Alaska Ear

Sheila Toomey

TIED IN KNOTS ... Ear could hardly believe reports that Captain Zero, governor to all of us who say amen, showed up at a Juneau pro-Ted Stevens rally Wednesday wearing an Incredible Hulk tie. He said Lilly Stevens gave it to him.

Whatever we may have thought of Alaskan of the Century Uncle Ted (recently promoted to Saint Ted), you would never confuse him with Sean Parnell. Ted had his faults but he was a smart, gutsy guy willing to go against the tide when necessary. No one would ever have tried to nickname him Captain Zero.

The event was one of those we-hate-the-federal-prosecutors things Sen. Lisa has been fomenting. Earwigs wonder if the gathering, on the Capitol steps and including speeches by a couple of legislators, was an effort to position Parnell as Ted's successor (slightly delayed by the election of Sen. Mark Begich, of course). Is Captain Z really the Republicans' best shot?

One of the speechifiers at the rally was Rep. Mike Chenault, R-Nikiski, and speaker of the House. Wasn't Chenault an enthusiastic sponsor of the last death penalty bill? Do you suppose that, while he was damning prosecutorial misconduct against Ted, he ever considered that rogue prosecutors are a much bigger problem for somebody who ends up on death row?

PASS FAIL TEST ... In the End of Times, legislatively speaking, politicos breathed a sigh of relief when the House successfully passed HB 365, the Rock Snot & Sea Vomit bill.

OK, you're right, Ear just likes saying "rock snot and sea vomit."

Still, in a session where the people elected to lead us couldn't figure out what to do about taxing our biggest industry (oil) or helping our smallest citizens (autism), where the governor spent his energy jawing about "respect," it's reassuring that a few lawmakers could find common ground against aquatic invasive species like Didemnum vexillumis (sea vomit) and Didymo (rock snot).

All kidding aside, stuff like this does matter.

A QUESTION ... Inquiring earwigs want to know: Is it naïve to think it was mere coincidence that the North Korean rocket crashed and burned at almost the exact same time Senate President Gary Stevens pulled SB192, the oil tax bill, off the Senate calendar? Remember, there are no coincidences.

OUT AND ABOUT ... Was that Sen. Begich and right-wing radio mouth Dan Fagan having dinner together Wednesday night at the Glacier Brewhouse? Uh-oh. So, who should be more worried -- liberals or conservatives?

NOTABLE ... Mary Louise Rasmuson turned 101 this week. And she seems to be still going strong. Mary Louise is the widow of banker Elmer Rasmuson, stepmother of Rasmuson Foundation Chairman Ed Rasmuson, and step-grandmother of newly elected Anchorage School Board member Natasha Von Imhof.

ON THE MEND ... The Catholic Anchor reports that former Archbishop Francis Hurley is expected back in Anchorage this week. Hurley (who Ear misses) suffered a bad fall last month at the San Francisco airport and ended up at a California treatment center. He's been discharged from there, completed a couple of weeks at a rehab facility and, according to the Anchor, is doing well.

Welcome back greetings can be sent to him at the Pastoral Center, 225 Cordova St., Anchorage 99501.

LOVE THOSE OUTSIDERS ... A couple of producers here scouting locations for another (alleged) zillion-dollar movie project are quoted in a Kyle Hopkins story expressing approval of Ear's beloved Middle Way Café as follows: "It's a great menu. It's definitely very L.A."

And, get this: They actually thought that was a compliment. Go figure.

You can read the whole story at

Compiled by Sheila Toomey ( The Ear column is posted at on Sunday night. It is available beginning early Sunday morning to our print and electronic subscribers.