Wildland Firefighter Jordan Pollack

Jordan Pollack has been a fearless wildland firefighter across Whatcom, Skagit, Island, San Juan and Snohomish for over 40 years.

Toys ‘R’ Us

Ken Karlberg recalls past pranks at work and with his daughters, and encourages us to be playful and find our inner child.

The Ultimate Mood Killer: Bicycle Seats

Loretta shares her insights on how bicycle seats can be a very successful form of birth control while being the designated cyclist during girls’ night out.

See something, say something

Ken Karlberg makes suicide prevention personal by asking each of us to take the time to lsiten and talk, and to ask for help when you need it.

Final Word | Even If It Ain’t Broke, Fix It!

Humor alert — Loretta reminded me to provide a satire disclaimer. No toes were intentionally stepped on in the writing of this Final Word

Humor Without a Safety Net

By its nature, Bellingham Alive is designed to be a perpetual work in progress. As our community changes, Bellingham Alive will always change with it. Few may have believed that Bellingham Alive would succeed when we published our first issue 10 years ago in the Great Recession. I did, however. I had faith in my wife, Lisa, and her vision and determination. Our goal was simple—to simply make a difference in our community, to celebrate our community, and to help drive business through the doors of our community. Certainly, we hope that our magazine has become a source of pride for our local counties. That is our goal. That is our commitment to you.

Don’t come home without a mammoth, dear!

Ken (and Loretta) offer their post- Winter Olympic Games thoughts to increase viewership Every two years, we celebrate the world’s athletes, their incredible stories of sacrifice, and the spirit of Olympic competition. Once upon a time — back before cell phones and the internet—the whole world tuned in. Now,…

Garbage Shaming

Loretta gets serious about recycling to avoid the public stockade. I  don’t shame easily. As a native New Yorker, my adherence to social norms was often optional, kind of like taking abstinence advice from my mom when I was a teenager. I would listen politely, and then do what I wanted. Mom, I should have listened. You were right,…

The Power of One

Ken shares his thoughts on the spirit of Valentine’s Day For most males in serious relationships, Valentine’s Day is one of three days each year that strike fear in their hearts, the others being their partner’s birthday and their wedding anniversary. Get it right, or you die. Forget the dates, and you die. I have all these dates dutifully calendared, with a fail-safe advance warning…

A Parent’s Pain

Ken’s Hopes for Parents in Pain During the Holidays For the holidays, I decided to unwrap a personal wound to support divorced parents everywhere whose relationship with their children brings them a sadness that only parents can know. I have my share of emotional scar tissue from 60 years of life. I carry my pain well, I hope, after years of…

The Sad State of Guy Love

Ken Explores the Emotional Health of Male Relationships Affection toward other males does not come naturally to most men. We are conditioned from birth to show strength, typically physical strength, but most certainly to project strength of any type as a means to the ultimate end — that is, to establish a pecking order amongst ourselves. Who’s the best athlete, the smartest, the most…

Roundabout is Fair Play

Ken takes a Sunday drive back to his future Once upon a time—back when the wheel had just been invented but not yet patented—I used to worry only about the rare road rage incident with a local farmer and his John Deere tractor when I drove in our local counties. Life was simpler then. We had fewer…

Romancing the Whine

A Guy’s Viticulture Guide to Relationships I am either fearless or foolish because I habitually connect dots for the sake of humor, like the parallels between romance and wine, that…

Could I Do That?

“Paying the ultimate sacrifice for our country” — I dislike that expression. We hear the phrase every Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and sometimes on the Fourth of July, as if the majority of us age 60 and younger know its meaning from personal…

Cats Rule, Dogs Drool

Ken, er, Garfield, Jr., goes off-leash to offer some catty remarks No disrespect to horses, rabbits, piglets, and other critters, but dogs, not you all, are my competition for household dominance. Dogs have had their day. It’s “our” turn. As a life-long, card-carrying member of the Feline Brotherhood Local No. 9, I am lodging a formal complaint and organizing a purr-out on behalf of all us cats, the vastly superior and more…

The Case for Porta Potties

Ken puts a few tongue-in-cheek suggestions in the Mt. Baker Theatre’s suggestion box When I attended the grand opening of the Mt. Baker Theatre…

When the Bells Stop Ringing

F or weeks, I had mentally prepared myself to dig my stepfather’s grave. The first shovelful of sod was the hardest. I placed the first piece carefully to the side and stared at the clump of dirt and grass….

Repeal and Replace

Ken offers suggestions for Trumpcare Is it just me or does anyone else question whether the federal government is serious about health care, public safety, and balancing the budget? Ask any household on a budget—coping in a crisis requires creativity, penny-saving efficiency, and multi-tasking. I say to Mr. President and Congress, “Think like a mom, not politicians.” Moms squeeze more of the important life priorities out of each day than…

Loretta’s Guide To Post-Divorce Dating

Loretta shares her stud-finding secrets Dating—near as I can tell, the after-market experience is punishment before the crime, kind of like law school. Don’t get me wrong. I love men. Well, most men, anyway. At their worst, men make interesting toys and at their best, men make excellent pets even if they haven’t been properly trained. But the depth of the dating pool north of Stanwood is, how shall I say, shallow. Where is the deep…

A Reminder To Look For The Forest In The Trees

Ken rejoices in the sweet side of life’s randomness For the past few months, two beloved family members, my aunt and stepfather, have been in and out of the hospital. Both are terminally ill. In the next weeks or months, my stepsisters will be parentless without the critical emotional tether of their father, my mom will face the remainder…

The Leap

As a young teenager, I leapt a mighty leap from the cliff of life. It was a leap of faith for the bottom was nowhere in sight. I turned and looked back to see my mom, alone, waving. “I love you,” she said. The wind was cool…

Answer The Question, Please!

Ken taps his foot to the latest dance, the Trump-Clinton side-step. As a trial attorney, I have forced many unwilling adversaries to answer obvious, but difficult questions under oath. Admit it. You are jealous—don’t we all wish that we had the power to…

Canada, Do The Right Thing!

Ken implores Canada to give Victoria, BC back To my Canadian brothers and sisters to the north—I love you but enough…

The Brazilian

Loretta responds to Ken’s “The Full Monty” What was Ken smoking? Did you read his Final Word on the fragility of male egos? Issue that man a WUI, officer! Clearly he was writing under the influence of something or sucking up to females. If the difference between kissing behinds and brown-nosing is simply depth perception, Ken went deep to prove a point. Women, behold, some modern males are capable of taking the…

Cleavage Etiquette

Hi there. As a single mother of two pre-school kids, I feel compelled to offer some good natured, but badly needed male guidance in my first ever Final Word. But first I want to thank the magazine, and Ken, for sharing his…

Husbandcare.gov

Ken’s Valentine’s Day gift for the woman who has everything I am a social scientist at heart. As with most males, I am genetically engineered to offer solutions to life’s challenges, even gender-related relationship problems — and even if the answer may come at my expense. I can’t help myself. I am stupid smart. My social laboratory…

Senior Citizens United

Ken pays respect to his elders I have your backs, seniors—and your backsides, open medical gowns and all. So what if you unintentionally embarrass your kids by posting private comments about their childhood to their public Facebook wall? At least you figured out how to log on. It’s the thought that counts, right? And so what if you don’t trust a hybrid car that doesn’t make noise when the engine is running? I don’t either. If the dang…

Forgiving The Unforgiven

As a young boy, age 5 or 6, I used to play in the woods where Sunset Place is today. The soil was mostly clay and the clay…

Hope- The Emotional God Particle

I am in mourning. My comic idol is Robin Williams. The tragic loss of Robin should be a dark reminder — the will to live comes from within, even for the most talented amongst us. He had everything and yet he had nothing in his eyes, at least not enough to keep him on this earth. Why? And is his death any more tragic than any other suicide? Aren’t all lives precious? I suspect most of…

P=mc2: Ken takes Albert Einstein behind the woodshed

Scientists need to take a chill pill, starting with Albert Einstein. His idea of a good time on a Friday night was to measure the speed of most everything in the physical world — sound, light, and my personal favorite, light in a vacuum. Really, Albert?…

Surviving Menopause- Ken puts his life at risk

The signs were subtle at first — a wide-open window during a cold snap in January and the perpetual running of Sleepless in Seattle on the Hallmark channel. In hindsight, it is now clear. But at the time,…