Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Alaska Jewish Museum

Tonight is the grand opening of the Anchorage Jewish Museum. It is by Chabad. There will be some speakers - I think they are from Alaska Airlines who were involved with Operation Magic Carpet in 1949. I can't seem to get the link to their website to work. It is at

Friday, June 25, 2010

301. My letter in the Anchorage Daily News

..... I submitted this using the pen name Sharon Bloom .....

Neither Helen Thomas nor Rosie O'Donnell are Native American. Shouldn't they have the courage of their convictions and go "home"?

The comments posted to their website:

(from Brian_Sweeny) Bravo Ms. Bloom.

(from bad_bwai) Sharon Bloom: Thanks again for calling out these anti semitic boneheads.

(from nodsasgoodsasaqutuq) Can someone please explain to me what Ms. Bloom's letter is about? I missed something obviously.

(from TOP) nodsasgoodsasaqutuq Rosie O'Donnell pushed openly for a move to Communism by seizing all of BPs assets. Today the popular leftists announced on her radio show that, “Helen Thomas was right (Jews get the hell out of Palestine).” This has apparently upset Ms. Bloom.

(from chrisinak) RE: bloom letter explanation. I think that it means that Ms. Bloom is an apoligist for Israel and places the goals of a foreign county above the standing of her own country.

Friday, June 18, 2010

300. math equation

Euler, Gauss, Pythagoras redo Einstein

Sunday, June 06, 2010

299. Sign

This sign is by the gate to the Salvation Army campground in Wasilla.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

298. Healthcare bill

(Letter in today's Anchorage Daily News I wish I had written)

Let me get this straight ... We're trying to pass a health care plan written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn't understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn't read it but exempts themselves from it, to be signed by a president that also hasn't read it and who smokes, with funding administered by a Treasury chief who didn't pay his taxes, all to be overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that's broke.

What could possibly go wrong?


(Quote from Nancy Pelosi)

"We Need To Pass This Bill So You Can See What's In It."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

297. Celebrate Purim at Starbucks!

Some Egyptian cleric is complaining that the Starbucks logo is queen Esther. Pretty amazing when you consider the logo is a mermaid.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

296. Cold beer

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

295. Why even HAVE license plates in Alaska?

Monday, December 28, 2009

294. Moose licks

My friend lives in Wasilla. I'm not sure what mud he's been driving through, but the moose have been licking it off his car.

Monday, November 09, 2009

293. I disregard anything the UN has to say about Israel (like the Goldstone Report) becasue I think the UN is biased against Israel. Here's why:


In 1975 the UN voted that Zionism is Racism. So they feel that considering Israel a Jewish country, or a country for Jews is racist. They have no problem, however, with Saudi Arabia forbidding any display from any religion other than Islam. You would not be allowed to wear a lapel pin with a Christmas tree on it. Any houses of worship except mosques are forbidden. Yet Israel, with churches, mosques, a huge Bahai temple, and whatever the Druze have, in addition to synagogues, they consider racist.

Countries permanently sitting on the U.N. Security Council: China, France, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States

Countries eligible to sit on the U.N. Security Council: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Comoro Islands, Congo, Costa Rica, Cote d'lvoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Romania, Rwanda, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Countries NOT eligible to sit on the U.N. Security Council: Israel


The UN criticized Israel for their 1976 attack on Entebbe. (They wanted to vote to condemn Israel, but the US made it clear they would veto this.) The Secretary-general of the UN, Kurt Waldheim (yes, the Nazi who dropped pamphlets into Russia calling for the murder of all the Jews) said that Israel's raid on Entebbe airport TO FREE THE ISRAELIS AND JEWS THAT THE HIJACKERS WERE HOLDING HOSTAGE AND THREATENING TO KILL "constitutes a serious violation of the national sovereignty of a United Nations member state."

So when I see anything about the Goldstone report, I remember how they felt about Israel's totally justified raid on Entebbe.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

292. Patty Cake

Occasionally I have been asked for the recipe for my world-famous Patty-Cake. So here is my delicious and super-easy recipe.

you need:
- boxed chocolate cake mix. Get one with pudding in it.
- whatever the boxed cake mix says you need to add
- LOTS of powdered unsweetened cocoa
- vanilla extract. Get the real stuff, not the imitation
- peppermint extract. Get the real stuff, not the imitation
- stick of butter, not margarine, softened at room temperature
- 1 lb package of powdered sugar
- cream
- merangue powder (avaiable at JoAnn's)
- whatever garnish you want to use, if any

Mix the mix for the cake with whatever it tells you to use on the box.

Add in A LOT of unsweetened cocoa powder. More is more.

Bake the cake according to the directions on the box.

Let the cake cool before icing. Do NOT make the icing until you are ready to ice the cake.

To make the icing, mix together the sugar, the butter, a bit of vanilla extract, a bit of peppermint extract (not too much peppermint, or it will taste like toothpaste) A LOT of unsweetened cocoa (a lot a lot a lot) and a couple of spoonfuls of merangue powder. The icing will probably be too thick or powdery. Add a couple of drops of cream and mix it through. Keep adding cream, only a few drops at a time until it seems right.

Ice the cake right away. Then add any optional garnish.

Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least a few hours.

suggestions for optional garnish:
- get a bag of peppermint hard candies. Before unwrapping each candy, hit it with the blade of an ulu a few times to break it up. Sprinkle the candy pieces over the cake.
- Get some York peppermint patties. Cut them into wedges as though you were slicing a pizza. Arrange the wedges on the cake in a geometric pattern.
- Make some extra icing but leave out the cocoa. Use a bag for decorating cakes with icing and use this tannish-white to decorate the cake.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

291. Letter in the Anchorage Daily News

The Anchorage Daily News printed my letter to the editor. Local radio talk show host Dan Fagin read it on the air and said it was his favorite.

"Jimmy Carter explained that I dislike Obama because I'm a racist. Now can someone explain why I dislike Carter?"

Monday, September 21, 2009

290. "The Beast"

A couple of years ago, I printed some pictures of vegetables from the Alaska State Fair. Here are some that I took of a 127 lb cabbage, names "The Beast". In some pictures I put a dollar bill in to give an idea of size. The little girl in the picture is four.

Unfortunately, the man who grew this said that really large cabbages do not taste very good, so The Beast will end up as mulch for new, smaller cabbages.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

289. The last 3 Letters to the Editor of the Anchorage Daily News that I had printed

I don't understand why Snowzilla is considered any more of a nuisance than extravagant Christmas decorations that people drive by to see. Many outspoken people, especially talk show hosts, will defend people's rights to have these decorations. Perhaps Billy Powers should string some colored lights between Snowzilla's mittened hands and call it a Christmas decoration. He will then have people all over the country speaking out on his behalf. [printed December 28, 2008]

The article "Evidence mounts that dogs have morals," (May 17) said that evidence seems to indicate that dogs have morals, empathy, compassion, and emotions. I have just one word to say on behalf of dog owners everywhere: "Duh!" [printed May 21, 2009]

The Palins are being criticized for making too much of a fuss about Letterman's sexual remarks about their 14-year-old daughter. Can you imagine the outcry if similar remarks were made about Obama's daughters? [printed June 20, 2009]

Sunday, August 09, 2009

288. Waiting for surgery

An aquantance of a friend in Iceland desperately needs gall-bladder surgery. She is on a waiting list, and it will probably be another month at least. The doctors are just keeping her doped up on morphine until it is her turn for surgery.

I don't think I want socialized medicine.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

287. Letter to the Editor I WISH I had written

I was appalled to see President Obama at the Major League All Star baseball game wearing a Chicago White Sox logo jacket. I'm assuming that Linda Kellen Biegel will soon be filing the ethics complaint on our behalf.

-- Ken Anderson


Thursday, July 02, 2009

286. Activities conflict

Here is a conflict I'm having trouble with: I'm at the Mensa Annual Gathering. There are about a zillion activities to choose from. Tomorrow the Kabbalat Shabbat and a lecture on complex numbers conflict with each other.

And one thing sacreligious: The showing on The Rocky Horror Picture Show begins at 11:30!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

285. Giving a talk tomorrow

In case anyone is interested, I am giving a talk tomorrow about different sizes of infinity, and the relevance to statistics. If you wish to attend, it will be in Neuberger Hall at Portland State University at 1 pm.

Monday, June 08, 2009

284. Which way should you go?

Here is an amusing picture I took in Anchorage

Thursday, May 28, 2009

283. More stupid complaints against Palin

Sarah Palin improperly accepted a gift of a hockey stick from a youth hockey league. Also, the press release concerning her selection as vice presidential candidate was improper. In an interview, she expressed her opinion on a mining initiative. She also went to a breakfast for parents of children with Downs syndrome, leaving her staff to deal with Alaska's legislature for the day. She had meetings regarding being John McCain's running mate in her office, which was using state property to further her political future.

Those are five of the complaints against her.

Michael Geraghty, investigator for Alaska's State Personnel Board, is starting to dismiss complaints against Palin without bothering to waste time and money on hearings. The state is beginning to get sick of these stupid complaints, which they feel is beginning to seem like harassment and is wasting taxpayer's money.

Some guy who was turned down for a state job he applied for last year has files eight complaints against Palin. They were all dismissed without a hearing.

Radio talk show host Dan Fagan said that he felt the people filing these complains were just out to harass Palin, and to get their names in the paper. Now some are writing letters to the radio station to get Fagan fired.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

282. Juneau is rising!

(copied from the NYT)

As Alaska Glaciers Melt, It’s Land That’s Rising

JUNEAU, Alaska — Global warming conjures images of rising seas that threaten coastal areas. But in Juneau, as almost nowhere else in the world, climate change is having the opposite effect: As the glaciers here melt, the land is rising, causing the sea to retreat.

Morgan DeBoer, a property owner, opened a nine-hole golf course at the mouth of Glacier Bay in 1998, on land that was underwater when his family first settled here 50 years ago. “The highest tides of the year would come into what is now my driving range area,” Mr. DeBoer said. Now, with the high-tide line receding even farther, he is contemplating adding another nine holes.
“It just keeps rising,” he said.

The geology is complex, but it boils down to this: Relieved of billions of tons of glacial weight, the land has risen much as a cushion regains its shape after someone gets up from a couch. The land is ascending so fast that the rising seas — a ubiquitous byproduct of global warming — cannot keep pace. As a result, the relative sea level is falling, at a rate “among the highest ever recorded,” according to a 2007 report by a panel of experts convened by Mayor Bruce Botelho of Juneau.

Greenland and a few other places have experienced similar effects from widespread glacial melting that began more than 200 years ago, geologists say. But, they say, the effects are more noticeable in and near Juneau, where most glaciers are retreating 30 feet a year or more.
As a result, the region faces unusual environmental challenges. As the sea level falls relative to the land, water tables fall, too, and streams and wetlands dry out. Land is emerging from the water to replace the lost wetlands, shifting property boundaries and causing people to argue about who owns the acreage and how it should be used. And meltwater carries the sediment scoured long ago by the glaciers to the coast, where it clouds the water and silts up once-navigable channels.

A few decades ago, large boats could sail regularly along Gastineau Channel between Downtown Juneau and Douglas Island, to Auke Bay, a port about 10 miles to the northwest. Today, much of the channel is exposed mudflat at low tide. “There is so much sediment coming in from the Mendenhall Glacier and the rivers — it has basically silted in,” said Bruce Molnia, a geologist at the United States Geological Survey who studies Alaskan glaciers. Already, people can wade across the channel at low tide — or race across it, as they do in the Mendenhall Mud Run. At low tide, the navigation buoys rest on mud.

Eventually, as the land rises and the channel silts up, Douglas Island will be linked to the mainland by dry land, said Eran Hood, a hydrologist at the University of Alaska Southeast and an author of the 2007 report, “Climate Change: Predicted Impacts on Juneau.” When that happens, Dr. Hood said, the Mendenhall Wetlands State Game Refuge, 4,000 acres of boggy habitat, will be lost. “That wetland will have nowhere else to go,” he said. In some places along the coast, the change has been so rapid that kayakers whose charts are not up-to-the-minute can find themselves carrying their boats over shoals that are now so high and dry they now support grass or even small trees.

In and around Juneau, “you can walk around and see what was underwater is turning into grassland and eventually into forest,” Dr. Hood said. The topographical changes have threatened crucial ecosystems and even locally vital species like salmon. “The lifeblood of our region has been salmon species and their return — and what is the impact when they return and the streams are dry?” said Mayor Botelho, who was born and raised in Juneau. “The salmon is bound to our identity as a region, who we are.” He said he did not think that any species were in imminent danger, but added, “Anyone who is following climate change has to see that there are risks, perhaps great ones.” Dr. Hood said many people in Juneau had hoped to maintain a waterway called Duck Creek as a salmon stream. But small streams like that “appear to be drying out,” he said. “There are a lot of people in town saying, Let’s just let it return to a greenway.”

Relative to the sea, land here has risen as much as 10 feet in little more than 200 years, according to the 2007 report. As global warming accelerates, the land will continue to rise, perhaps three more feet by 2100, scientists say.

The rise is further fueled by the movement of the tectonic plates that form the earth’s crust. As the Pacific plate pushes under the North American plate, Juneau and its hilly Tongass National Forest environs rise still more. “When you combine tectonics and glacial readjustment, you get rates that are incomprehensible,” Dr. Molnia said.

In Gustavus, where Mr. DeBoer’s property is, the land is rising almost three inches a year, Dr. Molnia said, making it “the fastest-rising place in North America.” In addition to expanding the golf course, Mr. DeBoer is negotiating with the Nature Conservancy to preserve some of the newly emergent land. He can do both, he said, because the high tide line has pushed almost a mile out to sea since his family first homesteaded on the property. Where the shoreline is relatively flat, “it doesn’t take much uplift to make quite a bit of difference,” Mr. DeBoer said.

Kristin White, a 28-year-old schoolteacher who grew up in Haines, a town north of here, is from another family in the area whose real estate grew as land rose. When her father tried to sell some property in Haines, she said, “he had to have it resurveyed.” But for Ms. White, who has vivid memories of visiting the Mendenhall glacier as a child, the gain in acreage has been bittersweet. Seeing the glacier retreat, she said, is “as if you lived in the Smoky Mountains and you were used to seeing certain peaks — and they disappeared. It’s just totally, totally sad.”

Thursday, April 30, 2009

281. Creation and perfect numbers

In math, a "perfect number" is a number that is equal to the sum of its proper factors. (A proper factor of a number is any positive integer that divides evenly into that number besides itself.) The proper factors of 6 are 1, 2, 3 and 1+2+3=6, so 6 is a perfect number. If you add up the proper factors of 28 you get 1+2+4+7+14=28, so 28 is a perfect number.

The first eight perfect numbers are 6; 28; 496; 8,128; 33,550,336; 8,589,869,056; 13,743,8691,328; 2,305,843,008,139,952,128. As you can tell, they are far between. Any even perfect number will end in a 6 or an 8, and will be a triangular number (a number that works for setting up bowling pins). We don't know if there are any odd numbers; no one has found any, but no one has proven there aren't any. We do know that if there is one, it would have to be larger than 10^300.

6, the first perfect number is important in religion. According to Berashit, G-d created the world in 6 days. Is this a coincedence? Saint Augustine (354-430) wrote "Six is a number perfect in itself, and not because G-d created all things in six days; rather, the converse is true. G-d created all things in six days because the number is perfect."

This year we celebrated Birchat Hachama, a holiday that comes once every 28 years, when, according to Jewish tradition, the sun is at the same point as it was at creation. So the sun goes through a 28 year cycle, a cycle that is 28 times as long as it takes the earth to go around the sun. Is it possible that G-d made it this way because 28 is a perfect number?

So now, can anyone tell something in creation that centers around the number 496?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

280. News story out of Alaska

(copied from the internet news)

Alaska school punishes students for taunting moose

Print Tue Apr 21, 10:19 pm ET

PALMER, Alaska – Eighth-graders at an Alaska school have been disciplined for taunting and frightening a moose so severely it suffered a fatal injury.

School district spokeswoman Catherine Esary says the physical education class at Colony Middle School in Palmer was let outside Monday before teachers realized a moose was on the grounds.

A teacher witnessed the taunts. Esary wouldn't say what the students did.

Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters says the moose's panic prompted the animal to throw itself into a wall repeatedly, which caused its death.

Esary cited privacy concerns in not saying how many students were involved or how they were punished.

Monday, April 13, 2009

279. White House Seder

The seder at the White House used Hagaddahs printed by Maxwell House coffee. I read some comment that the White House could certaintly get something nicer. I disagree. I think the Maxwell House Hagaddahs are an American minhag. Lots of American Jews, myself included, grew up with them. The covers changed over the years; the ones we used were red and yellow.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

278. Earthquake Tuesday

According to the Anchorage Daily News:
A shallow earthquake strongly shook a large swath of Alaska. The magnitude 4.7 quake struck at 12:13 p.m. Tuesday and was widely felt in southcentral parts of the state. The earthquake was centered 20 miles north of Anchorage, where it was accompanied with a loud boom. The West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center says the quake also was felt in other communities, including Wasilla and Palmer. Monitors at the center say the temblor was felt in a large area because it was fairly shallow, about 16 miles deep. The center says there are no reports of injury or damage and no tsunami is expected from the quake.

According to the New York Times:

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

277. latest news out of Alaksa

Mt. Redoubt has been having lots of eruptions. The ash only came to Anchorage once, and it was not a lot. You cold see it in the air as it fell and the air smelled like sulfur. Some other areas got a lot more than we did. A lot of flights were cancelled in and out of Anchorage.

A bill passed in the Alaska House of Representatives to abolish daylight savings time here. It is on its way to the senate. DST really is pretty pointless here. And of we did away with it, Shobbos would only go to about 1 am Sunday morning in July.

The House also passed a bill that would do away with Groundhog Day in AK an d have Marmot Day instead. There are no groundhogs here, but we do have a few species of marmots. We would not give the marmot any weather-predicting abilities, but would add marmot trinkets to the other stuff available as souvenirs.

People have been charging Palin with ridiculous charges of improprieties. They all end up being dismissed, but not until after she has to pay a lawyer to respond. So far she has had over half a million dollars in legal bills. The latest ethics violation charge: Palin wore clothes with the "Arctic Cat" logo to the start of the Iron Dog snowmachine race. Arctic Cat is a company that makes snowmachines and is her husband's sponsor. The person who filed the complaint said it was abusing her position. Palin said she id not have a deal to wear the clothes; she wore them because they are warm and the weather was cold.

The convictions against ex-senator Ted Stevens were thrown out of federal court because prosecutors hid evidence in his favor. However, he was convicted a few days before the elections last November. After 40 years as senator, he lost the election, although it was pretty close. He would almost definitely have won if he had not been found guilty. At least it looks like they will not be changing the name of Ted Stevens International Airport.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

276. An open letter to President Obama from my schanuzers

January 26, 2009

Dear President Obama:

We are six dogs that have all been rescued by humans. We have heard that you are looking for a dog to keep you company in the White House. As rescues, we are asking you to consider rescuing an older dog who needs a home. Lots of people are interested in taking cute fluffy puppies. Please set a good example for the country by adopting a pre-loved dog who needs a new home and still has a lot more love to give. In fact, since we are naturally pack animals, why not take two?

K-9 Lifesavers, 202.509.7776, is one of the big rescuers in the area. They currently have a pair of black Labradors, Lucky and Lukey, who need a home. Retrievers are dogs who would be very patient with annoying press people or anyone else. You can contact them to see what else they have; they have a lot of dogs. If you are interested in hairless dogs, we are sure they can help you.

The Six Schnauzeteers

They also mailed him a copy and posted it on their blog, .

Sunday, February 01, 2009

275. Presentation on Jewish history in Alaska in NYC

In case anyone is interested:

There will be a presentation on Jewish history at the Alaska House, 109 Mercer St. in NYC on Tuesday, February 3, from 7 to 9:30 PM.

From their writeup:


What is the Jewish history of Alaska? What is the Jewish contribution to Alaska and its Native People? What is Alaska’s humanitarian contribution to the Jewish plight?

Alaska House will feature a special reception and presentation of Dr. Ruth Gruber, an acclaimed American journalist, photographer, writer, humanitarian and former United States government official, who will address theses questions and the prodigious Jewish connection to Alaska.

Ruth Gruber served as a Special Assistant to Harold Ickes, the Secretary to the Interior during Franklin Rooselvelt's presidency in 1941. One of her major assignments was to study Alaska's potential for homesteading G..I.'s after World War II. Additionally she advocated for Jewish refugees from the Holocaust and Alaska Native peoples rights and culture. She went on to write many books, including Inside of Time: My Journey from Alaska to Israel. Alaska House will recognize Gruber's history-making achievements coinciding with the annual conference for the Council of American Jewish Museums.

Please contact Ellaine Legaspi at for additional information.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

274. A city called Chicken

Turkey may be the name of a country, but in Alaska there is a city called Chicken. You can drive there in the summer or fly there year-round. according to the 2000 census, there are 17 people who live there, although in the summer a lot more go there to mine for gold. they have no electricity, plumbing, telephone, or internet service. They get mail delivered twice a week.

Coordinates are 64° 4′ 14.66″ N, 141° 52′ 29.62″ W

Here is their website, maintained outside of Chicken since they have no internet service. The website includes Chicken souvenirs, information on the village, driving directions, etc.

Why is it named Chicken? In 1902 the post office was established, so the gold miners living there had to come up with a name. The village of Eagle had been named for the eagles in the area, so the people in chicken decided to name their village for the birds in the area. However, they could not agree on how to spell "ptarmigan", so instead of naming after the birds in the area, they named it Chicken instead.

No, they do NOT have a college called Cluck U.

Monday, January 19, 2009

273. Anchorage schools closed due to warm weather

The schools in Anchorage were closed for 3 days last week, Wednesday through Friday) due to weather. This rarely happens. However, the temperature soared and was around 44° F (7° C) for these days.

Sounds harmless enough, doesn't it? For the month previous, we had a lot of cold weather and a lot of snow. Then, when the weather got above freezing, the snow and ice began melting, and became wet ice. The city became a large ice skating rink. I was unable to make it to my car, parked on a slanted driveway. (And yes, I do have grippers / spikeys / cleats / whatever-you-call-them that go over my shoes.)

Right now there are a lot of puddles everywhere, the whole city is wet. The temperature is supposed to go back down below freezing sometime this week, and all this will become ice. Let's see what happens then...

Friday, January 09, 2009

272. Hamas (with cartoon stolen from thre internet)

As I see it, there are two possible solution to the Israel-Hamas problem:

1. Israel can attack harshly enough to scare Hamas into living in peace

2. Israel can return to 1946 borders

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

271. Cold spell in Interior Alaska

OK, I know that every place has hot spells and cold spells, but when Alaska has cold spells, as the Interior is, it causes problems. I have a friend who was visiting in Fairbanks (where it has been around -45° for the past week) and was planning to drive back to Valdez, where she lives. But it is not safe to drive back in weather that cold - if you break down or get stuck in a snowbank, you can freeze to death. Right now she is stuck in Fairbanks. There are places where airplanes can not land because of ice fog, so they can not get groceries or mail. Some places are running low on food.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Anchorage resident Billy Powers used to build a 16 ft snowman in his front yard, nicknamed “Snowzilla”, every year. His reputation spread internationally. News crews came from Russia and Japan. Unfortunately, poop-head neighbors complained. The city decided that the extra traffic was a nuisance, and Snowzilla himself was “unsafe”. Snowzilla was destroyed.

You’d think the tale would end there. But anonymous people came during the night and rebuilt him, now 25 feet tall. As of now, the new Snowzilla stands. Neighbors in the area signed a pro-Snowzilla petition.


Here is an editorial from our paper:

Public Enemy Number One: Snowzilla, the Giant Snowman

By Dan Fagan, posted on December 22, 2008

I don’t know about you, but I can rest easier now knowing my government is at work, using tax dollars to make our streets safe. For far too long Snowzilla, the giant snowman, has wreaked havoc and terror on the streets of Anchorage.

Now this despot of society has been neutralized and will no longer be able to hurt anyone. Anchorage code enforcement officers, the city bureaucrats who are the real heroes of our city, have put an end to Snowzilla.

For several years now the 16-foot-tall Snowzilla has stood tall in Airport Heights, striking fear in the hearts of men and children alike. But the end of Snowzilla is a perfect illustration of why we pay taxes. So city bureaucrats can justify their positions by destroying snowmen.

Some cranky, scrooge-like neighbors have complained about the extra traffic brought into their neighborhood after families all over Southcentral traveled to show their kids Snowzilla during the holidays. Our city bureaucrats with the full force of government behind them got behind the cranky neighbors and made sure no more Snowzilla for the kids--a trip that has become a family tradition for some. City code enforcement officials declared Snowzilla a public nuisance and safety hazard.

Snowzilla is big and if he were to lose his temper, there is no telling what could happen. Maybe he would kidnap Fay Raye, climb to the top of the Atwood building and fight off small airplanes.

Yes, it is a good thing the city issued a cease and desist order to the family that built Snowzilla. We are all the safer for it.

The city bureaucrats were clever in their quest to destroy Snowzilla. At first they placed signs at his feet (or where his feet would be if he were not a snowman) ordering him to cease and desist himself. But since Snowzilla doesn’t understand government bureaucrat-speak (who else says cease and desist) city officials tacked a public notice on the door of the family that created Snowzilla.

The Powers family had been building Snowzilla in their front yard since 2005. "The kids had spent hours and hours of work on it," Billy Powers said on Sunday. Now Snowzilla is just a big pile of snow rubble. Powers said he doesn't plan to rebuild. If he does rebuild, city bureaucrats will come and arrest him.

That’s right, you read that correctly, the city is threatening to arrest an Anchorage father if he builds a snowman for his kids.

Welcome to the nanny state.


This picture is of a protester outside City Hall


The general opinion amoung Anchoragians is that Snowzilla is no more of a nuisance than the houses that put up fancy Christmas lights displays that some people drive by to see. (And he uses no electricity!)

If you would like to get involved, there is a website to raise money for the legal defense of Billy Powers.


Here's an idea - Lots of talk-show hosts are quick to protest whenever there is any objection to any Christmas displays. Maybe Snowzilla should hold a string of Christmas lights.


If you want to see Snowzilla, he is at 1556 Columbine St, between 15th and 16th. But don't go. Apparently it is annoying the city.

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