SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska

 

Dave Kiffer Column

by Ketchikan Humorist Dave Kiffer

jpg Dave Kiffer

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

A freelance writer is an uncommitted independent writer who produces and sells articles to a publisher such as SitNews.

Contact Dave at
dave@sitnews.us

arrow gif(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

arrow gif(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

arrow gif(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

arrow gif(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

arrow gif(352) To Stud or Not To Stud - In life there are a lot of choices. - More...
Sunday PM - November 20, 2016

arrow gif(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

arrow gif(350) A name is a name is a name - The other day I was flying into Anchorage. - More...
Thursday PM - September 29, 2016

arrow gif(349) TIME WELL SPENT - An acquaintance recently noted that he does his best thinking in the shower. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 20, 2016

arrow gif(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

arrow gif(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

arrow gif(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

arrow gif(345) Still 2 Much Vice in K-town? - The 1920s were a great time to be in Ketchikan. - More...
Thursday PM - June 09, 2016

arrow gif(344) Which Way to the Tsunami? - It was a bright sunny day in Our Fair Salmon City. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 31, 2016

arrow gif(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

arrow gif(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

arrow gif(341) I Never Did Mind The Waterboarding - It's springtime in Alaska. - More...
Wednesday PM - April 20, 2016

arrow gif(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

arrow gif(339) Them's Fightin Words, I predict - Someone called me a PUNDIT the other day! - More...
Thursday PM - March 10, 2016

arrow gif(338) Happy EKG to Me! - I celebrated my recent birthday by getting an electrocardiogram! - More...
Monday PM - February 15, 2016

arrow gif(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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (328) The Unspeakable Word - Gentle readers with delicate constitutions may want to avert their eyes. - More...
Tuesday PM - September 15, 2015

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (324) R.U. Smarter Than Your Toilet? - So, you are all impressed with your smart phones. - More...
Monday AM - July 13, 2015

arrow gif (323) Saved by a Selfie - If you know me, you know I think selfies are stupid. - More...
Monday PM - June 29, 2015

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (318) Now, we’re the ‘dreariest place’ in the whole USA - Dreary: dull, bleak, lifeless, depressing. - More...
Tuesday PM - March 31, 2015

arrow gif (317) The Monsters Are Coming - This week’s headlines are certainly eye catching! - More...
Thursday PM - March 19, 2015

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (310) Casting Call: Wetnecks! - Word from the Mad Zoo enclave of Wasilla is that "Slednecks" is no more. - More...
Saturday PM - January 03, 2015

arrow gif (309) The Signs They Are A Changing - I always enjoy my visits to Zitka by the Zea. - More...
Saturday PM - December 20, 2014

arrow gif (308) Are Alaskans really driving each other crazy? - Are Alaskans really driving each other crazy?” - More...
Monday PM - December 15, 2014

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (305) NOAH WAS A WUSS - It is interesting just how interested folks are in rainfall. - More...
Saturday PM - October 25, 2014

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (303) As The Salmon Turns - As another visitor season winds down….. More...
Monday PM - September 15, 2014

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (301) Alaska Bush Mayor - I must be the only person in Alaska without my own reality show. - More...
Thursday - August 14, 2014

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif(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

arrow gif (296) Sing a Song of Old Ketchikon - A while back, a perceptive reader emailed me. - More...
Tuesday PM - May 06, 2014

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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


arrow gif (287) Never Trust An Elevator, And Other Phobias - Like a lot of people, I have a few phobias. - More...
Tuesday PM - January 07, 2014


arrow gif
(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


arrow gif (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


arrow gif(284) Talking turkey, or not - Perhaps the most interesting part of Thanksgiving is the food. - More...
November 27, 2013


arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif(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

arrow gif(280) When Fishticuffs Break Out - A couple of local Alaska Grrrrls got into a tiff recently. - More...
Monday - September 23, 2013

arrow gif(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

arrow gif(278) Nightmare in Nowhere -  It seems it really does take a village, even a tiny one. - More...
Saturday PM - August 24, 2013

arrow gif (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

arrow gif(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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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

arrow gif (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


arrow gif
(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


arrow gif
(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


arrow gif
(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


arrow gif (267) SHAKEN (BUT) NOT STIRRED - About 15 years ago, I read a horrifying factoid in an old geology textbook. - More...
January 06, 2013


arrow gif (266) (266) A Deadline We Can All Live With - Writers are inherently lazy sorts. - More...
Wednesday - December 26, 2012


arrow gif (265) The Five Islands of Ketchikan - Interesting title, no? - More...
Monday PM - December 10, 2012


arrow gif (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


arrow gif(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


arrow gif (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


arrow gif (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...
August 20, 2012


arrow gif (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


arrow gif (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


arrow gif
(258) Deliverance From Space Mountain - I got a sign from God the other day. - More...
Wednesday - June 27, 2012


arrow gif (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. - More...
Tuesday - June 12, 2012

arrow gif (256) RIP,(CLICK, CLICK, CLICK) - One thing we all share is scanning obituaries. - More...
Tuesday - May 29, 2012


arrow gif(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

arrow gif (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


arrow gif(253)
Is This The Party To Whom I Am Speaking? - You all know how I hate cell phones. - More...
Saturday PM - April 14, 2012


arrow gif (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


arrow gif (251) Don’t Worry, Be (fifth) Happy - Are you feeling happy about being in Alaska? - More...
Tuesday - March 13, 2012


arrow gif (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

arrow gif (249 Texting in a Winter Wonderland - Twas a couple of days after Christmas, snow was on the ground and…..
Monday - January 16, 2012


arrow gif (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


arrow gif (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


arrow gif (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


arrow gif (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


arrow gif (243) Sink Your Teeth Into This One! -
I guess I just don’t get this whole “vampire” thing. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 31, 2011

arrow gif (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


arrow gif (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


arrow gif (239) Navn Som Skibet!!!! -
Hey boys and girls, it’s time again to play “Name That Cruise Ship!” - More...
Tuesday - July 19, 2011


arrow gif (238) Summer in Soggy City - At  6:05 pm on  July 4, our phone rang. - More...
Thursday - July 07, 2011


arrow gif(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


arrow gif (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


arrow gif (234) Painting The Hill - Sometime in the next couple of weeks, a longstanding tradition will reoccur on “college hill.” - More...
Saturday - May 14, 2011


arrow gif
(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


arrow gif(232) Pondering a weighty matter -
We used to weigh a lot less. - More...
Monday - March 28, 2011


arrow gif(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


arrow gif (230) The Three Day Snow!!! - Once upon a time we didn’t worry much about upcoming weather. - More...
Monday PM - January 24, 2011


arrow gif(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


arrow gif (228) Relaxing in the Mouse House - A couple of months ago, my wife gave our son an interesting proposition. - More...
Monday - December 20, 2010

arrow gif(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

arrow gif (226) Remembering Two Teachers - I would be remiss if I didn’t notice the recent passing of two of my former Ketchikan teachers. - More...
Saturday AM - November 13, 2010

arrow gif(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

arrow gif (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

arrow gifJust Having A Senior Moment - When folks get to be my age, they start to use the O word. - More...
Tuesday - October 12, 2010

arrow gif Alaska 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


arrow gifKetchikan Weather Visiting Anchorage This Summer - Here's a headline sure to elicit sympathy from all Ketchikanders:- More...
Monday - August 16, 2010


arrow gifRemembering Uncle Ted - I will always remember Ted Stevens asking me to show him my "new toys." - More...
Thursday - August 12, 2010


arrow gifUnplugged! - The most horrendous thing happened to me other night. - More...
Friday - July 30, 2010


arrow gifFALLING FOR PUBLIC ART - I've been taking it easy, the last couple of weeks.

I know, I know, how can anyone really tell when I take it easy? - More...
Wednesday - July 21, 2010


arrow gif I Oughta Be In Pictures - Well, actually, I am. Dozens of times a day.

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


arrow gif What's 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


arrow gifFor 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


arrow gifYou 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


arrow gif Ends 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


arrow gifThanks 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


arrow gifPlanning 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


arrow gif You 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


arrow gifChar and Dave's Excellent Adventure, Parte Tres - Tere comes a time in every trip where you must "use the facilities." - More...
Friday - January 08, 2010


arrow gifChar and Dave's Excellent Adventure, Parte Dos By DAVE KIFFER - Don Quixote would have gone completely stark, screaming bonkers. - More...
Monday - December 07, 2009


arrow gif Char and Dave's Excellent Adventure, Parte Uno - What we had was a failure to communicate. - More...
Monday PM - November 16, 2009


arrow gif Live, From The Egosphere! - I have been on Facebook for a few weeks now. - More...
Monday PM - November 09, 2009


arrow gif Ex Gov Sideswiped By 'Rogue' Rage - More...
Monday - October 19, 2009


arrow gif Wacky 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


arrow gif Only 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

arrow gifA 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


arrow gifThere's Always a Chance - Thank God, that aberrant summer weather has finally left our bioclime. - More...
Thursday - September 10, 2009


arrow gif We're Off On The Road To Alaska's Capital! - No, not Juneau, but the capital in waiting, Willow.- More...
Monday - August 31, 2009


arrow gif Read 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


arrow gif TOO 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


arrow gifKetchikan 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


arrow gifA 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


arrow gifGot 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. - More...
Monday - June 22, 2009


arrow gif An 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


arrow gifWhen 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


arrow gif TSA 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


arrow gif Some 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


arrow gif Breaking Up' Is Hard To Do - I can hardly wait for the first day of Spring!

What, you say, Spring officially sprung on March 20? - More...
Wednesday - April 01, 2009


arrow gif Smoke Gets In My Eyes - I saw something unusual the other day. - More...
Thursday - March 26, 2009


arrow gif Don't 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


arrow gif What Happens in Coach - It all started with a Digeplayer. - More...
Monday - March 09, 2009


arrow gif Fly, Fly, Fly Again - From the "If At First You Don't Succeed" Department: It was a stunningly beautiful morning in Juneau.

The snow had stopped- More...
Wednesday - March 04, 2009


arrow gif Winter 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


arrow gif Farewell To Some Old Friends - It's one of those truisms in the journalism biz that obituaries spike right after the holidays. - More...
Thursday - January 22, 2009


arrow gif Visits 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


arrow gif When 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

arrow gifThankful We Survived Again - Well, we made it. - More...
Friday - December 05, 2008


arrow gif Almost Famous - Last summer, my son asked me an odd question. - More...
Saturday - November 15, 2008


arrow gif A 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


arrow gif Characters Wanted - I was surprised to read Tom Wetzel's obituary in the Ketchikan Daily News recently. - More...
Monday - September 22, 2008


arrow gif Down 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


arrow gif Is 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


arrow gif For $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


arrow gif One Ringie-Dingie, Two Ringie-Dingies - Yes, I have finally purchased my first cell phone. - More...
Tuesday - July 22, 2008


arrow gif No Food For You! - So what will $50 buy you these day? - More...
Saturday - June 28, 2008


arrow gif Life, Death and Road Maintenance - Summer is here in the Soggy Southern Southeast. - More...
Friday - June 20, 2008


arrow gif An Idea That's All Wet! - It may come as a surprise, but we have a lot of "farmers" here in Our Fair Salmon City! - More...
Saturday - June 14, 2008


arrow gif Your Next American Idle! - Men and Women are different. - More...
Sunday - June 01, 2008


arrow gif It's The Water - For some reason, the coming of the summer always reminds me of beer. - More...
Tueseday - May 27, 2008


arrow gif Thursdays 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


arrow gif Real 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


arrow gif I'm 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


arrow gif Go 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


arrow gif What ARE They Drinking In West Virginia? - Sometimes you see a headline that makes you laugh. - More...
Tuesday - March 25, 2008


arrow gif Hey 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


arrow gif Let's Play: Name That Cruise Ship!!! - Royal Caribbean wants my opinion! - More...
Thursday - February 21, 2008


arrow gif Triangulate 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


arrow gif Salmon 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


arrow gif Looking 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


arrow gif Just 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


arrow gif An 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


arrow gif Are 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. - More...
Thursday AM - December 13, 2007


arrow gif It's a Beautiful Day, In Frost Patch USA - By the time you read this, Ketchikan's normal wet winter will probably have resumed. - More...
Monday AM - December 10, 2007


arrow gif Is 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


arrow gif But 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." - More...
Monday AM - November 19, 2007


arrow gif It's 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


arrow gif Just 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


arrow gif Will Juneau Finally Learn How To Guzzle? - I have always thought our neighbors in Juneau are a little different from you and me. - More...
Wednesday - October 24, 2007


arrow gif This 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


arrow gif Alaska 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


arrow gif Tailgating 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

arrow gif It's That Time Again - A few days ago, I was walking downtown and I saw a group of visitors irritably huddled under an awning. - More...
Wednesday PM - August 22, 2007


arrow gif Wonders 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


arrow gif Still 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


arrow gif A 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


arrow gif Beware: Dangerous Curves Ahead! - Marriage is an interesting institution.

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


arrow gif An Airline Upgrade You Don't Want - Tired of sitting in a cramped economy class on a long plane flight? - More...
Saturday - June 09, 2007


arrow gif Lose Weight Instantly: Become Canadian - Lately, I've been getting a lot of email about something called "Hoodia." - More...
Sunday - June 03, 2007


arrow gif RIP: 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


arrow gif Remembering 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


arrow gif 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  



arrow gif Beware 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


arrow gif Ketchikan: Unplugged - It was a sad scene at one of Ketchikan's more popular eateries one morning recently. - More...
Wednesday AM - April 11, 2007


arrow gif I Grocery Shop Therefore I Am - You can date a local by how they refer to Ketchikan grocery stores. - More...
Wednesday - March 28, 2007


arrow gif One 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


arrow gif The 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


arrow gif Captive 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


arrow gif Our 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


arrow gif Men 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


arrow gif Alaska's Third Largest City!?! - Back when I was a young lad in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a momentous event happened in the First City.

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


arrow gif 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


arrow gif Dousing 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

arrow gif2006 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. - More...
Tuesday - January 02, 2007


arrow gif Statistically Speaking - I love statistics.

When I was a little kid, I memorized reams and reams and reams of sports "stats". - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006


arrow gif Still '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


arrow gif Lessons 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. - More...
Saturday - December 02, 2006


arrow gif The 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


arrow gif Dreaming 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


arrow gif Flying 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


arrow gif Seattle's '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


arrow gif Commuter 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


arrow gif Pass, 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


arrow gif Hear 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


arrow gif Men 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


arrow gif We're 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


arrow gif Cowered 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


arrow gif It's A Small World - Okay everyone, after me! - More...
Tuesday - September 05, 2006


arrow gif Studies Are Hazardous To My Health - I read last week that being just a "little obese" can be hazardous to your health. - More...
Monday - August 28, 2006


arrow gif This Will Only Take A Minute! - We all like to be thought of as important.

That's why it is so hard to turn down a chance to be "surveyed". - More...
Monday PM - August 21, 2006


arrow gif O 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


arrow gif The Best Wage of All - This is my 100th column for SITNEWS. - More...
Monday AM - August 7, 2006


arrow gif Wild 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


arrow gif Slumming With The Locals - Garrison Keillor was in town this week and that qualifies as a celebrity sighting. - More...
Sunday - July 23, 2006


arrow gif Digging 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


arrow gif Red Neck leaves me feeling Blue - Ouch.

Okay, let's try again.

Ouch.

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


arrow gif Driving 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


arrow gif 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


arrow gif Ketchikanites, 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


arrow gif Should 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


arrow gif Who 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


arrow gif Giving 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


arrow gif From 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


arrow gif Warning: 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


arrow gif Bigger 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


arrow gif Take Off My Studs? Snow Way! - I suspect that about 80 percent of Ketchikan drivers broke the law last week. - More...
Friday - April 21, 2006


arrow gif Spring has sprung, rat-a-tat-tat! - Everyone seems to have a different way of determining when spring has arrived in Ketchikan. - More...
Monday - April 17, 2006


arrow gif Suddenly Over the Hill - I had a weird experience in the aisles of Safeway recently. - More...
Sunday - April 09, 2006


arrow gif A '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


arrow gif For 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


arrow gif Shopping 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. - More...
Friday - March 17, 2006


arrow gif Some 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


arrow gif Citius, Altius, Fortius, Ketchikanius! - Well, the Winter Olympics are finally over. - More...
Thursday - March 02, 2006


arrow gif Of 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


arrow gif Just 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


arrow gif The 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


arrow gif Talk of the Town - The jet crash near A&P recently remains the big topic of discussion in Ketchikan. - More...
Monday - February 06, 2006


arrow gif Blue 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


arrow gif And the Drip Goes On - Anyone else out there "relieved" that it finally sunned on Seattle earlier this week? - More...
Friday AM - January 20, 2006


arrow gif Honey, we shrunk the state! - My fellow Alaskans, our great state in shrinking! - More...
Saturday - January 14, 2006


arrow gif Quibbles 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


arrow gif Vox Populi #7 - A lot of readers had thoughts on my column on whining about aging. - More...
Friday AM - December 30, 2005


arrow gif Faux 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


arrow gif A Fine, Old Whine - I've been thinking about wine and cheese lately.

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


arrow gif Keep 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


arrow gif Still 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. - More...
Friday - December 02, 2005


arrow gif Tanzanite 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


arrow gif And 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


arrow gif Splat - My four year old asked me an unanswerable question last week. - More...
Sunday - November 13, 2005


arrow gif Truth in Advertising - There was an old magazine advertisement for sale on EBAY this week (told you they sold just about anything!). - More...
Saturday - November 05, 2005


arrow gif Termination DustIn early July, I found a wooley bear caterpillar the size of my thumb crawling across the sand at Bugge Beach. - More...
Monday - October 31, 2005


arrow gif Vox 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


arrow gif "It's 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


arrow gif 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


arrow gif "Totem 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


arrow gif Being 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


arrow gif "Close 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


arrow gif "Sometimes 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


arrow gif "School 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. - More...
Saturday - September 03, 2005


arrow gif VOX 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


arrow gif "A 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


arrow gif "Too 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.  - More...
Friday - August 12, 2005

arrow gif One 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


arrow gif "Halibut 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


arrow gif Times 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

arrow gif Pent 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


arrow gif "Lies" we tell ourselves - On the Friday before the Fourth of July, an acquaintance remarked "It doesn't look good for the 4th." - More...
Friday - July 08, 2005


arrow gif 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


arrow gif Vox 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


arrow gif "Things 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


arrow gif "Going 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


arrow gif The 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


arrow gif Unanswerable questions - Just 10 days into the summer visitor season I received my first "unanswerable" question. - More...
Thursday - May 26, 2005


arrow gif "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


arrow gif Hits 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


arrow gif "Star 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


arrow gif Not-so-young 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


arrow gif "Our 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


arrow gif Hearty 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


arrow gif Jury 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


arrow gif Vox 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


arrow gif "Onward Christian Soldiers?" - I guess I must have missed another memo.

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


arrow gif "Talk 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

arrow gif Nostalgia like that... For my birthday, my darling wife Charlotte bought me a video of the movie "Ray." - More...
Friday - March 11, 2005


arrow gif Big 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! - More...
Saturday - February 26, 2005


arrow gif Good 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


arrow gif License plate "bingo"- I saw a Rhode Island license plate this week on Dock Street. - More...
Saturday - February 12, 2005


arrow gif AKA 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. - More...
Saturday - February 05, 2005


arrow gif AKA 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


arrow gif Catalogs - If your favorite slogan is "shop local" please avert your eyes for a few minutes. - More...
Saturday - January 22, 2005


arrow gif "Winter sports? Snow way!" - I must finally be an "adult." - More...
Saturday - January 15, 2005

arrow gif Vox 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


arrow gif Happy New Year - When I think about New Year's Eve in Ketchikan, I think about Annette Funicello. - More...
Saturday - January 01, 2005


arrow gif "And 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


arrow gif The 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


arrow gif O' Faux Tannenbaum - We bought our first fake Christmas tree this year. - More...
Saturday - December 11, 2004


arrow gif Deck Those Halls - Okay, it is after Thanksgiving, you may now put up your Christmas lights! - More...
Satureday - December 04, 2004


arrow gif DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION - Ave (Hail) Automobius, God of Traffic and Parking."

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. - More...
Saturday - November 27, 2004


arrow gif Geographically 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


arrow gif "The 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


arrow gif "Spring Ahead, Fall Down" - In all the hoopla over the Nov. 2 elections, I almost forgot to "Spring Ahead, Fall Back." - More...
Saturday - November 06, 2004


arrow gif Halloween in Ketchikan... Now that's scary! - Halloween has always been somewhat of a dicey proposition for Ketchikan. - More...
Saturday - October 30, 2004


arrow gif It's 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


arrow gif Vox 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. - More...
Monday - October 11, 2004


arrow gif Hope 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


arrow gif The 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. - More...
Tuesday -October 05, 2004


arrow gifKetchikan 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


arrow gif Bypass 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


arrow gif I 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


arrow gif Branding 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." - More...
Sunday - September 05, 2004

 

 

 

Copyright 2004 Dave Kiffer
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