Alan Rhodes

Summertime 
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.

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Authentic Illusionist Jay Ownehouse

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