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Cheech and Chong: Still Performin’

by Lexi Foldenauer

February 11, 7:30 pm., the doors opened at the Mt. Baker Theatre for the lucky ticket-holders of the sold out performance of an epic duo. Richard “Cheech” Marin, 63 and Tommy Chong, 71 are back together again, following a 30-year hiatus from performing. “Get it Legal” is the follow-up to their hugely successful reunion tour, “Light Up America.” The show not only promoted the overly anticipated return of the dynamic duo, but focused heavily on the current marijuana laws in the United States.

The curtain opened with the lovely Shelby Chong, Chong’s petite blonde Canadian-born wife, talking about their 30-year matrimony.

“I deserve a gold medal or something!” she joked.

After an animated and entertaining introduction by Shelby, followed by a thunderous applause and standing ovation by the audience, Cheech and Chong came out on stage. The show began with a question-and-answer sequence, a contribution by KISM radio, as sort of an appetizer. One fan asked Cheech why he got rid of his trademark beard. Chong quickly chimed in, “Yeah, and he got rid of his hair too!” pointing out Cheech’s noticeable balding. After a few questions from fans, it was time for the good stuff—the skits.

The stage went dark momentarily, then the lights came on and Cheech appeared, dressed in a familiar fedora and trench coat, with a pink flowered backpack on his shoulder.

“It’s me Dave, open up, man, I got the stuff,” said Cheech.

“Dave’s not here man,” echoed the dazed-sounding voice of Tommy Chong in the background.

The audience roared in laughter, as the two performed the famous “Dave’s not here” bit, nearly word for word. I found it amazing how, even after all of these years and countless performances, the pair still feed off each other’s comedic strengths and energy to deliver a memorable act for their audience. The show was nothing short of nostalgic, and the skits ranged everywhere from Cheech’s giggly and somewhat spastic red-neck character, which is my personal favorite, to “World Jerk-off Championships,” in which they added a reference to Bellingham!

“I found him wandering down the main street here in Bellingham today,” Cheech said as he stood next to Chong, dressed up like a demented elderly bum, with his hand creepily hidden under a tattered coat. 

After performing a couple of sketches together, Chong came out on stage to do a stand-up routine on his own. He went into a humorous trip down memory lane, recalling times of smoking joints with famous rock stars, and his involvement with Motown. It took me a minute to understand that he was serious, as this followed his impression of a crazy senile hobo, and a performance with Cheech of “Basketball Jones.” Chong’s ability to connect with the audience made it feel like you were sitting in his living room having a chat, rather than being in a crowded theater. This guy would make a really cool grandpa.

A pivotal moment of the performance was when Cheech came out in his pink tutu with Mickey Mouse ears and faux body tattoos, with an electric guitar in hand, screaming some sort of metal/punk sounding jumble in a skit called “Earache my Eye.” The character is named “Alice Bowie”—a combination of Alice Cooper and David Bowie. I started crying I was laughing so hard.

 The two closed the performance on a more serious note, putting out their message to loosen the drug laws in our country. They performed a song titled after the tour called “Get it Legal,” which included lyrics about pot’s medicinal purposes for illnesses like M.S. and cancer.  That really got the audience fired up, in a good way. Aside from their wacky, out-there humor, the two are actually very talented musicians, and the song had some powerful lyrics.

The show lasted two hours, which seemed like the perfect amount of time—I don’t know if my jaw could handle much more uncontrollable giggling. After the show was finished, I felt satisfied, and knew that I would remember this performance forever— that time I saw Cheech and Chong live. I feel honored to have witnessed, in the flesh, the living legends that will forever remain the faces of stoner culture. It was a night of epic proportions that will surely be hard to top.


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Letter to the Editor

Abortion is a terribly complex interweaving of lives, and choices.  Is there a way to affirm a woman’s life and choices, and protect her baby’s chance at both?

 Because women are incredible.  I married one who is changing the world one friend at a time. 

 And I love babies. I have a spring-loaded 9-month-old who gives new meaning to “smiling from ear to ear” whenever you pick him up. 

 So what am I supposed to do about the lives and choices involved in abortions?

 It’s tricky because there are victims at every level.  Sometimes pregnancy isn’t the woman’s choice at all.  And if they were bullied or frightened or shamed into it, even the abortion may not be their choice.   Abortion doctors are insulted, and assaulted – even murdered.  There are victims all around.  And yet, we’re talking about real live babies here.  They’re not part of the mother’s body – they’re just beautifully housed there.  They have their own brain waves and blood type.  From the size of a sesame seed, my son had a heart beat. 

 So what do we do? 

 First, I think we dialogue.  On Monday, Feb. 22, we aired a Law & Order episode raising questions about abortion, and discussed it afterward.  Hopefully it was helpful.

 And we mourn the victims.  On Thursday, Feb. 25, we will hold a public memorial service in the Syre Student Center Courtyard for the one-in-five babies aborted in the last two years in Whatcom County.  Please join us every class break to mourn the deaths of all those little ones, and to mourn the complex, sometimes awful, circumstances that led their mothers to choose to abort them. 

 Shouldn’t we be pro-momma’s-life as much as anyone’s, and pro-baby’s-choice at the same time? 

-Geoff Mumley


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Campus Briefs

Getting down to brass tax (assistance)

Students, low income families, and seniors can receive help with filing their income taxes through April 15 in the Heiner Center lobby at Whatcom Community College. The tax assistance is done by Whatcom Business Club students who’ve completed a 20-hour certification program.

Those interested should bring social security cards for themselves, as well as for a spouse or any dependents. If possible, those interested should also include: a copy of last year’s return, including all W-2 forms, all 1099s received, any 1098 or other forms from your college, or anything else you feel may be needed to complete your return.

Help is available during the following times: Mondays and Tuesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Wednesdays from noon to 3 p.m., and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. No help will be available on Feb. 26 or between March 25 and April 4.

WAAC Art Show

The first WAAC! (Whatcom Art Awareness Club)-sponsored student art show will be open to the public on Friday, March 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. The exhibition will also be open on Saturday, March 6, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. A building and room location are still being worked out.

Deadlines for those interested in submitting work is Thursday, Feb. 25, from 1 to 6 p.m., and March 1, from 1 to 6 p.m. The theme for the show is “Illumination: Dark vs. Light.”

Anyone seeking more information can contact Derek Vander Griend by e-mail at theywalkamongus@gmail.com, or Pam Richardson at PRichard@whatcom.ctc.edu.

Rainbow Center Fundraiser

Whatcom Psychology professor Laura Overstreet is planning a fundraiser for the Rainbow Center, a community resource for people with developmental disabilities in need of more funding, on Feb. 27.

For more information, contact Leah Congdon at lcongdon@whatcom.ctc.edu, or Laura Overstreet at loverstreet@whatcom.ctc.edu.

Sports…Briefly

The Whatcom men’s basketball team just keeps on winning. Having recently clinched a playoff berth, the Orcas have won eight of their last 10 games, including an impressive streak of seven wins in a row. Both their losses during that span came against Shoreline Community College.

The Orcas, currently second in the NWAACC North Region, will pit their 10-4 record against Skagit Valley College (4-10) on Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Pavilion.

The Whatcom women’s basketball team, meanwhile, is 7-7 in league play and currently sixth in the North Region standings. They will play Skagit Valley (13-1) on Feb. 24 at 5 p.m. in the Pavilion.

Hybrid/Online Nursing Program to launch this summer

Whatcom is now accepting applications for a 20-student group to begin its hybrid/online Nursing Program in summer quarter 2010, according to a Feb. 19 college press release.

The Department of Health’s Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission approved the online program on Feb. 4. This program offers the nursing curriculum in an online, part-time format over 12 quarters. It offers students more flexibility, as nursing theory courses will be conducted online and on-campus attendance will be required only once every two weeks, on weekends, in order to participate in traditional labs and clinics.

The new program will cost students $1,800 per quarter. The fee covers students’ lab and tech fees but not books and other supplies. Because of the time needed for students who need financial aid to acquire it, the college offers a one-time waiver of $500 from the $1,800 cost for each of the first five quarters of the program. In addition, the WCC Foundation has many scholarships that cater directly to nursing students.

The deadline for applications is March 26.


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Letter from the Editor

by Matt Benoit

I’ve been watching my fair share of NBC’s Winter Olympics coverage lately. The 21st Winter Olympiad, of course, is going on just north of us in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Winter Games have always been my favorite, more so than the Summer Games.

 I think the reason is the great sense of speed and allure of potential danger that many of its events contain—from speed skating to downhill skiing to bobsled—there is a certain fascination with the spectacle of these events, almost removing some of them from the notion of “game” territory.

That potential danger can be very real, as evidenced by the death of 21-year-old Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, who was killed during a training run on Feb. 12 when he flew off his sled and into an unprotected metal pole at nearly 90 mph.

I realize that some people reading this may not care about the Olympics; there are many people I know who are not much into sports at all. But the Olympics represent more than just a medal count or a series of final scores and statistics—they represent the stories of many people and cultures.

These are stories both heartbreaking and uplifting. They are people’s dreams, and nightmares, realized; their hard work and soft emotion. Their perseverance and dedication.

So many times the Olympics have taken on a greater significance in the light of world events—“The Miracle on Ice” at Lake Placid in 1980, where the US men’s hockey team defeated the USSR in the midst of the Cold War; the horrible tragedy of the 1972 Munich Games, where Palestinian terrorists took most of the Israeli team hostage and killed them.

The Olympics can help us, as human beings, to recognize our differences and try to—at least temporarily—put them aside, and instead embrace our commonality through the spirit and intensity of competitive sport. Perhaps nowhere else is that tired but true phrase, “the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat,” more relevant.

The Games prove that, sometimes, barriers are not meant to hold back, but rather to be broken through (not necessarily literally, mind you; but this too, can happen at the Olympics) in the hopes of greater achievement.

The dreams of the many Olympic athletes remind and inspire me to continue to pursue my dreams, and I suggest you aspire to do the same. Whatever those dreams are, don’t give up on them. Be realistic, but don’t give up. Be not pessimistic, but persistent. Life doesn’t owe you anything, and there are no guarantees, but if you really want something, the effort is always worth it, win or lose.

If you let your dreams slip away, you may regret it. I’ve always felt that the formula for regret is a simple one: missed opportunity plus time equals regret. And that’s one equation that no one wants to be writing.


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