Thursday, December 20, 2007

The University of Barabara Valley or Hippie Hollow Community College

Check out this site from MIT via onegoodmove via NYT call OpenCourseWare. You can watch/audit courses online.

I am middle-aged now and have this romance for the old days in college. Not so much the debauchery, as the getting to hang around and learn stuff. And here it is free and no papers to write or tests.

I am going to get me a degree in Dork.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On Lions, Christians and Dietary Choices

I am trying to read conservative blogs for 15 minutes daily. It is an exercise and an act of intellectual self-mutilation all in a couple of minutes. Read the following that I pasted from an archive article of the Powerline blog:

This irrational and virulent hatred radiates from elected officials to all those who elected them. I saw a T-shirt in a Palm Springs shop that said, "So many right-wing Christians, so few lions." Hilarious, n'est-ce pas? Nothing funnier than religious believers being ripped to shreds by wild animals in front of cheering pagans.

Here is how I translate it so it reads a little better:
“All people who elect politicians are Christians. All politicians have this t-shirt from Palm Spring that had some anti-christian theme. Therefore politicians hate people.” He throws in for a little spice to his arguement “pagans suck.”

While I do not advocate feeding Christian directly to lions (that is a bad dietary choice) I can agree with the distrust of politicians and distrust of the rich i.e. Palm Springs, but I have to disagree with denigrating cheering pagans. I am very fond of cheering pagans and I have never seen a pagan with a lion, so I think the Christians are safe from the hoards of pagans. Can’t say the inverse argument is true with any confidence though. Anyhow me and this conservative guy have a lot in common; we could work together with common ground like that.

He does need to work on that logic thing a bit, but just maybe he isn’t really interested in logic, maybe instead, as Colbert says, he is trying to make you "feel" his argument. I can feel his argument; politicians are corrupt and right wing christian are oppressed and continue to be martyred by the clothing choices of pagan. The outrage grows.

P.S. I couldn’t find the t-shirt online but there is a hat over at cafepress with the quote. It is a nice looking hat.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We Are Getting Nailed Again At TPM Muckraker

Senator Ted is doing the job we sent him to do and he is catching hell again. 

At the TPM Muckraker site they have had a hard-on for our congressional delegation. Really, they have done a much better job documenting our elected officials slime than any local media outlet. Sometime they go a little to far. 
Frequently, in reading TPM and the Anchorage Daily News, I get the feeling that the ADN is waiting for these guys or at least somebody to break the bad news so they can get cover and report the reporting. Maybe it is that TPM is a internet site and not afraid of running into Ted at a xmas party.
Hey $975,000 for berry research!!!??? Do you think the Tribe has some new jobs heading its way? I hope so. I want to go out with a caliper and measure those blueberries for $40 an hour.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Look at the Little Side Bar Thing I Linked Up

That is fun.

It is probably not fair to imply that that money is wasted or misspent in that War. We were going to have to fund a military in this country anyhow. And when you start thinking about the multiplier effect for our economy, even here in Alaska, that spending may be what is keeping the national economy out of the tank. Not even considering the dividends that are being paid out to share holders of all the military/industrial complex corps, but even the extra combat pay those soldiers at Ft. Rich are getting, they come home spend it and spread it around. I bet that it has reduced the number of military families on food stamps. Check out how they are raking it in.

If you spend a single qualifying day in the combat zone, your pay for the entire month is excluded from taxable income, and you receive $225 in combat pay for that month.
You get an extra $7.50 a day. No wonder we have had to subcontract so much of the military's activities out. That is expensive and as we know the private sector always does a better job delivering services. If you need further proof of this conservative maxim please read this Rolling Stone Article. Isn't it amazing that the stoner music mag has more balls reporting in this day and age than any of the traditional media.

Random Photos on the hard drive.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

If I Can't See the Meteors, It Is the Republicans Fault

Meteor Shower in progress. Today and tomorrow. If we can see the sky. I got this link from AmericaBlog.

Aidan and I were driving home the other evening around 6pm. It was dark, like it is most of the time this time of year. Suddenly low on the horizon a meteor lit up the sky. It took a full two seconds as it streaked towards the ground. It was remarkably slow moving and had a duller yellow light. Visually it seemed close. I stopped the truck thinking I would hear it hit. Didn't. Aidan said it was aliens. I hope they aren't moving into the hood here. HippieAliens.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I Attempt to Like the Kachemak Bay Tour Boat Project

I have been thinking about that Seldovia Native Association/Seldovia Village Tribe (SNA/SVT) ferry project again. I haven't kept up and I may not have all the facts exactly correct, but should that stop me from having an opinion! I think not. Anyhow, I am trying to like the newest incarnation of the project.

It is no longer the “fast-ferry" that provides transpostation infrastructure for the entire south side of Kachemak Bay. Now it is the one that only goes back and forth from SNA lands to Homer, only during the summer months, and is primarily transportation for tourists. It is a shift from the initial proposal, but as in life, to evolve and progress, we all need to be flexible. So I have to get over the issue that the project has changed; that is life.

So we are left with the prospect of people stopping by, wandering around town and spending their disposable income. No longer is daily transportation being offered for citizens on this side of the Bay to access medical care, merchandise and opportunty. But still, it sounds OK (remain flexible, evolve.)

Tourism is one industry we can grow here, it is a natural. Especially if we don’t have transportation infrastructure. This SNA tour boat development could stir some people to get all entrepreneurial, move to town, create a bit of a business. Primarily, I think the Tribe and Native Association will have to develop more businesses to entertain these tourists and we as the local color, might be able to get service sector jobs. (We will all be issued a nice green aprons and vests. Do we have to wash them?) Also, it has been promised that the boat, once in place, will be stationed here, with the crew and their families (it is a hoped.) We will get some infrastructure, with a new dock in town (sure the dock is being developed on SNA sovereign land so they don’t have to pay the city fees, get over it, it is business. They won that one. Note: this is why sovereignty has come up in other issues around town, it is important.) So it appears as a WIN-win situation.

Another item I have to remain flexible about is the idea that this will benefit everyone equally, or even benefit everyone. That isn’t the way things happen in this world. And the fact that it is federal money used for corporate profits, oh the horror!!! (If these things bother you and you have voted for the current AK congressional delegation and the Administration in the White House, you are a tool.) If some benefit more than others, such is life and SNA is doing the work. (See past post here.) And everyone is still benefiting. (It may be said that having a bunch of people gawking at us, walking in the middle of the street as you are trying to get to the airport and all those other unattractive tourist behaviors isn't a benefit. I say you have find ways of entertaining yourself with the tourists. I always try and get in their photos and when I take photos for the people who want to have everyone in the picture, I focus on their crotches. Too funny! I am just glad that they are all digital photos now and not wasting much mercury or whatever. Also who hasn't had a good time watching the wild turkeys of Seldovia chase some poor unsuspecting ass who was gobbling at them. CAUTION: them turkeys will fuck you up!)

The thing that has me worried about the tour boat project is not the income disparity part (This project isn't where the SNA will get rich; this one is) it is that I won’t have a say in the situation. I can’t vote on members of the Tribal Council or the Association’s Board of Directors. I am cast in a powerless situation. Power will be further concentrated in the hands of a few and away from me. Intergenerational payback is a bitch. Get over it.

Does it even matter if I support the project? No. They don't even have to show up to city council meetings. SNA has a load of cash and they have to spend it. Lets hope that they spend it someway that benefits Seldovia, but with all the pissing, moaning and egos involved it may go the way other economic development projects for Seldovia have gone, which is to Anchorage. We will continue along with a Main Street that has more and more crap parked in the front yards looking more and more like Nikiski (also known as the Oklahoma of Alaska. Personally, I am down to 2 dead cars in the yard!!!But I live out the road.) The project will change again I am sure. I just hope they get better looking aprons, in xtra-large, please. Thank you, I love you, can I stay, please? Amen.

Tracy's blog update.
Yesterday she just linked a video that everyone on earth has downloaded and viewed. It is funny, but not worth the effort.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tracy's Blog Gave Me VD; You Be Careful Now

My wife and I have a great relationship. I couldn't imagine living with anyone else. I could live alone though, without all those damn cats, but I would quickly, or more quickly, self-destruct and no one would know because I wouldn't have been to town in years.

The one irritating aspect about our relationship is we have this kinda competitive streak with each other. We, particularly her, have to have everything equal or we have to win. She gets sooooooo upset if she thinks I am shorting her food, beverages, attention or whatever. She is still upset I am faster on a bike and she won't play trivial pursuit, ever again. I think she threw it away.

I am sorry to bring you all in on this, but please don't read her blog anymore, at least for a little while. She is kicking my ass on the number of hits on her page. And she makes fun of me because of it. It is just like that South Park Episode "Quest for Ratings" when the boys are putting on a news show on the school closed circuit TV. They get bumped off the air by Graig's show. He is getting more viewers than the boys news show and it just videos of animals close-up with a wide-angle lens, but everybody loves it.

All Tracy does on her blog, and in a large part of her life, is just talk about cats and yarn. Her blog is pictures of cats, talking about sheep hair, the occasional pot-shot at me and pictures her falling down.

Come on, I will tell you on this blog, which of these things she is ranting about and as a bonus I will put more photos on. And if you need anything, just let me know. OK?!!! So is what you are missing; her leading me along into buying her what she wants for Xmas and she is stunned our 10 year old knows that Santa is fake. I would be more disturbed if he didn't.

I just have to beat her for a while and then I will disable her stat counter that I set up for her. She will never be able to re-establish her account and I will be victorious. Then to make nice I will let her win at scrabble.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

What if Nothing is There?

Recently, I glibly wrote we should be asking public officials about how good is their memory. I tire of all the testimony where these individuals who are amongst the most powerful people on the planet can't remember crap . St. Reagan started it all and made it OK. BUT he had Al's Hammer; he had a disease. I will wait for the post mortem on former Attorney General Gonzales, but there has to be something biological. During his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee used a version of the phrase "I don't remember" 71 times. His second Kyle Sampson, 122 times. Obviously compromised in some fashion. (Why didn't Clinton just say "I was really busy at the time, a bunch of sex going on, and I just can't remember if I had sex with that woman.")

It is obvious that Tucker Carlson is reading this blog. (I can't control who reads this.) From Crooks and Liars, check out this interview he did regarding having candidate's brains scanned prior to taking office.

Once I get past the issue that Tucker is a TOTAL CHODE, ("we are fine now") I don't think brain scans for people are a good idea. But I think the question should asked by the voters and the expectations should be established. "How's that candidate's brain seem to you?" Listening to Senator Ted's latest rants as outlined on, it maybe a good question. We know about candidates prostates and now we have the opportunity to learn about the condition of candidate's cervix . Progress! But the most important organ is left off the table. Maybe we care more about people genitals than their brains. Probably.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Gaydar Test and a Clip of Summer At The End If You Read This Post

A couple of things have been sticking in my head recently that I couldn’t shake. One is the freaky Amy Winehouse. She is so lucky. I really wish us hicks/hippies community (Hickies. That is my tribe!) had a spokesmodel like her. We just don’t have any representation in the media. I think we could recruit someone.

The next thing that is sticking in the mire in my head is when I was hearing on the radio that freaking Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Not Gay) (Not that there is anything wrong with being not gay, but come on. As an aside, I have to say that Republicans have the absolute worst Gaydar Systems. It never dawns on them that some guy might be gay until they have a dick in their mouth. Barney needs to give them some lessons. Either way.) Lindsey was talking about the Supreme Court taking a case regarding the military tribunals being set up to deal with or dispose of the “enemy combatants” down in Git-mo.(Isn’t that redundant, enemy combatant, maybe not redundant, but it lets everyone that they are really bad guys.) I was sort of listening to the blather, but then he lets go of the zinger "I believe this is a war without end." WOW! They finally said it. He does not foresee an end to this war on terror. We are going to keep ramping this thing up until, what?

This is the next big thing. This talking point has been elevated to the top. The big hitters are now saying World War Forever, WW∞. The yapping chihuahuas of rightwing dog yard have been howling it for 4 years. We are softened up now and able to accept the message. If these people are anywhere near the reigns of power after 08’, it is over. The Idiocracy will have begun. These ass-hats will have their wish of WW∞. Anyone who uses that term without defining how we can win the war should not be elected.

If this keeps goinf I will never vote again, never look at a newspaper or blog, (maybe a few, non-political), goodbye NPR, PBS. I will move to woods in Alaska, survive off homebrew, homegrown, heat myself with wood, ramble around in old broken-down trucks and cut myself off from the world. Ha!! That will hurt'em.

Next One
That was the big one but this one registered. I refer back to the post about the Saudi woman punished for being raped. The press asked Bush if he had brought this case up during the recent visit with the King. (We are negotating with a King, too funny.)He side-stepped and said he couldn’t remember and sounded like a fucking idiot. Bullshit. He can’t say it, but he doesn’t care. Just say “no, I didn’t talk about it” or let it hang out there “if I call my friends on that issue, they might ramp down oil production and gas will go to $6.” Or “if I don’t keep kissing their asses we might have to buy more energy efficient fridges. I hate you and this stupid job, fuck off. ” That would be refreshing.

Hence forth, I want every candidate for public office and appointed official cabinet or whatever to swear about the veracity of their memory. A simple question, “How would describe your mental acuity in regards to your memory?” If they can’t attest to their ability to remember, then we don’t have to hire them or at least don’t let them write memoirs when they leave office. That should be a law.

Lastly, locals, I read and commented on the Kenai Peninsula Borough School Districts “Long Range Plan.” You can too!!! Right here. (Doesn't Donna kinda look like some mid 70's hair band guitarist? She's hot in a BYU kinda way.)

I think the purpose of these plans is just to have people articulate a larger vision of what a school district should be doing. It is vague but I think that is the plan of articulating a plan. The meta-plan. But in defense of the process, I did have to think while reading it.

I am posting my comments below amongst the plan. Mostly I found the plan focused on centralizing power and makes it more hierarchical. I believe it is all being driven by the NCLB Act. NCLB may have a few positive attributes, but has begun the dismantling of public education. I believe I is talking to myself down this far in a blog but I have to finish this. If you actually read the following and can find any grammatical errors, you receive a cookie!!!! :> (I have never done one of those stupid things before and I think that was the last!)

Goal #1 – Organizational Competence:
KPBSD will adequately provide services to students in order to prepare them to thrive in a 21st century global economy and society.

The District will do this through:
Step A: Assuring all students a safe, respectful, student-centered and welcoming environment in which to learn
Step B: Teaching student well with:
* non-negotiable goals for achievement and instruction (i.e. all students performing at grade level or have a plan and supports in place to attain proficiency)
* comprehensive, integrated, creative curriculum
* high quality, energized staff
* varied and diverse instructional methodologies
* continuous progress monitoring and adjustments for learning

(The red font is funny for the teachers)

Under Step B the use of term “non-negotiable goals” I think is inappropriate. The supporting example sited of “having all student performing at grade level or having a plan and supports in place to attain proficiency” attempts to mollify the initial statement and might be a more tenable. But the rigidity implied by having “non-negotiable goals” ends any discussion or dialectic that may better serve a situation, student or instructor. This standard only half serves everyone and to me feels incongruent with many of the Guiding Principles set forth by the document.

I believe that a rigid set of goals doesn’t serve individuals, but instead makes for easier measurement of our children. I can see the benefit of using testing and the data produced to inform the instruction, but I also sense, through my limited research and watching my own child, that this reliance may exclude teaching of the more esoteric and interesting knowledge that has value outside of a testing situation.

As a long term guide for our district, I feel that “non-negotiable” should be changed to more reflect the power of individual needs and goal setting that is stated in Goal #3 Step E “Providing individualized learning plans and flexible accommodations for students to reach their highest personal potential.”

Goal #2 – Organizational Improvement
KPBSD will continuously and thoughtfully enhance the value and quality of its personnel and services utilizing data and input.
The District will do this through:
Step A: Having outside entities audit, provide recommendations for improvement, and have the District adopt necessary changes in specific areas such as:
* communications
* building utilization (right sizing of buildings for infrastructure, yet providing for shared community and school spaces)
* energy/efficiency
* work classifications (job responsibility review)
* data warehousing and use

Step B: Developing and adopting a long term comprehensive model for professional development
* focusing on student achievement
* aligned, effective, relevant, engaging curriculum and instruction using research based “beat practices” and “high yield strategies”
* building on past training while meeting future needs
* utilizing multiple delivery models
* assuring training is embedded, sustainable, and addresses changing personnel
* emphasizing collaboration
* implementing changes with fidelity, intensity, and consistency

Step C: Building a system that accepts responsibility for the continual progress of all students, making sure all students’ needs are met at every level

I am wondering about the need for an outside audit. Is this not the role of the administration with oversight from the Board? The wording in Step C, modified to address the issues in Step A, would be a long-term goal. This would build structures that will lead to empowering students, employees and communities to identify ways too achieve these goals in conjunction with the district.

Goal #3 – Organizational Agility
KPBSD will be a responsive organization able to move quickly and easily as new information and changing circumstances dictate.
The District will do this through:
Step A: Providing maximum, quality choices in classes, programs and schools
Step B: Continuing and expanding work with local providers assuring “safety nets” for all students
Step C: Nurturing and expanding partnerships in the community and state to provide additional opportunities for students, particularly in areas of critical need
Step D: Continuing ubiquitous technology integration and implementation as well as exploring and adopting appropriate emerging technologies to improve student performance and prepare students for their future world
Step E: Providing individualized learning plans and flexible accommodations for students to reach their highest personal potential.
The individualized plans will:
*Be developed by a team of student, parents, school professionals
* Engage students in their own learning and provides a clear path to success
* Expect differentiation in classrooms
* Provide menus/choices in delivery systems
* Include interventions that work
* Supply individual coaching focused on marketable and life skills
No comments.

Goal #4 – Organizational Sustainability

KPBSD will be a viable, vibrant organization focused on students and plans regardless of changes in leadership and personnel.

The District will do this through:
Step A: Securing sufficient monetary resources for meeting the needs of students now and in the future
Step B: Being efficient as an organization, ensuring the greatest portion of resources possible used to impact student learning directly
Step C: Providing extensive leadership development throughout multiple levels of the organization
Step D: Using the district’s strengths (unique geographic location, technology infrastructure, and collaborative team structure) as tools for attracting and retaining quality personnel as well as developing a sense of self, sense of place, and sense of community for students.

Step D: The geographic location can also be a challenge. I feel that the changes in Seldovia housing market will necessitate some sort of accommodation that is present in Tyonek, Port Graham and Nanwalek.
We should also make a commitment to pay our teachers at a rate comparable to the other highest paying districts in the state.

The following is the results of my Gaydar test. I am pretty good for living in Seldovia for so long!
Try Again
You impressively scored

Try Again

"Definitely time to get tested."

You personally got 16 of the 20 people correct and were better at recognizing guys than girls. Overall, you guessed better than 87% of all test takers.

Think You Can Do Better?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Small Town Fun

So Fred was giving me and the wife the stink eye in the Bar last night. Then he left. It was a good thing he did.

Two weeks ago this same guy confronted my wife in the Linwood after I had left for a minute to take Micky home. Micky was too drunk to drive his bike home. He accused her of being a hypocrite because she was the "alcohol counselor" and that she testified against him at some trial. Thing is she was never a alcohol counselor but was worked for the women's services as a domestic violence counselor. And he is a big abusive violent ass.

So now I am confronted with the task of how to deal with this guy. It is so small town. I think I may have to fight him!!! Ha!!! The last fight I was in was with Scott Braden in 8th grade. (The photo is Scott now. He is a total geek.) We got in a tussle over who got to sit in the front seat of the car on the ride home from school. I made Scott cry after I knocked his M&Ms to the pavement. I kicked his ass!

So watch out, Fred, the next time I see you with M&Ms in your hand, I am going knock them to the pavement. That will teach you.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I Done Forgetted to be Rich or Least I ain't Ignorint

I ran across this item on the Wonkette site. Seems that some person in Texas got fired from her job as the science curriculum director in the Texas Education Agency for promoting science. More accurately, she got fired for knocking creationism in science classes. Again my head explodes even as I start seeing the freedumn that will be gained as we reach back and reinstate the fine thinking of the Dark Ages.
I can see how that woman might need to be stoned or cast out. The new movement in education is stupidity. Don't expand the mind, control it and ensure that all parts support the correct world view. Critical thinking is so yesterday. Liberal Arts. We don't do liberal anymore.
I would like to start a movement to accept my spelling of words as the corect spellings, and damn it, comma splices are fine. Call Off Your Old Tired Ethics anew. Furthermore, this country was founded as Christian Nation , and critics be damned to hell, the NEW math will look like this:
Critics of Intelligent Math are concerned that it is erroneous and should not be taught in schools since it will lower the educational standards of the nation’s children. However, Professor Gibbet was defensive: "On the contrary, using Intelligent Math, it is possible to show that all numbers are equivalent and so, in the context of an exam, there are no wrong answers. Hence each pupil will increase their score to 100 per cent ...which of course equals 300 per cent.

WTF, I love it. That man should be in charge of something. Maybe a promotion to NASA. I am sure no more exploding Space Shuttles with him.
Fuel Tank Guy,"Sir, how much fuel should we put in the Shuttle?"
Professor Gibbet, "By my calculations, 300% should be enough."

I am in a quandry as to why I am poor in this culture. If I just had a little more energy and a little more cynicisism, I should at least be able to do as well as these people.

Yes,I know I spelled alot of stuff wrong in this post and there are numersous "gramatical" errors , but not anymore. Now, I am rightous.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I Didn't Realize He Was So Short

In small towns we don't get to meet candidates running for statewide office. It is a shame because campaigns and elections need to be more about educating each other and discussing issues and less about staking out positions, 30 second commercials and gotcha politics. In Seldovia, I don't get a whole lot of opportunity to constructively discuss issues with people who I know have differing opinions. But I do see staking out positions and gotcha politics.

I think it would be great for candidates to make themselves available to come to small villages and towns to discuss Alaska's future. Instead of taking campaign donations and lumping them together and then making it to some outlying communities for photo ops, people should raise funds and then pay the expenses for candidates to visit. It could be an opportunity throughout Alaska to raise the level of political discourse and take the power away from campaign managers and political professionals to control the environment and message.

Now is a great opportunity for people to redefine what the meat of politics should be about. It should be made obvious that a major contributor to current state of government in Alaska and the US is a result of electing people based on wedge issues and by pandering to single issue fringe groups.

I'd even shell out the money for the flight to get people over. (Tracy says they have to agree to pick up some cat food at Save-u-More.) It would be great to get Seldovians together and see how a candidate handles our issues. It shouldn't be too hard. (When I was in college, back in the pre-Mad Mothers days, Texas Congressman JJ Pickle always came to the College Democrats meeting with a keg. The meetings were well attended when we knew he was going to show. I did love JJ!)

I am going to email some campaigns. Now, early on in the season, is probably the time when they will have an opportunity to pay attention to hicks in the sticks demographic. I am looking at the Congressional races and I will post any replies I get back from campaigns.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

All Politics is Local

There is Parents Advisory/Site Council meeting tonight at the school. This is the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District version of the PTA. I am the Vice President of this austere body. As vice president, I have yet to avail myself of the prerogative of drunkenly shooting friends in the face (my wife, who is not any sort of office holder, once shot me in the head, almost point blank, with an air-soft bb-gun and I believe ETOH was a factor.)

This is my one and only foray into electoral politics. I was placed in office as a write-in candidate with an overwhelming mandate of 8 votes. I beat my next two rivals by a two vote margin. Soooo proud. I believe I ahve two courses of action available to me: 1. to retire after a few terms of office and become a lobbyist, or 2. my 10 year old son can start lobbying for the school lunch industry. That is how it is done, isn't it? Cha-ching!!!! But really being on this little board does make a difference, maybe just a small one, but you gotta be willing to stand up for principles even when hardly anyone is watching, maybe even more so then.

Locally, there is a reflection of national issues. Issues like censorship, creationism, red v. blue etc. A more accurate view is it that the Republicans, seeing that they have no ability to be elected on policy/economic issues, identify local and cultural wedge issues to motivate a base for themselves. (There is no way in hell that Dick Cheney believes in any of this fundamentalist crap; he professes love for his gay daughter and her child, his wife wrote soft-core porn, he never quotes scripture. He doesn't pander to that part of their coalition, he just keeps quiet until they need someone to scare the hell out of everyone. He is just not that dumb. I will even say that George W. is not that dumb, but he does pander. That is his job, but I digress.) This is a strategy based on deception and hypocrisy and, as in the rest of the world, people here have taken to it because it is much more simple than the nuance and effort it takes to be aware of real issues. It is easier to hate Hillary because she sort of supports gay rights, than to talk about her health care proposals.

It is a loosely coordinated strategy, and is seen locally on these advisory boards, on councils, on non-profit boards. Soon these individuals gain traction and are in charge of the place. Look at the case of the Gablers in Texas. It is scary, not really sinister but it has to be countered for our sakes and theirs. It seems like the Democrats had their heads up butts for the longest time and in the past couple of years are pulling it out with the "50 State Strategy."

Finally let me say that the other side really isn't the other side. They have their interests and motivations. I know they want a good, healthy, prosperous community. We may debate the definition what these things are, but we liberals, especially in Alaska, have not really been in on the debate; we haven't even been in on framing the debate. I just hope that we can come up with some real leadership and I hope someone brings cookies tonight.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I was Pissed at TSA in Denver

Last September we were traveling back home from Denver. I was struck by the fact that some people were getting to go to the head of that long screening line because they are preferred or first class or platinum or whatever passengers. But don't taxes pay for the TSA now. Shouldn't everyone be treated equally regardless of their status with the airlines?
I should be quiet or I may get tasered.

I Want To Pay An Income Tax or Representation Without Taxation

Really I do. I want to pay for the State government I get and I want you to also. Maybe then, for a while, we will all give a crap.

Alaskans have consistently been in the lowest 10% of the US states for taxes per-capita. Let us do the adult thing and pay for some of our government. Then we can put a bunch of those petro-dollars, in addition to the upcoming "surplus", in savings. Or try this one; fully fund education and endow the University of Alaska System! We have an endowment for UA but it is ranked right behind Rollins University at 199th in the nation. There are even some Universities that have managed their endowments so well that they are eliminating tuition. Communists!!

We got money flowing out the wahzoo. Instead of creating a higher educational system that will create jobs, provide research, attract business, provide cultural opportunities and keep our talent in state, every year our University has to beg for money to keep going. And they have to beg from these dunderheaded, flat earther, anti-intellectual, anti-science, legislator and governors. They get under funded and we get a second rate school. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID.

That oil in the ground around Alaska belongs to everyone. IF we have to get it out now, we should be creating institutions that will benefit future generations, not just giving us a free-ride. I am going to write Gov. Palin. She did want to hear from me about how I wanted to spend the surplus.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Makes My Head Explode

This makes my head explode. We are "allied" with this country!

A Saudi Arabian human rights attorney is asking the government to allow him to represent a woman who was gang-raped — and then sentenced to prison for speaking out about the case.

The attorney, Abdulrahman al-Lahim, had his license revoked last week by a judge for speaking to the Saudi-controlled media about the case, al-Lahim told CNN.

The judge more than doubled the sentence against al-Lahim’s 19-year-old client because she spoke to the media about the case, a court source told Arab News, an English-language Middle Eastern daily newspaper.

The woman — who was initially sentenced in October 2006 to 90 lashes — had her sentenced increased to 200 lashes and was ordered to serve six months in prison under Saudi Arabia’s strict Islamic law.

That's enough; I am uninviting all the Saudi Royals to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Fuckers, stay away. You can't come. And take that Benz back, I have a reputation to uphold.

Monday, November 19, 2007

You Scrub My Back and I will Scrub Yours

My wife now says that scrubbing each other's backs in the new sauna has replaced sex as the most loving thing to do. I say it hasn't but I do enjoy a good trade off. And speaking of trade offs, this is how it works!!!!!!
From the Alaska Ear-

WHO'S OUR UNCLE ... The invitations are out. Forty-nine co-sponsors are throwing a fundraiser for Ted Stevens on Monday at the Dimond Mall hotel. Let's give $$$ to a good man doing a good job, is the theme. Every Republican you know who isn't Sarah Palin is listed, from Clem Tillion to Rick Rydell.

Time-out didn’t the Hotel host a fund-raiser for Palin too? Let’s just say, you can’t have enough friends.

But I want to know, how does one become a co-sponsor? No one contacted me regarding helping out. And what does one get in return of this sponsorship? I would like to have been a sponsor, or at least get an invitation. I would have given Ted something for his defense/campaign funds, like the contents of my pockets right now. He would get: a screwdriver, a nail, two roofing screws, used ear plugs, a chainsaw multi-tool, a wiring connector, 5 keys (I don’t know what 2 of them open, but I keep them on for mass) on my Mitchell County Courthouse key ring, a 5/16th socket, some rolling papers, three quarters and a dime. (Unlike my neighbor Chris, I don’t carry bullets around.) I think these would come in handy for the Senator. In return for these riches, I just want one little earmark that, I hope, will benefit him and his family as well. I would like to have an entire wing of a federal prison designated for the Alaska Republican Party members. Maybe it will have a “Senatorial Suite” as well! That’s wrong to label all corrupt politicians as Republicans; I am sure Tony is a little nervous these days too.

But it does seem strange that an overwhelming majority of the corrupt bastards and perverts are Republicans. Maybe it has to do with the mindset that government is a malevolent actor in the world and many don’t see anything wrong with lying, cheating, stealing from and trying to bugger that evil beast. It reminds me of how I used to supplement my income working in the game room at Chuck E Cheese’s Pizza Time Theater as a 16 year old. I would trade game room tokens with the greasy dudes in the kitchen for a pizza during my dinner break. I would be generous so they wouldn’t spit in it. (Take a note you crappy tippers.) Not a high stakes crime; fake money for cheese and bread. I know that the manager knew it was going down.He would wink, smile, and then give us free beer and pizza after work and talk about keeping his prostate healthy. CREEPY!!! I am not proud of doing that (the stealing, not the free underage drinking) but I understand how the process works FOR KIDs working at shitty little jobs. I don’t think it's the way to run anything, especially an enterprise like the USA.

But the fact is that Stevens hasn't been charged with anything. Although it sure does look bad, and as the trusted senator says, it probably is just some ADN lackey who is trumping up rumors as the following ADN story points out.

In the interview, Stevens made vague threats to the people who have suggested that he and his son, former state Senate President Ben Stevens, might be guilty of some sort of wrongdoing. The younger Stevens hasn't been charged with a crime, but his name has come up repeatedly in court proceedings. Plea documents in Allen's own case say that payments of $243,250 the Veco CEO made to Ben Stevens were bribes in exchange for "giving advice, lobbying colleagues, and taking official acts in matters before the Legislature" when the younger Stevens was a state lawmaker.

"Your papers print (the names of) those people who have been convicted and my son's name and mine at the same time. As far as the public is concerned, it's all the same ball of wax," Stevens said. "I'm not going to comment on that ball of wax."

"But we've been included in a way that I hope people understand the laws that are doing it," he said. "Because when it's all over, some people are going to have to account for what they've said and what they've charged us with."

It was unclear whom Stevens was threatening. When asked if he meant libel or perjury, Stevens said: "No. I'm just saying there are ways to account for this in the future."

When asked if he meant political retribution, he remained vague:

"I think the people out there ought to worry about that the way I worry about the investigation. There are myriad things you can do. Just a myriad of things."

When pressed, he wouldn't elaborate further:

"I've said it," Stevens said.”

I think he is an upstanding citizen who has served us selflessly and with honor and dedication. He has been a great advocate for all Alaskans and as the longest serving Senator in the history of US Senate, I will let history be his judge. (I think that will get me off the vendetta list. That was close. I deleted the following, which would have put me on list-
I think he is a barely standing up creton who has served selfishly and with horror and remuneration. He has been a disgrace for all Alaskans and as the longest serving Senator in the history of US Senate and I will let history be his and our judge.)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

An Oily Tax

Our representatives in Juneau have really stuck it to those oil companies this time. They increased the taxes on oil to 25% of up from 22.5%. The big oil companies said that they wouldn't be able to invest in new projects and the State of Alaska will now wither and die without them footing the bill for everything. They may even leave!

A quick search of the inter net finds that the Canadian have a different take on the royalty rates.
This article at has some interesting information regarding what the Canadians consider a "Fair Share."

In Alberta much of the oil is tied up in oil sands and is expensive to extract. The article is a little confusing (or I am a little dumb) and says in one place they are raising royalties to 33%, then it says 64% on the oil sands. Whatever. Read this:

"The recommendations would boost Alberta's share of oil-sands revenue to 64 percent from 47 percent, the report said. The higher take ``remains competitive internationally,'' Hunter said. The government's share from oil and gas wells would rise 5 percentage points to 49 percent and 63 percent, respectively."

I am sure it is little more complicated than all this. Our leggies wouldn't sell use down the river would they? BUT WTF-25%??????? The damn Canadians are getting 44% rate on the regular oil that the people own (actually "the crown" owns most of it), and health care, and only 1% of their GDP on military expenditures. Idiots, Eh!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Baseline Housing

I lived in Denver from 1989-93. It was my escape from Texas. Just what the Coloradoans really wanted, another damn Texan in there midst.
I graduated from college, loaded up the 1983 VW Rabbit GTI, kissed Ma goodbye and headed out. After a week living in the car looking for work, I rented the house pictured above. It was a pit. I think it was servants quarters or as we ended up calling a "slave shack". No bedroom, a miniscule kitchen, a bathroom that only one person could stand in, cold in winter, hot in summer, leaky, sloping floors. But it had a big yard for the dogs, we could sit with the windows open and hear the screams of the people riding the roller coaster at the nearby Elitch Gardens Amusement Park. It was like living outside of Hell. Kinda fun. I think I paid $280 a month. It was perfect for a single guy.
I had met Tracy soon after arriving. She was in school. Then she graduated for school with her PhD. They told her that she'd topped out and couldn't hang out there anymore. No more student loans and sitting around reading books. Suddenly and somehow surprising to her, Tracy didn't have money for her rent. So she arrived at my shack and told me "it will be great if I moved with you". I think that is the definition of a hippie marriage proposal. Anyhow that is our baseline for abodes. Any worse and we aren't doing well. That is why we think our piece o crap owner built Alaskan home is a mansion; we have a frame of reference. I feel sorry for the kids who think they need or are entitled luxury right out of high school.
Whenever we are in Denver, we end up having to drive by 3914 Zenobia just to re-establish that baseline. The first time we showed the house to Aidan, he kind of cried. He thought we were going to have to live there. This last summer when we were there, you could tell he was repulsed. So there is hope for the boy. He will have some nice apartment in some big international city and make a lot of money. I hope he let us visit.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Seldovia in the News

I heard Mike Mason doing a story on KBBI this AM regarding the Kachemak Bay Ferry System. Again the Seldovia is sounding kinda crazy.

Mason did try and keep to the facts; Micheal Beale reporting to the Homer City Council on the ferry update and changes; Seldovia's newest city manager explaining why the city can't support the project now, blah blah blah. But again the subtext was the City v. Tribe. And the Tribe is always coming to the meetings and on the radio with something to offer, be it development, jobs etc.

I am sure that everyone must know that SNA has the City by the balls. Yelp! And it going to be tough to find some power base from which the City can squirm out of this grip. (Unfortunate imagery, but it fits.)
Please the comments to the previous post.

On another note I would love for someone to explain to me what it means to be a member of the Republican party and why you keep electing these crooked politicians. And before we say it is all politics, remember these are Republican Appointed Attorneys that are getting local crooks.
Don Young is accused of using our single congressional seat for personal gain. Shame on him and shame on us for sending him back again and again.
And Ted is accused of using earmarks to benefit his son. UGH.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nature-Based Tourism in Seldovia Or Not

As threatened, I read the study "Nature-Based Tourism in Southeast Alaska:Results from 2005 and 2006 Field Study" by Darcy Dugan, Ginny Fay, Steve Colt of the Institute of Social and Economic Research of University of Alaska Anchorage and Eco-Systems. Funding for the study came from Alaska Conservation Foundation, The University of Alaska GINA Project, and The Wilderness Society. The stated purpose is to "add to the information and knowledge base available to help people make informed decisions." Sounds interesting, right? Here is the link to the paper at UAA website,
I read this study as essentially descriptive and it did not address the development of tourism and its effects on local communities in a critical manner. It outlined the significant financial impact of the tourism industry in the communities in SE. It sought to place an annual value or describe the value of maintaining pristine or simi-pristine areas for nature-based tourism.

I am somewhat conflicted regarding tourism development in Seldovia. It is a little creepy having people walk around and look at us like we are a bunch of rubes."Oooh, Honey! Look at that freaky looking dude, driving that old truck with the kids and the dog in the back. Take a picture." Personally, I try to subtly interject myself into as many of these photos as I can; summer fun! But I like the tourist as well, because those people were me and Tracy 13 years ago. Getting off the Rainbow Connection, walking down the middle of Main Street. Tracy saying, "This is where I want to have kids." Me saying, somewhat stunned, "I thought we didn't want kids." I knew then Tracy would be having a child. Now in deep for 11 years and with the kid showing up 10 years ago the picture is complete. I am now wondering where is the kid going to get the demeaning and debasing job in the next couple of years. I mowed lawns and had a series of degrading low-paid service sector jobs in my early teens that taught me that I must evolve and find a better way. Tourism is going to be in Seldovia. How it is going to happen and how it will or if it will expand, I think this study gives some idea and may "help people make informed decisions."

Below is "Key Findings" from the study. I commented on them in bold type as I read along and saw how they related to Seldovia. I am not going to be exhaustive and I am ignorant of many factors that should be considered, but this is mostly an exercise for me and my two other readers!

8.1 Key Findings
Nature-based tourism generates over $250 million per year of direct business revenues in Sitka, Juneau and Chichagof Island for the companies we surveyed. This is most likely an underestimate of total revenue because not all nature-based tourism businesses and business sectors were surveyed or included in our estimates. Also, this total does not include sales tax
revenue to local government. In addition, the summer of 2006 was especially wet, which decreased activity for some businesses.

A number of key findings emerged from this research, despite its limited geographic scope.
These include the following:
• Tourism in Southeast Alaska is primarily focused on nature-based activities as people are attracted to the region for its beautiful scenery, fisheries, wildlife, marine mammals, glaciers, and other natural attributes.
We got some of that going on.

• Nature-based tourism creates a significant economic ripple effect that keeps money circulating through many sectors of the economy. This money supports jobs in marketing, support services, food and beverages, accommodations, fuel sales, government, and other sectors.
That's basic economics, the multiplier effect. But a lot of the profits will be taken out of the economy as dividends for corporate shareholders and for summer entrepreneurs who take their profits elsewhere, but that is were an appropriate tax comes in. Hardly anyone ever agrees to be taxed and taxes seem to be complicated here!

• A large and growing portion of Southeast Alaska’s tourism sector and visitors are cruise ship passengers. These visitors are similarly interested in nature-based tourism services as are independent travelers. The majority of shore excursions provide nature-based activities, from hikes and glacier viewing to flightseeing and forest canopy zip lines.
Substitute ”Summer Daily Ferry” for cruise ship and that seems true. As far as excursion infrastructure we only have the ATVentures, the new folks in the Synergy/Parka Lady Cabin, KayakAttack and the Linwood on certain nights (you are never quite sure where you will end up during a Linwood adventure).

• There is a complex and extremely competitive system for prebooking shore excursions the cruise ship. (sic) Businesses with exclusive cruise contracts make price and tour information only available to cruise passengers and often agree not to sell tours without going through the cruise line. While having a shore excursion contract with cruise lines appears to ensure a consistent client base, the trade-off is accepting the marketing, advertising, pricing, and commission restrictions imposed by the cruise companies.
Maybe it will be exclusive contracts with the “Daily Ferry Company”. This is where we will all benefit from the good communication so we can understand where we are all coming from and going to, and focus on long term benefit to the entire community. Certainly some may benefit more, but this in still America, and that's how it works.

• The tourism businesses in cruise ports of call that appear to be most successful either have a cruise ship shore excursion contract or are catering to overnight (non-cruise) guests with high quality and high value services. Examples of these types of businesses include sportfishing lodges and multi-day yacht cruises.
It seems like the businesses focusing on high-end travelers to be successful there has to be more here. More lodges, more stuff to buy and more stuff to do. The client's lifestyle revolves around making, or having a large amount of money and finding places to spend large amounts of money. With more here more demand will be created and the competition will create demand and hopefully everyone does better. Other models would be that there is always a Safeway across the street from a Kogers with an Albertson’s a block away. These corporations aren’t dumb; they all make money.

• Unless a company offers a new creative shore excursion idea, it is difficult to compete with businesses with existing cruise contracts. This is especially true if the new business requires a large number of clients to be profitable.
Seldovia will have to worry about that if we ever have more going on here.

• There are a number of companies, however, that are tapping into new and creative markets including canopy ziplines, glass bottom boats, and an amphibious “duck” tour.
Local opportunities, but where do people put them. In SE everyone has access to public lands and operator permits.

• Some operators attribute the increased interest in adventure activities to a change in cruise ship clientele. In recent years, cruise companies have been catering to a younger crowd, targeting families. In any event, increasing numbers of passengers are interested in more active pursuits.

• For shore excursions aimed at cruise passengers, competition exists not just with companies within a community but with other ports, as people are booking their shore excursions in advance and look at all the options. Sitka companies mentioned they were carefully tracking ziplines in Juneau and Ketchikan, dogsled tours on the Mendenhall Glacier, and other activities to see which market niche they could capture.
We have to compete with Homer and Halibut Cove. Homer is a mini-Kenai with a view and patchouli and Halibut Cove is not really a town, but a collection of summer homes occupied occasionally. We are trending that direction. Although they have the access to State Parks. And the houses are interesting, if the people aren’t.

• There is some evidence that visitors are willing to pay premium prices for higher quality experiences in more pristine environments. It is not clear, however, what specific attributes (seclusion, fishing experience, food, services, perceived exclusivity, and environmental amenities) are the key components of this higher market value.
People have been mining, logging and riding those damn ATV all over the pristine environments recently and for years, but that is all interesting history that can be marketed. And you really can’t see all the shit on the bottom of the ocean.

• It is possible to design a community-based tourism program that provides employment to local residents as is occurring in Hoonah. However, Elfin Cove appears to bring in more in gross revenues than Hoonah with about one-eighth as many visitors because Hoonah’s operation relies on volume while Elfin Cove relies on higher-priced fishing lodge experiences. Day trips seem to be relatively high-cost, low-profit operations.
Looking at it from our underdeveloped perspective in Seldovia, it makes me want to choose one form of development over the other. False either/or dilemma. (This make twice in one blog that I have used knowledge from long ago college courses. Economics and Logic. College wasn’t a waste of time look how it is paying off!!!) Both ways of development could still happen, as well as not happen. There are a couple new developments along with some longstanding family businesses. Maybe the ferry is a part of a community-based development plan, but the infrastructure is not present on this side and the build it and they will come strategy is a long held Alaskan model for government that pans out occasionally, i.e. Matanuska diary, barely elevators, pipeline.

• Independent travelers appear to avoid the crowds and many are repeat visitors. Most tend to stay longer and have more open itineraries than those on cruise ships or organized tours. These characteristics make independent travelers more difficult to survey directly.

• The primary marketing mechanisms for smaller, non-cruise related businesses are the Internet and word of mouth. In addition, many customers return to the same fishing lodge, yacht tour, or other business year after year.
Thank the Glovers for My relatives do keep up with the town happenings, but they are mostly looking for Andy’s new reports and the photos. And everytime I talk to them about the site, I am amazed at how many hits the site gets. I must say that I do miss Savannah’s reporting in the Herald.

• Companies in several communities expressed a desire to move toward more marine wildlife viewing and sightseeing and away from sport fishing. These operators preferred wildlife viewing as it was less stressful with less pressure to catch fish. Wildlife viewing is highly attractive to visitors due to spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife including whales and other marine mammals. Some operators were making this shift, while others think they would not be able to match the revenue generated by sport fishing.

• Weather has a significant impact on business for companies whose tours are not prebooked on cruise ships. Operators noted a marked difference between the sunny, dry summer of 2004 and the remarkably wet summer of 2006. Owners noted that visitors walking off the ship in the rain were much less likely to go on marine tours or hikes in soggy conditions, and their seasonal revenue was down. Businesses with cruise contracts did not experience this setback as passengers are not reimbursed for presold tours when weather conditions are poor. The one exception was flightseeing, where companies had to cancel tours due to unsafe weather conditions.
We have better weather than SE.

• Promoting wildlife watching is an important marketing strategy for Southeast Alaska communities. Visitors’ bureaus produced pamphlets with charismatic megafauna, such as whales and bears. Bureau staff cited studies showing the desire to see wildlife is what attracts a large portion of out-of-state visitors.
Anchorage is almost out of state and our environment on the south side of the Bay is different than Homer; we can market to that.

• A significant economic question that emerges from this research is how the public lands might be managed to maximize the economic returns to residents of Southeast Alaska communities, especially the smaller communities that can only accommodate smaller numbers of visitors at one time.
This is a big one along with the taxes. There are no public lands, such as the Tongass and Chugach National Forrest, Glacier Bay National Park etc. adjacent to Seldovia. We have some easements that take people to small parcels but the surrounding lands are privately owned and there utilization may change rapidly as SNA sees additional opportunities to maximize the benefits to their shareholders. That is what corporations do in this day and age and if you don't like it you better move to Cuba, no further, China, actually you can't go anywhere. There certainly are examples of this happening locally where the corporations benefit shareholder over the benefit to the community. For there to be significant capital invested locally, other people, corporations need to have access assured. That would be a lawyer thing to have looked at. Maybe SNA is looking at developing all this infrastructure themselves and the jobs that are developed will be of benefit to the community. It is that multiplier effect again.

Like I said I don't have an expansive grasp of all the issues, but I see ongoing inability of the community to develop an industry that could be a part of a healthier economy. Let's face it the only growth I am seeing is the influx of doctors/lawyers building summer homes and hippies living in wall tents and chicken coops. That maybe enough though.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

On How I Became Freshwrestler

Back in the day, I worked as an outreach case manager for the Mental Health Corporation of Denver (an unfortunate name for a publicly funded mental health center, but every community mental health center seems to end up with an unfortunate double-speak name, board of directors love to rename things). My work partner, Nurse Ike, and I would go out into privately-owned boarding homes that provided three hots (sometimes) and a cot. We would try and ensure our clients had access to medications, benefits and consistently show them that someone still cared. These places sucked. They were dirty, dark, dank, dehumanizing, crowded and not conducive to any sort of health. The people who owned them worked hard, but the whole system wasn't about caring, it was about the money. They were something we should all be ashamed of.

My caseload which hovered around 60-80 clients included individuals who had severe/chronic mental illnesses. Severe schizophrenia, mood disorders dominated. Others in the facilities had traumatic brain injuries, strokes, developmental disabilities and substance abuse issues that cognitively impaired them. It could happen to any of us and will to some of us.

A lot of these people had spent their adult lives living in institution, but with the advent of psychotropic medications, it was decided that the mental hospital should be emptied out and people could get more humane treatment in community mental health centers. But they forgot to follow up with funding to make these center really work and what little was provided, was being cut in fits of “fiscal responsibility”. That was back in the early 90’s and I am sure with the advent of compassionate conservatism it is better now.

The first month I worked there, I came home crying as dealt with what I had seen and stories I had heard from my clients. The suffering was overwhelming and chronic. But I got some emotional callous’ and keep showing up because I was drawn to the situation and I needed a job. But I gained a deep respect for how people dealt with and were able to cope with the insane situation and keep some modicum of humanity in their life.

The story of the “Freshwrestler” came from this one instance when my boss Lerese came our to supervise Ike and I. Which meant as usual she would get out of the big office and catch up with us somewhere and tell us we needed to get our treatment plans up to date and increase our billable hours. (Another blogging subject could be “How Come Human Service Agencies Are the Worst at Supporting/Managing Human Employees?”).

The Vern Valdez’s Personal Care Home facility is located right on Colfax Ave. near downtown Denver. When Lerese arrived, outside the facility there was a resident standing on the curb, almost in flow of the early morning traffic. He was huge man, must have been 6’6” and weighed 350 lbs. and he wasn’t doing to well at the time, maybe not in the last 10 years. We didn’t have much information on him. He spent most of his time pacing and trying to deal with his demons/symptoms. He was dirty, he hadn’t changed his clothes in who knows how long and that morning had shaved all his hair off. He had blood on the side of his head.
There he was at this busy intersection and in front of him he held a big piece of cardboard that had “FRESHWRESTLER” written on it. There was this man huge man, with a bleeding stubbly head, beaconing the morning commuters maybe to a test of strength. Or did he have some wrestlers back in his room he was willing to part with? Or was he looking to purchase a new wrestler. I never got to find out. By the time we reviewed all our late treatment plans and saw how we weren’t billing enough to cover program costs and went to look for him, he had either been engaged or he moved on. I never really saw him around again.

Although I actually never saw the man standing out there I frequently tell the story like I did, which pisses the wife off to no end. I think it is seared in my mental flesh as the sadness, absurdity, humor and surreal nature of that man just sums up the whole experience there. That is S/V Freshwrestler hanging in the slings.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Seldovia Diorama

I ran across this article on economic development through the Alaska Rainforest Campaign web-site. As I read it, I thought of Seldovia and what the economic future holds for us here.
The article sites a study on tourism development in 2 SE AK towns. Elfin Cove developed "high end" fishing lodges, and 77q1Hoonah developed "high-volume" infrastructure to handle small cruise ships which stopped 3-4 times a week. Hoonah got a bunch of people coming through town, a boost in sales taxes and the article doesn't say it quite like this, but alot of shitty service sector jobs. These jobs provided "more disposable income" to locals. I believe we need more than disposable income. Elfin Cove got new jobs, but the employees were from outside the community and left after the season.

The article sets the situation up as a sort of either/or. With Seldovia's track record of economic and community developments maybe we can kill both options and have neither. I sure that there are quite a few people in town who prefer not to be a character in someone's diorama. But trends are here with the Treetops folks developing there high-end lodge and SVT wanting to develop what is now being sold as daily ferry. Tourism may not be the economic engine of choice, but it seems to be the only option beyond the status-quo that is offered right now.

I wonder if anybody in town has read the study. I'll try and get back to you, my ever expanding readership (Hi, Cheryl! or is that HIGH Cheryl with the meds after surgery?) And it all maybe for naught as this article points out.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veteran's Day Rant

I didn’t register with the Selective Service System back in 1983 when I turned 18. Then I wrote letters to the Selective Service System and others, explaining that in the age of nuclear weapons the whole idea of war was dumber that before. I felt and still feel that if you have a weapon, you are more likely to use it. I didn’t want to be a governmental/military weapon used to “protect our global interests”(this asshole is nuts) Back then, I just thought that worlds politics were just so screwed up and irrational that just by not participating I was helping out in a small way. I still feel pretty good about that decision.

Now it seems more than ever, everyone is chest-thumping about vets serving the country. I think service to the country is great, but reading the history of the US military interventions in other countries ever since the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, when The War to End All Wars ceased doesn’t really give me cause to join up. And as we see more and more military resources used to infringe on our rights it may even be counterproductive to protecting our freedoms. “If you love freedom thank a vet” certainly won’t be true if we have private first class John Doe throwing people who disagree with politicians and their sycophants in jail with no writ of habeas corpus.

I now realize, or have sold out to idea that the military isn’t going away. Not here, not anywhere. But we have a slight advantage over the dictators of the world by having civilian control of the military. We need to get rational civilians back in control of the military, we need to keep the military severely non-political, and we need to support other forms of service to this country that in the long run may actually be of greater good for us all. END

I gots to go chop wood to reduce my dependence on hydrocarbons and free up the military.
Here in the valley, it will be nice and cold soon and the damned lutz spruce will split easier. Now I hack and hack at it with the maul intil it gives. Small victories!

Oh yea, both the damn kittens died. Jib and Genoa, gone. This kitten ranching thing sucks.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Don Janes and Kittens

I am sitting up late trying to make a sick little day old kitten live. Hot water bottles, goat’s milk and sugar on the lips. I do the routine every thirty minutes hoping it will give it a boost and it will be peeing on my shoes in 4 months. Poor little lump is only barely alive. I don’t think it is going to make it. Something is not good on the inside.

I find myself angry at the situation, because, DUH!, my Dad died a couple of months ago. I could not or did not give him hot water bottles, goat’s milk and sugar on the lips. I am pretty sure that if I was able to do as such and he lived (a miraculous recovery on such a low tech intervention after all that he went through), he wouldn’t have peed on my shoes in 4 months. But it would have been OK if he did.

As I get deeper into this "dad" thing with my own son, I appreciate Don Janes much more. Pops, I hope that this little kitten ascends up and sits on your lap. Once there, you can proclaim that you don’t like cats and end up petting it forever or until you have to get up out of your chair to chase Jackie Smith around when he comes up. Landry might not let him in.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Seldovia is Gonna Make Someone Dislike Something

From my perspective, sitting in the woods outside of town, livin in the "Village", on "Dirty Hippie Hairy Feminist Way", Seldovia seems a little messed up. There is this ongoing dialectic/argument that is never resolved.

In dialectics there is supposed to be an exchange of ideas, an argument (arguments can be a good thing, we keep telling Aidan). One side puts forth a proposal or thesis, another puts forward an counter-argument, the antithesis. There is an exchange and either one side's argument or portions of their argument are proved incorrect or a compromise or melding of ideas, a synthesis, is arrived at. Now in Seldovia, this argument is never about one thing it is about all things, maybe it is the meta-dialectic of our town. But plug in past issues that never reach that synthesis and one sees a pattern("but plug" thats funny). I am still new here, just a decade in town so my list wouldn't be exhaustive.(Side note-The other night at the Linwood Jim H came up to me a said "Dammit Mark, welcome to Seldovia) The whole deal really hobbles this town into inaction and from an outsiders perspective makes us look like kinda crazy. If you read this, you have to leave a comment about an organizational or governmental issue that never got resolved or resolved with one party feeling crappy.

The only solace I get with this is that every time I talk with my mom about the craziness and politics in Seldovia, she says "oh that reminds me of New Haven." She grew up in a small town in Iowa. Is it small towns, or as we like to say here, "Seldovia is special"?

As Forrest says "stupid is as stupid does"

Gotta go feed a couple of little underdeveloped kitten that were born yesterday. They don't know how to suckle. To keep the litter warm I have to fill up the empty tonic bottle with hot water (I love a good G&T). I think if they live I will call one "New Genoa" and "New Jib", for they will buy me one.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

On your mark

Disclaimer: I am in no way interesting, smart or even clever. I am horrid writer (I am sure with each post I will receive a grade from my english teacher wife). I am mildly humorous, mostly to myself. My life is sort of different, but it is much like all my neighbors. I have no great unifying theme and my brain is addled and sieve-like. My wife said I should write my frequent rants in a blog. I think she is just trying to shut me up. I'll show her.

Since the "re-election" OF GWB to the White House, I have been a bit unhinged regarding the world, politics and everything, actually since 2000. So I lost myself in the web. Mostly the political pages. I read and am informed, but it is just onanism. Maybe that is what the web is really all about and this whole blog thing maybe a higher level of the self-abuse. Yippie, I am now going to get me some.

I ghost wrote a post for my dog on my wife's blog, and I listened to the APRN show “Talk of Alaska” recently on which a couple of bloggers talked about blogging and corruption trials. The show ended up being about Vic Korhing and the corruption in the entire State of Alaska, and my dog's post was about rolling around in a dead bear. Both were illuminating because the writing was a good exercise in writing and APRN because it linked me up to other blogs of like-minded folks in Alaska (people really like to take pictures of their outhouses, it is raining and blowing like hell out or I would put one in here, maybe before I am done I will HAVE to go out the coffee is working it's dual magic. Update-see above).
I read in one blog that someone was proposing a meeting, which I think would mean party, of progressive bloggers in AK. Now that would be a freakfest I would love to go to. Homebrew, hummus, smoked salmon dip and plenty of indignation and ranting. (Sounds like Tracy’s knitting group) Plus, I think that this format/media/whatever, is key to Alaska Progressives creating a network that will make an impact on the state of politics.
So I am starting this blog to:
1. Get invited to the party
2. Rant
3. Intellectual Onanism
4. Practice typing
5. Change my world.
I have to go, I think my Tracy's cat is starting to explode/give birth.