theater critic, but…”)

    posted by on June 2 at 11:20 AM

    The New Yorker’s political-commentary columnist took a break from politics on his blog yesterday to write about… that musical. That everyone’s (still) talking about. Directed by that guy from Seattle. He doesn’t mention Sher by name, but he’s definitely a fan.

    This “South Pacific,” the first on Broadway since the original run sixty years ago, is a revelation even if, or maybe especially if, you’ve seen the 1958 Joshua Logan film, starring Rossano Brazzi, John Kerr, and the wonderful Mitzi Gaynor. I’m no theatre critic, but I can testify that every single second of the Lincoln Center revival is absorbing, and long stretches of it are by turns enthralling, exhilarating, and/or moving.

    Still, Hertzberg’s post lands on a connection between the plot of the musical and the punishing Democratic primary (the context):

    Those two adorable, latte-colored children are like a pair of little Barack Obamas. As in “South Pacific,” today’s ending will be a happy one only when the blonde from Arkansas realizes that all it takes for everybody to be a lot happier is for her to stop standing athwart the future those kids represent and start doing her part to make it happen.

    As Long As You Keep ‘Em On

    posted by on June 2 at 11:03 AM

    Kmart—last seen selling classy “light-hearted” shirts promoting domestic violence—is now marketing abstinence-only pants . Think “True Love Waits”? Now you can emblazon it across your (virginal) ass:


    According to the accompanying copy, “Whether she is lounging around the house, going to practice, or doing her chores. … These athletic pants boldly proclaim just where she stands by pointing out that ‘True Love Waits’ in a large screen print on the front and back of these pants.”

    Not available in boys’ sizes.

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on June 2 at 11:00 AM

    Beautiful Failure

    ‘The Fall’

    Tarsem Singh’s long-gestating follow-up to his painfully flawed—but gorgeous—serial-killer flick The Cell is a children’s story about love, heartache, suicide, and the gullibility of kids. Taking major cues from The Princess Bride, it never quite jells on a narrative level—in fact, it’s a borderline disaster. But visually, it’s one of the most imaginative and playful movies you will ever see. As a filmmaker, Singh is half-baked; as a stylist, he’s truly one of the greats. (See movie times,, for details.)


    Youth Pastor Watch

    posted by on June 2 at 10:30 AM

    New Jersey:

    A former youth minister was sentenced to five years in prison Friday for his involvement in a two-year sexual relationship with a 15-year-old member of the church’s youth group.

    Paul D. Glover, 33, of Hattiesburg, Miss., sat solemn in court Friday morning, squeezing the hand of a woman sitting to his left and exchanging a brief hug before being sentenced….

    The story began some three years ago when Glover, then a Glassboro, New Jersey, resident and youth minister, began a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old member of the Church of Christ’s youth group…. For two years, the youth minister and the teenage girl saw each other, allegedly engaging in multiple sexual encounters across the county.

    The relationship became public when the girl, fearing that she might be pregnant, told her family. She had taken three pregnancy tests, all of which erroneously registered positive, when she broke the news, explained church officials.

    SIFF 2008: Day 12 Recommendations

    posted by on June 2 at 10:21 AM

    SIFF Cinema is finally done with that unpleasant parade of short films, so it’s safe to return to SIFF Cinema. And that’s what we recommend you do if you can make it to an afternoon show today: Alexandra (4:30 pm at SIFF Cinema), the magisterial new film from Alexander Sokurov (Russian Ark).


    Next, you might consider peeling off from SIFF and checking out the first (and wildest) entry in the Paramount’s Silent Movie Monday series on Douglas Fairbanks. It’s called When Clouds Roll By, and it’s about hypnotism, an opal ring, and an act of God. I’m totally there.

    If you’re sticking with SIFF, SIFF Cinema has a great archival screening too: 1961’s Night Tide (7 pm), recently restored by the Academy Film Archive, stars Dennis Hopper in a cute sailor outfit and Linda Lawson in a strap-on mermaid tail—or is it in fact fused to her flesh?!?!

    In the final slot, your best bet is You, the Living (9:30 pm at the Egyptian), a strange little Swedish film made up of 50 short, loosely interlocking sketches.

    But Is the Surge Working?

    posted by on June 2 at 10:05 AM

    The NYT was pretty proud of itself for busting McCain on his inaccurate statement about troop numbers in Iraq. (A little too proud, actually, turning much of their article into a blow-by-blow account of the scrap between McCain’s spokesman and the NYT itself. One gotcha sentence on the actual number of troops would have sufficed.)

    However, let’s take a look at what the NYT did not debunk.

    Here’s the statement McCain made at a Wisconsin town hall meeting last week that the NYT set out to pulverize:

    I can tell you it [the surge] is succeeding,” he said. “I can look you in the eye and tell you it is succeeding. We have drawn down to pre-surge levels. Basra, Mosul and now Sadr City are quiet.”

    Yes, the Times (and the Obama campaign) are right that McCain is off base about troop levels (and pop quiz, Sen. McCain: Tyra Banks— Shia or Sunni?), but what about the emotional and political center of McCain’s claim, the part he’ll back up by “looking you in the eye,” — the claim that the surge is working?

    Can Obama or the NYT debunk that?

    Given the NYT’s own recent coverage (like the lead story in today’s international section) and recent talk like this, it seems to me, McCain is on to something.

    Currently Hanging

    posted by on June 2 at 10:00 AM

    Tina Aufiero’s swansonata (2002), found suitcase, VGA monitor, swan feathers, mac mini, audio loop of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata

    At 911 Media Arts Center. (Gallery site here.)

    There’s More Leg Room Up Here in First Class…

    posted by on June 2 at 10:00 AM

    …but, still, it’s not all glamour, people.


    My goodness. Non-dairy whipped topping? I have half a mind to write United Airlines a letter. A delay that turns my flight into a two-day ordeal is one thing. Non-dairy whipped topping is quite another.

    Reading Tonight

    posted by on June 2 at 10:00 AM


    Tonight we have an open mic, a book about Christianity, and a mystery where the President might be a murderer.

    At the University Book Store, Douglas Smith reads from The Pearl, which is a book about an opera singer falling in love with an aristocrat. In Russia. In the 18th Century. And it’s non-fiction.

    And at Elliott Bay Book Company, a man with the unfortunate last name of Creamer is reading from Listen to Your Mother, Stand Up Straight! This is one of the worst titles I’ve heard in a long time. But it’s about being a progressive and organizing people toward a common goal. And before you roll your eyes, Mr. Creamer helped organize the fight against privatizing social security. Which is one of the few liberal victories from that era of the Bush White House. So this is a man who at least knows what he’s talking about.

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

    Clawdius Osiris at East John Street and Broadway

    posted by on June 2 at 10:00 AM


    Hey my man! Right now: six bucks for DVDs and two bucks for tapes.

    You’ve definitely got some gems here.

    Oh yeah! We have everything here; shoes, socks, DVDs, video games, books, CDs, art, TVs, computers… we got it all.

    You’re open every Sunday, right?

    Every Sunday. Rain, sleet, snow, storms. We are always here.

    You have some of those things that just need to be bought. Like those cosmic gold-framed paintings. Actually that photo of the orca family in orca paradise is nice, too.

    Yeah, you like those? All of them for $20.


    I am an artist myself. That’s how I got into this business—by selling my own paintings in the U-District and then eventually started selling other people’s stuff on the side, too. I have been renting this space here for eight years. I got this spot and things are going really good.

    In about three months I’m gonna show some new pieces that will blow your mind. People will ask, “What is that boy on?!” I am going to do it right here, too. It’s going to be like a gallery sidewalk.

    Do you make those collages I see sometimes out here?

    Yeah, I make those, and I am working on an Elvis one right now. In three months though you will see some wild new stuff! It’s a whole new art style i have been working on and It’s going to be good. It’s going to be great!

    I would love to check it out. Keep me informed. Where do you get all this stuff?

    I get this stuff from all over: People moving, garage sales, junk piles. Sometimes I find some stuff worth a lot of money, too. I found a Mayan mask and sold it for $80 and it turned out to be worth $800! I didn’t know though. How would I know?

    Ouch, that’s gotta hurt! How would you know, though? It’s a treasure hunt.

    It is. And if people don’t have all the cash for something, and they want it, they just gotta say, “Hey Osiris, I don’t have quite enough this week.” I can work things out. You have to give people the benefit of the doubt. Try to treat people with goodness and kindness and leave it at that.

    I have to hit the road, but I shall be back.

    Just three months! Stop by again!

    The End Is Near

    posted by on June 2 at 9:55 AM

    Via Ben Smith:

    Members of Hillary Clinton’s advance staff received calls and emails this evening from headquarters summoning them to New York City Tuesday night, and telling them their roles on the campaign are ending.

    In other tea leaves: Clinton will be celebrating this last Democratic primary night with a “valedictory” speech in Manhattan.

    The Morning News

    posted by on June 2 at 7:45 AM

    Out in the Rain: As hurricane season starts, FEMA evicts 400 families from trailers.

    Gitmo on the High Seas: US accused of holding terror suspects on prison boats.

    Rico Suave: Clinton wins Puerto Rico.

    What’s Everybody Got Against Imperialism?
    Thousands protest over growing fears of US bases in Iraq.

    The Chosen Few: Guess how many Jews are left in Iraq? Seven.

    He Made Them an Offer They Couldn’t Refuse: US hospital gives Japanese mob boss a liver transplant. Good thing he didn’t smoke pot.

    Higher Education: Schools worry about students using brain-boosting drugs. Like in this movie:

    Sunday, June 1, 2008

    Today The Stranger Suggests

    posted by on June 1 at 11:00 AM


    Joan of Arc, 31Knots at Vera Project

    Joan of Arc mastermind Tim Kinsella has been one of the most prodigious and quietly influential figures in emo/indie/post-what-have-you for two decades, since his teen years in the posthumously revered Cap’n Jazz. Since then, he’s recorded more than a dozen records with Joan of Arc and other bands, subtly shifting shapes but always retaining a singular and impressive voice, his intricately winding lyrics every bit as distinctive as his cracked yet tuneful howl. (Vera Project, Seattle Center, 956-8372. 7:30 pm, $10, all ages.)


    Currently Hanging

    posted by on June 1 at 10:00 AM

    D.W. Burnham’s XXXX (XXXX), xxxx, xx by xx

    At Helm Gallery. (Gallery site here.)

    Reading Today

    posted by on June 1 at 10:00 AM

    Only one reading today. Ellie Matthews, who won the Pillsbury Bake-Off, reads at Elliott Bay Book Company. I’m not sure why I’m so impressed at someone who’s won the Pilllsbury Bake-Off, but I seriously am. In honor of her, here’s a video about man-on-man penis envy gone horribly awry:

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

    The Morning News

    posted by on June 1 at 9:15 AM

    posted by news intern Chris Kissel

    Appeasement: Obama announces he’s leaving his church.

    Catch and release: Israeli sets free Hezbollah spy after six-year detainment.

    Dem deal
    : DNC rules committee will give Florida and Michigan delegates half of a vote.

    Swiss deal
    : Swiss voters reject referendum to make citizenship even more difficult.

    Runway mishap: Five dead in Honduras.

    Universal Studios is on fire right now
    : Literally.

    Resegregated: Racial balance gone in Seattle Public Schools.

    War stories: Veterans recall unethical actions in Iraq.

    No more automatic citizenship: State GOP platform “not something that’s based on racial concerns.”

    SIFF 2008: Day 11 Recommendations

    posted by on June 1 at 7:50 AM

    Fairly easy choices, this time around.

    Kung Fu Panda opens in theaters next week and will be hard to dislodge till, say, midsummer, so don’t drop $11 on a SIFF ticket. Try the cheerily titled Polish film Time to Die (11 am at Pacific Place) instead.

    Next up, a very rare chance to check out Josef von Sternberg’s über-bizarre final film, The Saga of Anatahan (1:30 pm at the Harvard Exit).

    Then stick around for the equally ambitious local film Great Speeches from a Dying World (4 pm at the Harvard Exit), a somewhat-experimental doc by Stranger Genius Award winner Linas Phillips about lofty language and lowly circumstances.

    The evening belongs to the Jordanian film Captain Abu Raed (6:30 pm at Pacific Place), which is, according to Brendan Kiley, “just as sweet and slow as molasses.”

    Captain Abu Raed

    And finally—assuming you’ve already seen the “Don’t Miss!” entry Bad Habits (9:15 pm at the Egyptian)—we recommend the distressing Blind Mountain (9 pm at Pacific Place).

    With Democrats Like These…

    posted by on June 1 at 7:03 AM

    …who needs Republicans?

    Nice supporters you’ve got there, Hillary. (Video via Americablog.) Gee, the nerve of that Obama guy jumping in the race, huh? He only got in the race—along with Richardson, Edwards, Dodd, and all the other white/tan guys—because Hillary is a woman. And we’ll show that Obama guy if he has the nerve to steal the nomination from Hillary (by, uh, winning the nomination, but never mind). We’ll show him by voting for… John McCain, who apparently a more acceptable candidate to this woman despite scenes like this.

    And, hey, you know how Obama is a secret Muslim? Could it be that this woman knows something about McCain that we don’t, something that makes him acceptable to rabid Hillary supporters like this one? Could McCain secretly be a woman? Perhaps he keeps his vagina in a secret, undisclosed location? Like in a jar on a shelf somewhere next to this woman’s pickled brain?

    “On my wrist, there is Arabic for F-you … because that is my choking hand.”

    posted by on June 1 at 12:35 AM

    This confessional clip from a US Marine was posted Friday at, though their site doesn’t say when this press conference of Iraq war vets took place. It’s a brutal, undeniable confirmation of every nasty thing Cheney and co. have worked so hard to downplay about our presence overseas, from embedded reporters not getting the whole story, to rewards given by commanders for achieving “the first kill by stabbing.” Sorry, late-nighters, but this smattering of damning quotes and on-field video footage is worth ruining everybody’s drunken pre-bed checks of Slog on Saturday night. (The squeamish should close their eyes at about 3:37 to avoid seeing a photo of a dead 12-year-old.)