The Curious Case of Alaskan Buttons

Recently, Anchorage earned the title of “Worst Dressed City in America.” Personally, I can see it; I’ve lived in Anchorage, and it’s a city that prides itself on a certain classless pastiche of trends that faded months ago (something tells me that bootcut jeans and popped polo collars are still quite popular in Anchorage). It’s the kind of place where ties will make you look like a jackass because your boss is wearing sweatpants and Ugg boots.

Moreover, Alaska is possibly one of the most defensive places on Earth; criticize at your peril those who’ve spent but one year prowling the badlands of the SoNo district (for those of you from the “Outside,” that’s “South of Nordstrom’s”; a kitschy and semi-retarded marketing ploy meant to fool the yuppie wives of displaced oil executives into thinking they’re not in the worst dressed city in America). Thus, I cannot say that surprise is my first emotion upon reading this rather limp-dicked editorial response in the Daily News (the other Gray Lady).

The writer argues that the pathetic stylings of the Anchorage bourgeoisie merely reflect the “spirit” of the Last Frontier:

Many Anchorage residents and other Alaskans decide how to dress based on what they want to wear and what’s comfortable, not the venue or expectations. We know how to dress for the occasion. But often we decide on the nature of the occasion for ourselves.

Going out to dinner? How do you feel tonight? Dress to the hilt or just make sure you go with a clean sweatshirt? Up to you.

That’s right: going to someone’s funeral? Black tie optional for sure; hell, as long as you’re wearing pants it’s a dressy occasion. Promotion dinner at the Petroleum Club? As long as your dick’s not hanging out you’re golden!

Essentially, Alaskans take pride in their bottom-of-the-barrel fashion ranking because it cements their view that they are somehow above the concerns of everyday appearance, and thus better and perhaps more unique than your average “Outsider.”

However, a certain sensitivity to Outside opinion is present in every Alaskan, and this recent dubious honor exposes a common deep-seated insecurity: that Alaskans are but poseurs, no different in their attentive inattention to detail than any bearded Brooklynite hipster man-child.

Thus, the sweatpants and Ugg boots become a signifier of a deeper commitment; they are a costume, a uniform, an identity. Sweatpants fuel the fire of the Hegelian dialectic; in them a consciousness is born, and it fears the Outside. When you criticize you sear the raw nerve that is the Alaskan identity, and you kick the puppy that is their subconscious.

But perhaps worst of all you force from them a flaccid rebuttal that contains the seeds of the truth that they fear the most: “Alaska Girls Kick Ass” is twee as fuck, and they Goddamn well know it.

So kill the bullshit pretense, and for Christ’s sake stop wearing sweatpants to Simon’s.

Anchorage Morons Fight Bravely for Their Right to Discriminate Against the LGBT Community

In a stunning show of stupidity and small-mindedness, Anchorage voters decided to reject a measure that would have prohibited discrimination against members of the LGBT community:

Anchorage voters rejected a proposed ordinance to add legal protections for gay, lesbian and transgender people in a chaotic municipal election fraught with ballot shortages and high voter turnout in many precincts.

With more than 90 percent of the precincts reporting late Tuesday, 58 percent of voters had voted against Proposition 5, the equal rights ordinance that was far and away the most controversial and emotional component of this spring’s election.

It’s about damn time that a brave, Amurrican city stood united against the scourge of the LGBT community, with their musicals and flannels and gender conflict, and said: “Yes, Goddamnit–we would like to discriminate against you!” Sadly, this is the third time that an anti-discrimination proposal has met with rejection in Anchorage (the other two times were not ballot issues, however).

Apparently, the measure was such a hot button issue that polling places ran out of ballots; one hotspot had to resort to photocopying ballots on the school’s Xerox to meet voter demand. Those ballots will be counted as “questioned ballots,” so it remains unclear what the exact percentages will be; despite this, however, the idiots clearly won the day. And the driving force behind the idiots? You guessed it: Jesus.

A group of clergy supporting the ordinance, Christians for Equality, was a key part of organizing efforts, campaign spokesman Trevor Storrs said.

Opponents, campaigning as Vote No On Prop. 5, complained that the law was vague and poorly written and would impinge on the religious freedom of residents opposed to homosexuality. The proposition included an exemption from the law for churches and religious organizations.

I’ll give you a moment to savor the name “Christians for Equality.” Also, take a few minutes and peruse the “Protect Anchorage” website. Just make sure that you have something to release your rage upon after you visit.

But really, one must feel some sympathy for those poor, put-upon American Christians–truly they are the last disadvantaged group in the world! To not be able to discriminate against someone on the basis of some shit scribbled down thousands of years ago is well beyond the pale, sir!

Perhaps it’s unfair for me to paint a portrait of Anchorage based solely on the retards that rejected this proposition; after all, roughly 40% of the people said “Hey, assholes, discrimination isn’t cool–let’s smoke a jay and pet a moose or something.” And I can attest that there are a great many good people in the City of Anchorage who lament the influence of inbred Godtards on Alaskan politics.

Therefore I applaud the minority of citizens who decided that open discrimination is unacceptable and voted against stupidity.

And I issue a hearty “fuck you” to the tyranny of the majority.

Ditka Versus an Aerial Sniper?

The government of Alaska seems to pride itself on comically stupid ideas, and this next one is no different:

The Alaska Board of Game has approved a plan for state wildlife biologists to shoot black and grizzly bears from helicopters in the middle Kuskokwim River region starting next spring. The goal is to increase the moose population for local hunters.

Yes, in an effort to increase the moose population, the Board of Game has voted to “remove” all the bears from Game Management Unit 19A, an area southeast of Fairbanks that includes several small villages. Ostensibly, the reason for this removal is to increase the moose population for subsistence hunters; right now, the moose population is estimated to be between 2,800 and 5,800 moose. The bear population is somewhat lower, at 135 to 150 black bears, and 10 to 15 brown bears. That’s roughly 35 moose per bear at maximal estimates; personally, I doubt the bears are that hungry.

Of course the bears do not prey upon the full-grown moose all the time; often they take calves and thus harm the breeding potential of the moose population. That, in turn, does threaten the future of subsistence in Unit 19A. Moreover, the moose must contend with wolf populations; however, those wolf populations have been successfully curbed by aerial wolf patrols. But interestingly, the moose population has not risen.

In case you were wondering, the primary logic behind killing all the bears was based on the non-success of past predator management:

An aerial wolf control program has been in place in Unit 19A since 2004. Private pilots and gunners with state permits have reduced the wolf population by at least 60 percent each year since 2005 but moose numbers have not recovered, according to the department’s proposal to the board.

“Adding bear removal to the predation control program should help address this issue,” the department wrote.

Perhaps killing the residents near Game Management Unit 19A would also work, Board of Game! After all, the logical next step in predator management would be to take out the next predator in line. Sorry, Aniak residents!

The option to move the bears (a plan that has been utilized in the past) was nixed; apparently no one else wants the bears around:

Moving bears was not approved in unit 19A because the program is costly and residents from other parts of the state said they didn’t want bears moved to their areas, the department said.

The Board also adopted a measure that would allow pussies to fly in, hop out of their plane, jog about 300 meters–oh, wait, feet–and shoot at black bears who’ve been tempted by bait stations. Yes, nothing says “primal scream of nature” like shooting an unsuspecting bear while it chows down on some bait. You didn’t even have to muss your Carhartt’s, you total badass!

I would like to point out that I’m absolutely in favor of game management. I see no reason not to control populations in humane ways so that a balance can be attained between the needs of the residents and the natural order of the Alaskan Interior. Yet something about this plan twists my balls.

Why not expand the hunting season and sell more bear permits? People would snap those up like a new toy from Apple; moreover, the state would generate revenue for that particular game management area.

Also, if aerial wolf control failed, why the hell would you expect aerial bear control to succeed? Is it really necessary to kill every single bear? That doesn’t seem like balance; rather, it seems like short-sighted bullshit shenanigans perpetrated by political appointees.

Plus, if you’re such a Goddamn nutless turd that you can’t hike into a hunting area, set up camp, and stalk and kill your prey like nature intended, then you have no business hunting. Bait stations are for bitches, and so is aerial hunting. Go back to your Call of Duty, pussy.

The Bristol Club: Don’t You Forget About Me

In an effort to maintain her now expired 15 minutes, Bristol Palin will star in a reality television series on Lifetime later this year. If you’re curious as to what qualifies Bristol to discuss reality (or represent it), you are not alone, my friend!

Apparently, the show, entitled “Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp,” will focus on Bristol’s attempts to raise a child that we all know will turn out to be a maladjusted famewhore. Just like the rest of the people who grew up in Alaska.

I kid, I kid.

It’s interesting, however, to note that Bristol has found some sort of media activity each year to keep her star from tarnishing; 2012 will see a reality show, last year saw a memoir, and the year before that she danced with the stars. What possibilities await us in 2013? Here are my predictions.

  • Abstinence-only sex tape
  • Boone’s Farm endorsement deal
  • Methamphetamine scandal
  • Celebrity marriage to Lindsay Lohan (now legal in seven states!)
  • MTV “Journalism” job
  • Waiting tables at the Mat-Su Resort
  • Appearance on “Hell’s Kitchen”
  • A starring role as Titania in the Valley Performing Arts production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”
  • A substitute teaching gig at Wasilla High School that will provide the basis for an action thriller starring John Cena, Chris Benoit, Jason Statham, and various retired porn actresses
  • Another reality series, this one based on her entrance into politics.  Look out, Parnell–Bristol’s coming for your seemingly endless governorship!

This Parliament of Owls Won’t Make Your Friends Think You Have Bad Taste in Music

Something is afoot in Anchorage, Alaska, and it involves owls. And probably sorcery and haberdashery. A parliament of owls is sitting near the Anchorage International Airport,* my friends, and our fates may be in their hands! Or, more likely, some nerds who love owls will get excited and talk about it:

What’s even more unusual, birders and biologists say, is that the species — grand, reclusive great gray owls, nocturnal boreal owls, Northern saw-whet owls, Northern hawk and short-eared owls — are almost never found in the same area.

“It is definitely unusual to see smaller owls hanging out with larger owls,” said Sue Guers, a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Bird Observatory in Fairbanks.

Who knew that owls were such size queens? And this isn’t the only instance of owls acting weird; apparently there have been strange owl sightings throughout the winter–snowy owls have been spotted in Oregon, far south of their usual range.

While explaining the parliament is proving difficult, researchers know a few things at least; for instance, owls actually like airports because the landscaping nearby attracts voles, which are reputedly delicious.

Owls, not surprisingly, have a keen sense of hearing; they can hear a vole under a foot of snow, and they can definitely hear when you’re talking shit about your boss. Some researchers are speculating that Anchorage’s snowfall this year might be an explanation for the behavior; according to owl expert and birding guide Bob Dittrick, the depth of the snow could be forcing them to hunt more hours per day due to the difficulty in catching prey.

What remains to be seen is whether the judgment of the owls shall be in our favor; if not, expect an owl rebellion, or at the very least, a bunch of shitty stories written by goths about how owls are elder gods of the earth and they have magical powers and blah blah blah.

*I am fully aware that the airport is now named “Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.” I just don’t give a shit.

Shocking News: Private Corporations are Abusing a Well-Meaning Government Subsidy

Perhaps you recall my earlier, hard-hitting journalistic account of the film subsidy that the Alaska state government offers studios as an incentive to film in Alaska; if so, you are awesome and I salute you. If not, click on that link and read the post, dammit!

Anyway, the Alaska subsidy is apparently one of the more generous of its kind, awarding up to 33% of the production cost of the film. In other words, if you film in Alaska, they’ll give you $.33 for every dollar you spend.

Of course, things like cocaine and hookers are more expensive in Alaska, and given the film industry’s penchant for salacious pastimes, its unclear how much a company might actually save. Maybe if the legislature reauthorizes it they’ll call it the “Fairview Floozie Subsidy.”

Naturally, as with any government subsidy, the idea is to spur the private sector into beneficial action; theoretically, if a company films in Alaska, they hire Alaskans and spend lots of cash in the Alaska marketplace. Theoretically.

However, as Kyle Hopkins of the Anchorage Daily News demonstrates, this is not the case. It would seem that film companies are not giving back to the Alaskan worker what they’re taking from the Alaskan coffers:*

Some of the reality TV shows and movies receiving the most money from the state film subsidy program are also paying the least to Alaska residents, state records show.

Of the more than $1 million in wages and salaries the state will subsidize for the sixth season of “Deadliest Catch,” for example, less than $20,000 was paid to Alaska residents. Alaskans were paid 5 percent of the $6 million in salaries subsidized for the Jon Voight thriller “Beyond.”

Those numbers a little shocking, to say the least; especially since Deadliest Catch is such a hit, and moreover requires exceptionally dangerous filming conditions. And some film studios, anxious to underwrite a fat portion of their next Stanley Steamer, are applying for film permits even though their film has nothing to do with Alaska.

It’s not surprising that the film studios would want 33% of their budget refunded to them. And further, it’s not surprising that Alaska lacks the necessary workforce to support a thriving film industry. But to pay a paltry 5% back to Alaskans is a little insulting.

Clearly, one thing needs to happen when the legislature considers reauthorizing this subsidy: dedicate a portion of funds to the University for the maintenance of a film degree. The University of Alaska Anchorage already has excellent theater and journalism/media department, so the infrastructure is in place; all the legislature needs to do is throw them a bone so they can get the requisite equipment and instructors. Hell, make it a graduate degree and entice out-of-state people to come and earn an MA in Anchorage. Of course the legislature will likely not do this, because it would get in the way of all the ridiculous pandering that’s required of them.

But one can hope.

*Normally, one would complain that a subsidy wastes the taxpayer’s money. But Alaska residents do not pay a state income tax, so it just wastes the state’s money that they get from delicious oil.

Bratz Dolls Come to Life and Do Some Totally Fetch Vandalism

In the interest of making fetch happen, several girls in Juneau, Alaska, broke into a local school and wreaked havoc to the tune $5,000.

But as the saying goes, dog bites man is not a headline; but man bites dog? Hell yes! Well, then, consider this to be your lonely neighbor chowing down on some show-quality chow-chow: these girls were between the ages of 9 and 11.

That’s right, in a Gwar song sprung to life, these young ladies have earned their street cred by tearing the shit out some school in Juneau. And while the article doesn’t verify this, I bet that one of those girls totes pooped in a coffee mug.

Because pooping in a coffee mug definitely makes fetch happen.

As a bonus, I’d encourage you to read the comments on this story in the Anchorage Daily News. But be careful–staying too long inside the mind of an Alaskan can be hazardous to your health.

The Alaskan Moose Community is Not Super Stoked About all the Snowfall this Season

Sadly, the Alaskan moose community is facing a crisis. With massive snowfall, the moose are trudging through the depths to find shallower patches, thus burning calories they would not otherwise expend; according to some reports, those asshole ravens are beginning to scavenge the flesh off of living calves.

Naturally, when moose come out of the woods and into the cities, problems occur; moose collisions with motor vehicles are up this winter. Fortunately, feeding stations are being set up to draw the moose away from trafficked areas. Unfortunately, this will make them easy targets for these nefarious characters.

Heartbreak in the Last Frontier: Alaska Won’t Have an Official State Firearm

For those of you that were counting on the pre-1964 Winchester Model 70 .30-06 caliber rifle to be made Alaska’s official state firearm, I have some bad news: Senator Charlie Huggins (R-Wasilla) has pulled his proposed legislation. Apparently, though the Model 70 was used by hunters, trappers, and Native Alaskans in the frontier days, the bill never received a hearing nor got any traction in the senate.

Perhaps you’re thinking to yourself, “What the fuck do Alaskan reps do all day”? Well, luckily for you, they tape it. Enjoy!

Five Former Mayors of Anchorage Have Been Replaced by Robots

Perhaps that’s unfair, but it’s always strange to see any Alaskan politician doing something decent. And just what decent thing are these former mayors doing? Well, they’re backing a ballot measure that would prohibit discrimination against the LGBT community.

“This isn’t a Democratic thing or a Republican thing, it’s just simply the right thing,” said Mystrom, who served as mayor from 1994 to 2000.

Mystrom was a Republican mayor; not surprisingly, he’s the only one Republican supporting it. The other mayors are Jack Roderick, Matt Claman, Tony Knowles and U.S. Sen. Mark Begich. Tom Fink and George Wuerch declined their support, because they’re assholes. Seriously; I sat next to Wuerch on a plane once, and he was reading the Annals of the Bohemian Club. That’s right, a Goddamn yearbook for an elite gentlemen’s society in San Francisco. Which, considering his political affiliation, and that club’s location, is a bit surprising. Now that I think about it, he was listening to “Relax” on his Discman. Damn log cabin Republicans!

Anyway, these mayors should be applauded for their support of this measure, because let’s face it–Anchorage can be a pretty shitty place for a member of the LGBT community sometimes.

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