Monday, May 18, 2009

A Little Public Radio

Two things crossed my mind yesterday while listening to my weekly dose of public radio. First, there's a direct correlation between how rural an area is and the quality of it's public radio station. Either that, or the lack of competition for a person's entertainment in rural areas creates quite an illusion. Wyoming, which is about as rural as it gets, has great public radio. KSKA, based in Anchorage, is pretty good, but leaves a little to be desired. KLCC, based in Eugene, is a fine station, but lacks the charm of it's more rural brethren.

However unrelated, this gets us to my second realization--that too many American's really are arrogant cusses. I found myself enthralled with a program on KSKA yesterday. This American Life was chronicling the experiences of a Man and his adoption of a Samoan girl. You can listen to the program here.

The gist of the story is that an American family had adopted a Samoan girl in the hopes of providing a better life for the girl, only to find out well after the fact that the adoption agency was fraudulent and had, more or less, stolen the girl from her natural-born family. What's more, the U.S.-based adoption agency had enabled nearly 1,000 similar adoptions between Samoan children and American families.

The story is quite compelling, pitting the childhood provided by a wealthy adoptive family in America against the upbringing provided by natural parents in a poor Samoan community. It seems to me, you need to be awfully arrogant to believe that you can provide a better life for a child than that child's natural parents just because you have more money. But, what do I know, I've never been adopted and, even at my poorest, my wealth wasn't the limiting factor.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Some Alaska Culture

A number of years ago, The Wife and I were driving up to Prince Rupert, BC from Oregon. From there, we planned to take a couple ferries to Thorne Bay, Alaska and work away the summer season for the Forest Service. It must have been mid-May because I had just finished my first year of law school.

The drive from Oregon to Prince Rupert was a leisurely three day drive. Somewhere on the second day, along the Fraser River Canyon, we got a hell of a show. The highway runs along the canyon wall through sporadic tunnels. After the first tunnel or two, we got in the habit of holding our breath as we drove through a tunnel. Something to pass the time, I guess. All was fine and dandy until one such tunnel. Here we are out in the middle of nowhere doing our best blowfish impersonation when in the oncoming lane we spot a fully naked man running toward us. Everything flapping in the breeze, so to speak, without any effort on his part to hide things.

Desperately, we tried to hold our breath through the remainder of the tunnel.

Once through, all I could think of was to try and remember if he even had any shoes on. Well, as it turns out, it's become a pandemic. From the Anchorage Daily News:

JUNEAU -- A man is under medical observation in Juneau after he was seen running naked on downtown docks and ultimately was subdued by police with a stun gun.

The man's name has not been released and charges have not been filed.

Sgt. Steve Hernandez says police were called about the jogger just before 10 a.m. Wednesday. Police say the jogger refused to comply to a responding officer's order to stop, so the officer used a stun gun to subdue the man.

Fire department medics responded and took the man to a local hospital.

Earlier this week, state troopers in Fairbanks arrested a naked man seen walking on a bike path