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This blog isn’t about anything as serious as climate change or decimation of species diversity. And frankly, we don’t acknowledge the existence of anything as anything but the pure fabrication and continued hyperbole of the elitist media. Stop elitist media now! More newspapers, less stuff that I disagree with! There, Closed for Business has stated a position.

So our traipse around Alaska last month brought us to the shrinking Mendenhall Glacier. The lake in front of the glacier used to be the glacier. It has formed in the last few years. There are two waterfalls in the photo. One to the immediate right of the glacier, and another farther to the right pouring out of the mountain. Each is relatively recent. You can read all about the rise and fall of Mendenhall anywhere online. You know how to use a search engine…


The path leading to Mendenhall Glacier has occasional markers of its former edge, like the one pictured below. Our guide suggests that within our lifetimes Mendenhall will close for business, simply melting and receding into the distance.


A bald eagle, Mendenhall Glacier.


Moss on a roof, Juneau, AK.


Plywood in use in Juneau, AK.


Ship and wheelbarrow in the mist, Auke Bay, AK.


Economic Update. A new restaurant has opened nearby. I’m still out of work.

After four interviews over the last six weeks, I’m waiting to hear from Established Traditional Co., Inc. (ESTTRADCO), whose hiring manager has been on vacation but is now back. I would very much like to join ESTTRADCO, but each passing hour fills me with a sense of foreboding and doom. Each interview and presentation went very well. The security guard made small talk with me and told me he was certain that all of these visits were a very good sign. He looked forward to his vacation and thought my suit was very nice. Foreboding. Doom. And you, dear reader, expecting scinitalling photos of decaying economy get this depressing prognostication. Foredooming.

So two things happened yesterday that fuel my belief that civilization as we know it will end very soon. First, I’m standing at the bus stop. The bus pulls up right where I stand. The doors open. A girl, late teens, cuts directly in front of me and walks on as the doors open. Stock up on water, people; the end is near. I stare at the back of her head. The bus driver shakes his head to acknowledge the collapse of society sure to follow.

Second, I walk through a door at one of the seventeen banks within a two block radius. As my curmudgeonly father taught me to do, I hold the door for the person behind me. She’s on her cell phone because it’s very important that she have whatever conversation she’s having. It can’t wait. She does not reach out to take the door from me. She does not put up her arm. She walks through the open door very slowly while I hold it, not looking up. I think perhaps the electromagnetic waves emitted by her phone have rendered her arms useless – she’s holding the phone with hunched shoulder. Perhaps she thinks it is an automatic door. Perhaps she knows I will not let the door whack her. All you hunched shoulder phone talker non-door takers, you are on notice. If you’re behind me going through a door, you’d better take the door or it’s going to slam into you. My mother, rest her soul, would cringe. Then she’d fix us both a scotch on the rocks and we’d sit on the deck and watch the golfers hacking away on the 11th hole.

Finally, I caddied for a couple of weeks when I was in high school and I found out something. Everyone cheats. Even the kindly family doctor. To recap: new restaurant, me out of work, civilization is doomed any day now. No photos today.

The Mesa Grill, a tiny shack on an otherwise abandoned lot, downtown Juneau, AK. I ordered a cheeseburger and the woman in the shack thanked me. “All day long, I cook nothing but halibut.” It was as good a burger as I’ve had, better than most and the fries were crispy and fat. I recommend it, but try the halibut.


Outdoor seating is available.


Juneau seems to be doing OK. Cruise ships still dump more than 10,000 tourists a day in town and closed businesses are few and far between, at least as revealed on my unofficial and purely random inspection. A taxi driver told me that most of the shops along the water close when tourist season ends and reopen in the late spring.




The state capitol building in Juneau four days before Sarah Palin’s resignation went into effect. You can sense the anticipation fluttering in the 50th anniversary banner.


Totem pole in front of the Governor’s Mansion. The expression shows the prevailing anxiety that the governor would change her mind.


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Every day a half dozen cruise ships visit Ketchikan, Alaska and tourists on shore excursions board float planes, tour buses and amphibious vehicles in the hopes of seeing whales, eagles, bear, moose, salmon and enormous slugs. We came across this excellent abandoned house in Ketchikan along the banks of a salmon stream.

According to our impromptu guide, there was a fire years ago, and things being what they are, the house abandoned.




In the front yard, instead of rusting cars…



OK, one slug.


Closed for Business went on vacation, but returns with images from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. You won’t see whales, bears and bald eagles here, but signs of the times, beginning with these found on a street in Seattle. In the shadow of the monorail.


The above sign leaned against the below building.






I like irony as much as the next guy. This sign proclaiming that “businesses are open” stood steadfastly on the corner of the street with a row of closed businesses in the shadow of the monorail in the middle of the hottest stretch of weather in recent Seattle prepositional memory.


The monorail casts its long shadow.


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August 2009

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