Alaska Ear

IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN . . . Gov. God is scheduled to announce the amount of this year's Permanent Fund Dividend on Tuesday with the usual hoopla (or is it fanfare?). Anyhow, unable to wait that long, Ear tracked down former ADN Business Editor Bill White, whose predictions about the beloved checks were pretty much on the money (so to speak) for a zillion years.

Bill, who now labors in gas for the feds, said he expects this year's check will be "a tad under $1,200." Smaller than last year's $1,281 but more than $1,000. (We're still feeling the effects of the 2008-2009 market meltdowns).

Sounds OK to The Divine Appendage. Checks are due for distribution Oct. 6.

SIGN OF APPROACHING DARKNESS? . . . The Republicans held their annual picnic Thursday. It's become a mostly tea party event, so no surprise that folks showed up wearing old Joe Miller T-shirts. A couple sported shirts from the Beat Romney PAC he's running at the moment Outside. In response, some annoyed picnickers slapped Lisa stickers on themselves -- you remember Lisa. She won.

Friday was the one-year anniversary of her announcement that she'd risk everything on a write-in. Earwigs report she was planning a party.

Apropos of nothing, a sign at the entrance to the picnic mysteriously offered a tour of West Anchorage and a "special drive by of the former socialist party members, with tour guide Randy." Socialist Party? A drive-by? Pretty sketchy. Or maybe just an inside joke.

WE'RE SO HOT . . . Remember when Jon Voight was in town, shooting a movie that wasn't the whale thing? Well, that flick is done and set for release next month. It's called "Beyond" and earwigs who don't wear socks, even when it's really cold, say the world premier is set for Anchorage at the Bear Tooth Theatrepub. Mid-October. Voight is expected to be there. Dare we hope his daughter might show? And maybe Angelina will bring hunky Brad Pitt? Dream on.

In other Hollywood news, the producers of the Robert Hansen movie "Frozen Ground," set to begin shooting in Anchorage next month, have cast actress Vanessa Hudgens to play the 16-year-old hooker whose escape from Bad Bob the Baker set his capture in motion. Kids know Hudgens from Disney's "High School Musical" movies and she's made a couple of albums, one of them going gold.

To establish her bona fides with adults, she's had the obligatory naked-photographs-on-line scandal. So it's all good.

BACK TO THE '50s? . . . Now we know (if we read The National Enquirer) about Joe McGinniss' big revelation in his too little, too late book about Sarah: She allegedly had sex back in the '80s with a basketball player.

So? Who didn't?

Oh, wait a minute -- the scandal is that she had sex with a black basketball player. Ear still says, "So?" Does McGinniss really think anyone still cares about interracial relationships? How totally retro of him.

Luckily, earwigs don't have to actually buy the book to find out what other "revelations" are offered. Clever Joe apparently gave an advance copy to "Doonesbury" cartoonist Garry Trudeau, who is marketing the book in his strip. Columnist Andrew Sullivan also got a copy and is waxing enthusiastic about it. Other reviewers? No so much.

ANOTHER ONE . . . Ear keeps vowing not to write about Sarah for a month but Alaskans keep writing books about her, so what's a lobe to do?

The next one, due this fall, is "Crude Awakening," by Amanda Coyne and Tony Hopfinger. Friendly reviewers used words like "verve," "genuinely frightening" and "riveting," so maybe it will be more readable than most of them. It purportedly stars Ted Stevens, Bill Allen and Sarah, so it could be fun.

OUT AND ABOUT . . . Spotted having a cup of coffee at Side Street Espresso Friday, former Gov. Tony Knowles, looking relaxed and fit, chatting with friends. Doesn't that guy ever age? Or maybe not having to deal with legislators has life-imbuing gifts.

CONGRATS . . . Sylvester Neal, formerly of Anchorage, a UAF graduate -- and current president of the 600,000-member Kiwanis International -- has been named UAF 2011 Distinguished Alumnus.

And why does Ear know about this? In another life, Sylvester was safety coordinator at Your Favorite Good Morning Newspaper, and is fondly remembered by Ear. He now lives in Washington state.

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