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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Steve Jobs is Not Dead...

posted by on August 28 at 9:46 AM

1172090604_ec5cccb1c6.jpg matter what the Bloomberg financial newswire accidentally reported yesterday.

As Gawker reports:

The Bloomberg financial newswire decided to update its 17-page Steve Jobs obituary... — and inadvertently published it in the process. Some investors were undoubtedly rattled to see, as our tipster did late this afternoon, the Apple CEO's obit cross the wire and then suddenly disappear. Jobs's battle with pancreatic cancer, and speculation over his health, jarred Wall Street earlier this year and continues to be the subject of speculation.

The Bloomberg financial news wire isn't the first media source to prematurely publish an obituary, but their accidentally published 17-page item offers an interesting glimpse of what the media calls "preparedness reports."

Gawker's got the full accidental obit, along with Bloomberg's bland retraction, here.

Image from Flickr funnyman Donatreides.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ABC News Producer Arrested At DNC

posted by on August 27 at 5:28 PM

An ABC News producer was arrested outside of the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver earlier today while taping a story about lobbyists at the DNC.

A cigar-smoking Denver police sergeant, accompanied by a team of five other officers, first put his hands on Eslocker's neck, then twisted the producers arm behind him to put on handcuffs.

A police official later told lawyers for ABC News that Eslocker is being charged with trespass, interference, and failure to follow a lawful order. He also said the arrest followed a signed complaint from the Brown Palace Hotel.

Eslocker was put in handcuffs and loaded in the back of a police van which headed for a nearby police station. During the arrest, one of the officers can be heard saying to Eslocker, "You're lucky I didn't knock the f..k out of you."

More on the story here, with video.

So, Slog:

Which Stranger staffer will be the first to end up in jail?
Annie Wagner
Charles Mudede
Eli Sanders

My money's on Annie.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Letter of the Day

posted by on August 22 at 5:08 PM

I live in a pretty conservative city, and I enjoy reading Slog every day. I have found your posts on the drug war and the way it is reported to be very enlightening. Recently, I talked to my boyfriend about it; he's a news producer for one of the local tv stations here. I asked if he would be "allowed" to produce a story which questioned the effictiveness of drug raids. (All of his stories have to be approved by the news director.) Without pause, he said no. Apparently, one of the major considerations in what is considered newsworthy is whether something could be considered "offensive," and to suggest that drugs are not evil and that the DEA is not doing God's Work would definitely be offensive. (Murder and child rape, however, are not offensive; they're usually the lead stories.)

Not to lose focus of what this e-mail is about, but he's also rarely allowed to run stories about gay rights issues. My boyfriend said that anytime he has included such a story in his newscast, the station receives "record numbers" of angry phone calls.

"Isn't that a good thing?" I asked. "Doesn't that mean you're provoking discussion?"

My boyfriend agrees. His news director does not.

So, unfortunately, real journalism ain't easy, especially in a conservative city. After a lot of prodding from me every time I read one of your "stupid fucking credulous hack" posts, my boyfriend finally agreed to pitch a story about the (lack of) effectiveness of the drug war to run during sweeps; apparently sweeps months are the only time that it may be okay to be controversial. Who knows? Maybe it'll get on the air.

Oh, and by the way: more than half of the people working in the newsroom regularly smoke pot. At the station, even.

Thanks for the thought-provoking blogging, Dan. Have a great weekend.

Behold the Power of "Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day!"

posted by on August 22 at 4:04 PM

This piece got the PI's Vanessa Ho tagged "Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day" last Saturday. And now when you Google "Vanessa Ho"...


Lordy! "Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack" is the top hit for the PI's Vanessa Ho. Her appearance in SFCH ranks higher on Google than her own archives! (I'm not sure who that other Vanessa Ho is, the one whose photo sites come in first and third on the search.)

Journalists! Don't let this happen to you! Staying out of "Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day" is easy! Just make sure your next piece about a grow-op bust includes a quote from someone other than a DEA agent, a federal prosecutor, or a local law enforcement official. Bury at least one brief quote from a critic of the war on pot, someone who can comment on the efficacy of drug interdiction efforts—rarely is the question asked, is our grow-op busts working?—and you won't be named "Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day" on Slog! It's that easy!

Can You Believe They’re Growing Pot in the __________?

posted by on August 22 at 1:07 PM

Can you believe they’re growing pot in fucking vineyards? Can you? We can’t. And our colleagues at the Seattle Times, they can’t either. They were shocked by this news two weeks ago, a week later, a day after that, and today, the shock has consumed nearly the entire front page. Isn't it amazing how the same story can shock over and over and over again?


Vineyards are, as of today, the most shocking place to find pot growing. But it doesn’t matter where pot is found next—even if it's an expanse of tilled irrigated soil made for growing plants—the next place pot is found growing is always the most shocking place it's ever been found growing. The lengths pot growers will go to in order to grow pot! It's amazing! So the Seattle Times breathlessly reports that pot has been found in such unlikely places as a house, a neighborhood, a suburb, King County, Lewis County, British Columbia, inside, online, and underground. The Times is in a tizzy about marijuana in the mountains, the woods, the wood shavings, the reservation, and a plantation.

Where will pot growers grow pot NEXT? Let's help the Seattle Times out, Sloggers, so that the next big discovery—or the next news release from the federal government's press desks—doesn't catch the Seattle Times by surprise again.

Where will the presence of pot plants scandalize us next?

Stupid Fucking Credulous Hacks of the Day: Tom Banse and Erik Lacitis

posted by on August 22 at 12:13 PM

I was sitting in bed and listening to KUOW and scratching my balls—Derek Wong's voice always makes my sack itch—when I caught a short report from crack local public radio reporter Tom Banse. It was all about Our Glorious War on Drugs! Here's Banse:

An Oregon drug task force director says 2008 is shaping up to be a “banner year” for busting outdoor marijuana farms. In Washington State, marijuana plant seizures are running “way ahead” of last year. Lt. Rich Wiley heads the Washington State Patrol narcotics section. He credits the help of low-flying helicopters on loan from the National Guard and federal DEA.

Continue reading "Stupid Fucking Credulous Hacks of the Day: Tom Banse and Erik Lacitis" »

Depressing Photo Collection of the Day

posted by on August 22 at 10:22 AM

...starring the 24 Alabama men busted during a week-long undercover sting in a scenic area known for sexual activity.

See the full, sad gallery here. (And don't neglect to appreciate the hee-lariously unfortunate ad on the left.)

(Also, as Slog Tipper Jubilation T. Cornball noted, the majority of these men look like Mr. Poe's dream dates. Get thee to Alabammy, Poe!)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day: Gary Chittim

posted by on August 21 at 1:12 PM

KING 5 Television’s Gary Chittim wants you to know that federal agents destroyed a field of marijuana in Eastern Washington. That crop was “bad news for public land and public safety,” he says. But, it turns out, the bust was reported earlier this month there’s no actual “news” here. Chittim’s "news" is exhumed and rehashed from his old story to inform you that pot is scary, pot growers are scary, and the feds are doing a better job than ever before at rounding up this scary, scary menace.

Pray tell, Gary, where have we heard this before? The White House Drug Czar John Walters.

“And these aren't your peaceful, old school growers,” writes Chittim to express his completely original idea. Really, how does he know?

"This is not the old hippy growing a few pot plants for personal use. These guys are in the business to make a lot of money," says Mike Cenci, deputy chief of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Well, case closed--law enforcement says the criminals are dangerous. Does Chittim talk to someone who doesn't represent the government?

No. But Chittim does continue with his independently minded report…

Millions of dollars worth of pot are produced in single operations and the growers are willing to protect it from the unsuspecting hiker or fisherman who stumbles upon it.

Did he get any type of confirmation from locals that there is some danger in them hills? Any botanists to confirm the “dangers to the environment” or someone who might explain why this is happening, respond to what the law-enforcement mouthpiece is saying, or if the busts are having any effect? Nope, because Gary Chittim is a stupid fucking credulous hack.

Continue reading "Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day: Gary Chittim" »

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Press Release of the Day

posted by on August 20 at 12:52 PM

Apparently Hustler's going after the "I read it for the articles" audience:

HUSTLER Magazine November 2008

The Winter Soldiers Speak Out

In arguably the most shocking piece of the year, HUSTLER Magazine reports on the truth about what’s going on in Iraq. The “Winter Soldier” veterans, as they are called, speak out about the war and the thousands of innocent Iraqi civilian casualties. One of the brave soldiers brought back a video of his sergeant declaring, “The difference between an insurgent and an Iraqi civilian is whether they are dead or alive.” The soldier explains: “If you kill a civilian, he becomes an insurgent because you retroactively make him a threat.” Gruesome photos accompany the article.

(More from the release after the jump.)

I didn't know Hustler had words.

A vaguely related anecdote: I once interviewed for a job in editorial at Penthouse in New York. The offices were quite posh, with spreads of Penthouses on the coffee table in the lobby. I perused one while waiting, which was the first time I'd ever looked at the magazine. Everyone was extremely nice, and the editorial staff was approximately 80% women (of average appearance). They offered me the job. They weren't paying particularly well, especially for New York. I declined.

Continue reading "Press Release of the Day" »

"The Best Press Possible for the 'No on Prop. 8' Campaign"

posted by on August 20 at 8:52 AM


That's how popular gay blogger Joe.My.God. characterizes the cover of the upcoming People:

To my mind, the upcoming cover story about Ellen's wedding in People is the best of possible PR for the No On 8 campaign. Ellen DeGeneres is the most beloved person on TV, bigger than Oprah, and this joyous shot will go miles to convince those undecideds. Brilliant timing, truly.

Agreed, and for those not fluent in out-of-state proposition lingo: Proposition 8 is the ballot initiative that seeks to reverse California's just-established marriage equality. "No on 8" is the campaign to get people to shoot down this would-be reversal. Thank you, JMG.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How Soon Until This One Goes Under?

posted by on August 19 at 5:00 PM

Mygazines is a website that allows people to upload and share magazines for free. They apparently don't have any sort of agreement with magazine publishers, which means that it's like a Napster for magazines, which is kind of weird. They list the important points of the website:

Why Sign Up?

* read magazine articles from virtually any magazine
* collaborate articles into personal "mygazines"
* archive your favorite magazines in one place you can always come back to!
* rate & comment on articles and collaborated mygazines
* contribute your own magazines to the community
* all this and more - absolutely free!

But signup is down right now. This doesn't sound like that bad of an idea, really; if Conde Nast didn't sue them out of existence, they'd be able to use this format to actually make money from advertisers. But I'm positive that Conde Nast will sue them out of existence as soon as they find out about Mygazines, which should be any minute now.

(Via Kottke.)

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's the Question That's Been Haunting Me...

posted by on August 18 at 12:34 PM


Does one report on the fascinating wealth of craptastic anti-Obama propaganda floating around the web, or does one ignore it, to avoid helping disseminate the garbage?

The question presented itself most recently when I was alerted to the existence of, which not to be confused with (The latter is the celebrity-obsessed supermarket tabloid, the former is a clearinghouse for theories that Barack Obama is the new 9/11.)

This week my beloved Radar jumped into the fray, publishing "What the Well-Dressed Racist is Wearing," a survey of Obama-bashing product found for sale on the web.

This anti-Obama tote bag features both side and bottom gussets!

See the whole Radar survey here.

Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day: Vanessa Ho

posted by on August 18 at 9:53 AM

This was originally posted Saturday, August 16, but it's been moved up for the reading pleasure of those that were outside enjoying the sun and the pot this weekend.

A grow-op gets busted and the usual shit's in the PI. Here's Vanessa Ho's lead in this morning's paper:

A park service pilot on a routine flight over the North Cascades National Park service area helped discover a large marijuana farm worth nearly $48 million—the first such grow operation found in a national park site in the state.

Officials said the farm, which law enforcement officials raided this week, contained more than 16,700 plants. It was well established and resembled the elaborate grow sites run by Mexican drug traffickers plaguing national parks in California, authorities said.

In addition to suggesting that dangerous and dirty foreigners are somehow involved—no one has been arrested, so we don't know if those damn Mexicans are to blame—a truly stupid fucking credulous hack would suggest that this grow-op endangers our children somehow. Vanessa doesn't disappoint. Here's her third paragraph:

Continue reading "Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack of the Day: Vanessa Ho" »

Saturday, August 16, 2008


posted by on August 16 at 10:46 PM

A letter sent to,, and cc'ed to The Stranger:

Just in case the local Seattle news media did not know, there are about 100,000 people attending the Seattle HempFest this weekend...I have seen nothing on any of your newscasts about this...Once again, the local media fails to reflect the news that's going on...

This is in addition to the complete lack of coverage of Gay Pride in June...

There seems to be a pattern of censorship with what stories get airtime...It's not a matter of laziness, since this news story is taking place right next to your news stations....I think you all need to hire new news directors....I'm not a news director, but I can spot stories that get ratings and these fluff pieces your using as filler all the time are getting old...

Anthony Vicari
Everett, WA

No surprise about KOMO--unless you don't know about their pattern of marijuana-related censorship. Let's just take a look, yeah? What's up on KOMO's homepage right now? (A screen grab of as much of the page as possible.)

Continue reading "100,000" »

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on August 12 at 11:07 AM


posted by evil robot 6

Monday, August 11, 2008

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on August 11 at 3:23 PM


posted by ERIK98122

Bus Driver Objects to Bus Ad

posted by on August 11 at 12:43 PM

You can slap a controversial ad on the side of a public bus, even if the person driving that ad all over Olympia resents it.

An advertisement featuring a marijuana leaf that's on the sides of some Intercity Transit buses has drawn complaints from two residents and one of IT's own bus operators.

The complaints concern the content of the Olympia Hempfest ad, which includes the image of a marijuana leaf and the phrase "Equal Rights are for Everybody," said Meg Kester, an agency spokeswoman….

In this case, the agency could forbid the advertisement if it were "an encouragement for people to get high," said Tom Bjorgen, an attorney representing Intercity Transit. But Bjorgen said he assumes a reasonable reader would see it as a political statement advocating for the legalization of marijuana. "I don't think this is an encouragement to engage in any illegal action," he said. "I think it's more of the nature of a political statement: 'We think it should be legalized.'"

For the record, television shows hosted by mild-mannered travel writers and academics talking about drug policy: that’s encouraging drug use. But buses emblazoned with pot leaves, inviting people to smoke pot in a public park: that’s a political statement.

Jeremy Miller, director of the Olympia Hempfest, says the 12 ads are still tootling about the state capital. Is he upset that the driver and others have complained? Nope. “The controversy does seem to help get some more news coverage for the event,” he says. Very well, Jeremy, here's the ad again:


I'm Not Typically One for Cuteness

posted by on August 11 at 11:35 AM


But Google's diving pig makes me want to shit myself.

Friday, August 8, 2008

KOMO Television Baits and Switches on Marijuana Infomercial

posted by on August 8 at 1:26 PM

Local televisions stations have refused to run an infomercial about marijuana laws because, according to one executive, the infomercial promotes the use of marijuana. But one of those stations, KOMO TV, made thousands of dollars without even airing the show.

“Smoking marijuana is illegal and we don’t promote things that are illegal on our television station,” says Jim Clayton, KOMO's vice president and general manager. “We don’t tell people to go rob banks, either.” He says he rejected the program because airing it would jeopardize the station’s license with the Federal Communications Commission.

“It supported that people smoke marijuana,” Clayton says. But when repeatedly pressed for an example of how the show advocated marijuana use, Clayton told me, “I don’t know. I watched it a few weeks ago, and I don’t remember anything specific.”


Producers of Marijuana: It’s Time for a Conversation, hosted by mild-mannered travel writer Rick Steves, say the program doesn't advocate pot smoking, only talking about pot laws. Alison Holcomb, director of the ACLU of Washington’s Marijuana Education Project, which created the show, says, “There’s nothing in the show that advocates that anyone use marijuana.” The script never advises that anyone smoke marijuana, nor does the screen ever flash an image of pot. “In fact, there are specific statements addressing situations in which individuals shouldn’t use marijuana, and that young people should not use marijuana.” She adds: “Everything in the program is about the impact that marijuana laws have on communities.”

In addition to KOMO (the ABC affiliate), KIRO (with CBS) rejected the 30-minute show outright, and KING (along with its sister station KONG, both with NBC) would only allow the program to air after 1 a.m. Neither of those stations returned calls to The Stranger.

More than anything, KOMO’s decision seems more about the political conviction of the ad rather than its content. But that came as a shock to the ACLU.

Holcomb says the ACLU provided copies of the script in advance on the condition it would be approved before renting KOMO’s studios and paying for KOMO's crews at Fisher Plaza. She says she asked KOMO to “tell us if you will have objections to the content before we incur the expense of filming the audience portion in their studio, and we never heard any objection.” But, she says, “Once we filmed it and handed it to them, they wouldn’t sell us any time slots.”

Clayton says he had initially supported airing the show because he thought it was about medical marijuana. “We looked at it differently because it would be for a specific medical service,” he says. But he changed his mind on Monday, August 4, after a meeting with ACLU of Washington director Kathleen Taylor.

But if KOMO was actually afraid of losing its federal license, whether or not the show focuses on medical marijuana would be irrelevant; the federal government doesn’t distinguish between recreational and medical pot.

Clayton says that if the ACLU wants his station to discuss marijuana laws, the group should run a ballot initiative. The problem, of course, is that only a minority of the electorate supports reforming marijuana laws, so, in order to win a ballot measure, the ACLU must first encourage a public conversation about pot.

“We’re trying to provide information that’s not tainted by either the hysteria of reefer madness, nor by the giggle factor of Cheech and Chong,” says Holcomb. However, KOMO and the other stations can't resist cashing in on commercials for the White House’s hysterical anti-drug campaign or ads for beer and Viagra during breaks in movies and sitcoms that depict pot smoking. But when presented with the bland truth of pot policy, local TV stations can’t afford it.

The ACLU's show is now only available on Comcast’s On Demand cable and at

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on August 8 at 10:49 AM


posted by jenerally speaking

The Napster of Newspapers

posted by on August 8 at 10:30 AM

Slate has a bizarre article about a newspaper—the Montgomery County Bulletin, circulation 20,000—behaving like a blog. An ill-behaved blog that aggregates content without links and attribution.

Over the course of three years, stories from Rolling Stone, Slate, the Boston Globe, USA Today, the Guardian, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune were all reprinted—slightly altered—in the Bulletin, sometimes under the byline "Mark Williams," sometimes under no byline at all.

The Bulletin lists just five employees—"Mark Williams," a calendar editor, a sales person, and the publisher, who was reluctant to cooperate with Slate on the story.

The publisher's name? A fake-sounding "Mike Ladyman."

And the simulacrum is complete.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"Elegy" & the Female Film Critic

posted by on August 7 at 4:17 PM

It shouldn't come as a surprise that there are many, many more male film critics than there are female film critics. Pauline Kael aside, film criticism has always been dominated by men, perhaps in part because amateur film criticism—standing around after a movie and yakking about it—usually descends into a foolish exercise in oneupsmanship in which blowhards compete to see who's committed how much trivia to memory. (Once, in an example of this behavior I find particularly ripe, I found myself arguing with three other critics and programmers about who loved Claire Denis the most. Gross.)

Variety blogger Anne Thompson frequently expresses concern that the underrepresentation of women in film sections of major newspapers might translate into unsympathetic reviews of films aimed at women audiences. She cites 27 Dresses and Mamma Mia!—both reviewed, as it happens, by female critics here at The Stranger, though I'm not certain these reviews were any more sympathetic to what Thompson calls "the female POV" as they would have been otherwise. Actually, though, the fact that I assigned one to myself and another to Lindy West would seem to indicate otherwise.


The movies that really demand a "female POV" are not, in my opinion, romantic comedies. They are movies like Isabel Coixet's Elegy—an adaptation, by a male screenwriter and female (Catalan, as it happens) director, of a Philip Roth novella with a unrepentantly misogynistic narrator whose point of view is nonetheless thoroughly contextualized. I scanned the reviews of the film collected by GreenCine Daily yesterday (where it is, hilariously, paired with Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona, another movie that demands at least cursory discussion of gender, as well as national stereotypes), and I was dismayed to see that the critics—up to that point—were all men: David Edelstein, David Denby, Ed Gonzalez, Glenn Kelly, and Alonso Duralde. The reviews are largely positive, and none makes much effort to deal with the gender issues that pervade the film and its source material. I crossed my fingers that Manohla Dargis would be reviewing it for the New York Times. My wish was granted, and she did a bang-up job:

The problem with “Elegy” has nothing to do with faithfulness and everything to do with interpretation. The film is an overly polite take on a spiky, claustrophobic, insistently impolite novel, but this wouldn’t be such an issue if [director Isabel] Coixet had the cinematic language that could withstand, equal, obliterate or transcend the book’s blunt force, its beautiful sentences, flashes of genius and spleen. Ms. Coixet has a fine eye and she has created a visual scheme — an attractively dark palette, discreetly hovering camera movements and smooth edits — that makes everything look very nice indeed (especially the radiant if miscast Ms. Cruz). There’s not a hair out of place here or an emotion. It’s as if Ms. Coixet had tried to quiet the howls of a dying animal.

It’s a wonder that filmmakers continue to adapt Mr. Roth’s work to the screen, which is largely inhospitable to tough, prickly and unappetizing ideas and characters, especially in America. It seems instructive that no great director has tackled this great writer, whether out of fear or shrewdness. Certainly it’s understandable that a female filmmaker would have a go at Mr. Roth, though “The Dying Animal,” with its unloving encounters, maddening woman troubles and occasional gynecological descriptions, really cries out for a reckless voluptuary like Catherine Breillat, who wouldn’t go all soft. She could smack all that male contempt around, but also give it its honest due. She would keep the novel’s furious bite.

Thank god. My review is here. I warn you: I complain about the absence of menstrual blood. This was my clumsy way of getting at exactly what Dargis describes above. Catherine Breillat, fuck yeah: She would do the menstrual blood. After all, she's already made tampon tea.

Other female film critics who have reviewed or will review Elegy include Ella Taylor and Moira McDonald.

Update, Fri am: McDonald saw Elegy with me, but it looks like the review went to John Hartl instead. I wouldn't say Hartl is the most myopic of male critics, but he doesn't address the protagonist's hostility toward women at all. Worse still is William Arnold at the PI, who breezes past the misogyny and then comes out with this wonder of a paragraph:

As we watch this lothario spurned, transformed into a jealous stalker and put on the road to a personal epiphany, the miracle of the movie is Kingsley's performance, which manages to find David's humanity and actually makes us identify with and root for him. It's quite a feat.

I'm sorry, I just don't think you're supposed to "root for" David Kepesh. And that personal epiphany? (Minor spoiler.) It comes when David realizes he can really truly love a woman with only one boob. Another way of seeing it is that the perfect body he worships has to be damaged—infected, cut up, maimed—before he can relate to the person. It isn't a pretty moment. (And it doesn't exist as such in the novella, which is more open-ended.) I have a hard time endorsing this notion that Ben Kingsley deserves an Oscar for a performance in which he buries all the noxious things about his character and makes us "root for him." That's whitewashing, not a tour de force.

All This Senseless Death

posted by on August 7 at 12:28 PM

Apparently, newspapers are dead because they're not cultural currency.


Good thing we have blogs. Wait, apparently they're dead, too.


Now everybody should get excited about Lifestreaming.


Thank God Tombstone image generators never go out of style.


Why, KUOW?

posted by on August 7 at 11:10 AM

Since I must read text closely all day for my job, I can't listen to talk radio. The only time I get to listen to KUOW is in the morning while I am getting ready and eating breakfast. I want to know why KUOW has discontinued the local news in the midmorning. This is my prime listening time.

It used to be at the hour mark there was a break for national and local news, now... no local news! Instead I get to listen to Marketplace Morning Report?! Guess what? I don't need to know the price of a barrel of oil every single fucking day. I don't care about that or the stupid Dow Jones Industrial Average. I want local news!

I am vexed.

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on August 7 at 10:54 AM


posted by thinklab

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Flickr Photo of the Day

posted by on August 6 at 1:49 PM


posted by Scarequotes

Madonna's New Head Gets Its Own Think Piece

posted by on August 6 at 10:42 AM


The meat of the essay from New York magazine:

Through some unholy marriage of extreme fitness and calorie restriction (and maybe a little lipo), women have figured out how to tame their aging bodies for longer than ever. You see them everywhere in New York City: forty- and fiftysomethings who look better than a 25-year-old in a fitted little dress or a tight pair of jeans. But this level of fitness has created a new problem to which the New New Face is the solution—gauntness. Past a certain age, to paraphrase Catherine Deneuve, it’s either your fanny or your face. In other words, if your body is fierce (from yoga, Pilates, and the treadmill), your face will have no fat on it either and it will be … unfierce. It was only a matter of time before a certain segment of the female population would figure out how to have it both ways, even if it means working out two hours a day and then paying someone to volumize their faces, as they say in the dermatology business. As a friend of mine recently pointed out, there is now a whole new class of women walking around with wiry little bodies and “big ol’ baby faces.” And they look, well, if not exactly young, then attractive in a different way. A yoga body plus the New New Face may not be a fountain of youth, but it’s a fountain of indeterminate age.

Read the whole thing here.

In other women-getting-weird-plastic surgery news: Lately I've been watching Melrose Place on DVD (it's a stipulation of my parole, plus I missed it when it originally aired, and thus found myself severely lacking in sexy-blackmail skills) and was shocked when then-20-something Courtney Thorne-Smith smiled and showed cute little crinkly wrinkles around her eyes. This was back in the early '90s, when such monstrosities were allowed on network television. Fifty bucks says Ms. Thorne-Smith has fewer wrinkles now as a 40-something TV actress than she did back then. RIP, crinkly eye wrinkles.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Now THAT's Chutzpah

posted by on August 5 at 4:04 PM

In her column two days ago, Maureen Dowd not only blamed anonymous "feminists" for failing to defend Michelle Obama against sexists now painting her as a "harridan," but stated as fact--without one shred of evidence--that "some" die-hard Hillary supporters now "mutter darkly" that they'll "never vote for a man again."

Now, I know it's not beyond MoDo to make crazy claims without substantiating them--hell, it isn't beyond her to pretend to file columns from places she hasn't even been--but these fictitious straw-PUMAs are just too much. And for Dowd--one of the biggest champions of the Hillary-as-heartless-harridan meme back when Clinton was still in the race--to blame feminists (again, without evidence--indeed, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary) for failing to defend Michelle Obama against similar charges is so hypocritical it makes me want to spit.

On the other hand, this is the same woman who refers to Obama incessantly as "exotic"--which is barely even veiled--and wonders, based on a fabricated, debunked story in the Wall Street Journal whether Obama is too much of a "beanpole" to be President.

West Seattle Blog on West Seattle Bonehead

posted by on August 5 at 2:06 PM


It began with a simple query on West Seattle Blog:

Anyone see the Republican propoganda bus sponsored by Salty's owner? It quotes Hitler as a positive thinker.

The bus has been spotted all over West Seattle, and eventually WSB Key Master lowmanbeach provided photos, including the one above and this one highlighting the positive-thinking Hitler quote.

lowmanbeach also provides some eyewitness details:

The door of the truck says "The Kingen Family" followed by Wolfi's and Patriots. Salty's owner's name is Gerry Kingen.

..and some valuable history:

[Kingen] apparently does have a track record of [controversial] political involvement. This story came up from 2004.

So, apparently, the owner of Salty's (who's also owner of the Red Robin chain) is a Native American-baiting, Hitler-quoting loon. Who knew? (Besides the entire P-I editorial board, I mean...)

Thanks, West Seattle Blog! (And Slog tipper Explorer.)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Web Extra!

posted by on August 4 at 4:47 PM

The Seattle Times couldn't fit a review of Angels in America: Perestroika into their arts section today, but a "WEB EXTRA" box directs readers to a review on the paper's website. What was there room for in the Seattle Times arts section today? Besides a review of Aida at the Seattle Opera, a "Special to the Times" piece on crime fiction, and a concert review of Smokey Robinson at the Chateau St. Michelle, there's...

A piece reprinted from the New York Times about chick lit; a piece reprinted from the Washington Post about an HBO documentary; a piece reprinted from the Los Angeles Times about singer Katy Perry; a piece from the Associated Press about "Lolita" subculture in Japan; a piece reprinted from the Press-Register in Mobile, Alabama, about baby showers; a piece reprinted from the Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, about an organization that encourages people to send cards, not emails, to the sick and dying; a piece reprinted from the Dallas Morning News about a 72-year-old tap dancer; a book review and a TV review reprinted from the New York Times; a bride column reprinted from the Chicago Tribune; two syndicated columns; Garfield, Family Circus, Wizard of Id, sodoku, crosswords, etc.

But maybe they'll be able to squeeze you into the print edition next time, Repertory Actors Theater.

Jan Drago Trashes the Bag Fee...

posted by on August 4 at 10:08 AM

...on Glenn Beck!!

(Glenn Beck, for those unfamiliar with his work, is a right-wing talk show host who doesn't believe in global warming, referred to the Republican nominee as "Juan McCain," called Hillary Clinton a "bitch" on the air, compared Al Gore to Hitler, and suggested that the first Muslim Congressman might be "working with our enemies.")

Anyway, here's the partial transcript.

BECK: Wow. So you stood up to the -- you`re the lone voice of the Seattle city council that stood up against the bag tax. Why?

DRAGO: Well, first of all, Seattle is a very environmentally conscious city, and people try to do the right thing. So I think we should have given them a chance through incentives versus through disincentives. And if that didn't work, then I would have preferred a ban versus the program that the council had.

BECK: I mean, here is the thing, Jan. And as I understand your position on this, you realize that there`s a lot of people ready to sharpen their pitchforks and torches and come after the government that just keeps baby-sitting them. I mean, I'm from Seattle. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. I understand the people of Seattle.

And the people in Seattle are responsible, if they're so darned environmentally conscious, they would do it on their own. It's not as environmentally conscious as you think it is. It's the -- it's the few that say, now I want to get rid of these bags, too. If everybody thought it was a good idea to get rid of bags, they wouldn't use the bags.

DRAGO: Well, I agree with you. And what we`re doing is we`re angering a lot of people that would probably have been cooperative if we had done a public education campaign.

BECK: Tell me the thing with the plastic forks and spoons.

DRAGO: Well, that doesn't go into effect for 18 months. And...

BECK: What are they going to replace it with?

DRAGO: NO, they are going to take some time -- well, I guess it's the meat containers. They're going to take some time to make sure that there are suitable alternatives for that.

BECK: OK. Can I ask you, when an airplane lands and they have the plastic fork and knife on the plane, will it be legal to land the plane in Seattle?

DRAGO: I'm sure it will.

BECK: OK. Jan, thanks a lot. I've got to tell you. There`s two kinds of people in Seattle, that live in Seattle. There`s, you know, the people with their hemp bags and the polar bear stickers and the "save the salmon" stickers, and then those with plaid shirts and guns. When things go to hell in a hand-basket, my money is on the plaid shirts. They`ll be eating the hemp bag people within a week.

Friday, August 1, 2008

An Infuriating Exchange With Another Reporter

posted by on August 1 at 2:10 PM

Last night, I received an email from another reporter in town who covered the Critical Mass mess, complaining about how I characterized their reporting in my story about the incident.

I generally keep email exchanges with other reporters off Slog, but this one is just so fucking fucked up, that I couldn't just let it sit in my inbox.

Hey Jonah, I saw your piece on the big melee. You know, I don't think my initial story portrayed the driver as a victim.

In fact, I took great care to not even use the word 'victim' in my article. The only time the word was used was when, in response to my interview with Tom Braun, I specifically asked Officer Mark Jamieson why the driver wasn't being investigated.

His response was that as far as they were concerned, the driver was the victim.

I can't speak for the other articles written on the subject. But I don't think it was fair to characterize my story as being one that portrayed this clash as a one-sided affair, particularly since I took pains to avoid doing so. I know you don't name me by name, but you did mention the XXXXX as being among those media outlets to give a one-sided account of the incident and I just don't think that's true.

That was it. See you around,



thanks for the email. However, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree that I mischaracterized your story. While you did indeed add an interview with Tom Braun in a later report, the [earlier] version ... very much paints the driver as the victim.

In your second graph, you mention the motorist was assaulted by cyclists. It's not until your 12th graph that you mention the fact that the driver struck several cyclists with his car. You also state that one of the cyclists punched the driver which, according to the driver, is inaccurate.

Much of your story's focus seems to be on the damage done to the driver's car, and repeatedly quotes Mark Jamieson who, when I spoke with him around the time your story was posted, had not read the police report but still seemed contemptuous of the cyclists and sure that they were solely at fault.

While you did eventually catch up on your reporting, the initial reports that came out of your paper—not to mention XXXXX, XXXXX, etc—completely failed to get the other side of the story. It wasn't difficult to reach out to CM riders and get their version of events, so I'm not sure why that didn't happen sooner.

Having said all of that, if you still feel like I was unfair, let me know.

Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

Oh, absolutely. I completely agree that those earlier versions were entirely one-sided. You're also right it wasn't hard to find riders. ... I just didn't have the time to devote to the story that I would have liked. I'm glad Tom Braun reached out. Thanks for your thoughtful reply. -XXXX

Wow. Just wow.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

HA's Declaration of WAR

posted by on July 31 at 9:48 AM


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I Laughed, I Cried, I Winced in Horror

posted by on July 30 at 3:48 PM

Athlists shows us 20 ways to die trying to dunk a basketball.

Here's #6—the goofiest entry, but I wanted to ease you into things.

See all 20 near-death hoop experiences here. (And thanks for the heads up, MetaFilter.)

More Whining from the Seattle Times

posted by on July 30 at 11:05 AM

You lost, it's over, shut the fuck up.

Also, in a week filled with Critical Mass puns, the worst yet.

UPDATE: Hmm. A close personal friend down at the Seattle Times—my old college roommate in fact—points out that, while I was on vacation, the ed board at the Seattle Times came out in favor of the bag tax. Sorry I missed that, kids. Still it's revealing that the Seattle Times would run a weird, cranky op-ed after the bag fee passed. What? No three-day-old NYT columns lying around? Still, while today's plastic-bag-tax whining isn't exactly from the Seattle Times, although it did come to us courtesy of the Seattle Times.

Today in Political Art

posted by on July 30 at 9:59 AM

First, Slog tipper Brian directed me to one of the (homemade?) videos circulating with the new Obama-praising/Hillary-McCain-Jesse Jackson-dissing track by Ludacris.

Then Slog Tipper Gary directed me to the professionally made, Karl Rove-bashing video from comic Harry Shearer.

Shearer is a Simpsons and Spinal Tap MVP, Ludacris is a rapper who co-starred in the deeply unfunny Crash. Nevertheless, on the evidence presented here, Ludacris (who's represented only through his lyrics) is 10,000 times funnier than Harry Shearer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

You Are Not Alone

posted by on July 29 at 1:40 PM

From Lee Pyne-Mercier:

Dear Charles,
I'm not sure if I'm the only person who noticed this non-sensical headline from Friday's Tacoma News Tribune. But I just can't fathom how this came out of a newsroom and made it to the front page...

Lee, you are one among the many who are amazed by the very idea (the notion) of delicious diversity.

Slow (and Sexy) News Day

posted by on July 29 at 1:21 PM

The Associated Press reports on the porn found in the men's room of an Oregon library:

Police in Tualatin say a piece of pornography was found in a men's bathroom at the city's new library.

The police are also looking into a hole that had been drilled between two stalls in the bathroom.

Officials say there are no suspects yet.

Full story (which is exactly one sentence longer than the above excerpt) here.

Monday, July 28, 2008

You Can't Do That on Fernsehen

posted by on July 28 at 11:07 AM

Please enjoy this three-minute IKEA commercial, made in Germany in 2006, that mocks the Christ out of the Swedes and their midsummer parties as brutish, drunk, and dumb.

Looks like fun to me—pretty much what went down at Smoke Farm a few weekends ago:

The Kamprad family, which controls IKEA, axed the commercial.

Two footnotes—one etymological, one social—below the jump.

Continue reading "You Can't Do That on Fernsehen" »

Robert Novak

posted by on July 28 at 10:03 AM

Crazed hit-and-run driver admitted to hospital for treatment of a brain tumor.