Alan Rhodes

Can We Talk?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Despite my reputation as an easygoing, cheerful optimist, I worry all the time. For example:

Emerald City Exodus. O.K., Seattle, I’ve read the data and know that a lot of you are moving to Bellingham. Who can blame you? If I lived in Seattle, I too would want to flee Amazon, million-dollar starter homes, motionless traffic, and Kshama Sawant. But you can’t all come up here or we’ll end up looking like the place you left. If you feel you have to come this way, spread yourselves out. Blaine is nice if you want to be on the water. Ferndale has a nostalgic small-town ambiance. Even the name sounds right. Another place with small- town character is Lynden, which is also a good choice if you have a fondness for cows. Sumas is a wise location if you want to be prepared for a quick escape across the border in case Trump completely flips out and starts lobbing missiles at Iran, California, CNN, and Robert Mueller.

By the way, if you hate Seattle because of its progressive orientation, you won’t like Bellingham either. Fear not. If you’re a paramilitary, white supremacist, survivalist, you can find your bros and their arsenals nestled about in the secluded recesses of rural Whatcom County.

Growing Pains. While we’re on the subject of extortionist housing prices, I recently read that Whatcom County real estate is appreciating so fast that we’re number 18 out of 245 U.S. metro areas for accelerating home prices. This might be good news if you’re selling your Edgemoor megahome and downsizing in rural Mississippi. It’s not so great for those folks seeking affordable digs in Bellingham. We need to become undesirable. It’s time for me to reactivate the organization I started years ago, Lesser Bellingham, a movement devoted to municipal shrinkage. I think I liked it here better when we were a working-class mill town and Fairhaven was a rough-edged, low-rent Bohemian enclave. On my crabbier days I find myself growing nostalgic for the smell of Georgia-Pacific. Maybe we could just recreate the odor and pipe it out over the town to discourage Seattleites who drive up here to check the place out.

What Have I Done? Mo Brooks, an Alabama Republican congressman, recently enlightened an otherwise ignorant public on why the world’s oceans are rising. Climate change? Au contraire. Mo theorized that the problem is caused by rocks falling into the sea. Oh my God! For years now I’ve been nonchalantly skipping stones into Bellingham Bay. I could have flooded the entire waterfront redevelopment project!

Incidentally, Mo serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. I suspect this is not the sort of outcome that the republic’s founders had in mind when they envisioned a nation in which well-informed citizens would elect enlightened individuals to represent them.

Safe Spaces. I was happy to see the city is spiffing up Maritime Heritage Park (aka the Needle Depository). This little stretch of urban verdancy has been largely abandoned by families who see it as shabby, disreputable and dangerous. The city will improve facilities, install some oversized games, increase police presence and offer evening entertainment. These are swell ideas, especially the entertainment, as long as it doesn’t involve clowns. Clowns are creepy. They are way scarier than anyone I’ve ever seen in the park.

While all this cosmetic park upgrading is a dandy idea, I wonder if anyone at City Hall noticed it doesn’t actually do anything about the issues responsible for the park’s deterioration: homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse.

Inside Job. There was an interesting article in this very newspaper last month about Stoney Bird’s candidacy for the U.S. congressional seat currently held by Rick Larsen. Stoney, you have some terrific ideas on the environment, sustainability and curbing corporate power, but maybe it wasn’t a good idea to advance a theory that the twin towers did not fall because airplanes flew into them, but because of “controlled demolition.” I know from personal experience how an unusual theory can turn a narrow—minded public against you. I’ll never get over the time I sabotaged my campaign for Cleveland water commissioner by publicly speculating that Elvis was the second shooter in the JFK assassination. I guess there was also a problem because I’ve never lived in Cleveland.

Etc. I’m now stewing and fretting because I only had space to cover 5 of my top 50 worries this week.

Past Columns
The Lilliputian Gazette

November 20, 2019

Election Elucidations

October 15, 2019

Buying Sedro-Woolley

September 4, 2019

Rescued by Rachmaninoff

July 17, 2019

Hurrahs and Harangues

May 8, 2019

Ranting and Raving

March 6, 2019

Bellingham 2050

February 13, 2019

Looking Backward

January 2, 2019

Joy to the World

December 19, 2018

A Second Spring

October 3, 2018

Dog Days Deliberations

September 12, 2018

Mr. Cranky’s Files

July 11, 2018

Midnight Musings

May 16, 2018

April Fools

April 4, 2018

Rollo and Me

March 7, 2018

Egregious linguistic offenses

February 14, 2018

Events
Today
Holiday Pet Food Drive

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Giving Tree

9:00am|Village Books

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

The Naughty List Market and Cabaret

2:00pm|Broadway Hall

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Treasure Island

7:00pm|Sehome High School Theater

Shrek the Musical

7:00pm|Burlington-Edison High School

Crazy for You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

A Christmas Carol

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Number the Stars

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Connelly Creek Nature Area

Toys for Tots

10:00am

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am| Sunset Square

Holiday Tea

11:00am|Willowbrook Manor

Holiday Craft Bazaar

3:30pm|Lynden Library

Drayton Harbor Shellebration

4:00pm|G Street Plaza

Gingerbread House Making

4:30pm|Ferndale Library

Christmas on the Docks

5:00pm|Cap Sante Marina

Photos and Stories with James K. Papp

5:00pm|Gallery Pegasus

Wonderland Walk

5:00pm|Washington Park

Valley Made Holiday Market

5:00pm|Maplehurst Farm

Kids Night Out @ Western

6:00pm|Western Washington University

Lost Feast

7:00pm|Village Books

Honk! The Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Darkness and Light

7:30pm|St. James Presbyterian Church

Narnia the Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Christmastime is Here with Skagit Symphony

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Tarnation and Holiday Games

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Tomorrow
Holiday Pet Food Drive

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Giving Tree

9:00am|Village Books

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Shrek the Musical

7:00pm|Burlington-Edison High School

Treasure Island

7:00pm|Sehome High School Theater

Number the Stars

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

A Christmas Carol

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Crazy for You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am| Sunset Square

Toys for Tots

10:00am

Holiday Tea

11:00am|Willowbrook Manor

Christmas on the Docks

5:00pm|Cap Sante Marina

Wonderland Walk

5:00pm|Washington Park

Valley Made Holiday Market

5:00pm|Maplehurst Farm

Honk! The Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Tarnation and Holiday Games

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Darkness and Light

7:30pm|St. James Presbyterian Church

Narnia the Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

NSEA Work Party

9:00am

Breakfast with Santa

9:00am|Sedro-Woolley Community Center

Winter Faire

10:00am|Whatcom Hills Waldorf School

Winter Arts & Crafts Festival

10:00am|Pioneer Park Pavilion

Old-Fashioned Christmas Market

10:00am|Friday Harbor Brickworks

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Fairhaven Winterfest

10:00am|Historic Fairhaven

Sumas Book Club

10:00am|Sumas Library

Mastering Wisteria

10:30am|Full Bloom Farm

Award-Winning Book Club

10:30am|Lynden Library

Snow Geese of Skagit

10:30am|Christianson's Nursery

Your Life is a Story Writers Group

10:30am| South Whatcom Library

Saltadena Celebration

11:00am|Saltadena Bakery

Winter Wonderland Gift Gala

11:00am|Carnation Building

Holiday Craft Bazaars

11:30am

Holiday Maker's Market

12:00pm|Terramar Brewing and Distilling

Holiday Joy with Fidalgo Youth Symphony

1:00pm|McIntyre Hall

Holiday Tea and Crafts

1:00pm|North Fork Library

Festive Feasting Reception

1:00pm|Good Earth Pottery

Teen Art Fair

2:00pm|Blaine Library

Big Holiday reds tasting

2:00pm|eifert & Jones Wine Merchants

Shrinking the Worry Monster

2:00pm|Village Books

Birding for Kids

2:30pm

Bowman Bay Holiday

3:00pm|Bowman Bay

Noel Ensemble

3:00pm|Jansen Art Center

A Deep Dive Into Eve Deisher's Psyche

3:00pm|Museum of Northwest Art

One Meditation

4:00pm| Boulevard Park

The Nativity

6:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Early Railroads of Whatcom County

7:00pm|Village Books

Contra Dance

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Center Into Solstice

7:00pm|Cafe Blue

Holiday History Hi-Jinks

7:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Winter Solstice Concert with SeaMuse

7:30pm|Firehouse Arts and Events Center

Cidertails with Alexine Langdon

7:30pm|housand Acre Cider House

Heralding Christmas with Skagit Valley Chorale

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

The Kelley World Tour

7:30pm|Lummi Island Library

Sunday
Holiday Pet Food Drive

10:00am|Whatcom County

Deck the Old City Hall

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Giving Tree

9:00am|Village Books

Holiday Festival of the Arts

10:00am

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Number the Stars

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Crazy for You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Pacific Arts Market

10:00am| Sunset Square

Christmas on the Docks

5:00pm|Cap Sante Marina

Valley Made Holiday Market

5:00pm|Maplehurst Farm

Honk! The Musical

7:00pm|Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth

Narnia the Musical

7:30pm|Claire vg Thomas Theatre

Winter Wonderland Gift Gala

11:00am|Carnation Building

The Nativity

6:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Heralding Christmas with Skagit Valley Chorale

7:30pm|McIntyre Hall

Sedro-Woolley Community Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Post #43

Langar in Lynden

11:00am| Guru Nanak Gursikh Gurdwara

Celtic Yuletide

3:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Scarlett and Dicey

4:00pm|Village Books

Vaudevillingham

7:00pm|Cirque Lab

see our complete calendar »