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Comments Off on Crossword – March 12, 2020

Crossword – March 12, 2020

| Crossword | March 12, 2020

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Comments Off on Whole Soup – February 27, 2020

Whole Soup – February 27, 2020

| Whole Soup | February 27, 2020

Download PDF Cover: Sitka True Value

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Comments Off on Our Town – February 27, 2020

Our Town – February 27, 2020

| Crazy Theories, Our Town, Relationships, Relatives, Youth | February 27, 2020

The Soupster meets someone he will remember for the rest of his days.

Originally published May 10, 2001

Sweat dripped from the Soupster’s brow as he grabbed a final fingerhold of rock and hauled his body up over the precipice. He worked his chest, his hips and legs over the sharp edge to safety. He let out an enormous sigh of relief. The 5 1/2 climb had been the most arduous of his life. But he had made it! Over the ledge of rock that led to the place where the wise old bearded man lived, the one who would tell him the secret of the universe. Or at least what the Soupster should do over the next several weeks.

A well-worn path led directly from the rock’s edge, so the Soupster took it. He knew lots of people had preceded him to the wise old bearded man’s lair, but still the experience reeked of discovery. Up ahead he saw the shallow cave he’d heard of, where the wise old man dispensed his wisdom. Feeling humble, the Soupster removed his high-tech climbing gloves and boots, and walked inside.

No wise old bearded man. Instead, a kid with bad skin. The Soupster couldn’t really tell if the kid was male or female. “My uncle is getting audited by the I.R.S. and the rest of the family is at a condo in Boca Raton celebrating my cousin’s graduation from law school,” said the kid. “Any other wisdom I may dispense?”

The Soupster was flabbergasted. His legs and back ached from the climb, but his head ached more as he tried to make sense of the situation. “Well, I was going to ask you, you know, some Big Questions,” stammered the Soupster. “But, I mean, you’re probably not… qualified…”

“I’m plenty qualified,” said the kid. “I’m more qualified than anybody in my family, including my famous uncle. I’m qualified enough to know not to go to some stupid law school shindig in Boca Raton where it’s a million degrees.”

“Any, you know, Big Ideas, that I should, maybe, hear?” the Soupster attempted.

“No Big Ideas,” said the kid. “But here’s some little ones. How about stop saying ‘Send a Message’ and ‘Zero Tolerance’ when you are referring to children. That sit okay with you?”

“What’s your problem?” said the Soupster.

“My problem is that’s not language you should be using with your offspring,” the kid said. “`Sending a message’ is something the Godfather did when he left that horse head in the Hollywood producer’s bed. It’s something we do when we drop bombs. It’s bravado when you know you are the one with the power.”

“And `Zero Tolerance’ the kid continued, “is not possible to have. No matter how gross things are, you can always come up with a scenario where you would have to have some tolerance for the situation. And if anybody is going to find out the way to test that idea, it’s your kids.”

“I think you’re right,” said the Soupster.

“Of course, I’m right” said the kid, “My uncle is the wise old bearded guy!”

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Comments Off on Did You Know – February 20, 2020

Did You Know – February 20, 2020

| Did You Know | February 27, 2020

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Comments Off on Crossword – February 27, 2020

Crossword – February 27, 2020

| Crossword | February 27, 2020

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Comments Off on Our Town – February 13, 2020

Our Town – February 13, 2020

| Guest Written, Housing, Library, Nan Metashvili, Our Town | February 13, 2020

The Soupster is thoughtful, hopeful & sad.

Submitted By Nan Metashvili

It was a typical Our Town day. Rain drizzled down, fog drifted around the forests like old spirits, and cold waves sloshed resolutely against the shore.

The Soupster was heading towards one of his favorite haunts, the library.

Though not as cozy as the old library, the new one still filled his needs. It was warm and dry, and its services were freely available to all. He would spend time reading the papers and check out a few books to feed his insatiable appetite for reading. With some amusement and no little sadness, he noted that 9.5 out of 10 people scattered around were reading, writing or playing on some sort of electronic device. Not many books to be seen, the old-fashioned kind, that is.

The smell of a brand-new volume to him was indescribable. He positively enjoyed the tactile sensation of turning pages, and the ease of flipping back to reread some passage. Many a time did he find it necessary to refresh his memory about some point mentioned 6 chapters ago. The Soupster was not shy about admitting he was getting on a bit and his little grey cells weren’t what they used to be. And he loved the elegance of choosing just the right bookmark to insert to keep his place. He had a whole collection of them.

As much as he loved reading books, there was also the social side of the library. No cold city institution, Our Town’s library was a lively place where friendships were formed and nurtured, where lonely after-school kids could safely hang out, and where even a few romances had happened. He could always count on finding a pal there to chat with.

As the Soupster picked up a recent nonfiction bestseller to sit and browse through, he noticed the person next to him. The two men both could sit there and gaze out at the unparalleled view of the ocean and small islands, the skiffs and trollers and sailboats going past. They could stay until closing time. They could use the bathroom.

But at closing time, the Soupster could go home to a comfortable and welcoming home, and the other chap obviously could not. Homeless was written all over him, from the shabby clothes, unwashed odor, and the look of sadness and fear in his eyes. Where will he go when the library closes? Out into the rain, and then?

The Soupster started to wonder why the town had to be so difficult for low income folks. Why could they not follow the example of some other communities around the country and take care of all their citizens?

Tiny houses, for example. He had lately been reading about places building tiny houses. Why did people crave McMansions anyway, when a smaller and adequate abode would do? Wouldn’t it be grand if Sitka could commit in a significant way to small and available homes?

The Soupster smiled sadly at the homeless man as the closing time lights flickered.

Then they both left the library.

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Comments Off on Whole Soup – February 13, 2020

Whole Soup – February 13, 2020

| Whole Soup | February 13, 2020

Download PDF Cover: Davis Realty

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Comments Off on Crossword – February 13, 2020

Crossword – February 13, 2020

| Crossword | February 13, 2020

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Comments Off on Did You Know – February 13, 2020

Did You Know – February 13, 2020

| Did You Know | February 12, 2020

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Comments Off on Crossword – December 19, 2019

Crossword – December 19, 2019

| Crossword | December 19, 2019

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Comments Off on Whole Soup – December 19, 2019

Whole Soup – December 19, 2019

| Whole Soup | December 19, 2019

Download PDF Cover: LFS Marine

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Comments Off on Our Town – December 19, 2019

Our Town – December 19, 2019

| Animals, Ghosts/Spirits, Guest Written, Nan Metashvili, Our Town, Ravens, Tourists | December 19, 2019

The Soupster and his companion regard a woman.

Submitted By Nan Metashvili

A bemused out-of-season tourist was wandering around town. She had made it as far as Totem Park and was enthralled with the eerie images high atop the poles. That looks like a Raven, she thought with awe, glancing from the carved image atop a pole, to the shiny black bird hopping around in the branches above her, and making sonorous clonking calls. The light rain did not seem to bother the tourist and the lack of any other people around also pleased her.

As she strolled – following her local Japanese custom of “forest bathing” – her worries eased and a feeling of contentment and rightness dawned. Yes, the giant cedars were soothing and the chattering of Ravens made perfect sense.

Then she approached an open area, with signs explaining that it was the site of a great battle. Many years ago the Tlingit people, in their fort of young saplings, had fought against the Russian occupiers of their lands. A feeling of admiration and solidarity came over her as she read about Katlian and his battle against the foreign invaders. Her own people, the Ainu in the far north of Japan, had met with similar troubles.

But then out of the corner of her eye, she saw a strange little creature. Very strange. A creepy feeling started to rise up from her very kidneys, and little tingles of fear grew, like spiny prickles of sea urchins on bare feet. The creature seemed not quite human, with whiskers long as sorrow, a furry, pointy face and teeth as sharp as ignorance. It leered at her.

Fat rain filled clouds crossed the sky; it grew dark and she became more and more uneasy.

A soft chortle of laughter then caught her attention, and she turned to see two shadowy figures climbing up from the rocky beach to the path under the trees. “Psst! Nels!” called the Soupster, “is that a Kushtaka over there? Making funny faces at that poor lady who is getting worried?”

Rain drips on spruce boughs
Berry bushes wait for sun
The surf crashes on.

With easy laughter, the two waved at her, and although the rain then came, rather heavily, it seemed the air was lighter. She glanced back at the Kushtaka, which no longer seemed frightening. It seemed more like a rather special kind of sea creature, one with rich fur and incredible swimming skills. She even smiled at it, and it seemed to smile back.

With a loud caw, the nearby raven flew off. As it took flight, an ebony feather floated to the ground. Bending over to retrieve it, the tourist noticed that it had come to land beside a tiny carved star and a miniscule wooden dreidl. “Wā” she cried.

The soft laughter from the shades on the shore faded.

She stood in the rain holding the three gifts and commented to herself
“Sitka really is very peculiar little town, but I like it.”

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Comments Off on Crossword – December 5, 2019

Crossword – December 5, 2019

| Crossword | December 5, 2019

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Comments Off on Whole Soup – December 4, 2019

Whole Soup – December 4, 2019

| Whole Soup | December 5, 2019

Download PDF

Cover:
Brave Heart Volunteers
Sitka Fine Arts Camp
Sitka Citizen’s Climate Lobby
Greater Sitka Arts Council

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Comments Off on Our Town – December 5, 2019

Our Town – December 5, 2019

| Bridge, Friends, Our Town, Toys | December 5, 2019

With help from a friend, the Soupster sees Our Town with fresh “eyes”.

Originally published November 30, 2006

“Know what I found today?” Marcie said to the Soupster, as the two strode up the sidewalk on the Japonski Island side of the O’Connell Bridge.

“What?” asked the Soupster, on the rare recent day when it wasn’t blisteringly cold. His chin down into his coat, the Soupster was enjoying the spread of warmth on his chest when he breathed. He wasn’t really listening.

“3-D glasses!” Marcie said. “At the bottom of the pantry, beneath all the vole traps and old fishing net. Cardboard with cellophane lenses. One red and one blue lens. Must be fifty years old if a day!”

The Soupster uttered not a peep.

“Remember those old 3-D horror movies, like `House of Wax?’ asked Marcie. “Vincent Price?”

No response.

“`House of Wax’ was the first major studio motion picture in 3-D,” said Marcie. “And just about the last.”

Still nothing.

“Although a lot of big actors, directors and producers got their start in horror films. Like Charles Bronson was in `House of Wax.’ Must’ve been his big break – at that time he was doing nothing but TV episodes. Played Igor in `House of Wax,’ under the name he also used when he did the TV stuff – Charles Buchinsky.”

“Buchinsky,” came the Soupster’s voice, as though from the vast beyond. “Isn’t Matt Dillon portraying him in some new movie?”

“That’s Charles Bukowski. Bukowski is a Beat writer from Los Angeles,” Marcie said. “Soupster, are you all there today?”

“No, I’m listening,” the Soupster lied. “3-D. I heard you. 3-D. Like my old Viewmaster.”

“Say what?” said Marcie, so the Soupster added, “That may be before your time.” The Soupster had a few years on Marcie.

“Kids toy, looked like plastic binoculars?” prompted the Soupster, but Marcie shook her head.

“You put these round paper disks in the device — the disks contained about a dozen pictures each,” he continued to explain, as the two denizens of our town neared the crest of the bridge. “It was really a fancy slide viewer. Very 3-D. But you could buy these wonderful collections of disk sets like `World Cities’ or `Big Cats’ or `World’s Fair.’ I used to spend hours looking at these scenes and dreaming about seeing them for myself some day.”

This time it was Marcie’s turn not to listen. She stopped abruptly and stood perfectly still, except for her jaw, which slowly gaped open.

For the duo had reached the crest of the bridge’s graceful curve, revealing to their view a big chunk of the panorama that is Our Town. Always beautiful, the mountains on either side of Verstovia were expertly highlighted by white snow and dark forest, a drawing done in pencils. There was downtown, then town, then the inner ring of mere “hills” like Gavan, then simultaneously large and distant mountains crowding for every inch of the Soupster and Marcie’s view.

The Soupster stepped alongside his friend, pleased by the rapturous look on Marcie’s face. “Now, that’s 3-D!” he said.

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