On this episode, Jonah ruminates from his igloo (we hope – wouldn’t that be cool?) on some Alaska stories, the American founding, relativism in language, and why good manners are more important (and more complicated) than you might think.

Show Notes:

Alaskans plug in their cars

The mighty Gavora Mall

The members-only Wednesday “news”letter

Remnant with John McWhorter

Tony Montana … asserts his dominance? … by eating the lemon in the washing bowl

Orwell’s Orphans

Jonah’s dueling essay with Patrick Deneen

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  1. Al Sparks Thatcher

    My replies on Jonah’s comments on Fairbanks:

    Architecture: Jonah’s father-in-law’s comments on Gold Rush architecture is probably on the mark. While I only traveled there once, I felt that Nome, an even more famous Alaska Gold Rush town, has the same characteristic. A big difference between Nome and Fairbanks is that it’s coastal, that it’s far enough north (unlike Southeast Alaska) to have the ocean freeze up in the winter, and it does have high winds at 40 below. In fact, the icing of the ocean, with no ocean waves, means for even higher winds. Ironically, latitudinally Nome is slightly south than Fairbanks is.

    Getting back to Fairbanks, the surrounding countryside is fairly ugly too. On clear days you can see Denali (or Mt McKinley) but the Tanana flats south of Fairbanks are mosquito infested and swampy. And the trees are often puny because of the permafrost there (they can’t spread their roots out).

    Our tourism is not just affected by the cruise companies busing people up from coastal Southcentral Alaska. We get a lot of motor homes traveling through Canada. There are restrictions right now with such travel, and I’m not clear whether Canadians allow tourists at all. I think you have to have a better reason to travel.

    Tires: Steel belted radials are no longer common. But when they were, and when initially driving at forty below, you would bump up and down for awhile before the tires warmed up. If you look at newspaper archives of, say 15 years ago, you could see some local humor referencing it.

    One other thing about expansion from cold to warm. I’ve never owned a heated garage, but when I volunteered with a local fire department, if we didn’t remember to, and we filled up an ambulance or fire truck all the way up with fuel, it would leak out of the fuel tank through the gas cap an hour or so after parking in the heated garage.

    I also have stories on what it’s like to fight fires at forty below.

    I lived in Southeast Alaska before coming to Fairbanks. Southeast Alaska is very coastal. On wind chill, I felt colder in Juneau / Sitka at 40 above, than I did in Fairbanks at 20-30 above (temperatures in Fahrenheit). 

    On Occupy Wall Street (OWS) in Fairbanks: It was amazing how timid the authorities were in removing them. They really dotted their I’s and crossed their T’s on it. Politically, Fairbanks is really purple, with most of the conservatives more in North Pole (a part of the Fairbanks North Star Borough) than Fairbanks proper.

    Judging by his tweets and comments on the Remnant, Jonah has been spending some time at Golden Heart Plaza. That area does attract tourism, but it also attracts inebriates. This is not a problem limited to Fairbanks, but other towns with tourism in their downtowns. That, by the way, is where OWS set up shop.

    • #1
    • July 11, 2020, at 1:24 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Al Sparks Thatcher

    One other thing about Fairbanks tourism, or actually winter tourism with a little COVID-19 mixed in. The last 2-3 winters, Fairbanks was getting a lot of Chinese tourism during the winter (they like the Northern Lights). I wonder how much that affected our COVID-19 infections. We did have a big flu outbreak in November. When COVID-19 started in earnest, Fairbanks was considered a hot spot within the state. And most of those infections were nursing home/assisted living facility related. Since then however, Fairbanks has lagged the rest of the state in infections and COVID-19 hospitalizations.

    • #2
    • July 11, 2020, at 1:33 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  3. Mister Dog Coolidge

    Wow I’ve been by the Govora Mall many times and never made the connection. 

    @alsparks my regular summer job is driving a tour coach. No Fairbanks this year.

    • #3
    • July 12, 2020, at 4:54 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. Hank Rhody, Badgeless Bandito Contributor

    Jonah, one of these days you’re going to have to stop going to Twitter for your sparring partners. That time I beat an eight year old at a chess tournament didn’t make me a chess master.

    Then again, you’re never going to read this comment…

    • #4
    • July 13, 2020, at 2:16 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  5. kedavis Member

    Hank Rhody, Badgeless Bandito (View Comment):

    Jonah, one of these days you’re going to have to stop going to Twitter for your sparring partners. That time I beat an eight year old at a chess tournament didn’t make me a chess master.

    Then again, you’re never going to read this comment…

    But… but… he wants to WIN!

    • #5
    • July 13, 2020, at 10:33 AM PDT
    • Like
  6. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Major Sidney Freedman was the psychiatrist on M*A*S*H.

    • #6
    • July 13, 2020, at 6:28 PM PDT
    • Like
  7. kedavis Member

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Major Sidney Freedman was the psychiatrist on M*A*S*H.

    Played by Allan Arbus, but his character had a different name at first, do you remember what it was, without looking it up?

    • #7
    • July 13, 2020, at 7:30 PM PDT
    • Like
  8. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Major Sidney Freedman was the psychiatrist on M*A*S*H.

    Played by Allan Arbus, but his character had a different name at first, do you remember what it was, without looking it up?

    Good trivia question! Now that you mention it I just barely remember him starting out with a different name but can’t come up with it. I give up.

    • #8
    • July 14, 2020, at 3:12 AM PDT
    • Like
  9. kedavis Member

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Major Sidney Freedman was the psychiatrist on M*A*S*H.

    Played by Allan Arbus, but his character had a different name at first, do you remember what it was, without looking it up?

    Good trivia question! Now that you mention it I just barely remember him starting out with a different name but can’t come up with it. I give up.

    Milton.

    I remember it because of the games brand, Milton Bradley.

    • #9
    • July 14, 2020, at 3:54 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  10. kedavis Member

    By the way, regarding trivia: Do you ever play a game of naming bands (musical groups) with the name of an animal in their name? (Ratt, Scorpion, etc.)

    I have never lost one of those, thanks to Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrzxW0rsD1Q

    • #10
    • July 16, 2020, at 1:26 AM PDT
    • Like