My dog, the anarchist
I read with great interest James Bush's article on the do's and don'ts of walking the Green Lake Trail ("Doos and don'ts," Summer Guide, 5/27). While he covered all the major groups that crowd the rim of the lake, Bush didn't mention the biggest troublemakers of them all: dog owners. I should know, because each week my dog Henry and I happily wreak havoc with leash-sensitive in-line skaters, grouchy fishermen, and our favorites: the geese and duck lovers.
We've been chased by umbrella-wielding do-gooders, howled at by fishermen, and more or less ostracized for doing our own thing. The Leash Nazis scream if I let Henry off to swim after ducks, and cry foul when he gets anywhere near those god-awful geese. Rest assured that Henry, an English Toy Spaniel, is no match for a pissed-off mother goose. "Why do you let him do that, man?" one outraged guy recently asked me as Henry approached a pack of geese. "He's a bird dog, and he don't like geese," I replied. Besides, last time I checked, geese were not on the Endangered Species list. So Henry will go on doing what he does best and I will give him all the freedom he wants. To think that one little dog could create such anarchy among the oppressive Great Society that loops Green Lake is strangely comforting to me.
In the age of information, maybe it's the blatant, recurrent omissions that become the sins. For instance, in your "Ten times the fun" article (Summer Guide, 5/27), detailing getaways from downtown, your author bemoans our city's traffic woes that can turn a 20-minute crosstown excursion into a cranky hour-long cursing session, but he never thinks to do a tiny bit of additional research on other ways to get to the places he mentions. Marymoor Park, the Arboretum, Discovery Park, and probably the rest of the destinations are all pretty easy to get to by bus (just don't try and find the information on the Metro Web site like I just did—it's much more inaccessible than the actual ride).
Paddle the parents
After reading about the Seattle schoolteacher who was forced out of teaching by a reactionary school district and one of its spoiled students ("Sacked sub," 5/27), I have come to the decision that it is time to bring corporal punishment back to schools. But not for the kids. No, I'll save the paddling for the parents who threaten to sue when their snot-nosed eight-year-old is asked to behave. Unfortunately, we may have to save this option for when Shakespeare gets his way and we can "kill all the lawyers." In the meantime, since it was lawsuits that created this mess, maybe we need a few lawsuits to get out of it. How about a class action lawsuit on behalf of the parents of the other students, whose learning environment was disrupted by the class clown? Since the kid was getting away with his antics because of the parents' threat to have their lawyer sue, why not include the parents' lawyer as a defendant? Round up the whole bunch for conspiracy to violate the civil rights of the other students who are entitled to an education. I'd suggest filing this one in tribal court. If we get lucky, we can send the little brat, his yuppie parents, and the litigation-happy lawyer to some deserted island in Alaska. Of course there is one flaw to my idea—in order to pull it off, we'd need to find a good lawyer. . . .
I enjoyed the Seattle Weekly on May 27, especially James Bush's piece about the "Sacked sub," which brought back fond memories of my substitute days.
I would like to add that the Seattle Education Association (a travel agency and purveyor of catered lunches masquerading as a teachers' union) typically doesn't lift a finger to assist embattled substitutes—and it sometimes helps drive the knife home. (And people wonder why there's a substitute shortage!)
Also, Ava Greene Davenport—the nasty school official Bush mentioned—mysteriously abandoned ship, along with longtime legal counsel Mike Hoge and personnel administrator Ricardo Cruz (whose education career was sandwiched in between stints with the City of Seattle and King County, his current employer). Some speculated that John Stanford got rid of this trio of goodwill ambassadors as part of his housecleaning, but I think they merely became too great a liability even for Seattle schools.
In his regular column, 4th & James, Bush analyzed Seattle Times pit bull Joni Balter's recent column on City Council candidates. My favorite quote: "What specifically makes state Rep. Kip Tokuda and Seattle School Board member Barbara Schaad-Lamphere 'intriguing' candidates? (Balter's claim.) Has either done anything significant we should know about?"
As a matter of fact, Lamphere and her partners in crime voted to award the exclusive vending machine contract Geov Parrish mentioned ("Schoolkids for sale") to Coca-Cola, after they ordered Pepsi machines removed from schools, which in turn followed their creation of a sham committee designed to derail school advertising critics. I thought that was quite intriguing.
I was disappointed that Parrish didn't say more about the pro sports connection, like the Sonics basketball game that turned into another John Stanford memorial, or all the wonderful things those fiscally challenged Mariners do for kids.
And as if he had read my mind, Mark Fefer followed through with "Mariners mayhem." In soccer and hockey, we call that a hat trick.
The Body politic
James Bush opines that 95 percent of Jesse Ventura's election as governor of Minnesota is a result of "sheer personal popularity" ("Emulating 'The Body,'" 4th & James, 6/3)—and that might be a low number. Americans love anyone who talks like a libertarian: Jesse's platform of smaller government, lower taxes, less regulation, and decriminalization of consensual activity was popular across the political spectrum.
The problem, which reporter Bush failed to mention, is Mr. Ventura's current inability to act like a libertarian. Now that "The Body" has been elected, he favors an 11 percent increase in government spending, state subsidy of an expensive new light rail system, and political distribution of $1.3 billion in tobacco settlement money. The campaign promises he made to decriminalize drug use and prostitution seem forgotten . . . his libertarianism has extended only as far as legalizing ticket scalping.
Not that I blame Jesse Ventura for his duplicity. As an actor and a "wrestler," pretending to be someone he isn't has made him rich and respected. Instead, I blame the voting public, forever saying they want more liberty, but only rarely electing those who would certainly restore it to them.
Washington Libertarian Party
More Msoft genius
Richard A. Martin's 6/10 article about Microsoft and Y2K issues ("Y2K ready, set, doh!") reminded me of another example of Microsoft's marketing genius. In a two-page ad in a recent Newsweek, Microsoft describes a pair of young businesswomen who were getting Windows NT for their workstations, because it's so much more stable than their previous OS, which sounded like a piece of crap that nobody would want to trust on their computer. It was Windows 95.
P.S. Yes, I appreciate the irony of sending this from my Hotmail account.
Angela Gunn's article ("Usenet or lose it," Kiss my ASCII, 5/27) on Amazon and the Church of Scientology left me yawning—not gasping—for breath. Is there some story here? If so, I must be missing something. . . .
Exchurch member writes yarn about ex-church—for profit, of course. He apparently slanders some woman who then sues him and his book is banned in Britain. Amazon has a knee-jerk reaction and yanks the book. Some of these "net" guys complain that Amazon really needs to carry the ex-churchgoer's book so they do—except not in Britain where it's banned—still.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Angela asserts that ". . . the Scientology folk were keeping more or less to themselves in their own group. . . ." Well, that's probably where Angela should've kept this story—back at the ranch. What a non-event.
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