Sunday, December 5, 2010


I spent mine in the Emergency Operations Center with the Coast Guard and the O'Brien's Response Management. The ship "Golden Seas" lost power in the Bering Sea. Click on the picture to enlarge it.

I missed the "Guns v Hoses" hocky game and the Sunday jam session in Spendard. Well, at least I wasn't sloshing around out in the Bering Sea.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

John Voight in Anchorage

Actor John Voight (right) and another actor Dermot Mulroney (left) are hanging out at the Anchorage PD office today during filming of their latest movie. My son, Jason (in the center) is hobnobbing. Huh, I never get to hobnob. Crap. Jason and his K9, Alexander, will make a brief appearance in the movie.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sunday afternoon softball for senior citizens

I refer to Sunday afternoon jam sessions as "Senior citizen's softball game for guys who aren't very athletic". This is the VFW at 33rd and Spenard. Steve on harmonica, Jim on tenor, and Ted (in his '70's) on tenor. I sat my tenor down so I could play with my new iphone camera, then mail the photo to myself. Then of course I didn't know what to do with the pic, so I put it here. When we have an entire horn section standing together, we look good. Who cares what we sound like.

Monday, October 4, 2010


I didn't break it, but with others from O'Brien's Response Management, I got to work on the operation to get it Oliktok Point near Barrow, Ak.

The Usual Suspects

Had a great time in Seward, Alaska. Seward area firefighters put on a great conference.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Anchorage, during the dedication of the statue for fallen firefighters held on Sept. 11, 2010, an ex-Chicago firefighter saw the CFD patch on my 11-month-old grandson and took the picture to send back to his buddies in Chicago. Of course, my older son Jason (Anchorage P.D.) is holding him. Ain't life good?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Youtube stuff

I've been playing around with youtube (a big adventure for me). I took the video of the capsizing of the fishing boat "Linda's Draw" in the stormy Gulf of Alaska and uploaded it. The crew on the tender ran the video as they accompanied Linda's Draw toward Prince William Sound. Linda's Draw had lost their main engine and were barely making enough headway on the auxiliary to provide steering. And you'll notice that their jitney was on their fantail and further raising their center of gravity was that their power block was hoist up on their boom (rather than lowered onto their deck. After the capsizing, on of the crew came up out of the water between that boat and the tender when they bumped together. He became my patient when I picked him up and his collapsed lung required a "chest cut" in the E.R.. I helped the doc with that disgusting procedure and in putting the drain tube in. It worked
I put the 5-minute video on youtube.

Here's another one: This made national TV news and became part of a TV documentary. An avalanche ripped through a Cordova (Alaska) neighborhood taking out several buildings (homes). One was the home of one of our firefighters, Jerry LeMaster. It killed his wife and buried him 30 feet down in the snow and rubble. After 6 hours we got to him. TV news was there and recorded it. This is also one of the stories in my book Fire and Ice. Here is the3-minute news story.

In case anyone is interested in what it's like fighting a fire inside a 100-year-old hotel, check out my crew in this 4-minute video. It's not very clear, however.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Drill, Baby, Drill!

Drill, baby, drill--Alyeska style. As a retired fire chief, when I hear "drill, baby, drill" I think of a drill as a wheels-rolling exercise to keep your emergency responders in a state of ready. Here's last week's scenario for Alyeska Pipeline Company in Valdez, Alaska: Alyeska Terminal was notified that oil tanker TT CARRIER while outbound had a collision with M/V FRIDGE approximately 9 miles from Naked Island. TT CARRIER was proceeding normally inside the outbound shipping lane abreast of Naked Island loaded with 807,344 barrels of Alaska North Slope crude oil (nearly 34 million gallons). At approximately 06:00 CARRIER suffered a significant collision with a refrigerated cargo vessel (M/V FRIDGE). CARRIER's port side was compromised, opening 3 compartments and discharging oil. The vessel is listing. There are injuries on board FRIDGE. In accordance with the response plan, Alyeska takes initial action which includes notifying the shipper's company to dispatch their overhead team to Valdez. Alyeska conducts realistic on-water spill drills annually, pipeline drills much more often, and drill for contracted fishing boats (boom handlers) regularly. They've been doing it for 20 years now. Drillers and shippers in the Gulf of Mexico better drill, baby, drill this way. Incidentally, when I and other Alaska fire chiefs began training Alyeska and its owner-companies, we were conducting 6 - 9 drills every year. The bigger drills cost over a million dollars each.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


These 11 tracks (8 music, 3 poetry) can be previewed, purchased digitally -- or purchase the entire CD -- The other artists on the CD are regulars cruising the Anchorage music scene: Concerts, bar gigs, benefits, and jam sessions. A big thank-you goes to Rod Masters for engineer/recording, arranging and playing keyboards. Thanks to Bridget Sullivan ("The best singer in the Anchorage area" Anchorage Daily News), who sings "Shadows and the Light". Leo Grinberg duplicates what we did at the Anchorage Performing Arts Center with "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know". And Anchorage rock staple Frank Iarossi, did the recording/engineering, playing and singing "Moondance". At the end, 2 of the 3 readings I do were recorded live at Anchorage's "Out North Theater". Let me know what you think at
As of today, the following local Anchorage retailers are carrying the CD (in case you're out and about).
The Horn Doctor .. 1000 Ingra Street .. 272-4676
The Keyboard Cache .. The Benson Street strip mall across from Sears .. 274-3593
Metro Music & Books .. same strip mall as above .. 279-8622

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Journalism apparantly is about the journalist

Alistair Cooke died in 2004 at age 95. He was about 90 when The Great & The Good was published. Born in Manchester England and educated at Cambridge, Yale, and Harvard. he had a sixty-six year career as a foreign correspondent. Last night I was drawn to re-read this book after about 10 years. I was struck by statements in his preface. Right after leaving Cambridge at age 23, he swore off the entrenched fashion practiced by the “intellectual wolf pack of London, New York, and Rome, that literary and historical criticism is the cutting down to size the famous,…” …”Dr. Richards (helmsman of the new wave of English studies at Cambridge) and his pupil William Epson (the first deconstructionist) came along to ridicule and supplant.” I wondered, is that when it began, in the ‘30’s? The duty of the political or historic writer is to “make his bones” by selecting an enemy, declaring war, and destroy them? Cooke later in the preface proclaimed he made the surprising discovery that those people who share their political prejudices—drastically cut themselves off from enjoying at least half of the human race.