Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dec. 12: Memories of wolf attacks

Dec. 12: Memories of wolf attacks

Today's news for the Last Frontier

Published: December 12, 2007
Last Modified: December 13, 2007 at 10:09 AM

"Canine carnage" of 30 years ago. With wolf attacks on dogs making the news these days in Anchorage and Fairbanks, a Fairbanks Daily News-Miner story today looks back at the winter of 1974-75, when a "wolf pack spent the entire winter stalking the Goldstream Valley, killing dozens of dogs as residents armed with guns kept nightly vigils for the wolves."

That winter's toll, according to a musher who was around then: 165 dead dogs, 13 dead wolves.

The recent dog deaths - three have been killed in the Fairbanks area, two in the Anchorage area - have stirred talk in the Two Rivers/North Pole region of hunting the wolves or putting a bounty on them. The same debate appeared to swell in the 1970s, according to the News-Miner story. The story takes note of two petitions from back then. One, "signed by only a handful of people, requested Fish and Game use helicopters to shoot the wolves from the air. Another petition directing Fish and Game not to use aerial shooting was signed by more than 100 people."

Thursday, February 5, 2009

What did they do to my old Sailor Boy pilot bread label?

CHANGE: Buy product and help young Alaskans get books.

Inspect a box of Sailor Boy pilot bread crackers on grocery shelves in March and you'll note something different. In addition to the smirking cartoon sailor on the familiar navy blue background, the package will carry the logo of First Book, a group that gives books to young Alaskans.

The slight -- and temporary -- redesign includes an invitation for cracker crunchers to "help share the magic of reading."

One side of the container will carry the full pitch for the "Feeding Hungry Minds" campaign. For every "limited edition" box of Sailor Boy sold during March, 50 cents will be donated to First Book "to provide new books to children in need throughout Alaska."

There's nothing unique about the fundraiser: Food companies often partner with charities. Nor is there anything fancy about the announcement itself, which is block blue letters in a big white rectangle.

But pilot bread glories in its plainness. Made from flour and shortening and almost nothing else, the commercial version of hardtack has long been a staple throughout rural Alaska precisely because it lacks any flavor that might offend (some would say any flavor whatsoever) and because it's just about impossible for it to go bad.

Left in a remote and seldom-tended cabin, it will taste the same season after season. Toss it in the bow of a boat where moisture melts or rots anything that's not in a can and it will remain chewable. Dry it out after dropping it in a lake and it miraculously resumes the same tough texture and taste that it had when you first took it out of the box.

No, the news is that there is any change, however slight, in the design of the classic, old-fashioned cardboard packaging. (No change in the recipe: Connoisseurs can relax.) Jeff Poirier of Interbake Foods, which produces the crackers in Virginia, says it's the first time the product has been involved with this kind of promotion.

Maybe that's because, while Sailor Boy has been a fixture in Alaska kitchens for generations, it's little-known anywhere else. An overwhelming 98 percent of the company's pilot crackers are sold and consumed in Alaska.

Last year Karen Jenkins, chair of Anchorage's First Book program, was strolling through a grocery store trying to think of a way to raise funds and promote First Book's new Rural Alaska arm. Her eyes lit on the Sailor Boy display and she got the idea of calling the company.

It was a long shot, but it paid off. Interbake "loved the idea," she said. She followed up by sending her proposal to First Book's national office along with a box of pilot bread, "because they had no idea what I was talking about."

March was selected for the promotion because "that month is big in literacy," with Dr. Seuss' Birthday, Read Across America day and the Anchorage School District's Iditaread. A "launch event" is planned for March 5 at the Costco on DeBarr Road.

Feeding Hungry Minds funds will go to First Book advisory boards throughout Alaska. A majority of the money will support programs in rural Alaska. Jenkins said the group believes that, in many quarters, lack of access to books squelches love of reading and, hence, literacy.

With the promotion, First Book is sponsoring a contest for students to send self-produced videos weaving pilot bread into a favorite story. For instance, the organizers suggest, substituting pilot bread for porridge in "Goldilocks and the Three Bears."

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pearls of Wisdom

"Fourteen Things That It Took Me Over
50 Years To Learn" by Dave Barry
  1. Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
  2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."
  3. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
  4. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
  5. You should not confuse your career with your life.
  6. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
  7. Never lick a steak knife.
  8. The most destructive force in the universe is gossip.
  9. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.
  10. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.
  11. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven.
  12. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers.
  13. A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)
  14. Your friends love you anyway.
Thought for the day: Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the Ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Interesting photos


No kidding, what is that?

Looks like Pac-man to me.

I get the idea, Ape.



Goat Porn?


Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Good luck, Frog.

Damn cats!

Very true.

I remember those days. This is why floppies stayed around for so long.

I'd be looking too.

Jumping sometimes just won't help.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Giant snowman rises again in Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A giant snowman named Snowzilla has mysteriously appeared again this year — despite the city’s cease-and-desist order.

It is the third year running that Snowzilla has appeared in Billy Powers’ yard in east Anchorage, to the delight of some and the chagrin of others. Powers is not taking credit. When questioned Tuesday afternoon, he insisted Snowzilla just somehow happened, again.

In 2005, Snowzilla rose nearly five metres. He had a corncob pipe and a carrot nose and two eyes made out of beer bottles. This year, Snowzilla is estimated to be 7.6 metres tall. He’s wearing a black stovepipe hat and scarf.

“Have you seen him?” Powers asked when reached by telephone at his home, the sound of excited children in the background. “He’s handsome.”

Snowzilla has consistently risen outside Powers’ modest home. His children — he is the father of seven — collected snow from neighbours’ yards to make the snowman big enough. Each year, Snowzilla got a bit bigger.

Not everybody in the neighbourhood liked all the cars and visitors who came to see him.

City officials this year deemed Snowzilla a public nuisance and safety hazard. A cease-and-desist order was issued. The city tacked a public notice on Powers’ door.

City officials said the structure increased traffic to the point of endangerment and that the snowman itself was unsafe.

The mayor’s office on Tuesday issued a statement defending its move against Snowzilla.

“This property owner has repeatedly ignored city attempts to find ways to accommodate his desire to build a giant snowman without affecting the quiet, residential quality of the neighbourhood,” said the statement from Mayor Mark Begich’s office. “This is a neighbourhood of small homes on small lots connected by small streets. It can’t support the volume of traffic and revellers that are interested in Snowzilla.”

The mayor’s office says Powers appears to run a large junk and salvage operation from his home. He has violated land use codes for 13 years, the city said. He owes the city more than $100,000 in fines and other assessments.

Powers said it is the city that has been difficult, not him.

“I have tried to jump through every goofy hoop they have sent to me. I have never been confrontational and it goes on and on and on and it is so goofy,” he said. “Some of it is unfounded, some is just outrageous.”

The city said it did not expect to take any further action until after Christmas.

Webcam shows 24 hours of lava lamps

SEATTLE, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- A Seattle bar code-technology entrepreneur said his 24-hour lava lamp Webcam fills an Internet void -- but he doesn't know who would watch it.

Jerry Whiting, 55, founder of Azalea Software, said he put the live video of two lava lamps on the Internet simply because he could not find anything else like it, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Tuesday.

"I'm a nerdy guy. I got to wondering if there was a lava lamp Webcam. And when I realized there wasn't, I had to fix that," he said.

"I thought about (a Webcam) with Sea-Monkeys," Whiting said. "But that would have been too weird."

While Whiting was unable to say what sort of person would be attracted to a lava lamp Webcam, the site was picked by judges including TV's "Bones" producer Barry Josephson, comedian Pauly Shore and recording artist

Tommy James as one of EarthCam's 25 most interesting Webcams on the Internet in 2008.

Blundering funeral firm buries wrong man despite vicar's protests... then secretly digs up and replaces coffin

Mourners were gathered, and family members paid their last respects as the coffin was lowered into the grave.

But the upset for Brendan Kilkelly's family was to get a whole lot worse when they learned they had buried the wrong man.

Vicar Andrew Mannings spotted that the name and age on the coffin were wrong, and also that it bore a crucifix emblem normally associated with Roman Catholic burials, not with the Anglican service he was conducting.

But, after reassurances from the undertakers, he went on with the service.

'I noticed it was a Catholic-style coffin, and my eyes dropped to the nameplate, and I thought, oh my goodness!' he said yesterday.

'I went straight to the sexton and said, "There's been a terrible mistake". But I was told that Mr Kilkelly was known by the other name as well.'

Mr Mannings said he felt he had no choice but to assume the professionals knew what they were doing. 'One has to trust that the funeral director has brought the right coffin,' he added.

He went ahead but a few days later was horrified to be told by the undertakers, Co-operative Funeralcare, that they had buried the wrong man after all.

Equally shocking was that, after waiting for the vicar and the Kilkelly family to leave, officials had hastily exhumed the body of the 62-year-old Roman Catholic man buried in error.

It was taken back to the chapel of rest and the coffin containing Mr Kilkelly, a father-of-three from Wallasey, Wirral, who died aged 55, was brought and interred instead - with no service and no one else present. Mr Mannings later contacted the family and conducted a new funeral service at Mr Kilkelly's graveside at Frankby cemetery although the relatives were too upset to attend for a second time.

Yesterday his widow Susan, 49, said: 'I'm happy with the outcome and I'd rather not pursue it further.'

The body of the second man has been cremated in accordance with his family's wishes.

Yesterday, as it emerged that the extraordinary swap may have breached the Burial Act of 1857, the sexton - the council official who authorised it - was suspended, while the funeral directors launched an urgent investigation.

Under the Burial Act, which was passed to deter grave-robbers, burial is said to have taken place once the committal is concluded.

An exhumation order is required if it is subsequently discovered that a mistake has been made and the unlawful removal of a corpse can carry a fine of up to £200.

Co-operative Funeralcare said it had applied for an order retrospectively and believed that its actions were in line with the legislation.

It insisted there had never been an attempt at a cover-up, stressing that both families had been informed within 24 hours and that its staff had acted in good faith.

A spokesman said: 'Regrettably we can confirm that as a result of an unfortunate error the wrong deceased was taken for burial.'

He added: 'We apologised to both families at the earliest opportunity.'