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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Columns 2000

Julie Guy is a real lady

This is a story about someone whose simple act of kindness made a major impression in my life.  I am telling it as my gift to her on her retirement from the position of executive director of the Alaska Public Radio Network.

At one of the first press club award dinners I ever attended, the Daily News and Times were still battling for survival in the Anchorage market. This made the dinner a crowded affair as each paper competed for the most awards. It was immediately evident on entering the room that it was divided into a bush versus urban

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Columns 2000

Sorry, Guv, the bumperstickers had to go

It’s not as though I don’t already have enough to worry about. Here I am, trying to pack up my life of the past 28 years, sell my old house, buy a new one, transport a neurotic dog and five birds (including one very vocal parrot whose language may get me tossed off the flight!) 800 miles to their new home while keeping my fledgling business functioning.  And now I find I have to worry about my papers.

The worry started when I read about the controversy over where Senator Stevens’ papers will be housed.  It grew as I read

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Columns 2000

Is education really about self-esteem?

In a May 18th news article, the Superintendent of the Klawock School District is quoted as saying, “We do not want to give a certificate of attendance. We are very concerned about everyone feeling successful.” Further on in the article it states, “Although Robertson said the Klawock teaching staff supports the state’s efforts to implement graduation standards, the district is concerned that the certificate of attendance will negatively affect student’s self-esteem.”

Let me start by saying what a great way to teach these children the reality of the world they are about to encounter. Which of us doesn’t know a

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Columns 2000

Long time Alaskans redefine the word greed

There’s apparently a lot of discussion going on around the state concerning the possible one time payout from the Permanent Fund of $25,000 to every qualifying individual in Alaska.  Some Alaskans apparently feel that the amount of the payout should not be uniform but should be based on longevity in the state. Since I’ve lived in Alaska 30 years, that idea has some appeal to me.  While I’m not the longest living Alaskan here, 30 years certainly would put me up there with the big bucks.  But I think we need to go a few steps further with this idea

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Columns 2000

Payback is a bitch

You acquire a lot of debt when you live in the bush.  Not necessarily financial debt, but karmic debt.  After 25 years of having your city friends pick you up at airports, open up their homes to you and your fifty-five boxes from Costco and Sam’s, drive you to doctor’s appointments and generally help you work out the craziness that comes with prolonged exposure to bush living, you are obligated to return some of that to friends left behind after you find your way to the city.

And so it is that I find my home a central focus for

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Restaurant food for the holiday…blasphemy!

When my mother was still a very young bride, her husband moved her from her home in Philadelphia to their new home in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  By car, this is a journey of 90 minutes at worse, 60 minutes using the expressway. Since my father didn’t believe in feeding quarters into machines on a highway that gave him no visible return for his investment, we usually went the 90 minute route. 

Part of any holiday in my childhood was spent in a car driving to and from Philadelphia where first my grandmother and then my aunt hosted the family

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So we didn’t get a president right away, so what?

There was a letter to the editor in a recent issue of Newsweek from a gentleman in Africa who berated America for purporting to teach democracy to the world while not being able to get our own elections right. He went on at some length about the spectacle we were creating and what this did to our credibility.

With all due respect to this gentleman from that hotbed of democracy known as Africa, let me just say “poppycock!” Not only has America always been the best example this world could ever have about how a democracy should work, but this

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TV’s on airplanes break my cone of silence

Much to my horror, I recently read that an American airline was going to experiment with putting a TV into each seat back on its planes. Cable and network programming would be shown.

Airplanes are horrifying enough as anyone knows who ever tried to squeeze a size 16 body into a size 4 seat while accommodating 20 inches of leg in 2 3/4 inches of space. I thought we’d hit rock bottom when they started serving burritos that were as light as an anvil falling from a forty-story building.  Now they are installing TV.

The disintegration really started with the

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Nepal Notebook – Part 1

Nepal Notebook:  Nepal is one of the poorest countries on the face of this earth. This is a possible reason why many of their bridges there sway when you walk across them.  This is also possibly why they fix the holes left by broken boards in the floor of the bridge with big rocks.  I’m proud to say that never once on our trek did I crawl across one of these bridges sobbing. I wanted to, but I was afraid that would just cause it to sway more.

Attention all Rotary Clubs:  Your good work is seen everywhere. All over

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