Clown or pirate?

You make the call!

THE BATTLE BEGINS this Saturday night. If you think the Mardi Gras riots were rough, you ain't seen nothing yet. It's a grudge match of historic proportions, one that literally marches through our fair city during Seafair's annual Torchlight Parade. No, we're not talking about Mark Sidran and Paul Schell (though they do figure in the fray). Instead, it's the long-standing rivalry between clowns and pirates—sworn enemies since the inaugural 1950 Seafair—that divides Seattle into two implacably opposed camps. On the one side: the funny, dopey, red-nosed guys with their balloon animals. On the other: the swaggering, menacing toughs with their earrings, swords, and trusty parrots. But who will be in which faction, wielding pie or cutlass? Consider the nominees below, then decide whether you agree with our SW editorial picks.




Paul Schell


Genial, child-friendly, ineffectual mayor can't defend himself against ranting protester and goes down after one blow with a megaphone? Perhaps he's more accustomed to being hit with pies.

Omari Tahir-Garrett


One-note conspiracy theorist sucker punches hapless mayor with megaphone, since no sabers were in sight. As everyone knows, pirates don't fight fair. On the other hand, once arrested and convicted, they can also look forward to walking the plank.

Mark Sidran


Arrrrr! The terror of Elliott Bay, our merciless Seattle City Attorney will use any means—including flintlocks and grappling hooks—to crush his opponents in this fall's upcoming mayoral campaign. (Our advice to Schell: Sail into the sunset with a bottle of rum or face the briny depths.)

Greg Nickels


Large-headed public servant campaigns for mayor on pledge to wait for Walk signs, wear polka dots, and be an even bigger sap than the incumbent. With a noggin that huge, he belongs in a circus freak show—not City Hall!

Heidi Wills


Too much greasepaint!

Charlie Chong


Running for mayor—again? The crowd roars with amusement. Get that man a stogie and lapel-pin squirting flower, and he'll be ready for his Red Skelton portrait.

Bill Gates


The fearless buccaneer of the software world sails victoriously out of federal court. Again the Jolly Roger flies freely over Redmond, as Gates need not break up his profitable, marauding fleet. Expect to see more chests of treasure buried in the lawns of Red West.

Patty Murray


Although charged with national fund-raising for Democratic Party candidates, our junior-sized senior senator remains better suited to a one-ring, one-pony, fleabag circus that befits her stature. Instead of using the big top, she can beg for cash in a pup tent.

Ichiro Suzuki


Corsair of all-star votes; stealer of bases and near-home runs; unshaven scourge of the diamond. Owns parrot.

John Curley


Buffoonish Evening Edition host suspended from job for allegedly making bigoted comments about gays. Who's the bozo now?



Fighting with words won't work against Courtney Love, so they'll have to start wielding sabers and hurling salty oaths to get those unrecorded tracks with Kurt for their hoped-for compilation CD. (Remember that song that begins, "Polly wants a cracker"?)

Howard Schultz


The Starbucks CEO pours millions into dot-com ventures, sings their praises to the media, even dons a goofy cap in the recent movie; then he watches as—which had a $150 million deal with Starbucks—collapses like a big top in a storm.

Dale Chihuly


Eye patch-wearing scourge of Tacoma ruthlessly intimidates municipal authorities into subsidizing his vanity museum for glass trinkets and doubloons. Plus just look at the guy!

Phil Condit


The privateering Boeing CEO pitilessly pulls his scurvy management team out of home waters,

Judy Nicastro


Our shrill, self-aggrandizing City Councilwoman keeps harping on urban density to generate more affordable housing—as if people want to live like circus midgets. (Somebody shoot that woman from a cannon.)

Jeff Bezos


Tries to force laid-off employees to sign blood oaths not to talk to press in exchange for more generous severance packages—in pieces of eight!

Christine Gregoire


Attorney General forgets to file appeal against $17.8 million jury award against the state. "D'oh!"

Frank Blethen


Citing our city's "strong ultraliberal, pro-labor stance, rapacious Seattle Times publisher threatens to move paper to lawless port of convenience (like Bothell or Renton), where he can fly the skull and crossbones with impunity. Also shoots dogs.

J.P. Patches



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