Dave Kiffer is a freelance
writer living in Ketchikan, Alaska.
A freelance writer
is an uncommitted independent writer who produces and sells articles
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(396) Airlines a trois! - Whenever I fly off island, something interesting usually happens. - More...
Tuesday PM -
April 16, 2019
(395) Falling into Old Age - Jerry Seinfeld once did a stand up routine about turning 40. He noted that a variety of things happen, most notably fate assigns you a random disease or infirmity that you will have to deal with for the rest of your life. - More...
Sunday PM - March 10, 2019
(394) Oh no, it's the big 60! - In a couple of weeks, something significant will happen to me. - More...
Saturday PM - January 26, 2019
(393) 2019: Snarknado returns!! - Last year, my New Year's Resolution was to be less snarky in 2018. - More...
Monday PM - December 31, 2018
(392) REMEMBERING THE BIG BLOW OF '68 - When I was younger I had too many teeth for my mouth. - More...
Friday PM - November 23, 2018
(391) Do ya feel lucky, Ecopunk? - Sometimes a news headline tell you everything you need to know. - More...
Friday AM - November 02, 2018
(390) The Rain is Falling, The Rain is Falling - Social Media is a wonderful thing. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 23, 2018
(389) Put Down Your Danged Blinky Toy! - The other day a very, very long time friend noted that life is "pretty cool" because now all of us have "Star Trek Communicators." - More...
Tuesday PM - October 02, 2018
(388) Mmmm, fudge - For the past few weeks I have been taking a morning constitutional before work. - More...
Friday PM - September 07, 2018
(387) A Bridge (Story) Too Far - I've always been a sucker for those compilation stories that the Main Scream Media trots out on slow news days. - More...
Saturday PM - August 18, 2018
(386) Heat Stroke Musings - Having mostly survived the great Ketchikan "heat storm" of 2018 - when temperatures were in the high 70s and low 80s for almost two weeks, muskeg fires broke out and people's water cisterns went dry - my thoughts now naturally gravitate to where I will live some day when "retirement" crashes down upon me like a cedar tree killed by global warming. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 08, 2018
(385) Ketchikan Takes Expedia's Breath Away! - I think we'd all agree that Ketchikan is one of the most breathtaking places in the world. - More...
Wednesday PM - June 27, 2018
(384) It's a bird, it's a plane, it's megaship!! - OMG, a cruise ship blocked out the sun this week! - More...
Tuesday PM - June 05, 2018
(383) Potholing Our Way to Down Underville - I have been wracking my brain (yes, I have one) for some time now trying to come up with a way that Ketchikan can profit from its most renewable resource, its pot holes. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 29, 2018
(382) Lies, Damned Lies, and Wall Street Statistics - So, a friend from Down South asked me recently, how I felt to live in the "poorest town" in Alaska? - More...
Friday PM - May 11, 2018
(381) Helping Those Who Help Ourselves! - Ketchikan residents are nothing if not helpful. We always endeavor to assist newcomers to our community. We just plain love to help people out. Whenever someone says to me "Can you help me out?" I always answer ""Absolutely. What way did you come in?" - More...
Wednesday PM - April 18, 2018
(380) Detours Ahead - In Ketchikan, there are four somewhat muddled seasons. Early Wet, Middle Wet, Road Construction and Next Wet. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 20, 2018
(379) And You Thought It Was Just 'Catitude' - You can tell it's a slow news week when people start circulating stories about how - if they were just a little bigger - our house cats would kill us. - More...
- March 08, 2018
(378) Thank God it's Monday - I have decided that "words" are a problem. Yeah, yeah, sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you. - More...
Wednesday AM- February 07, 2018
(377) Dear Amazon: Why Not Us? - It probably comes as no surprise that Ketchikan is not on the list of finalists for the Amazing Amazon Headquarters Contest. - More...
Wednesday PM - January 24, 2018
(376) DRIPPY NEW YEAR! - As the crow flies, it is about 1,100 miles from Nanaimo, British Columbia to Cordova, Alaska. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 09, 2018
(375) FOOLS GOLD! - Just about once a week, I get an email that reads something like this: - More...
Wednesday PM - December 27, 2017
(374) By Any Other Name - It seems we still haven't quite nailed down that group noun to describe the residents of Our Fair Salmon City. - More...
Saturday PM - November 11, 2017
(373) Boo Who? Boo You! - It's that scary time of the year! - More...
Tuesday PM - October 31, 2017
(372) Laundry, Laundry, Laundry! By DAVE KIFFER - Recently, I went to a charity auction and clearly the most popular item was a Roomba. - More...
Saturday PM - October 21, 2017
(371) Lost At Sea - We often gnash our teeth about visitors wandering around, seemingly lost, in Our Fair Salmon City. - More...
Thursday AM - September 28, 2017
(370) Sunny Days are becoming as frequent as Eclipses - Well, Our Fair Salmon City somehow managed to survive the galactic convergence of Eclipse-a-mania and Storm-aggedon! - More...
Saturday PM - August 26, 2017
(369) ON THE ROAD, SORT OF - I have an acquaintance who every summer waxes poetically (no rhymes thank goodness) about the summer road trips his family took each year. - More...
Sunday PM - August 20, 2017
(368) The sun has perished and an evil mist shall hover over all - Yeah, that missive from Homer - about an eclipse and not necessarily the Ketchikan weather - is a little doomy gloomy. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 01, 2017
(367) THE AUTUMN LEAVES - For the record, the first leaves began to congregate on our driveway right around the solstice, the official beginning of summer, the third week of June. - More...
Saturday AM - July 22, 2017
(366) We've got spirit, we've got soul, 77, we got old! - Recently I spent some time with a group of really old people, the Ketchikan High School Class of 1977. It was our fortieth high school reunion. Naturally, I have some thoughts about that. - More...
Tuesday PM - July 11, 2017
(365) - Technology is a wonderful thing: Or not. - Hi, I am from Technology and I am here to help! - More...
Monday PM - June 19, 2017
(364) Catfood Gravity: It's not just a good idea, it's the law - It is a rainy day in Ketchikan. - More....
Monday PM - June 05, 2017
(363) Quibbles and Bits - 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. - More...
Thursday PM - May 18, 2017
(362) Just When You Thought It Was Safe to go Back in the Woods! - A while back I was Dough-splaining something to a newcomer to Our Fair Salmon City. - More...
Monday PM - May 01, 2017
(361) Travel: It's an Adventure - Few things are a relaxing as the slow descent of a jet into a major city. - More...
Tuesday PM - April 25, 2017
(360) Let's Hear It For Hibernation Nation! - Wow, wasn't it great to just spend the last several months "hibernating?" - More...
Saturday PM - April 08, 2017
(359) The state seal doesn't get my approval - The other day I was sitting in an office with nothing to do. - More...
Thursday AM - March 16, 2017
(358) Well, well, well - It's that time of the year when no news is pretty much no news. - More...
Friday PM - March 03, 2017
(357) Too good not to be true! - Like the gift that keeps on giving, our former Governor's name has popped back into the public consciousness, primarily because she remains at least peripherally part of the new president's peripatetic posse. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 14, 2017
(356) Just humor me on this one, ok? - It has been brought to my attention that women have no sense of humor. - More...
Monday AM - February 06, 2017
(355) Experiencing the Glamor of Flight - Recently I read about an entrepreneur in Los Angeles who is attempting to recreate what he calls "The Pan Am Experience" for people interested in a different sort of night out. - More...
Monday PM - January 23, 2017
(354) Dad driven to distraction - Dear Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles: I have never been one to quibble with the wisdom of the State of Alaska. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 03, 2017
(353) When you Wish upon a Book - About 335 columns ago, I wrote wistfully about how joyous Christmas was when I was a child and I had all those presents to look forward to each year. - More...
Thursday PM - December 29, 2016
(352) To Stud or Not To Stud - In life there are a lot of choices. - More...
Sunday PM - November 20, 2016
(351) I'll vote for these Candy-dates! - Argh-tober is the bestest, most wonderfulest time of the year! - More...
Sunday PM - October 23, 2016
(350) A name is a name is a name - The other day I was flying into Anchorage. - More...
Thursday PM - September 29, 2016
(349) TIME WELL SPENT - An acquaintance recently noted that he does his best thinking in the shower. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 20, 2016
(348) Attack of the Killer Bagpipes - Many of you know that I have been fighting with musical instruments most of my life. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 06, 2016
(347) Praying for a Sweaty Flight - First of all, I am absolutely one hundred gazillion percent in favor of airplane security. I have no problem with TSA doing its dangedess to stop evil doers from doing evil to the plane that I am on. - More..
Saturday PM - August 20, 2016
(346) Neither here nor there - If you put two Alaskans in a room together, it is only a matter of seconds before they start playing "can you top this" with travel horror stories. Unlike our "Outside" cousins, we collect plane and boat trip horror stories pretty much from birth. And they are always good ones. - More...
Thursday PM - July 28, 2016
(345) Still 2 Much Vice in K-town? - The 1920s were a great time to be in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016
(344) Which Way to the Tsunami? - It was a bright sunny day in Our Fair Salmon City. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 31, 2016
(343) Happy as a Marten Crossing the Road! - Just about a year ago, those wacky pollsters at Gallup up and decided that Alaskans were the happiest people in America. - More...
Monday PM - May 23, 2016
(342) Is Ketchikan Really All That Beachy Keen? - First a disclaimer. I was born and raised in Ketchikan. I have left several times, but I keep coming back (a very bad penny) and I generally like it here. It is a great place to be. But I am not one of those folks who insists Ketchikan is so GREAT that it is the ONLY place to be. - More...
Monday PM - May 02, 2016
(341) I Never Did Mind The Waterboarding - It's springtime in Alaska. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 20, 2016
(340) Alaska in six words or less! - Recently, the Alaska Dispatch News held a contest to see if readers could describe their "Alaskan Lives" in six words. - More...
Tuesday AM - April 05, 2016
(339) Them's Fightin Words, I predict - Someone called me a PUNDIT the other day! - More...
Thursday PM - March 10, 2016
(338) Happy EKG to Me! - I celebrated my recent birthday by getting an electrocardiogram! - More...
Monday PM - February 15, 2016
(337) Not Much Rockin and Rollin Round Here - I was on the Internet a few days ago when Los Anchorage got shaken and stirred by a fair size earthquake. It was one of those virtual moments where one of my up north Facebook friends suddenly announced. "Wow, that was a big one." Then others quickly chimed in their reports of shaking and things falling off the walls. - More...
Monday AM - February 02, 2016
(336) Life, it seems, causes cancer - A day just doesn't go by without an announcement that something I love causes cancer. - More...
Tuesday AM - January 26, 2016
(335) The First Brain Freeze of the Year - January is that wonderful time of the year when everything is swept clean and we start afresh. - More...
Monday AM - January 11, 2016
(334) K-town economy just keep 'Truckin' - "Cruisin and the ships come in,
keep cruisin, like the doo dah man.
Together, dock em four in line,
just keep cruising on."
With the inaugural arrival of the Grateful Dead Cruise Line set for April 1, 2016, Ketchikan's Downtown businesses are already rushing to cache in the latest boom in Our Fair Salmon City's history. First it was mining, then salmon canning, then timber and most recently tourism. The latest K-town economic craze? Snacks! - More...
Friday AM - December 11, 2015
(333) State keeps up its APB on the ABP - Well, well, well.
Aren't we all just on pins and bullpine-needles waiting to hear how things turn out for our favorite Alaska part-time residents, the Alaskan Bush People? - More...
Saturday AM - December 05, 2015
(332) The Drizzling World of Hairy Potheads - Well, we've all survived another "Argh-tober" in Our Fair Salmon City. - More...
Monday AM - November 16, 2015
(331) More tales from the Road - A couple of weeks ago one of my friends, noted "Gee, you haven't had any fraught-filled traveling stories lately." - More....
Tuesday PM - October 27, 2015
(330) How Slow Can You Go? - Like all other 21st Century Men, I am obsessed with the size of my………… internet connection. - More...
Saturday AM - October 10, 2015
(329) Just a little sip in the air - Our old family friend Skookum Gregorchuck calls this time of year, the 'eer time. He means it is the time of hunting deer and making beer. - More...
Saturday PM - September 26, 2015
(328) The Unspeakable Word - Gentle readers with delicate constitutions may want to avert their eyes. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 15, 2015
(327) Dissed by POTUS - Okay, I'm pretty sure we're all a little peeved that the most important person in the universe deigns Ketchikan unworthy of even a brief stop by on his much ballyhooed visit to Alaska. - More...
Saturday PM - September 05, 2015
(326) Another Passing Grade - Well, despite all our best parental attempts to prevent all that “lurning” and “edjification,” Liam started high school this week. - More...
Thursday PM - August 27, 2015
(325) Acquiring a taste for foreign ‘food’ - It's a delicacy in Japan." That was a common refrain in my cannery days. - More...
Sunday - August 02, 2015
(324) R.U. Smarter Than Your Toilet? - So, you are all impressed with your smart phones. - More...
Monday AM - July 13, 2015
(323) Saved by a Selfie - If you know me, you know I think selfies are stupid. - More...
- June 29, 2015
(322) But at least the weather was nice - This past week, about 1,276 people asked me if I was going fishing in “the Derby.” - More...
Thursday PM - May 28, 2015
(321) Alaska Caught Red (Facebook) Handed? - I am always amused by people who are worried about the “guvrrrment” spying on them. - More...
Monday PM - May 11, 2015
(320) Rude Trip on a Road Glide? - Okay, y’all know I like Harley Davidson motorcycles. Heck, I even own one and can be occasionally seen rumbling about the highways of Our Fair Salmon City in a puff of V-twin smoke. - More...
Monday PM - April 27, 2015
(319) R.U. Smarter Than a President? - Now that the national presidential race is in full swing (and we pray there are enough trees and ropes to deal with all the hopefuls), commentators all seem to be wrapped up in trying to answer the most important question on the minds of all voters. - More...
Monday PM - April 06, 2015
(318) Now, we’re the ‘dreariest place’ in the whole USA - Dreary: dull, bleak, lifeless, depressing. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 31, 2015
(317) The Monsters Are Coming - This week’s headlines are certainly eye catching! - More...
Thursday PM - March 19, 2015
(316) Between the Rail Belt Devils and the Deep Blue Cs - The "Between Cs" season is always an interesting time in Our Fair Salmon City. - More...
Friday PM - March 13, 2015
(315) We’ll have less to go on! - As if there isn't already a lot of things to be worried about, I read on the internet (so it must be true) that companies that make toilet paper are cutting back on the sheet size. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 03, 2015
(314) We're The Happiest State, In The Whooooooole U-S-A!!!! - Yep, yep, yep that Donna Fargo song is going through my head right now! (and now yours too). More...
Monday PM - February 23, 2015
(313) Running into a teenager parental responsibility - Charlotte and I like to think we are "involved" with our child. - More...
Saturday AM - February 07, 2015
(312) When Heading For The Hills Won’t Help - Tsunamis, shmunamis!
Recent weather events have shown that our community concern about tsunamis is clearly aimed in the wrong direction! - More...
Thursday AM - January 29, 2015
(311) We’re On a Cruise to Nowhere - Last week, my wife Charlotte mentioned something about a knitting cruise. At the time, it just sort of rolled off my brain like a slippery skein of yarn that then needs to be chased half across the room. - More...
Saturday PM - January 10, 2015
(310) Casting Call: Wetnecks! - Word from the Mad Zoo enclave of Wasilla is that "Slednecks" is no more. - More...
Saturday PM - January 03, 2015
(309) The Signs They Are A Changing - I always enjoy my visits to Zitka by the Zea. - More...
Saturday PM - December 20, 2014
(308) Are Alaskans really driving each other crazy? - Are Alaskans really driving each other crazy?” - More...
Monday PM - December 15, 2014
(307) Some New Laws of Distraction - Recently, the Ketchikan city government weeded out some old laws that it hadn’t enforced in a coon’s age and had no intention of enforcing in a future coon’s age. - More...
Monday PM - December 08, 2014
(306) If the phone don’t ring, it’s me not calling - Things seem kinda lonely around the old Salmon City homestead these days. - More...
Monday PM - November 24, 2014
(305) NOAH WAS A WUSS - It is interesting just how interested folks are in rainfall. - More...
Saturday PM - October 25, 2014
(304) An Rx For A Little Road Time - Dear National Cooperative Rx, Thank you so much for writing me to tell me how important my annual influenza vaccination can be in “keeping me and my family healthy.” - More...
Thursday AM - October 09, 2014
(303) As The Salmon Turns - As another visitor season winds down….. More...
Monday PM - September 15, 2014
(302) Ah, technology! - Despite the fact that I love grilled food, I am just not much of a griller. - More...
Wednesday PM - September 03, 2014
(301) Alaska Bush Mayor - I must be the only person in Alaska without my own reality show. - More...
Thursday - August 14, 2014
(300) Hey, I can see the Bridge to Nowhere from my house! - Just the other day a visitor asked me about the Bridge to Nowhere. - More...
Monday - July 28, 2014
(299) A Simple Game of Catch- It is my role as a parent to embarrass my son at least once every day. - More...
Thursday - July 17, 2014
(298) Go Forth and Humidify - The other day, a friend asked me if this was one of the worst “droughts” in Ketchikan history. I think she was being a little sarcastic. - More...
Wednesday - June 11, 2014
(297) The 'news' is slimier than you think! - One of the great joys about being a local” mover and shaker” is that all sorts of interesting things wander across your desk. - More...
Saturday - May 17, 2014
(296) Sing a Song of Old Ketchikon - A while back, a perceptive reader emailed me. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 06, 2014
(295) I hold in my hand, the final envelope… - I’m still trying to figure out how much Deer Mountain weighs. - More...
Monday - April 28, 2014
(294) Welcome to Ketchikan! By DAVE KIFFER - So I was having a chat with Vlad Putin the other day and he said something very interesting. - More...
April 18, 2014
(293) When it’s springtime in Alaska it’s 40 below. - With all due respect to Johnny Horton, everyone knows that summertime in Alaska is when it’s 40 below. It is still hovering in the minus 60s in springtime. - More...
Saturday PM - March 29, 2014
(292) Winter is enough of a ‘challenge,’ thank you very much - For a week or so, it seemed like everyone in Southeast Alaska was obsessed with something called the “Winter Challenge, 2014.” - More...
Tuesday - March 18, 2014
(291) I Want My Lost Hour of Sleep Back!!! By DAVE KIFFER - Our little household is decidedly split on the “benefits” of “Spring Forward.” - More...
March 08, 2014
(290) Faster, Higher, Stranger - "You Alaskans must really love the Winter Olympics,” one of my Outside friends recently noted in an email. - More...
February 25, 2014
(289) AGE IS JUST A NUMBER, SOMETIMES A VERY BIG ONE By DAVE KIFFER - Mature golfers always make a big deal about “shooting their age.” - More...
Monday PM - February 10, 2014
(288) When the Going Gets Weird - We have a bit of a conundrum around the Casa de Kiffer. Should we or should we not install a flat screen television in the bathroom? - More...
Saturday AM - February 01, 2014
(287) Never Trust An Elevator, And Other Phobias - Like a lot of people, I have a few phobias. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 07, 2014
(286) Toys the season to be jolly - The other day, I was absently humming the “Toys Are Us Time of Year” song. - More...
Saturday - December 21, 2013
(285) HAPPY (Bleeping) Holidays! - A friend recently wrote on Facebook that she knows the holidays have arrived when she hears her mother swearing in the kitchen. - More...
December 09, 2013
(284) Talking turkey, or not - Perhaps the most interesting part of Thanksgiving is the food. - More...
November 27, 2013
(283) In Ketchikan, We Have Our ‘Thrill' - Wow, as far as Our Fair Salmon City is concerned, USA Today is the gift that just keeps on giving. A couple of weeks ago, USA Today noted that Ketchikan highways offer a view of one the “emptiest, loneliest” vistas anywhere (Have they been to Barrow???). Now, we have received an even higher accolade from the “nation’s newspaper.” - More...
Wednesday PM - October 23, 2013
(282) Biking the lonely 'rurban' wilderness - I am always on the look out for mentions of Our Fair Salmon City in the national media. Not that long ago, if you Googled or Binged or Yahooed “Ketchikan” you would get innumerable references to “The Bridge to Nowhere.” - More...
Friday PM - October 18, 2013
(281)Be Wise, Winterize! - The other day, I found a couple of “wooly bears” on my driveway. So what does that mean? - More...
Monday PM - October 07, 2013
(280) When Fishticuffs Break Out - A couple of local Alaska Grrrrls got into a tiff recently. - More...
Monday - September 23, 2013
(279) Born to Be Mild - One of the personal benefits to this year’s spectacular summer weather has been my ability to put more than 1,500 miles on my motorcycle. - More..
Wednesday PM - September 04, 2013
(278) Nightmare in Nowhere - It seems it really does take a village, even a tiny one. - More...
Saturday PM - August 24, 2013
(277) Mr. Pickrell’s Miserable Mile - Work has finally started on the “improvements” to North Tongass between the Ward Cove Bridge and Sunset Drive. - More...
Tuesday PM - August 13, 2013
(276) It Was Sooooo Hot….. - Whew, there has been a lot of chatter around Our Fair Salmon City about where this summer ranks in the pantheons of great K-town summers! - More...
Tuesday - July 30, 2013
(275) Every Summer We Go a Little Gaga By DAVE KIFFER -
One of our favorite pastimes in these here parts is to sigh and roll our eyes at what goes on “Outside.” - More...
Saturday - July 20, 2013
(274) Arrivederci, au revoir, see ya! -
Usually, when you read those words in a headline, it means the column writer is heading on to greener pastures. - More...
Monday - July 08, 2013
(273) A Nootka Rose By Any Other Name -
Recently, I wrote a column in which I referred to Ketchikan residents by a variety of different appellations. - More...
Monday - June 17, 2013
(272) Of Block Parties and Lightning Bolts -
Ketchikandians (!) are a partying bunch as a whole, but one thing that we don’t usually have are those big outdoor, area-wide things that they have elsewhere, block parties. - More...
Monday - June 03, 2013
(271) Out With the Old and In With The ??? -
We've clearly been due a little spring cleaning around Our Fair Salmon City. - More...
Monday PM - April 29, 2013
(270) Happy (Not So) Healthy Holidays -
You know it’s a small town when the Emergency Room staff at the hospital greets you by name. - More...
Monday - March 25, 2013
(269) Making a 'Spectacle' of Myself -
Geezerdom arrived on February 8, 2013. That was the day my first real pair of glasses arrived. - More...
Tuesday PM - February 26, 2013
(268) Twas Two Weeks After Christmas -
Well, it just wouldn't be the holidays around our place if one precious ornament didn't get destroyed and one pet didn't try to commit felinicide. - More...
January 31, 2013
(267) SHAKEN (BUT) NOT STIRRED -
About 15 years ago, I read a horrifying factoid in an old geology textbook. - More...
January 06, 2013
(266) (266) A Deadline We Can All Live With -
Writers are inherently lazy sorts. - More...
Wednesday - December 26, 2012
(265) The Five Islands of Ketchikan - Interesting title, no?
Monday PM - December 10, 2012
(264) JUST ANOTHER BORING FALL - Wow, in two recent weeks Our Fair Salmon City survived not just a tsunami alert, but a hurricane as well. And they say nothing every happens around here! - More...
Monday PM - November 26, 2012
(263) We all survived the GREAT TSUNAMI ALERT OF 2012! - Nothing like a relentless wave of tsunami warnings to liven up a calm Saturday night in Our Fair Salmon City. For those of you on Mars for the past couple of days, Ketchikan experienced one of its rare “noticeable” earthquakes Saturday night. A large quake (7.7) off the southern Haida Gwaii (nee Queen Charlotte Islands) 200+ miles to the southwards caused plants to swing and couches to bounce a bit here. - More...
Tuesday - October 30, 2012
(262) RIP: ANDY AND JP -
When Outsiders hear about my upbringing – all that fishing and hunting and trapping – they tend to get pretty misty eyed, especially the male ones. They imagine how their life would be different (i.e. better) if they had been the youngest son of the one the last great outdoorsmen. - More...
Monday PM - September 24, 2012
(261) It’s A Small Town After All -
Although Ketchikan is roughly twice the size it was when I was growing up, it is still a small town. - More...
(260) Bye, bye Smithers, Hello Waterslides! -
Liam and I had one last splash around Mike Smithers’ Pool before it closed a couple of weeks ago. - More...
Wednesday - July 25, 2012
(259) Sometimes You Do Have to Shovel Rain -
So our climatically-challenged cousins in Juneau are crying because they had 6.69 inches of rain in June. It was the wettest June on record in the Capital City. - More...
July 06, 2012
(258) Deliverance From Space Mountain - I got a sign from God the other day. - More...
Wednesday - June 27, 2012
(257) A Tale Of Two Red Heads -
Tom Miller was the first “hippy” I ever got to know.
People who knew him as the " éminence grise" of the Ketchikan Daily News always chortle when I say that, but it’s true.
Tuesday - June 12, 2012
(256) RIP,(CLICK, CLICK, CLICK) -
One thing we all share is scanning obituaries. - More...
Tuesday - May 29, 2012
(255) Raindrops Keep Falling On Our Heads -
My, my, my, didn’t we all get wet over the rainfall a few days ago. - More...
Friday - May 11, 2012
(254) The Little Ship That Could, Almost. -
I don’t know about you, but I was kinda sad when the Coast Guard cutter Anacapa trained its 50 mm cannon on the Ryou-Un Maru and sank it a few weeks ago. - More...
Tuesday - May 01. 2012
(253) Is This The Party To Whom I Am Speaking? -
You all know how I hate cell phones. - More...
Saturday PM - April 14, 2012
(252) Carrier-ing on with Gravina Access - My desk phone jangled, “Mr. Kiffer?” the serious voice queried, “this is Fridley Bofkin (not his real name) of the San Francisco Comical (not its real name), do you have a minute?” - More...
Wednesday - April 04, 2012
(251) Don’t Worry, Be (fifth) Happy -
Are you feeling happy about being in Alaska? - More...
Tuesday - March 13, 2012
(250) Just Another Routine Fright North - Mea culpa. Mea Maxima Culpa. I have offended the Gods of Travel (Hermes), Weather (Zeus) and Flight (Boeing). My sin was hubris. Hubris in saying “sure, I’ll fly to a meeting in Anchorage in late January.” - More...
Saturday AM - February 04, 2012
(249 Texting in a Winter Wonderland - Twas a couple of days after Christmas, snow was on the ground and…..
Monday - January 16, 2012
(248) Perfectly Fun Day By DAVE KIFFER - A couple of weeks ago, we were in a local store when Liam ran up to me with a gleeful expression. - More...
Friday AM - November 04, 2011
(247) Bop It, Pop! - The other day, my son Liam and his best friend Gabe were playing a little plastic game called “I’ll Dog.” - More...
Friday - October 07, 2011
(246) TERMINATION DUST, OR BUST - This is the time of year when people throughout Alaska start noticing signs of the oncoming winter. - More...
Saturday - October 01, 2011
(245) Seabiscuit and the Satellite - My friend Maria has an unlucky car. - More...
Friday - September 16, 2011
(244) Rain on the Brain - The other day, a friend asked me when her daughter, who is thinking about an outdoor wedding in Ketchikan, should schedule it. - More...
September 07, 2011
(243) Sink Your Teeth Into This One! - I guess I just don’t get this whole “vampire” thing. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 31, 2011
(242) The Great Flood of 2011!!!!!! - “Global warming” or “Climate change” or whatever you want to call it is having a significant effect on Our Fair Salmon City! - More...
Wednesday - August 24, 2011
(241) Neighbors - I wrote a couple of years ago about my old neighborhood on First Avenue between Jefferson and Madison. It was about how things change in Ketchikan, even though to some of us the pace seems only slightly less glacial than continental drift. - More...
Friday - August 19, 2011
(240) Cats 2, Bathroom Doors 0 - The score is now Clever Kittens 2, Kiffer/Glover family 0. - More....
Friday - July 29, 2011
(239) Navn Som Skibet!!!! - Hey boys and girls, it’s time again to play “Name That Cruise Ship!” - More...
Tuesday - July 19, 2011
(238) Summer in Soggy City - At 6:05 pm on July 4, our phone rang. - More...
Thursday - July 07, 2011
(237) The Coast Guard Beach July Fourth Masacree - A few weeks ago, I was sitting with my wife and son on the sand at Coast Guard Beach enjoying the sunshine. It’s a lovely beach that requires some effort to get to, either down a recently completed trail – big props to the trail volunteers - from Point Higgins School or with a short hike through the woods from the end of South Point Higgins Road. - More...
Wednesday - June 29, 2011
(236) Be Prepared - My Dad always thought of Boy Scouts as "amateur hour." - More...
Monday - June 20, 2011
(235) Batter Up - Two or three years ago, Liam asked about being in “T-ball.” - More...
Friday - May 20, 2011
(234) Painting The Hill - Sometime in the next couple of weeks, a longstanding tradition will reoccur on “college hill.” - More...
Saturday - May 14, 2011
(233) Alaskans Give Peace A 50-50 Chance - I had the pleasure of spending a few days “Outside” recently and naturally Alaska remains a “hot topic.” - More...
Friday - April 08, 2011
(232) Pondering a weighty matter - We used to weigh a lot less. - More...
Monday - March 28, 2011
(231) Straight From The Marmot's Mouth - As an ardent consumer of the news, I was somewhat taken aback by the complete lack of media coverage over whether or not Alaska’s marmot saw its shadow on February 2. - More...
Thursday PM - February 03, 2011
(230) The Three Day Snow!!! - Once upon a time we didn’t worry much about upcoming weather. - More...
Monday PM - January 24, 2011
(229) Bringing The World To Ketchikan - The holidays always afford me that rare pleasure, ten or fifteen minutes to read something slightly longer than a text message. Well, recently National Geographic posited that the world population will top 7 billion later this year (2011). Beyond the fact that the population has more than doubled since I was born (a mere 3 billion folks were around to celebrate my birth in 1959), I was also struck by another factoid in the magazine. - More...
Friday PM- January 07, 2011
(228) Relaxing in the Mouse House - A couple of months ago, my wife gave our son an interesting proposition.
Monday - December 20, 2010
(227) A Brit Bid to Bridge the Gravina Gap? - Several of my loyal readers (it surprised me too that there were more than two!) have contacted me let me know that the British navy has an aircraft carrier for sale. - More...
Thursday AM - December 09, 2010
(226) Remembering Two Teachers - I would be remiss if I didn’t notice the recent passing of two of my former Ketchikan teachers.
Saturday AM - November 13, 2010
(225) Still Aging After All These Years - A while back, I mused on how it was that folks in my age group had suddenly become “old.” - More...
Saturday AM - October 30, 2010
(224) Driving in Ketchikan can be a real 'drag - I was driving by Kayhi the other day and I noticed a shiny, apparently new, Corvette in the student parking area. - More...
Friday PM - October 22, 2010
Just Having A Senior Moment - When folks get to be my age, they start to use the O word. - More...
Tuesday - October 12, 2010
Strikes Gold With The Roads To Nowhere - Toyota of America
announced this afternoon that it is purchasing the Ketchikan
Gateway Borough for $1.573 billion dollars. - More...
Tuesday - September 07, 2010
Weather Visiting Anchorage This Summer - Here's a headline
sure to elicit sympathy from all Ketchikanders:- More...
Monday - August 16, 2010
Uncle Ted - I will always remember Ted Stevens asking me
to show him my "new toys." - More...
Thursday - August 12, 2010
Unplugged! - The most horrendous thing happened to me other night. - More...
Friday - July 30, 2010
FOR PUBLIC ART - I've been taking it easy, the last couple
I know, I know, how can anyone
really tell when I take it easy? - More...
Wednesday - July 21, 2010
Oughta Be In Pictures - Well, actually, I am. Dozens of times
You see, I work Downtown and
as I go about my daily routine my picture is snapped over and
over and over again. - More....
Wednesday - June 30, 2010
Up With the Droning and Driving? - I saw something pretty
amazing the other day.
A guy was driving backwards
on Tongass Avenue. - More...
Thursday - June 24, 2010
Whom The Grass Grows: Not Thee!" - Ah spring, when everyone's
hopes are eternal and every team still has a chance.- More...
Wednesday - May 26, 2010
Call Them Mechanicals, I Call Them Naps. - My enthusiastic
fans - both of them - are concerned that I have been pretty easy
on Alaska Airlines this winter. - More...
Tuesday - May 11, 2010
and Odds. - First the ends.
A friend from Outside emails
me the other day.
"So Alaska is now giving
money to dead people?" - More...
Tuesday - April 27, 2010
for the Memories, Inga / Francine - One of the great things
about moving to Ketchikan - or anywhere else in Alaska for that
matter - is the fact that you can reinvent yourself if you really
want. - More...
Saturday - April 10, 2010
For The Next Big Thing - With all of our eyes shifted north
to see who crosses the Iditarod finish line first (I bet it will
be a dog), it's time to harness up the old entrepreneurial spirit
sled and come up with some ideas for other funtastic events to
boost our great state. - More..
Tuesday - March 16, 2010
Got A "No Problem" With That? - I have a problem.
Well, it's not really a problem. It's just that I say "no
problem" a lot. That's not really a problem. Unless of course
you are one of those folks whose has a problem with how often
I say "no problem." - More....
Monday - March 08, 2010
and Dave's Excellent Adventure, Parte Tres - Tere comes a
time in every trip where you must "use the facilities."
Friday - January 08, 2010
and Dave's Excellent Adventure, Parte Dos By DAVE KIFFER
- Don Quixote would have gone completely stark, screaming bonkers.
Monday - December 07, 2009
and Dave's Excellent Adventure, Parte Uno - What we
had was a failure to communicate. - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2009
From The Egosphere! - I have been on Facebook for a few weeks
now. - More...
Monday PM - November 09, 2009
Gov Sideswiped By 'Rogue' Rage - More...
Monday - October 19, 2009
Visitors, Circa 2009 - Now that the last cruise ship has
headed for the Panama Canal, it's time to answer the biggest
question of the season. More...
Wednesday - October 07, 2009
in Ketchikan - So, I was thumbing through the newspaper the
other day and I came across an odd little classified ad. - More...
Tuesday - September 29, 2009
Walk Down Memory Lane - I took a walk along First Avenue
the other day and I noticed something was missing. - More...
Monday - September 21, 2009
Always a Chance - Thank God, that aberrant summer weather
has finally left our bioclime. - More...
Thursday - September 10, 2009
Off On The Road To Alaska's Capital! - No, not Juneau, but
the capital in waiting, Willow.- More...
Monday - August 31, 2009
All About It! - When I was in journalism school quite a few
years ago, I learned that nearly half of the readers of any daily
paper simply scanned the headlines and never read the actual
stories. - More....
Thursday - August 13, 2009
DARN HOT, AGAIN! - It stands to reason that as you read this
column it will probably be cold and raining.- More...
Friday - July 31, 2009
Didn't Need to Be 30 Miles Long, Four Blocks Wide - I
have the greatest respect for the founders of Ketchikan. - More...
Monday - July 20, 2009
Young Man For All Seasons - For the past two weeks, I have
been walking around as though I have been hit in the stomach
with a baseball bat. - More...
Monday - July 06, 2009
Keys? That Depends. - One of the neat-o advantages of turning
50 - other than the 50 percent off coupons for incontinence products
- is the fact that I finally have an excuse for misplacing things.
Monday - June 22, 2009
Idea Whose Time Has Come - Press Release from the Office
of the President of the United States of America: April 1, 2017
President Sarah Palin announced
this morning a plan to locate America's newest maximum security
"terrorist/enemy non-combantant" permanent holding
facility in Ketchikan. - More...
Monday - June 08, 2009
the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Weird - Okay, I'll admit
it. I'm a sucker for what are often called "offbeat"
or "weird" stories. I can't pass up a website that
offers those sort of "man bites dog" or "politician
NOT in jail" stories. - More...
Wednesday - May 13, 2009
Worries Have Gone (Snow) Global - Somewhere, as I write this,
a terrorist is planning to hijack a jet with a snow globe. - More...
Monday - May 04, 2009
Clouded Thinking On The Weather - I was driving an out of
town guest along the Third Avenue Bypass recently and he made
an interesting observation. - More...
Wednesday - April 22, 2009
Up' Is Hard To Do - I can hardly wait for the first day of
What, you say, Spring officially
sprung on March 20? - More...
Wednesday - April 01, 2009
Gets In My Eyes - I saw something unusual the other day.
Thursday - March 26, 2009
Worry, Be Happy, Sort of - Okay, so there is still
slushy white stuff on the ground and it is mid March. - More...
Thursday - March 09, 2009
Happens in Coach - It all started with a Digeplayer. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009
Fly, Fly Again - From the "If At First You Don't
Succeed" Department: It was a stunningly beautiful morning
The snow had stopped- More...
Wednesday - March 04, 2009
Travel As Easy As (No) Pie - In the winter, you "takes
your chances" when it comes to travel in Southeast Alaska.- More...
Monday - February 09, 2009
To Some Old Friends - It's one of those truisms in
the journalism biz that obituaries spike right after the holidays.
Thursday - January 22, 2009
by Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy - Spoiler
Alert!: If you or anyone else in your family still believes that
Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy still visits
your house please don't read this. Or at least don't leave it
up on your home computer where someone else can read it! - More...
Monday - December 29, 2008
it Comes to Political Corruption, Alaskans Try Harder! - Alaskans were feeling pretty smug recently when Illinois
leapt up and took away our position near the top of the political
corruption hit parade in the national media. - More...
Thursday - December 11, 2008
We Survived Again - Well, we made it. - More...
Friday - December 05, 2008
Famous - Last summer, my son asked me an odd question. - More...
Saturday - November 15, 2008
More 'Civil' Society - I recently had the pleasure of spending
several days with our Canadian Cousins in Prince Rupert. - More...
Monday PM - October 13, 2008
Wanted - I was surprised to read Tom Wetzel's obituary in
the Ketchikan Daily News recently. - More...
Monday - September 22, 2008
the Political Rabbit Hole - Yes, Boys and Girls, that giant
wooshing sound you heard Friday morning was indeed the sound
of 650,000 Alaskans simultaneously spitting out their morning
coffee. - More...
Sunday - August 31, 2008
Ketchikan Still High In "Spirits? - It was their first
visit back to K-Town since the early 1980s.
"Where are all the bars?"
They asked. - More...
Sunday - August 17, 2008
$100 Grand, It Better Be Sunny! - I'm sure that when
you read this it will be a gloriously sunny day in our fair salmon
city. - More...
Friday - August 01, 2008
Ringie-Dingie, Two Ringie-Dingies - Yes, I have finally purchased
my first cell phone. - More...
Tuesday - July 22, 2008
Food For You! - So what will $50 buy you these day? - More...
Saturday - June 28, 2008
Death and Road Maintenance - Summer is here in the Soggy
Southern Southeast. - More...
Friday - June 20, 2008
Idea That's All Wet! - It may come as a surprise, but we
have a lot of "farmers" here in Our Fair Salmon City!
Saturday - June 14, 2008
Next American Idle! - Men and Women are different. - More...
Sunday - June 01, 2008
The Water - For some reason, the coming of the summer always
reminds me of beer. - More...
Tueseday - May 27, 2008
With Mary - For the past decade, I have been teaching Ketchikaners
how to play music At any given time, I have about a dozen students
dutifully trying to get "joyful noises" out of the
saxophone, flute or clarinet. \Generally these students are youngsters,
anywhere from fourth grade through high school. Most take lessons
for a year or so and then fall off the radar, usually because
of the crush of other activities. - More...
Monday - May 19, 2008
Answers to Real Questions - Spring is here!
Robins are chirping, skunk
cabbage is flowering and street maintenance is being deferred
once again. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 06, 2008
Henry VIII, I am, I am! - While the rest of you were enjoying
the beautiful - rare - sunny skies last week, I was pondering
my place in history. - More...
Sunday - April 27, 2008
North!!! - So, I was minding my own business sitting in a
public convenience in a large western American airport - okay,
SEATAC - recently. - More...
Monday - April 14, 2008
ARE They Drinking In West Virginia? - Sometimes you
see a headline that makes you laugh. - More...
Tuesday - March 25, 2008
Youngster! - I can't remember how many times I heard that
call, usually while I was wandering aimlessly in the aisles at
one of our local supermarkets. - More...
Tuesday - March 04, 2008
Play: Name That Cruise Ship!!! - Royal Caribbean wants my
opinion! - More...
Thursday - February 21, 2008
This, NAVSTAR! - I was sitting behind a car at a stop light
the other day.
That in itself always seems
a little exotic, because - naturally - I can remember when Ketchikan
had no stop lights. - More...
Sunday PM - February 10, 2008
Slickers - Last week I was trolling through the couple of
hundred "Ketchikan" related items on EBAY when something
caught my eye. - More...
Tuesday - January 29, 2008
for Sign - It was a couple of days before New Year's and
my son and I were standing on the rocks at Bugge Beach. - More...
Thursday - January 10, 2008
Feeling A Little Testy - Since I am a baseball fan, I have
been thinking a lot about steroids and drug testing lately. - More...
Wednesday - December 26, 2007
Unexpected Holiday 'Card' - I was minding my own business
in the checkout line at Wingrens- SeaMart- Carrs- Safeway the
other day, when the clerk threw me for a loop. - More...
Friday AM - December 21, 2007
You Really Ready for An Alaska Man? - From time to time I
have noted that I'm still receiving numerous emails from Outsiders
- mostly of the female persuasion - wanting info about Alaska.
Thursday AM - December 13, 2007
a Beautiful Day, In Frost Patch USA - By the time you read
this, Ketchikan's normal wet winter will probably have resumed.
Monday AM - December 10, 2007
K-Town The Sweet Hairy-After? - Sometimes something just
leaps out and smacks you upside the head and really gets your
attention. - More...
Monday AM - December 03, 2007
It's a Dry Rain! - One of the most interesting weather related
phrases I have ever heard is "yes, but it is a dry heat."
Monday AM - November 19, 2007
A Wet World, After All! - Okay, this may not look much like
work, but I'm on the clock here on this sandy beach in paradise,
let me tell you! - More....
Monday AM - November 12, 2007
A Little Craik In The Manger, Officer! - Recently, I attended
one of those grand Ketchikan soiree's in which the food and beverages
flowed quite freely. - More...
Tuesday AM - October 30, 2007
Juneau Finally Learn How To Guzzle? - I have always thought
our neighbors in Juneau are a little different from you and me.
Wednesday - October 24, 2007
Column Must Be Consumed by 12/06/09 - As I sit at my computer
terminal, I notice that my bottled water (no "heliocentric"
acid rain water from KPU for this boy!) has a "sell by"
date. - More...
Sunday - October 07, 2007
in the Spotlight - Alaska has been in the national media
lately and - for a change - it was nothing about a Bridge to
Nowhere/Somewhere/Anywhere. - More...
Monday AM - September 10, 2007
Idaho - The following factoid should come as a shock to anyone
who drives in Alaska.
Especially someone like me
who has been "bumped" by "distracted" (cell
phones!) drivers twice in the past month (nothing serious, thank
goodness for big cushy, gas guzzling SUV bumpers). - More...
Wednesday - August 29, 2007
That Time Again - A few days ago, I was walking downtown
and I saw a group of visitors irritably huddled under an awning.
Wednesday PM - August 22, 2007
Will Never Cease- There has been much media hoopla lately
over a new internet poll determining the New Seven Wonders of
the World. - More...
Saturday - July 21, 2007
Hazy After All These Years - The Ketchikan High School class
of 1977 turned 30 a couple of weeks ago. - More...
Monday PM - July 16, 2007
Drip Off the Old Block - My good friends in Lost Angeles
are a little parched.
It seems they have just suffered
through the driest weather "year" since records started
being kept 130 years ago. As of June 30 (weather years are July
1 to June 30 in LA, go figure) a total of 3.21 inches of rain
had fallen in the City of "Angles." - More...
Monday - July 09, 2007
Dangerous Curves Ahead! - Marriage is an interesting
And I mean that in the Chinese
way of "cursing" someone by saying "may you live
in interesting times." - More...
Tuesday AM - June 26, 2007
Airline Upgrade You Don't Want - Tired of sitting in a cramped
economy class on a long plane flight? - More...
Saturday - June 09, 2007
Weight Instantly: Become Canadian - Lately, I've been getting
a lot of email about something called "Hoodia." - More...
Sunday - June 03, 2007
Golden Nugget Service - Our national airline, Alaska, is
choosing this month - May - to make us jump through some big
wild hoopla over its 75th anniversary. Alaska celebrating its
history all the way back to Mac McGee and his three-seat Stinsons
in 1932. - More...
Saturday AM - May 19, 2007
the 'Thunderer' - It was good to see people all across
the political spectrum turn out for Jim Elkin's memorial service
recently. - More...
Saturday - May 12, 2007
April IS the Cruelest Month! - I'm pretty sure that T.S. Eliot
was not thinking of my adolescence when he penned "The Waste
Land" but he wasn't far off. - More...
Friday - April 27, 2007
the 'Curse' of the State Quarters - Alaskans have until April
22 to weigh in on which design they think is best for the Alaska
state commemorative quarter that the US Mint will produce a year
from this fall. - More...
Monday - April 16, 2007
Unplugged - It was a sad scene at one of Ketchikan's more
popular eateries one morning recently. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 11, 2007
Grocery Shop Therefore I Am - You can date a local by how
they refer to Ketchikan grocery stores. - More...
Wednesday - March 28, 2007
Way To End Channel Surfing - A couple of recent news items
caught my eye.
First, La-Z-Boy is facing a
"difficult sales environment" and is slashing jobs
and closing several manufacturing plants in order to cut losses
estimated at some $10 million last year. - More...
Monday AM - March 19, 2007
Next Billy Graham - ike most six year olds, Liam appreciates
a bit of a schedule.
Oh, he complains a bit when
we cut off his morning cartoon in order to pile him into the
car for school, but he appreciates the fact that there is a morning
routine. - More...
Friday AM - March 09, 2007
Audience: 'Bin' There, Done That - Years ago, there was a
bar in downtown Ketchikan that had beer advertisements plastered
on the walls above the urinals. - More...
Wednesday AM - February 21, 2007
Cajun Sister State - I read recently that the most popular
baby names in Alaska are "Madison" for girls and "Ethan"
for boys. - More...
Monday PM - February 12, 2007
in Sage Brush - If you Google "Men in Trees" you
come up with my name.
I know this because quite a
few folks in other locales have done just that and then reached
out and electronically touched me. - More...
Saturday AM - February 03, 2007
Third Largest City!?! - Back when I was a young lad in the
late 1960s and early 1970s, a momentous event happened in the
There was a rare stagnant period
in what is normally exponential state government growth. When
you combined that with a boom in the timber industry, Ketchikan
briefly outstripped Juneau as the third largest "city"
in Alaska. - More...
Monday AM - January 29, 2007
Totems - In the last few years, we've all watched our Downtown turn
into something different than we all remember. Part of that is
just the one constant in all our lives: Change. - More...
Tuesday - January 23, 2007
a Dangerous Development - The petty dictators of airplane
discipline gave travelers an early Christmas present recently
by allowing us to take water on plane flights again. - More...
Tuesday - January 09, 2007
Year In Review: Jet Crash Top Story In 2006 - Some newsworthy
events happen every year. Elections, crime, storms, and other
relatively normal events can be expected to make local headlines.
But the most newsworthy event
in 2006 in Ketchikan was completely unexpected: the crash of
a military jet into a trailer park near Carlanna Creek in January.
Tuesday - January 02, 2007
Speaking - I love statistics.
When I was a little kid, I
memorized reams and reams and reams of sports "stats".
Friday AM - December 15, 2006
'Fishy' After All These Years - Recently, I wrote about Seattle
coming up with a new "brand," calling itself the "Metro
Natural" place. - More...
Saturday - December 09, 2006
Learned - We learn the most from our parents. We learn second
most from our school teachers.
But often there are other people
in our community who teach us things that are very important.
Saturday - December 02, 2006
Big Recliner In The Sky - A gentleman in Pacheco, California
had a lot to be thankful for last week.
It seems his wife shot him
with a .357 Magnum. But he was saved. By his recliner. - More...
Friday PM - November 24, 2006
of a Wet Christmas - I've been asked by three different people
what it means to have significant snow before Thanksgiving. - More...
Monday AM - November 20, 2006
the 'Fiendly' Skies - Alaska Airlines is celebrating its
75th birthday next year by printing heartwarming stories from
passengers on its website. - More...
Thursday AM - November 09, 2006
'Branding' is A Great Big Ouch! - I see in the news
that our good friends in Seattle are once again concerned about
how they market themselves to the outside world. The Seattle
Convention and Visitors Bureau has undertaken another "branding
" campaign and have spent 16 months and two hundred thousand
dollars to get a new "brand." - More...
Monday - October 30, 2006
has the Midas Touch - A few days ago, I was driving into
town from Settler's Cove. It was rainy and there were "puddles"
in the low lying areas of the North Tongass Highway, so I was
cheerfully hydroplaning around the corners at 50 mph. - More...
Tuesday PM - October 24, 2006
Shoot, Score! - Liam's final micro-soccer game was last week.
That means that I am no longer a "soccer mom." At least
until next fall. - More...
Monday AM - October 16, 2006
That Lonesome Whistle - Several years ago I was working at
KRBD and I got a pretty funny phone call from one of the federal
agencies that deal with transportation safety. I can't remember
which acronym it used. - More...
Wednesday - October 04, 2006
In Trees" - Ketchikan's own A.J. Slagle got a "shout
out" last week on national television.
Slagle was mentioned in an
episode of a new television series that is "set" in
Alaska called "Men in Trees." The premise of the show
is that a "relationship" expert sees her relationship
implode and she ends up in Alaska, where the sexual ratio is
so out of whack that there are "men in trees." - More...
Monday PM - September 25, 2006
No. 26!!! - It's fall and that means that the sap gets cut
off from the branches and more surveys and studies drop down
to clog up my driveway. - More...
Monday - September 18, 2006
By Corvids - I can't go out on my deck anymore.
No, not because the fall weather
has arrived. We have a mostly covered deck and I can sit there
and watch the rain drip off the clogged gutters as well as the
next guy. - More...
Tuesday - September 12, 2006
A Small World - Okay everyone, after me! - More...
Tuesday - September 05, 2006
Are Hazardous To My Health - I read last week that being
just a "little obese" can be hazardous to your health.
Monday - August 28, 2006
Will Only Take A Minute! - We all like to be thought of as
That's why it is so hard to
turn down a chance to be "surveyed". - More...
Monday PM - August 21, 2006
Where, O Where is Delaware? - Several folks have asked how
my annual License Plate Bingo battle is going, so time for an
update as we head into the dog days of August. - More...
Sunday - August 13, 2006
Best Wage of All - This is my 100th column for SITNEWS.
Monday AM - August 7, 2006
Kingdom: Ketchikan Style - There was a wee bit of a traffic
jam on the Third Avenue bypass a week ago. - More...
Friday - July 28, 2006
With The Locals - Garrison Keillor was in town this week
and that qualifies as a celebrity sighting. - More...
Sunday - July 23, 2006
the dirt on Revilla Man - A zillion years ago I was sitting
in a college literature class and the teacher said a strange
thing. - More...
Monday - July 17, 2006
Neck leaves me feeling Blue - Ouch.
Okay, let's try again.
Sorry, it's not so easy to
type when your neck and arms are the color and consistency of
a boiled lobster. - More....
Monday - July 10, 2006
Is Going To The Dogs - My wife maintains a somewhat amused
eye toward local "traditions" despite the fact she
has now lived here 15 years. - More...
Monday - July 03, 2006
Forsooth! - We live in a small town, sometimes - amid all the summer hustle-bustle
and thousands of visitors milling around in the middle of the
street - I forget that. - More...
Sunday - June 25, 2006
Ketchikanians, Rainbirds, Wet Heads? - A while back I was
at a gathering and someone stood up and addressed the group as
"my fellow Ketchikanites." - More...
Saturday - June 17, 2006
Ketchikan Warm to GLOBAL WARMING? - Our good friends in Juneau
are concerned with GLOBAL WARMING.
I have to use all capital letters
when discussing GLOBAL WARMING because proper protocol demands
that "good stewards of the Earth" always use all caps
(the written word version of shouting) for GLOBAL WARMING because
it is such an important issue. - More...
Sunday - June 11, 2006
IS Cinco de Mayo? - I was skulking about downtown the other
day when I noticed two Amish couples walking down the sidewalk.
They were most definitely "plainly dressed" and the
men had remarkable facial hair. - More...
Thursday - June 01, 2006
Our Fellow Lawbreakers A Break - Once again, a tip of the
ten gallon hat to our "fellow Amaricuns" in the Great
State of Texas. - More...
Sunday - May 28, 2006
Google Eyes to Googling - 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. - More...
Friday - May 19, 2006
This Warning May Make You Crazy - I was at my favorite office
supply purveyor last week, when I noticed something odd on the
pens I was buying. They came with a disclaimer which read in
part "please remove cap before use. Failure to remove cap
will prevent proper operation." - More...
Friday - May 12, 2006
and Better, New and Improved! - When I was at Kayhi (during
the Ford and Carter administrations!), one of my favorite TV
shows was the original "Saturday Night Live" with Ackroyd-Belushi-Radner
et al. It was "must see" every week TV for myself and
my semi-delinquent posse. - More...
Monday -May 01, 2006
Off My Studs? Snow Way! - I suspect that about 80 percent
of Ketchikan drivers broke the law last week. - More...
Friday - April 21, 2006
has sprung, rat-a-tat-tat! - Everyone seems to have
a different way of determining when spring has arrived in Ketchikan.
Monday - April 17, 2006
Over the Hill - I had a weird experience in the aisles
of Safeway recently. - More...
Sunday - April 09, 2006
'Token' for Your Thoughts! - When my older brothers
vacated the old family homestead on First and Jefferson, they
left a lot of fun stuff in the attic for me to discover. - More...
Monday - April 03, 2006
Once, Four Wheeled Was Fore Armed - Last week was the one
week out of the year where I could feel an "eensy-weensy-teensy"
bit smug about owning an urban assault vehicle. - More...
Saturday - March 25, 2006
for Unmanly stuff - The other day I was in the checkout line
at A and P and I found myself explaining to the checkout clerk
why I had all these little kiddie toys and games in my basket.
Friday - March 17, 2006
Local History To Chew On - I was walking along Water Street
recently when I noticed The Pizza Mill had closed down. - More...
Saturday - March 11, 2006
Altius, Fortius, Ketchikanius! - Well, the Winter Olympics
are finally over. - More...
Thursday - March 02, 2006
Flat Roofs and Pointed Heads - Earlier this year, I was mesmerized
by the reflection of water as my flight home sailed over the
First City. - More...
Monday - February 27, 2006
a touch of gas - It's safe to say now that the bottom end
for gas prices in town is now around $2.70 - More...
Friday PM - February 17, 2006
Day I Came To Ketchikan - was really impressed when
my SITNEWS colleague June Allen wrote about her first day in
Ketchikan, all those years ago. - More...
Monday PM - February 13, 2006
of the Town - The jet crash near A&P recently remains
the big topic of discussion in Ketchikan. - More...
Monday - February 06, 2006
Monday - As usual, I was feeling a little depressed on Monday.
The weather was dark and icky, the holiday season was passed,
our trip to sunny California was over. - More...
Friday AM - January 27, 2006
the Drip Goes On - Anyone else out there "relieved"
that it finally sunned on Seattle earlier this week? - More...
Friday AM - January 20, 2006
we shrunk the state! - My fellow Alaskans, our great state
in shrinking! - More...
Saturday - January 14, 2006
and Bits - At least once a year, all columnists are required
to clean out the sock drawer and dump all those scraps of paper
and bits of ideas they have been hoarding into a column. - More...
Friday - January 06, 2006
Populi #7 - A lot of readers had thoughts on my column
on whining about aging. - More...
Friday AM - December 30, 2005
Tanenbaum, Part Two - Those of you playing along at home
no doubt remember that the Glover-Kiffer family chose to go non-natural
for our holiday tree last year. - More...
Friday PM - December 23, 2005
Fine, Old Whine - I've been thinking about wine and cheese
Probably because they are the
few things that everyone agrees get better with age. And as one
ages one begins to appreciate such subtle distinctions because
we don't live in a society that gives a lot of "props"
for aging. - More...
Sunday AM - December 18, 2005
on (big) Truckin - My wife and I have both have a problem
with big trucks, but for different reasons. - More...
Saturday PM - December 10, 2005
Drizzly After All These Years - This column is about what
didn't happen Monday, November 28, 2005
There was no measurable precipitation.
It was the first day since October 19 that there was no precipitation.
Friday - December 02, 2005
Basin - It's going to be a long winter and no I'm not referring
to the darkness, the icky weather or even the dozens of local
folks chewing off their arms to extricate themselves from domestic
entanglements. - More...
Monday - November 28, 2005
Not A Drop To Drink - Stop the presses! The hydrologists
and meteorogists and fearmongerologists say the western United
States is running out of water. - More...
Monday - November 21, 2005
Splat - My four year old asked me an unanswerable question last week.
Sunday - November 13, 2005
in Advertising - There was an old magazine advertisement
for sale on EBAY this week (told you they sold just about anything!).
Saturday - November 05, 2005
Dust - In early July, I found a wooley bear caterpillar
the size of my thumb crawling across the sand at Bugge Beach.
Monday - October 31, 2005
Populi #6 - Recently, a reader emailed in to find out what
"Vox Populi" really means. It's Latin (I feel sort
of comfortable saying that, even though none of the original
Latin speakers are alive to confirm that diagnosis). And it generally
means "voice of the people" or "the people speak"
although I firmly expect to hear from some dead language expert
who will correct that assumption. - More...
Monday - October 24, 2005
a Jungle Out There" - When I was a child, my mother
insisted that I take as many trips off island as possible. And
she didn't mean Gravina and Pennock. - More...
Monday - October 17, 2005
Tie-breakers - Well, the local elections are all over but the shouting.
Some of my friends won, some
of my friends lost. So it goes.
One of the races appears to
have been decided by six or seven votes. Two years ago, one of
races was decided by five. We all think that our votes don't
count but that's not the case. A few years back, the Alaska governor's
race was decided by about a hundred votes and we all know what
happened in Florida in 2000. - More...
Friday - October 07, 2005
Land Tinsel Town" - A few weeks ago, there was
an interesting item on EBAY. It was a 16 mm movie reel, the type
of movie reel you only used to see in movie theaters and high
school science classes. - More...
Monday - October 03, 2005
in the "right" mind has nothing to do with it - When you drive by the student parking lot at Kayhi these
days, you won't see many motorcycles. - More...
Thursday - September 29, 2005
Encounters of the Cellular Kind" - Since my family is
apparently the only one in North America to not go "cellular"
that puts us in a unique position to observe the ways that other
folks use their cell phones "conveniently" intrude
upon our lives. - More...
Friday - September 16, 2005
nothing is really something" - Forty years ago today,
I had a life changing experience. Too bad I can't remember much
of it. - More...
Friday - September 09, 2005
Daze, Part One" - School has started again in Our Fair
Salmon City and that has me remembering my school days. Surprisingly
enough, I was paying attention all those years ago, sort of.
Saturday - September 03, 2005
POPULI #5 - An alert reader dropped an email to let me know
that the old
Ketchikan PBY is back on EBAY again. The deadline for bids
is Monday. This time the opening bid has been lowered to $100,000
and there have been at least two bids tendered thus far. No clue
what the "reserve" price is but you can bet it's well
below the $250,000 price that drew no takers at least twice this
summer. The estimate on getting it airworthy (in the pictures
it's missing its horizontal stabilizer!) remains at $16,000.
As before, bid early, bid often. - More...
Friday - August 26, 2005
Modest Proposal" - I think it's time that we should
stop whupping Governor Murkowski upside the head for his desire
for an official state jet plane. - More...
Monday - August 22, 2005
Darn Hot" - It was inevitable.
I was walking down Dock Street
one afternoon this week and I passed a good friend.
"This weather is killing
me," She said, raising her hand as if to wipe her brow.
Friday - August 12, 2005
of the "Big Three" By Dave Kiffer - Like many Alaskans
I have a Jay Hammond story to tell.
Hammond - who died last week
at 82 - was one of the "big three" Alaskan governors.
I don't necessarily mean that he, Bill Egan and Wally Hickel
were the best Alaskan governors, just that they dominated Alaskan
politics even when they weren't in sitting in the governor's
office. They cast bigger shadows. And Hammond - with his rugged
Alaskan Central Casting outdoorsman image - clearly cast the
biggest. - More...
Monday - August 08, 2005
Be Thy Name" - I've always been amused by parents who
tell me their toddlers are religious.
Sure, First Communions are
very important in some families as are declarations of faith
(such as being "born again.") But those are for older
children, not three and four year olds, no matter what their
parents might think. For the average four-year-old, "Sleeping
Beauty " or "Power Rangers" is about as close
to deity worship as they come. - More...
Friday - July 29, 2005
change. I was reminded of that this week when a gentlemen
off a cruise ship gave me a copy of The Alaska Sportsman from
1942. The copy had belonged to his father who had always wanted
to visit Alaska but never had. The son - well past retirement
age himself - was clearly fulfilling his father's wish. - More...
Sunday - July 24, 2005
up demand - One of the first rules in marketing is
to find the pent up demand and then supply it.
Over time, it would be harder
to find a place with more pent up demand than Ketchikan. As an
example, just about every time a new retail or dining opportunity
arises, it is swamped by local interest. - More...
Monday - July 18, 2005
we tell ourselves - On the Friday before the Fourth of July,
an acquaintance remarked "It doesn't look good for the 4th."
Friday - July 08, 2005
Pyro-leeryia - My wife and I have a running disagreement when it comes to
candles. She - of solid New Mexican stock - loves to have burning
objects scattered hither and yon around the house. New Mexicans
love their candles so much that they even string lighted grocery
bags around their property at Christmas timeand, no, the bags
are not Gore Tex. What do you expect from a place that measures
rainfall in millimeters rather than cubic meters? - More...
Sunday - July 03, 2005
Populi #4 - For those of you all playing along at home, the
PBY on EBAY ("Going Once..") didn't get a high enough
bid to meet its unkstated reserve, but I received a lot of feedback
on that column. If we all chip in a buck we might be able to
get it after all. Some internet research indicates that there
are quite a few old PBYs sitting in Moses Lake after all. It
seems that someone was trying to corner the world market in the
old amphibians. Go figure. - More...
Friday - June 24, 2005
We Tell The Tourists" - A couple of weeks ago, I made
light of the "unanswerable" questions that the visitors
often toss at us.
For the record, I have been reminded that the Redington family
(of Iditarod fame) did have a store here briefly and they had
a couple of huskies on the premises so the question about where
all the "cute little Iditarods" were wasn't totally
off-base. - More...
Thursday - June 16, 2005
once, going twice......" File this under "if money
were no object."
I spend way too much time on internet auction sites, trolling
about for cool stuff. And stuff relating to Ketchikan's history
is always the coolest. - More...
Friday - June 10, 2005
beginning - It was a rare sunny summer day in June of 1970
and I was with my father on his trolling boat, the "Gony."
We were headed down to the New England Fish Company dock to get
ice for a trip to chase salmon on the back side of Gravina. - More...
Sunday - June 05, 2005
questions - Just 10 days into the summer visitor season I
received my first "unanswerable" question. - More...
Thursday - May 26, 2005
"Progress" Progress is the root of all evil, progress is the cause
of it all! - Lil Abner, The Musical. - Without progress Ketchikan
would look something like Loring. Not that that would necessarily
be a bad thing - depending on whom you talk to - but it would
certainly be a different thing. - More...
Saturday - May 21, 2005
and Misses" - Now that my son Liam is 4 1/2 , he is
starting to show interest in sports. He gets excited when we
drive by the ball park and he sees the big kids playing baseball.
He gets really excited when we see one team that has red uniforms.
I suspect he thinks they are cool because they dress like Spider
Man. - More...
Saturday - May 14, 2005
Bowling at the Billiken" - Hall of Fame bowler Dick
Weber died earlier this Spring and that got me thinking about
my "misspent" youth at the old Billiken Bowl on Stedman
Street. - More...
Saturday - May 07, 2005
man's fancy - It's spring, the sun is high in the sky and
a not-so-young man's fancy turns to baseball.....cards! - More...
Sunday - May 01, 2005
Lifestyle, Your Reward" - I jumped the gun in my last
column ("Hearty Alaskan Haven") and confused two different
parts of the visitor industry "branding" plan. - More...
Saturday - April 23, 2005
Alaska Haven - Six months ago, I wrote a column noting that
local tourism officials were looking to improve the marketing
of Ketchikan by coming up with a "brand"that could
be used to distinguish Ketchikan from its competitors for the
visitor dollar. - More...
Monday - April 18, 2005
of Peers - Every so often a tiny bit of sanity floats up
from the morass that is our insane world.
This week a jury in Massachusetts
declined to blame an airline when a passenger claimed a bumpy
flight caused "post traumatic stress disorder." - More...
Sunday - April 10, 2005
Populi #3 - 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. - More...
Saturday - April 02, 2005
Christian Soldiers?" - I guess I must have missed another
I missed the memo that apparently
stated: Easter is an important holiday, for goodness sake! Buy
lots of stuff for other people. - More...
Sunday - March 27, 2005
About Multitasking!" - Last week sitting in a Sea-Tac
departure lounge I came to a shocking conclusion.
I was waiting for a flight
to Oakland (yes, Gertrude, there is a "there" there)
and it dawned on me that I was only person (amongst a whole herd
of folks) that wasn't talking on a cell phone. - More...
Saturday - March 19, 2005
like that... For my birthday, my darling wife Charlotte bought
me a video of the movie "Ray." - More...
Friday - March 11, 2005
honking "egg" design - Judging by the "design"
competition just completed for the new Capitol building in Juneau.
I am absolutely, positively, 100 percent sure the following conversation
MUST have taken place earlier this week. - More...
Saturday - March 05, 2005
AKA CLUELESS, PART 3 - Thanks to the generosity of Sitnews
readers, the fun just never stops! Here are some more stories
of folks from Ketchikan's history who were both foolish and felonious!
Saturday - February 26, 2005
Old Days - Once upon a time, I would have gone into serious
withdrawal if the National Hockey League season was cancelled
like just happened this week. - More...
Saturday - February 12, 2005
plate "bingo"- I saw a Rhode Island license plate
this week on Dock Street. - More...
Saturday - February 12, 2005
Clueless, Part 2 - I was pretty sure that last week's column
on clueless criminals in Ketchikan history would jog a few brain
cells and, sure enough, I received several emails and phone calls
suggesting other mentally muddled miscreants worthy of note.
Saturday - February 05, 2005
Clueless - Last week, I was reading one of those "stupid
criminal" stories (man tries to rob donut shop in Cleveland
and doesn't notice three uniformed police officers sitting at
one of the tables!) and it got me thinking about the stories
I've heard of local criminals who were a "few credits short
of a law degree." - More...
Saturday - January 29, 2005
Catalogs - If your favorite slogan is "shop local" please avert
your eyes for a few minutes. - More...
Saturday - January 22, 2005
sports? Snow way!" - I must finally be an "adult."
Saturday - January 15, 2005
Populi #2 - A lot of you were pretty amused when I misspelled
the word satellite a while back in a column about spelling. I
suppose I should it say it was an intentional mistake that was
placed there to make a point. But no, it was an unintentional
one. That definitely makes my point about the spelling bone suffering
from osteoporosis as one ages. - More...
Saturday - January 08, 2005
New Year - When I think about New Year's Eve in Ketchikan,
I think about Annette Funicello. - More...
Saturday - January 01, 2005
To All, A Good Night." - The following story may or
may not be true. The names may or may not have been changed to
protect the ...... More...
Saturday - December 25, 2004
Christmas Wish List - When I was a child it would have been
easy to shop for me for Christmas. All my parents had to do was
order one of each toy in the Sears Wish Book. Well, every toy
except the Easy Bake Oven and Malibu Barbie, but you get the
idea. - More...
Saturday - December 18, 2004
Faux Tannenbaum - We bought our first fake Christmas
tree this year. - More...
Saturday - December 11, 2004
Those Halls - Okay, it is after Thanksgiving, you may now
put up your Christmas lights! - More...
Satureday - December 04, 2004
TO DISTRACTION - Ave (Hail) Automobius, God of Traffic and
I often find myself muttering
that tribute whenever I safely pull into traffic. Usually it
means that some unseen hand has parted the Red Sea and allowed
me to finally enter the flow after a lengthy wait. In the old
days, drivers used to occasionally allow someone else to enter
the traffic stream but today we are in a such a big hurry that
such archaic manners have been left behind at the last light.
Saturday - November 27, 2004
challenged! - I have always wondered how other Americans
can be so geographically and intellectually challenged when it
comes to Alaska. They don't seem to know much about it and what
they do know is - for the most part - wrong. When I was growing
up, I had several cousins down in Seattle and even they couldn't
grasp what Ketchikan was all about. - More...
Saturday - November 20, 2004
Smell of Money" - My mom likes to talk about the "good
old days" when a dozen canneries clogged the Ketchikan waterfront
and the "Smell of Money" was in the air all summer
long. - More...
Saturday - November 13, 2004
Ahead, Fall Down" - In all the hoopla over the Nov.
2 elections, I almost forgot to "Spring Ahead, Fall Back."
Saturday - November 06, 2004
in Ketchikan... Now that's scary! - Halloween has always
been somewhat of a dicey proposition for Ketchikan. - More...
Saturday - October 30, 2004
a guilt thing - Like many other locals I have been somewhat
amused (and a whole lot aghast) at the proliferation of jewelry
stores in Ketchikan's Combat Shopping Zone over the last few
years. We've always had a few local jewelry stores meeting the
needs of locals and visitors but is there any logical explanation
for 43 purveyors of fine gem stones to be located in downtown
Ketchikan each summer? - More...
Saturday - October 23, 2004
Populi - An astute reader recently called me on the carpet
for misspelling "nurture" not once but twice in a previous
column. My only defense is that I'm a graduate of the Ketchikan
school system and judging by the creative spelling in signage
around these parts poor spelling is not an uncommon affliction.
Monday - October 11, 2004
springs eternal - One of the great advantages to growing
up in Ketchikan is that you don't necessarily have to become
obsessed with the success or failure of a professional sports
team. - More...
Monday - October 11, 2004
More Things Change .. Just about once a decade, some enterprising
artist/entrepreneur gets the bright idea to sell advertising
space on a "map" of Ketchikan, usually of the downtown
area. Some are big and colorful like the one that fledgling artist
Ray Troll did in the early 1980s, some are tiny and in black
and white like ones that were done by local photographers in
the 1920s and 1930s. I collect these maps because they are fascinating
snap-shots of what the community was like in a given a year.
Tuesday -October 05, 2004
Flashback - Last month my family and I spent a few days in
Wenatchee, Washington. It was hot (105 degrees), dry (maybe a
foot of rain a year) and everything Ketchikan is not. But it
did give me a great, big Ketchikan flashback. - More...
Tuesday - September 27, 2004
Promenading - It's fun to see Ketchikan residents promenading
back and forth along the newly opened Third Avenue Bypass (AKA
5 Minutes Quicker to Liam's Daycare! ). Having fresh pavement
to pound always brings out the good cheer amongst our landlocked
bretheren. - More...
Tuesday - September 21, 2004
LUV that gun! - It is hunting season again but my 3-year
old son is not going to be heading out into the muskeg this year
to bring home the venison. At least I don't think so. - More...
Saturday - September 11, 2004
Ketchikan - The Ketchikan Visitors Bureau is conducting a
"branding" campaign in order to come up with a way
to better market Ketchikan to visitors. This process does sound
rather painful, but it does make sense because the visitor industry
has supplanted other industries as the engine of the local economy.
As much as we like to say Ketchikan is a "working"
community, the only real work we seem to be doing lately is for
the benefit of those who want to come here to see us "work."
Sunday - September 05, 2004
Copyright 2004 Dave
All Rights Reserved