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The Hammer, December 2023 Cusp O’ 2024 Edition

Railing against the tyranny of Starbucks drive-thru bias

By Ron Judd Executive Editor

Dec. 23, 2023

Sorry/Not Sorry for the Delays: The Hammer took a short time off (you’re welcome, newsroom staff), and has been swinging at other managerial duties of late, as well as waiting for Your Guide to Speedy Postal Service from the U.S. Postal Service. Note: Patience is not his strong suit.

Breaking 700-Fill Down News: Fjallraven, the Swedish makers of massive oversized Nordic-looking jackets and other urban-tundra-survival gear, plans to open a storefront in Bellingham. Being a person not usually predisposed to $750 parkas, Hammer is not sure how he feels about this. But he will admit to being intrigued at the notion of seeing a spring softball game between the folks at Fjallraven and Lululemon out at Joe Martin Stadium.

Meanwhile, in Coffee Limbo: With the cherished Old Independent Coffee Shop now tragically gone, Hammer was forced to roll up last week to a local Starbucks outlet, usually best avoided. He was immediately reminded why: As is the Howard Schultz way, the entire operation seemed geared toward serving a line of whale-sized vehicles belching smoke outside in the drive-thru.

Sorry, It’s True: Customers inside — there were one or two of us — got to stand around and watch them all get served. This seems consistent at other SBUX outlets, as well. How about some bonus priority barista hustle for people who actually muster the tremendous strength to walk 50 feet inside?

You’re Way Ahead of Us Here: Hammer’s next stop there, should there be one, might include a walk-thru in the drive-thru line. He is a busy guy, and time is of the essence. Plus, by then he may well be equipped with a Fjallraven Urban Coffee Stand Assault Jacket.

photo  Earth-destroying cars roll through the Starbucks at Iowa and King streets in Bellingham in April 2022. The Hammer believes in a conspiracy to serve autobound coffee slurpers first, neglecting folks who have the gumption to walk inside. Prove him wrong, Starbucksters. (Kyle Tubbs)  

Speaking of Blockheads: Couldn’t help noting the irony this week of hearing the famous line from “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” namely: “Linus is right. I won’t let all this commercialism ruin my Christmas.” It was uttered again this year on a now 58-year-old feelgood Christmas Classic, but not for just anyone. The show, long a delight for the nation’s masses of children, this year is available exclusively on Apple TV+

Turns Out, Lucy Was Right: “Look, Charlie, let’s face it. We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It’s run by a big Eastern syndicate, you know.”

Original Wagon Trail Ruts Update: Hammer was pleased to see the other day that some other city residents have taken to the Bellingham one-stop flopping portal, the SeeClickFix (add “Forget” as suffix for the Bellingham version) phone app, to complain about the yawning chasms in city pavement all around the Exit 252 Interstate 5 overpass. It’s the gateway to the city to many visitors, welcoming them with a scraping thud that surely will send them to be greeted by one of our local auto shops that deals with front-end damage. 

Just to Be Clear: The city is well aware of this. This week, complaint number 200-something actually prompted the following response from a mystery Bellingham official: “Because of this intersection’s adjacency to I-5, the area referenced in this request is owned and maintained by WSDOT. We bring up issues here and along the Guide regularly with our partners at WSDOT but have limited influence on which areas of the state they repair at what times. The City of Bellingham has been working diligently to maintain city main arterials and the connections to. Thank you for your concern.”

Great, Except: Hammer in a personal conversation with a regional WSDOT official a year or so ago was told that the above statement is not true — that the state is only responsible for the overpass itself, and it’s doing, fine, thanks.

May We Humbly Suggest: That these two institutions get together over a beer or something and find out whose problem this is, before one of us hapless taxpayers actually disappears into the void? For the love of God.

Dare to Dream: Perhaps the incoming Kim Lund administration might find a way to turn some of that promised transformational leadership mojo into a load of hot asphalt. It’s basics, people. Basics. Start with problems that are solvable. Much of the rest of the nation somehow has managed to figure this out. 

That Probably Makes Us Special: With the solstice and other occasions underway, we’ll go with that. Peace and Happy Holidays, all. 

Dec. 4, 2023

Reproductive Righteousness: The population in the Evergreen State has topped 8 million people. You’re way ahead of us here: On any given weeknight, 6.5 million of them can be found in the Bham Trader Joe’s parking lot.

Aloha, Hawalaska Airlines: Alaska, the hometown airline whether we look north or south, has announced a deal to acquire rival Hawaiian Airlines for $1.9 billion and several bags of pretzel snacks. 

Not Taking This Personally, But: Hammer has been told that bigshots in Alaska’s board room who literally make their livings canceling flights from Bellingham Intergalactic Airport were so dismayed that there were no existing Hawaiian flights to cancel here, they booked a few for next month and then canceled those, just out of principle.

Seriously: Is there another growing metropolis anywhere in the region where transportation options just keep going south? 

Goes Without Saying: But by that, we do not mean Mazatlan.

Even More Seriously: A decade ago, you could get to several attractive destinations from BLI any day of the week. Today you’re lucky to get a Lyft to Ferndale on Saturday night. Was it something we said?

Meanwhile in the Nearer South: Sezhere that the Washington State Archives, the oft-flooded, inadequate home of historical treasures of a state now home to thousands of the world’s richest people, can’t get state funding of $180 million for a new state archives building. Another proud feature of the world’s largest onshore tax haven.

Everything is Backing Up: We hesitate to lift the lid on this subject, but last week’s print edition of CDN set a newsroom record for number of poop-centered stories in the A section. One was about a leak at Western’s Outback farm, one described another leak at Old Mill Village near Lake Whatcom, and the other dealt with options for a new poop-treatment plant down at Post Point. Cascadia Daily News regrets the odor.

Not to Brag, But: It is a testament to our professionalism and decorum — or perhaps just our inability to locate it — that we refrained from running the now-infamous Seth Fleetwood Hard Hat and Shades Poop Photo there one last time. (We kid Seth, but he has been an uncommonly good sport. Thanks for the service and fair winds to him.)

The Hammer, a somewhat less-studious alter ego of CDN’s executive editor and various other pointed-barb influencers, publishes online monthly and is updated somewhat regularly; ronjudd@cascadiadaily.com; @roncjudd.

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