SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


I hold in my hand, the final envelope…



April 28, 2014
Monday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska -
I’m still trying to figure out how much Deer Mountain weighs.
jpg Dave Kiffer

I tried using a quadratic equation a few days ago to come up with a number. I haven’t used a quadratic equation since high school and I wanted to show the value of quadratic equations in real life. (not really!)

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a good number. I didn’t get any sort of number at all. It was just another quadratic equation with lots of silly variables.

So next week I will use a montanocinquatic equation and see if I have better luck.

In the meantime, I keep thinking it’s one of those “width times height times times the square root of half Pi things.” But for the life of me, I just can’t come up with Pi. Something about a Bengal tiger and a life boat, I gather.

Math, ugh. Go figure.

Why am I even bothering?

You will be sooooo glad you asked!

A few years back, a visitor asked how much Deer Mountain weighed.

Even though I assume it was a rhetorical question, like how much do a hundred angels weigh on the head of a pin, I have been unsuccessfully trying to come up an answer ever since. I even tried to extrapolate from the weight of a small rock that I found near the Deer Mountain trailhead.

But I got sidetracked after I reached 3X (1-6x) + 8 X 10 to the 238172678981761th power.

You see, unlike some of you who snort and smirk and guffaw when you are faced with impossible questions from visitors to Our Fair Salmon City, I truly try to be helpful!

I have always felt that whenever someone asks “can you help me out” I should answer “sure, which way did you come in?”

Anyhoo, it’s the time of the year when we will soon be facing plenty of interesting questions from our off-island human cousins. Natch, they will all require answers and I shall endeavor to come up with good ones.

Here are some to start.

Feel free to send in ones that you would like answers to. Kifnac the Magnificent has inherited the legendary “hermetically sealed mayonnaise jar from Funk and Wagnalls porch” from the old Tonight Show and I bet I can find just about any answer, or question, in there!

“How far above sea level are we?”

Very, very, very far. After all, you have been traveling north on a cruise ship for three days now. So we are at least 600 miles above sea level. Of course, the sea level does seem to be going up and down several times a day, but when you go north it is always higher. Up on a map is always higher. Especially in Colorado and Washington, and possibly Alaska, after the Mary Jane referendum later this year.

“Why does the sea level go up and down?”

Global warming!

“Can you fix it so the passenger ramp is always straight at every town.”

We try to adjust gravity so you are always going down hill. After all, we don’t want you to become too winded deboarding in Ketchikan to successfully deploy your credit card.

“So what is that lake out there called?”

It is Lake Pacific. We call it that because like to be reminded of the Pacific Ocean of which we are so, so, so far away.

“Why is that lake so salty?”

Because it is made up entirely of Orca tears, sad at the loss of their brethren to those awful aquarium shows.

“Do you take American money?”

Nope only real currency, like bitcoins.

“What time do the whales come out?”

I’m sorry, we ARE NOT one of those awful aquarium shows. But if you slip me a $20, I will see what I can do around 2 pm.

“Where can we see the bears?”

Check with Authentic Alaskan Dumpster Tours, over there by the Ketchi-Can.

“How many people live here?”

13,999 too many.

“Why do people live here anyway?”

Because it is very, very, very important for someone to be here to meet you, answer your questions and show you how to effectively deploy your credit card.

“What is that cheering we hear behind the docks?”

We celebrate every successful credit card deployment.

“And that loud buzzing sound?”

Not all deployments are successful.

“Does it rain a lot here?”

No, absolutely not. Ketchikan is actually one of the 10 driest temperate rain forests in the Milky Way Galaxy.

“Then how do the trees stay so green?”

We are surrounded by the world’s largest artificial Christmas tree farm. The official Ketchikan town song is “Faux Tannenbaum.”

“So why do they call it a rain forest?”

Would you take a cruise to see the Tongass National Desert?

“Can I catch a salmon here, and can I eat it?”

No, no, no! Salmon are a completely venerated species. We treat them like cattle are treated in India. You may not have one. It would be like eating your ancestors.

“What about all those dead ones in the Creek?”

Global warming!

“Where is the pipeline, shouldn’t there be oil wells here?”

We wish.

“Is that a glacier?”

No, we don’t have glaciers because of global warming. That is a large field of congealed Bald Eagle scat.

“Why do you have so many bald eagles?”

They don’t fry up so well.

“Why are they bald?”

Global Warming.

“Can I see Sarah Palin’s house?”

Only if you stand on your tippy toes on Vladimir Putin’s porch

“Do you live in an igloo?”

No, but Sarah Palin does.


On the Web:

More Columns by Dave Kiffer

Historical Feature Stories by Dave Kiffer


Dave Kiffer is a freelance writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
Contact Dave at

Dave Kiffer ©2014

Publish A Letter in SitNews         Read Letters/Opinions

Contact the Editor

SitNews ©2014
Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska