Alaska Ear

A QUESTION ... Did Alyeska President Tom Barrett really repeat that old myth during a speech to the RDC Thursday at the Dena'ina, the one about wild animals loving the pipeline because it's warm? According to an unofficial transcript, it allegedly went like this: "What folks tell me -- I think this is up on the North Slope -- caribou, they like being on the gravel pads because there's less bugs. And they like being near the pipe because it's warm."

Darlings, Ear really doesn't want to believe this. It's one thing for Sen. Inouye to wax poetic at Ted's funeral about "elk flocks" getting amorous because of the warmth from the pipeline. He's old. He's from Hawaii. What does he know about Arctic oil flow? But the guy who runs Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.? Maybe it was a joke?

The upside is that News-Miner columnist Dermot Cole has a new one for his collection of like statements. Check the News-Miner website for his Aug. 19, 2010, column. It's a fun read.

FAIRLY COOL ... Palmer fair vendors and workers, who might be a tad down about the crummy weather plaguing the popular end-of-summer celebration, got a special lift Wednesday when Charlie Daniels and his band played a private after-party set for them. Earwigs say Charlie jammed for about 30 minutes, after which the Ken Peltier Band took the stage and the place was opened to the public.

SHE'S A SAINT ... Darlings, have you noticed how energetically Sen. Linda Menard has been pushing for the Legislature to buy that old Unocal building at I Street and Ninth Avenue? She doesn't even represent Anchorage.

Surely it's just an irrelevant coincidence that Linda owns the corner property right across the street -- a little old house at 843 I St., according to municipal property records anyhow. Think how convenient it will be if the state buys the Unocal place and discovers they need extra room for parking, or if a restaurant decides to build a place to service all the new people working in the neighborhood. They'll have a friendly face to negotiate with. Really, d'Ears, it's a blessing.

Ear would have thanked the senator personally but she's off on that junket to Norway with a zillion other Alaska legislators.

SUBVERSIVE CONCEPTS ... Speaking of Norway, federal Alaska gas line guy Larry Persily, who is also at the conference, endured a couple of snarky Ear jokes about the likelihood of a Prudhoe-to-Oslo pipeline before mentioning that he bought his own plane ticket. Why? He couldn't really justify the feds sending him but the conference sounded interesting, he said, and he likes Norway. They do things Alaska might consider.

For instance, apparently Norway doesn't solicit oil and gas lease sale bids, Larry said. Instead, they give leases to bidders "that present the strongest expertise, the most experience and the ... plan most likely to result in new production."

OMG. They don't go for the paper bag full of cash? It'll never work here. In fact, it's downright un-American. Kind of like paying your own airfare.

A NEW TEST ... Recently departed KTUU general manager Susan Lucas (it's fair to call her sojourn here controversial, right?) has passed the test and become a licensed Illinois real estate broker. Or so say her Facebook friends.

OUT AND ABOUT ... Spotted having lunch Friday with wife Kathy at Café Amsterdam, Rep. Mike Doogan, happily recovered from post-surgery problems that included a way-too-exciting medevac flight this spring to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. According to Mike, the docs put him in a controlled coma that was supposed to last four days but stretched to eight, bringing the family to a vigil at his "deathbed."

"When I came out of it, I explained it was the only way I could avoid the special session," Mike said.

95 MINUTE RECALL ... The Mat-Su tea party crowd known as the Conservative Patriots Group was soliciting signatures on a petition last week to recall Councilman Steve Menard, recently of the disgusting hotel room destruction in Sitka. They issued an oddly specific "action alert" for signers for Aug. 30, between 5 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. or 7:10 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Hmmm. Maybe it's a Valley thing.

LIGHTS ... ACTION ... Whoops, is the camera missing? Nope. Ear hears Anchorage photographer Steve Rychetnik of SprocketHeads has been signed to run camera on the first unit of "Frozen Ground," the movie about sleazy multiple murderer Robert Hansen that's scheduled to start shooting here in mid-October. Ear thinks "first unit" maybe means he works on the important stuff with stars John Cusack and Nicholas Cage. Fun, fun.

An interesting factoid about this flick: Cusack plays the bad guy and Cage plays the good guy. Odd.

On the move ... Earwigs report former Anchorage reporter Josh Saul -- he's the son of Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop owners Jerry Lewanswki and Janis Fleischman -- returned to the U.S. from a sojourn in Paris to land a plum job in the Big Apple as a reporter for Rupert Murdoch's New York Post.

Or, as his new employer might put it: ALASKA ASKER GOES POSTAL.

A QUESTION ... Was that an Easy Park vehicle parked where it shouldn't have been, in a private spot in a private lot downtown? If so, better be careful, guys. It belongs to lawyers.

And btw, don't you just love the name "Easy Park" for the guys who make it impossible to park long enough to go shopping AND have lunch? The new ticket writers are playing the reverse name game. Like "friendly jailer" or "upbeat undertaker."

KUDOS ... On Thursday, Dan Cuddy celebrated the beginning of his 61st year of running his family business, the First National Bank Alaska. Cuddy, 90, instructed his daughter Betsy Lawer not to do anything to mark the occasion. So of course, she gathered most of senior management to welcome him at the regular morning meeting.

Daughters. They never do what you tell them.

FISH WARS ... Earwigs say sport fisherman have a new saying when they feel they've been done wrong by commercial fishermen: "I really got fuglvoged." You'll recall that Arne Fuglvog is the ex-Murkowski aide who lied and cheated to harvest more than his share of fish and just got sentenced to federal prison.

In another corner, fishy folk were enjoying a letter to the Homer News from Capt. Elliott Neese of "Deadliest Catch." Reacting to an ambiguous comment from an Alaska Charter Boat Association representative about it being dangerous to fish for halibut without using a charter, Neese, who flirts with death hunting crab in the Bering Sea, wrote:

"I don't need a potato farmer with a six-pack license telling me how dangerous my local waters are. Save your scare tactics for your out-of-state customers."

Homer loved it.

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