STOP THE PRESS ... Have you heard? There's an amazing new invention that allows people to communicate information to each other almost instantaneously, without writing a letter or using the telephone. Regular folks can, for instance, send a message to their utility company and let it know if a giant windstorm has done bad things to their service.
And even more astounding, the utility company can send out helpful information, warning of impending disaster, for example.
News of this astounding development reached ML&P this past week and the utility leaped into action, opening a Twitter account.
Think of all those phone calls they won't have to answer now. Think of all those people not on hold, waiting for someone to get to them. Zounds!
Word is, only MEA, among the three power companies, had a clue about using social media for something useful.
BUT WHICH IS IT? ... The U.S. Army contracting office issued a Sept. 11 Request for Proposals for construction of a "Two Story w/Roof Access Sniper Tower" at Fort Greely.
Nothing unusual there. Soldiers gotta learn to do what they gotta do.
However, Ear did think it odd that the solicitation was listed under the category "Amusement, Gambling and Recreation Industries."
Is it perhaps a special designation for Alaska sniper towers?
And, no, the Army doesn't build gambling stuff. It's a civilian industry classification system.
A QUESTION ... Is Alaska's own political strategist, Art Hackney, really teamed up with gonzo Republican hit man Karl Rove to produce a bunch of Outside anti-Dem radio spots? Earwigs who read the fine print say it's so.
Wow. Karl could have picked anyone. We're so proud.
FURTHER PROOF ... that Alaskans can re-invent themselves several times in one life: Former Sen. George Jacko is running for mayor of the Lake and Peninsula Borough -- that's a huge swath of land starting at Lake Clark National Park and stretching down the Chain; it includes Chignik, Pedro Bay, Perryville, Pilot Point and more.
George has been working for zillionaire Bob Gillam's interests and against the Pebble mine for years now. His campaign poster promises he will continue to fight the mine because "developers have no interest in our fish or our future."
Long forgotten are his three censures for unethical conduct and a 1990s scandal that drove him out of the Legislature. (It involved sexual harassment allegations by different women).
Hey, it was a long time ago -- eons in Alaska time.
IT'S NOT TV, IT'S . . . Speaking of Pebble, Chris Matthews dropped a passing snark about mining in Bristol Bay on his show Tuesday. So is Pebble becoming a genuine national issue? Imagine it: John Shively and Bob Gillam duking it out on "Meet the Press." Those TV commercials coast to coast.
Ear can't wait -- or maybe it can.
IT IS TV ... Dan Fagan is threatening to appear semi-naked on his morning TV talk show in November. Dan's on a fitness kick and believes having to strip to the waist for the camera will motivate him to stick to the program.
Please, Dan, don't do it. We're begging. (Ear may feel compelled to file a "wardrobe malfunction" complaint with the FCC if he goes through with it.)
A QUANDARY ... Speaking of Fagan, his interview of U.S. House candidate Sharon Cissna last week has Ear reconsidering its automatic endorsement of Darling Don Young, Congressman for All Alaskans Except Ear and a Few Others.
Long-time earwigs know the Luscious Lobe always endorses Don as an act of naked self-interest. Who else can provide so many wonderful Ear items decade after decade?
But Don seems to have classed up a bit in his old age. Most of the time when he talks these days, he actually makes sense. This is a recent and dreadful development.
On the other hand, Cissna's performance during the interview, especially given Fagan's unusually gentle handling of her, suggests she might be a more Earish congressperson than aging Don. Ear was hypnotized by the part of the interview where Fagan asked her, maybe six times in a row, whether she thought the existing development of the North Slope oil fields was a good thing for Alaska. She finally said, "I guess I wouldn't look at it that way."
There's more. It's on YouTube. Check it out.
ON THE MOVE ... The newest Mayor Brower on the North Slope -- Charlotte, Eugene's wife -- is apparently cleaning house. Cold and dark earwigs say the new director of state government affairs (translation: chief lobbyist) is D.J. Fauske, son of Dan Fauske, putative head of AHFC but more interested in his new gas line job. Earwigs will recall that Dan started his government career on the Slope.
OUT AND ABOUT ... Armstrong Oil and Gas, a new kid on the block, threw a meet-and-greet party at Bill Sheffield's Turnagain house last week. Lots of juice in attendance, and Ear doesn't mean the drinking kind: Legislators from both sides of the aisle -- Bill Stoltze, Mike Hawker, Anna Fairclough, Johnny Ellis, Lesil McGuire and Berta Gardner; lobbyists Kim Hutchinson and Ashley Reed; and assistant administration Commish Curtis Thayer were among the guests.
Oily earwigs report Sheffield joked it was the only time in recent memory that guests didn't have to pay to get into a party of his -- Sheffield's house is used for lots and lots of fundraisers.
AND TO THE EAST ... Meanwhile, out in the Valley, the governor was hosting a party to raise money to kill off the bipartisan Senate coalition. Word is they raised nearly $20,000.
Destroying bipartisanship. Truly a noble cause.
UNALASKA COPS ... Lifted as usual from the Bristol Bay Times, written by Sgt. Shockley:
"Harassment -- Taxi Driver One said Taxi Driver Two is mean to her on the phone. Taxi Driver Two said Taxi Driver One cut in line and stole her customers. An officer admonished both Taxi Drivers to behave and be fair.
"Assistance Rendered -- Woman reported having been kicked out of her boyfriend's parents' home after the boyfriend's mother caught the two of them naked in bed.
"Animal -- Caller reported having been treated at the clinic for two puncture wounds on her head, compliments of a local Bald Eagle.
"Mental -- Officers took into custody a severely disturbed man who believed he was already dead and in heaven.
"Assault -- Hotel guest reported an altercation in an adjacent room. Officers contacted two drunken patrons who could not stop yelling at one another long enough for either of them to fall asleep. The hotel provided the drunks with separate rooms to alleviate the problem."
By SHEILA TOOMEY