Dog Days Deliberations
Wednesday, September 12, 2018
While I get pretty lazy during the summer, I still faithfully keep my journal going, so I thought I’d share some random entries from July and August.
The August Bellingham Bake-Off. It’s too damn hot! I’m tired of seeing heat waves rising from my body whenever I unwrap the wet towel draped around my head to reduce the amount of wildfire smoke I’m breathing. All those years it took me to give up cigarettes and now I’ve got a smoker’s cough again. To make things worse, I hear that because of global warming this could be the new normal. Wait, didn’t President Trump say that climate change is a Chinese hoax? But this all seems so real. Those Chinese sure know how to pull off a stunt.
Summer Reading. This was a good idea, coming to Lake Padden and stretching out on a beach towel on the lawn by the water. I see a lot of other people have done the same. They are all reading detective novels and light summer fare. Maybe my book choice wasn’t such a good idea—Madeleine Albright’s Fascism: A Warning. Everyone else is looking happy and relaxed. All I’m feeling is terror. After Albright’s discussions of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, and such contemporary thugs as Erdogan, Duterte, and Putin, I turned the page to find a chapter titled “President of the United States.” This is not reassuring. I wonder if the woman next to me would swap her Agatha Christie for my book.
The Huckster’s Holiday. This is certainly an interesting story here in the Seattle Times. State Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) has been taking vacations in Cambodia, staying in deluxe hotels and resorts, financing much of this with campaign funds, and passing off these sojourns as some sort of official business. Doug’s last little jaunt was supposedly to monitor the Cambodian election. That’s amusing, given that the entire world, with the possible exception of Doug, knew in advance that the election would be a sham. Hun Sen, Cambodia’s corrupt dictator, obviously saw Doug as a useful idiot who might add a touch of legitimacy to his fake reelection. OK, to give credit where credit is due, it’s not often that Doug actually does something useful for someone (except corporate donors, of course).
Useful Idiot’s Sidekick. Doug has been taking a buddy along on his Cambodian trips, State Representative Vincent Buys (R-Lynden). Vincent, we need to talk. Why are you cozying up to a ruthless dictator? Even worse, why are you hanging out with Doug Ericksen? Didn’t your mother ever give you that talk about avoiding friends who are a bad influence? Up to this time, Vincent, I assumed you were just a naïve fellow with a partiality for simplistic thinking who is in over his head in the legislature. It’s occurring to me now that you might be, well, just plain stupid. Have I been giving you too much credit?
The Lynden (Un)Fair. A new couple, Amy and Michael, moved into the neighborhood recently and thought it would be fun to take their three kids up to Lynden for the Fair. Amy later said that the admission total alone for two adults and three kids was $50. Carnival ride passes for the kids cost $38 a pop, setting her back $114. Barbecue beef sandwiches were $15 and cheeseburgers were $10, and after adding in drinks, fries, etc. they were out another hundred or so. By the time the day was over the family’s monthly budget was shot. The kids said they couldn’t wait to go again next year. Amy said she hopes they forget about it by then because if they don’t she’s afraid they might have to take out a second mortgage to finance the day’s outing.
Respect. I was so sorry to learn of the passing of Aretha Franklin this summer. Where’s the fairness here? Aretha dies while all sorts of horrible people live on. I got so upset over this lack of cosmic justice that I started making a list in alphabetical order of all the people I wish had bought the farm instead of Aretha. I decided, however, to abandon the project as too ambitious when I was up to 746 people and had only gotten as far as Tucker Carlson.
A New Attitude. It must be heatstroke from the August temperatures, but I find myself smiling nostalgically at the thought of winter snowstorms. Sliding around on black ice is starting to sound like a refreshing recreational opportunity.