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          What the Fuck Are Democrats Doing in Washington State This Year?

          In Weathering with You, Boy Meets Girl, Girl Crashes the Weather System


          Weathering with You, the new animated feature from Your Name director Makoto Shinkai, starts out with a story I’d like to see more often: 16-year-old Hodaka Morishima runs away from home and spends a period of time living in capsule hotels and paying for showers before eventually sleeping on the Tokyo streets.

          His savings dwindle as he desperately searches for a job. Eventually and by happenstance, Hodoka is hired by a small, sketchy tabloid magazine editor who lets him live in a basement office and pays him for chasing stories of UFOs and other supernatural phenomena.

          It all falls somewhere between scary and gritty (running away is something people actually do) and the typically rose-colored view of anime (Hodoka’s office is situated on a beautiful sloped street, and no one’s moped breaks down).

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          He Wanted Out So He Was an Asshole Until She Dumped Him—And Isn't That Better For Her?


          I did one of the things you always say is bad, immature and hurtful. I was a jerk to my girlfriend for weeks because I wanted her to break up with me. It wasn’t on purpose, it wasn’t a plan, I know it was cowardly. I think she is a great woman, I just wasn’t into it and I let it go longer than I should have. I felt terrible that she loved me and I didn’t love her back and didn’t want to hurt her. My question is, why do you think sabotaging a relationship is so bad? I'm glad she hates me now. She can feel anger instead of sadness. I didn't want to be a "great guy" that did the right thing when the relationship needed to end. I wanted her to think I’m awful so she can move on with her life.If I say all the right things, that makes me more attractive and a loss. I’ve had women do that to me—break up with me the "right" way—and all it made me do was respect them more and feel more in love with them and miss them more. I still think about them because they were so kind and respectful when they dumped me. I prefer the relationships I've had that ended with hatred because at least I knew we weren’t good for each other and the end was no skin off my back. Isn't it better this way?

          I’ve got no sign-off that creates a clever acronym. Make one up if you want to publish it.

          Annoying Shittiness Should Help Outraged Lovers Escape

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          Whim W'him presents XPRESS, January 17, 18, 24, 25

          BE CURIOUS . . . don’t miss Whim W'him's XPRESS, featuring world-premieres from 3 seasoned & internationally celebrated contemporary dance makers- Sidra Bell (NYC), Ihsan Rustem (Switzerland) &Whim W’Him Artistic Director and Founder, Olivier Wevers. This program is tailored for the contemporary dance enthusiast who craves innovation & celebrates artistic exploration. Experience XPRESS January 17, 18, 24, 25 at Cornish Playhouse.

          Get tickets HERE

          The Rash of Restaurant Closures Shows Seattle Has Reached the Second and Terminal Stage of Gentrification

          Smoked alligator in the twilight of the Central Smoke Bar & Smokery, which closed eight days after this image was taken.
          Smoked alligator in the twilight of Central Smoke, a Central District bar and smokery that closed eight days after this image was taken.

          Seattle Times' article, "Is Seattle’s booming restaurant scene showing signs of slowing?" examines a spike in restaurant closures in 2019. What can it mean? Is Seattle experiencing a restaurant glut? Too many of them opened too quickly? If so, this would mean the market is presently self-correcting for a bout of investment exuberance that became irrational. In 2015, Seattle did not have enough restaurants for its booming economy, lots of entrepreneurs rushed in to meet the demand, the market rapidly became saturated, and now it is returning to a kind of equilibrium, a kind of sanity. Something of this story can also be found in the Capitol Hill Blog post on the sudden closing of a really remarkable restaurant experiment called Central Smoke on Jefferson.

          This reading presents the market as a domain ruled by the unforgiving law of the survival of the fittest. But Seattle Times' food critic Bethany Jean Clement points primarily to the ever-increasing costs of living in this city—rent and utility bills are breaking the backs of businesses and customers alike. However this answer, which contains a great deal of truth and so should not be dismissed, must ultimately connect those rising costs with the boom in the tech economy, which commands a large number of high-paying jobs. But that reading, in essence, returns us to the logic of supply and demand, the law of market Darwinism. It has this story to tell: many restaurants opened to draw customers with large incomes, and at some point the number of tables in these businesses surpassed the number people who can regularly spend lots of money on meals. Meaning, again, the rise in closures is merely a market correction.

          At this point, I want to offer another way of reading and narrating the current "market trend." Seattle, like San Francisco and Vancouver BC, has entered a stage of luxury urbanism that the Stanford professor Adrian Daub calls "second-wave gentrification."

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          Cannabis Decreasing Alcohol Sales as Alcohol Deaths Rise

          Erik Wieder / EyeEm

          There’s been a recent flurry of news stories regarding how establishing a regulated cannabis program impacts the sale and use of alcohol. And there’s also a number of stories about how alcohol abuse is on the rise in some sectors, while on the decline in others.

          Let’s start with a look at how having an entire country legalize cannabis impacts alcohol sales.

          OH CANADA: Now that people can buy cannabis from sea to shining sea in Canada, alcohol sales are on the decline. Specifically, beer sales. Per Merry Jane, the sales of Strange Brew were on the decline between 2014 to 2018 by a barely noticeable .3 percent. But in the first full year of cannabis legalization, sales dropped a full 3 percent.

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          In Little Joe, a Flower Brings Human Happiness

          Among the happiness flowers: Emily Beecham as scientist Alice Woodard.
          Among the happiness flowers: Emily Beecham as scientist Alice Woodard. PHOTO COURTESY OF MAGNOLIA PICTURES

          Little Joe is a science-fiction film that is not set in the future. It is set in a time that looks very much like the year we have just left, 2019, and the year we are now experiencing, 2020. The technologies and science in the film are all realistic, all believable. Its scientists are developing a flower that makes humans feel happier.

          To make this possible, a virus is used as a vector (transporter) of genetic materials that manipulate the genetic structure of a specific target, a flowering plant. The more a human cares for this plant, the happier the plant makes its caretaker by way of a scent that connects the flower to the mammalian nose. If the scientists succeed, this flower will be sold in the marketplace and make the investors behind the research fantastically rich.

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          16 Places to Drink Mocktails and Non-Alcoholic Beverages in Seattle for Dry January 2020

          This month, you can take advantage of non-alcoholic drinks at Cortina, created in collaboration with DRY Soda for Dry January.
          This month, you can take advantage of non-alcoholic drinks at Cortina, created in collaboration with DRY Soda for Dry January. Ethan Stowell Restaurants via Instagram

          Looking to decrease your alcohol consumption for January? We've compiled a handy list of places to find mocktails and non-alcoholic beverages around Seattle so you can quench your thirst. For more ideas, check out our list of food and drink specials to try in January and our full food and drink calendar.

          Carlile Room
          The "booze-free" menu at Tom Douglas's swanky lounge includes a house ginger ale, kombucha on tap, a "shrub du jour," the "party in pink mocktail," "fancy root beer," sodas, and sparkling or still water.

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          RIP, Steve Martin Caro, Singer for Baroque-Pop Geniuses the Left Banke

          Steve Martin Caro (second from left) was a master of wistfulness.
          Steve Martin Caro (second from left) was a master of wistfulness. YouTube screengrab

          Steve Martin Caro—lead singer and a key songwriter for the Left Banke—passed away January 14 at age 71. (Known as Steve Martin during the Left Banke's '60s prime, the musician later added "Caro" to his name after comedian Steve Martin became famous.) Martin Caro's deeply expressive voice augmented the band's sublime pop, which inevitably has been described as "baroque" due to the presence of flute, oboe, harpsichord, French horn, and other typically non-rock instrumentation, and for its florid, ambitious melodies.

          At their best, which was often over their first two albums—1967's Walk Away Renée/Pretty Ballerina and 1968's The Left Banke Too—the Left Banke rivaled the Beatles and the Beach Boys for sheer hook-crafting brilliance and ingenious dynamics. Like the greatest bands of their ilk, the Left Banke made the most intimate feelings seem momentous. They deserve a prominent place in whatever musical pantheon any taste-makers want to construct.

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          CNN Lost the Debate

          The network ensured a good night for the former Vice President
          Biden had a good night, thanks to CNN anchors going after his rivals. Spencer Platt / GETTY IMAGES

          Only a few weeks before the Iowa caucuses, CNN treated the good people of Des Moines (and anyone with a CNNgo account, or a Twitter feed) to a dull, disingenuous debate on several policy issues the Democratic candidates have more or less already discussed. Even the six candidates who made the cut—Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, and Tom Steyer—looked tired of saying the same shit over and over again. And that's a shame. Though viewership has steadily declined over the last million or so Democratic debates, these evenings don't have to be so bad. Given the toss-up status of the races in the early states, the country could have used a substantive, robust conversation that drew clear contrasts between the candidates.

          But that didn't happen. And yet, the show went on! Some fun stuff was said, and some fun stuff was not said. Any of it consequential? Not likely! But it's worth a little walk through the highlights and lowlights of the worst debate yet.

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          A Gaping Void

          Jess Stein

          "Be The Void"

          Fuck me up.
          Fuck me up. Jasmyne Keimig
          I'm pretty sure this sticker isn't referencing the Dr. Dog album, but I've been wrong before. I love a good void. Like when Mitski talks about looking like a pulsating void at her NPR Tiny Desk concert. Or this Audrey Wollen piece reminding us who owns the void. Please never fill me up.Continue reading »

          Who Should It Be: Bernie, Biden, or Warren?

          Episode 229 talks Iowa, impeachment, and the Oscar nominations.
          Episode 229 talks Iowa, impeachment, and the Oscar nominations. Scott Olson / Getty Images

          With a bunch of new impeachment news coming in, Dan Savage, Eli Sanders, and Rich Smith talk about how the looming Senate trial is going to look and what to expect from Chief Justice John Roberts, who’ll be presiding.

          After that, what did we learn from this week's final Democratic debate before the Iowa caucuses? Anything? It seems like the race is coming down to Bernie, Biden, or Warren, so… who should it be?

          Finally, Jasmyne Keimig and Chase Burns talk about the Oscar nominations and two movies worth seeing in theaters right now: 1917 and Uncut Gems. Plus...

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          This Pot Is Bananas

          There are 14 hidden bananas (or bunches of bananas) in this image.
          There are 14 hidden bananas (or bunches of bananas) in this image. RACHELLE ABELLAR

          A few weeks ago, I drove east toward the Cascade Mountains on damp roads shaded by evergreen trees and lined with decomposing leaves until I found a farm that smelled like bananas.

          I went to Fall City and found the tropics. How on earth did I find bananas growing in January in the same place where Twin Peaks was filmed? Because I went to a pot farm. It turns out, cannabis can taste just like one of the world's most popular equatorial fruits.

          Banana cannabis varietals—with names like Banana OG, Strawberry Banana, and Banana Kush—are being grown across the state, from Spokane to Seattle, and it might just be the best weedy way to get through the winter doldrums. Not only do these strains of weed smell and taste like you're on a sandy beach somewhere a thousand miles south of Seattle, but smoking them often creates a mildly relaxing high, just like you're sitting on said beach.

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          Five Events to Celebrate Robert Burns Night 2020 in Seattle

          Tuck into a hearty plate of haggis and sip some whisky in honor of the Scottish poet Robert Burns.
          Tuck into a hearty plate of haggis and sip some whisky in honor of the Scottish poet Robert Burns. Shutterstock

          Five years after the death of Scottish bard Robert Burns in 1796, a group of friends gathered on his birthday (January 25) to celebrate his life. Today, the tradition persists and often involves haggis, bagpipes, recitations of poetry, drinking songs, revelry, and, of course, copious Scotch whisky. If you'd like to witness the unusual ritual for yourself,?here are five events where you can participate in the commemoration of Burns' life. For more food and drink events, check out our full food and drink calendar.

          THURSDAY, JANUARY 16
          Big Time Brewery
          Raise a pint to the "Ploughman Poet" and sing along to rousing Scottish drinking songs performed by vocal group whateverandeveramen.
          University District

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          The Score of Uncut Gems Should Have Been Nominated for an Oscar

          TK TK TK
          Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) in the Safdie brother's Uncut Gems. Imagine a synth playing over this image. Julieta Cervantes/A24
          The Josh and Benny Safdie-directed Uncut Gems revolves around Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a jeweler in New York City's Diamond District who is a compulsive gambler, cheater, and liar. He's also an asshole. When a valuable "uncut" black opal mined in Ethiopia comes into Howard's possession, he sets up a series of anxiety-inducing and self-destructive bets and lies that wobble uneasily before all falling down. The internal and external chaos of Howard is echoed in the film's excellent score, which seems to locate itself in outer space.

          Composed by Daniel Lopatin (a.k.a. Oneohtrix Point Never), Uncut Gems' soundtrack is synth-heavy, cosmic, glittery. While it suggests an undercurrent of scuzz, the grandeur of the score's heights shimmers like the colors in the karmically-fucked black opal at the center of the film. It's a shame that Uncut Gems was not nominated for Best Score at the upcoming Oscars. Some have made the connection between this film's score and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross's work on The Social Network, which was nominated for an Oscar and won.

          In a recent "Behind the Soundtrack" documentary, Lopatin talks about the connections between his synthy, far-out score and the film's tumult. Let's hear and dissect a couple of the songs Lopatin talks about in the documentary:

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          The Top Nine Lunar New Year 2020 Events in Seattle

          Celebrate the Lunar New Year in Chinatown-International District with lion and dragon dances and other traditions from all over the world—plus the beloved $3 food walk.
          Celebrate the Lunar New Year in Chinatown-International District with lion and dragon dances and other traditions from all over the world—plus the beloved $3 food walk. Cham Roeun Bunphoath

          Lantern festivals in Nagasaki, T?t in Vietnam, and the exchange of lucky red envelopes in China are just a few traditions that go along with the Lunar New Year (Jan 25-Feb 8). In Seattle, ways to welcome the Year of the Rat are no less diverse, ranging from dragon and lion dances at the International District's annual Lunar New Year Celebration to a week of Chinese beer specials at Lucky Envelope Brewing. Plan ahead with our roundup of this year's biggest celebrations, and find even more events on our complete Lunar New Year calendar.

          JANUARY 18-19

          T?t in Seattle
          Celebrate the Year of the Rat at this annual festival in anticipation of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year in early February. As always, there will be hands-on cultural activities, traditional food, crafts, martial arts performances, a market, and more.
          Seattle Center

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          Slog AM: Russia's Government Resigns, Impeachment Trial Managers Named, Ken Jennings Wins It All

          This is the only picture of Ken we can afford!!!!
          This is the only picture of Ken we can afford!!!! Getty/Getty Images News

          The Russian government just resigned: Russian prime minister Dmitri A. Medvedev suddenly resigned. As did Medvedev's entire cabinet. Is that… pretty much the whole Russian government? Yowza. Putin allegedly had recently introduced proposals for broad constitutional changes. These may have triggered the resignations. They also may have the ability to extend Putin's reign after his tenure as president is up in 2024. Putin's proposals would have greatly shifted power in the Russian Parliament and State Council.

          Another error from Seattle Children's Hospital: The hospital, which has pretty much been mold-ridden since 2001, is under scrutiny for performing cardiac surgery on an infant without the correct filtration system in the operating room. That surgery without the high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter took place as recently as last October. The infant now has an Aspergillus infection, the same infection that has sickened multiple Seattle Children's patients and killed six of them.

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