Columns 2014

Possibly the most bizarre Christmas present ever!

It’s Christmas so it’s only appropriate to write something uplifting and joyful in keeping with the spirit of the season. But instead of doing that, I’m going to tell you about the strangest Christmas present ever given in my family, and I’m betting yours too.

Many years ago, my mother was desperately casting about for appropriate gifts to give to her three children. At the time, we were all either single or between marriages. Being Italian, she was sure this meant we would die alone and be buried in a pauper’s grave.  This may seem to be an overreaction for

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Columns 2014

Murder in Barrow

The murder in Barrow last week is one of those horrible, horrible moments in time. Most of us can’t imagine walking into someone’s house and blasting a shotgun at another person’s face. So while psychologists may be able to help us understand the mind of someone who does, comprehension will never translate into any empathy. That action will always remain over a line the majority of us will never cross.

Because this happened in Barrow, it feels very personal to me. I still think of Barrow as home. I’ve known the alleged murderer since he was a very young man.

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Columns 2014

Here’s how you know

Here’s how you know you are a total captive to the world of the Internet. You lay in bed at night and use your iPad to send yourself e-mails about ideas you get late at night so they’ll be available on your computer the next morning. Too bad that system doesn’t also work towards making those ideas any better than you’d expect from something that popped into your mind at 1 AM. Half the time, they don’t even make sense to me.

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Columns 2014

Lt. Gov. Mallot… lead the way!

Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallot has ensured himself a unique place in Alaska history as the first Alaska Native to win a statewide office. As such, he holds a very singular position from which to do good for all Alaskans. Given the limited duties of the Lite Gov, I’d like to make a suggestion on a really great use of both his time and his influence.

We saw our former governor create a campaign that insisted Alaska men choose respect. Despite the marches that ensued, this slogan alone did not create a huge ground swell of Alaska men actually choosing respect.

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Columns 2014

Ah the honeybucket!

So Alaska, with the possible help of the Feds, is going to once again attempt to banish honeybuckets to a museum. Right. And as soon as that’s done, we’ll open ANWR.

My first encounter with a honeybucket occurred soon after arriving in Barrow in 1972. As a nurse, I lived in hospital housing and had a flush toilet. But the town wasn’t that lucky. I was invited to a party in the village. Halfway through the evening, two gentlemen crossed the living room carrying a bucket full of liquid. I wondered what it could be. Then the pungent smell hit

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Columns 2014

I panicked

I saw the snow and panicked. I now have enough groceries in my house to carry me through June. And the minute I got home, the snow stopped. If there is a god, somewhere in heaven, she’s laughing her head off.

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Columns 2014

Bill Cosby… and, oh yeah, Happy Thanksgiving

Writing a column about Bill Cosby as a probable serial rapist is not something I ever thought I’d be doing. I mean, we’re talking about Dr. Cliff Huxtable, the man who probably made President Barack Obama possible by making African American men less scary and threatening to the nation at large. He was the first black man to star in a network TV show (I Spy) and the first one to show an educated black family with a professional mom and dad and a home life to which we could all relate. In fact, he showed it in such a

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Columns 2014

Congress… a distinctly American criminal class

Let’s call this a view from the sidelines. I’m not a talking news head: not someone who lives and breathes politics as an occupation. But I am someone who, like you, gets to live with the results of elections. So let’s take a look at our recent elections and ruminate on what these results portend to those of us who live in the real world where people don’t shower us with gifts and money in return for our votes.

We can start by taking a look at the national voting average for this last mid term election. It was 38%.

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Columns 2014

Addiction is not a crime, it’s a medical problem

Here’s the sentence that blew my mind last week, and it had nothing to do with Don Young being re-elected. An article about marijuana legalization stated that support for legalization was dropping and had reached a low of 51%.  Who ever thought I’d live long enough to find the bottom line of approval on pot legalization being above half?

How did we get from a time when pot was the devil’s weed to a time when common sense prevailed? Society finally seems ready to put old prejudices away and deal with pot in a realistic and functional manner.

As someone

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