SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Sink Your Teeth Into This One!


August 31, 2011

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska -
I guess I just don’t get this whole “vampire” thing.

Probably because I am not a teen-aged girl or an older woman who should know better.
jpg Dave Kiffer

Something about the only love worth “dieing for” is with an “undead” person who has porcelain skin who would probably get seriously beaten up in any typical Alaskan bar until he started making Bloody Marys out of the other patrons.

Oh yeah, and you really can’t “consummate” the relationship because then you’d be – well – undead too.


Far be it from me to mock the secret desires for “endless” love that has created a whole new industry judging from the pop culture book shelves. It seems like every new work of fiction has some sort of vampire “theme.”  (I especially like the mash ups that merge Jane Eyre and vampires or zombies, that about covers it – chase scenes involving frothy mouthed horses pulling carriages through graveyards surrounded by flying bats).

Well, except for the Amish “romance” novels that are also springing up faster than you can bake a shoofly pie! What’s up with that? I can find true, bodice ripping, love in a community of “plain dress” bretheren? Get out of town (and off to Pennsylvania!)!

But , as usual, I digress. (mmm, shoofly pie, mmm)

So, why do I even care about vampires?

I’m so glad you asked!

I’m just following the number one rule of column writing.

Now, I’m sure that you think that “columnists” whether they are in print, on the internet or just shouting at each other on TV, have a noble role to play.

You probably think it is the job of the columnist to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable! To illuminate the human condition and expose all that is wrong in the world!! To fight for truth, justice and the multi-cultural way!!!

And that would be the mission statement of LAME (the League of Affiliated Muckraking Editorialists) of which I am a card-carrying member.

But that’s not the real goal of all columnists.

 Since columnists generally are former journalists who have grown tired of actually reporting (get up from my desk, you must be joking), they have honed their art to a fine point – the ability to open a newspaper – or a website – see a headline and immediately spew 900-1000 words of vituperatively mocking prose at it.

And I can do that as well as anyone!

So here’s the headline...

“Vampire Themed Cruise to Come to Southeast.”


Well, actually it doesn’t matter if it’s true because part of the “21 Century  Columnist’s Creed” is not to worry if the facts are wrong. You just go with the flow and let the sarcastic satire rip!

So now comes Holland America – the dowager aunt of the Carnivore cruise empire (no catchy slogans or freestyle cruising for HA) – with a proposed “vampire” themed cruise for June of 2012.

Never mind that the Mayans say that the world will end next year (now there would be a fun themed cruise – party like crazy because the world is ending! Nothing matters, no consequences, drunken writhing on the Lido Deck 24-7, an extra slab of butter with every meal!).

Instead we are offered a “unique” opportunity.  A chance to cruise with a group of like mind “vampire aficionados” (hold me back) on the Zuiderdam (I guess the Flying Dutchmandam was already booked for the Pirate themed cruise) for a week in Southeast Alaska.

The ship will make it usual stops in Juneau, Glacier Bay, Skagway and Ketchikan after it leaves Vancouver (what no side trip up the Calawah River to Forks?).

Here’s my favorite part.

Scheduled on the cruise is Dacre Stoker, a great-grandnephew of “Dracula” author Bram Stoker. Dacre Stoker is apparently the co-author of a sequel called “Dracula: The Un-Dead.”

If I was planning to cash in on the notoriety of my great grand uncle, I would at least write the whole book myself (co-author?), but then I do have the ability to spew out large volumes of text without needing to engage my brain (see above).

Also on board is a vampire scholar named John Edgar Browning. A vampire “scholar?” Is that something you can get a federal research grant for? Or maybe a MacAthur genius award? How can you be a “scholar” of something that only exists in the mass market paperback shelves at the local grocery store?

I digress, I digress, I digress.

At least Scholar Browning will be performing a useful function: Hosting a “vampire movie festival.”

There’s nothing like hours upon hours of Christopher Lee glaring into the camera and raising his hand over and over to fend of either a wooden stake or the light of the sun. With – of course – a bit of levity in the middle – Leslie Nielson in “Dead and Loving It!”.

Natch, there will be a costume contest and a vampire ball, making the Zuiderdam even more “gothic” than usual.

Now I really don’t want to splash cold water on all this (oops, that’s witches, nevermind)!

It might actually be a blood-curdling good time for all involved.

But here’s my big question.

Vampires? In Southeast Alaska?

Why not a themed cruise that actually has something do with the trip the cruisers are taking?

I mean, aren’t there other homicidal, supernatural wackos around these here parts?

Skipping, for instance, the fact that most of the remaining single men in Southeast already fit that description pretty well, we still have things like “kooshtakahs” and “bigfeet” if you really prefer your poison mythological.

And there’s the rub (or neck nibble as the case may be). Like all cruises, it’s not really about Alaska. It’s about taking the cruisers on a real “trip”.

Who needs Glacier Bay, when you can cruise deep into the icy recesses of the spinster heart and get the blood flowing, at least as far as the neck.

BTW, that was 995 words. Perfect.

On the Web:

More Columns by Dave Kiffer

Historical Feature Stories by Dave Kiffer


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