Fishing for an Open Mind

Posted in Fishing with tags , , on November 24, 2008 by williwawjack

When it gets cold and dark in Alaska, I like to go fishing… In Mexico.

When I can’t do that, plan B is usually to head for Homer and get in some Winter King Fishing.

This year it looks like plan B isn’t going to happen either so I may have to finally go for the last resort,

Ice Fishing.

I’ve never been Ice Fishing before. The idea of going out on a frozen, wind-blown lake when it’s 20 degrees below zero and trying to entice a lake trout to step through a 10 inch door into my world has just never appealed to me.

I’m a purist. I think man should fish the way the good lord intended for him to fish, mostly naked under a blazing sun with one hand wrapped around a cold beer and the other wrapped around a hot girl.

I’m smart enough, however, to know that there are many wise fishermen out there who disagree with me and place a high value on Ice Fishing.

Just the other day I was reading a letter to Dr. Phil that showed how differently people might view a particular type of fishing. I’ve included the letter below, as well as Dr. Phil’s response. I think we can all learn something from his sage advice.

Dear Dr Phil ,
When I retired, I could hardly wait to spend time enjoying my favorite pastime — bass fishing. I got my own little fishing boat and tried to get my wife to join me, but she just never liked fishing. Finally, one day at the Bait &Tackle Shop, I got to talking to Sam the shop owner who it turned out loves bass fishing as much as I do. We quickly became fishing buddies. As I said the wife doesn’t care about fishing. She not only refuses to join us she always complains that I spend too much time fishing. A few weeks ago Sam and I had the best fishing trip ever. Not only did I catch the most beautiful bass you’ve ever seen, only a few minutes later Sam must have caught his twin brother! So I took a picture of Sam holding up the two nice bass that we caught and showed the picture to the wife hoping that maybe she’d get interested. Instead she says she doesn’t want me to go fishing at all anymore! And she wants me to sell the boat! I think she just doesn’t like to see me enjoying myself. What would you do? Tell the wife to forget it and continue my hobby or quit fishing and sell the boat as she insists?

Thanks, Leroy

PS Enclosed is a picture of Sam with the two bass we caught.

Dear Leroy,

Get rid of that narrow minded wife! Thats a nice pair of bass.

I’ve decided to give Ice Fishing a try.



Man bites dog. Barracuda plays the fishermen.

Posted in Alaskan Politics with tags , , , on November 22, 2008 by williwawjack

I must weigh in on the Palin turkey pardon controversy.

I promise that when I’m done here, I won’t mention politics again until I have cleansed your mind-palettes with something pure and noble, like fishing.

By now everyone has seen the video of the Wasilla press conference. Here it is again if you haven’t seen it.

I’m sure that the KTUU video crew was fist-pumpin’ and high-fivin’ all the way back to the city, proud of having caught a Kodak moment of our Gov screwing up another interview.

But I’m not so sure.

Everybody talks about how clueless Sarah was about what was going on behind her. But the crew asked her if she wanted to reposition for another background and she said “no worries.” She looked back at the executioner at least once during the interview, and her comment that “Certainly we’ll probably invite criticism for even doing this too.” was just a little too prescient.

I don’t believe the Palin truth squaddies when they say the Gov was set up. I don’t believe Sarah was unaware of the slaughter. I think she played the news crew like they were chumps and she managed to keep her name in the national news for another day.

I expect we’ll be seeing more incidents like this whenever Sarah starts to drift off the radar screen.


Early-voting… blessing or curse?

Posted in Alaskan Politics with tags on November 17, 2008 by williwawjack

That which once was, no longer is.

I must be talking about Alaskan politics again.

This time, instead of flip-flopping about who won and who lost any particular race, we can’t seem to make up our minds about how many Alaskans bothered to vote. That was the head-scratcher last week when election officials were telling us that the 2008 presidential election saw the worst voter turnout this century. Now, as the absentee and early-cast ballots roll in, we’re finding out that this may have been the highest turnout in state history!

Clearly, Alaskans haven’t abandoned the democratic process. We’ve just decided to vote when and where we damn well please.

Both political parties made concerted efforts to encourage early voting by their members. The Division of Elections recommended that constituents vote early in order to avoid long lines at the polls. But now, two weeks after the election with so many races in limbo, it’s fair to ask ourselves if early voting is such a great idea after all.

Click on the audio link below to listen to a short (3 minute) podcast in which I asked a number of precinct workers if they liked the idea of early voting. The podcast was made on Nov. 9 from interviews made on election day.

Temperature goes south, so does Williwaw Jack

Posted in Uncategorized on November 17, 2008 by williwawjack

It’s supposed to get down to -20 this week. I had to get away for a few days even if only as far as Anchorage.

I stayed in my favorite hotel while I was there, The Historic Anchorage Hotel. It’s downtown so parking is a pain in the ass. It’s old so the floors creak and the pipes groan. The rooms are kind of small and it’s not as cheap as some of the new cookie-cutter chain hotels, but I love the place and I stay there whenever I can. The staff is great and it’s within walking distance to some nice pubs but its best feature is something that the finest 5-star resort will never be able to offer me…   

Dig it here…


The Barracuda is a migratory species

Posted in Alaskan Politics with tags , , , , , , , on November 10, 2008 by williwawjack

(She’s back, but not for long.)

One of the sports editors at my paper shook his head sadly as a Snickers bar clunked out of the candy machine in front of him.

“It never ends” he said.  “Election day is supposed to be the end of it but we’re going to be dealing with this shit for weeks.”

He was talking about the undecided elections for Ted Stevens’ Senate seat and Don Young’s congressional seat. The final vote tally is not expected to be completed for another two weeks (currently, they both still lead in their reelection bids). But it was clear that he was thinking beyond those races to the political turmoil ahead.

Here’s how I see the next four years playing out.

Sarah Palin will complete her first term as governor amid controversy and under constant attack from her enemies. She will not appoint herself as the temporary successor to Stevens’ Senate seat when he is expelled, even though she is legally entitled to do so. Nor will she  appoint  one of the Wasilla Mafia. She will appoint whomever the Alaska Republican Party wants her to (I’m thinking maybe Johne Binkley or Dave Cuddy).

Sarah must make nice to the Republicans. She needs them for her own nefarious plans which are to go for Lisa Murkowski’s Senate seat in 2010. Poor Lisa is nothing without her Uncle Ted in the Senate. Sarah will wax her in that election.

The barracuda is drawing a bead on Lisa Murkowski.

The barracuda is drawing a bead on Lisa Murkowski.

Maybe, she can use the same line Don Young used this year in response to Sean Parnell’s challenge to Young’s congressional seat. “I beat your dad and I’m going to beat you too.”

But the U.S. Senate is not the barracuda’s final destination. Like Hillary Clinton, she will use it as a platform from which to launch her 2012 presidential bid. She’ll use her two years in the Senate to work on her energy and foreign policy creds. She will avoid social conservative issues.

She will lose the Tina Fey glasses and the “working girl” updo with the carefully-placed wisps (I realize that the look is her trademark but even a Wasilla valley girl can see that it’s getting a little tired).

She will not win the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.


The nation throws the barracuda back.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 5, 2008 by williwawjack

As of midnight on election day there are some clear winners and some clear losers on the political front, but, because this is Alaska, there’s alot that’s not clear at all at this point.

Barack Obama is the President-elect. That much is very clear to everyone, including John McCain, who made such a gracious concession speech it almost made me want to go back and redo my vote. I think if McCain would’ve campaigned as honorably as he conceded, the election would’ve been much closer and we wouldn’t have had a new president before the polls were even closed in Alaska (a common occurrence to those of us in the Alaskan time zone).

Then Obama made his victory speech and I knew I’d cast the right vote. I felt so inspired and optimistic that I imagined what it must have been like when JFK was elected.

Unknown at this point is whether Stevens, our felonious but lovable Uncle Ted, will keep his U.S. Senate seat until he has to go up the river. I predicted that he would, just because Alaskans are so damn contrary that we would cut off our noses to spite our faces. As of now, with 72% of the precincts reporting, Stevens leads Begich 48% to 46%. It’s going to be a squeeker.

Also unknown is the fate of Congressman Don Young. With 72% of the precincts in he is leading his democratic challenger Ethan Berkowitz,  51% to 44%. I predicted that Young would go down in flames.

Alaska remains a red state. No surprise there.

Sarah’s on her way home now, with a new wardrobe and a whole lot of fences to mend up here. It’s too early to say how long her gubernatorial career will last, maybe until November of 2010.

When Lisa Murkowski’s senate seat is up for grabs.


So Which is it, “Maverick” or “Loopholer”?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 27, 2008 by williwawjack

Gov. Sarah Palin fires her Commissioner of Public Safety at least partially because he refused to fire a trooper she had a beef with. Legal, but a little shakey on the ethical side.

Gov. Sarah Palin bills the state for more than 300 days of per diem while living at her Wasilla home. Palin divides her time equally between Wasilla and Juneau, where she is officially based, so the per diem demand is legal, but again, not exactly the actions of a moral fiscal reformer.

Gov. Sarah Palin packs her kids around with her everywhere. She has the state pay their expenses and makes sure it’s legal by insisting that her kids are invited to the functions she attends. By the way, don’t these kids ever go to school?

As the Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah packs her kids around with her everywhere and gets the campaign to pick up the tab by dragging her kids onstage with her. No really, when are they in school?

The Republican National Committee buys our valley girl a whole new wardrobe worth $150,000, which they can legally do as long as she promises to give it to charity some day. Yeah, I guess that’s legal although If was Joe Six-Pack I might have something to say about my $100 campaign contribution being used to buy Sarah some sexy new stripper boots.

Are you starting to see a pattern here?

Sarah is getting pretty good at finding legal loopholes and not too concerned about the ethical consequences. Her staff is getting pretty good at saying “the Governor was acting within her legal right…”

That doesn’t sound “mavericky” to me. It sounds kind of “loopholey”