Michael Carey

Sarah Palin has become the most famous Alaskan in history. Celebrity is her one accomplishment since John McCain selected her as his running mate a year ago.

The rest of the last year has held, for her, turmoil and failure.

After bringing Republican National Convention delegates in St. Paul to their feet during her acceptance speech, Palin proved she lacked the experience, education, self-awareness and media savvy to campaign successfully for vice president. The more voters knew about her, the less they expressed confidence in her...

Michael Carey

In early 1916, a Fairbanks grand jury indicted eight men for sexually abusing underage girls. The alleged perps were over 40, the girls under 15. The cases were unrelated except for the nature of the crime. The trials followed one another for weeks. They produced several convictions, several not-guilty verdicts, and Dan Callahan, a long-serving city councilman, was found guilty but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco overturned his conviction.

The evidence horrified many of the 1,300 people in the Fairbanks area. Others felt the men had been framed or set up...

Michael Carey

Every time I write or say anything publicly about Sarah Palin I receive a pile of mail. Hate mail from Palin fans who demand blind adoration of their conservative heroine.

Fox viewers were particularly upset by my "smirk." Since Fox used only my voice during a TV interview, these people must be mentalists.

A Lowell, Mass., man began his letter "Dear Mikey" and closed with "Hope you fall into the abyss, Sincerely yours, Al."

I have been told what I can do with myself. Jump off a cliff is at least printable. The rest of the suggestions are what, in Oscar Wilde's day, were known as "unnatural acts." It's curious that while my correspondents know the various body parts involved they sometimes cannot spell them. (They do, however, spell in ALL CAPS.)...

Michael Carey

I met Daniel DeNardo a number of times, mostly in television and radio studios where I interviewed candidates running for office. Tall and trim, he was clean, neat and polite if reserved -- until the curtain went up and he took center stage.

Then he became the ranting crank known to the community for his conspiracy theories and apocalyptic visions. His opening statement routinely contained denunciations of communism, Congress, the federal reserve, paper money, and the weaklings who tolerated all four. That's a lot to shoehorn into a couple minutes...

Michael Carey

Sarah Palin's career as governor of Alaska is over. So is her barely begun career as a serious presidential candidate. The road map to the White House doesn't include a stop at "I quit."

In a truly Palinesque moment near the end of her speech in Wasilla on Friday, the departing governor quoted a saying she said her parents kept on their refrigerator. "Don't explain: Your friends don't need it, and your enemies won't believe you anyway."

The governor might have done better to take her cue from another piece of refrigerator wisdom: "Quitters never win, and winners never quit."...

Michael Carey

During the summer of 1912, President William Howard Taft appointed Frederick E. Fuller of Nome federal judge for Interior Alaska, headquarters Fairbanks. Fuller, a 44-year-old former Pennsylvanian, immediately faced a difficult trial: A murder case scheduled for September in Iditarod.

The charge was sensational. Joseph Campbell, a 34 year-old woodcutter and laborer, had been arrested for murdering the Nelson brothers, miners John and Gus, on an island in the Kuskokwim River, near the mouth of the Tuluksak River. In June 1911, the two men, both about 40, had been shot, robbed and buried in a shallow grave.

There were no eye witnesses. But Natives fishing nearby heard shots and screams. They also saw a man they identified as Campbell on the island...

Michael Carey

The first time I saw Red Boucher, he was screaming. At an umpire. The baseball fans at Growden Park in Fairbanks, including 15-year-old Mike Carey, agreed with the home-town manager, booing the man in blue. Red's voice, a mixture of bellow and cackle, was so loud, so penetrating, it could easily be heard above the crowd...

Michael Carey

Dan Callahan's preferred method of communicating seems to have been bellowing. Perhaps because he spent years as a teamster instructing horses.

In 1906, the Fairbanks Times described a city council meeting where Councilman Callahan "blew off" after developing "more steam than he could carry." Papers for the next 10 years show him warring with mayors, denouncing fellow council members, and berating citizens who challenged him.

I'd like to say he didn't suffer fools -- but more accurately, he didn't suffer anybody. (He was married at least twice, divorced both times.)

Callahan was a big man who added pounds as he aged. An affection for whiskey probably increased both his weight and his decibels...

Michael Carey

John Cipollina was a guitar player. A fine guitar player. His Gibson is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

John played with many bands but achieved fame with Quicksilver Messenger Service, one of the legendary San Francisco groups of the '60s. He died of emphysema at 45.

For the past couple weeks, I have been possessed by Quicksilver (and John). I don't know how many dozens of times I have listened to the band perform one of its signature songs "Fresh Air." I have watched old video of the band, too -- on YouTube.

Obviously, I'm suffering chronic nostalgia: Quicksilver is among the icons of my youth when my head was full of Jimi Hendrix, Cream, the Who and the electrified Bob Dylan.

But I am not here to report nostalgia...

Michael Carey

The author is unknown. The editor of the Alaska Citizen, who published the letter in Fairbanks May 12, 1919, identified him only as a "Close Associate" of the 63-year-old dead man.

Close Associate began by describing the circumstances leading to the discovery of Dr. Clarence Danforth's body in Wiseman, a tiny mining camp 270 miles north of Fairbanks. Suspicion was aroused, Close Associate noted in the passive voice, when the doctor was seen by nobody for an entire day. No smoke came from the stove pipe poking from his cabin. No footprints disturbed the fresh snow covering his yard. A passerby, Rod Morrison, received no response when he knocked on the doctor's door...

Michael Carey