Columns 2017

We create tiny worlds to escape the “others”

I grew up in a very insular place. For the first ten years of my life, I thought the pope ruled the world and the president ruled America for him. I went to Catholic school from pre-kindergarten through college. I took four years of Latin figuring that would make me bilingual – which it would have if I lived in the Vatican.

When I was in the 8th grade, I won a Voice of Democracy award from the state’s VFW for an essay I wrote. The award ceremony was held at a Protestant church. I got hysterical. I refused Continue reading →

Columns 2017

That old refrain is getting very old

I may be mis-remembering this, but it seems to me that last year this time our esteemed legislators were singing the same song they sang this year after not accomplishing their most important task – passing a balanced budget. Yep, it was just last year this time after yet another special session that our questionable leaders explained to us that they simply did not have the time they needed to create a fiscal plan for Alaska’s future. They said that the one-year stopgap measure they passed would be just that, a one-year measure. This year, they promised, they would come Continue reading →

Columns 2017

Make downtown Anchorage more accessible

In my rapidly approaching old age, I find myself becoming one of the ladies who lunch. Partly this is because I can no longer drive in the dark so my social life in winter is limited to lunches. Also, by 5 PM I’m ready for my nightie and a good book. Unlike in my youth, starting anything after 7 PM seems more like a punishment than a treat.

So I have a stalwart friend who lunches with me on a regular basis. We follow Mara Severin’s restaurant reviews religiously. There are restaurants in town that occupy a space we have Continue reading →

Columns 2017

Our world of horror

Growing up in the fifties, I spent a lot of time in a school hallway with my hands over my head or hiding under my desk. These were drills for the day when the godless communists would rain atom bombs down on America. According to the nuns, our hands or our desks would protect us from such an attack.

Sounds simplistic beyond belief now. How could even a little child believe that? Well, we did because back then, teachers were gods and if they said so, it must be true. And when those teachers were also nuns who had married Continue reading →

Columns 2017

Alaska Senate destroying Alaska educational system

As Anchorage lays off over two hundred teachers and you can literally hear the Alaska Senate flushing the toilet on any hope of a quality education here, I find myself thinking more and more of my father.

He was taken out of school when he was 14 to go to work. It was the Depression. His mother was already renting out rooms to borders. His dad was working full time. But it wasn’t enough. So his education was sacrificed to the family’s need for more income.

My Nona never said this was the reason. Instead, she insisted that the doctors Continue reading →

Columns 2017

Deja-vu all over again

It’s deja vu all over again. Our Alaska legislature did not finish their business on schedule. They didn’t finish in the ninety days the citizens of Alaska voted for. They didn’t finish in the 120 days the constitution allows. And I’m going to venture a guess that they won’t finish during one special session. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Christmas doesn’t find them still holed up in Juneau afraid to come back and face their constituents.

I don’t know why we just don’t admit that we no longer have a part time legislature. Let them stay in Juneau Continue reading →

Columns 2017

Why do script writers hate women?

I spent Mother’s Day thinking about mothers and women in general as portrayed in the media. I was struck by how many mothers/wives/girlfriends, etc., die in media productions. For instance, in NCIS, the main star, Gibbs, loses his first wife to a drug dealer and an ex-wife to a revenge bullet through her head. We find out in flashbacks that his mother died when he was a young teenager.

A bullet to the head also killed the first female agent on the show. The wife of the purported head of NCIS is killed in a drive by shooting while having Continue reading →

Columns 2017

Adapting to changing circumstances

Some weeks seem worse than others. This past week was particularly troublesome. We saw a local politician claiming women in Alaska got pregnant to get free trips to Anchorage for abortions. We saw our national representative vote for a healthcare bill that would make rape a pre-existing condition but still mandate insurance coverage of Viagra. And we watched our state senate continue to hide out in Juneau in an attempt to never return to their constituents to face their wrath.

What I do when I find the world crashing in on my head in a really bad way is to Continue reading →

Columns 2017

Ignorance is not bliss

When did it start? When did the idea that being smart, educated and/or sophisticated become a bad thing? When did voters decide that no experience, no expertise and no skills were what made someone qualified to run our government?

I’m pretty sure that if these same voters went to the emergency room with arterial bleeding, they would want someone who actually went to school to learn how to stop it for their doctor. If they needed open-heart surgery they wouldn’t just tap the janitor on the shoulder as they went into the operatory and ask him to perform the surgery Continue reading →

Columns 2017

The miseries of flying

The last time I traveled by plane was just a day after the incident on a United Airlines flight where a customer was dragged off the plane with a bloodied face, missing teeth and a concussion. As I deplaned from my Alaska Airlines flight in Anchorage, I turned to the attendants and pilots waiting at the front of the plane to say goodbye and thanked them for not beating up their customers. This was met by a moment of confused (stunned?) silence. As I continued out the door, I heard a delayed whoop of laughter.

I fly Alaska Airlines almost Continue reading →