Alaska News

Alaska Ear

TEMPTING FATE ... Listen, darlings, Ear did not make this up. Honest.

The friends of former senator and current King of Halibut Cove Clem Tillion are throwing a "Clem Tillion: Dead or Alive Party" on the 29th.

As far as the Omniscient Orifice knows, Clem is alive and, we assume, will be so on the 29th. Here's how party instigator and former Sen. Mike Szymanski explained the celebration:

For years, Clem has had a premonition he was going to die in September of 2012. He's talked to lots of people about it. Mike finally decided to call his bluff. He told Clem: "If you die, I'll throw you the best party you ever had, but if you aren't dead, the party's on you."

So the deal is: If Clem's in the coffin, Mike pays for the booze. If Clem is still upright, he pays.

Creepy, huh?

Ear expects some issues. Clem is notoriously, uh, frugal. Ear figures he will be perfectly willing to lie in a coffin if it means Mike pays.


And, of course, who pays if Clem turns out to be a vampire? Would he be considered dead or alive?

It's all very fraught.

PROBABLY NOT TRUE ...Given other reported comments, Ear forgives readers who thought the story about Mitt Romney proposing to help balance the national budget by selling Alaska to the highest bidder was legit. It wasn't.

At least, we think it wasn't. It's just a recycled spoof by The Daily Currant outlining an alleged Romney plan to strip Alaska of statehood, turn it into a "Special Purpose Vehicle" called the "Alaska Resource Opportunities Fund (AROF)," based in the Cayman Islands.

"Shares of the new fund will be sold to major institutional investors around the world, who stand to profit from the explosion of revenues from mining licenses and royalties that will result from a complete lack of government restraints on mining, drilling and other extractive industries."

"The idea is to create a sort of Dubai-on-the-Matanuska ... a public-private partnership," the story says.

WRITE YOUR OWN JOKE ... Wednesday's ceremonial ribbon cutting for the debut of the new Fire Island wind turbines was postponed ... due to excessive wind.

Earwigs say it's rescheduled for Friday, Oct. 5.

WRITE YOUR OWN DRAMA ... Earwigs claim Republicans counting on Rep. Lance Pruitt to beat Rep. Pete Petersen in the House District 21 face-off (thanks to re-districting), are getting nervous.

Word on the street (read: rumor) is that Pete leads Lance in the polls. The three-button-suit types tend to underestimate Pete's easy-going, guitar-strumming style, but Ear recalls that he took out incumbent Republican Rep. Bob Roses four years ago. And two years ago he fended off Gabrielle LeDoux. So this race could be fun, which is, as you know, all Ear cares about.

A QUESTION ... Why is someone doing a telephone poll asking if people plan to vote for "David Guttenberg or Pete Kelly?" An earwig claims it's true.

But one's running for the House and one's running for the Senate -- in totally different districts.

Maybe it's a sneaky IQ test?

All things considered, proof of intelligence would probably be an answer that started with, "I don't live anywhere near The City on the Edge of Nowhere ..."

ANOTHER QUESTION ... Why was Sen. Mark Begich's website giving instructions on how to register environmental concerns with Sen. Joe Lieberman's "Constituent Service Center?" Ear was confused. Lieberman is that crotchety old "independent Democrat" from Connecticut. Why would we want to whine to him about our concerns?

Is it possible that an Alaska politician is so worried about the cut-and-dig constituency here that he doesn't want his name in the same paragraph as the word "environment?"

Then Ear realized it was probably just a cut-and-paste error by some staffer lifting the text from Lieberman's website. Whoops.


ON THE MOVE ... TV Anchor Sean Doogan's photo has disappeared from the Channel 11 website. Guess he's the latest in a wave of exits from TV news here. Luckily for viewers, they've got Cranky McAllister to fill in.

Susannah Morgan, longtime head of Food Bank of Alaska, is reportedly leaving Alaska for a big job Outside -- running Oregon food banks. She'll be missed.

STOP THE PRESS ... It's official. Anchorage had a really crummy summer.

On second thought, never mind. We already know it sucked. However, did we know Anchorage had one of the five suckiest summers in the country? So says The Weather Channel.

The other four losers are Colorado Springs, Washington, D.C., New Orleans and St. Louis.

RELAX ... Bulletin: Harleycakes are not in danger. Repeat: Not in danger.

Harley Livingston, owner of Harley's Old Thyme Café on the Old Seward Highway, is retiring at the end of the month. Says he's getting too old, at 73, for the daily restaurant grind.

Earwigs sympathize, but not if it means no more of his signature Harleycakes, described by one fan as a pancake topped with toffee bits and chopped pecans that's flipped over so they melt and caramelize.


Not to worry, says Harley. The new owners of the restaurant are a former employee and the current cook -- the guy who makes the Harleycakes.

Regulars of the popular Sunday brunch spot are invited to a bye-bye Harley party on Sept. 30 after closing.

WE LOVE TOURISTS ... Lifted from the Skagway News' "Heard on the Wind" column:

"From the category of never-asked-before questions: "I'm from Minnesota and I was wondering whether you use concrete vaults in your cemetery?"

"A river guide pointed out the rounded river rocks on the shoreline. He was then asked, "Who brought them in and put them there?"

Compiled by Sheila Toomey. Message Sheila at Find Ear online Sunday evening at


Anchorage Daily News

Sheila Toomey

Sheila Toomey was a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News.