SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska
Column: Humor

Quibbles and Bits



May 18, 2017
Thursday PM

Ketchikan, Alaska -
Sometimes you just have to patch a column together with bits and pieces, or in my case - stealing a title from a column I used to write for the college newspaper 30 years ago .... Quibbles and Bits.

jpg  Dave Kiffer

Since our school mascot was the Husky, and one of the highly ranked officials at our school was named "Astro" it seemed appropriate to use a pun on the popular dog food for my ramblings.

Natch, whenever the aforementioned Dean Astro would issue a statement, we would title it "Rime Rorry."

Which I'm sure did not amuse him, but it sure amused us - and other fans of the Jetsons' TV show as well.

But, as usual, I digress.

On to the Quibbles and Bits:

Like how I got a flyer in the mail for a book called "101 English Idioms: Learn to Speak Like An American Straight from the Horse's Mouth." Gee, I hate to be a "neigh" sayer, but.....

And if you remember a while back I wrote about a bagpipe that killed its owner because he didn't clean it often enough. Of course, I smugly noted that scientists were calling the culprit "bagpipe lung" and that, as a saxophone player, I had nothing to worry about.

Turns out that the main neurotoxin involved in paralytic shellfish poisoning is called....wait for it.....saxitoxin.


Longtime sufferers of these columns know that each year, I like to play license plate bingo, just see how state license plates I can come see in Ketchikan each year.

The most has been 49 states and the most provinces has been seven. Occasionally you get a foreign country. Last year the big get was "Peru" which makes one wonder how that car got up here.

Every so often a European plate shows up and occasionally one from Mexico. Guam is surprisingly common because every so often we get a Coastie who was transferred here from there. That's also the reason why it is not hard to find a Hawaii plate roaming the potholes of Our Fair Salmon City.

The hard states: Rhode Island, Delaware, West Virginia and North Dakota. Those folks just don't drive up here all that much. And it's pretty guaranteed that I won't see at least one or two of those each year, which is why I usually end up stymied at 48 or 49.

About half way through 2017, I have seen more than 40 of the states and have already checked off Delaware and North Dakota. Hope springs eternal.

We are now in the first months of the first administration to be lead by a former reality television show star.

Now, my historical sources claim that Andrew Jackson previously starred in the long-running series "War of 1812 - New Orleans" which critics at the time called "huge, massive, bigly." But since the recording devices of the are unretrievable with modern technology, I'm going to have to give that a pass.

Anyway, the question is out there. Who will be the next reality television star to lead our country?

Several folks have already asked me to weigh in because - since Alaska has more reality shows per capita than anywhere - there is a great likelihood the next leader of the Free World is likely already appearing in an unrealistically staged "dangerous" situation in Alaska, even as we speak.

Of course, the obvious answer is "She Who Must Not Be Named," our former Governor. But I kinda think her time has passed, especially since she said no to taking over the "Ministry of Alternate Facts" in the new administration.

Seems a part of her job would have been to read several newspapers each day, so she could then publically counter their "facts" with alternate ones. But even though she reads "all of them" she clearly didn't want to have to do it every day.

In looking toward the other Alaska reality shows, it's hard to find any one person would could step in and play the role of United States President, although Morgan Freeman HAS narrated a couple of nature videos about the Brooks Range.

The captains on Deadliest Catch would be colorful no doubt and it would be fun to hear the "bleeps" in the press conferences. They are clearly decisive enough, although one has to question the wisdom of going out in the same killer storms, show after show after show.

It's possible that someone on the various gold mining shows would be a good choice. After all, we have a serious federal budget deficit and anyone who could find gold in bitter, unpleasant, Godforsaken places (like Washington D.C.) would be welcome.

Personally, I like those nice Kilcher folks just trying live off the grid about two blocks from downtown Homer.  Still, they don't seem the elected office types. Maybe Ambassadors to Switzerland, though?

The Ice Road Truckers could certainly plow through "unnecessary, job killing" regulation, yet, someone ends up in the ditch, every show. Probably a bad choice, even for Secretary of Transportation.

I guess that leaves us with our favorite faux folk, the Alaska Bush People and their patriarch, Will Geer, I mean Billy Beer, I mean Billy Brown.  Still,iIt's hard to see Billy Brown as President, even though the sight of Bam and Bear at State Dinners would be absolute must see TV!

I guess, I'll have to ponder this one further. Any thoughts?

This next item is not Alaska related, but it is something we can all relate to, especially since the Alaska voters in all their wisdom have chosen to legalize pot.

This comes from a newspaper I used to work for (this column is becoming a bit of old home week, sorry) the Casper Star-Tribune.

It seems that a worker from Colorado reported to the local constabularly that someone had stolen his pot stash from his hotel room.

Bear in mind here, that unlike either Colorado or Alaska, marijuana possession is still illegal in "The Big Empty" AKA Wyoming.

The poor doofus had reported the theft to the hotel desk clerk and when the police arrived he freely admitted that someone had stolen his weed.  They asked if he had some more, said yes, and produced it. He was more than a little surprised when the police then arrested him.

Just then another man, unconnected to the first man - but also a visitor from Colorado - walked into the lobby smelling strongly of pot. The police asked him why and he - once again freely - admitted he had been smoking marijuana outside because he couldn't smoke it in his hotel room. They asked him if he had any left. He produced more pot and they arrested him as well.

People often ask me if I am going to smoke pot now that it is legal. I point out that I am "stupid" enough in my unaltered state, thank you very much!

And one final note for the day.

A couple of visitors were heard saying the following as they walked up Pine Street recently.

"I can't believe they just let water run down the streets here. How wasteful is that?"


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