The ALO news is delayed a bit this month by a two-week trip to Scotland with John McDonald and Bev Hoffman. John wanted to check out the home of his ancestors, so a driving trip through the Scottish Highlands was planned before Covid, and delayed until now. Scotland proved to be scenic, and the folks were entertaining at least to the extent they could be understood owing to their tendency to speak a rare form of the English language. A few select photos are featured. The tour group took great pleasure in taking photos of the eldest member of the group while napping, and then making light of those brief events. (Click through photos with arrows to the right.)
One excuse for the naps was the practice of law that happened most nights in an attempt to keep up on ALO cases. Excellent Wi-Fi in most lodging areas made that possible despite the 9-hour time difference. At one place the Wi-Fi was not working, so an attempt was made to find Wi-Fi available in the town of Oban at 10 pm, when a Zoom call was scheduled to discuss with opposing counsel a pending policy limits offer. After a long walk, a good connection was found outside the closed train station and the call was made. Soon after a policeman walked by, but no arrests were made. One of the opposing lawyers started off with a detailed analysis of the insurance policies involved and how difficult it would be to calculate policy limits on the policies. Standing in the cold and listening to insurance lawyers is not a favored activity, so the following quote was offered after interrupting - “We offered to settle for policy limits, and the deadline is a few days away. We don’t need to know exactly how much you are able to pay, we just need to hear you say you will be paying policy limits. It’s cold here, and who knows how long this bootleg Internet will be available, so what is your position?” With that, the lawyer said he would be offering policy limits, and the call quickly ended. The exact amounts will be sorted out soon. That major case was one of two significant settlements during the trip, with details next month.
That’s not the first time a case has been settled in a strange place. In 1987, an insurance adjuster managed to learn that his opponent was racing the John Beargrease race in Minnesota. Someone told him the phone number for the community hall at Finland where a few racers were resting, and fans were gathered during the race. Finland is on the North Shore of Lake Superior and is a checkpoint on the race. Someone managed to get word of the call to a sleeping racer who assumed some diehard race fan from Alaska wanted a firsthand race report. Instead, the adjuster offered up a bunch of money to settle a case, which was accepted on the spot. The fee from that case far exceeded the first-place award for the race which was $10,000. Actually, the race paid $5,000 by check and $5,000 by an IOU, because funds were short.
Speaking of settlements, how about FOX news? $780 million dollars is a lot of money, and one would think the folks that caused such a loss would be in a little trouble with the boss. One was fired, ultra-right wingnut Lou Dobbs, who ranted most every night about a stolen election, but the rest of the culprits are still in action. Tucker Carlson has taken to pandering to Trump again, and the stolen election is still part of his pitch. For anyone who is confused about what happened, Fox commentators repeatedly allowed guests to discuss false narratives about the election, blaming Dominion Voting Systems for their vote counting machines without evidence. Private messages revealed the Fox hosts knew the information was false, but they wanted to keep their gullible fans watching so they went with the stolen election story for months. The case itself was a hard one for Dominion because of the tough rules in place for proving libel. But Fox couldn’t risk a bigger verdict and didn’t want weeks of damaging evidence shared widely. Don’t worry about Fox though. They had billions in reserve, and a solid core audience that doesn’t care if the story they are hearing is false. This story isn’t over yet, because Dominion has suits pending against others who peddled the stolen election story, and another voting machine company Smartmatic also has a suit against Fox. Fox news has barely covered this major news story, and many Fox viewers likely have yet to hear how badly duped they were, or perhaps the correct word is are.
There are other legal matters in the news. Clarence Thomas has long been the least favorite Supreme Court justice in the ALO rating system. There are many reasons, mostly based on his consistent hard right voting record, but also based on the fact he was selected despite compelling evidence of sexual harassment presented at his confirmation hearing which somehow was disregarded. Now he has himself in hot water over immense gifts received from a conservative billionaire friend and not reported. The story deepens every day, but the basic gist is that this rich friend only became a friend after Thomas was seated on the Court and has lavishly gifted Thomas in a transparent effort to reward him for past conservative rulings and encourage future ones. It’s called corruption and should end up with Thomas off the Court. Thomas supporters claim the expensive gifts are just what friends do for friends, but maybe someone should check what other friends this billionaire has treated in this manner. At a time when the Supreme Court has suffered badly in the public eye, trust in the court has reached an all-time low, for good reason.
America’s culture wars continue to rage, and one recent aspect was the classical Michelangelo sculpture of David, shown here with appropriate Alaska adornments to meet the standards of the folks who actually called the classic artwork pornography when arguing the statute was inappropriate for school display.
That person apparently forgot that the statue was originally commissioned for use in a church before it was moved to a museum. That level of prudishness is alarming in a society that allows nudity in many forms that can be accessed by children with little effort. A nude body is hardly pornographic. There may be depictions of nude forms which may be inappropriate for children to view, but the statute of David is not in that category. This cartoon sums up the situation.
There is lots of talk about men who perform in drag lately. It is described as evidence of the left-wing attack on morals, decency and democracy. For perspective, here is Ronald Reagan in an early photo. The left wing got to him as well, apparently.
Speaking of nude forms, a story from the 1970s in Bethel reveals that not everyone views nudity as pornography. A couple of friends, Dan Boyette and Dan Laughlin stopped by the Dog Farm one afternoon to take a steam bath. The steam bath was located just behind what is now the ALO office, which was then a dwelling. The steam had a cooling bench right in front, and the nearest homes were in Henry Jung’s apartments about 100 yards away. Most steams were taken at night but on that warm spring afternoon, it was enticing. The three participants enjoyed a hot steam with three or four cooling periods on the bench outside and all was well. It should be noted that the Angstman steam bath was a clothes-free operation.
Later, several neighborhood women were invited to the Jung apartments by a young single lady named Linda Schmidt. Linda was an artist who created bowls and other ceramic stuff in her spare time. The ladies were enjoying tea and coffee when Linda offered up a story that has survived for almost 50 years. She told the ladies that earlier that afternoon she had seen the gentlemen mentioned above as they lounged outside the steam bath. She described the scene as memorable and gushed “It was like watching three Greek gods.” With that, the three women who resided with the “Greek gods” broke out in uncontrolled laughter. One reportedly said “Linda, we need to get you out more.” It is important to note that no one described the scene as pornographic.
Mandatory Moose, Other Creatures & Happy Trails
It had been a long winter in Anchorage and the moose have seriously browsed most trees by now. Here is this month’s Mandatory Moose at work at Providence Hospital.
A Bethel site on Facebook showed this device which is located about 60 miles north of Bethel.
It’s a tramway built long ago to allow heavy items to be moved between the Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers, a distance of about 30 miles. Much of that distance consists of waterways, and large boats and other gear could be loaded on a tram and with some effort, rolled between some of the waterways. It is in serious disrepair at this time.
This video posted by Penny Lehmann shows a whale in feeding mode.
This photo shows granddaughter Mary at a young age in a dog sled (made by James Nicholas) with her dog that seems to have misunderstood the purpose of a dog sled.
This photo shows an Easter egg hunt during the Camp Out Race many years ago.
This story from California makes it clear that adults can be jerks, at times - "A 9-year-old girl didn’t want her goat slaughtered. California fair officials sent deputies after it" (The Los Angeles Times).
For those who follow the Iditarod and are considering taking up the sport, here is a video from the trail showing Matt Hall dealing with a bit of wind.
Finally guns. America is told the solution to gun violence is more guns, to keep everyone safe. American gun sales have exploded in recent years, and so has gun violence. In a word, gun violence is an American disgrace. In a nation that forces people to remove their shoes before boarding a jet because one person tried to blow up a plane with explosives in his shoes, it is impossible to take steps to reduce gun violence because “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Actually shoes don’t blow up airplanes, but our government interfered with American freedom enough to slow down the boarding process substantially because of one explosive shoe. Our gun situation is out of control and the government is not willing to address the problem. All because the NRA has bought off a bunch of Congressmen. Check these stats.