Downtowners DVD Release & Saints of Everyday Failures CD Release

The Olympia produced documentary on youth homelessness, Downtowners, will be released on DVD at the end of this month, coinciding with the release of Olympia hip hop artists Saints of Everyday Failures fourth amazing and inspiring album, State of the Art is Failure.
Please join us at The Mark, to celebrate these releases! A screening of Downtowners starts at 9 pm, followed by music at 10 by the Saints of Everyday Failures and Baltimore hip hop pioneer Labtekwon. Admission is $5 OR $30.00 including the Saints of Everyday Failures CD & the Downtowners DVD

This is a 21+ event

Downtowners Press Release

Click here to view the Downtowners Trailer

Ominous words

There is an interesting discussion about the future water needs of Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater. There is a lot of emphasis on conservation, but Bob Jacobs isn't buying it. From The Olympian:

Former Olympia mayor Bob Jacobs is less optimistic that water supply challenges will ever curb growth.

“Totally unlimited growth is kind of an article of faith — a religious kind of thing,” he said.

The one thing almost everybody agrees on is this: Water availability will be the Achilles’ heel of growth in South Sound.


I still have a pulse.

I've been visiting Washington, DC for the last week. It's great to see where this whole "United States"-business got started.

I counted 11 representatives on the floor while I was at the Capitol building.

Our tax dollars at work.


Today at the peace rally downtown, a woman handed out bright pink flyers that proclaimed "Public Notice - Right now, there is a law on the books that when announced will change your life!". One side of the flyer lists information on something called NESARA, the opposite side contains the Bill of Rights.

NESARA is an "internet based conspiracy theory involving secret laws, white knights, aliens, and September 11.". Members attend most peace and social justice rallies in Olympia and hand out flyers. The Tacoma News Tribune did an expose of this group and their Shelton based founder a few years back.

So before buying into a conspiracy theory, shop around on the net, there are many to choose from, even here in Olympia.

Twisted Conundrum, Khrushchev's Donuts

It is early evening as you return to your home. You are sure that all the lights were turned off when you left this morning, but you see the kitchen light is on. You unlock the front door, and can hear some kind of cookery noises from the stove area. Slowly you tiptoe to the warm light of your kitchen, look into the door and see ...

... Nikita Khrushchev in the middle of the room wearing an apron. He is in the process of making donuts. The table is filled with them. Nikita appears to be alive and well, looking much like he did in the early 1960s. Never mind that he is now well over 100 years old. Never mind that he supposedly died in 1971. Here he is, in your kitchen, wearing an apron, making donuts.

He greets you with great fondness, speaking in broken English. He asks if it is okay if he can hide out at your place "for a few days." Nikita promises that he is no threat to our national security. He cannot explain the how and why about his presence in your kitchen. And he can give nothing in return, except conversation and donuts. So can he stay with you for a bit, and would you promise not tell anyone, at least for awhile?

He offers you a donut. It is the best donut you have ever had in your life.

What would you do?

More Twisted Conundra here

Twisted Conundrum, Renfield/Penguin

In 2001 I had compiled some columns called "Twisted Conundrums" and they were published in The Stranger for a season. Or at least I think they were. I never saw them in print but the publisher sent me checks. Later, I gathered them in a book (possibly still available at the Danger Room). Anyway, I'll be sharing a few of them here in OlyBlog. The first one is an all-time classic question. I have probably posed this choice to well over 100 people in the last few years. Here goes:

You are driving down a quiet residential street, not really paying attention to the road. You realize moments too late that a car has stopped in front of you and even though you slam on the brakes, your front bumper manages to lightly tap the rear of the other car. Not real hard, but enough to give the other driver a bit of a jolt.

This other car is big. It has evil looking fins. It is a black car with tinted windows. The driver's door opens and as you see the leg step out, you notice that instead of a foot, this car's owner has a cloven hoof. As he approaches you, you just know that this being is not of this earth.

He taps on your window, you roll it down. "Okay," he says in a sweetly menacing way, "This is only a minor infraction, so I shall make your curse a mildly amusing one. For the rest of your life, whenever you laugh, you can sound either like the character of Renfield as played by Dwight Frye in the 1931 classic motion picture Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi, or, the character of the Penguin as played by Burgess Meredith in the hit TV series Batman (1966-1968)."

So as you think about it, you know that whenever you go to a movie, or a restaurant, or a party, whenever you laugh out loud people will stop and stare at you. As Renfield, your laugh would sound something like "Huh-hnnn-hnnn-hnnn-heeeen," with a psychopathic edge. The Penguin sounds like, "Wa-waaaak-waaaak-waaaak-qwak."

"Choose one," he demands. You know that refusing to do so is not an option.

Which one would you pick? Renfield or Penguin

More Twisted Conundra here.

End of 90 minute parking, John G. Bell's perspective

Former city council candidate thinks about parking. John G. Bell's blog:

Note here that changes were made to put the kibosh on the use of parking by workers. So, parking isn’t for workers unless they pay? It’s important to nickel and dime the people that work downtown and service the upscale shoppers the current vision seems to be focused on only if you aren’t one of those workers. But also keep in mind that there really aren’t any buses early in the morning or very late at night for workers, or anyone else, especially on the weekends.

Further, there is always the question of where the people currently using the parking, that are being designed out of the target market, will go. Sure, it’s nice to construct this as a new reason to build parking garages. There’s plenty of parking in Olympia, really. There’s parking lots all over the place, but it’s conditions of use that will make downtown more and more unfriendly.

Just how unfriendly to people should a downtown be? If downtown is to be any sort of commons, it must be available to everyone. Progress should be in making downtowns more friendly, not just into a high price commercial luxury zone.

I  especially like the last  paragraph. It reminds me that it will be cheaper to go to the large concrete pad on the Westside that recently kicked out Olive's East and the Thai Garden than it will be to go downtown.

Since Bell doesn't enable comments on his blog, comment here. 

Mark your calendars

Via Washington State Political Report:

Markos Moulitsas Zúniga (The Daily Kos) and Jerome Armstrong (MyDD)are coming to Seattle on Friday, April 7, and to Olympia on Saturday, April 8, to promote their new book Crashing the Gate. Details pending.

These are the folks who basically invented the idea of community blogging. Get out and show some love.

Hot potato

From Editor & Publisher:

NEW YORK -- While the pending sale of Knight Ridder newspapers to McClatchy promises at least some upheaval for all 32 dailies involved, for three of them it's deja vu all over again. That's because The Olympian of Olympia, Wash.; The Bellingham (Wash.) Herald; and The (Boise) Idaho Statesman, were each sold just six months ago.

In August 2005, the trio were part of Gannett Co. Inc. and were sent to Knight Ridder in the blockbuster sale of the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News. As part of the swap, Gannett sold the Olympian, Herald, and Statesman to Knight Ridder. With the McClatchy deal expected to be completed by July 1, each of those dailies will have had three different owners in less than a year.


John Winn Miller, publisher of the Olympian, called a repeat disruption "a little exhausting ... We have a whole new accounting system and reporting system and that will have to change again," he lamented. "We are a little anxious about it."


Back at The Olympian, Political Editor Brad Shannon said the fact that this sale was in the works for a while made it a bit easier to take than the previous change, which was announced without warning. Photo Editor Steve Herppich said the staff is just staying positive with something that is out of their control. "I think we are just rolling with it and hoping for the best," he said. "We are optimistic."

Phillip Weiss Article in The Nation about Rachel Corrie

The Nation has recently published an article about Rachel Corrie, and the play "My name is Rachel Corrie," which was recently pulled off the docket at a prominent New York City theatre. The play received much acclaim in London at the Royal Court Theatre, where it was originally produced. The New York Theatre Workshop has received a lot of criticism since it announced a decision to pull the play due to fears of offending Jewish Americans.

Weiss explores the life of Rachel Corrie, and the life of the play "My Name is Rachel Corrie," which is based on her activism, her words and her life. Weiss also explores some of the dynamics involved in the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Too Hot for New York
Philip Weiss

The slim book that was suddenly the most controversial work in the West in early March was not easy to find in the United States. Amazon said it wasn't available till April. The Strand bookstore didn't have it either. You could order it on Amazon-UK, but it would be a week getting here. I finally found an author in Michigan who kindly photocopied the British book and overnighted it to me; but to be on the safe side, I visited an activist's apartment on Eighth Avenue on the promise that I could take her much-in-demand copy to the lobby for half an hour. In the elevator, I flipped it open to a random passage:

"I can't cool boiling waters in Russia. I can't be Picasso. I can't be Jesus. I can't save the planet single-handedly. I can wash dishes."

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