2. If you're looking for something a little less realistic, Hugo House is hosting a reading titled Girls on Fire. Press materials promise: "Poets Kelly Davio, Jeannine Hall Gailey, Rebecca Loudon, and Tiffany Midge read from new work inspired by fire, fever, apocalypses, and heat." Sold!
3. Dan Smith reads at University Book Store tonight. Monkey Mind is a memoir, but it's not about a surgical mishap involving a monkey and a human switching brains. Instead, it's about anxiety, which is plenty interesting on its own.
4. The readings calendar will tell you about everything else going on tonight.
It is a curious irony that the most thoughtful and readable opinion writer in the relentlessly pro-business/anti-labor Seattle Times is their business columnist, Jon Talton. For example, today's column in which he warns lawmakers against "Sleepwalking into Washington's future":
In Seattle, the City Council refused to fund a study of a light-rail crossing of the Ship Canal. This may seem a clever poke in the eye of Mayor Mike McGinn in an election year, but it fails to show any vision. As Seattle reaches for San Francisco-like densities, it has a Phoenix-style transportation system, albeit with more buses and narrower streets. Density is good. But just fixing the streets isn’t good enough to ensure success. Buses alone won’t move people efficiently or pleasantly in a dense city.
... Much of today’s prosperity was prepared by the likes of Scoop Jackson. Without public leadership that prepares the state for quality growth, addresses the needs of moving freight and people, adequately funds education and cares for the commons, Seattle and Washington will be at a growing disadvantage against world-class competition. We will feel it first as nicks and bumps. Bigger things will eventually get our attention and maybe break us out of our sleepwalk.
I believe Talton and I are completely on the same page, although I'll say it more bluntly: Washington State is in the process of committing slow-motion economic suicide. It is smart public investment in human and physical infrastructure that builds wealth, not low taxes. And unless we can find the will to fix our revenue structure so as to pay for the investments we need, we will inevitably become a second-rate state.
I am a bisexual woman in my early 30s and am currently in a monogamous relationship with a wonderful woman with whom I am living together. I love her very much and although we have been dating for less than a year, I am pretty convinced that I want to be married to her.
Our sex life is great—quite vanilla (especially compared to the kind of letters you receive) but nonetheless, deeply satisfying. However, there is one problem: sometimes when I am on the edge of getting an orgasm, I think of gay men having sex. Specifically, I think of myself as a gay man f*cking another guy in the ass. And that, without fail, will make me come. I have never thought of myself as a man or have any intentions to be one. I also have no desire to sleep with anyone but her. I recall you mentioned before that we are all free to think of what we like when having sex, but this is really bothering me. Am I cheating on my partner by thinking of something/someone else, other than her, when I am getting laid by her?
Gay Sex Is Hot
My response after the jump...
Last night eight of the nine mayoral candidates showed up at the downtown Seattle Public Library to read from their favorite books. Mayor Mike McGinn read from Joseph Heller's Catch 22, Bruce Harrell from Doris Kearns Goodwin's Lincoln bio Team of Rivals, and Ed Murray from Thomas Merton's essay "Letter to an Innocent Bystander" (which, I should note, is not actually a book).
But by far the most talked about reading of the evening was by Peter Steinbrueck, who chose an excerpt from Charles Chesnutt's 1899 collection of short stories The Conjure Woman:
"I dunno ez hit's wuf w'ile ter tell you dis," he said, at length. "I doan ha'dly 'spec' fer you ter b'lieve it. Does you 'member dat club-footed man w'at hilt de hoss fer you de yuther day w'en you was gittin' out'n de rockaway down ter Mars Archie McMillan's sto'?"
"Yes, I believe I do remember seeing a club-footed man there."
"Did you eber see a club-footed nigger befo' er sence?"
"No, I can't remember that I ever saw a club-footed colored man," I replied, after a moment's reflection.
"You en Mis' Annie would n' wanter b'lieve me, ef I wuz ter 'low dat dat man was oncet a mule?"
But more talked about than his choice of material was Steinbrueck's choice to perform it in full blackvoice, with the exception of one modest edit. KUOW's The Conversation has a clip up online. You can skip to the seven-minute mark and listen to it for yourself. (The Seattle Channel says they'll have video of the full event up online sometime tomorrow.)
So... um... discuss!
This NYTimes article looks at what happens to women who are denied abortions, and how they compare with women who successfully had the abortions they sought, while also delving into a fascinating tangent on Czechoslovakia's abortion panel and the likeability of unwanted children:
When Diana Greene Foster, a demographer and an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco, first began studying women who were turned away from abortion clinics, she was struck by how little data there were. A few clinics kept records, but no one had compiled them nationally. And there was no research on how these women fared over time. What, Foster wondered, were the consequences of having to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term? Did it take a higher psychological or economic toll than having an abortion? Or was the reverse true—did the new baby make up for any social or financial difficulties?
...“The unstated assumption of most new abortion restrictions—mandatory ultrasound viewing, waiting periods, mandated state ‘information,’ ” Foster says, “is that women don’t know what they are doing when they try to terminate a pregnancy. Or they can’t make a decision they won’t regret.” Lost in the controversy, however, is the flip side of the question. What, Foster wondered, could the women who did not have the abortions they sought tell us about the women who did?
It's definitely worth your time.
Okay, my heart wasn't "broken" because I wasn't really in love because I was only 13. His name was Jason, we held hands once, talked on the phone a few times, and we never kissed. It lasted one week in 7th grade (Monday through Friday, not even the weekend) and I don't remember why we stopped "dating" (read: stopped awkwardly standing next to each other in the hallway between classes). Still, when it was "over," I was crushed and I listened to Janet Jackson sing "Again" every day and night for days, thinking "Yes, Janet, YES. Thank you. You know exactly how it feels."
Overall everything about this memory (and middle school, for that matter) feels so, so insignificant, but that was also the first time in my life I purposefully turned to music with therapeutic intent, which is actually not at all insignificant. It's kind of sweet and awesome.
In the book section this week, we pit brother against brother for your amusement: Bill Savage reviews Dan Savage's new book, and Dan Savage reviews Bill Savage's new book. If Dan's review of Chicago by Day and Night didn't convince you to give the book a try, you should watch this interview with Bill and his co-author Paul Durica. They talk about the not-very-subtly disguised references to prostitution in the Chicago 1892 World's Fair guidebook, and the different kinds of elaborate cons that could befall visitors to the Fair:
History nerds, and fans of Erik Larson's great Devil in the White City, should definitely check this book out.
Yeah, sure, today's revised state revenue and caseload forecasts bring feuding Republican and Democratic lawmakers $321 million closer to cutting a deal on a new state budget before the current one expires at the end of the month. But this slightly rosier revenue outlook—equivalent to about one percent of the $32 billion two-year budget—isn't the only reason we'll likely avoid a devastating government shutdown.
The buzz among some Olympia lobbyists is that a contingent of the senate's so-called "Majority Coalition Caucus" (you know, Republicans) have an international junket booked (I'm hearing China or Russia), scheduled to leave on or before July 1. It's a perk of the office that these lawmakers would be loath to give up, and so there would be extra pressure to strike a deal before scheduled departure.
I've attempted to confirm, but those who would know have yet to get back to me. But either way, yeah, after five-plus months of bullshit, expect a budget deal relatively soon.
Idaho Republican Party leaders are calling on the state Legislature to invalidate local city ordinances that ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation - like the one Coeur d’Alene passed after an emotional community debate just two weeks ago.
Six Idaho cities have passed such non-discrimination ordinances in the past year and a half, and a seventh, Idaho Falls, is looking into one now; the Idaho GOP wants them halted.
I'm trying to picture the kind of a person who wakes up in the morning and says to himself, "Today's the day! I'm finally gonna take a stand against those anti-discrimination laws!" How do you think that thought and not realize how monstrous your behavior is?
Professional attention-seeker and onstage ranter Michelle Shocked has announced she will return to San Francisco to play a free concert on Sunday, June 30th — the closing night of S.F. Pride festivities. Adding to the already bizzarre and controversial setup, Shocked's concert will coincide with a press blitz/egotrip coordinated across the SF Examiner and SF Weekly.
While many, including ourselves, hoped Shocked's dubious relevance would fade once her tour was cancelled and the retweets died out, the alt-folk singer thrust herself back into limelight late last week. She took to Twitter on Friday to announce the free concert, the SF Weekly exclusive, a treasured spot in the 2013 Pride Guide spread and a forthcoming opinion piece in the Examiner.
Here's something non-spoiler-y: According to the LA Times, Warner Bros. is distributing religious Man of Steel resource packs to pastors who want to include lessons from Man of Steel in their sermons. You can see what those lessons entail at the Man of Steel Ministry Resource site.
Now. If you're looking for a spoiler-free review of Man of Steel, you can find my review right here. After the trailer, I'm going to be talking about the climax of Man of Steel. Let me repeat: You should assume that everything after the trailer is made out of spoilers. (I'll get back to that ministry thing after the jump, too.)
This news is a few days old, but: When the economically and politically bruised Greek government announced it would shut down the country's equivalent of the BBC, the journalists and technicians didn't walk away. They took over.
On Tuesday, it was announced that ERT – the Greek equivalent of the BBC – would be closed down by Antonis Samaras' coalition government after 87 years of operation, the latest in a line of austerity measures after the country was bailed out in 2010. The "sudden death" of the national public broadcaster – which was largely state-funded, with Greek households paying a fee through their electricity bills – took with it some 2,600 jobs; journalists, technicians, artists – everyone it usually takes to run an array of nationwide TV and radio stations. There were plans to replace it with a new public broadcast company called NERIT, but with a hugely reduced number of staff.
However, its closure was far from the end of the story for ERT. Soon after the announcement was made at around 6PM, the redundant workers returned to their former place of work, took control of the company's broadcast frequencies and began transmitting their own programmes.
The government responded by trying to pull the plug on the now-volunteer journalism project, and the broadcasters played hide-and-seek with transmission signals. Meanwhile, thousands reportedly amassed at the station, radical leftists and conservatives alike, to express their support.
By the morning, the workers had won a few important technical battles, but the signal was still unstable and they had to regularly change the analogue and digital frequencies to keep on broadcasting. Worse still, armed police had begun trekking up the mountains around Athens to switch off ERT's antennas.
The European Broadcasters Union announced its support for ERT and gave it a satellite TV channel to broadcast worldwide.
Then Greece tried diplomatic intervention with Israel to shut ERT down:
Officials in Athens confirmed that Greece's ambassador to Israel, Spyros Lambrinis, had held talks with the Israeli government after it became clear that RRsat, a privately-owned local company and subcontractor of the EBU, was continuing to transmit ERT via its uplink facilities in Greece...
"He made no demands as such but, yes, it is a rather unpleasant situation," added the official who contacted the ambassador before speaking to the Guardian.
Now it looks like a Greek court has ordered the restoration of ERT's signal, but there's uncertainty about the staffing and future of the station.
The upshot: Greek journalists working for free while the Greek government burned diplomatic capital to stop them.
It's a mad world.
... I'd rock a pair of Dad legs in public:
An image going viral on Sina Weibo—the Chinese equivalent of Twitter—purports to promote 'hairy stockings'.
The picture shows a pair of legs hairy from thigh to ankle but non-hairy feet—leaving the gender of the subject open to debate.
''Super sexy, summertime anti-pervert full-leg-of-hair stockings, essential for young girls going out,'' the post reads, according to trend watcher ChinaSMACK.
I'd rock these aggressively hairy stockings, not because I have a problem staring at my (often unshaven) legs, but because I've never been able to resist being a spectacle.
Imagine how much fun life would be if this trend took off: Bus seats next to you would stay vacant, bridesmaids photos would be forever ruined, TSA agents would temper their pat downs. Just think of how angry, indignant, and offended strangers would be, being forced to stare at all those lady Dad legs in public. The horror!
Curtsies to Emily for the tip.
Saying that “it’s important we start early,” Sen. Claire McCaskill on Tuesday endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in one of the first major moves of the 2016 cycle....McCaskill backed President Barack Obama over Clinton in the 2008 cycle, something she acknowledged in the statement.
Holy shit. Clinton doesn't even have a campaign yet, and she's already getting endorsements. Like it or not, you're going to start seeing 2016 stories popping up everywhere very soon. Speaking of which, Politico also ran a story this morning theorizing that Bill Clinton is trying to reposition himself as a speaker on issues "that historically have been a natural province of first ladies." If Bill Clinton intentionally takes himself out of politics, that's probably the best sign yet that Hillary Clinton is going to run for office.
* The answer to the question in the headline is obviously no. According to just about every evangelical Christian in the country, Jesus Christ has already agreed to endorse whichever Republican winds up being the 2016 presidential candidate, because that's always how that works.
Don't order any hummus on your way home from the Gun Show.
I first saw this on Slog commenter Baconcat's Twitter feed, and it's glorious:
Semi-related: Am I crazy, or is John Oliver a really good Daily Show host?
The Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council (ERFC) just released its latest state revenue forecast: Up $110 million through the end of the 2011-2013 biennium, and up another $121 million in the 2013-2015 biennium. That magically brings the house and senate another $231 million closer to agreeing on a budget.
"This should break one of the final logjams," Senator Andy Hill (R-Redmond) predicted after the forecast was approved by the council. "It's a relatively small move in a $32 billion budget," explained Representative Ross Hunter (D-Medina)—about 0.7 percent—but "it closes the gap a little bit."
The uptick in state revenue during the first half of the year has largely been driven by strong growth in the construction industry. Construction is a particularly important revenue source for the state because of the many ways it is taxed. While the construction industry accounts for only 4.5 percent of the state's economy, it provides over 8 percent of state general fund revenue, so the the industry gives us a "big bang for the buck in terms of revenue collections," according to ERFC chief economist Steve Lerch.
The latest state Caseload Forecast Council report is also due out later today, and Hunter let slip that it would project about a $90 million reduction in costs. Combined with the improved revenue forecast, that should take the two sides a long way to resolving their budget differences—assuming the Republican objections are really about money. Still left to be resolved are Republican demands that Democrats surrender on several non-budget anti-worker "reforms" in exchange for the privilege of passing a budget. We'll see.
We must worship bikes at every opportunity...
Summary of five million bicycle journeys made in 2010/11 in central London as part of the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme. Origins and destinations of each journey recorded and animated along a curved trajectory.
Good to know. “I can assure you that the European Commission is not the Antichrist,” says Katharina von Schnurbein, the commission official responsible for mediating the increasingly rocky relations between religious and secular groups in Europe.
Hey Europe, how's that austerity working out for you? European car sales fell 5.9 percent in May to their lowest levels in 20 years.
Meanwhile, in the New World: The economically crucial US housing market continues to recover, with housing starts climbing 7 percent in April. It was the collapse of the housing market that kicked off this mess.
Occupy São Paulo. More than a hundred thousand people marched across Brazil yesterday to protest rising bus fares and extravagant stadium projects. Hmm. Rising bus fares and extravagant stadium projects. Why does that sound familiar?
9/11 was almost 12 years ago. NATO forces have officially handed over security control to Afghan troops as the US prepares to withdraw. Meanwhile the Taliban and the US have agreed to hold peace talks.
All you women stick together. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016.
Only 400 calories in an Iced Café Mocha! By the end of the month Starbucks will post calories on its menus at all 11,000 US locations. Personally, I wish they'd post caffeine content, since I usually only consume their product for medicinal purposes.
Athletes are role models! Seattle Seahawks guard John Moffit has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges stemming from an incident in which mall security allegedly spotted him urinating from the skybridge between Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square.
Hmm, maybe we should crash trucks into all our structurally deficient bridges? A temporary I-5 span across the Skagit River is expected to open this week, less than a month after the bridge collapsed. The federal government will pick up all but $1 million of the $18 million replacement cost. Such a deal!
Goddamn government regulations! A carbon monoxide leaking pool heater that is suspected of killing a Washington State couple in a South Carolina motel room was reportedly installed without the required city permit or inspection. Because freedom.
Something-shaking news: The US International Trade Commission has halted the import of two-armed vibrators after finding that they infringe on a Canadian company's patents. Newspapers nationwide rush to run headlines with the word "climax" in them.
It was a hard decision. A jury has cleared a Delaware doctor of negligence charges stemming from a penile implant that allegedly left a patient with an 8-month erection. "It's not something you want to bring out at parties and show to friends," the victim told unsympathetic jurors.
More than 8,600 children were treated for "genital crush injuries" due to falling toilet seats. Mostly boys. And yes, the medical definition of "genital crush injury" is pretty much exactly what you imagine.
But we can still abort the girl babies, right? And finally, US Representative Michael Burgess (R-TX) testifies that congress should ban abortions past 15 weeks, because that is the age at which male fetuses start masturbating:
Did you read that? Not the thing about Ben Bernanke leaving at the end of his term but that it's costing the US $85 billion a month to keep the market alive. Meaning, the whole market has in essence been nationalized, but it continues to act as if nothing of the kind has happened, as if it's still just all about what in truth it has never been about: investors, entrepreneurs, and the American freedom way. And the state presently has no idea how or when it can even denationalize the fucker.
But let's be real about this: Any bank or company or market that's too big to fail means it has reached the condition of nationalization. If the state cannot survive your collapse, you are in fact a state-supported entity. If you are small enough not to be of vital importance to the state, then you can properly claim to be a privately owned concern.
There's a new gallery opening inside the interestingly weird warren of Seattle Design Center, where upscale design shops cater to specialty clients next to art galleries taking up temporary residence in shops that have been left empty in a cutthroat economy. I got the email announcing Kate Alkarni Gallery yesterday; it opens July 18.
Good things: Deserving local artists like Kathy Liao will get commercial representation and presumably a new audience, and the roster interconnects the PNW with the rest of the universe; the roster's got artists from all over, Brooklyn to Boston to Chicago, at various levels of what those in the art world refer to as "emergence."
But there's something deeply silly going on in the PR. I have to remark on it, because it's not an anomaly. From the email, written by a marketing director I won't embarrass by name:
"What we're up to that's a bit different from everywhere else, is that we are focusing on positive, invigorating and uplifting fine art. We aren't going to fill our walls with protest art, or anything overtly depressing. We figure Seattle needs art that will brighten their walls to offset the grey days."
1: Art is not a vitamin, it is just art.
2: The gallery business is a hard business. Almost every gallery owner is trying to offer something they think is a positive contribution to the world. You're not different if you're positive.
3: What does art that is "positive, invigorating and uplifting" actually look like? We have been given parameters: no protest art. Even if the thing it is protesting is quite horribly negative? (Protests! So DRAB!)
4: I'm here to tell you that art that is not "overtly depressing" can be plenty implicitly depressing.
5: Have the artists been briefed about how positively uplifting their works are? Here's a segment from an Interview interview with Katherine Bernhardt, one of the artists at the gallery:
[Interviewer]: The brush strokes could be seen as a hostile gesture.
KB: Yes. Some people ask if I hate the models I paint. I say no, I don't hate them. I'm obsessed with them.
Again, the gallery business is a hard business. I'm not trying to give Kate Alkarni Gallery a hard time; I'm looking forward to seeing more work by Liao and Laura Hamje, and being introduced to Rachid Bouhamidi and Aaron Hobson. Surely the gallery was casting about for an angle to distinguish itself, and hey, maybe it has—I'm writing about it here.
But at the very least, those intent on reducing art and artists to cheering antidotes to modern life might leave the innocent environs of Seattle out of their scheme.
At the end of May, protests in Istanbul erupted because capital wanted to transform a public space, a park into another shopping center. And now this...
Absolutely jaw-dropping photo of the massive protests in Rio pic.twitter.com/NWcgsDsbRq #Brazil
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) June 18, 2013
The spark for Brazil's escalating protests was a 2 June increase in the price of a single bus fare in Sao Paulo from 3 reals ($1.40, £0.90) to 3.20 reals.But why not reward people for using public transportation and punish people for using cars or helicopters...
Authorities say the rise is well below inflation, which since the last price increase in January 2011 has been at 15.5%, according to official figures.
There are ways to beat the commute. Rush hour in São Paulo,Brazil, features the same gridlocked streets as many big cities, but theskies afford a brilliant display of winking lights from the helicoptersferrying the city’s upper class home for the evening. Helipads dot thetops of high-rise buildings and are standard features of São Paulo’sguarded residential compounds. The helicopter speeds the commute, bypasses car-jackings, kidnappings—and it prettifies the sky. “My favorite time to fly is at night, because the sensation is equaled only in movies or in dreams,” says Moacir da Silva, the president of the São Paulo Helicopter Pilots Association. “The lights are everywhere, as if I were flying within a Christmas tree”From McKenzie Wark's new and excellent book The
The one fact that must not be missed is that these protests are occurring at the end of a long period of exceptional economic expansion for Brazil. The country now has the 5th largest economy in the world.
What unchecked colony collapse would look like in the supermarket.
As expected, today a special city council committee advanced legislation that would leverage a citywide property tax to publicly fund city council races starting in 2015. The measure is expected to be passed at next Monday's full council meeting, which means it's all but destined to appear before voters as a referendum on the November ballot.
But as I reported earlier today, if voters also pass another city ballot measure—an initiative advocating for city council district seats, instead of our current at-large elections—it will make today's public campaign financing efforts all but worthless because the legislation only pertains to at-large council seats, not district-held seats.
Nick Licata and Mike O'Brien introduced an amendment to fix this huge problem via a district amendment.
But council members were skeptical of the fix:
Richard Conlin: "I don't know whether this really makes sense."
Tim Burgess: "It's premature to try and structure a district program until we see what the voters have to say on that subject."
Jean Godden: "It's going to be extremely hard to explain to voters."
If these two pieces of legislation pass this November, I think it's going to be even harder to explain why the city council needs to return to voters in a year to clarify the law when they could've easily taken care of it in committee now.
Faced with no support, Licata withdrew the amendment. His second amendment, aimed at reducing the total amount of public funds available to a candidate from $210,000 to $180,000, also failed in committee, while an amendment proposed by O'Brien (and tweaked in committee) to change the public financing filing deadline from 14 days to 21 days after the last day to file for city council, passed.
My wife of 10 years and I have a great relationship. We make each other laugh, love to go out together when work/parenting schedules allow and have a fun sex life which includes experimentation and fantasy. While we've talked in the past about swinging and threesomes, one of the fantasy subjects recently coming up, at my choosing, has been her being with another man alone. I've been encouraging her to tell me if she ever gets attention from another man and we've talked about when things have turned her on in the past. I've always been careful to let her know that she can feel comfortable telling me these things and not throw them up in her face afterwards.
A few weeks back while fooling around she told me that shortly after we were married, and prior to my bringing up her alone with another man, that she had grabbed her trainer's dick once for a split second and pretended it was an accident. She said he was very flirtatious and "hands-on" while showing which muscle groups were being worked and she just got hot and grabbed him. I was turned on and, surprisingly, not that bothered by it.
This past weekend during sex I told her that had really turned me on. She then haltingly revealed to me that she had not only grabbed him that time, but jerked him off over his shorts for five minutes or so until he came. While I was incredibly turned on while this was going on, I felt sick afterwards. I haven't said anything to her about it since that night but I feel betrayed and cheated on, and that she stepped way over the line. I love this woman and trusted her deeply, but this has really shaken me.
How Do I Make Sense Of This?
My response after the jump...
2. Meanwhile, at Elliott Bay Book Company, Tao Lin is reading. Lin, who is a Stranger contributor, has a lot riding on his new novel, Taipei. For a while there, he was everywhere, basically dictating a style to a whole new generation of novelists. That moment has passed, and everybody's been waiting and wondering what he's going to do next. Reviews of Taipei are either adoring or loathing. Which is funny, because I started reading it and got about seventy-five pages in and then I set it aside and I promptly forgot I was reading it. This never happens to me. I don't hate it, I don't love it. I just feel apathetic about it, or, as Lin might say, I read the book with a neutral expression. If you are going to this reading, you should know that it'll be starting a little late:
**BREAKING** Due to a flight delay, our event with Tao Lin tonight will begin at 8pm. http://t.co/yswbtxCS7R— Elliott Bay Book Co. (@ElliottBayBooks) June 17, 2013
3. So you have two completely different authors reading tonight. One is a crowd-pleasing bestseller. The other is a trendsetting modernist who the lit blogs can't stop writing about. Which reading will you attend? Your choice will say a whole lot about you.
4. Or, you could just go to Shannon Huffman Polson's reading at Third Place Books. Her memoir North of Hope is about how her parents were murdered by a grizzly bear, and what she did after that. This is just about the widest spectrum of author readings in a single evening that I can imagine.