Alaska ear

The divine appendage

Anchorage Daily NewsDecember 31, 2011 

Happy New Year, darlings. Welcome to the final year of the no-name decade (calling it the "oughts" never caught on).

Next year we enter the 21st century's "teens," which doesn't sound like much fun based on the 13-year-olds Ear has known. So let's resolve to have extra fun in 2012. Shall we start by lamenting that we weren't invited to "Twist in the New Year" with Chubby Checker at the Allen Unique Autos Museum in Grand Junction?

Yes, darlings, that's our own felonious Bill Allen's car collection, with additions by daughter Tammy Allen. Chubby, who apparently is still alive, was the promised headliner at an "intimate concert and party" there Saturday night. According to granddaughter Misty Allen, Chubs is into old cars too. She told a reporter that it's to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Twist (Wikipedia say Chubby introduced the twist in July 1960, but no one's under oath here), and appropriate festivities would ensue.

Intimate party? Perhaps. But as befits an Allen event, you could buy your way in.

Now let's glance back for the last time and review the recently departed Ear Year:

BAD NEWS ... For the second year in a row, Don Young, Congressman for All Alaskans Who Voted for Him, has failed to snare the Best Quote of the Year award. True, there was that wonderful smackdown with historian David Brinkley at the ANWR hearing. But, alas, all the best lines were delivered by Brinkley. And there was the propeller beanie during the November exchange with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, but again, no great words, just a lot of name-calling, nothing like past gems.

Remember when, during a breast cancer discussion, he said he had asked his wife to get a "monogram." Or the time he said he replaced the copper pipe at his home with less corrosive "PCP pipe."

And last year he at least came in second with his explanation for an apparent inconsistency to KTVA anchor Matt Felling: "I don't agree with what I said."

But facts are facts and this year Don's crown passes to an anonymous kid who tricked and treated in College Village, dressed as a protestor carrying a tombstone-shaped sign that read: "OCCUPY HAL-LOWEEN The Redistribution of Candy Begins Now."

Second place goes to Sen. Mark Begich for his reply when asked who he expected to run against him in 2014. His reply?


MOST AMUSING ERROR BY THE NRA . . . Check out the gun guys' insert in Thursday's ADN, offering to sell Alaskans a 100th anniversary replica of a pistol first produced in 1911 . . . nickel-plated, custom bluing, 24-carat gold-plated accents, only 100 individually numbered pistols will be available here, "finely engraved and individually numbered..."

Unfortunately, check out the photo of the gun in question. Apparently the pistols are finely engraved for a state called "Alasaka." Whoops.

BEST HELP WANTED AD . . . No contest here. KTVA-TV wins with its effort to attract television photographers to Anchorage:

"Imagine this professional existence - just 15 minutes from the station you find yourself on the edge of a precipice. It's a brilliantly crisp white day. The famed Aleutian and Alaska Range volcanoes steam on your left... to your right lit up by a golden setting sun, Hunter, Foraker and the Great One herself, Denali. These three Alaskan gems dominate the horizon as seen from the crotchety sourdough's backyard who you happen to be producing a story about today. His bonfire crackles. His ax is furious. Whack! What a perfectly ordinary Alaskan moment ... A moose wanders by. And the temperature is relatively warm! 'I'm standing in the middle of a postcard from the North Pole,' you think to yourself. . ."

Volcanoes, Denali, moose, the North Pole, all visible 15 minutes from Spenard. Who knew?

BEST FLYING FACTOID . . . A federal arrest warrant was issued for the guy who bought the jet that cost Gov. Murkowski re-election. The curse continues.

BEST CAMPAIGN SLOGAN . . . From a candidate in the Wasilla mayor's race: "More thinkin' and less drinkin' at City Hall" (as quoted by the Frontiersman newspaper).

BEST POLITICAL FEUD . . . At the beginning of 2011, Ear had high hopes for a Republican House Leadership vs. Love Caucus matchup, but the fight, or perhaps the romance, fizzled. So the award goes to Gov. Sean Parnell vs. Lite Gov. Mead Treadwell. In a July 28 nastygram, Parnell warned Treadwell to back off, to stop using "my name (or) the office entrusted to me" to "direct agency, boards or commission personnel. ... you and I have discussed the concern and confusion generated by you attempting to direct agency work."

When the dust settled, Parnell sounded like a whiner, and Treadwell won PR points for resisting media invitations to snark back.

BEST QUOTES FROM ANOTHER COLUMN . . . These comments by summer tourists came from Jeff Brady's column in the Skagway News:

• "So, I'm from Greenville, South Carolina ... It's on the east coast, but it's not an island like your state is."

• "We're just a couple weeks early. They bring in the grizzlies when the salmon start to run."

• "What's the altitude here?"

"Well, we're at sea level in town."

"Yeah, but sea level here isn't the same as sea level where I'm from."

BEST VERBATIM READER SUBMISSION ... "So I'm watching Wheel of Fortune last night, and the puzzle theme is Same Name, and the puzzle answer is 'Fairbanks' and 'Baked Alaska.' The poor dear who finally solved it had a heckuva time figuring it out until the entire word 'Fairbanks' was filled in. When Pat Sajak congratulated her on solving the puzzle, she looked at him and said, 'I don't know what a Fairbanks is.' And all I could think was, 'You're not alone, honey. Not by a long shot.' "

BEST UNALASKA PD REPORTS . . . "Suspicious Person/Activity - Officer observed a shirtless, bruised and bloody man walking with a woman on the roadside. When questioned, the man explained that he was attempting to consummate an illicit relationship with the already-spoken-for woman but had instead been jumped by several unidentified persons who apparently wished otherwise. The woman refused to provide any information. An officer provided the man with courtesy transport to a hotel."

"Domestic Disturbance - Police were called to help two grown men mediate a dispute which had started when one asked the other to open the window while smoking, and ended when the other became offended by the assertion that he behaved less than properly with his own mother."

BEST 2012 CORRECTION . . . So far. Yes, d'Ears, it is only Jan. 1. So what's your point?

Here's what happened: How many of you knew there were two countries, one named Slovenia and one named Slovakia? Unfortunately, quite a few, several of whom helpfully suggested Ear consult a map before writing about either one.

Here's what Ear should have said: Jeff Lowenfels' organic gardening book is going to be translated into Slovenian, which is spoken in Slovenia, not Slovakia, where they speak Slovak.

Compiled by Sheila Toomey. Message Ear at 257-4341 or

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