Road closures abound: Welp, it'll be a nightmare crossing Lake Washington this weekend. The westbound 520 bridge will be closed starting Friday at 11 pm through the weekend. An eastbound lane will remain open until Saturday at 9 am when the entire bridge will close down to traffic. Construction crews are doing some paving. That's nothing compared to what's going on with Montlake Boulevard. Crossing the cut will get a lot more complicated starting Friday at 10 pm when Montlake closes until July 24th. Plan your trips accordingly.
Hollywood on strike: The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) will officially join striking writers in New York and Los Angeles in what is now the biggest Hollywood strike in decades. This is the first time both guilds have simultaneously been on strike and walked off sets since 1960, when Ronald Reagan was SAG-president. Both groups are worried about "contracts keeping up with inflation, residual payments in the streaming era and putting up guardrails against the use of artificial intelligence." Actress Fran Drescher had some words to say about the whole thing:
SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher: "I am shocked by the people that we have been in business with are treating us... How they plead poverty, that they're losing money left and right, when giving hundreds of millions of dollars to their CEOs. It is disgusting. Shame on them" pic.twitter.com/6pwsm2LzR2— TIME (@TIME) July 14, 2023
A tinsel-covered ghost town: No writers, no actors, no red carpets, no press tours. This strike is shutting down the Hollywood machine. Yesterday, just before SAG announced the strike, stars at the Oppenheimer premiere such as Emily Blunt and Cillian Murphy left to "write their picket signs," director Christopher Nolan told the crowd.
Hollywood fats cats are not happy: Disney CEO Bob Iger said the writers and actors were being "unrealistic" in their demands and that the strike was "very disturbing."
Bob Iger is completely out of touch if he thinks the unions are the ones being unrealistic here. pic.twitter.com/t9XDabMhMZ— Adam Conover (@adamconover) July 14, 2023
Western State Hospital is batty: The psychiatric hospital just south of Tacoma has been home to lots of bats. Upcoming renovations on the hospital will likely destroy the bats' homes. Luckily, crews have planned the demolition right around when the bats migrate, so their little lives should be spared.
Paralyzed cyclist wins $10 million from King County: Back in 2017, a cyclist riding along the Green River Trail in Tacoma hit a bollard, a metal post meant to deter cars, went up and over his handles bars, and landed on his head. He's been paralyzed ever since. In a case against King County, the man contends the bollard "had poor visibility, no warning signs and was installed in an 'unusual' location." The county settled the case for $10 million.
Exceptional Wedgwood tree on the chopping block: A new construction project will level the massive, two-trunked redwood on Northeast 88th Street. The tree's trunks are each an estimated four feet in diameter. In its place, the city will get six new units of housing. Tree activists believe there was a way to preserve the tree and get the housing, but the construction company doesn't seem to think so. In the midst of an ongoing housing crisis, we need all the housing we can get, but it's a huge bummer when it comes at the cost of majestic nature.
You fucking idiots, get vaccinated: London is at risk of a measles outbreak that could kills dozens and hospitalize thousands all because people aren't vaccinated their children. Measles is the most infectious respiratory disease. Children will be severely sickened if vaccine rates don't rise. Unvaccinated people who skated by unscathed because of herd immunity will also be susceptible to the disease. It's all so dumb.
Let her shred gnar, damn it: Officials want to capture an aggressive Santa Cruz otter who keeps stealing surf boards. I say let her surf! Or, let her chase the invasive species out of her habitat. When captured, she will be transported to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. She's done nothing wrong! Let women have hobbies!
Wildlife officials are trying to capture this 5-year-old otter who was seen wrestling away a surfboard near Santa Cruz, California on Sunday.— The Associated Press (@AP) July 13, 2023
The otter has reportedly shown aggression for several weeks. She will be evaluated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium once she’s captured. pic.twitter.com/HC6TEM59xO
No more fire department for Mercer Island: Mercer Island has lost its fire department privileges. No, no, I'm just kidding. The city decided it would be more cost efficient to contract with Eastside Fire & Rescue. Mercer Island's 29 fire fighters will move over to EF&R. The city will save $260,000 in 2024 by contracting with EF&R, though the transition cost will be $1.2 million.
US says no to climate reparations: Developing nations who face severe impacts of climate change (read: floods, storms, natural disasters) want richer nations that have contributed far more to the problem to give them some compensation. When asked whether the US would pay these reparations at a House of Representatives foreign affairs committee, climate envoy John Kerry said, "No, under no circumstances."
In climate devastation news: Torrential rains cancelled flights and cut power across South Korea. Europe is sweltering in a heat wave the Greeks have named Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the underworld. Parts of Italy could reach 118 degrees. A Vermont man, 63, drowned in the floods submerging the state.
Police arrest suspect in Long Island killings: Authorities arrested a suspect in a string of murders from 2010 and 2011. The deaths of nine women, a man, and a toddler remain unsolved, and police believe some of the murders may be linked to a serial killer.
Seattle Times Ed Board draws the line: The paper fired its new columnist, David Volodzko, after he wrote his first op-ed and tweeted a whole thread about how Hitler wasn't as bad as Lenin. This just goes to show that if you're thinking about publicly praising Hitler's positive qualities, maybe don't.
Who among us hasn't engaged in twitter recently in a way that is inconsistent with our company values and those of our family ownership https://t.co/0crEd9ism2— Rich Smith (@richsssmith) July 13, 2023
A new "Play Date" for you: My newest column about Seattle subcultures is out. This time I take you into the world of Seattle improv, a world I've been exploring for about nine months.
ICYMI: The Robert F. Kennedy Jr. press dinner was certainly something. Two old men devolved into a screaming match over "the climate hoax" when one of them asked a question about the environment. The screaming became personal (they've known each other for 30 years). So personal, in fact, that one of the men started farting, as if his flatulence were the last and most effective secret weapon in a battle of wits. Though, as PageSix notes, it's unclear whether the fart was a personal attack or directed toward the very idea of global warming. You've really got to read the PageSix story. There are too many good details. I can't do justice in this blurb.
Here's an early Shakira song for you: I love this early, 90s rock-style Shakira. I've chosen to give you a video of her performing this live, but just look up "Si Te Vas" if you want a studio version.