It's the same old question earwigs find themselves asking every year as Dec. 31st approaches: Is it the best of times, or the worst of times?
Holding down the "worst" side are the two months of nasty winter looming before us, probably worse than the two months we just suffered through. Ear doesn't hate winter but really, it's not fair: The Season Goddess needs to choose one: dark, nasty or long. Not all three.
On the "best" side of the scale: The days are already getting longer, the Legislature will soon convene (Yes, that's only good for Ear. Sorry to be so selfish), and Don Young is in love with, by all reports, a very nice lady. Which maybe explains his enthusiasm during a recent pitch for our wild salmon: It's great for sex, Don said. A well-known fact. Or words to that effect.
Ear chooses to believe there's hope for the human race, even down here among the debris at the foot of the fiscal cliff.
HITTING THE ROAD ... Dave Dittman, who sold the polling/research business he started 40 years ago, was the guest of honor at a massive farewell party just before Christmas. As previously noted, Dave is heading off with wife Terry for a two-year Mormon mission.
Earwigs report about 300 wellwisherrs showed up at the Captain Cook to meet the new owner, Matt Larkin, and reminisce about the fun old days, including Dave's memorable campaign ads -- those that worked, and those that didn't.
Dave believes humor sweetens the toughest sell. We all remember the great Tom Fink mayoral campaign ads from the '80s, but how about a re-elect Gov. Murkowski ad that never ran because Frank vetoed it. It had the governor saying:
"First I cut the longevity bonus. Then I appointed Lisa. Then I bought a jet. Maybe I should have quit while I was ahead."
As for the future, when news first surfaced about Dave's mission, he waxed enthusiastic about postings to exotic faraway places -- Namibia, Madagascar, Upper Volta -- OK, maybe not those but a mission-type place. Foreign. Romantic.
So, where's he going? Baltimore.
Yes, the one in Maryland.
Dave swears it's not secretly a mission to save Washington, D.C.
Ear recommended he check out "The Wire."
NATURAL MISTAKE ... Ear's favorite rural newspaper recently ran the following correction:
"The Bristol Bay Times-Dutch Harbor Fishermen incorrectly reported last week that the Surf Bay Inn on Akun Island, Akutan has a swimming pool. The hotel has a pool table. The newspaper regrets the error."
TRYING TOO HARD? ... KSKA/KAKM's annual pitch for end-of-year donations tries for the personal touch, but public radio fan Patrick Flynn was surprised to receive a letter that read: "As president of the Alaska Public Telecommunications (APTI) Board, allow me to extend to you my congratulations on your recent election."
Since Patrick last won his Assembly seat in 2011, he wondered if they had maybe mistaken him for Harriet Drummond.
ON THE MOVE ... Luke Miller, press secretary for Don Young for the past three years, is Gov. Parnell's new Deputy Press Secretary. Luke was born and raised in Juneau, and is a 2006 Juneau-Douglas High graduate, so his new assignment brings him home.
Taking over for Luke in Young's D.C. office is Mike Anderson, who's moving over from his job as a press aide for Sen. Lisa Murkowski.
NO COMMENT ... The state Dept. of Transportation held a procession in Fairbanks with a parade of antique cars and a ceremony to celebrate a new traffic pattern on Illinois Street. A project finished and the street opened to two-way traffic. And, according to the press release, there's a new blinking yellow light.
Who says you can't have a good time in The City on the Edge of Nowhere.
COPPING POETRY ... Sgt. Jennifer Shockley, who writes those fab police briefs about law enforcement in Unalaska, seems to be having a good effect on cop briefs in other venues. Here's one by Scott Christiansen in the Anchorage Press this week, a Haiku approach to a Dec. 18 DUI in Wasilla:
"Playing bumper trucks
Bad juju on snow and ice
Doubly if you're drunk"
Compiled by Sheila Toomey
Message Sheila at firstname.lastname@example.org.