Alaska Ear

MARYLINE SAYS HEY ... Former Alaskan Maryline Blackburn, most famously known as the woman who beat Sarah Palin out of the 1984 Miss Alaska title, will be singing at two inaugural events on Tuesday: the Legends Ball hosted by Dionne Warwick, and the Urban Ball, hosted by Ludacris.

It's not in the same class as the paisley pants Sarah wore to the statehood gala, but Maryline says she'll wear a black, beaded, form-fitting gown with a "very sexy back" by Estella Couture to one ball, and possibly a Valentino to the other, with jewels provided Landau.

In a Fox News interview during the presidential campaign, Blackburn said she voted for Sarah as Miss Congeniality in 1984, but when it came to her presidential vote, "It's all about Obama, baby."

Maryline grew up in Fairbanks, where her mother, Georgia, still lives. She's in the Atlanta area now, where she has a singing career and a new CD, "Russian Rhapsody." You can find out more at

"Be sure to send a big shout-out to Sarah," she said Friday. "Say, 'Maryline says "Hey!" from Washington, D.C.' "

HE'S OUR GUY TOO ... Earwigs report the person in charge of Information Technology for the inauguration is a 21-year-old from Anchorage.

According to Colby College, where he was a student until taking leave, Mark Jablonowski worked in New Hampshire for the Obama campaign. When they discovered he had gonzo computer skills, they sent him to Chicago, Texas, Pennsylvania and Indiana to set up their online programs. After Obama won the nomination, Jablonowski was named the Obama for America IT special-projects manager. In an organization known for its youth, he was one of the youngest. Now he's chief technology officer for the inauguration, leading the team responsible for communications infrastructure, internal networks and security.

AND ... Speaking of the inauguration, isn't it great that the Colony High School band was chosen to march in the parade? But what's up with all the media saying the band is from Wasilla? The last time Ear checked, the school was in Palmer.

Earwigs say the band director is from Wasilla and maybe listed his home address on the application. Really darlings, with Wasilla now a household word and offering the Obama people a delightful gotcha, who can blame him.

And, as everyone knows by now, we also have a troupe from Barrow, the Suurimmaanitchuat Dancers, in the parade.

Considering we voted against him, Obama has been OK to us.

OLD BUT GOLD ... Forgive Ear if you've heard this one. The Divine Appendage was away for two weeks and just read a note from an earwig who was there: At a luncheon for diplomats here for the statehood celebration, the Russian ambassador addressed Sarah's oft-repeated assertion during the vice presidential campaign that she could see Russia from Alaska. Said the ambassador, to a greatly appreciative audience: "Yes, we can in fact see Alaska from Russia. And rest assured. We are watching you."

LIKE SISTER STATES ... Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, calls it "weird" that Aaron Saunders, Uncle Ted's press secretary until recent unfortunate events, has taken a job with Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana. Saunders worked for Stevens for about five years, on the Commerce Committee and during the campaign. He reportedly met Landrieu in 2007 when she came to Alaska with Ted for a hearing on coastal erosion issues.

Landrieu communications director Stephanie Allen said, "Aaron's experience on the Hill, particularly with energy and coastal issues, where Louisiana and Alaska have a lot in common, makes him a strong addition to our team."

Does this mean that Saunders has been a closet Democrat all these years? "I'm not red or blue," he told Roll Call. "I bleed purple and gold. I'm a lifelong LSU fan, so it will be great being in an office where people understand what 'Geaux Tigers!' is all about."

That's a football reference, right?

VERBATIM ... From a recent Queen of Mean (Maureen Dowd) column on Clinton's confirmation hearing: "Hillary aced her Senate hearing on Tuesday, performing as the A-student she is. As one of her former campaign aides said, whatever else you say about her, she is always prepared.

"With Chelsea sitting protectively behind in a plum dress and glam '40s hairdo -- Bill was watching on TV with his mother-in-law -- Hillary showed the reasons she could be a star at state and queen of Obama's hot nerds.

"She was on top of all the issues, no matter how obscure. She batted around our 'stale' arctic policy -- who knew? -- with Alaska's Lisa Murkowski, who doesn't seem to realize we're sick of Alaska."

Hey lady, maybe you're sick of Alaska, but Lisa gets paid to care, so buzz off. (Sorry. Ear's had enough of Outsiders for a while.)

A TEST ... What do the following people have in common? Jake Lestenkof, Fran Ulmer, Roy Huhndorf, Dan Fagan, Dan Hickey, Sherry Valentine, Laurie Herman, Bill Council, Diane Kaplan, Jim and Dawn Lottsfeldt, Charlene Huhndorf, Curtis and Jody Smith, Mel Sather and Bob Acree?

They all showed up at a soiree for Alaskans in Kona last week, where maybe the weather back in Alaska was mentioned? Once or twice?

Purely in the interests of truth and accuracy, Ear felt obliged to check this out personally.

AN ANSWER ... To the thousands of earwigs (well, maybe not) who wrote to ask if the Alaska Senate really has a "Committee on Committees," the answer is yes. It's members are: Sen. Gary Stevens, Chair (R-Kodiak), Sen. Johnny Ellis (D-Anchorage), Sen. Lyman Hoffman (D-Bethel), Sen. Bert Stedman (R-Sitka) and Sen. Charlie Huggins (R-Wasilla).

NEEDS IRONIC TYPEFACE ... Alaska State Trooper case number: 09-310. Type: Theft. On 09-21-08, at approximately 1930 hours, Samantha B, age 18, reported the theft of her coat, cellular telephone and cash from a temporary storage locker at the Anchorage jail, while present at this facility for scheduled visitation.

Compiled by Sheila Toomey. E-mail Find Ear online at