SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

From Google Eyes to Googling
By Dave Kiffer


May 19, 2006

Ketchikan, Alaska - One of the advantages of living in a small town is that you pretty much know what you're getting when you get "involved" with someone new. After all, many folks have lived here for a while and everyone has a really long memory.

Of course, there are plenty of "transients" to spice things up. They are often referred to as "fresh meat" yet what they really are, are "tabula rasas." They are blank slates and a major advantage about moving to Ketchikan is that you can do the big "etch-a-sketch" shake with your personal history and take advantage of a "mulligan" or do over.

I was talking to a single friend recently and she as bemoaning the fact that a recent boyfriend turned out to be carrying more smelly baggage than an Alaska Airlines fish flight.

jpg Information Flood

Information Flood
By Alen Lauzan Falcon,
Distributed to subscribers for publication
by Cagle Cartoons, Inc.

"Next time," she said. "I'm gonna Google before I commit."

She meant that in the future she would do a little Internet research to suss out a potential boyfriend's particulars.

I spend a fair amount of time on the Internet and I've noticed there are all sorts of search options for tracking down information about past, present and future squeezes. Most involve money and some sort of private detective agency.

But a lot of people apparently just try their luck by randomly "googling" any perspective mates.

Frankly, there is a lot of misinformation out there on the Web, so I was wondering just how much you could gain by "googling."

I figured that the best way to test the veracity of any info out there was to start simple and google that with which I was already relatively familiar.

First, I googled my son, Liam. I found that he had been mentioned in several SITNEWS columns by me! And had also appeared in a news photo that had been run in several newspapers across the country last Summer. So far so good.

So then I googled myself. I have also appeared in a variety of columns and news stories and other things involving Our Fair Salmon City, Ketchikan, Alaska, through my column, my work or my political activities.

Some of my past history in such places as Boston, Massachusetts and Casper, Wyoming are also on file in the far reaches of the Internet. As are some of my literary and newsworthy writings at a variety of locations from here to Ireland and England even. It just may be possible that the Internet remembers my past history better than I do sometimes. So far so good, again!

But then it starts to get a little weird. First of all, David Kiffer is not a particularly normal name. It certainly doesn't rank up there with John Smith or even John Doe.

You pretty much have to head back to the Alsace-Lorraine section of what used to be called "The Rhineland" to find very many Kiffers at all (or to Kiffer Hill Cemetery in Forest County, Pennsylvania!).

Yet, by googling, I discovered that David Kiffer is a retired Lieutenant Colonel with the Strategic Air Command (cool!) and that David Kiffer is an orthopedic surgeon in Colorado (my mother would be so proud!).

On a less happy note, David Kiffer also got fired from a government job in New Jersey, for an alleged misuse of government funds. And David Kiffer sells used cars in Northern Florida. Take that for what it is worth.

Perhaps most interesting is that if you google Kiffer you get a variety of German drug related and "party hearty" sites.

I knew that the word Kiffer means a hardwood tree in some German dialects, but I had no idea that the word is also used for drug slang. I'm not a native German speaker so I won't try to precisely translate but the equivalent English would be to say something like:

"Wow, that is some really killer Hemlock dude!"


"Don't Bogart that Spruce, my friend!"

With the word Kiffer subbing for the tree of your choice, of course. Go figure.

Carrying on the investigation I decided to see what my wife, Charlotte Glover, has been up to lately.

A whole heck of a lot if one reads the English and Australian tabloids.

It seems that well-known Australian soccer star Wayne Rooney has made some headlines for sleeping with a "Party Girl" (English papers) or a "Vice Girl" (Australian papers) named Charlotte Glover. She also oft referred to as the "leggy" Charlotte Glover and allegedly has a twin sister in the same line of work. Not sure what the best American equivalent term for her would be but I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be any sort of slang for tree.

Rooney further compounded the trouble (he is engaged to married) by giving the chippie an autograph to commemorate their meeting. For her part, Ms. Glover told an English tabloid that she knew her "date" really was Wayne Rooney because he was immature and "dead ugly."

That's certainly more information than I was looking for.

Fortunately, additional Charlotte Glover googling finds a different legacy. Charlotte Glover teaches algebra in Paris, Texas. Charlotte Glover is a writer/actress in Miami, Florida and Charlotte Glover is also an administrator at the Piedmont Virginia Community College.

Of course, Charlotte Glover is most prominent on the Internet as a librarian of much local and regional stature, serving as president of both the Alaska Library Association and the Pacific Northwest Library Association at various times. She has also been known to write a pretty gnarly letter to the editor in Slate.Com now and again.

So, as always, one would still have to sort through all the "information" (maybe we should call it "Onformation"?) that you can get from a good Google.

After all, my wife - the only Charlotte Glover that really matters - would probably have been disappointed to discover that I really wasn't an orthopedic surgeon, though she would have been relieved that I wasn't really a Lieutenant Colonel.

Perhaps, we should just be happy that coming to Ketchikan can wipe the slate clean. Everyone should get at least one "do over."


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

Dave Kiffer ©2006

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