Friday, April 29, 2011

If the Royal Wedding Was Held in Bend, Kate Would Have Frostbite

It's the next-to-last day of April 2011, the Royal Wedding day. It's  partly cloudy and 68 degrees in London. (Congratulations, Kate and Bill.) Here on the other side of the pond, it's sunny and 56 degrees in Minneapolis. Sunny and 65 in Portland, Maine. Sunny and 67 in New York. Partly cloudy and 67 in Denver. 
In other words, it's spring -- real spring -- in the rest of the Northern Hemisphere. But it's cloudy, 32 degrees and snowing in Bend, Oregon.
Need I say more? BendSux(TM)!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How's This for Springtime Suck?

The Baby Chick Zombie sends springtime greetings from sucky Bend, where it presently is 33 degrees and snowing.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Vacation Is Great. Your Life Sucks.

There is a singularly stupid and obnoxious bumper sticker in Bend. It isn't very common, but I've seen it three or four times. It says:


And under that are the words: "Bend, Oregon."

This is stupid because the person who stuck that thing on his car knows nothing about the people who see the bumper sticker, or where and how they vacation. Maybe they spend three months a year in their villa in Tuscany. Maybe they spend the summer cruising the Mediterranean in their 60-foot yacht.

Vacations like those are a hell of a lot better than your life, dude -- unless your idea of a terrific time is freezing your ass off in a boring little town in the middle of nowhere.

As for the obnoxious part: This bumper sticker encapsulates not only the stupid provincialism of Bend ("No place in the world can possibly be as all-around super-duper wonderful as this place") but also the colossal arrogance that led Bendians to march lemming-like over the cliff of the real estate bubble ("This place is so gosh-darn all-around super-duper wonderful that everybody in the world is dying to live here and will pay anything to be able to do it").

So up yours, pal. My vacations are spent in Hawaii. Your life is spent in Bend.

Which means my vacation is great. And your life sucks.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Dark Underside of "Paradise"

One of the most cherished and assiduously promoted myths about Bend is that it is a wholesome place, an outdoorsy place, a place where folks are happy and friendly and crime is rare. "It's a great place to raise kids," people here are always saying, as if kids were a crop like alfalfa or corn that needs a particular set of conditions to grow.

Mayberry on the Deschutes.

As is usually the case with Bend, the reality is somewhat less rosy than the Chamber of Commerce hype. Some examples:

Yesterday police recovered a body believed to be that of Sandy Meyer, a 72-year-old woman who had been missing for more than a month. The body was in an underground utility box in the backyard of the home in a pleasant gated community in Southeast Bend where she had lived with her husband.

The body of the husband, John, had been found inside the home one week after he reported his wife missing. The cause of death was a gunshot wound. Police think it was a case of murder and suicide. There are rumors that the Meyers had financial problems and John had lost a considerable amount of money day-trading.

On April 14, Kipp Rusty Walker, 19, was singing and playing keyboard at an open mic night at Strictly Organic Coffee, a popular local youth hangout. Without warning he suddenly stood up, pulled out a knife and repeatedly stabbed himself in the chest. He was taken to a hospital, where he died of his injuries.

On April 8, the Oregon Medical Board suspended the license of prominent Bend gynecologist Dr. David Redwine for having sexual relations with a patient. The patient was Tami Sawyer, a former Bend real estate broker currently under federal indictment for assorted alleged fraudulent activities. She also was the defendant in a lawsuit brought by none other than Dr. David Redwine. (Yes, this really is a small town.)

 On April 7, Darrell Middlekauff, 48, was convicted of murdering his wife, Brenda. Brenda was reported missing in 2002; three years later, her body was discovered stuffed into a steel drum buried near the couple's home in southern Deschutes County. After murdering Brenda, Darrell was shacking up with a 17-year-old girl.

The point of this gruesome recital is not that Bend is a crime-infested hellhole. The point is that people  here are like people everywhere -- driven by lust, passion and greed to sometimes do horrible things. And if people are lustful, greedy and dishonest, moving to Bend won't change them. The pretty scenery and clean air will not bring about a magical transformation. As the old saying has it, "Wherever you go, there you are."

Even if you go to "paradise."

ADDENDUM: I forgot about this one ...

BEND, Ore. -- A shooting in central Oregon that left a Bend woman and her daughter dead, and seriously injured her 2-year-old boy, was a murder-suicide, police said.

Julie Angela Still, 39, shot and killed her 5-year-old daughter, wounded her son, and then turned a .22-caliber pistol on herself at their home last December, according to a Bend police report released Monday. 

More here.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Sheer Horrifying Suckiness of Bend's "Spring Festival"

The horror. The horror.

It's a classic Bend spring day -- gray, windy, 48 degrees and drizzling. Naturally, this was the day they picked to hold the second annual "Spring Festival" in Northwest Crossing, which, for the benefit of those of you who don't live here, is a yuppified development in the northwest quadrant of Bend full of faux "Craftsman" houses, Volvo and Subaru station wagons and thin blond white people who wear Lycra a lot.

Mrs. Blackdog and I rode by there early this afternoon, and in spite of the weather there seemed to be about a thousand people milling around in the cold drizzle. Bendoids are like that; they will turn out in hordes for any event, no matter how shitty the weather may be. I attribute this to two factors: 1) the high boredom quotient in Bend and 2) the low Intelligence Quotient in Bend. Probably in equal parts.

The whole scene was just too ugly and sad and depressing and horrible, and I got the fuck out of there as fast as I could.

Why did it bother me? I think it's because holding a "spring festival" in Bend in mid-April is not only monumentally stupid but seems like a taunt, a heartless, jeering mockery of the dashed hopes of those of us who keep dreaming that somehow, some year, by some blessed miracle, spring will bring a little sunshine and warmth.

In commemoration of the horribleness of it all I bought, for $2, this creepy little plaster figurine of a baby chick zombie, and I'm making it the official emblem of "spring" in Bend. 

Which really, truly, deeply, profoundly and horribly sucks.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sucked In by the Sucky Bend Springtease

 Hopeful green shoots, April 3
Less hopeful green shoots, April 6

It happens every year: People in Bend -- even some of the old-timers, who really should know better -- get fooled into thinking "spring" has arrived in early April, when it won't truly get here for another two and a half months.

After five weeks of almost non-stop suck from late February through March, we had a spell of sunny and (relatively) warm weather that lasted about four days. Crocuses popped up. My "friends" on Facebook posted photos of their crocuses and started babbling about the gorgeous gardens they were going to have this year.

"Yesterday was like the perfect Bend weather day," chirped Duncan McGeary, one of the old-timers who definitely should know better than to be chirping, on April 2.

Then -- wham! -- winter smacked us upside the head again. As I write this the temperature is in the 30s and the forecast calls for a "wintry mix" of scattered rain and snow (most likely graupel too).

What makes "spring" weather in Bend even harder to take are the imbeciles -- typically the skiers and snowboarders -- who revel in its suckiness and yammer about how they wish the winter would never end.

One of them was a Facebook "friend" of mine until this morning, when he posted yet another comment about how delightful Bend's endless winter is. I unfriended him. I just couldn't take any more of that crap.

The Bend "spring" is a shameless tease. She lets you buy her drinks, flirts with you, smiles at you, winks at you, puts her hand on your knee, gets you all hot and bothered ... and then walks out of the bar with some other guy.

It sucks.