Wednesday, Nov. 21 from 11:30am-1pm @ Westmark Banquet Room - Dr. Mary Wegner & Cassee Olin from the Sitka School District will present on trends and factor...
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Monday, November 18 from 5-7pm @ SAFV Shelter - Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 5:30pm. Light refreshments provided by Northrim Bank.
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Saturday, November 23 from 3-4pm at SJ Museum - The Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum presents a screening of the film “Walking in Two Worlds: A Tale of Alaska’...
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Monday, November 25 from 6:15-7:45pm @ Library - the Sitka Community Land Trust will hold its next regular meeting. The public is encouraged to attend. The SCLT...
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CBS Planner 1 – Annual salary begins $54,059.20+, negotiable, DOE/Q, including benefits. Assists Planning Director with overall planning, economic developmen...
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Lois Verbaan, OTR, DipRT 907-752-8264 IslandTherapeuticsAK@gmail.com All Major Insurance Accepted 20 years experience in Occupational Therapy & Massag...
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The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (based in Princeton, N.J.) on 11/12/19 awarded a Culture of Health Prize to the community of Sitka. Here is the press release...
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Thursday November 28th starting at 1pm @ the ANB Hall - ANB/ANS will be holding their Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Doors open at 1 pm and dinner will b...
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Ocean Wave Quilters fundraising calendar, "Alaska's Undercover Men 2020" is available from merchants around Sitka. The full color calendar features 13 local men...
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Thursday, November 21 at 5:30pm @ Harrigan Centennial Hall - Brave Heart Bowls and "Chair-ity" - What: An evening filled with friends, a delicious hot meal...
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Friday November 21 - Sunday November 24 @ SFAC Campus - Tongass Mist Writing Retreat & Readings. FREE to all Sitka residents! Join us for a weekend of gener...
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Saturday, November 30 from 10am-4pm @ Library - Annual Book Sale, sponsored by the Friends of the Sitka Public Library www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community...
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Friday, November 29 from 5pm-8pm - GSAC Fall Art Walk. Brought to you through the Greater Sitka Arts Council through Partnership with Northrim Bank. Lincoln ...
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Wed. Nov. 20 - Sat. Nov. 23 - Auditions for "The Pirates of Penzance" by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. Young Performers Theater. Performance Dates: Feb. 28 ...
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Saturday, Nov. 23 from 6-8pm @naakahidicommunityhouse - Join us for a celebration of Native American Heritage Month through traditional native dance! The Sheet'...
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The Soupster’s carpenter-friend is distracted by a “patriarch”.
Originally published November 4, 2004
“Hand me that laser level, will you,” the Soupster said to Charley, a carpenter friend who was helping him. “I want to do a professional job hanging these pictures.”
The phone rang. Looking at the display, the Soupster recognized the number of his old friend Zack, who worked with the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration as a meteorologist.
“Soupster!” Zack said. “My ship is in town for repairs for a few days. We’ve been out studying the weather.”
“I didn’t know NOAA was here studying the weather,” said the Soupster, who also didn’t notice Charley listening closely to his side of the conversation. “So, what’s NOAA’s forecast?” he prodded Zack.
The Soupster listened to the answer in silence and then said gravely. “That does seem like a lot of rain, even for here.”
Zack then described in detail the $300,000 NOAA was spending in Our Town, with another $3.9 million scheduled for the vessel’s shakedown in the spring.
“I hear ya,” said the Soupster. “NOAA is building quite a ship.”
If the Soupster had turned around, even for a second, he would have seen the stricken look on Charley’s face. But the next day, he noticed a change in Charley’s behavior. For one thing, the usually fastidious carpenter began missing nailheads and denting beams. After Charley started spending more time apologizing than working, the Soupster suggested that his friend go home.
And the following day, things didn’t get much better. For most of the morning Charley found ways to annoy the Soupster and slow the work. Charley seemed on the verge of saying something, but then so was the Soupster – on the verge of losing patience.
The phone rang in the next room and the Soupster picked it up. “Soupster,” said a cheery Zack. “My entire extended family has come to visit me on the ship while I’m in port!”
“That’s a quite a menagerie you’re bringing on board,” marveled the Soupster out loud.
“My two daughters, my parents, the two cousins and at least two other groups,” said Zack.
“Two by two by two by two,” said the Soupster. “Good luck with all those unpredictable creatures.”
Zack laughed. “Thanks!”
When the Soupster went back to the worksite, Charley was gone. And for the next two days, no Charley. As annoying as Charley had become, he made time go faster. The Soupster went to his friend’s house to find him.
He saw the light on in the biggest shed. He heard sawing and pounding inside. He walked in and saw Charley working on what looked like a huge floating tank.
“Charley, what are you doing?” the Soupster asked.
Charley pointed to the stout craft he was building. “Noah tells you it’s going to rain heavier, he’s building a boat and stocking it with animals! There’s something you’re not telling me, Soupster, and I’m getting ready for it!”
“That’s N-O-A-A,” said the Soupster. “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.”
“Oh,” said Charlie, and a long minute passed. “Well, see you tomorrow at work, then.”
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The Soupster recounts his “weird” dream in great detail.
Guest Written by Lois Verbaan
It was the time of the year when we get tired of being inside, yet outside, rain was falling so hard that even the newest rain gear was daunted.
“Do you suppose the other hikers made an earlier start?” the Soupster said, knowing he and Lola were probably the only ones in the forest right then.
“Let’s face it, we’re hard core,” Lola said, squinting through the droplets on her glasses.
The Soupster reached into his pocket and extracted a shiny red apple, bit into it and shook his head. “Disappointing,” he mumbled. “Floury.”
“Aah, expectations lead to resentment,” Lola said wisely.
“All that glitters is not gold,” the Soupster declared.
“How about, you can’t judge a book by its cover?” Lola winked. “Say, I ran into Fran downtown yesterday. She tried to convince me to go on The Library Show on Our Town Radio. The problem is, I don’t read much. Spend most of my time making stuff…or hiking in the rain.”
“Well, you Google, don’t you? “the Soupster asked. “What’s even considered a ‘book’ these days? You can find anything you need to know online. Does it cease being a book when you can see the person who’s delivering the info, like those YouTube videos? How do you think I know how to repair my washing machine, replace the rear window wiper motor in my car, and unclog the vent on the dishwasher?” the Soupster said.
“Okay Soupster, I get the picture,” said Lola, laughing. “I do read self-help books, but the minute I go public to discuss them, everyone will know what’s wrong with me.”
“Or themselves,” the Soupster said.
“True! Anyway, the best way to feel normal is to have weird friends,” Lola declared. “That’s why I like you so much, Soupster,” she joked. “Speaking of which, have you been doing any dreaming lately?” she asked.
“Glad you asked, Lola. I had a fabulous dream just last night. I dreamed that I woke up, made my bed and went into the bathroom to comb my hair. When I returned, I found the covers turned down with my laptop lying open by the pillows. Figuring a pixie was messing with me, I found a deck of cards and laid them out to spell the word PIXIE and left the room again. I came back to find the cards reorganized to spell the word DAVID, which I assumed was the pixie’s name. Then I saw him! Perched on the windowsill, he looked like Elf on the Shelf: About 18” tall, a red outfit and hat, ruddy complexion and round nose.
“He and I went to the grocery store where he gave me a bucket of gold, alarming the Scouts as I tipped it out on their bake-sale table.” Just then, the Soupster paused to dig in his pocket for a handful of sunflower seeds. Tossing them into his mouth, he instantly spat them out again. “Eeeww! Raw lentils!” he exclaimed. “I must have topped up my trail mix from the wrong jar in the pantry.”
“Or your elf friend is trying to change your teeth into gold… crowns,” said Lola. “After all, it is that weird time of year!”
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The Soupster runs into Avogadro’s Number.
Originally published October 16, 2003
“Ouch,” said the Soupster, as Dr. Gwen pulled on his arm to examine the skin above his elbow. “Don’t yank it off, Doc!”
“You’re a baby,” chided Dr. Gwen, hiking up the Soupster’s sleeve to get a better look. “But I’m glad you came to see me. Moles can signal something far more serious and should be checked by a professional.”
“What about mine?” the Soupster asked, obviously worried.
“You’re fine,” Dr. Gwen said. “It’s just a mole.”
“Whew,” exclaimed the Soupster.
Dr. Gwen chuckled. “You ‘re reminding me of a squirmy old patient from the Lower 48, Soupster,” she said. “In fact, you kind of look like him.”
“You know my theory,” said the Soupster, and Dr. Gwen nodded patiently.
“Every kind of person there is in the world is represented in Our Town,” the Soupster said. “Everyone in Our Town has a bunch of duplicates running around the world.”
“Everybody in the world, ” Dr. Gwen repeated.
“There are 9,000 people in Our Town, every one of them completely different,” the Soupster said, “And there can’t be more than 9,000 kinds of people in the world.”
“There’s 6 billion on Earth at present,” said Gwen. “That means 666,666.6 times as many people in the world as there are in Our Town. Each Our Towner then, is represented by more than half a million duplicates. Don’t you think you’d run into at least one of them on vacation?”
“Sounds likely,” the Soupster. “That is a lot of people — like a ‘mole’ of people — not like the mole on my arm, but the chemistry term – that’s a ‘mole’ too, isn’t it, Doc?”
“It is,” she answered. “A mole in chemistry is defined as the aggregate of 6.02 times 10 to the 23rd power — that’s 6.02 with 23 zeroes after it. But the number of people on Earth – 6 billion** — is only 6 times 10 to the ninth power — only nine zeroes after it. A mole of people would be 100 trillion times the number of people on Earth today. A hundred trillion times six billion people.”
“Wow, a mole is a lot of something, isn’t it?” asked the Soupster.
“Not always,” said Dr. Gwen. “A mole is a lot of units. But if those units are small — like molecules? For instance, see that half-filled bottle of hydrogen peroxide on the shelf? A mole of hydrogen peroxide molecules would weigh in at 34 grams. About an ounce.”
“Then, there’s the moles with big claws for digging underground,” the Soupster remarked idiotically.
“And moles can also be spies in the CIA or KGB,” Doc Gwen said, finishing her exam. “But the moles in chemistry are definitely more distinguished than those that grow on your arm or the ones that dig in the ground or infiltrate spy networks.”
“Why do you say that?” the Soupster asked.
“Among the four types of moles, only chemistry-type moles have their own holiday,” Doc Gwen said. “October 23 is Mole Day. It’s true. Look it up!”
**Ed. Note: When this Our Town was first published in 2003, the pop. of earth was six billion. Today, it is 7.7 billion.
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The Soupster endeavors to give accurate advice.
Originally published September 19, 2002
DEAR SOUPSTER: My boyfriend wears a size 9 men’s XtraTuf and I wear a men’s 7, which is the same as a woman’s 9. One day, I accidentally put on my boyfriend’s boots instead of mine and they felt incredibly comfortable. Now I wear them whenever he is away on business. I’m really confused.
SIGNED: ADDLED ON EDGECUMBE
DEAR EDGECUMBE: Have you considered the possibility that your feet are still growing? You did not state your age, but your comfortable access to your boyfriend’s boots indicates you’ve been together for a long time. It’s okay to walk in another’s XtraTufs, clogs, Romeos, moccasins or running shoes. Just make sure to wear clean socks.
DEAR SOUPSTER: What is a “suntan?”
SIGNED: DEEP WOODS JACK
DEAR JACK: Formally, a “tan” refers to the browning of the skin by exposure to the sun. In much of North America, the skin substance called melanin is not just an unused body feature, like an appendix. In some places, special lotion is spread on the body to protect it from the sun and avoid the dreaded “sunburn” – an especially intense form of “suntan.”
DEAR SOUPSTER: Is it more dangerous running with scissors in the rain?
SIGNED: DOING IT ANYWAY ON OSPREY STREET THOUGH MY MOTHER TOLD ME NOT TO
DEAR NOT TO: Yes, definitely.
DEAR SOUPSTER: My girlfriend has taken to wearing my boots. I know because when I get home from a business trip, the boots are all stretched out in funny places. She has her own boots, but she won’t wear them. Should I get her a new pair or give her these?
SIGNED: GENEROUS ON EDGECUMBE
DEAR GENEROUS EDGECUMBE: By all means, buy her a new pair of XtraTufs, if that’s all it will take to solve your problem. But it may be that your girlfriend wants to wear only boots you have worn. How long are these business trips of yours? You must consider whether you want a big boot buy, or to change careers.
DEAR SOUPSTER: If it rains so much in Our Town, how come nobody uses umbrellas?
SIGNED: WET ON WACHUSETTS.
DEAR WET: We are using umbrellas. A little-known fact is that all outerwear worn in Our Town – coats, hats, gloves etc. – is in fact made from recycled umbrellas. If you see three Sitkans, you may be seeing cloth pieces patched together from two dozen umbrellas. They’re just not holding the umbrellas ballooned out over their heads.
DEAR SOUPSTER: Last week a couple stopped in my store on their way to take a business trip together and bought 20 pairs of men’s size 7, 8, 9 and 10 XtraTufs. They cleaned out my entire stock. They said they’d be back. I just wanted to call and say thanks.
SIGNED: BEMUSED ON LINCOLN STREET
DEAR BEMUSED: Glad to be of service.
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The Soupster goes back to school.
Submitted by Isaac Hophan
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