Friday, January 31 from 8am-5pm @ NSRAA - AMSEA will offer a Mariner's First Aid & CPR/AED class. The cost for the class is $100, including sales tax. Inter...
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Thursday, Jan. 30 from 8am-7pm @ NSRAA - AMSEA will offer a Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor class. The cost for the class is $52.50 for commercial fishermen and ...
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Call for Nominations The window to nominate a Sitka woman to be one of four Women of the Year 2020 is open until January 31. If you know someone who enriches...
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Volunteer positions are available on the following Municipal Boards and Commissions: Animal Hearing Board, Building Department Appeals Board, Health Needs and H...
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Friday, Jan. 31 & Saturday, Feb. 1 @ Juneau’s Centennial Hall - SEARHC is sponsoring the annual "Reclaim, Own and Renew" (ROAR) Women’s Conference. With a v...
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From Tuesday, Jan. 7 - Tuesday, Mar, 10 from 3-4:30pm @ SEARHC Community Health conference room - the 2020 Winter Geriatric Healthcare Webinar Series will take ...
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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.
183 total views, 4 today
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.
185 total views, 4 today
The Soupster goes back to school.
Submitted by Isaac Hophan
171 total views, 3 today
The Soupster gazes into the future.
Originally published August 28, 2008
“I’m sorry, come again?” the Soupster apologized, his mind having wandered from the casual coffee shop conversation he was having.
“I was telling you about my new house addition, which is nearly done,” said Frank, sipping at the opposite side of the table from the Soupster. “I’ve been at it totally steadily for weeks now.”
“An old story, Frank,” said Donna, from an adjacent table, “You’re always up to something on that old shack.” Frank winced.
“A work in progress,” corrected the Soupster, trying to make peace. “What part of your house are you adding onto, Frank?”
“Well, it’s not exactly an addition, per se,” Frank admitted. “More like a kind of wanigan. And it’s on the garage, not on the actual house.” He stuck his face in his cup.
Donna looked triumphant, so the Soupster turned to her. How’s business for you?” he asked.
“You mean, with unreliable credit card access, unpredictable staff and tax and labor laws that change every five minutes?” Donna said. “Fine.”
“Happy to be coming to the end of the summer?” the Soupster asked.
“Yes and no,” Donna said. “I have some projects – remodeling and stock changes – planned for when I can get to them. Ultimately, it’ll be nice not to be overrun with tourists – sweet and plentiful may they always return in great numbers!” She rapped her knuckles on the wood tabletop for luck and the Soupster laughed.
“That business is a work in progress for you, too,” he said.
“Newspaper?” a boy of about 11 called out from the doorway.
“I’ll take one,” said Frank, rifling his pockets for change as the boy approached.
The Soupster had known the boy since he was a very little kid. A great feature of Our Town, the Soupster mused, was the chance to see kids grow up around you. Kids you aren’t responsible for, that you don’t have to fuss over.
This one the Soupster had seen win the Hoop Shoot, seen him grinning gap-toothed on the cover of the paper in front of a snowman. Had seen him wearing a fluorescent vest and picking up litter along the road. But, mostly, the Soupster had seen the boy fanning out from the mass of kids by the newspaper office with a stack under his arm, heading right for the likely customers loafing in coffee shops in the afternoon, like Frank, Donna and the Soupster.
The kid would be starting school again within days. He’d be in middle school now? Anyway, mused the Soupster, this boy would be graduating high school in the blink of an eye. And then the Soupster would be walking down Lincoln Street and some formidable-looking attorney or non-profit CEO, a guy in a construction helmet or accomplished artist, would accost him to say `Didn’t I used to sell newspapers to you in the coffee shop?’”
“Whatever are you thinking about now?” Donna asked, noting the Soupster’s furrowed brow.
“Works in progress,” the Soupster answered. “Works in progress.”
195 total views, 3 today
The Soupster muses about “silver linings”.
Originally published September 9, 2004
Even a reliable car will die if you don’t put gas in it.
As the Soupster drove toward downtown, the dreaded “check engine” light of his car flicked on. A moment later, all the other little icons on his dashboard lit up — the oil light, the battery light, the low fuel light. These symbols are called “Idiot Lights” because if you neglect a problem until they go on, you’ve waited too long. To keep track of the gas, you get not just a light but a whole gauge. So, if you let your car run out of gas, you’re a super idiot.
The Soupster’s sedan rolled to a stop.
Now, if you run out of gas on this country’s great prairies, you could be forgiven. If you happen to miss the “Next Gas 42 Miles” sign on Route 80, you could be forgiven. But it’s pretty hard to forgive running out of gas in Our Town – on land at least.
So, the Soupster did not forgive himself as he pulled over to the side of the road on a Thursday afternoon, right at quitting time.
He had no sooner shut off the car than someone came by. A jogger. With a baby in a skookum three-wheeled, all-terrain stroller.
For a second, the Soupster thought the jogger would be mad at him for parking too close to the pedestrian path, but she immediately offered the use of her cell phone. So, the Soupster called his friend Don and asked him to bring some gas.
The Soupster thanked the jogger, who jogged happily off. Replaced then by a cloud of dust, as a huge pick-up pulled in, practically dislodging chunks of asphalt with its outsized tires. The Soupster’s friend Moe’s son Larry.
“Need help?” he asked, and the Soupster explained that gas was on the way.
As Larry pulled out, Curly and Jo, who the Soupster had been meaning to call, pulled over. And, seeing the others, Adam and his little son Abel pulled over and joined the group.
“Which of you needs help?” Adam asked, and Jo laughed when they were told, “Neither! But thanks!”
Curly and Jo went back to their car, but the Soupster stood by the roadside, signaling that he was okay to the half dozen acquaintances who passed by.
Then, on the other side of the road, the Soupster’s Absolute Worst Enemy stopped and asked if he needed help. When told the Soupster was out of gas, AWE went round to the back of his car and emerged with gas-can-and-triumphant-smile.
The Soupster felt beads of sweat drip down his neck. Do you accept help from your Absolute Worst Enemy? What is the rule?
Mercifully, the arrival of Don’s Jeep kept the Soupster from having to answer that. He called to AWE, “Thanks, but I’m okay now!” with real relief.
Don handed the Soupster a full gas can. “Boy, wanna see everybody you know?” the Soupster said. “Just run out of gas in Our Town, on the side of the road, at quitting time!”
176 total views, 2 today