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All families can be dysfunctional – but some carry it to an extreme

Kids killing other kids.  It makes headlines in every state in the union.  Alaska has no exclusive on this problem. Wherever we go, these problems follow us because they are basically the problems of dysfunctional families.

I’m not trying to blame every family that ever had a kid go bad. Sometimes kids from relatively good families take a sudden left turn in life and end up on the wrong side of everything their parents stand for or taught them.  But they are the exception.  The general rule is that kids who kill come from backgrounds that lay the seeds for

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Politics in Alaska never boring

I grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey in the days before gambling legally dominated the political scene.  I make the distinction of “legally” because illegal gaming, as well as prostitution and other nefarious enterprises, always dominated the Atlantic City political landscape.

As a child, I defined politics as follows. The pope ruled the world, the president helped the pope by ruling in America and Hap Farley ruled in Atlantic County. Atlantic City did have a mayor.  In fact, it was the same mayor for most of my childhood. At some point in the 1980s, Atlantic City held the dubious

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In scams, only the product changes

I learned my first lesson in the cold hard realities of life when I was about 10 or 11 years old.  I saw an ad that said if I wanted to be a writer, I should send a sample of my writing to them and a “famous writer” would personally evaluate it for me absolutely free of charge. I couldn’t believe it.  A FAMOUS WRITER was going to read what I wrote and tell me whether it was good or not.  And for free.

I dashed off a story and sent it in quite sure that the next thing to

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Alcohol fuels air rage

Yet another unruly member of the air travelling public has been brought to court and pled guilty.  Justice has been done, the people on the flight to Japan were only about 3 hours late to their destination and the man convicted of causing the inconvenience may yet be made to pay for the $10,000 worth of fuel that the plane had to dump to safely land here.

At the very end of the article about this passenger was a sentence that stated that almost all cases of air rage involve alcohol. 

May I just say “DUH!”?

Many years ago, I

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I never meant to hurt Mother Nature

When I lived in Barrow, I had a fairly self-righteous attitude about people who despoiled our earth for their own selfish purposes.  That attitude cast a pretty wide net from the communist leaders of Eastern Europe who allowed so much of their earth to be polluted beyond human comprehension to people who used deadly weed killers on their lawns and poisoned the earth.

Of course in Barrow the people had a long cultural tradition of protecting and preserving their land for their children and grandchildren.  Besides which, it’s not as though there were thriving lawns that needed protection from unwanted

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Alaska stuns visitors, reminds us why we’re lucky

When you live in Alaska long enough, you start to take it for granted.  You drive through vistas that leave visitors gasping at their beauty and all you can think about is making it to your destination so that you no longer have to tailgate the RV from Hell.

Then you get the dreaded summer visitors and you find yourself showing them your state.  And with each passing mile, each passing experience, each passing moment, you find yourself swelling more and more with pride as you remember why you chose Alaska for your home.

At least, that’s what happened to

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Judy bravely returns to Alaska…even though

The first time my sister came to Alaska was in 1974. She flew directly to Barrow from the East Coast without any time off to acclimatize in Anchorage.  She stayed for over six weeks.  By the time she left, I wasn’t sure I’d ever get her back to Alaska again.

She came at the end of May, just in time for my husband and his family to be taking their traditional hunting trip on the tundra on Memorial Day weekend.  It was possibly one of the coldest, wettest and most miserable of hunting trips I ever took in my 28

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Jessica graduates…I just keep getting older

The Coronado, California school system named its football field Niedermeyer Field. Anyone who is a devotee of the movie “Animal House” knows that Niedermeyer was the name of the insufferable, pompous jock who, according to the legend stated at the end of the movie, was killed by his own men in Vietnam.  The field in Coronado was apparently not named after him.

These thoughts occurred to me when I found myself there recently for yet another of those milestones that make you feel just that much older. My dear friend’s middle daughter was graduating from high school.

The ceremonies were

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Brownies, budgets, what’s the difference?

As I sit here watching another rainy summer day go by, I find my thoughts unaccountably turning to the legislative session that just ended.  I find myself trying to think of all the possible reasons why this session turned out as crazy as it did.

I understand that money is tight. I understand that politicians, by virtue of their trade, never want to actually be pinned down to anything that might cost them a vote or lose them a contribution. I understand that statesmen are the exception and not the rule in politics.  But still, am I the only one

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Daphne makes a home in Judy’s garden

Daphne’s back so it must be spring.  Daphne is the duck who unaccountably chose my sister’s yard for her nest three years ago and has returned faithfully to it every year since.  Judy tried to discourage her by planting flowers and shrubs in the spot where she builds her nest.  Daphne apparently saw this as Judy’s attempt to make her eggs even safer from the seagulls that circle overhead and gratefully snuggled down amidst the plants.

Judy wouldn’t mind the whole situation so much were it not for the fact that Daphne gets very possessive of her space which is

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