Still got your smoke mask from last year? You might need it soon.
Still got your smoke mask from last year? You might need it soon. robh/Getty Images

Trouble’s a-brewing at Julia’s. Though the restaurant/bar just barely managed to bounce back from pandemic closure (read my interview with the owner here), this weekend several performers parted ways with the establishment. In a statement, they describe surprise tip-splitting, and say that management fired them after they made a few requests, including a per-performer rate of $300/show (the show, which is elaborate, requires regular rehearsals) and also an end to a policy preventing them from performing at any other venues. (Full disclosure: I’m friends with and have hired Irene Dubois for shows.)

Oregon’s Bootleg fire is getting worse. Several hundred people have been ordered to evacuate an area northeast of Klamath Falls, with the blaze rapidly expanding. There are currently around a thousand people fighting the fire, which covered 148,000 acres as of Sunday afternoon. Crater Lake is experiencing unhealthy air quality from the smoke, which could expand toward more populated areas this week. No word yet on the cause... aside from our culture’s suicidal addiction to fossil fuels. Meanwhile the enormous Beckworth fire in California is continuing to spread, and was just 8 percent contained as of this weekend.

Cuba has reached a breaking point. An economic meltdown spurred by the pandemic has thrown Cuba into chaos, with massive unemployment, shortages, and a failing healthcare system. Hundreds took to the streets this weekend to protest, an unheard of situation given how carefully the country tries to control dissent. Cuban officials blame the economic woes on American interference.

City versus plants. We may have discovered the most formidable opponent Jenny Durkan will face in her entire tenure as mayor: A patch of tomato plants. The city is trying to uproot a community garden at Jimi Hendrix Park that was started by Marcus Henderson (who also created the garden in Cal Anderson Park during last year’s protests). There’s some dispute over who agreed to what, but, in the meantime, the garden is producing real food for people in a community with a shortage of healthy options. Gotta say, it doesn’t look great to see the city trying to evict a group of Black farmers.

Nightlife is back! And along with it, violence. This weekend, someone was shot in the leg at the gas station by Broadway and Pike. Police were called to the scene but didn’t immediately respond — great work, everyone, really, top-notch. There were a handful of other violent after-hours incidents, including a holdup at an ATM and a knife fight. Must we?

A billion dead animals. I can’t wrap my head around the magnitude of it. As we've written before, researchers estimate that as many as a billion marine animals may have been killed by the recent heat wave from the Strait of Georgia to Puget Sound. The die-off may now cause a chain reaction, impacting the animals that were able to survive. Just, you know, something to think about the next time you hear a department of transportation explain that we can’t build more bike lanes because they would inconvenience cars. Oh, also, hundreds of manatees are starving to death in Florida right now. Anyway, let’s continue to make tiny incremental changes in our lifestyles and hope that climate change just goes away on its own.

So long, jerks. Charlottesville took down several racist monuments this weekend, including statues of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. Also removed was a statue of Sacagawea, which I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting; but when you see the statue it’s clear why it was a problem, as it depicts the figure crouching unpleasantly while two white explorers tower over her.

So long, other jerks. Billionaire Richard Branson went to space this weekend, and then came back. Jeff Bezos will go up on a vanity flight of his own next week. Future flights will be open to the public, with seats probably costing around a quarter million. A billion sea animals died last month and it was the hottest June in America's history but sure send rich idiots into space, a great use of money.

As if Seattle wasn’t moldy enough already. There’s a new fungus in town, and it’s slowly eating our trees. Though the role of climate change in spreading this new menace isn’t fully understood, rising temperatures and drought have left trees more vulnerable — some trees even have scorch marks from the recent weather.

Tree murderer captured! If I saw this on a CSI show I’d be like “that’s clearly not how science works,” but apparently it’s true: Investigators did DNA testing on trees to catch a wood thief/arsonist who set a forest fire while trying to destroy a wasp’s nest on some trees he was about to steal. The blaze got out of hand and cost over $4 million to contain. Andrew Wilke faces ten years (!) in prison.

Let’s get those girls climbing. The West Seattle Girl Scouts’ Day Camp is looking for a last-minute rock climbing instructor for later this month. Call Diana if you’ve got any leads.

The Port of Seattle stinks. A giant Celebrity Cruises ship has been belching toxic exhaust over by Belltown for the last few days. The boat could be connected to shore power, allowing it to turn off the diesel engines, but the Port of Seattle hasn’t added that capability to Pier 66 yet and isn’t scheduled to do so until 2023. Until then, try not to inhale too deeply.

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Star Trek advice, please. I posted a new video this weekend about how Garak and Bashir on Deep Space Nine were Star Trek’s greatest gay couple (even though it took a fan effort to finally get them together). That spurred an intriguing question: If someone has never watched a Star Trek before, where’s the best place to start? My partner and I both independently came to the same answer, which is with Star Trek IV: The One With the Whales. That one's a whimsical romp that gives you a nice taste of Star Trek’s adventuresome curiosity while requiring almost no prior knowledge of the characters or lore (aside from a little housekeeping at the top). It's a real hoot! What would you recommend?

You all have GOT to try this rhubarb cake recipe. I got a rhubarb plant at the Capitol Hill Farmers Market a few months ago and it’s gone WILD, so I’ve been looking for recipes and found a real winner with this breakfast cake one. But here’s the catch: Instead of using vanilla, substitute almond extract. I accidentally discovered that it works much much better, after my partner used up all the vanilla on iced coffee (without telling me, though I can’t be too mad because most of those drinks were for me).