We're observing Slog silence from now until 11 a.m. while we have an editorial meeting, but look—we made an entire paper's worth of stuff for you! Here's what Birch has to say.

Homosexuality, anticapitalism, and drunkenness are The Stranger's holy trinity—the three stars that guide the efforts of the editorial department's donkeys and sheep. I take it we are supposed to be alarmed by the cover image of a beat-up local musician named NATHAN QUIROGA, whose account of how those bruises ended up on that face is one of the three main pieces this week, but there is nothing surprising in his account. He is a fourth-rate Bukowski who knows neither why he beats nor why he is beaten. Fascinating stuff! Still, one is forced to admit that the writing here is livelier than what usually passes for a first-person essay in The Stranger. Uncharacteristically, we are mercifully spared any glorification of homosexuality (Mr. Quiroga indicates he is heterosexual), as well as the usual antibusiness spite.

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That's where the regular staff steps in. On the antibusiness tip, JEN GRAVES comes out mightily against a skating rink that is not ice—shock of shocks, the Pacific Northwest climate cannot sustain ice in an outdoor setting—but instead a high-tech plastic. Though she obscures her intentions in a vainglorious depiction of herself skating on frozen lakes in upstate New York as a child, allow me to pull back the veil. The obvious line of attack here is that the rink was funded by local real-estate mogul (and—full disclosure—canasta partner of yours truly) Michael "Man-at-Arms" Malone as a way to make Capitol Hill palatable to families who might like to do some of their Christmas shopping there. And, of course, Mike is the landlord to many of these businesses. So—shock! Gasp! Swoon!—Mike has a vested interest in the ice-skating rink: He hopes that local businesses, and therefore the community, will prosper. How dare he?

As for the glorification-of-homosexuality beat, DOMINIC HOLDEN finds his way to Bellevue to infiltrate a meeting of Christian leaders who are simply exercising their right to participate in democracy and strains himself to depict them in unflattering terms, mainly by commenting on their attire and the color of their hair. Elsewhere, BETHANY JEAN CLEMENT favorably reviews a restaurant that is owned by an acquaintance of hers. The arts news and gossip column LOOSE LIPS takes predictable glee in a restaurant burning down and an product doing poorly. MISTRESS MATISSE addresses an embarrassing column to Santa (it dawns on one that perhaps she does not yet know he doesn't exist—shhhh). And the normally sane ELI SANDERS applauds a handful of Occupy protesters who struggle to stop the wheels of commerce by clogging up the works at the Port of Seattle. What better way to celebrate Christmas, after all, than by not allowing people's gifts to arrive in local businesses? Happy holidays, indeed.

Winter Starts Now is coming to the Seattle area November 2 - 24!
Warren Miller’s 72nd film travels from California to Colorado, to Maine, and up the coast of Alaska. Get tickets at