Junk at Scarecrow

More stuff going on at Scarecrow:

JUNKScarecrow Video is proud to welcome back Kevin Hamedami and George Hardy along with other cast members from the award-winning, indie comedy, JUNK, on Friday, April 11, 2014.  DVDs for the film will be available for the cast to sign.  For those seeking immediate gratification, we will also hold a special screening of JUNK to begin at 8 pm.

Kaveh and Raul are two b-movie co-writers who have suffered a bitter falling out. Kaveh’s lost his girlfriend, and spends his days getting high in his apartment, while Raul is off studying at Columbia University. But when one of their films (“Islama-rama 2″) is accepted by a film festival, the two ex-friends are forced to tentatively re-connect in order to pitch their script to the mysterious producer, Yukio Tai (James Hong). Along the way, they will have to brave brutish bodyguards, cutthroat colleagues, inept agents, romantic entanglements, prima donna actors, and the trials of their own bitter friendship.

JUNK is the second feature length film by native Seattleite, writer, director and actor Kevin Hamedami. His first, Zombies of Mass Destruction (ZMD) has become a critically acclaimed cult hit. He will be joined by co-writer & co-star Ramon Isao, and co-stars George Hardy (who last joined us at Scarecrow to commemorate his role in Troll 2), Jannette Armond (who also starred in ZMD), and Basil Harris.   JUNK, which won the Audience Award at the 2013 Austin Film Festival, also stars Brett Davern (MTV’s Awkward), Lynn Shelton, Sean Nelson, Jake Johnson (The New Girl), James Hong (Big Trouble in Little China) and features music by OK Go.

Come on out to help us welcome the cast of JUNK, get a signed copy of the DVD, and chat about the world of indie-filmmaking in LA.  Beer and snacks will be available at VHSpresso.

 

Walkin’ the Dog

Leslie writes:

I was not sure where to put this letter (forums, email, posts etc?) but I would love to do something about the issue of walking dogs in our neighborhood. I have been harassed four times in the last few months while walking my dog. Let me start by saying that I ALWAYS carry poop bags and I USE them. I do not allow my dog to eliminate in neighbor’s yards (the property between their house and the sidewalk). I do my best to not allow my dog to eliminate on flowers or gardens between the street and the sidewalk, which is public property according to Seattle City Government. However, I have a dog and she loves to smell and explore; which, besides going to the bathroom, is part of the point of taking her for a walk. It allows her to have some mental stimulation as well as exercise.

To dog ownersTwice I have had people come out and stare at me as I allow my dog to sniff on the PUBLIC side of the sidewalk and threaten me to get off their property. TWICE I have had people come out and yell at me to get my dog off their property. I have nicely tried to explain that I am respectful and responsible and this is after all, public property. The city even suggests if you are worried about anything that would happen on the land between the street and the sidewalk, don’t plant anything there, as they can not control the flow of people or animals in those areas.

I am really getting tired of having a nice walk with my dog and enjoying the weather and then being harassed to the point I come home angry and in tears wanting to move away from here. The question I pose, where exactly should I walk my dog and how exactly can I explain to her that there is maybe three spots in a one mile radius where I can allow her to smell and explore (and yes, pee).

I can see that it is frustrating to deal with dog owners that don’t clean up and allow their pets to go in yards but it is not fair to punish me. I also ask, “where should I walk my dog?” She isn’t allowed at parks and now I’m being told she can’t even stray from the sidewalk (which legally, as long as I have her on a four foot leash and she is on city property, she can go and smell whatever she wants) .So, what is the solution here? I find myself getting very defensive and angry and I have rights too.

I also would like to mention that I have a cat as well. I keep him inside so he does not hunt birds or other wildlife. I do this for his safety as well. People drive 50 miles an hour around here but that seems to be ok.

The Elephant In the Room

(Alyne Fortgang, co-founder, Friends of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants, contributed this piece)

Chai bobs her head up and down while pacing, Bamboo paces in circles while swiveling her head and Watoto paces and sways.  These stereotypical behaviors exhibited by the elephants held captive at Woodland Park Zoo are the mind’s way of coping with trauma, stress and crushing boredom.

Mothers and daughter elephants live together for their entire life but Bamboo, Chai and Watoto were taken from their mothers and shipped to Seattle to live on display.  This was the first of many traumas suffered by the elephants at the hands of Woodland Park Zoo.  That was many years ago but sadly, not much has improved for them—and based on the Zoo’s March 2014, 5-year plan for the elephant program not much will.

Bamboo_foot_infectionDecades of scientific research has shown that the earth’s largest land mammal travels great distances, are intelligent problem solvers and care deeply for their family and companions.  This research has shown that elephants in zoos suffer and die young. After an analysis of scientific studies, Scientific American reported (March 2014):  “Confined elephants often spend their time standing around in cramped quarters. . . . These tortuous conditions inflict serious physical and psychological damage on such smart and sensitive animals.  “ . . . captive breeding programs should be terminated.”

The display in which the elephants live was designed in 1986.  The flat yard is 1 acre divided into 5 pens. Due to incompatibly, the elephants only have access to part of the acre. There is no live tree in their yard to rub against, peel bark or engage in the most natural foraging behaviors.  The wall of trees that surround the exhibit has closed in their sightline to a few hundred yards—for life.  And that’s the good news.  Our wet and cold climate forces the elephants to be locked in the barn in a barren cage for 16 – 17 hours a day, every day, for about half of the year.

The Zoo’s rejection of science is clear and their compassion is woefully lacking. Instead of retiring the elephants to a sanctuary to heal from their captivity induced ailments, they want to increase the number of elephants with no plan to increase the size of the display. In a Seattle Times interview with Deborah Jensen, President and CEO of Woodland Park Zoo, she revealed these details about their plan:

One elephant (Watoto) is being sent away and the Zoo hopes that two elephants will be added plus a baby.  So if the Zoo’s plan comes to fruition, their hope is to have 5 elephants who will effectively have less space outdoors and less space in the barn where the elephants are already in the human equivalent of a tiny broom closet.

The meager amount of $1.5 – $3 million dollars the zoo plans to spend over 5 years which includes conservation expenditures will do very little to improve the elephants’ quality of life.  San Diego and LA Zoo spent over $42 million to improve their exhibits.  The National Zoo in Washington D.C spent $52 million.

Twenty seven zoos have closed, or plan to close, their elephant exhibits.  This is what AZA accredited Detroit Zoo said about retiring their elephants to PAWS sanctuary in California:  “A fundamental requirement for keeping animals in captivity is that we provide an excellent quality of life. In order to do that we must meet a species’ and an individual’s physical, social and psychological needs. We feel that we can accomplish this for all the animals at the Detroit Zoo, but can’t for elephants. Elephants in general in captivity live shorter lives than in the wild, do not reproduce well, show numerous physical problems and often display psychological problems.”

The Zoo cites the horrific poaching and suffering of elephants in the wild as justification for keeping elephants in Seattle.  Their mantra that people need to see an elephant in order to learn about them and act on their behalf is not substantiated by any scientific study nor supported by public opinion.   An October 2013 survey showed that 97% of Seattleites knew about elephant poaching which they learned about from varied sources —not from the Zoo. 66% of Seattleites said people can learn about elephants and their conservation via an exhibit that does not have live elephants.  Seattleites know that seeing a dysfunctional elephant swaying, pacing and head bobbing is not teaching children the right message.

62% of Seattleites want the elephants retired to a sanctuary in a warmer climate with a vast amount of space.

Woodland Park Zoo’s insignificant and insincere commitment to the elephants well-being will do little to alleviate their tedium, and the unhealthy physical and psychological conditions from which they suffer.  It’s time the Zoo stop ignoring science and community values and retire the elephants to a sanctuary.

Please express your outrage by going to Friend of Woodland Park Zoo Elephants’ web site and write to the Seattle City Council and Zoo:  http://www.freewpzelephants.com/you-can-help/

Climate Community Projects

Sometimes it feels hard to focus on climate change. And I don’t mean “focus” like “pay attention to”, I mean “focus” like “see clearly”: it’s like trying to see a while with your nose against its fin.

27bangladesh-lede-jumboThen you read a story like Borrowed Time on Disappearing Land in last week’s New York Times, which pans from the personal to the global. Here’s a Bangladeshi woman who lost her husband and  subsequently “became so destitute that she sold her son and daughter into bonded servitude…[and now] spends her days collecting cow dung for fuel and struggling to grow vegetables in soil poisoned by salt water.” Now here’s the future of Bangladesh and other lower-lying countries in a warming world: “rising sea levels will inundate some 17 percent of the land and displace about 18 million people” in Bangladesh alone.

And then I look at my son, five-years-old and cheerfully oblivious, assuming, as so many of us do, that the world he sees today will be the world he lives in when he grows up, and I want to cry.

What are we supposed to do?

Here’s one small thing:

The Office of Sustainability and Environment of the City of Seattle is offering from $500 to $10,000 to to support climate focused special events or education, outreach initiatives and  projects that engage residents in reducing climate change. Applications are being accepted year-round for small projects, but there is an April 22nd deadline for the larger grant.

For more information, including application forms, see the Community Climate Projects web site for more information and application forms. The office is also seeking volunteers who wish to participate in the evaluation of the project proposals. Approximate time commitment is 10 – 20 hours between April 23 and May 7. Applications can be found on the same site.

[Added 9:45 am]

Cosmos_A_Space_Time_Odyssey_S01E02Last night, Zev and I watched Episode 2 of Cosmos, the reboot of the classic Carl Sagan series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It covered evolution and, in dramatic fashion, the five great extinctions.

A great stone memorial tomb is imagined, with five halls, and above each is carved the name of one of the eras in the Earth’s history when great swathes of the world’s life were suddenly and catastrophically wiped out: Cretaceous, Triassic, Permean, Devonian, Ordovician. Beautifully and horribly rendered CGI effects imagine the destruction.

But in this memorial, there are six halls. The cold stone over the sixth is blank, waiting for engraving. Tyson gazes up at this yet unnamed tragedy with a sad foreboding: “That nameless corridor? That’s for another day.”

So this morning, after a long morning of quietly playing with My Little Pony and scotch tape, Zev paused, looked at me and asked “Daddy, what was that hall without a name? What did he mean?”

He’s bright, deeply empathic and five years old. How do I answer that?

Butcher A Hog

BtB Wallingford Shop - Butcher Chris with knife by Patrick L 112013You really want to know your bacon, you gotta make your bacon.

Terri from Bill the Butcher writes:

Join us on Monday, April 14th for a Butcher Demo with our Wallingford team! Butcher Chris will walk you through the process of breaking down a whole hog, and not just any hog but a Nelli Farms Berkshire Hog. Snout-to-Tail, he’ll talk cuts, cooking methodology and how to make the most of the whole hog. Oh, and there will be a few snacks to showcase all you can cook with pork.

Register for this demo with the purchase of a $25 Bill the Butcher gift certificate which you will be able to use to purchase pork or other items from the shop at the event. Call or stop in the shop 206.547.5780.

 

Porch Dog

Lynn sent this in yesterday:

I just saw a medium-size, Lab-looking black dog with a red collar running without a human companion along Burke Ave. N between 35th and 36thstreets. He was sitting on my porch furniture but took off before I could get any tag information.

photo 1 (2)Then Marshall sent this in just now:

This evening a black lab mix dog started resting on our porch. It is medium sized, has a red collar, and is skittish and may have a limp. We have provided some food and water but can’t get close enough to see if there are any tags (it runs off as soon as we come outside but then returns and is hunkering down for the night). Attached are two photos. We are at the corner of 38th St and Carr Pl.

Sounds like the same dog, yes?

Zoned Parking?

Parking Congestion on Ash GroveMeg Matthews writes:

I live on 36th and Densmore, and in the past few months we’ve noticed that all of the streets around us are jammed with parked cars after about 8:30-9 a.m. Not sure if it’s from all the new construction or what.

I don’t often drive to work, but on the occasion when I do, it’s usually because I need to run back home partway through the day for a vet appointment or something similar. For a few weeks now, I’ve been unable to find a place to park my car anywhere near my house–actually a problem when I’m trying to race in, pack the cat in her carrier, and race out.

The city website says that we need a community or neighborhood group to suggest zoning to the city, so I thought I’d put it out there to your blog in case it’s become problematic for other south-side Wallyhooders as well? Thanks!

For my part, I haven’t seen any uptick in parking congestion, but around where I live (4th and 42nd NE), it’s basically at saturation, so it couldn’t get any more crowded. Best I can tell from the comings and goings I see, it’s commuters who drive in, park for free and then walk to work in the University District (where free parking is hard to come by).

(Photo totally not taken in Wallingford, obvious from the license plates, but hopefully illustrative of the issue, and taken by Woodhouse Moor Online)

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