Alan Rhodes

Mr. Cranky’s Autumn Saunter

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

It’s a brisk fall afternoon and I’m wandering around downtown with no constructive purpose in mind when I see a sign on Bay Street I haven’t noticed before: Heady Virtual Reality. Being out of the loop on everything contemporary (cryptocurrency, social media, Kanye West) I decide I should learn about virtual reality.

Inside, I talk with Zach, the affable owner who answers all my witless questions with Zen-like patience. For $10 per 15 minutes I can don special goggles and experience other realities, like walking a plank 300 feet up in the air. That sounds like something I would pay not to do. Another offering is the oddly named game Arizona Sunshine, in which you kill zombies. I have nothing personally against zombies, other than their terrible grooming, so I don’t think I want to randomly kill them. I will judge zombies individually on the content of their character. Many activities here sound like they might be fun, but outside there’s sunshine and real reality, absolutely free of charge, so I move on.

Meandering down Champion Street, I come to a favorite store, the Lucky Monkey. I have an inspiration. I’m wearing my backpack, it holds a lot, so I’ll do my Christmas shopping now while the store is uncrowded. I buy three light-up yo-yos, a dashboard eyeball wiggler, two whoopee cushions, three kazoos, two sets of coat hooks that look like severed fingers, an assortment of fake moustaches, a rubber alligator and a half-dozen of those infuriating little puzzles in which you must roll BBs into shallow indentations. Presto, I’ve finished my Christmas shopping. You might think I have a lot of grandchildren. I don’t have any. No one on my Christmas list is under 50.

While poking along Commercial Street, I see a sign for something called WinkWink. I figure it must be a high-end designer eyewear store, but when I get to the show window I see it’s a sex shop. I’ve never been in a sex shop. How could this be? After all, I’ve been to Hamburg and Amsterdam. In the interest of journalistic thoroughness, I figure I should have a look.

Inside WinkWink I quickly realize that I don’t know what most of this stuff is for. The dildo and vibrator section is relatively self-explanatory, but a lot of the other pleasure-inducing implements have me flummoxed. I could ask the salesperson but I don’t want her to think I’m from Lynden. There’s a large bondage area with ropes, restraints, gags, slave bracelets and handcuffs. This section scares me. I think I would rather go shoot zombies. As I leave I’m amused by the store’s location—right next door to Faithlife. Oh well, there’s a lot of sex in the Bible as I recall.

Before heading home I remember that I’m desperately low on dark chocolate peanut butter cups, so I hoof it over to Trader Joe’s. I grab some peanut butter cups and then stroll through the aisles to see if there are other essentials I might need. I become aware of an irritating phenomenon that occurs every year around now, the proliferation of pumpkin-flavored products. I am of the opinion that pumpkins have two legitimate functions: pumpkin pies and jack-o’-lanterns. I suppose pumpkin bread and pumpkin soup are marginally acceptable if, of course, no tastier alternatives are available. But Joe’s shelves are now loaded with pumpkin-adulterated concoctions. I count at least two dozen such fusions. This is unacceptable.

Many of these amalgamations are serious gastronomic offenses. For example, there is pumpkin spice rooibus tea. Isn’t rooibus tea disgusting enough on its own? What sort of sick person would decide it needed to be even more repulsive? I also see pumpkin ale. Why would anyone think it was a good idea to add pumpkin to beer? Who would do this? Probably a relative of the rooibus tea guy. Oh my god, this is going too far: pumpkin tortilla chips and pumpkin salsa. This is an insult to Mexico and could precipitate a diplomatic crisis. Donald Trump is probably behind this. And here’s the ultimate outrage: pumpkin spice coffee. I can’t think of many things much worse to put in coffee than pumpkin. Maybe mayonnaise. Or anchovies. Or bat guano. I even see pumpkin dog treats. Isn’t it enough that we’re polluting our own food? Must we go after innocent animals? What’s happened to human decency?

Some might argue that I’m just talking about a matter of personal taste. You can’t reason with people like that.

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

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

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

Holiday Favorites

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

The Naughty List Market and Cabaret

2:00pm|Broadway Hall

Miracle Pop-Up Holiday Cocktail Bar

4:00pm|Swim Club

Songs of Peace with Kulshan Youth Choir

5:30pm|First Congregational Church

Bellwether Premiere Wine Social

5:30pm|Lighthouse Grill

Holiday Party

6:00pm|Camber Coffee

DSA Movie Night

6:00pm|Academic West

Winter Pop-Up with Taylor Shellfish

6:00pm|Aslan Depot

Peaceful Poetry Reading

6:30pm|Village Books

Shrek the Musical

7:00pm|Burlington-Edison High School

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Storm Music Extravaganza

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre

Treasure Island

7:00pm|Sehome High School Theater

Peace, Love, and Ukuleles

7:00pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship

Avalanche Awareness

7:00pm|Backcountry Essentials

History Holiday

7:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Crazy for You

7:30pm|Bellingham Theatre Guild

Number the Stars

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

A Christmas Carol

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

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

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

Saturday
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

see our complete calendar »