NOVEMBER 27, 1998 Today a random act of violence made splashy national news when 43-year old New Jersey native Silas Cool, who had drifted into profound alienation from his family and friends, paid the world back for his misery by shooting 44-year-old Mark McLaughlin, the driver of the #359 Metro bus, then shooting himself. The bus went off the side of the Aurora Bridge, and Cool, 69-year-old passenger Herman Liebelt, and the driver were killed in the resulting crash. Mr. Cool, can you hear me down there? You were a jackass. You were so not cool.
NOVEMBER 28, 1851 On this day, Charles C. Terry opened Seattle's first convenience store on Alki Point. Lit with overly bright whale-oil lamps and under the eye of a primitive securicam (a young boy who stood watch over what the customers were doing, relaying the information verbally to the stockroom), this late-night destination offered customers their selection of goods from an initial shipment (from Portland, on the schooner Exact) of one box of tinware, one box of axes, one box of tobacco, one keg of brandy, one keg of whiskey, a box of raisins (!), and, it is believed, a keg of Cherry Coke Slurpee and a whalebone etched with pornographic scrimshaw.
NOVEMBER 29, 2000 This evening The Stranger arrived at central locations in downtown and Capitol Hill, and included a mostly hilarious WTO Anniversary Battle Plan, co-written by the regular author of this column, David Schmader. However, there was one item for which I was required to take him to task: the inclusion of the phrase "violent anarchist idiots." I made the claim that the destruction of property (particularly that of corporations whose labor practices are coercive) was not violent. Mr. Schmader disagreed and whipped out the Webster's, which defines the word "violent" as "involving great strength or force or intensity." Okay, so the anarchists were violent. Then so was the Boston Tea Party, and my last visit to the Lusty Lady. But Dave wasn't talking about the Black Bloc trashing the Gap; he was referring to the dipshits who broke the windows of the Starbucks on Pike and went in for the two-pound bags of French roast and home espresso makers. Those weren't anarchists; they were merely anarchic for a few stupid minutes. Anarchism is not disorder, but a political philosophy of DIY communitarian governance. The anarchists I am acquainted with are some of the gentlest and smartest people I know. And I say to them, don't hate Schmader; he's a doll.
NOVEMBER 30, 2000 One year ago today, somewhere between 75 and 100,000 people gathered on the streets of Seattle to shut down the WTO. For me, it was the first time since I was 17 that the world revealed possibilities I hadn't known it to contain. Everybody was beautiful--I mean, like you wanted to get naked with them: old ladies, big fat dudes, scrawny vegans. We could have had the biggest orgy in human history, with just some wine and candlelight. At the end of that week, former Republican King County Council Member Brian Derdowski came to the lockdown of the Westin Hotel at about 3:00 in the morning and told the hundred people linked up in front of the doors that "an hour ago, the (leader) of the WTO declared the talks a failure. I am so proud of you all." (Ditto, baby.) To commemorate the first anniversary of the occasion, tonight locals marched on Westlake Center. Despite threats about harsh penalties for "lawlessness" from our idiotic mayor, a couple thousand Seattleites turned out, mostly in the holiday spirit of "Well, fuck you, too!" They marched; they sang; and they took the lanes reserved for traffic without much resistance from the police. Hopes that the nine-location Starbucks-trashing of the night before would be visited on the NikeTown block were left unfulfilled, and having made our point, we set off around sundown to go see The Dina Martina Christmas Show at On the Boards. Evidently the police later arrested and/or shot less easily distracted demonstrators with rubber bullets to free Fourth Avenue for cars, but not having spoken to anyone who was there and having gone through this once before, we know better than to believe what we see on TV or in the papers.
DECEMBER 1, 1999 On this wonderful night, the Seattle Police Department came onto Capitol Hill, and, with a made-up story about Molotov cocktails, spent the night terrorizing pedestrians and... oh, whatever. (Warning to WTO nostalgists: The '60s were pretty great until everyone got lost talking about how great they were. Make some shit happen.)
··Also on this date in 1969, the University of Washington suspended the accreditation of the campus wing of the Students for a Democratic Society, when the affiliated group the Weathermen (later the Weather Underground) trashed the ROTC offices in Savery Hall. On the same day, the Seattle Black Panthers (of which King County Council Member Larry Gossett was not! not! a member) opened the Sidney Miller Free Clinic on 20th and Spruce.
DECEMBER 2, 2000 Today we temporarily abandon the violent splendors of the Northwest for the impressively icky splendors of Virginia, where a woman found a fun surprise in her McDonald's Chicken McNuggets: a deep-fried chicken head, batter and all. This won't shock anyone who has worked in the fast-food industry. As someone who is basically too lazy to cook, over the years I've turned up several unpleasant "extras" in restaurant food, including wood chips on a pizza, rocks in green tofu curry, safety glass in hummus, Band-Aid stir-fry, and recently at one of my favorite local joints, a dead fly in a salad. (And these are only the things I found.) Except for the Band-Aid (also in Virginia--what's up with those people?), I ate in all those places again. As far as Mickey D's is concerned, I'd say the McNuggets are probably worse for you than the chicken head.
DECEMBER 3, 1970 Back to the Northwest: Today the U.S. Senate voted to deny funding to the Supersonic Transport project, or SST, in which the Feds had arranged for Boeing and Lockheed to develop a passenger airplane to travel faster than sound. Boeing immediately laid off 7,500 employees, and after losing contracts the next year, made cuts that resulted in the loss of 60,000 jobs in the industry, sending the region into an economic funk from which it would not fully recover for more than a decade. The full-size mockup of the plane was sold to a Florida amusement park; the depressed affordability of Seattle made the city a magnet for struggling artists and musicians; SST lent its name to a great, great Los Angeles record label that released most of the important American punk records of the 1980s; and now times are flush and everyone I know can barely afford to live here. Ain't history crazy?
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