NEW RULES . . . Rats! We can't have any fun in the Valley these days. They've passed new rules for playing at Jim Creek that ban all the simple pleasures. No more torching of vehicles. No more setting fires bigger than four feet across within 100 feet of the forest without written permission. And, can you believe it, shooting at signs and trees, or any targets besides those made from wood, paper or clay, is banned without permission.
However, that suggests it used to be OK to set cars on fire, right? And you can still do stuff if someone gives permission, right? So it's less spontaneous than it used to be, but maybe still fun.
RUNOFF POTENTIAL? . . . Political anglers are trying to figure out what Walt Monegan's chances are among the cast of thousands running for mayor of Anchorage. All that Troopergate publicity sure gave him name recognition, but he's never run for elective office and many of his opponents have.
Monegan's made at least one smart move so far -- signing up Gail Phillips as "honorary co-chair" of his campaign. A former House Speaker and consummate pol, Gail has all the running-for-office smarts he needs.
Gail's deep into the Aviation Museum these days and said she doesn't have time to be a full-time campaigner. Walt is talking to a couple of people about managing his run and reportedly will be making a decision soon.
He said former Assemblyman Dick Tremaine will be an adviser on muni budget issues.
The popular assumption is that Dan Sullivan and someone else will end up in a runoff, but there's little consensus on who that someone is likely to be.
REST OF THE STORY . . . Those fab red shoes Sarah wore during the VP campaign, mentioned here last week, sold on eBay for $2,025, $800 more than the asking price and about $1,940 more than they sell for online new. Who knew shoes were such a good investment?
The Naughty Monkey 3-inch heels were allegedly put up for sale by a Sarah niece. An earwig with a foot fetish says Sarah bought them in Juneau at Shoefly & Hudsons, and paid for them herself.
MORE SILLY BILLS . . . We can add Rep. Anna Fairclough's bill eliminating daylight-saving time to the list of silly legislation that so far includes naming a state dog and adding a new verse to "Alaska's Flag." Don't these people have any real work to do?
FLYING FACTOID . . . A federalized earwig reports the only earish thing Uncle Ted left in his old Senate office here for the Begich people to find was a list of phone numbers taped to a cabinet. Mostly Chamber of Commerce types, but the last number on the list was "Girdwood chalet."
ON THE MOVE . . . Speaking of Begich, he's tapping lots of familiar names for his staff, here and in Washington. We've already reported David Ramseur, Julie Hasquet and John Vezina. The latest are Bob King and Bruce Scandling, both ex-reporters living in Juneau. Bob leaves for D.C. Feb. 9 and wife, Sally Schlichting, will join him in about a month.
Bruce will work in D.C., but wife Laury, also a former reporter, is assistant superintendent of schools in Juneau and will not move. Welcome to another Alaska long-distance relationship.
Others include Diane DiSando, Meagan Foster, Schawna Thoma and James Feldman (yes, one of Jeff Feldman's sons).
NEW BLOOD . . . It looks like there's a lot of interest in the Anchorage School Board seat vacated when Chris Tuck got elected to the Legislature. Of course, anyone can whisper anything, but Ear has heard NANA's Matt Fagnani and Dave Karp of Northern Air Cargo might be interested.
CUT IT OUT . . . Really, darlings, those suggestions by comment writers on adn.com that the governor offer herself as a sacrifice to appease the volcano are just rude.
OOPS . . . A national group called the Children's Leadership Council was apparently aiming to look Alaskan when they sent out a press release with a phony dateline urging Don Young to support their cause. If they wanted Don to think they were constituents, they probably didn't succeed. The missive began:
"Juno, Alaska -- For months now Congressional leaders in Washington have been debating economic recovery measures to best boost our economy and aid ailing industries ..."
KUDOS . . . Did you see the New York Times review of Willie Hensley's book, "Fifty Miles from Tomorrow"? It was pretty good, although the reviewer seemed excessively focused on pickled walrus flipper and put out that Willie didn't dish the dirt about his first marriage. We're all pretty blase these days, but it's still cool to get an NYT review.
Willie is speaking Friday at the UAA Fine Arts Building, 7 p.m. Free and open to the public.
HIT HIM AGAIN . . . Talk about good outcomes, earwigs report Perry Green won a BMW at a casino lottery near Palm Springs. Reportedly, 200,000 tickets were sold. Oh, by the way, he already owned a BMW.
RAIN? WHAT RAIN? . . . U.S. News and World Report has listed Juneau as one of the top 10 low-tax places to retire in America. Here's the list, from msn.com: Billings, Mont.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Doral, Fla.; Henderson, Nev.; Juneau; Manchester, N.H.; Nashville, Tenn.; Sioux Falls, S.D.; Spokane, Wash.; Stafford, Texas.
SAY CHEESE . . . As long as we're reporting such silliness, the people who track prices for the cost-of-living index have determined that potatoes and Parmesan cheese had the biggest percentage increase among grocery prices over the first three quarters of 2008, according to a Web site called Alaska Progress Report. And Anchorage features the fourth most expensive Parmesan in America -- cheaper than in Missoula, Honolulu and Oakland, more expensive than in Bellingham.
Ear did say it was silly.