Gone guy


Downtown Fairbanks/Wikimedia Commons

The whining, can you hear it?
The screech and the wail,
A man can’t help but fear it;
It screams of time to bail

From the car-filled Chugach bowl
with its ugly, dusty roads;
To McMansion Hillside yards
with grizzlies now stalking the abodes

The losers and the quitters,
wrapped in spirits down,
choose to blubber incessantly
and quiver and bawl and frown

There is almost nothing
about which they do not shout;
The media din speaks clearly
of the time come to get the hell out:

“The criminals are everywhere;
“I’m afraid to leave my room;
“The recession is so bad;
“We are surely facing doom

“The government saviors,
“they don’t really care;
“All they do is strut and preen
“and pat their pretty hair.”

This is a new Los Anchorage,
the city so Alaska near,
that’s lost the Alaska spirit
in all but microbrewery beer.

So I’m gone,
taken off,
on the loose.

The Golden North beckons;
There’s a city there with pluck;
On the banks of the river Chena,
it battles on despite hard luck

Maybe it’s the cold
of this bitter frozen hell,
that steels the inhabitants,
so they do not sit and dwell

Silly though they may be,
shivering in the dark,
the North to the Future claim
is here taken as no lark.

Riches remain to be found
in this Godforsaken land;
A man can still hit pay dirt
buried ‘neath the sand

So let the quitters quit,
and retreat to states of old;
The weak have no place
among the tough and bold

Fairbanks is a city
that should by rights be dead,
and yet its heart beats strongly
powered by a survivor’s cred

The whiners here
do not survive for long;
If they cannot hack it,
they are quickly gone.

No one has the time
to listen to their bawl;
The woe-is-me complaining
leaves no one in their thrall.

It’s too much wasted energy
in this land of gold,
where all one’s energy
is needed to battle with the cold.


With apologies to Robert Service.

And it’s humor. The relocation is as temporary as the poetry is bad.



31 replies »

  1. I believe it was me that came up with an opinion that I thought Craig was “fair” in his columns. Because he was an A-hole to everyone equally!
    That was actually a compliment. Craig – I hope you understood that….

  2. Hmmm …kinda ironic, channeling Robert Service about sticking it out in the North. Service came north only because he had a job (banker) and left soon, when the economy tanked and his job was eliminated. Leaving Alaska when there are.temporary economic doldrums is an Alaskan tradition based on rational fiscal logic. Has happened a lot: gold rush, WWII, pipeline, 80s oil crash, Cold War ending and the state and health care fiscal wrecks of today driving retirees and non-gubmint workers out.

    • largely agree, James, with one exception. a lot of the retirees now appear to be staying. the cost of living isn’t that bad and there are some nice retirement perks. Alaska used to be the land of the young. it’s looking more and more like the land of the foggies. but maybe if we get that gasline we’ll get a new flood of the get-rich-quickers.

      • Just think if the Arctic became the next “theater” of War?
        With more oil and gas than Russia and Saudi combined, there is bound to be a time of competition for that resource.
        With 9 milatary bases and over 100 K in milatary personal, the Pentagon sees the writing on the wall.

  3. I’ll make a bold prediction: The House minority will not vote to tap the CBR (rightly so). This will force more special sessions. We have met the enemy…it is us! (it’s always been us).

      • Millette is House Minority Leader. I might vote for Chenault or Hawkins. Not Dunleavy though- he wants to put the Dividend in the Constitution! Aaaaak!

      • My Rep. from Juneau conducted a 5-day poll, right after House voted to give the entire PFD, whether/not voters wanted the statutory PFD. First day it was running 65-35 in favor but then got hi-jacked by other Alaskans (than his constituents) and ended up at 76-24 in favor.
        Tell you the truth, I thought that Juneau would run more toward losing that PFD money but that’s how it shook out. Other Alaskans are much more prone to wanting the full PFD and your position of wanting to end the Dividend will be a hard one to defend in any election IMO.
        Dunleavey will, no doubt, be giving Walker some fits on his PFD decision.

      • Thanks Bill, good analysis. It proves my point that the flaw in democracy is the ability for the people to vote themselves a raise.

  4. Anybody else notice there has been no news from Juneau this past week?
    WTF are they doing down there? Did Nate Herz quit?

  5. Alaska is in a tailspin. If we would just end the Dividend, balance the State budget, and cease the war on the oil industry and Pebble mine, the people that remain here will be here for the right reasons.

    • Alaska would do a lot better with a modern oil refinery and paper mill in our state..
      Create jobs and value with “processing” of resources.
      Crude may be $70/barrel, but gas is still $3.00 a gallon at the pump.
      Shipping out crude and hauling in gas is a waste of wealth in many ways (over 3 times profit in refineries)
      Just think how much Diesel those 9 milatary bases need each year? (Millions of gallons)
      Keeping AK an “exploration” colony does not help those trying to put down roots in the North.

      • I suggest you look into our past refineries, Steve. They haven’t been able to make it, even with State subsidies on NS crude taken in kind.
        Nice theory, but doesn’t hold water. Also, our pulp mills also evaporated when they could no longer get old-growth trees for a song.

      • Bill,
        The problem with Flint Hills was never making money…
        It was “turning a profit” when faced with 100’s of thousands of gallons of contaminating fluid everywhere.
        There is a reason why Texas has number 2 economy in USA..
        As for your “old growth” argument….
        It does not take 300 year old trees to make toliet paper and stationary supplies.
        The global bankers are the main reason for shipping to China….slave labor.
        The Mat Su is getting ready to log 15,000 acres and guess what?
        It will all go to Asia…
        Or rot at Point Mackenzie again like their last “logging” attempt.

      • How about that Steve, when industry is required to clean up its mess the profits disappear!
        And if you think a paper mill in AK can somehow compete for logs exported in the round, you are going to have to come up with the subsidy that makes it work. I’ll expect you to contribute to this subsidy. The old growth argument used to be that those trees were only good for pulp, and thus that industry began. It fizzled out when other uses for those trees showed up. That was three pulp mills that couldn’t compete anymore and if you think a new mill can suddenly compete, without old growth trees, you are dreaming.
        An old economist with State (Dave Reaume) used to say that with our oil wealth we have the opportunity to compete with almost any industry but we need to be careful of the costs. Well, the oil wealth is mostly gone and you are wanting to subsidize something that is asinine IMO. Good luck!

      • Bill,
        I am not saying they should not clean up.
        It is their mistakes that made them unprofitable.
        As for your “subsidizes” argument…that is B.S.
        Your daughter would not have a good job without goverment subsidies…
        Education is the most highly goverment funded business in U.S.
        Same next time you need Fire, EMS or that hospital down the road.
        Turn on your cellphone and GCI can thank the feds for all those contracts to put up towers across AK.
        You will see down to the oil well in the ground…we are a highly goverment funded economy.
        I even made my money for 10 years as an arborist off of federally funded contracts here in the valley…Firewise program.
        So, we need to fund our economy with federal and local tax dollars.
        That is how it works in America.

      • Clearly we subsidize many things that for whatever reason we feel the private sector either will not or should not be involved.
        Neither a refinery or a pulp mill is something that we have any business in making work with what is left of our oil money IMO. You feel otherwise. These tend to be political decisions that are worked out in balloting.
        I don’t mind saying that I (as a retired foggy) don’t need for my government to provide me with a job. You, on the other hand, are wanting some sort of government hand-out me thinks. Maybe your choice of candidate will propose some sort of bullchit vote buy, but I expect it to fizzle out before it gets started.
        And we aren’t Texas, that has almost no environmental safeguards, or zoning laws. You can certainly move there and get one of those refinery jobs as soon as they get rid of all those immigrants holding them. Heheh!

      • “Government handouts”…
        Honestly Bill…
        Even in your “retired state of mind”…U must see some value in subsidizing industry?
        Where would the police take criminals without any jails?
        We are NOT out of oil…
        Not even close.
        Tons more to go online.
        Make a deal with feds…
        Make it in our “national securities” best interest to refine jet fuel and gas up here.
        Sell to milatary as Flint Hills has in past, only modern facility (not pre 80’s)…do it Right!
        It would keep more money instate to fund roads, bridges, teachers, troopers, SUBSIDIZED “FISHERFOLK” etc…
        You cannot pick and choose who to support, while letting other industries die…
        “Spread the Wealth” instead.
        And just so you know…
        I would not be working in this industry, but I would buy their gas to support it!

      • Well Steve you might buy their gas as they shipped it to Anchorage by rail and charged less there than in Fairbanks because the market demanded that.
        I am not against all subsidies, just those that are not needed. I’m not a big private enterprise guy, either and oppose subsidies that are manufactured (such as Trump’s thing about making coal fired electric plants a national security thing so he can keep coal miners digging).
        If you are calling for State subsidies on something private sector can handle, count me out. They will have to show their reasons for taking out oil in kind, rather than in value. Go ahead and push for a State refinery but without any subsidies and I will support. If they can’t stand on their own, let them die (or in this case they have already died and no reason to bring them back).

      • Steve, look at Senate Finance proposed capital budget with its $14.3 million for Flint Hills Settlement. This might also be in Governor’s budget but you get the idea.

  6. Oh my, it doesn’t take much for folks to fold their tents these days. Quick – pack a bag, grab the dog and split from that troublesome state. You deserve better!!!

    Just fire up the old Subaru and ramble on down here to the new California, known to some as Colorado. Our starter shacks are $500K (until the next bubble pops), our pensions are solid gold (once they get the funding figured out), and our roads are paved with cheap oil (until that goes away again). What more could you ask?

  7. In the late Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” he maintains that, while difficult (impossible) to define, “quality” is something that we all tend to recognize. We know it when we see it!

  8. Next you’ll be sitting at Fletcher’s wearing a kuspuk and reciting Robert Service for drinks and tips. Good piece!

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