The Hammer

The Hammer, Vol. III(b)

February 3, 2022 at 5:40 a.m.

Executive Editor

Drop the Remote and Step Away From the Curling Competition: It’s Monday Toppers time!

How Is That Again? Look, The Hammer knows it’s highly unlikely NBC Olympics host Mike Tirico has ever been to Central Washington. But when you’re on the world stage, you’ve gotta do your prep work. And Tirico clearly didn’t on Sunday, when the Peacock network came back from commercial by showing a flyover shot of snowy Washington state landscape, welcoming viewers out there in a magical winter kingdom Tirico called “Yakim-UH.” Ouch.

Fortunately: Given that it was prime time on Sunday night, only a few billion people probably heard this. 

Just In: We see that Dr. Deb Donovan, a marine researcher at Western, is hosting a 4:30 p.m. Thursday talk titled “Restoring the Iconic Pinto Abalone in the Salish Sea.” Her bio notes: “She is generally interested in how marine invertebrates physiologically and morphologically respond to environmental change.”

Um: Aren’t we all?

Seriously Though: We kid Dr. Donovan, whose talk can be heard on Zoom by registering here

Not Sure About This: The Hammer, as evidenced by disgusting discussions about McDonald’s fare (see below) is no gourmand. But he is deeply troubled by this new pasta that’s being put out by … Patagonia, the fleece of choice for the 5-percenter outdoorsy folk. It’s called Organic Kernza Fusilli, a “wheat-like perennial grain,” which “not only has a delicious nutty flavor but also replenishes depleted soils and draws down carbon.”

Possible Downside: What are the odds it doesn’t taste like recycled wool, or the inside of a musty stuff sack?

Now back to your previous programming.

So It Sez Right Here: Puget Sound Energy wants a rate increase of 13%, to start paying for, among other things, the conversion to green energy that it should have done a long time ago. 

One Thought: Yay, green energy!

Another: Wait; there's a price tag?

Seriously, Though: Here in the land where people assume we're running on all hydro, but in fact our energy supply is still two-thirds carbon-based, it's high time some of this conversion activity moves from the “Theoretical” tab on the PSE spreadsheet. That state-imposed 20-plus-year timeline to do so seems a bit generous with the West on fire every summer. Etc.

By the Way: Something tells The Hammer that the local energy folks, accustomed as they are to doing as they please, will look at those conversion deadlines with the same urgency as The Hammer views his Wednesday deadline at CDN. Prove us wrong, state regulators. (And sorry, fellow editors.)

Breaking Wind: Thank the gods that lingering fog bank over the Northern Bellingham Metroplex finally broke the other day, clearing skies above Bellingham Intergalactic Airport. The weekly milk-run flight to Seattle has resumed. 

Swifter, Higher, Sleazier: The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic committees say they've signed an agreement to explore hosting the 2030 Winter Games in a bid led by four First Nations and the cities of Vancouver and Whistler. Not that The Hammer has any say, but as someone who's seen the Games glories and goriness up close — and witnessed the degree to which the once-grand event has devolved into a doping-ridden global public-resource extraction racket — here's one big NO vote from south of the border. Anyone else?

In Traffic News: Interstate 5 backed up 10 miles down by Seattle the other day while DOT crews worked to fix a mangled expansion joint. Over by the Exit 252 interchange in Bham (now seeking sponsorship from several Oregon Trail foundations), we would've called that highway carnage “Wednesday.”

Gotta Say: As a career journo, you live your whole life hoping to be assigned a story like the one Wednesday in the New York Times: “Questions Remain After Highway Crash Involving Monkeys.”

Coming soon from McDonald's, Where America Doesn't Go Anymore: It's the Air, Land and Sea sandwich, sort of a Buick on a bun. Consists of three bread objects, a “fish” filet, a “McChicken” plank, a beef patty, shredded lettuce, twin extrusions of “Pasteurized Process American Cheese," tartar sauce, “Big Mac Sauce,” mayonnaise, pickle slices, and onions. Caloric load: 1,330, 69 grams of fat, 123 grams of carbs. (Patent Pending: 2022, American Ambulance Driver's Association.)

Please Note: The sandwich is available for a Limited Time Only because by the second week of its existence, its entire target audience will be happily dead, and there are only so many of those folks to go around outside the halls of Congress.

Bringing Back Fond Memories Of: The reader board at the previous incarnation of the Rome Store on Highway 542, which sat for years between owners with a leaderboard proudly advertising: “CHICKEN” — quote marks included.

Speaking of Owning: Looks like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has invested $10 billion — that's with a “B” — in virtual-reality goggles to send the world into the “metaverse.” Dude: Spend what you want. But we're not going to wear them. We just aren't.

The Hammer to Humanity: We're not quite sure how to say this, other than this way: Folks, literally no one in the world cares about your Wordle score. 

And if You Seriously Feel Otherwise: Please move your obsessive badly-in-need-of-a-life conversations to a private side channel.

And Finally: In a season where bits of good health news have been rare, we welcomed a glimmer of hope from local health officials this week about the pandemic struggle with massive infections from the COVID-19 omicron variant. A big bow of thanks here to all the health care workers, testing techs, emergency crews, teachers, public servants, nurses, hospice workers and others who have soldiered through this fight. Heroic efforts, all. We see you.

The Hammer appears on Wednesdays and is updated throughout the week as needed. Got your own nail that needs hammering? Send thoughts to The Hammer's alter ego:
Have a news tip? Email or Call/Text 360-922-3092



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