Columns 2000

Harry Potter good book for blizzardy day

It was one of those mornings; not the good kind – the kind that make you wonder if your mother wasn’t right all along about the wisdom of moving to Alaska. Or did she use the word “sanity”?

It was 6:30 AM and we’d had quite a blizzard overnight. Mr. T chose this of all mornings to decide he had to go out REAL BAD.  So I stumbled to his very own little half door in my entryway. This led to a porch where he could do whatever he wanted all winter/ In the summer, I just washed it away.

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Columns 2000

Parrot poop and one very neurotic parrot

Here’s one of those professional excuses you are not going to hear very often.  As I made my later entrance to a meeting recently, the only explanation I could give was that my parrot will not poop unless he is in a familiar environment.

Let me back up here for a moment.  A few years ago I became the proud owner of a slight neurotic, extremely needy but ultimately very loving African Grey parrot named Abdul.  Abdul had had at least a couple of previous owners that I knew about and this meant that I would never know where some

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Columns 2000

So I’m not graceful, so sue me

No one has ever accused me of being particularly graceful or coordinated. In fact, there are some who, having seen me attempt to dance, would suggest that I am “differently abled” in that regard.  As a child, the only time I ever danced was to slow music with my father at weddings. Everyone else was simply afraid to ask me.  Dad had no choice.

At some point in my slightly misspent youth, I was actually known to get up and try to fast dance at the Polar Bear Theater’s nightly festivities in Barrow. But even the mind-altering substances of the

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Columns 2000

A little honesty would be refreshing

About a month ago, I wrote a fairly positive column about Alaska Airlines and their services aboard a flight I took.  I recently took another flight with Alaska that re-enforced for me the fact that, for whatever reason, Alaska seems to be able to hire some pretty good staff.

During the flight in question, a gentleman sitting across from me slammed down five drinks in a row and then got angry when he was refused service for the sixth. He got fairly loud and looked to me for sympathy.  He stopped doing that after I told him I didn’t think

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Columns 2000


In my 53 years of life, I’ve only ever experienced 25 fall seasons.  Due to acute hay fever as a child, most of those autumns were times of misery.  Starting in July, I would go to my friendly allergist twice a week to get injections and have my sinuses drained. Dr. Dittenfass was the allergist’s name and he tried his best to be gentle and caring. But I could just never warm to someone coming at me to stick sharp metal rods up my nose.

What I remember about autumn back east is not being able to breathe. I remember

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Columns 2000

Visitors who would never visit Barrow swarm Anchorage home

A few months ago I wrote in this column that I was going to put a potted plant on my stove when I moved

to Anchorage and then start with the A’s and work myself down to the Z’s of every restaurant here.  I guess I was having a bit of an overreaction to the dearth of restaurants available in Barrow during my 28 year tenure there.

Well, let me tell you something. That old truism that you should be careful what you wish for cause you might get it is – well, how else can I put it –

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Columns 2000

Alaska Airlines gains credibility with me

Alaska Airlines has been getting some pretty bad press lately. As a very recent ex-patriot of a community solely dependent on them to get further than 15 miles out of town, I was routinely more than willing to add my voice to that chorus.  Thanks to the most erratic schedule ever created by man, enhanced by normally marginal summer weather where dense fogs suddenly appear our of nowhere, Alaska Airlines has a reliability factor somewhere south of zero for most Barrow residents.  Such grumblings about our local airlines had not been heard in Barrow since MarkAir attempted to post a

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Columns 2000

City driving scary for bush driver

I was in my car the other day listening to the radio. There was an ad on for the make of car I’d just bought.  Each model was breathlessly described with one exclamatory word.  One was exciting, another was dynamic, another was powerful.  They got to my particular model and the word they used was “dependable”. It would have been one of the most deflating moments of my adult life had it not been for the fact that at the time I was on the Seward Highway doing 60 and watching the traffic in front of my recede into the

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Columns 2000

From me to you, Earl, dead air space

(Earl Finkler, Bob Thomas and I are the announcing team for KBRW Radio’s Wednesday night softball game program.  Earl is out of town on vacation. I sent him this note to catch him up on things.)

Dear Earl,

We spoke often of you at the broadcast tonight.  Bob ended up doing it last week by himself since I was out of town too.  He said there was a lot of dead air.  Apparently no one was willing to try and fill our shoes so, as we have so often suspected in the past, our reputation as a broadcast team is

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Columns 2000

The joys of urban living

I asked a friend who recently moved to Anchorage from Barrow how long it took before the urge to buy 10 cases of paper towels every time he shopped at Costco wore off. He said it had been over nine months since he left the bush and that moment had not yet occurred for him.

As I approach the final few weeks of my life here, I find myself wondering more and more how I will adjust to life in a place with not only multiple choice shopping, but the ready availability of goods.  I will no longer have to

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