Wednesday, June 15, 2011

All in a Day's Work

Yesterday I was reading Susan Stevenson’s blog and admiring her many wildlife and scenery photos.  If you haven’t yet checked out her blog (it’s on my sidebar – Living in Alaska, Life in the Last Frontier) you really should.  She is an AMAZING photographer who lives in Fairbanks and makes frequent trips to Denali park.  She appears to have an understanding with wildlife, they appear at her command and she in turn takes very flattering photos of them!  She also has some great stories too, such as the attack of the marmot.  Very funny stuff.  So it got me thinking of the wildlife we raised when I was a kid. 

This is Porky, another squirrel friend from recent years
 One of my favorite animals was the squirrel my dad brought in on Easter Sunday one year.  He had fallen out the birdhouse where his mother had nested.  We named him Peanuts and he was quite the character.  My dad had him in his classroom at school during the year but he spent a fair amount of time at home too.  The most infamous story about Peanuts (besides him biting the Superintendent) was the day he ran across our wood -heated cook stove.  Ouch.  And then my sister was washing dishes and he jumped in the water.  That was a rough day for poor little Peanuts.  We eventually let him go but he would still come to me.   The West Tours buses had a stop at our house and I would go out and bottle feed the moose and then I’d go to a tree and yell for Peanuts and he’d come running down to be held.  The tourists would all ply me with treats and take my picture.  I’m quite sure buried in attics across the U.S. are old pictures of the grandparent’s trip to Alaska in the 1960’s and I must surely be in a few of them.

We also raised quite a few baby moose.  There was Bruce the Moose, then Benny, then Bruce the Moose #2, Molly, Sally, Bernadette, Bernice, & Bullwinkle.  I think there were others but I can’t remember anymore names.   It was always my job to feed them from this over sized baby bottle and they always ran to me when they saw me.  We had goats too and the moose calves grew up thinking they were goats.  The goats would always get down on bended knee to eat their grain and the moose quickly learned to imitate that stance.  They were great fun to have.  They never lasted long in the wild though, F&G would come and tag them and release them at a new location out the road and they usually met their end by a bear or hunter.  One story has it that a lady was out petting one with a bright orange tag in their ear and her husband shot it.  Another was overdosed on tranquillizer by the F&G guy when they were fixing to release it.  Most of the neighbors were generally happy to see them relocated, and usually discovered they had eaten more than their vegetables and flowers, my dad included, when he discovered his apple and cherry trees had been devoured.

My dad and I feeding Bruce #2  & Benny
We also had two deer, Shy & Bold.  They used to follow me to school, I’d be halfway there when I’d noticed them behind me and I’d have to return them.  One day I didn’t and they showed up on the playground at school and my dad (who was a teacher at the high school) was informed and that night at dinner I got in trouble.  That story made it in the local paper too I remember correctly.

We had a baby mountain goat for a while, an owl named Aristotle, a beaver, a baby bear and several chickadees I rescued.  Anytime anyone found a wild animal they brought it to our house.   They all kind of blended in with the donkey, goats, chickens, turkeys, pigs, peacocks, guineas, horses  and numerous dogs we already had.  Is it any wonder I’m such an animal person???

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Blind Allegiance by Frank Bailey

I read this book over the weekend and I am still too shell-shocked, flabbergasted and mentally crippled to write a review.  I never cared for (half-term) governor Palin, mostly because she was so rude to Juneau when she was governor but that was our problem from the start, she knew Juneau didn't support her in the election and she did everything she could to "punish" us from then on. That's the Sarah Palin way.  I had a front row seat to politics in my days in the AG's office and I am cynical - I didn't think anything could really surprise me but I was wrong.  This book details a very shameful chapter of Alaskan politics and I'm using a great review I read on Amazon to share with you.  This person said everything I wanted to and couldn't. 

This review is from: Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years (Hardcover)
I was shocked to read this book. Yes, I expected "Blind Allegiance" to document the lies and crass self-aggrandizement of Alaska's Sarah Palin. I did not expect such a beautifully written, well-documented and ultimately spiritually inspiring saga of the disintegration of one man's moral integrity as he works for Palin. This is a journey of a well-meaning soul's travail through hell and his ultimate spiritual re-discovery.

Initially, being a total new-comer to political activism, Bailey naively perceives Palin to be a self-less political reformer who expresses his ideals and warrants his help. In end, after five years of hard work at the expense of his family and reputation, he recognizes that he had sold his soul to a shattered idol.

As Bailey participates in Palin successful efforts to become a wealthy national celebrity, he begins to understand that she does not have the emotional stability or common sense that he assumed. He sees that she does not really care about the people who elected her or care about fulfilling her governmental responsibilities. He sees that his faith in her has been betrayed. She seeks not good government but good personal publicity.

Frank Bailey was a 35 year old political innocent when he was captured by the charm and apparent political courage of Sarah Palin. A Republican disgusted by the corruption of Alaska's then governor, Frank Murkowski, Bailey signed on to Palin's seemingly hopeless primary run against the well-funded governor with the willingness to clean the toilets of her shabby campaign headquarters, not with the goal of being Governor Palin's chief of staff. But during his five year Palin career, he went from an innocent to a dirty political operative himself as he carried out the erratic, arrogant and unethical demands of his political idol -- his "Reagan in a Skirt".

Bailey documents his descent into Palin's emotionally strewn nightmare with e-mails he received from Palin, her husband, Todd, and others in the their inner political circle, a circle which changed as old members were thrown aside and new members of the faithful recruited. With Bailey's help, Palin got to the very pinnacle of Alaska's government and then to the pinnacle of Republican Party national politics as vice-presidential nominee for John McCain's run against Obama.

The chronicle shows that virtually Palin's only political skills came in the form of marketing herself to voters through her physical looks and charm. Her skill set did not include knowledge of the real problems facing her state or her country, much less knowledge of how to actually run a government.

The majority of Palin's time in office was spent putting her considerable power to use in demolishing anyone who she perceived to be an enemy. She included in her enemies her former brother-law, Trooper Wooten and anyone who dared to voice the slightest criticism of anything she did or said. Palin was ruled by her emotional whims not reason, and thus she ruled Alaska. "Off with their head" said the queen of public charm and vicious attack, while her minions, of which Bailey was one of the most loyal, immediately proceeded to sharpen their swords and attack. Many innocent people were badly injured in her forays.

Bailey was not innocent and it is not a pretty story to read of his own moral disintegration, but this chronicle of Palin's rise to fame and fortune, is extremely well documented through e-mails sent to Bailey by Palin herself, her husband, Todd, and members of the shifting inner circle. The writing/editing team of Ken Morris and Jeanne Devon is to be congratulated for this work.

It is an important book for all voters, everywhere, to read, as it shows how easily we can be fooled by physical and emotional charm, or the glittering words of potential candidates who seem to express our ideals.

We need to look at candidates' deeds, their actual experience in governing, before we allow them election to critical offices. We only just missed electing Palin to the second highest office in our land, as vice-president to the 72 year old McCain, by a few million votes. We can't allow effective political marketing of shallow candidates to over-ride effective governing, and this applies as equally to the Palin-bots as the Obama-bots.

Read this beautifully written book!