This machine kills.
This machine kills. JOANNE DIFUCCIA/GETTY

The warmongering Blue Angels are back in town, bringing their brutal choreography to Seattle with their practice flybys today and "performances" running between 3 and 4 pm Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The war dance of these killing machines will shake homes from Queen Anne to Bellevue, including The Stranger’s office on top of Capitol Hill. We won’t be spared from the roar of F/A-18 Hornets, and, because of that, you won’t be spared from hearing the howl of a hundred Stranger writers opine about this war show.

Where should we start? How about from our Philosopher-in-Residence, Charles Mudede, who reminded us last year that we can’t avoid our country’s war crimes just by looking the other way, especially when the Blue Angels will “burst a cherished bubble right quick":

We will look to the sky and see those war machines shredding our clouds. And they will tell us what we need to hear all of the time: We live in an Empire... The Blue Angels are only telling us this truth.

Former Stranger writer David Schmader disagreed with Mudede back in 2010 with his post, "I Hate the Blue Angels." Former Stranger editor Bethany Jean Clement followed Schmader in 2011 with an equally angry post that had the benefit of capitalization and punctuation: "I HATE YOU, BLUE ANGELS." And then former Stranger book critic Paul Constant found "Yet Another Reason to Hate the Blue Angels," when the Washington Post published an e-mail showing that a former Blue Angel pilot filed a sexual harassment complaint saying the Blue Angel workplace was rife with pornography, sexually explicit speech, and jokes about sexual orientation.

Erstwhile Stranger columnist Trent Moorman was so curious about the pilots' sexual proclivities that he decided to call the Air ForceNavy and ask for their spokesperson Lt. Amber Lynn Daniel, which turned into one of this blog's best interviews ever. Here's a short snippet:

I'm calling from Schluggs International Breast Magazine. We hear your pilots like to look at porn in the cockpit while they're traveling at extremely high speeds. We'd like to send you our latest edition. The woman in our main spread has breasts that are especially large, and we think your guys will really like it. It'll go good at high speeds. Her left breast has a tattoo of a B-17 bomber on it. And her right one has a B-52. She's from Kansas.

I'm not cleared to talk about any of this.

Where's Amber Lynn? Does she look at the porn, too?

I'm not allowed to give out information like that, I'm sorry. If you want to leave your number and a message, I'll make sure she gets it.

Tell her Schluggs called.

What's your name?

George W. Bush.

George W. Bush?

That's right. And if my fighter pilots need to look at porn in order to fly at their peak level, then let's let them look at porn. I don't understand what all the uproar is about. If porn helps my guys when they're flying two feet apart from each other at Mach speeds, I want them to look at all the porn they want. People don't understand how difficult it is to do what the Blue Angels do. They are performing incredibly technical maneuvers and pulling massive g-forces that make normal people pass out.

You don't need to tell me that, sir.

Not all Stranger writers are comfortable making such pornographic jokes, like when I reminded everyone last year that the Blue Angels are part of a military campaign in Iraq that needlessly killed over 100,000 people:

Like your high school cheerleading team, the Blue Angels perform impressive aerial maneuvers and get to wear matching uniforms, only this cheerleading team isn't rooting for the home team as much as rooting for excessive military waste and the ability to drop thousands of pounds of bombs on humans the American government doesn't like.

Or when Rich Smith pointed out back in 2015 that, since America's terror campaigns are now more full of drones than manned planes, we should probably update our nationalist sky parades accordingly:

Kids and parents see the Blue Angels and they think we're still KICKIN' ASS, TOP GUN STYLE. But, as Reuters reported last year, Frank Kendall, the chief weapons buyer for the Pentagon, said that he doesn't even see buying F/A-18 planes after 2018. The future is constant war enabled by drones, and if we don't listen to Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and literally one thousand academics, it will also include autonomous robots of death... Therefore, this weekend, the skies over Lake Washington should be as blank and blue as they are over Pakistan and Yemen, or they should be swarming with prototypes of autonomous robots outfitted with enough explosives to puncture a human skull.

However, not everyone in our bong-aerated office has hated the Blue Angels over the years. Erica C. Barnett made it clear in 2007, in her response to Anthony Hecht's post titled "SKY NASCAR," that, when it comes to the "Blue Angels: Bring ‘Em On!"

Yes, the Blue Angels cost money. But personally, I’m a lot more concerned about my Taxpayer! Dollars! when the federal government is wasting them on crap like abstinence-only education and subsidies to Big Coal (not to mention, you know, the war) than on an air show that gives an awful lot of people a lot of enjoyment at very little cost.

Former news editor Josh Feit pointed out in 2007 that the airshow could kill people right here in Seattle in a post titled "It Can’t Happen Here." The post was simply a copy-paste of an AP story about a fatal Blue Angels crash during a show in South Carolina. Dan Savage responded by musing that It Definitely Can Happen Here.

Well, speaking as handwringer, my concern that the Blue Angels will fall on our heads someday is genuine, not merely an objection to the noise, waste, and freakin’ pointlessness of it all. (Although I object to all that too.) But whenever I’m like, “One day one of those fucking planes is going to plow into something — a neighborhood, a house, Columbia Tower,” I’m told that It Can’t Happen Here. That the Blue Angels never crash, that there are better things to worry about. (Who says I don’t worry about other things too? Can you only worry about one thing at a time?)

Dan is right, you can worry about more than one thing at a time just as you can have conflicting feelings about the same thing, which is how current Print Editor Christopher Frizzelle summarized his relationship with the warplanes in 2014. His relationship with the planes starts back in 1996 when he traveled from L.A. to Bellevue with his entire family crammed in a black Thunderbird to visit his grandmother. They accidentally happened upon the show and Frizzelle's Slog post about it encapsulated what might be the mission statement for The Stranger on this topic: " I Love the Blue Angels, and I Hate the Blue Angels."

...obviously I think it's ridiculous and wasteful to sonically terrify Seattle and Bellevue once a year just to show off gas-guzzling American might—USA! USA!—buuuut... I also have to admit that choreography people are forced to watch is a funny concept (not enough people appreciate choreography).

And I also have to admit that, well, how do I put this? My family and I don't agree on some big-picture things. But we all agreed on that day in 1996 about the awesomeness (capable of inspiring awe) of the Blue Angels. And somewhere deep in my brain, I filed Seattle away as an okay place to be. It's probably an exaggeration to say I ended up moving here because of the Blue Angels, but it's not that much of an exaggeration.