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.

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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.

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.

Super Bikini Coffee Party!

Having lived in Anchorage, I was well aware of the “hot women selling coffee in modified trailers” trend. Hell, there was even a news story about it on Channel 2 once upon a time. That’s like Hollywood for Alaska!

However, I’ve been away for some time and I did not realize that the Singularity had appeared, thus codifying years of hot-chick-in-a-trailer-selling-coffee evolution by reducing the amount of clothing required. Now, hot chicks sell coffee while wearing bikini tops! And sometimes lingerie! And it’s cold outside, so you can imagine what happens when that cold air hits! Huzzah!

Natasha Thompson, the genius behind Java Junction (and Lingerie Friday), realized during a downturn in business that sex sells. Please do not confuse her with Don Draper, the fictional advertising genius. According to Thompson,

“Women can be astronauts, women can be firemen, women can make coffee in bikinis,” she said standing in the cart in her “Alaska Girls Kick Ass” shirt. “We can do anything we want.”

Suck on that, Gloria Steinem.

One of her employees, Ashley Holder, a former business student at UAA, has apparently quit several times, citing the outfit at least once. However, Ms. Holder’s other job as a receptionist for a funeral home just did not break the fun barrier:

That was all death and sadness, she said. It made her cry and think about her parents getting old.

So she returned to the coffee cart, where according to ace reporter Julia O’Malley, “it smells like coffee and coconut belly balm.”

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