Alan Rhodes

and the Livin’ is Lazy

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Ah, summer: the outdoor concerts, Saturdays at the Farmers Market, evening walks around Lake Padden, all beneath the benevolent canopy of thick gray smoke blowing down from Canadian forest fires.

I turn shiftless and irresponsible during these summer days, which makes writing 750 words on a sustained topic seem a Herculean labor. So instead of a column, here are a few unrelated snippets from my notebook jottings over the past few weeks. I’ll pull myself together next month. Right now, I’m late for a nap.

Barkley Bear continues to amble around the county, emptying bird feeders into his fuzzy little mouth. He recently added skinny dipping in a residential swimming pool to his activities. I identify with Barkley Bear. I’ve frequently popped open a can of mixed nuts and dumped the entire contents down my throat. And as a kid I used to sneak into a neighbor’s pool when he was at work. I’m in solidarity with you, Barkley. Run free, brother.

A recently released survey named Lynden the seventh safest city in Washington. Lynden would have gotten an even higher ranking had it not been for the inordinately large number of locals stepped on by cows.

Bellingham housing prices continue soaring to psychopathic levels. People are so desperate for affordable living space that I listed my tool shed for $250,000 and started a bidding war. My wife made me take it off the market, though, saying, “I don’t want strangers living in the backyard, and you’re not bringing all that crap into the house.”

Once again I skipped participating in the Naked Bike Ride this summer. It’s not that I’m particularly modest, but when I was 11 years old I went over my front handlebars and skidded facedown across a few feet of asphalt. The possibility of doing that naked is too horrible to even think about.

I’ve been mulling over the mayor’s failed plan to locate a homeless shelter on the waterfront. The Port Commission nixed the idea, not wanting to displace marine businesses in an area where they want to develop, well, marine business. Fortunately, I have an alternative suggestion. Maybe Albertson’s could donate the large building that’s been sitting empty since they closed their store and forbade any other grocery store from opening in the same space. Donating the building for a homeless shelter offers Albertson’s a way to start atoning for shutting down the only grocery store in a low-income neighborhood.

State Senator Doug Ericksen’s double-dipper job with the Environmental Protection Agency came to an end early this summer. While it lasted it offered Doug the opportunity to do damage on the national as well as the state level, which must have been manna from heaven for Dougie. Although many locals were irritated that Doug was drawing a state senate salary while working in Washington, D.C. at the same time, they had to admit that it was nice having him out of the neighborhood (Author’s note: You didn’t think I could let a month go by without mentioning Doug, did you? Not likely.)

The team from Boomer’s Drive-In won this year’s Ski to Sea race, but I’m not sure it was entirely fair. I observed several team members chugging down Boomer’s apple pie milkshakes, giving them an energy boost that might be considered entry-level doping.

Old-timers might recall the ’60s and ’70s when Bellingham hosted a large number of draft-age young men waiting to head for Canada if their number came up. This summer we learned that something similar is happening as undocumented immigrants pause in Bellingham while looking for ways to slip across the Canadian border, figuring they’ll have a nicer time in the land of Trudeau than the kingdom of Trump. Hard to argue that point.

The Aug. 1 local primary is over and we’ve got a really good slate of candidates going into the general election. Whoops, here’s a glaring exception. Eric Bostrom has squeaked into the race for Bellingham City Council At-Large. It’s unlikely that Eric—a gay-bashing, Muslim-baiting sidewalk preacher—will topple the progressive incumbent Roxanne Murphy, but for the next three months he’ll have something he loves: a microphone.

OK, folks, that’s it for now. I could add more journal entries but I’ve hit the bottom of the page. I’ve been trying to persuade my editor to give me the additional space now occupied by “The Gristle” but apparently he doesn’t think my stuff is as weighty as his. Go figure.

Past Columns
Mr. Cranky’s Files

July 11, 2018

Can We Talk?

June 20, 2018

Midnight Musings

May 16, 2018

April Fools

April 4, 2018

Rollo and Me

March 7, 2018

Egregious linguistic offenses

February 14, 2018

Sharing Beauty

December 13, 2017

Subdued City Shakespeare

October 25, 2017

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Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

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Northwest Raspberry Festival


Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

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Raspberry Pancake Breakfast

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Tour de Whatcom

7:30am|Boundary Bay Brewery

Ferndale Breakfast

8:00am|Ferndale Senior Center

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

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9:00am|Riverwalk Park

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Twin Sisters Market

9:00am|Nugent's Corner, North Fork Library

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Primary Election Forum

9:30am|Bellingham High School

NW Art Beat Studio Tour

10:00am|Skagit County

Blaine Gardeners Market

10:00am|H Street Plaza

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Summer Seersucker Bicycle Ride

10:00am|Gilkey Square

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10:00am|Centennial Park

Lummi Island Saturday Market

10:00am|Islander Grocery Store

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am| Depot Market Square

Correspondence Club

10:30am|Mindport Exhibits

Downtown Market Walk

11:00am|Downtown Bellingham

Street Food Saturdays

11:00am|Zuanich Point Park

Show & Shine

11:00am|BelleWood Acres

Hot Ticket

11:00am|North Fork Library

Public Sail

12:00pm|Cap Sante Marina

The Nandia Trilogy

1:00pm|Barnes & Noble


1:00pm|Point Roberts Library

Concrete Saturday Market

1:00pm|Concrete Community Center

Field Games

1:00pm|VanderYacht Park

Wren and Della

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Lynden Cemetery Tour

1:00pm|Lynden Cemetery

State Street History Tour

1:30pm|Depot Market Square

The Secret Garden

3:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Ferndale Uncorked and Uncapped

3:00pm|Centennial Riverwalk Park

Nooksack River Walk

3:00pm|Horseshoe Bend Trailhead

Whatcom Democrats Country Picnic

4:00pm|Hovander Homestead Park

Seafood Boil

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Seafood Boil

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Feast and Frolic

5:30pm|Viva Farms

Saturday Seafood Boil

5:30pm|Semiahmoo Resort

Music at Maritime

6:00pm|Maritime Heritage Park

Austin Jenckes

7:00pm|Eagle Haven Winery

Bellingham Youth Jazz Band

7:00pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Nelson Mandela Tribute Concert

7:30pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Bebel Gilberto

7:30pm| Lincoln Theatre

Gerrymandering Update

7:30pm|Island Library

Village Books
Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Summer of Blood

7:00pm|Rexville Grange Amphitheater

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

NW Art Beat Studio Tour

10:00am|Skagit County

Sin & Gin Tours

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Vietnam Veterans Car Show

10:00am|Barkley Village

Edison Farmers Market

10:00am|Edison Granary

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Langar in Lynden

11:00am|Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

La Conner Live!

1:00pm|Gilkey Square

Skulls and Skins

1:00pm|Tennant Lake

Mosaic Stepping Stone Workshop

1:00pm|Chuckanut Center

Audubon at the Museum

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Fiddlin' Fox Summer Concerts

2:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Trivia Time

3:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Trivia Time

3:30pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

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Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Skagit Tours

10:00am|Highway 20

Rainbow Reads

12:00pm|Ferndale Library

Plant Diagnostic Clinics

5:00pm|Bellingham Public Library

Paddling Whatcom County


Cuban Salsa

6:00pm|Bell Tower Studios

Books on Tap Two

6:30pm|Tino's Pizza & Pasta Co.


9:00pm|Firefly Lounge

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