Wednesday, May 31, 2006

175. Addresses

I don't know if the street in front of my house has a name. Google-Earth calls it "
Front Street". I think I saw "Main Street" somewhere. The plans for the school renovation call it "Unnamed Road". So I just put the street line of my address as "#19". This was not good enough for Wells Fargo Bank, who list me street address as "The brownish house with antlers by the door" (see pics, taken several months apart). Connie's house (she's another teacher) is listed with them as "The red house next to the beach".
It doesn't really matter; everything goes to the post office anyway. I did get a letter addressed to "The Northernmost Jew /
Deering AK" (with no name). The woman at the post office knows who everyone is. I also received a post card from out of state addressed to ONLY (no name or anything) "99736-0075" The last 4 digits of our 9-digit zip codes is the PO box.

Monday, May 15, 2006

174. We buy, they fly

There is a pizza shop that delivers to Deering - from Nome! Frontier Airlines will fly the pizza to whatever village it is ordered from, as long as it is on one of their standard flights. Frontier does not charge for this service.

Their slogan is "You buy, we fly."

Frontier's daily flight from Nome to Deering leaves at 8 am, and Airport Pizza opens at 11 am. They will take a half-baked pie over to the airline the night before, and when you get it in the morning, just bake it the rest of the way. Most of the pizzas they deliver they send out half-baked so the recipient can finish baking it and have it fresh.

Their website is

Friday, May 12, 2006

173. Government stupidity

Here is a picture of the post office. Notice the wheelchair ramp. This is nuts – there is no way anyone in a wheelchair could get around Deering. Right now half the ramp is under a snowbank. There is also a picture of the handicapped parking sign. This sign is up even though there is no official parking lot. People park by the side of the road, wherever it makes sense, and there are no official parking spots anywhere. My guess is that the federal government says that every post office must have wheelchair access and handicapped parking, whether it makes sense or not.

A comparable situation in the rest of the US is Braille on the drive-through ATMs. I have included pictures o those too, e-mailed up to me from the contiguous 48. I assume the drive-through ATMs have Braille because the federal government says that all ATMs must have Braille, even though the blind should not be driving.

I read about some guy who owned a campground with three roads through it. The government got on his case because the roads did not have names and they said he needed to name them so they could be listed on maps. He named them “Bureaucracy” “Causes” and “Expense”.

172. Animal genitalia

These pictures are of:

The scrotum of a muskox (the fur)

An oosik, which is the bone from a walrus penis. (The dollar bill is in the picture so you get an idea of size. This is a medium sized oosik. Some are larger.)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

171. Bulletin board

A while back I asked for suggestions for the school bulletin board. A number of you asked what I ended up doing. I had my students choose a number and make a small poster for that number with information on that umber. I laminated them and put them up.

Here is some of the information from the posters (in the students' words:

170. Medical care

There is a medical clinic here, where you can go if you feel the need. The people who work there will take the information and send it to the medical center in Kotzebue.

In case of an emergency, Kotebue keeps a helicopter ready to go out to any bush village. (That would probably not take any longer to get to you than an ambulance in Manhattan dealing with gridlock.)

A doctor makes the round of the villages, giving checkups. There is a dentist that also comes out sometimes. A veterinarian comes to Kotebue once a year.

Some health workers came out to Deering to have a health fair. One guy had a display about smoking - it included two sets of pig lungs, one from a pig who did not smoke and one from a pig that was exposed to a lot of cigarettes - and you could see how much healthier the clean lungs looked and how much better they expanded. They took people's blood for testing, but couldn't get any out of me. They also had door prizes - I won a clock radio, and the grand prize was 50 gallons of heating oil.

For major medical care, you still need to go to Anchorage.

169. Mixing baking soda and vinegar

You put some vinegar in a bottle and some baking soda in a balloon. Then stretch the mouth of the balloon over the neck of the bottle. Next you lift up the balloon so that the baking soda falls into the vinegar. See what happens!

168. Inupiaqs and Jews

One question that I have been asked is what the people in Deering think of Jews. Keep in mind that I am the only Jew many of them have met, and those that have met other Jews have probably not been aware of it. Well, the truth is, they don’t (think about Jews, that is). Most people here have heard of Jews, but don’t really know what one is. Many people have asked me questions like “Do Jews believe in G-d?” We are covered in history class – the ancient history textbook has a chapter on Jews from Avraham through the year 70 C.E. The modern history textbook has a chapter on Jews from 1935 through the present. I guess that fair is fair – how many Jews in New York, or even Anchorage, know anything about the Inupiaq? Of course there are no public figures making ridiculous public comments about the Inpiaq, while lots of figures are ranting about the Jews. (Who was it who was complaining recently that we control the world and get people to die for us “by proxy”? He certainly did not have the same imagination as the guy who announced that the “Tom and Jerry” cartoons were a Jewish plot. And if a group of thirteen million people can so control a planet of six billion, doesn’t that make everyone else out to be kind of pathetic?) You now something? If there had been more groups that did not bother thinking about Jews at all, Jews would have been a lot better off.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

167. Weather

It is not supposed to snow in May!!! (It was snowing this morning.)

The temperature gets up to about 30 F (-1 C).

It is light out 24/7. According to weather websites, sunset is around midnight and sunrise is about 5, but it is still light between them. Makes it feel earlier than it is at night.

We stil have snowbanks taller than I am around town. The snow absorbs heat from the sun though, and is melting. The roadway is kind of muddy.

(In case you are interested, it is -100 F / -74 C in Vostok.)

I have had 168 degrees F difference between my hottest weather and my coldest weather. This winter it got down to -46 F (-43 C) and when I lived in Phoenix (AZ) it got up to 122 F (50 C).

166. Some good websites

I gave my stuents a list of websites thay might like or find useful. Many of them are puzzle website we used in the math elective class. For anyone out there who might like the list, here it is.


Assorted logic-type puzzles (griddlers, cross-sums, sudoku, the other types of puzzles that give you pictures, mazes, etc.)

Set puzzle

Logic problems (the type that tell a story and you have to match up what went with what)

Cross Sums (Kakro)

Logical problems (links to other types of problems and problems of varying difficulty)

Nonograms (same thing as griddlers)

Paint-by-numbers (same thing as griddlers)

help with any math topic:

Games online

Sudoku puzzles

Tower of Hanoi or

Assorted interactive math puzzles

Sunday, May 07, 2006

165. A few thoughts

There are a bunch of contests in the media where they promise to visit the winners in person. Some internet radio station draws names at random and whoever they pick gets a pizza lunch for 6 delivered to their office. I entered, but did not win. I wanted to see them bring the lunch to Deering. Some cable station is having a contest where the winner gets their TV room redone including new window treatments, furniture, and a large TV. I entered that too because I wanted to see if they would bring everyting out on one of the little airplanes. I didn't win that either.
Two sayings/phrases that don't work here: "Don't spend it all in one place." (There is pretty much only one place to spend) "The crack of dawn" (Sometimes dawn is at noon, sometimes at four a.m., sometimes there is no dawn.)

Saturday, May 06, 2006

164. Elder of the Year

(An article for the school newspaper by Delores, one of my students)

At the end of February, Deering high school students voted for Elder of the Year. We established three criteria for what makes a great elder: how he/she contributes to the community and region, how he/she works to preserve traditional culture, and, last but not least, how he/she is a good role model for everyone. One person scored perfectly on all three categories, Stella.

Stella contributes to the community and the region helping out as much as she can. She cooks for all the potlucks, she helps out here at the school, and is always doing extra things. At every school activity, whether it’s a 3-on-3, cakewalk, or anything else Stella is always there to support the school or bakes cakes for the cakewalks. She gives so much to Deering and the NANA region.

Stella works to preserve traditional culture by teaching Inupiaq language and sharing stories of Inupiaq. She has been teaching these subjects for 8 years now. The class is really fun, I had it when I was younger. She not only teaches Inupiaq but also does games and other fun indoor activities to keep students involved.

Perhaps the greatest reason Stella was chosen as Elder of the year is that she is such a good role model. She is a sweet, loving and kind mind and helps out with anything that she can help with. She does extra things for people and also for the school. She is a living model of the Inupiat Ilitqusiat, the system of values that define us as Inupiat.

On behalf of the Deering High School students I would like to say a big “Thank You” to Stella. We are very thankful to have you as a staff member, friend and role model.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

163. Graduation

Today was graduation. (The school year here runs rom the middle of August through early May. They do a few things to shorten the school year, including having only 2 days off for spring break and having teachers' inservice days on the weekends.)

Here are pictures from the graduation. They are

Graduates from kindergarten to 1st grade (L-R): Brandi S., Jeremiah I., Mary H.

Graduates from elementary school to middle school (L-R): Becky-Sue D., Elizabeth B.-S., Katherine G., Tinmiaq H., Patrick B.

Graduates from middle svhool to high school (L-R): Melvin J., Darla G., Gilford B., Bobbie-Sue I.

Graduates from high school to life (L-R): Mary W., Larry J., Alice J.

I think all the kids with the same last initial here have the same last names and many are siblings. Tinmiaq is Ting, whose picture is earlier on this blog.

Alice is the valedictorian. Alice and Mary are going to college next year and Larry is going into the military.

The theme of the graduation was "Life means taking chances, dealing with changes, and saying goodbye." The ceremony was pretty short and sweet.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

162. Religious question - please give your opinion

Hallel on Yom Ha'atzmaut- yes or no?

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