Alaska Ear

Sheila Toomey
Photo courtesy of SARAH ERKMANN

OMG . . . One of the most "in" parties ever in our fair city took place Tuesday evening aboard the 12-story ship that showed up down at the Port, the one you thought was just another boatload of tourists.

Nope. The World is a newish phenomenon for seriously rich people -- a residential cruise ship with 165 privately owned condos whose owners can get on and off at will as the ship cruises the globe. Ads say it has condos "to fit most budgets," as long as your budget starts at a million dollars and can accommodate monthly condo fees ranging from $20,000 to $80,000 (the latter for the $3.2 million penthouse).

Earwigs report the ship stopped at several Alaska ports, including Anchorage and Nome, on its way to and through the Northwest Passage to Greenland.

Three restaurants and a casino, Bora-Bora, Monte Carlo ...

But enough fantasizing. What were they doing in Anchorage, entertaining a handful of locals at an intimate reception for fewer than 50, co-hosted by partners at the Birch Horton law firm and Napoleon Brandford III, partner in a Wall Street investment firm that specializes in "large scale financing projects for state, city and local governments"? (He owns one of the condos.)

The guest list was too tres interesting to earwigs who specialize in drawing unwarranted conclusions from trivia. The party was allegedly to honor our congressional delegation because the threesome is "one of the most powerful delegations in the country," according to one host, as quoted by an earwig. Hmmm. Napoleon wasn't expecting Uncle Ted, was he?

Other Alaska guests included Nancy Dahlstrom, presumably representing the Gov, Revenue Commish Bryan Butcher, Commerce Deputy Commish Curtis Thayer, former muni health queen Jewel Jones, who reportedly did some consulting work for Napoleon (ear just loves the idea of a Napoleon from Indiana), Catherine Stevens, Bristol Bay Native Corp. prez Jason Metrokin and, oddly, Alaska Housing/gas line bureaucrat Dan Fauske and his instate gas line CFO Joe Dubler. Hmmmm. Isn't that a big government project?

The most interesting guest to non-gassy earwigs was Gina Rinehart, the Australian mining magnate who was this year declared the richest woman on Earth, vaulting over the Wal-Mart heiresses. She inherited millions from daddy and turned it into $30 billion -- thanks to her control of iron ore Down Under and the mineral hunger of the world. Earwigs report the giant rocks Gina wore were definitely not iron ore.

SAME OLD, SAME OLD . . . The Alaska Legislature will celebrate its 100th anniversary next March. The solons sent out a press release announcing the appointment of a seven-member commission to do whatever commissions do to commemorate such occasions.

The press release bragged, "The very first act of the First Territorial Legislature in 1913 gave women the right to vote, several years before Congress took any such action."

Excellent. But guess what? There are no women on the commission. In response to a complaint from a female (Republican) Alaskan, Senate President Gary Stevens replied that it wasn't intentional. The choices "were based on Senate and House Leadership both current and past as well as recognized Alaska historians."

Oh, OK, that explains it, Gary. Can't find any women in those categories, right?

The commissioners are Stevens, Sen. Lyman Hoffman, Rep. Mike Chenault, Rep. Bill Stoltze, Historian Terrence Cole, ex-Sen. Rick Halford and ex-Sen. Clem Tillion.

NO FUN AT ALL . . . The annual Republican picnic happened Thursday at Kincaid Park and, according to earwigs who were there, it was all very nice and civilized.


Some "Jersey-Shore-looking" Ron Paul supporters tried to pick a fight with some Romney people who were, sadly, smart enough not to engage, reported one attendee. The "best campaign swag was Mia Costello's chap stick." The most ubiquitous campaign sticker was for House candidate Anand Dubey.

THE OTHER PICNIC . . . The governor's picnic on Saturday was scheduled for the same time and place (Delaney Park Strip) as the Renewable Energy Fair. An earwig reports the energy fair people contacted the governor's office to see if the Gov would swap locations because "they needed more power."

(They were referring to electrical hookups).

OUR GUY . . . Planning to watch the Olympics' closing ceremony tonight? We've got a guy in that too. Sort of. Gene Dugan, one of the founders of Out North Theater in Anchorage, who now lives in London, is a dancer in a "tea party" skit -- not the political kind, just the beverage. He jumps off one of 10 trucks (his is purple) and runs with a crowd to watch Ray Davies (remember The Kinks?) sing "Waterloo Sunset."

Ear is so proud.

AN ANSWER . . . You want to know why the Divine Appendage doesn't get involved in prognosticating about political campaigns? Here's a perfect example:

Mat-Su earwigs with good track records for sanity and assessment have been telling Ear for weeks that a tea party guy named Mike Dunleavy is going to take out Sen. Linda Menard. Part of the right wing plan to kill the bipartisan Senate majority, according to conventional wisdom.

But a Hellenthal poll released Friday gives Menard a 16-point lead. It's based on 271 eligible Republican primary voters and has a 6 percent margin of error. (So maybe she wins by 10? Or 22?)

This is why Ear waits for the results on election night.

GIVE 'TIL IT HURTS . . . It was a bad-news week for former prosecutor Bill Ingaldson. First, his uninsured building burns down -- the old Mat Maid warehouse in Palmer. Then his partner, Peter Maassen, gets appointed to the Alaska Supreme Court.

Wait. Isn't your partner getting boosted to the high court a good thing?

Maybe not if it means Ingaldson and his remaining partner, Kevin Fitzgerald, either have to do all Maassen's work or lose his clients. So far, no one's organizing a pity party for them.

HI, MY NAME IS DAN . . . The newish (June) deputy commissioner of commerce doesn't have to introduce himself to people working in the State Office Building in Juneau. Daniel Patrick O'Tierney, the former assistant attorney general, is the guy in bedroom slippers. Earwigs report that he removes his shoes after arriving for work each day and dons backless slippers.

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