Alaska Man Monday - Dad Jokes, Dogs, and Flowers

Alaska Man Monday. (Credit: Ward Clark)

It’s been another unseasonably hot week here in the Great Land! Amazingly, the weather has been clear and lovely in addition to being too warm to suit Alaskan sensibilities, but as we had a friend visiting this week from Virginia, that may be just as well. He was a lot more comfortable, and an entire week of clear skies – not something you can always count on in south-central Alaska in the summer – made for quality sightseeing. 

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Our old friend is also a father, as am I, and that makes for an active exchange of Dad jokes. Turns out Alaska has a surfeit of those.

WATCH: Alaska’s best Dad jokes.

Yeah, there were groaners, but that’s the nature of Dad jokes.

Alaska Man score: 3.25 of 5 moose nuggets. Plus points for telling Dad jokes. Demerits for, well, telling Dad jokes. I have a pretty good store of Dad jokes myself, being not only a father but also a grandfather. Of course, I'm better known for puns. In fact, I once entered ten of my best puns into an international pun competition and was sure I would win a prize, but sadly, not one pun in ten did.


See Related: It's Father's Day, So It's Time to Bring You... the St. Louis 'Bad Dad Joke House'


The nature of dogs, on the other hand, goes back a long way – even in Alaska. Natives very likely brought their own Canis lupus familiaris across the Bering Strait land bridge with them during the last Ice Age, and this is evidence of that chapter of man and dog's mutually beneficial relationship.

30,000-year-old dog remains found in Alaska!

Eight students and professionals are now troweling the floury tan soil of Hollembaek’s Hill to learn more about the distant past of middle Alaska.

Within the soil on top of that bluff, a team of archaeologists from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and other institutions have unearthed a reddish stain that might be the residue of an ancient dwelling.

From the diggings, they have recovered charcoal, chips of stone tools, and many bones and bone fragments, including some from canids that may be wolves or dogs.

They think the latter may be possible — isotope analyses they have performed on the bones shows those canids were eating salmon.

“It suggests people were catching salmon, storing it for winter and feeding it to wolves or dogs,” said François Lanoë, an archaeologist with both the University of Arizona and UAF who has worked at the site for several summers.

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Native sites all over North America have yielded dog bones, and even after the arrival of Europeans on the continent, they observed the natives with dogs, which were kept both as beasts of burden and the occasional snacks. But this find is cool, as it shoves the date of Man’s Best Friend in the Great Land back to the first immigrants from Asia.

Alaska Man score: 5 moose nuggets. No demerits are possible when more info on Man's Best Friend is involved.


See Related: HEROES: Quick Thinking by 3 Fishermen Leads to Them Rescuing 38 Pooches From Drowning


Peonies, on the other hand, are a much more recent arrival to Alaska, which doesn’t mean the notoriously ant-attracting blooms haven’t found their fans – especially in the Kenai Peninsula town of Homer.

Homer – City of Peonies

Homer’s Chamber of Commerce is ready to begin the city’s 2024 fifth annual peony celebration.

The July celebration includes tours of local peony farms, art showcases, peony-themed offerings at local eateries, public flower craft workshops and peony organized gift displays at local businesses, including the Homer Book Store, North Wind Home Collection, Oodalolly and more.

The event started out as a business task force for the beautification of Pioneer Avenue that included the Art Shop Gallery, the Pratt Museum and the Homer Chamber of Commerce. At that time, a few peony gardens had already been planted at businesses along Pioneer Avenue.

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Local traditions are great! And the Great Land is a perfect place for cold-tolerant flowers. This time of year, the roadsides are brilliant with daisies and lupins, while wild roses pop up in clusters everywhere. In a few more weeks the red-purple of fireweed will be in evidence almost everywhere, and those are just the wildflowers; almost every neighborhood, even out here in the woods, has its flowerbeds. We’re happy to have our blooms, and the cool, wet climate is perfect for a lot of blooming plants.

Alaska Man score: 4.5 of 5 moose nuggets. Points for beautifying Homer. Demerits for all the ants.


See Related: The Associated Press With Resting Grinch Face - Now Your Holiday Flowers Are Racist!


Now, since we’re on the topic, let’s go on a flower walk. We have a great flower bed here, including my grandmother’s iris, which I wrote about a few days back. (No peonies.)

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