Alaska Ear

Sheila Toomey

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO ... Is Ear the only appendage that didn't know Arliss Sturgulewski is no longer a Republican? Ear is stunned. Arliss served in the state Senate from 1979 to 1993 and twice ran for governor as a Republican. Over the years, she has remained a reliable voice of political sanity.

"I didn't leave the party," she explains to those who ask. "The party left me."

No, she's not a D convert. She reregistered as an independent. And here's something else Ear bets you didn't know: Her real first name is Jane. Arliss is her middle name. Or so says Wikipedia, which still lists her as a Republican.

MR. MANNERS ... The following admonition appeared as a post on the Alaska Republican Party Facebook page. Ear assumes it's not official but, hey, always good advice: "Please avoid obscene, vulgar, racist, or sexually-oriented language. Please, no personal attacks or dishonest comments about party officers, candidates, elected officials, or those sharing opinions on this page. Remember conversation and not confrontation. Please do not disparage other Republicans on this site. We need to positively promote our candidates and elected officials. The party will not comment on this site about any information regarding pending or active lawsuits. Failure to comply with these rules of on-line etiquette may result in your removal from our group."

A QUESTION ... What state Senate wannabe, hoping to succeed in claiming a West Anchorage seat with new R-favorable district lines, insisted to a voter that Alaska has the highest oil taxes in North America (an assertion that could only be true if Mexico's 90-plus-percent taxes don't count).

The constituent tried to explain that there are three countries in North America: the U.S., Canada and Mexico, but it was pointless. The candidate stubbornly insisted that Mexico is in Central America.

(Wonder what three countries he thinks belong to NAFTA -- the North American Free Trade Agreement.)

TALK IS CHEAP ... Some Earwigs whine incessantly about the U.S. Supreme Court decision that said corporations are people and can give zillions to PACs intent on drowning out the rest of us and destroying democracy. All right, maybe that's not the exact wording but you know what we're talking about.

Anyhow, a local broadcaster decided to put his TV station where his mouth is. Channel 5 co-owner Jeremy Lansman is offering free air time for any Division of Elections-certified candidate for any political office in the 2012 election.

You have to provide your own 30-seconds-or-less ad but anyone with a cellphone can do that these days, right?

Ear predicts Jeremy will live to regret this act of generosity but it does level the playing field ever so slightly.

UPCOMING ... Roots-rock singer/songwriter Tim Easton will be in Alaska next week for the Salmonstock music festival in Ninilchik and an appearance at the Taproot in Anchorage. Which is biz as usual for visiting music stars. But he's also scheduled to do an ungulate fundraiser. Earwigs report Easton will perform at 6 p.m. on Monday, July 30, at the Musk Ox Farm in Palmer. It's a great outdoor venue for music -- what with the mountains and all. No admission, but a donation is encouraged. The invitation promises "musk oxen frolicking in nearby pastures," but Ear suggests you don't count on that. Ear doesn't believe adult musk oxen frolic and wouldn't want to see it if they did.

Anyhow, bring a picnic dinner and a blanket to sit on, and dress for the weather.

WELCOME, TRAVELER ...As you know, Ear loves tourist stories. Here's one with a twist -- Rep. Les Gara was the "tourist" on a Kenai dipnetting trip and reported this adventure after a day in the water with a friend:

At 11 p.m. I walked back to my car and it wouldn't start. Got the overly hi-tech key marginally damp fishing. We secured the last $179 hotel room, a tow for the next day, and I needed some dinner at 12:30 a.m. So I walked to the fast food place down the block, which had an after-hours drive-thru. I get to the window and am told they can't serve me because, "This is a drive-thru and you're not in a car." Facing $$$$ in towing, repair, hotel and cab prospects, I just didn't have the energy to explain why serving a guy without a car might be OK. Then the other under-21 yo says, "I think we can serve him without a car." The first young man says, "But . . . I don't think we're allowed." The second one says, "Well, I don't think he's carrying a gun or anything." I responded that I don't bring my gun to drive-thrus. Then one of them said, "Cool." That made everyone happy. And I got dinner..MAKES SENSE . . . Holland America ran a Vampire Cruise in late June. Really. Ear couldn't make this up. It stopped in Skagway.

Jeff Brady of the Skagway News reported the following exchange between two visitors:

"Someone asked a friend where all the vampires were. He suggested that the vampires must be in their coffins on board the ship since it's always daytime in Alaska at this time of year."

Compiled by Sheila Toomey. Message Sheila at Find Ear online Sunday night at

Anchorage Daily News