Thursday, January 19, 2012

YouTube Links

On YouTube, I posted two readings (with slides) from Lazarus on a Spur Line:
"In Memory" and "Upon Hearing Sarah Vaughan Sing 'Dreamsville'".

Friday, January 13, 2012


Since, Nome, Alaska didn’t get its pre-winter fuel supplybecause of a pounding storm, the Russian ice-breaker, fuel- tanker Renda has been clawing its way through the Bering Sea ice flow to deliver the fuel to Nome. Everybody knows that.

Alaska has had a good-neighbor relationship with the Russians for many years, going back to before the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Our State officials were having congenial conversations with their folks, as well as between our Eskimos and their Eskimos, much to the confusion of the national, hard-line politicians on both sides.

In July 1988 seven Eskimo walrus hunters were trapped on a drifting ice floe for three weeks and not only did the Soviets perform their own search, they allowed our National Guard and Coast Guard to search Soviet waters, along their coast line. Between their forces and ours, they covered over 93,000 square mile repeatedly before the hunters were located.

In October that year, when 3 whales were trapped behind a large ice floe, the Soviets sent an ice breaker to assist the local Eskimos who were using chain saws to open a series of breathing holes for the whales heading toward open water.

In December 1988, a devastation earthquake struck Soviet Armenia killing tens of thousands of residents. At 7:00 a.m. I called the Governor's office and suggeste he send an Alaskan Search and Rescue K-9 team to help earch the rubble. Governor Cowper called me back at noon and said the U.S. State Department nixed the idea, assuming there were enough searchers over there already. So, the governor explained, he contacted Soviet Foreign Minister Edward Shevardnadza who wanted the K-9 team. So, Soviet Ambassador Yuri Dubinin made the request official and it was done. (page 320, of my book, Fire and Ice).

The spring of 1989, during the grueling clean-up operation following the Exxon-Valdez oil spill, the Soviet Russians sent their super-skimmer, Vaydaghubsky. In mid-summer, the 425 foot vessel cruised into Orca Inlet to say “hello” to us residents of Cordova. 41 crew members were shuttled in to town by local fishermen for a day-long visit. (page 202, of my book Fire and Ice).

The next year, before the collapse of the Soviet Union, a couple of ships on their way to Washington state pulled in for fresh water and supplies, bringing a theater troupe. They went to the high school gym and put on a couple of plays. We hosted, and fed them well. I and the other members of the fire department bought cases of champagne and met them at the dock (see right-side photo 0f one of our fire engines crammed with drink and ice. The photo was on the cover page of the last edition of the "Soviet Times" magazine.