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Alaska Ear: And the problem is? (2/10/13)

Sheila Toomey

AND THE PROBLEM IS? ... One of the better cooking shows, "Top Chef," showed up in Juneau for its last episode of the season. A couple of the judges have blogged on about their experience in our beloved Capital City, including the following post by Chef Hugh Acheson:

"Sean (Brock) and I made it a point to go to all the bars in Juneau that locals told us not to go to. Should have listened to the locals, as the Lucky Lady has no luck, no ladies, and is about the strangest-smelling drinking hole on the planet. It smells like Lysol covering a crime."

REPLY ALL ... Mayor Dave Cobb of Valdez sent a letter to the governor pushing Valdez as the best terminus for a natural gas pipeline to tidewater. He copied all 60 legislators. Then this showed up in his email inbox:

From: Rep. Mike Chenault

Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2013 3:17 PM

"What a crock of s---."

(Note: Family Ear has substituted dashes for the letters actually used).

Yes, d'Ears. You know what happened.

According to an angry follow-up letter from an "offended" and "shocked" Cobb, Chenault's office apologized, helpfully explaining that the email "was intended for other Legislators," not Cobb.

Ear will simply note that's it's awfully early in the session for Punch and Judy.

OH, THAT ... Ear laughed last week when Gov. Parnell ordered flags flown at half-mast to honor recently deceased former legislator and North Slope attorney Marty Farrell. Honored? Ear actually remembers Marty's trial in Fairbanks.

ADN reporter Rich Mauer, who documented much of the North Slope corruption, was not amused and questioned the governor at his press conference Wednesday about standards for being officially half-masted. Mauer noted that Farrell played a critical role in allowing corrupt contractors, borough officials and lobbyists to raid hundreds of millions of dollars from the North Slope Borough treasury.

Parnell said he wasn't aware of Farrell's history -- and let's be fair, the Fairbanks jury acquitted him.

The Governor's Office checked in later and said there's an actual law requiring ex-legislators be so honored, which means Marty's luck is holding, even after death.

FREUDIAN SLIP? ... Was the tie worn by the governor at his press conference really the same pattern as the carpet in the U.S. Senate gallery?

HERE'S THE MEAT ... And is it true that House Finance co-chair Bill Stoltze wrote a $600 check to Indian Valley Meats to process a deceased bison from the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center? Apparently the beast was turned into sausage for the Chugiak Senior Center.

DILBERT WORLD ... Terror of the Shrinking Cubicles. Our saga continues with the Parnell administration trying to cut expenses by reducing the number of floors the state leases in the Atwood Building. (So we can pass on the savings to the oil companies, perhaps?)

This has meant squishing workers really, really close together. Or so say earwigs trapped between their desks and the file cabinets. They're calling the re-clustered closet-cubicles "neighborhoods."


Ear hears the bosses have banned desk lamps and coffee makers -- too risky amid the crowded desks and old wiring.

ANOTHER QUESTION ... Did newly minted Republican Lindsey Holmes really rise to introduce GOP boss (not chairman anymore but still boss) Randy Ruedrich as her guest at Thursday's House session? Earwigs report some Democrats gagging. But really, darlings, converts are always the most passionate. They have so much to prove.

Randy, of course, was in town for the big Republican Party meeting, aka Fight Club II. It happened after Ear's deadline. Alas.

AS FOR THE REST ... What else happened in the Legislature this week? An earwig with a zillion in-state airline miles filed the following report:

"It's nothing but guns, gas, God and cruise ship poop. Sounds like a Warren Zevon song."

OUR SARAH ... As you know, Ear is legally required to keep track of the Palins (which isn't nearly as easy as it used to be).

U.S. News reports that Americans are now less interested in Sarah than at any time since 2009. And how do they know this? Because fewer people are searching her name on Google. The exception is Alaska, where some folks still care.

Hey, that's what the story says.

Turns out Sarah is also less interested in us. How do we know?

In November 2010 she tweeted more than 100 times during the month, according to the analytics site Tweetstats. In November 2012, a mere eight tweets.

And on the Bristol front, an Alaska judge issued a long-term protective order against that weird Texas stalker who was hassling her.

BEAUTY AND THE BLOG ... Daffodils are blooming in the rest of the world while Dirt-y Ears are still shoveling snow and popping Prozac. Even Jeff Lowenfels has run out of seed catalogs to enthuse about, so Robbie Frankevich's new gardening blog showed up just in time. Robbie is the green thumb behind the fabulous gardens at the Alyeska Hotel in Girdwood. True, the blog is to advertise his new business but earwigs can still sneak a peek at the pictures:

Ear checked with Robbie. He promises spring will come. Ear is skeptical.

Compiled by Sheila Toomey. Message Sheila at