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How The World Wags

Vox Populi #3
By Dave Kiffer

April 02, 2005

Ketchikan, Alaska - For those of you playing along at home, I did misspell the word "crucifixion" in a recent column ("Talk About Multitasking"). Three alert (be alert, the world needs more lerts!) readers brought it to my attention. I could claim that the misspelling (crucifiction) was a Freudian slip but even my subconscious isn't that smart.

jpg Dave Kiffer

It has also been suggested that I should just run the danged computer spell checker more often. Really, how seriously can you take a device that insists I change SITNEWS to Sadness and Kiffer to Cipher?

Another reader wondered what I thought about the state of Alaska deciding to phase out the Chilkoot Trail license plates. Yes, I was a little peeved when the State of Alaska recently announced it was phasing out the Chilkoot Trail anniversary license plates ("License Plate Bingo."). Not because of any effect it would have on my ability to play "license plate bingo." It would actually make that easier. No more wondering from a distance if the Chilkoot mountain design might be a Colorado, Montana or Wyoming mountain design.

But I am just sick to death of the normal blue and yellow plates that have been gracing Alaskan cars since Model T's ruled the earth. I hope the statehood 50th anniversary committee can come up with something snazzy for 2009. BTW, my wife Charlotte would like me to mention that it was Tony Worrell (now residing in Japan, but an ardent follower of SITNEWS. Hi, Tony!) who inspired me to get back into the habit of checking out the plates!

Speaking of Tony, I recently had the pleasure of giving a few saxophone lessons to Tomoka Kato, this year's exchange teacher from Kanayama. When I asked her if she knew Tony, she said that he was her sixth grade teacher. There. Now both Tony and I feel OTD (older than dirt).

One reader - an expert in matters architectural - emailed to ask if I was psychic. No, I'm not psychic, just lucky. A couple of weeks after I wrote a satire column ("Big Honking Egg Design") that accused the winning architect in the Juneau capitol design competition of designing bizarre buildings solely to win the Pritzker Prize, considered the "Nobel" prize of architecture, he was actually awarded the 2005 Pritzker Prize. He didn't win the prize solely for his "big egg in the middle of Downtown Juneau" but for his lifetime body of work. That's very reassuring.

My column on growing up with Canadian TV ("Good Old Days") brought several communiques from readers who fondly remembered those days as well. Programs like "Mr. Dressup," "The Galloping Gourmet" and "The Irish Rovers" were recalled. One reader even remembered seeing Steve Martin doing humor specials on the CBC long before he hit it big stateside. What ever happened to Bruno Gerusi, a fan of the "Beachcombers" asked?

After starring on the Beachcombers for 19 years, Gerussi went on to host a cooking show in which he proceeded to get seriously tanked as each episode went on (shades of Graham Kerr on the Galloping Gourmet!). Okay, all you "trainspotters" out there, what was the name of the real life "Sunshine Coast" restaurant that was featured so prominently in "The Beachcombers"?

On the same subject, someone else also asked whatever happened to the CBC newscaster I mentioned (don't these people know how to use GOOGLE?), Knowlton Nash.

Thanks again to GOOGLE (get with the 21st Century people!) I was surprised to learn that Nash- who is about 140 now - is still around, although he finally gave up the CBC anchor chair just shortly after his 125th birthday.

I had two interesting reactions to my Easter marketing ("Onward Christian Soldiers?") column, both from people in the local retail trade. One noted that all the Easter products being foisted upon us come from Third World countries that celebrate Easter by relieving us of our money. The other complained that I was being a "bah-humbug" again and that the stores were only fulfilling a demand, not creating one. I'm sure that attitude would go over well on Madison Avenue.

Two folks called me to kvetch about my column about rude cell phone use ("Talk About Multitasking"). Of course they called me on their cell phones. And it sounded like both were driving at the time. I'd offer up a pithy rejoinder, but I just heard the call-waiting feature start clicking in my ear, and that call is probably ever so more important than talking to all of you, so I better wrap this up.

Finally, as I was vacuuming this week, I scooped up several more fake tree needles. I told you ("Faux Tannenbaum") that fake trees were getting more and more realistic every year.

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Dave Kiffer ©2005

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