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K.U. 81, K-State 79 IN OVERTIME…

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:46 pm


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:47 am

Tyler’s snail mail address has already changed.  If you want it, please give me a call.

His email address is the same…t(underline)britton23(at) You know how to make the necessary conversions; if not, ask a young person. :)



Filed under: political musings, print news, Civil/Gay Rights — Peg Britton @ 7:49 pm

Kent Gaston alerted me that the Phelps gang is heading to California for the Prop 8 trial. Here’s an article from the San Jose Mercury News that he forwarded.  I thank him for the heads up on this.
San Jose Mercury News, Calif., Patty Fisher column: Fisher: Not welcome in my town

MCT REGIONAL NEWS By Patty Fisher San Jose Mercury News, Calif.

Jan. 29—Winters are bleak in Topeka. Harsh, gray cloudy days. Wind chill hovering around zero. No wonder the hate mongers from the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church gathered their picket signs, hollered “Road trip!” and headed for the Bay Area. They knew the weather would be mild even if the reception would be ice cold.

Westboro and its founder, Fred Phelps, are the “God Hates America” people. They travel around the country eagerly spreading their gospel of hate. They picket schools, synagogues, football games, funerals and even birthday parties, taunting unsuspecting Americans with the ugliest language to scream out their stridently anti-gay, anti-Semitic,  anti-Catholic, anti-Irish, anti-everything slogans. The church (I use the term with embarrassment) is made up mostly of Phelps’ extended family. Its spew holds that Americans are going to hell because our society is rife with adultery and homosexuality, especially homosexuality. The tragedy and deaths from Sept. 11, 2001, Katrina, the H1N1 virus were sent by God to punish us for our acceptance of gays and lesbians — whom they openly term “fags.”

With the Proposition 8 trial under way, San Francisco was a fitting destination for Westboro’s winter tour. On the way to the federal courthouse, why not make a stop at Gunn High School in Palo Alto? The Phelpses love to harass those who are grieving, including the families  of murder victims and fallen soldiers. A visit to Gunn, where students are grappling with yet another railroad suicide last week, fits Westboro’s utterly tasteless agenda.

When word spread that today they plan to set up their “America is Doomed” and “God hates Jews” signs at the Gunn campus and Stanford University’s Taube Hillel House, the official reaction was to deny them the confrontation they sought. Gunn’s principal delayed classes so students wouldn’t even have to see the pickets. Stanford urged the campus to ignore them.

Those were good moves. The Phelpses are masters at baiting people. Several of them are lawyers and are known to provoke people into assaulting them — and then file lawsuits. Some say they support themselves on legal settlements. It’s best to stay out of their wake.

So why am I devoting my column space to these unholy religious wackos? Not because I want to feed their craving for publicity. But I just can’t sit quietly and pretend these folks aren’t in my town, or that their hate-filled message doesn’t offend me. If I don’t engage the Phelpses, what do I say to the people who make offensive remarks about gays or Jews at parties? Do I call them out — or just ignore them and wait for them to leave? Hatred, homophobia and racism are  everywhere.

They’re not as blatant in our Bay Area bubble as they are in other parts of the country, but they are here and are no less corrosive because they are quiet. If we don’t confront them — publicly and privately — how will our young people know how we feel? How can we teach them, by example, what is right?
In its news release, Westboro states that Gunn students committed suicide because “their parents taught them lies belched forth from the bowels of hell, such as ’God loves everybody’ and ’it’s okay to be gay.’ Those children have no instruction concerning how to serve their God “… what else can be expected?” The message is clear. We must teach our children not to hate. If we don’t? What else CAN be expected?

Contact Patty Fisher at or 408-920-5852.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:15 pm

In the polling of each of the twelve members of the Scott Roeder jury, Roeder was found guilty of first degree murder and two counts of first degree assault. It was a straight forward case with an abundance of substantial evidence.  The jury deliberations were of short duration and lasted 37 minutes before rendering their verdict.

Roeder, who had a criminal history with time served,  admitted at the onset that he planned and killed Dr. Tiller.  He will face life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years. Prosecutor Nola Foulston said she would pursue a so-called “Hard 50” sentence, which would require Roeder to serve at least 50 years before he can be considered for parole.
It was not a capital murder case so he was not eligible for the death penalty.

Dr. George Tiller worked within the confines of Kansas law on abortion. Roeder carefully planned and murdered Dr. George Tiller because he didn’t agree with Kansas law.  Yesterday the judge in the trial dealt the defense a major setback when he ruled that the jury could not consider the lesser charge of manslaughter.  Scott Roeder took the stand in his own defense and admitted killing Dr. George Tiller, saying he acted to save the lives of unborn children. Roeder’s cool and emotionless demeanor on the stand was chillingly frightening.

The judge announced he would not allow his courtroom to turn into a forum on abortion. The defense had hoped to show that Roeder was frustrated by former Attorney General Phill Kline’s obsession and failure to prosecute Dr. George Tiller and that Roeder was influenced by Kline’s belief that Tiller was breaking the law.  Kline was replaced by Attorney General Paul Morrison who then charged Tiller with 19 misdemeanor counts that had been on Kline’s agenda.  It seemed an apparent attempt to  show publicly…and finally…that Kline had been wrong and obsessed in his relentless attacks on Tiller.  Tiller was acquitted of all 19 charges. Morrison probably contributed to the death of Tiller, as well as Kline, as Roeder sat through the trials where Tiller was found innocent of all counts, a move that inflamed Roeder even more.

Kansas law provides that “as long as fetus is not viable (and mother’s informed consent obtained); abortion of viable fetus permitted if 2nd M.D. certifies that abortion is necessary to preserve life of mother or fetus has severe, life-threatening deformity or abnormality.” George Tiller worked within the confines of Kansas Law, 65-6701 et seq.  Kansas law supported strongly the decision of the court today.



Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 10:00 pm

Remember the horrid sign I posted that the president of the Tea Party movement, Dale Robertson, was holding that misspelled his own hate?   It inflamed me as it did almost everyone else. It is finally catching up with him., one of the self-proclaimed leaders of the vocal and active conservative Tea Party movement, was founded by a man named Dale Robertson. Robertson lays claim to the original idea for staging Tea Parties, one that was later taken up by much more widely known advocates like Glenn Beck. This week Robertson is getting flak for a photograph of him from back in February in Houston that has just turned up, where he’s carrying a sign that reads: “Congress = Slaveowner, Taxpayer = Niggar.” We don’t even know how to react to that, other than to say sic, and, well, sick. [Washington Independent]The photo was taken at the Feb. 27, 2009 Tea Party in Houston…

Politicians right and left are bailing out of the first National Tea Party Convention.  Joining Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who announced that she could no longer attend the National Tea Party Convention being held in her own state, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has pulled the plug.  Bachmann was to be the luncheon speaker.  Sarah Palin is presently the only politician scheduled to speak  and remains the headliner for the event.

Sarah Palin has garnered the wrath of the Tea Partiers as they now believe she is their enemy. 500  tickets have not been sold for her speech and this might sink the Tea Party boat. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next few days before the convention scheduled for Feb. 4-6. The money ($150,000) may keep Palin in the fold to show for her speech, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if she bailed out on both the Tea Party Convention and her speaking engagement in Salina.  She’s not a quitter, you know.



Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 4:57 am

Everyone seems ready for warm, sunny days when we can enjoy outdoor activities.  My long time internet friends, Joan and Gil, look forward to fishing at their hideaway on a beautiful, secluded lake in Canada.  Here are some pictures they took last summer.


Gil relaxes after a really hard day reeling in fish.  Their fishing cabin is about an hour away from where they live.


See the barbecue grill?  Fish are heading that way.


Here is Gill and his collection of Canadian small mouth bass.


Joan and Gil have a huge garden and preserve their harvest for winter use.  Along with their summer catch, they are prepared for long, cold winters.


Look how clean and clear the water is.  Dream on…

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:01 pm

In a couple of hours, my fave and only granddaughter will be 27 on the 27th.  That hardly seems possible. Our grandchildren have become adults so fast.

So, Mackenzie…have a very special day.  I wish you were here so we could have “ladies day luncheon” as we did so often many years ago. Those are good memories.


Filed under: political musings, Pro-life/Pro-choice — Peg Britton @ 9:49 pm

Abstinence-only sex education programs don’t work.  They just don’t work.  Look at the facts around us.  It certainly hasn’t worked in Haiti.  It doesn’t work with some in Alaska…or anywhere else.

New data out today show that the teen pregnancy rate in America climbed by 3 percent in 2006, the first increase in more than a decade. The numbers, which come from the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit group dedicated to the study of reproductive and sexual health, show that about 7 percent of all teenage girls got pregnant in 2006 (71.5 pregnancies per 1,000 teenagers). This percentage, while high, is still far below the 12 percent peak from 1990. Studies completed by the Institute also show a 1 percent increase in abortion in the same year.

The Guttmacher Institute and others suggest that the increase in teenage pregnancy is related to the focus on abstinence-only sex education programs promoted by the Bush administration, USA Today reported. “We’re not quite sure yet whether this is just a blip or whether it’s the beginning of a longer upward trend,” Larry Finer, Guttmacher’s director for domestic research, told Reuters in an interview.

It’s the pro-choice policies that result in dramatic declines in the need for abortion. That’s the goal of almost everyone.  Only the pro-choice movement is working on the prevention of unintended pregnancy.

The pro-life paradox appears everywhere its policies are in place. School districts in the conservative South are almost five times more likely than in the liberal Northeast to teach abstinence-only. Southern states also have the highest rate of new HIV/AIDS infections, the highest rate of STDs, as well as the highest rate of teen births. Whereas new cases of AIDS decreased or remained constant in the Northeast, Midwest, and West, the South alone experienced an increase. Seven of the 10 states with the highest Chlamydia rates, all of the states with the highest rates of gonorrhea, and nine of the top 10 states for syphilis rates are all in the South where the pro-life abstinence-only agenda is the order of the day.

My good friend out west pointed out that this session of the legislature is gearing up for its latest side show. She figures there will be the usual “wailing and gnashing of teeth over Roe vs Wade and Kansas’ attempts at every turn to keep women safe from making choices about their own bodies. That will consume a hell of a lot of valuable time that could better be spent  reducing the need for abortion instead of just lecturing women and their supporters about the evils of being able to choose.  And, we’ll have the sideshow of a trail of the man who has confessed to murdering Dr. George Tiller.  Gee, that ought to improve Kansas’ image as a hillbilly haven.  And the nonsense from the statehouse won’t help our image either.”

Has it occurred to anyone that Dr. George Tiller might still be alive if Attorney General Paul Morrison had not charged him with 19 misdemeanor counts?  It inflamed Scott Roeder who sat through the complete trial and went absolutely berserk when Tiller was acquitted of criminal charges that he did not follow state law when getting a second opinion on late-term abortions.  That wasn’t enough for Roeder who took the law into his own hands and  shot Tiller at point blank range as Tiller ushered congregation members in his place of worship during Sunday services.  Roeder  has publicly admitted he shot and killed Tiller but pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and aggravated assault charges. He believed he would save unborn children by killing Tiller. The trail is in progress at this time.

There is a reason the framers of our constitution founded our country pro-choice.  When are women going to wake up and rebel at being lectured to by men and their anti-abortion supporters about the evils of women making decisions about their own bodies. Please, do not usurp my right, or the right of other woman in my family,  to make our own choices.   We are perfectly capable of doing that.  We will not attempt to usurp your right to do as you choose.

The pro-choice approach is effective, safer and in keeping with our values of personal freedom and protection from government intrusion in our most personal matters.  The elimination of abortion rights WILL NOT reduce the number of abortions.


Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 2:57 am

Tyler finally arrived at his forward operating base, a Marine post attached in part to a British base.  He’s living and working with Brits and Marines  and two of his Air Force buddies who form a medical team…a doctor, nurse and Tyler the respiratory therapist.

He’s stationed at one of the safest bases in Afghanistan.  It has been months since it was last attacked and we hope it stays that way.  I like the idea he’s safely surrounded by Marines.  He much prefers this camp over Kandahar which was horrible, he says.  He was glad to get out of there.

He said he couldn’t say enough good things about where he is now.  They are building new Air Force centers so he’s getting to be a part of the beginning of something very new and cool with the Brits and Marines.

He sleeps in a tent crowded with 10 double bunks. There is very limited room as all the bunks are filled except one.  He says he took too much of some stuff and not enough of the basics he really needs….like carabiners, travel toothbrush, laundry soap, deodorant, shampoo and bar soap. He said the hardest commodity to come by is cash which is in very short supply.

He shaved his head as I suppose anyone surrounded by Marines would do.

They are expecting an increase of casualties next month that will result from the presence of thousands of new troops they are sending to his area to fight the Taliban.  He expects to be very, very busy working in the busiest trauma center in the world and perhaps transporting patients to Germany for more treatment.  More of his responsibilities will unfold and become known to him during the next few weeks.

If you want to write Tyler, his email address works best.  Snail mail takes about two weeks. He hasn’t had time yet to call but hopes to be able to soon.  Occasionally, he posts a message on FaceBook.

Tyler’s email address:  t_britton23 (at)  You know what to do with the (at).

Scott, a nurse who is one-third of team serving with Tyler and a doctor, wrote the following.  I  thought it might give you an idea of the strength of character these young men possess.

Simple Strands of String…

Ancestors of quilters have imbued generations of hands to artfully weave more than patches into a handmade quilt. Love and caring are sewn into each stitch and fiber elevating the status of a quilt far beyond any linen. It is truly a sum greater than its parts; symbolic of something more. In Iraq quilts have an exalted place and are created lovingly by people who want to care for the soldiers and people serving our country.

At the end of her six month tour in Balad a nurse was given such a quilt. The packages came regularly to Balad full of quilts, most earmarked for American wounded, but a select few reserved for the people caring for those wounded. Capt O Hara received her quilt while on deployment in the summer of 2008 and since then has lovingly cared for it in her home. There it sat as a silent symbol of her sacrifice for her country until the day it was conscripted for an equally important service.

An Air Force cadet who was a strong healthy young man had succumbed to a devastating illness while here on official duty at Lackland AFB. The picture of him as a stalwart warrior in uniform contrasted the ill cachexic young person lying there. Nurses always enjoy these photos; it reminds us why we are fighting this battle against disease. His weakness was so severe he could barely raise his head, yet when asked by the doctors and nurses he summoned up his remaining strength and strained to move his arm slightly. In the face of this heroic battle against a devastating disease, Capt O’Hara remembered her own symbol of sacrifice and heroism and on the 5th of August, before he was to leave our ICU and be transferred, Capt O’Hara brought her quilt into work and wrapped him in that symbol of love and caring.

The field of nursing has changed immensely as we seek to certify ourselves as a profession. This simple and profound sacrifice is an example of what drives the heart of nursing. That one act spoke more about how to care for your patient than volumes of text. Capt O’Hara understood the power that a few simple strands of string, artfully woven, could have on the heart of a warrior in the midst of a battle.

Scott asked me this on FaceBook…it’s pretty funny:  “Tyler seems to be really in love with this Afghani girl here.  nah just kidding.  Does Tyler only talk about food?  He really loves food.”

< Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:43 pm


Josh Svaty, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture, topped the list in Cosmopolitans “Seven Other Politicians We’d like to see Shirtless” .  It is on their website under the Celebs and Style tab.

Josh is one of the “7 More Politicians We’d Like to See Shirtless (And Some Who Should Definitely Keep Their Clothes On)”, according to the Cosmo article written by Ashley Womble.

“It may be a cliché, but the sexy Secretary of Agriculture proves that they sure grow ‘em cute in Kansas. We wouldn’t mind seeing him in nothing but a row of corn. ”

“By now everyone (and we do mean everyone) has seen U.S. Senator Scott Brown’s nude centerfold. We’d like to see these other politicians exercise their right to bare arms… and pecs and abs.”

If Brown’s photo didn’t take you by surprise, his victory speech will.  Scott Brown ran a strong campaign that shows us minority parties can win in almost any state. It isn’t often that someone we know makes the pages of Cosmo.  Congratulations, Josh…not that you had much to do with it….but thanks to Nicki and Don for the genes.  I bet the Svaty  household has been buzzing with jokes and innuendo today.  What fun.


Filed under: political musings, print news — Peg Britton @ 1:21 pm

The Kansas Cattlemen’s Association plans its 11th annual convention and trade show for Jan. 29-30 in Salina, Kan. Anyone is welcome to participate.

Convention speakers include: Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Josh Svaty; Candidate for Secretary of State Kris Kobach; Mid States Consulting represented by Joe Knopp; Farm and Family Insurance represented by Sherry Myers; Kansas State professor and animal welfare specialist Dan Thompson, and Senator Jim Barnett, who is also a U.S. Congressional candidate.

The event kicks off at noon on Jan. 29 with the opening of the trade show and silent auction. Following a series of afternoon workshops, a social hour begins at 5 p.m. with a banquet and live heifer sale set for 6 p.m. The keynote speaker at the banquet will be Bill Bullard, R-CALF USA CEO. The trade show opens at 8 a.m. on Jan. 30 and concludes with the KCA annual business meeting at 1:30 p.m.

For more information or details, contact the KCA in Junction City at (785) 238-1483.



Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 11:02 am

VOILA!  The sun is shining.  I love gloomy days, but even I’ve had enough of this seemingly ever-present gloomy, sunshineless, mud-under-foot, bone chilling weather.

I”m hooked on virgin coconut oil.  Virgin coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, a nutrient that supports the body’s immune system, and has many other beneficial components.  It’s pricey, but I think it is well worth it.

The George Clooney benefit fundraiser for Hatians was a showcase for talented performers, who never mentioned their names,  and was done in excellent taste, imo.

We haven’t heard much from Tyler since he left Kyrgyzstan, but in a quick note, he said he was on his way to his fob, a marine outpost that is quickly increasing in size.  Here’s what it looks like.


These three photographs were taken last June by David Guttenfelder.  They are from the photo blog of the Sacramento Bee.



This is the real thing. He’ll be transporting critically injured soldiers and civilians for further treatment.

John Edwards betrayed his supporters.  Andrew Young should have told him he couldn’t do what he was doing and still run for President,  but Edwards should have known that anyway.  Mark Sanford should have known.  All those men in high places who have violated common decency should have known.  Money and power.

Here’s a darling little girl who belongs to a local family.  This is her first experience with the doll and she obviously loves it.  This isn’t a new video, but it’s fun to watch such a joyful response to the doll.

It’s a good day to get out and about…so that’s where I’m heading.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, energy, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 1:06 pm


St. Paul’s Lutheran Church at 449 13th Road, north of Ellsworth.  The photo was taken by Art Kohls. He said it wasn’t taken to deceive anyone, but with a telephoto lens it makes the turbines appear to be in the churchyard, when, in fact, they are about a mile north of I-70 and the church is more than a mile south of I-70.  It does show the continued presence of the wind farm on the area.



Filed under: prairie musings, Joshua Svaty — Peg Britton @ 4:47 pm

Now he’s the real thing.


Filed under: prairie musings, Ryon Carey — Peg Britton @ 11:51 am

Before Scott Brown was elected to the U.S. Senate the DOW was sitting at 10,700.  After he was elected the DOW dropped to 10,390.  That’s an immediate drop of over 300 points.

It would appear that electing a Republican is not a good thing for the stock market….at least Wall Street doesn’t react well to electing a Republican.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:26 am

Obama just announced a proposal that would include limiting bank size and put and end to commercial banks’ proprietary trading.    Such a limit would separate commercial banks from investment banks, a line that was blurred a decade ago by the repeal of the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act. That restriction would affect some of the nation’s biggest banks, including banking giants Bank of America Corp., Goldman Sachs and Citigroup Inc.



Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 8:11 pm

MSNBC News just reported they are transferring 16,000 troops from Central Asia to Haiti.  I wonder if that includes my grandson.  I’m sure he’d like being in both places to do whatever he could to help.

Central Asia includes:
Astana, Kazakhstan
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Dushanbe, Tajikistan
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
Tashkent, Uzbekistan

They use the term “Central Asia” loosely. The last we heard he was in Bishkek, and stranded because of bad weather, but on his way to Nowhere-istan.  We don’t know where.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 2:41 pm

Josh Svaty’s nomination as Secretary of Agriculture has been passed on to the full senate for confirmation.  Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, both Republicans and Democrats, praised Svaty’s record as a legislator and background in farming.

Congratulations, Josh.

For more on the story, click here.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:38 am

My blog brings in a large circle of readers and many of them contact me with a phone call or by-mail.  Through all of this, some are good friends to this day. I’ve learned a lot from many of them.

A few weeks ago a university PhD chemistry prof from California called as he’d found an article among his possessions about Mildred Holt being on the Johnny Carson show and my name was mentioned.  So, he found my blog, read a great deal of it and  called to see if I had known some of his relatives who lived in the area and were friends of Mildred.

We talked for a long time arriving finally to the finer points of his diet.  He’s a strong proponent of virgin coconut oil. If you search, you’ll see a number of articles detailing the near-miraculous benefits of coconut oil, supported by numerous research studies.  In fact, has long been at the forefront in recommending pure coconut oil as the smartest oil you can use in cooking.

Stan said:

Dr. Mercola says to use ONLY coconut oil for cooking.  So, I do that, and I also eat an additional 2 tablespoons full a day (or 3).  It has a much higher burn temperature than olive oil, or butter.  It has almost no taste at all.

I use organic extra virgin olive oil only on salads, but not for cooking.

You can keep coconut oil at room temperature for up to 2 to 3 YEARS with no fear of rancidity.  It turns liquid at about 78 degrees, so I keep some of mine on a cup warmer by the stove so it is liquid, easy to pour into a skillet.  I buy 2 gallons at a time to save on cost (they have specials about 2 times per year), so none of it needs to be in the refrigerator!

I had to give coconut oil a try and am really pleased with it.  I bought two quarts of it on line and if I had a family to cook for again, I would probably buy two gallons at a time.  I’ve been using it on toast and it’s as good as if it were slathered with butter.  It melts on hot toast so I’ve almost eliminated butter from my diet.  I’ll use it in hot cereal.  I’ll be the picture of health after switching to coconut oil.

And, another friend of many years whom I met on the internet knows all those things I don’t know about natural products and practices as an alternative to medicine.  She suggested I try gelatin and Knox NutraJoint for my arthritic joints as it helps with flexibility and lubricates joints.  For ages, people have consumed Knox gelatin to help with arthritis pain, and swear by it over prescription medication.

For starters, scientists know that gelatin contains two amino acids which are also present in the human body. These amino acids are used to make collagen, the substance which connective tissues, such as cartilage, are made of. Cartilage provides the cushioning effect that keeps joints running smoothly and painlessly. Arthritis destroys cartilage allowing bones to rub together and cause pain. Research sponsored by gelatin manufacturers is trying to determine if Knox Gelatin is actually capable of regenerating damaged joints.

So…look for me speeding by as I change my diet to include gelatin and coconut oil.   It can’t hurt to try.There are plenty of links on the net that cover both these subjects.
Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 8:27 am

This came this morning from my “mostly virtual friend” Frank Smith.  We’ve never met, but we’ve corresponded and chatted on the phone for years.  Here’s what he had to say this morning about THOSE PESKY POLAR BEARS.

This is another “small world” case.

I got those photos from a friend in Barrow, right after they were taken, I think about two years ago. I could look it up. The father of another friend, Sharon Thompson, had taken them.  He’s Native American, an Athabascan from the Interior, and her mom, Jane Thompson is an Inupiaq (Eskimo).  She’s from Kaktovik (Barter Island), an island near the Canadian border, well ESE of Prudhoe Bay.  I think her dad is named Robert, but I can’t recall for sure.

I have a mostly virtual friend here in Kansas, Peg Britton, who has a much read blog and she loves odd animal pictures.  So I sent them to her, and she posted them. Her blog is read by an employee of the Anchorage Daily News.

The guy from the news gets hold of my Kansas friend and asks who took the pictures and if they can be used in the paper. She gets hold of me and I write the ADN employee and tell him the guy’s name and gave him the photographer’s daughter’s address and phone #. I think they made a deal to publish some or all the photos.

Meanwhile, another friend, who is a freelance writer/editor, and whose brother was (now retired) a photographer for the News, finds out that I directed them to the family and she was mad at me, since she could have gotten a scoop if I’d sent them to her.

I’ve been around bears, including a sow and two cubs who were not doing well, with my writer/editor friend. They came in off the ice about 40 feet away from us. They were headed toward the bone pile way out of town closer to the Point, where the whale skeletons are taken after the meat is divvied up. After we had spotted them, other people stopped near us on the beach road to watch the bears from way too close, getting out of their cars.  There wasn’t an incident, fortunately. Those polar bears are almost as fast as a horse in short sprints. The sow was sick or injured or something and all three had to be put down, which the locals hate to do.

Another time, with a friend from my office, I saw nine adult bears within about 15 minutes just barely offshore, jumping and swimming from ice floe to ice floe.

Frank Smith

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