Monday, September 20, 2010

Some Things About Bend That Don't Suck Too Hard

People are always coming up to me on the street, in Costco, in bars and other places and saying, "Blackdog, what's the matter with you? You're always writing about how much Bend sucks. Can't you find anything good to say about Bend?"

After a while I realized their question was valid. There must be some good things about living in Bend, and in the interest of fairness and open-mindedness I should give them some recognition.

So I sat down and pondered for seven or eight hours and came up with five good things to say about Bend:

1. Do you have a large collection of sweaters and love to wear them? In Bend, you can wear one almost every day. Likewise for sweatshirts, parkas and mackinaws.

2. Do you love to spend the evening in front of a crackling blaze in the fireplace? In Bend, you can do it year-round.

3. Do you aspire to pass as an intellectual? In Bend, if your IQ is higher than that of the average cantaloupe you'll be considered a genius.

4. Do you like being unemployed? Bend's the place for you.

5. You won't have to spend money on sunscreen and air conditioners.

That about does it for me, but maybe my readers can come up with more good things to say about Bend. If so, you're welcome to do it.


Anonymous said...

Well, as you well know from your time as the editor of the Bend Bulletin plus your current stint at the Source Weekly, in journalism "If it bleeds, it leads." So why should you say anything nice about Bend? That would be boring! Plus, you are doing all the folks who love it here a favor: anyone doing research about moving to Bend surely changes ther're mind after finding you're blog, and for this service you are to be commentated! Thanks and see you at Costco!

blackdog said...

First, in more than 40 years in journalism, I never once heard a reporter or editor use the expression, "If it bleeds it leads."

Second: Why do I never say anything nice about Bend? Well, to my mind this blog has three purposes:

1. To entertain myself.

2. To entertain its readers (if any).

3. To counter all the absurd "Bend is paradise" propaganda out there.

There are plenty of people (professionals and amateurs) who are working tirelessly to disseminate that bullshit; somebody needs to inject a dose of reality.

Anonymous said...

"That would be boring!"

Well.., if that's how you 'chose' to interpret it, then fine. Here's 'my' issue; if ( and that's one big 'if' ) those that stand to profit portray a given area ACCURATELY then I haven't a concern in the world!

Hey, I enjoy a good brandy by the fire myself! ( Just not in August? ) And now I shall coin a phrase 'from' which there will be no cheerleading recovery..,

Season Appropriate

If your idea of good clean fun involves the activities blackdog describes above, WHEN it's "season appropriate" then bully good for YOU! Personally, I don't find water skiing at Christmas a season appropriate activity. Nor is "bundling up" to see 4th of July fireworks! Honesty in advertising is all we are asking!? ( Did you ever think it would be such an uphill battle? ) said...

Have you found your snobbery not tolerated in bigger and better places? Then come to Bend because, as the biggest city in Central Oregon, you have all sorts of opportunities to condescend.

blackdog said...

We have a different kind of snobbery here -- jock snobbery. People brag about their marathon or triathlon times or about how many feet of vertical they skied on Mt. Bachelor this season. They're snobbish about their gear too; if you don't have the latest and high-techiest mountain bike, skis, kayak, etc., you're considered hopelessly declasse.

Someday I'll write a post about Bend's "jocktocracy" (as Bob Woodward calls it).

Anonymous said...

Actually, Bob's younger brother Art, was my HS history teacher! ( Can you say... hardboiled? )

It's not a stretch to say they're at the core of "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions ( NOT their own 'facts'! )"

He looked like a young Brando and all the girls passed notes about what they'd 'do' to him? We had a young english teacher that would easily pass for Marianne Faithful ( pre-drug daze ) The whole school ( faculty included ) worked off the asumption they were into LSD/each other and I think they kind of got a kick out of igniting baseless rumors.

For the record, in a conservative midwestern town, two attractive single teachers being 'civil' with one another in the hallway = hotwax, mild restraint and role play.

mugmkr said...

Hey Blackdog, I don't think you need to worry about warning people off about moving to Bend, based on your take on the local climate and the myths that are spread about the weather. The real estate bubble bursting has pretty much taken care of that scenario (that of the powers that be trying to entice folks to move here) for the foreseeable future. Even though the city limit population signs say just under 81,000 residents, the recent census says that Bend's actual population is 75,000. The city is not healthy financially, the schools are losing enrollment and staffing levels, and there are very few family wage jobs to be had. And of course, the state budget, which funds some of the family wage jobs in Bend (schools, etc.) is really in the hole.
This will not deter folks from coming to Bend for a vacation - it is a premier area to enjoy and explore. However, I doubt many who come as a tourist will fall so head over heels in love with Bend that they will move here without checking out the financial reality. They used to do that, but those days, by and large, are long, long gone.
--That's my take, your mileage may vary.

blackdog said...

Mugman: I'm not trying to discourage people from moving to Bend; as I said, I'm just trying to provide an antidote to the bullshit propaganda. (Which is still being disseminated; just the other day I read a piece about Central Oregon in Horizon's in-flight magazine that repeated the "300 days of sunshine" lie.)

blackdog said...

More evidence that the propaganda is still flowing: The City of Bend's Website home page describes Bend as "an energetic city with a growing population of over 82,000. Bend is noted for its scenic setting, year-round recreational activities and growing economy."

Well, the recreational activities and the scenery are still here, but the bits about the "energetic city" and the "growing population" and "growing economy" need updating. I wonder if they'll ever get it?

FYI the US Census Bureau's 2009 population estimate for Bend is roughly 77,200. Haven't seen any 2010 data yet.

Anonymous said...

Even though Bend might well be the poster child for The Bust ( that isn't going to stop legion upon legions of hucksters from doing their level best to "reload the game" )

They'll default on their loans both personal and bus., put things in their ex-wife's name and press on anew only now w/ lower lot prices, bldg. materials etc. They're not about to let a little thing like the TRUTH get in between them and letting the good times roll again.

But in order for all of that to take place, they need a Greater Fool and this is where blackdog puts a little kink in their well laid plan. There will always be someone that got unceremoniously DUMPED from their SoCal job ( divorce whatever ) that "just wants to get away from it all!". And these are the folks that are the most vulnerable. We're just doing a public service really. :)

Anonymous said...


If there's one thing I learned this last 'summer' is that, you can't count/bank/rely/depend or in any other way hinge your hopes on it.

In the past, I'd be waiting for it, anticipating like a child on Cristmas morn. No more! You get what you get and there ain't no more.

Sure, I'll play along with the "be grateful for what we 'got' " routine but don't look for me around in May or Sept. any more. Not happening.

blackdog said...

"that isn't going to stop legion upon legions of hucksters from doing their level best to "reload the game"

Hell yes. They still think that if they can just stop all the "negative" (i.e., honest) talk they can re-inflate the bubble and everything will be peaches 'n' cream again. That attitude is definitely out there.

mugmkr said...

"I'm not trying to discourage people from moving to Bend; as I said, I'm just trying to provide an antidote to the bullshit propaganda"

So are you saying, c'mon folks, move to Bend, Oregon. It's nice, but not as nice as they say it is?

blackdog said...

I'm neither discouraging them nor encouraging them. I'm just giving them my point of view as someone who's lived here 25 years. If that discourages them from moving here, so be it.

Anonymous said...

One of the surest signs you're dealing with a 'convert' completely unwilling to be -objective- about OR's weather is, being subjected to the following statement:

"Well.., after 'all', it IS Fall!"

And that should be coming in about 3...2...

Right, I could get onboard w/ that if we just came off a blistering and drought infested summer but that just wasn't the case, was it?

Reminds me of Andy Capp, he'd be going thru the shakes needing a drink and tell Mrs. Capp "It's hardly a drizzle Love! Fetch your hat and we'll walk down to the Pub!"

( Ahem, 4 hours later when Mrs. Capp suggests they head for home ) Andy loudly proclaims, "Wot!? In 'this' weather? We'll catch our deaths!"

In short, The Apologists always... have a handy excuse for our weather.

blackdog said...

"In short, The Apologists always... have a handy excuse for our weather."

Another one you'll always hear is: "Well, this weather is UNUSUAL."

You only hear it when the weather sucks, never when it's good. Get a sunny, 60-degree day in February and the Bend boosters will act like it happens all the time.

Anonymous said...


Reminds me of a joke, white collar criminal doing time in Club Fed for the first time.

Nervous getting off the bus he immediately befriends an older Thurston Howell the 3rd type fellow. He says "Why my good lad! What's to be so nervous about? Why you're going to LOVE it here!"

I say! Do you play blackgammon? You DO! Why you're going to LOVE it here! On Monday we play blackgammon all day LONG! Morning. noon & night! Backgammon-all-day-long.

Tell me lad, do like bridge? WELL. On Tuesdays we play bridge all-day-looong.

( Then he leans forward and says ) I say lad, are you a homos*xual..? No? Oh..., then you are going to haaate Wednesday.

Yeah, "unusual".

Anonymous said...

Oh and just for future ref: One can distill the whole schpeel down to..,

"You're going to haaaate Wednesday!" ( when referring to OR's weather ) So much more efficient.

Anonymous said...

Have a great day and enjoy the fantastic Indian summer - my favorite time of year!