Daily Archives: November 26, 2008

Forsaken by Money Magazine, Bainbridge has joined masses of the unranked

When Money Magazine ranked Bainbridge the second best place to live in the country, islanders took to the streets firing rifles into the air, swilling akvavit and chanting “We’re Number Two! We’re Number Two!”

Actually, Money’s 2005 Best Places list elicited more of a collective shushing here in Bainbridge.

“Shhhhhhh! Why are you telling your Seattle pals about how you live on a hobby farm that’s a half hour ferry ride to Benaroya Hall?!”

“Pipe down about the plentiful parks, amazing schools, low crime and wonderful baked goods!”

“What? You told your Sammamish coworkers that you nap on the ferry while they fume on the 520 bridge?!”

“Hush! What are you doing?! Hey! Don’t  tell those Californians where the real estate offices are!”

Well, the secret got out, and a few folks likely read the list, packed their bedrolls, and staked claims at the island’s plentiful mini-mansions. And there they have lived the second best life in the nation.

But not anymore. In 2008, Bainbridge is no longer number two. It’s not even in the top ten. Or even in the top 100. As for how far Bainbridge has fallen, I suppose we’ll never know. Money Magazine doesn’t bother with the riff-raff shanty towns that can’t crack the 100. Bainbridge has joined the masses of the unranked.

But Bellevue made it on the ’08 list. Bellevue, that city with downtown highways, quick-grow high rises, plentiful malls, vast parking lots, and naughty-named soup joints. Bellevue ranked 42 on money’s list of the finest small cities. Maybe that’s nothing to brag about, but Bellevue is the only city in Washington state to squeak into the 100 list. Not only that, but it’s the only city in the entire Northwest region to make the list. Sorry Eugene, Port Townsend, Boise, Bellingham, Ashland, Salem ….you are no Bellevue, or Norman, Oklahoma (number six), Fishers, Indiana (number 10), Olathe, Kansas (11) or Fargo, North Dakota (88).

You are also no match for just about any town in Texas. Euless, Frisco, Grand Prairie, Missouri City, Denton, Allen and Richardson are a few of the Lone Star cities that crowded the top 100.

Put up a map of Texas and throw a dart. Chances are you’ll hit a city that’s better – far better – than Bainbridge.

So maybe those Best Places-following bindlestiffs who put down roots on Bainbridge back in ’05 aught to rethink the snake oil charms that drew them here in the first place. Life is short. Why waste it wallowing on this Money Magazine-forsaken rock, with all its mind-mumbing greenery and all that shimmery water and all that artisan-roasted coffee. Unload from your bundle the microfleece and the latte-stained travel mug. Make room for a ten-gallon hat and a pair of rattlesnake kickers. The dry, dusty Texas plains are calling.

BI’s world record-slashing sword master

What began as a Lord of the Rings-inspired fantasy has become a record-breaking reality.

Enamored with swordsmanship since his early days reading the JRR Tolkien trilogy, Bainbridge native Aaron McCloud this week slashed his way to a world speed record in tameshigiri, or target cutting using a samurai sword.

“My back still hurts,” said McCloud, 20, three days after completing the feat on Sunday before a crowd of 150 people at the Bainbridge High School gym. “I’m recuperating now, but a feel pretty darn happy.”

Following the Japanese traditions of tameshigiri’s ‘1,000 cuts’ event, McCloud sliced through hundreds of rolled rush mats using a formalized cutting technique. He made is one-thousandth slice in 33 minutes and 24 seconds, besting the previous record set by Japanese sword master Isao Machii by almost three minutes.

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